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Thirdly, Because of the great fin and danger, both to him that comes unworthily, and also to the whole church q. And there was power and authority, under the old testament, to keep uncleąn persons from holy things r.
The like power and authority, by way of analogy, continues under the new testament.
The ruling officers of a particular congregation have power authoritatively to suspend from the Lord's table a person not yet cast out of the church;
First, 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.
Secondly, Because it is an ecclesiastical 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 intrinfical weaknesses and mutual dependence, as also in regard of enemies from without.
of 9 Mat. vii. 6. Give not that which ver. 23. And others fave with fear, is holy unto the dogs, neither cast pulling them out of the fire; hating your pearls before lwine, left they even the garment spotted by the trample them under their feet, and felh. 1 Tim. v. 22. Lay hands turn again, and rent you. 2 Thess. suddenly on no man, neither be pariii. 6. Now we command you, bre, taker of other mens fins. Keep thy thren, in the name of our Lord Je- self pure. fus Christ, that ye withdraw your- Lev. xii. 5. And the priest shall selves from every brother that walk- look on him the seventh day; and eth disorderly, and not after the tra- behold, if the plague in his light be dition which ye received of us. v. at a stay, and the plague spread not 14. And if any man obey not our in the skin, then the priest Thall thut word by this epistle, note that man, him up seven days more. Numb. and have no company with him, ix. 7. And those men said unto him, that he may be alhamed. v. 15. We are defiled by the dead body of Yet count him not as an enemy, a man; wherefore are we kept back, but admonish him as a brother. that we may not offer an offering of i Cor. xi. 27. Wherefore, whosoe- the Lord in his appointed season aver shall eat this bread, of drink mong the children of Israel? 2 this cup of the Lord unworthily, Chron. xxiii. 19. And he fet the Thall be guilty of the body and blood porters at the gates of the house of of the Lord. See on to the end of the Lord, that none that was unthe chapter. Compared with Jude clean in any thing should enter in.
Of Claffical Asemblies.
A presbytery consisteth of ministers of the word, and such other publick officers as are agreeable to and warranted by the word of God, to be church-governors, to join with the ministers in the government of the church t.
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, which 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 congregations than one, as is manifest.
First, By the multitude of believers mentioned in divers, both before the dispersion of the believers there, by means of the persecution v. And also after the dis
persion. si Tim. iv. 14. Neglect not the teacheth, on teaching; v. 8. Or he gift that is in thee, which was given that exhorteth, on exhortation : he thee by prophecy, with the laying that giveth, let him do it with simon of the hands of the presbytery. plicity: he that ruleth, with diliActs xv. 2. When therefore Paul gence: he that sheweth mercy, with and Barnabas had no small diffen- cheerfulness, i Cor, xii. 28. And tion and difputation with them, God hath set some in the church; they determined that Paul and Bar- first apostles, fecondarily prophets, nabas and certain other of them thirdly teachers, after that mi. thould go up to Jerusalem unto the racles, then gifts of healings, helps, apostles and elders about this que governments, diversities of tongues. stion. v. 4. And when they were v Afts visi, 1. And Saul was concome to Jerusalem, they were re- fenting unto hit death. And at that ceived of the church, and of the a- time there was a great persecution poftles and elders, and they declar- against the church
which was at Jeed all things that God had done rusalem, and they were all scatterwith them. v. 6. And the apostles ed abroad throughout the regions and elders came together for to con- of Judea and Samaria, except the fider of this matter.
apostles. Acts i. 15. And in those Rom. xii. 7. Or ministry, let us days Peter stood up in the midst of wait on our ministring: or he that the disciples, and said, (the number
Secondly, by the many apostles and other preachers in the church of Jerusalem. And if there were but one congregation there, then each apostle preached but seldom x; which will not consist with Afts vi. 2.
Thirdly, The diversity of languages among the believers, mentioned both in the second and sixth chapters of the Aets, doth argue more congregations than one in that church.
2. Secondly, all those congregations were under one presbyterial government, because, First, they were one church y.
Secondly, of the names together were about and Gali ee, and Samaria, and were an hundred and twenty.) Acts ii. edified, and walking in the fear of 41. Then they that gladly receiv- the Lord, and in the comfort of the ed his word were baptized; and the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. Acts same day there were added unto xii. 24. But the word of God
grew them about three thousand souls. and multiplied. Acts xxi. 20. And v. 46. And they continuing daily when they heardit, they glorified the with one accord in the temple, and Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, breaking bread from house to house, brother, how many thousands of did eat their meat with gladness, Jews there are, which believe and and singleness of heart, v. 47. praif- they are all zealous of the law. ing God, and having favour with * Acts vi. 2. Then the twelve all the people. And the Lord ad- called the multitude of the disciples ded to the church daily such as unto them, and said, It is not rea1hould be saved. Acts iv. 4. How- son that we should leave the word beit, many of them which heard of God, and serve tables. the word, believed, and the num- y Acts viii. 1. And Saul was conber of the men was about five thou- senting unto his death. And at that fand. Acts v. 14. And believers time there was a great persecution were the more added unto the against the church which was at JeLord, multitudes both of men and rusalem, and they were all scatterwomen. Acts vi. 1. And in those ed abroad throughout the regions days, when the number of the dif- of Judea and Samaria, except the ciples was multiplied, there arose apostles. Acts ii. 47. Praising God, a murmuring of the Grecians a- and having favour with all the peogainst the Hebrews, because their , ple. And the Lord added unto the widows were neglected in the daily church daily such as should be fava ministration. v. 7. And the word ed, compared with Acts v. 11. And of God increased, and the number great fear came upon all the church, of the disciples multiplied in Jeru- and upon as many as heard these salem greatly, and a great compa- things. A&s xii. 5. Peter therefore ny of the priests were obedient to was kept in prison, but prayer was the faith.
