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as is plain by his saying to the One, Lay hands suddenly on No Man; and to the Other, For this Cause left I thee in Crete, that thou Jouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain Elders in every City, as I appointed thee. And all this the Apostles did by the Power of the Holy Ghost given them by Chrift, by which, as they were enabled to perform personally their Apostolical Fun&tions, so they were impower'd also to ordain others to the same, whose Office therefore, as Theirs was, is also from the Holy Ghost. Which St Paul Himself shews, speaking to the Elders of Ephesus, to whom, tho they were certainly ordain'd by some of the Apostles, probably by Himself, yet his charge is, Take ye heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the Flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made you Overseers, to feed the Church of God, (Acts 20. 28.) And thus, as under the Law there was a successive Priesthood continu'd by a Carnal Propagation, and by a Natural Descent they were to proceed Out of Aaron's loyns, who were to Succeed in his Office : So now, after that Christ Our High Priest is made a Priest for ever after the Order of Melchisedec (who was without Father, without Mother, without Descent) That Carnal Propagation juftly ceasing, thro' the Virtue of the Holy Spirit convey'd by Apo(tolical Ordination, there is a never ceasing,
uninterrupted Ministerial succession Spiritually propagated to the end of the World.
Thus have we briefly out of Holy Scripture shewn the Source and Fountain of all that Authority, which the Ministers of the Go-. spel are endu'd with, which is no other than the Commission of Christ himself, and the Power of his spirit given to his Apostles, and throʻthem and their Successors, as thro' so many living Channels, deriy'd down in a direct Course to the Church in this
present Age. And if we consider the whole Compass, and Extent, and the several important Changes of so High an Office, we Ihall see the Reasonableness as well as the Truth of all this, we shall perceive not only that it is so, but that it is absolutely Necessary that it should be so. Indeed the want of a due Consideration, or worthy Esteem of all those several and distinct Acts, so Excellent and Divine , about which their Ministry is conversant, is the great or rather only cause, why any have doubted or argued against the Necessity of a Divine Mission, as will plainly appear to any One, that examins, what either the Enthusiasts or Socinians (or Limborch out of them) oppose against it. Now it is confessedly the Duty of a Minister of Christ, as on the Part of the People, to offer up their Prayers to God; so on God's Part, to sign and Seal the par
don don of their Sins to them, and Bless them in his Name. And as no Man can (for another Man like himself, without being legally comiffion’d by him,) seal Covenants in his Name; much less can any One take upon him to put the Seals, which are the Sacraments instituted by Christ, to the New Covenant, without his express Warrant and Commission. Such a Proceeding between Man and Man is Forgery, between Subject and Prince is Treason; but between Man and God is Sacrilege, is. Blasphemy, is an Impiety beyond what Thought can reach, or Words express. The whole Employment of a Minister of the Gospel is not only to Preach the Gospel, tho that indeed in Scripture is sometimes by a Synecdoche taken for the whole Office of the Ministry. For that was a Glorious and Audacious Work, when the Commission for it was first given, and is so ftill, and ever shall be to the end of the World; but even then, when Certainly it was more necessary than it can be now, after near Seventeen hundred Years Possession that the Chriftian Faith has had over the whole Earth, even then it was but a part of the Commission, and preparatory also to the other parts of it. Let us put together what at several times, and on several occasions, Our Saviour has given in Command to his Apostles, Feed My Sheep, Teach all Nations,
Baptize Baptize in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost , Do This in Remembrance of Me, Wholesoever Sins ye remit they are remitted, and wholesoever Sins ye retain they are retained. These are no Mortal sounds, Nec Vox Hominem Sonat! No, they are his, whose moft inward. Affairs they his chosen Ambassadors were to manage, even the Lord Christ's; by Virtue of which the Evangelical Ministry translates out of Darkness into God's marvellous Light, raiseth Men from the Earth, and brings God from Heaven; by Blessing Vifible Elements makes 'em become Invincible Grace, disposes of that Body which was given for the Life of the World, and that Blood which was poured out to redeem Souls; whatever it binds on Earth is bound in Heayen, and whatever it looses on Earth is loos d in Heaven; when it sheds Malediction on the Heads of the Wicked they Pe rish, and when it revokes the same they revive! What dullness is it not to admire, wbat prophaneness not to revere so great an Authority! What stupidity to think, that any but God can give it! It is He, and none but He! as St John the Baptist, who was bimself a Man fent from God to the same purpose, speaks, A Man can take unto Himself pothing, except it be given him from Heaven, (Joh. 3. 27.) We have for the least and
meanest Datys, perform'd by Virtue of Minifterial Power, That to Dignify, Grace, and Authorise them, which no other Offices on Earth can challenge; so that whether we Preach, Pray, Baptize, Celebrate the Eucharift, Condemn, Absolve, or whatever we do as Disposers of God's Mysteries, Our Words, Judgments, Acts, and Deeds are not Ours, but the Holy Ghoft's! Glory be to God, who has given such Power to Men! For to Men, weak, simple, finful Men was, and is, this high Power conferr'd, which even Angels themselves, tho' in other things Miniftring. Spirits to the Church, cannot exercise. Thus we find, that when devout Cornelius's Prayers and Alms were come up to Heaven, and brought down an Angel from thence, all he could do towards admitting him into the Church was, to command him to send to Foppa for Peter : By His Preaching he was Instructed, Converted, Receiv'd the Holy Ghost, and was Baptiz’d. Who then shall undertake to exercise such a Power without a special Commission, which even an Angel from Heaven was not sufficient for? And who can but with the highest Graticude and unspeakable Joy acknowledge God's Infinite Goodness and Condescenfion, who in picy to the weak. ness of our Nature has order'd, that all the Sovereign Medicines of Grace should be