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my justly conclule, that the Church of Ephefuis was a covenanted cliurch; yea, the profeflion of faith in all the Apostolic Chuches was a covenanted one,-a profeffion by whichi they vowed to abide,--a profeflion unto which iliey engaged with every solemnity, that of an oath not excepted. This sense of the term is as agreeable to the scope of the place as to the usual acceptation of it. It was extremely proper to put the Hebrews in mind of those folemn engagements into which they entered at their firit admission into the Gospel Church, when they were about to be exposed to hazard on account of them, leit at any time they should fall from their own steadfastness.-As to the season of this duty, It was performed prior to their admission to scaling ordinances, and special privileges of the Gospel Church: It was the foundation of fellowship among her members : They entered into these engagements even prior unto their adınillion to baptism; and, for this reason, the ancients termed it the BAPTISMAL COVENANT. The greater part of those who were admitted into the Gospel Church being adults, they were capalle of making this folenn declaration, to found coi fidence in the minds of those who received them.

veniffe. Et cum infinitivo. Ifeus, xa si ulu po ovould avts ώμολόγους είναι το Νικοςρατου. Demofthenes, άνευ αντε ομολογησαντα μη αποδώσειν.---Ομολογώ Spondeo, Roganti prosmitto. at Budæus exponit in hoc Libanii loco, byad pesu cüraporoγηκα προς εκείνον ώς πάντως αν σαρά σου τύχοι.. .“ Sic dicitur óporoytőv pesodor, pacisci mercedem.” Thesaur. Ling. Græc. in vocem.Also, consult VALESIUS in notas ad HARPOCRATIONEM, p. 250.- LAMBERT Bos Anim. adversion. ad Scriptores quofdam Græcas, p. 24.


The systein to which they assented was probably drawn up by such officers in the Church as received the candidates who offered.

Tlnis, Paul drew up a FORM OF SOUND WORDS for Timothy: Said he, “Hold fast the forón of found words which thou hast heard of me, &c.

THIRDLY, I shall enquire if these engagements were, on special occasions, renewed by the members of the Apostolic Churches, and that with divine approbation. I conclude in the affirmative, for the following reasons.

1. TI E Churches of Macedonia were brought into great trials, which tliey bore with cheerfulness and joy; and, at the same time, to exercise their liberality for the relief of the saints, which they did with readinefs: But how did they atchieve these things ? “ And this they did; not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God." This folemn dedication is not that which obtained at the admission of the members of these churches unto baptism; but such as took place a long time afterwards. It will not be improper, however, to take a more narrow survey of this text.---The duty performed, “ They gave their own selves un

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to the Lord *." The foundation of faith in such a duty lies in that, or the like promise, “ One shall say, I am the Lord's." They dcdicated themselves unto him as his people. This is the only sense in which persons, already in a church state, can be said to give themselves into the Lord.The Apostle adds, * And to us, by the will of God." Learned men have viewed this testimony in various lights, Some understand it of subjecting themselves


* The folemnity of this profeffion Dr Owen treats, EX PROFESSO, in another work besides his Commentary on the Epiftle to the Hebrews. It.inay not be improper to make a few oxtracts from it in this place, as it is not in the hands of every reader : “ The way whereby per: fons enter into a church state is, by MUTUAL CONFEDERATION, or folemn agreement for the performance of all the duties which the Lord Christ hath prescribed un. to his disciples in such churches; and in order to the ex, ercise of tie power wherewith they are intruted, according to the rule of the word. The things ensuing are clear and evident : 1. The Lord Christ, by his authority, hath instituted this church state. 2. That, by his word, he hath granted powers and privileges unto this church ; and prescribed duties unto all belonging to it. 3. That he doth require and command all his dif: ciples to join themselves in a church relation ; warrant: ing them so to co by his word and command. Where. fore, 4. Tliis JOINING OF THEMSELVES, whereon de. pends all their intereft in church powers and privileges, --all their obligation unto church duries, is a voluntary act of the obedience of faith into the authority of Chrift, por can it be any thing else. 5. Herein they GIVE THEMSELVES UNTO THE Lord, and to one another, aca cording to the will of God. 6. TO GIVE OURSELVES CNTO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST is, expressly to engage to


to such as are over them in the Lord, to be guided by them in all the ordinances of the Gospel. Others understand it of giving their contribution into their hand, to be distributed according to their wifdom.

The former, which is the most natural connection of the words, is most generally received.

The persons who performed these duties are, as the connection intimates, the



do and observe all that he hath appointed and commanda ed in the church ; as the phrase every where signifieth in Scripture ; as also, JOINING OURSELVES UNTO THE Lors, which is the fame. 7. This refignation of ourselves unto the will, power, and authority of Christ, with: an exprefs engagement inade unto him of doing and observing all his commandinents, hath the nature of a covenant on our part ; and it hath so on his, by virtue of the promise of his special presence, annexed unto this engagement on our part, Maith. xxviii. 19. 8. There are three things required unto a covenant be. tween God and men: (1.) That it be of God's appointa ment. (2.) That, upon a prescription of duties, there be a folemn engagement into the performance of them on the part of inan. (3.) That there be a special promise of God annexed thereunto (I would rather fay prefixed), in which consists the matter of confederation, whereof'mutual ftipulation is the forın; all concur herein."--"11. There are many inutual duties required of all who join them. selves in church focieties, and powers to be exercifed and submitted unto, whereunto none can be obliged withont their own content. They must give themselves to one another by the will of God; that is, they must agree, consent, and engage among themselves, to observe ali those duties, to use all those privileges, and to exercise all those powers which the Lord Christ hath prescribed


Churches in Macedonia. There were more than one church in Macedonia ; and all of them seem to have concurred in this duty. The dedication was folemn and social; and the practice appears to have been universal.

The seafon in which they performed this duty. This was not at their first erection. Independents have pleaded for church-covenants to constitute single churches, of no greater ex


and granted unto his church, Jer. 1. 4, 5."-"14. Now, whereas these things, in themselves, and for the fubItance of them, are known gospel duties, which all be. lievers are indispensibly obliged unto, the more express our engagement is concerning them, the more do we glorify Christ in our profession, and the greater fense of duty will abide on our confciences, and the greater encouragement Le given unto the performance of mutual duties ; as also, the more evident will the warrant be for the exercise of church power. 15. The Lord Chrift having instituted and appointed officers, rulers, or lead. ers in his Church, to look into the discharge of all church duties among the members of it, to adipinister and dispense all its privileges, and to exercise all its authority, THE CONSENT AND ENGAGEMENT infifted on, is expressly required unto the constitution of this order, and the prefervation of it. 16. Wherefore, the formal cause of a church conGlieth in an obediential act of believers, in fuch nunbers as inay be useful unto the ends of the churches edification, jointly giving up themselves unto the Lord Jesus Christ, to do and observe all his commands. reiling on the pronuife of his fpecial presence therein, giving and communicating all the rights, power, and privileges of his Church unto them; and, in a mutual agreement among themselves, jointly to perform all the duties required of thein in that flate; with an especial


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