CHAP. IV. Containing part of the Third Proposition.
SHEWING, That none ought to take upon him the Office of the Mini∣stry without a Call.
IT is manifest by the Word of God, That no man ought to take upon him the Office or work of a Minister,* till he be lawfully called and ordained thereunto.
As the Church and State are distinct Polities, so have they Subjects Laws and Officers, distinct alwaies in the formal conce∣ption, though materially in divers things they may agree, Mat. 12.21. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and unto God the things that are Gods; The things of God and Caesar are distinct. Thus Luke 2.11. Man, who made me a Iudge or divi∣der over you? a Preacher and a Judge are two distinct cal∣lings.
These Officers for their Institution, Vocation, Incourage∣ment, depend not solely, nor principally upon man, but are gi∣ven and confirmed to theChurch by Christ the King of Saints, and great Shepherd of Souls, for ends and purposes most ho∣nourable and necessary in all ages of the world, Mat. 28.29, 28. Eph. 4.11, 12.
Supposing therefore at present what hath been already proved, that there is such an Office in the Church to last by Divine Institution to the end of the world: The present Dis∣course enquires about the Subjectum recipiens of this high and weighty Office, and the work of it, whether it lie in com∣mon, or be appropriated by Divine Ordinance to some pecu∣liar and speciall persons, who are not only favoured to be Christs Sheep, but honoured also to be Shepherds under him? This Question is not de lanâ caprinâ, nor needlesse; For
Page 671. It is manifest, that there be some who constantly supply the room of Preachers, and arrogate to themselves the reve∣rence and maintenance due to none but Ministers, and yet they themselves were never ordained to this Office. By this means many Congregations are deprived of Government, and of the Sacraments, and such as would willingly take care of their souls in a regular and ordinary way are excluded by such intruders, as will neither be solemnly set apart for the, Ministry by imposition of hands, with fasting and prayer, nor give way to them that would.
2. Others there be that plead for a liberty of preaching, or (as they phrase it) for the exercise of gifts in publick, even in these Congregations where there are ordained Ministers, and this to be by those who pretend not to be Preachers and Ministers, strictly and properly so called, when, and as often as such persons please, and that this liberty ought to be gi∣ven to every Christian who desires it, and may probably be presumed to be fitted for it.
We therefore that we may as much as in us lies take away the stumbling block which by these practices is laid before blinde Papists, and remove the scandal given to Reformed Churches, and hinder the progresse of this sinne in our own, shall
- 1. Bear witnesse to these truths:
- 1. That none may assume the Office of the Ministry, un∣lesse he be solemnly set apart thereunto, i n this Cha∣pter.
- 2. That none may undertake the work of the Mi∣nistry, except he be a Minister, in the next Cha∣pter.
- 2. Answer all the considerable Arguments we could meet with used in defence of the fore-named errours, in the Chapter fol∣lowing: and this we shall do with clearnesse and brevity, as the matter shall permit, and in sincerity, and with a spirit of meeknesse, as becomes the Ministers of the Go∣spel.
Thes. 1. That none may assume the Office of the Ministry, un∣lesse Page 68 lesse he be solemnly set apart thereunto, appears by these Argu∣ments.
First, We argue from that known Text Rom. 10.15. And how shall they preach except they be sent?* This is set down by way of Interrogation, Vt oratio sit penetrantior, saith Pareu•. The Prohibition is made more emphatical by the interrogati∣on, and the form of expression makes it morally impossible to preach without mission. The Apostle useth a four-fold gra∣dation, How shall they call upon him in whom they have not be∣lieved? How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach except they be sent? The last link of the chain is of e∣qual truth with the former. As no man can call rightly on him in whom he believes not, and no man can believe in him of whom he never heard, and no man can hear without a Preacher; so also no man can preach except he be sent; and therefore he that breaks this last link breaks this golden chain of the Apostle, and sins against God. Besides this last link is an eternal truth. As no man to the end of the world can call upon him in whom he believes not, or believe in him of whom he hears not, or hear without a Preacher; so it is, and will be true to the end of the world, that no man can preach ex∣cept he be sent. The Apostle scrueth up the necessity of mis∣sion as high as the necessity of preaching, and if one be perpetual, the other must be so also. Now from all this we gather,
1. That mission is essential to the constitution of a Minister. The Apostle doth not say, How shall they preach except they be gifted (though this be true) but how shall they preach except they be sent? Implying, that gifting without sending doth not constitute a Minister.
