CHAP. V. Containing part of the Third Proposition.
PROVING, That none may do the Work of the Ministry without Or∣dination.
NO man may perform the work of the Ministry but he that is solemnly set apart and ordained to be a Mi∣nister.
Having in the precedent Chapter asserted the necessity of Ordination to the work of the Ministry against the presum∣ptuous usurpation of such as run and are not sent; We shall by the grace of God in this Chapter vindicate the work of the Ministry unto those whom God hath set as Officers in his Church.
That there is a work belonging to the Ministry is out of question, and what that work is, is confessed by all; It be∣longs to them to dispense the mysteries of God, the keys of the Kingdom of God are in their hands; It is their work to watch for souls as they that must give an account of them at that great day; To preach the Word, and by sound doctrine to convince gain-sayers, to administer the Sacraments of Bap∣tism and the Lords Supper, to pray for and blesse the people in the Name of God, to rule and govern the Church, ha∣ving a care of discipline, and all these as in the place and per∣son of Christ.
Of how great necessity these works are unto the Church, is evident unto understanding Christians, and hath been de∣monstrated already: It now remains to be enquired, whether all or any of these works may be performed by men uncalled, though gifted, or whether they be peculiar unto Ministers.
Those with whom we have to do, yeelding all the rest to Page 77 the Ministry, challenge in their writings a liberty to preach the Word, and in their practises (some of them) a power of praying for and blessing the people, how justly we shall shew when we have first stated the Question, which we shall do briefly and plainly, that we may not seem to disallow what we ought to countenance, commend, nay to command in the Name of the Lord, and that we may prevent and anticipate the cavils of some gain-sayers.
For the right stating of the Question, we shall declare what we mean by preaching of the Word, and from thence premise some few distinctions, which well considered of, might put an end to this whole controversie.
By the Preaching of the Word we understand an authori∣tative explication and application of Scripture, for exhor∣tation, edification, and comfort, to a Congregation met to∣gether for the solemn worship of God, in the stead and place of Christ; and we desire that every branch of this description may be well weighed in the balance of the Sanctuary.
The Subject of Preaching is the Word of God, Mat. 28.19. Let him that hath my word speak my word faithfully, Jer. 23.28. This is that sound doctrine, and form of sound words which the Apostle enjoyns Timothy and Titus to hold fast. And them∣selves and Christ himself taught no other things then were written in Moses and the Prophets, &c.
This work is the explication and application of this word: As Ezra read in the Book of the Law, and gave the sense, and caused all Israel to understand, Neh. 8.8. And it is to this which Paul presseth Timothy when he exhorts him to shew himself a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, 2 Tim. 2.15.
The end of this work is the exhortation, edification, and comfort of the Church, 1 Cor. 14.2. which is the profitable use of all Scripture, 2 Tim. 3.16.
The object of this work is a Congregation met together for the Solemn worship of God, 1 Cor. 14.23. when you are come together into one place; It is true, that the word ought to be preach'd to Infidels, Mat. 28. Mar. 16. Go into all the Page 78 world; but the principall object of this work is the Church; Prophecy is not (i. not so much) for them that beleeve not, but for them that beleeve, 1 Cor. 14.22. Hence it is, that God hath s•t his Officers in the Church, 1 Cor. 12.28. For the Church, Eph. 4.12.
The manner of the doing of this work, is, 1 Authorita∣tively, not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 magisterially as Lords of Faith, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 ministerially, as being over the Church in the Lord, 1 Thes. 5.12. Thus is Titus enjoyned Tit. 2.15. These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, with all command. Secondly, In the stead and place of Christ; Thus the Apostle 2 Cor. 5. We beseech you, as if God did be∣seech you, we pray you in Christs stead, be reconciled to God; and hence it is that Christ saith to his Disciples, Luk. 10.16. He that heareth you heareth me, &c.
