[reported for the Richmond Daily Dispatch.]
proceedings of the Baltimore Annual Conference.
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Ye fearful saints, Irish courage take;
The cloaks ye so much dread,
Are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head."
’ Brethren, I have been placed in mysterious circumstances — you know them. More than four years ago I fell asleep; in that sleep I dreamed. I stood with my face to the West. There appeared a swarm of bees. It was divided into two parts. All was strife, all was confusion. They sought to form a swarm.-- At length I saw a little bee come, as from the Heavens, descending from the East. It alighted; they ceased their strife — attracted, they left, and gathered thick around, a beautiful swarm. I awoke, very solemn, In regard to this circumstance a seal has been placed on my lips. Not even to the companion of my bosom have I related it; but God has removed the seal. I have looked on my Church and my country. I won't say there is any applicability, but would to God the little bee would come! Would to God we could be united! Emotion in the audience. Wm. Hirst rose to a personal explanation. Isaac Gibson said — I am ready to yield the floor to any one on the other side of the question, who will answer Brother Israel's argument. (No one responding, he proceeded.) -- In all countries the principles entering into a compact, are recognized as the life of the compact. It is a ruling in the courts of civilization that a violation of a compact by a majority leaves the minority in possession of the principles, and the real organic body. If this be not true, constitutions are paper and naught else. Does the New Chapter bring in a new doctrine? Let us go to history. In the early Methodist Church they tried to bring in emancipation. Bishop Asbury says that the Church is not ready, and the Church threw it out as ruinous. In 1836, Orange Scott & Co.--not our Bishop; [laughter]--tried it again. They failed. In 1856 it was tried again, according to the Constitution, and failed. --In 1860, in another way, they brought into the Discipline a doctrine repudiated until then. This was never in the old compact, you see. Hence the compact is violated; hence the act is revolutionary; hence the minority is left in possession of the principles of the compact. and is left as the Church. I wish to illustrate a little. On what right do we, as Protestants, claim to be the Church of God? Romanism, in the sixteenth century, was in the majority. If, then, the revolutionary General Conference be the Church, then I say let us acknowledge Rome as the Church of God. Again, Rome called a Council to decide who were the Church. The Council was at Trent. There it was decided by the majority that the minority, the protesting part, was wrong, and was to be damned. Rome had become corrupt — had violated the old doctrines and brought in new ones. Was Rome the Church? Yet there is where the assertion that violations of a compact do not dispossess majorities will lead you. Go to the Arian controversy. Arius contended that Christ was not God. Then came the Athanasian war, and Arianism triumphed; and Athanasius went to wander in the wilderness and in caves. Where was the Church? You know, and cry, "The Church of God in the Wilderness." But the assertion that a corrupt majority is the Church, makes Arianism the Church of God. But Athanasius said, "We are the Church; stand, though the desert be watered with our blood. " And at last he triumphed. Now, I want to know whether the majority of Arius or the minority of Athanasius was the Church? What is now our relation to this new heresy? After many efforts this New Chapter has been proclaimed the doctrine of the Church. The Articles of Religion comprehend politics and morals.-- (See the 25 articles in Discipline.) Suppose the General Conference had declared you, at this juncture, absolved from that article of religion which says: "The President, the Congress, the General Assemblies, the Governors, etc., are the rulers of the United States of America;" would it be a cause of separation to the Conference? This touches the Union heart just now. If a majority can enact a new rule, etc., and the General Conference, by a majority, can alter our political relations, then they can alter our relations to the Courts, and yet retain their integrity as the Church. The General Conference can put this thing anywhere in the Discipline, and become a revolutionary majority, so far as any restrictive rule is concerned. Rehoboam was a very bad king. He said he'd "make his little finger heavier than his father's loins."Israel said because of his oppressions, "I'll forsake God and build high places."They left even the divine covenant. Shall we, because of law suits and