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ment, and governors ecclefiaftical in the church, hath furnished some in his church, beside the ministers of the word, with gifts for government, and with commission to execute the same when called thereunto, who are to join with the minister in the government of the church b. Which officers, reformed churches commonly call elders.


HE scripture doth hold out deacons, as distinct officers

in the church c. Whose office is perpetual d. To whose office it belongs not to preach the word or administer the facraments, but to take {pecial care in distributing to the necessities of the poor e.


ed them, saying, Thus shall ye do Philippi, with the bishops and deain the fear of the Lord, faithfully, cons. i Tim, iii. 8. Likewise must and with a perfect heart. v.10. And the deacons be grave, not doublewhat cause foever shall come to you tongued, not given to much wine, of your brethren that dwell in their not greedy of filthy-lucre. cities, between blood and blood, be- di Tim,"wi, 8. Likewise must tween law and commandinent, and the deacons be grave, not doubleItatutes and judgments, ye shall e- tongued, not given to much wine, ven warn them that they trespass not greedy of filthy-lucre. See in not against the Lord, and so wrath the Bible to v. 15. Acts vi. 1. And come upon you, and upon your bre- in those days, when the number of thren: this do, and ye ihall not tref- `the disciples was multiplied, there pals.

arofe a murmuring of the Grecians b Rom. xii. 7. Or ministry, let us against the Hebrews, because their wait on our ministring: or he that widows .were neglected in the daily teacheth, on teaching: v. 8. Or he ministration. v.2. Then the twelve that exhorteth, on exhortation: he called the multitude of the disciples that giveth, let him do it with sim: unto them, and said, It is not reaplicity: he that ruleth, with dili- son that we should leave the word gence:

: he that sheweth mercy, with of God, and serve tables. v. 3. cheerfulness. I Cor. xii. 28. And Wherefore brethren, look you out God hath set some in the church, among you seven men of honeft refirst apostles, secondarily prophets, port, full of the Holy Ghost, and thirdly teachers, afterthat miracles, wisdom, whom we may appoint othen gifts of healings, helps, govern- ver this business. v. 4. But we will ments, diversities of tongues. give ourselves continually to pray

c Phil. i. 1. Paul and Timotheus er, and to the ministry of the word. the servants of Jesus Christ, to all e Acts vi. 1, 2, 3, 4. See before in saints in Christ Jesus, which are at letter d.

fi Cor.


Of particular Congregations
T it lawful and expedient that there be fixed congregati-

ons, that is, a certain company of Christians to meet in one assembly ordinarily for publick worship. When believers multiply to such a number, that they cannot conveniently meet in one place, it is lawful and expedient that they should be divided into distinct and fixed congregations, for the better administration of such ordinances as belong unto them, and the discharge of mutual duties f.

The ordinary way of dividing Christians into distinct congregations, and most expedient for edification, is by the respective bounds of their dwellings;

First, Because they who dwell together, being bound to all kind of moral duties one to another, have the better opportunity thereby to discharge them; which moral tye is perpetual, for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it g.

Secondly, The communion of saints must be so ordered, as may stand with the most convenient use of the ordinances, and discharge of moral duties, without respect of persons h. Thirdly, The paltor and people must so nearly cohabit

together f 1 Cor. xiv. 26. Let all things bour as thyself. Mat. v. 17. Think be done unto edifying. v. 33. For not that I am come to destroy the God is not the author of confusion, law or the prophets: I am not come but of peace, as in all churches of to destroy, but to fulfil. the saints. v. 40. Let all things be bi Cor. xiv. 26. Let all things done decently, and in order. be done unto edifying. Heb. x. 24.

g Deut. xv. 7. If there be among And let us consider one another, to you a poor man of one of thy bre: provoke unto love, and to good thren within any of thy gates, in works. v. 25. Not forsaking the asthe land which the Lord thy God sembling of ourselves together, as giveth thee, thou thalt not harden the manner of some is: but exbort. thy heart, nor shut thy hand from ing one another, and so much the thy poor brother. v. 11. For the more, as ye see the day approachpoor shall never cease out of the ing. James ii. 1. My brethren have land; therefore I command thee, not the faith of our Lord Jesus saying, Thou shalt open thy hand Christ the Lord of glory with rewide unto thy brother, to thy poor, spect of persons. v. 2. For if there and to thy needy in the land. Mat. coine into your assembly a man with xxii. 39. And the second is like un- a gold-ring, in goodly apparel, and to it, Thou shalt love thy neigh- there come in also a poor man in



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together, as that they may mutually perform their duties each
to other with most conveniency.
In this company some must be set apart to bear office.

Of the Officers of a particular Congregation.
OR officers in a single congregation, there ought to be

one at the least, both to labour in the word and doctrine, and to rule i.

