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not only to perform the baptismal be easily set aside. No particular act, but also to determine who are church has authority to reject any of fit subjects for the sacred ordinance, those great New Testament princi. is forcibly stated by Richard Baxter, ples which are essential to the church in his “ Christian Ecclesiastics.” “1. in general; and if Jesus Christ has It is the Pastor's office," he observes, committed to his Ministers the ex“to bear and exercise the keys of clusive right of admitting persons Christ's church; therefore, by office, within the pale of his church, no he is to receive those that come in; section of that church must dare to and, consequently, to be the trier violate the divine rule, by denying and judge of their fitness. 2, It to the Pastor the right of receiving belongeth to the same office which members into its own particular is to baptize, to judge who is to communion. Whatever form of be baptized; otherwise, Ministers church-order may be adopted by should not be rational judges of any particular church, that importtheir own actions, but the execu- ant office, which was instituted for tioners of other men's judgment. It the purpose of originating, extend. is more the judging who is to be ing, and edifying the church; and on baptized, that the Minister's office whose instrumentality not only the consisteth in, than in the bare doing prosperity but the very existence of of the outward act of baptizing. 3. the church is made to depend, must He that must be the ordinary judge be duly recognised and respected. in church-admissions is supposed to In every section of the church of have both ability and leisure to make Christ, the Pastor must bear the him fit; and authority and obliga- keys, or he is not the Pastor of tion to do the work. '4. The ordi- Christ's own making. nary body of the laity have none of all The right of excluding unworthy these four qualifications, much less members from the church is natuall. (1.) They are not ordinarily rally included in the power of receive able so to examine a man's faith ing suitable persons into its commu. and resolution with judgment and nion. The well-known author alskill, as may not tend to the wrong ready quoted elsewhere argues,of himself nor of the church: for it is “ As it is the Pastor's office, to judge great skill that is required thereunto. who is to be received, so also to (2.) They have not ordinarily leisure judge who is to be excluded." The from their proper callings and la- power to administer that discipline bours to wait on such a work as it which is necessary for regulating and must be waited on; especially in po- preserving the purity of the church, pulous places. (3.) They are not, is given along with the keys; and therefore, obliged to do that which thus the inspired writers of the New they cannot be supposed to have Testament, while enlarging on the ability or leisure for. (4.) And powers vested by the original comwhere they have not the other three, mission in the Ministers of the Gosthey can have no authority to do it. pel, speak of them as having the (5.) It is therefore as great a crime right to administer all the inferior for the laity to usurp the Pastor's acts of discipline designed for the office in this matter, as in preaching, correction of the offender, and also baptizing, or other parts of it.” to perform the extreme act of expul
On the question, whether the Pag. sion on his proving incorrigible. It tor has the right of adınitting per- is for the Ministers of Christ, the sons into any particular church, as Pastors of his church, to “reprove," he has by baptism into the universal “rebuke with all authority, “adchurch, Baxter further observes, - monish,” “ warn ;” and, finally, “ It is not in the power of the laity when they judge necessary, to “reto keep a man out of their own par- ject” offenders from church comticular church-communion, whom munion. The exclusive right of the the Pastor receiveth ; because, as is Christian Pastor to administer the said, it is his office to judge and bear sacrament of the Lord's supper rests the keys.” This conclusion will not on the same ground. It is also in. cluded in the power of the keys. As implies also “ leading and guiding," the sacrament of baptism is the door still the case is not altered. Chrisof admission into the general church, tian Ministers are evidently such the Lord's supper is the pledge of guides as have authority to “comcontinued membership. And it be- mand” (1 Timn. iv. 11) those whom ing the business of the Pastor to ad. they lead by their teaching and exmit persons to membership, and ample,—whom the people are bound remove them from it, it must neces- not only to follow, but to submit to sarily remain for him to give the and obey. If then the idea of guidpledge of membership to the ap- ing is to be entertained in the preproved members of the church, as sent instance, it is to be regarded as well as refuse it to those whom he additional to that of ruling, and deems unworthy. Were others than not as a substitution in its stead. the Pastor allowed to perform this The reason why obedience to act, it might sometimes happen, that their Pastors is thus enjoined the pledge of membership would be upon the Hebrews is most impresgiven to such as he had excluded, sive and admonitory: " For they and denied to others whom he might watch for your souls," says the judge worthy of communion with Apostle, “ as they that must give the church.
account, that they may do it with A few of the numerous passages joy, and not with grief," Great which speak most unequivocally of the must be the importance of the duty ruling power as vested in Christian which the Holy Spirit has enforced Ministers may be specified. In writ- by such a consideration. If the ing to Timothy, the Apostle Paul obedience or disobedience of Chris. describes the necessary qualifications tians to their Ministers is to be a of a Bishop; and says that he must subject of solemn recognition in the be “one who ruleth well his own day of judgment, and will prove house, having his children in subjec- cause of “joy” or “grief” to their tion with all gravity :" adding, “For Pastors themselves, as they “ give if a man know not how to rule bis account,” it behoves Christian peoown house, how shall he take care plo to ponder well the obligation unof the church of God?” (1 Timothy der which they are placed, in regard iii. 4, 5.) If the Apostle does not, by of those who watch over them in the this language, intend to convey the Lord.* idea that the Christian Minister'is to The conclusion which the precedexercise an authoritative control over ing examination has established, the church under his care, somewhat may be arrived at by another meanalogous to that which a pious man thod. Let an attentive consideration exercises in his own family, it is im- be given to those parts of the Scrippossible to conceive what can be his tures in which the ministerial is more meaning. In a succeeding chapter especially spoken of as the pastoral of the samo epistle, the Apostle at office; and the result will be the same. taches such importance to the go. In the New Testament, the church verning ability of Ministers, as to is mentioned as a “flock;” Jesus declare that the laborious Minister, Christ is described as “ the great who rules well, is worthy of double Shepherd," “ the chief Shepherd," honour. (1 Tim. v. 17.) Writing to who has the charge of it; and the the llebrews, he says, “Remember Ministers of the Gospel are reprethem which have the rule over you, sented as having been appointed to who have spoken unto you the word of watch over it in the character of subGod ;' (lleb. xiii. 7 ;) and, recurring to the same subject, in a subsequent
The reader will do well to examine part of the chapter, he moreover
carefully the remainder of this class o enjoins on them obedience and
passages ; such as, 1 Thessalonians v. 12:
66 And we beseech you, brethren, to know submission to their Pastors : “ Obey them which labour among you, and are them that have the rule over you, over you in the Lord, and admonish you." and submit yourselves." Let it be ad. Ileb xiii. 21: “Salute all them that have mitted that ihe word rendered "rule" the rule over you," &c.
ordinate Pastors, or under-shep- feeding. This is the case in Mat. herds. Now it is the business of the thew ii. 6: “Out of thee shall come Pastor both to feed and govern his a Governor, that shall rule my people flock. It is incumbent on him not Israel.” In this passage the governonly to provide for it suitable pas- ment of Christ is intended, if not turage, but also to exercise all such exclusively, yet at least primarily control over it as may be necessary and especially; and the word which to secure its well-being and safety; is rendered “rule,” is oluairw. So and unless all analogy be disregarded, fully does this word express the idea it must be concluded that the Pas- of ruling, that it is sometimes used tors of the “flock of God” have to denote ruling with severity; as in also this two-fold duty to discharge: the promise of Christ to the angel of that they have to feed it, and regu. the church of Thyatira : “ To him late it by necessary discipline. There will I give power over the nations ; is assuredly a marked similarity be- and he shall rule them with a rod of tween the business of taking care of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall a flock, and that of taking care of they be broken to pieces : even as I the church of God; otherwise the received of my Father.” (Rev. ii. one would not have been chosen to 26, 27.) Iloipalvw, in this passage, illustrate the other : and no one is not only expresses ruling, but ruling at liberty to reject any of the plain with rigour. Christ declares that and obvious points of agreement in he to whom the promise is made, the comparison, which the Holy Spi. shall, for the shepherd's crook, have rit has seen fit to institute. It will a rod of iron, with which he shall not be denied that the analogy holds crush the nations. A knowledge of good in regard of Jesus Christ him- the meaning of this verb is import. self. He, as "the chief Shepherd,” ant to a right understanding of the it will be admitted, governs as well oft-quoted passage in the first episas feeds the flock; and the inquirer tle of Peter : “ The elders which is bound, by all the rules of fair rea- are among you I exhort, who am soning, to conclude, that, so far as the also an elder, and a witness of the analogy is concerned, unless some qua- sufferings of Christ, and also a parlifying and limiting expression can taker of the glory that shall be rebe found, the Ministers of the Gospel, vealed. Feed the inck of God wbich as under-shepherds, have both these is among you, taking the oversight functions to perform. But where will thereof, not by constraint, but wilthe objector look for a passage which, lingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a while it invests the Ministers of the ready mind; neither as being lords Gospel with the pastoral office, limits over God's heritage, but being enit to the duty of feeding, and denies samples to the flock. And when the the power of governing, the flock ? chief Shepberd sball appear, ye shall No intimation can be met with in receive a crown of glory that fadeth the New Testament, that the “flock not away.” (1 Pet. v. 1-4.) A mere of God” is made responsible for English reader might suppose that ruling, any more than providing pas- the duty of feeding the flock is all turage for, itself; and the inference that the Apostle here enforces ; but derived from analogy must tberefore the word translated “ feed " is the be admitted.
verb TOLAIVw, which, as has been As might be expected, the verbs shown, means ruling also. The employed by the inspired writers, to English language has no word equiexpress the work of a Pastor, in- valent to this Greek verb; and our clude both the ideas of feeding and translators were therefore obliged, governing. Not to dwell on the unless, however, they had adopted Ilebrew word, it may be observed, a periphrastical mode of expression, that the Greek verb oraiva, from to use a term which only expresses which comes toruny, “ Pastor,” is one of its meanings. That which sometimes used in such a connexion, the Apostle really enjoins on his as to convey the sense of governing, fellow-elders is, the performance of even more particularly than that of all the duties, the exercise of all the
functions, of the pastoral office. ous may be the duties he is to per. The authoritative control, as well as form, or painful the exercises which the feeding of the flock, is therefore he may be called to endure, whatever intended. This interpretation is may be the sacrifices that he has to abundantly confirmed by the follow. make for the sake of the flock; he shall ing expression, ETLOKOTOVVTES, “tak- be more than recompensed hereafter. ing the oversight thereof;” that is, “The chief Shepherd” will at length filling the office of Bishops over the appear, who will reward the fidelity flock; or, if it were allowable to of the under-shepherd with a crown coin a word, “ episcopizing the of unfading glory. The same prinflock.” The construction of the ciple of interpretation, which applies passage requires that this expression to this quotation from Peter, must be understood as synonymous with also be adopted in reference to the the one in question; and as the Bi. solemn injunction recorded in the shop is empowered to rule as well as Acts of the Apostles : (chap. xx. 28 :) teach, the verb foluauw, in the pre- “ Take heed therefore unto yourceding clause, must be understood selves, and to all the flock, over the in its full sense as implying both feed- which the Holy Ghost hath made ing and governing. This whole pas- you overseers, (ETLOKórovs, Bishops,) sage is one of the most comprehensive to feed (roquavec, perform the duties and instructive portions of sacred of Pastors to) the church of God, writ, on the important subject of the which he hath purchased with his pastoral office. In the first place, it own blood.” teaches, that whatever difference in Limited as the preceding inquiry other respects existed among Apos. respecting the pastoral office has tles, Bishops, and Elders or Presby been, it will be obvious to the reters, they were all, as Ministers of flecting reader, that those who speak the Gospel, invested with the pasto. of the government of the church as ral office, in relation to the church. given to the church itself, and who Secondly, the motives which ought degrade the Pastor so as to make to influence Christian Pastors are him merely an organ through which specified. Althougb “they which the church is to express its will, preach the Gospel are to live of the cannot claim the New Testament in Gospel,” yet pecuniary advantage is support of their views. The Holy not to induce any one to engage in Spirit does not contradict himself; the sacred work. Higher, nobler and He having so evidently ascribed motives are to influence the Pastors the government of the church, not to of Christ's flock, and dispose them the church itself, but to its Pastors, to a cheerful and willing performance the opposite theory cannot also be of their duties. The manner in true. In this instance, as in all others, which they are to exercise the pasto. the principles of sound criticism ral authority is next adverted to must be applied ; and passages someTheirs is not to be a lordly, impe. what obscure or ambiguous are to rious rule. The pastoral office was be explained by those portions of instituted for the benefit of the the New Testament, the meaning of flock; and they who fill it must, which is so clear as not to admit of while they judge of the doctrine controversy. One of the cases rewith which the church is to be nou. ferred to by those who would vest rished, illustrate the purity and ex- the government of the church in the cellence of the doctrine which they church itself, is that of the Corinthpreach by their own example, and ians, who were directed by the they are to remember, that those on Apostle to deliver the incestuous whom they have to exercise discipline person to Satan; but this case ut. are their brethren, and they should terly fails to support the cause in therefore enforce it affectionately and behalf of which it is quoted. Who kindly, as well as firmly. Finally, does not see that if the whole the Christian Pastor is encouraged church did really unite in performwith the prospect of the rewarding the act, they were only the which awaits him. However ardu. mere executioners of the Apos.
tle's will? The judgment was given to the Apostle's directions, and by the Apostle; who saw occasion to promptly carried them into effect, no make a display of his authority over more would have been said of him the Corinthians, presenting the rod” than of the Pastor or Pastors of the to them, (1 Corinthians iv. 21,) and church at Corinth ; and the recepdeclaring that when he should visit tion of the persons into the church to them again, he would not “spare,” which St. John wrote, would have apbut would enforce rigorous disci. peared on the face of the record as pline for the extirpation of the many much the act of the whole church as evils which, as he feared, still existed the expulsion of the offender from among them. (2 Cor. xii. 20; xiii. 2.) the Corinthian church. But there is nothing in the language Another transaction referred to in of the Apostle contradictory to the support of the same cause, is the setopinion that the awful act of disci- tlement of the question concerning cirpline was to be performed by the Pas. cumcision, as recorded in the fifteenth tors of the church. If all the inembers chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, of the church were present, approving It is said, that on this occasion the of the deed, and uniting together in church at Antioch sent the Apostle prayer, it was sufficiently correct, in Paul with Barnabas to Jerusalem, to general language, to speak of the obtain a decision on the subject. transaction as the act of the whole But what says St. Paul himself? church. The third epistle of John con. He tells the Galatians that on this tains a passage which throws such occasion, “ he went up by revelalight upon this whole affair as might tion.” (Gal. ii. 2.)* It appears therewell set the question respecting it at fore, that it was the Lord, and rest. “I wrote,” he says, “unto the not the church, who authoritatively church : but Diotrephes, who loveth sent the Apostle on this errand; and to have the pre-eminence among the sending on the part of the church them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, amounted to nothing more than its if I come, I will remember his deeds submitting to the divine will, and which he doeth, prating against us providing things necessary for the with malicious words : and not con. Apostle and his companion to undertent therewith, neither doth he him. take the journey. It is said, moreself receive the brethren, and for over, that the church at Jerusalem biddeth them that would, and casteth decided the question ; but this asser. them out of the church.” This is a tion must be met with a direct necase in point. In this instance also gative. For, 1. It was understood the Apostle writes to “ the church,” at Antioch, that, not the church at directing them not, as at Corinth, to Jerusalem, but “ the Apostles and expel a member, but to receive per- Elders” were the persons to be consons among them; but the opposi- sulted. 2. It is expressly said, that, tion of Diotrephes defeats his design. on the arrival of Paul and Barnabas It can scarcely be doubted that Dio. at Jerusalem, “the Apostles and trephes was the Pastor of the church. Elders" (not the church) “ came toIf it really were the prerogative of gether for to consider of this matter." the church to govern itself, how was 3. It is by no means certain that the it that this individual was allowed to whole church was 80 much as preperform such acts as are ascribed to sent during the discussion; "the him? He greatly abused his autho- multitude," afterwards mentioned, rity in resisting the Apostle; but if being, probably, no other than the he had not, as its Pastor, been in- whole assembly of Apostles and vested with the government of the Elders. But, supposing that all the church, he could not thus have church was present, no others than “ cast out of the church," excom- the Apostles and Elders are repremunicated, those who were disposed sented as taking any part in the to receive the persons concerning Almost all respectable Commentators whom the Apostle had written. And agree that this journey was the one which it may be fairly presumed that, if he undertook on the question of the cir. the Pastor Diotrephes had attended cumcision.