Samuel Miller: Avoiding extremes on the divine right of church government

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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
... That the Scriptures, undoubtedly, exhibit to us a form of ecclesiastical organization and rule, which was, in fact, instituted by the Apostles, under the direction of infinite Wisdom: That this form was evidently taken, with very little alteration, from the preceding Economy, thus giving additional presumption in its favour: That we find the same plan closely copied by the churches for a considerable time after the apostolic age:- That it continued to be in substance the chosen and universal form of government in the Church, until corruption, both in doctrine and practice, had, through the ambition and degeneracy of ecclesiastics, gained a melancholy prevalence:- And, that the same form was also substantially maintained by the most faithful witnesses for the truth, during the dark ages, until the great body of the Reformers took it from their hands, and established it in their respective ecclesiastical connexions.

These premises would appear abundantly to warrant the conclusion, that the form of Government which answers this description, is the wisest and best; that it is adapted to all ages and states of society; and that it is agreeable to the will of Christ that it be universally received in his Church. All this the writer of the following Essay fully believes may be established in favor of Presbyterianism. There seems no reason, however, to believe, with some zealous votaries of the hierarchy, that any particular form of government is in so rigorous a sense of divine right, as to be essential to the existence of the Church; so that where this form is wanting, there can be no Church. To adopt this opinion, is to take a very narrow and unscriptural view of the covenant of grace. ...

For more, see Samuel Miller: Avoiding extremes on the divine right of church government.
 
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