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(1) Heb. vi. 16.-For men verily swear by the greater : and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 2 Cor. i. 23.- Moreover, I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet upto Corinth.
(E) Neh. xiii. 25.--And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.
3. Whosoever taketh an oath warranted by the word of God, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he knoweth to be truth; for that by rash, false, and vain oaths, the (F) Lord is provoked, and for them this land mourns.
(F) Levit. xix. 12.-And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy Gou : I am the Lord. Jer. xxiii. 10.-For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their furce is not right.
4. An oath is to be taken in the plain and (G) common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation.
(G) Ps. xxiv. 4.-He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifced up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5. A vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone, (h) is to be made and performed wi all religious care and faithfulness ; but popish monastical vows (1) of perpetual single life, professed (K) poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious (L) and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.
(H) Ps. lxxvi. 11.-Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared. Gen. xxviii. 20–22.–And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my Father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
(1) 1 Cor. vii. 2, 9.-Nevertheless to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman lave her own husband. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
(K) Eph. iv. 28.--Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
(L) Matt. xix. II.-But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE. 1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained eivil (A) magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.
(A) Rom. xiii. 1-4.- Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but 'o the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain (B) justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth : so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, (c) wage war upon just and necessary occasions.
(B) 2 Sam. xxiii. 3.—The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. Is. Ixxxii.3, 4.Defend the poor and fatberless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
(c) Luke iii. 14.-And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shali we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to nu man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
3. Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid ; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, (v) but for conscience sake ; and we ought to make supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, (E) that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.
(v) Rom. xiii. 5–7.—Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues : tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 1 Pet. ii. 17.-Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
(E) 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2.-I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman; (A) neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.
(A) Gen. ii. 24.-Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Mal. ii. 15.- And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one ? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. Matt. xix. 5, 6. — And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife : and they twain shall be one flesh ? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help (B) of husband and wife, (c) for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and for (D) preventing of uncleanness.
(B) Gen. ii. 18. - And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
(c) Gen. i. 28. - And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(D) 1 Cor. vii. 2, 9.-Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
3. It is lawful for (E) all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent; yet it is the duty of Christians (F) to marry in the Lord; and therefore such as profess the true religion, should not marry with infidels, (G) or idolators ; neither should such as are godly, be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresy.
(E) Heb. xiji, 4.-Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. 1 Tim. iv. 3.-Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
(F) 1 Cor. vii. 39.-The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth ; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will ; only in the Lord.
(G) Nch. xiii. 25—27.-And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon King of Israel sin by these things ? Yet among many nations was there no King like him who was beloved of his God, and God made him King over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives ?
4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity (H) or affinity, forbidden in the word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful, by any law of man or consent of parties, (1) so as those persons may live together as man and wife.
(1) The reader is referred to the 18th chapter of Leviticus.
(1) Mark vi. 18.-For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. I Cor. v. 1.- It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
OF THE CHURCH. 1. The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole (A) number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
(A) Heb. xli. 23.—To the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. Col. i. 18.-And he is the head of the body, the church who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Eph. i. 10, 22, 23.—That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: And hath put all things under bis feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Chap. v. 23, 27, 32.-For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it, not
destroying their own profession by any errors, everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, (B) are and may be called visible saints ; (c) and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.
(B) 1 Cor. i. 2.--Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. Acts xi. 26.-And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
(c) Rom. i. 7. - To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints : Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. i. 20-22.-Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.
3. The purest churches under heaven are subject (D) to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become (E) no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan: nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a (F) kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name.
(D) Read the 2nd and 3rd chap. of Revelations.
(B) Rev. xviii. 2.-And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12.And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(F) Matt. xvi. 18. - And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Ps. lxxii. 17.-His name shall endure for ever : his name shall be continued as long as the sun : ant men shall be blessed in him : all nations shall call him blessed. Ps. cii. 28.-The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee. Rev. xii. 17.-And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, (G) all power for the calling, institution, order, or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner ; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is (H) that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
(c) Col. i. 18.–And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-emir e ice. Matt. xxviii. 18-20.-And Jesns came and spake unto them., saying. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost : Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you : and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Eph. iv. 11, 12.And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets ; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
¡H) The reader is referred to 2 Thess. ii. Chap., the 2nd to 9th verses inclusive.
5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word, by his Spirit, (1) those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk' before bim in all the (K) ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or (1) churches, for their mutual edification, and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world.
(1) John X. 16.–And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold : them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice ; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd. John xii. 32.-And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
(K) Matt. xxviil. 20.- Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you : and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
(1) Matt. xviii. 15–20. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church : but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my pame, there am I in the midst of them.
6. The members of these churches are (m) saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another, by the will of God, (N) in professed subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel.
(M) Rom. 1.7.-To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints : Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. i. 2. -Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus. called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.
(N) Acts ii. 41, 42.-Then they that gladly received his word were baptized : and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the Apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts v. 13, 14.-And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. 2 Cor. ix. 13.Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men.
7. To each of these churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that (o) power and authority, which is any way needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands and rules for the due and right exerting, and executing of
(0) Matt. xviii. 17. 18.—And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be ui to thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 1 Cor. V. 4,5.-In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Chap. v. 13.-But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. 2 Cor. ii. 6–8.-Sufficient to such a man is this punishinent, which was inflicted of many.
So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch
Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.