A DISCUSSION Of the Lawfulness of a Pastor's Acting as an OFFICER In Other Churches Besides that which he is specially Called to take the Oversight of.

By the late Reverend Mr. Nathanael Mather.

LONDON: Printed for Nath. Hiller at the Princes Arms in Leaden-Hall Street, over against St. Mary Ax, MDCXCVIII.

Academiae Cantabrigiensis Liber.

TO THE READER.

THat a Particu­lar Congrega­tional Church is an In­stitution of Christ, is clear in the Scriptures of the Old and New Te­stament: Which being granted, there must needs be something pro­per and peculiar unto every such Church, which is not common to another: For altho [Page]every Church hath Mi­nisterial Officers and Ordinances, which are all of the same kind, yet they are not the same in­dividual Ministry and Ordinances, nor in com­mon; any more than the distinct Families of two Men, each of whom has a Wife, Children and Servants: One is not the Husband of the other's Wife, nor the Father of the other's Children, nor the Master of the other's Servants. And why should we speak or act [Page]less rationally about a Spiritual Corporation or Society than about a Civil one? Will we al­low that the Master and Wardens, and Privi­ledges belonging to one Company, may be chal­lenged or borrowed by another? May the Fa­ther, Husband, Master of one Family he chal­lenged or borrowed by another? As this Hus­band, Father, Master is the proper and peculiar Right of this Family in a correlation; and this [Page]Magistrate, Warden, Go­vernour is the peculiar Right by correlation to this Company or Cor­poration: So it is in Spiritual Fellowships; this Pastor, Elder or Deacon, with all his Office-power in Admi­nistrations, belongs to this Church, and to no other; so that he is their Officer, and related to them, and hath no right to administer or exercise his Office in any other Church, God being the God of Order, and not [Page]of Confusion, as in all the Churches of the Saints; for if God hath not confounded natural and civil relations, nei­ther hath he those which are spiritual.

Since Antichristia­nism hath blinded the eyes of the Professing World, the plainest Do­ctrines of Faith and Or­der have met with great Contradictions and Op­position; Yea, the minds of some who were greatly enlightned in matters of Faith, have been left un­der [Page]much darkness about the matters of God's House; the Church be­ing still, in a great mea­sure, fed in a mystical and hidden State, and not yet come forth to a fulness of separation from Antichristian en­tanglements and polluti­ons, as she will when the Mystery of God shall be finished.

And many who seem to have gone farther than others in the ac­knowledgment of Truths appertaining to the [Page]Churches of Christ, and the Forms and Ordi­nances instituted by Him; yet for want of fuller Illumination, or being byass'd too much by Worldly Interest, and men-pleasing com­pliance, have practised not only short of the Rule, but also very un­groundedly and irregu­larly in these sacred things: Not to mention more Instances than the particular Point which is learnedly and nervou­sly discussed in this [Page] Treatise; Some even of the Congregational Persuasion having ex­tended the Communion of Churches beyond the Bounds which Christ hath set, by making it reach to Office-Power; have thereby fallen into a Mistake, which is in it self, destructive to the nature of a Spiritual Corporation: For if Ministerial Power be communicable, why not the Priviledge of Church Membership much more? And so he that Votes to [Page]admit a Member in one Church, may also by vertue thereof, Vote in the admission or rejecti­on of Members, or in the Election of Ministe­rial Officers all the World over, and then what becomes of parti­cular Churches and their Priviledges?

It is true, there is such a thing as Com­munion of Churches in a Sisterly converse and Entertainment of one another, whereby they allow of each others [Page]Church State, without imposing upon one ano­ther, or parting with any thing which is pro­per to themselves alone, as Church-Member­ship and Office-power.

It is one thing to partake of the benefit of Power, where it is du­ly and lawfully exer­cised; and another thing to exercise Power: A Man who is a Member of one Corporation, may come and sue for his Right in another, or have any Friendly [Page]Entertainment there; But the Mayor of one Corporation cannot come and sit and act as a Magistrate in another Corporation: So the Pastor of a Church may partake of the Lord's Supper in a place where he hath no power to administer it.

Christ's Commission to a Pastor reacheth no farther than the Charge undertaken by him and committed to him (feed the Flock over which the Holy Ghost hath [Page]made thee Overseer,) any more than that of the Riding Elder or Deacon.

Again, He that ad­ministers, doth it as an ordinary Brother, or as a Pastor. If as a Bro­ther, then what becomes of the Pastoral Office? Churches may do with­out it; And this will justifie the Irregular Practices of those who call ordinary Brethren to administer the Seals as they have occasion. If he administer as Pa­stor; [Page]it must be as Pastor of the Church whereto he belongs: and then one Church hath power to make a Church-Officer for another, and to choose and set a Pa­stor over it: Then al­so, where is co-ordi­nation of Churches? Then likewise, every particular Church hath power to choose a Ca­tholick Pastor, which is absurd: And if the Choice of the Foreign Church do give power, then a Member of their [Page]own might be a fitter Person for this Work, having power in the Church as a Member already, which the other has not. If he admi­nister as a Pastor in standing Office to one Church, and occasio­nal only to another; then there is more requi­red to make an occasio­nal Officer than a standing Pastor: For there's but one Church required to the choosing a standing Pastor, but two are requisite to [Page]choose an occasional Pastor; there needing the Choice of that Church only to which he is primarily related, to make him a stand­ing Pastor; but besides that, there must be the Choice of another Church to make him an occasional Officer pro hic & nunc.

But I shall not en­large upon this, nor need I, it being the Subject of the ensuing Discourse, where it is strenuously, yet modestly [Page]and calmly argued and clear'd, which I recom­mend to the Consideration of the Ʋnprejudiced and Impartial Inquirer after Truth. It was Wrote long since, and Correc­ted and fitted for the Press by the late Re­verend and Pious Au­thor, whose Name it bears; Occasioned by the irregular Practice of some Church or Churches who called in Neighbouring Pastors to administer the Lords Supper to them when [Page]they had none of their own. Ʋpon the like Practices here of late, and at the desire of some Friends who had seen it, He intended to have Printed it had he lived; Which Intention of his is Warrant sufficient to Publish it since his Death; and indeed, nei­ther it, nor the Author need any Epistle Recom­mendatory: This Tract is able to speak for it self; and as for Him, his Name and Memory are savoury and precious in more Nations than One.

A Discussion, &c. Or, A DISPUTE Upon these Two Questions: • Question I. WHether a Pastor of the Church at Corinth may Ad­minister the Lord's Sup­per in the Church at Cenchrea? , and • [Page 2] Question II. Whether may a Mem­ber of the Church at Cenchrea partake of the Lord's Supper ad­ministred there, by a Pa­stor of the Church at Corinth; himself not being clear whether this act of the Pastor of the Church at Corinth be not unwarrantable? 

Answer:

I conceive neither the one nor the other [Page 3]to be according to the Rule; but both the ad­ministration of the Pa­stor of Corinth in the Church of Cenchrea, and the communicat­ing of such a Member of the Church of Cen­chrea in the Supper, so administred there, to be sinful.

I shall first enquire into the lawfulness of the Pastor of Corinth's Administration of the Supper in the Church of Cenchrea.

[Page 4]There are Three Points, the Considera­tion whereof will not be impertinent for the clearing of the presert Case, viz.

  • I. Concerning Office and Office-Power in the Church.
  • II. Concerning Com­munion of Churches.
  • III. Concerning the strict invariableness of the Rule given by Christ to his Churches, about all the affairs and walking thereof; and the indispensible obligati­on [Page 5] that lies upon them in no Case to swerve therefrom.

POINT I. Touching Church-Office and Power.

To be an Officer in the Church is to be Christ's Substitute, and in his Stead, not only by the Dispensation and Disposal of Pro­vidence, but by a spe­cial Constitution and Commission from Christ [Page 6]in the way of an Insti­tuted Ordinance. It is, I say, to be the Substi­tute, and in the stead of Christ unto the Church, for such things as are within the Officer's Commissi­on.

Hence Office and Office-power is not a thing of a simple, ab­solute Nature; and thence, is not an inde­lible Character imprin­ted on him that is an Officer, which he car­ries ingraven on him [Page 7]go he where he will: This is a Mysterious no­thing devis'd and much argued about by the idle and curious Brains of those that reaped Profit by the Fiction: But it is a Spiritual Relation (to which the Institution of Christ gives a Being) and a Right, Authority or Power correspondent thereunto. And hence, it hath a double Ob­ject by which it is li­mited and terminated, namely, the Church [Page 8]and the Acts proper to the Office.

First, The Officer, as an Officer, is a corre­late to that Church o­ver which the Holy Ghost hath set him; but beyond that Church, his relation as an Offi­cer extendeth not at all to others, over which the Holy Ghost hath not set him. The nature of Relates is such as that they mu­tually give and receive Being from each other; and thence the one is [Page 9]not a Relate but with reference to the other. And hence, remove that Reference, and you take away its be­ing, and consequent­ly cut off and inter­cept all its Operations as such; for that which hath no Being can put forth no Ope­ration.

Hence it follows, That the Officer of a Church hath no being as an Officer, but in the Church, and whol­ly with reference to it. [Page 8] [...] [Page 9] [...] [Page 10]The Language of the Holy Ghost concern­ing ordinary Officers is constantly such as holds forth this. They are said to be set in the Flock, Acts 20.28. And they are to look to the whole Flock that they have relation to as Officers. All the Flock, ibid. So Heb. 13.7, 17. Your Guides — your Rulers, not others; that have rule over you, not over others.

Both the Officer's [Page 11]power and person as an Officer, relate to that particular Flock or Church in which the Holy Chost hath set him: Even as the Eye, or the like Or­gan in the Body, which is both a Member, and an Organ that hath a particular Office in the Body whereof it is a Member; but hath neither Member­ship nor Office out of its own body in ano­ther. The Eye in So­crates's Head hath no [Page 12]Office, nor is it a Member in Plato's Head, nor can it see there. And thence, as the Body may possibly be without the Eyes, but then it is so far an un-organized body; yet the Eye hath no sub­sistence as an Organ (much less any action) out of the Body: So we read of Churches that sometimes were without Officers, Acts 14.23. but never of ordinary Officers with­out Churches, or that [Page 13]put forth any act of Office, save in those particular Churches in which they were both Members and Officers. For Office in the Church is super-induced and ingrafted, as I may say, upon Membership, Rom. 12.4. and thence my Office-Relation and Power cannot be ex­tended to others than my Member-Relation toucheth and claspeth hold upon. But the Pastor of the Church of Corinth is [Page 14]no Fellow-Member with the Members of any Church but that at Corinth, for by them only can he be Censured.

Secondly, Office-power corresponds to the Relation, and is limited according to it, as to the acts in which (as well as the persons over whom) it is to be exerted. A Pastor of a Church hath no Au­thority at all, by vir­tue of that his Office, to Fine or Imprison, [Page 15]or the like. These are acts of Civil Authori­ty, his is spiritual, for such is his relation, and thence his power is limited to spiritual acts. Therefore to i­magine Office-power, where there is no Of­fice-Relation, or to al­low acts of Office, and yet to deny Office-power, is to build Castles in the Air, and frame an imagination that overthrows it self.

Again, All Church Offices are alike as to [Page 16]the extent of their pow­er; for their power a­riseth from their Of­fice-relation to the Church, therefore one Officer is related to no more Churches than another; he hath no more Office-power in other Churches than another Officer hath. The Deacon of the Church at Corinth is related as Deacon to that Church, and none else but that: Even so is the Pastor. The difference between the [Page 17] Offices of the Church lieth not at all in the extent of one to other persons more than the other; but in the dif­ferent work that the different Officers have alotted to them with respect to the same persons. The Ruler is to attend with dili­gence to the Rule of the same Persons or Church, and the Dea­con to receive and faithfully dispose the Temporal things com­mitted to him of the [Page 10] [...] [Page 11] [...] [Page 12] [...] [Page 13] [...] [Page 14] [...] [Page 15] [...] [Page 16] [...] [Page 17] [...] [Page 18] same Church that the Pastor is to administer a Word of Wisdom to, and the Teacher a Word of Knowledge. The Scripture no where gives any the least intimation of a Difference between them in this regard.

To issue this Point about Church-Office.

The whole of the power of Office is of equal extent with any one part thereof, as to the Persons over whom it is to be exercised. If [Page 19] Archippus may put forth one act of his Office to all the Church at Coloss, or to other person besides, he may also put forth other acts. If he may, as a Pastor, feed all or any with a Word of Wisdom, none of those who are under his Charge for that, may be exempted from un­der his power as to Rule. If he may rule more Churches than one, he may administer the Lord's Supper to [Page 20]more than one. If the Lord Jesus hath put the Church of Cen­chrea in the Commissi­on of the Pastor of the Church of Corinth for one act proper to his Office, he hath al­so for all other Office­acts. Yea, and then all the Churches of Achaia are no more exempted than the Church of Cenchrea; And where we shall stop I know not, till we have made him an Ʋniversal Pastor, or [Page 21] Bishop Oecumenical, and so set him up to justle with the Old Gentle­man at Rome; who (of the two) hath the better Title to it, ha­ving both Phocas his Grant, and actual pos­session some Years a­bove a Thousand.

Of the foregoing Premises (before I pass on to the Second Point to be considered) I shall make a double Improvement.

I. Briefly deduce [Page 22]some Arguments con­cluding the Question.

II. Return an Answer to some Objections.

First, Some Argu­ments concluding the Question.

Argument I. That comes first to Hand which was last touch­ed upon. The Pastor of the Church at Co­rinth may not admini­ster the Lord's Supper where he may not Rule or Govern: But [Page 23]he may not Govern in the Church of Cen­chrea; And therefore, not administer the Sup­per there. I know no colour for it in the Word, That in admi­nistring the Lord's Sup­per Archippus should be Christ's Substitute, and in Christ's stead to the Church of Cen­chrea, but in nothing else; In all other mat­ters pertaining to Of­fice-power having no Authority over them from Christ. If he [Page 24]be Commissioned and Deputed from Christ for the one, he is and must be also for the other.

Argum. II. Where he may not put forth the power of a Mem­ber, he may not put forth the power of an Officer: But in the Church of Cenchrea the Pastor of the Church of Corinth may not put forth the power of a Member, Suppose in Voting, [Page 25]Judging, Admitting, Calling an Officer, or the like.

It seems unreaso­nable and incongru­ous, that where he is not subject as a Mem­ber, he should have the Priviledge to ex­ert the power of a Member. And if not the power of a Mem­ber, much less the power of an Officer: But in Administring the Lord's Supper he puts forth the power of an Officer, doing that [Page 26]which none but an Officer may do.

Arg. III. Ruling Elders may as lawful­ly, and with as much Right, put forth the acts of their Office, as a Pastor do any acts of his Office, in other Churches besides that to which they have special Office-Relati­on; for they are both set in the body alike, he that ruleth, and he that Exhorteth, Rom. 12. But the Ruling-Elders [Page 27]of Corinth may not rule over the Church of Cenchrea, and there­fore neither may the Pastor of Corinth ad­minister the Lord's Supper, there.

Arg. IV. Where a Man hath no Office-power, he may do no Office-acts; He is else a Busie-body, [...] 1 Pet. 4.15. There is such a necessary and innate alliance and con­nexion between Office-power and Office-acts, [Page 28]as that the latter can­not be orderly put forth but by virtue of the former: But the Pastor of the Church of Corinth hath no Office-power in the Church of Cenchrea; for he is none of their Officer; for he was never Called or Cho­sen by them; they ne­ver submitted them­selves to him; the Ho­ly Ghost never set him over them: None but Members in Cen­chrea can have any Of­fice [Page 29]there, Rom. 12.4. 'Tis only Members that have any Office (so we render it, the Greek Word signifies also action or operati­on) in the Body. But the Pastor of the Church of Corinth is no Member in the Church of Cenchrea: He is no more a Mem­ber there than any other Member is; for the Pastor's Member­ship, and a private Members Membership are not at all diffe­rent. [Page 30]The Members of Corinth are not Members in Cenchrea, for the Members make up the whole, contri­buting and containing in them all the essenti­al causes, viz. both matter and form of the whole: If therefore the Members of the one were Members of the other, the Church­es must be both one, and not two distinct Churches: And then when Sardis is dead, and Laodicea luke­warm, [Page 31] Philadelphia is so too. If the Limbs and Members of Alex­ander be the Members of Aristotle; when A­lexander rides, Aristotle is in the Saddle too. The Pastor therefore of Corinth is no Mem­ber in Cenchrea, and if no Member no Of­ficer, and if no Offi­cer he hath no Office-power, and therefore may do no Office-act there, such as admini­string the Lord's Sup­per is.

[Page 32] Arg. V. If the Pa­stor of the Church of Corinth may admini­ster the Lord's Supper in the Church of Cen­chrea, he hath a right or authority to do it. If he have Authority to do it, he may re­quire the Church to receive it at his hands, and the Church may not refuse it: Yea, and this though the proper Pastor of Cen­chrea were living, and present with them. For [Page 33]the Death or Absence of the Pastor of the Church of Cenchrea gives the Pastor of the Church of Corinth no more power or right in the Church of Cen­chrea than he had be­fore. Right to put forth an act of Office, and Authority to require submission to that act are inseparable: He that may grant a Warrant, hath Au­thority to require O­bedience to it. The Church of Cenchrea [Page 34]may refuse ever to re­ceive the Supper ad­ministred by the Pa­stor or the Church of Corinth, and not sin in so doing; and there­fore he hath no Au­thority to require it. And if no Authority to require their re­ceiving, he hath no right himself to admi­nister it to them. For Right to Administer, supposeth him to be Christ's Substitute, Commissioned from him for such Admi­nistration; [Page 35]But to be Christ's Substitute, Commissioned by him, must needs infer an Authority and Power to require in Christ's Name, attendance up­on such an Admini­stration whereto he is by Christ Commissi­oned.

Arg. VI. Without Power given him from Christ, the Pastor of the Church of Corinth may not administer the Supper in the Church [Page 36]of Cenchrea: For no Man should bless and separate the Elements, so as from Common to make them Sacra­mental, unless he have Power or Authority given him from Christ so to do; for whate­ver is done of this kind, must be done in the Name of Christ, whose Work alone it is, by his poor Mini­ster as his Substitute and Instrument to pro­duce and really effect that Special Union [Page 37]which there truly is in the Sacrament be­tween the Elements and his Body and Bloud. Christ doth not now separate and bless the Bread and Wine amongst us im­mediately in his own Person: If it be done therefore, it should be done by one that is Christ's substitute, and Commissioned by him thereunto. If therefore, a Man have not Commission and Authority from Christ [Page 38]to do it, he may not do it.

But the Pastor of the Church of Corinth hath no Power or Au­thority given him from Christ, to administer the Supper in the Church of Cenchrea. He can have none from Christ but what he hath by the Church; but he hath none by the Church, and there­fore none from Christ.

He hath none by the Church of Corinth, for they can give him [Page 39]no power for any acti­on in another Church: He hath none by the Church of Cenchrea, for they do not Call him to Office amongst them: And there­fore he hath none at all, for these are the two only Churches from whom any thing can be pretended in this Case.

Arg. VII. If he may Administer the Supper to and in the Church of Cenchrea, he [Page 40]must also fulfil his Mi­nistry towards that Church in all the other acts of his Ministry wherein the Church needs his help: For right to administer the Supper supposeth Of­fice, but Office-relati­on inferreth Office-Bonds, Office being not a Power or Licence only, but carrying in it a Charge Command and Duty. But it is e­vident, the Pastor of the Church of Corinth is not bound to fulfil [Page 41]his Ministry towards the Church of Cen­chrea, he is not bound to Watch there, Rule there, Guide there, Labour in the Word and Doctrine there.

The other Officers of the Church of Corinth are bound to fulfil their Offices, in doing the respective work thereof to the Church of Cenchrea, as much as the Pastor; and both they and he are as well bound to the other Churches in Achaia, as [Page 42]to that at Cenchrea.

Arg. VIII. If this administring the Sup­per in the Church of Cenchrea by the Pastor of the Church of Co­rinth be Lawful and Warrantable, I de­mand, What is it that makes it so? It is plain he doth a special act, which none but Persons impower'd and priviledged thereto may do; such special acts must have some­thing for the ground [Page 43]of them, indeed all acts must, else they are un­lawful. But there is nothing that can im­power the Pastor of the Church of Corinth for thus acting in the Church of Cenchrea. It must be either his Gifts or his Grace, or his Ele­ction, or his Ordination: But none of these can give him power to ad­minister the Lord's Supper in Cenchrea.

Not his Gifts nor Grace.] For then a Non-Officer might do [Page 44]it. Grace gives ability only to do a thing ac­ceptably to God, as to the inward frame of the heart with which it is done; not any right to do lawfully any ex­ternal act which other­wife might not be done. Gifts only fur­nish with ability for doing such a thing, (whereto the Gifts are suited) unto others E­dification, but confer not a Right or Autho­rity whereby it may lawfully be done; for [Page 45]then every one that hath equal Gifts must have equal Authority. Neither Gifts nor Grace make a Man Christ's Substitute to bless and sanctifie Ele­ments in his Name, and make them Sacra­mental Signs of Christ and his Benefits. Pri­vate Members, yea Women have both Gifts and Grace; yet are not Christ's Substi­tutes for such an Ad­ministration.

Not his Election.] [Page 46]The Church that chooseth him, choos­eth him only for them­selves, not for other Churches; to be in Christ's stead amongst them, not amongst o­thers. For Christ hath not given them power to confer such power on any Man, with re­spect to any others than themselves: But each Church is betru­sted with it by the Lord Christ for it self. The Church of Corinth cannot subject the [Page 47]Church of Cenchrea to their Pastor; and there­fore cannot give him either Office-power, or power for any Office-act in the Church of Cenchrea; they may as well make him an Uni­versal Pastor over all the Churches in the whole World.

Not his Ordination.] For this presupposeth, is grounded upon, and relates wholly to his Election; and thence gives not power of a larger extent than he [Page 48]was called to in his E­lection.

He is Ordained to no other than he was Chosen to; and there­fore, if in his Election he be not Chosen to act as an Officer in other Churches, his Ordination impowers him not at all thereun­to; He is not Chosen to one thing, and Or­dained to another. Or­dination, (be it a So­lemn investiture of him with Office-power, or be it a Solemn Separa­tion [Page 49]of him with sup­posed due Rites, and in due manner to his Work, yet it) so ne­cessarily and wholly relates to his Election, that he can receive no power thereby of lar­ger extent than in his Election he was called unto.

In sum therefore, If neither his Gifts, nor Grace, nor Electi­on, nor Ordination be a just and sufficient ground for the Pastor of the Church of Co­rinth [Page 50]his administring the Lord's Supper in the Church of Cenchrea there is no sufficient ground at all for it: But in none of these is there a sufficient ground for it, there­fore there is none at all. As to what may be pleaded by vertue of Communion of Churches, it shall be considered in the next Point.

This shall serve for Arguments concluding [Page 51]the Question. There are some Objections that may receive their Answer from the Pre­mises, and these come next to be considered.

Obj. 1. He is a Pas­tor every where, and abides still vested with that Relation, and the Authority of it, even when he is in Cen­chrea, and not only when he is acting as a Pastor in Corinth. 'Tis not with a Church-Offi­cer as with the Ele­ments [Page 52]in the Sacra­ments, which remain Sacred and Sacramental only while they are using in that Ordinance; but afterwards, and out of that use, what is left of the Bread or Wine is common.

Ans. True, he doth abide clothed with the Office of a Pastor, even while he is at Cenchrea; even as the Lord Mayor of London a­bides Lord Mayor though he go into [Page 53] Westminster; yet he can put forth none of his power as Mayor whilst he is there: So is the Pastor of the Church of Corinth limited in the acts of his Office, as to the object of it, unto the particular Church of Corinth; Elsewhere, and unto others, he is but as a Private Person as to any Office-Authority or Power: As a Fa­ther abides a Father, when he is in another Man's House; yet [Page 54]hath no Paternal Au­thority over any Chil­dren but his own.

Yea, I will grant further, that the Pastor of the Church of Co­rinth is to be honour­ed with singular es­teem by the Church of Cenchrea; not only for his eminent excel­ling in spiritual Gifts and Grace, but also because the Lord Jesus hath put honour upon him in calling him to such a place, and vest­ing him with such an [Page 55]Office in one of his Churches.

Nay, I will moreover yield the Pastor of the Church of Corinth to be an Ordinance of God for good to all the Members of the Church of Cenchrea: So indeed he is in his feeding of the Church of Corinth with a Word of Wisdom, to all the Inhabitants of that City, being a Ves­sel that carries preci­ous Treasure, and [Page 56]holds forth unto all that hear his Preach­ing the Word of Life.

And so is the Church it self of Corinth, it be­ing the Pillar of Truth, and an Ordinance pro­vided and set up on purpose by the great God in the dark World for this very end, to display his manifold Wisdom in the Gospel, and direct the lost Sons of Men in the way of Commu­nion with God by Christ, and an Eternal [Page 57]Enjoyment of him.

Yet it will not at all follow from hence, that the Church of Co­rinth may judge with Church-Censure the Men of the World that are without (the Apostle, 1 Cor. 5.12, 13. expresly denies it) or Excommunicate the Members of the Church of Cenchrea, who are not of the same Lump and Body with them. No more will it follow that the Pastor of the Church [Page 58]of Corinth may do any Office-acts in the Church of Cenchrea, though he abide clo­thed with that Office, and in his holy Admi­nistrations in the Church of Corinth be an Ordinance of God for their good, as far as Providence gives them an opportunity to partake of the be­nefit thereof. The Lord Mayor of London is the King's Officer, or Ordinance for good to all the Kingdom, [Page 59]and therefore to all the Citizens of Bristol, as far as they have occa­sion to use his power, yet the Lord Mayor of London can do no act of his Office, nor put forth any of his Office-power within the City of Bristol.

Obj. 2. The Pastor of Corinth may as lawful­ly administer the Supper in the Church of Cen­chrea, as a Member of the Church of Cenchrea may partake in the Ad­ministration [Page 60]of the Sup­per in the Church of Corinth.

Ans. The Cases are not parallel. There is a great deal of diffe­rence between a Mem­ber's partaking, and a Pastor's administring the Supper in another Church. For

1. A Member in communicating is not Christ's Substitute, but is considered only as a Member of a particu­lar instituted Church, [Page 61]whereof Christ is the Political Head.

2. The Pastor of Corinth is in his proper place where the Holy Ghost hath set him, when he is admini­string the Supper there (which is more than can be said when he is administring in Cen­chrea) and whom the Church rightly re­ceives to partake with them in that Ordi­nance, he cannot put back, nor may he for­bear his Duty upon that account.

[Page 62]3. There are In­stances and Grounds in Scripture, for a Member of one Church his being received and owned, and his com­municating in another Church Rom. 16.1, 2. Acts 20.4, 5, 6, 7. But there are none for a Pastor's administring the Supper out of his own Church.

4. Receiving the Supper is a Priviledge, Administring the Sup­per is an action where­in Office-power is exer­ted; [Page 63]and hence agai they are vastly different, and the one much more confined than the other: Receiving unto the Supper each others Members occa­sionally, being but a proper expression of Sisterly Communion be­tween Churches; when as Officers mutually acting as Officers in several Churches, im­plies a Coalition of the Churches into one; or at least that they are both equally under his [Page 64]Office-power. Sharing in a Priviledge, and putting forth of pow­er, do so much differ, as that in a private Member the one is much more limited and restrain'd than the other: A private Mem­ber of Corinth hath no Power or Right to Vote in another Church than that whereof he is a Mem­ber, for Excommuni­cation, Admission, Cal­ling an Officer, or a­ny thing else of like [Page 65]nature, wherein the Members of that Church are concer­ned to give Judg­ment, yet a Mem­ber of Corinth may there partake of the Lord's Supper. And suppose a Member, or Forty Members of Corinth should Vote, being present in the Church of Cenchrea, when an Officer is Called, or a Member Received or Cast out; their Vote, though concurring with the [Page 66]Church of Cenchrea, would have no effici­ency, or causal infflu­ence at all, by virtue of any Institution of Christ, to instate such Person in Office-Pow­er, or to admit into, or cast out from a Member-Relation. If therefore a Member of Corinth's being admit­ted to partake of t he Supper in Cenchrea, will not infer his pow­er to Vote or pass Judgment there; much less will it infer the [Page 67]Pastor of Corinth's power to act as an Officer there.

Obj. 3. The Pa­stor of Corinth is an Officer of the Church Catholick, and he ad­ministers the Lord's Supper to the Church of Cenchrea, as Members of the Catholick Church, not as such a particular Churh.

Ans. 1. The Scrip­ture knows but two kinds of Churches, [Page 68] viz, Mystical and In­stituted.

2. The Mystical (consisting of all and only true Believers) hath neither Officers nor Ordinances seated in it, though both are designed for it princi­pally; but as it is, so all its priviledges are spiritual and invisible, and not Dispenced by Men, but by God him­self. Nor indeed is it possible, That the Church Mystical should be the proper subject of [Page 69]Ordinances dispensed by Mortal Men, because then no Man could in Faith dispense any Or­dinance to another; for no Man can make a Judgment of Faith or certain Knowledge, concerning anothers belonging to the My­stical Church. And hence, the Members of the Church of Cenchrea supposing them all Members of the Church Mystical, yet as such they are not Subjects nextly and [Page 70]compleatly qualified for, and instituted to this Ordinance of the Lord's Supper; Nei­ther is the Pastor of the Church at Corinth an Officer over them, for the Mystical Church hath no Officers. And by the same reason, the Pastor of Corinth may give the Lord's Supper to any that he judgeth Believers, where-ever he casually lights on them.

