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“As the Methodist Episcopal Church never derived any temporal emolument from them, so we have sustained no other damage by the secession than what may arise from missing the opportunity of doing them all the good in our power as their pastors. And if a desire for independence on their part has deprived us of this opportunity, having done what we could as Christian ministers to prevent the rupture, I trust we shall be absolved from all blame, be the consequences what they may:
We cannot do otherwise than wish them all spiritual and temporal blessings in Christ Jesus. Though formally separated from us in name, we still love them as our spiritual children, and stand ready to aid them, as far as we may, in extending the Redeemer's kingdom among men."
But the most interesting and instructive matter of this kind, relating to the Methodist Episcopal Church, is, no doubt, the secession of 1827-8, under the auspices of soi-disant " reformers." The history of this disaffection is given at full length in the volume before us, and we hope that it may afford a salutary lesson to such as may at any time be disposed to reiterate the senseless cry of “spiritual domination, and to organize a party against the church with as much assurance as if the absolute folly of such clamor had never been practically demonstrated. After noticing the nature of the proposed innovations in the present instance, and the quietus which they received from the General Conference of 1828, the historian remarks :
“Some have expressed their surprise that the General Conference was so unwilling to yield to the voice of the people! The answer is, that the voice of the people was yielded to, so far as it could be heard and understood. It is believed that nine-tenths of our people through out the United States, could they have been heard, were decidedly opposed to the innovations which were urged. They were not only contented with the present order of things, but they loved their institutions, venerated their ministers, and were astounded at the bold manner in which they were both assailed from the pulpit and the press. In resisting, therefore, the proposed changes, the conference believed it went with, and not against, the popular voice of the Church ; and the result has proved that it was not in error; for it has been fully sustained in its course by the great body of preachers and people in all the annual conferences and throughout the entire Church; and it has, moreover, had the sanction of at least some of the • Reformers' themselves, who have become convinced that they calculated on a higher state of individual and social perfection than they have found attainable, and that it is much easier to shake and uproot established institutions than it is to raise up and render permanent a new order of things—a truth which should teach all revolutionists the necessity of caution and moderation in their measures.
“ It will be perceived that one of the resolutions in the above report proposed terms on which the expelled members might be restored to their former standing in the Church. It is not known, however, that any of them availed themselves of this privilege ; but, on the contrary, a very considerable number, both in Baltimore and other places, with. drew from the Church, and put themselves under the wing of reform;' while a few,-who still proved refractory, in Cincinnati, I.ynchburg, and some other places, were tried and expelled. The exact number lost to the Church I have not been able to ascertain ; but by turning to the Minutes of our conferences, and comparing the numbers for 1828 with those for 1829, I find the increase of members to be twentynine thousand three hundred and five, and of preachers one hundred and seventy-five; for 1830 the increase of members is twenty-eight thousand two hundred and fifty-seven, and of preachers eighty-three. And as this is quite equal to the usual increase from one year to another, the secession could not have included a great number of either members or preachers. In the cities of New-York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati were found the greatest number of • Reformers.' Here they organized churches and established congregations in conformity to their improved plan of procedure: but it is believed that in all these places their influence has been on the wane for some time, and that, while several have returned to the Church which they had left, others have become wearied and vexed with • reform,' being convinced that they calculated too highly on the per. fection of human nature not to be disappointed in their expectations.
“ It seems right, therefore, that the reader may have an intelligent view of the whole matter, that he should be informed what their plans were, that he may perceive the improvements with which they designed to perfect the system adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the month of November of this year the • Associated Methodist Churches' held a convention in the city of Baltimore, at which a provisional government was formed until a constitution and book of discipline could be prepared at a future convention. This convention assembled in the city of Baltimore on the second day of November, 1830, and was composed of an equal number of lay and clerical dele. gates from several parts of the Union, representing thirteen annual conferences, and continued its sessions until the twenty-third of the same month. The convention proceeded to the adoption of a constitution, the first article of which fixed the title of the new Association' to be «The Methodist Protestant Church,' and the whole community was divided into districts,' circuits,' and 'stations;' — the districts,' comprising the bounds of an annual conference, to be composed of an equal number of ordained itinerant ministers and delegates, elected either from the local preachers or lay members ;the General Conference was to consist of an equal number of ministers and laymen, to be elected by the annual conferences, and must assemble every seventh year for the transaction of business.
