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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

But such are the curates Ergo 2


I.

It is necessary that we must acknowledge them ministers of Christ, and his ambassadors clothed with his commission, from whom we receive the ordinances of the gospel. For otherwise they must be looked upon as thieves, robbers, usurpers, and strangers, whom Christ's sheep will not, nay must not hear, John x. 1, 5. And "how shall they preach," or be heard, "except they be sent," Rom. x. 15. For such whom we know may not lawfully preach, we cannot lawfully hear. These from whom we may receive the mysteries of God, we must account ministers of Christ, 1 Cor. iv. 1. and ambassadors for Christ, standing in his stead, beseeching us to be reconciled to God, 2 Cor. v. 20. Hence such as we doubt to acknowledge ministers of Christ, clothed with his commission, them we cannot hear without sin; but the prelatical curates are such as we doubt to acknowledge ministers of Christ, clothed with his commission: therefore we cannot hear them. The minor only needs probation. These who neither have nor can have the qualifications of a minister of Christ, cannot be acknowledged with confidence to be ministers of Christ clothed with his commission: but the prelatical curates are such: Ergo----First, they neither have, nor can have the qualifications of Christ's ministers; since few of them have the personal, as christians, far less the ministerial as officers, mentioned 1 Tim. iii. 2, 3. Tit. i. 6, 9. except it be to be "husbands of one wife," and if that do not make them ministers, they having nothing
else, especially four are wanting in all of them. (1.) Blamelessness, and freedom from scandal, even such as affects the office (besides other gross disorders in their life and conversation, obvious to the view of onlookers, being men who have denied the faith; and therefore unfit to have the privilege of church members in any well governed church) being, in the experience of all that know them signalized under the characters of those that run unsent, and from whom we are commanded to withdraw: causing the people to err by their lies, and by their lightness, not sent of God, Jer. xxiii. making the heart of the righteous sad, and strengthening the hands of the wicked, Ezek. xiii. 22. See also Ezek. xxxiv. 2, 3. Such as we are commanded to beware of, Matth. vii. 15, 16. Such as we must mark and avoid, Rom. xvi. 17, 18. Phil. iii. 2. Disorderly walkers from whom we must withdraw, 2 Thess. iii. 6. Covenant breakers, from whom we are commanded to turn away, 2 Tim. iii. 3, 5. They are not then blameless: and in shewing how fitly these agree unto the persons now spoken of, time needs not be spent, such as know them can best judge. Hence, such as either are not fit to be church members, or have all the characters of such officers from whom we are to withdraw, cannot be acknowledged capable of the qualifications of the ministers of Christ; but such are the curates: Ergo----(2.) The qualification of vigilancy cannot be found with them for all that know them will acknowledge that they neither do, nor can in preaching the word be "instant in season and out of season," so as to make "full proof of their ministry," 2 Tim. vi. 1,--5.


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