« PoprzedniaDalej »
nances, and discharge of moral duties, without respect of
Thirdly, The pastor and people must so nearly cohabit together, as that they may mutually perform their duties each to other with most conveniency.
In this company some must be set apart to bear office.
of the Officers of a particulnr Congregation. OR officers in a single congregation, there ought to bę
one at the least, both to labour in the word and doctrine, and to rule i
It is also requisite that there should be others to join in government k.
And likewise it is requisite that there be others to take special care for the relief of the poor
The number of each of which is to be proportioned ac. cording to the condition of the congregation.
These officers are to meet together, at convenient and set times, for the well ordering of the affairs of that congregation, each according to his office.
It is most expedient that, in these meetings, one, whose office is to labour in the word and doctrine, do moderate in their proceedings ". shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. v. 17. Let the elders that rule well be Matt. v. 17. "Think not that I am counted worthy of double honour, escome to destroy the law or the pro- pecially they who labour in the word phets : I am not come to destroy, but and doctrine. Heb. xiji. 7. Remember to fulfil.
them which have the rule over you, h 1 Cor. xiv. 26.-Let all things be who have spoken unto you the word of done to edifying. Heb. x. 24. And let God; whose faith follow, considering us consider one another, to provoke the end of their conversation. unto love, and to good worky : Ver. k I Cor. xii. 28. And God hath set 25. Not forsaking the assembling of some in the church; first, apostles; seourselves together, as the manner of condarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; some is; but exhorting one another : after that miracles; then gifts of heal. and so much the more, as ye see the ing, helps, governments, diversities of day approaching. James i.' 1. My tongues. brethren, have not the faith of our Lord 1 Acts vi. 2. Then the twelve called Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with the multitude of the disciples unto respect of persons. Ver. 2. For if there them, and said, It is not reason that we come into your assembly a man with should leave the word of God, and a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and serve tables. Ver. 3. Wherefore, brethere come in also a poor man in vile thren, look ye out among you seven raiment.
men of honest report, full of the Holy i Prov. xxix. 18. Where there is no Ghost and wisdom, whom we may apvision, the people perish : but he that point over this business. Feepeth the law, happy is he. 1 Tim. m 1 Tim. v. 17. Let the elders that
Of the Ordinances in a particular Congregation. THE ordinances in a single congregation are, prayer, TH
thanksgiving, and singing of psalms ", the word read, (although there follow no immediate explication of what is read,) the word expounded and applied, catechising, the sacraments administered, collection made for the
dismissing the people with a blessing. Of Church-Government, and the several sorts of Assemblies for
the same. Celesi shath institerraneo verame
HRIST hath instituted a government, and governors
ecclesiastical in the church : to that purpose, the apostles did immediately receive the keys from the hand of Jesus Christ, and did use and exercise them in all the churches of the world upon all occasions.
And Christ hath since continually furnished some in his church with gifts of government, and with commission to execute the same, when called thereunto.
It is lawful, and agreeable to the word of God, that the church be governed by several sorts of assemblies, which are congregational, classical, and synodical.
of the Power in common of all these Assemblies. I
T is lawful, and agreeable to the word of God, that the vent, and call before them, any person within their several bounds, whom the ecclesiastical business which is before them doth concerno.
rule well be counted worthy of double unlearned say Amen at thy giving of honour, especially they who labour in thanks, seeing he understandeth not the word and doctrine.
what thou sayest? In 1 Tim. ii. 1. I exhort therefore, o Mat. xviii. 15. Moreover, if thy that, first of all, supplications, prayers, brother shall trespass against thee, go utercessions, and giving of thanks, be and tell him his fault between thee and made for all men, 1 Cor. xiv. 15. him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou What is it then? I will pray with the bast gained thy brother. Ver. 16. But spirit, and I will pray with the under- if he will not hear thee, then take with standing also : I will sing with the thee one or two more, that in the spirit, and I will sing with the under mouth of two or three witnesses every standing also. Ver. 16. Else, when word may be established. Ver. 17. thou shalt bless with the spirit, how And if he shall neglect to hear them, shall he that occupieth the room of the tell it unto the churchi but if ik neg
They have power to hear and determine such causes and differences as do orderly come before them.
It is lawful, and agreeable to the word of God, that all the said assemblies have some power to dispense church-censures.
Of Congregational Assemblies, that is, the Meeting ofthe ruling
Officers of a particular Congregation, for the Government
power, authoritatively, to call before them any member of the congregation, as they shall see just occasion.
To enquire into the knowledge and spiritual estate of the several members of the congregation.
To admonish and rebuke.
Which three branches are proved by Heb. xiii. 17. 1 Thrss. v. 12, 13. Ezek, xxxiv. 4. P.
Authoritative suspension from the Lord's table, of a person not yet cast out of the church, is agreeable to the scripture :
First, Because the ordinance itself must not be profaned.
Secondly, Because we are charged to withdraw from those that walk disorderly.
Thirdly, Because of the great sin and danger, both'to him that comes unworthily, and also to the whole church 4, And lect to hear the church, let him be un- among you, and are over you in the to thee as an heathen man, and a pub- Lord, and adnionish you; Ver. 13. lic.n. Ver. 18. Verily I say unto you, And to esteem them very highly in Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, love for their work's sake. And be at shall be bound in heaven ; and what. peace among yourselves. Ezek. xxxiv. socver ye shall loose on earth, shall 4. The diseased have ye not strength. be loosed in heaven. Ver 19. Again, ened, neither have ychealed that which, I say unto you, 'That if two of you was sick, neither have ye bound up that: shall agree on eartli, as touching which was broken, neither have ye any thing that they shall ask, it shall brought again that which was drivea be done for them of my father which away, neither have ye sought that is in heaven. Ver. 20. For where two which was lost; but with force and or three are gathered together in my with cruelty have ye ruled them. name, there am I in the midst of them. 9 Matt. vii. 6. Give not that which
p Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye the rule over you, and submit your pour pearls before swime, lest they selves : for they watch for your souls trample them under their feet, and as they that must give account, that turn again and rend you. 2 Thess. iii. they may do it with joy, and not with 6. Now we command you, brethren, in frief: for that is unprofitable for you. the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that i Tliess. v. 12. And we beseech you, ye withdraw yourselves from every bretlen, to know them which labour brother that walkette disorderly, and
there was power and authority, under the Old Testament, to keep unclean persons from holy things".
