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nions, and facts, actually borrowed from the Jews, Christians, and Mahometans; whence and from other circumstances, he concludes, that both the history and writings of this prophet were probably invented in the later ages.
ZUINGLIANS, a branch of the Reformers, so called from Zuinglius, a
noted divine of Switzerland. His chief difference from Luther was concereioj the cucharist. He maintained that the bread and wine were only tignijicatmt of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, whereas Luther believed in tomsbstantiation.
To the article Methodist, being an Account of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States; (not in the body of the work,) for which the editor of this complete edition of Buck's Dictionary, is indebted to Messrs. N. Bangs & T. Mason, publishers for the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States; and which he presumes will be gratifying to the friends of the progress of religion.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES, History of.—The first Methodist society in the United States of America, was formed in the City of New-York, in the year 1766, by a few Methodist emigrants from Ireland. Among these was a local preacher, by the name of Philip Embury. He preached the first Methodist sermon in a private room, to those only who had accompanied him to this country. The name of Methodist and his manner of preaching, being a novelty in this country, soon attracted attention, and many came to hear the stranger for themselves; and the number of hearers so increased that the house in which they assembled very soon became too smalt to contain all who wished to hear. They accordingly procured a larger place. About this" time considerable attention was excited by the preaching of Capt. Webb, who came from Albany, where he was stationed, to the help of Mr. Embury. This gentleman had been converted to God under the preaching of Mr. Wesley in Bristol, England, and being moved with compassion towards his fellow men, although a soldier, he now employed his talent in calling sinners to repentance. Through his and the labours of Mr. Embury, the work of Gofl prospered, and the society increased in number and stability. From the Elace they now occupied, which soon ecame too small to accommodate all who wished to attend their meetings, they removed to a rigging-loft, in William-street, which they hired, and fitted up fbr a preaching room.
Such was their continual increase that, after contending with a variety of difficulties for want of a convenient place of worship, they succeeded in erecting a
meeting-house in John-street, in the year 1768.
About the same time that this society was establishing in New York, Mr. Strawbridge, a local preacher from Ireland, commenced preaching, and formed a small class in Frederick County, Maryland.
In October, 1769, two preachers, Messrs. Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore, being sent under the direction of Mr. Wesley, landed in America: and in 1771, Messrs. Francis Asbury and Richard Wright came over. The first regular conference was held in Philadelphia, in the year 1773, under the superintendence of Mr. Thomas Rankin, who Ijad been sent by Mr. Wesley to take the general oversight of the societies in this country. These zealous missionaries, spreading themselves in different directions through the country, cities and villages,- were instrumental in extending the influence of evangelical principles and holiness among the people.
During the revolutionary war, all the preachers from Europe, except Mr. Asbury, returned to their native land. But prior to this event, the Head of the church had, under the energetic labours of Mr. Asbury and his colleagues, called forth some zealous young men into the ministry, whose labours were owned of God in the awakening and conversion of souls. These men ot God, under the superintendence of Mr. Asbury, who laboured hard and suffered much during the sanguinary conflict, continued in the field of Gospel labour; and, notwithstanding the evils inseparable from war, they witnessed the spread of pure religion in many places.
At the conclusion of the revolution, in the year 1764, Dr. Thomas Coke camp to America with powers to constitute the Methodist societies in this country into an independent church. Hitherto the societies had been dependent on other churches for the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper as the Methodist preachers were considered only lay preachers, and according to the uniform advice of Mr. Wesley, had declined administering the ordinances. This had occasioned much uneasiness, among both preachers and people, in this country. They therefore earnestly requested Mr. Wesley to interpose his authority, and furnish them with the ordinances independently of other denominations. After maturely weighing the subject in his own mind, lie finally resolved, as the United States had become independent of both the civil and ecclesiastical polity of Great Britain, to send them the help they so much needed. Accordingly, being assisted by other presbyters of the Church of England, by prayer and imposition of hands, he set apart Thomas Coke, L. L. D. and a presbyter of said church, as a superintendent of the Methodist societies in America; and directed him to conseemte Mr. Francis Asbury for the same office. In conformity to these instructions, after his arrival in the United States, a conference of preachers was assembled in Baltimore, December 25, 1784. amounting in all to 61. Having communicated his instructions, and the contemplated plans for the future government of the societies, which were generally approved, Mr. Asbury, being first elected by the unanimous voice of the preachers, was ordained by Dr. Coke first to the office of deacon, then elder, and then superintendent or bishop. Twelve of the preachers were elected and ordained elders at the same confe-ence.
