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blessed gofpel far niore extensively through the fixteen states, and other parts of the continent; whilft the married preachers, whose circumstances require them, in many instances, to be more located than the single men, will have a considerable field of action opened to them; and also the bishops will be able to attend the conferences with greater ease, and without injury to their health.

* The regulation concerning those who are to attend the confer. ences, is made, that our societies and congregations may be supe plied with preaching during the conferences. We would, there. fore, wish to have a few of the travelling preachers among our dear flocks at thofe times. But as we desire to make the conferences as respectable and weighty as poflible, we can fpare none at those important seasons, except the preachers upon trial. They, alfo, will be absent from the yearly conferences only for one year, as they must be present on the second to be admitted into full connection.

SECTION IV.

Of the Election and Confecration of Bishops,

and of their Duty. Queft. 1.

Η

OW is a bishop to be constituted ia

future? Answ. By the election of the general conference, and the laying on of the hands of three bilhops, or at least of one bishop and two elders.

Queft. 2. If by death, expulfion, or otherwise, there be no bishop remaining in our church, what shall we do?

Answ. The general conference shali elect a bifhop; and the elders, or any three of them, who shall be appointed by the general conference for that purpofe, Thall ordain him according to our office of ordination.

Qiejt. 3. What is the bishop's duty ?
Antw. 1. To prefide in our conferences.

2. To fix the appointments of the preachers for the feveral circuits.

3. In the intervals of the conferences, to change, receive, or suspend preachers, as necessity may require.

4. To travel through the connection at large.

5. To oversee the spiritual and temporal business of the societies.

6. To ordain bishops, elders, and deacons.

Queft. 4. To whom is the bishop amenable for his conduct ?

Answ. To the general conference, who have power to expel liim for improper conduct, if they see it neceffary.

Quefl. 5. What provision shall be made for the trial of an immoral bishop, in the interval of the general, conference ?

Answ. If a bishop be guilty of immorality, three travelling elders shall call upon him, and examine him on the subject; and if the three elders verily believe that the bishop is guilty of the crime, they shall call to their aid two presiding elders from two districts in the neighbourhood of that were the crime was committed, each of which presiding elders shall bring with him two elders, or an elder and a deacon. The above mentioned nine persons shall form a conference, to examine into the charge brought against the bishop: and if two thirds of them verily believe him to be guilty of the crime laid to his charge, they shall have authority to fuspend the bishop till the ensuing general conference, and the districts shall be regulated in the mean time as is

provided in the case of the death of a bilhop.

Que?. 6. If the bishop cease from travelling at large among

the people, shall he still exercise his office among us in any degree?

Answ. If he cease from travelling without the consent of the general conference, he shall not hereafter exereise any ministerial function whatsoever in our church.

N. B. The bishops have obtained liberty, by the fuffrages of the conference, to ordain local preachers to the office of deacons, provided they obtain a testimonial from the society to which they belong, and from the tewards of the circuit, figned also by three elders, three deacons, and three travelling preachers.

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N:0 T E S.

In considering the present subject, we must observe, that nothing has been introduced into Methodisnı by the present episcopal form of government, which was not before fully exercised by Mr. Weley He presided in the conferences ; fixed the appointments of the preachers for their feveral circuits; changed, received, or suspended preachers, wherever he judged that ne ceflity required it; travelled through the European connection at large ; superintended the spiritual and temporal business; and confecrated two bishops, Thomas Coke and Alexander Mather, one before the present episcopal plan took place in America, and the other afterwards, besides ordaining elders and deacons. But the authority of Mr. Wesley and that of the bishops in America differ in the following important points :

1. Mr. Wesley was the patron of all the Methodist pulpits in Great Britain and Ireland for life, the fole right of nomination being invested in him by all the deeds of settlement, which gave him exceeding great power.

But the bishops in America poffefs no such power. The property of the preaching-houses is invested in the trustees; and the right of nomination to the pulpits, in the general conference--and in such as the general conference fall, from time to time, appoint. This division of power in favour of the general conference was absolutely necessary Without it the itinerant plan could not exist for any long conti

The trustees would probably, in many instances, from their located situation, infist upon having their favourite prcachers ftationed in their circuits, or endeavour to prevail on the preachers themselves to locate among them, or choose fome other fettled minister for their chapels. In other cases, the trustees of preaching-houses in different circuits would probably insist upoty having the fame popular or favourite preachers.* Here, then,

nuance.

tees.

