« AnteriorContinuar »
might infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honour of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and ot stinate offenders .
IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season, and by excommunication from the church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the persona.
CHAP. XXXI. Of Synods and Councils.
church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called Synods or Councils a.
II. As magistrates may lawfully.call a synod of ministers, and other fit persons, to consult and advise with about matrow. Ver. 8. Wherefore I beseech epistle, note that man, and have no you, that ye would confirm your love company with him, that he may be towards him.
ashamed. Ver. 15. Yet count him not III. c (1 Cor. v. throughout.] 1 Tim. as an enemy, but admonish him as a v: 20. Them that sin rebuke before all, brother. 1 Cor. v. 4. In the name of that others also may fear. Matt. vii. our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are 6. Give not that which is holy unto gathered together, and my spirit, with the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, before swine, lest they trample them Ver. 5. To deliver such an one unto under their feet, and turn again and Satan for the destruction of the flesh, rend you. 1 Tim. i. 20. Of whom is that the spirit may be saved in the day Hymeneus and Alexander; whom, I of the Lord Jesus. Ver. 13. But thema have delivered unto Satan, that they that are without God judgeth There. may learn not to blaspheme. [1 Cor. fore put away from among yourselves xi. 27. to the end.] With Jude, Ver. that wicked-person. Matt. xviii. 17. 23 And others save with fear, pull. And if he shall neglect to hear them, ing them out of the fire ; hating even tell it unto the church : but if he nethe garments spotted by the flesh. glect to hear the church, let him be
IV. d 1 Thess. v. 12. And we be- unto thee as an heathen man, and a seech you, brethren, to know them publican. Tit. ii. 10. A man that is which labour among you, and are over an heretick, after the first and second you in the Lord, and admonish you. admonition, reject. 2 Thess. jij. 6. Now we command you, 1. a Acts xv. 2. When therefore brethren, in the name of our Lord Je- Paul and Barnabas had no small dissus Christ, that ye withdraw your. sension and disputation with them, selves'from every brother that walketh they determined that Paul and Barna. disorderly, and not after the tradition bas, and certain other of them, should which he received of us. Ver. 14. And go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles if any man obey not our word by this and elders about this question. Ver.
ters of religion; * so if magistrates be open enemies to the church, the ministers of Christ, of themselves, by virtue of their office, or they, with other fit persons, upon delegation from their churches, may meet together in such assembles
III. It belongeth to synods and councils ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience ; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the publick worship of God, and government of his church ; to receive complaints in cases of mal-administration, and au. thoritatively to determine the same ; which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the word, but also for the power whereby 4. And when they were come to Je. ed all the chief priests and scribes of rusalem, they were received of the the people together, he demanded of church and of ihe apostles, and elders, them where Christ should be born. and they declared all things that God Ver. 5. And they said unto him, In had done with them. Ver. 6. And the Bethlehem of Judea : for thus it is apostles and elders came together for written by the prophet, Prov. xi. 14. to consider of this matter.
Where no counsel is, the people fall : II. b Isa. xlix. 23. And kings shall but in the multitude of counsellors be thy nursing-fathers, and their there is safety. queens thy nursing-mothers: they c Acts xv. 2, 4. [See in letter a.] shall bow down to thee with their Ver. 22. Then pleased it the apostles face toward the earth, and lick up and elders, with the whole church, to the dust of thy feet, and thou shalt send chosen men of their own comknow that I am the Lord: for they pany to Antioch, with Paul and Barshall not be ashamed that wait for me. nabas; namely, Judas, surnamed Bar1 Tim. ii. 1. I exhort therefore, that, sabas, and Silas, chief men among the first of all, supplications, prayers, in- brethren : Ver. 23. And wrote letters tercessions, and giving of thanks, be by them after this manner; The aposmade for all men : Ver. 2. For kings, tles, and elders, and brethren, send and for all that are in authority; that greeting unto the brethren which are we may lead a quiet and peaceable of the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, life, in all godliness and honesty. [2 and Cilicia. Ver. 25. It seemed good Chron. xix. 8. to the end. 2 Chron. unto us, being assembled with one acChapters xxix. and xxx. througbout.] cord, to send chosen men unto you, Matt. ii. 4. And when he had gather with our Beloved Barnabas and Paul.
