Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

citations for such witnesses as the accused shall nominate, to appear on his behalf.

VII. Although it is required that the accused be informed of the names of all the witnesses who are to be adduced against him, at least ten days before the time of trial, (unless he consent to waive the right and proceed immediately) it is not necessary that he, on his part, give a similar notice to the judicatory of all the witnesses intended to be adduced by him for his exculpation.

VIII. In exhibiting charges, the times, places, and circumstances should, if possible, be ascertained and stated, that the accused may have an opportunity to prove an alibi, or to extenuate or alleviate his offence.

IX. The judicatory, in many cases, may find it more for edification, to send some members to converse, in a private manner, with the accused person; and if he confess his guilt, to endeavour to bring him to repentance, than to proceed immediately to citation.

X. When an accused person, or a witness, refuses to obey the citation, he shall be cited a second time; and if he still continue to refuse, he shall be excluded from the communion of the church, for his contumacy, until he repent.

XI. Although, on the first citation, the person cited shall declare in writing, or otherwise, his fixed determination not to obey it; this declaration shall in nn case, induce the judica

tory to deviate from the regular course prescribed for citations. They shall proceed as if no such declaration had been made. The person cited may afterwards alter his mind.

XII. The time which must elapse between the 'first citation of an accused person, or a witness, and the meeting of the judicatory at which he is to appear, is at least ten days. But the time allotted for his appearance in the subsequent citation is left to the discretion of the judicatory; provided always, however, that it be not less than is quite sufficient for a seasonable and convenient compliance with the citation.

XIII. The second citation ought always to be accompanied with a notice, that if the person cited do not appear at the time appointed, the judicatory, besides censuring him for his contumacy, will, after assigning some person to manage his. defence, proceed to take the testimony in his case, as if he were present.

XIV. Judicatories, before proceeding to trial, ought to ascertain that their citations have been duly served on the persons for whom they were intended, and especially before they proceed to ultimate measures for contumacy.

XV. The trial shall be fair and impartial. The witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused ; or, at least, after he shall have received due citation to attend; and he shall be permitted to ask any questions tending to his own exculpation.

ance.

XVI. The judgment shall be regularly entered on the records of the judicatory: and the parties shall be allowed copies of the whole proceedings, at their own expense, if they demand them. And in case of references or appeals, the judicatory referring, or appealed from, shall send authentic copies of the whole process to the higher judicatory.

XVII. The person found guilty shall be admonished or rebuked, or excluded from church privileges, as the case shall appear to deserve, until he give satisfactory evidence of repent

XVIII. As cases may arise in which many days, or even weeks, may intervene before it is practicable to commence process against an accused church member, the session may, in such cases, and ought, if they think the edification of the church requires it, to prevent the accused person from approaching the Lord's table until the charge against him can be examined.

XIX. The sentence shall be published only in the church or churches which have been offended. Or, if the offence be of small importance, and such as it shall appear most for edification not to publish, the sentence may pass only in the judicatory.

XX. Such gross offenders as will not be reclaimed by the private or public admonitions of the church, are to be cut off from its communion, agreeably to our Lord's direction,

But if any

Matt. xviii. 17, and the apostolical injunction respecting the incestuous person, 1 Cor. v. 1 to 5.

XXI. No professional counsel shall be permitted to appear and plead in cases of process in any of our ecclesiastical courts. accused person feel unable to represent and plead his own cause to advantage, he may request any minister or elder, belonging to the judicatory before which he appears, to prepare and exhibit his cause as he may judge proper. But the minister or elder so engaged, shall not be allowed, after pleading the cause of the accused, to sit in judgment as a member of the judicatory.

XXII. Questions of order, which arise in the course of process, shall be decided by the moderator. If an appeal is made from the chair, the question on the appeal shall be taken without debate.

XXIII. In recording the proceedings, in cases of judicial process, the reasons for all decisions, except on questions of order, shall be recorded at length; that the record may exhibit every thing which had an influence on the judgment of the court. And nothing but what is contained in the record, may be taken into consideration in reviewing the proceedings in a superior court.

40

CHAPTER Y.

OF PROCESS AGAINST A BISHOP OR MINISTER.

I. As the honour and success of the gospel depend, in a great measure, on the character of its ministers, each presbytery ought, with the greatest care and impartiality, to watch over the personal and professional conduct of all its members. But as, on the one hand, no minister ought, on account of his office, to be screened from the hand of justice, nor his offences to be slightly censured; so neither ought scandalous charges to be received against him, by any judicatory, on slight grounds.

II. Process against a gospel minister shall always be entered before the presbytery of which he is a member. And the same candour, caution, and general method, substituting only the presbytery for the session, are to be observed in investigating charges against him, as are prescribed in the case of private members.

III. If it be found that the facts with which a minister stands charged, happened without the bounds of his own presbytery, that presbytery shall send notice to the presbytery, within whose bounds they did happen, and desire them either (if within convenient distance) to cite the witnesses to appear at the place of trial; or (if the distance be so great as to render that inconvenient) to take the examination

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »