The Bye-Laws and Standing Rules of Madison Presbytery

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Transcribed by Heather Haralson, January 1997.

Art. 1st. This Presbytery shall have two stated meetings, in the year, and these shall be in rotation in the churches, as far as expedient; so as not to hold two stated meetings, in the same congregation, in two successive years, unless circumstances seem to require it.

2nd. The Moderator shall be chosen at each stated meeting, who shall continue in office until the next stated meeting; and if any called or intermediate meeting intervene, and the Moderator be absent, a moderator pro tempere shall be chosen.

3rd. Presbytery shall spend a part of the evening of the first day, at each stated meeting, in special prayer to God, for the outpouring of the Spirit upon the churches, and for a Spirit of unaminity and harmony in their efforts to promote the divine glory, and the salvation of souls, - and the Moderator shall direct in those meetings.

4th. Presbytery shall enquire carefully into the state of the churches, especially of that in which their meeting is held.

5th. The communion shall be administered at each stated meeting, under the direction of the Moderator, who shall, with the concurrence of the Minister of the place, or the Session of the Congregation, appoint ministers to preach during the occasion; - which shall be done as soon as practicable after the meeting of Presbytery.

6th. A Missionary Sermon shall be preached, at each stated meeting, by one of the members previously appointed, and a collection taken up for the Indiana Missionary Society.

7th. Presbytery shall enjoin it as a duty on all the vacancies, that receive occasional supplies from Presbytery, or from Missionary Societies, that they make some pecuniary compensation for such services.

8th. Presbytery shall establish a fund, to defray its incidental expenses, to which fund each member shall be required to pay 25 cts, at each stated meeting.

9th. Presbytery shall take measures to aid the commissionerís fund of the Genl. Assembly, and for that purpose, they shall require the churches, under their care, to make collections, annually, and forward them to the Spring meeting.

10th. To enable the commissioner to deposit the whole of the collections in the commissionerís fund, Presbytery shall loan to each commissioner thirty dollars, provided so much be necessary, and there be that amount in the Presbyterial fund, not otherwise appropriated; to be repaid by said commissioner, on his return, without interest.

11th. Presbytery shall use vigorous efforts to educate poor and pious youth, of promising talents, for the gospel ministry. And they shall earnestly request the members of the churches, under their care, if they are acquainted with any such youth, to encourage and assist them, and make them known to Presbytery.

12th. Presbytery shall require the churches to forward their congregational reports and Sessional records to the fall meeting of Presbytery.

13th. Presbytery, at each Spring meeting, shall consider the expediency of addressing a Pastoral letter to the churches under their care.

14th. It shall be the duty of those members of Presbytery, who are pastors, to exhibit, over a year, a certificate, from the Elders of the church or churches in which they labour, of the manner in which they have performed ministerial duty.

15th. It shall be the duty of those churches who have pastors, by their Deacons or Elders, to exhibit to Presbytery, annually, the amount they have promised, and the amount they have actually paid to their pastors. 16th. It shall be required of churches petitioning for supplies, to state to Presbytery the compensation made for supplies already received.

17th. The committee appointed to prepare a Presbyterial Report to Synod, shall also prepare a duplicate of said report, to be preserved by the State Clerk and by him transcribed, in its proper place, into the minutes of Presbytery.

18th. Presbytery shall earnestly recommend, to the churches under their care, an attention to meetings for social prayer, on vacant sabbaths, under the direction of the Elders.

19th. Presbytery shall recommend, to the Elders of vacant churches, to examine the youth in the Shorter Catechism, or such other late chisms as have been approved by the Indications of our church, and to urge upon the heads of families the importance of maintaining the worship of God regularly in their houses.

20th. The mode of taking the vote, on any question, in this Presbytery, shall be the following: viz. The question shall be first put to the Elders, and afterwards to the Ministers, proceeding with the latter from the youngest to the oldest.

21st. Two or three pages shall be kept, in the first part of the Presbyterial Book, to be filled with the names of the Ministers, the dates of their licensures and ordinations, and the names of the Presbyteries by which they were licensed and ordained, and a blank shall be left, to be filled with the dates of their deaths or dissmissions. And three or four pages shall also be left, to be filled with the names of the congregations, the dates of their constitution, the persons by whom they were severally constituted and the number of members when constituted.

22nd. These Bye Laws and Permanent Regulations, together with recommendations and resolutions of a permanent nature, which may hereafter be adopted, shall be transcribed, by the stated Clerk, or some other person appointed by Presbytery for that purpose, in a separate Book, and by him forwarded to each stated meeting.

23rd. The following was adopted, April 8th 1826, as the standing Docket of this Presbytery: viz.

