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sovereignty of the people, they are in the place of H. H. or His Majesty. The question at issue between the reform• ers, and the travelling preachers, is a question of sovereignty.' The meeting of the Maryland Convention of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was preparatory to a general convention, to petition the General Conference to renounce the sovereignty which it exercises. over the church, in making laws for it without its representatives; not to transfer that sovereignty to the travelling preachers, or to divide it with them.

The meeting of this convention, is one of the most important and interesting events in the history of Methodism. I have shared in the sovereignty of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and have been a member of the General Conference as often as I wished to be. But though I took part in favor of the interests of the church, and the travelling preachers, I retired from the exercise of this imperious power, with painful feelings. I have been making laws for others (I would say to myself) without their consent, and if they refuse to submit to them, they may be excluded from the ministry, or the church. Who gave me this power? And how can I vindicate myself from the exercise of it, before my final judge? But humbled, repentant, and resolved never again to partake in this operation, I have, however, submitted to it as a preacher for many years, preferring rather to suffer wrong, than to do wrong. At length a happy day has arrived. I have met and acted with men who assert their freedom and sovereignty,-not as their leader,-but as their equal; asimius tasted the purest of all social pleasures. I'

ud is this feeling, when contrasted with those eften excited by the presence of men who unite

the offices of law.giver, ruler and judge ! For associating and co-operating with those who assert their independence of all human sovereignty, religious, as well as civil, my motives are impeached, my name is consigned over to the young preachers, as an object of prejudice, that my example may be prevented from producing imitations when I am dead. The minds of young preachers are inspired with prejudice against those, who take preparatory measures to send a petition to General Conference. Young men, pause, I beseech you, and reflect on this ! Our object is to prepare a petition to deprive you of the succession to legislative sovereignty over us. Do not suffer your minds to be diverted from this position, this state of the fact. If


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our petition is granted, you will have to meet the church and the local ministry, by their representatives in the General Conference, as your equals, and they to meet you as their equals. The sovereign legislative power will be in the whole body, for the benefit of the whole. Your own ambition is concerned in this matter-deeply concerned. Beware, I beseech you, of every artifice, by which your minds may lead you to impute to others, the subtle passions, which the power in prospect before you, is calculated to kindle in your own breasts. A hundred, a thousand times, you have been taught to say, that our motives are bad, that our plan will destroy the work of God; but before you suffer yourselves to repeat the sentiments, consider the consequence which must follow, if they be true. It will follow that legislative sovereignty in the ministry, cannot be opposed without bad motives, that the work of God cannot be carried on without the sovereignty. If we should gain all we ask for, we shall gain nothing in comparison of what you must lose ; for we gain nothing but self-government; but you lose absolute sovereignty. In our manner of self-government, you must also be equal parlakers.

The privilege of petitioning is not denied to the most abject vassals, by their most absolute rulers. Why, then, should prejudice be excited on this account, either against motives, or measures ? Does this anxiety to prevent a petition, proceed from a fixed determination not to grant it? Then let it be confined to the aged preachers, let them bear the responsibility. The time may not be distant, when the young men will not be able to bear it. Their minds ought to be left to act without prejudice, as necessity may require.

Suppose that some one of the few remaining sages, who co-operated in the achievement of our independence, should say to one of our popular young preachers, “Young man, I am told that thou art opposed to the principle of church representation ?” Would he have the courage to look him in the face and say, "I am ?" Suppose the

sage were to proceed, -and if thy heart be thus early inspired with ambition, to act the part of a sovereign legislator, over the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood, what bounds will be set to thy ambition, when thou art three score ? Our young preachers are, indeed, heirs to a lordly inheritance. And from this fact, the public mind will not be suffered hereafter to be diverted. Far be it from us to create a public prejudice against these blooming itinerants. No! we warn them of the danger of creating this prejudice against themselves. Their feelings may not perhaps be quite so pleasant as they may wish, should they find themselves pointed at throughout this great republic, as the aspirants to church sovereignty. The old men may bear this. Past services may carry them onward to the end of their career. Not so with the youth. Their reliance must be upon the excitement of ambition, radicating in the heart the love of power. O! that these dear young men could, by a friendly warning, be diverted from the dominion which dazzles their imagination to the gulph beneath them! Ah! friends, how delusive are your dreams of treading in the footsteps of the Wesleys and the Asburys. After many years of labor and care, they just touched the summit of the mount, and died.

But you are to set out in your course from the point where theirs was concluded. You are in the beginning to drink a full draught from the cup, at which they slaked their thirst, when they were too old to be intoxicated with its contents.