First, We distinguish between a private brotherly teach∣ing, admonition, exhortation of one another▪ and an autho∣ritative publique teaching; The first grounded on charity is the common duty of all Christians, by the royall Law of love, and prescribed to all, even to women, by the Law of God under pain of sin, and this especially in evil times. This pra∣ctise we are far from disallowing or discouraging; we call God to witnesse it would be the joy of our hearts to see our people full of knowledge, and full of goodnesse, able and wil∣ling to admonish one another with prudence, love, zeal, and a spirit of meeknesse; and this we exhort and charge in the name of Christ that they neglect not: It is authoritative teach∣ing only which we deny.
Secondly, We distinguish between the teaching of pa∣rents and Masters in their Families (to which also the teach∣ing of School-masters may be reduced) and Ministeriall preaching: We call upon Parents, Masters, School-masters, not only to bring their Families, and Scholars to publike Or∣dinances, but to make their Houses the Churches of Christ; To reade the Scriptures in them▪ to catechize them, to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to teach Page 79 them in their youth, in the trade of their way, as they will answer it at that great day: And unto this duty we exhort even mothers; but we deny unto them Ministeriall Prea∣ching,
Thirdly, We distinguish between the exhortation of a Gene∣ral in the head of an Army, and of a Judge in his charge upon the Bench, and preaching the Word of God: Though we deny not the lawfulness of the one or the other of the two former, because we have the approved examples of Ioab, 2 Sam. 10. Of Abijah, 2 Chro. 13. Of Iehosaphat, 2 Chro. 19.20. Ioshua Cha. 23.24. yet we say, First, That properly thus to do was the Mi∣nisters work; for thus the Lord prescribes Deut. 20.2. And it shall be when ye are come nigh unto the battell, that the Pri•st shall approach and speak to the people, and shall say unto them, Hear O Israel, as it follows, ver. 3. And thus Iehosapha• practiseth, 2 Chron. 19. where he joyns Priests and Levites to the Judges whom he sends abroad in all the Cities of Iudah. Secondly, We say that there is a vast difference between this action and the work of the Ministry for neither is the object of it a Con∣gregation sacred, but meerly civill▪ neither is the authority Ecclesiasticall and from Christ, but meerly politicall. These Officers perform this work as Custodes utriusque •ab•lae, and their work is rather reducible to a charitative admonition then a ministeriall dispensation; Should it not be done by them, their sin was rather against charity then justice; and ceased not to discharge the duty of a Generall, or a Judge, though they ceased to do the duty of a Christian Generall, or a Christian Judge.
Fourthly, We distinguish between Divinity-exercises in the Schools, and University, and the Preaching of the Word. For though these Lectures are performed either only by such as have received Ordination, and ar• Ministers of the Go∣spel, or such a• are Candidates of the Ministry; either Pro∣phets, or the Sons of the Prophets, and so not wholly with∣out Commission, ye• are they not performed to a Congrega∣tion met together for the solemn worship of God; They are rather reducible to the work of School-ma••ers instructing Page 80 their Scholars, and Scholars rendring account to their Ma∣sters, then ministerial preaching.
Fifthly, We distinguish between the act of members in any sacred or civil Assembly, debating, counselling, and admo∣nishing one another out of the Word of God, and the prea∣ching of the Word; Because this action of theirs towards one another is not authoritative, but meerly brotherly, is rather 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a Christian conference, then preaching, and no other then private Christians met together by mutual con∣sent may perform; neither is their meeting such a one as is the Object of preaching of which we speak.
Sixthly, Before we proceed to argument, we desire it may be observed that we dispute not what may be done in extra∣ordinary cases, either in regard of times or places where Or∣dination may not possibly be had; whether in such a case pri∣vate gifted men may not preach, we do not dispute: Davids necessity made it lawfull for him and his men to eat the shew∣bread, which it was not lawfull for any but only the Priests to eat; but our Question is, What may be done in an ordina∣ry way, in Churches where Ordained Ministers either are or may be had; Though we will not prescribe against necessity, yet we would not have necessity pretended where none is: For we reade that the Indians were converted to the Christi∣an Faith by the means of Aedesius and Frumentius two pri∣vate men, but we reade not that either of them took upon them the Office or work of the Ministry; Frumentius was or∣dained Bishop of the Indians by Athanasius. Theod. Eccl. hist. l. 1. c. 22. And it is observable how great a journey he under∣took rather then to run or officiate without a Call. The Ibe∣rians were converted (as the same Authour relates) by the means of a Captive Maid, but they sent to Constantine for ordained Ministers by whom they might be further instructed and guided in the waies of God, which probably our gifted men would never have done.
