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cating of impenitent sinners; declareth immediately thereupon, “ that whatsoever his ministers shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven;" whereby he giveth to understand, that when any person is cut off from his church, he is not deprived of all hopes of salvation; but can again be loosed from the bonds of condemnation. Therefore, since God declares in his word, not to take pleasure in the death of a sinner, but that he turn from his wickedness and live, so the church always hopes for the repentance of the backslidden sinner, and keepeth her bosom open to receive the penitent: accordingly the apostle Paul, 1 Cor. v. commanded the Corinthian (whom he had declared ought to be cut off from the church) to be again received and comforted, since being reproved by many, he was come to the knowledge of his sins : to the end that he should not be swallowed up with over much sorrow. 2. Cor. ii.
Secondly. Christ teacheth us in the aforementioned text, that the sentence of absolution, which is passed upon such a penitent sinner, according to the word of God, is counted sure and firm by the Lord; therefore no one, who truly repents, ought to doubt in the least that he is assuredly received by God in mercy, as Christ saith, John, chap. xx. " Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.”
But now to proceed to the matter in hand. I ask thee N. whether thou dost declare here with all thine heart before God and his church, that thou art sincerely sorry for the sin and stubbornness for which thou hast been justly cut off from the church ? whether thou dost also truly believe, that the Lord hath forgiven thee, and doth forgive thy sins for Christ's sake, and that thou therefore art desirous to be re-admitted into the church of Christ, promising henceforth to live in all godliness, according to the command of the Lord ? Answer:---Yes, Verily.
[Then the Minister shall further say,] We then here assembled, in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, declare thee N. to be absolved from the bonds of excommunication ; and 'do receive thee again into the church of the Lord, and declare unto thee that thou art in the communion of Christ and of the holy sacraments, and of all the spiritual blessings and benefits of God, which he promiseth to and bestoweth upon his church. May the eternal God preserve thee therein to the end, through his only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Be therefore assured in thy heart, my beloved brother, that the Lord hath again received thee in mercy. Be diligent henceforward to guard thyself against the subtilty of satan, and the wickedness of the world, to the end that you may not fall again into sin ; love Christ, for many sins are forgiven 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 fellowcitizen 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 Almighty, implore his mercy, saying,
RACIOUS 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, shew 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 inexpressible joy and delight, to serve thee. And whereas he hath here. tofore by his sins offended many, grant that he may by his conversion edify many, Grant also that he
may stedfastly walk in thy ways, to the end; and may we learn from this example, that with thee is mercy, that thou mayest be feared ; and that we counting him for our brother and co-leir 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, &c.
THE FORM FOR ORDAINING THE MINISTERS OF GOD'S WORD. [The sermon and the usual prayers being finished, the Minister shall
thus speak to the congregation.] ELOVED 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 pa: tor3 and ministers of God's word.
Where, in the first place you are to observe, that God our heavenly Father, 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 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. 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; the same word of God is likewise the staff with which the flock is guided and ruled, consequently it is evident, that the office of pastors and ministers of God's word is,
First. That they shall faithfully explain to their flock, the word of the Lord, revealed by the writings of the prophets and apostles : and apply the same, as well in general, as in particular, to the edification of the hearers, with 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 repugnant to the pure doctrine.--All this is clearly signified to us in holy writ, for the Apostle Paul saith, that thesc 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 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 toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” But particularly we have a clear description of the office, and ministers of God's word,
2 Cor. chap. v. 18, 19, and 20 verses, where the apostle thus speaketh, “ And all things are of God who bath reconciled us to himself, by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us (namely to the apostles and pastors) the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambas-, sadors 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 convince and silence the gain-sayers."
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 Paul alluding, speaketh thus 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, 2.
Thirdly. Their office is, to administer the sacraments, 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,“ baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" Likewise, for I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed,” &c.
Finally, it is the duty of the ministers of the word, to keep the church of God in good discipline, and to