¶ A BRIEFE and plaine declaration, con­cerning the desires of all those faithfull Ministers, that haue and do seeke for the Discipline and reformation of the Church of Englande:

Which may serue for a iust Apologie, against the false accusations and slaunders of their aduersaries.


AT LONDON; Printed by Robert Walde-graue. 1584.

A praeface to the Christian Reader.

THE holy Prophets hauing oftentymes,1. Pet. 9. 10. * but searched vvhen and at vvhat time the foreseeing spirit of God de­clared vnto them the mani­fold afflictions and troubles of the church to come; haue therevpon entered into great lamentations for the same: And haue not onely vvept and fasted them selues,Lamen. 1. 2 3. 4. * but haue compiled for the church vvhole bookes of lamentations; therein instru­cting them what vvay to take,Ioel. 2. for appeasing the fierce wrath of God breaking out against them. VVhich dutie in semblable maner should novv long agoe haue beene done of vs, did not the hope vvee conceiue in the middest of manye tempestes, confirme vs in such expectation of her maiestie and her most honourable counsell, as that according to their clemencie tovvardes the poore ministers and their families, but most especially according to their holye and zealous care, vvhich ought to abound for the cleane dri­uing out of the Cananites, and planting, hed­ging, pruning, and continuall preseruing of the Lord his vineyard, from Foxes, yea little Foxes, [Page] this ciuill vvar, as a man may say, of the church vvherein so much of that bloudAct. 20. 26. * (vvherof Paule speaketh) is powred to the grounde, shoulde by their holie and iuste authoritie, fully bee ended. Now, vvhen as vve at this time, are subiect al­moste vnto all the afflictions vvhich can come vnto a church, blessed of God vvith such a chri­stian and happie regiment; as to the prophane scoffing of the *Neh. 4. 2. 3. 4 Hammonits at the buylding of the church,Neh. 4. 7. as at a vval vvhich a Fox should de­stroy; to the conspiracies of the Arrabies and those of Ashod; to the falseNeh. 6. 5. 6. * charges of sediti­on, contempt of all good lavves and procee­dinges, like to that of Sanballat; yea to theNeh. 10. 11. 12 * pro­phetes them selues, vndermining, nay reuiling, displacing, and grieuouslye afflicting the Godly and learned ministerie, & so consequently pla­ging the Church vvith that plague vvherbyIoel. 1. 9. * the priestes may mourne,Amos. 8. 11. 12. 13. because there is no offe­ring, and the people perishe, euen the yong men vvith the famine of hearing the vvorde of God preached: when I say, we are subiect to al these, vvee can thinke of no vvaye for reconciling the brethren at variance, & after a most sure & holy vnion of both their forces, for a couragious set­ting vpon the common aduersary, then the cer­taine, peaceable and reasonable vvay following. VVhich is, that vvhereas both by bookes alrea­die written, and by treatizes latelye and novv published, it may appeare vve seeke that vvhich at the least in the iudgement of all true Christi­ans hath no small probabilitie (as vve iudge ne­cessitie) of trueth out of the scriptures: it maye please her most excellent maiestie and their ho­nours [Page] to appoynt on both sides the best learned, most Godly & moderate men to debate all dif­ferences of vvaight betweene them and vs. So that first vpon sufficient consideration, the que­stions to be debated be vvithout all ambiguitie set downe, the reasons of both sides vvithout all out-goynges shortly and plainely deliuered in vvriting each to other, that after vpon sufficient examination the reasons of both be continual­lye confirmed and resolued, till eyther by the e­uidence of truth one part yeeld vnto the other; or the folly and madnes of those vvhich gayne­say it, do in equall iudgement become manifest, in regarde of the contradictions and absurdities vvhereto they shall bee dryuen by the force of Gods vvorde. VVhich vvay though it shoulde come naked vnto vs can not well be refused, but beeing richly attyred vvith all robes and orna­ments vvhich the scripture giueth vnto the Sy­nodicall assemblyes for such conferences: as namely that there beeAct. 15. 7. * much searching of the trueth by sufficient reasoning vvithout all by matters, quarrels, euasions and colours vvhatso­euer, that there be much1. Cor. 14. 13. 32. * order, vvhen the spi­rite of euerye prophet shall be subiect vnto the spirits of the other prophets, & the iudgement of al shalbe sufficiently heard, vvithout stopping of free & sufficient answere, without Lordly carry­ing away of the matter with no substāce of rea­son, vvhere no authoritie, pregnancie of vvit, plausible perswasion of mans vvisedome, shall turn the truth aside, but al shal stand in the1. Cor. 2. 4. * eui­dent demonstration of Gods spirite: lastly that there be1. Cor. 14. 33 * peace without all bitternes, reuilinges, [Page] suspicions, chargings of men dead & aliue, wher­by affections are mooued, iudgement blinded, and men driuen as vvith a mighty streame from the loue of the truth: vvhen it commeth thus a­dorned vve thinke, that vvhich we labor to pro­cure to be so honorableAct. 14. 16. * not only before God, but also before men, that none can iudge other­vvise of it then vve doe. For if any shall obiect, that the graue authoritie of Archbishops & Bi­shoppes shall receiue a checke, whilest they are brought to deale with those, whome they iudge fewe, young, vnlearned, and not comparable to them selues: or that it is a challenge not much vnlike the Papistes: or lastly, that it shall be pre­iudiciall to the estate of gouerment established: It maye please their wisedomes vvho are to bee iudges, to consider what vvee haue to aunsvvere vnto these things: which, if they haue the truth of God his word, containe the safest & best way in such cases, tend to the full quieting of all, and the remoouing of the plagues vvhich are vppon vs, and are like dayly further to come, euen from the cōmon aduersary: VVe may boldly yet most humbly vppon our knees requyre them before God and all his elect Angels no [...] to cast it away. VVherfore for the first, let vs grant the great difference vvhich they make of yeares and lear­ning, yet the speech of Elihu giueth them suffi­cient answere,Iob. 32. 7. 8. that this vnderstanding is not ty­ed to such outvvard respectes but to theIob. 32. 21. 22. * reue­lation of Gods spirit, and to accept in such cases the persons of men, or to giue titles, is but to prouoke God to destroy vs. Yea let the memo­rable examples of2. Chro. 30. 1 5. 23. ver. * Ezechias and the priestes: of [Page] Actes. 15. 23. the Apostles in their counsels, of *Gal. 1. 1. Paule in his Epistles, and euen of *Act. 11. 1. 2. 3 4. &c. Peter in yeelding to the challenge of some not so well instructed mooue them, vvho not onely not refused the Leuites & Elders; but accepted the people in some maner to be heard to speake, and to authorize their de­terminations and writings: at least let their own opinion, that, in interpreting the scriptures and deliuerye of doctrine,D. VVhit­gifts booke. page. 389. we are equall vvith them, persvvade them, not to refuse those, vvho if they coulde straine their consciences to subscribe to the Archbish. articles, they would gladly receiue them to be the Ambassadors of Iesus Christ. As for the fevvnes it may bee, if the ignorant mini­sters, the varietie of other which subscribe, some doing it vvith this limitation & some vvith that, some holding their former iudgement as not gaine sayd by their subscription, some lamenting their slip in that behalfe vvere deducted, the nū ­ber of the one vvoulde not so greatly surmount the other. As for the challenge of the Papistes knit vp vvith the consideration of the estate, the difference may be considered in the matter and maner. Concerning the matter, they make it in the substaunce of religion vvhich hath in diuers assemblies abroad and at home beene disputed, resolued, and novv publikly maintayned for our true & holy faith. VVe in maters concerning the gouernment of Christ of great moment indeed, yet neuer thus handled, nor vrging the alterati­on, but perfection of the estate of the Church, & further good of the common wealth, vvhilst by this means amongst many other things of great importance, the ignorant ministery, & by it po­perie, [Page] & by popery rebellion should be auoyded, vvhich by the other are most manifestly bred & nourished. Concerning the maner, they call it to a sudden and tumultuous reasoning, vvhere the readiest vvit, the best memorye, the moste filed speech, shall carry avvaye the truth, at least mar­uailously moue the vngrounded harers. VVe re­quire that where both sides may vpon mature & sufficient deliberation be beard vvithout any of these shewes, and the matter deliuered vnto her maiestie, their Hh: and vvhomsoeuer they shall chuse, to receiue and examine the allegations of both sides: So that it neede not be communica­ted vnto the people, vntill the manifest light of truth appeare first vnto them. And if this so safe and reasonable an offer, cannot be liked in the respect of the last obiected consideration, vve thinke it impossible, but the persons vvhich de­sire a vvay so sound, peaceable and dutifull, shall recouer this fauor that vvith safety of their con­sciences, they shall exercise their ministery vvith that libertie, vvhich is meet for those, vvho shall be tyed in all thinges to haue especiall regard to the peace of the Church and publique orders. VVherefore most christian Reader, vvhen thou shalt by these sevve, take knovvledge of these things, pray vnto God for vs, and as thy place is, solicite and further so iust a cause, to this ende onely, that Christes kingdome may be perfectly established, the consciences of al the godly qui­eted, and the happy regiment of her maiestie honored, vvith much peace ioye and quietnesse at home.


¶ A LEARNED DIS­COVRSE, OF ECCLESIASTI­call Gouernement, prooued by the worde of God.

THE Churche of God is the house of God,Tim. 3. 15. and therefore ought to bee directed in all thinges,The defini­tion of the Church. accor­ding to the or­der prescribed by the Housholder himselfe: Which order is not to bee learned else-where, but in his Holy worde. The first of these principles or propositions, is the very worde of the holy Ghost vttered by Paul: The seconde followeth necessarily of the first. The thirde is a manifest trueth beleeued of all them, that acknow­ledge the scripture of God, to bee a [Page 2] perfect rule of all our life, and able to make the man of God perfect,2. Tim. 3. 17. prepared to all good workes.

This foundation being surely layde,VVhat mi­nisters are appointed in the church. against which the gates of hell can­not preuayle: wee ought diligently and reuerently to searche the holie scriptures, that wee may finde what order our sauiour Christe our onely housholder hath set foorth in them, by which he woulde haue his house or church to be directed in al things, appertaining to the eternall saluati­on of vs men, his vnprofitable ser­uants. Nowe we finde in the scrip­tures, that our sauiour Christe ascen­ding into Heauen, was not vnmind­full of his Church on earth,Ephes. 4. 11. but or­dayned an holy ministerye of men,1. Cor. 12. 28. to the building vp of the body of Christ in vnity of faith and knowledge. We finde also, that as the offices are diuerse of this ministery: so they are not generall vnto all the Church, but as order and necessitye require, for executing of their office, distributed and limitted vnto certaine places or [Page 3] particuler Churches, according to the diuision of Regions, Cities, and Townes. For we reade that Paule and Barnabas ordeyned at Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, Antiochia, &c: Elders by ele­ction in euery Churche,Act. 14. 23. with Prayer and fasting, and so commended them to the Lorde, in whome they belee­ued.Titus. 1. 5. Also Paule left Titus in the Ile of Creta, that he shoulde ordaine Elders in euery City, as hee had appointed. Concerning the diuers offices of the Ministery, wee are taught by Saynte Paule. Rom. 12. 6. Also 1. Cor. 12. 28. and Ephes. 4. 11.Rom. 12. 6. 1. Cor. 12. 28 Ephes. 4. 11. Where we reade, that God hath ordained in the ministery of his Church, these se­uerall offices: Namely, Apostles, Euan­gelistes, Prophetes, Pastors, Doctours, Go­uernoures and Deacons: Also men in­dewed with the giftes of healing, of powers or myracles, and of diuerse tongues.

Of these offices, some were tem­porall, seruing onelye for the firste planting & foundation of the church amonge the Heathen: some are [Page 4] perpetuall, pertaining to the nouri­shing and building vp the Church for euer. Of the former sort were Apo­stles, Prophets, Euangelists, men en­dued with the graces of powers, of healings, and of diuerse tongues. Of the latter kinde are doctors, Pastors, Gouernours and Deacons. The Apo­stles were ordained by God, and sent foorth immediatly by Christ, hauing a generall Commission to spread the Gospell ouer all the worlde: Which worke when they had accomplished, that office ceased.Math. 28. 19. Such were the 12. Apostles,Mark. 16. 25. Paule and Barnabas, &c.

And for this cause the Apostles ap­pointed Mathias in the place of Iu­das, Act. 1. 15. according to the Scriptures, per­mitting neuerthelesse, the election vnto God, by casting of Lots, that the number might bee full, for the first planting of the Churche. But when Herod had slaine Iames the brother of Iohn with the sworde,Act. 12. 2. they chose no man to succeede in his place, because they had no warrant of Gods worde, but the holy ghost, as he sawe it was [Page 5] expedient for the Church, afterward separated Paul and Barnabas which li­ued at Antioche, Act. 13. 2. as Prophetes and Teachers, to the worke whereto hee had called them.

The Prophets were suche as were indued with a singular gifte of Re­uelation in the interpretation of the Scriptures,1. Cor. 12. and applying them to the present vse of the Church:Ephes. 4. 11. of whome some also did foreshewe of thinges to come,Acts. 11. 28▪ & 21. 10. as Agabus. Also there were in euery City that Prophecied to S. Paul, as he passed by them, that bonds and afflictions were prepared for him at Hierusalem. Acts. 20. 23 This office being in the number of them that were ordeyned for beautifying the Gospell, in the first publishing thereof, it ceassed with that singuler and extraordinary gift, to bee an ordinarye function of the Church.

