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Our Connexional principles are highly liberal. In their practical working they constitute a fine development of social freedom." Whatever is eminently true and good, in order to be rightly appreciated, must be made the heritage of wise and holy beings. The ignorant misapprehend it, the vicious corrupt it. That liberty is a right and a blessing of the human race none can disprove. Men instinctively long for it, feel after it, and strive to possess it. The polity of the Methodist New Connexion secures religious liberty for its members, on principles in harmony with the genius of the British constitution, and the mode of government which obtained in the earliest ages of Christianity. But ignorance and evil passions are to be found amongst the members of our own community in common with those of other communities. Men of crude thoughts, scanty information, perverse speech, and unsanctified tempers, are ill qualified for the enjoyment and use of the freedom given to our churches by our noble and scriptural constitution.

Such men distort and misapply our principles. With them liberty consists in disposition, opportunity, and power to tyrannise over others. When the courage of our ministers and

pressure of our discipline prevent their doing so, they not uncommonly go out from among us, and, like the false and cowardly spies of olden time, spread an evil report of our institutions and government. Were our members in general to cultivate reading habits, factious individuals would be few in number, and, destitute of influence, would obtain still fewer adherents. One reason why we do not multiply more rapidly, exists in the fact, that many of our friends, and society at large, do not clearly and adequately understand our principles. There is non-acquaintance and misconception, to a considerable degree, both at home and elsewhere. Our societies and congregations themselves must remedy these evils. No one is either able or willing to relieve them from the arduous task. They must diligently seek information, and zealously spread it, by conversation and other

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direction. In order to this, they must become earnest and recollective readers. They must study the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles to the first Christian churches, Ecclesiastical History, Episcopalianism, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and Wesleyanism, the Life of Kilham, the minutes, rules, and magazines of the Methodist New Connexion, and many other publications. Such a course of reading will render their love of the Connexion not a blind prejudice, but an enlightened attachment, and will qualify them for commending our principles to the approval and adoption of parties with whom they hold intercourse.

The spirit of error is abroad in the world. Popery is erecting magnificent cathedrals in the large towns of England, lifting its imposing ceremonies before the gaze of immense assemblages, and greatly multiplying its votaries. Puseyism, the plague-spot of the English Protestant Establishment, is preparing large numbers of our population for embracing the grosser errors of the Man of Sin, and has recently transmitted several eminent clergymen within the pale of the Roman Catholic Church. Unitarianism is wide awake, and putting forth vigorous exertions. With the craftiness common to every embodiment of error, it is employing a well-known vulgar and impudent heretic to popularize its cold and meagre dogmas. At a public meeting held by the Unitarians of Leeds, a few weeks ago, this perverter of the truth as it is in Jesus,', boasted of having circulated during the last four years fifty thousand

means,

copies of Channing's works, besides an immense quantity of his own slanderous and half-infidel tracts. He furthermore stated his intention to effect a similar circulation of the works of Priestley. Popery and Puseyism aim to enthral the judgment and to fascinate the imagination, by strongly asserted priestly claims and a great variety of pompous observances. Unitarianism depends for success on popular lectures, cheap reprints of the works of its most remarkable writers, and a wide diffusion of tracts. What is to preserve our people from the pernicious influence of these instrumentalities--from being turned aside by the winds of false doctrine, which they concentrate so strongly on the understanding? Not habit, not prejudice, not controversy, not even evangelic ministrations--nothing less than a clear and comprehensive knowledge of the fundamental truths of Christianity, obtained by a prayerful examination of the Holy Scriptures, and a studious perusal of the writings of Chillingworth, Joseph Fletcher, John Rogers, the Puritan Divines, Wesley, John Fletcher, Pye Smith, Wardlaw, and Richard Watson. Let facts convey instruction on this point. In general who abide steadfastly in the th once delivered to the saints ? Those who are thoughtful readers. In general who are most easily led astray into the by-paths of error? Those who neglect reading altogether, or read flimsy tracts instead of profoundly-written volumes. Our members and congregations should be stimulated by these facts to add to their faith knowledge, and to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, that they may not be children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive ; but come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto perfect men, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

