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ing also the circuits which are situated on the branches of the Yadkin.

5. The South-Carolina conference, for South-Carolina, Georgia, and the remainder of North Carolina.,

6. The western conference, for the states of Kentucky and Tennessee ; Provided, That the bishops shall have authority to appoint other yearly conferences in the interval of the general conference, if a sufficiency of new circuits be any where formed for that purpose.

Quest. 8. How are the districts to be formed ?
Anw. According to the judgment of the bifhop.

N. B. In case that there be no bishop to travel through the districts, and exercise the episcopal of fice, on account of death, the districts shall be regulated in every respect by the yearly conferences and the prefiding elders, till the ensuing general conference, (ordinations only excepted).

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It is indispensably necessary for every great body of people, whether united by civil or religious bonds, to have among them a select number, invested with the authority of making regulations, for the government of the society. It is of small importance by what name this select body is distinguished. The name which our venerable father in the gospel, the late Mr. Wesley, preferr. ed, in respect to our society, was that of Conference, and we have, therefore, continued to use it. Indeed the name is perfectly {criptural. In the Acts of the Apostles we are informed, that Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to consult the apostles and elders, in respect to the dispute concerning circuncifion. But after they had delivered their message, “and declared all things that God had done with them,- there rose up certain of the feet of the Pharisees, which believed, saying, that it was needful to circumcise them (the gentiles] and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” See the 15th chapter of the Acts. This very meeting is called, by St Paul, Gal. ii. I-10. a confer

“ For they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me.' It is impoflible for any discerning person who attentively compares the two chapters together, not to see that the conference here spoken of respected the meeting of the apostles and elders with Paul and Barnabas, on the above occafion : and St. Paul seems to use the word as if it was well known, and frequently applied to such meetings.


Our focieties are scattered over a vast country, extending about fourteen hundred miles from north to fouth, and from five to eight hundred from east to west. We could not, therefore, in justice to the work of God, nor from the state of our finances, hold our general conferences oftener than once in four years. If they were more frequent, the long absence of so many ministers from their respective circuits and diftri&s, would be an irreparable loss to the societies and congregations. Nor do we think, that the nature of a religious conftitution renders it necessary to revise more frequently the regulations by which it is governed. But there are various particulars, which do not come under the name of laws, which require more frequent assemblies or confer. ences for their consideration. The admission of preachers on trial and into full connection, the ordination of elders and deacons, the examination of the characters of the ministers and preachers, and the stationing of them all, as well as the management of the fund for the superannuated preachers, &c. are points of the fira moment, and call for frequent meetings. On this account, the general conference has appointed yearly conferences, divided in the best manner they were able; to be composed, as far as possible, of at least one bishop- the president elder of each district within the controul of those conferences, respectively, the elders, deacons, and the preachers in full connection. These men, who have been travelling the preceding year among all the focia 'eties in those districts and circuits, respectively, can give the full

eft, the completest information on all the subjects which come under the cognizance of the yearly conferences.

But it may be asked, Why are not delegates sent to these conferences from each of the circuits ? We answer, It would utterly destroy our itinerant plan. They would be concerned chiefly, if not only, for the interests of their own constituents.

They could not be expected, from the nature of things, to make the necessary sacrifices, and to enter impartially into the good of the whole. They would neceffarily endeavour to obtain the most able and lively preachers for their respective circuits, without entering, perhaps at all, into that enlarged, apostolic spirit, which would endeavour, whatever might be the sacrifice, to make all things tally. The difference of gifts in the ministers, and the opposing interests of the delegates, would produce conflicts, of a pernicious tendency; and, in many instances, improper means would be used for obtaining the desired point. Frequently the delegates, if unsuccessful in their application for their favourite preacher, would probably make him secret offers to settle among them; and if unsuccessful in every point, and the preacher, apo pointed for them and their constituents, was not agreeable to their wishes, they might grow indignant, and, through resentment, and by their unfavourable reports, on their return, might cause a separation from the general body. And those who imagine this to be a mere chimera, Thew, we think, but little knowledge of human nature : they do not consider how eafily and powerfully the heated passions would plead in favour of a settled ministry how easily difappointment and jealousy would present the purest: and most disinterested conduct in the most unfavourable light :: to say nothing of the labour and expence of such a plan. Whilft, on the other hand, the present niembers who compose our conferences, who know not, when they meet, what may be their next sphere of action, and are willing to run any where on the errands of their Lord, are not nearly as much exposed to the temptations mentioned above.*

The following portions of the Word of God are pointed in sup-i port of the itinerant plan for the propagation of the gospel; which plan renders most of the regulations contained in this fece tion, effential to the existence of our united society: Matt. x. 5 -11. “These twelve (apostles] Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Gom-to the loft sheep of the house of Ifrael. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. And into whatsoever city or town ye fall enter, inquire,” &c. xxii. 8-10.“ Then faith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye,' therefore, into the high-ways, and as many as ye fall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways," &c. xxviii. 19. “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations,” be as extensively useful as possible. Mark vi. 7-12. “ And he calleth unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two,

and commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only. And he said unto them, In what place foever ye enter into an house, there abide, till, ye depart from that place. And they went out, and preached

