Imatges de pÓgina

another, the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; to another the gift f healing, by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and self-same Spirit, dividing to every one severally, as he will.'

These nine sorts of gifts flourished in the first age of the Church, and were the life of its extraordinary ministry. There was no certain limited time for the cessation of these gifts. Those peculiar to the apostles were commensurate to their lives. None, after their decease, had either apostolical office, power, or gifts. The same may be said of the evangelists: nor have we any undoubted testimony that any gifts, truly miraculous, and every way above the faculties of men, were communicated to any persons after the expiration of that generation who conversed with Christ in the flesh, or of those who received the Holy Ghost by their ministry. Probably God might, on some occasions, for a longer season, put forth his power in some miraculous operations; and so he may yet do, and perhaps sometimes doth; but the superstition of ensuing ages, inventing and divulging innumerable miracles, false and foolish, was most injurious to the gospel, and opened the way to impose on Christians endless delusions. But though all these gifts and operations ceased in some respects, some of them absolutely, and some of them as to the immediate manner of communication and degree of excellency, yet, so far as the edification of the Church was concerned in them, something that is analogous to them was and is continued. He who gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, gave also some pastors and teachers; and as he furnished the former with extraordinary gifts, so far as any thing of the like kind is needful for the continual edification of the Chuch, he bestows it on the latter also..

Ordinary Gifts.

THESE are called ordinary, not as if they were absolutely common to all, or not to be highly esteemed; but by this term they are distinguished from those just mentioned, which exceeded all the powers and faculties of men;

and because they are continued in the ordinary state of the Church, and will be so until the consummation of all things.

We have already referred to Eph. iv. 7, &c. wherein, at one view, the grant, institution, benefit, and continuance of the Christian ministry is clearly and fully represented; and the design of this discourse is to declare that the gift and grant of the ministry and ministers, of the office and the persons to discharge it, is a most eminent fruit of the mediatory power of Christ, with his love and care towards his Church;-and those of whom the apostles speaks 'unto every one of us, are the officers or ministers afterwards enumerated. Unto them is grace given ;-sanctifying grace is not there intended, but a participation of a gracious favour with respect to a particular end. This trust is, in a way of grace, committed to us; and that according to the measure of the gift of Christ,' as he is pleased to measure out the gift.


He himself gave, verse 11. It is the foundation of all Church order, power, and worship, that the gift and grant of Christ is the original of the ministry. If it had not been so given of him, it would not have been lawful for any of the sons of men to institute such an office.-And here it will follow that the introduction of officers into the Church, not appointed by him, is an act of opposition to his authority, and a contempt of his care and bounty: and if an examination might be admitted by this rule (as it will one day whether men will or not) some great names now in the Church would scarce be able to preserve their station : Popes, Cardinals, Metropolitans, Diocesan Prelates, Archdeacons, Commissaries, Officials, and I know not what other monstrous products of an incestuous conjunction between secular pride and ecclesiastical degeneracy, would think themselves severely treated by this rule: but so it must be at last, and that unavoidably.

The eminency of this grant appears from the grandeur of its introduction. It was given by Christ, when he ascended up on high, and led captivity captive,' verse 8. The words are taken from Ps. Ixviii. 17; which passage refers to the glorious appearance of God on Mount Sinai, in giving the law;-then God led captivity captive, in the destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who had long held his people in cruel bondage:-but the words are ap

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plied to Christ, who gloriously ascended far above all Heavens, to fill all things' (verse 10); having effectually conquered Satan and all his powers. Then he received gifts for men,' or in man' in the human nature,' as the Hebrew words may be rendered. Christ received these gifts in the human nature, to confer them on others. Now, to what end was this glorious theatre, as it were, erected, and all this preparation made? It was to display the greatness of the gift he would bestow, and the glory of the work which he would effect;-and this was, to furnish the Church with Ministers, and ministers with gifts for the discharge of their office and duty; and it will one day appear that there is more glory, more excellency, in giving one poor minister to a congregation, by furnishing him with spiritual gifts for the discharge of his duty, than in the pompous instalment of a thousand Popes, Cardinals; &c. &c.

He gave gifts. The ministry is a gift of Christ; and the spiritual gifts which belong to it are its life, and inseparable from its being. A ministry without gifts is not a ministry of Christ's giving. To set up such a ministry is to despise Christ, frustrate the ends of the ministry, and deceive the souls of men. To set up a ministry which may be continued by outward forms, and orders of men only, without any communication of gifts from Christ, is to despise his authority and care. The grand design of the ministry is the perfecting of the saints, the edifying of the body of Christ;' but this cannot be done without spiritual gifts; and, therefore, a ministry destitute of them, is a mock-ministry, and no ordinance of Christ.

