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services of their son, and after learning from them that he was not connected with any church, and had been, during the latter part of his life somewhat partial to the Methodists, I consented to do so. In a few days after the funeral, I was informed by one of our leading members, that Mr. Bolles had complained to him of my having entered ecclesiastical territory over which he claimed jurisdiction, and that some redress or explanation from me to him, would be expected; Mr. Bolles considering that I should not have attended the funeral as a clergyman, but that he should have been called upon, because, the deceased had a sister who was a member of his Church. Not being able to peceive any just ground of complaint, and not being conscious of having done any wrong, I did not, of course, offer any explanation or apology to the Rev. Gentleman.
Sedulously endeavoring to avoid entering upon any ground which might be deemed likely to disturb the friendly intercourse between the different churches of the town, or give rise to any discussion among individuals of different denominations, I determined to direct my efforts towards doing good to the souls of men, by observing strictly that form of christianity which is based upon the principle of kindness and good will to all mankind: and inasmuch as my Sabbath evening services were attended by many of the members of other churches, I selected, as the subject of my discourses, that portion of christian theology which embraces the evidences of its divinity; knowing that this was ground upon which none of us held dissimilar views or opinions. While in the pursuance of this plan the prospects of our Church were much brightened, and a large addition was made to us in membership; some of whom had been communicants in the Protestant Episcopal Church. These additions to our number were not made, however, by any proselyting efforts of mine, as those who joined us are willing to testify.
In the latter part of December 1811, an individual who was a pew holder in our Church, and one who had not until very recently attended our services, came to my study and said to me that he desired information relative to our organization. He also, added, that he was an admirer of our spirit and order of worship, but being ignorant of our organization and having been told that it was irregular, he requested information in relation to it. Knowing that he was a pew holder in our Church-that himself and family had regularly attended our service since the opening of our house, &c.—that none of them were members of either of the Churches in the town, I gave him such information as I could at the moment, and from various books before him he took, for perusal at home, Dr. Bangs' work on “An Original Church of Christ” and a copy of our discipline.
Tract No. 4, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, was at this
time, industriously circulated in various parts of the village, (though a few copies had been issued at a much earlier date,) and considerable excitement pervaded the religious part of the community in reference to this attack upon the Methodists. One of the members of our Church meeting Mr. Bolles in the street, inquired of him why it was that he had thus assailed us, and, what provocation had been given him? likewise saying to him, that we had under consideration an intended defense. Mr. Bolles to this, replied, "that he should deprecate any defense upon our part,” and promised, voluntarily, “that from him there should be no further cause of offense; that he had done what he had, because I had put in circulation, not among my people, but among the members of his Church that scurrilous work of Dr. Bangs.” The brother came directly to me, and stating the case, wished to know the truth of my being the aggressor in this matter. I informed him that I had only one copy of the work referred to, and that I had lent that one copy to only one person, the individual spoken of in the preceding paragraph. I then related the circumstances under which he took it. Thinking that if this was looked upon as an offense I would remove the cause, I sought as early as possible an interview with the borrower of the work. I stated to him that though the book was asked for by him, and given to him by me, under the purest motives, yet as Mr. Bolles was offended in consequence, I would like to have it returned. The gentleman much surprised, replied, "that he could not conceive how Mr. Bolles should be offended, inasmuch as he never had any connection with his Church, and was not a member of his congregation.”. Subsequently to this, he informed me, that he had made the same statement to Mr. Bolles, and that Mr. Bolles then commended my act, and said, “I had done no more than the duty of a chris. tian minister to instruct his own people, and that the reason of his alluding to it in the conversation with one of our members, was, that he was at a loss for an off-set to the charge of his circulating tract No. 4."
Following these occurrences, came the reading by Mr. B. to his congregation, on Sabbath evenings, of Dr. Chapman's Sermons“ upon the Ministry and Doctrines of the Protestant Episcopal Church,”-in which sermons the ordination and consequently the sacraments of our Church are denounced as spurious. A course of sermons on the constitution, government and doctrines of the Presbyterian Church were about this time announced at the Presbyterian house, but since I learn were not delivered. It was, therefore, concluded that something from our pulpit on Methodism, should be added to the list of subjects claiming the attention of community. It was my intention, and I so stated to my people in reply, to speak of church government in the proper
place in my course of Sermons on Christian Theology; when I should endeavor to show, that we were a true branch of the true Church according to Scripture and primitive usage. I preferred to present this in the regular course, though it might be a little
a out of time, as by so doing I should avoid even the appearance of hostility and could not, possibly, be any ground for complaint. These events bring our history up to June 1842.
In June '42, an additional difficulty between Mr. Bolles and myself seems to have been added to the existing number. During this month, the wife of one of our merchants was considered dangerously ill, and she requested to see me. Though not a member of our Church, yet, as many of her relatives were, and as my family had received many tokens of her kindness during our affliction, I felt under peculiar obligation to visit her, and accordingly, accompanied the messenger-her brother-in-law-to her dwelling. I found her anxiously inquiring "what must I do to be saved ?" I conversed and prayed with her, and at her own request I visited her quite regularly and almost daily to the time of her death. She found peace in believing on the Lord Jesus; received the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; had her name entered as a member of our Church, and died in the possession of a reasonable hope, of a glorious immortality. I allude to this case, because it was made the subject of many remarks among Mr. Bolles' people and the ground of complaint by Mr. Bấnot to me, but to the community for the reason that, as some part of her life she had attended service at the Protestant Episcopal Church, therefore Mr. B. considered it wrong in me to comply with her request; advancing the preposterous idea that because individuals occasionally attend service at St. James' Church, they are, by virtue of such occasional attendance, bona fide Churchmen, and if a minister of the "regular succession" cannot be obtained, or is not desired to visit them when in sickness or affiction, or their mortal remains are about to be consigned to the earth from whence all came, they must be sick and die and be buried "without the benefit of clergy!"
