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CHRIST'S Commisſion-Officer: OR, The Preachers Patent CLEARED: AND, THE Peoples plea conſidered. In a Sermon preached before (and now preſented to) the ASSOCIATED Miniſters of Chriſt, in the County of Sommerſet, at a late ſolemn Ordination at Sommerton in the ſaid County, June, 9. 1658.

By John Norman, Minſter of the Goſpel at Bridgwater.

Rom. 10.14, 15.

How then ſhall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? and how ſhal they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how ſhall they hear with­out a preacher?

And how ſhal they preach except they be ſent? as it is written how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Goſpel of peace, & bring glad tidings of good things?

1 Tim. 1.12.

I thank Christ Jeſus our Lord who hath enabled me: for that he counted me faithfull, putting me into the Miniſtery

London, Printed for Edward Brewſter, at the Crane in Paul's Church-yard, 1658.

Epiſtola Dedicatoria.Dilectiſſimis, & in Chriſtoper­qùam reverendis Miniſtris Evangelii, apud Somerſe­tenſes ASSOCIATIS, ar­ctiſſimóque& pacis & pie­tatis vinculo conjunctis, Gratiam miſericordiam & pacem in Domino.

Patres fratréſquein Chriſto colendiſſimi,

ANte oculos ponit conciuncula haec (qualis qualis eſt) omnia illa, quibus nuperrimè praebuiſtis erectas aures. Quam acriùs eflagitâ­runt non pauci, ut in apricum feram, hanc omnibus & ſingu­lis veſtrum perquàm humilli­ offero.

Non eſt quòdlautâ apologiâ ceulongis ambagibus vosfuti­ & nullo cumructu morer. Poſt iteratas à me denuò mul­túmque inficias, vicerunt candem eorum, quibus fami­liariſſimè utor, rationes, quae deſiderio Chriſti, coeli, evan­gelii, ejuſdémque Miniſterii exardere mihi videbantur.

Pompaticam eloquentiam (ut Hieronymi〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉utar) non ambiit concionator veſter, nec pruritum aurium,aa2 Tim. 4.2. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Chryſt. in Tit. ſed pro­deſſe animis:bb1 Cor. 10 33.〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ut cum Apoſtolo loquar, ne inanis reddatur crux Chriſti. cc1 Cor. 1.17. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Chryſ. in 2 Cor. 11.Oratione itaque preſsâ uſus ſum, non praecultâddQuemad­modum ſa­pienti viro inceſſus mo­deſtior con­venit; ita oratio preſ­ſa non audax, Seneca. Ep. 40. in fine. popu­lari, non politâ. eeCujuſcunque orati­onem vides politam, & ſllcitam; ſcito ammum in puſiäis oc­cupatum in ſcriptis niil ſolidum, Id. Epiſt. 21.Nec minùs de rebus Theologicis dicen­dum ſemper duxi, quàm de Philoſophicis Cicero: Iſtiuſ­modi res dicere ornatè pueri­le eſt, planè autem & per­ſpicuè expedire poſſe, docti & intelligentis viri. ffCicero L. 3. de finibus, bon. & mal.

Rerum Theologicarum con­culcatores, potiùs, quam con­cionatores ſunt, qui (ſecun­dum Hieronymum) exceptis verbis tinnulis atque emendi­catis, nihil aliud loquuntur. ggHier. Ep. amil. 56.Liceat itaque ut cum Apo­ſtolo palàm & ingenuè profi­tear, non ſtatuiſſe me quic­quam ſcire, niſi Jeſum Chri­ſtum, eúmque crucifixum:hh1 Cor. 2.2. & quicquid ſine hoc nomine fuerit, quam­vis literatum, & ex­politum, & veridi­cum, non me totum rapuiſſe, ſicut Augu­ſtinus. iiCon­feſ. L. 3. ca. 4.Valeant, per me licet, oratorum lenocinia, Platonico­rum &kkErubiſcat ergò ſu­perbus & infoelix pecca­tor, & limeat elatione coecatus, irâ inflamma­tus, impatieniae vitio faedatus, ſientiainflatus; cui plus placet ars Ari­ſtotelis quam ſcientia de Apoſtolis, plus codex Flatonis cuam liber di­vinus: quem nulla lectio laetificat, nulla ſapie ntia aediſicat; nullus ſermo ſapit, niſi ſuerit Gram matieè conceptus, Dia­lecticè imaginatus, Rhetoricè purpura­tus, Aug. li. ſpecul. peccat. e. 6. Peripateti­corum ſophiſmata: Arma enim militiae noſtrae non carnalia ſunt, ſed divinitùs valida, ad deſtructio­nem munitionum:ll2 Cor. 10.4. Vivus eſt Dei ſermo & efficax mmHeb. 4.12. Tota ſcriptura divinitùs eſt inſpirata, eademqueutilis ad doctrinam, ad redargutionem, ad correctionem, ad diſ­ciplinam in juſtitiâ: Nec ſolummodo po­teſt hominem ſapien­tem reddere ad ſa­lutem, verùm etiam hominem Dei cùm〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉tùm〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉;**Seu〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉à Paulo ſcriptum ſit, ut plerique le­gunt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ut Complutenſis edi­tio, vim vocabuli〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉in ſe inclu­ſam habet. Proinde ab Oecumenio ex­ponitur〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, q. d. integrè, plenè conſummatè: à Chryſoſtomo au­tem〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, i. e. accurate & exactè instructus, Jo. Rainold. Theſ. 1. de S. ſcriptura, p. 64. & perfectum, & ad omne opus bonum perfectè inſtru­ctum. nn2 Tim. 3.15, 16, 17. vide Andr. Rivet. Iſa­gogen. ca. 5.

In evangelio; en! omnis veritas eſt, & omnis manife­ſtatio veritatis, ficut Origenes. ooHomil. 9. in Ex­od.En! 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Uti BaſiliusppContra Eunomi­um. L. 1. Ad eun­dem modum & Chryſoſtomus ſcripturam dicit〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Homil. 13. in 2. ad Corinth. Imò, vel Bellarmino ipſo fatente, En! ſacra ſcriptura regula certiſ­ſima, tutiſſimáque eſtqqDe Verbo Dei. I. 1. c. 2.

Ad ſcripturas itaque audi­tores ubique provoco, qua­rum adoranda eſt plenitudo. rrAdorò ſcripturae plentudinē Terr. ad­ve ſ. Her­mog.Ad legem & conteſtatio­nem, cum Iſaiâ clamito,ssIſa. 8.20. Illud ipſum, quod antehàc Conſtantinus, in Synodo Ni­caenâ, omnibus à me diſſen­tientibus ſuadeo: untinam, & addi liceat perſuadeo! viz. ut hoſtilem omnem expel­lentes contentionem, ex ver­bis divinitus inſpiratis, ſolu­tionem quaeſtionū capiamus. tt〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Theodor. Hiſtor. Ecleſ. l. 1. ca. 7.Audiamus, quid dicit Dominus; non quid dicit Donatus,vvglorificaum eſt nomen meū in gen­tibus, dicit Dominus: Audi: dicit Dominus, non di­ct Donat us, aut Rogatus, aut Vincentius, aut Am­broſius, aut Auguſtinus. Ang. Epiſt. 48. circa med ū. &c. vel hic, vel ille, licèt apprimè eruditus, amicus aut pius. Nec audiamus, ut inquit idem Auguſtinus;**Contr. Petilianū de unit. Ecl. ca. 3. Haec dico, haec dicis; ſed audiamus, haec dicit Dominus. Liceat ejuf­dem verbis, & fratres alloqui me, aliter hoc in argumento, quod in manibus eſt, ſentien­tes Sunt certè libri Dominici, quorum authoritati utrique conſentimus, utrique credi­mus, utrique ſervimus, ibi quaeramus eccleſiam, ibi diſ­cutiamus cauſam noſtram. Nolo equidem, (ut ſubjungit ille) humanis documentis, ſed divinisoraculis, eccleſiam, addo & miniſterium, demon­ſtri. xxIdem, ibi­dem.

Illud tamen non diffiteor, ſed planè, ut res eſt, haud invitus éxpono; hoc aliquan­ majorem mihi injeciſſe ſcrupulum, utrùm libertas iſta prophetandi, quam adop­târunt fratres, S. ſcripturae accommodata fuerit? an po­tius abaliena? ſc. quod, non modò in SocinianorumaaDocet Paulus rectè id fieripoſſe, unum­quémque munus docendi aggredi, modò ad id aptus ſit, quod aggredi cogitat, vel cupit Theoph. Nicholaid. in refut. tract. de miſſ. miniſtrorum. In eandem ſententiam pedbus eunt. Catecheſis Racco­vienſis. c. 2. Raddecius in not, in librum Smigelecti. Socinus in Tractatude Eccleſiâ. Ejus defenſionem ha­betis, per Theoph. Nicholaidem. caſtris, uſitatiſſime eam pro­pugnatam habemus, qui ſcrip­turis parum tribuunt, verum etiam, in Enthuſiaſtarum col­luvie (& ejuſdem farraginis homuncionum)bbEſt igi­ur dog­ma ſedi­tioſum & Diaboli­cū, dogma Anabaptiſticū; de homimbus ſine diſcrimine permittendis, functionem eccleſiaſtic am ſuſcipere, & eccleſiam docere. Hieron. Zanchi. in quartum prae­ceptum. qui ſcrip­turas apertè rejiciunt At ſen­tentiae huic uni ſuffragantur omnes, in hoc unum lubentiſ­fimè coeuntes.

Teſtem Deum invoco in animam meam;cc2 Cor. 1.23. me nullis vel iracundiae, vel invidiae igni­culis exardeſcere, ob an­nunciatum Chriſtum, ceu anhelantesſacrorum deſiderio Chriſtianos. Hoc mihi intimè in votis eſt, Dominúmque meſſis animitùs & obnixè rogo, ut operarios in meſſem ſuam〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, mittat,ddSecundū vulgatam interpreta­tioem emittat,eeſecūdùm Bez & Ar. Montan. extrudat,ffſecundum E aſmi & Syriac. ver­ſionem per Jun. Tre­mel. ceu eijciat,ggſic Hilar. pud Leig. Crica Sa­cr. & ſic ad verbum ſonat, inquit Beza. Nam meſſis quidem multa, operarii autem auci. **Mat. 9.37, 38. vid. Polycarp. Lyſerum ad L••.Illud unioè memorae infixum ve­lim, quòd Domini ſit extru­dere operarios ideoque dolo­ſi potius quàm docti eſt,e­ipſum intrudere, ceu injicere. Huc ut animum advertatis, in eoque cogitationes altiùs defigere ut placeat, ſuadet haec, quam audiviſtis, con­cio.

Rerum ſummas tantùm perſequebar: utpote, qui compendia longis anfracti­bus anteponenda ſemper ſen­ſi. Praeſertim verò, quia ſic poſtulabant anguſtiae tempo­ris, nec aliud, utplurimum auditorum genii: ut multa in pauca conferam, & omnia (quoad poſſem) quae argu­mentum hoc ſpectant, ut uno quaſi faſce complectar: Nonnulla inſuper adſcripſi: at non ſine deſiderio vo­ſtrûm alicujus, multis mihi nominibus pariter & vobis obſervandi, & multimodae literaturae celebritate de­corati. Haec ad initium cujuſvis lineae ſic ( ') inſig­nita dedi.

Me ex aliorum fontibus hortulos hoſce noſtros ir­rigâſſe, haud inficias eo:hhEſt e­nim ut arbitror benig­num, & plenum ingenui pudoris, fateri per quos profeceris. Plini. ſe­cund, ad Veſpaſian praefat. nat. hiſtor. Nec ſolùm ab alienigenisiiJoh Gerhard. Loc. Com. Tom. Sext. de Mi­niſt Eccleſ. ca. 3. ſect. 1. n. 54. &c. r. 64. &c. Fred. Baldvin. Caſ. conſc. l. 4. ca. 4. caſu 1. Joſh. Stegman. Photinianiſm. Diſp. 53. qu. 1 & 2. Hier. Zanchius in quart. paecept. Chemnit. Loc. Com. de eccleſiâ. Bucanut Loc. Com. 42. qu. 29. ad qu. 45. Profeſſ. Leyd. cenſ confeſ. ca. 2. ſect. 2.3. Synopſis pur. Theolog. Diſput. 46. c. 5. Apollonii Conſideraio quart. controverſ. &c. ca. 5. qu. 3. ſed à noſtratibuskkLazar. Seaman〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Gilleſpy Miſcell. queſt. Rutherford peac. plea. ch. 16. qu. 16. & due right of Preſbyt. ch. 5. ſect. 1, 2. Collins vindiciae min. Evangel. & vindiciae revindicatae. Hall. Pulpit guarded. Ferreby Lawf. preach Tho. Bali. London Miniſt. Judivinum Miniſterii E­vangelii. Liber vix. ſatis laudatus, & qui de eccleſiâ Anglican â optimè meritus eſt. hoc a gu­mentum teri, eruditioni ve­ſtrae ſatis compertum eſt.

