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must be liable to the payment of a certain sum of money, or something else, as an acknowledgment of the superior's right.
It is well known that few, if any of the civil establishments and usages of modern Europe, can be traced beyond the feudal system. The present lords of manors in England are the inheritors of William the Conqueror's military companions and favorites, and the present landed tenantry, are in the place of the old villains. For though, as we have seen, scarcely a vestige of the ancient military establishment remains, yet, the titles of the baronies are unimpaired. The noble lords learn war no more, and armies are now raised by voluntary enlistment. The vassal no longer renders homage to his liege lord, the title and inheritance descend according to primogeniture.
Such changes has time wrought. So have military masters been converted into civil ones, and ancient castles have been exchanged for splendid palaces. The toils of the tenant fill the coffers of the proprietor in consequence of having converted the sword into a ploughshare. The glorious dominion of mother church in Europe, cannot be traced farther back than the overthrow of the Lombards, whose kings contended with the popes for the sovereignty of Rome itself. Was the holy see in any wise influenced or affected with the feudal principles, which prevailed throughout Europe ? Were the missionaries of those times animated with the adventurous and conquering spirit of military conquerors, and stimulated with a hope of correspondent rewards—to a title to the lands of the proselyted countries? In the latter part of the sixth century, Augustine, the missionary of Gregory the great, and his fellow monks, commenced their ministry among the Alglo-Saxons, at Canterbury. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 690, lived to see all the churches in England united in discipline and worship. Before the year 700, a regular provision was made for the clergy throughout all the king. doms of the Heptarchy, by the imposition of a tax, from which the meanest were not exempted. At the death of Edward the Confessor, one-third of all the lands in England were in the hands of the clergy. For the most part, monks are exempted from all taxes, as well as military duty. If there be any truth in these historical notices, we need not surely be at the pains to try to trace, or to prove the title of his grace the most reverend, the lord primate of all England, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, to Peter or to Paul. The affinity of the hierarchal polity to the feudal spirit of those ancient times, is as strongly marked as it well can be, considering the necessary distinction between a civil and religious polity. The offices and the duties of the present incumbent of the see of Canterbury, are as dissimilar to those of its first Archbishop, as those of a modern English nobleman are from those of the Barons of William the Conqueror; but still the titles and the revenues are not put in jeopardy; all is safe and secure to the spiritual, as well as the temporal lord.
Every thing in Europe, in church and state, bears the marks of the ancient feudal customs. The features of conquest and dominion cannot be concealed. But in all this, there is nothing which ought to shock either common sense or philosophy. The original was all of a piece. The views of men were barbarous, the times were barbarous. Darkness covered the nations, and gross darkness the people. Amidst the ruin of empires, and the crush of nations, the fiercest passions of the human heart may be expected to predominate; and we know that they did then predominate. All the foundations of government and religion were out of course. Men knew not how to govern, or to be governed-to teach, or to be taught. Where ignorance prevails, we look in vain for the results of wisdom. The nations and churches of Europe have indeed wonderfully improved in knowledge and virtue ; but they have not united inclination and skill, sufficient to untangle the feudal policy of their ancestors. They want, and will probably long want, the one thing needful to the peaceful triumphs of liberty, an Agrarian law. The people have not where to stand.
O America! O my country! thou art free, the title to thy soil is in the hands of thy children, and not in oligarchies of priests and nobles.
Our national existence was begun right. We have no titles to trace to a conqueror.
Our lands and our citizens have never been parcelled out to civil or religious adventurers. Yet, strange as it may appear, a feudal claim to the government of the Methodist church has been set up by the oracle of the second bishop and his friends, in his book entitled, "A vindication of Methodist Episcopacy." Charity would lead us to hope, that he did it in ignorance, and not in impudence.
The boys had long been swelling with their triumphs, going forth from conquering to conquer, they claimed the people for their own. Brother Bangs could keep in no longer, and lol the feudal system stood confessed. For. tunately, philosophy, teaching by example, that is, history, had taught us, that nothing in this system would be permanent, but the title. We have not been wanting in our duty through fear or shame. We have faithfully warned our brethren and fellow-citizens to beware of this claim to the right of conquest, this feudal notion of converting to go
As the good of the souls of the author's friends are at stake, we hope they will discover the doctrine, as fit only for the dark ages-the Long-beards—and the monks of feudal times, and such sort of folks.
