Ius Divinum Ministerij Evangelici. OR THE DIVINE RIGHT OF THE Gospel-Ministry.
CHAPTER I. Containing the first Proposition.
PROP. I. That the Office of the Ministry of the Word and Sacra∣ments is necessary in the Church by Divine Institution.
FOr the understanding of this Proposition we shall briefly shew,
- 1. What is meant by Ministry.
- 2. What by Office.
1. What is meant by Ministry;* The word Ministry is a term of large comprehension: Sometimes it is taken for a Civil Service in the Common∣wealth; Sometimes for a spirituall worship of Jesus Christ; Page 2 Sometimes for the Office of a Deacon: But in this Proposi∣tion it is taken for an Ecclesiasticall Function appointed by Christ in his Church for the Preaching of the Word and Ad∣ministration of the Sacraments. This is called a Ministry in opposition to Lordly Domination and Principality; For Mi∣nisters are not appointed to be Lords over Gods Heritage, but to be examples to the flock:* The Princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them: But it shall not be so among you, but whosoever will be great among you let him be your Minister, and whosoever will be chief among you let him be your Ser∣vant:* The Office of the Ministry is not a Dominion but a Service, and a labourious Service, and therefore called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a word taken from those that labour at the oar, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a word taken from those that do in pulvere desudare: But yet it is a most glorious and honourable Service, because a Service to God his Church, and the Souls of People, and therefore called The Ministry of Christ, The Stewardship of the Mysteries of God,* and a spirituall Rule over the Houshold of God.
Q. 2. What is meant by the word Office?
Ans. For this you must know, That there is a great deal of difference between the Office and the work of the Ministry; Indeed in Scripture they are sometimes held forth by one Name because they are near akin, Act. 6.4. We will give our selves to the Ministry of the Word; And Rom. 11.13. I magni∣fie my Office; Both in the Originall called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, yet are they really distinct in nature as Relation and Action, and separa∣ble either by Divine Providence in case of sicknesse, or by humane pravity in case of Imprisonment, Banishment, or Re∣jection of the People, or Supine negligence, sloath, ambi∣tion, or covetousnesse in the Officer.
Impossible it is to dispute about the Office without mention of the work, they being Relatives, and therefore cannot be understood the one without the other: But yet because there are a double sort of dissenters, some that deny the very Of∣fice of the Ministry; Others that grant the Office, but yet Page 3 think it no sin for a man gifted (though uncalled) to assume the publike work of the Ministry: Our purpose is to speak distinctly to both. But in this Proposition only to the first.
The Office of the Ministry is a spirituall Relation to the whole employment of the Ministry in a person qualified, founded upon a speciall and regular call.
For its generall nature, It is a Relation as is evident by removing all other kindes, In particular it cannot be Action, For this is transient, but an Office is permanent.
For its property, It is a spirituall Relation to distinguish it from naturall and civil Relations.
Its Subject is a person qualified, Namely, 1. Able. 2. Wil∣ling. 3. Pious in the judgement of Charity.
Its Object or •erm is the Ministeriall employment, ampli∣fied by its extent in order to the work: A gifted Brother may upon just occasion materially exercise some parts of the Ministry, as Prayer, opening and applying of the Scripture, but not all parts, as Administration of the Sacraments, nor the former in publique, unlesse lawfully called thereunto.
Its Foundation is Vocation, or a Call limited; 1. By its Specialty: A generall Call enables to Prayer and Teaching as a Christian, but only a speciall and particular Call enables to these duties ex officio & authoritativè; A private per∣son may bring news of a Treaty to be had, but only an Em∣bassadour or Herauld comes enabled by Authority to treat.
2. It is limited by its Regularity to distinguish it from the bare Call of the People: The Peoples Call may determine a Persons Ministry in an especiall manner to themselves, but cannot invest a person into the Office of the Ministry, who was not a Minister before; Nor can their deserting of him put him out of Office, though haply it may out of imploy∣ment: Action is transient, but Relation is permanent; Therefore the Office is better defined by relation to the work then by relation to a particular people, who may easily out him of his work but not of his Office: This Regular Call then consists not in bare instinct, whereby men run before Page 4 they be sent, nor barely in the suffrages of the people, which make a Person their Minister not a Minister: But in mission either immediate by God and Christ, witnesse the Prophets and Apostles; or mediate by some delegated and authorised by God for that purpose, Nihil dat quod non habet: Nor can he who is not either a Minister or the Lord of Ministers regu∣larly make a Minister:*Paul was called by Christ, Timothy by Paul and the Presbytery; Nor do we reade of any called or∣dinarily to the Ministry without Ministers: And here by the way take notice, That the very nature of the Office of the Ministry argues strongly, that none can take upon them that sacred Office without a lawfull Call and Ordination, since the very Foundation of this Relation is a lawfull Call, and without a Foundation no Relation can either exist or persist; But more of this hereafter.
For the present, That which we have now to prove is, That the Office of the Ministry, that is, That a spiritual Relation to the whole employment of the Ministry in a per∣son qualified, founded in a speciall and regular Call, is of Divine Institution: Or more plainly, That the Eccles•a∣sticall Ministry is an Order, Function, or Office, that hath its Originall from Heaven; Not from an Ordinance of Parlia∣ment, but of the Lord Jesus Christ, which we shall prove by these Arguments.
From the peculiar designation of some Persons to the work of the Ministry;* Whence thus we argue,
If God hath peculiarly designed some Persons to this work of the Ministry, then the Office of the Ministry is by Divine Institution: But God hath peculiarly designed some Persons to the Work of the Ministry: The Consequence is clear. If God appointed some Persons to the Work of judging Israel, then the Office of Judges was by Divine Institution; If God appointed some Persons to carry the Utensils of the Taber∣nacle or Temple, and to keep the doors, then the Office of the Porters and Door-Keepers was of Divine Institution: So here if God designed some Persons to the Work of the Mi∣nistry, Page 5 then there is such an Office. And it will be further strengthened by this consideration; That where there was no distinct Office God did not design peculiar Persons for the Work, but left it in common to all, and where he left it in common to all there was no distinct Office. Thus the daty of Almes-giving in generall, because it is a duty common to all, and no peculiar Persons are designed to it, but it is equally required of all according to their ability, therefore there is no such Office of Almes-giving▪ But now to distribute the Alms of the Church in a work peculiarly determined to some particular Persons which are called Deacons (and is not common to all) and therefore the Office of the Deacon is by divine Institution. Adde further that to design particular per∣sons to any work, to which all have a like Call, Power, and Authority, is needlesse and ridiculous. So much for the proof of the consequence: The Antecedent will easily be made out.
1. That this was so under the Law, is evident beyond all dispute, to all who reade and beleeve the Old Testament: Though all Israel was Holinesse to the Lord, a Kingdom of Priests, and a Holy Nation,* as all Christians are now in their private duties and domestick Relations to offer up spiritual Sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ; Yet there was then a distinct peculiar Ministry in the Levit•s the Sonnes of Aaron by divine appointment; And no man might take that honour upon him, but only he that was called thereunto, as was Aaron, Heb. 5.4. Nor might any enter within the Taber∣nacle but the Priest accomplishing the Service of God.*
2. As it was thus in the Jewish Church before Christs In∣carnation, so it was foretold that it should be also in the Christian Church consisting of Jew and Gentile; It was Gods great Promise to be fullfilled in Gospel-times, that he would take of the Children of them that should be brought into the Church for Priests and Levites,* alluding to the Officers that then were in being; which cannot be understood of spiritu∣all Priests, such as all Saints are in some sense stiled;* for these are said to be singled out from the rest for such a speciall Of∣fice. Page 6 And that in the times of the Gospel, according to the Promise, such an Office was appointed by our Lord Jesus, is beyond all question to all who reade and beleeve the New Te∣stament;* Christ before his death appointed the Apostles to go and preach; He ordained twelve that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach: And af∣ter this the Lord appointed other seventy also; and because the Harvest was great and the Labourers were but few, there∣fore they are bid to pray the Lord of the Harvest that h• would send firth Labourers into hi• Harv•st: To his Apo∣stles he revealed himself especially after his resurrection,* and gave them commission and command to preach the Gospel to all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghos•: And when Iudas being numbred with them had obtained part of this Ministry, from which by transgression he fell;* the rest of the Disciples did not magnifie themselves to be Apostles, but sought to the Lord, that God himself would shew whom he had chosen to take part of that Ministry and Apostleship, and the Lo• fal∣ling upon Mathias he was numbred with the eleven.
3. The Ministry in the daies of the Apostles was not only dispensed by the Apostles, the seventy Disciples, and other Prophets and Evangelists, whose Call, Gifts, and Works were extraordinary, but by other ordinary Pastors, whose spirits were not insallible, and whose commission was not extraor∣dinary.* The extraordinary Officers were commanded to commit the word to faithfull men who shall be able to reach others also. And this Ministry dispensed by ordinary Pastors; was by the Apostles themselves and the severall Churches of the New Testament esteemed as a Ministry by Divine Institu∣tion:*Paul stiles Ep•phras a dear Fellow-Servant, who is for you a faithfull Minister of Christ: Tychicus he calls a beloved Brother and a faithfull Minister in the Lord. And these ordi∣nary Pastors (distinguished from those extraordinary Offi∣cers) the Scriptures do affirm to be as truly by divine ap∣pointment as the former, though not so immediatly and emi∣nently.
Page 71. The same God that set in the Church first Apostles,* then Prophets, the same God set in the Church some to be Teachers. Some (by way of distinction from others,) and not all; For the holy Ghost argueth as if it were equally ab∣surd to have all to be Teacher•, as all to be Apostles, and ap∣peals to their naturall conscience about it; Are all Apostles?*Are all Prophets? Are all Teachers? And if God himself the Father of all mercies hath placed these Teachers in his Church, what is man who is but • worm that he should at∣tempt to displace them?
2. The same Redeemer the Lord Jesus who gave some to be Apostles, some Prophets, and some Evangelists,* the same Christ gave also some to b• Pastor• and to be Tea∣chers.
3. The s•me holy Spirit which said, Separat• me Barnabas and Saul for the work of the Ministery,*and who committed to Paul th• Gosp•l of Vncircumcision as he did the Gospel of Circumcision to Peter▪ The same blessed Spirit gave charge to the Elders of the Church of Ephesus to take heed to th• Flock of Christ; And though they were no where re∣corded to have received a Commission extraordinary, and a spirit infallible, (Nay, so far were they from being infallible▪ that the Apostle foretel• that some of them would speak per∣verse things to draw away Disciples after them, v. 30.) Yet is it said expresly, that the holy Ghost h•d made them Overse∣er• over the Flock: As the Saints converted to the Faith of the Gospel by the Ministry of Tychichus, Epaphras,* and One∣simus, and the Saints that in those daies were really added to the Church, wer• no less• truly Saints then those which were converted immediatly by Paul, and Peter, and the rest of the Apostles; So these ordinary Pastors and Teachers afore∣mentioned did no l•sse truly receive their Ministry from the Lord for their ordinary employment, then the Apostles did (though they more eminently for their employment extra∣ordinary▪)▪ As he committed to them the Word and Mini∣stry of Reconc•liation,* and gave to them both Commission and Command to dispense his Ordinances, so that to them it Page 8 was not only lawfull or arbitrary, but necessity was laid up∣on them, and a Woe denounced if they preached not the Gospel:* So was it also to the ordinary Teachers, and there∣fore Archippus (no where mentioned to be an Officer extra∣ordinary) is commanded to fullfill his Ministry, which he al∣so received from the Lord.*
Now if the Father, the God of Truth; the Son, the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and the holy Ghost the Spirit of Truth hath designed peculiar persons to this Office, then the Ministry by way of Office, is necessary by Divine Insti∣tution.
The Second Argument is drawn from the peculiar Names or Titles,* whereby the Persons thus designed and distinguished from other Saints: If God hath given peculiar Names and Titles, whereby the Persons designed to this Office are distin∣guished from other Saints, then this Office is by Divine Insti∣tution. For as the judgement of God is, so are the denomi∣nations which God giveth to things,*according to truth: If Adam gave distinguishing Names to all creatures, sutable to their beings; Surely our only wise God will not distinguish where he himself hath made no difference. But God hath gi∣ven to the persons designed to this Office peculiar Names and Titles.
*1. These are called Pastors, and the other Saints re∣spectively are called the Flock. Now is there not a reall di∣stinction (as well as nominall) betwixt the Flock and Pastor, the Sheep and the Shepherd?
*2. They are called Teachers, and doth not the holy Ghost evidently distinguish betwixt them that do instruct and those that are instructed?
*3. They are called such as Rule well, not in any civil way as State-Officers, but such as labour in the Word and Do∣ctrine.
*4. They are such as are Over the Saints in the Lord, and the holy Ghost doth expresly distinguish betwixt the Officers in the Church, which have rule and inspection over the Page 9 Saints, and all the rest of the Saints under that Inspe∣ction.
5. They are called Stewards of the Mysteries of God;* all the rest of the Saints are of the Houshold of Faith; and who may appoint Stewards in the House but the Master of the Houshold? And if the Master call them Stewards, let all Saints do so who are of his Houshold.* Though all other Saints may be called Stewards of the manifold grace of God, according to the proportion of the gifts and talents which they have received for their Lords use, and so every man must give an account of his Stewardship even for civil gifts and common graces, yet neither are all men nor all Saints, as such,* any where stiled by the holy Ghost to be Stewards of the Mysteries of God, as the Ministers of Christ are; And it is one peculiar Argument which the holy Ghost useth, why the Bishop must be eminently blamelesse above other Saints, because he is so to carry himself in Gods House as one who in a speciall way is the Steward of God.
6. They are called Preachers by way of Office,* or Gods Heralds, (though others may know and speak the same things, viz·) These authoritatively are sent forth to proclaim the minde of the Lord.
7. They are called Embassadors for Christ: God hath gi∣ven to them the Ministry of Reconciliation,* and hath commit∣ted to them the Word of Reconciliation.
8. They are Super-intendents and Overseers of the Flock;* and if they had no such Office, then in the discharge of this work they might be charged to be Busie-bodies; And so we shall call this a sin which God Almighty hath charged upon them as their duty.
9. They are called Stars in Christs right hand.
10. The Angels of the Churches,* and our Lord himself doth clearly distinguish betwixt the seven Stars in the Church, and the seven golden Candlesticks which are seven Churches; he evidently puts a difference betwixt the Churches and the Angels set in them and over them in the Lord.
If the Lord out of his speciall care to the good of the souls of People, hath appointed peculiar gifts and qualifications (above what is required in all Saints as such) in all who en∣ter into the work of the Ministry, then the Office of the Mi∣nistry is by Divine Insti•ution. For why should God require such qualifications for an Office, if he first had not appoint∣ed such an Office; Suppose a Parliament should lay down se∣verall qualifications for every man that is to be made a Ju∣stice of Peace, Doth not this clearly infer, that there is such an Office as of a Justice of the Peace;* But our Lord doth re∣quire peculiar gifts and qualifications, &c. Not only those Moral Theological Christian gifts and graces which are re∣quired in all Saints at such, as to be blamelesse, vigilant, sober, &c. But such qualifications as are peculiar, Though gifts as gifts do not alone invest into an Office, yet where these are so strictly and peculiarly required, they argue that there is an Office. God requires
1. That they be apt to teach: Saints may be Saints though they be not fitted to teach others:* It is • good degree of Saintship when they are swift to hear, slow to speak, and apt to learn, (and we could wish the Saints in our times could learn and practise that Lesson) but those faithful men to whom the Ministry is to be committed, must be apt to teach.
*2. That they be not only apt but able to teach others also.
*3. That they be such as holding fast the Word may be able by sound Doctrine to exhort and convince Gain∣sayers.
*4. That they be such as st•dy to shew themselves appro∣ved unto God, Workmen that need not be ashamed▪ Rightly divi∣ding the Word of Truth; And who then is a faithfull and wise Steward whom the Lord may make Ruler •ver hi• Houshold t• give them their portion of meat in due season.
Page 115. That these gifts be tried and approved by others (for no man can be a competent Judge of his own gifts) The Deacons must first be proved,* and if the Deacons the low∣est Officer of the Church must by Divine appointment be first proved before he be admitted to use the Office of a Dea∣con, how much more is this required in the Office of the Ministry, which is far higher?
6. That those that are to prove and approve observe these things without carnall preferring one before another;*that they doe nothing by partiality, that they lay hands suddenly upon no man,, and this the Apostle chargeth them with be∣fore God and the Lord Iesus Christ and his Elect Angels? Now why are all these qualifications required? Would not all these injunctions about such an Office be superfluous, if such an Office were not by Divine Institution?
7. The qualifications are so many, the work so eminent, the successe so various, the Ministry of the Word being to some the savour of life unto life, and to others the savour of death unto death, that the Apostle in admiration of the dif∣ficulty and dignity of this employment, crieth out, Who is suffici•nt for these things?* But they who are alienated in their mindes as they snuffe at the service of God, and bring the torn, and the lame, and the sick (as if any thing though ne∣ver so bad were good enough) for an Offering to the Lord, so they account the work of the Ministry so mean, and the Office so contemptible, that they say in opposition to the holy Apostle, For these things who is not sufficient? boldly intr•ding themselves into this work, without any gifts or qua∣lifications sutable and approved thereunto, presuming to be Teachers of the Law and of the Gospel,* yet not unde•stand∣ing what they say or whereof they do affirm.
The fourth Argument From peculiar duties; If God re∣quire peculiar duties of Ministers which he doth not require of Bele•vers as Beleevers,* then there is such a distinct Office by Divine Institution. But God doth require peculiar distinct duties of Ministers.
2. When they have undertaken this work they are charged not to neglect the gift that is in them,*which was given by the laying on the hands of the Presbytery.
3. Wholly to minde this Work and the Office; Meditate on these things,*give themselves wholly to them, that their profiting may appear to all: It is not reason that they should leave the Word and serve Tables, but they must continually give themselves to Prayer and to the Ministry of the Word. It is true, that the work of the Apostles was exceeding great, yet it is as true, that their gifts were extraordinary, and the assistance they had was above measure, God testifying to the word of his grace by many signs and wonders: Now if the Apostles endued with those transcendent abilities, would not suffer themselves to be diverted, how much more doth the work of the Ministry challenge the whole man, of them whose parts and assistances are so farre inferiour that they may attend the special service of God without distraction? Have not the Ministers now as much need as Timothy then to give attendance to reading,*as well as unto exhortation and doctrine, to meditate upon these things, and give themselves wholly to them, that their profiting may appear to all, that so they may save themselves and them that hear them?
4. Not only wholly to minde this work in private, but in publike to Preach the Word;*to be instant in season and out of season; Rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and do∣ctrine:*With meeknesse they must instruct those that oppose themselves; They must labour even to weariness in the Word and Doctrine: They must be willing to spend and to be spent upon the Service of the faith of the people: A necessity is laid upon them to preach the Gospel,* the neglect whereof involves them in a Woe; If they doe it willingly they have a reward, and if not yet a Dispensation is committed to them.
6. And also to ordain others into the work of the Mini∣stry: Of which more hereafter.
In all these works not to feed themselves but to feed the Flock, to look not only to their lives but to their doctrine, to watch not only for their own souls but for the souls of others.
7. They are commanded so to watch over the Flock as those that must give an account.*
8. They are commanded to take heed to themselves and to their doctrine, not only how they live but how they teach,* that they may edifie both by living and teaching, and though they meet with many discouragements, unfruitfulnesse in some, and unkinde oppositions from others, yet they must continue in these things, and persist in their work, when they have laid their hands to this Plough they must not look back,* but must persevere to speak the things which become sound Doctrine, to preach the Word, to be instant in season and out of season, to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.
The fifth Argument is drawn From the peculiar distinct duties enjoyned the people in reference to their Teachers.*
If the Lord requires peculiar distinct duties from the peo∣ple in reference to their Teachers, then this Office is by Di∣vine Institution.
But the Lord requires peculiar distinct duties in the People in reference to their Minister, &c.
1. To know and acknowledge them such as are over them in the Lord.*
2. To remember their guides who have spoken unto them the Word of God;* We are prone to forget our duty to∣wards them▪ God is sensible of this sin, and gives out these commands to cure this forgetfulnesse.
3. Highly to esteem them, and that in love, and this also for their works sake.* Though the Saints are not to esteem or Page 14 think of them above what is meet, yet this esteem must not be vulgar as that which is only common to ordinary men and be∣lievers:* When the •nthankful world despise the Ministers, the Saints are obliged to account them worthy of double honour, and to esteem them highly,* very highly and abundantly; This high degree of esteem must be in love, for if we love the Embassage, and the Lord who sends the glad tidings of Sal∣vation,* How beautifull then are the feet of his Embassa∣dours! This esteem of them in love must be for t•eir works sake: Now if this work was not of God, he would never give so many injunctions to honour these work-men: But this work of the Ministry in reconciling sinners to God,* is so stupendious, that the Angels with admiration desire to look into these things: And in the dispensation of this my∣stery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, is made known by the Church not only to men bu• to Cherubins and Seraphims Principalities and powers in Heavenly places the manifold wisedom of God.*
*4. To obey them that have the rule over you and submit your selves unto them.
*5. To encourage them, that they may do their work with joy and not with grief, for that is unprofitable to the Flock, as uncomfortable to the Pastour.
6, To maintain them; He that is taught in the Word must communicate to him that teacheth in all good things:* Why doth the holy Ghost spend almost a whole Chapter upon this Sub∣ject? and after many arguments, why doth the Apostle make that appeal? Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the Temple;*and they that wait a• the Altar are partakers with the Al•ar? And whereas some might say, This practise is Mosaicall, and fit for the Jewish Priesthood,* but not for Gospel-times, He prevents this Ob∣jection, and asserts as a Divine Institution, that God hath thus ordained, that they which preach the Gospel sho•ld live of the Gospel: But this doctrine of the maintenance of Ministers hath been of late so largely and sol•dly asserted by several able pens, that we shall not need to s•y any more about it. But Page 15 no wonder that those which would take away and detain the maintenance should also be willing to deny the Office: They that take away the Oyl would break the Lamp in sunder as a thing uselesse and unnecessary.
Object. But some may say, the Apostles did work with la∣bour and travell, night and day,* that they might not be chargeable: Doth not Paul himself appeal to the Elders of the Church of Ephesus, Yea, you your selves know, that these have ministred to my necessities, and if the Apostles labour∣ed and had no maintenance, though they were extraordina∣ry, why should not other ordinary Ministers labour, and why is their maintenance a duty necessary?
We answer, 1. This travell with their own hands for a subsistence was a peculiar case of P•ul and Barnabas, and was not the practise of the other Apostle•; for Paul saith,* I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working as the other Apostles and Brethren of the Lord and Cephas?
2. When they refused to receive maintenance, this refusal was upon especiall occasion: As 1. Either the Churches ex∣tream necessities, the daies of danger and exigencies of the Saints: In such case, though marriage was lawfull; I sup∣pose it is good for the present distresse, I say it is good for a man to forbear marriage;* and so Paul did both for∣bear marr•age and also refused maintenance, but none can conclude from hence the marriage of Ministers is unlawfull, or their maintenance unneedfull. Or 2. This refusall of maintenance was in case of scandall, when false Teachers had crept into the Church of Corinth, who boasted of themselves and their own doctrine, and that they would Preach the Go∣spel freely, and so cried down Paul and his Ministry, there∣fore in this case Paul preached the Gospel freely, I was chargeable (saith he) to no man,*and in all things I have kept my self from being burdensome to you, and so will I keep my self, and what I do in this kinde that I will do; and the ground of this practise he declareth to avoid scandall, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion;* and that he might stop the boastings of those false Apostles, dececeifull workers Page 16 transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ, that wherein they gloried they may be found even as we.
3. When Paul was neeessitated to labour with his hands, he numbers it in the Catalogue of his sorrows as part of his sufferings,* To this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked and buffeted, and have no certain •welling-place, and labour working with our own hands.
4. Though Paul refused maintenance, yet he still taught Beleevers that it was a Gospel-Ordinance to maintain their Ministers;* for Who goeth to warfare at his own charges? Shall Souldiers have no pay because when they are lawfully called forth they offer themselves freely to serve the publike? Who planteth a Vineyard and doth not eat thereof?
5. When Paul in the cases and for the persons above-men∣tioned refused maintenance,* yet he telleth the Corinthians, that he received much from others, I robbed other Churchss, taking wages of them to serve you; for that which was lacking to me, they which came from Macedonia supplied: and he a∣bundantly commendeth the Philippians, who were careful for his outward subsistence; And their supply sent unto him he calleth an Odour of sweet smell, a Sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God,*and that hereby fruit did abound to their ac∣count.
The sixth Argument is drawn from the Promises; If God hath made particular Promises to them that work in this Mi∣nistry,* then this Office is by Divine Institution; For God did never promise to keep up that Office in the Church which he hath not set up; but hath said the contrary, that every Plant which our Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be plucked up.*
But God hath made peculiar Promises to them that work in the Ministry.
1. That his speciall presence shall be with them; Lo, I am with you in this work of Teaching and baptizing,* though many or most may be against you.
2. His speciall assistance; God alone is alsufficient to make Page 17 them who are insufficient of themselves to think one good thought, able Ministers of the New Testament,* not only of the Letter but of the Spirit; God alone continues these abilities from the perpetuall supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.* From this speciall assistance it is that they which have this Ministry faint not under all affronts and discourage∣ments, totally and universally, because they receive new supplies of Mercy from the Lord.
3. His speciall protection of them in all assaults: He is present with all his Saints to protect and preserve them; He is in the midst of the seven Golden Candlesticks, and he walks in the midst of them; These seven Golden Candlasticks are declared to be the seven Churches of Asia;* But God doth more then so to the Ministers of those Churches, He is not only in them, and walks in the midst of them, but he holds the Stars in his right hand.
4. Unto them he promiseth the power of the Keys, and engageth himself,* that whatsoever they ministerially binde on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever they loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; And this promise first made to P•ter was not limited to Peters person alone, for Christ after his Resurrection makes good the same promise to all the other Apostles; Whose sins soever ye remit are remitted, and whose sins soever ye retain are retained;* And that this promise was not liimted to the Apostles as Apostles, but was given to the Apostles as Ministers of the Gospel, is evident from Mat. 18.17, 18. where the same power is given to the ordinary Church-Officers that was given to the Apostles, and the same encouragement given to them to exercise that censure.
5. Christ Jesus promiseth speciall sympathy with them, whatsoever entertainment they meet withall in the discharge of this Office▪ He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me:* And when the Ministers are despised, hated, and contemned, Christ tels us he takes it is to himself, as if these contempts were done to himself in his own person: He that hateth them (in reference to the r work) hateth me; He that despiseth them despiseth me,*Page 18and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent m•; which great promises though eminently given to the Apostles, yet are not limited to the Apostles as Apostles, but extended to all the Ministers sent to preach the Gospel, for so Christ himself ex∣pounds these Promises;*Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I shall send, receiveth me: Now if the promise be to all whomsoever Christ sends, then not only to the Apostles; for besides them Christ sent other Pastors who were not immediatly called and sent, as the 12. and the 70. yet they were proved before to have been sent and set in the Church by Christ.
6. Christ is so tender of the good or bad usage of his Ministers, that he hath undertaken to recompence all that good done to them; He that receiveth a Prophet in the Name of a Prophet, shall receive a Prophets reward; And though this be true also of every righteous man and Disciple in his pro∣portion,* yet our Lord doth evidently there distinguish betwixt the Prophet by Office and the righteous man or disciple, as he doth also betwixt a Prophets reward and a righteous mans reward: And so in all ages God hath taken it kindely when his faithfull Ministers have been protected and countenanced: It stands upon record as a token of the sincerity of Obadiah, that in that general persecution by Iezabel, he had a hundred of the Lords Prophets,*and hid them fifty in a Cave, and fed them with bread and water: And of Hezekiah that good King who walked before the Lord with a perfect heart, there is this testimony recorded, that he spake comfortably unto all the Levites which taught the good knowledge of the Lord: But those Kings and Rulers that abused the Ministers are noted as ene∣mies to God himself,*Ahab and Amazia, &c. And contempt of Ordinances and Ministers sent from God, is made the sad∣dest fore-runner of ruine and desolation; When they mocked the Messengers of God,*despised his Word, and misused his Pro∣phets; Then the wrath of the Lord rose up against his people, till there was no remedy: The Lord was tender of the Ministry of the Law because glorious. Now doth not the holy Ghost tell us,* that the Ministry of the Gospel doth exceed in Glory; Page 19 That among them that are born of women there hath not ri∣sen a greater then Iohn Baptist; Notwithstanding, he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater then he, not that their Persons are better, but that their Ministry is higher.
Therefore let us all take heed of despising the Ministry,* lest the Lord smite the Earth with a Curse; For he that despi∣seth, despiseth not man but God. So much shall suffice for the First Proposition.
CHAP. II. Containing the Second Proposition.
PROVING, That the Office of the Ministry is perpetually neces∣sary.
THat it is so will appear by these ensuing Argu∣ments.
If all the former Arguments which evince the necessity of this Office by divine Institution be of a moral nature, then are they of perpetuall Obligation by Divine appointment; For the Commands of the Morall Law given to the Jews oblige all, and Precepts of the Gospel given both to Jews and Gen∣tiles in the Apostles times, do equally oblige all beleevers in these daies as they did beleevers in the daies of the Apo∣stles, to whom they were at first immediatly prescribed; because those precepts are of a moral nature; Whatsoever duties God r•quired in the Churches of Galatia,*Phi∣lippi, C•losse, &c. all these Scriptures do as really binde now a• they did then binde them, for Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our Learning; The same evils which were sins then are sinnes now, the duties Page 20 enjoyned then are duties now, and shall binde all ages until the appearance of Christ; This Rule is so exact and perpetuall, that they and they alone which walk accord∣ing to this Rule, Peace shall be on them and upon the Israel of God.
But all the former Arguments which prove the Office of the Ministry to be necessary, are of a morall nature; Not given to Apostles as Apostles, but to them as Stewards and Ministers of God, and so appertain to all Ministers of Christ. And in every Argument there are those proofs produced out of Scripture, which were not given only to Apostles but to ordinary Pastors, as may appear by a particular review of all the fore-going Arguments.
*If the Ordinances be perpetually necessary in the Church by Divine Institution till the day of Jesus Christ, then the Office of the Ministry to dispense those Ordinances is perpe∣tually necessary in the Church by Divine Institution; The reason of this consequence appears thus.
If the Lord had only appointed Ordinances to continue, and had appointed none to administer them, then the Ordi∣nanres would fail, because that which is every mans work is usually and effectually no mans work, and though God hath immediatly appointed these Ordinances, yet now he doth not immediatly administer them, but the administrati∣on of these Ordinances he hath committed unto others;* not to Angels, for their glory is so great, and our infirmities so many, that we could not endure their visible ministration; but this Ministry he hath committed unto men, to some and not to all, as hath been proved in the former Proposition; and these are called the Ministers of Christ,* Stewards or dis∣pensers of the Mysteries of God, and are workers together with God, and such have this Treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power might be of God; The Ministry of the Word and the dispensing of the Sacraments we finde con∣joyned in the Institution of Christ, to whom Christ gave Commission to preach, to them he also gave Commission Page 21 and Command to Baptize, and he promiseth to concur with them in their administration: But that any others have any such Command to enjoyn them, or Commission to enable them, or any such promise of Gods concurrence with them, if they undertake these Administrations; or that any su•• practise was in the daies of the Apostles, we reade not in the New Testament, and because the whole nature and vertue of the Sacraments of the New Testament, depends solely and wholly upon the Authority of God being the Institutour of them, therefore we may neither adde to nor detract from his Institution, lest the Lord adde to the Plagues written in this Book, and take away our part out of the Book of Life:* So much for the consequence of the Major; Now to the Minor, which is this.
The Ordinances be perpetually necessary in the Church by Divine Institution; which will be evident if we consider the publike Ordinances of the Word, of Baptism, and of the Supper of the Lord.
1. For the Word; It is evident that the Word preached shall continue in all ages from Mat. 28.20. where Jesus Christ commands his Apostles and Ministers to teach all Nations, and promiseth to be with them in that work to the end of the world; as also from Eph. 4.11, 12, 13. Christ gave Pastors and Teach∣ers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the Faith.
2. For Baptism, we desire these particulars to be consi∣dered.
1. That Baptism is an Ordinance of the New Testament appointed by God himself, Iohn was sent to baptize,* he did not go about this work till he was sent, and because Baptism was first adminis•red by him, therefore he is so frequently called Iohn the Baptist, not that Baptism was his invention, but that the Administration thereof was first committed unto him▪* the Institution it self was of God; God was the Authour, Iohn only the Minister, therefore the Baptism of Iohn is de∣nied to be of men, and affirmed to be of Heaven:* And when Page 22 the Pharisees rejected his Baptism, it is asserted they rejected the counsell of God against themselves,*being not baptized of him: And the Lord Jesus Christ to declare the Baptism of Iohn to be of God, even he that came to fullfill all righteousnesse, came from Galilee to Iordan to be baptized of Iohn.
