xt7msb3wtd5f https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7msb3wtd5f/data/mets.xml Richardson, Samuel Q. 1818  books b92082p191no212009 English N/A : Lexington, Ky. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. The public. text The public. 1818 2009 true xt7msb3wtd5f section xt7msb3wtd5f 




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for withdrawing from


IN introducing ourselves to the notice of the religious public, we do not come forward out of speculative motives, nor to court popularity; neither tu pour forth a flood of invective against, nor basely to flatter any religious society of people. We only wish to make a plain, and fair statement of the reasons, why we have withdrawn from the Methodist Episcopal Church. The public have a right to expect it. We think we have a right to give it. We feel ourselves accountable to the Great Head of the Church for any abuse of the divine laws of his kingdom, or the inestimable liberty with which He has blessed us; and we humbly hope, ever to be guided by no other motives, than those of truth and righteousness.

In the fear of the Lord, we wish men of integrity and piety well, of every name, and order of professing christians; and tliat light, love, and union, may increase, and prevail, until partyism, and divisions shall be universally exterminated, and harmony, love, and fellowship again be restored to the Church of Christ. We believe every christian of every name and order, sincerely prays and longs for this, and for this, the Great Redeemer prayed   and not in vain. Neither pray 1 for these alone; but for them also, which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And for the acccomplishment of this glorious object we ardently long, labour, and pray. We do not wish to promote divisions; which, oh! to the grief of every loving christian, are already too numerous. Neither do we wish to weaken those slender ties, that but too feebly bind the disciples of Christ together. But partyism, and divisions do exist to the shame and confusion of the professing world; and there must be a cause.   Remote the cause, and the effect will cease. And until tliis is done, in vain we pray for, or expect christian union; and until primitive union and order are restored to the mangled and dissected militant body of Christ, in vain may we expect the general success of the gospel, the conversion of the nations, or a millenium. To but little effect may we spend our strength, waste our time, and throw a-way our substance in trying to effect the re-union of the Church, the re-establishment of primitive Christianity, in its purity, attended with all glorious consequences, while we are zealously supporting and build-ing\ip those modern Sectarian Churches, or human establisliments,, 


which are tlie very fortresses, or bulwarks of partyism. In fliort while aiding and building up with all our might, the different sectarian establishments, in order to effect the extirpation of partyism! Praying, fervently praying, that christian love and union might universally a-bound, and at the same time by our wealth, our power and tongues, zealously supporting and building up those sectarian barriers, the grand cause of divisions, and uncharitableiicss!! And however disingenious, and pernicious such a course of conduct may be, it is notwithstanding, the prevailing policy of the day. The dominant clergy of every Ecclesiastical hierarchy, or sectarian establishment appear more solicitous about securing or enhancing their authority and influence over their dependencies, than about rectifying the many abuses introduced by Legislative innovations and clerical domination, and restoring again the primitive order of christian doctrine and discipline, faith and practice, and hence the re-union of the Church. And are much more willing to insinuate their very near approximation to infallibility, than to hazard a doubt, respecting the legality of their towering assumptions, or sell-created domination over (lie church of Christ. And apparently are far less zealous in teaching their disciples properly to appreciate their social and inalienable rights of free investigation, sober and diligent enquiry after truth, as taught in the sacred oracles, and to reject and discard all human explanation, glosses, dogmas, canons, rules, disciplines and articles as authoritative, and found their faith upon nothing short of evidence, infalible truth; than they are in teaching the infallibility of their own abstract speculations, dogmas; &c. and requiting by Ecclesiastical authority, implicit faith in their abstract opinion, and passive obedience to their merely self-rreaied authority, and hence promote credulity, mental slavery calculated to degrade rational free a-gents to a state of moral wretchedness. But in spite of the general reigning inlluence of the clergy, to the contrary notwithstanding there are hundreds of men of noble spirits and independent principles, undismayed by the menacing threats of self-created rulers, and unbroken by human power, whose philanthropic ehatholic souls ardently long to see primitive order restored; the faith, the worship, the discipline of the numerous churches planted by the Apostles and organized by unerring wisdom, and hence the church of Christ again united, keeping the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace; and partyism, the masterpiece of satanic policy, entirely rooted up, and purged out of the Christian Church. To shed a ray of light, if possible on tlie path by which christians may arrive at that glorious state, a path deeply shaded by human systems, and awfully haunted by Ecclesiastical demons, who fiercely assail, at every step the lonely traveller that would walk therein, is the principal object of the publication of these papers. With such, the grand, the solemn enquiry is, what is the cause of the divisions, that exist with their various complicated concomitant evils? And is there any possible remedy?