These things thus premised, we come now to prove our Proposition, That None may undertake the work of the Mi∣nistry but he that is solemnly set apart thereunto, not respect∣ing Page 81 so much the number as weight of Arguments.
First, We argue thus,* That work for the doing of which God hath designed speciall Officers of his own, neither ought, nor may be performed by any that are not designed unto that Office.
But God hath designed speciall Officers of his own for the preaching of the Word; Therefore,
None ought or may preach the Word, but such as are de∣signed unto this Office.
The major of this Argument is confirmed by these Rea∣sons.
First, Because God hath severely punished such as have done the work appointed by him to speciall Officers, though they had no intent to invade the Office unto which that work was by God designed: This appears manifestly; first in the case of Saul, 1 Sam. 13.8, 9. &c. He lost his kingdom for offering sacrifice, though but once, and that in a great straight. The Philistims were ready to assault him, he had not made his peace with God, Samuel delaied his coming, the people began to scatter from him, whereupon he constrained him∣self, and offered a Sacrifice, yet for this one presumptuous (though as it might seem) necessitated act, he hears from Samuel that he had done foolishly, i. wickedly, and from God, that his Kingdom was irrevocably rent from him. Se∣condly, In the case of Vzzah, 1 Chro. 13.9, 10. who put his hand to the Ark, and that out of a good intention to keep it from falling, when the Oxen shook it, and yet the anger of the Lord was kindled against him, and he smote him that he died: Better it had been for Vzzah to have kept his hands farther off, then to have touched the Ark without warrant, and better for the people of God that he had so done, for for his rashnesse God made a breach upon them, and smote him, and this act of his did not help but hinder the bringing of the Ark up into the place prepared for it. Thirdly, In the case of Vzziah, 2 Chro. 16.16, 17, 18. &c. who when he was strong, had his heart lifted up to his destruction, for he trans∣gressed Page 82 against the Lord his God, and went into the Temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the Altar of Incense, but the Priests of God withstood him, and said, It appertaineth not to thee Uzziah to burn Incense to the Lord, but to the Priests the Sons of Aaron that are consecrated to burn Incense; Go out of the Sanctuary, for thou hast transgressed, neither shall it be for thine honour from the Lord God, and though he was a King, yet the Lord smote him immediatly with the plague of Leprosie, of which he was not healed till his death. This famous Histo∣ry holds forth these great Truths. 1. That it is a transgressi∣on against God in any to enter upon the work designed by God to another calling. 2. That the Original of this transgres∣sion is pride of heart. 3. That it is the Ministers duty to testi∣fie and bear witnesse against such transgressions. 4. That it is dishonourable in the sight of God (whatever foolish people may imagine) thus to transgresse. 5. That God will not be alwaies silent to suffer such transgression unpunished in the greatest, when his Ministers warnings are rejected; Vzziah would enter into the Sanctuary, and is separated from the Congregation: Now though God be not so immediate in the severe punishing of such presumption in our daies, yet these things are written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the world are come, that we should not be pre∣sumptuous, as some of them were, lest we also perish as these did.
Secondly, Because this practice doth make void, or at least unnecessary or insufficient those Officers which God hath ap∣pointed. This is in it self a truth of clearest evidence: What needs a peculiar Officer to be set apart to a common work? As in the naturall body there is no peculiar member set apart as the Organ of feeling, because this sense is common to eve∣ry member; so in the body of Christ there need not any spe∣ciall Officer be designed for such a work as is common to, and may be performed by every Christian.
