Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

hands upon Paul and Barnabus, 1 Tim. iv. 14. Acts xiii. 3.

6. Church officers are officers to one church, even that particular church over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers. Insomuch as elders are commanded to feed, not all flocks, but that flock which is committed to their faith and trust, and dependeth upon them.

them. Nor can constant residence at one congregation be necessary for a minister, no, nor yet lawful, if he be not a minister to one congregation only, but to the church universal ; because he may not attend one part only of the church to which he is a minister, but he is called to attend unto all the flock. 1 Pet. v. 2. Acts xx. 28.

7. He that is clearly loosed from his office relation unto that church whereof he was a minister, cannot be looked at as an officer, nor perform any act of office in any other church, unless he be again orderly called unto office ; which when it shall be, we know nothing to hinder, but imposition of hands also in his ordination ought to be used towards him again. For so Paul the apostle received imposition of hands twice at least from Annanias, Acts ix. 17. and xii. 3.

CHAP. X.

Of the power of the church and its presbytery. SUPREME and lordly power over all the churches upon the earth doth only belong unto Jesus Christ, who is king of the church, and the head thereof. He hath the government upon his shoulders, and hath all power given to him both in

C

heaven and earth, Psal. i. 6. Eph. i. 21,22. Isa. " ix. 6. Mat. xxviii. 18.

2. A company of professed believers ecclesiastically confederate, as they are a church, before they have officers, and without them ; so even in that estate, subordinate church power, under Christ, delegated to them by him, doth belong to them in such a manner as is before expressed, Chap. 5. sect. 2. and as flowing from the very nature and essence of a church : It being natural to all bodies, and so unto a church body, to be furnished with sufficient power for its own preservation and subsistence. Acts i. 23. and xiv. 23 and vi. 3, 4. Mat. xviii. 17. 1. Cor. v. 4, 5.

3. This government of the church is a mixt government, and so hath been acknowledged long before the term of independency was heard of, in respect of Christ, the head and King of the church, and the sovereign power residing in him, and exercised by him, it is a monarchy ; in respect of the body or brotherhood of the church, and power from Christ granted unto them, it resembles a democracy ; in respect of the presbytery, and power committed into them, it is an aristocra cy. Rev. iii. 7.

1 Cor. v, 12. 1 Tim. v. 27. 4. The sovereign power which is peculiar unto Christ is exercised. 1. In calling the church out of the world unto holy fellowship with himself. 2. In instituting the ordinances of his worship, and appointing his ministers and officers for the dispensing of them. 3. In giving laws for the ordering of all our ways, and the ways of his house. 4. In giving power and life. to all his institutions, and to his people by them. : v5. In /protecting and delivering his church against and from all the ene. mies of their peace. Gal. i. 4. Rev. 1.8, 9. Mat.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

xxvii. 20. Eph. iv. 8, 11. Jam. iv. 12. Isa. xxxii. 22. 1 Tim. iji. 15. 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. Isa. xxxii. 2. Luke xvii. 1.

5. The power granted by Christ unto the holy body of the church and brotherhood, is a prerogative or privilege which the church doth exercise. 1. In choosing their own officers, whether elders or deacons. 2. In admission of their own members, and therefore there is great reason they should have power to remove any from their fellowship, again. Hence in case of offence, any brother hath power to convince and admonish an offending brother; and in case of not hearing him, to take one or two more to set on the admonition; and in case of not hearing them, to proceed to tell the church; and as his offence may require, the whole church hath power to proceed to the censure of him, whether by admonition or excommunication; and upon his repentance, to restore him again unto his former communion. Acts iïi. 5. and xiv. 23. and ix. 26. Mat. xviii. 15, 16, 17. Tit. iii. 10. Col. iv. 17. 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8.

6. In casé an elder offend incorrigibly, the mat. ter so requiring, as the church had power to call him to office, so they have power according to or. der (the council of other churches, where it may be had, directing thereto) to remove him from his office; and being now but a member, in case he add contumacy to his sin, the church that had power to receive him into their fellowship, hath also the same power to cast him out, that they have concerning any other member. Col. iv. 17. Rom. xvi. 17. Mat. xviii. 17.

7. Church government or rule, is placed by Christ in the officers of the church, who are there. fore called rulers, while they rule with God; yet

[ocr errors]

in case of mal-administration, they are subject to the power of the church, as hath been said before. The Holy Ghost frequently, yea always, where it mentioned church rule, and church government, ascribeth it to elders; whereas the work and duty of the people is expressed in the phrase of obeying

eir elders, and submitting themselves unto them in the Lord. So as it is manifest, that an organic or complete church is a body politic consisting of some that are governors, and some that are gov. erned in the Lord. 1 Tim. v. 17. Heb. xiii. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12. Rom. xii. 8. 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29. Heb. xiii. 7, 17.

8. The power which Christ has committed to the elders, is to feed and rule the church of God, and accordingly to call the church together upon any weighty occasion; when the members so called, without a just cause, may not refuse to come, nor when they are come, depart before they are dismissed, nor speak in the church before they have leave from the elders; nor continue so doing when they require silence; nor may they oppose nor contradict the judgment or sentence of the elders, with. out sufficient and weighty cause, because such practices are manifestly contrary unto order and government, and inlets of disturbances, and tend to confusion. Acts xx. 28. and vi. 2. Numb. xvi. 12. Ezek, xlvi. 10. Acts xiii. 15. Hos. iv. 4.

9. It belongs also unto the elders to examine any officers or members before they be received of the church; to receive the accusations brought to the church, and to prepare them for the church's hearing. In handling of offences, and other matters before the church, they have power to declare and publish the counsel and will of God, touching the same, and to pronounce sentence with consent of

.

the church. Lastly, They have power, when they dismiss the people, to bless them in the name of the Lord. Rev. ii. 2. 1 Tim. v. 19. Acts xxi. 18. 22, 23. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. Num. vi. 23 to 26.

10. This power of government in the elders doth not any wise prejudice the power of privilege in the brotherhood; as neither the power of privi. lege in the brethren doth prejudice the power of government in the elders, but they may sweetly agree together; as we may see in the example of the apostles, furnished with the greatest church power, who took in the concurrence and consent of the brethren in church 'administrations, Also That what the churches are to act and do in these matters, they were to do in a way of obedience, and that not only to the direction of the apostles, but also of their ordinary elders. Acts xiv.15, 23. and vi. 2. 1 Cor. v. 4. 2 Cor. xxvi. 7. Heb. xii. 17.

11. From the premises, namely, That the ordinary power of government belonging only to the elders, power of privilege remaineth with the brotherhood (as the power of judgment in matters of censure, and power of liberty in matters of liberty) it followeth, that in an organic church and right administration, all church acts proceed after the manner of a mixt administration, so as no church act can be consummated or perfected without the consent of both.

consent

CHAP: XI. Of the maintenance of church officers. THE apostle concludes, that necessary and sufficient maintenance is due unto the ministers of the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »