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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 59 : The Solemnization of Marriage

Paragraph 6 :

59-6. Marriage is of a public nature. The welfare of civil society, the happiness of families, and the credit of Christianity, are deeply interested in it. Therefore, the purpose of marriage should be sufficiently published a proper time previously to the solemnization to it. It is enjoined on all ministers to be careful that, in this matter, they transgress neither the laws of God, nor the laws of the community; and that they may not destroy the peace and comfort of families, ministers should be assured that, with respect to the parties applying to them, no just objections lie against their marriage.

[DIGEST: The change in wording, from "...the credit of religion..." to "...the credit of Christianity..." dates to the revision of the Directory of Worship approved by the Third General Assembly of the PCA (1975).]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS:
1. PCA 1973, Adopted text, DfW, 13-6 [M1GA, Appendix, p. 160]
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text, DfW, 13-6
[p. 75]
3. PCUS 1933, DfW, XIII-6 [§368]
Marriage is of a public nature. The welfare of civil society, the happiness of families, and the credit of religion, are deeply interested in it. Therefore, the purpose of marriage should be sufficiently published a proper time previously to the solemnization of it. It is enjoined on all ministers to be careful that, in this matter, they transgress neither the laws of God, nor the laws of the community; and that they may not destroy the peace and comfort of families, ministers should be assured that, with respect of the parties applying to them, no just objections lie against their marriage.

PCUS 1925,
DfW, XII-6 [§360]
PCUS 1894, XII-6
Marriage is of a public nature. The welfare of civil society, the happiness of families, and the credit of religion, are deeply interested in it. Therefore, the purpose of marriage should be sufficiently published a proper time previously to the solemnization of it. It is enjoined on all ministers to be careful that, in this matter, they transgress neither the laws of God nor the laws of the community; and that they may not destroy the peace and comfort of families, they must be properly certified with respect to the parties applying to them, that no just objections lie against their marriage.

PCUSA 1789, DfW, XI, Section VI.
Marriage is of a public nature. The welfare of civil society, the happiness of families, and the credit of religion, are deeply interested in it. Therefore the purpose of marriage ought to be sufficiently published a proper time, previously to the solemnization of it. It is enjoined on all ministers to be careful that, in this matter, they neither transgress the laws of God, nor the laws of the community: And that they may not destroy the peace and comfort of families, they must be properly certified with respect to the parties applying to them, that no just objections lie against their marriage.

OTHER COMPARISONS:
Alexander Henderson, The Government and Order of The Church of Scotland (1641)
The parties are contracted before they are married, and before they be contracted, if there be any suspicion of their ignorance, they are examined in the grounds of Religion, and in their knowledge of the mutual duties, which they owe each to other. Notice is also given of the consent of Parents, or vice-Parents, and that neither of them is contracted before to any other party, nor any impediment from the degrees of Affinity, or Consanguinity prohibited. The contract and purpose of marriage is also published, three several Sabbaths before the same be solemnised, and if there be nothing objected to hinder their marriage, then are they solemnly married, in the face of the Congregation, before the ending of 40 days from the time of the contract.

RPCES, Directory for Worship, XIV-3
Ministers are admonished to emphasize the need of spiritual and ecclesiastical compatibility in marriage. Lack of harmony on the part of parents in the training of their children when they differ in the essentials of the faith endangers the happiness of a truly Christian home. Also all ministers are urged to exercise due care, that in this matter of marriage neither the laws of God nor of the community shall be transgressed. To that end the parties applying should be properly certified to the minister.



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