Thirdly, Because this practice doth confound and disturb that order which God hath set in his Church; therefore it must needs be sinfull. God is the God of order, and not of confu∣sion,Page 83 1 Cor. 14. and hath commanded that every one should do his own work, 1 Thess. 4. Rom. 12. And abide in his own cal∣ling, 1 Cor. 7. He hath condemned those that walk disorderly, 2 Thess. 3. and are busie bodies; he hath placed in his Church different orders, some Shepherds, some Sheep, some Teachers of the Word, some to be taught, as their places, so their works are distinct, as the different members of the body have diffe∣rent offices; but now as in the body there would be confusi∣on if any member should do the work of another member; so is it in the Church, if any member shall invade the duty of another. This takes away distinction between Shepherds and Flock, Pastor and People, Rulers and Ruled, and with the new Astronomers casts down Stars towards the Centre, and advances and wheels the dull earth to, and in an heavenly orb. No marvel such Phaetons burn up the spiritual world by pre∣suming to govern the chariot of the Sun.
Thus the major being cleared we come to the minor or As∣sumption; That God hath set peculiar Officers apart for the Preaching of the Word. For the proof of this, these two things are to be done, First, We must prove, that Ministers are Of∣ficers, the Ministry an Office set up by God in his Church; For this we referre to the foregoing Propositions, in which this Point hath been largely discussed. And indeed who can in reason deny that those that are set by God in his Church, as Stewards, Heraulds, Watchmen, &c. are set by God as Offi∣cers in his Church; The Apostle himself reckon• them up as special members in the body of the Church, having 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉a proper Office, Rom. 12. Secondly, That the preaching of the Word (amongst divers others) is one work assigned to these Officers; which is manifest both in the Old and New Testa∣ment. The Priests work was not only to bring Sacrifices and burn Incense, but also to teach Iacob, Deut 33. Ever were the Priests Lips to preserve knowledge, and the people to enquire the Law at his mouth, Mal. 2. And the greatest complain• of God against those Officers, was the neglect of tha••uty, that they were dumb dogs, Isa. 56, I•le Idol Shepher•s, Ezek. •4. Our blessed Saviour when he had ordained 12. sent them out Page 84 to preach, and afterwards sent out the 70 to preach▪ The Apostle saith of himself, that he was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that was his work, Rom. 1.1. that he was intrusted with the Go∣spel, Tit. 1.3. according to the Commandment of God, that he and other Ministers were allowed of God to be intrusted with the Gospel, 1 Thes. 2.4. Thus the same Apostle gives directi∣on to Timothy, 2 Tim. 2.2. To commit the things which he had heard of him to faithfull men, who shall be able to teach others: which must of necessity be understood of some speciall trust, because of the speciall qualifications required in the persons that might be trusted; they must be faithful and able to teach: if the Apostle had understood by this word commit, only the making known of these things, this was to be done to all, in which respect Paul professeth himself a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, Rom. 1.14. but inasmuch as he requires that the parties should be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the two special qualifications of such a one as might be ordained a Bishop, it is plain, that by this word commit he understands the giving of the work in especi∣all charge. Indeed the Preaching of the Word is not only a work assigned to the Ministry, which they may not omit with∣out incurring the wo, 1 Cor. 9▪ because a dispensation is com∣mitted to them; but the greatest, weightiest work they are entrusted with, 1 Cor. 1.17. I was not sent (i. so much sent) to baptize but to preach the Gospel; A work it is, which the people can least want, because it is the power of God to sal∣vation, and requireth the greatest learning, prudence, meek∣nesse, faithfulnesse in the dispensers of it, that they may shew themselves workmen that need not be ashamed, 1 Tim. 2. and fullfill their Ministry. It is not for nothing that the Apostle tels us, that ordinary Teachers were set in the Church, that we might not be children in knowledge, Ephes. 4.14. Seeing therefore that God hath provided Officers of his own, to whose trust he hath committed the Preaching of the Word, and no man can without blasphemy averre, that this provision of God is either unnecessary or insufficient, it evidently fol∣lows, that the practice of men howsoever gifted, that preach Page 85 without a solemn setting apart to the Office of the Ministry, is both unnecessary and unlawfull. And thus much of our first Argument against the preaching of un-ordained men.
