1878. Volume I of III. Stevens was an American editor, historian and Methodist Episcopal clergyman. He suffered the trials of poverty and hard work in childhood and early on he was converted and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He began to preach when a mere youth, and before he was twenty-one years of age was regarded as a prodigy of eloquence. He opened the vein of American Methodistic history, and gave a long series of historical articles, which afterward appeared in the form of books, and, indeed, entered upon the investigations which produced his History of Methodism, one of the ablest and best-known works of its class. This volume covers the origin of Methodism to the Death of Whitefield. In his preface Stevens writes: As a great religious development of the last century, affecting largely our common Protestantism, and, unquestionably, destined to affect it still more profoundly, Methodism does not belong exclusively to the denominations which have appropriated its name. I have therefore attempted to write its history in a liberal spirit, and to consider it, not as a sectarian, but as a general religious movement, ostensibly within the Church of England, at least during the lives of the chief Methodist founders, but reaching beyond it to most of the Protestantism of England and America. I have endeavored steadily to keep this point of view till the movement was reduced into sectarian organizations. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing. Volume 2 ISBN 0766196208, Volume 3 ISBN 0766196216.