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may, in some instances, be imposible to have more than one befides the reprehending minister, without sending to a neighbouring circuit : and as no public censure can pass upon the offending preacher in this case till the fitting of the yearly conference, it would not be proper to take a minister of the gospel from his labours in another circuit, for two or three days, to answer the prefent purpose.
“ The servant of the Lord,” says St. Paul, “ must not strive ; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves," 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. “He [Christ] turnéd, and rebuked them, and faid, Ye know not what manner of fpirit ye are of,” Luke ix. 55.
3. It will, we believe, be allowed by all who love the truth as it is in Jesus, that the heretical doctrines are as dangerous, at least to the hearers, as the immoral life of a preacher; and, therefore, the same process is provided for both cases. Those must indeed be blind, who can sit for any time under the ministry of an arian, focinian, univerfalian, or any other heretical minister : " and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch," Matt. XV. 14. and Luke vi. 39. But as we would guard against a hatty and arbitrary measure in a matter which fometimes, perhaps, it may be difficult to determine, the case alluded' to at present thall lie over to the yearly conference, if the preacher be perfectly filent, in public and private, on the subjeds objected to. But if he will go on to dishonour Christ, or to oppose the doctrines of holiness, or to introduce novel sentiments or "vain jangling" (I Tim. i. 6.) to draw our people from the one thing needful,-CHRIST DYING FOR AND LIVING IN U5, an immediate stop must be put to such dangerous, such pernicious proceedings.
Matt. vii. 15, 16. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps' clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Tit. iii. 10, 11. “A man that is an heretick, after the first and fecond admonition, reject;" (here the authority of judging and rejecting is invested in Timothy) “knowing that he that is such is subverted, and finneth, being condemned of himself.” ii. 1-3. “ But there were false prophets also aniong the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousnefs shall they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you : whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." Rev. ii. 2. “ I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them
which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and haft found them lyars.”. ii. 20. “Note withstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou (the angel of the church in Thyatira) sufferest that woman, Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things facrificed unto idols.”
Before we conclude our notes on this section, we must entreat our reader to notice, not only here, but throughout the whole of our economy, the appeals which are allowed upon all occasions, as far as the nature and circumstances of things will poslibly allow of them, without making our economy intricate and burdensome.
How to provide for the Circuits in the Time
of Conference, and to preserve and increase
the Work of God. Quest. W
HAT can be done to supply the circuits
during the fitting of the conference ? Answ. 1. Let all the appointments itand according to the plan of the circuit.
2. Engage as many local preachers and exhorters as will supply them; and let them be paid for their time in proportion to the salary of the travelling preachers.
3. If preachers and exhorters cannot attend, let fome person of ability be appointed in every society to fing, pray, and read one of Mr. Wesley's sermons.
4. But if that cannot be done, let there be prayermeetings.
If the reader conspare this section with the third question of the third section of this chapter, and the notes upon it, it will appear that we have taken every step in our power, consistently with the well-being of our conferences, to supply the circuits with the ministry of the word, whilst the conferences are fitting And, we trust, our people are too well acquainted with the importance of our conferences to the general work, not to be wil
ling to make some sacrifices on their account. And we have no doubt but every member of our conferences can, with heart-felt affe&ion, address their brethren with whom they are acquainted respectively, in the words of the apostle, “ Only let your converfation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ; that, whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel ; and in nothing terrified by your ada versaries,” Phil. i. 27, 28.
Of the Local Preachers.
Quef. 1. W cerning our brethren the local preachers, in respect to their being received as preachers, or admitted into the order of deacons ?
Answ. 1. No local preacher Thall receive a license to preach, till he has been examined and approved at the quarterly meeting of his circuit ; which license shall be drawn up in the following words, figned by the president of the meeting, viz. “ N. M. has applied to us for liberty to preach as a local preacher in our circuit : and after due inquiry concerning his gifts, grace, and usefulness, we judge he is a proper person to be licensed for this purpose ; and we accordingly authorize him to
2. Before any person shall be licensed as a local preacher by a quarterly meeting, he shall bring a recommendation from the society of which he is a member.
3. A local preacher shall be eligible to the office of a deacon, after he has preached for four years from the time he received a regular license, and has obtained the testimonial which is directed in the fourth section of the first chapter of the form of discipline.
Queft. 2. Shall any regulations be made in respect to allowing a recompence to local preachers for their work in given cases?
Answ. 1. Whenever a local preacher fills the place of a travelling preacher, he shall be paid for his trouble a sum proportionable to the falary of a travelling preacher; which sum shall be paid by the circuit at the next quarterly meeting, if the travelling preacher whose place he filled up, was either fick or neceffarily abfent ; or, in other cases, out of the salary of the travelling preacher himself.
2. If a local preacher be distressed in his temporal circumstances on account of his service in the circuit, he may apply to the quarterly meeting who may give him what relief they judge proper, after the salaries of the travelling preachers, and of their wives, and all other regular allowances to the travelling preachers, be discharged.
Quell. 3. What directions shall be given concerning the trial of local preachers, local deacons, or loal el. ders?
Answ. If a charge be brought against a local preacher, or local deacon, or elder, the preacher who has the oversight of the circuit, shall summon three or more local preachers of the neighbourhood, or, for want of local preachers, fo many leaders or exhorters. And if they, or the majority of them, on due examination, judge that the local preacher, deacon, or elder aforesaid, has been guilty of such a crime, or has. preached such false doctrines, as require his suspension from all public offices in our church, till the ensuing quarterly meeting, the preacher who has the oversight of the circuit, shall accordingly suspend him from all public offices till the ensuing quarterly meeting.
And in such case, and in every case where a meeting afsembled as above described, shall deem the faid local preacher, deacon, or elder, culpable, the next quarterly meeting shall proceed upon his trial, and shall have authority to clear, censure, suspend, or expel him according to their judgment. And the presiding eider, or the preacher who has the oversight of the circuit, Shall at the commencement of the trial, appoint a se.
cretary, who shall take down regular minutes of the evidence and proceedings of the trial, which minutes, when read and approved, shall be signed by the said prefiding elder or preacher, and also by the members of the said quarterly meeting, or by the majority of them.
And in case of condemnation, the local preacher, deacon, or elder condemned, shall be allowed an appeal to the next yearly conference, provided that he fignify to the said quarterly meeting his determination to appeal; in which case the said presiding elder, or preacher who has the oversight of the circuit, shall lay the minutes of the trial above mentioned, before the said yearly conference, at which the local preacher, deacon or elder, fo appealing, may appear: and the said yearly conference shall judge and finally determine from the minutes of the said trial, fo laid before them.
N O T E S.
By this mode of trial we are desirous of showing the most tender regard towards our local brethren. We are all but men. The best of us may fall into sin, or be drawn into dangerous and pernicious errors; and it is sometimes necessary to stop the plague by an immediate stroke of discipline. But we would not have fo important a character as that of one of our local brethren, even touched to its disadvantage, by only one preacher, who poffibly might be younger than the accused. We have, therefore, provided, that a small meeting of respectable persons shall be held, before a single step be taken in the business. The trial will then come before the most weighty assembly in the circuit.
We have directed the yearly conference, upon an appeal, to determine upon the merits of the cause from the memorial of the quarterly meeting, on account of the difficulty, if not impossibility, of bringing the necessary witnesses, perhaps thirty, fifty, or a hundred miles from their home : Nor have we any right or authority to lay such a burden on any of our people. In fort, we have done the best we can, according to the nature of the circumftances in which we are placed.