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assume to represent them in relation to their temporal interests as merchants, or mechanics, or agriculturists, or lawyers, or physicians, but as Christians merely. They have to do with their spiritual wants and obligations alone. Why, then, cannot ministers represent laymen? The interests of both classes are identical. Would an intelligent, scientific, successful farmer be disqualified for representing farmers by being made a professor in an agricultural college, or being otherwise devoted to the instruction of men in farming? The following remarks by Alexander Hamilton are relevant here: “The idea of an actual representation of all classes of the people by persons of each class is altogether visionary.” Again: "It is a sound and important principle that the representative ought to be acquainted with the interests and circumstances of his constituents. But this principle can extend no further than to those circumstances and interests to which the authority and care of the representative relate. Our ignorance of a variety of minute and particular objects which do not lie within the compass of legislation, is consistent with every attribute necessary to a due performance of the legislative trust."*
There would be as much propriety in ministers clamoring for a distinct representation by ministers in the several departments of civil government, as there is in this demand of laymen for a distinct representation by laymen in the supreme councils of the Church. Nothing less than the presence of both laymen and ministers, with equal rights as classes, in all the legislative, judicial, and executive bodies in the country, civil and ecclesiastical, so that each class will be distinctly represented, and be able to check and balance the action of the other, will meet the principles laid down to reform the Methodist Episcopal Church. Those principles, pushed to their legitimate practical consequences, would soon eventuate in the union of Church and State.
This alleged right of the laity is put upon the ground that “taxation and representation should always be concomitant." But if being taxed gives the right to a direct class representation (for this is the representation claimed,) numerous subjects of our civil government are denied their rights in this respect. Women, and unnaturalized foreigners, and many others, as I have shown, are not allowed the privilege of voting, and yet they are taxed. Ministers of the Gospel are taxed, yet without such a representation as is claimed for the laity. Besides, the laity of Methodism are not taxed. To prove that they are, it will be necessary to destroy the distinction between paying taxes and making voluntary contributions.
The Federalist, pp. 152, 259.
Philadelphia memorial contains the most plausible argument to prove that the laity are taxed that has yet appeared. It is as follows:
“That the laity are taxed for the support of the ministry by stronger obligations than human laws can impose, we think you will not deny. If you are good men and true, you are moved by the Holy Ghost to preach the Gospel. Necessity is laid upon you. Nay, woe be unto you if you preach it not. And can you go this warfare at your own expense? Must you not live of the altar while you minister at it? And who shall pay the expense of this warfare? Who shall supply the sacrifice for the altar? Must not the laity do it? To this you answer, emphatically. Yes. If, then, the laity refuse or nieglect their duty, and you are thereby prevented from performing yours, will not the woe fall upon them ? Surely the laity will refuse to support you, as much at the peril of their happiness as you will refuse to minister at yours. We submit, then, that we are taxed by the same law which compels you to minister; and by the same law are entitled to a representation.”
This is certainly a very forcible presentation of the relative obligations of preaching on the one hand, and contributing for the support of the ministry on the other; but it contains a cluster of fallacies. 1. It assumes that our laity are not represented in our Church councils. 2. It assumes that taxation gives the right, not to represen. tation simply, but to a distinct class representation. 3. Should we, for the sake of the argument, admit the foregoing assumptions to be correct, there would remain this singular fallacy : a right to representation in the General Conference is claimed, as if that were the body imposing the taxes, while the premises acknowledge that it is not. They are declared to be imposed by a much higher authority, namely, that which imposes upon ministers the obligation to preach. "We are taxed,” say the memorialists, "by the same law which compels you to minister, and by the same law are entitled to a representation.” This must of course mean a representation in the council from which the law proceeds, otherwise the argument is manifestly illogical. So far then as this argument is concerned, the memorial was sent to the wrong place. The representation must be in those high and awful councils from which emanate the laws of God's universal kingdom. It will be seen at a glance that the ministry is in the same condition of disfranchisement. Perhaps we have misunderstood the design of these brethren, and are doing them injustice. They say: "We do not wish this paper to be looked upon as a petition.” Did they intend that the General Conference should unite with them in a demand for a ministerial and lay representation in Heaven's august parliament ?
A direct class representation is claimed as necessary to freedom. "We merely wish,” says the memorial, “ for the good of the Church, that its members may be permitted to feel that they are at least as
free in the Church as they are in the State-not serfs, not subjects, not underlings; but your companions, your fellows, your peers, and, under God, a free and self-governed people.” One very obvious consequence of the application of this assumption to civil government is, that ministers of the Gospel, in this country, are not politically free. They are denied what our reformers call “ rational liberty.” In what state in this great Republic are they represented, as a class, by ministers ? Several of the states' constitutions exclude them, by express provision, from any office in the government. The Constitution of the state of Delaware may be given as an example. It contains the following: “No ordained clergyman or preacher of the Gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of holding any office in this state, or of being a member of either branch of the legislature, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral or clerical functions." The Constitution of the United States does not contain such a provision. Ministers of the Gospel may be elected to Congress; but then they must go there, not as ministers, or to represent the ministry, but merely as citizens to represent citizens. They are not sent by ministers. If one of the political parties considers a minister available as a candidate, and he is desirous or willing to go, he may be taken up and elected; but he must lay aside, for the time being, his clerical character. Ministers of the Gospel have no distinctive representation in Congress, or in any civil legislature in the country. Under the same conditions laymen may go to the General Conference. Let them lay aside the character of laymen, and become presbyters in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the way is open to them.
