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lusts, their interests and advantages: there have in all ages SERM.
LVI. such counterfeit guides started up, having debauched some few heedless persons, having erected some magaruvayuryds, or petty combinations against the regularly settled corporations ; but never with any durable success or countenance of divine Providence; but like prodigious meteors, having caused a little gazing, and some disturbance, their sects have Jude 13. soon been dissipated, and have quite vanished away; the authors and abetters of them being either buried in oblivion, or recorded with ignominy: like that Theudas in the speech of Gamaliel, who rose up, boasting himself to be Acts v. 36. somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves ; who was slain, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
But let thus much suffice to have been spoken concerning the persons to whom obedience must be performed.
OF OBEDIENCE TO OUR SPIRITUAL GUIDES AND
HIB. xiii. 17.
Obey them that have the rule over you. SERM. I PROCEED to the duty itself, the obedience prescribed, LVII.
which may (according to the extent in signification of the word meat be conceived to relate either to the government, or to the doctrine, or to the conversation of the persons specified; implying, that we should obey their laws, that we should embrace their doctrine, that we should conform to their practice, according to proper limitations of such performance, respectively.
We begin with the first, as seeming chiefly intended by the words:
Obedience to ecclesiastical government : what this doth import we may understand by considering the terms whereby it is expressed, and those whereby its correlate (spiritual government) is signified; by examples and tice relating to it, by the nature and reason of the matter itself.
Beside the word wo3a, (which is commonly used to signify all sorts of obedience, chiefly that which is due to governors,) here is added a word serving to explain that, the word insiter, which signifieth to yield, give way, or comply; relating (as it seemeth by its being put indefinitely) to all their proceedings in matters concerning their charge. In other places, parallel to our text, it is ex.
Rom. xiii. 1.
pressed by iTOTÚOOsodas, the same term by which constantly SERM. the subjection due to secular powers, in all the precepts en
LVII. joining it, is expressed: 'Ομοίως νεώτεροι υποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις, (Tit. ii. 1. In like manner, (or correspondently,) saith St. Peter, ye younger submit yourselves to the elder ; (that is, as the con- 1 Pet. ii. text shews, ye inferiors in the Church obey your superiors ; 1 Pet. v. 5. ò vedregos both there and otherwhere doth signify the state Luke xxii. of inferiority, as ó rgeobrepos importeth dignity and authority.) And, imorúgoto:Je tog Touros, submit yourselves, unto 1 Cor. xvi. such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth, saith St. Paul; and, indýnous imorAccbusvoi, submitting your- 1 Pet. v. 6.;
v. . selves to one another in the fear of God, that is, yielding conscientiously that submission, which established order requireth from one to another : whence we may collect, that the duty consisteth in yielding submission and compliance to all laws, rules, and orders enacted by spiritual governors for the due celebratiou of God's worship, the promoting edification, the conserving decency, the maintenance of peace; as also to the judgments and censures in order to the same purposes administered by them.
This obedience to be due to them may likewise be inferred from the various names and titles attributed to them ; such as those of Prelates, Superintendents, Pastors, Supervisors, Governors, and Leaders; which terms (more largely touched before) do imply command and authority of all sorts, legislative, judicial, and executive.
Such obedience also primitive practice doth assert to them : for what authority the holy Apostles did assume and exercise, the same we may reasonably suppose derived to them; the same in kind, although not in peculiarity of manner, (by immediate commission from Christ, with supply of extraordinary gifts and graces,) and in unlimitedness of extent: for they do succeed to the Apostles in Cujus in 80charge and care over the Church, each in his precinct, lidum sinthe apostolical office being distributed among them all. cipes suThe same titles which the Apostles assumed to them- mus. Vid.
Cypr. de selves they ascribe to their Sympresbyters, requiring the Unit. Eccl. same duties from them, and prescribing obedience to them
SERM. in the same terms; they claimed no more power than was
LVII. needful to further edification, and this is requisite that pre2 Cor. x. 8. sent governors also should have; their practice in governxiii. 10.
ment may also well be presumed exemplary to all future To ordain governors.
As then we see them orarácou, to order things, To confirm and frame ecclesiastical constitutions ; 010933v, to rectify proselytes. To exercise things, or reform defects, to impose observances necessary, jurisdic
or expedient to the time; to judge causes and persons, 1 Cor. xi. being ready to avenge, or punish, every disobedience ; to
use severity upon occasions; with the spiritual rod to chasActs xv. 28. tise scandalous offenders, disorderly walkers, persons contu1 Cor. v. 12. 2 Cor . x.6. macious and unconformable to their injunctions ; to reject
heretics, and banish notorious sinners from communion, 1 Cor. iv. 21. xii. 21. warning the faithful to forbear conversation with them: as "Thess. iii. they did challenge to themselves an authority from Christ 6, 14. to exercise these and the like acts of spiritual dominion and Tit. iii. 10.. I Tim. vi.6. jurisdiction, exacting punctual obedience to them; as we Rom. xvi. also see the like acts exercised by bishops, whom they did 2 Cor. x. 8. constitute to feed and rule the Church; so we may reason
ably conceive all governors of the Church (the heirs of their Episcopi successores office) invested with like authority in order to the same purrum. Cypr. poses, and that correspondent obedience is due to them ; so Ep. 27. 69. that what blame, what punishment was due to those, who Ep. 41. 75. disobeyed the Apostles, doth in proportion belong to the (l'irmil.) transgressors of their duty toward the present governors of
the Church; especially considering that our Lord promised
his perpetual presence and assistance to the Apostles. Matt.
We may farther observe, that accordingly, in continual xxvij. 20.
succession from the first ages, the good primitive bishops (the great patrons and propagators of our religion) did generally assume such power, and the people readily did yield obedience ; wherein that one did wrongfully usurp, the other did weakly comply, were neither probable nor just to suppose : whence general tradition doth also confirm our obligation to this duty.
That this kind of obedience is required doth also farther appear from considering the reason of things, the condition of the Church, the design of Christian religion.
1. Every Christian church is a society; no society can SERM. abide in any comely order, any steady quiet, any desirable LVII. prosperity, without government; no government can stand without correspondent obligation to submit thereto.
2. Again; The state of religion under the Gospel is the kingdom of heaven; Christ our Lord is king of the Church; it he visibly governeth and ordereth by the spiritual governors, as his substitutes and lieutenants; (whence they peculiarly are styled his ministers, his officers, his stewards, his legates, his co-workers.) When he ascending up to God's right hand was invested with entire possession of that royal state, he settled them to administer affairs concerning that government in his place and name: Ascending up on high he gave gifts unto men.—He gave some apostles, Eph. iv. 8, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers : 11, 12. he gave them, that is, he appointed them in their oflice, subordinate to himself, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. As to him, therefore, ruling by them, by them enacting laws, dispensing justice, maintaining order and peace, obedience is due.
3. Again; For the honour of God, the commendation (1 Cor. xiv. of religion, and benefit of the people, it is needful, that in tit. ii. 10.) all religious performances things should, according to St. Paul's rule, be performed decently, and according to order, 1 Cor. xiv. without unhandsome confusion, and troublesome distrac- 40. tion: this cannot be accomplished without a determination of persons, of modes, of circumstances appertaining to those performances; (for how can any thing be performed decently, if every person hath not his rank and station, his office and work allotted to him ; if to every thing to be done, its time, its place, its manner of performance be not assigned, so that each one may know what, when, where, and how he must do?) Such determination must be committed to the discretion and care of some persons, empowered to frame standing laws or rules concerning it, and to see them duly executed; (for all persons without delay, strife, confusion, and disturbanee, cannot meddle in it:) with these