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ROBATION is a peculiarity of Methodism, yet other
Churches have it in effect. By catechetical classes, by examining committees, and by other means they seek to test the fitness of candidates for church membership. The period of probation with us is “ at least six months." This time may be extended by the probationer or the church, if thought wise.
CONDITION OF PROBATION. There is but one condition required by our rules for admission on probation, namely, “ a desire to flee from the wrath to come and to be saved from their sins." This welcomes every sincere soul, however young or weak. A“ desire" opens the door. Probation, however, is open enlistment in Christ's army. It should be considered a real commitment of the individual to His service for lite. Pastors ought not to intimate that probationers need not feel obliged to become full members. While they are no. obligated to join the Methodist Church the above suggestion belittles or robs of its significance this important step. It makes the act one of weakness and irresolution instead of strength and purpose. Rather impress them that having put their hands to the plow they must never
“ look back." To make this step Impressive It should be loveated with the solemnity of a
PUBLIC RECEPTION. O curse there will be exceptions, owing to sickness, Infirmity, and other valid causes, where persons are willing, but unable, to be present. The probation of such should be publicly announced, with reasons justifying the absence. Pandering to the pride, or half-heartedness, or even timidity of those who would be “secret" disciples, is unwise. It injures the probationer by consenting to his avoiding the “cross.” It savors of being ashamed to confess openly his desire to be a Christian. Frequently persons have said to the writer that they would join on probation if they could do so privately Invariably they were told that this could not be allowed, since Christ permitted no private disciples. He commands all" Contess me before men." This is the surest way to mako loyal and faithful followers.
PRIVILEGES AND LIMITS. The probationer is entitled to all the means of grace in the Church-to baptism, the love feast, and the Lord's Supper. He may be a class leader or Sunday school superintendent, though without a seat in the Quarterly Conference; but he cannot be licensed to preach, nor bring charges against a full member of our Church, nor become a steward in the same. The probationer cannot be tried and expelled like a full member, but, if found unworthy, his name is simply dropped from the list of pro bationen.
DUTIES. To begin right is half the battle. Right habits make victory easy. Daily thoughtful study of the Bible and THOUGHTS ON PROBATION.
much secret prayu are the greatest duties and ylold the nicheat benefits. To neglect these means death. Where these things are faithfully attended to there will be a hunger for the preaching of the word, the prayer meeting, and the class meeting. All these are wells of salvation. The probationer should also begin at once to take part in these moetings. The right habit formed at the start will make participation in such duties through life unburden some and rich in blessing and usefulness.
COUNSEL TO CONVERTS
Y of dawns enterede was nie wunified. Suffet have words
of counsel. The is untriedYou passed this way before. This Companion may prove a guide and friend. It at least reaches you a sympathetic hand. Let us together study the life you are to pursue, with suggestions of help, and the Church you are expecting to join.
TO BE A GENUINE CHRISTIAN is the greatest achievement in 11. 2. This is doubtless your air. Divine help, daily, is indispensable. Without God you will surely fail. With his constant aid you
will certainly overcome and be crowned. He has provided wisdom to guide, grace to strengther, and help in every time of need. What you are in holy character is your unfading crown. Resolve to be genuine-gold without alloy. It is not so much to get to heaven as to be heavenlyainded now. After a true Christian life here there is no place but heaven for you hereafter. Be not anxious about heaven, but oniy to be Christlike in daily life. Determine to begin, continue, and close your journey in sweet, intimate fellowship with Christ. To this end
STUDY God's Word DAILY. This is the only guidebook to heaven and the best handbook on the journey. It is meat for your soul. It is the wisdom of God speaking to you. Not merely read, but study the Bible; meditate in it. Hide it in your heart.