Page images


case of receiving him at that, or any subsequent period, the Presbytery shall report the same to their Synod at its next meeting, together with all the certificates and other testimony on which they received them; or if it shall be more convenient, this report may be made to the General Assembly. The said Assembly or Synod, as the case may be, shall then inquire into the proceedings of the Presbytery in the affair, and if they find them to have been irregular or deficient, they shall recommit them to the Presbytery, in order to a more regular and perfect pro

But if the proceedings had in the Presbytery appear to have been conformable to this regulation, they shall carefully examine all the papers laid before them by the Presbytery, or which shall be exhibited by the party concerned, and considering their credibility and sufficiency come to a final judgment, either to receive him into the Presbyterian body, agreeably to his standing, or to reject him.

(6) In order, however, to facilitate the settlement of foreign ministers as soon as may consist with the purity and order of the Church, it is further ordained, that if the proper Synod or General Assembly are not to meet within three months after that meeting of a Presbytery at which a foreign minister on probation is expected to be received, the Presbytery may, if they see cause, lay his testimonials before the meeting of the Assembly or Synod which shall be held next before said meeting of the Presbytery. If this Assembly or Synod shall approve the testimonials, they shall give the Presbytery such information and direction as the case may require, and remit the same to them for final issue. In all other cases, it shall be deemed irregular for any Synod or General Assembly to receive a foreign minister or licentiate, until he shall have passed his period of probation, and been received and reported by some Presbytery, in manner aforesaid.

(7) No minister or licentiate, after being rejected by one Presbytery, shall be received by another, or, if received through mistake or otherwise, he shall be no longer countenanced or employed, after the imposition is discovered. If, however, any minister or licentiate shall think himself as rieved by the sentence of any Presbytery, he shall have a right to carry the matter by complaint to the proper Synod or to the next General Assembly, giving notice thereof to the Presbytery, during the meeting at which the sentence was pronounced, or at the meeting next following:

(8) These regulations and provisions relative to the reception of foreign ministers and licentiates, are to be considered as coming in place of all that have heretofore been established on this subject, and all judicatories and individuals under the care of the Assembly are to regard them accordingly. (1500, reprint, p. 200.)


Inasmuch as intercourse between the Presbyterian churches of Great Britain and our General Assembly is now much more frequent and intimate than in former years, affording the opportunity for mutual acquaintance and knowledge of the character and standing of the ministers in the different churches of both countries; therefore,

Resolved, That the regulation requiring the ministers coming among us from the Presbyterian churches of Great Britain, to submit to a year's probation before maintaining ministerial standing, is no longer necessary, and is hereby repealed. (1872, p. 70.]


Inasmuch as the rule requiring such probation has been repealed as to ministers from the Presbyterian Churches of Great Britain, that said rule be repealed so far as it relates to ministers coming from the l’resbyterian Churches of Canada. (1883, p. 625.)



U. S. A.



ADMISSION BY THE PRESBYTERIES. It is not among the principles or usages of the Presbyterian Church to consider the ordination of ministers by other Protestant Churches as invalid; on the contrary, the Presbyterian Church has always considered the ordinations of most other Protestant Churches as valid in themselves, and not to be repeated when those who have received them become members of the Presbyterian Church. Nor is it perceived that there is any sufficient reason why the ordinations in the Baptist Church should not be considered as valid, and be sustained as such.

But while the Presbyterian Church can act as has now been stated in regard to ordinations, it is among those principles and usages which she regards as most sacred and important, to secure for her Churches both a pious and a learned ministry, and she cannot admit of any usage or exercise any apparent liberality inconsistent with security in this essential particular. Therefore,

Resolved, That when applications are made by ministers of the Baptist or any other Protestant denomination to be connected with the Presbyterian Church, the Presbytery to which the applications are made shall require all the qualifications both in regard to piety and learning which are required of candidates for licensure or ordination, of those who have originally belonged to the Presbyterian Church, and shall require the applicants from other denominations to continue their study and preparation until they are found on trial and examination to be qualified in learning and ability to teach in the manner required by our standards: but that when found to be thus qualified, it shall not be necessary to re-ordain the said applicants, but only to install them when they are called to settle in Presbyterian congregations. 11541, p. 23.


AND MINISTERS FROM OTHER DENOMINATIONS. That in their judgment every licentiate coming by certificate to any Presbytery in connection with the General Assembly from any portion of a corresponding ecclesiastical body, should be required to answer in the affirmative the constitutional questions directed by chap. xiv. of our Form of Governinent to be put to our own candidates before they are licensed; and that in like manner every ordained minister of the gospel, coming from any Churchi in correspondence with the General Assembly by certificate of dismission and recommendation, should be required to answer affirmatively the first seven questions directed by chap. xv. of our Form of Government to be put to one of our own licentiates when about to be ordained to the sacred oflice. (1886, p. 152.


OF MINISTERS FROM OTHER CHURCHES. When application is made by a minister of another Church for admission to Presbytery, Presbytery shall inquire concerning his character, his educational and professional training, the fact of his ordination, his ministerial standing in the body to which he belongs, and the motives which lead him to apply for admission to Presbytery. If this inquiry shall prove satisfactory, Presbytery may place his name on its roll. All applicants from other bodies shall be required, previous to their enrollment, to give their assent, in a public session of Presbytery, to the first seven questions prescribed in the Form of Government for ordination; but should the applicant not possess the same educational qualifications for ordination as those prescribed in our Standards, he shall not be enrolled as a member of Presbytery until at least six months after his application

shall have been presented to Presbytery. He may be permitted to labor, in the interval, within the bounds of Presbytery. (1891, p. 177.]


FORM, Any Synod, which shall so elect, is authorized to keep its minutes in printed form, and to dispense with written records, provided

(1) That such printed minutes be complete and accurate in all details.

(2) That they be uniform as to size of page with the Minutes of the Assembly.

(3) That the copy submitted by each Synod to the Assembly for review, be attested by the certificate of the Stated Clerk of the Synod in writing; and that blank pages be left at the end for recording any exceptions that may be taken.

(4) That at least two additional copies of each and every issue be transmitted to the Stated Clerk of the Assembly, and two deposited in the Library of the Presbyterian Historical Society. [1884, p. 75.] 2, ACT AUTHORIZING PRINTED MINUTES FOR ALL

CHURCH COURTS. Any church court is hereby authorized to keep its minutes in printed form, provided

(1) That the minutes be fully and accurately kept and recorded.

(2) That they be preserved in volumes, and not left to separate pamplets, and be carefully paged.

(3) That they have blanks left for corrections and approval.

(4) That the minutes of every meeting be duly authenticated by the written name of the Stated Clerk, or some officer appointed to authenticate them. [1889, p. 101.)

« PreviousContinue »