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 373 pages of information about The Divine Right of Church Government by Sundry Ministers Of Christ Within The City Of London.
lordly, and supreme; and so it is primitively and absolutely in God, Matt. xxviii. 18.  Dispensatorily and mediatorily in Jesus Christ our Mediator only, whom God hath made both Lord and Christ, Acts ii. 36; Matt, xxiii. 8, 10; 1 Cor. viii. 6, and to whom God alone hath dispensed all authority and power, Matt, xxviii. 18, 19; John v. 22.  Now church government, as settled on Christ only, is monarchical. 2.  Ministerial, stewardly, and subordinate; and this power Jesus Christ our Mediator hath committed to his church guides and officers in his Church, 2 Cor. x. 8, and xiii. 10; and church government, as intrusted in the hands of church guides, is representative.  This ministerial church government, committed by Christ to his officers, may be considered either, 1.  As it was dispensed under the Old Testament, in a Mosaical, Levitical polity; in which sense we here speak not of church government; (that polity being dissolved and antiquated.) 2.  Or, as it is to be dispensed now under the New Testament, in an evangelical Christian polity, by Christ’s New Testament officers; and this is that church government which is here described, viz. not the supreme magisterial government of Christ, but the subordinate ministerial government of Christ’s officers; and this not as it was under the Old Testament, but as it ought to be now under the New Testament.

CHAPTER III.

Of the general Nature of Church Government, viz.  Power or Authority.

Touching the general nature of this government, which it participates in common with all other governments, it is power or authority.  Here divers particulars are to be cleared and proved, viz: 

1.  What is meant by power or authority?  The word chiefly used in the New Testament for power or authority is used not only to denote Christ’s supreme power, as Luke iv. 36; Mark i. 17, with Luke vi. 19; but also his officers’ derived power, as with 2 Cor. x. 8, and xiii. 10.  It is used to signify divers things:  as, 1.  Dignity, privilege, prerogative.  “To them he gave prerogative to be the sons of God,” John i. 12. 2.  Liberty, leave, license; as, 1 Cor. viii. 9, “But so that your liberty become not an offence to the weak;” and 1 Cor. ix. 4, 5, “Have not we liberty to eat and drink?  Have not we liberty to lead about a sister, a wife?” 3.  But most usually right and authority; as, Matt. xxi. 23, 24, 27, and xxviii. 18; so 2 Cor. x. 8, and xiii. 10:  in this last sense especially it is here to be taken in this description of church government.

Power or authority in general is by some[24] thus described:  that whereby one may claim or challenge any thing to one’s self, without the injury of any other.  Power is exercised either about things, or actions, or persons. 1.  About things, as when a man disposes of his own goods, which he may do without wrong to any. 2.  About actions, as when a man acts that which offends no law. 3. 

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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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