2. It is evident, that Baptism was appointed not only to the Jew but to the Gentile, it was indeed first administred to the Jew by Iohn and by the Disciples of our Lord, and after Christs Resurrection by the Apostles to those primitive Con∣verts:* but when the partition Wall was broken down, Bap∣tism of Repentance was preached unto the Gentiles,* not on∣ly in Iudea but in Samaria also they that beleeved were bapti∣zed both men and women,* and so Cornelius the Roman Cen∣turion, and so the Jaylor and all his at Philippi and Corinth, Paul baptized Crispus and Gaius, and the Houshold of Ste∣phanus.
3. This Ordinance of Baptism instituted both for Jew and Gentile, was not to continue only in the Infancy of the Church, as the Photinians and Socinians affirm, but is perpe∣tuall, as may appear by these Arguments.
1. The promise and precept of Christ wherein the Lord commands the Word to be preached unto all,* and all Nati∣ons to be baptized; and Christ promiseth that he will be with his Officers in the Administration of his Ordinances to the end of the world; If to the end of the world there shall be Disciples, and if all Disciples must be baptized, then Baptism must continue to the end of the world.
2. The ends for which Baptism was ordained, are not tem∣porary, but morall, and so perpetuall; All the Disciples of Christ now need the same means as the Christians, during the Age of the Apostles, that we also might be baptized into Christ,* to be baptized into his death, buried with Christ by Baptism, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glo∣ry of the Father,*even so we also should walk in newnesse of life; Neither doth the Baptism of the Spirit disanull the Baptism of water, but rather confirm it; For by one Spirit are we all bap∣tized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free.
Page 233. If we consider the nature, use, or efficacy of Baptism, it is called by the holy Ghost a saving Ordinance, and is unto believers and their seed in the New Testament, as the Ark was to Noah and his •amily in the Old world▪ who being in the Ark was saved from perishing in the waters, when the rest were drowned; so Baptism that doth now save us not only or mainly the outward part of it, the putting away the filth of the flesh (which yet is an Ordinance to further our salvation) but when the Spirit of Regeneration effectually concurs, so that we finde that there is a renewing of the holy Ghost, and thereby the answer of a good Conscience towards God.*
Thirdly, For the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, it is e∣vident,
1. That it is an Ordinance of God appointed by Jesus Christ, for he alone who gives grace hath power to appoint the means whereby he will convey grace: as no man can cre∣ate new Articles of Faith to be b••eeved, so no man can ap∣point new Sacraments to be received; Only Jesus Christ the Prince and Mediatour of the New Covenant, the High Priest of our profession, who hath all power in Heaven and Earth, and who alone is able to fill all his own Ordinances (which in externall appearance seem but mean) with inward efficacy and sprituall fullnesse;* He hath first instituted this Sacrament and also administred it even the same night in which he was be∣trayed.
2. This Ordinance was not only appointed to and for the Apostles, to whom it was first administred, but unto all be∣lievers both Jews and Gentiles, by whom it is to be received, not only once as Baptism (for we reade no Institution to baptize the same person more then once) But our Lord hath prescribed the frequ ent reiterated use of this Sacrament,* that we should often •at this Bread and drink this Cup,* and accor∣dingly the Apostles and the primitive Christians did frequent∣ly celebrate thiS Ordinance.
3. It is evident that this Sacrament was appointed not on∣ly for that age, but for all succeeding generations, therefore Page 24 Believers are commanded to frequent this Ordinance, and in eating this Bread and drinking this Cup,*to shew forth the Lords Death till he come; for our Lord that will have his Church to continue in all successions, till the day of his appearance, hath both enjoyned all Beleevers as their duty to perpetuate the use of this Sacrament in their severall generations, and hath also foretold for their comfort, that this Ordinance shall con∣tinue till the day of his last coming:* So then these Ordinan∣ces being appointed by God to continue to the end, hereby it appears that the Lord hath designed the Office of the Mini∣stry to hold up and hold forth his Ordinances to the end of the world.
*If the Promises which Christ hath made to uphold the Mi∣nistry be perpetuall, then the Office is perpetually necessary. But these Promises are perpetual. That Christ hath made pro∣mises to uphold the Ministry, hath been proved in the former Proposition out of Mat. 28.20. &c. The only doubt which can remain, is, Whether these Promises were limited to that age wherein the Apostles lived, or whether they do reach all suc∣ceeding ages to the end of the world; Wherein who can bet∣ter resolve us then Christ himself in the words of the promise, Go teach and baptize, and lo I am with you alwaies to the end of the world.
1. This Promise (we grant) was made first and immediatly to the Apostles; but the Query is, Whether solely and only unto them as they were Apostles; It cannot be denied but many precepts and promises given to them were of a different nature, 1. Some to the Apostles as Apostles, and 2. Some to Apostles as Ministers, and 3. Some to Apostles as Beleevers. If any demand, how shall we know when Christ spake to them as Apostles? when to them as Ministers? and when to them as Christians? We answer, That the best way to discern this, is to consider the nature of these precepts and promises: if they be of an extraordinary nature ••ove what God hath commanded or promised to all beleever•, o• to all ordinary Ministry; Then these commands or promises are peculiar to Page 25 Apostles as Apostles, as extraordinary Officers; For instance, When Christ had called the twelve, He gave them power a∣gainst unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sicknesses, and all manner of diseases: And these being extra∣ordinary promises, it appears they were made to the Apostles as Apostles, and not to them either as Beleevers or as Mini∣sters.
If they be of a common nature wherein all Saints and Dis∣ciples of Jesus Christ are equally concerned, then though they were given to the Apostles, yet not only to them as A∣postles, but to them as Beleevers,* who also partake of like precious faith with them, through the righteousnesse of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; When Christ commanded them to watch, for ye know not what hour the Lord will come; this duty was laid upon them immediatly and apart from o∣thers as appears; His Disciples came to him privately, saying, When shall these things be? Yet this duty is of such a nature as is common to all beleevers;* and so elsewhere Christ expounds it, What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch: When Christ taught his Disciples to pray, in them he taught the same duty to all beleevers: And all these commands, to deny our selves, take up the Crosse, and follow him, are so given to the Apo∣stles as they also oblige all beleevers:* So when Christ praied for the Apostles, that God would sanctifie them with all truth; he prayed not for them alone, but for all that were gi∣ven to him of the Father, which should also beleeve in him through their Word: So all those great and precious promises which pertain to life and godlinesse, whereby all beleevers partake of the divine nature, having escaped the pollutions which are in the world through lust,* were given not only to the Apostles but to all Beleevers. The ignorance or non-observance of this distinction hath led the Papists into many absurdities, as when Christ gave the Cup to the Apostles, because they all were Ministers, therefore they do not conceive themselves obliged by that example to give the Cup to the Laity; where∣as Christ gave the Cup to the Apostles not as Apostles but only as Beleevers, and so ordained it for all Beleevers, who Page 26 did not onely Eat the Bread, but Drink the Cup of the Lord.*
The Precepts and Promises which are of a middle nature betwixt the two former, not so general as to concern all be∣lievers, nor yet so strait and peculiar as to be limited to the Apostles, as Go, Teach and Baptize, &c. These Pre∣cepts and Promises thereunto annexed, were given to Apo∣stles, not as Apostles, nor to them as believers, but given to them as Ministers and Stewards of the mysteries of God; For the Apostles did not administer the Sacraments as Apostles,* for to baptize was no peculiar work of the Apostles, as such. Now Christs promise in Matth. 28.20. is to Apostles teach∣ing and baptizing. But these are acts ministerial, which there∣fore appertain to all Ministers called of God in his Name to perform these duties.
If any shall object and say, This promise was not to their persons, but to their doctrine, which shall continue to the end of the world.
Answ. It is true, the doctrine of the Apostles shall con∣tinue to the end of the world; it is such a light as all the breath of men, or rage of hell can never blow out, and one jot or tittle of this word shall not fail;* But this promise is not onely to their doctrine, but to their persons, invested in such an Office, not onely to their 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but to them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not onely to their doctrine taught, but to their teaching and baptizing.
This promise cannot be confined to the persons of Apo∣stles; for where are the Prophets and Evangelists? And do the Apostles live for ever? But this promise reacheth all ages; I am with you alwayes to the end of the world, which strongly argueth, That the Office of the Ministry shall continue till the second coming of Christ; and though many have endea∣voured to suppresse both Ministry and Magistracy, yet they shall continue till Christ deliver up the Kingdom to God even the Father.*Then, and not till then, will he put down all Rule, and all Authority and Power. Then there shall be no Temple, there shall be no need of the Sunne, neither Page 27 of the Moon to shine therein, for the glory of the Lord shall light∣en it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
When Christ sendeth forth his Apostles about a ministeri∣al imploiment, he promiseth to be with them unto the worlds end, which doth not, cannot intimate, either that the Apostles themselves should live so long, or that this his promise should be made good no longer then they lived. But that as the im∣ploiment it self then given them in charge (for the main sub∣stance and subject matter of it) so that promise of his graci∣ous presence and efficacious assistance, should be conti∣nued, as to them in particular for their times, so to others that should in those administrations succeed them from time to time in the severall ages ensuing to the worlds end.
Obj. But may not these words, I will be alwaies with you unto the worlds end, be limited to the particular age or dispen∣sation during the lives of the Apostles?
Sol. To prevent this Objection, the holy Ghost useth three expressions to declare the perpetuity of this promise: 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that this promise shall continue so long as the world continues. 2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, this pro∣mise shall have no end till the worlds end. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 all dayes and successions of times, not only 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not only with you during your dayes, but all the dayes of the Gospel, till time shall be no more; All which words clearly hold out a continuance of the power and function of the Mi∣nistry, and Christs special spiritual presence with the persons assigned to this Office in the exercise thereof, not for some particular age, as the lives of the Apostles, but in all succes∣sive times to the end of the world, which is evident from the terms in this promise used, being duely considered with collation of other places of Scripture, in the New Testament especially wherein elswhere they are found.
And first, the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, answering to the Hebrew word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is taken sometime in the notion of an adjunct, and sometime of a subject. Sometime in the notion of an ad∣junct of time or continuance; and here most properly, and Page 28 in its native sense, according to its original, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (as Grammarians generally agree) it is used for Eternity, ei∣ther for the continuance of eternity before time, which is commonly called aeternitas à parte ante, and so it may well be taken,*Acts 15.18. where it is said, That Gods works were known to him,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, from eternity; or for the continu∣ance of eternity, when time shall be no more, commonly cal∣led aeternitas à parte post; as it is manifestly taken where the Messias is said to abide, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 unto eternity, or for ever; whence 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉for ever, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 for never, as also 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 for life eternal that shall never have an end. this is correspondent to that Psal. 60.2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉from eternity unto eternity, thou art God, that is, without ei∣ther beginning or ending. But from hence with some restri∣ction it is used for some long continuance of time, as the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 also in Hebrew is. And more peculiarly appli∣ed to the world, it importeth the perpetual continuance of the thing spoken of, untill the world have a period of its present being. Thus it seems to be taken where 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 & 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 are both joyned together; for as one of the Jewish Doctors well observeth 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉The rock of flint, Deut. 8.15. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉The flint of Rock, Deut. 32.13. are in effect the same: So 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the perpetual continuance of this world, Ephes. 2.2. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the world of this present perpetual continuance, are in effect and sub∣stance one and the same. Yea where the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is not expressed, as (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) Luke 1.70. Acts 3.21. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Iohn 9.32. is from the worlds beginning: So 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Luke 1.33. compared with 1 Cor. 15.24, 25. and Luke 1.55. is, unto the worlds end. Hence also that di∣stinction of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉this world, Mark 4.19. Luke 16.8. & 20.34. or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The world that now is, 2 Tim. 4.10. Tit. 2.12. and as some copies also have it, Matth. 12.32. or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The present world, Gal. 1.4. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The world that shall be, Matth. 12.32. Heb. 6.5. or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is coming, or that is to come, Mark 10.30. Luke 18.30. precisely answering that so common with the Jewish masters Page 29 of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 this world and that to come? Nor is it found where the penmen of the Books of the New Testament use the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of a particular present age, or such a short stint of time as some would here restrain it to: They have another word, to wit, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 answering the Hebrew word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which in such cases they use, as where it is said of David, Act. 13.36. that he served 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, his peculiar age, that is, the age wherein he lived, and those forms are common, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 this age or race Mat. 11.16, & 12.41, 42. where what is said 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 with this age, is by Luke 11.31. rendred 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 with the men of this age. Now where the holy Ghost useth diversity of terms so distinguished, we ought not to confound them.
Again, Sometime the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used in the notion of a Subject, for the Frame or Fabrick of the Creation of the world, as we commonly use that word, yet for the most part in • figurative sense, as hereafter shall be shewn. Thus when the devil is by the Apostle stiled 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉the God of this world, 2 Cor. 4.4. he is by our Saviour to the same purpose termed, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉the prince or ruler of this World, Joh. 12.21. & 14.30. where yet in a Metaleptical manner of speak∣ing, this world, that is, the world here below is put by a Me∣tonymy first for men the Inhabitants thereof, as also Rom. 3.16.19. then by a Synecdoche, or a 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 rather for the most and worst sort of them, 1 Ioh. 5.19. When also that distin∣ction 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉those in the world, Joh. 13.1. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉those of the world, Joh. 8.23. & 15.19, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Psa. 17.14. so termed because they have their share and their lot, their part and their-portion, their hopes and happinesse in the things of this world, and the present life alone, as the Psalmist there expounds himself. But thus most expresly is the word used in the plurall form, where it is said of Christ, that God by him 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉made the worlds, Heb. 1.2, and by faith we understand 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 that the worlds were framed that is as the Jewish Masters use to speak 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉the up∣per world, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the nether world, the whole frame of Heaven and Earth; Of which our Saviour, Vntil Heaven and Page 30 Earth passe away, Mat. 5.18. Whether way then we take the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 here, in the notion of an adjunct or of a subject, according to the holy Ghosts manner of speech, is, so long as the world standeth, or for as long time as it lasteth, for to one and the same stint it amounts either way. That which in the other term of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is so evidently and perspicuously expressed as that nothing can be more pregnant, nor need the words any further glosse or Comment, being of them∣selves so clear: Howbeit if any shall be either so dim-sight∣ed or self-wil'd, as to require some further Comment upon them, or explication of them, to whom should repair be made for further information in such a case rather then the Penman hereof himself? take we then the Evangelist what by this form of speech 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 he intendeth, and he will evidently inform us, Ch. 13.39, 40, 49. & 24.3. (where four severall times he useth the very self same form) that there is no other thing intended then the end of the world; what time that generall Harvest shall be of all sorts of men, good and bad, wherein the Angels shall be as Gods Harvest∣men to dispose according to his appointment of either, that which is joyned also with Christs second coming, when co∣ming in the Clouds in most Majesticall manner with fullnesse of power and glory, he shall send forth his Angels to gather together his Elect, out of all parts of the world, Mat. 24.3.30, 31. which compar'd with 1 Thes. 4.16, 17. cannot be any other coming of Christ then that which shall be at the last day, and the worlds end, until which coming of his it is also by the Apostle averred that these administrations of Christs own appointment in the Word and Sacraments are to be con∣tinued, 1 Cor. 11.26. unto the worlds end, here, and until he come, there; both intimating one and the self same period or stint of time, wherein the Evangelist having so clearly ex∣pressed and expounded himself, it is not frivolous only but presumptuous for any man to attempt to fasten any other forced notionor strange sense upon his words.
Page 31The fourth Argument From the necessity of the Elect.
If there be 1. a perpetuall need of the Ministry in these daies, as in former times; and 2. God hath provided for the necessities of his people in the latter times, as well as in for∣mer ages; and if there be no other ordinary means and re∣medy provided to supply their necessities but the Ministry of the Word, then this Office of the Ministry is perpetually ne∣cessary in the Church by Divine Institution; But
First, There is a perpetuall need in these daies as well as in former times; because
1. Our natures (though we be born of Christian Parents) are as bad as Jews and Pagans, for there is no difference.* The Elest by nature till regenerated are Children of wrath even as others, dead in trespasses and sins.
- 1. Our Judgements so dark, that whilst we continue in our naturall condition, we do not,* cannot discern the things of the Spirit; The wisedom of our flesh is enmity against God.
- 2. Our wils so alienated that we rebel against the light.
- 3. Our natures so universally depraved, that whilest we are in the flesh unconverted, we cannot please God;*Without faith it is impossible that we should please God, or that God should please us.
2. The mysteries of the Gospel are so high, so transcen∣dant above nature, that till the faculties of the soul be eleva∣ted there is a vail upon these Mysteries without,* and upon our hearts within; So that if the same Question was deman∣ded of us that was of the Eunuch,*Vnderstandest thou what thou readest? Had we that same ingenuity we should return the same answer in the sense of our spirituall disability; How can we except some man guide us?
3. The delusions of Satan are so strong, that he prevails over all men naturally, and over most both totally and fi∣nally, to keep them under the power of darknesse, and so fit them for chains of darknesse; He blindes the eyes of them that beleeve not.
4. The multitude of false Teachers is so numerous,* as Page 32 there did arise in former times many false Prophets, saying, Let us go after other gods;* So in the Apostles times, there rose up many false Teachers, who desired to be Teachers of the Law,*understanding not what they say, nor whereof they do affirm; Who crept into Houses, and did leade captive silly Wo∣men, laden with sin, and led away with divers lusts; which false Teachers could countenance, or at least connive at any er∣rour, though never so absurd and destructive to the te∣nents which themselves professed, yet they did ever joyn in resisting the Truth, men of corrupt mindes, reprobate concerning the Faith:* It was the danger of the Christian Churches plan∣ted by the Apostles to be assaulted and deluded by false Tea∣chers,* among the beleeving Romans there were some to be marked and to be avoided, which did cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which they had learned; and those Se∣ducers did not serve our Lord Iesus Christ, but their own bellies, and by their good words and fair speeches deceived the hearts of the simple.
*Among the Corinthians there were False Apostles, deceitfull workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ; and no marvell, for Satan though he never change his nature and malice, yet he oft alters his habit and pretences, and when he cannot prevail as an opposer, he turns professour, and preacheth,* and so transformeth himself into an Angel of Light, and therefore it is no great thing if his Ministers be transformed as the Ministers of righteousnesse. These cried down the Ministry and Apostleship of Paul, to set up themselves and their own errours, which forced that holy Apostle to insist so largely in defending his Ministry, in the 12. Chapter of that Epistle.
Among the Galatians there were some that troubled them, whom Paul wisheth were cut off, and these perverted the Go∣spel of Christ, and by whom the Galatians were soon removed from him that called them into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel.* For even Satan and his messengers when they can∣not prevail by their cunningly devised fables, Then (as Lu∣ther observes) the Devil hath his Gospel, and his agents will Page 33 broach new truths, such as Paul and the rest of the Apostles knew not.
Among the Ephesians Paul fore-told that after his depar∣ture grievous wolves should enter in among them not sparing the flock: also of your selves shall men arise speaking perverse things,*to draw disciples after them. And the Apostles have foretold us That in the last times errours shall abound, and men shall not only privily (as then) but even boldly and arrogantly (as it is now) bring in damnable heresies,*denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And the most groundlesse errours because more sutable to our depraved natures, draw more in a day then the most so∣lid truths can obtain in many years.
Luther thus complains, It is a grief and lamentation that Satan more hinders and wounds the Gospel by his ministers and phanatical spirits, then all the Kings,* Princes and Prelates which with their open force have persecuted it, or yet con∣tinue in the persecution of it.
How hard a thing is it to prepare a people for the Lord!* Ten years are spent before the foundation of a Church is well laid, and when it is laid, there creeps in some simple and ignorant fana∣tick, that can say and do nothing, but rail at Gods faithfull Ministers, and this silly idiot in one moment overthrows a work of so many years? Whose heart doth not bleed at the thoughts of such a sad disaster!
And therefore the hearers and followers of Seducers shall multiply, many shall follow their pernicious wayes,*by whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
In the Church of Pergamus,*There were some who held the doctrine of Balaam, and also some that held the doctrine of the Nicholaitans, which thing (saith God) I hate.
In Thiatyra there was the woman Iezabel (though never*Page 34 called of God to any office) yet she called her self a Prophe∣tess,*and who taught and reduced many of Gods servants to com∣mit fornication.
And in the last dayes the holy Ghost fore-tels expresly, That men shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits. And therefore the Ministry is and shall be perpetually necessary in the present and future ages. And hence it is that Satan and his messengers do so extreamly traduce and vilifie the Ministers of God who withstand their errours; and mul∣titudes of men who drive on various interests, and scarcely agree in any one thing, yet they can all unanimously agree in this to Oppose, and so much as in them lies to Extinguish the Ministers, and will entertain no thoughts of peace, but upon this condition that the Ministers be abolished, and then they seem to promise to themselves and others rest, as if they would proceed no further,* which is much like that where∣with Demosthenes refuted Alexander, that that league must needs be destructive to the flock, wherein the Keepers and Shepherds of the flock must be abandoned. And if this be once obtained the people shall soon finde, That when the Shep∣herd is smitten the flock will be scattered, Mat. 26.31.
Secondly, As the need is perpetual and as great in these times as in former, so God is careful to provide for the neces∣sities of his Saints, as well in the later times as in the former dayes. This needs no proof, because many rather now think that God neglected all former Saints in comparison to us, and so magnifie the Saints of this present age, that they either condemn or lightly esteem the generation of righteous men that lived before us. But however, sure it is that God is tender of his youngest children, and that the Primogeniture shall not carry all away: If our elder Brethren had a double portion,* yet God hath provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. However, we are sure that the Covenant is the same to us that it was to them. Christ the Mediator of the Covenant is the same yesterday and to day, and the same for ever. The relation of the Church to Page 35 hi m is tender, Acts 9.5. and Christ undertaking is as full a ever, so to preserve the Church,*That the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Thirdly, As our need and Gods care are perpetual, so the great and sole ordinary means which our Lord in his ten∣der regard to the souls of his hath appointed to heal our na∣ture so corrupt, to clear his mysteries which are so high, to detect the frauds of Satan which are so prevalent, and to counter-work seducers which are so many and so active, is the Ministry of the Word. For God hath not revealed any other way in Scripture whereby he hath promised to call home his elect effectually, to separate them from an evil world, to be a peculiar people to himself, then by the preach∣ing of the Word.* Therefore the Ministry is perpetually ne∣cessary to bring in and build up those that belong to the ele∣ction of grace, to perfect the Saints, and to edifie the body of Christ. Which Ordinance of Preaching though it be vi∣lified,* and prove the savour of death unto death to them that perish, who stumble at the Word, being disobedient, whereunto al∣so they were appointed: Yet to them which believe it is the power of God unto salvation. As Christ and his Ordinances are a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to the unbelievers:* So to them which believe, Christ in his Ordinances is very preci∣ous, and the dispensers of his Ordinances very acceptable:* For unto them, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace! Thus Christ in his Ordinances and messen∣gers, when he is disallowed of men, is made the head-stone of the corner, and when the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the Ordinance of preaching, which a carnal world cals foolishness, to save them which do believe.
Some object against this Argument,* That though the Mi∣nistry was needfull in former times, yet there is no need in times of the Gospel, The Saints shall be taught of God. And God promises in the new Covenant, saying,*I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his bro∣ther, saying, Know the Lood,*for they shall all know me from the Page 36 lest of them unto the greatest. Now if all the Saints shall be so taught of God that they shall not need to teach one another, Then teaching by way of Office is not perpetually needfull in times of the Gospel. And another parallel place there is 1 Iohn 2.27. The anointing which ye have received abideth in you: and ye need not that any man teach you. But as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. To which we an∣swer,
1. Though the light in times of the Gospel be farre clearer then under the Law, yet it remains a perpetual truth even in Gospel-times, That without all controversie great is the mystery of Godliness. And this mystery is so great, that flesh and bloud do not reveal it to us.* That there is a vail upon our eyes in reading the Scriptures, which vail is only done away by C•rist.
• Though Christ alone doth away this Vail, and all the Sa•nts be taught of God, yet is neither the Vail removed, nor the Saints instructed ordinarily without the Ministry of the Word: when God undertakes to teach his Elect effectually, and to take them one of a City, and two of a Family, and to bring them to Sion, then God promises, saying, I'le give you Pastors after mine own heart,*which shall feed you with under∣standing and knowledge: So the Saints are truly taught of God in the Ministry of the Word, because it is God alone that giveth Ministers, and alone also teacheth his People to profit under this Ministry,*for it is God that giveth to every seed his own Body: Paul may plant, and Apollo water, but it is God a∣lone that giveth the encrease: Paul's planting and Apollo's wa∣tering did not cease to be the Ordinances of God, though in reference to the success of their Ministry, neither was he that planted any thing,*nor he that watered, but God alone that gives the encrease.
3. When God saith, They shall not teach every man his Neighbour, and every man his brother; This word [not] a note of negation, is not absolute but comparative; as where Christ saith,*My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me. The world Page 37 cannot hate you, but me it hateth,*because I testifie that the works thereof are evil. When God saith, I will have Mercy and not Sacrifice. When Paul saith, God sent me not to Baptize; And when to the Churches he saith, As touching Brotherly Love ye need not that I write unto you, for ye your selves are taught of God to love one another. Yet in the very next verse he ex∣horts them unto brotherly Love, beseeching them that they would encrease more and more: And as touching the mini∣string of the Saints he saith, It is superfluous for me to write to you; yet in that very Chapter he useth many arguments, and professeth that he thought it necessary to prepare their bounty, and to stir up their pure mindes to a liberall contribution to the Saints, and unto all men: All which speeches are compara∣tive expressions, whereby not the thing it self, but such a mea∣sure and degree is denied; and so it must be here.
1. Because when these promises That they should not teach every man his brother were fullfilled, and all the Saints were taught of God; yet even then were they taught by an outward Ministry: Christ himself taught daily in the Temple, He even taught in the Synagogues;*He sent also out his Dis•ples to teach: And the Apostles themselves gave themselves continu∣ally to the Ministry of the Word: So that in those primitive times the inward spirituall teaching of God did not take a∣way that teaching which he himself hath ordained to be ex∣ternall and ministeriall.
2. This negation in this promise must be only comparative and not universall and absolute, because then it would not only destroy the Ministry as unnecessary in publike, but also evacuate and disannull all brotherly admonitions in private, and then all godly conference and fraternall reproofs should be prohibited as sins, which none can deny to be commanded as duties, and such duties as are perpetuall in Gospel-times; for all Saints at all times are commanded to consider one ano∣ther to provoke unto holinesse and good works; And they should be teaching and admonishing one another to warn them that are unruly, to comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak,*To re∣store a brother that is fallen with the spirit of meeknesse, and to Page 38 bear one anothers burthen, and so fullfill the Law of Christ.
3. The Internall teaching of the Spirit doth not take away the need of an externall teaching by the Ministry, because by the same Argument there should be no need of Scripture, because the Scripture it self also is externall: And this is not a malicious supposition, but de facto there are many men in our times that do so far rely upon this inward teaching as to lay aside the Scriptures: And if so, there is no rule left to try the spirits, which is ever needfull, because many false Pro∣phets are gone out into the world. Then there is no way left to recover them that are fallen,* or preserve them that stand, for every one then will wander after his own heart without conviction, and the delusions of Satan may prevail undisco∣vered, as if they were the Oracles of God; Then a blinde world and a blinde heart will leade one another till they both fall into the ditch:* To prevent these dangers at all times, God hath appointed the Ministry as perpetually necessary, and hath enjoyned his Saints to repair unto the Law and to the testimonies, and if any walking in a spirit of errour un∣der specious pretences of new light speak not according to this word,* it is because there is no light in them.
If the ends for which Christ first appointed the Ministry, be perpetually necessary,* then the Office of the Ministry ap∣pointed by Christ for those ends is perpetually necessary in the Church of God by divine Institution; but those ends for which Christ appointed the Ministry are perpetually necessa∣ry, as will appear by a serious consideration of these parti∣culars.
1. One end for which the Ministry was ordained of God was, that the Elect might be called and gathered, and there shall be some still in every age to be added to the Church of them that shall be saved, and when the number of the Elect is fully compleat, then shall Christ come in his glory and all his Angels with him to be glorified in his Saints, in the mean time there are many Sheep which are not yet of the Fold, many who belong to the election who are not yet effectually called, Page 39them also will Christ bring in both Iew and Gen•ile,*that there may be one fold as there is on• Shepherd: Now God hath re∣vealed no other ordinary way to convert and bring these in∣to his fold, but the Ministry of his Word, for How can they beleeve without a Preach•r?* therefore if there be some Elect continually to be brought into fellowship with Christ, and this end be not fully attained till the end of the world, then the Ministry assigned to thi• end must be perpetually neces∣sary.
And therefore the Apostle Paul acquaints us that Christ gave the Ministers for this among other ends, Ephes. 4.11, 12, 13, 14. In which place, because i• is the great Charter of the Gospel-Ministry, we shall crave leave a little to exspatiate: we have,
1. The fruits or effects of Christs Ascension, He gave some Apostles and some Prophets, &c. vers. 11.
2. The ends for which these gifts were given, vers. 12. For the perfecting of the Saints, &c. and vers. 14. That we be not children tossed to and fro, &c.
3, The duration or continuance of these gifts, which is ex∣presly asserted to be vers. 13. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, &c. Now from this place we argue;
1. Either Apostles, or Prophets, or Evangelists, or Pa∣stors and Teachers, are to continue till we all come into the unity of the faith. But Apostles, Evangelists and Prophets were not to continue, which we prove thus, That which is here given to continue, and promised that it shall continue, that certainly did and doth continue, otherwise Christ should break his promise. But de facto Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists did not continue, as is confessed. Therefore Pastors and Teachers are to continue.
2. Ordinary Officers in the Church are as truly the institu∣tions of Christ, and the fruits of his Ascension, as extraor∣dinary, and therefore where God gives ordinary Officers, they are to be received as sent by God, as well as extraordi∣nary, both are said to weave one web, to carry on one 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one work of the Ministry.
Page 403. Whatever God gives to the Church, man neither can nor must take it away, except God reverse it. But Christ gave this gift to the Church, and gave it as ap∣pears with intention never to recall it. And therefore woe be to that man that offers to take away this gift, let him take heed lest God take away his part out of the book of life.
4. Though Paul was an extraordinary Minister, yet he doth both here and elswher• maintain the honour, and as∣sert the necessity of ordinary Pastors, quite contrary to the men of our times who pretend to extraordinary inspirations, and thence take occasion to pour contempt upon the ordinary Ministry.
5. It was the intention of Jesus Christ when he gave this Ministry, that it should continue till we all come into the uni∣ty of the faith. And if the Ministry should not continue, it must be either because he is not carefull to make good his in∣tention, or not able, or not willing to do it. But all these are absurd. Indeed if this were a conditional promise, depend∣ing upon some thing in us, the non-performance of the condi∣tion on our parts might excuse the not accomplishment of the promise on Gods part, but it is most evident that the promise here is absolute and independent upon us, and therefore cer∣tainly it hath not been, shall not be broken.
If it be said, If this Argument hold, it will prove, that the Apostles shall continue till we all come to the Unity of the Faith, &c. for they also are mentioned in this Chapter.
We Answer. The words are to be understood not con∣junctim but divisim, not conjoynedly that all those should continue, but severally, that some one of these (at least) should continue till that time, otherwise this great absurdity would follow, that Christ should fail in the fullfilling of his Word.
6, When Christ promiseth a Ministry until we come to the Unity, he is thereby obliged not only to keep his Mini∣stry from a finall abolition, but also from a totall interrupti∣on. As when God saith to Christ, Sit thou at my right hand▪ Page 41 untill I make thine enemies thy footstool, Mat. 22.44. it is therein implied, that Christ shall not cease sitting at the right hand of the Father till all his enemies be subdued. So here when Christ saith, the Ministers shall continue till we all come, &c. it follows undeniably that they must not cease till that date be expired. And least of all should the Word of Christ stand, if God had only set Ministers in his Church for a hundred or two or three hundred years, and suffered his Church to lose the Ministry in the Apostacy of Antichrist, and to be without it for so many hundred years together, as the Seekers are not ashamed to affirm.
2. When the Saints are converted, Gods end in the Word and Sacraments is to confirm them in a state of grace,* to edifie them and to nourish them up in the words of faith, for the best of Saints are not here perfect, but must go from strength to strength, pressing forward towards perfection; therefore during this life they shall ever need the Ministry, ordained of Christ for the perfecting of the Saints; and they are bound as new born babes to desire the sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby.* And it is the character of true Con∣verts, that they love the gates of Sion,*for there the Lord com∣mands his blessing, even life for ever more.
3. The Saints are to be united (and what tears are suffici∣ent to lament our present Divisions?) God hath promised there shall be an happy Union, as of the Members to the Head, so of the Members mutually one to another, that there shall be no Schism in his Body;* and he hath Ordained the Mini∣stry for this end, Till we all come in the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man,*unto the measure of the stature of the fulnesse of Christ.
4. The Saints are to be established in the truth of the Gos∣pel, and for this end was the Ministry Ordained, That from henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro,*and carried about with every winde of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cun∣ning craftinesse whereby they lye in wait to deceive.
5. Besides all these, there will alwaies be gainsayers, Who subvert whole houses,*teaching things which they ought not for Page 42 filthy lucres sake; and their mouths must be stopped, therefore the Ministry will be perpetually necessary for the attaining of these ends.
Obj. If the Ministry of Pastors and Teachers be perpetual∣ly necessary for these ends, Why then is not the Ministry of the Apostles, Prophets and Evangelists perpetuated, for all these are one breeding and feeding Ministry, which Christ ascending on high, set in his Church?
