Author: Honza Pokorny <email@example.com>
Add church order of dort
README.md | 1 data/three-forms-of-unity/church-order-dort.yaml | 885 ++++++++++++++++++
diff --git a/README.md b/README.md index 6327c5fdb19bd0d44efc325a96f3f7cdab9cad48..cb8a17ea8b27140529c1cee9943a3829bf13584b 100644 --- a/README.md +++ b/README.md @@ -33,6 +33,7 @@ * second-helvetic * three-forms-of-unity * belgic-confession * canons-of-dort + * church-order-of-dort * heidelberg-catechism * westminster * directory-for-family-worship diff --git a/data/three-forms-of-unity/church-order-dort.yaml b/data/three-forms-of-unity/church-order-dort.yaml new file mode 100644 index 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000..b56fd3bc6557557ebff10e45f712317ab165adac --- /dev/null +++ b/data/three-forms-of-unity/church-order-dort.yaml @@ -0,0 +1,885 @@ +--- +name: Church Order of Dort +publication_year: 1618 +type: document +markdown: true +chapters: + - name: Article 1 + text: | + + For the maintenance of good order in the Church of Christ it is + necessary that there should be: offices; assemblies; supervision of + doctrine, sacraments, and ceremonies; and Christian discipline; of + which matters the following articles treat in due order. + + ## First Head - Of the Offices + + - name: Article 2 + text: | + + The offices are of four kinds: of the Ministers of the Word, of the + Professors of Theology, of the Elders, and of the Deacons. + + - name: Article 3 + text: | + + No one, though he be a Professor of Theology. Elder, or Deacon, shall + be permitted to enter upon the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments + without having been lawfully called thereunto. And when any one acts + contrary thereto, and after being frequently admonished does not + desist, the Classis shall judge whether he is to be declared a + schismatic or is to be punished in some other way. + + - name: Article 4 + text: | + + The lawful calling of those who have not previously been in office, in + cities as well as rural districts, consists: + First, in the Election, after previous fasting and prayer, by the + Consistory and Deacons, not without (proper correspondence with the + Christian magistrates of the respective districts, and) the knowledge + or advice of the Classis, where this had been customary up to now. + Secondly, in the Examination, both of doctrine and life, by the + Classis, in the presence of all, or some of the delegates of Synod. + Thirdly, in the Approbation and endorsement (by the magistrates and + then also) by the members of the Reformed Congregation of that city, + if, the name of the Minister having been announced in the churches + over a period of fourteen days, no objection arises. + Finally, in the public Ordination before the congregation, which + shall take place with appropriate stipulations and interrogations, + prayer and the laying on of the hands by the ordaining Minister and by + other Ministers, if more are present, in accordance with the Form for + this purpose. It is understood that the imposition of hands may take + place in the Classical assembly to the newly graduated Ministers, + being sent to the Churches under the Cross. + + - name: Article 5 + text: | + + Ministers already in the ministry of the Word who are called to + another congregation, shall likewise be called in this manner, + (including aforesaid correspondence) in cities as well as rural + districts, by the Consistory and the Deacons, with the advice or + approval of the Classis, to whom the aforesaid Ministers called, shall + show good ecclesiastical testimonials of doctrine and life; (after + approval by the magistrate of the respective district and) after being + presented to the congregation over a period of fourteen days, as + before stated, they shall be installed after previous stipulations and + prayers. All due regard must also be given here to the things + previously mentioned with respect to proper right of presentation, or + any other right, in so far as it can be employed to edification, + without detriment to the Church of God and good Church Order; to which + (the Civil Authorities and) the Synods of the respective districts are + to give their careful attention, and make proper regulations, to the + welfare of the Churches. + + - name: Article 6 + text: | + + No minister shall be at liberty to serve in any private manors, + institutions of mercy, or otherwise, unless he previously be admitted + in accordance with the preceding Articles; and he shall, no less than + others, be subject to the Church Order. + + - name: Article 7 + text: | + + No one shall be called to the ministry of the Word without stationing + himself in a particular place, unless he be sent either to preach in + one place or another for the Churches under the Cross, or to do Church + extension work. + + - name: Article 8 + text: | + + No school teachers, artisans, or others who have not studied, shall be + admitted to the ministry, unless there is definite assurance of their + beings exceptionally gifted, godly, humble, modest, and possessed of + good sense and discretion, as well as gifts of public address. When + such persons present themselves for the ministry, the Classis shall + (if the Synod approve) first examine them, and, the examination being + satisfactory, permit them to preach in private for a certain length of + time, and then further deal with them as it shall deem edifying + - name: Article 9 + text: | + + Novices, priests, monks, and others who have left some sect, shall not + be admitted to the ministry in the Church, except with extreme caution + and circumspection, and after a definite period of probation. + + - name: Article 10 + text: | + + A Minister, once lawfully called, may not leave the congregation which + unconditionally received him to accept a call elsewhere, without the + consent of the consistory and the deacons, (and those who previously + held the office of elder and deacon, together with the magistrate), + nor without the knowledge of the Classis; likewise no other church + shall be permitted to receive him until he has presented a legal + certificate of dismission from the church and the Classis where he + served. + + - name: Article 11 + text: | + + On the other hand, the Consistory, as representing the congregation, + shall also be bound to provide for the proper support of its + Ministers, and shall not dismiss them without the knowledge and + judgment of the Classis who, in the event of lack of support, shall + judge whether or not to remove aforesaid Ministers. + + - name: Article 12 + text: | + + Inasmuch as a Minister of the Word, once lawfully called in conformity + to the above, is bound to the service of the Church for life, he is + not allowed to enter upon a secular vocation except for important and + weighty reasons, which shall be subject to the cognizance and judgment + of the Classis. + + - name: Article 13 + text: | + + In the event that Ministers are rendered incapable of performing the + duties of their office due to age, sickness, or otherwise, they shall + nevertheless retain the honour and title of a Minister, and the church + which they have served shall honorably provide for them in their + needs, also for the widows and orphans of Ministers. + + - name: Article 14 + text: | + + If any Minister, for the aforesaid or any other reason, is compelled + to discontinue his service for a time, which shall not take place + without the advice of the Consistory, he shall nevertheless at all + times be and remain subject to the call of the congregation. + + - name: Article 15 + text: | + + No one shall be permitted, neglecting the ministry of his Church, or + being without a fixed charge, to preach indiscriminately without the + consent and authority of Synod or Classis. Likewise, no one shall be + permitted to preach or administer the Sacraments in another Church + without the consent of the Consistory. + - name: Article 16 + text: | + + The once of the Ministers is to continue in prayer and in the Ministry + of the Word, to dispense the Sacraments, to watch over their brethren, + the Elders and Deacons, as well as the Congregation, and finally with + the Elders, to exercise church discipline and to see to it that + everything is done decently and in good order. + + - name: Article 17 + text: | + + Among Ministers of the Word, equality shall be maintained with respect + to the duties of their office and also in other matters as far as + possible, according to the judgment of the consistory, and, if + necessary, of the Classis; which equality shall be maintained in the + case of the Elders and Deacons. + + - name: Article 15 + text: | + + The office of the Doctors or Professors of Theology is to expound the + Holy Scriptures and to uphold sound doctrine against heresies and + errors. + + - name: Article 19 + text: | + + The Churches shall make efforts to obtain students of theology, which + are to be supported by them. + + - name: Article 20 + text: | + + In the Churches having more capable Ministers the practice of + preparing some for the ministry of the Word by allowing them to speak + a word of edification shall be instituted, in conformity to the rule + in this matter, as specially prescribed by this Synod. + + - name: Article 21 + text: | + + The consistories everywhere shall see to it that there are good school + teachers, not only to teach the children reading, writing, languages, + and the liberal arts, but also to instruct them in godliness and in + the Catechism. + + - name: Article 22 + text: | + + The Elders shall be chosen by the judgment of the Consistory and the + Deacons, so that every church shall be at liberty, according to its + circumstances, to present to the Congregation as many Elders as are + needed, that they may be installed with public prayers and + stipulations after being approved by and with the assent of the + congregation, unless any obstacle arise; - or twice the number of + Elders needed may be present, half of them to be chosen by the + congregation, and installed in office in the same manner, according to + the Form for this purpose. + + - name: Article 23 + text: | + + The office of the Elders, in addition to what was said in Article 16 + to be their duty in common with the Ministers of the Word, is to take + heed that the Ministers, together with their other Fellow-helpers and + the Deacons, faithfully discharge their office; - and, insofar as + circumstances of time and place permit, to do house visitation both + before and after the Lord's Supper for the edification of the + congregation, in order particularly to comfort and instruct the + members of the congregation, and also to exhort others in respect to + the Christian Religion. + + - name: Article 24 + text: | + + The Deacons shall be chosen, approved, and installed in the