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honest in the sight of all men.” I Tim. v. 8. “ If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worie than an infidel.”
5. We have already enlarged on the great duty of taking up our cross, and therefore shall only observe, that if we will be real disciples of our crucified Lord, we must expect to meet with contempt and persecution from the carnal world. Rom. viii. 7. “The carnal mind is enmity ayainit God: for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be.” John xv. 18–21. “ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me, before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also perfecute you: if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do unto you for my name's fake, because they know not him that sent me.” O what chrißian would refuse to suffer for the sake of bis Redeemer. Matt. v. 10–12. “ Blessed are they which are perfecuted for righteousness’ fake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my fake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
sth. We have also spoken largely on all the ordinances of the gofpel, and the necessity of being constant partakers of them ; and have proved this by a great variety of scriptures. Although the ordinances are but means of grace, their end, which is the falvation of our fou's, cannot be attained without them. Such is the order of God, except when unavoidable hindrances prevent our attending of them ; in which case, God will himself be to the sincere soul instead of all ordinances, yea, will turn the very
bin. drances themselves into the most profitable of all means.
6th. Thus have we briefly explained the regulations by which the members of our society are governed. When these rules were once in a particular suit at law read in a full court of justice, in Europe, " I wish," said the judge, lifting up his hands, “ that all the world kept them.” O what a happy world would it become, if they were written by the Spirit of God on every heart. Surely“ the Lord God would then dweli among us,” (Psal. Ixviii. 18.) yea, his delight would be among the children of men. “ 'The wolf would then dwell with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid,” (Ifa. xi. 6.) “ They would not hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain: for the earth would be full of the kuowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," (ver. 9.)
Of Class-Meeting Quejt. 1.
OW may the leaders of classes be ren
dered 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 exactnefs, at least once a quarter. In order to this, take sufficient time.
2. Let each leader carefully inquire how every foul in his class profpers: 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 any thing 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 claffes.
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.
Quell. 3. How shall we prevent improper persons from insinuating themselves into the society?
Anfw 1. Give tickets to none until they are recommended by a leader, with whom they have met at least six months on trial.
2. Give notes to none but those who are recommended by one you know, or until they have met three or four times in a class.
3. Read the rules to them the first time they meet.
Quest.. 4. How shall we be more exact in receiving and excluding members ?
Answ. The official minister or preacher fhall, at every quarterly meeting, read the names of those that are received and excluded.
Queft. 5. What shall we do with those members of fociety, who wilfully and repeatedly neglect to meet their clafs ?
Answ. i. 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, viz. Exclusion.
2. If they do not amend, let him who has the charge of the circuit exclude them in the fociety; sewing that they are laid aside for a breach of our rules of discipline and not for immoral conduct.
1. So much has been already spoken concerning the office of a leader in the notes on the preceding section and on the joth of the ist chapter, that we have hardly room to enlarge without tautology. But from the whole we may observe, how careful our ministers should be in their choice of leaders. For our leaders under God are the finews of our society, and our revivals will ever, in a great measure, rise or fall with them. Our ministers and preachers should therefore consider no time better employed than that which they beitow on the leaders in examining them, directing them, and stirring then up to their holy and momentous duty.
2. We have made inany remarks in the course of our work on the necessity of christian fellowhip: but this cannot be carried on to any confiderable advantage without stated folemn times of afn fenbling. The meetings held for this purpose must have a name to : distinguish them. We call ours Clafs-meetings, and Band-inestings ; but of the former we are to speak ai present. Here we must notice, that it is the thing itself, christian fllowship and not the name, which we contend for. The experience of about sixty-years has fully convinced us of its necessity; and we ourselves can say that in the course of an extensive acquaintance with men and things, and the church of God, for about twenty or thirty years we have rarely met with one who has been much devoted to God, and at, the same time not united in close christian fellowship to some religious fociety or other. Far be it from us to furpose that no fellowship-meetings, except ours, are owned of God: so illiberal a fentiincat never entered our minds., But we must say, that those who entirely neglect this divinely juffit.ied ordinance (however various the suns given to it, or the modes of conviucting it, may be), maifeft; that they are either ashamed to acknowledge aspt:vir, Descarcas the true childicilof God, or “ are creinics of the crose
u. 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 fins 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 fin or not?
Directions given to the Band-Societies.
December 25th, 1744.
OU are supposed to have the Faith that overcomet) world.
To you therefore it is not grievous, 1. Carefully to abstain from doing evil: in particular,
J. Neither to buy nor fell any thing at all on the Lord's-day.
2. To taste no spiritnous liquor, no dram of any kind, unless preseribed by a physician.
3. To be at a word both in buying and selling:
4. Not to mention the fault of any behind his back, and to ttop those short that do.
5. To wear no needless ornaments, such as rings, earrings, necklaces, lace, ruffles.
6. To use no needless self-indulgence.
II. Zealously to maintain good works; in particu . lar,
1. To give alms of fuch things as you poffefs, and that according to your ability.
2. To reprove those who lin in your fight, and that in love and meekneis of wisdom.
3. To be patterns of diligence and frugality, of selfdenial, and taking up the cross daily.
III. Confiantly to attend on all the ordinances of God; in particular,
1. To be at church, and at the Lord's table, and at every public meeting of the bands, at every opportunity.
2. To use private prayer every day; and family prayer,
if you are the head of a family. 3. Frequently to read the scriptures, and meditate thereon. And,
4. To observe, as days of fasting or abstinence, all Fridays in the year.
N O T E S.
Our fociety may be considered as a spiritual hospital, where fouls come to be cured of their spiritual diseases. The members therefore who compose our class nieetings vary exceedingly in the state of their minds and the degrees of their experience. On this account it was thought necessary by our venerable leader Mr. Wesley, to establish a society of evangelical believers within the fociety composed of the whole body of Methodists, to which he gave the name of the band-society. This inftitution he borrowed. from the practice of the primitive churches, as indeed he did almost every thing he establiihed.
The heart of man by nature is such a cage of unclean birds, that few are to be found who will lay before their brethren all. its secret movements, unless the love of God be the ruling principle of their souls. And even then they are not called upon to exercise this confidence, except towards a small confidential company of true believers like themselves. When bands can be formed on this plan (and on no other do we form them) they become one of the most profitable means of grace in the whole compass. of christian discipline. There is nothing we know of, which fo much quickens the foul to a defire and expectation of the perfect love of God as this. It includes in it all the spiritual benefits of focial intercourse. For these little families of love, not only mutually weep and rejoice, and in every thing fympathize with each, other, as genuine friends, but each of them poffefses a measure of “ that undtion of the Holy One,” (1 John ii. 20.) which. teaches all spiritual knowledge. And thus are they enabled to “ build up themselves (and each other) on their most holy faith, Jude 29. and to “ consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works,” Heb. x. 24
The regularity and order, which should be observed in every folemn meeting, requires, that one of the band should be the. leader, to open and close the ordinance with singing, and prayer, though all
be here considered nearly upon an quality. Each