Of Ruling Elders & Deacons.

      THe Ruling Elders office (1) is distinct from the office of Pastor & Teacher. The Ruling Elders are not so called to exclude the Pastors & Teachers from Ruling, but because Ruling & Governing is common to these with the other; (2) wheras attending to teach and preach the word is peculiar unto the former.
      2 The Ruling Elders work (3) is to joyn with the Pastor & Teacher in those acts of spiritual Rule [9] which are distinct from the ministry of the word & Sacraments committed to them. of which sort, these be, as followeth. (4) I to open & shutt the dores of Gods house, by the Admission of members approved by the church: by Ordination of officers chosen by the church: & by excommunication of notorious & obstinate offenders renounced by the church: & by restoring of penitents, forgive by the church. (5) II To call the church together when there is occasion, & seasonably to dismiss them agayn. III To prepare matters in private, that in publick they may be carried an end with less trouble, & more speedy dispatch. IV To moderate the carriage of all matters in the church assembled. as, to propound matters to the church, to Order the season of speech & silence; (6) & to pronounce sentence according to the minde of Christ, with the consent of the church. V To be Guides & Leaders to the church, in all matters what-soever, pertaining to church administrations & actions. VI To see that none in the church live inordinately out of rank & place; without a calling, or Idlely in their calling. VII To prevent & heal (7) such offences in life, or in doctrin; as might corrupt the church. IIX To feed (8) the flock of God with a word of admonition, IX And as they shall be sent for, to visit, & to pray over their sick brethren. X & at other times as opportunity shall serve therunto.
      3 The office of a Deacon is Instituted in the church by the Lord Jesus. somtime they are called Helps.(9)
      The Scripture telleth us, how they should be qualified: Grave, not double tongued, not given to much to wine, not given to filthy lucre. they must first be proved & then use the office of a Deacon, being found Blameless.
      The office and work of the Deacons (10) is to receive the offrings of the church, gifts given to the church, & to keep the treasury of the church: & therewith to serve the Tables which the church is to provide for: as the Lords Table, the table of the ministers, (11) & of such as are in necessitie, to whom they are to distribute in simplicity.
      4 The office therefore being limited (12) unto the care of the temporall good things of the church, it extends not unto the attendance upon, & administration of the spirituall things thereof, as the word, and Sacraments, or the like.
      5 The ordinance of the Apostle, (13) & practice of the church, commends the Lords day as a fit time for the contributions of the Saints.
      [10] 6 The Instituting of all these officers in the Church, (14) is the work of God himselfe; of the Lord Jesus Christ; of the holy Ghost. & therefore such officers as he hath not appointed, are altogether unlawfull either to be placed in the church, or to be retained therin, & are to be looked at as humane creatures, meer Inventions & appointments of man, to the great dishonour of Christ Jesus, the Lord of his house, the King of his church, whether Popes, Patriarkes, Cardinals, Arch-bishops, Lordbishops, Arch-deacons, Officials, Commissaries, & the like. These & the rest of that Hierarchy & Retinue, not being plants (15) of the Lords planting, shall all be certeinly be rooted out, & cast forth.
      7 The Lord hath appointed ancient widdows,(16) (where they may be had) to minister in the church, in giving attendance to the sick, & to give succour unto them, & others in the like necessities.


1. Rom 12 7 8 9. I Tim 5. 17. I Cor 12 28.
2. Heb 13 17 I Tim 5 17
3. I Tim 5, 17.
4. 2 Chro. 23 19. Rev. 21 12. I Tim 4. 14 Matt 18 17. 2 Cor 2 7, 8
5. Acts 21. 18, 22, 23
6. Acts 6. 2, 3 c 13, v 15 2 Cor 8, 10 Heb 13. 7, 17 2 Thes 2. 10 11, 12
7. Acts 20, 28 v 32.
8. I Thes 5. 12 Jam. 5 14 Acts 20. 20
9. Acts 6. 3 v 6 Phil 1. 1 I Tim 3.8 I Cor 12, 28 I Tim 3 8, 9.
10. Acts 4, 35. c 6. 2, 3, c 6.2
11. Rom 12. 8
12. I Cor 7 17
13. I Cor 16, 1, 2, 3
14. I Cor 12, 28 Eph 4, 8, 11 Acts 20, 28
15. Matt 15, 13
16. I Tim 5, 9, 10.

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