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tións taken by any conference, as the “ten-cent” Mite Society” collections, were for specific objects, and were disbursed accordingly. These proved, however, in most cases, only temporary and local expedients, and not general through the Church. We are more interested in the inquiry how the proceeds of the Chartered Fund, of the Book Concern, the fifth collection, and of the centenary fund were dispensed. These are common to the Church, and, with the exception of the last, under the direction of the General Conference. To the year 1852 the avails from these were disbursed
rata. each claimant received the same percentage of his claim, according to the amount to be distributed. There was no discrimination from the necessities of the recipient. If he were very destitute, he could receive no more; and however affluent his circumstances, he had a right to demand his full share. This opinion of the meaning of the law, unwritten law indeed, but made authoritative by common practice, is confirmed by the action of the General Conference of that year. A superannuated minister appealed to that body from the action of his conference in withholding from him his claim on its funds. His appeal was sustained, and his conference ordered to pay his claim with interest. The discussion that arose on this case, however, led to the adoption of a law giving the power to each Annual Conference to decide who should receive from its funds, and how much should be paid them. It was an important change, and has doubtless contributed to increase the confidence and interest of the people in the fifth collection.
It is difficult to conceive how any other than a discriminating policy could have ever obtained in view of the reasons that were always given for the creation of these funds. It can only be accounted for from the fact that for many years after they were begun there was no need for discrimination; all the superannuated and widows were strictly necessitous. The Chartered Fund originated in answer to the question,
« What provision shall be made for distressed traveling preachers ?” The dividends of the Book Concern from 1792, for more than fifty years, were declared to be for “distressed preachers, widows, and orphans.” And the fifth collection is raised “for the relief of the necessitous.” Nevertheless, the law giving a discriminating power to the Annual Conference was the subject of complaint in some sections, and a few of the conferences still adhere to the old rule of giving to all claimants pro rata. The inexpediency, if not the injustice, of doing so may properly claim our attention.
In most of the conferences there are a few who hold a superannuated relation to whom a kind Providence has given a competency, or who are able by some honest vocation to earn a comfortable living, though from some special cause disabled from preaching. It is their praise, that under the regulation that gave them a right to the conference funds, some of these, without constraint, have generously relinquished them in favor of those who are needy. If others in like circumstances continue to receive them, it affects disastrously the amount of collections. This statement is not based on its application to given cases, so much as on the fact that those conferences which have availed themselves of the power conferred by the change of the rule have increased their collections more than those which have not. And, also, that since the change, the gross amount of collections in the Church for the superannuated and widows have increased much more than they did before. In the ten years following this change, the aggregate yearly collection for this object increased one hundred and troenty per cent., and the average contribution from each member of the Church increased from three and a half to over six cents, while for the ten years preceding the average from each member had hardly increased the smallest fraction of a cent. It is fair to infer that this great difference in receipts during these two decades was froin an improved confidence and liberality awakened by the adoption of the discriminating policy. Especially is it so, as there was no corresponding ratio of increase in any of the other great collections of the Church.
To give the avails of the fifth collection to any others than those who are needy involves the question of fairness with the contributor, of embarrassment to the solicitor, and of justice toward the necessitous. Is it fair to the contributor? It is well known that he gives his money with the belief that it is to relieve the needy. What an insignificant amount would he give if he thought otherwise! Is it not embarrassing to the solicitor? This collection is commonly made by the regular
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XVII-23
minister, and his appeals for it are usually made on the ground that it is required for a comfortable living by its beneficiaries; that they have employed their vigor of life in preaching the Word with barely a support, and that in their failing health they depend on this contingent income from the love and generosity of the people. And is it justice to these, that moneys given for their relief should any part of them be bestowed on others?
Another reason may be given why a wise and kind discrimination should be made in the disbursement of conference funds. It is the influence it will have in making their collection both permanent and popular. There is no reason to doubt a hearty response from the Methodist Church for every cause that secures its confidence and its love. As its financial ability improves, it is showing its readiness to meet any demand for charity or extension. Every day is enlarging its views of Christian liberality. Never have the laity been more generous than now in caring well for the wants of their ministers. Never has there been a healthier sympathy for the superannuated and widows. The salaries of its ministers, especially in the cities and large towns, are greater than they ever were before. As the result of this, some of them, if not many, when the time of disability comes, have laid by something for a stormy day. This will not diminish the respect of the Church for them, but it places them where it will not feel it a duty to give for their support. It will have an honest conviction that they ought not to expect or receive it. On the other hand there will be many ministers, and far the greater number, who have been less fortunate than some of their brethren in their salaries, but not less industrious and successful in doing good.
