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still complain of its insufficiency, especially as its provisions very justly extend to sickness, to old age, to widows and orphans. We have often thought that other churches ought to
1 In order that our readers may judge for themselves of the fiscal system of this church, we annex some extracts verbatim from the printed Discipline published in 1825 (24th edition), a work, which with many features of rank aristocracy combines much knowledge of human nature, much business tact, and zeal for the cause of God.
Part 2. Section 4. (p. 171. 172.) I. The annual allowance of the travelling preachers shall be $100,00 and their travelling expenses. II. The annual allowance of the wives of travelling preachers shall be $100,00; but this provision shall not apply to the wives of those preachers who were single when they were received on trial, and marry under four years, until the expiration of said four years. III. Each child of a travelling preacher shall be allowed $16,00 annually to the age of seven years, and $24,00 annually from the age of seven to fourteen years; and those preachers whose wives are dead, shall be allowed for each child annually a sum sufficient to pay the board of such child or children during the above term of years: Nevertheless, this rule shall not apply to the children of preachers, whose families are provided for by other means in their circuits respectively.
IV. The allowance of superannuated, worn out and supernumerary preachers, shall be $100,00 annually.
V. The annual allowance of the wives of superannuated, worn out and supernumerary preachers, shall be $100,00.
VI. The annual allowance of the widows of travelling, superannuated, worn out and supernumerary preachers shall be $100,00.
VII. The orphans of travelling, superannuated, worn out and supernumerary preachers, shall be allowed by the annual Conferences, if possible, by such means as they can devise $16,00 annually.
Part 2. Section 5. (p. 179.) It shall be the duty of said committee or one appointed for that purpose, who shall be members of our church, to make an estimate of the amount necessary to furnish fuel and table expenses for the family or families of preachers stationed with them, and the stewards shall provide by such means as they may devise, to meet such expenses, in money or otherwise provided the stewards shall not appropriate the monies collected for the regular quarterly allowance of the preachers to the payment of family expenses.
Part 2. Section 5. (p. 177.) It is recommended by the general Conference to the travelling preachers, to advise our friends in general to purchase a lot of ground in each circuit, and to build a preach
adopt some plan to support their disabled ministers, their widows and orphans, and hope the annexed account of the plan of our
er's house thereon, and to furnish it with, at least, heavy furniture, and to settle the same on trustees, appointed by the quarterly meeting conference according to the deed of settlement in our form of discipline."
We have not seen any separate deed for the dwelling-house of the minister, but suppose it to be like the form prescribed for their churches, by which the congregation, after having built a house of worship, relinquish all right of property in it to the General Conference for the use of the members of the Methodist church in the United States. This feature we regard as unjust, for the Conference may lock the doors of a church against the very people who built it, if they do not approve and support the measures of the Conference.
The modes of raising funds according to the book of Discipline are in accordance with the spirit of the gospel, by voluntary contributions. 1. Every circuit and station is expected to make an effort to supply the yearly allowance and provision for its own preachers: and if there is any surplus it is the duty of the stewards to remit it to the annual Conference. 2. Every preacher must "earnestly recommend to every class or society in his circuit," to raise a quarterly or annual collection, which is to be remitted through the stewards to the annual Conference. 3. Every preacher who has charge of a circuit is to make a yearly collection, and if expedient a quarterly one in "every congregation," where the people will probably be willing to contribute. 4. A public collection is made at every annual and every general Conference. 5. A meeting is held in every district, of one steward from each circuit, to take measures for providing a house and table expenses for the presiding elder. 6. An extra collection is taken in each circuit and station, some time previous to the sitting of the General Conference to defray the expenses of delegates to that body. 7. They have a chartered fund, which in Jan. 1829, amounted to $27, 000, managed by the trustees of the General Conference, the interest of which aids in making up the salaries of the travelling preachers. 8. The revenue resulting from the book concern. Every Methodist minister is a book agent, having an actual interest in the amount of his sales; as the fund resulting from them, is one of the sources whence his salary is derived. Independently of this consideration, much spiritual good is thus effected by the extensive circulation of books which in general we regard as well calculated to extend the kingdom of Christ. See Meth. Discipline, sup. cit. Part II. Sect. 3. 5. 6. (p. 170— 189) and Economy of Methodism, p. 16.
