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none are to remove from one circuit to another, without a note of recommendation from the preacher of the circuit in these words :—“A. B., the bearer, has been an acceptable member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.” And to inform them that, without such a certificate, they will not be received into the Church in other places.
8. To recommend everywhere decency and cleanliness.
9. To read the rules of the society, with the aid of the other preachers, once a year in every congregation, and once a quarter in every society.
10. The preacher who has the charge of a circuit shall appoint prayer meetings whereever he can in his circuit.
11. Wherever it is practicable, he shall so arrange the appointments as to give the local preachers regular and systematic employment on the Sabbath.
12. He shall take care that a fast be held in every society in his circuit, on the Friday preceding every quarterly meeting: and that a memorandum of it be written on all the class papers.
13. To license such persons as he may judge proper to officiate as exhorters in the Church, provided no person shall be so licensed without the consent of the leaders' meeting, or of the class of which he is a member, where no leaders' meeting is held; and the exhorters so authorized shall be subject to the annual examination of character in the Quarterly Conference, and have their
license annually renewed by the Presiding Elder, or the preacher having the charge, if approved by the Quarterly Conference.
N. B. The preachers who have the oversight of circuits are required to execute all our rules fully and strenuously against all frauds, and particularly against dishonest insolvencies; suffering none to remain in our Church on any account who are found guilty of any fraud.
For the mode of procedure in case of insolvency of members, and in settling disputes, &c., as to the payment of debts or otherwise, see part i, chapter ix, section 4, quest. 2, 3, pages 100–102.
Quest. 3. What can be done to supply the circuits during the sittings of the Conferen
Answ. 1. Let all the appointments stand according to the plan of the circuit.
2. Engage as many local preachers and exhorters as will supply them; and let them be paid for their time in proportion to the allowance of the travelling preachers.
3. If preachers and exhorters cannot attend, let some person of ability be appointed in every society, to sing, pray, and read one of Mr. Wesley's sermons.
4. But if that cannot be done, let there be prayer meetings.
Of the Matter and Manner of Preaching.
Quest. 1. What is the best general method of preaching ?
Answ. 1. To convince: 2. To offer Christ: 3. To invite : 4. To build up: And to do this in some measure in every sermon.
Quest. 2. What is the most effectual way of preaching Christ ?
Answ. The most effectual way of preaching Christ is, to preach him in all his offices; and to declare his law, as well as his gospel, both to believers and unbelievers. Let us strongly and closely insist upon inward and outward holiness in all its branches.
Rules by which we should continue, or desist
from, Preaching at any Place. Quest. 1. Is it advisable for us to preach in as many places as we can, without forming any societies? Answ. By no means.
We have made the trial in various places; and that for a considerable time. But all the seed has fallen by the way-side. There is scarce any fruit remaining
Quest. 2. Where should we endeavour to preach most ?
Answ. 1. Where there is the greatest number of quiet and willing hearers.
2. Where there is most fruit.
Quest. 3. Ought we not diligently to observe in what places God is pleased at any time to pour out his Spirit more abundantly?
Answ. We ought: and at that time to send more labourers than usual into that part of the harvest,
SECTION XIV. Of Visiting from House to House, Guardiny
against those things that are so common to Professors, and Enforcing Practical Religion.
Quest. 1. How can we further assist those under our care?
Answ. By instructing them at their own houses. What unspeakable need is there of this! The world says, “ The Methodists are no better than other people.” This is not true in the general: but, 1. Personal religion, either toward God or man, is too superficial among us. We can but just touch on a few particulars. How little faith is there
How little communion with God, how little living in heaven, walking in eternity, deadness to every creature! How much love of the world! Desire of pleasure, of ease, of getting money! How little brotherly love! What continual judging one another! What gossipping, evil-speaking, tale-bearing! What want of oral honesty! To instance only one particular ;
who does as he would be done by in buying and selling?
2. Family religion is wanting in many branches. And what avails public preaching alone, though we could preach like angels ?
We must-yea, every travelling preacher must-instruct the people from house to house. Till this be done, and that in good earnest, Methodists will be no bet
Our religion is not sufficiently deep, universal, uniform; but superficial, partial, un
It will be so till we spend half as much time in this visiting, as we now do in talking uselessly. Can we find a better method of doing this than Mr. Baxter's ? It not, let us adopt it without delay. His whole tract, entitled Gildas Salvianus, is well worth a careful perusal. Speaking of this visiting from house to house, he says, (p. 351,)“We shall find many hinderances, both in ourselves and the people.”
1. In ourselves there is much dulness and laziness, so that there will be much ado to get us to be faithful in the work.
2. We have a base, man-pleasing temper, so that we let them perish rather than lose their love; we let them go quietly to hell, lest we should offend them.
3. Some of us have a foolish bashfulness. We know not how to begin, and blush to contradict the devil.
4. But the greater hinderance is weakness of faith. Our whole motion is weak, because the spring of it is weak.