of Church Discipline
THE DUTIES OF MEMBERS TOWARDS EACH OTHER
The principal of these are the following:
1. Love one another, John xiii. 34, 35. xv. 12, 17. Rom. xii. 9, 10. xiii. 8?10. Gal. v. 15. I Pet. i. 22.
2. Avoid every thing that tends to cool love, and make disagreeable impressions, Gal. v. 26. In order to this, they should avoid whispering and backbiting, 2 Cor. xii. 20. Evil speaking and surmising, James iv. 11. I Tim. vi. 4. tattling and being busybodies, I Tim. v. 13.
3. No one should indulge shyness in himself towards another, but immediately make known to the other his grievance and suspicion: and when he discovers shyness in another, he should inquire after the reason of it, Matt. v. 23 , 24. Eph. iv. 26.
4. Bear with one another, Matt. xviii. 21, 22. Rom. xv. 1. Gal. vi. 2.
5. Promote peace and harmony, Eph. iv. 3. Rom. xiv. 19. I Thes. v. 13.
6. Advance one another?s spiritual benefit and edification, I Cor. xiv. 26.
7. Watch over one another for good, and admonish one another, when occasion requires, but in much love and tenderness, Rom. xv. 14. 2 Thes. iii. 15.
8. Exhort and stir up one another to a diligent attendance on the means of grace, Heb. x. 25. Acts ii. 42.
9. Stir up one another to zeal in holy living, and in supporting the gospel.
10. Should not divulge what is done in church meetings, Cant. iv. 12. It is a shame to divulge the secrets of a family, much more those of a church.
11. Relieve the necessities of the poor, Matt. xxv. 40. John xii. 8. Rom. xii. 13. xv. 26. Gal. ii. 10. Deut. xv. 7, 11. I Cor. xvi. 1, 2. I John iii. 17. There is no good reason, however, can be given, why a church should refuse the assistance, which the good and wholesome laws of the land offer: But the deacons ought to agree with the overseer of the poor at so much a year, and then find a place near the meeting house, where they will be taken good care of and live comfortably, and if the deacon must give more than he receives from the overseer, let the church make up the difference.
12. The church should also assist such as are not so helpless or needy as to be put on the town, yet may stand in need of assistance at times, especially when some accidents have befallen them.
13. In the last place they should not go to law with one another, if matters can be accommodated in the church, or by reference, I Cor. vi. 1-7. It is true, the circumstances of the church being so materially altered now, from what they were in the apostolic day, may be thought to render the reason of the injunction in the above text less forcible; yet the mode of reference is at any time more eligible, not only from prudential considerations but as being more friendly and kind, and, in some instances, more just. For, although the law always has justice in view, yet justice is not always within its reach, of which a christian should never take advantage against any one, not to say a brother. But by leave of the church, recourse may be had to the civil law.
Table of Contents
The Reformed Reader Home Page
Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved