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alike on doctrinal and economical questions; and their separation from persons with whom they cannot agree, and their union with those of similar sentiments, ought to end all strife and induce a state of peace. A calm, christian, and argumentative statement of their views, is, no doubt, allowable and proper in those who conscientiously think their own opinions of divine truth to be right, and those of others erroneous; but they can have no authority to violate the charity, and brotherly unity inculcated by the gospel itself, for the sake of their own sectarian and party views. This is much lost sight of; and the terms religion, Christianity, the gospel, and church, mean, in the vocabulary of most persons, no other than their own sect and its little and limited concerns. We beg to remind all such that there is a Christianity of the Bible which refuses to be screwed down to sectarian purposes, and speaks to all men alike. The Christian profession, in all its varieties, ought to rest on this general truth; and if any particular section of the church cannot bear its light, the light ought not to be turned into darkness for the sake of party interests, but those interests ought to be abandoned for the sake of the “common salvation.”
The questions in dispute amongst us have been too much debated as exclusively Connexional and Methodistic. Hence appeals are constantly being made to this and the other Rule of the Body, by both parties, one in the character of plaintiff, and the other of defendant. Whilst this has been going on, the lessons of the scriptures have been forgotten, the interests of general Christianity merged, and the effects on the destinies of the universal church passed over. But it ought to be recollected that the Wesleyan Societies are a part of the Christianity of this nation and of the world; and, consequently, that which affects the one must affect the other. We are not amongst the number of those who believe that one section of the true church is benefited by the depression and ruin of the others. Neither can we bring ourselves to admit, that the divisions of Christianity into little sections and parties can advance the good of the whole. These divisions themselves originate in some evil, and evil cannot produce good. No doubt one of the greatest banes of the Christian world has been its schisms and sectarian spirit. The separation of the parties is not the only mischief; but a spirit of exclusiveness, jealousy animosity, and rivalry is generated, which scarcely ever is extinguished. The energies of Christianity have long been expended in broils and civil wars, instead of being put forth in opposition to sin, and in seeking the conversion of heathen and other nations. An abstraction of all the volumes which have been written in controversy on the litigated points of party debate, would leave our theological literature extremely meagre. Had the learning, the intellect, the time, and the money which have been expended in this more than useless gladiatorship, been applied to the useful purposes of ameliorating the state of the world, communicating the benefits of education, and preaching the gospel, they would have led to the greatly improved, and extensively Christianized state of mankind. The belligerent parties agreed to suspend hostilities for a season in this country, and the aspect of affairs, and, the hopes excited, were truly cheering. A retrogression has since then taken place, the sectarian spirit has again inflated itself, the harsh notes of the religious war whoop are heard in every quarter, and the militant church seems to be arming herself at every point, not to take the field against the common foe, but to expend her resources and heroism in domestic hostilities. It was imagined by many able and charitable men, that elements of wisdom and piety were in active operation which would speedily neutralize, and, indeed, destroy illiberality of spirit and lead the universal church to take her stand on the great and sublime principles and schemes of the gospel. These gentlemen must have been greatly disappointed. Christians are evidently shrivelling themselves up again to the narrow dimensions of party, and the zeal which now gains favour is, the fire of invective, and the dogmatism of bigotry. It seems as if God must send another dispensation of religion to redeem the Christian. Not, indeed, tó rectify its truths, add to its grace, or prepare a richer provision for man, but to purify its profession, and raise its disciples from their littleness, to an elevation with its grand designs. The present state of the Wesleyan Body has grieved us deeply on its own account, but more especially as it stands connected with general Christianity in the world. We were of the number of those who indulged the fond hope that our Connexion, in conjunction with other churches, having passed the line of sectarian jealousy, as well as internal strife, would, in united strength, march forward to accomplish the predicted purposes of the gospel. We are not now without hope; but that hope is mixed with fear and apprehension. Our disgraceful contentions must greatly impede the general cause of Christ, not merely by the amount of injury suffered by ourselves ; but, also, by weakening the moral impression of religion on the world, and heightening the universal commotion existing through the churches of Christendom.
