A set of rules devised in 1738 by John Wesley for his societies. He did this to make clear the connection between the saving faith and Christian behavior and to indicate what was expected of persons as they became members of the Methodist Societies. In 1743 he published these in a pamphlet entitled The Nature, Design, and General Rules of the United Societies. The General Rules were approved by the American Methodist church in 1785. Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury prepared a revised edition, which has continued to be published as a part of The Book of Discipline. These rules are no longer enforced. The regulation that these should be read to each congregation once a quarter has been discontinued. The General Rules, however, are protected by Restrictive Rule of the Constitution. As a consequence, they may not be revoked or changed.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.