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bind the conscience, in virtue of their own authority: and that all their decisions Nould be founded upon the revealed will of God. Now though it will easily be admitted, that all fynods and councils may err, through the frailty inseparable from humanity ; yet there is much greater danger, frum the ufur ped claim of making laws, than from the right of judging upon laws already made, and common to all who profefs the gospel; although this right, as necessity requires in the present state, be lodged with fullible men.

VIII. Lastly, That, if the preceding scriptural and rational principles be fledfaply adhered to, the vigor and

frictness of its discipline will contribute to the glory and happiness of any church. Since ecclefia affical discipline must be purely moral or spiritual in its object, and not attended with any civil effects, it can derive no force whatever, but from its own juftice, the approbation of an impartial public, and the countenance and blessing of the great Head of the church universal

1

THE

FORM

OF

GOVERNMENT.

CHAP. I.

P.

Of the Church. Sect. I. ESUS CHRIST, who is now exalted,

JESEN

far above all principality, and power“, hath erected, in this world, a kingdom, which is his church'.

Sect. II. The universal church conGfts of all those persons, in every nation, together with

1. a Eph. 1. 20, 21. When my king upon my holy hill of he raised him from the dead, Zion. Dan, 7. 14. There was and fet him at his own right given him dominion and glory, hand in heavenly places, far and a kingdom, that all peoabove all principality, and pow- ple, nations, and languages er, and night, and dominion, should serve him; his domiand every name that is named, nion is an everlafting dominion not only in this world, but also which shall not pass away, in that which is to come. Pfal. and his kingdom that which 68. 18. Thon haft afcended on shall not be destroyed. Eph. t. high, thou haft led captivity 22, 23. And put all things under captive, thou haft receiverl gifts his feet, and gave him to be head for men: yea, for the rebellious over all things to the church, also, that the Lord God might which is his body, the fulness well among then.

ef him that filleth all in all. b. Pfal. 2. 6. Yet have I set

their children, who make profession of the holy religion of Christ, and of submission to his laws.

Sect. III. As this immense multitude cannot meet together, in one place, to hold communion, or to worship God, it is reasonable, and warranted by scripture example, that they should be divided into many particular churches'.

Sect. IV. A particular church consists of a number of profesling Christians, with their off{pring, voluntarily affociated together, for divine worship and godly living, agreeably to the holy scriptures" ; and submitting to a certain form of government'.

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1. c Rev. 5.9.-.And haft re- candlesticks. The seven stars dcemed us to God by thy blood are the angels of the seven churout of every kindred, and ches; and the seven candletongue, and people, and nati- sticks which thou saweft are the

Ads 2. 39. For the pro- feven churches. See also Řer. mise is unto you and to your 2. 1, children, and to all that are IV. e Acts 2. 41, 47.-Then afar off, even as many as the they that gladly received his Lord our Gou shall call. 1 Cor. word were baptized; and the 1, 2. compared with 2 Cor. fame day there were added un9. 13.

to them about three thousand III. d Gal. 1. 21, 22. Af souls.Praising God and haterwards I came into the regi- ving favour with all the people. ons of Syria and Cilicia; and And the Lord added to the was unknown by face untu the church daily such as should be churches of Judea, which were saved. 1 Cor.7. 14. For the onin Christ. Rev. 1. 4, 20. John believing, husband is sanctified to the leven churches which by the wife, and the unbelievare in Ala; Grace be unto you, ing wife is fan&ified by the and peace from him which is, husband; else were your chiland which was, and which is to dren unclean, but now are they come, and from the seven spirits holy. Ads 2. 39. Mark 10. which are before his throne.- 14. compared with Matt. 19. The mystery of the seven stars 13, 14. and Luke 18. 15, 16. which thou saweft in my right f Heb. 8. 5. Who serve hand, and the leven golden unto the example and shadow

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Of the Officers of the Church.

UR blessed Lord, at first, collected his. OU

church, out of different nations, and Extraordina. formed into one body', by the ry officers. mission of men endued with miraculous gifts, which have, long since, ceased'.

The ordinary and perpetual officers, in the Perpetual church, are, Bishops or Paftors"; the reOfficers, presentatives of the people, usually stiled Ruling Elders', and Deacons".

of heavenly -hings, as Moses takers of that one bread. See was admonished of God when also, Eph. 4. 16. Col. 1. 98 he was about to make the ta- c Matt. 10. 1, 7, 8.' And bernacle : for S.e (faith he) when he had called unto him that thou make all things ac- his twelve disciples, he gave cording to the partern shewed them power against unclean to thee in the mount. Gal. 6. fpirits, to cast them out, and 16. And as many as walk ac- to heal all manner of sickness, eording to this rule, peace be and all manner of disease. on them, and mercy, and upon di Tim. 3. 1, 2.mlf a man the Israel of God.

defire the office of a bishop, he I. a Psal. 2. 8. Ak of me, defireth a good work. Eph. 4. and I shall give thee the Hea- 11. And he gave fome, apof. then for thine inheritance, and cles : and fome, prophets : and the uttermoft parts of the earth fome, evangelists; and some, for thy poffeffion. Rev. 7: 9. pastors and teachers; ver. 12. After this I heheld, and 'lo a For the perfecting of the faints, great mulutude, which no man for the work of the ministry, could number, of all nations, for the edifying of the body of and kindreds, and people, and Christ. tongue ftood before the throne, ei Tim. 5. 17. Let the and before the Lamb, clothed elders that rule well, be councwith white robes, and palms in ed worthy of double honour. their hands.

f Phil. 1. 1. To all the saints bi ('or. IO. 171 For we in Christ Tesus, which are at being many are one bread, and Philippi, with the hillops alsu. me body : for we are all par- deacons.

CH A P. III.

Of Bishops or Pastors. THE "HE pastoral office is the first, in the church,

both for dignity and usefulness“. The perNames, &c. fon who fills this office, hath, in scrip ture, obtained different names expressive of his various duties. As he has the oversight of the flock of Christ, he is termed bishopb*. As he feeds them with spiritual food, he is termed pastors. As he serves Christ in his church, he is termed minister". As it is his duty to be grave and prudent, and an example of the flock, and to govern well in the house and kingdom of Chrift, he is termed presbyter or elder". As he

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I. a Rom. 11 13.

so account of us, as of the mib Acts 20. 29. Take hecd nisters of Christ, and stewards therefore unto yourselves, and of the mysteries of God. to all the flock over the which Cor, 3. 6. Who also hath the Holy Ghost hath made you made us able minilters of the overseers. (bishops) to feed the New Testament. church of God, which he hath ei Pet. 5. 1. The elders purchased with his own blood. which are among you, I ex

c Jer. 3 15. And I will hort, who anı also an elder, and give you pastors according to a witncfs of the fufferings of mine heart, which shall feed you Christ, and also a partaker of with knowledge and under the glory that shall be revealed. ftanding 1 Pet. 5. 2, 3, 4.

See alfo Tit. I. So I Tim. s. di Cor. 4. I. Let a man J, 17, 19.

* As the office and character of the gospel minister is particularly and fully described, in the holy fcriptures, under the title, of bishop; and as this term is peculiarly expressive of his duty as an overseer of the flock, it ought not to be rejected.

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