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own meeting for their official conduct, and undergo examination every quarter as to character, faith, and duties; but, as private members of the society, they are subject, in common with all others, to the jurisdiction of the superintendent and of the leaders' meetings to which they respectively belong. The state of the congregations to which they minister, (chiefly, though not always, in the villages,) is inquired into, and the superintendent consults with them as to putting new places upon the Plan. The Plan' is a tabular arrangement of the supplies for all the chapels in a circuit during a quarter or half a year; from which it may be seen at a glance by what minister or local preacher any pulpit will be supplied on any Sunday or other day of the period. The appointments are at the discretion of the superintendent, who, however, may consult the feelings both of his immediate colleagues and of the local preachers. These last are very numerous, and are, if possible, more essential to the operations of Wesleyanism than even their ordained, and therefore reverend' ' brethren.
The Trustees' Meeting deserves notice as a further exemplification of the centralising principle of the Wesleyan Conference, which, through its superintendents, exerts a paramount authority and control over every department. The trustees, alone, have to do with nothing but the execution of their trusts. They must be members of the society, and their trust deeds must be according to the Conference plan; by which they incur heavy personal liabilities on the good faith of that body, (though, of course, with their eyes open to the fact,) the Conference not only reserving to itself full authority to dictate where, when, and how each chapel shall be built, by whom it shall be occupied, under what circumstances it shall be altered, enlarged, sold, or mortgaged; but also decreeing that its superintendent ministers shall, ex officio, be the chairmen in all the trustee meetings of their respective circuits, and shall exercise, either in person or by deputy, the ample controlling powers studiously secured to them by deed. The pew-rents generally go to meet the interest of borrowed money and other trust liabilities, which on Wesleyan chapels are notoriously heavy. The trustees can never acquire the right of appointing to chapels, except in certain very remote contingencies, such, for example, as the utter extinction of the Conference. It being necessary to insure an adequate supply of responsible trustees, they are, as a class, regarded with more consideration than ordinary members. A local preacher, as we have seen, is liable to expulsion by the superintendent, especially if confirmed by the adverse verdict of a leaders' meeting; but, according to a rule enacted when the trustees made a formidable demonstration of independence
(1794), and which the Conference, notwithstanding the Leeds and Manchester schisms, has not ventured to alter, no trustee, (however accused, or defective in conforming to the rules of the society,) shall be removed from the society, unless his crime, or breach of the rules of the society, be proved in the presence of the trustees and leaders.' For leaving this vague rule unaltered, however, there may be more reasons than one. Cases have occurred of a superintendent getting rid of a troublesome trustee, by contending that he (the superintendent) was the sole judge whether he had proved his own charges, and exercising his high prerogative accordingly.
Having unavoidably devoted so much space to a view of the disciplinary apparatus of the Wesleyan Connexion, we shall be obliged to glance but very cursorily at those institutions which develop its financial arrangements and resources. The Conference makes no boast of its voluntaryism, but contrives, on the contrary, to let it be known to ministers of state, colonial assemblies, municipal corporations, and other public bodies, that the smallest contribution will be thankfully accepted,' provided its most perfect hierarchy be not impinged upon. Still the Wesleyans quite outvie all other denominations, unless we except the Roman Catholics, in the practical development of the voluntary principle. The immense amount of their chapel and other real property, which has been estimated at more than three millions sterling, is entirely the result of this principle; while the annual revenue of the body, from every source, is probably not much less than a million. The income of their missionary society for the year 1845-6, was more than £112,000.; in 1840, by a mighty effort, £171,687 of chapel debts was extinguished; and the Centenary Fund fell little short of a quarter of a million. Of the product of the weekly pence and quarterly shillings (these are minima) contributed in the classes, of the Yearly Collection made in the same way, and of the July Collection in all the congregations, some conception may be formed, when it is known that they suffice for the maintenance in far greater average comfort than any other body of Christian ministers (the clergy of the Established Church not excepted), of more than fifteen hundred ministers, with their wives and families.* To all these sources of income, may be added the profits of the Bookroom, the Theological Institution Fund, the Children's Fund, the General Chapel and Education Fund, and the Worn-out Ministers' and Ministers' Widows' Auxiliary Fund, with legacies, and other occasional contributions. All the funds of the Connexion are managed by mixed committees of ministers and laymen; but the ministers invariably preponderate, and every connexional
* Perhaps no married minister receives less than an equivalent to £175 per annum; perhaps none more than £350.
committee is appointed by the sole authority of the Conference.*
The Missionary Society is entirely under the control of the Conference, by whom its officers, committee, and deputations, are appointed. The deputations are found useful in promoting the disciplinary purposes of the leaders of the Connexion, while they also keep alive and extend the missionary spirit. There are not many towns, and not a great number of villages, to which the indefatigable ROBERT NEWTON is not familiar as a missionary agent, and probably not many scores of villages in England in which the annual Wesleyan missionary meeting does not compete in interest and excitement with the time-honoured fair or wake. It is worthy of remark, that the agents of the society abroad carry out, wherever they go, every part of the connexional discipline; with what effect may be judged of from the fact that nearly one-tenth of its income is derived from extraBritish auxiliaries. Its missionaries are found in every part of the globe. Whithersoever other societies have gone, there are they, and in not a few places besides. The Wesleyan missionary society is an Irish evangelical society, a continental missionary society, a colonial missionary society, and a foreign missionary society, all in one, and all under one uniform management. And when, through failing health, or other causes not demanding censure, the Wesleyan missionary returns from his post, he is not discarded, or left to shift for himself, but is recognised as a member of the Conference, and receives an appointment to a home circuit so soon as that assembly meets. The Centenary Hall sufficiently attests the grandeur of this noble institution, which employs a greater number of missionaries and receives a larger income than any sister society.
