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fuily submitting to the severe Discipline enjoined
1 Theff.4. Religion of the Government, great Honours
8. and Revenues were bestowed upon the Clergy, not only for the Support of Religion, but as a Reward for those great Sufferings they had undergone in Defence of the Truth; all Laws that were any Ways prejudicial to them were revoked, and new ones made to secure to them Respect and Maintenance ; which Advantages, in progress of Time, were increased by the Favour of pious Princes, not only in the Roman Empire, but in all other Nations where Christianity prevailed.
Q. What Titles of Honour and Respect are given to those who are invested with the Priesthood under the Gospel?
A. The Dignity of their office is amply difplayed in the Scriptures, when those that are invested with that Character are called the Minifiers of Christ, Stewards of the Mysteries of
Cor.4.1. God, to whom he hath committed the Word of Reconciliation, the Glory of Christ, Ambaf- 2 Cor.si sadors for Christ in Christ's sitead, Co-workers 19. with bim, Angels of the Churches.
And when ch.8.23.
2 Cor. 5. it is moreover declared, that he that despiseth them, despiseth not Man, but God. All which Rev.ch.z. Titles shew, upon how many Accounts they ch.3
Luke 1o. stand related, appropriated, and devoted to God
Q. What is implied in their being Ministers of
A. That they act by Cummillion from him, that they are his Officers and immediate Attendants, his Domestics, and in a peculiar Manner his , Servants. That they are employed in his particular Business, impowered and authorised to negotiate and tranfact for God, and that not only in some particular Things, but at large in all the outward Administrations of the Covenant of Grace, or of Reconciliation between God and Man.
Q. What is implied in their being Stewards of the Mysteries of God.
A. That as a Steward is the highest domestic Officer, and Governor of the whole Family, who is to give them their Portion of Meat. in due Seafon; so the Priests under the Gospel are instituted to dispense spiritual Food for the Nourishment of Christians, to feed them with God's holy Word and Sacraments, to speak the bidden
Wisdom which God ordained before the World; 1 Cor. 2.
which is committed to their Care to preserve 7.
entire from being maimed or perverted, as the Sacraments are to be rightly and duly administred.
Q. Wket is implied in their being publick Agents and Ambassadors ?
A. That they are God's Vicegerents and visible Representatives here upon Earth ; that they are delegated by him to folicit and maintain a good Correspondence between God and Man; that they are impowered to adminifter the Word of Reconciliation, to sign and feal Covenants in his Name; upon which Account their persons are facred, and all Contempt shewn to them is an Affront to their Master, whose Character they
Q. What is implied in their being the Glory of
A. That they are instrumental in advancing
Q. Why are the Ministers of God called the
A. Because those who have been peculiarly
Q. How do the Ministers of tbe Christian
A. From our Saviour Jesus Christ, the great
not himself to be an High-Priest ; but had his Commission from God the Father, and, after his
Resurrection, invested his Apostles with the same John 20.
Commission his Father had given him. As my 21,22,&c.
Father hath sent me, even so fend I you: and be breathed on them, and said unto them, receive ye ike Holy Ghoft, &c. Which Commission evidently contains an Authority of ordaining others, and a Power of transferring that Commision upon others, and those upon others to the End of the World. And that this did not merely belong to the Persons of the Apostles, appears, from
the Nature of that Promise made, to be with them Mat. 28. always, even unto the End of the World: Which
must include their Successors in the Execution of the fame Commission.
Q. Can the Supreme Civil Magistrate communicate these Spiritual Powers to Church Officers ?
A. The Nature of these Powers being purely spiritual, and having a Relation to the Souls of Men, can only be conveyed in that Way and Manner Christ hash appointed; who delegated these Powers only to his Apostles and their Successors; and without his express Commission no Man ought to take upon himself, or communicate to others a Power to sign and seal Covenants in his Name. This Commission the Apostles and their Succeffors exercised in all Places, and even in Opposition to the Rulers that then were ; so that the Church fubfifted as a distinct Society from the State for above three hundred Years, when the Civil Government was only concerned to suppress and destroy it. Indeed when the Church received the Benefit of Incorporation and Protection from the State, she
was content to suffer fome Limitations as to the
Q. Wherein then confifts the Supremacy of So-
A. In ruling all Estates and Degrees committed Art. 37.
Q. W bat may we learn from the Dignity of the
A. That it is no Diminution to Greatness of