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power and authority, under the Old Testament, to keep unclean persons from holy things."
The like power and authority, by way of analogy, continues under the New Testament.
The ruling officers of a particular congregation have power authoritatively to suspend from the Lord's table a person not yet cast out of the church:
First, Because those who have authority to judge of, and admit, such as are fit to receive the sacrament, have authority to keep back such as shall be found unworthy.
Secondly, Because it is an ecclesiastical business of ordinary practice belonging to that congregation.
When congregations are divided and fixed, they need all mutual help one from another, both in regard of their intrinsical weaknesses and mutual dependence, as also in regard of enemies from without.
Of Classical Assemblies.
1 A presbytery consisteth of ministers of the word, and such other publick officers as are agreeable to and warranted by the word of God to be church-governors, to join with the ministers in the govern. ment of the church.
The scripture doth hold forth, that many particular congregations may be under one presbyterial government.
This proposition is proved by instances:
I. First, Of the church of Jerusalem, which consisted of more congregations than one, and all these congregations were under one presbyterial government.
This appeareth thus:
First, The church of Jerusalem consisted of more congregations than one, as is manifest:
Lev. xiii. 5. And the priest shall of them, should go up to Jerusalem look on him the seventh day: and, unto the apostles and elders about behold, if the plague in his sight be this question. Ver. 4. And when they at a stay, and the plague spread not were come to Jerusalem, they were in the skin; then the priest shall shut received of the church, and of the him up seven days more. Numb. ix. apostles and elders, and they declared 7. And those men said unto him, We all things that God had done with are defiled by the dead body of a man: them. Ver. 6. And the apostles and wherefore are we kept back, that we elders came together for to consider of may not offer an offering of the Lord in this matter. his appointed season among the child. Rom. xii. 7. Or ministry, let us ren of Israel ? 2 Chron. xxiii. 19. And wait on our ministering; or he that he set the porters at the gates of the teacheth, on teaching; Ver. 8. Or he house of the Lord, that none which was that exhorteth, on exhortation : he unclean in any thing should enter in. that giveth, let him do it with sim
81 Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not the gift plicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; that is in thee, which was given thee he that sheweth mercy, with cheerful. by prophecy, with the laying on of the ness. 1 Cor. xii. 28. And God hath hands of the presbytery. Acts xv. 2. set some in the church, first, apostles; When therefore Paul and Barnabas secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachhad no small dissension and disputa- ers; after that miracles; then gifts of tion with them, they determined that healings, helps, governments, diversiPaul and Barnabas, and certain other ties of tongues.
1st, By the multitude of believers mentioned, in divers (places), both before the dispersion of the believers there, by means of the persecu. tion, and also after the dispersion."
2dly, By the many apostles and other preachers in the church of Jerusalem. And if there were but one congregation there, then each apostle preached but seldom ;* which will not consist with Acts vi. 2.
3dly, The diversity of languages among the believers, mentioned both in the second and sixth chapters of the Acts, doth argue more congregations than one in that church.
Secondly, All those congregations were under one presbyterial government; because,
1st, They were one church.
Acts viii. 1. And Saul was con- were multiplied. Acts xii. 24. But senting unto his death. And at that the word of God grew and multiplied. time there was a great persecution Acts xxi. 20. And when they heard against the church which was at it, they glorified the Lord, and said Jerusalem; and they were all scattered unto him, Thou seest, brother, how abroad throughout the regions of Ju. many thousands of Jews there are dea and Samaria, except the apostles. which believe; and they are all zealActs i. 15. And in those days Peter ous of the law. stood up in the midst of the disciples, Acts vi. 2. Then the twelve called and said, (the number of the names the multitude of the disciples unto together were about an hundred and them, and said, It is not reason that twenty.) Acts ii. 41. Then they we should leave the word of God, and that gladly received his word were serve tables. baptized : and the same day there y Acts viii. 1. And Saul was conwere added unto them about three senting unto his death. And at that thousand souls. Ver. 46. And they, time there was a great persecution continuing daily with one accord in against the church which was at Jeruthe temple, and breaking bread from salem; and they were all scattered house to house, did eat their meat abroad throughout the regions of with gladness and singleness of heart, Judea and Samaria, except the aposVer. 47. Praising God, and having tles. Acts ii. 47. Praising God, and favour with all the people. And the having favour with all the people. Lord added to the church daily such And the Lord added to the church as should be saved. Acts iv. 4. How- daily such as should be saved. Combeit many of them which heard the pared with Acts v. 11. And great fear word believed; and the number of came upon all the church, and upon the men was about five thousand. as many as heard these things. Acts Acts v. 14. And believers were the xii. 5. Peter therefore was kept in more added to the Lord, multitudes prison; but prayer was made without both of men and women. Acts vi. 1. ceasing of the church unto God for And in those days, when the number him. Acts xv. 4. And when they were of the disciples was multiplied, there come to Jerusalem, they were received arose a murmuring of the Grecians of the church, and of the apostles and against the Hebrews, because their elders, and they declared all things widows were neglected in the daily that God had done with them. ministration. Ver. 7. And the word ? Acts xi. 30. Which also they did, of God increased; and the number of and sent it to the elders by the hands the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem of Barnabas and Saul. Acts XV. 4. greatly: and a great company of the And when they were come to Jeru. priests were obedient to the faith. salem, they were received of the
w Acts ix. 31. Then had the churches church, and of the apostles and elders, rest throughout all Judea, and Gali. and they declared all things that God lee, and Samaria, and were edified; had done with them. Ver. 6. And and walking in the fear of the Lord, the apostles and elders came together and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, for to consider of this matter. Ver.
