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to Christ, they are obliged to take care that such religious places and ornaments be provided as the decency and convenience of his worship do require. And then, as for the ministers and officers of his church, they are under the same obligation to take care, that they whose office it is to serve at the altar, should live upon the altar; and that according to the different stations and degrees wherein they are placed, that so they may neither be necessitated for a subsistence to involve themselves in secular affairs, and thereby to neglect their spiritual calling, which is burden enough of all conscience for any one man's shoulders; nor be tempted to base compliances with the lusts of men, and the iniquities of times for a maintenance; and that so religion itself may not be exposed to contempt through their wretched poverty and indigence who are the ministers of it, and who, for want of a fair and honourable subsistence, can never obtain credit and authority enough to do any considerable good in the world. And this is the food and sustenance of the church, without which it cannot long flourish either in true knowledge or true piety, but must insensibly wither away, and degenerate into barbarity and ignorance. And accordingly, if you consult ecclesiastical history, you will find that it was ever the practice of pious princes and emperors to take care both for the erecting of decent and convenient churches in all parts of their dominions for the celebration of divine worship, and to furnish them with all the decent accommodations and ornaments that were proper thereunto, and also for the endowing the bishops and pastors of the church with such honourable subsistences as becomes the port and dignity of their several orders and


offices ; in which they did no more than what they stood obliged to, as they were the viceroys of Jesus, and the foster-fathers of his church, by virtue of which relation to it, they are bound in duty to supply it with decent raiment and convenient food. And now, having explained the subjection of the sovereign powers of the earth to our Lord and Saviour, and shewn what those ministries are which they are obliged to render to him in his kingdom, I proceed to the

Fourth and last sort of his ministers, by which he governs his kingdom, viz. the spiritual or ecclesiastical governors ; in treating of which I shall endeavour these three things :

First, To shew that Christ hath erected a spiritual government to minister to him in his church.

Secondly, To shew in what hands this spiritual government is placed.

Thirdly, To shew what are the proper ministries of this government.

I. That Christ hath erected a spiritual government in his church. And indeed, supposing the church to be a regular and formal society, subsisting of itself, distinct from all other societies, it must necessarily have a distinct government in it; because government is essentially included in the very notion of all regular society, which, without rule and subjection, is not a formed society, but a confused multitude: for what else do we mean by a human society, but only such a company of men united together by such and such laws and regulations ? But how can any company of men be united by laws, without having in it some governing power to rule by those laws, and exact obedience to them? So that we may as well suppose a complete body without a head, as a regular society without a government. Now that the church is a regular society, utterly distinct from all civil society, is as evident as the truth of Christianity, which all along declares and recognises the law or covenant upon which it is founded, and by which it is united, to be divine, and consequently to be superior to, and independent upon, all civil laws: and if that which constitutes the church be divine law, and not civil, then the constitution of the church must be divine, and not civil; for that which makes us Christians, at the same time makes us parts of the Christian church; and that which makes all the parts of the church, makes the church itself; which is nothing but the whole, or collection of all the parts together: and therefore as we are not made Christians, so neither are we made a Christian church, by the laws of the commonwealth, but by the laws and constitutions of our Saviour, which were promulgated to the world long before there were any laws of the commonwealth to found a Christian church on; for there was a Christian church for three hundred years together, before ever it had the least favour or protection from the laws of nations. In all which time it subsisted apart from all other societies, and was as much a church or Christian society as it is now; and, as it is now, it is only a continued succession of that primitive church, and therefore, as to the constitution of it, must necessarily be as distinct now from all other societies, as it was then, when it subsisted not only apart from but against the laws and edicts of all other societies in the world. In short therefore since the church of Christ is founded on a charter and in


corporated by a law that is utterly distinct from the charters and laws of all civil societies, it hence necessarily follows, that itself is a distinct society from them all; because that which individuates any society, or makes it a distinct body from all other societies, is the charter or law upon which it is founded; and accordingly our Saviour tells Pilate, when he asked him whether he was a king, that he was a king, indeed, but that his kingdom was not of this world, John xviii. 36. i. e. Though my kingdom be in this world, yet is it not of the world; for neither are the laws of it human, but divine; nor the powers of it external, but invisible; nor the rewards and punishments of it temporal, but spiritual and eternal.

From the whole, therefore, these two things are evident:

First, That government is essential to formed and regular societies.

Secondly, That the church of Christ is in the nature and constitution of it a formed and regular society, distinct from all other societies : from both which it necessarily followeth, that it must have a distinct government included in the very essence and being of it. And accordingly in the New Testament, besides the civil magistrates, we frequently read of spiritual and ecclesiastical governors; so, Heb. xiii. 17. there is mention made of the rulers that watch for our souls, and a strict injunction to obey and submit ourselves to them; and so again, in the 7th and 24th verses, and in 1 Tim. v. 17. the apostle speaks of the elders that rule well, who are to be accounted worthy of double honour. And indeed the Greek word enIG KOT0s, which signifies a bishop or overseer, doth in scripture always import a ruler or governor ; (vide Hammond, Acts i. note 1.) and therefore being applied, as it is frequently in the New Testament, to a certain order of men in the Christian church, it must necessarily denote them to be the rulers and governors of it; and this power to niokoneîv, i. e. oversee, and rule and govern the church, was derived to them from Christ the supreme Bishop of our souls, even by that commission he gave them, John xx. 21. As the Father hath sent me, so send I you, i. e. so I commission you with the same authority in kind to teach and govern in my kingdom, as I myself have received from the Father: and accordingly as Christ is called the Pastor or Shepherd, which name imports authority to govern his flock, (for so to feed and to rule are of the same significancy in Psalm lxxviii. 72. and Philo tells us, οι δε ποιμαίνοντες αρχόντων και ηγεμόνων έχοντες dúvajsv, i. e. that the name of shepherds implied ruling and governing power,) so they who were sent and commissioned by our Saviour are styled LOKÓTOUS êv Toluvio, the bishops and overseers or shepherds in the flock to feed the church of God, Acts xx. 28. and they are elsewhere commanded to feed the flock of God, and to take the oversight thereof, 1 Pet. v. 2. And as they are called the shepherds of Christ's flock, so they are also the stewards of his family, and as such they are constituted by him the rulers of his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season, Luke xii. 42. and elsewhere they are called governments or governors, (the abstract, as it is very usual in scripture, being put for the concrete,) 1 Cor. xii. 28. and their authority is said to be given from the Lord, 2 Cor. x. 8. and they are said to be our rulers in the Lord, i. e. by the Lord's

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