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continual increase in that direction, seems to necessitate some such action. The precise piece of ecclesiastical mechanism that will fit the case has not yet, however, been discovered.
In the Presbyterian Church, the committee on the “Pastoral Relation,” in the report to the General Assembly, in May, 1881, after deploring the number of vacant churches, among other causes of their being in that condition, specifies the following: “A want of system in bringing those who are able and willing to work and the vacant churches together.” To meet this need the committee recommend the following plan : A committee in each Presbytery to prepare a list of the vacant churches and the unemployed ministers," who shall send” the ministers to the vacant churches, and that all unemployed ministers, able for service, who refuse to be placed on the list, and work under the direction of the Presbytery, if not excused, be retired, and so reported to the General Assembly.* This plan approaches very nearly to the system under which the Methodist presiding elders work.
But this persistent seeking of one's own selfish preferences in the settlement of a pastor not only results in the general disadvantage of leaving many churches without a pastor to suffer and to decline, but it often produces unhallowed and pernicious agitations. The choice of a new pastor often imperils the well-being of a church. Divisions and distractions spring up. Said Rev. John Angell James: +
It must be admitted that, on these occasions, our principles as Independents and our practices as Christians have not unfrequently been brought into disrepute. We have been accused of wrangling about a teacher of religion till we have lost all our religion in the affray ; and the state of many congregations proves that the charge is not altogether without foundation.
Again he says:
We carry into the sanctuary and into the church our pride, our self-will, our personal taste. That spirit of mutual submission, brotherly love, and surrender of our own gratification to the good of others, which the word of God enjoins and our profession avows would keep the church always happy and harmonious, and enable it to pass in safety through the most critical circumstances in which it can be placed. Instead of seeking the good of the whole, the feelings of too many of our members may be thus summarily expressed—“I will have my own way."
*" Minutes Gen. Assemb., 1881," p. 547. t"Church Members' Guide," p. 165.
Our itinerant polity, properly worked, will insure against these evils. The spirit which Mr. James recommends as the remedy for the evils incident to the Congregational politymutual submission, the surrender of personal preferences to the greatest good—is the basis of our itinerancy. Both ministers and societies with us waive personal choices, in order that the great ends for which the Church is founded may be more fully accomplished. Is it objected that, under the itinerant polity, churches sometimes receive undesirable ministers? I reply, Do not churches which call and settle their ministers often find themselves mistaken in their choice, and burdened with an undesirable minister whom they cannot easily get rid of? But if a Methodist society gets an undesirable minister, is it not better thus than to be left a year, possibly several years, without any pastor; and can it not, for the general good, be patiently borne for a year, when exchange can be easily effected?
It is also true that a Methodist minister will sometimes have an undesirable society; but that is not so bad as to have no place, and to be obliged to go about the country exhibiting himself and seeking a call. He will certainly bear it, if he be a true servant of God, when he considers it part of an administration for the general good.
What, then, is the conclusion to which we come, as regards the question of Church polity? We learn that the denominations which retain their personal preferences, in deciding the pastorate, do so to the detriment of the general good; and that those who forego their personal preferences, do so to the advantage of the cause at large. It cannot be impertinent to ask, Which is the more Christian: to please ourselves, as ministers and churches, to the injury of the cause of God, or to sacrifice personal preferences for the good of the cause as a whole? And which kind of Church polity recognizes the fundamental principle of the Gospel, that we are “members one of another?”
1. It is very plain, therefore, that the itinerant economy of Methodism, by which its preachers are assigned to their fields of labor, which has occasioned so much criticism, and the other great connectional features of our Church polity are founded upon the most vital principle of God's spiritual kingdom, that
we are “members one of another;" yea, more, our Church polity is deeply rooted in the fundamental race principle, which recognizes the whole human family as “members one of another.” Let this principle be every-where discarded in common life, and the race will not survive one generation ; let it be discarded in the Church of God, and weakness and disintegration must follow.
2. From this discussion we see the logical and the vital relation of our “General Superintendency” to the economy of Methodism, and how incongruous a diocesan episcopacy would be in our peculiar polity.
3. We see, too, the indispensableness of the Presiding Eldership in our Church organization, and especially to the working of our itinerancy. It is not only a legitimate, but a necessary concomitant of our polity-a connecting link, and an administrative factor.
