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clothing the naked, by visiting or helping them that are sick or in prison.
To their souls, by instructing, reproving, or exhorting all we have any intercourse with; trampling under foot that enthusiastic doctrine, that "we are not to do good unless our hearts be free to it."
By doing good, especially to them that are of the household of faith, or groaning so to be; employing them preferably to others, buying one of another, helping each other in business; and so much the more because the world will love its own, and them only. By all possible diligence and frugality, that the gospel be not blamed.
By running with patience the race which is set up before them, denying themselves, and taking up their cross daily; submitting to bear the reproach of Christ, to be as the filth and offscouring of the world; and looking that men should say all manner of evil of them falsely for the Lord's sake.
(6) It is expected of all who desire to continue in these societies, that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation,
Thirdly, By attending upon all the ordinances of God: such are,
The public worship of God:
The ministry of the word, either read or expounded:
The supper of the Lord:
Family and private prayer:
(7) These are the general rules of our societies: all which we are taught of God to observe, even in his written word, which is the only rule, and the sufficient rule both of our faith and practice. And all these we know his Spirit writes on truly awakened hearts. If there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any of them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul, as they who must give an account. We will admonish him of the error of his ways. We will bear with him for a season. But if then he repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have
delivered our own souls.
Of Receiving Members into the Church.
Quest. 1. How shall we prevent improper persons from insinuating themselves into the Church?
Answ. 1. Let none be received into the Church until they are recommended by a leader with whom they have met at least six months on trial, and have been baptized; and shall on examination by the minister in charge, before the Church, give satisfactory assurances both of the correctness of their faith, and their willingness to observe and keep the rules of the Church. Nevertheless, if a member in good standing in any other orthodox Church shall desire to unite with us, such applicant may, by giving satisfactory answers to the usual
inquiries, be received at once into full fellowship.
2. Let none be admitted on trial, except they are well recommended by one you know, or until they have met twice or thrice in class.
3. Read the rules to them the first time they meet.
Quest. 2. How shall we be more exact in receiving and excluding members?
Answ. The official minister or preacher shall, at every quarterly meeting, read the names of those that are received into the Church, and also those that are excluded therefrom.
OF THE CONFERENCES.
Of our Deportment at the Conferences. Ir is desired that all things be considered on these occasions as in the immediate presence of God: that every person speak freely whatever is in his heart.
Quest. How may we best improve our time at the conferences?
Answ. 1. While we are conversing, let us have an especial care to set God always before us.
2. In the intermediate hours, let us redeem all the time we can for private exercises.
3. Therein let us give ourselves to prayer for one another, and for a blessing on our labor.
Of the General Conference.
Quest. Who shall compose the General Conference, and what are the regulations and powers belonging to it?
Answ. 1. The General Conference shall be composed of one member for every twenty-one members of each annual conference, to be appointed either by seniority or choice, at the discretion of such annual conference: yet so that such representatives shall have travelled at least four full calendar years from the time that they were received on trial by an annual conference, and are in full connexion at the time of holding the conference.
2. The General Conference shall meet on the first day of May, in the year of our Lord 1812, in the city of New-York, and thenceforward on the first day of May once in four years perpetually, in such place or places as shall be fixed on by the General Conference from time to time but the general superintendents, with or by the advice of all the annual conferences, or if there be no general superintendent, all the annual conferences respectively, shall have power to call a General Conference, if they judge it necessary, at any time.
3. At all times when the General Conference is met, it shall take two-thirds of the
representatives of all the annual conferences to make a quorum for transacting business. 4. One of the general superintendents shall preside in the General Conference; but in case no general superintendent be present, the General Conference shall choose a president pro tem.
5. The General Conference shall have full powers to make rules and regulations for our Church, under the following limitations and restrictions, namely:1. The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our articles of religion, nor establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine.
2. They shall not allow of more than one representative for every fourteen members of the annual conference, nor allow of a less number than one for every thirty: provided, nevertheless, that when there shall be in any annual conference a fraction of two-thirds the number which shall be fixed for the ratio of representation, such annual conference shall be entitled to an additional delegate for such fraction; and provided, also, that no conference shall be denied the privilege of two delegates. 3. They shall not change or alter any part or rule of our government, so as to do away episcopacy, or destroy the plan of our itinerant general superintendency. 4. They shall not revoke or change the general rules of the United Societies.