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Constituent Mem- from each presbytery, in the folbers of the General Assembly lowing proportion: viz. each prefbytery, confisting of not more than fix ministers shall send one minister and one elder; each pres.. bytery, conGfting of more than fix minifters and not more than twelve, shall send two ministers and two elders; and in like proportion, for every fix ministers, in any presbytery: And these delegates, fo appointed, shall bear the title of Commisoners to the general assembly. Sect. III. Any fourteen, or more, of these

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

at the place appointed, fhall be compe. tent to form a general assembly, and to proceed to business. Sect. IV. The assembly shall receive and if

sue 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 eve. ry fynod, to approve or censure them; they shall give their advice and instructions, in all other cases fubmitted 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 synod; 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, Reftrition of proposed by the assembly to be estabthe power of lished as constitutional rules, thall 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.

CHAP. 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 ele&t persons

to the office of ruling elder, and to Mode of electing 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 required of Ej. propose to him, in the presence of ders and Dea- the congregation, the following quef

tions : viz.

CODS.

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 confession of faith of this church, as containing the fystem of doctrine taught in the holy fcriptures ?

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

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

4. Do

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 deaPrayer. con as the case may be ;] and the minister shall give him, and the congregation, an exhortation suited to the occasion.

apart by

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

THE

that some trial be previously Presbyteries had of those who are to be ordainought to License ed to the ministry of the gospel, Probationers.

that this facred office may not be degraded, 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 shall licence probationers, to preach the gospel ; that after a competent trial of their talents, and

b Acts 6. 5, 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

M m

?

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

didates, applying to the presbytery Tefiimonials to to be licensed to preach the gospel, be produced by Candidates ap produce fatisfactory teftimonials of plying to be Li- 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 fatisfaction 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 matter of arts, from some college or university : or at leaft 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 allo.

b i Tim. 3. %. 3 John 12. mc Rom. 2. 21.

Thou, therefore, who teacheft another, teacheft thou not thyself? &c. in connection with letter a. re

d See letters a and b.

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