It would be useless to hide from ourselves the painful fact that this, and all similar divisions, must greatly tend to weaken our power of general usefulness. We are not referring to the supply of pecuniary means for carrying on our Missionary operations; these may be forthcoming as amply as before ; but the mischief we contemplate, is spiritual and religious. Suppose the separatists in any of our large towns, had continued to give a pious and faithful support to the cause of God amongst us in their families, in their neighbourhood, in the church, and in the world and this pious influence had been perpetuated for ages to come, by their descendents; who does not perceive that the good resulting must have been incalculably great. But the positive loss of this influence is not the whole of the case: a spirit of strife and debate has been created which'must tend greatly to draw the attention of both preachers and people to topics other than those connected with the spread of the gospel and the glory of God. Indeed, these effects begin to appear already in various ways. The Connexion had lived down the bitterness of spirit created by the New Connexion division; but already our contentions have awakened and renewed the hostile zeal of that party; and, in no measured terms, they have again come forward to assail the body, heighten the public impression
against us, and aid to the utmost of their power and not always in the most honourable manner-our present enemies, in producing confusion and separation.
In our own Societies the mischief cannot but be great, in drawing the attentior of the people to points of unprofitable disputation, enervating their piety, fanning an unholy zeal, leading their thoughts into new channels, and damping the ardour of their love to God and the souls of men. Then the reflex and indirect effect of all this must be felt through the great Missionary department; and, in consequence, through the world. The agitators glory (!) in having thrown an indefinite quantum of odium on our common Christianity; in heightening and exasperating the spirit of party; in removing the different sects to a greater distance from each other; in opening old wounds and making new incisions in the body of Christ; in raising up another hostile sect against the Connexion which led them into the fold of Christ; in producing numerous evils in the Societies they have left, and in doing all in their power to stop the progress of Christianity, as connected with us, through the world. We know not how they contemplate these consequences; but to us they would be most appalling; and, as it is, they are the cause of unfeigned grief and sorrow.
2.-The churches mentioned in the New Testament are spoken of as sanctified, and their members addressed as saints. If these terms do not describe the experimental and separate state of every individual of the churches, they are significant of the profession itself, and teach as fully that all such persons ought to seek after holiness. In his address to the Romans, St. Paul says—“ To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” In his two Epistles to the Corinthians we find the same Apostle recognising the same character. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, both their's and ours.” “ Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timnothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints, which are in all Achaia.” We have similar expressions in the other Epistles. To the Ephesians—“to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” To the Phillippians" to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Phillippi, with the bishops and deacons.” To the Colossians "to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ Jesus which are in Collosse.” St. Peter says of the general church-“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light : which, in time past, were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Not merely on the ground of its separation from the world, its baptismal engagements, and professed consecration to God; but, more especially, in virtue of its redemption by Christ-its adoption of his holy laws as the rule of experience and faith-its becoming the “ temple of the Holy Ghost,” and the family and house of God, the “salt of the earth,” as well as its enabling the members to “make their calling and election sure,”-the church is a spiritual and holy communion. By their professions, and the objects they avowedly propose, all our members are pledged to observe the rule of purity and holiness. They are engaged to this as it respects their own personal conduct; and equally so as regards the general community. 'Holiness is a fundamental law of Christianity. It is the rule on which God made man in his own image; it is the law on which he was banished from paradise after the transgression; it is the basis of redemption; it enters into the entire method of our salvation by faith, and sanctification by the Spirit; it is the primary element of all religious feeling, experience, and life; it is “the first and great commandment”o the new dispensation : it is “the bond of perfectness” in the church itself, and without it there can be no happiness on earth or in heaven. Besides, the spirit, habit, and fruits of holiness are not merely the orna. ment and glory of Christians, personally, but the strength of the Christian cause. Men are awakened and attracted to Christianity, not so much by its abstract truths finding their way to their understandings, as by its mercy, benevolence, and purity arresting their attention and impressing their consciences and hearts. When the church, embracing the entire scheme of redemption, passes from its present low and grovelling state of attainment, into the fulness of the grace of Christ, the perfection of Christian love, and the life and power of a state of elevated sanctity, then her interests will be most effectually supported, and “the world will be filled with the knowledge and glory of God.”
