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rial and declarative". They possess the right of requiring obedience to the laws of Christ, and of excluding the disobedient and disorderly, from the privileges of the church. To give efficiency, however, to this neceffary and scriptural authority, they possess the powers requisite for obtaining evidence and inflicting censure : They can call before them any offender against the order and government of the church ; They can require members, of their own society, to appear and give testimony in the cause; but the higheft punishment to which their authority extends, is to exclude the contumacious and impenitent, from the congregation of believers,
heritance with me, And he he shall negled to hear them, faid unto him, Man, who made tell it unto the church : but if me a judge or a divider over he neglect to hear the church, you? Johu 18. 36. My king. let him be unto thee as an headom is not of this world.
then man, and a publican. Ved see and consult Ads 15. rily I say unto you, whatsoever from the ift to the 32d verse. ye shall bind to earth, shall be
e Matt. 18. 15, 16, 17, 18, bound to heaven: and whit19, 20. Moreover, if thy bro- foever ye shall loose on earth, ther shall trespass against thee, shall be loofed in heaven. I go and tell him his fault be- Cor. 5, 4, 5. In the name of tween thee and him alone; if our Lord Jesus Christ, when he shall hear thee, thou hast ye are gathered together, and gained thy brother. But if he my spirit, with the power of will not hear thee, then take our Lord Jesus Chrift, To with thee one or two more, deliver such an one unto Satan, that in the mouth of two or for the destruction of the flesh, three witnesses, every word that the spirit may be faved in may be established. And if the day of the Lord Jesus.
Of the Congregational Assembly,
or Judicatory, usually styled The Church Session.
Sect. I. THE church fellion consists of
whom three Elders, if there be that number in the Congregation, with the Minister, Thall be a quorum to do business. Sect. II. The church session is competent
to the spiritual government of the conIts Power.
gregation : For which purpose, they have power to inquire into the knowledge and christian conduct of the members of that churcho; to call before them the offenders and witnesses, being members of their own society, and to introduce witnefles from other societies or denominations, where it may be neceffary, to bring the process to issue ; and, when they can be procured to attend, to admonish, to rebuke, to suspend, or exclude from the facraments, those who are found to deserve the cenfures of the
I. a I Cor. 5. 4. In the you, and submit yourselves, name of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they watch for your souls, when ye are gathered together, , as they that niuft give account, and my spirit, with the power that they may do it with joy, of our Lord Jesus Chrift, and not with grief. i Thefil,
II. b Heb. 13. 17. Obey 12, 13. and i Tini, 5.17.them that have the rule over
Ć Ezek. 34, 4.
church"; to concert the the best measures for promoting the spiritual interests of the congregation, and to appoint delegates to the higher judicatories of the church Sect. III. The minister hath a right to con
vene the session when he may judge it How to be requiGite'. And he ought, in all cases, convened.
to convene them, when requested by any two or more of the elders. Sect. IV. We think it proper, that every
church session keep a fair register, of Registers to births, of baptisms, of marriages, of be kept.
persons admitted to the Lord's table, of deaths in the society, and of other removals.
Of the Presbyterial Assembly.
di Theff. 5. 12, 13. And fore Paul and Barnabas had no we beseech you, brethren, to small diffention and difputation know them which labour among with them, they determined you, and are over you in that Paul and Barnabas, and the Lord, and admonish you. certain other of them, should cond to esteem them very go up to Jerusalem unto the highly in love, for their work's apostles and elders about this fake, and be at peace among question. 6. And the apostles yourselves. See also 2 Theat, and elders came together for to 3. 6, 14, 15. I Cor. II. 27. confider of this matter. to the end.
III. f Acts 20. 17. cAds 15. 2.
sistance, in order to preserve foundness of doctrine, and regularity of discipline; and to enter imto common measures, for the promoting of knowledge and religion, and for the preventing. of the encroachments of infidelity and error*. Hence arise the importance and usefulness of presbyterial and fynodical assemblies. Sect. II. A presbytery consists of all the mi
nister3, and one ruling elder from Conftituent. Nem- each congregation, within a cerbers thereof.
tain district. Sect. III. Every, congregation, which has a settled pastor, has a right to be reprefented in presbytery, by one elder ; and every collegiate church, by two or more elders, in proportion to its ministers. Where there are two or more congregations united, under one pastor, all such con
Acts 9. 31.
I. a The church of Jerusa. A&s 20. 17, 25, 28, 30, 36, 373 lem confifted of more than one, Rev. 2. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. joined as-is manifest both before and with Acts 20. 17, 18. after the dispersion, from Acts bi Tim. 4. 14. Neglect not 6. 1, 6.
Acts the gift that is in thee, which 21. 20. AAs 6. &. These con- was given thee by prophecy, gregations were under one prel- with the laying on of the handls hyterial government, proved of the presbytery. Acts 15. 3. from Ads 15. 24, 28. Acts 11. -Verle 4. And when they 22, 30.--Acts 21. 17, 18.--Acts were come to Jerufalem, they 6 chap. That the church of were received of the church, Ephesus had more congrega- and of the apostles and elders, tions that one under a presbyce. and they declared all things rial government, appears from that God had done with them. Ads 20. 31. Chap. 19. 18, 19, Ver. 6. And the Apostles and 20. 1 Cor. 16. 8, 9, 19. compar. elders came together for to ed with Ads 18. 19, 24, 26.
consider of this matter.
gregations shall have but one elder to represent them. Every congregation, which has no fettled minister, and is able and willing to support one, shall be entitled to be represented, by a ruling elder, in this judicatory. And where there are two or more such congregations, united for the maintenance of the gospel, and, in their united state are of the description aforefaid, then such united congregations may be represented by one elder. Every elder, not known to the presbytery, shall produce a certificate of his regular appointinent, from the church which he reprefents. Sect. IV. Any three ministers, and as many
elders as may be present belonging Quorum of the to the presbytery, being met, at the Presbytery
time and place appointed, shall be a judicatory, competent to the dispatch of business'; notwithstanding the absence of the other membersa. Sect. V. The presbytery hath cognizance
of all things that regard the welPowers of the
fare of the particular churches with Presbytery, &c.
in their bounds, which are not cog
III. c Ads 15. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, failed to Antioch, from whence 6. 1 Cor. 14. 26, 33, 40. Let they had been recommended by all things be done to edifying the grace of God, for the work -For God is not the author which they fulfilled. And of confufion, but of peace, as when they were come and had in all the churches of the faints. gathered the church together, -Let all things be done decent- they rehearsed all that God had ly, and in order.
done with them, and how he IV. d Acts 14. And thence had opened the door of faith