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selves. When they are made to know the worth of this property, by the want of it, at that very juncture they may be made to seel, that they can enjoy no part of it. And is there no remedy? Are bishops and presiding elders all past feeling ? Perhaps there is one open door left; what executive purpose can be so inflexible as not to relent, when executive measures have converted a poor and needy opponent. Oh! we hope, that none of these elder brethren will refuse to join the music and dancing, when one who was lost is thus found !
We are not surprised to hear such unfeeling declaimers as Dr. Armistead, eulogizing all power, and confounding all distinctions among its holders ; but when we see these very notions of identity, put forth in official addresses of British and American conserences to each other, we are both mortified and surprised. The truth is, that no body of men, in church or state, are subject to greater humiliation, or liable to become more abject under the frowns of power, than our travelling preachers. They are made to feel their dependence in every nerve, and to drink the cup of submission to the very dregs.
The show, the noise, the studied harangue, or the flattering address, fail to divert us from an examination of the inward springs and movements of matters. It is with the feelings we are concerned. Behold these three preachers; one is a bishop, the other an itinerant, and the third local. They all occasionally occupy the same preaching house. Have they all equal property in it? Does each know his own share in the premises ? Does a knowledge of the difference of their claims to the title, produce no change in their feelings? Impossible. The proprietor feels differently from the tenant; and he who has neither deed nor lease, differently from them both. The last always feels poor, but the lord paramount alone feels securely rich. In what Methodist preaching house does a local preacher ever feel at home-feel the excitement, which a knowledge of right and title never fail to give? Well, the year has rolled round, the tenant, or the itinerant, is now all anxiety. Where shall he eat and drink, and his family be sheltered, and clothed, occupies all his thoughts, and fills his soul with a feeling of dependence. Itinerant preachers are sometimes heard to say, that local preachers are the happiest men in the world, because they can preach when and where they please, and are not dependent for a home and bread. They mean by this, not so much to intimate their own state, as to chide local preachers for complaining of their privation of rights and privileges, &c. forgetting, or affecting to forget, that they are made dependent upon them for the conditions under which they are to exercise their ministry. We know how bishops feel, and how they must feel; how itinerantš feel, and how local preachers feel. Equality and unison of feelings, ought never to have been intended nor expected by the organizers of the system; and if they actually were, the calculation was in vain, as no system could have been devised more effectually to destroy all unity of feeling. In a social system, as in the physical, it is only necessary to ascertain what kind of feel. ings will be generated, to be enabled to predict with almost uneering certainty, the practical results. Our bishops must be flattered, or their power must be resisted. But fattery is easier and more pleasant than resistance to operative power. Itinerant and local preachers and members of the church, therefore, will discover a proneness to flatter bishops. For the same reason, local preachers and members will feel disposed to flatter itinerant preachers. But can any reason be assigned, why the private members of the church should despise local preachers, or that they should manifest an indifference or aversion towards each other? Evidently, when the awe that the wealth and power of office inspires is longer felt, or ceases to operate under the disguise of flattery, the mind experiences a re-action, and seeks to revenge itself upon the name, or form of the office deprived of its attributes. Let the property and power which is really in our bishops, and nominally in the itinerant preachers, be transferred to the local preachers, and the public feelings will also be transferred. The flatterer pleases himself by his flattery, while he seeks to please those whom he flatters. And this pleasure proceeds from the relief which the mind experiences from the uneasy or painful sensation of fear. Mankind are sparing of their fattery towards those of whom they have nothing to hope, and from whom they have nothing to fear. The President of the United States is not flattered as a king; but would be, if his power was as much feared. We are aware, that an intimation, that our bishops and itinerant preachers are feared by the members and the local preachers, will be repelled with great indignation. Indeed, our whole theory of feeling in this case, will be considered as vision.
ary and erroneous. Our statement is nevertheless true, and admits of the clearest demonstration. Mr. Wesley was greatly flattered, and so was Mr. Asbury. They, indeed, mistook these expressions for the marks of love, and so did those who made them; but though it is not to be doubted, that there was much sincere affection, this was to the men.
