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A SOBER WORD To A SERIOUS PEOPLE: Or, A MODERATE DISCOURSE RESPECTING As well The SEEKERS, (ſo called) As The Preſent Churches. Wherein the Difference between them touching Viſible Adminiſtrations, is Diſcovered and Diſcuſſed: And may ſerve as A Plea for the Nations Miniſtery.

By a lover of Truth and Peace.

PSAL. 22.30. A ſeed ſhall ſerve him: it ſhall be counted to the Lord for a generation. 24. 6. This is the generation of them that ſeek him, that ſeek thy face, O Jacob. 14 7. Oh that the ſalvation of Iſrael were come out of Sion! When the Lord bring­eth back the capivity of his people, Jacob ſhall rejoyce, and Iſrael ſhall be glad.

London, Printed by J. Cottrel, for James Noell, in Foſter-line; and are to be fold by Giles Calvert, at the black Spread-Eagle neer the Weſt-end of Pauls. 1651.

To the Reader.


THou art here preſented with a brief Diſcourſe touching a Subject which hath not where­with to commend it ſelf, and therefore ſubjects it ſelf to thy Ingenuity and Candor in its peruſal, (if it be thought by thee worthy thereof.) To invite or court thee thereunto, would be very unbeſeeming thee to whom it's directed, conſidering thee both ſober and ſe­rious; and to me it's no leſs unſutable, if thou kneweſt my Genius. Thou art therfore left free, either to entertain it, or paſs it by, as thou plea­ſeſt; and it's as freely ſubmitted to thy Cenſure.

But conſidering it's poſſible that ſome may beſtow time upon it, for their ſakes I have been prevailed with to ſay a little by way of Preface, touching the nature and end thereof, both which when thou clearly underſtandeſt, thou wilt with the leſs prejudice attempt the reading and examining of it, when it ſhall be freed in thy judgement from ſuch aſperſions as ſome may raſhly (yet too plentifully) beſtow upon it.

Be thou therefore hereby aſſured, that thou art not troubled with this Diſcourſe out of any deſigne either to weaken thy preſent confi­dence which thou haſt in God, or to ſtartle thee touching thy preſent Practice in things pertain­ing to God, nor out of any Irreligious, Athe­iſtical, or Self-ended intereſt, to tempt thee to caſt off all Ordinances of Worſhip and Service of God, which thou at preſent art perſwaded thou oughtſt to be found exerciſed in; but to give thee an account touching a Sort of people which ſome are pleaſed to call SEEKERS; of whom, ſeveral men, in ſeveral books, have ſpo­ken ſeveral things, ſhewing the dangerouſneſs of their Opinion, and the dreadfulneſs of its tendency; and under that term of Seekers, com­prehend all thoſe which differ from themſelves touching the preſent exerciſe of Viſible Admi­niſtrations. How great their miſtake hath been and is, thou mayſt finde herein; the rectifying whereof, is one End of this Work, by laying down ſomewhat poſitively touching what they believe and practiſe, and ſomewhat privatively touching ſuch things as they ſee not ground to practiſe. Theſe are reduced and abridged un­der two Heads, The

  • Preſent Churches,
  • and Preſent Miniſtery,

and compared with the Primitive Patterns of each, as they are laid down in the Scriptures, and accordingly applied, with ſome Conſi­derations had touching certain Objections de­pending thereupon. Under which general Heads, thou haſt the ſum of what thou wilt here be troubled with, (and perhaps thou mayſt judge it worthy thy trouble.)

As touching the End, to give thee ſome ac­count as well what it is, as what it is not, be pleaſed to know, that having obſerved many perſons of an enquiring ſpirit unſatisfied with their preſent Practice, as not ſeeing ſufficient ground for it; yet impatient and reſtleſs in their ſpirits, have made out after this people (ſo di­ſtinguiſhed as before:) but finding them very inconſiderable both for quantity and quality, and nothing extant which in any meaſure might be a ſtay to them, by laying a ground for their dependance & further waiting upon God, have waxed weary, and almoſt fainted in their minds, and at the beſt have returned to that condition from whence at firſt they thought themſelves happie they were eſcaped, uſing ſuch expreſ­ſions as theſe: Come, let us go back to Egypt for Bread: it's better take it at the mouth of Ravens, then ſtarve. Which expreſſions have been very ſadly uttered by ſome: mean while, the God which had led them by the hand out of Egypt, and brought them thorow the Red-ſea, cannot be truſted, nor depended on, nor waited for, while they are in the wilderneſs.

Theſe Conſiderations, on their part, have moved me to bethink me of my duty to my God, and whether I were not obliged, in thank­fulneſs to him, who had betruſted me with the knowledge of his pleaſure in any meaſure touching this particular, to impart it to others, that they might alſo have the opportunity of conſidering what hath been a ſtay to my own ſpirit, and perhaps may prove forcible to pre­vent from further ſtraying ſuch who are upon rhe like enquiry.

I have likewiſe obſerved how much it hath offended and grieved divers good perſons who are themſelves under the practice and exerciſe of ſuch Adminiſtrations as this Diſcourſe treats of, becauſe the SEEKER'S (as they are called) do not joyn iſſue in the practiſe thereof; expreſſing this offence and trouble of theirs, by writing and otherwiſe; which I have great cauſe to hope will by this occaſion be abated, or at leaſt moderated, when they ſhall perceive that there is a reaſon to be rendered for that which they have judged unreaſonable.

In the conſideration of which, I cannot but think it's poſſible that Thou, Reader, mayſt finde thy ſelf to have drunk too deep of the cup of my former, and thy preſent Errour, in that both thou and I have taken up our Practices upon other mens Principles, or at leaſt upon too eaſie & too ſlight a ſearch; touching which, if they were to begin again, we ſhould judge it neceſſary to put a pauſe, and to make more di­ligent enquiry after the minde of God in the Scriptures. To which ſome perſons are reduced, (and that in mercy) ſearching and ſeeking after thoſe things now, which long ſince they preſu­med they had attained. To the exerciſe where­of, thou art alſo invited, viz. to prove thy own works, that ſo thy rejoycing may be in thy ſelf, and not in another.

And if, in examining this Work, thou findeſt many things weak and amiſs, I ſhall not wonder at it (I pretend not to Perfection:) Put thy Cha­racter upon them, & let them paſs for droſs, and write them mine. But if thou findeſt Gold (I mean Truth) that will abide the fire of trial; ſay that's God's; 'tis none of mine; and let not that paſs. I expect thy Cenſure; I ſhall hearken for it: and I hope thy Reproofs ſhall be as wel­come as the ſmiting of the righteous was to Da­vid, Pſal. 141.5: and for ought thou knoweſt, if thou ſendeſt me back to the ſearching of the Scriptures, which muſt be the Standard & Rule of trial, I may truly be enabled to ſay, It ſhall be a kindneſs to me, an excellent oil which ſhal not break my head. But if thou ſhalt be found reproaching in ſtead of reproving, and wounding in ſtead of ſmiting, I hope my God will teach me to ſay, as he did alſo, verſ. 3. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips.

Reader, thou art deſired to correct theſe Errata with thy Pen.

Pag. 2. lin. 37. for 26. 5, read 46. 5. p. ibid. l. 17. adde the. p. 5. l. 1. for theſe, read the. p. 7. l. 31. for certain numbers, read a certain number. p. 20. l. 12. for caſt, r. coſt. p. 25. l. 9. for 12. 8. r. 21. 8. p. ibid. l. 33. for Tranſlations, r. Tranſlators. p. 33. l. 2. for perſon, r. perſons. p. 36. l. 7. for had, r. was. p. 39. l. 12. adde of. p. 47. l. 24. for 2 Cor. 4.5. r. 1 Cor. 2.4, 5. p. 48. l. 15, for particular, r. peculiar. p. 57. l. 25. for 10. 25. r. 11. 25.



AMongſt thoſe many Diſcourſes which have offered themſelves to Publike View, in theſe diſcourſing Times, there have not been want­ing ſeveral that have aſſerted the Saints pri­viledges in their enjoyment of Ordinances; Some Moderately, Others more Smartly, and with leſs Moderation, (though with no leſs Confidence.) The Entertainment theſe Diſcourſes have met with (I am apt to be­lieve) hath been as various.

That which I have obſerved in them, is, that they have frequently taken notice of ſome that differ from them, calling them Seekers: Touching whom, many things are ſaid, by way of Anſwer to ſeveral Objections which are ſaid to be theirs; though it be not ſo demon­ſtrable from any thing yet extant, which they (if any ſuch there be) have owned as theirs. Nevertheleſs, in the ſerious peruſal of thoſe very Objections, and their ſeveral Anſwers, which are exhibited to Publike view, there doth ſeem to lie ſomething not ſo clear, on the Anſwerers part, as is imagined, and as were to be wiſhed.

To ſhew, in all things, where this Shortneſs doth (ſeem at leaſt to) lie, would require more time then is alotted to me, in reſpect of other employments: I ſhall therefore abbreviate many things, and,2 as briefly as I can, ſhall endeavour to ſhew where I have obſerved the main difference to be placed.

The Seekers, I do finde, are charged with this, That they are a people who deny all Ordinances; and the Evil of that Evil is laid down and aggravated, by ſeveral Perſons, in ſeveral Books; and in the laſt, moſt of all.

Theſe are again diſtinguiſhed into ſuch as are againſt all Ordi­nances, or that ſee not ſufficient ground for the preſent practice of Or­dinances; or ſuch as are above and beyond Ordinances.

For the former, thoſe which are againſt, i. e. contrary to them, they are very improperly called Seekers.

For the later, they which are above and beyond them; theſe are ſo far from Seeking, that they are rather Poſſeſſors, Enjoyers, and At­tainers, then Seekers, properly ſo called.

The third ſort are ſuch, as, not ſeeing a ſufficient ground for the pra­ctice of Ordinances, are ſaid to ſeek them. And is it not their Mercy, that moſt High ſhould give them a heart to ſeek him, for wiſdom, and counſel, and directions, touching thoſe things they ſee not ſufficient ground for the preſent practiſe of? And is it not according to the A­poſtle's Rule? If any man want wiſdom, he ſhould ask, or ſeek it, of God; who giveth liberally, and upbraideth not.

In a good ſence, it is a good thing to be a Seeker: In a bad ſence, it's not to be applied to them, which ſeek the Lord in ſincerity, for wiſ­dom, how to walk before him.

Of this ſort of Perſons, and this ſort of Seeking, this preſent Diſcourſe onely treats.

And touching them, it may be obſerved, that theſe (Seekers ſo called) are not alike unſatisfied concerning the practiſe of all Ordi­nances. There are onely ſome, wherein they ſee not ſufficient ground for their preſent practiſe. There are others, which they themſelves do practiſe: Viz.

Firſt, They believe, that it is an appointment from the Lord Jeſus, and that wherein they ought to excerciſe themſelves, in ſearching the Teſtimonies of the Holy Writings of Truth, concerning the minde of God touching things to be believed and practiſed: So did the Eunuch, and God met him therein, Act. 8.28. to the 25. according to Iſa. 46.5.

Secondly, They judge the ſame touching Prayer, and diſtributing3 to the neceſſity of thoſe that want; according to Act. 10.1, 2, &c. hoping to enjoy God, both in the former and latter duties and Or­dinances of his.

This is not onely practiſed perſonally, and privately, but, as occa­ſion offers, by coming together into ſome place on the Firſt-dayes, and at other times, as their hearts are drawn forth, and opportunity is offered.

Their ends in ſo doing, and grounds for ſo doing, are theſe:

Firſt, That they may be Inſtruments in the hand of the Lord, to ſtir up the grace of God in one another, by mutual conference, and communication of experiences: according to Mal. 3.16. Heb. 10.22, 23, 24, 25.

Secondly, That they may poure out their complaints to the God and Father of Spirits, for the further revelation of himſelf: accor­ding to Act. 1.4, 16, 17, 20. Ezek. 36.37. Jam. 5.6.

Thridly, That they may keep alive, and hold out in their meaſure their witneſs and teſtimony againſt the falſe, and waite for the manifeſtation of the true Lord Jeſus, in his pure Ordinances of Mi­niſtery and Worſhip: according to Daniel 3.16, 17, 18. Dan. 6.10. Pſal. 137, thorowout.

