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Let it, however, first be borne in mind that the table for 1870 gives seventy-five students in Catholic Colleges in Massachusetts to thirty-four in 1850, an increase of a little more than one hundred per cent. It should also be noticed that in almost all the New England Colleges there are sons of foreign parentage, and students who were themselves foreign born.

But this increase of foreign-born population is an important matter. A careful analysis and calculation upon the recent official returns of the United States Census* shows, that while the native population of New England increased only seventeen per cent. from 1850 to 1870, the foreign-born inhabitants increased one hundred and fourteen per cent. during the same period; but these figures might mislead some minds without another statement of the case. The actual increase of the native population was four hundred and fourteen thousand two hundred and twenty-five, and of the foreign born three hundred and forty-five thousand three hundred and fifty-two.

Now we believe that this large foreign element, increasing 80 rapidly among us, does not either excuse the marked relative decline in collegiate education in Massachusetts and Connecticut, or show that the field is not a desirable or an important one to occupy; for we have noticed that Maine, during this period, increased her proportion of college students in New England Colleges from one to three thousand one hundred and eighteen inhabitants in 1850 to one to two thousand and eighty-eight inhabitants in 1870, notwithstanding her native population increased only twenty-six thousand and ninety, or five per cent., and her foreign population increased seventeen thousand six hundred and eighty-two, or fifty-six per cent., at the same time. We have also seen Rhode Island increasing her college students from one for two thousand three hundred and five inhabitants in 1850 to one for two thousand and twelve inhabitants in 1870; but her native population increased thirty-eight thousand three hundred and fourteen, or thirty-three per cent., and her foreign-born inhabitants thirtyone thousand four hundred and ninety-two, or one hundred and thirty-two per cent., during the same period. And it must be remembered that Connecticut, with an increase of seventy

* These investigations have been based upon the "advanced sheets", of the United States Census for 1870, recently sent out.

„eight thousand one hundred and twenty-one, or two hundred and twenty per cent., in her foreign-born population during the last twenty years, had also a native increase of eighty-seven thousand nine hundred and fifty-one, or twenty-six per cent., and Massachusetts, with an increase of one hundred and eighty-nine thousand two hundred and ninety-five, or one hundred and fifteen per cent., in her foreign-born population, had also at the same time a native increase of two hundred and seventy-three thousand five hundred and forty-two, or thirty-three per cent., the same ratio of native increase as that of Rhode Island, while the relative increase of the foreign born was a little greater in Rhode Island than in Massachusetts.

The conclusion then is, that inasmuch as Maine and Rhode Island advanced upon their popnlation in the number of their college students, the reason why Massachusetts and Connecticut did not do so is not to be accounted for either on the ground of the increase of population, or from the fact that that increase is so largely foreign born.

Art. 11.—THE ORGANIZATION OF THE METHODIST

EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

In various discussions concerning Mr. Wesley's ordination of Dr. Coke, and the action of the Baltimore Conference of 1784, right conclusions are reached, and yet it is not always made to appear as clearly as it might be that those conclusions are based, squarely and immovably, on the true foundation. The principles which govern the case are not always brought directly into view; and, even when cited, are not seldom thrust speedily into the background and seemingly forgotten. John Wesley evidently saw the great foundation-stone when he said, alluding to Stillingfleet, “I think that he has unanswerably proved that neither Christ nor his apostles prescribe any particular form of church government. Dr. Stillingfileet points directly at the corner-stone itself when he says, “I assert any particular form of government agreed on by the governors of the Church, consonant to the general rules of Scripture, to be

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by divine right; that is, God, by his own laws, hath given men. a power and liberty to determine the particular form of church government among thein.”—Irenicum, p. 41. In the Church, as well as the State, government is divinely sanctioned, but no one form of organization is prescribed as of universal obligation. If the people, at any given period of their history, are convinced that a civil monarchy will best promote the public welfare, they have a right to establish it; if they believe that a republic will in the largest degree promote the public good, they have a right to establish a republic. So in the Church of God: organization is needful that order may be maintained, and that the great work of the Church may be prosecuted faithfully and efficiently; but it is left to the conscientious judgment of the Church itself to determine what form of organization is best suited to the times in which it lives, and the field in which it works. This principle being conceded, certain specific conclusions follow :

1. That different forms of church organization, existing at the same time in different sections of the Christian body, or existing at different times in the same Christian communion, may be equally valid and equally binding upon the individual members of that community.

