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THE Lord Jesus as King and head of his Church hath therein appointed a government in the hand of church officers distinct from the civil Magistrate
TO these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins to shut that kingdom against the impenitent both by the word and censures and to open it unto penitent sinners by the ministry of the gospell and by absolution from censures as occasion shall require
CHURCH censures are necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren for deterring of others from the like offences for the purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump for vindicating the honour of Christ and the holy profession of the gospell and for preventing the wrath of God which might justly fall upon the Church if they should suffer his covenant and the sealls thereof to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders
FOR the better attaining of these ends the officers of the church are to proceed by admonition suspension from the sacrament of the Lords supper for a season and by excommunication from the Church according to the nature of the crime and demerit of the person
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