« AnteriorContinuar »
gregation, if they of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him,
Touching the Power of Ordination.
RDINATION is the act of a presbytery :
The power of ordering the whole work of ordination is in the whole presbytery, which, when it is over more congregations than one, whether those congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent as to the point of ordination 4.
It is very requisite, that no single congregation, that can conveniently associate, do assume to itself all and sole power in ordination :
1. Because there is no example in scripture that any single congregation, which might conveniently associate, did assume to its=1f all and sole power in ordination ; neither is there any rule which may warrant such a practice.
2. Because there is in scripture example of an ordination in a presbytery over divers congregations; as in the church of Jerusalem, where were many congregations : these many congregations were under one presbytery, and this presbytery did ordain.
The preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in cities or neighbouring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands doth appertain, for those congregations within their bounds respectively.
Concerning the Doctrinal Part of Ordination of Ministers.
1. O man ought to take upon him the office of a mini
ster of the word without a lawful calling ". 2. Ordination is always to be continued in the church.
3. Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some publick church officey.
4. Every minister of the word is to be ordained by im
8 1 Tim. jii. 2. A bishop then must that is in thee, which was given thee be blameless, the husband of one wife, by prophecy, with the laying on of the vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, gi- hands of the presbytery. ven to hospitality, upi io tcach. Tit. i. u 1 Tim. iy. 14. [See in letter t.] 7. For a bishop must be blaineless, as w See before in letter l. the steward of God.
x See before in leiter m. t 1 Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not the gift y See before in letter L.
position of hands, and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong?
5. The power of ordering the whole work of ordination is in the whole presbytery, which, when it is over more congregations than one, whether those congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent as to the point of ordination
6. It is agreeable to the word, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge b.
7. He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualifaed, both for life and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle o.
8. He is to be examined and approved by those by whom he is to be ordained d.
9. No man is to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if they of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him.
10. Preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in cities or neighbouring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands, doth appertain for those congregations within their bounds respectively'.
11, In extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done, until a settled order may be had, yet keeping as pear as possibly may be to the rule 8, . See before in letter 0.
with the fat of the peace offerings, and a See before in letter u.
the drink-offerings for every burnt-ofb See before in letter p.
fering. So the service of the house of
the Lord was set in order. Ver. 36. c See before in letter q.
And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the d See before in letter r.
people, that God had prepared the peoe See before in letter s.
ple; for the thing was done suddenly. fi Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not the gift 2 Chron. xxx. 2. For the king had tathat is in thee, which was given thee ken counsel, and his princes, and all by prophecy, with the laying on of the the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep hands of the presbytery:
the passover in the second month. Ver. 3 2 Chron. xxix. 34. But the priests 3. For they could not keep it at that were ioo few, so that they could not time, because the priests had not sancslay all the burnt-offerings : wherefore tified themselves sufficiently, neither their brethren the Levites did help had the people gathered themselves them till the work was ended, and un- together to Jerusalem. Ver.4. And the til the other priests had sanctified thing pleased the king and all the conthemselves; for the Levites were more gregation. Ver. 5. So they establishupright in heart to sanctify themselves ed a decree, to make proclamation than the priests. Ver. 35. And also the throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba burnt-offerings were in abundance, even to Dan, that they should come to
12. There is at this time (as we humbly conceive) an ex: traordinary occasion for a way of ordination for the present supply of ministers.
The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers. T being manisest by the word of God, that no man ought
to take upon him the office of a minister of the gospel, until he be lawfully called and ordained thereunto; and that the work of ordination is to be performed with all due care, wisdom, gravity, and solemnity, we huinbly tender these directions, as requisite to be observed.
1. He that is to be ordained, being either nominated by the people, or otherwise commended to the presbytery, for, any place. must address himself to the presbytery, and bring with him a testimonial of his taking the Cnvenant of the three kingdoms; of his diligence and proficiency in his studies ; what degrees he hath taken in the university, and what hath been the time of his abode there; and withal of his age, which is to be twenty-four years; but especially of his life and conversation.
2. Which being considered by the presbytery, they are to proceed to enquire touching the grace of God in him, and whether he be of such holiness of life as is requisite in a minister of the gospel ; and to examine him touching his learning and sufficiency, and touching the evidences of his calling to the holy ministry; and, in particular, his fair and direct calling to that place.
