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machinery, cause the entire scheme of ministerial sustentation to fall in pieces of its own weight; but the suggestion of the plan is worthy of some attention, and the force of recurring objections may be offset by other advantages.

Collections on this beneficiary account have sometimes been 80 small as indirectly to retard the growth of the Church. Many a preacher has been retained in the “effective” rank after the work suffers under his administration, because he cannot be adequately maintained in the superannuated list. The very ministers, too, who will most likely need the benefit of the fund are those who early fade, and thereby the evil is aggravated. The Church, if toned to a proper pitch of liberality, could far better afford to furnish such with a living, though unemployed, than to permit the cause to languish under a senile pastorate. A younger and more acceptable incumbent might not only advance the work more rapidly, but also, if the matter were properly understood, collect sufficient to make comfortable provision for those worn-out in the min. istry. If the sums required are not inequitably or disproportionately large, the proposed scheme is not impracticable. With proper safeguards, the claims may be duly restricted and promptly honored, with no greater deficiencies than fall to the effective preachers.

To avoid failure, the most scrutinizing care must be exercised in calling men into the pastorate. None should be engaged unless there is a fair presumption that their services will be so valuable as to justify a perpetual contract. Many worthy claimants have suffered because the Annual Conferences were embarrassed with a large necessitous class, excessively swollen from those who became inefficient or non-supporting very soon after admission to the traveling ranks. These, when the circuits will no longer receive them, are placed in the superannuated list, to increase the demand to such figures that both people and pastors despair of doing a respectable thing, and hence do not profess to attempt to secure a full subsistence for all dependent. Unforeseen causes may early incapacitate a preacher, but these would give no serious trouble if due precautions were invariably taken in the examination of candidates for the itinerancy. Among the qualifications for the work, physical strength, the quality of intellect, and commercial habits, as well as spiritual advantages, should be considered. If these conditions were invariably observed, and the investigation was conducted rigidly on business principles, we might at once hopefully set about the task of providing for the actual necessities of all ministers, superanuated either after long services or by some exceptional occurrence.

It might be supposed that, if a life-long annuity was assured, some would ask for the superannuated relation long before they ought to retire from active duty. As age advances, many of the details of the work grow irksome, and there is an increasing distaste for the ever-recurring move. However, instead of a disposition in the declining itinerant to withdraw from the field, the very reverse is generally observed. Like the old war-horse neighing on the noise of battle, these veterans covet a charge when the Bishop reads off the appointments to others. There is reason to believe that the prospect of a straitened living has not nearly so much influence over the protesting superannuescent, as the seeming humiliation of dethronement from the power of the pulpit. A divinely appointed minister delights in nothing so much as in the active discharge of apostolic functions. The love of ease, so natural to humanity, especially as it is aging, is more than counterbalanced by the joy of work for the Master in so elevated a station.

If, however, the beneficiary funds are likely to be seized by lazy or inefficient applicants, some decisive way of preventing the abuse must and can be adopted. Disciplinary provision already has been made for the Connection to rid itself of unacceptable, inefficient, or secular preachers in charge by their summary, yet orderly, location. In a Methodist Conference the rights of a member to its financial emoluments are in no great danger of being ignored or trampled upon. The itinerants are ever disposed to deal justly, even leniently, with each other in regard to temporal claims. Severity is exercised only toward those against whom crime is alleged, because thereby the reputation of the calling is assailed, and its usefulness impaired; but in other concerns mutual regard and sympathy are entertained. In reference to professional defects in another, each accepts a personal admonition—“Restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be

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tempted.” There is no telling how soon the most popular preacher may seem to be no longer useful and acceptable. Nevertheless, if a support is to be insured to an accredited ministry at every stage of its existence, great strictness and strong nerve are necessary to rid the Connection of unworthy or sponging members. These must be removed by a proccess that will be just to those who retire, as well as to those who remain. After an unsuitable person has been retained in the itinerant ranks for a great length of time, and thereby hindered from engaging in the more remunerative callings of life, it would be unfair to peremptorily remand him to temporal pursuits. He should be dealt with, when he first betrays signs of decline in spiritual power, or the Conferences must accept the legitimate consequences of their timid forbearance. The heroic course is kindest to those whom the Church cannot afford to perpetually maintain. If they are likely soon to be

wet logs," it is better at once to direct them to more profitable employments in secular life, or they will be equitably entitled to continued place and benefit in the work. On this account the doors to the itinerancy must be jealously guarded, and adınission on trial must not practically signify, as it often does, reception into full connection. The proposition of the Bishops, at the last General Conference, to extend the period of probation to four years, is worthy of renewed attention. On the same principle it may be urged that the annual examination of character is usually passed over with perfunctory and unbecoming haste. An arrest of character in open Conference, without premonition, would now be a anomalous procedure, yet our forms imply that such an action is possible. Discreet, conscientious, and nervy sentinels are needed all along the line.

