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different sentiments or practice herein, shall be any occasion of contention, or breach of communion among us. Phil. iii, 15. Eph. iv, 2, 3.
VII. It is expedient that they who enter on the work of preaching the gospel, be not only qualified for the communion of saints ; but also, lhat except in cases extruordinary, they give proof of their gifts and fitness for the said work, unto the Pastors of Churches of known abilities, to discern and judge of their qualifications ; that they may be sent forth with solemn approbation and prayer ; which we judge needful, that no doubt may remain concerning their being called unto the work ; and for preventing (as much as in us lieth) ignorant and rash intruders. I Tim. i, 22, and iii, 6.
III. Of Censures.
Sit cannot be avoided, but :hat in the
purest churches on earth, there will sometimes offences and scandals arise by reason of hypocrisy and prevailing corruption, so Christ hath made it the duty of every church to reform itself, by spiritual remedies, appointed hy bim, to be applied in all such cases, viz. Admonition and Excommunication. Mat. viii,
7. Heb. xii, 15. Tit. iii, 10. I Cor. v. 6.
II. Admonition, being the rebuking of an of fending member in order to conviction, is in case of private offences to be performed according to the rule in Mat. xviii, 15, 16, 17, and in case of publick offences openly before the Church, as the honour of the gospel, and the Dature of the scandal shall require, and if either of the Admonitions take place for the recovery of the fallen person, all further proceedings in a way of censure are thereon to cease, and satis faction to be declared accordingly. I Tim. i, 20. Mat. xvii, 15, 17,
II. When all due means are used, according to the order of the gospel, for the restoring an offending and scandalous Brother, and he,'notwithstanding, remains impenitent, the censure of Excommunication is to be proceeded unto; wherein the Pastor and other Elders (if there be such) are to lead and go before the Church; and the brotherhood to give their consent in a way of obedience unto Christ, and to the Elders, as over them in the Lord. Mat. xviii, 15, 16, 17. Tit. iii, 10. I Cor. v.
I 1 bes. V
IV. It may sometimes come to pass, that a Church Member, not otherwise scandalous, may fully wi hdraw, and divide himself from the communion of the Church to which he belongeth: In which case, when all due means for the se
ducing him prove ineffcctual, he having there. by cut hunself off from that church's commune ion ; the church may justly esteem and declare itse if discharged of any further inspection over him. Heb. X. 25. Rom. xvi. 17. II Thess iii, 14.
IV. Of Communion of Churches. 1.
E agree that particular Churches
ought not to walk so distinct and palale from tach other, as not to have care and tenderness towards one another. But their Pastors ought to have frequent meetings together, that by mutual advice, support, encouragt ment and brotherly intercourse, they may strengthen the hearts and hands of each other in the ways of the Lord. Acts, xv. 23, and XX, 17, 28.
II. That none of our particular churches shall be subordinate to one another, each being endued with equality of power from Jesus Christ. And that none of the said particular churches, their officer or officers, shall exercise any power, or have any superiority over any other church or their officers. Rev. i, 4. Cant. viii, 8. I Cor. xvi, 19. Acts, xy. 23.
III. That known members of particular churches constituted as aforesaid, may have ocCasional communion with one another in the ordinances of the gospel, viz. the Word, Prayer, Sacraments, Singing of Psalms, dispensed according to the mind of Christ : unless that church with which they desire communion, hath any just exception against them. Acts, xviii, 27. Rom. xvi, 1, 2. II Cor. iii, 1. I Cor. xii, 13.
IV. That we ought not to admit any one to be a member of our respective congregations, that hath joined himself to another, without endeavours of mutual satisfaction of the congregation concerned. Heb. xiii, 1. I Cor. xiv, 40.
V. That one church ought not to blame the proceedings of another, until it hath heard what that church charged, its Elders or messengersą can say in vindication of themselves, from any charge of irregular or injurious proceedings. Mat. vii, 1. Prov. xviii, 17. Deut. xiii, 14.
VI. That we are most willing and ready to give an account of our church proceedings to each other, when desired, for preventing or removing any offences that may arise among us. Likewise we shall be ready to give the Right Hand of Fellowship, and walk together according to the gospel rules of communion of church-,
I Pet. ii, 15. Rom: xiv, 19. Acts, xi, 2, 3, 4, 18. Josh. xxii, 13 21, 30. Gal. ii, o. Col.
ii. 5. I Pet. iv, 10, 11. I Cor. x, 34. Rom. ij 15. Gal. vi, 10.
V. Of Deacons and Ruling Elders. We agree, the office of a Deacon is of di
vine appointment, and that it belongs to to their office to receive, lay out, and distribute the Church's stock to its proper uses, by the direction of the Pastor and brethren, if need be. And whereas, divers are of opinion, that there is also the office of Ruling Elders, who labour not in word and doctrine, and others think otherwise ; we agree that this difference make no
Acts, vi, 3, 5, 6. Phil. i, 1. I Tim. jii 8 to 13. Rom. xii, 8. I Cor. xii, 28. I Tim. v, 17. Phil. iii, 15, 16.
breach among us,
VI. of occasional Meeting of Ministers, C. F. WE agree that in order to concord, and
in other weighty and difficult cases, it' ss needful and according to the mind of Christ, that the Ministers of the several Churches be