Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Father will give his holy Spirit unto them that ask it) and if the rising generation might be a praying, pious, devout, and regen. erate generation, there will not be such danger as now there is, of their easily giving away the precious legacy which their fathers, now beholding the face of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory, left unto them, or of their doting upon innovations fatal to the order of the gospel among us.

8. Now as aged Joseph said, I die, and God will surely visit you : even so, we the unworthy servants of the Lord, whose age bids us every day look for death and our call to that world, where to be is by far the best of all, do conclude with our prayers unto the Lord' for these holy churches, that he would surely visit them, and grant much of his gracious presence and spirit in the midst of them; and raise up from time to time those who may be happy instruments of bringing down the hearts of the parents into the children. The Lord bless these his churches, and keep them stedfast, both in the faith and in the order of the gospel, and be with them, as he was with their fathers, and never leave them nor forsake them.

JOHN HIGGINSON.
WILLIAM HUBBARD.

POSTSCRIPT.

Thatou

HATour testimony to the old principles of New England may be the more distinctly apprehended, we recommend unto consideration three pages in the life of Mr. Jukn Cotton, written by his grandson, Mr. Cotton Mather, p. 33, 34, 35.

“Now that the world may know the first principles of New-Eng. land, it must be known that until the Platform of church discipline, published by a Synod in the year 1648, next unto the Bible, which was the professed, perpetual, and only directory of these churches, they had no platform of their church government, more exact than their famous John Cotton's well known book of the keys ; which book endeavours to lay out the just lines and bounds of all church power, and so defines the matter, that as in the state there is a dispersion of powers into several hands which are to concur into all acts of common concernment, from whence arises the healthy constitution of a commonwealth : in like sort, he assigns the powers in the church, unto several subjects, wherein the united light of scripture and of nature, have placed them with a very sat. isfactory distribution.

“ He asserts, that a presbyterated society of the faithful, hath within itself a complete power of self-reformation, or if you will of self-preservation; and may within itself, manage its own choices of officers, and censures of delinquents. Now a special statute law of our Lord having excepted women and children from enjoying any part of this power, he finds only elders and brethren to be the gunstitu.

con

That great

ent members, who may act in such a sacred corporation; the elders:
he finds the first subject entrusted with government, the brethren
endowed with privilege, in so much that though the elders are to
rule the church, and without them there can be no elections, ad.
missions, or excommunications, and they have a negative upon
the acts of the fraternity, as well as 'tis they only that have the
power of authoritative preaching and administering the sacraments :
Yet the brethren have such a liberty that without their consent, no-
thing of common concernment may be imposed upon them. Nev.
ertheless, because particular churches of elders and brethren may
abuse their powers, with manifold miscarriages, he asserts the ne.
cessary communion of churches in Synods, who have authority to de.
termine, declare, and enjoin such things as may rectify the mal-ada
istrations of any disorders, dissentions, and confusions of the con.
gregations which fall under their cognizance. But still so as to
leave unto the particular churches themselýes, the formal acts,
which are to be done pursuant unto the advice of the council ; up.
on the scandalous and obstinate refusal whereof, the council may
determine to withdraw communion from them; as from those who
will not be counselled, against a notorious mismanagement of the
jurisdiction which the Lord Jesus Christ has given them. This
was the design of that judicious treatise, wherein was
tained the substance of our church discipline ; and whereof we
have one remarkable thing to relate as we go along:
person who afterwards proved one of the greatest scholars, divines,
and writers in his age, then under prejudices of conversation, set
himself to write a confutation of this very treatise of the Keys; but
having made a considerable progress in his uudertaking,such was the
strength of this unanswerable book, that instead of confuting it, it
conquered him ; and this book of the Keys, was happily so blessed
of God for the conveyance of congregational principles into the now
opened mind of this learned man, that he not only wrote in defence
of Mr. Cotton, but also exposed himself to more than a little sorrow
and labour all his days for the maintaining of those principles. Up.
on which occasion the words of the Doctor (Owen in his review of
the true nature of schism) are, This way of impartial examining
all things by the word, and laying aside all prejudicate respect un-
to persons, or present traditions is a course that I would admonish
all to beware of, who would avoid the danger of being made what
they call independents. Having said thus much of that book, all
that we shall add concerning it is, that the eminent Mr. Ruther.
ford himself, in his treatise entitled, " A survey of the spiritual an.
tichrist.” has these words, " Mr.Cotton in his treatise of the Keys of
the kingdom of heaven, is well found in our way, if he had given
some more power to assemblies, and in some lesser points.”

JOHN HIGGINSON.
WILLIAM HUBBARD.

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

Τ Η Ε

A N S W E R

OF THE

ELDERS and other MESSENGERS of the Churches,

assembled at Boston, in the year 1662. To the QUESTIONS propounded to them by order of the

honorable General Court.

Question 1. WHO are the subjects of Baptism? Answer. The answer may be given in the following Propositions, briefly confirmed from the Scriptures.

1. They that according to scripture, are members of the visible church, are the subjects of baptism.

2. The members of the visible church according to scripture, are confederate visible believers, in particular churches, and their infant seed, i e. children in minority, whose next parents, one or both, are in covenant.

3. The infant-seed of confederate visible believers, are members of the same church with their parents, and when grown up, are personally under the watch, discipline and government of that church.

4. These adult persons, are not therefore to be admitted to full communion, merely because they are and continue members, without such further qualifications, as the word of God requireth thereunto.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »