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1. If you may not as publicly declare that you renounce not your former ministry and dedication to God in that office, as the ordainers declare their sense of the nullity of it, so that your open declaration may free you from the guilt of seeming consent, I conceive it is a sinful compliance with their sin. 2. Yea, if you may so declare it, yet if there be no necessity of your ministerial liberty in that place, I think you may not take it on such terms. As, (1.) If there be worthy men enough to supply the church's wants there without you. (2.) And if you may serve God successfully in a persecuted state, though to the suffering of your flesh. (3.) Or if your imprisonment for preaching be like to be as serviceable to the church and Gospel as your continued preaching on those scandalous terms. (4.) Or if you may remove and preach in another country. • 9. When any such case doth fall out, in which the repetition of the outward action and words is lawful, it is not lawful to mix any false or scandalous expressions : as if we were required to say falsely, 'I accept this ordination as confessing myself no minister of Christ till now :' or any such like..
10. In a word, a peaceable Christian may do much as to the mere outward action and submission, for obedience, peace, order, or satisfaction to his own or other men’s consciences. But,(1.) He may do nothing for good ends which is false and injurious to the church i. (2.) And he may not do that which otherwise were lawful, when it is for evil ends, or tendeth to more hurt than good; as to promote heresy, or church tyranny and usurpation, whether in pope, prelates, presbyters or people. Quest. XXII. How many ordainers are necessary to the validity
of ordination by God's institution whether one or more ?
My question is not of the ancient canons, or any human laws or customs, for those are easily known; but of Divine right. Now either God hath determined the case as to the number of ordainers necessary, or not. If not, either he hath given the church some general rule to determine it by, or not. If not, then the number is not any part of the Divine
i 1 Thess. v. 22. Gal. ii. 4, 5. 14.
order or law, and then, if we suppose that he hath determined the case as to the ordaining office and not to the number, then it will follow that one may serve. The truth I think may be thus explained.
1. There is · Ordo officialis primarius,' and ' Ordo ordinis, vel exercitii, vel secundarius ;' an order of office primary, and an order of exercise secondary, in the church. As to the first, the order of office, God hath determined that the ordaining officers and no others, shall ordain officers, or give orders. And having not determined whether one or more, it followeth that the ordination of one sole lawful ordainer is no nullity on that account because it is but one, unless somewhat else. nullify it.
2. God hath given general rules to the ordainers for the due exercise of their office, though he have not determined of any set number. Such as are these : that all things be done in judgment, truth, love, concord, to the church's edification, unity and peace, &c.
3. According to these general laws, sometimes the ordination of one sole ordainer, may not only be valid but regular: as when there are no other to concur, or none whose concurrence is needful to any of the aforesaid ends. And sometimes the concurrence of many is needful, (1.) To the receiver's satisfaction. (2.) To the church's or people's satisfaction. (3.) To the concord of pastors, and of neighbour churches, &c. And in such cases such consent or concourse is the regular way. . .
4. Where there are many neighbour pastors and churches so near, as that he that is ordained in one of them, is like oft to pass and preach, and officiate obiter' in others, and so other churches must have some communion with him, it is meetest that there be a concurrence in the ordination. ,
5. The ordainer is certainly a superior to the person that cometh to be ordained while he is a private man; and therefore so far his ordination is (as is said) an act of jurisdiction in the large sense, that is, of government: but whether he be necessarily his superior after he is ordained, hath too long been a controversy. It is certain that the Papists confess, that the pope is ordained such by no superior: and it is not necessary that a bishop be ordained by one or more of any superior order (or jurisdiction either). And though the Italian Papists hold that a superior papal jurisdiction must needs be the secondary fountain of the ordaining power, though the ordainer himself be but of the same order; yet Protestants hold no such thing. And all acknowledge that as imposition of hands on a layman to make him a minister of Christ or an officer, is a kind of official generation k, so the ordained as a junior in office, is as it were a son to the ordainer, as the convert is said to be peculiarly to his converter; and that a proportionable honour is still to be given him. But whether he that ordaineth a presbyter, and not he that ordaineth or consecrateth a bishop, must needs be of a superior order or office, is a question which the reader must not expect me here to meddle with.
Quest. XXIII. What if one bishop ordain a minister, and three,
or many, or all the rest protest against it, and declare him no minister, or degrade him ; is he to be received as a true minister or not?
Supposing that the person want no necessary personal qualification for the office, there are two things more in question ; 1. His office, whether he be a minister. 2. His regularity, whether he came regularly to it; and also his comparative relation, whether this man or another is to be preferred. I answer therefore,
1. If the person be utterly incapable, the one bishop, or the many whosoever taketh him for incapable, is for the truth sake to be believed and obeyed.
2. If the man be excellently qualified, and his ministry greatly necessary to the church, whoever would deprive the church of him be it the one or the many, is to be disobeyed, and the ordainers preferred.
Object. · But who shall judge ? Answ. The “esse' is before the 'scire :' the thing is first true or false before I judge it to be so; and therefore whoever judgeth falsely in a case so notorious and weighty, as that the welfare of the church and souls is (* consideratis considerandis') injured and hazarded by his error, is not to be believed nor obeyed on pretence of order : because all Christians have judicium discretionis,' a discerning judgment.' . * Ejusdem speciei vel inferioris: How then is the pope ordaived or made ?
3. But if the case be not thus to be determined by the person's notorious qualifications, then either it is, 1. The man ordained. 2. Or the people that the case is debated by, whether they should take him for a minister. 3. Or the neighbour ministers.
1. The person himself is ' cæteris paribus' more to regard the judgment of many concordant bishops, than of one singular bishop; and therefore is not to take orders from a singular bishop, when the generality of the wise and faithful are against it; unless he be sure that it is some notorious faction or error that perverteth them, and that there be notorious necessity of his labour.
2. The auditors are either infidels to be converted, (and these will take no man upon any of their authorities,) or else Christians converted. These are either of the particular charge of the singular bishop who ordaineth, or not; if they be, then 'pro tempore' for orders sake, they owe him a peculiar obedience, till some further process or discovery disoblige them, (though the most be on the other side). But yet they may be still bound in reason most to suspect the judgment of their singular bishop, while for order's sake they submit to it. But if they are not of his flock, then, I suppose the judgment and act of many is to prevail so much against the act of a single and singular person, as that both neighbour ministers and people are to disown such an ordained person as unfit for their communion under the notion of a minister, (because communion of churches is maintained by the concord of pastors). But whether the ordained man's ministry, be by their contradictory declaration or degradation, made an absolute nullity, to himself and those that submit to him, neither I will determine, nor should any other strangers to the particular case; for if he be rejected or degraded without such cause and proof as may satisfy other sober persons, he hath wrong ; but if he be so degraded, on proved sufficient cause, to them that it is known to, it giveth the degraders the advantage'.
And as 1. All particular members are to be obedient to their proper pastor.
2. And all particular churches are to hold correspondency and communion according to their capacity. So must men act in this and such like cases respectively according to the laws of obedience to their pastor, and of concord of the churches.
| Ephes. iv. 3. 1 Cor. xii. Rom. xiv. 17.19. 1 Cor. xiv. 33. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. Phil. ii. 1-3. Ephes. iv. 15, 16. 1 Cor. i. 10.
Quest. xxiv. Hath one bishop power by Divine right to or
dain, degrade, or govern, or excommunicate, or absolve, in another's diocese or church, either by his consent, or against it? And doth a minister that officiateth in another's church, act as a pastor, and their pastor, or as a private man? And doth the ministerial office cease when a man removeth from his flock?
I thrust these questions all together for their affinity, and for brevity.
1. Every true minister of Christ, bishop or pastor, is related to the universal church by stronger obligations than to his particular charge ; as the whole is better than the parts, and its welfare to be preferred.
2. He that is no pastor of a particular church, may be a pastor in' the universal, obliged as a consecrated person to endeavour its good, by the works of his office, as he hath particular opportunity and call.
3. Yet he that hath a particular charge is especially and more nearly related and obliged to that charge or church, than to any other part of the universal (though not than to the whole); and consequently hath a peculiar authority, where he hath a peculiar obligation and work.
4. He that is (without degrading) removed from a particular church doth not cease to be a general minister and pastor related to the universal church; as a physician put out of a hospital charge, is a physician still. And therefore he needeth no new ordination, but only a special designation to his next particular charge.
5. No man is the bishop of a diocese as to the measure of ground, or the place, by Divine right, that is, by any particular law or determination of God; but only a bishop of the church or people : for your office essentially containeth a relation to the people, but accidentally only to the place.
6. Yet natural convenience, and God's general laws of order and edification do make it usually (but not always)