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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ENGLISH CALVINISTIC METHODIST ASSOCIATION MINUTES, 1745-9
51. [flyleaves] The Tabernacle society was gathered thro' means of Mr Whitefield's ministry in the year 1741, when he separated from Mr Wesley on their difference about election, sinless perfection, perseverance and universal redemption. Then the Tabernacle was built and Brother Cennick came first to preach, while Mr Whitefield went to Scotland in 1741 and left the souls to be examined and settled by Brother Harris, who stayed here 4 months then and was succeeded by Brother Cennick and was joyned by Brother Adams, and then Brother Jenkins came up, being settled to assist Brother Harris in England 4 weeks. And then matters went on in convercion, and after several hundreds were awakened they were settled in order in general, put in a society, and then some were settled in bands by Mr Whitefield himself, and love feasts, letter days, and were settled with a school for poor children, instituted and carryed on for a considerable time till after Mr Whitefield went a second time to Georgia in August 1744.
52. [p.1] 1744. In August Mr Whitefield embarked for Georgia from Plymouth, having committed the care of the Tabernacle and all the other places under his care to Brother Cennick before he left London in May or beginning of June 1744. And soon after some bad expressions began to be dropped in the pulpit, some error began to be introduced and a misunderstanding grew up high among the preachers. And several young men were received in to preach and after spending much time every association (which were kept regularly att London, Bristol, and Wiltshire and Gloucester alternately; Brother Cennick keeping the minutes of them) in reasoning and disputing in the latter end of the year 1744 and 1745. So at length Brother Cennick and the brethren were persuaded in their minds to separate as follows.
53. [p.2] An association (the first after Mr Whitefield's departure) was kept at Bristol September 4th 1744, another the beginning of November att London, another March 20, and June 1745 London. (fn. 1) 3 days were spent in disputing about the weak in us, etc., but these minutes were kept by Brother Cennick and are lost. Only the heads of the controversie handled on that 3 days in London, which Mr Harris has, and the minutes att Bristol, March 20 1744/5 as follows.
Agreed that infant baptism was truly scriptural and that none should minister in the sacraments but such as are ordained. The former Brother Beswick thought it merely humane invention and that he judged it right to give the sacraments though not ordained. For which reason the brethren did not admit him into the association as a fellow labourer, but were free that he should meet with us either in private societies or in our association whenever he pleased.
That Brother Cennick enquire at Studley, Caln, etc., if Brother Scott has been blest to the souls there, and if he finds he has, he (vizt. Brother Scott) is to visit them [p.4] as before at his leasure only. He is to stay in his place, if his mistress will consent he shall and will give all Sunday to himself and other times when she can spare him on the week days, and that Brother Cennick should speak to her of all this proposal.
Also if Brother Scot be invited into new places, he shall forbear till the next association unless any thing extraordinary may happen, etc., and then he is to consult the minister then residing in Wiltshire and the stewards, etc.
That Brother Cross insert a paragraph in the Gloucester Journal, wherein he shall declare that the scriptures are the written word of God and that what is written was wrote by holy men of God as they was moved by the holy ghost.
That tho' some of the brethren are not free to go to law, yet as the brethren at Leominster have commenced a lawsuit they agree to help them. (fn. 2)
[p.5] That there is no true faith where there is not some degree of perswasion, confidence or appearance that our sins are forgiven us and that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, and that we are heirs of the kingdom of God.
That the first moment one believes, or looks to Christ, or hears his voice and opens to him, or comes to him, receives Jesus Christ in his heart and becomes one with him. Also that the union between Christ and that soul is never dissolved afterwards, world without end.
That we do not approve of the words, faith in exercise and faith out of exercise, etc., because it savours so much of philosophy and are not scripture words, and have also been abused by many professors, but we choose rather to express our meaning in scripture words such as these—
We stand by faith, that we have communion with God by faith, etc., and that when we disbelieve or backslide in heart, we grieve the spirit of God and bring ourselves into bondage and darkness, nor can we be happy, comfortable in our own souls but by believing.
