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be given to the parties concerned, at least ten days, previoufly to the meeting of the judicatory.
5. The judicatory, in many cases, may find it more for edification, to fend fome members to converse, in a private manner, with the accused person; and, if he confess guilt, to endeavour to bring him to repentance, than to proceed imme. diately to citation.
6. When an accufed person, or a witness, refuses to obey the citation, he shall be cited a second, and third time ; and if he still continue to refuse, he shall be excluded from the communion of the church, for his contumacy; until he repent.
7. No crime fhall be considered as established by a single witness.
8. The oath or affirmation, to be taken by a witness, shall be administered by the moderator, and fhall be in the following, or like terms : “ I folemnly promise, in the presence of the om. niscient and heart-searching God, that I will declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ; according to the best of my knowledge, in the matter in which I am called to witness, as I shall answer it to the great Judge of quick and dead."
9. The trial shall be open, fair, and impartial. The witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accufed; or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend : and he shall be permitted to ask any questions tending to his own exculpation.
10. No witness, afterwards to be examined, shall be present during the examination of another witness, on the fame case.
11. The testimony given by witnesses, muft be faithfully recorded, and read to them, for their approbation or subscription.
12. The judgment shall be regularly entered on the records of the judicatory: and the parties shall be allowed copies of the whole proceedings, if they demand them. In case of references, or appeals, the judicatory appealed from shall send authentic copies of the whole process to the higher judicatories: and it fhall be considered as regular, for any member or members who may have diffented from the judgment of the inferior judicatory, to state and support their reasons, on the appeal.
13. The person found guilty shall be admonilhed, or rebuked, or excluded from church privileges, as the cafe shall appear to deserve ; and this only till he gave fatisfactory evidence of repentance.
14. The sentence shall be published, only in the church or churches which have been offended. Or, if it be a matter of small importance, and it shall appear most for edification not to publish it, it may pass only in the judicatory.
15. Such gross offenders as will not be reclaimed by the private or public admonitions of the church, are to be cut off from its communion, agreeably to our Lord's direction, Mat. xviii. 17, and the apostolic injunction respecting the incestuous person, 1 Cor. ver. 1-5. But as this is the highest censure of the church, and of the most folemn nature, it is not to be inflicted without the advice and consent of, at leaft, the presbytery under whose care the particular church is, to which the offender belongs; or the advice of a higher judicatory, as the case may appear to require.
16. All processes in cases of scandal shall commence, within the space of one year after the crime shall have been committed; unless it fhall have become recently flagrant.
17. When any member shall remove from one congregation to another, he shall produce proper testimonials of his church-membership, before he be admitted to church-privileges; unless the church, to which he removes, has other fatisfactory means of information.
c H A P.
Of Process against a Bishop or
S the success of the gospel, in a great mea.
sure, depends upon the credit and good report of its ministers, each presbytery ought,
with the greatest attention, to watch over all its members; and be careful to censure them, when neceflary, with impartiality; either for personal crimes, which they may commit in common with other men; or those that are vo. cational, arising from the manner in which they may discharge their important office.
1. Process, against a gospel minister, fhall always be entered before the presbytery of which he is a member. And, in case it shall be found that the facts with which he shall be charged happened without the bounds of his own presbytery, they shall send notice to the presbytery within whose bounds they did happen: and defire that presbytery, either (if within convenient distance) to cite the witnesses to appear at the place where the trial began, or, if otherwise, to take the examination themselves, and transmit an authentic record of their teftimony. Always giving due notice to the accused person of the time and place of such examination.
2. Nevertheless, in case of a minifter being supposed to be guilty of any crime, or crimes, at such a distance from his usual place of residence, as that the offence is not likely to become otherwise known to the presbytery to which he belongs; it shall, in such case, be the duty of the presbytery within whose bounds the facts shall have happened, after satisfying themselves that there is probable ground of accusation, to send notice to the presbytery of which he is a member; who are to proceed against him, and to take the proof by commission, as above directed.
3. Process, against a gofpel minister, shall not be entered upon
unless fome person, or persons, undertake to make out the charge; or when common fame so loudly proclaims the scandal, that the presbytery find it necessary to profecute, and search into the matter, for the honour of religion.
4. As the success of the gospel greatly de. pends on the unblemished character of its ministers; their foundness in the faith, and holy, and exemplary conversation; and as it is the duty of all Christians to be very cautious in taking up an ill report of any man ; it is especially fo of a minister of the gospel. If, therefore, any man know a minister guilty of a private censurable fault, he should warn him in private. But if he persist in it, or it become public, he should apply to some other bishop of the presbytery, for his advice in the matter.
5. When complaint is laid before the presbytery, it must be reduced to writing, and nothing farther is to be done at the first meeting, unless by consent of parties, then giving the minister a full copy of the charges, with the names of the witnesses annexed thereto ; and citing all par. ties, and their witnesses, to appear and be heard