As this spirit and state of Christian holiness is of much more value to the cause of Christ than any thing else, it follows that those who do any thing detrimental to the purity of the church are infringing its essential laws, injuring its best interests, and committing most grievous sin against the glory of its founder. Whether the agitators who are now systematically engaged in their vocation, are acting in conformity with the law of holiness, and promoting the sanctification of the church, and its fitness for heaven, let our readers judge. When a minister is appointed to any place, he feels it binding on his conscience, as a faithful steward, to warn his flock of the dangers of sin -to set before them the grace of Christ-to exhort and invite them to embrace the promises—to attend diligently to the means of grace, and guard against a worldly spiritto avoid the indulgence of angry, malevolent, and impure passions—and also, to use the utmost prudence and caution in his own conversation and spirit, lest he should be the means of exciting any wrong feeling, or alluring souls astray. When he has done his best, he has generally to mourn the small amount of his success, and the predominance of evil. How does the agitator proceed in his work? Does he guard against calling up unhallowed feelings ?-No; he selects topics -- composes his lecture - employs all the arts of eloquence - culls the language for epithets — puts all the powers of his mind in requisition, and assumes a vehemence of gesture, manner, and voice, purposely to enfuriate the people, rouse their ire, kindle their wrath, and call them to give utterance to an indignant spirit. They may say their cause is holy, and the end justifies the means. We have only one reply to make; it is, a spiritualand holy cause can only be promoted by spiritual and holy means. It might as well be affirmed that the boasted apostles of the church of Rome were serving the interests of religion when they rode to their victories in the midst of the desolations of war, as that these men are promoting the cause of Christ and christian holiness, by calling up the whirlwind of passion, and riding in triumph in the storm. It is utterly impossible for these anarchists to succeed, without greatly weakening the strength, and sullying the beauties of the piety existing in the Societies they visit. At their door, will be all the sin which has been occasioned by this unholy strife. To their account, will be charged all the influence lost by religion-all her impaired strength to do good—and also, all the souls which will perish eternally. It is in vain to attempt to evade this point; multitudes who were in the church will be driven from it, to return no more; many enjoying religion will lose its savour and power; inquirers, and those who were seeking the Lord, will be altogether put out of the way; gospel-hardened sinners will be confirmed in their sins; infidels will be excited to blasphème; the gay and secular world will laugh and despise ; and the interests of our general Christianity will suffer a noxious blight.
We shudder whilst we think of a knot of agitators attempting, by all the means in their power, to find out the weak and disaffected members in particular Societies, and through their irstrumentality burrow their way. They enter with the torch of discord flaming in their hand, and instantly set themselves to the task of throwing the whole Society into a blaze. They succeed. 'A division is effected, and in the place of praise, prayer, brotherly affection, and kind co-operation in the house of God-debate, strife, and the war of words commence. The chapel is des rted; the ministry en feebled ; the public scandalized and deterred from attending; old and respectable families are broken up, part remaining and part gone; schools are scattered; the young people engaged in teaching, have taken fire at the sound of liberty, and joined with open mouth in the yell after tyrants, whilst the poor lambs of the flock flee with consternation, or are deliberately given up to the devouring wolf.