The relation of the clergymen of this country to the civil government attracted the attention of that acute observer De Tocqueville. He remarks:
" This led me to examine more attentively than I had hitherto done the station which the American clergy occupy in political society. I learned, with surprise, that they filled no public appointments; not one of them is to be met with in the administration, and they are not represented in the legislative assemblies. In several states the law excludes them from political life; public opinion in all.”
The truth of the latter remark has been recently exemplified in Pennsylvania. A Lutheran minister was elected to Congress, and was consequently required by the Synod of the Church to resign his ecclesiastical position.
Should it be said, in reply to this argument, that ministers of the Gospel have political freedom because they have the right to vote in the election of civil rulers, we rejoin, this would be a relinquishment of the position that a distinct class representation is essential to freedom. A new ground would be assumed; and, by a parity of reasoning, if to be denied the right to vote in the election of representatives in the councils of the Church is to be deprived of ecclesiastical freedom, to be denied the right of voting for representatives in the councils of the State is to be deprived of political freedom. The consequence is that the majority of the subjects of our civil government are denied the right of freedom. They are in bondage. They are serfs, underlings, slaves. A further consequence is, that the great body of the members of the Presbyterian Church are not free any more than the Methodists. They do not vote for representatives in the presbyteries, the synods, or the general assemblies. The same follows in regard to the Methodist Protestant Church. Its constitution restricts the right of suffrage to free white males over twenty-one years of age.
All the rest are in bondage. Besides, the right of voting does not carry with it neces-, sarily a share in the sovereignty of the State. It may be accompanied by ineligibility to any office; and surely no one can be in possession of civil sovereignty who is declared by law ineligible to office in the government of his country.
It has been objected that in our Church there is an unequal apportionment of power, and that this inequality is greatly in favor of the ministry. Let us inquire into this matter. What is the power which, according to our belief, Christ has bestowed upon his ministers? It is the power of forming and governing religious communities called Churches. But this power is very limited in its range. We do not say that the ministry of our Church does not make laws—that it has not the power to legislate. An attempt to distinguish between law-making and rule-making is attended with embarrassment. In spite of our explanations, protestations, and reasonings, the people will call rule-making legislation. We do so ourselves, and cannot avoid it. But there is an important distinction to be observed respecting Church legislation. The legislative power of the Church is exhausted in the enactment of a few administrative or secondary rules or laws for the enforcement of Christ's laws, which are supreme, and may be neither multiplied, nor modified, nor contravened by human authority. And what are the penalties by which Church rulers enforce the laws of the Church? Reproof, rebuke, suspension from some of the privileges of the Church, and, as the last resort, excision or expulsion from the Church. They cannot affect the property or the persons of offenders.
But what is the power of the State which belongs to the laity? They have the power of legislation in the highest form-of making
primarily all the laws they deem necessary for the welfare of the community, and of enforcing them by whatever penalties they may deem the most effective. They make laws for ministers as well as themselves, and enforce them by fines, imprisonment, compulsory labor in the prisons, and death. And if ministers, in the enforcement of Church discipline, go beyond the law of the Church, and affect injuriously the reputation or the pecuniary interests of those upon whom they exercise discipline, they are liable to be arraigned before tribunals composed of lay judges, lay jurors, and lay attorneys; to be held in custody by lay sheriffs and constables, and punished as laymen may dictate. Laymen declare war or negotiate peace with other nations, annex or alienate territory, levy taxes or impose tariffs, without consulting ministers. And further, the ministry of our Church have deemed themselves justified by Scripture and expediency in conferring upon the laity a large share of subordinate ecclesiastical power. They have decided to admit none to the ministry or the membership of the Church, without the approval of the laity, so that laymen can close the door of admission to both. They have judged it best to expel no layman from the Church whose guilt has not been formally and judicially ascertained by laymen. They have invested laymen with the money-power of the Church, and the control, as trustees, of the Church property.
And now we ask, What party has the most power? Is not the inequality in favor of the laity? And yet some of them are not satisfied with this division. The ministers have a little power to enable them to perform their special duties, and to sustain their special responsibilities, and the laity must have that also. Nothing will satisfy them but the sovereignty of the State and the sovereignty of the Church. They are the sovereign people; and if they cannot carry their measures they will, forsooth, impute to the ministry a love of power, and raise a hue and cry about clerical despotism. Cesar, not content with civil empire, must also grasp the scepter of Christ's kingdom. And yet these brethren, after accusing ministers of a love of power, because they are not willing to surrender that for the use of which they are held responsible by the great Head of the Church, wipe their mouths, and mcekly say: "We seek not fame, we seek not power.” Certainly not; who ever heard of a layman desiring fame or power? That is a vice belonging exclusively to the Christian ministry.
The Philadelphia memorialists refer to the taunts with which Methodists are assailed, accusing our system of popery. They admit the justice of these taunts. We must bear them with what philosophy we can,” say they, "for we cannot refute them.” We