Argum. II. The primitive apostolical practice in the first and purest ages of the Church after Christ, may further evidence with great strength the divine warrant for church government by juridical synods or councils. Let this be the position:
Jesus Christ our Mediator hath laid down in his word a pattern of a juridical synod, consisting of governing officers of divers presbyterial churches, for a rule to the Church of Christ in all succeeding ages.
For proof hereof take these two assertions: 1. That Jesus Christ hath laid down in his word a pattern of a juridical synod. 2. That this juridical synod is for a rule to the churches of Christ in all succeeding ages.
That Jesus Christ hath laid down in his word a pattern of a synod, yea, of a juridical synod, consisting of governing officers of divers presbyterial churches, is manifest, Acts xv. and xvi., where are plainly set forth: 1. The occasion of the synod. 2. The proper members of the synod. 3. The equal power and authority exercised by all those members. 4. The way and method of ordinary synodal proceeding. 5. The juridical acts of power put forth by the synod; with the issue and consequent of all upon the churches.
First, Here was a proper ground and occasion for a juridical synod. For thus the text expressly declareth, that “certain men which came down from Judea, taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved; when therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders