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conciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us (namely, to the apostles and pastors) the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was, in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Concerning the refutation of false doctrine, the same apostle saith, Tit. 1. 9. “That a minister must hold fast the faithful word of God, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convince the gainsayers.”
Secondly. It is the office of the ministers, publicly to call upon the name of the Lord in behalf of the whole congregation ; for that which the apostles say, we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word, is common to these pastors with the apostles; to which St. Paul alluding, thus speaketh to Timothy : “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority, &c. I Tim. 2. 1 and 2.
Thirdly. Their office is, to administer the sacraments, which the Lord hath instituted as seals of his grace: as is evident from the command given by Christ to the apostles, and in them to all pastors, baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Likewise, for I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he ivas betrayed, &c.
Finally, it is the duty of the ministers of the word, to keep the church of God in good discipline, and to govern it in such a manner as the Lord hath ordained; for Christ having spoke of the christian discipline, says to his apostles, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And Paul will have the ministers know how to rule their own house, since they otherwise neither can provide for, nor rule the church of God. This is the reason why the pastors are in scripture called, stowards of God, and bishops, that is, overseers and watchmen, for they have the oversight of the house of God, wherein they are conversant, to the end, that every thing may be transacted with good order and decency; and also to open and shut, with the keys of the kingdom of heaven, committed to them, according to the charge given them by God.
From these things may be learned, what a glorious work the ministerial office is, since so great things are effected by it; yea, how highly necessary it is for man's salvation, which is also the reason why the Lord will have such an office always to remain: for Christ said when ke sent forth his apostles to officiate in this holy fuoction, bo, I am always with you, even unto the end of the world; where we see his pleasure is, that this holy office (for the persons to whom he here speaketh, could not live to the end of the world) should always be maintained on earth. And therefore Paul exhorteth Timothy, to commit that which he had heard of him, to faithful men, who are able to teach others, as he also, having ordained Titus minister, further commanded him, to ordain elders in every city. Tit. 1. 5.
Forasmuch, therefore as we, for the maintaining of this office in the church of God, are now to ordain a new minister of the word, and having sufficiently spoke of the office of such persons, therefore you N. shall answer to the following questions, which shall be proposed to you, to the end that it may appear to all here present, that you are inclined to accept of this office as above described.
First. I ask thee, whether thou feelest in thy heart that thou art lawfully called of God's church, and therefore of God himself, to this holy ministry ?
Secondly. Whether thou dost believe the books of the old and new testament to be the only word of God, and the perfect doctrine unto salvation, and dost reject all doctrines repugnant thereto?
Thirdly. Whether thou dost promise faithfully to discharge thy office, according to the same doctrine as above described, and to adorn it with a godly life : also, to submit thyself in case thou shouldestbecome delinquent either in life or doctrine, to ecclesiastical admonition, according to the public ordinance of the churches ?
Answer. Yes, truly, with all my heart. Then the Minister, who did demand those questions of him, and other Min
isters who are present, shall lay their hands* on his head, and say,
enlighten thee with his Holy Spirit, strengthen thee with his hand, and so govern thee in thy ministry, that thou mayest decently and fruitfully walk therein, to the glory of his name, and the propagation of the kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
* This ceremony shall not be used in ordaining those who have before been in the ministry.
Then the Minister shall, from the pulpit, cxhort the ordained Minister, and
the congregation, in the following manner : TAKE heed, therefore, beloved brother, and fellow
servant in Christ, unto yourself and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseer, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood : love Christ, and seed his sheep, taking the oversight of them not by constraint, but willingly : not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, neither as being lord over God's heritage, but as an example to the flock. Be an example of believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, meditate upon those things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all: take heed to thy doctrine, and continue stedfast therein. Bearpatiently all sufferings, and oppressions, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, thou shalt receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
“ And you likewise, beloved christians, receive this your minister in the Lord with all gladness, “and hold such in reputation: Remember that God himself through him speaketh unto and beseecheth you. Receive the word, which he, according to the scripture, shall preach unto you, not as the word of man, but (as it is in truth) the word of God.' Let the feet of those, that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things, be beautiful and pleasant. unto you. Obey them that have the rule over you, and, submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable
If you do these things, it shall come to pass, that the peace of God shall enter into your houses, and that you who receive this man in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward, and through his preaching, believing in Christ, shall through Christ inherit life eternal."
