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f. 20. The Church of Chrif batb also been a grear sufferer from tbe Immoralities & disorderly walking of tbose that are related to Her, whose Leaven hath fometimes hazarded the whole Jump. 1 Cor. 5. 6: Whose unseemly Prażlises bave given advantage to Enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and to question ibe Truth of our holy Religion, & tbe fincerity of the Profeffors ibereof. Tbese must be acknowledged to be Spots and Blemishes, 2 Pec. 2. 13. The Wisdom of our Law giver King and Judge, who alone bath the Original sover aignty of giving being to, and laying obetoundations of thelburch, and wbose only is the Legislative power therein, batb given fucb ample Rights and Priviledges to the Church and such Excellent Rules for its Government, as are inviting to Strangers, like a City set on a Hill, Mat. 5. 14. And barb lodged the Executive power in approved bands, ibat those wbo love i be Cburcb may be in peace, and Her Enemies may find Her Terrible as an Army with Banners, and that she might yield seasonable edification to ibofe ihat walk Regularly witbin Her limits, and be able to Difcbarge Her self of impenitent and Incorrigible Offenders. Many of the forementioned miscbiefs have to our sorrow offliated the Cburcbes within this Government, and by degrees we bave fallen under mucb decay. Wbereupon our din culties have been of a long time troub?
for the bealing cur Wounds, a more Explicade alerting tbe Rules of Government jufficiently provided in the Holy Word baib been ibought bighly expedient Wberefore,
Tbe Honourable, the General Assembly of this. Colony out of 6 Terder regard to the welfare of the Churcbes wit bin ibe limits of sbeir Government, were plea, ed to appoint the feveral Elders of each county wiib Millengers from tbeirChurches to meet in Council, in wbicb obey should endeavour to agree in some General Rules Conformable 10 the Word of God for a merbod of Discipline so be practised in cur Cburcbes, These several Councils bavarg met and drawn up fome Rules of Cbureb Government did by ibiir Delegates meet and curftirute one General Afembly of ibe Cburcbes of Ibis Colony at Say Brook, Sept. gth. 1708. W ko after a full content and Agreement unlo the Conflion of Faith Alented unto by sbe Synod of Bofton ; Did being Siudicus of keeping the Unity of the Spint in the Bund of peace, Eph. 4. 2. Agrie ibat ibe Heads of Agreement Allented to by the United Bret bren formerly called Presbyterian and Congregational, in England, be observed by the Clurches throughout this Colony, wbicb are ber with Published, and after Corsider alion of tbe several draugbts of tbe County Councils, did with a Cbrifian Condescention, and Fraternal Ami
cubleness Unanimously Agree to the Articles for the Administration of Church Discipline now offered to Publick View ail wbicb being presented, were allowed of and Efablifped by the General Afsembly of this Colony, as by ibtir Afts appears for ibe better satisfaction of our people, we bave ändertaken a tojk, acceptable we trust unto meny; ibo' it escape not tbe Exceptions of some, in subjøyning Scriptures for Coifirmasion of the Heads of Agreement, which we bave not seen added bereunto. Tbe afurefaid Articles consist in Two Heads, The one holding forch the power of particular Churches in the Management of Discipline confirmed by Scriptures annexed,
The other, serves to preserve promote or recover the Peace & Edification of the Churches by the means of a Consociation of the Elders, and Churches or of an Affociation of Elders: Borbe which we are agreed bave Countenance from tbe Scriptures and tøe Propofitions in Answer to tbe Second Question given by the synout met a: Boston 1662. In both wbich baving respeel to tbe Divine Precepts of Fraternal Union, and that Principle univerfally acknowledged, Quod tangit omnes debet tractari abomnibus. Tbe Scriptures are added for the Illustration of the substance of the abovermentioned Articles, yet with an Apprebenfion, that there may be altera, tions made 3 fursbor Condescentions égreed up
on, wbicb Mall afterwards appear neceffary for the Order & Edification of our Cburches.
As we bave laboured in this affair to approve 'our felves unto God, so we are cbeerful with bumble Prayer for bis Blessing to recommend ibe Heads of Agreement with obe subsequent Articles unto the acceptance and observation of our People, boping till it please the Lord to fend forth further light and iruit in these more Controverfal Matters, this Meibod may be a blessed means of our better Unanimity and Success in our Lord's Work for the Gat bering and Edifying of the Body of Christ, for which we befpeak ibe Çoxcuring Prayers of all that fear tbe LORD.
Heads of Agreement Al
fented to by the United Ministers formerly called Presbyterian & Congregational.
E acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ
to have one Catbolick Churcb,or King
dom, comprehending all that are united to him, whether in Heaven or Earth. And do conceive the whole Multitude of ViGble Believers, and their Infant Seed (commonly call'd the Catbolick. Visible Cburcb) to belong to Christ's Spiritual Kingdom in this world. But for the Norjon of a Catbolick Visible Churcb here, as it fignifies it's having been collected into any formed Society, under a visible common Head on Earth, whether one Person sing. ly or many Collectively, we with che reft of Protestants, unanimously disclaim it. Epb.1.10