Page images
PDF
EPUB

Testament Church; and that both in respect of Hicr visible and invisible itate.

1. This Church was erected on the foundation of Chrilt's resurrection; for the ministry of the Baptist, the personal ministry of Clirist, as well as of the seventy difciples, belonged, properly, unto the church of the circumcision : Though it may be granted, that they were folemn preludes of the better æconomy. The personal ministry of Christ had gathered together a considerable number of disciples, considerably more, probably, than five hundred : And, as they continued in the world after Christ's ascension, fo he made provision for them, commissioning pastors to make known unto them all things whatsoever he had commanded. These instructions are expressly mentioned by Luke: “ Being seen of them forty days, and fpeaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” And their commillion, empowering them to act according to these instructions, is registered by another Evangelist: Says Christ, by Matthew, “ All poweris given 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 commanded." Said Mark, “ Go preaclı the gospel unto every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” This

commission

commillion was accompanied with power equal to the execution of it, even the power of the Holy Ghoft.

po

2. THESĘ officers were authorized to exliibit various privileges and immunities, both respecting individuals and the society itself, for encouraging persons to enter into it : They alfo enjoined various duties on such persons as accepted of these privileges. The privileges, unto which the servants of Christ invited fiuners, were nearly connected with the duties they enjoined upon them. Is Christ initi." tuted a gospel ministry, both ordinary and ex-; traordinary; fo he enjoined subjection 'unto them, as far as they act according to their commission. The gospel ministry was bestowed on this fociety under the notion of a gift : “ Wherefore be faith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and GAVE GIFTS unto men. And he GAVE fome Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. The office of the Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists was extraordinary: The office of the pastor is to continue in the church until the end of the world. Now, as they are given for the edification of the body of Christ, so the persons who profess to belong unto this body are enjoined to " obey them who have the rule over them." As the great Prophet of the Church has given unto us the doctrine of his holy word; Ttt 2

fo

1

[ocr errors]

so he requires us to receive it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God. It was one of the distinguishing privileges of the Jewish Church, that unto them were committed the oracles of God: The oracles of the Gospel Church are greatly enlarged beyond these of the Jewish.--.As the sole Legislator of the Church has been pleased to institute such ordinances in her as are requisite for the celebration of divine worship, so he has also enjoined the celebration of them. The ordinances of his appointment are, the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word, prayer, and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the difpensation and receiving of the facraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; Church-government and discipline ; the ministry; maintenance of religious fasting; fiearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him. We cannot attempt a delineation of cach of these ordinances; but refer unto the Directory for Worship, fubjoined to the Westminster Confellion of Faith. With respect unto the immunities which are offered to individuals, they are much the fame as the Old Testament Church enjoyed in kind, though greatly supe, rior to them in degree. If we take a comparative view of them, we will find a striking refemblance, Did the gospel æcononiy contain a promise of the Holy Ghost?. fo alfo did that of the Old Testament. 'Did Jesus Christ authorize his fervants to proclaim pardon, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

complete

complete acceptance through his righteousness? so also were the prophets of the Old Testament Church. Did the Son of God offer the privilege of fonship to the members of the New Testament Churchr? Old Testament saints were also admitted into the family of God. Did the Head of the Church offer fanctification to all his members, in gospel time? so did he also uuder the first testament. If Christ assures the children of his family of keeping grace, under the New Testament? he also kept them, as in a fortified city, under the Old Testament. Does he assure them of support under trials after his ascension ? he likeways upheld them, by the right hand of his righteousness, prior unto that event. Does he bring life and immortality to light by the gospel, alluring his followers of the eternal inheritance? he likeways persuaded the Old Testament faints, THAT IE PREPARED FOR THEM A CITY,--A CITY, WHOSE BUILDER AND MAKER IS Gon.The duties enjoined on individuals are, an obfervance of all thing's whatsoever he hatha commanded.

3. THERE was a notable change in the creed which the Apostles proposed to the members of the Gospel Church, from that which was received in the Old Testament Churchi. The centre of the Old Testament faith was, 46 THE MESSIAI TO COME:” The centre of the New Testament faith, « THE MESSIAH

ALREADY

ALREAD Y COME. The Old Testament Church was called to believe all tliofe prophesies which foretold the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ: The New Testament Church, to believe the full accomplishment of these promises in the Son of God. The Old Testament Church was bound to believe, that God would accomplish both the condition and the promises of the New Covenant in his time: The New Testament Church, that the condition of it is already accomplished, in the righteousness and death of Jefus of Nazareth; that he hath accomplished such promises as respected Christ perfonal, and will accomplish those which respect Christ myslical in his own season.

4. THERE is also a notable change as to the worlhip and ordinances which are celebrated in the Gospel Church, from what were observed under the Old Testament.-- -The place of folemn worship is no longer one, as under the Old Testament Said God, by Mofes, “ But UNTO THE PLACE which the Lord your God shall choose, out of all your tribes, to put his name there; even unto his habitation fall ve scek, and thither thou lhalt come.Accordingly, God pitched first upon Shilol, and then upon Jerusalem. But, under the better æconomy', 110 one place is morc holy than another : “ Believe me (faid Chrift) the hour cometli, when ye shall ncither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerufilem, worilip the Father."

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »