A GUIDE UNTO SION. OR Certaine Positions, concerning a true visible Church.

Wherein The nature of a true Church is so plainely described, as all men may easily de­cerne the same from false assemblies.

Written by a learned and judicious divine.

Jer. 50. 5.
They shall aske the way to Sion, with their faces thitherward, saying: come and let us joyne our selves to the Lord, in a perpetuall Covenant, that cannot be forgotten.

Printed at Amstelredam, in the yeare 1638.

A GUIDE UNTO SION. OR Certaine Positions, concerning a true visible Church.

THis our English word Church, through custome of speech is commonly used for the Temple or place where people come together for the worship of God; but they that are any thing exercised in reli­gion, know, that it also signifieth the People▪ which gather together for divine service, and this is the first and proper meaning of the word Church, as it is used to expresse the origi­nal Scripture termes, Kahal & Ecclesia.

[Page 4] 2. This name Church, we Englishmen (which came of the Saxons) have received from the Saxon, German, and Dutch names Cyric, Kirch, Kerck; whereby those nations now, do usually cal their Temples or mee­ting-places: but the people which come togither in them, they cal the Gemeine, and the Gemeinte, that is to say, the Comunialtie; and we in our first English Bibles caled it, the Congreation.

3 As all religion is learned out of holy scriptures, so the name and doctrine of the church, is from thence to be deduced; and there the Church is called in HebrewDeut. 5. 22 Ka­hal orDeut. 33 4Kehillah, which signifieth a Convo­cation or Assemblie of people, &E­xod. 16. 1. Psal. 111. 1. Ghnedah, that is to say a Congregation: in Greek it is namedMath. 16 18. Act. 7 38. Ecclesia, that is in like maner, a Convocation, or people called forth to an assembly, and sometime [...]am. 2. 2. and in the Greek of the old Test. often Deut. 5. 22. Exod. 16. 3. &c. Synagogue, that is a Congregation: which word is also vsed for theLuk. 7. 5 Act. 18. 7. place wherein the people assembled.

4. The Hebrue word Kahal is diversly used; sometimes more generally for a great or universal multitude, asGen. 35. 11. [...]er 50. [...] of nations and Gen. 48 4 Ezek. [...]. 24 of peoples; sometimes more particularly for an assembly of one nation, as ofE­xod. 12. 6. the Israelites; sometimes for a part of them, as [Page 5] 1. Chrm. 13. 1. 2 4. 5 and 29. 1. 6. 2. Chron. 1. 2. 3.the Elders and Governours; of some2. Chron. 20. 4. 5. of the tribes of Israel a part; or some2. Chron. 30. 10. 13. 25 of all the tribes, evenEzra. 10 I. men women and children:Gen. 49. 6. and indifferently for any assembly, and this not onely of Gods people, but ofE­zek. 27. 27 and 32. 22. & 38. 4. 7. &c. heathens also and infidels.

5. Likewise the Greek word Ecclesia is of as large extent and signification; used sometime forEphe. 5. 23. &c Heb 12. 23. the Church generally; some­time for a1. Cor. 1. 2 particular church or congrega­tion in a citie; sometimes more particularly inRom. 16. 5. 1. Cor. 16. 19. Co­los. 4 15. a house or familie; sometimes (in the Greek version of the old testament) for an assemblie2 Chron. 1. 3. &c. of Governours, or company1. Sam. 19. 20. of Prophets, or congreationPsal. 107. 32. of the people: and finally forEzek. 32. 3 Act. 19. 32 39. 41. any assembly lawful or un­lawful, of good men or ofPsal. 26. 5. evil.

6. These words thus general, are in more special sort both by the scriptures, & by use of speach among all religious people, restreyned and appelied to such Assemblies and Congregations as are called and gathe­red for divine exercises: and so our English name of Church is attributed peculiarly to spiritual or religious assemblies, called ecclesiastical, and not to any other assemblies civil or political.

7. Of religious or ecclesiastical assemblies [Page 6] generally considered, there any many sorts in the world; all disallowed of God, save one sort onely which he acknowledgeth to be his, & hath separated to him self from all the rest.

8. The many false sorts, may be redu­ced unto fowr; 1. The assemblies of Pa­gans or heathen people, which professe some God, Gods, or Goddesses, whom they do worship, ignorantly, havingRom. 1. 25. changed the truth of God into a lie, and so serving crea­tures, not (in deed) the creator, which is blessed for ever, Amen. 2 The assemblies of Iewes, who professe the true God (after a sort) and allow the writings of Moses and the Prophets, but abhorre Christ Iesus our Saviour, and reject the new Testament: 3 The assemblies of Mahometists, as Persians, Turks, Moores, &c. Which professe also after their manner, thatAlkoran; one true God of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote, and acknowledgeAzoar 4. Azor 2. & 4. & 11. Christ to be a Prophet sent of God, yea and the breath or Spirit of God, yet beleeve they not that he isAzoar 12. &c. God, or the Azo. 19. [...]0.sonne of God, or Saviour of the world, but follow the lies and fabels of their false Pro­phet Mahomet. 4. Finally the church or assemblies of false Christians, which professe [Page 7] God and his sonne Christ, into whose name they are baptised; but by their works doe deny him, and by their errours & heresies, doe overthrow the truth of religion.

9. The first three sorts, Pagans, Jewes, and Mahometists, because of their so open and manifest denyall of Christ and salva­tion by him; are generally of Christians re­puted as no Churches; the latter are reputed no true but false Churches, and so also do they esteem of true Christians, and one of ano­ther. Hereupon is continual controversie between true and false Christians, which is the true Church, and how it may be knowen.

10. To help the weak and doubtfull in this case, I will so truly and plainly as by the grace of God J can, describe the true Church, which in holy Scriptures is called the Congreation and Church Nehem. 13. 1. 1 Tim. 3. 5. 14. of God, consist­ing of godly & holy people named1. Cor 1. 2. Psal. 89 5. & 149. 1 Saints; opposed to the wicked orPsal. 26 5 malignant chur­ches, theRev 2 9 Synagogues of Satan.

11. The true Church is a People1 Pet. 2. 9 called of God by2 Thes. 2 14. the Gospel,Iohn 17. 6. 9. 14 & 15. 19 from the world, unto theI Cor. 1. [...] Communion or followship of his Son Iesus Christ, in whom they areEphe. 2. 21. 22. cou­pled and built togither, to be the habitation [Page 8] of God by the spirit.

12. The Church is said to be a people, 1 Pet. 2. 9 nation or generation, because it consisteth of many persons, or of a multitude little or great: for though a particular Christian is called, & of the church; yet no one man is a church or congregation.

13. It is a people called; Ephe. 4. 1 Heb. 9. 15. because every concourse or assemblie is not a true Church: none of themselves can come unto this e­state, unlesse they beRom 9. 11 12. 24. Song. 1. 3. called or drawen thereunto: and they are sayd to be called of God; because heIoh 6. 44 onely calleth and draweth men unto Christ with a2. Tim. 1. 9. holy calling; and addeth themAct. 2. 47. to his Church;2 Chron 30. 6. 10. 12 Rom. 8. 30. no hu­mane power or authority is able to doe it.

14. The Gospel 2 Thes. 2 2 [...]. noted to be the meanes of our calling, he maketh knowen unto his people outwardly by hisCor. 5. 19 wordAct. 5. 20. spoken and [...] 20. 31. written, and inwardly byNe­hem. 9. 20. 1 Cor 2. 10 12 his holy spirit: and thus the Church are allIoh. 6 45. the taught of God.

15. The estate out of which the Church is called, is sayd to be out of or from the [...]h. 15. 19 & 17. 69world; whereby is meant, first Satan theIoh. 12. 31. Prince of this world, from whose power they areAct. 26. 18. turned unto God; Secondly, the wic­wicked [Page 9] people of the world, called the10. Children of the Devil, from whose communi­on and followshipExo. 34 15. Prov. 15. 8 Psal. 16. 4 Eph. 5. 11. 2. Cor. 6. 17. in their religion, and all other wicked actions, we must be separa­ted; thirdly the corruption of nature in our selves, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life,Ioh. 2. 16 all which are of the world, and which we mustRom. 7. 15. Jude. 23. hate andGal. 6. 14. crucifie, and so turn and becomeMat. 18. 3 like litle children, even born agayn, that we may see the kingdome of God.

16. The estate whereunto God calleth his church in this life,Ioh. 3. 3. is generally1. Cor 1 9 to the Communion (or followship) of his Son Iesus Christ, as being their onely mediator and Saviour, the Prophet Priest and King of the Church; which they beleeving aud pro­fessing, are also made partakers (in a propor­tion & in their mesure) of these three offices with him.

17. Iesus Christ is theDeut. 1 15. 18. Act. 3. 22. 26. Prophet raised up of God unto his people, to teach them all that God commanded him: which also he did, both byMat. 2. 5. &c himselfe, and by the Mini­stery of his servantsIoh. 13. 20. sent of him, And as Col. 2. 3.all the treasures of wisedome & know­ledge are hid in him, so him the Church mustMat. 17. 5 heare; for allJoh. 3. 13 & 6. 68. Rev. 5. 1. 5 heavenly wisedome [Page 10] and knowledge is to be learned of him; and every person which shall not hear this Pro­phet, Act. 3. 23.shall be destroyed out of the people.

18. This Propheticall office of Christ, he bath communicated with the church, by givingPsa. 147 19. 20. Jsa. 59. 21 Rom. 15. 4 to the same his word for their in­struction and comfort, andIam. 1. 21. grafting the same within them, his spirit also as an1 Joh. 2. 20. 27. Anoynting to reach them all things; giving Ephe. 4. 8. 11. 1. Cor. 12. 28.gifts also, or ministers, to open and apply the same unto their sowles, likewise power and freedome byJsa. 43. 10. witnes2 Cor 4. 13 profession and Mat. 28practise, toPhil. 2. 16. hold forth that word of life as lights in the world: therby toAct. 8. 4. preach unto others the faith of Christ, to1. Thes. 5. 11. edify and build up one an other dayly therein; to Heb. 10. 24.provoke unto love and to good works; to Rom 15. 14.a admonish andLevit. 19. 17. reprehend for evil and iniquity; toLnk. 17. 3. forgive and1. Thes. 4. 18. comfort one an­other in the bowels of Christ; whose word therefore all ought to labour that it mayCol. 3. 16. dwel plenteously in them; that if any man speak, it may be1. Pet. 4. 11. as the words of God.

19. Iesus the Son of God, is also theHeb. 4. 14. 20. Rom. 5. 19. great high priest or Sacrificer of the Church; [Page 11] by whose obedience, and sacrifice or obla­tion ofHeb. 10. 5. 10. his owne body and blood, the church is clensed1 Ioh 1. 7 from all syn, andRom. 5. 10. re­conciled to God; by whose intercession the church, with the holy actions and oblations of the same, areHeb. 7. 25. and 9. 24. and 13. 15. Rev. 8. 3. 4. accepted of God, and made heires of blessing.

20. And this his Priestly office, is so im­parted to his church, as they have not onely interest in hisIsa. 53. 5. Rom. 5. 8. 10. death and suffrings wherby they are reconciled to God, but also are themselves made1. Pet. 2. 5. a holy priesthood, to offer up spiriutal sacrifices acceptable to God by him: giving upRom. 12. 1 their own bodies a living sacrifice;Col. 3. 5. mortifying their members which are on earth, andGal 5. 24 crucifying the flesh with th'affections and lusts; offring upPsal. 51. 17. contrite & brokē harts, withHeb. 13. 15. sacrifices of confession to his name; and praying not onely every man for himselfe, butEphe. 6. 18 one for another,Heb. 13. 16. doing and distributing to the necessities of the Saincts;2 Tim 2. 3. 9. suffring affliction for the Gos­pel; and finally, if they be called thereunto, powring out their sowles untoHeb. 12. 4 2 Tim, 4. 6 death for the truthes sake.

21. The Lord Iesus Christ, is also theMat. 2. 6 governour andJohn. 12 and 15. king over Sion Gods holy mount, and sitteth at his Fathers right hand [Page 12] and1 Cor. 15. 25. reigneth til all his enemies be made his foot stool, beingJsa. 33. 22. a King judge, and law­giver to his people,Mat. 28 20. commanding & ruling them by his word and spirit,Psal. 72. judging them in justice and equity, preserving and defen­ding them by his almighty power,Iohn. 10. 28. & 16. 33. Rev 19. 11. 21. from all their enemies.

22. And this his kingly office he so com­municateth with his church, as they are by him preserved and defended from all ad­versarie power; freed from the dominion Rom. 6. 14.of syn, and tyranny of1. Joh 5. 18 Rom. 16. 70. Satan; from sub­jection to1. Ioh. 5. 4. the world, and servitude1. Cor. 7. 23. unto men: and restored to the joyfull libertie of the children of God,1 Cor. 3. 22. the world and all things in it made theirs: that housoever they have still to combate1 Pet 5. 8. 9 with the Divil, toEphe. 6. 12. wrastle against principalities and powers; to sufferJoh. 15. 19. & 16. 32. hatred and affliction of the world; and to warre with the fleshly lusts1. Pet. 2. 11. which fight against the sowl: yet neytherRom. 8. 38. 39. death; nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor deepth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Iesus our Lord; who hathRev. 1. 6. made them Kings & priests unto God even his Father, and they shallRev 5. 10 [Page 13] reigne on the earth; till having served here their tyme, they come to2 Tim. [...] 12. Ioh. 17 24. 1 Thes. 4. 17. reign with him in glory, in the heavens for ever.

23. Vnto the participation of these pro­mises and heavenly graces, areMat. 28. 19. Rom. 16. 26. all people provoked by the Gospell preached; and such as obey the calling of God, and come unto Christ, are united to him their head & medi­ator, from whom proceedeth the Iustification & sanctfication of the church.

24. Iustification is the partaking of Christs Phil. 3. 9.justice or righteousnes, in his fulfilling & obeyingRom. 5. 19. the law of God, and discharging Joh. 1. 7.all our debts and trespasses by his death; so freeing usGal. 3. 13. from the curse, and setting us in full favourRom. 5. 10 with God and under his Gal. 3. 9 14.blessing: which righteousnes of Christs, is fully made ours, & imputed to usRom. 3. 25. 30. & 4. 24. 25. by faith for our justification.

25. Sanctfication is the partaking of Christs holynes, by beingRom. 6. 5. grafted with him to the similitude of his death and resurrection; whereby the corruption of nature orverse. 6 old man in us, becommeth crucified &auers. 4. buried with him, and theEphe. 4. 22. 24. Col. 3. 10. new man or image of God is put on and renewed dayly in a holy conversation.

26. Hitherto of the Churches union and [Page 14] communion with Christ her head: now fol­loweth the union of the churches members one with another: which is theirEphe. 2. 21. Rom 12. 4 5. couplin [...] togither as one body by the communion [...] one & the same1. Cor. 12. 4. 8. 9. 11. 12. 13. Ephe. 4. 4. 5. 15. 16. spirit, faith, & love.

27. The union of the members one wit [...] another is to be considered generally o [...] totally; and particularly. Generally as the church is called universall or catholik, com­prehending theEphe. 3. 15. whol family of God i [...] heaven and in earth, and the1. Pet. 5. 9. fraternity o [...] brotherhood of all Christians which are is the world; in whom there is butEph. 4. 5. one faith, in1 Cor 8. 6. & 12. 4. 5. &c. Eph. 2. 18. & 4. 4. 5. 6. one and the same God by that one Lord Iesus Christ, through one Spirit. Thu [...] have they all one Father which is God, one mother, Gal. 4. 26. Ierusalem which is above; and by the mediation of Christ are all madeIohn. 17. 21. one, bap­tized by one spirit into1 Cor, 12. 13 one body, and al [...] made to drink into one spirit.

28. More particularly, they that are cal­led of God, and members of the Church universal, are united and gathered into many g churches or congregation, inReu 1. 11. several cities & countriesAct. 2. 41. 42. 47. & 5. 13. Heb. 10. 25. every of which curche being joyned togither in the profession & practise of the Gospell of Christ,1 Cor. 5. 4. have his [...] power andMat. 18. 20. presence with them, and is [Page 15] convene or come1 Cor. 11. 20. 33. & 4. 5. togither in one, for the worship of God, & performance of publick duties.

29. Whatsoever promise or blessing of God, is bestowed on the church on earth generally considered: the same may be ap­prehended and injoyed by every particular Church, (though not in like measure by all:) as theExod. 20 24. Mat. 18. 20. Jsa. 4. 5. promises generall, and examples particular of the Church1. Cor. 3. 22. 23. & 1. 7. 30. &c. Rev. 2. and 3. in Corinth, and others mentioned in the Scripture, do con­firme.

30. The Testament of Christ sheweth us no Provinciall Nationall, Emperial, or other like Church, having several meetings or assemblies, and speciall Pastors over the same: neyther, synce th' Apostles, Prophets and Evangelists were takē from this world, are there any other lawfull Bishops or church-governours, then Bishops or Over­seers Act. 20. 17. 28. Phil. 1. 1. 1 Pet 5. 1. 2of the particular churches; neyther e­ver was ther other lawfull Head, Lord, or Lords spiritual, of the church, thenCol. 1. 18. I Cor. 8. 6. and 12; 5. Iesus Christ alone.

31. Vnto the Church are to be admitted, all unto whom the covenant and promise of God doth apperteyn; and they are so ma­ [...]y Act. 2.as the Lord our God shall call; and all [Page 16] those are called (in the judgements of man,) which havingRom. 10 17. Eph. I 13. heard the word of God, do professeAct. 2. 38. 41. & 8. 37. repentance from dead works and faith in God, by Iesus Christ the alone Sa­viour of the world, and promiseExod. 19. 5. 8. 2. Chron. 34. 31. Luk. 1. 17. Ioh. 2. 26. Rom. 1. 5. Mic. 5. 4. obedience to the word, through the holy Gost the sancti­fier of the elect. Such ofGal. 3. 28 all sorts and estates of people in the world, are with their Gen. 17. 7. 1. Cor. 7 14.leed to be received into, and nourished in the church; their ignorance being holpen by Gole. 1. 28. & 3 16.instruction, their weaknesRom. 15. 1. &c. born by leni­ty, their faults correctedGal. 6. 1. Lnvit. 19. 2. 17. with love and meeknes; and their feeble consciences1 Thes 5. 14. com­forted with the promise of God.

32. Out of the Church areMat. 3. 7 2. Cor. 6. 14. &c. 27. & 22. 15. Isa. 35. 8. 9. Zach. 14. 21. all such to b [...] kept, as are profane, wordly and wicked, u [...] ­till they be called of God unto repentance and faith in his promise; for every Churc [...] rightlie constituted, must consist of faithful [...] and holy persons. Our reasons are these. 1. The ScripturesRev. 21. Mat. 18. 17. 1. Cor. 5. 5. 11. 12. Tit. 3. 10. Num. 15. 30. 31. every where so teac [...] 2. All wicked men are forbidden expres [...] by tthe word of God,Iohoa. 17. 20. &c. from medling wit [...] his covenant, or ordinances, 3. they have no [...] Christ for their head 1. Cor. 14. 36. and therefore cannot [Page 17] be of his bodie. 4, The godly and wicked are contraries, guided and let by different causes: now two contraries are not capable of one and the same forme.Gal. 5. 17 5. Only faithfull men worship God aright, please him, are accepted of him, and have right to the cove­nant of grace and seales thereof.

The ordinarie officers, perpetuallie be longing to all true Churches. Are Pastors Teachers Elders Deacons and Helpers

The election and ordination of them must be made by the free chose of the con­gregation Act. 6, and 14, 13 and 15, 2. 3, 22. 2 Cor. 8, 19.of which they are members, and wherein they are to administer. And this is cleare. 1. Because the Apostles Act. 1, 15. 24, & chap. 6, 2, 3, 4. 1 Timot. 3 2. 3, 4, 5. who only taught Christs commandements▪ so established the primitive churches. 2. The people amongst whome they have been con­versant can best judge of their fitnes both in [...]espect of their persons and families. 3. It [...]rtheretn much the diligence and faithful­ness of the minister, that they whose minister [...]s have freely chosen him, as unto whome under Christ they commit the most pretious treasure of their soule: as also it bindes the people to greater love and conscience of o­bedience of him and his ministry whome themselves have made choice of. 4. The [Page 18] Church beeing a most free corporation, spi­rituall under Christ the Lord, is in all reason and equity to chuse her ministers and ser­vants under him, unto whome also, she is. to giue wages for their service and la­bour.

34. The Pastor must be apt to teach,1 Tim. 3. 1. no young scholer, able to divide the word a right;2 Tim. 2, 15. he must be a man that loveth good­nes; Tit. 1, 9.he must be wise righteous, holy, tempe­rate; he must be of life unreproveable, as God steward;2 Tim. 4, 2, Tit. 17, 8. he must be generally wel reported of and one that ruleth his owne house hould under obedience with all honestie, he must be modestNumb. 12. 3, 4. Esa. 50, 4, 56, Ier. 3, 15, Eze. 34, 18. 1 Tim 5. 21. humble, meeke, gentle, & loving: he must be a man of great patience, compassi­on, labour, and diligence: feed the sheep of Christ in green and wholesome pastures of the word: pray for them, seale up to them the promises of God by the Sacraments: He must alwayes be carefull and watchfull over the Flock of Christ,Ps. 23. Levit. 10, 10. defend it from ravenous beasts,loh. 10, 11, 12. Song. 2, 15 and the wolfe, and take the little Foxes: discerne mens deseases, and apply the word according to every disease, and every time and occurrant: And these things he must doe with all willingnes and chear­fulnes, not holding his office in respect of per­sons, [Page 19] but doing his duty to every soule, as he will answer before the chiefe Shep­heard, &c.

35. The Doctor 1 Tim. 3. chap. Tit. 1, cha. 2 Tim. 2, 15. 1 Cor. 1, 17, and. 2, 4. 1 Cor. 3, 11, 12, Mal. 2 6, Ephes. 2, 20. Heb 6 1. 1 Cor. 1, 17. 1 Tim. 4. 16, and 6, 20. or Teacher must be a man apt to teach, mighty in the Scriptures, able to convince the gainsayers: He must be of life unreproveable, one that can governe his owne househould, he must be of manners so­ber, temperate, modest, gentle, and loving: Hee must take diligent heed to keepe the Church from errours: preserve knowledge, build upon the rock (which is Iesus Christ) gould, silver, and pretious stones, that his worke may endure the triall of the fire, and by the light of the same fire, reveale the timber, hay, and stubble of false Teachers: And further, hee must deliver his doctrine pure, sound, & plaine, not with curiosity or affec­tation, but so that it may edifie the most simple, approving it to every mans con­science, that the Church may increase with the increasing of God, and grow up unto him which is the head Christ Iesus.

36. That this is an Office different from that of the Pastor, is manifest by these rea­sons. 1. The Apostle doth so distinguish them one from another. Rom. 12, 7, 8. Ephes. 4, 11. 2. Their gifts appeare to be divers, [Page 20] 1 Cor. 12, 8. 3. The Pastor is commaun­ded to take one course in Teaching, the Doctor another, Rom. 12, 7, 8. 4. This di­stinguishing of them makes more for the building of the Church, then to unite and make them one.

37. The third Officers,1 Tim. 3 & 5. chap. Num. 12. 24 25. 2 Chro. 10 8, Act. 15, Numb 11 16, Deu 1 13, and 18. Exo. 39, 42 1 Tim. 3, 15, Gal. 2, 45, Colos. 4 16, 17 Rom 12, 8 1 Cor. 11. 16 & 14 33. Act 20, 1 Pet. 51 Heb 54 are Governours, or Ruling Elders; These men must be of life likewise unreproveable, sober, gentle, lo­ving, temperate: Governing their owne Families orderly: they must bee men of wisedome, knowledge, and sound judge­ment, able to discerne betweene cause and cruse, betweene plea and plea, and accor­dingly to prevent and redresse evils. Their especiall care must be to see the Ordinances of God truly taught and practised, as well by the officers in doing their duties upright­ly, as to see the people obey willingly & rea­dily: It is their dutie to see the congregation holily and quietly ordered, and no way di­sturbed by the contentious and disobedient, froward and obstinate: Not taking away the liberty of the least, but uphoulding the right of all, wisely judging of times and circum­stances. They must be readie assistants to the Pastor and Teacher, helping to beare [Page 21] their burden, but not intruding into their office.

