ePub 版

If my

be regretted, I am compelled likewise to adopt, or be debarred the privilege of placing my defense before the same tribunal which has entertained the charge. Reluctantly, then, I must appear before the public to repel those attacks upon me. readers should herein find personalities, let them take into consideration the fact, that I am replying to personalities. The necessity for this course will be apparent to every one on perusing the work of Mr. Bolles; for it is plainly seen in the first and third letters, that the whole controversy is made to rest on personal material; the review of Methodist Episcopacy being simply appended and presented as a kind of sequence. In order, however, to be guided by some arrangement in my reply, I propose to consider first the local and personal matters, and second, review Mr. Bolles' examination of Methodist Episcopacy."

[ocr errors]


A history of Methodism in Batavia, together with allusions to

personal, and local matters generally.

Having thus laid out the plan of the Review, I will now proceed to the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in this place, which will embrace a general sketch of affairs between Mr. Bolles and the Methodists previous to the time of his first letter to me; as this will enable the reader fully to understand the matter at issue.

The first efforts made to organize a Methodist Episcopal Church in Batavia, were commenced in the year 1816, and from that year to the present there has always existed here an organized branch of the Methodist Episcopal Church, though not at all times enjoying a prosperous condition, but, subject to various vicissitudes: at no time, however, without regular preaching and the administering of the sacraments. The vine thus planted in 1816 grew like a tree by the “river of waters,” vigorously flourishing and putting forth“good fruit."

The first building they erected for Divine Service was in 1823. The building was erected by pecuniary means obtained by general subscriptions, in a manner similar to subscriptions made for the erection of the first Protestant Episcopal house in Batavia, and which at this time was by that Church in use. The building thus erected in 23, has since been called the “Stone Chapel.” For a number of years subsequent to this date the progress and prosperity of Methodism in this village was uninterrupted, very many were converted to the christian religion and became the subjects of renewing grace.

In 1828 the Methodist communicants here were about two hun. dred. At about this date, however, when in point of number, they presented a very cheering aspect, some causes began operating to their disadvantage. They lost possession of their Chapel and were again reduced to the necessity of holding services in a building used as a school house, near the Protestant Episcopal Church. Here they regularly held divine service up to the opening of the new house built in 1841. From '28 to '41, though favored with the labors of pious and able ministers, and blest at times with some additions, yet taking the whole period, there was no increase in number, and Methodism existed under no very influential circumstances. In fact, the current of public at

[ocr errors]

tention to church matters had become diverted to other channels, a few, however, held together in the "bonds of brotherly love," and moved on in the “even tenor of their way" "minding the same things and walking by the same rule.”

At different times, the subject of erecting another house was agitated, but no feasable plan seemed to be presented. During this period, which may, with much truth, be called the stationary period of Methodism in Batavia, the old building occupied by the Protestant Episcopalians was taken down, and the present St. James' Church edifice completed. A number of Methodists having made quite large contributions towards the expense of building this Church, became pew holders in it. At about this time, one of the leading Methodists in this village, who thus became a pew holder in St. James' Church, received from Mr. Bolles a proposition, having for its object the assistance of Protestant Episcopalians towards building a Methodist Chapel, which should become subservient and supplemental to St. James' Ch. This proposition involved as a gift from Mr. Bolles' congregation the sum of $500. I say from Mr. Bolles' congregation, for it was understood that Mr. Bolles was pledging his people, and not himself individually; and this construction is considered a legitimate construction, for the reason, that his individual pledge for that amount was of no value, and such being the case, known to himself full well, he must of course have designed to have pledged his congregation; whether by and with the advice and consent of the same is not known to me, nor is it a matter of consequence at this moment. Another contingent provision of this gist, was that Mr. Bolles should be received by the Metho• dists worshiping in the supplemental Chapel as their regular pastor. If they would not comply with these terms, Mr. Bolles proposed to give $20 towards the erection of a Methodist house of worship, and have them continue their adherence to the Methodist Episcopal Church. The first proposition was not accepted; and our people having concluded to make the attempt to build a house for divine service, called upon Mr. Bolles for the fulfilment of the latter offer. A subscription of $10 was received from Mr. Bolles—his desire for the erection of a Methodist house having decreased 100 per cent by this time—and about $200 from Mr. Bolles' people. From various individuals, Methodists, and

. *

*As Mr. Bolles in his work says, that he drew up the general subscription for our house, containing an appeal to the liberality of the people, and represents the liberality of himself and his Church as the principal cause of our having a building in which to worship God, it is necessary in order that truth may be known, to state, that the general subscription was drawn up by John Lowber, Esq. dated Jan. 26, 1841-that after this had been generally circulated, Mr. Bolles, according to former agreement, drew up a particular subscription, designed to circulate among his own people of which the follow. ing is a copy

members of other denominations than Protestant Episcopal, a sufficient sum was subscribed, to warrant a commencement of the work, of building, and in the fall of 1841, a neat, spacious, and commodious house was erected.

