John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Introduction to the Worship of God


  The following Catechism explains the constitution and 
ordinances of a Christian Church, and the duties incumbent on its 
office-bearers and members.  When it was first published, in 
1667, the names of the author and of the printer were withheld, 
and no intimation even was given of the place in which it was 
printed, lest danger should be incurred by the publication of a 
work advocating a form of polity at variance with the 
ecclesiastical system which the Court was at that time striving 
to render, as far as possible, universal in England.  Dissenting 
congregations were, however, springing up in different parts of 
the country, and for the guidance of the Independents the 
Catechism was particularly useful.  It was so much appreciated, 
that in the same year in which it first appeared, a second 
edition, with some slight differences and emendations, was 
published; and hence certain discrepancies between the following 
version of it and the one which is given in Russell's edition of 
our author's works, printed from the first edition of the 
  It came to be known as the "Independents' Catechism," and an 
angry attack was made upon it, in 1669, by Benjamin Camfield, 
rector of Whitby, in Derbyshire, in an octavo volume of 347 
pages, entitled "A Serious Examination of the Independents' 
Catechism, and therein of the Chief Principles of Nonconformity 
to, and Separation from, the Church of England."  The Catechism, 
in the estimation of the rector, was "the sink of all 
nonconforming and separating principles;" and he takes Owen to 
task for inconsistency in holding the Scriptures to be a 
sufficient rule of faith and duty.  An attack conducted in this 
spirit only bespeaks the influence which this Catechism was 
beginning to exert in diffusing the principles and consolidating 
the interests of the denomination to which its author belonged.  
It was the occasion of another attack upon Owen, in the shape of 
a frivolous and bitter pamphlet with the title, "A Letter to a 
Friend concerning some of Dr. Owen's Principles and Practices," 
etc., 1670.  A copy of the Catechism had been sent by the 
"Friend" to the anonymous author of the pamphlet, who forthwith 
assailed Owen in a strain of pointless invective.  The first 
charge against him is, that when vice-chancellor at Oxford, he 
had discountenanced some invidious distinctions in the dress of 
the members of the university,--"those habits and formalities by 
which persons of distinct qualities and degrees were 
distinguished in that school of learning."  It was an offence, 
too, that "when he was brought into Westminster Hall for his 
witness against Mr. Dutton, he refused to kiss the book, and 
professed it to be against his conscience to swear with any other 
ceremony than with eyes and hands lifted up to heaven."  The 
pamphlet closes with "An Independent Catechism," in which the 
views of our author are caricatured in a style that is intended 
to be witty.
  Certain principles laid down in Owen's Catechism, in regard to 
the ruling elder for example, are thought to bear some traces of 
affinity with Presbyterianism.  Encouraged especially by the 
doctrine taught in it, that the elders, not the body of the 
church, are the primary subjects of office-power, Baxter wrote to 
Owen a long document of "theses," as the basis of a union between 
Independents and Presbyterians.  "I am still a well-wisher to 
these mathematics," was his remark, when he finally returned the 
theses to their author; and "this," says Baxter, "was the issue 
of my third attempt for union with the Independents."  There 
might be ground for supposing that, on terms suggested by the 
Catechism, a coalition might be effected between the two 
denominations; and Owen himself, in a subsequent work, indicated 
circumstances in which they could not have been in separation 
from each other without blame.  Superior, however, in practical 
sagacity to his correspondent, he might see difficulties where 
Baxter saw none, or might feel that a formula of abstract theses 
was a waste of ingenuity, so long as the mutual confidence was 
lacking, which alone could affix upon the union the seal of 
permanence.  Too often the victim of his own ardour and acumen, 
Baxter was prone to believe that the difficulty of adjusting the 
wayward eddies of human feeling and opinion into one smooth and 
onward current, should yield at once to the same treatment as 
would suffice to work a problem or frame a syllogism.  The 
consummation for which he sincerely panted,--the outward unity of 
the church under one polity,--seems as yet reserved in providence 
to grace distant and happier times.

William H. Goold

  They [believers] will receive nothing, practise nothing, own 
nothing in His worship, but what is of His appointment.  They 
know that from the foundation of the world he never did allow, 
nor ever will, that in any thing the will of the creatures should 
be the measure of his honour, or the principle of his worship, 
either as to matter or manner.  It was a witty and true sense 
that one gave of the Second Commandment, 'Non imago, non 
simulachrum prohibetur, sed, non facies titbi;'--it is a making 
to ourselves, an inventing, a finding out ways of worship, or 
means of honouring God, not by him appointed, that is so severely 
forbidden.  Believers know what entertainment all will-worship 
finds with God.  "Who hath required this at your hand?" and "In 
vain do ye worship me, teaching for doctrines the traditions of 
men," is the best it meets with.  I shall take leave to say what 
is upon my heart, and what (the Lord assisting) I shall willingly 
endeavour to make good against all the world,--namely, that that 
principle, that the church hath power to institute and appoint 
any thing or ceremony belonging to the worship of God, either as 
to matter or manner, beyond the orderly observance of such 
circumstances as necessarily attend such ordinances as Christ 
himself hath instituted, lies at the bottom of all the horrible 
superstition and idolatry of all the confusion, blood, 
persecution, and wars, that have for so long a season spread 
themselves over the face of the Christian world; and that it is 
the design of a great part of the Book of the Revelation to make 
a discovery of the truth.
  And I doubt not but that the great controversy which God hath 
had with this nation for so many years, and which he hath pursued 
with so much anger and indignation, was upon this account, that, 
contrary to the glorious light of the Gospel, which shone among 
us, the wills and fancies of men, under the name of order, 
decency, and authority of the church (a chimera that none knew 
what it was, nor wherein the power did consist, nor in whom 
reside), were imposed on men in the ways and worship of God.  
Neither was all that pretence of glory, beauty, comeliness, and 
conformity, that then was pleaded, any thing more or less than 
what God doth so describe in the Church of Israel, Ezek. 16:25, 
and forwards.  Hence was the Spirit of God in prayer derided,--
hence was the powerfull preaching of the Gospel despised,--hence 
was the Sabbath-day decried,--hence was holiness stigmatized and 
persecuted.  To what end?  That Jesus Christ might be deposed 
from the sole power of law-making in his church,--that the true 
husband might be thrust aside, and adulterers of his spouse 
embraced,--that taskmasters might be appointed in and over his 
house, which he never gave to his church, Eph. 4:11,--that a 
ceremonious, pompous, outward show-worship, drawn from Pagan, 
Judaical, and Antichristian observances, might be introduced; of 
all which there is not one word, tittle, or iota in the whole 
book of God.  This, then, they who hold communion with Christ are 
careful of,--they will admit nothing, practise nothing, in the 
worship of God, private or public, but what they have his warrant 
for.  Unless it comes in his name, with "Thus saith the Lord 
Jesus," they will not hear an angel from heaven.

Owen on Communion with God, pp. 309, 310, fol. ed.


Question 1--
What doth God require of us in our dependence on him, that he may be 
glorified by us, and we accepted with him?

That we 1worship him 2in and by the ways of his own appointment.

1Matt.  4:10;  Rev. 14:7; Deut. 6:13,10:20.  2Lev. 10:1-3;  Exod.  24:3; 
Gen. 18:19; Josh. 23:6-8; Zech. 14:16.

By the worship of God inquired after, not that which is natural or 
moral, which is required in the first commandment, is intended.  Such is 
our faith and confidence in him, our fear of him, our subjection of soul 
and conscience unto him, as the great sovereign Lord, First Cause, Last 
End, Judge, and Rewarder of all men; the law whereof was originally 
written in the heart of man, and hath been variously improved and 
directed by new revelations and institutions.  And this worship is 
called natural upon a double account:

First, because it depends on the nature of God, a due perception and 
understanding whereof makes all this worship indispensably necessary: 
for none can know God but it is his duty to "glorify him as God," that 
is, to believe in him, love him, trust him, and call upon him; which are 
all therefore cursed that do not, Ps. 79:6; 2 Thes. 1:8.

And, secondly, because it was in the principle of it created with the 
nature of man, as that which suited, directed, and enabled him to answer 
the law of his creation, requiring this obedience of him in his 
dependence on God.  And this worship is invariable: but it concerneth 
those outward ways and means whereby God hath appointed that faith, and 
love, and fear of him to be exercised and expressed unto his glory.  And 
this kind of worship, though it depend not upon the nature of God, but 
upon his free and arbitrary disposal, and so was of old liable unto 
alterations, yet God did ever strictly require in the several states and 
conditions that his church hath gone through in the world.  And this is 
that which most commonly in the Scripture is called by the name of "The 
worship of God," as that whereby all the acceptable actings of the souls 
of men towards him are expressed, and the only way of owning and 
acknowledging him in the world, as also of entertaining a visible 
intercourse with him.  This, therefore, he calls for, and requires 
indispensably of all that draw nigh to him, and that because he is "the 
LORD our God," Rev. 14:6,7; Matt. 4:10; Deut. 10:12,13.  For his 
observance hereof doth he so approve of Abraham, Gen. 18:19; and sets it 
down as an everlasting law unto all others, that in a holy observation 
thereof "he will be sanctified in them that come nigh him," Lev. 10:1-3.  
His commands, also, concerning it are multiplied in the Scripture, with 
the approbation of all those that attend unto them.  We may not think to 
find acceptance with God, or to inherit the promises, if, supposing 
ourselves to adhere unto him in worship internal and natural, we neglect 
that which is external and of his free appointment: for besides that we 
renounce thereby our inward dependence on him also, in not observing his 
commands, as Adam did in transgressing an institution, we become wholly 
useless unto all the ends of his glory in the world; which is not the 
way to come to an enjoyment of him.  Neither do we only express and 
profess our inward moral-natural worship of God hereby, by which means 
it becomes the principle way and instrument of faith and trust exerting 
themselves in our obedience, but also it is a most effectual help and 
assistance unto the principle of that natural worship, strengthening the 
habit of it, and exciting it unto all suitable actings, unto its 
increase and growth.

Question 2--
By what means do we come to know that God will thus be worshipped?

That God is to be worshipped, and that according to his own will and 
appointment, is a 1principal branch of the law of our creation written in 
our hearts, the 2sense whereof is renewed in the second commandment; but 
the ways and means of that worship depend merely on God's 3sovereign 
pleasure and institution.

1Rom. 1:21,2:14,15; Acts 14:16,17,17:23-31.  2Exod. 20:4-6.  3Jer. 7:31; 
Exod. 25:40; Heb. 3:1-6; John 1:18.

These two things all men saw by nature:

First, That God, however they mistook in their apprehensions of him, 
would be, and was to be, worshipped with some outward solemn worship; so 
that although some are reported to have even cast off all knowledge and 
sense of a Divine Being, yet never any were heard of that came to an 
acknowledgment of any God, true or false, but they all consented that he 
was constantly and solemnly to be worshipped, and that not only by 
individual persons, but by societies together; that so they might own 
and honour him whom they took for their God.  And thus far outward 
worship is required in the first commandment, -- namely, that the inward 
be exercised and expressed.  When we take God for our God, we take him 
to worship him, Deut. 10:12,13.  Other thoughts, -- namely, of inward 
worship without without outward expression, at all or any time, or in 
any way, -- are but a covert unto atheism.  And, --

Secondly, This also they were led to an apprehension of by the same 
light whereby they are "a law unto themselves," Rom. 2:14, that God 
would be worshipped in the way and by the means that he himself 
appointed and approved: whence none among the heathen themselves 
undertook to appoint ways and ceremonies of worship, but still they 
pretended to derive the knowledge of them from the gods themselves; of 
whom they reckoned that every one would be worshipped in his own way.  
And because, notwithstanding this pretence, being left of God and 
deluded of Satan, they did invent false and foolish ways of worship, not 
only not appointed of God, but such as were unsuited unto those inbred 
notions which they had of his nature and excellencies, the apostle 
convinces and disproves them, as men acting against the light of nature 
and principles of reason, Rom. 1:20,21, they might have seen that in 
their idolatry they answered not their own inbred conceptions of the 
divine power and Godhead, so as to "glorify him as God;" and in the like 
manner doth he argue at large, Acts 17:22-31.  But beyond this the 
inbred light of nature could not conduct any of the sons of men; this 
alone is contained in the first precept.  That God was to be worshipped 
they knew, and that he was to be worshipped by ways and means of his own 
appointment they knew; but what those means were they knew not.  These 
always depended on God's sovereign will and pleasure, and he made them 
known to whom he pleased, Ps. 147:19,20.  And although some of the ways 
which he doth appoint may seem to have a great compliance in them unto 
the light of nature, yet in his worship he accepts them not on that 
account, but merely on that of his own institution; and this as he hath 
declared his will about in the second commandment, so he hath severely 
forbidden the addition of our own inventions unto what he hath 
appointed, sending us for instruction unto Him alone whom he hath 
endowed with sovereign authority to reveal his will and ordain his 
worship, John 1:18; Matt. 17:5; 1 Chron. 16:7.

Question 3--
How, then, are these ways and means of the worship of God made known unto us?

In and by the written word only, which contains a full and perfect 
revelation of the will of God as to his whole worship and all the 
concernments of it.

John 5:39; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:19; Deut. 
4:2,12:32; Josh. 1:7; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18,19; Isa. 29:13,14.

The end wherefore God granted his word unto the church was, that thereby 
it might be instructed in his mind and will as to what concerns the 
worship and obedience that he requireth of us, and which is accepted 
with him.  This the whole Scripture itself everywhere declares and 
speaks out unto all that do receive it; as 2 Tim. 3:15-17, with the 
residue of the testimonies above recited, do declare.  It supposeth, it 
declareth, that of ourselves we are ignorant how God is, how he ought to 
be, worshipped, Isa. 8:20.  Moreover, it manifests him to be a "jealous 
God," exercising that holy property of his nature in an especial manner 
about his worship, rejecting and despising every thing that is not 
according to his will, that is not of his institution, Exod. 20:4-6.

That we may know what is so, he hath made a revelation of his mind and 
will in his written word, -- that is, the Scripture.  And to the end 
that we might expect instruction from thence alone in his worship, and 
act therein accordingly, --

First, He sends us and directs us thereunto expressly for that purpose, 
Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29; John 5:39; and not once intimates in the least 
any other way or means of instruction unto that end.

Secondly, He frequently affirms that it is sufficient, able, and perfect 
to guide us therein, 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:19; Ps. 19:7-9.  And 
whereas he hath expressly given it unto us for that end, if there be any 
want or defect therein it must arise from hence, that either God would 
not or could not give unto us a perfect revelation of his will; neither 
of which can be imagined.

Thirdly, He hath commanded us to observe all whatsoever he hath 
appointed therein, and not to make any addition thereunto, Josh. 1:7; 
Deut. 4:2, 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18,19. And, --

Fourthly, Peculiarly interdicted us the use of any such things as are of 
the institution or appointment of men, Isa. 29:13,14.  So that from the 
Scriptures alone are we to learn what is accepted with God in his 

Question 4--
Have these ways and means been always the same from the beginning?

No; but God hath altered and changed them at sundry seasons, according 
to the counsel of his own will, so as he saw necessary for his own glory 
and the edification of his church.

Gen. 2:16,17,17:10,11; Exod. 12:3-24,20:1-26,25:9; Heb. 1:1,2,9:10-12.

The external worship whereof we speak being, as was showed before, not 
natural or moral, arising necessarily from the dependence of the 
rational creature on God as its first cause, chiefest good, last end, 
and sovereign Lord, but proceeding from the mere will and pleasure of 
God, determining how he will be honoured and glorified in the world, was 
always alterable by him by whom it was appointed.  And whereas, ever 
since the entrance of sin into the world, God had always respect unto 
the promise of the Lord Christ and his meditation, in whom alone he will 
be glorified, and faith in whom he aimed to begin and increase in all 
his worship, he hath suited his institutions of the means thereof to 
that dispensation of light and knowledge of him which he was pleased at 
any time to grant.  Thus, immediately after the giving of the promise, 
he appointed sacrifices for the great means of his worship; as to 
glorify himself expressly by men's offering unto him of the principal 
good things which he had given them, so to instruct them in the faith, 
and confirm them in the expectation of the great sacrifice for sin that 
was to be offered by the promised seed, Gen. 4:3,4; Heb. 11:4.  These 
were the first instituted worship of God in the world after the entrance 
of sin.  Hereunto he nextly added circumcision, as an express sign of 
the covenant, with the grace of it, which he called Abraham and his seed 
unto by Jesus Christ, Gen. 17:10,11.  And to the same general end and 
purpose he afterwards superadded the passover, with its attendant 
institutions, Exod. 12:3-24; and then the whole law of institutions 
contained in ordinances, by the ministry of angels on mount Sinai, Exod. 
20.  So by sundry degrees he built up that fabric of his outward 
worship, which was suited, in his infinite wisdom, unto his own glory 
and the edification of his church, until the exhibition of the promised 
seed, or the coming of Christ in the flesh, and the accomplishment of 
the work of his mediation, Heb. 1:1,2: for unto that season were those 
ordinances to serve, and no longer, chap. 9:10-12, and then were they 
removed by the same authority whereby they were instituted and 
appointed, Col. 2:14, 18-20.  So that though God would never allow that 
men upon what pretence soever, should make any alteration in the worship 
appointed by him, by adding unto it anything of their own, or omitting 
aught that he had commanded, either in matter or manner, notwithstanding 
that he knew that it was to abide but for a season, but commanded all 
men straitly to attend to the observation of it whilst it was by him 
continued in force, Mal. 4:4; yet he always reserved unto himself the 
sovereign power of altering, changing, or utterly abolishing it at his 
own pleasure: which authority he exerted in the gospel as to all the 
mere institutions of the Old Testament.  Whilst they continued he 
enforced them with moral reasons, such as his own holiness and 
authority.  But those reasons prove not any of those institutions to be 
moral, unless they ensue upon those reasons alone, and are nowhere else 
commanded; for being once instituted and commanded, they are to be 
enforced with moral considerations, taken from the nature of God and our 
duty in reference unto his authority.  So saith he, "Thou shalt 
reverence my sanctuary, I am the LORD;" which no more proves that a 
moral duty than that enjoined upon the same foundation, Lev. 11:44, "I 
am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye 
shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with 
any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."  Not 
defiling ourselves with the touching or eating of creeping things is now 
no moral duty since the institution is ceased, although it be enforced 
by many moral considerations.

Question 5--
Is there any farther alteration to be expected in or of those 
institutions and ordinances of worship which are revealed and appointed 
in the gospel?

No; the last complete revelation of the will of God being made by the 
Son, who is Lord of all, his commands and institutions are to be 
observed inviolably unto the end of the world, without alteration, 
diminution, or addition.

Heb. 1:1,2,10:25-27; Matt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 11:26; 1 Tim. 6:14.

It was showed before that all the institutions of the Old Testament had 
respect unto the coming of Christ in the flesh, who was "the end of the 
law," Rom. 10:4; and thereupon they were subject to alteration and 
abolition upon a twofold account:

1. Because that which they were appointed principally to instruct the 
church in, and to direct it unto the expectation of, was, upon his 
coming, accomplished and fulfilled; so that their end was absolutely 
taken away, and they could no more truly teach the mind and will of God, 
for they would still direct unto that which was to come, after it was 
past and accomplished.  And this is that which the apostle Paul so 
variously proves and fully confirms in his Epistle to the Hebrews, 
especially in the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth chapters.

2. The Lord Christ, during their continuance, was to come as the Lord 
over his whole house, with more full and ample authority than any of 
those whom God had employed in the institution of his ordinances of old 
were intrusted withal: Heb. 1:1-3, "He spake in time past by the 
prophets," but now "by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all."  
Heb. 3:6, "Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we."  
And, therefore, they were all to be at his disposal, to confirm or 
remove, as he saw reason and occasion.  And this he did, -- (1.) 
Virtually, in the sacrifice of himself, or the blood of his cross, 
fulfilling and finishing of them all, John 19:30; "breaking down the 
middle wall of partition; abolishing in his flesh the enmity, even the 
law of commandments contained in ordinances;" "blotting out the hand-
writing of ordinances," he "took it out of the way, nailing it to his 
cross," Eph. 2:14,15; Col. 2:14.  (2.) Authoritatively, by his Spirit in 
the apostles, and the doctrine of the gospel preached by them: Acts 
15:10,11, "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck 
of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  
But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall 
be saved, even as they."  Gal. 3:24,25, "Wherefore the law was our 
schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by 
faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a 
schoolmaster."  Gal. 5:1-4.  And, (3.) Eventually or providentially, 
when he caused sacrifice and offering to cease, by the prince of the 
people, that came with an army making desolate, to destroy both city and 
sanctuary, Dan. 9:26,27, according to his prediction, Matt. 24:2.  But 
now, under the New Testament, the worship that is appointed in the 
gospel is founded in and built upon what is already past and 
accomplished, namely, the death and life of Jesus Christ, with the 
sacrifice and atonement for sin made thereby, 1 Cor. 11:23-26; which can 
never be again performed; neither is there any thing else to the same 
purpose either needful or possible, Heb. 10:26.  So that there is not 
any ground left for any new institution of worship, or any alteration in 
those that are already instituted.  Nor, --

Secondly, Can any one be expected to come from God with a greater and 
more full authority for the revelation of his mind than that wherewith 
his only Son was accompanied; which yet must be, if any alterations were 
to be made in the appointments of worship that he hath instituted in the 

For no inferior nor an equal authority can abolish or alter that which 
is already appointed, so as to give satisfaction unto the consciences of 
men in obedience unto such alterations.  And, therefore, because there 
arose not a prophet like unto Moses under the Old Testament, there could 
be no alteration made in his institutions, but the church was bound 
severely to observe them all until the coming of Christ: Mal. 4:4, 
"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in 
Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments;" and that because 
"there arose not a prophet afterwards in Israel like unto Moses, whom 
the LORD knew face to face," Deut. 34:10.  And our apostle, to prove the 
right of Christ to alter the ordinances of the law, lays his foundation 
in manifesting that he was above the angels: Heb. 1:4, "Being made so 
much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more 
excellent name than they;" and that because the law was given by the 
ministry of angels, Heb. 2:2; and so also that he was greater than 
Moses, Heb. 3:3,5, "For this man was counted worthy of more glory than 
Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than 
the house.  Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, 
but Christ as a son over his own house;" because Moses was the lawgiver, 
and the mediator between God and man in the giving of the law.  Now, if 
this be the sole foundation and warrant of the alteration made of 
Mosaical ordinances by Christ, namely, that he was greater and exalted 
above all those whose ministry was used in the dispensation of the law, 
unless some can be thought to be greater, and exalted in authority above 
the Son of God, there can be no alteration expected in the institutions 
of the gospel.

Question 6--
May not such an estate of faith and perfection in obedience be attained 
in this life, as wherein believers may be freed from all obligation unto 
the observation of gospel institutions?

No; for the ordinances and institutions of the gospel being inseparably 
annexed unto the evangelical administration of the covenant of grace, 
they may not be left unobserved, disused, or omitted, whilst we are to 
walk before God in that covenant, without contempt of the covenant 
itself, as also of the wisdom and authority of Jesus Christ.

Heb. 3:3-6; Rom. 6:3-6; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Heb. 10:25; Rev. 

All our faith, all our obedience in this life, whatever may be obtained 
or attained unto therein, it all belongs unto our walking with God in 
the covenant of grace, wherein God dwells with men, and they are his 
people, and God himself is with them to be their God.  Other ways of 
communion with him, of obedience unto him, of enjoyment of him, on this 
side heaven and glory, he hath not appointed nor revealed.  Now, this is 
the covenant that God hath made with his people, "That he will put his 
laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and will be to 
them a God, and they shall be to him a people; and he will be merciful 
to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will he 
remember no more," Heb. 8:9-12.  And whatever men attain unto, it is by 
virtue of the grace of that covenant; nor is there any grace promised in 
the covenant to lead men in this life, or to give them up into a state 
of perfection, short of glory.  Unto this covenant are the institutions 
of gospel-worship annexed, and unto that administration of it which is 
granted unto the church upon the coming and death of Christ.  Without a 
renunciation and relinquishment of that covenant and the grace of it, 
these institutions cannot be omitted or deserted.  If men suppose that 
they have attained to an estate wherein they need neither the grace of 
God, nor the mercy of God, nor the blood of Christ, nor the Spirit of 
Christ, it is not much material what they think of the ordinances of 
worship.  Their pride and folly, without that mercy which is taught, 
promised, and exhibited in those ordinances, will speedily be their 
ruin.  Besides, the Lord Christ is the absolute Lord "over his own 
house," Heb. 3:3-6; and he hath given out the laws whereby he will have 
it guided and ruled whilst it is in this world.  In and by these laws 
are his ordinances of worship established.  For any persons, on what 
pretence soever, to plead an exemption from the obligation of those 
laws, it is nothing but to cast off the lordship and dominion of Christ 
himself.  And yet farther to secure our obedience in this matter, he 
hath expressly commanded the continuance of them until his coming unto 
judgment, as in the places above quoted will appear.

Question 7--
What are the chief things that we ought to aim at in our observation of 
the institutions of Christ in the gospel?

1To sanctify the name of God; 2to own and avow our professed subjection to 
the Lord Jesus Christ; 3to build up ourselves in our most holy faith; 
and, 4to testify and confirm our mutual love, as we are believers.

1Lev. 10:3; Heb. 12:28,29.  2Deut. 26:17; Josh. 24:22; 2 Cor. 8:5.  
3Eph. 4:11-16; Jude 20.  41 Cor. 10:16,17.

That we may profitably and comfortably, unto the glory of God and our 
own edification, be exercised in the observation of the institutions and 
worship of God, we are always to consider what are the ends for which 
God hath appointed them and commanded our attendance unto them, that so 
our observance of them may be the obedience of faith.  For, what end 
soever God hath appointed them unto, for that end are they useful and 
effectual, and to no other.  If we come to them for any other end, if we 
use them for any other purpose or with any other design, if we look for 
any thing in them or by them, but what God hath appointed them to 
communicate unto us, we dishonour God and deceive our own souls.  This 
we ought diligently to inquire into, to know not only what God requires 
of us, but wherefore also he requires it, and what he aims at therein; 
some of the principal things whereof are enumerated in this answer.  And 
it is well known how horribly many of the institutions of the gospel 
have been by some (especially the Papists) abused, by a neglect of the 
ends of God in them, and imposing new ends of their own upon them, unto 
superstition and idolatry.  Grace is ascribed unto the outward 
observance of them, whereas all grace is of the promise, and the promise 
in the covenant is given only to the faith of the right observers.  The 
elements in the sacrament of the eucharist are turned into a god, first 
worshipped and then devoured, with many the like abominations.

Question 8--
How may we sanctify the name of God in the use of gospel institutions?

1By a holy reverence of his sovereign authority appointing of them; 2a 
holy regard unto his special presence in them; 3faith in his promises 
annexed to them; 4delight in his will, wisdom, love, and grace, 
manifested in them; 5constancy and perseverance in obedience unto him in 
their due observation.

1Lev. 10:3; Mal. 1:6; Rom. 4:11; Exod. 20:6; James 4:12.  2Matt. 28:20; 
Isa. 59:21; Exod. 29:43-45.  3Gen. 15:6; Heb. 4:2,6; Exod. 12:27,28; 2 
Cor. 6:16-18,7:1;. 4Ps. 84:1,2,4,10,65:4,36:7,8.  5Ps. 23:6,27:4; Rev. 
2:3,10; Gal. 6:9; Heb. 10:23-25,12:3.

This is the first thing that God requireth us to attend unto in the 
celebration of the ordinances of his worship, -- namely, that we herein 
sanctify his name, the greatest duty that we are called unto in this 
world.  This he lays down as the general rule of all we do herein: Lev. 
10:3, "I will," saith he, "be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and 
before all the people I will be glorified."  Whatever we do in his 
worship, we must do it that he may be sanctified, or whatever we do is 
an abomination to him.  Now, the principal ways how we may herein 
sanctify the name of God are expressed; as, --

First, When in every ordinance we consider his appointment of it, and 
submit our souls and consciences unto his authority therein; which if we 
observe any thing in his worship but what he hath appointed we cannot 
do.  Not formality, not custom, not the precepts of men, not any thing 
but the authority and command of God, is to be respected in this 
obedience.  This is the first thing that faith regards in divine 
worship; it rests not in any thing, closeth not with any thing, but what 
it discerns that God hath commanded, and therein it eyes his authority 
as he requireth it: Mal. 1:6, "If I be a father, where is mine honour? 
and if I be a master, where is my fear?"  Rom. 14:11, "As I live, saith 
the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to 
God."  Reverence, then, unto the authority of God appointing his worship 
is a principal means of sanctifying the name of God therein.  This was 
the solemn sanction of all his institutions of old: Deut. 6:4-7, "Hear, 
O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy 
God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: 
and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children."  And the 
observation of them he presseth on this account, that the people might 
fear that "glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD," Deut. 28:58; 
which name he had so often engaged in his commands, saying, "Thou shalt 
do it; I am the LORD."  And in the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ 
proposeth his authority as the foundation of his commanding, and our 
observation of all the institutions of the gospel: Matt. 28:18-20, 
"Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in 
heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commande you."  
And he is to be considered in all our obedience as the great and only 
lawgiver of his church; as the "one lawgiver, who is able to save and 
destroy," James 4:12; the sovereign Lord over his "house," Heb. 3:4-6, 
unto whom every knee is to bow and every conscience to be in subjection: 
and he who heareth not his voice is to be cut off from the people of 
God: Acts 3:23, "It shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not 
hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people."

Secondly, God hath frequently promised his special presence in and with 
his instituted ordinances of old, both unto the things themselves and 
the places wherein they were according to his appointment to be 
celebrated, those places being also his special institution.  Under the 
New Testament, all difference of and respect unto place is taken away: 
John 4:21,23, "The hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, 
nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  But the hour cometh, and now 
is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and 
truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."  And we are 
commanded in all places equally to make our prayers and supplications.  
But his presence is promised and continued with the due celebration of 
the things themselves by him appointed for his service: Matt. 28:20, 
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: 
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."  In them 
is the "tabernacle of God with men," and he "dwells among them, and they 
are his people," Rev. 21:3; the promise of Christ being, that "where two 
or three are gathered together in his name, there he will be in the 
midst of them," Matt. 18:19,20.  And this promised presence of God, or 
Christ, consisteth, -- 1. In the power and efficacy which he by his 
Spirit implants upon his ordinances to communicate his grace and mercy 
unto his church, it being his covenant that his Spirit shall accompany 
his word for ever unto that purpose, Isa. 59:21.  2. In the special 
blessing which he gives his people in those duties, both in the 
acceptance of them and testifying his good-will unto them: Exod. 
29:42,43,45, "At the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, there I 
will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be 
sanctified by my glory.  And I will dwell among the children of Israel, 
and will be their God;" Zech. 2:10,11; Ezek. 20:40,41, "I will accept 
you with your sweet savour;" Ezek. 43:27; -- in both giving them 
intimate communion with himself by Jesus Christ, 1 John 1:3.  By all 
these he gives that special presence, which he requires an especial 
reverence and regard of faith unto, whereby his name is yet farther 

Thirdly, God hath given special promises, or promises of his special 
grace, unto them that attend upon him in his worship in a due manner.  
And hereunto also belongs that sacred relation which, by virtue of 
divine institution, is between the sacramental elements and the especial 
graces of the covenant which they exhibit and confirm; and the mixing of 
these promises with faith, according as they are appropriated unto any 
particular institution, belongs also to the right sanctification of the 
mind of God.  So also, --

Fourthly, Doth our delight in them.  Now, this delight in the worship of 
God, so much commended in the Scripture, and proposed unto our example, 
consists not in any carnal self-pleasing, or satisfaction in the outward 
modes or manner of the performance of divine worship; but it is a holy, 
soul-refreshing contemplation on the will, wisdom, grace, and 
condescension of God, in that he is pleased, of his own sovereign mere 
will and grace, so to manifest himself unto such poor sinful creatures 
as we are, so to condescend unto our weakness, so to communicate himself 
unto us, so to excite and draw forth our souls unto himself, and to give 
us such pledges of his gracious intercourse with us by Jesus Christ.  By 
the contemplation of these things is the soul drawn forth to delight in 

Lastly, Whereas great opposition lies oftentimes against the church's 
obedience unto God in this matter, and much persecution befalls it on 
that account, -- great weariness also being apt, from the remainders of 
unbelief, carnal wisdom, indwellling sin, weakness of the flesh in 
believers themselves, to arise in the course thereof, and many 
temptations also beset them on every hand, to turn them aside from the 
way of truth and holiness, -- constancy and perseverance in the due and 
orderly celebration of all the ordinances of the gospel belongs unto 
this duty.  And this perseverance respecteth both the things themselves 
and the manner of their performance, both which are of the highest 
concernment for us diligently to attend unto.

1. As to the things themselves.  Herein do we principally glorify God 
and give due honour unto Jesus Christ, when we abide in our professed 
subjection unto him and observance of his commands against difficulties, 
oppositions, and persecutions.  This he taketh notice of, Rev. 2:13, 
"Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those 
days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, 
where Satan dwelleth."  And this he requireth of us indispensably if we 
will be his disciples, or ever hope to obtain the reward: Matt. 
10:38,19, "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not 
worthy of me;" and it is "he that shall endure unto the end" that shall 
be "saved," Matt. 24:13.  And unto them who are "faithful unto death," 
and them alone, doth he give the "crown of life," Rev. 2:10; giving us 
caution not to lose those things which we have wrought," that we may 
"receive a full reward," 2 John 8.

2. And as to the manner of their performance, two things are to be 
regarded in this duty of perseverance, and the sanctification of the 
name of God therein: -- (1.) The inward principle of our obedience, our 
faith and love; which are to be preserved from decay: Rev. 2:4,5, "I 
have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the 
first works."  Rev. 3:3, "Remember how thou hast received and heard, and 
hold fast, and repent."  (2.) The outward manner of observance; which is 
to be kept entire, according to the primitive institution of Christ: 1 
Cor. 11:23, "I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered 
unto you," -- not admitting of any corruptions in it, to avoid the 
greatest trouble: Gal. 5:11, "And I, brethren, if I yet preach 
circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution?"

Question 9--
How do we in our observation profess our subjection unto the Lord Jesus 
Christ and his gospel?

In that being all of them, first appointed by him as the head, lawgiver, 
and king of his church; and, secondly, made by him the ensigns and 
tokens of his kingdom and subjects; in their due observation principally 
consists that profession of him and his name which he so often calleth 
us unto, and so indispensably requireth at our hands.

Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Cor. 11:23; Heb. 3:6,12:25; John 13:13,8:31,14:15,21,
23,15:14,17,18:35; Luke 9:26; Rom. 10:10; 1 John 2:3,4.

The ground and reason of this duty is evident.  The Lord Jesus Christ 
straitly enjoins all his disciples the profession of his name, and lays 
it on them as indispensable unto salvation: Rom. 10:10, "With the heart 
man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession," or 
profession, "is made unto salvation;" John 12:42-45.  Now, this 
profession of the name of Christ, which is so much abused and mistaken 
in the world, consists in the keeping of his commandments: John 15:14, 
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."  So also, Matt. 
28:20, his disciples are to be taught to do and observe whatever he 
commandeth.  Now, whereas he is the head and king of the church, the 
next immediate and special lawgiver of it, appointing unto it all his 
ordinances and its whole worship, as it becomes him who is lord of the 
house, the institutions of the gospel worship are his most especial 
commands; and in their observation consists that profession of him which 
he requires of us; therein doth he call them out of the world by 
profession whom he hath redeemed out of it by his blood, 2 Cor. 6:15-18; 
Rev. 5:9.  In these he exerciseth his kingly or lordly power over his 
church, Heb. 3:6; and in the willing obedience of his people, gathering 
themselves unto the ensigns of his rule, he is glorified in the world.

Question 10--
How do we in and by them build up ourselves in our most holy faith?

By the exercise of that communion with God in Christ Jesus which, in 
their due observation, he graciously invites and admits us unto, for the 
increase of his grace in us, and the testification of his love and good-
will towards us.

Gen. 17:10; Lev.26:11,12; Prov. 9:5,6; Ezek. 36:27,28; Zech. 14:16,17; 
Matt. 26:27,28; Rom. 6:3.

The next and principal ends of all instituted worship, in respect of 
believers, are, the increase of the grace of God in them, their 
edification in their most holy faith, and the testification of the good-
will of God unto them: Eph. 4:11-16, "And he gave some, apostles; and 
some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 
for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the 
edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the 
faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto 
the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth 
be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every 
wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby 
they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up 
into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the 
whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint 
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every 
part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."  
Whence, also, is that prayer of the apostle for the blessing of God upon 
the church, in the use of them: Eph. 3:16-19, "that he would grant you, 
according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by 
his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by 
faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to 
comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, 
and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, 
that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."  For these ends, 
and with a design to have them accomplished in and upon their souls, 
ought they to attend unto them: James 1:21, "Receive with meeknes the 
engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."  1 Pet. 2:2, "As new-
born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow 
thereby."  Unto the effecting of these ends, especially the increase and 
establishment of our faith, are they suited and appointed of God; 
whereon all there efficacy doth depend.  In their due observation doth 
God give out that supply of grace which he hath promised, Eph. 3:16-19.  
And thus also is faith exercised in an especial manner; which is the 
only ordinary means of its growth and increase.  Habits, both acquired 
and infused, are increased and strengthened by frequent acts on 
suitable objects: Hos. 4:3, "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know 
the LORD."  In the celebration of gospel ordinances, God in Christ 
proposeth himself in an intimate manner to the believing soul as his God 
and reward; and his love in Christ, in an especial manner, in some 
ordinances.  So doth Christ also exhibit himself thereunto: Rev. 3:20, 
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and 
open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with 
me."  Faith, therefore, directed by the word to rest in God, to receive 
the Lord Christ in the observation of his ordinances, is excited, 
increased, strengthened, and that in answer unto the appointment and 
promises of God.

Question 11--
How are mutual love and communion among believers testified and 
confirmed in their observation?

In that they are appointed by the Lord Christ for that end, and in their 
own nature, as attended unto in their assemblies, are in an especial 
manner suited unto that purpose.

John 13:35; 1 Cor. 10:16,17,11:18,19; Eph. 4:3-6.

The principles of mutual, spiritual love among believers arise from 
their relation unto one Father: Matt. 28:9, "One is your Father, which 
is in heaven," who giveth unto all them that believe in Christ "power to 
become the sons of God," John 1:12; and their being all children of the 
same family, -- that family in heaven and earth which is called after 
the name of God, the Father of it, as the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, Eph.  3:14,15; -- and unto Christ Jesus as their elder brother, 
who "is not ashamed to call them brethren," Heb. 2:11, being by him born 
of God; -- and from their participation of one and the self-same Spirit, 
which dwelleth in them, as they are "the temple of God, and the Spirit 
of God dwelleth in them," 1 Cor. 3:16; as also in all the fruits of that 
one Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:4-8, and in that one faith and hope whereunto they 
are called: Eph. 4:3-6, "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in 
the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 
called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 
one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you 
all."  And that love which is not built on these principles and 
foundations is not evangelical, whatever other ground it may have, or 
occasion it may pretend unto.  Communion of saints consists in their 
mutual love, duly exercised according to rule; and all communion is an 
effect of union.  In union therefore must lie the springs of love, and 
this consists in a joint incorporation of believers into Christ; "for as 
the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one 
body being many, are one body, so also is Christ; for by one Spirit we 
are all baptized into one body;" -- and this they have by the means 
before mentioned, namely, their adoption, faith, and inhabitation of the 
Spirit.  Now, in the joint celebration of the ordinances of God's 
worship, they all together make profession of these principles, and act 
that one faith, hope, and love jointly, whereof they are made partakers, 
and thereby grow up more and more into the head "by that which every 
joint supplieth," Eph. 4:16.  And some of them are peculiarly designed 
by the Lord Christ for the testification of their love and union among 
themselves: 1 Cor. 10:16,17, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it 
not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is 
it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we being many are one 
bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."

Question 12--
What is principally to be attended unto by us in the manner of the 
celebration of the worship of God, and observation of the institutions 
and ordinances of the gospel?

That we observe and do all whatsoever the Lord Christ hath commanded us 
to observe, in the way that he hath prescribed; and that we add nothing 
unto or in the observation of them that is of man's invention or 

Deut. 4:2,12:32; Jer. 7:27; Matt. 15:9,13,17:5,28:20; Col. 2:6; Heb. 
3:3-6; 1 Cor. 11:23; Rev. 22:18,19; 1 Chron. 16:7; Isa. 29:13.

This was in part spoken to before on the third question, where it was 
showed that the Scripture is the only way and means whereby God hath 
revealed what that worship is which he will accept in and of the church.  
Here, moreover, as to the duty of the church in this matter, three 
things are asserted: --

First, That we are to observe and do all whatsoever the Lord Christ hath 
commanded us to observe.  This lies plain in the command, Mat. 28:20, 
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."  
And we are directed unto it in the injunction given us from heaven, to 
"hear," -- that is, to obey him in all things, Matt. 17:5, he being the 
prophet to whose teachings and instructions we owe obedience, on pain of 
extermination from among the people of God, Deut. 18:15,18,19; Acts 
3:22,23.  Whatever he hath appointed, commanded, revealed as the will of 
God to be observed in or about the worship of God, that is to kept and 
observed by the church inviolably; for if we are his friends and 
disciples, we will keep his commandments.  No disuse, of what 
continuance soever, can discharge us from the observation of 
institutions.  After the feast of tabernacles had been disused from the 
times of Joshua unto the return from the captivity, the restoration of 
it was required of God and accepted with him, Neh. 8:17.  No abuse, of 
how high a nature soever, can absolve us from obedience unto an 
institution, 1 Cor. 11:20-23.  After the great abuse of the Lord's 
supper in that church, the apostle recalls them again unto the 
observation of it, according to the institution of Christ.  And after 
the defilement of all the ordinances of the gospel, under the 
antichristian apostasy, yet the temple and the alter are to be measured 
again, Rev. 11:1, and the tabernacle of God was again to be raised 
amongst men, Rev. 21:3.  No opposition, no persecution, can give the 
church a dispensation wholly to omit and lay aside the use of any thing 
that the Lord Christ hath commanded to be observed in the worship of 
God, whilst we are under the obligation of that great rule, Acts 4:19, 
"Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than 
unto God, judge ye."  It is true, in the observation of positive 
institutions, we may have regard unto rules and prescriptions of 
prudence, as to times, places, and seasons, that by no inadvertency or 
miscarriage of ours, or advantage taken by the adversaries of the truth, 
the edification of the church be hindered; -- so the disciples met with 
"the doors shut for fear of the Jews," John 20:19; and Paul met with the 
disciples in the night, in "an upper chamber," for the celebration of 
all the ordinances of the church, Acts 20:7,8; -- yet, as to the 
obligation unto their observation, it indispensably binds us, and that 
always, and that as to all the institutions of Christ whatever: Heb. 
10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the 
manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as 
ye see the day approaching."  To dispense with Christ's commands 
practically is unlawful, much more doctrinally, most of all 
authoritatively, as the pope takes on himself to do.  This, then, is the 
church's duty, to search out all the commands of Christ recorded in the 
gospel, and to yield obedience unto them.  We are not, in this matter, 
to take up merely with what we find in practice amongst others, no, 
though they be men good or holy.  The duty of the church, and, 
consequently, of every member of it in his place and station, is to 
search the Scriptures, to inquire into the mind of Christ, and that with 
hearts and minds prepared unto a due observation of whatever shall be 
discovered to be his will.

Secondly, Whatever belongs unto the worship of God, in the way or manner 
whereby any of the ordinances of Christ is to be performed, comes also 
under the command of Christ, which is duly to be attended unto and 
observed.  Indeed, whatever is of this nature appointed by Christ, it 
doth therefore belong to the worship of God; and what is not so 
appointed neither doth nor can be any part thereof.  Of this nature is 
the celebration of all other ordinances with prayer, for every thing is 
"sanctified by the word of God and prayer," 1 Tim. 4:5; of some of them 
indispensably in the assemblies of the church, 1 Cor. 10:16,17, 
11:20,24,25,33; with care in the observation of the general rules of 
love, modesty, condescension, and prudence, "doing all things decently 
and in order," 1 Cor. 11:33, 14:40; gestures in some sacred actions, 
Matt. 26:20,26-28; John 13:23; -- all which the church is diligently to 
inquire into, as things that belong to the pattern of the house of God, 
"the goings out thereof and the comings in thereof, the forms thereof 
and the ordinances thereof, with the laws thereof," promised to be 
showed unto it, Ezek. 43:11.  To attend carefully to their observation 
is its duty, being left at liberty as to all other circumstances; which 
no authority of man can give any real relation to the worship of God 
unto.  Therein lies the exercise of that spirit of wisdom and revelation 
in the knowledge of the mystery of the gospel, which is given unto the 
church, Eph. 1:17,18.  It was the wisdom of the ancient church to do and 
observe all that God appointed, in the way and manner that he had 
prescribed for their observance: Deut. 4:5,6, "Behold, I have taught you 
statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me.  Keep 
therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding."  
And herein is the command of Christ kept inviolate and unblamable.  The 
persuasion of some, that the Lord hath not prescribed all things wherein 
his worship is concerned, seems to proceed from a negligence in 
inquiring after what he hath so prescribed.  And when once that 
persuasion is entertained, all farther inquiry is superseded and 
despised; for to what end should any one seek after that which he is 
satisfied cannot be found? as that which is not cannot be.  But this 
mistake will be elsewhere more fully discovered.

Thirdly, A principal part of the duty of the church in this matter is, 
to take care that nothing be admitted or practised in the worship of 
God, or as belonging thereunto, which is not instituted and appointed by 
the Lord Christ.  In its care, faithfulness, and watchfulness herein 
consists the principal part of its loyalty unto the Lord Jesus, as the 
head, king, and lawgiver of his church; and which to stir us up into, he 
hath left so many severe interdictions and prohibitions in his word 
against all additions to his commands, upon any pretence whatever; of 
which afterward.

Question 13--
Are not some institutions of the New Testament ceased as to any 
obligation unto their observation, and therefore now rightly disused?

1Some symbolical tokens of moral duties, occasionally used, only for 
present instruction in those duties, are mentioned in the gospel, 
without any intention to oblige believers unto the formal constant use 
and repetition of them; and 2some temporary appointments relating unto 
gifts in the church, bestowed only for a season on the first plantation 
of the gospel, are ceased; but 3no institution or command of Christ, 
given unto the whole church, relating unto the evangelical 
administration of the new covenant, for the use and benefit of all 
believers, doth or shall cease to the end of the world, nor can be 
wholly omitted without a violation of the authority of Jesus Christ 

1John 13:12-15; Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 1 Tim. 5:10.  2Mark 6:13; 
James 5:14.  3Matt. 28:20; 1 Tim. 6:14; 1 Cor. 11:26.

Mention is made in the Scriptures of sundry things practised by the Lord 
Christ and his apostles, which being then in common use among men, were 
occasionally made by them symbolical instructions in moral duties.  Such 
were washing of feet by one another, the holy kiss, and the like.  But 
there being no more in them but a sanctified use directed unto the 
present civil customs and usages, the commands given concerning them 
respect not the outward action, nor appointed any continuance of them, 
being peculiarly suited unto the state of things and persons in those 
countries; as, John 13:12-15, "After he had washed their feet, and had 
taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye 
what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; 
for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye 
also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, 
that ye should do as I have done to you."  It is evident in the moral 
duty of brotherly love, in condescension and mutual helpfulness, to be 
expressed in all necessary offices as occasion doth require, that is the 
thing which Jesus Christ here enjoined his disciples, and leads them to 
by his own example in an office of love then in use in those parts.  The 
same is to be said of the "holy kiss," Rom. 16:16; which was a 
temporary, occasional token of entire love, which may, in answer 
thereunto, be expressed by any sober usage of salutation amongst men to 
the same purpose.  But the the things themselves were not instituted for 
any continuance, nor do represent any special grace of the new covenant, 
which is inseparable from every institution of gospel worship properly 
so called.  Common usages or practices, therefore, directed to be used 
in a due manner and unto a proper end, where they are used, make them 
not institutions of worship.  Neither have they in them, as so commanded 
or directed, any one thing that concurs to the constitution of a gospel 
ordinance; for neither had they their rise in the authority of Christ, 
nor is any continuance of them enjoined, nor any promise annexed unto 
them, nor any grace of the new covenant represented or exhibited in 

Besides, there were in the first churches, continued for a while, 
certain extraordinary gifts, that had their effects visible on the 
outward senses of men, and tended not immediately unto the edification 
of the churches in their faith, but unto the conviction of others, and 
vindication of the authority of them by whom the gospel was preached and 
propagated.  Such was that gift of healing the sick: which being an 
especial effect of the Holy Ghost for the advantage of the church in 
those days, in some places it was accompanied by anointing with oil; but 
this being no universal practice, and used only in the exercise of a 
gift extraordinary, whose use and being has long since ceased, it never 
was appointed nor intended to be of continuance in the church, which is 
not tied by the Lord Christ to the empty signs and shadows of things 
whose substance is not enjoyed.  Besides, no spiritual grace of the 
covenant was ever intimated, sealed, or exhibited by that usage of 
anointing with oil.  The first mention of it is, Mark 6:13, where its 
practice is reckoned among the effects of that extraordinary power which 
the Lord Christ committed unto his twelve disciples on their first 
sending out, and is referred unto the same series of miracles which they 
wrought in pursuit and by virtue thereof: "They cast out many devils, 
and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them."  And by 
what is there recorded, the subsequent mention of it, James 5:14, is to 
be regulated.  But now, unto a real evangelical institution of worship, 
it is required, -- 1. That it be a command of Christ, manifested by his 
word or example proposed unto our imitation, Matt. 28:20; 2. That it be 
given and enjoined unto the whole church, with the limitation of its 
administration expressed in the word, 1 Cor. 11:25; 3. That, unto the 
due performance of it, gospel grace be required in them that attend unto 
it; 4. That it teach, or represent, or seal, or improve some grace of 
the covenant, and have a promise of acceptation annexed unto it.  And 
whatever is thus appointed, the church is indispensably to continue in 
the observation of, unto the end of the world.

