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THE FORM

OT

PRESBYTERIAL CHURCH-GOVERNMENT,

JESUS

THE PREFACE. ESUS CHRIST, upon whose shoulders the government is, whose

name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace;a 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 Father, 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 saints.

a Isa. ix. 6, 7.

• Matt. xxviii. 18, 19, 20. Eph. i. 20, 21, 22, 23. Compared with Eph. iv. 8, 11, and Ps. Lxviii. 18.

Of the Church. WHERE is one general church visible, held forth in the New Testa

ment. The ministry, oracles, and ordinances of the New Testament, are given by Jesus Christ to the general church visible, for the gathering and perfecting of it in this life, until his second coming.b

a 1 Cor. xii. 12. For as the body is even as ye are called in one hope of one, and hath many members, and all your calling; Ver. 5. One Lord, one the members of that one body, being faith, one baptism. Compared with many, are one body; so also is Christ. Ver. 10. He that descended is the Ver. 13. For by one Spirit are we all same also that ascended up far above baptized into one body, whether we all heavens, that he might fill all be Jews or Gentiles, whether we things. Ver. 11. And he gave some, be bond or free; and have been all apostles; and some, prophets; and made to drink into one Spirit. Ver. some, evangelists; and some, pastors 28. And God hath set some in the and teachers; Ver. 12. For the perchurch, first, apostles ; secondarily, fecting of the saints, for the work of prophets; thirdly, teachers; after that the ministry, for the edifying of the miracles; then gifts of healings, helps, body of Christ : Ver. 13. Till we all governments, diversities of tongues. come in the unity of the faith, and of [ Together with the rest of the Chapter.] the

knowledge of the Son of God, unto bi Cor. xii. 28. [See before.). Eph. iv. a perfect man, unto the measure of 4. There is one body, and one Spirit, the stature of the fulness of Christ. Particular visible churches, members of the general church, are also held forth in the New Testament.• Particular churches in the primi. tive 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.

Of the Officers of the Church. THE 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.

THE

Ver. 15. But, speaking the truth in as should be saved. Compared with love, may grow up into him in all Acts v. 14. And believers were the things, which is the head, even Christ: more added to the Lord, multitudes Ver. 16. From whom the whole body both of men and women. 1 Cor. i. 2. fitly joined together and compacted Unto the church of God which is at by that which every joint supplieth, Corinth, to them that are sanctified according to the effectual working in in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, the measure of every part, maketh with all that in every place call upon increase of the body, unto the edify- the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, ing of itself in love.

both theirs and ours. Compared with • Gal. i. 21. Afterwards I came into 2 Cor. ix. 13. Whiles by the experi. the regions of Syria and Cilicia ; Ver. ment of this ministration, they glorify 22. And was unknown by face unto God for your professed subjection the churches of Judea which were in unto the gospel of Christ, and for Christ. Rev. i. 4. John to the seven your liberal distribution unto them, churches which are in Asia : Grace be and unto all men. Acts ii. 39. For unto you, and peace, from him which the promise is unto you, and to your is, and which was, and which is to children, and to all that are afar off, come; and from the seven Spirits even as many as the Lord our God which are before his throne. Ver. 20. shall call. 1 Cor. vii. 14. For the unThe mystery of the seven stars which believing husband is sanctified by the thou sawest in my right hand, and wife, and the unbelieving wife is the seven golden candlesticks.' The sanctified by the husband : else were seven stars are the angels of the seven your children unclean; but now are churches; and the seven candlesticks they holy. Rom. xi. 16. For if the which thou sawest are the seven first-fruit be holy, the lump is also churches. Rev. ii. 1. Unto the angel holy; and if the root be holy, so are of the church of Ephesus write; These the branches. Mark x. 14. But when things saith he that holdeth the seven Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, stars in his right hand, who walketh and said unto them, Suffer the little in the midst of the seven golden can- children to come unto me, and forbid dlesticks.

them not: for of such is the kingdom d Acts ii. 38. Then Peter said unto of God. Compared with Matt. xix. 13. them, Repent, and be baptized every Then were there brought unto him one of you in the name of Jesus little children, that he should put his Christ for the remission of sins, and hands on them, and pray: and the ye shall receive the gift of the Holy disciples rebuked them. Ver. 14. But Ghost. Ver. 41. Then they that gladly Jesus said, Suffer little children, and received his word were baptized : and forbid them not, to come unto me; for the same day there were added unto of such is the kingdom of heaven. them about three thousand souls. Luke xviii. 15. And they brought unVer. 47. Praising God, and having to him also infants, that he would favour with all the people. And the touch them: but when his disciples Lord added to the church daily such saw it, they rebuked them. Ver. 16,

Pastors.

