Obrazy na stronie

without constitutional authority and in Conflict with the express provisions of their constitution.” To the judgment granting the injunction the defendants excepted. .

The following parts of the constitution of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church were in evidence:

Church Courts.

“(24) It is necessary that the government of the church be exercised under Some certain and definite form, and by various courts, in regular gradation. These courts are denominated Church Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, and the General Assembly. “(25) The Church Session exercises jurisdiction over a single church; the Presbytery Over what is common to the ministers, Church Sessions, and Churches within a prescribed district; the Synod over what belongs in common to three or more Presbyteries, and their ministers, Church Sessions, and Churches; and the General Assembly over such matters as concern the whole church ; and the jurisdiction of these courts is limited by the express provisions of the constitution. Every court has the right to resolve questions of doctrine and discipline seriously and reasonably proposed, and in general to maintain truth and righteousness, condemning erroneous opinions and practices which tend to the injury of the peace, purity, or progress of the church; and, although each court exreises exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters specially belonging to it, the lower courts are subject to the review and control of the higher courts, in regular gradation.” “(27) The Church Session is charged with maintaining the spiritual government of the church, for which purpose it is its duty to inquire into the doctrines and conduct of the church members under its care; to receive members into the church; to admonish, suspend, or excommunicate those found delinquent, subject to appeal; to urge upon parents the importance of presenting their children for baptism; to grant letters of dismission, which, when given to parents, should always include the names of their baptized children; to ordain and install ruling elders and deacons when elected, and to require those officers to devote themselves to their work; to examine the records of the proceedings of the deacons; to establish and control Sabbath schools and Bible classes, with especial reference to the children of the church; to order collection for pious uses and church purposes; to take the oversight of the singing in the public worship of God; to assemble the people for worship when there is no minister; to concert the best measures for promoting the spiritual interests of the church; to observe and carry out the injunctions of the higher courts; and to appoint representatives to the higher courts, and require on their return a report of their diligence.” “(31) The Presbytery has the power to ex

amine and decide appeals, complaints, and references brought before it in an orderly manner; to receive, examine, dismiss, and license candidates for the holy ministry; to receive, dismiss, ordain, install, remove, and judge ministers; to review the records of the Church Sessions, redress whatever they may have done contrary to order, and take effectual care that they observe the government of the church; to establish the pastoral relation, and to dissolve it, at the request of one or both of the parties, or where the interests of religion imperatively demand it; to set apart evangelists to their proper work; to require ministers to devote themselves diligently to their sacred calling, and to censure and otherwise discipline the delinquent; to see that the injunctions of the higher courts are obeyed; to condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the church; to resolve questions of doctrine and discipline seriously and reasonably proposed; to visit particular churches, to inquire into their conditions, and redress the evils that may have arisen in them; to unite or divide churches with the consent of a majority of the members thereof, and, for cause, to dissolve the relations between it and a particular church, which shall othereafter cease to be a constituent of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and forfeit all rights as such; to form and receive new churches; to take special oversight of vacant churches; to concert measures for the enlargement of the church within its bounds; in general, to order whatever pertains to the spiritual welfare of the churches under its care; to appoint representatives to the higher courts; and, finally, to propose to the Synod, or to the General Assembly, such measures as may be of common advantage to the church at large." “(37) The Synod has power to receive and decide all appeals, complaints, and references regularly brought up from the Presbyteries; to review the records of the Presbyteries, and to redress whatever they may have done contrary to order; to take effectual care that Presbyteries observe the government of the church, and that they obey the injunctions of the higher courts; to create, divide, or dissolve Presbyteries, when deemed expedient; to appoint ministers to such work, proper to their office, as may fall under its own particular jurisdiction in general; to take such order with respect to the Presbyteries, Church Sessions, and Churches under its care as may be in conformity with the principles of the government of the church and of the word of God, and as may tend to promote the edification of the church; to concert meas: ures for promoting the prosperity and enlargement of the church within its bounds; and, finally, to propose to the General As Sembly such measures as may be of common advantage to the whole church.” “(40) The General Assembly is the highest court of this church, and represents in Ono

[ocr errors][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]

body all the particular churches thereof. It bears the title of the ‘General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,' and constitutes the bond of union, peace, correspondence, and mutual confidence among all its churches and courts.” "[3] The General Assembly shall have power to receive and decide all appeals, references, and complaints regularly brought before it from the inferior courts; to bear testimony against error in doctrine and immorality in practice, injuriously affecting the church; to decide in all controversies respecting doctrine and discipline; to give its advice and instruction, in conformity with the government of the church, in all cases Silblitted to it; to review the records of the Synods; to take care that the inferior courts observe the government of the church ; to redress whatever they may have done contrary to Order; to concert measures for promoting the prosperity and enlargement of the thurch; to create, divide, or dissolve SyLods; to institute and superintend the agenties necessary in the general work of the thurch; to appoint ministers to such labors is fall under its jurisdiction; to suppress $hismatical and other disputations according to the rules provided therefor; to re(eive under its jurisdiction other ecclesiasti(al bodies whose organization is conformed to the doctrine and order of this church; to authorize Synods and Presbyteries to exertise similar power in receiving bodies suited to become constituents of those courts and lying within their geographical bounds respectively; to superintend the affairs of the whole church; to correspond with other hurches; and, in general, to recommend measures for the promotion of charity, truth, and holiness throughout all the churches under its care.” "@) Upon the recommendation of the Ge. tral Assembly, at a stated meeting, by a twothirds vote of the members thereof voting *on, the confessions of faith, catechism, onstitution, and rules of discipline may be Allended or changed when a majority of the Presbyteries, upon the same being transmit* for their action, shall approve thereof. The other parts of the government—that is **, the general regulations, the directory fat Worship, and the rules of order—may be *nded or changed at any meeting of the General Assembly by a vote of two-thirds of entire number of commissioners enrolled at that meeting, provided such amendment or ** shall not conflict, in letter or spirit,

With the Confession of Faith, Catechism, or


[blocks in formation]

Presbyterian Church in
the United States of

Confessions of Faith.
Chapter III.
Of God's Eternal Decree.

III. By the decree of
God, for the manifesta-
tion of his glory, some
Then and angels are pre-
destined unto everlast-
ing life, and others fore-
ordained to everlasting
IV. These angels and
mon, thus predestined
and foreordained, are
particularly and ulti-
changeably designed; and
their number is so cer.
tain and definite that it
call not be either increas-
ed or diminished.
V. Those of mankind
that are predestined un-
to life, God, before the
foundation of the world
was laid, according to
his eternal and immuta-
ble purpose and the se-
cret counsel and good
pleasure of his will, hath
chosen in Christ unto
everlasting glory out of
his mere free grace and
love, without any fore-
sight of faith or good
works, or perseverance
in either of them, or any
other thing in the crea-
ture, as conditions or
causes moving Him
thereunto; and all to the
praise of his glorious
VI. As God hath ap-
pointed the elect unto
glory, so hath He, by the
eternal and most free
purpose of His will, fore-
ordained all the means
there unto. Wherefore
they who are elected, be-
ing fallen in Adam, are
redeemed by Christ, are
effectually called unto
faith in Christ by his
spirit working in due
season, are justified,
adopted, sanctified and
kept by H is power
through faith unto sal-
vation. Neither are any
other redeemed by Christ,
effectually called, adopt-
ed., justified, sanctified
and saved, but the elect
only. -
VII. The rest of man-
kind, God was pleased,
according to the un-
searchable counsel of His
own will, where hy. He
extendeth or withholdeth
mercy as He please th,
for the glory of His

sovereign power over His

creatures to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.

The Larger Catechism.

Q. 12. What are the decrees of God?

A. God’s decrees are the wise, free and holy acts of the counsel of His will, whereby from all eternity. He hath, for His own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.

Q. 13. What hath God

Cumberland Presbyterian

Confession of Faith.
Decrees of God.

8. God, for the mani-
festation of His glory
and goodness, by the
most wise and holy coun-
sel of H is own witl, free-
ly and unchangeably or-
dained or determined
what he himself would
do, what he would re-
quire His intelligent
creatures to do, and
what should be the
awards respectively of
the obedient and the dis-
9. Though all divine
decrees unay not be re-
vealed to men, yet it is
certain that God has de-
creed nothing contrary
to His revealed will or
written Word.

Free Will,

34. God, in creating man in his own likeness, endued him with intelli. gence, sensibility and will, which form the basis of moral character, and render man capable of moral government.

35. The freedom of the will is a fact of human consciousness, and is the sole ground of human accountability. Man, in his estate of innocence, was both free and able to keep the Divine law, also to violate it. Without any constraint, from either physical or moral causes, he did violate it,



Q. 7. what are the decrees of God?

The Larger Catechism.


21. What are the evils of that estate into which mankind tell? Mankind, in consequence of the fall, have no communion with God, discern not spiritual things, prefer siu to holiness, suffer from the fear of death and remorse of conscience, and from the apprehension of future punishment. 22. Did God leave mankind to perish in this estate? No; God out of his mere good pleasure and love did provide Salvation for all mankind. 23. How did God provide salvation for mankind? By giving His Son; who became man, and so was and continues to be both God and man in one person, to be a gro. pitiation for the sins of the world.


4s. All those who trul. repent of their sins, * in faith commit them. selves to Christ, .* freely justifies. *

especially decreed concerning angels and men? A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of His mere love for the prayers of His glorious grace, to be inauifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof; and also according to His sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby He extendeth or withholdeth favor as He pleaseth), hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of His Justice.

The Shorter Catechism.

Q. 7. What are the de-
crees of God?
A. The decrees of God
are His eternal purpose
according to the counsel
of His will, whereby, for
his own glory, He hath
fore ordained whatsoever
Counes to pass.

Chapter X.
Of Effectual Calling.

I. All those whom God
hath preuestined unto
life, and those only, He
is pleased in his appoint-
ed and accepted time ef-
fectually to call by His
word and Spirit out of
that state of sin and
death, in which they are
by nature, to grace and
salvation by Jesus
Christ; enlightening their
minds spiritually and
savingly to understand
the things of God; tak-
ing away their heart of
stone, and giving unto
them a heart of flesh;
renewing their wills, and
by his almighty power
determining them to that
which is good; and ef-
fectually drawing them
to Jesus Christ, yet so
as they come most free-
ly, being made willing
by His grace
II. This effectual call
is of God's free and spe-
cial grace alone, not
from anything at all
foreseen in man, who is
altogether passive there-
in, until, being quick-
ened and renewed by the
Holy Spirit, he is there-
by enabled to answer this
call, and to embrace the
grace offered and con-
veyed in it.
III. Elect infants, dy-
ing in infancy, are re-
generated and saved by
Christ through the spirit,
who worketh when, and
where, and how he plea-
seth. So also are all
elect persons, who are
incapable of being out-
wardly called by , the
ministry of the Word.
iv. others, not elected,
although they may be
caised by the ministry of
the word, and may have
some common operations
of the Spirit, yet they
never truly, come ... to
Christ, and therefore
cannot be saved. * * *

The decrees of God are His wise and holy purposes to do what shall be for His own glory. Sin not being for His glory, therefore, He has not decreed it.

Divine Influence.

38. God, the Father, having set forth His Son, Jesus Christ, as a propitiation for the sins of the world, does most graciously vouchsafe a manifestation of the Holy Spirit with the same intent to every man.


51. Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are regenerated or born from above, renewed in spirit, and made new creatures in Christ.

54. All Infants dying in
infancy, and all persons
who have never had the
faculty of reason, are re-
generated and saved.

Q. 67. What is the ef-
fectual calling 2
A. Effectual calling is
the work of God's al-
mighty power and grace,
whereby (out of his free
and especial love to his
elect, and from nothing
in them moving him
thereunto) He doth in
his accepted time invite
and draw them to Jesus
Christ, by His Word and
Spirit, savingly enlight-
ening their minds, re-
newing and powerfully
determining their wills,
so as they (although in
themselves dead in sin)
are hereby made willing
and able freely to answer
His call, and to accept
and embrace the grace
offered and conveyed
. 68. Are the elect
only effectually called?
A. All the elect, and
they only, are effectually
called, although others
may be and often are
outwardly called by the
ministry of the Word,
and have some common
operation of the Spirit

who, for their wirui
neglect and contempt of
the grace offered to
them, being justly left
In their unbelief, do
never truly come to

Jesus Christ.

The Shorter Catechism.

Q. 19. What is the mis-
ery of that estate where-
in man fell ?
A. All mankind, by
their fall, lost commun-
ion with God, are under
His wrath and curse,
and so made liable to all
the miseries of this life,
to death itself, and to
the pains of hell forever.
20. Did God leave
all mankind to perish in
the estate of sin and
misery 2
A. God, having out of
his mere good pleasure
from all eternity elected
so one to everlasting life,
did enter into a cove-
nant of grace to deliver
them out of the estate of
sin and misery, and to
bring them into an es-
tate of salvation by a
Q. 21. Who is the Re-
deemer of God's elect?
A. The only Redeemer
of God's elect is the
Lord Jesus Christ, who,
being the eternal Son of
God, became inan, and
was so, and continueth to
be God and man, in two
distinct natures and one
person forever.

