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Of Class Meetings.
Quest. 1. How may the leaders of classes be rendered more useful?
Answ. 1. Let each of them be diligently examined concerning his method of meeting a class. Let this be done with all possible exactness, at least once a quarter. In order to this, take sufficient time.
2. Let each leader carefully inquire how every soul in his class prospers: not only how each person observes the outward rules, but how he grows in the knowledge and love of God.
3. Let the leaders converse with those who have the charge of their circuits, frequently and freely.
Quest. 2. Can any thing more be done in order to make the class meetings lively and profitable?
Ans. 1. Change improper leaders.
2. Let the leaders frequently meet each other's classes.
3. Let us observe which leaders are the most useful; and let these meet the other classes as often as possible.
4. See that all the leaders be not only men of sound judgment, but men truly devoted to God.
Quest. 3. How shall we prevent improper persons from insinuating themselves into the church?
Answ. 1. Give tickets to none until they are recommended by a leader with whom they have met at least six months on trial.
2. Give notes to none but those who are recommended by one you know, or until they have met three or four times in a class. 3. Read the rules to them the first time they meet.
Quest. 4. 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 and excluded.
Quest. 5. What shall we do with those members of our church, who wilfully and repeatedly neglect to meet their class?
Answ. 1. Let the elder, deacon, or one of the preachers, visit them, whenever it is practicable, and explain to them the consequence if they continue to neglect, viz. exclusion.
2. If they do not amend, let him who has the charge of the circuit, exclude them, (in the church) showing that they are laid aside for a breach of our rules of discipline, and not for immoral conduct.
Of the Band Societies.
Two, three, or four true believers, who have confidence in each other, form a band.-Only it is to be observed, that in one of these bands all must be men, or all women; and all married, or all unmarried.
[Rules of the Band Societies, drawn up
The design of our meeting is to obey that command of God, Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed: James v, 16.
To this end we agree,
1. To meet once a week, at least.
2. To come punctually at the hour ap pointed; without some extraordinary reason prevents.
3. To begin exactly at the hour with singing or prayer.
4. To speak, each of us in order, freely and plainly, the true state of our souls, with the faults we have committed in tempers, words, or actions, and the temptations we have felt since our last meeting.
5. To end every meeting with prayer suited to the state of each person present.
6. To desire some person among us to speak his own state first, and then to ask the rest in order, as many and as searching
questions as may be, concerning their state, sins, and temptations.
Some of the questions proposed to one before he is admitted among us, may be to this effect: 1. Have you the forgiveness of your sins? 2. Have you peace with God, through our LORD JESUS CHRIST?
3. Have you the witness of God's Spirit with your spirit, that you are a child of GOD? 4. Is the love of GoD shed abroad in your heart?
5. Has no sin, inward or outward, dominion over you ?
6. Do you desire to be told of your faults? 7. Do you desire to be told of all your faults, and that plain and home?
8. Do you desire that every one of us should tell you, from time to time, whatsoever is in our heart concerning you?
9. Consider! Do you desire we should tell you whatsoever we think, whatsoever we fear, whatsoever we hear concerning you?
10. Do you desire that in doing this, we should come as close as possible, that we should cut to the quick, and search your heart to the bottom?!
11. Is it your desire and design to be on this and all other occasions entirely open, so as to speak without disguise, and without
Any of the preceding questions may be asked as often as occasion requires: the four following at every meeting.
1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
2. What particular temptations have you met with?
3. How were you delivered?
4. What have you thought, said, or done of which you doubt whether it be sin or not? Directions given to the Band Societies, December 25th, 1744.
You are supposed to have the Faith that overcometh the world.-To you, therefore, it is not grievous:
I. Carefully to abstain from doing evil; in particular,
1. Neither to buy nor sell any thing at all on the Lord's day.
2. To taste no spirituous liquor, no dram of any kind, unless prescribed by a physician. 3. To be at a word both in buying and selling.
4. Not to mention the faults of any behind his back, and to stop those short that do.
5. To wear no needless ornaments, such as rings, ear rings, necklaces, lace, or ruffles. 6. To use no needless self indulgence. II. Zealously to maintain good works: in particular,