Of the powr of the Church, & its Presbytery.

      SUpream & Lordly powr over all the Churches upon earth, (1) doth only belong unto Jesus Christ, who is King of the church, & the head thereof. He hath the Governmet upon his shoulders, & hath all powr given to him, both in heaven & earth.
      [13] 2 A Copany of professed believers Ecclesiastically Conf derat as they are a church before they have officers, & without them; so even in that estate, subordinate Church- power under Christ deligated to them by him, doth belong to them, in such a maner as is before expressed. (2) C. 5. S 2. & as flowing from the very nature and Essece of a church: It being naturall to all bodyes, & so unto a church body, to be furnished with sufficient powr, for its own preservatio & subsistace.
      3 This Government of the church is a mixt Goverment (& so hath been acknowledged long before that term of Indepedency was heard of:) In respect of Christ, the head and King of the church, & the Soveraigne power residing in him, it is a Monarchy: (3) In respect of the body, or brotherhood of the church, and power from Christ granted unto them (1 Tim. v. 27,) it resembles a democracy, in respect of the presbytery and power committed unto them, it is an aristocracy.
      4.The Sovereign Power, which is peculiar unto Christ, is exercised--l, In calling the church out of the world into an holy fellowship with himself. (Gal.i.4; Rev.v.8,9; Mat. xxviii. 20; Eph. iv. 8. 11; Jam. iv. 20; Isa xxxiii. 22; 1 Tim. iii. 15; 2Cor. x. 4,5; Is. xxxii.2; Luke i.71) 2, In instituting the ordinances of his worship, and appointing his ministers and officers for the dispensing of them. 3, In giving laws for the ordering of all our ways, and the ways of his house. 4, In giving power and life to all his institutions, and to his people by them. 5, In protecting and delivering his church against and from all the enemies of their peace.
      5.The power granted by Christ unto the body of the church and brotherhood, is a prerogative or privilege which the church exercises--1, In choosing their own officers, whether elders or deacons. (Acts vi. 3. 5, and xiv. 23, and ix. 26; Mat. xviii. 15, 16, 17.) 2, In admission of these members; and therefore there is great reason they should have power to remove any from their fellowship again. Hence, in case of offence, any brother has power to convince and admonish an offending brother: and, in case of not hearing him, to take one or two more to set on the admonition: and in case of not hearing them, to proceed to tell the church: and as his offence may require, the whole church has power to proceed to the censure of him, whether by admonition or excommunication: (Tit. iii. 10; Col. iv. 17; Mat. xviii. 17; 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8,) and upon his repentance to restore him again unto his former communion.
      6.In case an elder offend incorrigibly, the matter so requiring, as the church had power to call him to office, so they have power according to order (the counsel of other churches, where it may be had, directing thereto) to remove him from his office, and being now but a member, (Col. iv. 17; Ro. xvi. 17; Mat. xviii. 17,) in case he add contumacy to his sin, the church, that had power to receive him into their fellowship, has also the same power to cast him out that they have concerning any other member.
    & 7.Church-government or rule is placed by Christ in the officers of the church, (1 Tim. v. 17; Heb. xiii. 17; 1 Thes. v. 12,) who are therefore called rulers, while they rule with God: yet., in case of male-administration, they are subject to the power of the church, as hath been said before. (Rom. xii. 8; 1 Tim. v. 17; 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29; Heb. xiii. 7. 17.) The Holy Ghost frequently--yea, always--where it mentions church-rule and church government, ascribes it to elders: whereas the work and duty of the people is expressed in the phrase of obeying; their elders," and "submitting themselves unto them in the Lord." So as it is manifest that an organic or complete church is a body politick, consisting of some that are governors and some that are governed in the Lord.
      8.The power which Christ has committed to the elders is to feed and rule the church of God, and accordingly to call the church together upon any weighty occasion; (Acts xx. 28, and vi. 2; Numb. xvi. 12; Ezek. xlvi. 10; Acts xiii. 15; Hos. iv. 4,) when the members so called, without just cause, may not refuse to come, nor when they are come, depart before they are dismissed, nor speak in the church, before they have leave from the elders, nor continue so doing when they require silence; nor may they oppose or contradict the judgment or sentence of the elders, without sufficient and weighty cause, because such practices are manifestly contrary unto order and government, and inlets of disturbance, and tend to confusion.
      9.It belongs also unto the elders before to examine any officers or members before they be received of the church, (Rev. ii. 2; 1 Tim. v. 19; Acts xxi. 18. 22, 23; 1 Cor. v. 4, 5,) to receive the accusations brought to the church, and to prepare them for the churches hearing. In handling of offences and other matters before the church, they have power to declare and publish the will of God touching the same, and to pronounce sentence with the consent of the church. (Numb. vi. 23 to 26.) Lastly, They have power, when they dismiss the people, to bless them in the name of the Lord. 10.This power of government in the elders does not any wise prejudice the power of privilege in the brotherhood; as neither the power of privilege in the brethren, prejudices the power of government in the elders, (Acts xiv. 15. 23, and vi. 2; 1 Cor. v. 4; 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7,) but they may sweetly agree together; as we may see in the example of the apostles, furnished with the greatest church-power, who took in the concurrence and consent of the brethren in church-administrations. Also that Scripture (3, Cor. ii. 9, and x. 6) declares that what the churches were to act and to do in these matters, they were to do in a way of obedience, and that not only to the direction of the apostles, but also of their ordinary elders. (Heb. xiii. 17.)
      11.From the promises, namely, that the ordinary power of government belonging only to the elders, power of privilege remaining with the brotherhood, (as the power of judgment in matters of censure and power of liberty in matters of liberty,) it follows that in an organic church and right administration, all church-acts proceed after the manner of a mixed administration, so as no church-act can be consummated or perfected without the consent of both.

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