William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

Whether Ordination be essential to the calling of a Minister

by George Gillespie

Scottish Commissioner To the Assembly of Divines At Westminster.
THIS question hath been thus stated in a little book entitled
diatribh wherein the judgment of the reformed Churches and
Protestant Divines is shewed; concerning Ordination, &c. The
negative part is there mentioned, also in the Queries touching the
ordination of Ministers, written in opposition to the learned and
much approved book entitled, Jus divinum regiminis Ecclesiastici,
the same controversy is touched upon frequently with more railing
than reason {33} by the furious Erastian who composed the Grall
against Apollonius and cries out that the world is abused with an
empty notion of a pretended sacred Ministerial calling, which may be
exercised by none but such as are thereunto called, solemnly set
apart, and ordained. This is the same thing which hath been formerly
debated by Protestant divines against the Anabaptists and Socinians.
See P. Martyr, loc: com: class: 4. cap. 1. Aretius probl: theol:
loc: 63. The professors of Leyden, Synops: pur: theol: disp: 42.
Walus in loc: com: tom: 1. pag. 472, 473. Festus Hommius Specim,
controv: Belgic. artic: 31. of the Lutherans, Gerhard in
loc:com:tom: 6. cap. 3. lib. 1. Balduin de institutione ministrorum,
cap: 8. & lib: 4. de cas: consc: cap: 6. Brochmandsynt: theol:
artic. de minister, Eccles. cap: 2. qust: 3. Stegmannus in
sphotinianismo disp: 53. The Socinian tenent against the necessity
of Ordination, see in Socin: tract: de Eccles: Nicol: and tract: de
Eccles. & missione ministi. Yet the Socinians acknowledge it is fit
for order, and decency to retain Ordination in the Church.
Peradventure many of the Sectaries of this time will hardly
acknowledge this much: I shall first of all premise some
distinctions and considerations for the better opening of the true
state and nature of this controversy. Next I shall bring the
positive arguments, and lastly, Answer the contrary objections.

The particulars to be premised are these:

First the question is not whether Ordination be the only thing
essential, or necessary to the right calling of a Minister: I have
before pleaded for the necessity of the Church's consent, I now
plead for the necessity of ordination; That ought to be no
impediment to this, nor this to that.

2. Neither is the question, whether imposition of hands be essential
and necessary to the calling of a Minister. Imposition of hands is a
rite used in Ordination, after the example of the primitive Churches
(of which more anone) but the substance, essence, and formal Act of
Ordination is another thing. Therefore not only the Lutheran {34}
divines, but Calvin in 1 Tim. 4.14, Junius animad. in Bellar: contr:
5. lib. 1. cap. 3. Bucantis loc: com: loc: 42. Gersomus Bucerus and
others distinguish between the act of Ordination and the rite used
in that act. M. Antonius de dominis, lib: 2, de repub: Eccles: cap:
3. 24, & cap: 4. 13.19. & lib: 3. cap: 5. 48. Doth also
distinguish between the rite or ceremony of laying on of hands, and
the essential act of Ordination which he rightly calls missio
potestative, a sending of one with power and authority: Which
agreeth well with Matt. 10.1; Mark 3.13-15, where we have first the
election of the Apostles to their office; He calleth unto him whom
he would, and they came unto him, Matthew sayeth, he called unto him
his twelve Disciples, Luke 9.1, He called his twelve Disciples
together. Here was an antecedaneous election or designation of the
persons. Thereafter follows the ordaining or constituting of them in
their office kai epoihse saith Mark, and he ordained (or made)
twelve that they should be with him, and that he might send them
forth to preach, and to have power to heal, &c. Luke addeth after
the calling together of the twelve, that he gave them power and
authority over all devils, and to cure diseases, and he sent them to
preach, &c. Which sets forth the true nature and essence of
Ordination, that it consists in a sending forth of chosen persons
with power and authority. And this potestative mission of the twelve
is applied, not only to power over devils and diseases (which was
extraordinary and apostolical) but to power of preaching which
belongeth to the ordinary Pastor to call, charge. Pastors and
Teachers are Messengers, Job 33.23, and God hath committed unto them
the word of reconciliation, 2 Cor. 5.19.

3. Neither is the question, what may be done in extraordinary cases
when Ordination cannot be had, or where there are none who have
power to ordain. We read that desius and Frumentius being but
private men, became Preachers of the {35} Gospel, and converted a
great nation of the Indians: Likewise that when the Iberians were
converted by a captive woman, their King and Queen became Teachers
of the Gospel to the people. There may be an extraordinary calling
from God where Religion is not yet planted, nor Churches yet
constituted. It is altogether another case in a constituted reformed
or reforming Church: I add with Peter Martyr, that even those
persons who set about the work of the Ministry extraordinarily or
among Infidels, if they can come at any who may ordain them in the
usual and right way, they ought not to neglect the seeking of

4. Nor is the question of teaching, exhorting, admonishing,
reproving, comforting one another, or praying for, or with one
another, in the way of a private Christian fellowship, and brotherly
love. For this belongs to the general calling of Christians as they
are Christians, observing therein the rules of the word, and there
is no need nor use of Ordination in all this. But the question is of
the particular, special, sacred calling of the Ministers of the
Gospel to preach and administer the Sacraments, whether Ordination
be not essential and necessary to this calling. The private
Christian duties of teaching one another, reproving, exhorting, &c.
Are to be conscionably and carefully performed by private
Christians, John 4.28,29; Acts 18.26; Eph. 5.19; Col. 3.16; Heb.
3.13. But this the Apostle plainly distinguisheth from the special
Ministerial function, 1 Thes. 5.11,14, with verse 12,13. The
affirmation of this question in hand, viz. that Ordination is
necessary and essential to the calling of a minister, may be
confirmed by these arguments.

1. Doth not nature itself teach you: as the Apostle sayeth in
another case, Shall the visible political Church of Christ, which is
the purest and most perfect Republic in the world, have less order
and more confusion in it nor [than] a civil Republic. Ambassadors,
Commissioners, {36} Officers of State, Judges, Generals, Admirals,
with the subordinate Commanders in Armies and Navies, do not run
unsent, nor act without power, authority, and commission given them.
How much more unbeseeming, and disorderly were it in the Church,
(which Nicolaides himself, even where he disputeth against the
necessity of Ordination, Refut: tract: de missione minister, cap:
10, pag. 113. acknowledgeth to be more perfect than any politic
Republic in the world) for any man to assume to himself power and
authority which is not given him, or which he hath a non habente
potestatem, or to intrude himself into any public administration
unto which he is not appointed. It was justly complained of, as a
great disorder under the Prelates, that Midwives were permitted to
baptize upon pretence of a case of necessity, yea that Deacons were
permitted to baptize, because the administration of baptism, doth
neither belong to Deacons, nor to private persons. But that railing
Rabshaketh, the anonymous Erastian before mentioned, goeth so far as
to cry down all necessity or Ordination or any special call to the
Ministry of the Word and Sacraments, and alloweth any Christian,
whether Magistrate or Subject, both to Preach, Baptize, and minister
the Lords Supper, having no Ordination or special Mission to that
effect. 'Tis a sufficient answer to him, offer it now unto thy
governour, will he be pleased with thee? Mal. 1.8. Who will endure
such a confusion in a State, that any man may assume publick offices
and administrations, not being thereunto called and appointed? And
shall the Church (which must go a great deal further than the law
and light of nature,) come short of that which nature itself
teacheth all human societies? 'Tis both a natural and a scriptural
rule, Let all things be done decently and in order, 1 Cor. 14.40,
for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, Ibid. verse
33. If it were an intolerable usurpation in a man's own family, if
any man should take upon him {37} the steward's place to dispense
meat to the household, not being thereunto appointed. How much more
were it an intolerable usurpation in the Church, the house of the
living God, for any to make themselves stewards of the mysteries of
Christ, not being appointed.

