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might infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honour of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and ot stinate offenders.
IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season, and by excommunication from the church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person d.
CHAP. XXXI. Of Synods and Councils.
OR the better government, and further edification of the
monly called Synods or Councils a.
II. As magistrates may lawfully call a synod of ministers, and other fit persons, to consult and advise with about mat
row. Ver. 8. Wherefore I beseech you, that ye would confirm your love towards him.
III. c [1 Cor. v. throughout.] 1 Tim. v. 20. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. Matt. vii. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 1 Tim. i. 20. Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander; whom, I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. [1 Cor. xi. 27. to the end] With Jude, Ver. 23 And others save with fear, pull. ing them out of the fire; hating even the garments spotted by the flesh.
IV. d 1 Thess. v. 12. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you. 2-Thess. iii. 6. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw your selves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. Ver. 14. And if any man obey not our word by this
epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Ver. 15. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 1 Cor. v. 4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ver. 5. To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Ver. 13. But them that are without God judgeth Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. Matt. xviii. 17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a publican. Tit. iii. 10. A man that is an heretick, after the first and second admonition, reject.
1. a Acts xv. 2. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. Ver.
ters of religion; so if magistrates be open enemies to the church, the ministers of Christ, of themselves, by virtue of their office, or they, with other fit persons, upon delegation from their churches, may meet together in such assembles.
III. It belongeth to synods and councils ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the publick worship of God, and government of his church; to receive complaints in cases of mal-administration, and authoritatively to determine the same; which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the word, but also for the power whereby
4. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church and of the apostles, and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. Ver. 6. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
II. b Isa. xlix. 23. And kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. 1 Tim. ii. 1. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: Ver. 2. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. [2 Chron. xix. 8. to the end. 2 Chron. Chapters xxix. and xxx. throughout.] Matt. ii. 4. And when he had gather
c Acts xv. 2, 4. [See in letter a.] Ver. 22. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas, surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: Ver. 23. And wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles, and elders, and brethren, send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia. Ver. 25. It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you, with our Beloved Barnabas and Paul.
See Chap. xxiii. sect. 3. last clause. The Associate church has declared her mind on this point, in her public standards, as follows. "Christ, the only sovereign of the church, has, neither directly nor indirectly, given to magistrates any spiritual authority.-The Christian religion lays every one who professes it under the strongest obligations to the faithful discharge of the duties of his station. But it annexes no new powers to any office or relation founded in nature. Therefore, Christian magistrates have no power to give laws to the church; to appoint her office bearers, or dictate to them in the discharge of their office; to prescribe a confession of faith, or form of worship, to the church, or their subjects in general; authoritatively to call meetings of church judicatories, in ordinary cases or to direct or controul them in their judicial procedure. In matters parely religious, civil rulers have no right to judge for any but themselves."
: Testimony of the general Associate or Secession Synod of Scotland, chap. xxiv. sect. 2. See the note on this Confession, chap. xx. sect. 4. also the first note on chap. xxiii, SOCT. §.
they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his word d.
IV. All synods or councilssince the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as an help in both e.
V. Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical; and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs, which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition, in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.
CHAP. XXXII. Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead.
HE bodies of men after death return to dust, and see
III. d Acts xv. 15, 19, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. [See in the Bible.] Acts xvi. 4. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. Matt. xviii. 17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a publican. Ver. 18. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. Ver. 19. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. Ver. 20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
IV. e Eph. ii. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. Acts xvii. 11. These were more noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 1 Cor. ii. 5. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 2 Cor. i. 24. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
V. f Luke xii. 13. And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. Ver 14. And he said unto him; Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? John xviii. 36. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.
1. a Gen. iii. 19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return, Acts xiii. 36. For David, after he had
sleep,) having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, be ing then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the scripture acknowledgeth none.
II. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with dif
served his own generation, by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.
6 Luke xxiii. 43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Eccl. xii. 7. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; And the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
c Heb. xii. 23. To the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. 2 Cor. v. 1. For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Ver. 6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; Ver. 8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Phil. i. 23. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. With Acts iii. 21. Whom the heaven must receive, until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. And Eph. iv. 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.
d Luke xvi. 23. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Ver. 24. And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. Acts i. 25. That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. Jude, Ver. 6. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Ver. 7. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, in like manner giving them. selves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 1 Pet. iii. 19. By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.
II e 1 Thes. iv. 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Cor. xv. 51. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. Ver. 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorrup tible, and we shall be changed.
ferent qualities, which shall be united again to their souls for everf.
III. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to his own glorious body 8.
CHAP. XXXIII. Of the Last Judgment.
OD hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father". In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil d.
f Job xix. 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; Ver. 27. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me. 1 Cor. xv. 42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: Ver. 43. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: Ver. 44. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body,
IIIg Acts xxiv. 15. And have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. John v. 28. Marvel not at this for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, Ver. 29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 1 Cor. xv. 43. See in letter f.] Philip. iii. 21. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glo
rious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
I. a Acts xvii. 31. Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
b John v. 22. For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: Ver. 27. And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
c 1 Cor. vi. 3. Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? Jude, ver. 6. [See letter & Chapter foregoing.] 2 Pet. ii. 4. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.
d 2 Cor. v. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, tha every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Eccl. xii. 14. For God