Of the proper Receptacle, or immediate subject of the Power of Church Government: affirmatively, what it is, viz. Christ’s own Officers.
Thus the proper receptacle or subject of ecclesiastical power hath been considered negatively, what it is not, viz: not the political magistrate, nor yet the community of the faithful, or body of the people, with or without their eldership. Now this receptacle of power comes to be evidenced affirmatively, what it is, viz. (according to the express words of the description of government,) Christ’s own officers. This is the last branch of the description, the divine right whereof remains to be cleared; which may most satisfactorily be done by evidencing these three things, viz: 1. That Jesus Christ our Mediator hath certain peculiar church guides and officers which he hath erected in his Church. 2. That Jesus Christ our Mediator hath especially intrusted his own officers with the government of his Church. 3. How, or in what sense the ruling officers are intrusted with this government, severally or jointly?
1. Of the Divine Right of Christ’s Church Officers, viz. Pastors and Teachers, with Ruling Elders.
Touching the first, that Christ hath certain peculiar church guides and officers, which he hath erected in his Church. Take it thus:
Jesus Christ our Mediator hath ordained and set in his Church (besides the apostles and other extraordinary officers that are now ceased) pastors and teachers, as also ruling elders, as the subject of the keys for all ordinary ecclesiastical administrations. The divine right of these ordinary church officers may appear as followeth: