From John Cotton’s The Keys of the Kingdom 65-67

All legislative power (power of making of Laws) in the Church is in [Christ], and not from him derived to any other, Jam. 4. 12. La. 33. 22. The power derived to others, is onely to publish and execute his Laws and Ordinances, and to see them observed, Mat. 28. 20. His Laws are perfect, Psal. 19. 9. and do make the man of God perfect to every good work, Tim. 3. 17. and need no addition.

2. From his soveraign power it proceedeth, that he onely can erect and ordain a true constitution of a Church estate, Htb. 3. 3 to 6. He buildeth his own house, and setieth the pattern of it, as God gave to David the pattern of Salomon’s Temple, 1 Chron. 28. 19. None hath power to erect any other Church-frame, then as this Master-builder hath left us a pattern thereof in the Gospel. In the Old Testament ihe Church set up by him was Nationall,in the New, Congregationall; yet so as that in sundrie cases it is ordered by him, many congregations or their messengers, may be assembled into a Synod. Act. 15.

3. It is from the same soveraigne power, that all the offices, or ministeries in the Church are ordained by him, 1 Cor. 12. 5. yea and all the members are set in the body by him, together with all the power belonging to their offices and places; as in the naturall body, so in the Church. 1 Cor. 12. 18.

4. From this soveraigne power in like sort it is, that all gifts to discharge any office, by the officers, or any duty by the members are from him, 1Cor. 12. 11. All treasures of wisdome, and knowledge, and grace, and the fulnesse thereof, are in him for that end, Col. 2. 3. and v. 9. 10. Joh. 1. 16. 5.

5. From this soverajgne power it is, that all the spirituall power, and efficacie, and blessing, in the administration of these gifts in these offices and places, for the gathering and edifying, and perfecting of all ihe Churches, and of all the Saints in them is from him, Mat. 28. 20. Lo I am with you alwayes, &c. Col. 1. 29. 1 Cor. 15.9.

The good pleasure of the Father, the personall union of the humane nature with the eternall Son of God, His purchase of his Church with his own blood, and His deep humiliation of himself unto the death of the Crosse, have all of ihem obtained to him this his highest exaltation, to be head over all things unto the Church, and to injoy as king thereof this soveraigne power, Col. 1. 19. Col. 2. 2. 9. 10. Act. 20. 28. Phil. 2. 8. to 11.

But of this soveraigne power of Christ, there is no question amongst Protestants, especially studious of Reformation.


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