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of Presbyterianism, their own privileges and work in the Church and their relation to other denominations of Christians.

To meet these needs in my own congregation, I formed a class on Church Polity, and prepared questions on our “Form of Government” to help the members in their study. The interest excited and the good accomplished convinced me that all the officers and members of our churches would be greatly helped by authoritative answers to such questions. In this book I attempt to aid them, presenting, not my own views nor the theories of others, but PRESBYTERIAN LAW AS DEFINED BY THE CHURCH COURTS. Sound doctrine, the efficiency of officers, Christian activity and the maintenance of fellowship with other branches of Christ's Church, all depend very much upon a correct appreciation and proper use of our scriptural form of government; the principles of which have been developed and illustrated under both the Old and New Dispensations of the Church of God. Sabbath-school classes in Church Polity therefore would be a lasting spiritual edification to the whole Church; and more practical instruction in the theological seminaries and thorough examinations before Presbytery would secure a ministry better fitted to teach and to rule.

The real unity of the Church, as well as denominational courtesy, requires the recognition of the ministry, ordinances and discipline of other branches of the Christian Church. Christ brings all his wcrshipers into frequent ecclesiastical and personal relations for mutual improvement, and in anticipation of the perfect communion to be enjoyed hereafter. I have therefore stated the principal peculiarities of other churches, as far as possible, in the words of their acknowledged standards.

I trust that this book may help to make us more loyal and efficient as Presbyterians, and more sympathetic with the whole body of Christ.


January, 1882.



The reception of this book by the Church has been exceedingly gratifying. I have been assured by many that it meets a want long felt by our church officers and communicants.

In preparing the Fourth Edition, it soon became evident that the adoption of the new “Book of Discipline,” and the revision of the tenth chapter of the “ Directory for Worship,” have introduced so many changes in our methods that a careful revision of this book was necessary.

It was found also desirable to incorporate into the body of the work the matter contained in the Appendix to the Third Edition, and to insert the decisions of the General Assembly to the present date. This has required the alteration of many plates, the rewriting of a large number of pages and the addition of others. The Board of Publication has kindly consented to make the changes in the plates. The book therefore goes forth anew, greatly increased in value and better adapted to the present needs of the Church.


January, 1886.


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