Expreſſing their deep ſence of the want of what they enjoy not, behaving themſelves as perſons having neither power or gift to go one before another, by way of Eminency or Authority; but as Sheep unfolded, and as Souldiers unrallied, waiting for a time of gathering, and reſtitution to the knowledge of what as yet they under­ſtand not: and the attainment of this, is the end of their ſeeking; and to this they ſtirre up and provoke one another; and herein they deſire to be found, hoping firmely to the end: according to the firſt of Pet. 1.13.

Owning nor acknowledging no other viſibe Teacher, but the Word and Works of God; on whom they wait for the Grace which is to be brought at the Revelation of Jeſus Chriſt. By which it doth appear, that though they come not up to the full of what others ſay they enjoy, in reſpect of Miniſtery, and Worſhip; yet they are not againſt them, or beyond, or above them: But comparing ſuch as ſay they are, and have ſuch, by the Scriptures of Truth declare themſelves to be deſirers (though not diſcerners) of them. Such who though they cannot ſay they ſing the Songs of Sion, yet do hang4 their Harpes upon the Willowes, and weep at the remembrance of her; to ſee how like a Plowed field ſhe lies, and how her Stones lie covered over with Rubbiſh.

Thoſe other Ordinances, wherein they do not ſee ſufficient ground for their Practice, may be comprehended in theſe two: The preſent Churches, and the preſent Miniſtery.

Theſe two were the Grand, and Capital, and Comprehenſive Inſti­tutions, and appointments of the Lord Jeſus; unto which, He gave gifts, for the perfecting of the Saints: But whether the preſent Miniſtery, and the preſent Churches, be thoſe Ordinances of His, which He then inſtituted and appointed, and not rather ſomething like them, or inſtead of them, is the matter in Queſtion.

The perſons called by the name of Seekers, having compared them with the Word of God, and not finding them to conform there­unto, dare not joyne iſſue in the preſent practice of them: which of it ſelf is ground ſufficient: yet that it may appear that this ground and reaſon is not without Reaſon, ſomewhat is to be added, by way of Demonſtration and Evidence.

There have not been wanting thoſe which have taken paines to prove the Affirmative, and to reprove the Negative ſharply: It's ne­ceſſary to conſider of thoſe proofes ſeriouſly, and endeavour to ap­ply thoſe reproofes as profitably as may be; to ſtate the matter in queſtion as fairely, and truely, as the preſent Capacity is abilitated, and can extend to.

Firſt, I finde it's moſt generally taken for granted, that Diſciples, quâ Diſciples, or, as others ſay, Diſciples able to preach the Goſpel, have power, and are commanded to Baptize, Matth. 28.19. and upon this ground it's practiſed; and this is all the Miniſtery that I can finde is acknowledged by ſome.

Secondly, that Believers may incorporate themſelves, and become a Church, is by others affirmed, from Joh. 1.12. That being made ſons by believing, they have power to become the ſons of God in ſtate; which, I ſuppoſe, is meant, that Believers have power to eſtate them­ſelves into viſible Sonſhip; or elſe I know not what to make of the diſtinction.

Others expreſs the ſame thing with other words, much different; proving a Church, and Miniſtery, upon other Principles and Grounds.

From all which, as I differ in the Matter, ſo I ſhall in the Method;5 deſiring to lay down ſomething Poſitively, from theſe Scriptures; ſub­mitting to the judgement and cenſure thereof: judging it moſt pro­fitable, rather then to take notice of the ſeveral Objections I have ſeen, with the Anſwers to them: Knowing well, that Truth is truely evidencing and convincing: and if this ſhall approve it ſelf ſo, it will ſave labour of anſwering thoſe Objections; though ſomething will be ſpoken to them alſo, in their place.

Our bleſſed Lord and Saviour Jeſus Chriſt, who himſelf was the Great Apoſtle of his Father, as well as the High-prieſt of our pro­feſſion, Heb. 3.1, whilſt he was to perform his Father's work,Rom. 15.8 whoſe Meſſenger or Apoſtle he was, as being ſet apart and ſent forth for that purpoſe, Joh. 6.38, 39, 40. Joh. 12.49. and ſpake and acted ac­cording to the commandment he had received from the Father: In the performance of which Miniſtration or Service, he was pleaſed to ſingle out ſome certain perſons from amongſt others, whom he appointed and authorized to wait upon him in that Miniſtration or Ser­vice: Thoſe he termed Diſciples, or Apoſtles. Matth. 10.1, When he had called to him his Diſciples, he gave them power, &c. Now the names of the twelve Apoſtles were theſe, &c. Theſe twelve Jeſus ſent forth, and commanded them, ſaying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles; but go rather to the loſt ſheep of the houſe of Iſrael: and as ye go, preach;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Verſ. 16. Behold, I ſend you forth, &c. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Theſe twelve were ſuch as he ordained from amongſt others. Mar. 3.13, He went up into a mountain, and called to him whom he would, and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they ſhould be with him, and that he might ſend them forth to preach. Luke 6.13, And when it was day, he called to him his Diſciples, and of them he choſe twelve, whom he alſo named A­poſtles. Theſe Diſciples were not meerly ſuch as were followers of Chriſt, and had learnt of him, as Scholars; but ſuch as himſelf, out of others, had Choſen, Called, and Ordained, that they ſhould be with him, and that he might ſend them forth to preach; which ac­cordingly he did, and named them Apoſtles, as Matth. 10. and Luke 6. doth evidence. And what Commiſſion he had, the ſame he gave to them. As he ſaith of himſelf, I am not ſent, but to the loſt ſheep of the houſe of Iſrael: ſo he commanded them not to go to the Gentiles, nor into the way of Samaria; but to the loſt ſheep of the houſe of Iſrael, Matth. 10.5.

6Beſides theſe, he likewiſe ſent forth the Seventy, with like Power and Commiſſion to preach the Goſpel, and to confirm it by Miracles, as Himſelf and the Apoſtles alſo did. But in a more eſpecial man­ner did the Twelve converſe with him, upon all occaſions, as his aſſi­dual attendants, or houſhold-ſervants. During the time of his Ad­miniſtration upon earth, and when he was about to finiſh the work which the Father ſent him to do; ſo far as concerned his perſonal preſence, he delegated that power the Father had committed to him, into the hands of them, thoſe very perſons whom before he had ordain­ed to be with him, Matth. 28.18, 19, 20.

Now the time approaching wherein the Moſaical Diſpenſation was to expire, and the Chriſtian Church and its Worſhips to be in­troduced in the ſtead thereof, our Lord Jeſus (having fulfilled all righteouſneſs as touching the Law) gives commandment that the Goſpel be preached to all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.

Touching the perſons to whom Chriſt did delegate the power and authority of Preaching and Baptizing, much is written, as hath been hinted before.

Some ſay, To Believers, as Believers.

Some ſay, To Diſciples, as Diſciples.

Some ſay, To Preaching Diſciples.

Some ſay, To Diſciples able to preach the Goſpel, ſo as to bring over ſouls to believe and be baptized.

Others ſpeak in other expreſſions. It is too much to follow them in all.

There be four things I ſhall deſire may be enquired into; the diſ­cuſſion whereof, will take in moſt of the Scripture which any way give light to the underſtanding of this Subject; and which may oc­caſionally anſwer many Objections which otherwiſe require particu­lar diſcuſſion. I ſhall propound them by way of Queſtion.

Firſt, Whether Chriſt did not commit the Preaching of the Word, and adminiſtration of Baptiſme, to a Miniſtery.

Secondly, What the nature and end of that Miniſtery was, which the Lord Jeſus appointed to ſucceed him.

Thirdly, Whether there be any pattern of any viſible Congrega­ted Church under the Goſpel, without or before a Miniſtery or Baptiſme.

7Fourthly, Whether the preſent Miniſtery, and preſent Churches, may be acknowledged the Miniſters and Churches of Chriſt, accor­ding to the firſt Pattern.

To the firſt of theſe:

That Power and Authority, to Preach and Baptize, was commit­ted to the Apoſtels, or to the Eleven Diſciples, as to a Miniſtery, might be demonſtrated,

Firſt, From the Equity of it; which appears in the Reſpect or Care which the moſt High was pleaſed to manifeſt in the firſt order­ing or diſpoſing of the Adminiſtrations of the Jewiſh Church; which he committed to the hands of ſome choſen and peculiar perſons, diſtinguiſhed from others of the people to whom the like power was not committed; as to Aaron and his Sons Exod. 28.1, 2. And by then ſignal of his diſpleaſure manifeſted againſt thoſe who would not ac­knowledge it Num. 1 6. but confederated in the Conſpiracy of Korah.

Now if the Lord took ſuch care to ſet in order, and keep right that houſe whereof Moſes had the management, (viz.) the Jewiſh Church, (and therefore called Moſes his Houſe) and to eſtabliſh its Miniſtery; is it not as equal that the Lord Jeſus ſhould take the like care for his Houſe (viz.) the Chriſtian Church, and provide for its Miniſtery; and that as the former, ſo the later, ſhould conſiſt of perſons peculiarly ſet apart and appointed thereunto?

This ſort of reaſoning from the Old to the New, and from the Former to the Latter Diſpenſations, the Apoſtle doth uſe, by way of Equity, many times, to prove the matter whereabouts he was reaſon­ing. Doth God take care for Oxen? If ſo, then it is as equal, at leaſt, that he ſhould take care for ſuch as labour, and tread out the Corn under the Goſpel. But if this have not weight enough to prove the matter in queſtion; Secondly, it may be evidenced from Scriptures that are direct, as to this purpoſe.

That it was committed to certaine numbers of perſons, who, from among many others, were appointed and ſet apart for this work, appeares from the Scriptures afore mentioned, Mark. 13. He called to him whom he would, and they came unto him, and he ordained twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might ſend them forth to preach: of them which came unto him, he ordain­ed twelve And ſomewhat more plain doth Luke relate this action, Luk. 6.13, He called to him his Diſciples, and of them he8 choſe twelve; whom alſo he named Apoſtles, or Meſſengers, or men ſent out. Now though this ſeeme to relate to them onely as to Preaching, yet it is to be conſidered, that to theſe very ſame indi­vidual perſons (thus choſen, and called, and ſet apart from others) was the Commiſſion given to Preach and Baptize, Matth. 28.16, 18, 19. The eleven Diſciples went away into Galilee, and Jeſus came and ſpake unto them, ſaying, &c. Act. 10.41, 42, Not to all the people, but unto Witneſſes choſen before of God, even to us: and he commanded us to Preach unto the people, &c. Now that they were ordained and appointed to ſerve as a Miniſtery, it appears from the firſt Chapter of the Acts, the ſecond Verſe, com­pared with verſ. 17 and 25. Ʋntil the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Spirit had given commandment to the Apoſtles whom he had choſen. And in verſ. 17, ſpeaking of Judas, (ſaith) He was numbred with us, and had obtained part of this Miniſtery. And in verſ. 25, it is ſaid of Matthias, That he may take part of this Miniſtery and Apostleſhip, from which Judas by tranſgreſſion fell away. And the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbred with the eleven Apoſtles, or Meſſengers, or men who were ſent out to preach, and baptize the Nations.

To the ſecond:

What the nature of that Miniſtery was which the Lord Jeſus ap­pointed to ſucceed him in this ſervice.

Beſides what hath been ſpoken already, the Scripture doth de­clare what plentiful proviſion the Lord of the Harveſt, made in point of a Miniſtery. In Epheſ. 4.11, 12, 13, you have the Goſpel-Miniſtery expreſſed, both in their Names and Numbers, their Nature and End, in reference to their Uſe and Duration in the ſame Order and Degree which the God of Order hath placed them in.

For their Name and Number, the reading of the eleventh Verſe de­clares both.

For their nature and uſe, it's laid down either more generally, in this term, for the work of the Miniſtery; or more particularly, in theſe two Termes, (Viz.)

  • For the perfecting of the Saints.
  • For the edifying the body of Chriſt.

The duration of this Miniſtery, was to be till we all came to the Unity of the Faith; even all this whole Miniſtery, ſo numbered, and9 named as before; who were all, as well as any, the fruit of Chriſt's Aſcenſion.