Methodist brethren may aid others in devising some remedy
for their own case.
Concerning baptism our churches teach, that it is a necessary ordinance, that it is a means of grace, and ought to be administered also to children, who are thereby dedicated to God and received into his favour.
The blessed Saviour instituted several positive ordinances, of perpetual standing in his church, which are usually designated by the term sacraments; a word not found in scripture, and variously understood by different writers. There has been much dispute about the number of the sacraments; but as this will depend entirely on the definition of the term which may be adopted, the controversy amounts to mere logomachy.
1 The following are the principal significations which the word sacrament has borne : a) a military oath; b) a mystery, thus it is used by the vulgate translation for uvoτngiov in Eph. 5: 32. 1 Cor. 15. 51. c) the oath by which Christians bind themselves in the Eucharist and at baptism. In this sense Pliny uses it, Epist. 97. d) An external ceremony or religious rite, having a spiritual or symbolical reference to something unseen. Tertull. and Augustine.
Catholic church adopts seven sacraments, the Lutheran and other protestant churches only two, Baptism and the Lord's supper. "A sacrament," says Dr. Mosheim, "is an ordinance appointed of God, by which the benefits purchased by the Saviour are not only symbolically represented to the senses, but spiritual blessing is also actually conferred on those who faithfully use them." That the sacraments do symbolically represent some of the most important truths of the Christian religion, nay that they represent them in a more forcible and striking manner than ordinary language could do, is admitted; hence, as divine truth is the grand means of grace appointed by God, it cannot be consistently denied, that the sacraments are also means, no less than seals of grace.
The prominent aspects of this subject may be referred to the following heads: the nature, the advantages, the subjects and the mode of baptism.
I. Its Nature.
1. It is of divine appointment. In communicating to men a revelation of his will, it has pleased our heavenly Father not only to select as its vehicle the ordinary language of men; but also, on some occasions, to avail himself of such innocent and reasonable customs, as he found existing among them, and adapted forcibly to convey or illustrate his doctrines. This appears to have been the case in the selection of baptism; as the initiatory ordinances of the New Testament church. The classical reader need not be informed, that various lustrations were customary among the heathen nations of antiquity, before the time of Christ. The Egyptian priests also, were required often to purify themselves with water. It was by the ceremony of baptism, that the
Essenes, a Jewish sect of rigid principles, admitted members to their association; and there is very strong evidence, amounting almost to moral certainty, that the custom of proselyte baptism1, that is, of baptizing those heathen, who were admitted to the Jewish church, which is known to have generally prevailed among the Jews about a hundred years after the crucifixion, had been extensively practised even before the time of our Saviour. John the baptist baptized his followers, as did some of the disciples of our Lord, even before he had formally instituted this rite as the initiatory ordinance of his church 2; and the Jews certainly expected, that the Messiah would practise baptism.3 It is evident, therefore, that in adopting this rite as the initiatory ordinance of the New Testament church, he chose a rite, which had been familiar to both Jews and Gentiles, and was well understood by them as a symbolic exhibition of moral purification, and as a means of admitting members to a religious association. Nor does the fact, that the Saviour selected a rite, which had been customary and well understood, divest that rite, when thus adopted, of divine authority; any more than the fact of his having delivered his doctrines in the customary and well understood language of his age, deprives his revelation of similar character.
That the Lord Jesus did appoint baptism in his church we are explicitly taught by the evangelists:4 "Go ye, there
The practice may have originated from the ablutions prescribed Gen. 35: 2. Ex. 19: 19. Lev. 13:-15.
2 John. 3: 22. 4: 1. 2.
3 And they asked him and said unto him, why baptizest thou then, if thou be not the Messiah, nor Elias, nor that prophet? 4 Matth. 28: 19. 20. Mark 16: 16. And he said unto them: go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. John 3: 5. Except a man be born again, of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.