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can Methodism. The expelled have provoked the expellers to jealousy and to emulation. The laity are feeling an importance, which must be followed with feelings of independence.
You will, then ask, whether I renounce all the equality usually associated with birth right? Far from it. Here too, probably, in the estimation of my friends, I err on the side of equality. Lay representation was not purchased for you for a great sum; but without money or price. The fathers and mothers won it by their heroism, for them and their heirs forever. The title is a fee simple. You are free born in the proper sense of the term. I have more than once intimated, as an opinion, that the laity in the old church are purchasing their freedom. Let it be admitted, that it may be so; and what will be the consequences to their children, or successors? Would they not inherit a lease, with a perpetual rent, rather than a deed? Surely such a supposed case is not without precedent; nor does it seem to have been without fear or anticipation. The maxim once was; and if not a golden one, it was regarded as a true one, 'Let all our houses be built plain; otherwise rich men will become necessary to us, and then farewell to Methodist discipline.' Does it cost no more money to build and support colleges and schools, than to build plain houses? And can all this money be obtained without rich men becoming necessary to us? Can societies and funds, which require great sums annually, be perpetuated by the poor alone? The money all comes of the laity, and will the poor never complain? But what was that Methodist discipline, which the necessity for rich men might oblige travelling preachers to bid a farewell to? If not the very one, was it not the very article in it, which is so utterly ignorant of such kind of laical rights as lay representation ? Now, if it ever comes to pass, that travelling preachers cannot do without the money of rich men, and rich men come to know that they cannot; and the fears that the travelling preachers' exclusive disciplinary power might be lost, be realized, what will be the mode of operation ? Would there be nothing like bribes, or bartering; no tacit understanding, like, if you will not discipline me,
if you do, I will not pay? Who can help seeing the vast difference between birth right liberty, and liberty so purchased? But that no propensity to regard liberty more like an article of merchandize, than as a principle to be won or secured by heroism, can under any circumstances be generated in the human mind; cannot be proved unless all history is falsified.
When the rich of their abundance shall have cast their millions into the college treasury, can you believe, that the old scenes of expulsions can be acted over again, for the same causes and the same effects, in any of the colleges; that learned gentlemen, and gentlemens' sons, will be expelled from these seminaries of learning for speaking evil of travelling preachers, and all the wealthy contributors, say amen, to it?
Your birth right privilege, is, to go back to first principles. Those who have liberty in opinion or thought, without a legitimate title, cannot do this; they dare not draw the veil of mystery aside. The birth right of Americans, is not the battle fields of their fathers; but the declaration of independence, and the treaties won on those battle fields, by which independence was secured. So my younger
you have not a birth right of principles which is yet to be conquered; but which is conquered for you; your birth right is a school, in which you may learn all your fathers knew, and thus become equal with them. Your birth right is a divine right.. Hear the oracle. “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy father, and thy mother, (which is the first commandment IC with promise) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on earth.' Behold the charter of social and religious liberty. Your fathers and your mothers are free, you are born to inherit their liberty, upon the condition of honoring them. Obeying their instructions in the Lord, is implied in this honor; the gospel is the standard of their instructions; their will is not absolute. It is socially well with the fathers and the mothers while they understand and maintain their social liberties; but when the children become indocile, and ignorant, and refractory, society runs into confusion and error, and must fall to pieces or be coerced by power. I have told you, that the divine right of children to be instructed to the point of equality with their parents, in the principles of society and religion, is a part of my religious belief. I oppose this belief to the religious belief of travelling preachers, that the divine right is in them. These are the points of opposition between them and me; and these are the points of conversion between us. I go for no half measures, or expedients, or accommodations. They will have all or none, their determination follows from their religious belief in their divine right to all. Who can meet them upon this ground with any belief, or right, short of religious and divine? Claim your divine right children. Let no man take your crown of educated equality. Deem it no usurpation, or sacrilege, if the gospel of the grace of God, as the law of God did David, should make you wiser than even your teachers.
