« הקודםהמשך »
strengthen thee with his hand, and so govern thee in
ordained Minister, and the congregation, in the fol-
Take heed, therefore, beloved brother, and fellowservant in Christ, unto yourself and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseer, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood : love Christ, and feed his sheep, taking the oversight of them not by constraint, but willingly: not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, neither as being lord over God's heritage, but as an example to the fock.-Be an example of believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, me. ditate upon those things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all: take heed to thy doctrine, and continue steadfast therein. Bear pa tiently all sufferings, and oppressions, as a good sol. dier of Jesus Christ, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, thou shalt receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
" And you likewise, beloved Christians, receive this your minister in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such in reputation. Remember that God himself through him speaketh unto you and beseecheth you. Receive the word, which he, according to the scripture, shall preach unto you, not as the word of man, but (as it is in truth) the word of God.' Let the fect of those that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things, be beautiful and pleasant
unto you. Obey them that have the rule over you, and, submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you. If you do these things, it shall come to pass, that the peace of God shall enter into your houses, and that you who receive this man in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward, and through his preaching, believing in Christ, shall through Christ inherit life eternal."
Since no man is of himself fit for any of these things, let us call upon God with thanksgiving :
MERCIFUL Father, we thank thee that it pleaseth thee, by the ministry of men, to gather a church to thyself unto life eternal, from amongst the lost chil. dren of men: we bless thee for so graciously providing the church in this place with a faithful minister, was beseech thee to qualify him daily more and more by the holy spirit, for the ministry to which thou hast ordained and called him : enlighten his understanding to comprehend thy holy word, and give him utter. ance, that he may boldly open his mouth, to make known and dispense the mysteries of the gospel. Endue him with wisdom and valour, to rule the people aright over which he is set, and to preserve them in Christian peace, to the end that thy church under his administration and by his good example, may in. crease in number and in virtue. Grant him courage to bear the difficulties and troubles which he may meet with in his ministry, that being strengthened by the comfort of thy spirit, he may remain steadfast to the end, and be received with all faithful servants into the joy of his master. Give thy grace also to this people and church, that they may becomingly deport themselves towards this their minister ; that they may acknowledge him to be sent of thee; that they may receive his doctrine with all reverence, and submit themselves to his exhortations. To the end that they may, by
his word, believing in Christ, be made partakers of eternal life. Hear us, O Father, through thy beloved Son, who hath thus taught us to pray - Our Fa.
THE FORM FOR ORDAINING ELDERS AND DEACONS, When ordained at the same time. But if they are
ordained separately, this form shall be used as oc. casion requires.
BELOVED Christians, you know that we have several times published unto you the names of our brethren here present, who are chosen to the office of elders and deacons in this church, to the end that we might know whether any person had aught to allege, why they should not be ordained in their respective offices; and whereas no one hath appeared before us, who hath alleged any thing lawful against them, we shall therefore at present, in the name of the Lord, proceed to their ordination.
But first, you, who are to be ordained, and all those who are here present, shall attend to a short declaration from the word of God concerning the institution and the office of elders and deacons : of the elders is to be observed, that the word elder or eldest (which is taken out of the Old Testament, and signifieth a person who is placed in an honourable office of go. vernment over others) is applied to two sorts of persons who administer in the church of Jesus Christ : for the apostle saith, “ the elders that rule well, shall be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." Hence it is evident that there were two sorts of elders in the apostolic church, the former whereof did labour in the word and doctrine, and the latter did not. The first were the ministers of the word and pastors, who
preached the gospel and administered the sacraments; but the others, who did not labour in the word, and still did serve in the church, bore a particular office, namely, they had the oversight of the church, and ruled the same with the ministers of the word : for Paul, Rom. chap. 12, having spoke of the ministry of the word, and also of the office of distribution or deaconship, speaketh afterwards particularly of this of fice, saying : " he that ruleth, let him do it with dili. gence:" likewise, in another place, he counts govern. ment among the gifts and offices which God hath instituted in the church : 1 Cor. 12. Thus we see that these sorts of ministers arc added to the others who preach the gospel, to aid and assist them, as in the old testament the common Levites were to the priests in the service of the tabernacle, in those things which they could not perform alone : notwithstanding the offices always remained distinct one from the other. Moreover it is proper that such men should be joined to the ministers of the word in the government of the church, to the end, that thereby all ty. ranny and lording may be kept out of the church of God, which may sooner creep in, when the govern. ment is placed in the hands of one alone, or of a very few. And thus the ministers of the word, together with the elders, form a body or assembly, being as a council of the church, representing the whole church; to which Christ alludes when he saith, “Tell the church"--which can in no wise be understood of all and every member of the church in particular, but very properly of those who govern the church, out of which they are chosen.
Therefore in the first place, the office of the elders is, together with the ministers of the word, to take the oversight of the church, which is committed to them, and diligently to look, whether every one properly deports himself in his confession and conversa. tion. to admonish those, who behave themselves dis. orderly, and to prevent, as much as possible, the sacraments from being profaned ; also to act (according to the Christian discipline) against the impenitent, and to recejve the penitent again into the bosom of the church, as doth not only appear from the abovementioned saying of Christ, but also from many other places of holy writ, as 1 Cor. chap. 5, and 2 Cor. chap. 2, that these things are not alone entrusted to one or two persons, but to many who are ordained thereto.
Secondly. Since the apostle enjoineth, that all things shall be done decently and in order, amongst Christians, and that no other persons ought to serve in the church of Christ, but those who are lawfully called, according to the Christian ordinance, therefore it is also the duty of the elders to pay regard to it, and in all occurrences, which relate to the welfare and good order of the church, to be assistant with their good counsel and advice, to the ministers of the word, yea, also to serve all Christians with advice and consolation,
Thirdly. It is also their duty particularly to have regard unto the doctrine and conversation of the min. isters of the word, to the end that all things may be directed to the edification of the church; and that no strange doctrine be taught, according to that which we read, Acts 20, where the apostle exhorteth to watch diligently against the wolves, which might come into the sheep-fold of Christ: for the performance of which the elders are in duty bound diligently to search the word of God, and continually to be meditating on the mysteries of faith.
Concerning the Deacons; of the origin and institution of their office we may read, Acts 6, where we find that the apostles themselves did in the beginning serve the poor, “At whose feet was brought the price of the things that were sold : and distribution was
man according as he had need. But afterwards, when a murmuring arose, because the widows of the Grecians were neglected in the daily
made unto ever