The Gifts given to men for the work of the Miniſtery, thoſe were to abide (as to Inſtitution) one as well as another, one as long as another, the one without the other not being perfect; as in another caſe it's ſaid, Heb. 11.40. As theſe were given to conti­nue till we all came to the Unity of the Faith, Epheſ. 4.13, ſo they were ſet in the Churches by Ordinance and eſtabliſhment, 1 Cor. 12.28, as that which was to continue.

But to return to the nature and uſe of this Miniſtery; (Viz.)

  • To perfect the Saints.
  • To edifie the body of Chriſt.

The Word which is here uſed, To perfect the Saints; will be read properly, to perfect the number of the Saints, as well as their graces;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Ad coagmentationem Sanctorum, verſ. 12. until there be not one Saint or Elect more to be added to the number. It comes of〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, quod propriè de numero dici­tur; Or from the the Verbe〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, perfectum reddo, vel omnibus numeris abſolutum reddere. The Tranſlators have rendered it ſeverally in ſeveral places, (Viz.) to prepare, Heb. 10.5, A body haſt thou prepared me. Rom. 9.22, Adapta ad interitum: Fitted to deſtruction. To reſtore or put in joint: Luxata membra in locum reſtituere; And ſo it is uſed in Gal. 6.1, Ye which are ſpi­titual, reſtore ſuch a one with the ſpirit of meekneſs. 1 Cor. 1.10, Be ye perfectly knit together in the ſame minde. Sitis com­pacti, vel coadunati. If ſome one member of a true Church ſhould be overtaken with a fault, and in that ſence be out of joint, the reſt which are ſpiritual ſhould reſtore, i. e. put ſuch a bone in joint againe. But if many members ſhould do the like, and the whole prove diſlo­cated and disjointed, Who ſhall reſtore them to their former order againe, but the hand of that Miniſtery by which they were adapted, and fitted, and firſt knit together? For, they were not onely given for this end, that they might perfect the number of the Saints, by fitting and preparing them, and puting them in joynt; and this act rendered as tranſient, to paſs away in the very acting, or once doing: but they are ſaid to be ſet in the Church, i. e. ſtatuit, aut determi­navit, the word is of〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, 1 Pet. 2.6, Statuo in Sione lapidem; Behold I lay, i. e. ſet, or appoint by an irrevocable decree, in Sion a10 chiefe corner-ſtone. Act. 13.47, Conſtituite, &c. I have ſet or appointed thee to be a light to the Gentiles. Act. 1.7, It is not for you to know the times or the ſeaſons which the Father hath put in his own power. Now theſe are not tranſient, but abi­ding things: ſo the Miniſtery, which is for the perfecting of the Saints, in the ſence above expreſſed, was in like nature not onely given for that end, but fixed and eſtabliſhed by appointment for the ſame purpoſe.

The other branch of this Miniſtery was, To edifie the body of Chriſt, and to build upon the foundation of the Apoſtles and Prophets, Jeſus Chriſt himſelf being the chiefe corner-ſtone.

Now to apply what hath been ſpoken to the Miniſtery which Chriſt gave for this work, as it conſiſts of two branches, (Viz.)

  • Perfecting.
  • Edifying.

Theſe workes are appropriate to two parts of the Miniſtery: The firſt are called Apoſtles, Prophets, Evangeliſts; and precede the Church,Matth. 28.19. Mat 16.15 Epheſ. 2.20, 21, 22. or are before it, having the whole world for their Circuit, dealing with them as with the World, with the Nations as with the Nations; Diſcipling them, preparing and fitting them; felling, hew­ing, and ſquaring thoſe ſtones and that timber, that it might be made meet for the building; as alſo laying the foundation, even themſelves, next and in order to the Lord Jeſus, acknowledging him to be the chiefe corner-ſtone of the building, and the building it ſelf to be Gods, 1 Cor. 3.9, 10, but themſelves labourers therein, and wiſe Maſter-builders thereon.

The ſecond are ſuch as being part of the number of thoſe which have been ſo gathered out of the World, and placed into the build­ing by the former Maſter-builders, and by them alſo appointed to edifie the body, i. e. to carry on the building, keeping to the foundation; furniſhing them with Rule, and Square, and Com­paſs, and Line, and Plummet, and whatever was neceſſary to com­pleat this work, or make the Man of God perfect. All which are comprehended in the holy Scriptures, and more collectively in the Epiſtles of Paul to Timothy and Titus.

And this Miniſtery are called Paſtors and Teachers who are to feed the Church, as the former were to breed it; theſe to carry on the building, as the other to lay the foundation; theſe to be reſident11 where they were choſen, as thoſe to paſs on, and prepare, and fit more materials for the perfecting of the great building, the whole Houſe of God.

Now foraſmuch as the number of the Saints are to be per­fected, and then to be edified, and this to be done by a Mini­ſtery, conſiſting of Apoſtles, Prophets, Evangeliſts, Paſtors and Teachers; and foraſmuch as this is made the work of the Mini­ſtery ſo named and numbered as before, to be accompliſht not by any one without the other of them; not by the Miniſtery of the Apoſtles alone, or Prophets onely, or Evangeliſts onely; much leſſe by the Miniſtery of Paſtors and Teachers onely: but by theſe to­gether, as making up the Miniſtery which Chriſt aſcending on high gave, and by Ordinance or appointment ſet and conſtituted in the Church. And ſeeing the number of the Saints is not perfected, but rather, as that Scripture ſaith, The whole world lieth in wicked­neſs, or in that wicked one, and that there are ſtill Nations, and Kind­reds, and Tongues, and People to whom the Goſpel may be preach­ed, and amongſt whom Diſciples may be made, and Churches formed and built upon the true foundation: Hence I conclude with my ſelf (and refer it to the judgment of him that reads it) in anſwer to the Queſtion, That the Miniſtery which the Lord Jeſus appointed to ſucceed him, was for nature and end a breeding and feeding Miniſtery: The one, to prepare the Saints, and to gather them into a Church, as will be endeavoured to be proved in its proper place; the other, to build on upon the firſt foundation, being firſt gathered and ſet thereon.

And that theſe are both alike for their end and duration or continu­ance, appeares,

Firſt, Becauſe they together make up but one Miniſtery.

Secondly, Becauſe they all being the fruits of one Purchaſe, the ſame neceſſity remains for the one as for the other: ſo long as any Saints are to be gathered, as well as any to be edified, theſe are to continue; and that is, till we all come to the unity of the Faith, &c. the Elect of God ſtanding in as much need of the one, inſtrumentally to enlighten and convert them, as of the other, to edifie and ſtrengthen them, being converted. For as God, when he gave one, gave the other alſo; ſo the Saints may ſee a neceſſity for the continuation of the one, as well as of the other: the former, namely, Apoſtles, Prophets,12 Evangeliſts, having been ſome ſpace of time without the later, as ap­pears by Acts 14.23. but the later, I conceive, have never been in truth without the former, (at leaſt, I know not where, or when, and ſhould be willing to be informed) foraſmuch as the Foundation muſt precede the building up of the Superſtructure; and the Paſtoral feeding the Lambs of the Lord Jeſus, muſt needs preſuppoſe a Mini­ſterial Breeding to have preceded, in thoſe pure and orderly Inſtitu­tions.

The third and fourth Queſtions I ſhall anſwer together.

Queſt.Whether there be any Pattern of any Viſible congregated Church under the Goſpel, without or before a Miniſtery or Baptiſm: Or, Whether the preſent Miniſtery, or preſent Churches, may be acknow­ledged the Miniſtery and Churches of Chriſt, according to the firſt Pattern.

To the firſt part of the Queſtion, this will be anſwered:

Anſw.That it doth not appear in Scripture, that any of the firſt Churches were gathered into their Viſible Order, without a Miniſtery preceding or before Baptiſm. If it be otherwiſe, it's hoped it will be ſhewed where and when. If it be not to be ſhewed, How deeply are they concerned, who ſet up ſuch Churches, whereof there is no Pattern in the Word of God!

I know it is ordinarily ſaid, and accordingly practiſed, that a com­pany of Believers may, by mutual conſent or agreement, become a Church, and appoint one to baptize the reſt; and accordingly chuſe their own Officers, and proceed to other Adminiſtrations; and this in the Name of Chriſt. And ſuch a Company of Believers are ac­counted, by themſelves and ſome others, a true Viſible Church.

Others ſay the ſame thing, in other words.

Now I would argue the caſe a little touching Believers conſenting to become a Church, ſo far as may help to clear the Queſtion in hand.

When a perſon deſires to joyn himſelf to ſome one of the preſent Churches, though the perſon be never ſo deſirous in himſelf to be added, yet he can but propound his deſire of joyning and being ad­mitted. This Church conſiders and judges of this perſon's Faith, and fitneſs for Fellowſhip, and that in the Name of the Lord; and muſt declare the Lord's conſent, in the Church's, to the receiving ſuch a Perſon into ſuch a Fellowſhip, before he can be admitted.

13The perſon's willingneſs in himſelf to be joyned, makes him not a Member of ſuch a Fellowſhip; he cannot give his own conſent, and the Church's too: but as he is willing to manifeſt his readineſs to be admitted; ſo the Church judging of his profeſſion of Faith, and fitneſs, manifeſts her conſent, by receiving him in the Name of the Lord Jeſus, either by Baptiſm, or without, according as they have faith in that Particular; I mean that Fellowſhip or Society which ſo admits him.

Now if this be the Method or Ordinary way of proceeding in a Church after it is gathered, Is not the gathering of that Church, in its firſt beginning, to be ſuppoſed equivalent hereunto; foraſmuch as the ſame relation wherein one ſingle believer doth ſtand with refe­rence to a true Church rightly conſtituted, ſo do a Company of Be­lievers ſtand in relation to Chriſt, in their firſt congregating into the Viſible Order of a Church-eſtate:

Which may be thus demonſtrated:

Chriſt is the Bridegroom;

The Church is the Bride, the Lamb's wife.

A company of Believers are ſuppoſed to be made willing, by the power of Light and Love, to be married to Chriſt, and to put on that Conjugal-Yoke of viſible Churchſhip, wherein they may manifeſt their obedience to him, ſubjecting themſelves to ſuch Ordinances and Appointments of his, as are commanded touching that parti­cular.

But to whom ſhall they make manifeſt this their willingneſs? Who ſhall ſupply the room of the Bridegroom? Or who is the Bride­groom's friend, that can Miniſterially declare Chriſt's acceptance of theſe Believers to become his Church, his Wife, and he to become their Bridegroom, their Husband, their Lord, their Law-giver; giving them power to ſit upon Thrones for him, to open and ſhut a door for him, to binde and to looſe in his Name and Power?

Believers, I conceive, can no more in this caſe give their own con­ſents and Chriſt's too, then a particular believer that would be joyned to a Viſible Church, can give his own conſent and the Churches too.

Therefore, as the true Church doth Miniſterially contain in her ſelf the ſtate of power to binde and looſe, to open and ſhut, in Chriſt's Name, to ſignifie his conſent, and in his Name to receive or not re­ceive the perſon who pretends to, or aſſays to be joyned to her: ſo is14 it ſeriouſly to be conſidered, who did at firſt Miniſterially ſupply the room of the Bridegroom, who did at firſt judge of theſe Believers fitneſs, or who did in Chriſt's Name accept of them, as they do in Chriſt's Name accept of others that deſire to joyn to them.

That the true Viſible Church is the Spouſe, the Bride, the Wife of the Lord Jeſus, theſe Scriptures, among others, witneſs: Cant. 4.8. Eph. 5.32. Rev. 21.9.

That the conſent between Chriſt and his Church, at firſt, was acted Miniſterially, by ſuch as himſelf had deſigned for that purpoſe, viz. to accept of the believers conſent on their part, and to eſpouſe them to Chriſt; and that this was effected by that Miniſtery which was wont to precede and go before the Church and its feeding Miniſtery, appears from the conſideration of theſe Scriptures: 1 Cor. 4.15. For in Chriſt Jeſus have I begotten you through the Goſpel. 2 Cor. 5.29. We pray you in Chriſt's ſtead, be ye reconciled to God.

And as this Miniſtery was thus inſtrumental towards their per­ſonal converſion, ſo was it alſo touching their Viſible Admiſſion in­to their Eſpouſed, i. e. Church-eſtate: For not onely did they in Chriſt's ſtead beſeech them to be reconciled to God, but alſo did re­ceive them, being ſo reconciled. 2 Cor. 11.2, the Apoſtle Paul te­ſtifieth touching the Church of Corinth, that he did eſpouſe that Church to one husband, that he might preſent it a chaſte Virgin to Chriſt. And of the Churches of Macedonia it is ſaid, in 2 Cor. 8.5. that they gave their own ſelves firſt unto the Lord and unto us by the will of God.

All that this Diſcourſe intends, is but to put perſons (whoſe ſpirits can bear it) upon the conſideration how they became a Church at firſt, And whether that the practice of the preſent Churches doth not juſtly occaſion that enquiry; foraſmuch as the reaſon is the ſame, that the firſt Beginners of a Church have as much neceſſity of ſome per­ſon or perſons Miniſterially deputed by Chriſt to try and to accept of them, as well as for them afterwards to try, and judge, and accept of others in the Name and Authority of Chriſt, who deſire to be added to them.

The conſideration of which, may ſerve for Anſwer to that part of the Queſtion, which concerns the preſent Churches:

That foraſmuch as it is not demonſtrable that the preſent Churches15 have been ſo conſtituted by perſons Miniſterially deputed on Chriſt's part, to whom they might give up themſelves Viſibly (as well as unto the Lord) and by whom they might Viſibly and Miniſterially have the Lord's conſent manifeſted to them, (as they themſelves now mani­feſt it to thoſe which would be added to them;) but that they reckon it ſufficient to be made free and willing in themſelves, and without any Viſible or Miniſterial Authority to try and judge one another, and to accept of one another in Chriſt's Name and ſtead, and ſo become a Church, contrary to their own after-practice towards others; Seems to be altogether without preſident from the Word of God, and con­ſequently, are not to be acknowledged for the true Viſible conſtituted Churches of Chriſt according to the Primitive Pattern.

To the ſecond branch of the Queſtion touching the preſent Mini­ſtery,Queſt. Whether they are to be acknowledged the Miniſtery of Chriſt according to the firſt Pattern;

Beſides what hath been ſpoken already, it may be further added,Anſw.

That a Miniſtery of Jeſus Chriſt may be conſidered Immediately or Mediately ſuch; either as coming of that Apoſtolical Race who had their call immediately from Chriſt, as the firſt Meſſengers had, Matth. 10.1, 2. Matth. 28.16, 18, 19, &c. Gal. 1.1, 12, Paul an Apoſtle, (or a Meſſenger, or a man ſent out,) not of men neither by man, but by Jeſus Chriſt, and God the Father.

And theſe in the Scriptures are properly called Miniſters of Jeſus Chriſt: 1 Cor. 4.1, Let a man ſo account of us, as of the Mini­ſters of Chriſt, and Stewards of the Myſteries of God.

Now for a man to be a Miniſter of Chriſt in this ſence, requires to have an immediate call and ſending forth, with gifts ſutable to ſuch a Miniſtery: Mark. 16.15, 20, Go ye forth into all the world, and preach the Goſpel to every Creature. And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confir­ming the word with ſignes following. Act. 1.4 5, 8, And being aſſembled with them, (i.e. the Apoſtles whom he had choſen, Verſ. 2.) commanded them that they ſhould not depart from Hieruſa­lem, but wait for the promiſe of the Father, Verſ. 4. For, ye ſhall be Baptized with the holy Spirit not many dayes hence. Verſ. 5, Ye ſhall receive power after that the holy Spirit is come upon you, and ye ſhall be Witneſſes unto me, &c. Verſ. 8. Which was accor­dingly performed on God's part; for they did receive the promiſe of16 the Father, Act. 2.1, 2, 3, and did perform their part, in the ſubſe­quent part of the Chapter and Hiſtory of the Acts. Act. 14.23 Act. 6.3, 5, 6, 8, 10. Tit. 1.5.

Secondly, There is a Miniſtery of Chriſt which is not ſo immediate, but more mediate; and they were ſuch, as whom the Apoſtles, in the behalf, and by the ſuffrage or the election of the Churches, did or­dain; and to whom they did delegate the power and authority of Jeſus Chriſt, for the work of the Miniſtery in the Churches: And in his Name and power, ſuch gifts were beſtowed as might fit thoſe perſons for the work whereunto they were choſen and ordained, Act. 6.6. 2 Tim. 1.6.

Theſe, though it be not to be denied but they are to be accounted the Miniſters of Chriſt, becauſe they are indeed his by appointment and inſtitution; yet they are ſuch more mediately, and the Churches more immediately; whoſe alſo they are, and out of whom, and for whoſe ſake, they were immediately choſen and appointed, while the other Miniſtery were to travel abroad, and to fulfill their Miniſtery towards the World; for which work they were Commiſſioned, Mar. 16.15. Go ye into all the World, and preach the Goſpel to every creature.

This diſtinction is grounded upon theſe Scriptures: 1 Cor. 4.1. Let a man ſo account of us, as of the Miniſters of Chriſt, and Stewards of the Myſteries of God. 2 Cor. 8.23, If any enquire of theſe, they are the Apoſtles of the Churches, or, as we have it tranſlated, they are the Meſſengers of the Churches, and the Glory of Chriſt. Philip. 2.25, I ſuppoſe it neceſſary to ſend to you Epaphroditus my brother, but your Apoſtle.

If a perſon do entitle himſelf a Miniſter of Chriſt, he muſt pro­feſs himſelf to be ſo, under one of theſe two conſiderations.

If he be one of the firſt ſort, his Call muſt be immediate, (from the Bridegroom the Lord Jeſus) and his gifts and qualifications muſt be ſutable to his work; a powerful enabling to go forth to the World.

If he be one of the later ſort, his Call muſt be from the Bridegroom's friends, the Apoſtles, or an Apoſtolical Miniſtery, Act. 14.23. compared with verſ. 14 of the ſame Chapter: When the Apoſtles Barnabas and Paul Verſ. 23, when they, i. e. the Apoſtles, had or­dained them Elders in every Church. Tit. 1.5, For this cauſe I left thee in Cret, that thou ſhouldſt ſet in order the things that are wanting, and ordaine Elders in every City, as I had appoin­ted17 thee. Or elſe the call of this later ſort muſt be from the Bride her ſelf, in whoſe cuſtody was left the power of all Adminiſtrations: 1 Cor. 11.2. I praiſe you, brethren, that you keep the Ordinances as I delivered them to you.

And ſutable to this Call (whether it be by the Bridegroom's friends or by the Bride her ſelf) muſt be the gifts beſtowed.

If Paul do lay hands on Timothy, and ſeparate him to the work of the Miniſtery, the Lord confers upon him, thereby, ſome gift which he had not before, and ſuch a gift to which he is to give attendance. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou ſtir up the gift of God which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands, 2 Tim. 1.6.

If the Church by her Presbytery (for ſo ſome will have that place to be underſtood) do lay hands on Timothy, it is not an empty and bare Ceremony, but ſuch an action as wherein God appears; con­ferring by way of gift ſomewhat which was not before: and this likewiſe is to be attended to. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by Prophecie, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.

Now the Miniſtery of theſe times being compared and conſidered, will appear neither called nor qualified according to the Primitive Patterns.

Friends of the Bridegroom in the firſt ſence, they are not, as being im­mediately ſent out from him with an Apoſtolical Miſſion or Embaſſage, furniſhed to wooe and win the Nations, to repreſent the perſon of the Bridegroom, and to be as in his ſtead, beſeeching men to be friends with God, intreating them to be reconciled to him. Their want of the heavenly Furniture of power from on high for this work of the Mini­ſtery, doth evidence the truth hereof.

Secondly, Nor are they called and ſent out by the friends of the Bridegroom; either by Apoſtles, Evangeliſts, or Prophets, who had their Call and Miſſion from Chriſt: Foraſmuch as they acknowledge no ſuch Miniſtery now extant, but ſay it was temporary, and extraor­dinary; though it be not demonſtrable from Scripture, when the En­tail was cut off, or ſuch a Miniſtery to ceaſe, according to deſignation or appointment.

Thirdly, Nor is it ſo evident as it is imagined, that they have a true Viſible Call from the Bride her ſelf, a true Viſible Conſtituted Church of Chriſt, who hath been her ſelf firſt eſpouſed to him viſibly and Mi­niſterially,18 by ſome perſon or perſons hereunto deputed and deſigned, as the Church of Corinth was, 2 Cor. 11.2. according to the firſt eſtabliſhed viſible Order (by Faith and Baptiſm.)

But from a Company of well-minded people, who, reading the Scriptures, and obſerving what is ſpoken touching the Miniſtery its uſefulneſs and neceſſity, judge it alſo neceſſary, lawful, and expe­dient to chuſe out from among themſelves, or others, ſome ſuch per­ſon as they beſt approve of, to go before them, and adminiſter to them; and this is accounted a true Call to the Miniſtery. Whereas it would be firſt enquired, Where the Scripture doth in any place give power to a people, how holy, how godly ſoever, to give a true viſible Call to the Miniſtery; themſelves not firſt being viſibly and Miniſte­rially a conſtituted Church of Chriſt, and ſo his Spouſe, his Wife, ac­cording to the Primitive Pattern. Whoſe power, how far it extends, after ſhe is eſpouſed, I diſpute not; but ſeriouſly enquire after the actions of power which are performed by any people, before they are viſibly eſpouſed, and conſequently impowered thereunto.

Hence I conceive it is, that this being practiſed, (the one giving, the other accepting the Call of the Miniſtery, without queſtioning the Power of either) it may without offence be ſaid, that a Powerleſs People give Call to a Giftleſs Miniſtery, (for, as they have not power, ſo they confer not any;) who, for lack of Gifts, ſtudy to acquire Arts; wherein alſo having attained, they therein exerciſe themſelves, (the wiſdom of God ſuffering it to be ſo) that they ſhould ſtyle them­ſelves Maſters of Arts. But in the beginning it was not ſo. For when the gifts of God could not be bought nor ſold, and conſequent­ly not appropriated to the gain or profit of the Poſſeſſor; then muſt Humane Arts be invented, (which darken the Sun and the Air) and the gifts of God exploded, and called extraordinary, becauſe they too much reſemble the heavenly Manna of old, a food which pro­ved too dry for the growing intereſt of that time: which the moſt High beholding, withheld, and ſuffered not that bleſſed and heavenly dew to fall; But contrariwiſe, ſuffered them to grow drunk with Wine, to erre in Viſion, to ſtumble in Judgement, to ſurfeit of (their Quails) their Humane Arts of their own inventing, under which they have laboured many hundred yeers, fulfilling that Scripture, Iſai. 28.7, 8. and ſo it may be, until the time, the full time, is come, that that great Angel ſhall yet once again enlighten the earth, Rev. 1918.1. and the ancient Goſpel be preacht again to kindreds, nati­ons, tongues, and people, Rev. 14.6. Rev. 10. ult. Then may we expect and hope, that this Artificial Miniſtery, and its Artificial Teaching, the moſt High will conſume with the breath of his mouth, and with the brightneſs of his coming.

The zeal of the Lord can perform this:Iſa. 37.32. Iſa. 28.16. Object. onely he that believeth maketh not haſte.

Objection 1. Chriſt gave his Commiſſion to his Diſciples, in the name of Diſciples; intimating, that they, as ſuch, might both preach and baptize, Matth. 28.18.

2. The Diſpciles of Chriſt did baptize before they were called and ſent out, even while they were Diſciples, Joh. 3.22, 24. even be­fore John was caſt into priſon; and many of the Diſciples were not ſo much as called then, Matth. 4.12, 18, 21. Therefore, Diſciples, as Diſciples may baptize.

