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OF THE MEANS OF GRACE.
Of Public Worship. Quest. 1. WHAT directions shall be given for the establishment of uniformity in public worship among us, on the Lord's day?
Answ. 1. Let the morning service consist of singing, prayer, the reading of a chapter out of the Old Testament, and another out of the New, and preaching.
2. Let the afternoon service consist of singing, prayer, the reading of one or two chapters out of the Bible, and preaching.
3. Let the evening service consist of singing, prayer, and preaching.
4. But on the days of administering the Lord's supper, the two chapters in the morning service may be omitted.
5. In administering the ordinances, and in the burial of the dead, let the form of Discipline invariably be used. Let the Lord's prayer also be used on all occasions of public worship in concluding the first prayer, and the apostolic benediction in dismissing the congregation.
6. Let the society be met, wherever it is practicable, on the Sabbath-day.
Quest. 2. Is there not a great indecency sometimes practised among us, namely, talking in the congregation before and after service. How shall this be cured ?
Answ. Let all the ministers and preachers join as one man, and enlarge on the impropriety of talking before or after service ; and strongly exhort those that are concerned to do it no more. In three months, if we are in earnest, this vile practice will be banished out of every Methodist congregation. Let none stop till he has carried his point.
SECTION II. Of the Spirit and Truth of Singing. Quest. How shall we guard against formality in singing ?
Answ. 1. By choosing such hymns as are proper for the congregation.
2. By not singing too much at once; seldom more than five or six verses.
3. By suiting the tune to the words.
4. By often stopping short, and asking the people, “ Now! do you know what you said last ? Did you speak no more than you felt?"
5. Do not suffer the people to sing too slow. This naturally tends to formality, and is brought in by those who have either very strong or very weak voices.
6. In every large society let them learn to sing; and let them always learn our tunes first.
7. Let the women constantly sing their parts alone. Let no man sing with them unless he understands the notes, and sings the base as it is composed in the tune-book.
8. Introduce no new tune till they are perfect in the old.
9. Recommend our tune-book. And if you cannot sing yourself, choose a person or two at each place to pitch the tune for you.
10. Exhort every person in the congregation to sing ; not one in ten only.
11. Sing no hymns of your own composing:
12. If a preacher be present, let him alone give out the words.
13. When the singers would teach a tune to the congregation, they must sing only the tenor, [the air.]
14. Let it be recommended to our people not to attend the singing schools which are not under our direction.
15. The preachers are desired not to encourage the singing of fugue tunes in our congregations.
16. We do not think that fugue tunes are sinful or improper to be used in private companies; but we do not approve of their being used in our public congregations, because public singing is a part of divine worship in which all the congregation ought to join.
Of Class-meetings and Love-feasts. Quest. 1. How may the Leaders of classes be rendered more useful ?
Answ. 1. Let ach of them be diligently examined concerning his method of meeting a class. Let this be done with all possible exactness, at least once a quarter. In order to this, take sufficient time.
2. Let each Leader carefully inquire how every soul of his class prospers: not only how each person observes the outward rules, but how he grows in the knowledge and love of God.
3. Let the Leaders converse with those who have the charge of their circuits, frequently and freely.
Quest. 2. Can anything more be done in order to make the Class-meetings lively and profitable?
Answ. 1. Change improper Leaders. 2. Let the Leaders frequently meet each other's classes.
3. Let us observe which Leaders are the most useful; and let these meet the other classes as often as possible.
4. See that all the Leaders be not only men of sound judgment, but men truly devoted to God.
Quest. 3. What shall we do with those members of our Church who wilfully and repeatedly neglect to meet their class?
Answ. 1. Let the Elder, Deacon, or one of the preachers, visit them, whenever it is practicable, and explain to them the consequence if they continue to neglect, namely, exclusion.
2. If they do not amend, let him who has the charge of the circuit or station bring their case before the society, or a select number, before whom they shall have been
cited to appear; and if they be found guilty
Quest. 4. How often shall we permit
Answ. At every other meeting of the class in every place let no stranger be admitted. At other times they may; but the same person not above twice or thrice.
Quest. 5. How often shall we permit strangers to be present at our Love-feasts?
Answ. Let them be admitted with the utmost caution ; and the same person on no account above twice or thrice, unless he become a member.
Of the Band Societies.
confidence in each other, form a band.
Dec. 25, 1738.]