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much more would the systematic and thorough ignoring of religion be objectionable."
The State, then, is to prepare its youth for future citizenship. It is to teach that which underlies all true and worthy character—the virtues, the moralities, the duties, and responsibilities of life in all its varied relations. It is not to assume control over the individual conscience, nor dictate religious belief, nor enforce the performance of religious duties, nor assume to teach technical religion, much less sectarianism. But it is to recognize religion as the foundation of all highest morality, the basis of all sense of responsibility, and the inspiration of all that is noblest and best and most salutary in human society. It is freely to employ these great fundamental truths and all potent factors in developing the character of its future citizens and solving the problem of its future safety and perpetuity. In doing this it violates no right of any of its subjects and does no injury to any one.
To adopt the opposite course we have indicated is positively to injure the many in deference to the unreasonable prejudices of the few. Who asks it? Not the great body of American citizens, who are loyal to the government and ardent supporters of its public schools. Not the teachers, whose vocation would be degraded and whose success would be rendered impossible by such a policy. Not the Catholic, with any honesty, for he is a stanch believer in Christian education, and the whole theory of a secular and godless culture is to him an offense tenfold greater than the introduction of a few verses from the Protestant version of the Scriptures. Not even the Jew, for he believes in God, and the great principles of religion, and wants his children trained therein. If any of these parties object to features of our common schools, it is because they are virtually opposed to the entire system. Who, then, does make this revolutionary demand? A few infidels who affect to have no belief in God, and who really have little or no sympathy with our whole system of government. And in deference to the clamor which these men have raised, some men who are good and true have been led to espouse their cause and become champions of absolute sectarianism in the State.
For the State to heed this demand and adopt this policy would be unjust to the pupils of our schools, who are thereby robbed of the only preparation which will qualify them for a true life; unjust to parents, who intrust their children to the State with the expectation that they will receive the best and most needed training; unjust to citizens, who are beguiled into a false belief that the national safety is being secured through a system which proves to be inadequate and delusive; unjust to tax-payers, whose money is exacted for a purpose that is not accomplished and cannot be accomplished by such a method; unjust to teachers, who, in worse condition than the Hebrew slaves under their Egyptian taskmasters, are expected to build up the national edifice strong and stately, and enduring without employing the material and methods which are absolutely necessary to its strength and beauty and permanence. It is to attempt a feat which has never been achieved in the history of the world, and stands without historical precedent. Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, all nations in all ages, have recognized the Supreme Power of their imperfect creeds in their national instruction and in their whole national life. It remains for this favored Republic of the United States, standing on the summit of privilege, with its pure faith and its flaming light, with its knowledge of the true God and its marvelous experience of his saving help, to ignore that God who has lifted the nation to its high pre-eminence, and to flaunt its banner before the world, on which is blazoned in letters of burning shame, the atheistic motto, "No God, No Religion." Let the theory of secularism which we have combated be adopted, and the nation is doomed. Our boasted Public-School System will be smitten with paralysis and perish, as it ought when thus shorn of its strength; the noble institutions, which are the nation's support and pride, will totter to their fall, and the nation itself will be numbered among the buried nationalities of the past.
May a merciful Providence save us from such a fate! Let us be grateful that he has given us so distinguished and successful a history in the past; let us be thankful also that our common schools, permeated, as they have been so largely with the spirit of morality and religion, have contributed so much to make that history illustrious; and let us cherish the faith that he will deliver us from the evils which now menace our nation by giving us wisdom for our guidance, virtue for our support, and an unswerving fidelity to the sacred charge committed to our trust.
Art. VI.—THE ITINERANT MINISTRY OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
In an article on this subject which appeared in the Methodist Quarterly Review for January last, the writer presented, in epitome, the history of the origin and growth of the Itinerant system, and of its various modifications down to the present time. He also set forth the peculiar advantages of the Itineracy, and then endeavored to weigh accurately the evils incident to the system, at the same time ascertaining "the value of any compensations which may exist." Proceeding further in the examination of the question in its relations to the present time, he came to the proposal to remove the limitation, which was reviewed at length. His final conclusions were then affirmed in the following words:
When the proposition was first presented to the mind of the writer several years ago, in connection with the embarrassments of a few Churches, it seemed quite plausible. But after pursuing that course which alone can lead to a safe conclusion, namely, to reread the history of the denomination and submit the theory to unprejudiced analysis, he has been led irresistibly to the conviction that the proposition is impracticable, and that its adoption would prove fatal to the Denomination as an organic unity in harmonious action.