same + manner as was stated concerning the Elders. + + - name: Article 25 + text: | + + The office peculiar to the Deacons is diligently to collect alms and + other contributions of charity, and after mutual counsel, to + distribute the same faithfully and diligently to the poor, both to + residents and to strangers, as their needs may require it; to visit + and comfort those in distress, and to exercise care that the alms are + not misused; of which they shall render an account in Consistory, and + also (if anyone desires to be present) to the Congregation, at such a + time as the Consistory may see fit. + + - name: Article 26 + text: | + + In places where there are Visitants to shut-ins or other Almoners, the + Deacons shall request them lo maintain proper correspondence with them + to the end that the alms may the better be distributed among those who + have the greatest need. + + - name: Article 27 + text: | + + The Elders and Deacons shall serve two years, and every year half + their number shall retire and others shall be substituted, unless the + circumstances and the profit of any church require otherwise. + + - name: Article 28 + text: | + + As it is the office of Christian Magistrate to promote holy Divine + Services in every way, to recommend them by their example to their + subjects, and to assist whenever necessary the Ministers, Elders, and + Deacons and to protect them by proper regulations, so it is the duty + of all Ministers, Elders, and Deacons diligently and sincerely to + impress upon the entire Congregation the obedience, love, and respect + which they owe the Magistrates; further, all Church Officers shall set + a good example to the Congregation, and seek to gain and retain the + good will of the Magistrates toward the Churches by means of proper + respect and correspondence, to the end that, each acting for the + mutual welfare, in the fear of the Lord, all suspicion and distrust + may be prevented, and true concord be maintained to the welfare of the + Churches. + + ## Second Head - Of the Ecclesiastical Assemblies + + + - name: Article 29 + text: | + + Four things of ecclesiastical assemblies shall be maintained: the + Consistory, the Classical Meetings, the Particular Synod, and the + General or National Synod. + + - name: Article 30 + text: | + + In these assemblies ecclesiastical matters only shall be transacted + and that in an ecclesiastical manner. In major assemblies only each + matters shall be dealt with as could not be finished in minor + assemblies, or such as pertain to the churches of the major assembly + in common. + + - name: Article 31 + text: | + + If anyone complain that he has been wronged by the decision of a minor + assembly, he shall have the right to appeal to a major ecclesiastical + assembly, and whatever may be agreed upon by a majority vote shall be + considered settled and binding, unless it be proved to conflict with + the Word of God or with the Articles formulated in this General Synod, + as long as they are not changed by another General Synod. + + - name: Article 32 + text: | + + The proceedings of all assemblies shall begin by calling upon the Name + of God and be closed with thanksgiving. + + - name: Article 33 + text: | + + Those who are delegated to the assemblies shall bring with them their + credentials and instructions, signed by those sending them, and they + only shall have a vote. + + - name: Article 34 + text: | + + In all assemblies there shall be not only a president, but also a + clerk to keep a faithful record of that which deserves to be recorded. + + - name: Article 35 + text: | + + The office of the president is to state and explain the business to be + transacted, to see to it that everyone observe due order in speaking, + to silence the captious and those who are vehement in speaking; and + properly to discipline them if they refuse to listen. Furthermore his + office shall cease when the assembly arises. + + - name: Article 36 + text: | + + The Classis has the same jurisdiction over the Consistory as the + Particular Synod has over the Classis and the General Synod over the + Particular. + + - name: Article 37 + text: | + + In all churches there shall be a Consistory composed of the Ministers + of the Word and the Elders, who shall meet at least once a week. The + Minister of the Word, or the Ministers, if there be more than one, in + turn, shall preside and regulate the proceedings (And also the + Magistrates of the place respectively shall, if they desire to do so, + delegate one or two of their number, being members of the + Congregation, to the Consistory to listen to the matter under + discussion and to participate in the deliberation.) + + - name: Article 38 + text: | + + In places where the Consistory is to be constituted for the first time + this shall not take place except with the advice of the Classis. And + whenever the number of Elders is very small, the Deacons may be added + to the Consistory. + + - name: Article 39 + text: | + + In places where as yet there is no Consistory, the Classis shall in + the meantime take care of the work which would otherwise be performed + by the Consistory in accordance with this Church Order. + + - name: Article 40 + text: | + + Likewise the Deacons shall meet every week to transact the business + pertaining to their office, calling upon the Name of God, whereunto + the Ministers shall take good heed and if