The efficiency of the Methodist New Connexion is dependent in a large measure on the intelligence of its leaders and local preachers. If these officers neglect to accumulate mental resources, and permit their intellect to sink into a feeble state, the right arm of our strength will be broken. This truth, always at least dimly seen, has become peculiarly obvious of late years. Society has moved onward since the days of Wesley with rapid strides along the path of knowledge. Multitudes of children in the humblest walks of life are well instructed in the elements of knowledge, and young men and maidens, fraught with useful information, and keenly intelligent, are growing up in every direction around us. Who is to show them clearly the path of Life, and persuade them to walk therein? Who is to edify them from our pulpits, and to instruct them in our classes? Who is to lead them on from one degree of Christian knowledge and excellence to another, till they appear before God in the heavenly Zion, with exceeding joy? Our circuit preachers will do much of the momentous work, yet å great deal will have to be done by the leaders and local preachers. Are the brethren who sustain these offices as well furnished as they might be, and ought to be, for the serious labours which are incumbent upon them? Some of them are; but faithfulness requires the asseveration, many others are not. Honour to those co-workers with the regular ministers in various locali ties, who, despite the limited time at their disposal, and slender pecuniary means, ħave obtained, by dint of diligent reading, a stock of sound knowledge, which enables them to communicate things both new and old to the members of their classes, and to fill our pulpits as able ministers of the New Testament, rightly dividing the Word of Truth! Oh, that our officers generally would emulate their praiseworthy example: then they would be wise to win souls ; the moral necessities of our intelligent young people would be amply met, and prosperity would prevail in all our circuits.

The younger members of our societies are regarded by our ministers and elders with strong solicitude for their stability and usefulness. They have commenced a religious course, and it is extremely desirable that they should move along it, year after year, as burning and shining lights, till a voice shall be heard from heaven, saying, " It is enough ; come up hither, enter into the joy of your Lord.” A great help towards a consummation so bright and blissful will be found in a taste for reading. One common besetment of youthful disciples, which greatly endangers their steadfastness and eternal welfare, is a light and trifling spirit. By excessive buoyancy of heart, accompanied with foolish talking and jesting, and merry laughter, they do violence to the seriousness which becomes the Christian, and grieve the Holy Spirit of God. They manifest also a disposition to associate too frequently for mere conversation ; for visits to other places of worship both in town and country; for social enjoyments which are not promotive of piety, and for pursuits which alienate the affections from heavenly things. The indulgence of these tendencies produces a dissipation highly unfavourable to growth in grace, and in numerous instances leads young persons, who run well for a season, to turn aside from the good way—to relish and go

after the beggarly elements of the world. What a safeguard would this class of individuals find the love of reading! The frequent perusal of good books would agreeably employ their hours of leisure; suggest many profitable topics of meditation and converse, so as to preserve them from vain thoughts and vain talk; repress the flow of feeling which develops itself in lightness of manner; keep them out of the way of temptation; promote sobriety of thought, judgment, and action; strengthen their hearts in righteousness, and give them vivid impressions of the grandeur of eternity. Besides, we desire our young friends to be not only steadfast but useful. To whom can we look except to them for zealous and successful labourers in the vineyard, when those who 'now bear the burden and heat of the day have given up the ghost and entered into rest? They will have to serve their generation according to the will of God, and they should anxiously prepare themselves, by collecting stores of wisdom, for the efficient performance of so great a work.

Our Connexion is narrowly watched by other communities. Plain indications of this fact are given by the remarks made on our polity and proceedings in the publications of the leading religious sects. Some of our friends wonder that it is so. They have been accustomed to suppose that our comparative smallness and retiring habits would effectually prevent our exposure to critical and depreciatory observations. These unsuspecting individuals forget that our principles are of a highly distinctive nature, and necessarily excite the jealous notice of our neighbours. Rival sects cannot openly reason against our principles, they cannot complain of their unfairness and unscripturalness; hence they look for something faulty or feeble in the body, and having found it, they endeavour to bring our principles into disrepute by complaining of their inefficient working. It is useless to feel indignant at such perverse logic; our highest wisdom will consist in removing the defects on which

It may

it is based. One charge brought against us by parties who dislike us, is, that we are not a reading people. Both positively and comparatively the charge is false. Our people do read, and they read (number for number) more extensively than some, and to as large an extent as any religious communities in England. Superlatively the charge is true. Our people do not read so much as they might, and as they ought; but the same may be said respecting all other bodies of Christians. Still the acknowledgment may be turned to good practical account. be used as a stimulus to closer and more comprehensive reading. Let it be thus applied, and every gainsayer will be put to silence. And why should it not be made to work in this way for our good? We have much to learn ; boundless fields of information are spread out before us; many of our friends have both resources for the purchase of books, and time for perusing them. The pleasures of reading are amongst the purest which man can enjoy in the present world, and the more we know, the better shall we be qualified to advance the interests of our beloved Zion.

