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of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.
IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's supper for a season, and by excommunication from the church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person.
n 1 Cor. 5th chapter throughout. 1 Tim. v. 20. Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear. Matt. vii. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 1 Tim. i. 20. Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. Jude, ver. 23. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 1 Cor. xi. 27, to the
• 1 Thess. v. 12. And we beseech you, brethren to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you. 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.-And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, 13. 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
OF SYNODS AND COUNCILS.
FOR the better government and further edification of the church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils and it belongeth to the overseers and other rulers of the particular churches, by virtue of their office, and the power which Christ hath given them for edification, and not for destruction, to appoint such assemblies; and to convene together in them, as often as they shall judge it expedient for the good of the church.
may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.-Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. Matt. xviii. 17. Tit. iii. 10.
P Acts xv. 2, 4, 6. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders; and they declared all things that God had done with them.-And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
4 Acts chap. xv.
r Acts. xv. 22, 23, 25. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas, surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote letters by them after this manner: The apostles, and elders, and brethren, send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia :-It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send
II. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially, to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his church; to receive complaints in cases of mal-administration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his word."
III. All synods or councils since the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help in both.
IV. Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiasti
chosen men unto you, with our beloved Barnabas and Paul.
Acts xvi. 4. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. Acts xv. 15, 19, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. Matt. xviii. 17, 18, 19, 29.
t Acts xyii. 11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 1 Cor. ii. 5. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 2 Cor. i. 24. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. Eph. ii. 20.
cal and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate."
OF THE STATE OF MAN AFTER DEATH, AND OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.
THE bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls, (which neither die nor sleep) having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. w The souls of the righteous,
Luke xii. 13, 14.
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge, or a divider over you? John xviii. 36. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Gen. iii. 19. In the sweat of thy face, shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground: for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Acts xiii. 36. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.
w Luke xxiii. 43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise. Eccl. xii. 7. Then shall the dust return to the
being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies: and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
II. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the
earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
* Heb. xii. 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. Phil. i. 23. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. 1 John iii. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 2 Cor. v. 1, 6, 8.
y Luke xvi. 23, 24. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. Jude, verses 6, 7.
z 1 Thess. iv. 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound; and the