1. The choice of Moderator and Clerk.
2. Reading of the Genl. Rules and Bye Laws.
3. Reading of the Minutes.
4. Calls and Supplications.
5. Appointment of Committees
1. To examine Sessional Records,
2. To prepare a Presbyterial Report,
3. To prepare a narrative on the State of Rel.
4. To settle with the Treasurer and ascertain the amount of Presbyterial Expenses.
5. To prepare a report to the Board of Education.
6. An Enquiry into the state of religion.
7. Call for congregational reports.
8. Call for Sessional records.
9. Enquiry as to the amount done for the Education of poor and pious youth for the Gos. Min.
10. The unfinished business of last Presbytery.
11. The apt. of Commissioner to the Genl. Assembly.
12. The apt. of a member to preach the Mis. Ser.
13. An Enquiry into the manner in which Pastor and people have discharged their respective duties.
14. Call for money collected -
1. For the Education fund,
2. For the Commissioner's fund,
3. For the missionary fund,
4. For the Theological Seminary,
5. For the Presbyterial fund.
15. Appointment to supply vacant churches.
16. The time and place of the next meeting. -

24th. Resolved, April 8th 1826 - That it be the standing rule of this Presbytery, that collections taken up during any meeting of Presbytery, for missionary purpose, shall be accredited to the congregation in which the meeting of Presbytery shall be held.

25th. Resolved, Oct. 6th 1826 - That the call for reports from Pastors and people as to the discharge of their respective duties be made the business of the Spring meeting.

26th. Oct. 7th That there be a standing committee of Presbytery, whose duty it shall be to procure and dispose of confessions of faith within our bounds and report to Presbytery from time to time: and that it be recommended to our ministers to spend some time every year, either on Sabbaths or on other days in reading and explaining to their people the confession of faith and discipline of our church.

27th. Resolved, That in the free conversation on the state of religion, particular enquiry be made, as to the manner in which the Sabbath is observed by the members, and whether the violations of it are made matters of discipline. See page 42. Min.

28th. Presbytery earnestly recommend the following plan for the instruction and discipline of baptized persons: viz.

1. That all baptized persons be considered members of the church, and subject to its care and disciplines according to their circumstances and capacities.

2. That it be considered the duty of every guardian, or master of a family, carefully to instruct his household in the great doctrines of our holy religion; inculcating on their minds the obligations they are under to God, and the covenant relation in which they stand to him and his Church; - and that each Session shall consider it their duty to see that heads of families are careful in respect to these things.

3. That the minister or Elders of the Church appoint a meeting of the youth of the Church at least twice in each year, for the purpose of affording them such instruction as their several circumstances appear to require, and that they be carefully instructed in the nature of the covenanted obligations under which they are to God and his Church, and the relation in they stand to the Church; - and that it be considered the duty of all professing parents to have their children attend those places of instruction. See pages 63 and 64 -Minutes.

29th. Resolved, That each minister preach at least one sermon annually on the pernicious effects of ardent Spirits. - Page 64.

30th. Resolved, That the annual Reports of the Churches to the Presbytery be made at the Spring meeting. - Page 76 Minutes.

31st. Resolved, That it be recommended to Churches, when applications are made by persons living within the bounds of other Churches, who have never been received to the communion of the Church, for admission, that the Session examine them, and, if they think proper, admit them to communion, but not record their names as members of that Church, but give information of what they have to the Sessions to which said persons properly belong - Page 83 Minutes.

32nd. Resolved, That a person be appointed at each stated meeting of the Presbytery, to preach a Sermon on the subject of intemperance at the next meeting - Page 92 - 33rd. Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the Churches which have Pastors, to be particular in making regular settlements with their Pastors; and that Pastors and Churches, in attending to the standing rule on this subject, be required to furnish written statements respecting the performance of their relative duties - Page 96 -

34th. Resolved, That the Presbytery at each stated meeting, enquire particularly of the ministers and elders, whether any members of their respective Churches are engaged in the traffic in ardent Spirits, and how many, and to what extent; and that it be recommended to ministers and members under our care to unite in the formation of Temperance Societies, on the principle of entire abstinence. Pages 108 and 109 -

35th. Resolved, That Sessions be required, in their reports respecting the amount promised, and paid, to their Pastors, if there be a delinquency, to state the number of members that have paid all, the number that have paid a part, and the number that have paid nothing on their annual subscriptions; - and that it be recommended to the Sessions and Churches to strike off from the list of subscribers, the names of those persons, who, for two years, neglect to pay their subscriptions; provided, however that the name of no person be stricken off till six months after he shall have had notice of these resolutions. - Pages 126 and 127 - also 159 -

36th. Resolved, That it be recommended to the members of our Churches to unite with the friends of the Sabbath, in the formation of Societies to promote the sanctification of the Sabbath, wherever it may be deemed expedient; and that a sermon on the sanctification of the Sabbath be delivered, at each meeting of the Presbytery, by some member previously appointed. Page 129-

37th. Resolved, That in recording the minutes of this Presbytery the title of "Doctor of Divinity" be not admitted on our records. Page 130 -

(15) 38th. Resolved, That no standing rule of this Presbytery be suspended, at any time, except by a vote of two thirds of the members present. Page 160. 39th. Resolved, That the vacant Churches belonging to this Presbytery be formed into a Missionary District, and application be made to the Indiana Missionary Society to employ a missionary in them such portion of his time as will enable him to preach in each church at least once a month. Page 166.

40th. Resolved, That, should the sum received from the Commissioner's fund be insufficient to defray the expenses of our Commissioner to the General Assembly, the Presbytery pledge themselves to make up the deficiency; and that the several Churches under our care be requested to pay their proportional part to defray the expenses of the Commissioner. Pages 169 and 170.

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