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A. It is good for us to have a deep sense of this, and to be much ashamed before the Lord. But this should only incite us, the more earnestly, to turn unto Christ every moment, and draw light, and life, and strength from him, that we may go on, conquering and to conquer.
Q. 1. In what view may we and our helpers be considered ?
A. Perhaps as extraordinary messengers, (i. e. out of the ordinary way,) designed,-1. To provoke the regular ministers to jealousy.2. To supply their lack of service, towards those who are perishing for lack of knowledge.
Q. 2. What is the office of a helper?
1. To preach, morning and evening.--2. To meet the Society and Bands weekly.-3. To meet the leaders weekly.
Q. 3. What are the rules of a helper in respect to his general conduct?
A. Be diligent. Never be unemployed a moment. Never be triAlingly employed.
Bé serious. Let your motto be, HOLINESS TO THE LORD! Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking.
Believe evil of no one ; unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction on every thing. You know, the judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner's side.
Speak evil of no one ; else your word, especially, would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast, till you come to the person concerned. Tell every one what
wrong in him, and that plainly, as soon as may be ; else it will fester in your heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom.
Be ashamed of nothing but sin; not of fetching wood, (if time permit,) or drawing water.
Be punctual. Do every thing exactly at the time. And, in general, do not mend our rules, but keep them.
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO, BUT TO SAVE souls.* Therefore, spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not only to those that want you, but to those that want you most.
Observe, it is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that Society ; but to save as many souls as you can ; to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance; and with all your power to build them up in that holiness, without which they cannot see the Lord.
Q. What general method of employing our time would you advise us to ?
A. We advise you,-1. As often as possible to rise at four..—2. From four to five in the morning, and from five to six in the evening, to meditate, pray, and read, partly the Scripture with the notes, partly the closely practical parts of what we have published.-3. From six in the morning till twelve, (allowing an hour for breakfast,) to read in order, with much prayer, first, the Christian Library, and the other books which we have published in prose and verse ; and then, those which we have recommended.
* This is the special duty, and high privilege, of an Itinerant reacher among the Methodists. He does not receive support from the Societies because he can preach better than those who are supported by their own labour, but because he is called out from all worldly avocations. Can such a man ever turn to them again, with a pure conscience, excepting only by the visitation of God, rendering it impossible for him to continue in his high calling?
In the afternoon, follow Mr. Baxter's plan ; that is,-Go into every house in course, and teach every one therein, young and old, if they belong to us, to be Christians, inwardly and outwardly.
Make every particular plain to their understanding ; fix it in their memory ; write it in their heart. In order to this, there must be · line upon line, precept upon precept.? What patience, what love, what knowledge is requisite for this !
Q. 1. Who is the Assistant ?*
A. 1. To see that the other preachers in his circuit behave well, and want nothing.–2. To visit the Classes quarterly, regulate the Bands, and deliver tickets.-3. To take in, or put out of, the Society or the Bands.-4. To keep Watch-nights and Love-feasts.-5. To hold Quarterly-meetings, and therein diligently to inquire both into the temporal and spiritual state of each Society.-6. To overlook the accounts of all the stewards.
Q. 1. Are we not Dissenters ?
A. No. Although we call sinners to repentance in all places of God's dominion; and although we frequently use extemporary prayer, and unite together in a religious Society; yet we are not Dissenters in the only sense which our law acknowledges, namely those who renounce the service of the Church. We do not, we dare not separate from it. We are not Seceders, nor do we bear any resemblance to them. We set out upon quite opposite principles. The Seceders laid the very foundation of their work, in judging and condemning others. We laid the foundation of our work, in judging and condemning ourselves. They begin every where with showing their hearers, How fallen the Church and Ministers are. We begin every where with showing our hearers how fallen they are themselves.
Q. 2. But what reasons are there, why we should not separate from the Church?
A. Among others, those which have been already printed, entitled, “Reasons against a Separation from the Church of England."
We allow two exceptions,-1. If the Parish Minister be a notoriously wicked man.—2. If he preach Socinianism, Arianism, or any other essentially false doctrine.T
* By the Assistant was meant the chief preacher in a circuit, who immediately assisted Mr. Wesley in the regulation of the Societies. The preacher who has now the care of the circuit is called, the Superintendent.
+ Yet even this kind of partial separation was not to extend to a separation from the Church in general. VOL. II.
CONVERSATION XII. Q. 1. How shall we try those who think they are moved by the Holy Ghost to preach?
A. Inquire,-1. Do they know God as a pardoning God? Have they the love of God abiding in them? Do they desire and seek nothing but God? And are they holy in all manner of conversation ?-2. Have they gifts, (as well as grace,) for the work ? Have they (in some tolerable degree) a clear, sound understanding ? Have they a right judgment in the things of God? Have they a just conception of salvation by faith? And has God given them any degree of utterance? Do they speak justly, readily, clearly ?-3. Have they fruit? Are any truly convinced of sin, and converted to God, by their preaching?
As long as these three marks concur in any one, we believe he is called of God to preach. These we receive as sufficient proof, that he is “moved thereto by the Holy Ghost.”
Q. 2. What method may we use in receiving a new helper ?
A. A proper time for doing this is at a Conference after solemn fasting and prayer.
Every person proposed is then to be present; and each of them may be asked,
Have you faith in Christ? Are you going on to perfection? Do you expect to be perfected in love in this life? Are you groaning after it? Are
you resolved to devote yourself wholly to God and to his work? Have you considered the rules of a helper? Will you keep them for conscience sake ? Are you determined to employ ALL your time in the work of God? Will you preach, every morning and evening ? Will you diligently instruct the children in every place? Will you
visit from house to house? Will you recommend fasting, both by precept and example ?