2. I argue from, Rom. 10.15, And how shall they Preach except they
be sent? Suppose they be well gifted, yet they may not preach except
they be sent and appointed thereunto. This sending must needs be
Ordination, not the Church's Election: a people may choose to
themselves, but cannot send to themselves. The choosing of an
Ambassador is one thing, the sending him, another thing: The
Ambassador nominated and elected by the King, may not go to his work
and act as an Ambassador, till he be sent forth with his commission
and power delivered to him. There have been several exceptions made,
and more may be made against this argument; yet all of them may be
rationally taken off.

Exception 1. The Socinians reply, that the Apostle speaketh this of
his own time when the doctrine of the Gospel was new, and did
therefore require a special mission: But that now Ministers being to
Preach no new doctrine, need not such a special call.

Answer. This is not only, not grounded on the Text, but is contrary
both to the metaphor and to the context. 'Tis contrary to the
metaphor which the Apostle taketh from the sending of Ambassadors,
Heralds, and other publick Ministers. These are sent not only to
propound that which was never before propounded, but also ofttimes
to revive and renew a thing before propounded and known. If either
Ambassador, or Herald run unsent, and go out without his commission
and appointment, it will be no excuse to him, that he hath declared
no new thing, but what was declared by other Ambassadors, or Heralds
before him, for still he may be challenged as one who run unsent,
and it may be said to him, By what authority doest thou these
things? 'Tis contrary {38} to the context too, verse 13-15. There
are five necessary means and ways which must be had and used by
those who look to be saved. (1.) Calling upon the name of the Lord.
(2.) Believing on him. (3.) Hearing his word. (4.) A preaching
Ministry. (5.) Mission or Ordination. If the first four be
perpetually necessary to the end of the world, so must the fifth be,
for the Apostle layeth as great necessity upon this last as upon the
rest. If none can be saved who do not pray, and none can pray who do
not believe, and none can believe who do not hear the word, and none
can hear the word without a preaching Ministry, the last followeth
hard in the Text, there can be no Ministerial office without a
Mission or Ordination. I have before excepted extraordinary cases,
where there is yet no Church nor no Ministry: even as the deaf may
believe who cannot hear, although the Apostle say, How shall they
believe on him of whom they have not heard!

Exception 2. Nicolaides addeth that the Apostle speaks not of what
is unlawful to be, but what is impossible to be, namely, it is
impossible that any man can preach, that is (saith he) declare a new
thing except God send him.

Answer. (1.) If preaching here in this Text must be restricted to
the preaching of a new thing, hearing must be also restricted to the
hearing of a new thing, and believing to the believing of a new
thing, and so they who do not hear and believe some new doctrine,
cannot be saved. (2.) It is very possible to preach a new thing,
when God hath not sent one to preach it: When the Jesuits first
preached their scientia media, they preached a new thing, yet God
sent them not. (3.) Let us consider what the Apostle means here by
preaching PwV de khruxousin, saith he, 'Tis from khruxprco,
caduceator. The offices and functions of khrukeV. H. Stephanus in
Thes: L. Gr: tom: 2. pag: 195, 196, describeth out of Homer. They
called together the people to the ekklhsia or publick Assembly: They
enjoined silence, and called for audience {39} and attention: They
were sent in time of war to ask leave to bury their dead: They were
sent with messages from Princes and great men: They attended Princes
and great men to serve them upon occasion: They served also at the
sacrifices: They prepared beasts and received the guests: What is
there in all this, which in a spiritual and ecclesiastical sense is
not competent and incumbent to ordinary Pastors and Teachers as well
as to the Apostles? And if we will have the holy Ghost to expound
himself, as ordinary Preachers do, khruttein or khrussein, in all
ages and all the world over, as well as those who first preached the
Gospel, Matt. 24.14; & 26.13; Mark 14.9; & 16.15; Luke 24.47; Phil.
1.15; 1 Tim. 3.16; Rom. 2.21; thou that preachest a man should not
steal, dost thou steal? (4.) I hope khrusswn here doth not signify
one that preacheth a new thing, 1 Cor. 1.23, It pleased God by the
foolishness of preaching (tou khrugmatoV) to save them that believe.
Will any who hopes to be saved, deny that this extends to preaching
in all ages?

Exception 3. That diatribh before cited, in the second part of it
pag. 3,4, sayeth that the sending which the Apostles means of, is
not a Ministerial or ecclesiastical sending, for then none could be
an instrument to convert another but a Minister or preacher sent.
Neither could a man be sure whether he have faith or no, till he be
sure his faith was wrought in him by a Minister lawfully called. It
remains therefore (saith he) that the Apostle speaks of a
providential sending, by giving men gifts, and working with them in
their use and exercise.

