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which is expressed in the methods of his common providence in the world. There are several metaphorical expressions used, in scripture, to denote Christ's care of, and the particular relation he stands in to his church : thus he is described as their Shepherd, performing those things for them that such a relation imports, Psal. xxiii. 1, 2. and Ixxx. 1. Isa. xl. 11. Jer. xxxi. 10. namely, his giving them, in a spiritual sense, rest and safety, gathering, leading, and defending them; and as such he does more for his people, than the shepherd, who, being faithful to his trust, hazards his life; for Christ is expressly said to give his life for his sheep, John X. 11.

Moreover, his care of his church is set forth, by his standing in the relation of a Father to them; which argues his tender and compassionate concern for their welfare, as well as safety, Deut. xxxii. 7. Psal. ciii. 13. Isa. Ixiii. 16. Jer. xxxi. 9. Now the care of Christ, extended to his Church, consists,

1st, In his separating them from, and, as it were, gathering them out of the world, or that part of it that lieth in wicked ness, as the apostle says, The whole world lieth in wickedness, 1 John v. 19. or, as the word may be rendered, in the wicked one; upon which account it is called, Satan's kingdom. He gives them restraining grace, brings them under conviction of sin, and humbles them for it; and, by the preaching of the gospel, not only informs them of the way of salvation, but brings them into it.

2dly, By raising up, and spiriting some amongst them for extraordinary service and usefulness in their station, adorning them with those graces, whereby their conversation is exemplary, and they made to shine as lights in the world; and not only in some particular instances, but by a constant succession, filling up the places of those who are removed to a better world, with others, who are added to the church daily, of such as shali be saved.

III. The divine appointment of Deacons in the Christian church, is beyond dispute, Acts vi. 1-6. 1 Tim. iii. 8-11, Rom. xii. 8. 1 Cor. xii. 28. Pbil. i. 1.'They ought to be mien of honest report, fiell of the Holy Ghost, and, of wisdom, 1 Tim. iii. 8-10. Acts vi. 3.-Their election and ordination ought not, in its manner, to differ from that of elders, Acts vi. 1–6. Their work is to manage the temporal affairs of the congregation relative to the table of the poor, the table of ministers, and the table of the Lord, Acts vi. 2. 1 Cor. xii. 28. No other, work is annexed to their office in scripture. Hence though some of the first 'seucn deacons, becoming evangelists, might preach and administer sacraments, yet none, as deacons, have any right to do so.

There is no hint in scripture, that the offices of RULING ELDE) and DEACON were designed to be temporary. Both of them were appointed on moral grounds and necessities respecting every church and period. The rules concerning them both are to be observed till the end of the world, 1 Tim. vi. 13, 14. No congregation can therefore answer to Jesus Christ, for dropping of deacons, any rore than for the dropping of ruling elders,

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3dly, His care is farther extended, by fatherly correction, to prevent their rụin and apostacy, which, as the apostle says, is an instance of his love to them Heb. xii. 6, 7. and also of his keeping them from, and in the hour of temptation, Rev. iii. 10. and bruising Satan under their feet, Rom. xvi. 20. and in supporting them under, and fortifying them against the many difficulties, reproaches, and persecutions, they are exposed to in this world, as Moses says, in the blessing of Asher, As thy days, so shall thy strength be; the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms, Deut. xxxiii. 25, 27.

(2.) The visible church is under Christ's special government. It is a part of his glory, as Mediator, that he is the supreme Head and Lord thereof; and this cannot but redound to the advantage of his subjects, as these we are speaking of are said to be, who profess subjection to him, which is not only their duty, but their peculiar glory, as they are thereby distinguished from the world, and entitled to his special regard. He is theig King, and accordingly,

1st, He gives them laws, by which they are visibly governed, so that they are not destitute of a rule of government, any more than of a rule of faith, whereby their peace, order, edification, and salvation, are promoted, and all the advantages, which they receive from the wisdom and conduct of pastors, or other officers, whom he has appointed to go in and out before them, to feed them with knowledge and understanding, Jer. i. 15. to watch for their souls, Heb. xiii. 17, are all Christ's gifts, and therefore privileges which the church enjoys, as under his government.

2dly, He protects and presenves them, notwithstanding the opposition of all their enemies; so that whatever attempts have been hitherto made to extirpate or ruin them, haye been ineffectual. The church has weathered many a tempest, and had safety, as well as various marks of the divine honour and far vour, under all the persecutions, which it has been exposed to; so that, according to our Saviour's prediction, The gates of hell have not prevuiled against it, Matt. xvi. 18. and all these afflictive dispensations of providence are over-ruled for the promoting his own glory, and their spiritual advantage..

(3.) Another privilege, which the church enjoys, is communion of saints. Communion is the consequence of union, and therefore since they are united together as visible saints, they enjoy that communion, which is the result thereof. Theaposa tle speaks of a two-fold fellowship which the church enjoys, their attaining whereof he reckoned the great end and design of his ministry, when he says, That which

we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us ; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Fesus Christ, 1 John i. 3. The former of these is included is church communion; the latter is an honour which God is pleased sometimes to confer on those who are brought into this relation: It is what all are to hope for, though none but they, who are Christ's subjects by faith, are made partakers of it. However, the communion of saints is, in itself, a great privilege, inasmuch as that a common profession, which they make of subjection to Christ, and the hope of the gospel, which they are favoured with, is a strong motive and inducement to holiness.

And it is not the smallest part of the advantage, which arises from hence, that they are interested in the prayers of all the faithful that are daily put up to God for those blessings on all his churches which may tend to their edification and salvation:

And as to what concerns the members of particular churches, who have communion with one another; there is a great advantage arising from mutual conversation about divine things, and the endeavour, which they are obliged to use to build up themselves in their holy faith, Jude ver. 20. and to consider one another to provoke unto love, and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of themselves together, but exhorting one another, Heb. X. 24, 25. and also the obligations they are under to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ, Gal. vi. 2. and to express that sympathy

and compassion to each other, under the various afflictions and trials which they are exposed to.

And to this we may add another privilege which they are made partakers of, in that they have coinmunion with one ano. ther in the ordinance of the Lord's supper, in which they hope for and enjoy communion with him, whose death is shewed forth therein, and the benefits thereof applied to them that believe.

(4.) The church is farther said to enjoy the ordinary means of salvation, and the offers of grace to all the members thereof in the ministry of the gospel, by which we are to understand the word preached, and prayer. These are called the ordinary means of salvation, as distinguished from the powerful influences of the Spirit, which are the internal and efficacious means of grace, producing

such effects, as infer the right which such have to eternal life. These ordinary means of grace the church is said to partake of. It is for their sake that the gospel is continued to be preached, and a public testimony to the truth thereof is given by them to the world; and, in the preaching there of, Christ is offered to sinners, and, pursuant thereunto, grace given, whereby the church is increased, and built up by those who are taken out of the world, as God makes these ordinances effectual to answer that end. The duty of waiting on him therein is ours, the success thereof is intirely owing to the di

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