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in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota by 12 congregations, with 1388 communicants. One hall, with a seating capacity of 40, is reported.
The Defenseless Mennonites, sometimes called Eglyites, are really a branch of the Amish. They lay particular stress upon the importance of conversion and regeneration. Henry Egli was the leader of this movement. sented in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio, by 9 congregations, with 856 communicants.
It is repre
This body, which originated about 1878, is Methodistic in its form of organization, in its usages, and its discipline. Applicants for baptism are baptized in any form they may prefer. It has two annual conferences in the United States, and there are also a number of churches in Canada. There are 45 churches, with 1113 communicants. Eight halls, with a seating capacity of 660, are occupied as places of worship
SUMMARY BY STATES.
I 32 51 16 62
9 15 18 8 1 77
8 188 16
2 16 4
5,960 10,050 2,585 9,208 2,450 1,575 2,500 2,080 2,780
100 500 75 31,850 3,014 35,365 3,732 13,150 1,454 45,130
1,664 5,200 470
5,988 1,600 366,600 15,330 I1,150
700 57,482 2,600
129,340 $643,800 41,541
METHODISM, which counts many branches in Great Britain, America, and elsewhere, is the result of a movement begun at Oxford University, England, as early as 1729, by John and Charles Wesley. Their own account of its origin is given in these words:
“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 holiness was their object. God then thrust them out to raise a holy people.”
The Wesleys, with two others, began to meet together at Oxford for religious exercises in 1729. In derision they were called the “Holy Club," " Bible Bigots,” “Methodists," etc. The last term was intended to describe their methodical habits, and it seems to have been accepted by them almost immediately, as the movement they led was soon widely known as the Methodist movement.
John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield were ordained ministers of the Church of England, and it was as Church of England clergymen that they began and carried forward their stirring evangelistic work. Being excluded, as preachers of "new doctrines," from many of the pulpits of the Established Church, they held meetings in private houses, halls, barns, and fields, receiving many converts, who were organized into societies for worship. As their work expanded they introduced an order of lay preachers and established class-meetings for the religious care and training of members. In 1744 the first conference was held, and thereafter Wesley and his helpers met together annually. Thus was organized the annual conference, one of the distinctive institutions of Methodism. Wesley grouped together several appointments and put them in charge of one of his helpers. This was the beginning of the circuit system. He then conceived the idea of increasing the efficiency of his preachers by frequent changes in their appointments. This is how the itinerancy came into existence. The itinerancy is maintained in nearly all the branches of Methodism throughout the world, though it has been greatly modified in many cases.
Though the Wesleyan movement was a movement within the Church of England, and the Wesleys lived and died in full ministerial relations with it, serious differences arose between the Church and the Methodists. In 1745 John Wesley wrote that he was willing to make any concession which conscience would permit, in order to live in harmony with the clergy of the Established Church, but he could not, he said, give up the doctrines he was preaching, dissolve the societies, suppress lay preaching, or cease to preach in the open air. For many years he refused to sanction the administration of the sacraments by any except those who had been ordained by a bishop in the apostolic succession, and he himself hesitated to assume authority to ordain; but the Bishop of London having refused to ordain ministers for the Methodist societies in America, which were left by the Revolutionary War without the sacraments, Wesley, in 1784, by the imposition of hands, appointed or ordained men and gave them authority to ordain others. He ordained Thomas Coke, LL.D., who was already a presbyter of the Church of England, to be superintendent of the Methodist societies in America, and set apart for a similar purpose in Great Britain Alexander Mather, who had not been episcopally ordained. In England, Methodism continued to be a non-ecclesiastical religious movement within the Church of England till after John Wesley's death, March 2, 1791. In America the separation took place several years previous to that event.
The peculiarities of Methodism are: (1) The probationary system, by which converts are received for six months or more on trial; if the test results favorably, they are then taken into "full connection,” and have all the rights and privileges of full members. (2) The class-meeting. The members and probationers of each church are divided into companies called classes, and meet under the care of a leader for prayer, testimony, and spiritual examination and advice. (3) Exhorters.
(3) Exhorters. Members licensed to hold meetings for prayer and exhortation. (4) Local preachers. Laymen adjudged to have "gifts, graces, and usefulness" sufficient to justify the issuance of a license, subject to annual renewal, to preach as occasion offers, without giving up their secular business; they may also be ordained as deacons and elders. (5) The itinerancy. There are rules requiring the bishop or a conference committee to station the regular ministers every year, and limiting the pastoral term to a fixed period. In the English Wesleyan Church it is three years; in the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States it is five years, having been