made without ceasing of the church w Ads ix. 31. Then had the unto God for him. Acts xv. 4. And churches rest throughout all Judea
when b Acts gogue,
Secondly, The elders of the church are mentioned z.
Thirdly, The apostles did the ordinary acts of presbyters as presbyters in that kirk; which proveth a presbyterial church before the dispersion, Aets vi.
Fourthly, The several congregations in Jerusalem being one church, the elders of that church are mentioned as meeting together for acts of government a; which proves that those feveral congregations were under one presbyterial go
And whether these congregations were fixed, or not fixcd, in regard of officers or members, it is also 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 ordinary condition of the church, as to the point of fixedness required of officers or members.
when they were come to Jerusalem, James, and all the elders were prethey were received of the church, fent. and of the apostles and elders, and a A&s xi. 30. Which also they they declared all things that God did, and sent it to the elders by the had done with them.
hands of Barnabas and Saul, Acts ? Acts xi. 30. Which also they XV. 4. And when they were come did, and fent it to the elders by the to Jerusalem, they were received of hands of Barnabas and Saul. Acts the church, and of the apostles and XV. 4. And when they were come elders, and they declared all things to Jerusalem, they were received of that God had done with them. v. the church, and of the apostles and 6. And the apostles and elders came elders, and they declared all things together for to consider of this matthat God had done with them. v. ter. v. 22. Then it pleased the a6. And the apostles and elders came postles and elders, with the whole together to consider of this matter. church, to send chosen men of their v. 22. Then it pleased the apostles own company to Antioch with Paul and elders with the whole church, and Barnabas, namely Judas fir. to send chosen men of their own named Barsabas, and Silas, chief company to Antioch, with Paul men among the brethren. A&s xxi. and Barnabas, namely Judas fir- 17. And when they were come to named Barsabas, and Silas, chief Jerusalem, the brethren received men among the brethren, Acts xxi. them gladly. v. 18. And the day 17. And when we were come to Je- following, Paul went in with us unrufalem, the brethren received us to 1 mes, and all the elders were gladly, v. 18. And the day follow- present, and so forward. ing, Paul went in with us unto
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 there were more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus, appears by Acts xx. 31.b, where is mention of Paul's continuance at Ephesus in preaching for the space of three years; and Aes xix. 18, 19, 20. where the special effect of the word is mentioned c; and v. 10 and 17, of the same chapter, where is a distinction of Jews and Greeksd; and 1 Cor. xvi. 8, and 9. where is a reason of Paul's stay at Ephesus until Pentecoste; and v. 19. where is mention of a particular church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla then at Ephesusf, as appears, Acts xviii. 19, 24, 26, g. All which
8 laid together doth prove that the multitudes of believers did make more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus. 2. That there were many elders over these many congre.
gations, 6 Acts xx. 31. Therefore watch, e I Cor. xvi. 8. But I will tarry and remember that by the space of at Ephesus until Pentecost. v. 9. threc years,
I ceased not to warn e. For a great door and effectual is overy one night and day with tears. pened unto me, and there are ma
¿ Acts xix. 18. And many that ny adversaries, believed, came and confessed and f 1 Cor. xvi. 19. The churches shewed their deeds. v. 19. Many of Asia, falute you, Aquila and also of them which used curious Priscilla salute you much in the arts, brought their books together, Lord, with the church that is in and burned them before all men: their house. and they counted the price of them, & Acts xviii. 19. And he came to and found it fifty thousand pieces of Ephesus and left them there : 'but filver. v.
20. So mightily grew the he himself entered into the synaword of God and prevailed,
and reasoned with the Jews. d A&s xix. 10. And this continu. v.24. And a certain Jew named Aed by the space of two years: fo that pollos, born at Alexandria, an eloall they which dwelt in Afia heard quent man, and mighty in the scripthe word of the Lord Jesus, both tures, came to Ephesus. v. 26. And Jews and Greeks. v. 17. And this he began to speak boldly in the fywas known to all the Jews and nagogue, whom when Aquila and Greeks alfo dwelling at Ephesus, Priscilla had heard, they took him and fear fell on them all, and the unto them, and expounded unto name of the Lord Jesus was magni. him the way of God more perfe&tly. fied.