Answer. (1.) The giving of gifts and pouring out of the spirit of a
calling, is plainly distinguished from the mission or sending; yea,
in Christ himself who had received the spirit, not by measure, but
above measure, yet his having the Spirit of the Lord upon him, was
not his Mission, but is plainly distinguished from his Mission and
Ordination to his office which {40} he had from God, Luke 4.18, The
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach
the Gospel to the poor, he hath sent me, &c. The dunamis or ability
of gifts to the office is one thing: the exousia or authority to it,
is another thing. (2.) His first reason to prove that the Apostle
speaks not of a Ministerial sending, because thence it would follow
that none could convert another but a Minister, he groundeth thus:
for 'tis said, none can believe but by hearing a preacher sent. Now
this falls as heavy upon his own Interpretation, for still this will
follow, that no man can be converted but a Preacher sent
providentially with gifts and assistance; when he shall loose the
knot for himself, he shall loose it for us too. (3.) So likewise for
his other reason, if the Apostles scope be (as he glosseth) to take
away doubting from men, he doth by his Interpretation split upon the
same rock which he thinks we have run upon, for a man must still
doubt whether he hath faith or no, and so whether he shall be saved
or no, till he be sure his faith was wrought in him by a Preacher
sent providentially with working gifts: now the description which he
makes of the providential sending, involveth a man in greater
doubting than before, for either it agreeth to false and heretical
Teachers the Ministers of Satan, or not. If he sayeth it doth agree
to them, and that false seducing Preachers (pretending to be true,
sound, and orthodox) are providentially sent with gifts effectual,
viz. to deceive in the secret judgment of God, according to Ezek.
14.9; 1 Kings 22.23, then how he will reconcile his interpretation
with Isa. 52.7,8, let him see to it. And withall he leads a man upon
this opinion, that he may have faith wrought in him, and so be saved
under any Ministry, true or false, orthodox or heretical. He must
also justify the sin so often condemned in the false prophets, that
they run unsent, for (by his principles) they are sent, as well as
the true Prophets. If he will say that his description {41} of the
providential sending agreeth not to false or heretical Preachers,
but to the true Ministers of Christ, then he leads a man into this
doubt, that he cannot be sure that he believes and shall be saved,
unless he be sure that the Preacher providentially sent to him, is a
true Minister of Christ, and not a Minister of Satan transformed
into a Minister of righteousness. 2 Cor. 11.15, or a wolf in sheep's
clothing, Matt. 7.15. But, (4.) if this providential sending be
enough, it takes away the necessity, not only of Ordination, but of
the peoples' choosing or consenting. It shall be enough that God
give a man a gift, and work by them, whether the Church consent or
not: yet as I take it, he that makes this objection, holds it
necessary, not only that Pastors be chosen by the Church, but that
gifted brethren be allowed by the Church to prophesy, else that they
must not prophesy.

5. His objections doth strike against that connexion and
concatenation of the means of salvation, which the Apostle holdeth
forth, and there is no more strength in that which he objecteth,
than as if one should argue, the deaf may believe, therefore faith
may be without hearing. Look how hearing is necessary, in the same
sense, is Preaching, and the sending of the Preacher necessary.
Neither doth it make any thing against our sense of the Text, that
some may be converted, by those who are not Ministers, for tho
Preaching of the word by those that are sent to the Ministry of
preaching, is the standing Ordinance and ordinary mean of conversion
and faith by this Text: and even those who perhaps have been first
wrought upon by prayer or conference with other Christians, are
hearers of those who are Ministerially sent: it will be hard to
prove that any believe, who can hear the word preached by Ministers
lawfully called and sent, and do not hear it.

Exception 4. That Erastian before cited, the Composer of {42} the
Grall, expoundeth (as I remember) this text of an extraordinary
mission or calling from God, not an ordinary mission from men:
denying the Pastors of Churches and Ministers of the Gospel in our
days to be sent of God and that although the Apostles might shew
their Mission and Commission from Christ, yet ordinary Ministers
cannot do it: Therefore this sending belongeth not to the ordinary

Answer. 1. This text doth certainly hold forth the necessity of an
ordinary and mediate Mission, when the extraordinary and immediate
Mission is ceased, which I prove thus: If a preaching Ministry be a
perpetual and standing ordinance, then Mission is a perpetual and
standing ordinance: But a preaching Ministry is a perpetual and
standing ordinance, therefore so is Mission. The proposition is
manifest, both from the knitting together of the parts of this Text,
in which the Apostle screweth up the necessity of Mission as high as
the necessity of preaching: As likewise from Matth. 28.19,20, which
doth not only prove a perpetual Ministry in the Church always even
unto the end of the world, but also that this perpetual Ministry is
authorized by Mission or Commission from Christ. For reference to
this perpetual Ministry, Christ saith, Go, teach and baptize, and lo
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world: So that whoever
doth lawfully exercise the office of teaching and baptizing, is
certainly sent: he cannot be immediately and extraordinarily in the
reformed Churches, therefore it must be in a mediate and ordinary
way. The Assumption is before proved.

2. As the preaching so the sending is common to ordinary Ministers
with the Apostles. If ordinary Ministers be Preachers ex officio, as
well as the Apostles, which hath been before proved, then ordinary
Ministers are sent as well as the Apostles, for how shall they
preach except they be sent, and how shall they be sent in our days,
except in a mediate and ordinary {43} way, by those unto whom the
power of Ordination belongeth?

Exception 5: But if this Text, Rom. 10.15, be expounded of
Ordination, then expectants or probationaries may not preach,
because not yet ordained.

Answer. 1. They neither preach ordinarily, nor ex officio. They
Preach occasionally, and without a Pastoral or Ministerial office.

2. Neither may these sons of the Prophets run to such occasional
work, without approbation and license, for which cause the Directory
of worship established in both Kingdoms, puts in this caution, that
such as intend the Ministry, may occasionally both read the
Scriptures, and exercise gifts in Preaching in the Congregations,
being allowed thereunto by the Presbytery. And so the Text will hold
true in all cases, extraordinary Preachers, Apostles, Evangelists,
Prophets, must have an extraordinary Mission. Ordinary Pastors and
Teachers, must have a Mission with power and authority to that
effect. Probationers, and occasional Preachers must have a
proportionable kind of Mission, that is, not to the Pastoral office,
but to preach upon occasion.