Veſtrûm erit, reverendi fratres, aequâ lance trutinare, quid ſit veri, & quid à vero alieni: qui (muſarum dicam? an) ſcripturarum ſacris ver­ſatiſſimi eſtis, & politiori li­teraturâ inſtructiſſimi. Quic­quid boni occurrit, aut veri, illud Dei eſſe, palam profite­or: ſin aliquid mali, vel falſi, (quod me prorſus latet) hoc planè noſtrî eſt. llOmnia bona mea, nec ſunt purè bona, nec purèmea; omnia mala mea, & ſunt purè mala, & purè mea. Hugo.Hîc, primùm operam de­di, ut quantum omnino potui, cum ſcripturis loquar,mmSic inſtruit Zep­perus, de arte ha­bendi & audiendi conciones Sacr. l. 3. c. 3. & nec fallar in eis, nec fallam ex eisnnSic adprecatur Auguſtinus. Sint caſtae deliciae meae ſcripturae tuae: nec fallar in eis, nec fallam ex eis, Con­feſ. Lib. 11. c. 2. Penes vos ſit judicium, his de rebus: quibuſcum, tan­quàm grati in vos animi, & permagni affectus (licèt per­exiguum) teſtimo­nium, libellus hic deponitur.

Gratâ memoriâ amores, mores, res veſtras omnes proſequor. Grata mihi ſem­per in mentem occurrit con­cordia veſtra, grata comitas, grati conventus, grataconſue­tudo & colloquia. Eruditam, quam apud vos frequentiſſi­mus obſervavi pietatem, ex­ardeſcentes preces, efferveſ­centem zelum, exoptatam ſubmiſſionem, exantlatos la­bores, & emeritas〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉laudes nulla unquam apud me deleat (nec delebit) oblivio. At temperabit ſer­mo, quamvis nunquam tacebunt affectus. ooIpſe me citiùs quàm vos obliviſcar: etſi unquam ſermo tacebit, lo­quetur affectus. Ambroſ. de Gratiano & Valen­tiniano.

Pernavigate, chariſſimi fratres, & verbi & vitae velis expanſis, ſecundiori ſpiritus afflatu fruituri, potiaminíque votis, amico ſidere, amicis ſanctis, ad Dei gloriam, Dia­bolorum gravamen, eccleſiae pacem, & eccleſiaſticorum proſpera, frementibus licèt & frendentibus Satanâ, ejuſ­que ſectatoribus.

Non eſt, quòd noſtrûm quivis, Jonae inſtar,ppJon. 1.5, 6. in tot tantíſqueeccleſiarum procel­lis, ignorationis, ignaviae, intemperantiae, aut ingenii vafri ſomno ſit conſopitus. Officio honeſtati ſumus. Hoc unicum,qq2 Tim. 4.1. ad 6. Epiſcopus eſt nomen quod plus oneris, quàm honoris ſigni­ficat. Polyd. Vir­gil. quas ſcintillas admoveret? quos ſtimulos adji­ceret? ut Chriſti propugnatores, & carnis expugnatores noſmet comprobe­mus. Optimè cedet laboranti. rrQuot labores ve­ritati nunc exhibes, tot etiamremunera­tions pignora, intra ſpei tuae cubiculum clauſum tenes. Gre­gor. Moral.Nec ob­eſt quo minùs in lautiora provehantur dona, ipſiſſimo uſu, & docendo promoveamur doctrinâ. ssQuò in plures diffunditur, redundantior manat, & in ſuum fontem recurrit. In ſe enim refluit ubertas prudentiae, & quò pluribus fluxerit, exercitius fit omne, quod remanet. Ambroſ. Offic.

Quod ad me ſpectat, cum praefecto Pharaoni à poculis, peccata mea recordaturus ſum hodie;ttGen. 41.9. ingenuéque cum Ambroſiorecog­noſco:vvOffic. c. 1. Lice­at & cum eodem inſuper adſcribere & quantumlibet quiſqueprofecerit, nemo eſt: qui doceri non egeat, dum vi­vat. Ibid. quòd pri­ùs docere inciperem; quàm diſcere: Diſ­cendum igitur mihiſimul & docendumeſt. Nec profiteripiget, Auguſtini verbis**Ego ex eorum numero me eſſe profiteor; qui ſcri­bunt profictendo, & ſcribendo proficiunt Epiſt. 7. pa­rùmmutatis, exeorumnumero meeſſe, qui docētproficiendo, & docendo proficiuntxxMutuò iſta fiunt ut homines dum do­ceant, diſcant. Se­neca Epiſt. 7. & in hoc gaudeo (uti Seneca) ali­quid diſcere, ut doce­am: nec me ulla res delectabit, licet ex­imia ſit & ſalutaris, quam mihi uni ſci­turus ſum. yyIdem, Epiſt. 6.

Veneror equidem inventa ſapientiae:zzSenec. Epiſt. 65. & facilè eorum ſententiae accedo, qui judicâ­runt, neminē unquā habuiſſe doctrinam inmicum, niſi ig­norantem. Ideoque de indu­ſtriâ, hâc in re, aliquantiſper verſata ſuit haecconcio, nequis auditorum à veritatis trami­te, hâc ex parte, deflectat. Illud verò planè meminiſſe, & penitâ mente reconditum vel­lem; aliud eſſe erudiri de ve­ritatibus Jeſu Chriſti, aliud edoceri de eo, ficut veritas eſt in JeſuaaEhpeſ. 4.20, 21. Nunquid Domine Deus veritatis, quiſquis novit iſta, ipſe placet tibi? In­faelix enim homo, qui ſcit omnia illa, te autem neſcit: Beatus autem qui ſcit, etiam ſi illa neſciat. Quiverò & te & illa novit, non propter illa beatior ſed propter teſo­lùm beatus eſt. &c. Aug. Cōſ. L. 5. c. 4. Poteſt quis peritus eſſe, imò praedicator,bb1 Cor. 9.27 tamen periturusccQuid prodeſt peruum eſſe, & periturum! Aug. Confeſ. L. 11. C. 2.. Nec ſic immorandum eſſe ſcientiis judico, ut poſt habitae ſinſcripturaeddQuid prodeſt in muda­nis profi­cere doctrinis & marceſ­cere in di­vinis? Caduca ſequi fig­menta, & coelestia faſtidire myſteria? Iſidor. de li­bris Gentil.; nec ipſiſſimis ſcripturis, poſt-habito ſpiri­tuee O Domine perfice me, & revela mihi eas. Aug. Confſ. L. 11. ca. 2 Agnoſ­camus gratiam, quae facit prodeſſe doctrinam, quae gratia ſi deſit, videmus etiam obſſe doctrinam. Idem Epiſt. 107.. Animalis enim homo non percipit, quae ſunt ſpiri­tus Dei, in ſcripturis niſi, po­tenti ejuſdem ſpiritus adju­mentoff1 Cor. 2.14. Pſal. 119.18., cujus inſpiratione, exaratae ſunt ſcripturaegg2 Tim. 3 16..

Sed manum de tabulâ. Ut veritati & vobis proſperè ſuc­cedant omnia, obnixè peto. Adunitis veſtris conſiliis, conatibus, & caeptis omnibus, fauſta laetáque omnia pecor. Ut vivat Chriſtus; valeat cauſa ejus, vigeat concordia, nec diutius vacillent Chriſti­ani: ut revaleſcat, quae eſt ſecundùm pacem, diſciplina, & radices altiores agat, quae eſt ſecundùm pietatem, do­ctrina; iterum atque iterum, inſtat oratio

Devinctiſſimi vobis fratris〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ac in Domino conſervi JOH. NORMAN.

To the plain, eſpecially the pious READERS.

NExt to the glory of God my Saviour, the good of your ſouls, was it that ſubdued me; (who had elſ been ſtill deaf to all intreaties of friends and fellow-labourers) to let you ſee this from the Preſs, which others (& probably, ſom of you) heard from the Pulpit. The ſame God, who perfects ſtrength in weakneſs, that ſo far proſpered it when it was deli­vered to the ear, make it now likewiſe powerfull upon the heart, when it is delivered to the eye. If either ſin ſhal be reſtrain­ed by it, or the ſaints refreſhed, or the ſaucineſs of ſeducers re­buked, or the ſervice of our Saviour regularly advanced, the ſpeaker hath his end, the ſermon its errand. Some things are now ſet before you, more than were then ſpoken: Some things which I did not then de­ſign, eſpecially for further cleer­ing up of objections; others, which I could not then deliver, for the fuller carrying on of the application. Both are common­ly thus marked ( ') at the be­ginning of each line. The reſt you have welnigh in the ſame words which you then heard, as near as my notes and memory could ſuggeſt it, onely ſome things now and then may be herein de­livered leſs contractly: eſpecial­ly in the uſes. Before you peruſe, pray. Man may open the Scrip­tures to your underſtandings, but God alone can open your under­ſtandings to the ScripturesaaLuk. 24.45. Pſ. 119.18.. As you peruſe, pauſe a while, and conſider; conferring the ſeve­rall texts and truths, and com­paring ſpirituall things with ſpiritual. If you wil notmeditate upon, & ſearch God's Word, I ſhall never marvail, if you miſtake or ſlight mens writings. Having peruſed, put things to an iſſue; as in the preſence of God, judging your ſelves that you be not judged. Do you con­clude upon the whole, that ſuch as undertake to be teachers ordi­narily in the Church without ordination, are but toyling them­ſelves in their own corruption? Oh! let conſcience be put off by you, while it is ready to put to you ſuch queſtions as theſe. Is it a ſin for this man to preach, and can it bee ſafe for thee to hear him? Canthy attendance be wel, & his act ſo ill? Shal his guilt increaſe by it, and wil thine de­creaſe? Doth heviolate an Ordi­nance of God, and invade an of­fice ſo ſacred in the Goſpel? And durſt thou beſide thy conni­vence at this attempt, bring it all the countenanee, whereto thy cō­pany will amount? Could the prde ohis heart make him a preacher, unleſs thy preſence with others, (probably the more for thee) did maintain him hear­ers? O my ſoul! Shall I that hope fr heaven, harden him in that ſin, for which he muſt with­out repentance, howl in hell for ever? Is this to reprove? or doth it not approve this work of darkneſs, to give it the reſpect of my obſervance in the open light? Shall I not knowingly hereby communicate in his ſin? and how can I have comfort thence for my own ſoul? Hath God prohibited him to preach? and how can I have a precept to hear? or hope to profit by hearing him? Where have I〈◊〉promiſe that I ſhall, or how caI pray in faith, that I may reapany ſoul-advantage by him? e­ſpecially, while I run my ſelf upon ſuch a tentation, inſtead of reclaiming him from his trāſ­greſſion? Nay, hear the Word of the Lord: I ſent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they ſhal not profit this people at all, ſaith the Lord, Jer. 23.32. Hearken not to the words of ſuch Prophets; for I have not ſent them, ſaith the Lord, Jer. 27.14.15. & 23.16. with 21. Reader had'ſt thou ſeen the pub­lick tears, that were bled forth at the eyes; or heard the paſſionate throws, that were breathedorth from the hears by one of thoſe•••vnts of Chriſt that were now ſolemnly ſet apart [That ever he ſhould preach ſo many ſermons without a ſolemn ſending forth! and to which he could ſee no promiſe of ſucceſſe! &c.] It could not but have made ſome impreſſion upon thy heart, as it did upon mine and many o­thers. I ſhall detain thee no lon­ger, but to deliver my own ſoul, in the words of Zealous, and Studious Baxter**Firſt ſheet for the Mini­ſtry, p. 14.. Christian Reader, as ever thou wouldſt be ſanctified, confirm­ed, and ſaved, hold faſt to Chriſt, Scripture, Miniſtry, and Spirit; and that in the Church & Communion of Saints; and abhor the thoughts of ſeparating each from other. And to declare my ſenſe of the ſame truth, in the ſame terms, with holy and humble Dr. Sibbs**Epiſtle to the Reader be­fore P. Bayns onhe Ephe­fianst,, now in heaven. I ſpeak not as if way were to be given to Vo­ſtian, lawleſs, licentious, liberty〈◊〉propheſying; that every one, as ſoon〈◊〉he is big of ſome new conceit, ſhonbring forth his abortive monſter: F••thus the pillars of Chriſtian fai••would ſoon be ſhaken, & the Church〈◊〉God, which is an houſe of order, wou••become a Babel, an houſe of confuſioThe doleful iſſues of which pretendeliberty we ſee in Polonia, Tranſylva­nia, and in Countries neerer hand Reader, the doleful iſſues which we ſein England, let us ſigh over, & ſpreabefore the Lord, in whom Ireſt.

