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moral quality, making it to be good or bad, lawful or unlawful,) and binds the persons concerned to observation or abstinence; he that permits the fame thing to be done, or dispenses with its doing, may be said to loose: thus all laws are bonds, and are said to oblige; and the removing or suspending their force, in whole or in part, (by abrogation, or dispensation, or exception,) is consequently a loosing, or relaxation 5 and the power of binding and loosing thus would be a power legislative, of making and repealing laws and rules of action; and in some analogy hereto, the power (with authority and by office) of interpreting laws, that is, of determining and declaring what is com* manded, what prohibited, what permitted, may be called a power of binding and loosing, (and if we believe Mr. Selden, and Grotius perhaps from him, in Matt. xvi. is so commonly termed among Jewish writers:) also the exercise of any jurisdiction, the decision of any case, the warding any amends to be done, any mulct to be imposed, any punishment to be inflicted, is a binding; to which kind of Matt, xviii. binding it seems plain that place doth more particularly "*" refer, wherein our Saviour pronounces valid the arbitra

tion between persons in difference made by one or two friends; or (if that cannot terminate the controversy) the final judgment of the Church, concerning which he with asseveration pronounces, Amen, (verily,) I say unto you, that whatsoever ye (a Church of you my disciples) Jhall (viz. in this manner, by way of jurisdiction or arbitration) bind upon earth Jhall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye Jhall loose upon earth Jhall be loosed in heaven: all your sentences and decisions (duly and impartially made) (hall be valid and ratified by God himself. Also the result of any contract is an obligation, and they who make or enter into it do bind the parties concerned, (themselves and others.) Moreover, the detaining any how under one's power or disposal, is binding; and the setting free thence, iukexiii. a loosing answerable thereto; (Ought not, faith our Sa16' viour, this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound

these eighteen years, lo be loosed from this bond on the Jabbath day P That which is here called bound by Satan is otherwhere expressed by xaraSuvareos&ai into Ts h*pi\n, Aas x. as, (being under the power and dominion of the devil.) Also binding may imply detaining in any present condition, (as Aippose a condition of guilt, of disfavour, of obnoxiousness to wrath and punishment, either postively, by keeping on the (hackles which hold them, or negatively, by withdrawing the means of getting out;) and correspondency, loosing is a freeing from such a state, by removing the causes which hindered, or applying the means which procure liberty. And to this last fense the other equivalent phrase (used in St. John, of retaining and remitting of sins) doth seem to refer; Whosesoever Jins ye remit, /Aeyjohnxx, are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sns ye retain,*3, they are retained; that is, whomsoever ye shall think fit to detain in a state of guilt, to refuse pardon and reconcilement unto, they shall continue in such state, they (hall rest deprived of those benefits; whomsoever ye shall judge worthy to be absolved from guilt, and received unto favour, they shall effectually be pardoned and reconciled in God's fight; your act, in respect to that remission or retention, shall be approved and ratified in heaven. Now from these considerations concerning the name of this power, and the term or object thereof, and of the phrases in some measure equivalent to that whereby it is expressed, although we may probably infer somewhat concerning the nature thereof, yet the perfect nature and full extent thereof seems best deducible from that which we must next consider.

4. The practice and exercise of this power; which be-r mg by our Saviour committed to his Church, and to the Apostles as governors thereof, and acting in its behalf, we cannot suppose they would act beyond or beside it. What we see them (in way of office and authority) doing, applicable and agreeable to the meaning of those words, as hitherto in some sort explained, we may well believe done by virtue of this power so expressly by our Lord bestowed cm them; and the like we may reasonably suppose concerning the Church's nearly succeeding to their times, that what they generally practised in way of government was by authority, not arbitrarily assumed to themselves, but derived from Christ's donation and appointment, declared to be ib, directed and determined to particular use by the Apostles, when they planted and settled each Aasii. 14, church. Now for the Apostles' practice; we find, as &c. xx. is, ^^ to the owning part 0f thjs power, that they did