These proceedings gave very general satisfaction to preachers and people. The number of members in society at this time was 14,988, and of preachers 83 And as an evidence of 'he benefits resulting trom the recent organization of the church the work of God grew and multiplied more than ever, and many were added to the church. Mr. Asbury being thus commended to the grace of God and the affections of his people, took a more general oversight of the whole church, travelling from one part of the continent to another, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and assembling the preachers at different times and places, and appointing them to their several stations. In consequence of extending over so large a ter
ritory, for they soon spread over all the settlements in the United States, it became inconvenient for all the preacher* to convene at one time and place; they were therefore divided into several annual conferences at a suitable time and distance from each other, for the superintending bishop to meet with them, direct their councils and assign each man to his work. But these separate assemblies, unless thev all agreed in each others regulations, could ordain nothing that should be binding upon the whole; and therefore, to supply this deficiency of the government, a general conference, composed of all the travelling elders, was found expedient and necessarv. But from the continual increase of preachers and extension of their work, it became quite burdensome for so many elders to convene together, from so great a distance, and at such an expense of both time and money: hence, to exonerate the church from this unnecessary burden in the year 1808, notice being previously given to the annual conferences of the intention, the general conference resolved on a delegated general conference, whose powers and privileges were defined and restricted in the following words:
"1. The general conference shall be composed of one member for every five or seven* members of each annual conference, to be appointed either by seniority or choice, at the discretion of such annual conference: yet so that such representatives shall hare travelled at least four full calendar years from the time that they were received on trial by an annual conference, and are in full connexion at the time of holding the conference.
2. The general conference shall meet on the first day of May, in the year of our Lord 1812, in the city of New York, and thence forward on the first day of May, once in four years perpetually, in such place or places as shall be fixed on bv the general conference from time to time: but the general superintendents, with or by the advice of all the annual conferences, or if there be no general superintendent, all the annual conferences respectively, shall have power to call a general conference, if they judge it necessary at any time.
3. At all times when the general conference is met, it shall take two thirds of the representatives of all the annual
* The last general conference fixed the number of delegates at one for every seven members of the annual conferences.
conferences to make a quorum for transacting business.
4. One of the general superintendents shall preside in the general conference; but in case no general superintendent be present, the general conference shall choose a president pro tempore.
i. The general conference shall have full powers to make rules and regulations for our church, under the following limitations and restrictions, viz.
1. The general couference shall not revoke, alter, or change our articles of religion, nor establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doc rine.
2. The' shall not allow of more than one representative for every five members of the annual conference, nor allow of a less number than one for every seven.
3. They shall not change or alter any part or rule of our government, so as to do away episcopacy, or destroy the plan of our itinerant general superintendency.
4. They shall not revoke or change the general rules of the united societies.
5. They shall not do away the privileges of our ministers or preachers of trial by a committee, and of an appeal: Neither shall they do away the privileges of our members of trial before the society, or by a committee, and of an appeal.
6. They shall not appropriate the produce of the book concern, or of the charter fund, to any purpose, other than for the benefit of the travelling, supernumerary, superannuated and wornout preachers, their wives, widows and children. Provided nevertheless, that upon the joint recommendation of all the annual conferences, then a majority of two thirds of the general conference succeeding, shall suffice to alter any of the above restrictions."
This conference was composed of about 120 members from the several annual conferences. At that time there were but seven annual conferences; but in consequence of the great increase of preachers and people, scattered all over the United States and their territories, including Upper Canada, it became necessary to multiply these conferences, so that there arc now (1822) twelve. These include, according to the Minutes of their conferences for 1823,
Travelling preachers 1,226
White members 267,618
This number has been raised up, exclusive of the thousands- who have gone to rest, by the labours of Methodist preachers, without funds,* without colleges, often in the midst of persecutions and reproaches, in the short space of 56 years. Upon a moderate calculation, there are not less than one million who are constant attendants upon the Methodist ministry, which is about the tenth part of the population of the United States.f
In 1819 the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church was formed; and it received the sanction of the general conference in 1820, according to the following constitution:
"1. Tins association shall be denominated ' The Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church;' the object of which is to enable the several annual conferences more effectually to extend their missionary labours throughout the United States, and elsewhere.
2. The business of this society shall be conducted by a president, thirteen vice presidents, clerk, recording and corresponding secretary, treasurer, and thirty-two managers, all of whom shall be members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The president, first two vice-presidents, clerk, secretaries, treasurer, and the thirty-two managers, shall be elected by the society annually, and each annual conference shall have
* Perhaps the charter fund may be considered an exception to this remark. But when it is known that it yield3 only about 1200 dollars annually, and is divided among1 twelve conferences containing 1226 preachers, besides a number of widows, it may be asked, Jfhat is that among so many?
■f From the Minutes of the conference held in Sheffield, England, July 30, 1823; it appears there were
Members, in Great Britain 219,398
in Ireland 22,039
7*Ae number in Foreigti Stations.
in Gibraltar and France .... 144
in Ceylon and Continent
tal India 490
in New South Wales and
Van Dicman's land 178
- in Africa 352
in the West Indies 26,171
■ in British North America, including Newfoundland 4,076
Total preachers and people ., 313,766
the privileges of appointing one vicepresident from its own body.
3. Thirteen members at all meetings of the board of managers, and twentyfive at all meetings of the society, shall be a quorum.
4. The board shall have authority to make by-laws for regulating its own proceedings, fill up vacancies that may occur during the year, and shall present a statement of its transactions and funds to the society at its annual meeting: and also lay before the general conference, a report of its transactions, for the four preceding years, and state of its funds.
5. Ordained ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, whether travelling or local, being members of the society, shall be ex officio members of the hoard of managers, and be entitled to vote in all meetings of the board.
6. The board of managers shall have authority, whenever they may deem it expedient and requisite, to procure Bibles and Testaments for distribution, en such terms as they may judge most advisable, provided they shall not at any time apply to this object more than one-third of the amount of the funds received for the current year.
7. Each subscriber paying two dollars annually, shall be a member; and the payment of twenty dollars at one time, shall constitute a member for life.
8. Auxiliary societies, embracing the same objects with this, shall, if they request it, be supplied with Bibles and Testaments at cost: provided the same shall not amount to more than one-third of the moneys received from such Auxiliary societies, and that after supplying their own districts with Bibles and Testaments, thev shall agree to place their surplus funds at the disposal of this society.
9. The annual meeting of the society shall be held on the third Monday in April.
10. The president, vice presidents, clerk, secretaries, and treasurer for the time being, shall be ex-officio members of the board of managers.
11. At all meetings of the society, and of the board, the president, or in his absence, the vice president first on the list then present, and in the absence of all the vice presidents, such member as shall be appointed by the meeting for that purpose, shall preside.
12. The minutes of each meeting shall be signed by the chairman.
13. The treasurer of this society, under the direction of the board of managers, shall give information to the su
I perintendents annually, or oftener, uf [the managers judge it expedient, of the state of the funds and of the amount for which drafts may be made thereon, for the missionary purposes contemplated by this constitution; agreeably to which information, the superintendents shall have authority to draw on the treasurer for the same, and to pay over the amount to the missionary or missionaries appointed by them, either wholly at once, or by instalments, at the discretion of the superintendents; provided the drafts of all the superintendents together shall not amount to more than the sum thus authorized to be drawn for, and that the appropriation for the support of any missionary or missionaries shall always be regulated by the rules which now are or h reafter may be established for the support of ether itinerant ministers atid preachers ot the Methodist episcopal church; and provided also, that the appropriations and payments which may be made by the superintendents under this article, shall be communicated as soon as practicable thereafter to the board of managers for insertion in their annual report.
14. This constitution shall not be altered but by the general conference, on the recommendation of the board of managers."
A number of auxiliary and branch societies have been formed, and their number is increasing. In 1819 a mission was established among the Wyandott Indians at Upper Saudusky; and in 1821 another among the Creeks. Several other missionaries are employed \n destitute parts'of the country under the patronage of the .society.
Doctrines of—Kt the time of the organization of the church, the following articles of religion were adopted as the doctrines of the church:—
I. 0/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 thing*, visible and invisible.—And in unity of this Godhead, there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity ;— the Father, the Son, and the HolyGhost.
II. Of the Word, or Son of God, -mho •teas made very Man.—The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divi