Quest. What is the proper method of dealing with persons that fall into scandal?
Ans. If the offence be known only to one or to a few, the offender is to be told his fault secretly, with Christian meekness, plainness, and love. If he profess his sorrow and resolution to amend, the whole matter ought to be carefully concealed; and those offended ought to be well pleased that their offending brother is gained. If, after one or more secret reproofs, he continue impenitent, defending his fault, one or two more Christian brethren, grave, judicious, and meek, are to be taken along, and the offender to be dealt with by them, and in their presence. If now he appear to repent, the several persons concerned in his reproof are, with care and in love, to conceal his offence, lest, by divulging it, they be reproached as wicked calumniators. If the offender contemn one or more such private admonitions or reproofs, or if his scandal be of such a nature that it will necessarily become public, the affair is to be told to the church court, to which he is most immediately subject. And, to bring him to a due sense of his fault, he is to be there dealt with in a prudent, affectionate, plain, and convincing manner. If this prove a means of bringing him to a sense of his offence, the censures of the church are to be executed upon him according to the laws of Christ’s house, and the nature of his crime, and he is to be restored to the privileges of the church. But if, after due pains taken by the judicatories, he remain obstinate, he is then to be cast out of the church, and held as a heathen man and publican, Matt. xviii. 15 to 18.
CHAP. I.—That there is a Government in the Church of divine right now under the New Testament 19
CHAP. II.—Of the nature of a divine right in general 22
CHAP. III.—Of a divine right in particular, which is five ways; first, by the true light of Nature 24
CHAP. IV.—Of a divine right, second, by obligatory Scripture 27 examples
CHAP. V.—Of a divine right, third, by God’s approbation 37
CHAP. VI.—Of a divine right, fourth, by divine acts 39
CHAP. VII.—Of a divine right, fifth, by divine precepts 40
CHAP. I.—A description of church government 45
CHAP. II.—The subject described, and the terms church government briefly defined 46
CHAP. III.—The general nature of church government, viz., power or authority 48