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Rule xii. In church affairs to make no difference of persons, but to condescend to the meanest persons and services for the use of the brethren.

James ii. 1–6, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, 81and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor,” etc.

Matt. xx. 26, 27, “It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”

Rom. xii. 16, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”

John xiii. 12–16, “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”

Explication xii. Where the Lord hath not distinguished, neither ought we. In Jesus Christ there is neither rich nor poor, high nor low, but a new creature. Generally, “God hath chosen the poor of this world to confound the mighty.”

Experience shows us that not many great, not many wise, not many mighty after the flesh, are partakers of the heavenly calling; — not that the gospel of Christ doth any way oppose or take away those many differences and distinctions among the sons of men, caused by power, authority, relation, enjoyment of earthly blessings, gifts, age, or any other eminency whatsoever, according to the institution and appointment of God, with all that respect, reverence, duty, obedience, and subjection due unto persons in those distinctions, much less pull up the ancient bounds of propriety and interest in earthly things; but only declares, that in things purely spiritual, these outward things, which for the most part happen alike unto all, are of no value or esteem. Men in the church are considered as saints, and not as great or rich. All are equal all are naked, before God.

Free grace is the only distinguisher, — all being brethren in the same family, servants of the same Master, employed about the same work, acted by the same precious faith, enjoying the same purchased privileges, expecting the same recompense of reward and eternal abode. Whence should any difference arise? Lot, then, the greatest account it their greatest honour to perform the meanest necessary service to the meanest of the saints. A community in all spiritual 82advantages should give equality in spiritual affairs. Not he that is richest, not he that is poorest, but he that is humblest, is accepted before the Lord.

Motives hereunto are, — 1. Christ’s example; 2. Scripture precepts; 3. God’s not accepting persons; 4. Joint participation of the same common faith, hope, etc.; 5. The unprofitableness of all causes of outward differences in the things of God.

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