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The PREFACE

THERE is no Constitution on Earth bath ever been established on such sure jour.dations, nor so sully provided for its subsistence at the Church ef God. It being built on the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ himself being she chief Corner Stone. Hence therefore it hath from its holy bill, beheld tb; Ruines cf the greatest States and most flourishing Empires* having continued in safety, free from the fatal Accidences of Time, and triumphed not only over the Rage of mm, but also thereseated Infults of the gates of Hell. And tbo* it'bath been often straitnid as to its extent, and lessened as to its number, yet bath remained firm en its own Basis : yea, when tr.ost reduced, it bath forever made good that Motto, Depnssa Refurgo; and so it shall continue to the end es the World: But to the (bame*ef its Offenders, the Church hath suffered tyest from the Wounds, which she bath received in the house os her Friends, from these Wolves, that have come to Her in Sbeeps Clcatbing. Damnable Errors and Heresies have arisen from within btr, wherbyske hath sometimes been cost! into htrriblt shades of Darkness, as Rsv, Q'

When the bottomless pic was opened, the smoke ascending darkned the Son and Air,Yet wbm thus grievously Blackned, a Comeliness remained still -: Otberwbiles She it seen bleeding with tbtWounds of Schism and Contention, Offensive and hurtful to Her Sacred Head and Members, for tbtUndivided bead rfjofcitb in ait Undivided Bodyliis undented is but one,Ctf»/. 6. 9. As She becomes divided, She becomes defiled : And hereby also the mutual Offices of tbi rifpeSive Members of this undfi-.cd one are Interrupted to the prejudice of the Whole. Whence follow great disorders, as when tbt E)e will not fe,e for the Hani nor the Hend take care of the Feet, nor our Union to ChrJ be acknowledged a sufficient bond to tjlablijh A relation between Memntrs in particular 1 Le:• j2. 27. God's Providence forever bears tbt upper band tn these Events, who suffers tbt corrupt Minds of Men to run into Errors and Divisions,that the approved may be made manifest, 1 Cor. 11 19 Su:b ill minded Persons being threatned with a Wo, that are the Authors it1 Promoters cf such Offences. The Atheist endeavours to overthrow the whota Constitution of Religion t The Deist to take away all that part of if, that promiserh sinners any safety from the Wrath to come; and retain no more than what is enough to condemn him, and to Sake away alt excuse for bh disobedience.Row;

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t. io. The Church of Christ hath also been a) great sufferer from the Immoralities 6? disorderly walking os those that are related to Her, whose Leaven hath sometimes hazarded the whole Jump, i Cor. 5. 6. Whose unfeemly Practises have given advantage to Enemies to speak evil os the ways of God, and to question the Truth of our holy Religion,^ the sincerity os the Professors thereof. These must be acknowledged to be Spots and Blemishes. 2 Pet. 2. 13. Tot Wisdom of our haw giver King and Judge,who alone tatb tbeOriginal Joveratgnty of giving be-, ing to,and laying theboundations of thethurcb, and whose only is the Legstative power therein, bath given such ample Rights and Priviledges 'to the Church and such Excellent Rules for its Government, as are Inviting to Strangers, like a City set on a Hill, Mat. 5. 14. And hath lodged the Executive power in approved bands, that those who love the Church may be in peace, and Her Enemies may find Her Terrible as an Army with Banners, and that She might yield seasonable edification to those that walk Regularly within Her limits, and be able to Discharge Her self of Impenitent and Incorrigible Offenders. Many of the forementioned mischiefs have to our sorrow afflicted the Churches within this Government,and by degrees we have fallen under much decay. Wbirtupon our djF" "culttc's have been of a long 'time trouble

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for the healing cur Wounds, a mere Explicate asserting the Rules of Government sufficiently provided in the Jioly Word hath bun thought highly expedient - Wherefore,

The Honourable, the General Assembly of this. Colony out of a Tender regard to the welfare of the Churches within the limits of their Government, were plejjed to appoint the several Elders ot each County with Mrssengers from theirQhurches to meet in Council, in which they should endeavtur to egree in feme General Rules Conformable to the Word cj God fir a method ef Discipline to le prailifrd in our Churches. These several CcitnciJs bavir.g met and drawn up some Rules, of Church Government did by their Delegates meet and corjlitute one General Assembly of the Churches of thisColony at Siy liroofe, Sept. 9th., 17C8,.Wb» astir a full Consent and Agreement unto the Conf'ffion of Faith Assented unto by the Synod of Boston ; Did being btudicus of keeping the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of peace, Ephi 4. 2. Agree that the Heads cf Agreement Assented to by the United Brethren formerly called frtsbyterian and Congrtgational, in England, be observed ly the Churches throughout this Colony, which are herewith Published, and after Corfideration of the several draughts of the County Ccuticils, did with a Chi ijliaii Cendefctntion, and Fraternal Ami

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cnlleness Unanimousiy Agree to the Articles for tbt Administration of Church Discipline, now of-, jered to Publick View Ml which being presented, were allowed of and Established by the General Assembly of this Colony, as by thtir Aiis appears for the better satisfaffion of our Peopte,we have, undertaken a tojk, acceptable we trust unto many, tho' it escape riot the Exceptions of some, in subjoyning Scriptures for Coifirmation of the Heads of Agreement, which we have not seen tidied thereunto. The afaresaid Articles consist in Tw}Heads,Thc one holding forth- the power «*jf particular Churches in,the Management of Discipline confirmed by Scriptures annexed,

The other, serves to preserve promote or recover the Peace & Edification of rhe Churches by the means of a Consociation of the Elder?, and Churches or of an Association of Eidt rs: Both which we are agreed have Countenance from the Scriptures and the. Propositions in Answer to the Second Que/lion given by the Synod met at Boston 1662. In both which having refpeS to the Divine Precepts of Fraternal Union, and that Principle universally acknowledged, Quod tangit otnnes debet tractari abomnistus. The Scriptures are added for the Illustration of tbt substance of the abovemintioned Articles, yet with an Apprehension, that there may be alter a' tisns mads & further Candescent ions //greed up

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