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of the temporal or spiritual concerns of the church. And what has Mr. B. made out on this subject? A solemn nothing. 1st. A member has a right to be tried before a select number of his brethren, and to appeal to a quarterly Conference. Page 150, 151. 2d. He has a right, in case of dispute, to choose part of the arbitrators, and appeal to quarterly Conference. 3d. He cannot be censured for not contributing to the support of the ministry.
A splendid bill of rights indeed!! What heart so full of ideas of liberty and equality, as not to be perfectly satisfied? Who would not be willing to surrender his right to have a voice in making rules and canons relating to government, and worship; or his right to vote for church officers to choose his own pastor in order to have these far more important and sacred rights secured? But after all, are not these privileges, which Mr. B. says belong to the members of the church, just such as any monarch would grant to his subjects, witbout feeling that he had parted with any power that would diminish kingly authority? But these privileges may appear entirely sufficient to a man who views the people in the light he does. Speaking of a local ministry, he says, “But a ministry, entirely local, and so much under the control, and at the mercy of the people, is not likely to be sufficiently independent to be plain and energetic, nor sufficiently diffusive for a general spread of the gospel.” P. 153.This passage needs no comment. This is not the only place in which Mr. B. seems to think that it is dangerous to place freedom and power in the hands of the people. In page 160, he says, "Aud it is equally certain, that if the execution of this discipline is whol. ly in the hands of the people, especially if the majority of them are become corrupt, the guilty will often escape with impunity. But Mr. Bangs ought to know, that the people of a church are not the first to become corrupt. The ministry have always taken the lead in this matter. And the guilty are as little likely to escape where the people have that share in the execution of discipline to which they are entitled, as where the ministry usurp all the authority.
Mr. B. alleges the “Methodist Episcopal church tends to preserve the whole body in the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace." «The
many divisions and subdivisions witnessed among those denominations whose government is according to the congregationa! plan, which puts an overbalancing power into the hands of the people, are no small evidence of some defect in the principle of government.” P. 161, 162.
It is a characteristic of monarchy, not to allow the people to ex press freely, opinions respecting the principles of government ar
respecting its administration. All monarchies may boast unity of opinion. But in republics, where men are free to discuss every subject, difference of opinion will prevail. But are we to take almost all power and liberty from the people, whom God and his word have made free, lest there might be difference of opinioni or are we to say the people have an overbalance of power, because difference of opinion exists? Such sentiments might become the subjects of kingly governments; but they come with an ill grace from an American, and will sound harshly in the ears of the American people.
The state in which the apostles left the church, was with stated pastors, who were resident among the people. This state of things remained for some time. And Mr. B. acknowledges, that even in the days of Ignatius, “Bishops, instead of resembling the Bishops of our day, were more like the stated pastors of Presbyterian congreSğations.” Yet Mr. B. is an advocate for setting aside this order of things, for an itinerant plan, and for the following reason, with others: “There are but few men possessed of that fund of knowledge necessary to afford that variety which seems necessary to keep up the attention of the people for any great length of time. P. 158.-This, in Mr. B's opinion, is one of the disadvantages of a ministry entirely local, which should make us set it aside, although he grants it was the plan of the primitive church, for the sake of an itinerant plan. Ignorance in the ministry, then, is one of Mr. B's reasons for setting aside the apostolic plan of settled pastors; and yet this Mr. B. has a whole chapter to shew that learning is not essential to a gospel minister. Is not this strange inconsistency? We must depart from an apostolic regulation, because few ministers have knowledge enough to be edifying on that plan, and yet classical learning (or knowledge) is not essential to a gospel minister. Mr. Bangs, your cause requires this kind of logic.
In the 10th chapter, entitled, “The privileges of the members of our church,” Mr. B. has introduced an account of the provision made for the ministers, which is is folllows: To a single man,
8100 To a married man,
200 To each child under seven,
16 To those between seven and fourteen, 24 Allowance to married men: house rent-table expencegmand fuel-by an act of the General Conference in 1816. "By this act,” says Mr. B.“the General Conference have transferred to the people the right of saying what the allowance of their preachers shall be; and the stewards are at liberty to raise the amount necessary
to meet such demand, in any way they may judge expedient.” P. 155. This account is introduced, I suppose, for the purpose of tel ing of one of the great privileges of the members of the church, name ly, that the people have the right of saying what the allowance & the people shall be, and that the stewards may raise it in the way they judge expedient. This is, to be sure, a great privilege! I sup pose we are to hear no more that Methodist preachers are not to be paid as the preachers of other denominations. But how does this account agree with what is said on page 154, “The General Cor ference possess the right of fixing the salary of the preachers?"