• See Chap. xxiii. sect. 3. last clanse. The Associate church has declared her mind on this point, in her public standards, as follows.
** Christ, the only sovereign of the church, has, neither directly nor indirectly, given to magistrates any spiritual authority: -The Christian religion lays every one who professes it under the strongest obligations to the faithful discharge of the duties of his station. But it annexes no new powers to any office or relation founded in nature. Therefore, Christian magistrates have no power to give laws to the church; to appoint her office bearers, or dictate to them in the discharge of their office; to prescribe a confession of faith, or form of worship, to the church, or their subjects in general; authoritatively to call meetings of charch judica tories, in ordinary cases or to direct or controul them in their judicial procedure. In matters purely religious, civil rulers have no right to judge for any but themselves.”
Testimony of the general Associate or Secession Synod of Scotland, chap. xxiv, sect. 2. See the note on this Confession, chap. XX. sect. 4. also the first note on chap. xxii. sect. 8.
they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his word d.
IV. All synods or councilssince the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as an help in both €.
V. Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical; and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs, which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition, in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate
CHAP. XXXII. Of the State of Men after Death, and of
the Resurrection of the Dead.
HE bodies of men after death return to dust, and see
corruption a; but their souls, (which neither die nor III. d Acts xv. 15, 19, 24, 27, 28, 29, Thessalonica, in that they received the 30, 31. (See in the Bible.) Acts xvi. 4. word with all readiness of mind, and And as they went through the cities, searched the scriptures daily, whether they delivered them the decrees for to those things were so. 1 Cor. ii. 5. keep, that were ordained of the apos. That your faith should not stand in tles and elders which were at Jerusa- the wisdom of men, but in the power lem. Matt. xviii. 17. And if he shall of God. 2 Cor. i. 24. Not for that we neglect to hear them, tell it unto the have dominion over your faith, but church: but if he neglect to hear the are helpers of your joy : for by faith church, let him be unto thee as an hea- ye stand. then man, and a publican. Ver. 18. V. f Luke xii. 13. And one of the Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye company said unto him, Master, speak shall bind on earth, shall be bound in to my brother, that he divide the in. heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose heritance with me. Ver 14. And he on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. said unto him; Man, who made me a Ver. 19. Again I say unto you, That judge or a divider over you? John if two of you shall agree on earth as xviii. 36. Jesus answered, My kingtouching any thing that they shall ask, dom is not of this world: if my kingit shall be done for them of my Father dom were of this world, then would which is in heaven. Ver. 20. For my servants fight, that I should not where two or three are gathered to- be delivered to the Jews; but now is
her in my name, there am I in the my kingdom not from hence. midst of them.
I. a Gen. jji. 19. In the sweat of IV. e Eph. ii. 20. And are built up- thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou on the foundation of the apostles and return unto the ground; for out of it prophets, Jesus Christ himself being wast thou taken: for dust thou art, the chief corner-stone. Acts xvii. 11. and unto dust thou shalt These were more noble than those in Acts xiii. 36. For David, after be had
sleep,) having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day d. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the scripture acknowledgeth none.
II. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changede : and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with difserved his own generation, by the d Luke xvi. 23. And in hell he lift will of God, fell on sleep, and was up his eyes, being in torments, and laid unto his fathers, and saw cor- seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus ruption.
in his bosom. Ver. 24. And he cried, 6 Luke xxiii. 43. And Jesus said and said, Father Abraham, have mer. unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, cy on me, and send Lazarus, that he To-day shalt thou be with me in para- may dip the tip of his finger in water, dise. Eccl. xii, 7. Then shall the dust and cool my tongue ; for I am torreturn to the earth as it was; And mented in this flame. Acts i. 25. That the spirit shall return unto God who he may take part of this ministry and gave it.
