« PreviousContinue »
to see me; he told me that my sermon had set all Tuddington in an uproar. The Dissenting Ministers had agreed to meet this evening together, to see what was to be done: "But," said he, “they can do nothing; you have them all under your feet, and, unless I am mistaken, you will soon ruin the dissenting interest in Tuddington, for it has been thriving hitherto, entirely by the lax principles of your predecessor, who never would preach about the Church of England, but was continually prosing about justification by faith, the election of grace, and all the cant of that party. People here never knew their duty, till Mr. Gathercoal taught it them; and now we may be sure that fools will not be flocking to the schism shops, for want of some one to teach them the right road to salvation."
Further particulars in my next.
The Dissenting Ministers of Tuddington to the Reverend RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL, Vicar.
"WE whose names are undersigned heard you, last Sunday morning, preach a sermon in St. Mary's Church, from Jude, 8th verse; and in consequence of that sermon, we venture to address you by letter, fearing that a personal interview might only increase the unhappy difference be
"We deem it superfluous here to express our surprise and regret, caused by the sentiments of your Sermon. We presume you meant to surprise the parish, and therefore we say no more on the subject; but as we are willing to believe that you, Sir, are under the influence of a mistaken zeal, we are anxious to heal the breach which has been made, and to avert the evil consequences of your rash and ill-advised conduct. We do not wish to dictate any line of preaching to any clergyman, and we cannot object to the Vicar of Tuddington defending the Church government to which he is attached; but we beg you, Sir, to take into
consideration that we have not begun the strife; we have never on any occasion spoken a disrespectful word against the Church of England; we have never thwarted the clergyman of this or any neighbouring parish; we have always enjoined our people to pursue a dutiful and respectful line of conduct towards the Vicar, and on all occasions have endeavoured to promote that union which your predecessor desired above all things. The good effects of mutual forbearance are open for all men's inspection; and we boldly challenge a comparison of the town of Tuddington with any other town of England of the same size. We particularly advert to the sobriety and decent behaviour of the inhabitants; the spirit of religious inquiry; the education of the poor in Sunday and day schools, so that scarcely a child in the parish is not well taught; the sums of money raised annually for local charities, and to support religious institutions; the care and attention shown to the sick and infirm ; and other like proofs of a population advancing in Christian and intellectual culture. One would think that no gentleman, professing himself a Christian Minister, would wish to disturb such a town; and if it be evident that the happy condition of Tuddington, as left on the death of the much-esteemed Mr. Thompson, is wholly owing to a free and kindly union between Church people and Dissenters, is it not, to say the least of it, a
very dangerous experiment to introduce a new system, which avowedly is hostile to the last degree to that already established, and cannot be admitted without violent opposition and strife?
"We, therefore, beg you, Sir, attentively to consider the present state of the parish; and we feel confident that when you shall have fully understood our actual position, you will not be so far misled by a theory, as to raise up a determined but hopeless opposition against a numerous body of people, disposed to be your friends and coadjutors in all matters where Christians of varied denominations can unite without sacrificing their principles.
"Whatever the sin of dissent, Sir, may be in your eyes, you may rest assured that you cannot prevent or check it in the smallest degree: nay, we feel confident that a perseverance in the line of conduct threatened in your sermon will only increase the evil you deplore; and will materially injure the interests of the Church of England for many miles round.
We, therefore, express our most anxious wish that your future line of conduct may be directed according to the dictates of Christian charity-or, if you please, of prudence and discretion; and we, on our parts, profess ourselves quite ready to forget the sermon of last Sunday; and, if we can see any
signs of forbearance on your part, to unpleasant feelings of our respective congrega
"We are, Sir,
"Your humble servants,
" EDWARD MERVYN, Independent Minister. "JOHN TICKILL, Baptist Minister.
"ELISHA DRANCE, Wesleyan Superintendent. "WILLIAM BOWLES, Wesleyan Minister. "WILLIAM STRINGER, Primitive Methodist."