When their time of active service is ended, and they are indeed worn out, they will have nothing in store for the time of need. For them the Church ought, and will always feel a true sympathy. For them its purse will be ever open. To encourage this sympathy and liberality, the conferences should be careful that such, and such only, should be the recipients of their beneficiary funds. So long as they do this every appeal that they make for the increase of these funds will be responded to with a free hand. Let this discrimination be observed and well understood by the people, and the time is near when every dependent on the conference funds will be comfortably cared for by the fifth collection.
How far it is best to encourage or to allow men to take the relation of superannuated, may, at some day, be a question which the Church will be required to answer with caution. It certainly should never be denied to any who have wrought in the vineyard and become disabled. But that any who have usual health, and are wholly devoting themselves to worldly business, should be placed on the roll of honor of the wornout is a serious question, both of duty and expediency. Whatever may be the attractions to induce the “able-bodied” to ask for this relation, it ought never to come from any inducement from pecuniary advantage. A faithful adherence to the present discriminating rule will remove all temptations from such inducements. While an Annual Conference has power to decide who are needy, it has also power to determine who are able to obtain a living from their own resources.
While it may refuse to give to the affluent, it can also refuse to help the lazy and improvident. And while it is true to itself and the Church, in a kind, but firm and consistent answer to these questions, it may also exert a healthful influence in preserving the integrity of the answer to the question, "Who are the superannuated ?"
ART. III.-METHODISTS AND MUSIC.
FOR more than a century the Methodists have been attractive singers without being great musicians. Of “scientific music” they have been as fearful as the Church fathers, and as jealous as the Puritans. With Augustine, they have thought the "pleasures and delights” of harmony “too sensual ;” and with Thomas Aquinas, that “musical instruments do more stir up the mind to delight than frame it to a religious disposition.” With the reformers they have called the “playing of orgayns a foolish vanitie," and looked upon the violin as the incarnation of evil. Nevertheless they have sung, and the world has listened, admired, and been edified. It is no reproach to them that their auditors were largely those whom the father of
Mozart denominated the “long-ears.” Musically speaking, a large and respectable portion of mankind belongs to this class. It includes poets and metaphysicians; orators, statesmen, and philosophers; great men, wise men, good men; all that extensive tribe who are so fortunate or unfortunate as to have “no ear for music.” It has been truthfully said, “ feeling belongs to the many, appreciation to few." Queen Mary of Orange preferred an old Scotch song to Purcell's music. A common ballad afforded Pope more pleasure than Handel's finest compositions.” Johnson was “insensible to the power of music.” Garrick possessed every possible inflexion of voice, except for singing. Swift wrote to Stella of the finest Italian singer in England, “I went to the rehearsal, and there was Margarita and another drab and a parcel of fiddlers; in half an hour I was tired of their fine stuff.” Walter Scott relished no singing so much as a Scottish song. The biographer of Burns regrets that he sacrificed the higher walks of poetry to setting ballads to old Scotch airs. Pugnani wrote of Voltaire, " He makes fine verses, but he knows no more about music than the devil."
The higher walks of music lie in the same regions with the higher mathematics. There are philosophies and poetries that lie in the same transcendental regions; regions into which the uninitiated never venture, and into which they perhaps seldom peer without a sense of vagueness or dismay. Few besides amateurs or professed musicians can appreciate Mozart, follow the mystic flights of Beethoven, or interpret truthfully the weird strains of Chopin.
It is not necessary. The animate life of our globe is not the less happy because confined to the surface, and because few only are privileged to climb its mountain heights or explore its ocean caverns. Speech is given to all, though oratory is a rare perquisite. All sing after a fashion, though only a few are gifted musicians. The nine muses represent mankind : one is astronomical, another rhetorical, another poetic, all are musical. There are few who are totally destitute of voice and ear. The
are of the rarest where one cannot distinguish Old Hundred from Yankee Doodle, or where all music is unmeaning jargon,, as painful to the sense as jingling together shovel and tongs and warming-pan. If any are so constituted, they