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admission, or to detain and keep within, or to stop the pasfage and exclude from a place; necessarily all or some of these actions (or somewhat answerable and like thereto) must agree to this power, in respect to that state or place which it refers to: it must be therefore a power either admissive into, or retentive within, or exclufive from, or all these together, in respect to the kingdom of heaven, whereof it is called the Keys; no other reason being conceivable of its obtaining that appellation; and we see, when this metaphor is used in like cases, either all or one of these effeas are by way of interpretation expressed; as when of the holy and true one (that is, of our Saviour) it is said in the Revelation, That he hath the key of David ; Rev. iii. 7. it is fubjoined, He openeth, and none Shutteth; he shutleth, and none openeth. And when our Saviour imputes to the lawyers, that they took away the key of knowledge, he explains the meaning of his expression by adding, that they Luke xi, 52. would not enter themselves, and those who were entering they hindered : and likewise in St. Matthew, concerning the Scribes and Pharisees, Ye Shut the kingdom of heaven Matt. xxiii. (the same thing as here) before men; for yourselves do not *** enter, nor do you suffer those that are entering. Whence, it seems, may be collected, that this power (this having the keys) is a power of admission into, and exclufion from, the place or hate which it relates to: which we muft next consider; for such mult this power be, as its term or ob, jest doth admit or require.

2. As to the term it relates to, the kingdom of heaven, that, according to the New Testament use, is capable espe.

cially of two acceptions. It first commonly fignifies the · state or constitution of religion under the Gospel, in oppo. fition or contradistinction to the state of things under the ancient Law. In the time of the Law, God's kingdom was in a manner earthly; the land of Israel was his dominion, in Salem was his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place

in Zion; Jerusalem was his royal seat, (the city of the Pl.cxiv. 2, · great Kings) the temple there his palace; he governed '**

more immediately by oracles from time to time put into the mouth of his priests and prophets, consulting him for

vi. 2.

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orders and directions; he received more visible services and homages from his subjects; he granted earthly conveniences and privileges for them; he encouraged them to the obedience of his law by promises of temporal reward; deterred them from disobedience and disloyalty by threatening temporal pains and damages : but under the evangelical dispensation, as God's kingdom is more capacious and unlimited in extension, so he hath assumed no peculiar residence upon earth, nor is worshipped otherwise than as being in heaven, the natural seat of his special majesty and glory; he rules by a law perpetual and immutable, revealed from thence; the sacrifices and adorations he requires are spiritual and invisible for the most part, and addressed thither; the privileges appertaining to the subjects of this kingdom chiefly refer thither; they are allured to obedience by rewards to be conferred there; are withdrawn from disobedience by penalties referring to

a future state. This state therefore of things is called the 'H iezopívn kingdom of heaven, of God, of Christ: that which was itxra, &c. coming and approaching in the time of our Saviour's

humble sojourning upon earth, is now present, he reign

ing in heaven, into which they are said to be translated; Col. i. 12, to have access unto the heavenly Jerusalem ; to be made Eph. ii. 19. fellow-citizens and coheirs with the saints in light; to Phil. iii. 20. have their conversation in heaven; to partake a heavenly Heb. iii. i. calling ; to be seated together with Chris in heavenly xii. 22.

places ; who with sincere persuasion of mind embrace the doctrine of Christ, with firm resolution submit to his law, becoming thereby subjects of this heavenly kingdom, undertaking the obligations, and partaking the privileges belonging thereto. This state, I say, or relation, is thus called; or (which comes to the same thing, and makes no alteration as to the matter in hand) taking the word per. fonally, (and concretely as it were,) the society of men put into such a state, the body of persons standing so related, (that is, the Church of Christ,) may be called the kingdom of heaven. This acception is so frequent and obvious, that it is needless to cite instances, or stand upon the confirmation thereof: but the phrase is also sometime taken for the


perfection or 'utmost improvement of this state; that aicóvios Baoinela, everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour 2 Pet. I. 11e Jesus Christ, as St. Peter calls it; that state of glory and bliss, into which all good Christians, who fall through this temporal life perfift in faithful obedience unto God, Thall hereafter be received ; that kingdom, into which not Matt. vii. every one who faith, Lord, Lord, (who makes an external 2. profession or pretence,) but he that doeth the will of God, who is in heaven, Shall enter. Now whereas these two ftates (one being a state of grace and favour with God AAs XX. 24. here, the other of glory and joy with God hereafter) are in their nature, and according to their prime intention, infeparably coherent, one being subordinate to the other; that, as a step or degree, a way or tendency to this; this, a completion and consummation of that; that being suppofed as precedent in order to this, this in design consequent upon that; therefore what immediately concerns one, doth by consequence respect the other: and in our cafe, a power to open or shut, to admit into or exclude from, the state of grace, may be supposed and said in a manner confequently to be a power of opening and shutting the state of glory hereafter; and reciprocally, both jointly may be well understood in their kind and order. But fince the persons to whom this power is imparted do exercise it here, (and what thou shalt vind or loose upon Matt. xvi. earth, faith our Saviour, implying the use of that power 19. which he promised to communicate to St. Peter;) since the immediate effects thereof are here below, therefore it seems fit that we understand the kingdom of heaven in our cafe more directly and immediately the prefent kingdom of heaven, or state of grace into which Christians are here received, (or, if you please, the society itfelf of persons fo instated;) though more remotely, and by consequence, it may imply the state of glory hereafter.