denunciations, forsake our Constitution, the ark of our covenant? No, sir! Let us, like Judah and Namassah, say, "though Rehoboam's finger be heavier than his father's loins, here is the ark of God, and here will we stand."Let the North, with its teeming millions, proclaim its doctrines, but here we of the Baltimore Conference will stand, and here we will die, by the ark of our God. Where are the ten tribes who forseek God? Science and tradition inquire, and "echo answers where?" The little tribe of Judah and the half tribe of Namassah still held to the ark, even in captivity, and when they could not find the ark they built a place for the ark. The Baltimore Conference is small compared with the heresy and the majority, but if we maintain our integrity we will be taken care of. Judah was honored. Our religion came down through the little band which stood on Mount Moriah and said, ‘"We will stand by the ark."’ Let us stand by our Constitution as a Church. Here I stand, and here my frail body shall fall. The subject was postponed till to-morrow, at 10 A. M., J. N. Davis having the floor. S. S. Roszel presented and read the memorial of the Laymen's Convention. The following is an extract of this paper, giving its meaning: ‘ "We do not pretend to conceal that, whatever course you may take to allay the strife and excitement amongst us, we will be involved in some difficulty. After due deliberation, therefore, we have determined to ask our preachers of the Baltimore Annual Conference, that, for the sake of quiet in our borders — for the sake of the preaching of the Gospel, that it may find ready entrance among us, for the ending of controversy, and to promote the best interests of Methodism and religion, they redeem the pledges given, time after time, to our people, and sunder a connection — now merely nominal--one which is full of strife and positive death to all hopes of peace or the advancement of Christianity in our midst, in the manner prescribed in the following resolutions: "1st. Resolved, That the Baltimore Annual Conference ought at its present session, to declare that the General Conference of the M. E. Church, hold at Buffalo, in May last, by its unconstitutional action has sundered the ecclesiastical relation which has hitherto held us together as one Church, and that the Baltimore Annual Conference does not and cannot longer recognize its connection with this jurisdiction. "2d. Resolved, That the Baltimore Annual Conference do assert that the said General Conference has by its said action, violated the first restrictive rule which declares the General Conference shall not revoke, alter or change our Articles of Religion, nor establish any new standard or rule of doctrine, contrary to our present existing and established standard of doctrine, and thereby has separated the several Annual Conferences represented therein; and concurring in said action from the Baltimore and other non-concurring Conference, and that the Baltimore and other non-concurring Conferences constitute the M. E. Church proper, and may exercise all the rights, duties and powers appertaining properly to their position as such. "3d. Resolved, That nevertheless, if in accordance with the spirit of the foregoing preamble, three-fourths of the several Annual Conferences, to be held prior to December 4th, 1861, seeing the great wrong and injury done to the Baltimore and other border Conferences, shall unite in a demand that the most thorough and satisfactory redress shall be given, and shall instruct their delegates so to vote in General Conference: 1st, the abrogation of the New Chapter; 2d. by ignoring the whole subject of slavery in the Discipline, 3rd. that a fair proportion of the periodicals of the Church be placed under the charge and direction of said Conferences; then, and not until then, will we re-unite with them in the bonds of Church fellowship. "4. Resolved. That a committee be appointed by this Convention to present the proceedings of the same to the present session of the Baltimore Annual Conference, through such members, of the Conference as they may elect, and that they be instructed so to do, at the earliest practicable moment, and that the Conference be requested to communicate the action had to the several Annual Conferences, and to take, at the proper time, such action as the position we occupy requires. ’ [True copy.] J. A. Morgan,Sec'y." On motion, it was referred to Committee of the Whole, and included in the order of the day for to-morrow, at 10 A. M. A resolution commending the noble liberality of the State of Virginia in founding the magnificent Asylum for the Blind and Deaf and Dumb, and thanking the Faculty for the exhibition of Friday, was passed by a rising vote. Conference adjourned till 3 P. M., to-day.