Anſwer. What hath been already alleadged in this caſe,Anſw. might ſuffice for anſwer to the firſt branch of this Objection; eſpecially, if there be added this Conſideration:

That the nature of their Employment, at the time when Chriſt was to leave the world and them, was far different from what it had been all the while he had been with them: For, with reſpect to the Lord Jeſus, whoſe they were, and whom they ſerved, ſo long as he was with them in the fleſh, they were his Diſciples and Scholars: but now he was to go away from them, and to delegate his power to them, which the Father had given unto him after his Reſurrection: Matth. 28.18, 19. All power is given me in heaven and earth: Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them, &c. Joh. 17.18, As thou haſt ſent me into the world even ſo have I ſent them into the world. They were to be left Miniſterially in his ſtead, 2 Cor. 5.20, We, in Chriſt's ſtead, beſeech you to be reconciled to God. Now they were no longer to be reckoned Diſciples or Scholars, but Teachers, Inſtructers, Maſter-builders, 1 Cor. 3.10. And therefore, with reſpect to Chriſt, though they might be called Diſci­ples, ſo long as he was with them; yet with reſpect to the Power and Commiſſion given unto them by Chriſt, they were called Apoſtles, by way of diſtinction from other Diſciples or Believers. Acts 1.2, Acts 2.42, their Doctrine was called The Apoſtles doctrine: and their Miniſtery was not called Diſcipleſhip, but Apoſtleſhip, Act. 1.24, 25, 26.

20To the ſecond branch of this Objection, That the Diſciples of Chriſt did baptize before they were called Apoſtles, or ſent out to preach:

Firſt, I anſwer, that it's not ſo ſafe concluding from a conſequence, as that becauſe Matthew relates a paſſage touching John's being put into priſon, before he mentions the calling of the Diſciples or A­poſtles, that therefore they were not called till after John was in pri­ſon, and conſequently did baptize before they were Apoſtles: For­aſmuch as it's very apparent, the Evangeliſts do not obſerve the ſame method or order in the placing and relating the Hiſtories of the Go­ſpel; ſome putting that before, which another puts after: which hath caſt no ſmall trouble to thoſe who have attempted to Harmonize the Goſpel.

Secondly, Admit it be as it is objected, and that they did Baptize while they were Diſciples, the Baptiſme is not reckoned theirs, but Chriſts: It's ſaid he made and baptized more diſciples then John, Joh. 4.1. Joh. 3.22. He baptized Authoritatively, they Inſtrumen­tally: He made and baptized.

He that Miniſterially doth baptize another by vertue of Authori­ty to him given, hath likewiſe Power and Authority to judge of the fitneſs of the perſon whom he baptizeth: ſo did John by thoſe whom he baptized, Matth. 3.7, 8, 9. So did Philip by the Eunuch, Act. 8.37. So did Peter by Cornelius and his Friends, Act. 10.46, 47, 48; by whoſe Commiſſion, at leaſt, if not by his hand, they were baptized. So here the Diſciples were ſaid to baptize, Joh. 4, but Jeſus was with them: Joh. 3.22, After theſe things came Jeſus and his Diſciples into the Land of Judea, and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

The perſons then which were baptized by his Authority and Com­miſſion, he being with them while they were baptized, muſt needs have their fitneſs for admittance to be judged of by him, and ſo the Baptiſm muſt be ſaid to be his: He may be ſaid to baptize, becauſe 'twas done in his preſence, and by his Authority; they onely have this ſhare in the Work, that they are uſed Inſtrumentally to do that which their Lord and Maſter did Authoritively.

Thirdly, If it may be granted (as I ſuppoſe it may not) that the Diſciples did Baptize, in the fourth of John, by Warrant and Com­miſſion from Chriſt, given to them apart from himſelf; yet I ſuppoſe21 their example therein is not to be drawn into practice by believers now, foraſmuch as Chriſt himſelf was a member of the Jewiſh Church both living and dying, (as it may be eaſily proved, if deſired) and a Miniſter of that Church: Rom. 15.8, Now I ſay, that Ieſus Chriſt was a Miniſter of the Circumciſion for the truth of God, to confirme the promiſes made unto the Fathers. So were his Diſciples likewiſe members of the ſame Church, and ſubſervient to their Lord and Maſter in that Miniſtration; as hath been proved at large in the former part of this Diſcourſe.

Now what Chriſt did perform among them by himſelf, or by his Diſciples Miniſterially, would not be Warrant to theſe Gentiles for their Practice of the ſame, had he not after his Reſurrection and re­ceiving Power from on high, given Power and Command to the Apoſtles to teach the Nations whatſoever he had Commanded them. Matth. 8.19, 20.

Now unleſs it can be ſhewed, where and when the Lord Jeſus, or the Apoſtles, did ever teach Believers, or Diſciples, as Diſciples, to Baptize one another, ſince his Reſurrection and his taking poſſeſſion of all Power to himſelf, and commanding the Apoſtles to deliver that to the Gentiles to be by them obſerved, which he had formerly taught the Diſciples to obſerve themſelves: I ſay, unleſs it can be found in Precept or Practice ſince that time, I conceive the former Practice of the Diſciples, in the fourth of Iohn, (if it were every way as the Ob­jection ſpeaks) baptizing the members of their own Church, in the preſence and by the Authority of their Lord, he being the Miniſter of the Circumciſion for the Truth of God; will not prove a ſuffici­ent ground for the Practice of ſuch Diſciples, as is pleaded for by this Objection.

Obj. 2. Diſciples that are able to Preach the Goſpel, may Baptize,Obj. 2. as appears by the Practice of the ſcattered Diſciples upon the Per­ſecution of Stephen, in Acts 8. and in Act. 11.19, 20, Now they that were ſcattered abroad upon the perſecution which aroſe about Stephen, travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and An­tioch, preaching the Word to none but to the Iews onely. Doth not this give ſufficient ground for gifted men, if able to Preach, that they may Baptize alſo?

I ſhall anſwer to the laſt branch of this Objection firſt.

Gifted men,Anſw. as they are generally underſtood to be of parts22 and abilities; theſe, without a true Power and Authority, may not by vertue of their gifts Baptize: For it is not to be doubted but there were many gifted men among the followers of Chriſt, when he gave to his eleven Diſciples Commiſſion to Teach and Baptize the Nations. For we read of the ſeventy Diſciples, Luk. 10.16, how that Chriſt ſent them forth to Preach, and what ſucceſs they returned with, Verſ. 17, 18 19, 20. Yet to none of theſe, but to the eleven onely, was the Command of Teaching and Baptizing the Nations given, ſo far as appears to us in the Scripture, Matth. 28.19. Mark. 16.15. Therefore neither believers onely, nor gifted men, though able to preach to the caſting down Sathan like Lightning from Heaven,Luk. 10.18, 19. without a true and lawful Authority, Appointing, and Deſigning to this Work, may warrantably do it.

To the other branch, That Diſciples able to Preach the Goſpel may Baptize, from Act. 8.1, 12. Chap. 11.19, 20.

Firſt, I diſtinguiſh between Preaching, and Publiſhing or Decla­ring: Foraſmuch as though he that doth Preach, doth Publiſh the thing he Preacheth; yet one may publiſh a thing which he may not be ſaid to Preach, as will appear by this familiar example:

An Herauld, or Crier, who is inveſted with Authority to declare or publiſh ſome buſineſs at ſome publike place, he muſt be underſtood to expreſs himſelf by words, to utter and ſpeak the thing he pub­liſhes or proclaimes: there may be at the ſame time many a perſon preſent, who hearing and underſtanding the matter ſo proclaimed, may divulge and repeat what they have both heard and ſeen; and ſo may be ſaid truely to declare, but not to proclaim the thing: though the former in proclaiming the matter, uſed utterance and expreſſion; yet the later by uttering and expreſſing the matter, are not Proclaim­ers of it authoritatè, but obſervers, and relaters onely of what they have ſeen and heard.

Let this circumlocution be taken in good part; for it means well, and may give ſome help to the underſtanding of what follows.

When our Lord Jeſus was to leave the world, and to ſend his Am­baſſadours forth into the world, in his Name and ſtead, he command­ed them to preach the Goſpel to every creature, Mark 16.15. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Predicate Evangelium.

The word which our Lord Jeſus uſeth in this Commiſſion, is a word of Power and Authority; it comes of〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, praeco; ſignifying an23 Herauld, or Cryer:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to publiſh as an Herauld, to deliver in open place, in the hearing of a multitude, that many may take notice of it. Matth. 10.27, Preach ye upon the houſe tops. Luke 12.3, That which ye have ſpoken in the ear, and in cloſets, ſhall be pro­claimed upon the houſe tops. 1 Tim. 2.7, Whereunto I am or­dained a Preacher and an Apoſtle;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉or Cryer, an Herauld or Proclaimer, 2 Tim. 1.11. Maximâ cum majeſtate ſummâ con­ſtantiâ, & animi libertate, clariſſimè ac apertiſſimè denunciare. 2 Tim. 4.2, Preach the Word. Rom. 16.25. According to my Go­ſpel, and the preaching of Jeſus Chriſt;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. 1 Cor. 1.21, 23, Gal. 2.2. I communicated to them that Goſpel which I preach among the Gentiles;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, quod praedico in Gentibus. Rom. 10.8, That is the word of faith which we preach. Rom. 10.15,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; Quomodo verò praedicabunt, niſi mittantur? How ſhall they preach, except they be ſent?

Many might be the Scriptures which might be brought, to prove that the firſt Meſſengers were as ſo many Ambaſſadours, Heraulds, Proclaimers, Cryers, who with Majeſtie and Authority were ſent out to preach the Goſpel, as being deſigned of God, and ſet apart and commiſſioned by the Lord Jeſus Chriſt thereunto: and theſe are ſaid, eminentèr, to preach. When they publiſhed the Goſpel, they did it cum authoritate, by vertue of their Office, Calling, or De­putation thereunto.

Beſides theſe, (ſo abundantly overflowing was the grace of God, that) the beholders of it were ſo filled with joy and admiration, that where-ever they came, they could not chuſe but be telling what things they had heard and ſeen, and what had been done of them. Which notification of theirs, had many times this bleſſed effect, that it made the perſons to whom this ſtrangue (though good) news came, ei­ther to believe it, or to be enquirers after it, or deſirers of it: like that of old; O thou faireſt among women, whither is thy Beloved gone, that we may ſeek him with thee? Cant. 5.9. and 6.1. or that of the woman of Samaria, Joh. 4.29, Come, ſee a man that told me all things whatever I did. Is not this the Chriſt? Joh. 4.39, 40, 41, 42, And many of the Samaritans believed on him, for the ſaying of the woman which teſtified; He told me all that ever I did. And many more believed, becauſe of his own word. And24 ſuch was that of Mary Magdalene, who being ſo filled with the good news of her Lord's Reſurrection, that ſhe ran and told the Diſciples.

In Luke 1.19. and 2.10, when the word Evangello is ap­plied to the Angel, it is rendered to ſhew or declare good news. But in Luke 4.18, when it's applied to Chriſt, it's rendered to preach the Goſpel.

In Acts 21.26, Paul is ſaid to enter into the Temple, to ſigni­fie or declare the accompliſhment of the days of Purification: the word is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, i. e. annuntio. Which word is rendered, Luke 9.60, But go thou and preach the kingdom of God: An­nuntia regnum Dei: of Diangéllo.

In Luke 8.1, it's ſaid of Chriſt, He went preaching and evan­gelizing, or ſhewing the glad tidings of the Kingdom. And in 1 Theſſ. 3.6, But when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, &c. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

Rev. 10.7, As he hath declared to his ſervants the Pro­phets:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

To apply what hath been ſaid, to the Scriptures propounded touching the preaching of the ſcattered Diſciples, Acts 8. and Acts 11.

Firſt, they are not ſaid to preach, viz. to Proclaim, to Cry, ac­cording to the ſignification of that word which was uſed by Chriſt when firſt he gave the Commiſſion, Mark 16.15. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. It is not ſaid (as here, Chriſt commanded) that they Preached the Goſpel; but, that they Evangelized; Evangelizantes verbum. Which word, though it be frequently tranſlated preach­ed, which it may well bear when it is applied to ſuch as had power, that is, authority to preach the Evangel; yet it is diſtinguiſhed as a thing differing from preaching, when Evangelizing and Preaching come together. Luk. 8.1, it's ſaid of Chriſt, He went thorow every city and village, Praedicans & Evangelizans regnum Dei. They do not ſay in the Engliſh, Preaching and preaching the kingdom of God; but, Preaching and ſhewing the glad tidings of the king­dom of God. Which later expreſſion, ſhews the true proper mean­ing of Evangelizing, ſhewing or declaring glad tidings, whether by Preaching or otherwiſe.

