« הקודםהמשך »
not fall again into sin: love Christ, for many sins are for. given thee.
And you, beloved Christians, receive this your brother with hearty affection; be glad that he was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found ; rejoice with the angels of heaven, over this sinner who repenteth: count him no longer as a stranger, but as a fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God. And whereas we can have no good of ourselves, let us, praising and magnifying the Lord Al. mighty, implore his mercy, saying,
GRACIOUS God and Father, we thank thee, through Jesus Christ, that thou hast been pleased to give this our fellow brother repentance unto life, and, us cause to rejoice in his conversion. We beseech thee, show him thy mercy, that he may become more and more assured in his mind of the remission of his sins, and that he may receive from thence in. expressible joy and delight, to serve thee. And whereas he hath heretofore by his sins offended many,grant that he may, by his conversion, edify many. Grant also that he may steadfastly walk in thy ways, to the end; and may we learn from this example, that with thee mercy, that thou mayest be feared; and that we, counting him for our brother and co heir of life eternal, may jointly serve thee with filial fear and obedience all the days of our life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we thus conclude our prayer-OUR FATHER,
FOR ORDAINING THE MINISTERS OF GOD'S WORD.
The sermon and the usual prayers being finished, the
Minister shall thus speak to the congregation. BELOVED brethren, it is known unto you, that we have now at three different times published the name of our brother N. here present, to learn whether any person had aught to offer concerning his doctrine or life, why he might not be ordained to the ministry of the word. And whereas no one hath appeared before us, who hath alleged any thing lawful against his person, we shall therefore at present, in the name of the Lord, proceed to his ordination; for which purpose, you N. and all those who are here present shall first attend to a short declaration taken from the word of God, touching the institution and the office of pastors and ministers of God's word; where, in the first place you are to observe, that God our heavenly Fa. ther, willing to call and gather a church from amongst the corrupt race of men unto lise eternal, doth by a particular mark of his favour use the ministry of men therein.
Therefore, Paul saith, that the Lord Jesus Christ hath given some and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and ministers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry. for the edifying of the body of Christ. Here we see that the holy Apostle among other things saith, that the pastoral office is an institution of Christ.
What this holy office enjoins, may easily be gathered from the very name itself; for as it is the duty of a common shepherd, to feed, guide, protect, and rule the flock committed to his charge; so it is with regard to these spiritual shepherds, who are set over the church which God calleth unto salvation, and counts as sheep of his pasture. The pasture, with which these sheep are fed, is nothing else but the preaching of the gospel, accompanied with prayer, and the administration of the holy sacraments; 1.he same word of God is likewise the staff with which the flock is guided and ruled, consequently it is evi. dent, that the office of pastors and ministers of God's word is,
First. That they faithfully explain to their flock, the word of the Lord, revealed by the writings of the prophets and the apostles; and apply the same as well in general as in particular, to the edification of the hearers; instructing, admonishing, comforting, and reproving, according to every one's need; preaching repentance towards God, and reconciliation with him through faith in Christ; and refuting with the Holy Scriptures, all schisms and heresies which are repug.
nant to the pure doctrine. All this is clearly signi. fied to us in holy writ, for the Apostle Paul saith, that these labour in the word ; and elsewhere he teacheth that this must be done according to the measure or rule of faith ; he writes also, that a pastor must hold fast and rightly divide the faithful and sincere word which is according to the doctrine : likewise, he that prophesieth (that is, preacheth God's word) speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation and comfort : in another place he proposes himself as a pattern to pastors, declaring that he hath publicly, and from house to house taught and testified repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ: but particularly we have a clear description of the office, and ministers of God's word, 2 Corinth. chap. v. 18, 19, and 20th verses, where the apostle thus speaketh, " And all things are of God, who hath re. conciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us, (namely to the apostles and pastors) the ministry of reconcilation; to wit, that God was, in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassa. dors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us ; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Concerning the refutation of false doctrine, the same apostle saith, Tit. i. 9. " That a 'minister must hold fast the faithful word of God, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convince the gainsayers.
Secondly. It is the office of the ministers, publicly to call upon the name of the Lord in behalf of the whole congregation ; for that which the apostles say, we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word, is common to these pastors with the apostles; to which St. Paul, alluding, thus speaketh to Timothy; “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving
of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority," &c. 1 Tim. ii. 1 and 2.
Thirdly. Their office is to administer the sacra. ments which the Lord hath instituted as seals of his grace: as is evident from the command given by Christ to the apostles, and in them to all pastors, baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Likewise, for I have re. ceived of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed, gc.
Finally, it is the duty of the ministers of the word, to keep the church of God in good discipline, and to govern it in such a manner as the Lord hath ordain. ed : for Christ having spoke of the Christian disci. pline, says to his apostles, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. And Paul will have the ministers know how to rule their own house, since they otherwise neither can provide for, nor rule the church of God. This is the reason why the pas. tors are in scripture called, stewards of God and bish. ops, that is, overseers and watchmen, for they have the oversight of the house of God, wherein they are conversant, to the end, that every thing may be trans. acted with good order and decency; and also to open and shut, with the keys of the kingdom of heaven committed to them, according to the charge given them by God.
From these things may be learned, what a glorious work the ministerial office is, so great things are ef. fected by it; yea, how highly necessary it is for man's salvation, which is also the reason why the Lord wil! have such an office always to remain: for Christ said when he sent forth his apostles to officiate in this holy function, Lo, I am always with you, even unto the end
of the world; where we see his pleasure is, that this holy office (for the persons to whom he here speaketh could not live to the end of the world) should
always be maintained on earth. And therefore Paul exhorteth l'imothy, To commit that which he had heard of him, to faithful men, who are able to teach others, as he also, having ordained Titus minister, further commanded him, to ordain elders in every city. Tit. 1. 5.
Forasmuch therefore as we, for the maintaining of this office in the church of God, are now to ordain a new minister of the word, and having sufficiently spoke of the office of such persons, therefore you N. shall answer to the following questions, which shall be proposed to you, to the end that it may appear to all here present, that you are inclined to accept of this office as above described.
First. I ask thee, whether thou feelest in thy heart that thou art lawfully called of God's church, and therefore of God himself, to this holy ministry?
Secondly. Whether thou dost believe the books of the Old and New Testament to be the only word of God, and the perfect doctrine unto salvation, and dost reject all doctrines repugnant thereto?
Thirdly. Whether thou dost promise faithfully to discharge thy office according to the same doctrine as above described, and to adorn it with a godly life; also, to submit thyself, in case thou shouldst become delinquent either in life or doctrine, to ecclesiastical admonition, according to the public ordinance of the churches ?
Answer. Yes, truly, with all my heart. Then the minister, who did demand those questions
of him, and other ministers who are present, shall lay their hands* on his head, and say,
God our heavenly Father, who hath called thee to this holy ministry, enlighten thee with his Holy Spirit,
* This ceremony shall not be used in ordaining those who have before been in the ministry.