Ans. Those extraordinary Offices were necessary to plant the Churches, to lay the foundation as wise master-builders, that all the Saints might be built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Christ himself being the corner-stone; but after the foundation was laid, it pleased the Father to leave the Mi∣nistry in the hands of ordinary Pastors and Teachers, that they might build upon the Foundation, even as God raised up Moses an extraordinary Prophet to give the Law, and then left it to ordinary Teachers, both to reade the Law and give the sense thereof; for even Moses of old time had in every City them that preached him, being read in the Synagogue every Sabbath day; so hath the Lord appointed ordinary Teachers and Pastors, and hath committed to them the Ministry, and hath commanded them to wait on their Ministry, and when they Prophesie to Prophesie according to the proportion of faith:* And as he hath commanded them to fulfill their Ministry which they have received of the Lord, so hath he also enjoyn∣ed the people to be swift to hear, and to esteem them that are over them highly for their works sake.
If the removall of the Ministry from place to place be threatned by God as one of the saddest curses which can be∣fall a people,* and the removing or sleighting of it by men be charged upon them as a grievous sin; Then the Ministry is perpetually necessary by Divine Institution, and to be e∣steemed a very great blessing, but the removall of the Mini∣stry is threatned as one of the saddest curses, &c. For where there is no vision the people perish;* they are destroyed for lack of knowledge. It was the darknesse of those wofull times before Page 43 King Asa, that Israel had been a long season without a teach∣ing Priest, and so without the true God and without the Law. The famine of hearing the Word of God is threatned as the worst of famines, worse then that of bread and water.* When God delivered up the Ark into captivity, then every one had cause as well as Eli's daughter in Law to cry out Ichabod, the glory is departed from Israel. As it was thus in the Old Testa∣ment, so in the New▪ When Christ was greatly provoked by the Jews for their rejecting of him, one of the greatest judge∣ments that Christ threatens against them is, that the Kingdom of Heaven should be taken from them and given to a Nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.* When people set themselves to discountenance, disobey and destroy the Ministry,* God may justly remove the Candlestick out of his place. How are those famous Asian Churches laid desolate!*The wilde beasts of the desart lie down there, their, not only houses, but Tem∣ples are full of dolefull creatures, the Owles dwel there, and the Satyres dance th•re, and Mahumetanism hath covered the face of the Eastern parts of the world, as Antichrist hath done in the West. The Ministry is the hedge of Gods Vine∣yard, which if it be broken down,*all that passe by the way pluck it, the Boar out of the Wood doth wast it, and the wilde beasts of the field devour it.
The Ministers God in mercy hath set as watchmen upon the wals of Ierusalem, which shall never hold their peace day or might. If they be discountenanced, and through carnal fears so dispirited, that they are like unto dumb dogs that cannot bark, it is a forerunner that the Flock will be devoured by the Wolves, and that such a people is near to ruine.* It was the sin of Ieroboam, and though he intended it for establish∣ment, yet it became a ruine both to him and to his house, that he contemned the Ministry, and made Priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
Ahab and Iezabel persecuted the Prophets of the Lord with the sword, and how dolefull was their end,* when the dogs licked up his blood, and eat her flesh.* It is noted that the contempt of the Ministry and the oppression of the peo∣ple Page 44 do frequently go together. Asa a good King, yet being in rage against the Seer, put him in prison; and the holy Ghost observes, that at the same time he oppressed some of th• people. It is noted of Amaziah that God had determined to destroy him,* because he did evil, and would not hearken to the Coun∣sel of the Prophet: And that great sin for which God abhor∣red the excellency of Iacob, and sent his own people into captivity, is expressed to be this, that when the Lord had sent to them his Messengers rising up betimes and sending, because he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place, that then they mocked the Messengers of God,*and despised his words, and misused his Prophets, untill the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
And in these daies the way of truth is evil spoken of, and there are risen up even among Professors, those who are Retainers of a form of godlinesse, and yet are despisers of them that are god∣ly,*who separate themselves, being sensual, having not the Spirit, who despise prophesying, and quench the Spirit. And one reason why preaching is not so effectual to the bringing in of souls to Christ, is, because of the many multitudes that frequent Sermons, there are but few that come to the Word as to an Ordinance of God, or that seek God in his own Ordinance; there are very few, which when they receive the Word of God which they hear of Ministers, Receive it not as the word of men,*but as indeed it is the Word of God which effectually work∣eth in them that do believe. Now this evil is not only a sinne against Gods free mercy, but is also a sin against the sweet∣est of remedies: How will our sore prove uncurable, and our disease continue without healing, if we despise the balm of Gilead and reject all healing medicines? It is in the number of those sins which go before us unto judgement, when people put away the Ministry of the Word from them, they are said by the holy Ghost before the day of Judgement come, to judge themselves unworthy of eternall Life. And thus we have done with the Arguments proving the perpetuity of the Ministry, there remains one great Objection to be Answered.
CHAP. III. Wherein the grand Objection Asserting the Loss of the Ministry under Antichrist, is Answered.
WE confesse that there was a Ministry Ordained of Christ, and continued all the daies of the Apostles,* and some Centuries after, yet the Mystery and Ministry of the Man of Sinne was then working, which at length so farre prevailed, that all the world wondered af•er the Beast, and power was given him over all Kindreds and Tongues and Nations;*so that be caus•d all, both great and small, rich and poor,*bond and free to receive his M•rk in their Right hand, or in their Fore∣heads. In this Apostacy the Church which had been a chaste Virgin, became the Mother of Harlots and Abominations, and not only the Kings and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the Wine of her Fornications, but especi∣ally the Priests in all Nations were the abominable Pandors to promote the filthinesse of her Whoredoms, they were the Merchants made rich by her Fornications.* Now under this Reign of Antichrist, Bethel was turned into Bethav•n, the Ministry was wholly lost, being only in pretence for Christ, but in reality for Antichrist: And therefore we look upon all Ministers now as Members of that notorious Strumpet, as Locusts from the bottomlesse Pit, as Priests of Baal, and Limbs of Antichrist, and so account it not a sinne, but a duty to contemn their persons, and abhorre their Mi∣nistry.
We acknowledge first that the Apostacy under Antichrist was exceeding dreadfull. Secondly,* That not only the peo∣ple and the Princes, but the Priests also had a great hand, and were chief agents in this defection. Thirdly, That its the duty of Gods people to come out of Babylon, that they partake not of their sins, nor receive of their plagues.* But yet we Page 46 need the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in Christ, that we may know the things that differ, that we may not call good evil, and evil good, but according to the Word of truth, judge righteous judgement: And therefore we intreat the Reader or this Objector, conscientiously to ponder these Considerations.
1. Consider, as there have been many false Christs, so there are and have been many mistaken Antichrists; and the holy Ghost bids us, not to beleeve every Spirit, but to try the spirits;* when many shall say, Loe here is Christ, and loe there is Christ: And its as true of Antichrist, some say, Lo here is Antichrist: Some, Lo there; yet the Lord commands us saying, beleeve them not. The Truths, Ordinances, Ser∣vants and Ministers of Christ, do not therefore cease to be of Christ, because some, either by mistake, or by design shall say they are of Antichrist. The Doctrine of the Deity of Christ▪ who is God blessed for ever, will not cease to be a most precious Truth, because Michael Servetus, Georgius Blandatra, Franciscus David, Laelius Socinus and his adhe∣rents condemn it as an Antichristian Errour.
Was Valentinus Gentilis therefore a friend and Martyr to God the Father, because he died as an enemy to God the Son?* Were the Valdenses who appeared against the Romish errours, the limbs of Satan, because some of the Romanist affirm that Satan was let loose in Berengarius and his Disci∣ples? How luxuriant and confident are the fancies of many concerning the things contained in the Revelations, where∣in modest Christians would chuse rather to be humbly inqui∣sitive, then Dogmatically positive? Was Innocent the third the lesse nocent,* or was Pope Calixtus the more holy, be∣cause some of their followers make them to be the Angel coming down from heaven, having the Key of the bottoml•sse pit to binde Satan, as if the binding of Satan were nothing else, but to Excommunicate Emperours, and to depresse the Im∣perial power under the Papal?
*Shall Dominicus or Franciscus, those two great Founders of the Orders of the Friars Dominican and Franciscan, the Page 47 great upholders of Papacy, shall they be lesse suspected,* be∣cause some of their disciples admired them, and confidently averred them to be that Angel ascending from the East, having the Seal of the living God? Rev. 7.2. Men have no power to make Christian, Unchristian or Antichristian, either per∣sons or things, according to their pleasure: The Word of God is established in the heavens, and his Truths do not vary after the variety of mens mistaking fancies: There∣fore we have great need to be sober and humble, and to beg of the Lord the spirit of love and of a sound minde, that we may neither justifie the wicked nor condemn the Righ∣teous.
2. Consider, concerning Antichrist, Though we grant it that Antichrist is not an individual person, as Bellarmine and the Papists generally affirm: But the state and succession of men which with one and the self same spirit oppose Christ. 2. That the seat of this great Whore, is not,* as some inti∣mate, Constantinople; nor Ierusalem, as others affirm; but Rome that great City, that then reigned over the Kings of the earth, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. And 3. that the Antichrist is not the Turk and Mahumetanism in the East, But the Pope and Papism in the West; yet there is no ground to condemn every thing in that Antichristian Syna∣gogue for Antichristian; for without all question the Books of the Old and New Testament were wonderfully preserved even in mystical Babylon. As formerly when the Oracles of God were committed to Israel, the Lord continued the holy Scripture in the Jewish Church, notwithstanding their spi∣ritual Apostacy and Babylonish Captivity. The good Word of the Lord is no lesse the Word of Truth, because the false Antichristian Synagogue, do acknowledge it; no more then the Scripture ceaseth to be the Scripture, because Satan the father of lies did alledge it. Gold is gold wherever you finde it; Truth is truth, however men either accept it or contra∣dict it. It's a vast comprehensive Errour to reject all Te∣nents, though never so true for errours, because an errone∣ous Society doth confesse them: For all is not false which Page 48 the false Church asserteth; Every errour is founded upon the mistake of some truth;* as every evil doth usually arise from the abuse of some good: In this mixture of good and evil, light and darknesse, where there are many precious truths, yet many abominable falshoods; it's our duty to se∣ver between the righteous and the vile, that we neither swallow down all for truth because there is a mixture of truth, nor reject all for false because there is superadded a redundancy of falshood; Antichrist sitteth in the Temple of God, and his coming is with all deceivablenesse of unrighteousnesse, therefore we must Watch and Pray for the spirit of discerning, that we may distinguish between things that differ.
3. Consider as the Lord had his truths so he had his Church in Babylon during the rise, and growth, and reign, and conti∣nuance of Antichrist. The Apostacy though generall over all tongues, and kindreds, and Nations, yet it was not so uni∣versall in all individuall persons, but that there were a rem∣nant according to the Election of grace:* As in the Baalitish A∣postacy the Lord reserved seven thousand who had not bowed their knees to Baal; So in this Antichristian defection, the Lamb upon Mount Sion had 1•. times 12. thousand that ad∣hered to the doctrine of the 12. Apostles, and these 144000 had their Fathers name written in their Forehead,*redeemed from among men, b•ing the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb, and in their mouth was found no guile, and they were not defiled with those Antichristian whoredomes; For they are Virgins, they were the true seed of the woman which keep the Command∣ments of God,*and have the testimony of Iesus Christ, against whom the Dragon raged: And therefore when the Roma∣nists ask, where was the Church before Luthers time? We answer it was in and among them, though it was not of them. The Waldenses, Albingenses, Berengarians, Pauperes de Lugduno or Lionists, Lollards, in severall places having many other se∣verall names and these in the severall ages of the Reign of Antichrist held the truth of Jesus, and opposed the errours of the man of sin: which severall Popes endeavoured to destroy but could never effect: All the Kings and Potentates Page 49 of the earth were stirred up against them, and a Decree made that if any temporall Lord did neglect to expell them out of his Dominions, that he should be excommunicated, his sub∣jects absolved from allegiance, and all their Lands confiscate and given to others; Hence some of the Princes of the earth made it Treason for any of their Subjects either to hear or harbour them, or any waies to releeve them.
And the armies raised against the Saracens and Mahome∣tans were converted against these poor Christians and plena∣ry indulgence,* pardon of all sin promised to all that would fight against them: And if in France alone as its reported in the History of that War, there were slain ten hundred thou∣sand, what shall we think the number of them to be who were slain in all other Nations; Yet under all these pressures and persecutions, though they were often dispersed, yet they could not be extinguished but these afflicted people of the Lord, being scattered fled into Provence and the Alpes, some into Calabria, Bohemia, Polonia, and into Britain, as Thuanus in his Preface.
And though many Opinions were imputed to them to make them odious,* yet their accusers do wofully and wonderfully contradict themselves, as some of our Learned men do prove: and some of them ingenuously confesse: yet their main te∣nents were that they renounced the Church of Rome as the mysticall Babylon, contemned the Pope as the man of sin, and rejected their severall Popish opinions as Antichristian; They held the same truths for substance that the Protestants now professe, Insomuch as some of the adversaries confesse, that they who are now Calvinists were anciently called Berengari∣ans, and the New Protestants are the Old Waldenses;* This Sect some of the Papists complain to be of all most pernici∣ous to the Church of Rome.
1. Because it is most ancient and durable, having continu∣ed from the time of Pope Sylvester:* Others say from the time of the Apostles.
2. Because most generall, no part of the earth scarce free from it.
*As the Lord had his Saints during all the Reign of Anti∣christ, so he raised up his Ministers who in their severall suc∣cessive ages in severall places, testified against the spirituall whoredomes, idolatrous worships, and deceiving frauds of Antichrist; it's true, as the generality of the people, so the generality of the Priests in those times did worship the Beast, even all that dwelt upon earth, whose names were not writ∣ten in the Lambs Book of Life;* and some observe, that it was the righteous judgement of the Lord upon the Church at that time, that such an Apostate people should have such apo∣staticall Priests, and the holy Ghost maketh this one expresse ground, because men did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved, therefore God shall send them strong delusions, that they should beleeve a lie, that they all might be damned who beleeved not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighte∣ousnesse: But in this generall defection both of people and of their Teachers; The Lamb had a remnant with him who were called, and chosen, and faithfull, even an afflicted poor rem∣nant of Pastors as well as of people,* reserved in the midst of Babyltn, who did trust in the Name of the Lord, and those godly pious Priests were both obedient unto and bold in the faith of Jesus.
Now if there were such Ministers during the reign of An∣tichrist, that followed the Lamb, did not defile their gar∣ments, but preached and prayed, and lived, and died in their constant and consciencious oppositions of the man of sinne, then surely the Ministry was not totally lost under the reign Page 51 of Antichrist. But that there were such, appears both by Holy Scripture-prophesie which foretels it, and unquestion∣able History of the Church that confirms it: In the one, men may learn what God spoke with his mouth; In the other, what the Lord fullfilled with his own hand: The holy Ghost expresseth, that there should be some to prophesie in Sackcloth one thousand two hundred and sixty daies: Now not to dispute, but taking that for granted which the best Interpreters assert, and by Arguments out of the Revelations prove,
1. That those One thousand two hundred and sixty daies are not naturall daies but propheticall,* every day taken for a Year, as Ezek. 4.6. Num. 14.14.
2. That those two Witnesses prophesying were not two individuall persons, as Enoch and Elias, as Bellarmine and o∣ther Papists affirm; but a succession of Holy men stirred up all that time to testifie the truth of Christ against Antichrist, as our learned men prove.
3. That the Reign of the Beast continuing for 42 moneths,* which moneths taken prophetically as before, every day for a year, and reckoning for every mon•th 30 daies, now multi∣ply the 42 by the 30. and the reign of the Beast is 1260 years, and though there be great difficulty when to begin the rise and reign, and most Expositors herein much vary, yet in the continuance there is a generall accord, and none can ra∣tionally make any question about it.
4. That these Sackcloth-prophecies though but very few comparatively to the Locusts out of the Bottomlesse pit, which were innumerable, called two like their types Moses and Aaron, who brought Israel out of Egypt, or as Elias and Elisha which reduced Israel out of Baalism, yet these Wit∣nesses, though in number few, continue in their successions all the reign of the Beast, for the daies of their prophecying in Sackcloth are One thousand two hundred and sixty years, and so expire not till the 42 moneths of the Beasts Reign be expired.
Now fifthly we adde, that these Sackcloth Prophesiers were not only Saints who mournfully bewailed the abomina∣tions Page 52 of those times, that the holy City should be trampled under foot; but also that they were holy pious Ministers distinct from the Saints in Office, and in the act of their Pro∣phetical function, which is intimated to us,
1. From the power bestowed upon them▪ the Lord gives to them not only to pray and to mourn, but to Prophesie, Rev. 11.3. Not so much by prediction of things future, as by Preaching the everlasting Gospel. It was a mighty power from on high that a few contemned, persecuted Ministers should have gifts to be able, and power to be couragious to preach against the son of perdition, when all the world won∣dered after the Beast.
2. From their effectual exercise of that power and that in their publick detecting those Antichristian abominations, and denouncing the wrath of God against them. It is said in the daies of their Prophesie, though they were poor men and had no carnal weapons to defend themselves or offend their ene∣mies, yet in a spiritual sense fire proceedeth out of their mouths and devoureth their enemies, Revel. 11.5. For the Lord did make his words in their mouth to be fire, and the people wood, and it devoured them, Ier. 5.14. and the holy Ghost adds further that these Prophets tormented them that dwel upon the earth, v. 10.
3. The Spirit of truth doth not only call these two by the name of Prophets, but elsewhere distinguisheth the Prophets and Righteous men, He that receiveth a Prophet in the name of a Prophet, shall receive a Prophets reward; and he that re∣ceiveth a Righteous man in the name of a Righteous man, shall receive a Righteous mans reward. Where Christ incouraging poor Preachers of the Gospel against all the hard and harsh usage of the world, intimates to us,
- 1. That there are some who by way of Office and distin∣ction from others, are Prophets and Preachers.
- 2. That there is some eminent reward due to Prophets.
- 3. That they who do any good to Prophets, even because of that Office, shall receive a Prophets reward.
And in this very Prophesie concerning Antichrist, the Spi∣rit Page 53 maketh these two distinct, the Prophets and the Saints: Babylon is therefore ruined, because in her is found the blood of the Prophets and of the Saints, Rev. 17.24. Now if we descend from the words of this Prophecy, and come to observe the answerable event in History, we shall finde that in every age there were Ministers opposing the tenents of Antichrist. Their particular names, times, places, and their manner of resisting the man of sin, it will be too large to insist upon, yet a brief Catalogue of Ministers is here inserted.
From the time of Christ and his Apostles, for 600 years, our famous Iewell against the Romanists, hath abundantly proved that the truths professed in the reformed Churches were maintained by the Ancients. And in the succeeding Centuries, when the Man of Sinne began to prevail, there were in their several Ages, Godly and Learned Ministers who opposed the Popish Errours, defending the sufficiency of Scripture, Communion in both kindes, Justification by free Grace; disclaiming the defilements of worship in adoring Images, Invocation of Saints, praying for the Dead, wor∣shipping Reliques; and openly testifying against the ri∣sing and swelling power of the Pope, declaiming against his Supremacy and title of Universal Bishop as Anti∣christian.
From the 600 year of Christ, to the 700, besides Isidore,*Hesychius and others; there were in this Island these two famous Preachers, Aidan, who converted from Paganism the Kingdom of Northumberland, which then contained not only the Country now so called, but also Cumberland,*West∣moreland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Bishoprick of Durham, and some part of Scotland. Also Finan, by whose Ministry the Lord turned to the Christian faith, the Kingdom of the East Saxons, and of Mercia, as our own Countryman doth testifie.
Besides Taurinensis, Agobardu•, Rabanus Maurus, there was Scotus accused by the Pope for an Heretique,** and mur∣dered (as is conceived) by his own Scholars for his oppo∣sing the carnal presence. And Bertram a Priest in France, was so clear a Protestant in the point of the Sacrament, in a Book that he set forth, that some Romanists say it was writ by Oecolampadius under the name of Bertram.* And the most learned of the Papists confess that Walafridus Strabo, Ionas Bishop of Orleans, and Hin•marus Archbishop of Rhemes departed from the received opinion of the Church Ca∣tholique.*
In this Age (the most unlearned and unhappy) are recoun∣ted Radulphus Flavia•ensis,*Stephanus Eduensis, Smarag∣dus, and our English Alfricke whose Saxon Homily was ap∣pointed to be read publikely to the people against the carnal presence▪
In this Age more light began to appear, even in the heat and height of Antichristianism,* not only by the Ministry of Fulbert Bishop of Chartres, Anselme of Laon Author of the Interlineal Gloss, Oecumenius, Theophylact and others, but especially by Berengarius and his disciples.
Besides Arnulphus the Martyr, Hugo de Sancto Victore, Robertus Tuitiensis,*Gulielmus de sancto amore, Io•chim Abbas, Niceas,* were Peter Bruis and his Scholar Henry of Tholous•, two famous Preachers against Popish errours, insomuch as Peter was apprehended and burnt. In this Age the Wal∣denses appeared, who were the famous opposers of Anti∣christ.
In this Age are recorded Al••ssiodore, Peter de Vin•is, Ar∣noldus de nova villa,* and those two famous Preachers Gerar∣dus and Dulcinus,* who preached that the Pope was Anti∣christ, and Rome Babylon. Besides our famous Robert Grost∣head Bishop of Lincolne, the great hammer of the Romanists, who wrote to the Pope that he was Antichrist.
In this Century, besides Peter de Alliaco, Nichol. Cleman∣gis and many others, we need name no other,* but those great Worthies and Martyrs Savanorola a famous Preacher in Florence, with Iohn Huss and Hierom of Prague, whose memories are pretious throughout all the Reformed Chur∣ches.
In this Age the Father of mercies raised up Martin Lu∣ther, and so many others,* and from that time the defection from Rome was so eminent, that it hath visibly continued to this day; and concerning the following times there is no question.
And for the more clear understanding of all the persons aforementioned the Ministers of the Lord, we referre the Learned Readers to the Histories Magdeburgens. to Illyricus his Catalog. testium veritatis, to Iacob. Vsher, de Eccles. succes. & statu. and amongst our English Writers, to Mr Fox his Acts and Monuments, and to Mr Sim. Birckbeck his Treatise called The Protestants Evidence.
And if any further demand saying, Though many par∣ticular men did appear against Antichrist, yet how doth it appear, concerning those multitudes of Professors called the Berengarians and the Waldenses, that their Churches had Mi∣nisters?
We Answer, That Berengarius is reported to have been so great a friend to Learning and Learned Preachers,* that at his own proper cost and charge, he brought up many Scho∣lars, specially such as were Students of Divinity, by whose help his Doctrine was spread almost through all France, and the Countries adjoyning, which is a great complaint that the Popish Authors had against him.
They answer, that they wished that happinesse to their Ministers that they might be free from servile labours, for so they should have more time for their studies, and more fitnesse to instruct us. For we are not grown to that super∣stition or rather madnesse, as to think our Ministers do sinne unlesse they labour with their hands. As it is reported of one who of a Priest turned Husbandman, because it is written In the sweat of thy brows shalt thou eat thy bread. Our Lord hath not suffered us to fall in this manner. Yet many of our Ministers are brought to that necessity, that they must either work or starve.
But this these holy Saints did not account in those times to be the Ministers duty, but lamented it as the Churches misery. By all which it appears that the Berengarians and the Waldenses had their Ministers, even under the reign of Antichrist.
*As there were Saints and Ordinances, and Ministers un∣der the reign of Antichrist: so many of these godly Mini∣sters suffered Martyrdom during the tyranny of the Beast, for their appearing against Antichrist. And if these Mini∣sters and Priests died for the Name of Christ against Anti∣christ: then surely the Ministry was not lost, nor is it Anti∣christian. But that there were such Ministers and Martyrs for the Name of Christ in every Country, is apparent by the C•talogue of Martyrs which you may see more at large in Mr Fox.*
In France, Laurentius Cruceus at Paris,*Iohn du-Beck in Champaign, Aimond at Burdeaux, Geffery Varagle at Thu∣ren. What need we relate Peter Bruis, and other godly Ministers, when Thuanus records, that all those who would not recant, were burnt alive; among whom (he saith) were many Priests.
In Spain, Dr Cacalla called the Standard-bearer to the Go∣spellers. Francis de Bivero Priest of Valladolid, Alfonso Perez Priest of Valence.
It would be too long to speak of Savanarola in Florence, of Iohn Hu•, Hierom of Prague in Bohemia, and many other godly Ministers burnt alive for the testimony of Jesus.
But we need go no farther then to England for examples: and here not to insist on the troubles of Iohn Wickliff, Ni∣cholas Herford, Philip Repington, with other pious Ministers in the time of Richard the 2d, nor the cruel burnings of Wil∣liam Taylor and William White under Henry the 4th, and ma∣ny others in the succeeding times. Only peruse the History of Henry the 8th and Q. Mary.
Under Henry the 8th Mr Fox records these famous Mini∣sters suffering Martyrdom.*
Mr Thomas Bilney.
Mr▪ Burfield, both burnt anno 1531.*
Iohn Fryth, burnt anno 1532.
William Tyndal, called the Apostle of England, burnt an∣no. 1536.
Iohn Lambert, burnt anno 1538.
Robert Barns, Tho▪ Garret,*William Hierom Divines, burnt together in Smithfield anno 1541.
We instance in these among others, and have named the time of their sufferings, and the pages of the Book where their sufferings are recorded: that when you have considered their holy lives and godly death, how they imbraced the flames of fire as beds of Roses for the name of Christ, you Page 58 may for ever abhor the thought of accounting such worthy Ministers of Christ as Antichristian.
And if you descend to the bloudy dayes of Qu. Mary, you may finde all the Land over, Ministers of Christ burning for the name of Christ.
Take but the first year of that fiery trial Anno Dom. 1555. and see how these Antichristian flames kindled upon the godly Preachers.
Mr Iohn Rogers Vicar of Sepulchres Protomartyr, burnt in Smithfield, Feb. 8.
Mr Lawrence, burnt at Coventry about the same time.
Mr Iohn Hooper burnt at Glocester, Feb. 9.
Dr Rowland Taylor, burnt at Hadly, Feb. 9.
Mr Iohn Lawrence, burnt at Colchester, Feb. 29.
Mr Robert Farran, burnt at Carmarthen in Wales, March 30.
Mr George Marsh, burnt at Westchester, April 24.
Mr William Flower, burnt at Westminster, April 24.
Mr Iohn Cardmaker, burnt at London, May 30.
Mr Iohn Bradford, burnt in Smithfield, Iuly.
Mr Iohn Bland, burnt at Canterbury, July 12.
Mr Robert Samuel, burnt at Ipswich, Aug. 31.
Dr Nicholas Ridley, and Mr Hugh Latimer at Oxford, Octob. 26.
Mr Iohn Philpot, burnt in Smithfield, Decemb. 18.
Not to name the year following. In this one year you may read of these holy Ministers with others, counting not their lives dear unto themselves, so they might finish their course with joy, and fulfill the Ministry which they received of the Lord: and dare you call these blessed Martyrs the limbs of Anti∣christ, who had all their limbs torn in pieces and consumed by Antichrist? If you profess your selves Protestants, be not like the Papists in their brutish rage who digged up the bones of Bucer and Paulus Fagius. It was the praise of Boaz, that he left not off his kindenesse,* but it will be your reproach, that you have not left off your unkindenesse neither to the li∣ving nor to the dead.
The Turks so farre honoured S••nderberg, that when he Page 59 was buried at Lyssa, they with great devotion digged up his bones, counting it some happinesse if they might but see or touch them, and they that could get any part of them, caused them to be set in silver or in gold, and so to hang about their necks as ornaments of greatest worth. If the Turks did this to him that was an enemy, and they Mahumetans to him a Christian, how may they rise up in judgement to condemn many in this generation, who professe themselves Christians, yet condemn the most eminent souldiers and Martyrs of Je∣sus? Cursed be this anger for it is cruel, and this rage for it is fierce. If you be real Protestants, for shame bridle your fu∣ry, which in some regards is worse then Popish. Do you cry out Antichrist, Antichrist, and yet crucifie Christ again in his members? Is not this to partake of Antichrists sin? How∣soever, when you have done your worst, these holy Ministers and Martyrs are happy in heaven, and their memorial shall be in all ages blessed upon earth, when their enemies shall perish and leave their names for a curse unto Gods chosen.*
If the Lord had his holy Ministers not onely in suffering times to be Martyrs, but also in times of Reformation;* if the Lord stirr'd up his Ministers as his chiefest instruments to bring his people from the power of Antichrist, as of old he led his people out of Egypt by the hands of Moses and Aaron, then surely the Ministers are not Antichristian. But the Lord did stirre up his Ministers in several places to detect the frauds of Antichrist, and by their Ministry he did reduce his people from that Antichristian tyranny. Before you heard of many Worthies, as Wickliff, Hus, Hierom Prague, &c. But in the 16. Century, how wonderfully did the Lord raise up for the rescue of his people the Ministry of Luther, and with him what a troop of expert valiant Champions, Philip Melan∣cthon, Conradus Pellican, Fabricius, Capito, Osiander, Bucer, and many others in Germany, Zui•glius in Helvetia,*Iohn Calvin and Farellus that unwearied souldier of Christ, as he is called.
These with multitudes of others in England, France, and Page 60 oth•r Countreys, held their life in their hands, hazarded all for the Gospel of Christ, these smit spiritual Egypt in her first-born. These, even these bare the heat of the day, and we are entred upon their labours; And is this all the thank that ye render to God or them, that when they delivered you from Antichristianisme, you condemn them as Anti∣christian?
If ever since the beginnings of Reformation, the pious, painfull Ministers in the Reformed Churches have stood in the breach,* have prevented our spiritual relapsing into Ae∣gypt, if they have spent their time, parts and studies night and day to fight the battels of Christ against Antichrist; then it is not only a groundlesse mistake, but an ungodly, sinful scandall to censure them as Antichristian. How is it that ye are not afraid to speak evil of the servants of the Lord, set up by his Spirit for the defence of the Gospel? Will any rational man versed in the writings of those Worthies, believe that Zanchi∣us, Bullinger, Beza, Brentius, Iunius, Pareus, Piscator, Musculus, Scultetus, Chamier, or of our Countreymen Iewel, Reignold, Whitaker, Perkins, with multitudes of o∣thers, who were willing to spend and be spent in defending the truths professed in the Reformed Churches against the Ro∣manists? Will any sober Christian believe that these were members of the Roman Harlot? The Popish party cannot so bely them, but have found them to be their greatest adver∣saries.
Will any man be so senslesse and stupid as to account Da∣vid who slew Goliah,* or Eleazar the son of Odo, who slew the Philistims till his hand was weary, or Shammah, who (when all Israel fled from the Philistims) he stood in the midst of a ground full of Lentiles and defended it, and slew the Philistims, and the Lord wrought a great victory? Will any man be so mad as to say that David and his worthies were the only friends of the Philistims, and so bury them, and cause them to go down to the grave among the uncircumcised?
Forget not the great appearances of Christ which have been gloriously seen and felt in the faithfull Ministers of this Land.*Page 61 Have not they preached and pressed to the conscience the pra∣ctical points of Christianity? and hath not the Lord set a vi∣sible seal to their Ministry in the souls of thousands? Dare you say that these practical Ministers Greenham, Dod, Dent, Dyke, Bains, Rogers, Hildersham, with a world more, of whom the world is not worthy, that they were Antichristian? Who art thou that givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue fra∣meth deceit? Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother,*and slanderest thine own mothers son. Hast thou considered their work of faith, labour of love, patience of hope? If thou hast not, why wilt thou speak evil of things and persons thou knowst not? And if thou hast read and considered, confesse and give glory to God, and say, God was in these Ministers of a truth. Be not like those seduced Professours, Who measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing them∣selves with themselves were not wise.* These silly or rather proud Christians, and their false teachers traduced the great Apostle, as if he had not Christ, to whom Paul answers, and we with him, If any man trust to himself, that he is Christs, let him of himself think this again, that as he is Christs,*even so are we Christs.
These holy Ministers were the precious members of Christ, and will you make them as much as is in you the members of an harlot? God forbid.*
The 9thConsideration is drawn from the sad consequences of this censorious, groundles opinion. For as touching our selves,* and the Ministers of this present Age, We say nothing, but We resolve in the strength of Christ to be faithfull to the death, and not to fear the revilings of men, and in the midst of all your undeserved reproaches, to persist in the work of the Lord, and to commit our selves to him that judgeth righteously.
Concerning these sad consequences we appeal to your seri∣ous and sober thoughts in these few Queries,
Q. 1. Doth not this Opinion (in rejecting all the godly Ministers of the Reformed Churches as Antichristian) much promote the Cause of Antichrist which you seem vehemently Page 62 to oppose. Now if any build that which he hath destroyed, he makes himself a transgressor: For
1. Is it not the great work of Antichrist to destroy our Mi∣nisters, to smite the Shepherd that the Flock may be scatter∣ed? * Certainly if the Lord in his wrath should suffer you so far to prevail as to suppresse Learning, trample upon the U∣niversities, and ruine the Ministers; That there should be no Learned men to detect Popish Impostures, and refell their errors; That neither shield nor spear should be left among thousands in Israel; you would in this more advance Anti∣christ, then if you were his sworn Vassals, even an Army of Friars and Jesuites deceiving and being deceived.
2. Do not most of your Arguments symbolize with the Romanists as if they were arrows shot out of their quiver? They renounce us upon this ground, That we are no true Church, have no true Ministry, and do not you agree with them in this unchristian principle: and are not we forced to prove the being of our Church and Ministry in all ages a∣gainst you, with the same Arguments we use against them? and herein do not you gratifie the common Adversary, and strengthen their hands?
Page 633, Have you not cause to enquire whether you be not act∣ed by the same Spirit? For you know the Spirit of Christ is a Spirit of meeknesse, and that wisedom which comes from a∣bove is first pure, and then peaceable, gentle, easie to be en∣treated: But the Spirit of Antichrist is high, and hot, and furious, usurping an infallibility of judgement, and unchur∣ching all that differ from him; and do not you unsaint all persons, and unchurch all Societies dissenting from you? and may not this rise from the spirit of delusion which worketh strongly in the Children of disobedience?
4. It is the Opinion of many, that the slaying of the Wit∣nesses is not past, but that the time thereof is very near, when Popery shall once again prevail; And the Reformed Churches shall be punished by taking away these Witnesses for a time,*be∣cause they received them not according to the dignity of their Embassage. And are not you preparing your selves and others to help on this slaughter? why do so many pray in bloud, and offer strange fire upon Gods Altar, as if nothing could give content till the Ministry be ruined, and doth not this Tenent, That the Ministers are the Limbs of Antichrist, binde you to shed their bloud, and to account it good service to God, not only to unsynagogue them (which you have done already) but to kill them; That so among you also may be found the bloud of the Prophets and of the Saints.
Q. 2. Do you not hereby wound all the Reformed Chur∣ches, darkning the beauty, and obstructing the progresse of Reformation? When the Lord stirred up Luther in Germany, Zuinglius at Zurich, Calvin at Geneva, to set upon this great work, multitudes in all Nations begun to embrace the truth, and to fly from the rents of Babel:* Antichrist was made so naked and bare in all the filthinesse of his whoredomes, that the whole world was ready to forsake her: Had not Satan stirred up this cursed Tenent wherewith many were levened, Rotmannus, Cnipperdoling, Iohn Leyden, and others opposed Luther as a false Prophet, as bad as the Pope, and of the two they said Luther was the worst. Antonius Pockquius under pretence of spirituall liberty, seduced many into the reality Page 64 of carnall security, and how furious the Antinomians and Anabaptists were in Germany, we had rather lament then ex∣presse; And did not Satan by these Agents prevail to weak∣en the hands of those Heroick Worthies, and so caused the work to cease, and many to relapse? How little hath been the Progresse of the Protestant Religion ever since? And now of late when the Lord stirred up many in this Island, to seek to serve the Lord with a pure worship, the work went forward with great felicity till this conceited opinion obtained, since which time the spirits of professors have been so alienated and embittered, that the way of truth is every where evill spoken of.
Q. 3. Hath not the Lord greatly testified from Heaven a∣gainst this Tenent in his spirituall Judgements upon many the great promoters of it? Since they despised the Ministry, de∣serted the Ordlnance; how are they fallen from heaven, some turning Scepticks and Seekers, others Ranters and Quakers, and what not? falling and falling, till at last they grow open∣ly prophane and profligate Atheists.
Q. 4. Doth not this opinion greatly endanger the souls of others? Are not all sinfull enough, naturally hating Teach∣ers, and scorning to be reproved, being enemies to light and truth? Why should you strengthen the hands of sinners? that whereas formerly they could not sin against light, but they had many checks of conscience, now they despise in∣struction and hate to be reformed, and when they sin most fully and fouly, yet they sin without reluctancy, and glory in their own shame; so that if these men perish in their gain-sayings, yet may not their bloud be required at your hands, who have not only misled them into errour, but have killed them with prejudice against the remedy which should reclaim them?
Q. 5. Is not this opinion the sad abuse of the great liberty now enjoyed? In times of former trouble, How did Professors live sincerely, love fervently, pray, and fast, and mourn to∣gether? But by these Tenents the Staff of Bands and Beauty is broken, and dashed in pieces one upon another, which Page 65 may justly provoke the Lord to cut short the day of liberty, that men may learn by the want of liberty how to prise and sadly bewail their wofull abuse of it.
Q. 6. If your principles about an universall liberty be true, why are you so untrue to your own principles? you can well endure men that deny the Immortality of the soul, the verity of Scriptures, the Deity of Christ, the God-head of the holy Ghost, and those that defend any thing, whatsoever is con∣trary to sound doctrine; These you can tolerate, defend, hug in your bosome; and if any one speak against any the broa∣chers of those errours: You cry out, Persecution, Persecution, yet at the self same time you persecute (to your uttermost) all Ministers, who take themselves bound in conscience to de∣fend the Ministry, You do and can tolerate the most pro∣phane and hereticall, but these Ministers Consciences you cannot tolerate: Are you not partiall in your selves, and be∣come Judges of evil thoughts, whilst you justifie that in your selves as a duty which you condemn in others as an abomina∣ble iniquity? Why are your professed principles so uneven, and you so contradictory to your own principles? Be not like the Jews who please not God and are contrary to all men.
Q. 7. Have you not cause to fear, that the Lord may leave you as he did your Predecessors in Germany, who held the same Tenents with you, gloried (as much as you) in their own confidences, and condemned (as you do) all others; Railed first against the Ministry, then raged aginst the Magi∣stracy, brought both Church and State into confusion, put the Countrey into burning Flames, wherein at length them∣selves were consumed to ashes; Do not therefore persist in kindling these false fires; Walk no longer in the light of the sparks that you have kindled, lest you have this at the hand of the Lord, to lie down in sorrow.
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.
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.
CHAP. VI. Answering the Arguments brought for the Preaching of men out of Office.
IN this Chapter we shall give Answers to the chief and main Arguments produced by such as maintain this unwarran∣table practice of Preaching by men out of Office; for though a Christian ought not to depart from the plain rule of the Word of God, though he be not able to satisfie all the Sophi∣stical cavils of gain-saying adversaries, yet that we may re∣move all stumbling blocks, and occasions to fall out of the way, that if it be possible some may be reclaimed from their •rrour, others may be more firmly established in the truth, when they see discovered the vanity and invalidity of preten∣ders Arguments for the preaching of gifted men out of Of∣fice, we shall likewise undertake this task.
The first and principal Argument is drawn from 1 Cor. 14.31. Ye may all prophesie one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted: Whence is thus inferred; That the Apostle giving liberty to the gifted Brethren of the Church of Corinth out of Office to Prophesie (you may All Prophe∣sie) warrants this practice of Preaching in all men that have gifts, though they be not set apart to this Office.
In Answer to this Argument we first lay down this Rule, which is also of excellent use for the understanding of many other places of Scripture, viz. That this universal All is to be restrained and limited according to the subject or matter treat∣ed of. As when the Apostle saith, All things are lawfull for me, he means not simply All things, but restrainedly All in∣different things of which he was there treating, 1. Cor▪ 6.12. Page 96 and 10.23. In like manner when the same Apostle, 2 Cor. 5.17. saith, All things are made new. This Proposition is to be restrained from the subject and matter of which he was speak∣ing, unto Beleevers. The like may be observed in many o∣ther places, Luk. 13.15. 1 Cor. 12.7. Isa. 9.17, &c. These things thus premised, We say
First, In this place of the Apostle, Ye may all prophesie, the word All is to be restrained according to the subject of which the Apostle speaks: He saith not of the Body or People of the Church of Corinth, that they might All Prophesie, but of the Prophets in that Church, that they might All Prophe∣sie. This is evident both from the antecedent and subsequent words. In the 29th verse the Apostle saith, Let the Prophets speak two or three, &c. then he subjoyns, For ye may All pro∣phesie: and then it follows immediatly, And the spirit of the Prophets shall be subject to the Prophets. By this discourse of the Apostle it evidently appears that the liberty of pro∣phecying was not given to every member of the Church of Corinth, but only to the Prophets that were in that Church: Now it is clear they were not all Prophets (c. 12.29. Are all Prophets? i. All are not Prophets:) and therefore all had not granted them this liberty of prophecying: And thus far we have the consent not only of Beza and others upon the place, but even of the most sober of our adversaries, who will not assert a promiscuous liberty of prophecying to every member of the Church, but only to such as are gifted and qualified for the work, and desired by the Church to exercise that Gift.
Secondly, The Prophets both in this place, and where ever else in the Scriptures mentioned, were an order of Mi∣nistry, not only gifted Brethren, but constituted Officers in the Church. Thus 1 Cor. 12.28. God hath set in his Church, first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly Teachers, &c. As the Apostles and Teachers were Officers set by God in his Church, so also were the Prophets. Reade also Eph. 4.11, 12. When Christ gave 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 gifts, Officers for the good of the Church, he gave amongst these Officers Prophets. And Page 97 we do not beleeve, that there can an instance be given of any Text either in the Old or New Testament, in which the word Prophet doth not signifie one in Office peculiarly called and sent. Now if this be an irrefragable truth (as indeed it is) then the Apostles permitting all Prophets (i. men in Office) to prophesie, is no warrant for gifted brethren (if out of Of∣fice) to do that work.
Thirdly, Though what hath been already said be sufficient to infringe the Argument drawn from this place to warrant the preaching of men out of Office, yet we adde for the more full Vindication of this Scripture, that the Prophets here mentioned, yea, and throughout the New Testament, seem not to be only Officers in the Church, but extraordinary Of∣ficers immediatly inspired and sent by the holy Ghost, which appears in that
First, They are not only mentioned and preferred before Pastors and Teachers, the ordinary Officers of the Church, Act. 13.1. 1 Cor. 12.28. but also before the Evangelists them∣selves, Eph. 4.11, 12. who are acknowledged by all to have been Officers extraordinarily sent.
Secondly, The gift of prophecy is reckoned amongst the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and put in the midst of them, 1 Cor. 12.9, 10, 11. and contra-distinguished from ordinary gifts, vers. 7, 8. the word of wisedom, the word of know∣ledge; The word of wisedom denotes the Pastors work, the word of knowledge the Teachers work; but prophesying is different from both these, c••sisting partly in the fore-telling of future events, as Act. 11.27, 28. In those daies came Pro∣phets fr•m Ierusalem unto Anti••h, and there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great dearth throughout the w•rld. 2. Partly in an infallible ex∣plication and application of (the m•st difficult places of) Scripture, not by industry, and labour, but by the immediate illumination, and teaching of the holy Ghost by whom the Scriptures were inspired.
Thirdly, It is evident by the series of this Chapter, that the Prophets herein spoken of, and their prophesying was extra∣ordinary, Page 98ver. 26. When you are come together every one of you hath a Psalm, hath a Tongue, hath a Revelation, hath an Interpretation; Tongues, Interpretation, Revelation, are joyn∣ed together, ver. 30. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace, by which it appears that the Prophets here spoken of were inspired by the holy Ghost; and that this gift of prophecy was an extraordinary dispensation of God given to the Primitive Church, but now ceased; and therefore this Text cannot justifie our Lay-Preach∣ers, who cannot without impudency pretend to such extraor∣dinary Revelations as these had.
We might fill many Pages with Quotations of Authours that consent with us in this last, Calv. Inst. l. 4. c. 3. sec. 10. &c. Pet. Mart. loc. com. clas. 4. c. 1. p. 558. Aret. prob. lo. 61. de Pro∣phetia. Gerh. com. loc. tom. 6. de Minist. Ecc.. Diodat. in 1 Cor. 14. 1, 6, 23. Gomarus on Rom. 12.6. Synops. purioris Theolog. disp. 42. thes. 22. Our English Annotat. in 1 Cor. 14.
Against this third Position asserting the Prophesying in this Chapter, mentioned to be extraordinary, there be many things objected which we shall answer for the further manife∣station of the truth.
Object. 1. The Apostle exhorteth the faithfull to desire this gift, vers. 1. and to seek to excell therein, and therefore it is not likely that it was a miraculous and extraordinary gift.
Answ. It doth not follow that because it was to be desired therefore it was not extraordinary; Other spiritual gifts were extraordinary, yet saith the Apostle Desire spirituall gifts, as much as he saith of prophesying; Elysaeus desires a double measure of Elias spirit, 2 King. 2.9. was not that extraordina∣ry? The faithfull might in those daies in which such extraor∣dinary gifts were usually given in the Church, lawfully seek after them, especially by praying to God for them, which is the way prescribed, vers. 13. Let him that speaketh in an un∣known tongue pray that he may interpret. And it is apparent that in the Schools of the Prophets many did study and pre∣pare that they might be fitted for this extraordinary gift of Prophecy, 1 Sam. 19.20. 2 Kin. 2.3, 4. and 2 Kin. 3.15. and Page 99 out of them God usually made choice of such as he emploied as his speciall Embassadors to his Church.
Object. 2. The Apostle speaketh of such prophesying as is to the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the Church; therefore of ordinary prophesying.
Answ. It follows not, because extraordinary prophesying (as well as ordinary) was given for the edification of the Church, 1 Cor. 12.7. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every one to profit withall, Eph. 4.11, 12, 13. All the extra∣ordinary as well as ordinary Officers were given by Christ for the gathering and edification of the Church: And all gifts are to be emploied to this end, 1 Cor. 14.26. Whether you have a Psalm, or Doctrine, or Tongue, or Revelation, or Interpretation, Let all things be done to edifying.
Object. 3. The Apostle in this Chapter speaks not of any thing extraordinary, but laies down a generall liberty, for all the members of the Church of Corinth to prophesie. And this appears because he pres•ribes Rules: 1. For men, how they should order their liberty for edification, and then 2. for Women forbidding them altogether the liberty of prophesy∣ing; Let your women keep silence in the Churches: Women (say they) are here named in opposition to men, and they only being prohibited, all men may and ought to be allowed to prophesie in publique.
Answ. 1. It is absolutely false to say, that the Apostle speaks of nothing extraordinary in this Chapter, for he speaks of the gift of tongues, vers. 6, 14, 2•, 26. and of extraordinary Psalms and Revelations.
Answ. 2. It is also as false to say, that the Apostle gives a generall liberty of prophesying to all, to all the members of the Church of Corinth; It hath been already proved that the liberty was given to such only as were Prophets, v. 29, 30, 31. and these Prophets were persons in Office, as hath been de∣monstrated, and that they were ex•raordinary Officers, Su∣periour to Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers; Now all the members of the Church of Corinth were not P•ophets, 1 Cor. 12.29. nor had the gift of Prophe•y, as appears by the Apo∣stles Page 100 prayer for them, 1 Cor. 14.6. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied, &c.
Answ. 3. Women are not mentioned in opposition to the men in Corinth simply, But in opposition to such as had ex∣traordinary gifts, whether of Tongues, or of Prophecy, or any such like: And the scope of the Apostle is not to give li∣berty to all, but to lay down rules to those that were Prophets and men in Office, how they should regulate their prophesy∣ing, for the edification, exhortation, and consolation of the people, and then he wholly excludes the women from this work.
Answ. 4. We may further answer, that by women here are not meant women simply, but Women-Prophetesses, in oppo∣sition to men-Prophets formerly spoken of. This seems to be intimated in the words of the Text, Let your Women keep si∣lence in the Church, i. your prophesying women: That there were women that did prophesie appears from Act. 21.9. Now the Apostle doth inhibit all women-Prophetesses from pro∣phesying in the Church. It is not permitted to them (of what rank soever) to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the Law. Thus also 1 Tim. 2.12. But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man: These Prophetesses might teach in private, but nature it self forbids them to usurp authority over the man, by teaching him in publique.
Object. But doth not the Apostle say, 1 Cor. 11.5. Every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered disho∣noureth her head? It seems by this Text that the women did pray and prophesie in publique.
Answ. Women are said to pray and prophesie, not by doing so actually in their own persons, but by joyning with men in praying and prophesying: And the meaning of the Text is, Every woman that joyneth in praying or prophesy∣ing; Thus Solomon is said to offer 120000. sheep, not in his own person, but by joyning with the Priests that did it. Thus Pilate is said to scourge Jesus, which he did not do in his own person, but by his Officers.
Page 101Object. 4. These Prophets were to be tried, examined, and judged, ver. 32. And therefore they were not Officers extra∣ordinarily inspired.
Answ. 1. It follows not, Their doctrine might be tried, therefore they were not extrordinary Officers or immediatly inspired; for the Apostles were extraordinary Officers (as is confessed) and yet their doctrines were to be tried; The Bereaus are commended for it, Act. 17.11.
Ans. 2. Those who were extraordinarily inspired, thoug• they could not erre, so far forth as they were inspired by the holy Ghost, yet might sometimes in some particular cases give an answer out of their own hearts in which they might erre and be deceived; Such was the case of Samuel when he saw Eliab, 1 Sam. 16. Doubtlesse the Lords anointed is before me, but it was not so. Thus Nathan permitteth and encoura∣geth David to build the Temple, 2 Sam. 7. but herein he was mistaken, Act. 21.4. The foretelling of Pauls danger at Ieru∣salem was from God; But the consequence drawn from hence by the prophesying Disciples, that therefore he should not go up to Ierusalem, was from their own spirit. Vide Bezam.
Object. 2. A second Objection is taken from 1 Pet. 4.10, 11. As every man hath receivid the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good Stewards of the manifold grace of God; If any man speak let him speak as the Oracles of God; if any man minister let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, &c. From hence is inferred, that every man that is gifted may law∣fully Preach the Word, though he be not called and solemn∣ly set apart to this work.
Answ. To this we reply, 1. That we heartily assent to this Truth, That every man that hath received a gift of God,*ought to improve it to the good of others: And we limit not the word Gift in the Text (as some do) only to the gift of liberality (though the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 be sometimes put for that gift, as 1 Cor. 16.3.2 Cor. 8.4, 6, 7.) but extend it, as Oecumenius not only to the possession of riches, but to all endowments of nature, which whosoever is possessed of is bound to commu∣nicate to those that want them, as having received them of Page 102 God to be thus distributed, yea, and with Piscator, Calvin, Bullinger, and others, to all spirituall gifts; as knowing that the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every one for the profit of the whole, and mindefull of the heavy sentence pronoun∣ced upon the slothfull servant who hid his Talent in a Napkin. Mat. 25.
2. But we assert, That these spirituall gifts are to be exerci∣sed by every one in his own sphere, by private persons pri∣vately, by those that are in Office publikely, and in the Con∣gregation: It is very observable, that Aquila and Priscilla, private persons, yet of eminent gifts (insomuch as they knew the way of Christ more perfectly then Apollos himself, who was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures) kept their own place, and whereas Apollos being a Minister in Office (as appears 1 Cor. 3.5.) preached publiquely in the Synagogues, they as gifted Christians did not undertake to preach publike∣ly but took him to them, and privately expounded to him the way of God more perfectly, Act. 18. This is a notable patern for private Christians even of the highest form to walk by; In this way they may finde emploiment for all their gifts, in this way they may honour God, and be promoters of the Gospel, as were those women whom the Apostle honours with the Title of Labourers with him in the Gospel, Phil. 4.3. They laboured not by publike preaching, for this the Apostle permits not to women, 1 Tim. 2. but by private advertise∣ments and admonitions, as opportunities were administred.
3. Therefore it follows not, that because all gifts are to be improved, therefore a gifted brother may preach; for first, there are other waies of making use of our most excellent gifts then by preaching only: and secondly, It is required in him that will preach warrantably, not only that he be fitted for the work, but that he be appointed to the Office of the Ministry, as hath been before fully demonsttated; and there∣fore that we do not the same work twice, we here su∣persede.
Object. But doth not the Apostle in the 11. verse, where he saith, If any man speak, let him speak as the Oracles of God,Page 103 warrant every man that hath the gift of speaking publikely to the edification of the Congregation, to preach publikely, pro∣vided he speak as the Oracles of God.
Answ. We answer negatively, those words permit not e∣very gifted man to be a Preacher, but direct every Preacher in the right dispensation of that weighty Office; Calvin ex∣cellently upon these words, He that speaketh observes, Qui publicâ authoritate rite ordinatus est, He that by publike autho∣rity is rightly ordained to speak; Let him speak as the Oracles of God: And Estius, Qui ad hujusmodi munus in Ecclesiâ vocatur, He that is called in the Church to this work, let him speak as the Oracles of God, And thus some restrain the word Gift in the 10th verse, As every man hath received a gift, i. an Office, even so minister, &c. and that not with out probabi∣lity, for it is evident that the words 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 are ta∣ken sometimes in Scripture not for gifts simply but for an Of∣fice; as Rom. 12.6. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, having gifts which the Apostle in the verses following expounds of Offices: So also 1 Tim. 4.14. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Neglect not the gift which was given thee by Prophecy, that is, the Office, if the Apostle may be his own Interpreter, Cha. 1.18. This charge I cummit to thee my Son Timothy, according to the Prophecies that went before of thee, &c. where by the way observe, against those that scorn∣fully ask, What gift the Imposition of hands by the Presbyte∣ry can now conferre? that it confers as much as the Imposi∣tion of hands by the Presbytery did to Timothy, viz. the Of∣fice of a Presbyter; If Timothy had any extraordinary gift, that was given by the Imposition of the Apostles hands, 2 Tim. 1.6. Stir up the gift that is in thee by the laying on of my hands; as it was in those times usuall for extraordinary gifts to be conveighed. So also the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used in the same sense, Eph. 3.8. To me that am lesse then the least of all Saints is this grace 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 given, that I should preach among the Gentiles, his being made the Apostle of the Gentiles is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, so also Rom. 1.5. By whom we have received grace and Apostleship,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by the Grammaticall Figure Hendyadis, for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 the grace of Apostleship, as Pis∣catorPage 104 in his Scholia, and others. Secondly, It is worth our Observation, to take notice of that order which the Apostle seems to make between gifts, administrations, and operations, 1 Cor. 12, 4, 5, 6. Gifts qualifie for Ministries, Ministry autho∣riseth for operation; as no man may lawfully undertake a Ministry or Office, if not qualified; so may no man do the work of the Ministry which he hath not taken upon him; A∣bilities do not authorize to act out of our own Sphere and calling; A Physician might not judge of Leprosies though he had skill, nor a Butcher kill the Sacrifice though he knew how; these things belonged to the Priest; Every able Law∣yer may not usurp the office or work of a Judge, nor every gifted brother undertake either the Office or the work of a Minister.
Object. It is argued for the lawfulnesse of Preaching by gift∣ed men, not ordained to the Ministry: That Eldad and Me∣dad prophesied in the Camp without a calling, and were ap∣proved of by Moses in the Praier, Would God that all the Lords people were Prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them, Numb. 11.26, 29.
Answ. 1. To this we reply, that nothing in this Story doth in the least patronize the practices of our preaching un-or∣dained gifted brethren, because,
1. The prophesying of Eldad and Medad was extraordi∣nary from an immediate and divine inspiration; for the Spi∣rit of God is said to have rested upon them, as upon those others that were round about the Tabernacle, as appears ver. 25, 26. but our gifted men are not thus immediatly inspired and taught of God.
Ans. 2. This gift of Prophecy was given them as a Seal of their Commission for the government of the State, not di∣rectly for the edification of the Church: It was visibile sig∣num, a visible sign (saith Calvin) that God had chosen them to assist Moses in the Government:*Non enim erant Prophe∣tae, sed voluit Deus hâc externâ not â testari novos esse homines, quò majori reverentiâ eos ex•iperet populus: By this Spirit of Prophecy they were inaugurated to their civil government. Page 105 Thus the Spirit of Prophecy was given to Saul in confirma∣tion of his Election to the Kingdom of Israel, 1 Sam. 10.6, 11. And therefore many learned men are of opinion,* that Eldad and Medad did not prophesie praedicendo or praedicando, That their prophesying was not a Prophetical or Ecclesiasti∣cal Preaching, but a politicall or prudentiall speaking of things appertaining to the government of the State: Some others think that Enthusiasmo acti they did laudes Deo can•re,* that by divine instinct they did celebrate the praises of God: All a∣gree that it was extraordinary, and therefore makes nothing for the justification of such as preach without office. Mr Ains∣worth observes excellently, that this prophesying of Eldad and Medad was only for the day, and therefore whereas it is said vers. 25. They prophosied and did not cease, Ainsworth reades the words, They prophesied and did not adde;* so it is in the He∣brew Non addiderunt, that is, they prophesied no more but that day. The same word is used Deut. 5.22. These words the Lord spake in all your assembly, and he added no more, that is, spake no more, or in such a manner to the people.* Thus the Septuagint readeth the words, and Sol. Iarchi saith, They did not adde, i. they prophesied not save that day only. The Chaldee indeed translateth it, They ceased not; And so also it translateth Deut. 5.22. The Lord spake the ten words, and cea∣sed not, which translation if it be allowed, it will admit (saith Ainsworth) of this favourable Interpretation, The Lord cea∣sed not speaking, that is, till all his ten words were finished; And the seventy Elders prophesied, and ceased not, that is, they conti∣nued all day prophesying, not alwaies; (As Saul in Naioth is said to prophesie all that day and all that night, 1 Sam. 19 24.) For this prophesying of theirs seems (saith Ainsworth) to be a temporary gift and miracle, for the ratification and con∣firmation of their office. But howsoever whether this pro∣phesying was for a day or for a longer time, whether it was Ecclesiastical or only political, certain we are it was extraordi∣nary, and a visible inauguration of them into their Office.
Answ. 3. Certain we are that these men ha• a lawfull Call to do what they did, for they were two of the seventy Elders Page 106 whom the Lord commanded Moses to choose, and unto whom he promiseth to give his Spirit, Numb. 11.16, 17. And there∣fore this example doth not at all prove the lawfullnesse of pri∣vate mens preaching: That these two were of the number of the seventy Elders, appears by three Arguments from the 26. verse.
1. It is said ver. 25. That God took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and gave it to the Seventy Elders, and when the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, and ceased not, Then followeth, But there remained two of the men in the Camp, that is, two of the Seventy. As if we should say, There were seventy men chosen to be Common-Councell men to sit at Guild-Hall, but two of the men did remain in their Houses, and did not go, must we not necessarily understand that the two remain∣ing were two of the seventy Common-Councel men.
2. The Spirit of God is said to rest upon these two, vers. 26. just as it is said of the other Elders, ver. 25.
3. It is said expresly, That they were of them that were writ∣ten, but went not out into the Tabernacle, That were written, that is, saith Deodate, inrolled and delegated among the se∣venty Elders, or as Ainsworth saith, they were written by Moses in a Book, and so were appointed among the rest to come to the Tabernacle, ver. 16.24.
Quest. 1. But why did not they go unto the Tabernacle as the rest did?
Ans. Tostatus saith, It was out of a modest bashfullnesse and sense of their own unworthinesse, Ainsworth saith, that it is probable, that as Saul when he was to be made King, withdrew and hid himself among the stuffe, 1 Sam. 10.22. so these two, unwilling to take the charge upon them, withdrew their shoulders, and came not to the Tabernacle, yet the Lord by his Spirit found them out: For whether shall men go from his Spirit, or whither shall they go from his presence, Psa. 139.7. See more for this out of Ainsworth upon the place.
Quest. 2. But if these were two of the seventy Elders, why doth Ioshua desire Moses to forbid them?
Ans. 1. Because he might not know that they were set a∣part Page 107 to be members of the Senate as well as the rest.
2. Because they obeyed not Moses, to come out to the Ta∣bernacle as he commanded, for the Disciples forbad one that cast out devils in Christs Name, because he followed not them, Luke 9.49, 50.
3. Especially thus he spake out of an envious zeal for his Master Moses sake (as the verse following sheweth) that he would not have the use of the gift of prophecy common, •nd therefore Moses answereth, ver. 29. Enviest thou, for my sake?
But though Ioshua would have had them inhibited prophe∣sying, yet Moses did not forbid them, which is argument suf∣ficient to prove, that they were persons lawfully chosen to this Office; for if Moses so sharply rebuke Corah and his company for intruding into the Office of the Priesthood with∣out a call▪ surely he would not have approved of Eldads and Medads taking upon them the office of Prophets without a Call.
Quest. 1. But what then is the meaning of Moses prayer, Would God that all the Lords People were Prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them?
Answ. This was an excellent and imitable desire in Moses, for though he knew that God had decreed not to diffuse this gift of prophecy unto all, yet he here discovers his humility in wishing that all the Lords people had the gift of prophesie. And the man is •ot worthy the name of a Minister, that doth not heartily desire that all Gods people might excell in gifts and graces. Hunc Spiritum charitatis imitentur omnes concio∣natores (saith Cornelius de Lapide) qui non suam, sed Dei unius gloriam quaerunt, petuntque quod Martha petiit a Christo Dic sorori ut adjuvet me. But this doth not at all prove, that a private man without a lawfull call may do the work of a publique Preacher, for Eldad and Medad were lawfully cal∣led, and though Ioshua knew it not, yet it appears plainly by this very Praier of Moses, that he knew that they both were Prophets, and that the Spirit of God did rest upon them even the same that rested upon the other 68 Elders, and therefore Page 108 he praieth, Would all the Lords People were as th•se two, and the rest of the Elders. And this is our daily prayer, That the Lord would multiply his gifts and graces upon his people, and because the harvest is great and the labourers are few; That the Lord of the Harvest, would send forth more and more able Labourers into his Harvest.
Object. 4. Another Objection is from the example of Ieho∣saphat, 2 Chro. 17.7, 8, 9. who in the third year of his Reign sent to his Princes even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, &c. to teach in the Cities of Iudah, And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, &c. And they taught in Iudah, and had the Book of the Law with them, &c. Here the Princes are said to teach as well as the Levites.
Answ. 1. The Princes are thought by some to have been sent to teach not Ecclesiastically but Politically, viz. by coun∣tenancing the Levites, and by their civil authority, compel∣ling the people to hear them, they taught the people regaliter not ministerialiter; Thus R. Sol. Iarchi upon the place. It was proper (saith he) to the Priests and Levites to teach, inasmuch as it is written, Deut. 24.8. According to all that the Priests and Levites shall teach you, do ye, but the Princes went with them lest they should have rebelled against their words, that they might compell them to obey: Great men are said in Scripture to have done those things which they did not in their own persons, but were done by their authority and command. Solomon is said to offer a Sacrifice of 22000 Oxen, and 120000 Sheep, that is, not in his own person (for he should have sinned Vzziahs sinne in so doing) but by the Priests. Pilate is said to scourge Jesus, that is, by his Officers; And the chief Eunuch Dan 1. to teach Daniel and the rest of the Israelitish women, that is, by appointing them Masters to teach them, so also in this place, the Princes may be said to teach, that is, by the Levites whom they did accompany, countenance, and encourage in the work.
Answ. 2. Iehosaphat intending a full Reformation, and esta∣blishing his Kingdom in Righteousnesse and Religion, in mat∣ters of God and matters of the King, he sends out mixt Com∣missioners, Page 109 for the civil affairs his Princes, for the businesses of God the Levites: The Princes taught Ius regium, the Le∣vites Ius Dei; and so there was no interfering in their em∣ployment; Vide Pelican. in loc. This answer seems the more probable, because in his second visitation of his Kingdom mentioned ch. 19. Iehosaphat himself making (as here) joynt Commissioners, divides the work into Civil and Ecclesiastical, the matters of God and the matters of the King, over the for∣mer he sets the Priest, over the latter the prince; as was obser∣ved in the stating of the Question.
Object. 5. Some argue from Luke 8.39. The man disposses∣sed went about preaching what Christ had done for him; And from Ioh. 4. The woman of Samaria preached Christ to the Samaritans, and many beleeved; And the man that had but one talent, and hid it, was therefore cast into hell; And from the example of the Saints in evil times, speaking often one to another; Lastly, From the command of the Apostle to stir up the gift of God that is in us.
Answ. To which we answer shortly; To the first, we an∣swer, that the dispossessed did no more then he had a Commis∣sion from Christ to do, and therefore is no president for such as preach without a calling; if he did more he sinned.
To the second, The woman of Samaria did not preach but only charitatively, and as private persons may, declare what she had seen and heard; and if any thing can be concluded from hence for Preaching without Ordination, the lawfulness of womens preaching must be concluded.
To the third, The man was cast into hell for hiding and not imploying his talent, that is in his own calling, as hath been often suggested; It is the duty of every Christian to stir up the gift ofGod that is in him, and for Christians to speak often one to another in evil times, to teach, admonish, exhort one ano∣ther, to pray together and one for another; but all this comes short o• the Ministers duty, there being a vast difference be∣tween this private charitative way of exhorting which belongs to all Christians, and the office, and work of the Ministry, as hath been above distinguished.
Page 110Object. 6. Private Christians, Act. 8.4. & 11.19. when they were scattered abroad, went every where preaching the word, Therefore gifted men though not ordained may also preach the Word.
Answ. This instance which is much insisted upon by ma∣ny, is not of strength to conclude the lawfulnesse of preaching by gifted, un-ordained persons; For,
First, Some allowing these scattered Christians to have been private persons, yet do rationally distinguish between a Church constituted, and a Church scattered and dissolved, between what may be done in a Church gathered, and in an ordinary way, and in the gathering of a Church, and in the •ase of necessity: It is not recorded that these did preach while they were at Ierusalem in a setled Church, but when they were scattered, then they went every where preaching; what warrant soever this instance may give to persons uncal∣led to preach amongst Indians, and in places where no Chur∣ches nor Ministers are, yet can it not warrant them in their preaching in our Churches, in which Ministers are or may ea∣sily be had.
