OF THE NATURE OF THAT CHURCH GOVERNMENT WHICH IS OF DIVINE RIGHT, ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE.
The Description of Church Government.
The nature of that church government which is of divine right according to Scripture, comes next to be considered; (having so fully seen what the nature of a divine right is, and how many several ways matters in religion may be said to be of divine right.) For the fuller and clearer unfolding whereof, let us first see how church government may be described; and then how that description may be explained and justified by the word of God, in the branches of it.
Church government may be thus described:
Church government is a power13 or authority spiritual,14 revealed in the holy Scriptures,15 derived from Jesus Christ16 our Mediator,17 only to his own officers, and by them exercised in dispensing of the word,18 seals,19 censures,20 and all other ordinances of Christ,21for the edifying of the Church of Christ.22
This description of church government may be thus explained and proved. Three things are principally considerable herein, viz: 1. The thing defined, or described, viz. church government. 2. The general nature of this government which it hath in common with all other governments, viz. power or authority.
3. The special difference whereby it is distinguished from all other governments whatsoever. Herein six things are observable. 1. The special rule, wherein it is revealed, and whereby it is to be measured, viz. the holy Scriptures. 2. The proper author, or fountain, whence this power is derived, viz. from Jesus Christ our Mediator, peculiarly. 3. The special kind of this power or authority, viz. it is a spiritual power, it is a derived power. 4. The several parts or acts wherein this power sets forth itself, viz. in dispensing the word, seals, censures, and all other ordinances of Christ. 5. The special end or scope of this power, viz. the edifying of the Church of Christ. 6. The proper and distinct subject or receptacle wherein Christ hath placed and intrusted all this power, viz. only his own officers. All these things are comprehended in this description, and unto these several heads the whole nature of church government may be reduced. So that, these being explained and confirmed by the Scriptures, it will easily and fully be discovered, what that church government is which is of divine right, and by the will and appointment of Jesus Christ, our Mediator.
Of the Subject Described, viz. Church Government, the terms being briefly opened.
Touching the thing defined or described, it is church government. Here two terms are to be a little explained: 1. What is meant by church? 2. What is meant by government?
1. Church is originally derived from a Greek word,23 which signifies to call forth. Hence church properly signifies a company or multitude, called forth; and so in this notation of the word, three things are implied: 1. The term from which they are called. 2. The term to which they are called. 3. The medium or mean by which they are brought from one term to another, viz. by calling. And these things thus generally laid down, do agree to every company that may properly be called a church. Now, this word translated church, never signifies one particular person, but many congregated, gathered, or called together; and it hath several acceptations or uses in the New Testament: 1. It is used in a common and civil sense, for any civil meeting, or concourse of people together: thus that tumultuous and riotous assembly is called a church, Acts xix. 32, 39, 40. 2. It is used in a special religious sense, for a sacred meeting or assembly of God’s people together: and thus it signifies the Church of God, either, 1. Invisible, comprehending only the elect of God, as Heb. xii. 23, “and Church of the first-born,” Eph. v. 23, &c., “Even as Christ is the head of the Church.” 2. Or, visible, comprehending the company of those that are called to the visible profession of the faith in Christ, and obedience unto Christ, according to the gospel, as Acts ii. 47, and v. 11, and viii. 3, and xii. 1, 5; 1 Cor. xii. 23, and often elsewhere. Now in this description, church is not understood of a civil assembly; for such assemblies are governed by civil power. Nor of the invisible Church of Christ; for, as the Church is invisible, (to speak properly,) it is invisibly governed by Christ and his Spirit, Rom. viii. 14; Gal. ii. 20. But of the visible Church of Christ, for which Christ hath provided a visible polity, a visible government, by visible officers and ordinances, for the good both of the visible and invisible members thereof, which is that church government here spoken of.
2. Government is the translation of a Greek word, which properly signifies the government of a ship with chart, &c., by the pilot or mariner, and thence metaphorically is used to signify any government, political or ecclesiastical. But the word is only once used in all the New Testament, viz. 1 Cor. xii. 28: Governments, h.e. ruling elders in the church; the abstract being put for the concrete, governments for governors. But whatever be the terms or names whereby government is expressed, government generally considered seems still to signify a superiority of office, power, and authority, which one hath and exerciseth over another. This is the notion of government in general. So that church government, in general, notes that pre-eminence or superiority of office, power, and authority, which some have and exercise over others in spiritual matters, in church affairs. And here we are further to consider, that church government is either, 1. Magisterial, 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.
