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7. On Overture No. 7 the votes are 157 affirmative, and 13 in the negative. The overture is therefore adopted. The second period of Section 114 is therefore stricken out and the following substituted:

The names of the baptized children of a parent seeking admission to another church shall, if such children are members of his household and remove with him and are not themselves communicants, be included in the certificate of dismission.

The report was accepted and adopted.-1885, pp. 601, 602.

8. To facilitate comparison of the former Book of Discipline with the Revised Book, the following table is given:

In this table the numbers before the dash indicate chapters and sections of the former Book of Discipline; the figures following the dash denote the corresponding

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Figures in brackets, thus [I. 6.], refer to sections of old Book.

I. DISCIPLINE is the exercise of that authority, and the application of that system of laws, which the Lord Jesus Christ has appointed in his Church; embracing the care and control maintained by the Church over its members, officers and judicatories. [I. 1.]

II. The ends of discipline are the maintenance of the truth, the vindication of the authority and honor of Christ, the removal of offenses, the promotion of the purity and edification of the Church, and the spiritual good of offenders. Its exercise, in such a manner as to secure its appropriate ends, requires much prudence and discretion. Judicatories, therefore, should take into consideration all the circumstances which may give a different character to conduct and render it more or less offensive, and which may require different action, in similar cases, at different times, for the attainment of the same ends. [I. 2, 5.]*

1. Prompt Discipline best Fitted to Secure a Happy Issue. It is further the opinion of the Assembly that had the improper conduct of the appellant been made a subject of discipline at an earlier period, a more happy issue might have been reached. The Assembly formally and affectionately urges on the appellant a submission to the sentence of his brethren and a speedy return to the path of duty and privilege.-1859, p. 547, O. S.

2. The Censure must be Proportionate to the Offence.

a. It being the order of the day, the Assembly proceeded to consider the appeal of Mr. Jabez Spicer from the decision of the Synod of Geneva, by which Mr. Spicer had been deposed from the gospel ministry. The docu ments on the subject were read, and the parties were heard. After a considerable discussion, the following resolution was adopted, viz.:

Resolved, That the appeal of Mr. Spicer be sustained, on the ground that the sentence pronounced upon him was disproportioned to his crime, it not appearing substantiated that he was guilty of more than a single act of prevarication; while, therefore, the Assembly express their entire *The larger type, with the figures I., II., III., designates the text of the Revised Book of Discipline.

disapprobation of the conduct of Mr. Spicer, as unbecoming a Christian and Christian minister, they reverse the sentence of deposition passed upon him by the Presbytery, and direct that after suitable admonitions and acknowledgments he be restored to the ministerial office.-1821, p. 24.

b. The discussion left unfinished yesterday afternoon was resumed, viz.: of the motion to reverse a decision of the Presbytery of Lexington, by which decision Mr. George Bourne was deposed from the gospel ministry. This motion, after it had been amended and fully discussed, was determined in the affirmative, and is as follows, viz.:

The Assembly judge that the charges in the case of Mr. Bourne were not fully substantiated, and that, if they had been, the sentence was too severe. Therefore,

Resolved, That the sentence of the Presbytery of Lexington, deposing Mr. Bourne, be reversed, and it is hereby reversed, and that the Presbytery commence the trial anew.-1817, p. 646.

c. The Assembly sustain the appeal of David Price from the decision of the Synod of Geneva, on the ground that the charge of intoxication was not sufficiently supported by the testimony; although it does appear, principally from his own confession, that he had made an unbecoming use of ardent spirits, and that an admonition was, in the view of the Assembly, deserved, and would have been sufficient.-1825, p. 155.

d. Resolved, That the decision of the Synod of Cincinnati, reversing the action of the Presbytery and session, upon the second charge, be sustained in part on the ground that the suspension of the parties accused was too severe in the case, and that the session be recommended to revoke the suspension and admonish the parties.-1865, p. 550, O. S.

See also under chap. vii., sec. iv., sub-sec. xcix.]

4. The Decisions of the Civil Courts not Conclusive in the Judicatories of the Church. Every member of the Presbyterian Church entitled to a Fair Trial according to the Methods of his Church, before Condemnation.

Overture from the Presbytery of Washington City, asking the Assembly to enact that:

Any minister, or member of the Church, convicted in the civil courts of an offence, recognized as such by the standards of our Church, may, without further process, be suspended from all the privileges and offices of the Church until the judicatories of the Church having jurisdiction in the case shall, after due investigation, be satisfied of his innocence or repentance.

The Committee recommend that, while admitting that some possible cases may occur, in which nothing else can be done, but that which is here asked, the overture be answered in the negative, because:

1. The subject-matter of the overture involves a constitutional change, which must needs be overtured to the Presbyteries, which it is not now desirable to do.

2. The processes of civil courts differ so much from those of our Church judicatories, and their decisions are not so infallible, that our Church judicatories can adopt them without investigation.

3. It is the sacred right of every member of the Presbyterian Church, to have a full and fair trial, according to the laws and methods of his Church, before condemnation.-Adopted 1885, pp. 602, 603.

5. A Minister's Name may not be Stricken from the Roll without his Consent, or by Discipline, or by his having Recognized some other Jurisdiction, or Become Independent.

