« PreviousContinue »
and leave a list of such names for his successor; and in his pastoral visits he shall pay special attention to the children, speak to them personally, and kindly, on experimental and practical godliness, according to their capacity, pray earnestly for them, and diligently instruct and exhort all parents to dedicate their children to the Lord in baptism as early as convenient; and let all baptized children be faithfully instructed in the nature, design, privileges, and obligations, of their baptism. Those of them who are well disposed may be admitted to our class-meetings and love-feasts; and such as are truly serious, and manifest a desire to flee the wrath to come, shall be advised to join society as probationers.
OF THE PRINTING AND CIRCULATION OF RELIGIOUS TRACTS.
Provision is made for the publication at the Book Concern of cheap books and tracts, in our own and foreign languages. For the duties of the Editor of tracts and Corresponding Secretary of the Tract Society, see part iii, ch. vi, art. 3, page 198. Our Tract Society is designed to aid in the diffusion of religious knowledge by the circulation of our evangelical publications.
1. It is recommended to our people everywhere to form Tract Societies, auxiliary to the Tract Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
2. It is recommended to preachers in charge, to make annually in their several congregations, collections in behalf of the Tract Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
OF DRESS AND MARRIAGE.
Quest. SHOULD we insist on the rules
concerning dress? Answ. By all means. This is no time to give encouragement to superfluity of appa rel. Therefore receive none into the Church till they have left off superfluous ornaments. In order to this, 1. Let every one who has charge of a circuit or station read Mr. Wesley's Thoughts upon Dress, at least once a year in every society. 2. In visiting the classes be very mild, but very strict. 3. Allow of no exempt case: better one suffer than many. 4. Give no tickets to any that wear high heads, enormous bonnets, ruffles, or rings.
Quest. 1. Do we observe any evil which has prevailed in our Church with respect to marriage?
Answ. Many of our members have married with unawakened persons. This has produced bad effects; they have been either hindered for life, or have turned back to perdition.
Quest. 2. What can be done to discourage this?
Answ. 1. Let every preacher publicly enforce the apostle's caution, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." 2 Cor. vi, 14.
2. Let all be exhorted to take no step in so weighty a matter, without advising with the most serious of their brethren.
Quest. 3. Ought any woman to marry without the consent of her parents?
Answ. In general she ought not. Yet there may be exceptions. For if, 1. A woman believe it to be her duty to marry: if, 2. Her parents absolutely refuse to let her marry any Christian: then she may, nay, ought to marry without their consent. Yet even then a Methodist preacher ought not
to be married to her.
We do not prohibit our people from marrying persons who are not of our Church, provided such persons have the form, and are seeking the power, of godliness; but we are determined to discourage their marrying persons who do not come up to this description.
OF BRINGING MINISTERS AND MEMBERS TO TRIAL, AND OF INSOLVENCIES, AND THE SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES.
Of the Trial of a Bishop.
Quest. 1. To whom is a Bishop amenable for his conduct?
Answ. To the General Conference, who have power to expel him for improper conduct, if they see it necessary.
Quest. 2. What provision shall be made for the trial of a Bishop, if he should be accused of immorality in the interval of the General Conference?
Answ. If a Bishop be accused of immorality, three Travelling Elders shall call upon him, and examine him on the subject; and if the three Elders verily believe that the Bishop is guilty of the crime, they shall call to their aid two Presiding Elders from two districts in the neighbourhood of that where the crime was committed, each of which Presiding Elders shall bring with him two Elders, or an Elder and a Deacon. The above-mentioned nine persons shall form a Conference, to examine into the charge brought against the Bishop: and if two-thirds of them verily believe him to be guilty of the crime laid to his charge, they shall have
authority to suspend the Bishop till the ensuing General Conference, and the districts shall be regulated in the mean time as is provided in ch. iii, § 3, and ch. iv, §§ 1, 2; but no accusation shall be received against a Bishop except it be delivered in writing, signed by those who are to prove the crime; and a copy of the accusation shall be given to the accused Bishop.
Of the Method of Proceeding against accused Travelling Ministers or Preachers.
Quest. 1. What shall be done when an Elder, Deacon, or preacher, is under report of being guilty of some crime expressly forbidden in the word of God, as an unchristian practice, sufficient to exclude a person from the kingdom of grace and glory?
Answ. 1. In the interval of the Annual Conference, let the Presiding Elder, in the absence of a Bishop, call as many travelling ministers as he shall think fit, at least three: and, if possible, bring the accused and the accuser face to face and cause a correct record of the investigation to be kept and transmitted to the Annual Conference. If the person be clearly convicted, he shall be suspended from all ministerial services and Church privileges until the ensuing Annual Conference, at which his case shall be fully considered and determined. But if the accused be a Presiding Elder, the preachers