Chapter XI.
Of Justification.

I, Those whom God ef-
fectually calleth. He also
justifieth. * * *

IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect; and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sin, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless they are not justified until the Holy Spirit



th. In due time actual; apply Christ unto them.

Chapter XIII. Of Sanctification.

1. They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are fur

ther sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them.

The Larger Catechism.

Q. 75. What is sanctio fication?

A. Sanctification is a work of God's grace, whereby they whom God hah before the foundation 0s the world chosen to be holy are in time, through the powerful operation of his spirit, ãpply tug the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God. * * *

Chapter XIV. Qf Saving Faith.

I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are tuablel to believe to the saying of their souls, is the work of the spirit of Christ in their hearts, * is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Wood, by which also, and by the administra. tion of the Sacraments all prayer, it is increas* and strengthened.

Chapter XVII.

Of The Perseverance of The Saints.

I. They whom God bath accepted in his beod, effectually called go sanctified by the Şirit, can neither total. uor finally tall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly per* o to the

, and b Sayed. e eternally 1. This perseverance !, the saints depends to upon their own free "ill, but upon the im: Tulability of the decree o “lection, flowing from the free and unchange* love of God the Father, upon the emca. § of the merit and inossion of "Jesus orio, the abiding of ot Spirit of the seed of God within them, and the **ture of the covenant o! Brace, from ail which oth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

ants in error.

Saving Faith.

45. Saving faith, including assent to the truth of God's Holy

Word, is the act of receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation, and is accompanied by contrition for sin and a full purpose of heart to turn from it and live unto God.

Preservation and Believers.

60. Those whom God

hath justified he will also glorify. Consequently the truly regenerated soul will not totally fall away from a state of grace, but will be prefood to everlasting ife.

61. The preservation of believers depends on the unchangeable love and power of God, the merits, advocacy, and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of Holy Spirit and seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace. * * *

John M. Gault and E. W. Carter, for plaintills in error. E. Marvin Underwood, W. C. Caldwell, and J. J. McClellan, for defend

[blocks in formation]

state have been remarkably free from cases originating in schism in a religious body. Numerous cases appear in the briefs of counsel, from different courts of this country, as well as some in the English and Scottish courts, involving controversies growing out of differences of opinion between parties and factions in ecclesiastical organizations. On account of the union between the church and the government in England, the decisions of the civil courts of that country cannot be implicitly followed by the courts of this country, where the civil authorities have no right to interfere in matters peculiarly ecclesiastical. The first annendment to the Constitution of the United States denies to Congress the power to make any law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Civ. Code 1895, § 6014. That instrument contains no limitation on the powers of the states in this particular, but every state in the Union has in its Constitution a provision denying to the civil authorities the right to control or interfere in any way in matters purely ecclesiastical. The people of no state in the Union, as a political entity, have any creed or religion. The people of the United States, as a political entity, have no creed or religion. Each individual within the jurisdiction of the United States, whether he be within the limits of a state or elsewhere, has a right to determine for himself all of those questions which relate to his relation to the Creator of the universe. No civil authority can coerce him to accept any religious doctrine or teaching, or restrain him from associating himself wish any class or organization which promulgates religious teachings. Whether he shall adopt any religious views, or, if so, what shall be the character of those views, and the persons with whom he shall associate in carrying out the particular views, are all questions addressed to his individual conscience, which no human authority has the right, even in the slightest way, to interfere with, so long as his practices in carrying out his peculiar views are not inconsistent with the peace and good order of society. We have confined our investigations in this case almost entirely to the decisions of the courts of this country, for the reasons above referred to, When an individual becomes a member of a religious organization, his uniting with it is his voluntary act, and he becomes bound by the rules and usages of the organization. A religious association usually adopts a constitution, by laws, and form of government. A member, when he enters the organization, voluntarily assumes the duty of obeying the laws of the association. As to all matters purely ecclesiastical he is bound by the decisions of the tribunal fixed by the organization to which he belongs, as an arbiter to de. termine the disputed questions relating to matters peculiarly within the province of the organization. In attempting to carry out the purpose for which religious associations are formed it becomes necessary, in almost every instance, for the organization to hold and own property. The members of the organization therefore become interested in the property so owned. Differences may arise which bring about disputes as to what interest a members or class of members of an organization may have in this property. Rights of property are as peculiarly within the jurisdiction of the civil courts of the land as purely religious rights are within the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical tribunals of a religious organization. How far the civil courts will interfere in the affairs of a religious body, where property rights are involved, is a question which has been addressed to many courts of this country. Often the controversy as to the right of property grows out of a controversy as to creed, doctrine, or teaching. While all of the rulings of the American courts cannot be said to be entirely uniform, the great weight of authority is to the effect that if a religious organization has, under its form of government, a tribunal constituted with jurisdiction to decide differences between its members as to creed, teaching, or doctrine, the civil courts will not undertake to review or revise the judgment of the church tribunal in reference to such matters. The cases which support this ruling seem to be founded upon sound reasoning, when we take into consideration the constitutional provisions which deny to Congress and the lawmaking powers of the different states the right to interfere in matters purely ecclesiastical. In some cases it has been said that the decisions of the church tribunals are persuasive, and not to be departed from by the civil courts, except where the decisions are clearly wrong. But the sounder rule is that laid down in those cases in which it is held that, if the matter relates to creed, doctrine, or teaching, the judgment of the constituted church tribunal is absolutely conclusive upon the civil courts, whether, in the opinion of the judge of such courts, the decision appears to be right or wrong. Where a right of property turns upon such a decision the civil courts will allow the property to go in that direction in which the decision of the church tribunal carries it. One of the leading cases on the subject in this country is Watson v. Jones, 13 Wall. (U. S.) 679, 20 L. Ed. 666. It was there held that in a case where the right of property asserted in the civil courts is dependent upon a question of doctrine, discipline, ecclesiastical law, rule, custom, or church government, and that question has been decided by the highest tribunal within the organization to which it has been carried, the civil courts will accept that decision as conclusive, and be governed by it in its application to the case before it. In the opinion Mr. Justice Miller says: “It is not to be supposed that the judges of the civil courts can be as competent in the ecclesiastical law and religious faith of all these bodies as the


