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to produce a just and liberal habit of thinking. The servile manner, in which our rulers in many instances have copied the usages of the British connexion and the tenacity with which accidental and temporary regulations are adhered to, regardless of all changes of circumstances, ought to be corrected by a temper and spirit more genial to our actual independence and the constitutional love of liberty peculiar to the American people. If the Methodists should let the world and the preachers know that they consider themselves as God's clergy and heritage, and will not suffer themselves to be over ruled or lorded over-if the preachers would unanimously abandon the foolish evasions, and pretexts, and excuses and fears, which they have discovered so great a proneness to indulge in, whenever the subject of church freedom is broached, and frankly declare that they want nothing more than a sufficient degree of power to secure a correct administration of discipline.--If, in a word, the preachers should come forward and invite the church to co-operate with them in devising and carrying into effect, a division of power suited to times, circumstances and men's manners, disastorus and ruinous divisions might be prevented, the existing prejudicies in the public mind against our present polity overcome, and unexampled prosperity be the result.

There is not, we are fully persuaded, any single act that would be so beneficial to the Methodist Episcopal Church, as for the General Conference to concede to the church the power of legislating upon the rules and regulations by which it is to be governed. Such a measure promptly and voluntarily taken, would tend to conciliate all hearts, and with such an avowal of principles the General Conference would be trusted without a murmur and without fear; but so long as the preachers plead either the unlawfulness or impossibility of the church participating in the law-making power, there will be little confidence and cordiality between it and the General Conference. We have almost daily examples of the weakness of the ties which bind the members to the body, in the manner which they either withdraw from it or suffer themselves to be excluded. The strength and security of a church in this country must ever depend upon the affection of its members; destroy this and the first shock jeopardizes its existence.


No. 9.

Wesleyan Repository, vol. i. January 17, 1822, No. xxi. page 330. Anticipation. Our Episcopacy will go the way of all flesh.

There are certain causes whose effects are known so well, that wherever we see them in operation, we may safely predict or anticipate their consequence. It is now reduced to a certainty, that all is committed to the issue of a struggle for the majority. All the minor considerations respecting the presiding elder question, are swallowed up in this one, shall the order remain as it is? It is altogether idle to talk about nominations and elections, and making them chairmen of districts, and an hundred other notions. Changes and interests must be made, so as to gain the majority in the next General Conference to vote for the old order of things. Now we anticipate that sundry appointments will prove very unpopular, and that from this quarter new fears will arise. It will be found that the thinkers will prove "too many” for the men in power. What then can be done? Why the thinkers must by some means be brought into place. The best pastures must be given to those who can do the most to deserve them. A market must be opened for talents, and we must have a school for logicians who can match the balancers. And in process of time, by this natural and obvious process, we shall get a race of learned presiding elders, and finally of learned bishops. We do not mean to insinuate that they will not be very good men and good officers, but that they must have a little more learned leisure, and as they will know by experience the value of good helmsmen, they will find it expedient to give the laboring oar more frequently into the less skillful hands. It is not to be presumed that the present worthy incumbents have any of these anticipations or intentions, but that on the contrary they are aiming to avoid these consequences by every means in their power, but they are short lived mortals, and may not their successors aim at other ends, or may they not be in the vortex? The current of events may prove uncontrollable, and no alternative be left them, but to pursue the course we have anticipated, or give up power. The more convenient and wealthy stations, circuits, and districts, must be secured to favorites for the double purpose of securing both preachers and people. All this may be done so as for a time to conceal the ultimate object from the doers as well as others; but every step taken in this process, will render it more difficult to recede until it becomes impossible. How many changes took place in the Roman hierarchy before the election of the pope was fixed unalterably in the hands of the cardinals. Now the pope makes cardinals, and the cardinals make the popes. A certain writer, in allusion to the vast incomes of the bishops in the English hierarchy, and the almost starving condition of the curates, &c. compares the effects of those salaries upon the minds of the clergy of the English church to that of a lottery upon the public mind, &c. This, in some respect, will be the final condition of our hierarchy. All will be taught to hope for the few prizes, the best accommodations, and all will despair of them without the favor of the episcopacy. The bishops will make the presiding elders, and the elders the bishops. Mutual interests will give rise to niutual fears. No sensibilities are more instinctive than those which belong to ambition. All this commerce for places may be carried on by dumb signals or indirect hints. A bishop once said to a preacher, that his colleague proposed him for a certain district, but I said, you was too much of a republican. The preacher was, indeed too much of an independent man to be won by such an artifice, but he was a young man, and was more intent upon the improvement of his mind than desirous of office. The time was not yet come to try him to the uttermost, nor is it yet fully come to try other men so; but come it surely will, if the present unbounded prerogative remain. Several changes must before long take place, not for the want of zeal or fidelity on the part of the servants, but for the want of popularity: yet, as we have hinted, we do not think the plan is yet fully matured. In our great lottery of offices, there are too many blanks for the prizes, and the prizes are too great. There is too much temptation to ambition for human virtue long to withstand. It is most seriously to be regretted that some plan could not have been mutually adopted to equalize the influence of office more effectually, but if the attempt fails in the next General Conference, it will probably be too late to make another effort. The English national church is said by its own clergy to be the best in the world, and it may be so, we only oppose the ancient maxim to the testimony, “Let another man praise thee, and not thy own lips," &c. It more immediately concerns us to consider, that whatever excellence there

