Imágenes de página

2 Chron. xxix. 6. our fathers have trespassed.' Psal. lxxviii. 8, &c. that they might not be as their fathers.' Ezek. xx. 18. 'walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers. Amos ii. 4. because they have despised the law of Jehovah, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked.' Mal. iii. 7. even from the days of your fathers ye have gone away from mine ordinances.'

Eccles. vii. 10. say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these ? for thou dost not inquire wisely respecting this.' Jeremiah also admonishes the people to ask for the old paths, in order to see where is the good way, and to choose that alone, vi. 16.* for in any other sense the argument may be as justly employed to defend the idolatries of the heathen, and the errors of the Pharisees and Samaritans. Jer. xliv. 17. "to burn incense unto the queen of heaten, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes—' Matt. xv. 2, &c. "why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?" where Christ opposes to their tradition the commandment of God, v. 3. “why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition ?' See also Mark vii. 8, 9. John iv. 20. our fathers worshipped in this mountain.'

forsake our own grounds and reasons which led us at first to part from Rome, that is, to hold to the Scriptures against all antiquity,'' Of Prelatical Episcopacy." 1. 75.

* "Remonst. He that said I am the way, said that the old way was the good way. Answ. He bids' ask of the old paths, or for the old ways, where or which is the good way; which implies that all old ways are not good, but that the good way is to be searched with diligence among the

Even to the venerable name of our mother church itself we are not to attach any undue authority. Hos. ii. 2. 'plead with your mother, plead ; for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband ; let her therefore put away 'her whoredoms out of her sight :' unless by this expression we understand exclusively the mystical church in heaven; Gal. iv. 26. • Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.'

old ways, which is the thing that we do in the oldest records we have, the gospel. Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence. Prose Works, 1. 177.



Thus far of the universal visible church. A particular church is a society of persons professing the faith, united by a special bond of brotherhood, and so ordered as may best promote the ends of edification and mutual communion of the saints. Acts ii. 42. they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.'

The ordinary ministers of a particular church are presbyters and deacons.

Presbyters are otherwise called Bishops.* Acts XX. 17. compared with v. 28. he called the elders (TPEGBUTÉpous) of the church : take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, (ÉTIQUÓTOUS) to feed the church of God.' The same office of bishop or presbyter is described 1 Tim. iii. 1, &c. where no mention is made of any other minister except deacon.* Philipp. i. 1. with the bishops and deacons.' Tit. i. 5, that thou shouldest ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee, compared with v. 7. a bishop must be blameless. 1 Pet. v. 1. the elders which are among you I exhort......feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, that is, performing the office of bishops. Lastly, in the first council of the church, held at Jerusalem, the apostles and elders alone are spoken of as present, no mention being made of bishops, Acts xv. 6. xvi. 4. bishops and presbyters must therefore have been the

* Bishops and presbyters are the same to us both name and thing.' Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing. Prose Works, I. 314. • It will not be denied that in the Gospel there be but two ministerial degrees, presbyters and deacons.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. III. 356. Through all which book can be no where, either by plain text, or solid reasoning, found any difference between a bishop and a presbyter, save that they be two names to signify the same order.' Of Prelalical Episcopacy, I. 60, "A bishop and presbyter is all one both in name and office.' Ibid. 75. See also p. 76.


Of the presbyters, some were set apart for the office of teaching, others watched over the discipline of the church, while in particular instances both these functions were united. 1 Tim. iii. 2. 'apt to teach.' v. 5. . if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God ?' v. 17. let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.' Rom. xii. 7, 8. he that teacheth, on teaching...... he that ruleth, with diligence.' . 1 Cor. xii. 28. "governments,' 1 Pet. v. 1. as above. Hence a bishop or presbyter is called the steward of God,' Tit. i. 7.

The office of a deacon is properly to administer, in the character of a public servant, to the temporal wants of the church in general, and particularly of the poor, the sick, and strangers. Acts vi. 3. * look ye out among you.....whom .we may appoint over this business,' 1 Tim. iii. 10. · let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.' v. 13. “they that have used the office of a deacon well. Also to teach and baptize; as appears from the example of Philip, who in his capacity of deacon (the apostle of that name having remained during the same period at Jerusalem) converted the people of Samaria to the faith, and on his own authority baptized, first his new converts, and afterwards the Ethiopian eunuch. Acts vi. 5. viii. 1, 12. when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.' v. 38. he baptized him. In allusion to this his office of preaching he is called the evangelist, Acts xxi. 8. where his identity is established by his being designated as one of the seven. Hence 1 Tim. iii. 13. they that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which 'is in Christ Jesus.'

* More beneath in the 14th verse of the third chapter, when he hath delivered the duties of bishops, or presbyters, and deacons, not once naming any other order in the church' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 86.

The widows of the church are also associated with the deacons in the performance of their duty, 1 Tim. v. 3-16. honour widows that are widows indeed,' &c.

The choice of ministers belongs to the people. Acts i. 23. they appointed two. vi. 5. “the saying pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen.'


* • He that ennobled with gifts from God, and the lawful and primitive choice of the church assembled in convenient number, faithfully from that time forward feeds his parochial flock, has his co-equal and co-presbyterial

« AnteriorContinuar »