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every house and to every soul, is the precise genius and mission of Methodism. “The world is my parish,” said Mr. Wesley, and Ecumenical Methodism is a recognition of the accepted truth. The one grand, world-wide revival movement which, like the ocean, has sent its waves to all shores, must of necessity have a tidal re flow toward some common center.
The Bishops, in their quadrennial Address, referred to the steps taken to secure a Methodist Ecumenical Conference, and added : “ The measure thus inaugurated, it is hoped, will be consummated, and will add to the strength, influence, and unity of the Methodist family of Churches.” The Address of the British Wesleyan Conference, signed, on behalf and by order of that body, by Benjamin M. Gregory, President, and Marmaduke Clark Osborne, Secretary, closed with these memorable words:
The proposals which we have received from your Committee that an Ecumenical Conference of the various Methodist bodies in Great Britain, the United States, the Dominion of Canaila, and other countries, be held for the purpose of copsidering the position and work of the people called Methodists, have been favorably reported upon by the Committee appointed to consider them, and communications are now proceeding which will, we trust, issue in the realization of this important project. Much wisdom will be needed to mature and guide so great an undertaking.
In conclusion, dear brethren, we renew to you the sincerest assurances of our Christian esteem and affection. We rejoice in every indication of growing unity in the universal Church of Christ, but with the most abundant welcome do we hail any movement that tends to bring closer together the kindred Churches that bad their origin in the large-hearted charity and world-embracing zeal of John Wesley. The substantial unity of Methodism the world over is a providential fact of the profoundest siynificance.
We would cherish whatever promotes the recognized oneness of all the Methodist Churches; not in visible organic union—that need not be—but in fraternal alliance and the bonds of common service and sympathy. Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied unto you from God our Father, and from Jesus Christ our Lord !
In the fraternal message of the Irish Methodist Church, this paragraph occurs :
We heard with great satisfaction of the suggestions for the holding of an Ecumenical Methodist Conference, which you have submitted to the consideration of the British Conference. We have no doubt that the holding of such a Conference, under suitable conditions, would "rend in many ways to a closer alliance,” a warmer fraternity, and a fuller co-operation among the various branches of the great Methodist family. We hope to hear, in due time, that any practical difficulties which may seem to lie in the way of carrying out your proposals have been overcome, and that the Conference will be held. We shall be glad to co-operate in any way in our power.
Rev. William Arthur, A.M., the fraternal delegate of the British Wesleyan Conference, in his stirring and eloquent address, said:
Allusion has been made to the proposal that has emanated from you for an ecumenical gathering of Methodists from all the world. We should like that gathering to take place where the Methodist Society originated. We should like it to take place at City Road, where John Wesley, Charles Wesley, and Joseph Benson preached, where the first Conferences were held, and where the cradle of Methodism will always be spoken of, and th:t with interest more profound as time advances. I speak now not merely of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but for a moment I think of all the other branches scattered throughout the world, Whatever name they may have adopted for themselves, they had the Methodist origin; and I like the name; and we should link them all togothér. and see if by the blessing of God we cannot, in such a meeting, so take counsel one with another, that we shall, every m:in, go away, one to India, one to Italy, and one to the Catfirs of the Cape, one to the negroes of Monrovia, and another to Huison's Bay, and to California, and Japan, and China, to Rome, and so on right around the world, telling our people every-where we may go that, being many, we are one! I trust that one we shall remain, and become more and more conscious of our oneness.
Rev. A. G. Haygood, D.D., fraternal messenger from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in his address to the General Conference, dwelt largely on this subject, and among other things, said:
Before closing this address I may add that our people have looked forward to this General Conference with deep interest, not only because it is in itself a most important and intluential assemblage of Christian men, met to consider of affairs vital to the Church, but chiefly because, here and now, the first practical steps are to be taken for bringing about an Ecumenical Conference of universal Methoilism.
It is a grand conception, Mr. President, that honors the heart and mind that first suggested it. It will honor, also, the hearts and minds of those who, unler God, may so guide the development of this great idea as to realize the large possibilities that this scheme involves.
Let this greater Conference be held. Let representatives—the wisest and holiest of them all — be present from every Methodist family in the world. And this Conference, my brethren, will be held. So great a thonght as this, of a Pan-Methodist Conference, that may confer, in brotherly love and confidence, in the spirit of mutual helpfulness, concerning all the interests of Methodism, and that, so conferring, must help forward all these interests—a thonght so great as this, with so much wisdom and faith and Christian love in it, was not born to die.
Such a Conference might, as it seems to me, bring to each one of our Methodisms the momentum of the whole body; might impart to each the larger views and higher inspiration of the whole confederation, but would, at the same time, preserve intact the autonomy of each, thus leaving each one of the Methodist household to fulfill, without binderance, its providential mission to the world.
We trust that this General Conference will devise and accomplish many wise and excellent things for the Church, that it will be long remembered for the blessings that followed it; but will not its relations to Ecumenical Methodism give it its chief historic glory and importance? I cannot doubt that in every country where Methodism has a foothold, there are ascending prayers for the divine blessing upon the deliberations to be had in this city, preliminary to the assembling of a Pan-Methodist Conference that will consider of the affairs of universal Methodism, and of the greater affairs of our common Christianity.