Secondly, It may justly be denied, that the Christians here spoken of were private Christians, it may be asserted that they were men in Office, and had commission to do what they did. This appears,
1. From the first verse, where it is said, At that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Ierusa∣lem, and they were all scattered abroad throughout the Regions of Iudea and Samaria, except the Apostles; These All that were scattered must be either All the Teachers and Church-Offi∣cers, or all the Beleevers; not all the beleevers, for it is said in the 3. verse, That Saul made havock of the Church, entring into every house, and haling men and women, committed them to prison. And Act. 11.22. there is expresse mention made of the Church at Ierusalem, notwithstanding the per∣secution. Had all the Beleevers been scattered what should the Apostles have done at Ierusalem, their tarrying would have been dangerous to themselves and useless to the Church. Page 111 And therefore we judge that by all is meant all the Church-Officers (of whom there were many at Ierusalem) were scattered except the Apostles, and when they were scattered they went every where preaching the Word.
To make the Interpretation clearer observe,
First, That the word All is used here with an exceptive par∣ticle, which necessitates it to be meant not of beleevers but of men in office; for if all relate to beleevers, then it will follow that there was not one Beleever left in Ierusalem ex∣cept the Apostles. The particle 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 with the Genitive case in the New Testament, being alwaies exceptive to the utmost, as appears Ioh. 8.10. Act. 15.28. & 22.22. Mar. 12.32. but this we are sure is false, as hath been already proved.
Secondly, That it is said, That they that were scattered went every where preaching the Word; It is not said teaching which may be actus charitatis, but Preaching which is actus officij; How can they preach except they be sent, Rom. 10. The Reve∣rend Assembly of Divines in their Answer to the Reasons of the Dissenting Brethren, observe, that those that were scatter∣ed went about 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 refers to the act of men in office, and they desire the Brethren to produce one Scripture where 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used con∣cerning any that are not Preachers by Office, they bring ma∣ny where it is used concerning those that were in Office, even by the pen-man of this history, and conclude, that these 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 had their Commission to preach before this persecution, though the persecution occasioned their preaching in Iudea and other places.
Thirdly, Act. 8.5. there is but one of this scattered number named, and he was a person in office, to wit Philip, not the Apostle, but who is numbered among the Deacons, Act. 6. and called an Evangelist, Act. 21 8. By the singling out of this one who was in Office, we may judge that the rest were per∣sons in office as well as he.
Fourthly, 'Tis probable, that these that were scattered did baptize as well as preach, which we gather from Act. 11.26. It is said there, There was a Church setled at Antioch, which Page 112 could not be unlesse they were first baptized, but there were none in Antioch to baptize them, if they of the dispersion did not; for Barnabas, Agabus, and other Prophets came not to Antioch till the Church was founded, Act. 11.25, 26, 27. and this Church of Antioch is expresly said to be founded by the scattered brethren, Act. 21.19. now baptism is to be per∣formed only by men in office, Mat. 28.19.
Fifthly, These scattered brethren are said to be Prophets and Teacher•, Act. 13.1. where mention is made of Lucius of Cy∣rene, who in all probability was one of the scattered Preach∣ers, as appears Act. 11.19, 20. where it is said, That some of these scattered were men of Cyrene.
If it be said, that there is no where mention made of the Ordination of, or any commission given to these scattered brethren: It is answered, that it doth not follow that there∣fore they had none, because none is mentioned. It is suffici∣ent for us that there are Scripture-Reasons to perswade us that they had a Commission; They did a work peculiar to Officers of the Church, as hath been proved, which godly men out of Office durst not have done; they had successe, and the blessing of God upon their labours, which he promiseth not to those that go in an evil way, as hath been demonstra∣ted: But let thus much suffice for this instance.
Obj. 7. All the People of God are called Priests, Rev. 1.6. why then may they not preach?
Answ. They are indeed all made Priests unto God, and Kings unto God not unto men; They are Priests not mini∣sterially but spiritually, not as to the ministeriall function, but as to the offering up of spirituall Sacrifices unto God. Thus it is expounded 1 Pet. 2.5. Praier, Thanks-giving, and Almes-deeds are called Sacrifices in Scripture, and these a Beleever offereth up to God, and so he is made a Priest to God.
Secondly, All are made Priests unto God, but are all made Prophets? Are not all made Kings? And may therefore all exercise regall jurisdiction amongst men? May all be Magi∣strates? Away with such fanatick Monasterian conceits; If Page 113 we be Priests let us sacrifice our lusts, if Kings let us rule over our passions and our pride, this would quickly prevent such unwarrantable practices, and put a happy issue to these Disputes.
Object. 8. But if a Master of a Family may instruct his own Family, why may he not preach in the publique Congre∣gation?
Answ. Because he hath a calling to do the one, and no calling to do the other; You may as well ask, Why may not the Lord-Maior of London exercise his jurisdiction at York as well as at London? Or why may not a Justice of Peace send Warrants out of his own County? Or why might not Vzzi∣ah as well offer Incense in the Temple as pray in his own Fa∣mily? The answer to all these Questions is easie, for the one they have a lawfull calling but not for the other.
Obj. 9. But why then do you your selves suffer men whom you call Probationers and Expectants for the Ministry, to preach without Ordination? May not private men preach as well as they?
Answ. There is a great difference between a private mans preaching that never intends the Ministry, and a Probationers preaching that intends the Ministry, and preacheth by way of triall, that so the people that are to choose him may have ex∣perience of his gifts. A probationer, and a Minister differ but in degree, but a private man and a Minister differ toto genere. In the Old Testament there were Prophets, and sons of the Pro∣phets that were trained up in the Schools of the Prophets: These Sons of the Prophets did prophesie by way of trial and exercise, 1 Sam. 19.20. 2 King. 2.3. 1 King. 20.35, 36.
2. That these Sons of the Prophets, or as they are commonly called, these Expectants, are not allowed in the Presbyteriall government to preach without approbation and license. The Directory stablished by both Nations, is, That such as intend the Ministry may occasionally both reade the Scriptures, and exercise gifts in preaching in the Congregation, being allow∣ed thereunto by the Presbytery. And therefore even Proba∣tioners under the Presbyterian Government are not to preach Page 114 though but occasionally, and for a little while, without a Li∣cense and Authority so to do, from them to whom Christ hath given this power to authorize men for such an employ∣ment.
So much in answer to Objections, and so much for the Third Proposition.
The Fourth Proposition.
Concerning the severall waies and means of calling men to the Ministry, which is the Subject of all the following Chapters in the First Part.
CHAP. VII. Wherein are handled three Questions about an imm•diate Call to the Ministry.
HAving shewed, That no man ought to take upon him the Office or the work of the Ministry, but he that is lawfully called and ordained thereunto; We shall now pro∣ceed (according to our method formerly propounded) to speak something concerning the divers waies and means of calling men unto the Ministry. That which we have to say, we shall comprehend in the ensuing Propositions.
*That the Power and Authority of calling men to the Mi∣nistry belongs properly to God only; It is he that is the Lord of the Harvest, and therefore he only it is that can send forth Labourers into his harvest; Ministers are his Embassadours, and therefore to be sent by him: He only can give the Hea∣venly Unction and make us able Ministers of the New Testa∣ment, Page 115 2 Cor. 3.6. And it is for the great honour and encou∣ragement of the Gospel-Ministry, that all the three persons are said to call men to this sacred office. Of God the Father it is said, 1 Cor. 12.28. And God hath set, &c. and Mat. 9.38. Pray unto the Lord, &c. Of God the Son, Eph. 4.11. Of God the holy Ghost, Act. 20.28.
That there are two waies by which God doth call men to the Office of the Ministry, the one immediate,*the other mediate.
The immediate call is when a man is chosen by God with∣out the intervention of man; Thus were the Prophets and Apostles called: Paul saith of himself, That he was an Apo∣stle not of men nor by men, but by Christ,* &c. where the Apo∣stle tels us of three sorts of Ministers:
1. Such as are called neither of men nor by men, but by Christ and God immediatly, such were the Apostles
2, Such as are called by God, and also by men appointed by God for this work, such were the Apostles successors.
3. Such as are neither called by God immediatly or medi∣atly, but only of man, that is, by the meer authority of men; such were the false Apostles. Zanchy tels us out of Hierom of a fourth sort, and they are such as are neither of man,* nor by man, nor by Christ, but by themselves; Qui per seipsos Mini∣sterium sibi sumunt non vocati, Who take upon themselves the work of the Ministry uncalled; And these he saith are omnium pessimi, the worst of all. Of these the Prophet Ieremy speaks, I have not sent these Prophets yet they ran, I have not spoken unto them yet they prophesied.*
We purpose not to speak much of this immediate Call; Only because there are some who are ordinarily called Ana∣baptists or Enthusiasts, or as Chemnitius cals them fanaticos ho∣mines fanatick men, that boast much of Heavenly Revelati∣ons and of divine impulses, and pretend to an immediate Call, we will for our peoples sake briefly answer these three Questions.
Quest. 1. How may we distinguish between an immediate Call from God; and the imposture of fanatick men that say they are so called, and are not?
Page 116Quest. 2. Whether are we to expect any immediate Call in these daies?
Quest. 3. Whether the Call of the first Reformers of Reli∣gion from the Errours of Popery, was an immediate Call or no?
Quest. 1. How may we distinguish between an immediate Call from God, and the imposture of men that say they are so called when they are not?
Answ. 1. They that are immediatly called to the Ministry are endued by God either with the gift of miracles, or with some other testimony of the Spirit, by which they are ena∣bled to give proof of their immediate Call. When Christ called his twelve Apostles, he gave them power against un∣clean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sicknesse, and all manner of disease.* And the Apostle Paul cals this pow∣er of working miracles a sign of his Apostleship, 2 Cor. 12.12. Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs and wonders, and mighty deeds. When Christ called his 70 Disciples he adorned them also with pow∣er of Miracles, Luke 10.9. Thus when God called Moses im∣mediatly, he inabled him to work miracles, that so the Israelites might beleeve that he was not an Impostor, but that the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob had appeared unto him, Exod. 4.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. After this manner was the calling of Eli∣as and Elisha confirmed. And yet from hence we dare not (as some do) gather a generall Rule, That an immediate Call is alwaies joyned with the gift of miracles, for it is said expresly of Iohn Baptist, That he did no miracle, and yet he was immediatly called:* Neither do we reade of many of the Prophets of the Old Testament, that they wrought any mi∣racles; But we say, That an immediate Call is alwaies joyned either with the gift of Miracles, or the gift of Tongues, or some other extraordinary thing, by which men are enabled undoubtedly to demonstrate to others their immediate Call. Thus the Prophets were all of them endued with the gift of fore-telling things to come, and Iohn Baptist was enabled to make proof of his immediate Call by shewing the Prophe∣cies Page 117 both of Isaiah and Malachy that were concerning him; which prophecies were applied to him by the Angel, Luke 1.15, 16, 17. before he was born; appropriated by himself, Ioh. 1.23. and confirmed by Christs testimony of him, Mat. 11.9, 10, 11. And therefore let all those that boast of their Re∣velations, and say they are called by God to preach as the Apostles were, shew the signs and tokens of their Apostleship, as the Apostles did; let them shew the gift of miracles, or of Tongues, or of foretelling things to come, or some super∣naturall prediction, that such as they should be sent into the world, or at least some rare and extraordinary work of God, that so the world may beleeve, that they are in truth sent by God, and are not Impostors and Seducers, as the false Pro∣phets were, Ier. 14.14.
Secondly, They that are immediatly called by God will preach no other doctrine but what is agreeable to the Word of God. This is the distinguishing character brought by the Prophet Ieremy, Jer. 23.16. Hearken not unto the words of the Prophets, &c. For they prophesie a lye unto you, for I have not sent them, saith the Lord, yet they prophesi• a lie in my Name. Thus Ier. 29.8, 9. Let not your Prophets and your Diviners de∣ceive you, neither hearken to your Dreams, &c. for they prophesie falsly unto you in my Name; He that boasteth of dreams, visi∣on•, •nd Revelations, and holds forth any doctrine contrary to the written Word, he is an Impostor and a Seducer. And this is the chief Note of difference, without which the former i• insufficient; Prima ac praecipua probationis regula (saith Gerhard) est harmonia & congruentia doctrinae,*cum doctrinâ a Deo revelarâ, The first and chief rule of triall is the harmony and agreement of the doctri•e they preach with the doctrine of th• Script•res. For our Saviour Christ tel• us, That false Christ• should arise and false Prophets,*and should shew great signs and wonders, insomuch (if it were possible) they should de•eive the very Elect. And the Apostle tels us, that the coming of An∣tichrist shall be after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.* These wonders are called lying won∣ders, either because they should be false and counterfeit, or if Page 118•rue, yet they may be called lying wonders (miranda not mi∣racula) because wrought by Satan to confirm erroneous doctrines and lies: Such are Popish miracles (falsly so cal∣led) which are (as our Annotations upon the place say) either lyi•g prodigies, or prodigious lies. This caution was given to the Children of Israel by Moses, Deut. 13.1. If there arise among you a Prophet, or a dreamer if dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to passe, whereof he spake unto thee saying, Let us go after other Gods, &c. Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that Prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, &c. From all which we gather, That whosoever groundeth his authority of preaching upon an immediate call, and braggeth of heavenly visions and divine revelations, if he preach strange doctrine contrary to the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, although he should confirm it by signs and wonders, and although he should undertake to foretell things to come, and these predictions should come to passe, yet notwithstanding we are not to hearken unto him but to reject him as a Seducer, and his wonders as lying wonders,* and to say with the Apostle Paul, Though we or an Angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you then that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed: Excel∣lently to this purpose doth Austin answer to the Donatists, boasting of their Revelations, but departing from the since∣rity of Evangelical doctrine.
So much for the first Question.
Quest. 2, Whether are we to expect any immediate and ex∣traordinary Call to the Ministry in these daies?
Answ. Though we cannot, nor ought not to set bounds to the infinite power of free-will of God, nor will we dispute what God may do out of his free-grace in times of generall Apostacy, yet we shall make bold to give in this answer to this great Question.
That we do not reade that we are commanded in Scripture to wait for and expect such a Call,* neither do we know of any promise that God hath made to encourage us to wait, nor do we conceive that there is any absolute necessity of such an expectation.
Adde to this, That the Apostles, though they themselves were called immediatly by God, yet notwithstanding they did not wait till others that should succeed them in the work of the Ministry, were chosen also immediatly by God; But they themselve• ordained Ministers, and gave order to Ti∣mothyPage 120 and Titus about the way and method of electing and ordaining Elders, which we are assured they would never have done if the immediate Call had not ceased, together with their persons.
When Christ went up to heaven he gave two sorts of Offi∣cers to his Church, some extraordinary as Apostles, Evange∣lists, Prophets, and these were temporary: some ordinary, as Pastors and Teachers, and these are perpetual. Now as we are not to expect in our daies such extraordinary Officers, as A∣postles, Evangelists, and Prophets, no more are we to expect such an extraordinary way of calling, as they had; but as our Officers are ordinary, so the calling we are to expect is or∣dinary. Adde,
That God hath promised to preserve an ordinary Ministry in the world till the coming of Christ, 1 Cor. 11.26. Eph. 4.12, 13. Mat. 28.20. Isa. 59.21. And therefore there is no need of waiting for and expecting an extraordinary and immedi∣ate Call.*As it is necessary (saith Learned Zanchy) that there shall be alwaies a Church upon earth, because Christ hath promi∣sed, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; So also it is every way as necessary that a lawfull Ministry be preserved: Vnum enim ab altero separari non potest, nec Ecclesia a Ministe∣rio, nec Ministerium ab Ecclesiâ; For the one cannot be sepa∣rated from the other, neither the Church from the Ministry, nor the Ministry from the Church: And from hence it appears (saith the same Authour) That even in the Church of Rome,*though the worship of God be most corrupt in it, yet God hath pre∣served in it so much of the substance of Religion as was necessary to salvation; so that as the Church is not wholly extinct therein, so neither was the Ministry.
We deny not but that there are some Learned Divines that pleade much for an immediate and extraordinary call in times of publique and generall defection from the Truth; For our Page 121 parts we will not espouse this quarrell: We cannot, we ought not to set bounds to the infinite power and free-will of God; We dispute not what God may do at such times, only we say with Gerhard, Destituimur promissione quòd debeamus hoc tempore post confirmatum Novi Testamenti canonem immedi∣atam vocationem expectare;*We have no promise that we ought after the confirmation of the Canon of the New Testament to ex∣pect an immediate call. And afterwards he saith, Nulla apparet immediatae vocationis necessitas, There appears no necessity of this immediate Call.
And besides, even those that are for an immediate Call do lay down divers limitations which are very worthy to be considered by the people of our age, lest they should suck poison from such a doctrine. One that pleads much for it gives these Rules.
1. That this extraordinary and immediate Call then only takes place, when a mediate and ordinary cannot be had,*and that such a Call ought not to be pretended unto in contempt of the ordina∣ry way.
2. That whosoever shall pretend to this immediate Call ought first to be tried before he be admitted, That his doctrine ought to be examined by the Word, That his life and conversation ought to be diligently lookt into, lest he prove one of those concerning whom the Apostle speaketh,*That serve not our Lord Iesus Christ but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
After this he puts this Question, Anne cessante ordinaria vo∣catione? &c. Whether when the ordinary Call ceaseth, it be then lawful for every private Christian, verst in the Scriptures, to go up into the Pulpit, and preach against false Doctrines, and assert the Truth? and answers, God forbid! for this would open a door euivis ubivis, qui se sapientem existimaret, &c. to every one every where who thinks himself wise, under a pretence (whether true or false) of confuting false doctrine, to have clandestine mee∣tings, as the Anabaptists and Libertines of our daies are wont to do, following the evil example of those that first at An∣tioch, afterwards in Galatia, and elsewhere, creeping in private∣ly, Page 122 brought great tumults and confusions into the Church; Of whom the Apostle speaks: Forasmuch as we have heard that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words,*subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised and keep the Law, to whom we gave no such commandment. Thus farre Bucanus; and much more to this purpose in the same Cha∣pter. By this it appears, That even they that justifie an im∣mediate Call, in some cases, do notwithstanding flatly con∣demn the disorderly practices of our times:
So much in answer to the second Question.
The third Question is, Whether the Call of Luther and the rest of the best Reformers of Religion from the errors of Popery, was an immediate and extraordinary Call, or no?
Answ. He that would be satisfied about the Call of Luther to the Ministry, let him reade Gerhard de Ministerio, where he shall finde proved,* That Luther though he did alwaies pleade his doctrine to be of God, yet he did never so much as pretend to an immediate and extraordinary Call, but that he was called after a mediate and ordinary way; That he was ordained Presbyter in the Year of our Lord 1507. at 24 years of Age; That when he was ordained Presbyter he did receive power to preach the Word of God; That the next Year af∣ter he was called by Iohn Staupitius, with the consent of Ele∣ctor Frederick, to be Divinity Professor of the Church and University of Wittenberg, By the Statutes of which Univer∣sity he was bound to this, sc. Vestrum est legem divinam inter∣pretari & librum vitae docere; It is your Office to interpret the Divine Law and to teach the Book of Life.
Object. If it be objected, That Luther received his Ordi∣nation from the Church of Rome, and therefore it is null and void.
Answ. To this Gerhard answereth, That although the rite of Ordination in the Church of Rome was corrupted with ma∣ny Superstitious and Vnprofitable Ceremonies,*yet Ordination it self was not nullified; We must distinguish between the im∣purity of the Bishop Ordaining, and the Ordination which is done in the Name of the whole Church: And in the Ordination Page 123 we must distinguish that which is divine from that which is hu∣mane, that which is essential from that which is accidentall, that which is godly and Christian from that which was Antichristian. As in the Israelitish Church they were to use the Ministry, Sa∣crifices, and Ordination of the Scribes and Pharisees, who sate in Moses chair, yet the people were warned to take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees, Mat. 16.12. So also is the Church of Rome; We use the Ministry, Sacraments, and Ordination of those that were in ordinary succession, but we reject the leaven of their Superstition. But to this Objection we shall speak more fully in our fifth Proposition.
The like to that, is said of Luther, may be said of Zuinglius, Oecolampadius, Bucer, Peter Martyr, &c, Zanchy saith,* That Luther was a lawful Teacher, and a Minister created in the Church of Rome with Imposition of hands, and with authority to create others. The like he saith of Zuinglius, Bucer, &c. and of himself, Qui in Papatu fuimus creati Doctores cum authori∣tate alios creandi; We were made Teachers under the Papacy with authority to make others. We confesse that Zanchy, Bu∣canus, and divers others speak much (if not too much) of an extraordinary Call that these blessed Reformers had; But yet we desire it may be considered,
That the same Authours make mention also of the ordinary Call which they had.
That none of our first Reformers ever renounced their ordinary Call, but rather asserted it and pleaded it upon all occasions, as Gerhard sheweth of Luther in particular. Bucan tels us, That the Call of our first Reformers was ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary, because they were Doctores Pasto∣res & Presbyteri ex institutione Ecclesiae Romanae, sed abstersis Page 124 istius sordibus à Deo; Doctors, Pastors, and Presbyters by th• Institution of the Church of Rome, God having washed away the defilements that cleaved to that Ordination: It was extraordi∣nary, because they were indued with extraordinary gifts, and (blessed be God) with incredible successe, even to a miracle. And if this be all that is meant by an immediate and extraor∣dinary Call, in this sense we willingly and freely own it; and acknowledge,* That our blessed Reformers were men raised up by God after a wonderfull manner, to do great things for his Church; That they had 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, They were indued with a singular knowledge of divine mysteries, with a rare and peculiar gift of utterance, with an heroique spirit and an undaunted courage, and owned by God with mira∣culous successe, maugre all the opposition of the enemies of Christ against them: The Papists upbraid the Protestants, and demand What miracles did your first Reformers work? We answer, That this was a great miracle, That so few men under such great opposition without working of miracles, should be able to convert so many thousands to the Prote∣stant Religion:
So much in answer to the 3. Questions, and also about an immediate Call.
CHAP. VIII. Wherein is handled the mediate Call of men to the Mini∣stry, and therein one assertion about the peoples Election of their Minister, viz. That the Election of a Mini∣ster doth not by Divine Right belong wholly and solely to the major part of every parti∣cular Congregation.
THE mediate Call, is when a man is called to the Ministry by men lawfully deputed thereunto. Concerning this me∣diate Call we shall offer these Propositions.
That the mediate Call though it be by men, yet it is from God and by divine right as well as the immediate;* A necessary Pro∣position for the people of our unhappy age, that vilifie the Gospel-Ministry, because they are not called as the Apostles were, nor have the Apostolical Gifts of Tongus and Miracles. Know therefore that when Christ went up to heaven, he gave not only Apostles and Prophets to his Church,* but also Pastors and Teachers: That the Apostle Paul tels the Elders of Ephesus, that were ordinary Officers,*That the holy Ghost had made them Overseers over the Flock: He cals not only ex∣traordinary but ordinary Officers Embassadors of Christ and Stewards of the Mysteries of God.* Our Saviour Christ cals the Ministers of the seven Churches of Asia, Angels: The Apostle commands the Thessalonians, To know them that la∣bour amongst them, and to have them in high esteem,* &c. who yet notwithstanding were but ordinary Ministers. And to the Hebrews he commands, To obey them that had the rule over them, and to submit themselves, &c.* All which Texts prove, That Ministers made by men after a lawfull manner, are made by God, are Ministers of Christ, are to be obeyed, submitted unto, and had in high esteem for their works sake; Page 126 and we may adde, That such Ministers may expect protecti∣on from God, direction and successe of their labours as well as if they were immediatly called: Those rare promises Isa. 49.2. Isa. 51.16. Ier. 1.8, 10. are their rich portion: The Apo∣stle joyns Apollo with himself, not only in the fellowship of the Ministry, but also in the promise of a blessing upon it: Who then is Paul,*and who is Apollo? but Ministers by whom ye beleeved, even as the Lord gave to every man; I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the encrease.
*That this mediate Call is either extraordinary or ordinary; The extraordinary mediate Call is (as Paraeus saith) proxima immediatae, neer to the immediate, but yet not the same with it. For though every immediate Call be extraordinary, yet eve∣ry extraordinary Call is not immediate. Thus God chose Aa∣ron to be Priest after an extraordinary manner, yet it was a mediateCall, by Moses his Internuncius or Messenger. Thus also he chose Elisha by the intervention of Elias: Thus Matthias his Call to the Apostleship was extraordinary by the use of a Lot,* and yet also by the choise of the people. Pareus writes a Story of the Fratres Bohemici, The Bohemian Brethren, who in the Year of our Lord 1465. when all their Ministers were driven from them by Persecution, Tres ex novem sorte sibi de∣signarunt non sine miraculo, Chose three out of nine by lot to be their Ministers not without miracle; But of this immediate ex∣traordinary Call we spake sufficiently in the former Que∣stions.
*The mediate ordinary way by which God would have all men to enter into the Ministry is by Election and Ordination. They are both of them distinctly set down in the choise of Deacons, Act. 6.3, 5, 6. Look ye out seven men whom we may appoint, &c. Now though we do not purpose to speak much concerning popular Election, yet because there are many that lift it up too high, and make the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call to consist in it, and that look upon Ordination, if not as An∣tichristian, yet at best but as a circumstance of the Ministeriall Call which may be as well omitted as used; Therefore we are necessitated to propound unto our people these ensuing Pro∣positions Page 127 concerning popular Election.
That the Election of a Minister doth not by divine right be∣long wholly and solely to the major part of every particular Con∣gregation.*
This we shall prove,
- 1. By examining those three Texts that are brought for the divine right of Popular Election.
- 2. By shewing the mischiefs that will inevitably follow from this assertion,
1. We will examine the Texts. The first is taken from the choice of Matthias into the office of an Apostle,* which was done (say they) by the 120. Disciples there present; And if the people have power to choose an Apostle, much more to choose an Ordinary Minister. But we answer,
1. That those words, And they appoined two, Ioseph called Barsabas, and Matthias, do in all probability relate to the Apostles, and not to the Disciples: They appointed two, that is, the Apostles appointed two; Thus our Annotators; They appointed two, that is, the fore-mentioned Apostles put two in Election. And if the history be well observed, it will appear that the 120. Disciples are named only in a Pa∣renthesis, and that Peter in his whole Discourse relates espe∣cially if not only to his Fellow-Apostles. It is said ver. 17. He was numbred with us, that is, with the Apostles not with the Disciples. And so ver. 21. which have companied with us, that is, with the Apostles. ver. 22. must one be ordained to be a witnesse with us, &c. that is, with us Apostles. And then fol∣lows, And they appointed, that is, the Apostles, and not the 120. Disciples.
But suppose that they had been appointed by the 120. Disciples, yet we answer.
1. That the whole and sole power of choosing was not in the people, for they were guided and directed in their choice by the eleven Apostles: It was Electio populi praeeuntibus & dirigentibus Apostolis, By the guidance and direction of the Apo∣stles; and so it comes not up to the proof of the Propositi∣on: The Apostle tels them in expresse terms, ver. 21, 22. of Page 128 those men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Iesus went in and out among us, beginning from the Bap∣tism of John, &c.
2. That the people cannot (in any good construction) be said to have chosen Matthias any more then Barsabas: For they appointed two: And when the people had made their choice, Barsabas was as capable of being an Apostle, as Mat∣thias. The truth is, Matthias was chosen by God himself, and by God only, and therefore it is said, vers. 24. Thou Lord which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen. It was the divine lot, not the 120. that chose the Apostle.
Object. But it is said ver. 26. He was numbred with the eleven Apostles,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is, say they, he was together chosen by suffrage of the 120. Disciples.
*Answ, The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 primarily •nd properly sig∣nifieth to choose by stones or counters, with which they were wont to give voices in commission or judgement. But here it must necessarily be taken in a more general sense, for the ge∣nerall consent and approbation of the whole company: For it is certain, That Matthias was chosen by lot and not by stones, by God and not by the people; And therefore when it is said He was numbred, the meaning is, he was acknow∣ledged to be one of the 12. Apostles, They all rested con∣tented with the lot, as being confident that God disposed and approved the event thereof, and as our Annotations say, By a common declaration of their generall consent he was numbred among the eleven Apostles.
The Second Text is, Concerning the choise of Deacons, where the whole and sole power of choosing is put into the hands of the people:* And therefore (say they) the choise of a Minister belongs by divine right wholly and solely unto the people.
Answ. 1. The people had not the whole and the sole choise of the Deacons, but were herein guided, directed, and limited by the holy Apostles; They were limited to the number of seven, and to the company out of which those seven were to Page 129 be chosen, and to certain qualifications which must be in these seven: Look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the holy Ghost, and wisedom, whom we may appoint over this businesse: And we are confident that if the brethren had failed in any of these particulars, the Apostles would have refused to have laid their hands upon them. And therefore this Text comes not up to the proof of the Objection.
But suppose, That the people had had the whole and sole choice of the Deacons, yet it will not follow that therefore they should have the whole and sole choise of their Ministers: For it is a certain Rule, Argumentum a minori ad majus non valet affirmativè. It is no good way of arguing to say, That because a man is able to do the lesser, therefore he is able to do the greater. Now the Office of a Deacon is inferior to the office of a Presbyter. And besides, it will no way follow, That because people are able without advice and direction from others to choose men to gather and distribute money to the poor, that therefore they are able wholly and solely to choose men that shall divide the Word of God amongst them, as skil∣full workmen that need not be ashamed.
The third Text is Act. 14.23. And when they had ordained them Elders in every Church, and had praied with fasting, &c. The Greek word is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. which signifieth a choosing by lifting up or stretching out the hand; And Beza translates the words, Cumque ipsis per suffragia creassent per singulas Ecclesias Presbyteros, And when they had created for them by suffrages Elders in every City. This Text seems to make much for the whole and sole power of the people in the Election of a Minister.
But we answer.
That though the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth primarily and properly to choose by lifting up of the hands, as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 sig∣nifieth to choose by stones or counters, yet also it oftentimes signifieth simply to choose or to appoint, or to ordain with∣out the use of the ceremony of lifting up of hands; Thus it must necessarily be taken, Act. 10.41. And thus 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Act. 1.26. is also to be understood for a bare numbring and Page 130 accounting; We could here cite multitude of Authors where the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used for decerning,* appointing, constituting, and that without lifting up of hands, but they are reckoned up to our hands by many Authors, to which we refer those that desire to be satisfied herein: For our parts, we incline rather to this latter signification of the word. And to the Text we say,
1. That whatsoever is meant by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, yet certain we are that the persons that did 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 were Paul and Bar∣nabas, and not the people; For it is said expresly, And when they had ordained them Elders, This they must needs be Paul and Barnabas: It is six times used of them in five verses, ver. 21, 22. When they had preached, &c. they returned to Lystra confirming the souls of the Disciples, and ver. 23. when they had ordained, &c. and had prayed, they commended them to the Lord, and ver. 14. after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came, &c. and they preached: By all which it appears, that the persons that did ordain were Paul and Barnabas, and therefore whether this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 were a creating by suffra∣ges (which we think not,) for being but two there could be no place for suffrages, or a bare ordaining and appointing; sure we are that in Grammaticall construction this ordaining must be the act of the Apostles, and not of the people, and therefore this Text comes not up to the proof of the Obje∣ction.
Object. It is Objected by a Learned man, That the Syriack version doth insinuate, that the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is to be understood not of the Apostles Ordination of Elders, but of the Churches Election of Elders, thus, And when they, that is, the disciples fore-mentioned had by votes made to themselves Elders in every Church, and had prayed, they commended them (that is, Paul and Barnabas) to the Lord.
Answ. 1. This interpretation cannot consist with the Ante∣cedents and Consequents, as we have already shewed.
2. If this Interpretation were true, it should be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it is illis not sibiipsis.
3. Tremellius that translates the Syriack of the New Testa∣ment, Page 131 renders it, Et constituerunt eis in omni coetu Seniores. And they appointed (that is, Paul and Barnabas) to them that is, to the people. The Hebrew is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉illis.
Object. There is another that confesseth, that the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, can agree with no other but Paul and Barnabas, and therefore he labours to finde the Election of the people in the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which (saith he) doth not signifie in every Church, as it is translated, but according to the Church, instancing in the Orators phrase, faciam secundum te, I will do it according to thy minde: So they (that is, Paul and Bar∣nabas) ordained them Elders according to the Church, that is, according to the will and minde of the Church.
Answ. If this were granted, it would not prove the matter in hand, That the major part of a Congregation by divine right have the whole and the sole power of Election: it would only conclude an acquiescency in the people, and that they had satisfaction in the Ordination carried on by Paul and Barnabas. A phrase to the same purpose is used, Tit. 1.5. where Titus is left in Crete to appoint Elders,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and we may as well say, that the whole City had their vote in E∣lection in Crete, and that every thing was done according to the minde of the City, as to say here, that every thing was done according to the minde of the Church. See more of this in M. Blake his Treatise of the Covenant. So much for the first Argument.
