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OF THE ELECTION AND ORDINATION OF BISHOPS OR
I. WHEN any probationer shall have preached so much to the satisfaction of any congregation, as that the people appear prepared to elect a pastor, the session shall take measures to convene them for this purpose: and it shall always be a duty of the session to convene them, when a majority of the persons entitled to vote in the case, shall, by a petition, request that a meeting may be called.
II. When such a meeting is intended, the session shall solicit the presence and counsel of some neighbouring minister to assist them in conducting the election contemplated, unless highly inconvenient on account of distance; in which case they may proceed without such assistance.
III. On a Lord's-day, immediately after public worship, it shall be intimated from the pulpit, that all the members of that congregation are requested to meet on ensuing,
at the church, or usual place for holding public worship; then and there, if it be agreeable to them, to proceed to the election of a pastor for that congregation.
IV. On the day appointed, the minister invited to preside, if he be present, shall, if it be deemed expedient, preach a sermon; and after sermon he shall announce to the people, that
he will immediately proceed to take the votes of the electors of that congregation, for a pastor, if such be their desire: and when this desire shall be expressed by a majority of voices, he shall then proceed to take votes accordingly. In this election, no person shall be entitled to vote who refuses to submit to the censures of the church, regularly administered; or who does not contribute his just proportion, according to his own engagements, or the rules of that congregation, to all its necessary expenses.
V. When the votes are taken, if it appear that a large minority of the people are averse from the candidate who has a majority of votes, and cannot be induced to concur in the call, the presiding minister shall endeavour to dissuade the congregation from prosecuting it further. But if the people be nearly, or entirely, unanimous; or if the majority shall insist upon their right to call a pastor, the presiding minister, in that case, after using his utmost endeavours to persuade the congregation to unanimity, shall proceed to draw a call, in due form, and to have it subscribed by the electors; certifying at the same time, in writing, the number and circumstances of those who do not concur in the call; all which proceedings shall be laid before the presbytery, together with the call.
VI. The call shall be in the following or like form: viz.
The congregation of being, on sufficient grounds, well satisfied of the ministe
rial qualifications of you
having good hopes, from our past experience of your labours, that your ministrations in the Gospel will be profitable to our spiritual interests, do earnestly call and desire you to undertake the pastoral office in said congregation; promising you, in the discharge of your duty, all proper support, encouragement, and obedience in the Lord. And that you may be free from worldly cares and avocations, we hereby promise and oblige ourselves to pay to you the in regular quarterly (or half yearly, or yearly) payments, during the time of your being and continuing the regular pastor of this church. In testimony whereof, we have respectively subscribed our names, this day of A. D.
Attested by A. B., Moderator of the meeting.
VII. But if any congregation shall choose to subscribe their call by their elders and deacons, or by their trustees, or by a select committee, they shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the presbytery, by the minister, or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed, for this purpose, by a public vote of the congregation; and that the call has been, in all other respects, prepared as above directed.
VIII. When a call shall be presented to any minister or candidate, it shall always be viewed as a sufficient petition from the people for his instalment. The acceptance of a call, by a
minister or candidate, shall always be consid ered as a request, on his part, to be installed at the same time. And when a candidate shall be ordained in consequence of a call from any congregation, the presbytery shall, at the same time, if practicable, install him pastor of that congregation.
IX. The call, thus prepared, shall be presented to the presbytery, under whose care the person called shall be; that, if the presbytery think it expedient to present the call to him, it may be accordingly presented: and no minister or candidate shall receive a call but through the hands of the presbytery.
X. If the call be to a licentiate of another presbytery, in that case the commissioners de puted from the congregation to prosecute the call, shall produce, to that judicatory, a certificate from their own presbytery, regularly attested by the moderator and clerk, that the call has been laid before them, and that it is in order. If that presbytery present the call to their licentiate, and he be disposed to accept it, they shall then dismiss him from their jurisdiction, and requirè him to repair to that presbytery, into the bounds of which he is called; and there to submit himself to the usual trials preparatory to ordination.
XI. Trials for ordination, especially in a different presbytery from that in which the candidate was licensed, shall consist of a careful examination as to his acquaintance with experi
mental religion; as to his knowledge of philosophy, theology, ecclesiastical history, the Greek and Hebrew languages, and such other branches of learning as to the presbytery may appear requisite; and as to his knowledge of the constitution, the rules and principles of the government, and discipline of the church; together with such written discourse, or discourses, founded on the word of God, as to the presbytery shall seem proper. The presbytery, being fully satisfied with his qualifications for the sacred office, shall appoint a day for his ordination, which ought to be, if convenient, in that church of which he is to be the minister. It is also recommended that a fast day be observed in the congregation previous to the day of ordination.
XII. The day appointed for ordination being come, and the presbytery convened, a member of the presbytery, previously appointed to that duty, shall preach a sermon adapted to the occasion. The same, or another member appointed to preside, shall afterwards briefly recite from the pulpit, in the audience of the people, the proceedings of the presbytery preparatory to this transaction: he shall point out the nature and importance of the ordinance; and endeavour to impress the audience with a proper sense of the solemnity of the transaction.
Then addressing himself to the candidate,
See the proofs in sections 1, 2, 3, 4, of chapter iv. 4 Acts xiii. 2, 3.