The Euangelists were such as were stirred vp of God, to assist the Apo­stles in their ministerye of generall charge: in planting the Gospell, and confirming the same by their prea­ching, [Page 6] but inferiour in dignity to the Apostles.Acts. 8. 5. Such was Philip that firste preached the gospel in Samaria: Whi­ther Peter and Iohn were sent by the Apostles,Act. 8. 14. to conferre vnto them by prayer and imposition of hands, the visible Graces of the holye Ghoste, which Philip did not. The same Phi­lip in Act. 21.Acts. 21. 8. verse 8. is called an Euangelist. So is Timothy, 2. Timoth. 4. 5.2. Tim. 2. 5. 5 Such was Titus, Silus, and many other. This office also with the order of the Apostles is expired, and hath no place. Likewise, as wee doe plain­ly see, that the gifts of healing, of po­vvers or myracles, and of diuerse tonges, haue long since ceassed to be in the Church: So the offices of them which were groūded vpon these gifts, must also cease and bee determined. Therfore the Papists do vainly retain the name & office of Exorcists, when they cānot cast out diuels: & extream vnction, when they cannot cure dis­seases: and to speak with straunge tonges, which they haue not by inspi­ration, & that without any interpre­tation, [Page 7] which Saint Paule expresly for­biddeth.1. Corin. 14. There remayneth therefore of these before rehearsed, onely in the Church, these Ecclesiasticall offices instituted of God:VVhat offi­ces remaine in the Church. namely, Pastors, Doctors, Gouernours, and Deacons: By which the church of God may, accor­ding to his worde, be directed in all matters, which are commonly called Ecclesiasticall. And therefore as it is vnlawful, so it is vnneedeful for men, following the deuises of their owne brayne, without the warrant of Gods worde, to institute and ordayne anye other offices or kindes of ministerye beside these, appointed & approued by God himself, exercised in the Pri­mitiue & pure church, vntil the miste­ry of iniquity working a way for An­tichristes pride & presumption, chan­ged Gods ordinance, and brought in al kind of false doctrine & confusion: and now againe, restored in al rightly reformed Churches, with such daylie increase, and glory of the kingdom of Christ, and suppression of the tyran­nie of Sathan, that the onelye expe­rience [Page 8] hereof, might bee a sufficient perswasion to vs to leaue this disor­dered state of ours, wherein we haue so long laboured with so little profit: and to imbrace that most beautifull order of Ecclesiastical regimēt, which God so manifestlye doth blesse and prosper in our neighboures handes. But while we speake of Ecclesiasticall gouernment, it maye bee thought of some, that we shoulde intreat first of the supreame authority of Christian Princes: Whereuppon it seemeth that al the regiment of the church depen­deth, which is such a myst to dazle the eyes of ignoraunt persons, that they thinke all thinges in the Ecclesiasti­cal state, ought to be disposed by that onelye high authoritye and absolute power of the Ciuil magistrate. Others there be, with more colour of reason, that referre onely indifferent matters to the disposition of Princes: but in determining indifferēt matters, they shewe themselues not to bee indiffe­rent Iudges. For, whatsoeuer it shall please the Ciuill Magistrate, or themselues, [Page 9] to call or count indifferent, it must be so holden of all men, without anye further enquiry. But of the su­preame authority of christian princes in Ecclesiasticall causes, howe farre it extēdeth by the word of God: we shal haue better occasiō to intreat hereaf­ter, when we haue described the Ec­clesiastical state. And that it is neither needefull nor agreeable to good or­der of teaching, to begin first there­with, it may be plaine to euerye man by this reason. The Church of God was perfect in all her regiment, be­fore there was any Christian Prince: yea, the Churche of God may stande, and doth stande at this day in moste blessed estate, where the Ciuill Magi­strates, are not the greatest fauorers. By which, it is manifest, that the regi­ment and gouernement thereof, de­pendeth not vppon the authority of Princes, but vpon the ordinaunce of God, who hath most mercifully and wisely so established the same, that as with the comfortable ayde of Chri­stian Magistrates, it may singulerlie [Page 10] flourish & prosper, so without it, it may continue, and against the aduersaries therof preuail. For the church craueth help & defence of christian Princes, to continue & go forward more peacea­bly & profitably, to the setting vp of the kingdō of Christ: but al hir autho­rity she receiueth immediatly of God. Let vs therfore return to those offices of Ecclesiasticall regiment, which now remain to be exercised in the Church of God, being instituted & ordained by Christe himselfe, which before we haue proued out of the scriptures to be only these, Doctors, Pastors, Gouernors & Deacons, wherof some appertain to doctrin,Doctors. some to gouernment and dis­cipline. The duty of doctors & Pastors, is chiefly to teach and instruct the people of god, in al things that God hath appointed thē to learne. The office of Elders & Deacons, is to prouide that good order and discipline bee obser­ued in the church. These offices being rightly established & exercised in the Church, are able to make vs meet to­gether in the vnity of faith, and knowledge [Page 11] of the sonne of God, vnto a perfect man acording to doctrine.Ephes. 4. 13. And both for doctrine and order of go­uernement, to make vs one body of Christe,1. Cor. 12. 27. and members one of ano­ther. Nowe what shoulde be desired more then this in the church of God? or what wisdom of man can espy bet­ter then the spirite of God, by what means this shold be brought to effect which we do desire? what mans wit cā deuise better, then the wisdom of god hath expressed? Or whē God hath e­stablished an order, for the administratiō of his own house: what presūptiō of man dare change it? But what dare not dust & ashes presūe to do against his maker, & that with greatest incō ­uenience, when with best pretences of correcting and reforming that, which they do thinke to be vnperfect in his doings? Exāple thereof we haue most euident. That which is alleaged as the chief defence of this disordered state, which now remaineth in our church: namely, that our fathers of old time were not content with the simple or­der [Page 12] instituted by Christe, and establi­shed by his Apostles: but for better gouerning of the Church, thought good some offices to ad therto, some to take away: some to alter & change: and in effect to peruerte and ouer­throw all Christian and Ecclesiastical pollicie, which was builded vpon the foundation of the Prophetes and A­postles,Ephes. 2. 20. Iesus Christ being the cheeft corner stone. But how vnhappy a suc­cesse this good intent, (as they call it) of theirs deserued to haue of God, who alwayes abhorreth all good in­tentes of men, that are contrarye to the good pleasure of his will, expres­sed in his holy worde, the age before vs (alasse) hath felt, the present time doth plainly see, and wee praye God the posterity, warned by examples of their auncesters, maye take heede of it. For where there are specially two thinges propounded in the Churche of God: Doctrine and Discipline, as if a man woulde say, knowledge and practise, by which the glory of God is sought and shineth therin: In steed [Page 13] of true Doctrine, followed all man­ner of corruptions of the same, both in the whole and in euery part there­of, as ignorance, heresies, idolatry, su­perstition, &c. The Discipline dege­nerated vnto intollerable tyrannye and external domination, clean con­trarye to the commaundemente of Christ, whereof insued all vnbrideled license of vngodly liuing. To be short, the exchaunge of the ordinaunce of God and Christ,2. Thes. 2. 1 [...] brought in nothing else, but the Diuell and Antichriste. Wherefore if we minde such a refor­mation, as shall bee acceptable to God, & profitable vnto his church: We must thoroughly bee resolued to set vp no new kinde of ministerye, of our owne inuention, neyther for tea­ching, nor for discipline in the Eccle­siastical state, but bring all thinges to that most perfect and absolute order, which God himselfe hath established by his worde. And because all offices of the Churche are so lincked togea­ther, as the members of one bodye, whereof Christe is the heade: we will [Page 14] so describe one part, as the descriptiō of thē al may be sufficiently cōprehended therin. As if a man wold set forth the manifold office & vses of the hād, he shold declare what it doth alone, & what it doth with the helpe of the o­ther hand, or with the arme, with the brest, with the knee, or with the foot, &c: what it cā do with diuers kinds of tooles, & what without al maner of instrumēts. This order we thought good to obserue, in describing the ministery of the Church, as by which, both the distinction & cōmunicatiō of al offices & seruices in the Church, might most plainli appear. Otherwise we force not by what method, so the same truth be plainly set forth by any mā. And as we controle not other mens methods by ours, so we wold not, that other mens maner of teaching shold be preiudici­al to ours. This we say because of thē, which either for lack of wit, or thorow too much wilfulnes, if they see any difference in the form & order of teach­ing of diuers men, though in matter & substaunce they all agree, they exclaim [Page 15] there is no vnitie, & therfore no truth among thē. Let vs then proceed in our purpose. The office of teaching is the chiefe & principall office that is in the church. By that we be taught to know God, & how to serue him, & what be­nefits to look for at his hand, without which knowlege, ther cā be no felicity but only destruction loked for, accor­ding to the saying of the wise man: Wher propheciyng fayleth, Prou. 29. 18. ther the people perish. The ministery is diuided into two functiōs: they that exercise the first are called Pastors: The office of a Doctor. the other are called Do­ctors or Teachers. The office of a Doctor is to teach, as the very name doth de­clare, but yet euery teacher is not mēt thereby, for it appertaineth to Pastors also to teach: yet this latter is distinct frō the former. Almighty God, being carefull that true doctrin should con­tinue in his church, from time to time most wisely prouided, that certain mē shold be appointed in euery cōgrega­tion, (whō he hath endued with gifts meete for the same purpose) which shoulde employe themselues, either wholly or principally to the studie of [Page 16] holy scriptures, therebye to learne to auouche the principles of true religi­on, and to represse and beate downe al false and strange opinions, of which sathan neuer ceaseth to sow the seeds, but cheefly where this office is not set vp & mayntained according to Gods ordinance. These men must not con­tent themselues with contemplatiue knowledge: but, as by the grace of God they excell other men in vnder­standing: so they must diligentlye in­struct other mē in the same learning, and openly confute al false Doctrine and herisie: and especially they ought to take payne in the instruction of such men, as maye bee made meete to serue in the Churche: as Pastoures, and to succeede in their place as Do­ctours. Their institution is set foorth, 1. Corin. 12. 28. Also Ephes. 4. 11. In the former place the Apostle tea­cheth, that they are the ordinaunce of God: Sayth he, God hath ordayned in the Church: First Apostles, Secondly Pro­phets, Thirdly Doctors, or Teachers. In the latter place hee testifieth,Ephes. 4. 11. that our [Page 17] Sauior Christ ascended on high, ledde cap­ [...]iuitie captiue, and hath giuen giftes vnto [...]en, amongst which gifts, he accoun­ [...]eth the function of Teachers. Who [...]oulde then refuse to imbrace the [...]rdinaunce of God? Who should de­ [...]riue vs of the free gyft of Christ? The office of Doctours, is briefly ex­ [...]ressed in Rom. 12. 7.Rom. 12. 7. Let him that is Teacher, attend vppon teaching, where [...]lso it is distinguished from other of­ [...]ces, and namely from the office of [...]astors. For it followeth immediat­ [...]e,Rom. 12. 8. Let him that exhorteth, (which is a [...]rincipall part of a Pastors office, not [...]ecessarily requyred in a Teacher) Be [...]ligent in his exhortation. For the office of Doctours, is onely to teach true doctrine, and to confute all heresies. and false opinions by the worde of God, concerning all Articles & prin­ [...]ples of Christian religion, without applying their teaching to anye par­ticular state of time, of persons or places. The example or practize of this office, is set foorth Acts. 13. 1. Where it is recorded by S. Luke, that [Page 18] Paule and Barnabas, (before the holy Ghost commanded them to be sepa­rated for the worke wherevnto he called them) were in the number of prophetes and Doctors, with Symeon Niger, Lucius of Syrene, and Manahen [...] in the Church of Antiochia, where they continued in that office a whol [...] yeare, in which Citie the Disciples were first called by the name of chri­stians. Act. 11. 26.Acts. 11. 26. Likewise, Apollo [...] which was an eloquent man & mightie in the scriptures, firste at Ephesus but afterward beeing more perfectly instructed in the waye of God, by Aquila and Priscilla in the church of Acha [...]a, exercised the office of a Tea­cher, with great profite of thē which had beleeued, and to the great con­fusion of the stiffnecked Iewes, while hee proued plainly by the scriptures, that Iesus was the Christ. Act. 18. 28.Acts. 18. 28. Therefore if we purpose to haue the church to flourish in true knowlege, we must prouide that this office be restored, both in the vniuersities, and in as manie other places as maye be, [Page 19] as well for the better instruction of al men, which are desirous to learne, as especiallye for the information of those, which shoulde occupye the [...]oomes of Pastours, of which sort [...]here ought to be a great number al­wayes in good towardnesse to take charge of so many seuerall flockes, as must of necessitie be, in so great a Church as this is.

Besides Doctors,Pastors and their Titles. there must be Pa­ [...]tours ordained in euery congregati­on, which haue diuers appellations [...]n the scripture, as Eph. 4. They are [...]alled by the name of Pastours, be­ [...]ause they ought to feede the seueral [...]ocks of Gods sheepe committed to [...]heir charge. As it appeareth Act. 20 [...]8. 1. Peter. 5. 2.Acts. 20. 28. 1. Pet. 5. 2. They are called also Elders, not alwaies in respect of their [...]ge, but of their office and grauitie. [...]or Timothie was but a young man, and yet had the office of an Elder. This name was receiued of an an­ [...]ient custome of the people of Is­ [...]aell, who vsed so to call those that were Rulers and Officers amonge [Page 20] them, as it appeareth by many places both of the old and new Testament,Num. 11. 16. but chiefly in Numb. 11. 16. Where God ordayned seuenty ancientes, to assist Moses in his gouernment, who were also endued at the same time, with the spirite of prophecie, from which time it became an ordinarie office, and name of Gouernours in Israell. Wherein we haue to note a­gainst the papistes, that the ministers of the Church, are neuer called in the new Testament, by the name of sacrificing Priestes, which were vnder the lawe, but often are called Elders, of the similitude of those ancientes [...] that gouerned the people of God Whereas, if they had beene appoyn­ted of God to be sacrificers, the si­militude & name of sacrificing prie­stes, would a great deale better haue agreed vnto them. But, whereas both these names were vsuall amongst the Iewes, Iereus and Presbyteroi, the one signifiyng sacrificers, and the other Elders: The spirit of God doth often call the ministers Elders, but euer­more [Page 21] preciselye auoydeth to name them sacrificers or priestes (as we vse the terme): yea, though they succeed them in one principall part of their office, that is to saye in teaching, as it [...]s written.Mala. 2. 7. The lippes of the priest shoulde preserue knowledge, and men shal seeke the law at his mouth. The cause whereof is euident to bee this, that the sacrifi­cing priesthoode of Aaron,Heb. 7. 12. 24 is wholly translated vnto Christ, in whom one­ly it resteth, and passeth from him to none other. But by the name of El­ders, the Pastors are called Act. 14. 23Act. 14 23. Where Paule and Barnabas ordained Elders by election in euerye congre­gation. And Act. 20. 17.Act. 20. 17. Paule sent for the Elders of Ephesus to Miletū. Also [...]he affirmeth those Elders especially,1. Tim. 5. 17. which labour in preaching and doc­trine, to be worthy of double honor. Which place also testifieth of an o­ther kind of Elders, of whom we shal [...]haue occasion to speake more here­after,Tit. 1. 5. whose office consisteth only in gouernement, and not in publique teaching. Moreouer, he sheweth that [Page 22] he appoynted Titus to ordaine El­dersin euery Citie, and afterwarde describeth what maner of men hee woulde haue to bee chosen into the office.Iam. 5. 14. Also Saint Iames in Cap. 5. 14. willeth that if anye bee sicke, they shoulde call for the Elders of the Churche, who being indewed with the gifte of healinge at that time, should pray for the diseased, and an­noint him with oyl, and he should be restored to his health. Finally, Saint Peter, Pet. 5. 2. as a fellowe Elder exhorteth the Elders to employe all their dili­gence to the feeding of the flocke of God.

