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FOURTH HEAD.Election of Office-bearers, Constitution of the Church

Courts, and the relation of these Courts to one another, and

Forms of Ecclesiastical Procedure. In reviewing the whole subject of the Fourth Head of the Programme, the Committee find, with much satisfaction, that there is great harmony of opinion and practice in all the four Churches with respect to the principles which should regulate the nomination, the election, the judgment as to qualifica. tions, and the ordination both of elders and ministers; and that a similar harmony prevails regarding the constitution and functions of the several Church Courts, there being no difference of any consequence except what arises from the representative character of the Free Church General Assembly, as pared with the cumulative character of the Synods of the United Presbyterian, the Reformed Presbyterian, and the English Presbyterian Churches respectively. The Committee further find, with equal satisfaction, that the four Churches are agreed in the principles upon which the forms of procedure are based for the admission of members and office-bearers, and for the licensing of probationers, while their views and practice are also the same in substance as to the objects of discipline and the modes of exercising it, both in the Subordinate and in the Supreme Courts.

The Committee rejoice greatly in this ascertained harmony with relation to the fourth head of the programme, and see no probability of any hindrance to the proposed union arising under the department of Presbyterian order which it embraces.


FIFTH HEAD.-Law and Practice of the Churches as to Public


The Committee having carefully considered the whole subjects requiring attention under the fifth head of the programme, find that there is, on the whole, much harmony both of principle and practice with relation to those subjects in all the four Churches. They all agree in declaring, according to the language of the last sentence of section 1 of chapter xxi. of the Westminster Confession, " That the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.” They all agree also in declaring, according to the language of first sentence of section 2, chapter xx. of the same Confession, that “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to his Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship.” They all further agree in the subordinate principle that uniformity of practice in public worship, so far as the Church may regard it as conducive to edification, ought to be observed, and divisive courses avoided according to the ordination engagements of ministers and elders in all the four Churches. The Committee find that the three principles thus adverted to regulate the practice of all the four Churches, and that all the matters under this head of the programme are subject in these Churches to the regulation of the Church Courts.

The Committee find that there is substantial agreement in all the four Churches in the conduct of public prayer, in the order of public worship, in the arrangements for the singing of God's praise, and in the mode of administering the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. There is some diversity of practice in particular arrangements connected with the observance of these ordinances, and as to the use of paraphrases or hymns in public worship; but there is no such difference either in those arrangements, or in any other matter under this head of the programme, as is likely to stand in the way of an incorporative union.

Sixth HEAD.Extent of Difference of the Churches as to Educa

tion, with special reference to Government Grants. 1. The Committee find that the Churches are all agreed in approving of a national system of education, and in holding that the education of the young ought to be based upon the Word of God, and pervaded by the inculcation of moral and religous truth as therein revealed.

2. That as regards the part which it belongs to the State to take in providing for the religous instruction of the young, there is, among the negotiating Churches, a difference of view, similar to that which, under the First Head of the Programme, has been shown to exist in reference to State aid for the support of the ordihances of the Christian Church,

3. That, as regards Government grants in aid of education, it is believed that no objection on the ground of conscience exists in any of the Churches to the acceptance of such grants, when made in aid of the secular branches of education only ; and when no right is claimed by the State to interfere in any way with the liberty of the school managers to provide religious instruction.

4. That with respect to any action which might affect existing arrangements in any of the Churches in connexion with Government school grants, the United Church should be left to decide.

In view of these findings, the Committee record their satisfaction that any difficulty which is likely to arise under this head of the Programme may be solved in a manner which will prevent it from becoming a bar to union among the negotiating Churches.

SEVENTH HEAD.- Finance and Church Property; including such

matters as the Free Church Sustentation Fund, Titles, Admini

stration of Secular Affairs by Managers or by Deacons' Courts. As regards the Sustentation Fund :

Without, at the present stage, proposing any series of Financial Regulations for a United Church, the Committee suggest the following as parts of a Declara

tion :

I. We agree that there should be a minimum stipend fixed for the ordinary Charges of the Church, and that this minimum stipend ought to be not less than £150.

II. We agree that there ought to be a Central Fund for the purpose of securing this minimum stipend, so as that the strong may be enabled to help the weak in a systematic as well as a brotherly manner, and the Church to maintain gospel ordinances throughout the country.

III. We agree that the Supreme Court of the United Church ought to take Buch steps as may be within its competency for securing that there shall be an Association in every Congregation for the support of the Central Fund.

