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engagements, and endeavors used to promote punctuality and fidelity in both parties, before distress on one side or complaint on the other grow to a height unfavorable to the interests of religion.-1799, p. 181.
b. With pain we have heard that in some parts of our Church the disposition to support the gospel ministry is becoming cold. We lament this appearance the more because we learn that there is no backwardness to advance money for objects which, though laudable in themselves, are subordinate in importance to the preaching of the word.
We trust that our people possess too much good sense and too much respect for the God who made and redeemed them to listen to the dreams of men who neither know what they say nor whereof they affirm. These do not hesitate to libel an ordinance of the living God to promote their selfish views, their degrading prejudices. God hath said, “Whosoever serveth at the altar shall live of the altar." But these say, No; the ministry must be kept in want that they may be kept humble.
We fervently wish that the men who thus act toward the ministry would, to be consistent, apply their reasoning to themselves. We do not hesitate to say that the profession of religion which is connected with the disposition to abridge the means of supporting the gospel is at best suspicious. Men who do so practically say, We love our bodies more than our souls-our temporal substance more than our eternal inheritance. It is among the foulest blots of the Christian name that in so many instances the confession is made of the heart being opened to receive the truth in the love of it, whilst at the same time great reluctance is displayed in giving worldly substance for the service of Him who alone changes the heart.
One of the best evidences of the power of religion is an increase of lib erality in relation to all those objects which regard the salvation of souls and the liberality of Zion. We hope that they who have in this respect gone back will, without delay, retrace their steps and redeem their name from reproach or suspicion.-1811, p. 485.
3. Liberality in Support of the Ministry Urged.
a. The following preamble and resolution, proposed by Elder Walter S. Griffith, was unanimously adopted:
Whereas, It is highly important to our churches that they be served by competent ministers, who shall be free from worldly cares and avocations; whereas, the law of Christ expressly declares "that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel," and that he "that is taught in the word" should "communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things," thus making it the solemn duty, as it is clearly the interest, of Christian churches to provide for their ministers a competent and liberal support; whereas, the cost of the necessities of life has advanced so greatly as to render the salaries heretofore paid to many of our ministers entirely inadequate, causing to them and to their families great anxiety and distress; and whereas, this subject demands at this time, and should not fail to attract, the special attention of every Christian; therefore,
Resolved, That the General Assembly earnestly exhort all the churches under their care to consider this question in the spirit of Christian fidelity and liberality, and to make ample provision for those who minister to them in word and doctrine, stipulating so to increase their compensation, when necessary, as to make their salaries fully adequate to their comfortable support, in view of the enhanced expenses of living, and paying the amount agreed upon with honorable and Christian promptitude.-1854, p. 499, N. Š.
b. [A memorial from the Synod of New York on the subject of minis terial support was referred to a Committee exclusively of elders, one from each Synod.]
Judge Fine, from the Special Committee on Ministerial Support, presented a report, which was read, amended and adopted, the resolutions being as follows, viz.:
1. Resolved, That we affectionately and earnestly recommend to the churches under our care that they scrupulously avoid holding out any inducements to a minister to become their stated supply, or settled pastor, which will not be realized.
2. Resolved, That we earnestly recommend to every Presbytery that, unless suitable provision be made for the support of a minister or stated supply, they decline to give their aid or sanction, as a Presbytery, to settle him in any congregation which is able to furnish such suitable provision.
3. Resolved, That we recommend to the elders and deacons and trustees of our churches and congregations to meet together on some day before the first of November next, and yearly thereafter, or oftener if necessary, and institute the inquiry whether the minister or stated supply is properly and fully supported, and if they find that he is not so supported, to take immediate measures to increase his support, and report to their Presbytery at its next meeting.
4. Resolved, That we recommend to the Presbyteries to require of every minister to preach on the subject of ministerial support-"that, laying aside all false delicacy, they enlighten their people upon this as upon any other branch of Christian duty, pleading not for themselves, but for their Master, if happily they may reclaim their respective charges from a grievous sin which must bring down God's displeasure"-and that the Presbyteries call upon every minister to answer whether he has complied with their injunction.-1854, p. 40, O. S.
