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THE HISTORY AND PRESENT CONDITION OF ITS VARIOUS
BRANCHES IN ALL COUNTRIES;
A DEFENCE OF ITS DOCTRINAL, GOVERNMENTAL,
AND PRUDENTIAL PECULIARITIES.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
NELSON & PHILLIPS,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
In offering this volume to his Wesleyan brethren, the author deems it appropriate to mention some of the considerations that have influenced him in its publication. One is, that many of the difficulties which have occurred in the church owe their existence to misapprehension. Most of the attempts at revolution are attributable to this cause. Had the reformers been better acquainted with the various church arrangements of different sects, and especially of their own, they would have remained quiet and useful members. But they imagined evils that never existed, and conceived beautiful schemes, that, in their opinion, would open a better era ; not knowing that similar experiments had repeatedly proved unsuccessful in abler hands. Besides, many fail to work our plan as effectually as they might, for the want of a proper understanding and appreciation of it. And to this we may add, that much of the prejudice of other sects against us is attributable to the same general cause. They have no just conception either of our system or their own, and know little of our operations or
The object of the writer has been to adapt himself to this state of things, and present a view of the whole subject, sufficiently full and comprehensive to supply the information necessary, in a single volume of moderate size and expense. If he has succeeded as he intended, the thousands of young people who annually join us on trial, will be able, by reading it, to get quite an idea of our history, doctrines, government, and prudential economy, ---- the points of difference among Methodists, - and the grounds of their dis sent from older denominations. Thus they will be prepared, 011 graduating to full connection, to give a reason for tlieir preference, and to maintain our peculiarities against the popular prejudices with which they may be assailed. Should other sects happen to read it, we trust it may rectify their misconceptions, and lead to that charitable consideration of our claims to which we are entitled.
The materials for the work have been gathered from the most authentic sources. We have derived particular assistance from the Life of Mr. Wesley, and his Works; Grinnod's Compendium ; Dr. Bangs' “ History of the M. E. Church,” and “ Original Church of Christ," and Stevens' “ Church Polity." For tho statistics we are considerably indebted to Rev. William Butler, author of “ The Land of the Veda,” recently issued. They have cost us great labor and perplexity, but we are quite sure that they form the most perfect exhibit of Methodism ever published. There is, however, a little disparity between the tabular views on page 194 and some of the numbers given in the preceding pages. This is attributable to the fact that the table was the last thing stereotyped, and gives the statistics for 1874 in the cases referred to, instead of those for 1873. The chapter of official decisions has been transcribed from books, periodicals, conference journals, and private manuscripts. Our aim has been to portray Methodism in its true character and relations- not to mend it. However successful the effort may prove, it cannot exceed the author's high sense of the intrinsic excellence of the system, or of the obligations of society to it for the civil and religious privileges it enjoys.
Finally, we commend the work to the kind examination of all Methodists. Please to read it carefully, and lend it to your prejudiced neighbors. It may correct some of their errors, and pro mote better feelings. If any are thinking to leave us, and enter into other church relations, it may lead them to inquire where they are more needed, or can be more useful. May the divine presence accompany it, and make it the instrument of good to many souls
THE AUTHOR. NEW YORK, March, 1875.
Methodists have been most in collision,
II – Predestination,