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.

CHAP. X. The consent of Protestant Writers, and the conesion of our opposites for ruling Elders.

THE office of Ruling Elders is not onely maintained by 〈◊〉▪ Cartright, A••rs, Bucer••, and others whom our opposites will call partiall Writers, let him who pleaseth read the com∣mentaries of Martyr, 〈◊〉, Gualther, Hem∣mingius, Page  74 Piscator, Paraus upon Rom. 12.8. 1 Cor. 12.28. Aretius on Act. 14.23. Zepper. de Polit. Eccles. l. 3. c. 1. & 12. Bullinger on 1 Tim. 5.17. Arculrius on Act. 14.23. Ca∣tal. Test▪ verit. col 103. Osand. cent 1 l. 4. c. 11. Chemnt exam part 2. pg 28 Gerard. lo. Theol. tom. 6 pg. 363 64. Muscul. loc. com. de Eccles. c. 5 Bucan. loc com. oc 42. Sueta∣nus de Discipl. Eccles. part. 4 c. 3. Polanus Synt. l. 7. c 11. Zanchius in 4 praecep col. 727. Iunius animad. in Bellr cont 5. l 1. c 2 Da∣naeus de Polit. Christ. l. 6 p 452. Alsted. Theol. cas. pag. 518.520. Sopingus ad bonam fidem Sibrandi▪ pag. 253. &c. The Professours of Leyden, Synt. pur. Theol. Disp. 42. and sundry others, whose testimonies I omit for brevities cause, it is enough to note the places. The Author of the Assertion for true and Chri∣stian Church policie, pag. 196.197. ci∣teth for ruling Elders, the testimony the Commissioners of King Edward the sixt, au∣thorised to compile a booke for the reforma∣tion of Lawes Ecclesiasticall; among whom were the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of Ely. They say, Let the Minister going apart with some of the Elders, take coun∣sell, &c. Voetus citeth to the same purpose, Marlorat, Hyperius, Fulke, Whittaker, Fenner, Bunnius, Willet, Sadeel, Lubbertus, TrelcatiusPage  75 (both the one and the other) yea Socinus and the Remonstrants.

Besides we have for us the practise of al wel reformed Churches, and the Confessions of the French, the Belgicke, and the Helve∣ticke Churches to be seene in the harmony of Confessions.

But what will you say if the adversaries of ruling Elders be forced to say somewhat for them?*Whitgift confesseth not onely that our division of Elders, into preaching Elders and ruling Elders, hath learned patrons; but also that the Christian Church when there was no Christian Magistrate had governing Seniors:* and elsewhere he saith, I know that in the Primitive Church, they had in every Church Seniors, to whom the government of the Congregation was committed. Saravia lendeth them his word likewise,*Quod à me, &c. Which is not disputed by mee in that mea∣ning that the Belgicke Churches, or any other which doe with edification use the service of these Elders, should rashly change any thing, before that which is better bee substitute. A∣gaine, speaking of the government of ruling Elders;* he saith, Quod ut, &c. Which as I judge profitable and good to bee constitute in a Christian Church and Common-wealth, so I affirme no Church, no Common-wealth to bee Page  76 bound thereto by Divine Law: except perhaps necessity compell, or great utility allure, and the edification of the Church require it. Loe here the force of truth struggling with one contra∣ry minded. Hee judgeth the office of ruling Elders, profitable and good, yet not of divine right; yet he cknowledgeth that necessity, utility, and the edification of the Church, maketh us tyed to it even by divine right. But if it be profitable and good, why did he call in question the necessity, at least the uti∣lity and the edification of it? can one call in question the utility of that which is profi∣table? he would have said the truth, but it stucke in his teeth, and could not come forth. Saelvius de concil. lib. I cap. 8. saith that among the Jewes, Seniores tribuum, the El∣ders of the Tribes did sit with the Priests in judging controversies of the Law of God. Hence hee argueth against Bellarmine, that so it ought to bee in the Christian Church also, because the priviledge of Christians is no less thn the priviledge of the Jewes. Cmero tells us,* that when the Apostle, 1 Co. 6. reproveth the Corinthians, for that when one of 〈◊〉 had matter against ano∣th•• they 〈…〉 the Saints to bee udges 〈…〉 no by the 〈◊〉 the 〈…〉 mltitude, sedeos Page  77 qui in Ecclesia constituti crat,*ut vacarent gu∣bernationi Ecclesiae: that is, hose who were or∣dained in the Church, to give themselves to the government of the Church. My Lord Craig∣tanne finding the strength of that Argument, that if beside the Ministers of the Word, other grave and wise Christians may be pre∣sent in the greatest Assemblies and Councels of the Church, why not in Presbyteries al∣so? answereth, that indeed it is not amisse that the wiser sor among the people be joy∣ned as helpers and assistants to the Pastors, providing that this their auxiliary function be not obtruded as necessary. This is some∣what for us; but we say further, if it be ne∣cessary in Oecumenicke Councells (for no lesse doe the Arguments of our Divines in that question with the Papists conclude) then is it necessary in Presbyteries also.