Question 14--
May not the church find out, and appoint to be observed, such religious 
rites as, being adjoined unto the celebration of God's instituted 
worship, may further the devotion of the worshippers, and render the 
worship itself in its performance more decent, beautiful, and orderly, 
as the appointing of images, and the like?
All acceptable devotion in them that worship God is the effect of faith, 
which respects the precepts and promises of God alone.  And the 
comeliness and beauty of gospel worship consisteth in its relation unto 
God by Jesus Christ, as the merciful high priest over his house, with 
the glorious administration of the Spirit therein.  The order also of it 
lieth in the due and regular observation of all that Christ hath 
appointed.  And therefore all such inventions are in themselves needless 
and useless, and, because forbidden, unlawful to be observed.

Rom. 1:21,14:23; Heb. 4:2,11:4,6; Deut. 13:4,27:10,30:2,8,20,11:27; 
Matt. 17:5; Isa. 29:13; Eph. 2:18; 2 Cor. 3:7-11; Heb. 10:19-22; John 
4:21-23; 1 Cor. 14:25; Matt. 28:20; Exod. 20:4; Deut. 4:2; Matt. 15:13; 
Deut. 12:32, 17:3.
Three things are usually pleaded in the justification of the observance 
of such rites and ceremonies in the worship of God: -- First, That they 
tend unto the furtherance of the devotion of the worshippers; secondly, 
That they render the worship itself comely and beautiful; thirdly, That 
they are the great preservers of order in the celebration thereof.  And 
therefore on these accounts they may be instituted or appointed by some, 
and observed by all.

But things are indeed quite otherwise: "God is a Spirit, and will be 
worshipped in spirit and in truth," John 4:24.  And no devotion is 
acceptable unto him, but what proceedeth from and is an effect of faith; 
for "without faith it is impossible to please God," Heb. 11:6.  And 
faith in all things respects the commands and authority of God; for 
saith he, "In vain do they worship me, who teach for doctrines the 
commandments of men," Matt. 15:9; and he rejecteth all that honour which 
is given him by those whose fear towards him or worship of him is 
"taught by the precepts of men," Isa. 29:13.  These things, therefore, 
being utterly destitute of divine authority, they can no way further or 
promote the devotion of the worshippers.  What natural or carnal 
affections may be excited by them, -- as men may "inflame themselves 
with idols," Isa. 57:5, -- or what outward, outside devotion they may 
direct unto or excite, is uncertain; but that they are no means of 
stirring up the grace of God in the hearts of believers, or of the 
increase or strengthening of their faith, -- which things alone God 
accepts in gospel worship, -- seeing they are not appointed by him for 
any such purpose, is most certain: for to say that any thing will 
effectually stir up devotion, -- that is, excite, strengthen, or 
increase grace in the heart towards God, -- that is not of his own 
appointment, is on the one hand to reflect on his wisdom and care 
towards his church, as if he had been wanting towards it in things so 
necessary, which he declares against, Isa. 5:4, "What," saith he, "could 
have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" so on 
the other, it extols the wisdom of men above what is meet to ascribe 
unto it.  Shall men find out that which God would not, or could not, in 
matters of so great importance unto his glory and the souls that obey 
him?  Yea, and it cannot be but that attendance unto them and their 
effects must needs divert the mind from those proper spiritual actings 
of faith and grace which is its duty to attend unto.  And this is 
evidently seen in them who, indulging to themselves in their observation 
in multiplied instances, as in the church of Rome, have changed the 
whole spiritual worship of the church into a theatrical, pompous show of 
carnal devotion.

Secondly, The comeliness and beauty of gospel worship doth not in the 
least depend upon them nor their observation.  The apostle doth in 
sundry places expressly compare the spiritual worship of the gospel with 
that of the law, whilst the church had a worldly sanctuary and carnal 
ordinances, Heb. 9:1.  And although it be most evident that the worship 
of the Old Testament did, for the glory and ornaments of outward 
ceremonies, and the splendour of their observation, far exceed and excel 
that worship which God commands now, as suitable unto the simplicity of 
the gospel, yet doth the apostle prefer this, for glory, comeliness, and 
beauty, unspeakably above the other; which manifests that these things 
can have no respect unto outward rites and ceremonies, wherein the chief 
admirers of them can no way vie for glory with the old worship of the 
temple.  So the apostle, 2 Cor. 3:7-11, "If the ministration of death, 
written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of 
Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of 
his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the 
ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?  For if the ministration 
of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of 
righteousness exceed in glory.  For even that which was made glorious 
had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.  
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which 
remaineth is glorious."  He compareth the two ministrations and the 
several worships of the law and gospel, preferring this unspeakably 
above the other, sufficiently manifesting that the glory of it 
consisteth not in any pompous observance of outward ceremonies.  And 
elsewhere he declareth that indeed it doth consist in its relation to 
God in Christ, with the liberty and boldness of the worshippers to enter 
into the holy place, unto the throne of grace, under the ministry of 
their merciful and faithful high priest, being enabled thereunto by the 
Spirit of adoption and supplications; for therein, "through Christ, we 
have access by one Spirit unto the Father," Eph. 2:18; as it is 
expressed, Heb. 10:19-21, "Having therefore boldness to enter into the 
holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath 
consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and 
having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a 
true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from 
an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."  This is the 
glory of gospel worship and the beauty of it; whose consideration whilst 
the minds of men are diverted from, to look for beauty in the outward 
preparation of ceremonies, they lose the privilege purchased for 
believers by the blood of Christ.  Instead, then, of furthering the 
beauty and comeliness of gospel worship, they are apt to lead men into a 
dangerous error and mistake, -- as, upon a due consideration, will 
appear to be mean and carnal, and far beneath those ceremonies and 
ordinances of the Old Testament, which yet, in comparison of the worship 
of the gospel, are called "worldly, carnal, beggarly," and are said to 
have "no glory."

Thirdly, They do not in the least tend unto the preservation of due 
order in the celebration of divine worship.  All order consists in the 
due observation of rule.  The rules of actions are either natural or of 
his special appointment.  Both these take place in religious worship; 
the institutions or commands of Christ containing the substance thereof, 
in their observation principally consists the order of it.  Whatever is 
of circumstance in the manner of its performance, not capable of 
especial determination, as emerging or arising only occasionally, upon 
the doing of that which is appointed at this or that time, in this or 
that place, and the like, is left unto the rule of moral prudence, in 
whose observation their order doth consist.  But the superaddition of 
ceremonies necessarily belonging neither to the institutions of worship 
nor unto those circumstances whose disposal falls under the rule of 
moral prudence, neither doth nor can add any thing unto the due order of 
gospel worship; so that they are altogether needless and useless in the 
worship of God.  Neither is this the whole of the inconvenience 
wherewith their observance is attended; for although they are not in 
particular and expressly in the Scripture forbidden, -- for it was 
simply impossible that all instances wherein the wit of man might 
exercise its invention in such things should be reckoned up and 
condemned, -- yet they fall directly under those severe prohibitions 
which God hath recorded to secure his worship from all such additions 
unto it, of what sort soever.  Yea, the main design of the second 
precept is to forbid all making unto ourselves any such things in the 
worship of God, to add unto what he hath appointed; whereof an instance 
is given in that of making and worshipping images, the most common way 
that the sons of men were then prone to transgress by against the 
institutions of God.  And this sense and understanding of the 
commandment is secured by those ensuing prohibitions against the adding 
any thing at all unto the commands of God in his worship: Deut. 4:2, "Ye 
shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye 
diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD 
your God."  Deut. 12:32, "What thing soever I command you, observe to do 
it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it;" Deut. 17:3.  To 
the same purpose were the places before mentioned, Matt. 15:9, etc.; as 
also that severe rule applied by our Saviour unto the additions of the 
Pharisees, verse 13, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not 
planted, shall be rooted up."

And there is yet farther evidence contributed unto this intention of the 
command, from those places where such evils and corruptions as were 
particularly forbidden in the worship of God are condemned, not on the 
special account of their being so forbidden, but on that more general, 
of being introduced without warrant from God's institutions or commands: 
Jer. 7:31, "They have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the 
valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and daughters in the 
fire; which I commanded not, neither came it into my heart."  Jer. 19:5, 
"They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with 
fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, 
neither came it into my mind."  These things were particularly 
forbidden; but yet God here condemns them as coming under the general 
evil of making additions unto his commands, -- doing that which he 
commanded not, nor did it ever enter into his heart.

The papists say, indeed, that all additions corrupting the worship of 
God are forbidden, but such as further, adorn, and preserve it are not 
so; which implies a contradiction, for whereas every addition is 
principally a corruption because it is an addition, under which notion 
it is forbidden (and that in the worship of God which is forbidden is a 
corruption of it), there can be no such preserving, adorning addition, 
unless we allow a preserving and adorning corruption.  Neither is it of 
more force which is pleaded by them, that the additions which they make 
belong not unto the substance of the worship of God, but unto the 
circumstances of it; for every circumstance observed religiously, or to 
be observed in the worship of God, is of the substance of it, as were 
all those ceremonious observances of the law, which had the same respect 
in the prohibitions of adding with the most weighty things whatsoever.

Question 15--
Whence may it appear that the right and due observation of instituted 
worship is of great importance unto the glory of God, and of high 
concernment unto the souls of men?

This is fully taught in the Scriptures; as, 1God would never accept in 
any state of the church, before or since the fall, moral obedience 
without the observation of some institutions as trials, tokens, and 
pledges of that obedience.  And 2in their use and signification by his 
appointment they nearly concern the principal mysteries of his will and 
grace; and 3by their celebration is he glorified in the world.  And, 
therefore, 4as he hath made blessed promises to his people, to grant 
them his presence and to bless them in their use; so, 5being the tokens 
of the marriage relation that is between him and them, with respect unto 
them alone he calls himself "a jealous God," and 6hath actually execised 
signal severity towards the neglecters, corrupters, or abusers of them.

1Gen. 2:16,17,4:3-5,17:9-11; Exod. 12:21, 20:1-26; Matt. 
18:19,20,16:26,27; Eph. 4:11,12; Rev. 1:13,21:3.  2Gen. 17:10; Exod. 
12:23,24; Rom. 6:3-5; Matt. 16:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.  3See questions 
the eith and ninth.  4Exod. 29:42,43,45; Deut. 14:23,24; Ps. 133:3; 
Matt. 18:20; Rev. 21:3.  5Exod20:5; Deut. 4:23,24; Josh. 24:19; Ezek. 
16.  6Lev. 10:1,2; Num. 16:1-40; 1 Sam. 2:27-34; 2 Sam. 6:6,7; 2 Chron. 
26:16-21; 1 Cor. 11:30.

For the most part, the instituted worship of God is neglected and 
despised in the world.  Some are uttely regardless of it, supposing that 
if they attend, after their manner, unto moral obedience, that neither 
God nor themselves are much concerned in this matter of his worship.  
Others think the disposal and ordering of it to be so left unto men, 
that, as to the manner of its performance, they may do with it as it 
seems right in their own eyes; and some follow them therein, as 
willingly walking after their commandments, without any respect unto the 
will or authority of God.  But the whole Scripture gives us utterly 
another account of this matter.  The honour of God in this world, the 
trial of our faith and obedience, the order and beauty of the church, 
the exaltation of Christ in our professed subjection to him, and the 
saving of our souls in the ways of his appointment, are therein laid 
upon the due and right observance of instituted worship; and they who 
are negligent about these things, whatever they pretend, have no real 
respect unto anything that is called religion.  First, therefore, in 
every state and condition of the church, God hath given his ordinances 
of worship as the touchstone and trial of its faith and obedience; so 
that they by whom they are neglected do openly refuse to come unto God's 
trial.  In the state of innocency, the trial of Adam's obedience, 
according to the law of nature, was in and by the institution of the 
tree of life, and of the knowledge of good and evil: Gen 2:16,17, "And 
the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou 
mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou 
shalt surely die."  This was the first institution of God, and it was 
given unto the church in the state of innocency and purity.  And in our 
first parents' neglect of attending thereunto did they transgress the 
whole law of their creation, as failing in their duty in that which was 
appointed for their trial in the whole: Gen. 3:11, "Hast thou eaten of 
the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?", etc.  
And the church in his family after the fall, built upon the promise, was 
tried also in the matter of instituted worship.  Nor was there any 
discovery of the wickedness of Cain, or approbation of the faith of 
Abel, until they came to be proved in their sacrifices; a new part of 
God's instituted worship, the first in the state and condition of sin 
and the fall whereinto it was brought: Gen. 4:3-5, "In process of time 
it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an 
offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of 
his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the LORD had respect unto Abel 
and to his offering: but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect."  
The ground whereof the apostle declares, Heb. 11:4, "By faith Abel 
offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he 
obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts."  
In the observation of that first institution, given to the church in the 
state of the fall, did Abel receive a testimony of his being justified 
and accepted with God.  Afterward, when Abraham was called, and 
peculiarly separated to bear forth the name of God in the world, and to 
become the spring of the church for future ages, he had the institution 
of circumcision given him for the trial of his obedience; the law and 
condition whereof was, that he who observed it not should be esteemed an 
alien from the covenant of God, and be cut off from his people: Gen. 
17:9-11, "God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant, thou, and 
thy seed after thee in their generations.  This is my covenant, which ye 
shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man-child 
among you shall be circumcised."  Verse 14, "And the uncircumcised man-
child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be 
cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant."  And in like 
manner, so soon as ever his posterity were to be collected into a new 
church state and order, God gave the ordinance of the passover: Exod. 
12:24, "Ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy 
sons for ever;" and that upon the same penalty with that of 
circumcision.  To these he added many more on mount Sinai, Exod. 20; all 
as the trials of their faith and obedience unto succeeding generations.  
How he hath dealt with his church under the New Testament we shall 
afterwards declare.  In no state or condition, then, of the church did 
God ever accept of moral obedience without the observation of some 
instituted worship, accomodated in his wisdom unto its various states 
and conditions; and not only so, but, as we have seen, he hath made the 
observation of them, according unto his mind and appointment, the means 
of the trial of men's whole obedience, and the rule of the acceptance or 
rejection of them.  And so it continues at this day, whatever be the 
thoughts of men about the worship which at present he requires.

Besides, God hath appointed that his worship shall be an effectual 
means, as to instruct us in the mysteries of his will and mind, so of 
communicating his love, mercy, and grace unto us; as also of that 
communion or intercourse with his holy Majesty, which he hath graciously 
granted unto us by Jesus Christ.  And this, as it is sufficiently 
manifested in the Scriptures quoted in answer unto this question, so it 
is at large declared in the writings of those holy and good men who have 
explained the nature of the gospel ordinances; and therefore, in 
particular, we need not here insist much in the farther proof of it.  
Thus, Abraham was instructed in the nature of the covenant of grace by 
circumcision, Gen. 17:10, which is often explained in the Old Testament 
by applying it in particular to the grace of conversion, called the 
"circumcision of the heart," Deut. 10:16, 30:6, Jer. 4:4; as also in the 
New Testament, Col. 2:11.  And by the passover were the people taught 
not only the mercy of their present deliverance, Exod. 12:23,24, but 
also to look for the Lamb of God who was to take away the sin of the 
world, John 1:29, the true Passsover of the people of God, which was 
sacrificed for them, 1 Cor. 5:7.  How our insition or implanting into 
Christ is represented and signified by our baptism, the apostle 
declares, Rom. 6:3-5; as also our communion with him in his death, by 
the supper of the Lord, Matt. 26:26,27, 1 Cor. 11:24,25.  And all these 
graces which they teach they also exhibit, and are the means of the 
communication of them unto believers.  Moreover, the experience of all 
believers who have conscientiously waited upon God in their due 
observance may be produced in the confirmation of it.  The instruction, 
edification, consolation, spiritual strength, courage, and resolution, 
which they have received in and by them, hath been witnessed unto in 
their lives and ends; and they to whom these things are not of the 
greatest importance do but in vain pretend a regard unto God in any 
thing whatever.

Furthermore; God hath appointed our duty in the observation of his 
instituted worship to be the means of our glorifying him in the world.  
Nor can we otherwise give glory to God but as we own his authority over 
us, and yield obedience to what he requires at our hands.  And what we 
do herein is principally evident in those duties which lie under the eye 
and observation of men.  Some duties of obedience there are which the 
world neither doth nor can discern in believers; such are their faith, 
inward holiness, purity of heart, heavenly-mindedness, sincere 
mortification of indwelling sin; some whose performance ought to be hid 
from them, as personal prayer and alms, Matt. 6:2-6; some there are 
which are very liable to misconstruction amongst men, as zeal in many of 
the actings of it; but this conscientious observation of instituted 
worship, and therein avowing our subjection unto the authority of God in 
Christ, is that which the world may see and take notice of, and that 
which, unless in case of persecution, ought not to be hid from them, and 
that which they can have no pretence of scandal at: and therefore hath 
God appointed that by this means and way we shall honour and glorify him 
in the world; which if we neglect, we do evidently cast off all regard 
unto his concernments in this world.  Herein it is that we manifest 
ourselves not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, of him and his 
words, which he so indispensably requireth at our hands: Mark 8:38, 
"For," saith he, "whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in 
this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man 
be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy 
angels."  Hereby do we keep the commandments of Christ, as his 
"friends," John 15:14, for these peculiarly are his commands (and if we 
suffer for them, then we do most properly suffer as Christians, which is 
our glory), that, 1 Pet. 4:14-16, "If ye be reproached for the name of 
Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon 
you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is 
glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or 
as an evil-doer, or as a busy-body in other men's matters.  Yet if any 
man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify 
God on this behalf."  And a happy and a blessed thing it is to suffer 
for the observation of the special commands of Christ.

Farther; to encourage us in our duty, the holy faithful God hath given 
us many great and precious promises that he will graciously afford unto 
us his especial, sanctifying, blessing presence, in our attendance on 
our worship according to his appointment; for as he promised of old that 
he would make glorious "the place of his feet," or abode among his 
people, Isa. 60:13, -- that he would meet them in his sanctuary, the 
place of his worship, and there dwell amongst them, and bless them, and 
be their God, Exod. 29:42-45, Deut. 14:23,24, -- so the Lord Jesus 
Christ hath promised his presence to the same ends and purposes, unto 
all them that assemble together in his name for the observation of the 
worship which in the gospel he hath appointed: Matt. 18:20, "For where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst 
of them."  And therein is the tabernacle of God, his gracious dwelling-
place, with men, Rev. 21:3.  Now, when God offereth unto us his 
presence, his gracious, blessing, sanctifying, and saving presence, and 
that in and by promises which shall never fail, what unspeakable guilt 
must we needs contract upon our souls if we neglect or despise the 
tenders of such grace!

Because we are apt to be slothful, and are slow of heart in admitting a 
due sense of spiritual things, that fall not in with the light and 
principles of nature, to stir us up unto a diligence in our attendance 
unto the will of God in this matter, he hath declared that he looks upon 
our obedience herein as our whole loyalty unto him in that conjugal 
covenant which he is pleased in Christ Jesus to take believers into with 
himself: Jer. 3:14,15, "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; 
for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of 
a family, and I will bring you unto Zion: and I will give you pastors 
according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and 
understanding."  Coming unto Zion, in the worship of God, under the 
leading and conduct of pastors according to the heart of God, is our 
answering the relation wherein we stand unto him as he is married unto 
us; and thereupon he teacheth us that as a husband he is jealous of our 
discharge of our duty in this matter, accounting our neglect of his 
worship, or profanation of it by inventions and additions of our own, to 
be spiritual disloyalty, whoredom and adultery, which his soul 
abhorreth, for which he will cast off any church or people, and that for 
ever.  See Exod. 20:5; Deut. 4:23,24; Josh. 24:19; Ezek. 16.  Whatever 
he will bear withal in his church, he will not bear with that which his 
jealousy is exercised about.  If it transgress therein, he will give it 
a bill of divorce; which repudiated condition is the state of many 
churches in the world, however they please and boast themselves in their 
meretricious ornaments and practices.

To give yet farther strength unto all these considerations, that we may 
not only have rules and precepts, but examples also for our instruction, 
God hath given many signal instances of his severity against persons 
who, by ignorance, neglect, or regardlessness, have miscarried in not 
observing exactly his will and appointment in and about his worship.  
This was the case of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, Lev. 10:1,2; of 
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Num. 16:1-40; of the sons of Eli, -- a sin 
not to be "expiated with sacrifice nor offering for ever," 1 Sam. 2:27-
34, 3:14; of Uzza in putting the ark into a cart, when he should have 
borne it upon his shoulders, 1 Chron. 13:7-10; of Uzziah the king in 
offering incense contrary to God's institution, that duty being 
appropriated unto the priests of the posterity of Aaron, 2 Chron. 26:16-
21.  These are sufficient intimations of what care and diligence we 
ought to use in attending unto what God hath appointed in his worship; 
and although now, under the New Testament, he doth not ordinarily 
proceed to the inflicting of temporal judgments in the like cases of 
neglect, yet he hath not wholly left us without instances of his putting 
forth tokens of his displeasure in temporal visitations on such 
miscarriages in his church: 1 Cor. 11:30, "For this cause," saith the 
apostle, "many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."  From all 
which it appears of what concernment it is unto the glory of God, and 
the salvation of our own souls, to attend diligently unto our duty in 
the strict and sincere observation of the worship of the gospel; for he 
lets us know that now a more severe punishment is substituted against 
such transgressions in the room of that which he so visibly inflicted 
under the Old Testament, Heb. 10:25-29.

Question 16--
Is there yet any consideration that may stir up believers to a holy and 
religious care about the due observation of the institutions of the 

Yes; namely, that the great apostasy of the church in the last days, 
foretold in the Scripture, and which God threateneth to punish and 
revenge, consists principally in false worship and a departure from the 
institutions of Christ.

Rev. 13:4,5,17:1-5.

That there is an apostasy of the church fortold in the book of the 
Revelation is acknowledged by all who with sincerity have inquired into 
the mind of God therein.  The state of things at this day, and for many 
ages past in the world, sufficiently confirm that persuasion.  And 
herein sundry things in general are obvious unto every sober 
consideration thereof: --

First, The horrible evils, troubles, and confusions that are to be 
brought into and upon the world thereby.

Secondly, The hign guilt and provocation of God that is contained in it 
and doth accompany it.

Thirdly, The dreadful vengeance that God in his appointed time will take 
upon all the promoters and obstinate maintainers of it.  These things 
are at large all of them foretold in the Revelation; and therein also 
the apostasy itself is set forth as the cause of all the plagues and 
destructions that, by the righteous judgment of God, are to be brought 
upon the world in these latter days.  Now, as God doth earnestly call 
upon all that fear him not to intermeddle nor partake in the sins of the 
apostates, lest they should also partake in their judgments, chap. 18:4, 
"I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that 
ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her 
plagues;" so he doth plainly declare wherein the apostasy and sin itself 
should principally consist; and that is in the corrupting and 
contaminating of the ordinances of his worship, or the introduction of 
false worship, joined with the persecution of them who refused to submit 
thereunto.  For this cause is the sin itself set out under the name of 
"fornication" and "whoredom," and the church that maintains it is called 
"The mother of harlots," chap. 17:5.  That by fornication and whoredom 
in the church, the adulterating of the worship of God, and the admission 
of false, self-invented worship in the room thereof, whereof God is 
jealous, is intended, the Scripture everywhere declares.  It is easy, 
then, to gather of how great concernment unto us it is, especially in 
these latter days, wherein this so heinous and provoking sin is 
prevalent in the world, carefully to attend unto the safe, unerring rule 
of worship, and diligently to perform the duties that are required 

Question 17--
Which are the principal institutions of the gospel to be observed in the 
worship of God?

1The calling, gathering, and settling of churches, with their officers, 
as the seat and subject of all other solemn instituted worship; 2prayer, 
with thanksgiving; 3singing of psalms; 4preaching the word; 
5administration of the sacraments of baptism and the supper of the Lord; 
6discipline and rule of the church collected and settled; most of which 
have also sundry particular duties relating unto them, and subservient 
unto their due observation.

1Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 2:41,42; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11,12; Matt. 
18:17,18; 1 Cor. 4:17,7:17; Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 3:15.  21 Tim. 
2:1; Acts 6:4,13:2,3.  3Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16.  42 Tim. 4:2; Acts 2:42; 1 
Cor. 14:3; Acts 6:4; Heb. 13:7.  5Matt. 28:19,26:26,27; 1 Cor. 11:23.  
6Matt. 18:17-19; Rom. 12:6-8; Rev. 2,3;

These things, being all of them afterward to be spoken unto severally 
and apart, need not here any particular explication.  They are the 
principal heads wherein gospel worship consisteth, and whereunto the 
particular duties of it may be reduced.

Question 18--
Whereas sundry of these things are founded in the light and law of 
nature, as requisite unto all solemn worship, and are, moreover, 
commanded in the moral law, and explications of it in the Old Testamen, 
how do you look upon them as evangelical institutions, to be observed 
principally on the authority of Jesus Christ?

Neither their general suitableness unto the principles of right reason 
and the dictates of the light and law of nature, nor the practice of 
them in the worship of God under the Old Testament, does at all hinder 
them from depending on the mere institution of Jesus Christ, as to those 
especial ends of the glory of God in and by himself, and the edification 
of his church in the faith which is in him, whereunto he hath appointed 
them, nor as unto that especial manner of their performance which he 
requireth; in which respects they are to be observed on the account of 
his authority and command only.

Matt. 17:5, 28:20; John 16:23,24; Heb. 3:4-6; Eph. 1:22,2:20-22; Heb. 

The principal thing we are to aim at, in the whole worship of God, is 
the discharge of that duty which we owe to Jesus Christ, the king and 
head of the church: Heb. 3:6, "Christ as a son over his own house, whose 
houses are we."  1 Tim. 3:15, "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest 
to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living 
God."  This we cannot do unless we consider his authority as the formal 
reason and cause of our observance of all that we do therein.  If we 
perform any thing in the worship of God on any other account, it is no 
part of our obedience unto him, and so we can neither expect his grace 
to assist us, nor have we his promise to accept us therein; for that he 
hath annexed unto our doing and observing whatever he hath commanded, 
and that because he hath commanded us: Matt. 28:20, "Teaching them to 
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with 
you alway, even unto the end of the world."  This promised presence 
respects only the observance of his commands.  Some men are apt to look 
on this authority of Christ as that which hath the least influence into 
what they do.  If in any of his institutions they find any thing that is 
suited or agreeable unto the light of nature, -- as ecclesiastical 
societies, government of the church, and the like, they say, are, -- 
they suppose and contend that that is the ground on which they are to be 
attended unto, and so are to be regulated accordingly.  The 
interposition of his authority they will allow only in the sacraments, 
which have no light in reason or nature; so desirous are some to have as 
little to do with Christ as they can, even in the things that concern 
the worship of God!  But it would be somewhat strange, that if what the 
Lord Christ hath appointed in his church to be observed in particular, 
in an especial manner, for especial ends of his own, hath in the general 
nature of it an agreement with what in like cases the light of nature 
seems to direct unto, therefore, his authority is not to be considered 
as the sole immediate reason of our performance of it.  But it is 
evident, --

First, That our Lord Jesus Christ being the king and head of his church, 
the lord over the house of God, nothing is to be done therein but with 
respect unto his authority: Mat. 17:5, "This is my beloved Son, in whom 
I am well pleased; hear ye him."  Eph. 4:15,16, "Speaking the truth in 
love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even 
Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by 
that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in 
the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying 
of itself in love."  Eph. 2:20-22, "Ye are built upon the foundation of 
the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-
stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an 
holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are built together for a 
habitation of God through the Spirit."

Secondly, And that, therefore, the suitableness of any thing to right 
reason or the light of nature is no ground for a church-observation of 
it, unless it be also appointed and commanded in especial by Jesus 

Thirdly, That being so appointed and commanded, it becomes an especial 
institution of his, and as such is to be observed.  So that in all 
things that are done, or to be done, or to be done, with respect unto 
the worship of God in the church, the authority of Christ is always 
principally to be considered, and every thing to be observed as 
commanded by him, without which consideration it hath no place in the 
worship of God.

Question 19--
What is an instituted church of the gospel?

A society of persons called out of the world, or their natural worldly 
state, by the administration of the word and Spirit, unto the obedience 
of the faith, or the knowledge and worship of God in Christ, joined 
together in a holy band, or by special agreement, for the exercise of 
the communion of saints, in the due observation of all the ordinances of 
the gospel.

Rom. 1:5,6; 1 Cor. 1:2,4:15; Heb. 3:1; James 1:18; Rev. 1:20; 1 Pet. 
2:5; Eph. 2:20-22; 2 Cor. 6:16-18.

The church whose nature is here inquired after is not the catholic 
church of elect believers of all ages and seasons, from the beginning of 
the world unto the end thereof, nor of any one age, nor the universality 
of professors of the gospel; but a particular church, wherein, by the 
appointment of Christ, all the ordinances of the worship of God are to 
be observed and attended unto according to his will.  For although it be 
required of them whom a particular church is constituted that they be 
true believers, seeing that unless a man be born again he cannot enter 
into the kingdom of God, and so on that account they be members of the 
church catholic, as also that they make visible profession of faith and 
obedience unto Jesus Christ, yet moreover it is the will, command, and 
appointment of Christ, that they should be joined together in particular 
societies or churches, for the due observation of the ordinances of the 
gospel, which can alone be done in such assemblies.  For as the members 
of the catholic church are not known unto one another merely on the 
account of that faith and union with Christ which make them so, -- 
whence the whole society of them is, as such, invisible to the world, 
and themselves visible only on the account of their profession, and 
therefore cannot, merely as such, observe the ordinances of the gospel, 
which observation is their profession; -- so the visible professors that 
are in the world, in any age, cannot at any time assemble together; 
which, from the nature of the thing itself, and the institution of 
Christ, is indispensably necessary for the celebration of sundry parts 
of that worship which he requires in his church: and therefore 
particular churches are themselves an ordinance of the New Testament, as 
the national church of the Jews was of old; for when God of old erected 
his worship, and enjoined the solemn observation of it, he also 
appointed a church as his institution for the due celebration of it.  
That was the people of Israel, solemnly taken into a church relation 
with him by covenant; wherein they took upon themselves to observe all 
the laws, and ordinances, and institutions of his worship: Exod. 20:19, 
"Speak thou with us, and we will hear."  Exod. 24:3, "And Moses came and 
told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and 
all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which 
the LORD hath said will we do."  Deut. 5:27, "All that the LORD our God 
shall speak unto thee, we will hear it, and do it."  And God accordingly 
appointed them ordinances to be observed by the whole congregation of 
them together, at the same time, in the same place: Exod. 23:17, "Three 
times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD."  
Deut. 16:16, "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before 
the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose."

Neither would God allow any stranger, any one not of the church so 
instituted by him, to celebrate any part of his instituted worship, 
until he was solemnly admitted into that church as a member thereof: 
Exod. 12:47,48, "All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.  And when 
a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the 
LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and 
keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no 
uncircumcised person shall eat thereof."

To the same end and purpose, when the knowledge of God was to be 
diffused all the world over by the preaching of the gospel, and 
believers of all nations under heaven were to be admitted unto the 
privilege of his worship, Eph. 2:13-18, the national church of the Jews 
with all the ordinances of it being removed and taken away, the Lord 
Christ hath appointed particular churches, or united assemblies of 
believers, amongst and by whom he will have all his holy ordinances of 
worship celebrated.  And this institution of his, at the first preaching 
of the gospel, was invariably and inviolably observed by all that took 
on them to be his disciples, without any one instance of questioning it 
to the contrary in the whole world, or the celebration of any ordinances 
of his worship amongst any persons, but only in such societies or 
particular churches.  And there is sufficient evidence and warranty of 
this institution given us in the Scripture; for, --

First, They are appointed and approved by Christ: Matt. 18:15-20, "If 
thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault 
between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy 
brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two 
more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be 
established.  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 a 
heathen man and a publican.  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 also in heaven.  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.  For where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst 
of them."

Such a church he supposeth and approveth as his disciples had relation 
unto, and as any one of them could have recourse unto, as a brother, in 
obedience to his commands and directions.  This could not be the church 
of the Jews, neither in its whole body nor in any of its judicatories; 
for as at that time there was a solemn decree of excommunication against 
all and every one that should profess his name, -- John 9:22, "The Jews 
had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he 
should be put out of the synagogue," -- which was executed accordingly 
upon the man that was born blind, verse 34, which utterly disabled them 
from making any use of this direction, command, or institution of his 
for the present; so afterward the chief business of the rulers of those 
assemblies, from the highest court of their sanhedrin to the meanest 
judicatory in their synagogues, was to persecute them and bring them 
unto death: Matt. 10:17, "They will deliver you up to the councils, and 
they will scourge you in their synagogues;" John 15:20,21.  And it is 
not likely that the Lord Christ would send his disciples for direction 
and satisfaction in the weighty matters of their obedience unto him, and 
mutual love towards one another, unto them with whom they neither had, 
nor could, nor ought to have, any thing to do withal; and if they were 
intended, they were all already made as heathens and publicans, being 
cast out by them for refusing to hear them in their blasphemies and 
persecutions of Christ himself.  Such a society, also, is plainly 
intended as whereunto Christ promiseth his presence by his Spirit, and 
whose righteous sentences he takes upon himself to ratify and confirm in 

Moreover, such a church doth he direct unto as with which his disciples 
were to have familiar, brotherly, constant converse and communion, with 
whom they were so to be joined in society as to be owned or rejected by 
them according to their judgment; as is apparent in the practice 
enjoined unto them, and without relation whereunto no duty here 
appointed could be performed.  As, therefore, the very name of the 
church and nature of the thing bespeak a society, so it is evident that 
no society but that of a particular church of the gospel can be here 

Secondly, These churches he calls his "candlsticks," Rev. 1:20, in 
allusion unto the candlesticks of the temple; which, being an 
institution of the Old Testament, doth directly declare these churches 
be so under the New.  And this he speaks in reference unto those seven 
principal churches of Asia, every one of which was a candlestick or an 
institution of his own.

Thirdly, In pursuit of this appointment of Christ, and by his authority, 
the apostles, so soon as any were converted unto the faith at Jerusalem, 
although the old national church-state of the Jews was yet continued, 
gathered them into a church or society for celebration of the ordinances 
of the gospel: Acts 2:41,42, "They that gladly received his word were 
baptized.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and 
fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."  Verse 47, "The 
Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."  And this 
company is expressly called "The church at Jerusalem," Acts 8:1.  This 
church, thus called and collected out of the church of the Jews, was the 
rule and pattern of the disposing of all the disciples of Christ into 
church-societies, in obedience unto his command, throughout the world, 
Acts 11:26, 14:23,27.

Fourthly, They took care for the forming, completing, and establishing 
them in order according to his will, under the rule of them given and 
granted unto them by himself for that purpose; all in a steady pursuit 
of the commands of Christ: Acts 14:23, "They ordained them elders in 
every church;" Titus 1:5, "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that 
thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain 
elders in every city, as I had appointed thee;" 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 

Fifthly, They do everywhere, in the name and authority of Christ, give 
unto these churches rules, directions, and precepts, for the due 
ordering of all things relating to the worship of God, and according to 
his mind, as we shall see afterward in particular; for, --

1. There is no charge given unto the officers, ministers, guides, or 
overseers that he hath appointed, but it is in reference unto the 
discharge of their duty in such churches.  That ministers or officers 
are of Christ's appointment is expressly declared, Eph. 4:11, 12, "He 
gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and 
some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the 
work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."  1 Cor. 
12:28, "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily 
prophets, thirdly teachers."  These are of Christ's institution, but to 
what end?  Why, as they were ordained in every church, Acts 14:23, Titus 
1:5, so their whole charge is limited to the churches: Acts 20:17,18,28, 
"He sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church, and said to 
them, Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over 
the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of 
God, which he hath purchased with his own blood;" 1 Pet. 5:1,2, "the 
elders which are among you I exhort: feed the flock of God which is 
among you, taking the oversight thereof;" 1 Tim. 3:15; Col. 4:17, "And 
say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in 
the Lord, that thou fulfil it."  They were the churches of Christ 
wherein they ministered; which Christ, appointing them to take care of, 
manifests to be his own institution and appointment.  And this is fully 
declared, Rev. 2, 3, where all the dealings of Christ with his angels, 
or ministers, are about their behaviour and deportment among his 
candlesticks, each of them, the candlestick whereunto he was related, or 
the particular churches that they had care of and presided in, the 
candlesticks being no less of the institution of Christ than the angels.  
And they were distinct particular churches, which had their distinct 
particular officers, whom he treated distinctly withal about his 
institutions and worship, especially about that of the state of the 
churches themselves, and their constitution according to his mind.

2. There is no instruction, exhortation, or reproof given unto any of 
the disciples of Christ after his ascension, in any of the books of the 
New Testament, but as they were collected into and were members of such 
particular churches.  This will be evidenced in the many instances of 
those duties that shall afterwards be insisted on.  And the Lord Christ 
hath not left that as a matter of liberty, choice, or conveniency, which 
he hath made the foundation of the due manner of the performance of all 
those duties whereby his disciples yield obedience unto his commands, to 
his glory in the world.

Sixthly, The principal writings of the apostles are expressly directed 
unto such churches, and all of them intentionally, 1 Cor. 1:1,2; 2 Cor. 
1:1; Gal. 1:1,2; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1,2, 4:16; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 
1:1; Eph. 1:1, compared with Acts 20:17; 1 Pet. 5:2; -- or unto such 
particular persons, giving directions for their behaviour and duty in 
such churches, 1 Tim. 3:15; Titus 1:5.  So that the great care of the 
apostles was about these churches, as the principal institution of 
Christ, and that whereon the due observance of all his other commands 
doth depend.  Of what nature or sort these churches were shall be 
afterward evinced; we here only manifest their institution by the 
authority of Christ.

Seventhly, Much of the writings of the apostles, in those epistles 
directed to those churches, consists in rules, precepts, instructions, 
and exhortations for the guidance and preservation of them in purity and 
order, with their continuance in a condition of due obedience unto the 
Lord Christ.  To this end do they so fully and largely acquaint the 
rulers and members of them with their mutual duty in that especial 
relation wherein they stand to each other; as also all persons in 
particular in what is required of them by virtue of their membership in 
any particular society; as may be seen at large in sundry of Paul's 
epistles.  And to give more strength hereunto, our Lord Jesus Christ, in 
the revelation that he made of his mind and will personally after his 
ascension into heaven, insisted principally about the condition, order, 
and preservation of particular churches, not taking notice of any of his 
disciples not belonging to them or joined with them.  These he warns, 
reproves, instructs, threatens, commands; all in order to their walking 
before him in the condition of particular churches, Rev. 2 and 3 at 

Besides, as he hath appointed them to be the seat and subject of all his 
ordinances, having granted the right of them unto them alone, 1 Tim. 
3:15, intrusting them with the exercise of that authority which he puts 
forth in the rule of his disciples in this world, he hath also appointed 
the most holy institution of his supper to denote and express that union 
and communion which the members of each of these churches have by his 
ordinance among themselves: 1 Cor. 10:16,17, "The cup of blessing which 
we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread 
which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we 
being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that 
one bread."  And also he gives out unto them the gifts and graces of his 
Spirit, to make every one of them meet for and useful in that place 
which he holds in such churches; as the apostle discourseth at large, 1 
Cor. 12:15-26; Col. 2:19; Eph. 4:16.  It is manifest, then, that no 
ordinance of Christ is appointed to be observed by his disciples, no 
communication of the gifts of the Holy Ghost is promised to them, no 
especial duty is required of them, but with respect unto these churches 
of his institution.

In the answer to this question four things are declared tending to the 
explication of the nature of a particular church or churches: -- 1. The 
subject-matter of them, or the persons whereof such a church doth or 
ought to consist.  2. The means whereby they are brought into a 
condition capable of such an estate, or qualified for it.  3. The 
general ends of their calling.  4. The especial means whereby they are 
constituted a church; which last will be spoken unto in the next 

For the first, all men are by nature the children of wrath, and do 
belong unto the world, which is the kingdom of Satan, and are under the 
power of darkness, as the Scripture everywhere declares.  In this state 
men are not subjects of the kingdom of Christ, nor meet to become 
members of his church.  Out of this condition they cannot deliver 
themselves.  They have neither will unto it nor power for it; but they 
are called out of it.  This calling is that which effectually delivers 
them from the kingdom of Satan, and translates them into the kingdom of 
Christ.  And this work or effect, the Scripture, on several accounts, 
variously expresseth; sometimes by regeneration, or a new birth; 
sometimes by conversion, or turning unto God; sometimes by vivification, 
or quickening from the dead; sometimes from illumination, or opening the 
eyes of the blind; -- all which are carried on by sanctification in 
holiness, and attended with justification and adoption.  And as these 
are all distinct in themselves, having several formal reasons of them, 
so they all concur to complete that effectual vocation or calling that 
is required to constitute persons members of the church.  For besides 
that this is signified by the typical holiness of the church of old, 
into the room whereof real holiness was to succeed under the New 
Testament, -- Exod. 6; Ps. 24:3-6, 15:1,2; Isa. 35:8,9, 54:13,14, 60:21; 
1 Pet. 2:9, -- our Lord Jesus Christ hath laid it down as an everlasting 
rule, that "except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of 
God," John 3:3,5, requiring regeneration as an indispensable condition 
in a member of his church, a subject of his kingdom: for his temple is 
now to be built of living stones, 1 Pet. 2:5, -- men spiritual and 
savingly quickened from their death in sin, and by the Holy Ghost, 
whereof they are partakers, made a meet habitation of God, Eph. 2:21,22; 
1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; which receiving vital supplies from Christ its 
head, increaseth in faith and holiness, edifying itself in love, Eph. 
4:15,16.  And as the apostles in their writings do ascribe unto all the 
churches, and the members of them, a participation in this effectual 
vocation, affirming that they are "saints, called, sanctified, 
justified," and accepted with God in Christ, -- Rom. 1:5,6; 1 Cor. 1:2, 
4:15; Heb. 3:1; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 2:5; 2 Cor. 6:17,18; 1 Cor. 6:11, -- 
so many of the duties that are required of them in that relation and 
condition are such as none can perform unto the glory of God, their own 
benefit, and the edification of others (the ends of all obedience), 
unless they are partakers of this effectual calling, 1 Cor. 10:16,17, 
12:12; Eph. 4:16.  And hereunto that these churches, and the members of 
them, are not only commanded to separate themselves, as to their worship 
of God, from the world, -- that is, men in their worldly state and 
condition, -- but are also required, when any amongst them transgress 
against the rules and laws of this holy calling above described, to cast 
them out of their society and communion, 1 Cor. 5:13.  From all which it 
appears who are the subject-matter of these churches of Christ; as also, 
secondly, the means whereby they come to be so, -- namely, the 
administration of the Spirit and word of Christ; and, thirdly, the 
general ends of their calling, which are all spoken to in this answer.

Question 20--
By what means do persons so called become a church of Christ?

They are constituted a church, and interested in the rights, power, and 
privileges of a gospel church, by the will, promise, authority, and law 
of Jesus Christ, upon their own voluntary consent and engagement to walk 
together in the due subjection of their souls and consciences unto his 
authority, as their king, priest, and prophet, and in a holy observation 
of all his commands, ordinances, and appointments.

Matt. 18:20,28:19,20; Acts 2:41,42; Exod. 24:3; Deut. 5:27; Ps. 110:3; 
Isa. 44:5,59:21; Eph. 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 8:5.

That the Lord Christ hath constituted such a church-state as that which 
we inquire about hath been proved already.  Unto a church so constituted 
he hath also, by his word and promise, annexed all those privileges and 
powers which we find a church to be intrusted withal.  This he hath done 
by the standing and unalterable law of the gospel, which is the charter 
of their spiritual society and incorporation.  Neither are nor can any 
persons be interested in the rights of a church any otherwise but by 
virtue of this law and constitution.  This, therefore, is first to be 
laid down, that the sole moral foundation of that church-state which we 
inquire after is laid in the word, law, and appointment of Christ.  He 
alone hath authority to erect such a society; he is the builder of this 
house as well as the lord over it, Heb. 3:3-6.  Neither without it can 
all the authority of men in the world appoint such a state or erect a 
church; and all acceptable actings of men herein are no other but acts 
of pure obedience unto Christ.

Furthermore, we have declared that the Lord Christ, by the dispensation 
of his word and Spirit, doth prepare and fit men to be subjects of his 
kingdom, members of his church.  The work of sending forth the means of 
the conversion of the souls of men, of translating them from the power 
of darkness into light, he hath taken upon himself, and doth effectually 
accomplish it in every generation.  And by this means he builds his 
church, for unto all persons so called he gives command that they shall 
do and observe whatever he hath appointed them to do, Matt. 28:20; in 
particular, that they profess their subjection to him, and their 
obedience, in joining themselves in that state wherein they may be 
enabled to observe all his other laws and institutions, with the whole 
worship of God required therein.  Being converted unto God by his word 
and Spirit, they are to consider how they may now obey the Lord Christ 
in all things.  Amongst his commands, this of joining themselves in 
church-societies, wherein he hath promised his presence with them, Matt. 
28:20, -- that is, to dwell amongst them by his word and Spirit, Isa. 
59:21, -- is the very first.  This, by virtue of that command and 
promise of his, they are warranted and enabled to do; nor do they need 
any other warrant.  The authority of Christ is sufficient to bear men 
out in the discharge of their duty to him.  Being then made willing and 
ready in the day of his power, Ps. 110:3, they consent, choose, and 
agree to walk together in the observation of all his commands.  And 
hereby do they become a church; for their becoming a church is an act of 
their willing obedience unto Christ.  This is an act of their wills, 
guided by rule; for this also is necessary, that they proceed herein 
according to the rules of his appointment, afterward to be unfolded.  
And herein, upon their obedience unto the commands of Christ, and faith 
in his promises, do believers, by virtue of his law and constitution, 
become a gospel church, and are really and truly interested in all the 
power, rights, and privileges that are granted unto any church of 
Christ; for in this obedience they do these two things, which alone he 
requires in any persons for the obtaining of an interest in these 
privileges: -- First, They confess him, his person, his authority, his 
law, his grace; secondly, They take upon themselves the observance of 
all his commands.

Thus did God take the children of Israel into a church-state of old.  He 
proposed unto them the church-obedience that he required of them, and 
they voluntarily and freely took upon themselves the performance of it: 
Exod. 24:3, "And Moses came and told the people all the words of the 
LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, 
and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do:" so Deut. 
5:27.  And hereby they had their solemn admission into their church-
state and relation unto God.  And the like course they took whenever 
there was need of renewing of their engagements: Josh. 24:18-22, "And 
the people said, We will serve the LORD; for he is our God.  And Joshua 
said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have 
chosen the LORD, to serve him.  And they said, We are witnesses."  This 
was the covenant that was between God and that people, which was 
solemnly renewed so often as the church was eminently reformed.  Now, 
although the outward solemnity and ceremonies of this covenant were 
peculiar unto that people, yet as to the substance and nature of it, in 
a sacred consent for the performance of all those duties towards God and 
one another which the nature and edification of a church do require, it 
belongs to every church as such, even under the gospel.

And this is the way whereby believers, or the disciples of Christ, do 
enter into this state, the formal constituting cause of any church, this 
account doth the apostle give of the churches of the Macedonians: 2 Cor. 
8:5, "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own 
selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God," before the 
performance of other duties; and in order thereunto, they first gave 
themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, or took upon themselves the 
observance of his commands and institutions, which is the intendment of 
that expression.  Among these commands one was, that they should give up 
themselves to the apostles' doctrine, rule, and government, in the order 
by Christ prescribed, -- that is, in church-order.  This, therefore, 
they did by the will of God, according to his will and appointment.  
This description doth the apostle give of the way whereby the believers 
of Macedonia were brought into churches.  It was by their own obedience 
unto the will of God; consenting, agreeing, and taking upon themselves 
the observation of all the commands and institutions of Christ, 
according to the direction and guidance of the apostles.  So did the 
believers at Jerusalem, Acts 2:41,42.  Being converted by the word, and 
making profession of that conversion in their baptism, they gave up 
themselves to a steadfast continuance in the observation of all other 
ordinances of the gospel.

