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.
Page  29

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

OUR second argument we take from Matth. 18.17. Tell the Church. Let an obstinate offender, whom no ad∣monition doth amend, bee brought and jud∣ged by the Church. Where first of all, it is to bee condescended upon, That though hee speaketh by allusion to the Jewish Church, as is evident by these words, Let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a Publican; Yet hee meaneth of the Christian Church, when he saith, Tell the Church, as may appeare by the words following, Whatsoever ye bind on earth, &c. which is meant of the Apostles and Ministers of he Gospell, Joh. 20.23. so that hee did not send them to the Synedrium of the Jewes, when hee bade them tell the Church: nor, 2. doth hee meane of the Church universall; for then we should have none of our wrongs redressed, because wee cannot assemble the Church universall; nay, nor the representative of it, which is an Oecu∣menicke Councell: Nor 3. can wee under∣derstand it of the collective body, of a parti∣cular Page  30 Church or Congregation; for hee who is the God of order, not of confusion, hath committed the exercise of no Ecclesiasticall jurisdiction to a promiscuous multitude. Nor 4. can it be taken of a Prelate, who being but one, can no more be called the Church, nor one can be called many, or a member be called a body. Non enim una persona potest dici Ecclesia, saith Bell. de Eccles. l. 3. c. 17. Cum Ecclesia sit populus & regnum Dei. It is plaine, that the Church there spoken of, is a certaine number met together, Where two or three are gathered together.*&c. Nor 5. can wee with Erastus and Bilson expound it of the Christian Magi∣strate; which exposition, beside that in a new∣fangled language, it calleth the Magistrate the Church, and goeth about to overthrow all Ecclesiasticall jurisdiction. It is also utterly contrary to the purpose of Christ, and to the aime of that discipline which he recommen∣deth to bee used, which is the good of our brother, and the gaining of him from his of∣fence, whereas the exercise of civill jurisdicti∣on of the Magistrate is not intended for te good of the offender, and for the winning of him to repentance; but for the publike good of the Common-wealth, and for the preservation of peace, order, and justice, therein according to the lawes. Wherefore Page  31 by the Church whereof our master speaketh, we must needs understand such a representa∣tive meeting of the Church, wherein a scan∣dalous and obstinate person may, and ought to be judged.* And what is that? Collegium Presbyterorum, saith Camero. The Presby∣tery whereof mention is made, 1 Tim. 4.14. Tell the Church, that is, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 saith Chrysostome, expounding the place: he meaneth the Presbyterie made up of Pa∣stors and ruling Elders.* And so Zanchius and Iunius expound him. The Pastors were 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, because of their presiding in the Consistories of the Church. The ruling Elders were 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, because of their ruling the flocke.*Whitgift saith, Truth it is, that the place of Matthew may be understood of Seniors, but it may bee aswell understood of any other, that by the order of the Church, have authority in the Church. His confession in behalfe of Seniors we accept, but that he maketh this Scripture like a nose of waxe, and the go∣vernment of the Church like the French fashion, that we utterly abhorre. But how is the Presbytery called the Church, and why? First, even as the body is said to see when as the eyes alone doe see;* so saith Ca∣mero. The Church is said to heare that which they alone doe heare, who are as the eies of Page  32 the Church. Secondly, it is a common forme of speech to give the name of that which is represented to that which representeth it. So wee commonly say that this or that is done by the States of Holland, which is done by the Senate at Hague. Now though Bishops or Pastors alone cannot represent the Church, because hearers also belong to the definition of the Church; yet the Pres∣bytery can well represent the Church, be∣cause it containeth, beside those who labour in the word, ruling Elders put in authority by the Church for the government thereof, as Gerard rightly resolveth.*. Our Divines prove against Papists that some of these whom they call Laickes ought to have place in the Assemblies of the Church by this Ar∣gument among the rest; because otherwise the whole Church could not be thereby re∣presented. Thirdly,* the Lord commanded that the children of Israel should lay their hands upon the Levits at their consecration, and that the whole congregation should bee brought together for that effect. This, as some have observed out of Aben-Ezra,* can∣not bee so understood as if the many thou∣sands which were then in the Hoste of Israel had all laid their hands upon them, but the Elders of Israel onely representing them. Page  33 So the Lord saith,*speake to all the Congregattion of Israel, &c. But the execution of this command is expressed thus, Then Moses cal∣led for all the Elders of Israel, and said unto them &c.* So Josh. 20.6. Fourthly, Pastors and Elders, as they are the Ministers of Jesus Christ, so are they the Ministers and servants of his Spouse the Church. From that which hath beene said we may draw our Argument in this forme.

Whatsoever Courts doe represent the Church, these are made up of ruling aswell as teaching Elders.

But Presbyteries and all Assemblies of the Church are Courts which represent the Church. Ergo. The proposition is proved thus: Whatsoever Courts represent hearers aswell as teachers, and the people aswell as the Ministery, these are made up of ruling as well as teaching Elders.

But whatsoever Courts doe represent the Church, these represent hearers aswell as teachers, &c. It is plaine enough that the Church cannot bee represented except the hearers of the word, which are the farre greatest part of the Church be represented. By the Ministers of the word they cannot be represented more then the Burghes can bee represented in Parliament by the Noblemen Page  34 or by the Commissioners of Shires▪ there∣fore by some of their owne kinde must they be represented, that is by such as are hearers and not preachers. Now some hearers cannot represent all the rest, except they have a cal∣ling and commission thereto, and who can those be but ruling Elders?