1750: Rules for Methodist itinerant preachers

03May07

No army ever marched under stricter orders than did the early Methodist preachers. As they were soldiers engaged in a great spiritual campaign, Wesley prepared a minute set of regulations for their conduct. The following briefly stated are some of the commands by which Wesley governed his preachers: 1. Sleep not more than you need. 2. Talk not more than you need. 3. As often as possible rise at four o’clock in the morning. 4. Rarely spend above an hour at a time conversing with any one. 5. Use the most common words which our language affords. 6. Do not scream when preaching. 7. Do not hold a service more than an hour. 8. Spend two or three minutes every hour in earnest prayer. 9. Choose the plainest texts possible. 10. Sing no hymn of your own composing. 11. Beware of affected gesture, pronunciation, and airs. 12. Never disappoint a congregation. 13. Spend at least five hours in twenty-four in study. 14. Never be unemployed a moment. 15. Never be triflingly employed. 16. Believe evil of no one unless you see it done. 17. Put the best construction on everything. 18. Speak evil of no one. 19. Act in all things, not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel.

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