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ticular persons. First, to all the members of that church, that the good may enjoy all the privileges that belong unto them; that the wicked may be corrected with ecclesiastical censures, according to the quality of the fault, private and public, by admonishing and by removing either from the Lord's supper by suspension (as it is commonly called,) or out of the church by excommunication. The which belong specially to the ministers of public charge in the church to their calling, either to be begun or ended, and ended either by relieving or punishing them, and that for a time by suspension, or altogether by deposition.
For directing of the eldership, let the pastors be set over it; or if there be more pastors than one in the same church, let the pastors do it in their turns.
But yet in all the greater affairs of the church, as in excommunicating of any, and in choosing and deposing of church-ministers, nothing may be concluded without the knowledge and consent of the church.
Particular churches ought to yield mutual help one to another; for which cause they are to communicate amongst themselves.
The end of this communicating together is, that all things in them may be so directed, both in regard of doctrine, and also of discipline, as by the word of God they ought to be.
Therefore the things that belong hereunto are determined by the common opinion of those who meet so to communicate together; and whatsoever is to be amended, furthered, or procured, in any of those several churches that belong to that assembly. Wherein albeit no particular church hath power over another, yet every particular church of the same resort, meeting and counsel, ought to obey the opinion of more churches with whom they communicate.
For holding of these meetings and assemblies, there are to be chosen, by every church belonging to that assembly, principal men from among the elders, who are to have their instructions from them, and so to be sent to the assembly. There must also be a care had, that the things they shall return to have been godly agreed on by the meetings, be diligently observed by the churches.
Farther, in such assemblies there is also to be chosen one that may be set over the assemblies, who may moderate and direct them. His duty is to see that the assemblies be held godly, quietly, and comely: therefore it belongeth unto him to begin and end the conference with prayer; to know every man's instructions; to propound in order the things that are to be handled; to gather their opinions, and to propound what is the opinion of the greater part. It is also the part of the rest of the assembly, to speak their opinions of the things propounded godly and quietly.
The synodical discipline gathered out of the synods and use of the churches which have restored it according to the word of God, and out of sundry books that are written of the same, and referred under
Of the Necessity of a Calling.
Let no man thrust himself into the executing of any part of public charge in the administration of the word, sacraments, discipline, or care over the poor. Neither let any such sue or seek for any public charge of the church; but let every one tarry until he be lawfully called.
The Manner of entering and determining of a Calling, and against a Ministry of no certain place; and the Desertion of a Church.
Let none be called but unto some certain charge ordained of God, and to the exercising of the same in some particular congregation: and he that is so called, let him be so bound to that church, that he may not after be of any other, or depart from it without the consent thereof. Let none be called, but they that have first subscribed the confession of doctrine and of discipline; whereof let them be admonished to have copies with themselves.
In the examination of ministers, the testimony of the place from whence they come is to be demanded, whereby it may be understood what life and conversation he hath been of, and whether he hath been addicted to any heresy, or to the reading of any heretical books, or to curious and strange questions, and idle speculations: or rather, whether he be accounted sound and consenting in all things to the doctrine received in the church. Whereunto if he agree, he is also to expound some part of the Holy Scriptures twice or oftener, as it shall seem meet to the examiners, and that before the conference, and that church which is interested. Let him also be demanded of the principal heads of divinity and whether he will diligently execute and discharge his ministry; and in the execution thereof propound unto himself, not his own desires and commodities, but the glory of God and edification of the church. Lastly, whether he will be studious and careful to maintain and preserve wholesome doctrine, and ecclesiastical discipline. Thus let the minister be examined, not only by one eldership, but also by some greater meeting and assembly.
Before the election of a minister, and the deliberation of the conference concerning the same, let there be a day of fast kept in the church interested.
Of the place of exercising this Calling.
Albeit it be lawful for a minister, upon just occasion, to preach in another church than that whereof he is minister; yet none may exercise any ordinary ministry elsewhere, but for a certain time, upon great occasion, and by the consent of his church and conference.
