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XXIII. Of the Rulers of the United States
of America. HE president, the congress, the general affem
, , as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the Unit. ed States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the general act of confederation, and by the constitutions of their respective states. And the said states ought not to be subject to any
NO TE S.
Rom. xiii. 1-7. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation ; for rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of The fame : for he is the minister of God to thee for goed. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain : for he is the minister of God, a revenger to exe. cute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' fake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also : for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render, therefore, to all, their dues : tribute, to whoni tribute is due; cuf. tom, to whom custom ; fear, to whom fear; honour, to whomi honour. Tit. iii. 1, Put them in mind to be subject to princia palities and powers, to obey magistrates. 2 Pct. ii. 9--11. The Lord knoweth how-to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgrient to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the luit of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptious are they, felf-willeu, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities : whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. Jude 8. Likewise, also, these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and sperk evil of dignities. I Tim. ii. I, 2. I exhort, there. fore, that, frst of all, fupplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, and for all that are in authority.
XXIV. Of Christian Men's Goods.
mon as touching the right, title, and pofleffion of the same, as fome do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he poffeffeth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.
(1) Acts v. 3, 4. Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lye to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land ? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was fold, was it not in thine own power? I Cor. xvi. 2. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. I Tim. vi. 17, 18. Charge them that are rich in this world (not, that they throw their property into a common stock with the other members of the church, to which they belong, but] that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate. (2) Matt: XXV. 34-40. Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, come, ye bleffed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world : for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in : naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye
-Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
came unto me.
XXV. Of a Christian Man's Oath.
S we confess that vain and rafh swearing is for
and James his apoftle ; fo we judge that the christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.
NOT E. S. (1) Matt. v. 34-37. I say unto you, Swear not at all:But let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil. Jam. v. 12. Above all things, my brethren, fwear not ; neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath : but let, your yea
be your nay, nay ; left ye fall into condemnation. (2) Matt. xxvi. 63, 64. The high priest answered, and faid unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus faith unto him, Thou hast said : [or, as St. Mark expresses it ch. xiv. 62.) Jesus said, I am. [Jesus answered the high priest on being solemnly adjured or sworn by him in the name of the living God; though he would not answer him, when questioned without an oath: and we may also observe, that the Jews always corsidered themselves upon oath, when thusadjured by the high priest. Why then should our Saviour give sanciion to an oath by answering the adjuration, if no person ought to swear or take an oath before a magistrate ?] 2 Cor. i. 18. As God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. Ver. 23. Moreover, I call God for a record upon my soul, that to fpare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Gal. i. 20. Now, the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lye not. (St. Paul, in each of these instances, calls God to witness the truth which he asserted, which has in it the nature and properties of a folemn octh.] Heb. vi. 13. When God made promise to Abram ham, because he could fwear by no greater, be fware by himself, Ver. 16, 17. For men verily swear by the greater : and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all frife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.
When we candidly compare together the texts quoted above, we do not see the possibility of reconciling them, but by allowing, on the one hand, that it is sinful (it “ cometh of evil') to use any asseveration in common discourse, stronger than the simple. yes and no; and, on the other hand, that it is perfectly lawful to make oath, before the magiftrate, on all important occafions.
Nevertheless, we do not obje& to any of our brethren, who Nill have doubts on this subject, and demand, where it can be obtained, an affirmation instead of an oath.
Of the General and Yearly Conferences.
occafions, as in the immediate presence of God: That every person speak freely whatever is in his heart.
Quest. 1. How may we best improve our time at the conferences ?
Answ. 1. While we are conversing, let us have an especial care to set God always before us.
2. In the intermediate hours, let us redeem all the time we can for private exercises. 3.
Therein let us give ourselves to prayer for one an. other, and for a bleffing on our labour.
Queft. 2. Who shall compose the general conference?
Answ. All the travelling preachers who shall be in full connection at the time of holding the conference.
Quest. 3. Who shall attend the yearly conferences?
Answ. All the travelling preachers who are in full connection, and those who are to be received into full connection.
Quell. 4. Who shall appoint the times of holding the yearly conferences ?
Answ. The bishops.
Queft. 5. What is the method wherein we usually proceed in the yearly conferences ?
Antw. We inquire,
Who remain on trial ?
ges of the general conference to exercise the episcopal office, and superintend the Methodist
episcopal church in America ?
body, or family concerns ?
* A supernumerary preacher is one so worn out in the itinerant service, as to be rendered incapable of preaching constantly : but, at the same time, is willing to do any work in the ministry, which the conference may direct, and bis strength enable him to per form.
10. Are all the preachers blameless in life and conver
sation ? ii. Who are expelled from the connection? 12. Where are the preachers ftationed this year? 13. What numbers are in society? 14. What has been collected for the contingent ex
pences? 15. How has this been expended ? 16. What is contributed towards the fund for the fu
perannuated preachers, and the widows and or
phans of the preachers ? 17. What demands are there upon it?' 18. Where and when shall our next conference be held?
Quest. 6. Is there any other business to be done in the yearly conferences ?
Answ. The electing and ordaining of elders and deacons.
Quest. 7. Are there any other directions to be given concerning the yearly conferences ?
Anfw. There shall be fix conferences in the year : as follows, viz.
ist, The New-England conference,—under the direction of which shall be the affairs of our church in New-England, and in that part of the state of NewYork, which lies on the eałt fide of Hudson's river: Provided, That if the bishops see it necessary, a conference may
be held in the Province of Maine. 2. The Philadelphia conference, for the direction of our concerns in the remainder of the state of NewYork, in New-Jersey, in all that part of Pennsylvania which lies on the east side of the Susquehannah river, the state of Delaware, and all the rest of the peninsula.
3. The Baltimore conference, for the remainder of Pennfylvania, the remainder of Maryland, and the Northern neck of Virginia.
4. The Virginia conference, for all that part of Virginia which lies on the south side of the Rappahan, nock river, and for all that part of North-Carolina which lies on the north fide of Cape Fear river, includ,