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Heads of Agreement,
ASSENTED TO BY THE UNITED MIN.
ISTERS FORMERLY CALLED
I. Of Churches and Church Members.
E acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ
to have one Catholick Church or Kingdom, comprehending all that are united to him, whether in heaven or earth. And do conceive the whole multitude of visible believers, and their infant seed, (commonly called the Catholick visible Church) to belonging to Christ's spiritual kingdom in this world. But for the notion of a Catholick visible Church here, as it signifies its having been collected into any formed society, under a visible common head on earth, whether one person singly, or many collectively, we, with the rest of Protestants, unan. imously disclaim it. Eph. i, 10, 22, and 44. Eph v, 27. I Cor. xii, 12, 13. Gen. xvii, 7. Acts ii, 39. Mat. xxiji, 7 to 10.
II. We agree, that particular societies of visible soints, who under Christ their head, are stritidy j ined together, for ordinary communion with one another in all the ordinances of Christ, are particular churches, and are to be owned by each other, as instituted churches of Christ, though differing in anprehensions and prac'ice in some lesser things. Cor. xiv. 2, 3. and i. 2. and xii. 27. Rev. i. iv. Rom. xiv. I.
III. That none shall be admitted as mem. bers, in order to communion in all the special ordinances of the gospel, but such persons as are knowing and sound in the fundamental doctrine of he christian religion, without scandal in th: ir lives ; and to a judgement regulated by the word of God, are persons of visible holiness and honesty ; crt dibly professing cordial subjertion to Jesus Chrisi. Pro. xix. 2. Act. viii. 32. 2 Tim. ii. 19. Ezek. xliv, 9. Rom. x, 10, 2 Cor. ix. 13.
IV. A competent number of such visible sainis, (as before described) do become the ca. pable subjects of stated communion in all the special ordinances of Christ upon their mutual declared consent and agreement to walk together therein according to gospel rule. In which declaration, diffe-rent degrees of expliciiness, shall no ways hinder such churches from owning each other, is jostituted churches, I Cor. xiv. 23. Acts xx. 7. and ii. 41, 42. Rom. xiv, 3,
V. Though parochial bounds, be not of divine right, yet for comnion edification, the members of a particular church ought (as much as conveniently may be) to live near one another. 1 Thes. V. ll, 12, 13. Heb. X. 25.
VI. That each particular church hath right to choose their own officers; and being furnished with such as are duly qualified and ordained according to the gospel rule, hath authority from Christ for exercising government, and of enjoying all the ordinances of worship within itself. Acts, vi, 2. Titus, i, 5, 6, 7. I Tim. iv, 14. Mat. xviii, 17. I Cor. xi, 2.
VII. In the administration of church pow. er, it belongs to the Pastors and other Elders ofevery particular church, if such there be to rule and govern, and to the brotherhood to consent according to the rule of the gospel. I Tim. v, 17. Heb. iii, 17. I Cor. iv, l, and v, 4, II Cor. vi, 8, 10.
VIII. That all professors as before described, are bound in duty, as they have opportunity to join themselves as fixed members of some particular Church ; their thus joining, being part of their professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and an instituted means of their estab. lishment and edification ; whereby they are under the pastoral care, and in case of scandalous or offensive walking, may be authoritatively admonished or censured for their recovery, for vindication of the truth, and the church professing it. Acts, ii 47, and v, 13. II Cor. ix, 13. Heb. x, 24, 25. I Thess. V, 12, 14. Acts
IX. That a Visible Professor, thus joined to a particular Church ought to continue steadfast with the said churcb; and not forsake tbe min. istry, and ordinances there dispensed without an orderly seeking a recommendation unto another Church, which ought to be given, when the case of the person apparently requires it. Acts ii, 42. Heb. X, 25. Rom. xvi, 1, 2.
II. of the Ministry
E ageee that the ministerial office is in.
stituted by Jesus Christ for the gath: ering, guiding, edifying and governing of his church; and to continue to the end of the world. Eph. iv, 11, 12. Mat. xxviii, 19, 20.
II. They who are called to this office ought' to be evdued with competent learning and min. isterial gifts, as also with the grace of God, sound in judgment, not novices in the faith and knowledge of the Gospel : without scandal of holy conversation, and such as devote themselves to the work and service thereof, Il Tim:
11, 24. Rom. xii, 6. I Tim. iii, , 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Tit. i, 6, 7. I Tim. iv, 16.
III. That ordinarily none shall be ordained to the work of this ministry, but such as are called and chosen thereunto by a particular church. Acts, xiv, 23.
IV. That in so great and weighty a matter as the calling and chusing a pastor, we judge it ordinarily requisite, that every such church consult and advise with the Pastors of neighbouring congregations. Prov. xi, 14, and xv. xxii.
V. That after such advice, the persons con sulted about, being chosen by the brotberhood of that particular church over which he is to be set, and he accepting, be duly ordained and set apart to his office over them; wherein 'tis ordi. narily requisite that the pastors of neighbouring congregations concur with the preaching Elder or Elders, if such there be. Acts, xiv, 23, and i, 23, and xüi, 23. I Tim. iv. 14.
VI. That whereas, such ordination only is intended for such as never before had been ordained to the ministerial office ; if any judge, that in case also of the removal of one formerly ordained, to a new station, or pastoral charge, there ought to be a like solemn recommending him and his labours to the grace and blessing of God, no