" The offices of bishop and presiding elder were abolished, and both the annual and General Conferences were to elect their presidents by ballot to preside over their deliberations; and the presidents of annual conferences were also to travel through their districts, to visit all the circuits and stations, and, as far as practicable, to be present at quarterly and camp meetings ;-to ordain, assisted by two or more elders, such as might be duly recommended; to change preachers in the interval of conference, provided their consent be first obtained. The chief points, therefore, in which they differ from us are, that they have abolished episcopacy, and admit laymen to a participation of all the legislative and judicial departments of the government. Class, society, and quarterly meetings, annual and General Conferences, and an itinerant ministry, they have preserved. They also hold fast the fun.
damental doctrines of our Church and its moral discipline. The verbal alterations which they have introduced into some portions of the prayers, moral and prudential regulations, will not, it is believed, enhance their worth in the estimation of any sober and enlightened mind. This, however, may be more a matter of taste than of sound verbal criticism, as it is hardly to be supposed that judicious men would alter the form of sound words' merely for the sake of altering
“ Though a separate community was thus established, it was a con. siderable time before the agitations ceased. It was but natural for those who had withdrawn from the Church to attempt a justification of themselves before the public by assigning reasons for their ings, and by an effort to put their antagonists in the wrong. And as they had a periodical at their command, writers were not wanting to volunteer their services in defense of their measures, and in opposition to what they considered the objectionable features of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This called for defense on the part of those more immediately implicated by the writers in “Mutual Rights.' And as Baltimore had been the chief seat of the controversy from the be. ginning, and as it was thought not advisable to make the columns of the Christian Advocate and Journal a medium for conducting the controversy, the brethren in that city established a weekly paper; called • The Itinerant, which was devoted especially to the vindication of the government, ministers, and usages of the Methodist Episcopal Church, containing, in the mean time, animadversions upon the newly constituted government, and a replication to the arguments of its advocates in its defense. Many very able pieces appeared from time to time in • The Itinerant,'in defense of the proceedings of the authorities of the Church in the city of Baltimore, of the General Conference, and those annual conferences which had acted in the premises. These contributed greatly to settle the questions at issue on a just and firm basis, and to show that these things were susceptible of a Scriptural and rational defense.
“But the spirit of contention, which had long been impatient of control, at length became wearied, and the combatants gradually retired from the field of controversy, the Itinerant was discontinued, and the Christian Advocate and Journal, which had, indeed, said but little on the subject, proposed a truce, which seemed to be gladly accepted by the dissentient brethren, and they were left to try the strength of their newly formed system without farther molestation from their old brethren.
“On a review of these things, we find much to humble us, and yet much to excite our gratitude. In all struggles of this sort the spirits of men are apt to become less or more exasperated, brotherly love to be diminished, and a strife for the mastery too often usurps the place of a holy contention • for the faith once delivered to the saints. That the present discussion partook more or less of these common defects, on both sides, may be granted, without yielding one iota of the main principles for which we contend. Indeed, truth itself may sometimes have cause to blush for the imperfect and often rude manner in which its disciples attempt to vindicate its injured rights; while error may be defended by the wily arts of its advocates with an assumed meek. VOL. XI.-July, 1840.
ness and forbearance which may smooth over its rough edges by their ingenious sophistry so effectually as to beguile the simple hearted, until the serpent clasps them in its deceitful and relentless coils. But extricate yourself from its painful grasp, expose its serpentine course, and denounce, in just terms of reprobation, its delusive schemes, and it will throw off its disguise, and pour forth, in blustering terms, its denunciations against you, with a view to blacken your character, and render you odious in the estimation of the wise and good. It will then complain of that very injustice which it attempted to inflict on you, and will repel all complaints of its own unfairness by a repetition of its offensive epithets. Truth, however, has no need to resort to finesse, to intrigue, to epithets of abuse, in its own defense. Though it can never falsify its own principles, nor yield to the demands of error, either in complaisance to its antagonists or to soften the tones of honesty and uprightness with which it utters its sentiments, yet it seeks not to fortify its positions by a resort to the contemptible arts of sophistry, nor to silence its adversaries by a substitution of personal abuse for arguments. It expresses itself fearlessly and honestly, without disguise or apology, leaving the consequences to its sacred Author.
