« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
govern it in such a manner as the Lord hath ordained. For Christ having spoken of the christian discipline, says to his apostles, "whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven :" And Paul wills, that the ministers know how to rule their own house, since they otherwise neither can provide for, nor rule the church of God. This is the reason, why the pastors are in scripture called, “ stewards of God and bishops," that is, overseers and watchmen, for they have the oversight of the house of God, wherein they are conversant, to the end, that every thing may be transacted with good order and decency; and also to open and shut with the keys of the kingdom of heaven, committed to them, according to the charge given them by God.
From these things may be learned, what a glorious work the ministerial office is, since so great things are effected by it; yea how highly necessary it is for man's salvation, which is also the reason, why the Lord wills, that such an office should always remain: for Christ said, when he sent forth his apostles to officiate in this holy function, “ Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world;" where we see his pleasure is that this holy office (for the persons to whom he here speaketh, could not live to the end of the world) should always be maintained on earth. And therefore Paul exhorteth Timothy, " to commit that which he had heard of him, to faithful men, who are able to teach others," as he also, having ordained Titus a minister, further commanded him, “ to ordain elders in every city." Tit. i. 5.
Forasmuch therefore as we, for the maintaining of this office in the church of God, are now to ordain a new minister of the word, and having sufficiently spoken of the office of such persons, therefore you N. shall answer to the following questions, which shall be proposed to you, to the end that it may appear to all here
present, that thou art inclined to accept of this office as above described.
First. I ask thee, whether thou feelest in thy heart that thou art lawfully called of God's church, and there· fore of God himself, to this holy ministry ?
Secondly. Whether thou dost believe the books of the old and new testament to be the only word of God, and the perfect doctrine untoʻsalvation, and dost reject all doctrines repugnant thereto?
Thirdly. Whether thou dost promise faithfully to discharge your office, according to the same doctrine, as above described, and to adorn it with a godly life : also to submit thyself, in case thou shouldst become delinquent either in life or doctrine, to ecclesiastical admonition, according to the public ordinance of the churches ?
Answer. Yes, truly with all my heart.
other, if there are more present, shall lay his hands* on his head,
OD our heavenly Father, who hath called thee to
this holy ministry, enlighten thee with his holy
ter, and the congregation, in the following manner :]
servant in Christ, unto yourself, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseer, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood : love Christ, and feed his sheep, taking the oversight of them not by constraint, but
* This ceremony shall not be used at the installation of those who have before been in the ministry,
willingly: not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, neither as being Lord over God's heritage, but as an example to the flock. Be an example of believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee; meditate upon those things, give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all : take heed to thy doctrine, and continue stedfast therein. Bear patiently all sufferings and oppressions as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
“ And you likewise, beloved Christians, receive this your minister in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such in reputation :" Remember that God himself through him speaketh unto and beseecheth you. Receive the word, which he according to the scripture shall preach unto you,
not as the word of man, but (as it is in truth) the word of God. Let the feet of those that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things, be beautiful and pleasant unto you. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you. If you do these things it shall come to pass, that the peace of God shall enter into your houses, and that you, who receive this man in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward, and through his preaching, believing in Christ, shall through Christ inherit life eternal.”
Since no man is of himself fit for any of these things, let us call upon God with thanksgiving:
TERCIFUL Father, we thank thee, that it pleas
eth thee, by the ministry of men, to gather ?
church to thyself unto life eternal, from amongst the lost children of men: we bless thee for so graciously providing the church in this place with a faithful minister; we beseech thee to qualify him daily more and more by the holy Spirit, for the ministry to which thou hast ordained and called him : enlighten his understanding to comprehend thy holy word, and give him utterance, that he may boldly open his mouth, to make known and dispense the mysteries of the gospel. Endue him with wisdom and valour, to rule the people aright over wbich he is set, and to preserve them in christian peace, to the end that thy church under his administration and by his good example, may increase in number and in virtue. Grant him courage to bear the difficulties and troubles which he may meet with in his ministry, that being strengthened by the comfort of thy Spirit, he may remain stedfast to the end, and be received with all faithful servants into the joy of his master. Give thy grace also to this people and church, that they may becomingly deport themselves towards this their minister; that they may acknowledge him to be sent of thee; that they may receive his doctrines with all reverence, and submit themselves to his exhortations: to the end that they by his word believing in Christ, may be made partakers of eternal life. Hear us, O Father, through thy beloved Son, who hath thus taught us to pray: Our Father, &c.
THE FORM FOR ORDAINING ELDERS AND DEACONS, WHEN ORDAIN
ED AT THE SAME TIME. (But if they are ordained separately, this form shall be used as occa
sion requires.] ELOVED Christians, you know that we have seyeral times published unto you the names
of our brethren here present, who are chosen to the office of
elders and deacons in this church, to the end that we might know whether any person had aught to allege why they should not he ordained in their respective offices: and whereas no one hath appeared before us, who hath alleged any thing lawful against them, we shall therefore at present, in the name of the Lord, proceed to their ordination.
But first, you who are to be ordained, and all those who are here present, shall attend to a short declaration from the word of God concerning the institution and the office of elders and deacons. Of the elders it is to be observed, that the word elder or eldest (which is taken out of the old testament, and signifieth a person who is placed in an honourable office of government over others) is applied to two sorts of persons who minister in the church of Jesus Christ: for the apostle saith, “the elders that rule well, shall be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” Hence it is evident that there were two sorts of elders in the Apostolic church; the former whereof did labour in the word and doctrine, and the latter did not. The first were the ministers of the word and pastors, who preached the gospel and administered the sacraments; but the others who did not labour in the word, and still did serve in the church, hore a particular office, namely, they had the oversight of the church, and ruled the same with the ministers of the word: for Paul, Rom. chap. xii. having spoken of the ministry of the word, and also of the office of distribution or deaconship, speaketh afterward particularly of this office, saying: “ He that ruleth let him do it with diligence:" likewise in another place he counts government among the gifts and offices which God hath instituted in the church: 1 Cor. xii.. Thus we see that these sorts of ministers are added to the others who preach the gospel, to aid and assist