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.