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ence of the things of God. Without gown or bands, without pulpit or church, they preached in the garb and in the language of the "common people," using familiar, although often homely illustrations; preaching and singing and praying on the sea shore, the mountain-side, in the graveyard or the cottage, but enforcing all with "the demonstration of the Spirit and of power."

Another feature in their history and their work must not be overlooked here, as it illustrates clearly the designs of Divine Providence. It is this: as part of their time was employed in secular pursuits, they were ready to lead or follow the tide of emigration in whatever direction it might turn. And, as they were generally men of enterprise and spirit, they would not be slow to perceive the advantages furnished by a new country, or to avail themselves of them. It was this, doubtless, which led Embury and Strawbridge to this country; and to them belongs the honor of founding Methodism in America. But not only so, pressing on, in the very van of the hosts of emigrants from Europe, they have borne the standard of the cross to every part of the world. In America they have followed with the westward stream of emigration and of empire, and in many instances, long before the arrival of an itinerant minister, have begun the great work of preaching the Gospel to the scattered dwellers in the wilderness.

The employment of this lay ministry is an integral part of the economy of American as well as of Wesleyan Methodism, In the latter, however, it is more regularly and efficiently employed, as well as more clearly and distinctly recognized. As the circuit system prevails there, and, by this means, a large number of towns and villages, churches or chapels, is included in the charge of only two or three ministers appointed by the conference, it leaves large room for the employment of all its local ministers, who take their turn, according to the printed "plan," in supplying the work. Thus, this large class of active, zealous, and efficient laborers is kept constantly at work.

In this country the case is very different. Here we have, instead of large circuits, so divided up the work that there is scarcely a circuit of any size left in the land. Every little town, village, or neighborhood which can raise from one to

five hundred dollars lays claim to a stationed preacher, who must do all the preaching, and often everything else in his very limited field of labor. The wisdom or policy of thus dividing and subdividing the work does not now come under our notice. But the fact is as above stated. As the result of this, however, it will be clearly seen that our local ministers have not that field of labor spread out before them which their brethren in the Wesleyan connection have. This state of things often gives rise to great embarrassment to the stationed pastor, the Church, and the local ministers. For instance, the stationed pastor feels that he is appointed by the authorities of the Church to do the work in his charge, and, usually, his health and his time enable him to do it; yet he has, it may be, one, two, or even more local preachers connected with his Church to whom he would be pleased to extend from time to time an invitation to occupy the pulpit. But then, if they occupy the pulpit, he must sit still and listen. to them, and at the close of the service be sternly asked by prominent members of the Church, "Why don't you preach yourself?" On the other hand, if he goes on and does his appointed work without asking them to preach, they feel embarrassed, or become petulant, morose, and fault-finding. This state of things has frequently produced heart-burnings, alienation, and at times, in certain localities, has threatened the Church with serious disaster. Nor are the Churches without their embarrassment in this connection. Here are these brethren among them, men of intelligence and piety, whose license they have given and annually renewed; and yet they are, in the majority of instances, unwilling to hear them preach. It is true that the position occupied by the Churches on this question is somewhat inconsistent; but the fact is as above. stated. As a rule, we believe no quarterly conference ought to license. a man to preach whom they would be unwilling to hear, occasionally at least.

But leaving these thoughts, let us now come to the consideration of the following questions: Is there a remedy for this state of things? And what can be done to bring this large, respectable, intelligent, and influential body of ministers into active, zealous, and efficient co-operation with the traveling ministry of the Church? To our own mind there

is a remedy, potent, efficient, and within our reach, a remedy which should at once be adopted. There is work, abundant work, for these brethren; for we believe that God never calls men to labor in his vineyard unless he has work for them to do. Before proceeding directly to the discussion of the remedy proposed, let us candidly and honestly say, that in our judgment the local ministry of this country, with some exceptions, seem to have lost sight of the evident design of Divine Providence in their employment. If we can read that design, it does not appear to be that they should principally labor in the regular and settled Churches of the land, where there is an appointed and stated ministry devoting all its time to the work of God. From the beginning their work has been pioneer work, missionary work. At an early period of our history they went out into "the highways and hedges," among the destitute and neglected, and compelled the people to come in. They did not think of sitting down quietly on the Sabbath in the crowded chapel or church to hear the Gospel, or awaiting the illness or absence of the pastor to occupy his place; but they went abroad, seeking new fields of labor and toil, traveling into "the regions beyond," where they might minister to the ignorant and degraded "the word of life." It was in doing work like this that they gained their laurels and won their renown. And in all the ages to come Methodism will cheerfully accord its obligations and its gratitude to the men who thus toiled and triumphed, amid sacrifices, privations, and tears. Now we contend that the pursuance of a like course with the same energy and zeal would be productive of similar results at the present day. The great secret of success in every department of life is for a man to find his allotted sphere of operation, to comprehend as far as he may the design of Divine Providence with reference to him, and "in that calling remain," doing with his "might whatever his hand may find to do." But if there be misapprehension here, and a man persists in doing what he is evidently unfitted for, or in occupying a position which neither nature or nature's God has qualified him to fill, then there is, there must be, friction, embarrassment, and in the end failure. While it is true, in a certain sense, that "God has his plan for every man," it is equally true that God has

his work for every workman. Thus much for this general principle. Now, then, if the local ministry misapprehends its true relation to and its mission in the Church, then, in proportion as this is the case, it will fail to accomplish its great work. On the other hand, let it see and honestly and fearlessly regard its mission; let it enter upon the work which Divine Providence has assigned it in the name of the Lord God of hosts, and it will be in the future what it has been in the past, a mighty auxiliary for extending and establishing the kingdom of God in the world.

Many persons have thought, and some of our local brethren are among this number, that the day for the employment of this agency in the Church is past, and that it had better be dispensed with. We think otherwise. There is now a demand, urgent and pressing, for just such an agency. Never, perhaps, in the history of this country was the demand greater. There are large districts in the suburbs of our cities and large towns unvisited by pastoral or ministerial laborers, which present a promising field to the earnest and self-sacrificing minister. In the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore, for instance, there is room for the constant employment on the Sabbath of hundreds of local ministers. And yet while in these cities there are hundreds of local preachers, how few engage in this work! As a result of this, countless thousands are perishing yearly for the want of the bread of life; and thousands more are growing up in ignorance and vice, constituting a fearful and dangerous element in community in case of riot or any popular commotion.

O if the spirit of Embury, of Captain Webb, of John Nelson, were to come down upon all our local ministers, how soon would these "wilderness places blossom like the rose!" The lanes and alleys, the highways and hedges, the wharves and precincts of these and other cities and towns would ring with the glad sounds of salvation. At this time there seems to be a peculiar demand for this very agency. The South has been subdued, its territories laid waste, but liberty, thank Heaven! is triumphant. Now, in the reorganization of that country, the Church, as well as the State, has a great work to do. It will be impossible for the authorities of the Church to send a sufficient number of laborers to meet the existing demands in

those moral as well as physical wastes. Here, then, is a new and a vast field for our brethren in the local ministry; vast multitudes of Yankees will doubtless avail themselves of this opportunity to better their condition by emigrating southward. Among them there will be a goodly proportion of Methodists. and of local preachers. Let them then, following this southward tide of emigration, go into those desolations; let them there lift up the standard of the cross, let them gather whites and blacks and all colors around them in every neighborhood where they may reside, and preach to them a free, untrain meled Gospel, and the results will be glorious.

It is a fact that in all periods of our history, both in England and America, the local ministers have largely outnumbered the regular itinerants in our Church. What does this historical fact seem to teach? To our mind it seems to indicate that while the regularly appointed pastors of the Church are to occupy the centers of the various positions of labor, the local ministry are to move around those centers, sweeping the whole circumference of the field, and leaving no point unvisited or uncared for. If this agency were properly employed, there would not be a community in the land destitute of an occasional if not a regular visitation of a gospel minister. The laborers, at least the so-called laborers, are many. In the territory embraced by our conferences there are reported 8,205 local, and 6,821 traveling ministers; in all, 15,026. Now with this force at the command of the authorities of the Church, what a vast amount of work may be accomplished! Reckoning one fifth of the whole population of the country as falling properly under our care, they can furnish a minister to about every four hundred persons. Or if it is assumed that one third of the population we are responsible for, they can furnish a minister to every seven hundred persons. But while we regard all this as true, it is also true that very many of our local brethren do not preach a half-dozen times in the course of the year, are rusting out, or fretting out, for the want of something to do; or rather for the want of a plan or organization to do the work which it is imperatively demanded should be done. Now where is the remedy for this state of things? We answer, This large force needs organization. We do not mean to say that the body of our local ministry

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