We should therefore consider how thefe states (especially that of grace here more immediately refpected) may be opened or shut; how one man may be enabled or empowered to permit entrance, or debar others from it: and this we may conceive effectible either by yielding fome



real furtherance on one side, or some effectual hindrance on the other, in respect of getting into or abiding in this Itate; or else by some formal act of judgment and authority, by virtue of which some are admitted to partake the rights and privileges of this state, or some excluded and rendered incapable thereof. I say, first, by real further ance or hindrance; as on the one fide, they who instruct or shew the way, who persuade, who encourage men to

enter, who afford any means or opportunities, may be said Acts xiv. to open this state ; (as in like manner it is said that God

did open to the Gentiles a door of faith; and St. Paul faith, 1 Cor.xvi.9. a great and effectual door was opened to him at Ephesus, 2 Cor. ii. 12. and another at Troas; and he exhorts the Coloffians to Col. iv. 3. pray that God, would open to him Supar. Toũ nóyou, a door of

preaching the mystery of Christ; where opening a door de notes ministering opportunities and advantages of performing the things fpecified.) And on the other side, they who keep from knowing the way which leads thither, who dissuade or discourage from entering, who subtract the means or prevent opportunities of doing it, who inter: pose obstacles or obstructions of difficulty, danger, or da

mage, may be said to shut, or exclude; (thus are the Scribes Matt. xxiii. said to shut the kingdom of heaven ;) that is, to hinder men

from embracing the doctrine, or submitting to the rule of Christ, by discouraging them from giving attention and

credence to what he taught, (which is otherwhere called Luke xi. 52. taking away the key of knowledge ;) as also by terrifying

them from acknowledgment of the truth they faw and liked, by reproaches, persecutions, and punishments laid on them who did it. Thus may this state be opened and shut. As also it may so by judicial and authoritative a&s; by way of consent and approbation declared, of decision and sentence pronounced ; in such manner as we duly see men admitted into, and debarred from, the state of citizens and freemen, (from enjoying in esteem and effect the capacities and immunities belonging to the members of fuch or such focieties and corporations,) by the consent or difsent, approbation or refusal, decree or fentence, formally fignified, of persons empowered to those purposes. Now


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regarding the nature of that state whereof we are speaking, as to real fartherance, fince respect to God's glory and man's falvation obliges all men to endeavour that men be brought into this state, the same being in a special manner incumbent upon the governors and pastors of the Church; therefore this may be conceived one way of opening, or one part of this power; although to shut by way of real hindrance, in the manner described, cannot properly belong to any, duty and charity forbidding really and finally to obstruct entrance into the state of grace; the Scribes and Lawyers being blamed for not suffering men (otherwise willing and disposed) to enter into the kingdom of heaven. As to the other kind of opening and shutting, by legal proceeding;' as all persons, according to charitable estimation, worthy and well qualified, ought to be admitted thereinto; so neither, according to the reason of the thing itself, nor in regard to the public benefit, nor refpe&ting the good of the persons pretending thereto, should fome be permitted to enjoy the communion thereof; therefore to distinguishi and separate such persons, the appointment and use of fuch a power is requifite. This will appear more plainly when we come to confider the necessity and utility of this power. Farther,

'3dly. For the phrafes equivalent, by which in places of the Gospel moft parallel this power is expressed and ex-, plained, they are especially those of binding and loosing, of retaining and remitting fins. As for binding and loofing; when our Saviour had promised to bestow upon St. Peter 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he fignifies, what effect the use of them should produce, by adding conjunctively, And whatever thou Malt bind on earth fhall Matt. xvi. be bound in heaven; and what thou shalt loose upon earth Shall he loofed in heaven.

Now binding may fignify any kind of determination, of restraint, of detention upon persons or things, and loofing, that which is opposite thereto, the leaving indifferent, laying open, fetting free of any person or thing respectively. He that: (having good authority to do fo) enjoins or probibits any thing, doth bind that thing, (determining its

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