An other name they haue in the scripture, which is Superintendents, or Ouerseers, because they ought to be vigilant and watchfull, to ouersee the flocke, and euery member there­of. Which name is neuer vsed in the scripture for such Bishops, as clayme and exercise dominion, and authori­tie ouer whole regions, & all the Pa­stours of the same, but only for those that bee Pastours of euery seuerall [Page 23] congregation, hauing no superiority [...]uer their fellow Pastors, but be al of equall dignity and authoritie. So are [...]hey named Act. 20.Act. 20. 17. where S. Luke in [...]he 17. vers. calleth them Elders of the Church of Ephesus. S. Paule in the 28. [...]erse, calleth the same ouerseers: say­ [...]ng, Take heede to your selues and to the [...]hole flocke, ouer which the holy Ghoste [...]ath made you ouerseers, to feede or go­ [...]erne the Church of God, which he hath [...]rchased with his owne bloud. In this [...]lace all the three appellations con­ [...]urre: namely, of ouerseers plaine­ [...]e, and Pastoures inclusiuely in the [...]orde flocke, and in the worde Pot­ [...]ainan, which signifieth to feede or gouern, as a Pastor doeth his sheepe. Where is to bee noted, that By­shoppes or ouerseers of one Citye were manye, which plainelye argu­ [...]th that they were none such as now a days are commonly called bishops, which can be but one in one whole Diocesse, much lesse many in one ci­tie. The same thing is to be obser­ued, in the name of Bishoppes, vsed [Page 24] by S. Paule. Phillip. 1. 1, where he & Timothie sende salutations vnto the Bishops and Deacons of the church,Phillip. 1. 1. which was in the Citie of Philippi: which bishops, were the Elders or pa­stors, else would he not haue saluted in special words, the Deacons which were in inferiour office, and omitted the Elders, which were of more ex­cellent calling. In the same maner of speaking,1. Tim. 3. 2. 8. he describeth the qualities of those, which were to be chosen in­to the office of the bishops and Dea­cons. Likewise vnto Titus. 1. 5. He calleth them Elders, and immediatly after, discribing the qualities of such, as were meet to be ordained Elders, he calleth them bishops: saying, For this cause did I leaue thee in Creta, Tit. 1. 5. 6. 7. that thou shouldest continue, to redresse the thinges that remaine: and that thou shoul­dest ordayne Elders in euery Citie, if anie be vnreproueable: the husband of one wife, hauing faithfull Children which are not accused of riot, nor are disobedient. For a Bishop or ouer seer must be vnreprooueable, as the Steward of God, not froward, &c. Fi­nally, [Page 25] S. Peter, chapter. 5. 1. the place before alleadged, comprehendeth al the three names of Elders, Pastours, & Bishops.1. Pet. 5. 1. The Elders (saith he) which are among you, I beseech. The name of Pastor, is vnderstanded by relation of the names of feeding, and the flocke which he vseth, also by the name of Archipoymē, which signifieth the chief of Pastours, which is our Sauiour Christ. The name of bishops or ouer­seers is included in the worde Episco­pountes, which signifieth them which do carefully exercise the office of bi­shops or ouerseers. His exhortati­on is this. The Elders which are amongst you I beseech, 1. Pet. 5. 1. 2. 3 4. which am also a fellow Elder and a witnesse of the sufferinges of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shalbe reuealed: Feede the flocke of God which is committed vnto you, so much as in you lieth, carefully ouerseeing, not by constraint but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a readie minde, not as exercising Lordshippe ouer the heritage, but that you may be ex­amples to the flocke, and when the chiefe Pastor shall appeare, you shal receiue an in­corruptible [Page 26] Crowne of glory. S. Peter in this place reprooueth three notable vices, which doe great hurt among the ministers of the Church, if they bee not taken heede of: slouthfulnes in teaching: couetousnes of lucre, & ambitious desire of exercising Lord­ship: exhorting them to painfull dili­gence, because they were Byshops or Ouerseers: to a ready care, because they were Pastoures, and therefore should labour for loue of the flock, and not for lucre like hirelinges: to modest humility, because their cheef dignity in that they were Elders, was to excell in Godlinesse, that they might be an ensample to the flock, which cannot bee, except they sub­mit themselues and their liues, to the common rule of other men: which most excellente vertues if they im­brace, they shoulde bee sure to bee plentifullye rewarded by him, who onelye deserueth to bee called the cheefe of all Elders, Pastors, and By­shops: to whome onely these hono­rable names of Archipresbyter, Ar­chiepiscopus, [Page 27] Archiepoimen, and suche like, do properly agree. For as the A­postle calleth our Sauiour Christe in this place, the chiefe Pastor: So in the second Chapiter the 25. vers. he cal­leth him both the Pastor and Byshop of our soules. Wherefore as he one­lye is oure chiefe Pastour or Ar­chiepoimen, Pet. 2. 25. so is hee also our onelye Archbyshoppe: And that the name of Archipresbyter or chiefe of El­ders, pertayneth tono mortall man, may bee seene by this place, where Saint Peter that excellent and high Apostle, who if anye man coulde, might as well as anye, haue chal­lenged that name, durste not call him selfe other then Sunpresbyteros, a fellowe Elder, no not when hee sought authoritie to him selfe, by that name to be bold, to exhort the Elders of the Church. But least any man shoulde thinke wee staye onely in names and tearmes, which are not so greatlye materiall: let him consider, that Sainte Peter expresly forbiddeth the Elders, to exercise [Page 28] Lordship ouer their seuerall congre­gations, how much more ouer their fellowe Elders. Which thing al­so our Sauiour Christ precisely for­biddeth, when there was a conten­tion among his Apostles, about the prymacie.Luk. 22. 25. The kings of the nations haue dominion ouer them, and they that beare rule ouer them are called gratious Lordes or beneficiall, but you shall not be so. Also Math. 20. 25.Mat. 20: 25. and Mark. 10. 41. vpon the ambitious request of the sonnes of Zebedy,Mark. 10. 41. and the disdaine of the o­ther against them. The Princes of the Gentiles, exercise Lordship ouer them, and they that be great, exercise authoritie ouer them, but it shall not be so amongst you, but who so will be great amongst you, let him be your Minister, and he that will be first a­mong you, let him be your seruaunt. The same thing he taught by his exam­ple, when hee washed his Apostles feet,Iohn. 13. 13. and commanded them to shew the like humilitie one towarde an o­ther, which were all brethren, which he their Lord and maister shewed to­wards them. Also Math. 23. 8.Mat. 23. 8. &c. he [Page 29] forbiddeth all ambitious Titles of Rabbi, Maister, Father, &c. the rea­son hee addeth, for you are all Bre­thren. For these names agree pro­perly to God & Christ. For the grea­test dignitie of an Ecclesiasticall per­son is a ministery, and not a lordship. S. Ioh.3. Iohn. 9. also in his third epistle sharply reprooueth Diotrephes, because he was Philoproteuon, one that desired the primacie in the Church. How­beit in this case we must take heede, that we spoyle not the ministers of the church, of al their lawfull autho­ritie. For, although these testimonies of scripture, directly condemne the authoritie of one Pastour aboue an other: yet neither do they set euery pastour at libertie by him selfe, to do what they list without controlment: nor yet doe take away the lawful au­thoritie he hath ouer his flocke: but that imperious and pompeous do­minion, which is meet for ciuill ma­gistrates, and great Potentates to ex­ercise in worldly affayres: otherwise in respect of their lawfull authoritie, [Page 30] they are called by the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrewes,Heb. 13. 7. Guides, such as are appoynted to ouersee the flocke with authority, and vnto them submission and obedience is commaunded in the same Chapi­ter, verse 17. Other names are applied to them in the Scripture, but they bee for the moste parte more generall, pertaining to all kinde of Teachers in the Church of GOD, both in the time of the Lawe and of the Gospell, as Seers, Pro­phets, VVatchmen, Angelles, Labourers, Builders, Stewardes, and such like: all which with many other, serue to ex­presse some parte of their office, as their knowledge, their diligence, their authority, their faithfullnesse, their discretion: also the necessity of them, the commoditie that commeth by them &c. But concerning the names of Pastours, as they are a speciall of­fice in the Church, this maye suffise. But for as muche as we haue vnder­taken, so to describe a Pastour and and his office, as all other offices of [Page 31] the Church, may be described there­with: wee must not staye onelye in the name, but set foorth also the whole substaunce of the person. For which intent, it shall bee necessarye for vs to consider a Pastour or Bi­shop, these two wayes: in the proper function of his Ministerye, and in gouernement with his Elders: By which we shall vnderstande how this Ministerye ought to bee refourmed and restored amongest vs. As tou­ching his office, something hath beene sayde before generallye, vn­der the description of his seuerall names. But now more particular­lye, wee must examine, what belon­geth to his charge. The Pastor must be limitted to one onelye congrega­tion of such competent number, as he, (if hee be but one,) or if they be two, may be sufficient, to the instruc­tion of all and euerye member of the same Church. And first, he may no more lawfully haue charge of two or three churches, then he can be possi­bly in diuerse places. No more then a [Page 32] sheephearde of whome he taketh his name, may haue the leading of sun­drie flockes in diuers places: neither maye he be absent from his charge, with better reason, then a shepheard from his flocke. As for substitutes or [...] hyrelinges, will not bee allowed in this case: for Pastors are substitutes of God, and haue an office of credite committed vnto them, therefore by no good reason may they make any substitutes in their place, or commit their charge vnto an other. The law of a man grounded vppon good rea­son, alloweth not substitutes of sub­stitutes: nor committing ouer of an office of credite in temporall mat­ters. How shall God almighty then take it in good part, when the flocke of Christe, which he hath purchased with his own bloud, shal be so great­ly neglected, to the endaungering of their euerlasting saluation? Ther­fore the ordinaunce of God is, that the Pastor should attend vnto his pe­culiar flocke.1. Pet. 5. That Elders should be ordayned in euery Citie,Tit. 1. 5. Towne and [Page 33] other places. Tit. 1. 5.Tit. 1. 5. and Act: 14. 23. The Apostles ordeined Elders in [...]uery Church of Derbe, Actes. 14. 23 Lystra, Iconi­ [...]m and Tichia, and all the Congrega­ [...]ons about.

Secondly, the office of Pastors is, [...]ot onely to teach the same truth in [...]heir seuerall flockes, but also to ap­ [...]ye it to the time and persons, of [...]home they haue charge, with ex­ [...]ortation and reprehension: with [...]onsolation of the afflicted, & threat [...]ing of the obstinate &c. This in [...]we wordes is set foorth by S. Paule [...]eaking of the diuerse Gifts of God [...] his Church,Rom. 12. 7. 8. hee saith: Whether it [...]e hee that teacheth, in his Doctrine, [...] hee that exhorteth, in his exhortati­ [...]. The Doctour therefore teacheth [...]ithout exhortation. The Pastor tea­ [...]heth and exhorteth withall. More [...] larg he setteth forth the same offi­ [...] in his exhortation vnto the Past­ [...]rs of Ephesus, willing them to folow [...]s example,Acts. 20. whoe supplied that of­ [...]ce, vntill they were able to succeed [...] his Place. Also very breifly and yet [Page 34] fully, hee describeth the same vnto Timothy, 2. Tim. 3. 16. 17. shewing first that al his foun­dation must be out of the scriptures, which were sufficient for all parts o [...] his charge, and then moste earnestly commaundeth him to practise the same with all diligence: his wordes are these,2. Tim. 4. 1. 2▪ All Scripture is inspired of GOD, and profitable for Doctrine, for exhortation, for reformation and for in­struction, which is in righteousnesse, tha [...] the man of God maye bee prepared to a [...] good workes: Therefore I charge thee be­fore God, & before the Lord Iesus Christ, which shall iudge the quicke and the deade at his appearing, and in his king­dome, preache the worde, bee instan [...] in season and out of season: improoue, re­buke, exhort, with all long suffering and do­ctrine.

The firste part therefore, and the cheefest of a Pastours office or duety is, to feede with wholsome doctrine, the flocke that is committed to his charge, and therefore Sainte Paul [...] describing what manner of men are meete for that charge vnto Timothy, [Page 35] requireth that a Byshop or Pastour bee apt or able to teache:1. Tim. 3. 2. for if a man haue neuer so much knowe­ledge, and bee not apt or able to teach, he ought by no meanes to be admitted vnto this vocation. And vnto Titus writing Chap. 1. verse 9. he requireth that he be such a one as holdeth fast the faythfull worde, Tit. 2. 9. according to Doctrine, that he also may be able to exhort with wholesome Doctrine, and im­prooue them that say against it. Where­vppon it followeth necessarily, that whosoeuer is himselfe ignoraunt in the knowledge of Gods worde, and therefore vnable eyther to exhorte with wholsome doctrine, or to con­fute them that gainsay it, is altoge­ther vnmeete for the office of a Pa­stor or bishop. Wherefore if euer we minde suche a reformation, as God shall thereby bee glorifyed, and his Churche edifyed, wee must vtterlye remooue al the vnlearned pastors, as men by no means to be tollerated to haue any charge ouer the lords flok: & also prouide that herafter none be [Page 36] receiued into that office, but such as are sufficient for their knowledge & abilitie, in teaching to take so waigh­tie a charge in hand. What man ha­uing but one hundreth sheep, would make such a man shepheard or ouer­seer ouer them, as were a naturall I­diott, or otherwise altogeather vn­skilfull or vnable to performe those thinges that belong to a shepheard? If no man haue so little care of brute beastes: What brutishe negli­gence is it to commit the people of God, redeemed with the precious bloud of Iesus Christ, to such vnskil­full and vnsufficient Pastours, as nei­ther them selues know the waye of saluation, neither are able to lead o­ther vnto it, whereof they are igno­raunt them selues? If there bee no waye of saluation but by faith,Rom. 10. 14. and none can beleeue but such as heare the worde of God preached: O Lorde how miserable is the state of many flockes in this lande, who ei­ther seldome or neuer heare the worde of God truely preached, and [Page 37] [...]herefore know not how to beleeue that they might be saued.

But here it will be aunswered, that, as it is a thing greatly to be desired: To it is altogether vnpossible to pro­uide the Church of so many learned Pastours, as shoulde take charge of e­uery seueral congregation. But here­to we replie, that it is a thing neces­sarily required at our hands by God almighty, and therefore we must ob­iect no impossibilitie, especially whē our owne negligence, is the cause of all the difficultie, or if you will so call it, impossibilitie. We confesse it will be harde at the first, but we must doe our endeuour, and commit the successe vnto God, and there is no doubt but in time it will grow to an happy ende. But when we shall be altogether carelesse, as we haue been of long time, and that is worse, not acknowledging anye default in this behalfe, (as there be that doe not): and that is most of all, mayntaining suche lets and hinderaunces as bee continuall nurseies of ignoraunce [Page 38] and ignorant pastors: We may bee a­shamed to alledge that difficulty, for which none are to be blamed but we our selues. We may be ashamed, now that our church hath had rest and peace, with free preaching of the gospel this 25. or 26. years, vnder the protection of our most gratious Queen, to bee so vnfurnished of learned Pa­stors as we are: whereas, if that dili­gence had bene vsed of all partes, as might and shoulde haue beene em­ploied of all them, that vnfaignedly seeke the kingdome of God and his righteousnesse, almoste in halfe the time, this necessitie might haue bene well supplied. If we seeke experience, what diligent & carefull prouision is able to do with the blessing of God: looke to our neighbours & brethren in Christ, of Fraunce, whoe although they neuer enioyed one day of such peace, as we haue don so many years: Yet how plentifullie they are furnish­ed withall kinds of Ecclesiasticall mi­nisters, and namely with Godly and learned pastors, it would reioyce any [Page 39] Christian heart to beholde in them, [...]nd lament to see the lack in vs. But [...]s for those that acknowledge no de­ [...]ect in our Church, thorow the great multitude of ignoraunt Pastors, We had rather at this time praie to God [...]o lighten their blindenes, then by [...]ny long discourse, to discouer their palpable darkenes. Would to God there were not more difficultie in re­forming them that maintaine suche inconueniences, as except they bee taken away, we shall neuer be disbur­dened of the cankers of the church, those vnlearned ministers. For while Nonresidents and Pluralities be re­teined, we shal neuer want vnlearned Curates, that for small stipendes will supplie the absence of Pluralities and Nonresidentes: Which grosse cor­ruptions of pastorall office, as they maye haue some honest pretence, so canne they haue no better pre­tence, neyther are they reteyned with a better conscience, then the Priestes in our Sauiour Christs time, suffered the exchaungers of mony, [Page 40] Grasyers and Pulterers to make a Burse or shambles, and a Pultrie, yea, a denne of theeues of the Temple of God, which was appoynted to be a house of prayer to all nations.Math. 21. 22. Math. 21. 12. Mark. 11. 15. Iohn. 2. 14. But especially,Mark. 11. 15. while the whole office of a Pastour,John. 2. 14. shall be thought to consist in reading onely a prescript number of Psalmes and chapters of the scrip­tures, with other appointed formes of prayer: and that he maye bee al­lowed as a sufficient Pastour which doth the thinges, which a Childe of ten yeares olde maye doe as well as he, so long shall we neuer lacke vn­learned Pastours, ignoraunt and vn­godly people: Symonicall and sacri­legious patrones: So long the buil­ding of Gods Church, shall goe but slowly forwarde, beside other super­stitious fantasies, mayntained in the peoples heartes, which for shortnesse wee omitte to speake off. What though some saye formall reading might be borne withall for a time, vntill the Church might bee proui­ded [Page 41] of sufficient Pastours, which yet is not graunted: shall it therefore continue alwayes to the perpetuall decay of knowledge, and hurt of the Church of God? What greater dis­couragement is there vnto Students then to see the rewardes of learning, bestowed as commonly vppon the ignorant as vpon the learned? What encouragement is it to idlenesse and slouthfulnesse, in them that bee al­readye in that vocation, to beholde them that take no paine, to liue in wealth and ease, without punishe­ment of their negligence?

