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them and with them, and to instruct them in their special preparations for death, and confirm them against those last assaults. 14. They are appointed to be the public champions of the truth, to defend it against all heretical and profane opposers, and thereby to preserve the flock from being seduced. 15. They are appointed to be (under Christ the head) the nerves and ligaments of the several churches, by which they are kept not only in vigour by communication of nutriment, but also in concord, and such communion as they are capable of, by the correspondencies, and consultations, and councils of their pastors 5. All these are the distinct and special uses to which Christ hath appointed the office of the sacred ministry: which having but named to you, I need to say no more to shew you the excellency, and necessity, and benefits of it.
Herein also the reasons are apparent, why Christ did institute this sacred office. 1. Because it was meet his kingdom should have officers, suited to his work in the administration of it. 2. It was meet that they be men, like ourselves, that we can familiarly converse with. 3. The great necessity of his church required it, where the most are weak, and insufficient to perform all these offices for themselves; and cannot well subsist without the support of others. It was meet therefore that the pastors were selected persons, wiser, and holier, and stronger than the people, and fit for so great and necessary a work. 4. It was requisite also to the order of the church ; for if it were like an army without officers, there would be nothing but confusion, and neither order nor edification.
By this you may also see the nature and reasons of your obedience to your pastors : as they are not appointed to govern you by force", but willingly, “not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, not as being lords over God's heritage, but as ensamples to the flock '," so you must willingly and cheerfully obey them in their work. As their government k is not by any bodily penalties or mulcts (for that is the magistrate's work and not theirs), but a government by the force of Truth and Love; so your obedience of them consisteth in the loving and thankful reception of the truth which they teach you, and the mercies which they offer you from Christ.
& 1 Cor. xiv. 16. 26 Acts xx. 7. 36. James v. 14. Acts vi. 4. ii. 42. Phil. i. 4. Neh. xii. 24. xi. 17. 1 Cor. xi. 24. X. 16. Heb. vii. 7. Tit. ii. 15. i. 9. 11. 1 Tim, v. 19. iii. 5. Tit. iii. 10. Matt, xviii. 17, 18. 1 Cor. v. 4. 11. 13. Eph. iv. 13, 14. Acts xv.
h Princes may force their subjects by the temporal sword which they bear: bishops may not force their flock with any corporal or external violence. Bilson, Christ. Subjection, p. 525.
i 1 Peter v. 1-3.
You see then that the reasons of your obedience are manifold. 1. Some of them from God: he hath sent his messengers to you, and set his officers over you; and Christ hath told you that he that heareth them heareth him, and he that despiseth them despiseth him, and him that sent him!: he commandeth you to hear and obey them as his officers. 2. From themselves: they have authority by their commission, and they have ability in their qualifications, which require your obedience and improvement. 3. From yourselves : have you reason to obey your natural parents, on whom your livelihood in the world dependeth ? Have you reason to obey him that tendereth you a pardon from the king when you are condemned? or that offereth you gold or riches in your want? or that inviteth you to a feast in time of famine? or that offereth to defend and save you from your enemies? Much more have you reason to obey Christ's ministers when they call you to repentance, and offer you pardon of sin, and peace, and salvation, and eternal life. Did you ever hear a man so mad and churlish, as to say to one, that offered him riches, or liberty, or life, ' I am not bound to obey you: offer them to those that you have authority over! When the office of the ministry is as well subservient to Christ as a Saviour and Benefactor, as to Christ as your Teacher and your King, the very nature of their work engageth you to obey them as you love yourselves. If you were in hell, and Christ should send for you out, you would not refuse to go, till the messenger had
Dr. Hammond Annot. g. d. The bishops of your several churches, I exhortTake care of your several churches, and govern them, not as secular rulers, by force, but as pastors do their sheep, by calling and going before them, that so they may follow of their own accord. If you would know the true nature and extent of a bishop's work and office, read carefully the said Dr. Hammond's Paraphrase on Acts XX. 20. 28. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 1 Tim. v. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12. Heb. xiii. Annot. a. Tit. ii. 10. 1 Cor. xii. 28. Annot. e. Jam. v. 14. Annot. Acts xi. 30. Annot. b. Acts xiv. 23.
? Luke x. 16.
proved his authority. And when you are the heirs of hell, condemned by the law, and going thither, will you refuse to turn back, and yield to the offers and commands of grace, till you have skill enough to read the minister's commission? . By this also you see, that the power of your pastors is not absolute, nor coercive and lordly, but ministerial m. And though the Papists make a scorn of the word “ minister,” it is but in that pride, and passion, and malice which maketh them speak against their knowledge: for their pope himself calleth himself the servant of God's servants; and Paul saith, “ Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God".” “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believedo.” “Who made us able ministers of the New Testament P.”. “ In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God 9.” Even magistrates, yea, and angels are not too good to be called (and used as) the ministers of God for the good of his servants', and to “minister for them who shall be heirs of salvations.” Yea, Christ himself is so called. And therefore you have no more excuse for your disobedience, than for refusing his help that would pull you out of the fire or water when you are perishing. You see here that your pastors cannot command you what they list, nor how they list: they have nothing to do with the magistrate's work ; nor can they usurp the power of a master over his servants, nor command you how to do your work and worldly business, (except in the morality of it). In the fifteen particulars beforementioned their work and office do consist, and in those it is that you owe them a rational obedience.
Direct. 11. • Know your own pastors in particular: and know both what you owe to a minister as a minister of Christ in common, and what you owe him moreover as your pastor by special relation and chargeu.' When any minister of Christ delivereth his Word to you, he must be heard as a minister of Christ, and not as a private man; but to your own pastor you are boạnd in a peculiar relation, to an ordinary and regular attendance upon his ministry in all the particulars beforementioned that concern you. Your own bishop must in a special manner be obeyed :
m Chrysost. cited hy Bilson, p. 525. But if any man wander from the right path of the Christian faith, the pastor must use great pains, care, and patience. For he may not be forced, nor constrained with terror, but only persuaded to return entirely to the truth. A bishop cannot cure men with such authority as a shepherd doth his sheep.- For of all men Christian bishops may least correct the faults of men by force. p. 526. Matt. xx. 26. Mark x. 43. See Psal. ciii. 21. civ. 4. Isa. xvi. 6. Jer. xxxiji. 21. Joel i. 9. 13. ii. 17. 2 Cor. xi. 23. Acts xxvi. 26. Rom. xv. 16. Ephes. iii.7. Col. i. 23, 25. 1 Tim. iv. 6. 1 Thes, iii. 2. Col. i.7. n 1 Cor. iv. 1. • 1 Cor. iii. 5.
P 2 Cor. iii. 6.
Heb. i. 7. 14.
1. As one that laboureth among you, and is over you in the Lord, and admonisheth you, and preacheth to you the Word of God”, watching for your souls as one that must give accounty, and as one that ruleth well, and especially that laboureth in the Word and doctrine ?,“ teaching you publicly and from house to house, taking heed to himself, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made him an overseer, not ceasing to warn every one night and day with tears a.” “ Preaching Christ, and warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that he may present every man perfect in Christ b.” - 2. He is to be obeyed as the guide of the congregation in the management of God's public worship: you must seriously and reverently join with him, every Lord's day at least, in the public prayers and praises of the church, and not ordinarily go from him to another.
3. You must receive from him or with him, the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ : which of old was administered every Lord's day, and that only in the church where the bishop was, that is, in every church of the faithful: for as Ignatius most observably saithç, * &v AvolaotńPIOV πάση τη εκκλησία, και εις επίσκοπος άμα των πρεσβυτερίω, και tois Slakóvois'--'UNUM ALTARE OMNI ECCLESIÆ, ET UNUS EPISCOPUS CUM PRESBYTERIO ET DIACONIS.'-IN EVERY CHURCH there is ONE AL
u Functiones in ecclesia perpeture sunt duæ, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum : Presbyteros voco cum omni ecclesia veteri eos, qui ecclesiam pascunt verbi prædicatione, sacramentis et clavibus ; quæ jure Divino sunt individua. Grotius de Imperio pag. 267. cap. 10.
* Bishop Jer. Taylor of Repentance, Pref. 'I am sure we cannot give an account of souls of which we have no notice.' y 1 Thess. v. 12. Heb. xiii. 7. 17.
• 1 Tim. v. 17.
b Col. i. 28.
TAR, and ONE BISHOP, WITH THE PRESBYTERY and DEACONS.'— So in his Epist. ad Magnes. 'Come all as one, to the temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ.' And saith Tertulliand, · Eucharistiæ Sacramentum nec de aliorum manu quam præsidentium sumimus :''we take not the sacrament of the eucharist from the hand of any but the president.'
4. You must have recourse to him especially for the resolution of your weighty doubts, in private e.
5. You must hear your bishops and repent, when in meekness and love they convince and admonish you against your sins, and not resist the Word of God which they powerfully and patiently lay home to your consciences, nor put them with grief to cut you off, as impenitent in scandalous sins, from the communion of the church.
6. You must, after any scandalous sin which hath brought you under the censure of the church, go humble yourselves by penitent confession, and crave absolution and restoration to the communion of the church.
7. Your public church alms should ordinarily be deposited into the bishop's hands, who relieveth the orphans and widows, and is the curator or guardian to all absolutely that are in want, saith Ignatius to Polycarp, cited by Dr. Hammond on 1 Cor. xii. 28 f.
8. You must send for him in your sickness to pray with you and advise you. See Dr. Hammond on James v. 14. And on 1 Cor. xii. 28. he saith, “Polycarp himself speaking of the elders or bishops saith, They visit and take care of all that are sick, not neglecting the widows, the orphans, or the poor. And Dr. Hammond on James v. 14. sheweth out of antiquity 8, that. One part of the bishop's office is set down, that they are those that visit all the sick.' Not but that a stranger may be made use of also ; but ordinarily and especially your own bishop must be sent for; because as you are his special charge, and he “watcheth for your souls
d Tertull. de Coron. Milit. c. 3.
e It is very observable that Acosta saith, lib. vi. c. 12. that they found it an old custom among the Indians to confess their sins to the priests before the Gospel came thither.
f See more in Dr. Hammond, ibid.
8 Vid. Canon. Apost, 5. 32. Et Concil. Antioch. c. 5. Et Concil, Carthag. 4. Can. 35.