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

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If it fhould be urged, That upon these principles there is no chriftian priesthood, and that the paftors, under the gospel, are not the ordinance of God, but only the creatures of the church. I anfwer, If the term priest be used in a qualified fenfe, as denoting a person set apart to minifter in holy things, then every chriftian paftor is a prieft; and confequently, all those who are fet apart to the pastoral office are the chriftian priesthood. But if the term priest be used in a gospel fenfe, viz. as fignifying a perfon who has offered himself a fpiritual facrifice unto God, by living to his praise and glory, then every true christian is a prieft; 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 priest be ufed in fuch a law sense as denoting a person set apart to offer up a facrifice of atonement or peace-offering, and to make reconciliation for fin, then Christ, and he only, is a chriftian prieft; and the chriftian priesthood is wholly lodged in his perfon; it being Chrift, and he only who offered himself once for all, as a facrifice of atonement for fin, and is for ever fat 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 paftors, under the gospel, are not the ordinance of God, but the creatures of the church, I anfwer, that if by the ordinance of God be meant, God's fpecial and particular appointing of the paftoral office, or the perfons to minifter therein, in neither of thefe cafes are chriftian paf sors the ordinance of God that we may know of, there

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there being no intimation of any fuch thing in the gofpel, as I obferved above. But as eating and drinking are the natural or general ordinance of God, because the nature and reason of things make the use of these a duty, as they are neceffary to the fupport and comfort of human life; fo in like manner the paftoral office is, in this general or natural fence, the ordinance of God; inafmuch as fuch an institution is neceffary to the edification, comfort, and well-being of the christian church. And as to paftors being the creatures of the church, with refpect to their election, I think they ought to be fo, that is, every congregation ought in reafon to chufe their own paftor; because in the exercise of his miniftry he is their minifter and reprefentative; and this is confonant to the most primitive pattern, As vi. 5. when the brethren elected feven deacons, and appointed them to be the diftributers of their bounty. Again,

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Thirdly, I obferve, That as the house or kingdom of Chrift is not an earthly, but a fpiritual houfe or kingdom, John xviii. 36. 1 Peter ii. 13. fo 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 fubjection to the head, Christ. For as Chrift is the head; fo 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 obfervation fee Matt. vii. 21, 22, 23. Not every one that faith unto me Lord, Lord, fhall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but be that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will fay unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name bave caft out devils? and in thy name have done

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many wonderful works? And then will I profefs unto them, I never knew you, &c. Chap. xii. 50. For whofoever fall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the fame is my brother, fifter, and mother. Here we fee, the ground of a perfon's relation to Chrift and his people, is not any external profeffion, privilege, or enjoyment, but his union, by faith, and fubjection to the head, Chrift. Orinother words, by doing the will of his heavenly Father.

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Here it may not be amifs to obferve, That as Chrift, and his people, are often reprefented in the fcriptures, under the figure of a natural body; fo fome men have concluded, that the natural body anfwers in all refpetts to the body or kingdom of Chrift. But this is a mistake. The kingdom of Chrift is reprefented by many figures, viz. a vineyard, a house or family, a building, a net that was caft into the fea, the fowing of feed into a field, and the like. But because it is more lively fet forth by a natural body, therefore it is more frequently reprefented by that figure; and not becaufe there is an exact parallel in every thing, betwixt the figure and the thing reprefented 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; fome more nearly, fome more remotely, according to their fituation in the body; and they are feparated, from the head, by their feparation from thofe other members, which they were immediately united to. But in the body of Chrift it is quite otherwife: there the members are united to one another, by their union with the head; and they are feparated, or their relation as fellow-members is cut off, by their being cut off from the head, Chrift.. And in this refpect Chrift's church is more fitly compared to a family, wherein the relation of felLow-fervants depends upon their ferving the fame

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mafter. For tho' the reft of the fervants fhould difown 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 fellowfervants, but wholly upon his own duty and obedience, Rom. vi. 16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield your felves fervants to obey, his fervants ye are to whom ye obey, &c.

If it fhould be urged, That our Lord faith, John iii. 5. Verily, verily, I fay unto thee, except a men be born again of water and of the fpirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Here we fee, that as baptifm is an external performance; fo it is neceffary to our entrance into Chrift's church. I anfwer, Baptifm is an hieroglyphick figure, by which is reprefented the religious change, which the perfon paffes 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 ferving and pleafing God, that a perfon was in before, and embracing a new way for the answering of that pur pofe; or elfe it is a moral change of heart and life, which is commonly called repentance. The former of these was reprefented in the baptifm of Chrift. For as he was born under the difpenfation of Mofes, or as St. Paul expreffes it, Gal. iv. 4. was made under the law; and as he was the minifter of that difpenfation of grace, which we commonly call the gofpel; fo when he entered upon his miniftry he was baptized, as the hieroglyphick reprefentation of his own paffing out of the difpenfation of Ma fes into that which followed it; and alfo as a reprefentation of that change, which the ftate of things was to pass thro' in him. And to all those who had lived in a state of fin and rebellion againit God, baptifm was likewife an hieroglyphick reprefentation of their reformation. So that bap

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tifm did not contract a relation betwixt the perfon baptized, and Chrift and his people; but only was a vifible fign of a relation already contracted. For as faith in Christ, and subjection to him, or at least a purpose of obedience was antecedent to baptifm; and as that change was antecedent which baptifm was only the hieroglyphick of; fo confequently, the perfon baptized was united, and thereby related to Chrift and his people, antecedent to baptifm, and therefore baptifm could not contract that relation. So that it is not baptifm confidered abstractedly, but it is what baptifm is made the bieroglyphick of, which is neceffary to our enterance into the kingdom of God. According to what Chrift elsewhere declares, viz. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and be that believeth not fhall be damned. Again,

I obferve, Fourthly, and lastly, that it is one thing to do the work of an Apoftle, and another thing to be an Apoftle by office, even as it is one thing to diftribute 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 those who are profelyted to Chrift by that preaching, and to inftruct, in the faith and practice of the gospel, those who are baptized, is the work of an Apoftle, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. and this work was done by Philip the deacon, tho' he was not an Apoftle by office, As viii. 5, 12. And thofe, who were Apoftles by office, were fo far from being offended with thofe who did this work, tho' they were not fo by office, that on the contrary they esteemed them as partners in the work of the gofpel, and cofidered their fervice as a proper ground of joy to them, Phil. i. 15.-—-18. Some indeed preach Chrift even of envy and ftrife, and fome of good-will. The one preach Chrift of contention, not fincerely, Juppofing to add affiction to my bonds; But the other of love, knowing that I am fet for the defence

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