3. The Instiuted Church is no other [Page 71]than a Particular Con­gregation or Church; such as that at Corinth, and that at Cenchrea, which are parts of the general kind, and Instituted Churches themselves; as Thomas and John are parts of Mankind, and Men themselves. But look as John's Eye is not set in Thomas's Head, nor can it see there; so neither is the Officer of the Church of Co­rinth set in the Church at Cenchrea, nor can he [Page 72]do any acts or Office there. For though all Officers in the gene­ral belong to the Church in the general, as all Hands belong to the Body of Mankind in the general, or Hu­mane Body; yet this and that particular or­dinary Officer belongs to this and that parti­cular Church, and to them only, as this and that Hand belong to this and that parti­cular Body. And there­fore the Pastor of the [Page 73]Church of Corinth is no more, nor other­wise an Officer of the Catholick Church, than my Hand or Eye is an Organ of Mankind; that is in short, He is an Officer to the Church of Corinth, and to no other Church be­sides that.

4. If Catholick Church in this Obje­ction be taken in ano­ther Notion than either for the Church Mysti­cal, or for all particu­lar lar instituted Churches, [Page 74]namely, for The whole body of visible Bilievers throughout the World: I Answer (1.) There is no such Church. For although the whole body of Believers throughout the World be so called in our common Speech (and complying with Cu­stom, we may notifie them by that Name) yet the Holy Ghost in Scripture, tells us of no such Church. (2.) It was a piece of the Faith of the Congregational [Page 75]Churches in the times of their Liberty, which they shall do well now not to depart from, that, Tho the whole bo­dy of visible Be­lievers through­out the World are called the Ca­tholick Visible Church, Declar. at the Savoy, ch. 26. §. 2. and may be so called, yet it is not as such, a Church intrusted with the administration of any Ordinances, nor hath it any Officers.

And therefore the Pastor of the Church [Page 76]of Corinth cannot be an Officer to them, nor have the Mem­bers of the Church of Cenchrea, under that Notion as part of this Body, any Right or Title to have the Lord's Supper admi­nistred amongst them. (3.) The same Per­sons say also expresly, that, Besides particular Churches (such whose Constitution and Ga­thering they had be­fore described) there is not instituted by Christ [Page 77]any Church more exten­sive or Catho­lick, Declar. at the Savoy Of the In­stitution of churches, and their Order, Prop. 6. entrusted with power for the administra­tion of his Or­dinances, or the execution of any Authority in his Name. If therefore there be no such Church insti­tuted by Christ, a Plea from it for the regula­rity of this Practice is altogether vain, being wholly Founded on that which is not. (4.) This Notion of [Page 78] such a kind of Catholick Church, undermines and overthrows at once all the Principles of the Congregational way and Practice; As will quickly appear to any that understands and will consider it, and as they well know that are any thing acquain­ted with the Grounds and Writings of the different Parties in those Points. But this Practice impleaded in this Dispute, cannot stand without enter­taining [Page 79]such a Notion of a Church Catholick. This should make us shy of it, since it leads to the overthrow and renunciation of what we once believed and built up by our Pro­fession and Practice; and engageth us to the owning of that which is inconsistent with all the Principles of our Persuasion, touching the Constitution of Churches, and the Or­der to be observed by them.

POINT II. Touching Communion of Churches.

I. Tho this Com­munion be partly founded in, and greatly suited to the Law of Nature, and Light of Reason; (to the Prin­ciples whereof the New Testament Institutions offer no Violence) yet it is to be managed by the Light of the Rules of the Word; it being [Page 81]brought under a speci­al Institution of Christ as many other things are, which even Natural Light goes a great way in approv­ing of, and leading to. Although therefore this or that particular Practice may seem a very fair and sweet fruit of the Commun­ion of Churches; yet if it be destitute of all Ground and Warrant in the Word, such Pra­ctice must be look'd upon as unlawful, be­cause [Page 82]cause wanting a War­rant from the Holy Scriptures.

II. Communion of Churches is for the help, preservation and building up, not only of the several Saints in those Churches consi­dered separately and singly; but firstly and immediately of the Churches themselves, as instituted Bodies or Societies, made up and consisting of Saints for that end joined toge­ther according to the [Page 83]Lord. Hence it must needs follow, that whatever tends to the confounding of Church­es which in their Con­stitution are distinct and several, and should be so preserved invio­lably, is not a right ex­ercise and improve­ment of the Communi­on of Churches, but a perverting thereof.

III. Hence also it follows with an high hand, That though in communion of Church­es there be a singular [Page 84]exercise of that love, which all Saints and Churches ought to have and shew one to another, as opportuni­ty for it is admini­stred; yet it is altoge­ther unwarrantable, for Churches walking in mutual Communion to coalesce into, and make up a new Instituted Body, of which they should all be Members. For tho they ought to walk in love and com­munion one with ano­ther, yet they are there­in [Page 85]in limited by the Lord, and may not become Members one of ano­ther mutually; there being no Institution of his to Warrant it, as there is for Saints be­coming one Body in a Church, and Members one of another by virtue thereof. Nor if several Churches should agree so to make up one Body, would Christ be the Head of that Body, as he is of every Church or Body of his own In­stitution.

[Page 86]IV. As notwith­standing Communion of Churches, both the several Churches as Bodies, and also the particular Members of each of them as Mem­bers, ought to be kept distinct; neither the several Churches, while they continue several Churches, running into one body; nor the Mem­bers of each becoming mutually Members of the other: So their several respective Of­ficers, and all the ad­ministrations [Page 87]of them ought to be kept di­stinct, and appropriated according as the Lord hath set them: Offi­cers of Churches in Communion, being no more generally or mu­tually Officers to those several Churches, than the Members of them are mutually Members.

From the premised Considerations touch­ing Communion of Churches, several Rea­sonings concluding the [Page 88] Question might be de­duced: But all the Improvement that I shall make of them, is only to answer some Objections arising from mis-apprehensions about the present Subject, Communion of Churches.

Obj. 1. The Pastor of the Church of Co­rinth may lawfully ad­minister the Supper in the Church of Cenchrea by vertue of Communi­on of Churches, as well as act as an Officer in a [Page 89]Synod where the Mes­sengers and Elders of Churches that walk in Communion meet.

Ans. Notwithstand­ing Communion of Churches, he may not lawfully administer the Supper in Cenchrea.

1. Communion of Churches enlargeth not the object and li­mits of the respective Officers Power. Such Communion Churches may not have; it would rather be Confusion, and prejudice both the [Page 90]Priviledges and entire­ness of each of them. Communion of Churches extends not to the sub­jecting of Churches to each others Officers, any more than to the subjecting of particul­ar Members to other Churches than their own. The Church of Corinth may as well by virtue of Communion of Churches Censure and Cast out a Mem­ber of. Cenchrea, as the Pastor of Corinth by vertue of Communion [Page 91]of Churches, act as an Officer in the Church of Cenchrea.

Communion of Church­es is ordained for the mutual help of Church­es, by the benefit and use of the Gifts that are in any of them, the help whereof another may need; but not for a foundation of the en­larging, mutual com­municating, or exerci­sing of Office-power.