The Second Argument by which we prove, That the pow∣er of Election of Ministers doth not by divine right belong wholly and solely to the major part of every particular Con∣gregation, is drawn from the mischiefs that will inevitably flow from this assertion. For,
1. It is certain that every one that is to be made a Minister is first of all to be tried and proved whether he be fit for so great an Office, 1 Tim, 3.10. Let these also be proved, &c. These also, that is, the Deacons as well as the Bishops; The Bishop therefore is to be tried and examined whether he be apt to teach, whether he be able to convince gainsayers, whether he be a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Page 130〈1 page duplicate〉Page 131〈1 page duplicate〉Page 132 word of Truth. Now there are many Congregations wherein the major part are very unfit to judge of ministeriall abilities, and if the whole and sole power were in them they would set up Idol-Shepherds instead of able Shepherds.
2. There are some Congregations wherein the major part are wicked, and if left to themselves wholly, would choose none but such as are like themselves.
3. There are some wherein possibly the major part may be hereticall, and will never consent to the Election of an Or∣thodox and sound Minister.
4. Sometimes there have been great dissentions and tumults in popular Elections, even to the effusion of bloud, as we reade in Ecclesiasticall Story: Sometimes Congregations are destitute of Ministers for many years by reason of the divisi∣ons and disagreements thereof, as we see by wofull experi∣ence in our daies. Now in all these or such like cases if the whole and sole power of Election were in the major part of every Congregation, how sad and lamentable would the con∣dition be of many hundred Congregations in this Nation: And therefore it is, that in all well-governed Churches great care is had for the avoiding of these Church-undoing incon∣veniences. In the Church of Scotland the power of voting in Elections is given to the Presbytery of the Congregation, with the consent of the major or better part thereof. And therefore M. Gillespie though a great friend to the due right of particular Congregations,* yet when he comes to state the que∣stion about Election of Ministers, he puts it thus, Whether the Election of Pastors ought not to be by the votes of the Eldership, and with the consent (tacit or expressed) of the major or bet∣ter part of the Congregation, &c. he durst not state it precisely upon the major part, and afterwards he tels us, That the E∣lection of a Minister is not wholly and solely to be permitted to the multitude or body of the Church,*and that an hereticall and schis∣maticall Church hath not just right to the liberty and priviledge of a sound Church; And that when a Congregation is rent a∣sunder, and cannot agree among themselves, the highest Consisto∣ries, Presbyteries and Assemblies of the Church are to end the Page 133 controversie, and determine the case after hearing of both parties. Bucanus tels us, That the Election of a Minister for the avoid∣ing of confusion ought not to be by every member of a Congre∣gation, but by the Presbytery, or by the Pastors and Teachers of neighbouring Congregations directing and guiding the people,*as being most fit to judge of Ministerial abilities. The Lutheran Churches put the power of calling of Ministers into the Presby∣tery, Magistracy, and People. To the Christian Magistrate they give nomination, presentation, and confirmation: To the Presbytery, examination, ordination, and inauguration; To the People, consent and approbation. He that would be fur∣ther satisfied in this point, may reade the Discourse of our Reverend Brother Dr Seaman about Ordination,* where he shall finde the custome and practice of most of the Reformed Churches in calling of Ministers, for the avoiding of the fore∣mentioned mischief.
So much for the first Proposition.
CHAP. IX. Wherein a second assertion about Election is largely proved, namely, That the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call doth not consist in Election without Ordination.
THat the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call doth not con∣sist in Election without Ordination.* There are many Lear∣ned and Godly men whom we much reverence, though we dissent from them in this particular, that say,*That Ordinati∣on is▪ only Adjunctum consequens & consummans, an adjunct following and consummating the Ministeriall Call, but not at all entring into the constitution of it: That Ordination is nothing else but the approbation of the Officer, and a setling and confirm∣ing him in his Office, and that Election is that which gives him Page 134 the essentials of his Office.* Dr Ames saith, That the vocation of a Minister doth properly and essentially consist in Election. Mr Hooker saith, That the Election of the People rightly ordered by the rule of Christ, gives the essentials to an Officer, or leaves the impression of a true outward Call, and so an Office-power upon a Pastor. Our Brethren in New-England in their Platform of Church-Discipline say, That the essence and substance of the out∣ward Calling of an ordinary Officer in the Church, doth not con∣sist in his Ordination, but in his voluntary and free Election by the Church, and in his accepting of that Election, &c. For our parts we crave leave to dissent from these worthy men, and that upon these grounds.
Arg. 1. Because our brethren do not bring any one Text of Scripture to prove this their assertion (as we can finde) nor do we think that any can be brought.
Arg. 2. Because that those very Texts fore-mentioned, which are the chief (if not the only) Texts that are brought for popular Election, do seem to us to hold forth the quite contrary to this assertion. When Matthias was made an A∣postle, it was not the Election of the people that did constitute him an Apostle. The people chose two, (if they chose at all) but that which did constitute him an Apostle was the determination by lot; As in a Corporation, when the community chooseth two, and the Aldermen one of these two; in propriety of speech, it is the Aldermen that choose the Mayor, not the community: All that the 120. did (if they did that) was to set two before the Lord, but it was God that did constitute and appoint Matthias to be the Apo∣stle: In the choise of Deacons the people nominated seven Persons to be Deacons, but it was the Apostles Ordination not the peoples Election, that did constitute and make them Dea∣cons;* So saith the Text expresly, Look ye out among you seven men whom we may appoint or constitute over this businesse. The essence and substance of the Deacons Call, is placed not in the peoples nomination but in the Apostles Ordination.
As for Act. 14.23. we have already shewed that they that did 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 were the Apostles and not the Churches; And Page 135 that if they did 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 by suffrages, it was per suffragia propria non aliena by their own suffrage not the Peoples, though we think (as we have formerly said) that the word is to be taken for a bare decerning and appointing, without the ceremony of lifting up of hands, as it is taken Act. 10.41. There is nothing at all in this Text that proves, That the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call is in the peoples Ele∣ction; but it rather proves the quite contrary, That the A∣postolicall Ordination was that which did constitute Elders in every Church.
Arg. 3. All those Texts that we shall hereafter bring for the asserting of the divine right of Ordination, do prove that the essence of the Ministeriall Call doth consist in Ordination and not in Election: There are more and more clear Texts for Ordination then for Election, and Texts that make it not to be an adjunct but an essentiall constituent of the Ministe∣riall Call, as we shall hereafter (God willing) prove at large.
Arg. 4. We argue from the nature of popular Election; Election by the people properly is nothing else but their de∣signation of a person that is to be made their Minister, or that is already a Minister, to his particular charge: It is not simply a making of a Minister, but the making of him a Mi∣nister of such a place; As it is one thing (saith Mr Ruther∣ford) to make a gold Ring, another thing to appropriate it to such or such a finger; Election is nothing else but the ap∣propriation of a Minister for the exercise of his Ministry in such a place: It doth not give him the Office, but the oppor∣tunity of exercising his officiall authority over those that choose him. This appears in the Election of Deacons; all that the people did by Election was only to design the persons and to set them before the Apostles, but it was the Apostles praying and laying on of their hands that made them Dea∣cons.* This likewise appears from Deut. 1.13. which place though it speaks of the choice of civil Officers, yet it doth very clearly describe unto us the nature of Election; Take ye wise men and understanding, and known among your tribes, Page 136 and I will make them Rulers over you: The peoples taking of men did not give them the essentials of their office; They nominated the persons, but it was Moses that made them Ru∣lers. Our brethren of New-England in their Platform of Church-discipline, tell us, That all Office-power is proper to the Eldership, and that the brotherhood have only a power of privi∣ledge. Now then we demand, If the people have no Office-power belonging to them, how can they by Election make an Officer? Indeed they may and do design persons unto office by choosing of them, but that they that have not the power of Office neither formally nor virtually committed un∣to them, and that cannot act or exercise an Office-power, that they by a bare Election should communicate Office-pow∣er, and give the essentials of a Ministeriall Call, is to us a riddle we understand not; Nihil dat quod non habet nec for∣maliter nec eminenter; The lesser is blessed of the greater, not the greater of the lesser. Adde further, If Election be (as our Brethren say) the constituting of a Minister, and the giving him the essentials of his Office, why then did the Apostles take so much pains to return to Lystra,*Iconium, and Antioch, to ordain them Elders in every Church? and why did Paul leave Titus in Crete to ordain Elders in every City?* Why did they not spare their journey, and send to the people to make their own Ministers by Election? Can we imagine that they took such pains only to adde an adjunct to the Mi∣nisteriall Call, an adjunct, which doth not give essence, but follows the essence, supposing the Subject compleat in its essence before? For our parts we are far from so thinking, but rather conceive it much more sutable to Scripture to say, That Tit•• was left to make Ministers in Crete, and that the Apostles went about from Church to Church to give the Es∣sence of the Ministeriall Call, and that all that the people did was to nominate the person to be ordained, or rather to ap∣prove and accept of the Ministers made them by the A∣postles.
Arg. 5. If Election gives the essentials to a Minister, then may a Minister elected administer the Sacraments without Page 137 Ordination. For as Mr Hooker well saith in another case,*He that hath compleat power of an Office and stands an Officer with∣out exception, he cannot justly be hindred from doing all acts of that Office; For to be an Officer compleat without an Office, or being compleat in his Office, yet according to rule to be hindred from doing any thing belonging to his Office, implies a contradicti∣on; for it's all one to say a man is bound to a rule, and yet by a rule he should not do it.
But a person Elected cannot administer the Sacraments without Ordination; he cannot do it lawfully, it being cross to Scripture-Presidents, nor can he do it in the opinion of those Reverend men with whom we now dispute: Mr Hooker cals it an Anabaptisticall phrensie, to say, That an un-ordained person may baptize: And besides, This is contrary to their own practice in New-England, where it is frequent to have a man Elected, and preach half a year, a whole year, nay (as Mr Gi. Firmin once a Preacher there saith) he knew one elected,*and preached two years to his people, and they maintained him all that while, and yet all that time he never administred a Sa∣crament, but he and they when they would partake the Lords Supper, went ten miles to the Church out of which they issued to receive the Sacrament; which practice without doubt was very unnecessary, if Election gives the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call, and Ordination be only an adjunct: We say in Logick, Forma dat operari, Effects depend upon the Form, not upon extrinsecall circumstances: This is Argu∣mentum ad hominem.
Arg. 6. If the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call con∣sisteth in Election, then it will follow, That a Minister is only a Minister to that particular charge to which he is called, and that he cannot act as a Minister in any other place. This con∣sequence is confessed by Reverend Mr Hooker who saith,*That a Minister preaching to another Congregation, though he ceaseth not to be a Pastor, yet he doth not preach as a Pastor, nor can he do any Pastorall acts but in that place, and to that people to whom he is a Pastor. Thus also it is said in the answer of the Elders of severall Churches in New-England unto nine Positions. Page 138 Pos. 8. If you mean by Ministerial act, such an act of authority and power in dispensing of Gods Ordinances as a Minister doth perform to the Church whereunto he is called to be a Minister, then we deny that he can perform any Ministeriall act to any other Church but his own, because his Office extends no further then his Call: This is also confessed in the New-England Platform of Church-Discipline. And therefore we need not say more for the proof of the consequence.
But as for the minor, That a Minister can perform no Pa∣storall act out of his own Congregation, is an assertion
1. Unheard of in the Church of Christ before these late years.
2. Contrary to the practice of the Brethren themselves with whom we dispute; It is acknowledged by all of them that the administration of the Sacrament is a Ministeriall act, and cannot be done but by a Pastor or Teacher, and yet it is ordinary both in Old England and in New England for members of one Congregation to receive in another Con∣gregation. M. Firmin tels us, That M. Phillips Pastor of the Church in Water-town,* while M. Wilson Pastor of the Church of Boston was here in England, went to Boston and administred the Lords Supper to that Church; This surely was a Pasto∣rall act, and M. Phillips acted herein as a Pastor to those that were out of his own Congregation. And if we may argue from our Brethrens practice we may safely conclude, That a Minister may act as a Minister out of his own Congre∣gation.
Thirdly, Contrary to Scripture; For the Scripture tels us,
1. That there is a Church generall visible as well as a par∣ticular Church visible, Act. 8.1. Gal. 1.13. 1 Cor. 10.32. Gal. 4.26. Eph. 3.10. 1 Cor. 12.28. 1 Tim. 3▪15.
2. That Ministers are primarily seated in the Church gene∣rall visible, and but secondarily in this or that particular Church, 1 Cor. 12.28. Teachers are set by God in the same Church with the Apostles, Eph. 4.11, 12. Pastors and Teach∣ers are given by Christ for the perfecting of the Saints, and for Page 139 the building of the body of Christ in general.
3. That every Minister hath a double relation, one to his particular Church, another to the Church general visible. And though he be actually to exercise his Ministry, especially over that charge where he is fixed, yet he hath a virtual and habitual power to preach as a Minister in any place where he shall be lawfully called. Therefore Ministers are spoken of in Scripture under a general notion, to shew the indefinite∣nesse of their Office. They are called Ministers of God, 2 Cor. 6.4. Ministers of Christ, 1 Cor. 4.1. Ministers of the New Testament, 2 Cor. 3.6. Ministers of the Gospel, 1 Thess. 3.2. and Ministers in the Lord, Ephes. 6.21. Embassadours for Christ, 2 Cor. 5.20. But never Ministers of the peo∣ple. Indeed they are for the people, but not of the people.
That a Minister is a Minister of the Church Catholick visi∣ble, appears thus: He that can ministerially admit or eject a Member into, or out of the Church-Catholick visible, is a Minister and Officer of the Church-Catholick visible: But every Minister, by Baptism or Excommunication admitteth or ejecteth Members into, or out of the Church-Catholick vi∣sible. Therefore, &c. This Argument is urged by Apollo∣•i•s, and also by that godly, learned Minister Mr Hudson▪ who hath largely handled this point, and to whom we must necessarily referre the Reader that would be further satisfied about it. We shall onely relate a passage out of Mr Ball, in his Trial of the new Church-way, p. 33. collected by Mr Hudson.*A Minister chosen and set over one Society, is to look unto that people committed to his charge, &c. But he is a Minister in the Church u∣niversal. For as the Church is one, so is the Ministry one, of which every Minister (sound & orthodox) doth hold his part. And though he is a Minister over that flock which he is to attend, yet he is a Mi∣nister in the Church universal. The function or power of exercising that function in the abstract, must be distinguished from the power of exercising it concretely, according to the divers circumstances of places. The first belongeth to a Minister every where in the Church, the later is proper to the place and people where he doth minister. Page 140 The lawful use of the power is limited to that Congregation ordi∣narily; the power it self is not so bounded. In Ordination Pres∣byters are not restrained to one or other certain place, as if they were to be deemed Ministers there onely, though they be set over a certain people. And as the faithfull in respect of their communi∣ty between them, must and ought to perform the offices of love one to another, though of different Societies; so the Ministers in respect of their communion, must and ought upon occasion to perform mi∣nisterial Offices toward the faithfull of distinct societies.
And one more passage out of Mr Rutherford in his peace∣able plea, pag. 263. Ordination (saith he) maketh a man a Pastor under Christ formally and essentially, the peoples consent and choice do not make him a Minister, but their Minister, the Minister of such a Church; he is indefinitely made a Pastor for the Church.
Fourthly, This Assertion, That a Minister can perform no Pastoral act out of his own Congregation, as it is contrary to the universal Church, to the practice of our Brethren themselves, to the holy Scriptures; so also it is contrary to sound reason. For hence it will follow,
1. That when a Minister preacheth in his own Congrega∣tion to Members of another Congregation, he doth not preach to them, nor they hear him preach as a Minister, but as a gifted Brother. And that at the same time he preacheth as a Minister by vertue of his Office to those of his own Con∣gregation, and to others of another Congregation then pre∣sent, onely as a gifted Brother ex officio charitatis generali, out of the general office of charity, which to us is very irra∣tional.
2. Hence it will follow, That when a Minister preacheth out of his own Congregation, he preacheth only as a private Christian, and not as an Ambassadour of Christ, and when he acts in a Synod, his actings are the actings of a private Christian, and when he preacheth a Lecture out of his own Congregation (though it be in a constant way) yet he prea∣cheth only as a gifted Brother. Now what a wide door this will open to private men to preach publickly and con∣stantly Page 141 in our Congregations, we leave it to any indifferent man to judge.
3. Hence it will follow, That when a Minister baptizeth a childe, he baptizeth him only into his own Congregation. For if he be not an Officer of the Catholick-Church, he cannot baptize into the Catholick-Church, which is directly contrary to 1 Cor. 12.13.
4. Hence it will follow, That a Christian who by reason of the unfixednesse of his civil habitation, is not admitted in∣to a particular Congregation, hath no way left him to have his children baptized, but they must all be left without the Church in Satans visible Kingdom, because they are no par∣ticular Members, and (according to our Brethrens opinion) there is no extension of the Ministerial office beyond the par∣ticular Congregation.
5. We adde, That according to this Assertion, there is no way left us by Christ for the baptizing of Heathens, when it shall please God to convert them to the Christian faith. We will suppose an hundred Heathens converted. We demand, by whom shall these be baptized? Not by a private Christian. This our Brethren abhorre as well as we. To baptize is an act o• Office, and can be done only by Officers. Not by a Mini∣ster: For a Minister (say they) cannot perform any Pasto∣ral act (such as this is) out of his own Congregation. Nei∣ther can these hundred converts choose a Minister, and there∣by give him power to baptize them; for they must first be a Church before they have power to choose Officers, and a Church they cannot be till baptized. Neither can they joyn as Members to any other Church, and thereby be made capa∣ble of Baptism by that Minister into whose Church they are admitted. For in the way of Christ a man must first be ba∣ptized before he be capable of being outwardly and solemnly admitted as a Member of a particular Church. The three thousand were not first added to the Church, and then bapti∣zed, but first baptized, and thereby added to the Church.* We cannot conceive how such Heathen converts should regu∣larly be baptized, unlesse it be granted, that every Minister Page 142 is a Minister of the Church-Catholick, and that every Mini∣ster hath an habitual, indefinite power to act as a Minister in any place of the world where he shall be lawfully called: That the desire of these hundred converts to be baptized is a suffi∣cient call to draw forth this habitual power into act, and that he may (being thus desired) according to the rules of the Gospel regularly and warrantably baptize them.
6. Hence it will follow, That a Minister preaching out of his own Congregation, cannot lawfully and warrantably pronounce the blessing after his Sermon (which yet is practi∣sed by our Brethren.) For to blesse the people from God is an act of Office, and to be done only by an Officer, Numb. 6.23, 24, 25, 26. compared with Revel. 14.5. where the same blessings and persons from whom they come are expresly mentioned) And so also Isa. 66.21. where under the name of Priests and Levites to be continued under the Gospel, are meant Evangelical Pastors, who therefore are by Of∣fice to blesse the people, and they onely, Deut. 10.8. 2 Cor. 13.14. Ephes. 1.2.
7. Hence it will also follow, That when a Minister of a particular Congregation is sick, or necessitated to be a long while absent upon just occasion, that all this while (though it should be for many years) the Congregation must be with∣out the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, without having their children baptized, and without any Preacher that shall preach amongst them, as a Minister of Christ, but only in the capa∣city of a private Christian.
Neither can it be answered by our Brethren (as some of them do) that a Neighbour Minister (in such cases) may come in at the desire of the Congregation, and administer the Sacraments amongst them by vertue of Communion of Churches, unlesse they will also hold Communion of Offi∣ces, which they do not. For these acts being acts of Office, cannot be done, unlesse there be an habitual, indefinite pow∣er of the Ministerial Office, which by the desire of the Con∣gregation is drawn out into act.
There are divers other absurdities that flow from this As∣sertion, Page 143 That a Minister cannot act as a Minister out of his own Congregation, brought by Mr Hudson, to whom we re∣fer the Reader.* Onely we shall cra•e leave to cite a passage out of Mr Ball, alledged by the fore-named Author. That to suppose a Minister to be a Minister to his own Congregation only, and to none other Society whatsoever, or to what respect soever, is contrary to the judgment and practice of the Vniversal Church, and tendeth to destroy the Vnity of the Church, and that Com∣munion which the Church of God may and ought to have one with another. For if he be not a Minister in other Churches, then are not the Churches of God one, nor the flock which they feed one, nor the Ministry one, nor the Communion one which they had each with others. Again, pag. 90. he saith, If a Mi∣nister may pray, preach, and blesse another Congregation in the name of the Lord, and receive the Sacrament with them, we doubt not but being thereunto requested by consent of the Pa∣stor and Congregation, he may lawfully dispense the Seals among them, as need and occasion require. That disti•ction of preach∣ing by Office, and exercising his gifts onely, when it is done by a Minister, and desired of none but Ministers, and that in solemn, set, constant Church-Assemblies, we cannot finde warranted in the Word of Truth, and therefore we dare not re∣ceive it.
Before we part with this Argument we must necessarily an∣swer two Objections.
Obj. If a Minister be a Minister of the Church Universal Visible, and can act as a Minister out of his particular Con∣gregation, wherein doth he differ from an Apostle? Was it not the peculiar priviledge of the Apostles, Evangelists, &c. to have their Commission extended to all Churches? This Ob∣jection is made by Mr Hooker.*
Answ. Though we believe that every Minister is a Minister of the Universal Church, yet we are far from thinking, that he is actually an Universal Minister. The Apostles had the actual care of the Church Universal committed unto them, and wheresoever they came had actual power to perform all Ministerial Offices without the consent or call of particular Page 144 Churches. And besides they were not fixed to any particular charge, but were Ministers alike of all the Churches of Christ. But it is far otherwise with ordinary Ministers: They are fix∣ed to their particular Congregations, where they are bound by divine right to reside, and to be diligent in preaching to them in season and out of season. All that we say concerning their being Ministers of the Church universall, is, That they have power by their Ordination in actu primo (as M. Hudson saith) to administer the Ordinances of Christ in all the Churches of the Saints, yet not in actu secundo, without a speciall Call, which is farre differing from the Apostolicall power.
Object. If a Minister may act as a Minister out of his own Congregation, why do you your selves ordain none but such as have a title to some particular charge?
Answ. It is true, We say in our Government, That it is agreeable to the Word of God, and very convenient, That they that are to be ordained be designed to some particular Church or Ministerial employment, not hereby limiting their Office, but the ordinary exercise of their Office. We distinguish between a Minister of Christ and a Minister of Christ in such a place, between the Office it self and the ordinary •xercise of it to such or such a people; And yet notwithstanding we ordain none without a Title, thereby to prevent,
1. A vagrant and ambulatory Ministry; For we conceive it far more edifying for the people of God to live under a fixt Ministry.
2. A lazy and idle Ministry; For when men shall have an office, and no place actually to exercise it, this might in a little space fill the Church with unpreaching Ministers.
3. A begging and so a contemptible Ministry; For when Ministers want places they are oftentimes wholly destitute of means, and thereby come to great poverty, even to the very contempt of the office it self.
So much for the sixth Argument.
Arg. 7. If the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call con∣sisteth in Election without Ordination, then it will necessa∣rily Page 145 follow, that when a Minister leaves, or is put from that particular charge to which he is called, that then he ceaseth to be a Minister, and becomes a private person, and that when he is elected to another place, he needs a new Ordi∣nation, and so toties quoties, as often as he is elected so often he is to be ordained, which to us seems a very great ab∣surdity.
That this consequence doth necessarily follow, is confessed by the Reverend Ministers of New-England in their Platform of Church-Discipline, where they say, He that is clearly loo∣sed from his Office-relation unto that Church whereof he was a Minister, cannot be looked upon as an Officer, nor perform any act of Office in any other Church, unlesse he be again orderly cal∣led unto Office, which when it shall be, we know nothing to hinder, but Imposicion of hands also in his Ordination ought to be used towards him again; For so Paul the Apostle received Imposition of hands twice at least, from Ananias Act. 9.17. and Act. 13.3, 4.
But this seems to us to be a very great absurdity, and con∣trary to sound doctrine, which we prove,
1. Because every Minister hath a double relation, one to the Church-Catholique indefinitely, another to that parti∣cular Congregation over which he is set. And when he re∣moves from his particular Congregation, he ceaseth indeed to be a Minister of that place, but not from being a Minister of the Gospel; And when called to another he needs no new Ordination, no more (as M. Hudson well saith) then a Physician or Lawyer need a new License or Call to the Barre,*though they remove to other places, and have other Patients and Clients. For Ordination is to the essence of the Ministeriall Office, and not only in reference to a particular place or charge. The Reverend Assembly of Divines in their Advice to the Parliament concerning Church-government, say, That there is one generall Church visible held forth in the New Testament, and that the Ministry was given by Iesus Christ to the génerall Church-visible, for the gathering and perfecting of it in this life, until his second coming; which they prove from 1 Cor.Page 146 12.28. Eph. 4.4, 5. compared with ver. 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16. of the same Chapter. Now if Ministers be seated by Christ in the Church-Catholique as well as in their particular Church∣es, then it followeth, That they have a relation as Ministers to the Church-Catholique, and though their relation to their particular Church ceaseth, yet their Ministeriall relation cea∣seth not, because they were Officers of the Church-Ca∣tholique, and there doth still remain in them a power in actu primo to dispense all the Ordinances of Christ, though their Call ad actum secundum, sive exercitum pro hic & nunc (as M. Hudson phraseth it) ceaseth. Even as every private Christian hath also a double relation, one to the Church generall, another to the particular place where∣of he is a member: And when he removes from his Con∣gregation, he doth not cease to be a member of the visible Church (for then his Baptism should cease, for every bap∣tized person is a member of the Church) but only of that particular Church. And when he joyns with any other Con∣gregation he needs not to be baptized again, but is received by vertue of his former Baptism; So it is with a Minister of the Gospel: When he leaves his particular Congregation, he continueth still to be a Minister, though not their Minister, and needs no more to be ordained anew, then a private Chri∣stian to be baptized anew; because neither Ordination nor Baptism do stand in relation to the particular Congregation, but to the Church-Catholique.
Secondly, If a Minister when he removes or is removed from his particular Congregation ceaseth to be a Minister, then it will follow,
1. That if the Church that called him prove hereticall, and wickedly separate from him, that then the sin of the people should nullifie the Office of the Minister; Or.
2. If the Church refuse to give him competent mainte∣nance, and starve him out from them, or if the major part unjustly combine together to vote him out (for such pow∣er our brethren give to particular Churches) that then the covetousnesse and injustice of the people should make void Page 147 the Function of their Minister. Nay,
3. By this doctrine there will be a door opened for the people of a City or Nation to un-minister all their Ministers, which things are very great absurdities, and contrary to sound doctrine.
Thirdly, Because there is no Scripture to warrant the ite∣ration of Ordination in case of removall. The Apostles went about Ordaining Elders in every Church; And Titus was left in Crete to Ordain Elders, &c. But there is no mention made of any command for reiterated Ordination, neither indeed can it be; For Ordination being a setting a man apart to the Office of the Ministry (as we shall hereafter prove) and not only to the exercise of it in such a place, though the local exercise should cease yet his Office still remains, and there∣fore needs not be reiterated;* To this truth we have the con∣sent of the Universall Church, who do not only not allow but condemn a second Ordination; Neither do we know any of the Reformed Churches that teach or practise after this manner, but many that teach and practise the contrary.
Object. What then will you answer to the example of Paul who had hands twice laid upon him, once by Ananias, Act. 9. and afterward at Antioch, Act, 13?
Answ. 1. It will not easily be proved, Tha• the Imposition of hands by Ananias upon Paul was for the consecration of him to the Office of an Apostle, and not rather for the reco∣vering of his sight, and for that only: The Text seems to hold out the last; Sure we are that Paul was baptized after this Imposition of hands; and it is not probable that he was outwardly and visibly ordained to his Apostolical Office be∣fore his Baptism.
As for Act. 13. M. Hooker in his Survey par. 2. pag. 83. saith expresly, That here is no Ordination to Office at all, for the Apostles had their Office before, and if so, then it makes no∣thing for our New-England Brethren to prove an iterated Ordination unto the same Office. Of the like minde with M. Hooker is Learned Chamier, who saith, That before this Ordination Paul and Barnabas had preached and exercised the Page 148 Offi•e of their Apostleship; And therefore we doe not think (saith he) that this Imposition of hands was an Ordination pro∣perly unto any New Ecclesiasticall Function, but onely a confir∣mation of their sending to the Gentiles, to whom they were not yet professedly sent: For in that excursion of theirs unto Anti∣och there is no mention made of the Gentiles, and that was a kinde of Prologue to that great work which now they were to put in full execution. The Text it self seems to give countenance to this Interpretation, because it saith, Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work, &c. not for the office but for the work whereunto I have called them; Called they were before, and designed by God to be Preachers to the Gentiles, and now they were publiquely inaugurated to that great and eminent service. Chrysostome, Theophylact, and Oecumenius (as they are cited by Chamier) say, That this Imposition of hands was unto the Office of an Apostle: Thus Deodate, They laid their hands on them, that is, for a sign of Consecration unto the Office of an Apostle. But how can this be, when the A∣postle Paul himself tels us, that he was an Apostle, not of men, neither by men, but by Iesus Christ immediatly? and also when he was an Apostle (as Calvin saith) long before this time? And therefore we rather think, that this separa∣tion was not unto the Apostolicall Office, but unto that great and (as Calvin cals it) now unusual work of preaching unto the Gentiles.
But howsoever, whether this Imposition of hands were un∣to the Apostolicall Office, or only unto a peculiar work, it makes nothing for the proof of that for which it is brought, to wit, That an Officer loosed from his Office-relation, may be ordained again unto the same Office: For Paul was never loosed from his Office after he was once called unto it; If the Imposition of hands by Ananias were unto the Office of an Apostle, as we beleeve it was not, yet if it were, we then demand, Either this Ordination was afterward null and void, or remained firm and valid? If it alwaies remained firm, what need a new Ordination? If null and void, we desire a proof of it, which we are sure they cannot produce, and till that Page 133 be done, this instance makes nothing for the proof of their assertion.
Besides all this, we adde, That this separation and impo∣sition of hands was by the immediate appointment of the holy Ghost; The holy Ghost said, Separate me, &c. and ver. 4. They were sent forth by the holy Ghost; This was an ex∣traordinary thing, and therefore not sufficient to ground an ordinary practice upon.
Thirdly and lastly, If the whole essence of the Ministerial Call consisteth in popular Election, then will two other great absurdities follow.
- 1. That Ordination can in no case precede such Ele∣ction.
- 2. That there must be Churches before there be Mini∣sters.
First, that Ordination can in no wise precede Election. Now though ordinarily no man is ordained in the Presbyterian way without a title to some ch•rge, yet we conceive many cases may be put, in which Ordination may lawfully go be∣fore Election: We shall only give two Instances.
1. When an ordained Minister removes upon warrantable grounds from one charge to another, the people to whom he removes •hoose him not as o•e that is to be made a Minister, but as one already made, and now to be made their Minister, for his removing from his former place doth not nullifie his Ministerial office, as we have sufficiently proved.
2. When there is a necessity of sending men (as there is now in New-England for the conversion of Heathen people) we th••k it very agreeable unto Scriptur•-rules, that these men sho•ld be first ordained before they be elected by the Heathen to whom they are sent. And the reason is because that the conversion of souls is the proper work of the Mini∣stry: When Christ went up into heaven he left not only Apo∣stles, Prophets, and Evang•lists, but also Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ, Eph. 4.11, 12. And the office of o•dinary Ministers is to be Embassadors for Christ, and in Page 150 Christs Name or in Christs stead to beseech people to be recon∣ciled unto God, not only to build them up in grace when re∣conciled, but to be instrumental to reconcile them, to open their eyes and to turn them from darknesse to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, &c. We finde no place in Scripture to warrant a Church to send out gifted brethren without Or∣dination for the work of conversion; What may be done in extraordinary cases where Ordination cannot be had we dispute not; but where it may be had, there we conceive it most agreeable to the Word, that men should be first Or∣dained before sent: Hereby they shall have a divine stamp upon them, they shall go with more authority, and shall have power to baptize those whom they do convert, which otherwise they cannot lawfully do: It is an unscriptural opi∣nion, and of pernicious consequence that some amongst us have taken up, That a Minister should preach only for the building up of Saints, and not for the conversion of sinners, That when a Minister converts any out of his own Congre∣gation, he doth it not as a Minister but as a gifted brother; That the great work of conversion which is the chief work of a Minister, doth properly belong to gifted Brethren. All this ariseth from that groundlesse conceit, That a Minister is no Minister out of his own Congregation, which we have a∣bundantly disproved.
Secondly, It will also follow, That there must be Church∣es before there be Ministers, which is against Scripture and sound reason: We do not deny but that there must be a Church before their Minister, but not before a Minister: The Church-Entitative is before the Church Ministerial, but yet a Minister must needs be before a Church: For every Church must consist of persons baptized (Unbaptized per∣sons cannot make a Church:) And therefore there must be a Minister to baptize them before they can be made capable to enter into Church-fellowship. Our Saviour Christ chose his Apostles for the gathering of Churches; There were first Apostles before Churches, and afterward• the Apostles or∣dained Elders in these gathered Churches. And one great Page 151 work of these Elders was to convert the neighbouring Hea∣then, and when converted to baptize them, and gather them into Churches; And therefore Elders as well as Apostles were before Churches: And whosoever with us holds (as our Brethren do) that none but a Minister in Office can ba∣ptize, must needs hold that there must be ordinary Ministers before Churches, and that therefore the whole essence of the Ministeriall Call, doth not consist in the Election of the Church. So much for the proof of the second Proposition.