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* We are very far from making these remarks out of any disrespea to our located brethren. On the contrary, we are very conscious that many of them equal any of us, and perhaps much exceed us in grace and wisdom. We have made these observations only on account of their located situation, well knowing that our people would on no occasion choose any for their delegates who were not wife and good men. But such is the nature of man, and perhaps such is the duty of man, that be will always prefer the people for whom be acts, and to whom he is responsible, before all others. We fould, probably, act in the same manner ourselves, if we were delegates for a single circuit or district.

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that men jould repent.” Luke x. 1-9. “ After these things, the Lord appointed other seventy also, and fent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. And into whatsoever boufe ye enter,” says our Lord to them, “ first fay, Peace be to this house. -And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh-unto you.” xiv. 23. “ And the Lord faid unto the servant, Go out into the bigh-ways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Acts. viii. 4. They that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Ver. 40 “ Philip-preached in all the cities, till he came to Cesarea.” xvi 36. * Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord,” &c.

We have already shewn, that Timothy and Titus were travelling bishops. In short, every candid person, who is thoroughly acquainted with the New Testament, must allow, that whatever excellencies other plans may have, this is the primitive and apoftolic plan. But we would by no means fpeak with disrespect of the faithful located ministers of any church.

We doubt not, but, from the nature and circumstances of things, there must have been many located minifters in the primitive churches : and we must acknowledge, with gratitude to God, that the located brethren in our church are truly useful and of confiderable consequence, in their respective stations. But, on the other hand, we are so conscious of the vast importance of the travelling plan, that we are determined, through the grace of God, to support it to the utmost of our power: nor will any plea which can possibly be urged, however plausible it may appear, or under whatever pame proposed, induce us to make the least facrifice in this respect, or, by the introduction of any novelty, to run the least hazard of wounding that plan, which God has so wonderfully owned, and which is so perfectly confiftent with the apostolic and primitive practice.

We will now humbly beg leave to drop a few bints (for laws or regulations we have no authority to make) as explanatory of those words in the introduction to this section, “ It is desired, that every person fpeak freely whatever is in his heart :” and we propose them the more readily, as they are extracted from the minutes drawn up by our elder brethren, the members of the British conference :

1. Be tender of the character of every brother ; but keep at the utmost distance from countenancing sin.

2. Say nothing in the conference but what is strialy necessary, and to the point.

3. If accused by any one, remember recrimination is no acquittance'; therefore avoid it.

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4. Beware of inipatience of contradi&ion; be form; but le open to conviction. The cause is God's, and he needs not the hands of an Uzzah to support his ark. The being too tenacious of a point, because you brought it forward, may be only feeding felf. Be quite easy, if a majority decide against you,

5. Use no craft or guile to gain any point. Genuine fimplicity will always support itself. But there is no need always to say all you know or think.

6. Beware of too much confidence in your own abilities; and never despise an opponent.

7. Avoid all lightness of spirit, even what would be innocent any where else.

-Thou, God, feeft nie, The appointment of the times for holding the yearly conferences must necessarily be invested in the bishops, otherwise they cannot possibly form their plans for travelling through the continent, fc that they may be enabled to attend each of the conferences, But the right of fixing the places rests with the conferences.

We cannot omit noticing, before we conclude this section, the ítrict examination which the characters of the preachers pass through, in the yearly conferences. When that eminent saint of God, and great writer, John Fletcher, was once present, in the British conference, at the examination of the characters, he seemed astonished, and expressed his furprize and approbation in very strong terms. The examination is equally frict in all the conferences throughout the connection. And we know 'of no church where the purity of the morals, the orthodoxy of the doctrines, and the usefulness of the lives and labours the minikers (for all these are included in the examination) are more Strictly attended to than in ours.

In respect to the division of the continent, for the purpofe of holding the yearly conferences, we may obscrve, that for several years the annual conferences were very small, consisting only of the preachers of a single dietrict, or of two or three very small

This was attended with inconveniences. -1. There were but few of the fenior preachers, whose years and experience had matured their judgments, who could be present at any one conference. 2. The conferences wanted that dignity which every religious fynod should poffefs, and which always accompanies a large assembly of Gospel minifters. 3. Tie itinerart plan was exceedingly cramped, from the dificulty of removing preachers from one district to another. All these inconveniencs3 will, we trult, be removed on the present plin; and at the same time the conferences are fo arranged, tha tall the members, respectively, may attend with little difficulty.

To all which may be added, that the active, zealous, unmarried preachers, may move on a larger scale, and preach the ever




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