apostleship, from which Judas by c Heb. xii. 23. To the general as- transgression fell, that he might go to sembly and church of the first-born, his own place. Jude, Ver. 6. And the which are written in heaven, and to angels which kept not their first esGod the judge of all, and to the spi- tate, but left their own habitation, he rits of just men made perfect. 2 Cor. hath reserved in everlasting chains v.1. For we know, that if our earthly under darkness, unto the judgment of house of this tabernacle were dissolved, the great day. Ver. 7. Even as Sodom we have a building of God, an house and Gomorrha, and the cities about not made with hands, eternal in the them, in like manner giving them. heavens. Ver. 6. Therefore we are al- selves over to fornication, and going ways confident, knowing that, whilst after strange flesh, are set forth for we are at home in the body, we are an example, suffering the vengeance of absent from the Lord: Ver. 8. We eternal fire. 1 Pet. iii, 19. By which are confident, I say, and willing ra- also he went and preached unto the ther to be absent from the body, and spirits in prison. to be present with the Lord. Phil. i. II e 1 Thes. iv. 17. Then we which 23. For I am in a strait betwixt two, are alive and remain shall be caught having a desire to depart, and to be up together with them in the clouds, with Christ; which is far better. With to meet the Lord in the air; and so Acts iii. 21. Whom the heaven must shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Cor. receive, until the times of restitution xv. 51. Behoid, I show you a mystery ; of all things, which God hath spoken we shall not all sleep, but we shall all by the mouth of all his holy prophets be changed. Ver. 52. In a moment, since the world began. And Eph. iv. in the twinkling of an eye, at the last 10. He that descended is the same also trump: for the trumpet shall sound, that ascended up far above all heavens, and the dead shall be raised incorrupthat he might fill all things.
tible, and we shall be changed.
ferent qualities, which shall be united again to their souls for ever f.
III. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to his own glorious body 8.
CHAP. XXXIII. Of the Last Judgment. Go
OD hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the
world in righteousness by Jesus Christ“, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father b. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evild.
f Job xix. 26. And though after my rious body, according to the working skin worms destroy this body, yet in whereby he is able even to subdue all my flesh shall I see God; Ver. 27. things unto himself. Whom I shall see for myself, and I. a Acts xvii. 31. Because he hath mine eyes shall behold, and not ano. appointed a day, in the which he will ther, though my reins be consumed judge the world in righteousness by within me. i Cor. xv. 42. So also is that man whom he hath ordained ; the resurrection of the dead. It is sown whereof he hath given assurance unto in corruption, it is raised in incorrup- all men, in that he hath raised him tion: Ver. 43. It is sown in dishonour, from the dead. it is raised in glory: it is sown in 6 John v. 22. For the Father judgweakness, it is raised in power: Ver. eth no man; but hath committed all 44. It is sown a natural body, it is judgment unto the Son : Ver. 27. And raised a spiritual body. There is a hath given him authority to execute natural body, and there is a spiritual judgment also, because he is the Son body.
of man. III. 8 Acts xxiv. 15. And have c 1 Cor. vi. 3. Know ye not that hope towards God, which they them- we shall. judge angels ? how much selves also allow, that there shall be a more things that pertain to this life? resurrection of the dead, both of the Jude, ver. 6. (See letter d Chapter fore. just and unjust. John v. 28. Marvel going.] 2 Pet. ii. 4. For if God spared not at this : for the hour is coming, in not the angels that sinned, but cast the which all that are in the graves them down to hell, and delivered them shall hear his voice, Ver. 29. And into chains of darkness, to be reserved shall come forth; they that have done unto judgment. good, onto the resurrection of life, and d 2 Cor. v. 10. For we must all they that have done evil, unto the re- appear before the judgment-seat of surrection of damnation. 1 Cor. xv. Christ, that every one may receive 43. (See in letier f.] Philip. iii. 21. the things done in his body, accord. Who shall change our vile body, that ing to that he hath done, whether it it may be fashioned like unto his glo- be good or bad. Eccl. xii. 14. For God