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“ As unknown, and yet well known”_" as poor, yet making many rich,” says Paul to the Corinthians (2nd Epistle, vi. 9, 10.) We adopt this language as. applicable to ourself. Inconsiderable and obscure; poor in this world, having neither money nor estate, how few comparatively know anything about us, and of those few, how many care anything about us? So be it, if it please God; yet we are well known in our own religious community, and though poor,much poorer than we should have been but for this alleged eccentricity, — we have, by the grace of Christ, instrumentally enriched many with gospel treasures. But really, reader, it is very inconvenient and troublesome to keep on with these editorial phrases of
we,” and “us," and "our.” To be more explicit and intelligible then, another mode must be adopted, not, accurately speaking, egotistical, yet something like it. Say, if you please, in the way of necessary or justifiable egotism. Some writer, in Addison's Spectator, being angry with a certain class of authors, says, “a tribe of egotists, for whom I
have always had a mortal aversion, are the authors of memoirs, who are never mentioned in any works but their own.”
I cannot but think, however, that this sensitive critic, though right in the main, was never in a fix ; never obliged either to write a bit of autobiography, or let the Philistines crush him. These old writers, who, something less than two hundred years ago, figured away in “Spectators,” and figured well too, did not know everything and everybody-not one of them was ever a Methodist Preacher, brow beaten and pinched for eccentricity. They did for their times, we must do for ours. Despite, then, of all that is odious and revolting in the cgotistical style of writing in the estimation of some one-sided geniuses, who will not take the trouble to distinguish between the egotism of vanity and that seeming egotism, which is nothing more than necessary selfdefence, I shall proceed in my own way, which I deem to be the only way in which I can be understood, and accomplish my design in counteracting some of those colossean evils which result from censoriousness.
In the earlier years of my ministry, though appointed to hard-working Circuits with small salaries, I had no ground of complaint. My status, as fixed by the Conference, and my accommodations among the people, though sometimes a little rough, not from unkindness, but from poverty,-were quite as good as I had a right to expect. But in the pro
gress of years, I found myself frequently interrogated, and in many directions with questions of this sort : “How is it you do not get better Circuits? Why don't they appoint you to Manchester, or Leeds, or London ?" &c. These questions were followed up by expressions of thankfulness, for religious benefits said to be derived from my preaching. Murmurings, deep and loud and frequent, were uttered, not by me, but by my very numerous friends, including not a few of our best Ministers, and Presidents of Conferences ; and the exclamation, “ 'Tis a shame they don't use you better," was so often uttered, that I began to be fidgetty. The questions put to me, were put to some others in power and authority, “Why don't you give him a lift?"
" What has he done, that younger men, and not his equals, should always be much better appointed than he?" Now, as it is always very easy to give an answer of some sort to frequent and probing question, the reply usually was,-(as it is now),—“Why, you see, he is so eccentric; he is not serious enough. In the parlour he is facetious, and tells anecdotes, -and our people are a grare people,' and don't like him to make them laugh,” &c.
And this, reader, is the reason why, after thirtytwo
years of hard service, I maintain the same circuit status now (1859) as at the beginning of my career. But this is not the worst of it,—through misrepresentations as to the kind and degree of my facetiousness, (foolishly called eccentricity) I have sometimes, in spite of the cordial affection of a large body of brother Ministers, and multitudes of Christian people, had to tremble lest I should get no Circuit at all.
At the Conference held in Liverpool, 1857, a kind-hearted Minister, who did his best to serve me, said to me, “The Representatives* were unwilling to receive you in their Circuits, because you are a funny brother.”
Thanks to the good and excellent man who would receive me when others would not. At that Conference I let off a speech against censoriousness; no man replied to it. One of the most eminent and amiable of the ministers said to me, “Well, brother K., you know I do not censure you.”
It is now proper, however, to anticipate some very reasonable enquiries. To look at questions which though they have never been put to me, may be forthcoming—“Do you not think too much of yourself?” “ Are you not under a mistake and delusion as to your qualifications ?" “ Are you not self-conceited ?” &c.
Let Facts and Letters answer for me.
FACTS.-By special and official invitation, I have, from time to time, preached Sermons, and advocated Chistian Missions, Schools, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Religious Tract Society, &c., in pulpits and on platforms, in some of the
* Those readers who are not Wesleyans may now be informed that Representatives are Ministers selected to repre.. sent, in Committee and in full Conference, the wants and wishes of Circuits and brother Ministers, as to their future appointments.
largest of our Chapels, in great towns and cities, throughout the kingdom. I have been invited by distinguished Clergymen to speak in Town Halls, National Schools, and Churches. I have lectured in Chapels, Halls, Institutions, and Colleges. I have received compliments, commendations, applauses, and acclamations, and have been treated with every demonstration of esteem and affection.
Is it customary, I ask, to invite objectionable and incompetent men to services of this kind,—to give them public thanks, and greet them with applause? Yet from the difficulty felt at different times in getting me stationed, and the, at least, seeming impossibility of fixing me in a superior position—the public, hearing of this difficulty and seeming impossibility, must have concluded me to be inefficient, or as the stale indefinite phrase is, “below the mark.” Alas! for that conduct which has often doomed me, as it once did St. Paul, to “speak as a fool.” Shame upon any who extort from me an egotism which, under different circumstances, would merit severe reprobation, and which now, though using it from dire necessity, I feel to be tormenting.
LETTERS.—Short extracts from a few out of many:
Dec. 14, 1841.—“If any opinion or influence of mine could have procured you a status in our heterogeneous Connexion, more worthy of your Wesleyan principles and many powers of usefulness, you would have occupied it some years ago.”
This was from an eminent Wesleyan Minister, and superior classical scholar,