Saybrook Platform

Saybrook Platform a confession of faith and a compendium of rules for the government of the churches, adopted by an assembly of Congregational ministers and lay delegates convened by order of the Legislature of Connecticut, at Saybrook, Sept. 9, 1708. The synod consisted of sixteen members — twelve clerical and four lay — who represented the councils of Hartford, Fairfield, New London, and New Haven counties. As to doctrine, they adopted for recommendation to the General Assembly of the colony the confession assented to by the elders and messengers assembled at Boston, May 12, 1680, which was the Savoy Confession with some small alterations, adding also the doctrinal parts of the Westminster Confession. In regard to Church government and discipline, they adopted fifteen articles, the substance of which was to provide (1) for one or more consociations in each county, with appellate and final jurisdiction, to which particular churches might refer in difficult cases; (2) for one or more associations in each county, consisting of the ministers, who should meet at least twice a year to consult on the common interest of the churches, and to perform certain other offices, such as the examination and recommendation of candidates for the ministry; (3) for a general association, to be composed of one or more delegates from each of the district associations, to meet once a year. The proceedings of the synod were approved by the Assembly of the colony, Oct. 1708, and it ordained "that all the churches within this government that are or shall be thus united in doctrine, worship, and discipline be, and for the future shall be owned and acknowledged, established by law; provided always that nothing herein shall be intended or construed to hinder or prevent any society that is or shall be allowed by the laws of this government, who soberly differ or dissent from the united churches hereby established, from exercising worship and discipline in their own way, according to their consciences." The decrees of the Saybrook Platform, both as regards doctrine and government, are not binding on the churches, but are only advisory in their character. See Trumbull, Hist. of Connecticut, vol. 1, ch. 19; Congregational Order; Bacon, Discourse at Norwich, Conn., June, 1859.

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