2. That this mission is not only of extraordinary, but of ordi∣nary teachers, because faith is as much annexed to their teach∣ing, as teaching to their mission, and faith is not the fruit of humane invention (such is preaching without mission) but of Divine Ordinance And therefore since we have no extraor∣dinary Page 69 Preachers, we must either conclude there is no faith in the world, or that there is an ordinary way of sending Mini∣sters, by whom as Gods instruments faith is wrought, and if so, their persons must enter that way, and not runne before they be sent.
3. That there is a necessity of a constant and perpetual, as well as of an ordinary mission. If faith depends upon hearing, hearing upon preaching, preaching upon mission, then if faith be necessary in all ages of the world, mission is also ne∣cessary, yea ordinary mission, because extraordinary is cea∣sed. A person may be praedo, but he cannot be praco without mission, and whatsoever may be done in some few extraordi∣nary cases where regular mission cannot be had, yet to run without sending, and to leap over the wall where God hath opened a door, is as high presumption in Divinity, as it is in the civil state, to break open an house without humane autho∣rity. To all this it is replied,
Answ. This cannot be, for the people are the parties to whom the Preachers are sent: Ministers are sent to the people, not by the people. The same party cannot be the person send∣ing, and the persons sent unto. An Embassadour is not sent by the State to whom he brings his Embassie, but by the States which gave him his Commission.
Answ. This is confuted by the next words in the Text, How shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beau∣tifull are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. These words are taken out of Isa. 52. and must needs be understood of a ministerial sending. The Ministers he speaks of are called Watchmen, Isa. 52.8. and the Prophet himself is mentioned as one of them, Rom. 10.10. They are a Prophecy of the acceptation that the Page 70 Ministers sent by God, should have amongst the people of God in the times of the Gospel; And that this Text is to be understood of more then a bare providential sending, appears further. Because
2. If providential sending were sufficient, then women-Preachers are as much sent of God, and may promise them∣selves as good successe as the best Minister. Yea a tyrant, rob∣ber or murtherer, may justifie himself in his wickednesse, as being sent by God providentially; Then Zimri had as just a warrant to destroy the house of Baasha, as Iehu had to de∣stroy the house of Ahab, and Iosephs brethren did well in selling him, since they did it by special providence, Gen. 45. & 50.7.
3. The Apostle speaks of such a sending as must be ac∣knowledged by all to be of God, an authoritative mission, such as Embassadours have, who are sent with publick Let∣ters of Credence, to negotiate the Affairs of those that im∣ploy them. For
1. They are called Preachers or Heralds, the participle in the original, Rom. 10.14. noting the Office, as Rom. 12.7, 8. & 1 Thess. 5.12. Heb. 13.17. so in the parallel place, Isa. 52.8. they are called Watchmen, both which terms con∣note Authority.
2. People are blamed for not hearing them, Rom. 10.16, 21. but the not hearing of such as are not sent,* is no fault but a vertue, Iohn 10.5, 8. Indeed divine truth is ever obligatory who ever brings it, but a double tie lies upon people when truth is conveighed by a divine messenger: Otherwise any private person had as much power of bind∣ing and losing as a Minister. There is a wide difference between an arrest or pardon reported by a private person, and the same applied under the Broad-Seal by a person de∣legated from the Supream Magistrate.
3. The Socinians reply to the Text, and say, That a spe∣ciall Call was necessary in the Apostles daies, because the do∣ctrine by them delivered was new and unheard of, but this mission is not necessary in our daies, because we preach no new Page 71 Doctrine, but onely that which the Apostles have formerly taught and written.
Answ. But the Answer is easie. For▪ 1. We have already proved, That there is a necessity in the Church of Christ of a constant, perpetual and ordinary mission.
2. It is false that the Apostles and Prophets taught any new Doctrine, Act. 24.14. & 26.22. & 28.23. they believed and taught nothing but old truths, formerly delivered by Moses and the Prophets, 1 Iohn 1.7. New indeed they might be in respect of the manner of proposing, Joh. 13.34. or the singular ratification thereof by miracles, Mark 1.27. or the apprehension of the Auditors, Acts 17.19. but not as to the substance of the Doctrine. Compare Iohn 13.34. with 2 Epist. of Iohn vers. 5. 1 Ioh. 2.7.