may be in any national church, ours is not national. That a church and ministry like ours, the youngest and the last among the thousands of our Israel, should be so rare ripe in prerogatives, leads us to fear the natural consequence, "soon ripe, soon rotten.” We have always apprehended that our strength or power grew too fast for our understandings. No disproportion, in our judgments, is more unbecoming, or of more injurious consequence. And certainly none is more difficult to correct. In the progress which we anticipate, we do not conceive that much immediate inconvenience will be felt in those conferences that are nearly unanimous on either side; its first effects will be realized in those parts where the members in opposition are nearly balanced. If our anticipations are ever realized in any

degree, the friends of ecclesiastical liberty need not wholly despair, for they must perceive that though power cannot be controlled by an external agency, there are cases in which it tends to neutralize itself.

P. P.

No. 10.

Western Repository, vol. i. January 17, 1822, No. xxi. page 332. Methodist History. Letters to a Young Preacher, No. IV. MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND,

The intervention of a wide ocean betwixt this and the then mother country, is well known to have been one of the causes which led to our independence. A similar cause led to a similar effect in respect to the Methodist society. We were too far removed from the parent stock even while the national relation existed, to reciprocate the feelings and affections of one body or family, unless some other means had been resorted to than that of occasional visits from missionaries. But though we obtained Mr. Wesley's consent to become an episcopal church, it does not appear on the face of the communications and transactions, that he anticipated all the events which actually took place. The election of Mr. Asbury by the American preachers before he would be ordained, placed him beyond the power of recall by Mr. Wesley; and the omission of the name of the latter in our minutes, gave rise to feelings of a very unpleasant nature. Dr. Coke, whose sensibilities were constitutionally too quick and powerful for his prudence, actually


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commenced the complaint in the pulpit, and was only restrained by the timely and resolute interference of some of the more judicious of the preachers. The circumstantial evidence is sufficiently strong to induce a belief that Mr. Asbury had an eye to his own security in making his election a previous condition of his ordination. The leaving of Mr. Wesley's name out of the American minutes, resulted almost exclusively from political considerations; and we are safe in concluding that the reason why Mr. Asbury did not make a more strenuous opposition to the measure, arose from a thorough knowledge of the danger of the

He had witnessed all the difficulties which the American preachers had encountered in consequence of the public notoriety of Mr. Wesley's early opposition to our national cause.

To revive an inveterate national prejudice so soon after the war, would certainly have been hazardous.

book and the gown were not so quietly given up, particularly the latter, in behalf of which a considerable struggle was maintained, and some ungracious tempers provoked. A certain preacher being introduced to a friendly gentleman in New Jersey, as a great advocate for the gown, his reply was, "If I could have my will they should be all tied tail to tail, like Sampson's foxes, and fire brands placed between them." No habit could be more inconvenient for a horseman, and the want of a vestry or dressing-room to the country chapels, exposed the gown-men not only to much difficulty, but also to some ridicule. These trappings of episcopacy were finally given up, and all the heart-burnings that they occasioned have long since subsided. The advocates for the prerogative, unlike their European predecessors, had discernment sufficient to foresee that they were nowise essential to the existence or the exercise of power, especially in this country, and therefore judiciously yielded to the popular prejudice.

As nothing contributes so much to the developement of human character and conduct as a knowledge of the principles under which men act, it is desirable that you should make yourself intimately acquainted with the principles of your ministerial ancestors. Í shall not hesitate, therefore, as often as convenient, to bring principles into review. You may recollect that lay-preachers were considered in the English conferences, as a sort of extraordinary missionaries, raised up and sent forth in a providential, as well as gracious way, to provoke the regular clergy of the national

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