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supposeth this; and fo the fcripture elsewhere teacheth, 2 Kings v. 13. Ye are civil fathers, and instead of natural fathers to them. They are committed to your charge, as under your roof and power. God would have all fuperiors to put on fatherly bowels towards their inferiors, as he who is fupreme Lord calls himfelf our Father which is in heaven. If mafters would thus look on themselves, it would engage them to their duty towards their fervants. When God brings a fervant into a house, especially those of the younger fort, either wanting parents, or leaving them to ferve you, he fays, as John xix. 26. 27. Man, behold thy fon; and to the fervant, Behold thy father.
2. Ye have a Mafter which is over you and your fervants too, to whom ye muft give account, Col. iv. And there is no refpect of perfons with him. He has given a law to the mafter as well as the fervant; and in judging of them he will not favour the mafter more than the fervant. Pride makes men imperious and oppreffive. Here is a fovereign remedy to curb it. Let us remember that we have a Mafter in heaven, Job. xxxi. 13. 14. And fo much for family, relations.
I come now to confider the relation betwixt ecclefiaftical fathers and their children. These fathers are preaching and ruling elders, Here I fhall confider, 1. The duties of minifters and people; and, 2, Thofe of ruling elders and people.
FIRST, I fhall fhew the duties of minifters and peo
Firft, I fhall fhew the duty people owe to their mi
1. They owe them fingular reverence, and that becaufe of that honourable flation wherein Chrift has placed them, fending them to deal with finners in his own ftead, 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2 Cor. v. 20. This founds that debt of reverence, Rom. x. 15. and fhould be expreffed in word and deed. They are the ftars whom Chrift holds in his right hand; and though they shine
not fo clear as ye would wifh, people would beware of treading them under foot, feeing Chrift holds them in his right hand, Rev. i. 20. compare chap. ii. 4. 14. 20. &c.
2. Endeared love to them for their work's fake, 1 Theff. v. 13. Gal. iv. 14. 15. The gospel is the greatest benefit that men can partake of; and it is very natural to love those who are the inftruments by whom the Lord conveys great benefits to us. And as minifters muft lay their account with the hatred of those that hate the light, fo thofe that get good of ordinances will as naturally love them as the child does the father and mother. But as there are unnatural children in the family who little regard the father that begat them, or the mother that bare them; fo it is not to be wondered, that there are unnatural children in the church that reject those by whofe means they have got any acquaintance with religion that they have, and cait reproach on the breasts of ordinances, in fucking of which they grew up.
3. Diligent attendance on ordinances of all forts difpensed by them, as word, facraments, catechising, &c. Heb. x. 25. Luke x. 16. In vain do thefe ftars fhine, if there be none to receive their light. The fame word that obliges minifters to dispense ordinances, muft needs oblige people to attend them; and that even though they may lie at a confiderable distance from them, 2 Kings iv. 22. 23. The woman there mentioned had fixteen miles to go to the man of God.
4. Submiffion to them in things pertaining to their office, Heb. xiii. 17; fubmitting to difcipline exercifed by them in the name of Chrift; to their inftructions, cordially receiving them from the word; to their reproofs, whether private or public; to their exhortations and charges, wherein they hold forth to you the will of God, ib. Jam. i. 21. They who do otherwife, fin against their own fouls, as well as difcourage minifters by their intractableness, and do but lay up witneffes against themselves to be led against
them at the great day. 'Tis not the hearers of the word, but the doers thereof that are justified. It will be no advantage to you to have heard, but never complied.
5. Praying for them, 1 Theff. v. 25. The work in which they are engaged is a great work. Who is fuflicient for it? They have need of prayers for them. Your own intereft may engage you to it. They may do their work, but the fuccefs of it must be fetched from heaven by prayer, 1 Cor. x. 4. We have the fword, but how fhall we get the arm? We may compafs Jericho, and give the fhout; but it is the power of God that muft make the walls to fall. Like Gideon's three hundred men, we may bear the lamps in our empty pitchers, blow with the trumpet, and the earthen pitchers may be broken in the caufe, but God only can do the work, Judg. yii.