Besides, the church is a house, a temple, -- the "house of God," 1 Tim. 
3:15; the "house of Christ," Heb. 3:6; the "temple of the Lord," Eph. 
2:21,22.  Believers, singly considered, are "stones, living stones," 1 
Pet. 2:5.  Now, how shall these "living stones" come to be a house, a 
temple?  Can it be by occasional occurrences, civil cohabitation in 
political precincts, usage, or custom of assembling for some parts of 
worship in any place?  These things will never frame them into a house 
or temple.  This can be no otherwise done but by their own voluntary 
consent and disposition: Eph. 2:19-22, "Ye are fellow-citizens with the 
saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation 
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief 
corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth 
unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for 
an habitation of God through the Spirit."  Eph. 4:16, "From whom the 
whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint 
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every 
part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."  
From these and sundry other places it is manifest that the way and means 
of believers' coalition into a church-state is their own obedience of 
faith, acting itself in a joint voluntary consent to walk together in a 
holy observation of the commands of Christ; whence the being and union 
of a particular church is given unto any convenient number of them by 
his law and constitution.

Question 21--
Seeing the church is a society or spiritual incorporation of persons 
under rule, government, or discipline, declare who or what are the 
rulers, governors, or officers therein under Jesus Christ?

They have been of two sorts: 1. Extraordinary, appointed for a season 
only; and, 2. Ordinary, to continue unto the end of the world.

Question 22--
Who are the extraordinary officers, or rulers, or ministers of the 
church, appointed to serve the Lord Jesus Christ therein for a season 

1The apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, with 2the evangelists and 
prophets, endowed with extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, associated 
with them and employed by them in their works and ministry.

1Matt. 10:2-4; Acts 1:26; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11.  2Luke 10:1; 2 Tim. 
4:5; Tit. 1:5; Acts 11:27,28,21:9-11; 2 Cor. 1:1.

That the church is a spiritual corporation, attended with rule and 
government, is evident from the nature of the thing itself and 
testimonies of Scripture.  Only, as the kingdom of Christ is not of this 
world or worldly, so this rule and government of the church is not 
merely external and secular, but spiritual.  Neither doth this rule at 
all belong unto it merely as materially considered, in men yielding 
obedience unto the call which is the foundation of the church; nor 
absolutely, as it is formally constituted a church by the consent and 
agreement described; but, moreover, it is required that it be 
organically complete, with officers or rulers.  Now, to the constitution 
of such a society or corporation there is required, --

First, That the persons whereof it is constituted do consent together 
into it for the attaining of the ends which they design.  Without this 
no society of any kind can exist.  This is the form of men's coalescency 
into societies; and that there is in the church such consent and 
agreement hath been showed.

Secondly, That there be rules or laws for the guidance and direction of 
all the members of the society, in order to their pursuit of the proper 
ends of it.  That such rules or laws are given and prescribed by the 
Lord Christ unto the church will afterward appear, in our consideration 
of them in particular; so that the church is a society of men walking 
according unto rule or law for the attaining of the ends of the society.

Thirdly, That there be authority instituted to see to the due 
observation of these rules and laws of the society, which consists in 
this: -- 1. That some be appointed to rule and govern in the church; 2. 
Others to obey and be ruled or governed; both according to the laws of 
the society, and not otherwise.  And both these are eminently found in 
this church-state, as we shall see in the ensuing questions, with their 
answers and explications.

Now, that these officers or rulers should be of two sorts, both the 
nature of the thing itself required and so hath our Lord Jesus Christ 
appointed; for when the church was first to be called, gathered, and 
erected, it was necessary that some persons should be extraordinarily 
employed in that work, for ordinary officers antecedent unto the calling 
and erection of the church there could be none.  And, therefore, these 
persons were in an extraordinary manner endowed with all the power which 
afterward was to reside in the churches themselves; and, moreover, with 
that which was peculiarly needful unto the discharge and performance of 
that special duty and work that they were appointed unto.  But when 
churches were called, gathered, erected, and settled for continuance, 
there was need of officers suited to their state and condition, called 
in an ordinary way, that is, in a way appointed for continuance unto the 
end of the world; and to be employed in the ordinary work of the church, 
that is, the duties of it were constantly incumbent on it by virtue of 
the command and appointment of Christ.

Question 23--
Who are the ordinary officers or ministers of Christ in the church, to 
be always continued therein?

Those whom the Scripture calls pastors and teachers, bishops, elders, 
and guides.

Acts 14:23,20:17,28; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 
3:1,2,5:17; Tit. 1:5,7; Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Pet. 5:1.

Several names are, on several accounts, partly designing their 
authority, partly their duty, and partly the manner of their discharge 
thereof, assigned in the Scripture to the ordinary ministers of the 
churches.  Sometimes they are called "pastors and teachers," Eph. 4:11; 
1 Cor. 12:28; -- sometimes "bishops" or "overseers," Phil. 1:1; Acts 
20:28; -- sometimes "elders," Titus 1:5; 1 Pet. 5:1; 1 Tim. 5:17; Acts 
14:23, 20:17; -- sometimes "guides," Heb. 13:7,17.  By all which names, 
and sundry others whereby they are expressed, the same sort, order, and 
degree of persons is intended.  Nor is any one of these names applied or 
accommodated unto any, but all the rest are also in like manner; so that 
he who is a pastor or a teacher is also a bishop or overseer, a 
presbyter or elder, a guide or ruler, a minister, a servant of the 
church for the Lord's sake.  And of all other names assigned to the 
ministers of the church, that of bishop can least of all be thought to 
have designed any special order or degree of pre-eminence amongst them; 
for whereas it is but four times, or in four places, used in the New 
Testament as denoting any officers of the church, in each of them it is 
manifest that those expressed by the other names of elders and ministers 
are intended.  So, Acts 20:28, the bishops are the elders of the 
particular church of Ephesus, verse 17.  Phil. 1:1, there were many 
bishops in that one particular church, who had only deacons joined with 
them; that is, they were the elders of it, Titus 1:7.  The bishops were 
the elders to be ordained, verse 5; which persons are also directly 
intended, 1 Tim. 3:2, as is evident from the coincidence of the 
directions given by the apostles about them, and the immediate adjoining 
of deacons unto them, verse 8; so that no name could be fixed on with 
less probability, to assert from it a special supreme order or degree of 
men in the ministry, than this of bishops.  Neither is there any mention 
in any place of Scripture of any such pre-eminence of one sort of these 
church-officers or ministers over another, not in particular in those 
places where the officers of the church are in an especial manner 
enumerated, as 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11; Rom. 12:5-8.  Nor is there any 
mention of any special office that should be peculiar unto such 
officers; or of any gifts or qualifications that should be required in 
them; or of any special way of calling or setting apart to their office; 
nor of any kind of church that they should relate unto, different from 
the churches that other elders or pastors do minister in; nor of any 
special rule or direction for their trial; nor any commands for 
obedience unto them but what are common to all ministers of the churches 
of Christ duly discharging their trust and performing their duty; no 
intimation is given unto either elders or ministers to obey them, or 
directions how to respect them, nor unto them how to behave themselves 
toward them: but all these things are spoken and delivered promiscuously 
and equally concerning all ministers of the gospel.  It is evident, 
then, that these appellations do not belong unto one sort of ministers, 
not more than another.  And for what is pleaded by some from the example 
of Timothy and Titus, it is said that when any persons can prove 
themselves to be evangelists, 2 Tim. 4:5, to be called unto their office 
upon antecedent prophecy, 1 Tim. 1:18, and to be sent by the apostles, 
and in an especial manner to be directed by them in some employment for 
a season, which they are not ordinarily to attend unto, Titus 1:5, 3:12, 
it will be granted that they have another duty and office committed unto 
them than those who are only bishops or elders in the Scripture.

Question 24--
What are the principal differences between these two sorts of officers 
or rulers in the church, extraordinary and ordinary?

1The former were called to their office immediately by Jesus Christ in 
his own person, or revelation made by the Holy Ghost in his name to that 
purpose; the latter by the suffrage, choice, and appointment of the 
church itself.  2The former, both in their office and work, were 
independent on, and antecedent unto, all or any churches, whose calling 
and gathering depended on their office as its consequent and effect; the 
latter, in both, consequent unto the calling, gathering, and 
constituting of the churches themselves, as an effect thereof, in their 
tendency unto completeness and perfection.  3The authority of the former 
being communicated unto them immediately by Jesus Christ, without any 
intervenient actings of any church, extended itself equally unto all 
churches whatever; that of the latter being derived unto them from 
Christ by the election and designation of the church, is in the exercise 
of it confined unto that church wherein and whereby it is so derived 
unto them.  4They differ also in the gifts, which were suited unto their 
several distinct works and employments.

1Matt. 10:1; Luke 10:1; Gal. 1:1; Acts 1:26,6:3,14:23.  2John 20:21-23; 
Gal. 1:1; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14; Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5,7.  3Matt. 28:18-
20; 2 Cor. 11:28; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2; Col. 4:17.  41 Cor. 12:28-33.

Question 25--
What is required unto the due constitution of an elder, pastor, or 
teacher of the church?

1That he be furnished with the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the 
edification of the church, and the evangelical discharge of the work of 
the ministry; 2that he be unblamable, holy, and exemplary in his 
conversation; 3that he have a willing mind to give himself unto the Lord 
in the work of the ministry; 4that he be called and chosen by the 
suffrage and consent of the church; 5that he be solemnly set apart by 
fasting and prayer, and imposition of hands, unto his work and ministry.

1Eph. 4:7,8,11-13.  2Tit. 1:7-9; 1 Tim. 3:2-7.  31 Pet. 5:1-3.  4Acts 
14:23.  5Acts 13:2,3; 1 Tim. 4:14,5:22.

Five things are here said to be required unto the due and solemn 
constitution of a minister, guide, elder, pastor, or teacher of the 
church, which, as they do all equally belong unto the essence of the 
call, so they are all indispensably necessary unto him that would be 
accounted to have taken that office upon him according to the mind of 
Christ; and they that are plainly expressed in the Scripture.

The first is, That they be furnished with the gifts of the Holy Ghost 
for the discharge of the ministry.  The communication of the gifts of 
the Holy Ghost is the foundation of the ministry, as the apostle 
declares, Eph. 4:7,8,11-13, "But unto every one of us is given grace 
according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore he saith, 
When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts 
unto men.  And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, 
evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the 
saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of 
Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge 
of the Son of God, unto a perfect man."  And if this were not continued, 
if the Lord Christ did not continue to give gifts unto men for that end, 
the ministry must and would cease in the church, and all church order 
and administrations thereon.  The exercise, also, of the gifts is 
required in all them that are called unto sacred offices: 1 Tim. 4:14, 
"Neglect not the gift that is in thee."  Hence, persons destitute of 
these gifts of the Spirit, as they cannot in a due manner discharge any 
one duty of the ministry, so, wanting an interest in that which is the 
foundation of the office, are not esteemed of God as ministers at all, 
whatever their outward call may be: Hos. 4:6, "Because thou hast 
rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no 
priest to me."

Secondly, Their unblamableness and holiness of conversation is 
previously required in them that are to be set apart unto the ministry.  
This the apostle expressly declares, and lays down many particular 
instances whereby it is to be tried: Tit. 1:7-9, "For a bishop must be 
blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not 
given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of 
hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding 
fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by 
sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the gainsayers."  1 Tim. 3:2-
7, "A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, 
sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given 
to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a 
brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his 
children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to 
rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) not a 
novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of 
the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are 
without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."  Not 
that the particulars here mentioned by the apostle are only to be 
considered in the conversation of the person to be called to the 
ministry, but that, in a universal holy conversation, these things he 
requires that he should be eminent in amongst believers, as those which 
have an especial respect to his work and office.  And a failure in any 
of them is a just cause or reason to debar any person from obtaining a 
part and lot in this matter; for whereas the especial end of the 
ministry is to promote and further faith and holiness in the church by 
the edification of it, how unreasonable a thing would it be if men 
should be admitted unto the work of it who in their own persons were 
strangers both unto faith and holiness!  And herein are the elders of 
the churches seriously to exercise themselves unto God, that they may be 
an example unto the flock, in a universal labouring after conformity in 
their lives unto the great bishop and pastor of the church, our Lord 
Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, It is required that such a person have a willing mind to give 
up himself unto God in this work: 1 Pet. 5:1-3, "The elders which are 
among you, I exhort: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking 
the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy 
lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, 
but being ensamples to the flock."  Willingness and readiness of mind 
are the things here required as a previous qualification unto any man's 
susception of this office; and two things doth the apostle declare to be 
contrary hereunto: --

1. The undertaking of it by constraint, which compriseth every 
antecedent external impression upon the mind of the undertaker; such are 
personal outward necessities, compulsions of friends and relations, want 
of other ways of subsistence in the world, -- which, and the like, are 
condemned by the apostle as bringing some constraint on the mind, which 
on other accounts ought to be free and willing; as also, all 
tergiversation and backwardness in persons duly qualified and called, on 
the consideration of difficulties, temptations, straits, persecutions, 
is here condemned.

2. An eye and regard unto filthy lucre or profit in the world is 
proposed as opposite unto the readiness of mind which is required in 
them that are called to this work.  An aim in this employment for men by 
it to advantage themselves in the outward things of this world, -- 
without which it is evident that the whole work and office would lie 
neglected by the most of them who now would be accounted partakers of 
it, -- is openly here condemned by the apostle.

Fourthly, Election, by the suffrage and consent of the church, is 
required unto the calling of a pastor or teacher; so that without it 
formally or virtually given or obtained, the call, however otherwise 
carried on or solemnized, is irregular and defective.  There are but two 
places in the New Testament where there is mention of the manner whereby 
any are called in an ordinary way unto any ministry in the church, and 
in both of them there is mention of their election by the community of 
the church; and in both of them the apostles themselves presided with a 
fulness of church-power, and yet would not deprive the churches of that 
which was their liberty and privilege.  The first of these is Acts 6, 
where all the apostles together, to give a rule unto the future 
proceeding of all churches in the constitution of officers amongst them, 
do appoint the multitude of the disciples or community of the church, to 
look out from among themselves, or to choose the persons that were to be 
set apart therein unto their office; which they did accordingly: Acts 
6:2,3,5, "Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto 
them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, 
and serve tables.  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men 
of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.  And the saying 
pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen," etc.  This was 
done when only deacons were to be ordained, in whom the interest and 
concernment of the church is not to be compared with that which it hath 
in its pastors, teachers, and elders.  The same is mentioned again, Acts 
14:23, where Paul and Barnabas are said to ordain elders in the churches 
by their election and suffrage; for the word there used will admit of no 
other sense, however it be ambiguously expressed in our translation.  
Neither can any instance be given of the use of that word, applied unto 
the communication of any office or power to any person or persons in an 
assembly, wherein it denoteth any other action but the suffrage of the 
multitude; and this it doth constantly in all writers in the Greek 
tongue.  And hence it was that this right and privilege of the church, 
in choosing of those who are to be set over them in the work of the 
Lord, was a long time preserved inviolate in the primitive churches, as 
the ancients do abundantly testify.  Yea, the show and appearance of it 
could never be utterly thrust out of the world, but is still retained in 
those churches which yet reject the thing itself.  And this institution 
of our Lord Jesus Christ by his apostles is suited to the nature of the 
church, and of the authority that he hath appointed to abide therein; 
for, as we have showed before, persons become a church by their own 
voluntary consent.  Christ makes his subjects willing, not slaves; his 
rule over them is by his grace in their own wills, and he will have them 
every way free in their obedience.  A church-state is an estate of 
absolute liberty under Christ, not for men to do what they will, but for 
men to do their duty freely, without compulsion.  Now, nothing is more 
contrary to this liberty than to have their guides, rulers, and 
overseers inposed on them without their consent.  Besides, the body of 
the church is obliged to discharge its duty towards Christ in every 
institution of his; which herein they cannot, if they have not their 
free consent in the choice of their pastors or elders, but are 
considered as mute persons or brute creatures.  Neither is there any 
other ordinary way of communicating authority unto any in the church, 
but by the voluntary submission and subjection of the church itself unto 
them; for as all other imaginable ways may fail, and have done so, where 
they have been trusted unto, so they are irrational and unscriptural as 
to their being a means of the delegation of any power whatever.

Fifthly, Unto this election succeeds the solemn setting apart of them 
that are chosen by the church unto this work and ministry, by fasting, 
prayer, and imposition of the hands of the presbytery, before 
constituted in the church wherein any person is so to be set apart.

Question 26--
May a person be called to, or be employed in, a part only of the office 
or work of the ministry; or may he hold the relation and exercise the 
duty of an elder or minister unto more churches than one at the same 
Neither of these has either warrant or precedent in the Scripture; nor 
is the first of them consistent with the authority of the ministry, nor 
the latter with the duty thereof, nor either of them with the nature of 
that relation which is between the elders and the church.

Acts 14:23; 1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:28.

There are two parts of this question and answer, to be spoken unto 
severally.  The first is concerning a person to be called or employed in 
any church in a part only of the office or work of the ministry; -- as 
suppose a man should be called or chosen by the church to administer the 
sacraments, but not to attend to the work of preaching, or unto the rule 
or guidance of the church; or, in like manner, unto any other part or 
parcel of the work of the ministry, with an exemption of other duties 
from his charge or care.  If this be done by consent and agreement, for 
any time or season, it is unwarrantable and disorderly (what may be done 
occasionally upon an emergency, or in case of weakness or disability 
befalling any elder as to the discharge of any part of his duty, is not 
here inquired after); for, --

First, If the person so called or employed have received gifts fitting 
him for the whole work of the ministry, the exercise of them is not to 
be restrained by any consent or agreement, seeing they are given for the 
edification of the church to be traded withal: 1 Cor. 12:7, "The 
manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal;" and 
this he who hath received such gifts is bound to attend unto and pursue.

Secondly, If he have not received such gifts as completely to enable him 
unto the discharge of the whole work of the ministry in the church 
wherein he is to administer, it is not lawful for the church to call him 
unto that work wherein the Lord Christ hath not gone before them in 
qualifying him for it; yea, to do so would be most irregular, for the 
whole power of the church consists in its attendance unto the rule given 
unto it: and therefore the office and work of the ministry being 
constituted by the law of Christ, it is not in the power of the church 
to enlarge or straiten the power or duty of any one that is called unto 
the office thereof.  Neither can or ought any person that is called unto 
the work of the ministry to give his consent to the restraint of the 
exercise of that gift that he hath received, in a due and orderly 
manner, nor to the abridgment of the authority which the Lord Christ 
hath committed unto the ministers of the gospel.

As it is incumbent upon them to take care to preserve their whole 
authority, and to discharge their whole duty, so it follows that 
arbitrary constitutions of this nature are irregular, and would bring in 
confusion into churches.

The second part of the question is concerning the relation of the same 
person to more churches than one at the same time, and his undertaking 
to discharge the duty of his relation unto them, as elder or minister.  
And this also is irregular and unwarrantable.  Now, a man may hold the 
relation of an elder, pastor, or minister unto more churches than one, 
two ways: -- 1. Formally and directly, by an equal formal interest in 
them, undertaking the pastoral charge equally and alike of them, being 
called alike to them, and accepting of such a relation.  2. Virtually, 
when, by virtue of his relation unto one church, he puts forth his power 
or authority in ministerial acts in or towards another.  The first way 
is unlawful, and destructive both of the office and duty of a pastor; 
for as elders are ordained in and unto the churches respectively that 
they are to take care of, Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5, and their office-power 
consists in a relation unto the church that they are set over, so they 
are commanded to attend unto the service of the churches wherein and 
whereunto they are so ordained, Acts 20:28, 1 Pet. 5:2, and that with 
all diligence, care, and watchfulness, as those that must give an 
account, Heb. 13:17, which no man is able to do towards more churches 
than one, the same duty being at all times to be performed towards all.  
And because the whole authority of the elders, pastors, or bishops of 
churches, is ministerial, 1 Cor. 4:1, consisting in a power of acting 
upon the command of Christ, they are bound in their own persons to the 
discharge of their duty and office, without the least pretence of 
authority to delegate another, or others, to act their part or to do 
their duty; which would be an effect of autocratical authority, and not 
of obedience or ministry.  The latter way, also, of relation unto many 
churches is unwarrantable: for, -- 1. It hath no warrant in the 
Scripture; no law or constitution of Christ or his apostles can be 
produced to give it countenance; but elders were ordained to their own 
churches, and commanded to attend unto them.  2. No rule is given unto 
any elders how they should behave themselves in reference unto more 
churches than one, in the exercise of their misterial power, as there 
are rules given unto every one for the discharge of that duty in the 
church whereunto he is related.  3. There is no example to give it 
countenance recorded in the Scripture.  4. The authority to be put forth 
hath no foundation.  (1.) Not in the gifts they have received; for the 
ministerial power is not an absolute ability or faculty of doing what a 
man is able, but a right, whereby a man hath power to do that rightly 
and lawfully which before he could not do.  This, gifts will not give to 
any; for if they did, they would do it to all that have received them.  
(2.) Not in their election; for they are chosen in and by that church 
whereunto they stand in especial relation, whose choice cannot give 
ministerial power over any but themselves.  (3.) Not in their setting 
apart by fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands; for this is only unto 
that office-work and power whereunto they are chosen.  They are not 
chosen for one end, and set apart for another.  (4.) Not from the 
communion of churches; for that gives no new power, but only a due 
exercise of that which was before received.

Question 27--
What are the principal duties of the pastors or teachers of the church?

1To be examples unto the flock in faith, love, knowledge, meekness, 
patience, readiness to suffer for the name and gospel of Christ, with 
constancy therein; 2to watch for the souls and take care of all the 
spiritual concernments of the whole flock committed to them; 3to preach 
the word diligently, dividing it aright; 4to preserve and contend for the 
truth; 5to administer all the ordinances of the gospel duly and orderly; 
6to stir up and exercise the gifts they have received in the discharge of 
their whole work and administration of all ordinances; 7to instruct, 
admonish, cherish, and comfort all the members of the church, as their 
conditions, occasions, and necessities do require; 8to attend with 
diligence, skill, and wisdom unto the discharge of that authority which 
in the rule of the church is committed unto them.

11 Tim. 3:1-7,4:12; 2 Tim. 2:3; Col. 1:24; Phil. 2:17,3:17.  2Heb. 
13:17; Acts 20:28.  32 Tim. 2:15,4:2; Rom. 12:6-8.  41 Tim. 6:20; Acts 
20:28; Jude 3.  51 Cor. 4:1,2; 1 Tim. 3:15.  61 Tim. 4:14-16.  7Acts 
20:18-20,25,27; 1 Thess. 3:5; 2 Tim. 2:24,25.  8Rom. 12:7,8; 1 Tim. 

Question 28--
Wherein principally doth the authority of the elders of the church 

1In that the rule of the church and the guidance thereof, in things 
appertaining unto the worship of God, is committed unto them.  And, 
therefore, 2whatever they do as elders in the church, according unto 
rule, they do it not in the name or authority of the church by which 
their power is derived unto them, nor as members only of the church by 
their own consent or covenant, but in the name and authority of Jesus 
Christ, from whom, by virtue of his law and ordinance, their ministerial 
office and power are received.  So that, 3in the exercise of any church-
power, by and with the consent of the church, there is an obligation 
thence proceeding, which ariseth immediately from that authority which 
they have received of Jesus Christ, which is the spring of all rule and 
authority in the church.

1Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7,17; 1 Pet. 5:2; 1 Cor. 12:28.  21Tim. 3:5; Col. 
4:17; 2 Cor. 10:4,8.  31 Tim. 4:11; Tit. 2:15; 1 Pet. 5:2-5.

The answer unto this question explains the power or authority of the 
elders of the church, from whom they do receive it, and how it is 
exercised by them; the right stating whereof is of great importance in 
the whole discipline of the church, and must, therefore, here be farther 
explained.  To this end we may consider, --

First, That all church-power is originally vested in Jesus Christ, the 
sole head and monarch thereof.  God the Father hath committed it unto 
him, and intrusted him with it for the accomplishment of his work of 
mediation, Matt. 28:18.

Secondly, That he doth communicate of this authority by way of trust, to 
be exercised by them in his name, unto persons by him appointed, so much 
is needful for the ordering and disposing of all things in his churches 
unto the blessed ends for which he hath instituted and appointed them; 
for no man can have any power in his church, for any end whatever, but 
by delegation from him.  What is not received from him is mere 
usurpation.  And whoever takes upon himself the exercise of any rule, or 
authority, or power in the church, not granted unto them by him, or not 
rightly derived from him, is an oppressor, a "thief and a robber."  This 
necessarily follows upon the absoute investiture of all power in him 
alone, 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11,12.

Thirdly, The means whereby the Lord Christ communicates this power unto 
men is by his law and constitution, whereby he hath granted, ordained, 
and appointed, that such and such powers shall be exercised in his 
church, and that by such and such persons, to be derived unto them in 
such a way and manner; so that the word of the gospel, or the laws and 
constitutions of the Lord Christ therein, are the first recipient seat 
and subject morally of all church-power whatever, Matt. 16:19, 18:17-20.

Fourthly, The way and means whereby any persons come to a participation 
of this power regularly, according to the mind of Christ, is by the 
obedience unto, and due observation of, his laws and commands in them 
unto whom they are prescribed; as when an office, with the power of it, 
is constituted and limited by the law of the land, there is no more 
required to invest any man in that office, or to give him that power, 
than the due observance of the means and way prescribed in the law to 
that end.  The way, then, whereby the elders of the church do come to 
participate of the power and authority which Christ hath appointed to be 
exercised in his church is by their and the church's due observance of 
the rules and laws given by him for their election and setting apart 
unto that office, Heb. 5:4,5; Acts 14:23.

Fifthly, On this account they receive their power from Christ himself 
alone, and that immediately; for the means used for their participation 
of it are not recipient of the power itself formally, nor do 
authoritatively collate or confer it, only the laws of Christ are 
executed in a way of obedience.  So that though they are chosen and set 
apart to their office by the church, yet they are made overseers by the 
Holy Ghost, Acts 20:28.  Though they have their power by the church, yet 
they have it not from the church; nor was that power whereof they are 
made partakers, as was said, formally resident in the body of the 
church, before their participation of it, but really in Christ himself 
alone, and morally in his word or law.  And thence is the rule and 
guidance of the church committed unto them by Christ, Heb. 13:7,17; 1 
Pet. 5:2; 1 Tim. 3:5.

Sixthly, This authority and power, thus received from Christ, is that 
which they exert and put forth in all their ministerial administrations, 
in all which they do as ministers in the house of God, either in his 
worship or in the rule of the church itself.  They exercise that 
authority of Christ which he hath in his law appointed to be exercised 
in his church; and from that authority is due order given unto the 
administration of all the ordinances of worship, and an obligation unto 
obedience to acts of rule doth thence also ensue; so that they who 
despise them despise the authority of Christ.

Seventhly, When, as elders, they do or declare any thing in the name of 
the church, they do not, as such, put forth any authority committed unto 
them from and by the church, but only declare the consent and 
determination of the church in the exercise of their own liberty and 
privilege; but the authority which they act by, and which they put 
forth, is that which is committed to themselves, as such, by Jesus 

Eighthly, This authority is comprised in the law and constitution of 
Christ, which themselves exert only ministerially; and therefore, when 
ever they act any thing authoritatively, which they are not enabled for 
or warranted in by the word of the gospel, or do any thing without or 
contrary unto rule, all such actings, as to any spiritual effect of the 
gospel, or obligation on the consciences of men, are "ipso facto" null, 
and are no way ratified in heaven, where all their orderly actings are 
made valid, -- that is, by Christ himself in his word.

Ninthly, The reason, therefore, why the consent of the church is 
required unto the authoritative acting of the elders therein is, not 
because from thence any authority doth accrue unto them anew, which 
virtually and radically they had not before, but because by the rule of 
the gospel this is required to the orderly acting of their power, which 
without it would be contrary to rule, and therefore ineffectual; as also 
it must needs be from the nature of the thing itself, for no act can 
take place in the church in the church without or against its own 
consent, whilst its obedience is voluntary and of choice.

But if it be asked, "What, then, shall the elders do in case the church 
refuse to consent unto such acts as are indeed according to rule, and 
warranted by the institution of Christ?" it is answered, that they are, 
-- 1. Diligently to instruct them from the word in their duty, making 
known the mind of Christ unto them in the matter under consideration; 2. 
To declare unto them the danger of their dissent in obstructing the 
edification of the body, to the dishonour of the Lord Christ and their 
own spiritual disadvantage; 3. To wait patiently for the concurrence of 
the grace of God with their ministry in giving light and obedience unto 
the church; and, 4. In case of the church's continuance in any failure 
of duty, to seek for advice and counsel from the elders and brethren of 
other churches; -- all which particulars might be enlarged, would the 
nature of our present design and work permit it.

Question 29--
What is the duty of the church towards their elders, pastors, or 

1To have them in reverence and honour for their office and work's sake; 
2to obey them conscientiously in all things wherein they speak unto them 
in the name of the Lord; 3to pray earnestly for them, that they may, and 
to exhort them, if need require, to fulfil the work of the ministry; 4to 
communicate unto them of their temporals, for their comfortable 
subsistence in the world and usefulness unto others; 5wisely to order 
things by their direction, so as that they may be amongst them without 
fear; 6to abide with and stand by them in their sufferings for the 
gospel, and service of Christ among them.

11 Thess. 5:12,13; 1 Tim. 5:17.  2Heb. 13:17; 1 Cor. 16:16.  3Eph. 
6:18,19; Col. 4:3; 2 Thess. 3:1; Col. 4:17.  4Gal. 6:6; 1 Cor. 9:14.  
51 Cor. 16:10.  62 Tim. 1:16-18,4:16.

Question 30--
Are there any differences in the office or offices of the guides, 
rulers, elders, or ministers of the church?

The office of them that are teachers is one and the same among them all; 
but where there are many in the same church, it is the will of Christ 
that they should be peculiarly assigned unto such especial work, in the 
discharge of their office-power, as their gifts received from him do 
peculiarly fit them for and the necessities of the church require.

Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-6,8; 1 Pet. 4:10,5:2.

The office of them that are to instruct the church in the name and 
authority of Christ is one and the same, as hath been showed before.  
And there are many names that are equally accomodated unto all that are 
partakers of it, as elders, bishops, guides; they are all alike elders, 
alike bishops, alike guides, -- have the one office in common amongst 
them, and every one the whole entire unto himself.  But there are names 
also given unto them, whereby they are distinguished, not as to office, 
but as to their work and employment in the discharge of that office: 
such are "pastors and teachers," Eph. 4:11, which are placed as distinct 
persons in their work, partakers of the same office.  Now, the 
foundation of this distinction and difference lies, --

First, In the differnt gifts that they have received; for although it be 
required in them all that they have received all those gifts, abilities, 
and qualifications which are necessary for the work of the ministry, yet 
as to the degrees of their participation of their gifts, some may more 
excel in one, others in another: 1 Cor. 12:4-6,8, "There are diversities 
of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of 
administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of 
operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. For to one 
is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of 
knowledge by the same Spirit," etc.  And all these gifts are bestowed 
upon them to be exercised and laid out for the profit and benefit of the 
church: Verse 7, "The manifestion of the Spirit is given to every man to 
profit withal."  And therefore every one is in an especial manner to 
attend unto the exercise and use of that gift wherein he doth excel, or 
which tends most to the edification of the church, every man being to 
minister according as he hath received, 1 Pet. 4:10.

Secondly, It lies in the nature of the work of the ministry in the 
church, which in general may be referred unto two heads or ends: -- 

1. The instruction of it in the knowledge of God in Christ, and the 
mysteries of the gospel, that it might grow in grace, wisdom, saving 
light, and knowledge.

2. The exhortation of it to walk answerable unto light received, in 
holiness and universal obedience.  Now, though these several ends of the 
ministry cannot be divided or separated, yet they may be distinguished, 
and so carried on distinctly, that in the one, knowledge or light may be 
firstly and principally intended, so as to lead unto obedience; in the 
other, holiness may be firstly designed, as springing from gospel light 
or knowledge.  Hence, therefore, are the elders of the church 
principally to attend unto that work, or that end of the ministry, which 
by the Holy Ghost they are most suited unto.  And, therefore, the church 
following the intimations of the Holy Ghost, in communicating his gifts 
in variety as he pleaseth, and attending to their own edification, may 
and ought, amongst those whom they choose to the office of elders or 
ministers, withal design them in particular unto that especial work 
which they are especially fitted and prepared for; and this, upon their 
being chosen and set apart, they are accordingly to attend unto: "He 
that teacheth, on teaching; he that exhorteth, on exhortation," Rom. 
12:7,8.  Their office, then, is the same; but their teaching work and 
employment, on the grounds mentioned, distinct and different.

Question 31--
Are there appointed any elders in the church whose office and duty 
consist in rule and government only?

Elders not called to teach ordinarily or administer the sacraments, but 
to assist and help in the rule and government of the church, are 
mentioned in the Scripture.

Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Tim. 5:17.

This office of ruling elders in the church is much opposed by some, and 
in especial by them who have least reason so to do: for, first, they 
object against them that they are lay elders, when those with whom they 
have to do deny that distinction of the church into the clergy and 
laity; for although they allow the distribution of it into officers and 
the multitude of the brethren, yet they maintain that the whole church 
is God's clergy, his lot, and portion, 1 Pet. 5:3.  Again, they affirm 
them to be elders, and therein not merely of the members of the church, 
but officers set apart unto their office according to rule, or the 
appointment of Christ.  And if by laity, the people distinct from the 
officers of the church are to be understood, the very term of a lay 
elder implies a contradiction, as designing one who is and is not a 
church-officer.  Besides, themselves do principally govern the church by 
such whom they esteem laymen, as not in holy orders, to whom the 
principal part of its rule, at least in the execution of it, is 
committed; whch renders their objection to this sort of church-officers 
unreasonable.  Others, also, have given advantage by making this office 
annual or biennial in them that are chosen unto it; which, though they 
plead the necessity of their churches for, as not having persons meet 
for this work and duty who are willing to undertake it constantly during 
their lives, without such a contribution for their maintenance as they 
are not able to afford, yet the wisest of them do acknowledge an 
irregularity in what they do, and wish it remedied.  But this hinders 
not but that such church-officers are indeed designed in the Scripture, 
and of whom frequent mention is made in the ancient writers, and 
footsteps also yet remain in most churches of their institution, though 
wofully corrupted; for besides that some light in this matter may be 
taken from the church of the Jews, wherein the elders of the people were 
joined in rule with the priests, both in the sanhedrin and all lesser 
assemblies, there is in the gospel express mention of persons that were 
assigned peculiarly for rule and government in the church, as 1 Cor. 
12:28.  And it is in vain pretended that those words, "helps, 
governments," do denote gifts only, seeing the apostle expressly 
enumerates the persons in office, or officers, whch the Lord Christ then 
used in the foundation and rule of the churches as then planted.  He 
that ruleth, also, is distinguished from him that teacheth and him that 
exhorteth, Rom. 12:8; and is prescribed diligence as his principal 
qualification in the discharge of his duty.  And the words of the  
apostle to this purpose are express: 1 Tim. 5:17, "Let the elders that 
rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who 
labour in the word and doctrine."  For the words expressly assign two 
sorts of elders, whereof some only attend unto rule; others, moreover, 
labour in the word and doctrine.  Neither doth that word, as some would 
have it, "labour in the word," intend any other labour but what is 
incumbent on all the pastors and teachers of the church as their 
constant duty.  See Rom. 16:12; Acts 20:35; 1 Thess. 5:12.  Now, can we 
suppose that the apostle would affirm them to be worthy of double  
honour, whom, comparing with others, he notes as remiss and negligent in 
their work?  for it seems that others were more diligent in the 
discharge of that duty, which was no less theirs, if only one sort of 
elders be here intended.  The Scripture is not wont to commend such 
persons as worthy of double honour, but rather to propose them as meet 
for double shame and punishment, Jer. 48:10; 1 Cor. 9:16.  And they are 
unmindful of their own interest who would have bishops that attend to 
the rule of the church to be distinctly intended by the elders that rule 
well, seeing the apostle expressly preferreth before and above them 
those that attend constantly to the word and doctrine.  And besides what 
is thus expressly spoken concerning the appointment of this sort of 
elders in the church, their usefulnss, in the necessity of their work 
and employment, is evident; for whereas a constant care in the church 
that the conversation of all the members of it be such as becometh the 
gospel, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be not evil spoken of, is 
of great concernment and importance, and the pastors and teachers, being 
to give up themselves continually unto prayer and the ministry of the 
word, cannot attend unto the constant and daily oversight thereof, the 
usefulness of these elders, whose proper and peculiar work it is to have 
regard unto the holy walking of the church, must needs be manifest unto 
all.  But whereas in most churches there is little or no regard unto the 
personal holiness of the members of them, it is no wonder that no 
account should be had of them who are ordained by the Lord Christ to 
look after it and promote it.

The qualification of these elders, with the way of their call and 
setting apart unto their office, being the same with those of the 
teaching elders before insisted on, need not be here again repeated.  
Their authority, also, in the whole rule of the church, is every way the 
same with that of the other sort of elders; and they are to act in the 
execution of it with equal respect and regard from the church.  Yea, the 
business of rule being peculiarly committed unto them, and they required 
to attend thereunto with diligence in an especial manner, the work 
thereof is principally theirs, as that of labouring in the word and 
doctrine doth especially belong unto the pastors and teachers of the 
churches.  And this institution is abused when either unmeet persons are 
called to this office, or those that are called do not attend unto their 
duty with diligence, or do act only in it by the guidance of the 
teaching officers, without a sense of their own authority, or due 
respect from the church.

Question 32--
Is there no other ordinary office in the church but only that of elders?

Yes, of deacons also.

Question 33--
What are the deacons of the church?

Approved men chosen by the church to take care for the necessities of 
the poor belonging thereunto, and other outward occasions of the whole 
church, by the collection, keeping, and distribution of the alms and 
other supplies of the church; set apart and commended to the grace of 
God therein by prayer.

Acts 6:3,5,6; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13.

The office of the deacon, the nature, end, and use of it, the 
qualifications of the persons to be admitted unto it, the way and manner 
of their election and setting apart, are all of them plainly expressed 
in the Scripture: Acts 6:1-3,5,6, "There arose a murmuring of the 
Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the 
daily ministration.  Then the twelve called the multitude of the 
disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the 
word of God, and serve tables.  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among 
you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom 
we may appoint over this business.  And the saying pleased the whole 
multitude: and they chose Stephen," etc., "whom they set before the 
apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them."  1 
Tim. 3:8-13, "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, 
not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery 
of the faith in a pure conscience.  And let these also first be proved; 
then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless; the 
husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.  
For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to 
themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in 
Christ Jesus."  These things are thus plain and express in the 
Scripture.  But whereas many have grown weary of the observation of the 
institutions of the gospel, this office hath for a long time been lost 
amongst the most of Christians.  By some the name is retained, but 
applied to another work, duty, and employment, than this to which it is 
peculiarly appropriated in the Scripture.  Their proper and original 
work of taking care for the poor, they say, is provided for by others; 
and therefore that office being needless, another, unto another purpose, 
under the same name, is erected.  Such are deacons that may read 
service, preach, and baptize, when they have license thereunto.  But 
this choice, to reject an office of the appointment of Christ, under 
pretence of provision made for the duties of it another way, and the 
erecting of one not appointed by him, seems not equal.  But whereas it 
is our duty in all things to have regard to the authority of Christ and 
his appointments in the gospel, if we claim the privilege of being 
called after his name, some think that if what he hath appointed may be 
colourably performed another way without respect unto his institutions, 
that is far the best; but omitting the practice of other men, the things 
that concern this office in the church are, as was said, clear in the 

First, The persons called unto it are to be of honest report, furnished 
with the gifts of the Holy Ghost, especially with wisdom, Acts 6:3, and 
those other endowments useful in the discharge of their duty mentioned, 
1 Tim. 3:8-13.

Secondly, The way whereby they come to be made partakers of this office 
is by the choice or election of the church, Acts 6:2,3,5, whereupon they 
are solemnly to be set apart by prayer.

Thirdly, Their work or duty consists in a daily ministration unto the 
necessities of the poor saints, or members of the church, Acts 6:1,2.

Fourthly, To this end, that they may be enabled so to do, it is ordained 
that every first day [of the week] the members of the church do 
contribute, according as God enables them, of their substance for the 
supply of the wants of the poor, 1 Cor. 16:2; and also occasionally, as 
necessity shall require, or God move their hearts by his grace.

Fifthly, Hereunto is to be added whatever by the providence of God may 
be conferred upon the church for its outward advantage, with reference 
unto the end mentioned, Acts 4:34,35.

Sixthly, These supplies of the church being committed to the care and 
charge of the deacons, they are from thence to minister with diligence 
and wisdom unto the necessities of the poor; that so the needy may be 
supplied, that there may be none that lack, the rich may contribute of 
their riches according to the mind of Christ, and in obedience unto his 
command; that they which minister well in this office "may purchase to 
themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith," and that in 
all the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified with praise and 

It belongs, therefore, unto persons called unto this office, --

First, To acquaint themselves with the outward condition of those that 
appear to be poor and needy in the church, whether by the addresses of 
such poor ones, who are bound to make known their wants, occasions, and 
necessities unto them, or by the information of others, or their own 

Secondly, To acquaint the elders and the church, as occasion requireth, 
with the necessities of the poor under their care, that those who are 
able may be stirred up by the elders to a free supply and contribution.

Thirdly, To dispose of what they are intrusted with faithfully, 
cheerfully, tenderly, without partiality or preferring one before 
another, for any outward respect whatever.

Fourthly, To keep and give an account unto the church, when called for, 
of what they have received, and how they have disposed of it;  that so 
they may be known to have well discharged their office, -- that is, 
with care, wisdom, and tenderness, -- whereby they procure to themselves 
a good degree, with boldness in the faith, and the church is encouraged 
to intrust them farther with this sacrifice of their alms, which is so 
acceptable unto God.

Question 34--
Wherein consists the general duty of the whole church, and every member 
thereof, in their proper station and condition?

In performing, doing, and keeping inviolate all the commands and 
institutions of Jesus Christ, walking unblamably and fruitfully in the 
world, holding forth the word of truth, and glorifying the Lord Christ 
in and by the profession of his name, and keeping his testimony unto the 

Matt. 28:20; Acts 2:42; Phil. 2:15,16,4:8,9; 1 Thess. 3:8 1 Pet. 4:10-
14; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 10:23.

Besides the general duties of Christianity incumbent on all believers or 
disciples of Christ, as such, there are sundry especial duties required 
of them as gathered into church-societies, upon the account of an 
especial trust committed unto them in that state and condition; for, --

First, The church being appointed as the seat and subject of all the 
institutions of Christ and ordinances of Gospel worship, it is its duty, 
-- that is, of the whole body, and every member in his proper place, -- 
to use all care, watchfulness, and diligence that all the commands of 
Christ be kept inviolate, and all his institutions observed according to 
his mind and will.  Thus, those "added to the church," Acts 2:42, 
together with the whole church, "continued stedfastly" (which argues 
care, circumspection, and diligence) "in the apostles' doctrine and 
fellowship, and breaking of bread, and in prayers;" which principal 
duties are enumerated to express their respect towards all.  This is 
their "standing fast in the Lord," which was a matter of such joy to the 
apostle when he found it in the Thessalonians, 1st epistle, 3:8, "For 
now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord;" -- that order and 
steadfastness which he rejoiced over in the Colossians, "For though I be 
absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, joying and 
beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ," 
Col. 2:5.  And where this duty is despised, men contenting themselves 
with what is done by others, there is a great neglect of that 
faithfulness in obedience which the church owes unto Jesus Christ.

Secondly, The glory of the Lord Christ, and the doctrine of the gospel, 
to be manifested in and by the power of a holy, exemplary conversation, 
is committed unto the church and all the members of it.  This is one end 
wherefore the Lord Christ calls them out of the world, separates them to 
be a peculiar people unto himself, brings them forth unto a visible 
profession, and puts his name upon them, -- namely, that in their 
walking and conversation he may show forth the holiness of his doctrine, 
and power of his Spirit, grace, and example, to effect in them all 
holiness, godliness, righteousness, and honesty in the world.  Hence are 
they earnestly exhorted unto these things: Phil. 4:8, "Brethren, 
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever 
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are 
lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, 
and if there be any praise, think on these things;" and that to this 
end, that the doctrine of the gospel may be adorned, and Christ 
glorified in all things, Tit. 2:10.  And those who fail herein are said 
to be "the enemies of the cross of Christ," Phil. 3:18, as hindering the 
progress of the doctrine thereof, by rendering it undesirable in their 
conversation.  This also, therefore, even the duty of universal 
holiness, with an especial regard unto the honour of Christ and the 
gospel, which they are called and designed to testify and express in the 
world, is incumbent on the church, and every member of it, namely, as 
the apostle speaks, "that they may be blameless and harmless, the sons 
of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation," 
among whom they are to "shine as lights in the world," Phil. 2:15.

Thirdly, The care of declaring and manifesting the truth is also 
committed unto them.  Christ hath made the church to be the "pillar and 
ground of the truth," 1 Tim. 3:15; where the truth of the gospel is to 
be firmly seated, founded, fixed, established, and then lifted up in the 
ways of Christ's appointment, to be seen, discerned, and known by 
others.  And as this is done principally in the preaching of the gospel 
by the elders of the church, and in their "contending for the faith once 
delivered unto the saints," Jude 3, so it is also the duty of the whole 
church to "hold forth the word of life," Phil. 2:16, by ministering of 
"the gifts that every man hath received," 1 Pet. 4:10, in the way of 
Christ's appointment.  In these and the like instances doth our Lord 
Jesus Christ require of his church that they express in the world their 
subjection unto him and his authority; and that they abide therein unto 
the end against all opposition whatever.

The sinful neglect of churches in the discharge of their duty herein was 
one great means of that apostasy  from the rule of the gospel which they 
generally of old fell into.  When the members of them began to think 
that they had no advantage by their state and condition, but only the 
outward participation of some ordinances of worship, and no duty 
incumbent on them but only to attend and follow the motions and actings 
of their guides, the whole societies quickly became corrupt, and fit to 
be disposed of according to the carnal interest of those that had by 
their neglect and sin gotten dominion over them.  And at all times, as 
the people were negligent in their duty, the leaders of them were apt to 
usurp undue authority.  When the one sort will not do that which they 
ought, the other are ready to take upon them what they ought not.  It is 
a circumspect performance of duty on all hands alone that will keep all 
sorts of persons in the church within those bounds and limits, and up to 
those rights and privileges, which Christ hath allotted  and granted 
unto them.  And herein alone doth the order, honour, and beauty of the 
church consist.  Church-members, therefore, are to search and inquire 
after the particular duties which, as such, are incumbent on them; as 
also to consider what influence their special state and condition, as 
they are church-members, ought to have into all the duties of their 
obedience as they are Christians: for this privilege is granted unto 
them for their edification; that is, their furtherance in their whole 
course of walking before God.  And if this be neglected, -- if they 
content themselves with a name to live in this or that church, to 
partake of the ordinances that are stated and solemnly administered 
only, -- that which would have been to their advantage may prove to be a 
snare and temptation unto them.  What these especial duties are, in the 
particular instances of them, is of too large a consideration here to be 
insisted on.  Besides, it is the great duty of the guides of the church 
to be inculcating of them into the minds of those committed to their 
charge; for the church's due performance of its duty is their honour, 
crown, and reward.

Question 35--
Whence do you reckon prayer, which is a part of moral and natural 
worship, among the institutions of Christ in his church?

On many accounts; as, 1because the Lord Christ hath commanded his church 
to attend unto the worship of God therein; 2because he bestows on the 
ministers of the church gifts and ability of prayer for the benefit and 
edification thereof; 3he hath appointed that all his other ordinances 
should be administered with prayer, whereby it becomes a part of them; 
4because himself ministers in the holy place, as the great high priest 
of his church, to present their prayers unto God at the throne of grace; 
5because in all the prayers of the church there is an especial regard 
had unto himself and the whole work of his meditation.

1Luke 18:1,21:36; Rom. 12:12; 1 Tim. 2:1,2.  2Eph. 4:8,12,13; Rom. 
8:15,16; Gal. 4:6.  3Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 4:5.  4Rev. 8:3,4; Heb. 4:14-
16,6:20,10:19-22.  5John 14:13,15:16,16:23,26; Eph. 3:14,15.

Question 36--
May not the church, in the solemn worship of God, and celebration of the 
ordinances of the gospel, make use of and content itself in the use of 
forms of prayer in an unknown tongue composed by others, and prescribed 
unto them?

So to do would be 1contrary to one principal end of prayer itself, which 
is, that believers may therein apply themselves to the throne of grace 
for spiritual supplies according to the present condition, wants, and 
exigencies of their souls; 2to the main end that the Lord Jesus Christ 
aimed at in supplying men with gifts for the discharge of the work of 
the ministry, tending to render the promise of sending the Holy Ghost, 
which is the immediate cause of the church's preservation and 
continuance, needless and useless.  Moreover, 3it will render the 
discharge of the duty of ministers unto several precepts and 
exhortations of the gospel, for the use, stirring up, and exercise of 
their gifts, impossible; and 4thereby hinder the edification of the 
church, the great end of all ordinances and institutions.

1Rom. 8:26; Phil. 4:6; Heb. 4:16; 1 Pet. 4:7.  2Eph. 4:8,12,13.  31 Tim. 
4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6,7; Col. 4:17; Matt. 25:14-17.  41 Cor. 12:7.

Question 37--
Is the constant work of preaching the gospel by the elders of the church 

It is so, both on the part of the elders or ministers themselves, of 
whom that duty is strictly required, and who principally therein labour 
and watch for the good of the flock, and on the part of the church, for 
the furtherance of their faith and obedience, by instruction, reproof, 
exhortation, and consolation.

Matt. 24:45-51; Rom. 12:7,8; 1 Cor. 9:17,18; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 
4:15,16,5:17; 2 Tim. 2:24,25,3:14-17,4:2.

Question 38--
Who are the principal subjects of baptism?

Professing believers, if not baptized in their infancy, and their infant 

Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38,39,16:33; 1 Cor. 1:16,7:14; Col. 2:12-14, with 
Gen. 17:10-12.

Question 39--
Where and to whom is the ordinance of the Lord's supper to be 

In the church, or assembly of the congregation, to all the members of 
it, rightly prepared and duly assembled, or to such of them as are so 

1 Cor. 11:20-22,28,29,33; Acts 2:46.

Question 40--
How often is that ordinance to be administered?

Every first day of the week, or at least as often as opportunity and 
conveniency may be obtained.

1 Cor. 11:26; Acts 20:7.

Question 41--
What is the discipline of the church?

It consists in the due exercise of that authority and power which the 
Lord Christ, in and by his word, hath granted unto the church, for its 
continuance, increase, and preservation in purity, order, and holiness, 
according to his appointment.

Matt. 16:19; Rom. 12:8; 2 Cor. 10:4-6; Rev. 2:2,20.

Sundry things are to be considered about this discipline of the church; 
as, --

First, The foundation of it, which is a grant of power and authority 
made unto it by Jesus Christ as mediator, head, king, and lawgiver of 
his church; for all discipline being an act of power, and this being 
exercised in and about things internal and spiritual, no men can of 
themselves, or by grant of any others, have any right or authority to or 
in the exercise thereof.  Whoever hath any interest herein or right 
hereunto, it must be granted unto him from above by Jesus Christ, and 
that as mediator and head of his church; for as all church-power is in 
an especial manner, by the authority and grant of the Father, vested in 
him alone, Matt. 28:18, Eph. 1:20-23, so the nature of it, which is 
spiritual, the objects of it, which are the consciences and gospel 
privileges of believers, with the ends of it, -- namely, the glory of 
God in Christ, with the spiritual and eternal good of the souls of men, 
-- do all manifest that it can have no other right nor foundation.  This 
in the first place is to be fixed, that no authority can be exercised in 
the church but what is derived from Jesus Christ, as was spoken before.

Secondly, The means whereby the Lord Christ doth communicate this power 
and authority unto his church in his word or his law and constitution 
concerning it in the gospel; so that it is exactly limited and bounded 
thereby.  And no power or authority can be exercised in the church but 
what is granted and conveyed unto it by the word, seeing that Christ 
communicates no power or authority any other ways.  Whatever of that 
nature is beside it or beyond it is mere usurpation, and null in its 
exercise.  Herein is the commission of the guides and rulers of the 
church expressed, which they are not to exceed in any thing. Herein are 
bounds and limits fixed to the actings of the whole church, and of every 
part and member of it.

Thirdly, This power or authority, thus granted and conveyed by Jesus 
Christ, is to be exercised, as to the manner of the administration of 
discipline, with skill and diligence, Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12.  And the 
skill required hereunto is a gift, or an ability of mind, bestowed by 
the Holy Ghost upon men, to put in execution the laws of Christ for the 
government of the church in the way and order by him appointed, or a 
spiritual wisdom, whereby men know how to behave themselves in the house 
of God in their several places, for its due edification in faith and 
love, 1 Tim. 3:15.  And this ability of mind to make a due application 
of the laws of the gospel unto persons, times, and actions, with their 
circumstances, is such a gift of the Holy Ghost as whereof there are 
several degrees, answering to the distinct duties that are incumbent on 
the rulers of the church on the one hand, and the members on the other.  
And where this skill and wisdom is wanting, there it is impossible that 
the discipline of the church should be preserved or carried on.  
Hereunto also diligence and watchfulness are to be added, without which 
ability and power will never obtain their proper end in a due manner, 
Rom. 12:6-8.

Fourthly, The end of this discipline is the continuance, increase, and 
preservation of the church, according to the rule of its first 
institution, 1 Cor. 5:7.  This power hath Christ given his church for 
its conservation, without which it must necessarily decay and come to 
nothing.  Nor is it to be imagined that where any church is called and 
gathered according to the mind of Christ, he hath left it destitute of 
power and authority to preserve itself in that state and order which he 
hath appointed unto it.  And that which was one principal cause of the 
decays of the Asian churches was the neglect of this discipline, the 
power and privilege whereof the Lord had left unto them and intrusted 
them withal, for their own preservation in order, purity, and holiness.  
And, therefore, for the neglect thereof they were greatly blamed by him, 
Rev. 2:14,15,20, 3:1,2; as is also the church of Corinth by the apostle, 
1 Cor. 5:2; as they are commended who attended unto the diligent 
exercise of it, Rev. 2:2, 3:9.  The disuse, also, of it hath been the 
occasion of all the defilements, abominations, and confusions that have 
spread themselves over many churches in the world.

Question 42--
Unto whom is the power and administration of this discipline committed 
by Jesus Christ?

As to the authority to be exerted in it, in the things wherein the whole 
church is concerned, unto the elders; as unto trial, judgment, and 
consent in and unto its exercise, unto the whole brotherhood; as unto 
love, care, and watchfulness in private and particular cases, to every 
member of the church.

Matt. 24:45; Eph. 4:11,12; Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:5,5:17; Heb. 13:7,17; 1 
Pet. 5:2; 1 Thess. 5:12; Gal. 6:1,2; 1 Cor. 4:14,5:2,4,5;2 Cor. 2:6-8; 2 
Tim. 4:2.

It hath been showed that this power is granted unto the church by virtue 
of the law and constitution of Christ.  Now, this law assigns the means 
and way whereby any persons do obtain an interest therein, and makes the 
just allotments to all concerned in it.  What this law, constitution, or 
word of Christ assigns unto any, as such, that they are the first seat 
and subject of, by what way or means soever they come to be intrusted 
therein.  Thus, that power or authority which is given unto the elders 
of the church doth not first formally reside in the body of the church 
unorganized or distinct from them, though they are called unto their 
office by their suffrage and choice; but they are themselves, as such, 
the first subject of office-power, for so is the will of the Lord 
Christ.  Nor is the interest of the whole church in this power of 
discipline, whatever it be, given unto it by the elders, but is 
immediately granted unto it by the will and law of the Lord Jesus.

First, In this way and manner the authority above described is given in 
the first place, as such, unto the elders of the church.  This authority 
was before explained, in answer unto the 28th question; as also was the 
way whereby they receive it.  And it is that power of office whereby 
they are enabled for the discharge of their whole duty, in the teaching 
and ruling of the church, called the "power of the keys," from Matt. 
16:19; which expression being metaphorical, and in general liable unto 
many interpretations, is to be understood according to the declaration 
made of it in those particular instances wherein it is expressed.  Nor 
is it a twofold power or authority that the elders of the church have 
committed unto them, -- one to teach and another to rule, commonly 
called the power of order and of jurisdiction; but it is one power of 
office, the duties whereof are of several kinds, referred unto the two 
general heads, first of teaching, by preaching the word and celebration 
of the sacraments, and secondly, of rule or government.  By virtue 
hereof are they made rulers over the house of God, Matt. 24:45; stewards 
in his house, 1 Cor. 4:1; overseers of the church, Acts 20:28, 1 Pet. 
5:2; guides unto the church, Heb. 13:7,17.  Not that they have a 
supreme or autocratorical power committed unto them, to enable them to 
do what seems right and good in their own eyes, seeing they are 
expressly bound up unto the terms of their commission, Matt. 28:19,20, 
to teach men to do and observe all and only what Christ hath commanded; 
nor have they by virtue of it any dominion in or over the church, -- 
that is, the laws, rules, or privileges of it, -- or the consciences of 
the disciples of Christ, to alter, change, add, diminish, or bind by 
their own authority, 1 Pet. 5:3, Mark 10:42-44.  But it is a power 
merely ministerial, in whose exercise they are unto the Lord Christ 
accountable servants, Heb. 13:17, Matt. 24:45, and servants of the 
church for Jesus' sake, 2 Cor. 4:5.  This authority, in the discipline 
of the church they exert and put forth by virtue of their office, and 
not either as declaring of the power of the church itself, or acting 
what is delegated unto them thereby, but as ministerially exercising the 
authority of Christ committed unto themselves.

Secondly, The body of the church, or the multitude of the brethren 
(women being excepted by especial prohibition, 1 Cor. 14:34,35, 1 Tim. 
2:11,12), is, by the law and constitution of Christ in the gospel, 
interested in the administration of this power of discipline in the 
church, so far as, --

1. To consider, try, and make a judgment in and about all persons, 
things, and causes, in reference whereunto it is to be exercised.  Thus, 
the brethren at Jerusalem joined in the consideration of the observation 
of Mosaical ceremonies with the apostles and elders, Acts 15:23; and the 
multitude of them to whom letters were sent about it likewise did the 
same, verses 30-32; and this they thought it their duty and concernment 
to do, Acts 21:22.  And they are blamed who applied not themselves unto 
this duty, 1 Cor. 5:2-6.  Thence are the epistles of Paul to the 
churches to instruct them in their duties and privileges in Christ, and 
how they ought to behave themselves in the ordering of all things 
amongst them according to his mind.  And these are directed unto the 
churches themselves, either jointly with their elders, or distinctly 
from them, Phil. 1:1.  And the whole preservation of church-order is, on 
the account of this duty, recommended unto them.  Neither can what they 
do in compliance with their guides and rulers be any part of their 
obedience unto the Lord Christ, unless they make previously thereunto a 
rational consideration and judgment, by the rule, of what is to be done.  
Neither is the church of Christ to be ruled without its knowledge or 
against its will; nor in any thing is blind obedience acceptable to God.

2. The brethren of the church are intrusted with the privilege of giving 
and testifying their consent unto all acts of church-power, which, 
though it belong not formally unto the authority of them, is necessary 
unto their validity and efficacy; and that so far forth as that they are 
said to do and act what is done and effected thereby, 1 Cor. 5:4,5,13; 2 
Cor. 2:6-8.  And they who have this privilege of consent, which hath so 
great an influence into the action and validity of it, have also the 
liberty of dissent, when any thing is proposed to be done, the warrant 
whereof from the word and the rule of its performance are not evident 
unto them.

Question 43--
Wherein doth the execise of the authority for discipline committed unto 
the elders of the church consist?

1In personal private admonition of any member or members of the church, 
in case of sin, error, or any miscarriage known unto themselves; 2in 
public admonition in case of offences persisted in, and brought orderly 
to the knowledge and consideration of the church; 3in the ejection of 
obstinate offenders from the society and communion of the church; 4in 
exhorting, comforting, and restoring to the enjoyment and exercise of 
church-privileges such as are recovered from the error of their ways; 
all according to the laws, rules, and directions of the gospel.

1Matt. 18:15; 1 Thess. 5:14; 1 Cor. 4:14; Tit. 1:13,2:15; 2 Tim. 4:2.  
21 Tim. 5:19,20; Matt. 18:16,17.  3Tit. 3:10; 1 Tim. 1:20; Matt. 18:17; 
1 Cor. 5:5; Gal. 5:12.  42 Cor. 2:7,8; Gal. 6:1; 2 Thess. 3:15.

Question 44--
May the church cast any person out of its communion without previous 

It may in some cases, where the offence is notorious and the scandal 
grievous, so that nothing be done against other general rules.

1 Cor. 5.

Question 45--
Wherein doth the liberty and duty of the whole brotherhood in the 
exercise of discipline in the church in particular consist?

1In a meek consideration of the condition and temptations of offenders, 
with the nature of their offences, when orderly proposed unto the 
church; 2in judging with the elders, according to rule, what, in all 
cases of offence, is necessary to be done for the good of the offenders 
themselves, and for the edification and vindication of the whole church, 
3in their consent unto, and concurrence in, the admonition, ejection, 
pardoning, and restoring of offenders, as the matter shall require.

Gal. 6:1,2; 1 Cor. 5:2,4,5,12,6:2; 2 Cor. 2:6-8.

Question 46--
What is the duty of private members in reference unto the discipline 
appointed by Christ in his church?

It is their duty, in their mutual watch over one another, to exhort each 
other unto holiness and perseverance; and if they observe any thing in 
the ways and walkings of any of their fellow-members not according unto 
the rule and duty of their profession, which, therefore, gives them 
offence, to admonish them thereof in private, with love, meekness, and 
wisdom; and in case they prevail not unto their amendment, to take the 
assistance of some other brethren in the same work; and if they fail in 
success therein also, to report the matter, by the elders' direction, 
unto the whole church.

Matt. 18:16-18; 1 Thess. 5:14.

In these questions an inquiry is made after the exercise of discipline 
in the church, -- as to that part of it which belongs unto the reproof 
and correction of miscarriages, according to the distribution of right, 
power, and privilege before explained.

The first act hereof consists in private admonition; for so hath our 
Lord ordained, that in case any brother or member of the church do in 
any thing walk disorderly, and not according to the rule of the gospel, 
he or they unto whom it is observed, and who are thereby offended, may 
and ought to admonish the person or persons so offending of their 
miscarriages and offence; concerning which is to be observed, --

First, What is previously required thereunto; and that is, --

1. That in all the members of the church there ought to be "love without 
dissimulation."  They are to "be kindly affectioned one to another with 
brotherly love," Rom. 12:9,10; which as they are taught of God, so they 
are greatly exhorted thereunto, Heb. 13:1.  This love is the bond of 
perfection, the most excellent way and means of preserving church-order, 
and furthering the edification thereof, 1 Cor. 13, without which, well 
seated and confirmed in the hearts and minds of church-members, no duty 
of their relation can ever be performed in a due manner.

2. This love is to exert and put forth itself in tender care and 
watchfulness for the good of each other; which are to work by mutual 
exhortations, informations, instructions, according as opportunities do 
offer themselves, or as the necessities of any do seem to require, Heb. 
3:13, 10:24.

Secondly, This duty of admonishing offenders privately and personally is 
common to the elders with all the members of the church; neither doth it 
belong properly unto the elders as such, but as brethren of the same 
society.  And yet, by virtue of their office, the elders are enabled to 
do it with more authority morally, though office-power properly be not 
exercised therein.  By virtue, also, of their constant general watch 
over the whole flock in the discharge of their office, they are enabled 
to take notice of and discern miscarriages in any of the members sooner 
than others: but as to the exercise of the discipline of the church in 
this matter, this duty is equally incumbent on every member of it, 
according as the obligation on them to watch over one another, and to 
exercise especial love towards each other, is equal; whence it is 
distinguished from that private pastoral admonition, which is an act of 
the teaching office and power, not directly belonging unto the rule or 
government inquired after.  But this admonition is an effect of love; 
and when it proceedeth not from thence it is irregular, Matt. 18:16-18; 
Rom. 15:14.

Thirdly, This duty is so incumbent on every member of the church, that 
in case of the neglect thereof, he both sinneth against the institution 
of Christ and makes himself partaker of the sin of the party offending, 
and is also guilty of his danger and ruin thereby, with all that 
disadvantage which will accrue to the church by any of the members of it 
continuing in sin against the rule of the gospel.  They have not only 
liberty thus to admonish one another, but it is their express and 
indispensable duty so to do; the neglect whereof is interpreted by God 
to be "hatred of our brother," such as wherewith the love of God is 
inconsistant, Lev. 19:17; 1 John 3:15, 4:20.

Fourthly, Although this duty be personally incumbent on every individual 
member of the church, yet this hinders not but if the sin of an offender 
be known to more than one at the same time, and they jointly take 
offence thereat, they may together in the first instance admonish him, 
which yet still is but the first and private admonition; which is 
otherwise when others are called into assistance who are not themselves 
acquainted with the offence, but only by information, and join in it, 
not upon the account of their own being offended, but of being desired 
according unto rule to give assistance to them that are so.

Fifthly, The way and manner of the discharge of this duty is, that it be 
done with prudence, tenderness, and due regard unto all circumstances; 
whence the apostle supposeth a spiritual ability to be necessary for 
this work: Rom. 15:14, "Ye also are full of goodness, filled with all 
knowledge, able also to admonish one another."  Especially four things 
are to be diligently heeded: --

1. That the whole duty be so managed that the person offending may be 
convinced that it is done out of love to him and affectionate, 
conscientious care over him, that he may take no occasion thereby for 
the exasperation of his own spirit.

2. That the persons admonishing others of their offence do make it 
appear that what they do is in obedience unto an institution of Christ, 
and therein to preserve their own souls from sin, as well as to benefit 
the offenders.

3. That the admonition be grounded on a rule; which alone gives it 
authority and efficacy.

4. That there be a readiness manifested by them to receive satisfaction, 
-- either (1.) in case that, upon trial, it appeareth the information 
they have had of the miscarriage whence the offence arose was undue or 
not well grounded; or, (2.) of acknowledgement and repentance.

Sixthly, The ends of this ordinance and institution of Christ are, --

1. To keep up love without dissimulation among all the members of the 
church; for if offences should abide unremoved, love, which is the bond 
of perfection, would not long continue in sincerity, which tends to the 
dissolution of the whole society.

2. To gain the offender, by delivering him from the guilt of sin, that he 
may not lie under it, and procure the wrath of God against himself, Lev. 

3. To preserve his person from dishonour and disreputation, and thereby 
to keep up his usefulness in the church.  To this end hath our Lord 
appointed this discharge of this duty in private, that the failings of 
men may not be unnecessarily divulged, and themselves thereby exposed 
unto temptation.

4. To preserve the church from that scandal that might befall it by the 
hasty opening of all the real or supposed failings of its members.  And, 

5. To prevent its trouble in the public hearing of things that may be 
otherwise healed and removed.

Seventhly, In case these ends are obtained, either by the supposed 
offending persons clearing of themselves and manifesting themselves 
innocent of the crimes charged on them, as Josh. 22:21-29, 2 Cor. 7:11, 
or by their acknowledgement, repentance, and amendment, then this part 
of the discipline of the church hath, through the grace of Christ, 
obtained its appointed effect.

Eighthly, In case the persons offending be not humbled nor reformed, nor 
do give satisfaction unto them by whom they are admonished, then hath 
our Lord ordained a second degree of this private exercise of 
discipline: -- that the persons who, being offended, have discharged the 
foregoing duty themselves according unto rule, shall take unto them 
others, -- two or three, as the occasion may seem to require, -- to join 
with them in the same work and duty, to be performed in the same manner, 
for the same ends, with that before described, Matt. 18:15-17.  And it 
is the duty of these persons so called in for assistance, --

1. To judge of the crime, fault, or offence reported to them, and not to 
proceed unless they find it to consist in something expressly contrary 
to the rule of the gospel, and attested in such a manner and with such 
evidence as their mutual love doth require in them with respect unto 
their brethren.  And they are to judge of the testimony that is given 
concerning the truth of the offence communicated unto them, that they 
may not seem either lightly to take up a report against their brother or 
to discredit the testimony of others.

2. In case they find the offence pretended not to be a real offence, 
indeed contrary to the rule of the gospel, or that it is not aright 
grounded as to the evidence of it, but taken up upon prejudice or an 
over-easy credulity, contrary to the law of that love which is required 
amongst church-members, described 1 Cor. 13, and commanded as the great 
means of the edification of the church and preservation of its union, 
then to convince the brother offended of his mistake, and with him to 
satisfy the person pretended to be the offender, that no breach or 
schism may happen among the members of the same body.

3. Being satisfied of the crime and testimony, they are to associate 
themselves with the offended brother in the same work and duty that he 
himself had before discharged towards the offender.

Ninthly, Because there is no determination how often these private 
admonitions are to be used in case of offence, it is evident from the 
nature of the thing itself that they are to be reiterated, first the one 
and then the other, whilst there is any ground of hope that the ends of 
them may be obtained, through the blessing of Christ, -- the brother 
gained, and the offence taken away.  Neither of these, then, is to be 
deserted or laid aside on the first or second attempt, as though it were 
performed only to make way for somewhat farther; but it is to be waited 
on with prayer and patience, as an ordinance of Christ appointed for 
attaining the end aimed at.

Tenthly, In case there be not the success aimed at obtained in these 
several degrees of private admonition, it is then the will of our Lord 
Jesus Christ that the matter be reported unto the church, that the 
offended may be publicly admonished thereby and brought to repentance; 
wherein is to be observed, --

1. That the persons who have endeavoured in vain to reclaim their 
offending brother by private admonition are to acquaint the elders of 
the church with the case and crime, as also what they have done 
according to rule for the rectifying of it; who, upon that information, 
are obliged to communicate the knowledge of the whole matter to the 
church.  This is to be done by the elders, as to whom the preservation 
of order in the church and the rule of its proceedings do belong, as we 
have showed before.

2. The report made to the church by the elders is to be, -- (1.) Of the 
crime, guilt, or offence; (2.) Of the testimony given unto the truth of 
it; (3.) Of the means used to bring the offender to acknowledgment and 
repentance; (4.) Of his deportment under the private previous 
admonitions, either as to his rejecting of them, or as to any 
satisfaction tendered; all in order, love, meekness, and tenderness.

3. Things being proposed unto the church, and the offender heard upon 
the whole of the offence and former proceeding, the whole church or 
multitude of the brethren are, with the elders, to consider the nature 
of the offence, with the condition and temptation of the offender, with 
such a spirit of meekness as our Lord Jesus Christ, in his own person, 
set them an example of in his dealing with sinners, and which is 
required in them as his disciples, Gal. 6:1,2; 2 Cor. 2:8.

4. The elders and brethren are to judge of the offence and the carriage 
of the offender according to rule; and if the offence be evident and 
persisted in, then, --

5. The offender is to be publicly admonished by the elders, with the 
consent and concurrence of the church, 1 Thess. 5:14; 1 Tim. 5:20; Matt. 
18:17.  And this admonition consists of five parts: -- (1.) A 
declaration of the crime or offence, as it is evidenced unto the 
church.  (2.) A conviction of the evil of it, from the rule or rules 
transgressed against.  (3.) A declaration of the authority and duty of 
the church in such cases.  (4.) A rebuke of the offender in the name of 
Christ, answering the nature and circumstances of the offence.  (5.) An 
exhortation unto humiliation, and repentance, and acknowledgment.

Eleventhly, In case the offender despise this admonition of the church, 
and come not upon it unto repentance, it is the will and appointment of 
our Lord Jesus Christ that he be cut off from all the privileges of the 
church, and cast out from the society thereof, or be excommunicated; 
wherein consists the last act of the discipline of the church for the 
correction of offenders.  And herein may be considered, --

1. The nature of it, that it is an authoritative act, and so principally 
belongs unto the elders of the church, who therein exert the power that 
they have received from the Lord Christ, by and with the consent of the 
church, according to his appointment, Matt. 16:19, 18:18; John 20:23; 1 
Cor. 5:4,5; Titus 3:10; 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Cor. 2:6.  And both these, the 
authority of the eldership and the consent of the brethren, are 
necessary to the validity of the sentence, and that according to the 
appointment of Christ, and the practice of the first churches.

2. The effect of it, which is the cutting off or casting out of the 
person offending from the communion of the church, in the privileges of 
the gospel, as consequently from that of all the visible churches of 
Christ in the earth, by virtue of their communion one with another; 
whereby he is left unto the visible kingdom of Satan in the world. -- 
Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:2,5,13; 1 Tim. 1:20; Titus 3:10; Gal. 5:12.

3. The ends of it, which are, --

(1.) The gaining of the party offending, by bringing him to repentance, 
humiliation, and acknowledgment of his offence, 2 Cor. 2:6,7, 13:10.

