Of the several Parts or Acts of this power of Church Government, wherein it puts forth itself in the Church.
Thus far of the special kind or peculiar nature of this authority; now to the several parts or acts of this power which the description comprehends in these expressions, (in dispensing the word, seals, censures, and all other ordinances of Christ.) The evangelical ordinances which Christ has set up in his church are many; and all of them by divine right that Christ sets up. Take both the enumeration of ordinances and the divine right thereof severally, as followeth.
Jesus Christ our Mediator hath instituted and appointed these ensuing administrations to be standing and perpetual ordinances in his church: which ordinances for method sake may be reduced into two heads, according to the distribution of the keys formerly laid down, (chap. III.,) viz., ordinances appertaining, 1st, To the key of order or of doctrine; 2d, To the key of jurisdiction or of discipline.
1. Ordinances appertaining to the key of order or doctrine, viz:
1. Public prayer and thanksgiving are divine ordinances: for 1st, Paul writing his first epistle to Timothy, “that he might know how to behave himself in the house of God,” 1 Tim. iii. 14, 15, among other directions in that epistle, gives this for one, “I exhort therefore that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,” 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, “for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,” verse 3. 2. The apostle, regulating public prayers in the congregation, directing that they should be performed with the understanding, takes it for granted that public prayer was an ordinance of Christ. “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and will pray with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned, say amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not