It will be expected that we should answer to the Argu∣ments that are brought by these Reverend men that hold the contrary to this Proposition:* As for Texts of Scripture there are none brought nor (as we said before) can be brought. The great argument used by D. Ames and improved by M. Hooker is this.
Arg. 1. One Relate gives being and the essentiall constituting causes to the other,
But Pastor and People, Shepherd and Flock are relates. Ergo.
He addes further, That they are simul natura, and that the one cannot be without th• other; There cannot be a Pastor be∣fore there be a people which choose him, &c.
Answ. We shall answer to this Argument according to the grounds formerly laid; That every Minister hath a double re∣lation, one to the particular Church of which he is a Minister, the other to the Church universall: As to his relation to his parti∣cular Church, it is very true, That Pastor and People are re∣lates and simul naturâ; He cannot be their Pastor but by their submission to his Ministry, and when he leaves them he ceaseth to be their Minister. But now besides this parti∣cular relation he hath a relation also to the Church univer∣sall, and by his Ordination is invested (as we have said) with habituall power to act as a Minister beyond his particular Church when he is lawfully called thereunto; and as long as this correlative (the Church universall) lasteth, so long his ministeriall office lasteth, though his particular relation should cease. In a word, The people give being to a Minister as to be their Minister but not as to be a Minister.
Arg. 2. It is lawfull for a people to reject a Pastor upon just cause (if he prove pertinaciously scandalous in his life, or he∣reticall in his doctrine) and put him out of his Office, Ergo, It is in their power also to call him outwardly, and put him into his Office.
The consequence is proved from the staple rule, Ejusdem est instituere, & destituere, He that hath power to invest hath power to devest.
The Antecedent is as certain by warrant from the Word, Mat. 7.15. Mat. 7.15. Beware of Wolves, Phil. 3.2. Beware of false Prophets.
Answ. If by putting him out of his office be meant only a putting him from being their Officer, then the argument must be thus framed; They that have power to put out a Minister from being their Minister, have power to choose him to be their Minister; and this we deny not.
But if by putting him out of office be meant a putting him absolutely from being an Officer, we deny, that the people in this sense have power destituere, to put him out of office, or instituere, to put him into office: And we retort the Ar∣gument.
They that have not power instituere have not power desti∣tuere; They that have not power to put a Minister into of∣fice, have not power to put him out of office: But people (not being Officers) have not power to make an Officer, as hath been shewed; Ergo.
But it seems that Mr Hooker by the peoples rejecting their Pastor, and putting him out of office, doth mean their ex∣communicating of him, for he saith afterwards, That this re∣jection cuts him off from being a member in that Congregation where he was, &c.
*For answer to this we refer the Reader to what is said by a Minister, that is come out of New-England, who saith, That if Reverend M r Hooker had been alive, and had seen what work Church-members make here in England in very many Churches, it would have caused him to bethink himself again of Page 137 the Peoples power. Something we hear of (saith he) is done in a Church not farre from the place where he lived, it cannot be kept close, the light of that fire shines into England. Afterwards he brings Mr Cotton to confute Mr Hooker. Mr Cotton saith, That Excommunication is one of the highest acts of rule in the Church,*and therefore cannot be performed but by some Rulers. Then he cites Mr Burroughs. If the Church be without Officers, they cannot do that which belongs to Officers to do, they have no Sa∣craments amongst them, neither can they have any spiritual Iu∣risdiction exercised amongst them, only brotherly admonition, and withdrawing from such as walk disorderly, for their own preser∣vation.
Much more to this purpose is brought by this Author, to whom we refer the Reader.
As for those two Texts of Scripture, Matth. 7.15. Phil. 3.2. by which Mr Hooker proves his Antecedent, they do not at all come up to the point in hand. Though people are to beware of wolves and of false prophets, it doth not there∣fore follow that a people may excommunicate their Minister. Indeed this will follow, That people are to be careful to pre∣serve themselves from heretical Ministers, and to withdraw from them, and this withdrawing if it be upon just grounds, makes him cease to be their Minister, but not from being a Minister, as we have often said.
We will not trouble the Reader with answering any more Arguments, because they seem to us to have no weight in them, these two already answered being the chief that are brought.
Only we shal speak a little to a similitude that is often brought by our Brethren of the contrary judgment. For it is ordinarily said▪ That there is the same relation between a Minister and his particularCongregation, as is between a man and his wife. And as it is the mutual choise one of another that makes them man and wife: So it is the peoples choise, and the Ministers accepting that choise that makes them to be Pastor and flock. Dr Ames saith, That Ordinatio Episcopalis sine titulo est aquè ridicula,*ac si quis maritus fing•ritur esse absque uxore. And indeed saith Page 154 Mr Hooker,*It is ridiculous to conceit the contrary.
In another place the same Doctor saith, Oves rationales possunt eligere sibi pastorem, sicut sponsa eligit sibi sponsum, non per jurisdictionem aut gubernationem, sed potius per subje∣ctionem.
But we answer,
That Symbolical Theology is not argumentative, Similia ad pompam non ad pugnam, Similitudes do beautifie not forti∣fie. There is nothing almost more dangerous in Divinity, then to overstretch similitudes, of which fault we believe our Brethren are much guilty. As for the Similitude it self, we conceive it will not hold. For
1. If Minister and people be as man and wife, then it will follow that they may not separate till death, un∣lesse it be in case of adultery. The Wife is as much bound to the Husband as the Husband to his Wife. But there are few people (if any) that think themselves ob∣liged to abide with their Ministers till death. (It is ordi∣nary even with men professing godlinesse to forsake their Minister, and that oftentimes upon worldly interest.) And there are few Ministers (if any) that think that they may in no case leave their people. There are three cases in which we conceive all agree, that a Minister may remove from his people; if he cannot have his health where he is, if he be denied competent mainte∣nance, and if the glory of God may be in an eminent manner advanced. But we hope that it will not be said that a Husband may separate from his Wife in these cases.
2. This Similitude sounds ill. For it makes every Minister to be as a Husband to his Church, and so by consequence the Head of his Church, which complies too much with the Antichrist of Rome, who cals himself the Husband and Head of the Church. The Church hath no Husband but Christ, 2 Cor. 11.2.
3. This Similitude makes Christ to have as many Wives as there are particular Churches. Our Brethren hold, That Page 155 every particular Congregation is the Body of Christ, and the Spouse of Christ, which if it were true Christ should have as many Bodies and Spouses as there are particular Churches, which (we conceive) cannot be right. For it is as absurd to say, That one Head hath many Bodies, and one Husband many Wives, as to say, That one Body hath many Heads, and one Wife many Husbands.
But now we say, That the whole Church of Christ through∣out the world is but one. That Christ properly hath but one Body, and one Wife. And that particular Churches are but members of this one Body, and limbs and members of this one Spouse, even as every particular Saint also is. And that every Minister hath a relation to this Church-Catholick as a member thereof, and seated therein, and as one that by his Ordination hath power to act as a Minister wheresoever he is (if called) for the good of the whole. And that he is placed in a particular Church for the actual and constant exercise of his Ministry, as in a part of Christs Body, or a limb or mem∣ber of his Spouse. And that they by their choice make him their Minister, their Pastor, their Shepherd; but not a Mini∣ster, a Pastor, a Shepherd.
So much in answer to the Arguments against the second Proposition, and also concerning Election of Ministers.
CHAP. X. Concerning Ordination of Ministers, wherein the first Assertion about Ordination is proved: Namely, That Ordination of Ministers, is an Ordinance of Christ.
THat the method which we propounded in the beginning may not be forgotten, we crave leave to put the Reader in minde of what we have already said, That the Call of men to the Ministry, is either immediate or mediate. That the mediate Call is by Election and Ordination. And having fi∣nished what we thought fit to say about Election, we are now to proceed to speak about Ordination, concerning which we shall offer this general Proposition.
That the work of Ordination, that is to say, An outward solemn constituting and setting apart of persons to the Office of the Ministry, by prayer, fasting and imposition of hands of the Presbytery, is an Ordinance of Christ.
For the more methodical proving of this general Propo∣sition, we shall undertake to make good these four Asser∣tions.
- 1. That Ordination of Ministers is an Ordinance of Christ.
- 2. That the Essence of the Ministerial Call consisteth in Ordination.
- 3. That Ordination ought to be with prayer, fasting and im∣position of hands.
- 4. That Ordination ought to be by the Presbytery.
That Ordination of Ministers is an Ordinance of Christ.
*For the understanding of this Assertion we must distin∣guish Page 157 between the Substance, Essence, and Formal Act of Ordination, and the Rite used in Ordination. The Essential Act of Ordination, is the constituting or appointing of a man to be a Minister, or the sending of him with Power and Authority to preach the Gospel. The Rite is Imposition of hands. In this Assertion we are not at all to speak of Imposition of hands, but onely of Ordination, as it re∣lates to the setting of a man apart to the Office of the Mi∣nistry.
Now that this is an Ordinance of Christ, we shall not need to spend much time in proving it.
1. Because we have already made this out in our third Pro∣position, where we asserted,* That no man ought to take upon him the Office of a Minister, but he that is lawfully cal∣led and ordained thereunto.
2. Because the proving of the other three will prove this also.
3. Because we have not so many enemies to contest withall in this, as in the other three Propositions. For though there be many that hold Ordination to be onely an adjunct of the Ministerial Call, and not an Essential ingredient, which is against the second Proposition. And many that deny Impo∣sition of hands against the third. And many that say, that a Church without Officers may ordain against the fourth Pro∣position. And though there be very many that hold, That an unordained man may preach as a gifted Brother, yet there are but few (in comparison) who say, That a man may en∣ter into the Office of the Ministry, and preach authoritatively as a Pastor, without Ordination.
Our Brethren in New-England, in their Plat-form of Church-Government say,* That Church-officers are not only to be chosen by the Church, but also to be ordained by Imposition of hands and prayer, &c. And in their Answer to the thirty two Questions, they say expresly, That Ordination is necessary by Divine Institution.
The very Socinians themselves,* though great enemies to the Ministerial Calling (and no wonder, when such great ene∣mies Page 158 to Christ himself) though they deny the necessity of Ordination,* yet they acknowledge that for order and decen∣cy it is fit to retain it in the Church. For our parts we think the Scripture to be so clear for the proof of this Assertion, that we wonder there should be any found to stand up in op∣position against it. For
*First, In the Old Testament not onely the high-Priest, but all the other Priests and Levites were by divine appointment inaugurated to their Ministerial Offices, and when any men unconsecrated intruded themselves into the Priestly or Leviti∣cal Office they were remarkably punished by God himself▪ Witnesse Corah and his company, of whom we have former∣ly made mention.
Now surely this was written for our instruction upon whom the ends of the world are come, to teach us, that it is the will of Christ that no man should enter into the Ministerial Office un∣ordained or unconsecrate. To hint this, the Prophet Isaiah tels us, That in the times of the New Testament the Lord would take from among Christians some to be Priests,*and some to be Levites, where the New Testament Ministers are cloath∣ed with Old Testament titles, and are called Priests and Le∣vites, not in reference to any real unbloudy and propitiatory Sacrifice by them to be offered, as the Papists falsly imagine, but as we conceive to signifie unto us, 1. That there should be an Office of the Ministry distinct from all other Offices unde• the New Testament as well as under the Old (and therefore it is said, that God would take of them for Priests not take all them for Priests.) And, 2. That these Ministers were to be consecrated to their respective offices, as the Priests and Levites were.
Secondly, In the New Testament we read,
1. That in the very choice of Deacons, which was but an inferiour Office and serving only for the distribution of the temporal estates of people, the Apostle requires, that they should not onely be elected by the people, but also ordain∣ed to this office. Much more ought this to be done in the Page 159 choise of persons who are called to the work of preaching, and dispensing Sacramental mysteries, a service of all others of greatest weight and worth.
2. That even the very Apostle Paul, though chosen im∣mediately by Christ unto the great Office of preaching unto the Gentiles, and that in a miraculous way,* yet notwith∣standing it was the pleasure of the holy Ghost, that he must be separated and set apart by men for this great work. And if this was thought necessary for an extraordinary Officer: If Paul that was separated from his mothers womb to preach Christ to the Heathen,* and was separated by an immediate voice from Heaven to bear Christ's Name before the Gentiles, must also have an outward solemn separation by the Prophets at Antioch unto this work, how much more is this necessary in ordinary Officers?
3. That Paul and Barnabas who were themselves separa∣ted to the work of the Ministry, Act. 13.1. went about, Act. 14.23. ordaining Elders in every Church. The Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth (as we have shewed) not a choosing by the suffrages of the people, but a special designing and appointing of Ministers by the Apostles Paul and Bar∣nabas.
4. That Titus was left at Crete to ordain Elders in every Church, which surely had been very vain and superfluous if Ordination be not an Institution of Christ, and necessary in his Church.
5. That Timothy was ordained not only by the laying on of Pauls hands,* but also by the laying on of the hands of the Pres∣bytery. By laying on of hands, as by a Synecdoche is meant the whole work of Ordination, and hence we see that it is the will of the holy Ghost that not only Paul an Apostle, as for∣merly, but Timothy an Evangelist must be set apart unto his Office by Ordination.
6. That Timothy is commanded to lay hands suddenly on no man, neither to be partakers of other mens sin,*but to keep him∣self pure. This negative command implies an affirmative, that it was his Office to lay on hands, that is, to ordain El∣ders, Page 160 but his care must be not to do it rashly and unadvisedly upon men insufficient, lest he should thereby be made parta∣kers of other mens sins. This Text doth necessarily imply a precept for Ordination.
*7. That Timothy is commanded to commit those things which he had heard from Paul among many witnesses, to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. Where we have, 1. A Sepa∣ration of some men to be teachers in Christs Church. 2. The Qualification of these teachers, they must be faithfull men, and such as are able to teach others. 3. We have an injun∣ction laid upon Timothy that he should commit what he had heard of Paul unto these faithfull men. Now this committing was not only to be by way of instruction, but also by way of Ordination. Pauls charge committed to Timothy was not so much to make men fit to teach others, as by Ordination to set men apart for the teaching of others, that there might be a perpetual Succession of teachers. For the further making out of this truth, let the Reader consider what is said by Mr Gillespy in his Miscellany Questions, and what we have before said, pag. 84.
*8. That laying on of hands is reckoned not only as an in∣stitution of Christ, but as one of the principles of the Do∣ctrines of Christ: but of this Text we shall speak more in the third Assertion.
By all these places it is evident, That it is the will of Christ that those that enter into the Ministerial Calling should be consecrated, set apart and ordained thereunto.
Most of the Objections brought against this Assertion, have been answered at large in the handling of the third Pro∣position.
If any shall further object and say,
Obj. 1. That these are but examples, and examples do not amount up to a Rule.
Answ. 1. That Apostolical examples in things necessary for the good of the Church, and which have a perpetual reason and equity in them, have the force of a Rule. Of this nature is Ordination.
Page 1612. If we should not follow the examples of the Apostles in those things in which they acted as ordinary Elders, we should be left at uncertainties, and every man might do what seem∣eth good in his own eyes, which would tend to confusion, and the dissolution of the Church.
3. The Apostles taught the Churches to do nothing but what they had a commandment from Christ to teach them, Matth. 28.20. 1 Cor. 11.28. and in all their Disciplinary Institutions, which were not meerly occasional, and had on∣ly a temporary reason of their Institution (of which kinde Ordination we are sure is not) are to be imitated as though they were the immediate Institution• of Christ.
4. For Ordination of Ministers we have not only Aposto∣lical example, but Apostolical pre••pt, as we have already pro∣ved out of 1 Tim. 5.22.
Object. 2. If it be further objected. That the Ordina∣tion mentioned in the Text fore-named, was onely for those times, and not to continue to the end of the world.
Answ. 1. This is not true.* For if the Ministry he to conti∣nue to the end of the world, then the way of entring into the Ministry enjoyned by the Apostles, is also to continue. And there can no reason be brought why the one should be abolished, and not the other.
2. Timothy is enjoyned to keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, untill the appearing of our Lord Iesus Christ.*Beza translates 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉haec mandat•, Keep these com∣mandments, that is, (saith he) all the commandments com∣manded him in the whole Epistle. Thus Deodate, That thou keep this commandment, that is, Not only that which is contain∣ed, vers. 11. & 12. but generally all other commandments which are contained in this Epistle. Now this commandment of lay∣ing hands suddenly on no man, is one of those command∣ments which he was to keep without spot untill the appea∣ring of our Lord Jesus Christ; which evidently proves That Ordination is an Ordinance of Christ, and is to last to the end of the world.
1. Christ himself was sent and had his Commission from his Father, Ioh. 20.22, 23. Iesus Christ did not glorifie himself to be made an High-Priest, but was anointed thereunto by God his Father, Act. 10.38.
2. Christ Jesus as he was sent of his Father, so he sent forth his Apostles, Ioh. 20.23. It is said Mat. 10.1. That Christ called unto him his twelve Apostles, and sent them forth, and gave them their commission: Nay, it is said Mar. 3.14. And he ordained twelve; The Greek is, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, And he made twelve that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach; This making was an authoritative appointing them to their Office. The Apostles would not have dared to have preached the Gospel, had they not been commissiona∣ted by Christ thereunto.
3. The Apostles went about ordaining Elders in every Church; Paul ordained Timothy, 2 Tim. 1.6.
4. Timothy and Titus did ordain others as they themselves had been ordained, and that by the Apostles own appoint∣ment, Tit. 1.5. 1 Tim. 5.22. Nay, we reade of a Presbytery ordaining, 1 Tim. 4.14. And as Timothy was intrusted with the Word of Christ, so he is commanded to commit the same trust to faithfull men able to teach others also, that so there may be a succession of Teachers: Thus we have four descents recorded in Scripture.
- 1. God anoints Jesus Christ and ordains him to his Mi∣nisterial office.
- 2. Christ ordains his Apostles.
- 3. The Apostles ordain extraordinary and ordinary Of∣ficers.
- 4. And these ordain others. And this commandment is given to be observed till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And thus (as the Authour fore-mentioned saith) The Apostles admitted men in their own practice into the Ministry, and thus they appointed for succeeding times, and can any think that Ordination ended with that age? Is there not the same cause, Page 163 necessity, use and reason for it in after ages as in the first times of the Church, when there were as yet extraordinary gifts stir∣ring in the Church which are now ceased, and therefore the more need of a standing Ministry? Sure we are of two things.
1. That there are more, and more clear Texts for Ordination then for popular Election; Our Brethren in New-England and many in Old England are very much for Election by the people; And so are we if it be rightly ordered and mana∣ged; But we desire them to shew us as clear Scriptures for Election, as we have done for Ordination.
2. That there is as much (if not more) in Scripture for the Justification of Ordination as for any other part of Church-Government, as for the divine right of Synods, of Excommunication, of Ruling Elders, or any other part of Discipline, in which we agree together. How then it should come to passe that many in our daies should cry up the di∣vine right of Election by the people, of Excommunication, and other parts of Church-government, and cry down the divine right of Ordination, we know not: Indeed we con∣fesse, That the Papists do too much extoll it, calling it a Sa∣crament, and not only a Sacrament in a generall sense, as Calvin seemeth to do, but a Sacrament in a proper sense, as Baptism and the Lords Supper are called Sacraments; And also in appropriating it to Bishops, as distinct from Presby∣ters: Hence it may be it is, That some in our age running into the other extream (as the nature of man alwaies is apt to do) do too much vilifie and undervalue it, and because they like it not, brand it with the black mark (as they do other of the Ordinances of Christ) of Antichristian Ordi∣nation. But we hope better things of our people, and be∣seech them to take heed of those that call good evil and evil good, and that call the Institutions of Christ the doctrines of Antichrist.
So much for the first Assertion.
CHAP. XI. Proving the Second Assertion about Ordination, to wit, That the essence of the Ministeriall Call doth properly consist in Ordination.
THe Second Assertion is,
That the essence of the Ministeriall Call doth properly consist in Ordination.
The contrary to this Assertion is maintained by many Re∣verend Divines, who set up Election in the room of Ordina∣tion, and make Ordination •o be but an adjunct unto, and a consequent of this Ministeriall Call, and a confirmation of a man into that office which he hath bestowed upon him by his election. The essence and substance of the outward calling of an ordinary Officer in the Church (say the Ministers of New-Eng∣land in their Platform of Church-Government) doth not consist in his Ordination, but in his voluntary and free Election by the Church, and in his accepting of that Election. In opposition to this we have already endeavoured at large to prove, That the essence of the Ministeriall Call doth not consist in popular Electi∣on. And therefore we intend to be very brief in proving the contrary; That it doth consist in Ordination: This we make out by these ensuing arguments.
1. If Election doth not give the essentials of the Ministe∣riall Office, then Ordination doth: For the outward Call of a Minister (as it is agreed on all sides) doth consist only in his Election or Ordination.
But Election doth not, &c. as we have formerly shewed by divers arguments. Ergo. Ordination doth.
2. If Ordination makes a man a Minister that was not one before, then it gives the essence of the Ministeriall Office.
But Ordination makes a man a Minister that was not one before, Ergo, &c.
Page 165That this is so appears,
1. From the Ordination of Deacons, Act. 6.3. Look ye out seven men, &c. whom we may appoint over this businesse,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is to put a man into an Office which he had not before. Thus it is said of Ioseph, Act. 7.10. and he made him governour over Egypt, &c. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. &c. This act of Pharaohs did not confirm him in that Office which he had before, but conferred upon him an Of∣fice he never had. The like we reade Deut. 1.13. Take ye wise men and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them Rulers over you. It was not the peoples taking, but Moses his appointing that did make them Rulers. Thus Exo. 18.21. Thou shalt provide able men, and place such over them to be Rulers of thousands, &c. It was Moses his placing that did give them the formality of Rulers. The Hebrew word in Exod. and Deut. is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which answers the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 1 Tim. 1.12. where it is said 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and it was the Apostles appointing of Deacons that did make them Deacons: All that the people did was to set seven men be∣fore the Apostles whom they by Ordination made Deacons.
2. This appears also from Tit. 1.5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest—ordain Elders in every City, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Et constituas; And ordain o• appoint: It is evi∣dent that there was a great want of Elders in Crete, and Ti∣tus was left to appoint and set Elders over them: Titus was not left only to adde an adjunct (as we have formerly said) to the Ministeriall Call, or to establish and confirm those in their places that had right to them before, but he was left 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is all one as in a civill sense, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as one saith, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉con∣stituere & praeficere rectores & judices, to constitute and make Rulers and Judges: Thus it is said, Luk 12.42. Who then is that faithfull aend wise Steward whom his Lord shall make Ru∣ler, &c. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. This act of the Lord of the house is that which gives the formall being of a Ruler unto this Steward. And it is Ordination that doth 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and is essentiale constituens of the Ministeriall office.
Page 166Argum. 3. If Ordination be the sending of a manforth with power and authority to preach the Gospel, and administer the Sa∣craments, then it is that which gives the essence of the Ministe∣rial Office. But Ordination is so, Ergo.
The minor is proved from Rom. 10.15. And how shall they preach except they be sent,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. This sending it an authoritative mission to preach the Word as Criers and Heralds (for so the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth) and also as Embassadors are sent forth by their Prince with their Letters missive and credentials, which appears by the words immediatly following, As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad ti∣dings of good things! Hence it is, That some Divines do very well define Ordination to be missio potestativa, A sending of a man forth with power and authority to preach and admi∣nister the Sacraments. It is not an installing of a man into an office to which he hath right before, but it is a giving of him his Commission and authority; And of this kinde of sending is this Text to be understood. That it cannot be understood of providential sending we have formerly proved, nor of a sending by the Election of the people: For the people can∣not be said to be sent to themselves, but Ministers are said to be sent to them. And we now further adde, That it cannot be understood only of an extraordinary mis∣sion by God, such as the Apostles had, which was to cease with the Apostles, but it must be understood of such an au∣thoritative sending which was to continue to the end of the world: For the Apostle in that Climax of his makes it as necessary and perpetuall as calling upon the Name of the Lord, as Beleeving and Hearing the Word: For this the A∣postle affirmeth, That as calling upon the Name of the Lord is perpetually necessary to salvation, so is faith to the calling upon the Name of the Lord, and so is Hearing of the Word necessary to Beleeving, so is Preaching of the Word to Hearing, and so is Ordination and Mission necessary to the orderly Preaching of the Word. And therefore we con∣clude, That by sending is meant a sending by Ordination, and Page 167 that this sending is a deputation of a man to an Ecclesiasti∣call Function with power and authority to perform the same, and that it is to last as long as Preaching, Beleeving, and Prai∣er, which is to the end of the world.
Arg. 4. If Ordination be that which gives the Ministeriall office, then the essence of the Ministeriall Call consisteth in Ordination.
But Ordination is that which gives the Ministerial office.
That this it so appears from 2 Tim. 1.6. Wherefore I put th•e in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands: And by 1 Tim. 4.14. Neglect not the gift that is in thee which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. By laying on of hands is meant (as is aforesaid) the whole work of Ordina∣tion; And by gift is meant docendi officium,* (as most In∣terpreters say) the office of the Ministry, and the power and authority conferred thereby upon him. The Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is often taken not only for the grace by which we are fitted for an office, but for an office unto which men are through grace fitted. Thus it is taken Ephes. 4.8. Rom. 12.6. And thus it is here to be taken, Paul by Or∣dination did not onely declare Timothy to be an Officer, and confirm him in that Office which he had before •ol∣lated upon him by the choice of the people▪ But he toge∣ther with the Presbytery gave him the gift or office of the Ministry.
Object. The Text saith, That this gift was given by prophecy, and therefore not by the laying on of the hands either of Paul or of the Presbytery.
Answ. These words By Prophecy do signifie onely the moving cause, and that encouraged Paul with the Pres∣bytery to lay hands on Timothy, viz. It was prophesied, That Timothy should be an excellent Minister, 1 Timothy 1.18. This charge I give unto thee, Sonne Timothy, accord∣ing to the Prophecies that went before of thee: So that the meaning is, Paul by Prophecy, that is, according to the Prophecies that went before of him, or Paul directed by Page 168 the Spirit of Prophecy conferd the gift or office of the Mini∣stry upon Timothy.
But here we must of necessity adde one caution left we be mis-understood.
When we say that Ordination gives the Ministerial office, we mean onely as to the essence of the outward Call, For we know, That it is the Prerogative Royall of the Lord Je∣sus to appoint Officers and Offices in his Church. It is Christ onely that institutes the office, and that furnisheth and fitteth men with graces and abilities for the discharge of so great an employment, with willing and ready mindes to give up them∣selves to so holy services: It is Christ onely that sets the Laws and Rules according to which they must act. All that man doth in Ordination is in a subordinate way as an In∣strument under Christ to give the being of an outward Call, and to constitute him an Officer according to the method prescribed by Christ in his Word. All that we say (that we may be rightly understood) may be reduced to these three heads.
1. That it is the will of Christ who is King of his Church, that men should be outwardly called to the Ministry as well as inwardly fitted. And that without this Call none can war∣rantably do any act that belongs to an Officer, as not ha∣ving the specificall form of an Officer, and (as Mr Hooker saith) Whatsoever is done without this,*is void and of none effect.
2. That this outward Call consisteth in Election and Ordi∣nation.
3. That Ordination is that which gives the Being of this outward Call, that makes a man a Minister, That (in this sense) gives him his Ministeriall Office. Election doth only design the person, but it is Ordination that bestoweth the Of∣fice upon him.
Arg. 5. We might argue in the fifth place from the persons appointed by Christ to ordain, and from the great solemnity used in Ordination, and from the blame that is laid upon those that ordain unworthy persons unto the Ministerial Office.
Page 1691. The persons that are said in Scripture to ordain, are (as we shall prove hereafter) either Apostles, Prophets, Evan∣gelists or Presbyters. And this is a sufficient Argument to us to prove that it is Ordination that constitutes the Minister, and not Election. For it is not likely, that Christ would appoint his Apostles, and his Apostles appoint extraordinary and or∣dinary Elders to convey onely an adjunct of the Ministerial Call, and leave the great work of conveying the Office-power unto the common people.
2. The solemnity used in Ordination, is Prayer, Fasting, and Imposition of hands. We do not reade the like solemni∣ty expressed in Scripture in Election, and therefore it is a∣gainst reason to think, That Election should constitute the Minister, and give him all his Essentials, and Ordination only give him a ceremonial complement.
3. The blame laid upon Timothy if he should lay hands sud∣denly upon any Minister, is very great. For hereby he makes himself impure, and becomes accessory to the sins of those whom he makes Ministers. Now we may thus reason, Where the greatest blame lies for unworthy men coming into the Mini∣stry, surely there must lie the greatest power of admitting men into the Ministry, else the blame is not just. But the greatest blame is laid upon the Ministers. Ergo. If the constituting cause of the Ministerial Call did lie in Election. The Mini∣s•ers may well excuse themselves, and say, We do but or∣dain, we do but give an adjunct, the people did the main act, they gave the Essence, and therefore the blame belongs to them, and not to us. See more of this in Separation exami∣ned by Mr Firmin. pag. 58.
Much more might be added for the proof of this Assertion, but we shall purposely wave what else might be said, least we should be overtedious.
CHAP. XII. Wherein the third Assertion is proved, viz. That Or∣dination of Ministers ought to be by Prayer, Fasting and Imposition of hands.
THE third Assertion is, That Ordination of Mini∣sters ought to be by prayer, fasting, and Imposition of hands.
Here are two things to be made out,
1. That Ordination ought to be with prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting, though they be not necessary to the very being and essence of Ordination, yet they are very necessary to the better being of it, as divine conduits to convey the bles∣sing of God upon it.
First, For Prayer. It is observable in the old Testament, that Aaron and his sons did not enter upon their Ministry, till they had been sanctified by the holy oyl, and sprinkling of bloud, and had been seven whole dayes before the Lord, abiding at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, Levit. 8.33.
In the New Testament our blessed Saviour, when he chose his Apostles is said to have spent all the night before in prayer, Luk. 6.12, 13. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. And to our remem∣brance we do not reade that our Saviour spent a whole night in prayer, but upon this occasion, which sheweth, of how great consequence it is, that those who preach the Gospel should be sent out with solemn and earnest prayer. And this is the more observable if we compare the 9th of Matth. 36, 37, 38. with Luke 6.12, 13, 14. When Christ saw the misery of the people in the want of faithful Ministers, that they were as Sheep not having a Shepherd, he directs them to pray to the Lord Page 171 of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest, and then as seemeth by Luke's relation, he put that in practice which he commended to do for themselves, he spent the whole night in prayer, and then Mat. 10.1, 2. he chose and sent out his twelve Apostles to preach the Gospel.
Secondly, For joyning of Fasting with prayer, we may consider, That it was not ordinary and common prayer, or some few and occasional Petitions that were put up, but as in c•ses of greatest concernment, when some great evil was to be averted, or some singular mercy to be obtained, fasting was joyned with prayer.
In the Acts, where you have the records of the Primitive Churches practice, as the best president for succeeding ages, it is recorded, that persons designed to the work of the Mini∣stry, were set apart and commended to God for his assistance, support and successe by fasting and prayer.
Acts 13.1, 2, 3. It is said of the Prophets and Teachers of Antioch, As they ministred to the Lord, and fasted, the holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work where∣unto I have called them. And then when by a new fast, as it may seem purposely called upon that occasion, they had sought God on that behalf, they fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, and sent them away to preach.
And as it was thus done to Paul and Barnabas, so when they had travelled farre in preaching the Gospel, and had found that happy successe on their Ministry, that many among the Gentiles were converted, because themselves could not make their constant abode in anyone place (the greater service of the Church calling them forth to other places) that there might be a foundation of a fixed Ministry, for the building up of those that were already converted, and for the bringing in of others yet uncalled. They ordained them Elders in every Church, which should stay with them, and watch over them in the Lord, Act. 14.23. And these they sent out with the like solemnity in seeking God by fasting and prayer, and then commended them to the Lord in whom they be∣lieved.
Page 172The Reasons why Ministers should be set a part with prayer and fasting, are weighty, and still the same.
1. The inidoneousnesse and insufficiency of any meer man (though of the greatest abilities and indowments, whether for nature, art, or grace) for such a work wherein we have to do withthe highest mysteries of God and heaven, and with the most precious things on earth, the truths of God, and souls of men.
2. The discouragements which every where attend this work (when most faithfully performed) from Satan and wicked men.
3. The successe of every ones Ministry depends wholly on Gods blessing.*For neither is he that planteth any thing, nei∣ther he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase. Nor doth the faith of believers depend at all on the wisdome or or power of the Minister, but on the power of God, 1 Cor. 2.5. And therefore it is necessary in the most solemn man∣ner, that is, by prayer and fasting to implore aid from God whensoever we ordain Ministers. But this will be granted by all sides, and therefore we will adde no more about it.
The second thing we are to make out, is
That Ordination of Ministers ought to be with imposition of hands.