2. Church Officers acting in a Synod to in­struct or admonish an [Page 92]erring Church, act not any Office-power, nor do any other thing, than a Synod consisting of Bre­thren without Officers, might as lawfully do. Neither indeed, do Of­ficers come to, or act in a Synod as Officers, but as delegated or deputed or sent by their respec­tive Churches there­unto: And for such an Expression of Churches mutual com­munion, there is a clear Warrant in the Word. But for Churches to [Page 93]communicate their Of­ficers to each other, or for ordinary Officers to act as Officers to more Churches than that one to which they are cho­sen, there is no War­rant at all.

Obj. 2. The Church of Cenchrea desires it, and the Church of Co­rinth consents.

Ans. 1. I still demand, Where is the Warrant for the desire of the one, or the consent of the other? 'Tis cer­tain [Page 94]one Church may possibly request, and another agree to that which is un-warrant­able.

2. The whole of the Pastor's Power he hath from Christ through the Church; and thence he is to be regulated in the exercise of that power wholly by the Rule that Christ hath given about it in his Word, not by the Churches consent or dissent at all. For tho the Power that he ex­erciseth [Page 95]be devolved on him from Christ, by the intervention of the Churches acting; yet the whole of the Office­power that he exercis­eth is Christ's, and to be put forth in his Name, and it neither is, nor ever was seated in the Church.

3. The Cenchreans call, and the Corinthi­ans consent or dismis­sion, may translate the Pastor, and change his relation from Corinth to Cenchrea: But while [Page 96]the relation abides as before, the call or re­quest of the one, and the consent of the o­ther render not his acting as Pastor to Cen­chrea any other than irregular: tho perhaps it may render it less distastful to some. For the Office-relation re­maining unaltered, the Office-power cannot be transported from one Object to another, nor enlarged to more Churches: Because Of­fice-power is limited [Page 97]in its extent, both as to the things about which, and persons over whom it is to be exer­cised; and cannot by any consent or agree­ment of Pastors and Churches, be in either of those regards exten­ded beyond, or strait­ned within the compass and bounds set and fix­ed by Christ. A Church may as well abridge a Pastor's Power, as ex­tend it further than Christ hath done; or extend another Officer's [Page 98]power to things that Christ hath secluded from his Office: As for Example; Agree that a Deacon shall baptize; or that their Pastor shall only Teach and not Rule. But as this Agreement and answerable Practice would on all hands be invalid and sinful; so is this alledged desire of Cenchrea, and con­sent of Corinth altoge­ther irregular, and without Warrant from Christ; and thence [Page 99]wholly null, and such as makes the Pastor's acting in the Church of Cenchrea no more lawful, than it would be if neither Cenchrea desired it, or Corinth agreed to it.

Obj. 3. The Pastor of Corinth brings some of his Members with him, suppose six or se­ven or more, to Cen­chrea, and he admini­sters the Supper as to his own Church, tho not assembled in the usual [Page 100]place, or usual number, but the Cenchreans communicate with them.

Answ. 1. This Obje­ction and Practice im­ply a tacit acknow­ledgment, that the Pa­stor of Corinth may not administer the Sup­per but in his own Church; which is the very thing expresly ar­gued for in this Dis­pute.

2. I demand in whe­ther part of this com­pany thus assembled, resides the Church-power [Page 101]of receiving or excluding from parti­cipation in that Ordi­nance? Suppose a per­son be occasionally present that pretends to be a Member of a Third Church, suppose one at Athens, or else­where in Achaia; but perhaps is reported to be Cast out, or Guilty of some Scandal: whe­ther must the Church of Cenchrea, or these few Members of the Church of Corinth with their Pastor, give Judg­ment [Page 102]concerning this Person's being receiv'd or debarred from the Supper then to be ad­ministred? If it be said, the Members of Corinth with their Pa­stor: Let the Church of Cenchrea look about them; well they may (I suppose they will) make (some Stand at this new Practice of so uncouth an Aspect; which plainly bereaves them (tho a Church of Christ, assembled in the Name of Christ) of [Page 103]power to judge Eccle­siastically concerning a Person's fitness to be received into so near communion with them in this holy Ordinance; and tho they appre­hend his claim to be frivolous or false, or unsatisfactoty, yet ties up their hands from secluding him, If it be said, this Power re­sides in the Church of Cenchrea; this very thing makes it evident, that the Corinthians Pa­stor's bringing over [Page 104]with him those six or seven Members, is but a false colour to var­nish over a foul busi­ness, and hide the irre­gularity of the Pra­ctice from the more simple-hearted that are tender of swerving from the Rule. If it be said, it belongs to both of them to Judge; I ask again, which is the Church, and which is a Church-Judgment? If it be said, both; then here is an Officer of Corinth acting as an [Page 105]Officer to and in the Church of Cenchrea; which is the very thing which the practice sup­posed in the Objection is designed to avoid: Besides, Communion of Churches is also pervert­ed to confound and jum­ble Churches, and make two Bodies that ought to be kept distinct, coa­lesce into one.

POINT III. Touching the invaria­bleness of the Rule; and our strict Obliga­tion to observe it, tho with hazard of Suf­fering.

I. Tho instituted Worship hath under­gone sundry alterati­ons; that becoming an Institution which some­times was not, and that again ceasing to be one which sometimes was; [Page 107]yet mens strict and punctual observance of Institutions, is bound upon their Consciences by the Second Com­mandment in all Ge­nerations, throughout all those several Chan­ges that the Wisdom of God hath made in his own Institutions.

II. Our Institutions binding us in the strength of the Second Commandment, as is said, our swerving from the Rule of them must needs be a Sin a­gainst [Page 108]gainst the Moral Law, and particularly, a breach of that Com­mandment; and hence, no more allow'd us to avoid outward Suffer­ings, than it is allow'd a Man to steal, against the Eighth Command­ment, that he may a­void Poverty. Yea, of the two, the Thief is on the better side, both because the commands of the First Table are greater than the Com­mands of the Second; and because as his Sin [Page 109]is against a disposal of Providence, darkned perhaps, exceedingly by the interposure of much of the iniquity of Man; so ours is against the express Institution and clear Command­ment of him who is the Wisdom of the Fa­ther, and Lord over all: Besides, our Suf­ferings coming for our adherence to the Com­mands of Christ, we have signal Promises relating to such a Case and also a rich oppor­tunity, [Page 110]and evident hopes of glorifying Christ by our Suffer­ings, all which should mightily strengthen us to our duty: But none of these things can be equally pleaded con­cerning one under Po­verty, who is restrain­ed from stealing by his Conscience of the Eighth Command­ment.

III. All our Insti­tutions in the New Testament being in­grasted on the Second [Page 111]Commandment, as the Stock that bears them, no less than theirs were under the Old Testament We are no more allow'd to make bold with our Institutions, either in neglecting any of them, or swerving from them in any kind or degree, than they under the Old Testa­ment might with theirs.

IV. The Rule given us being no less com­pleat and perfect than [Page 112]that which was given them. Christ as a Son being no less faithful over his own House than Moses who was a Ser­vant, was in the House of his Master and Lord; and our Insti­tutions being given forth from no less Wisdom and Grace and Authority than theirs were: Diffi­culties and Sufferings can no more relax our obligation strictly to observe the Ordinan­ces [Page 113]given us by Christ, than they could relax their obligation to ob­serve Moses his Ordi­nances. Yea, we hav­ing in all these things rather the advantage of them, our obligati­on in matters of Insti­tution must needs be acknowledged in that regard the stricter and more indispensible of the two.

