Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.

SECTION III.

Of Class-meetings and Love-feasts. Quest. 1. How may the Leaders of classes be rendered more useful?

Answ. 1. Let each 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

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

cited to appear; and if they be found guilty of wilful neglect by a decision of a majority of the members before whom their case is brought, let them be laid aside, and let the preacher show that they are excluded for a breach of our rules, and not for immoral conduct.

Quest. 4. How often shall we permit serious persons who are not of our Church to meet in class?

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.

SECTION IV.

Of the Band Societies.

Two, three, or four true believers, who have confidence in each other, form a band. Only it is to be observed, that in one of these bands all must be men, or all women; and all married, or all unmarried.

[Rules of the Band Societies, drawn up Dec. 25, 1738.]

The design of our meeting is to obey that command of God, Confess your faults one to

another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. James v, 16. To this end we agree,

1. To meet once a week at least.

2. To come punctually at the hour appointed, without some extraordinary reason prevents.

3. To begin exactly at the hour with singing or prayer.

4. To speak, each of us in order, freely and plainly, the true state of our souls, with the faults we have committed in tempers, words, or actions, and the temptations we have felt, since our last meeting.

5. To end every meeting with prayer suited to the state of each person present.

6. To desire some person among us to speak his own state first, and then to ask the rest in order as many and as searching questions as may be, concerning their state, sins, and temptations.

Some of the questions proposed to one before he is admitted among us may be to this effect:

1. Have you the forgiveness of your sins? 2. Have you peace with GOD, through our LORD JESUS CHRIST?

3. Have you the witness of GOD's Spirit with your spirit, that you are a child of GOD?

4. Is the love of GOD shed abroad in your heart?

5. Has no sin, inward or outward, dominion over you?

6. Do you desire to be told of your faults?

7. Do you desire to be told of all your faults, and that plain and home?

8. Do you desire that every one of us should tell you, from time to time, whatsoever is in our heart concerning you?

9. Consider! Do you desire we should tell you whatsoever we think, whatsoever we fear, whatsoever we hear, concerning you?

10. Do you desire that in doing this, we should come as close as possible, that we should cut to the quick, and search your heart to the bottom?

11. Is it your desire and design to be on this and all other occasions entirely open, so as to speak without disguise, and without reserve?

Any of the preceding questions may be asked as often as occasion requires; the four following at every meeting:

1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?

2. What particular temptations have you met with?

3. How were you delivered?

4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?

Directions given to the Band Societies,
December 25, 1744.

You are supposed to have the faith that overcometh the world. To you, therefore, it is not grievous:

I. Carefully to abstain from doing evil : in particular,

« PreviousContinue »