I was sent to this field of labor in September 1841. The new building, since dedicated to the service of God under the title of St. Johns' Church was, at this date in rapid progress towards completion. To this station I came a stranger, holding neither prejudices nor preposessions in favor or against any individual or denomination, and having very little information relative to my location. I came, however, cheerfully and willingly, by direction of the Church, and as an ambassador of Christ, not to engender or promote strife, but to preach the word of God and to advocate the doctrines of Him who proclaimed “peace on earth and good will towards men.” I came not to enter into the strife of party or sectarianism, but humbly, as a follower of the “meek and lowly Jesus” to administer good to the souls of men.

During the few first months of my residence here, as I was then informed, a tract was put in circulation reflecting upon Methodism; among other matters containing denunciatory statements, and asserting, that the Methodists had not, validly, either a divine warrant, nor ministry, nor sacraments. This tract was placed in the hands of individuals who were known to be friendly to Methodism, unquestionably with a design to create unfavorable and unjust views. This invasion, at the time it was made,

" It is well known that the Methodist denomination of christians was among the first established in this village of Batavia, and that from time to time the labors of their Ministers have been much blessed to the cause of religion and good morals. But for reasons unnecessary here to detail they are now deprived of a House of Public Worship, and such is their embarrassed condition that they cannot hope to succeed in the erection of a suitable Building with.' out asking the kind assistance of all their brethren and friends.

The undersigned, therefore, takes pleasure in recommending to the mem. bers of his own congregation and to his fellow citizens generally, the object of the following subscription.


Rector of St. James' Church, Batavia. Batavia, Feb. 15, 1841.

SUBSCRIPTION, (written by the same.) We the subscribers agree to pay to the Trustees of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in the town of Batavia the sums severally affixed to our names to be applied toward the erection of a House of Public Worship, James A. Bolles, paid

$10," This subscription it was expected, by former promise, Mr. B. would circulate among his church and congregation, but failing in this, it was presented by two of our members to some of them, and the amount of $35 was added, for which we are truly grateful. But it should be remembered that at this time stock in St. James' Church to the amount of several hundreds of dollars was owned by members of our Church, on which they were paying a yearly tax for the support of Mr. Bolles.


I did not notice, being well satisfied that all such efforts to bring into disrepute, and to create false opinions concerning a sister church, would react upon those from whom they emanated :

“ Like Parthian arrows aim'd as one

To cripple or disrobe the sun;
These vengeful darts, when upwards sped

Return upon the archer's head.” Mr. Bolles was the first clergyman of the place who favored me with a visit. I well recollect a remark made by him at our first interview, which was not calculated to produce a very favorable impression, and I now mention it as evidence of the feelings he then entertained. He then observed, that “Methodism was designed to be supplemental to Protestant Episcopacy,” and sought to justify his proposition in favor of the erection of our house, (the proposition heretofore named, embodying the $500, contingent gift,) on the ground that “our ancestors were members of the Church of England," and that "there was but little difference between us in sentiment;" at the same time, saying, the he “necessarily, was deprived of the privilege of laboring with that most interesting class of community, the poor.” It seemed to be a cause of rejoicing to him, that "the supplemental” to his Church, which was so necessary to carry out the Apos. tolical commission “to preach the gospel to all the world," and of course to all classes of people in the world, was so nearly consumated; but most of all did he rejoice in our success because he looked upon it as a counter influence to “Calvinism” and “closeCommunion."

On the 3rd of December 1841, our house was dedicated to the service of Almighty God, under the name of St. Johns' CHURuH; the Rev. Samuel Luckey, D. D., and Rev. Schuyler Seager, A. M., officiating. This manner of setting aside the building, as one to be used for, and devoted to the “dispensation of sound gospel learning" in accordance with the views of Methodism, did not, it is true, look much like a supplemental to "St. James," nor did it seem to be announcing it as a “Chapel;" but we had no thought of here giving offence. We did not suppose that Mr. Bolles' monopoly of

God's mercies extended to Apostolical names, or that we were debarred the privilege of calling our house made with hands on earth, and designed to prepare ihe souls of inen for “that house not made with hands eternal in the Heavens,” a Church. Strange as it may seem, however, it will be shown hereafter that all these acts were most grevious to Mr. Bolles.

It was not, however, from these events alone that Mr. B. chose to manifest a little pugnacious feeling. An occurrence soon took place of a more sober character which called forth from him invidious remarks. A young gentleman of this place having died, I was requested by the parents to attend officially the funeral


« 上一頁繼續 »