Thy ſoul-friend, JOHN NORMAN
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CHRIST'S Commiſſion-Officer: OR, AN Ordination-Sermon.

2 Timothie 2.2.

And the things that thou haſt heard of me, among many witneſſes, the ſame commit thou to faithfull men, who ſhall be able to teach others alſo.

THeſe two Epiſtles of Timo­thy, and the next to Titus; what are they, but Paul's Directory for the regu­lar continuance, and re­verend carriage of the Goſpel-Miniſtry? Two things he infi­ſleh upon principally: The inveſtitue2 of ſome with the Office of Miniſters, the imployment of ſuch in this Office. How and on whom Timothy and Titus ſhall confer it, and how themſelves and thoſe ſhould carry themſelves in it: what was their part for delegating men to the Miniſtry, and what muſt be their own and others part and demeanour in the Miniſtry. Theſe things are very accu­rately and abundantly interſperſed.

Lo, it is not enough (without further preface) that Timothy in theſe, and Titus in the next Epiſtle look how they do comport themſelvs, but they muſt com­mit this ſacred truſt to others; the ne­ceſſity of the Miniſtry is ſo eminent: and this with the beſt-ſighted caution, and moſt ſtudious circumſpection, the nature of the Miniſtry is likewiſe ſo excellent. This, this beloved & much reverenced; which is the end of your preſent conven­tion, is Paul's charge, and muſt be Timo­thie's care in this verſe. The things that thou haſt heard of me among many witneſſes, the ſame commit thou, &c.

Four things wuſt be here briefly enqui­red into. 1. The matters or things which are to bee committed. 2. The manner3 how? 3. The man by whom. 4. The men to whom theſe things are to bee committed.

Firſt, what are the things which Timothy muſt commit? Paul tells him, The things that thou haſt heard of me, the ſame com­mit thou. But whether thoſe which hee had heard from Paul publickly and o­penly in his preaching, or more particu­larly thoſe at his own ordination, when hee was put into the Miniſtry by Paul,a)a)2 Tim. 1.6. together with the Presbytery,b)b)1 Tim. 4.14. be the chief or only things in our Apoſtles eye, it is not expreſſed: The enſuing words beſpeak the laſt (at leaſt partly, if not) principally intended. Ti­mothy it is plain, is not only charged in theſe Epiſtles with teaching others, but with or­daining teachers: And no doubt, but with committing unto others the Office to teach, he is to commit ſuch Goſpel-truths by teaching, as ſhall be of beſt, and moſt inſer­viency, to their holy and happy conduct, throughout the difficulties, and diſcharge of their office of Teachers. A point of eaſie obſervation, and eminent uſe, which could not probably be omitted at the Apoſtles Or­dination of Timothy, that hath obtained2〈1 page duplicate〉3〈1 page duplicate〉2〈1 page duplicate〉3〈1 page duplicate〉4well-nigh an univerſall concurrence, at eve­ry Ordination ſince.

Secondly, but how muſt Timothy com­mit theſe things? 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. It would be little other than a waſt of precious time, and of your patience, to produce the ſe­verall Scriptures in which, or purpoſes to which, this word is uſed. There are but two ſenſes (I humbly conceive) that can with any probability bee tendered here: viz. Either that Timothy commit theſe things to others in way of doctrine only, by teaching and opening theſe things to them; or in way of delegation alſo; and ſpeciall truſt, as the word is often uſed;c)c)1 Tim. 1 18. cum 2 Tim. 1.14. Lu. 12 48. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The ophyla­ctus hoc diſcrimen conſtituit in verbis〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Illud accipit de miraculorū doni, boc verò de Mi­nillerio. vi deplura a­pud Bezam ad loc. & Leigh. Crit. ſac. ad ver­bum. truſting theſe things with them as Officers, who are to teach others, and muſt therefore be a depoſito­ry and treaſure-houſe of divine truths for others. This latter ſenſe, which emi­nently taketh in the committing of the Of­fice to teach, is that which to me ſeems, moſt eſpecially in our Apoſtles deſign and purpoſe, for theſe two reaſons. Be­cauſe, 1. This moſt openly correſponds, not only to the ſubject in hand, but to the ſcope of the whole: both Epiſtles being to direct Timothy, eſpecially about5 publick Ordinances and Officers: how he ſhall Ordain Officers, and how theſe and himſelf ſhall order the affairs of their Office. 2. This hath the moſt ob­vious, if not the only countenance from the Characters given us, of the men to whom Timothy is to commit theſe things which are immediately ſubjoined. For if Timothy were to commit theſe things to them only, in way of doctrinal teach­ing; what need or uſe was there, of ſo ſevere a reſtriction, or of ſuch ſpeciall qualifications, as we read added? faith­full men, able to teach others alſo: which Gilleſpy in his Miſcellany Queſtions, Col­lins in his Vindiciae, and the London Mi­niſters in their Jus Divinum Miniſterii Evangelici, do very well obſerve. No doubt, but as to the doctrinall teaching of theſe things, Timothy was no leſs a debtor, than was Paul to the Barbarian, as well as Greek; to the unlearned, as well as learned; both to the wiſe, and to the unwiſe, Rom. 1.14. So that Timo­thy is to cōmit theſe things, more than in way, of doctrine only: He is to com­mit them in way of delegation alſo, un­to ſuch faithfull men, as ſhall be able to6 teach others: which cannot rationally be underſtood, of other than publick and authoritative teaching; if either 1. the quality of the men, or 2. the contents and aim of theſe Epiſtles, which concern publick tranfactions in the Church, eſpecially publick teachers: or if 3. the command it ſelf be duly weighed: foſuch as are to teach but privately, anfrom grounds of charity only, need nſuch commitment of theſe things tthem; nor needs it that there be ſuch choyce of men: this being every maand womans duty, Heb 5.12. Nor caany thing be juſtly impleaded, from the Apo­ſtles uſe of the future tenſe, [who ſhall bable to teach others alſo] for though thathey ſhal be able to teachothers, be neceſſariantecedent to the commitment of the Officeſenſu phyſico, i. e. that they ſhal have abilities to teach: yet it followeth, the commit­ment of the Office, ſenſu morali, i. e. thathey ſhall uſe ſuch abilities ordinarily, or bable to teach others, acceptably, and lawful­ly: remembring ſtill that old, honeſt, anveceived principle. Illud tantum poſſumuquod jure poſſumus. We are able to do nmore, than we are able in Law, or may〈◊〉7lawfully. And thus our text aptly corre­ſponds to that of the ſame Apoſtle, Rom. 10. verſ. 15. How ſhall they preach except they be ſent? i. e. how ſhall they preach warrantably? Abilities they muſt have before ſending, but ſending veſts them with authority. So that the words ſpeak as much in effect as this; Doth Timothy know ſuch as are faithfull and fit, or a­ble to teach others; he muſt commit theſe things to them, as Truſtees for others. Doth he find any ſo qualified for the Of­fice to teach, hee muſt leave them Com­miſſioned to this Office: Are they quali­fied with fidelity and ability, Timothy muſt commit to them a furniture of au­thoriy.

Thirdly, but how muſt Timothy com­mit theſe things, this Office to them? What! he only? he, and none but hee? No, we never find the Miniſtry commit­ted to any, by a ſingle perſon; but ſtill it is done by ſeverall in ſociety. We al­ways read of more than one concurring to it, and never remember leſs than two: And thoſe are no leſs than were Paul & Barna­bas, Act. 14.23. The Twelve are aſſociates in it, Acts 6.2, 3, 6. and it is the joint act8 of how many teachers and Prophets? Act. 13.1, 2, 3. The ſeat and ſubject of this power, is not a Presbyter; but the Presbytery, 1 Tim. 4.14. Can we ratio­nally think, that Paul doth require Ti­mothy to commit the Miniſtry to others, ſo as recedes from, and hath no conſi­ſtency with the practice of Paul in the ſame caſe, upon Timothy himſelf? Well, and who of us doth not remember, that Timothy received his Commiſſion, no ton­ly by the laying on of Paul's hands, but of the Presbytery likewiſe? 2 Tim. 1, 6. and 1 Tim. 4.14. True 'tis, that Titus is to Ordain Elders,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, City by City, where the Churches were planted, and their condition called for it; but with this proviſo, as Paul had appointed him. Tit. 1.5. And who can think, that Paul's appointments, and Paul's actions ſhould ſo little accord, or ſo much inter­fere? that Paul ſhould order either Titus there, or Timothy here, to do that ſingly by himſelf, which Paul an Apoſtle never did (if I may not ſay, never durſt) but in ſociety? It is granted, that this com­mand did concern Timothy eminently, and ſignally above others; but not ex­cluſively,9 ſo as to ſhut out all others. It muſt be done by others likewiſe, though it be directed to, and is to be directed by him eſpecially, as one that had an emi­nent and ſpeciall truſt, about the orde­ring of this and all other Church affairs being by office an Evangeliſt. 2 Tim. 4.5.

Fourthly. Yet once more; to whom muſt Timothy commit this truſt, theſe things in way of office? What? to all the Congregation? No: There muſt be ſome to be taught, as well as others ſent forth to teach. What then? to any of whatever qualification? Nor this. They muſt be at leaſt men of a good life, faith­full men; yea, and men of good learning too, that ſhall be able to teach others alſo.

The text thus opened, the truth is ob­vious, which I ſhall at this time take up, or obſerve from it.

Obſerv. Thoſe that are authorita­tively from Chriſt, in his Church, to teach others, muſt have that Office com­mitted to them, as well as bee qualified for that Office.

How orient (me thinks) is this obſer­vation in all its truths from the text! Lo, 1. Some there muſt be in the Church,10 who are authoritatively from Chriſt to teach others. But then 2. That there may be ſuch in the Church who are from Chriſt to teach authoritatively, they muſt have the Office committed to them by ſome Timothy. Yet 3. Timothy may not give Commiſſion to this Office, un­leſſe he find qualifications for this Office. Timothy may not dare to confer authori­ty on any, without due cognizance firſt had, both of their fidelity and ability. Well, 4. Hath God qualified any with fidelity and ability; yet though they are able to teach others, they may not acceptably teach others in the ſenſe mentioned, (unleſſe for proof of thoſe abilities) untill Timothy hath from God committed to them authority likewiſe.

But to lead you further abroad. Give me leave to open and offer to you, theſe five things, and thereto lend me I beſeech you, your moſt ſtrict and ſerious atten­tion. 1. There muſt bee ſome in the Church who are by Office from Chriſt authoritatively to teach others. 2. They muſt be qualified for this Office. 3. They muſt have this Office cōmitted to them. 4. How it muſt be cōmitted. And 5. Why11 it muſt be committed to them.

Firſt, there are to be ſome in the Church, who are by Office authoritative­ly from Chriſt to teach others. I ſay by Office; but this not civil, but ſpiritual. Officers wee are, not in the Common­wealth, but in the Church, to which Chriſt hath promiſed. I will alſo make thy Officers peace, Iſa. 60.17. Thus bre­thren and beloved, we may with Paul magnifie our Office. **Rom. 11.13.An Office the Mi­niſtry is, 1 Tim. 3.1. Yea, ſuch is the Deaconſhip, ver. 10.13. and therefore this much more, which as to your want, and its worth doth ſo much tranſcend that, as the Apoſtles intimate Act. 6.2. What leſſe than this? [that it is an Of­fice] doth Paul aſſert of his own Mini­ſtry? Rom. 11.13. or aſſure the Saints of ours? when he tells them, Rom. 12.4. That as we have many members in one body naturall, and all members have not the ſame Office; ſo 'tis in the body myſti­call too, ver. 5.6. wherein Deacons, Pa­ſtors, Teachers, and Rulers be in diſtinct Office, as the 7. and 8. verſes import. So that Preachers are by Office diſtinct from and dignified above the people. Are12 all Teachers ſaith the Apoſtle, 1 Cor. 12.29. It is no more poſſible that all be Mi­niſters or Teachers in the body ſpiritual, than that all be Magiſtrates in the body civill; or that all be Officers in the body military; or that all the members be eye or tongue, in the body naturall: If all may be Teachers, where are the others to be taught? of whom this Text tells us. Need I mention the practice under the Law, the Prophecies then touching the Goſpel, or the precedents left us in the times of the Goſpel? He that runs may read, a conſtant diſcretion between the Prieſts and people then, between Pastor and people now, between the members of the Church, and the Miniſters of the Church in both. To the Law and to the Teſtimony. And here how eminent a difference hath the Holy Ghoſt made! Miniſters of the Church are to be overſeers, members of the Church to be overſeen, Acts 20.28. Theſe are ſet under, thoſe ſaid to be over them in the Lord, 1 Theſ. 5.12. Theſe are to ſubmit, thoſe to preſide and rule, Heb. 13.7, 17. Briefly, theſe to bee taught, the other to teach, Galat. 6. ver. 6.

13

Yea, teach we muſt not only with aſſi­duity, but with authority. With authority I ſay, not magiſterial indeed, as if we were Lords over the Church; 1 Pet. 5.3. That is interdicted: Mar. 10.42. but Mini­ſtertall, as over the Church in the Lord; 1 Theſ. 5.12. this is incouraged. Heb. 13.17. Far! far be it, that we ſhould preach up ſuch an authority, as if we had dominion over your faith! 2 Cor. 1.24. No, all the authority which we plead for, is the diſpenſation (not domination) committed to us, for the good of the faith­full. 1 Cor. 9.17. The authority which the Lord hath given us, is for your edifi­cation, and not for your deſtruction, 2 Cor. 10.8. And with this reſtriction, and un­der this reſpect, let me tell you; that we are to teach, and exhort, and rebuke, not only with authority, but with all authority, Tit. 2.15. and there is not that holy Miniſter, but may ſpeak wih holy Mi­cah, according to his meaſure: Truly I am full of power by the ſpirit of the Lord, & of judgment, and of might to declare un­to Jacob his tranſgreſſion, & unto Iſrael his ſin Mic. 3.8. True it is, that all Church­members ought to be teachers of others. 14Heb. 5.12. But this private and chari­tative: Chriſt hath therefore over and above, appointed in his Church ſuch tea­ing likewiſe, as may be publick and autho­ritative. i.e. that there be ſuch teachers, who are by power and authority derived from him to them, publickly to open and apply the Scriptures, for the converſion and edificati­on of ſouls; as in his ſtead, and not only in private, 'Where yet, ſuch in teaching are properly enough ſaid to preach, though it be in a private houſe. Act. 5.42. or but to one particular perſon; Act. 8.35.it being not ſimply an act of 'charity in them, but an act of authori­ty, which it cannot be ſaid to be in o­thers.Charitative teaching which ſhould be every mans work, too ſoon be­cometh no mans work. And therefore, Chriſt hath ordained, that there be pe­culiar officers for authoritative teaching, who are to give themſelvs wholly to it, 1 Tim. 4.15. and muſt not only be able to teach, as the Text ſpeaks; but muſt be apt to teach, 2 Tim. 2.24. and abide in teaching. 1 Tim. 4.16. And unto theſe teachers, all people are bound to attend, as thoſe that teach not only by a­bility,15 but by authority derived from Jeſus Chriſt. Luke 12.16. Indeed, how ſhall they hear without a preacher ſent? Rō. 10.14, 15

Think you, that ſuch teachers are now ceaſed; and that this office was of no longer continuance, than the firſt age or century of the Church? Oh! Where are your conſiderations of the everlaſting Kingdome of Chriſt?a)a)Iſ. 9.6.7. Lu. 1.33. of the Chur­ches perpetual exiſtencies?b)b)Mat. 16.18. Heb. 12.27, 28. and of her continued preſſing exigencies?c)c)Rom. 10.14. Eph. 4.12.13, 14. or of our deareſt Chriſts ends by, and enga­gements to the Miniſtry? d)d)Mat. 28.19, 20. Lu. 24.46, 47.Did a Kingdom ever ſtand without Officers? Did the Church ever ſubſiſt without a Miniſtry and Ordinances? Or hath Chriſt ſaid that ſhe ever ſhould, on this ſide glo­ry? Nay hath he not rather told us, that the word of the Lord endureth for ever? and that this is the word, which by the Goſpell is preached to you? 1 Pet. 1.24.25. Beloved, did not Chriſt aſſure his Chriſtian Churches by prophecy un­der the Old Teſtament, of giving them teachers by office, without limiting it to this, or that Century or age? Jer. 3.15 Nay rather, letting us underſtand, that he will have ſuch continued, even after16 the Jews are called, if you compare that verſ with the 14, 16, 17. ver. Or Jer. 23.3.4. &c. or Iſa. 66.20, 21. Beſides, When Chriſt had actually ſent forth firſt the Twelve, Mat. 10.1. and after that the Seventy, Luk. 10.1. and again enlarged their Commiſſion, Mat. 28.19. doth not he aſcertain his preſence with them, e're he parted from the earth, alway, to the end of the world, ver. 20. which could not intend themſelves onely, but muſt in­clude their ſucceſſors,**Quamvis quoad mo­dum & gradum ex­traordinarii Miniſtri nullos habent ſucceſ­ſores, quoad ipſam ta­men eſſentiam admi­niſtrationis, eodem of­ficio funguntur Mini­ſtri Ordinarii verſus Eccleſiam, quo extra­ordinarii olim funge­bantur Ameſ. Medu. Theol. lib. 1. ca. 35. n. 4. who-e­ver are, according to his ordi­nance, bid go teach and bap­tize: For the Diſciples, where are they and the Apoſtles? do they live for ever? Again, be­ing aſcended up on high, did not our Lord Chriſt give gifts unto men? and thus, not only ſome Apoſtles, and ſome Pro­phets, and ſome Evangeliſts; but ſom Paſtors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Miniſtry, for the edi­fying of the Body of Chriſt: ends of con­tinued and conſtant obſervation, need, and uſe. But till when, ſhall theſe Paſtors17 and teachers endure? and how long ſhal the Church enjoy them? Till wee are all come in, or into**〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉quod ſcitè expo­ſuit Syrus interpres, quaſi Scrip­tum ſit,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉BzAn­not. maj. ad. Loc. the unity of the faith, and of the knowledg of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the mea­ſure of the ſtature of the fulneſs of Chriſt, Eph. 4 8, 11, 12, 13. Shall I add to all this? how Chriſt hath particularly di­rected, for the inveſtiture of fit and faith­full men with this Office, in his ſeverall Churches, in theſe two Epiſtles to Timo­thy, and in the next to Titus; and how hee will have theſe Commandments, inviolably and impartially kept until his appearing, 1 Tim. 5.21, 22. chap 6.14. Readers, if you can believe, that there is no more need of labourers for husbandry, [1 Cor. 3.9. ] or of ſeedſmen, or reapers for harveſt, [2 Cor. 9.11. Luk. 10.2. ] or of builders for houſes, [1 Cor. 3.9, 10.] "or of ſome to plant and water for gar­dens and orchards; [1 Cor. 3.6. ] then, and not till then, may you be­lieve that the Church ſhall have no more need of Miniſters by office: for thus the Scriptures mentioned, expreſs our neceſſities of them to us. Sure I am, if Church-members may be ſtill called18 the Sons and Daughters of God, 2 Cor. 6.16. Such Miniſters may be likewiſe called the Spirituall Fathers, that be­get them, 1 Cor. 4.15. the ſpirituall nurſes that feed and nouriſh them, 1 Theſ. 2.7. 1 Cor. 3.2. and are the ſtewards, that when grown up, are to give them their portion of meat in due ſeaſon, Luk. 12.42. In a word, if men had need ſtill to be believers, they have ſtill need of Miniſters, by whom ye be­lieved, 1 Cor. 3 6. and if ye are ſtill Pil­grims and ſtrangers, 1 Pet 2.11. how ye can want ſuch Officers as are called guides, Heb. 13.7. and the light of the Word, Mat 5.14. I muſt profeſs, I ſee not; farewell the Office-Miniſters of Chriſt in England, and farewell the chariots and horſmen of England, 2 Kings 2.12.

Sect. 2Secondly, thoſe that are by Office au­thoritatively from Chriſt to teach o­thers, muſt be qualified for this Office, before they have it committed to them. This is a true ſaying indeed, if a man de­ſire the Office of a Biſhop; (which term in Scripture phraſe, beſpeaketh no more then a Presbyter or Miniſtera)a)Tit. 1.5. with 7. Phil. 1.1. Act. 20.17. with 28. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉a word e­very where elſe rēder­ed Biſhop by our tranſlators. many of19 our Engliſh Biſhops i. e. Prelates them­ſelves being judgesb)b)A.B. Whitgift againſt Cartwright, p. 383. An­ſelm in 1 Tim. 3. B. Bridges of the Princes Supremacy p. 255. B. Bilſon againſt Semi­naries lib. 1. p. 318. ſee B. Jewel againſt Har­ding Def of the Apo­log. par. 2. ch. 3. diviſ. & chap 9. diviſ. 1. & B. Morton Cathol A­pol. par. 1. ch. 33. he de­ſireth a good work, 1 Tim. 3. ver. 1. But muſt not this bee acknowledged a true ſaying likewiſe, that who and what the man is that deſireth it; [how able? how apt & c?] ſhould be firſt conſidered, be­fore he be Commiſſioned, or ſet apart unto it? Elſe what mean thoſe numerous chara­cters, which Timothy hath given him in charge, that are continued to the eight verſe, and whereof Titus is re-minded likewiſe, by the ſame Apoſtle, when he appoints him to ordain Elders in every City, at leaſt of Creet, Tit. 1.5. ad 13. Or what means elſe that notable and no leſs dreadfull charge? 1 Tim. 5. ver. 21.22. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and the Elect Angels, that thou obſerve theſe things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands ſuddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other mens ſins, keep thy ſelf pure. Ah my brethren! Church-work is chary20 work. Lay we on hands ſuddenly, and we lay them on ſinfully. And to be ſure, we ſhall partake of other mens ſins, if we ſhall ſo little prize their, our own, & other mens ſouls, which any thing below the blood of him that was God,Act. 20.28 1 Pet. 1.18.19. is too ſmal to pur­chaſe? Come ſirs, who is the faithful and wiſe ſteward? him ſhall the Lord make ruler over his houſhold, Luk. 12.42. And ſhall we, who are the Lords by Office, and muſt account to the Lord for our Office; ſhall we make them rulers, who will manifeſtly ruine more than rule the houſhold of Faith? Can wee keep our ſelves pure, and yet be careleſs of confer­ring ſuch a power, ſuch an honour, as the Miniſtry is? it hath a power to bind to, & looſ from hell; A power to open and ſhut heaven, Mat. 16.19. and an honour abſtractly ſo called, Heb. 5.4. that doth not onely ſpeak us to be Embaſſadours for Chriſt, 2 Cor. 5.20. but Angels rather than men, Rev. 1. C. 2. O beloved! who is ſufficient for theſe things? Surely none are in regard of adequation, and alas! how few in regard of acceptation? But what though we can­not find men equall to the Office, ſhal we forget, that men ſhould bee able for the21 Office? **See more uſe 2 ſect 1Surely, the bold precipitancies of men uncalled upon this Office, and the bloo­dy preceleratings of men unqualified into this Office, are abominations never enough to be bewailed before the Lord.