When this havoc and ruin is accomplished, the demon agitator walks over the field of desolation with an air of exultation-issues his bulletins to announce his success-spirits forward his legions to new assaults—and, as he succeeds in his career of destruction, triumphs in the departed strength, beauty, and glory of the church as a work of God. The heartless blasphemy of this assumption is most appalling. God never works two ways which lie in opposite directions. If he promotes the cause of truth, happiness, and salvation, by such methods as are taught in his own word, he cannot do so by those adopted by the Association ; for they are as opposed to each other as the antipodes of the earth. If he enlightens, comforts, and sanctifies his church, by a ministry and ordinances founded on the mercy, grace, and provisions of the gospel, then he cannot do so by the agency of agitation ; for they are as great a contrast to each other as the benevolence and holiness of God, and the selfish malevolence of fallen man. No; if there be truth in the Bible—if the spirit, example, and life of our Saviour exhibit the Divine purity—if the doctrines and precepts he taught, speak in plain and unequivocal language the will of God-if the end of redemption is to save us from all sin--if the fruits of the spirit are “love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance"-if the kingdom of Christ is “ no of this
world,” but “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”--then these men who are adopting a course as opposite to all this as “ Christ and Belial,” stand cop victed of a gross, palpable, and flagrant attempt to pollute and defile our Christianity itself.
3.-The Christian church is represented as the House and FAMILY of God. This is often and variously stated. “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” “But in a great house there are rot only vessels of goid and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.” “But Christ as a Son over his own house, whose hvuse are we, if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” “Having a great High Priest over the house of God.” “ For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel.” “Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” “For this cause, I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” In exact agreement with these representations, is the correlative titles of children of God, and brethren,
-"And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” “For ye are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus." “: Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son ; and if a son, then an heir of God, through Christ.” “What manner of love hath the Father bestowed upon us, that we should be called sons of God !” “But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” “ I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.” But it is unnecessary to multiply quotations, when it must be in the recollection of every reader of the New Testament that the common appellation given to Christians when their relation to each other is mentioned, is that of brethren.
One of the obvious obligations arising out of the Christian relation to God, as members of his house and family, is to manifest the spirit of his children, to obey his will, and cautiously to guard against a behaviour which may dishonour his name. We have no doubt but the members of the Association, together with their agents of agitation, consider themselves as children and members of the house and family of God, and for any thing which has bitherto been stated, they allow the Wesleyan Societies to be a part of the same family. If they have doubts on this point, and imagine that we are I'urks, heathens, or infidels, then, their duty is not to reform our polity, but to seek the conversion of our souls. We take their admission, and assume that, previously to the divisions occasioned by this confusion, the Wesleyan Societies were a part of the household of God. Now, allowing this, we should be glad to know what warrant or right any one part of the family can have to wage war against another, and commence a regular system of operations for the purpose of producing discord and di. vision? If the anarchists believe, that the Connexion is really deceived that it has no ground for the claim of being of “the household of faith "'--that its history and establishment have nothing Christian and Divine connected with them—that there are no marks and evidences of a work of God in the union of converted men, in the acknowledgment of the faith-that the professions made of the attainment of a state of grace, the joys of salvation, the peace of God, and Christian sanctification, by such great nuinbers, is all a piece of hypocrisy--that the apparent fruits of the spirit manifesting them. selves in active duty, self-denial, suffering, and dying triumphs, are the pretences of persons either deceived themselves or attempting io deceive others—we say, if these are the views of the party, then their duty is not to agitate, but to evangelize. If the Wesleyan faith is falsehood, its economy anti-christian, its discipleship a union of knaves and infidels, its services and ordinances superstitious, its designs popish, and its professors in a state of dangerous sin, and exposure to ruin and condemnation—then it is the duty of the Warren party to exercise towards them the mercy and pity of the gospel, and attempt by all means to enlighten and convert them. If the Association will appropriate its funds for this purpose, and Dr. Warren, John Gordon, David Rowland, and their coadjutors will undertake a mission to rectify the theology of the Connexion, teach a more safe and scriptural way of salvation, provide richer ordinances for the edification of the people, and, after erecting the house of God on its true foundation, conduct the poor ignorant and outcast Methodists safely within its sacred precincts, feed them with the “strong meat” of the gospel, we promise to give to their mission our attentive consideration and docile obedience. Let them lay aside their knighterrantry and give themselves to this duty, and we shall then understand the footing on