The third argument shall be taken from that katastasiV that
constituting, appointing or making of Church officers which is
plainly held forth in Scripture. The seven Deacons being elected by
the multitude of the Disciples, were appointed, set and constituted
over that business by the Apostles, Acts 6.3. Pastors and Teachers
have much more need to be appointed to their office, and for them
let us note two Scriptures, one is Luke 12.42, Who then is that
faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make [katasthsei]
ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due
season? Grotius upon the place noteth, that the former parable
concerning watching is intended for all Christians, so Mark 13.37,
but this of stewards belongs {44} to the Pastors of Churches, for
'tis upon occasion of Peter's question concerning the former
parable, (Lord speakest thou this parable unto us, or even unto
all?) Christ answers by this parable of stewards, appointed or
ordained over the household, whom he distinguisheth from other
servants by their ruling power, verse 42, by their greater
knowledge, and consequently greater guiltiness, if wicked, verse 47,
and by the greater trust committed to them, verse 48. Now lest it
should be thought, that his making or appointing of stewards over
the household of Christ, is only meant of the Apostles, as it were
of purpose to discover the vanity of that Socinian error, 'tis said,
verse 43, Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall
find so doing. Till Christ come again, and at his coming, there
shall be stewards appointed and set over his house: Which cannot be
without the mediate and ordinary way of making, appointing, and
ordaining. The Bishops or Elders, as well as Apostles are the
stewards of God, Titus 1.7. And so I come to the other Scripture
concerning those teaching and ruling officers. The Apostle left
Titus at Crete that he might ordain Elders in every city, verse 5.
The diatribh mentioned in the beginning, replyeth to this Text, that
katasthshV signifieth to fix, settle, establish one who was in
office before as appears by Psalm 2.6. See now with how little
reason this man oppugneth the received principles. The Septuagint
(sayeth he) readeth, Psalm 2.6, thus: Egw de kstestaqhn BasileuV epi
Siwn, but David was a King many years before he took in the hill and
fort of Zion. I shall not stand here upon this erroneous
transcribing of the words of the Septuagints: I might tell him again
that Symmachus readeth kagw ecrisa, ton Basilea mou. I have anointed
my King, having respect to the very first making him King, and this
is the nearest rendering of the Original. But I will stand to that
of the Septuagints: even their reading (without the least violence
to their words) may be understood, not of the settling of {45} David
after he took in the fort of Zion, but of God's appointing and
ordaining him to rule in, upon, or over Zion, which I do not doubt
was their meaning, neither doth the prepositions epi at all hinder,
but help this Interpretation of the Septuagint. See the like, Matt.
25.21, epi pollwn se katasthsw. This is not the fixing and settling
of that good servant in that ruling power, but tis the first giving
of it to him, the first making him ruler over many things, having
before had but a few things, Luke 12.44, epi pasi toiV uparcousin
autou katasthsei auton. So Isocrates, Katistanai epi taV arcaV. I
may confute him from the Septuagint themselves, Psalm 8.6,
KatesthsaV auton epi ta erga. Dan. 1.11, on katesthsen o arcietoucoV
epi, &c. Will he say that the Septuagint meant that God settled and
fixed the dominion which man had before over the creatures, or that
the Prince of the Eunuchs did but settle and fix that government
which Melzar had before over Daniel? If they mean in those places
constituting and appointing (as it is most manifest they do) why not
also Psalm 2.6? God appointed David to be a King upon the holy hill
of Zion, which is all that can be made out of the Septuagint. Well,
but I will go yet further with him, to discover the futility of his
exception: Tis true Kaqisthui or Kaqistamai is sometime used for
restoring and settling that which is out of its course, but how did
he imagine that this sense of the word could agree to Titus 1.5?
Thought he that Titus was left in Crete, for restoring, settling,
and fixing those Elders who had left their station, or had been cast
out, or persecuted, or the like? Doth not the Apostle plainly speak
of supplying and making up such things as were yet wanting to those
Churches, and of ordaining Elders to Churches which wanted Elders.
Wherefore the ordinary reading and interpretation is retained.
Kaqistanai presbuterouV, is to be understood of making, or ordaining
Elders, even as Kaqistanai tas arcaV or eparcouV, Kaqistanai
dikastaV and the like, constituere, prficere, to make or appoint
rulers and {46} judges, by giving them power and authority to rule
or judge. So Acts 7.10, Katesthsen auton hgoumenon ep Aigupton,
which was not a settling and fixing of Joseph; in the government of
Egypt, as if he had been governour of it before, for that was the
first time he was made governour.

The fourth argument is taken from Heb. 5.4, And no man taketh this
honour unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron. If
ye would know what this calling was, see verse 1. He was taken from
among men, and ordained for men, in things pertaining to God. The
Socinian exception against our arguments, from the example and
practice of Ordination in the Apostles times, (namely that there is
no such necessity of ordaining those who are to teach Doctrines
formerly delivered, and received, as there was, for ordaining those
who bring a new Doctrine) cannot here help them; yea, is hereby
confuted, for none of the Priests under the law, no not the high
Priest, might teach or pronounce any other thing, but according to
the Law and the Testimony, Deut. 17.11; Mal. 2.7. Yet the Priests
were ordained to their office, and might not without such Ordination
enter into it. And this was no typical thing proper to the old
Testament, but hath a standing reason. The Socinians therefore have
another evasion from the words, this honour restricting the
Apostles meaning, to that honour of the Priesthood only. Answer.
(1.) The words thn timhn need not to be understood demonstratively,
or signanter, but indefinitely, timhn with the prepositive Article,
and so both the Syriak Interpreter: Hierome, Arias Montanus, and the
Tigurin version read it indefinitely, honorem, not hunc honorem, No
man taketh honour unto himself, but he, &c. See the very same words
in the same sense, Rom. 13, tw thn timhn, yhn timhn, honour to whom
honour, not this honour. So thn timhn, Revel. 21.26, is not
rendered, this honour. (2.) Suppose it be meant signanter, yet our
argument is valid. {47}

Although the Apostle give instance only in the high Priesthood, yet
by analogy of reason, the Axiom will hold in reference to the
Ministry of the new Testament, upon which God hath put so much
honour, that it is called a worthy work, 1 Tim. 3.1, and worthy of
double honour. 1 Tim. 5.17, and to be esteemed very highly, 1 Thess.
5.17. The Ministers of the Gospel are the Embassadours of Christ, 2
Cor. 5.20, and the Angels of the Churches, the stars in Christs
right hand, Revel. 1.20; 2.1, &c. yea, the glory of Christ, 2 Cor.
8.23. And if (comparing state with state) the least in the kingdom
of God, be greater than John Baptist, and John Baptist greater than
any either Priest or Prophet in the old Testament; Than its not
only as great, but a greater usurpation, for a man to take this
honour of the Evangelical Ministry to himself, than it had been of
old, for a man to take that honour of the legal high Priesthood to

The fifth argument I draw from Heb. 6.1,2, Where we have an
enumeration of the general Catechetical heads, which was necessarily
required in Catechumens, before they were baptized and received as
Church Members, and where there was yet no Church planted, these
heads were taught, learned, and professed, before there could be a
visible political Ministerial Church erected. That the Apostles
speak to the Hebrews as visible Ministerial Churches is manifest,
both from the particulars here enumerated, and from Chapter 5,
verses 12,13; & 13.7,17. Now he exhorteth them to go on unto
perfection, and not to be [for]ever about the laying of foundations,
or about the learning of these Catechetical principles, the
knowledge and profession whereof did first give them an entrance,
state, and standing in the visible Church of Christ, viz.

(1.) The foundation of repentance, i.e. Conviction and knowledge of
sin by the law, humiliation and sorrow for it, with a desire of
freedom for it. (2.) The foundation of faith {48} in Christ for our
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. (3.) The
foundations of Baptism, i.e. The abolishing of these divers legal
washings, Heb. 9.10, and the ordinance of the Christian baptism for
sealing the Covenant of grace, and for initiation in Church
membership: Others say he speaks in the plural, because in those
times many were baptized at once usually. (4.) The foundation of
laying on of hands, that is (saith Bullinger on the place) of the
Ministry, and of their Vocation, Mission, and authority given them.
So also Gualther in his Archetypes upon the place, Tossanus pointeth
at the same thing, as principally intended in the Text, Which
agreeth well with that which divers Divines make one of the marks of
a true visible Church, namely, a Ministry lawfully called and
ordained, and professed subjection thereunto. (5.) The foundation of
the resurrection from the dead. (6.) The foundation of the last
judgment, in which Christ shall adjudge the righteous to life
everlasting, and the wicked to everlasting punishment, Matth. 25.46.

