Add hereto, 2 Cor. x. 8, “Of our authority, which the Lord hath given to us for the edification, and not for the destruction of you.” Here are mentioned—1. Church power or authority for government in the Church. 2. The end of this power—positively, for the edification; negatively, not for the destruction of the Church. 3. The Author or Fountain of this authority—the Lord Christ hath given it, dispensed it; there is the divine right. 4. The proper subjects intrusted with this authority, viz: the church guides, our authority, which he hath given to us. They are the receptacle of power for the Church, and the government thereof. Compare also 1 Thes. v. 12, Matth. xvi. 19, 20, with xviii. 11, and John xx. 21, 22, 23. In which and divers like places the divine right of church government is apparently vouched by the Scripture, as will hereafter more fully appear; but this may suffice in general for the confirmation of this general proposition.
Of the Nature of a DIVINE RIGHT in general.
Now touching this divine right of church government, two things are yet more particularly to be opened and proved, for the more satisfactory clearing thereof unto sober minds, to unprejudiced and unpre-engaged judgments, viz:—1. What the nature of a divine right is, and how many ways a thing may be said to be of divine right, and that by warrant of Scripture. 2. What the nature of the government of the Church under the New Testament is, which is vouched by the Scripture to be of divine right.
For the first—viz. What the nature of a divine right is—consider both what a divine right is in general, and how many ways a thing may be said by Scripture warrant to be of divine right in particular.
Right is that which is most proper, just, or equal; or that which is prescribed or commanded by some statute law, and is just to be received in virtue of said law.