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"I do not think that any question can be deemed or considered of a trifling nature which concerns the well-being-I may also say the existence- of a body such as that which is composed of the Wesleyan Methodists. It is my firm belief that to that body we are indebted for a large portion of the religious feeling which exists among the general body of the community not only of this country, but throughout a great portion of the civilised world besides. When, also, I recollect that the society owes its origin and first formation to an individual so eminently distinguished as the late Jobn Wesley, and when I remember that from time to time there have arisen out of this body some of the most able and distinguished individuals that ever graced and ornamented any society whatever--I may name one for all, the late Dr. Adam Clarke-I must come to the conclusion that no persons having any proper understanding of what religion is and regard for it can look upon the general body of Wesleyan Methodists without the most affectionate interest and concern.'
Warren and his anti-state Church associates were confounded at first by the decision of the Vice-Chancellor; but they resolved to carry the case by appeal to the Lord Chancellor. This they did ; and on March 25, 1835, in the presence of a great concourse of Methodists, among whom the most intense excitement prevailed—since upon his judgment depended the possibility of maintaining the dictatorship of the Conference over the property of the Connexion—the Chancellor delivered his judgment in an elaborate review of the Methodist polity as set forth in Wesley's Deed of Declaration and as exemplified in the history of Conference action. When it was perceived what his conclusion must be, deep but controlled emotion prevailed throughout the assembly; many good Methodists wept for joy; and when he finally pronounced that the judgment of the Vice-Chancellor must be confirmed, it was felt that a momentous era in Methodism had been reached, that the broad seal of English law had been stamped upon the legislation of John Wesley, and that the powers and possessions of the British Wesleyan Conference which he had founded were now beyond peradventure secure.
At the next Conference session Dr. Warren appeared in his own defence. He was listened to with that quiet, calm, terrible courtesy with which the judges listen when they ask the prisoner in the dock if he has anything to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced against him. When he had finished the sword was raised, solemnly and sternly, and off rolled the head of another Methodist preacher, whose ambition may have outrun his opportunities, and whose wisdom may not have kept pace with his zeal, but whose offence at this distance of time and space seems scarcely to have merited so stern'a punishment, since he was only seeking to defend his rights as an Englishman against a Conference wbich bad itself violated both the letter and the spirit of Mr. Wesley's prescribed form of Methodist church government.
This judgment of the Vice-Chancellor, sustained by the Lord Chancellor, whereby John Wesley's Deed of Settlement became a part of the law of the realm, still further strengthened the bonds which bound the Methodist Conference to the British Government. From that time the world has had fair notice that Wesleyan ministers must not be Dissenters in any such sense or degree as would lead them to take sides with any malcontents against the State Church.
The expulsion of Dr. Warren by the British Conference after he had been non-suited before the Lord Chancellor did not fail to be noticed and approved in State Church circles. "The Wesleyans are irregular, said the prelates; “but John Wesley was one of us, and his followers are evidently our friends. There was no such tie binding any other body of Dissenters to the Establishment. It was not possible to measure the distance by which Baptists or Independents were removed from Protestant Episcopalianism ; but in the case of the Wesleyans the distance had been measured again and again, and this is the extent thereof, namely: If the Wesleyan ministers will consent to be reordained by the bishops of the Church, the whole body may be regarded as part and parcel thereof. Against this assumption the British Conference still silently demurs. But the weakness of their ecclesiastical position, the un-Wesleyan as well as the un-Churchly status of their clergy, the irregular method of their ordination, which evidently was a mere provision for an emergency, and the fact that the chief body of Methodists on earth possess and glory in a perfect Wesleyan Episcopal succession, are facts which must claim the attention of all lovers of Methodist unity.
Was John Wesley a Greek bishop by the imposition of the hands of Erasmus? Was he rightfully an English bishop by reason of his actual and providential office as superintendent in the Church wherein he held the orders of deacon and presbyter? And is an ordination through his line a valid one, entitling those who bear it to be accounted as in the regular Apostolic successions ? These questions have usually been answered by the English Church in the negative.
Can the British Conference so far humiliate itself as to renounce its clerical status ? This question, too, seems likely to receive a negative
reply. The Wesleyans in England, then, are in fact Dissenters. They have no Wesleyan Episcopal ordination—the clearest and most Apostolic line of succession now in existence, andthey have thus far refused to seek or receive ordination from the State Church, with which they claim to be in a kind of "half-way covenant.' American Methodism is Episcopal with a Wesleyan succession. British Wesleyans, then, are also Dissenters as respects the Methodist Episcopal Church. Where, then, is the possibility of Methodist unity ? Manifestly, the first step thereto is the universal recognition of the Wesleyan Episcopal succession and the Wesleyan ordination, not re-ordination, of all Methodist ministers who are not now in the true Wesleyan line. By this, and by this only, can the unity of the largest body of Christians on earth be formally and really established. With this great result once reached, the Episcopacy of Christendom is not that of Rome, or Antioch, or Canterbury, but that of the unified millions of Methodists, whose ministry preaches the theology, works the methods, cherishes the spirit, and realises the purposes of him who, under God, has been given to the world in these last days as the chief religious leader of mankind. Will the coming Ecumenical Council face this question and bring order out of this confusion ?