ablest men are in reference to their own. It would therefore be an appeal from the more learned tribunal in law, which should decide the case, to the one which is less so.” Page 729 of 13 Wall. (20 L. Ed. 666). See also, 7 Rose's Notes, 769; Brundage v. Deardorf, 92 Fed. 214, 34 C. C. A. 304; Schweiker v. Husser, 146 Ill. 399, 34 N. E. 1022; Lamb 7. Cain, 14 L. R. A. 518, 129 Ind. 486, 29 N. E. 13; Watson v. Avery, 65 Ky. 332; Trustees of Trinity M. E. Church of Norwich v. Harris, 73 Conn. 216, 47 Atl. 116, 50 L. R. A. 636; White Lick Quarterly Meeting of Friends, by Hadley et al., Trustees, v. White Lick Quar. terly Meeting of Friends, by Mendenhall et al., Trustees, 89 Ind. 136. 2. The constituted tribunal of the religious organization has jurisdiction to determine all ecclesiastical questions which are submitted to it under the law and usages of the society, It has also the authority to determine for it. self whether it has jurisdiction in a given case. The highest church court of a religious society is like the highest civil court. It has submitted to it not only questions growing out of controversies, but it has, of necessity, imposed upon it the duty and responsibility of determining what are within the limits of its jurisdiction. In the case of Watson W. Farris, 45 Mo. 183, it was held that the Gen. eral Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, commonly known as “Old School," possessed extensive original and appellate jurisdiction, and whether a case is regularly or irregular. ly before it is a subject for it to determine for itself. In the opinion Judge Wagner says (page 197): “Now, the General Assembly is the highest court or judicatory known to the Presbyterian Church. It possesses extensive original and appellate jurisdiction; and whether the case, in the matter of the Declaration and Testimony signers, was re& ularly or irregularly before it, was a subject for it to determine for itself, and no civil courts can revise, modify, or impair its at tion in a matter of purely ecclesiastical concern.” When a controversy involving the rights of a member is presented to the civil courts, they will examine into the constitu. tion and laws of the religious society, to determine whether a tribunal has been erected for the decision of ecclesiastical question* and they will also examine into the laws of the association, to determine whether the do cision by the tribunal was concerning a matter which was within its jurisdiction. If to jurisdiction depends upon the constructio of its own laws, and such laws have, either expressly or impliedly, conferred upon it to right to determine the limits of its jurisdio tion, the decision of the church tribunal as to its jurisdiction will be no less binding than its decision on the merits of the ecclesiastical question determined by it. However, if " develops, from an examination of the colo stitution, laws, and usages of tile church, that the judgment is beyond the jurisdiction of the church tribunal, and so manifesty

« PoprzedniaDalej »