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may, by their interior faculties, “ attain to clear insight into the immaterial, spiritual world"; that, as a result of this spiritual training, men become able to perform works usually called "miraculous."
The Theosophical Society has branches in seventeen States and the District of Columbia. Forty organizations are reported, with 695 members. Of the 40 organizations 14 are in California. There are 38 halls, with accommodations for 1815.
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THE UNITED BRETHREN.
THE United Brethren in Christ are sometimes confounded with the Unitas Fratrum or Moravian Brethren. Though some of the historians of the former body claim that it was connected in some way with the Ancient and Renewed Brethren of Bohemia and Moravia, the United Brethren in Christ and the Moravians are wholly separate and distinct, and have no actual historical relations. The Moravians were represented in this country long before the United Brethren in Christ arose, which was about the year 1800.
Philip William Otterbein, a native of Prussia and a minister of the German Reformed Church, and Martin Boehm, a Mennonite pastor in Pennsylvania, of Swiss descent, were the chief founders of the church of the United Brethren in Christ. These men, preaching with great earnestness and fervency, had revivals of religion in Pennsylvania and Maryland, resulting in many accessions to membership of the churches they served. Others of like mind assisted them in the ministry, and they met occasionally in conference concerning their work. The first of these informal conferences was held in Baltimore, Md., in 1789. The movement, though meeting with some opposition, gradually developed into a separate denomination.
At a conference held in Frederick County, Md., in 1800, attended by Otterbein, Boehm, Geeting, Newcomer, and nine others, an organization was formed under the title “United Brethren in Christ," and Otterbein and Boehm were elected superintendents or bishops. The preachers increased and new churches arose, and it soon became necessary to have two annual conferences, the second one being formed in the State of Ohio. In 1815 the denomination completed its organization by the adoption at a general conference of a discipline, rules of order, and a confession of faith. For some years the work of the church was mainly among the German element. It still has German conferences, but the great bulk of its members are English-speaking people.
In doctrine, practice, and usage the United Brethren are Methodistic. They have classes and class leaders, stewards, exhorters, local and itinerant preachers, presiding elders, circuits, quarterly and annual conferences, and other Methodist features. Their founders were in fraternal intercourse with the fathers of American Methodism, and in spirit and purpose the two bodies were not dissimilar. The United Brethren, though not historically a Methodist branch, affiliate with the Methodist churches, sending representatives to the æcumenical Methodist conferences.
Their annual conferences are composed of itinerant and local preachers, and lay delegates representing the churches. The bishops preside in turn over these conferences, and in conjunction with a committee of presiding elders and preachers fix the appointments of the preachers for the ensuing year. The pastoral term is three years, but in particular cases it may be extended with the consent of the conference. There is but one order among the ordained preachers, that of elder. Since 1889 it has been lawful to license and ordain women. Bishops are elected by the general conference, not to life service, but for a quadrennium. They are, however, eligible to reëlection. The general conference, which is composed of ministerial and lay delegates, elected by the annual conferences, meets once in every four years, and has full authority, under certain constitutional restrictions, to legislate for the whole church, to hear and decide appeals, etc.
Their doctrines, which are Arminian, are expressed in a confession of faith, consisting of thirteen brief articles, which set forth the generally accepted view of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Scriptures, justification and regeneration, the Christian Sabbath, and the future state. Concerning the sacraments, it holds that baptism and the Lord's Supper should be observed by all Christians, but the mode of baptism and the manner of celebrating the Lord's Supper should be left to the judgment of individuals. The baptism of children is also left to the choice of parents. Sanctification is described as the work of God's grace through the word and the Spirit, by which those who have been born again are separated in their acts, words, and thoughts from sin and are enabled to live unto God."
1.- THE UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST.
The confession, first adopted in 1815, was revised in 1889 and slightly enlarged. The constitution was also changed in the same year, resulting in a division, those who held that the changes were not effected in a constitutional way withdrawing from the general conference of 1889 and holding a separate session. The latter hold to the unchanged confession and constitution, and insist that they are the legal body known as the United Brethren in Christ. Many cases to settle the validity of the action of the general conference of 1889 have been before the courts, and considerable church property is involved in the final decision, which may not be reached for some years to come. As both bodies claim the same title, it has been deemed necessary to put after it, in parentheses, in one case, for the sake of distinction, the words "old constitution." This designates the smaller body, which refuses to recognize the constitutionality of the revision.
The general conference of 1885 created a commission to revise the confession of faith and the constitution, expressing at the same time its opinion that two clauses in the existing constitution, one forbidding the changing of or doing away with the confession, and the other likewise forbidding any change in the constitution except upon “request of two thirds of the whole society," were “in their language and apparent meaning so far-reaching as to render them extraordinary and impracticable as articles of constitutional law." The commission submitted a revised confession and constitution to the churches, as directed, for their approval. A number of members of the general conference of 1885 protested against the act creating the commission as unconstitutional and revolutionary. When the work of the commission was submitted for approval they and those who agreed with them refused to vote on it, insisting that the matter was not legally before the church. Of those who voted, more than two thirds approved the revised documents, and they were accordingly formally proclaimed by the general conference of 1889 as the “fundamental belief and organic law of the church." The vote of the conference was III to 21. When the chairman announced that the conference would proceed