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Constituent Mem- from each presbytery, in the fol. bers of the General Assembly. lowing proportion: viz. each prefbytery, consisting of not more than fix ministers shall send one minister and one elder; each prefbytery, consisting of more than fix ministers and not more than twelve, shall send two ministers and two elders; and in líke proportion, for every fix ministers, in any presbytery: And these delegates, fo appointed, shall bear the title of Commisjoners to the general assembly. Sect. III. Any fourteen, or more, of these

commissioners, one half of whom shall Quorum thereof. be ministers, being met, on the day, and

at the place appointed, fhall be competent to form a general assembly, and to proceed to business. Sect. IV. The assembly, shall receive and is:

fue all appeals and references, which Power of the Assembly

may be regularly brought before them

from the inferior judicatories; they shall review the minutes and proceedings of every fynod, to approve or censure them; they shall give their advice and instructions, in all other cases submitted to them; and they shall also constitute the bond of union, peace, correspondences and mutual confidence, among all our churches.

, Sect. V. To the assembly also belongs the

power of consulting, reasoning, and Other Powers of the Asembly.judging, in controversies respecting

doctrine and discipline ; of reproving, warning, or bearing testimony against error:

in doctrine, or immorality in practice, in any church, presbytery, or fynod ; of corresponding with foreign churches ; of putting a stop to schismatical contentions, and difputations ; and, in general, of recommending and attempting reformation of manners, and of promoting charity, truth and holiness, through all the churches; and of erecting new fynods, when they judge it neceffary

Sect. VI. Before any overtures or regulations, Refri&tion of proposed by the afsembly to be estabthe power of lished as constitutional rules, shall be the Asembly. obligatory on the churches, it shall be necessary to transmit them to all the presbyteries, and to receive the returns of, at least, a majority of the presbyteries, in writing, approving thereof.

c H A P.

XII.

Of Electing and ordaining ruling

Elders and Deucons.

H

Sect. I. AVING defined the officers

of the church, and the aflemblies by which it shall be governed, it is proper here to prescribe the modes in which ecclefiaftical rulers shall be ordained to their refpective offices, Sect. II. Every congregation shall eleet persons

to the office of ruling elder, and to Mode of elect ing ruling El- the office of deacon, or either of them, ders, &c.

in the mode most approved, and in use in that congregation'. But in all cases, the persons elected, must be male communicating members in that church, in which they are to exercise their office, Sect. III. When any person shall have been

elected to either of these offices, and How to be or dained. shall have declared his willingness to

accept thereof, he shall be set apart in the following manner,

Sect. IV. After fermon, the minister shall Engagements propose to him, in the presence of

. ders and Dea- the congregation, the following quef

tions : viz.

CODS.

Ꭵ Ꭰ

1. Do you believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, to be the word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice ?

2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt, the confellion of faith of this church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the holy scriptures ?

3. Do you approve of the government and difcipline of the presbyterian church, as exercised in these United States ?

4. Do you accept the office of ruling elder for deacon as the case may be] in this congrega

4

a i Cor, 14. 40. Let all things be done decently and in order.

tion, and promise faithfully to perform all the duties thereof? After having answered these questions in the

affirmative, he shall be set apart, by To be fet

prayer, to the office of elder (or deaapart by Prayer. con as the case may be ;] and the minister shall give him, and the congregation, an exhortation suited to the occasion.

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Of licensing Candidates, or Probationers, to preach the Gospel. Sect. I. 'HE holy scriptures require

THE

that some trial be previously Presbyteries

had of those who are to be ordain. ought to License ed to the ministry of the gospel, that this facred office

may

not be de, graded, by being committed to weak or unworthy mena ; and that the churches *

may have

an opportunity to form a better judgment respecting the talents of those by whom they are to be instructed and governed. For this purpose presbyteries fhall licence probationers, to preach the gospel ; that after a competent trial of their talents, and

Probationers.

а

b Ads 6. 3, 6.

a I Tim. 3. 6. Not a novice. 2 Tim. 2. 2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same

a

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receiving from the churches a good report,
they may, in due time, ordain them to the pastoral
officeb.
Sect. II. It is proper and requisite, that can-

didates, applying to the presbytery
Testimonials to to be licensed to preach the gospel,
be produced by
Candidates ap produce fatisfactory testimonials of
plying to be Lic their good moral character, and of
censed.

their being regular members of some particular church. And it is the duty of the presbytery, for their satisfaction with regard to the real piety of such candidates, to examine them respecting their experimental acquaintance with religion, and the motives which influence them to defire the sacred office. And it is recommended, that the candidate be also required to produce a diploma, of bachelor or maiter of arts, from some college or university : or at least authentic testimonials of his having gone through a regular course of learning. Sect. III. Because it is highly reproachful

to religion, and dangerous to the Trials in order church, to intrust the holy minito Lincense.

ftry to weak and ignorant men', the

commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others
also.

bi Tim. 3. 3. 3 John 12.
c Rom. 2. 21.

Thou, therefore, who teacheft another, teach-
eft thou not thyself? &c, in connection with letter a.
ad See letters a and b.

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