IV. We agree that every Congregation ought to be self-supporting up to the amount of the minimum stipend, if its means enable it to be so.

V. We agree that the Supreme Court of the United Church should aim at bringing the practice of all the Congregations, with respect to the support of the Ministry and the maintenance and use of the Central Fund, into as uniform a state as practicable.

VI. We agree that, on the supposition of an association being formed in every Congregation for the support of the Central Fund, the ordinary Congregations of the Church, with a view to the uniformity that is so desirable, may be, in the first instance, divided into the following classes, viz. :

1. Aid-receiving Congregations, that is, Congregations which send the proceeds of the Associations and other contributions for stipend to the Central Fund, but which require and receive more from that fund than they contribute to it, in order to make up the Minimum Stipend or Equal Dividend for their Ministers.

2. Self-supporting Congregations, which send the proceeds of Associations to the Central Fund, and receive from it the Minimum Stipend or Equal Dividend for their Ministers, to whom they may give such supplement as they please out of other Congregational Funds.

3. Self-supporting Congregations which send the proceeds of Associations to the Central Fund, and receive no dividend out of it, but pay the full stipend of their Ministers out of the other Congregational Funds; said payment being duly reported to the Committee having charge of the Central Fund, and the Congregations being credited and debited to the amount of the Minimum Stipend in the books of the Committee.

VII. We agree that the Supreme Court of the United Church ought to adopt such steps as may, previously to the Union, have been found efficient in any one of the separate Churches, and may appear to the United Church itself constitutional and advisable for enforcing upon Congregations the duty of raising the Minimum stipend by their own contributions, if they can do so; for pressing upon Congregations that are not self-supporting the duty of contributing to the Central Fund, as a primary duty, which, with needful Congregational expenses and the support of Missions and Education, should take precedence of other objects; and for leading all Congregations to the exercise of liberality toward the support of that Fund, in a reasonable proportion to their resources.

VIII. We agree that it is of vital importance that arrangements should exist in the United Church for adding to it Mission and Church Extension Charges, and for connecting them with the Central Fund ; but the Joint-Committee do not at present deem it necessary to enter into details as to the provisions that may be suitable and requisite for carrying these arrangements into practical effect.

The Committee entered into conversation with respect to the likelihood of raising a Minimum Stipend of £150 or more in the United Church. The Committee were of opinion that ample resources might be found in the several Churches for the purpose.

As to Deacons and Managers :

The Committee proceeded to consider the question as to the administration of Funds by Managers or Deacons" Courts, and the relative position of Church Courts and Congregations thereanent. It was found that there was no difference of opinion as to scriptural principle on this subject; and that the only practical difference of any consequence in the procedure of the several Churches related either to the amount of direct action allowed to Congregations ; or to the position of Deacons or Managers as elected for life, or only for a time, or as being set solemnly apart to their functions by an act of the Session, or being simply appointed by Congregations.

All the negotiating Churches are agreed that the office of Deacon is of Divine institution, and are substantially at one as to the functions proper to the office. In all the Churches there are Congregations that have Deacons. In the Free Church they are found in almost every Congregation,—and in that Church, it is by the Deacons, in conjunction with the Elders, and sitting as a Deacons' Court, that the secular affairs of Congregations are administered. In the other Churches, especially in the United Presbyterian and Reformed Presbyterian, Deacons are comparatively few. In these Churches, the secular affairs of the Congregations are, for the most part, under the charge of Managers. These Managers are chosen by the Members of the Congregations at a Congregational Meeting held for the purpose.

The election is for a limited period, and no one is eligible who is not at the time a member of the Congregation. On ceasing to be such, the Manager, ipso facto, vacates his office.


As to Property and Titles :

The Committee do not think there can be a complete Report at the present stage from the nature of the case. But for the illustration of the subject, they refer to the Report of a Sub-Committee appended hereto.

The Joint-Committee, looking to these findings on the Seventh Head of the

Programme, do not see any difficulty therein which should prevent an incorpor. ative union.

EIGHTH HEAD.--Principles on which admission to Sealing Ordi

nances is regulated in the Churches.

After conversation, the Committee find that there is substantial agreement with reference to the terms and modes of admission to Sealing Ordinances.