Their property and power were feared ; and as was the fear, so was the flattery. Some of our bishops, we perceive, will be much flattered to the south and west of the Susquehanna, and much and deservedly loved too. But it does not now seem probable, that they will receive much eulogy from the north and east. If this shall prove to be the fact, will not the limits of their praise be the limits within which their power will be feared ? We beg that these remarks may be attended to, and carefully kept in mind. These are the data, on which we have predicated the separation of the north and the east, from the south and the west. Where their power is not flattered it will be resisted. This is not an unwarranted assertion ; it is not a new case; it is the thing that hath already been. Leaving Mr. Wesley's name out of the minutes, is a parallel instance, and may be traced to a similar cause. The absence of the man, disclosed the workings of the fear; had he been present, flattery would have concealed it all. Traces of a similar operation may be observed in Dr. Coke's visits. His power was not half so much to be dreaded as Mr. Asbury's ; and yet the conference required articles to curb it, while he was in England. Of all the illusions which the human mind practises upon itself, none is more wonderful than that which takes place in the case of flattery. We always had occasion to notice, that Mr. Asbury placed his chief reliance for the ascendency of his influence upon his pre
Where trouble was, there was he ! We think matters are hastening to a crisis; and that the times call for an exposure of this radical and fundamental error of our system. No good, as we can conceive, will come from a separation of men, or territory; unless the hold on property and power can be in some way equalized. The fear engendering principle must be purged out, notwithstanding all the wonders which flattery can perform, it will, in the end, be found, unable to supply the place of genuine love; but genuine social love is alone the offspring of mutual rights.
We come now to the influence of the power of our superintendents over property, in the election of their col. leagues and successors. The number of our bishops is not limited nor restricted. An episcopal committee, so called, is appointed in the General Conference, who, in their report, commonly make some reference to strengthening the episcopacy, that is, whether there shall be one or more new bishops; for it seems to be taken for granted, that to increase the number is to strengthen the principle. The report in favor of adding one or more to the existing number of bishops being accepted, men are put in nomination by any one of the members, and balloted for; the highest on the list, having a majority of the whole, is declared to be duly elected, &c.
We do not recollect to have heard of any example parallel to this, either civil or ecclesiastical. Here the legislative power is exercised to make an indefinite number of supreme executive officers over the same territory or dominion; just as if the congress of the United States should increase the number of presidents. In Sparta, we are told of two kings; two consuls also were in Rome; but the senates or legislatures, exercised no prerogative over their number. Dioclesian, if we remember rightly, according to Gibbon, was the first who divided the imperial power, by making Maximin his colleague. One would have supposed, judging by analogy, that the first concern of constitution makers would have been, to fix the number of uni. versal bishops. In the Catholic church, one such bishop is supposed to be sufficient for the whole habitable globe; this being the contemplated extent of that church. No accession of territory, or increase of numbers ever gives rise in the Roman court, to any question about increasing the number of popes; nor is it ever in the power of a pope to gain a successor, by promoting the election of a colleague. The present manner of electing bishops among us, is believed to be altogether unprecedented in the history of elections. The Roman cardinals, though chosen by the popes, and so far furnishing a precedent for the choosing of our presiding elders by the bishops, are not called upon to elect a pope in the very presence of a pope; and should they be called upon so to do, we are not sure that they would be liable to be degraded from their “eminence," if their choice were not found to accord with that of his "holiness." In all hierarchies except our own, (however strong may be the hope of promotion,) there seems to be little fear of degradation. The head of the church of England, if we rightly understand the polity, does not work upon the fears of the dignified clergy; does not take away offices, and give them to those who are more worthy, but, "promotes,” and "translates," and "collates." Their clergy may ascend, but not descend. Even the vicars are not apt to lose their livings, when they fail to jump in judgment with their superiors.
If one or more of our bishops wants a successor, and can obtain influence enough through the presiding elders, to get a vote for strengthening the episcopacy, it must be an untoward circumstance indeed, which can prevent the election of his man. During the late electioneering campaign of four years, we were careful of our anticipations of the result, under a full persuasion, that be it as it might, data enough would be furnished to supersede all hypothesis. In truth, it would seem to have been in the highest degree presumptuous in us, to have predicated what report says actually did come to pass. A rumor has gone abroad, that a number of delegates, equal, as was supposed, to a majority of the General Conference, came with their votes pledged; and not satisfied thus to secure the election of one, they aimed to secure the election of two. Many reasons, and some of them plausible ones, might be adduced in favor of securing the choice of one; but when we consider how near equally the members were divided, and how unanimous they were in their sectional divisions; a determination to exclude every northern or eastern candidate or their friends, and thus subject half the connexion to take their appointments from competitors and rivals in a great and important measure, looks so much like a war of extermination, that we cannot conceal our astonishment. But this extreme anxiety to secure the election of particular men, must be referred to measures, and proves how much is to be feared from the unprecedented, and immense patronage of our bishops.
The favorite measure is the veto, or the negative of the annual conferences, upon the proceedings of the General Conference. To carry this point, the whole weight of episcopal or executive influence is made to bear upon it. And most unfortunately for the cause of impartial investigation, and the diffusion of information, the men in office seem to