38. Jt is necessarie that these Officers bee perpetuallie resident upon their charge. For 1. a Minister is a Shepheard, and his charge a Flock; now a shepheard hath a flock to feed it continually. 2. Where­soever God placeth a man, there is daylie need of his labour and care. 3. The people are in daunger of harme if they be not watched over day and night. 4. The Church requireth an Officers residencie with her, as a dutie of him. 5. If they doe otherwise, they cannot give their people a good example, neither will there belove & familiarity between them.

39. Deacons Act. 6, 3 1 Tim. 3, 8, 9. Rom, 12, 8 must be men of honest re­port, indued with the Holy Ghost, they must be grave, temperate, not given to excesse, nor to filthy lucre: Faithfully ought they to gather and collect by the Ordinance of the Church, the goods and benevolence of the faithfull, and by the same direction diligent­ly and trustily to distribute them according to the necessitie of the Saints. Further, they must inquire and consider of the por­tion and the wantes both of the Officers and other poore, and accordingly relate to [Page 22] the Church that provision may be made. 40. That the Deacons Office is not to meddle with the Word and Sacraments, but onely to collect the benevolence of the faithfull, and faithfully to distribute the same: is cleare by these reasons. 1. It is an Apostolicall institution, that these should attend upon the provision for the poore, Act. 6, 4. 2. The Scripture maketh it an ordi­narie and distinct Office from others in the Church, and not to be mingled with any other, Rom. 12, 8. 3. No man can in any tollerable measure discharge the Office of a Minister and a Deacon also, Act. 6, 2. 4. The Ministeries of the Word are per­fect without it.

41. This Office was instituted, 1. That the faithfull might bee the more free from feare, and follow their owne callings dili­gently. 2. That the Church might be the more enriched with Heavenly and Spiri­tuall blessings, for the receives grace and gifts, for the discharge of each calling. 3. To stirre men up to helpe the poore the more willingly, considering that the Lord hath appointed a speciall office for that pur­pose. 4. That there should bee no com­plaints, but that all the poore might be [Page 23] comforted against their povertie & wants. Lastlie, to shew that as God hath created soule and body, so hee takes care for both.

42. The Widowes 1 Tim. 5 9. 10. Rom. 12, 8 or Deaconesses must be Women of 60, yeares of age at the least. For avoyding of inconveniences: they must be well reported of for good workes, such as have nourished their Children, such as have beene harberous to strangers, dili­gent and serviceable to the Saints, com­passionate and helpefull to them in adversi­tie, given to every good worke, continuing in supplications and prayer day and night: They must minister to the sicke, lame, weary and defeated such helpefull comforts as they need, by watching, tending and helping them.

Further, they must shew good example to the young women, in sober, modest, and godly conversation, avoyding idlenes, vaine talke, and light behaviour.

43. These are the necessarie and onely ordinarie functions,1 Cor. 1 [...] 28. Rom. 12, 8▪9 Ephes. 4.8, 11, 12 13. and offices, which our Saviour hath ordained in his Church, unto the due administration whereof, he hath pro­mised his blessing to the end of the world. And these are perpetuall and to continue [Page 24] for ever, and beside these it is unlawfull for men (following the devises of their owne braine) to institute or ordaine any in the Churches of God.

44. These offices though they be divers & severall, yet are they not severed, least there should be a division in the body:Luk 9, 46, 47. Ioh. 13. 12 17. 1 Cor. 12. 12. 25, 28 Ephes. 4, 11. 12. 13. 16. but they are as members of the body, having the same care one of another, joyntly dooing their se­verall duties to the service of the saints: nei­ther can any of these offices bee wanting without grevious lamenes and apparent de­formitie of the body, yea violent iniury to the head Christ Iesus.

45. As every Christian Congregation hath power and commandement to elect & ordaine their owne Ministers according to the rule in Gods word prescribed: So right and power to practice all other ordinances of the Lord, & namely toMat. 18 17 18. 1 Cor. 5, 4. 5. 2 Thes. 3. 5. with Levit. 24 14. 15. 16 [...]3. cut of any mem­from the body: provided, that holy order of proceeding bee keept, which Christ in his will and Testament hath left us.

46. The rule of Christ for excommuni­cation is thus: If the fault be private, holy and loving admonition and reproof is to be vsed, with an inward desire and earnest care to winne their brother: But if hee will not [Page 25] heare, yet to take two or three other brethrē with him, whome he knoweth most meet for that purpose, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be confir­med: And if he refuse to heare them, then to declare the matter to the church, which ought severally and sharpely to reprehend, gravely to admonish, and lovingly to perswade the partie offending: shewing him the heynous­nes of his offence, and the danger of his ob­stinacie, and the fearfull judgments of the Lord. Lev. 19. 17. 18. Mat. 18. 15. Devt. 19. 15. Mat. 18. 16.

47. All this notwithstanding the Church is not to hold him as an enemie, but to admo­nish him and pray for him as a Brother; prooving if at any time the Lord will give him repentance. For this power is not given them to the distruction of any, but to the e­dification of all. 2. Thes. 3. 15. 2. Cor. 10. 8. & 13. 10.