3dly, The apostles did the ordinary acts of presbyters, as presbyters in that kirk; which proveth a presbyterial church' before the dispersion, Acts vi.
4thly, The several congregations in Jerusalem being one church, the elders of that church are mentioned as meeting together for acts of government;a which proves that those several congregations were under one presbyterial government.
And whether these congregations were fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is all one as to the truth of the proposition.
Nor doth there appear any material difference betwixt the several congregations in Jerusalem, and the many congregations now in the ordinary condition of the church, as to the point of fixedness required of officers or members.
Thirdly, Therefore the scripture doth hold forth, that many congregations may be under one presbyterial government.
II. Secondly, By the instance of the church of Ephesus; for,
First, That there were more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus, appears by Acts xx. 31,6 where is mention of Paul's continuance at Ephesus in preaching for the space of three years; and Acts xix. 18, 19, 20, where the special effect of the word is mentioned ;0 and ver. 10 and 17 of the same chapter, where is a distinction of Jews and Greeks ;d and 1 Cor. xvi. 8, 9, where is a reason of Paul's stay at Ephesus until Pentecost;o and ver. 19, where is mention of a particu
22. Then pleased it the apostles and day following Paul went in with us elders, with the whole church, to send unto James; and all the elders were chosen men of their own company to present. And so forward. Antioch with Paul and Barnabas ; b Acts xx. 31. Therefore watch, and namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, remember, that, by the space of three and Silas, chief men among the breth. years, I ceased not to warn every one ren. Acts xxi. 17. And when we were night and day with tears. come to Jerusalem, the brethren re- © Acts xix. 18. And many that beceived us gladly. Ver. 18. And the lieved came, and confessed, and shewday following Paul went in with us ed their deeds. Ver. 19. Many of unto James; and all the elders were them also which used curious arts present.
brought their books together, and & Acts xi. 30. Which also they did, burned them before all men i and and sent it to the elders by the hands they counted the price of them, and of Barnabas and Saul. Acts xv. 4. found it fifty thousand pieces of silAnd when they were come to Jeru. ver. Ver. 20. So mightily grew the salem, they were received of the word of God and prevailed. church, and of the apostles and elders, d Acts xix. 10. And this continued and they declared all things that God by the space of two years ; so that had done with them. Ver. 6. And all they which dwelt in Asia heard the apostles and elders came together the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews for to consider of this matter. Ver. and Greeks. Ver. 17. And this was 22. Then pleased it the apostles and known to all the Jews and Greeks elders, with the whole church, to send also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear chosen men of their own company to fell on them all, and the name of the Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; Lord Jesus was magnified... namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, e 1 Cor. xvi. 8. But I will tarry at and Silas, chief men among the breth- Ephesus until Pentecost. Ver. 9. For ren. Acts xxi. 17. And when we were a great door and effectual is opened come to Jerusalem, the brethren re. unto me, and there are many adver. ceived us gladly. Ver. 18. And the saries.
lar church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla, then at Ephesus, as appears, Acts xviii. 19, 24, 26.5 All which laid together, doth prove that the multitudes of believers did make more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus.
Secondly, That there were many elders over these many congregations, as one flock, appeareth.
Thirdly, That these many congregations were one church, and that they were under one presbyterial government, appeareth.
Of Synodical Assemblies. THE scripture doth hold out another sort of assemblies for the 1 government of the church, beside classical and congregational, all which we call Synodical.k
Pastors and teachers, and other church-governors, (as also other fit persons, when it shall be deemed expedient,) are members of those
11 Cor. xvi. 19. The churches of sticks; Ver. 2. I know thy works, Asia salute you. Aquila and Pris- and thy labour, and thy patience, and cilla salute you much in the Lord, how thou canst not bear them which with the church that is in their are evil: and thou hast tried them house.
