Sivut kuvina

proceed to take the votes of the electors of that congregation for a pastor, if such be their desire, and when this desire shall be expressed by a majority of voices, he shall then proceed to 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


[See Digest, pp. 404, 405. For answer to the question, Who may moderate the Session in the absence of a minister? see Form of Government, chap. ix., sec. iv., 2, a, b, c; Digest, pp. 126, 127.—M.]

d. All Communicant Members have Right to Vote in Electing a Pastor. Overture. A resolution referred to them by the General Assembly: Resolved, That it is the judgment of the General Assembly that all members of the church in full communion have the right to vote in the election of Pastor in the congregation with which they are connected.

The Committee recommend that the resolution be affirmed, subject to the conditions mentioned in sec. iv., chap. xv., of the Form of Government.-Adopted 1879, p. 630.

[See Digest, p. 405, b, c.]

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.

1. The Presbytery may Refuse to Permit a Call.

a. The unfinished business of yesterday-viz.: an appeal from a decision of the Synod of Philadelphia, affirming a decision of the Presbytery of Carlisle, in which decision the Presbytery resolved not to put into his hands a call for the Rev. Henry R. Wilson from the congregation of Carlisle-being resumed and fully discussed, it was

Resolved, That the decision of the Synod of Philadelphia be affirmed. And it was accordingly affirmed.-1814, p. 548.

b. The business left unfinished yesterday was resumed-viz.: the consideration of the appeal of the Presbytery of Hudson from a decision of the Synod of New York and New Jersey, reversing a decision of said Presbytery, by which the Presbytery determined not to give leave to the congregation of Goodwill to prosecute before the Presbytery of New York a call which they had prepared for the Rev. William Gray, a member of that Presbytery.

It was moved and seconded that the appeal of the Presbytery of Hudson be sustained. After a full discussion of the subject, the question being taken on this motion, it was determined in the affirmative, and the appeal was therefore sustained.-1817, p. 644.

c. No. 1 is an appeal and complaint of the Rev. Mr. Edgar from the action of the Synod of Erie, sustaining the action of the Presbytery of Clarion in refusing to put a call from the church of Collinsburgh into his hands. The Judicial Committee recommend that, as the General Assen

bly have repeatedly decided that Presbyteries have discretionary power in such cases (see Digest, pp. 548, 549), which decisions are clearly in accordance with the Form of Government (see chap. xv., sec. x.), therefore, the appeal and complaint be dismissed.-Adopted 1875, p. 510. [See Book of Discipline, chap. ix., sec. iv., sub-sec. xcv.]

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 organize churches in frontier or destitute settlements; in this case the last of the preceding questions shall be omitted, and the following used as a substitute, namely:

Are you now willing to undertake the work of an evangelist; and do you promise to discharge the duties which may be incumbent on you in this character as God shall give you strength?

[See Digest, pp. 412, 415.]

7. Evangelists may not Ordain Ministers.

[See chap. x., sec. viii.; iii., 2, 1882, pp. 96, 97.—M.]

8. Nor Organize a Church within the Limits of a Presbytery without Leave of that Presbytery.

No church shall be organized by a missionary within the limits of any Presbytery, unless authority has previously been obtained from the Presbytery.-1883, p. 644.



I. No bishop shall be translated from one church to another, nor shall he receive any call for that purpose, but by permission of the Presbytery.

[See for the whole Chapter, Digest, pp. 416-419.]



WHEN any minister shall labor under such grievances in his congregation as that he shall desire leave to resign his pastoral charge, the Presbytery shall cite the congregation to appear by their commissioner at their next meeting to show cause, if any they have, why the

Presbytery should not accept the resignation. If the congregation fail to appear, or if their reasons for retaining their pastor be deemed by the Presbytery insufficient, he shall have leave granted to resign his pastoral charge, of which due record shall be made; and that church shall be held to be vacant till supplied again in an orderly manner with another minister; and if any congregation shall desire to be released from their pastor, a similar process, mutatis mutandis, shall be observed.

[See Digest, pp. 419-421.]

The Rule should be strictly Observed and Enforced.

Overture. The Committee have had before them an overture on "The Perils of a Degraded Ministry." The title is infelicitous, and fails to present the true design of the paper, which sets forth the well-known difficulties that attend the loose notions prevailing in regard to the permanence of the pastoral relation and the mutual obligations of pastor and people. There are many statements in the overture which deserve attention, and might be properly spread before the churches in the form of a tract or other publication. The Committee would, however, recommend the following answer:

Whereas, The frequent dissolution of the pastoral relation is a growing evil in our Church, arising largely out of the loose opinions which prevail as to the relation of pastor and people, and the influence of men who regard more the financial than the spiritual interests of the Church; therefore, Resolved, 1. That the Presbyteries be reminded of the necessity of giving clear and full instruction on the subject at the time of the installation of pastors.

2. That article xvii. of our Form of Government, in its spirit and letter, should be strictly observed by all our pastors and churches, and that our Presbyteries be enjoined to seek its rigid enforcement.-Adopted 1880, p. 77.



