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EARLIER WORK AS BISHOP.
1844-1848. Earlier Work as Bishop-Division of the Church-Home Letters
Recuperation of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
HE first Episcopal work of Bishop Janes lay in
New England. A fragment of a diary has been found recording his very first work as General Superintendent. He began the diary, evidently with the intention of keeping a continuous record; but, alas! his work outran his words; pen and pencil could not keep pace with his fight. As Dr. Abel Stevens once playfully said, “Death itself could not catch up with him.”
1844. July 24. This morning commenced the duties of a presiding Bishop by opening the session of the New England Conference. My feelings can be better imagined than expressed. The Conference received me with great courtesy and marked affection. The morning session was a pleasant one. In the afternoon, in meeting the council of elders, I found my duties even more solemn and difficult. The business in changing the pastoral relations of Christian ministers is truly serious and responsible. If an itinerant ministry is kept up, however, some one must be intrusted with this prerogative. I am so sensible of the immense superiority of an itinerant over a settled ministry, that I am willing to do the very best I can, in the capacity of a General Superintendent, to save such a ministry.
August 1. The New England Conference closed its session this evening. It has been a very harmonious and pleasant Conference. A more than ordinary measure of divine influence rested upon the preachers and was manifest in the public meetings. God has very graciously aided and sustained me. I
pray that his blessing-may rest upon the appointments !
August 28. This morning started for the Kentucky Conference and the others in the South-western district. Parting with my family, with the expectation of being absent six months, was certainly very painful. My affliction was much increased by the illness of my wife and the tears and sobs of my dear children. A sacrifice for Christ, therefore made cheerfully.
August 30. Reached Marietta, Ohio, and stopped to spend the Sabbath, etc.
Sept. 1. Sunday, preached twice. I trust some good was done. This is the seat of the Ohio Conference, which meets here on the 4th inst. I shall wait until that time that I may see Bishops Waugh and Soule, who are expected here by or before that time.
Bishop Janes," writes Dr. Elliott to the “ Western Christian Advocate, was present on the opening of Conference and presided a few hours. He filled the chair with as much ease as if he had been an old practitioner. We pledge for him that he will go through his duties with great Methodistic accuracy and general satisfaction."
On his way to the Kentucky Conference he stopped in Cincinnati and preached in Morris Chapel, which had recently been opened, and was then the most beautiful Methodist Episcopal church in the city. A venerable Christian lady, who is still a member of that Church, (now St. Paul,) remembers
EARLIER WORK AS BISHOP.
the occasion, and was especially struck with the impressive manner in which he read the hymn, of which one of the stanzas is,
“ Thee will I love, my joy, my crown;
Thee will I love, my Lord, my God;
Or smile, thy scepter or thy rod.
The Kentucky Conference met at Bowling Green, Ky., Sept. 11. The session was an exciting one. In the late General Conference the delegates of this Conference had voted as a unit against the action in the case of Bishop Andrew. The chairman of the delcgation, the eloquent Dr. Bascom, President of Transylvania University, had written the protest against this action, and as this was the first Southern Conference sitting after the recent action, it was matter of great moment as to the measures the members would adopt. Bishop Janes was cordially received, and although the questions acted upon involved the sharpest debates, and he was obliged, at least in one instance--the ordination of slaveholding local preachers-to deny the wishes of the Conference, yet his presidency was highly commended. A correspondent of the “Nashville Advocate ” writes :
Our newly elected Bishop, the Rev. Edmund S. Janes, who presided at the Kentucky Conference, gave general satisfaction. His expedition in the dispatch of business, his firmness,
modesty, affability, and unaffected piety, are very important qualifications for the high office to which he has been called. We trust he will find his visit to the South-west pleasant to himself; and we pray that it may be profitable to the Churches.
Since writing the above we have received the following resolution, which was adopted while the Bishop was absent from the conference room :
Resolved, By the Kentucky Annual Conference, that it affords us great pleasure to bear testimony to the ability, energy, and impartiality with which Bishop Janes has presided over the deliberations of this body during its present arduous and protracted session, and that we most cheerfully commend him to the kind and approving regards of the ministry and membership of the Church, wherever he may appear, as one of the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
H. B. BASCOM,
If there had been the least misgiving in the minds of his northern friends as to the leanings of Bishop Janes in the event of a division of the Church, they were set at rest by his course at this Conference.
Dr. J. S. Porter, his early and long-tried friend, writes :
At the time he was elected by the General Conference of 1844, to be a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, there was some fear among the delegates of northern Conferences that he might be induced to cast his lot with the South, as the southern delegates were the first to mention his name in connection with the office, and regularly nominated him. To counteract any such influence as might be brought to bear upon the newly elected Bishop, he was reminded that the South had not votes enough to elect a Bishop at that Conference, and that
EARLIER WORK AS BISHOP.
we, of the North, who had cast our votes for him, did it most cordially and conscientiously because we wished his services in that position. It soon appeared in his administration of the office that there was no ground to fear his fidelity. When he presided at the Kentucky Conference, and found the brethren disposed to depart from their well-understood rule, and elect to orders in the local ministry some who were slave-holders, which they had up to that time declined to do, he informed them that he could not put to vote such a case, as it would, in his judgment, violate the Discipline of the Church; all, both North and South, who were informed of his action, became fully satisfied that the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States had a Superintendent in Bishop Janes that could not be used to subvert the Discipline, or to ignore it, even under a powerful pressure. Though like his divine Master, he was meek and lowly in heart, he was as firm as a rock in adhering to his convictions.
The Kentucky Conference at this session appointed delegates to meet in convention at Louisville, Ky., May 1, 1845. The call for this convention had been made by the delegates from the Conferences in the slave-holding States, immediately at the close of the General Conference of 1844. So far, however, did a conservative feeling prevail in the Kentucky Conference, that delegates to the Convention were instructed “to prevent separation at present."
I am not able to follow the Bishop-in the absence of any records or letters—throughout his Southwestern tour. He presided over the Tennessee Conference, which began its session at Columbia, Maury County, Tenn., Nov. 2. There is a refer