V. There is nothing truly of Institution but is a part of the Name of Christ, and part of the [Page 114]the Words of Christ, no less properly and really than the most glorious Mysteries of Faith, or most funda­mental Points of Doc­trine. But we must not in any kind be a­shamed of any of his words, nor in any de­gree or sort deny any thing of his Name; no, tho our Lot be to live in an adulterous and sin­ful Generation, and in those places and times where the not deny­ing of them may cost [Page 115]us our lives, Mark 8. 38 Rev. 2.13.

VI. The least and the greatest matters of Institution are injoin'd us alike indispensably. We may therefore as lawfully lay aside all, as lay aside any Insti­tution to avoid Suffer­ings.

VII. One end of the Lord's giving so exact a Rule in mat­ters of Institution, is for the Tryal of our Obedience and Loyal­ty: And his bringing [Page 116]Difficulties and Suffer­ings upon us for ob­serving what he hath commanded us, is also that he might take the more thorow and so­lemn Tryal of our Loyalty, Love and Faithfulness to him. It is therefore impossi­ble that Difficulties and Sufferings should alter that Rule in mat­ters of Institution, or give us any Dispensa­tion as to our close ob­servance thereof.

Let me answer some [Page 117] Objections hence; and I shall proceed to the next Question.

Obj. 1. The Church of Cenchrea desires the Ordinance of the Supper earnestly, and stands in great need thereof for the strengthening of their Faith in difficult times, and warming their love to Christ and one ano­ther; being also in the more danger of scatter­ing, in that they are de­prived of a Pastor of their own. Surely Christ [Page 118]hath left some way for his Church to enjoy that Ordinance, in such a time when their need of it is singularly great: They must needs there­fore, as the Case is with them, either go without it to their great grief and wounding, or have it ad­ministred by one that is no Teaching-Officer, borrow of Corinth their Pastor.

Ans. 1. Cenchrea be­ing deprived of a Pa­stor, they must furnish themselves with one; [Page 119]every Church being bound in Conscience to provide it self with all the standing Ordi­nances of Christ, as they will answer cas [...]ng off Christ's Authority that hath appointed them, and not be guilty of despising his love who gives them as signal Pledges thereof, and of sinning against their own Souls, by neglect­ing a special Ordinance for the Edisica­tion and Salvation of them.

[Page 120]2. 'Tis sad when a Church is deprived of any Ordinance, especi­ally that of Teaching Elders, and if God do indeed withhold them from enjoying one, it ought to be lookt up­on as a sore Rebuke from Christ, carrying in it no less than a Threatning to remove his Candlestick from them, and as a kind of partial Excommunica­ting of them inflicted by Christ himself from Heaven, and it is there­fore [Page 121]a sore and solemn testifying against such a Church by the Lord.

3. This Judgment is much the heavier when it befalls a Church in such a Day as the Objection points at; yet Affliction is to be chosen before Sin: And the Affliction of being deprived of that sweet and precious Ordinance of the Sup­per, in such a time of special need of it, (tho very grievous to a gracious Spirit, yet) [Page 122]had better be born, than the Ordinance be scrambled after in an unlawful way.

4. The Church of Cenchrea may as law­fully have it admini­stred by a non-Officer, as by the Officer of another Church. For the Pastor of Corinth is no other than a non-Officer to the Church of Cenchrea; and there­fore if the one be ir­regular and unlawful (as the Objection seems to grant it is) so is [Page 123]the other also no less.

5. This Objection carries a Face as if the Church at Cenchrea could well enough content themselves without a Pastor, could they but get the Lord's Supper by any scamb­ling shift, or could they satisfie themselves in going without it: But surely this is an evil frame on many ac­counts, and argues both little Conscience of walking in all the Commands and Ordi­nances [Page 124]nances of Christ; and also that such a Church aims more at the keep­ing up the Form and Name of a Church, than at fulfilling their Duty to their own Souls.

Obj. 2. The Church is poor, and our Rulers are so fan from giving encouragment to Men of their Way, This was writ­ten when the Meetings of Dissenters were in danger of being difturb'd that they are rather se­vere against them; from [Page 125]whence it comes to pass both that the Church is under an impossibility of maintaining, and conse­quently of furnishing themselves with a Pastor of their own, and also hath little hopes of any peaceable and conti­nued enjoyment of him with them, if they had one.

Answer 1. If the Church of Cenchrea can meet with the Pa­stor of the Church of Corinth to receive the Lord's Supper (as it [Page 126]seems they can) they may as well meet with a Pastor of their own, and enjoy his labours amongst them, accord­ing to the Rule and Order of the Gospel.

2. If the Church of Cenchrea be not defec­tive in their Duty, but lay out themselves, as the Lord requires, for the obtaining of a Pa­stor of their own, and yet cannot obtain one; they may and ought to wait on the Lord in Faith and Hope that [Page 127]in due time he will provide them of a Pa­stor: And in the mean time they must keep his way, Psal. 37.34. bearing their want of a Pastor as their af­fliction from the Lord, which they must not seek to ease themselves of by sinful and irre­gular ways.

3. It is one special thing wherein Christ is taking a Tryal of his Churches in these Nations at this day; whether they will be [Page 128]at the charge of main­taining all his Ordi­nances and Officers a­mongst them, without help therein from the Civil Magistrate; or whether they will not rather be without them? And as it is a special Particular wherein the Tryal of the present Providence lies; So it is that wherein Churches are in the more danger of failing, because it is a part of the Yoke of Christ, which the ge­nerality [Page 129]of the Church­es in these Nations have not put their Necks under hereto­fore; whereas all even the poorest Churches that we read of in the Apostles times, did from their first Consti­tution furnish them­selves with Officers without any help therein from the Civil Magistrate, who was in many regards more severe against them, than through the favour of God ours are [Page 130]to us. See 1 Thess. 5.12. with chap. 1.6. and 2.14. and 2 Thess. 1.4. This Church was one of the Churches of Macedonia, spoken of 2 Cor. 8.1, 2, 3.

4. If the Church of Cenchrea through extream Poverty can­not of themselves pro­vide a Pastor of their own, the Lord hath not left them without direction and relief in this case. In which they ought both to search the Word themselves, [Page 131]and also to consult o­ther Churches, whose Duty it is not only to hold forth Light to a Sister-Church in the dark, but also to yield forth outward Sup­plies to a Sister-Church in distress; which is a lovely exercise and fruit of mutual Cha­rity and Communion between Sifter-Churches, and that which hath unquestionable Warrant in the Word; whereas this of bor­rowing and lending an [Page 132]Officer to do a Cast of his Office in another Church besides his own, is a thing un­heard of in the Scrip­ture, and never prac­tised by the Primitive Churches under the Apostles direction.

Obj. 3. Difficult times produce unusual Cases and Extremities, and that which in an ordinary case would not be lawful, is allowable in such Cases and Times.

[Page 133] Answ. 1. Difficult times do indeed pro­duce unusual afflicti­ons on Churches, and make their Temptati­on to depart from the the Rule so much the greater, yea too too of­ten cause breaches and miscarriages amongst them; But no difficul­ty or severity of the Times can alter the Rule given by Christ unto his Churches.

2. The Primitive Churches of the New Testament, were un­der [Page 134]as much difficulty as any Churches in this Land can pretend to be in; yet they kept close to the Rule, nor do we find in them a­ny such practice as this, nor any thing that may countenance it in the Sacred Records concerning them.

