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THE

WESLEYAN METHODIST ASSOCIATION

M A G A ZIN E.

JANUARY, 1848.

ANTI-STATE-CHURCH ASSOCIATION, AND THE

EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE.

WITHIN a short period, two very important confederations have been formed in this country, having, to the apprehension of many persons, diverse aspects, and yet, we believe, both are adapted to advance the interests of truth and Christianity. We refer to the British Anti-StateChurch Association, and the Evangelical Alliance.

The design of the first of these confederations is to seek, - by the use of peaceful means,—the freedom of religion from alliance with Civil governments, the abolition of all laws for enforcing compulsory payments for supporting any form of religion, and consequently to abolish all the civil disadvantages which the establishment of any church or creed inflicts, upon those citizens who are not members of the endowed church or creed. To join this confederation all who are adverse to the principle of State and Church Alliance are invited ; and it is probable, that if all, or even the majority of persons, in this country, who object to the secular establishment of religion were to enrol themselves as its members, such an influence would be created as would, in a short time, emancipate in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland—religion from the State trammels, with which it now is fettered; and this, we believe, would lead to the most important beneficial results, in promoting the peace and prosperity of our country, and in diffusing the enlightened and holy principles of Christianity. Corruption and intolerance we regard as inseparable from State and Church alliances. Such alliances, we believe, are contrary to the genius of Christianity, and to the teachings of its Divine Founder, who said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.” We therefore need not be surprised, that they retard, more than they advance, the best interests of mankind. If the immense land revenues of the Established Church were, after making due provision for the support of their present possessors, appropriated to the maintenance of the indigent, we should not have so much reason to be apprehensive of the spread of popery, and of its efforts to gain political ascendancy in this country-and

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the truth, thus unfettered, would, by its own native energy, more rapidly spread and gloriously prevail.

To cherish brotherly love among Christians, and to provide opportunities for its more extended manifestation, is the praiseworthy and hallowed object of the Evangelical Alliance. It cannot be denied or doubted, that there has been a most inconsistent and disgraceful want of brotherly regard among the ministers and members of different religious communities, professing to hold, in common with each other, the same all-important truths respecting Christ and his work of atonement, but differing as to some less important doctrines, or as to modes of church organization or government. This has long been a cause of reproach to Christians; has embittered their own spirits; has, no doubt, grieved the Holy Spirit, and impeded the conversion of the world. To counteract the schismatical and sectarian spirit, which, more or less, exists among all sections of the church, and, at the same time, not to endanger the interests of truth, by causing Christians to regard any portion of God's teaching as unimportant, but to enjoin that they should continue, in a proper manner, to hold and propagate whatever truth they regard as important to the interests of religion, must be, on many accounts highly desirable, and likely to lead to the most beneficial results.

We admit, that in the constitution and working of the Evangelical Alliance, some improvements are desirable; yet, we are also of opinion that no sufficient reason can be assigned, why those who are eligible for admission into its membership should refuse or neglect to become united therewith. We are aware, that some brethren, whom we highly esteem, are of opinion, that to become members of the Evangelical Alliance would neutralize their testimony, against what they regard as the errors of the communities to which those belong with whom, as members of the Alliance, they would have to fraternize. There does not, however, appear to us any force in this objection. Membership with the Alliance, does not imply latitudinarianism-nor the admission, that the points of difference subsisting between different sections of the church are unimportant—but only the admission of the truth, that those who believe in the Divinity, Incarnation, Atonement, and Mediation of Christ; the work of the Holy Ghost, in awakening, enlightening, and sanctifying those, who, by faith rely alone on God's mercy in Christ Jesus for salvation ; and endeavour to regulate their conduct by God's law-are, notwithstanding, in some other things they see and judge diversely, children of God, brethren in Christ, and joint-heirs of eternal life. Those who admit that this is true, surely, are bound, by the most solemn obligations, to manifest their love to Christ, by manifesting their love to those who believe in him; by uniting with them, as far as practicable and convenient, in devotional exercises, and in reciprocating other acts of brotherly love.