[For the report accompanying the resolutions and ordered to be published and read in the churches, see Baird's Collection, Revised Edition, pp. 199-203.]
4. Presbytery may Refuse to Install when the Salary is Insufficient.
From the church of Paris, Illinois: "When a congregation and minister agree on the amount of salary to be paid and received, and both parties, being fully satisfied, request that the pastoral relation be constituted according to the order of the Presbyterian Church, has Presbytery the right to refuse to install because, in their judgment, the salary is insuffiAnswered in the affirmative.-1855, pp. 272-282, O. S.
5. Congregations Urged to Procure Parsonages.
a. For the purpose of facilitating the settlement and support of pastors and to guard more effectually against the temptation, or almost necessity, as in some cases seems to exist, for ministers to involve themselves, to the injury of their usefulness, in procuring accommodations for themselves and families,
1. Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to our churches, wherever it is expedient and practicable, to provide suitable parsonages for the accommodation of their pastors.
2. Resolved, That great care be taken to have these parsonages so guarded by legal arrangements as most effectually to prevent controversy and secure their perpetual enjoyment by the churches providing them for
the continued support of the gospel through coming generations.—1843, p. 193, O. S.
b. Resolved, 2. That the Presbyteries be instructed to appoint Standing Committees on Manses, so that the subject may be brought regularly and statedly before them for consideration, and that information may be disseminated widely among the churches.
Resolved, 3. That ministers and elders be requested to press this matter upon the attention of the churches and people, and strive to create and extend a healthy state of mind and feeling on the subject, and stimulate them in the effort to provide manses, and, even in those churches where the way may not be clear to build at once, urge upon them the work of preparation by securing suitable lots of ground for building when the proper time may come, and that such provision of ground, whether in town or country, should be on a liberal scale.-1872, p. 37.
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.
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. If that Presbytery 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 submit himself to the usual trials preparatory to ordination.
[To facilitate the business and avoid expense and delay, it has become common usage for the candidate to obtain a dismission to the Presbytery
within whose bounds is the congregation seeking his services; being received by that Presbytery, the proceedings are as in the case of their own candidates. See IX., above, M.].
XI. Trials for ordination, especially in a different Presbytery 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 philosophy, 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; together 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.
1. Ordination on the Sabbath Discouraged, but at the Discretion of the Presbytery.
An overture was received from the Presbytery of Orange, requesting the opinion of the General Assembly on the question whether it be proper to ordain licentiates to the office of the gospel ministry on the Sabbath day. The General Assembly think it would not be for edification to adopt a uniform rule on the subject. In general they think it is not expedient that ordinations should take place on the Sabbath, yet that there may be cases in which urgent or peculiar circumstances may demand them. The Assembly, therefore, judged it best to leave it to the Presbyteries to act in this concern as they may judge that their duty requires.-1821, p. 10.
[For qualifications of the candidate in knowledge of and assent to the Confession, Catechisms, etc., see under Form of Government, chap. i., 11, 12 and 13.]
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 afterward 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 propose 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 Confession 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 Presbyterian 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 own 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?
The Assent Embraces the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
Overture No. 1. The following inquiry from members of the Presbytery of Nashville: "When ministers and other officers are ordained in the Presbyterian Church, and give an affirmative answer to the question, Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of this Church as containing the system of doctrines taught in the Holy Scriptures? are such ministers and officers to be understood as embracing and assenting to the doctrines, principles, precepts and statements contained in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms in the same unqualified sense in which they are understood to embrace and assent to the doctrines, principles, precepts and statements contained in other parts of the Confession of Faith?"
The Committee recommended that the question be answered in the affirmative; and the recommendation was adopted.-1848, p, 18, O. S.
XIII. The candidate having answered these questions in the affirmative, the presiding minister shall propose to the people the following questions:
1. Do you, the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive whom you have called to be your
2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth. with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?