which say they are apostles, and are & Acts xviii. 19. And he came to not, and hast found them liars : Ver. Ephesus, and left them there: but he 3. And hast borne, and hast patience, himself entered into the synagogue, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and reasoned with the Jews. Ver. and hast not fainted. Ver. 4. Never: 24. And a certain Jew, named Apollos, theless I have somewhat against thee, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, because thou hast left thy first love. and mighty in the scriptures, came Ver. 5. Remember therefore from to Ephesus. Ver. 26. And he began whence thou art fallen, and repent, to speak boldly in the synagogue : and do the first works; or else I will whom when Aquila and Priscilla had come unto thee quickly, and will re. heard, they took him unto them, and move thy cand ick out of expounded unto him the way of God except thou repent. Ver. 6. But this more perfectly.
thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds h Acts xx. 17. And from Miletus he of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. sent to Ephesus, and called the elders Joined with Acts xx. 17, 28. [See in of the church. Ver. 25. And now, letter h.] behold, I know that ye all, among k Acts xv. 2. When therefore Paul whom I have gone preaching the king- and Barnabas had no small dissension dom of God, shall see my face no more. and disputation with them, they deVer. 28. Take heed therefore unto termined that Paul and Barnabas, and yourselves, and to all the flock, over certain other of them, should go up to the which the Holy Ghost hath made Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders you overseers, to feed the church of about this question. Ver. 6. And the God, which he hath purchased with apostles and elders came together for his own blood. Ver. 30. Also of your to consider of this matter. Ver. 22. own selves shall men arise, speaking Then pleased it the apostles and elders, perverse things, to draw away dis- with the whole church, to send chosen ciples after them. Ver. 36. And when men of their own company to Antioch, he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, with Paul and Barnabas ; namely, and prayed with them all. Ver. 37. Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, And they all wept sore, and fell on chief men among the brethren : Ver. Paul's neck, and kissed him.
23. And they wrote letters by them i Rev. ii. 1. Unto the angel of the after this manner; The apostles, and church of Ephesus write; These things elders, and brethren, send greeting saith he that holdeth the seven stars unto the brethren which are of the in his right hand, who walketh in the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and midst of the seven golden candle- Cilicia.
assemblies which we call Synodical, where they have a lawful calling thereunto.
Synodical assemblies may lawfully be of several sorts, as provincial, national, and oecumenical.
It is lawful, and agreeable to the word of God, that there be a subordination of congregational, classical, provincial, and national assemblies, for the government of the church.
Of Ordination of Ministers. (NDER the head of Ordination of Ministers is to be considered, U either the doctrine of ordination, or the power of it.
Touching the Doctrine of Ordination. NO man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the word I without a lawful calling. Ordination is always to be continued in the church.m
Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some publick church office.
1 John iii. 27. John answered and and the children of Israel shall put said, A man can receive nothing, ex- their hands upon the Levites : Ver. 11. cept it be given him from heaven. And Aaron shall offer the Levites Rom. x. 14. How then shall they call before the Lord for an offering of the on him in whom they have not be- children of Israel, that they may exelieved ? and how shall they believe in cute the service of the Lord. Ver. 14. him of whom they have not heard ? Thus shalt thou separate the Levites and how shall they hear without a from among the children of Israel; preacher ? Ver. 15. And how shall and the Levites shall be mine. Ver. they preach except they be sent ? as 19. And I have given the Levites as a
writter How beautiful are the gift to Aaron, and to his sons, from feet of them that preach the gospel of among the children of Israel, to do the peace, and bring glad tidings of good service of the children of Israel in the things! Jer. xiv. 14. Then the Lord tabernacle of the congregation, and to said unto me, The prophets prophesy make an atonement for the children lies in my name: I sent them not, of Israel; that there be no plague neither have I commanded them, nei- among the children of Israel, when ther spake unto them : they prophesy the children of Israel come nigh unto unto you a false vision and divination, the sanctuary. Ver. 22. And after and a thing of nought, and the deceit that went the Levites in to do their of their heart. Heb. v. 4. And no man service in the tabernacle of the contaketh this honour unto himself, but gregation before Aaron, and before he that is called of God, as was Aaron. his sons: as the Lord had commanded
m Tit. i. 5. For this cause left I thee Moses concerning the Levites, so did in Crete, that thou shouldest set in they unto them. Acts vi. 3. Whereorder the things that are wanting, fore, brethren, look ye out among you and ordain elders in every city, as I seven men of honest report, full of the had appointed thee. 1 Tim. v. 21. I Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we charge thee before God, and the Lord may appoint over this business. Ver. Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, 5. And the saying pleased the whole that thou observe these things, with- multitude: and they chose Stephen, a out preferring one before another, man full of faith and of the Holy doing nothing by partiality. Ver. Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and 22. Lay hands suddenly on no man, Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, neither be partaker of other men's and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch; sins: keep thyself pure.
Ver. 6. Whom they set before the * Numb. viii. 10. And thou shalt apostles: and when they had prayed, bring the Levites before the Lord; they laid their hands on them.