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ings, and to report to the synod, every year, licensures, ordinations, the receiving or dismissing of members, the removal of members by death, the union or division of congregations, or the formation of new ones; and in general, all the important changes which may have taken place within their bounds in the course of the year.
X. The presbytery shall meet on its own adjournment; and when any emergency shall require a meeting sooner than the time to which it stands adjourned, the moderator, or, in case of his absence, death, or inability to act, the stated clerk, shall, with the concurrence, or at the request of two ministers and two elders, the elders being of different congregations, call a special meeting. For this purpose he shall send a circular letter, specifying the particular business of the intended meeting, to every minister belonging to the presbytery, and to the session of every vacant congregation, in due time previous to the meeting; which shall not be less than ten days. And nothing shall be transacted at such special meeting besides the particular business for which the judicatory has been thus convened.
XI. At every meeting of presbytery, a sermuri shall be delivered, if convenient; and every particular session shall be opened and closed with prayer.
XII. Ministers in good standing in other
presbyteries, or in any sister churches, who may happen to be present, may be invited to sit with the presbytery, as corresponding members. Such members shall be entitled to deliberate and advise, but not to vote in any decisions of the presbytery.
OF THE SYNOD.*
I. As a presbytery is a convention of the bishops and elders within a certain district : 80 a synod is a convention of the bishops and elders within a larger district, including at least three presbyteries. The ratio of the representation of elders in the synod is the same as in the presbytery.
II. Any seven ministers, belonging to the synod, who shall convene at the time and place of meeting, with as many elders as may be present, shall be a quorum to transact synodical business; provided not more than three of the said ministers belong to one presbytery.
III. The same rule, as to corresponding members, which was laid down with respect to the presbytery, shall apply to the synod.
* As the proofs already adduced in favour of a presbyterial assembly in the government of the church, are equally valid in support of a synodical assembly, it is unnecessary to repeat the scriptures to which reference has been made under Chap. X., or to add any other.
IV. The synod has power to receive and issue all appeals regularly brought up from the presbyteries; to decide on all references made to them; to review the records of presbyteries, and approve or censure them; to redress whatever has been done by presbyteries contrary to order; to take effectual care that presbyteries observe the constitution of the church; to erect new presbyteries, and unite or divide those which were before erected; generally to take such order with respect to the presbyteries, sessions, and people under their care, as may be in conformity with the word of God and the established rules, and which tend to promote the edification of the church; and, finally, to propose to the general assembly, for their adoption, such measures as may be of common advantage to the whole church.
V. The synod shall convene at least once in each year; at the opening of which a sermon shall be delivered by the moderator, or, in case of his absence, by some other member; and every particular session shall be opened and closed with prayer.
VI. It shall be the duty of the synod to keep full and fair records of its proceedings, to submit them annually to the inspection of the General Assembly, and to report to the Assembly the number of its presbyteries, and of the members and alterations of the presbyteries.
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.*
I. THE General Assembly is the highest judicatory of the Presbyterian Church. It shall represent, in one body, all the particular churches of this denomination; and shall bear the title of THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
II. The General Assembly shall consist of an equal delegation of bishops and elders from each presbytery, in the following proportion ; viz: each presbytery consisting of not more than twenty-four ministers, shall send one minister and one elder; and each presbytery consisting of more than twenty-four ministers, shall send two ministers and two elders; and
* The radical principles of Presbyterian church government and discipline are:- That the several different congregations of believers, taken collectively, constitute one church of Christ, called emphatically the church ;-that a larger part of the church, or a representation of it, should govern a smaller, or determine matters of controversy which arise therein ;-that, in like manner, a representation of the whole should govern and determine in regard to every part, and to all the parts united; that is, that a majority shall govern: and consequently that appeals may be carried from lower to higher judicatories, till they be finally decided by the collected wisdom and united voice of the whole church. For these principles and this procedure, the example of the apostles, and the practice of the primitive church, are considered as authority. See Acts xv. to the 29th verse ; and the proofs adduced under the last three chapters.
in the like proportion for every twenty-four ministers in any presbytery: and these delegates, so appointed, shall be styled, Commissioners to the General Assembly.
III. Any fourteen or more of these commissioners, one half of whom shall be ministers, being met on the day, and at the place appointed, shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.
IV. The General Assembly shall receive and issue all appeals and references which may be regularly brought before them from the inferior judicatories. They shall review the records of every synod, and approve or censure them : they shall give their advice and instruction in all cases submitted to them in conformity with the constitution of the church; and they shall constitute the bond of union, peace, correspondence, and mutual confidence, among all our churches.
V. To the General Assembly also belongs the power of deciding in all 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 erecting new synods when it may be judged necessary; of superintending the concerns of the whole church ; of corresponding with foreign churches, on such terms as may be agreed upon by the Assembly and the corresponding body; of suppressing schismatical contentions and disputations; and,