The Rules for Examination are these : “ (1.) That the party examined be dealt withal in a bro“ therly way, with mildness of spirit, and with special red spect to the gravity, modesty, and quality of every one.
(2.). He shall be examined touching his skill in the original tongues, and his trial to be made by reading the He“ brew and Greek Testaments, and rendering some portion “ of some into Latin ; and if he be defective in them, en“ quiry shall be made more strictly after his other learning, “ and whether he hath skill in logick and philosophy. keep the passover unto the Lord God not done it of a long time in such a of Israel at Jerusalem; for they had sort as it was written.
“ (3.) What authors in divinity he hath read, and is best " acquainted with ; and trial shall be made in his knowledge “ of the grounds of religion, and of his ability to defend the “ orthodox doctrine contained in them against all unsound “ and erron ous opinions, especially these of the present
age ; of his skill in the sense and meaning of such places “ of scripture as shall be proposed unto him, in cases of " conscience, and in the chronology of the scripture, and “ the ecclesiastical history.
(4.) If he hath not before preached in publick with approbation of such as are able to juuge, he shall, at a com"petent time assigned him, expound before the presbytery ** such a place of scripture as shall be given him.
“(5.) He shall also, within a competent time, frame a “ discourse in Latin, upon such a common-place or con" troversy in divinity as shall be assigned to him, and exhi66 bit to the presbytery such theses as express the sum there“ of, and maintain a dispute upon them.
(6.) He shall preach before the people, the presbytery, " or some of the ministers of the word appointed by them, " being present.
** (7.) The proportion of his gifts-in relation to the place “ unto which he is called shall be considered.
(8.) Beside the trial of his gifts in preaching, he shall undergo an examination in the premises two several days, " and more, if the presbytery shall judge it necessary.
“(9.) And as for him that hath formerly been ordained
a minisier, and is to be removed to another charge, he “ shall bring a testimonial of his ordination, and of his abi"lities and conversation, whereupon his fitness for that place “ shall be tried by his preaching there, and (if it shall be “ judged necessary) by a further examination of him."
3. In all which he being approved, he is to be sent to the church where he is to serve, there to preach three several days, and to converse with the people, that they may have trial of his gifts for their edification, and may have time and occasion to enquire into, and the better to know, his life and conversation.
4. In the last of these three days appointed for the trial of his gifts in preaching, there shall be sent from the presbytery to the congregation, a publick intimation in writing, which shall be publickly read before the people, and afur affixed
to the church-door, to signify, that such a day a competent number of the members of that congregation, nominated by themselves, shall appear before the presbytery, to give their çonsent and approbation to such a man to be their minister; or, otherwise, to put in, with all Christian discretion and meekness, what exceptions they have against him. And if,
upon the day appointed, there be no just exception against · him, but the people give their consent, then the presbyterý shall proceed to ordination.
5. Upon the day appointed for ordination, which is to be performed in that church where he that is to be ordained is to serve, a solemn fast shall be kept by the congregation, that they may the more earnestly join in prayer for a bless. ing upon the ordinance of Christ, and the labours of his ser. vant for their good. The presbytery shall come to the place, or at least three or four ministers of the word shall be sent thither from the presbytery ; of which one appointed by the presbytery shall preach to the people concerning the office and duty of ministers of Christ, and how the people ought to receive them for their work's sake.
6. After the sermon, the minister who hath preached shall, in the face of the congregation, demand of him who is now to be ordained, concerning his faith in Christ Jesus, and his persuasion of the truth of the reformed religion, according to the scripture ; his sincere intentions and ends in desiring to enter into this calling ; his diligence in praying, reading, meditation, preaching, ministering the sacraments, discipline, and doing all ministerial duties towards his charge; bis zeal and faithfulness in maintaining the truth of the gospel, and unity of the church, against error and schism ; his care that himself and his family may be unblameable, and examples to the flock; his willingness and humility, in ineekness of spirit, to submit unto the admoni, tions of his brethren, and discipline of the church ; and his resolution to continue in his duty against all trouble and persecution.
7. In all which having declared himself, professed his willingness, and promised his endeavours, by the help of God; the minister likewise shall demand of the people concerning their willingness to receive and acknowledge him as the minister of Christ; and to obey and submit unto him,