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subject to the review of a superior judicatory, and may be carried before it in one or the other of the four following ways.
GENERAL REVIEW AND CONTROL.
I. IT is the duty of every judicatory above a church session, at least once a year, to review the records of the proceedings of the judicatory next below. And if any lower judicatory shall omit to send up its records for this purpose, the higher may issue an order to produce them, either immediately, or at a particular time, as circumstances may require.
II. In reviewing the records of an inferion judicatory, it is proper to examine, FIRST, Whether the proceedings have been constitutional and regular: SECONDLY, Whether they have been wise, equitable, and for the edification of the church; THIRDLY, Whether they have been correctly recorded.
III. In most cases the superior judicatory may be considered as fulfilling its duty, by simply recording, on its own minutes, the animadversion or censure which it may think proper to pass on records under review; and also by making an entry of the same in the book reviewed. But it may be that, in the course of review, cases of irregular proceedings may be found so disreputable and injurious as to demand the interference of the superior judicatory. In cases of this kind the inferior
judicatory may be required to review and correct its proceedings.
IV. No judicial decision, however, of a judicatory shall be reversed, unless it be regularly brought up by appeal or complaint.
V. Judicatories may sometimes entirely neglect to perform their duty; by which neglect, heretical opinions or corrupt practices may be allowed to gain ground; or offenders of a very gross character may be suffered to escape: or some circumstances in their proceedings, of very great irregularity, may not be distinctly recorded by them. In any of which cases, their records will by no means exhibit to the superior judicatory a full view of their proceedings. If, therefore, the superior judicatory be well advised, by common fame, that such neglects or irregularities have occurred on the part of the inferior judicatory, it is incumbent on them to take cognizance of the same; and to examine, deliberate, and judge in the whole matter, as completely as if it had been recorded, and thus brought up by the review of the records.
VI. When any important delinquency, or grossly unconstitutional proceedings, appear in the records of any judicatory, or are charged against them by common fame, the first step to be taken by the judicatory next above, is to cite the judicatory alleged to have offended, to appear at a specified time and place, and to show what it has done, or failed to do in the case in question: after which the judicatory thus issuing the citation, shall remit the whole
matter to the delinquent judicatory, with a direction to take it up, and dispose of it in a constitutional manner, or stay all further proceedings in the case, as circumstances may require.
I. A REFERENCE is a judicial representation, made by an inferior judicatory to a superior, of a case not yet decided; which representation ought always to be in writing.
II. Cases which are new, important, difficult, of peculiar delicacy, the decision of which may establish principles or precedents of extensive influence, on which the sentiments of the inferior judicatory are greatly divided, or on which, for any reason, it is highly desirable that a larger body should first decide, are proper subjects of reference.
III. References are either for mere advice, preparatory to a decision by the inferior judicatory; or for ultimate trial and decision by the superior.
IV. In the former case, the reference on.y suspends the decision of the judicatory from which it comes: in the latter case, it totally relinquishes the decision, and submits the whole cause to the final judgment of the superior judicatory.
V. Although references may in some cases, as before stated, be highly proper; yet it is, gene
rally speaking, more conducive to the public good, that each judicatory should fulfil its duty by exercising its judgment.
VI. Although a reference ought, generally, to procure advice from the superior judicatory; yet that judicatory is not necessarily bound to give a final judgment in the case, even if requested to do so; but may remit the whole ause, either with or without advice, back to the judicatory by which it was referred.
VII. In cases of reference, the members of the inferior judicatory making it, retain all the privileges of deliberating and voting, in the course of trial and judgment before the superior judicatory, which they would have had, if no reference had been made.
VIII. References are, generally, to be carried to the judicatory immediately superior.
IX. In cases of reference, the judicatory referring ought to have all the testimony, and other documents, duly prepared, produced, and in perfect readiness; so that the superior judicatory may be able to consider and issue the case with as little difficulty or delay as possible.
I. AN appeal is the removal of a cause already decided, from an inferior to a superior judicatory, by a party aggrieved.
II. All persons who have submitted to a
regular trial in an inferior, may appeal to a higher judicatory.
III. Any irregularity in the proceedings of the inferior judicatory; a refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; declining to receive important testimony; hurrying to a decision before the testimony is fully taken; a manifestation of prejudice in the case; and mistake or injustice in the decision—are all proper grounds of appeal.
IV. Appeals may be, either from a part of the proceedings of a judicatory, or from a definitive sentence.
V. Every appellant is bound to give notice of his intention to appeal, and also to lay the reasons thereof, in writing, before the judicatory appealed from, either before its rising, or within ten days thereafter. If this notice, or these reasons, be not given to the judicatory while in session, they shall be lodged with the moderator.
VI. Appeals are generally to be carried in regular gradation, from an inferior judicatory to the one immediately superior.
VII. The appellant shall lodge his appeal, and the reasons of it, with the clerk of the higher judicatory, before the close of the second day of their session.
VIII. In taking up an appeal, after ascertaining that the appellant on his part has conducted it regularly, the first step shall be to read the sentence appealed from: secondly, to read the reasons which were assigned by the appellant for his appeal, and which are on