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and strictness of its discipline will contribute to the glory and happiness of any Church. Since ecclesiastical 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 justice, the approbation of an impartial public, and the countenance and blessing of the great Head of the Church universal.



I. JESUS CHRIST, who is now exalted far above all principality and power, a hath erected, in this world, a kingdom, which is his Church.

II. The universal Church consists of all those persons, in every nation, together with their children, who make profession of the holy religion of Christ, and of submission to his laws.

III. As this immense multitude cannot meet together in one place, to hold communion, or to worship God, it is


Eph. i. 20, 21. When he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. Psa. lxviii. 18. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

Psa. ii. 6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. Dan. vii. 14.—There was given him dominion, and glory, and a king. dom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Eph. i. 22, 23. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

• Rev. v. 9. And hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Acts ii. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 1 Cor. 1. 2, compared with 2 Cor. ix. 18.

reasonable, and warranted by Scripture example, that they should be divided into many particular churches.

IV. A particular church consists of a number of professing Christians, with their offspring, voluntarily associ ated together, for divine worship and godly living, agreeably to the Holy Scriptures; o and submitting to a certain form of government.



I. Our blessed Lord, at first, collected his Church out of different nations, and formed it into one body," by the

d Gal. i. 21, 22. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia : and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ. Rev. i. 4, 20. John to the seven churches which are in Asia : Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come: and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.-The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. See also Rev. ii. 1.

e Acts ii. 41, 47. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.-Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. 1 Cor. vii. 14. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband : else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. Acts ii. 39. Mark x, 14, compared with Matt. xix. 13, 14, and Luke xviii. 15, 16.

Heb. viii. 5. Who serve unto the example and shadow of heaven. ly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle; for, See (saith he) that thou make all things recording to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. Gal. vi. 16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

o Psa. ii. 8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Rev. vii. 9. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.

1 Cor. x. 17. For we being many are one bread, and one bodg:

mission of men endued with miraculous gifts which have long since ceased.'

II. The ordinary and perpetual officers in the Church, are Bishops or Pastors;j tlie representatives of the people, usually styled Ruling Elders;k and Deacons.



THE pastoral office is the first in the Church, both for dignity and usefulness.m Thie person who fills this office, hath, in Scripture, obtained different names expressive of his various duties. As he has the oversight of the flock of Christ, he is termed bishop.* As he feeds them with spiritual food, he is termed pastor. As he serves Christ


for we are all partakers of that one bread. See also Eph. iv. 16. COL 1. 18.

Matt. x. 1, 8. And when he had called unto him his twelve disci. ples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease, etc.

j 1 Tim. iii. 1. If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. Eph. iv, 11, 12. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

k: Tim. v. 17. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor.

i Phil. i. 1. To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.

m Rom. xi. 13.

n Acts xx. 28. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the Rock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, {bishops] to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

•Jer. iii. 15. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 1 Pet. v. 2, 3, 4.

* As the office and character of the gospel minister is particularly and fully described in the Holy Scriptures, under the title of bishop; and as this term is peculiarly expressive of his duty as an overseer of the flock, it ought not to be rejected

in his church, he is termed minister. As it is his duty to be grave and prudent, and an example of the flock, and to govern well in the house and kingdom of Christ, he is termed presbyter or elder. As he is the messenger of God, he is termed the angel of the church. As he is sent to declare the will of God to sinners, and to beseech themi to be reconciled to God through Christ, he

termed ambassador. And, as he dispenses the manifold grace of God, and the ordinances instituted by Christ, he is termed steward of the mysteries of God.'



RULING elders are properly the representatives of the people, chosen by them for the purpose of exercising government and discipline, in conjunction with pastors or ministers. This office has been understood, by a great part of the Protestant Reformed Churches,

be desig

P 1 Cor. iv. 1. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Cor. iii. 6. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament.

91 Pet. v. 1. The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. See also Tit. i. 5. 1 Tim. v. 1, 17, 19.

* Rev. ii. 1. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write. Rev. i. 20.-The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. See also Rey. iii. 1, 7. Mal. ii. 7.

• 2 Cor. v. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. Eph. vi. 20.

+ Luke xii. 42. Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom bis lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2.-Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.

*1 Tim. v. 17. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in tho word and doctrina Rom. xii 7, 8. Acts xv. 25,

nated in the Holy Scriptures, by the title of governnients; and of those who rule well, but do not labor in the word and doctrine."



The Scriptures clearly point out deacons as distinct officers in the Church,w whose business it is to take care of the poor, and to distribute among them the collections which may be raised for their use." To them also may be properly committed the management of the temporal affairs of the church."



The ordinances established by Christ, the head, in a particular church, which is regularly constituted with

• 1 Cor. xii. 28. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles; secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. See letter iu), p. 355.

w Phil. i. 1. 1 Tim. iii. 8 to 15.

2 Acts vi. 1, 2. And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

» Acts vi. 3 5, 6. Wherefore, brethen, look ye out among you seven men of honest report full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom wo

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