An assertion of the government of the Church of Scotland in the points of ruling-elders and of the authority of presbyteries and synods with a postscript in answer to a treatise lately published against presbyteriall government.
Gillespie, George, 1613-1648.
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THE CONTENTS OF the first part of this Treatise.

CHAP. I. Of the words Elder, Lay-Elder, Ruling-Elder.

FOure significations of the word Elder in Scripture. Of the nickname of Lay-Elders. That the Popish distin∣ction of the Clergie, and the Laity ought to be banished. Of the name of Ruling-Elders, and the reason thereof.

CHAP. II. Of the function of Ruling-Elders, and what sre of officers they be.

OF the distinction of Pastors, Doctors, Elders, and Deacons. Of the behaviour and conuersation of Ruling-Elders. Of the distinction of the power of Order and of jurisdiction. That the Ruling-Elder his power of jurisdiction, is to sit and voice in all the Consistories and Assemblies of the Church. That his power of order, is to do by way of authority those duties of edification, which every Christian is bound to do by way of charity.

CHAP. III. The first argument for Ruling-Elders taken from the Iewish-Church.

THat we ought to follow the Jewish Church in such things as they had not for any speciall reason proper to them, but as they were an Ecclesiasticall Republike. That the Elders among the Jews did sit among the Priests and voice in their Ecclesiasticall Courts, according to Baravias own confession, but were not their will Magi∣strates as he alleadgeth. Bilsons objections answered.

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CHAP. IV. The second Argument taken from Math. 18.17.

WHat is the meaning of these words, Tell the Church? Why the Presbytery may be called the Church. Our argument from this place for Ruling-Elders.

CHAP. V. The third Argument taken from Rom. 12.8.

THe words Rom. 12.8. expounded. That by him that rueth, is meant the Ruling-Elder. The objections to the contrary answered.

CHAP. VI. The fourth Argument taken from 1 Cor. 12.28.

THt by governments the Apostle meaneth ruling-El∣ders. Two glosses given by our opposites confuted.

CHAP. VII. The fist Argument taken from 1 Tim. 5.17.

OUr Argument from this place vindicated against en false glosses devised by our opposites.

CHAP. VIII. The testimony of Ambrose for Ruling-Elders vindicated.

NO certain ground alledged against the authority of those Commentaries upon the Epistles ascribed to Ambrose. Other answers made by our opposites to the place upon 1 Tim. 5. confuted.

CHAP. IX. Other Testimonies of Antiquitie.

TEstimonies for Ruling-Elders out of Tertullion, Cyprian, Epiphanius, Bsil, Chrysostome, Hierome, Eu∣sbius, Augustine, Origen, Isidore, the first counsell of T∣lido. Other testimoies observed by Iustellus, and Voe∣tius. Bilsons answer confuted.

CHAP. X. The consent of Protestant Writers, and the confession of our op∣posites for Ruling-Elders.

CItatons of sundry Protestant writers to this purpose. This truth hath extorted a confession from Witgist, Page  [unnumbered] Saravia, Sultiffe, Camero, and M. Io. Wemys of Craigtown.

CHAP. XI. Dr. Fields five arguments against ruling-Elders, answered.

HIs first reason, that no foot-step of Ruling-Elders for many hundreth years could be found in any Chri∣stian Church, answered five waies. Footsteps of Ruling-Elders in the Church of England. His second reason an∣swered. That we ought to judge of the Officers of the Church, not from 1 Tim. 3. only, but from that and other places compared together. His third reason answered by the crtain bounds of the power of Ruling-Elders. His fourth reason answered by the distinction of the Ecclesia∣stical Sanedrim of the Iewes, from their civill Sanedrim. His last reason concerning the names holdeth not.

CHAP. XII. The extravagancies of Whitegift, and Saravia, in the matter of ruling-Elders.

THe one alloweth of Ruling-Elders under an Infidell Magistrate, but not under a Christian Magistrate. The other alloweth of them under a Christian Magistrate, but not under an Infidell. That Ruling-Elders do not prejudge the power of the civill Magistrate, but the Pre∣lacie doth, which confuteth Whitegift. That Christian Magistrates are not come in place of the Jewish Seniors, which confuteth Saravia.

CHAP. XIII. Whether ruling-Elders have the power of decisive voices when they they sit in Presbyteries and Synods.

THe affirmative proved by nine reasons. Two objecti∣ons to the contrary answered. The place 1 Cor. 14.32. explained.

CHAP. XIIII. Of the Ordination of ruling-Elders. Of the continuance of their Office, and of their maintenance.

