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wisdom which pervades systems, and penetrates into futurity. Why should we have a master to teach us to cut the Gordian knot? We do not want a WESLEY or an Asbury, to tell us that travelling preachers can do no wrong, but wisdom to teach us how to prevent them from doing wrong; or, to correct their errors. I venerate the memory of those men, and all good men, for the good they have done by their public labors, as well as for their personal worth; but it would be unjust to praise them for what they left undone, and unjust to ourselves not to try to remedy what they did wrong. It is no pleasant task to me, to point out the defects in the church polity of our fathers, or to rouse and animate our contemporaries to supply their lack of service; and the labour is rendered doubly disagreeable from the liability to which it exposes me of losing the affections of my friends through a misapprehension of my motives. Already, I perceive that some of them begin to look strange. “ARISTOTLE LOVES PLATO, BUT HE LOVES TRUTH BETTER THAN PLATO."

If it is certainly possible, in any case in this world, it is certainly right, to contend upon principle for church representation, and of course legislation. On the subject of executive power, a difference of opinion may perhaps be harmlessly indulged; for, while the legislative power is participated in by the church, and the right of trial to the members by their peers remains, these points can be corrected by time and experience. Yours, &c.

P. P.

No. 24.

Western Repository, vol. ii. January, 1823, No. ix, page 355.

An Appendix to "A Review, &c. upon the presiding elder

question."* (See page 257 of this Vol.) Contrary to our usual custom, in our review, we gave praise to living characters; but we beg the reader to consider, that the review was written in anticipation of a time when the transactions alluded to may be employed as precedents, and the active agents shall have finished their mortal course. A speaker then, might employ in substance the contents of the review; but with how little effect, when opposed by precedents which shall have become venerable through age, is easily to be foreseen. If any thing could have an effect in such a crisis, it must be an appeal to some coeval production. In General Conference some one might then say—“The opinions and acts of two distinguished members of the General Conference of 1820, have been produced as precedents, &c.; but I hold in my hand, Mr. president, an essay of a contemporary writer who predicted this very consequence, and I refer to him with peculiar satisfaction, as it is evident that he was actualed by no prejudice against those venerable men. It is to be regretted, sir, that we have not been in the habit of employing stenographers to take down the debates in our General Conference; for the want of them, we are deprived forever of those able speeches to which this writer alludes, and which, possibly, contained facts and arguments sufficient to put this question at rest; but, sir, without wasting time in idle regrets, by the aid of this review, I shall be able to rub off the rust of age from these precedents, and to convince you that they have gained their influence and authority from the mysterious obscurity which time has spread over them. A writer who had the candor to give the then bishop elect, and the senior bishop credit for the rectitude and purity of their intentions, had the courage also to point out what he conceived to be dangerous as precedents, in that part of their proceedings which related to a decision of the General Conference, commonly known by the name of "the conciliation.” Of the soundness of his logic, and the correct ness of his foresight, {this debate has afforded the most abundant proof. It has come to pass, as the writer foresaw, that the General Conference is to have an episcopal veto held over it in terrorem. Be the question what it may, the bishops, like the tribunes of the people in the Roman senate, will only have to say, I forbid it,and there the matter must end. Doubtless they will forbid us to meddle with all matters touching their own prerogatives. Would it not be well for them, like the Roman tribunes, to be chosen by the people, and be obliged to act unanimously, before they can exercise their veto, &c. &c.We felt the delicacy of the case very sensibly, when we were about to designate two men by title; but, as we were writing with an eye to

* This paper was intended, by the author, to have been published in No. VIII, but was not received by the editor in time for insertion in that number.


futurity, we conceived, that if our fears were not realized, no evil consequences could follow to their memories. On the contrary, should our apprehensions ever be verified, we might render to them, as well as the cause, an essential service ; for we might thus correct an evil by anticipation. We were not present when the protest, (if we may call it so,) against the conciliation was entered. Having witnessed that interesting scene, (the vote of a large majority in favor of the conciliation plan,) we left the Conference with joyful emotions of neart. We were afterwards told, that the bishop elect expressed, in a note to the bishops, his conscientious scruples about carrying the rule into effect, as he considered it to be an infringement of the third restriction; and, that the senior bishop did the same, but in a manner more full and circumstantial, before the Confer.

Whereupon, the friends of the conciliation delivered some very able speeches, and that one of the speakers in particular, was quite eloquent in his regrets and complaints respecting the course which had been pursued; he conceived, that the Episcopal objections ought to have been made before the question was decided, &c. This we endeavored to account for in the review, by supposing that the result was not expected, &c.