That which hath obscured and cast a mist upon this Text, was the
Popish and prelatical confirmation, or Bishopping of children, which
they grounded upon this same Scripture. And this way go the Popish
interpreters, expounding it of their Sacrament of confirmation:
Others understand the gifts of the holy Ghost, which in those days
were given by laying on of hands. But it hath never been, nor can
never be proved, either that hands were laid upon all baptized
Christians who were grown up to years of knowledge in these
Apostolical times, or that the gifts of the holy Ghost were given
with every laying on of hands in those times. For the laying on of
hands, (1 Tim. 4.14; and 5.22.) was not for giving the holy Ghost,
but for Ordination. Wherefore I conceive that the laying on of
hands, Heb. 6.2, Pointeth at the Ministry, and their Ordination,
which was accompanied with that rite. {49} Many interpreters who
extend the Text further, do not yet acknowledge that the Ordination
of Ministers is a thing intended by the Apostle. Which is the more
probable, if you read baptismwn didachV dividedly with a comma
betwixt, which Erasmus inclineth most unto, following the Greek
Scholiasts. So the Tigurin version, baptismatum, doctrina, ac
impositionis manum. So you shall find seven of these catechetical
principals, and after baptism, add doctrine, that is, a preaching or
teaching Ministry, and then the next head contains the necessity of
a special calling and Ordination to this Ministry. However read it
conjunctly or dividedly, it makes a true and good sense to expound,
laying on of hands (here) of the ordinance of a preaching Ministry
lawfully called and ordained, for this ordinance and a professed
subjection thereunto, may justly be reckoned among the catechetical
points, and among the marks of a true visible Ministerial Church.
Whereas it were a dangerous and unsafe interpretation, and I believe
that which cannot be made out, to say, that any of the catechetical
heads enumerate by the Apostle, was proper to that primitive age,
and doth not concern after ages: or yet to affirm that the giving of
the holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, was extended to all
Catechumens baptized in those times, or that the knowledge or
profession of the Doctrine concerning the giving of the gifts of the
holy Ghost, by such laying on of hands was such a principle, as that
none ignorant thereof, though instructed in all the other Articles
of Christian faith, could be received as a Church-member grounded in
catechetical points.

I shall add a sixth argument from the example and practice of the
Apostles and others who did ordain Church officers in their days,
the example is binding in such things as were not only lawful and
good, but have a standing and perpetual reason. The seven Deacons
were ordained with prayer and {50} laying on of hands, Acts 6.3,6.
Elders were ordained in every city, Titus 1.5, although those Elders
were not to preach any new Gospel, Gal. 1.8, Paul warneth Timothy, 1
Tim. 5.22, lay hands suddenly on no man, i.e. be not rash in
ordaining any to the work of the Ministry, let them be well examined
and approved. This is the received sense of Interpreters following
Chrysostom, Ambrose, Hierome, and others of the Fathers, yet
Nicolaides Refut. tract. de missione Ministr. will have the Text
understood, not of ordaining Ministers, but of admitting penitents,
which was done with imposition of hands. But is this to expound
Scripture by Scripture? or is it not rather to forsake an
Interpretation confirmed by Scripture, and to follow one which is
grounded upon no Scripture? For we read nothing in Scripture of
laying on of hands in the receiving or restoring of penitents. Of
the laying on of hands in Ordination, we do read in Scripture, and
lest it should be thought the act of one man only, it is mentioned
as the act of the Presbytery, 1 Tim. 4.14, with the laying on of the
hands of the Presbytery. A place which Gualther, Bullinger,
Tossanus, and divers other good Interpreters think to hold forth the
way which Paul would have observed in the calling and appointing of
men to the Ministry: Some understand by presbuterion, the office
itself; dignity or degree of an Elder which was given to Timothy by
the laying on of hands: Others understand a company of Bishops who
were Elders and more too: I confess it doth not; others an Assembly
of Elders, without any prelatical disparity. Now neither of these
Interpretations can strike against that point which now I plead for,
viz. The point of Ordination, but rather make much for it, yea even
they who understand the office of a Presbyter, do thereby confirm
that which I assert in as much as Timothy was not made an Elder, but
by imposition of hands, as these hold. If so, then certainly
Ordination is essential to the calling of {51} a Presbyter. So that
whatever come of the word Presbytery, the laying on of hands which
made the Presbyter, will conclude against them who deny the
necessity of Ordination.

The seventh argument shall be drawn from the denominations of the
Ministers of the Gospel in Scripture. (1.) They are called Pastors
or Shepherds, Jer. 3.15; Eph. 4.11. He that is not called and
appointed by the Lord of the flock, he that entereth not by the
door, but breaks in surreptitiously, and makes himself shepherd at
his own hand, is not a shepherd but a thief, John 10.9,10. (2.) Next
they are Angels or messengers, Matt. 23.24; Rev. 1.20; and 2 Cor.
8.23, with 2.1, and the Embassadours of Christ, 2 Cor. 5.20; Eph.
6.20. Therefore they are sent and appointed, and do not run unsent.
(3.) They are called Rulers, proestwteV, 1 Tim. 5.17, proistamenoi,
1 Thes. 5.12; hgoumenoi, Heb. 13.7,17, do men make themselves
Rulers, Magistrates, Captains at their own hand, or are they not
thereunto appointed by others? (4.) They are called Bishops, or
overseers, Acts 20.28; 1 Tim. 3.1. The Athenians give the name
episkopoV to one whom they appointed, ordained, and sent forth to be
Magistrate or Prtor in any of the Towns, subject to their
jurisdiction. See H. Steph. thes: ling. Gr: in the word episkopoV.
(5.) They are oikonomoi, stewards, Luke 12.42; 1 Cor. 4.1; Titus
1.7. Who dare make himself a steward in a Kings house; yea, or in a
more private house, not being thereunto appointed and ordained? (6.)
They are servants who invite and call in guests to the wedding, to
the marriage supper, Matt. 22.3; Luke 14.17. Will any (except a
fool, or a knave,) go and invite guests to a mans Table, when he is
not sent nor appointed? (7.) They are khrukeV, Preachers, Heralds, 1
Tim. 2.7, and 2 Tim. 1.11. Will a Herald go and proclaim the Kings
Edicts, or the ordinances of Parliament, if he be not thereunto
appointed? {52} In both these Texts last cited, the Apostle speaking
of the Gospel, sayeth, Whereunto I am ordained a Preacher, and an
Apostle, and a Teacher of the Gentiles. Mark, he is ordained not an
Apostle, but a Preacher, as he could not be an Apostle without
Ordination, so he could not be so much as khrux, a Preacher, without
Ordination. Now ordinary Pastors are khrukeV as well as the Apostles
which hath been before shewed.

An eighth argument I collect from 2 Tim. 2.2, And the things that
thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to
faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Which is a
most considerable place against the Socinians, Anabaptists, &c. For
it Teacheth us these five particulars: (1.) That the Apostles would
not have a teaching or preaching Ministry to end with that time, but
was careful to have Pastors or Teachers provided for the succeeding
generation also. (2.) Teachers of others who were to labour in the
word and doctrine, were to teach no new doctrine, but the very same
things which they received from Timothy, and Timothy from Paul, and
which Paul received from the LORD. It was in sense no new doctrine,
when it is taught by Paul, much less when taught by Timothy, and
least of all when taught by these who received it from Timothy. So
that the Socinian distinction of the necessity of a special calling
to the Ministry when the doctrine is new, not so when the doctrine
is not new, cannot here help them. (3.) Teachers are distinguished
from those who are taught: Every man may not be a Teacher. It is a
peculiar and particular calling, and it is no part of the general
calling of Christians: Therefore both here, and Galatians 6.6, there
is such a distinction in the Church, some are Teachers, some are
taught in the Word. (4.) Fitness and abilities; yea, both grace and
gifts together, cannot warrant a man to assume to himself the
function of Teaching or Preaching to {53} others, except he be
thereunto allowed, and appointed, and entrusted. The Apostle sayeth
not, the things that thou heard of me, the same I will that faithful
and able men, who ever shall be willing to the work, teach others
also, faithfulness, and fitness, or ability cannot make a sufficient
calling, but qualify a man for that which he shall be called unto.
Aptitude is one thing: to be clothed with a calling, power, and
authority is another thing. (5.) There is more that belongs to the
calling of Pastors and Teachers, than the Churchs electing, or
choosing of them: for those unto whom the power of Ordination
belongeth, do also commit unto them that which they are entrusted
with, the same commit thou, &c. paraqou. Tis from paratiqhmi, which
(as H. Stephanus in Thes: ling: Gr: tom. 3, page 1505, noteth) not
seldom in the new Testament doth signify, depositum alicujus fidei
committere, fiduciarium tradere alicui, where he citeth this very
Text, and I shall clear it yet further from Luke 12.48, and unto
whom men have committed much, kai w pareqento polu, of him they will
ask the more, which is the conclusion of the parable concerning a
faithful and wise steward, appointed by his Lord to be ruler over
his household; to give them their portion of meat in due season, and
that Parable is meant of Pastors or Ministers lawfully called and
sent, as hath been before cleared.

Ninthly, as we are obliged by our Covenant [The Solemn League &
Covenant] to endeavour such a Reformation, as is most agreeable to
the word of God, and the Example of the best reformed Churches, so
in this particular of Ordination, and a special call and setting
apart of men to the Ministry, we have not only the example of the
ancient and reformed Churches, but the word of God itself directeth
us this way. (1.) Before the law when the firstborn in families (not
all promiscuously) acted the part of Priests or publick Ministers.
Whereof there are some express examples in Enoch a Prophet, Gen.
5.24; Jude 14; Noah, Heb. 11.7, by whom God preached to the {54} old
world, 2 Pet. 2.5, and so are we to understand Gen. 6.3, Abraham a
Prophet, Gen. 20.7, Melchisedeck the Priest of the most high GOD, is
thought by many learned men (following both Jonathans Targum, and
that of Jerusalem) to have been Shem, the firstborn of Noah: of
Jacob also (who got the birth-right from Esau) we read that he built
Altars, and called upon the name of the Lord, and he was a Prophet,
Gen. 49. And it is often mentioned by Moses, that the sons of Aaron
were taken instead of the firstborn. (2.) Under the Law, when not
only the Prophets, but the Priests also who were ordinary Ministers,
had a special Ordination to their office. (3.) Under the Gospel in
the primitive times, for the Socinians themselves do not deny that
Ordination or special Mission was used in the Apostles times.

Tenthly, and lastly without a clear calling, and lawful Ordination,
how shall people receive the word from the mouths of Ministers, as
Gods word, or as from those who are sent of God? Or how shall
people reverence and highly esteem their Ministers who labour among
them, obey them, and submit unto them, as they are commanded, 1
Thess. 5.12,13; Heb. 13.17? And since he that is taught ought to
communicate unto him that teacheth him, in all good things, Gal.
6.6, and God will have those who labour in the Word and Doctrine to
be maintained, and that they who sow spiritual things, reap temporal
things, 1 Cor. 9.7,9,11,13; 1 Tim. 5.18. Yea, the Apostle puts the
stamp of a Jus divinum upon it, 1 Cor. 9.13,14, having mentioned the
Priests maintenance in the old testament, he addeth: Even so hath
the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel, should live of
the Gospel. So that Socinians and Anabaptists will find themselves
puzzled mightily with this dilemma, either it is the will of God,
that none preach the Gospel, but such as are called, appointed, and
ordained thereunto, or otherwise it is his will, that those who {55}
preach the Gospel, not being thereunto chosen, called, and ordained,
must be maintained as well as Ministers lawfully ordained and
called, and if so, its like enough People shall have good store of
Preachers, and their purses shall pay well for it.

I COME now to answer the strongest objections of those who hold
Ordination not necessary, nor essential to the calling of a

Objection 1. From Acts 8.4, They that were scattered abroad, went
everywhere preaching the Word. So Acts 11.19, Apollos also taught
boldly in the Synagogues, Acts 18.25,26, yet no word of their
Mission or Ordination. The Jews esteemed Christ himself but a
private man, not ordained nor authorized to any office in the
Church, yet they permitted him to preach in their Synagogues.
Answer. (1.) Those that after Stephens death, were scattered
abroad, and preached the Word, must needs have been called, sent,
and ordained (by the principles of the Socinians themselves,) for
the Doctrine which they preached, was a new Doctrine, both to
Samaria, Acts 8.5, and to those dispersed Jews, Acts 11.19.
Themselves confess, that they who preach a new Doctrine, must have a
special Mission and Ordination. (2.) Philip was one of those who
went abroad preaching the Word, Acts 8.45. Now he is expressly
called an Evangelist, Acts 8.8, therefore no precedent for private
Christians to preach. (3.) It is a bad argument, "Luke mentioneth,
not their Ordination, therefore they were not ordained." They may
aswell argue thus: "Luke mentioneth {56} not that they prayed when
they preached, therefore they did not pray when they preached." Or
thus: "The Scripture mentioneth not Joabs father, but only his
mother Zeruiah, therefore he had not a father." (4.) And suppose
they preached the Word without Mission or Ordination, this is but
like that which Chrysostom, lib. ad eos qui scandalisati sunt, cap.
19, recordeth as a marvelous extraordinary benefit, which did accrue
from the bloody persecutions of those ancient times, viz. That in
such times, the sheep acted the parts of shepherds, being driven
away to deserts and mountains, where (by the Spirit of God speaking
in them) they converted unbelievers, and gathered Churches: Which
concludeth nothing against the necessity of Ordination, in
constituted and reformed Churches, for they who were scattered
abroad, being driven away in the heat of persecution, might not have
the opportunity of Ordination, and they went forth to gather
Christians to plant Churches, to lay foundations where Christ was
not known. Such cases were in the beginning excepted from the state
of our present question. (5.) If Apollos preached without
Ordination, when he knew only the baptism of John, and withal when
he had to do with those Jews, who were yet to be convinced that
Jesus was the Christ, Acts 18.25,26,28, It is no good argument
against the necessity of Ordination, where the doctrine of Christ is
known and received, and Churches constituted. And withal how will it
be proved, that Apollos having been one of Johns Disciples, had not
some commission from John to preach the Word? Or if Apollos was but
a gifted brother without any publick calling or authority in the
Church, how came he to be so much esteemed, as to be compared with
Peter and Paul, 1 Cor. 1.12. Lastly as touching Christs preaching
in the Synagogues, he was looked upon as a Prophet extraordinarily
raised up in Israel, Luke 4.15,16,24, and the Jews say of him
plainly, a great Prophet is risen up among us, {57} Luke 7.16.
Josephus his testimony given to Christ, as a great Prophet, is known.

