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soon as the same shall be ratified, without any substantial alteration, by an ordinance of the honourable Houses of the Parliament of England; which ratification shall be timely intimate and made known by the Commissioners of this kirk, residing at London. Provided always, That this act be no ways prejudicial to the further discussion and examination of that article which holds forth, That the doctor or teacher hath power of the administration of the sacraments, as well as the pastor; as also of the distinct rights and interests of presbyteries and people in the calling of ministers; but that it shall be free to debate and discuss these points, as God shall be pleased to give further light.
ESUS CHRIST, upon whose shoulders the government is, whose name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace; of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end; who sits upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth, even for ever; having all power given unto him in heaven and in earth by the Fa ther, who raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, far above all principalities and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all; he being ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, received gifts for his church, and gave officers necessary for the edification of his church, and perfecting of his samts.
a Isa. ix. 6, 7.
b Matt. xxviii. 18, 19, 20. Eph. i. 20, 21, 22, 23. Compared with Eph. iv. 8, 11. and Psal. Ixviii. 18.
Of the Church.
HERE is one general church visible, held forth in the
The ministry, oracles, and ordinances of the New Testament, are given by Jesus Christ to the general church vi
a 1 Cor. xii. 12. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. Ver. 13. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to
drink into one Spirit. Ver. 28. And God hath set some in the Church; first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [Toge ther with the rest of the Chapter
sible, for the gathering and perfecting of it in this life, until his second coming.
Particular visible churches, members of the general church, are also held forth in the New Testament. Particular churches in the primitive times were made up of visible saints, viz. of such as, being of age, professed faith in Christ, and obedience unto Christ, according to the rules of faith and life, taught by Christ and his apostles; and of their children 4.
b 1 Cor. xii. 28. [See before.] Eph. iv. 4. There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; Ver. 5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Compared with Ver. 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. Ver. 11. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evange liats, and some pastors and teachers; Ver. 12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Ver. 13. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Ver. 15. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Ver. 16. From whom the whole body, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love.
c Gal. i. 21. Afterwards 1 came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; Ver. 22. And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ. Rev. i. 4. John to the seven Churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne. Ver. 20. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right band, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven
candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Rev. ii. 1. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
d Acts ii. 38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ver. 41. Then they that gladly receiv ed his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Ver. 47. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Compared with Acts v. 14. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. 1 Cor. i. 2. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. Compared with 2 Cor. ix. 13. Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men. Acts ii, 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 1 Cor. vii. 14. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy. Rom. xi. 16. For if the
Of the Officers of the Church.
HE officers which Christ hath appointed for the edification of his church, and the perfecting of the saints, are, some extraordinary, as apostles, evangelists, and prophets, which are ceased.
Others ordinary and perpetual, as pastors, teachers, and other church-governors, and deacons.
Tchurch, prophesying of the time of the gospel.
First it belongs to his office,
To pray for and with his flock, as the mouth of the people unto God, Acts vi. 2, 3, 4. and xx. 36. where
first-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches. Mark. x. 14. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Compared with Matt. xix. 13. Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray and the disciples rebuked them. Ver. 14. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Luke xviii. 15. And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. Ver. 16. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
e Jer. iii. 15. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Ver. 16. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied. and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord; neither shall it come to mind, neither shall they remember it, neither shall they visit it, neither shall that be done
any more. Ver. 17. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
f 1 Pet. v. 2. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Ver. 3. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. Ver. 4. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Eph. iv. 11. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, Ver. 12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying ofthe body of Christ; Ver. 13. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
g Acts vi. 2. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Ver. 3. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Ho!
preaching and prayer are joined as several parts of the same office The office of the elder (that is, the pastor) is to pray for the sick, even in private, to which a blessing is especially promised; much more therefore ought he to perform this in the publick execution of his office, as a part thereof.
To read the scriptures publickly; for the proof of which, 1. That the priests and Levites in the Jewish church were trusted with the publick reading of the word is proved.
2. That the ministers of the gospel have as ample a charge and commission to dispense the word, as well as other ordinances, as the priests and Levites had under the law, proved, Isa. lxvi. 21. Matt. xxiii. 34. where our Saviour entitleth the officers of the New Testament, whom he will send forth, by the same names of the teachers of the Old!.
Which propositions prove, that therefore (the duty being of a moral nature) it followeth, by just consequence, that the
Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Ver. 4. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Acts xx. 36. And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
A James v. 14. Is any man sick a mong you? let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. Ver. 15. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
i 1 Cor. xiv. 15. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Ver. 16. Else, when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
k Deut. xxxi. 9. And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests, the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. Ver 10. And Moses commanded them, say ing, At the end of every seven years is
the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles. Ver. 11. When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Neh. viii. 1. And all the people gathered themselves together as one man, into the street that was before the watergate, and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. Ver. 2. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation, both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. Ver. 3. And he read therein.--Ver. 13. And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to under stand the words of the law.
/ Isa. lxvi. 21. And I will also take of them for priests, and for Levites, saith the Lord. Mat. xxiii. 34. Where fore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.