The review was intended to embrace all we meant to say on the presiding elder question; and we hope, that this additional explanation will be sufficient to enable our readers to identify the point on which we think the Discipline is silent. We never meant to involve any other parts of the public administration of these brethren, either by design or accident, no matter which. The discipline, as we think, and indeed are fully persuaded, gives no power to the bishops over the acts of the General Conference. We have always considered that body as head over the bishops.


No. 25.

Wesleyan Repository, vol. ii. January 1823, No. ix. page 356. The Arch Bishop.--An Essay humbly inscribed to Travelling


It is no less instructive than amusing, to observe the experiments of chymists upon the different Gases, particularly those which are lighter and heavier than common atmosphere. A vial filled with a lighter gas, will retain its contents bottom upwards, though the mouth be unstopped ; and one with the mouth open will retain a heavier gas though standing on its bottom. Would it not be very desirable for ecclesiastical legislators to have some test by which to ascertain what kind of gas or spirit belongs to each particular system of church government, that they might regulate the container accordingly? It is manifest, that if, in any case, the ruling spirit should be ligher than the common spirit, it will escape, unless the vessel is turned bottom upwards, or stopped tight.

We think that we have ascertained, that the spirit of a hierarchy is the lightest of all the gases : and, of course, has the strongest tendency to ascend; and that if as much of it could be collected as would fill a balloon, like a balloon it could only be kept down by the strongest cords. It was upon this hypothesis that we confidently anticipated, that as soon as we should have more bishops than one, a strong tendency to an archbishoprick would manifest itself; and, that if our ecclesiastical chymists were ignorant of, or inattentive to this circumstance, and neglected to stop the container, the hierarchy would soon ascend above their reach and control. We have speculated pretty freely upon these matters. The most obvious means to introduce the office of archbishop, it seems to us, is by assumption. If a bishop should chance to have age and experience enough to give countenance to the attempt, he might establish a precedent. The transition from the fact to the law, would not be great. Opposition itself might facilitate the event; for, if one or more bishops should happen to have courage enough to assert and maintain independence, the next General Conference might be induced to give one the precedence, in order to prevent future jarring. Or it may be done thus, two or more might agree who should have the first honor, and to take it in succession, and thus pay themselves upon the application of the maxim, before honor is humility. An hundred stratagems could be devised to hoodwink the General Conference. If travelling preachers, in their legislative capacity, proceed upon the plan of exerting their powers to raise feathers and to sink lead, they cannot fail to drive all matters to extremities. But who can foresee into what errors and absurdities party spirit may not betray men? For our part, we are fully persuaded that the germs of the most boundless ambition are inherent in our system; and, that without an active, resolute, and intelligent spirit on the part of our legislators, power will soon mount high over their heads.

We hope that our prediction will not secure its own accomplishment; but really, our presentiment is that before the middle of the present century, a motion will be introduced into the General Conference, in effect, to make an archbishop, and that party spirit will run high enough to cause it to pass to a second reading. But then, and in that case, what shall we do with our constitution? Why, no difficulty can grow out of that, as there is nothing in it to prevent the spirit from ascending; the vial is unstopped. He might, indeed, be humbly and respectfully invited to attend annual conferences, as his business or health might permit; but, as necessity is the mother of discovery, as well as of invention, the details might be left to experience. In the mean time, while the subaltern bishops could have their work so distributed to them, as to leave the superintendency itinerant and general enough, to satisfy the letter of the Discipline, &c.


No. 26.

Wesleyan Repository, vol. ii. January 1823, No. ix. page 358. Thoughts on the Freedom of the Press and of Speech. "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you." It was not until lately that we entered into the spirit of this maxim. The circumstance which first led to the present turn of thought was this. A preacher once stood preeminent among us, and secured to himself the applause of every body, particularly for the meekness and sweetness of his temper. In process of time it came to pass that a train of cross questioning between him and his brethren, disclosed an unusual degree of unkindly feeling on his part. He seemed, as Mr. Rhodda used to say, "to lose all his sweetness.' Could it have been possible, said I to myself, that so much gentleness and amiableness were affected? Was this man a hypocrite, or has flattery spoiled him? This latter supposition may be true ; He of whom all men speak well, must needs be flattered, and this idea may be embraced in our Lord's saying, "woe unto you,” &c.; as

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