Imatges de pÓgina

tes, but to the ability which was given for the performance of them. God did not, on the day of Pentecost, make or institute the several offices, before-mentioned ; but he gave that ability by which these several offices were performed,

· If it should be urged, That upon these principles there is no christian priesthood, and that the pastors, under the gospel, are not the ordinance of God, but only the creatures of the church. I answer, If the term priest be used in a qualified sense, as denoting a person set apart to minister in boly things, then every christian pastor is a priest; and consequently, all those who are set apart to the pastoral office are the christian priesthood. But if the term priest be used in a gospel sense, viz. as signifying a person who has offcred himself a spiritual facrifice unto God, by living to his praise and glory, then every true christian is a priest; and the whole body of obedient believers are the christian priesthood, Rom. xii. 1. 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. Rev. i. 6. Chap. xx. 6, And if the term prielt be used in such a law sense as denoting a person fet apart to offer up a sacrifice of atonement or peace-offering, and to make reconciliation for sin, then Christ, and he only, is a christian prieft; and the christian priesthood is wholly lodged in his person; it being Christ, and he only who offered himself once for all, as a facrifice of aconement for fin, and is for ever sat down at the right hand of God, to make reconciliation for finners, Heb. ii. 17. Chap. vii. 27, 28. Chap. ix. 24, 28. As to the latter part of the objection, viz. that pastors, under the gospel, are not the ordinance of God, but the creatures of the church, I answer, that if by the crdinance of God be meant, God's Special and particular appointing of the paftoral office, or the persons to minitter sherein, in neither of these cases are christian pase kors the ordinance of God that we may know of,


[ocr errors]

: there being no intimation of any fuch thing in the gospel, as I observed above. But as eating and drinking are the natural or geveral ordinance of God, because the nature and reason of things make the use of these a duty, as they are necessary to the support and comfort of human life; so in like manner the pastoral office is, in this general or natural fence, the ordinance of God; inasmuch as such an institution is necessary to the edification, comfort, and well-being of the christian church. And as to pastors being the creatures of the church, with respect to their election, I think they ought to be so, that is, every congregation ought in reason to chuse their own pastor ; because in the exercise of his ministry he is their minister and representative; and this is consonant to the most primitive pattern, Ass vi. 5. when the brethren elected seven deacons, and appointed them to be the distributers of their bounty. Again,

Thirdly, I observe, That as the house or kingdom of Christ is not an earthly, but a spiritual house or kingdom, John xviii. 36. i Peter ii. 13. so that, which contracts the relation betwixt the head and the members of this house and kingdom, is not any external profeffion, privilege, or enjoyment; but only the union of each individual member, by faith and subjection to the head, Christ. For as Christ is the bead; so he is the center of unity to this body; the relation of the members to each other being founded in, and depending upon each of their relations to the head, Chrift. For the proof of this observation see Matt. vii. 21, 22, 23 Not every one that faith unto me Lord, Lord, fall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophcfied in thy name? and in thy name have cost of devils ? and in thy name have done


mony malter

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

marty wonderful works ? And then' will I profess - unto them, I never knew you, &c. Chap. xii

. 50. For whosoever shell do the will of my Father which is in heaven, tbe same is my brother, filter, and mother. Here we fee, the ground of a perfon's relation to Christ and his people, is not any external profession, privilege, or enjoyment; but his union, by faith, and subjection to the head, Christ. Orinother words, by doing the will of his heavenly Father.

Here it may not be amifs to observe, That as Christ, and his people, are often represented in the fcriptures, under the figure of a natural body; fo some men have concluded, that the natural body anfwers in all respetis to the body or kingdom of Christ. But this is a mistake. The kingdom of Christ is reprefented by many figures, viz. a vineyard, a boule or family, a building, a net that was cast into the sea, the sowing of seed into a field, and the like. But because it is more lively set forth by a natural body, therefore it is more frequently represented by that figure; and not because there is an exact parallel in every thing, betwixt the figure and the thing represented by it. Thus in the natural body, the members are united to the head, by their union to each other in that body which the head is united to; some more nearly, some more remotely, according to their situation in the body; and they are separated, from the head, by their feparation from those other members, which they were immediately united

But in the body of Christ it is quite otherwife : there the members are united to one another, by their union with the head; and they are separated, or their relation as fellow-members is eut off, by their being cut off from the head, Chrift. And in this respect Christ's church is more fitly compared to a family, wherein the relation of fellow-servants depends upon their ferying the same



[ocr errors]

master. For tho' the rest of the servants should disown their relation, and should refuse to eat and drink with a fellow-fervant, this would make no alteration in his relation ; because it does not depend upon the will and pleasure of his fellowservants, but wholly upon his own duty, and obedience, Rom. vi. 16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, bis servants je are to whom ye obey, &c.

If it fhould be urged, That our Lord faith, John iii. 5. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a meń be born again of water and of the spirit, be cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Here we see, that as baptisın is an external performance; so it is necessary to our entrance into Christ's church. I answer, Baptism is an hieroglyphick figure, by which is represented the religious change, which the person passes thro’ who is baptized. And this change is either a change of a man's religion, that is, it is a quitting that way and method of serving and pleasing God, that a person was in before, and einbracing a new way for the answering of that

purpose; or else it is a moral change of heart and life, which is commonly called repentance. The former of these was represented in the baptism of Chrift, For as he was born under the dispensation of Mojes, or as St. Paul expreffes it, Gal. iv. 4. was made under the law; and as he was the minister of that

dispensation of grace, which we commonly call the s gospel; fo when he entered upon his ministry he

was baptized, as the hieroglyphick representation of his own passing out of the dispensation of Mo.

fes into that which followed it; and also as a rei presentation of that change, which the state of

things was to pass thro' in him. And to all those who had lived in a state of fin and rebellion a. guinit God, baptism was likewife an hieroglyphick: representation of their reformation. So thai bap

Z 2


[ocr errors]

tism did not contract a relation betwixt the person baptized, and Christ and his people ; but only was a visible sign of a relation already contracted. For as faith in Chrilt, and subjection to him, or at least a purpose of obedience was antecedent to baptism; and as that change was antecedent which baptism was only the hieroglyphick of; fo consequently, the person baptized was united, and thereby related to Christ and his people, antecedent to baptism, and therefore baptism could not contract that relation. So that it is not baptism considered abstractedly, but it is what baptism is made the bieroglypkick of, which is necessary to our enterance into the kingdom of God. According to what Christ elsewhere declares, viz. He that believeth and is baptized fall be saved; and be that believeth not fall be damred. Again,

I observe, Fourthly, and lastly, that it is ont thing to do the work of an Apostle, and another thing to be an Apostle by office, even as it is one thing to distribute an alms, which is the work of a deacon, and another thing to be an almoner or deacon by office. To preach Chrift to unbelievers, to baptize thote who are profelyted to Christ by that preaching, and to instruct, in the faith and practice of the gospel, those who are baptized, is the work of an Apostle, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. and this work was done by Philip the deacon, tho' he was not an Apostle by office, Aels viii. 5, 12. And those, who were Apostles by office, were so far from being offended with those who did this work, tho' they were not so by office, that on the contrary they esteemed thern as partners in the work of the gospel, and cosidered their service as a proper ground of joy to them, Phil. i. 15.---18. Some indeed preach Chrisi eten of envy and strife, and some of good-will. The one preach Christ of contention, not Sincerely, Jupposing to add cfliction to my bonds ; Brut the other of lorr, knowing that I am per fer Noie de


« AnteriorContinua »