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Answ. No: particular churches are the most regular and noble parts of the universal church; but not the whole; no more than cities and corporations be all the kingdom. 1. Some may be as the eunuch, baptized before they can come to any particular church; or as Paul, before they can be received m. 2. Some may live where church tyranny hindereth them, by sinful impositions; as all that live among the Papists. 3. Some may live in times of doubting, distraction and confusion, and not know what church ordinarily to join with, and may providently go promiscuously to many, and keep in an unfixed state for a time. 4. Some may be wives, children, or servants, who may be violently hindered.
5. Some may live where no particular churches are; as merchants and embassadors among Mahometans and heathens.
Quest, Li 11. Must the pastor first call the church, and aggregate them to himself, or the church first congregate themselves, and then choose the pastor?Answ. 1. The pastors are in order of nature, if not in time, first ministers of Christ in general, before they are related to a particular charge. 2. As such ministers, they first make men fit to be congregate, and tell them their duty therein. 3. But it is a matter variable and indifferent, whether the minister first say, 'All that will join with me, and submit to me as their pastor, shall be my particular charge;' or the people before congregated do call a man to be their pastor.
Quest, Li v. Wherein doth a particular church of Christ's institution differ from a consociation of many churches?Answ. 1. In that such a particular church is a company of Christians associated for personal, immediate communion in God's worship and in holy living; whereas consociations
■ Acts viii. 37, &c. Acts ix. 17—2O. 26—28.
of churches, are combined for mediate distinct communion, or by delegates or representatives (as in synods"). 2. Such a particular church is constituted of one or more pastors with the people, officiating in the sacred ministry among them, in doctrine, worship, and discipline, in order to the said personal communion. But a consociation of churches hath no particular head as such, of Divine institution, to constitute and govern them as one. In Ignatius's time every particular church was characterized or known by two marks of unity, 1. One altar, (that is, one place for assembling for holy communion). 2. One bishop with the presbyters and deacons: and two altars and two bishops proved two churches. 3. A particular church under one bishop or the same pastors, is a political, holy society; but a combination of many churches consociate, is not so, but only, 1. Either a community agreeing to live in concord, as neighbour kingdoms may. 2. Or else a human policy or society, and not of Divine immediate institution. So that if this consociation of churches be called a church, it must be either equivocally or in a human sense.
Quest, Lv. Whether a particular church may consist of more assemblies than one? Or must needs meet all in one place?
Atisw .1. The true distinguishing note of a particular church is, that they be associated for holy communion in worship and holy living, not by delegates, nor distantly only, by owning the same faith, and loving one another, as we may do with those at the antipodes; but personally in presence. 2. Therefore they must necessarily be so near, as to be capable of personal, present communion. 3. And it is most convenient that they be no more than can ordinarily meet in the same assembly, at least for sacramental communion. 4. But yet they may meet in many places or assemblies, as chapels, or oratories, or other subordinate meetings which are appointed to supply the necessity of the weak and aged, and them that cannot travel far. And in times of persecu
"Acta ii. 1. 24. 44. 46. iv. 32. v. 12. 1 Tkess. v. 12, IS. 1 Cor. xiv. 19. 23,24. 28.35. Acts xiv. 23. Titus i. 5. Acts xi. 26. James ii. 2.
tion, when the church dare not at all meet in one place, they may make up several smaller meetings, under several pastors of the same church. But they should come all together as oft as they can. 5. And it is to be considered that all the persons of a family can seldom go to the assembly at one time, especially when they live far off. Therefore if a church-place would receive but ten thousand, yet twenty thousand might be members, while half meet one day, and half another (or another part of the day). 6. Two congregations distinctly associated for personal worship, under distinct pastors, or having statedly (as Ignatius speaketh) two bishops and two altars, are two particular churches, and can no otherwise be one church, than as that may be called one which is a consociation of divers.
Quest, Lvi. Is any form of church-government of Divine institution?
Ansxe. Yea: there are two essentially different policies or forms of church-government of Christ's own institution, never to be altered by man. 1. The form of the universal church, as headed by Christ himself; which all Christians own, as they are Christians in their baptism. 2. Particular churches which are headed by their particular bishops or pastors, and are parts of the universal, as a troop is of an army, or a city of a kingdom. Here it is of Divine institution, 1. That there be holy assemblies for the public worship of God. 2. That these assemblies be societies, constituted of the people with their pastors, who are to them as captains to their troops, under the general, or as mayors to cities under the king °.