25Of Philip it's ſaid, not onely that he evangelized, but it's alſo ſaid of him, that he preached Chriſt to them of Samaria;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Acts 8.5. and he baptized them alſo, verſ. 12; which is not ſaid of any of the other Diſciples which were of this diſperſion, either in the eighth or eleventh Chapter.

And not without ſome reaſon may this diſtinction be between Phi­lip and the reſt of the diſperſion, foraſmuch as he was one of thoſe who was admitted into the ſervice of the Church by laying on of hands, Acts 6.5, 6. and was alſo an Evangeliſt, Act. 12.8. and con­ſequently one of thoſe the Apoſtle numbers up, in Epheſ. 4.11, which Chriſt gave for the work of the Miniſtery. Wherefore, not with­out reaſon may it be obſerved, that of him onely it is ſaid, He preach­ed and baptized; of the reſt onely, They evangelized.

Secondly, The Diſciples in Acts 11.19, 20, 'tis ſaid, They ſpake the word to none but to the Jews onely;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Nemini loquentes verbum. So verſ. 20, Loquebantur ad Graecos, They ſpake unto the Graecians. The ſame word is uſed in Epheſ. 4.25, Loquimini quiſque veritatem proximo ſuo: Speak every man truth with his neighbour.

Thirdly, Where they are ſaid, in the next words, to evangelize the Lord Jeſus, which is tranſlated preach, both here, and frequent­ly elſewhere; it is a word which ſignifieth to publiſh or declare good, being compounded of〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉bene, and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Annuntiatio.

It is ſaid of Mary Magdalene, Joh. 20.18, ſhe did declare (or〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) to the Diſciples. So it is recorded of her, Mark 16.10, Illa profecto annunciavit iis qui cum ipſo fuerant:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: She did ſhew, or declare, or tell them that had been with him, &c. Matth. 28.10,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Annuntiate fratribus meis: Shew my brethren, or, declare to my brethren, that they go into Ga­lilee.

Who would not conclude from theſe Scriptures, that Mary Mag­dalene was a true Preacher of the Reſurrection of Chriſt, and did truely evangelize the tidings thereof? Yet the Tranſlations render it, that ſhe told the diſciſples; and, Go, tell my diſciples: whenas, if it be well conſidered, it might as truely have been ſaid of Mary, that ſhe preached the Lord Jeſus and the Reſurrection, as it is ſaid of thoſe Diſciples in Acts 11.19, of whom it may be thus ſaid: That having by the providence of God been ſcattered, by means of26 Stephen's perſecution, they could not but ſpeak the things which they had heard and ſeen, Acts 4.20. And in 1 Joh. 1.2, 3, the two words are expreſſed which the Apoſtles uſe in Acts 4.19, 20, touching theſe Diſciples: We cannot but ſpeak,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and ſhew unto you,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. And verſ. 3, it's rendered in Engliſh, We declare unto you.

So it might fall out with theſe Diſciples in their diſperſion, that the glory which they had ſeen, they could not but tell it, and declare it, and ſpeak it everywhere, as they went: and whereſoever the tidings of it came, it was news, and, in reſpect of the Subject of it, it was good news; it was Goſpel, or glad tidings.

But as the tidings hereof was ſtrange and rare to the Gentiles, to whom it thus unexpectedly came: ſo the tidings of their receiving it by this means, and upon this occaſion, was as ſtrange to the Church at Jeruſalem; who, upon the hearing of it, ſent Peter and John to Samaria, and Barnabas to Antioch. Which ſeems to me a thing needleſs, if, in the Church's account, the Diſciples Miniſtery had been eſteemed ſufficient for this work.

But leſt it ſhould be thought this diſtinction may not be ſufficiently grounded upon the Word of Truth, but may ſavour of a Critical Curioſity; I ſhall ſubmit what hath been ſpoken, to the examination and cenſure of an Impartial Judgement.

In the mean time, while that which hath been ſpoken lies under Examination, that which remains to be ſpoken, may ſerve to anſwer the Objection.

Therefore I propoſe in the ſecond place,

2. If it might be ſuppoſed or admitted, that the ſcattered Diſci­ples mentioned in the eighth and eleventh of the Acts, did as truely preach, as they were truely ſcattered; yet it's not ſaid that they did Baptize, as the Brethren do who urge this Scripture for their practice; Philip onely excepted, who is alſo called an Evangeliſt, Acts 21. which is a part of the gift given by Chriſt, for the work of the Mi­niſtery, Eph. 4.11, 12.

Admit they did both Preach and Baptize, yet it muſt be remem­bred that they were Diſciples who themſelves were Baptized: For they were members of the true Church at Hieruſalem, and ſcattered from thence, Act. 8.1, 2. Act. 11.19.

27If the Brethren urging theſe for a pattern of Imitation for Preach­ing and Baptizing, will be meaſured by this pattern,

It muſt be then ſuppoſed,

Firſt, That they be members of a truly-conſtituted viſible Church, as theſe of the Diſperſion were, Act. 8.1, 2.

Secondly, That they are gifted with the knowledge of Fundamen­tals of worſhip, and with thoſe gifts of the Holy Spirit, (now called extraordinary gifts) with which that Church was endued, and theſe ſcattered members amongſt others might not want their ſhare, con­ſidering that in Act. 2.3, 4, it's ſaid, that there appeared cloven tongues, like as of fire, and ſate upon each of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit, and began to ſpeak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

But leſt it ſhould be ſaid, This was onely the pouring out of the holy Spirit upon the Apoſtles, according to the promiſe of the Fa­ther, Act. 1.4, 8; or if it do extend it ſelf to all preſent, it could be but to the hundred and twenty who continued together with one accord, waiting for the promiſe of the Father: And whereas there was a great and plentiful increaſe and addition of Believers and Diſciples to this firſt number, as appears, Act. 2.41.47; there­fore it's ſaid, after this great increaſe and plentiful addition of Diſciples, in the fourth Chapter of the Acts, that when the Apo­ſtles Peter and John had been examined and threatned by the high-Prieſt and his accomplices, Act. 4.6, it's ſaid in Verſ. 23, They re­turned to their owne company, and reported all that the chiefe Prieſts and Elders had ſaid of them. And when they heard that, they lift up their voyce with one accord, and ſaid, Lord, thou art the God, &c.

The Company lift up their voyce, as well as Peter and John: for it was done by them all with one accord. And in Verſ. 30, 31, when they had prayed, the place was ſhaken where they were aſſembled together, and they were all filled with the holy Spi­rit, and ſpake the word of God with boldneſs.

Thirdly, That they go forth with a power and preſence of Jeſus Chriſt to the World, as Chriſt had promiſed to afford to thoſe firſt Meſſengers, Matth. 28.20, Lo, I am with you; and accordingly did accompany their Meſſage for it's confirmation, Mar. 16.20, The Lord working with them, confirming the Word with Signes fol­lowing. 28Which he alſo did manifeſt to Philip, Act. 8.5, 6, 7, who confirmed his word by the miracles which he did: which is not ſaid of the reſt of the Diſperſion who Evangelized, or (as we read it) Preached the Word. To all which this may againe be remem­bred,

That no perſon did ever go forth, and Preach to the World the Goſpel of Chriſt ſincerely, in the Term that here is uſed, (viz.) 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but was enabled to confirm that Word by the viſible preſence of the Lord Jeſus, viz. by Signes and Miracles: according to Matth. 28.20. Mark. 16. to the end.

And on the contrary, I read not that any which did Evangelize the Lord Jeſus to the World, either upon occaſion of their diſperſion, or otherwiſe, were ſo enabled to confirm their Doctrine; the Apo­ſtles onely excepted, who did Preach as well as Evangelize; or ra­ther, did indeed preach the Evangel: according to that which is ſpoken of Chriſt himſelf, Luk. 8.1. And theſe, as they did preach by Command and Authority: ſo they were enabled to confirm that Au­thority, by a viſible preſence of Chriſt with them. Ʋt ſupra.

The Brethren therefore who urge theſe Scriptures for their War­rant for Preaching and Baptizing one another, being meaſured by this pattern, I conceive their diſparity will be apparent, if it be but friendly and candidly conſidered; and may ſomewhat abate the diſ­pleaſure which ſeems to be taken againſt thoſe who cannot practiſe as they do, for the Reaſons before alleadged.

Object.Object. Paul ſaith of himſelf, that Chriſt ſent him not to Bap­tize, but to Preach the Goſpel; Intimating, that to Baptize, is infe­riour to preaching: Therefore they which may do the greater, may do the leſs.

Anſw.Anſw. That the Apoſtle Paul did Baptize as well as Preach, is evident from the ſame Scripture, 1 Cor. 1. where he ſaith, he baptized Criſpus and Gaius, and the houſhold of Stephanus: (and this he did not without Authority) the ſpeech therefore of the Apoſtle in ſaying, Chriſt ſent me not to Baptize, but to Preach, is rather to be taken Comparatively, then Poſitively; not ſo much to Baptize, as to Preach: according to that ſaying in Joh. 6.27, Labour not for the me at that periſheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life. Which expreſſion if it were Poſitive, that men were not to labour for the meat which periſheth, how ſhould that29 be underſtood of the Apoſtle, which exhorts to labour? Epheſ. 1.4, 28. 2 Theſ. 3.10, This we commanded you that if any man would not work, he ſhould not eat. Beſides the example of himſelf, Act. 20.34, 35. Nor may it be therefore urged, that becauſe the Apoſtle uſeth this ſpeech comparatively, that therefore Baptiſme muſt be an Ordinance or Appointment of the Lord Jeſus inferiour to Preaching: for it would be inquired, Where this diſtinction of Superiority and in­feriority, hath it's riſe and foundation among the Inſtitutions of Chriſt; and particularly between theſe two, viz. Preaching and Bap­tizing: the rather, conſidering, that to whom, and at what time he gave the command touching Preaching; to them, and at that time, he gave the other touching Baptizing, Matth. 28.18, 19, 20. From whence this Concluſion hath been drawn (formerly, and as I con­ceive according to truth) That they which have power and authori­ty to Preach, have likewiſe power and authority to Baptize: Not from this Reaſon, becauſe that having power to do the greater, viz. Preaching; therefore they have power to do the leſs, viz. Bapti­zing: for this is a diſtinction made by ſome men, but not counte­nanced by the holy Scripture: But rather, in aſmuch as the Lord Jeſus did at one and the ſame time, to one and the ſelf-ſame perſons, give command that they ſhould both preach and baptize, and that by vertue of the power given to him; thence it follows moſt evident­ly, that to them to whom power was given to Preach, to them alſo was authority given to Baptize: elſe the Apoſtle Paul had wanted authority for the baptizing of them he did baptize, or that he had no other then this, viz. that becauſe he might do the greater, which was to preach, therefore he might do the leſs, which was to Baptize. Which Concluſion, as it is not clear, ſo it is not ſafe, becauſe it is not found in Scripture. To which may be added theſe few words, which offer themſelves rather for a friendly trial, then for a poſitive aſſertion:

The Apoſtle Paul witneſſeth of himſelf, that he was one of the leaſt of the Apoſtles, and was as one born out of due time, 1 Cor. 15.8, 9.

Now it is to be obſerved, that to the Eleven was the command given to baptize the Nations, in expreſs termes, Matth. 28.

We do not read that the ſame command was in ſo many words laid upon him, when he was called and ſent forth by the Lord Jeſus. In that he did baprize any one, it was not of his own head; for he30 had the minde of Chriſt, 1 Cor. 2.16; who gave to his Ambaſſa­dours or Meſſengers not onely power to preach, but authority to ba­ptize alſo, Matth. 28.19. And in that he was not more frequent in baptizing, or baptized no more, he was not thereunto ſo eſpeci­ally ſent as the former, who had the command in expreſs words. He had it onely in Authority, and therefore upon occaſion did exerciſe and perform it: They had it not onely in Authority, but alſo in Com­mand; therefore they muſt perform it, and might not omit it, they being ſent in an eſpecial manner thereunto.

