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of the church, and power from Christ granted unto them, it resembles a democracy ; in respect of the presbytery, and power committed unto them, it is an aristocracy.

Rev. ji. 7. 1 Cor. v. 12. 1 Tim. v. 27. 4. The sovereign power which is peculiar unto Christ, is exercised, i. In calling the church out of the world into holy fellowship with himself. 2. In instituting the ordinances of his worship, and appointing his ministers and officers for the dispensing of them. 3. In giving laws for the ordering of all our ways, and the ways of his house. 4. In giving power and life to all his institutions, and to his people by them. 5. In protecting and delivering his church against and from all the enemies of their peace.

Gal. i. 4. Rev. v. 8, 9. Matt. xxviii. 20. Eph. iv. 8, 11. James, iv. 12. Isa. xxxii. 22. 1 Tim. ii. 15. 2 Cor. x. 4,5. Isa. xxxii. 2. Luke i. 71.

5. The power granted by Christ unto the body of the church and brotherhood, is a prerogative or privilege which the church doth exercise, 1. In choosing their own officers, whether elders or deacons. 2. In admission of their own members, and therefore there is great reason they should have power to remove any from their fellowship again. Hence in case of offence, any brother hath power to convince and admonish an offending brother; and in case of not hearing him, to take one or two more to set on the admonition ; and in case of not hearing them, to proceed to tell the church; and as his offence may require, the whole church hath power to proceed to the censure of him, whether by admonition or excommunication; and upon his repentance, to restore him again unto his former communion.

Acts, vi. 3, 5, and xiv. 23, and ix. 26. Matt. xviji. 15, 16, 17. Tit, iii, 10. Col. iv. 17. 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8.

6. In case an elder offend incorrigibly, the matter so requiring, as the church had power to call him to office, so they have power according to order (the council of other churches, where it may be had, di

recting thereto) to remove him from his office ; and being now but a member, in case he add contumacy to his sin, the church that had power to receive him into their fellowship, hath also the same power to cast him out, that they have concerning any other member.*

Col. iv. 17. Rom. xvi. 17. Matt. xviii. 17.

7. Church government or rule, is placed by Christ in the officers of the church, who are therefore called rulers, while they rule with God; yet in case of maladministration, they are subject to the power of the church, as hath been said before. The Holy Ghost frequently, yea always, where it mentioneth church rule, and church government, ascribeth it to elders ; whereas the work and duty of the people is expressed in the phrase of obeying their elders, and submitting themselves unto them in the Lord. So as it is manifest, that an organic or complete church is a body politic, consisting of some that are governors, and some that are governed in the Lord.

1 Tim. v. 17. Heb. xiii, 17. - 1 Thess, v. 12. Rom. xii. 8. 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29. Heb. xiii. 7, 17.

8. The power which Christ has committed to the elders, is to feed and rule the church of God, and accordingly to call the church together upon any weighty occasion ; when the members so called, without just cause, may not refuse to come, nor when they are come, depart before they are dismissed, nor speak in the church before they have leave from the elders; nor continue so doing when they require silence; nor may they oppose nor contradict the judgment or sentence of the elders, without sufficient and weighty cause, because such practices are manifestly contrary unto order and government, and inlets of disturbance, and tend to confusion.

Acts, xx. 28, and vi. 2. Numb. xvi. 12. Ezek. xlvi. 10. Acts, xiii. 15. Hos. iv, 4.

* The Platform makes it incumbent on a minister to be a member of the church over which he is pastor--a regulation which we bumbly conceive ought never lo have been violated.- Editor.

to 26.

