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him. He shall, at a proper season, when the deliberations are ended, put the question and call the votes. If the judicatory be equally divided, he shall possess the casting vote. If he be not willing to decide, he shall put the question a second time; and if the judicatory be again equally divided, and he decline to give his vote, the question shall be lost. In all questions he shall give a concise and clear state of the object of the vote; and the vote being taken, shall then declare how the question is decided. And he shall likewise be empowered, on any extraordinary emergency, to convene the judicatory, by his circular letter, before the ordinary time of meeting.
III. The moderator of the presbytery shall be chosen from year to year, or at every meeting of the presbytery, as the presbytery may think best. The moderator of the synod, and of the General Assembly, shall be chosen at each meeting of those judicatories: and the moderator, or, in case of his absence, another member appointed for the purpose, shall open the next meeting with a sermon, and shall hold the chair till a new moderator be chosen.
EVERY judicatory shall choose a clerk, to record their transactions, whose continuance
shall be during pleasure. It shall be the duty of the clerk, besides recording the transactions, to preserve the records carefully; and to grant extracts from them, whenever properly required : and such extracts, under the hand of the clerk, shall be considered as authentic vouchers of the fact which they declare, in any ecclesiastical judicatory, and to every part of the church.
OF VACANT CONGREGATIONS ASSEMBLING FOR PUBLIC
CONSIDERING the great importance of weekly assembling the people, for the public worship of God, in order thereby to improve their knowledge; to confirm their habits of worship, and their desire of the public ordinances ; to augment their reverence for the most high God; and to promote the charitable affections which unite men most firmly in society: it is recommended, that every vacant congregation meet together, on the Lord's day, at one or more places, for the purpose of prayer, singing praises, and reading the holy Scriptures, together with the works of such approved divines, as the presbytery, within whose bounds they are, may recommend, and they may be able to procure; and that the elders or deacons be the persons who shall preside, and select the por
tions of Scripture, and of the other books to be read; and to see that the whole be conducted in a becoming and orderly manner.
CHAPTER XXII. OF COMMISSIONERS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. I. THE commissioners to the General Assembly shall always be appointed by the presbytery from which they come, at its last stated meeting, immediately preceding the meeting of the General Assembly; provided, that there be a sufficient interval between that time and the meeting of the Assembly, for the commissioners to attend to their duty in due season; otherwise, the presbytery may make the appointment at any stated meeting, not more than seven months preceding the meeting of the Assembly. And as much as possible to prevent all failure in the representation of the presbyteries, arising from unforeseen accidents to those first appointed, it may be expedient for each presbytery, in the room of each commissioner, to appoint also an alternate commissioner to supply his place, in case of necessary absence.
II. Each commissioner, before his name shall be enrolled as a member of the Assembly, shail produce from his presbytery, a commission under the hand of the moderator and clerk, in the following, or like form: viz. “The presbytery of
being met at day of
6 doth hereby appoint
bishop of the “congregation of
[or “ruling elder in the congregation of “the case may be ;”] (to which the presbytery may, if they think proper, make a substitution in the following form) "or in case of his absence,
bishop of the congregation of
Tor ruling elder in the con“gregation of
as the case may be:] “to be a commissioner, on behalf of this presby
tery, to the next General Assembly of the “ Presbyterian Church in the United States of “ America, to meet at 6 day of A. D.
or wherever, " and whenever the said Assembly may happen "to sit; to consult, vote, and determine, on all " things that may come before that body, ac“cording to the principles and constitution of “this church, and the word of God. And of “his diligence herein, he is to render an account at his return. Signed by order of the presbytery,
Clerk." And the presbytery shall make record of the appointment.
III. In order, as far as possible, to procure a respectable and full delegation to all our judicatories, it is proper that the expenses of ministers and elders in their attendance on these judicatories, be defrayed by the bodies which they respectively represent.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF DISCIPLINE.
1. DISCIPLINE is the exercise of that authority and the application of that system of laws which the Lord Jesus Christ has appointed in his church.
II. The exercise of discipline is highly important and necessary. Its ends are, the removal of offences; the vindication of the honour of Christ; the promotion of the purity and general edification of the church; and also the benefit of the offender himself.
III. An offence is any thing in the principles or practice of a church member, which is contrary to the word of God; or which, if it be not in its own nature sinful, may tempt others to sin, or mar their spiritual edification.
IV. Nothing, therefore, ought to be considered by any judicatory as an offence, or admitted as matter of accusation, which cannot be proved to be such from Scripture; or from the regulations and practice of the church, founded on Scripture; and which does not involve those evils, which discipline is intended to prevent.