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that the Protestant Churches at that time, had given up such a claim as indefensible; a dogma which they were ashamed to sup port. Whether this obvious misconstruction of the author's sen. timent-which few would have the means of correcting, it being found in a work out of print-is attributable to stupidity or design, is not for me to settle. One thing, however, is certain, a cause that needs such advocacy must be feeble indeed.
. Instead of claiming for our Church polity a divine right, (though we claim to have the divine sanction,) we affirm, that the scrip tures contain no form of Church Government made binding by the command of God upon all people, in all ages, so that without the observance of certain formularies and specific consecrations, there can be no Church, no valid ministry, and sacraments. We repel such usurpations as savoring of Rome-as superstitions that had their origin in the darkest and most corrupt period of the Church. Such is the testimony, and all the testimony that Mr. B. introduces to prove, that we claim a high Church Episcopacy; on which he says, that with such testimony "there can be no mistake about the claims of this denomination to the divine right and institution of Diocesan Episcopacy!"
I think it must be plain to the reader, that however, skeptical Mr. B. is upon some points-and points, too, which are, clearly, matters of fact, he has the faculty of being remarkably credu. lous and very easily satisfied without evidence where it is con venient for his cause to be so. And, as if conscious of his perfect failure here, instead of proceeding to the third question, and testing the validity of our claim, he virtually admits the untenableness of his position, or, at least, his dissatisfaction with the case, by abruptly leaving it at this stage and commencing again on a different issue. Before, however, he proceeds he finds it convenient to make an assertion and propose a question. This assertion is as follows, "even now the Episcopacy of the Methodists in this country, is entirely repudiated by the Methodists in Eng land; so much so that when the Canadian Methodists, a few years since, were admitted into union with the English Wesley ans, it was made an express condition that they should lay down their assumed Episcopal ordination, as derived from the American Methodists." The most charitable construction that can be placed on this remarkable assertion, is, great ignorance upon the part of the Rector, of the subject upon which he has undertak en to write. One is at a loss to know of which he is the most worthy, our pity or our contempt. The assertions here made, are not only untrue, but, in the highest degree absurd. To what standard work of the Methodists in England-to what act of their Conference, will he refer, as proof that they reject the or dination of our Ministers as invalid? We have, as will be shown hereafter, not only the unsolicited approval of their leading di
vines, but a formal sanction by their conference in the deputation and circular letters which they regularly send to our General Conference. Our ministers are recognized and received as ministers there, and theirs as such with us. By what authority then, does Mr. B. assert, that "the English Methodists repudiate our ordination?"* Equally false is it, that the English Wesleyans required any such express condition of the Canadian Methodists as Mr. Bolles asserts. At the time the Canadian preachers united with the British Conference, the British Wesleyan connexion had not introduced the practice of ordaining their preachers at all, and, therefore, could not have required a re-ordination of their Canadian brethren. They now ordain by the imposition of hands, and do not claim any but a Presbyterial ordination. They acted upon the principle so clearly stated and proved by Archbishop Whately, that every Church or Society of Christians have a right to create whatever officers their circumstances may require. What confidence is to be placed in the declaration of a man who makes assertions so foreign to the truth? And these are made at the opening of the case, when it is expected that being cool and collected a man will be cautious in his statements. What may we not look for when he comes to argument and application? The question proposed by Mr. B. is, "where did the Methodists in this country obtain the Episcopacy? If he means by this, such an Episcopacy as he claims for the Protestant E.
