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not approve of it by any means ; because I am not satisfied that they thoroughly like either our discipline or doctrine: I think they differ from our judgment, in one or both. Therefore, if these or any others come without my recommendation, take care how you receive them.

3. Neither should you receive any preachers, however recommended, who will not be subject to the American conference, and cheerfully conform to the minutes both of the English and American conferences,

4. I do not wish our American brethren to re. ceive any, who make any difficulty of receiving Francis Asbury as the general assistant.

Undoubtedly the greatest danger to the work of God in America, is likely to arise either from preachers coming from Europe, or from such as will arise from among yourselves, speaking perverse things, or bringing in among you new doctrines, particularly Calvinian. You should guard against this with all possible care, for it is far ea. sier to keep them out than to thrust them out.

I commend you all to the grace of God, and am your affeetionate friend and brother,

JOHN WESLEY. In 1784, the twelfth conference began at Ellis's chapel, in Virginia, on the 30th day of April, and cnded in Baltimore, on the 28th of May. It was considered as but one conference, although they met first in Virginia, and then adjourned to Bal. timore, where the business was finished.

This year we took in seven new circuits ; four of them were in Virginia, Amherst, Bedford, Hampton, and Accomack ; the other three were in the north part of our connection, which were

Juniata, - Trenton, and Long-Island. We also admitted on trial twelve young preachers, and added to the society 1248 members, Wé had

now forty-six circuits, and eighty-three travelling preachers.

There were four preachers who desisted from travelling this year, David Abbott, James Thomas, James Mallory and John Coleman.*

A new question was introduced into our mi. nutes this year, which was thus ;

Q. What preachers have died this year?
A. Henry Medcalf and William Wright.

This was a new plan, and it was a very proper and profitable one." By it we might know when our preachers left the world. Previous to this we had taken no account in our minutes of the death of any of our travelling preachers. And notwithstanding we now mentioned the names of those who had died, yet there was nothing said about their deaths or their characters. It might be proper therefore here to observe, that Henry Medcall was considered as a man deeply rooted and grounded in the faith, and very much devoted to God; and I was informed, that when he was near his end, he got out of his bed, and kneeling down, he there died upon his knees.

We had twenty-four questions and answers on our minutes this year, and some of them are well worth noticing at this time.

Q. What can be done towards erecting new Chapels, and discharging the debts on those already built ?

A. Let the assistant preacher offer a yearly subscription through the circuit, and insist on every member that is able, to give something; let them subscribe the first quarter, and pay the second; and let the money be applied by two general stewards.

Q. How shall we prevent superfluity in dress among our people ?

* Mr. Coleman published Jarratt's Life.

A. Let the preachers carefully avoid every thing of this kind in themselves; and let them speak frequently and faithfully against it in all our societies,

It was also determined, that if any of our friends buy slaves with no other intention than to hold them as slaves, after being previously warned they should be turned out of society. And they were not permitted to sell a slave on any condition whatever. And if the local preachers would not free their slaves in those statės where the laws would allow of it, they should be suspended, except in Virginia, and there they should be tried another year.

However good the intention of the preachers might be in framing these rules, we are well assured that they never were of any particular service to our societies. Some of the slaves, how. ever, obtained their freedom in consequence of these rules.

Q. How shall we reform our singing ? A. Let all our preachers who have any knowledge of singing by note, improve it, and sing by rule, and keep close to Mr. Wesley's tunes and hymns.

The conference then adopted the directions which Mr. Wesley had written in the latter part of the preceding year, and formed a rule to take in the substance of that letter,

We agreed, that if any European Methodist preachers should come over recommended by Mr. Wesley, and would be subject to the American conference, preach the Methodist doctrine, keep the circuits they were appointed to, and be subject to Francis Asbury as general assistant, while he stands approved by Mr. Wesley and the conference, we will receive them; but if they walk contrary to the above directions, no appointment

shall prevent them from being excluded from our connection.

There was a plan laid also for keeping four fast days in the year in each circuit ; and the preach. ers were directed to write on each Class-paper, “ The first Friday after every quarterly meeting is to be observed as a day of fasting and prayer.

It was a custom among the Methodists former, ly, to observe all Fridays in the year as days of fasting or abstinence; but this custom is not strictly attended to by our societies at present.

We had a gracious revival of religion this year in many of the frontier circuits, and the way was opening fast for us to enlarge our borders, and to spread the gospel through various places where we had never been before. The call of the

people was great, for more labourers to be sent into the harvest.

Note-Here end the minutes that were formerly taken and kept in manuscript, and not printed until 1795. After this all our annual minutes were printed every year. In the following part of this history, the printed minutes will be attended to as they came out year after year,

CHAPTER V.

From the first general Conference in 1784, to

the end of the year 1786.

The Methodists had until this time one forme both of worship and discipline in every part of the world; but the independence of these United States of America, confirmed by the peace of 1783, occasioned an extraordinary change in this respect. During the war our societies were deprived of the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord's supper : for the ministers of the church of England had mostly left their parishes : some of them were silenced, others left off preaching, because they could not procure a maintenance by it; and many more went into the British dominions. From the time of the peace no ecclesiastical authority of any kind was either exercised or claim. ed by any person or persons whatsoever. In this situation, we desired Mr. Wesley's advice and assistance; and as he observes, “ his scruples being at an end, he conceived himself at perfect liberty to exercise that right which he doubted not God had given him."

At the British conference held at Leeds in July 1784, Mr. Wesley declared his intention of send. ing Dr. Coke and some other preachers to America. Mr. Richard Whatcoat, and Mr. Thomas Vasey offered themselves as missionaries for that purpose, and were accepted. But before they sailed, Mr. Wesley wrote to Dr. Coke then in London, desiring him to meet him in Bristol, to receive fuller powers ; and to bring the Rev. Mr. Creighton with him. The Dr. and Mr. Creighton aceordingly met him in Bristol; where Mr.

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