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men. Had any other description or class of per-, sons, possessed the same monopoly, the same consequences, and perhaps worse, would have followed; for so large a majority of men will “feel power and forget right," when their power is not limited, that no man or set of men can be safely trusted with unlimited power. It was then the spirit of the times, the spirit of the age, the state of society, and of learning or science; more than it was the peculiar spirit of the clergy, that led them either to poskess or abuse their power. In the Papal state, even to this day, the church is the sole government, the head of the church being the head of the state: And previous to the reformation, and especially before the art of printing gave rise to a new era, the Papal power was more or less, if not entirely, predominant in all the monarchies of Europe. The church of England is still in a very broad, though not an unqualified, sense, part and parcel of the go. vernment or constitution; as may be seen by reference to the statutes of Præmunire, excluding Papal Jurisdiction; the statute of 25 Hen. VIII. C. 20, restoring to the crown the right of nominating the Arch Bishops, and various other statutes or charters, from which the bishops derive both their spiritual, and secular authority, and are constituted Lords of Parliament, though not Peers of the Realm; and on which all their exclusive privileges and pretensions are founded. . ;
But the fact is, and history demonstrates it, to all who are capable of studying history with a philo.
sophic eye, that the clergy, either as a body, or individually, have never done half the mischief that has been imputed to them by careless or ignorant readers, as well as unqualified, or unprincipled writers of history—or by heedless and credulous men, totally ignorant of history and of all other science, and led entirely by prejudices, of which they knew not themselves the nature or origin. Would my limits permit, I could cite many cases, in which unjust violence and bloodshed have disgraced and stained the annals of nations, not excepting our own country, of which the clergy were entirely innocent; while but few such cases, comparatively speaking, can be cited, wherein they were guilty. I could also show, that in several cases in which they were the most severely censured, they were the least to blame. I will cite at least one such case; but before I do so, as I love to dwell on all that is honorable and praise-worthy in our native land, I will here exhibit a very brief apology for the conduct and character of the American clergy. I will ask you, sir, what they have done to merit persecution ? In the revolution which gave us reedom and independence, they were, a large portion of them at least, the best and most efficient friends of their country. I remember well the services then rendered by a Stiles, a Hopkins, and a Witherspoon; great and venerable names; to say nothing of many others whose prayers went up from the altar, whose eloquence animated the people, and whose presence on the field of battle, in the holy office of chaplains, inspired the soldier with courage for the combat, and the hope of glory both here and hereafter, whether he should survive it or not. Were these, sir, small services ?
Again, sir, have they ever disturbed the peace of their country, to whose Independence they contributed so much? A reference to facts will soon settle this question. The most signal acts of mobocratic violence, which have disgraced our annals, were the mobs 'which grew out of the absurd and grossly wicked paper money system of 1787–88, in Rhode-Island; the insurrection of Shays and his followers, shortly after, in Massachusetts; and the Whiskey Insurrection, so called, in Pennsylvania. Those works of anarchy and confusion, all originated, and were carried on, without the least aid or participation, directly or indirectly, from the Clergy as a body; nor do I recollect, though perfectly conversant at the time with all those events, in all their details, of a solitary Clergyman who was concerned in any of them. Moreover, sir, this vast continent, with so many millions of population, and so many thousands of Clergymen, has existed more than half a century as an independent nation, exclusive of its colonial existence ; And yet in all this time but three Clergymen, I believe, have ever been charged with a capital crime-whereas, in a single isle of Europe during the same period, one Clergyman was executed for the murder of two boys, his pupils; and another fled for a capital offence of gross enormity. On these grounds alone I certain. lý raise a strong presumption in behalf of the virtue and piety of the American Clergy as á body. $o much, sir, for the honor of the Clergy of the United States ; many of whom, to my certain knowledge, render the most laborious services, in performing the duties of religion and humanity, for the meanest compensation; and that too without a complaint or murmer.
There is not a candid and well informed man in this community, who will not acknowledge, that the Methodists, as a body, are as respectable, industrious and useful a set of men as this or any other country affords. Now it is well known that thousands, and tens of thousands, of these men, have been reclaimed from the paths of vice and folly, and rendered pious and faithful members of the church, and more faithful and useful citizens of course, than they were when following the evil inclinations of their unregenerate hearts: And by whom, sir, under God, has all this great good been effected? I answer, by poor Methodist Clergymen, who have been seen traversing the bleak hills of the north, and the burning sands and sickly plains of the south; through freezing cold and scorching heat; through rain, snow and hail ; through storm and tempest; amid trackless wildernesses, across lonely, deep and dangerous streams, and over wild and rugged mountains; carrying the light and the spirit of the gospel into the poorest and the loneliest * habitations, and among the least cultivated and civilized of their fellow-countrymen! And all this
honest zeal, faithful labor, and imminent risk of health and life, for a scanty pittance, which would scarcely clothe and feed them !-suffering all, risking all, achieving all, for the cause of their Redeemer, and the good of human souls. And is there no merit in all these toils, privations and sacrifices? There is merit in them, sir, and more real glory, by far, than ever shone around the brow of an Alexander, a Cæsar, or a Buonaparte : For while such scourges of mankind as these, have depressed and murdered their millions, the pious, sound headed, kind hearted and persevering Methodist Itinerants have elevated and saved theirs ! While the former have ravaged empires, burning, sacking and depopulating cities, and desolating fruitful fields; the latter have contributed to strengthen a mighty Republic, to build up cities in the wilderness, and cause fields to bloom, and the light of religion and of science to spread, where, for ages before, the savage, or the beast of prey, had held undisputed empire! So much more, sir, for the honor of the American Clergy: And so much, sir, for the triumphs of the cross, and of those who contend under its peaceful and sacred banner, not for the loaves and the fishes; but for the glory of God and the salvation of men! Is it not remarkable, then, sir, that those who unjustly charge this body of men with persecution, should become their bitter persecutors without the slightest cause !
But to return, for a moment, to the bloody massacre of St. Bartholomew : And I do not hesitate to