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Of Congregational Asemblies, that is, the mceting of the ruling
Officers of a particular Congregation for the Government thereof. HE ruling officers of a particular congregation have
power authoritatively to call before theın any member of the congregation, as they shall see just occasion
To inquire into the knowledge and spiritual eltate of the several members of the congregation,
To adınonifh and rebuke,
Which three branches are proved by Heb. xiii. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. Ezek. xxxiv. 4. p.
Authoritative suspension from the Lord's table of a person not yet cast out of the church, is agreeable to the scripture: First, Because the ordinance itself must not be profaned.
Secondly, Because we are charged to withdraw from these that walk disorderly.
Thirdly, Because of the great fin and danger, both to him that comes unworthily, and also to the whole church q.
And 力 Heb. xii. 17. Obey them that ther cast ye your pearls before swine, have the rule over you, and sub- left they trample them under their mit yourselves : for they watch for feet, and turn again and rent you. your souls as they that must git 2 Thess. ii. 6. Now we command account, that they may do it with you, brethren, in the name of our joy and not with grief : for that is Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withunprofitable for you. i Theff. v. draw yourselves from every brother 12. And we beseech you, brethren, that walketh disorderly, and not to know them which labour among affer the tradition which ye receió you, and are over you in the Lord, ved of us. v. 14. And if any man and admonish you; V. 13. And to obey not cur word by this epistle, esteem them very highly in love for note that man, and have no comtheir works fake. And be at peace pany with him, that be may be among yourselves. Ezek. xxxiv. 4. ashamed. v. 15. Yet count him not The diseased have ye not Itrength as an enemy, but admonish him as ened, neither have ye healed that a brother. 1 Cor. xi. 27. Where. which was sick, neither have ye fore, whosoever shall eat this bread, bound up that which was broken, and drink this cup of the Lord unneither have ye brought again that worthiis, all be guilty of the body which was driven away, neither and blood of the Lord. See on to have ye fought that which was latt; the end of the chapter. Compared but with force and with cruelty with Jude 23. And others save with ruled them.
fear, pulling them out of the fire; Matth. vii. 6. Give not that hating even the garment spotted by which is holy unto the dogs, nei- the flesh. iTim, v. 22. Lay hands
And there was power and authority, under the Old Testament, to keep unclean persons from holy things r.
The like power and authority, by way of analogy, continues under the New Testament.
The ruling officers of a particular congregation have power authoritatively to suspend from the Lord's table a person not yet cast out of the church :
First, Because those who have authority to judge of, and admit, such as are fit to receive the sacrament, have authori. ty to keep back such as shall be found unworthy.
Secondly, Because it is an ecclefiaftical business of ordinary practice belonging to that congregation.
When congregations are divided and fixed, they need all mutual help one from another, both in regard of their intrinsical weaknesses and mutual dependence, as also in regard of enemies from without.
Of Classical Assemblies.
A presbytery consisteth of ministers of the word, and such other public officers as are agreeable to and warranted by the word of God to be church-governors, to join with the ministers in the government of the church t.
The suddenly on no man, neither be par- si Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not tlie taker of other 'mens fins: keep thy- gift that is in thee, which was gi
· ven thee by prophecy, with the lay. a Lev. xii. 5. And the priest ing on of the hands of the presby. shall look on him the seventh day: tery. Acts xv. 2. When therefore and behold, if the plague in his Paul and Barnabas had no small fight be at a stay, and the plague dissention and disputation with them, spread not in the skin; then the theỳ determined that Paul and Barpriest shall fhut him up seven days nabas, and certain other of them, more. Numb. ix. 7. And those men should go up to Jerusalem unto the said unto him, We are defiled by apostles and elders about this quethe dead body of a man : wherefore fion. V. 4. And when they were are we kept back, that we may not come to Jerusalem, they were re. offer an offering of the Lord in his ceived of the church, and of the appointed season, among the chil. apostles and elders, and they decladren of Israel? 2 Chron. xxiii. 19. red all things that God had done And he set the porters at the gates with them. v. 6. And the apostles of the house of the Lord, that none and elders came together for to con• that was unclean in any thing sider of this matter. Thould enter in.
* Rom. xii. 7. Or ministry, let
The Scripture doth hold forth, that many particular congregations may be under one presbyterial government.
This proposition is proved by instances :
I. First, Of the church of Jerusalem, which consisted of more congregations than one, and all these congregations were under one presbyterial government.
This appeareth thus:
1. First, The church of Jerusalem consisted of more congregations than one, as is manifest,
First, By the multitude of believers mentioned in divers, both before the dispersion of the believers there, by means of the persecution v; and also after the dispersion w.
Secondly, us wait on our ministring; or he with all the people. And the Lord that teacheth, on teaching; v. 8. added to the church daily fuch as Or he that exhorteth, on exhorta-' hould be saved. Acts iv. 4.
How. tion : he that giveth, let him do it beit, many of them which heard with simplicity; he that ruleth, with the word, believed; and the numdiligence; he that sheweth mercy, ber of the men was about five thouwith cheerfulness. i Cor. xii. 28. fand. Acts v. 14. And believers And God hath fet some in the were the more added unto the Lord, church, first apostles, secondarily multitudes both of men and women. prophets, thirdly teachers, after Acts vi. 1. And in those days, when that miracles, then gifts of healings, the number of the disciples was helps, governments, diversities of multiplied, there arose a murmurtongues.
ing of the Grecians against the Hev Acts viii. 1. And Saul was con- brews, because their widows were senting unto his death. And at that neglected in the daily ministration. time there was a great persecution v. 7. And the word of God increaagainst the church which was at fed; and the number of the disciples Jerusalem; and they were all scat- multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and tered abroad throughout the regions a great company of the priests were of Judea and Samaria, except the obedient to the faith. apostles.
