BV597 W547 v1

of a vifible Church of Chriß. S ¡ pie, he made his Application to the Church. This Power of receiving Members into the Church is not in the Hands of Elders, nor are they concerned in it as fuch, but as they themfelves fiand in the Capacity of Members, as well as Officers, and fo aE1 together with their Brethren. We have but oneInílance in all the Scripture, that ever an Elder con- cerned himfelf as fuch, or as having the Power in his Hands to receive, or to hinder the receiving of Members ; and that was Diotrephes, one that had a mind to be a Primate, 3 7ohn ix. I wrote unto the Church, but Diotrephes that loveth to have the Pre- eminency among them, receiveth us not. Whether this receiving was to tranfient Communion, or to a full and fixed Communion, I !hall not determine. But here obferve, (1.) This Letter of Recommendation was not written to Diotrephes, but to the Church : ',wrote tot the Church, which !hews that the Power of receiving was in their Hands. (z.) That Diotrephes would have had a Pre - eminency among them, that is, the Church who was but equally concerned with them in this Matter. (3.) He refufed to receive them himfelf, he receiveth us not. (4) He forbids them that would have received the Bre- thren, taking upon him the Power of excommunicating, casting them out of the Church. (5.) There were force of the Brethren, that fo far underftood their Power and Privilege, that rather than let it go they expofed them- felves to Ejection. (6.) This afamed Power of his is de- teaed by fohn, ver, i o, therefore not to be followed by any Elder or Elders. (7.) There is from hence a Caution given ver. 1 1, Be.'oved, follow not that which is evil, hut that which is good. This was an evil Precedent given by Diotrephes, and therefore not to be followed. I fay, the Power of re- ceiving Members is in the Hands of the Church ; they mull: try and examine them themfelves, to fee whether they be Difciples, which is the only meet Matter to be received by them. I know not what Power Elders have to take their Declaration in private, and to report it to the Church, nor who gave them this Authority. I find no Rule for fuch a Practice. Such as profefs to walk by Rule, fhould be able to produce the Rule for their Praaice; the Church was in being before they were organized: There muff be a E z Candleítick