Our second Argument shall be this; No religious service may be performed unto God by any other sort of persons then such as are appointed or otherwise warranted thereunto.*
The preaching of the Word is a religious service unto which persons gifted, not ordained, are neither appointed nor warranted: Therefore,
The Preaching of the Word may not be performed by gifted persons un-ordained.
The major Proposition is clear from this principle: Every positive act of Religion must have an affirmative warrant, and the service which we tender must be obedience, or righteous∣ness, obedience it •annot be unless it be commended, nor righ∣teousness unless it be at the least indulged. If it be either com∣manded or indulged, we have warrant sufficient, but if the thing we do be neither required nor allowed, we sin presum∣ptuously, though what we do be to a good intent, and very plausible to humane wisedom.
As to the minor or Assumption,
First, It will not be denied that the Preaching of the Word is a Religious Service.
Secondly, That all gifted persons are not appointed to preach, nor otherwise warranted thereunto, It appears in the parts.
First, They are not appointed, For then,
1. Every gifted man that preaches not is guilty of the sin of Omission.
2. Preaching must be looked upon as a common duty en∣joyned unto all Beleevers as such, and every one should study Divinity in order to Preaching, and wo to him that preaches not, though he could preach but one Sermon only, and do not; The judgement of the unprofitable Servant shall be upon him.
Secondly, They are not otherwise warranted, for the Mi∣nistry Page 86 of the Word is only cultus institutus, founded in Insti∣tution, and therefore must be regulated according to it; For the Preaching of publique Officers we finde the Institution to be clear, but of another Institution for the publique exer∣cise of gifts by those who are no Ministers, we finde nothing; That which is pretended concerning prophesying, or the like, we shall answer when we come professedly to deal with Ob∣jections.
*Thirdly, We argue thus, If no man may do the work of a Magistrate in the civil, or of a Deacon in the Ecclesiasticall State, but he that is called to the Office of a Magistrate, or of a Deacon, then much lesse may any man preach the Word (which is the work of a Minister) but he that is called to the Office of the Ministry.
But no man may do the work of a Magistrate in the civil, or of a Deacon in the Ecclesiasticall estate, but he that is cal∣led to the Office of a Magistrate or of a Deacon: Therefore,
The minor is evident,
1. That no man may do the work of a Magistrate unlesse he be a Magistrate, from Luk. 12.14. where our Saviour Christ refuseth to meddle with dividing Inheritances, because he was no Judge; Man, who made me a Iudge?
2. That no man may do the work of a Deacon in the Ec∣clesiastical state, unlesse called to the Office, is evident from Act. 6. where men full of the holy Ghost, and faith, chosen by the people to that work, yet might not minister till they were appointed by the Apostles; and that generall rule laid down, 1 Tim. 3.10. Let him be first proved, so let him mi∣nister.
Now the reason of the connexion is evident, for by how much the work of the Ministry is of greater consequence, difficulty and danger, then either of these; by so much grea∣ter care and circumspection is to be taken, that it be not per∣formed promiscuously to Quicunque vult, but performed by such men as are triedly sound in the faith, and able to teach others also:
If none may administer the Sacrament but he that is law∣fully called and ordained thereunto,* then neither may any preach but he that is lawfully called and ordained. But none may administer the Sacraments but he that is lawfully called and ordained thereunto. Therefore,
The minor is easily granted and proved from the nature of the Sacraments: They are Seals of the righteousnesse by faith. If it be an intolerable usurpation amongst men for a private man to take the broad seal of the Kingdom, and put it to what instruments he pleaseth, much more intolerable is it for a private man to usurp the dispensation of the broad Seal of the Kingdom of heaven: As in all States there are Keepers of the Seals appointed, whose office it is to dispose them ac∣cording to Law: Even so it is in the Church of God, Jesus Christ hath appointed Keepers of his Seals, those whom he cals Stewards of the mysteries of God, to whom he hath com∣mitted the word of Reconciliation, and to whom he hath Page 88 given power to baptize, and to administer the Lords Supper.
The connexion is clear, because that these two works are joyntly in the same Commission, Mat. 28.19, 20. and of the two the preaching of the Word is the greater work. This the Apostle intimates, 1 Cor. 1.17. Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel: The negative particle is here (as in many other places) taken for the comparative, he was sent rather to preach then to baptize, and by this manner of ex∣pression it appears, that to preach was his more proper and especiall work: This account all the rest of the Apostles had of it, therefore they did put off ministring to Tables, that they might give themselves to the Word and Praier. In the consideration of the greatnesse of this work, the Prophet I∣saiah being sent about it cries out, Wo is me, I am undone; the Prophet Ieremiah, Ah Lord God, behold, I cannot speak, for I am a childe, and Paul also, Who is sufficient for these things? Of this account it hath been alwaies had in the Church of God ancient and modern till these unhappy times of licenti∣ousnesse. And therefore we humbly entreat all those that do conscienciously (and as we beleeve justly) scruple to have their Children baptized by, or receive the Lords Supper from the hands of any un-ordained person, that they would seri∣ously consider upon what warrant they hear un-ordained men preach: Seeing there is the same Commission for preach∣ing, and for baptizing; and that preaching is the great, if not the greatest work of a Minister.
*To usurp authority over the Church is a sin. But to preac• without calling and Ordination to the work, is to usurp au∣thority over the Church. Therefore,
The first Proposition is clear by its own light, the other is easily proved, by asserting Preaching to be an act of authori∣ty, which is evident both in that the Apostle, 1 Thes. 5.12. gives this charge, Know them that are over you in the Lord, and ad∣monish you, where to admonish is to be over, Heb. 7. with∣out controversie the lesser is blessed of the greater, and this Page 89 is further evi•enced in that the Apostle suffers not women to preach, because they may not usurp authority over the man, 1 Tim. 2. but is commanded to be in subjection, upon which place Oecumenius〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The ve∣ry act of teaching is to usurp authority over the man. Besides them the publike work of the Ministry of the Word is an au∣thoritative administration, like unto that of Criers, Heralds, and Embassadors, to be performed in the name of the Lord Je∣sus, and therefore may not be performed by any but such as are authorized, and immediatly or mediatly deputed by him, 2 Cor. 5.19, 20. appears, because in preaching, the key of the Kingdom of Heaven is used, to take men in or shut men out, and this key is in the hand of ordinary Teachers as well as ex∣traordinary, yea, the power of binding and loosing is exerci∣sed, For though to preach be no act of jurisdiction strictly so called, yet it is an act not only of order but of power, not such as is common to every member of the Church, but pe∣culiar to such as are in publike Office. Now to perform any authoritative act without authority, what is it other then to usurp authority? Gifts conferre the faculty of administrati∣on but not the power: The Question which the Pharisees put to our Saviour being propounded to these men, By what au∣thority dost thou these things, and who gave thee this authority? Could they answer as Christ? Ioh. 7.28. I am not come of my self.
That which the Scripture reproves may no man practice, but the Scripture reproves uncalled men for preaching:* Ther∣fore. The major will not be denied: The minor appears, in that the false Prophets are reproved, Ier. 23.21, 32. not only for their false doctrine, telling their own dreams, and steal∣ing the Word of God from his people, but also for running when they were not sent. I am against them saith the Lord: a fearfull commination; If God be against them who shall be with them? if they finde not acceptance with God, all that approbati•n and applause which they finde from men, what will it profit? He is not approved whom man approves, but he Page 90 whom God approves. The false Prophets themselves accuse Ieremiah, Jer. 29.27. for making himself a Prophet, which though it was a most unjust and false imputation, yet it holds forth this truth, That no man ought to make himself a Prophet, the false Prophets themselves being witnesses. It is very ob∣servable, that Shemaiah the Nehelamite, a false Prophet and a dreamer, writes to Zephaniah the sonne of Maasiah the Priest, and to all the Priests, and accuseth Ieremiah for a mad man in making himself a Prophet, and tells them, that upon this ac∣count they ought to put him in prison, and in the stocks. It seems by this that it was no little sin, and deserves no little punishment (even in the judgement of false Prophets) to preach without a lawfull call. The Apostles in the Synod of Ierusalem, speak of certain men that went out from them, and troubled the Gentiles with words subverting their souls. They went out, They were not sent out, but they went out of thei• own accord; this is spoken of them by way of reproof. And then it followes, they troubled you with words, subverting your souls. He that preacheth unsent, is not a comforter, but a troubler of the people of God, not a builder but a sub∣verter of souls. There be many in our daies like Ahimaaz, they will be running without either call or message, and ha∣ply they may out-run Gods Cushi's, we wish they meet with no worse successe then he (in a spirituall sense) to prove uselesse Messengers.
