Two Calvinistic Methodist Chapels 1743-1811 the London Tabernacle and Spa Fields Chapel. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1975.
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After this time a spirit of contention arose and antinomianism grew to a strong head and preachers, the brethren and conference were divided by means of Mr Cudworth's and others introducing antinomianism that drunk into his spirit, and Brother Cennick's drinking into the Moravian spirit. (fn. 1) So there was no regular conference kept. till at length in December 1746 Brothers Cennick, Hammond, Pugh (not utterly then, but afterward wholly), Salmon, Cudworth, Heathley, Thorn, went off, and all the brethren in conference and sisters, except Sisters Wood, Jeffreys, Dilby, Pugh and Lastier, went off—some to the Moravians and some joyned Brother Cudworth in the Independent way, and there was afterward no conferences kept for some time till the whole society was settled in classes again, and then in March 1745/6 another conference of all the visitors of the bands and classes met every Monday night after preaching.
Mansbrick being soldiers both went to the army
Middleton preaches at Deptford
and resident ministers too to be allways present—but no matter to be settled here but of a general nature only, opening their hearts to each other, singing, praying and stirring up each other to love, etc. The conference met every Monday night regularly and went on happily singing, praying and opening their hearts.
This conference was gathered in March 1745/6 by laying before the society and proposing if any had it on their hearts to assist in looking after the society, and these had it on their hearts, and the whole society was then settled in classes and continued to meet every week, and all were kept happy, but no particular minutes were kept but what follows in 1746 and 1747 and 1748. (fn. 2)
That every visitor should make a collection in their bands and classes once a month from each according to their abality and freedom to give— partly to the pewopener in St. Bartholomew's church and partly to defray the minister's expences or help the poor or the minister, as the conference shall see proper from time to time, and to begin from July 1st.
That Brother James Edwards be taken (fn. 3) in as a servant to the house (fn. 4) to take care of the book and to send it in [illegible] and to sell them and return all his accounts and the money received to Brother Boddington. (fn. 5) He is also to keep the house book of what is expended daily, and also to do all the servile work, taking care of the horses, going on errands, copying all the letters in the book, etc. [deleted].
[p.36] Mr Holier and Mr Hodgson and Brother Edwards being the 3 remaining trustees (the rest having resigned their trust and Brother Cennick has given his place to Brother Harris) they 4 are to consult together, if there be occasion, about what relates to the trust in outward things. The ticket money from the galleries and society and bands be delivered to Mr Holier and the rent money from the lodgers in the house, and he to pay the rent and taxes of the house and give out money to defray the expence of the family and the horses and Mr Wharton, etc. and to keep the books of account and to shew it to the minister whenever desired.
38. [p.37] 1747 An account of Mr Whitefield's agent instead of Mr Sims to transact all his again—viz. Mr Boddington. (fn. 6)
As Mr Sims, who was Mr Whitefield's agent in keeping his books and accounts, etc., has given up his place to Brother Harris and delivered up what books of Mr Whitefield he had, Brother Boddington has taken his place and has taken account of the books delivered up by Brother Sims and is to receive the money for what books will be sold of Mr Whitefield's and pay them to Mr Whitefield's order—and to shew his account when the minister, etc. desires—and to call every Saturday night to receive what money was received for books sold that week and what parcels were sold off, etc. (fn. 7)
He is also to take in the Orphan House money (fn. 8) and to correct and revise the Monthly History.
That the month's date for the Weekly Hystory begin July 1st and to be continued monthly from that date. That Brother Blake see that the Monthly Hystory be sent about according as they are subscribed for, vizt. 150 to the west, Exeter; 60 to Plymouth and 80 to Gloucester, and 40 to Portsmouth, Oulney, etc., 50 to Essex, Chatham, Chinner, and 50 to Staffordshire, (fn. 9) Salop, Ludlow; and that Brother Blake revise the house account every week [so] that an exact account be kept of all expences, etc.
That no tickets be given out but by the hands of the visitors, and that the visitors be carefull to go and look for the persons whose names have been read twice, (fn. 10) to enquire for their characters, and if no objection be made in a fortnight or a month to receive them to the next class and give them their tickets.