Yet it was agreed some that would might use the said terms, but not out of a spirit of opposition, and also to illuminate them by the scriptures allways. On opening our hearts we found what the one meant by faith in exercise, the other meant the same thing by believing, and what the other meant by faith out of exercise, the other meant the same by the words disbelieving and [p.6] that true faith allways produces good works, words and thoughts in the soul. And that works shall be rewarded in the last day openly before men and angels! Yet are they in no wise any part of our salvation, neither are we beloved the more for them by the Lord, but we are loved freely, justifyed freely, without respect to any work done by us or in us or by any other save Jesus Christ.
57. That when one is awakened to see his miserable estate by nature, namely that he is lost without Jesus Christ, nor can be saved but by his righteousness and blood and death, and hungers and thirsts to know him, but is in doubt and fear and under much inward struggling, etc., we believe the Lord hath begun his work in that soul, yet we dare not say he is born of God or justifyed 'till he believes and having the spirit bearing witness with his spirit that he is a child of God.
58. That such as look to their sweet frames, gifts or graces or fruits of the spirit in 'em and think, now I am strong, now I will conquer the devil, now I can do this or that or the other thing, etc., then they abuse their gifts and frames and grieve the Lord, because they [p.7] trusts in them and not in him. Again when they are in sweet frames or find in themselves the gifts of the spirit such as humility, meekness, love, etc. and think because of these things, God loves me, then he rejects Jesus Christ and grieves him, because thus they set 'em in the room of his righteousness. Again when they look at them, as the children of Israel (in Ezekiel xvi ) who with their gifts made 'em a God, and for which cause he took away their gifts, (fn. 3) and will do the same in all his children when they look from him to their gifts, etc. Yet we believe every sweet frame, gift, grace, virtue, etc. are precious things and thank our saviour for 'em all ways, because by these we are made comfortable in our walk and adorn the gospel of God and glorify Jesus Christ in the church and before all the world.
59. That Christ alone is our compleat righteousness, holiness and sanctification, and that the very first moment we believe we stand compleatly holy and pure before the throne of God in him. Yet that we grow in the knowledge of him, in the fruits of faith or of the spirit, and are renewed in Christ and washed and cleansed day by day in his blood. So also we believe that if we turn from the Lord all the strength and evil of sin will again rise in our hearts till we return to him, when we will find our sin is crusifyed and mortifyed and the world, our evil nature and the devil overcome, nor can any of them get the victory or have dominion over us, but when we leave the Lord, [p.8] and that believers as the elect of God, holy and beloved should be exhorted to mortify their evil affections and to put on bowels of compassion, mercy, kindness, meekness, charity, etc., and having many precious promises that they cleanse themselves from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.
That if one brother hear another use an expression which offends him he shall mention it to no one save the brother that used the expression, and then if he is content to give it up, it shall be a fault ever to mention it again, but if he will not give it up, but insists on using it, shall be brought before the next association. (fn. 4)
Present: Brother John Cennick
Brother William Adams
Brother Thomas Adams (fn. 5)
Brother Howell Harris
Brother Francis Pugh
Brother Edward Godwin
Brother Cennick opened his mind about his convictions that our saviour called him to joyn the Moravian Brethren, and delivered up the care of the Tabernacle to Brother Harris and parted very lovingly. (fn. 6)
That the society in Wiltshire that chose Brother Cennick should be given up to him and the brethren should not [illegible] among them without first acquainting him and conferring by letter or otherwise about it.
Brother Sleep offered to joyn Brother Harris to assist all [illegible] and agreed to joyn the meeting house he had taken in the city to the Tabernacle and to be under the same care, he defraying the expenses.
Present: Brother Cennick
Bristol, Gloucester and Gloucestershire, Plymouth and Chinner the brethren (fn. 7) resigned.
But as we could not meet according to appointment we did not absolutely determine anything—only that we talked about the places, and that in Wiltshire, etc. we should not so dispute or divide the souls and preach to the places where they now meet, but that the brethren in other places where they saw their call clear were att their liberty.
Present: Brother Adams
Absent: Brother Beaumont
Brother G. Harris
Brother J. Ingram
Brother William Humphreys
And after much talk with Brother Pugh, we agreed he should go on tryal till our next association to Essex, Oulney and the west—but being not persuaded fully of his being united to us and of his call to labour with us, and as many are prejudiced against him, and as we have seen the effects of a jan[gling] in our message too much, we could not receive him absolutely, especially as Brother Jenkin and him can't bear one another.
Brother Adams to stay now over Christmas and then be released, Brother Jenkin (whom Brother Harris received to assist after speaking home to him on the mystery and godhead and death of our saviour) till beginning of February and Brother Harris to come up and stay till the next association att Bristol in March 7th 1745/6.
It was settled that Brother Adams stay here after Brother Harris goes down now, and then Brother Jenkin do come here and stay till Brother Harris come again in February, and he to stay till March and then go to Bristol to the next association [deleted].
65. [p.14] There was another association held at Bristol on March 7th 1745/6 where all the brethren that remained were present and Brother James Relly was there and received into connexion—and we had much burthens from the stewards there. A letter was wrote to the Moravian Brethren about several places we were called to in Wiltshire and was sent by Brother Edwards. There was much confusion by Brother Jenkins not joyning heartily with the brethren against the stewards there, videlicet Mr Labee, Sam, etc.
66. Brother Adams, Jenkins and Relly came up to London, and Brother Harris came after them in May and stayed till the association which was kept in London as follows: (fn. 8)
June 18 1746 (fn. 9)
Present [at] Bristol Association: Brother Harris, Brother Adams, Brother Relly, Brother Jenkins, Brother Ingram, Brother Edwards, Brother Vines, Brother G. Harris, Brother Hog, Brother Humphreys, Brother Scot.
One from Pembrokeshire here received. Nothing particular was settled but each took his rounds. Brother Adams to London till April, and then Brother Jenkins till May to come from the west, and then Brother Harris in May to release him and stay there till the association in June 1746.
67. [p.15] Att an association held att London, June 18 1746 (fn. 10)
After the prayers we consulted together about taking the playhouse that we have a call to take in the Hay Market, Westminster, and the brethren declared they had liberty in their souls. (fn. 11)
Agreed that henceforth the tickets shall be delivered to every band and class by the hands of their several visitors, and that to prevent imposition a motto or some distinguishing mark be added to the stamp—and agreed that every visitor after consulting the minister should carry the money from the cash keeper to the sick and poor.
[p.16] Agreed that Brother Starkey Myddleton should be admitted among us as a labourer on tryal to discourse for the present att Lambeth and Deptford occasionally, or such other places as the brethren shall direct.
Agreed that Brother Satchel (after long discours with him) should go on as before expounding at Mr Russels till thrust out, and visit his class and discourse on tryal at Debtford and Lambeth till next association under the inspection of the brethren.
That Brother Jenkins, when he has recovered his [illegible] which he [illegible] had by a sale, should go to Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol till August 1, and then come up by Portsmouth to London (fn. 12) till Brother Harris comes, and he to stay there till association, September 15.
[p.17] That Brother Humphreys goes through Hampton to Bristol and stay there, (fn. 13) and at Gloucestershire till July 16 and then come up to London.
69. September 18 1746, Mortonhill Farm (fn. 14)
2. As Brother Godwin proposed joining us and confessed his errors and temptations in proposing to join the Moravians and Brother Wesleys [p.18] and was sorry for the several wrong expressions he had used, and as the brethren were tender of him and yet fearful to receive him least he might be unsettled—it was agreed he should go to Bristol with Brother Relly for about 9 days, and then with Brother Jenkins for some time, and then go with Brother Harris to Trevecka against October 9 and stay with him for some time. Then with Brother Adams till the association. To be with each on trial, to be set to pray or exhort at such times and places as the brethren shall judge proper.
Agreed that Brother Adams go directly to London and stay there till November 10th and then to Gloucestershire, and if free then to Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Salop, Birmingham, etc. till the association.
That Brother Relly go directly to Bristol and stay there till Monday 29th instant, and then to Exeter, Plymouth and stay there a month or so, by Portsmouth to London against November the 9th to release Brother Adams, and stay till the association.
That Brother Jenkins go directly to Kingswood and return to Hampton by Monday evening, and go [to] Gloucester on Tuesday and thence to Apperley and Tewksbury, and so return to Gloucester and to Stroud against Saturday 27, and so the following week to Wiltshire till Monday October 6, and then to Portsmouth till the 15, and then to Bristol the 19 and stay there 3 weeks, and then be [p.19] released by Brother Vines and Humphreys, and thence go to the west till the next association.
That Brothers Humphreys, Vines, Scot and Hogg should meet Brother Jenkins at Hampton the 12 instant to settle their rounds in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire till Brother Adams comes down that thus the plan of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire be duly supplyed.
71. That Brother Jenkins and Relly pay Mr Labee the £50 (fn. 15) and take the note, and take the hall from him on his giving a covenanted note or security from 3 years to 3 years for our quiet possession of it to our use wholly, and to let there be no steward at all but a person chosen by the minister from time to time to receive the money collected and lay it up in sufficient hands.
72. [p.20] Bristol, January 22d 1746/7 (fn. 16)
Present: John Westley
Edward Godwin on tryal
John Smith on tryal—received in new
John Stevens on tryal—received in new
Thomas Hardwick The 4 are Mr Wesley's assistants
John Haughton (fn. 17)
Absent: Brother Beaumont
1. Thomas Prosser (fn. 18) —let Brother Haughton desire him to explain his principles and ask him will he be in subordition to Mr Westley and us.
Mr Westley answered, I don't design to erect (fn. 21) at Neath or in any town in Wales where there is a society already, but to doe all that in me [p.22] lies to prevent any such separation, and we all agree wheresoever we occasionally preach to strenth, not to weaken, each others hands, in particular by labouring to prevent any separation in the several societies.
4. Plymouth. (fn. 22) Whereas a separation has been made in the west, agreed that a brother from John Westley should now go to the west with Brother Harris to endeavour to heal the breach there, and to insist on a spirit of love and its fruits among the people.
After Brother Westley and his helpmeets went away the association continued. (fn. 23)
After reading a letter from John Lewis about printing the weekly papers, it was agreed that it should be proposed among all the societies to subscribe for them to take them monthly, 1 sheet a month, if Mr Lewis on speaking to him agrees to print them so, on the encouragement that shall be given as one penny a sheet—on the same paper and letter as Brother Edward's sermon.
[p.24] That Brother Godwin should goe on further tryal with Brother Adams and under his direction till the association, as the brethren are not satisfyed about his being sufficiently broken at our saviour's feet.
75. As to Kingswood school we agree to write a letter to Brother Cennick to tell him that we don't justify the manner of our brethrens' taking the school, and that likewise we think him blamable in ordering the stewards not to lend us the house (to preach in once a week) out of love. And with regard to the title Brother Whitefield has in it, seeing we are willing the Moravian Brethren should preach there, and as we have not money to pay him £120, and we are now obliged to pay £4 arrears chief rent to the lord of the mannor at £1 a year, that he lend it to us to preach in till Brother Whitefield come as he has no use for it, and [p.25] to have matters settled.
That a letter be writ to Brother Howlier to pay the printer for the printing of the answer to the bishops (fn. 24) out of the money he has received, and what is difficient to supply it out of the collection money that is in his hands, and to take the Orphan House account and Mr Whitefield's life (fn. 25) now printed out of the printer's hands and answer him for the payment as soon as the money comes, and see 250 of each sent to Hampton, and that the advertisement be printed as soon as he receives a letter from Brother Adams.
76. Settled that Brother Harris goe to the west and return to Bristol against February 21, and then through Wales to London (fn. 26) and stay till the association, April 15 in Gloucestershire.
Brother Adams go to Hampton, etc. and to return to Bristol on 31 instant and stay there a fortnight, then to Wiltshire, Hampton, etc., and to meet Brother Harris at Bristol February 21, then to Gloucester and Tewksbury, etc.
Brother Jenkins go to London and then to Portsmouth, etc. till association. (fn. 27)
[p.26] Brother Smith and Brother Stephens are proposed as preachers on tryal, the latter goe to setle his affairs at Plimouth, and if no door be opened for his going beyond sea for Mr Whitefield as was proposed, that he should return and assist to preach in some country places on tryal.
Setled the preaching at Smiths Hall—Sunday morning at 6 a clock, Sunday evening at five. Monday evening half hour after six, and meet the brethren single and married. Tuesday half hour after six, and meet the sisters single and married, done by 9 a clock. Wednesday morning 6 a clock, Wednesday evening half hour after 6, and meet the society, none admited but members. Thursday at 2 at Kingswood, at Bristol half after 6. Friday evening at Tockington. [p.27] Saturday morning, Ebberton and come to Bristol that night. Every other Friday at Bath.
78. [p.29] Morton Hill, Gloucestershire, April 15 1747 (fn. 28)
4. Agreed Mr Jenkins to goe to the west and stay there till Brother Humphries returns to Bristol and act afterwards according to the light he has conserning the rest of his round about going to Scotland.
79. [p.31] July 1st 1747 at an association held at London (fn. 29)
Present: the Revd Mr Bateman
rector of St Bartholomew
the great who
joyned us (fn. 30)
Mr Howell Harris
John Stephens, on tryal both now received
Joseph Smith, on tryal
Calingford Ward candidates
Absent: Brother James Beaumont
Brother Herbert Jenkins,
gone to Scotland
James Relly to Wales, etc.
[1.] Agreed Brother Robinson having had an abiding impulce and propos himself for labouring with us that he may be admitted to connection to exercise his gifts in prayer and exhortation among the bands after preaching under the [p.32] inspection of a minister till next association.
80. 5. To begin at the Tabernacle exact a quarter before six, and to omitt preaching on Thursday nights and' Friday mornings—to try for a time. [p.33] 6. That a due account be taken in the Tabernacle book of all setled societies in connection with us and fixed places of preaching and the names of the stewards and persons who read.
7. That some brother be appointed to pay John Lewis one guinea a month on our account for 250 of the Christian History, and he to be repayed by us quarterly, and that all of us are careful to bring in this money from the respective societies we visit.
8. Read the letters. 1st from Brother Relley who though there had been rumours about his separating so declared his hearty union with us as was quite satisfactory to the brethren. 2nd from Brother Bassit.
9. That one brother be always in the west—one in Bristol—one in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire—one in Staffordshire and Salop—and 3 between [p.34] London, Portsmouth, Oulney, Chatham, Essex, Chinner, etc.
81. 10. Agreed that Brother Smith set out to morrow and goe through Bristol for the west, and carry a letter to Mr Relly to hasten him to London —and to stay in the west till Brother Adams comes and then to return to Bristol by the 1st of August and stay there till 17th, then goe to Wiltshire and Gloustershire, then to meet Brother Adams.
11. That Brother Adams set out to morrow for Gloscester, and setle the societies in Wiltshire and be at Bristol by the 24th, to stay there a week and so be at Exeter by August the first, be at Bristol by August the 28th, and thence return to London to relieve Brother Relly by September the 1st. [p.35] 12. That Brother Godwin goe to Bristol next Monday, and stay till Brother Adams come and return to Glouscester and Wiltshire to stay there till August 14th, then through Gloscester, Tewksbury, Birmingham, Wednesbury, Salop, Ludlow, Hereford by September 10—and thence through Herefordshire, Gloustershire and Wiltshire till the association, October 7th. 13. That Brother Humphries goe to Wiltshire for a week and then on for Portsmouth to be there by the 14 of July, and stay there till July 23rd, and return to Wiltshire against the 26th so as to reach there that Sunday, and goe from thence to Glouscester, Tewksbury, Birmingham, Salop and then to Bristol. [p.36] 14. That Brother Ingram go to Oulney by Sunday and return by Wednesday next, and then either he or Brother Edwards (as shall be Setled) stay here at London and the places adjacent with Brother Relly, and Brother Stevens or Brother Ingram goe with Brother Harris to Wednesbury. 15. That Brother Harris goe by Birmingham and to Wales, and come to meet Brother Adams at Bristol against August 28th, and that our next association be held at Bristol on Wednesday the 28th of August 1747.
