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MEMBERS OF THE METHODIST SOCIETIES IN THE UNITED STATES. Dearly beloved Brethren,
VE think it expedient to give you a brief NV account of the rise of Methodism, both in Europe and America. “In 1729, two young men in England, reading the Bible, saw they could not be saved without holiness, followed after it, and incited others so to do. In 1737, they saw likewise, that men are justified before they are sanctified: but still ho. liness was their object. God then thrust them out, to raise a holy people."*
In the year 1766, Philip Embury, a local preacher of our society, from Ireland, began to preach in the city of New York, and formed a society of his own countrymen and the citizens; and the same vear Thomas Webb preached in a hired room near the barracks. About the same time, Robert Strawbridge, a local preacher from Ireland, settled in Frederic county, in the state of Maryland, and preaching there, formed some societies. The firstMethodist church in America, was built in New York in 1768 or1769; and in 1769 Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor came to NewYork; who were the first regular Methodist preachers on the continent. In the latter end of the year 1771, Francis Asbury and Richard Wright, of the same order, came over.
We believe that God's design in raising up the preachers called Methodists in America, was to reform the continent, and spread scrip
* These are the words of Messrs. Wesley themselves.
ture holiness over this land. As a proof hereof, we have seen, since that time a great and glorious work of God, from New York through the Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Caroli. na and Georgia, as also, of late; to the ex. tremities of the western and eastern states.
We esteem it our duty and privilege most earnestly to recommend to you, as members of our church, our FORM OF DISCIPLINE, which has been founded on the experience of a long series of years; as also on the observations and remarks we have made on ancient and modern churches.
We wish to see this little publication in the house of every Methodist; and the more so,as it contains the Articles of Religion maintained more or less, in part or in the whole, by every reformed church in the world. . Far from wishing you to be ignorant of any of our doctrines, or any part of our discipline, we desire you to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the whole. We know you are not in general able to purchase many books ; but you ought, next to the word of God, to procure the Articles and Canons of the Church to which you belong. This present edition is small and cheap, and we can assure you that the profits of the sale of it shall be applied to charitable purposes.
We remain your very affectionate brethren and pastors, who labour night and day, both in public and in private, for your good.
FRANCIS ASBURY, WILLIAM M'KENDREE.
SECTION 1. the Origin of the Methodist Epis.
copal Church. E preachers and members of 1 our society in general, being convinced that there was a great deficiency of vital religion in the Church of England in America, and being in many places destitute of the christian sacraments, as several of the clergy had forsaken their churches, requested the late Rev. John Wesley to take such measures, in his wisdom and prudence, as would afford them suitable relief in their distress.
In consequence of this, our venerable friend, who under God, had been the Father of the great revival of religion now extending over the earth, by the means of the Metho
dists, determined to ordain ministers for America; and for this purpose, in the year 1784, sent over three regularly ordained clergy: but prefering the Episcopal mode of church government to any other, he solemnly set apart, by the imposition of his hands, and prayer, one of them, viz. Thomas Coke, Doctor of Civil Law, late of Jesus-college, in the Univer. sity of Oxford, and a Presbyter of the Church of England, for the epis, copal office; and having delivered to him letters of episcopal orders, commissioned and directed him to set apart Francis Asbury, then general assistant of the Methodist society in America, for the same episcopal office, he, the said Francis Asbury being first ordained deacon and elder. In consequence of which, the said Francis Asbury was solemnly set apart for the said episcopal office, by prayer, and the imposition of the hands of the said Thoinas Coke, other regularly ordained ministers assisting in the sacred ceremony. At which time the General Conference, held at Baltimore, did unanimously
receive the said Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury as their bishops, being fully satisfied of the validity of their episcopal ordination.
SECTION II. , · ARTICLES OF RELIGION. I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this God-head, there are three persons of one sub stance, power, and eternity ;-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. II. Of the Word, or Son of God,
who was made very Nan. The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature la the womb of the blessed Virgin: so tha' two whole and perfect patures, that is to say, the God-head and mashood, were