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bind the conscience, in virtue of their own authority : and that all their decisions fwould be founded upon the revealed will of God. Now though it will easily be admitted, that all synods and councils may err, through the frailty inseparable from humanity; yet there is much greater danger, frum the ufurped 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 necesity requires in the present state, be lodged with fallible

men.

VIII. Lastly, That, if the preceding scriptural and rational principles be fledfafly adhered to, the vigor and strictness of its discipline will contribute to the glory and happiness of any church.

Since ecclefiaffical 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

THE

FORM

OF

GOVERNMENT.

снА Р. І.

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

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

Sect. II. The universal church consists of all thofe persons, in every ration, together with

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I. 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 set him at his own right given him dominion and glory, hand in heavenly places, tar and a kingdom, that all peoabove all principality, and powe ple, nations, and languages er, and night, and dominion, should serve him; his domiand every name that is named, nion is an everlasting dominion pot 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 hast led captivity 22, 23. And put all things under captive, thou haft received 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 them.

eshim that filleth all in all. b. Plal, 2. 6. Yet have I set

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

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 fcripture example, that they should be divided into many particular churches'.

Sect. IV. A particular church consists of a number of professing Christians, with their offspring, voluntarily affociated together, for divine worship and godly living, agreeably to the holy fcriptures ; and submitting to a certain form of government'.

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II. c Rev. 5.9.--And haft re- candlesticks. The seven stars dcemed us to God by thy blood are the angels of the seven chur: out of every kindred, and ches; and the seven candletongue, and people, and nati- sticks which thou saweft are the on Ads 2. 39. For the pro- feven churches. See also Rev. mife 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 un. 9. 13:

to them about three thousand III. d Gal. 1. 21, 22. Af souls... Praising God and haterwards I came into the regio ving favour with all the people. ons of Syria and Cilicia; and And the Lord added to the was unknown by face unto the church daily such as should be churches of Judea, which were saved. 1 Cor. 7. 14. For the un. in Christ

. Rev. 1.4, 20. John believing husband is sanctified to the leven churches which by the wife, and the unbelievare in Alia; Grace be unto you, ing wife is fan&ified by the and peace from him which is, husband; else were your chil. and 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 sawelt in my right f Heb. 8. 5. Who serve hand, and the feven golden unto the example and shadow CH A P. II.

Of the Officers of the Church.

UR blessed Lord, at first, collected his. O

church, out of different nations, and Extraordina- formed it 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 Pastors"; the reOfficers.

presentatives of the people, usually stiled Ruling Elders, and Deacons.

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of heavenly :hings, as Mofes 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 Sie (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 unclcent 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, eurding to this rule, peace be and all manner of disease. on them, and mercy, and upon di Tim. 3: 1, 2. a man the Ifrael of God.

defire the office of a bishop, he I. a Psal. 2. 8. Ask of me, defireth a good work. Eph. 4. and I shall give thee the Hea- 11. And he gave fome, aporthen for thine inheritance, and tles : and some, prophets : and the uttermost parts of the earth fome, evangelists; and fome, for thy poffeflion. Rev. 7. 9. pastors and teachers; ver. 12. After this I heheld, and lo a For the perfecting of the saints, great multitude, 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, e I Tim. 5. 17. Let the an: before the Lamb, clothed elders that rule well, be count. with white robes, and palms ined worthy of double honour. their hands.

f Phil. 1. 1. To all the saints bi ('or. 10. 17. For we in Christ Telus, which are at being many are one bread, and Philippi, with the bishops and. une body : for we are all par- deacons.

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The per

Of Bishops or Pastors. THE

THE pastoral office is the first, in the church,

both for dignity and usefulnessa. Names, &c. fon who fills this office, hath, in scrip ture, obtained different names expreffive of his various duties. As he has the oversight of the flock of Chrift, he is termed bishop!*. As he feeds them with fpiritual food, he is termed pastore. As he ferves Christ in his church, he is termed minister". As it is his duty to be 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

be grave

2

I. a Rom. 11. 13.

so account of us, as of the mic b Acts 20. 29. Take heed nisters of Christ, and stewards therefore unto yourselves, and of the niysteries of God. to all the flock over the which Cor. 3. 6. Who also hath the Holy Ghost hath made you made us able ministers of the overseers. (bishops) to feed the New Testament. church of God, which he hath e i 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 am also an elder, and give you pastors according to a witnefs of the fufferings of mine heart, which shall seed 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 also Tit. I. So 1 Tim. S. di Cor. 4. I. Let a man I, 17, 19.

As the office and character of the gospel minister is particularly and fully described, in the holy fcriptures, under the citle, of bishop; and as this term is peculiarly ressive of his duty 2 an overseer of the flock, it ought not to be rejected.

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