A Treatise of Ruling Elders and Deacons: Understanding Their Office and Duty (eBook)

by James Guthrie

In ePub, .mobi, .pdf & docx formats

THE inducement that persuaded me first to write, and then to publish this little treatise of ruling elders and deacons, were chiefly these, (1.) The sensible impression that the Lord hath made upon my spirit, as also (I know) upon the spirits of the godly of the land, of the great prejudice that comes to this poor church by a multitude of men in these offices, who neither know their duty, nor make conscience to perform it. (2.) The vindicating the doctrine of our church concerning these church-officers, that mouths of such who speak evil may be stopped, and others who stumble may be satisfied. (3.) The pressing desire of brethren, ministers, and elders in the presbytery and congregation where the Lord had set me; all which did receive some spirit and life, when I found my name among those to whom the general assembly of {308} this church did commit and recommend this work long ago.

I have endeavoured to handle it with as much plainness and evidence of truth, and as shortly, without wronging of the matter as I could: it is not unlike that some may think, that I have done no great business, because I have brought no new thing. I acknowledge that it is so; what I have said is for the matter (I trust) and in many things for the words too, the doctrine of the scriptures, and of protestant divines, and of our church in the acts and policy thereof; I have but put together in one, and digested into some method what was lying scattered before, that these who either could not, nor would not be at the pains, to search for such things may now have them at their hand. Others may look upon this treatise as not plain enough, or as not so exact, full, and perfect as it ought to be; with these I shall not contend, I have done what I could, at least what I conceived best in order to the ends I propounded to myself: if others shall find favour of the Lord to do better, I shall bless his name on their behalf, and receive and make use of their pains with thankfulness. And some may happily think, that there is here too much laid upon ruling elders, more than they shall be able or willing to undertake; yea, more than the Lord doth require of them, most of the things that are mentioned by us being incumbent to ministers rather than to elders. It is true what is said of elders’ duty, is also the duty of ministers, for whatsoever the elder ought to do by virtue {309} of his calling, that also ought the minister to do and somewhat more, but so far as we know, nothing is spoken here of the elder, that doth not belong to him; if through ignorance or want of ability, or neglect, or custom, elders have not done these things, it is that which ought to be helped, it is now high time for them to awake, and to know and own and follow their duty; and for the church of God in Scotland, to know how much she hath smarted under the hands of ignorant and slothful, yea and scandalous men; we would not always satisfy ourselves "with disguised and histrionical men, puffed up with titles or with idols, dead in sins to be elders; but would seek after holy men, who being endued with faith in God, and walking in obedience, God authorizing them, and the church his spouse choosing them, and calling them, undertake the government thereof, that they may labour to the conservation and edification of the same in Christ;"1 neither need the qualification, or multitude, or difficulties of the particulars here spoken of, discourage or scare any: It is not so much the measure as the truth of the thing that is to be looked at. We have set down what a ruling elder ought to be, in regard to the whole extent of his charge, sundry particulars whereof the most part of ruling elders are seldom called to exercise, and if they be in some measure fitted for these parts of the charge which God calls them to exercise, and follow the same with singleness of heart, they may believe that they shall {310} be assisted, and accepted of God in Jesus Christ; the employment is not theirs but the Lord’s, from whom they may expect both their furniture and also their reward; let them arise and be doing, and the Lord shall be with them.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Scotish Covenanters - James Guthrie (bio)

The Preface

To the Christian Reader

Chapter I: Of Elders, Of their Names

Chapter II: Of the Institution of Ruling Elders

Chapter III: Of the Vocation of Calling of Ruling Elders

CHAPTER IV: Of the Duties of a Ruling Elder

CHAPTER V: Of the Duties of their Calling which are more private

CHAPTER VI: Of these Duties which are more public, and which they are to perform jointly with others

CHAPTER VII: Of the duty of elders in censuring scandals and scandalous persons, and receiving of penitents

CHAPTER VIII: Of Deacons. Of their names

CHAPTER IX: Of the Institution of Deacons

CHAPTER X: Of the Calling of Deacons

CHAPTER XI: Of their Duty. First of their conversation

CHAPTER XII: Of the Duties of their Calling

 

Related Resources
The Church of Christ (eBook) by James Bannerman
Biblical Elders and Deacons (eBook) by Nehemiah Coxe D. 1688

 
 

By Topic

Joy

By Scripture

Old Testament

Genesis

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

Joshua

Judges

Ruth

1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

Ezra

Nehemiah

Esther

Job

Psalms

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

Song of Solomon

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Lamentations

Ezekiel

Daniel

Hosea

Joel

Amos

Obadiah

Jonah

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi

New Testament

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Acts

Romans

1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians

1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

1 Timothy

2 Timothy

Titus

Philemon

Hebrews

James

1 Peter

2 Peter

1 John

2 John

3 John

Jude

Revelation

By Author

Latest Links