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A SKETCH OF ITS HISTORY, THEOLOGY, PRACTICAL
SYSTEM, AND SUCCESS.
PREPARED BY ORDER OF THE CENTENARY COMMITTEE
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
By ABEL STEVENS, LL.D.
WITH A STATEMENT OF THE PLAN OF THE CENTENARY CELEBRATION
BY JOHN M'CLINTOCK, D.D.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by
CARLTON & PORTER,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.
OLIVER HOYT, ESQ.
MY DEAR SIR:-Aside from our personal friendship and those distinguished services which have connected your name with some of the most important interests of the Church, I deem it proper to submit this work to you as the author of the resolution, in the Cleveland meeting of the Centenary Committee, appointing me to "prepare a centenary volume, setting forth such facts and showings as should properly come within the scope of such a work;" and the Rev. Dr. M'Clintock, "to co-operate" with me “by adding a chapter embodying the action of the Centenary Committee, and reflecting the spirit which pervaded its discussions."
The Committee were doubtless determined, in their choice of a writer of the proposed book, by the fact that it has been my task for a number of years to prepare for the denomination a “History of the Religious Movement of the Eighteenth Century, called Methodism," etc., and “The History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America.” In the familiarity with the historical facts of Methodism which these writings have afforded me, I have found, however, my chief difficulty in preparing the present volume. There is so much that is heroic, and even romantic, in the early his. tory of Methodism, that a writer, in whose mind such data are fresh and vivid, must be perplexed to know where to stop, what to record, or, at least, what to omit. Unless he would risk the design of his work, by its magnitude and consequent high price, he must, with whatever reluctance, omit names sacredly memorable, and incidents as marvelous as any in modern religious history. I have been able to relieve myself from this embarrassment at last only by binding myself rigidly to the practical design of the volume: to the preparation of such a brief yet comprehensive exhibit of Methodism as might most directly promote the purposes of the Centenary Celebration, by show. ing the true character and claims of the Church, and by setting them