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reasons, he did not fancy But their ordinations are not Wesleyan in this sense. Mr. Wesley did not authorizo them, though we have no doubt, if he were on earth, they would have his approval. Nor are we less defensible on other points; but it is not necessary to refer to them. We have made these allusions for the exclusive benefit of croak ers, who sometimes complain that we have departed from Wesley, while our brethren over the water adhere to him with remarkable fidelity.
It was at this session that the mission to Liberia was suggested - that the section in the discipline on slavery received its present form --- that Bishops Soule and Hedding were elected and consecrated to their responsible officesand that the superintendents were requested so to lay out the itinerant work as to allow more time for pastoral labor, which was probably a leading step toward the restriction of circuits, now so frequently matter of lamentation.
Running hastily over the history of the church from this point, we find it every where marked with revivals and the extension and confirmation of the church. The missionary spirit was gradually advancing, and more interest was being felt in education. But the mortification of the church in relation to education was not complete, though it was very great. In 1826 the Pittsburgh Conference started another literary institution under flattering circumstances. denominated “Madison College,” and was under the presidency of the late Rev. Henry B. Bascom ; but it soon passed away, for the want of funds. The academy, however, established at Wilbraham, the same year, under the charge of Dr. Fisk, has run a glorious race of usefulness, and done the church incalculable service.
On the ninth day of September, 1826, the Christian Ad vocate made its first appearance. There were two papers
published in the church at that time; one in Boston, the Zion's Herald, and the other in Charleston, S.C. But it was thought desirable to have one issued at the Book Room in New York. Its subscription list soon niimbered thirty thousand. It has since been much larger, and exceeds that number now, though our periodicals have greatly multiplied. The publication of this sheet met a demand of the church that had long been felt, and it is wonderful that it had not been commenced before.
An institution, established the year following, contemplated another necessity which it aimed to meet. We refer to the “Sunday School Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church.” The church commenced Sabbath School operations as early as 1790, but had often been embarrassed for the want of Bibles and other books. Measures had been adopted, several years before, with reference to these necessities, but they had not proved sufficient to their supply. The design of this institution was to afford some little pecuniary aid to poor societies, and, by the establishment of auxiliaries and other means, to wake up an interest, and extend this efficient instrumentality of renovating the world. The society is now doing a good work in exercising a particular watch-care over this department of effort throughout the connection, and in raising funds and making donations to new and poor societies in the regular work, and among our missionary stations. A small collection from cach of our churches will enable the managers to do immense good, without injury to any one.
The year 1829 brought out another prudential measure, which for a time exerted a powerful influence for good; we refer to "four-days' " or "protracted” meetings. This was not the first time that religious meetings had been ex
tended beyond a single day. Under particular circumstances they had been continued to great lengths, and were justified only by the great religious interest that pervaded the community. But these "four-days' ” meetings were instituted where there was no interest, for the purpose of promoting a revival. They were introduced by the Rev. John Lord, of the New England Conference, in the month of September, 1827, and were attended with the divine blessing. Such were their good effects they soon spread abroad in every direction, and were holden by most of the evangelical denominations with good success. But at length they seemed to lose their power, and are now held with less fre. quency. We trust, however, their day is not past. We have no doubt they may now be employed in many places, and, under certain circumstances, to great advantage. It will be a sad day for the world when all our public religious efforts shall be confined to the Sabbath and an evening or two in each week. This can never be the case, we think, till the ministry and the church become generally backslidden from God. While they feel concerned for the ark of God, they will see the necessity of holding extra meetings, and calling in their brethren to help them preach and pray, and arouse the people to a proper state of concern about their souls. And it is to be hoped they will not want the necessary courage to hold them, though some may mock, and accuse them of “getting up revivals.” The truth is, those who do right will be censured, and especially if they infringe upon secular time by their religious movo ments. Many people will never brook such “extravagance." But there are some who will rejoice in it. They may be a small minority, but nevertheless they are the hope of the church. God has gained more conquests by these little
bands of earnest, burning Christians, than by whole kingdoms of professors, who have had a name to live while they were dead.
We will now pass on to the celebration of the centenary of Methodism, which occurred, as before stated, in 1839 Though it was but about seventy years since the first Methodist meeting was holden on the continent, the organi. zation of the first society in London, in the year 1739, was thought to be too important an event to the church on this side of the water to be passed over in silence. But it was impossible to bring our people to the same concert of feeling and action that was displayed among the Wesleyans, scattered as they were over so vast a territory, and pressed with so many different objects, often requiring inore than they were able to perform. But a general plan of religious ex ercise and benevolence was adopted, and carried out with as much uniformity as was to be expected. The services were salutary in their influence. They contributed to a better understanding of the history, principles, unity, aims and successes of Methodists, and gave a new impulse to the general body. The amount contributed for different objects is estimated at six hundred thousand dollars ; but it is exceedingly doubtful whether so much was realized by the various treasuries for which it was contributed.
“It was, indeed, a sublime spectacle to contemplate the assemblage of more than one million of people, joined by, perhaps, three times that number of friends, uniting to offer up thanksgiving to God for his boundless mercy to a lost world, manifested in the gift of his Son !
one of inany rivulets, which flow from that exhaustless fountain of eternal love, ran through the channel opened by Wesley, it seemed right and proper for his numerous sons in the gospel io commemorate the day which gave the first impotas to this
flowing stream of grace and mercy. Some, indeed, affecteil to call it a species of idolatry. But why is it any more an act of idolatry to praise God for raising up and blessing the world with such men as John Wesley, than it is to praise him for
any other blessings, whether temporal er spiritual. Itis, indeed, marvellous that many, whose tender consciences will not permit them to render honor to whom honor is due, do not scruple to defame the character of those men who, like John Wesley, have rendered the most important services to mankind, merely because they have dissented from them in opinion on some important points.” -- Bangs' History, , vol. 4, p. 296.
The church numbered at this time seven hundred and forty-nine thousand, two hundred and sixteen members ; three thousand five hundred and fifty-seven travelling preachers; and five thousand eight hundred and fifty-six local preachers.
We have already referred to the origin of our Book Concern in 1789. It was during that year that the first volume of the “ Arminian Magazine” was published ; also the Hymn Book, Primitive Physic, and 6 Saints' Rest." The Concern was then located in Philadelphia, and was under the agency of John Dickens. It began with about six hundred dollars capital, borrowed of the agent, and advanced slowly but surely, till the death of Mr. Dickens, in 1798, when it fortunately fell under the superintendency of Rev. Ezekiel Cooper. In 1804 it was removed to New York, where it was conducted four years by Mr. Cooper, assisted by John Wilson. In 1808 Mr. Cooper resigned his office, leaving a capital in the Concern of forty-five thousand dollars. Up to this period the Book Agent had received a regular appointment to a station, but, as the business had become considerably extended, he was now released from pastoral