Overture, being a request from the Presbytery of West Chester that the Assembly shall define the authority of Presbyteries, in regard to taking from the roll the names of ministers serving churches in other denominations. The Committee recommend the adoption of the following:

Since the adoption of the Revised Book of Discipline, especially Section liii. in Chapter vii., a Presbytery has no authority to take a minister's name from the roll, without his consent, except by discipline, unless he has said or done something, which either recognizes some other ecclesiastical jurisdiction over him, or declares his independence.-Adopted 1885, p. 604. [See Form of Government, Appendix, chap. x., sec. viii., par. 10, b.]

6. Great Tenderness Enjoined.

Whereas, It has appeared on the trial of Judicial Cases 1 and 2 (see Book of Discipline, chap. i., sec. iii., 13, a) that full testimony was given, as well in this court as in the trial in the courts below, to the exemplary Christian character of the appellants in these cases respectively; and

Whereas, The offence which has subjected said appellants to the discipline of the Church has arisen from a conscience misled by erroneous views of their duty; therefore,

Resolved, That it be recommended to the Session of the church of Caledonia to deal with these brethren with the utmost tenderness and Christian affection, that they may be led to see their errors and return to their duty, and that they may be restored to the fellowship of the Church, from which they have been too long separated.-1859, p. 548, O. S.

III. An offense is anything, in the doctrine, principles or practice of a church member, officer or judicatory, which is contrary to the Word of God; or which, if it be not in its own nature sinful, may tempt others to sin, or mar their spiritual edification. [I. 3.]

[See Larger Catechism, Questions 104-151. For decisions and deliverances on doctrine see Form of Government, chap. xii., sec. v.; Digest, pp. 218-230. Also Appendix, pp. 524-527.]


1. Breach of Sabbath Observance,

While, therefore, we earnestly entreat our fellow-citizens of every class to "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," the Assembly do hereby in a special manner enjoin it upon the church sessions to watch over their brethren with tenderness and great fidelity in respect to the observance of the Sabbath, and to exercise wholesome discipline on those who by trav eling or other ways presume to trample upon this sacred institution; and we further enjoin it upon the Presbyteries annually to institute inquiries of the eldership as to the manner in which this injunction has been attended to in their respective churches.-1853, p. 323, N. S.

[See Deliverances upon the Sabbath at large, under Directory for Worship, chap. i. Questions pertaining to the seventh commandment under Directory for Worship, chap. xi., secs. ii., iii.]

2. Theatrical Exhibitions and Dancing Condemned.

a. On the fashionable, though, as we believe, dangerous, amusements

of theatrical exhibitions and dancing we deem it necessary to make a few observations. The theatre we have always considered as a school of immorality. If any person wishes for honest conviction on this subject, let him attend to the character of that mass of matter which is generally exhibited on the stage. We believe all will agree that comedies at least, with a few exceptions, are of such a description that a virtuous and modest person cannot attend the representation of them without the most painful and embarrassing sensations. If, indeed, custom has familiarized the scene, and these painful sensations are no longer felt, it only proves that the person in question has lost some of the best sensibilities of our nature, that the strongest safeguard of virtue has been taken down, and that the moral character has undergone a serious depreciation.—1818, p. 690.

b. Dancing a Dangerous Amusement, and to be Discouraged. With respect to dancing, we think it necessary to observe that, however plausible it may appear to some, it is perhaps not the less dangerous on account of that plausibility. It is not from those things which the world acknowledges to be most wrong that the greatest danger is to be apprehended to religion, especially as it relates to the young. When the practice is carried to its highest extremes, all admit the consequences to be fatal; and why not, then, apprehend danger even from its incipient stages? It is certainly in all its stages a fascinating and an infatuating practice. Let it once be introduced, and it is difficult to give it limits. It steals away our precious time, dissipates religious impressions and hardens the heart. To guard you, beloved brethren, against its wiles and its fascinations, we earnestly recommend that you will consult that sobriety which the sacred pages require. We also trust that you will attend, with the meekness and docility becoming the Christian character, to the admonitions on this subject of those whom you have chosen to watch for your souls. And now, beloved brethren, that you may be guarded from the dangers we have pointed out, and from all other dangers which beset the path of life and obstruct our common salvation, and that the great Head of the Church may have you in his holy keeping, is our sincere and affectionate prayer. Amen.-1818, p. 690.

c. Promiscuous Dancing calls for Faithful and Judicious Discipline. Resolved, That the fashionable amusement of promiscuous dancing is so entirely unscriptural, and eminently and exclusively that of "the world which lieth in wickedness," and so wholly inconsistent with the spirit of Christ, and with that propriety of Christian deportment and that purity of heart which his followers are bound to maintain, as to render it not only improper and injurious for professing Christians either to partake in it, or to qualify their children for it by teaching them the art; but also to call for the faithful and judicious exercise of discipline on the part of church Sessions when any of the members of their churches have been guilty.-1843, p. 14, N. S.

Reaffirmed, 1853, p. 340, N. S.; also 1867, p. 513, N. S.; 1876, p. 27.

d. Social Dances and Private Theatricals.

Overture No. 5. An overture from the Presbytery of Cincinnati, proposing the following questions, viz.:

1st. Are social dances and private theatricals included under the head of "dancing and stage plays," mentioned in the Larger Catechism, amongst "the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment"?

2d. Is it the duty of the church sessions to exercise discipline upon

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