who actually read the parish magazines; after all, the magazines in question would
not be of any great value to the purposes for which they were produced if no one sub-
scribed to and read them. But many did, and we are drawn into their worlds and are
provided with glimpses of their lives, including on occasion their “hidden lives,” in
fascinating and sometimes delightfully surprising ways. Of some signiﬁcance is the
chapter dedicated to the prominence of female writers and contributors which enables
the conclusion to be drawn that by the turn of the twentieth century writing had
become an acceptable hobby or profession for middle- and upper-class women of the
time. The daughter of a vicar, L. T. Meade (1844–1914), is a case in point. She wrote
a lively serial for the Church Monthly under the title “Betty of the Rectory,” in which
the central narrative is the vicar’s secret drug habit; this in 1907 opening a window
into the normatively closed private world of the overworked and hyper-stressed cler-
gyman whose public persona concealed a double life.
Subscribing to Faith? is a highly commendable and valuable work of social history.
Through its meticulous examination of the medium of the parish magazine it drills
down into the lived experiences of the men and women who populated the villages
towns and suburbs of the time, telling their stories not through works of ﬁction or nar-
rative history but through a highly expendable medium, that of the magazine, newslet-
ter, and inset. The power of the story-telling is largely inherent in the medium, for the
parish magazine was both inherently local and non-elitist in the sense that in many
cases it was intended not for the highly literate, professional few but for the working
men, the domestic servants, and stay-at-home mothers of the day in a way that other
histories and primary source materials produced during the years in question simply
Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
: The Financing of John Wesley’s Methodism c.1740–1800. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2017; pp. xviii + 313.
David Hempton was perhaps the ﬁrst historian to alert us to the importance of money
for the expansion of Methodism in a chapter on “Money and Power” in Methodism:
Empire of the Spirit (2005). Here, Clive Murray Norris provides us with a detailed
investigation across ten chapters of the role of ﬁnances during Methodism’s ﬁrst sixty
years. For some, this rather prosaic topic may seem of little interest, but while reli-
gious movements may think of themselves as spiritual communities born in heaven,
somebody still has to pay the bills. The primary costs involved during the period sur-
veyed were the support of the itinerant preachers, and the construction and mainte-
nance of preaching houses. Education, welfare, and missions had subsidiary roles.
Each of these areas is covered in considerable detail here, along with a discussion of
the means of support — freewill contributions from members and supporters, debt
ﬁnancing, and proﬁts from the Book Room.
Methodism’s enemies sometimes claimed that John Wesley was taking advantage
of his followers and that its adherents were being duped out of their money by
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