3. Difficulty of the Times calls indeed for the exercise of suita­ble Graces, and also of Pru­dence: But Pru­dence hath its scope only in such things in [Page 135]Church-Worship as are no part of the Worship, but only cir­cumstances thereof, re­lated to Worship not as it is Worship, but as an action performed by Men, all whose act­ings must, have time and place for them. And thence the things wherein Prudence may interpose to vary, are such things about which there is no posi­tive Divine Institution. When Place and Time come under an Institu­tion [Page 136](as for Example, the Temple and their Feasts under the Old Testament, and the First Day of the Week in the New) there Prudence may not alter them; nor may we on such an ac­count swerve from the Rule; for they become Parts of Worship.

4. The Administra­tor of the Supper is more than a common circumstance of the Worship performed in that Ordinance. For [Page 137]he sanctifies the Ele­ments, as the Temple or Altar did their Sa­crifices and Gifts; be­ing the Substitute of Christ in the admini­stration of that Ordi­nance, appointed there­unto by the institution of the Lord. And of this there seems to be an acknowledgment and sense, in the prac­tice pleaded against in this Dispute: For why else doth the Church of Cenchrea seek fot the Officer of the [Page 138]Church of Corinth, and not take any of their own private Members for this work?

5. 'Tis most true, Affirmative Commands do not bind us to be always actually ful­filling of them; yet Negative Commands restrain us at all times from transgressing of them. And therefore tho the Church be not bound to be every day celebrating the Lord's Supper, yet they are bound when-ever they do [Page 139]do celebrate it, to do it in no other manner than according to the Rule given them by Christ the Lord; whose Rule is, that their own and not another Church­es Officer administer it amongst them.

I shall add no more on this Question, only that I know not that I am singular in any thing that I have writ­ten; sure I am, that in the sum and main of the case, I have the generality of the Mi­nisters [Page 140]and Churches of the Congregational Persuasion concurring with me. As an evi­dence thereof, let me direct to one Testimo­ny, and transcribe ano­ther; not doubting but had I my Books and Papers about me, I could easily add many more. The first Te­stimony is Dr. Owen in his Brief Instruction in the Worship of God, &c. by way of Question and Answer. Quest. 26. page 118, 119, 120, 121, [Page 141]122, 123. Where he is most express against it, and gives sundry Arguments to confirm his Judgment. The other Testimony is of all the Officers and Messengers of the Con­gregational Churches in the Declaration of their Faith and Order, agreed on and Publish­ed Anno 1658. The 16th Proposition con­cerning the Institution of Churches, &c. runs thus, A Church furnish­ed with Officers (accor­ding [Page 142]to the mind of Christ) hath full power to administer all his Or­dinances, and where there is want of any one or more Officers required, that Officer, or those which are in the Church may administer all the Ordinances proper to their particular Duty and Offices; But where there are no Teaching Officers, none may admi­nister the Seals, nor can the Church authorize a­ny so to do.

[Page 143] QUESTION II. May a Member of the Church at Cenchrea partake of the Lord's Supper administred there by the Pastor of the Church of Corinth, especially him­self not being clear, whether the practice of the Pastor of Corinth in this parti­cular be Warrantable?

[Page 144] Ans. No: Whether lie be satisfied, or scru­pulous about the War­rantableness of the act of the Pastor of Cornith, he may not participate of the Lord's Supper administred by him in the Church of Cen­chrea.

1. There is such a near alliance and ne­cessary connexion by the appointment of God, between the per­son administring, and the orderly admini­stration of this Ordi­nance, [Page 145]that I cannot partake of it, but I con­tract upon my self the guilt of his unlawful administration. If a Justice of the Peace in Middlesex send out his Warrant to fetch me before him in Essex, and it being there ser­ved upon me I submit to it and suffer my self to be carried before him by vertue of it, I become hereby guilty of compliance with his arrogating Authority which the King hath [Page 146]not given him. So it is in this case, and the reason thereof is, that necessary connexion which there is in both cases, between the act that is done, and the person's rightful au­thority that doth it.

2. My communica­ting evidently holds forth an approbation of his power or right to administer: And so it is a Sin against that Charity which I owe to him, for I confirm and strengthen him in [Page 147]that his Error. It is also a Sin against the Charity that I owe to the Church by a near­er and special Bond, being in Fellowship with them, and one of them; for this my communicating doth also incourage them in the Error of their way. It is true indeed, if his acting were such as might be lawfully done by him, and desired by them, on some other grounds; then, tho the true and justifying [Page 148]grounds of it were mis­taken both by them and him, then I say, my bare Presence and com­municating with them could not be justly in­terpreted as a sinful in­couraging of them; but there being no ground that renders his act lawful, the case is otherwise.

Obj. But sundry holy Saints have expe­rienced the gracious pre­sence of Christ, speaking peace, and Strengthening [Page 149]their Faith and Grace in the Lord's Supper so administred; and there­fore it is his Ordinance, and rightly administred, and I may communicate in it.

Answ. 1. Tho the error of the Admini­stration argued against in these Papers, should not be so deep as to make it no Ordinance of Christ; yet it may be such, and doubtless is, as to make my commu­nicating therein unlaw­ful. The Cross joined [Page 150]to Baptism doth not make it Null, yet it makes it unlawful for me to receive it so ad­ministred. Kneeling at the Supper destroys it not from being Christ's Ordinance, yet makes it unlawful for me to receive the Sup­per at all if I cannot receive it otherwise than Kneeling. In the case under debate, nei­ther the lawfulness of the Pastor of Corinth's administring in Cen­chrea, nor the lawful­ness [Page 151]of a Member of Cenchrea's communica­ting in the Supper so administred can be made good, tho it should be granted to remain Christ's Ordi­nance, notwithstanding the Error that is in the Administration.

2. Christ may be experienced graciously present to a Believer's Soul in an administra­tion which it is not lawful for the Believer to partake of; yea, which indeed is no [Page 152]Ordinance of Christ. Doubtless many good Souls, who in former Times have through infirmity, and want of Light, conscientiously used Common-Prayer, or observed the Holy­days, have had expe­rience of special and sweet communion with Christ, both in the one and in the other: yet neither are Christ's Ordinance; nor will thit Experience war­rant the lawfulness of the use and observati­on [Page 153]on thereof: For the Lord therein had not any respect to the one or the other as any Ordinance of his; but of his great Goodness over-look'd the infir­mity and accepted the sincerity of his Ser­vants, having respect to the Graces in their Hearts that were stir­red up and awakened to exercise, by the ap­prehension (thoa mis­taken one) of an Or­dinance of his; He be­ing so abundant in [Page 154]Goodness and Truth, that he oftentimes does that for us in a way of Grace, which we could not challenge from him by vertue of any express Promise of his; He then by the greatness of our Error magnifying his own Grace the more.

3. The design of these Papers is not to bereave any of their precious Experiences, nor call them in Que­stion (yet we should not build more on [Page 155]them than they will bear) but to lave us from an Error in Opi­nion and Practice, of a very sad aspect and e­vil consequences, if it should once sind gene­ral entertainment in the Churches: But I had rather leave them to the Reader's own Thoughts than put my self to the trouble of declaring them.

FINIS.

Books Newly Printed for Nath. Hiller, at the Princes Arms in Lea­den-Hall Street, over against St. Mary Ar.

THE Divine Institu­tion of Congrega­tional Churches, Ministry and Ordinances, Asserted and Proved from the Word of God. To which is added,

A Discourse concerning Unction, and Washing of Feet. Proving, That they be not Instituted Sacraments, or Ordinances in the Churches. Both by Haac Chauncy, M.A.

Pietas in Patriam: The Life of his Excellency Sir William Phips, Knt. Late Captain General and Governour of New-Eng­land, Containing the Memo­rable Changes undergone, and Actions performed by him.

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