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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; 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 commanded, 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. xTiii. binding it seems plain that place doth more particularly i8, 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 lie with asseveration pronounces, Amen, (verily,) I say unto you, that whatsoever ye (a Church of you my disciples) shell (viz. in this manner, by way of jurisdiction or arbitration) bind upon earth Jhall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose upon earth shall 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 Sal6- viour, this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound

these eighteen years, to be loosed from this bond on the fabbath day P That which is here called bound by Satan is otherwhere expressed by xarafovas-eui&ai into T5 ha^ixa, Acts x. as, (being under the power and dominion of the devil.) Also binding may imply detaining in any present condition, (as suppose a condition of guilt, of disfavour, of obnoxiousness to wrath and punishment, either positively, 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 Jilts) doth seem to refer; Whosesoever Jim ye remit, they John xx. are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain,TMthey are retained; that is, whomsoever ye (hall think fit to detain in a state of guilt, to refuse pardon and reconcilement Unto, they (hall continue in such state, they (hall rest deprived of those benefits; whomsoever ye (hall judge worthy to be absolved from guilt, and received unto favour, they (hall effectually be pardoned and reconciled in God's fight; your act, in respect to that remislion or retention, (hall 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 being 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 on 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 so, directed and determined to particular use by the Apostles, when they planted and settled each Acts ii. 14, church. Now for the Apostles' practice; we find, as &c. xx. is, ^^ tQ tjje opening part 0f tnis 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 back any thing that ivas profitable, hut Jhewing 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. 38. and blotted out, to be redeemed from the power of darkCol!! 19 ne^s> an^ translated into the kingdom of Christ, God's be13, &c. loved Son. That by constant exhortation to perseverance and progress in faith and obedience, (against all temptations, persecutions, and seductions,) in St. Paul's words, R0m.iv.3j. warning every man, and teaching every man in all tinsdom, Col. i. is. they might present (or render) every man perfect in Chrifi Jesus, they did endeavour to preserve and retain men in this state; that when men, being overborne by temptation of the flesli or persecution of the world, or seduced by the cunning of false teachers, did decline, and were irj danger of deserting the profession or practice agreeable to this state, they did labour zealously to reclaim, and resettle them therein; and that such having fallen from it of themselves, or having been (by reason of their scandalous and contagious praclice) in way of censure and punisli


ment removed from it, they were ready (upon their repentance sufficiently declared) to receive and restore them^ 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, xaragrl^re tlv Toiutov, re/lore (reestablish, set in a right and entire state) such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, left thou •also be tempted: and, If any one doth not obey our words— a Theff. iii. mark such an one, and do not converse with him, that he1*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 2 Cor. ii. 7, favour (or indulge with, or forgive) and comfort him, left 8'10" 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. xiii. power he had bestowed upon him by Christ, according to10' which he might, upon occasion, use persons severely, was for edification, and not for destruction; that the extremeft 1 Cor. v. 3. 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 be iTim.i.20. saved in the day of 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, nor iTim.v.22. (thereby) to partake with other men's fins; 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- T„, /WiXu'

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tbrujl away the word os God, and did not judge themfelvet worthy of eternal life. We find them also exercising authority upon such as were admitted; dealing severely with persons walking disorderly in any kind of lewd and .vicious practice, disobeying their words and orders, making divisions and scandals, breathing false and bad doctrines, contrary to that which they had taught; such they enjoin Christians to decline from, and avoid all comRom. xri. munion and conversation with them; such, as bad leaven, •jThess. 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 {hut the kingdom of heaven; and so, according to their example and order, (as we< fliould in reason suppose,) did the governors of the Christian Church after them both open and shut it; opening it Bis. Naz. by baptism, (which the Fathers sometime expressly call 1 L" xtalf oipctvœv, 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 reasonable assurance of their amendment and repentance; and (hutting 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. 3s. part, shutting) out of Tertullian's Apologetic, wherein he declares the manner commonly practised in the Christian Churches, suffice. Certe, faith he, fidem fanttis vocibus pafcimus, fpem erigimus, fduciam Jrgimus, difciplinam prœceptorum nihilominus inculcationibus denfamus; ibidem etiam exhortationes, cqfligationes, et cenfura divbw; nam et judicatur magno cum pondere, ut apud certos de f}ei coflfpeclu, fummumque fuluri judicii præjudicium eft, fi rjuis ita deliquerit, ut a communication orationis, et convent us, et omnisfanSti commercii relegelur.

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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