Слике страница
PDF
ePub

THE WESLEYAN METHODIST LOCAL PREACHERS'

MUTUAL-AID ASSOCIATION.

CHAPTER 1.—THE LONDON GENERAL MEETING. 1849.

The sanguine expectation of the ardent friends that 3,000, or even 1,000 Local Preachers could be brought together, was not likely to be realised. To get together 300 brethren from all parts of the country was no easy task. We may say, it was a free Press that did it.

The London Committee met on Monday evening, October 1, 1849, at Hart's Temperance Hotel, Aldersgate Street. They were joined by brethren from the country. On the next day many more of the country brethren arrived, and business was planned, and a series of resolutions prepared for the morrow.

The business of the day was ushered in by a prayer-meeting, which was held in Great Queen Street Chapel, at seven o'clock in the morning, and largely attended by delegates and friends. Much of the Divine presence was felt in earnest prayer that God would be with them in the business of the day.

The proceedings of Wednesday, October 3, in Freemasons' Hall, commenced by singing seven verses of the hymn on page 457 :

6 Behold how good a thing

It is to dwell in peace;
How pleasing to our King,

This ruit of righteousness;
When brethren all in one agree,

Who knows the joys of unity !" The fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians was read, and one of the brethren engaged in prayer.

In the election of chairman the meeting was nearly unanimous, the choice falling upon Mr. W. Harris, of Islington. The chairman in his opening speech related a fact which went a good way towards showing the need for the Association about to be formed. One of the brethren who was at the Birmingham meeting related it, as follows:-"A few years since I was Poor-law guardian. The first man whom I ever remember hearing preach the Gospel was a poor Local Preacher. The sound of his voice is associated with my earliest impressions, and is continually ringing in my ears. I sat at the Board one day, when who should come in to ask for relief but this brother! I felt ashamed when he came in. By my side sat a brother guardian, who was a Churchman, and I saw him, as I hung my head with something like confnsion, quickening his gaze and looking with more attentiveness than usual. As the brother came to the table, he said to me, 'Is not this one of your people ? * The inquiry deepened my confusion ; but I was obliged to say, ' Yes, he is. He made a second inquiry, and said, Is not he one of your

' FEBRUARY, 1881.

[ocr errors]

D

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

preachers ?' The truth escaped from me a second time, and I replied affirmatively. Sir,' said the Churchman, tapping me on the elbow,

this ought not to be. This brother of yours—this Methodist preacherought not to come to this Poor-law board for relief,' and thrusting his hand into his pocket, he said, I will give something to relieve him if you will do so, and we will not enter his name here. The Churchman and the Methodist joined together, and contributed such a sum as would be more than equivalent to that he would get at the board ; and they said

; to the poor man, Take this, brother, and don't degrade yourself and

• disgrace us by coming here again.'

On proceeding to business, the brother who had moved in the newspaper on June 5th, with great propriety was called upon to move the first resolution, which was, “That a society be formed, to be called

" The Wesleyan Methodist Local Preachers' Mutual-Aid Association.' He enforced hiş resolution by giving another case of destitution that had come under his own notice, of a Local Preacher who, being out of employment, became ill, and was so reduced in circumstances as to have nothing to subsist on but some cabbages and turnips yielded by his own garden. The consequence was that, for the want of proper food, he was soon numbered with the dead; and he (the speaker) had to perform the mournful task of saying over his remains, “ Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.”

The brother who was called upon to second the resolution, could use his tongue as effectually as he could his sledge-hammer. His arguments,

, whether on the platform or in the pulpit, were weighty and not easily resisted. He said, “How deeply my heart was affected the previous night, when I had sitting round my table for the first time four Local Preachers; men whose presence I would not have exchanged for any four men in the world, either in Church or State. Those brethren related on that occasion the cases of some Local Preachers they knew,

who had been reduced so as to require parochial relief; and when they died their remains had to be put in parish coffins, and find their last resting places in paupers' graves."

This resolution was retarded by an unimportant amendment; which was, however, swept away ; and the resolution was carried by a large majority.

The second resolution was, “ That this Association shall consist of accredited Local Preachers in Great Britain, and its object be to provide for relief in sickness, old age, and at death."

Several attempts were made to add to this resolution by including “ poverty and distress ;" but although these additions commended themselves to the feelings of the brethren, it was thought most prudent to let it rest as at first proposed.

The third resolution had been suggested in the London Committee, and was now moved by the brother who suggested it, as follows :That there shall be no relief afforded, or other distribution of the funds of this Association, until the Association has been established for twelve

[ocr errors]

calendar months." This resolution created a lengthy discussion, in which a number of brethren joined, and it was rendered remarkable as it brought upon his feet James Wild, one who, from the first, proved his love to the Association by becoming, and continuing, and even ending his days as the most liberal contributor to its funds. Some of his utterances on this occasion are worthy of preservation in our bistory. He said, “It is my honour and glory to have had my name on the plan for upwards of forty years. I have at present a bright prospect of that immortality whichnow in my sixty-ninth year-I know at no remote period awaits me." He thought with the writer, that at the grand Centenary collection of £200,000, there ought to have been a portion appropriated to the Local Preachers. His closing advice in that speech we shall do well to remember.

“Let me, as an old man, and one who loves you dearly, affectionately urge you to keep the fire of God alive in your own souls. Never lose sight of that blessed truth, Justification by faith, and peace through our Lord Jesus Christ; and follow on with all your heart after that holiness, without which none shall see the Lord."

Amendments were proposed, but they all fell to the ground, and the original motion was carried by a large majority.

The fourth resolution was based on the previous one, and was as follows:-" That no member shall be entitled to relief until he shall have been a member and subscriber for twelve calendar months.

This resolution encountered but little opposition, and was carried pretty unanimously.

The brethren, after passing this resolution, adjourned for tea in an adjoining room.

This gathering was converted into an experience meeting-some of the aged brethren, who have all passed away since that meeting, gave some interesting facts in connection with their Local-Preacher history. With one of these statements we were very much struck at the time. The brother stated, “ After my conversion I was impressed with a desire to preac bin the open air. A constable interrupted me, and ordered me to move off. A friend said, “Never mind, preach walking; and no one can interrupt you.' I took his advice; gave out my text-'God so loved the world,' &c., and walked on, the people following me, increasing in numbers as we progressed. When we got to the end of the village, about half a mile, we returned to the place whence we had started, and I concluded my sermon. That sermon was the means of the conversion of souls; and it became a saying among the people that Bro. Ladd preached a sermon a mile long."

Thursday, October 4th, the brethren began by holding a prayermeeting in City Road Chapel, at seven o'clock a.m. The business began in Freemasons' Hall at nine o'clock,

The fifth resolution was as follows: " That this Association shall be conducted by a General Committee, consisting of a President, Treasurer,

a

Honorary Secretary, and Thirty Members, to be elected annually by the Aggregate Meeting." This resolution was carried without much disoussion.

The sixth resolution: That six or more Trustees shall be appointed, and in case of any vacancy arising, from death or any other cause, such vacancy to be filled up at the next annual meeting." Carried without debate.

Seventh resolution : That every officer of this Association shall be an accredited Local Preacher.Carried nem. con.

Eighth resolution : “ That the sum for admission to this Association be 10s. That the subsequent subscription of each member be 38. per quarter, payable on the first day of January, the first day of April, the first day of July, and the first day of October next after the entrance of such member."

The brother who moved this resolution did so in a few plain words ; the brother who seconded delivered an eloquent speech. The plain mover has from the first been a hard worker and a benevolent giver, and we find his name on the last report as an hon. member, subscribing his guinea. But how about the eloquent seconder ? What became of him? We don't remember hearing of him from that day to this.

There was an amendment moved that the entrance fee be 5s, and the subscription 28. per quarter, but it met with little favour, and the resolution was carried by a large majority.

Ninth resolution : That the relief to be given by this Association in times of sickness shall not be less than 8s. per

week." One of our very cautious friends thought that we should not be able to give this amount. Another of our sanguine brethren moved an amendment that it be 103. weekly. Then came out the statisticians, with pretty ample proofs that 8s. weekly was as much as the subscriptions would warrant. The amendment was put and lost. A brother proposed a rider to the following effect, " That if the funds would allow after paying 108. a week to the sick, that cases of poverty and distress might be met." This addendum shared the fate of the other amendments: when put it was lost, and the original motion was carried.

(To be continued.)

GOOD WOMEN OF SCRIPTURE MISUNDERSTOOD AND

MISJUDGED.

No. I.-MARY OF BETHANY. This young lady lived with her brother and sister at Bethany, a little village on the other side of the Mount of Olives, nearly two miles from Jerusalem. Of this family it is said (John xi. 5), “Now, Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus."

"

On one of our Lord's visits to their house with His disciples, we read that Mary sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word (Luke x. 39); and we may gather from the circumstances that this was something more than an ordinary conversation, or an ordinary lesson of instruction. Just rising into life, with her share of beauty and amiability, her womanlike desire to please and to be admired, this may have been the turning point of her life. Some Mr. Brisk, more showy than solid, may have sought her love; and before giving him an answer, she may have taken the opportunity to ask Jesus about it: and He, who needed not that anyone should tell him about another's character-for “He knew what was in man advised her accordingly. Or, like most of us to-day, she may have been subject to doubts and fears ;'or some strong temptation was likely to lead her away from God, so she told the Lord all that was in her heart, and sat at His feet in a spirit of sweet resignation, prepared to listen to and to follow His heavenly teaching. Self love, man's love, world love, were all dismissed or swallowed up in love of the Saviour of the world. Meantime, her sister Martha had sadly missed her helping hand, and came to complain of her long absence. Mary seems not to have said a word in excuse or justification of herself, but left it for Jesus to answer her sister.

Later on we read (John xi. 1) that their brother Lazarus being sick, these two sisters sent a message to Jesus, saying, “ Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick; " no doubt expecting that such a message would bring Him from Bethabara, about thirty miles, as quickly as possible. The universal Healer-thought they-who goes about doing good, will surely soon come to restore this loved brother to perfect soundness. But soon after their messenger started, Lazarus died. Our Lord received the message, but “abode two days still in the same place where He was. Then he said, “ Our friend Lazarus sleepetb; but I go

that I him out of sleep.” The disciples thought that sleep would be favourable to the health of Lazarus. " Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe ; nevertheless let us go unto him."

The messenger would take a day, or little less, to reach Bethabara. Our Lord abode there two days longer, then returned on foot, taking another day; so four days had passed since Lazarus died; the funeral had been performed, the dead body being wrapped about in long linen clothes, with spices and ointments, and laid in a cave which had been scooped out of the hillside, and a great stone had been laid at the entrance. Friends from Jerusalem came to mourn with and comfort the sisters, but Jesus remained absent.

At length some swift-footed messenger brought word that Jesus was drawing near; then, one after the other, the sisters went to meet Him with the same cry, “Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had not died,” and Mary threw herself at the feet of Jesus, weeping. “When

[ocr errors]

may awake

« ПретходнаНастави »