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land where our Saviour mingled with men and imparted to them his divine teachings, must gather new hope for its restoration to civilization and humanity, knowing the sturdy efforts that are now being made by men of pious enthusiasm and Christian zeal to introduce a better state of things. They are teaching by example as well as precept, and they have come to conquer or perish in the attempt. They are of the stuff of which martyrs are made, and if any can succeed in this muchneeded work, they are these men.
ART. IV.-ECUMENICAL METHODISM.
METHODISM, in an organic condition, is in America-in the United States, in Canada, and in Mexico; in Europe—in the British Isles and on the Continent; in Africa ; in Asia—in the great empires of India, China, and Japan; and in Australasia, where it has a General Conference with four Annual Conferences.
Methodism has more than one hundred thousand itinerant and local ministers, nearly five millions of lay members, and a community filling its congregations and subject to its influence of not less than twenty, and possibly reaching twentyfive, millions. Methodism speaks almost every language, has its adherents of every complexion, gathers its trophies in all lands, and unfurls its conquering banner beneath every sky. It publishes books, newspapers, and tracts, by the million, in the different tongues spoken or read by its myriad converts. It is found, with its peculiar institutions and distinctive usages, on every continent and in almost every quarter of the globe.
In all its history Methodism has been a doctrinal unity. It has had no divisions or secessions because of dogmas. The avowed object of all its branches has been the maintenance of the spiritual life, the spread of scriptural holiness, and the conversion of sinners. Whoever has known Methodism in any of its forms would at once recognize it in whatever form it exists. It is English, American, African, Asiatic, Australasian; Episcopal and non-Episcopal, cultured and uncultured; finding
! its adherents in the highest and in the lowest classes of society; worshiping in splendid churches, in the rudest structures, and in the open fields; but always and every-where it has the same distinctive features.
It is remarkable that Methodism, despite its doctrinal unity, oneness of purpose, substantial harmony of usages and common spiritual life, should, nevertheless, be broken into more than a score of independent fragments. It is not our purpose to trace 'the history of these various organizations. Some of them have resulted from political convulsions, some have come in the order of national growth and independency, and some from an avowed purpose to maintain primitive Methodism in its purity and power. Not one of them has been a departure, in purpose or fact, from the essential doctrines and usages of Methodism. It is, doubtless, true that some of these bodies have no sufficient reason for a separate existence, and that a waste of means and energies has resulted, in some instances, from the presence, in the same locality, of different and rival Methodist organizations.
The special need of Methodism, however, is not, in our judgment, an organic union, or the reduction of these fragmentary bodies into two or three, or a half dozen, or even a half score, great continental communions. What is required, as a condition of the largest Methodistic success, is not consolidation, but confederation. We need a holy league and covenant, in spirit if not in letter, binding all the branches of the one Methodist family together, to do the work and fulfill the mission assigned us by the great Head of the Church. We need to feel more deeply that we are one people, and “a band of brothers everywhere.” We need some practical system of co-operation, especially in our mission fields. We need the strength and encouragement which come from the assurance that every part of the grand movement is in harmony with every other part, and that all are working together from a common impulse, and to secure a common triumph. We need to give such visible expression to our invisible unity," that the world may believe" that we have a common spiritual life, and that we are one with Christ as he is one with the Father.
It was, doubtless, because of convictions such as these that the General Conference of 1876 resolved in favor of an Ecumenical Conference of Methodism; declared its judgment that such a Conference would tend in many ways to a closer alliance,
a warmer fraternity, and a fuller co-operation among the various Methodist organizations for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom in all parts of the earth; ordered the appointment of a committee to take the whole subject into consideration, to correspond with different Methodist bodies, and to endeavor to arrange for such Ecumenical Conference; and empowered said committee to speak on this subject, for and in the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. The committee, selected by the Bishops, and constituted as the General Conference had directed, of two Bishops, four other ministers, and three laymen, was as follows:
Bishops.-Rev. Matthew Simpson, D.D., LL.D., of Philadelphia, Pa.; and Rev. Edward R. Ames, D.D., LL.D., of Balti
Other ministers.-Rev. Augustus C. George, D.D., of Central New York Conference; Rev. Lorenzo D. Barrows, D.D., of New Hampshire Conference; Rev. Park S. Donelson, D.D., of Central Ohio Conference; and Rev. Isaac N. Baird, D.D., of Pittsburgh Conference.
Laymen.- Hon. J. W. Marshall, of Washington, District of Columbia; Hon. James Harlan, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa; and Francis H. Root, Esq., of Buffalo, New York.