(2.) The warning of others not to do so presumptuously.

(3.) The preserving of the church in its purity and order, 1 Cor. 5:6,7; 
all to the glory of Jesus Christ.

4. The causes of it, or the grounds and reasons on which the church may 
proceed unto sentence against any offending persons.  Now, these are no 
other but such as they judge, according to the gospel, that the Lord 
Christ will proceed upon in his final judgment at the last day; for the 
church judgeth in the name and authority of Christ, and are to exclude 
none from its communion but those whom they find by the rule that he 
himself excludes from his kingdom; and so that which they bind on earth 
is bound by him in heaven, Matt. 18:18.  And their sentence herein is to 
be declared, as the declaration of the sentence which the Head of the 
church and Judge of all will pronounce at the last day; only with this 
difference, that it is also made known that this sentence of theirs is 
not final or decretory, but in order to the prevention of that which 
will be so unless the evil be repented of.  Now, although the particular 
evils, sins, or offences that may render a person obnoxiuos unto this 
censure and sentence are not to be enumerated, by reason of the variety 
of circumstances, which change the nature of actions, yet they may in 
general be referred unto these heads: --

(1.) Moral evils, contrary to the light of nature and express commands 
or prohibitions of the moral law, direct rules of the gospel, or of evil 
report in the world amongst men walking according to the rule and light 
of reason.  And, in cases of this nature, the church may proceed unto 
the sentence whereof we speak without previous admonition, in case the 
matter of fact be notorious, publicly and unquestionably known to be 
true, and no general rule (which is not to be impeached by particular 
instances) lie against their procedure, 1 Cor. 5:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:2-5.

(2.) Offences against that mutual love which is the bond of perfection 
in the church, if pertinaciously persisted in, Matt. 18:16,17.

(3.) False doctrines against the fundamentals in faith or worship, 
especially if maintained with contention, to the trouble and disturbance 
of the peace of the church, Gal. 5:12; Titus 3:9-11; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; Rev. 

(4.) Blasphemy or evil speaking of the ways and worship of God in the 
church, especially if joined with an intention to hinder the prosperity 
of the church or to expose it to persecution, 1 Tim. 1:20.

(5.) Desertion, or total causeless relinquishment of the society and 
communion of the church; for such are self-condemned, having broken and 
renounced the covenant of God, that they made at their entrance into the 
church, Heb. 10:25-31.

5. The time or season of the putting forth the authority of Christ in 
the church for this censure is to be considered, and that is ordinarily 
after the admonition before described, and that with due waiting, to be 
regulated by a consideration of times, persons, temptations, and other 
circumstances; for, --

(1.) The church in proceeding to this sentence is to express the 
patience and long-suffering of Christ towards offenders, and not to put 
it forth without conviction of a present resolved inpenitency.

(2.) The event and effect of the preceding ordinance of admonition is to 
be expected; which though not at present evident, yet, like the word 
itself in the preaching of it, may be blessed to a good issue after many 

6. The person offending thus cut off, or cast out from the present 
actual communion of the church, is still to be looked on and accounted 
as a brother, because of the nature of the ordinance which is intended 
for his amendment and recovery, -- 2 Thess. 3:15, "Count him not as an 
enemy, but admonish him as a brother," -- unless he manifests his final 
impenitency by blasphemy and persecution: 1 Tim. 1:20, "whom I have 
declared unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme."

7. The church is, therefore, still to perform the duties of love and 
care towards such persons, --

(1.) In praying for them, that "they may be converted from the error of 
their way," James 5:19,20.  1 John 5:16, "If any man see his brother sin 
a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life 
for them that sin not unto death."

(2.) In withdrawing from them even as to ordinary converse, for their 
conviction of their state and condition, 1 Cor. 5:11, "With such an one 
no not to eat;" 2 Thess. 3:14.

(3.) In admonishing of him: 2 Thess. 3:15, "Admonish him as a brother:" 
which may be done, -- [1.] Occasionally, by any member of the church; 
[2.] On set purpose, by the consent and appointment of the whole church: 
which admonition is to contain, -- 1st, A pressing of his sin from the 
rule on the conscience of the offender; 2dly, A declaration of the 
nature of the censure and punishment which he lieth under; 3dly, A 
manifestation of the danger of his impenitency, in his being either 
hardened by the deceitfulness of sin or exposed unto new temptations of 

8. In case the Lord Jesus be pleased to give a blessed effect unto this 
ordinance, in the repentance of the person cut off and cast out of the 
church, he is, --

(1.) To be forgiven both by those who in an especial manner were 
offended at him and by him, and by the whole church, Matt. 18:18; 2 Cor. 

(2.) To be comforted under his sorrow, 2 Cor. 2:7, and that by, -- [1.] 
The application of the promises of the gospel unto his conscience; [2.] 
A declaration of the readiness of the church to receive him again into 
their love and communion.

(3.) Restored, -- [1.] By a confirmation or testification of the love of 
the church unto him, 2 Cor. 2:8; [2.] A re-admission unto the exercise 
and enjoyment of his former privileges in the fellowship of the church; 
all with a spirit of meekness, Gal. 6:1.

Question 47--
The preservation of the church in purity, order, and holiness, being 
provided for, by what way is it to be continued and increased?

The way appointed thereunto is by adding such as, being effectually 
called unto the obedience of faith, shall voluntarily offer themselves 
unto the society and fellowship thereof.

Acts 2:41; 2 Cor. 8:5.

The means appointed by our Lord Jesus Christ for the continuance and 
increase of the church are either preparatory unto it or instrumentally 
efficient of it.  The principal means subservient or preparatory unto 
the continuance and increase of the church is the preaching of the word 
to the conviction, illumination, and conversion of sinners, whereby 
they may be made meet to become living stones in this spiritual 
building, and members of the mystical body of Christ.  And this is done 
either ordinarily, in the assemblies of the church, towards such as come 
in unto them and attend to the word dispensed according to the 
appointment of Christ amongst them, -- 1 Cor. 14:24,25, "If there come 
in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he 
is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; 
and so falling down on his face he will worship God," -- or 
occasionally, amongst the men of the world, Acts 8:4.

Secondly, The instrumentally efficient cause is that which is expressed 
in the answer, -- namely, the adding in due order unto it such as, being 
effectually called unto the obedience of the faith and profession of the 
gospel, do voluntarily, out of conviction of their duty and resolution 
to walk in subjection to all the ordinances and commands of Christ, 
offer themselves to the society and fellowship thereof, whereby they may 
be laid in this spiritual building as the stones were in the temple of 
old, which were hewed and fitted elsewhere.

Question 48--
What is required of them who desire to join themselves unto the church?

1That they be free from blame and offence in the world; 2that they be 
instructed in the saving truths and mysteries of the gospel; 3sound in 
the faith; 4that, the Lord having called them unto faith, repentance, 
and newness of life by Jesus Christ, they give up themselves to be saved 
by him, and to obey him in all things; and, therefore, 5are willing and 
ready, through his grace, to walk in subjection to all his commands, and 
in the observation of all his laws and institutions, notwithstanding any 
difficulties, oppositions, or persecutions, which they meet withal.

1Phil. 1:10, 2:15; 1 Cor. 10:32; 1 Thess. 2:11,12; Tit. 2:10.  2John 
6:45; Acts 26:18; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Cor. 4:3,4,6.  31 Tim. 1:19,20; 2 Tim. 
4:3,4; Tit. 1:13; Jude 3.  4Eph. 4:20-24.  52 Cor. 8:5.

Question 49--
What is the duty of the elders of the church towards persons desiring to 
be admitted unto the fellowship of the church?

1To discern and judge by the rule of truth, applied in love, between 
sincere professors and hypocritical pretenders; 2to influence, direct, 
comfort, and encourage in the way, such as they judge to love the Lord 
Jesus in sincerity; 3to propose and recommend them unto the whole church, 
with prayers and supplications to God for them; 4to admit them, being 
approved, into the order and fellowship of the gospel in the church.

1Acts 8:20,23; Tit. 1:10; Rev. 2:2; Jer. 15:19.  2Acts 18:26; 1 Thess. 
2:7,8,11.  3Acts 9:27,28.  4Rom. 14:1.

Question 50--
What is the duty of the whole church in reference unto such persons?

To consider them in love and meekness, according as their condition is 
known, reported, or testified unto them; to approve of and rejoice in 
the grace of God in them; and to receive them in love without 

1 Cor. 13.

What in general is required, unto the fitting of any persons to be 
members of a visible church of Christ, was before declared; and that is 
that which the Lord Jesus hath made the indispensable condition of 
entering into his kingdom, -- namely, of being "born again," John 3:3,5.  
This work, being secret, hidden, and invisible, the church cannot judge 
of directly and in its own form or nature, but in the means, effects, 
and consequents of it; which are to be testified unto it, concerning 
them who are to be admitted unto its fellowship and communion.  It is 
required, therefore, of them, --

First, That they be of a conversation free from blame in the world; for 
whereas one end of the gathering of churches is to hold forth and 
express the holiness of the doctrine of Christ, and the power of his 
grace in turning men from all ungodliness unto sobriety, righteousness, 
and honesty, it is required of them that are admitted into them that 
they answer this end.  And this the principle of grace, which is 
communicated unto them that believe, will effect and produce; for 
although it doth not follow that every one who hath attained an 
unblamable honesty in this world is inwardly quickened with a true 
principle of saving grace, yet it doth that they who are endowed with 
that principle will be so unblamable.  And although they may on other 
accounts be evil spoken of, yet their good conversation in Christ will 
justify itself.

Secondly, Competent knowledge in the mysteries of the gospel is another 
means whereby the great qualification inquired after is testified unto 
the church; for as without this no privilege of the gospel can be 
profitably made use of, nor any duty of it rightly performed, so saving 
light is of the essence of conversion, and doth inseparably accompany 
it: 2 Cor. 4:6, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, 
hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the 
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."  Where this is wanting, it is 
impossible for any person to evidence that he is delivered from that 
blindness, darkness, and ignorance, which all men are under the power of 
in the state of nature.  Such a measure, then, of light and knowledge, 
as whereby men are enabled to apprehend aright of the person and offices 
of Christ, of the nature of his meditation, the benefits thereof, and 
the obedience that he requires at the hands of his disciples, is 
expected in them who desire to be admitted into the fellowship of the 

Thirdly, Hereunto is to be added the soundness in the faith; for the 
unity of faith is the foundation of love and all the duties thereof, 
which in an especial manner are to be performed towards the church, 
called, therefore, "The household of faith."  There is among the members 
of the church "one faith," Eph. 4:5; the "common faith," Tit. 1:4; the 
"faith once delivered unto the saints," Jude 3; which is the "sound 
doctrine," 1 Tim. 1:10, which those that will not endure must be turned 
from, 2 Tim. 3:5; the "faithful word," that is to be "held fast," Tit. 
1:9, 1 Tim. 1:19, and which we are to be "sound in," Tit. 1:13; 
contained in a "form of sound words," as to the profession of it, 2 Tim. 
1:13.  And this soundness in the unity of faith, as it should be 
improved unto oneness of mind and oneness of accord in all the things of 
God, Phil. 2:2, though it may admit of some different apprehensions in 
some things, wherein some may have more clear and distinct discoveries 
of the mind and will of God than others, which hinders not but that all 
may walk according to the same rule, Phil. 3:15,16; so it is principally 
to be regarded in the fundamental truths of the gospel, in and by the 
faith whereof the chuch holdeth on the head, Jesus Christ, Col. 2:19; 
and in the fundamental principles of gospel worship, the joint 
celebration whereof is the next end of the gathering the church: for 
without a consent of mind and accord herein, no duty can be performed 
unto the edification, nor the peace of the church be preserved.  And 
these principles are those which we have explained.

Fourthly, It is required that these things be testified by them unto the 
church, with the acknowledgment of the work of God's grace towards them, 
and their resolution, through the power of the same grace, to cleave 
unto the Lord Christ with full purpose of heart, and to live in all holy 
obedience unto him.  They come to the church as disciples of Christ, 
professing that they have learnt the truth as it is in Jesus: which what 
it infers the apostle teacheth at large, Eph. 4:20-24; see also Acts 
11:23, 14:22.  And this by themselves is to be testified unto the 
church: --

1. That they may be received in love without dissimulation, as real 
partakers in the same faith, hope, and salvation with themselves, as 
living members of the mystical body of Christ.

2. That on all ensuing occasions they may be minded of their own 
profession and engagements, to stir them up thereby unto faithfulness, 
steadfastness, and perseverance.  Hereupon are the elders of the church 
to judge by the rule of truth, in love and meekness, concerning their 
condition and meetness to be laid as living stones in the house of God; 
so as that they may, --

(1.) Reject false, hypocritical pretenders, if in or by any means their 
hypocrisy be discovered unto them, Acts 8:20-23; Tit. 1:10; Jer. 15:19.

(2.) That they may direct and encourage in the way such as appear to be 
sincere, instructing them principally in the nature of the way whereinto 
they are engaging, the duties, dangers, an benefits of it, Acts 18:26, 
14:22; 1 Cor. 3:22,23.

(3.) To propose them, their condition, their desires, their resolutions, 
unto the church, after their own expressions of them, to be considered 
of in love and meekness, Acts 9:26,27.  Whereupon those that are 
approved do give up themselves unto the Lord, to walk in the observation 
of all his commands and ordinances; and to the church for the Lord's 
sake, 2 Cor. 8:5, abiding in the fellowship thereof, whereunto they are 
admitted, Acts 2:41,42.

Question 51--
Wherein doth the especial form of a particular church, whereby it 
becomes such, and is distinguished as such from all others, consist?

In the special consent and agreement of all the members of it to walk 
together in the observation of the same ordinances numerically; hence 
its constitution and distinction from other churches doth proceed.

Exod. 19:5,8,24:3,7; Deut. 26:17; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 14:23,20:28; Heb. 

It hath been before declared what especial agreement or covenant there 
ought to be among all the members of the same church, to walk together 
in a due subjection unto and observance of all the institutions of the 
Lord Christ.  And this is that which gives it its special form and 
distinction from all other churches.  In the general nature of a church, 
all churches do agree and equally partake.  There is the same law of the 
constitution of them all; they have all the same rule of obedience, all 
the same Head, the same end; all carry it on by the observation of the 
same ordinances in kind.  Now, besides these things, which belong unto 
the nature of a church in general, and wherein they all equally 
participate, they must also have each one its proper difference, that 
which doth distinguish it from all other churches; and this gives it its 
special form as such.  Now, this cannot consist in any thing that is 
accidental, occasional, or extrinsical unto it, such as is cohabitation 
(which yet the church may have respect unto, for conveniency and 
furthering of its edification); nor in any civil or political disposal 
of its members into civil societies for civil ends, which is extrinsical 
to all its concernments as a church; nor doth it consist in the relation 
of that church to its present officers, which may be removed or taken 
away without the dissolution of the form or being of the church: but it 
consisteth, as was said, in the agreement or covenant before mentioned.  
For, --

First, This is that which constitutes them a distinct body, different 
from others; for thereby, and no otherwise, do they coalesce into a 
society, according to the laws of their constitution and appointment.

Secondly, This gives them their especial relation unto their own elders, 
rulers, or guides, who watch over them as so associated by their own 
consent, according unto the command of Christ.  And, --

Thirdly, From hence they have their mutual especial relation unto one 
another; which is the ground of the especial exercise of all church 
duties whatsoever.

Question 52--
Wherein consists the duty of any church of Christ towards other 

1In walking circumspectly, so as to give them no offence; 2in prayer for 
their peace and prosperity; 3in communicating supplies to their wants 
according to ability; 4in receiving with love and readiness the members 
of them into fellowship, in the celebration of the ordinances of the 
gospel, as occasion shall be; 5in desiring and making use of their 
counsel and advice in such cases of doubt and difficulty as may arise 
among them; 6in joining with them to express their communion in the same 
doctrine of faith.

11 Cor. 10:32.  2Ps. 122:6; Eph. 6:18; 1Tim. 2:1.  32 Cor. 8:1-15; Acts 
11:29,30; Rom. 15:26,27.  4Rom. 16:1,2; 3 John 8,9.  5Acts 15:2,6.  
61Tim. 3:15.

Churches being gathered and settled according to the mind of Christ, 
ought to preserve a mutual holy communion among themselves, and to 
exercise it in the discharge of those duties whereby their mutual good 
and edification may be promoted; for whereas they are all united under 
one head, the Lord Christ, Eph. 1:22,23, in the same faith and order, 
Eph. 4:5, and do walk by the same rule, they stand in such a relation 
one to another as is the ground of the communion spoken of.  Now, the 
principal ways whereby they exercise this communion are the acts and 
duties enumerated in the answer to this question; as, --

First, Careful walking, so as to give no offence unto one another; 
which, although it be a moral duty in reference unto all, yet therein 
especial regard is to be had unto other churches of Christ, that they be 
not in any thing grieved or tempted: 1 Cor. 10:32, "Give none offence, 
neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God."

Secondly, In constant prayer for the peace, welfare, edification, and 
prosperity one of another, Rom. 1:9; Col. 1:9; Eph. 6:18.  And this 
because of the special concernment of the name and glory of our Lord 
Jesus Christ in their welfare.

Thirdly, In communicating of supplies for their relief according unto 
their ability, in case of the outward wants, straits, dangers, or 
necessities of any of them.  Acts 11:29,30; Rom. 15:26,27; 2 Cor. 8:1-

Fourthly, The receiving of the members of other churches to communion, 
in the celebration of church-ordinances, is another way whereby this 
communion of churches is exercised, Rom. 16:1,2; 3 John 8,9; for whereas 
the personal right of such persons unto the ordinances of the church, 
and their orderly walking in the observation of the commands of Christ, 
are known by the testimony of the church whereof they are members, they 
may, without farther inquiry or satisfaction given, be looked on "pro 
tempore" as members of the church wherein they desire fellowship and 
participation of the ordinances of Christ.

Fifthly, In desiring or making use of the counsel and advice of one 
another, in such cases of doubt and difficulty, whether doctrinal or 
practical, as may arise in any of them, Acts 15:2,6.  And from hence it 
follows, that in case any church, either by error in doctrine, or 
precipitation, or mistake in other administrations, do give offence unto 
other churches, those other churches may require an account from them, 
admonish them of their faults, and withhold communion from them in case 
they persist in the error of their way; and that because in their 
difficulties, and before their miscarriages, they were bound to have 
desired the advice, counsel, and assistance of those other churches, 
which being neglected by them, the other are to recover the end of it 
unto their utmost ability, Gal. 2:6-11.  And hence, also, it follows 
that those that are rightly and justly censured in any church ought to 
be rejected by all churches whatever; both because of their mutual 
communion, and because it is and ought to be presumed, until the 
contrary be made to appear, that, in case there had been any difficulty 
or doubt in the procedure of the church, they would have taken the 
advice of those churches, with whom they were obliged to consult.

Lastly, Whereas the churches have all of them one common faith, and are 
all obliged to hold forth and declare it to all men as they have 
opportunity, 1 Tim. 3:15, to testify this their mutual communion, their 
interest in the same faith and hope, for the more open declaration and 
proposition of the truths of the gospel which they profess, and for the 
vindication both of the truth and themselves from false charges and 
imputations, they may, and, if God give opportunity, ought to join 
together in declaring and testifying their joint consent and fellowship 
in the same doctrine of faith, expressed in a "form of sound words."

Question 53--
What are the ends of all this dispensation and order of things in the 

The glory of God, the honour of Jesus Christ the mediator, the 
furtherance of the gospel, the edification and consolation of believers 
here, with their eternal salvation hereafter.

Rev. 4:9-11, 5:12,13; 1 Cor. 3:22,23; Eph. 4:11-16.


Questions addressed--

 1:  What doth God require of us in our dependence on him, that he may be 
     glorified by us, and we accepted with him?
 2:  By what means do we come to know that God will thus be worshipped?
 3:  How, then, are these ways and means of the worship of God made known 
     unto us?
 4:  Have these ways and means been always the same from the beginning?
 5:  Is there any farther alteration to be expected in or of those 
     institutions and ordinances of worship which are revealed and appointed 
     in the gospel?
 6:  May not such an estate of faith and perfection in obedience be attained 
     in this life, as wherein believers may be freed from all obligation 
     unto the observation of gospel institutions?
 7:  What are the chief things that we ought to aim at in our observation of 
     the institutions of Christ in the gospel?
 8:  How may we sanctify the name of God in the use of gospel institutions?
 9:  How do we in our observation profess our subjection unto the Lord Jesus 
     Christ and his gospel?
10:  How do we in and by them build up ourselves in our most holy faith?
11:  How are mutual love and communion among believers testified and 
     confirmed in their observation?
12:  What is principally to be attended unto by us in the manner of the 
     celebration of the worship of God, and observation of the institutions 
     and ordinances of the gospel?
13:  Are not some institutions of the New Testament ceased as to any 
     obligation unto their observation, and therefore now rightly disused?
14:  May not the church find out, and appoint to be observed, such 
     religious rites as, being adjoined unto the celebration of God's 
     instituted worship, may further the devotion of the worshippers, and 
     render the worship itself in its performance more decent, beautiful, 
     and orderly, as the appointing of images, and the like?
15:  Whence may it appear that the right and due observation of instituted 
     worship is of great importance unto the glory of God, and of high 
     concernment unto the souls of men?
16:  Is there yet any consideration that may stir up believers to a holy and 
     religious care about the due observation of the institutions of the 
17:  Which are the principal institutions of the gospel to be observed in 
     the worship of God?
18:  Whereas sundry of these things are founded in the light and law of 
     nature, as requisite unto all solemn worship, and are, moreover, 
     commanded in the moral law, and explications of it in the Old Testamen, 
     how do you look upon them as evangelical institutions, to be observed 
     principally on the authority of Jesus Christ?
19:  What is an instituted church of the gospel?
20:  By what means do persons so called become a church of Christ?
21:  Seeing the church is a society or spiritual incorporation of persons 
     under rule, government, or discipline, declare who or what are the 
     rulers, governors, or officers therein under Jesus Christ?
22:  Who are the extraordinary officers, or rulers, or ministers of the 
     church, appointed to serve the Lord Jesus Christ therein for a season 
23:  Who are the ordinary officers or ministers of Christ in the church, to 
     be always continued therein?
24:  What are the principal differences between these two sorts of officers 
     or rulers in the church, extraordinary and ordinary?
25:  What is required unto the due constitution of an elder, pastor, or 
     teacher of the church?
26:  May a person be called to, or be employed in, a part only of the office 
     or work of the ministry; or may he hold the relation and exercise the 
     duty of an elder or minister unto more churches than one at the same 
27:  What are the principal duties of the pastors or teachers of the church?
28:  Wherein principally doth the authority of the elders of the church 
29:  What is the duty of the church towards their elders, pastors, or 
30:  Are there any differences in the office or offices of the guides, 
     rulers, elders, or ministers of the church?
31:  Are there appointed any elders in the church whose office and duty 
     consist in rule and government only?
32:  Is there no other ordinary office in the church but only that of 
33:  What are the deacons of the church?
34:  Wherein consists the general duty of the whole church, and every member 
     thereof, in their proper station and condition?
35:  Whence do you reckon prayer, which is a part of moral and natural 
     worship, among the institutions of Christ in his church?
36:  May not the church, in the solemn worship of God, and celebration of 
     the ordinances of the gospel, make use of and content itself in the use 
     of forms of prayer in an unknown tongue composed by others, and 
     prescribed unto them?
37:  Is the constant work of preaching the gospel by the elders of the 
     church necessary?
38:  Who are the principal subjects of baptism?
39:  Where and to whom is the ordinance of the Lord's supper to be 
40:  How often is that ordinance to be administered?
41:  What is the discipline of the church?
42:  Unto whom is the power and administration of this discipline committed 
     by Jesus Christ?
43:  Wherein doth the execise of the authority for discipline committed unto 
     the elders of the church consist?
44:  May the church cast any person out of its communion without previous 
45:  Wherein doth the liberty and duty of the whole brotherhood in the 
     exercise of disciplin in the church in particular consist?
46:  What is the duty of private members in reference unto the discipline 
     appointed by Christ in his church?
47:  The preservation of the church in purity, order, and holiness, being 
     provided for, by what way is it to be continued and increased?
48:  What is required of them who desire to join themselves unto the church?
49:  What is the duty of the elders of the church towards persons desiring 
     to be admitted unto the fellowship of the church?
50:  What is the duty of the whole church in reference unto such persons?
51:  Wherein doth the especial form of a particular church, whereby it 
     becomes such, and is distinguished as such from all others, consist?
52:  Wherein consists the duty of any church of Christ towards other 
53:  What are the ends of all this dispensation and order of things in the