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Every minister of the word is to be ordained by imposition of hands, and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong.o
It is agreeable to the word of God, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge.P
He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualified, both for life and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle.
He is to be examined and approved by those by whom he is to be ordained."
No man is to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if they of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him.s
Touching the Power of Ordination. ORDINATION is the act of a presbytery.
U The power of ordering the whole work of ordination is in the whole presbytery, which, when it is over more congregations than one,
91 Tim. v. 22. Lay hands suddenly i. 5. For this cause left I thee in on no man, neither be partaker of Crete, that thou shouldest set in order other men's sins: keep thyself pure. the things that are wanting, and or. Acts xiv. 23. And when they had or- dain elders in every city, as I had dained them elders in every church. appointed thee. Ver. 6. If any be and had prayed with fasting, they blameless, the husband of one wife, commended them to the Lord, on having faithful children, not accused whom they believed. Acts xiii. 3. of riot, or unruly. Ver. 7. For a And when they had fasted and prayed, bishop must be blameless, as the and laid their hands on them, they steward of God; not self-willed, not sent them away.
soon angry, not given to wine, no P Acts xiv. 23. [See before.] Tit. i. striker, not given to filthy lucre; Ver. 5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, 8. But a lover of hospitality, a lover that thou shouldest set in order the of good men, sober, just, holy, tempethings that are wanting, and ordain rate; Ver. 9. Holding fast the faithful elders in every city, as I had appointed word as he hath been taught, that he thee. Acts xx. 17. And from Miletus may be able by sound doctrine both he sent to Ephesus, and called the to exhort and to convince the gain. elders of the church. Ver. 28. Take sayers. need therefore unto yourselves, and to r1 Tim. iii. 7. Moreover, he must all the flock, over the which the Holy have a good report of them which are Ghost hath made you overseers, to without; lest he fall into reproach feed the church of God, which he hath and the snare of the devil. Ver. 10: purchased with his own blood. And let these also first be proved ;
91 Tim. iii. 2. A bishop then must then let them use the office of a deabe blameless, the husband of one wife, con, being found blameless. 1 Tim. vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, v. 2.2. Lay hands suddenly on no man, given to hospitality, apt to teach ; neither be partaker of other men's Ver. 3. Not given to wine, no striker, sins: keep thyself pure. not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, 81 Tim. iii. 2. A bishop then must not a brawler, not covetous; Ver. 4. be blameless, the husband of one wife, One that ruleth well his own house, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, having his children in subjection with given to hospitality, apt to teach. Tit. all gravity; Ver. 5. (For if a man i. 7. For a bishop must be blameless, know not how to rule his own house, as the steward of God. how shall he take care of the church t1 Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not the gift of God?) Ver. 6. Not a novice, lest, that is in thee, which was given thee being lifted up with pride, he fall into by prophecy, with the laying on of the the condemnation of the devil. Tit. hands of the presbytery.
whether these congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent as to the point of ordination."
It is very requisite, that no single congregation, that can conveniently associate, do assume to itself all and sole power in ordination:
1. Because there is no example in scripture that any single congregation, which might conveniently associate did assume to itself all and sole power in ordination; neither is there any rule which may warrant such a practice.
2. Because there is in scripture example of an ordination in a presbytery over divers congregations; as in the church of Jerusalem, where were many congregations: these many congregations were under one presbytery, and this presbytery did ordain.
The preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in cities or neighbouring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands doth appertain, for those congregations within their bounds respectively.
Concerning the Doctrinal Part of Ordination of Ministers.
word without a lawful calling."
3. Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some publick church office.
4. Every minister of the word is to be ordained by imposition of hands, and prayer, with fasting, by these preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong.
5. The power of ordering the whole work of ordination is in the whole presbytery, which, when it is over more congregations than one, whether those congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent as to the point of ordination.
6. It is agreeable to the word, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge.b
7. He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualified, both for life and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle.
8. He is to be examined and approved by those by whom he is to be ordained.
9. No man is to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if they of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him.
10. Preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in cities or neighbouring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands doth appertain, for those congregations within their bounds respectively.
11. In extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done,
v1 Tim. iv. 14. [See in letter t.]
See before in letter P.
See before in letter 9. a See before in letter r. e See before in letter s.
11 Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
until a settled order may be had, yet keeping as near as possibly may be to the rule.s
12. There is at this time (as we humbly conceive) an extraordinary occasion for a way of ordination for the present supply of ministers.
The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers. TT being manifest by the word of God, that no man ought to take I upon him the office of a minister of the gospel, until he be lawfully called and ordained thereunto; and that the work of ordination is to be performed with all due care, wisdom, gravity, and solemnity, we humbly tender these directions, as requisite to be observed.
1. He that is to be ordained, being either nominated by the people, or otherwise commended to the presbytery, for any place, must address himself to the presbytery, and bring with him a testimonial of his taking the Covenant of the three kingdoms; of his diligence and proficiency in his studies; what degrees he hath taken in the university, and what hath been the time of his abode there; and withal of his age, which is to be twenty-four years; but especially of his life and conversation.
2. Which being considered by the presbytery, they are to proceed to enquire touching the grace of God in him, and whether he be of such holiness of life as is requisite in a minister of the gospel; and to examine him touching his learning and sufficiency, and touching the evidences of his calling to the holy ministry; and, in particular, his fair and direct calling to that place.
The Rules for Examination are these : 6 (1.) That the party examined be dealt withal in a brotherly way, “ with mildness of spirit, and with special respect to the gravity, mo“ desty, and quality of every one.
“ (2.) He shall be examined touching his skill in the original tongues, “ and his trial to be made by reading the Hebrew and Greek Testa“ ments, and rendering some portion of some into Latin; and if he be
82 Chron. xxix. 34. But the priests king had taken counsel, and his prinwere too few, so that they could not ces, and all the congregation in Jeruflay all the burnt-offerings: wherefore salem, to keep the passover in the their brethren the Levites did help second month. Ver. 3. For they could them, till the work was ended, and not keep it at that time, because the until the other priests had sanctified priests had not sanctified themselves themselves; for the Levites were more sufficiently, neither had the people upright in heart to sanctify themselves gathered themselves together to Jeruthan the priests. Ver. 35. And also salem. Ver. 4. And the thing pleased the burnt-offerings were in abund. the king and all the congregation. ance, with the fat of the peace-offer- Ver. 5. So they established a decree ings, and the drink-offerings for every to make proclamation throughout all burnt-offering. So the service of the Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, house of the Lord was set in order that they should come to keep the Ver. 36. And Hezekiah rejoiced, and passover unto the Lord God of Israel all the people, that God had prepared at Jerusalem: for they had not done it the people: for the thing was done of a long time in such sort as it was suddenly. 2 Chron. xxx. 2. For the written.
“ defective in them, enquiry shall be made more strictly after his other “ learning, and whether he hath skill in logick and philosophy.
“(3.) What authors in divinity he hath read, and is best acquainted “ with; and trial shall be made in his knowledge of the grounds of “ religion, and of his ability to defend the orthodox doctrine contained “in them against all unsound and erroneous opinions, especially these of “the present age; of his skill in the sense and meaning of such places “ of scripture as shall be proposed unto him, in cases of conscience, and “in the chronology of the scripture, and the ecclesiastical history.
"(4.) If he hath not before preached in publick with approbation of “such as are able to judge, he shall, at a competent time assigned him, “ expound before the presbytery such a place of scripture as shall be 6 given him.
* (5.) He shall also, within a competent time, frame a discourse in “ Latin upon such a common-place or controversy in divinity as shall “ be assigned to him, and exhibit to the presbytery such theses as ex“ press the sum thereof, and maintain a dispute upon them.
" (6.) He shall preach before the people, the presbytery, or some of “the ministers of the word appointed by them, being present.
“(7.) The proportion of his gifts in relation to the place unto which “ he is called shall be considered.
