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BIBLE, SUNDAY SCHOOL, AND TEMPERANCE CAUSES.
In these benevolent enterprises, this church has taken an active part. She has a Sunday School Union of her own, in which she endeavours to do what she may in training up the youth entrusted to her care in the knowledge of the holy scriptures, and in the practice of piety and virtue. In addition to Sunday school books and tracts, and a Sunday school library, in which are found some of the choicest books in the English language in the various departments of knowledge, particularly adapted to youth, she prints The Sunday School Advocate, a semi-monthly periodical, well calculated to attract and instruct the youthful mind, and containing lessons suited to teachers and superintendents of sabbath schools.
In the great Bible cause, she unites her energies with the American Bible Society, many of her ministers being agents of this catholic and truly benevolent institution, and they have free access to her pulpits for the purpose of pleading its cause, and taking up collections for its support.
In the temperance reformation, as a church, she stands foremost in the ranks, always having made it a term of church-fellowship to abstain from “ intoxicating liquors, unless in cases of necessity.” And though this rule was somewhat relaxed in its practical effects, when the temperance reformation commenced, and though she did not immediately see the necessity of uniting with the American Temperance Society in all its plans of operation: yet, no sooner did she perceive that many of her members were indulging in moderate drinking, and that therefore there was a danger of their “running into the same excess of riot” with those who were gratifying their appetites with intoxicating drinks, than she lifted up her warning voice against the deadly poison, and united with all those who declared in favour of a total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors as a beverage; and it is believed that the pernicious practice is now nearly banished from the church, and hopes are entertained that soon it will be so entirely.
From the facts contained in the above brief view of the history, the doctrines, the government, and the usages of the Methodist Episcopal Church, it will be seen, I humbly trust, that she has contributed much towards the conversion of the world, and that, if permitted to go on in her career of usefulness to the souls and bodies of men, her ministers and members shall not be wanting, in that day when God shall “ come to make up his jewels,” in some share of that glory which shall be given to those “ who turn many to righteousness."
The following table will show the increase or decrease, from year to year, of ministers and members, since the first conference held in America, in the year 1773. The number of travelling preachers includes the superannuated as well as effective.
After this year the white and coloured members were returned in separate columns, and then the whole were added together, to make the sum total, which method will be followed hereafter.
2681 5161 11512
5908 14369 5638 2711 1663
1786 1787 1788 1789 1790 1791 1792 1793 1794 1795 1796 1797 1798 1799 1800 1801
1035 6317 3627
1999 1506 1182 3543 7980
1802 1803 1804 1805 1806 1807 1808 1809 1810 1811 1812 1813 1814 1815 1816 1817 1818 1819 1820 1821 1822 1823 1824 1825 1826 1827 1828 1829 1830 1831 1832 1833 1834 1835 1836
358 383 400 433 452 516 540 597 636 668 678 700 687 704 695 716 748 812 896 977 1106 1226 1272 1314 1406 1576 1642 1817 1900 2010 2200 2400 2625 2758 2929
68075 81617 89603 95629 103313 114727 121687 131154 139836 148835 156852 171448 168698 167978 171931 181442 190477 201750 219332 239087 252645 267618 280427 298658 309550 327932 359533 382679 402561 437024 472364 519196 553134 566957 564974
18659 22453 23531 24316 27257 29863 30308 31884 34724 35732 38505 42859 42431 43187 42304 43411 39150 39174 40558 42059 44377 44922 48096 49537 51334 54065 59394* 65064 73592 76090 76229 80540 85650 85571 85271
36 3070 10518
4774 11297 18966 21256 15876 15518 15983 19672 12689 21113 36930 39816 28410 36961 35470 51143 39048 13744
This year and the subsequent years the number of local preachers were returned in the minutes of the conferences, and they are accordingly set down in a separate column in the years which follow:
The number of Christian Indians are included in this and the subsequent number of coloured members.
Add to these the travelling preachers (4266), which are not included in the above enumeration, and the grand total is 1,072811.
The above facts are taken from Wesley's Works, 7 vols. 8vo.; More's Life of Wesley, 1 vol. 8vo.; History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 4 vols. 12mo.; Asbury's Journal, 3 vols. 8vo.; Minutes of Conferences, 2 vols. 8vo.; Methodist Discipline, 1 vol. 24mo; and Original Church of Christ, 1 vol. 12mo.
METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH.
BY THE REV. JAMES R. WILLIAMS,
AUTHOR OF THE HISTORY OF THE METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH.
THE Methodist Protestant Church comprises all the associated Methodist churches in these United States, and numbers, at the present time, Nov. 1843, sixty thousand communicants, thirteen hundred ministers and preachers, twenty-two annual conference districts, and possesses upwards of a half million of church property, acquired since her organization.
Her first General Convention, at which the church was regularly organized, was held in 1830, in the city of Baltimore, State of Maryland. There were in attendance at the convention eighty-three ministerial, and lay representatives, from the following states : New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. These represented about five thousand members of the respective associated Methodist churches, a large majority of whom had withdrawn from the Methodist Episcopal Church, on account of her government and hostility to a lay representation; she not only having withheld representation from the people, but actually denied that they have any right to representation. Moreover she had claimed for her itinerant ministry, exclusively, as of divine right, and without any authoritative control from the church, not merely the administration, but the sole right of expounding and maintaining, 1. Gospel doctrines, that is, a right to preach, and teach whatever they may please to admit into their creed as gospel doctrines. 2. Ordinances, that is, to set up whatever worship, sacraments, and services, they may deem conformable to the gospel; and 3. Moral discipline, that is, to admit and expel, censure and suspend, whomsoever they please in the church of God, and for whatever causes to them shall seem