And if they be ashamed of all that they have
As sinful and, criminal, at least as very imperfect and defective, and not answerable to the pattern shown them, from which they have sadly deviated; if made sensible of this, and they acknowledge it with shame, not only the house in general, but the particulars of it, are to be shown with them; for, to sensible and penitent persons, more grace, light, knowledge, and judgment in divine things, are given: shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof;
the form and order of a Gospel church; which is not national, provincial, or parochial, nor Presbyterian, but congregational; consisting of persons called out of the world by the grace of God, and who are incorporated and knit together in Gospel bonds; among whom the word of God is faithfully preached, and the ordinances truly administered, and furnished with proper officers, pastors, and deacons; the one to take care of the spiritual, the other of the temporal affairs of the church; and to see a church in such form and order, and thus organized, is a very beautiful sight. And the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof;
the gates and way of entrance into it, which is only by Christ, and a profession of faith in him; and care should be taken that none be admitted but such who appear to be regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit of God; to be righteous through the righteousness of Christ; and that keep the truth, and hold the doctrines of the Gospel: and also the way and manner of excluding unworthy persons, such who are immoral in their lives, and erroneous in their principles, should be observed. And all the forms thereof; the decorations of it, signified by the cherubim and palm trees; so Jarchi and Kimchi; and these expressive of ministers of the word, and faithful men: this is often repeated, that it might be the more observed; for to have ministers to answer such characters is of great consequence. And all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof,
and all the laws thereof; the ordinances are those of baptism and the Lord's supper, which are to continue until the second coming of Christ: the laws are, besides the moral law, in the hands of Christ the lawgiver, the law of loving one another, called the law of Christ, and his new commandment; and all the laws relating to worship and discipline, concerning the reproof of members, in case of private or public offences; and concerning the exclusion of disorderly or heretical persons: and write it in their sight;
the plan and model of this house, and all things belonging to it, that they may have it before them, as the rule of their conduct and behaviour: that they may keep the whole form thereof,
and all the ordinances thereof, and do them; for all this is shown, not for mere speculation, and to gratify curiosity, but in order to be put in practice; all these rules, laws, and ordinances, are to be kept in faith, from a principle of love, in the name and strength of Christ, and with a view to the glory of God.