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Bat it is in no such sense that the word is used ecclesiastically. In church matters, it has an appropriated, specific meaning. Independency, with us, is explained to mean, that there is no subordination of the several parts to a common, or general administrative power: that a single congregation is the highest authority in Christ's kingdom on earth. And it is just in this sense that it bears no resemblance, in any particular; to what we Americans so much glory in, namely, our system of State and federal Government. There is not the slightest similarity between church independency and American independency, at any point of our political history; for, during the war of the RevoJution, as many as enlisted in that glorious struggle, whether in the civil department or on the field of battle, were under the absolute control of the representatives of the several colonies, in a continental Congress; and no such crazy idea ever entered into any man's brain in that day, nor since, as that then, or ever afterwards, the several States ought to attempt singly, or could by any possibility accomplish singly, their grand mission to mankind. And consequently, when all their toils and sacrifices were crowned with glorious victory, the old Confederation, having been found, by fair experiment, unfit for the wants of the nation, our present Federal Union was established, with our noble Constitution, a system of general government, with all its beantiful machinery of deliberative assemblies, courts, and administrative departments, the admiration of every enlightened man.
So much, then, for the meaning, and the glorious associations of this highly estimable and conservative term, Independence, which, by no sort of constraint, can be made to mean politically, what our bretha ren mean by it ecclesiastically, viz., that the people may meet in small bands, according to convenience, or caprice, to manage their affairs governmentally; and that every such band, or squad, “is the highest authority on earth.”
I think it due, that your distant readers should know, that I do not dissent materially from your matured and published views on the subject of Church Organization, as your remarks following my article will lead them to suppose. For, more than ten years ago, witnessing the disorders and “kinks" into which our 'noble cause had fallen in Kentucky, the conclusion was forced upon me, that the system of Independency, as held by our brotherhood, a system, 100, so unreasonable in itself, could not be of God. Under its-reign, no plan of cooperation at all commensurate with our wants, responsibilities, and power to do good, could then be adopted in Kentucky, nor has been to this day. The attempts and failures of the efforts in that direction, can scarcely be numbered; and oar general co-operations--where are they? That which seemed to be the most popular, the American SERIES IV.-Vol. VI.
Christian Missionary Society, is described in the August number of the Harbinger, by one of the editors, in these words:
“Our Missionary Society is practically dead,-we say it with tears, it is practically DEAD!"
On our great, free, theatre of action, we stand along side of denomo inations whose theology-whose vital spiritual power, as we think, is far inferior to our own, we drinking the stream of life, uncontami. uated, through the “Bible alone." These denominations, some of which, in Kentucky, are greatly below us in numbers and wealth, each has an ecclesiastical system peculiarly its own, but all repudiating the system of independency in which we glory; and they are not called to shed tears over the death of iheir Missionary Societies. My inference from this fact, and numerous others of the same category, which, it were mortifying to mention, is, that all our “kinks" and troubles, came from this human device-Independency; unless, indeed, our gospel is not the gospel of Christ.
The following are some of the passages in the essays alluded to, which show that I do not differ from your views of the origin and workings of Independency:
“The experience of every day, added to the great principles pro pounded in both Testaments, especially in the New, and to the posi. tive precepts and examples of the Lord and his Apostles, more and more impress all of us who feel our responsibilities, who have some influence in the church of Jesus Christ, to whose hearts the peace, pority, and happiness of Christ's Kingdom are paramount, all-absorbing, and transcending concerns; that
our organization and discipline are greatly defective, and essentially inadequate to the present condition and wants of society." “But as I intend this only for an introduction to some essays on the importance of a community organization, more homogeneous with the nature of the Kingdom of Christ than any yet developed amongst us, I hasten to the following melancholy disclosures,
, &c. Harb. of 1841, pp. 532, 536. “Soon as a disrespect (arose) for hereditary office, or, what is the same thing in effect, under another name, for bishops by succession „ from the apostles, the partiality for what we have called lay bishops, or those chosen without regard to such sacerdotal and hereditary ordi. nation, gradually increased, and Independency was born."
"If the New Covenant made no provision for the induction of its public agents-if it have given them no public care for one another; if it have allowed every community to do what seems right in its own eyes-if it have given to its public functionaries to go and come, and operate when, where, and as they please--and if they are only amenable, directly or indirectly, to the particular community from which they take their departure; then, indeed, the great Prophet and Lawgiver of the church has been more negligent of the interests of his kingdom, more inattentive to the connection between cause and effect, between means and ends, than any author of a new order of society that ever lived; his apostles and prime ministers have been less
pp. 61, 64.
attentive to his instructions, and less faithful to their Master and his cause, than the common functionaries of the present corrupt systems of human prudence and authority.”
“ There must, then, be some great mistake larking in the minds of those who imagine that Christ's Kingdom is a collection of ten thousand particular communities, each one being wholly absorbed from any respect, co-operation, inspection and subordination, in reference to any work or purpose necessary to carrying out and perfecting that grand system of sanctification and conversion.” Mill. Harb. of 1842,
“But as we proceed through the sacred history of the New Testament, we shall have more reason to urge to the adoption of such measures as will prevent the injuries now being inflicted on the cause by some novices, and call forth and sustain energies more in keeping with the high character of Christ's church, and more promotive of her prosperity than the present haphazard system of operations which accident, and not choice, has inflicted upon us." p. 137.
