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moral quality, making it to be good or bad, lawful or un-'
punishment to be infli&ted, is a binding; to which kind of Mact. xviii. binding it seems plain that place doth more particularly
refer, wherein our Saviour pronounces valid the arbitration between perfons 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) fhall (viz. in this manner, by way of jurisdiction or arbitration) bind upon earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose upon earth shall be loofed in heaven: all your sentences and decisions (duly and impartially made) shall be valid and ratified by God himfelf. 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, Luke xiii. a loofing answerable thereto; (Ought not, saith our Sa
viour, this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound these eighteen years, to be loosed from this bond on the fabbath day? That which is here called bound by Satar is
otherwhere expreffed by xataduvaseteta. ÚTÒ Të dießóry, Acts s. 38, (being under the power and dominion of the devil.) Also binding may imply detaining in any present condition, (as fuppofe a condition of guilt, of disfavour, of obnoxioufness to wrathi and punishment, either positively, by keeping on the shackles which hold them, or negatively, by withdrawing the means of getting out ;) and correspondently, loofing is a freeing from such a state, by removing the causes which hindered, or applying the means which procure liberty. And to this last sense the other equivalent phrafe (ufed in St. John, of retaining and remitting of fins) doth seem to 'refer; Whofefoever fins ye remit, they John 3x, are remitted unto' them; and whosefoever fins ye retain, 23. 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 shall rest deprived of those benefits; whomsoever ye shall judge worthy to be abfolved 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 confiderations concerning the name of this power, and the term or object thereof, and of the phrases in fome 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 beft deducible from that which we must next consider. 'n :: 4. The practice and exercise of this power; which being by our Saviour committed to his Church, and to the Apoftles'as governors thereof, and acting in its behalf, we cannot suppose they would act beyond or beside it. What we fee them in way of office and authority) doing, applicable and agreeable to the meaning of those words, as hitherto in some fort 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.
&c. XX. 18, &c.
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 A&ts ii. 14, church. Now for the Apostles' practice; we find, as
18. (first) to the opening part of this 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 was profitable, but shewing and teaching them publicly from house to house, thoroughly testifying both 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 folemn act, containing a symbolical representation of the nature of this state, with the benefits and privileges ac. companying 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 fins remitted A&s ii. 38. and blotted out, to be redeemed from the power of dark
1. ness, and 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 tempta
tions, persecutions, and seductions,) in St. Paul's words, Rom.iv.25. warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, 1 Cor.vi.11. Col. i. 18. 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 resettle then 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 punish
ii. 19. Col. i.
ment removed from it, they were ready (upon their repentance fufficiently declared) to receive and restore them, reinitating 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, xatagTÍZETE TÖN TOI@TOV, restore (reestablish, set in a right and entire state) such an one in the Spirit of meekness; conßdering thyself, left thou also be tempted: and, If any one doth not obey our words 2 Thef. iii. mark such an one, and do not converse with him, that he 14. 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 Mould 2 Cor. ii. 7, favour (or indulge with, or forgive) and comfort him, lep 8, 10. he should be swallowed up with grief ; that they should confirm love toward him; declaring, that what favour they fhould shew in such cafes, 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 to 10. which he might, upon occasion, use persons severely, was for edification, and not for destruction; that the extremeft 1 Cor. V. 5. 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 i Tim.i. 20. saved in the day of judgment, and that they might learn not to blafpheme; 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, fignified 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-..
EUI1T05 IS fusing and reje&ting such as were not worthy and well dif- any Bucidí. posed for it; withdrawing the means of instruction and ay tê Oss.
"Lukeix. 62. persuasion; not casting their pearls to swine ; Shaking the Matt. vii. 6. duft off their feet, when men (as it is in the Acts) did Aas xiii...
thrust away the word of God, and did not judge themfelves 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 doce. trines, contrary to that which they had taught; sueh:
they enjoin Christians to decline from, and avoid all comRom. xvi. munion and conversation with them; such, as bad leaven, 17, &c. have iTheftr. ii.a. they command to be purged out from the Christian con-. 1 Cor. v. 7. gregations, to be taken from among them, to be delivered ii. 11.
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 Chrif
tian Church after them both open and shut it; opening it Bal. Naz. by baptism, (which the Fathers soinetime expressly call &c.
xdels cúpavwv, 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 shutting it upon persons unfit to enter, separating and excluding from it such as notoriously misbehaved themselves therein, to the difhonour, 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. 38. part, shutting) out of Tertullian's Apologetic, wherein be
declares the manner commonly practised in the Christian Churches, suffice. Certe, faith he, fidem fanctis vocibus pafcimus, Spem erigimus, fiduciam figimus, difciplinam præceptorum nihilominus inculcationibus denfamus; ibidem etiam exhortationes, caftigationes, et censura divina; ram et judicatur magno cum pondere, ut apud certos de Dei confpectu, fummumque futuri judicii præjudicium eft, fi quis ita deliquerit, ut a communicatione orationis, et conventus, et omnis fancti commercii 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 confider, that as all, or the greater