* We must repeat nearly the same observations concerning trustees, which we have in our notes on the last fection, concerning the fending of delegates to our conferences. We have a great refpect for our truf

We consider them as men, to whom the connection is greatly obliged.' They fill up an important province in our church, and bave a claim to a high rank among us. Humanly speaking, the work could not be carried on without them to any extent in the cities and towns. Fbeir responsibility for the debts of our buildings, and the disinterested112ss which inuft necessarily influence them when they make themselves rejponsible, lay our focieties under very great obligations. We both love and borour them. But fill they are located men. They cannot be exmétert to act impartially for the whole. They will think it their duiy, unud perhaps it is their duty, to prefer the interests of their orun congragaiions to any other. We should probably act in the same mariner in their situation.

1

If ever,

lies the grand diãference between Mr. Wesley's authority, in the present instance, and that of our American bishops. "The former, as (under God) the father of the connecion, was allowed to have the fole, legal, independent nomination of preachers to all the chapels; the latter are entirely dependent on the general conference,

But why, may it be asked, does the general conference lodge the power of ftationing the preachers in the episcopacy? We answer, On account of their entire..confidence in it. through improper conduct, it loses that confidence in any confiderable degree, the general conference will, upon evidence given, in a proportionable degree, take from it this branch of its authority. But if ever it evidently betrays a spirit of tyranny or partiality, and this can be proved. before the general.conference, the whole will be taken from it: and we pray God, that in such case the power may be invested in other hands! And al23! who would envy any one the power ? There is no fituation in which a bishop can be placed, no branch of duty he can pollibiy exercise, so delicate, or which fo exposes him to the jealoufies not only of false but of true brethren, as this. The removal of preachers from district to district and from circuit to circuit, very nearly concerns them, and touches their tenderest feelings : and it quires no small portion of grace for a preacher to be perfely contented with his appointment, when he is stationed in a circuit, where the societies are finall, the rides long, and the fare coarse. Any one, therefore, may easily fee, from the nature of min, that though the bishop has to deal with some of the beft oở men, he will sometimes raise himself opposers, who, by. Father over-rating their own abilities, may judge him to be partial in respect to their appointments: and these circumstances would weigh down his mind to such a degree, as those who are not well acquainted with the difficulties which necessarily accompany public and important stations among mankind, can hardly

conceive.

May we not add a few. observations concerning the high ex- : pediency, if not necessity, of the present plan. How could an itinerant ministry be preserved through this extensive continent, if the yearly conferences were to station the preachers ? They would, of course, be taken up with the sole confideration of the {piritual and temporal interests of that part of the connection, the direction of which was intrusted to them. The necessary consequence of this mode of proceeding would probably, in less than an age, be the division of the body and the independence of each yearly conference. The conferences would be more and more cftranged from cach other for want of a mutual exchange of

preachers: and that grand spring, the union of the body at large, by which, under divine grace, the work is more and more extended through this vast country, would be gradually 'weakened, till at lait it might be entirely destroyed. The connection would no more be enabled to fend missionaries to the western states and territories, in proportion to their rapid population. The grand circulation of ministers would be at an end, and a mortal stab given to the itinerant plan. The surplus of preachers in one conference could not be drawn out to supply the deficiencies of others, through declensions, locations, deaths, &c. and the revivals in one part of the continent could not be rendered beneficial to the others. Our grand plan, in all its parts, leads to an itinerant ministry. Our bishops are travelling bifhops. All the different orders which compofe our conferences are employed in the travelling line; and our local preachers are, in fome degree, travelling preachers. Every thing is kept moving as far as poflible; and we will be bold to say, that, next to the grace of God, there is nothing like this for keeping the whole body alive from the centre to the circumference, and for the continual extension of that circumference on every hand. And we verily believe, that if our episcopacy should, at any time, through tyrannical or inmoral conduct, come under the severe censure of the genera} conference, the members thereof would fee it highly for the glory of God to preserve the present form, and only to change the

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2. Mr. Wesley, as the venerable founder (under God) of the whole Methodist fociety, governed without any responsibility whatever; and the universal respect and veneration of both the preachers and people for him, made them cheerfully submit to this: nor was there ever, perhaps, a mere human being who used so much power better, or with a purer eye to the Redeem. er's glory, than that blefsed man of God. But the American bishops are as responsible as any of the preachers. They are pere fectly subject to the general conference. They are indeed confcious that the conference would neither degrade nor censure them, unless they deserved it. They have, on the one hand, the fullest confidence in their brethren ; and, on the other, efteem the confidence which their brethren place in them, as the highest earthly honour they can receive.

But this is not all. They are subject te be tried by seven elders and two deacons, as prescribed above, for any inmmorality, or fupposed immorality; and may be suspended by two-thirds of thele, not only from all public offices, but even from being privace menibers of the society, till the ensuing general conference: This mode subjects the bishops to a trial before a court of judi. cature, considerably inferior to that of a yearly conference. For there is not one of the yearly. conferences which will not, probae

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