*That the reader may have some evidence of the official recognition of our Episcopacy by the English Methodists, I give one out of many similar instances. In the British Minutes for the year 1802, p. 77, is the following entry: “The Rev. John Emory, having been introduced to the Conference as the accredited Representative in our Body of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America, presented a letter from that Conference, and gave an interesting and encouraging statement of the prosperity of the work of God in the United States; which account the Conference received with much satisfaction, and unanimously agreed to the fol lowing resolutions on the occasion." Here it will be seen that our delegate was introduced to the British Conference, by the Rev. Jabez Bunting, its President, "as the accredited Representative of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America," and the entry made by their Secretary, the Rev. Robert Newton. And by this acknowleg. ment we are recognized as a part of their body. In the Minutes of their Conference for 1823, p. 49, is the following question and answer: "Question X, Who is appointed the representative to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States of America, to be held in Balti more, on the first of May, 1824? Answer, RICHARD REECE." In all their Circulars to us there is the same recognition, being addressed to the General Superintendents of the Methodist Episcopal Church," At the British Conference above referred to the Rev. Mr. Emory, our delegate, was called upon to preach before that body of ministers, and his sernion was published in their magazine. After reading these, and a multitude of similar instances of recog nition by the English Methodists, as recorded on their Journals, the public will be prepared to judge of the extent and accuracy of Mr. B's. knowledge of the subject on which he has undertaken to write.
Church, I answer, that having never claimed to possess such an Episcopacy, we, of course, are excused from showing where we obtained it. If he means, as I suppose he does, where did the Methodists in this country obtain the right of ordination? I answer, we obtained it where God originally placed it, with the people and the body of Presbyters. From them we received it in 'regular order and succession." To which office all true ministers are called, as was St. Paul by the Great and only Head of the Church, in evidence of which souls are miraculously conver ted as seals of their commission. All which we think, is susceptible of the clearest proof from the Scriptures and ecclesiastical writers of the most distinguished celebrity. We think, too, that an Episcopacy or an Episcopal form of Church Government is perfectly consistent with the admission, that Bishops and Presbyters were primarily and inherently the same order.
Mr. B. thinks "it would be sufficient to show, under ordinary circumstances, that John Wesley never had the Episcopacy that is, I suppose he means, never was a Scriptural Episcopos; or, in other words, never had a Scriptural right to ordain. No doubt this would be enough, either under ordinary, or extraordi nary circumstances, for this is the gist of the controversy--the very hinge of the whole matter between Methodists and high Churchmen-the true and only proper issue that should be made in investigating our claims; had or had not Mr. Wesley and the Presbyters associated with him a Scriptural right to ordain? My only regret is, that having thus approached the true issue be tween us, the Rev. Gentleman did not think that circumstances would warrant a test of his power here. When he shall meet our claims upon this issue he will be considered, at least in settling preliminaries, an honorable disputant. And when he has sustained such an issue, Methodists will admit the invalidity of their ordination; and no doubt seek, without delay, the true sacraments in the succession of Rome. For the Rector must not suppose that by demolishing presbyterial ordination, he will secure the accession of the Methodists to the Protestant Episcopal Church. We claim, that success on such an issue will be death to themselves. By such a stroke he will perform a suicidal act upon his own Church; and this being known to them, full well, the law of self preservation, no doubt, will prevent the press. ing of this point. Should this, however, be sustained to our satisfaction, we shall seek the true ordinances of the Gospel, not in the channel of Henry the VIII, but direct from the Seven Hills! Mr. B. thinks the circumstances are so extraordinary, it would not be convenient to abide this his second and true issue. He seems to have written his "examination into the claims of Meth odist Episcopacy," without any definite plan, except to make as many hits as possible, and with how much justice he makes them
the reader must decide; hence, the abruptness with which he leaves one position for another, as though he was not conscious of the danger of his situation until he reaches the very brow of the precipice. Discovering, no doubt, both the danger and the labor which his second issue would impose upon him, he proceeds to make up a third, assigning as a reason, that he had " ber of curious and important documents which he wished to introduce to the notice of the reader." Hence the importance of an issue that will suit the matter in hand, and give to it not only an appearance of relevancy but a seeming fitness and necessity in its introduction. Verily this, to say the least, is a novel way of investigating claims-very much resembling that of a Clergyman's finding his text after his Sermon is prepared, or a Commentator looking up a book to suit an already written exposition. If I mistake not it will be found not unlike the school-boy, who, finding himself likely to be worsted in an honorable issue, that would truly test the strength of the two parties, leaves the contest in this form, to renew it in the distance with such missiles as may for the time disfigure though not subdue his opponent, and, which, in the end, will bring to the assailant mortification and disgrace.