It is this same system of Independency, begotten, as extremes beget extremes, and “born” in troublous times, when "a disrespect arose for bishops by apostolic succession,” “which accident, and not chance, has inflicted on us,” and which, in its “haphazard,” prematare labor, has brought forth in Kentucky, our first, by law-established, authoeitative, writsen, human creed-INDEPENDENCY'S LEGITIMATE OFFSPRING
WORTHY OF IMITATION.
On a recent visit to Chicago, I fell in with a good Presbyterian brother from Fondulac, Wisconsin. He was a man of intelligence, a lawyer, a man of piety, and an elder in the church.
In conversation with him, it appeared that a little over a year previous, about a dozen, all told, men and women, poor and rich, members of the Presbyterian church, came together in Fondulac, and organized themselves into a church. They employed a pastor, agreeing to pay him seven hundred dollars per year. At the end of the first year they came together again, and found that their dozen had increased to thirty. On consultation, it was concluded that they ought to have a meeting-house; but casting about, there appeared to be but three persons able to do much in the way of contributing. One of these was my friend referred to above, but he had been gathering what means he could to build a house for himself. A thousand dollars was raised to buy the lot, and it was purchased. Fifteen hundred dollars was next wanted to build the house, and these three brethren were expected to contribute it. My friend said
his wife. He went home and laid the whole matter before her. She answered like an angel—“My dear, let the Lord's house be first built. We can get along very well a while longer as we are.” The five hundred dollars were immediately forthcoming.
As second thoughts are sometimes best, when these three brethren reflected that Fondalac was destined to be the capitol of Northern Wisconsin, and the Presbytery would meet there, and the Synod, and perhaps sometime or other, the General Assembly, it occurred to them that a fiften hundred dollar house would be too small. It would be better to make an effort and build it larger at once. Well, said one of these three noble spirited men, Brethren, there, (pointing with his finger in a certain direction) there, brethren, is eighty acres of land, worth two thousand dollars, take it and sell it for my share. I have made this year six thousand dollars, said a second, and will give two thousand of it to this object. Now, said my friend, I was in for it, and could not do less than agree to pay the remaining two thousand dollars. This was doing the thing up brown. A few such spirits as these in a church are worth an army of your narrow-minded, closefisted, do-nothing but.find fault Christians.
These brethren will feel happy, and their little church will, before long, break forth on the right hand and on the left, lengthening her cords and strengthening her stakes. For iny part I say, God speed to all such men. And such a wife as my friend's—"Let the Lord's house be built." God bless that noble woman! She deserves to be enrolled with kindred spirits, by an apostle of the Lamb, in the 11th chapter of Hebrews.
Brethren, let us wake up to a holy emulation of such noble deeds, and show the world, that as we are far in advance of all other professing Christians in the soundness of our views, we are likewise in the van in every noble Christian enterprise. A congregation of twelve persons agreeing to pay a pastor seven hundred dollars! Think of that, and do likewise. No wonder they numbered thirty at the end of the first year. I mean to inquire what they number at the end of the second year. It cannot fall short of seventy-five or one hundredi The beart of these people is in the work and they must prosper; and although no Presbyterian, yet I say to such a people, God bless you!
It has been beautifully said, that "the veil which covers the face of futurity, is woven by the hand of mercy.” Seek not to raise that veil, therefore, for sadness might be seen to shade the brow that fancy had arrayed in smiles of gladness.
ZEAL FOR GOOD WORKS. The work of Christ is expressly declared to have two great objects. The first of these is to “redeem" men "from all iniquity;" and the second, “to purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Those who are first made partakers of “the redemption which is in Christ Jesus," are purified, in order that they may be a " peculiar," or distinguished people, "zealous of good works." These purposes are intimately related, the first being an essential preliminary to the second, and the second a just and appropriate end and object of the first. It is to the redeemed that God has specially committed those "good works” by which the world is benefitted and God is glorified. How important, then, that they should realize their mission, and labor diligently in that vast and varied field of human suffering, degradation and ruin, which this sin-polluted world presents!
Alas! how few of the professed followers of Christ appear to do this. Regarding Christianity selfishly, as designed for their own special private benefit, multitudes are content to live under the forms of religion, while “their hearts are exercised with covetous practices," and they are wholly devoted to their own personal aims. No thought have they for the wants of a world lost in ignorance and orime; and though possessed of the unrighteous mammon, they have not the 'riches of liberality,' the riches of good works—the true riches, without which every man, though reputed wealthy in the language of men, is but a miserable pauper in the vernacular of heaven. Interested in all that concerns themselves, they are zealous in defense of their own opinions and consistency; zealous for the religious party whose cause they have espoused, and through which they possess a certain degree of influence, but never do we find them “ zealous of good works."
Amidst the vast multitude of those who thus "mind earthly things," and seek for their own things and not the things that are Christs', there are, nevertheless, commingled those who are "called," and “ faithful," and "true," and it is consoling to see occasionally such records of their labor as the following, which we take from a foreign paper.
A USEFUL CITY MISSIONARY. There lives at the east end of London a City Missionary, belonging to we know not what sect, but assuredly a Christian, who for many years devoted his life, in the most practical way, to the rescue of young people of either sex who have become thieves, vagrants, and