Thepaiter is the ordinary and perpetual officer in the church,o pro

THE

phesying time of the First, it belongs to his office, To pray

for and with his flock, as the mouth of the people unto God;s Acts vi. 2, 3, 4, and xx. 36, where 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.i

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. But Jesus called them unto him, and 8 Acts vi. 2. Then the twelve called said, Suffer little children to come the multitude of the disciples unto unto me, and forbid them not: for of them, and said, It is not reason that such is the kingdom of God.

we should leave the word of God, and e Jer. iii. 15. And I will give you serve tables. Ver. 3. Wherefore, pastors according to mine heart, which brethren, look ye out among you seven shall feed you with knowledge and men of honest report, full of the Holy understanding. Ver. 16. And it shall Ghost and wisdom, whom we may apcome to pass, when ye be multiplied point over this business. Ver. 4. But and increased in the land, in those we will give ourselves continually to days, saith the Lord, they shall say no prayer, and to the ministry of the more, The ark of the covenant of the word. Acts xx. 36. And when he had Lord; neither shall it come to mind, thus spoken, he kneeled down, and neither shall they remember it, pei- prayed with them all. ther shall they visit it, neither shall James v. 14. Is any sick among that be done any more. Ver. 17. At you ? let him call for the elders of that time they shall call Jerusalem the church; and let them pray over the throne of the Lord; and all the him, anointing him with oil in the nations shall be gathered unto it, to name of the Lord: Ver. 15. And the the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem : prayer of faith shall save the sick, neither shall they walk any more after and the Lord shall raise him up; and the imagination of their evil heart. if he have committed sins, they shall

!1 Pet. v. 2. Feed the flock of God be forgiven him. which is among you, taking the over- 11 Cor. xiv. 15. What is it then ? sight thereof, not by constraint, but I will pray with the spirit, and I will willingly; pot for filthy lucre, but of pray with

the understanding also ; I a ready mind; Ver. 3. Neither as will sing with the spirit, and I will being lords over God's heritage, but sing with the understanding also. being ensamples to the flock : Ver. 4. Ver. 16. Else, when thou shalt bless And when the chief Shepherd shall with the spirit, how shall be that no appear, ye shall receive a crown of cupieth the room of the unlearru say glory that fadeth not away. Eph. iv. Amen at thy giving of tharks, seeing ii. And he gave some, apostles; and he understandeth not wát thou saysome, prophets; and some, evange- est ! lists; and some, pastors and teachers; k Deut. xxxi. 9. And Moses wrote Ver. 12. For the perfecting of the this law, and delivered it unto the saints, for the work of the ministry, priests the sons of Levi, which bare for the edifying of the body of Christ : the ark of the covenant of the Lord, Ver. 13. Till we all come in the unity and unto all the elders of Israel. Ver. of the faith, and of the knowledge of 10. And Moses commanded them, say. the Son of God, unto a perfect man, ing, At the end of every seven years, unto the measure of the stature of the in the solemnity of the year of release, fulness of Christ.

in the feast of tabernacles, Ver. 11.

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 publick reading of the scriptures belongeth to the pastor's office.

To feed the flock, by preaching of the word, according to which he is to teach, convince, reprove, exhort, and comfort.m

To catechise, which is a plain laying down the first principles of the oracles of God," or of the doctrine of Christ, and is a part of preaching.

To dispense other divine mysteries.°

To administer the sacraments.P When all

Israel is come to appear be- doctrine both to exhort and to confore the Lord thy God in the place vince the gainsayers. which he shall choose, thou shalt read n Heb. v. 12. For when for the time this law before all Israel in their hear- ye ought to be teachers, ye have need ing. Neh. viii. 1. And all the people that one teach you again which be the gathered themselves together as one first principles of the oracles of God; man into the street that was before and are become such as have need of the water-gate; and they spake unto milk, and not of strong meat. Ezra the scribe to bring the book of 01 Cor. iv. 1. Let a man so account the law of Moses, which the Lord had of us as of the ministers of Christ, commanded to Ísrael. Ver. 2. And and stewards of the mysteries of God. Ezra the priest brought the law be- Ver. 2. Moreover, it is required in fore the congregation, both of men stewards, that a man be found faithand women, and all that could hear ful. with understanding, upon the first P Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye therefore, day of the seventh month. Ver. 3. and teach all nations, baptizing them And he read therein-Ver. 13. And in the name of the Father, and of the on the second day were gathered to- Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Ver. 20. gether the chief of the fathers of all Teaching them to observe all things the people, the priests, and the Levites, whatsoever I have commanded you: unto Ezra the scribe, even to under- and, lo, I am with you alway, even stand the words of the law.