The claims of the hierarchy, or the patriarchate gain one essential point, viz: the docility of all. Whether they use, or
abuse, or neglect the principle, it is right, and good in itself, in the abstract. We have seen that the necessity of it is laid in nature and time, which will transmit no knowledge from one generation to another without instruction. The whole history of the opposition to the exclusive claims of the patriarchate in all degrees, goes to prove, that indocility on the part of the opposers is apt to follow, and never does follow without evil consequences. Ours was an extreme and almost unexampled case. Its contrast to that of the apostles, already intimated, is very striking. The apostles were all equally ignorant; but they had one common teacher. We were all equally wise, and needed no teacher; but still in so far as equality was concerned the effects were the
The apostles did not learn of each other. This fact is insisted upon by St. Paul, as involving the very essence of his apostleship. I received it, says he, not from man; nor was I taught it by man; but by revelation from Jesus Christ. How could men equally ignorant teach each other? And how can men who are equally wise, or think they are, learn of each other? When the apostles had any difficulty they went to the all wise master. In our difficulties we had no master to go to; but we had a vote, and an equal right to vote. We could not give up that right. Who had a right to take it away from us? Observe how the doctrine of the equality of the apostles is demonstrated. Their equal instruction from the master made them equally capable not of instructing each other, but every body else. I am not a whit, says St. Paul, behind the chief of the apostles. So he was his equal. All the difficulties which have existed among your fathers, and which still exist among you, originate in the desperate attempt to teach each other as equals. Happily for you my dear young friends, nature has placed you, and will place your children beyond this difficulty. Be thankful to God, that you are born to learn, that your divine right to know all your fathers can teach you, is the divine authority, which imposes the obligation of duty upon your fathers to instruct you, or to procure instructors for you, to teach you how to understand and to practice those principles of society and religion, which give perpetuity to civil and religious communities on the earth ;-'that thy political or social existence may be long in this land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.'
But it will be objected, as it has often been, that in all this discussion about lay representation, there is no religion. On religion I have written a good deal, since the question of lay representation has occupied my attention; and have habituated my mind to think
upon it, without the presence of my usual prompters. At an early stage, I turned my thoughts to the causes of salvation,—to the causes or means of forming a new social christian character ;-and to the causes of divisions among religious communities ;-and especially, to the law of faith. On all these points I thought for myself, as well as by myself. But who was there to take my yoke and learn of me?
The following is a short extract from my large essay on the causes of salvation. “By grace, ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The salvation of believers is insisted upon as a fact, for without it, the argument in the text would have no application. Salvation in this and parallel cases includes the pardon and forgiveness of sins, and a state of obedience or goodness, which follows pardon, and is connected with it. An action good in itself, may be performed by a sinner, who does not repent of his sins; by a sinner who does repent of them under a consciousness of his guilt; and by a sinner who has repented, and is conscious that he is pardoned. Now this good action does not affect these three different persons. or these three different states of mind, in the same person alike, Goodness of character in a pardoned sinner, as well as the pardon itself is by grace, through faith. Pardon of sin is not by the merit of works. The merit of works may be considered in reference to the judgment of God, or of man. God does not judge any work done by a sinner, as having merit enough to procure his pardon. Man may judge a good work as meritorious; or as a duty having no merit. In the latter case he cannot rely upon it, or trust in it, for pardon; in the former case his trust will be false and useless. The works of a sinner have no sacrificial merit, and the sinner's belief that they have, cannot transfer any to them, and of course cannot save him. Sinners cannot pardon their own sins; they cannot do any work to merit their pardon from God. Salvation is by grace through faith; it is the gift of God. But a sinner cannot be conscious of salvation, or feel, or know that he is saved, without faith. No outward demonstration of salvation can be made; and no inward exercise of the mind or heart can realize it, while in a state of unbelief. If one feels any state, which he believes is impossible, he must conclude it is a delusion, Faith is a medium of knowledge, and it is a form or mode of knowledge. So unbelief may be a medium of ignorance, and a mode of ignorance. In all intellectual and moral conditions, faith and unbelief have great agency.
Grace is a primary, or moving cause.
After the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared. Faith is an instrumental cause. Salvation is not like creation. Faith is not necessary to our creation or existence. To be saved through faith, faith must not only exist, but all the causes necessary to its origin and existence. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Boasting is excluded by the law of faith. Every emotion and modification of the mind and heart connected with faith, leads to, or implies dependence. How can they hear without a preacher; and how can they preach except they be sent. A promise is to be believed, and of course a promiser. But a promise without an equivalent for the thing promised, is an act of grace. The thing promised is a gift. Behold how unbelievers fail of salvation.Grace makes the promise, or offer to faith, and unbelief rejects it.
The fact being admitted, that at the early period, when Paul wrote to the Ephesians, they were saved; time must be taken into the account. The christian religion was then a new religion, and the Ephesians were among its most recent converts. Had time therefore been required for works necessary to save them, it must have been borrowed from some older religion. But salvation by grace, through faith ;—the gift of God, depending upon spiritual and mental operations, rather than outward works, did not require the same time. The sacrificial work, or the meritorious work was done, not by themselves, but for them, by another, by grace, as a gift, and they were to believe it. These Ephesians since their pardon had not sufficient time to become good by habit. They must therefore, have been good before, or have been made good by the grace of God. What was the state of the fact? Were they good before? Let us hear the apostle,"you were dead in trespasses and sins," says he, “wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, among whom also we had our conversation in time past, in the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. Wherefore, remember, that ye being in time past gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision, by that which is called the circumcison, in the flesh made with hands, that at that time, ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.—How were they brought from such a state? See the answer. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,