Page images

take votes accordingly. In this election, no person shall be entitled to vote who refuses to submit to the censures of the Church, regularly administered; or who does not contribute his just proportion, according to his own engagements, or the rules of that congregation, to all its necessary expenses.

V. When the votes are taken, if it appear that a large minority of the people are averse from the candidate who has a majority of votes, and cannot be induced to concur in the call, the presiding minister shall endeavor to disbuade the congregation from prosecuting it further. But if the people be nearly, or entirely, unanimous; or if the majority shall insist upon their right to call a pastor, the presiding minister, in that case, after using his utmost endeavors to persuade the congregation to unanimity, shall proceed to draw a call, in due form, and to have it subscribed by the electors; certifying at the same time, in writing, the number and circumstances of those who do not concur in the call: all which proceedings shall be laid before the presbytery, together with the call.

VI. The call shall be in the following or like form: viz. The congregation of

being, on sufficient grounds, well satisfied of the ministerial qualifications of you

and having good hopes, from our past experience of your labors, that your ministrations in the gospel will be profitable to our spiritual interests, do earnestly call and desire you to undertake the pastoral office in said congregation; promising you, in the discharge of your duty, all proper support, encouragement, and obedience in the Lord. And that you may be free from worldly cares and avocations, we hereby promise and oblige ourselves to pay to you the sum of in regular quarterly (or half yearly, or yearly) payments, during the time of your being and continuing the regular pastor of this church. In testimony whereof, we have respectively subscribed our names, this

day of A. D. Attested by A. B., Moderator of the meeting.

VII. But if any congregation shall choose to subscribe their call by their elders and deacons, or by their trustees, or by a select committee, they shall be at liberty to do so. But it shall, in such case, be fully certified to the presbytery, by the minister, or other person who presided, that the persons signing have been appointed, for that purpose, by a public vote of the congregation; and that the call has been, in all other respects, prepared as above directed.

VIII. When a call shall be presented to any minister or candidate, it shall always be viewed as a sufficient petition from the people for his installment. The acceptance of a call, by a minister or candidate, shall always be considered as a request, on his part, to be installed at the same time. And when a candidate shall be ordained in consequence of a call from any congregation, the

presbytery shall, at the same time, if practicable, install him pastor of that congregation.

IX. The call, thus prepared, shall be presented to the presbytery, under whose care the person called shall be; that, if the presbytery think it expedient to present the call to him, it may be accordingly presented: and no minister or candidate shall receive a call but through the hands of the presbytery. No change shall be made in the amount of salary stipulated in the call without the consent of presbytery, unless both minister and congregation agree thereto; and only the congregation, regularly assembled, shall have power to bring such a question to the attention of presbytery.

X. If the call be to a licentiate of another presbytery, in that case the commissioners deputed from the congregation to prosecute the call, shall produce, to that judicatory, a certificate from their own presbytery, regularly attested by the moderator and clerk, that the call has been laid before them, and that it is in order. bytery present the call to their licentiate, and he be disposed to accept it, they shall then dismiss him from their jurisdiction, and require him to repair to that presbytery, into the bounds of which he is called; and there to

If that pres

submit himself to the usual trials preparatory to ordination.

XI. Trials for ordination, especially in a different pres. bytery from that in which the candidate was licensed, shall consist of a careful examination as to his acquaintance with experimental religion; as to his knowledge of phil. osophy, theology, ecclesiastical history, the Greek and Hebrew languages, and such other branches of learning as to the presbytery may appear requisite; and as to his knowledge of the constitution, the rules and principles of the government and discipline of the church; togethe: with such written discourse, or discourses, founded on the word of God, as to the presbytery shall seem proper. The presbytery, being fully satisfied with his qualifications for the sacred office, shall appoint a day for his ordination, which ought to be, if convenient, in that church of which he is to be the minister. It is also recommended that a fast day be observed in the congregation previous to the day of ordination.'

XII. The day appointed for ordination being come, and the presbytery convened, a member of the presbytery, previously appointed to that duty, shall preach a sermon adapted to the occasion. The same, or another member appointed to preside, shall afterwards briefly recite from the pulpit, in the audience of the people, the proceedings of the presbytery preparatory to this transaction: he shall point out the nature and importance of the ordinance; and endeavor to impress the audience with a proper sense of the solemnity of the transaction.

Then, addressing himself to the candidate, he shall proose to him the following questions, viz. :

1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?"

2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confessiou

See the proofs in sections 1, 2, 3, 4, of chapter iv. & Acts xiii. 2, 3.

r 2 Tim. iii. 16. Eph. ii. 20

of Faith of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures ?

3. Do you approve of the government and discipline of the l'resbyterian Church in these United States ?

4. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the

Lord ? +

5. Have you been induced, as far as you know your owe heart, to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God, and a sincere desire to promote his glory in the gospel of his Son ?"

6. Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the gospel, and the purity and peace of the Church; whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account ?

7. Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all private and personal duties, which become you as a Christian and a minister of the gospel; as well as in all relative duties, and the public duties of your office; endeavoring to adorn the profession of the gospel by your conversation; and walking with exemplary piety before the flock over which God shall make you overseer?*

8. Are you now willing to take the charge of this congregation, agreeably to your declaration at accepting their call? And do you promise to discharge the duties of a pastor to them, as God shall give you strength ?”

XIII. The candidate having answered these questions in the afti iative, the presiding minister shall propose to the people the following questions :

1. Do you, he people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive whom you have called to be your minister?

2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth fron: mis mouth, with mrekness and love; and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?»

8 2 Tim. i. 13.

+ See letter (8) above. a 1 Pet. v. 5.

v1 Cor. ii. 2. 2 Cor. iv. 5. w Acts xx. 17 to 31. * See the epistles to Timothy and Titus throughout. 1' 1 Pet. v. 2.

z James i. 21. Heb. xiii. 17.

3. Do you promise to encourage him in his arduous labor, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification ? "

4. And do you engage to continue to him, while he is your pastor, that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised; and whatever else you may see needful for the honor of religion, and his comfort among

you ?

XIV. The people having answered these questions in the affirmative, by holding up their right hands, the candidate shall kneel down in the most convenient part of the church. Then the presiding minister shall, by prayer,' and with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, a according to the apostolic example, solemnly ordain him co the holy office of the gospel ministry. Prayer being ended, he shall rise from his knees; and the minister who presides shall first, and afterward all the members of the presbytery in their order, take him by the right hand, say. ing, in words to this purpose,“Wegive you the right hand of fellowship, to take part of this ministry wiih us.”• After which the minister presiding, or some other appointed for the purpose, shall give a solemn charge in the name of God, to the newly ordained bishop,' and to the people,to persevere in the discharge of their mutual duties; and shall then, by prayer, recommend them both to the grace of God, and his holy keeping, and finally, after singing a psalm, shall dismiss the congregation with the usual blessing. And the presbytery shall duly record the transaction.

XV. As it is sometimes desirable and important that a candidate who has not received a call to be the pastor of a particular congregation, should, nevertheless, be ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, as an evangelist to preach the gospel, administer sealing ordinances, and

[ocr errors]

a 1 Thess. v. 12, 13.

01 Cor. ix. 7 to 15. c Acts xiii. 2, 3.

1 Tim.iy. 14.
e Gal. ii. 9. Acts i. 25.

$ 2 Tim. iv. 1, 2.
g Mark iv. 24 Heb. ii. 1. See also letters (y) and (7), page 380.

« PreviousContinue »