Communion of churches, or, The divine management of gospel-churches by the ordinance of councils constituted in order according to the Scriptures as also the way of bringing all Christian parishes to be particular Reforming Congregationall Churches, humbly proposed as ... a means of uniting those two holy and eminent parties the Presbyterians and the Congregationals ...
Eliot, John, 1604-1690.

The Particular works of the Provincial Council, the second Order of Councils.

THe Provincial Council being met at the stated time, and in the place agreed on, Moderators and Notaries chosen, the work blessed, as in the Council of the first Order; then

1. The Moderator, with the co-attestation of his Associate Ruling El•…er, declareth the present state of the first Council that sent them; as also the present state of all the Churches combined in that Council, which he delivereth in writing, and may be now read in this Council. Then he delivereth in writing such Cases as are transmitted to them, and such Appeales as are made unto them, if any such be; these be∣ing also read in the Council, are kept in order by the Notaries

2. The Notaries are to record the present state of that Council, and the general good estate of all the Churches, re∣ferring unto the Records thereof now presented.

3. The Moderator is to call upon all the Elders, in order, with their Associates, delegated from all the first Councils, who are all to do as the Moderator did, declaring the state of the Councils, and of the Churches, delivering their Wri∣tings to the Notaries, which are all read, and recorded.

4. The Notaries are to produce, when called for, all the Papers which present any Business or Work unto the Coun∣cil, either by Transmission, or by Appeals: which are or∣derly to be discussed. Care being taken, that all persons concerned be present, and have free and competent liberty to argue, answer, object, dispute, or what else may be requi∣site for finding out of the Truth.

5. If there be no Cases transmitted, nor Appeals from any first Councils, then the business of the Lord, touching all their Churches, is (with glory and praise to Christ) so soon finished as mentioned.

6. If any person or persons whatsoever, have any Que∣stions or Cases concerning Religion, & Ecclesiastical affairs of Christ, now they have liberty, in due reverence and order, to propose the same to be discussed and answered. And if work multiply, the Council may either tarry together, or multiply their Sessions, so oft as they see cause, in their Quarter. And what Cases they have unfinished, they are to Page  31 leave them upon Record for the next Council.

7. If there be any case too difficult for them, or that they be considerably divided in judgement in, then that Case is to transmitted to the National Council. The Notary is to Re∣cord it, with the Reasons thereof.

8. If any counsel or judgement agreed on by this Council, be not accepted or acquiesced in, by the party or parties con∣cerned▪ he or they may Appeal unto the National Council, for further light; and the Notaries are to record it, and the Reasons thereof. Provided, that if this Council advise the Church to proceed to Censure, they may so do, if they see cause, notwithstanding his Appeal.

9. Those Provincial Councils which do immediately forego the stated time of the National Councils meeting, are each of them to chuse, at least, one Teaching, and one Ruling Elder, according to the manner aforesaid, who are to be Represen∣tatives of these Provincial Councils, and of all the first Coun∣cils, and Churches with them combined, in the National Council; who are chosen to carry on the Ordinance of Counsel in that Order.

10. The Notaries are publickly in the presence of every Council, to deliver in writing unto them who are chosen for the National Council, 1. The present state of all the first Councils, and of all the Churches combined with them. 2. All the Causes that are transmitted by them unto the Na∣tional Council. 3. The Appeals, if any such be. All these, being first read, are delivered to them: and so they are sent with their prayers and blessing.

11. If these Councils foresee any future Sessions this quar∣ter, they may now agree upon the same: if any Fasts or Feasts are to be kept by all their Churches, they may now agree upon it, and propose the Causes thereof.

12. When these Elders do next meet in their first Councils, they must prudently and faithfully report the good state of all the rest of the first Councils in the Province, and of all the Churches combined with them, and all other weighty affairs fitting to be communicated, that so they may relate them to their Churches, that these things may be mutter of joy, praise thanksgiving, prayer, and obedience in all the Churches.