7. Those acts that were done from extraordinary calling and gifts, are to be imitated (in regard of their special way of acting) only by those that have such extraordinary calling and gifts. Christ therefore blames his apostles for desiring to imitate Elijah’s extraordinary act in calling for fire from heaven, &c., when they had not his spirit, Luke ix. 54, 55. Papists are blameworthy for imitating the extraordinary forty days’ and nights’ fast of Moses, Elijah, and Christ, in their Lent fast. Prelates argue corruptly for bishops’ prelacy over their brethren the ministers, from the superiority of the apostles over presbyters.
Of a Divine Right by Divine Approbation.
III. By divine approbation of the Spirit of Jesus Christ in his word. Whatsoever in matters of religion hath the divine approbation of the Spirit of Christ in the Scriptures, that is of divine right, and by the will and appointment of Jesus Christ. God’s approving or allowing of any thing, plainly implies that it is according to his will and pleasure, and so is equivalent to a divine institution or appointment; for what is a divine institution or law but the publishing of the divine will of the legislator, touching things to be acted or omitted? and God cannot approve any thing that is against his will. Contrariwise, God’s disallowing of any thing, plainly implies that it is against his will, and so of divine right prohibited, and unlawful. God allows or disallows things not because they are good or evil; but things are, therefore, good or evil, because he approves or disallows them.
Now God approves or disallows things divers ways:
1. By commending or discommending. God commended king Josiah for his zeal and impartiality in completing of the reformation of religion, 1 Kings xiii. 25. This is a rule for all princes and magistrates how they should reform. The angel of the church of Ephesus is commended, for not bearing of those that were evil, for trying and detecting the false apostles, and for hating the works of the Nicolaitans, Rev. ii. 2, 3, 6. The angel of the church of Pergamus is praised, for holding fast Christ’s name, and not denying his faith in places of danger, and days of deepest persecution, Rev. ii. 13: a rule for all pastors and churches, how in all such cases they should carry themselves. God’s commendings are divine commandings. On the contrary, God dispraises Ephesus, for falling from her first love, Rev. ii. 4. Pergamus, for holding the doctrine of Balaam, and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, Rev. ii. 14, 15. Thyatira, for tolerating the false prophetess Jezebel, to teach and seduce his servants, &c., Rev. ii. 20. Laodicea, because she was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, Rev. iii. 15. The church of Corinth, for coming together in public assemblies, not for better but for worse, by reason of schisms, scandals, and other disorders about the Lord’s