CHAP. V. Our third Argument taken from Ro∣mans 12.8.
OUR third Argument is grounded upon Rom. 12.8. The Apostle hath declared before that, as there are many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office, for the office of the eye is to see, of the eare to heare, &c. So are their gifts given to the severall office-bearers of the Church, wherewith every one in his owne office may glorifie God and edifie the Church, vers. 4. with vers. 5.6. These gifts he saith are differing, according to the grace given to us; that is, according to the holy charge and office given unto us by the grace and favour of God: so vers. 3. Through the Page 35 grace given unto me, saith Paul: that is through the authority of my Apostleship, which by grace I have obtained. Now whiles he ex∣horteth every one to the faithfull and hum∣ble use of his gift which he hath received for the discharge of his office, he illustrateth his exhortation by the enumeration of the or∣dinary Ecclesiasticall offices vers. 6.7.8. And as Beza,*Piscator, and Iunius doe well resolve the text. First, he maketh a generall division of functions in the Church, making two sorts of the same Prophesie, whereby is meant the faculty of expounding Scrip∣ture: and Ministerie comprehending all o∣ther imployments in the Church. Prophe∣cying the Apostle sudivideth into Teaching, which is the Doctors part, and Exhortation which is the Pastors. Ministery he subdivi∣deth in Giving, which is the Deacons part. Ruling which is the ruling Elders part, and Shewing mercy, which pertained to them who had care of the sicke. Against this com∣mentary which we have made upon the A∣postles words.*Sutcliffe objecteth a double injury which we doe to Pastors. First, if these our Elders be the Rulers here spoken of, then Pastors ought not to rule: as if (forsooth) Elders could not rule except they rule alone. Next hee saith wee make these Elders as Page 36 necessary to the Church as Pastors; so that a Church cannot be where there are not ruling Elders, even as there is not a Church where there are not Word and Sacraments. Surely, a Church may happen to want Pastors, and so to want both the preaching of the Word, and the use of the Sacraments for that time: And so may it want Elders, and still remaine a Church, but defective and maimed. How∣beit the Pastors are more necessary then the Elders, because they doe not onely rule, but preach beside.
But to passe this, there are other things which better deserve an answer: for one might object, 1. That the Apostle seemeth to speake of severall gifts onely, not of seve∣rall offices. 2. If hee speake of Offices, by what reason make we Prophesie and Ministery generall kindes, and all the rest particular of∣fices. 3. Why would the Apostle put the Deacon before the Elder. 4. Bishop An∣drewes in his Sermon of the worshipping of Imaginations, maketh a fourth objection, that by our interpretation of this place, wee make Qui miseretur to be Latine for a widow.
To the first of these we answer, The Apo∣stles Protasis speaketh of severall offices, not in the same, but in severall members: how then should we make his Apodosis to speak of Page 37 severall gifts in the same, and not in severall office-bearers of the Church: wherefore, as seeing, hearing, tasting, &c. doe differ sub∣jectively in respect of the members, which doe see, heare, &c. So speaketh the Apostle of teaching, exhorting, ruling, &c. as they are in different office-bearers. It is least of all credible which Bilson saith de Eccles. gubern. c. 10. p. 186.187. that the Apostle speaks not of the gifts of office-bearers, but of gifts di∣stributed unto all the members of Christs mysticall body, even unto women. Hee had shewed us a great secret, if hee could have made it appeare, that all who are in the Church, women and all, may both prophesie and rule. In this hee shall have the praise of out-stripping the Separatists. We know that private Christians may teach and exhort one another; but they doe not so devote them∣selves thereto, as altogether to wait upon tea∣ching and exhorting, which is the case the A∣postle speaketh of.
To the second wee say, that Prophesie and Ministery are put in abstracto, and •oyned with a plurall 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; but teaching, exhorting, gi∣ving, ruling, and sh•wing mercie, are put in c•ncreto, and to each of them the single article pre fixed; which is a sufficien• warrant to expound Prophesie and Ministery, as Genera,Page 38 and the rest as Species, Chrysostome conside∣ring the word Ministery, saith, Rem hic gene∣ralem ponit.
To the third we answer, He which is first named, hath not alwayes some prerogative or dignity above him which is last named▪ else doe the Papists rightly argue, that Peter was the chiefe of all the Apostles, because they finde him named before all the rest, Matth. 10.2. Act. 1.13. The Apostle inten∣ded to reckon out all ordinary offices in the Church; but he intended not the precise or∣der. Chrysostome upon this same place saith: Vide quomodo ista indifferenter ponat quod minutum est primo: quod magnum est posteriore loco. Ephes. 4.11. hee putteth Pastors before Teachers: here to the Romans he putteth Tea∣chers before Pastors.
To the fourth wee answer, That though it be ordinarily most convenient, that the office of attending the sicke bee committed to wo∣men, yet it is not essentially necessary to the offifice: And as Aretius noteth upon the place, wee may under 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 comprehend not onely widowes appointed to attend the sicke, but old men appointed to receive and entertaine strangers:* Which is also judiciously observed by Martyr. Besides, when the Apostle, 1 Tim. 5. teacheth what is required in wi∣dowes, Page 39 who should bee made Diaconesses; this hee requireth among other things, that they be not such as live in pleasures and idle∣nesse, and take not care to provide for their owne houses, verse 6.8. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; which though Erasmus and Beza turne in the feminine, quod si qua, yet our English Translators, and many good Interpreters, turne it in the masculine. And surely it shall have more weight if it agree to men as well as women, saith Calvin upon that place. Now they who read in the masculine, that which the Apostle saith there of wi∣dowes, will not, wee suppose, blame us for reading, Rom. 12.8. in the masculine also, He that sheweth mercie. Wee conclude our third Argument thus:
Whatsoever office-bearer in the Church is different from Pastors and Teachers, and yet ruleth the Church, he must needs bee a ruling Elder.
But 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 mentioned, Rom. 12.8. is different from Pastors and Teachers, and yet ruleth the Church. Ergo.