« AnteriorContinuar »
cheerfully obey them in their work. As their governmentk is not by any bodily penalties or mulcts (for that is the magistrate's work and not theirs), but a government by the force of Truth and Love; so your obedience of them consisteth in the loving and thankful reception of the truth which they teach you, and the mercies which they offer you from Christ. You see then that the reasons of your obedience are manifold. 1. Some of them from God: he hath sent his messengers to you, and set his officers over you; and Christ hath told you that he that heareth them heareth him, and he that despiseth them despiseth him, and him that sent him1: he commandeth you to hear and obey them as his officers. 2. From themselves: they have authority by their commission, and they have ability in their qualifications, which require your obedience and improvement. 3. From yourselves: have you reason to obey your natural parents, on whom your livelihood in the world dependeth? Have you reason to obey him that tendereth you a pardon from the king when you are condemned? or that offereth you gold or riches in your want? or that inviteth you to a feast in time of famine? or that offereth to defend and save you from your enemies? Much more have you reason to obey Christ's ministers when they call you to repentance, and offer you pardon of sin, and peace, and salvation, and eternal life. Did you ever hear a man so mad and churlish, as to say to one that offered him riches, or liberty, or life,' I am not bound to obey you: offer them to those that you have authority over!' When the office of the ministry is as well subservient to Christ as a Saviour and Benefactor, as to Christ as your Teacher and your King, the very nature of their work engageth you to obey them as you love yourselves. If you were in hell, and Christ should send for you out, you would not refuse to go, till the messenger had k Dr. Hammond Annot. q. d. The bishops of jour several churches, I exhort— Take care of your several churches, and govern them, not as secular rulers, by force, but as pastors do their sheep, by calling and going before them, that so they may follow of their own accord.' If you would know the true nature and extent of a bishop's work and office, read carefully the said Dr. Hammond's Paraphrase on Acts xx. 20. 28. Heb. xiii. 7.17. 1 Tim. v. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12. Heb. xiii. Annot. a. Tit, iii. 10. 1 Cor. xii. 28. Annot. e. Jam. v. 14. Annot. Acts xi. 30. Annot. b, Acts xiv. 23.
'Luke x. 16.
proved his authority. And when you are the heirs of hell, condemned by the law, and going thither, will you refuse to turn back, and yield to the offers and commands of grace, till you have skill enough to read the minister's commission »
By this also you see, that the power of your pastors is not absolute, nor coercive and lordly, but ministerialm. And though the Papists make a scorn of the word "minister," it is but in that pride, and passion, and malice which maketh them speak against their knowledge: for their pope himself calleth himself the servant of God's servants; and Paul saith, "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of Godn." "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed°." "Who made us able ministers of the New Testamentp." "In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God''." Even magistrates, yea, and angels are not too good to be called (and used as) the ministers of God for the good of his servants', and to " minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation3." Yea, Christ himself is so called '. And therefore you have no more excuse for your disobedience, than for refusing his help that would pull you out of the fire or water when you are perishing. You see here that your pastors cannot command you what they list, nor how they list: they have nothing to do with the magistrate's work; nor can they usurp the power of a master over his servants, nor command you how to do your work and worldly business, (except in the morality of it). In the fifteen particulars beforementioned their work and office do consist, and in those it is that you owe them a rational obedience.
Direct, ii. ' Know your own pastors in particular: and know both what you owe to a minister as a minister of
» Chrysost. cited by Bilson, p. 525. But if any man wander from the right path of the Christian faith, the pastor must use great pains, care, and patience. For he may not be forced, nor constrained with terror, but only persuaded to return entirely to the truth. A bishop cannot cure men with such authority as a shepherd doth his sheep.—For of all men Christian bishops may least correct the faults of men by force, p. 526. Matt. xx. 26. Mark x. 43. See Psai. ciii. 21. ciV.4. Is*. xvi. 6. Jer. xxxiii. 21. Joel i. 9. 13. ii. 17. 2 Cor. xi. 23. Acts Xtvl 26. Rom.Xv. 16. Ephes. iii.7. Col.i. 23,25. lTim.iv. 6. 1 Thes.iii.2. Col. i.7.
■ 1 Cor. iv. 1. » 1 Cor. iii. 5. P 2 Cor. iii. 6.
1 2 Cor. vi.4. 'Rom. xiii. 36. • Heb. i. 7.14.