9. It belongs also unto the elders to examine any officers or members before they be received of the church; to receive the accusations brought to the church, and to prepare them for the church's hearing. In handling of offences and other matters before the church, they have power to declare and publish the counsel and will of God touching the same, and to pronounce sentence with consent of the church. Lastly, they have power, when they dismiss the people, to bless them in the name of the Lord. Rev. ii. 2. 1 Tim. v. 19. Acts, xxi. 18, 22, 23. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. Num. vi. 23

10. This power of government in the elders doth not any wise prejudice the power of privilege in the brotherood; as neither the power of privilege in the brethren, doth prejudice the power of government in the elders, but they may sweetly agree together; as we may see in the example of the apostles, furnished with the greatest church power, who took in the concurrence and consent of the brethren in church administrations. Also that scripture, 2 Cor. ii. 9, and x. 6, do declare, That what the churches were to act and do in these matters, they were to do in a way of obedience, and that not only to the direction of the apostles, but also of their ordinary elders.

Acts, xiv. 15, 23, and vi. 2. 1 Cor. v. 4. 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7. Heb. xiji. 17.

11. From the premises, namely, That the ordinary power of government belonging only to the elders, power of privilege remaineth with the brotherhood (as the

power of judgment in matters of censure, and power of liberty in matters of liberty) it followeth, that in an organic church, and right administration, all church acts proceed after the manner of a mixt administration, so as no church act can be consummated or perfected without the consent of both.


Of the maintenance of church officers.

mon reason.

1. The apostle concludes, that necessary and sufficient maintenance is due unto the ministers of the word, from the law of nature and nations, from the law of Moses, the equity thereof, as also the rule of com

Moreover, the scripture doth not only call elders laborers and workmen, but also speaking of them doth say, that the laborer is worthy of his hire; and requires, that he which is taught in the word should communicate to him in all good things; and mentions it as an ordinance of the Lord, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel; and forbiddeth the muzzling of the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.

1 Cor. șix. 14, 15. Matt. ix. 38, and x. 10. 1 Tim. v. 18. Gal. vi. 6. 1 Cor. ix. 9, 14.

2. The scriptures alledged, requiring this maintenance as a bounden duty, and due debt, and not as a matter of alms and free gift, therefore people are not at liberty to do or not to do, what and when they please in this matter, no more than in any other commanded duty, and ordinance of the Lord; but ought of duty to minister of their carnal things, to them that labor among them in the word and doctrine, as well as they ought to pay any other workmen their wages, and to discharge and satisfy their other debts, or to submit themselves to observe any other ordinance of the Lord.

Rom. xv. 27. 1 Cor. ix. 21.

3. The apostle (Gal. vi. 6,) enjoining that he which is taught communicate to him that teacheth in all good things, doth not leave it arbitrary, what or how much a man shall give, or in what proportion, but even the latter, as well as the former is prescribed and appointed by the Lord.

1 Cor. xvi. 2.

4. Not only members of churches, but all that are taught in the word, are to contribute unto him that teacheth, in all good things. In case that congregations are defective in their contributions, the deacons are to call upon them to do their duty; if their call sufficeth not, the church by her power is to require it of their members; and where church power, through the corruption of men, doth not, or cannot attain the end, the magistrate is to see that the ministry be duly provided for, as appears from the commended example of Nehemiah. The magistrates are nursing-fathers, and nursing-mothers, and stand charged with the custody of both tables ; because it is better to prevent a scandal that it may not come, and easier also, than to remove it when it is given. It is most suitable to rule, that, by the church's care each man should know his proportion according to rule, what he should do, before he do it, that so his judgment and heart may be satisfied in what he doth, and just offence prevented in what is done.

Gal. vi. 6. Acts, vi. 3, 4. Neh. xiii, 11. Isa. xlix. 23. 2 Cor. viii. 13, 14.


Of the admission of members into the church. 1. The doors of the churches of Christ upon earth, do not by God's appointment stand so wide open, that all sorts of people, good or bad, may freely enter therein at their pleasure, but such as are admitted thereto as members, ought to be examined and tried first, whether they be fit and meet to be received into church society, or not.

The eunuch of Ethiopia, before his admission, was examined by Philip, whether he did believe on Jesus Christ with all his heart. The

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