*We argue from the practice of the Ministers of Christ, If they have been as carefull to make proof of their mission as of their doctrine, then is mission required in him th•t will Preach the Word; But they have been thus carefull, There∣fore: If any gifted man may preach without a Call, why doth the Apostle so often make mention of his Call, Rom. 1.1. Gal. 1.15, 16. 1 Cor. 1.1. when the Disciples of Iohn murmu∣red against Christ for baptizing, Ioh. 3.27, 28. Iohn answers, A man can receive nothing unlesse it be given him from heaven, ye your selves bear witnesse of me that I said I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. Here Christs undertaking to Page 91 baptize, is justified by his Mission. When the chief Priests and the Scribes with the Elders asked Christ, Luk. 20.2. Tell us by what authority doest thou these things, or who gave thee this authority? Christ makes answer by demanding another que∣stion, The Baptisme of Iohn, was it from heaven or of men? Which teacheth us these two truths: First, That none ought to preach without being authorized and sent. Secondly, That this Call and Sending is not only from men, but from heaven. True it is, such as is the Ministry, such ought the Call to be; if the Ministry extraordinary, the Call extraordinary; if the Ministry ordinary, the Call must be ordinary; but we reade of no Ministry allowed in Scripture without a Divine Call: There is a threefold Call to the Ministry mentioned, Gal. 1.1. The first is of or from man only, when any is designed to this work errante clave, that hath no inward qualification or Call from God. This though it authorizeth to outward admini∣strations in the Church, yet will not satisfie the conscience of him that so administers. The second is by man, as the instrument, when any is designed to the Ministry by those whom God hath intrusted with the work of Ordination ac∣cording to the rule of the Word; these God cals by man, Act. 20. This is the Call of ordinary Pastors. The third by Jesus Christ immediatly, and by this it is that Paul proves himself an Apostle, an extraordinary Minister.
Lastly, we argue thus:* That work may not be performed by any, which cannot by him be performed in faith; But preaching by a Brother Gifted, but not Called nor Ordained, cannot be done in faith: Therefore A Gifted unordained brother may not Preach.
Concerning the major we shall say little; the Apostles ge∣neral Canon, Rom. 14. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin, doth evidently demonstrate it. The truth of the minor appears in that there is no warrant in Scripture (which is the ground of faith) for such a practice.
For first there is no
1. Precept that such should preach; if there were a pre∣cept, Page 92 it was then a necessary duty that every gifted person ought to perform, it was a sin if any gifted person should not preach, though he could preach but one Sermon only in all his life. Where is the necessity laid upon them (as the Apostle speaks of himself) that they preach the Go∣spel?
2. There is no Precept that any should hear them, or obey them in the Lord, or maintain them; these duties of the people areappropriated to those that are Preachers by Office, Mal. 2. The Priests lips should preserve knowledge, and the people should enquire the Law at their lips. Luk. 10.16. The hearing of them is the hearing of Christ, and the refusing of them is the refu∣sing of Christ: It is not so said of any that preach without mission; but contrarily there is a strict charge not to hear∣ken to such, Ier. 17.14. and a complaint of them that heap to themselves teachers, 2 Tim. 4. Thus the Apostle, Heb. 13▪ 7, 17. Remember them, obey them, submit your selves to them that have the rule over you, and have spoken to you the Word of God. So 1 Tim. 5.17. Let the Elders that rule well be accoun∣ted worthy of double honour, &c. Nothing of this is spoken of gifted Brethren, yet if they may lawfully preach, all this may they challenge, and all that hear and plead for them are bound in conscience to yield, because all this is due for the works sake, 1 Thess. 5.12.