WHEN vacancies become so numerous in any Presbytery that they cannot be supplied with the frequent administration of the word and ordinances, it shall be proper for such Presbytery, or any vacant congregation within their bounds, with the leave of the Presbytery, to apply to any other Presbytery, or to any Synod, or to the General Assembly for such assistance as they can afford. And when any Presbytery shall send any of their ministers or probationers to distant vacancies, the missionary shall be ready to produce his credentials to the Presbytery or Presbyteries through the bounds of which he may pass, or at least to a committee thereof, and obtain their approbation. And the General Assembly may of their own knowledge send missions to any part to plant churches, or to supply vacancies, and for this pur

pose may direct any Presbytery to ordain evangelists or ministers without relation to particular churches, provided always that such missions be made with the consent of the parties appointed, and that the judicatory sending them make the necessary provision for their support and reward in the performance of this service.

[See Digest, pp. 422-459.]


2. Principles, Rules.

1. Within the bounds of a Presbytery the work of the Board of Home Missions should be carried on in harmony with the Presbytery, according to the principles and rules hereinafter stated; but a discretion should be allowed to the Board in outlying districts, where direct Presbyterial control is difficult or impracticable.

2. The Board should not, in ordinary cases, decline to grant an appropriation recommended by a Presbytery, unless, in its judgment, after viewing the whole field to be supplied, it shall appear that the funds at its disposal are all needed for more deserving or more promising work; and whether it does thus appear must be determined by the Board.

But in all questions touching the organization of churches or the character of ministers the Board, in case of difference between itself and the Presbytery, should abide by the final judgment of the Presbytery.

3. The formal issuing of commissions should be discontinued, and in lieu thereof the Board shall issue to the missionary an agreement for the amount to be paid to him.

4. Synodical missionaries should hold to the Board the same relation as other missionaries whose support is provided, in whole or in part, by the Board, and their work shall be conducted in harmony with the interests of the Synod and of the Board.

5. No church shall be organized by a missionary within the limits of any Presbytery, unless authority has previously been obtained from the Presbytery.

6. Each Synod shall appoint a Home Missionary Committee, to consist of the chairmen of the Presbyterial Committees within its bounds. The Committee shall meet annually, near or during the meeting of the Synod. It shall be the duty of the Committee to ascertain, as nearly as possible, the whole number of churches and missionary fields needing aid within the bounds of the Synod, and, as nearly as possible, equalize the salaries of missionaries in the Presbyteries. They shall ascertain the amount it will be fair to expect for the work of home missionaries from the churches of the Synod, and, as nearly as possible, determine the amount of aid that will likely be asked for the support of missionary work within the bounds of the Synod. The Committee shall confer, when practicable, with the representatives of the Board. These Synodical Committees shall, as soon as possible after the meetings of the Synod, report to the Board the necessities of the fields, and the probable amount of money required, together with the probable contributions from the Synods to the Board. The reports of these Synodical Committees shall be sent every year to the Assembly, and be referred, either to a special committee, or to the Standing Committee of the Assembly on Home Missions. The Committee, after considering the wants of the whole field, as they shall be set forth in the reports from the various Synods, shall make

their report to the Assembly, with such recommendations as the exigencies of the work may seem, in their judgment, to require.-1883, pp. 643, 644.

3. The School Work: Women's Executive Committee. a. The organization of our Christian women in several of our large cities, with auxiliaries in a large number of the churches, in behalf of Foreign Missions, has infused new life into the work for the heathen, and has brought large increase to the resources of that excellent Board, without diminution of other contributions. To some extent, such societies have also helped forward the cause of Home Missions, both in money, and in sending boxes of clothing to the families of missionaries. Memorials have reached the Committee from different parts of the Church, asking for some more effective plan of woman's work for the evangelization of our own land. We beg leave to suggest that the Assembly now recommend the organization of a Woman's Home Missionary Society, with auxiliary societies, under the advice and counsel of the Board of Home Missions, or its officers. And, further, that the formation of distinct auxiliary societies be recommended, in those churches in which this course may be deemed expedient, and that in those in which one society only-embracing, if possible, all the ladies in the church— may seem best, the disposition of its funds be left to the determination of every such society for itself. Such recommendation, without restricting the liberty of the women of each congregation, will express the clear judgment of the Assembly, that home evangelization and the conversion of the heathen are one and the same work of the Lord. In the distinction and the blending this is but following the Master, who said, "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."-Adopted 1875, p. 489; 1878, p. 110.

b. The report of the Board, and also the overtures from the Presbyteries of Utah and Colorado, present for the consideration of the Assembly a subject which, so far as the work of this Board is concerned, is entirely new-viz., the establishment of schools as distinct from, and in advance of, the establishment of churches, and, consequently, the employment and commissioning of teachers as distinct from ministers of the gospel. The report and the overtures inform us that such schools are already in operation through the use of funds specially contributed for the purpose, and the Assembly are asked to "authorize or advise, or at least approve, this new department of labor."

In the progress of Home-Mission work an emergency has arisen, calling for a change of action on part of the Board in the peculiar states of society in the Territories of Utah and New Mexico, and in a limited degree in the work already carried on among the Indians.

The Home Board is the only one that does, or is likely to do, anything in either of the Territories mentioned. The work is peculiar, arising from the utter absence of anything like a true Christian population to which the work of Home Missions can at first come.

In these Territories, we must begin at the very bottom; and it is found practically necessary, in order to success, to have schools under direct conduct of the missionaries. Such schools care not for secular instruction alone, but for religious instruction in connection with direct gospel instruction. These schools should not be left uncontrolled; and it seems eminently desirable that the Board control them. We would recommend, then, that the Board be allowed to sustain such schools by the payment of the

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