At the close attention was called to a "possible amendment" based on propositions under examination in Australia.
Having carefully followed the subsequent discussions of the subject in the periodicals of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and of other Denominations, the writer resumes the consideration of those portions of his former article to which exceptions have been taken.
No one has yet come forward to attack the Itineracy; neither minister nor layman has recommended a dissolution of the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the substitution of Congregationalism or Independency; nor does any one among us maintain the superior efficiency of a settled ministry on the whole, as it exists in any other body of Christians. Recent history proves, that if any Methodist ministers of greater, or even of less, ability than the average, were " mindful of that country" "they might have had opportunity" to remove thither. Biit many have perceived by reflection, or have determined, as the writer and many of his brethren in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church have bad occasion to do, when approachedfwith reference to a settlement, that where a majority of one can dislodge, and an active and watchful minority soon become a majority, "uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Especially is this true, unless there be a fundamental change of religions belief, as the glorious doctrines of free grace, equally removed from the spurious encouragements of TJniversalism and the frigid inflexibility of Calvinism, could be preached only by sufferance, or with "secret evasion," or "mental reservation."
Not only does no one among us attack the Itineracy, but none profess greater love for it than those who are advocating the removal of all limitation of time from the action of the "appointing power."
In this state of the case, it is necessary to take note of the fact that the Itineracy could not maintain itself. Left to the action of individual ministers and local Churches, it would at once cease. If our connectional principles and machinery were removed, all would fall apart, like beads when the string is broken, or a cluster of grapes when the branches and twigs are cut off. The larger Churches would become independent, and most of the smaller, languish and die. Therefore, as the system impartially regulated could not maintain itself, the ardent praises of the Itineracy which we hear on every side must, as in all cases of the adaptation of means to ends, include approbation of some kind of machinery to make it effective. Since many observations in the leading papers of other Denominations, and in the secular press, show that their editors and correspondents have a vague and imperfect idea of our system of making appointments; and as all proposed amendments are modifications of existing arrangements, we shall at this point delineate the essential features of the present plan.
Method Of Final Adjustment Of Appointments In The Methodist Episcopal Church.
The power and responsibility of stationing the effective ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church inhere in the Bishops or Superintendents elected by the General Conference j such
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power to be exercised in conformity to rules made by the said General Conference, to which the Superintendents are responsible. Theoretically any Bishop has jurisdiction over every appointment at all times, the theory being that the Superintendency is one; practically, by reason of agreement among the Bishops, whichever of their number they may designate at any semi-annual meeting to preside in an ensuing Annual Conference, has special jurisdiction over the appointments in that Conference for one year—or till the semi-annual meeting of the Bishops, subsequent to the adjournment of the Annual Conference at which he presides. The Bishop obtains information from every source, but in most instances chiefly from the Presiding Elders; being in practice an arbitrator among them when they are not a unit in judgment, but having and exercising, according to his final decision, whenever he may think best, the autocratic authority necessary to give stability to the mechanism.
By the usage of the Denomination, the appointments announced at the Conference are for a year. Unless the Bishop shall revise his judgment, "nothing but immorality, insanity, heresy, voluntary withdrawal, disease, or death," can terminate them prior to the expiration of the Conference year. A part, however, of the work of the Bishops is, or may be, done through agents, called Presiding Elders. Presiding Elders, in the early history of the Denomination, had great power. Transfers, prior to 1794, were generally frequent, and the Bishop was not only "absent," but inaccessible, even by letter, for many months. The power given to the Presiding Elder " to change, receive, and suspend Preachers in his District, during the intervals of the Conferences, and in the absence of the Bishop," made him practically a "6uffragan Bishop." But, by the Discipline, he is bound to give the Bishop "when absent all necessary information by letter of the state of his District." With the increase of the number of the Bishops, their assigned residences, and the improved modes of travel and postal and telegraphic communication, Bishop9 are now seldom inaccessible when in the United States, for any great length of time. So that no Presiding Elder, himself an appointee and agent of the Bishop, without giving information ito the Bishop and awaiting his answer, and without a cause