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 some24 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. About persons, as when a man commands his children or servants that are under his own power.—Proportionably, the power of the Church in government is exercised, 1. About things, as when it is to be determined by the word, what the Church may call her own of right; as, that all the officers are hers, Eph; iv. 7, 8, 10, 11; 1 Cor. xii. 28: that all the promises are hers, 2 Pet. i. 4; 1 Tim. iv. 8: that Jesus Christ, and with Christ all things, are hers, 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. The keys of the kingdom of heaven are hers, Matt. xvi. 19, and xviii. 18, &c.; John xx. 21, 23, &c.: these things the Church may challenge without wrong to any. 2. About actions. As when it is to be determined by the word, what the Church of divine right may do, or not do: as, the Church may not bear with them that are evil, Rev. ii. 2; nor tolerate women to teach, or false doctrine to be broached, Rev. ii. 20, &c. The Church may warn the unruly, 1 Thess. v. 14: excommunicate the obstinate and incorrigible, Matt, xviii. 17, 18; 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, 13: receive again penitent persons to the communion of the faithful, 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8: make binding decrees in synods, even to the restraining of the outward exercise of due Christian liberty for a time, for prevention of scandal, Acts xv. 3. About persons. The Church also hath a power to be exercised, for calling them to their duty, and keeping them in their duty according to the word of God: as, to rebuke them before all, that sin before all, 1 Tim. v. 20: to prove deacons, Acts vi. 2, 3, &c.; 1 Tim. iii. 10: to ordain elders, Tit. i. 5; Acts xiv. 23: to use the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the dispensing of all ordinances, Matt, xviii. 18-20, and John xx. 21, 23, with Matt, xxviii. 18-20: and, in a word, (as the cause shall require,) to judge of all them that are within the Church, 1 Cor. v. 12.
This is the power and authority wherein the nature of church government generally doth consist.
2. That all governments in Scripture are styled by the common names of power or authority: e.g. the absolute government of God over all things, is power, Acts i. 7: the supreme government of Jesus Christ, is power, Matt, xxviii. 18; Rev. xii. 10: the political government of the magistrate in commonwealths, is power, as John xix. 10; Rom. xiii. 1-3; Luke xxiii. 7: the military government of soldiers under superior commanders, is power, &c., Matt. viii. 9: the family government that the master of a family hath over his household, is power, 1 Tim. iii. 5, “If any man know not how to rule his own house.” Yea, the very tyrannical rule that sin and Satan exercise over carnal men, is styled power, Acts xxvi. 18; Col. i. 13. Thus, generally, all sorts of government are commonly called power or authority.
3. That thus the Scripture also styles church government, viz. power or authority, as 2 Cor. x. 8, “Of our authority” (or power) “which the Lord hath given us for your edification.” Paul speaks it of this power of church government. And again, speaking of the same subject, he saith, “Lest being present, I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.” 2 Cor. xiii. 10.
For further clearing hereof, consider the several sorts or kinds of ecclesiastical power, according to this type or scheme of ecclesiastical power and authority here subjoined.
Ecclesiastical power is either supreme and magisterial; or subordinate and ministerial.
I. Supreme magisterial power, consisting in a lordly dominion and sovereignty over the Church; and may come under a double consideration, viz:
1. As it is justly attributed to God alone. Thus the absolute sovereignty and supreme power (to speak properly) is only his over the Church, and all creatures in the whole universe: now this supreme divine power is either essential or mediatorial.
1. Essential, viz. that power which belongs to the essence of God, and to every person of the Trinity in common, as God. “His kingdom ruleth over all,” Psal. ciii. 19. “God ruleth in Jacob to the ends of the earth,” Psal. lix. 13. “The kingdom is the Lord’s, and he is the Governor among the nations,” Psal. xxii. 28.
2. Mediatorial, viz. that magisterial, lordly, and sovereign power or dominion, which God hath dispensed, delegated, or committed to Christ as Mediator, being both head of the Church, and over all things to the Church. This power is peculiar only to Jesus Christ our Mediator. “All power is given to me both in heaven and in earth,” Matt. xxviii. 18. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand,” John iii. 35. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son,” John v. 22. “One is your Master, even Christ,” Matt. xxiii. 8, 10. “God hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the Church,” Eph. i. 20-23.—This power of Christ is the only proper fountain whence all ecclesiastical power flows to the Church.
