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church belongs; who, if they see cause, shall thereupon convene, hear, and determine such cases of difficulty, unless the matter brought before them, shall be judged so great in the nature of it, or so doubtful in the issue, or of such general concern, that the said council shall judge best that it be referred to a fuller council, consisting of the churches of the other consociation within the same county, (or of the next adjoining consociation of another county, if there be not two consociations in the county where the difficulty ariseth,) who, together with themselves, shall hear, judge, determine, and finally issue such case, according to the word of God.

VIII. That a particular church, in which any difficulty doth arise, may, if they see cause, call a council of the consociated churches of the circuit to which the church belongs, before they proceed to sentence therein ; but there is not the same liberty to an offending brother, to call the council, before the church to which he belongs proceed to excommunication in the said case, unless with the consent of the church.

IX. That all the churches of the respective consociations shall choose, if they see cause, one or two members of each church, to represent them in the councils of the said churches, as occasion may

call for them, who shall stand in that capacity till new be chosen for the same service, unless any church shall incline to choose their messengers anew, upon the convening of such councils.

X. That the minister or ministers of the county towns, or where there are no ministers in such towns, the two next ministers to the said town, shall, as soon as conveniently may be, appoint time and place for the meeting of the elders and messengers of the churches in said county, in order to their forming themselves into one or more consociations, and notify the time and place to the elders and churches of that county who shall attend at the same, the elders in their persons,

and the churches by their messengers, if they see cause to send them. Which elders and messengers, so assembled in council, as also any other council hereby allowed of, shall have power to adjourn themselves, as need shall be, for the space of one year, after the beginning or first session of the said council, and no longer. And that minister who was chosen at the last session of any council, to be moderator, shall, with the advice and consent of two more elders, (or, in case of the moderator's death, any two elders of the same consociation,) call another council within the circuit, when they shall judge there is need thereof. And all councils may prescribe rules, as occasion may require, and whatever they judge needful within their circuit, for the well performing and orderly managing the several acts, to be attended by them, or matters that come under their cognizance.

XI. That if any person or persons, orderly complained of to a council

, or that are witnesses to such complaints, (having regular notification to appear,) shall refuse, or neglect so to do, in the place, and at the time specified in the warning given, except they or he give some satisfying reason thereof to the said council, they shall be judged guilty of scandalous contempt.

XII. That the teaching elders of each county shall be one association, (or more, if they see cause,) which association, or associations, shall assemble twice a year, at least, at such time and place as they shall appoint, to consult the duties of their office, and the common interest of the churches, who shall consider and resolve questions and cases of importance which shall be offered by any among themselves or others; who also shall have power of examining and recommending the candidates of the ministry to the work thereof.

XIII. That the said associated pastors shall take notice of any among themselves, that may be accused of scandal or heresy, unto or cognizable by them, examine the matter carefully, and if they find just

occasion shall direct to the calling of the council, where such offenders shall be duly proceeded against.

XIV. That the associated pastors shall also be consulted by bereaved churches, belonging to their association, and recommend to such churches such persons, as may be fit to be called and settled in the work of the gospel ministry among them. And if such bereaved churches shall not seasonably call and settle a minister among them, the said associated pastors shall lay the state of such bereaved church before the general assembly of this colony, that they may take order concerning them, as shall be found necessary for their peace and edification.

XV. That it be recommended as expedient, that all the associations in this colony do meet in a general association, by their respective delegates, one or more out of each association, once a year, the first meeting to be at Hartford, at the general election next ensuing the date hereof, and so annually in all the counties successively, at such time and place, as they the said delegates shall in their annual meetings appoint.'

The confession of faith, heads of agreement, and these articles of discipline having unanimously passed, and been signed by the scribes, were presented to the legislature the succeeding October, for their approbation and establishment. Upon which they passed the following adopting act :

“At a general court holden at New-Haven, October 1708.

“ The reverend ministers, delegates from the elders and messengers of this government, met at Saybrook, September 9th, 1708, having presented to this assembly a Confession of Faith, and Heads of Agreement, and regulations in the administration of church discipline, as unanimously agreed and consented to by the elders and churches in this government; this assembly doth declare their great approbation of such an happy agreement, and do ordain, that all the churches within this government, that are, or shall be, thus united in doctrine, worship, and discipline, be, and for the future shall be owned, and acknowledged established by law; provided always, that nothing herein shall be intended or construed to hinder or prevent any society or church, that is or shall be allowed by the laws of this government, who soberly differ or dissent from the united churches hereby established, from exercising worship and discipline, in their own way, according to their consciences.

A true copy, Test,

“ ELEAZER KIMBERLY, Secretary." “ The Saybrook Platform, thus unanimously recommended by the elders and messengers of the churches, and adopted by the legislature, as the religious constitution of the colony, met with a general reception, though some of the churches were extremely opposed to it.”

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