Christ in common, and what you owe him moreover as your pastor by special relation and charge".' When any minister of Christ delivereth his Word to you, he must be heard as a minister of Christ, and not as a private man; but to your own pastor you are bound in a peculiar relation, to an ordinary and regular attendance upon his ministry in all the particulars beforementioned that concern you. Your own bishop must in a special manner be obeyed:1. As one that laboureth among you, and is over you in the Lord, and admonisheth you, and preacheth to you the Word of Godx, watching for your souls as one that must give account*, and as one that ruleth well, and especially that laboureth in the Word and doctrine », " teaching you publicly and from house to house, taking heed to himself, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made him an overseer, not ceasing to warn every one night and day with tears \" "Preaching Christ, and warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that he may present every man perfect in Christb." 2. He is to be obeyed as the guide of the congregation in the management of God's public worship: you must seriously and reverently join with him, every Lord's day at least, in the public prayers and praises of the church, and not ordinarily go from him to another. 3. You must receive from him or with him, the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ: which of old was administered every Lord's day, and that only in the church where the bishop was, that is, in every church of the faithful: for as Ignatius most observably saithc, '?v dvaiaarnptov iraoy rp £<ocAno,ta, Kai si$ nriaKOiroQ dfia rui Trpeo(3vTtp'itii, Kai
rok Wovoic' 'UNUM ALTARE OMNI Ecclesije,
ET UNUS EPISCOPUS CUM PRESBYTERIO ET DIACONIS.' 'IN EVERY CHURCH there is ONE AL"Functioned in ecclesia perpetual sunt due, Presbyterorum et Diaconorum: Presbyteros voco cum omni ecclesia veteri eos, qui ecclcsiara pascunt verbi pradica, tione, sacramentis et clavibus; quae jure Divino sunt individual Grotiusde Imperii) pag. 267. cap. 10. * Bishop Jer. Taylor of Repentance, Prof. 'I am sure we cannot give miac,count of souls of which we have no notice.'
» 1 Theas.v. 1J. Heb. xiii. 7. 17. » I Tim. v. 17.
» Acts xx. 19, 20. 24. 28. 31. 33. b Col. i. 28.
c Ignat. Epia. ad Philad. Vid. Mead's Disc of Churches, p. 48—50,
VOL. v. 1
TAR, and ONE BISHOP, WITH THE PRESBYTERY and DEACONS.'— So in his Epist. ad Magnes. 'Come all as one, to the temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ.' And saith Tertulliand,' Eucharistiae Sacra- mentum nec de aliorum manu quam praesidentium su- mimus:' 'we take not the sacrament of the eucharist from the hand of any but the president.' 4. You must have recourse to him especially for the resolution of your weighty doubts, in private'.
5. You must hear your bishops and repent, when in meekness and love they convince and admonish you against your sins, and not resist the Word of God which they powerfully and patiently lay home to your consciences, nor put them with grief to cut you off, as impenitent in scandalous sins, from the communion of the church. 6. You must, after any scandalous sin which hath brought you under the censure of the church, go humble yourselves by penitent confession, and crave absolution and restoration to the communion of the church. 7. Your public church alms should ordinarily be deposited into the bishop's hands, who relieveth the orphans and widows, and is the curator or guardian to all absolutely that are in want, saith Ignatius to Polycarp, cited by Dr. Hammond on 1 Cor. xii. 28f. 8. You must send for him in your sickness to pray with you and advise you. See Dr. Hammond on James v. 14. And on 1 Cor. xii. 28. he saith, 'Polycarp himself speaking of the elders or bishops saith, They visit and take care of all that are sick, not neglecting the widows, the orphans, or the poor.' And Dr. Hammond on James v. 14. sheweth out of antiquity g, that 'One part of the bishop's office is set down, that they are those that visit all the sick.' Not but that a stranger may be made use of also; but ordinarily and especially your own bishop must be sent for; because as you are his special charge, and he " watcheth for your souls
* Tertnll. de Coron. Milit. c. 3.
* It is very observable that Acosta saith, lib. vi. c. 12. that they found it an old custom among the Indians to confess their sins to the priests before the Gospel came thither.
'See more in Dr. Hammond, ibid.
t Vid. Canon. Apost. 5. 32. Et Concil. Antioch. c. 5. Et Concil. Carthag. 4. Can. 35.
as one that must give accounth;" so it is supposed that he is better acquainted with your spiritual state and life than others are, and therefore in less danger of wronging you by mistake and misapplications: for it is supposed that you have acquainted him with your personal condition in your health, having taken him as your ordinary counsellor for your souls, and that he hath acquainted himself with your condition, and confirmed you, and watched over you by name, as Ignatius to Polycarp bishop of Smyrna 9aith ', * Saepe congregationes fiant: ex nomine omnes quaere: servos et ancillas ne despicias.' As bishop Usher's old Latin translation hath it. 'Let congregations be often held: inquire after all by name: despise not servants and maids.' The bishop took notice of every servant and maid by name; and he had an opportunity to see whether they were in the congregation. 9. You must use him as your leader or champion against all heretics, infidels, and subtle adversaries of the truth, with whom you are unable to contend yourselves, that your bishop may clear up and defend the cause of Christ and righteousness, and by irresistible evidence, stop the mouths of all gainsayersk. It is for your own benefit and not for theirs that you are required in all these works of their office to use them and readily obey them. And what hurt can it do you to obey them in any of these?
Direct, m. 'Understand how it is that Christ doth authorize and send forth his ministers, lest wolves and deceivers should either obtrude themselves upon you as your lawful pastors, or should alienate you from those that God hath set over you, by puzzling you in subtle questioning or disputing against their call.' Not only Paul's warnings, Acts xx. 30. and 2 Tim. iii. 6.; but lamentable experience telleth us what an eager desire there is in proud and selfconceited men, to obtrude themselves as teachers and pastors on the churches, to creep into houses and lead people captive, and draw away disciples after them, and say (and perhaps think) that others are deceivers, and none are the true teachers indeed but they. And the first part of the art
* Hcb. xiii. 17.
1 Vid. Just. Mart. Apol. 2. Vid. Tertul. Apol. c. 39. k I hope all this will tell you what a bishop indeed ii.