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me that there are yet no definitive and settled principles as a ground and outline of such trust. And further, I mention it with deference, I do not see, that the Conference Trustees ought to have the discretional management of this business. There should be certain principles, both general and particular, laid down, and be brought before Conference, be there discussed by the members of that important body. Such principles as are agreed to, and sanctioned, ought to be more fully embodied in the Minutes, in the actual form of a regular Deed, that societies may be enabled more accurately to understand the matter. At present, I believe, it is not properly understood; and the demur in the present case may hinder other chapels from being vested in the secure trust of Conference.
Were such principles laid down as I have mentioned, the Trustees would have no responsibility or trouble, more than to see that the Deed was drawn up according to Conference Form, properly signed and ratified. There would, in many instances, be little minor points of small moment that would have to be left to the consideration and agreement of the contracting parties, but those could be of but little consequence after a code of general and particular principles had been formed and embodied by our Conference. I believe Conference has all along rather declined interfering in these things, but I am very apprehensive the matter must be done there at last for who can lay down the principles of proper Trust but Conference? and how can those principles speak the mind of the church as a body, if they be not deliberatively formed and agreed to by her representatives in constitutional order assembled ? if these things be left to any body of Trustees, without known and fixed principles to act upon, matters will always be in an uncertain and wavering state, and hence dissatisfaction will always prevail; and also in the Deeds there will be a diversity without end. Uniformity in the Deeds should be particularly consulted, or else, in time, those regulations of Conference which are meant to apply to all the churches, will clash against such Deeds and become inapplicable or a mere dead letter, and thus the ends both of the Trust and of Conference will be frustrated.
As it regards the points of difference between the Trustees and the Friends at Newcastle, I can see no reason why they are objectionable, or why they should not be agreed to: but it is my opinion, that no Deeds ought to be formed and ratified till Conference has drawn up, agreed to, and published a certain and definite outline, both in regard to general and particular principles; till this is done, this business will remain in a dissatisfactory and uncertain state. The two things which ought to be kept in view
by the church at large and by Conference, are, first, The security of Church Property; and secondly, The security and integrity of the Ministry.
The security of property may be easily effected by Conference and the Trustees, without those Trustees meddling in the little localities or management of all our churches and chapels. There appears to be no necessity for the said Trustees to have any thing to do with the management of money matters, whether surplus or otherwise: at least, whether it be legally necessary or not, I believe societies will not agree to it. All that appears to be absolutely needful is the real security of the property, or of churches and chapels, upon the ground or condition that the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, and no others, are preached in those places of worship. And also, that so long as those places can be maintained and kept open for all the purposes of religious worship according to such doctrines, by any means whatever, the Trustees ought to have no power of interference in any degree. The test with them should be, Are the doctrines of the New Jerusalem taught therein or are they not? if they are not or cannot be, then the Trustees step in and take charge of the property; yet not to do with it as they please, but first to submit the case to Conference, and then act accordingly.
As to the security and integrity of the Ministry, much remains yet to be done. This estate is loose and comparatively unorganized. There is little or no security or trust upon which any reliance can be placed. This is a point to which Conference ought to direct some attention, for upon this estate in the church must the tenure of their places of worship depend. Hence the necessity of definiteness and precision in regard to all our Ministers, whether Ordinate Ministers, Officiating Ministers, or Preachers, who are at present most numerous. There should be a regular system of recognition in all the three cases; and as this estate is one of great importance, its integrity ought to be consulted by all equitable measures. all practicable cases Ministers ought to have an appeal to Conference as their stay and security; for at present, a mere minister may be considered to be but a weak sort of a thing amongst us, being without prospective dependence, protection, or certainty. In their engagements with any society, as well as in their dismissions, there ought to be a positive and definite clause formed by Conference, and appointed to be inserted, without exception, in every Trust Deed of Chapels, &c. vested in Conference Trust. In what manner and by whom such engagement or dismission should be made, I humbly presume it should not be done by the few; but that every minister should have the voice of all those of his direct
and acknowledged charge, whether for or against him, in cases of this sort. As he is to minister to the whole church, so the whole church or society should have a voice, for it is a case in which they are all most intimately concerned.
Upon these two things it is considered that the welfare of the church, in a great measure, depends, so far as it is connected with the present object. These matters are well worthy the consideration of the church at large, and of your correspondents in particular. No doubt there are many of our friends who are able to throw some light upon these things. Were such views communicated through the medium of your useful miscellany, they might be of advantage in maturing sound and just judgment, to the end that much good might follow. Hence it may be proper to invite such communications from all those who have thought upon these subjects, as well legal friends as others.
ON THE LOVE OF CORPOREAL PLEASURE.