Present: Brother Smith
John Relley, who we received in
Absent: Brother Beaumont
That Brother John Relly stay at Bristol a fortnight, then go to Exeter against Tuesday September 15th, and after to Plymouth, and return to Bristol in a month against Sunday October 14th and stay there till association.
That Brother Smith go to Exeter to morrow and stay there over Sunday fortnight, and return to Bristol against Tuesday September 15th and stay there a fortnight, and then go through Gloucestershire to Birmingham, Wednesbury, Shrewsbury and till association.
[p.38] That Brother Humphrys go to Wiltshire next Sunday and go to Exeter against Sunday September 6th and stay there till September the 20th, and return to Exeter through Kingsbridge and return to Bristol against September 30th, and stay at Bristol till October 14th and then go to Gloucestershire and Wiltshire till the association.
83. That Brother Jenkins be wrote to to stay in London till Brother Adams comes to supply his place, and then to go to Portsmouth and so to Exeter and the west against October 11th and stay there till the association.
That Brother James Relly be wrote to if he is able to visit Essex, Oulney, Chatham, Oxfordshire till Brother Adams comes up and then go to Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Portsmouth till the association.
That Brother Godwin go to Gloucestershire against next Sunday, and go thence by Tewksbury, Birmingham, Wednesbury, etc. to Shrewsbury, Ludlow and meet Brother Harris at Builth September 12th, then as directed to Radnorshire, Leominster and there abouts a fortnight, and be at Gloucester against September 26, and then stay a fortnight in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire till October 10th, and after to Brother Adams at London.
84. [p.40] Att an association held at Gloucester, November 11th 1747 (fn. 31)
That Brother Adams go now and visit and examine and setle the societies in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, and be at Bristol on November 29 and stay for a fortnight to December 13th, and then go to Wiltshire till December 23 and then meet the brethren at Gloucester, and then go through Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire to Wednesbury, Birmingham and to examine and setle the societies till the association.
That Brother James Relly go now through Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire to Wednesbury, Birmingham, and to Gloucester against December 23rd, and then go through Gloucestershire, Wiltshire to Portsmouth and Bristol till the association.
[p.42] That Brother Stephens go now to Bristol and Bath for 9 days and come to Gloucestershire against November 27th for 9 days, and against December 6th to Wiltshire and for 9 days go to Portsmouth, and against December 20th return to Wiltshire and meet the brethren at Gloucester December 23rd, and then go to Wednesbury, Birmingham, Salop, Ludlow, Herefordshire, etc. till the association.
That Brother Godwin go to Portsmouth for a fortnight and then come att November 30 to London and go to Oulney, Chinner, Oxford, etc., and then meet the brethren at Gloucester December 23rd and be there setled till association.
86. That Brother Ingram go to Radnorshire, Herefordshire, Salop, Wednesbury, Birmingham and all the places adjacent till December 23rd, and then meet the brethren at Gloucester and go to assist Brother Jenkins at London till association.
[p.43] That Brother John Relly stay a week in Gloucestershire against November 22d and go to Wiltshire against December 1st, and come thence to Wiltshire and go to Bristol against December 13th and stay there till December 21st, and then meet the brethren at Gloucester December 23rd and be setled till association.
That a day of fasting and prayer be observed by all the brethren and societies every where on account of our own sins and the sins of all the churches and nation, etc. next Fryday sevenight 20th instant.
Agreed that Brother Harris should speak to Mr Kennydy if he is free that we should preach as usual at his house without interfering in the affairs of the society, etc. We are free to preach there and to keep the society in another place.
That Brother Smith go to Essex direct by Chinner and London and stay there 9 days, and come thence to Oulney after Brother Stevens and stay there 9 days, and so by Chinner to Bristol till the association.