Secondly, There is no promise in Scripture made unto any that Preach and are not thereunto lawfully Ordained: We say no promise, either of
1. Assistance: A Minister must depend upon God for his inabling unto the great work which he undertakes, for all our sufficiency is of God, and we have no sufficiency of our selves so much as to think any thing, 2 Cor. 3.5. and God hath pro∣mised this assistance only to those whom himself sends. Thus Exo. 4.10. Go, saith the Lord to Moses, and I will be with thy mouth. Isa. 6.7, 8▪ God touches the mouth of Isaiah and sends him. Ioh. 20.21, 22. Christ sends and gives the holy Ghost to the Apostles, and to them is the promise. Ioh. 13. The Spirit of truth shall lead you into all truth. Doth God do thus Page 93 to those that run and are not sent? O let the great errours broached of old by Origen, and others that presumed the the undertaking of this work without a Call; and in our daies by Anabaptists, Socinians, and others that despise a regular lawfull Call, bear witness. Surely we may say that if any amongst us Preach without a Call▪ and yet Preach the truth, they have not their assistance by vertue of any promise from the hand of God.
2. Protection: Thus God hath promised to those whom he sends on his message. Thus the Lord encourageth Iere∣miah, ch. 1.18, 19. I have made thee this day a defenced City, and an iron pillar, and a brazen wall against this whole Land; and they shall fight against thee, but shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee. Thus also Act. 18.9. the Lord incourageth Paul, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace, for I am with thee▪ and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee. So also Act. 23.11. Be of good chear Paul, &c. And as we finde that God hath promised protection to those he sends, so also the Ministers of God have incouraged themselves to a faithfull discharge of their duty against all opposition, especially upon this ground that they had their commission from God, and his immutable promise for pro∣tection: Isa. 49.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Isa. 51.16. Ier. 26.14, 15. But no where hath God made any such promise to those that in∣trude themselves into this work, but threatens to be against them as hath been declared; The Angels of God have a charge to keep us in our waies, Psal. 91. but they that go out of them may fear the portion •f the sonnes of Sceva the Jew, Act. 19.15. that they be beaten by the evil spirit they undertake to cast out.
3. Success, in respect of the weighty ends of the Ministry, the principall the glory of God, the secondary the conver∣sion and salvation of souls; How is it possible that he who intrudes himself into the work of the Ministry should glorifie God in the work, since God is honoured only in his own waies and means, and therefore cannot be glorified when his waies are not observed. To obey is better then sacrifice, saith Page 94 the Prophet, and to hearken then the fat of Rams. Christ glo∣rified not himself to be made an High-priest; such therefore as assume the Ministry, glorifie themselves and not God. Neither is there any promise made, neither is it to be expe∣cted, that he who assumes this work of the Ministry without a Call, should ever become the instrument of the conversion and edification of souls, Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the preaching of such as are sent, Rom. 10.14, 17. but un∣sent Preachers have the curse of God upon their labours, that they shall not profit the people at all, Ier. 23.32. Luther hath a good saying to this purpose, Deus non fortunat labores corum qui non sunt vocati, & quamvis salutaria quaedam affe∣rant tamen non aedificant: that is, God doth not prosper their la∣bours, who are not called, and though they preach some profitable truths, yet do they not profit the people. Hence it comes to pass that they that hear uncalled Preachers, fall i nto so many er∣rours, as a just punishment of God upon them; according to that the Apostle saith, 2 Tim. 4.3, 4. For the time will come that they will not indure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves Teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turn∣ed unto fables▪ Gods blessing of conversion is promised only to his own Ordinance, which they cannot expect▪ who ei∣ther by preaching without a Call, or hearing such as so preach, do overthrow.
Thirdly, There is no one approved example recorded in Scripture of any one not being Sent and Called, either immediatly or mediatly by God, especially in a constituted Church, that undertook this work of preaching, or any other work appropriated by God to the Ministry.