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would be scarcely possible to produce that he was indeed actuated by the Spirit of Christ.

The life of Walker, like that of clergymen in general, is little diversified by incident. He laboured regularly and systematically, and was strict in performing whatever good he did through the appointments of the Church; even his society, as he persuaded himself, and as Mr. Sidney is persuaded, being no exception to this. He catechized diligently, and, by lectures on the Liturgy and offices, endeavoured to lead his people to enter into those unrivalled forms of sound wordsa practice certainly at variance with his permission of extemporaneous prayer in his society. This general notice of Mr. Walker, then, may be sufficient up to the year 1755, when his proceedings deserve some remark. The public are under obligation to Mr. Sidney for the curious correspondence which he has brought forward between Walker and the Wesleys, relative to the separation of the Methodists from the Church. The lay preachers were at that time pressing John Wesley hard for a separation, to which he was disinclined, but found himself, with all his authority and influence, unable to bridle the impetuous sons of Zeruiah, whom he had raised to consequence and empowered to thwart him. The arguments of the lay preachers and Mr. Walker's answers will be found in the following extract from a letter addressed by the latter to John Wesley, dated October 20, 1755 :

Those who press you for a separation, insist it is not lawful to abide in the Church, you say, upon these considerations. “1. Because of the assent and consent required to the Liturgy; and this especially, because of several things therein, which they apprehend to be contrary to Scripture. And also, because they dare not confine themselves to forms." These are no other than the objections which the dissenters have made: and whatever weight they might have, yet I believe are not in the least a ground upon which these gentlemen proceed in pushing for a separation. For why was not this objection made sooner by them? Did they not know that such objections were? Or, in truth, are they not desirous to separate; and so, willing to take hold of any thing whereby they may persuade themselves it is unlawful to continue in the Church? Besides, the assent and consent can never be required in such sense as is imagined; which were to suppose the compilers of the Liturgy thought their human composition infallible. It must be understood, as assenting and consenting to the Liturgy, as being in such manner agreeable to the Scriptures, that you contentedly join in it, and willingly conforin to it. There is but one book in the world without defect; and if the unavoidable defects of men were a sufficient ground for separating from a church, it is easy to see there would be no abiding under any establishment that could be invented. And how is it they dare not confine themselves to a form in public ministration? This is going far indeed. Appeal to their own consciences; they cannot say this in the presence of God, that they dare not confine themselves to a form in public worship, wherein only they are required to do so as I can find? Upon the whole I ask, did the first thoughts of separation arise from this difficulty with regard to the Liturgy? I dare answer in the negative. That must have sprung from a supposed necessity of having ordained ministers over the Methodists. And if this were the case, what is there more in this objection than the sophistry of a deceiving heart, by which they who make it may have been too easily led away? When we have a mind to do a thing, experience shows how easy it is to find a reason for doing VOL. XX. NO. XII.

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it, and to deceive ourselves out of the truth.-“2. Because of the laws of the Church if they include the canons.” If the canons were never authorized by act of Parliament, they cannot be properly part of the Church Establishment, which as such is merely a civil thing. The Church Establishment binds the conscience as a civil constitution, which it becomes by the authority of government; wherefore, whatever is not so established (I mean by the king, lords, and commons) not being an act of government, cannot bind the conscience. But you are doubtless better informed upon this point, than I can be, and must needs have observed, that such a submission hath never been exacted to the canons, as hath been to the Rubric and Liturgy, which I take to contain the laws of our Church. As to the spiritual courts, may not a man lawfully remain in the Church, because of them? If discipline be lost, we lament it; but, surely, nothing shall revive discipline but a revival of vital religion, for which we ought to pray and labour in our several places. I must needs observe here again, that your friends are seeking occasions, whereby to satisfy theinselves in doing that they have before set their hearts upon. Excuse me if I cannot help seeing at the bottom of this a factious unsubmissive spirit, which is more evident in their third and fourth reasons for a separation (viz.)“ Because many of the ministers are bad men, disclaim an inward call, and preach contrary to the gospel." What hath this to do with the Establishment? These are not the Establishment. We must separate froin the notions and practices of all such, and thereby show ourselves true members of the Church of England. Were the faults of ministers a sufficient cause of departing from a church, there could be no such thing as remaining long in any church whatever. Yea, and what security is there that by and by for the same reasons, it should not be as necessary to separate from the Methodists themselves? Such a principle can possibly produce nothing but confusion as long as the world lasts, since it would lay every private man under an obligation of conscience to leave his church, wheu he thought many of the ministry belonging to it did not live and preach as they ought. You can hardly thiok of any thing which would be more destructive of love, peace, and order. After all, I heartily wish your friends would think, (at least you would think for them,) what manner of spirit they are of. It is evident they affect to be teachers, and so would persuade theinselves and you it is not lawful to abide in the Church, by such arguments as would never have got into their heads, had not a conceit of themselves, and an ambition of being ministers, first got into their hearts. I speak thus plainly, because I see they seem almost to have overcome you; and to make you sensible of what I believe neither themselves nor you suspect, that the real foundation of their unkind contest with you, is a lurking vanity and pride of heart.—What I have said upon the second bead will make my assertion, that “ The essence of the Church consists in her orders and laws, not doctrine and worship,” more easy to you; though perhaps not altogether so, by reason of that point-lay preachers. I cannot think it any how authenticated, for a few clergymen to take upon them to establish a church, and ordain ministers. What you hare said concerning the impossibility of laying aside lay-preachers, entirely defeats the scheme I hinted at. However, you shall need maintain your grouod with constancy. Do what is right, and fear no consequences. Sure I am you have much cause to stand firm to your first principles upon this occasion. Pp. 178—182.

