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argument which men of bigoted and narrow and contracted views cannot understand, and the force of which they cannot feel. They cannot conceive how the salvation and Christian obedience of thousands of the human family can possibly be placed upon a par with the importance of what we conceive a very questionable point of ecclesiastical order. It would appear that they had rather see sin and error reigning over the minds of a great part of the nation, than that their favorite opinion should be contravened by such an ordination as that of Dr. Coke. For the question is, not whether those poor sheep in the wilderness should be fed by Episcopalian or Methodist pastors, but whether they should be fed at all. The Episcopal clergy had even forsaken their own flocks in the revolution, and how could they take care of the Methodists? The English bishops would not ordain their preachers, and they were left to shift for themselves as well as they could; and in their distress they naturally turned to their own overseer and apostle, the venerable Wesley.
The argument from right, I like a great deal better. This is the ground which Mr. Wesley himself took: that as bishops and presbyters were intrinsically of the same order, and consequently had the same right to ordain; and that as he was not only a regularly ordained presbyter, but also the apostle of the Methodists, and by virtue of that relation was also their spiritual governor, he possessed the right of ordaining pastors for his distressed and destitute followers in America, and which right he exercised in the appointment and ordination of Dr. Coke.
But there is another consideration which has been overlooked by writers on this subject, which in some respects places it in a more elevated point of light, and that is, that it was not only the right of Mr. Wesley to ordain ministers for the flock in America, but that it was also his duty. By the extraordinary power of God, a large and increasing flock had been folded in this western wilderness, who must be left without an ordained ministry, and without the sacraments, which they are expressly commanded to observe by almighty God, whereby they must be greatly cramped and distressed in their operations, and the prosperity of the work of God and the salvation of thousands hazarded, except Mr. Wesley would send them relief. This case of duty in his mind was clear, and immediately he conferred not with flesh and blood, but performed what he knew to be for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. And the result shows that he was not mistaken; for we hesitate not to say that single ecclesiastical act since the days of the Reformation has done more for the salvation of those for whom Christ died, and the general advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, than this same ordination of Dr. Coke. And this is the reason why Satan has stirred up the minds of so many who knew nothing of experimental godliness, but were great sticklers for church order, and even many of evangelical and undoubted piety, but whose minds were held by the fable of succession, to attack and assail this act of his administration more than any thing else he ever did.
But what is also astonishing is, that certain men who have risen up from among ourselves, and who, under God, are indebted to our "fathers” for their salvation, and all they are in the church of God, should presume to call in question the validity of episcopal orders thus derived, and upon which their own are based, and upon which,
of course, they must stand or fall. These men seem to have forgotten that, if they could succeed in demolishing the validity of our orders, theirs must also go with them. They, indeed, remind one of the poor savages of Australia, who, when they are pinched with the cold, tear to pieces their huts for fuel.
But perhaps they may say that it is not so much to the real validity of our orders they object, as to our episcopacy, which they doubt to be of Mr. Wesley's creating. To this it may be answered, that Mr. Wesley was himself an Episcopalian; that he expressly says he believed the episcopal form of church government to be the best; in accordance with which Mr. Drew says, in reference to this same subject, “ After revolving all the possible forms of church government in his mind, he could find none so well adapted to the exigencies of their (that is, the American Methodists') condition as that which is episcopal ;"* that, in accordance with this, he also “prepared a liturgy, little differing" as he says, "from that of the Church of England,” in which are forms of ordination for the making of deacons, elders, and superintendents: and that agreeably with this form he actually ordained Dr. Coke, by the imposition of his own hands, as superintendent of the societies in America, giving him letters of ordination under his own hand and seal; and endowed him with episcopal powers, with the exercise of which he never expressed the least dissatisfaction. That he was offended when the superintendents took the title of bishops is indeed granted. But this was for prudential reasons, or rather those of educational prejudice, which are well known, and which no more affects the argument in question, than whether the words rex and king signify a man possessing the same powers and privileges.
That this is the view of the subject taken by the English Methodists is evident from a review of Moore's Life of Wesley in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, as quoted by Dr. Emory, f in which the writer says, “The author has spent some time in showing that episcopacy, by name, was not introduced into the American Methodist society by the sanction of Mr. Wesley, who, though he, in point of fact, did ordain bishops for the American societies, intended them to be called superintendents.”—“To the statement of this as an historical fact, no objection certainly lies.”—“Mr. Moore candidly enough relieves this by admitting that, on Mr. Wesley's principle itself, and in his own view, they were true Scriptural episcopoi, and that Mr. Wesley's objection to the name, in fact, arose from its association in his mind rather with the adventitious honors which accompany it in church establishments, than with the pre-eminence of labor, care, and privation, which it has from the first exhibited in America, and from which it could not from circumstances depart. According to this showing, the objection was grounded upon no principle, and was a mere matter of taste and expediency. Whether the name had or had not the sanction of Mr. Wesley, is now of the least possible conséquence, as the episcopacy itself was of his creating.”
In addition to this I will also add the testimony of the venerable Thomas Ware, before quoted, where, in giving an account of the Christmas conference, at which he was present, he says, “After Mr. Wesley's letter, appointing Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury joint super
* Coke's Life, p. 63.
+ See his Reply to Alexander M'Caine,
intendents over the Methodists in America, had been read, analyzed, and cordially approved, a question arose, what name we should take.”—“One proposed, I think it was John Dickens, that we should call ourselves the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Dickens was, in the estimation of his brethren, a man of sterling sense and piety, and there were few men on the nference floor heard with greater deference than he. The most of the preachers had been brought up in the Church of England ; and all being agreed that the plan of general superintendency was a species of episcopacy, the motion was carried without, I think, a dissenting voice. There was not, to the best of my recollection, the least agitation on this question. Had the conference indulged the least suspicion that the name they were about to take would in the least degree cross the views or feelings of Mr. Wesley, it would have been abandoned; for the name of Wesley was inexpressibly dear to the Christmas conference, and to none more so than to Asbury and Coke."
Whoever wishes to examine this subject still farther may consult Dr. Emory's Defence of our Fathers, with the Episcopal Controversy, which is about to be republished, and Dr. Bangs' Original Church of Christ, which not only contain the most of what has before been written upon this subject, but also much that is new-the whole written in a very lucid and forcible manner; and which we most sincerely hope will put to rest this long vexed and mooted question, which can do our opponents no possible good, and from which we are not to be moved. We will conclude this part of our article by saying that when those men who have talked so freely of the doings of Mr. Wesley, Dr. Coke, and Mr. Asbury, in this matter—when, I say, their loins shall be as thick as Mr. Wesley's little finger; when they shall have accomplished a tithe of the good in the world which Dr. Coke was honored of God in doing; or when they shall have endured a moiety of the sufferings, and performed but the mere beginning of the labors of Asbury for the cause of Christ, let them speak, and we may then possibly be ready to hear them ; but till then let them hold their peace.
(To be continued.)
From the Christian Guardian.
Dear Sir,-As many of our members have but little acquaintance with the rise and progress of Methodism, I have, for their benefit, composed an epitome of Methodist history. It may not only furnish memories vacant, but assist memories furnished. And I wish the sight of this miniature may create in some of our pious and intelligent young men an ardent desire to behold the full-length portrait of Methodism, as drawn and painted in our excellent books. The facts and dates in this table may be relied on, being taken from accredited publications.
Permit me, sir, to mention a thought. If some brother would fur
* Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review, vol. iii, p. 98.
nish you with an epitome of the history of Methodism in the United States; another, of its history in Canada; another, of its history in Ireland; another, of the history of Methodist missions; and another would finish the one now inserted, carrying it down to the present time; and the whole, after its appearance in the Guardian, were cast into a broadside, printed, and sold at a low price, it would furnish the poorest member with a short history of his people; might stimulate many to imitate the zealous, disinterested, and generous deeds of those who are
" Foremost of the sons of light,
Nearest th' eternal throne;" and thus, by conveniently showing what Methodists were, would remind Methodists what they should be.
G. F. P. Perth, March, 1838.
THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF METHODISM IN
ENGLAND, ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. John Wesley born
1703 Entered Christ Church College, Oxford
1720 Ordained a deacon
1725 Preached his first sermon at South Leigh, Oxfordshire
1725 Elected fellow of Lincoln College
1726 Received the degree of Master of Arts
1727 Ordained a priest
1728 Name of Methodist applied by some students at Oxford Uni
versity to Messrs. John and Charles Wesley and to two others. These four formed the first Methodist society
1729 Mr. Wesley embarked, as a missionary, for Georgia
1735 Preached extempore first on deck*
1735 Became acquainted with the Moravians
1735 The second Methodist society formed in Savannah
1736 Mr. W. returned to England
1738 Convinced, through Peter Bohler, of unbelief, March 5
1738 He and some Moravian brethren form a religious society,
which met in Fetter-lane, London. This he called the
third Methodist society Obtained faith and assurance, May 24
1738 Preached his sermon on “salvation by faith” before the University of Oxford, June
1738 Left England
for Hernhuth, in Germany, to visit the Moravian brethren, June 23
about 3,000 persons, April 2
1739 Preached in Blackheath, June 14th, to 12,000; and on the 27th, on Kennington Common, to 15,000 persons
1739 * This is according to the Journals; but Mr. Myles says that Mr. Wesley first preached extempore in Allhallows Church, Lombard-street, London.
Commences building Kingswood School, designed as a religious school for Methodist children.
1739 Preached first in Wales, October 15
1739 Opened the first Methodist preaching-house, called the Foundry, in London, November 11, [first house built in Bristol, first opened in London] .
1739 Created stewards
1739 First Hymnbook published, entitled “Hymns and Sacred Poems by Messrs. J. & C. Wesley”
1739 The Mother Society formed in London, which commenced
the United Societies. But coming after the preceding, it is also reckoned the fourth Methodist society
1739 The first lay itinerant preachers were Thos. Maxfield, Thos.
Richards, Thos. Westall. These desired to serve Mr. W., and were employed by him in the beginning of
1740 During the year five others joined in the itinerant work, one of whom was a clergyman
1740 Mr. W. and seventy-three others separated from the Mora
vian society in Fetter-lane, and met afterward in the Foundry Chapel, July 23. [The cause of separating was, the Moravians insisting, 1, that there are no degrees of faith ; 2, that there is no faith where assurance is wanting; 3, that unbelievers are not to use the means of grace; and 4, that the ordinances are not the means of obtaining grace, but Christ]
1740 Publishes a sermon against unconditional predestination 1740 Mr. Whitefield replies. Not agreeing, they separate, and
form different societies: the one is the father of the Calvinistic, and the other of the Arminian Methodists
1741 The sermon of the “ Almost Christian” preached by Mr. w. before the University of Oxford, July 25 .
1741 Mobs molesting him, the government directed the Middlesex magistrates to enforce the law, if appealed to .
1741 Five preachers joined this year, among whom was John Nelson
1741 The societies divided into classes, and the office of class leader instituted, February 15.
1742 Band meetings instituted
1742 Second Hymnbook published
1742 Quarterly visitation of classes begun in London, and tickets,
as marks of approbation, given to members, March 1742 First watch-night in London, April 9 :
1742 Eight successive evenings Mr. Wesley preached on his fa
ther's tomb, in Epworth parish, to multitudes, June . 1742 Twelve preachers this year began to travel, one was a cler
1742 The Rules of the societies were published, and entitled “The
Nature, Design, and General Rules of the United Societies
in London, Bristol, Newcastle-upon-Tyne," &c., May 1743 Cornwall visited, August
1743 The Wednesbury riot, October 20
1743 Twelve preachers this year began to travel: one was a clergyman
1743 The second Wednesbury riot, February 6 ::