Imatges de pÓgina

their children, who make profession of the holy religion of Christ, and of submission to his laws.

Sect. III. As this immense multitude cannot meet together, in one place, to hold communion, or to worship God, it is reasonable, and warranted by scripture example, that they should be divided into many particular churches'.

Sect. IV. A particular church consists of a number of profesling Christians, with their off{pring, voluntarily affociated together, for divine worship and godly living, agreeably to the holy scriptures" ; and submitting to a certain form of government'.


[ocr errors]

1. c Rev. 5.9.-.And haft re- candlesticks. The seven stars dcemed us to God by thy blood are the angels of the seven churout of every kindred, and ches; and the seven candletongue, and people, and nati- sticks which thou saweft are the

Ads 2. 39. For the pro- feven churches. See also Řer. mise is unto you and to your 2. 1, children, and to all that are IV. e Acts 2. 41, 47.-Then afar off, even as many as the they that gladly received his Lord our Gou shall call. 1 Cor. word were baptized; and the 1, 2. compared with 2 Cor. fame day there were added un9. 13.

to them about three thousand III. d Gal. 1. 21, 22. Af souls.Praising God and haterwards I came into the regi- ving favour with all the people. ons of Syria and Cilicia; and And the Lord added to the was unknown by face untu the church daily such as should be churches of Judea, which were saved. 1 Cor.7. 14. For the onin Christ. Rev. 1. 4, 20. John believing, husband is sanctified to the leven churches which by the wife, and the unbelievare in Ala; Grace be unto you, ing wife is fan&ified by the and peace from him which is, husband; else were your chiland which was, and which is to dren unclean, but now are they come, and from the seven spirits holy. Ads 2. 39. Mark 10. which are before his throne. 14. compared with Matt. 19. The mystery of the seven stars 13, 14. and Luke 18. 15, 16. which thou saweft in my right f Heb. 8. 5. Who serve hand, and the leven golden unto the example and shadow


Of the Officers of the Church. O'Rubelite dut ord's sitiefedt callefted his

UR blessed Lord, at first, collected his.

church, out of different nations, and Extraordina- formed it into one body', by the ry officers. mission of men endued with miraculous gifts, which have, long since, ceased'.

The ordinary and perpetual officers, in the Perpetual church, are, Bishops or Pastors"; the reOfficers, presentatives of the people, usually tiled Ruling Elders, and Deacons.

of heavenly :hings, as Mofes takers of that one bread. See was admonished of God when also, Eph. 4. 16. Col. 1: 98 he was about to make the ta c Matt. 10. 1, 7, 8.' And bernacle : for Se (faith he) when he had called unto him that thou make all things ac his twelve disciples, he gave cording to the pattern shewed them power against unclea ni to thee in the mount. Gal. 6. fpirits, to cast them out, and 16. And as many as walk ac to heal all manner of fickness, cording to this rule, peace be and all manner of disease. on them, and mercy, and upon d 1 Tim. 3. 1, 2.-If a man the Israel of God.

defire the office of a bishop, he I. a Psal. 2. 8. Ask of me, defireth a good work. Eph. 4. and I shall give thee the Hea 11. And he gave fome, apof. then for thine inheritance, and cles : and some, prophets : and the uttermost parts of the earth fome, evangelifts; and some, for thy poffeflion. Rev. 7. 9. pastors and teachers; ver. 12. After this I heheld, and lo a For the perfecting of the saints, great mulritude, which no man for the work of the ministry, could number, of all nations, for the edifying of the body of and kindreds, and people, and Christ. tongue, stood before the throne, ei Tim. 5. 17. Let the and before the Lamb, clothed elders that rule well, be councwi'h white robes, and palms in ed worthy of double honour. th hands.

f Phil. 1. 1. To all the faints bi Cor. 10. 17.

For we

in Christ Tesus, which are at being many are one bread, and Philippi, with the bishops akred. me body : for we are all par- deacons.