Wesley's mind was, apparently, convinced by mere argument; but he vacillated in regard to action, being afraid of losing the lay preachers, if he persisted in adhering to the Church. This the fear of man," bringing a snare ; the preachers, however desirous of license, knew too well their dependence on their leader to break away from the Church, unless they could involve him in the schism--for it was this connexion, anomalous and imperfect as it was, which had




given them the importance they possessed. On this subject Charles Wesley took a very prompt and decided line. On the 7th of August, 1756, he thus writes to Mr. Walker :-

The Lord put it into your heart to speak a word in season to my brother, who, as you justly express it, was “almost overcome by his preachers.” Foreseeing the consequence, I brought him some time ago, to sign the following agreement, “ March 10th, 1752. We whose names are underwritten, being clearly and fully convinced,-1. That the success of the present work of God, does in a great measure depend on the entire union of all the labourers employed therein.-2. That our present call is chiefly to the members of that church wherein we have been brought up,-are absolutely determined by the grace of God, (1) To abide in the closest union with each other, and never speak, do, or suffer, any thing which tends to weaken that union. (2) Never to leave the communion of the Church of England without the consent of all whose names are subjoined Chas. WESLEY. Wm. Kent.

JOHN Jones.

JOHN Downes. JOHN Nelson." I should have broken off from the Methodists and my brother at that time, but for the above agreement; which I think every preacher should sign, or leave

What I desire of my brother is, 1. That the unsound, unrecoverable preachers should be let depart just now. 2. That the wavering should be confirmed, if possible, and established in their calling. 3. That the sound ones should be received into the strictest union and confidence, and as soon as may be, prepared for orders.

To this end, my brother ought, in my judgment, to declare and avow in the strongest and most explicit manner, bis resolution to live and die in the communion of the Church of England. 1. To take all proper pains to instruct and ground both his preachers and his flock, in the same. A treatise is inuch wanting on this subject, which he might write and spread through all his societies. 2. To wait with me on the archbishop who has desired to see him, and tell him our whole design. 3. To advise, as far as they think proper, with such of our brethren the clergy as koow the truth, and do nothing without their approbation.-Pp. 201, 202.

On receiving this letter, Mr. Walker addressed John Wesley in the following plain language :

Do you ask what is that which ought to be done ? I answer, settle things on such a footing as you wish they may be in after your death. Do you fear you are not able? Allow me to say, you want not power, if you do not want resolution. If you determine to come closer to the Church of England, as I doubt not you wish to do, you have only to declare your resolution, and act in concert thereupon with such of your people as will join with you; and I doubt not you will not have many that will leave you. Say some should depart: why such are departed already in principle, so that we should surely do better without them; and in fact, they will depart whenever opportunity serves, though for the present you should keep them by compliance.

Do you ask what I wish you to do? Indeed your circumstance is at present perplexed, and

you shall need to have courage as well as conduct, to act suitably to it. The general advice I would offer, is to follow your own conscience without any regard to consequences, which are altogether in God's hand, and by which we ought not to be biassed in the least sort in any point of duty, which were to do evil that good may come. Keep your eye on the word of God, and forget not your office as a minister of the Church of England (of which we ministers ought to regard ourselves the peculiar guardians whilst we continue in it), and then give way to the dictates of your own mind, without regard to any consideration whatsoever. Such a simplicity of conduct will give you great ease, whatever be the issue. You must carefully distinguish between conscience and prudence, lest while the former bids you act, the latter engage you to delay or temporize.--- More particulariy, (1) I would have you to keep full in view the interest of Christ's church in general, and of practical religion, not considering the Church of England or the cause of Methodism, but as subordinate thereto. (2) I wish you to keep in view the unlawfulness of a separation from the Church of England, considering it on the whole as a sound branch of Christ's church. (3) I would wish you to declare yourself without the least reserve on the point, as one satisfied therein, and fully determined to dispute that matter no more with any who dissent from you in opinion. (4) I would wish you immediately to act with vigour, in consequence of such declaration; requiring your preachers to declare themselves, suffering such to depart as will not join you herein, and inaking all your societies acquainted with what you have done. (5) I would wish you to do this at the approaching conference. You may never have another. Delays will make matters worse. The disaffected will grow upon you, corrupt others, and imagine you are afraid of them ; while also in so unsettled a state of things, nothing can go forward, the enemy has advantage, and the interests of vital religion must suffer. (6) I would wish as many of your preachers as are fit for it, might be ordained, and that the others might be fixed to certain societies, and that in my judgment, as inspectors and readers, rather than preachers.

