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of Congregational Assemblies, that is, the Meeting of the ruling Offi
cers of a particular Congregation for the government thereof. THE ruling officers of a particular congregation have power, authoritatively, to call before them any member of the congregation, as they shall see just occasion,
To enquire into the knowledge and spiritual estate of the several members of the congregation.
To admonish and rebuke.
Which three branches are proved by Heb. xiii. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. Ezek. xxxiv. 4.
Authoritative suspension froin the Lord's table of a person not yet cast out of the church, is agreeable to the scripture ;
ist. Because the ordinance itself must not be profaned. 2dly. Because we are charged to withdraw from those that walk disorderly.
3dly. Because of the great sin and danger, both to him that comes unworthily, and also to the whole church. Matt, vii. 6. 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14, 15. 1 Cor. xi. 27, to the end of the chapter, compared with Jude, verse 23. 1 Tim, v. 22. And there was power and authority, under the Old Testament, to keep unclean persons from holy things, Levit. xiii. v. Numb. ix. 7. 2 Chron. xxiii. 19.
The like power and authority, by way of analogy, continues under the New Testament.
The ruling officers of a particular congregation have power, author. atively, to suspend from the Lord's table a person, not yet cast out of the church.
1st. Because those who have authority to judge of, and admit such as are fit to receive the sacrament, have authority to keep back such as shall be found unworthy.
2dly Because it is an eccesiastical 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. THE scripture doth hold out a presbytery in a chureh, both in the first epistle to Timothy, iv. 14. And in Acts xv. 2, 4, 6.
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 goveruors, to join with the ministers in the gov. ernment of the church ; as appeareth, Rom. xii. 7, 8. 1. Cor. xii. 28.
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, wbich 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 congregatious than one, as is manifest,
1st. By the multitude of believers mentioned in divers places. Both before the dispersion of the believers there, by means of the persecution, (mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. viii. in the beginning thereof) witness, chap. i. verse 11. chap. ii. verses 41, 46, and 47, chap. iv. 4, chap. v. 14, chap. vi. of the same book of the Acts, verses i, 7. And also after the dispersion, Acts ix. 31 ; xii. 24 ; and xxi, 20, of the same book.
2dly. By the many apostles and other preachers in the church of Je. rusalem : and if there were but one congregation there, then each apos, tle preached but seldom; which will not consist with chap. vi. verse 2, of the same book of the Acts of the Apostles.
3dly. The diversity of languages amongst the believers, mentioned both in the second and sixth chapters of the Acts, doth argue more congregations than one in that church.
2. Secondly. All those congregations were onder one presbyterial government; because, 1st, They were one church, Acts. viii. 1, and chap. ii. 47, compared with chap. v. 11, chap. xii. 5, and chap, xv. 4, of the same book.
2dly. The elders of the church are mentioned, Acts, xi. 30 ; xv, 4, 6, 22, and chap. xxi. 17, 18, of the same book.
3dly. The apostles did the ordinary acts of presbyters, as presbyt. ers in that kirk; which proveth a presbyterial church before the dispersion, Acts vi.
4thly, The several congregations in Jerusalem being one church, the elders of that ehurch are mentioned as meeting together for acts of government, Acts xi. 30. Acts xy. 4, 6, 22, and chap. xxi. 17, 18, and so forward: which proves that those several congregations were under one presbyterial government.
And whether these congregations were fixed, or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is all one as to the truth of the proposition.
Nor doth there appear any material difference betwixt the several congregations in Jerusalem, and the many congregations now in the ordiary condition of the church, as to the point of fixedness reqnired of officers or members.
3. Thirdly. Therefore the scripture doth hold forth, that many congregations may be under one presbyterial government.
II. Secondly. By the instance of the church of Ephesus : for
1. That they were more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus, appears by Acts xx. 31, where is mention of Pauls 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; and verse 10, and 17, of the same chapter, where is a distinction of Jews and Greeks; and 1 Cor. xvi. 8, 9, where is a reason of Paul's stay at Ephesus until pentecost; and verse 19, where is mention of a particular church in the house of Aquilla and Priscilla then at Ephesus ; as appears, Acts xviii. 19, 24, 26. All which laid together doth prove, that the multitude of believers did make more congregations than ove in the church of Ephesus.
2. That there were many elders over these many congregations, as one flock, appeareth Acts xx. 17, 25, 28, 30, 36, 37.
3. That these many congregations were one church, and that they were under one presbyterial government, appeareth Rev. ii. the first six verses, joined with Acts xx. 17, 18.