Great questions engage the thoughts and activities of society. Not to mention Free Trade, Social Liberty, and Universal Peace, there are those of Religious Equality, Christian Union, General Education, and Home Missions. These questions are complex and vast; they grow out of the profoundest truths of revelation ; they involve lofty principles ; they are branches of the tree of life, whose fruit is for the healing of the nations. These questions cannot be comprehended by a superficial glance; they must be studied calmly, closely, and long, in their first principles and manifold bearings, ere they will be understood. The sanctified intellect of Great Britain is bringing all its light and force to the task of investigating them thoroughly. Several sects are beginning to embody them, in definite movements and substantial institutions. Providence requires the Methodist New Connexion to unite with other bodies in making them the subjects of thought, and rendering them promotive of the weal of mankind. Our principles also bind us to engage in the work. They harmonize so fully with the nature, tendencies, and objects of the questions adverted to, that we cannot sit at ease in Zion without exposing ourselves to a charge of extreme inconsistency. But how are we to obey the voice of Providence, and maintain a consistent course, if we do not give more time and attention to reading? Unless we read largely we shall neither understand the questions nor ascertain the progress they make, nor help to push them forward to their ultimate issues. “ A spirit is walking the earth—a spirit unseen, but everywhere felt, and everywhere heard, which tells that the darkness is past, that the day is come; that it is not in vain that Milton sang, that Hampden died, that Cromwell lived ; that confessors and martyrs for the faith, in days of old, shrank not from the fires of Smithfield, from the auto-da-fe of Goa, of Lisbon, of Madrid.” Selfishness and bigotry “ cannot roll back the tide of public opinion, which advances fuller and freer every year; they cannot define its bounds; they cannot say to it, ' hitherto shalt thou come and no further-here shall thy proud waves be stayed.' It were as easy to attempt to ride the whirlwind, or to direct the storm. Of all powers that of the onward march of a great people is the mightiest and the surest."* Shall we be willing to stand by as careless observers while this extraordinary movement is going on? Impossible. Already we have contributed to its strength-we are now advancing with it; and if we abide faithful to our principles, and manfully meet the claims of the times, by augmenting and putting forth our resources of knowledge and moral energy, we shall be found neither last nor least at the goal of glorious and universal triumph.

* Eclectic Review.

course.

Our members and friends generally ought to purchase and read our magazines. We know many who in this respect set an excellent example, which numbers more would do well to emulate. The wider circulation of our Connexional periodicals is engaging the serious attention of several preachers; and our hope is, that all will do their best to multiply the subscribers for the ensuing year. Our intelligent young men and women should take the large magazine. The heads of families should take the large one for themselves and the small one for their children. Sabbath-school teachers should zealously endeavour to secure a larger sale among their scholars. Connexional loyalty requires such a

If we profess attachment to the Connexion, we are bound to manifest anxiety for its welfare. How can solicitude be cherished and made manifest by those who do not seek information respecting the circumstances, wants, and prospects of the Connexion ? Strong interest is not likely to dwell in our hearts, if we neglect to peruse our periodicals. Some persons are peculiarly inconsistent: they buy and read the magazines published by other communities, while they treat our own with indifference. Far be it from us to repress their disposition to read the periodicals referred to--the whole of our previous remarks encourage them to indulge it; they ought to do the one, but certainly they ought not to leave the other undone. The Methodist New Connexion magazines have the first claim upon their money, time, and attention, after wards they may wander into other green pastures of information. The profits of the Book-room are devoted to the assistance of the Beneficent Fund, the Paternal Fund, and the Yearly Collection. All these funds are essential, if not to the existence, at least to the well-being of the Connexion. The Beneficent Fund especially commends itself, providing as it does for the necessities of our aged and worn-out ministers, and the widows and orphans of our deceased preachers, to the liberal support of every lover of our Zion. None of our friends would like to see this fund in an embarrassed and languishing state. It will, however, sink into serious difficulties if it do not receive larger pecuniary aid than has been given to it of late years. One means of preventing so deplorable a circumstance is very obvious, and may be easily brought into exercise. A large increase of subscribers for our magazines will augment the resources of the Beneficent Fund, and thus lighten the cares of the aged, relieve the destitution of orphanage, and cause the widow's heart to sing for joy. Our magazines are fraught with sound doctrine and valuable information : they contain rich varieties of knowledge, suited to edify the understanding, to improve the heart, and to render the life well pleasing in the sight of God. In these respects they are not inferior to any publication of a similar kind in Great Britain. We feel no hesitancy, therefore, in commending them to the notice and patronage of our friends. Buy them, read them, read other good books, and, above all, read the best book—the Word of God. By so doing you will be likely to grow wiser, holier, happier, and more useful upon earth, and better prepared for the wonderful disclosures of a nobler state of existence.

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