This kinde of reaſoning the Apoſtle gives occaſion for in another caſe, touching the exerciſe of his Miniſtery; whereas he teſtifieth of himſelf, in a eſpecial manner that he was an Apoſtle of the Gentiles, and therein did magnifie his office, Rom. 11.13; and that unto Peter was committed the Apoſtleſhip of the Circumciſion, Gal. 2. 7, 8, 9, as unto him the Goſpel of Ʋncircumciſion. And this diſtribution was very eminent; yet not ſo, but that Peter might preach to the Gentiles, as Paul alſo did to the Jews, as appeareth by his frequent preaching in the Synagogues, Act. 13. ult. &c.

Whence may be concluded, Though the Apoſtle Paul had a par­ticular Miſſion to the Gentiles, whoſe Ambaſſadour or Apoſtle he particularly was; yet he alſo might preach to the Jews, where-ever they were, and that without ſin; which accordingly he did, (as many places teſtifie.) So, although the ſame Apoſtle, when he was at firſt called, had not an expreſs Command touching Baptiſm, as the Eleven had, (in ſo many words;) yet nevertheleſs he wanted not ſufficient Authority for to baptize thoſe whom he did baptize, without degra­ding this Ordinance, and making of it inferiour to Preaching, as this Objection would infer from the Apoſtle's ſpeech, when he ſaith, Chriſt ſent me not to baptize, but to evangelize. Which inference being inforced as a conſequence, needs a proof from Scripture, before it can impoſe belief upon any perſon.

Object.Object. When Chriſt gave power and authority to the eleven Diſciples to teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, he added, Matth. 28.20, Lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the world. How is this Scripture fulfilled, if there be not a Miniſtery continued to the end of the world?

Anſw.Anſw. This command of Chriſt to his Apoſtles, and this promiſe31 of his preſence with them to the end of the world, muſt be conſi­dered as being made to thoſe eleven individual perſons, or elſe with ſuch others as were to ſucceed them in that work of Miniſtery, teach­ing the Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, teaching them to obſerve all things whatſoever Chriſt had commanded them.

Firſt, If it reſpecteth the Eleven onely, then there muſt be another underſtanding of thoſe words, The end of the world, then is moſt commonly received: for, according to the common acceptation of the end of the world, taking it for the utmoſt and extremeſt part of time, ſo it could not be applied to the Apoſtles perſonally; who lived not to ſee the end of the world in that ſence; according to that Scripture, Zech. 1.5, Your fathers, where are they? the Pro­phets, do they live forever?

Secondly, If it reſpect a Succeſſion of Miniſtery, it muſt be either an Apoſtolical National Miniſtery, for breeding the Church; or a Paſtoral Congregational Miniſtery for feeding the Church; or both.

Now that this Succeſſion of Miniſtery, in both or either of theſe kindes, is not ſo viſible (as it's commonly judged) hath been already proved, and needs not again be repeated.

Nor doth it hence follow, that any imputation of unfaithfulneſs ſhould be fixed upon the moſt righteous God; as if he muſt needs be rendered unrighteous, unleſs there be a continuation of Miniſtery, either Apoſtolical or Paſtoral, becauſe that he hath ſaid, that they, teaching the Nations to obſerve whatſoever he had commanded, &c. lo, he was with them all the days, to the end of the world.

And that this may the more clearly appear, conſider what is ſpoken touching Eli and his houſe, in 2 Sam. 2.30, to the end. I ſaid that thy houſe, and the houſe of thy father, ſhould walk be­fore me for ever; i. e. in the Prieſthood, Exod. 28.1, 41, 43. Exod. 40.13, 14, 15. But now the Lord ſaith, Be it far from me: for them that honour me, I will honour; and they that de­ſpiſe me, ſhall be lightly eſteemed.

God had promiſed Aaron, and his ſeed after him, and that by a Statute for ever, the execution of the Prieſts office, Exod. 40.15: yet there was implied in this promiſe this condition, that they ſhould continue to honour God in that Adminiſtration. And though this32 was not expreſt, it was ever underſtood, as is evident, de facto, in the caſe of Nadab and Abihu, Levit. 10. who, for offering with ſtrange fire which the Lord commanded them not, were devoured by fire from the Lord. Levit. 10.3.And Moſes ſaid, This is that the Lord ſaid, I will be ſanctified in all them that come nigh me, and before all the people will I be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

The like manner of God's proceedings doth appear, in expreſs terms, in the caſe of Eli and his ſons, in the place before alleadged; though God had ſaid, touching him and his father's houſe, that they ſhould walk before him for ever, 1 Sam. 2.30. and yet doth there ſay, Behold I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy fathers houſe. And the man of thine which I ſhall not cut off from my altar, ſhall be to conſume thine eyes, and to grieve thy heart. And he that is left in thy houſe, ſhall ſay, Put me, I pray thee, in­to one of the Prieſts offices that I may eat a piece of bread. Which was accordingly fulfilled in the next Chapter, and in 1 Kings 2.27.

The Lord gives the reaſon of this ſeeming-contradiction, why he ſhould ſay of Eli, and of his father's houſe, that they ſhould walk before him in the Prieſthood for ever; and yet doth alſo declare and accordingly accompliſh, that the Continuation or Succeſſion ſhall be cut off; as it was from the poſterity of Eli, and likewiſe from the line of Aaron, before the time of the expiration of the Moſaical diſ­penſation. The reaſon of this the Lord expreſſeth, in theſe words: But now be it far from me: for, them that honour me, I will ho­nour; and they that deſpiſe me, ſhall be lightly eſteemed.

Though, with reſpect to the Eternal condition of believers, the foundation of God ſtands ſure, having this ſeal, The Lord knows who are his, 2 Tim. 2.19. and that there is no condemnation to them that are in Chriſt Jeſus, Rom. 8.1. and though neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor any other creature, ſhall be able to ſeparate a believer from the love of God which is in Chriſt Jeſus, Rom. 8. ult. foraſmuch as the Father which gave them to Chriſt, is greater then all, and none ſhall be able to pluck them out of the Fathers hands, Joh. 10.28, 29. nay, ſin it ſelf ſhall not be able to have dominion over them, Rom. 6.14. Rom. 7.25, 26. Yet, with reſpect to any External condition which may befal them, how eminently-glorious ſoever it may be, and33 what promiſe ſoever may be made unto it, yet the Equity of this con­dition is implied, if not expreſſed, that the perſon to whom ſuch pro­miſe of External bleſſing or preſence is made, are engaged to walk with God, to be found honouring of God, &c.

Upon this is the Entail to be reckoned; and God no longer can in faith be expected to perform his part, then ſuch a perſon or people are found faithful with God on their part.

He that honours me, I will honour; and they that deſpiſe me, ſhall be lightly eſteemed, 1 Sam. 2.30, 31, &c. 1 Chron. 28.7, 9, If thou ſeek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forſake him, he will caſt thee off for ever. Which forſaking and caſting off, are expounded in Pſal. 89.30, 31, 32, 33, 34: If his children forſake my law, and walk not in my judgements, I will viſit their tranſgreſſions with the rod, and their iniquity with ſtripes: nevertheleſs my loving kindneſs will I not utterly take from him, nor ſuffer my faithfulneſs to fail. And in 2 Chron. 7.16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, may be ſeen at large the Covenant God made with Solomon touching the Temple and its continuance. For now have I choſen and ſanctified this houſe, that my Name may be there for ever: and my eyes and my heart ſhall be there per­petually. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me as David thy father walked, and do according to all I command thee; then I will eſtabliſh the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have co­venanted with David thy father. But if ye turn away and forſake my ſtatutes and my commandments which I have ſet before you, and go and ſerve other gods, and worſhip them; then I will pluck them up by the roots, and this houſe will I caſt out of my ſight, and make it to be a Proverb, and a by-word among all nations.

The ſame thing is declared by the Lord to Aſa, in 2 Chron. 15.2, Hear ye me, Aſa, and all Judah and Benjamin; the Lord is with you, while ye be with him: if ye ſeek him he will be found of you; but if you for ſake him, he will forſake you.

Which thing the Lord did accompliſh to a tittle, as to their exter­nal enjoyments, both as concerning their Land, their Temple, and all their outward glory.

Now from the preceding paſſages of the Scripture, it doth ap­pear, that the Lord, when he made any promiſe of an external concern­ment or conſideration, it did alwayes import that man was bound as34 well on his part, to a holy, and faithful, and obedient walking with God, as he was to expect a faithful performance on Gods part, of the thing promiſed; and that a neglect on mans part did neceſſarily infer a diſobligement on Gods part. The Lord is with you while you are with him: but if you forſake him he will forſake you, 2 Chron. 15.2. Or as to Eli, He that honoureth me, I will ho­nour; but he that diſpiſeth me, ſhall be lightly eſteemed, 1 Sam. 2.30. Nor doth it ſeem to have been his minde of Old onely, as under that diſpenſation; but in the very place mentioned, Matth. 28. verſ. the laſt, beſides the equity of the thing, that very Scripture holds forth no leſs then what hath been already propounded. For there, as he promiſeth to be with them all the dayes, to the end of the world; ſo he commanded that they ſhould continue teaching the nations to obſerve all things whatſoever he had commanded them. For he ſaith not, Teach the nations to obſerve all things, but teaching; which being a Participle of the preſent tenſe, ſignifieth the doing, and continuance in doing the thing which is commanded, and whereunto the promiſe of his preſence is annexed. So that if Chriſt did promiſe his preſence with a Miniſtery to the end of the world, it was with them, teaching the nations to obſerve all things whatſoever he had commanded them or with ſuch a Miniſtery as did teach and bap­tize the nations, and continue teaching them to obſerve all things whatſoever he had commanded them. But if that Miniſtery, in ſtead of teaching the nations whatſoever Chriſt commanded, ſhould either ceaſe to teach the nations at all, or teach them that which Chriſt commanded them not; or ſhould teach them to obſerve the precepts of men, in ſtead of the commandments of Chriſt; the continuance of the preſence of Chriſt with ſuch a Miniſtery is not to be concluded upon, as if it were entailed upon it by this Scripture: But rather that equity of God held forth in the former Scriptures, is to take place here: Him that honoureth me, I will honour: but he that diſpiſeth me, ſhall be lightly eſteeemed.

And this is not onely true with reſpect to the Nations Miniſtery, or the Miniſtery appointed by Chriſt to teach and baptize the nations; but alſo touching the Miniſtery in the Churches: That if they alſo continue not in the Doctrine of Chriſt, or ſhall not continue teach­ing to obſerve all things, what Chriſt hath commanded them, His preſence is not obliged to to be with them neither, Rev. 2. verſ. 1,35 compared with the fifth: the truth of this to be extended both to Church and Miniſtery, as of old to the Prieſthood and the Temple; and no unrighteouſneſs to be fixed upon God, neither then nor now, for ſuffering them to be eclipſed or diſcontinued. Foraſmuch as they ceaſed to honour God, no wonder if God ceaſe to honour them with his preſence: and when they began to diſpiſe him he alſo light­ly eſteemed of them. And this hath been the condition of the Chriſtian Churches and Miniſtery; and ſo it's like to be, until the day of the Reſtauration.

It's alſo to be remembred, that a people, by their miſuſing of a mercy or bleſſing, may draw upon themſelves a diſcontinuance of that bleſſiing or mercy for a ſeaſon; which may not extend ſo far as to an annihilation or extirpation thereof, but that it may have its poſſibility of reſtauration, and in due time its real accompliſhment.

It's ſaid, touching the Land of Canaan, Gen. 17.8, I will give to thee and thy ſeed after thee, the land of thy ſojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting poſſeſſion, Gen. 48.4.

Yet it is not unknown how this promiſe, which ſeemes to be made to them abſolutely, hath by their ſinnings and tranſgreſſions againſt God, at all times not been performed; but that people have been ſpewed out, even by their own Land; according as it was intimated to them by Moſes, Levit. 18.28, That the land ſpew not you out alſo when you defile it, as it ſpewed out the nations that were be­fore you, Levit. 20.22. Which thing he alſo accompliſhed according to his word by Ieremiah, Chap. 7.15, 16, 19, and many other places: which had its particular fulfilling; in their ſeveral Captivities under Hoſhea, Salmaneſer, and Zedekiah. But though they were depri­ved of their poſſeſſions for a time, yet not of their right of inheritance; that was theirs ſtill; and accordingly, after their land had fulfilled her Sabbaths, and they had continued in their baniſhed condition accor­ding to their time appointed, ſeventy years; they were returned into their own land (as it is called) according to the Word of the Lord.

