Page images

Upon a review of the whole subject the friends of temperance, in the church, have great cause for gratitude to God, and for mutual congratulation, in view of what has been done, and the present state of opinion in the Methodist Episcopal Church. We have more than a majority of three-fourths of the members of the several annual confer. ences in favor of restoring Mr. Wesley's original rule, which prohibits the traffic in spirituous liquors." We have an intelligent committee who, though they find difficulties in restoring the original rule, propose to do the same thing by another process. We have the opinions and feelings of a large portion of the small minority who are opposed to the restoration of the original rule, who assure us they have no fellow. ship for the trade in nor the use of intoxicating drinks, as a beverage, in any of their varieties. We have erased from the Discipline the only show of protection which it ever contained for the traffic. And in all the debates in the late General Conference upon the temperance ques. tion, whatever views the various speakers entertained as to the expe. diency of restoring the original rule, all admitted, who made any direct reference to the subject, that common dealers in the article were offenders against the existing general rule, and ought to be excluded.

Under all these circumstances it may be thought, by some, that the whole object is gained, and consequently the restoration of the original rule is not at all important. But though the principle be carried, and we may bring our general rule to bear upon the traffic, and purge it from the church, which was the great object contemplated in the restoration of the said rule, we still think it should have been restored, some of the reasons for which we will here give.

1. This rule was drawn up by Mr. Wesley, and formerly stood con. nected with our general rules : and though we care nothing for the word “ extreme,” yet we think it no incumbrance, and that the lan. guage of the rule, like most of the language which was used by our venerable founder, is sufficiently unexceptionable and definite.

2. As this rule had been excluded, as would seem, to make way for rum sellers in the church, now that by general consent we give that class of men leave of absence, the rule should take its original place, and stand there as a sentinel to guard the sanctity of the church, and prevent the approach of the profane.

3. We have a specific rule against drinking intoxicating liquors, though the general rule might fairly be supposed to cover the particular

case, and as we conceive drinking and selling crimes of the same class, there is as much reason for restoring the specific rule against “buying and sellingas there is for retaining the specific rule against drinking.” After this free, and perhaps somewhat tedious expression of our

views upon a subject of great and absorbing interest, we shall dismiss it for the present.

We have extended this article so far that we must necessarily conclude with a brief reference to the amendments which remain. In page 182 the paragraphs numbered 8 and 9, providing for a missionary secretary for the south-west, and another for the west, are amend. ments.

Section 8, page 185, received several material alterations, which will easily be perceived by a comparison of it with the corresponding section of the old Discipline. It will be observed upon examination, that our Book Concerns, and their various appendages, are becoming somewhat complicated, and necessarily require much attention from the General Conference. This is a most important part of our ma. chinery, and cannot be too scrupulously guarded, or too well sustain. ed. A double object is contemplated in the organization of the con. cern, the diffusion of useful knowledge, and the increase of the means of the church for supporting her superannuated preachers, and the widows and orphans of those who have died in the work. The history and progress of the institution, from its commencement, and especially its recent resurrection from the ashes to which it had been mysteri. ously reduced, furnish abundant evidence both of the providential care of God over it, and of the power and resources of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Upon the Methodist press the country and the world may well look with interest. Under the blessing of God it may, and doubtless will, act an important part in the world's redemption. It is to be hoped that the alterations which the late General Conference saw proper to make in the modus operandi of some of its parts may succeed in the furtherance of its great and benevolent designs.

The requisition of the General Conference that the editor should prepare an alphabetical index for the new edition of the Discipline we have endeavored to execute in the best manner possible under the circumstances : and our wish is that it may constitute a valuable appendage to the book. We have designed to embrace in the index every distinct subject in the work, so that it may be found without difficulty or delay under its appropriate head. Imperfections which need correction will probably be found: but we hope there are no material defects, or such errors as will embarrass, instead of helping the dili. gent student of our most excellent book of Discipline.

The Wesleyan Conferences of England and Canada ; their Union and



By the steam ship, British Queen, we have received a pamphlet of 114 octavo pages, published in London, bearing date August 31, 1840, with the foregoing title, by W. and E. Ryerson, the representatives of the Canada confer

The reason assigned for making this prompt publication in England, instead of delaying until their return to Canada, is to counteract the influence of the publication of the proceedings of the British conference in the printed Minutes, which had already appeared. Not having received the Minutes, we are not able to compare the two publications, and for the present we only feel ourselves called upon to spread before our readers the general facts.

The principal question in difficulty between the two connections was whether a certain government appropriation for the benefit of the Canada missions, &c., should be controlled by the Canada conference, or the missionary committee in London. After a series of negotiations, the late Canada conference sent Messrs. W. and E. Ryerson as delegates to the British conference negotiate the business on the part of the conference, and, if possible, bring the matter to a satisfactory and harmonious issue. But these objects failed. The British conference made such terms as the representatives of the Canada conference declared " in their opinion would be regarded” by that body " as a virtual dissolution of the union." Upon this the negotiation closed, and the British conference declared the farther continuance of the union was “impracticable.” A large and able committee was then appointed to confer with Messrs. Ryersons to the end that the “formal dissolution of the union might not be accompanied with any thing that might produce imbittered feelings, or injure mutual charity.” But as the arrangements of Messrs. Ryersons for their return home precluded the proposed interview, they addressed to the committee a communication expressing their views of the “proceedings and decision" of the British conference. What the result of these important move. ments will be, or how they will affect the general interests of the work in Upper Canada, we cannot at present certainly predict.

Still, however, our confidence in the Christian integrity of our brethren on both sides of the water inspires the hope, that failing to see eye to eye on the topics in dispute, they will be careful to abstain from any measures toward each other which will hinder the work of God in the province: especially we may be allowed most earnestly to exhort them not to be led into any course which may by possibility introduce their differences into the aboriginal missions which they have hitherto unitedly and successfully cultivated. Far better that any sacrifice of feeling, or pecuniary interest, be made by either party, than that the Indian converts to the Christian faith should be agitated with " questions of doubtful disputation.” Related as we, in the United States, are to these missions, having, both with men and pecuniary means, contributed to their origin and early support, it cannot be expected that we should not feel deeply interested in their peace and prosperity. Indeed, we can but remember, in our fervent intercessions, these first fruits of the missionary toil of American Methodists. But whatever may be our anxiety on behalf of the great missionary interest in the province of Upper Canada, and however the question of union or separation between the British and Canadian connections may ultimately terminate, our Christian and affectionate salutations shall still as ever be extended to our transatlantic and Canadian brethren, praying most devoutly that the great Wesleyan family may, through the good hand of God upon us, be able to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.”

« PreviousContinue »