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This Churce is a Society, wholly dislinet in its prints, but ws and end, from any Bibi Mi MINI zxor iniisited for civil parojis It sunits of Us!, in every age wie Police, wo 47€ ckulen, effe&tually 686021, ni sir i üy füith to the Lord verlos Ciri Tidigrano di pensations, viilivi percee, or fact the coming of the lai , 2.3 > 0 The changin du Pute itsusid erining Corenent ; Ovih bis zum:3310ns, or dif3. we want meer Courches, under m.ideo new 2% vitanle circum
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la reformation it was judged proRie s te Churches to ratify and puba . ir re pective creeds and the adopta ve firms of their ecclefiaftical governih us. In America, since the late happy ***2?isrion, the Churches of different dence mirstions have found it necesary to organ:
s: themselves, agreeably to the present oste in which the good providence of God hath placed them, and have already pube libed their several constitutions. The reformed Dutch Church has been prevented by some particular circumstances from accomplishing this desirable and important object, at an earlier period. She has now. completed the translations which were necesary, and presents her conftitution to the public.
To the Constitution of a Church appertain its DOCTRINES, mode of WORSHIP, and GOVERNMENT. When these are known, its true and distinguishing character is sufficiently ascertained.
The DOCTRINES of the reformed Dutch Church are comprised in the Articles of Faith, the Catechism and Compendium, and in her Canons.. .. Her mode of WORSHIP is expresed in the Liturgy, where forms of several prayers are given, without any idea, however, of restraining her members to any particulur terms or fixed flandards for prayer. Firmly believing, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the edification of Zion in every age, are promised and beslowed, the reformed Dutch Church judges it sufficient to jew in a few specimens the general tenor and manner in which public worship is performed, and leaves it to the piety and gifts of
ber ministers to conduet the ordinary folenia nities of the sanctuary, in a manner they judge most acceptable to God, and most edi. fying to his people.
Her GOVERNMENT and discipline are contained in the rules of Church Government, ratified in the last National Synod held at Dordrecht: these are illustratedin the Explanatory Articles, and applied to the circumstances. and local fituation of the Church. As many of the articles in the rules are 'uficiently plain and applicable without any elucidation, such only are mentioned in the Explanatory Articles which were judged most neceffary to give a connected and just view of the government of the Church as now established in America.
An expresion which occurs in the 18th.. and 36th. Articles of faith, and which mentions the Anabaptists in barsh terms, will probably with some, especially such as are ignorant of the history of tbe fixteenth century, appear unfriendly; and if applied to those who are sometimes distinguished at this day by the same name, be considered as an assertion not founded in truth. To cbviate every objection it will suffice to observe, that there were persons at, and shortly after the reforma
tion who were called by that name, who beld the erroneous and feditious sentiments which in those articles are reje&ted, and who by their fanaticism and extravagance rendered thensselves abhorred by all sober and religious men. In publishing the articles of faith, the Church determined to abide by the words adopted in the Synod of Dordrecht, as most expresive of what me believes to be truth; in consequence of which, the terms alluded to, could not be avoided. But she openly and candidly declares, that she by no means thereby intended to refer to any denomination of Christians at present known, aná zould be grieved at giving offence, or unnecefbrily burling the feelings of any persoa.
Whatever relates to the immediate authority and interpofition of the magistrate in the government of the Church, and which is introduced more or less, into all the national establishments in Europe, is intirely omitted in the constiiuiion now published. Whether the Church of Christ will not be more effe Etually patronized in a civil government where full freedom of conscience and worfoip is equally proteEted and insured to all men, and where truth is left to vindicate her own fovereign authority and influence, than
where men in power promote their favorite denominations by temporal emoluments and partial discriminations, will now, in America, have a fair trial; and all who know and love tbe truth will rejoice in the prospeet which such a happy situation affords for the triumph of the gospel, and the reign of peace. . and love.