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in that kirk; which proveth a presbyterial church before the dispersion. Acts vi.
4thly. The several congregations in Jerusalem being one church, the elders of that church are mentioned as meeting together for acts of government, Acts xi. 30, xv. 4. 6. 22, and xxi. 17, 18, and so forward : which proves that those several congregations were under one presbyterial government.
And whether these congregations were fixed, or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is alì one as to the truth of the proposition.
Nor doth there appear any material difference betwixt the several congregations in Jerusalem, and the many congregations now in the ordinary condition of the church, as to the point of fixedness required of officers or members.
3. Thirdly. Therefore the Scripture doth hold forth, that many congregations may be under one presbyterial government.
II. Secondly. By the instance of the church of Ephesus ; for,
1. That they were more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus, appears by Acts xx. 31,
where is mention of Paul's continuance at Ephesus in preaching for the space of three years; and Acts xix. 18—20, where the special effect of the word is mentioned ; and verses 10 and 17 of the same chapter, where is a distinction of Jews and Greeks; and 1 Cor. xvi. 8, 9, where is a reason of Paul's stay at Ephesus until Pentecost; and verse 19, where is mention of a particular church in the house of Aquilla and Priscilla then at Ephesus ; as appears, Acts xviii. 19. 24. 26. All which laid together doth prove, that the multitude of believers did make more congregations than one in the church of Ephesus.
2. That there were many elders over these many congregations, as one flock, appeareth Acts xx. 17. 25. 28. 30. 36, 37.
3. That these many congregations were one church, and that they were under one presbyterial government, appeareth Rev. ii. the first six verses, joined with Acts xx. 17, 18.
Of Synodical Assemblies. The Scripture dath hold out another sort of assemblies, for the government of the church, beside classical and congregational, all which we call synodical, Acts xv. Pastors and teachers, and other churchgovernors (as also other fit persons, when it shall be deemed expedient), are members of those assemblies which we call synodical, where they have a lawful calling thereunto.
Synodical assemblies may lawfully be of several sorts, as provincial, national, and æcumenical.
It is lawful and agreeable to the word of God, that there be a subordination of congregational, classical, provincial, and national assemblies, for the government of the church.
OF THE ORDINATION OF MINISTERS.
Under the head of ordination of ministers is to be considered, either the doctrine of ordination, or the power of it.
Touching the Doctrine of Ordination. No man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the word, without a lawful calling. John iii. 27. Rom. x. 14, 15. Jer. xiv. 14. Heb. v. 4.
Ordination is always to be continued in the church. Tit. i. 5. 1 Tim. v. 21, 22.
Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some public church-office. Numb. viii. 10, 1l. 14. 19. 22. Acts vi. 3, 5, 6.
Every minister of the word is to be ordained by imposition of hands, and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong. 1 Tim. v. 12. Acts iv. 23, and xiii. 3.
It is agreeable to the word of God, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge. Acts xiv. 23. Tit. i. 5. Acts xx. 17. 28.
He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualified, both for life and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle. 1 Tim. iii. 2–6, and Tit. i. 5—9.
He is to be examined and approved by those by whom he is to be ordained. 1 Tim. ii. 7. 10, and v. 22.
No man is to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if they of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him. 1 Tim. iii. 2. Tit. i. 7.
Touching the Power of Ordination. Ordination is the act of a presbytery, 1 Tim. iv. 14. The power of ordering the whole work of ordination, is in the whole presbytery, which when it is over more congregations than one, whether those congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent as to the point of ordination. 1 Tim. iv. 14.
It is very requisite that no single congregation, that can conveniently associate, do assume to itself all and sole power in ordination.
1. Because there is no example in Scripture, that any single congregation, which might conveniently associate, did assume to itself all and sole
power in ordination ; neither is there any rule which may warrant such a practice.
2. Because there is in Scripture, example of an ordination in a presbytery over divers congregations: as in the church of Jerusalem, where were many congregations, these many congregations were under one presbytery, and this presbytery did ordain.
The preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in cities or neighbouring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands doth appertain, for those congregations within their bounds respectively.
CONCERNING THE DOCTRINAL PART OF ORDINATION OF MINISTERS.
1. No man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the word, without a lawful calling. John iii. 27. Rom. x. 14, 15. Jer. xiv. 14. Heb. v. 4.
2. Ordination is always to be continued in the church. Tit. i. 5. I Tim: v. 21, 22.
3. Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to some public church-office. Numb. viii. 10, 11, 14. 19. 22. Acts vi. 3. 5, 6.
4. Every minister of the word is to be ordained by imposition of hands and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong. 1 Tim. v. 22. Acts xiv. 23, xiii. 3.
5. The power of ordering the whole work of ordination is in the whole presbytery, which, when it is over more congregations than one, whether those congregations be fixed or not fixed, in regard of officers or members, it is indifferent as to the point of ordination. 1 Tim. iv. 14.
6. It is agreeable to the word, and very expedient, that such as are to be ordained ministers, be designed to some particular church, or other ministerial charge. Acts xiv. 23. Tit. i. 5. Acts xx. 17. 28.
7. He that is to be ordained minister, must be duly qualified, both for life and ministerial abilities, according to the rules of the apostle. I Tim. iii. 2-6. Tit. i. 5—9.
8. He is to be examined and approved of by those by whom he is to be ordained. 1 Tim. iii. 7. 10, v. 22.
9. No man is to be ordained a minister for a particular congregation, if they of that congregation can shew just cause of exception against him. '1 Tim. ii. 2. Tit. i. 7.
10. Preaching presbyters orderly associated, either in cities or neighbouring villages, are those to whom the imposition of hands do appertain, for those congregations within their bounds respectively. I Tim. iv. 14.
11. In extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done, until a settled order may be had, yet keeping as near as possible may be to the rule. 2 Chron. xxix. 34-36, xxx. 2-5.
12. There is at this time (as we humbly conceive) an extraordinary occasion for a way of ordination for the present supply of ministers.
The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers. It being manifest, by the word of God, that no man ought to take upon him the office of a minister of the gospel, until he be lawfully called and ordained thereunto; and that the work of ordination is to be performed with all due care, wisdom, gravity, and solemnity; we humbly tender these directions as requisite to be observed.
1. He that is to be ordained, being either nominated by the people, or otherwise commended to the presbytery for any place, must address himself to the presbytery, and bring with him a testimonial of his taking the covenant of the three kingdoms; of his diligence and proficiency in his studies ; what degrees he hath taken in the university, and what hath been the time of his abode there ; and withal of his age, which is to be twenty-four years ; but especially of his life and conversation.
2. Which being considered by the presbytery, they are to proceed to inquire touching the grace of God in him, and whether he be of such holiness of life as is requisite in a minister of the gospel ; and to examine him touching his learning and sufficiency, and touching the evidences of his calling to the holy ministry, and in particular, his fair and direct calling to that place.
THE RULES FOR EXAMINATION ARE THESE.
1. That the party examined be dealt withal in a brotherly way, with mildness of spirit, and with special respect to the gravity, modesty, and quality, of every one.
2. He shall be examined touching his skill in the original tongues, and his trial to be made by reading the Hebrew and Greek Testaments, and rendering some portion of some into Latin; and if he be defective in them, inquiry shall be made more strictly after his other learning, and whether he hath skill in logic and philosophy.
3. What authors in divinity he hath read, and is best acquainted with. And trial shall be made in his knowledge of the grounds of religion, and of his ability to defend the orthodox doctrine contained in them, against all unsound and erroneous opinions, especially those of the present age; of his skill in the sense and meaning of such places of scripture as shall be proposed unto him, in cases of conscience, and in the chronology of the Scripture, and the ecclesiastical history.
4. If he hath not before preached in public, with approbation of such as are able to judge, he shall, at a competent time assigned him, expound before the presbytery such a place of Scripture as shall be given him.
5. He shall also, within a competent time, frame a discourse in Latin, upon such a common-place or controversy in divinity as shall be assigned him, and exhibit to the presbytery such theses as express the sum thereof, and maintain a dispute upon them.
6. He shall preach before the people, the presbytery, or some of the ministry of the word appointed by them, being present.
7. The proportion of his gifts, in relation to the place unto which he is called, shall be considered.
8. Beside the trial of his gifts in preaching, he shall undergo an examination in the premises two several days, and more, if the presbytery shall judge it necessary.
9. And as for him that hath formerly been ordained a minister, and is to be removed to another charge, he shall bring a testimonial of his ordination, and of his abilities and conversation, whereupon his fitness for that place shall be tried by his preaching there (if it shall be judged necessary) by a farther examination of him.
3. In which he being approved, he is to be sent to the church, where he is to serve, there to preach three several days, and to converse with the people, that they may have trial of his gifts for their edification, and may have time and occasion to inquire into, and the better to know his life and conversation.
4. In the last of these three days appointed for the trial of his gifts in preaching, there shall be sent from the presbytery to the congregation, a public intimation in writing, which shall be publicly read before the people, and after affixed to the church door, to signify that such a day, a competent number of the members of that congregation, nominated by themselves, shall appear before the presbytery, to give their consent and approbation to such a man to be their minister; or otherwise to put in, with all Christian discretion and meekness, what exceptions they have against him; and if, upon the day appointed, there be no just exception against him, but the people give their consent, then the presbytery shall proceed to ordination.
5. Upon the day appointed for ordination, which is to be performed in that church, where he that is to be ordained is to serve, a solemn fast shall be kept by the congregation, that they may the more earnestly join in prayer for a blessing upon the ordinance of Christ, and the labours of his servant for their good. The presbytery shall come to the place, or at least three or four ministers of the word shall be sent thither from the presbytery; of which one, appointed by the presbytery, shall preach to the people concerning the office and duty of ministers of Christ, and how the people ought to receive them for their work's sake.
6. After the sermon, the minister who hath preached shall, in the face of the congregation, demand of him who is now to be ordained, concerning his faith in Christ Jesus, and his persuasion of the truth of the reformed religion according to the Scripture ; his sincere intentions and ends in desiring to enter into this calling; his diligence in prayer, reading, meditation, preaching, ministering the sacraments, discipline, and doing all ministerial duties towards his charge: his zeal and faithfulness in maintaining the truth of the gospel, and unity of the church against error and schism ; his care that himself and his family may be unblameable, and examples to the Aock ; his willingness and humility, in meekness of spirit, to submit unto the admonitions of his brethren and discipline of the church ; and his resolution to continue in his duty against all trouble and persecution.
7. In all which having declared himself, professed his willingness, and promised his endeavours, by the help of God; the minister likewise shall demand of the people, concerning their willingness to receive and acknowledge him as the minister of Christ; and to obey, and submit unto him, as having rule over them in the Lord; and to maintain, encourage, and assist him in all parts of his office.
8. Which being mutually promised by the people, the presbytery, or the ministers sent from them for ordination, shall solemnly set him apart to the office and work of the ministry, by laying their hands on him, which is to be accompanied with a short prayer or blessing, to this effect:
“ Thankfully acknowledging the great mercy of God, in sending Jesus Christ for the redemption of his people ; and for his ascension to the right hand of God the Father, and thence pouring out his Spirit, and giving gifts to men, apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors, and teachers, for the gathering and building up of his church ; and for fitting and inclining this man to this great work *; to entreat him to fit him with his Holy Spirit, to give him (who in his name we thus set apart to this holy service) to fulfil the work of his ministry in all things, that he may both save himself, and his people committed to his charge."
9. This, or the like form of prayer and blessing being ended, let the minister who preached briefly exhort him, to consider of the greatness of his office and work, the danger of negligence both to himself and his people, the blessing which will accompany his faithfulness in this life, and that to come; and withal exhort the people to carry themselves to him, as to their minister in the Lord, according to their solemn promise made before ; and so by prayer commending both him and his
Here let them impose hands on his licad.