I know, dear Sir, the thing lying on you must be both difficult and disagreeable; but atter all, the main ditficulty must be within yourself. A treacherous, corrupt heart will be apt to plead the reputation of Methodism, and your owu reputation, together with the reproach you may bring on yourself from those without; which may appear under such colours as the less opportunity of doing good, and the disgrace that may fall on true religion. You will need watch your heart above all. And it is herein I am peculiarly instant on your behalf. That the infinitely wise God may direct you to such' measures, as shall contribute most to his glory and your comfort, is the unseigned prayer of your very unworthy

Fellow-labourer in the Gospel,


Pp. 204–207. There are several other letters on this subject, all exceedingly curious, and deeply interesting, but for which we can only refer the reader to Mr. Sidney's book itself. The result was that, at the conference at Bristol, the Wesleys declared their resolution to live and die in the communion of the Church of England; and the conference unanimously agreed that “while it was lawful to continue in the Church, it was unlawful to leave it; a conclusion, which, though pregnant with sound sense, and palpably true, seems to be overlooked by the more religious Dissenters, who certainly do not think it “ unlawful” to live in the communion of the Church of England. The following observations, too, of Mr. Sidney, we would commend to the most serious consideration of such persons, whom we respect for their piety, and, on that account, would be the more solicitous to make them see what we cannot but deem their error :

If the existence of a church is to depend upon the efficacy of its ministry at any particular juncture, what church on earth can hope to possess permanence, or the quality of securing the transmission from age to age, of sound unalterable doctrine? To give an establishment the last-mentioned requisite, is surely one of the most important of ecclesiastical objects. At this our Reformers aimed, and have succeeded. The Church of England, unquestionably, possesses this characteristic of a true church. To leave her communion, therefore, because at


passes on the

any one time her ministers are dormant or inconsistent, is to leave truth in the hands of the negligent, and open to the aggressions of its foes. What have been the consequences of such proceedings ? Incalculable division among all classes of nonconformists, and perpetual splitting of the light of heaven into all the hues of the prism, instead of its concentration and purity. But it may be objected, that the Church is also divided. It may be so; but is there not a wide distinction between differences in a body with a correcting standard, and divisions without one? In the former case, there is a daily hope of the restoration of unity from the tendency of a compacting force; in the latter, every movement engenders a wider and wider separation.-P. 242.

Some of Mr. Sidney's reflections on regular and irregular zeal are admirable. We quote what follows as all that we have room for on this subject, though there is much more in which we heartily concur. We would not, however, include the sweeping condemnation which Mr. Sidney, in common with other divines of the same school, clergy of Walker's day. That there was much supineness and inadequate conception of ministerial duty among them, may be allowed : society itself was supine, sensual, corrupt; and while repudiating all desire to be considered the apologists of an indolent clergy, we would merely be understood as stating the fact that the clergy of that time were, relatively, less deficient than is commonly thought; and were, in a degenerate society, by very far the least degenerated. That they required arousing, however, is very true ; only we would dispute the conclusion, insinuated indeed rather than expressed, yet not obscurely, that all clergymen who differed from Mr. Sidney's peculiar sentiments were no preachers of the gospel.

The friendship which Walker entertained for Darracott, a pious dissenting minister of Wellington in Somersetshire, gives occasion to the following observations :

From the earliest dawn of the present day of light in our Establishment, à similar spirit [cordiality towards dissenters] seems to have actuated its most learned and amiable divines, and was continued down to these times, without a suspicion that there lay a serpent, coiled in the downy folds of profession of love in many nonconformists, waiting only a convenient opportunity to dart its sting into the vitals of our Church. Happily, however, this unchristian demonstration is not universal ainong our dissenting brethren ; there yet remain those with whom may be enjoyed the same friendship and unity, which adorned the days of Secker and Doddridge, of Walker and Darracott. It is not fair to charge the whole body with the errors of a part, though it be a large one. Secker, when Bishop of Oxford, wrote thus to Doddridge in the truest spirit of candour and affection :-" The dissenters have done excellently of late years in the service of Christianity, and I hope our common warfare will make us chiefly attentive to our common interest, and unite us in a closer alliance; " and when elevated to the province of Canterbury, he maintained towards him a like admirable feeling. Dr. Sherlock, Bishop of London, adopted the same kind and conciliatory tone to this excellent man. “Whatever points of difference,” says he, “ there are between us, yet I trust that we are united in a hearty zeal for spreading the knowledge of the gospel, and for reforming the lives and manners of the people according to it. I have lived long enough to know by experience the truth of what we are taught, that 'there is no other name by which we may be saved, but the name of Christ only.'" He prays also that “God would

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