Of the Office of the Ministers of the Word; and first of the Order of Liturgy or Common Prayer.
Let the minister that is to preach, name a psalm, or a part of a psalm, beginning with the first, and so proceeding, that may be sung by the church, noting to them the end of their singing, to wit, the glory of God, and their own edification. After the psalm, let a short admonition to the people follow, of preparing themselves to pray duly unto God: then let there be made a prayer containing a general confession, first of the guilt of sin, both original and actual; and of the punishment which is due by the law for them both: then also of the promise of the gospel, and in respect of it, supplication of pardon for the said guilt and punishment, and petition of grace promised, as for the duties of the whole life, so especially for the godly expounding and receiving of the
word. Let this petition be concluded with the Lord's prayer. After the sermon, let prayer be made again; first for grace to profit by the doctrine delivered, the principal heads thereof being remembered; then for all men, but chiefly for the universal church, and for all estates and degrees of the people; which is likewise to be ended with the Lord's prayer and the singing of a psalm, as before. Last of all, let the congregation be dismissed with some convenient form of blessing taken out of the Scripture; such as is Numb. vi. 24. 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
Let him that shall preach choose some part of the canonical Scripture to expound, and not of the Apocrypha. Farther, in his ordinary ministry, let him not take postils, as they are called but some, whole book of the Holy Scripture, especially of the New Testament, to expound in order in choice whereof regard is to be had both of the minister's ability, and of the edification of the church.
He that preacheth must perform two things; the first, that his speech be uncorrupt; which is to be considered both in regard of the doctrine, that it be holy, sound, wholesome and profitable to edification; not devilish, heretical, leavened, corrupt, fabulous, curious, or contentious; and also in respect of the manner of it, that it be proper to the place which is handled, that is, which either is contained plainly in the very words; or if it be gathered by consequent, that the same be fit and clear, and such as may rise upon the property of the word, grace of speech, and suit of the matter; and not be allegorical, strange, wrested, or farfetched. Now let that which is such, and chiefly which is fittest for the times and occasions of the church, be delivered. Farther, let the explication, confirmation, enlargement, and application, and the whole treatise and handling of it, be in the vulgar tongue; and let the whole confirmation and proof be made by arguments, testimonies, and examples, taken only out of the Holy Scriptures, applied fitly, and according to the natural meaning of the places that are alleged.
The second thing to be performed by him that preacheth, is a reverend gravity; this is considered first in the style, phrase, and manner of speech, that it be spiritual, pure, proper, simple, and applied to the capacity of the people; nor such as human wisdom teacheth, nor savouring of new-fangledness, nor either so affectate as it may serve for pomp and ostentation, or so careless and base, as becometh not ministers of the word of God. Secondly, it is also to be regarded as well in ordering the voice, in which a care must be had, that (avoiding the keeping always of one tone) it may be equal, and both rise and fall by degrees as also in ordering the gesture, wherein (the body being upright) the guiding and ordering the whole body is to follow the voice, there being avoided in it all unseemly gestures of the head, or other parts, and often turning of the body to divers sides. Finally, let the gesture be grave, modest, and seemly, not utterly none, nor too much neither, like the gestures of players or fencers.
These things are to be performed by him that preacheth; whereby, when need requireth, they may be examined who are trained and exercised, to be made fit to preach: let there be, if it may be, every sabbath-day, two sermons, and let them that preach always endeavour to keep themselves within one hour, especially on the week-days. The
use of preaching at burials is to be left as it may be done conveniently; because there is danger that they may nourish the superstition of some, or be abused to pomp and vanity.
Of the Catechism.
Let the catechism be taught in every church. Let there be two sorts. One more large applied to the delivering of the sum of religion by a suit and order of certain places of the Scriptures, according to which some point of the holy doctrine may be expounded every week. Another of the same sort, but shorter, fit for the examination of the rude and ignorant before they be admitted to the Lord's supper.
