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they were not ashamed of God and his cause, they made the most public profession of their faith in Him,
wherever they went they bore about with them the fullest evidence of their attachment. This it was their duty to do; and this duty is repeatedly enjoined in the New Testament. Hear the language of the Saviour. " Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of hiin also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels.”
Mark viii. 38. The early Christians were required to hold fast the PROFESSION of their faith, Heb. X. 23; and Paul commends Timothy for having "professed a good profession before many witnesses," 1 Tim. vi. 12. The early disciples professed their Master in the midst of the greatest trials and persecutions. They knew, that if they named the name of Christ, it was at the peril of their lives. The history of their trials is enough, one would think, to draw tears from eyes that never wept before. Paul says, they had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned ; they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword ; they wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins ; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and cares of the earth.” Heb. xi. 36 - 38. Such is the melancholy picture of their sufferings. But in the midst of these dangers and trials, they “ held fast the PROFESSION of their faith." Shall we, then, in this age,
we who have no persecutions to endure, we who live in a land in which we are protected by the laws, in following the dictates of our consciences, we who find it an honor rather than shame, to prosess our trust in our Master, shall we hesitate to make a profession of our faith? Why are we indifferent ? Is not Christ as precious to us, as he was to his early disciples ? Did he not die for us as well as for them? Is he not the propitiation for our sins ? Why, then, we ask again, are we indifferent. It
is the duty, the solemn duty, of every believer in the Son of God, to profess his Master before men, as did the early disciples.
III. But what do we mean by a profession of religion ? it may be asked. The answer is at hand. We mean an open avowal of your faith in Christ ;mean, that you should take rank among the followers of Jesus, - that you should take upon yourself the distinctness of a Christian, — that you should join publicly and formally the Christian church, -- and observe the institutions which Jesus recommended to bis followers. Such we regard to be a profession of religion, and such it is the duty of every person of suitable age, who believes in the Redeemer, to make. That this is the duty of every person who believes in Christ, will appear still more evident, if we consider what the consequences would be, if this duty were totally neglected by every
What would become of the cause of religion ? It would sink and come to nought. The Lord's Supper would go into disuse. There would be no line of distinction between the believers in Jesus and the world; and soon, we fear, the cause of Christ would die, and be forgotten. The church must be preserved ; and we have the promise, that it shall stand, and that the gates of hades shall not prevail against it. It is the duty of every believer in Christ to come forward and make a public profession of his faith, and unite himself with the visible church of Christ upon the earth. Do not at. tempt to excuse yourself by saying, that if you do not make a profession of religion, others will, and, therefore, the visible church will be preserved. It is no more the duty of others, than it is your duty; and if there were any reason by which you might be excused, the saine reason would excuse them,
IV. ConstitutION OF A CHURCH. Freamble. We, whose names are affixed to this instrument, believing that it is our duty to make a public profession of our religious faith ; and feeling sensible that our happiness, and our growth in virtue and grace, depend, in a great degree, under God, upon our obedience to the divine requisitions, and upon an observance of the institutions of Christ, do hereby unite ourselves into a church, that we may watch over each other in love, and enjoy all the advantages of the visible church of God on the earth : and we adopt the following Profession of Faith and Form of Church Government.
PROFESSION OF FAITH. 1st. We believe in the existence of one God, the Creator of the Universe, the Giver of life and every blessing, who is infinite in wisdom, power, and goodness, and in every possible perfection.
2d. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and the Saviour of the world.
3d. We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as being a revelation from God, as containing rules for the regulation of our conduct in all the relations and circumstances of life, -- as declaring the character and government of God, the rewards of virtue, the punishments of vice; and also revealing the great truth of the final reconciliation of all things to God, so that He at last shall be ALL IN ALL. 1 Cor.
28. 4th. We believe it to be the duty of Christians to meet together on the first day of the week, for public worship; to seek their advancement in knowledge and virtue, by reading the Scriptures, and attending to the means of grace; to abstain from vice of every description, and to imitate, as far as possible, the perfection of God, and the examples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
FORM OF Church GOVERNMENT. ARTICLE 1. The church shall hold an annual meeting, for the purpose of choosing its officers, and transacting such other business as may be brought before it, and deemed necessary to its prosperity, on the of
Article 2. The officers of the church shall consist of such a number of Deacons as shall be thought requisite, and of a Clerk and Treasurer. These officers shall be chosen by ballot, annually, except the Deacons, who shall continue in office during good behaviour, or until they resign.
The daiy of the Clerk shall be to keep a true and faithful record of all the meetings and proceedings of the church, and also a list of all the members.
The duty of the Treasurer shall be, to take care of all the furniture of the church, to receive the money collected on communion days, and to keep a regular account thereof.
The duty of the Deacons shall be, to furnish the table, and to assist in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. It shall also be their duty to inquire into, and relieve, the wants of the poor of the church and society, as far as they may be enabled so to do, by collections taken for charitable purposes.
ARTICLE 3. Any person giving assent to the Profession of Faith, and desiring to become a member of this church, may make his or her request known to the Pastor of the society, or to either of the Deacons ; and, after the application hath laid one month, he or she shall become a member, if approved by a majority of the members present, at any regular meeting of the church. Each member shall sign the Confession of Faith, and the Form of Church Government.
ARTICLE 4. If any member wishes to withdraw from the church, by making his request known in writing, he shall have the liberty of so doing,
ARTICLE 5. It shall be the duty of the Church to deal with offending members according to the directions given by our Saviour, Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17; and Luke xvii. 3, 4. The church, however, disclaims all authority over obstinate offenders, except the mere withdrawal of its fellowship.
ARTICLE 6. Any of the foregoing articles of Church Government may be altered, amended, or stricken out, or others may be annexed, if, by two thirds of the members of the church, it may be thought necessary.
V. CELEBRATION OF THE SUPPER. It is the usual custom of Christian churches in this country, to celebrate the Lord's Supper once in each month. There are no directions as to the frequency of the celebration in the New Testament. The early Christians placed more importance on the object and design of the service, than upon the exact time in which it should be perforined. Paul says, “ For as often as ye eat this bread, (not stating how often it should be done,) and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.
1 Cor. xi. 26. We think it well to follow the general custom, and celebrate the communion monthly, though this rule may not prevent the celebration at other times, if special circumstances should render it necessary.
Proposed Form of Administering the Supper. The usual time for celebrating the Supper is at the close of the afternoon service, upon the Sabbath, once in each month. The table having been prepared by the deacons, between the forenoon and afternoon services, is covered with a cloth during public worship. At the close of that service, the minister leaves the pulpit, and takes his seat at the table, and waits until the members of the church have taken their places as near the table as convenient, and until silence is restored in the house. He then removes the cloth with which the vessels and elements are covered, and says,
“ Beloved Christian friends, we are now about to celebrate the Lord's Supper, in imitation of the example of our Blessed Redeemer and his apostles ; and as we are dependent on God for mercy and wisdoin to guide us in all things, let ús draw nigh the throne of grace in solemn supplication for the divine blessing. Let us pray. [Here the clergyman will offer a suitable prayer.]
Beloved Christian friends, the service of the Supper