When that Conference meets, when the English Methodisms, Irish Methodism, the Methodisms of the Canadas, of Australasia, India, China, Europe, and the many Methodisms of our great Union --- Episcopal and non-Episcopal, Caucasian and African-when all these brothers meet together to advise, to bless, and to help each other, then will the ascended fathers say, with deeper emphasis and larger meaning than the words ever bore before, “What hath God wrought!”... Pardon me, Mr. President and brethren, for alluding once more to the mission work of our Churches. If any thing worthy is to come out of our fraternity and our Ecumenical Conferences, surely one result will be a vast increase of our faith and zeal and enterprise in the work of converting the many millions of the heathen world. Vain is our boast of more than four millions of Methodists, if, when we are drawn together in the bonds of Christian brotherhood, we do not realize the greatness both of our opportunity and responsibility.
Rev. Edward B. Ryckman, D.D., fraternal delegate from the Methodist Church of Canada, said:
This Ecumenical Conference is the noblest attempt ever yet made to give visible expression of our Methodistic unity, and it will arrest the attention, attract the sympathy, and call forth the prayers, of thousands upon thousands of Methodists who, although separated by wide distances, some of them by intervening oceans, are yet one in doctrine, one in spirit, one in the love of a common work. May our geographical separation be the most serious that shall ever divide us! The result of such a Conference must be good. Whether the subjects of discussion be general, such as the right way of maintaining the sanctity of the Sabbath, or disseminating a healthful Christian literature, or promoting revivals of religion, or training the young to an early consecration to God and his service in every department of Christian work, or, if the subjects should be more particular, a mutual agreement as to the partition of the mission field so as to take possession of the world for Christ in the most systematic and expeditious manner possible, the possibility of a Pan-Methodist hymn book, the practicability of a confederation of all the Methodist bodies under the shining sun of heaven on a well-understood fraternal basi shall have the prayers of all good men and the blessings of the Head of the Church.
The elaborate report of the Ecumenical Conference Committee was ordered printed in the “Daily Christian Advocate," and also in the Journal of the General Conference. The report of the Joint Committee, summoning an Ecumenical Council, was accorded a similar honor. The General Conference also adopted resolutions, providing for the appointment of two members of the Executive Committee, to perfect arrangements for the Council, and authorizing the Bishops of the Church to select che delegates to the Ecumenical Conference. Nothing more is needed in the way of legislation, or necessary pre-arrangement, to bring this grand undertaking to a happy consummation.
Not the least notable of the public services held during the session of the General Conference were those arranged and carried out by the Ecumenical Committee. In accordance with the request of the Committee, Rev. William Arthur preached in St. Paul's Church, May 9, from the words, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all," discussing Christian unity as resting on two things ; first, a common nature, and, secondly, a common origin. Said Mr. Arthur:
Let all Methodists love one another and promote harmony, which will, in time, bring unity. The world has need of our light. Let the Bishops of the South strive with the Bishops of the North, and the laymeu of each section strive with each other, striving together, and not against each other. God send us the day of unity! God grant us this day an antepast of this union, and of the time when all the world shall be compelled to say that Christians love one another !
The Monday night following there was a meeting of great interest, devoted to prayer, brief addresses, and sacred songs. Bishop Simpson presided, assisted by Rev. William Arthur, Bishop D. S. Doggett, Rev. Wallace M'Mullen, and Rev. Dr. E. B. Ryckman. Remarks were made by Rev. E. H. Dewart, of the Methodist Church of Canada; Rev. F. W. Macdonald, of the British Wesleyan Conference; Rev. W. Nast, D.D., “ the father of German Methodism;" Rev. B. Lane, A.M., of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada; Rev. J. G. Mitchell, D.D., of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; J. H. Carlisle, LL.D., of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; Hon. Charles J. Baker, of the Independent Methodist Church ; Rev. N. Wardner, of the American Wesleyan Church; Babu Ram Chandra Bose, lay delegate from North India to the General Conference; and by Dr. J. B. M'Ferrin, Bishop Doggett, and Rev. William Arthur. We quote one paragraph from Mr. Arthur, which is decidedly ecumenical in its strain. He said:
I thank God for what I have seen to-night; I thank God that we have had here different colors and accents and nationalities. I thank God for the German accent; I thank God for the black complexion; I thank God for the Hindu complexion. Methodism was born with the word upon its lips, “The world is my parish.” That was its birth-cry. There is a vast deal of its parish into which it has never set foot. We sometimes say that Methodism is to be found in all the world. Aye, aye, found in all the world the same as gits lamps are to be found in all America. They are here and there, but there is many an acre, many a mountain, and many a valley, where there is no gas lamp. We have only begun; but, thank God, we are a band of brothers every-where. We may be Anglo-Saxons, Hindus, Negroes, Catfirs, Malays and New Zealanders, and yet we are a common brotherhood.
This meeting, attended by the representative men of so many different Methodist bodies, will, doubtless, be productive. of widespread and glorious results.
Such a movement as this proposed Methodist Ecumenical Conference will have to be guarded against many perils. It may degenerate into a mutual admiration society. It may waste itself in gush and glorification of Methodism. It may