The like power and authority, by way of analogy, continues under the New Testament.
The ruling officers of a particular congregation have power authoritatively to suspend from the Lord's table a person not yet cast out of the church :
First, Because those who have authority to judge of, and admit, such as are fit to receive the sacrament, have autho. rity to keep back such as shall be found unworthy.
Secondly, Because it is an ecclesiastical business of ordinary practice belonging to that congregation,
When congregations are divided and fixed, they need all mutual help one from another, both in regard of their intrinsical weaknesses and mutual dependence, as also in regård of enemies from without.
Of Classical Assemblies.
HE scripture dotb hold out a presbytery in a church
A presbytery consisteth of ministers of the word, and such other publick officers as are agreeable to and warranted ed of us. Ver. 14. And if any man obey fore are we kept back, that we may not our word by this epistle, note that not offer an offering of the Lord in his man, and have no company with him, appointed season among the children that he may be ashamed. Ver. 15. Yet of Israel? 2 Chron. xxiii. 19. And he count him not as an enemy, but admo- set the porters at the gates of the house nish him as a brother. 1 Cor. xi. 27. of the Lord, that none that was unclean Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this in any thing should enter in. bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, : 1 Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not the gift unworthily, shall be guilty of the body that is in thee, which was given thee and blood of the Lord. See on to the by prophecy, with the laying on of the end of the Chapter. Compared with Jude, hands of the presbytery. Acts xv. 2. Ver. 23. And others save with fear, When therefore Paul and Barnabas had pulling them out of the fire; hating no small dissension and disputation even the garment spotted by the flesh. with them, they determined that Paul 1 Tim. v. 22: Lay hands suddenly on and Barnabas, and certain other of no man, neither be partaker of other them, should go up to Jerusalem unto men's sins : keep thyself pure. the apostles and elders about this ques.
7. Lev. xii. 5. And the priest shall tion. Ver. 4. And when they were come look on him the seventh day: and, be- to Jerusalem, they weré received of the hold, if the plague in his sight be at a church, and of the apostles and elders ; stay, and the plague spread not in the and they declared all things that God skin; then the priest shall shut him up had done with them. Ver. 6. And the seven days more. Numb. ix. 7. And apostles and elders came together for those men said unto him, We are de- to consider of this matter. filed by the dead body of a man: where
by the word of God to be church-governors, to join with the ministers in the government of the church'.
The scripture doth hold forth, that many particular congregations may be under one presbyterial government.
This proposition is proved by instances :
I. First, Of the church of Jerusalem, which consisted of more congregations than one, and all these congregations were under one presbyterial government.
This appeareth thus :
First, The church of Jerusalem consisted of more congregations than one, as is manifest :
1st, By the multitude of believers mentioned in divers; both before the dispersion of the believers there, by means of the persecution, and also after the dispersion
2dly, By the many apostles and other preachers in the church of Jerusalem. And if there were but one congrega
t Rom. xii. 7. Or ministry, let us Praising God, and having favour with wait on our ministering'; or he that all the people. And the Lord added teacheth, on teaching; Ver. 8. Or he to the church daily such as should be thatexhorteth, on exhortation : he that saved. Acts iv. 4. Howbeit, many of giveth, let him do it with simplicity; them which heard the word believed; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that and the number of the men was about sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 1 five thousand. Acts v. 14. And believ, Cor. xii. 28. And God hath set some in ers were the more added unto the Lord, the church; first, apostles; secondari. multitudes both of men and women. ly, prophets; thirdly, teachers; after Acts vi. 1. And in those days, when the that miracles; then gifts of healings, number of the disciples was multiplied, helps, governments, diversities of there arose a murmuring of the Gretongues.
cians against the Hebrews, because i ri Acts viii. 1. And Satil was con- their widows were neglected in the senting unto his death. And at that daily ministration. Ver. 7. And the time there was a great persecution word of God increased; and the numagainst the church which was at Jeru- ber of the disciples multiplied in Jeru. salem; and they were all scattered salem greatly: and a great company abroad throughout the regions of Jit of the priests were obedient to the dea and Samaria, except the apostles, faith. Acts i. 15. And in those days Peter 7 Acts ix. 31. Then had the chur. stood up in the midst of the disciples, ches rest throughout all Judea, and and said, (the number of the names to- Galilee, and Samaria, and were edifigether were about an hundred and ed; and, walking in the fear of the tiventy.) Acts ii. 41. Then they that Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy gladly received his word were bapti- Ghost, were multiplied. Acts xi. 24. zed : and the same day there were ad- But the word of God grew and mul. ded unto them about three thousand tiphed. Acts xxi. 20. And when they soils. Ver. 46. And they continuing heard it, they glorified the Lord, and dwiy with one accord in the temple, said unto him, Thou seest, brother, and breaking bread from house to how many thousands of Jews there are ho ise,
did eat their meat with glad. which believe, and they are all zealous ness and singleness of heart, Ver. 47. of the law.