NINTH HEAD.— Relation of the Churches, if united, to Ministers

and Congregations beyond the limits of Scotland. It being understood that any proposal made by this Committee, on this, as on other heads of the Programme, does not assume to be final, nor to anticipate the ultimate decisions of the Supreme Courts to which it may be submitted, but only to indicate the apparent elements of a satisfactory settlement, when the time for that shall arrive, the Committee place on record the following as the conclusions in which they are agreed.

1st. That in any union of the negotiating Churches which may be formed, it will be desirable that there be separate and independent jurisdiction in the portions of the uniting Churches, situated in Scotland and England respectively.

2d. That under any adjustment of these two portions which may be proposed, it will be necessary to make manifest and maintain their unity.

The following would seem to be the best way of giving practical effect to these conclusions :

I. That the Churches now negotiating should frame a basis of union which all shall accept, and in this respect constitute one Church.

II. That for the Churches thus uniting, there shall be two separate judicatories in England and Scotland respectively, each having independent jurisdiction ; and that in this respect they shall constitute two Churches, one in England, the other in Scotland.

III. That the unity of these two Churches might be made manifest by some such means as the following :---similarity of name ; mutual recognition of license, ordination and membership; co-operation in missions ; interchange of corresponding members of Supreme Courts ; and a council to meet at stated intervals, or as occasion might require, with functions carefully defined in harmony with the independent jurisdiction of the separate judicatories.

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TENTH HEAD.The bearing of the contemplated Union upon the

working of the Foreign Missions of the various Churches. As the result of conference on this subject, it was found that all the negotiating Churches do, in their corporate ecclesiastical capacity, recognise God's eternal purpose with regard to the evangelization of a lost and ruined world, as indicated in very many passages of Holy Writ; as also their own correlative obligation to do what in them lies, in humble dependence upon the Divine blessing, to promote this glorious object, in accordance with the spirit and intent of the Saviour's intercessory prayer, and the binding force of his last solemn command ; that all of them have Foreign Missions, or Missions to the unevangelized nations and tribes of earth ; that they are entirely agreed as to the principles on which such Missions should be conducted ; that the fields of labour of these Missions have been so chosen as to avoid all interference with each other's operations ; that in all cases in which intercourse between the Missionaries of the several Churches was practicable, their relations have been of the most brotherly kind ; that all the Missions are maintained chiefly by annual contributions ; and that there appears to be nothing, in connexion with this Head of the Programme, of a nature to hinder union.

ELEVENTH HEAD.The relation of the United Church, in its com

ponent parts, to the past Ecclesiastical History of this Country; particularly with reference to the duty and desirableness of effecting the Union on a basis that would identify it with the Reformed Church of Scotland.

The Statement appended to the Principles held in common under the First Head of Programme, appears to supply all that is necessary in the way of historical reference at the present stage of the negotiations, and if anything fuller and more detailed be considered needful, the preparation of it should be deferred till a basis of union has been framed and adopted.


The Joint-Committee entered into conversation on the subject of formulas used in the several Churches, and relative questions, in connexion with the report of the Free Church Committee thereanent. After comparing the statements in the several formulas, and questions put to office-bearers at ordination and admission, as well as to students, previously to their being licensed as probationers, and after conversation thereanent, the Joint-Committee hereby record their gratification at finding that there appears to be no intended difference of meaning in the diversity of expression in adhering to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and that there does not appear to be any difficulty connected with that diversity, as to an agreement by the several Churches in a common formula. In this finding the Committee do not enibrace any definite conclusion as to the manner in which the views of the several Churches on the subject of the relation of the civil magistrate to religion and the Church are at present expressed in their respective formulas, or in which they ought to be dealt with in the formula of the proposed United Church. The fitting time for framing such a formula will not arrive till a basis of union shall have been agreed on.



Having now carefully gone over the whole heads of inquiry embraced in their programme, and having revised the findings arrived at regarding the various important matters which it includes, the Joint Union Committee desire humbly and thankfully to recognise the good hand of their God upon them, in the great progress thus made towards the completion of the work which they have had in hand. They further resolved to record it as their earnest hope that when these results of the Committee's labours shall have been reported to the supreme courts of the negotiating Churches, these courts may see cause to publish them for the information of the Courts and Congregations of the respective Churches, and for their prayerful deliberation thereupon ; so that by these, or by such other means as it may seem good to the supreme courts of the several Churches to adopt, the mind of all the Churches may be ripened for taking thereafter such action as may be necessary for finally disposing of the momentous question with reference to which these Union negotiations were solemnly and unani. mously entered on six years ago.

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