Major. Whatsoever formal power of church government Christ committed to any, he committed it only to those that were properly subordinate to his mediatory kingdom. For whatsoever ecclesiastical ordinance, office, power, or authority, Christ gave to men, he gave it as Mediator and Head of the Church, by virtue of his mediatory office; and for the gathering, edifying, and perfecting of his mediatory kingdom, which is his Church, Eph. iv. 7, 10-12. Therefore such as are not properly subordinate to Christ in this his office, and for this end, can have no formal church power from Christ.
Minor. But no magistrate, as a magistrate, is subordinate properly to Christ’s mediatory kingdom. For, 1. Not Christ the Mediator, but God the Creator authorizeth the magistrate’s office, Rom. xiii. 1, 2, 6. 2. Magistracy is never styled a ministry of Christ in Scripture, nor dispensed in his name. 3. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, John xviii. 36; the magistrate’s is.
Conclusion. Therefore no formal power of Church government is committed by Christ to the magistrate as a magistrate.
6th. Finally, divers absurdities unavoidably follow upon the granting of a proper formal power of Church government to the civil magistrate: therefore he cannot be the proper subject of such power. Hence it may be thus argued:
Major. No grant of ecclesiastical power, which plainly introduceth many absurdities, can be allowed to the political magistrate, as the proper subject thereof. For though in matters of religion there be many things mysterious, sublime, and above the reach of reason; yet there is nothing to be found that is absurd, irrational, &c.
Minor. But to grant to the political magistrate, as a magistrate, a proper formal power of church government, introduceth plainly many absurdities, e.g.: 1. This brings confusion betwixt the office of the magistracy and ministry. 2. Confounds the church and commonwealth together. 3. Church government may be monarchical in one man; and so, not only prelatical but papal; and consequently, antichristian. Which absurdities, with many others, were formerly intimated, and neither by religion nor reason can be endured. We conclude:
Conclusion. Therefore the grant of a proper formal power of church government cannot be allowed to the political magistrate as the proper subject thereof, because he is a magistrate.
That the community of the faithful, or body of the people, are not the immediate subject of the power of Church government.
Thus we see, that Jesus Christ our Mediator did not commit any proper formal ecclesiastical power for church government to the political magistrate, as such, as the Erastians conceive. Now, in the next place (to come more close) let us consider that Jesus Christ our Mediator hath not committed the spiritual power of church government to the body of the people, presbyterated, or unpresbyterated (to use their own terms) as the first subject thereof, according to the opinion of the Separatists or Independents. Take it in this proposition: