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conference could sit in the annual confe- in Baltimore, and took the name of Prorence, with the ministers. 4. No rules or testant Methodist Church : since which the regulations for the church could be made Methodist Society have not sought to enunless a majority present were lay mem- | large their body so much, as to supply bers. 5. A preacher could remain with a such congregations as may feel a disposicongregation as long as they agreed. 6. tion to enjoy a liberty, which the other Class meetings, love feasts, &c., were to bodies of dissenting Methodists, as well as be attended; the leader of each class being the Methodist Episcopal Church, do not chosen by the members. 7. The property see fit to grant to the laity. At the present of the societies, to be vested in trustees of time they have three annual conferences, their own choice, and the minister to have and are prosperous according to the efforts no oversight of the temporal affairs of the made, perhaps as well as other churches. church. They prospered greatly for a The above may be considered a susfcient few years, when some of the preachers notice of the “ Methodist Society," and and people, being desirous to have a more persons wishing farther information will itinerani connexion, thought it best to unite find it in a small work entitled “ Rise and with a body of seceders from the Methodist Progress of the Methodist Society.” printed Episcopal Church, who held a convention in New York, 1822.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
BY THE REV. NATHAN BANGS, D. D., NEW YORK.
It is well known that the founder of in different directions, throughout Great Methodism, under God, was the Rev. John Britain and Ireland, until by one of those Wesley, a presbyter in the Church of providential occurrences, which mark all England, who, after his own conversion, human events from which great results set out with a simple desire to revive pure have their origin, it was introduced into and undefiled religion in the church of this country. which he was a member and a minister. That Mr. Wesley was actuated by a Of the several steps by which he was led pure desire to revive and spread experito adopt the measures he did, it is not ne- mental and practical godliness, is most cessary particularly to make mention ; as evident from all his actions, from his nu. in this sketch it is designed to notice those merous writings, and much more from the events only which more especially relate following general rules which he drew up to the rise and progress of Methodism in for the government of his societies in 1743, America. It is therefore sufficient for our and which still remain the same in Europe purpose to remark, that Mr. Wesley com- and America, except the item on slavery, menced his work in the University of Ox. which was inserted by the American Con. ford, where he had been educated, in the ference in 1784, and the one on drunk. year 1739, and that from there it spread | enness, which has been altered for the
worse it is believed, as it does not prohibit II. To meet the minister and the stew. “the buying or selling of spirituous li- ards of the society once a week, in quors," as Mr. Wesley's Rule did.
a. To inform the minister of any that GENERAL RULES OF THE UNITED are sick, or of any that 'walk disorderly, METHODIST SOCIETIES.
and will not be reproved ; 1. In the latter end of the year 1739, b. To pay to the stewards what they eight or ten persons came to Mr. Wesley have received of their several classes in in London, who appeared to be deeply the week preceding. convinced of sin, and earnestly groaning 4. There is one only condition previousfor redemption. They desired (as did ly required of those who desire admission two or three more the next day) that he into these societies, viz., " a desire to flee would spend some time with them in pray from the wrath to come, and to be saved er, and advise them how to flee from the from their sins;" but wherever this is wrath to come, which they saw continually really fixed in the soul, it will be shown hanging over their heads. That he might by its fruits. It is therefore expected of have more time for this great work, he all who continue therein, that they should appointed a day when they might all continue to evidence their desire of sal. come together, which, from thenceforward, vation, they did every week, viz., on Thursday First, by doing no harm; by avoiding in the evening. To these, and as many evil of every kind, especially that which more as desired to join with them, (for is most generally practiced. Such as their number increased daily,) he gave The taking of the name of God in those advices from time to time which he vain; judged most needful for them ; and they The profaning the day of the Lord, always concluded their meetings with either by doing ordinary work thereon, prayer suited to their several necessities.
or by buying or selling; 2. This was the rise of the United So.
Drunkenness, or drinking spirituous ciety, first in Europe, and then in Ameri. liquors, unless in cases of necessity;
Such a society is no other than “ A The buying and selling of men, women, company of men having the form, and and children, with an intention to enslave seeking the power of godliness, united, in them. order to pray together, to receive the word Fighting, quarrelling, brawling; brothof exhortation, and to watch over one er going to law with brother ; returning another in love, that they may help each evil for evil, or railing for railing; the other to work out their salvation." using many words in buying or selling;
3. That it may the more easily be dis- The buying or selling goods that have cerned, whether they are indeed working not paid the duty; out their own salvation, each society is The giving or taking things on usury, divided into smaller companies, called i. e., unlawful interest ; classes, according to their respective places Uncharitable or unprofitable conversa. of abode. There are aboui twelve per. tion, particularly speaking evil of magissons in a class ; one of whom is styled trates or of ministers ; the leader. It is his duty,
Doing to others as we would not they I. To see each person in his class, once should do unto us ; a week, at least, in order,
Doing what we know is not for the a. To inquire how their souls prosper, glory of God; as,
b. To advise, reprove, comfort, or ex- The putting on of gold and costly aphort, as occasion may require;
parel; c. To receive what they are willing to The taking such diversions as cannot give, toward the relief of the preachers, be used in the name of the Lord Jesus ; church, and poor.*
The singing those songs, or reading * This part refers to towns and cities, where those books which do not tend to the the poor are generally numerous, and church knowledge or love of God; expenses considerable.
Softness and needless self-indulgence ;
Laying up treasure upon earth ; which is the only rule, and the sufficient
Borrowing without a probability of rule, both of our faith and practice. And paying; or taking up goods without a all these we know his Spirit writes on probability of paying for them.
truly awakened hearts. If there be any 5. It is expected of all who continue in among us who observe them not, who these societies, that they should continue habitually break any of them: let it be to evidence their desire of salvation,
known unto them who watch over that Secondly, by doing good; by being in soul, as they who must give an account. every kind mercisul after their power, as We will admonish him of the error of his they have opportunity-doing good of ways; we will bear with him for a sea. every possible sort, and, as far as is pos- son. But, if then, he repent not, he hath sible, to all men;
no more place among us.
We have de. To their bodies, according to the ability livered our own souls. which God giveth, by giving food to the
Efforts have been made and are now hungry, by clothing the naked, by visiting making to restore the rule relating to or helping them that are sick, or in drunkenness to the phraseology in which prison;
Mr. Wesley left it; but as these rules are To their souls, by instructing, reproving, declared to be unalterable by the restricor exhorting all we have any intercourse tive regulations which bind the action of with : trampling under foot that enthusi- the General Conference, except on the astic doctrine, that “ we are not to do recommendation of three-fourths of all the good, unless our hearts be free to it.” members of the several annual confer.
By doing good, especially to them that ences who shall be present and vote on are of the household of faith, or groaning such recommendation, and then by a vote so to be: employing them preferably to of two-thirds of the General Conference: others; buying one of another; helping a sufficient number of votes has not been each other in business,-and so much the procured to effect the alteration. more, because the world will love its own, With these introductory remarks we and them only.
proceed to a few historical sketches of the By all possible diligence and frugality, rise and progress of Methodism on this that the gospel be not blamed.
continent. By running with patience the race The first Methodist society in America, which is set before them; denying them was established in the city of New York, selves, and taking up their cross daily ; in the year 1766. The circumstances submitting to bear the reproach of Christ ; attending this event were somewhat pecuto be as the filth and offscouring of the liar, and mark the providence of God over world; and looking that men should say his people, in a very striking manner. A all manner of evil of them falsely, for the few pious emigrants from Ireland, who, Lord's sake.
previously to their removal, had been 6. It is expected of all who desire to members of the Methodist society in their continue in these societies, that they own country, landed in this city. Among should continue to evidence their desire their number was Mr. Philip Embury, a of salvation,
local preacher. Coming among strangers Thirdly, by attending upon all the or- and finding no pious associates with whom dinances of God: such are,
they could conser, they came very near The public worship of God;
making “shipwreck of faith and a good The ministry of the word, either read conscience.” In this state of religious or expounded ;
declension they were found the next year The Supper of the Lord;
on the arrival of another family from IreFamily and private prayer;
land, among whom was a pious “ mother Searching the scriptures; and
in Israel," to whose zeal in the cause of Fasting or abstinence.
God they were all indebted for the revival 7. These are the general rules of our of the spirit of piety among them. Soon societies; all which we are taught of after her arrival she ascertained that those, God to observe, even in his written word, who had preceded her, had so far departed