It is also requisite that there should be others to join in government k.

And likewise it is requisite that there be others to take spe. cial care for the relief of the poor l.

The number of each of which is to be proportioned according to the condition of the congregation.

These officers are to meet together at convenient and set times, for the well-ordering of the affairs of that congregation, each according to his office.

It is most expedient that, in these meetings, one whose office is to labour in the word and doctrine, do moderate ia their proceedings m.

Of the Ordinances in a particular Congregation. HE ordinances in a single congregation, are prayer,

thankf. vile raiment.

of healings, helps, governments, dii Prov. xxix. 18. Where there is versities of tongues. no vision, the people perifh; but he 1 Acts vi. 2. Then the twelve calthat keepeth the law, happy is he. led the multitude of the disciples un1 Tim. v. 17. Let the elders that to them, and said, It is not reason rule well be counted worthy of that we should leave the word of double honour, especially they who God, and serve tables. v. 3. Wherelabour, in the word and doctrine. fore, brethren, look ye out among Heb. xiii. 7. Remember them which you seven men of honest report, full have the rule over you, who have of the Holy Ghost, and wisdom, spoken unto you the word of God, whom we may appoint over this whose faith follow, considering the business. end of their conversation.

m 1.Tim. v. 17. Let the elders k i Cor, xii. 28. And God hath that rule well be counted worthy of fet some in the church; first apostles, double honour, especially they who secondarily prophets, thirdly teach- labour in the word and doctrine. crs, after that miracles, then gifts

ņi Tim.

thanksgiving, and singing of psalms n; the word read (altho' there follow no immediate explication of what is read) the word expounded and applied, catechising, the facraments administred, collection made for the poor, dismissing the people with a blessing


Of Church-Government, and the several sorts of Asemblies

for the same. HRIST hath instituted a government, and governors

ecclesiastical in the church: To that purpose, the apostles did immediately receive the keys from the hand of Jesus Christ, and did use and exercise them in all the churches of the world upon all occasions.

And Christ hath since continually furnished some in his church with gifts of government, and with commission to execute the same, when called thereunto.

It is lawful, and agreeable to the word of God, that the church be governed by several sorts of assemblies, which are congregational, classical, and fynodical.

Of the power in common of all these Asemblies. T is lawful and agreeable to the word of God, that the se

veral assemblies before-mentioned have power to convent, and call before them, any person within their several bounds, whom the ecclesiastical business which is before them doth ... concern o.

They n I Tim. ii. 1. I exhort therefore he understandeth not what thou that first of all, fupplications, pray- fayeft? ers, intercessions, and giving of o Mat, xviii. 15. Moreover, if thy thanks be made for all men. 1 Cor. brother shall trespass against thee, xiv, 15. What is it then? I will go and tell him his fault between pray with the spirit, and I will pray thee and him alone: if he shall hear with the understanding also: I will thee, thou hast gained thy brother. sing with the spirit, and I will fing v. 16. But if he will not hear thee, with the understanding also. v. 16. then take with thee one or two Else when thou shalt bless with the more, that in the mouth of two or spirit, how shall he that occupieth three witnesses every word may be the room of the unlearned, say, A-' established. v. 17. And if he shall men at thy giving of thanks, seeing neglect to hear them, tell it unto


They have power to hear and determine such causes and differences as do orderly come before them.

It is lawful and agreeable to the word of God, that all the said assemblies have some power to dispense church-censures.


Of Congregational Assemblies, that is, The meeting 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 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 proyed by Heb. xii. 17. 1 Theff. 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, the church: but if he neglect to count, that they may do it with joy hear the church, let him be unto and not with grief; for that is unthee as an heathen man, and a pub- profitable for you. i Thess. v, 12. lican. v. 18. Verily, I say unto you, And we beseech you, brethren, to Whatsoever shall bind on earth, know them which labour among shall be bound in heaven: and what you, and are over you in the Lord, soever shall loose on earth, thall and admonish you; v. 13. And to be loosed in heaven: v. 19. Again, esteem them very highly in love for I say unto you, That if two of you their works fake. And be at peace shall agree on earth, as touching a- among yourselves. Ezek. xxxiv. 4. ny thing that they fhall ask, it shall The diseased have ye not strength. be done for themofmy Father which ned, neither have ye healed that is in heaven. v. 20. For where two which was sick, neither have ye or three are gathered together in bound up that which was broken, my name, there am I in the midst neither have ye brought again that of them.

which was driven away, neither p Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have ye sought that which was have the rule over you, and submit lost: but with force and with cruelyourselves, for they watch for your ty have ye ruled them. fouls, as they that inust give ac



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