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. IX. The fifth Argument, taken from Geome∣tricall proportion.

AS is the proportion of 3. to 9. so is the proportiō of 9. to 27. of 21. to 81. &c. This rule of Giometricall proportion affoordeth us a fifth Argument for the point in hand. If we should grant the government of the Church to be popular, then by what proportion, one or two are subject to a whole congregation, by the same proportion is that congregation subject to a provinciall▪ or a nationall congregation. I meane, if all Page  185 the congregations in a province or a nation were assembled into one collective body (as all the males of the Jewes did assemble thrice in the yeare at Hierusalem, and as in the daies of the Judges,* the whole congregation of the children of Israel was assembled together in Mizpeh, as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, foure hundred thousand men, to try the cause of the Levite, and to resolve what to doe there-anent, which meeting of the Nation, was ordered by Tribes, the Tribes by families, the families by persons) in that case any one particular congregation behoved to be subject to the generall congre∣gation, by the same reason whereby one man is subject to the particular congregation, whereof he is a member, because the whole is greater then a part, and the body more then a member. Now the same rule holdeth in the representatives of Churches, whether we compare them with the collectives, or among themselves. If wee compare the re∣presentatives with the collectives, then as one congregation is governed by the particular Eldership representing the ame, by the like proportion are 14. or 16. congregations governed by a Classicall Presbytery repre∣senting them all: by the same proportion are all the congregations in a province subject Page  186 to a Provinciall Synod: by the same ought all the congregations in a nation to be sub∣ject to a nationall Assembly, all of them be∣ing either mediatly or immediatly represen∣ted in the same;* for as Parker saith well, many Churches are combined into one, in the very same manner, as many members are combined into one Church.

If we compare the representatives among themselves, then by what proportion, a par∣ticular Eldership representing only one con∣gregation, is lesse in power and authority, then a Classicall Presbytery which represen∣teth many congregations? by the same pro∣portion is a Classicall Presbytery lesse in power and authority then a Provinciall Sy∣nod, and it lesse in authority then a Nationall Synod. So that the authority of Presbyte∣ries whether Parochiall or Classicall being once granted, this shall by the rule of pro∣portion inferre the authority of Synods. I know that Synods are not ordinary Courts, as Presbyteries are; but this and other dif∣ferences betwixt them I passe: the argument holdeth for the point of authority, that Sy∣nods when they are, have authority over all the Churches in a Province or a nation, even as Presbyteries have over the congregations within their bounds.