with great earnestness .and diligence labour to bring men into the kingdom of heaven by instruction, invitation, and persuasion, (not sparing any pains, not regarding any difficulty, not shunning any danger for the effecting hereof;) Not (to use St. Paul's words in the Acts) keeping lack any thing that was profitable, but shewing and teaching them publicly from house to house, thoroughly testifying bath to Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. That having thus induced men, and qualified them to enter, (by entertaining the doctrine of Christ, and resolution to live according thereto,) they did actually admit them into this state by a solemn act, containing a symbolical representation of the nature of this state, with the benefits and privileges accompanying it; declaring the persons so admitted to be received into a state of entire favour with God, to be freed from all precedent guilt, to have all their sins remitted Acts ii. as. and blotted out, to be redeemed from the power of darkCol!t. 12 ness, and tranflated into the kingdom of Christ, God's be13, &c. loved Son. That by constant exhortation to perseverance aud progress in faith and obedience, (against all temptations, persecutions, and seductions,) in St. Paul's words, Rora.iv.3s. warning every man, and teaching every man in all ivifdom, Col. i. is. they might present (or render) every man perfect in Chrift Jesus, they did endeavour to preserve and retain men in this state; that when men, being overborne by temptation of the flesh or persecution of the world, or seduced by the cunning of false teachers, did decline, and were in danger of deserting the profession or practice agreeable to this state, they did labour zealously to reclaim, and resetde them therein; and that such having fallen from it of themselves, -or having been (by reason of their scandalous and contagious practice) in way of censure and puuifhmerit removed from it, they were ready (upon their repentance sufficiently declared) to receive and restore thenij reinstating them in their former condition, and remitting their offences; {If any man, faith St. Paul, be prevented Gal. vi. 1. in a transgression, ye that are spiritual, xonagrlgert rbv Toistov, restore (reestablish, set in a right and entire state) such an one in the Jpirit os meekness; considering thyself, left thou also be tempted: and, Is any one doth not obey our words— 2 Tbeff. Hi. mark such an one, and do not converse with him, that he '*• may be ashamed: however do not account him an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.) And more plainly, St. Paul enjoins the Corinthians to account a punishment imposed upon a grievous offender sufficient; that they should 1 Cor. ii. 7» savour (or indulge with, or forgive) and comfort him, left 8'i0' he should be swallowed up with grief; that they should confirm love toward him; declaring, that what favour they should shew in such cases, he should consent and comply with them therein. And he otherwhere tells us, that the 2 Cor. xiH. power he had bestowed upon him by Christ, according to 10" which he might, upon occasion, use persons severely, was for edification, and not for destruction; that the extremest 1 Cor. v. j. punishment inflicted (delivery to Satan, from whose dominion they were by entrance into Christ's kingdom freed) was for destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might feiTim.i.20. saved in the day os judgment, and that they might learn not to blaspheme; intimating a restitution into this state by repentance. And lastly, whereas St. Paul advises Timothy not to lay suddenly his hands upon any man, wor iTim.v.22. (thereby) to partake with other menssns; he seems to intimate the practice of receiving offenders into full communion of the Church, and readmittance into this state, signified by that ceremonious action. Thus did the Apostles use the Power of the Keys on one hand; opening, and admitting, and keeping within the state of grace. We also shall find them shutting and excluding from it, by re-. . fusing and rejecting such as were not worthy and well dis- rl, /j.,,*,;. posed for it; withdrawing the means of instruction and J" TMe'"-' persuasion; not casting their pearls to swine; shaking the Matt. v». 6.

dufl off their feet, when men (as it is in the Acts) didAas*"1^"" J' . v '46,ji.xviii.

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ibrujl away the word of God, and did not judge themselves luorthy of eternal life. We find them also exercising authority upon such as were admitted; dealing severely with perlbns walking disorderly in any kind of lewd and vicious practice, disobeying their words and orders, making divisions and scandals, breathing falie and bad doctrines, contrary to that which they had taught; such they enjoin Christians to decline from, and avoid all comRom. xvi. munion and conversation with them; luch, as bad leaven, aTheff. ii.3. tney command to be purged out from the Christian con1 Cor. v. 7-gregations, to be taken from among them, to be delivered up to Satan. Thus did they shut the kingdom of heaven; and so, according to their example and order, (as we should in reason suppose,) did the governors of the Christian Church after them both open and (hut it; opening it Bas. Nai. by baptism, (which the Fathers sometime expressly call xXe)f oupavwv, the key of heaven,) and receiving persons well instructed and well disposed into it; opening it again by receiving persons who had been for heinous offences put out, upon due testification and seasonable assurance of their amendment and repentance; and shutting it upon persons unfit to enter, separating and excluding from it such as notoriously misbehaved themselves therein, to the dishonour, disturbance, and detriment of the Church. I cannot insist upon particulars, nor stand to produce testimonies concerning them; let one clear passage (as to the latter Cap. 3g. part, shutting) out of Tertullian's Apologetic, wherein he declares the manner commonly practised in the Christian Churches, suffice. Certe, faith he, fidem fanihs vocihu pafcimus, fpem erigimus, fduciam fgimus, discipline* prœceptorum nihilominus inculcationibus denfamus; ibidem etiam exhorlationes, cqftigationes, et cenfura dii'ina; nam et judicatur magno cum pondere, ut apud certos de .Pet co.nspeilu, fummumque fuluri judicii preejudicium eft, f quis ita deliquerit, ut a communicatione orationis, et convent us, et omnisfan&i commereii relegetur.

5. As for the rise and occasion of this power, (beside the necessity and utility thereof, which might cause it to be appointed,) we may consider, that as all, or the greater

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