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2. That this was not peculiar to the apostles or their age is proved, 1. Because not an extraordinary work, like miracles, &c. but the first great business of the Gospel and ministry in the world. 2. Because others as well as the apostles did it in that age, and ever since. 3. Because the promise is annexed to the office thus described “ I am with you alway to the end of the world.” Or if you tranalate it "age,” it is the age of the church of the Messiah incarnate, which is all one. 4. Because it was a small part of the world comparatively that heard the Gospel in the apostles' days. And the far greatest part of the world is without it at this day, when yet God our Saviour would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5. Even where the Gospel hath long continued, for the most part there are many still that are in infidelity. And so great a work is not left without an appointed, suitable means for its performance. And if an office was necessary for it in the first age, it is not credible that it is left to private men's charity ever since. 6. Especially considering that private men are to be supposed insufficient; (1.) Because they are not educated purposely for it, but usually for something else. (2.) Because that they have other callings to take them up. (3.) Because they have no special obligation. And that which is no man's peculiar work, is usually left undone by all.
II. The people's call or consent is not necessary to a minister's reception of his office in general, nor for this part of his work in special: but only to his pastoral relation to themselves.
1. It is so in other functions that are exercised by skill. The patients or people make not a man a physician or lawyer, but only choose what physician shall be their physician, and what lawyer shall be their counsellor.
2. If the people's call or consent be necessary, it is either the infidels or the churches. Not the infidels to whom he is to preach : for 1. He is authorized to preach to them (as the apostles were) before he goeth to them. 2. Their consent is but a natural consequent requisite for the reception and success of their teaching, but not to the authority which is prerequisite. 3. Infidels cannot do so much towards the making of a minister of Christ. 4. Else Christ would have few such ministers. 5. If it be infidels, either all or some? If some, why those rather than others? Or is a man made a minister by every infidel auditory that heareth him?
2. Nor is it Christian people that must do this much to the making of a general minister; for, 1. They have no such power given for it, in nature or the Word of God. 2. They are generally unqualified and unable for such a work. 3. They are no where obliged to it, nor can fitly leave their callings for it; much less to get the abilities necessary to judge. 4. Which of the people have this power? Is it any of them, or any church of private men? Or some one more than the rest? Neither one nor all can lay any claim to it. There is some reason why this congregation rather than another should choose their own pastors : but there is no reason (nor Scripture) that this congregation choose a minister to convert the world.
III. I conclude therefore that the call of a minister in general doth consist, 1. Dispositively in the due qualifications and enablement of the person. 2. And the necessity of the people, with opportunity, is a providential part of the call. 3. And the ordainers are the orderly electors and determiners of the person that shall receive the power from Christ.
1. For this is part of the power of the keys or churchgovernment. 2. And Paul giveth this direction for exercising of this power to Timothy, which sheweth the ordinary way of calling, 2 Tim. ii. 2. “ And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” “ There were in the church at Antioch certain prophets-As they ministered to the Lord, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them; and when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. And they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed.” In this (whether it be to be called an ordination, or rather a mission) there is somewhat ordinary, (that it be by men in office,) and somewhat extraordinary, (that it be by a special inspiration of the Holy Ghost).
And Timothy received his gifts and office by the imposition of the hands of Paul and of the presbytery. 1 Tim. iv. 14. 2 Tim. i. 6. 1 Tim, v. 22. Lay hands suddenly on no man.”
These instances make the case the clearer, 1. Because it is certain, that all that governing power which is given by Christ to the church, under the name of the keys, is given to the pastors. 2. Because there are no other competitors to lay a reasonable claim to it.
Quest. xix. Wherein consisteth the power and nature of ordi
nation? And to whom doth it belong? And is it an act of jurisdiction? And is imposition of hands necessary in it?
I. This is resolved on the by before.
1. Ordination performeth two things: (1.) The designation, election, or determination of the person who shall receive the office. (2.) The ministerial investiture of him in that office: which is a ceremonial delivery of possession ; as a servant doth deliver possession of a house, by delivering him the key who hath before received the power or right from the owner.
2. The office delivered by this election and investiture, is the sacred ministerial office in general, to be after exercised according to particular calls and opportunities: as Christ called the apostles, and the Spirit called the ordinary general teachers of those times, such as Barnabas, Silas, Silvanus, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Apollos, &c. And as is before cited, 2 Tim. ii. 2. As a man is made in general a licensed physician, lawyer, &c.
3. This ordination is ordinis gratiâ,' necessary to order; and therefore so far necessary as order is necessary: which is ordinarily, when the greater interest of the substantial duty, or of the thing ordered, is not against it. As Christ determined the case of sabbath keeping, and not eating the shew-bread. As “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath ;" and the end is to be preferred before the separable means : so ordination was instituted for order, and order for the thing ordered and for the work of the Gospel, and the good of souls, and not the Gospel and men's souls for that order. Therefore when 1. The death; 2. Distance; 3. Or the malignity of the ordainers depriveth a man of ordination, these three substitutes may notify to him the will of God that he is by him a person called to that office: 1. Fitness for the works, in understanding, willingness, and ability; 2. The necessity of souls; 3. Opportunity.
II. The power of ordaining belongeth not, 1. To magistrates ; 2. Or to private men, either single, or as the body of a church ; but, 3. To the senior pastors of the church (whether bishops or presbyters of a distinct order, the reader must not expect that I here determine).
For, 1. The power is by Christ given to them, as is before proved; and in Tit. i. 5.
2. None else are ordinarily able to discern aright the abilities of a man for the sacred ministry. The people may discern a profitable, moving preacher, but whether he understand the Scripture, or the substance of religion, or be sound in the faith and not heretical, and delude them not with a form of well-uttered words, they are not ordinarily able to judge.
3. None else are fit to attend this work, but pastors who are separated to the sacred office 8. It requireth more time to get fitness for it, and then to perform it faithfully, than either magistrates or people can ordinarily bestow.
4. The power is no where given by Christ to magistrates or people.
5. It hath been exercised by pastors or church-officers only, both in and ever since the apostles' days, in all the churches of the world. And we have no reason to think that the church hath been gathered from the beginning till now, by so great an error, as a wrong conveyance of the mi
III. The word jurisdiction as applied to the church officers, is no Scripture word, and in the common sense soundeth too big, as signifying more power than the servants of all must claim; for there is “one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy.” But in a moderate sense it may be tolerated; as jurisdiction signifieth in particular, 1. Legislation; 2. Or judicial process or sentence ; 3. Or the execution of such a sentence, strictly taken, so ordination is no part of jurisdiction. But as jurisdiction signifieth the same with the power of government, 'jus regendi’ in general, so ordination is an act of jurisdiction: as the placing or choosing of inferior officers may belong to the steward of a family, or as the calling or authorizing of physicians belongeth to the college of physicians, and the authorizing of lawyers to the judges' society, or the authorizing of doctors in philosophy, to the society of philosophers or to particular rulers. Where note that in the three last instances, the learning or fitness of the said persons or societies, is but their dispositio vel aptitudo ad potestatem exercendam ;' but the actual power of conveying authority to others, or designing the recipient person, is received from the supreme power of the land, and so is properly an act of authority, here called jurisdiction.
& Acts xiii. 2. Rom. i. 1.
1 Tim. iv, 15.
So that the common distinguishing of ordination from jurisdiction or government, as if they were totâ specie different, is unsound.
IV. Imposition of hands was a sign (like the kiss of peace, and the anointing of persons, and like our kneeling in prayer, &c.) which having first somewhat in their nature, to invite men to the use, was become a common, significant sign of a superior's benediction of an inferior, in those times and countries. And so was here applied ordinarily for its antecedent significancy and aptitude to this use; and was not purposely instituted, nor had its significancy newly given it by institution; and so was not like a sacrament necessarily and perpetually affixed to ordination.
Therefore we must conclude, 1. That imposition of hands in ordination is a decent, apt, significant sign, not to be scrupled by any, nor to be omitted without necessity, as being of Scripture, ancient, and common use.
2. But yet that it is not essential to ordination ; which may be valid by any fit designation and separation of the person. And therefore if it be omitted, it nullifieth not the action. And if the ordainers did it by letters to a man a thousand miles off, it would be valid : and some persons of old were ordained when they were absent,
V. I add as to the need of ordination, 1. That without this key, the office and church doors would be cast open, and every heretic or self-conceited person intrude.
2. It is a sign of a proud, unworthy person, that will judge himself fit for so great a work, and intrude upon such a conceit, when he may have the judgment of the pastors, and avoideth ith 3. Those that so do, should no more be taken for minis
Acts xiii. 2. Heb. V. 4. 10.