We may then receive him as a Probationer, by giving him the Minutes of the Conference inscribed thus :
66 To A. B. You think it your duty to call sinners to repentance. Make full proof hereof, and we shall rejoice to receive you as a fellow labourer.”
Let him then read, and carefully weigh what is contained therein, that, if he has
any doubt, it may be removed. When he has been on trial four years, if recommended by the Assistant, he may be received into full connexion.
may be useful to add a few remarks on the method pursued in the choice of the Itinerant Preachers, as many have formed the most erroneous ideas on the subject, imagining they are employed with hardly any preparation ; while others have seemed to think they are a distinct race from those to whom they minister.-1. They are received, in common with all other persons, merely as private Members on trial.2. After a quarter of a year, if they are found walking according to the Gospel, they are admitted as proper members.—3. When the grace
and abilities of any members are sufficiently manifest, they are appointed leaders of classes.-4. If they then appear to be called to more important services, they are employed to exhort occasionally in the smaller congregations.-5. If approved in this line of duty, they are allowed to preach.-6. Out of these men, who are called Local Preachers, are selected the Itinerant Preachers, who are first proposed in the Quarterly-meetings of the circuits to which they belong ; secondly, in the District-meeting, and lastly in the Conference; and, if accepted, are appointed to circuits.—7. Their characters and conduct are examined annually in the District-meetings and in the Conference; and, if they continue faithful for four years of trial, they are received into full connexion: At these Conferences also, strict inquiry is made into the conduct of
every Itinerant.— The preachers assembled are thus, from their identity of interest with the great body of the people, and their mutual sympathy with the whole, their natural and only entire representatives, in all those affairs to which the Conference directs its cares ;united with the whole Connexion, as that in which they have resolved to live and die ; and yet, because of their itinerancy, never so connected with
any individual society as to become the organs of those changes and innovations, which in particular places might be often advocated. I Sufficiently dependant to be one with their people ; but sufficiently distinct, in order and office, to be the effectual guardians of that which has been committed to their trust, as those who must give the final account of their stewardship not to man but to God. By them only can the discipline of the connexion, in its wide extent, be maintained ; and the Lord and his people require it at their hands.
Mr. Wesley's great love of exactness and order was now abundantly gratified. In every place where he or the preachers in connexion with him laboured, the same rules were observed in the formation and government of the Societies. From this time, the work of reformation and of true religion went forward with a regularity and sameness, highly characteristic of the true Gospel of God our Saviour. In the tumultuous years of forty-five and forty-six,
during the Rebellion, the work of God spread with great rapidity. The Scriptures declare, When the judgments of God are abroad in the earth, the nations will learn righteousness.? The ministers of God went through the land, calling upon sinners to repent; and many had ears to hear the things that are for their peace.”
At this time all denominations of people were addressing the King, and testifying their attachment to the august family that now fills the throne. Mr. Wesley and those in connexion with him, testified this with
every breath they drew: But he was unwilling to address his Majesty, lest his Societies should be considered as a separate body. Yet he at length yielded so far to importunity, as to draw up the following Address ; which however, from the before mentioned motive, on farther consideration, he did not present. The thoughts and style of a man of God
may be easily seen therein, rather than the laboured eloquence so Common upon such occasions.
* TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY. - The humble Address of the Societies in England and Wales, called
METHODISTS. “ Most gracious Sovereign,
“ So inconsiderable as we are, a people scattered and peeled and trodden under foot, from the beginning hitherto,' we should in no wise have presumed, even on this great occasion, to open our lips to your Majesty, had we not been induced, indeed, constrained so to do, by two considerations : The one that in spite of all our remonstrances on that head, we are continually represented as a peculiar sect of men, separating ourselves from the Established Church : The other, that we are still traduced as inclined to Popery, and consequently disaffected to your Majesty
6 Upon these considerations, we think it incumbent upon us, if we must stand as a distinct body from our brethren, to tender for ourselves, our most dutiful regards to your sacred Majesty ; and to declare in the presence of Him we serve, the King of kings and Lord of lords, that we are a part, however mean, of that Protestant Church established in these kingdoms; that we unite together for this, and no other end, to promote, so far as we may be capable, justice, mercy, and truth, the glory of God, and peace and good will among men ; that we detest and abhor the fundamental doctrines of the Church of Rome, and are steadily attached to your Majesty's royal person and illustrious house.
“We cannot, indeed, say or do either more or less, than we apprehend consistent with the written word of God. But we are ready to obey your Majesty to the uttermost, in all things which we conceive to be agreeable thereto. And we earnestly exhort all with whom we converse, as they · fear God,' to honour the king? We of the clergy in particular, put all men in mind, to revere the higher powers as of God; and continually declare, “ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.' “ Silver and gold (most of us must own) we have none.
But such as we have, we humbly beg your Majesty to accept, together with our hearts and prayers. May He who hath bought us with his blood, the Prince of all the kings of the earth, fight against all the enemies of your Majesty, with the two-edged sword that cometh out of his mouth! And when he calleth your Majesty from this throne, full of years and victories, may it be with that voice, Come, receive the kingdom prepared for you, from the beginning of the world!
6 These are the continual prayers of your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects,
“ JOHN WESLEY, &c." Newcastle-upon-Tyne was a place of almost continual alarm during the troubles in Scotland. Here, therefore, Mr. Wesley remained a considerable time; and his labour was not in vain. Many now learned truly to honour the King, (from the right principle, the fear of God,) who were before as reeds shaken with the wind. But his soul was grieved within him, at the extreme ungodliness of those who were appointed to defend the land. He, therefore, wrote the following letter to one of the Magistrates :