48. If this preveale not to draw him to repentance, then are they in the Name and power of the Lord IESVS with the whole Congregation, reverently in prayer to pro­ceed to excommunication, that is unto the casting him out of their congregation and fellowship, covenant and protection of the [Page 26] Lord, for his disobedience & obstinacie, and committing him to Sathan, for the destruc­tion of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Iesus, if such be his good wil and pleasure, Mat. 18. 17. 1 Cor. 5. 11.

49. If the offence be publike, the partie is publiquely to be reproved, and admoni­shed: if he then repent not, to proceed to excommunication, as aforesaid. 1. Tim. 5, 20. Gal. 2. 14. Ios. 7. 19. 2 Cor. 7. 9.

50. Further they are to warn the whole con­gregarion and all other beleevers to hold him as a Heathen and Publican, Mat. 18. 17. 1. Cor. 11. and to with­draw themselves from him, from all spiritu­all communion, and civil familiaritie, so farre as may be without the violation of any naturall or civil bond.

51. That obstinate sinners after due convic­tion and patience, must be censured appea­reth 1. By the commandement of ChristMat. 18 & practice of the Apostolicall1. Cor. 5. churches. 2. That the worship & service of God mayHag. 2. 13. be kept & preserved from pollution, contempt and prophanation. 3. That the sinner may se his fault, be humbled1 Cor. 5. 9. 2. Thes. 2. 14. 2. Cor. 6. for it, and so saved in the day of the Lord. 4. That the honour and good name of the church may be pre­served, [Page 27] the which would be lostRev. 2. 14. 15. if vile per­sons were suffered therein. 5. To prevent the infectionHeb. 12 15. of others. 6. That by the zeale, e and holynes of the church, they with­out Mat. 5. 16.may be gained to the Gospell. 7. To glorifie Gods great name which is much impeachedEze. 36 20, 23. by the unholy walking of those which professe his truth. 8. That others may feare,Deut 17. 12. 13. for if this course be omit­ted, it may be a meanes to embolden many to doe the like.

52. The repentance of the partie must be proportionable to the offence, viz. If the offence be publique, publique: If private, private: Humbled, submissive, sorrowfull, unfained, giving glorie to the Lord. Lev. 19, 17, 18. Pro. 10. 12. Rom. 12. 19, and 13, 10, and 14. 1.

53. There must great care bee had of ad­monitions, that they be not captious or cu­rious, finding fault where none is; neither yet in bitternes or reproach: For that were to destroy and not to save our brother: But they must be carefully done, with prayer going before, they must bee seasoned with truth, gravitie, love and peace. Mat. 18, 15. and 26, 8. Gal. 6, 1, 2. 2 Tim, 2, 24. Mark. 9, 50. Ephes, 4, 29, Iam. 5, 15, 19, 20.

[Page 28] 54. More over, the Scripture shewes us, that discreet, faithfull and men able to speake unto edification exhortation and comfort, (though not yet in office of ministery) may open & apply the Scriptures in the church, for. 1. In the Iewish ChurchLuk. 2. 42. 46. 47. & cap. 4. 16. 17. 18 Act. 8. 4. & cap. 11. 19. 20. 21 & cap. 13. 14. 15. & cap. 18. 24. 25. men out of office had liberty either in the Temple or Synagogue, publiquely to use their gifts. 2. In the time of the ApostlesAct. 19. 18. 24. & cap. 18. 24 25. and primi­tiue churches men so preached, and the Lord himselfe approved it, and that without any exception or prohibition to the contrarie 3. Christ commandedLuk. 9. 1 & cap. 10. 1. d this thing: and so did his Apostles afterward. 4.Rom. 12. 9. 1. Pet. 4 10. 11. 1 Cor. 14. 34. 35. The prohi­biting of woemen1 Timot. 2. 11. 12. 1 Cor. 14. 34. 35. (not extraordinarie in­spired) to speak in the Church: clearely im­ports a liberty therein giuen unto men their husbands and others. 5. Otherwise it would follow, either that the people should be un­taught Pro. 29. 18 Rom. 10. 17. 1. Cor. 1. 17. Rom 14 6. 7.Or that now (after the generall apostasy of Anti-christ)2 Thes. 2. 4. Rev. 18. 4. & 14. 12 there might be lawfull Pastors and ministers had, before there were a church to chuse them, or a flock for thē to watch over; or that unlawfull mi­nisteries Pro. 9. 3. 2 Kiug. 23. 5. Ier. 51. 26. Zach. 13. 4. Act. 14. 13. Ezr. 2. 6. 63.might be reteynd & executed, for bringing men to the knowledge & obedien­ce of the Gospell: all which are against the word of God. Lastly much good comes [Page 29] by this meanes, as. 1. the glory of God, in the manifestationPet. 4. 10. 1 1. of his manifould graces 2. That the gifts in men be not quenched. 3. For the fitting and trying of men for the ministery. 4.1 Thes. 5. 19. For the preserving pure of the Doctrine of the Church;1 Tim. 3 2. 1 Cor. 14. 35. which is more in danger, if some one or two alone only be heard and speake. 5. For debating and satisfying of doubts if any arise. 6. For the edifying of the Church and conversion of others.