2. That in every body of Christians, providentially separated and set by themselves, there inheres the right and the authority to organize a church government where none as yet exists, or to modify the form of government under which they are living

It may not always be easy to tell how this power is to be exercised. It may be impossible to frame set rules showing the precise time when effort to secure changes becomes allowable. It may be difficult to define beforehand who should lead in constructive movements; nevertheless, the right and the power exist in every body of Christians, and the time may come when to refuse to act is disloyalty to God and the true Church of God. This right is not license and anarchy. It is hedged about on every side by limitations which men disregard at their peril. Nothing must be set aside which is clearly enjoined in the Scripture. Nothing must be adopted which is clearly contrary to the letter or the spirit of the Scripture. All must be done with a single eye to the glory of God and the

good of men; nothing through caprice, passion, insubordination, pride of opinion, self-seeking, or ambition. They who enter upon the duty of framing or amending forms of church organization must not only bring holy hands to the work, but must employ their highest intelligence in it, asking the wisdom that cometh from above that their action may be such as shall best secure the peace and safety of the flock of Christ, and best enable the Church to reach and save the world. And when those in whom resides the right to act in the case have acted, in the due exercise of their godly judgment, and within the limitations named, and a system of church crder has been established in which there is nothing contrary to the Scripture, and the work has been done wisely and intelligently, meeting the wants of the people and of the age, and showing itself powerful for good in the field which providentially falls to it, then that organization has a divine right to be, and that Christian body is, an integral part of the true Church of God. And wherever a body of believers, providentially set by themselves, thus unite in holy fellowship for mutual aid and sympathy, the maintenance of the ordinances of religion, and the prosecution of Christian work, that organization is not subject to the control of any other Church, but contains within itself, by the divine will, all needed authority to proceed in its labors of love, and to supply what may be lacking in its instrumentalities. In fine, God's Church grows directly out of God's word; and as plants propagated by cuttings, whether taken from the twig or the root, sometimes degenerate and tend to die out; as the worn-out peach tree grows barren and short-lived, and the worn-out potato rots in the ground, and the cultivator is com: pelled to resort to the seed to secure a new succession, endowed with new vital forces, so church organizations sometimes lose their vitality and cease to be available for their great mission, and the Lord of the harvest starts new ones from the seed.

These, then, are the general principles which are applicable to the work of church organization. In applying them to the case of the Methodist Episcopal Church three questions present themselves :

1. Did the American Methodists, in 1784, have a right to organize as a Church ?

2. Did those who acted in the organizing of the Methodist Episcopal Church have a right to act in the case ?

3. Did they in any way so lapse from Scripture rules as to render their work of doubtful validity ?

The answer to the first question does not seem difficult to find. The American Methodist societies were from the first separate from all the other Christian bodies of the land. Some of their members did indeed apply, occasionally, to the ministers of the Episcopal Church for admission to the Lord's Supper, or for the baptism of a child, just as a stranger now comes to any minister of the Gospel to ask him to perform the marriage ceremony or conduct a funeral service; but no pastoral authority was claimed on the one side or acknowledged on the other. Moreover, when the Revolution came, the Church of England ceased to exercise, or even claim, jurisdiction over the Episcopal Churches of the colonies, and left them without organization, and as they seemed to conclude, without the power to organize. There were Congregational, Presbyterian, and Baptist Churches at hand, but they had no shadow of authority over the Methodist societies, for these societies were certainly not indebted, in any degree, for their existence or their success, either to the active labors or the kindly sympathies of their ecclesiastical neighbors. There was no American Church out of which the Methodists had grown, or from which they had rent themselves away; there was none with which they were under obligations to unite, or with which they could unite, even if they had been eager so to do. Their zealous opponents denounced them as teachers of false doctrine and intruders upon other people's territories, and sometimes even as enemies of their country; but no one dreamed of charging them with schism. The Methodists were made a separate and distinct people, not by the mere accident of a separate origin, but by the doctrines which they delighted to preach, the religious experience which they cultivated, the peculiar plans of labor which they had adopted, and the energy and self-sacrifice with which they toiled for God and souls. The great Head of the Church seems to have called them out and set them by themselves for a special work.

The Methodist body, thus independent of all others, and opposed and rejected by them, was developing a wonderful FOURTH SERIES, Vol. XXIV.-13

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