THat the want of the Imposition of hands in Ordina∣tion, the want of maintainance, and the not conti∣nuing Page  [unnumbered] alwaies in the xercise of the Office, cannot be pre∣judiciall to the Office it selfe of Ruling-Elders.

The Contents of the second Part.

CHAP. I. Of Popular government in the Church.

THat this question is necessary to be cl••red, before the question of the authority of Assemblies. That Jurisdiction ought not to be 〈◊〉 by all the Members of a Congregaion, proved by 〈◊〉 reasons. Objections answered. The controversie 〈◊〉.

CHAP. II. Of the independencie of the Elderships of particular Con∣gregations.

Dr. Fields question, whther the power of Jurisdicti∣on belongeth to the Eldership of every Congrega∣tion, or to a common Presbytery made up out of many Congregations, answered by an eig••fold distinction. A thr••fold conformity of those Parishionall Elderships to the primitive pattern.

CHAP. III. Of great Presbyteries which some call Classes.

THree false glosss on 1 Tim. 4.14. confuted. That the Apostle 〈◊〉 by the Presbytery a Assembly of Presbyters. whereof also Fathers and Councels do speak. The warrant and authority of our Classicall Presbyteries declared both by good reasons, and by the Apostolicall patern: for assertion of the latter it is proved, 1. That in ma∣ny of those Cities wherein the Apostles planted Christian religion, there was a greater number of christians then did or could ordinarily assemble into one place. 2. That in these Cities there was a plurality of Pastors. 3. That yet the whole within the City was one Church. 4. That the whole was governed by one common Presbytery. From all which a Corollary is drawne for these our Classicall Pres∣byteries.

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CHAP. IV. Of the authority of Sy••ds provinciall, and Nationall.

THat the power of Jurisdiction in the Synod, diffe∣reth from the power of jurisdiction in the Presbyte∣rie. The power of Jurisdiction in Synods is three-fold, dogmatick, diataktick, and critick; Whether the decrees of a Synod may be pressed upon such as professe scruple of conscience there anent.

CHAP. V. The first argument for the authority of Synods, and the subor∣dination of Presbyteries ••erto, taken from the light of nature.

THat the Church is a certain kinde of Republike, and in things which are common to her with other socie∣ties, is guided by the same light of nature which guideth them, Of this kinde are her assemblies.

CHAP. VI. The second argument taken from Christs Institution.

THe will of Christ for the authority of Synods is shew∣ed two waies. 1. Because else he hath not sufficiently provided for all the necessities of his Church. 2. He hath committed spirituall power and authority to the Assem∣blies and Courts of the Church in generall, yet hath not determined in Scripture all the particular kinds, degrees, and bounds thereof, and that for three reasons. The parti∣cular kinds of Synods appointed by the Church accord∣ing to the light of nature, and generall warrant and rules of the word, are mixed, thogh not meer divine ordinances.

CHAP. VII. The third argument taken from the Iewish Church.

THat there were among the Jews a least two Ecclesi∣asticall Courts, the Synagogue, and the Sanedrim. That the power of the Synagogical conistory was not ci∣vill, but spirituall, proved against Sutliffe. That the Jews had a supream Ecclesiasticall Sanedrim, distinct from the civill Sanedrim, proved against the same Sutliffe, both from the institution therof, Deu. 17. and from the restitu∣tion, Page  [unnumbered] 2 Chron. 19. and from the practice, Ier. 26. The con∣sequence of our argument, proved against such as deny it. That we ought to follow the Jewish Church in those things which it had, not as it was Jewish, but under the common respect and account of a politicall Church.

CHAP. VIII. The fourth argument taken from Acts 15.

THat we finde Acts 15. a Synode of the Apostles and Elders, with authority imposing their decrees upon many particular Congregations. Foure answers made to this argument found not to be satisfactory.

CHAP. IX. The sixt argument token from the Geometricall proportion.

THis argument from proportion doth hold, whether we compare the collectives of Churches among them∣selves, or the representatives among themselves, or the representatives and collectives together.

CHAP. X. The sixt argument taken from necessitie.

THat without the authority of Synods, it is impossible to preserve unity, or to make an end of controversie. Other remedies declared to be ineffectuall.

CHAP. XI. Objections made against the authority of Synods answered.

THe place Math. 18.17. discussed. That one visible politicall Church may comprehend many Congrega∣tions, proved. That the authority of Presbyteries and Sy∣nods doth not rob the Congregations of their liberties, as the Prelacie did. A visible Church may be considered either metaphysically, or politically: This distinction ex∣plained, serveth to obviat sundry arguments alledge for the independent power of Congregations. Other two objections answered, which have been lately made.