Peter Martyr Vermigli on ruling elders

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
He that ruleth, with diligence.] Although I doubt not that there were many kinds of government in the Church, yet to confess the truth, this as I think may most aptly be understood of those which were called praesbiteri, that is, elders, not of these which had the charge of the word and of doctrine, but of those which were appointed as helpers to the pastors. They as men of the wiser sort & endowed with a greater zeal and piety, were chosen out of the Laity. Their office was chiefly to see unto discipline, and to look what every man did, and in every house & family to see what every man needed, either as touching the soul, or as touching the body.

For the Church had his elders, or if I may so speak, his senate, which as time required provided for all things mete and profitable. Paul describeth this kind of ministry not only in this place but also in the first to Timothy: For thus he writeth. The elders, are worthy of double honour, especially they which labour in the word & in doctrine. In which words he seemeth to signify, there are some praesbiteri which teach and set forth the word of God: and there are others, which although they do not this, yet are they governors in the Church as elders. ...

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