The third issue made by Mr. B. is thus stated- we have no good and sufficent reason to believe, that Mr. John Wesley ever intended to ordain Dr. Coke a Bishop." If he uses the term "Bishop," in the high Church sense, and, by "good and sufficient reason, means such as will satisfy a high Churchman, then he is perfectly safe in this issue; for the reason, that Mr. Wesley never professed to have done such an act. Methodists never claimed, that Mr. Wesley ever intended or pretended to ordain Dr. Coke or any other man a bishop, in the prelatical sense of the term. It would be the veriest folly for Mr. B. or any one else, to attempt to show, that Mr. Wesley never held nor acted on such an intention. He says, indeed, that though there may be some evidence" of this, yet it will be made to appear, that there is considerable doubt about their being "good and sufficient reason" to believe, that he ever intended thus to ordain Dr. Coke. Now I venture to go in advance of the Rector, and affirm, that there is no evidence that Mr. Wesley either did or intended to do any such thing. This, however, may not be the sense in which Mr. B. wishes to be understood. If he designs to show (as it must be his design, else his position is as ridiculous as can well be conceived,) that there is no good and sufficient reason to believe that Mr Wesley ever intended to ordain Dr. Coke to the Episcopal office under the name of superintendent, then I join issue with him on this point. Though I would state to the reader that this issue affects in no way the validity of our ordination. So that its final result has no connection with "the claims of
Methodist Episcopacy." Hence a more appropriate title to this portion of Mr. B's work would have been, "the claims of Dr. Coke to an ordination by Mr. Wesley as Superintendent over the American Methodists." If I fail then to shake the "Quod erat demonstrandum" of Mr. Bolles, and it should be clearly and indisputably proved that Dr. Coke came here simply as a presbyter of the Church of England, without any ordination by Mr. Wesley, the subject of our Episcopacy remains untouched. The ordeal which Mr. B. has instituted being designed to test a different matter our ordinations remain unscathed by its fires. This is apparent from the fact, that Mr. Asbury was unanimously chosen by the General Conference, which is the chief Synod of our Church, to exercise Episcopal powers as General Superintendent, and by the unanimous voice of this Synod, or Conference, he was ordained first a Deacon, then an Elder, and then a Superintendent; by Dr. Coke, a presbyter of the Church of England, and Richard Whatcoat, and Thomas Vasey-who had been ordained presbyters by Mr. Wesley, Dr. Coke and Mr. Creighton, all presbyters of the English Church, with the assistance of Mr. Otterbine, a presbyter of the German Reformed Church. Mr. Asbury was ordained, then, by four acknowledged presbyters; and claiming, as we do, that presbyters have the right of ordination, we also claim that his consecration was valid; independent of any ordination of Dr. Coke by Mr. Wesley; and in accordance with Archbishop Cranmer, Archbishop Whately, and others, we claim, with these presbyters to have had the right of constituting such an Episcopacy as we have. If Mr. B. thinks differently, let him present the divine law prohibiting or proscribing such an Episcopacy thus established-let him present the edict in express and positive terms; for, till this is done, we shall claim that our ordination is valid. This, then, is seen to be the true question: and I say, again, that I regret the Rev. Gentleman did not confine himself to this point-the true point in the controversy-instead of drawing off the reader to a foreign matter, which, however, clearly, and candidly examined, and decided upon, cannot, in the least, affect the validity of our order. Now, though this issue has no connection with the soundness or unsoundness of our ordination, yet, as I said before, many not understanding the real points of difference between Methodist and Protestant Episcopacy, might thereby place a wrong estimate upon Mr. B's reasoning here; and as my object is, to correct the errors and misrepresentations of this work, I shall not hesitate to meet him on any ground which he has chosen.