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PAGE 316:
CHAPTER VII

out a sketch of such which you especially judge to be most important, and send it to me." In a letter dated March, 1792, there is the following paragraph: "Upon looking over the papers, as they now stand corrected by the Synod, I find the first, third, and fourth parts, may be easily brought into form, without alterations or additions of much consequence; but what to do with the second part, which respects our Ecclesiastical Assemblies, I do not yet know: as it now stands, it appears deficient. To make it intelligible, and answer the purpose of a standard for the information of all our members, I believe some additions will be found necessary. I have not yet digested particulars, but will send you a sketch of them as soon as I can get them ready,"

The following March, he wrote again: "I have discovered that to make the whole ready for the press, will unavoidably demand more time than can be found previous to the Synod in May; I, therefore, now put in a plea for an abatement to any promises on my part, or injunctions on the part of the Synod for that purpose."

"An idea has occurred to me respecting this business, which I wish to communicate and receive your advice upon. I find the Synods in Holland, &c. as they successively brought forward

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CHAPTER VII

their Church orders, always retained what the former and more ancient Churches had done. This they made their text, and added only what might be considered essentially applicable to themselves. This is remarkably the case in the acts of the Synod of Dort, 1618-19. Although several new circumstances had occurred, wliich rendered some alterations necessary, yet in their solemn revision of the Church orders, they retain almost word for word, the rules of the Synod held at the Hague, 1586, and whatever they judged to be local and temporary, they added afterwards in their post acta. If we apply this to ourselves, and wish to retain the same attachment to the ancient Reformed Churches, our line for procedure will be easily marked out. * * * * Suppose we should, then, by a careful inspection from one article to another, collect a short but precise system of explanations, which as the express work of our own Synod, may be added as an organizing act; and then the original articles, together with our organization, will serve to exhibit a clear, and at the same time, a respectable Church order. * * * If we should adopt this mode, then the exact and prudent translation, &c. of the original articles will be only the smallest part of the work. Our post acta will require the greatest deliberation. In this view you will acquiesce in my expectation that the work






        
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