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its members not being confined to any particular nation or religious denomination.
PART II. OF THE EXTERNAL OR VISIBLE CHURCH.
SECTION 1. The visible church is the collective body of those who profess the Christian religion; consisting of all those who have been admitted to membership by baptism,* and have not been deprived of it by excommunication.
SEC. 2. Of this church our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the true and only head; † having neither abondoned his church nor appointed any
vicar in his stead.
SEC. 3. As the spirit of Christianity leads its possessors to social intercourse with each other, and as such a fellowship is essential to the accomplishment of the object of the Christian church; therefore, believers, living near together, have from the time of the apostles formed themselves into Christian congregations.
SEC. 4. It is the duty of every such church to have the word and sacraments administered in their purity; to give an adequate and just support to the pastor or pastors who minister unto them; to provide for the perpetuation of a faithful ministry able to teach, and to endeavor to propagate the gospel to the ends of the earth.**
SEC. 5. It is the duty of the church to watch over the purity and faithfulness of her members.ti
*Matt. xxviii. 19. † Eph. v. 23, 24; Eph. i. 22 John xiii. 34, 35; Eph. iv. 3; v. 19. Acts ii. 41; 1 Thess. ii. 14; Gal. i. 22. 1 Tim. iv. 6; vi. 3, 5; Gal. i. 8, 9. Tit. i. 5; 2 Tim. ii. 2. **Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
tt 1 Cor. v. 7, 13
SEC. 6. The jurisdiction of the church is purely spiritual; it ought to have no connection with the civil government,* neither ought its decisions be enforced by the arm of civil power.
SEC. 7. The power of the church is purely declarative, whether exercised by an individual church council, or by any other ecclesiastical ju dicatory; i. e. the Bible is their juridical code, an their decisions are valid, only because founded on Scripture.
SEC. 8. The visible church is not an association to which we may belong or not at our option, but it is the duty of every one who has an opportunity, to be a faithful member of it.†
OF THE OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH.
SECTION 1. Our Lord and Saviour himself instituted the clerical office in the New Testament church, and made it of perpetual standing.† The persons filling this office, are in Scripture designated by different names, as bishop, presbyter or elder, etc., & indicative of the duties of the office. All these are by divine right of equal rank, || and their duties are principally these: to
John xviii. 26.
Matt. xxviii. 19; xi. 28, 29
Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; 2 Tim. ii. 2; Tit. i. 5.
2 Cor. iv. 1; Eph. iv. 11.
Luke xxii. 25, 26; Acts xx, 17, compared with 28
expound the word of God, to conduct the public worship of God,* to administer the sacraments, to participate in the government of the church, and to admonish men of their duties, as well as by all proper means, public and private, to edify the church of Christ.
SEC. 2. Those other officers who were endowed with miraculous gifts, and whose instrumentality Christ used in first forming the church, were extraordinary and of temporary standing.
SEC. 3. Pastors are amenable for their conduct to the Synod to which they belong; and that Synod is the tribunal which has the entire jurisdiction over them: excepting in those cases where a regular appeal is obtained to the General Synod, agreeably to Article IV., Section 8, of the Constitution of the General Synod.
SEC. 4. No minister shall knowingly grant to a member of another congregation any privileges of the church, which would be denied to said member by his own pastor.
SEC. 5. It is the sacred duty of every minister so to conduct himself, that his life shall present to his congregation an example of true Christian propriety of deportment: And should any minister of our church be guilty of an open vice, (which may God in mercy prevent!) it shall be the duty of the Church Council earnestly to exhort him several times to reformation; and if this should prove ineffectual, or if the case be such as to bring disgrace upon the church, to report him to the President of the Synod.
*Eph. iv. 11, 12; Acts viii. 28, 31; 1 Pet. v. 1, 2. Matt. xxviii. 19; 1 Cor. xi. 23, iv. 1.
Acts vi. 2, 6.
OF ELDERS AND DEACONS.
SECTION 6. The other officers of the church are Elders and Deacons, who are elected by the members of the church as their agents to perform some of the duties originally devolving on themselves. The principal duties of Elders, are to aid the pastor or pastors in administering the government and discipline of the church; to endeavor to preserve peace and harmony among its members; to visit the Sabbath and other congregational schools, and promote the religious education of the children of the church; to visit the sick and afflicted, and aid in the performance of such other duties as are incumbent on the Church Council.
The duties of the Deacons' office are principally these: To lead an exemplary life, as commanded in the Scriptures;* to minister unto the poor,† extending to their wants and distributing faithfully amongst them the collections which may be made for their use; to assist the pastor in the administration of the Eucharist; to attend and render all necessary service at stated worship; to see that their minister receives a just and adequate support, according to the commands of our Lord; to administer the temporal concerns of the church, and to aid in the performance of such other duties as are incumbent on the Church Council. Both these officers are elected by the members of the church, and it is their duty to feel the deepest interest in the advancement of piety among them, and to exert their utmost influence to promote it. SEC. 7. The Elders and Deacons are the repre
1 Tim. viii. 13, and others.
Acts vi. 2, 6.
sentatives of the whole church, and each church shall determine the number of their officers and the term of their duration in office; yet in no case shall they serve less than two years nor more than eight, unless re-elected. And when elected they shall be inducted into their respective offices, according to the form prescribed by the church.*
SEC. 8. When the corporate powers of the church are vested in the Church Council, trustees are unnecessary. Those congregations, however, which have been in the habit of having Trustees, may, if they deem it expedient, still retain them, and continue to them such privileges as they may deem expedient.
OF THE CHURCH COUNCIL.
SECTION 1. The Church Council is the lowest judicatory of the church, consisting of the pastor, or pastors, and all the elders and deacons of a particular church.
SEC. 2. The pastor, together with half the other existing members of the Church Council, and, in the necessary absence of the pastor, two-thirds of the remaining members of the Council, shall constitute a quorum.
SEC. 3. But no business connected with the government or discipline of the church shall be transacted without the presence of the minister, unless his absence is unavoidable or voluntary, or
* Vide "Liturgy," etc.