That we may more orderly handle this Assertion, which is so much controverted in our unhappy dayes, and be rightly understood, we shall crave leave to premise three things:
1. That Imposition of hands is not a proper Gospel-duty, never used but in the New Testament, but it is a Rite and Ceremony borrowed from the Old Testament, and by Christ made a Gospel-institution.* That which Grotius saith in his Annotations, That the whole Government of the Churches of Christ, was conformed to the patern of the Synagogues, is true in many things, and especially in this of Imposition of hands. We finde it was used in four cases under the Old Testament, 1. In benediction and blessing, Gen. 48.14, 20. 2. In offer∣ing Page 173 of Sacrifices unto God, Lev. 1.4.3. In bearing witness, Lev. 24.14.4. In ordaining or appointing unto an Office. Thus Moses when he ordained Ioshua to succeed him, he was commanded by God to lay his hands upon him, and to give him a charge in the sight of the people, Num. 27.18, 23. Under the New Testa∣ment it is used, 1. In benediction, Mark 10.16.2. In curing of bodily diseases, Luke 13.13. Mark 16.18. Acts 9.17. 3. In conveying the miraculous gifts of the holy Ghost, Act. 8.17, 18. Act. 19.6. 4. In Ordination of Church-officers, and of this last way of Imposition of hands are we now to speak.
Secondly, That it is not our purpose accurately to enquire whether Imposition of hands be an Essential part of Ordina∣tion, without which it is null and void, or an integral part, without which it is deficient and imperfect, or onely an in∣separable adjunct. It is enough for us to assert, That it is lawfull and warrantable, and not onely so, but that it is the duty of all that are to ordain Ministers to lay hands upon them, and that it is a sin in any that is to be ordained, to re∣fuse it.
Thirdly, That though we assert the Divine Right of Im∣position of hands, yet we plead for it onely in a Scripture∣sense, but not in a Popish-sense. The Papists make it to be an outward sign of an inward and spiritual grace. They make Ordination a Sacrament, and Imposition of hands an opera∣tive instrument of conveying not only grace in general, but even justifying grace. Hence it is that some few of our Di∣vines speak a little too slightly of it (at which those that are enemies to it take much advantage) but yet there are no Re∣formed Churches (that we know of) but do retain it and plead for it, some as a Rite and Circumstance, and moral sign; others as an integral part, and others as an essential part of Ordination.
These things premised, we come now to prove, That it is the will of Christ, that all that are ordained Ministers should •lave Imposition of hands. This appears
1. From the examples of this Ceremony used by the Page 174 Apostles in Ordination, 1. We finde that the Deacons though inferiour Officers must have hands laid on them. 2. We finde that the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, though extraor∣dinary Officers had hands layed on them. 3. We reade that Paul layed hands upon Timothy,* and also the Presbytery. Hence it is that Calvin saith, Though there be no certain pre∣cept extant concerning Imposition of hands, yet because we see it was in perpetual use by the Apostles, that, their so accurate ob∣servation ought to be in stead of a precept to us. And it is a won∣der to us that they that are so exact in urging every other circumstance in Church-Government, and have suffered much prejudice in their outward estate rather then they would forbear sitting at the Sacrament (which yet is but an outward gesture) should take such strange liberty to them∣selves in dispensing with a duty that hath so many examples for the enforcing of it.
2. From that command of Paul to Timothy, Lay hands suddenly on no man. This is a divine precept for imposition of hands. For when Timothy is forbidden to lay hands suddenly, it is implied, that it was his duty to lay on hands. Hence it is that the New-England Ministers do assert,* That Church-of∣ficers ought to be ordained by imposition of hands. And from this Text Walaeus hath a memorable passage, which though it be long, yet we will not think much to transcribe. I see this (saith he,* speaking of Imposition of hands) to be required in almost all confessions. And truly since that the Apo∣stles have alwayes used it, yea the Apostle gives a precept to Timothy, to lay hands suddenly on no man; we judge it ought not to be omitted, because in that negative commandment, an affir∣mative is included, that he should lay on hands upon men that are worthy, where because it is taken by a Synecdoche for the whole calling of a Pastor, certainly it is to be esteemed either Page 175 for a rite, or an essential part, otherwise it could not be taken for the whole, or at least for a proper adjunct, and common to this with all other callings. So far Walaeus.
Thirdly, Because the whole work of Ordination is com∣prehended under this Ceremony of Imposition of hands, 1 Tim▪ 4.14. 1 Tim. 5.12. Ordination is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 Imposition of hands, and the gift or office of the Ministry is said to be given by this as by the sign, 1 Tim. 4.15. Now then, if Imposition of hands, as a part, be put for the whole work of Ordination, it seems very strange to us that there should be any amongst us that expresse a willingnesse to be ordained, and yet an unwillingness to have Imposition of hands. We rather judge, That they that refuse Imposition of hands, which is put for the whole, will in a little time make no conscience of refusing the whole it self. We reade in Scripture, That prayer and keeping the Sabbath are some∣times put for the whole worship of God, Ier. 10.25. Isa. 56.4. And as it is a good Argument, keeping of the Sabbath and prayer are put for the whole worship of God, and there∣fore they are parts of it, if not chief parts. So it is a good Ar∣gument. Imposition of hands is put for the whole work of Ordination, and therefore it is a part of it, if not a chief part. And we desire our people further to consider, that there is but one Text for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or lifting up of hands in the election of a Minister (and this also but a shadow without a substance, as we have proved) and yet how zealous are ma∣ny amongst us for popular Election? And why should not they be much more zealous for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or Imposition of hands, which hath so many substantial Texts for the justifica∣tion of it, and which is so often put for the whole work of Or∣dination?
Fourthly, Because it is placed by the Apostle Heb. 6.1, 2. amongst the principles of the doctrine of Christ, Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of Ba∣ptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the Page 176 dead, and of eternall judgement. The great Question is, What is here meant by laying on of hands. The Papists understand it of the Sacrament of Confirmation: But it never hath nor ever will be sufficiently proved, that either there is such a Sacrament appointed by Christ, or that it was a custome in the Apostles daies to lay on hands, or (as was formerly phrased) to Bishop baptized Christians who were grown up to years of discretion; others by laying on of hands understand the extraordinary gifts of the holy Ghost, which in these daies were given by laying on of hands. But this cannot be the meaning.
1. Because it cannot be proved, that the gift of the holy Ghost was given with every laying on of hands in those times. For the laying on of hands, 1 Tim. 4.14. 1 Tim. 5.22. was not for giving the holy Ghost, but for Ordination.
2. Because the giving of the holy Ghost by laying on of hands was proper to the Primitive age, and doth not con∣cern after ages; But the Catechetical heads enumerated by the Apostle concern all ages.
3. Because it would be hard to think, that the knowledge or profession of the doctrine concerning the giving of the holy Ghost by such laying on of hands, was such a principle as that none ignorant thereof, though instructed in all the other Articles of Christian faith, could be received as a Church-member, and as one grounded in Catechisticall do∣ctrine.
And therefore by laying on of hands, as by a Synecdoche, we suppose is meant the whole Ministry. Thus D. Ames in his Confutation of Bellarmine;* By laying on of hands (saith he) is here meant Totum Ministerium, the whole Ministry. Bullinger on the place, By laying on of hands, understandeth also the Ministry and their Vocation, Mission, and Authority given them. Mr. Hooker in his Survey of Church-Discipline, par. 1. pag. 1. By laying on of hands as by a Metonymy of the adjunct, understandeth Ordination, and Ordination as one par∣ticular is put (saith he) for the whole of Church-Discipline. And from this very Text he undertakes to prove Church-Disci∣pline Page 177 to be a fundamentall point of Religion: But we may more safely and more rationally assert the same of the Church-Ministry: For whosoever denieth a Ministry over∣throweth all Gospel-Ordinances and Gospel-Churches. And here we will make bold to put our people in minde of a pas∣sage in M. Cartwrights Confutation of the Rhemists, who was a man sufficiently opposite to the Bishops and their Ceremo∣nies, yet he is pleased to use these words upon this Text. By Imposition of hands the Apostle meaneth no Sacrament, much lesse Confirmation after Baptism, but by a Trope and borrowed Speech the Ministry of the Church upon the which hands were laid, which appeareth in that whosoever beleeveth, that there ought not to be a Ministry by order to teach and govern the Church, overthroweth Christianity; whereas if Confirmation of Children were a Sacrament as it is not, yet a man holding the rest, and denying the use of it, might notwithstanding be saved. So Cartwright. Now then▪ If Imposition of hands be taken in Scripture not only for the whole work of Ordination, but also for the whole Ministry; We may (we hope) safely and convincingly conclude, That it is the will of Jesus Christ, that they that enter into the Ministry should have hands laid upon them: And that they that oppose Imposition of hands may as well oppose the whole Gospel-Ministry, and therein over∣throw Christianity it self.
We will not trouble the Reader with answering all the Ob∣jections that are brought against this Thesis, but only such as seem to carry most weight in them.
Object. 1. We do not reade that the Apostles were made Mi∣nisters with Imposition of hands.
Answ. 1. No more do we reade that they were made Mi∣nisters by the Election of the people; This objection fights as much against Election as against Imposition of hands.
2. A negative argument from Scripture doth not hold in matters of this nature; It doth not follow, because it is not recorded, therefore it was not done. Many things were done by Christ which are not written; It is said, That Christ or∣dained twelve, but after what manner is not set down.
Page 1783. The Apostles were extraordinary Officers, and had an extraordinary Call. Our Thesis is of ordinary Officers; They that oppose this Assertion must prove, that ordinary Officers were made without Imposition of hands, or else they prove nothing to the purpose.
Object. 2. When the Apostle left Titus to ordain Elders in Crete, he saies not a word of Imposition of hands.
Answ. 1. Nor a word of Election by the people.
2. The Apostle left him to ordain Elders as he had ap∣pointed him. Now it is irrationall to think that he would appoint Titus to do otherwise then according to what he himself practised. He ordained Deacons, Elders, and Timo∣thy by laying on of hands: And therefore it is without dis∣pute to us, That he appointed Titus to do so also.
3. If we compare Tit. 1.5. with Act. 6.3, 5. it will appear, That by appointing or ordaining Elders in Crete, is meant, ordaining by Imposition of hands: For there is the same word in both, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: Now 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in Act. 6. was by laying on of hands, and so was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in Tit. 1.5.
Object. 3. Imposition of hands was used by the Apostles only for the present occasion, as other things were observed, as bloud was forbidden, as Paul used circumcision and sha∣ving, viz. for the Jews sake who had their publique Officers thus set apart.
Answ. 1. No circumstance of any one Text where Impo∣sition of hands is mentioned to be used, gives ground for sta∣ting this to be the reason of its practise.
2. This was not only practised at Ierusalem but at Antioch, and not only among and by the Jews, but elsewhere, and by others. It is said of Paul and Barnabas that they ordained Elders in every Church.
Object. 4. Imposition of hands was used by the Apostles in a miraculous way, and it did conferre the holy Ghost and gift of Tongues, &c. and therefore as the miracle is ceased, so ought the ceremony to cease. As in extream Uncti∣on, &c.
Answ. 1. The giving of the holy Ghost and conferring of Page 179 extraordinary gifts was one, but not the only use which the Apostles made of Imposition of hands. And as praier is still to be continued in the Church, though it did sometimes con∣veigh extraordinary blessings, Act. 8.15, 16, 17. Act. 9.40. Iam. 5.14, 15. because it had other ordinary ends and uses; So is Imposition of hands to be continued upon the same ac∣count.
Answ. 2. We never read of the holy Ghost given by Im∣position of hands in Ordination: That gift which Timothy received by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, is no other then the gift of Office. Neglect not the gift, i. e. Neg∣lect not the office. If Timothy had had power by laying on of hands to have conferred due qualifications for the Ministry; why doth Paul require him to lay hands suddenly on no man? and why must he be so carefull to see them first fit, in case his laying on of hands would fit them? There needed not such triall of their gifts, in case a touch of his hands could have gifted them. This proves clearly, That there was no extraor∣dinary gift conferred in Ordination.
3. There is a double Imposition of hands, The one mira∣culous and extraordinary, which consisted in healing the sick, and conveighing the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. And this was temporary and is now ceased as extream Unction is; The other is ordinary, Such is the Imposition of hands in Or∣dination, and therefore to be perpetually continued in the Church. We reade not only that Paul who was an extraordi∣nary Officer, but that Presbyters who were ordinary Offi∣cers imposed hands upon Timothy. And the example of the Primitive Churches were intentionally left upon record for this end, that they might be binding patterns in like cases in after ages. And this seems to be one singular ground and reason of the Writing of the Acts of the Apostles, That the Apostles acts in the Primitive Churches might be our Rules in succeeding ages.
Obj. 5. To what purpose then is Imposition of hands used, if the extraordinary gifts of the holy Ghost be not conveigh∣ed thereby?
Page 180Answ. 1. We use it, because the Apostles did use it in an ordinary way without giving the holy Ghost, as well as in an extraordinary way, because there is the same standing reason, and because the Apostle bids us, 1 Tim. 5.22. Sufficit pro uni∣versis rationibus, Deus vult.
2. We use it not as an operative Ceremony, but as a Moral sign, so declare publickly who the party is that is solemnly set apart to the work of the Ministry.
3. We use it as it is a Rite and Ceremony by which the Office is conveyed, 1 Tim. 4.14.
4. We use it as it is a consecrating, dedicating and offer∣ing up of the party unto the Lord and his service, as in the Old Testament hands were laid on for this end.
5. We use it as it is an Authoritative and Ministerial Bene∣diction of the party ordained, as it was used by Iacob in his fatherly blessing of Ephraim and Manasses, and by Christ in his blessing and praying over the little children, Mat. 19.15. Mark 10.16.
And thus we have made out the Divine Right of Imposi∣tion of hands, and our Exhortation to our people is, That they would not stumble at that way of Ordination which hath so much of God in it, nor be easily led aside into by-pathes by the seducers of this Age. And that they would not rest contented with Ministerial Examination (though that ought to be, and that in all exactnesse) nor with Mini∣sterial approbation, nor yet with Authoritative Missi∣on without this Apostolicall Ordinance of Imposition of hands.
CHAP. XIII. Wherein the fourth Assertion about Ordination is pro∣ved, viz. That ordination of Ministers ought to be by the laying on of the hands of the Presbyterie.
OUr last Assertion is concerning the persons who are by Divine Authority appointed to ordain,* and it is this.
That Ordin•tion •f Ministers ought to be by laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.
For this we have an expresse Text, 1 Tim. 4.14. which that we may the better understand, we will give a brief Answer to some few Questions.
Qu•st. 1. What is meant by the word Presbytery?
Answ. By Presbytery is not meant the Office of a Presby∣ter, but Collegium f•o• confess•• Presbyter•rum, a Colledge or company of Presbyters. For as Mr Rutherford well observes, The Office hath no hands. And the word is used but in two other places, Luke 22.66. Acts 22.5. In both which it must necessarily be taken for the Officers, and not for the Office. For the Office of Elders could not meet together, as in that plac• of Luke, nor could the O•••ce of Elders bea• witnesse to Paul, as in that place of the Acts.* Besides as Mr Hooker well saith, Not onely reason doth reject, but the very ear would not relish such an unsutable sense, Neglect not the gift which is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the lay∣ing on of the hands of the Office. How harsh and unpleasant is such an expression?
Here Calvin is brought in by some who are in other things his utter enemies, to countenance this interpretation. And Page 182 Mr Gillespy reckoneth it as one of Calvins few (for they were but very few) mistakes. But looking upon his Commentary upon the place, we finde these words, Presbyterium qui hîc collectivum nomen esse putant pro collegio Presbyterorum positum, rectè sentiunt meo judicio. They who think Presbytery in this place to be a Noun collective put for a Colledge of Presby∣ters, do think rightly in my judgement. And therefore though he thinks the other interpretation non male quadrare (which was his errour) yet he is not to be reckoned amongst those that deny that by Presbytery is meant an Assembly of Pres∣byters.
Quest. 2. Whether this Presbytery was a Presbytery of Bi∣shops, or of single Presbyters?
Answ. To this we shall give this short reply, That in Scripture a Bishop and a Presbyter is all one, as we shall have occasion hereafter to prove. And therfore we answer, That it was an Assembly of Bishops, that is, of Presbyters.
Quest. 3. Whether this Presbytery were Congregational or Classical?
Answ. Mr Hooker of New-England confesseth, That he never yet heard any Argument that did evince either,* by dint of undeniable evidence. And for our parts, we do not con∣ceive it necessary, as to our purpose, to disquiet the Reader with a debate about it. For we deny not but that a Congrega∣tion sufficiently Presbyterated, that is, wherein there are ma∣ny Ministers, may ordain, though we believe that there are but very few such, if any; and therefore are of the opinion of the Reverend Assembly, in their Advice to the Parliament concerning Ordination, That it is very requisite that no single. Congregation that can conveniently associate, do assume to it self all and sole power in Ordination.
Quest. 4. What part hath the Ruling Elder in Ordi∣nation?
Answ. Supposing that there is such an Officer in the Church (for the proof of which we referre the Reader to our Vindication) We answer, That the power of ordering of the whole work of Ordination belongs to the whole Pres∣bytery, Page 183 that is, to the Teaching and Ruling Elders. But Im∣position of hands is to be alwayes by Preaching Presbyters, and the rather, because it is accompanied with Prayer and Exhortation, both before, in, and after, which is the proper work of the Teaching Elder.
Quest. 5. Whether may one Preaching Presbyter lay on hands without the assistance of other Ministers?
Answ. Imposition of hands ought to be performed not by one single Presbyter, but by a combination of preaching Presbyters. In the Ordination of Deacons, not one Apo∣stle alone, but a company of them laid on hands, Act. 6.6. When Paul and Barnabas were separated unto the work whereunto they were called by God, the Prophets and Teachers joyned together in laying on of hands. It is obser∣vable that in all the Texts where mention is made of Imposi∣tion of hands, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is joyned with 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the Plural, not with 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the Singular or Dual Number, and so there must of necessity be more then one Imposer of hands. Timothy was ordained by the Imposition not onely of Pauls hands, but also of the Presbytery. And therefore when we reade that Timothy is enjoyned to lay hands suddenly on no man, and Titus left in Crete to ordain Elders, we must not imagine that they were indued thereby with the sole power of Ordination. For surely the Apostle would not require Timo∣thy or Titus to do that which he himself would not do. If Paul with the Presbytery laid hands upon Timothy, then no doubt Timothy was also, together with other Presbyters, to lay hands upon those whom he should ordain. The naming of one doth not exclude others, especially if we consi∣der that Titus was left to ordain Elders, as Paul had appointed him. Now it is without all peradventure, that Paul did appoint him to do according as he himself pra∣ctised.
Quest. 6. Whether a company of Believers associated to∣gether may ordain without Ministers?
Answ. The Answer to this Question, is that which we espe∣cially aim at in this our fourth Assertion, and wherein we de∣sire Page 184 most of all to satisfie the expectation of the Reader. For this end we shall offer this Proposition in Answer to the Que∣stion.
That Ordination of Ministers doth belong to Church-Officers, and not to a Church without Officers.*And that Ordination by people without Ministers is a perverting of the Ordinance, and of no more force then Baptism by a Midwife, or consecration of the Lords Supper by a person out of Office.
For the proof of this we might argue from what is record∣ed by Jewish Writers, concerning the custom of creating men members of their great Council or Sanhedrin. When Moses by Gods appointment assumed the seventy Elders to assist him in Government, and part of his spirit was by God put upon them, this was done saith Maimonides Sanhedr. cap. 4. by Moses laying hands upon them. And at length before his de∣parture out of this life, when a successour was to be provided for him, God commands him to take Ioshua, and lay his hand upon him, &c. and accordingly it was done, Numb. 27.18. And so for those seventy Elders, it is certain from the Jewish Writers, that the succession of these was continued through all Ages, by their creating others in the place of those that di∣ed by this Ceremony of Imposition of hands. To this pur∣pose are the clear words of Maimonides, Moses our Master created the seventy Elders by Imposition of hands, and the divine Majesty rested on them, and those Elders imposed hands on others, and others on others. And they were found created untill the house of judgement of Ioshua, and unto the house of judge∣ment of Moses: that is, from time to time ascending to the Sanhedrin in Ioshua's and Moses's time. Petrus Cunaeus de Rep. Hebrae•rum cap. 12. saith, This Senatorian dignity, be∣cause it was most honourable, was granted to none without a legi∣timate act, namely, Imposition of hands. So Moses laid his hand upon Ioshua, and the seventy Elders, which solemnity be∣ing performed, presently a divine Spirit from above fell down upon them, and filled their brests. And these being thus initiated themselves, admitted others after the same way. The same Au∣thour tels us also out of Maimonides of a constitution made, Page 185That no man should after such a time use Imposition of hands, but by grant from Rabbi Hillel that divine old man, who was Prince of the great Council; and how afterwards it came to cease: And what care was taken by Juda the son of Baba to sup∣port and uphold it.
But because these things are not recorded in Scripture, we shall wave all such way of arguing, and rather dispute,
First, From the constant practice of the Church of Christ, as it is set down in the Apostolical Writings. We challenge any man to shew any one Text in all the New Testament for the justification of popular Ordination. We reade of Ordi∣nation by Apostles, Act. 6. Act. 14. And by Prophets and Teachers, Act. 13. And by Evangelists, Tit. 1. 1 Tim. 5.22. And by a Presbytery, 1 Tim. 4.14. But for Ordination by the people we meet not at all with it. And without all peradven∣ture, If Ordination be an Ordinance of Christ, it is to be managed according to the will of Christ, and that is by Mini∣sters, and not by the community of believers. May we not say to such Churches that usurp upon this work, as it is said, Matth. 21.23. By what Authority do you these things? And who gave you this Authority? Shew us your warrant out of the Word? We reade indeed of Ordination in Churches, Act. 18.23. and in Cities, Tit. 1.5. but no where of Ordination by Churches, or by Cities, taking them for believers without Of∣ficers. We adde
Secondly, That Ordination by the people is not onely not written in Scripture, but it is against the Scripture. For to what end and purpose should Jesus Christ appoint Officers ex∣traordinary and ordinary for the doing of that work which the people themselves may do? To what purpose did Paul and Barnabas go from place to place to ordain Elders? Why was Titus left in Crete to appoint Elders in every City? Might not the people say, What need Paul leave Titus to do that which we can do our selves? Frastra •it per plura, &c. If this Doctrine were true, the Apostles needed only to have preach∣ed and to have converted the people to the faith, and when they had done to have said, We have now done our work, you Page 186 may now elect and ordain your Officers your selves, the power to do these things belongs to you. But the Apostles did quite con∣trary, and therefore certainly Ordination is not the peoples, but the Ministers Office.
Adde thirdly, that which to us seems to be of weight, That all that is written in the Epistles concerning the Ordainers and the qualification of the ordained, &c. is all written in the Epistles unto Timothy and Titus who were Church-Officers. In the other Epistles which were written unto the Churches, there is no mention made of these things, which doth abun∣dantly prove unto us, That the work of Ordination is a work belonging to Ministers, and not to the people.
Lastly, We might argue from the nature of Ordination. It is a potestative and authoritative mission. It is an eminent act of Jurisdiction, not onely confirming a Minister in that Office which he had before by Election, but conveying the very Of∣fice-power of preaching and administring the Sacraments. It is that (as we have said) which gives the essentials of the Mi∣nisterial Call. And therefore by the rule of the Gospel it be∣longs to Officers, and not to private persons. The Scripture doth accurately distinguish between Church-Rulers and pri∣vate believers, Heb. 13.17, 24. 1 Thess. 5.12. Private persons can with no more lawfulnesse convey power to another, to administer the Sacraments, then they can themselves lawfully administer the Sacraments. Church-power is first seated in Christ the head, and from him committed to the Apostles, and from them to Church-Officers. And they alone who have received it from the Apostles can derive and transmit it to other Ministers. And though we freely confesse, That all Church-power is in the people, finaliter & objective, that is, for their use and benefit, according to that of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 3.22. All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, all are yours, i.e. for your service and salvation; yet we are farre from thinking that all things are theirs formally and originally, that is, of their making and authorizing. Or that they that are not Ministers themselves can derive the Mi∣nisterial Office to others. This we beleeve to be both against Scripture and reason.
Page 187The serious consideration of these things is of marvellous concernment for the people of our age upon this one account especially, because there are a generation of men risen up amongst us, that renounce and disclaim all Ordination from Ministers, as unwarrantable and Antichristian, and take it up from the people as the only way of the Gospel, herein com∣mitting amongst many other these three evils.
1. In renouncing the Ordinance of Christ, and calling that which is truly Christian, Antichristian.
2. In setting up a new way of Ordination, which hath not the least footing in the New Testament, or in all Antiquity.
3. In plunging themselves into this inextricable difficulty; for he that renounceth Ordination by Ministers as Antichri∣stian, must of necessity renounce not only our present Mini∣stry, but all the Ministers and Churches in the Christian world, he must turn Seeker, and forsake all Church-commu∣nion, as some in our unhappy dayes do. For all Ordination by the people is null and void, as being not only not ground∣ed upon Scripture, but against Scripture. And to intrude into the Ministerial Office without Ordination, is as the sinne of Corah and his company, as we have formerly shewed. Our desire is that these particulars may be duly weighed by all so∣ber Christians.
It will not be amiss here to consider what is said against this Thesis by the Elders of New-England. In four things they agree with us,
- 1. They say, Church-officers are to be ordained.
- 2. And to be ordained by Imposition of hands.*
- 3.That where there are Elders Imposition of hands is to be performed by those Elders.
- 4.That where there are no Elders, if the Church so desire, Imposition of hands may be performed by the Elders of other Churches.
But they differ from what we have asserted, when they say,
Answ. 1. If this Argument were valid, it would follow that people might ordain their own Ministers, not only when they want Elders, but when they have Elders. For if Election give the essence to a Minister, and Ordination only an adjunct, we see no reason why they that give the essence, should not also give the adjunct; And why an adjunct should belong to the Offi∣cers in that Church, to whom the essence doth not belong. But
2. We say, That Scripture-light being Judge, Election is not the greater, and Ordination the lesse. It is possible that it is upon this ground that some men have made so slight of Ordination, that so they might entitle the people thereunto. But we have abundantly shewed, 1. That Election doth not give the essence of the Ministerial Call. That Election is only the designation of the person that is to be made a Minister, not the making of him a Minister. 2. That Ordination is that which gives the essence. That it is an Authoritative appointing of a per∣son to the Ministry, and an actual investing him into the office. That it is held forth in the Scripture as the greater, and there∣fore not given to one and the same persons, but this later re∣ferred to the more honourable persons, as appears from Acts 6.3, 5. Tit. 1.5. 1 Tim. 4.14. 1 Tim. 5.22.
The Text they quote in the Margine for the proof of this, is not out of the New Testament but the Old, out of Numb. 8.10, 11. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord, and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord, for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord.
Ans. 1. This Text doth not prove that for which it is brought, but makes rather against our Brethren. For they say, That where there are Elders, Imposition of hands is to be by the El∣ders, and not by the people, but in case of want of Elders. But here Aaron and his sons were present. And if it proves Page 189 any thing, it proves that the people may ordain where there are Elders, which our Brethren will in no case consent unto.
2. That the children of Israel were commanded by God immediately to lay on hands upon the Levites. But in the New Testament, we meet with no such command laid upon the peo∣ple. We reade that Timothy and Titus, and the Presbytery are to lay on hands, but not a word of command for the people, but rather against it, as we have shewed.
3. When it is said, That the children of Israel laid on hands, it is not imaginable that all the Israelites did put on hands, but it was done by some chief of them in the name of the rest. And as Ainsworth observes, It was done by the first-born: For the first-born was sanctified and consecrated unto the Lord, Exo. 13.1. Because the Lord when he destroyed the first-born in Egypt, spared the first-born of the Israelites, therefore he challengeth a right in all their first-born, and they were to be given to him. And now the Levites were taken by God in stead of the first-born, as appears Numb. 8.16, 17. And hence it was that the children of Israel, that is, the first-born of Israel, were to lay on hands upon them, for the Levites gave an atonement for them, and were of∣fered up unto the Lord in their stead, and as the Rabbins say, E∣very first-born laid on hands on the Levite that was for him. Which if it be so, will afford us two other answers to this text.
4. That the children of Israel had not onely a special com∣mand, but a special reason also for what they did. And there∣fore this example cannot be made a patern for New Testament practice.
5. That this laying on of hands upon the Levites, was not for them to set them apart for the service of the Lord, but ra∣ther a setting them apart for a Sacrifice unto the Lord. It was the command of God that the children of Israel must put their hands upon the Sacrifices they did offer unto the Lord. The Levites were now to be waved or offered before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, and to be offered in stead of the first-born. And therefore the first-born did put their hands upon them as their propitiation and atonement.
It is very observable, That notwithstanding this Impositi∣on Page 190 of hands, the Levites were not thereupon invested into their office, and made able immediatly to execute it. But Aaron the Priest was to wave them before the Lord for a wave-offer∣ing, that they might execute the service of the Lord. It was Aarons waving of the Levites, and separating them from among the children of Israel, that did constitute and make them Church-officers.
And thus at last we have put an end to our first part con∣cerning the Divine Right of the Gospel-Ministry, and have, as we hope, sufficiently cleared to the consciences of our people, That there is such an Office as the Office of the Ministry perpetu∣ally to be continued in the Church of Christ. That no man ought to take upon him either the Office or the Work of the Ministry, un∣lesse he be lawfully ordained thereunto. That Ordination of Mini∣sters is an Ordinance of Christ, and ought to be by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, &c.
We cannot but expect to meet with many Adversaries that will oppose what we have here written. Some will deny the very Office of the Ministry. Others will grant that there was such an Office in the Apostles dayes, but will say that it is now quite lost. Some will grant that the Office of the Ministry is perpetually necessary, but will adde, That it is lawfull for all men gifted, to enter upon the publick work of the Ministry, though they be not called and ordained thereunto. Some are for an immediate and extraordinary Call to the Ministry. Some will deny all Ordination of Ministers. Others will grant Ordi∣nation but deny Imposition of hands. Others will grant Imposi∣tion of hands, but say, That it ought to be done by private Church-members, and not by the Presbytery.
By this it appears that our Adversaries differ as much one from another, as they do from us. And therefore we need not be much afraid of their opposition, for in writing against us they will be necessitated also to write one against another.
It is, we confesse, a great lamentation, and shall be for a la∣mentation, that there should be such differences and divisions amongst Christians, and especially amongst those that pro∣fesse the Protestant Reformed Religion, and have made a neces∣sary Page 191 and just separation from the Idolatry and superstition of the Church of Rome. Hereby God is greatly dishonoured. True Religion hindered and disgraced. The wicked are hard•ed in their wickednesse. The Popish party is encouraged. The godly party weakned, and great stumbling blocks are laid before weak Christians to deter them from true conversion. But we hope that this which we have written will contribute something to∣wards the healing of these differences, and uniting of all god∣ly and unprejudiced people in peace and truth. This is our de∣sign, this is the success we pray for.
We have been necessitated to make frequent mention of A Platform of Church-Discipline, agreed upon by the Elders and Messengers of the Churches in New-England, and have ex∣pressed our dissent from some things therein contained. But we desire the Reader to take notice,
1. That in the Preface to this Platform they assure us of their hearty consent to the whole Confession of Faith (for substance of Doctrine) which the Reverend Assembly pre∣sented to the Parliament; and tell us of an unanimous vote of a Synod at Cambridge, 1648. which passed in these words, This Synod having perused and considered (with much gladnesse of heart, and thankefulness to God) the Confession of Faith pub∣lished of late by the Reverend Assembly in England, do judge i• to be very holy, orthodox and judicious in all matters of Faith, and do therefore freely and fully consent thereunto, for the sub∣stance thereof, &c. And do therefore think it meet, that this Con∣fession of Faith, should be commended to the Churches of Christ amongst us, and to the honoured Court▪ as worthy of their due consideration and acceptance.
2. That as we agree wholly in the same Confession of Faith, so also we agree in many things of greatest concernment in the matter of Church-Discipline.
3. That those things wherein we differ are not of such con∣sequence, as to cause a schism between us, either in worship, or in love and affection. Our debates with them are (as it was said of the disputes of the ancient Fathers one with ano∣ther about lesser differences) not contentiones, but collationes.Page 192 We can truly say (as our Brethren do in the fore-named Pre∣face) That it is far from us so to attest the Discipline of Christ, as to detest the Disciples of Christ; so to contend for the seamless coat of Christ, as to crucifie the living members of Christ; So to divide our selves about Church-communion, as through breaches to open a wide gap for a deluge of Antichristian and prophane ma∣lignity to swallow up both Church and Civil State.
The main intendment and chief drift of this our underta∣king, hath been, to oppose those that say, That there is no such Office as the Office of the Ministry; or, That this Office is quite lost; or, That every man that thinks himself gifted, may intrude into the Ministerial Office. These opinions we judge destructive to Christian Religion, and an in-let to Popery and all errour, to all disorder and confusion, and at last to all profaneness and Atheism.
There are four things that justly deserve to be abhorred by all good Christians.
- 1. An Vniversal Toleration of all Religions.
- 2. An Vniversal Admittance of all men to the Lords Supper.
- 3. Vniversal Grace, that is, that Christ died equally for all, and that all men have free-will to be saved.
- 4. Vniversal Allowance of all that suppose themselves gift∣ed to preach without Ordination. This last is that which we have abundantly confuted, and which we conceive to be un∣sufferable in a well-ordered Christian Commonwealth. And our prayer to God is, That our respective Congregations may be established in the truth against this and all other errours; And that they may take heed least being led away with the errour of the wicked, they should fall from their own stedfastness. And (for the preventing of this mischief) That they may grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ, to him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.