3. As to the first and third Consideration, the Gospel is alwayes new to children, ignorant persons or Heathen, &c. And therefore if Socinians will be true to their own principles, they cannot plead against a called Ministry.
4. In the dayes of the Apostles the truths of the Gospel were owned by all the Churches, and so not new as to their appre∣hensions, yet then came none to the Ministry without a Call. Witnesse the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. Thus at last we have vindicated this Text from all those mists that are cast up∣on it to darken it, and made it to appear, That none ought to take upon them the Office of a Minister, unlesse they be law∣fully Called and Ordained thereunto.
Our second Argument is taken from Heb. 5.4, 5. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God,*as Aaron; so also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high-Priest, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Sonne, this day have I begotten thee. No man taketh, (i. e.) ought to take. Verbs active, as our English Annotators upon the place ob∣serve in the phrase of Scripture sometime import not the act it self, but onely an Office, as Gen. 20.9. Levit. 4.12, 13. Psa. 32.8. This honour] the Priestly Office is not only a b•rthen but an honour, what ever the carnal world esteem of it. The Apo∣stle Page 72 here makes a general Proposition, No man ought to take the ministerial honour upon him unlesse called by God. This Proposition is not limited but illustrated,
First, By Aaron, who undertook not this Office till called thereunto, Exod. 28.1. no more did any other of the Priests in the Old Testament, 2 Chron. 29.11. & 16.16. It cost C•∣rah and his Company dear for doing otherwise. The Pro∣phets also make mention of their Commissions in the begin∣ning of their Prophecies. The word of the Lord came to Isaiah, Ieremiah, Hosea, &c. And when Amaziah objected a∣gainst Amos, Amos did not plead any general liberty the Is∣raelites had of prophesying, but tels Amaziah, I was no Pro∣phet, I was an Herdsman, and a gatherer of Sycamore fruit, and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, &c. If then the Priests and Prophets of the Old Testament could not take this honour upon them, till call'd and appointed, who can shew any just reason, why any under the New Testament should do otherwise, especially if we consider, That the Go∣spel-Ministry is more weighty and glorious then the Le∣gal was.
Secondly, By Christ, who though he be God blessed for ever, the true God, coequal and coeternal with the Father, yet he glorified not himself; to be made an high-Priest, but was sealed and inaugurated by his Father into this great Office. And therefore he saith expresly Iohn 8.54. If I honour my self, my honour is nothing, it is my Father that honoureth me, of whom you say that he is your God. Now we desire all Christians in the fear of God to consider, That if the Lord Jesus would not honour himself to become our Mediator till he was anointed by his Father, and designed to this Office, it cannot but be great presumption for any man to glorifie himself, and make himself a Minister before he be lawfully ordained thereunto, we may truly say to such, as Christ doth, You that thus ho∣nour your selves, your honour is nothing.
*Thirdly, We argue from the Titles that are g•ven to the Ministers of the Gospel: They are called Embassadours,Page 73 2 Cor. 5.20. Stewards, Tit. 1.7. Me• of God, Tim. 6▪ 11. compared with 2. King. 5.8. Watchmen, Ezek. 3.7. Angels, Revel, 2.1. which are all names of Office, and require a spe∣cial designation from God. Stewards do not use to officiate without warrant, Luke 12.42. Embassadours do not go forth to treat with forain States without publick Commissi∣on. As they must have Instructions for the matter of their Message, so they must be enabled with publick Autho∣rity for the managing of their Work. Adde further, that Ministers are called Gods Mouth, and how shall a man take upon him to be Gods mouth who is not sent from God? They are called the Good souldiers of Iesus Christ, souldiers in an eminent degree, to fight against iniquity and heresie, and therefore must be listed by Christ into that number, and must have his warrant for the discharge of their duty. They are Gods Servants and Ministers, and therefore must be sent by him, or else they are their own masters, not Gods servants. And that all these things concern our Ministry as well as theirs in the Primitive times, is evident, because these Titles are applied not onely to extraordinary, but to ordina∣ry Ministers. The Ministers of the seven Churches of Asia are called Angels; the Ministers ordained by Titus; Stewards, the Elders of the Church of Ephesus, Overseers or Bishops; now a Ruler is a name of Office, and implieth a Commission to constitute him in that capacity.
Fourthly, We argue From the constant distinction that is made in Scripture between gifts and calling;* We reade Ioh. 20.21, 22. First Christ gives his Apostles their Commission; As my Father hath sent me even so send I you: Then he gives them their gifts, Receive the Holy Ghost: Thus also Isa. 6.6, 7, 9. God touched his lips with a coal from the Altar, and gifted him; Afterwards he gives him his Commission: Thus also it was with the Prophet Ieremy 1.5, 9. God sends him, and then puts forth his hand, toucheth his mouth, and fi•s him: Even as it is in all civill Governments: Gifts make not any man a Judge, or a Lord-Maior, Sheriff, or Common-Coun∣sell Page 74 man, though he be never so richly qualified for these Offices, unlesse he be lawfully appointed thereunto; So is it in Church-affairs, it is not gifts but calling that constitutes a Minister; therefore that distinction of a Minister by gifts and a Minister by calling hath no footing in the Word of Truth: If gifts were sufficient to make a Minister, then women might preach as well as men, for they may have as eminent gifts. Indeed gifts are a necessary qualification of the person to be called, but make him not a lawfull Minister till called and ordained: And if he take the Office upon him unsent, he is an Usurper, and may fear to perish in the gain-saying of Co∣rah, notwithstanding his gifts.
*Fifthly, We argue from the Rules laid down in Scripture for the calling of men to the Office of the Ministry: The Word of God doth exactly tell us the qualifications of the person, that is to be called 1 Tim. 3.2, 3. &c. The Scripture also directs for the manner of his calling to the work, who are to Ordain, How he is to be Ordained, 1 Tim. 4.14. &c. Now either these directions are superfluous and unnecessary, or else it is a truth that no man ought to take this Office upon him without such a call; Nor were these directions given for that age only, but for all the ages of the Church to the end of the world, as appears evidently from 1 Tim. 6.18. compared with 1 Tim. 5.7.21. In the first place he is charged to keep those commands without spot to the appearance of Iesus Christ; And in the se∣cond place there is as solemn a charge particularly applied to quicken his diligence and faithfulnesse about matters of the Church, and especially the ordination, honour and maintenance of the Ministry, in ordinary, as appeareth by the context be∣fore, and after from ver. 17. to ver. 23. The same charge is laid down also by way of direction, Chap. 3. and particularly committed to Timethy's care, ver. 14. And one main ground why Paul chargeth Timothy to be so carefull about these par∣ticulars especially at Ephesus, was, That thereby false doctrine might be prevented, 1 Tim. 1.3, 4. for which there is scarce a more effectuall means in the world, then a publike and regu∣lar Page 75 care of calling persons duely qualified to the Ministry: And we cannot but look with sad hearts upon the spreading of errours in these daies of generall Apostasie, as the righte∣ous judgement of God upon the supine negligence of men in this particular among others; The same charge upon the same ground is laid upon Titus, Cha. 1.5, 9, 10. where also the A∣postle gives singular directions for the qualification of the person to be ordained, both in point of gifts and grace, which are all vain and unusefull, if any may enter upon the Ministry without Ordination.
Sixthly, We argue from that confusion which would come into the Church,* if every man that presumes himself gifted should intrude himself into the Office of the Ministry, with∣out a regular call: Saint Ierome held it an infallible sign of a Church falling into ruine, Vbi nulla Ministrorum est electio manifestum cognosce collab•nt is Christianismi judicium; where there is no choice of Ministers, acknowledge this a manifest evidence of Christianity decaying: The reason is apparent; The prostituting of this sacred and weighty Office to the wils of men, opens a door to all disorders, and the introducing of all heresies and errors; How much did the Church of Anti∣och suffer from such as came from the Apostles, and had no Commission, Act. 15. Gal. 2.5. besides that contempt and scorn which it exposeth the Ministry unto; Admit the same in the Common-wealth or in an Army: Might he that would make himself a Maior, Judge, Constable, a Colonell, Cap∣tain, &c. what an Iliad of miseries would thence •nsue is ea∣sier to be imagined then expressed.