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FORMS OF ORDINATION.
FOR ORDAINING THE MINISTERS OF GOD'S
WORD. The sermon and the usual prayers being finished, the Minister shall thus speak
to the Congregation : BELOVED BRETHREN: it is known unto you, that we have now at three different times published the nime 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 Pastors 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 life eternal, doth by a particular mark of His favor use the ministry of men therein. There
fore the Apostle Paul saith, that the Lord Jesus Christ “gave 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 but the preaching of the Gospel, accompanied with Prayer, and the administration of the Holy Sacra ments. The same Word of God is likewise the staff with which the flock is guided and ruled. Conse quently, it is evident that the office of Pastors and Ministers of God's Word is :
First, That they faithfully explain to their flock, the Word of the Lord, revealed by the writings of the prophets and the apostles; and apply the same, as well in general as in particular, to the edification of the hearers; 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. AU this is clearly signified to us in Holy Writ; for the Apostle Paul saith, that these labor in the Word ; and elsewhere he teaches 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 the doctrine: “likewise, he that prophesieth (that is, preacheth God's Word], speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and confort.' In another place, he proposes himself as a pattern to Pastors, declaring that he “publicly, and from nouse to house, taught, and testified repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” But particularly we have a clear description of the office of Ministers of God's Word, (2 Cor. 5: 18–20), where the Apostle thus speaketh, "And all things are of God, who hath 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 unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did be. seech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Concerning the refutatior of false doctrine, the same Apostle saith (Tit. 1:9), that a Minister must “hold fast the faithful Word of God, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the gainsayers.”
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 and the Apostles; to which St. Paul, alluding, thus speaketh 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," etc., (1 Tim. 2:1, 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: “Baptize 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,” etc.
Finally. It is the duty of the Ministers of the Word, to keep the Church of God in good discipline, and to govern it in such a manner as the Lord hath ordained. For Christ, having spoken of the Christian discipline, says to His Apostles, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." And St. Paul will have the Ministers know how to rule their own house, since they otherwise neither can provide for, nor rule the Church of God. This is the reason why the Pastors are in Scripture called Stewards of God and Bishops, that is, overseers and watchmen; for they have the oversight of the house of God, wherein they are conversant, to the end that every thing may be transacted with good order and decency; and, also,
that they may open and shut, with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven committed to them, according to the charge given them by God.
From these things may be learned, what a glorious work the Ministerial Office is; since so great things are effected by it; yea, how highly necessary it is for man's salvation : which is also the reason why the Lord will have such an Office always to remain. For Christ said when He sent forth His Apostles to officiate in this holy function, “ Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world;" where we see His pleasure is, that this Holy Office, (for the persons to whom he here speaketh could not live to the end of the world), should always be maintained on earth. And, therefore, St. Paul exhorted Timothy, "to commit that which he had heard of him to faithful men, who should be able to teach others”; as he also, having ordained Titus, minister, further commanded him to “ordain elders in every city," (Tit. 1:5).
Forasmuch therefore as we, for the maintaining of this office in the Church of God, are now to ordain a new Minister of the Word, and have suffi. ciently spoken of the Office of such persons; there. fore you, N., shall answer to the following questions, to the end that it may appear to all here present, that you are inclined to accept of this Office as above described.
First. I ask thee, dost thou feel in thy heart that thou art lawfully called of God's Church, and therefore, of God Himself, to this Holy Ministry?
Secondly. Dost thou believe the books of the Old