* Mr. Grindrod says, (Introduction, p. xv.) 'Laymen have been admitted to their full share of power in the distribution of all our public funds. Committees, of which they are component parts, have been appointed, and to their decision all cases of mere finance are referred. The maxim on which our fathers acted, has been carried out by their sons in the gospel to a much greater extent: 'spiritual matters belong to the preachers, and temporal to the people.'' Mr. Eckett says, (p. 35,) It is stated in the Address, that the missionary fund, the general chapel fund, and the school fund, are generally expended under the superintendence of mixed committees.' The members of those committees, however, are all elected exclusively by the Conference.** The committee [appointed to appropriate the funds allotted by the Conference for ordinary and extraordinary deficiencies] consists of twenty-four itinerant preachers and seventeen laymen. As to the preachers' auxiliary fund, it is arranged that the committee of its distribution shall consist of sixteen preachers and twelve laymen, all of whom are appointed by the Conference. * It is most certain, that all the connexional funds are as effectually managed by the preachers, as if no laymen were on any of their committees. The preachers constitute a majority of each of the committees, and the laymen are either directly or indirectly appointed by the preachers? See, also, on this subject, Fly Sheets,' No. II., p. 19.
Nor does the Theological Institution, with its two colleges, the one containing forty students, the other thirty-four, speak less favourably for the improving taste, as well as the sustained energy, of the Wesleyan Church. The Richmond edifice is the admiration of all beholders, and, although in some respects the committee have had successive trials to contend with, yet the classical and theological tutors, both ministers of the general body, are gentlemen whose proved characters and respectable attainments afford every guarantee for the efficient management and complete success of the college. At Didsbury, the Conference has been still more fortunate, the amiable and learned Dr. Hannah being most esteemed where he is best known.
Kingswood and Woodhouse-grove Schools are of more ancient date than the theological seminaries. The former of the two, indeed, was established by Mr. Wesley himself, and the latter was added early in the present century. These institutions are sustained by special subscriptions, and by an annual collection in all the chapels, not unaided by the contributions of the ministers themselves, and are wholly devoted to the instruction of their sons. In each of them provision is made for about a hundred scholars, who enter at the age of eight, and quit on attaining fourteen, being, in the mean time, educated, boarded, and clothed, at the expense of the several establishments. Each school has efficient masters, and is under the superintendence of a senior minister, who takes the title of Governor. The education, in both classics and mathematics, is quite equal, so far as it can go with boys of fourteen, to that given at the firstrate public grammar schools; and extensive observation enables us to add, that nearly all the alumni of these excellent seminaries find their way into the superior walks of commercial or professional life. Not a few of them have become the chief ornaments of their paternal order, while no inconsiderable number have completed at Oxford and Cambridge the literary career commenced at Kingswood and Woodhouse-grove. There is no point on which an honest Wesleyan will be found so sore as on this. He will tell you, with tears in his eyes, that the professor of pastoral theology in the university of Oxford is a Kingswood scholar, and that the professors of theology at Richmond and Didsbury have each of them a son, who has graduated at Oxford, and has there learned to regard his venerable father as an 'unauthorised teacher.' And yet, strange to say,
The directors of the Wesleyan Proprietary school at Sheffield have made it a sine qua non, that the head master shall be a graduate of either Oxford or Cambridge, while, absurdly enough, the governor and chaplain is a plain, but distinguished Woodhousegrove boy. At Taunton, where there is a similar establishment, the
proprietary body have displayed more consistency; and hence the office of instructors is in that valuable institution filled with able men who were themselves educated in the connexional academies. We believe it is in contemplation to set up other schools of this order in various parts of the kingdom, where the sons of influential and affluent Wesleyans may receive an education in harmony with the predilections of their parents. In Dublin, this has already been effected.
Nor, while providing instruction for their own sons, and promoting plans for the better education of the sons of their wealthier hearers, have the Wesleyan ministers been neglectful of the interests of the poor. The last return shows, that they have established more than four thousand Sunday schools, with nearly eighty-two thousand teachers, and five hundred thousand scholars. At the close of 1843, it was determined, within seven years, to form at least seven hundred day schools; and, in less than half that period, the determination has been more than half carried into effect. These schools are conducted on the Glasgow system. The religious instruction given in Wesleyan schools of every class, is strictly denominational; so that they may be expected to propagate and maintain the evil as well as the good which characterizes a sect in which these elements are more largely mingled than perhaps in any other religious system of ancient or modern times.
In dismissing the subject of Wesleyan education, we are reminded of a feature in the financial economy of the body which shows with what skill and nicety it is managed. We allude to the constitution and apportionment of the Children's Fund,-a fund from which ministers receive something for the maintenance of each of their children, from birth to the age of twenty. The total probable number of children to be provided for, is annually supposed; and calculation made on this basis of the number of members in society that should provide for one child. At the last Conference, the result was one hundred and thirty-four members to one child. This mode of distribution equalizes the burden; and, whereas men with large families were formerly objects of dread to circuits of moderate resources, they are now in a position which prevents either party from seeming to cast a doubt upon the declaration, 'Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them!'
The Book-room is an important establishment. Its officers consist of a book-steward (who must be a minister), a corps of editors (also ministers), and a committee (all of whom are ministers). These are the guardians and dispensers of the denominational literature, which they watch over with at least sufficient jealousy. Besides a host of magazines, which Dr. Campbell's