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“Northampton, July 16, 1796. “ MY DEAR LOVE, “AFTER I sent off my letter this evening, I went to see Dr. Doddridge's chapel, and other places in the town. The streets are wide and clean ; the houses well built, and exceedingly neat. The principal church is a fine structure, with many striking monuments and inscriptions in it.
Sunday morn. 17th.— I preached this morning at Nothtingbam to a small, dull congregation. While I was ‘at prayer, I could hear no Amen, except now and then from Mr. Dixon behind me in the pulpit; and when I preached, all were still, but nobody seemed affected. O Yorkshire! let me rather be stunned with thy loud Amens, than be becalmed with such cool indifference. There is no country like yours, my dear, especially to me.
* Evening, Wooburn, Bedfordshire.—As Mr. Thom and I had no work at Northampton, and were at an inn, we set off in the forenoon, and rode fifteen miles to Newport, where we dined; and from thence to this place to tea. We have got to a very quiet and agreeable inn. We are now only forty-two miles from the great city. It appears very odd to me to sleep at inns; however we are better provided for than our master. He could only get a stable at his birth, and afterwards, he had not where to lay his head. I bless God, my mind is kept in peace.
Monday evening, London.—We rode on horseback to Barnet, twenty-two miles, before dinner: there we were kindly received by Mrs. Simms. We dined and drank tea, and then took a coach* for London, where we arrived about seven o'clock. Uncle and aunt are well. I sleep in Dr. Coke's room to-night, but am to go to Dr. Jones's to stay during the time of Conference, with Mr. Wood.
Tues. afternoon.—They say, I must preach in the New Chapel, City Road, this evening. I begged to be excused ; for I feel a disposition to be little and unknown. But I feel my mind at liberty any way. About five this evening, Messrs. Mather, Roberts, Bradburn, and others came to town. I preached this evening at seven, in the New Chapel, from Matt. xii. 35. My own mind was in a good state, and I was enabled to get on tolerably; but
* It was a part of their plan, to turn their horses out to grass during the time of Conference.
there was such a number of men with black coats present, that I did not find myself at home. However, that trial is over; and I shall have no more to preach in the New Chapel.
" I bless the Lord, my mind is in a good state. I have an opportunity of retiring frequently, and I find it profitable to do so. My earnest desire and prayer is, that I may not lose, but gain ground in the divine life during Conference. I must conclude, as the post will soon be shut up. The Lord bless thee, and make his face to shine upon thee, and give thee
prays, Thine more affectionately than ever,
This Conference was rendered memorable by the expulsion of Alexander Kilham, whose name is found in juxtaposition with my father's in the minutes of 1785, among the preachers admitted on trial.
There was a small party who were dissatisfied with the Plan of Pacification adopted at the last Conference. Among these, Mr. Kilham distinguished himself as one of the most violent; and in the course of the year published “The Progress of Liberty," and other pamphlets, in which were many ungenerous and unjust reflections upon the preach
For these he was called to account. His trial, as is well known, issued in his expulsion.
To these events there is frequent reference in my father's letters to his beloved colleague the late Rev. Jon. Edmondson, and other friends, written during this conference. Such extracts as will not involve
violation of the confidence due to intimate friendship, may now be read with interest, as matters of history, without the risk of reviving any old feelings of animosity.
“ London, Sun. July 24, 1796.—This evening Mr. Bradburn preached and met the society. His text was Isaiah xii. 6. He proved indeed that God is with us; that the Holy One of Israel is great in the midst of us, and that we have just cause to cry out and shout. It has been a good day. Glory be to God.
“ Mon. morning 25th.-Mr. Thomas Taylor is chosen President, and Dr. Coke Secretary. Several questions were proposed to A. Kilham, relative to his publications; to some of which he refused to reply, till he had more
fully considered them. Then, by a vote of the Conference, he was deprived of a seat in the Conference, till his trial should take place.
It is left with himself to fix the time of his trial. A Committee was then appointed to read his books, and select and arrange the most exceptionable parts of them. The Committee is composed of the following persons : viz. Thos. Taylor, Jos. Benson, Jos. Bradford, Sar. Bradburn, Hen. Moore, Adam Clarke, John Pritchard, Alex. Suter, F. Wrigley. These are not to try him, but to collect and arrange Kilham's own words as the ground of his trial. The Preachers are much united; I verily believe they will be more so than ever. You will wonder that Mr. Mather and my
uncle are not of the Committee; but they begged to be excused. Mr. Mather has a bad sore throat; and my uncle, though well, has enough to do without it.
“ Tues. 26th.—This forenoon Kilham's business was brought forward. He was considered as having charged the body of preachers with many things; and having told the public, he would substantiate his charges, he was called to do this. He made nothing out. It seems he has scraped up all the reports he could, and has reported them again. Many of them are much misrepre sented, and others totally false. I cannot foresee future consequences; but I verily believe this affair will be a greater means of driving the preachers together, than any former trial has been. I trust God will make these things work together for good.” To Mr. Sagar of Southfield, he wrote :
“London, July 29, 1796. * MY DEAR FRIEND, “ You will see from the above,* how the things which
My father here refers to the following printed circular issued by the Conference:“To the Brethren and Friends of the Methodist Connexion.
“ London, July 28, 1796. “The Conference considering the case of Mr. KILHAM as important, on account of the strife and contention which his writings had occasioned, thought proper to bring forward his examination before they entered upon any other business. They therefore appointed a Committee to examine his various publications, who spent a whole day in that work. Two entire days were taken up in his examination. He had the fairest opportunity to speak
have agitated the Connexion, have terminated. Every thing was done, I am sure, to save him, but in vain. In the most serious part of the business, I often saw him laughing. A full account of his examination is preparing
I am happy to inform you that I never saw the preachers so united, or the business conducted so well as this Conference.
“I am, yours affectionately,
for the press.
In a letter to my mother, dated August 3, he
says “ This has been the best Conference I ever attended. The preachers are united as one man. I verily believe Mr. K.'s conduct has eventually done the preachers much good.” “The leading men, in general, appear to be divested of their mutual jealousies, and we have a prospect of
peace and prosperity.” To Mr. Edmondson he remarks, on the 10th of August:—“Upon the whole I was better satisfied with this Conference, than any former one I have attended. The business of Mr. K. was painful; yet I am perfectly satisfied that the Conference could do no other than expel him. Sometimes, he made ill-natured reflections, and at other times he laughed. Such was his conduct, that I believe there was not one preacher but what saw the necessity of suspending him." for himself. The passages which were selected out of his pamphlets by the Committee were read to him one by one; and, we are happy to inform you, that he could not prove one of the many charges which he had published against Mr. Wesley and the preachers, as will fully appear when the whole is published. His behaviour was exceedingly light and trifling, and he seemed to have no concern for the trouble he gave the brethren. The Conference, therefore, without one dissenting voice, came to the following conclusion :- Whereas Mr. Kilham has published to the world so many particulars, so highly injurious to the charaoters of Mr. Wesley and the body of preachers, and declared himself able and willing to substantiate his charges before the Conference; notwithstanding on his trial he was not able to substantiate a single charge :—the Conference, due consideration of the whole body of evidence, together with the disunion, confusion, and distraction, which Mr. Kilham's pamphlets have made through the societies, do unanimously judge Mr. Kilham unworthy of continuing a member of the Methodist Connexion.
“Signed, by order of the Conference,
T. TAYLOR, President,
My father was appointed this Conference to the Wakefield Circuit, with his very intimate and beloved friend, the Rev. Robert Lomas. This appointment was for many reasons acceptable to him. He thus notices it in his diary :
“ Mon. Aug. 15.-Arrived with my family at Wakefield, where I am to labour, if God spare me, the ensuing year.
Preached in the evening to a large congrega tion, from · With one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.' Was peculiarly assisted of the Lord. I hope we shall have a good year, especially as my dear friend and brother Lomas is my fellow-labourer. My heart resolves to be His alone who died for me and rose again. Our situation here is very agreeable. We have every outward comfort and convenience we can desire;a comfortable dwelling, an agreeable and affectionate people, and many of them deeply pious; a situation in which I can be much with my family, which affords good opportunities of improvement by reading and study; and also presents an extensive field of usefulness. Another thing which renders it agreeable, is its being so near our relations, that we can see them frequently. Blessed be God for these consolations in the wilderness. All our removes on earth are from one wilderness to another. May we possess the spirit of strangers and pilgrims. Now all outward things are pleasing. May God prepare us for the next providence."
The passage just quoted exhibits a prominent feature in my father's character, and in part reveals the secret of his uniform cheerfulness and equanimity. He did possess in a high degree the “spirit of a stranger and pilgrim.” He viewed the things of time in the light of eternity. He did not expect too much from outward circumstances, neither did he calculate upon uninterrupted enjoyment here. He received with thankfulness the gifts of Divine Providence, but enjoyed them with moderation ; remembering that he was still “ in the wilderness,” so that he was not taken by surprise, and thrown off his balance, when tribulations came, neither did he
think it strange,” if even “fiery trials” happened unto him; but having calculated upon them, he was enabled to stay his mind upon the Lord, and “ was kept in perfect peace.” When his cup of outward comfort ran over,