No. 48. Wesleyan Repository, vol. iii. April, 1824, No. xii. page 468. The Farewell Address of Philo Pisticus, to the readers of
the 3d vol. of the Wesleyan Repository. Three years of mental intercourse can hardly fail to beget ideal associations, if not attachments. The benefits, whether real or imaginary, that I have derived from the composition of these essays, depended upon your ideal friendship If you had not read, I could not have written. That the part I have taken in this periodical publication, has tended to improve me in knowledge and virtue, I have all the evidence which consciousness can afford me. Am I not authorised from this data to infer that you have not read to your disadvantage ?
In the belief of the rights of the church to legislate her own by-laws or form of discipline, I am fully confirmed; nor am I less firmly persuaded, that the germ or principle of all the tyranny which has been, or can be exercised over
he church, may result from a re-union of the legislative and executive powers in the same men, independently on her consent and control. This re-union of powers was at first concealed from me, and perhaps from some others, under circumstances somewhat specious. The idea was held out, that we were in the full tide of successful experiment; profiting by our past experience; and standing upon the
shoulders of our former selves. As a new and spreading people, I own, I was flattered with this notion of going on to future perfection, taking it for granted, that the end must be good, without perceiving precisely what it might be.
It is more than probable that if the General Conference had agreed in their high prerogative matters, that I should not have broken silence. When, however, I saw the travelling preachers themselves divided and embodied under their two great leaders, and their lieutenants, it seemed to me that the time was come to form a third party, of the people, to hold in check, if possible, these belligerent principalities and powers. Upon this course I resolved, under an anticipation of all risks and dangers. Both the bishops were dear to me as personal friends; and towards both their seconds, I had ever cherished a full measure of brotherly affection. The apprehended loss of the confidence of such men, is always painful; but, I foresaw that their confidence could not be lost alone; that their displeasure must draw after it, as in a train, the displeasure of many; and, that they had power to create love or hatred.
For your sakes, and not with a hope of conciliating their favor, have I commended my love towards them. As I never felt anger, or ill will, I wished you to know it; and I wish you now to know that I close these essays with the same complacent feelings with which I began them. The magnitude of the subject is too great to place any reliance upon flattery or persuasion. And victory, at the price of passion and strife, would be dearly purchased. The wrath of men worketh not the righteousness of God. With truth, and right, and reason, all in my favor, it would have been unpardonable to have had recourse to personal crimination, even if the opportunity had offered itself. Incredible as it may seem, I still love those who, I have reason to believe, are resolved to withhold from me my rights ; but I hesitate not to aver, that this love and this privation cannot exist together forever. There must be a time, when the one, or the other must cease. Love is an affection, not always under the control of volition.
The cause of church suffrage has not been confounded with the presiding elder question. I always considered it both lawful and expedient for the travelling preachers to have a voice in the choice of the presiding elders; and, therefore, always advocated the measure. For that important office, a preacher ought not to be eligible, without
extra qualifications, which should be tested by a suitable examination, before he is put in nomination. But all I have said in favor of the election of presiding elders, has procured no favor for the rights of the church; and though I was the first mover of the nomination being in the bishops, the measure gained no mutual concession. The evidence is abundantly sufficient to convince every one, that this great controversy can only be successfully managed upon its own merits, before the tribunal of the public; and I have accordingly endeavored so to manage it, that it might be viewed on all sides through a public medium.
But is not the public discussion of this interesting subject calculated to beget a spirit of scepticism? I am aware of it, and have been so from the beginning. This is an additional proof of the evil of monopolising power. Its tendency is to generate unbounded confidence. Preachers who hold and exercise the more than human powers of legislating for others, without their consent, if they are not resisted, must be looked up to as more than men. Their power is dreadful; for it is the power of church-life and death. To shake, to unsettle the public faith in such prerogatives, and to say to doubts, hitherto shall ye come, and no further, require means quite distinct. Nothing is more difficult than to fix the limits of declining confidence. "I said in my haste all men are liars." Knowing how liable men are to transfer their doubts from men to God, I have devoted so large a portion of my essays to faith. To this subject my mind happened to be peculiarly disposed by previous habits of thinking, and a train of circumstances. Having theorised much, and speculated freely, I tried my theory upon myself, in and out of the pulpit, and in the order of Providence, two or three years before I became a correspondent for the Repository, had an opportunity to try it in affliction. Disqualified from active labor, by an obstructed and painful respiration, without hopes of recovery, and without any prospect of ever being able to turn the exercises of the mind to any profitable account, faith to me was the one thing needful; the only solace of life, and the antidote to the fear of death. Conceiving it to be my duty, my friendly readers, to warn you to put no trust in man; no, not in princes; and to admonish you to consider that every man in his best estate, is altogether vanity, and that of course your church rights could not be long safe in human keeping; could I do better, than to lay open to