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Every particular Church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to edification.

XXIII. Of the Rulers of the United

States of America. 23. The President, the Congress, the general assemblies, the governors, and the councils of state, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the Constitution of the United States, and by the Constitution of their respective States. And the said States are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.* .

*As far as it respects civil affairs, we believe it the duty of Christians, and especially all Christian ministers, to be subject to the

XXIV. Of Christian Men's Goods.

24. The riches and goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same,

some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor according to his ability.


XXV. Of. a Christian Man's Oath.

T 25. As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ and James his apostle, so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prosupreme authority of the country where they may reside, and to use all laudable means to enjoin obedience to the powers that be; and, therefore, it is expected that all our preachers and people, who may be under any foreign government, will behave themselves as peaceable and orderly subjects.

hibit but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.


THE GENERAL RULES. 26. In the latter end of the year 1739, eight or ten persons came to Mr. Wesley in London, who appeared to be deeply convinced of sin, and earnestly groaning for redemption. They desired (as did two or three more the next day) that he would spend some time with them in prayer, and advise them how to flee from the wrath to come; which they saw continually hanging over their heads. That he might have more time for this great work, he appointed a day when they might all come together, which from thenceforward they did every week, namely, on Thursday, in the evening. To these, and as many more as desired to join with them (for their number increased daily), he gave those advices from time to time which he judged most needful for them; and they always concluded their meeting with prayer suited to their several necessities.

27. This was the rise of the UNITED SOCIETY, first in Europe, and then in America. Such a society is no other than "a company of men having the form and seeking the power of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the word of exhortation, and to watch over one another in love, that they may help each other to work out their salvation."

28. There is only one condition previously required of those who desire

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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


The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work therein, or by buying or selling;

Drunkenness, or drinking spirituous liquors, unless in cases of necessity.

Fighting, quarreling, brawling; brother going to law with brother; returning e: il for cril, or railing for rail

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