The per

Of Bishops or Pastors. THE THE pastoral office is the first, in the church,

both for dignity and usefulness“. Names, &c. fon who fills this office, hath, in scrip ture, obtained different names expressive of his various duties. As he has the oversight of the flock of Chrift, he is termed bishop'*. As he feeds them with spiritual food, he is termed pastors. As he ferves Christ in his church, he is termed minister". As it is his duty to be grave and prudent, and an example of the flock, and to govern well in the house and kingdom of Chrift, he is termed presbyter or elder”. As he

1. a Rom. II. 13.

so account of us, as of the mib Acts 20. 29. Take heed nisters of Christ, and stewards therefore unto yourselves, and of the niysteries of God. to all the flock over the which Cor. 3. 6. Who also hath the Holy Ghost hath made you made us able ministers of the overseers, (bishops) to feed the New Testament. church of God, which he hath ei Pet. 5. The eldere purchased with his own blood. which are among you, I exc

c Jer. 3 15. And I will hort, who am also an elder, and give you pastors according to a witness of the fufferings of mine heart, which shall feed you Christ, and also a partaker of with knowledge and under the glory that shall be revealed. ftanding. 1 Pet. 5. 2, 3, 4. See alfo Tit. I. So I Tim. s.

d i Cor. 4. I. Let a man J, 17, 19.

* As the office and character of the gospel minister is partiere larly and fully described, in the holy scriptures, under the title, of bishop; and as this term is peculiarly expressive of his duty as an overseer of the flock, it ought not to be rejected.

is the messenger of God, he is termed the angel of the church. As he is sent to declare the will of God to finners, and to beseech them to be reconciled to God through Christ, he is termed ambassadors. And, as he dispenses the manifold grace of God, and the ordinances instituted by Chrift, he is termed steward of the mysteries of God.


Of ruling Elders.


ULING elders are properly the represen

tatives of the people, chosen by them, for Name, &c. the purpose of exercising government and discipline, in conjunction with pastors or ministers". This office has been understood, by a great part of the protestant reformed churches, to be designated, in the holy fcriptures, by the

f Mal. 2uo 7:

Ret. 2. I. ard, whom his Lord shall make Unto the angel of the church ruler over his household, to of Ephesus, write. Rev. 1. give them their portion of meat 20. The feven stars are the iu due season ? i Cor. 4. 1, 2. angels of the seven churches. Moreover it is required in See also, Rev. 3. I, 7.

stewards, that a nian be found g 2 Cor. 6. 20. Now then faithful. we are ambassadors for Christ, I a 1 Tini. 5. 17. Let the as though God did beseech you elders that rule well be count. by us: we pray you, in Christ's ed worthy of double honour, stead, be ye reconciled to God. especially they who labour in Eph. 6. 20.

the word and doctrine. Rom, h Luke 12. 42. Who then 12. 7, 8.-Acts 15.25 is that faithful and wife ftew.

title of governments: and of those who rule well; but do not labour in the word and doctrine".


Of Deacons.

[ocr errors]

HE fcriptures clearly point out deacons as

distinct officers in the church', whose buName, &c. finess it is to take care of the poor, and to distribute among them the collections which may be raised for their use". To them also may be properly committed the management of their temporal affairs of the church'.

bi Cur. 12. 28. And God should leave the word of God, hath fet some in th church, and ferve tables. firit apoiles, secondarily pro c Ads 6. 3, 5, 6. Where. phets, third y teachers, after fore brethren, look ye out a: that miracles, then gifts of mong you feven men of honeft healings, helps, governn ents, report, full of the Holy Ghost, divertities of tongues. See let. a. and wisdom, whom we may

la Phil. 1. 1.-: Tim, 3. appoint over this business and 8. to verfe 15

the sayiog pleased the whole b Acts 6. 1, 2. And in multitude and they chose those days when the number of Stephen, a man full of faith, the disciples was multiplied, and of the Holy Ghost, and there arofe a murmuring of Philip, and Pro horus, and Nithe Grecians againt the He- canor, and Timon, and Para Brews, becaule their widows menas, and Nicolas a profe yie were neglected in the daie of Antioch.-Whom they sec ly ministration. Then the before she apostics: and when twelve called the multitude of they had prayei, they laid the disciples unto them, and their hands on them, faid, ki is not reason that we

« AnteriorContinua »