Thirdly, Thoſe that are authorita­tively from Chriſt to teach others in his Church, muſt not only be quallified for this Office, but muſt have the Office com­mitted to them. Hear the Apoſtle; How ſhall they preach except they be ſent? Rom. 10.15. How ſhall they ſaith he? Nay they do; and this how often! how open! and God ſent them not, ſay the godly: Yea I have not ſent theſe Prophets, yet they ran; I have not ſpoken to them, yet they propheſi­ed, ſaith God himſelf. Jer. 23.21. True, they do it wickedly; but how ſhall they do it warrantably? How ſhal they preach except they be ſent? i.e. with the appro­bation of God's Law; they may eaſily ad­venture upon it from their own luſt, How ſhall they preach either with ſucceſs and countenance from him? or without ſin­full and ſawcy preſumption in them? How dareth he perform the Heralds Of­fice, to proclaim war and peace in the conſcience, who was never put into the22 Office, nor can produce an Herald's pa­tent? This is the Metaphor,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉How ſhall they preach as God's Herald's? Lo Chriſtians! beſide meetneſs for the Office, an Herald of God, a Miniſter, muſt have miſſion: ſuitableneſs to the Office is not enough without ſending. Nay, are you not told, in the ſame ſtrains of reaſon and Rhetorick; that there is as great a neceſſity of ſending, that we bee preach­ers, as was and is of preachers, that you be hearers? or of hearing, that you bee believers? or of believing, if you expect an anſwer to, and the acceptation of your prayers? So high our Apoſtle car­rieth it, if you look back upon the 13, and 14. verſes. Such an holy concatena­tion maketh he of all theſe. 'So that you cannot bear us in hand, with the blaſ­phemous Socinian, that there remains no more a neceſſity of ſuch ſending, ſince the Apoſtles ceaſed: for that (ſay they)**Oſtorod in Inſtit. c. 42. Th. Nicholaid. in deſenſ. Tract. ſo cui de Eccl. c. 1. Schmaltz. in reſert. Theſ. D Frantz. per. 2. diſ­put. 4. theſe were to preach a new doctrine, which we now are not. For with what faithfulneſs can this be ſaid, in regard ei­ther of hearers, the interrogations all running in ſo clear and conſtant a ſtream? 'Tis as much ſaid, How ſhall23 they hear without a Preacher? and how ſhall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? &c as how ſhal they preach except they be ſent? Or in regard of the holy Apoſtles? who aſſure us, that they preached no other things, thā thoſe which Moſes and the Prophets did ſay ſhould come. Act. 26.22. Chap. 24.14. Chap. 28.23. And not only, as they paſſed to and fro, did they ordain Elders in every Church, Act. 14.23. but pre­ſcribed a conſtant courſe for Ordinati­on likewiſe, as the Epiſtles to Timothy, and Titus witneſſe. Nor can you ſay, that they are ſent of God, who are on­ly gifted. For as it is not ſaid; how ſhall they preach except they be gifted? but, except they be ſent; and that as watch­men and meſſengers, as the next words import out of the Prophet Iſaiah 52.7.8. So, the Scripture never ſaith that gif­ting is ſending, but ſuppoſeth that or­dinarily before this; & diſtinctly ſpeaks of〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉i. e. of the abilities to preach or prophecy, and authority to preach or prophecy, of mens ſuita­ble qualifications for it, and ſending forth with commiſſions for it. Witneſs Ezek. 2.2,24 3. Iſai. 6.7.8, 9. Jer. 1.7, 9. Joh. 20.21, 22. And what though it be true; that ſending imports many times, Gods commmanding men to go forth to the work of the Miniſtry? yet, as no gif­ted brother can ſhew us any ſuch com­mand from God, ſo it's obſervable; that the Scripture never mentions any as ſent forth to preach or propheſie, but the ſame perſons were always, either mediately or immediately, appointed of God unto the Office. Witneſſe Iſai. 1 8, 9. Jer. 1.5, 7. Ezek. 2.4. Mat. 10, 1, 5, 16. Mar. 3, 14. Joh. 1.6 Mat. 11.10, &c. An immediate miſſiō & appoint­ment to this Office there are no pious men will boaſt they have; or if they did, there are no prudent men will be­lieve they have, till, they ſee it atteſted with a power of miracles; Nor is there any promiſe whereupon any ſhould hope for it. So that I cannot but con­clude upon the whole:That no man can now preach Ordinarily and orderly, without Ordination, or being ſent forth of God me­diately. He ſins in preaching that is not thus ſent forth with power.

But to draw the proof of this propo­ſition out into more paticulars. Bee25 pleaſed to obſerve the expreſſe precepts, eminent precedents, and evident pre­ſcriptions, wherewith God hath counte­nanced it, and the elegant properties & titles wherewith Miniſters are clothed, which beſpeak it.

Sect. 1. See the expreſſe precepts of God for it (to wave the implicit only. **1 Tim. 5.22. Rom. 10.15. Heb. 5.4.) Behold as they miniſtred to the Lord; and faſted, Act. 13.2. the holy Ghoſt ſaid Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And accordingly, the Prophets and teachers, mentioned ver. 1. When they had faſted and prayed, and laid their hands onthem, they ſent them away, ver. 3. Obſerve, Chriſtians. God had ſuited them to the work. God had ſupplied them with fit­neſſe, yet theſe muſt ſeparate them to the work, and ſend them forth. And why this ſeparating, think we, of ſuch extra­ordinary officers; if not to ſanctifie, as it were, and ſeall an Imprimatur upon the ordinary rule? It is granted, that Pauls Apoſtleſhip was not of men, neither by man, but by Jeſus Chriſt, and God the Father who raiſed him from the dead, Gal. 1.1. That he was firſt immediately de­ſigned hereunto by Jeſus Chriſt, as it26 was declared to Ananias, Act. 9.15. B••if the holy Ghoſt will have one ſo mira­culouſly & immediately called, to paſs thicommon road, before the ordinary exe­cution of his office among the Gentiles; who of us then, may plead immunity from it, or proudly take another by­path? Though God had every way quali­fied Paul and Barnabas for the miniſtery, though God had eminently called them to the miniſtry, yet that theſe Prophets and Teachers do externally commiſſion, or ſe­parate them to the Miniſtry likewiſe, ievidently the command of the Holy Ghoſt Let me preſent you next with that pre­cept of God by Paul to Titus, Ch. 1.5. And ordain Elders in every City, as I had appointed thee. What Elders meaneth he? By age? No, time, as one ſaith,**Collins vindic. Miniſt, Evang. qu. 2.**〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉&c. not Titus muſt make theſe. What Elders then? Flders by Office, as the words enſuing clear it; and thoſe, not in the ſtate, but among and over the Saints: Biſhops, or overſeeers, who are to hold faſt the faithfull word, verſe 7, 9. Now thus, there is ſomewhat ſuppoſed in theſe words, that there ſhould be Elders in eve­ry City, where the Churches were27 eſtabliſhed; and ſomwhat propoſed how the Churches muſt be ſupplyed with El­ders. How ſo? Titus muſt ordain them, Ordain Elders in every City. They are not Elders by Office then, till Ordination. But what is this? muſt Titus qualifie them for this Office? and is this all, which is intended by it? No; this was God's part, and is to be preſuppoſed on their part, e're Titus may put forth any ſuch act to­wards them, as Ordination is; if you conſult the following verſes 6. ad 10. Titus may diſcuſs and ventilate their gifts and qualifications, but God onely can derive and furniſh. d)d)Iſ. 1.17. 1 Cor. 12.6That which Titus hath in charge is to Ordain, to confer the Office of Elders,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: and in that notion is the word uſed, not only by profane Authors frequently,b)b)Sic apud Demoſthe­nē, Xenoph. & Herodiā occurrunt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉& ſimiliter but by the Apoſtles, Act. 6.3. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &c. whom we may appoint over this buſineſs, as our tranſlators render it: This how did they? but by prayer, and laying their hands on them, ver. 6. and ſo putting them into the Office of Dea­cons? beſides if gifts, if qualifications could have made them Elders, of what need or uſe was there of ſuch an order28 from Paul? or of Ordination by Titufor thus they had been Elders already before and without either; if but〈◊〉charactered, as the next verſes do de­ſcribe. And if ſo, how is Titus requireto Ordain ſuch? and why reſtrained to Ordain ſuch onely? So obvious is ithat beſide a competency of ability of their part, there muſt be〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an ap­pointment or Ordination on Titus's parlikewiſe; or they are not to be acknow­ledged Elders. So expreſs are the precepts of God for it.

Sect. 4. And what eminent precedents find we among the godly for it? Surely no man taketh this honour to himſelf, but he that is called of God, Heb 5.4. True, many a man doth de facto, but not any man doth (i. e. ought) de jure. Not Aaron un­der the Law, nor any of the Prieſts after his order: 'They were ſeparated from among the children of Iſrael to their Office;**Nū. 8.14 & 2.6. & 1 50. Exo. 28.1. 2 Chro. 29.11. which was not only to offer ſa­crifice unto God, but to open the ſtatutes of God, & teach in Iſrael,b)b)Deut. 33 10 Levit. 10.11. 2 Chr. 17.18.9. the work now of every Goſpel Miniſter.So, nor did the Apoſtle and high-Prieſt of our pro­feſſion Chriſt Jeſus; He alſo glorified not29 himſelf to be made an high-Prieſt; but he that ſaid unto him, Thou art my ſon, to day have I begotten thee, Heb. 5.5. What, did he glorifie himſelf to be made a Pro­phet then? Neither. The Spirit of the Lord God (ſaith he) is upon mee, and hath anointed mee to preach good tidings, &c. Iſa. 61.1. i.e. anointed me not on­ly with abilities, but with authority. Hee was a Prophet of the Lord's raiſing up, Act. 3.22. If I honour my ſelf (ſaith hee in his Miniſtry) my honour is nothing; it is my Father that honoureth me, Joh. 8.54. It was the Father ſanctified and ſent him into the world, about his Miniſteriall concernments, Joh. 10.36. and ſealed him his Commiſſion, Joh. 6.27. And be­hold, as my Father ſent me, even ſo ſend I you; ſaith he to his Diſciples, Joh. 20.21. Ah beloved! Self-Miniſters then are none of our Saviours Miniſters. His Mini­ſters can ſay; he made us, and not wee our ſelves. And with Paul, 1 Tim. 1.12. I thank Chriſt Jeſus our Lord, who hath ena­bled me, for that he counted mee faithfull, putting me into the Miniſtry. Obſerve, He doth not thank him onely for his ena­blings for the Miniſtry, but for his inve­ſtiture30 with the Miniſtry; not onely〈◊〉his promptneſs for it, but for putting him iit. So diſtinct a notion did the holy A­poſtles and Prophets keep, of their quafications for the Miniſtry, which made theapt to teach; and of their commiſſion tbe Miniſters which gave them authority〈◊〉teach. Lo, as they were allowed of God〈◊〉be put in truſt with the Goſpel, (ſo they teus) they ſpake 1 Theſ. 2.4. and accor­ding as the glorious Goſpel of God wacommitted to them, 1 Tim. 1.11. Did theſe holy men of God think it enough, thathey were able to preach? Nay, but this was it they choſe rather to inſiſt upon, that they were (as Paul ſaith of himſelf) appointed preachers, 2 Tim. 1.11. True it is, they durſt not but manifeſt his word through preaching, but then it was committed to them according to the commandment of God our Saviour, Tit. 1.3. And therefore how often have wee them, both in the Propheſies of the Old Teſtament,g)g)Jer. 1.5, 7, 17. Ezek. 1.3. & 2.3, 7, 8. Hoſ. 1.1, 2, &c. and in the Prefaces to moſt of the Epiſtlesh)h)Rom. 1.1. 1 Cor. 1.1. Jam. 1.1. 1 Pet. 1.1. &c. in the New Teſtament, inſiſting upon, and juſtifying of their callings to bee Prophets and Apoſtles? Beloved, hear31 you any of them pleading, that qualifications are a ſufficient Com­miſſion? or for a freedome of Pro­pheſying by un-officed Prophets? (pardon the in congruence of the ex­preſſion) or, becauſe God hath fitted a man with parts and abilities, that hee needs no other furniture of power or authority, to exerciſe and exert them? Rather; do you not hear and read them, diſtinctly propounding, and directly proving their Commiſſion, over and above their qualifications? Aſſu­ring you, that God did not onely bring them gifts, but bid them go, Iſai. Chap. 6. verſe. 9. Amos Chap. 7. verſe 15. Jeremiah Chap. 1. verſe 7. Ezekiel Chap. 3. verſe 1, 4, 11. That God ſanctified them for, that GOD ſent them forth to, and God ſet them in their Miniſteriall work and Office, Jeremiah Chap. 1. verſe 5.7.10. Ezek. Chap. 2. verſe 3.4. &c. Not onely had they diſpoſitions and gifts for com­municating the Goſpel, but a diſpen­ſation of the Goſpel was committed to them, 1 Corinth. Chap. 9. ver. 17. Gal. 2.7. O my brethren! are we compaſſed about32 with ſo great a cloud of witneſſes, anſhall wee yet think the commitment〈◊〉the Miniſtry needleſſe or uſeleſſe? ' 〈◊〉can wee ſuffer our ſelves to bee put owith ſo poor a pretext as this? That atheſe inſtances from the Apoſtles anProphets do not ariſe to the Ordnati­on now practiſed, by the interventioof men, and impoſition of the hands othe Presbytery. For who ſeeth not, thathey fully reach to evince the neceſſity〈◊〉a commiſſioning to the Office, beſide quali­fications for the Office of Miniſters; which is the point now before us? And it be­ing more then manifeſt, that the imme­diate ways of committing men to the Mi­niſtry are now ceaſed, and a mediate way from God inſtead thereof, commanded which is written as with a Sun beam, in the Epiſtles to Timothy and Titus: unleſs you will break with God, and theſe pre­cedents among the godly, by putting your ſelves into the Miniſtry, whereas they were put into it of God, 1 Tim. 1.12. Theſe in­ſtances will in effect and virtue bind you to the Ordination now practiſed; if it be the only way now preſcribed, and leſt us of Jeſus Chriſt: Of which hereafter.

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Sect. 3. Thirdly, ſee yet further the e­vident preſcriptions, which are given forth for putting men into Miniſtry, by our Lord Jeſus? and theſe how numerous; that they fill up a good part of three E­piſtles. Beloved, conſider I beſeech you. Why ſhould the conferring of the Miniſtry be ſo preſſingly directed to Timothy and Ti­tus? why ſhould the call of men to, and their qualifications for the Miniſtry be ſo plainly differenced? Why ſhould the committers, and they committed to it, be ſo particularly diſtinguiſhed? If gifts, with a deſire to ex­erciſe them, were ſufficient? or the ſo­lemn committing of this Office, were but ſuper-erogatory and ſuperfluous? Would the bleſſed Spirit of wiſedom have ſpentit ſelf in ſuperfluites, think we? Is there no more ſet before us, but who are to be Miniſters? and how they are to act in their Miniſtry? Hath not the ſame ſpirit ſet before us, their appointment and putting into the Ministry likewiſe? Ay; and this how articulately! By what men? in what manner? after what matters previous? and by what means preſent? Who are to be Ordainers? who, and how they are to be Ordained? what is pre re­quired34 to it? what to be performed in it? and what the product and iſſue of it? Read elſe but 1 Tim. 3. Chap and 1 Chap. of Titus. Sirs, why this waſt, imore were no other ordination to the Office of Mi­niſters, but what gi••s, and our own, or others deſires to ue them make? O you that ſtand in the way and ſee, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way that we may walk therein, muſt you not ſay of this? This is it, wherein God hath been alway wont to meet, and give miſ­ſion to his ſervants: either immediately by inveſtiture of them with the Office from himſelf, as our Lord was pleaſed to ſend forth firſt the Twelve, Luk. 9.1. and af­ter the ſeventy, Luk 10 1. Or elſe mediately, by the interpoſition of his own Officers, as Tmothy is directed to do in this verſe. We: doth Matthias Apoſtolize? not till Chriſt appoints him, Act. 1. Do Paul and Barnabas? notll our Saviour authorize them, Act. 9.17. Chap. 13.2. Hath every Church its Elders, that la­bour in the word and doctrine? BuPaul and Barnabas firſt Ordain them, Act. 14.23. Is it the order of Chriſt that there be Elders in every City? but withall35 that Titus Ordain them, Tit. 1.5. Hath Timothy the gift or Office of an Evange­liſt? but not without the laying on of Pauls hands, and of the Presbytery like­wiſe? 2 Tim. 1.6. 1 Tim. 4.4. There muſt be ſuch who are by calling to teach others? but Timothy muſt commit this truſt to them for others, as in the Text. Belo­ved, why are theſe things written? and for whom think we? Are they not for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come? Doubtleſſe, whatſoever things were written aforetime, were writtē for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope, Rom. 15.4. Ah Sirs! may we dare to reject this word of Chriſt? or re­move to another way of our own or o­thers contriving? either frame new ways of committing the Miniſtry (I mean)? or elſe frowardly deny the continuance of the Miniſtry, as too many do? Nay can you ſo forget the Commandment of Chriſt, and his Covenant with his Miniſters, which hee calls upon us ſo affectionately to re­member, as a thing of moſt happy re­marke, Mat. 28.19.20 Go teach, &c. 36Lo, I am with you alway,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉all days,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉to the end of the world. Which cannot bee reſtrained to the end of that age; as the pregnancy and propriety of this phraſe,**See it learnedly Vindicated & opened Jus divin. Mini. Evā. par. 1. c. 2. p. 27. ad 31〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and the parallel uſage of it by this ſame Evangeliſt, Mat. 13.40. (m) Chap. 24.3. (n) (beſides the precedent paſſage which is not all your days, but all days) do plentifully evince. Or have you ſo for­gotten that command by Paul to Timo­thy? I give thee charge in the ſight of God, who quickneth all things, and be­fore Chriſt Jeſus, who before Pontius Pi­late witneſſed a good confeſſion: That thou keep this commandment without ſpot, unrebukeable, untill the appearing of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt. What commandment intends he? I humbly conceive, with Beza and others**Chryſoſt. Homil 18. Ambr. Lyra Gorrā. Cor­nel à Lavi­de. Diodat. & Engl. Annotat. ad ver. 1. this complex command­ment contained in, and carried along thorow the whole Epiſtle; unto which the Apo­ſtle quickens him with ſix arguments. (p(pDickſon ad loc.And thus it eminently taketh in that (well-nigh) paralell charge, Chap. 5. ver. 21.22. which includeth the confer­ring of the Miniſteriall Office, as doth37 the third Chapter. And what though this Commandment could not bee fulfilled till the coming of Chriſt by Timothy himſelf? yet might it bee by Timothie's ſucceſſors: 'Who are clearly concerned to attend this charge of the Apoſtle, as addreſſed to them in Timothy; the im­port and intent of the Scriptures being not only for the preſent men and times, but for all that ſucceed or followq)q)Rō 15. Pſa. 119.152. Lu. 16.16, 17. Rev. 22.19 And verily, 1. if there ſhall ſtill be till his coming, both ſinners to be begotten un­to Chriſt; and to be brought into his Church; and if there be Saints to bee brought forward, and to bee built up in communion with Chriſt and his Church; and if there be ſouls to bee ſanctified and ſaved, until the time of his appearance. (which who doubts that believes any thing?) And 2. if our Lord Chriſt hath onely ordinarily annexed and ap­pointed, to beſtow theſe great bleſſings by a Miniſtery ſent, as it is cleer he hath, Rom. Chap. 10. verſe, 14, 15. Epheſians Chapt. 4. verſe 11, 12, 13. Having by this onely (uſually) brought about the addition of ſinners to his Church and to himſelf, Acts the ſecond Chapter, and the 41. and 47. verſes, and Chap. 11.38 verſ. 24. the converſion of ſouls to, and their confirmation in and with himſelf, Acts Chap. 26.18.15.32. The remiſſi­on of ſins, and regeneration of ſinners, Acts 26. Chapter 18. ver. and 1 Corin. Chap. 4. verſ. 15. The new birth of ſouls, and to believe in himſelf, James Chap. 1. verſe 18. and 1 Corinth. Chap. 3 verſ. 5. The ſubduing of ſin and Satan, and the ſalvation of Saints, 2 Corinth. Chap. 10. verſe 4.5. and 1 Corinth. Chap. 1. verſe 21. And 3. If our Lord Chriſt doth not now extra­ordinarily ſend forth any, as it's plain hee doth not: neither immediately deſign­ing out any perſons, nor delivering to any a power of miracles. I ſay, if ſo; then of neceſſity, the ordinary way of com­mitting this Office, and of ſending out ſuch Officers, which was given in charge to Timothy and Titus, are of a continuing obligation, and of conſant obſervation in the Chur­ches of Jeſus Chriſt.

Sect. 4. Let me put you in mind but of one thing more, and this is, the Elegant titles that are given to Miniſters, which do all beſpeak a neceſſity, not onely of39 being quaified for this Office, but of having the Office committed to them. Are not Miniſters clled the Angels of the Churches, Revelations Chap. 1. verſe 20. the overſeers of the Church? Acts Chap. 20. ver. 28. the rulers of the Church? Hebrews Chap. 13. ver. 7. Yea, and ſuch rulers they are in, and ſo over the Church, as are to be counted worthy of double honour, 1 Timothy Chap. 5. ver. 17. and 1 Theſ. Chap. 5. verſ. 12.13. Are they not the Stewards of Chriſt? 1 Corinht 4.1. The Heralds of Chriſt,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉? Romans 10. verſ. 14. Yea, and thembſſadours of Chriſt, 2 Cor. 5. ver. 20. Are they not termed watchmen? Heb. 13.17. builders? 1 Cor. 3.10. and ſouldiers? 2 Tim. 2.3, &c. Now what leſſe do any of theſe apart, or can all theſe together intimate? than that Mi­niſters ſhould be furniſhed with authori­ty, as well as fitted with ability? and muſt bee able to ſhew a commiſſion, as well as ſpeak of qualifications? In a word, that they muſt have a deligation from our Saviour to this employment, as wel as a diſpoſition in their ſpirits to this employ­ment.

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Sect. 4. Fourthly, how is this Office of being Teachers in the Church to bee committed unto ſuch, as are duly qua­lified? You will eaſily obſerve, that we are not enquiring about committing the Office to extraordinary teachers; ſuch as are by immediate deligation from Chriſt immediate I mean, not only ratione vir­tutis, ſed ſuppoſiti in regard of power, but of perſon. This caſe falls not within our compaſſe; when ſuch immediate furni­tures (as were herewith given) for the Miniſtry, and therefore ſuch immediate ve­ſtitures with the Miniſtery, have no place. But our enquiry is about the commit­ting of this office to Ordinary teachers, by mediate deligation from Chriſt i. e. by his Officers, who in his name, and accor­ding to his Ordinance, are to ſeparate them to this ſervice of his, in his Church. **Hujus, Miniſterij jus per ho­mines Com­municare ſolt, atqueiâ ratione vocatio ordinarii Miniſtri eſt media­ta. Hoc au­tem ſic eſt intellgen­dum, ut authoritas adminiſtrandi res divinas à Deo immediatè communicetur miniſtris omnibus legitimis, & deſignatio perſo­narum in quas confertur fiat per Eccleſiam. Ameſ. Medul. The­ol. l. 1. c. 35. n. 5. & 6.And thus briefly, this Office is to bee committed to men duly qualified, 1 by the Presbytery. 2 after proof. 3 with prayer and faſting. 4. and with putting on of their hands.

