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give toward the relief of the preachers, church, and poor. *
II. 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 they have received of their several classes in the week preceding
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 should continue to evidence their desire of salvation,
First, By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, especially that which is most generally practiced ; such as,
The taking of the name of God in vain.
The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work therein, or by buying or selling
Drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drinking them, unless in cases of extreme necessity.
The buying and selling of men, women, and children, with an intention to enslave them.
Fighting, quarrelling, brawling, brother
* This part refers to towns and cities; where the poor are generally numerous, and church expenses considerable.
going to law with brother; returning evil for evil; or railing for railing; the using many words in buying or selling.
The buying or selling goods that have not paid the duty.
The giving or taking things on usury, i. e., unlawful interest.
Uncharitable or unprofitable conversation; particularly speaking evil of magistrates or of ministers.
Doing to others as we would not they should do unto us.
Doing what we know is not for the glory
of God : as,
The putting on of gold and costly apparel.
The taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The singing those songs, or reading those books, which do not tend to the knowledge or love of God.
Softness and needless self-indulgence.
Borrowing without a probability of pay ing; or taking up goods without a probability of paying for them.
(5) It is expected of all who continue in these societies, that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation,
Secondly, 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 al
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.
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.”
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.
By all possible diligence and frugality, that the gospel be not blamed.
By running with patience the race which is set up 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.
(6) It is expected of all who desire to continue in these societies, that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation,
Thirdly, By attending upon all the ordi. nances of God: such are,
The public worship of God:
The ministry of the word, either read or expounded:
The supper of the Lord :
(?). 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. And all these we know his Spirit writes on truly awakened hearts. If there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any of them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul, as they who must give an account. We will admonish him of the error of his ways. We will bear with him for a season. But if then he repent not, he hath no more place among us.
We have delivered our own souls.
Quest. 1. How shall we prevent improper persons from insinuating themselves into the Church?
Answ. 1. Let none be received into the Church until they are recommended by a leader with whom they have met at least six months on trial, and have been baptized; and shall on examination by the minister in charge, before the Church, give satisfactory assurances both of the correctness of their faith, and their willingness to observe and keep the rules of the Church. Nevertheless, if a member in good standing in any other orthodox Church shall desire to unite with us, such applicant may, by giving satisfactory answers to the usual
inquiries, be received at once into full fellowship.
2. Let none be admitted on trial, except they are well recommended by one you know, or until they have met twice or thrice in class.
3. Read the rules to them the first time they meet.
Quest. 2. How shall we be more exact in receiving and excluding members ?
Answ. The official minister or preacher shall, at every quarterly meeting, read the names of those that are received into the Church, and also those that are excluded therefrom.
OF THE CONFERENCES.
SECTION I. Of our Deportment at the Conferences. It is desired that all things be considered on these occasions as in the immediate
presence of God: that every person speak freely whatever is in his heart.
Quest. How may we best improve our time at the conferences ?
Answ. 1. While we are conversing, letus have an especial care to set God always
2. In the intermediate hours, let us redeem all the time we can for private exercises.