Of the other parts of Liturgy or divine Service.
All the rest of the liturgy or divine service consisteth in the administration of the sacraments, and, by the custom of the church, in the blessing of marriage: the most commodious form thereof is that which is used by the churches that have reformed their discipline according to the word of God.
Let only a minister of the word, that is, a preacher, minister the sacraments, and that after the preaching of the word, and not in any other place than in the public assemblies of the church.
Women only may not offer unto baptism those that are to be baptized, but the father, if it may be, or in his name some other. They which present unto baptism, ought to be persuaded not to give those that are baptized the names of God, or of Christ, or of angels, or of holy offices, as of Baptist, Evangelist, &c. nor such as savour of paganism or Popery; but chiefly such whereof there are examples in the Holy Scriptures, in the names of those who are reported in them to have been godly and virtuous.
Of the Communion.
Let the time of celebrating the communion be made known eight days before, that the congregation may prepare themselves, and that the elders may do their duty in going to and visiting whom they ought.
Of signifying their Names that are to communicate.
Let them which before have not been received to the Lord's table, when they first desire to come to it, give their names to the minister seven days before the communion, that care of inquiring of them may be committed to the elders; that if there be any cause of hinderance, there may be stay made betimes; but if there be no such thing, let them proceed (where need may be) to the examining of their faith, before the communion. Let this whole treatise of discipline be read in the consistory and let the ministers, elders, and deacons, be censured one after another; yet so that the minister concerning doctrine be censured of ministers only.
Let them only be admitted to the communion, that have made confession of their faith, and submitted themselves to the discipline: unless they shall bring letters testimonial of good credit from some other place, or shall approve themselves by some other sufficient testimony.
Children are not to be admitted to the communion before they be of the age of fourteen years, except the consistory shall otherwise determine.
On the sabbath-day next before the communion, let mention be made in the sermon of the examination, whereunto the apostle exhorteth, and of the peace that is by faith; in the day of the communion, let there be speech of the doctrine of the sacraments, and especially of the Lord's supper.
Let the day of fasting be published by the pastor according to the advice of the consistory, either for supplication, for turning away of calamities present, or for petition of some special grace. Let the sermons upon the same day, before and after noon (as on the Lord's day), be such as may be fit for the present occasion.
Of Holidays. Holidays are conveniently to be abolished.
Let espousing go before marriage. Let the words of espousing be of the present time, and without condition, and before sufficient witnesses on both sides. It is to-be wished, that the minister, or any elder, be present at the espousals, who having called upon God, may admonish both parties of their duties. First, may have care of avoiding the degrees forbidden both by the law of God and man: and then they may demand of them, whether they be free from any bond of marriage; which if they profess and be strangers, he may also require sufficient testimony. Farther also, they are to be demanded, whether they have been married before, and of the death of the party with whom they were married, which if they acknowledge and be strangers, he may demand convenient testimony of the death of the other party. Finally, let them be asked if they be under the government of any? whether they whom it concerneth have consented?
The espousals being done in due order, let them not be dissolved, though both parties should consent. Let the marriage be solemnized within two months after. Before the marriage let the promise be published three several sabbath-days; but first, let the parties espoused, with their parents or governors, desire the publishing thereof, of the minister and two elders at the least, that they may be demanded of those things that are needful; and let them require to see the instrument of the covenant of the marriage, or at least sufficient testimony of the espousals. Marriage may be solemnized and blessed upon any ordinary day of public prayer, saving upon a day of fast.
Let children be instructed in schools, both in other learning, and especially in the catechism, that they may repeat it by heart, and understand it when they are so instructed, let them be brought to the Lord's supper, after they have been examined by the minister, and allowed by him.
Of Students of Divinity, and their Exercises.
In every church where it may conveniently be done, care is to be had that some poor scholars, studious of divinity, being fit for theological