4. In this light, too, we see why our peculiar tenure of Church property, especially the clause required to be put into all the deeds of churches and parsonages, is necessary. It is a wise and legitimate provision for any Church which maintains an itinerant ministry. Without it the ministers could not be stationed. No society which assents to the itinerancy can logically refuse to conform to this condition. The unifying bond that binds us in a common life must include the sanctuary, as well as the individual. The Church property must yield to this self-sacrificing spirit for the good of the whole. The same thing is true of all our connectional institutions and funds, the Book Concerns, the colleges, etc. They must be held by such tenures that they may subserve the general Church.
5. Our system of providing for the superannuated preachers by funds raised from the societies at large is also germane to our peculiar Church economy. Having shared in whatever disadvantages are involved in the itinerancy, for the good of the cause at large, and the societies having reaped the advantages of these self-sacrificing labors, it is fitting that the pecuniary support of the worn-out servants of the Church should be made a common cause.
6. So also all our connectional collections are a part of a great scheme. The collections for Foreign Missions, for Home
Missions, for Church Aid, for Freedmen > Aid, Education, etc., are put before all our people, on the principle that we are “members one of another."
7. The administration of discipline upon ministers by Conferences, rather than by individual societies, as in other denominations, is also based on this principle. An itinerant minister belongs to the Church at large, and is liable to be appointed anywhere.
8. But this peculiar economy cannot endure the inordinate self-seeking, the unscrupulous scheming, the selfish combinations of over-ambitious men, either in the ministry or the laity. These things are foreign to its spirit, and the effect of them can only be ruinous. Every instance of such exhibitions is a breach of good faith with our polity. The germinal center and the animating spirit of the polity of Methodism is self-sacrifice of the individual for the good of the whole. It should be administered on this principle. It can be perpetuated on no other. An inordinate, scheming self-hood will destroy it.
ART. II.-SLAVERY IN THE NORTH. “ WHOSOEVER hateth his brother is a murderer.” But hatred does not always take the form of murder. When it pervades clans or states and culminates in war, the war does not go on to extermination. The fiercest revenge is at last softened, and life is spared on the condition of servitude. This was probably the origin of slavery. But when the condition of slavery was established its ranks were replenished by other means. As the slave could utter no complaint, and his wrongs could have no redress, all manner of crimes were buried in its dark recesses. If Joseph could be taken from a princely family and consigned to slavery, we may know that it covered other cases of greed and revenge, and that there was a place for the slave-trader and the kidnapper; and as it lived on human passion, we need not marvel that it became almost universal. Abraham, in his pastoral life, was ministered to by slaves; and the Israelites, under the code of Moses, continued to have a mild form of slavery. It belonged to the Grecian,
the Egyptian, and the Roman civilizations, and was prevalent, to some extent, in the nations of modern Europe.
In England slavery existed during the Heptarchy, and it was the presence of some fair-haired Saxon children in the slavemarket of Rome that moved Pope Gregory to send ont St. Augustine to convert the rude Britons to Christianity. But under the operation of the feudal system the people of England outgrew slavery without being committed against it; and when the American colonies were being settled she had nearly a monopoly of the African slave-trade, and took care that her colonies were abundantly supplied with slaves. But it must be said that she acted only in conformity with the usages of those times. For many generations the Mohammedan States of Northern Africa were in the habit of making slaves of all Christians. They plundered the northern shores of the Mediterranean, and carried their captives-men, women, and children — to the slave-market; and when, in 1537, Charles V. made his memorable descent on these pirates, he released twenty thousand Christian slaves; and, to make the balances something like even, he carried back with him about half that number of Mohammedans who were doomed for life to the galleys of Italy, Spain, and Malta.
There were no scruples against slavery in England, and, from the reign of Queen Anne, the slave-trade was among the most cherished interests of the government. In June, 1712, the queen, in her speech from the throne, took great glory to her administration, that in the treaty of Utrecht she had been able to secure the right of furnishing Negroes to the Spanish West Indies for the terın of thirty years. Then, and many years later, there was no public opinion against slavery; and, at the planting of the colonies, Negroes were so persistently thrust upon them as to sometimes cause complaint. Hence, the colonists were familiarized with slavery from their first settlement, and it was regarded as quite in the natural order of things, not only to buy Negroes, as being heathen, but to enslave Indians taken in “lawful warres.” If Abraham kept servants who were bought with money from the stranger, and the Old Testament Scriptures presented examples of captives who were made "hewers of wood and drawers of water,” the New England Puritans, at least, could have no scruples about