In examining this important subject, it is necessary to advert back to the history of primitive times, when Christianity was planted in its puri- 

If; and trace the cause, or causes, that introduced the floods of error, ilial have since obscured, or defaced the effulgent glory that priginally attended the simple, harmonious system of evangelical religion.' Thin we have done, and arc fully satislied thai any candid unprejudiced pei-son, who will carefully examine his New Testament, and then mark the divine simplicity of the primitive order of Church Government, the equality of privileges, and mutual enjoyment of equal rights by every member of each Church, and the purity of the system of doctrine taught by the Apostles, and compare the corresponding accounts given by Ecclesiastical historians, need not remain any longer ignorant of the principal cause that gave rise to, and has ever since fomented strif", and divisions among christians; and will continue so to do, until removed.

This was nothing less than a Diotrepbesian spirit; of which Paul particularly and solemnly warned the Elders of the Church of Ephe sits. Designing ambitious men liegan gradually to depart from the humility, and simplicity taught by the Apostles, arrd became dissatisfied with those humble cross bearing stations, to which Jesus Christ had called them, and by degrees to climb into power, and assume a superiority over thoir brethren, until they had completely v. i   six '1 from them their original rights, trampled on their privileges and established themselves a superior order. According to Mosheim it was not sooner than tlie middle of the second century, when the clergy began very generally to combine together, to meet together in councils, &ic. That they cast off the most important restraint of the people, viz: the authority tliat each christian assembly, or church originally was vested with, of cheesing, trying, and expelling, its own Teachers. And hence introduced that destructive change in the order of Church Government that in succeeding ages produced the ghostly power <>)' the clergy   Popish supremacy or Antj    christian oppression, with all its horrid consequences. For when once the power of administering discipline, restraining the ambitious, and guarding against oppression was wrested (rem tiie people, and lodged in the hands of the clergy, the great fundamental barrier against encroachment, and innovations, was torn away and the aspiring ambitious clergy soon made merchandize of the innocent defenceless flock of Christ. The Lordly domineering Priesthood not satisfied with trampling on the social inalienable rights of the people, began violently to contend among themselves for the supremacy; and to crown the climax of clerical arrogance at length boldly assumed, not only the high prerogative of Legislating for the Church, independent of the people, but moreover, of defining more fully the christian faith, of giving articles of faith equally binding or authoritative as the sacred word. Hence the origin of those swarms of creeds, and confessions, which have ever since deluded the world in confusion and darkness; which are all founded upon anti-christian assumption, which is the vcry Serm of Popery; and which directly presupposes or calls in question the perfection of the grand constitution. Canon, or the covenant given by unerring wisdom, without clerical Legislation. 

This doctrine of human Legislation, was the grand floodgate through which error has poured forth its inundating streams and deluged t&e Church in confusion, persecution,' divisions, and strife, and has superceded or supported the only standard given by King Jesus, subverted his authority, and introduced the reign of the man of sin, emphatically the reign of anti-cukist.

Thus by the aid of sacred and Ecclesiastical history, we have arrived at the grand cause that first gave rise to, and still is Ihe parent of divisions indie Church of Christ. Hence the remedy is plain; curtail or retrench the unscripfural, self-created, tyrauical authority of the dominant clergy, and disannul all their illegitimate spurious trash, commandments of men, which, says an Apostle, turn from the truth. Their Popish Idols, creeds, and confessions which enslave the consciences of Christs disciples, and thus prostrate their different sectarian, human es-tablishments in the dust. Erect the infallible infallible rule of faith, and practice. Organize every worshipping assembly upon primitive principles, let each be constituted a church with the full power of self-government, independent of any foreign jurisdiction, but vested with the supreme power, to execute no other laws except the laws of Christ, and tints reinstate every disciple of Christ to his inalienable social and christian rights, thus reduce religion or Christianity to its original simplicity and purity, and thus again let Christ be crowned the sole head of his church and king in Zion, and sweet social concord, harmony, love and union will again be restored to the mangled bleeding body of Christ and not before.

But what is therein either the Doctrine or discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church against which you object?

Ans. Several of the fundamental principles, or most prominent features of Methodism, as an Ecclesiastical establishment, are anti-scriptural, and resemble Popery much more than apostolic o  der, and which, evidently have originated either from Popery or from the same primary principles, from which it originated.

But before entering into an investigation of this important subject, I would just remark, that we have now arrived at a point in our subject, which will excite alarm in the votaries of that system at every step; but stop brother dont be affright, a proper knowledge of the truth will not injure you. Patient, sober investigation is the high road to arrive at it. And notwithstanding the assuming aspect of the itinerant administration who have arrived so nearly at a state of inflalibility, that it is a crime of the first magnitude to call in question their divine and independent right to Legislate for, and govern the Methodist people as they please,and to dispute this authority, will expose you to be cashiered. Yet do not sutler yourself to be cheated out of your inalienable right of free enquiry. This one circumstance, or fact is enough to wake up suspicion in every enquiring mind, that there must be something, either in the, doctrine or discipline, that dreads the light. And if as the discipline says, the Methodists are no better than other people, other denominations have been, and are still you believe wrong; possibly Methodism 
   '.nuy be so too, and if it is not, it will not lose any tiling by close inspection, but will shine the brighter. The scripture commands lis to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.

Avail yourself of t lie means of information, particularly examine your Testament, and see if it is written, thus saith the Lord concerning of it. Then examine the history of the Church from the day r>f Pentecost down, and if evidence is the only foundation upon which your judgment is founded, I have no doubt but you will be convinced all is not right. But when fairly convinced of an error, like a candid man and a christian give it up, cost you what it will, and never delile your conscience by bowing to what you know is wrong. Take the pious Mr. Fletcher's advice. " Be cast" says lie, " into the, furnace of affliction or persecution with two companions, rather than bow with thousands to the most celebrated image of error. If your two companions forsake you, do not forsake the truth. If she is driven out of the professing Church, follow her to the wilderness, and if need be to the den of Lions, there the; God of Daniel will be with you, for God will stand by the truth, and she will prevail at last. Buy her therefore at any rale; buy her, though you should give your last mite of wealth, and your last scrap of reputation for her, and sell her nof> though you should gam the whole world by the unhappy bargain."

Tlie government of the Methodist Church is Episcopal, and upon Episcopal principles, has derived its existence, and authority from the Church of England, which derived its existence and authority from the Church of Rome. The Rev. David Simpson has clearly, and inconfest-ibly shown, that ;he Church of England is the oldest daughter of the Mother of Harlots; and if so, what relationship does M> Episcopacy bear to the Catholic Mother? That the M. E. Church is modeled alter primitive order, and by apostolic authority, and is consequently s-postolical, none of its warmest adherents I think will have the temerity to affirm; and that it is destitute of any just claim, to that character, will appear to every man who will draw the contrast. Hence the M. E. Church upon El. principles has regularly derived its existence and authority, from the Church of England by order and succession; or it is a self-created creature, founded in assumption and if either be true, the conclusion is fair, that we are not only justifiable in withdrawing, bul upon christian principles bound to oppose it. For if it has regularly derived its authority from the E. Church of England, and hence from the Church of Borne, and if the stream will rise just as high as the fountain, and if like begets its like, and every effect he like its cause, wu should be extremely ungrateful to refuse to allow it equal reverence and respect.

But if it has not derived its Episcopal power from any legal source, it is a self-created creature, consequently founded in assumption; and power and authority founded in assumption is illegal and despotic; then the power and authority exercised by the E. Itinerancy in all its various ramifications is illegal and despotic. Thus Methodism as a system of Ecclesiastical policy rests on or is built upon an anti-christian assumption for its foundation, or else has sprung from the Mother of Harlots. 

Episcopacy rests upon, and derives its chief support from the old antiquated stale Popish doctrine of Apostolic succession; that bishops have succeeded the Apostles in the supreme control or government of the church, and have a legal right to exercise the same authority, and functions, from whom by ordination, and succession they are not only the grand despositories of the supreme Ecclesiastical power, but likewise of supernatural gifts, and grace, -which by the laying on of their hands, they can communicate to their successors and all their dependants, which are necessary to fill the Episcopal see; and hence through these various ramifications, or streams, communicate such wonderful blessings to all the body. Agreeably to this, we read in the M. Discipline page 174, Chap. 4, Sec. 3. "Receive the Holy Ghost for the oifice and work of a Bishop in the church of God, yow committed unto thee by the ixposmffs op our hands"   d And remember that thou, stir up the ciu.ce which is given thee nv this imposition of oru hands.1' Strange! Passing strange!! This doctrine of Apostolic succession, was the very bulwark of the Mother of Harlots, and is now, of Methodist Episcopacj^

But now beloved, should we make it appear, that there never was upon Episcopal principles a regular bishop in the M. Church, and consequently not one regularly ordained Minister of any grade, what then? Will it not appear that M. Episcopacy is founded in assumption; and is hence destitute of even the supposed authority of the Roman Cath. E? And should we make it appear that Episcopacy, which is tlie fundamental principle of the Ecclesiastical government of the M. Church, the key-stone of the vast arch, is anti-scriptural, and anti-christian; what more? Will it not appear that the M. people are either kept in iguc*-rance upon this important subject, by their rulers; or else they arc, to say the least, a very good natured people tamely to submit to a system of laws, and law-makers, tiiat derive their power from anti-christian principles.

To establish the'truth of the first position, we need go no further back than the origin of M. Episcopacy, from the history of which, it appears that Mr. Wesley was nothing more than elder of tlie church of England, and never was ordained a bishop, or clothed with Episcopal authority by that church. And as Methodism claims the Episcopal origin from Mr. Wesley, who never was a bishop, consequently there never was a regular bishop in the M. church, and if so not one regularly ordained minister of any grade, for be it remembered that upon Episcopal principles none but a Bishop can legally ordain: and hence M. E. is even destitute of tlie regular authority, of sanction of the mother Church.   Consequently founded in assumption.

And 2d. It is anti-ChrisUan. For if the Methodist Bishops had received their Episcopal office by ordination legally, Episcopacy would he, notwithstanding, anti-christian. Bishops, as a third grade of ecclesiastical officers, superior to elders, are unknown in the sacred pages. That Elder, and Bishop were but one and tlie same office, and not an interior, and superior church officer in the first century, is a fact sp clear- 
   ';, established l>y sacred, and ecclesiastical history, that oven Episcopalians dare not deny it. Hut Bishops in the Methodist Church are a superior order of Church Rulers, who claim the superior control over, not only the Eldership, hut likewise the whole church. Hence anti-chris-lian   and copied from the church of England, which borrowed it from the church of Rome, which first invented it. And hence it appears that thr very key-stone, of the vast arch, or the very foundation, upon which is reared the vast ecclesiastical hierarchy of methodism, is anti-christian; and if the Episcopal ollice and functions are anti-scriptural, all those various officers who derive their authority from that source, are destitute of any legal authority to govern the church.

Wcare amazed and astonished that good men of liberal information    that gospel ministers, should publicly profess to be moved by the Holy Ghost, or called of the Lord to take upon them that office, or ministration, when in fact the Holy Ghost has never constituted any such office, composed of the like attributes.   This subject demands serious examination.

The Episcopal power so predominant in the Methodist system is not the only abuse of our christian privileges, against which we object. The whole system of ecclesiastical government is not only anti-scriptural, but,'moreover, anti-republican, despotic and arbitrary. The legislative, executive and judicial authority has been engrossed and is exercised by the itinerant ministry, independent of the will of the people. Astonishing, that such a body of men of Christian principles, should be so blinded by the love of authority, as to trample on the christian, the social and inalienable rights of their brethren. They have not only assumed the legislative, executive and judicial authority, independently of the people; but likewise the conclusive, final right, of appointing their successors, of raising whom they please into office, and rejectiiu; whomsoever they please, and have even deprived the membership of the right of chosing their class-leaders, exhorters, stewards or preachers, or even regulating their own private business as societies, without    heir approbation and interference; and were there an hundred members, of both gifts and information, with half a dozen local preachers, of first rate talents, exhorters, &c. in every society, discipline could not be administered without a travelling preache/.

The excellency of the itinerant plan has been exalted and extolled, in point of utility, to the very heavens, (especially by themselves)   and well it should be, if the presence of the least of them is sp indispensably necessary, that nothing can be transacted without them, be the emergency ever so great. Such was not the primitive order. Those numerous and various churches planted by the apostles were so organ-ized and supplied by their own local officers, as hence to be independent of any foreign jurisdiction and did not need a continued influx and reflux of strangers, and passengers to govern them. A Paul supported himself by the labor of his own hands, for an example to others; but it appears to be unworthy of imitation! The wonderful secret of vast utility of itinerancy, I think will yet leak out.   Possibly it


may be this:   They have so engrossed to themselves the supreme, the whole and sole power over the Methodist people, as hence to leave them entirely passive, defenceless, and dependent upon the itinerant rulers that every secret spring, every wheel of the vast machine would cease to move without, them.   They are the very soul of the system!

The itinerant system authorized and established by Jesus Christ and    under the superiutendency and control of the Bishops of souls does not need the aid of any man's pen, or tongue to publish its excellency. But the officious interference of any human authority or Episcopal control, is -an invasion of the independent prerogative of the Holy Ghost, who ought to know best whom he has called to the great work, and where and how long.

These remarks, by many, will be deemed extremely shocking,'if not blasphemous, But however popular and fashionable the present sys tern may be now, like all other human inventions it will, it must yield 6p the ghost. I cannot believe that any man acquainted with his Testament, and who will not believe without evidence, can possibly believe, that the apostles ever authorised or organized such a system as -Jhe-present Episcopal itinerant system. If they did, where is it written? In what history, sacred or ecclesiastical? Do brethren   some of you that are learned scribes, tell; point us to the book, chapter and section; that Ave may hence be converted from our stupid incredulity. When, or where did Bishops, James, Peter or Paul, have the supreme command over twelve hundred ministers to send them when and where they pleased? And suppose they did, which I confidently deny, would such a precedent justify the exercise of the same authority by modem Bishops? I did not know that our modern Bishops were Apostles, or stood in the same relation to the church. I thought they had succeeded those primitive Bishops, which were local officers, and some two or three or four in every church. But if a Bishop originally governed only one church, or worshiping assembly, where were the'itinerants they commanded? And who did they govern? And where is that blessed precept or precedent, authorizing them to meet in the capacity of Synod, General Assembly, Association or General Conference, and legislate for the Church? " And when or where did the first, second or third legislature meet? O! for light   O! for evidence to instruct into this great mystery!! And what was the subject of legislation? To complete the canon of scripture? Or more fully to settle and explain the Christian Faith? And when they dismissed and repaired to their several stations, circuits or districts, did they go clothed with the executive and judicial authority, to administer or execute their own laws? This subject invites, nay, challenges investigation; and I am greatly mistaken, if it was not out of this prolific soil that the man of sin grew.

Did they.then come clothed with authorithv. to take in, or turn out, whomsoever they pleased? And for neglecting class-meeting, without even the appearance of a trial? And when any of the general rules of all our societies were violated, who selected the committee bs 
   whom the delinquent was to be tried? And in what cases could they appeal to the quarterly meeting conference? And could the travelling preacher over-rule the whole society? Did the general rules then, recognize as many offences punishable by expulsion as they now do; or has the general conference, in their wisdom, added some since? How often were serious persons allowed to stay in class-meetings or love feasts who did not join? Especially, were christians of other denominations who were allowed to come to the communion table freely? were they also turned out? And where were the locality, those drones of society   what was their occupation? Who licensed them (o preach? And how long was their probation for orders? And why was tlie pro* bation of the locality double that of the itinerancy?

These, with perhaps an hundred other things, are but so obscurely or dimly seen and read in our present copies of the New Testament, that none but men of tlie clearest optics can discover them. Hence, it has become imperiously necessary to have a supplement to the old original, which, by legislative authority, shall once every four years he improved, enlarged and suited to the present taste and capacities of the multitude.

In justice to the cause of truth, be it observed, that fnmi a careful comparison of the present system of Episcopal Itineracy, with primitive order, I am fully convinced that the primitive-*ystem is either subverted, perverted or inverted. /

But why all this fuss about legislation^ If tlie Church of Rome hadtnot legally that authority, what church has? Has tlie Church of England, of Scotland, or the" Methodist Episcopal Church? If tlie former has not, and the latter has, I shall be glad to know why or wherefore? But if the Catholic Church had legally that right, upon what principles can Protestantism, or even Methodism be justified? What-more did the Catholic Church ever require than implicit faith in their abstract opinions; and passive obedience to the laws? And what less does the Methodist Episcopal Church require; or any other sectarian establishment that assume legislative authority? 'Tis the old game over again, only upon a smaller scale.

But if the church of Rome had not tlie right to add to, tike from, enlarge, or diminish, the sacred testimony   to model, or remodel, the government, constitution, and discipline, of the christian church, as she thought proper, what church has that right? And is not Protest-ism, yea Methodism, predicated upon a denial of that authority? And yet notwithstanding,have themselves assumed it! Strange work!!I

I have not a remaining doubt, but this old assumption, or anti-christian doctrine of human legislation is the grand cause of the whole mischief. It has supplanted Christianity   begat, fostered, and matured, the reign of Antichrist   dethroned Christ in his militant kingdom    disannulled his authority, his word, his laws, his doctrine   disgraced his apostles, divided, subdivided and scattered his church   begat persecution   shed rivers of christian and human blood   involved the world in darkness, confusion, discord and wretchedness   and is. yet the


rcurtausc of Partyism, Sectarianism, confusion, unci persecution!! And by it, has been built, every Sectarian denomination now in being, and upon and by it they stand. 13y it the christian church is now divided, shackeled, and enslaved. And under the vast oppression, they groan and travail to be delivered. It is the master piece of satanic policy, by which lie now does, and ever has waged war against Messiah's king dom: but the Lord shall destroy him or his reign by the spirit of id* rnouth   his word   this is the sword of tlie spirit, by which- Anti-christ, or anti-christian system shall be laid low. But in order to accomplish this, it must be again established as the only whole, and sole standard, of Christianity   of christian union. And when it fully regains its "authority, human legislation will be superceded   forever banished from the church of christ. And it is worthy of special note, that all human legislation, is predicated upon the imperfection of the sacred scriptures, their insufficiency and inadequacy, as a perfect standard of Christianity; and is a direct impeachment of tlie wisdom, and benevolence of the head of the church. The bare mention of which, is enough to make cveiy christian ashamed of the doctrine, and forever despise and reject all human creeds, articles, confessions, disciplines, covenants, and rules, which arc the remaining rclicks of popery, or the man of sin.

But what good has such human legislation done? What benefit has the church received thereby? Has it added one mite to the perfection of Christianity, to the canon of scripture, to the force of its evidence, or the purity of its doctrines, to its simplification, or better adaptation, to all exigencies of the church? If it has not after fifteen bun dred years labour, and toil, it is time to give it up. But upon the contrary what mischief has it not done! And what is not now doing! No pen can record, no tongue can tell. And what is any or all their laboured productions worth without a thus saith tlie Lord? And what are they worth with it? Is not divine authority sufficient? While I have die Bible in my hands, and believe it to he the only infallible, rule of faith and practice   die only authoritative and perfect standard of Christianity   perfecdy adapted to all conditions, and fully able to make us wise unto salvation, when believed and obeyed; and given purposely, that the man of God might be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, I would not give one groat for every creed, constitution, discipline, formula, covenant, article, rule, canon or law of human composition, ever published as a foundation of my faith or a standard of my religion. And if the bible is a perfect standard of Christianity, all such human compositions are useless   worse than useless. If it is not, make it appear; do gentlemen, speak out   your high* toned assumption   your legislative pretensions, your creeds, rules, and laws say it is not. Will you come forward, and aboveboard support the implication!!

Every man that yields to such authority, or is compelled by Ecclesiastical power to place implicit faith in the abstract opinions of others, their explanations, dogmas, articles, creeds, covenants, or confessions,, and is bound to yield a passive obedience to any other law, except the 

   aw of Christ- is not following Christ, but men-<   is pnest-nddtu   has his faith pinned to other men's sleeves   is deprived of believing according to evidence   has to take upon trust; hence is no longer a free agent, but a mere vassal of others, u