We have now taken a very brief review of Mr. Bangs's Vindication. His only argument to justify the existence of ministers of different grades in office and power is, that deacons were an order of ministers below elders or bishops, which are two names for the same office; and that evangelists were superior to elders. But Mr. B. has failed to shew, that a deacon was a minister of the word in consequence of his being a deacon. Some of the men who were deacons, are afterwards spoken of as being ministers, but they might have become ministers by an extraordinary appointment, or in the ordinary way. But one of them at least is said to be an evangelist. Acts xxi. 8. Might not Mr. B. from this tact, have said, the deacons, in consequence of being deacons, were also evangelists, and thus a deacon would have been an officer superior to an elder, because he was an evangelist; but a deacon is also below an Elder. Then the argument seems equally good for proving that a deacon is both inferior to an Elder, and also superior. The only argument for an ollicer superior to an elder, is taken from the office of evangelists, who, Mr. B. says, were the successors of the Apostles. But the candid reader must have seen, that this argument is not valid, for the office of apostle was necessarily temporary. Thus Mr. B. has failed entirely to prove that there is any Scripture authority for different orders or grades among the ministers who were to be permanent officers in the church. And Mr. B. has equally failed to clear the government of the Methodist church from the charge of monarchy in its principles and form of government. He has also failed ta shew, that the people possess the rights guaranteed to them by the word of God. An artful, designing man, of profound policy, has obtained the power over a large estate, which belongs to numerous heirs. He enjoys the estate while he lives; at his death, he puts his friends and colleagues in possession of the power he had assumed and retained. Some of the heirs, and many others, begin to speak freely, that the heirs are kept out of their rights, and instead of real
estate and other valuable property, they have nothing but flowers and pebbles. One of the possessors rises, and addregses the true heirs, with all his arts of logic and eloquence, to convince them that they ought to be content with their flowers and pebbles; for, if they got the real estate, they would have an overbalance of power, and the guilty among them might escape with impunity; and beside the present possessors might be too much under their control, and at their inercy.
But, if things remain as they are, the heirs can be governed with ease, and unity, and despatch. The heirs hear the address with applause, and are satisfied. This is easily applied to the subject before us. Wesley, a man of profound policy, and, in many respects, a great and good man--establishes a plan of church government, of which he is the head, but which withholds from the people, their inheritance, namely, the right of voting on all subjects relating to the government of the church-for their officers and pastorsand also the sacred right of equality among ministers. But, to make amends for this, the ministers possess great power over the people. At his death, the clergy determine to maintain the same order of things. The people complain, but are overruled. Mr. Bangs at length writes a book to convince the people, that they are as free as they ought to be; for had they more rights and power, the ministers would be too much at their mercy.
STATISTICAL REPORT OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, IN THE UNITED STATES
OF AMERICA. Prepared by the Rev. E. S. Ely, D. D. Stated Clerk of the General Assemblya
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, on the first of June, A. D. 1828, had under its care SIXTEEN SYNODS, viz.
1. The Synod of Albany, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Londonderry, 2. Newburyport, 3. Champlain, 4. St. Lawrence, 5. Ogdensburg, 6. Oswego, 7. Oneida, 8. Otsego, 9. Albany, 10. Troy, 11. Columnbia.
II. The Synod of New-York, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Hudson, 2. North River, 3. Long Island, 4. New-York, 5. NeyYork Second.
III. The Synod of New-Jersey, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Newark, 2. Elizabethtown, 3. New-Brunswick, 4. Newton, 5. Susquehanna.
IV. The Synod of Geneva, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Chenango, 2. Cortland, 3. Onondaga, 4. Cayuga, 5. Geneva, 6. Batki. VOL. II.
V. The Synod of Genesee, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Ontario, 2. Rochester, 3. Genesee, 4. Niagara, 5. Buffalo.
VI. "The Synod of Philadelphia, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Philadelphia, 2. Newcastle, 3. Lewes, 4. Baltimore, 5. The District of Columbia, 6. Carlisle, 7. Huntingdon, 8. Northumberland.
VII. The Synod of Pittsburg, containing the Presbyteries of l. Allegheny, 2. Erie, 3. Hartford, 4. Redstone, 5. Steubenville, 6. Washington, 7. Ohio.
VIII. The Synod of the Western Reserve, contaiuing the Presbyteries of 1. Detroit, 2. Grand River, 3. Portage, 4. Huron, 5. Trumbull,
The Synod of Ohio, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Columbus, 2. Richland, s. Chillicothe, 4. Lancaster, 5. Athens, 6. Miami, 7, Cincinnati.
X. The Synod of Indiana, containing the Presbyteries of i. Salem, 2. Madison, 3. Wabash, 4. Missouri.
XI. The Synod of Kentucky, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Louisville, 2. Muhlenburg, 3. Transylvania, 4. West Lexington, 5. Ebenezer.
XII. The Synod of Virginia, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Winchester, 2. Hanover, 3. Lexington.
XIII. The Synod of North Carolina, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Orange, 2. Fayetteville, S. Concord, 4. Mecklenburg.
XIV. The Synod of Tennessee, containing the Presbyteries of 1. Abingdon, 2. Union, 3. Holston, 4. French Broad.
XV. The Synod of West Tennessee, containing the Presbyteries of 1. West Tennessee, 2. Shiloh, S. Mississippi, 4. North Alabama.
XVI. The Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, containing the Presbyteries of 1. South Carolina, 2. Bethel, 3. Hopewell, 4. Charleston Union, 5. Harmony, 6. Georgia, 7. South Alabama.
The foregoing 16 SYNODs comprehend 90 PRESBYTERIES, under whose watch and government, are returned Twelve Hundred and Eighty Five ordained Ministers; 194 licensed preachers; 242 candidates for the gospel ministry, who are pursuing their studies; 1968 churches; and 146,308 communicants, of whoin 15, 095 were added the last year, on examination, or by certificate. If we subtract the communicants removed by certificate from one church to another, and those removed by death, we shall find the actual increase of communicants, in the year ending May 1st 1828, to be 11,023; and the acutal increase in the year ending May 1st 1827, amounted to 7,793. The increase of the last year was greater than in the year previous, by 3,230.