Of Synodical Assemblies. THE scripture doth hold out another sort of assemblies, for the government of the church, beside classical and congregational, all which we call synodical, Acts xv. Pastors and teachers, and other churcb governors, (as also other fit persons, when it shall be deemed expedient) are members of those assemblies which we call synodical, where they have a lawful calling thereunto.
Synodical assemblies may lawfully be of several sorts, as provincial, national, and ecumenical.
It is lawful and agreeable to the word of God, that there be a sub, ordination of congregational, classical, provincial, and national assema blies, for the goveroment of the church.
OF THE ORDINATION OF MINISTERS. UNDER the head of ordination of ministers is to be considered, either the doctrine of ordination, or the power of it.
Touching the Doctrine of Ordination. No man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the word, without a lawful calling. John iii. 27. Rom. X. 14, 15. Jer. xiy 14. Heb. v. 4.
Ordination is always to be continued in the church. Tit. i. .. 1 Tim. v. 21, 22.
Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some public church office. Numbers viii. 10, 11, 14, 19, 22. Acts vi. 3, 5, 6.
Every minister of the word is to be ordained by imposition of hands, and prayer, with
fasting, by those preaching presbyters, to whom it doth belong. 1 Tim. v. 22. Acts iv. 28, and Acts xiii. 3.
It is agreeable to the word of God, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge. Acts xiv. 23 Titus i. 5. Acts xx. 17, 28.
He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualified, both for Jife and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the Apostle, 1 Timothy iii. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and Titus i. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
He is to be examined and approved by those by whom he is to be ordained. 1 Timothy iii. 7, 10. and v. 22.
No man is to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if ther of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him. 1 Timothy iii. 2. Titus i. 7.
Touching the Power of Ordination. ORDINATION is the act of a presbytery, 1 Timothy iv. 14. The power of ordering the whole work of ordination, is in the whole presbytery, which when it is over more congregations than one, whether those congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent, as to the point of ordination. 1 Timothy iv. 14.
It is very requisite that no single congregation, that can conve. niently associate, do assume to itself all and sole power in ordidation :
1. Because there is no example ip scripture, that any single con. gregation, which might conveniently associate, did assume to itself all and sole power in ordination ; neither is there any rule which may warrant such a practice.
2. Because there is in scripture, example of an ordination in a presbytery over divers congregations: as in the church of Jerusalem, where were many congregations, these many congregations were under one presbytery, and this presbytery did ordain.
The preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in cities or neighboring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands doth appertain, for those congregations within their bounds respectively.
CONCERNING THE DOCTRINAL PART OF ORDINATION OF MINISTERS. 1. NO man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the word, without a lawful calling. John iii. 27. Romans x. 14, 15, Jer. xiv. 14. Hebrews v. 4.
2. Ordination is always to be continued in the church. Titus i. i. 1 Tim. v. 21, 22.
3. Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some public church office. Numbers viii. 10, 11, 14, 19, 22. Acts vi. 3, 5, 6.
4. Every minister of the word is to be ordained by jinposition of hands and prayer, with fasting, by those proaching presbyters to whom it doth belong. 1 T'im. v. 22. Acts xiv. 23. Acts xiii. 3.
5. The power of ordering the whole work of ordination is in the whole presbytery, which, when it is over more congregations than one, whether those congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent as to the point of ordination, 1 Timothy iv. 14.
6. It is agreeable to the word, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge, Acts xiv. 23. Titus i. 5. Acts xx. 17, 28.
7. He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualified, both for life and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle, 1 Timothy iii. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Titus i. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
8. He is to be examined, and approved of by those by whom he is to be ordained. 1 Timothy iii. 7, 10. 1 Timothy v. 22.
9. No man is to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if they of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him. 1 Timothy iii.
2. Titus i. 7. 10. Preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in eities, or neighboring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands do appertain, for those congregations within their bounds respectively. 1 Timothy iv. 14.
11. In extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done, until a settled order may be had, yet keeping as near as possible may be to the rule. 2 Chron. xxix. 34, 35, 36. 2 Chron. XXX. 2, 3, 4, 5,
12. There is at this time, (as we humbly conceive) an extraordinary occasion for a way of ordination for the present supply of min. isters.
The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers. IT being manifest, by the word of God, that no man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the gospel, until he be lawfully called and ordained thereunto; and that the work of ordination is to be performed with all due care, wisdom, gravity, and solemnity; we humbly tender these directions as requisite to be observed.
. 1. He that is to be ordained, being either nominated by the people, or otherwise commended to the presbytery for any place, must address