What to them was as a gentle stimulant, on your youthful blood and spirits will produce wild delirium. The wise and good will pronounce you drunk with power, while you, and your misguided flatterers, will fondly conceive that you are the very imps of the fathers and founders of Methodism. Why, O why is it, that you cannot be made to perceive how circumstances alter men, as well as cases? I am not anxious to prove, my dear young friends, that you are more ambitious than Wesley or Asbury, any more than I should be, that the young heir, who revels and wantons in the possession of the hard earned treasures, bequeathed to him at his father's death, has a more innate love of pleasure, than his father had before him. The means, and exertions necessary to the father, in his poverty, might have corrected this propensity; but the son has no such counter

ervailing excitement. Wesley and Asbury began without

You are to begin with it. They began without property. You are to begin with hundreds of thousands. They had to gain

You to inherit it. All the exciting causes of ambition, are to operate upon your excitability, from the very outset. Already the prospect of power has rendered you deaf to the call of glory, and stifled the incipient workings of a generous fellow feeling for those who are suruggling for mutual rights.


a name.

No. 63.
Christian Intelligencer, vol. i. October 28th, 1828, p. 20.

Methodist Philosophy.

There is very little philosophy among the common people, in any age or country. And as the great body of the members of our church are of that class of society, called the common people, not in derision, or in the same sense as plebeians, or peasants, we do not intend to disparage them, or the church, if we should say, that there is not much philosophy among them. But the fact is notorious, that the great body of our preachers, are not only taken from among the common people, but that no artificial means are employed to elevate their minds to a higher grade. Philosophy as a science can hardly be said to exist in the ministry or the church. If the reputed author, and leader of the old side party, be a philosopher in other respects, we are not yet convinced that he is a political one. As it regards deep insight into human nature, and the structure of humau society, we doubt if he be entitled to rank much above the rest of us. But if the claim should be set up for him, as a cunning politician, let it not be inferred, that we mean to contest it, or that we would deny that his ambition is quite equal to the high distinction he has obtained. Much as he was admired as an author, we thought that we could clearly foresee, that he would not be satisfied with this distinction, that the admiration of his talents as a writer, would not be palpable enough, and that the sword was more congenial to his feelings, than the pen. He could not but know, that no one could measure swords with him; that as the adviser and contriver of a system of expulsion, he was in no dan

of having the same measure meted back to him again. The inpotence of the rival party was very evident, and it was equally so, that they could not by any adventitious aid gain the expelling power.

The temptation to proceed to expulsion was too strong to be resisted, save by a sound philosophy, or insight into the laws of cause and effect, which bear upon the subject. The thing took on all sides; the plan was just level with the feelings of the common people. No reason quired to recommend it. It seemed plain at the first view, that the shortest way to get rid of a rival is to kill him at once. All the five bishops it seems swallowed the bait. Neither of


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them was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. From the least unto the greatest, all took counsel of their feelings. Thus the old adage “one fool makes many." He who first suggested the thought, which the common feelings inspire, has the honor of being the leader.

We have often seen fire burn most actively against the wind. The reason is, the current of air furnishes the greatest quantity of oxygen to the flame. Our Solomons have done their most at the beginning. They must now kill reform, or it will kill them sure enough. They have put reformers upon the necessity of seeking the confidence of the public, personally, as well as casually. The public, already predisposed to favor their principles, need only to be assured, that reformers are honest men, and they will regard the great guns of the old side, only, as they would squibs. It is our deliberate opinion that in the whole connection, a more unfit counsellor could not have been found, than the one whose counsels are ostensibly followed. He is the ''prophet of mischief.” Independence, when such an adviser was listened to, took its flight from the annual conference, philosophy was confounded, and measures were carried as by acclamation.

The work is now done, the measure of folly is now filled up: Necessity will become the mother of instruction to itinerant preachers. Painful experience will teach them, that they are not the men, and that wisdom will not die with them. But wherever Methodism is preached in the whole world, will this deed of folly be told to their shame. Posterity will wonder and stand astonished, that a wise man among a thousand could not have been found, to stand forth, to stop his brethren in this blind career of power. We long ago foresaw and foretold, that in our body, power would become beyond all proportion, greater than wisdom. The prerogatives are ever present, ever felt, but the wisdom that is profitable to direct, must be dug for, as for hidden treasure, it comes 'not unasked, unsought for, in the time it is most needed. It must be collected and held in reserve, against the time to come.


This number contains an account of the Convention, and Articles of Association.

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