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British control, it also left the American Methodists free to transact their own affairs. Thomas Coke, Francis Asbury, and others, set about establishing an Episcopal form of church government for the Methodists in America. Some of the preachers, however, had drank too deeply of the spirit of the times to tamely submit to lordly power, whether in judicial vestments, or clad in the gown of a prelate. Their form of church government became a subject of spirited discussion in several successive conferences. James O'Kelly, of North Carolina, and several other preachers of that state and of Virginia, plead for a congregational system, and that the New Testament be their only creed and discipline. The weight of influence, however, turned on the side of Episcopacy and a human creed. Francis Asbury was elected and ordained bishop; Mr. O'Kelly, several other preachers, and a large number of brethren, seceding from the dominant party. This final separation from the Episcopal Methodists, took place, voluntarily, at Manakin Town, N. C., December 25th, 1793. At first they took the name of “ Republican Methodists,” but at a subsequent conference resolved to be known as Christians only, to acknowledge no head over the church but Christ, and no creed or discipline but the Bible.

Near the close of the 18th century, Dr. Abner Jones, of Hartland, Vermont, then a member of a regular Baptist Church, had a peculiar travel of mind in relation to sectarian names and human creeds. The first, he regarded as an evil, because they were so many badges of distinct separation among the followers of Christ. The second, served as so many lines or walls of separation to keep the disciples of Christ apart; that sectarian names and human creeds should be abandoned, and that true piety alone, and not the externals of it, should be made the only test of Christian fellowship and communion. Making the Bible the only source from whence he drew the doctrine he taught, Dr. Jones commenced propagating his sentiments with zeal, though at that time he did not know of another individual who thought like hirr se!f. In September, 1800, he had the pleasure of seeing a church of about twenty-five members gathered in Lyndon, Vt., embracing these principles. In 1802 he gathered another church in Bradford, Vt., and, in March, 1803, another in Piermont, N. H. About this time, Elias Smith, then a Baptist minister, was preaching with great success in Portsmouth, N. H. Falling in with Dr. Jones's views, the church under his care was led into the same principles. Up to this time Dr. Jones had laboured as a preacher nearly if not quite single-handed; but several preachers from the regular Baptists and Freewill Baptists, now rallied to the standard he had unfurled. Preachers

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were also raised up in the different churches now organized, several of whom travelled extensively, preaching with great zeal and success. Churches of the order were soon planted in all the New England states, the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and more recently in New Jersey and Michigan. A large number of churches have also been planted in the Canadas, and the province of New Brunswick.

A very extraordinary revival of religion was experienced among the Presbyterians in Kentucky and Tennessee, during the years 1800 and 1801. Several Presbyterian ministers heartily entered into this work, and laboured with a fervour and zeal which they had never before manifested. Others either stood aloof from it, or opposed its progress. The preachers who entered the work, broke loose from

. the shackles of a Calvinistic creed, and preached the gospel of free salvation. The creed of the church now appeared in jeopardy. Presbyteries, and finally the Synod of Kentucky, interposed their authority to stop what they were pleased to call a torrent of Armi. nianism. Barton W. Stone, of Kentucky, a learned and eloquent minister, with four other ministers, withdrew from the Synod of Kentucky. As well might be expected, a large number of Presbyterian members, with most of the converts in this great revival, rallied round these men who had laboured so faithfully, and had been so signally blessed in their labours. As they had already felt the scourge of a human creed, the churches then under their control, with such others as they organized, agreed to take the Holy Scriptures as their only written rule of faith and practice. At first they organized them. selves into what was called the “Springfield Presbytery;" but in 1803, they abandoned that name, and agreed to be known as Christians only. Preachers were now added to their numbers and raised up in their ranks. As they had taken the scriptures for their guide, pedobaptism was renounced, and believers' baptism by immersion substituted in its room. On a certain occasion one minister baptized another minister, and then he who had been baptized immersed the others. From the very beginning, this branch spread with surprising rapidity, and now extends through all the western states.

From this brief sketch it will be perceived that this people originated from the three principal Protestant sects in America. The branch at the south, from the Methodists; the one at the north, from the Baptists, and the one at the west, from the Presbyterians. The three branches rose within the space of eight years, in sections remote and unknown to each other, until some years afterwards. Probably no other religious body ever had a similar origin.