Objection 2. The Church doth ceirotonein, by their voices in
Election, make, create, constitute or ordain Elders, Acts 14.23,
therefore Elders need no other Ordination, but are sufficiently
ordained or made by the Church, if elected, and receive their power
from the people. See this Objection prosecuted in the Diatribh, pag.
9-11. And in the Queries touching Ordination, page 33, tom. 37.

Answer 1. There is no cogent reason brought by these men, why
ceirotonhsanteV, if rendered thus as they would have it, when they
had by voices ordained, must be therefore understood of Ordination
by the people, and not by Paul and Barnabas, for as I have before
noted out of Calvins Institutes, lib. 4, cap. 3, 15. The sense
may be thus, Paul and Barnabas did make and ordain Elders according
to the voices of the Churches themselves, that is, they ordained
such as the Church desired. If so, they are double losers by this
their Objection.

2. If ceirotonhsanteV be meant of the Churchs Act, then it is not
ordaining, but choosing by voices. The ceirotonia ought not to
hinder the ceiroqesia. Election with the Churchs consent, and
Ordination are both of them necessary, not inconsistent. In Athens
itself, although the people did ceirotonein, choose by voices their
Magistrates or Rulers, yet the persons so elected were not ordained,
and solemnly set apart, appointed and authorized by the people, but
by the Judges called hliastai, of whom Demosthenes, orat. advers:
Timocr: tells us that they did kaqistanai archn for the hliastai,
took an oath to be faithful in their constituting or ordaining of

3. In Scripture we find Election and Ordination frequently
distinguished, not only as distinct acts, but ofttimes in distinct
hands, Deut. 1.13, Moses said unto all Israel, Take ye wise men and
understanding, and known among your Tribes, and I will make them
Rulers over you. The people choose them who shall be Rulers, but
Moses makes {58} them Rulers, Acts 6.3, Wherefore brethren look ye
out among you seven men of honest report, full of the holy Ghost and
wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. The people choose,
the Apostles appoint the Deacons.

4. The choosing of a person to an office, is not the authorizing of
the person elected, but the designation of the person to be
authorized. Tis here with a person chosen, as with a thing chosen:
Ezra was to choose, and to design, when, and how much silver, wheat,
wine, oil, should be taken for the House of the Lord, not exceeding
the proportion of an hundredth, but the power and authority by which
these things were given forth by the Treasurers, to be applied to
such uses, was from the decree of Artaxerxes, Ezra 7.21,22. So
Esther chose what to make request for, but the thing was to be
performed by authority of the King, Esther 5.3,6. So a man may be
chosen to an office by some, and authorized to act in that office by
others. How many subordinate offices, (civil and military) are
there, in which men act by the power and authority, derived from the
ordinances of Parliament, although not nominated and chosen by the
Parliament; but by others, entrusted by the Parliament to choose.

5. Even where Election and Mission, are in the same hands, yet they
are not confounded, but are looked upon as two distinct acts: Christ
first chose the twelve, and pitched upon such as he would, and then
ordained them, and sent them forth, Mark 3.13,14. The Synod of the
Apostles and Elders first chose, and then sent Judas and Silas, Acts
15.22,25. Where you may observe also by the way, that the Mission of
a man to the Ministry, or Pastoral charge of a Congregation, doth
not belong to the people who choose him, they cannot send him to
themselves. When Election and Mission are in the same hands, tis in
such cases as these two last cited, when men are sent abroad to
others, then indeed they who choose them, may also send them: but
when they are sent to {59} to those who choose them, then they are
sent by others, a Minister is sent to the Congregation, therefore he
is not sent by the Congregation, and so that place, Romans 10.15,
How shall they preach except they be sent? cannot be understood of
the peoples Election, but of Ordination, or Mission from the
Presbytery appointed to ordain.

6. The same Apostolical Pattern which holds forth unto us the
choosing of Elders in every Church, Acts 14.23, doth also hold forth
unto us the ordaining of Elders in every City, Titus 1.5, and these
acts in different hands, therefore not the same; yea, as many
conceive in that same Text, Acts 14.23, beside the Election by
voices, there is a distinct Ordination expressed under the adjuncts
thereof, prayer, and fasting.

Objection 3. The Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 14.26, When ye come together
every one of you hath a Psalm, hath a Doctrine, hath a Tongue, hath
a Revelation, hath an Interpretation, verse 13, ye may all prophesy
one by one. Therefore all that preach or prophesy, need not to be

Answer. What those Prophets were, and what is meant by prophesying
there, all are not of one opinion. I hold that these Prophets were
immediately and extraordinarily inspired, and I reckon them among
these other administrations, which were not ordinary, or ever to
continue in the Church, Apostles, Evangelists, Workers of miracles.
But of this I am to speak distinctly, and by itself afterwards.
Meanwhile, they that make the Objection, must prove two things, else
they conclude nothing against the necessity of Ordination. (1.) That
these Prophets were not sent and ordained, but that their gifts and
parts, gave them a sufficient calling to interpret in the Church.
(2.) That although they had no Ministerial sending, or vocation, yet
they were not extraordinary Prophets, but that such Prophets are to
continue ordinarily in the Church. I believe it will trouble them to
prove either. {60}

Objection 4. Tis said of the house of Stephanus, 1 Cor. 16.15, They
have addicted (or ordained) themselves to the Ministry of the
Saints, eiV diakonian toiV agioiV etaxan eautouV. They were not
ordained by others, but they ordained themselves.

Answer. (1.) This may well be understood (as tis by divers) of
their devoting themselves to Minister to the necessities of the
Saints, by their works and labour of Love. Which is elsewhere
called, Ministering to the Saints, diakonia eiV touV agiouV, 2 Cor.
8.4. Yea, tis called h diakonia thV leitourgiaV, 2 Cor. 9.12, the
administration of service. See also, Ibid. verse 13, and Romans
15.31, where diakonia alone is used in the same sense. (2.) Others
give this sense, that they did willingly and zealously desire to do
service to Christ in the Ministry of the Gospel, according as they
should find a calling. In which sense, if a man desire the office of
a Bishop, he desireth a good work, 1 Tim. 3.1. So Isa. 6.8, Here am
I, send me. He is very willing to the work, yet he dare not run,
except he be sent, and get a commission.

