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CHAP. XXXI. Of Synods and Councils.

OR the better government and further edification of the church, there ought to be fuch affemblies as are commonly called Synods or Councils⚫.

II. As magiftrates may lawfully call a fynod of minifters, and other fit perfons, to confult and advife with about matters of religion; fo if magiftrates be open enemies to the church, the minifters of Chrift, of themfelves, by virtue of their office, or they, with other fit perfons upon delegation from their churches, may meet together in fuch affemblies. . III. It

obey not our word by this epiftle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be afhamed. V. 15. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 1 Cor. v. 4. In the name of our Lord Jefus Chrift, when ye are gathered to gether, and my fpirit, with the power of our Lord Jefus Chrift, V. 5. To deliver fuch an one unto Satan for the deftruction of the flesh, that the Spirit may be faved in the day ofthe Lord Jefus. V. 13. But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourfelves that wicked perfon. Mat. xviii. 17. And if he thall neglect, to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a publican. Tit. iii. 10. A man that is an heretick, after the firft and fecond admonition, reject.

1.Acts xv. 2. When, therefore, Paul and Barnabas had no fmall diffenfion and difputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, thould go up to Jerufalem unto the apofties and elders about this question. V. 4. And when they were come to Jerufalem they were received of the church,

and of the apoftles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. V. 6. And the apoftles and elders came together for to confider of this matter.

II. b Ifa. xlix. 23. And kings fhall be thy nurfing-fathers, and their queens thynurfing-mothers: they fhall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the duft of thy feet, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. 1 Tim. ii. 1. I exhort, therefore, that, firft of all, fupplications, prayers, interceffions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; V. 2. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [2 Chron. xix. 8. to the end. 2 Chron. Chapters xxix. and xxx. throughout.] Mat. ii. 4. And, when he had gathered all the chief priests and fcribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Chrift should be born. V. 5. And they faid unto him, In Beth-lehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet, Prov. xi. 74, Where no counfel is the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is fafety. Acts xv. 2, 4. [See in letter V. 22. Then pleafed it the apoftles


III. It belongeth to fynods and councils minifterially to determine controverfies of faith, and cafes of conscience; ro fet down rules and directions for the better ordering of the publick worship of God, and government of his church; to receive complaints in cafes of mal-adminiftration, and authoritatively to determine the fame: which decrees and determinations, if confonant to the word of God, are to be received with reverence and fubmiffion, not only for their agreement, with the word, but alfo for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his word 4.


IV. All fynods or councils fince the apoftles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as an help in both.

V. Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclefiaftical: and are not to intermeddle

and elders, with the whole church, to fend chofen men of their own company to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas, furnamed Barfabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: V. 23. And wrote letters by them after this manner; The apoftles, and elders, and brethren, fend greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia. V. 25. It feemed good unto us, being affembled with one accord, to fend chofen men unto you, with our beloved Barnabas and Paul.

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III. dActs xv. 15, 19, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. [See in the Bible. Acts xvi. 4. And, as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apoftles and elders which were at Jerufalem. Mat. xviii. 17. And if he fhall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee

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as an heathen man, and a publi. can. V. 18. Verily I fay unto you, What foever ye fhall bind on earth, fhall be bound in heaven; and whatfoever ye fhall loofe on earth, fhall be loofed in heaven. V. 19. Again I fay unto you,That if two of you fhall agree on earth, as touching any thing that they shall afk, it fhall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. V.20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

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with civil affairs, which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition, in cafes extraordinary; or by way of advice for fatisfaction of conscience, if they be there unto required by the civil magiftrate.

CHAP. XXXII. Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Refurrection of the Dead.


HE bodies of men after death return to duft, and fee corruption; but their fouls, (which neither die nor fleep,) having an immortal fubfiftence, immediately return to God who gave thein. The fouls of the righteous, being then made perfect in heliness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the

for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye ftand.