But here againe it will be obiec­ted, because there are not liuinges a­ble to maintaine all learned Pastors, we must be inforced to admitte ma­nie ignoraunt ministers. But againe we aunswere, it is our part, not onely to prouide learned Pastours: but al­so liuinges sufficient to maintayne them, vppon the necessitie of Gods commaundement.Gal. 6. 6. Let him that is in­structed in the worde (sayth Saint Paul) minister to him, 1. Cor. 9. 7. that doth instruct him in [Page 42] all good thinges. Be not deceaued for God is not mocked. Gal. 6. 6. 7. By which saying the A­postle confuteth all vaine excuses, which manie are wonte to alleadge, why they would contribute nothing to the maintenance of their Pastors: al which he affirmeth to be vain, be­cause they haue to do with God, and not with men onely: For here is not regarded the liuing of a man, but howe much they esteeme Christ and the Gospell of God. Therefore ex­cept we will mocke God to his face, Let vs obiect nothing to testifie such shamefull ingratitude, that we would doubt, how they should be prouided of bodely foode, of whom we receiue the foode of our souls, as though we coulde not afford them an earthely recompence, of whome wee receiue heaunely benefits. If nothing had bene before time allotted, towards the liuing of the Pastors; Yet were vvee bounde in payne of damnati­on, to prouide sufficient for them; and nowe there is somewhat to­wardes a liuing where there is least, [Page 43] and in all places sufficient, if it were well disposed: Why should we obiect necessity through lacke of [...]iuinges to reteine idols in steede of true Pastors? Looke once a­gaine into Fraunce (for examples moue muche) and beholde the Churches there impouerished, and spoiled with long warres, persecuti­on & vnquietnes. They haue neither Byshoppricks, Deaneries, Prebends nor benefices to bestow on their Pastors, and yet minister vnto them all things necessarie for an honest sober life: And shall wee that haue all this while liued in peace, and prosperitie, vnder a godly and re­ligious Princesse, hauing all these helpes, thincke it is impossible, by disposition of godly and wise gouer­nours, to appoint a sufficient portion for so manie learned Pastors as are necessarie for our Churches? There is none excuse therefore to be ad­mitted, but that wee must en­deuour to the vttermost of our power that euery seuerall congregation, [Page 44] Church or parrishe be prouided of a learned Pastour. For vnskilful sheep­heardes haue beene to long thrust vppon vs, to the great dishonour of God and defacing of the Gospell of Christe. We haue hitherto taken vpon vs without warraunt of Gods worde, to allow such for Pastours of mens soules, whom no carefull ow­ner of Cattell, woulde make ouer­seer of his sheepes bodyes. Which thing almightye God hath alwayes detested, and signified his mislyking by diuers testimonies, both of the olde and newe Testament. There­fore he sayeth by the Prophet Esaye, complayning of the vnlearned Pa­stours of Israell, which was the one­lye cause of their affliction and mi­series. Their watchmen are all blinde, they haue no knowledge, Esai. 56. 10. 11. 12. they cannot barke, they lye and sleepe and delight in sleeping, and these greedie dogges can neuer haue ynough, and these sheepheardes cannot vn­derstande, for they all looke to their owne way, euery one for his aduantage and for his owne purpose. Come I will bring wine, [Page 45] and we wil fill our selues with strong drink, and to morrowe shall bee as, this day, and much more aboundant. If the Prophet had liued in these our days, might he not haue spoken the same more truely of many Shiers in Englande? We see therefore that blinde watch­men, and ignoraunt dumbe Dogges, and idle greedie Curres and vnlear­ned sheepheardes that serue for no­thing, but to fill their owne purses, or their paunches, by the testimonie of God his spirite, are denied to be meet Pastours of the people of God. The prophet Ezechiell also inueigh­eth at large, against the vnfeeding sheepheardes of Israell:Eze. 34. 2. 3. 4 saying (Woe) be vnto the sheepheardes of Israell which feede them selues: shoulde not the sheepe­heardes feede the flockes? Yee eate the fat and you cloth you with the wooll: yee kill them that are fedde, but yee feede not the sheepe. The weake haue yee not strengthe­ned, the sicke haue yee not healed, neither haue yee bound vp the broken, nor brought againe that which was driuen awaye, nei­ther haue yee sought that which was lost, [Page 46] &c. throughout the whole Chapter. When feeding of Gods sheepe is a matter of so great importaunce, and consisteth of so many partes, which the Prophet hath heere described, how shoulde we admit them whome God reiecteth? which being igno­raunt and vnlearned, knowe nothing at all, and therefore nothing can do that appertaineth to this charge, or any part thereof. Vndoubtedly the retaining of such, is a manifest token of the vengeance of God against vs, for so he threatneth by the Prophet Zachary: Zac. 15. 16. 16 his wordes are these. And the Lorde sayde vnto me: Take to thee yet the Instrumentes of a foolish Sheepheard, for loe, I will rayse vp a Sheapheard in the Lande, which shall not looke for the thinge that is lost, nor seeke the tender Lambes, nor heale that is hurt: nor feed that which standeth vp, but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, & tear their hooues in peeces. O Idole sheaphearde that leaueth the flocke, the Sworde shall bee vppon his arme, and v­pon his right eye: his arme shall be cleane dried vp, and his right eye shall bee vtter­ly [Page 47] darkened.

Now, seeing we are taught by these wordes of the Lord God, that it is a greate and horrible plague, to haue the church of God encumbred with such foolish and Idole Sheapheards: Let vs study to remoue such plagues from the flocke of Christe, vvhose armes are cleane dried vp that they haue no force, and their eyes vtterly darkned, that they haue no skill, so that they are not able to perfourme those duties, which pertaine to a vvise and faythfull Sheaphearde, ex­cepte wee will betraye the Sheepe of Christe, into the mouthes of ra­uenous Wolues, and speciallye in­to the teethe of that greate ramp­ing Lyon the deuill,1. Pet. 1. 8. who neuer cea­seth going aboute to seeke whome hee may deuoure for his pray. For what doe these readinge Ministers differ from those Idole Sheapheards, which God in his vengeance threat­neth to sende for the ingratitude of the people?

[Page 48] It wil be answered (no doubt) that to supplie their ignorance, there are added to their appointed seruice, ma­nie Godly & learned homilies, which if they read with their seruice, there is not so great neede of Preaching, & interpretation of the scriptures. We will derogate nothing here from the dignitie of those homilies: we will not accuse here the vnsensible rea­ding of vnlearned ministers, neither yet the vnreuerent contempt of the ignoraunt hearers; but, which all godly and wise men must needs con­fesse, those exhortations that are not applied, to the proper circumstan­ces of times, places, persons and oc­casions, are of small power to per­swade any man, and least of all the ignoraunt people, Let long experi­ence the Mystresse of fooles teach vs, if knowledge the instructer of wise men cannot mooue vs. Howe many papists conuerted? How many igno­raunt instructed? How many wicked reformed, are ye able to shew by this ignoraunt and vnlearned ministery, [Page 49] with all the helpes of reading of for­ [...]all prayers and homilies, without [...]eaching and applying the Scrip­ [...]res to the proper circumstaunces [...]efore rehearsed? Againe, who seeth [...]ot but he that is so blinde, that he [...]ill see nothing, that these partes of [...]true Pastors duetie, which both the [...]rophetes, Ezechiel and Zachary re­ [...]earse, namely, to strengthen the [...]eake, to heale the sicke, to bind the [...]roken, to seeke the lost, to bring [...]ome that is carried away, to cherish [...]e yong Lambs, to feede the strong [...]eepe. &c. cannot be performed of [...]y man by such means as these, but [...]nely by such one, as is a Godly and [...]arned shepheard. Wherefore, these [...]oore helpes of prescript forme of [...]ading of praiers, of Homilies, and [...]ch like, when they are alleadged to maintaine the ignorance of vnskilful [...]astors, are called no better, by the [...]dgement of God, but the instru­ [...]entes of foolish and idole sheap­ [...]eardes, which haue a certaine pre­ [...]nce of pastorall office, but in effect [Page 50] are altogether vnmeet for the same. Euen as Idiots and Idolles are good for nothing, but able to doe much hurt, concerning whom our sauiour Christ pronounceth this feareful sentence.Math. 15. 14. If the blind lead the blind, they shal both fall into the pit. How long therefore shal wee suffer the blinde to lead the blind, to the destruction of both? Let vs therfore now at the lēgth, remoue these blind guides, and place in their steeds faithfull ouerseers, that may lead the flock of Christ into the way of saluation. The ministers of the church are the salt of the earth.Math. 5. 13. If the salt be vnsauory, wherwith shall it be seaso­ned, It is good for nothing but to bee cast out, and troden downe of mens feete. Let vs not therfore seek politike shifts to maintain the vnsauory salt, which our Sauiour Christe pronounceth to bee good for nothing but to be cast out.

By these and many other testimo­nies of the scripture, it is as cleere as the Sunne at Noone dayes, that it is the office and duetie of a Pastor, both to be able and willing to teach [Page 51] his flocke, and that no ignorant and vnlearned person is to bee admitted to that charge, or reteined, if hee bee [...]rept in, no more then a blind mā is to be suffred in an office, which must be executed only with the sight: or a Humbe Dog to giue warning which cannot barke: or an Idol to haue the place of a man, or a fool of a wise mā or a Wolfe of a Sheapheard, or dark­nesse in steede of light, or Salt that is vnsauory, to season withal. But while we intreat of teaching, to be the du­ty of a pastor, we do not only meane publike preaching, when the cōgre­gation is assembled, but also priuate exhortation, reprehēsion, consolatiō, of euery particular person within his charge, so often as need shall require. And that this also is the duetye of a faithful Bishop, S. Paule testifieth, set­ting before the elders of the church, of Ephesus the example of his diligēce which he wold haue thē to folow.Acts. 20. 18. 19. 20. You know (saith hee) from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I haue bin with you at al seasons, seruing the Lord [Page 52] withall modesty, &c. And how I kept back nothing that was profitable, but haue shew­ed you, and taught you, both openly, and throughout euery house. By vvhich it is manifest, that the Pastor must not onely teache al his flocke openly: but also he must instruct euery fami­lie priuatelie, vvhersoeuer hee shal see it to be needfull or expedient, which duty cannot bee accomplished by a reading Minister. Also in the 26. vers. of the same Chapiter, hee commen­deth vnto the Elders, a general care of the vvhole flocke.Acts. 20. 26. Take heede to your selues (sayth hee) and to the whole flocke. Which care can not be wel, or at al vndertaken, except they be dili­gent to teach, both al and euerie one of their flocke, as neede shal require. Which thing also hee willeth them once againe to obserue in his exam­ple, verse. 31. saying: Therefore watch yee, Acts. 20. 31. remembring that by the space of three yeeres, I ceassed not night and day, exhor­ting euery one of you. By these testimo­nies it is euident to see, what dili­gence the holy Ghoste requireth of [Page 53] Pastors in teaching, both publikely and priuately: as well generallye all their flocke, as particularlye euerye one of them. Hee therefore that is vnapt to execute this parte of a Pa­stors duety, is altogether vnmeete, to whome gouernance of the flocke of God, shoule be committed. In tem­poral affayres, no man vvil commit the least charge that can bee, to such persons as he knoweth to be altoge­ther vnmeete, or vnable to aunswere vnto the charge: And shall we conti­nue as we haue done hitherto, to put thē in trust with the greatest charge that can be, the saluation of so many thousande soules redeemed with the bloud of Christe, whome wee knowe certainely to be able to doe, no parte of a Pastours duety sufficiently? God forbid that we should still continue, so lightly to esteeme so waightye a matter, as though we accounted the bloud of Christ, by which we are san­ctified, to be prophane, and woulde contumeliously withstande the spirit of God.

[Page 54] But necessitie (you wil answere) hath no lawe. This necesity we haue aun­swered before, to consist in 2. points: in lack of liuings, and lack of learned men. The first we haue shewed ought to be no lette, no not of an howre, if the other wante, coulde so soone bee supplied. And both must of necessity bee prouided for in time, or else wee testify before God and his holy An­gels, that they which neglect or with stand this prouision, shal be guilty of the bloude of all them, that peris [...]e through the desaulte of teaching, in the whole realm. The lack of liuings may be supplied, either by restoring the sacriledges of Abbies, as Impro­priations of benefices. &c. or by de­uiding the supersluities of some pla­ces that haue to muche, vnto them that haue too little, or by any other godly meanes, that may bee thought meet to these godly and wise gouer­nors, that by duty ought, and by au­thority may do it. The lacke of lear­ned preachers, must be so farre forth supplied, as it maye presentlye, by en­couraging [Page 55] and exhorting so many as are able, to take that charge in hand, by ouerseeing the Readers & schol­lers in diuinity in the Vniuersities, to doe their duties, the one in teaching purely, the other in learning diligēt­ly: by thrusting out these vnprofita­ble heades of Colledges, and other drone Bees, which either are vnable or vnwilling to set forward the study of diuinity in their seuerall huoses, & placing diligent and learned gouer­nors & students in their places, & by other good means reforming vniuer sities, by erecting of doctors & teachers, in as many places as may be: by cōpelling the vnlearned ministers, in whome is any towardnes to become schollers in diuinity, with some allow aunce of liuing if they bee willing to study, or else to sende thē frō whence they came, to get their liuinges with sweate of their brows: and especially cōsidering the gretnes of the haruest & fewnes of the laborers, by praying earnestly the Lord of the haruest in this great necessity of ours,Math. 9. 38. to thrust [Page 56] foorth labourers into his Haruest. And in the meane time till God shal blesse vs with a sufficient number of learned pastors, to take some extra­ordinarie and temporall order for ouerseeing the Churches, that al­though they can not bee all suffici­entlie instructed and gouerned: yet so many shall not be altogether de­stitute, of al knowledge and spiritual gouernment, as ther are now in this most corrupt state of the Church, in which we haue hitherto continued. If any man thinke this is ouer harde to be brought to passe, let him con­sider that there was neuer worke of more difficulty, then to build vp the Church of God: so that the necessity and commodity of the work, should cause vs to stay nothing at the diffi­cultie thereof. For with our faithfull endeuor, we shall not want the mighty assistance of God, who will blesse our Godly labours, with greater suc­cesse, then we can looke for. If God therefore will graunt that these and such like meanes may take place, by [Page 57] the high authority of our dread so­ueraigne the Queenes Maiesty, and continue this comfortable peace, which we enioy, vnder her most gra­tious gouernment, wee dare ieopard oure liues, that in lesse then halfe the time, that is already prosperous­ly passed, of her Maiesties moste ho­nourable and glorious reigne, the necessity of learned pastors shall bee so well supplied, as wee shall haue no great cause to complaine for lacke of them, if we may vse like diligence to continue them: if not, we wil spēd the rest of oure life in mourning, & expectation of the heauy vengeance of God, which must needes fall vpon vs, for this manifest contempt of his expresse commaundement, aud neg­lect of increasing the glorious king­dome of our Sauiour Christe. In the meane time, we may boldly say with the Apostle. Act. 20.Actes. 20. 26. 27. We testify vnto you this day, that we are cleane from the bloud of you all, for we haue not failed to shew you the whole Counsell of God, concerning the regiment of his Church.