3. That these pastors have the power of the keys, or the special guidance and governance (by the word, not by the sword) of their own particular charge, in the matters of faith, worship, and holy living; and that the flocks obey
» Eph. i. 22, 23. v. 25, 26. &c iv. 4—6. 16. Heb. x. 25. 1 Cor. xiv. Acts xiv. 23. Titus i. 5. 1 Tiro. v. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. 1 Tim. iii. 3—6. 1 Pet. v. 1—3. Acts xx. 28. Phil. i. 1,2.
them. And when all this is 'jure divino,' why should any say, that no form of government is 'jure divino?' 3. Moreover it is of Divine appointment, that these churches hold the nearest concord, and help each other as much as they can; whether by synods, or other meet ways of correspondency. And though this be not a distinct government, it is a distinct mode of governing. Object. ' But that there be pastors with fixed churches or assemblies is not of the law of nature.' Answ. 1. Hath Christ no law but the law of nature? Wherein then differ the Christian religion and the heathenish? 2. Suppose but Christ to be Christ, and man to be what he is, and nature itself will tell us that this is the fittest way for ordering the worship of God. For nature saith, God must be solemnly and ordinarily worshipped, and that qualified persons should be the official guides in the performance, and that people who need such conduct and private oversight besides, should where they live have their own stated overseers. Object. 'But particular congregations are not 'de primaria intentione divina:' for if the whole world could join together in the public worship of God, no doubt that would be properly a church. But particular congregations are only accidental, in reference to God's intention of having a church, because of the impossibility of all men's joining together for ordinances, &c.
Answ. 1. The question with me is not whether they be of primary intention, but whether stated churches headed with their proper bishops or pastors be not of God's institution in the Scripture?
2- This objection confirmeth it, and notdenieth it. For 1. It confesseth that there is a necessity of joining for God's worship: 2. And an impossibility that all the world should so join: 3. But if the whole world could so join, it would be properly a church. So that it confesseth that' to be a society joined for God's public worship, is to be properly a church.' And we confess all this: if all the world could be one family, they might have one master, or one kingdom, they might have one king. But when it is confessed, that, 1. A natural impossibility of an universal assembly necessitateth more particular assemblies; 2. And that Christ hath instituted such actually in his Word, what more can a considerate man require?3. I do not understand this distinction,' de primaria intentione divina,' and accidental, &c. The primary intention is properly of the ultimate end only: and no man thinketh that a law ' de mediis,' of the means, is no law, or that God hath made no laws ' de mediis:' for Christ as a mediator is a means. But suppose it be limited to the matter of church laws; if this be the meaning of it, that it is not the principal means, but a subordinate means, or that it is not instituted only ' propter finem ultimum,' no more than ' propter se,' but also in order to a higher thing as its immediate end, we make no question of that. Assemblies are not only that there may be assemblies; but for the worship and offices there performed: and those for man; and all for God. But what of all this? Hath God made no laws for subordinate means? No Christian denieth it. Therefore the learned and judicious disputerof this point declareth himself for what 1 say, when he saith, 'I engage not in the controversy, Whether a particular congregation be the first political church or no: it sufficeth for my purpose, that there are other churches besides. The thing in question is, Whether there be no other church but such particular congregations.' Where it seemeth granted that such particular churches are of Divine institution: and for other churches I shall say more anon. In the mean time note, that the question is but' de nomine' here, whether the name 'church,' be fit for other societies, and not' de rep.' But lest any should grow to the boldness to deny that 'Christ hath instituted Christian stated societies, consisting of pastors and flocks, associate for personal communion in public worship and holy living;' (which is my definition of a particular church, as not so confined to one assembly, but that it may be in divers, and yet not consisting of divers such distinct stated assemblies with their distinct pastors, nor of such as can have no personal communion, but only by delegates;) I prove it thus from the Word of God.
* Dr. Stillingfleel's Iren. p 154. so p. 170. By church here I mean not a particular congregation, he. So hegranteth that, l.The universal church, 2. Particular congregations are of Divine institution, one ' ex intentione primaria,' and the other, as he calls it, accidentally, but yet of natural necessity.