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Sect. 1. By the Prebytery i. e. by presbyters in Office; whoſe part it was in the Ordination of Timothy. 1 Tim. 4.14. Their common care and charge it was, and not Pauls only. 2 Tim. 1.6. We never read Paul to have practiced in, or to have pretended to a ſole power of Or­dination; or to ſo much as a negative voice in that particular, though (no doubt) he had a greater latitude of authority, than any can now lay claim to, as be­ing an Apoſtle, not of, or by man, but by Jeſus Chriſt: Yet Paul was neither ordained nor did Ordain, without the concurrence of ſome other Act. 13.1, 2, 3. ch. 14.23. 'If any will yet implead ordination by a presbytery, becauſe without a Prelate; 1 he ought to produce the divine inſtituti­on of a Prelate diſtinct from a dignified be­yond a Presbyter or Miniſter. Certain we are, the Apoſtles have left no ſuch one, up­on their liſt of Church Officers; Eph. 4 11. Rom. 12.6, 7, 8. 1 Cor. 12.28. and clear it is, that a Biſhop and Presbyter are all one in the language of the Scripture,a)a)See ſect. 2.Tit. 1.10. b)b)vid. Hieronym. ad Loc. Idem eſt ergo Preſ­byter, qui Epiſcopus &c. 1 Tim. 3.1, 2.c)c)Poſt Epiſcopum Diaconi ordinationem ſubjicit. Quare? iſt quia Epiſcopi & Presbyteri una ordinatio eſt? uterqueexim ſa­eerdos eſt. Ambroſ. ad Loc. &c. having42 the ſame office, the ſame ordination, the ſame characters given to, and qualitier 'required in them, and the ſame work being committed to them. And as clear 'tis that a Presbyter or ordinary Miniſter is veſted with a power of government or rule. 1 Tim. 5.17. Heb. 13.7, 17. 1 Theſ. 5.12. Act. 20.17, 28. 2. Hee ought to prove the divine inveſtiture of pre­lates with Ordination ard impoſition of hands different from presbyters, whereof 'we read not one word in all the Scriptures, but of the laying on of the hands of the preſ­bytery in fair and open characters,1 Tim. 4.14. True 'tis that we read of Ordination by Timothy and Titus 'Evan­geliſts, by Paul and Barnabas Apoſtles, but this neither directly ſerveth the cauſe of the Prelates, they being nei­ther Apoſtles nor Evangeliſts, nor in­directly, unleſſe they can prove them­ſelves to be a diſtinct order or dignity of Miniſters, by the divine appointment of Jeſus Chriſt, & in that ſence can put in a plea of being their ſucceſſors which a Presbyter in a fair conſtruction may,1 Pet. 5.1, 2. Though a Prelate without a forced conſtruction cannot. Where doth43 'the Scripture preſcribe that there ſhould be any ordination of Prelates different from, or over and above their former ordination as Preſbyters? Or that there ſhould be any Ordination by prelates as diſtinct from Presbyters? When it is a ruled caſe, that a Biſhop or Prelate or­dained per ſaltum (i. e. who never had the Ordination of a Presbyter himſelf, but only of a Biſhop) can neither con­ſecrate and adminiſter the Sacrament of the Lords body, nor ordain a Preſ­byter:d)d)of the Church. l. 3. ch. 39.by which it appeareth, that a Biſhop doth not excell a Presbyter by a di­ſtinct and higher order or power of order; 'for which Doctor Field hath produced the acknowledgment of the moſt lear­ned among the Papiſts. d)d)Aquin. Bonavent. Dominic, à Soto. Ar­macanus. Camerar. & Contare­nus.(e) The in­ſtance of Timothy and Titus, as if Bi­ſhops of Epheſus and Crete, will be a covering too narrow. For as we never read the Spirit of God calling them Biſhops in Scripture, (the Poſt-ſcript to thoſe Epiſtles being diſowned from being any part of the Canon by many Papiſts, even by Baronius and the Rhe­miſts; and are ſo diſproved by ſeverall Proteſtants,ffvide Be­za Anot. maj. ad 1 Tim. 6.22. ad 2 Tim. 4.23. ad Tit. 3.14.So, Timothy is expreſly44 enough called an Evangeliſt. 2 Tim. 4.5. 'Nor could their frequent removes,ggſee them deſcribed Jus Divin. Min. Evan. par. 2. p. 69. Smectimnu­us ſect. 13. after the mention of their being at E­pheſus and Crete,have any conſiſtence 'with the charge or Office of a Biſhop, which obligeth to a fixed reſidence a­mong his flock?(to paſſe other rea­ſonshhſee Jus Di vin. Miniſt. Evang. par. 2. c. 5. throughout againſt their dioceſan Epiſcopacy) 'Their frequent diverſions and journeys, and various diſpatches to and fro, at the deſire of the Apoſtles, and as might beſt ſubſerve the deſign and welfare of the generall viſible Church, do loudly e­nough proclaim them to be Evangeliſts I know there are on the other hand that veſt the people with this power and pri­viledge of Ordination,beyond what was ever poſſeſſed by the Prelates. But with no countenance that I know from Chriſt, yea, or conveniency to Chriſtians; while it is little other than a ſeed-plot of diſ­ſentions among them, and of diviſions into parties; and while beſide their di­ſtance from the power of ruling, whoſe place it is to be ruled; ſuch are their diſ­abilities & diſproportion to make proof of mens ready inſtruction to the kingdom of God, either in cleering the difficulties of the Goſpel, or in evicing gainſayers. 45'Tis true; We read (whatſome ingeniouſ­ly obſerve before usk)k)London Miniſte in their Jns div. min. evan. par. 3. c. 13. of Ordaining El­ders in every Church, but we never read of Ordaining Elders by any Church. They Ordained them Elders in every Church, Act. 14.23. Who Ordained them? Paul and Barnabas for the people, not the people for themſelves. That every Church ſhould Ordain them Elders in every Church, grates too much upon common ſenſe and truth. Nor will the word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉help it out, for what ever bee the import ofl)l)〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉i.e. To ſtretch out the hand; which is ſtill done in Or­dination, with impoſition of hands. Nor can there much more be evinced by the uſage of this word in this place, if there be any worth in that obſer­vation of learned Stepha­nus, that it ſignifieth not to give ſuffrage, but to create, ordain, &c. when it governs an accuſarive caſe, as here it doth. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Steph. Theſaur Ling. graec. ad verbum〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. manifeſt enough it is, both from what is antece­dent to this expreſſion, and what is after it, that Paul and Barnabas were the〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to whom [they] muſt neceſſarily bee under­ſtood to relate nine times be­ſides, in the narrative or re­lation which is herewith made, ver. 21. ad finem. Far be it from mee, to diveſt the Churches of Jeſus from any part of thoſe priviledges, which are given them by46 his charter? Let it be granted them for me, that the people may chooſe; and look out men, and ſet them before the Presbytery, as they did for Deacons be­fore the Apoſtles, ſtill obſerving their li­mies, Act. 6.3, 5, 6. But the Presbytery 'tis, that commit the Miniſtry, appoint and ſend forth the men, as then did the Apoſtles, ver. 3.6. Peruſe I beſeech you the primitive practiſe, the records of all thoſe Ordinations, which you finde in the Acts of the Apoſtles, 1.6.13.14. Chapt. & what prints read you, or the ob­ſcureſt trace of the peoples putting men into the Office of Miniſters? Peruſe to theſe, the Epiſtles that moſt particularly treat of, and purpoſely take up this ſub­ject or argument, thoſe to Timothy and Titus: and yet tell us where may wee finde the ſmalleſt track or footſtep? 'Las! if the peoples ſuffrage had been enough to ſet men in Office, what need ſuch preſſing arguments from Paul to Timothy and Titus? and ſuch particular inſtru­ments of them with this buſineſs, that they Ordain Elders in Crete and Epheſus? Doth he write at this rate, in any one of all the Epiſtles he ſendeth to the Chur­ches?47 or in either of theſe Epiſtles ſent to theſe Officers, that the Churches ſee to the Ordaining of Elders, &c. Again, if ſo; what need or right had Paul to in­tereſs himſelf or Barnabas ſo far, as to Ordain Elders in every Church, at Ly­ſtra, Icontum, and Antioch, &c. Act. 14.19.23 Would they have ſo abuſed their own power, or the peoples priviledges, as by this to have been arraigned for bu­ſie-bodies in other mens matters? which they might have been, had Ordination been in the power and right of the Churches. 'Tis true, we may be proper­ly enough called the Miniſters and Meſ­ſengers of the Churches, ſo far as I know. But how? Not as if they were the originall, but are the object of our authoritative miſſion and meſſages; not as if we were ſent from, and by them into this Office, but as ſent to and for them for their obedience and joy of faith: unleſs men may be ſaid to ſend meſſengers to themſelves,

Sect. 2 The Miniſtry is not to bee committed till after probation or triall made. Oh that dreadfull charge! I charge thee before God and the Lord Jeſus Chriſt,48 and the Elect Angels lay hands ſudden­ly on no man, 1 Tim. 5.21.22. Timothy muſt not, for ſo much as the Office of a Deacon, therefore ſurely not for the Office of a Biſhop or Miniſter. Let theſe alſo firſt bee proved; then let them uſe the Office of a Deacon, 1 Tim. 3.10. 'Tis an abuſe then to put men into the Office of the Miniſtry, before or without proof made. Nor may this proof bee ſlight and overly, but muſt bee diligent and diſtinctive. n)n)〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉est prop••è explorare qualis in ſe res ſit, & a diverſis aut contrariis diſcernere inquit Pa­reus. Nec ſolummodo probare, ſed approbare ſigniſicat, ut po••perſpectum, ſic apud Luc. 14.19. & 1 Pet. 1.7. & Phil. 1.10. & 1 Theſ. 2.4 & apud Plutarc. de Inſtit. liber. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.Proved they ſhould bee, in their ſpirituall and inward call to the Miniſtry, and in their ſuitable qualifications for the Miniſtry. What they are for life? what for learning and what they are like to be for labour? What are their purpoſes by it? what itheir proportion to it? and what will bee their perſeverance in it? In a word; what of God and grace is to be found in them? and what of forwardneſs and zeal there is and will be for God?

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Thirdly, With prayer and faſting. Such was the primitive practiſe, Acts 6.6. & 13.3. & 14.23. and ſtands upon record as our pattern. Whether theſe enter the eſſence of Ordination, I ſay not: but ſure I am, that they are of eminent and excellent obſervation and uſe. Is our Lord himſelf therefore about to chooſe, and authoritatively to ſend abroad Apo­ſtles? He continueth all night before it in prayer to God, and when it was day he called unto him his Diſciples, and of them hee choſe Twelve whom alſo he named Apoſtles, Luk. 6.12, 13. Ah ſirs! pray, pray, you that want and would have Paſtors. Fa­ſting prayers, will make fervent preachers. We beſeech you brethren, for the Lord Jeſus Chriſt's ſake, and for the love of the Spirit, that yee will ſtrive together with us in your prayers to God,o)o)Rom. 15.30. this day. Oh the weakneſſes of our perſons the work we are to perform! the worth and weight of God's preſence! and our want of your prayers, which if earneſt, will be ſure to be effectuall prayersp)p)ā. 5.16.! Pray ye there­fore, the Lord of the Harveſt, that he wil ſend forth theſe expectants, Labourers into his Harveſtq)q)Mat. 9.38..

50

Sect. 4. With impoſition of hands. Thus Timothy was Ordained, 1 Tim. 4.14. and was to Ordain, 1 Tim 5.22. What though Papiſts have placed it among the Sacraments? muſt wee therefore pluck it from among the Saints? although Paul preſerveth it among the principles of the do­ctrine of Chriſt, Heb. 6 1, 2. (under what notion, or to what purpoſe, I ſhall not diſpute) Surely their dotage on it, will be a poor Apologie for our deniall or de­ſpiſing of it, upon whom the true light hath ſhined: eſpecially when the whole ſolemnity of Ordination is once and again ſet forth by this one Ceremony; 1 Tim. 4.14. and 5.22. 2 Tim. 1.6. and you hear none of us pleading for it as a Sacrament; though we would not be put by from any ſolemn right; eſpecially if an inſeparable adjunct to an Ordinance of Chriſt. Is Timothy enjoyned to lay hands ſuddenly on no man? 1 Tim. 5.22. what leſs can be implyed, than that he lay hands ſo­lemnly upon ſome, at leaſt after mature ſcrutiny? I ſhall not expatiate, but if (beſide the concurrent profeſſion and practice of the reformed Churchesr)r)See a brief view of theicō­currence herein of­fered you by Dr. Seaman in his〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, at the beginning Pro­pf••ion 3. if51 Paul, ſo pretious a Saint, and ſo profound a Scholar, did thus accept it in his own Ordination to the Miniſtry, as hee did, Act. 13.3. and did thus act and aſſiſt in the Ordination of others, as hee did, 2 Tim. 1.6. God forbid! that I, or any other ſhould ſo much liſten to pride, pre­judice, or what ever elſe it bee, as to he­ſitate it cauſleſly! or to harden my ſelf a­gainſt it contem trouſly. 'Paul's preſcri­ption and precedent me thinks will be enough to acquit and anſwer for us, though we had nothing elſe to render in account, why we retain this ancient rite: by which, yet publick offices have been wont to be conveighed, Numb. 27.18, 23. and 8.10. Act. 6.6. and this partacularly, 1 Tim. 4.14. 'Tis true, when Paul enjoins Titus to Ordain El­ders in every City, Titus 1.5. hee doth not preſcribe expreſly, impoſition of hands. Nor doth he prohibit it; but ra­ther points it out, not obſcurely, by two things (though the common practice thereof in thoſe times might have been intimation enough to him, and a juſti­fication for it, againſt this exception.) 1. By leading him back to former in­ſtructions52 [as I had appointed thee] wherein if wee may make judgment, from what Paul practiſed,ſ)ſ)Act. 14.23 2 Tim. 1.6. to what Paul preſcribed, this could not but make one particular, eſpecially, if the affir­maive included in that precept to Ti­mothy, 1 Chap. 5.22. bee put with it in­to the ſame ſcale. 2. By the light of the Word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉(rendered here by ordin and in Acts 6.3. by appoint) which the Apoſtles practice had alrea­dy interpreted, to import the laying on of hands, Acts 6.6. as one particular requiſite to that publick and ſolemn work. I know it is pretended that the Holy Ghoſt was miraculouſly given by impoſition of hands in Ordination, and thence it is pleaded, that the mira­cle now ceaſing, ſo doth the myſtery too. But how is the former proved and juſtified? And if; yet how the latter is therefrom pleaded or inferred I ſee not; unleſs we ſhall upon the ſame ground now relinquiſh prayer, becauſe it's no more effectuall to heal the ſick, or raie the dead, as it was formerly. Act. 9.37, 40, 41. Jam. 5.14, 15. We hear the Apo­ſtles requiring them to look out ſeven53 men full of the Holy Ghoſt, that they may lay hands upon them, Acts 6.3. cum 6. but never hear them relating ſo much as one that had received the Holy Ghoſt, be­cauſe they had layd their hands upon him, in his Ordination. I ſay in his Ordination: for it is granted that the Holy Ghoſt was given, by the laying on of hands, in the other caſes, Act. 8.17.18. and 19.6. Why muſt Timothy and Titus (think we) receive ſatisfaction touch­ing mens gifts before Ordination? 1 Tim. 3. and Tit. 1. And why muſt they till then retard and ſtave off their Ordination, 1 Tim. 5.22. If laying on of hands would have conferred that ſpirit upon men, from whom all gifts come? 1 Cor. 12.8. ad 12. True it is, we read of Timothie's gift by the laying on of Paul's hands, and of the Presbyte­ry; 2 Tim. 1.6. 1 Tim. 4.14. But not of the Holy Ghoſts being given him hereby. It is rather the gift of the Mini­ſtry that is intended in theſe Scriptures, than gifts for the Miniſtry, and perhaps, may bee therefore mentioned in both places not plurally, but ſingularly [the gift.] That offices are called54 gifts, and particularly the Miniſtry, compare Ep. 4 8, 11. between which the 9 and 10 verles, fall as within a Paren­theſis: the 11 verſ. giving us th••e expli­cation in particulars of what had been expreſſed at the 8 ver. ingeneral:**Iſti duo verſus (ſc. 9.10) per parea­thſin lguntur, nam mox veſu 11. rdit ad ſupeiora, hoc eſt, ad explicanda dona ali­quode qu bs dixerat in genere, dedit dona hominibus Zanch. ad Epheſ. 4.10 And ſo is an appofite anſwer to every one that asks this queſtion; what are thoſe gifts, when Chriſt aſcended up on high, which he received for(t)(t)Pſal. 68.18. and give unto men? He gave ſom Apo­ſtles, and ſom Prophets, and ſom Evang­liſts, and ſom Paſtors and Teachers.

