The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 431 pages of information about The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London.
number.  And in this sense the Holy Ghost ofttimes useth this word in the New Testament; as for instance, “Is not the life better than meat?” Matt. vi. 25.  “Behold, a greater than Jonah is here,” Matt. xii. 41.  “And behold, a greater than Solomon is here,” Matt. xii. 41.  “To love him with all the heart,” &c., “is more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices,” Mark xii. 33.  And again, ver. 43, “This poor widow hath cast more than all they,” &c.  And thus it is frequently used to signify quality, worth, greatness, dignity, eminency, &c., and so it may be conveniently interpreted in this of the Corinthians. 4.  Though all proper acts of authority appertain only to the church officers, yet we are not against the people’s fraternal concurrence therewith.  People may incite the presbytery to the acts of their office; people may be present at the administration of censures, &c., by the elders, as Cyprian of old would dispatch all public acts, the people being present; people may judge with a judgment of discretion, acclamation, and approbation, &c., as the elders judge with a judgment of power; and people afterwards may, yea must, withdraw from delinquents sentenced, that the sentence may attain its proposed end.  But none of these are properly any acts of power.

3.  Nor doth the apostle’s expression, verse 12, “Do you not judge them that are within?” prove that the people concur with any authoritative act in the elders’ sentence.  For, 1.  This being spoken to them indefinitely, was to be applied distributively and respectively, only to them to whom it properly appertained, viz. the elders, as hath been showed.  They only have authority to judge. 2.  Such a judgment is allowed to the saints in church censures, as shall be allowed to them when the saints shall judge the world, yea angels, 1 Cor. vi. 1-3, viz. in both a judgment of acclamation, approbation, &c., as assessors, as people judge at the assizes; not in either a judgment of authority, which the judge and jury only do pronounce.

4.  Nor, finally, doth the apostle’s direction to forgive the incestuous, being penitent, 2 Cor. ii. 4-10, which seems to be given to all, prove the people’s concurrence with the elders in any act of power.  For the authoritative forgiving and receiving him again, belonged only to the elders; the charitable forgiving, receiving, and comforting of him, belonged also to the people.  As the judge and jury at an assizes, acquit by judgment of authority, the people only by judgment of discretion and acclamation.

Thus it appears how little strength is in this instance of the church of Corinth, (though supposed to be the strongest ground the Independents have,) for the propping up of their popular government, and authoritative suffrage of the people.


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The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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