« הקודםהמשך »
Methodist Episcopal Church
WITH AN APPENDIX
EDITED BY BISHOP ANDREWS
NEW YORK: EATON & MAINS
To the Members of the Methodist Episcopal
Church DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN: We esteem it our privilege and duty most earnestly to recommend to you this volume, which contains the DOCTRINES and DISCIPLINE of our Church, both of which, as we believe, are agreeable to the word of God, the only and the sufficient rule of faith and practice. Yet the Church, using the liberty given to it by its Lord, and taught by the experience of a long series of years and by observations made on ancient and modern Churches, has from time to time modified its Discipline so as better to secure the end for which it was founded:
We believe that God's design in raising up the Methodist Episcopal Church in America was to evangelize the continent and spread scriptural holiness over these lands. As a proof hereof we have seen since that time an extraordinary work of God extending throughout all the United
States and Territories, and throughout the British possessions in North America, and also the planting of successful Missions in Soạth America and in Mexico. Moreover, the Methodist Episcopal Church, in "its organic form and in spiritual power, has been successfully planted in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and God has given it great prosperity in those countries.
During the period in which this work has been thus extending, the Church has revised and enlarged its legislation to meet the new demands created by its own success, as well as by the evernew conditions of the diverse peoples among whom it strives to build up the kingdom of God. Our Book of Discipline, at first small and simple, has thus gradually become larger, more varied in its topics, and more important by reason of the magnitude of the activities which it regulates. Its provisions for our expanding educational, missionary, and publishing work are illustrations of this statement.
The peculiar Constitution and Administrative Rules of our Church, to which its prosperity is largely due, require careful study. The Itinerant
Ministry, the Sub-pastorate through Classes, the Episcopacy, the Presiding Eldership, the Conferences in their gradation, the Local Ministry, the Judicial Administration, the Interdependence of the Ministry and the Laity, with the welldefined duties and rights of each, are severally parts of a coherent system which cannot be duly valued, profitably' used; or wisely' modified except by those who through loving and faithful care have become familiar with it both as a living whole and in its manifold details.
We therefore earnestly wish that this volume may be found in the house of every Methodist; and the more so because it contains the Articles of Religion maintained more or less, in part or in whole, by every 'evangelical Church in the world.
The Order of Worship herein set forth we commend to your scrupulous observance. In substance, it has been received from our Fathers, has been approved by the sober judgment and enjoined by the supreme authority of the Church, and, if uniformly observed, will continue to be both a token and bond of unity throughout our widespread communion.