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A ministry of fifty years in the Methodist Episcopal Church has convinced the writer of the need, both by ministry and people, of a history and exposition of the Twenty-five Articles of Religion. Only two volumes of explanatory notes on the subject have ever been published, and these—one by the Rev. Silas Comfort, D.D., and one by the Rev. A. A. Jimeson, M.D.-issued many years ago, are long since out of print.
The younger element in Methodism to-day is marked by an especial spirit of inquiry, and to meet this a treatise on the Articles of the denomination is a desideratum in Methodist literature. This work is not intended to be a system of theology. The subjects discussed are limited to those suggested by the Articles; these subjects are illustrated and confirmed by quotations from Methodist authorities in scholarship and doctrine.
The Articles which form the foundation stones of Protestantism are not alone negative pronouncements antagonistic to priestly error and superstition, but they are crystallized statements of truth, the final outcome of centuries of protest and unrest. They were formed in the fierce heat of ancient controversies; they are not obsolete, as the errors condemned are as much alive to-day as when Luther faced the Diet of Worms, or as when Cranmer and Ridley died at the stake. Error has lost its power, but not its subtlety.
For assistance in the preparation of this volume acknowledgment is due to many friends, particularly to Professor Robert W. Rogers, D.D., Ph.D., of Drew Theological Seminary; to the Rev. J. Byrchmore, Vicar of Barton St. David's, Somersetshire, England, through whom I received valuable manuscript notes of eminent English divines, and to my son, George Post Wheeler, Litt.D.
HENRY WHEELER. Ocean Grove, N. J.