necessary they shall be + present. + + - name: Article 41 + text: | + + The Classical meetings shall consist of neighbouring churches that + respectively delegate, with proper credentials, a Minister and an + Elder, to meet at such a time and place as was determined by the + previous Classical meeting, with the understanding that this be within + the next three months. In these meetings the Ministers shall preside + in rotation or the assembly shall choose one to preside; however, the + same Minister shall not be chosen twice in succession. Furthermore, + the president shall, among other things, ask each of them if + Consistory meetings are held in their churches; if church discipline + is exercised; if the poor and the schools are cared for; lastly, if + they need the judgment and help of the Classis for the proper + government of their Church. The Minister designated by the previous + Classis shall preach a brief sermon from the Word of God, of which the + others shall judge and point out if anything be lacking in it. + Finally, at the last meeting before the Particular Synod delegates + shall be chosen to attend said Synod. + + - name: Article 42 + text: | + + When there are more Ministers than one in a church, all of them may + attend the Classis and have a vote, except in matters which + particularly concern their persons or churches. + + - name: Article 43 + text: | + + At the close of the Classical and other major Assemblies, censure + shall be exercised over those who have done something worthy of + punishment in the meeting, or who have scorned the admonition of the + minor assemblies. + + - name: Article 44 + text: | + + The Classis shall authorize a number of its Ministers, at least two of + the oldest, most experienced and competent ones, to visit all the + Churches once a year, in cities as well as in rural districts, and to + take heed whether the Ministers, Consistories, and School-teachers + faithfully perform the duties of their offices, adhere to sound + doctrine, observe in all things the adopted order, and properly + promote as much as lies in them, by word and deed, the edification of + the Congregation including the youth, to the end that they may in time + fraternally admonish those who have in anything been negligent, and + may by their advice and assistance help direct all things unto peace, + upbuilding, and neatest profit of the Churches and Schools. And each + Classis may continue these Visitors in service as long as it sees fit, + except where the Visitors themselves request to be released for + reasons of which the Classis shall judge. + + - name: Article 45 + text: | + + It shall be the duty of the church in which the Classis, and likewise + the Particular or General Synod meets, to furnish the following + meeting with the minutes of the preceding. + + - name: Article 46 + text: | + + Instructions concerning matters to be considered in major assemblies + shall not be written until the decisions of the previous Synod have + been read, in order that what was once decided be not again proposed + unless a revision be deemed necessary. + + - name: Article 47 + text: | + + Every year, or if need be oftener, four or five or more neighbouring + Classes shall meet as a Particular Synod, to which each Classis shall + delegate two Ministers and two Elders. At the close of both, the + Particular and the General Synod, some church shall be empowered to + determine with the advice of the Classis the time and place of the + next Synod. + + - name: Article 48 + text: | + + Each Synod shall be at liberty to solicit and hold correspondence with + its neighbouring Synod or Synods, in such manner as they shall judge + most conducive to general edification. + + - name: Article 49 + text: | + Each Synod shall delegate some to execute everything ordained by Synod + both as to what pertains to the High Authorities and to the respective + Classes resorting under it; and likewise to supervise together or in + smaller numbers all examinations of future Ministers. And furthermore, + in all other eventual difficulties they shall extend help to the + Classes in order that proper unity, order, and soundness of doctrine + may be maintained and established. They shall also keep proper record + of all their actions to report thereof to Synod, and if it be + demanded, give reasons. They shall also not be discharged from their + service before and until Synod itself discharges them. + + - name: Article 50 + text: | + + The National Synod shall ordinarily be held every three years, unless + an urgent need arises to make it a shorter period. Two Ministers and + two Elders shall be sent from each Particular Synod (from both the + German and the Welsh speaking churches). Further, the church charged + with appointing the time and place of the General Synod shall convene + its Particular Synod if the General Synod is to be called within the + three years (and inform the nearest church speaking the other + language, which is to send four persons there) to determine jointly + the time and place. (When the church which has been appointed to + convene the General Synod is consulting with the Classis regarding the + time and place, it is to inform the High Authorities in due time, that + with their knowledge, if it be their pleasure also to send some to the + Classis, the matter be decided in the presence and with the advice of + their Deputies.) + + - name: Article 51 + text: | + + (Whereas two languages are spoken in the Netherlands, it is deemed + proper that the churches of the German and the Welsh languages each + have their own Consistories, Classical Meetings, and Particular + Synods.) + + - name: Article 52 + text: | + + (Notwithstanding, it is reso1ved that in the cities where before + mentioned Welsh churches are found, some Ministers and Elders from + both sides meet every month to maintain proper unit and correspondence + with each other and, as much as possible, assist one another with + advice as the need arises.) + + + ## Third Head - Of the Doctrine, Sacraments, and Other Ceremonies + + + - name: Article 53 + text: | + + The Ministers of the Word of God and likewise the Professors in + Theology shall subscribe to the Confession of Faith of the Netherlands + Churches (which is proper for the other Professors as well), and the + Ministers who refuse to do so shall de facto be suspended from their + office by the Consistory or Classis until they shall have declared + themselves fully in this matter, and if they obstinately persist in + refusing, they shall be deposed from their office. + + - name: Article 54 + text: | + + Likewise the Schoolteachers shall subscribe to the aforesaid Articles + or instead thereof to the Christian Catechism. + + - name: Article 55 + text: | + + No one of the Reformed Religion shall presume to have printed or + published in any other way any book or writing, treating of Religion, + prepared or translated by himself or by someone else, unless it is + previously looked over and approved by the Ministers of the Word of + his Classis, or by the Particular Synod, or by the Professors of + Theology of these provinces, but with the knowledge of his Classis. + + - name: Article 56 + text: | + + The Covenant of God shall be sealed to the children of Christians by + Baptism as soon as the administration thereof is feasible, in the + public assembly when the Word of God is preached. But in those places + where sermons are preached less frequently, a certain day of the week + shall be set aside for the administration of Baptism in a special + service, not however, without the preaching of a sermon. + + - name: Article 57 + text: | + + The Ministers shall do their best and put forth every effort to have + the father present his child for baptism. And in the Congregations + where Spons0rs or Witnesses are taken at Baptism beside the father + (which custom, not being objectional in itself, is not easily changed) + it is proper that such be taken who agree with the pure doctrine and + are pious in their conversation. + + - name: Article 58 + text: | + + In baptizing both children and adults, the Ministers shall employ the + Forms pertaining to the institution and administration of Baptism + which have been drawn up respectively for this purpose. + + - name: Article 59 + text: | + + Adults are incorporated through Baptism into the Christian Church and + are received as members of the Church, and are therefore obliged also + to partake of the Lord's Supper, which they shall promise to do at + their Baptism. + + - name: Article 60 + text: | + + The names of those baptized, together with those of the parents and + witnesses, and likewise the date of Baptism, shall be recorded. + + - name: Article 61 + text: | + + None shall be admitted to the Lord's Supper except those who, + according to the usage of the Church to which they unite themselves, + have made Confession of Religion, besides being reputed to be of a + godly conversation, without which also those who come from other + Churches shall not be admitted. + + - name: Article 62 + text: | + + Every Church shall administer the Lord's Supper in such a manner as it + shall judge most conducive to edification; provided, however, that the + outward ceremonies as prescribed in God's Word be not changed and all + superstition be avoided, and that at the conclusion of the sermon and + the usual prayers on the pulpit, the Form for the administration of + the Lord's Supper, together with the prayer for that purpose, shall be + read at the Table. + + - name: Article 63 + text: | + + The Lordly Supper shall be administered once every two months, + wherever possible, and it will be edifying that it take place at + Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas where the circumstances of the Church + permit. However, in those places where the Church has not yet been + instituted, first of all Elders and Deacons shall be provided. + + - name: Article 64 + text: | + + Whereas the Evening Prayer Meetings are found profitable in many + places, every Church shall govern their use in a manner they judge to + conduce most to their edification. However, in case they would desire + to discontinue them, this is not to be done without the judgment of + the Classis (and of the Authorities who favour the Reformed Religion). + + - name: Article 65 + text: | + + If funeral sermons are not in use, they are not to be introduced, and + if they already have come to be accepted, diligence shall be exercised + to dispose of them by the most suitable means. + + - name: Article 66 + text: | + + In times of war, pestilence, calamities, heavy persecution of the + Churches, and other general distresses, the Ministers of the Churches + shall request the Government to employ their authority and command + that public days of Fasting and Prayer