Sect. 5Fithly one thing is yet behind. Why muſt thoſe that are authoritatively from Chriſt to teach others in the Church, have the Office committed to them, as well as be qualified for that office? Why? It is for the honour of Chriſt, for the happineſſe of the Church, and for the hope and heartning of ſuch teachers themſelves.

Sect. 1. It is for the honour of Chriſt. Which is the great deſign, that grace hath to carry on, by all the various me­thods55 and miniſtrations of it, by all Of­ficers, and by all Ordinances. Had he thrown the reyns of his Church, King­dom and cauſe looſe, to the liberty, or rather luſts of men, take hee that will: teach he that will: who could have then read ſuch his accurate prudence? ſuch his abſolute power? and ſuch his affluence of perfections, as are now made legible in treating his own affairs; by thoſe only that are of his own appointment, and can ſhew his royall patent? Alas! what conveniency would this at all bear to his tranſcendant dignity, and moſt ta­king glory, whereof the greateſt royalties are but poor reſemblances? Wil men call him the wonderfull Counſellor, the Prince of peace,u)u)Iſ. 9.6.7 the King of kings, and Lord of Lords? *)*)Rev. 19.16.that either hath never a Secre­tary, Herald, Embaſſadour, or ſo much as a Steward by office, by whom the grand importances of his Court and Crown may be tranſacted on the one hand? or is ſo little tender of theſe great truſts, and his own tranſactions on the other; that whoſoever hath but will and skill, fore­head and fitneſs enough, may without further leave from him or his, lay hold56 upon theſe offices, and leap into the higheſt honour? Need I remind you, that ſuch are the offices, ſuch is the ho­nour to be a Miniſter of Jeſus? Is it ſpi­ritually? Well; the more ſpirituall the office and honour is, the more need in a juſt ſenſe, of his putting them into a ſecurity, from the fleſhly preſumptions and forward pretenſions of vain men, who are but too deſirous of being teach­ers of others, even before they under­ſtand what they ſay, or whereof they affirm themſelves, 1 Tim. 1.7. or at leaſt of heaping unto themſelves teach­ers, having itching ears, 2 Tim. 4.3. It is true, I acknowledge, that pious Miniſters are ſo far from being accounted ordina­rily to the honour of Chriſt; that wee are made rather with Paul, the filth of the world, and the off-ſcouring of all things, 1 Cor. 4.13. But what ſaith Paul? God, who commanded the light to ſhine out of darkneſs, hath ſhined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jeſus Chriſt, 2 Cor. 4.6. and if our brethren be enquired of (ſaith he) they are the glory of Chriſt, 2 Cor. 8. ver. 23. And no marvail, for beſides the57 expreſſions to his glory by them, ſuch are the ampreſſions of his glory upon them, not onely in their Miniſteriall gifts and graces, which beſpeak them qualified for this Office by Chriſt, but in the Miniſte­riall authority and adminiſtrations, which beſpeak them Commiſſioned to this Of­fice from Chriſt. And indeed, what other are his Miniſters, Paſtors, and Teachers among us; but the ſpeaking gifts, and ſtanding pledges of Chriſt's glorious aſcen­ſion for us? and of his gracious and great affections to us, Epheſ. 4.8, 11. compa­red.

Sect. 2. It is for the happineſs of the Church likewiſe, which is next to his Fa­thers honour, in the aym and heart of Chriſt. It is for her enlargement, edifica­tion, and eſtabliſhment, as the Apoſtle at large inſtanceth and illuſtrateth in the ſame, Epheſ. 4.12, 13, 14, 15. verſes. For the perfecting of the Saints, &c. Throw open but this door once, that gifts, and a deſire to exerciſe them make a Miniſter, and you may (too late) per­ceive well-nigh, all that is dear to the Church going out, and whatſoever is divi­ding and deſtructive coming in, by the ſame58 door, both ſpeedily and irremediably. What Corah and his complices will not tell Aaron and Moſes too? Ye take too much upon you; ſeeing all the Congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is a­mong them: wherefore then lift you up your ſelves above the Congregation of the Lord, Numb. 163 Nor could I ever yet hear of any thing more eminent among them, than is error and confuſion, who have taken qualifications to give Commiſſion. Alas! this muſt needs break the unity, and blaſt the purity of the Churches quickly.

N, 1. It muſt needs break the unity of the Chuches, (a bleſſing how deſirable in it ſelf? and how dear to our Saviour) if nothing but fitneſs and forwardneſs bee requiſite to make an Officer or Miniſter. Wo to the Common-wealth of this Iſrael! If every one that had ability, had therefore authority too; If every one that probably is, or preſumeth himſelf to be fit for ſuch or ſuch an Office, were thereby put into it, and muſt be ſo obey­ed; or if every one, who is qualified for, muſt bee therefore counted a Judge, Ju­ſtice, yea, or but a Conſtable. Hath God59 provided against ſuch intruſions upon civill Offices? and will he permit it in ſacred? Taken ſuch care in order to the accord and quiet of the Common wealth? and hath he thrown it by with reſpect to his Church, which is ſo much dearer to him than are all the Societies in the world beſide? Who would be ruled, if but to preſume our ſelvs qualified, would make us rulers, ei­ther in Church or State? Surely this would make the militant Church, like that military body, where qualifications to command were a commiſſion for a Company: The Church ſhould have all Officers and no Souldiers quickly; and if it did not run with ſuch an army into blood and confuſion, yet would ſoon and ſurely run with it into bitterneſſe and contentions. 'He that can ſecure me the peace and unity of that Kingdome, where every one that is fit, may be there­by ſupreme; or of that County, whe••every one that is fit, may be thereby Sheriffe; or but of that Corporation, where every one that is fit, may be thereby Major, ſhall be (with me) a none-ſuch among men, and may per­ſwade, if any, that the beauty and har­mony60 of the Churches of Jeſus may be preſerved too, wherein every one that judgeth himſelf fit, is thereby made a Miniſter and Officer. Let me addhis, if Miniſters are not Officers, * the Church hath none: For who elſe can ſhew me ſo clear evidences? And if men may bee bold with this Office in the Church, to inveſt themſelves with it, and to execute at pleaſure, why they ſhould be back­ward to, or baulk any other Office, I know not:For this of all others is moſt ſacred and moſt circumſcribed. And if all Offices lye in common where ſhall we look for the Churches Concord? Ah Sirs! have wee read the 12 to the Romans from the the 3 to the 9, or the 1 Cor. 12? And can we think our bleſſed head and Maſter, in whom are hid all the trea­ſures of wiſdome and kindneſſe, ſo remiſſe about conferring Offices? and ſo regardleſſe of the Churches concord as this amounts to? What! are there ſo many unities? and all with reſpect had to the Church? One body, and one ſpirit, even as they are called in one hope of their calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptiſm, one God and61 Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all? Eph. 4.5, 6. Lo, therefore Chriſt hath given Paſtours and Teachers (names of Office) verſe 8, 11. that they may keep the unity of the ſpirit in the bond of peace. verſe 3. and that till we all come in the unity of the faith &c. ver. 13.

N. 2. This will blast the purity of the Churches too, and let in (what not?) that is deſtructive to verity, and the power of Godlineſſe. If our ſtiring times have not given ſufficient teſti­monie to this ſad truth, I know not what times ever did or ſhall. What through uncalled Preachers, and uncate­chiſed hearers, Oh! the havock and convulſions that are made in the Churches of Jeſus! And inded, who can expect; but that thoſe, who will vainly or violently enter upon the Miniſtery without Ordi­nation, ſhall likewiſe venturouſly em­ploy themſelves in it, without obſer­vation? Witneſſe thoſe falſe teachers whereof Peter tells vs. 2 Peter, Chap­ter 2. and Jude, from the fourth to the twentieth verſe. Who may, or how can wee expect62 other, than unſetledneſſe in the love of the Goſpell? and unſoundneſſe in the life of godlineſſe from that man, or men, who ſhake off the order of the Goſpell? Surely, they that heap to themſelvs teachers, walk but after their own luſts therein, and have it ch­ing ears, turned from the truth, and unto fa­bles. 2 Tim. 4.3, 4. And therefore whe­ther they that make themſelvs teachers are like to walk in the law of God, and to lead you in the ways of that truth which is according to godlineſſe, judg ye? What leſſe can be ſaid than this? That meaſuring themſelvs by themſelves, and comparing themſelvs among themſelvs, they are not wiſe: and if the premiſſes be conſidered, how wicked!

Sect. 3. It's for the beartning and comfort of ſuch teachers, that beſide qua­lifications, they ſhall have the Office committed to them: their comfortable incouragement much conducing to the credit and intereſſe of that King Jeſus, whoſe Embaſſadours they are. Sirs! the duties, difficulties, and diſcourage­ments of Miniſters, how various are they? how involved! And alas! what ſorry things are our beſt qualifications63 to ſupport us, without the ſtrong aid of that grace, which ſets before us the bene­fit of our Commiſſion, to ſtay and cheer our hearts. Who of us, my brethren, but muſt confeſs with Paul, that wee are not ſufficient of our ſelvs, ſo much as to think any thing as of our ſelvs? Where then is our ſufficiencie? and what is our ſupport? Our sufficiency is of God, who alſo hath made us able Miniſters of the New Teſta­ment, 2 Cor, 3.5, 6. That God, who hath made us Ministors, is the ſpring head of our ſufficiencies in the diſcharge and exer­ciſe of our Ministry; and that God hath made us Miniſters, is the ſtay and baſis of our hopes in all the difficult emergencies of our Miniſtry. **See 2 Tim. 1.11, 12.That our God hath ſent us, is the ſtabliſhing conſideration, a­gainſt all deſpondencies and diſcourage­ments, that he will ſupply, ſtrengthen, ſecure, and work all our works in us and for us. And Lo, by this it is, that God would have us to chide down our fears, and to keep up our faith. I ſanctified thee, ſaith he to Jeremie, and I ordained thee a Prophet unto the Nations. Doth Jeremie ſay? ALord God! I am a child, behold I cannot ſpeak. Ay, but hear what the64 Lord ſaith unto Jeremy: ſay not〈◊〉am a child, for thou ſhalt go to all that I ſhall ſend thee, and whatſoever I com­mand thee thou ſhalt ſpeak: Be not af­fraid of their faces; for I am with thee to deliver thee ſaith the Lord; Behold, I have made thee a defenced City, &c. Jer. 1.5, 6, 7, 8, 18, 19. An beloved, God doth therefore Commiſſion us, to corroborate and comfort our hearts, and to confirm us you ſee againſt hardſhips. 'Oh the tears and tentations, that every man of God is ſubject to! without are fightings, within are fears: And in the midd'ſt of ſo many inward diſtractions, and out­ward diſtreſſes; while ſuch is the diffi­culty of our province, ſuch the dbiity of our perſons, ſuch the deceitfulneſs of ſin, ſuch the deiuſions of Satan, ſuch the deſperate ſtubborneſs of the world, ſuch the depths and heights of the Word, and ſuch the danger and worth of immortall ſouls, for which we muſt give an account; In the midd'ſt of all this, how would our hearts gather aſto­niſhment! and our hopes go down into de­ſpair, did not the ſenſe of this truth, and the ſweet fruits that grow upon it ſo­lace65 our ſouls: If God hath ſent. God will ſecond me; if God hath put me into the Miniſtry, he will proſper me in the Miniſtry; if he hath given me a Com­miſſion, he will not deny me his conour­rence; he that appointed me to this Office, will accompliſh his ends by and upon me in this Office: Theſe, theſe are the comforts of a Commiſſioned, if conſcienti­ous Miniſter. Be the ſucceſs what it wil, if he be ſincere and ſent, he is to God a ſweet ſavour, though in them that pe­riſh 2 Cor. 2.15, 16. and God is his ſtrength and reward; though he hath ſpent his own ſtrength to no purpoſe, Iſa. 49.4, 5.

A ſtranger, an unofficed preacher hath not to intermeddle with this joy. But Oh the ſweet Cordiall! and comorta­ble ſavour, of our inveſtitue with the Office both unto us and you! when both you and we ſhall call to mind; that we are not barely the ſervants, but the ſtewards of Chriſt; or onely the ſubjects, but the Embaſſadours of Chriſt, and ſo whatſoever we bind or looſe, beſeech or charge, rebuke or comfort, it's as if God did it; as though God did beſeech you66 by us; we pray you in Chriſt's ſtead, 2 Cor.