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ORIGIN, ECONOMY, AND PRESENT POSITION :
A SERMON IN THREE PARTS,
THE SUBSTANCE OF WHICH WAS
PREACHED BEFORE THE WESLEYAN-METHODIST CONFERENCE,
IN CITY-ROAD CHAPEL, LONDON,
ON MONDAY, THE FIRST OF AUGUST, MDCCCXLII.
PUBLISHED BY THEIR ORDER.
BY THE REV. JAMES DIXON,
EX-PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE.
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR :
AND 66, PATERNOSTER-ROW,
In preparing for the press the Sermon delivered before the Conference, it was found necessary to re-compose the whole. The arrangement and topics remain unaltered; but liberty has been taken in introducing new arguments and illustrations in support of the several positions then laid down.
It has been thought best to divide the discourse into three distinct parts, as each subject-though it is hoped the whole is in unity with itself—may be regarded as complete.
Whatever reception the Sermon may meet with amongst his Brethren and the people in general, the Author feels it a happiness to bear his humble testimony to the great work which God has wrought in the world, by the instrumentality of Methodism.
To his Brethren, in Conference, who unanimously requested the publication of the Sermon, the Author owes, and tenders, his warmest acknowledgments. But in the circumstances in which it now appears, it would be wrong to claim for it their official confirmation.
A general approval-without being pledged to every sentiment—is all that the Author understood as meant by the vote for its publication; and if, in its enlarged form, it may secure this, together with the promotion of a spirit of increased confidence and piety in the body, his highest hopes will be gratified.
MANCHESTER, March 11th, 1843.
II. The Agreement of the Doctrines and Ordinances of the Methodist Church
to the primitive Model in these Respects—l. Methodism originated in the
I. The Principles of Scripture on the Subject of the Church-In five several
Notes-Fellowship on the Basis of the Christian Faith-A Christian Ser-
same Rule-1. By acknowledging the Supremacy of Scripture_2. By
III. General Rules applied-1. Not to despise little Things, and yet to aim at
great ones-2. To be firm in Principle, but free in Detail_3. Not to
ORIGIN, ECONOMY, AND PRESENT POSITION :
NEVERTHELESS, WHEREUNTO WE HAVE ALREADY ATTAINED, LET US
WALK BY THE SAME RULE, LET US MIND THE SAME THING, PHILIPPIANS III. 16.
The Apostle was naturally solicitous that the disciples at Philippi should, after his time, remain faithful to the principles of the Gospel which he had taught. Had his advice been universally regarded, innumerable heresies, which have corrupted and deformed the truth itself, would have been avoided, and superstitious observances, the bane of the purity, vigour, and life of the church, prevented. The history of Christianity is a faithful record of the consequences of a departure from the apostolic injunction. A divergence, in various degrees, from the simple and uncorrupt doctrines of our Lord and his Apostles, together with the principles and precedents of the truly primitive church, has led to most disastrous consequences.
The effects are seen in the early growth of error, which, continuing to accumulate with the progress of time, at length grew to such a height as to obscure the truth, and present living Christianity, for ages, as little better than one enormous heresy.
From the same cause, communities and nations, bearing the Christian name, have sunk to the lowest point of moral degradation. With no clear enunciation of the Gospel to guide their footsteps, no faithful exhibition of the Saviour's cross, no offer of that which constitutes the essence and power of religion,—salvation by faith, and no spiritual worship leading the penitent and believing into the presence of Almighty God; they naturally glided into a state of superstition, irreligion, and practical impiety. As the truth elevates and makes free, so the substitution of falsehood and human ceremonies in its place, bewilders and enslaves. Through a long and dreary period, scarcely any thing presents itself to the eye of the observer, as associated with the Christian name, but mental and spiritual prostration, followed by the iron rule of despotism. That sacred system of reli;