be appointed and set aside. + + - name: Article 67 + text: | + + The Churches shall observe, in addition to Sunday, also Christmas, + Easter, and Pentecost, with the following day, and whereas in most of + the cities and provinces of the Netherlands the day of Circumcision + and of Ascension of Christ are also observed, Ministers in every place + where this is not yet done shall take steps with the Government to + have them conform with the others. + + - name: Article 68 + text: | + + The Ministers everywhere shall briefly explain on Sunday, ordinarily + in the afternoon sermon, the sum of Christian doctrine comprehended in + the Catechism which at present is accepted in the Netherland Churches, + so that it may be completed every year in accordance with the devision + of the Catechism itself made for that purpose. + + - name: Article 69 + text: | + + In the Churches only the 150 Psalms of David, the Ten Commandments, + the Lord's Prayer, the Twelve Articles of Faith, the Song of Mary, + that of Zacharias, and that of Simon shall be sung. It is left to the + individual Churches whether or not to use the hymn "Oh God! who art + our Father." All other hymns are to be excluded from the Churches, and + in those places where some have already been introduced they are to be + removed by the most suitable means. + + - name: Article 70 + text: | + + Whereas up to now various usages in regard to marriages are maintained + everywhere, and it nevertheless is proper that uniformity be exercised + in this matter, therefore the Churches shall adhere to the method + which they, in conformity to the Word of God and previous + ecclesiastical regulations have maintained up to now, until the High + Authorities (which are to be asked to do so at the earliest + opportunity) shall prepare a general Regulation with the advice of the + Ministers of the Churches, to which this Church Order refers itself in + this matter. + + + ## Fourth Head - Of Censure and Ecclesiastical Admonition + + + - name: Article 71 + text: | + + As Christian discipline is of a spiritual nature, and exempts no one + from civil trial or punishment by the authorities, so also besides + civil punishment there is need of ecclesiastical censure, to reconcile + the sinner with the Church and with his neighbour, and to remove the + offense out of the Church of Christ. + + - name: Article 72 + text: | + + In case anyone transgresses against the purity of doctrine or + godliness of conversation, as long as it is of a private character and + has not given public offense, the rule clearly prescribed by Christ in + Matthew 18 shall be followed. + + - name: Article 73 + text: | + + Secret sins of which the sinner repent after being admonished by one + person in private or in the presence of two or three witnesses, shall + not be laid before the Consistory. + + - name: Article 74 + text: | + + If anyone, having been admonished in love concerning a secret sin by + two or three persons, does not give heed, or otherwise has committed a + public sin, the matter shall be reported to the Consistory. + + - name: Article 75 + text: | + + The reconciliation of all such sins as are of their nature of a public + character, or have become public because the admonition of the Church + was despised, shall take place, when definite signs of repentance are + evident, publicly, by the judgment of the Consistory; and in rural + districts or smaller towns having only one Minister, with the advice + of two neighbouring Churches, in such a form and manner as shall be + judged to be conducive to the edification of each Church. + + - name: Article 76 + text: | + + Such as obstinately reject the admonition of the Consistory, and + likewise those who have committed a public or otherwise gross sin, + shall be suspended from the Lord's Supper. And if he, having been + suspended after repeated admonitions, shows no signs of repentance, + the Consistory shall at last proceed to the extreme remedy, namely, + excommunication, agreeably to the Form adopted for that purpose + according to the Word of God. But no one shall be excommunicated + except with previous advice of Classis. + + - name: Article 77 + text: | + + Before proceeding to excommunication, the obstinacy of the sinner + shall be publicly made known to the Congregation, explaining the + offense, together with the diligence bestowed upon him in reproof, + suspension from the Lord's Supper, and manifold admonitions; and the + Congregation shall be exhorted to speak to him and to pray for him. + There shall be three such admonitions. In the first the name of the + sinner shall not be mentioned, that he be somewhat spared. In the + second, with the advice of the Classis, his name shall be mentioned. + In the third the Congregation shall be informed that, unless he + repent, he will be excluded from the fellowship of the Church, so that + his excommunication, in case he remains obstinate, may take place with + the tacit approbation of the Church. The interval between the + admonition shall be left to the discretion of the Consistory. + + - name: Article 78 + text: | + + Whenever anyone who has been excommunicated desire to become + reconciled to the Church in the way of penitence, it shall be + announced to the Congregation, either before the administration of the + Lord's Supper or at some opportune time, in order that, in so far as + no one can mention anything against