Imatges de pÓgina

on the

day of

concluded with prayer.

And the whole business of the assembly being finished, and the vote being taken for diffolving the prelent assembly, the moderator shall say from the chair : “ By virtue of the authority delegated to me by the church, let this general assembly be dissolved ; and I do hereby dissolve it, and requir: another assembly chosen in the same manner, to meet at

A. D. After which he shall pray, and return thanks to God for his great mercy and goodness, and pronounce on those present, the apoftolic benediction.

Sect. VII. In order, as far as possible, to Expenses of procure a respectable and full delegaDelegates to tion to all our judicatories, it is probe defrayed.

per, that the expenses of ministers and elders, in their attendance on these judicatories, be defrayed, by the bodies which they respectively represent,






CH A P. I.

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that may arise in our churches, we agree to observe the following rules of proceeding.

1. Inasmuch as all baptized persons are members of the church, they are under its care, and subject to its government and discipline : and, when they have arrived at the years of discretion, they are bound to perform all the duties of church members.

2. No accusation fhall be admitted, as the foundation of a process before an ecclesiastical judicatory, but where such offences are alledged, as appear, from the word of God, to merit the public notice and censure of the church. And,

in the accusation, the times, places, and circum. stances, should be ascertained, if possible; that the accused may have an opportunity to prove an alibi, or to extenuate, or alleviate his crime.

3. No complaint or information, on the subject of personal and private injuries, shall be admitted, unless those means of reconciliation, and of privately reclaiming the offender, have been used, which are required by Christ.

Mat. xviii. 159 16. And, in all cases, the ecclesiastical judicatories, in receiving accusations, in conducting processes, or inflicting cenfures, ought to avoid, as far as possible, the divulging of offences, to the scandal of the church : because the unnecessary spreading of scandal hardens and enrages the guilty, grieves the godly, and dishonours religion. And if any private Christian shall industriously Apread the knowledge of an offence, unless in profecuting it before the proper judicatories of the church, he shall be liable to censure, as an uncan. lid llanderer of his brother,

4. When complaint is made of a crime, cog-aizable_before any judicatory, no more shall be: done at the first meeting, unless by consent of parties, than to give the accused a copy of each charge with the names of the witnesses to fupport it; and a citation of all concerned, to appear at the next meeting of the judicatory, to have the matter fully heard and decided. Notice shall

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be given to the parties concerned, at least ten days, previoufly to the meeting of the judicatory.

5. The judicatory, in many cases, may find it more for edification, to fend fome members to converse, in a private manner, with the accused person; and, if he confess guilt, to endeavour to bring him to repentance, than to proceed imme. diately to citation.

6. When an accufed person, or a witness, refuses to obey the citation, he shall be cited a second, and third time ; and if he still continue to refuse, he shall be excluded from the communion of the church, for his contumacy; until he repent.

7. No crime fhall be considered as established by a single witness.

8. The oath or affirmation, to be taken by a witness, shall be administered by the moderator, and fhall be in the following, or like terms : “ I folemnly promise, in the presence of the om. niscient and heart-searching God, that I will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ; according to the best of my knowledge, in the matter in which I am called to witness, as I shall answer it to the great Judge of quick and dead."

9. The trial shall be open, fair, and impartial. The witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accufed; or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend : and he shall be per

mitted to ask any questions tending to his own exculpation.

10. No witness, afterwards to be examined, shall be present during the examination of another witness, on the fame case.

11. The testimony given by witneffes, must be faithfully recorded, and read to them, for their approbation or subscription.

12. The judgment shall be regularly entered on the records of the judicatory: and the parties shall be allowed copies of the whole proceedings, if they demand them. In case of references, or appeals, the judicatory appealed from shall send authentic copies of the whole process to the higher judicatories: and it fhall be considered as regular, for any member or members who


have diffented from the judgment of the inferior judicatory, to state and fupport their reasons, on the appeal.

13. The person found guilty shall be admonilhed, or rebuked, or excluded from church privileges, as the case shall appear to deserve ; and this only till he gave satisfactory evidence of repentance.

14. The fentence shall be published, only in the church or churches which have been 'offend. ed. Or, if it be a matter of small importance, and it shall appear most for edification not to publish it, it may pass only in the judicatory.

15. Such gross offenders as will not be reclaimed by the private or public admonitions of the church, are to be cut off from its communion, agreeably to our Lord's direction, Mat.

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