At this period of our history, various stories of a personal character, allied in nature to the party slang of political strife, were circulated. They aimed, not at my moral character, but at my qualifications, and had they been believed would have destroyed my influence as a clergyman. In
instance where an effort was made to trace them to their origin, they were found to have emerged from the foggy ground occupied by the successional" ranks. At this stage, a package of Tract No. 5, of “Tracts for the People" by the Protestant Episcopal Church, was, by Mr. Bolles' direction, received at the Book Store of this village and there ordered for sale or gratuitous distribution; the character of which will hereafter be shown. The official members of our
Church becoming acquainted with these facts, at the next meeting, after full deliberation and consultation, came to the conclusion, that it was time for us to act on the defensive; and unan, imously passed a resolution, requesting me to deliver a few discourses on the subject of our Church organization. After receive ing this request, which was sent to me by the Secretary of the meeting, I considered it, not only right, but under all the circumstances my bounden duty to comply. In doing this I exercised no other power than that which Mr. Bolles had done to his congregation some months previous. Accordingly, on the next Sabbath I read to my congregation the communication addressed to me from the officers of our Church, and stated, that on the following Sabbath day, by the will of Providence, I would commence my discourses on the subject. I invited all who wished to hear both sides of the question to attend; as much had been said against us, I wished all to hear what could be said in our fa
I preached four discourses, which were confined to an examination of the argument by which our assailants had sought to show that we were not a Church—had no ministry, no sacraments—with what success, those who were present can best judge. If I did not convince my audience, I satisfied myself, that according to the claim now set up by the Protestant Episcopalians as to what was essential to the existence of a Church, there was not now, nor had there been for many centuries any true Church on earth. These discourses were suspended in consequence of the meeting of our annual Conference, which
prevented my giving any further attention to the subject until its close.
During the session of the Conference, a letter was brought to my house from Mr. Bolles, complaining of the course I had taken, and charging me with having made an attack upon his church without any provocation or cause.
A letter of this character after such a series of aggressions on
I could not but regard as extremely unjust and withal impertinent. I replied to it, not under excited feelings as Mr. B. would have the people believe, nor in a way in which I exhibited much sensitiveness upon the subject of Episcopacy, but with that plainness which I deemed the letter, under the circumstances demanded. These circumstances, it is not expected those who are strangers to the general condition of affairs here, can appreciate. In that letter I alluded to a variety of facts, with which I knew Mr. Bolles was familiar, in order to show him that I was not the aggressor; and as he had expressed a desire to discuss the merits of Protestant and Methodist Episcopacy with me, I then declared my willingness to enter upon the discussion, provided we could settle the preliminary questions. After a number of weeks silence, on the part of Mr. Bolles, I
received from him a very lengthy epistle, being about eight sheets. This epistle, though represented in Mr. B's work as his reply to me, is not as there published. In the work it has received various amendments and alterations, and contains about twenty additional pages. The greater part of this according to Mr. Bolles' acknowledgement, had no connection with the subject of his first letter, but was, in fact, a letter upon the argument of Episcopacy. Not being willing to enter upon the discussion of so grave and momentous matter, without first settling the modus operandi, by which equal privileges should be secured to both parties, I briefly replied to that part relating to personal points at issue, and declined making any comment upon the other portions until the rules to be observed for discussion were fully settled : assigning as one reason why I should decline until there could be such a settlement of rules, that it was evident, there must be a difference between a correspondence of a private character and that prepared for the public.
Again several weeks passed over in silence. Then from various quarters came reports, that Mr. Bolles was about to publish the correspondence between us, and that I had fully and entirely refused to discuss the question of Episcopacy. My letters to Mr. Bolles were shown to different persons in the village, read in social circles, and subjected to the vilest species of criticism. They were read by Mr. Bolles to various individuals and thus the sanctity of private correspondence invaded.
I again wrote a short letter to Mr. Bolles, saying that I was ready to proceed in the discussion as soon as the preliminary matter could be arranged. In that letter I requested to have certain questions answered which I had proposed in the one previous. In a few days I received an answer from Mr. Bolles, in which no mention whatever is made of the questions presented by me: and from this letter for the first time did I learn from him his intention to publish what he chose to denominate, our correspondence. In this letter he stated that the work was nearly ready for the press, and that my letters would be sent me in proof sheet for typographical correction; but that no other replies than such as I had already made to him would be permitted to appear in the work. I had, therefore, but one more duty to myself to perform, which was that of protesting against the course Mr. B. had adopted, and decidedly declining in any way to have any thing to do with the work. "In this, my last reply to Mr. Bolles, I simply made my objections, but at the same time expressed an entire willingness to join him in the work, provided each should have equal opportunities in preparing and arranging it, with an express design for publication. This letter Mr. B. has seen fit not to incorporate in his work.
Thus ended the correspondence between us. A copy of my first