Since no man is of himself fit for any of these things, let us call upon God with thanksgiving: M
ERCIFUL Father, we thank thee that it pleaseth thee, hy the mipamongst the lost children of men : we bless thee for so graciously providing the church in this place with a faithful minister, we beseech thee to qualify him daily more and more by the holy spirit, for the ministry to which thou
hast ordained and called him: enlighten his understanding to comprehend thy holy word, and give him utterance, that he may boldly open his mouth, to make known and dispense the mysteries of the gospel. Endue him with wisdom and valour, to rule the people aright over which he is set, and to preserve them in christian peace, to the end that thy church under his administration and by his good example, may increase in number and in virtue. Grant him courage to bear the difficulties and troubles which he may meet with in his ministry, that being strengthened by the comfort of thy spirit, he may remain stedfast to the end, and be received with all faithful servants into the joy of his master. Give thy grace also to this people and church, that they may becomniugly deport themselves towards this their minister; that they may acknowledge him to be sent of thee; that they may receive his doctrine with all reverence, and submit themselves to his exhortations. To the end that they may, by his word, believing in Christ, be made partakers of eternal life. Hear us, O Father, through thy beloved Son, who hath thus taught us to pray-OUR FATHER, &c.
V HEX ORDAINED AT THE SAME TIME. BUT IF THEY ARE ORDAINED SEPA
RATELY, THIS FORM SHALL BE USED AS OCCASION REQUIRES.
ELOVED Christians, you know that we have several
times published unto you the names of our brethren bere present, who are chosen to the office of elders and deacons in this church, to the end that we might know whether any person had aught to allege, why they should not be ordained in their respective offices; and whereas no one hath appeared before us, who hath alleged any thing lawful against them, we shall therefore at present, in the name of the Lord, proceed to their ordination.
But first, you, who are to be ordaineil, and all those who are here present, shall attend to a short declaration from the word of God concerning the institution and the office of elders and deacons : of the elders is to be observed, that the word elder or eldest (which is taken out of the old testament, and signifieth a person who is placed in an honourable office of government over others) is applied to Two sorts of persons who minister in the church of Jesus Christ: for the apostle saith, “the elders that rule well, shall be counted worthy of double honour, especially they 'who labour in the word and doctrine." Hence is evident that there were two sorts of elders in the Apostolic church, the former whereof did labour in the word and doctrine, and the latter did not. The first were the ministers of the 'word and pastors, who preached the gospel and administered the sacraments; but the others, who did not labour in the word, and still did serve in the church, bore a particular oflice, namely, they had the oversight of the
church, and ruled the same with the ministers of the word: for Paul, Rom. chap. 12. having spoke of the ministry of the word, and also of the office of distribution or deaconship, speaketh afterwards particularly of this office, saying: “ he that ruleth, let him do it with diligence:" likewise, in another place, he counts government among the gifts and offices which God hath instituted in the church : 1 Cor. 12. Thus we see that these sorts of ministers are added to the others who preach the gospel, to aid and assist them, as in the old testament the common Levites were to the priests in the service of the tabernacle, in those things which they could not perform alone : notwithstanding the offices always remained distinct one from the otlier. Moreover it is proper that such men should be joined to the ministers of the word in the government of the church, to the end, that thereby all tyranny and lording may be kept out of the church of God, which may sooner creep in, when the government is placed in the hands of one alone, or of a very few. And thus the ministers of the word, together with the elders, form a boily or assemhly, being as a council of the church, representing the whole church; to which Christ alludes when he saith, - Tell the church”—which can in no wise be understood of all and every member of the church in particular, but very properly of those who govern the church, out of which they are chosen.
Therefore, in the first place, the office of the elders is, together with the ministers of the word, to take the oversight of the church, which is committed to them, and diligently to look, whether every one properly deports himsell in his confession and conversation ; to admonish those, who behave themselves disorderly, and to prevent, as much as possible, the sacraments from being profaned : also to act (according to the christian discipline) against the impenitent, and to receive the penitent again into the bosom of the church, as doth not only appear from the ahovementioned saying of Christ, but also from many other places of holy writ, as I Cor. chap. 5. and 2 Cor. chap. 2. that these things are not alone intrusted to one or two persons, but to many who are ordained thereto.
Secondly. Since the apostle enjoineth, that all things shall be done decently and in order, amongst christians, and that no other persons ought to serve in the church of Christ, but those who are lawfully called, according to the chrigtian ordinance, therefore it is also the duty of the elders te