6. People fhould be very tender of the reputation of ministers; it being a tender thing fo much interwoven with the fuccefs of the gospel. The Spirit of God feeing that the devil would be very ready to mark at their reputation in a fpecial manner, by a wicked world and falfe brethren, has fet a double hedge about it, 1 Tim. v. 19. Against an elder receive not an accufation, but before two or three witneffes. So that ye ought not only not to flander them, but to be loath to receive thofe flanders vented by others againft them, believing nothing therein without proof.
7. Lastly, Maintenance. This by divine right is due from people to their minifters, 1 Cor. ix. 14. Secondly, I fhall fhew the duty of minifters to their people.
1. They owe tender love to the fouls of their people. They fhould be full of bowels towards them, Theff. ii. 7. 8.; which fhould appear in their preaching, and all parts of their work.
2. Diligent and faithful dispensing of all gospel ordinances to them, word, facraments, &c. It is a labour, and they muft take it fo, willing to fpend and
be spent in the service of their Lord, and of precious fouls. And indeed they are as lighted candles, which while they fhine wafte, 2 Tim. iv. 2. 1 Theff. ii. 3. 4.
3. Behaving fo as they may be examples of holinels and tenderness, Tit. ii. 7.; for precept without example will have little influence.
4. Watching over their flocks, that being ready to be acquainted with their ftate and cafe, they may be in capacity to inftruct, comfort, and admonish them, &c. as the cafe requires, Heb. xiii. 7.
5. Lastly, Praying for them, Eph. i. 15. 16. SECONDLY, I come to fhew the duties of ruling elders and the people over whom they are appointed overfeers. And as we are this day to ordain fome to that office, I fhall difcourfe of this fubject a little more fully than I would otherwise have done in a catechetical exercife. I propofe to difcourfe, on this occafion, from that text,
I TIMOTHY V. 17.
Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour, efpecially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
HE church is the kingdom of Chrift, and the holy fcriptures are the book of the manner of the kingdom. There the inftitution of church-officers, their work, and the duties owing them by others, are only to be found. And whatever officers of the church men pretend to be, if their office be not found there, they have no due call to their work, but are ufurpers and intruders.
In the words read, the apostle gives us the work affigned by Jefus Chrift to elders of the church, and what is due for it unto them from the church: Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour. Here he diftinguishes two forts of elders of the church.
1. Ruling elders. The word elder originally is a VOL. III.
name of age; but here and in many other places of fcripture it is evident, that it is the name of an office, being the name of ruling church-officers, because ufually taken out of the elder fort, or that though of the younger, yet they ought to be men of gravity and authority. Here confider,
(1.) The work of these elders, from whence their defignation is taken. It is to rule, and govern the church, as those who are fet over it by the Lord. For the Lord has not left his church in a state of anarchy and confufion, but appointed fome to rule, and others to be ruled.
(2.) How they ought to manage their work; well, i. e. rightly, worthily, according to the rules prefcribed them by Chrift the chief Bishop.
(3.) What is due from the church to thofe who fo manage it; double, i. e. abundant, honour. This honour implies two things, viz. 1.) Maintenance. This is evident from ver. 18. 2.) Efteem and reputation, Phil. ii. 29.
Epifcopalians, as they have given us the Prelate, an officer whom Chrift never appointed, fo they rob us of the ruling elder, which the text fo plainly discovers to be a church officer of divine inflitution. To evite the force of which they turn this elder into various fhapes: but in vain. For by the elders that rule well cannot be understood fuperannuated miniflers, as fome fay; for it is evident, that the preaching elder is to have more honour than this elder. But it is fhocking to the common fenfe of the people of God, to honour and esteem a young laborious minifter more than an old one, who has fpent his ftrength in the work. Nor by them are to be underflood magiftrates, as others fay; for at this time they were not fo much as members of the church. Nor are deacons meant hereby, as others fay; for their work is not to rule the church, but to ferve tables, Acts vi. 2. Nor are we to understand by them the fixed paftors of flocks, in opposition to thofe that travelled up and