Here are the “Rules for a Preacher’s Conduct”
which every Methodist preacher had to read and keep or be put out. This list was put together for convenience, though it does not quite cover everything. Other rules are scattered here and there among the general rules and regulations of the Societies.
Be diligent. Never be unemployed: never be triflingly employed. Never trifle away time: neither spend any more time at any place than is strictly necessary.
Be serious. Let your motto be, Holiness to the Lord. Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking.
Converse sparingly, and conduct yourself prudently with women.
Take no step toward marriage without first consulting your brethren (After losing out on a particular bride Wesley didn’t take his own advice and sadly his marriage did not go well, ending in a separation).
Believe evil of no one without good evidence; unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction on everything. You know the judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner’s side.
Speak evil of no one; because your word especially would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast, till you come to the person concerned.
Tell every one under your care what you think wrong with his conduct and temper, and that lovingly and plainly as soon as may be: else it will fester in your heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom.
Avoid all affectation. A preacher of the gospel is a servant of all.
Be ashamed of nothing but sin.
Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And do not mend our rules, but keep them; not for wrath but for conscience’ sake.
You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work. Observe! it is not your business only to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society; but to save as many as you can; to bring as many sinners as you can to repentance, and with all your power to build them up in holiness without which they cannot see the Lord. And remember!—a Methodist is to mind every point, great and small, in the Methodist Discipline. Therefore you will need to exercise all the sense and grace you have.
Act in all things not according to your own will, but as a son in the gospel. As such, it is your duty to employ your time in the manner in which we direct: in preaching and visiting from house to house; in reading, meditation and prayer.
Be sure never to disappoint a congregation. Begin at the time appointed. Let your whole deportment be serious, weighty, and solemn. Always suit your subject to your audience. Choose the plainest texts you can. Take care not to ramble, but keep to your text and make out what you take in hand. Take care of anything awkward or affected, either in your gesture, phrase or pronunciation. Do not usually pray extempore above eight or ten minutes (at most) without intermission.[/tab]