II. As it is unjustly arrogated and usurped by man; whether, 1. By the pope to himself; who arrogates to himself to be Christ’s vicar, the supreme visible head on earth of the visible catholic Church of Christ; who exalts himself above all that is called God on earth, over magistrates, princes, kings, yea, over the souls and consciences of men, and the holy Scriptures of God themselves, &c., 2 Thess. ii. 4; Rev. xviii. 10-13.
2. By earthly princes to themselves: as, King Henry VIII., who, casting off the papal power and primacy, was vested with it himself within his own dominions, over the Church, accounting himself the fountain of all ecclesiastical power, (it being by statute law annexed to the crown,) and assuming to himself that papal title of supreme head of the Church, &c., which is sharply taxed by orthodox divines of foreign churches. Thus, that most learned Rivet, taxing Bishop Gardiner for extolling the king’s primacy, saith, “For, he that did as yet nourish the doctrine of the papacy, as after it appeared, did erect a new papacy in the person of the king.”—Andrew Rivet, Expli. Decalog. Edit. ii. page 203. Judicious Calvin saith thus: “And to this day how many are there in the papacy that heap upon kings whatsoever right and power they can possibly, so that there may not be any dispute of religion; but should this power be in one king, to decree according to his own pleasure whatsoever he pleaseth, and that should remain fixed without controversy? They that at first so much extolled Henry, king of England, (certainly they were inconsiderate men,) gave unto him supreme power of all things, and this grievously wounded me always; for they were blasphemers, when they called him the supreme head of the Church under Christ: certainly this was too much. But let this remain buried, because they sinned by an inconsiderate zeal. But when that impostor, (he means Bishop Gardiner, as Rivet notes,) which after was chancellor of this Proserpina, which there at this day overcometh all the devils, he when he was at Ratisbon did not contend with reasons, (I speak of this last chancellor, who was Bishop of Winchester,) but as I now began to say, he much regarded not scripture testimonies; but said, it was at the pleasure of the king to abrogate the statutes, and institute new rites. Touching fasting, there the king can enjoin and command the people, that this or that day the people may eat flesh: yea, that it is lawful for the king to forbid priests to marry; yea, that it is lawful for the king to forbid to the people the use of the cup in the Lord’s supper; that it is lawful for the king to decree this or that in his kingdom. Why? Because the king hath the supreme power. It is certain, if kings do their duty, they are both patrons of religion, and nurse-fathers of the Church, as Isaiah calls them, Isa. xlix. 23. This, therefore, is principally required of kings, that they use the sword wherewith they are furnished, for the maintaining of God’s worship. But in the mean time there are inconsiderate men, that make them too spiritual; and this fault reigns up and down Germany; yea, spreads too much in these countries. And now we perceive what fruits spring from this root, viz: that princes, and all that are in place of government, think themselves to be so spiritual, that there is no other ecclesiastical government. And this sacrilege creeps among us, because they cannot measure their office with certain and lawful bounds, but are of opinion they cannot reign, unless they abolish all the authority of the Church, and become the chief judges both in doctrine, and in the whole spiritual government. At the beginning they pretend some zeal; but mere ambition drives them, that so solicitously they snatch all things to themselves. Therefore there ought to be a temper kept; for this disease hath always reigned in princes, to desire to bend religion according to their own pleasure and lust, and for their own profits in the mean time. For they have respect to their profit, because for the most part they are not acted by the Spirit of God, but their ambition carries them.” Thus Calvin in Amos vii. 13. Oh what exclamations would this holy man have poured out, had he lived to see the passages of our days! Quis talia fando temperet a lachrymis!25
II. Subordinate ministerial power, which is either,
1. Indirectly, improperly, and only objectively ecclesiastical or spiritual, (so called, because it is exercised about spiritual or ecclesiastical objects, though formally in its own nature it be properly a mere civil or political power.) This is that power which is allowed to the civil magistrate about religion; he is an overseer of things without the Church, having an external care of religion as a nurse-father, Isa. xlix. 23; as had Hezekiah, Josiah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, &c.; so as, by the law, to restore religion decayed, reform the Church corrupted, protect the Church reformed, &c.
2. Directly, properly, and formally ecclesiastical or spiritual, having respect properly to matters within the Church. This power only belongs to church officers, who are overseers of things within, 1 Cor. iv. 20, 21; 2 Cor. x. 8, and xiii. 10; and this is either, 1. More special and peculiar to the office of some church governors only, as the power of preaching the gospel, dispensing the sacraments, &c., which is only committed to the ministers of the gospel, and which they, as ministers, may execute, in virtue of their office. This is called by some the key of doctrine, or key of knowledge; by others, the power of order, or of special office. See Matt, xxviii. 18-20; Rom. x. 15; 1 Tim. v. 17. 2. More general and common to the office of all church governors, as the power of censures, &c., wherein ruling elders act with ministers, admonishing the unruly, excommunicating the incorrigible, remitting and receiving again of the penitent into church communion. Compare Matt, xviii. 17, 18; 1 Cor. v. 2, 4, 5, 7, 11-13; 2 Cor. ii. 6-12, with Rom. xii. 8; 1 Cor. xii. 28; and 1 Tim. v. 17. This is called the key of discipline, or power of jurisdiction.
Of the special difference of Church Government from other Governments. And first of the Special Rule of Church Government, viz. the Holy Scriptures.
Touching the special difference, whereby church government is in this description distinguished from all other governments whatsoever, it consists of many branches, which will require more large explication and confirmation; and shall be handled, not according to that order, as they are first named in the description, but according to the order of nature, as they most conduce to the clearing of one another, every branch being distinctly laid down, as followeth:
The rule or standard of church government is only the holy Scriptures. Thus in the description, church government is styled a power or authority revealed in the holy Scriptures. For clearing hereof, take this proposition, viz:
Jesus Christ our Mediator hath laid down in his word a perfect and sufficient rule for the government of his visible Church under the New Testament, which all the members of his Church ought to observe and submit unto until the end of the world. For clearing this, weigh these considerations:
1. The government of the visible Church under the New Testament is as needful as ever it was under the Old Testament. What necessity of government could be pleaded then, which may not as strongly be pleaded now? Is not the visible Church of Christ a mixed body of sound and unsound members, of fruitful and barren branches, of tares and wheat, of good and bad, of sincere believers and hypocrites, of sheep and goats, &c., now as well as it was then? Is there not as great cause to separate and distinguish by church power, between the precious and the vile, the clean and the unclean, (who are apt to defile, infect, and leaven one another,) now as well as then? Ought there not to be as great care over the holy ordinances of God, to preserve and guard them from contempt and pollution, by a hedge and fence of government, now as well as then? Is it not as necessary that by government sin be suppressed, piety promoted, and the Church edified, now as well as then? But under the Old Testament the Church visible had a perfect rule of church government, (as is granted on all sides:) and hath Jesus Christ left his Church now under the New Testament in a worse condition?
2. The Lord Jesus Christ (upon whose shoulder God hath laid the government, Isa. ix. 6, and unto whom all power both in heaven and in earth is given by the Father to that end, Matt. xxviii. 18) is most faithful in all his house, the Church, fully to discharge all the trust committed to him, and completely to supply his Church with all necessaries both to her being, and well-being ecclesiastical. Moses was faithful in the Old Testament; for, as God gave him a pattern of church government in the ceremonial law, so he did all things according to the pattern; and shall the Lord Jesus be less faithful as a son over his own house, than was Moses as a servant over another’s house? “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house—and Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant—but Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we,” Heb. iii. 1, 2, 5, 6. Yea, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever,” Heb. xiii. 8, giving a pattern of church government to Moses, and the church officers of the Old Testament, (the Church being then as a child in nonage and minority, Gal, iv. 1, &c.,) can we imagine he hath not as carefully left a pattern of church government to his apostles, and the church officers of the New Testament, the Church being now as a man come to full age and maturity?
3. The holy Scriptures are now completely and unalterably perfect, containing such exact rules for the churches of God in all states and ages, both under the Old and New Testament, that not only the people of God, of all sorts and degrees, but also the men of God, and officers of the Church, of all sorts and ages, may thereby be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. “The law of the Lord is perfect,” Psal. xix. 7. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to every good work,” 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. And in his first epistle to Timothy, (which is the Church’s directory for divine worship, discipline, and government,) he saith, “These things write I unto thee—that thou mightest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God,” (this is spoken in reference to matters of church government peculiarly,) 1 Tim. iii. 14, 15. And the apostle, having respect to the former matters in his epistle, saith to Timothy, and to all Timothies after him, “I give thee charge in the sight of God—that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (therefore, this charge is intended for all ministers after Timothy to the world’s end,) 1 Tim. vi. 13, 14, compared with 1 Tim. v. 21, observe these things. And the perfection of the whole scripture canon is sealed up with that testimony in the close of the last book, “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book,” Rev. xxii. 18, 19. Now, if the Scriptures be thus accurately perfect and complete, they must needs contain a sufficient pattern, and rules of church government now under the New Testament; which rules are scattered here and there in several books of the word, (as flowers grow scattered in the field, as silver is mingled in the mine, or as gold is mixed with the sand,) that so God may exercise his Church, in sifting and searching them out.
4. All the substantials of church government under the New Testament are laid down in the word in particular rules, whether they be touching officers, ordinances, censures, assemblies, and the compass of their power, as after will appear; and all the circumstantials are laid down in the word, under general rules of order, decency, and edification, 1 Cor, xiv. 40, and ver. 5,12, 26.
Consequently, there is a perfect and sufficient rule for church government laid down in the Scriptures, which is obligatory upon all.
Of the Proper Author or Fountain, whence Church Government and the authority thereof is derived by Divine Right, viz. Jesus Christ our Mediator.
As the Scripture is the rule of church government, so Christ is the sole root and fountain whence it originally flows; therefore, it is said in the description, church government is a power or authority, derived from Jesus Christ our Mediator. Take it in this proposition, viz:
Jesus Christ our Mediator hath all authority and power in heaven and in earth, for the government of his Church, committed unto him from God the Father. This is clearly evident,
1. By plain testimonies of Scripture, declaring that the government of the Church is laid upon his shoulder, to which end the Father hath invested him with all authority and power. “The government shall be upon his shoulder,” &c., Isa. ix. 6,7. “All power is given me in heaven and in earth: go, disciple ye all nations,” &c., Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” Luke i. 32, 33. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man,” John v. 22, 27. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand,” John iii. 35. “It is he that hath the key of David, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth,” Rev. iii. 7. “God raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is his body,” Eph. i. 20-23,
2. By eminent princely titles, attributed unto Jesus Christ our Mediator, having such authority, power, rule, and government legibly engraven upon their foreheads, in reference to his Church.
“A Governor which shall feed” (or rule) “my people Israel,” Matt. ii. 6. “That great Shepherd of the sheep,” Heb. xiii. 20. “That Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,” 1 Pet. ii. ult. “One is your master, Christ,” Matt, xxiii. 8, 10. “Christ as a son over his own house,” Heb. iii. 6. “The Head of the body the Church,” Col. i. 18; Eph. v. 23. “Head over all things to the Church,” Eph. i. 22. “To us but one Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. viii. 6. “Made of God both Lord and Christ,” Acts ii. 36. “Lord of lords,” Rev. xix. 16. “He is Lord of all,” Acts x. 36. “God’s King set on his holy hill of Zion,” Psal. ii. 6. “David their king,” Jer. xxx. 9; Ezek. xxxiv. 23, and xxxvii. 24; Hos. iii. 5. “King of kings,” Rev. xix. 16.
3. By those primitive, fundamental, imperial acts of power, and supreme authority in the government of the Church, which are peculiarly ascribed to Jesus Christ our Mediator, as appropriate to him alone, above all creatures, e.g.
1. The giving of laws to his Church. “The law of Christ,” Gal. vi. 2. “Gave commandments to the apostles,” Acts i. 2. “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy,” James iv. 12. “The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver,” (or statute-maker,) “the Lord is our king,” Isa. xxxiii. 22.
2. The constituting of ordinances, whereby his Church shall be edified: as preaching the word, Matt. x. 7; 1 Cor. i. 17; Matt, xxviii. 18-20; Mark xvi. 15. Administering of the sacraments. Baptism, John i. 33, with Matt. iii. 13, &c., and xxviii. 18, 19. The Lord’s supper, 1 Cor. xi. 20, 23, &c.; Matt. xxvi. 26, &c.; Mark xiv. 22, &c.; Luke xxii. 19, 20. Dispensing of censures, Matt. xvi. 10, with xviii. 15-18, &c.
3. The ordaining and appointing of his own church officers, by whom his ordinances shall be dispensed and managed in his Church. “He gave gifts to men; and he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers,” Eph. iv. 7, 8, 11; compare 1 Cor. xii. 28; 1 Thess. v. 12; Acts xx. 28.
4. The dispensing of Christ’s ordinances, not in the name of magistrates, ministers, churches, councils, &c., but in Christ’s own name. The apostles did “speak and teach in the name of Jesus,” Acts iv. 17, 18. “Whatsoever ye ask in my name,” John xiv. 13, 14, and xvi. 23. “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,” Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. “They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” Acts xix. 5. “In the name—with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one to Satan,” 1 Cor. v. 4. Yea, assemblies of the Church are to be in Christ’s name: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name,” Matt, xviii. 20.