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The churches in which either the Classis, the Particular, or General Synod assembles, shall be careful to provide them with the minutes of the last preceding Assembly.
Instructions respecting matters to be treated of in higher Assemblies, are not to be recorded until the resolutions of the foregoing Synod have been read, to the end that such things which have been determined, may not be again resumed, unless some alteration is conceived necessary.
Once every year (unless an extraordinary session shall be judged necessary) two Ministers, and two Elders, delegated from four or more neighbouring Classes, shall meet and constitute a PARTICULAR SYNOD. At the rising of every Synod, the time and place of their next meeting shall be ascertained.
Every Synod shall be at liberty to solicit, and hold correspondence with its neighbouring Synod, or Synods, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to general edification.
Every Synod shall depute some of its members to put in execution whatever has been ordained by such Synod, as well in matters of a general concern, as in what relates to the respective Classes in particular, that are subject to its jurisdiction; which deputies, or at least some of them, shall also be present at the examination of all candidates for the ministry; and shall moreover afford the Classis their advice and assistance in whatever difficulties may occur, to the end that uniformity, order, and purity of doctrine, may be main
tained and established. They shall also keep a faithful record of their proceedings, that they may report the same to the Synod, to whom they shall produce the reasons of their conduct, if thereunto required; nor shall they be dismissed from their commission, until the Synod shall discharge them.
A GENERAL SYNOD shall be held ordinarily every three years (unless a pressing necessity shall require a shorter recess.) To this Synod, two Ministers and two Elders shall be delegated from every Particular Synod, both of the Dutch and Walloon churches. Moreover, the church charged with nominating the time and place for the meeting of the General Synod, in case of its being called together within three years, shall assemble the Particular Synod to which it belongs, and give notice of the same to the next adjacent church that uses a different language; which church shall send thither four persons, in order, with general consent, to fix upon a proper time and place.
Whereas, two languages are used in the Netherlands, it is judged proper that the Dutch and Walloon churches shall have their distinct Consistories, Classical Assemblies, and Particular Synods.
It is notwithstanding judged proper, that in those cities where the abovementioned Walloon churches are, some Ministers, and Elders of both descriptions, should assemble together monthly, in order to preserve unity and mutual good correspondence; and as much as possible, according to circumstances, with counsel to assist each other.
III. OF DOCTRINES, SACRAMENTS,
THE HE MINISTERS of the word of God, as also the PROFESSORS of Theology, shall subscribe the confession of faith of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands; and Ministers who refuse so to do, shall immediately be suspended from their service, either by the Consistory, or by the Classis, until they shall have fully explained themselves: and if they continue obstinate in their refusal, they shall be wholly deposed from the ministry.
In like manner shall the School-masters, under the immediate care of the Consistory, be obliged to subscribe the aforesaid articles; or, instead thereof, the Heidelbergh Catechism.
No person professing the christian religion shall undertake to publish, or cause to be published, any book or writing on a religious subject, composed, or translated by himself, or another, without the previous inspection and approbation of the Ministers of his Classis, or of the Particular Synod, or of the Professors of Theology in that province, with the consent of the Classis.
The covenant of God shall be sealed by Baptism, to the infants of christians, in the public assembly, when
the word of God is preached, and as early as the administration thereof can be obtained. In places where no stated service is performed, a certain day shall be appointed in the week, for the extraordinary celebration of baptism, but not without a sermon previously delivered.
The Ministers shall exert their utmost endeavours that the father present his child to baptism, and in those congregations where it is customary, besides the father, to have sponsors, or witnesses, (which practice being in itself indifferent, is not causelessly to be altered) it is expedient that such only be admitted, as are sound in the faith, and of exemplary lives.
Ministers, in baptising infants, as well as adults, shall make use of the adopted forms in which the institution, and design of baptism, are for that purpose particularly explained.
Adults, by baptism, are initiated into the christian church, and received as members thereof in full communion; and therefore are bound to partake of the Lord's supper, which they shall promise at their baptism.
A faithful register shall be kept of the names of all those who are baptised, and also of the parents, and witnesses, as well as of the time of baptism.
No person shall be admitted to the Lord's supper, but those who make a confession of their faith in the Reformed religion, agreeably to the practice of the churches to which they are joined, and who also have the testimony of a pious deportment; without which also, none coming from other churches, shall be received.
Every church shall observe such a mode in administering the Lord's supper as shall be judged most conducive to edification; provided however, that the external ceremonies prescribed in the word of God, be not altered, and that all superstition be avoided. After the sermon, and usual public prayers are ended, the form for the administration of the Lord's supper, together with the prayer suited to the occasion, shall be read before the members approach the tables.
The Lord's supper shall be celebrated once every two months, if the same shall be convenient; and it will be expedient where the circumstances of the church admit, that it be administered at Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas. In places where no church is yet organised, Elders and Deacons shall be previou-ly appointed.
As the evening service has been found beneficial in many places, every church shall be at liberty to alopt such measures in this respect as shall be judged ont conducive to edification; but where such service has been customary, it shall not be laid wide milont the approbation of Classis.
In places where funeral sermons are not in ow, they shall not be introduced; and where they have aheady obtained, endeavours shall be used to abolish them in the best manner possible.
In times of war, pestilence, famine, severe FIUEN tion of the church, and other general calamities, the Ministers of the churches, shall petsia the civil ka lers, that by their authority ami commend, days of push lic fasting and prayer may be set apart, and same 'VisĄ,