We all know that a high authority has enjoined upon mankind the study of man. Assuming that the teaching of our Master is good, we should be thankful to any one who furnishes a good subject for study. Whatever interest physical phenomena and philosophical speculations may have, we turn with awakened and heightening concern to the struggles, growth, education, and perfections of a human spirit. In the study of history it is the deeds and fate of men that we care for. As Kingsley says, in his Roman and Teuton :
If any of you should ask how to study history, I should answer, Take, by all means, biographies—wheresoever possible, autobiographies; study them, fill your minds with live, human figures, men of like human passions with yourselves ; see how each lived and worked in the time and place in which God put him.' We have to place before our readers a subject for study of rare qualities—a true human life, with the greatest varieties and alternations of light and shade, a life which reminds us how human it is to ert, and yet a life in which there is much that is lofty and heroic. From this point we learn, as Emerson puts it, that there is no way for making heroism easy. Labour, iron labour, is his lot." "He can toil terribly,' said Cecil of Sir W. Raleigh. These few words sting, and bite, and lash us when we are frivolous. Let us get out of the way
of their blows by making them true of ourselves. All who study the life before us will see how true Joseph Barker made them of himself. Those who knew Mr. Barker will be glad that he wrote this story of his eventful life, of his inner life, as to how he used the world, as well as to how the world used him. Most readers, however, we opine, wish that he had re-written it in bis maturer years, when his mind was not discoloured and perverted by infidelity. As regards the manner of the work, we may state at once its characteristic faults. A number of unimportant details might have given place to the fuller treatment of the more interesting events of his after life. These are recorded in a hurried, sketchy, scrappy manner.
To name one instance out of many, the great discussion in Newcastle-on-Tyne with the Rev. Dr. Cooke is dismissed in two paragraphs, while eight pages are occupied by a depreciatory account of the details of class-meet
The Life of Joseph Barker. Written by Himself. Edited by his Nephew, John Thomas Barker. With steel portrait.' London : Hodder and Stoughton, 27, Paternoster-row, 1880.
ings. There is also a sad want of dates and chronological exactness. But neither author nor editor condescend to dates. From his birth, in 1806, on to 1835, we can find no dates. We have to guess and infer when he became a Methodist, when he joined the New Connexion, when he began to preach, when he commenced to travel, and his different stations as a minister. It is right to say that the editorial portions are remarkably well written ; but they are neither well incorporated, nor yet well kept apart. These are minor faults, and we gladly bear testimony to the charm of the book, which never intermits from beginning to end. It is a work racy of a strong, fresh, mental, idiosyncratic nature. The style has the accent of individuality, which would have been softened and modified by a wider culture. The author was truly a self-made man. The old epitome of life, he was born, he was wretched, he died, could not be applied to this man; he lived heroically, struggling with fortune and conquering. His parents were lowly and obscure; he had no scroll of titled ancestry, no heritage of broad acres, no heirlooms of pomp and power. If he became great, he achieved it himself, and found the conditions of elevation within rather than without. This is one of the advantages of an autobiography: the writer takes you into his confidence; he tells you the story of his inner life, of what he really was, rather than what he appeared to be. There is just the danger of morbid condi tions of mind interfering with the clear vision of your interlocutor ; he may say too little or too much, may magnify or minimise events, or he may allow preference or prejudice to distort his sight. Let our readers remember all this when they take up this volume. Two-thirds of this autobiography was written when the writer was a Unitarian, when his mind was in a condition of bitter revolt against old ties and religious beliefs, and when his mind was less matured and ational' than in after years.
Like many young men of ardent temperament and reforming tendencies, Mr. Barker was fanatical in his notions that the church was all wrong in both doctrine and practice, and that he was the man to correct its errors and reform its practice. Considering that he was animated by so vehement a hatred to evangelical Christianity, it is greatly to his credit that he writes so fairly and in such sympathy with Christian truth. In his later years he says: 'I can see most clearly that in judging the churches and the priesthoods (why this contemptuous term, • Priesthoods?' and used at the time when he was a returned Methodist] I did not make due allowance for the weakness and imperfections of that common human nature which the best of Christians and Christian ministers are obliged to carry about with them in the present state.'