An objection is urged that, when the means of livelihood are secured to all ministers indiscriminately, many would be reckless in their expenditures and unthrifty in the management of their estate. The force of this statement must be acknowledged, but the Church is not thereby prevented from making a partial provision for the superannuates, or dependent widows and orphans, whose business affairs were never conducted with proper economy. Some preachers, like many other people, do not take the requisite precautions for old age,

living, perhaps unnecessarily, to the full extent of their means; yet very few, at the best, can save much from their salaries, while many have shown more than ordinary skill in rearing and educating their families on the meager pittances allowed. The pastor usually is expected to spend, in one way or another, about all that is doled out to him. Those who receive the largest stipends frequently have no greater margin, at the year's end, than others whose claims are stated in three of the lower figures. If a minister secures a worldly fortune, it is either by inheritance or marriage, unless he speculates in realestate or stocks, and this we have been taught is to be always deplored and avoided. Granted, however, that a fortunate disposition of clerical assets is possible, the assurance of a few beneficiary dollars years hence, if needed, will not cause a truly sensible man to be heedless or rash in present property con

Daniel Drew lost none of his commercial shrewdness because he commanded a pension for services in the War of 1812. A true minister shrinks from being a sponge or an object of charity. Training others to consecration for the sake of Christ, he himself learns the lessons of unselfishness, and will not draw on the common ecclesiastical fund for more than is accorded to be his by right of service or actual need. If the contrary spirit is disclosed, it ought summarily to be rebuked. The offender is no longer entitled to countenance.

Again, it may be charged that absolute provision for all recognized ministers is pushing community of interest to extreme and dangerous limits. The spur to individual exertion is blunted, and the relative value of talent and application to business is not properly appreciated. For this reason the old system of uniform claims has been abandoned, and now preachers with two or no children may receive twice or thrice as much as the struggling circuit-rider with a family of nine. Yet inequalities of condition were cominon under the former régime. Our variable lots in life are largely dependent on those who manage them. Some pastors are sent to comparatively unfertile fields, and not only feed themselves well, but also add largely to all the resources of the Church. Others are appointed to charges that customarily pay liberal salaries, but under an inefficient, unwise, or ill-adapted administration, fall behind in every interest, both spiritual and temporal. There are pastors who will receive about so much, no matter where they are placed. Still, in the Methodist system, the law of averages must to some extent obtain. We confess to embarrassment in dealing with the difficulty, but the fact is analogous with our polity in other respects. If we provide for the worn-out preacher at all, why not systematically?

Here some one may inquire, Why, then, raise a fund at all ? And if so, why not make the aged in all the walks of life beneficiary claimants? The answer suggests itself. A preacher, for the sake of the Gospel, has been required to stand aloof from the scramble for earthly riches. Even if he would strive for gain, the limitations of his calling thwart his efforts. Others take their chance of poverty or riches. He, strictly speaking, must accept only the former. Then, if he gives a life's work, he is entitled to a life's pay. The laborer is worthy of his hire.” In other denominations, single churches often make competent provision for emeritus pastors, without respect to any general plan which the Church at large may adopt. Surely, where the connectional bond is so strong, as with us, and where the individual yields, even in choice of fields for labor, to the ecclesiastical entity, he is entitled to a dividend of the wages that are offered, and under favorable circumstances may be sufficient, for all in the vineyard.

On the principle that some sort of provision must be made for a disabled ministry, great care and discretion are to be used in fixing the claims of beneficiaries. Previous habits of life have much to do with present needs, but no encouragement or countenance should be given to wastefulness. Hardly so much should be expected as is allowed for an equal number in the effective ranks. Probably no aid ought to be given to a family that can be comfortably maintained without ecclesiastical subsidies. On this question there is difference of opinion, but the Church cannot assume to pension all her faithful servants. The only guaranty to be offered an itinerant minister is, that he or his shall not starve while he is duly accredited. Many enter the work in easy circumstances, or, because of their calling, effect marital alliances that are esteemed fortunate in a worldly sense. Much of their wealth may have accrued indirectly from advantages obtained through the ministry, and perhaps their services already have been sufficiently

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