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II. THE SOCIETY OR CHURCH DIVIDED INTO CLASSES
That it may the more easily be discerned whether they are indeed working out their own salvation, each society is divided into smaller companies, called classes, according to their respective places of abode.
There are about twelve persons in a class, one of whom is styled the leader. It is his duty,
1. To see each person in his class once a week at least; in order,
(1.) To inquire how his soul prospers.
(2.) To advise, reprove, comfort, or exhort, as occasion may require.
(3.) To receive what he is willing to give toward the relief of the ministers, Church, and poor.
2. To meet the ministers and the stewards of the society once a week; in order,
(1.) To inform the minister of any that are sick, or of any that walk disorderly, and will not be reproved.
(2.) To pay the stewards what he has received of his class in the week preceding.
III. GENERAL RULES OF THE CHURCH.
There is only one condition previously required of those who desire admission into these societies-" a desire to flee from the wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins." But wherever this is really fixed in the soul it will be shown by its fruits.
It is therefore expected of all who continue therein that they shall continue to evidence their desire of salvation by observing the following rules:
1. Evils and sins to be avoided.
(1.) By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind. especially that which is most generally practiced; such as
(2.) The taking of the name of God in vain.
(3.) The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work therein or by buying or selling. Exod 20. 8; Deut. 5. 14; Exod. 34. 21; Neh. 13. 15-17.
(4.) Drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drinking them, unless in cases of extreme necessity. Prov. 20. 1; Hab. 2. 15; 1 Cor. 6. 10.
(5.) Slaveholding; buying or selling slaves. Exod. 21. 16; Deut. 24. 7; Isa. 58. 6; Matt. 22. 39; Col. .4. 1; 1 Tim. 1. 10.
(6.) Fighting, quarreling, brawling, brother going to law with brother; returning evil for evil, or railing for railing; the using many words in buying or selling. Titus 3. 2; 1 Cor. 6. 7; Heb. 13. 5.
(7.) The buying or selling goods that have not paid the duty. Rom. 13. 7.
(8.) The giving or taking things on usury-that is, unlawful interest. Isa. 3. 15; 1 Cor. 5. 11.
(9.) Uncharitable or unprofitable conversation; particularly speaking evil of magistrates or of ministers. Titus 3. 2; 2 Peter 2. 10; 1 Thess. 5. 12, 13; Phil 2. 29.
(10.) Doing to others as we would not they should do unto us. Matt. 7. 12.
(11.) Doing what we know is not for the glory of God, as (a) The putting on of gold and costly apparel. 1 Tim. 2. 9.
(b) The taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord Jesus. 1 John 2. 15, 16; Rom. 6. 20-22; 1 Cor. 10. 31.
(c) The singing those songs, or reading those books, which do not tend to the knowledge or love of God. 1 Cor. 15. 33; Eph. 5. 15-19; Col. 3. 17.
(d) Softness and needless self-indulgence. Matt. 16 24; Rom. 8. 13; Col. 3. 5; Gal. 5. 24.
(e) Laying up treasure upon earth. Matt. 6. 19-21; Mark 10. 25.
(f) Borrowing without a probability of paying; or taking up goods without a probability of paying for them Psalm 37. 21; Rom. 12. 17; 13. 8; 2 Cor. 8. 21.
2. Good to be done.
It is expected of all who continue in these societies that they shall continue to evidence their desire of salvation,
(12.) By doing good; by being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men. Gal. 6. 10.
(13.) To their bodies of the ability which God giveth, by giving food to the hungry, by clothing the naked, by visiting or helping them that are sick or in prison. Luke 3. 11; Rom. 12. 20; 1 John 3. 17.
(14.) To their souls, by instructing, reproving, or exhorting all we have any intercourse with; trampling under foot that enthusiastic doctrine, that "we are not to do good unless our hearts be free to it." 2 Tim. 4. 2.
(15.) By doing good, especially to them that are of the household of faith or groaning so to be; employing them preferably to others; buying one of another; helping each other in business; and so much the more because the world will love its own and them only. Gal. 6. 10: 1 Peter 2. 17.
(16.) By all possible diligence and frugality, that the Gospel be not blamed. Rom. 12. 11; John 6. 12.
(17.) By running with patience the race which is set before them, denying themselves, and taking up their cross daily; submitting to bear the reproach of Christ, to
be as the filth and offscouring of the world; and looking that men should say all manner of evil of them falsely, for the Lord's sake. Heb. 12. 1; Luke 9. 23; 1 Cor. 4. 13; Matt. 10. 24, 25.
3. Ordinances to be observed.
It is expected of all who desire to continue in these societies that they shall continue to evidence their desire of salvation by attending upon all the ordinances of God; such are,
Psalm 100. 4.
(18.) The public worship of God. (19.) The ministry of the word, either read or expounded. Matt. 10. 7, 14; Mark 6. 11.
(20.) The Supper of the Lord. Luke 22. 19.
(21.) Family and private prayer. Jer. 10. 25; Matt. 6.6. (22.) Searching the Scriptures. Acts 17. 11. (23.) Fasting or abstinence. Matt. 6. 17, 18; 17.21.
These are the General Rules of our societies; all which we are taught of God to observe, even in his written word, which is the only rule, and the sufficient rule, both of our faith and practice. 2 Tim. 3. 16, 17. And all these we know his Spirit writes on truly awakened hearts. John 14. 26; 16. 13. If there be any among us who observes them not, who habitually breaks any of them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul as they who must give an account. Matt. 18. 15-17; James 5. 19, 20. We will admonish him of the error of his ways. We will bear with him for a season. Rom. 15. 14; 2 Thess. 3. 15; 1 Cor. 13. 4. But if then he repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have delivered our own souls. 1 Cor. 5. 5; 2 Thess. 3. 6; 1 Tim. 6. 3-5; Matt. 18. 15-17.
MARRIAGE, TEMPERANCE, TOBACCO, AND
RULES RELATING TO MARRIAGE.
́E do not prohibit our people from marrying persons
have the form, and are seeking the power, of godliness; but we are determined to discourage their marrying persons who do not come up to this description. Many of our members have married unawakened persons. This has produced bad effects; they have been either hindered for life, or have turned back to perdition.
To discourage such marriages,
1. Let every preacher publicly enforce the apostle's caution, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6. 14).
2. Let all be exhorted to take no step in so weighty a matter without advising with the more serious of their brethren.
In general a woman ought not to marry without the consent of her parents. Yet there may be exceptions. For if, (1) a woman believe it to be her duty to marry; If (2) her parents absolutely refuse to let her marry any Christian: then she may, nay, ought to marry without their consent. Yet even then a Methodist preacher ought rot to be married to her.-Discipline, ¶¶ 36-38 (1896).
It is required of all to refrain from "drunkenness, buy