V. f Luke xii. 13. And one of the company faid unto him, Mafter, fpeak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. V. 14. And he faid unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? John xviii. 36. Jefus anfwered, My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my fervants fight, that I fhould not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

I. Gen. ii. 19. In the fweat of thy face fhalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; fer out of it waft thou taken: for duft thou art, and unto duft thou shalt return. Acts xii. 36. For David, after he had ferved his own generation, by the will of God fell on fleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and faw corruption.

b Luke xxiii. 43. And Jefus faid unto him, Verily I fay unto thee, To-day fhalt thou be with me in


paradife. Eccl. xii. 7. Then fhall the duft return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Heb. xii. 23. To the general affembly and church of the firftborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the fpirits of juft men made perfect. 2 Cor. v. 1. For we know, that if our earthly houfe of this tabernacle were diffolved, we have a building of God, an houfe not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. V. 6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilft we are at home in the body, we are abfent from the Lord: V. 8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be abfent from the body, and to be prefent with the Lord. Phil. i. 23. For I am in a ftrait betwixt two, having a defire to depart, and to be with Chrift; which is far better. With Acts iii. 21. Whom the heaven muft receive, until the times of reftitution of all thin which God hath fpoken by h mouth of all his holy prophets fince the



fouls of the wicked are calt into hell, where they remain in forments and utter darkness, referved to the judgment of the great day. Befides these two places,for fouls ieparated from their bodies the fcripture acknowledgeth none. IL At the laft day, fuch as are found alive shall not die, but be changed, and all the dead fhall be raised up with the felf-fame bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which fhall be united again to their fouls for ever. III. The bodies of the unjuft fall, by the power of Chrift, be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the juft, by his Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.

world began. And Eph. iv. 10. He that defcended is the fame alfo that afcended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.

d Luke xvi. 23. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and feeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bofom. V. 24. And he cried, and faid, Father Abraham, have mercy on me; and fend Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. Acts i. 25. That he may take part of this miniftry and apostleship, from which Judas by tranfgreffion fell, that he might go to his own place. Jude, ver. 6. And the angels which kept not their firft eftate, but left their own habitation, he hath referved in everlafting chains under darknefs, unto the judgment of the great day. V. 7. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in like manner giving themfelves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are fet forth for an example, fuffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Pet. iii. 19. By which allo he went and preached unto the fpirits in prison.


II. 1 Theff. iv. 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and fo fhall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Cor. xv. 51. Behold, I fhew you a mystery we fhall not all fleep, but we shall all be changed, V. 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the laft trump: for the trumpet fhall found, and the dead fhall be raised incorruptible, and we fhall be changed.

f Job xix. 26. And though after my fkins worms deftroy this body, yet in my fiefh fhall I fee God; V. 27. Whom I fhall fee for my. felf, and mine eyes fhall behold, and not another, though my reins be confumed within me. I Cor. xv. 42. So alfo is the refurrection of the dead. It is fown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: V. 43. It is fown in difhonour, it is raised in glory; it is fown in weakness, it is raised in power: V. 44. It is fown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a fpiritual body.

III. Acts xxiv. 15. And have hope towards God, which they themselves alfo allow, that there H 2

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that they may fhake off all carnal fecurity, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come, Lord Jefus, come quickly. Amen.

ourfelves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. V. 24. For we are faved by hope: but hope that is feen is not hope: for what a man feeth, why doth he yet hope for? V. 25. But if we hope for that we fee not, then do we with patience wait for it.

S Mat. xxiv. 36, 42, 43, 44. [See in the Bible.] Mark xiii. 35. Watch ye, therefore, for ye know not when the mafter of the house cometh; at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the

morning. V. 36. Left coming fuddenly, he find you fleeping. V. 37. And what I fay unto you, I fay unto all, Watch. Luke xii. 35. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; V. 36. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding, that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Rev. xxii. 20. He which teftifieth these things faith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even fo come, Lord Jefus.


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