Objection 5. He that digged in the earth, and hid his talent, is
condemned for it, Matt. 25.25,30. Therefore he that hath gifts for
preaching, and administering the Sacraments, cannot answer it to
God, except he improve and use those gifts.

Answer. (1.) If that Parable be applied to Ministerial talents, then
it will prove, not only a perpetual Ministry, because the Lord saith
to his servants, Occupy till I come, Luke 19.13, But likewise, that
none ought to intrude themselves into that holy function, except
they have a calling as well as gifts, for Matt. 25.14,15, that Lord
called his own servants (Luke saith, he called his ten servants) and
delivered unto them his goods: and unto one he gave five talents, to
another two, to another one, to every one according to his several
ability: Where we have a distinction of the calling and ability,
suppose another man had been able enough, yet if he be none of the
called ones, {61} that Parable cannot be applied to him. (2.) This
Objection may be made in the behalf of women also; many of whom
receive excellent gifts from God, yea, it was foretold by Joel, and
applied by Peter: that women as well as men should Prophesy, Acts
2.7,8, Which being misunderstood, gave some colour to the old
Pepuzian Heresy.

Objection 6. If we hold Ordination necessary, and essential to the
calling of a Minister, we bring ourselves into this snare, that
either the Ministers in the reformed Churches, are not true
Ministers, but falsely pretended to be so, or otherwise we must hold
that those in the Church of Rome, from whom the Protestant
Ministers, in the beginning of the Reformation, had their
Ordination, were true Ministers of Christ. For if those in the
Church of Rome who did ordain, were not true Ministers of Christ,
then they had no commission from Christ to make Ministers for him.
And who can bring a clean thing out of that which is unclean: If so,
then the Protestant Ministers, who first ordained other Protestant
Ministers (from whom Ordination hath come to us downwards) having no
Ordination, but what they received in the Church of Rome, they had
not power to ordain others with such an Ordination, as hath a divine
stamp and character upon it.

This argument is much insisted upon by the Author of the Queries
touching Ordination: If it can do any thing, yet it is no new light,
but the very same which hath been formerly objected by Papists, and
answered by Protestant writers. Whereof see one instance in Gerhard,
loc: com: tom: 6, de Minist: Eccles: 157.

And now that those who drive so furiously after this Popish
argument, may forever be ashamed of it: I return these answers. (1.)
By retortion, the argument will conclude as much against the
Baptism, and Church estate of Independents, Anabaptists, and whoever
they be that make any use of this {62} way of arguing against us.
For by this argument, those who first gathered their Churches,
baptized, and incorporated them into the body of Christ, were not
only no true Ministers, but no true Church-members, having no other
baptism, but what was received, either in the Church of Rome, or
from those who were baptized in the Church of Rome: But who can
bring a clean thing, out of that which is unclean. Where note by the
way, that this argument of theirs, will also make the Scripture
itself unclean now, because we have it out of an unclean thing, (the
Church of Rome): so that all that will stand to this argument, must
unchurch, unbaptize, unchristen, themselves: If they will have their
recourse to that promise, where two or three are met together, there
am I in the midst of them, and think to lay the foundation of their
Churches there, without any derivation from the Church of Rome, they
must allow us to do so too, but then they must pass from their
argument. What will they say then? Either, there can be in our days
a true Church with all the ordinances of Christ in it, independent
upon [of] the Church of Rome, and without building or leaning upon a
lineal succession, or derivation from the Church of Rome or there
cannot. If they hold the affirmative, their argument is not worth a
straw, for Ordination being one of the ordinances of Christ (which
is here to be supposed, and hath been in the precedent Chapter
proved) the reformed Churches had power to set it up, and restore it
by virtue of Christ's own institution. If the Negative, our
Opposites, must all turn Seekers, their Churches are no Churches,
their Baptism no Baptism, &c. (2.) Suppose those protestant
Ministers, who first ordained other Ministers, were themselves
ordained by such as had no power to ordain them. Nay suppose the
first reforming Ministers, to have been at the beginning of the
Reformation, no Ministers, but private Persons, not pretending to be
ordained. What will they conclude from {63} this? It proves nothing
against that which we hold concerning the necessity of Ordination:
For we plainly say, that in extraordinary cases when Ordination
cannot be had, and when there are none who have commission and
authority from Christ to ordain, then, and there, an inward call
from God enlarging the heart, stirring up, and assisting with the
good will and consent of a people whom God makes willing, can make a
Minister authorized to Ministerial acts. Suppose this to have been
the case at the first coming out from Popery, yet here was a seed
for more Churches, and more Ministers. At the first plantation of
Churches, Ordination may be wanting without making void the
Ministry, because Ordination cannot be had, but in constituted
Churches, the want of Ordination doth make a Minister no Minister.
(3.) Touching the Church of Rome; I answer as a learned country man
of mine answered near 70 years ago. Although it was a Church
miserably corrupted and defaced, yet it was even then a Church,
wherein he professeth to follow Luther, Oecclampadius, Zuinglius,
Bucerus, Calvin, Musculus, Bullinger, and the general sense of the
Protestant writers. See the Smetonii respons: ad Hamilton. Apostat.
pag. 6. If there was not a true Church, when Popery and
Antichristianism had most universally spread itself, why is it said
that Antichrist sitteth in the Temple of God, 2 Thes: 2.4? And if
God had not a people in Babylon, why is it said, Come out of her, my
people, Rev. 18.4? And if there were not all that time, even before
the Reformation, true Ministers of Christ, why are the two witnesses
said to Prophesy 1260 days (compting days for years) in sackcloth,
Rev. 11.3-5? Sure the time of the witnesses, their Prophesying in
sackcloth, wherever we fix the beginning and ending of it (which is
controverted) it doth certainly comprehend those ages before the
Reformation, as a part of this time. Therefore Christ had his
Witnesses and {64} Ministers all that while. Protestants as well as
Papists, hold the perpetuity of the true Church and Ministry, though
not ever [always] visible or alike pure. And otherwise, how shall we
understand Christ's own word, Matt. 28.20, Lo, I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world. (4.) Wherefore I conclude that those
who were ordained in the Church of Rome before the Reformation,
insofar as they were ordained in the name of Christ, by these who
had been themselves ordained Presbyters as well as Bishops, and
authorized to preach the Gospel, and administer the Sacraments; this
far they were true and lawful Ministers, truly and lawfully
ordained. But insofar as they were ordained according to the Popish
statutes and Canons, for teaching and maintaining the traditions of
the Church of Rome, and for offering up the body of Christ in the
Mass, in this consideration, their calling and Ordination was impure
and unlawful, like pure water flowing out of a clean fountain, which
contracts impurity from a filthy channel it runs through. See
Synops: Pur: Theol: Disp. 42. Thes: 48, and divers others who might
be cited to this purpose.


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