unto the end of the world. Amen. Isa. lxvi. 21. And I will also take Mark xvi. 15. And he said unto them, of them for priests, and for Levites, Go ye into all the world, and preach saith the Lord. Matt. xxiii. 34. the gospel to every creature. Ver. Wherefore, behold, I send unto you 16. He that believeth, and is baptized, prophets, and wise men, and scribes; shall be saved; but he that believeth and some of them ye shall kill and not shall be damned. 1 Cor. xi. 23. crucify; and some of them shall ye For I have received of the Lord that scourge in your synagogues, and per- which also I delivered unto you, That secute them from city to city. the Lord Jesus, the same night in

mi Tim. iii. 2. A bishop then must which he was betrayed, took bread. be blameless, the husband of one wife, Ver. 24. And, when he had given

igilant, sober, of good behaviour, thanks, he brake and said, Take, given to hospitality, apt to teach. 2 eat; this is my body, which is broken Tim. iii. 16. All scripture is given by for you : this do in remembrance of inspiration of God, and is profitable me. Ver. 25. After the same manner for doctrine, for reproof, for correc- also he took the cup, when he had tion, for instruction in righteousness; supped, saying, This cup is the new Ver. 17. That the man of God may be testament in my blood : this do ye, as perfect, throughly furnished unto all oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of good works. Tit. i. 9. Holding fast me. Compared with 1 Cor. x. 16. The the faithful word as he hath been cup of blessing which we bless, is it taught, that he may be able by sound not the communion of the blood of

t

To bless the people from God, Numb. vi. 23, 24, 25, 26. Compared with Rev. xiv. 5, (where the same blessings, and persons from whom they come, are expressly mentioned,4) Isa. Ixvi. 21, where, under the names of Priests and Levites to be continued under the gospel, are meant evangelical pastors, who therefore are by office to bless the people."

To take care of the poor."

And he hath also a ruling power over the flock as a pastor. Christ? the bread which we break, is Ver. 37. Having land, sold it, and it not the communion of the body of brought the money, and laid it at Christ?

the apostles' feet. Acts vi. 2. Then 9 Numb. vi. 23. Speak unto Aaron, the twelve called the multitude of and unto his sons, saying, On this wise the disciples unto them, and said, ye shall bless the children of Israel, It is not reason that we should leave saying unto them, Ver. 24. The Lord the word of God, and serve tables. bless thee, and keep thee; Ver. 25. Ver. 3. Wherefore, brethren, look ye The Lord make his face shine upon out among you seven men of honest thee, -Ver. 26. The Lord lift up his report, full of the Holy Ghost and wiscountenance upon thee, and give thee dom, whom we may appoint over this peace. Compared with Rev. i. 4. John business. Ver. 4. But we will give to the seven churches which are in ourselves continually to prayer, and Asia : Grace be unto you, and peace, to the ministry of the word. i Cor. from him which is, and which was, xvi. 1. Now concerning the collection and which is to come; and from the for the saints, as I have given order seven Spirits which are before his to the churches of Galatia, even so do throne ; Ver. 5. And from Jesus ye. Ver. 2. Upon the first day of the Christ, who is the faithful Witness, week let every one of you lay by him and the first-begotten of the dead, and in store, as God hath prospered him, the Prince of the kings of the earth. that there be no gatherings when I Isa. lxvi. 21. And I will also take of come. Ver. 3. And when I come, them for priests, and for Levites, saith whomsoever ye shall approve by your the Lord.

letters, them will I send to bring your + Deut. X. 8. At that time the Lord liberality unto Jerusalem. Ver. 4. separated the tribe of Levi, to bear And if it be meet that I go also, they the ark of the covenant of the Lord, shall go with me. Gal. ii. 9. And to stand before the Lord minister when James, Cephas, and John, who unto him, and to bless in his name, seemed to be pillars, perceived the unto this day. 2. Cor. xiii. 14. The grace that was given unto me, they grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and gave to me and Barnabas the right the love of God, and the communion hands of fellowship; that we should of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. go unto the heathen, and they unto Amen. Eph. i. 2. Grace be to you, the circumcision. Ver. 10. Only they and peace, from God our Father, and would that we should remember the from the Lord Jesus Christ.

poor; the same which I also was for8 Acts xi. 30. Which also they did, ward to do. and sent it to the elders by the hands * 1 Tim. v. 17. Let the elders that of Barnabas and Saul. Åcts iv. 34. rule well be counted worthy of double Neither was there any among them honour, especially they who labour in that lacked: for as many as were pos- the word and doctrine. Acts xx. 17. sessors of lands or houses sold them, And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and brought the prices of the things and called the elders of the church. that were sold, Ver. 35. And laid Ver. 28. Take heed therefore unto them down at the apostles' feet: and yourselves, and to all the flock, over distribution was made unto every man the which the Holy Ghost hath 'made according as he had need. Ver. 36. you overseers, to feed the church of And Joses, who by the apostles was God, which he hath purchased with surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being his own blood. 1 Thess. v. 12. And interpreted, The son of consolation, we beseech you, brethren, to know a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, them which labour among you, and

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