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administering baptism and the Lord's supper; public solemn fasting and thanksgiving, catechizing, making collections for the poor and other pious purposes;
e Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, &c. And Mark xvi. 15, 16. 1 Cor. xi. 23, 24, 25, 26. For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also. he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Compared with 1 Cor. x. 16.
Luke v. 35. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. Psa. 1. 14. Offer unto God thanksgiving: and pay thy vows unto the Most High. Phil. iv. 6.-In every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. See 1 Tim. ii. 1. Psa. xcv. 2.
Heb. v. 12. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again, which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
h 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me. Gal. ii. 10. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
exercising discipline; and blessing the peo
OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT, AND THE SEVERAL KINDS OF
I. IT is absolutely necessary that the government of the church be exercised under some certain and definite form. k And we hold it to be expedient, and agreeable to Scripture and the practice of the primitive Christians, that the church be governed by congregational, presbyterial, and synodical assemblies. In full con
i Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you al Amen. Eph. i. 2. Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ezek. xliii. 11, 12. Show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings-out thereof, and the comings-in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. This is the law of the house.
sistency with this belief, we embrace, in the spirit of charity, those Christians who differ from us, in opinion and practice, on these subjects.
II. These assemblies ought not to possess any civil jurisdiction, nor to inflict any civil penalties. Their power is wholly moral or spiritual, and that only ministerial 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 necessary 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 highest punishment to which their authority extends, is to exclude the contumacious and impenitent from the congregation of believers. •
1 Acts xv. 5, 6. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees, which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
m Luke xii. 13, 14. And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me judge or a divider over you? John xviii. 36.My kingdom is not of this world.
Acts xv. from the 1st to the 32d verse.
• Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him
OF THE CHURCH SESSION.
I. THE Church session consists of the pastor or pastors, and ruling elders, of a particular congregation. P
II. Of this judicatory, two elders, if there be as many in the congregation, with the pastor, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum.
III. The pastor of the congregation shall always be the moderator of the session; except when, for prudential reasons, it may appear advisable that some other minister should be invited to preside; in which case the pastor may, with the concurrence of the session, invite such other minister as they may see meet, belonging to the same presbytery, to preside in
his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
P 1 Cor. v. 4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
that case. The same expedient may be adopted in case of the sickness or absence of the pastor.
IV. It is expedient, at every meeting of the session, more especially when constituted for judicial business, that there be a presiding minister. When, therefore, a church is without a pastor, the moderator of the session shall be, either the minister appointed for that purpose by the presbytery, or one invited by the session to preside on a particular occasion. But where it is impracticable, without great inconvenience, to procure the attendance of such a moderator, the session may proceed without it.
V. In congregations where there are two or more pastors, they shall, when present, alternately preside in the session.
VI. The Church session is charged with maintaining the spiritual government of the congregation; for which purpose, they have power to inquire into the knowledge and Christian conduct of the members of the church; to call before them offenders and witnesses, being members of their own congregation, and to introduce other witnesses, where it may be necessary to bring the process to issue, and when they can be procured to attend; to receive members into the church; to
q Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they may do it with joy, and not with grief. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13, and 1 Tim. v. 17.
Ezek. xxxiv. 4.