So was it touching their Temple-ſtate; God had ſaid, 2 King. 9.3, I have hallowed this houſe which thou haſt built, to put my Name there for ever: and mine eyes and my heart ſhall be there perpetu­ally, 2 Chron. 7.16.

Now as the extent or duration of this Temple, and its worſhip, was to expire in the fulneſs of time, as all other legal Miniſtrations were,36 in the appearing of the Lord Jeſus, and the ſubſtituting of the Chri­ſtian Church and Miniſtery; yet before this time was fully come wherein the Veil of the Temple was to be rent, and Moſes to be bu­ried, as to his Adminiſtration; I ſay, Before this time was accom­pliſhed, this Temple and its Worſhip fell under a Diſcontinuance and Diſuſe, by reaſon of the ſins of the Prieſts and People; according as the Lord had ſaid, in 2 Chron. 7.19, 20, 21, 22, and had according­ly effected in proceſs of time, as appears in the Captivity by Zede­kiah, and in the Lamentations, Chap. 2.6, 7. He hath violently taken away his tabernacle as a garden; he hath deſtroyed his palaces of the aſſembly: the Lord hath cauſed the ſolemn feaſts and ſabbaths to be forgotten in Sion, and deſpiſed in the indigna­tion of his anger the king and the prieſts: the Lord hath caſt off his altar, he hath abhorred his ſanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces: they have made a noiſe in the houſe of the Lord, as in the day of a ſolemn feaſt.

Notwithſtanding which dealing of his towards them, he cauſed them to return at the time appointed, to build their walls, and to re­ſtore their Worſhip, according to the Word which he had ſpoken by his holy Prophets, becauſe as yet the full time was not come, where­in the Entail was to be cut off from this people.

That which I would have obſerved in this Circumlocution, is this: Viz.

Firſt, That although God had promiſed that his eyes and his heart ſhould be upon that houſe which Solomon had built, perpetual­ly; yet that time was a prefixt and limited time.

Secondly, That before the time limited wherein there was to be a ceſſation of the Temple and Temple-Worſhip, there was a Diſ­continuance, as to the enjoyment and exerciſe of it, which befel that people through their tranſgreſſions and ſin; inſomuch that it may be ſaid, They ſinned themſelves into a difuſe of their Mercy; which be­fel them for a time, during their Captivity, till their reſtoration.

Thirdly, That whereas it was by divine intendment, that at the time appointed the daily ſacrifice ſhould ceaſe, the Temple-work and Worſhip ſhould be at an end, of which expiration God himſelf would be the author and procurer; yet theſe people beforehand, by their ſins, procured themſelves a Separation, Baniſhment, and Capti­vity,37 for the ſpace of ſeventy yeers; though then, at the end thereof, God graciouſly returned their Captivity.

So would I that it were conſidered touching the promiſe of our Lord Jeſus to the Apoſtles, or to the Chriſtian Miniſtery, Lo, I am with you all the days unto the end of the world:

Firſt, That there is a time limited for the continuation of his pre­ſence with them as a Miniſtery, at which time there is to be a ceſſa­tion thereof, as to a Miniſtery, when the work for which the Mini­ſtery was given, is fulfilled, according to Eph. 4.11, 12.13, 14. and this according to divine purpoſe, and fore-appointment of God, Till we all come to the unity of the faith, &c.

Secondly, That it's poſſible for the Succeſſors of the Apoſtles, in the work of their Miniſtery, to make ſhipwrack of faith and a good conſcience, to prove falſe Teachers, and privily to bring in damna­ble doctrines, and through covetouſneſs to make merchandice of men; proving ſpots and blemiſhes, ſporting themſelves with their own deceivings; having eyes full of adultery, that cannot ceaſe from ſin; beguiling unſtable ſouls, exerciſed with covetous practices; curſed children, which have forſaken the right way, and gone aſtray, following the way of Balaam the ſon of Boſor, who loved the wages of unrighteouſneſs.

Nay, all this the holy Apoſtles of our Lord did foretel ſhould be, as may particularly be inſtanced in the Epiſtles of Paul Peter, Jude; and this iniquity began to work in a Myſtery before the Apoſtles left the earth, and afterwards mightily prevailed, as the Hiſtory of time will evidence; and moſt eminently, that learned Diſcourſe of Maſter Mede, called The Apoſtacie of the laſt times, and Clappam's Brief upon the Bible; and became as that Scripture ſaith, Iſa. 28.8, The prieſts and the prophets erred through ſtrong drink; they are ſwallowed up of wine; they are out of the way through ſtrong drink. They erre in viſion, they ſtumble in judgement: for all tables are full of vomit and filthineſs; there is no place clean.

And this will be found to have been the condition of the Miniſtery ſoon after the Apoſtles time, and ſo forward ever ſince that pretended Vicar of Chriſt that falſe Vice-Chriſt, hath, as God, ſet himſelf in the temple of God, and hath ſent forth his Angels, Meſſengers, or Apo­ſtles, viz. Nuntio's Cardinals Legats, and what not? whereby he hath darkened the counſel of God, by feigned and deviſed words and Mi­niſteries.

38From which we may expect to be delivered, when the moſt High ſhall ſend his great Angel to enlighten the earth with his glory. The fields being now grown almoſt white to the harveſt, the Lord of the harveſt will, in mercy to the ignorance of his poor people, thruſt forth labourers into the harveſt.

Oh turn again our Captivity (alſo) as the rivers of the ſouth, who are fallen under a diſuſe of our mercy, our firſt Miniſtery, which our Lord, aſcending on high, gave, as gifts to men, for the perfect­ing the number of the Saints, and edifying the body of Chriſt: which though diſcontinued, becauſe of our and our forefathers ſins, yet may be reſtored to us again, when we are brought to ſee a want of them, and can cry unto God for them. Iſai. 30.18, 19, 20, The Lord is a God of judgement: bleſſed are all they that wait for him. And though the Lord give you the bread of adverſity, and the water of affliction, yet ſhall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more: but thine eyes ſhall ſee thy teachers.

But, whom ſhall he teach knowledge, and whom ſhall he cauſe to underſtand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breſts, Iſa. 28.9.

Therefore, as in the former times there hath been a diſcontinuance of the true Miniſtery for a long ſeaſon, by reaſon of tranſgreſſion; yet may there be a glorious reſtoration thereof alſo, in God's due time. For as the Apoſtacie began at the Miniſtery, both in the for­mer and later times; as is witneſſed by the Apoſtle, 2 Pet. 2, There were falſe prophets among the people, even as there ſhall be falſe teachers among you, who ſhall privily bring in damnable here­ſies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themſelves ſwift damnation. And yet from the former, the Lord in his good pleaſure ſet his people of old free. For theſe reaſons, why may it not alſo be hoped, that in due time he will again return in mercy, and viſit the dark corners of the earth, cauſing the people that ſit in darkneſs and in the ſhadow of death, to hear the joyful ſound, that they may walk in the light of his countenance?

The rather, conſidering that the Miniſtery was given to continue till the number of the Saints were perfected, Eph. 4.12. or, as the former Tranſlation renders it, For the gathering together of the Saints.

Now if the number of the Saints be not perfected, nor their ga­thering39 together compleated, How is the end for which Chriſt aſcend­ed, and for which he gave gifts to men, accompliſhed, if the work of the Miniſtery be not again reſtored unto its priſtine and primitive Conſtitution? as well to reſpect the Nations which are without, viz. the out-caſts of Iſrael, together with thoſe worſhippers of the Sun and Moon, the Moors and Indians, and the people that know not God, nor have ever heard the ſound of him, nor of the ſalvation which through Chriſt Jeſus he holds forth to Mankinde; as well as that ſort of Miniſtery which it's ſuppoſed is found among good peo­ple, who judge they are in Church-eſtate already, though indeed they are both but the fruit of the ſame aſcenſion; and both reſpect the ſame end, Miniſtery, and duration or continuance: For as the Saints (al­ready ſuch) are not come to a perfect man in Chriſt, and therefore have need of an edifying feeding Miniſtery; ſo the number of them which are to be gathered, are likewiſe not compleated, and therefore need a gathering and breeding Miniſtery: the one, without the other, be­ing not perfect; eſpecially, the later not without the former.

Foraſmuch as the Miniſtery for the World, as it was firſt given, namely, to the Apoſtles, in theſe words; Go ye into all the world, or Teach all nations: ſo it was comprehenſive, and took in the later, and ſtood ſometimes without it, they holding out the breſt of conſo­lation and confirmation to thoſe to whom they had been (as a womb) parental or inſtrumental in converſion. Therefore, in a return of mercy, as in point of Miniſtery, it would be conſidered, Whether the firſt Apoſtolical and National Miniſtery be not again to be looked for, hoped for, and longed for, and prayed for, and that by way of eminency; not onely for Sion's ſake, and for Jeruſalem's ſake, but alſo for the Nations ſakes, the Kindreds, Tongues, Peoples, thoſe who know not God; conſidering that there is a time wherein John, ha­ving eaten the book, was to propheſie again, before many people, and nations, and tongues, and kings, Rev. 10. ult. And the Angel which he ſaw flying in the midſt of heaven, was to preach the ancient Goſpel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. And this was to follow Antichriſt's univerſal over-ſpreading of the earth: for af­ter he had prevailed ſo far, as to cauſe all, both ſmall and great, rich and poor, bond and free, to receive his mark; and that no man might buy or ſell but he that had received the mark; and that all the world wondered after the Beaſt, Rev. 13.3, 16, 17. after this great40 power and prevalencie of Antichriſt then ſhould the ancient Goſpel be preached to every nation, kinred, tongue, and people, that dwell up­on the earth, Rev. 14.6. and then ſhould follow the fall of Babylon, v 8; there followed another Angel ſaying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and this ſhould be that Angel, Rev. 18.1, 2, which ſhould come down from heaven with great power, and enlighten the earth with his glory, and ſhould cry mightily with a ſtrong voice, ſaying, Baby­lon the great is fallen; according to that of the Apoſtle, 2 Theſſ. 2.8, Then ſhall that wicked be revealed, whom God ſhall con­ſume with the ſpirit of his mouth, and deſtroy with the bright­neſs of his coming.

And whether this be not that Miniſtery which the Lord will ſend forth, to gather his choſen ones from the four corners of the windes, Mar. 13. foraſmuch as after that the falſe Chriſts and falſe Prophets ſhall ariſe, and ſhall ſhew their ſeducing ſignes and wonders to de­ceive, if it were poſſible, the very elect, verſ. 22. and that great tribulation ſhall happen; the ſun darkned, and the moon not give her light: Then ſhall the Son of man come in the clouds, with great power and glory, and ſhall ſend his Angels, or Meſſengers, and ſhall gather together his elect from the utmoſt parts of the earth.

From all which, it were to be deſired that the Lord would ſtir up the hearts of his people to cry mightily to him, and give him no reſt, till he accompliſh the work of gathering together his number out of all Nations, Kindreds, Tongues, and Peoples; the utmoſt parts of the Heathen being given to Chriſt as his peculiar inheritance, Pſal. 2.8. and becauſe from the riſing of the ſun, to the going down of the ſame, God's name ſhall be great among the Gentiles, Mal. 1.11.

Object.Object. If this be true which hath been ſpoken, then we muſt expect more Apoſtles; but it is ſaid in 1 Cor. 4.9, that thoſe were the laſt Apoſtles: Therefore there can be no ground to expect any more.

Anſw.Anſw. 1. That Scripture concludes not againſt what hath been ſpoken, as will appear, when it is examined.

The word which is rendered there laſt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is, in Luke 14.9, taken for the loweſt or meaneſt. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, When thou art bid­den of any man to a wedding, go ſit down in the loweſt room. And41 this ſignification of the word, may very well agree with that which is the Argument of this Chapter, 1 Cor. 4.9, and ſo it ſeems to be carried. I think God hath ſet forth us the Apoſtles laſt, (i. e. loweſt