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AUTHENTIC REPORT OF THE
JOSEPH BARKER AND WILLIAM COOKE,
LECTURE ROOM, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE,
ON AUGUST 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 26th, 27th, 28th,
AND SEPT. 2nd, 3rd, AND 4th,
ON THE QUESTION,
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? AND ON THE DOCTRINES OF THE ATONEMENT, THE
TRINITY, NATURAL DEPRAVITY, ETERNAL TORMENTS, &C.,
I certify this Report, taken (and revised while passing through
PRINTED AND SOLD BY J. BARKER, WORTLEY, NEAR LEEDS.
W. Cooke is what is called a travelling preacher in the Methodist New Connexion. J. Barker was the same some few years ago, but was expelled on account of his opposition to human creeds, and his determination to think and speak and act with perfect freedom, without regard to any authority but the authority of God. The charges preferred against him by the Conference, and the account of his trial and expulsion in 1841, may be seen in the following works :-“A Brief Report of the Proceedings of Conference of the Methodist New Connexion, in the case of Joseph Barker and Wm. Trotter,” and “ The Justice and Forbearance of the Methodist Neu Connexion," “ Both sides of the Question,” “ The Church and the Press," “ True statement of Facts,” &c.
In consequence of J. Barker's expulsion, many thousands left the New Connexion, and formed themselves into independent Churches. They acknowledged no human authority in religious matters, and bound themselves by no creeds or laws. They resolved to be entirely free so far as regarded man,-and to be in subjection only to Almighty God. They laboured diligently to spread their views, and to bring other people to share their liberty. They also went farther and farther from the standards of reputed orthodoxy. J. Barker himself, who had previously laid aside the common notions respecting Satisfaction to Justice, Three persons in one God, the doctrine of trusting in Christ's merits for salvation, &c., became, according to the orthodox way of talking, a complete heretic. He rejected the common doctrines of Natural Depravity, Eternal Life in Torment, the Miraculous Conception, a Hired Ministry, &c. By means of lectures, conventions, and printing, his views were circulated far and wide. The New Connexion, as well as other sects, began to feel very insecure. Numbers of persons left them, and joined the reformers, as they were called. Cheap books and tracts flew in all directions. Channing and Taylor, Rammohun Roy and Priestley, with numbers of other famous heterodox authors were put into the hands of the common people. The orthodox preachers were greatly enraged, and not a little alarmed.