That this juridical synod is for a rule to the churches of Christ in all succeeding ages, there need no new considerations for proof hereof; only let the reader please to look back to Position iv. of the last chapter, where the substance of those considerations which urge the pattern of presbyteries and presbyterial government for a rule to succeeding churches, is applicable (by change of terms) to the pattern of juridical synods.
Of the subordination of particular churches to greater assemblies for their authoritative and judicial determination of causes ecclesiastical, and the divine right thereof.
The divine right of ecclesiastical assemblies, congregational, classical, and synodal, and of their power for church government, being thus evidenced by the Scriptures, now in the last place take a few words briefly touching the subordination of the lesser to the greater assemblies, and the divine warrant thereof. In asserting the subordination of particular churches to higher assemblies, whether classical or synodal,
1. It is not denied, but particular churches have within themselves power of discipline entirely, so far as any cause in debate particularly and peculiarly concerneth themselves, and not others.
2. It is granted, that where there is no consociation, or neighborhood of single churches, whereby they may mutually aid one another, there a single congregation must not be denied entire jurisdiction; but this falls not within the compass of ordinary rules of church government left us by Christ. If there be but one congregation in a kingdom or province, that particular congregation may do much by itself alone, which it ought not to do where there are neighboring and adjacent churches that might associate therewith for mutual assistance.
3. It is granted, that every single congregation hath equal power, one as much as another, and that there is no subordination of one to another; according to that common and known axiom, An equal hath no power or rule over an equal. Subordination prelatical, which is of one or more parishes to the prelate and his cathedral, is denied; all particular churches being collateral, and of the same authority.
4. It is granted, that classical or synodal authority cannot be by Scripture introduced over a particular church in a privative or destructive way to that power which God hath bestowed upon it; but contrarily it is affirmed, that all the power of assemblies, which are above particular congregations, is cumulative and perfective to the power of those inferior congregations.