" How far these remarks may apply to those who engaged in the present contest I pretend not to determine. But whatever may have been the defects in the spirit and manner in which the controversy was conducted, we rejoice that it has so far terminated, and that we may now calmly review the past, may apologize for mistakes, forgive injuries, whether real or imaginary, and exercise a mutual spirit of forbearance toward each other. For whatever imperfections of human nature may have been exhibited on either side, we have just cause of humiliation; and while they teach us the infinite value of the atoning blood to cover all such aberrations, they furnish lessons of mutual forbearance and forgiveness.
“But while this humbling view of the subject deprives us of all just cause of boasting, we may, it is thought, perceive much in the result which should excite our gratitude. To the intelligent friends of our church organization, of our established and long continued usages and institutions, it gave an opportunity of examining their foundation, of testing their soundness and strength, and of defending them against their assailants. Having proved them susceptible of a Scriptural and rational vindication, we have reason to believe that they became not only better understood, but more highly appreciated and sincerely loved. Experience and practice having furnished us with those weapons of defense to which we might otherwise have re. mained strangers, we have learned the lessons of wisdom from the things we have been called to suffer, and an increased veneration for our cherished institutions has been the beneficial consequence. Greater peace and harmony within our borders succeeded to the storms of agitation and division. Our own Church organization and plans of procedure have been made to appear more excellent from con. trasting them with those substituted by the seceding party; and so far as success may be relied upon as a test of the goodness and bene. ficial tendency of any system of operations, we have no temptation to forsake • the old paths' for the purpose of following in the track of those who have opened the untrodden way of 'reform,' or to be shaken by the strong protest they have entered against our peculiar organi. zation and manner of conducting our affairs.
“ In narrating the facts in this perplexing case I have aimed at historical truth. In doing this I may have wounded the feelings of some who were the more immediate actors in the scenes which have passed before us. This, however, was very far from my intention. I have, indeed, labored most assiduously to present the facts in as inoffensive language as possible, consistently with the demands of impartial history, and therefore hope to escape the censure justly due to those who wilfully pervert the truth or misinterpret its language. Nor will I claim for myself any other apology for unintentional errors than fallible humanity has a right to exact from candid criti. cism, And now that the struggle is over, may we all, pursuing our respective modes of doing good, as far as possible, live peaceably with all men.'
As an appendix to this volume will be found an alphabetical list “ of all the preachers who have been received into full connection in the Methodist Episcopal Church to the year 1828, including those who came from Europe and returned, as well as those who remained in this country.” This list includes all the preachers who had previous to 1828 belonged to the American itinerant connection; those who entered previous to 1784—the year from which the Methodist Episcopal Church dates-as well as those who entered afterward. The time of their location, withdrawal, expulsion, or decease, is also designated. The author has supplied a very copious table of contents, and it is but justice to the publishers to add, that the mechanical execution of the work is in the highest degree creditable to the great and growing establishment which they superintend.
It is to be hoped that the concluding volume or volumes of this work will be not long forthcoming. It is of course desirable that it should be completed by the same hand by which it has been brought down thus far--not only to preserve uniformity in the style and character, but because no other—we may be permitted to say--seems to possess such eminent qualifications for a task at once so perplexing and so urgent. In recounting the incidents of Methodism, no one more truly than the present historian can appropriate the classic phrase, Quorum pars magna fui.
From the Eclectic Review.
MEMOIRS OF ROBERT MORRISON, D.D. :?
Memoirs of the Life and Labors of Robert Morrison, D. D., F. R. S., M. R. A. S.
Member the Society Asiatique of Paris, 16. Compiled by his Widow, with Critical Notices of his Chinese Works. By SAMUEL Kidd. And an Appendix containing Original Documents. 2 vols. London: Longman and Co. 1839.
Recent circumstances have tended to force upon the English nation an acquaintance with the people of China. The enterprise of missionaries had led the way. Gutzlaff and Medhurst were useful