• Church of Scotland Assembly

Chapter 04

 

Of the Office-Bearers in Particular, and First of the Pastors or Ministers.

1. Pastors, Bishops, or Ministers, are they who are appointed to particular congregations, which they rule by the Word of God, and over the which they watch. In respect whereof sometimes they are called Pastors, because they feed their congregation; sometimes Episcopoi or Bishops, because they watch over their flock; sometimes Ministers, by reason of their service or office; and sometimes also Presbyters or Seniors, for the gravity in manners which they ought to have in taking care of the spiritual government which ought to be most dear to them.

2. They that are called to the Ministry, or that offer themselves thereunto, ought not to be elected without ( unless) one certain ( a specific) flock be assigned to them (individually).

3. No one ought to introduce himself into, or usurp, this office without lawful calling.

4. They that are once called by God and duly elected by man, after that they have once accepted the charge of the Ministry, may not leave their functions: the deserters should be admonished, and, in case of obstinacy, finally excommunicated.

5. No pastor may leave his flock without license of the Provincial or National Assembly, which, if he do, after admonition not obeyed, let the censures of the Church strike upon him.

6. Unto the Pastor appertains teaching of the Word of God, in season and out of season, publicly and privately, always striving to edify and discharge his conscience, as God's Word prescribes to him.

7. Unto the Pastors only appertains the administration of the Sacraments, in like manner as the administration of the Word; for both are appointed by God as means to teach us, the one by the ear, and the other by the eyes and other senses, that by both knowledge may be transferred to the mind.

8. It appertains by the same reason to the Pastor to pray for the people, and especially for the flock committed to his charge, and to bless them in the name of the Lord, who will not suffer the blessings of his faithful servants to be frustrated.

9. He ought also to watch over the manners of his flock, that the better he may apply the doctrine to them, in reprehending the dissolute persons, and exhorting to continue the Godly in the fear of the Lord.

10. It appertains to the Minister, after lawful proceeding by the Eldership, to pronounce the sentence of binding or loosing upon any person, according to the power of the keys granted to the Church.

11. It belongs to him also, after lawful proceeding in the matter by the Eldership, to solemnise marriage betwixt them that are to be joined therein; and to pronounce the blessing of the Lord upon them that enter into that holy bond in the fear of God.

12. And generally, all public declarations that are to be made in the Church before the congregation concerning the ecclesiastical affairs belonging to the office of a Minister: for he is a messenger and herald between God and the people in all these affairs.

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