him to the contrary, at the next + Lord's Supper he may, with profession of his repentance be publicly + reinstated according to the Form for that purpose. + + - name: Article 79 + text: | + + When Ministers of the Divine Word, Elders, or Deacons have committed + any public, gross sin, which is a disgrace to the Church, or worthy of + punishment by the Authorities, the Elders and Deacons shall + immediately, by preceding sentence of the Consistory of that Church + and the nearest adjoining Church, be deposed from their office, but + the Ministers shall be suspended. But whether or not they are to be + entirely deposed from their office shall be subject to the judgment of + the Classis. + + - name: Article 80 + text: | + + Furthermore, among the gross sins which are worthy of being punished + with suspension or deposition from office, these are the principal + ones: false doctrine or heresy, public schism, public blasphemy, + simony, faithless desertion of office or intrusion upon that of + another, perjury, adultery, fornication, theft, acts of violence, + habitual drunkenness, brawling, filthy lucre; in short, all sins and + gross offenses as render the perpetrators infamous before the world, + and which in any private member of the Church would cause him to be + considered worthy of excommunication. + + - name: Article 81 + text: | + + The Ministers of the Word, Elders, and Deacons shall exercise + Christian censure among themselves, and in a friendly spirit admonish + one another with regard to the discharge of their office. + + - name: Article 82 + text: | + + To those who remove from the Congregation, a Certificate of Dismission + or testimony regarding their conversation shall be given them at the + discretion of the Consistory, under the seal of the Church, or where + there is no seal, signed by two. + + - name: Article 83 + text: | + + Furthermore, the poor shall, when removing for sufficient reasons, + receive assistance from the Deacons at their discretion provided it be + noted on the reverse side of their Certificate of Dismission to places + to which they wish to go, and the assistance they have received. + + - name: Article 84 + text: | + + No church shall in any way lord it over other Churches, no Minister + over other Ministers, no Elder or Deacon over other Elders or Deacons. + + - name: Article 85 + text: | + + Foreign Churches whose usages regarding nonessentials differ from ours + shall not be rejected. + + - name: Article 86 + text: | + + These Articles, relating to the lawful Order of the Churches, have + been so drafted and adopted by common convent, that they, if the + profit of the Churches demand otherwise, may and ought to be altered, + augmented, or diminished. However, no particular Congregation, + Classis, or Synod shall be at liberty to do so, but they shall show + all diligence in observing them, until it be otherwise ordained by the + General, or National Synod. + + - name: Formula of Subscription + text: | + + WE, the undersigned, Professors of The . . . Reformed Church, + Ministers of the Gospel, Elders and Deacons of The . . . Reformed + congregation of . . . of the Classis of . . . do hereby sincerely and + in good conscience before the Lord, declare by this, our subscription, + that we heartily believe and are persuaded that all the articles and + points of doctrine, contained in the Confession and Catechism of the + Reformed Churches, together with the explanation of some points of the + aforesaid doctrine, made by the National Synod of Dordrecht, 1618-'19, + do fully agree with the Word of God. + We promise therefore diligently to teach and faithfully to defend the + aforesaid doctrine, without either directly or indirectly + contradicting the same, by our public preaching or writing. + We declare, moreover, that we not only reject all errors that + militate against this doctrine and particularly those which were + condemned by the above mentioned Synod, but that we are disposed to + refute and contradict these, and to exert ourselves in keeping the + Church free from such errors. And if hereafter any difficulties or + different sentiments respecting the aforesaid doctrines should arise + in our minds, we promise that we will neither publicly nor privately + propose, teach, or defend the same, either by preaching or writing, + until we have first revealed such sentiments to the consistory, + Classis and Synod, that the same may be there examined, being ready + always cheerfully to submit to the judgment of the consistory, Classis + and Synod, under the penalty in case of refusal to be, by that very + fact, suspended from our office. + + And further, if at any time the consistory, Classis or Synod, upon + sufficient grounds of suspicion and to preserve the uniformity and + purity of doctrine, may deem it proper to requite of us a further + explanation of our sentiments respecting any particular article of the + Confession of Faith, the Catechism, or the explanation of the National + Synod, we do hereby promise to be always willing and ready to comply + with such requisition, under the penalty above mentioned, reserving + for ourselves, however, the right of an appeal, whenever we shall + believe ourselves aggrieved by the sentence of the consistory, the + Classis or the Synod, and until a decision is made upon such an + appeal, we will acquiesce in the determination and judgment already + passed.