The eminency of this gift appears also in the diversity of the offices and officers which Christ appointed. He knew that there would be a twofold state of the Church; -the first, of its foundation, when an extraordinary àggression was to be made on the kingdom of Satan in the world, and when a new order and rule of worship was to be established all over the earth. For these purposes he gave apostles, prophets, and evangelists. It was necessary that these should have their call and authority from Christ, antecedently to all order and power in the Church; for the very being of the Church depended on their power of office; but this, without such an immediate power from Christ, no man can pretend to and what was done origiE e

nally by their persons, is now done by their word and doctrine: for the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.'

There is also a second state of the church, in its edificaion, which is to be carried on according to the rules given by Christ, in the ordinary administration of the institutions of the gospel. To this end Christ gave ordinary officers, pastors, and teachers, who, by his direction, were ordained in every Church. Acts xiv. 23, 24.

But, whereas extraordinary officers were given by Christ, by his immediate call, and communication of power to them, it does not appear how he gives these ordinary officers unto it. I answer, He did it originally, and continueth to do it, by the following means:—He doth it by the law and rule of the gospel, wherein he hath appointed this office of the ministry in his Church, and so always to be continued. If there be not an ordinance of Christ to this purpose, or if its force be now expired, then we must confess that the whole office is a mere usurpation : but if he hath given pastors and teachers to his Church, to continue until all his saints, in all ages, come to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ' (Eph. iv. 12.); and he hath promised to be with them, as such, to the end (Matt. xxviii. 18, 20.); if the apostles ' ordained elders in every city' (Acts xiv. 23. Titus i. 5.) who were made overseers, or bishops of the flocks' by the Holy Ghost (Acts xx. 28.); and if believers are obliged to yield obedience to them (Heb. xiii. 7, 17) then this foundation standeth firm and unshaken as the ordinances of Heaven. And as there is no intimation whatever in the Scriptures of any state of the Church, wherein the disciples of Christ may or ought to live without the orderly guidance of the ministers, it is vain to imagine that any defect in other men, any apostacy of visible churches, should render them incapable of erecting a regular ministry over them. To suppose, that because the Church of Rome and its adherents have, by their apostacy, lost an evangelical ministry among them,-that therefore others to whom the word of God is come,' and has been made effectual for their salvation, have not sufficient warrant from the word to yield obedience to all the commands of rist, or that in so doing he will not accept them, is fit


only for men who have a trade in religion to drive for their own private advantage.

Jesus Christ continues this office by bestowing spiritual gifts and abilities on men, to enable them to discharge the duties of it. Spiritual gifts do not, indeed, of themselves, make any man a minister; yet no man can, ac cording to the mind of Christ, be a minister without them. Wherefore, supposing the continuance of the institution, if Christ, at any time, or in any place, were to cease to bestow spiritual gifts, then,and in that place,the ministry itself must cease. To erect a ministry by virtue of outward order, rites, and ceremonies, without gifts for the edification of the Church, is but to hew a block with axes and plains, and set it up for an image to be adored. To make a man a minister who can do nothing of the peculiar work of the ministry, nothing toward the only end of it in the church, is to set up a dead carcase, fastening it to a post, and expecting it should do you work and service.

Jesus Christ continues this office by giving power to his Church in all ages, to call and separate to the work of the ministry such as he hath fitted and gifted, for it. This power in the Church is not despotic or lordly; but can sists in a right and ability to act in this matter obediently to the commands of Christ. Hence the act of the Church is merely the instituted means of conveying authority and of fice from Christ to persons called thereto. The Church does not give them any authority of its own, or resident in itself, but only, in a way of obedience to Christ, they transmit power from him to persons so called. Hence they become ministers of Christ, and not of the bishops, or churches, or men, holding their office from Christ himself, by the law and rule of the gospel; so that whoever despiseth them, dispiseth him also in them. Some would have the ministers of the gospel to derive all their authority from the people who choose them; and some from the bishops who ordain them; but this is to make them ministers of men, and servants of men, and to constitute other masters between them and Christ.

The Church has no power to call any person to the office of the ministry, where Christ hath not gone before it. in the designation of that person by an endowment of spiritual gifts: for, if the whole authority of the ministry be from Christ, and if he never gives it but where he bestows

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