12 Rules for Promoting Harmony Among Church Members, by Thomas Smyth

Thomas Smyth, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, S.C., from 1832-1873, gave several practical directions in a Manual for the members of his congregation (found in Volume 5 of his Complete Works). The following are twelve rules for promoting harmony among church members (that he appears to have taken out ofWilliam Plumer's Manual for Church Members) - something every church needs to hear:

1. To remember that we are all subject to failings and infirmities, of one kind or another. (Matt. 7:1—5. Rom. 2:21—23.

2. To bear with and not magnify each other's infirmities. (Gal. 6:1)

3. To pray one for another in our social meetings, and particularly in private. (James, 5:16)

4. To avoid going from house to house, for the purpose of hearing news, and interfering with other people's business. (Lev. 19:16)

5. Always to turn a deaf ear to any slanderous report, and to allow no charge to be brought against any person until well founded and proved. (Prov. 25:23)

6. If a member be in fault, to tell him of it in private, before it is mentioned to others. (Matt. 18:15)

7. To watch against shyness of each other, and put the best construction on any action that has the appearance of opposition or resentment. (Prov. 10:12)

8. To observe the just rule of Solomon, that is, to leave off contention before it he meddled with. (Prov. 17:14)

9. If a member has offended, to consider how glorious, how God-like it is to forgive, and how unlike a Christian it is to revenge. (Eph. 4:2)

10. To remember that it is always a grand artifice of the Devil, to promote distance and animosity among members of Churches, and we should, therefore, watch against every thing
that furthers his end. (James 3:16)

11. To consider how much more good we can do in the world at large, and in the Church in particular, when we are all united in love, than we could do when acting alone, and indulging a contrary spirit. (John 13:35)

12. Lastly, to consider the express injunction of Scripture, and the beautiful example of Christ, as to these important things. (Eph. 4:32; 1 Peter 2:21; John13:5, 35)