"To be carnally minded is death.-She that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth.-Lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God." St. Paul. IT is an eternal truth, that, before any genuine principle of religion can be formed, so as to be implanted or in-rooted in the mind, and thereby become the moving and efficient cause of all its subsequent operations, that the appetites, passions, and desires, of the mere natural man, be continually resisted and subdued. This is the first step we must take in our ascent to the palace of wisdom; the portal of which will be open to those only who have been thus initiated into the true worship of God. Indeed, a voluntary renunciation of all such delights as are merely corporeal, and which can have no other tendency, save the gratification of the flesh and its insatiable desires, to the great disparagement of the immortal spirit, seems a disposition, well suited to the character of a christian. Read the lives of the Roman Emperors, and the following inference can hardly fail, for the most part, to be uppermost in your thoughts: that they must have had little else in view, save the unrestrained gratification of their own beastly appetites; and that nothing so forcibly roused their dormant faculties, and arrested their attention, as the announcement of some new and untasted pleasure, which the panders to their lusts were ever on the alert to invent or to procure! Surely, had the minds of these mighty rulers of the earth been susceptible, in the slightest degree, of those pure and tranquil sensations, which emanate from
the regions of innocence and peace, they would not thus, have beastialized "the human form divine!" But then, how could this purity and delicacy of feeling, be experienced by those, who had "given themselves up to work all uncleanness with greediness!" A life of evil, so intimately and closely unites its wretched votary to unclean spirits, that he not only patiently submits to be bound "hand and foot," by his wily and cruel captors, but is even willing to swear eternal fealty, to any imperious and tyrannical usurper, that may demand his services! It does not require much penetration, therefore, to discover, that while the poor degraded slave, is thus held captive by the devil at his will; the mind of such a one must necessarily remain impervious against every divine impression! his eyes will be closed against the influx of heavenly light! his heart will repel the slightest perception of heavenly good! for while "the strong man armed, keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace."
Is it likely, think you, that the still small voice of divine truth can be heard by us, or, the benign and sweetly distilling influences of the Holy Spirit perceived, amidst the destructive earthquake, the boisterous tempest, or the raging fire, of unsubdued lusts and conflicting passions? will the mild and pure manna of the divine goodness, be either desired, or relished by us, while with the ancient Jews, we only sigh for, and long after, the onions and the garlic, and the tempting flesh pots of Egypt?
Will our progress in heavenly science, either be very rapid, or attended with any sensible advantage, so long as our thoughts and attention are chiefly employed about, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink; and wherewithal shall we be clothed? can we expect our affections will ever become more purified, exalted, or ennobled, while, like swine, our necks are continually bowed down to the earth in the search after some paltry and unclean gratification.
It is well known, that many persons who have eminently excelled in Mathematical, Metaphysical, and other abstrue researches, have often been alike distinguished by their elevation above the ordinary pleasures and amusements of the present life; and the complete dominion they constantly maintained over the softer blandishments, as well as the more violent irruptions of their inferior nature; well knowing, that, if they were to attend with complacency to the subtle and soothing insinuations of that serpent, which lay in ambuscade within them, all their towering flights would soon terminate in the gulph of oblivion; and the immortal spirit be for ever incarcerated in the unhallowed tomb of sensual pleasure!
What, I beseech you, are all the luxuries of the most sumptuous
banquet, the midnight revels of the bacchanal, which indeed make his eyes sparkle with a sort of fiend-like joy, and often causes his tongue to vent the most hollow and insane professions of benevolence towards the unprincipled companions of his loose pleasures? what are the vivid sensations, and delightful moments of the most accomplished and successful debauchee? what are these but the very husks which the swine did eat? Be assured, the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and that if we live after the flesh, we shall DIE; but if we through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall LIVE. The time past of our life may surely suffice us, to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries! Make not then provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.
T. T. G.
ON THE NECESSITY AND DISPOSITION FOR RELIGIOUS INQUIRY AND PRACTICE.
BY all those who have the wisdom to discern that the doctrines of Christianity, with its cordial practice, are preferable to immorality or infidelity, the necessity for religious inquiry is indisputable, and it is also further evident, that a suitable disposition for the discovery and reception of Truth, is one of high importance and utility in the attainment of religious principles and purity. For except man be convinced of the necessity of the mental investigation of things pertaining to the church and heaven, his perceptions will be obscure, and his spiritual acquisitions few. If the dispositions of the mind too, are not guarded by prudence, and guided by circumspection, they will often be hurried away by appetite or passion, into forbidden regions, and be found adverse to the genuine pursuits of heavenly intelligence or wisdom.
Thirdly, that sin
Whilst dwelling upon the present subject, it may be needful in the first place to notice, that of all things in which rational beings are engaged, religion is the most important. Secondly, that few are without unfavourable religious prejudices. cerity to seek, and resolution to embrace the dictates of truth, are indispensible, but difficult of attainment. Fourthly, on the necessity of looking to a Divine Source of illumination and power. And fifthly, on the eternal consequences of human conduct.
That religion is a matter of the greatest importance, must be evident to all, who believe, that within their mortal frame there is an immortal soul. For universal experience teaches that the body is but an earthly house or tabernacle, soon to be dissolved, and