[Page 58] Hitherto wee haue somewhat at large set foorth, the principall parte of a Pastors office, which is to preach the word of God, and to instruct the people committed to his charge in the same. Here followeth now in the second part of his duety, which con­sisteth in right administration of the Sacramentes of God. For seeing it hath pleased God to adde such out­warde signes to be helpes of our in­firmitie, as seales for confirmation of his promises, vttered by his worde Rom. 4. 11. He hath appoynted mi­nisters of the same,Rom. 4. 11. to deliuer them vnto his people. Math. 28. 19.Math. 28. 19. Luke. 22. 19. For no man may take vppon him any office in the Church,Luke. 22. 19. but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. Heb. 3. 4.Heb. 3. 4. Seeing therefore that God hath giuen some to bee Pastours in his Church. Ephes. 4. 11.Ephes. 4. 11. And it is the duetie of Pastours to feede the flocke of God committed to their charge, with all maner of spirituall pasture of their soules, appoynted by God. 1. Cor. 4. 1.1. Cor. 4. 1. And that the Sa­cramentes [Page 59] are a part of this spiritual food, it is manifest that it belongeth to the dutie of Pastors, to administer the holy Sacramentes: and that the Sacramentes appertaine to the doc­trine and worde of God, it is eui­dent, that whome God hath institu­ted to be minister of the worde, him also hath he made to be minister of the Sacramentes: and as the Sacra­mentes are compared by the holye Ghost vnto seales: and the worde or promise of God vnto writinges: so it appertaineth to him to deliuer the seale, which deliuereth the writings. For, as the seale hath alwayes relati­on vnto the writinges: so haue the Sacramentes vnto the word of God. By this it appeareth, that as it is the duetie of euerye Pastour to admini­ster the Sacramentes of Christe: so this office appertayneth to none, but to those which are ministers of the worde. Our Sauiour Christ autho­rizing his Apostles to Baptize all Nations, sayeth: Goe yee foorth and teache all Nations, Math. 28. 19. baptizing them [Page 60] in the name of the father, the sonne and the Ghoste, teaching them to obserue all thinges, that I haue commaunded you. Likewise to the same effect, Goe yee foorth into the whole worlde, Mark. 16. 15. and preache the Gospell to euery creature, he that shall beleeue and is baptized shall be saued. &c. Also instituting his holy supper, hee sayde:Luke. 2 [...] ▪ 19. Doe this in remembraunce of me. Which remembrance Saint Paul de­clareth, that it ought to bee celebra­ted, by preaching of the Lords death. So often (saith he) as you shall eate of tbis Bread, 1. Cor. 24. and drinke of this Cup, you shal shew foorth the Lords death vntill he come. By these testimonies it is euidēt, that the administratiō of the sacramēts ought to bee committed to none, but vnto such as are Preachers of the worde, that are able to teach them that they baptise, that are able to preache the mystery of Christs death to them, to whom they doe deliuer the outward signe thereof. Howe intollerable an abuse then is it, of the sacraments of the Lord, to commit the administra­tion of them to those men, that are [Page 61] not able to expounde the mystery of them. And seeing the elementes of the worlde, of which the outwarde [...]art of the sacramentes is taken, bee leade and beggerly of themselues, except they bee animated and enti­ [...]hed with the promise and worde of God, which is the life of the Sacra­mentes: what can it bee better then [...]acriledge to seperate the ministrati­tion of preaching of the worde from the sacramentes? And forasmuch as the spirite of God, compareth the Sacraments to seales that are added, for confirmation of writinges; wee knowe well that a worde or writing, may be auailable without a seale, but [...]euer a seale without a writing.

Therefore in this behalfe we haue [...]ad greate defaulte, so long time to [...]ommit the administration of the Sacramentes to those men, who not onely haue beene knowne to be vn­able, but also haue beene forbidden to preach the word. And that which is more strange, to be suffered in this cleare light of the Gospel, to permit [Page 62] the ministration of baptisme, not on­ly to ignorante men, but also to wo­men which haue no voyce to speake in the congregation. 1. Cor. 14. 34.1. Cor. 14. 34. & 1. Tim. 2. 11.Tim. 2. 11. and that in priuate pla­ces, but in case (they say) of necessity, as though there were such necessity of the outward signe, when it cannot bee ministred according to the insti­tution of Christ, which is nothing els but to affirme with the Papistes, that Sacraments confer grace of the work wrought: and that the sacrament of baptisme, is a sacrament of such ne­cessity, that whosoeuer is not dipped in water, must be eternally condem­ned. Which hereticall opinion, as we haue hissed out in our profession and preaching, so is it a great shame for vs to maintain by such corrupt vsage of Christes holy sacramentes. Let vs therefore reteine this principle, that the administration of the sacraments is a part of the pastors duety: for al­though the office of preaching bee more excellent, then of ministration of the sacraments, as S. Paul speaketh [Page 63] comparatiuely. Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach. 1. Cor. 1. 17.1. Cor. 1. 17. Yet they are of such affinitie, that the ac­cessory cannot be seperated from the principall thereof. For where is no preacher of the worde, ther ought to be no minister of the Sacramentes. Furthermore, it pertaineth to the du­tie of the pastor, to make prayers: as Act. 16. 16.Act. 16. 16. not onely priuate, as all men are bound to doe, but also pub­like prayers in the name of the whol Church. Act. 6. 4. 1. Timot. 2. 1. being the mouth thereof.Acts. 6. 4. For whereas the spirit of God,Tim. 2. 1. commandeth al things to be done in decent and comely or­der,1. Cor. 14. 16. and forbiddeth all confusion and disorder. As it were great confusiō & vncomelines, for euery man to make his seuerall praiers in the publike as­semblies: so is it orderly for one to pronounce the praier in the name of the rest, and the rest to pray with him in silence, & to answer Amē. It is also decēt that he which is the shepherd,1. Cor. 14 40. should go before the sheep in praier, & the sheepe to follow him in lifting [Page 64] vp of their harts in mutuall consent. Moreouer for asmuch as preaching and administration of the sacramēts, ought not to bee vsed without pub­lique prayers: as it is the Pastors of­fice to preache, and minister the Sa­craments: so is it his duety also to go before his flocke in publique pray­ers.

But heere we haue to obserue two things: the first, that as it perteineth to the Pastor to conceiue publique praiers: so it is the duty of the whole Church, in the name of the whole Church, to ioyne in hart with the pas­tor in the same praiers, that they knowing and vnderstanding what he hath praied, may at the end giue ther consent by answering Amen.1. Cor. 14. 16 Wher­in their is great abuse in our Chur­ches. For, as though it weare noti­nough, to keepe out preaching by longe prescribed formes of praier: these praiers are so pronounced by the minister, that a great number, & some not of the worst disposed peo­ple, thinck, it perteineth not to them, [Page 65] to giue eare or consent of mind vnto them. We speake not here of such insensible Readers, whose voyce ey­ther cannot be heard, or else cannot be vnderstood, wherof there be great numbers: nor of the vnfit place pre­scribed for the ministers, standing at prayer in the east ende of the house, whē the simple people shal stand of­tētimes 40. or 50. yards of in the west ende: or of the confusion of voyces whilest all speake at once: besides scrines of roode-lofts, Organe lofts, Idoll cages, otherwise called Chaun­trie Chappelles, and high pewes be­tweene them: which although they do manifestly hinder edifycation, yet may they not be remooued in many places, for defacing the beauty of the materiall houses, whereas S. Paule so much estemeth the building of gods spirituall house, that he commaun­deth the glorious giftes of the holye Ghost to cease in the congregation,1. Cor. 14. 28. when they do not helpe to edificati­on. But we speake of this that a great multitude thinke they haue wel ser­ued [Page 66] God: if they haue been present at common prayers, or anye part of them, as they were wont to thinke in popery, although they bee neuer so vainly occupyed in the Church, some in walking, some in talking, in ga­thering of money, not onely for the poore, but for other contributions, &c. And they that thinke they doe best, are occupyed in their priuate praiers, or in reading of books, while their minister pronounceth publique praiers.

Thus as preaching is neglected, vp­pon colour of publique prayers: So publique prayers by priuate exerci­ses, are made altogether vnprofitable to a great number. For who know­eth the right vse of publique prayer, but they that are taught by the word of God. Let vs therfore establish pub­lique preaching, and publique pray­ers will follow of necessitie. But if we continue to vpholde formal prai­ers, that preaching bee neglected, it will come to passe, that neither shall be regarded. For what did thrust [Page 67] out preaching from the Romishe Church, but long prescript formes of reading, of singing, of praying: so that their ordinarye was ynough, and to much to occupye the whole daye, though there were no sermon, wher­as contrariwise there woulde be no ordinarie publique prayer without preaching. Which terrible example of the practize of Sathan in the man of sinne, shoulde make vs afrayde to giue any like occasion of such incon­uenience hereafter to come. For is not this opinion already growen in­to a great manye mens heades, that the seruice maye not giue place to a sermon, no though the time be not sufficient for both? And are ther not many that had much rather heare a chaunted Mattens and Euensong, then a godly & learned sermon? Yea they frequent the one, and refuse the other. Let Cathedral Churches, &c. be an example, where you shall see a great number, that tarrye while the seruice is songe, but depart so soone as the Sermon beginneth.

[Page 68] While the Organes pipe, some are drawen with the sweetnes of musike to come vp, but while the preacher cryeth out, continue beneath and in laughter or brawling, be lowder then he oftentimes. So, that which was wont to be sayd of the Masse, Missa non mordet, the masse was a gentle beast, and did bite no man, and ther­fore was so well beloued of manye, may rightly be verified of our ordi­nary seruice. For therefore a great number can so well away with it, be­cause it doth not sharpely reprooue them of theire sinnes, nor disclose the secreates of their heartes, but that they maye continue still in all kinde of voluptuousnes, and al other kind of wickednes. Wheras by prea­ching, their conscience is gauled, ther wickednes and hipocrisy discouered, their damnation threatned, they are called to repentaunce and forsaking of their pleasant sinnes, and to holy­nesse and innocencie of life. So that if there be any sparke of the feare of God in them, hearing preaching, so [Page 69] often as they vse to heare seruice, they will fall downe on their faces & worship God, acknowledging the great power of God in his ministers. 1. Cor. 14. 15.1. Cor. 14. 15 But that they cannot away with all, beeing like vnto Felix the liefetenaunt of the Romanes in Iewrie: Who when he heard Paule a poore prysoner that stoode before him bound in chaines, preaching of righteousnes, of temperaunce, and of the iudgement to come, he was wea­rie of him because he was a great op­pressour, and an intemperate person, and therfore feared the iudgment of God for his sinne, which he purpo­sed not to forsake. Such is the ma­iestie of Gods word, when it is prea­ched, that either it boweth or brea­keth the wicked in pieces. God grant therefore that in steede of ordinarie formes of praiers, we may haue prea­ching in all places.

The seconde thing that we haue to obserue is this, that although we make it the dutie of the Pastour, to pray in the name of the whole con­gregation, [Page 70] yet we doe not so meane, but that the whole congregatiō with one heart,1 Cor. 14. 15 & 26. and with one voyce maye praise God, with singing of Psalmes, all at once. For this custome hath continued in the church from the beginning, that the congregation haue praised God with Psalmes singing al­togeather. And these three partes of a pastors dutie, to preach, to minister the sacramentes, and to praye, are so necessarilye requyred of him in the word of God, as no man may rightly execute the office of a Pastor, but he that performeth al these, each one in their due time. And to this part of prayer, maye be referred the blessing of marriages, not of necessitie, but of an auncient vse of the Church. Fur­thermore, in those thinges that are necessarie partes of the Pastours of­fice, the Church hath authoritie to dispose them. as touching the cir­cumstaunces, for order and comely­nesse sake: but cheefely for edifica­tion. As the dayes and times of prea­ching and administring the Sacra­mentes, [Page 71] the places meet for the same, & for publique praiers: also the form and maner of vsing those thinges, so that all things be don comely and a­greeably to order, but especially that in all things, principall regarde be had to edification, which S. Paule so often and so precisely vrgeth in the 14. cha­piter of the 1. Cor. For therfore ought our assemblies and comminges toge­ther to serue, that therefore we maye be better, that we may be taught, that we may be edified. 1. Cor. 11. 17. 1. Cor. 14. 23. 24. 25. 26. 31.1. Cor. 11. 17. 1. Cor. 14. 23. 24. 25. 26. 31. And there­fore we haue great maruell that some are so precise in vrging ceremonies, as many thinke much hindering edifica­tion, but as moste men confesse, no­thing profiting to edifycation, ha­uing alwayes in their mouth, that sentence of Saint Paule. 1. Corinth. 14. 40.1. Cor. 14. 40 Let all thinges bee done decently, and according to an order, And doe so little remember that the Apostle in that long Chapiter, laboureth alto­gether to driue al things to edificatiō, or els to driue thē out of the church. [Page 72] As he saith of him that hath the gift of tongues, being of it selfe an excel­lente and comely gifte of the holye ghost, and being vsed orderly of one or two by course, with an interpre­ter, mighte doe muche good in the Church.

But if there be none interpreter (saith he) Let him holde his peace in the congregation. 1. Cor. 14. 28.1. Cor. 14. 28. The vncomlinesse that Saint Paule repro­ueth, was, that women shold preach in the Church, as ver. 30. 35. The dis­order, that those giftes which serued leaste for edifying, were preferred before them that serued moste for edifying, as tongs before prophecie. By which it is euident that S. Paules words are wrested of some, clean contrary to his meaning, to make him a Patron of idle, if not hurtful ceremo­nies, maintained more vpon wil then reason, or graunted of Gods worde, vnder the colour of order and decency, not onely with neglect, but also with great hinderance of Gods buil­ding, by spoyling the Churche of so [Page 73] many learned pastoures. There are besides these thinges, certaine other matters: as confirmation, Church­ing of women, buriall of the deade, thoughte to belonge to the office of a Byshoppe or Pastour. Whereof the firste two are meere deuises of men, and ought to haue no place in the Churche of Christe. The other, albeit it bee to bee retayned with a certayne honestye, yet it is not to bee tied to the proper office of a Pastour. And as for Confirma­tion, it oughte therefore to be shut oute, and haue no place in the church of God, as wel because it dis­placed Catechising, and broughte in steede thereof vayne toyes, and Childishe ceremonies to the greate hurte of the Churche; as for that also it derogateth muche from the dignitye of Baptisme, the sacrament of the Lorde, and is extolled aboue it, being a deuise of man, and is pre­tended to bee a signe to certify the Children of the fauoure and grati­ous goodnesse of GOD, towardes [Page 74] them, falsely grounded vpon the ex­ample of the Apostles: Whereas the ministration of baptisme, is permit­ted to euery hedge-priest, minister and Deacon.

And as for Churching of Wo­men, because it sauoureth of the Ie­wish purification, and of Popish in­stitution, it ought altogether to bee omitted, for it breedeth and nouri­sheth many superstitious opinions in the simple peoples hearts: as, that the woman which hath born a child, is vncleane or vnholy: whereas the Apostle pronounceth, that Godlye women are sanctified and saued by bearing of Children. 1. Timoth. 2. 15.1. Tim. 2. 15. that it is vnlawfull for her, for a­ny necessity, to go out of her doores, before she bee Churched: that this churching is a necessarye part of the Pastors office, that shee must weare a white raile ouer her head, when she goeth to Churche by the Midwife, waighted Home with the Parishe Clearke, with diuers suche like Ba­bles, vvhiche in a vvell refourmed [Page 75] Churche, are not to bee suffered. As for the buriall of the deade, be­cause Sathan tooke occasion vppon Ceremonies appointed therunto, to sowe the seede of manye Herisies in the Church, as prayers for the dead, oblations for the deade, Purgatory, &c. Also many superstitions, as hal­lowing of Churcbyardes, distinction of Burialls, as some in the Chauncel, some in the Churche, and some in the Church-yardes: some with more pompe, as singing, ringing, &c. some with lesse, burying towards the East, lightes and holy water bestowed vp­on the dead, &c. It is thought good, to the best and right reformed chur­ches, to burye their deade reuerent­ly, without any ceremonies of pray­ing or preaching at them, because experience hath taught them, what inconuenience may grow therof▪ by exāple of that which hath bin before And as they are not to be excused, if any for small tri [...]es only, raise vp h [...]t contentions: so they haue much to aunswere before God, that suffer the [Page 76] people of God to lacke the onelye foode of their souls for such humain constitutions. But to conclude, it is the duty of euery true Pastor, to ob­serue those thinges that are conclu­ded by the lawfull authoritye of the church, concerning ceremonial mat­ters, for order and comlinesse sake, and for edification, and not to con­troll publique order,Acts. 28. 29. by his priuate iudgement, but vpon great & waigh­ty causes. Wee haue hitherto intrea­ted of the proper dutye of a Pastour himselfe: nowe it followeth, that we likewise set foorth his authoritye in common gouernment with the Elders. But least any man shoulde mistake that, which wee purpose to say of his authority, wee haue neede to expresse what wee meane by this worde authoritye. For euen those thinges that wee haue shewed be­fore to bee the duetye of a Pastor, may also bee called his authority, as to preach and teach, wherein is in­cluded his authoritye to forgiue and retaine sinnes: also his autho­ritye [Page 77] to minister the Sacramentes, and to doe other thinges in the Churche, which none may doe but hee. But in this place, wee vnder­stande authority, for power of go­uernment in the Church. Whereof the Apostle speaketh,1. Cor. 12. 28. that it is one of the graces and giftes of GOD necessarye for the building of his Church. This authority of regiment, we haue declared that it ought not to be a Lordly ruling,1. Pet. 5. 3. neither ouer their flocke:Luke. 23. 26. nor yet ouer their fel­lowe seruauntes and brethren: and leaste of all, that they ought to haue dominion or Lordship ouer the faith of the Church.2. Cor. 1. 14. In all these the man of sinne hath exalted him selfe, con­trary to the worde of God: So that he would be head of all the Church,Hierarchia. Byshop of all Byshops, and haue au­thoritye to make nevve Articles of Faythe. Whose vntollerable pre­sumption, as we haue long since ba­nished out of this Lande: so we wish that no steppes of such pride and ar­rogancy, might be left behind him: [Page 78] namely, that no elder or minister of the Church, shoulde challendge vnto himselfe, or accept it, if it were offred vnto him, any other authority, then that is allowed by the spirit of God: but cheefly to beware that hee vsurp no authority which is forbidden by the word of God. For wherefore do wee de [...]est the Pope and his vsurped supremacy, but bicause he arrogateth the same vnto himself, not only with out the warrant of Gods worde, but also cleane contrarye to the same? Now, if the same reasons & authori­ties that haue banished the Pope, do serue to condemn all other vsurped authoritye, that is practised in the Church: Why shoulde not all such v­surped authority be banished as well as the Pope? We can alledge against the Pope and rightly, that which S. Ioh. Baptist did answere to his disci­ples. No man can take vnto himself any thing, except it be giuen him from Hea­uen. Ioh. 3. 27.Iohn. 3. 27. And that saying of the Apostle to the Hebrewes:Heb. 5. 4. No man may take vpō him any honor (in the church [Page 79] of God) but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. Insomuch that Christe himselfe, did not giue himselfe to be an high Priest, but he that saide vnto him. Thou art my Sonne, this day I haue begotten thee. Hee sayth in another place,Philip. 2. 6. Thou art a priest for euer after the order of Melchisedec. Now seeing these rules are so generall, that the Sonne of God him selfe, was not exemp­ted from them, but shewed foorth the decree, wherein he was authori­zed: By what rule cā any man reteine that authority in the church of god, which is not called thereto by the worde of God? Likewise we can al­ledge again, against the supremacie of the Pope, to proue that Peter was not superiour to the other Apostles, that which our sauiour Christ sayeth to his Apostles,Luke. 22. 26. Luk. 22. 26. and Mat. 20. 25. Mark. 10. 42. It shall not be so among you, Math. 20. 25 but he that is greatest amongst you, Mark. 10. 42. shall be as the yongest, and he that ru­leth, as he that serueth. And Mat. 23. 8.Math. 23. 8. You haue but one master, which is Christ, [Page 80] and all you are brethren. If these places prooue, that the Pope ought not to bee aboue other ministers of the church: Why doe they not likewise proue, that the Ministers are equal among themselues? And for the most part, all those arguments and autho­rities of Scripture, that are vsed to confute the vsurped authoritie of the pope, are of as great force aganst all other vsurped authorities of one pastor ouer an other. Therfore while we intreate of the authoritie of the pastors, we must take heede that we open not a window to popish tyran­nie, in steede of pastorall authoritye, & that we enlarge not the bounds of authoritye, without the boundes of the Scripture. Wherefore while wee search the Scripture, the onelye rule whereby the Church of God oughte to be gouerned, we finde that in re­giment & gouernāce of the church, the pastor, bishop or elder, hath none authority by himself, seperated from other. For in the Church, ther ought to be no monarchy or sole absolute [Page 81] gouernment, but that is referred pe­culiarly to our sauiour Christe only, 2. Tim. 6. 7. Iude. 4.2. Tim. 6. 15. And that regi­mente, which hee hath left vnto his Church, is a consent of his houshold seruaunts, to do all things according to his prescription, as he witnesseth, Math. 18. 19.Math. 18. 19. If two of you consent vpon earth vppon any matter, what soeuer ye shall aske, it shall bee graunted to you of my Father, which is in Heauen: For wheresoe­uer two or three bee gathered together in my name, there am I in the middest of them. Seeing therefore that our Saui­our Christe, hath neither authorized nor promised to blesse anye other forme of regiment, then that which consisteth of the consent, and gathe­ring together of his Seruauntes in his name: wee holde vs content with this simplicity, and therefore we are bolde to say, that the authoritye of a Pastour in publique Regiment or Discipline, seperate from others, is nothing at all.

Let vs then see, what is his autho­rity ioined with others, and first, who [Page 82] are so ioyned in Commission with him, that without their consent hee can do nothing. We say therefore, that the authority of Christ, is left vnto his whole Church, and so to e­uery church, that none may challēge Episcopall or Metropoliticall autho­rity, as it is with vs at this day ouer other, without greate tyrannye and manifest iniury. For, seeing our Sa­uiour Christe, promised his presence and authority to euery Churche in­differentlye, Math. 18. 19. 20:Math. 18. 19. 20. None may challenge any such prerogatiue a [...]ore other: but as the Churches are limitted out for order & conue­niency, so is euery one of them of like authority in it self: but because they make al but one church, & one body of Christ, therefore there is but one authority in them, to determine of matters concerning them all. By which ther appeareth to be a double authority of the Pastor: one with the seuerall congregation, in which he is Pastour, the other with the whole Synode or assembly, whereof hee is a [Page 83] member, and both these authori­ties, wee finde sufficientlye authori­zed in the Scripture, as shall playn [...] ­lye appeare in the seuerall Discour­ses of them. First therefore, wee will speake of his authoritye in his seuerall Churche, in which hee maye doe nothing without the consente of the Churche. And first, let vs examine, whether this authority bee so diffused ouer the whole Churche, that the hearing, trying and deter­myning of all matters, pertayneth to the vvhole multitude, or to some speciall chosen persons amongest them, meete for that purpose.

The authoritye is the power of our Lorde Iesus Christe, graunted vnto the Church: But because the iudge­ment of the multitude is confuse, whereas God is not the authoure of Confusion, but of order: and that we finde in the worde of God, certayn Officers appoynted for go­uernmente: vvee are bolde to af­firme, that that charge belongeth vnto those that are such.

[Page 84] And that doth S. Paule playnely de­clare, where hee putteth a difference of the seuerall offices of the Church, whereof hee nameth Gouernors for one. 1. Cor. 28. 29.1. Cor. 28. 29▪ and Rom. 12. 8.Rom. [...]2. 8. Let him that ruleth doe it with diligence. Therefore there ought to be in eue­ry Church a Consistory or segnorye of Elders or gouernors, which ought to haue the hearinge, examination and determining of all matters, per­taining to Discipline and Gouerne­ment of that Congregation: which authoritye of theirs neuerthelesse ought to be moderated, that their iudgment may be rightly accounted the iudgement of the holy Church. Which thing consisteth in these two pointes. First, that the Elders bee e­lected and chosen by consent of the whole Congregation, men of Godli­nesse and Wisedome, in whome the whole Churche reposeth such confi­dence, that they commit vnto them their authoritye, in hearing & deter­mining such matters, as without horrible confusion they cānot perform [Page 85] themselues. And hereto also may be referred that, which is sayde of Ele­ction of Pastours, that the Apostles Paul and Barnabas did ordain, by Ele­ction of the congregation, Elders vn­to many Churches, Actes. 14. 23.Acts. 14. 23. be­cause, the name of Elders is common to both: to Pastors and Gouernors, and is vsed in the Scripture to com­prehend both at once, as it appear­eth manifestly by S. Paul. 1. Tim. 5. 7.1. Tim. 5. 7. Those Elders that gouern well, are worthy of double honor, especially those that labour in the word and doctrine. Of which testi­monie, we learne these three things: First, that there bee Elders in the Church, which meddle not with tea­ching, but are occupied altogether in gouerning. Secondly, that the El­ders, which labor in teaching, other­wise called Pastors, are ioined also in gouernment with them, which teach not. And thirdlye, that the name of Elder, comprehendeth both sorts of Elders. And especially in the place before alleadged for election, ther is great reason to lead vs to think, that [Page 86] the elders for gouernment, are as wel vnderstood, as the other for doctrin, because it is writtē in the same place, that after they had ordeined them Elders in euery congregation by ele­ction,Acts. 14. 23. as hauing set the Churches in perfect order (which could not be, except thei had established discipline as wel as doctrine) they cōmitted thē to the Lorde, in whome they beleeued.

The second point for moderation of the elders authority, in such sorte that their sentēce may be the sentēce of the Church is this, that when the cōsistory hath traueled in examining of causes pertaining to Ecclesiasticall Discipline, and agreed what iudge­ment ought to passe vpon the mat­ters, they propound it to the whole multitude, that it may be confirmed by their consent. Wherof S. Paul spea­keth, touching the execution of Ex­cōmunication (because the fact was manifest) Whē you are gathered together with my spirit, [...]. Cor. 5. 4. in the name of our Lord Ie­sus Christ, and with the power of our Lord Iesus Christ, to deliuer such a one vnto Sa­than, [Page 87] Nowe therfore, to [...] prooue that there ought to be a Consistory of el­ders in euery Church, for gouerning of the same: It is manifest by the cōmandemēt of our Sauior Christ, tou­ching him that despiseth pryuate ad­monitiō:Math. 18. 17. If he hear not them, tel the con­gregation, if hee hear not the congregation, let him be vnto thee as an heathē & publicane. Verily I say vnto you, whatsoeuer you shall bind vpon earth shall be bound in hea­uen. In which saying of our Sauiour Christ, this worde Congregation, is not so largely taken, as in other places for the whole multitude, but for the chosen assembly of elders. For our sa­uiour Christ, in that worde alludeth vnto the assembly of elders that was amōg the Iews, which they called but corruptlie of a greeke worde Syne­drion, which signifieth a Counsell or Consistory, Sanedrin, which had the hearing and determining of all dif­ficult and waightie matters among the Iews, the like wherof hee willed to be established in his Churche, for administration of gouernment. For, [Page 88] seeing it was first instituted by God for gouernement of his Church in the olde lawe, as hath beene shewed before out of Num. 11. 6.Num. 11. 6. although it was shamefully abused by the wic­ked Iewes, our sauiour Christ trāsla­teth it into his Church also in the new Testament: and the name of El­ders, doth moste aptlye agree vnto them that bee gouernours in the Church now, euen as it did to the ancients of Israel: so that the Pastors seme to haue borrowed the name of Elders, speciallye in respect of their gouernment. The name of this con­sistory also in the new Testament, we finde to be agreable with that of the Iewes, whereof our sauiour Christe speaketh when he sayth:Mat. 18. Tell the con­gregation or assembly. S, Paule. 1. Tim. 4. 14.1. Tim. 4. 14. Dispise not the gift which was gi­uen thee, thorough prophecie, with imposi­tion of handes of the Eldership, where the greeke word is Presbyterion the assem­blie or Consistorye of the Elders. Which worde is vsed also by Saint Luke in his Gospell, speaking of the [Page 89] consistory of the Iewish Elders. Luke 22. 66.Luke. 22. 66. As soone as it was daye, the whole Eldership or assemblie of Elders came to­geather, both chiefe Priestes and Scribes, and brought him into their counsell. In which saying, their counsel Synedrion is called Presbyterion. Also Saint Paule Act. 20. 5.Acts. 20. 5. that he had beene a perse­cutor of christians, taketh witnesse of the high priest and of the whol con­sistory of Elders, vsing the same word Presbyterion. By which it is euident, that our sauiour Christ by this word Ecclesia in that place, meaneth a con­sistory or assemblye of Elders, whose authoritie he doth ratifie with such power, that whatsoeuer is bounde or loosed by them on earth, in the feare of God, and with heartie prayer, the Lord will bring it to passe, yea he him selfe will be in the middest of them, as President of their counsell, to di­rect their consultations, to the glory of God, and the profite of his owne Church. Therefore in euery Church, there ought to be a consistory of El­ders or Gouernours, which with the [Page 90] Pastor may take charge of Ecclesiasti­call discipline, and good order to bee obserued in the church, to the punish­ment of vice, and the aduauncement of true vertue. These, if they gouerne well, as Saint Paule doth testifie, are worthy of double honour, both that honour which is due to Godly men, and that which is due to good gouer­nours.

How necessarye it is,The ende of Discipline. that Discipline shoulde be in the Church, to keepe men in awe from offending, and to bring offenders to repentaunce, to a­uoyde the infection of sinne, within the Church, and the reproche that groweth by neglecting the punnish­ment of sinne, among them that are without the Church: We thinke it needlesse to stande long in proouing, the matter of it selfe is so apparaunt, and hath such plentifull testimonies in the scripture. And especially let the reasons of Saint Paule.1. Cor. 5. 1. Cor. 5. and 2. Cor. 2.2. Cor. 2. where he purposely intreateth of ecclesiasticall Discipline, be weigh­ed. A little leauen sowreth a whole lumpe [Page 91] of dowe. For infection; yee are puffed vp where yee should be sad and ashamed. For ignominie: We deliuer him to Sathan, to the destruction of his fleshe, that his spirite may be saued in the day of the Lorde: For repentance, publique reprehension of manye, which beeing Godly refuse to eat with such one, is profitable both to driue him selfe to repentaunce, and to keepe other in order for feare of like punishment. Where this Disci­pline is not, no maruell if all wicked­nesse ouerflowe, to the dishonour of God, and of his Gospel, to the destru­ction of many & corrupting of more, to the griefe of the Godly, offence of the weake, incouragement of the wicked, and reioycing of the aduer­sary.

Let vs therefore proceede, in setting foorth the authoritie of the Pastour with the Elders, which is; first to pu­nishe offendours, and bring them to repentance: or else to cut them cleane frō the church, as rotten and infected members. But heere we haue to en­quire, for what offences the Church [Page 92] may proceede to so sharpe a punish­ment. For God forbidde that the swoorde of excommunication, shold be drawne out to cut off the mem­bers of our bodie, for euery small di­sease that is in them, but onely when the disease is deadlye, and the mem­ber rotted thereby. For, we ought as hardly to be brought to excommu­nicate anye of our brethren: as we woulde haue a legge or an arme, cut off from our body. Therfore the po­pish tyrannie is detestable, which thundereth out their pretended ex­communication for euery trifle: yea suche as are no sinnes; as non pay­ment of a little mony, where it is not deteyned of fraude: non apparance, where men otherwyse haue neces­sary impediments, as though it were but a smal matter, to put men out of the protection of Christ, and to deli­uer them vnto the tyrannie of Sa­than: to depriue them of eternall sal­uation, and to cast them into euerla­sting damnation. Least therefore we should vse such vnreasonable rigour, [Page 93] the spirite of God teacheth vs, what maner of sinnes deserue excommu­nication. 1. Cor. 5. 11.1. Cor. 5. 11. If any that is called a brother, be an whooremonger, or a couetous person, or an idolater, or a slaunde­rer, or a drunckard, or an extorcioner, with such a one see that yee eat not. These of­fences therefore and such like, are to be punnished by excommunication. Also an obstinate Heretique, that wil not repent by admonition, is worthy of this punishment. Tit. 3. 10.Tit. 3. 10. 2. Tim. 2. 16. 1. Tim. 1. 20. 2. Ioh. 10. & 11.2. Tim. 2. 16. And not onely these great and noto­rious sinnes,1. Tim 1. 20. deserue this correction,2. Ioh. 10. & 11. but also lesser crimes, increased with contumacie and contempt of the Churches admonition, become wor­thie of the same castigation. There­fore sayth our sauiour Christ of pri­uate offences, Math. 18. 15. 16. &c.Math. 18. 15. 16. &c. If thy brother sinne against thee, goe and re­prooue him betweene him and thee alone: if he heare thee thou hast won thy brother: but if he heare thee not, take with thee one or two, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, euerye worde may stande: if he [Page] disobey them, then tell the Church, if he disobey the Church, then let him be to thee as an heathen or Publicane. The Apostle Saint Paule likewise. 2. Thes. 3. 6. [...] Thes. 3. 6. &c. concerning those that were idle, and walked disorderlye, will haue all-gen­tle meanes vsed to bring them to la­bour and good order, but if they woulde not be refourmed for anye admonition, he commaundeth them to be seperated by excommunicati­on. But it may be obiected that hi­therto appeareth not so great vse of this Consistorye, why it shoulde bee thought necessarye for excommuni­cation: Neyther doth Saint Paule make mention of it in all places, where he speaketh of excommunica­tion. We aunswere, that although the simple institution of Christ, and ap­probation of the holy Ghost, shoulde suffice vs to thinke it necessarye: yet there are many necessary vses thereof to be alleadged. For wheras our Sa­uiour Christ commandeth in priuate offences, the matter to be brought before the congregation, except you [Page 95] vnderstande thereby, the congregati­on or assemblye of Elders: there shall follow horrible confusion and disor­der thereby. For, admit a man might accuse his brother vnto the whole multitude, yet how should the whole multitude admonish him, and exhort him to repentance? Againe, of these notorious offences that are worthye of excommunication, some are o­penly knowen, so that they neede no tryall, as the adultery of that Corin­thian. 1. Cor. 5.1. Cor. [...]. some are in contro­uersie and are to be examined, con­cerning which, Saint Paule warneth Timothie, that he admit not any ac­cusation against an Elder, but vnder two or three witnesses: and char­geth him before GOD, and before the Lorde Iesus Christe, and his e­lect Aungelles, that he doe nothing thorow rashe, or ouer hastie iudge­ment: and that hee doe all thinges without partialitie or affection vn­to parties. 1. Timothie 5. cap. 19.1. Tim. 5. 19 & 21. and twentie one verse. We see heere manyfestly a necessarye vse of the [Page 96] Eldership. For howe is it possible for the whole Churche, to examine and discusse such difficult controuersies? Therefore it behooueth the Church, to haue such ordinary Delegates, as may and ought to applye their dili­gence, vuto such matters. Moreouer, to ouersee the Church for matters pertaining to order and Discipline: How can the multitude ouersee thē ­selues, or the Pastours onelye, which haue a principall care of Doctrine, to attēd vpon? And to the secōd part of the obiection, that S. Paul doth make mention of the Eldership or Consis­tory of Elders in all places, where he speaketh of Excommunication: wee aunswere, that it is not necessary hee should so do. For, wheras our sauiour Christ hath prescribed a form there­of, that hee which obeyeth not the Congregation should be excommu­nicated: and that in other places, hee maketh sufficient mention, both of the Elders and of the assemblie, wee oughte to vnderstande, that his pur­pose is, to obserue that forme to the [Page 97] vttermost. And although he doe not always make expresse mētion therof, yet must we not imagine, that he mēt to alter or chaunge the same. In the first to the Corinthians the fift verse, It is manifest, that albeit he [...] desi­red nothing more, then that the in­cestuous Adulterer should bee ex­communicated, and therefore de­termined of him for his owne part, as absent in body, but present in spi­rite: yet hee acknowledgeth that hee could not be excommunicated, with­out the consent of the Congregati­on, being gathered together in the name of our Lorde Iesus Christe. 1. Cor. 5. 4.1. Cor. 5. 4. Likewise when he shoulde be receiued againe, he was to be par­doned, not onelie by him, but by them also. 2. Cor. 1. 10.2. Cor. 1. 10. And there­fore, if so high an Apostle, could not by his priuate authority excommu­nicate that Corinthian: we must not thinke, that by his priuate authority but by consent of the Churche of E­phesus, he excommunicated Himmine­us & Alexander, 1. Tim. 2. 20. although he do not [Page 98] make expresse mentiō of the consent of the church in that place. 1. Tim. 2. 20.1. Tim. 2. 20. So likewise where he speaketh to Timothie in the singular nūber, con­cerning the hearing & determining of matters pertaining to Discipline, we ought to acknowlege, that he tea­cheth in Timothie his person, the duty of elders, & neuer ment to giue Timo­thy an absolute or singular authority, to be iudge in these matters, without consent of the Eldership, whereof he maketh mention but a little before. To conclude therfore, the Pastor with aduise & consent of the Elders, hath authoritie to heare & examine mat­ters, pertaining to Ecclesiasticall Dis­cipline, and as the cause requireth to excommunicate offenders, and vpon their repentance and amendment, to receiue them againe into the bosom of the church, approued by the word of God. Insteede of which, Antichrist hath set vp a tyrannicall iurisdiction of one Bishop to be iudge of excom­munication, which is practized ney­ther for causes sufficient, nor by suf­ficient [Page 99] authoritie, in so much as it hath beene alreadye testified by the scripture, that the power of excom­munication, is in no one man, no not in an Apostle, but is common to the whole church, & ought to be execu­ted by lawful delegats of the church also. But so much that vsurped autho­ritie presumeth, that the bishop as an absolute owner therof, commiteth it ouer to his chancelor or Archdeacō, the Archdeacon to his Official, & he to his register, & he again to his sub­stitute, and his substitute to his ser­uants, man or boy as it happeneth: in so much that a learned preacher, may be excommunicated by a folish boy. If this matter seeme not to requyre speedy reformatiō, god hath blinded our eies that we can not see the clere light of the sun shining in our faces. For if we loke to banish the tyrannye of the Pope out of all mens harts, we must vtterly remoue al his detestable enormities out of the Realme, as it was wont to be sayd in the common prayers of the Church in the time of [Page 100] K. Henry and Edward, whereas now by reteining stil, all the detestable e­normities of his prerogatiue and fa­culties, & whole course of his Canon law, the papacie is not so much bani­shed in name, as translated in deede from the Sea of Rome, to the Sea of Caunterbury, vnder the shadowe of the Princes supremacie, with as hey­nous iniurie and contumely, of the lawful authoritie & godly suprema­cie of the Prince, as ioyned with the great dishonour of God, and the mi­serable disorder of the Church. But we meane not in this place to prose­cute our iust complaintes, nor to in­ueigh againste the abuse of these thinges, with such vehemencie of wordes as the worthines of the mat­ters deserueth: but onelye in setting foorth the plaine trueth, to giue a glimpst by the waye of the contrarye falshoode.

We must therefore returne to the authoritie of the Pastour, which he hath ioyned with the Elders of the Church, whereof he is pastour. The [Page 101] Church hath alwayes had great care for prouision of the poore, by which compassion they shewed, that they were liuely members of the body of Christ, and auoyded great reproch of them that were without. For what shame is it, for them that professe to be all sonnes of one father, and ther­fore all brethren: yea that be mem­bers all of one body, to suffer their brethren & fellow members, to lacke necessaries to sustayne their tempo­ral life: as though they that commu­nicate in all spiritual graces and bles­singes, were not worthye to take part of these worldlye benefites, at least­wyse so farre forth as to supply their necessities? Therefore our Sauiour Christe, alwayes commendeth bro­therly loue among his Disciples, to teach vs how ready we ought to be, to distribute vnto the necessities of our brethren, which is a true testi­monie of our loue declared by his owne example. For, although hee were so poore, that he liued of the almesse and liberalitie of other men: [Page 102] yet of that which was more then serued his owne necessitie, he vsed to bestowe vppon the poore: as Iohn. 13. 29.Ioh. 13. 29. to teache them whome hee hath blessed with Temporall riches, which hee refused, to enrich vs with heauenlye treasures, that they of their superfluitie, woulde be con­tent to giue to the reliefe of their poore bretheren, which he did not neglect in his extreame pouerty: To teach also them that haue but mean substaunce, that they ought not to bee excused, but somewhat to con­tribute vnto the necessitie of their poore bretheren, when he that had nothing at all but that which was gi­uen, euen of that bestowed part. Therefore the Apostles in the primi­tiue Church, thought it to be expe­dient, for the better prouiding for the poore, that certaine men shoulde be appoynted of approoued Godli­nesse and diligence, which shoulde take the speciall charge of the distri­bution vnto the poore. Act. 6.Actes 6. These men were called Deacons or mini­sters, [Page 103] because they did minister and serue the poore in their necessities, and because the occasion of the or­dinaunce continueth alwayes (as our Sauiour Christ hath sayde) we should alwayes haue the poore amongest vs, Iohn. 12. 8.Ioh. 12. 8. vvhereby GOD woulde exercise our charitie. The of­fice of Deacons also is perpetuall. Therefore the Apostle Saint Paule, prescribeth what kinde of men are meete for that office. 1. Timothie. 3. 8.1. Tim. 3. 8. And in euery well constituted Church, they were ordayned accor­dingly: as Phillip. 1. 1.Phil. [...]. 1. Also after the ordeyning of the seuen Dea­cons, this office was deuided into diuers partes, as necessitie shewed diuers occasions. For some were appoynted for the collection and distribution of al [...]esse: as Romans 12. 8. and some for attending vppon the sicke and impotent among the poore,Rom. 12. 8. as in the same place. Let him that distributeth, doe it with simplicitie, and let him that sheweth mercie, doe it with cheerefulnesse.

[Page 104] Which kinde of Deacons. 1. Cor. 12. 28.1. Cor. 12. 28. are called helpers: and for the seruice of this office, were appointed diuers olde poore widowes, who as they were mainteined by the church: so they serued the church, attending vppon the other poore, who beeing sicke and impotent, had neede not onely of things necessary, but also of seruice and attending. 1. Timoth. 5. 5.1. Tim. 5. 5. These offices being instituted by the spirit of God, for the necessary vse of the Church, which vse still continu­eth, ought also to be reteined among vs. For we see, for want of these offi­ces, what great inconueniences are a­mong vs, concerning the poore. For, although ther be very good politike laws made for prouision of the pore: yet smal reliefe commeth thereby to the poore indeed: at least wise manie abuse the reliefe which they receiue, which commeth of this, that there be not in euery church or congregatiō, such Deacons as the holy ghost hath appointed, which should take a speci­all care, & employ a great diligence, [Page 105] for the prouision of the poore: not only some, to gather and distribute, but also to see it well imployed on the poore, and to imploy the poore, that liue of the almes of the church, to the releefe of their fellow poore, which are more impotēt thē they, as it was vsed in the Primatiue Church. And aboue all thinges, to beware of them that walke disorderlye, and labour not if they be able. Of which kinde of people, when there is so greate multitudes in this land, that they doe euen ouerflowe the Countryes, and haue beene knowne to bee practizers of greate matters agaynste the state: It is maruayle, that neither by politique, nor by ec­clesiasticall Lawe, they are broughte into order, and sette to laboure, or else (as Saynt Paule prescribeth,) so that they shoulde not eate, vntill they bee willing to labour. 2. Thes. 3. 10.

But now, to return to the Electi­on of Deacons. Concerning the form of chusing of Deacons, we may reade [Page 106] at large. Actes. 6. that they were chosen, by consente of the vvhole Churche, and hadde the approbati­on of the Apostles. And because wee maye not thinke, there was a­nye confusion in that blessed com­panye, wee muste needes confesse, that vvhich hath beene before de­clared, that there were euen in that assemblie and firste Churche at Hie­rusalem, certayne elders appoyn­ted, which in the name and by the consente of the rest, had the dispo­sition of suche matters, as appear­eth by manie places of the Actes of the Apostles, where the Elders are named with the Apostles: As Actes 15. 4. 12. &c. but especiallye concerning this matter of the di­stribution vnto the poore, we reade, that when the Church of Antiochia, was so wel disposed as to make a col­lection to bee sente vnto the poore Brethren that dwelt in Iury, they sent vnto the Elders, by the handes of Barnabas and Saule. Actes. 11.Act. 11. 30. [Page 107] 30. By vvhich it appearethe, that the Elders had the disposition and appoynting of suche as shoulde de­stribute it vnto the Congregation, which were the Deacons. For it is agreeable to reason, that hee that should doe any seruice in the name of all, should be chosen and appro­ued by the consent of all. For the Regiment of the church, as it ought to bee furthest of from all Tiran­nye: so ought it to be as farre from Confusion and disorder. Tyranny is auoyded when no one man, (con­trarie to the ordinaunce of Christe) shall presume to doe anye thing in the Church, without the aduise and consent of others that bee Godlye and vvise, and authorized by the consent of the Church. Confusion is preuented by the graue counsayle, and orderlye assemblye of Elders, vnto vvhome the Churche hathe committed her authority.