Rev. Bishop Edward R. Ames, D.D., LL.D., and Rev. Lorenzo D. Barrows, D.D., having deceased, the Board of Bishops appointed in their places Rev. Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D., LL.D., and Rev. James Pike, D.D.
It appears, from the report of this Committee, submitted to the recent General Conference, that the proposed Ecumenical Council has received the approval of the Methodist Protestant Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the American Wesleyan Church, the Evangelical Association, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church-all of the United States ; the Methodist Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada, and the British Wesleyan Conference of England. In November, 1879, the Committee published a card in all the papers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and requested its publication in all the Methodist journals of the world, reciting in brief the above-named facts, and concluding as follows:
It seems now to be necessary that there should be a joint meeting of these committees, or of their chairmen, or of some one or
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XXXII.-44
more persons authorized to act in their stead, to prepare a call for such Ecumenical Conference, determining the time and place of meeting, suggesting a basis of representation, and providing for essential preliminary details. We would, therefore, respectfully propose that such joint meeting be held in the city of Cincinnati, May 6, 1880; and we express our earnest desire that it may be attended, not only by the representatives of the several Methodist bodies which have taken action in favor of an Ecumenical Conference, but also, as far as practicable, by authorized representatives of all other Methodist organizations in every part of the world. We would, furthermore, call on all Christians, and especially on all Methodists, to offer, continually, fervent prayers to Almighty God, that he may be pleased to further this godly design with his blessing, so that it may redound to his glory, and may result in a large increase of the spirituality, unity, and prosperity of his Church, and the more speedy conversion of the world to our Lord Jesus Christ.
In accordance with this summons, delegates assembled in St. Paul's Church, Cincinnati, representing the British Wesleyan Conference, the Irish Methodist Conference, the Methodist Church of Canada, the Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada, the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, the Free Methodist Church, the American Wesleyan Church, and the Independent Methodist Church. Rev. William Arthur, A.M., of England, presided over this holy convocation, and diffused through it much of his sweet, Christian spirit. The convention was fraternal, devout, earnest, harmonious, and unanimous in its conclusions. The final result reached, after a number of meetings, the freest and fullest consultation, and frequent seasons of fervent and united prayer in which the Holy Spirit was manifestly present, was expressed in a "call" for a Methodist Ecumenical Conference, to be composed of four hundred members, and to meet in City Road Chapel, London, if found practicable, in August, 1881. This "call," which provides all the necessary machinery for carrying out its great purpose, was signed by every person composing the Conference, or joint committee meeting. It has attached to it the names of William Arthur and F. W. Macdonald, of England; of Wallace M'Mullen, of Ireland; of Bishops Simpson and Peck, of the Methodist Episcopal Church ; of Bishops Doggett and M'Tyeire, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and of others, both clerical and lay, scarcely
less distinguished and honored. This “call” for a Methodist Ecumenical Council concludes as follows:
In conclusion, we desire to express our devout thanksgiving to the God and Father of all our mercies for the which he as been pleased thus far to show to this truly catholic movement, and especially for the spirit of forbearance, charity, and brotherly love which has prevailed in all our councils. We fervently pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon our work and upon his people, and eminently upon every branch of the great Methodist family; and that this proposed Methodist Ecumenical Conference may be brought to a glorious consummation, and may be made fruittul of blessings to all mankind.
That there has been, in the last quadrennium, a great growth in the Church of the Ecumenical idea, is evident from a number of facts. In the General Conference of 1876 the proposition for a Methodist Ecumenical Council was referred to the “Committee on the State of the Church," where it was received with doubt, questionings, and suspicion. When amended “as to its title and phraseology,” the word “ Council” being struck out and the word “Conference" inserted, and reported favorably by the Committee, “ with the recommendation that it be adopted,” its provisions met with earnest opposition on the floor of the Conference; and it only prevailed, through the strenuous exertions of its original mover, by a vote of one hundred and twenty-seven to seventy-four. Some of the ablest men in the Church, who were recognized leaders in the Conference, were included in the negative vote.
There was quite a different state of things in the General Conference of 1880. The work of the Committee having this matter in hand, and the discussions of the Press, had not been wholly unfruitful. The hearty, favorable responses of other Methodist bodies had produced their natural results. nity was in the air, and “syllables and soundings" came from every quarter in the direction of a Methodist Council. Every body seemed to discern that “ Ecumenical" was not now the symbol of Roman power or of Papal pretension. The word OLKOVLLEVN ecumenical, the whole human race, the habitable world, is, indeed, a word having the sanction of frequent New Testament
Το preach the gospel of the kingdom, εν όλη την οικουμένη, in the whole habitable world, (Matt. xxiv, 14,) to spread scriptural holiness throughout all lands, to carry the glad tidings to