Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government
Jesus Christ, upon whose shoulders the government is, whose name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace1; of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end; who sits upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth, even for ever; having all power given unto him in heaven and in earth by the Father, who raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, far above all principalities and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all: he being ascended up far above the heavens, that he might fill all things, received gifts for his church, and gave officers necessary for the edification of his church, and perfecting of his saints.
Question 1.—Is the government upon the shoulders of Jesus Christ, whose name is called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace? Answer.—Yes. Isa. 9:6. Jesus Christ, our Mediator, has the government (both of the Church and all things for the Church) laid upon his shoulder. Thus do they err who deny a jus divinum or jure divino—a divine right—in this matter of government. They are confuted for the following reasons: 1.) The psalmist tells us that the Father sent Christ, and so set him his King upon his holy hill of Zion—which is the church, Ps. 2:6. 2.) No one can say its my Church, but he who is the King of the Church, but so says Christ, Matt. 16:18. 3.) That he bears the government of this Church is made evident by his giving of the keys of the kingdom to whom he will, Matt. 16:19. 4.) Isaiah tells us that the key of this kingdom has been laid upon the shoulder of Christ, Isa. 22:22. 5.) The apostle declares that Christ is the head of his body the Church, Col. 1:18. Question 2.—Of the increase of Christ’s government and peace shall there be no end; and does He sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth, even for ever? Answer.—Yes. Isa. 9:7. Glorious things are here spoken of Christ’s government: 1.) That it shall be an increasing government, Ps. 2:8. It shall be multiplied; the bounds of his kingdom shall be more and more enlarged, Dan. 2:35, 44. The lustre of it shall increase, and it shall shine more and more brightly in the world, Isa. 60:1-5. The monarchies of the earth were each less illustrious than the other, so that what began in gold ended in iron and clay, and every monarchy dwindled by degrees; but the kingdom of Christ is a growing kingdom, and will come to perfection at last, Dan. 2:32-34; Ps. 72:8-11. 2.) That it shall be a peaceable government, agreeable to his character as the prince of peace, Isa. 11:6-9. He shall rule by love, shall rule in men’s hearts; so that wherever his government is there shall be peace, and as his government increases the peace shall increase, Ps. 1Isa. 9:6,7. 2Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 1:20-23; compared with Eph. 4:8,11 and Ps. 68:18.
122:6-8. The more we are subject to Christ the more easy and safe we are, Matt. 11:30; Phil. 3:1. 3.) That it shall be a rightful government, Ezek. 21:27; Gen. 49:10. He that is the Son of David shall reign upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, which he is entitled to. God shall give him the throne of his father David, Luke 1:32, 33. The gospel church, in which Jew and Gentile are incorporated, is the holy hill of Zion, on which Christ reigns, Ps. 2:6. 4.) That it shall be administered with prudence and equity, and so as to answer the great end of government, which is the establishment of the kingdom: He shall order it, and settle it, with justice and judgment. Every thing is, and shall be, well managed, in the kingdom of Christ, and none of his subjects shall ever have cause to complain, Jer. 33:15-21. 5.) That it shall be an everlasting kingdom: There shall be no end of the increase of his government (it shall be still growing), no end of the increase of the peace of it, for the happiness of the subjects of this kingdom shall last to eternity and perhaps shall be progressive in infinitum—for ever, 2 Sam. 7:16; Ps. 89:35-37. He shall reign henceforth even for ever; not only throughout all generations of time, but, even when the kingdom shall be delivered up to God even the Father, the glory both of the Redeemer and the redeemed shall continue eternally, 1 Cor. 15:24, 27, 28; Dan. 7:14, 27. Question 3.—Has all power been given unto him in heaven and in earth by the Father, who raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, far above all principalities and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all? Answer.—Yes. Eph. 1:20-23. That all authority and power in heaven and in earth for the government of the Church has been committed unto Jesus Christ our Mediator is made plain by the following considerations: 1.) The plain testimonies of the Scriptures continually affirm this truth, Isa. 9:6,7; Matt. 28:18, 19; Luke 1:32,33; John 5:22, 27; John 3:35; Rev. 3:7. 2.) The princely titles ascribed to Jesus Christ point to this, Matt. 2:6; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; Heb. 3:6; Jer. 30:9; Rev. 19:16. 3.) The primitive, fundamental, imperial acts of power and supreme authority in the government of the Church: a.) Giving of laws to his Church, Gal. 6:2; Acts 1:2; Jas. 4:12; Isa. 33:22. b.) Constituting ordinances whereby the Church shall be edified; preaching, Matt. 10:7; 1 Cor. 1:17; administering sacraments, Matt. 28:18, 19; 1 Cor. 11:20, 23; dispensing Church censures, Matt. 16:19; 18:15-18. c.) Ordaining and appointing of his own Church officers, 1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Thess. 5:12; Acts 20:28. d.) The dispensing of Christ’s ordinances in his own name, Acts 4:17, 18; John 14:13, 14; 16:23; Matt. 28:18, 19; Acts 19:5; 1 Cor. 5:4. Question 4.—Has he, being ascended up far above the heavens, that he might fill all things, received gifts for his church, and give officers necessary for the edification of his church, and perfecting of his saints? Answer.—Yes. Eph. 4:8, 11; Ps. 68:18. Scripture declares what these gifts were, the institution of a gospel ministry and the qualification of men for it, both which are to be valued as the gifts of heaven and the fruits of Christ’s ascension. By virtue of his mediatorial office, Jesus Christ has received both a Church and the officers necessary for its edification and the perfecting of his saints.