Acts i. 15. And in those w Acls ix. 21. Then had the days Peter stood up in the mids of churches rest throughout all Judea the disciples, and said, (the num- and Galilee, and Samaria, and were ber of the names together were a- edified, and walking in the 'fear of bout an hundred and twenty). Acts the Lord, and in the comfort of ii. 41. Then they that gladly receive the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. ed his word, were baptized : and Acts xii. 24. But the word of God the same day there were added un- grew and multiplied. Acts xxi. 20. to them about three thousand souls. And when they heard it, they gloV. 46. And they continuing daily rified the Lord, and said unto him, with one accord in the temple, and Thou seest, brother, how many breaking bread from house to house, thousands of Jews there are which did eat their meat with gladness believe, and they are all zealous of and singleness of heart, v. 47. the law. Praising God, and having favour
Secondly, By the many apostles and other preachers in the church of Jerusalem. And if there were but one congregation there, then each apostle preached but seldom *; which will not consist with Acts vi. 2.
Thirdly, The diversity of languages among the believers, mentioned both in the second and fixth chapters of the Acts, doth argue inore congregations than one in that church.
2. Secondly, All those congregations were under one prefbyterial government; becaulé, First, They wereone church.
Secondly, The elders of the church are mentioned z.
Thirdly, The apostles did the ordinary acts of presbyters, as presbyters in that kirk; which proveth a presbyteriał church before the dispersion, Acts vi.
Fourthly, The several congregations in Jerusalem being one church, the elders of that church are mentioned as meeting together for acts of government a ; which proves, tirat those leveral congregations were under one presbyterial government.
And * Aets vi. 2. Then the twelve z Aets xi. 30. Which also they called the multitude of the disciples did, and sent it to the elders by uato them, and said, It is not rea. the hands of Barnabas and Saul. fon that we should leave the word Acts xv. 4. And when they were of God, and serve tables.
come to Jerusalem, they were rey Acts viii. 1. And Saul was con- ceived of the church, and of the senting unto his death. And at apostles and elders, and they decla. that time there was a great perfe. red all things that God had done cution against the church which with them. v. 6. And the apo tles was at Jerusalem; and they were and elders came together to conall scattered abroad throughout the sider of this matter.
V. 22. Then regions of Judea and Samaria, ex- it pleased the apostles and elders cept the apostles. Acts ii. 47. Prai- with the whole church, to fend fing God, and having favour with chosen, men of their own company all the people, and the Lord add- to Antioch, with Paul and Barnaed unto the church daily such as bas; namely, Judas firmamed Bar. should be saved. Compared with fabas, and Silas, chief men among Acts v. 11. And great fear came the Brethren. Acts xxi. 17. And upon all the church, and upon as when we were come to Jerusalem, many as heard these things. Acts the brethren received us gladly. xii. 5. Peter therefore was kept in v. 18. And the day following Pan! prison; but prayer was made with. went in with us unto James; and out ceasing of the church unto God all the elders were present. for him. Acts xv. 4. And when a Aas xi. 30. Which also they they were come to Jerusalem, they did, and sent it to the elders by the were received of the church, and of hands of Barnabas apd Saul. Acts the apostles and elders, and they XV. 4. And when they were come declared all things that God had to Jerusalem, they were received of done with them.
And whether these congregations were fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is also one as to the truth of the proposition,
Nor doth there appear any material difference betwixt the several congregations in Jerufalem, and the many congregations now in the ordinary condition of the church, as to the point of fixedness required of officers or members.
3. Thirdly, Therefore the scripture doth hold forth, that many congregations may be under one presbyterial govern ment,
II. Secondly, By the instance of the church of Ephesus ; for,
i. That there were more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus, appears by Acts xx. 31.b, where is mention of Paul's continuance at Ephesus in preaching for the space of three years: and Acts xix. 18, 19, 20. Where the special effect of the word is mentioned c; and verf. 10. 17. of the same chapter, where is a distinction of Jews and Greeks d; and i Cor. xvi. 8, 9. where is a reason of Paul's stay at Ephesus until Pentecost e; and vers. 19. where is mention of a particular church in the house of Aquila and
Priscilla, the church, and of the apostles and shewed their deeds. 5. 19. Many elders, and they declared all things also of them which used curious that God had done with them. arts, brought their books together, ů. 6. And the apostles and elders and burned them before all men: came together for to consider of and they counted the price of them, this matter. V. 22. Then it pleased and found it fifty thousand pieces of the apostles and elders, with the silver. V. 20. 'So mightily grew the whole church, to send chosen men word of God, and prevailed. of their own company to Antioch, d Afts xix. 10. And this contiwith Paul and Barnabas; namely, nued by the space of two years; Judas firmamed Barsabas, and Silas, fo that all they which dwelt in Afia, chief men among the brethreni. heard the word of the Lord Jesus, Acts xxi. 17. And when they were both Jews and Greeks. v. 17 And come to Jerusalem, the brethren this was known to all the Jews and received us gladly. v. 18. And Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; the day following, Paul went in with and fear fell on them all, and the us to James ; and all the elders name of the Lord Jesus was magwere present. And so forward.
nified. b Acts xx. 31. Therefore watch, e Cor. xvi. 8. But I will tarry and remember that by the space of at Ephesus until Pentecost. three years, I ceased not to warn For a great door and effectual is ó. every one night and day with tears. pened unto me, and there are many
c Acts xix. 18. And many that adversaries, believed, came and confessed, and