The members of each Christian denomination, as such, bear their testimony to the importance which they attach to the truths specially recognised and held by the communion to which they belong. It is right that they should avail themselves of all proper opportunities and methods for making known every truth which they regard as important to the welfare of mankind. We, however, owe allegiance not only

to truth, but also to love. It is our duty to maintain truth, and also to cultivate and manifest love. Whatever we regard as true, may be stated and advocated so as to manifest, that we respect and love those Christian brethren from whom we differ. May we not also manifest, in many ways, our love to our brethren in Christ, who disagree with us as to some points of doctrine and church order, without in any degree withholding our testimony to any truth which we regard as important ? If this can be done, then is it not imperative that this should be done ? To us it appears, that the more uncompromisingly any person asserts his testimony in behalf of any doctrine, rule of church organization, or government, not received by some of his Christian brethren, the more he is required to manifest, that he is equally concerned to love, as to correct or instruct, those from whom he differs. Without in any degree restraining our proper testimony for any portion of what we regard as important truth, we may and ought to make allowances for human imperfection, as by various means occasioning errors of judgment, both in ourselves and in others. Remembering also, the words of the apostle Paul, “Now abideth faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love."

From the preceding remarks, it will be seen, that we think it desirable, that all those Christians who hold the doctrines constituting the basis of the Evangelical Alliance, should seek to become enrolled as members of the Branch Organization of the Alliance belonging to the district where they reside. We are also of opinion, that those who hold that State-Church establishments are injurious to the best interests of mankind, will do well to become members of the AntiState-Church Association ; and we shall support our judgment on these points, by laying before our readers the following quotation from a recent number of the “ Scottish Press."

We recommend the Evangelical Alliance to Dissenting Christians. We have proved that they may join it without any compromise or concealment of any conscientious conviction. Now, that their dissenting consistency has been provided for, they are open to all the pleading of Christian charity in favour of the manifestation of the union of those who are already “one in Christ Jesus.” We will not do them the injustice to suppose that they are less alive to the evils of division and the benefits of union than the most forward and zealous in the Alliance movement. But they respect their own consistency! Well, but their consistency should not be one-sided. If they may not compromise or conceal the truth from a professed regard to love, they are not at liberty to compromise or conceal the love from a professed regard to truth? Do they say, "the wisdom that cometh from above is first

We answer, yes, but it is “then peaceable.” Do they say, the King of Zion is first “ King of righteousness?" We say, yes, " and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace.” The “Anti-State-Church Association” is just an Alliance” for exhibiting and working out its appropriate object. And the Alliance is just an Association for exhibiting and carrying out its appropriate object. The object is good in both cases; and the binding together of the friends of the object, for its more successful accomplishment is good also.

Let Dissenters consider what is due to their principles. They are accustomed to boast themselves a little, of the peculiar advantages of their position for the promotion of union. They rejoice in their liberty. Let them improve it, by running, with the greater alacrity, in the way of the new commandment.

Dissenters owe this testimony to their brethren in

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any portion of God's teaching as unimportant, but to enjoin that they
should continue, in a proper manner, to hold and propagate whatever
truth they regard as important to the interests of religion, must be
on many accounts highly desirable, and likely to lead to the most
beneficial results.

We admit, that in the constitution and working of the Evangelical
Alliance, some improvements are desirable ; yet,

we are also of opinion
that no sufficient reason can be assigned, why those who are eligible
for admission into its membership

should refuse or neglect to become
united therewith. We are aware that some brethren, whom we highly
esteem, are of opinion, that to become members of the Evangelica
Alliance would neutralize their testimony, against what they regard
as the errors of the communities to which those belong with whom,
as members of the Alliance, they would have to fraternize. There
does not, however, appear to us any force in this objection. Member-

admission, that the points of difference subsisting between different

sections of the church are unimportantbut only the admission of
the truth, that those who believe in the Divinity, Incarnation, Atone-

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bay are ment, and Mediation of Christ; the work of the Holy Ghost, in awakening, enlightening, and sanctifying those, who, by faith rely

We alone on God's mercy in Christ Jesus for salvation; and endeavour

( Tion to regulate their conduct by God's law-are, notwithstanding, in some

2 dlje in Christ, and joint-heirs of eternal life. Those who admit that this

Vojisamen their love to Christ, by manifesting their love to those who believe in

A Besente
devotional exercises, and in reciprocating other acts of brotherly love.

The members of each Christian denomination, as such, bear their
testimony to the importance which they attach to the truths specially
recognised and held by the communion to which they belong. It is
right that they should avail themselves of all proper opportunities and
methods for making known every truth which they regard as important

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