55. As Christ (our Heavenlie Prophet) hath set forth unto us in the New Testament the manner and forme of the gathering and Constitution of the visible Church: So hee requires everie faithfull Christian, to make himselfe a member of some particular Con­gregation, and there to present their bodies and soules, and to bring the gifts which God hath given them. Our reasons are these: 1. Otherwise they are not to be admitted unto the Holy Sacraments,Mat. 26. 26. [...]9 and 28. 19. 20. Exo. 12. 43. 48. and 20. 7. Ast. 2. 38 41. and 8. 36. 37. Gen. 17. the seales of Gods Covenant: For these ought not to be administred unto any, except they be added unto some visible Church: unto which the publick ordinances and ministery doth ap­pertaine. 2. Because of the presence of GodRev. 1. 13. 1 Tim. 3. 5. Psal. 65. 5. & Christ: If we will come to God, we [Page 30] must come to that place where his presence is in a speciall manner, and where he is to be found, of all such as seeke him with their whole heart. 3.Psal. 119 6. Luk. 1. 5 How else have we res­pect to all the Commaundements. 4. That the Saints may mutually edifie each other, Iud. 20. Rom. 1. 12 1 Cor. 11. 27.and this followes upon their joyning toge­ther in the fellowship of the Gospell. 5. To consider 1. Thes. 5. 14. Heb. 3 12, 13. & 1. 24. 25, or observe our Brethren as wee ought, watch over them, and seeke to re­duce them unto a streight walking when they goe astray. 6. Because of Gods Cove­nant Psal. 133 3. Esa. 60, 15. Deut. 4. 12, 13and promise: For those which are in the Church, are directly (as it were) joyned to his blessings and graces, the which are powred forth there abundantly.

56. Such as joyne themselves unto true vi­sible Churches ought first to goe unto the1 Cor. 14 ult. Elders, that by them their cause may be pro­pounded to the whole Congreg: afterward they are to come into the publick assem­blie, and there make confessionAct. 19, 18. Rom. 15. 9. 10. Psal. 18. 49. of their faith openly, and promise to walke in the obedience of Christ: and thus beeing found worthy, by the consent of the whole Church they are joyfully to be received into the ho­ly communion of Saints.

[Page 31] 57. As every established Church, hath power and liberty to chuse their owne spiri­tuall and Ecclesiasticall Officers: So, be it ob­served, that these Officers are tyed unto that only CongregationAct. 20, 28. 1 Cor. 7, 17. of which they are members, and by which they were elected into office, and ought not to beare any Eccle­siasticall Office in another, neither can they administer the holy things of God, as Officers and by vertue of a ministeriall calling any where, but in their owne Congregation; No. More then a Major or Bayliefe can execute civill justice out of the limitts and bounds of their owne priviledged Corporation.

58. It is sure, that Christ Jesus hath not subjected any Church or congregation, of his, to any other superior Ecclesiasticall jurisdiction, then unto that which is within it selfe:Gal. 5. 1. Mat. 3. 2. Eph. 2. 19 1 Cor. 12. 20. so that if a whole Church or con­gregation shall erre in any matter of faith or religion, noe other Church, or Church-officers, have (by any warrant from the word of God) power to censure, punish or con­troile the same, but are only to advise them: and so to leave their soules to the imme­diate judgement of Christ.

58. It is the dutie of every Christian con­gregation to be carefull, that no infant be [Page 32] admitted unto Baptisme a whose parenn (one at least) are not members of some per­ticular Church. For.Act. 2. 38. 39. & 16. 15. 33. Mat. 28. 19. 20 Gen. 17. 7 8. 12. Eolos. 2. 12 13. Rom. 9. 41. Cor. 7. 14. 1. If they doeEx. 20., by this meanes Gods name is taken in vaine 2.Mal. 1. 7 12. Heb. 10. 29. Hag. 2. 14. 5. Ezech. 44 7. The holy Sacrament prophaned, d 3. The Church of God de filed:d. 4. The minister a covenant breaker.Mal. 28. 5. There is no precept nor example in the Scripture for it. 6. Such a practice hindereth many parents from em­braceing the way and order of the Gospel, and causeth them to live and die libertines. 7. It induceth ignorant people to conceive such an absolute necessity of Baptisme, as that men cannot be saved without it.

58. All Christians are bound to practice Gods ordinances for his visible Church un­der the Gospell although the Magistrate, Act. 4. 19. 20. Danil. 6. 9. 10. Mat. 10. 28. Rev. 2. 3. Cap.allow not thereof, yea forbid them upon pean of death: For as the opprobation of men and Angels; makes not the wayes of God, and workes of religion never a whitt the more lawfull, but onely, the more free from bodily danger: so neither can their disallowance make unlawfull such duties of religion as the word of God, approveth, not can they give pispensation to any person, to for beare the practice thereof. There is more of this subject shortly to be Publyshed.

FINIS.

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