“ (8.) Beside the trial of his gifts in preaching, he shall undergo an “ examination in the premises two several days, and more, if the pres“ bytery shall judge it necessary.
(9.) And as for him that hath formerly been ordained a minister, “ and is to be removed to another charge, he shall bring a testimonial “ of his ordination, and of his abilities and conversation, whereupon “ his fitness for that place shall be tried by his preaching there, and “ (if it shall be judged necessary) by a further examination of him.”
3. In all which he being approved, he is to be sent to the church where he is to serve, there to preach three several days, and to converse with the people, that they may have trial of his gifts for their edification, and may have time and occasion to enquire into, and the better to know, his life and conversation.
4. In the last of these three days appointed for the trial of his gifts în preaching, there shall be sent from the presbytery to the congregation a publick intimation in writing, which shall be publickly read before the people, and after affixed to the church-door, to signify that such a day a competent number of the members of that congregation, nominated by themselves, shall appear before the presbytery, to give their consent and approbation to such a man to be their minister; or otherwise, to put in, with all Christian discretion and meekness, what exceptions they have against him. And if, upon the day appointed, there be no just exception against him, but the people give their consent, then the presbytery shall proceed to ordination.
5. Upon the day appointed for ordination, which is to be performed in that church where he that is to be ordained is to serve, a solemn fast shall be kept by the congregation, that they may the more earnestly join in prayer for a blessing upon the ordinances of Christ, and the labours of his servant for their good. The presbytery shall come to the place, or at least three or four ministers of the word shall be sent
thither from the presbytery; of which one appointed by the presbytery shall preach to the people concerning the office and duty of ministers of Christ, and how the people ought to receive them for their work's sake..
6. After the sermon, the minister who hath preached shall, in the face of the congregation, demand of him who is now to be ordained, concerning his faith in Christ Jesus, and his persuasion of the truth of the reformed religion, according to the scriptures; his sincere intentions and ends in desiring to enter into this calling; his diligence in praying, reading, meditation, preaching, ministering the sacraments, discipline, and doing all ministerial duties towards his charge; his zeal and faithfulness in maintaining the truth of the gospel, and unity of the church, against error and schism; his care that himself and his family may be unblameable, and examples to the flock; his willingness and humility, in meekness of spirit, to submit unto the admonitions of his brethren, and discipline of the church; and his resolution to continue in his duty against all trouble and persecution.
7. In all which having declared himself, professed his willingness, and promised his endeavours, by the help of God; the minister likewise shall demand of the people concerning their willingness to receive and acknowledge him as the minister of Christ; and to obey and submit unto him, as having rule over them in the Lord; and to maintain, encourage, and assist him in all the parts of his office.
8. Which being mutually promised by the people, the presbytery, or the ministers sent from them for ordination, shall solemnly set him apart to the office and work of the ministry, by laying their hands on him, which is to be accompanied with a short prayer or blessing, to this effect:
“ Thankfully acknowledging the great mercy of God in sending “ Jesus Christ for the redemption of his people; and for his ascension “ to the right hand of God the Father, and thence pouring out his “ Spirit, and giving gifts to men, apostles, evangelists, prophets, pas“ tors, and teachers; for the gathering and building up of his church; " and for fitting and inclining this man to this great work:* to en“ treat him to fit him with his Holy Spirit, to give him (who in his “name we thus set apart to this holy service) to fulfil the work of his “ministry in all things, that he may both save himself, and his people “ committed to his charge.”
9. This or the like form of prayer and blessing being ended, let the minister who preached briefly exhort him to consider of the greatness of his office and work, the danger of negligence both to himself and his people, the blessing which will accompany his faithfulness in this life, and that to come, and withal exhort the people to carry themselves to him, as to their minister in the Lord, according to their solemn promise made before. And so by prayer commending both him and his flock to the grace of God, after singing of a psalm, let the assembly be dismissed with a blessing.
10. If a minister be designed to a congregation, who hath been formerly ordained presbyter according to the form of ordination which
* Here let them impose hands on his head.