Agreed again with John Lewis as more calls come in for the Weekly Hystory that we take 400 from him att bookseller's price, vizt. at 4s. 0d., and he to take care to send them punctually att the month's end (after being revised by Brother Boddington and corrected) by the proper waggons as follows—150 to Mr Kennedy at Exeter and the brother that goes first there to bring up the money, 60 to Plymouth to Mr Kinsman near the Tabernacle there, 80 to Alderman Harris att Gloucester sent to Mr Awstin near Newgatestreet, 50 to Mr Pearsal by the Welch Cross, Birmingham, 40 to Portsmouth and the rest to the Tabernacle house to be sent—18 to Essex, 5 to Chatham, and [blank], and to be payd by Brother Shergold.
July 1748 the Weekly Hystory have continued to be printed and sent about to all places according to the calls—the account of which is paid out to John Lewis and his receipts are kept by Brother Shergold.
In conference agreed that as the Orphan House is indebted to Mr Whitefield and £200 is now wanting, that each should propose in his class and band, etc., etc. willing collection be made toward the Orphan House, and a publick collection be made before Brother Harris go out of town on 20th of December.
Letter days, (fn. 11) lovefeasts, collection to the poor and candles, etc. are regularly observed and all the orders punctually kept till this time, December 20 1747.
Agreed that the visitors of the bands and classes allways acquaint the minister that comes when another goes away of the state of things, if any are under censure or turned out or shew a bad spirit, etc.—least on the exchange of ministers any guile be used by any before the ministers know them.
42. [p.41] The Ministers' Memorandum (fn. 12)
1. That the tickets be changed in all the classes by their visitors in a fortnight of each quarter day, or the persons give a good reason of their neglect. The band tickets the same by their visitors.
2. That all proposed to band or class be read over by name three several times to the society, and their lives be enquired into before they are entred. And that no persons be alowed to go out of class into band till the visitor of each and minister be acquainted with it—least any imposition should happen by some trifling persons.
4. (fn. 13) That a love feast be kept once in six weeks or oftener if the ministers and conference see it proper.
5. That a collection—1. for the expences of the house; 2. to the poor; 3. to candles, alternately—be made every month at morning and evening sermon, but so that the collection be a fortnight after [illegible] day if kept idle.
6. That none be admited to the exhortation on Sabathday nights but such as have notes for the day from the minister, to come to the minister or others appointed to that end to the work room for them about or after sermon.
4. Preaching at Lambeth Sunday 2 a clock, and tickets to be given gratis to 2 bands of Welch brothers and sisters there and the money to be reseved at Deptford to defray the expence of the place there.
9. Wednesday morning to meet the women visitors of the bands, who are to give account of their sick and poor and of the state of their souls, and then to take the money for them as the minister shall direct.
19. That the private society meet att Deptford once a week too in private, and their society tickets be given from the Tabernacle, and their money kept toward the defraying of the expences of their own place.
That all be stirred up to press after a full conformity to Christ, to live in the spirit's witness by a felt and living faith, and especially see that the conscience be kept awake that no sin of heart, lip or life, of ommision or commision against the law of love be allowed of or connived at, but found out and confest and mourned over, and overcome by fresh application to the blood of Christ.
That the spirits of all be watched that no root of bitterness or prejudice for or against any party be found. No disputings or spiritual pride or indolence be among us. Also a close watch be kept that none be suffered to rest in feelings, frames, marks, graces, etc., but to press after to view the mystery of Christ's body and blood with open face by a living faith, and that true catholick love to all the churches without, and true simplicity within. (fn. 16)
46. [p.47] This account of preaching and societies, etc. drawn November 12th 1747 at the association at Gloucester. (fn. 17)
|att Ratclife and Southwark London|
att Chatham Kent
The Mill (fn. 18) Bismoure, etc.
Axminster Devon and Cornwall
Plymouth Dock (fn. 19)
Caln and Preston Wiltshire
Stanton, Upper and Lower
|Togington and Hawst Gloucestershire|
Oxford [deleted] Oxfordshire [deleted]
Thomas Harris and Edwards with trustees and Mr Holier and Hodgson, stewards of outward affairs. The whole conference, men and women to look after the bands and classes, besides door-keepers, etc. Mr Boddington to take care of all Mr Whitefield's books and personal affairs, to receive money and pay them for him, etc.
Brother Thomas Satchell—now fully received
Baldwin on tryal
Wear—he went off
50. [p.52] Memorandum that Evan Williams on the 8th of May 1749 did lend the sum of 20 li. to assist the Gloucestershire society towards paying the expence of building their preaching place, and that the said money is lent in pursuance of an agreement. Mr Whitefield and the other preachers to contribute their endeavours by collections, and as money shall arise to repay the said sum of 20 li.