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Perhaps, in the present day in Christian countries, the celebration of the Lord's Supper should not be oftener, than once a month, or once in two months.()
(1) Acts 20.7. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.
Church Government and Discipline.
Q. 1. What is meant by Church government and discipline?
A. The form and order of the government of the Church.
Q. 2. Where are these prescribed?
A. In the Sacred Scriptures. Ecclesiastical polity is not of human, but of Divine origin Civil and political laws are not at all to be regarded in ecclesiastical affairs.(a)
Q. 3. What are the proper officers of a Church? A. A Pastor and Deacons. These
be called the ordinary officers of the Church, as Prophets, Apostles, and Evangelists were called extraordinary.
The latter officers ended with the primitive age of the Christian Church; but the former will continue to the close of time.(b)
(a; Ezek. 43. 11. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion ihereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof, and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. Matt. 16. 19, And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
(b) Philip. 1. 1. Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, Q. 4. Has a Church the right, power, and privilege, to choose its own officers, and govern all its concerns?
A. It undoubtedly has. (*)
Q. 5. Whence does the Church derive this right, power, and privilege A. From Christ its Lawgiver and King.(4)
Q: 6. Can a Church with propriety surrender its right, power, and privilege to choose its own officers, and manage all its concerns.
A. It cannot, without disloyalty to Christ its Lawgiver and King.
Q. 7. What constitutes a person a Pastor of a Church?
A. Election to the pastoral office by the Church, of which he is to be Pastor, and his acceptance and investiture of said office.
Q. 8. In what way, and by. whom, is this investiture of the pastoral office made?
A. By prayer and imposition of hands by Pastors, delegated from other churches for this particular purpose at the request of the Church, which is to receive a Pastor.(C) with the bishops and deacons. Eph. 4. 11. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.
(c) See reference (a).
(d) Isa. 9.6,7. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor; the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end; upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establislı it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. Isa. 33. 22. For the Lord is our Judge; the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, he will save us.
(e) 1 Tim. 4. 14. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, Acts 13.2, 3. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Paul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
2. 9. Why is a Pastor of a Church called by different names, as Bishop, Pastor, Minister, Watchman, Presbyter or Elder, Teacher, Steward, and Ambassadour.
A. To represent the nature and duties of his office. He is called Bishop, from the oversight he is to take; Pastor, from the spiritual food he is to administer; Minister, from the service he is to render; Watchman, from the vigilance he is to exercise; Presbyter or Elder, from the grave and prudent example he is to set; Teacher, from the instructions he is to give; Steward, from the mysteries or manifold grace he is to dispense; Ambassadour, from the treaty of reconciliation and peace he is sent to effect.)
Q. ió. What are the principal duties of a Minister of Christ?
A. They are preaching the Gospel, leading in the prayers of publick worship, administering the sacraments, baptism, and the Lord's Supper, visiting the sick, attending funerals, performing marriage ceremonies, giving private instruction in religious things, especially to the young, and watching over all the spiritual concerns of the people.(8)
Q. 11. Has a minister of the Gospel a right to a maintenance from the people, to whom he dispenses the word and ordinances?
(f) 1 Tim. 3. 1. This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. Jer. 3. 15. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 1 Cor. 4. 1. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Ezek. 3. 17. Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel, 1 Pet. 5. 1. The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder. Eph. 4. 11. And he gave some-teach
2 Cor. 5.20. Now then we are ambassadours for Christ,
ough God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
(8) 2 Tim. 4. 2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
A. He has; and his maintenance should not be viewed as a matter of alms and free gift, but as a debt, justly and honourably due. A people are not at liberty to discharge, or not to discharge this duty, for God has commanded it. And all-who share in his labours should contribute to his support.(5)
Q. 12. Ought the Deacons of Churches to be ordained?
A. They ought. Every Deacon should be solemnly invested with the office, to which he has been previously elected by the imposition of hands and prayer by the Pastor.(i)
Q. 13. What are the duties of Deacons ?
1. They are to assist in distributing the elements at the communion table, to receive the contribution, made from time to time for the poor and
(h) Matt. 10.9, 10. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey; neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet 'staves; for the workman is worthy of his meat.' 1 Cor 9.7, 11, 14. Who goeth a warfare any time at bis own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? If we have sowi unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the gospel. 1 Tim. 5. 18. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And the labourer is wor. thy of his reward. Gal. 6. 6. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
(i) Acts 6. 2–6. 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. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom ye may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.