The adopting of the Holy Scriptures as their only system of faith,

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has led them to the study of shaping their belief by the language the sacred oracles. A doctrine, which cannot be expressed in the language of inspiration, they do not hold themselves obligated to believe. Hence, with very few exceptions, they are not Trinitarians, averring that they can neither find the word nor the doctrine in the Bible. They believe “ the Lord our Jehovah is one Lord,” and purely one. That " Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.” That the Holy Ghost is that divine unction with which our Saviour was anointed, (Acts x. 38,) the effusion that was poured out on the day of Pentecost; and that it is a divine emanation of God, by which he exerts an energy or influence on rational minds. While they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, they are not Socinians or Humanitarians. Their prevailing belief is that Jesus Christ existed with the Father before all worlds. (See Millard's “ True Messiah,” Morg. ridge's “ True Believer's Defence,” and Kinkade's “ Bible Doctrine.”)

Although the Christians do not contend for entire uniformity in belief, yet in addition to the foregoing, nearly, if not quite all of them would agree in the following sentiments: 1. That God is the rightful arbiter of the universe ; the source and fountain of all good. 2. That all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God. 3. That with God there is forgiveness; but that sincere repentance and reformation are indispensable to the forgiveness of sins. 4. That man is constituted a free moral agent, and made capable of obeying the gospel. 5. That through the agency of the Holy Spirit souls, in the use of means, are converted, regenerated and made new creatures. 6. That Christ was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification; that through his example, doctrine, death, resurrection and intercession, he has made salvation possible to every one, and is the only Saviour of lost sinners. 7. That baptism and the Lord's supper are ordinances to be observed by all true believers; and that baptism is the immersing of the candidate in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 8. That a life of watchfulness and prayer only will keep Christians from falling, enable them to live in a justified state, and ultimately secure to them the crown of eternal life. 9. That there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 10. That God has ordained Jesus Christ judge of the quick and dead at the last day; and at the judge ment, the wicked will go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal.

In the Christian Connexion, churches are independent bodies, authorized to govern themselves and transact their own affairs. They have a large number of associations called Conferences. Each con

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ference meets annually, sometimes oftener, and is composed of ministers and messengers from churches within its bounds. At such conferences candidates for the ministry are examined, received and commended. Once a year, in conference, the character and standing of each minister is examined, that purity in the ministry may be carefully maintained. Such other subjects are discussed and measures adopted, as have a direct bearing on the welfare of the body at large.

They have a book concern located at Union Mills, N. Y., called " The Christian General Book Association.” At the same place they issue a semi-monthly periodical called the “Christian Palladium.” They also publish a weekly paper 'at Exeter, N. H., called the “Christian Herald;" and another semi-monthly periodical is about to be issued in the state of Ohio, to be called the “Gospel Herald.” They have also three institutions of learning; one located at Durham, N. H., one in North Carolina, and the other at Starkey, Yates county, N. Y.

Although several of their preachers are defective in education, yet there are among them some good scholars and eloquent speakers; several of whom have distinguished themselves as writers. Education is fast rising in their body. While their motto has ever been, “Let him that understands the gospel, teach it,” they are also convinced that Christianity never has been, and never will be indebted to palpable ignorance. Their sermons are most generally delivered extempore, and energy and zeal are considered important traits in a minister for usefulness.

The statistics of the connexion, though imperfect, may probably be computed, at the present time, (1844,) as follows: the number of preachers about 1500, and 500 licentiates ; communicants about 325,000; number of churches about 1500. There are probably not less than 500,000 persons in this country who have adopted their general views, and attend upon their ministry.

CHURCH OF GOD.

BY REV. JOHN WINEBRENNER, V. D. M.,

HARRISBURG, PA,

“ Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."

Rev. xiv. 12.

The prominent parts and aspects of this article on the “ Church of God,” may be traced and referred to under the following heads, to wit:

1st. The origin and name ;
2dly. The form and attributes ;
3dly. The faith and practice; and,
4thly. The economy and statistics, of the Church of God,
We shall give a brief account of

I. THE ORIGIN AND NAME OF THE CHURCH OF GOD.

a. As to the origin of the Church of God, truth compels us to say, that she justly claims priority to all evangelical churches. Her illustrious and adorable founder is the Lord Jesus Christ. He bought her with his blood.* He founded her on the Rock.t He first commenced her gathering. I He continued her establishment by the ministry of the apostles,g and by the dispensations of his Spirit. And thus he still continues to carry on this building of God||—this New Jerusalem from above, which is the mother of us all. And we may add, this, his own church or temple, he will thus continue to build and prosper, despite of all her adversaries; and ultimately, at the end of time, consummate, by bringing forth the head stones thereof with loud acclamations and shouts of grace, grace to it.**

* Acts xx. 28.

† Matt. xvi. 18. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; Mark xvi.; Acts ii. 1. I Gal. iv. 26.

| Mark i. 14-20 11 1 Cor. iij. 9. ** Zech, iv. 7.

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