By this it maye easily appeare, vvhat great defaulte there is in our Church, where those that are sayde [Page 108] to be ordeined Deacons, neuer pur­pose in their life to execute any part of a Deacons office, neither are cho­sen for that end: but only that with­in a short time after, they may bee made Priestes or ministers, nothing in the worlde differing from the su­perstition of Popery: where the of­fice of Deacon was conferred onely, as a step vnto priesthood. As though it were necessarye, that euerye one which is ordayned an Elder, shoulde first be a Deacon, and yet when he is made a Deacon, hee is but an Idoll, yea scarse an Idoll of a Deacon, ha­uing no resemblaunce at all vnto a Deacon indeed, but that he is a man. This prophaning of Gods instituti­on, God will not alwayes suffer vn­punished, especially when it is not maintained of ignoraunce or infir­mity, but defended against know­ledge, and vpon wilfulnesse. There­fore, the Collectors are more like to deacons a great deal, then those that the Byshops make Deacons. For, first they haue after a sort election of the [Page 109] Church, whereas the other haue, but the approbation of one man. And secondly, they gather and distribute the common almes vnto the poore, which the other neuer think of. But yet we may not allow them for law­full Deacons indeede, because they are not alwayes endued with suche qualities, as the Apostle requireth. 1. Tim. 2.1. Tim. [...]. For they ought to bee men of good estimation in the Churche, full of the holy Ghost, and of wise­dome, that should be chosen, Acts. 6. For, as it is an office of good credit, so ought the person to bee of good reputation. Therefore saith S. Paule, that Those Deacons that Minister well, doe get them selues a good degree, 1. Tim. 3. 13. and great liberty in the faith, which is in Christ Iesus. Insomuch that S. Paule him self doth salute in speciall wordes the Deacons, next to the Byshops or o­uerseers in the Churche of Philipi.Phillip. 1. 1. Wee reade also, what worthye men were chosen to be the first Deacons; as Stephen the first Martyr, and Phi­lip, which afterwarde was an Euan­gelist, [Page 110] when the Churche was dis­persed thoroughe the persecution raysed aboute Stephen. So that e­uery ignoraunte contemptible per­sonne, is not to bee allowed vnto this office: but as Godly, wise, and vvorshipfull, as maye conuenient­lye bee founde in the Congregati­on, maye not thinke them selues too good to minister vnto Christe, in his members, and in the name of the Churche. The Election also of oure Collectours, is too Pro­phane for so holye an Office. Wee maye reade in the Historye of the Actes: Actes. 6.Act. 6. with vvhat graui­tye, reuerence, and religiousnesse, the Apostles ordayned Deacons, vvith Prayer and Imposition of handes. For these and suche like causes, althoughe the ordinarye Collectors haue some resemblance, with the Deaconship of the church: yet wee cannot in all poyntes al­lowe them for Deacons: whose of­fice truely consisteth onelye in mi­nistration vnto the poore, as wee [Page 111] haue shewed, in that they bee Dea­cons. Wee haue declared before, that there is a double authority of the Pastour, the one ioyned vvith the Elders of the Churche, vvhere­of hee is Pastour: the other vvith the Synode or holy assembly, where­of he is a member.

Of the former wee haue intrea­ted hitherto. Nowe it followeth, that wee speake of the latter. There aryseth oftentimes in the Church, diuerse Controuersyes, which can­not bee othervvise expressed, per­tayning to the state of the vvhole Churche, then by a generall assem­blye of all the Pastoures of that Churche, vvhich is called a Synode or generall Counsayle. Also there bee diuerse cases, vvherein the se­uerall Churches, are driuen to pray the ayde of the Synode, vvhere matters can not bee determined a­mong them selues. For this cause, the Holye Ghoste hathe ordayned these Holy assembles, with promise, that they being gathered together [Page 112] in the name of Christe, he him selfe will bee among them. With the Sy­node, the Pastour hath authority to determine, concerning regiment of the Church. Wherefore we haue to enquire, of what persons a Synode doth consist: For which intent wee finde in the history of Act. 15. 6. that when a cont [...]ouersie arose concer­ning the Ceremonies of the Lawe, whether they were to bee vsed, by those Christians that were conuer­ted of the Gentiles: The Apostles & Elders came together to consider of this matter, and that the people was not excluded, appeareth by the 12. verse, the whol multitude, being per­swaded by the argumentes alleaged by Peter, helde their peace, and qui­etly hearde Paule and Barnabas, de­clare what signes & wonders, God had wrought by them amongest the Gentiles. And least ye should vnder­stand the multitude in that place, for the multitude of the Apostles, It fol­loweth in the 22. verse. Then it plea­sed the Apostles and Elders, with the [Page 113] whole Church, to chuse certaine men. &c. By which scripture we learn, that the Synode consisteth principally of Pa­stours, Elders, Teachers, and men of wisdome, iudgement and grauitie, as it were of necessary regents. For, al­though the whole multitude came togeather, yet the Apostles and El­ders came togeather to enquire, and consider of the matter in controuer­sie, the multitude heard, and for their better instruction and modestye, sub­mitted their consent, vnto the deter­mination of the Apostles and Elders. All mens reasons were hearde. For there was great disputation, but the authoritie of Gods worde preuailed, good order was obserued. So, after the matter was throughly discussed, by the godly arguments, alledged by Peter and Barnabas, & Paul, the con­trouersie was concluded by the sen­tence of Iames, to whom that prero­gatiue was graunted, not of singular authoritie, but for orders sake. And this place doth admonishe vs, to in­treate some what of the preeminence [Page 114] of one Elder or pastor aboue the rest We confesse that in euery assemblye or company, some one of necessitie must haue this prerogatiue, to order and dispose the same with reason, or els great confusion is like to follow. But this preeminence is onely of or­der and not of authoritie, as to pro­pound matters to be decided, to ga­ther the reasons and consent of the rest, and so to conclude, &c. As we see in this place Iames did: of whom al­so we reade, that he had this preemi­nence. Act. 21. 18,Act. 21. 18. &c. And we maye gather the same. Gal. 2. 9. 12. [...]al. 2. 9. 12. Not that Iames had greater authority in his Apostleship, then Peter or Paule, or Iohn, or anye other of the Apo­stles: But because he was chosen of the rest to haue prerogatiue of order, which some one must haue in euerye assembly, and such was the preroga­tiue at the first, which was graunted sometime to the bishop of Rome, & sometime to some other bishops, to be president or prolocutor in the ge­nerall counsels, being chosen therto [Page 115] for the time by consent of the rest, as the prolocutor is chosen in our con­uocatiōs, that are called with parlia­ments. Therfore, as it were an absurd thing for our prolocutor in our con­uocation, to take vppon him to be a controller of the whole synode, & to challenge that office to him and to his heires for euer: so vnreasonable is the authority that the Pope claimeth ouer generall counsels. One therfore is to be chosen by consent, to be as it were the prolocutor or moderator of order, but not of authoritie in euery assembly, whose prerogatiue must so be tempered, that in al thinges tiran­nie be auoyded. Which we see by ex­perience easely crepeth in vpō proud natures, to whome if you graunt an inch, they wil be ready to take an ell, according to the Prouerbe. But let vs return to the authority of the sinode which cōsisteth in deciding & deter­mining such maters as cānot other­wise in perticular churches be cōclu­ded, either because they cōcerne the cōmō state of al churches, or because [Page 116] they lacke sufficient authoritie in some one church. First therefore the lawfull Synode hath to consider, if a­nie controuersie of doctrine do arise, that it be determined by the word of God: for in the controuersie of bin­ding the Gentiles, to the obseruati­ons of the ceremoniall lawe, was a matter of faith and doctrine.

Secondly, it hath to determine of the vse of the ceremonies, not of will without reason or grounde of scrip­ture, but vpon necessary causes of a­uoiding offence and similitude of su­perstition, of bearing with the weak, of order and comelinesse and edifica­tion. So did the Synode of the Apo­stles and Elders, command for a time abstinencie from meate offered to I­dols, otherwise lawfull in it selfe, for offences sake, and for auoyding of all pollution of Idolatrie. Act. 6. 20. 29.Act. 6. 20. 29 and forbearing the weaknesse of the Iewes in abstinencie, from eating of bloud & of strangled, which was for­bidden by God before Moses time, to teach that Childishe age of Gods [Page 117] people to abstaine from cruelty, as in Gen. 9. 4.Genes. 9. 4. Such ceremoniall constitu­tions are but temporall, and so long are to be reteined, as the cause conti­nueth, for which they were made. So that if weaknes cease, or be turned to obstinacie, they are no longer to be reteined. Also for order and comeli­nesse, and best edification, the Synode hath to determine, what shall be ob­serued in particular charges: as of the time, place, and forme of preaching and praying, and administring of the sacraments. For, who shoulde be able to know what order, comelines and edification requireth according to Gods worde, but they that be Tea­chers and preachers of the same vnto al others? For it is absurde, that they shoulde bee taught by such in these small thinges, as ought to learne the truth of them in all matters. This au­thoritie therefore cannot be graun­ted vnto any Ciuill Christian Magi­strate, that without consent of the learned Pastours and Elders: yea a­gainst their consent (of whom, as in [Page 118] some respect hee is a feeling mem­ber) he maye lawfully make ceremo­niall Constitutions, whereby the Church muste be gouerned, in meere Ecclesiasticall matters.

It is ou [...]e of all controuersye, that before there vvere anye Chri­stian Magistrates (for wee will, not speake of SERGIVS PAVLVS proconsull of Cyprus, because hee was but a Lieuetenaunt of the Ro­mane Emperour) this authoritie was proper vnto the Synode.

Which authoritye vvee knovve to bee graunted to the Church by oure Sauioure CHRISTE: pra­ctized by his Apostles: continu­ed by their successours three hun­dred yeares, before there was anye Christian Emperours, (for wee re­ceiue not Phillip for a Christian Emperour) and long time after there were Christian Emperours, euen as long as anye puritie continued in religion, vntill both Emperours and Synodes were thrust out of all law­full authoritie, which they ought to [Page 119] haue in the Church, by the tyrannie of Antichrist.

But wee finde not in the Scrip­ture, this authoritye graunted by Christe to Ciuill Magistrates, which in his, and his Apostles tyme were not, nor anye promise that when they were, the Synode shoulde re­signe it vnto them. Therefore it remayneth, that it bee shewed by them, that defende that this abso­lute authoritie is in the Ciuill Ma­gistrate, by what spirite or reuela­tion, or Scripture (if there be anye that wee know not): For, we woulde bee gladde to learne howe this au­thoritie was translated from the Church, (in which it was once law­fullye vested) vnto the Ciuill Chri­stian Magistrate.

Therefore, vntill this maye bee shewed, by sufficient warraunt of GODS holye worde, vve holde that the Synode of euerye Prouince, hath authority to decree concerning ceremoniall orders of the Church: [Page 120] Whereof some may be generall to al congregations, some particular to certaine Churches. For, as it were to be wished that all places might bee brought to one perfection: So it is not alwayes necessarye, that they be like in all thinges. The wisedome of the Synode therefore ought to haue such regard of all churches, that they haue speciall respect to euerye one. Wherin we of long time in England haue beene caried away, with an vn­true principle, that vniformitie must be in all places, and thinges a like, as though we would feede old men and sucking infants all with one kind of meat: or as though we would cloath all ages in a robe of one assize: and that which is more absurde, compell men of ripe age to sucke the dugge, to weare their biggins, and to carrye Rattles and other Childish bables. Our lande is not yet wholly conuer­ted to Christe (so great hath beene our negligence hitherto) therefore there can not bee suche an vnifor­mitye of orders in all places, as [Page 121] shall be profitable for all. There­fore it were meete, that the Ouer­seers and Elders of the Churche, shoulde come together to consider of this matter, what orders were moste meete for diuerse places, to bring thē to the obediēce of Christ: what for the furtheraunce of them that are newly come, and what for the continuance and increase, of thē that are very well come on.

The same doctrine, although not the same parts of Doctrine, is to bee euery where: but ceremonies, euen as they be ceremonies, do admit va­riety: as time, persons, and occasions serue to be diuerse. Yea Christian li­berty, in them somtimes, is necessary to be testified, because there are ma­ny so simple, that they know not the difference betweene those thinges, that are necessarye in the Churche, and those that are not of necessi­tye. There be that thinke a Crosse or Font (as they call it) is as necessary in baptisme, as water: and that knee­ling at the Communion is more ne­cessary [Page 112] then preaching of the Lordes death: that a Surplusse in common prayer, is more necessary, then a de­uoute minde: and greate occasi­ons offered to the ignoraunt so to thinke, vvhen they see them that preache moste diligently, pray most feruentlye, and minister the Sacra­mentes moste reuerently, according to Christes institution, to be displa­ced of all ministery, for a Crosse or a Fonte, or a Surplusse, or some such other trifle. The Synode therefore, oughte to bee carefull in orday­ning of Ceremonyes, not onelye that they bee pure and agreeable to the worde of God: but also that they bee expediente for the time and personnes, for whose vse they are ordayned: And as wilfull con­temners of good orders established by publique authoritye, are wor­thy to bee corrected, so intangling of mens consciences, or tyrannicall coaction in these indifferente mat­ters, must alwayes bee auoyded. The Synode hathe further authori­tye [Page 123] concerninge Discipline, to re­fourme and redresse by Ecclesiasti­call Censure, all suche defaultes and controuersies, as cannot bee deter­mined in the particuler Churches: as for example: If the Pastour him­selfe, haue neede to bee seuerelye punished, vvhere there is but one Pastour in a Churche: or if Elders, vvhiche shoulde bee refourmers of others, haue notoriouslye misgo­uerned them selues: or if they haue beene ledde by affection, to con­demne an Innocente, or to iustifye the vngodlye: in these and suche like cases, all Contention is to bee concluded, by the authority of the Synode. Some example vvee haue thereof. Acts. 15.Act. 15. where those con­tentious Schismatiques, that with­stoode Paule and Barnabas at An­tiochia, were constrained to yeelde by authoritye of the Councell, and Paul and Barnabas restored to their credite.

For which causes, Synodes ought of­tentimes [Page 124] to bee assembled, though not general of the whole realme, but particular of euery prouince or shire, as it may be most conueniently, that such thinges as are to be refourmed, may bee redressed with speede.

Last of all, forasmuch as the election of Pastors, is a great & waighty mat­ter, which ought not to bee permit­ted to the iudgement of anye one man, but pertaineth to the Church, whereunto they shoulde be chosen, both for better aduise in chusing of a meete man, and for authority in causing him to accept their election: it is conuenient that it bee done by iudgement of the particular Sinode. That no one man hath authority to ordaine Pastors, and to impose them ouer churches, hath bene before de­clared, by example of the Apostles Paule and Barnabas, who although they were Apostles, yet would they not challenge that prerogatiue vn­to themselues, but by common ele­ction, they ordained Elders in euery Church. Acts. 14. 23.Actes. 14. 23. Timothy also [Page 125] receiued his charge, although it were through prophecy, by imposition of handes of the Eldership. 1. Timoth. 4. 14.1. Tim. 4. 14. Therefore as it hath bene eui­dently declared before, the assembly of Elders, consisting of graue, wise, and Godly men, ought to enquire, when the Pastors place is voyd, wher they may finde a man meete to sup­plie his roome, and therein to desire aide of the Synode. The man by such Godly aduise so chosen, ought to be presented to the Congregation, and of them to be allowed and receiued, if no man can shew anye reasonable cause to the contrarie. This is the right election and ordaining of Pa­stors, grounded vppon the worde of God, and practised by the primatiue Church, two hundred yeeres after Christ, vntil the mistery of iniquity, grew to work more openly to the setting vp of the tyrannicall king­dome of Antichrist. By this we may plainly see, that our presentation of patrons, is both prophane and pre­iudicial: our giuing of orders by By­shoppes [Page 126] is presumptuous, and full of absurdities. Firste, because they take vppon them to do that, which none of the Apostles durst doe: that is, without election of Churches, to ordayne Elders. Secondly, that they giue an Office vvithout a charge, to make a Pastour, and sende him to seeke a Flocke, where hee canne finde it: which is as vnreasonable a thing, as if one were chosen to bee a Church-warden, and had neuer a Churche to keepe: or made a Con­stable, that had neuer a Towne or place appoynted, whereof he should bee Constable. For the name of a Pastour, Elder, or Ouerseer, is the name of an office in Act and esse, be­cause it is a proper Relatiue, and not a Potentiall abilitye in the Cloudes.

If Byshoppes as they bee nowe, were consecrated after the same ma­ner to seeke theire Byshoprickes, vvhere they coulde finde them, it [...] no greater absurdity, then it is to ordayne Pastoures, and let them proll where they can for their be­nefices. [Page 127] Thirdlye, by this wandring (we may also say vagabounde) mini­stery, shifting from place to place, and in all places to bee counted a Mini­ster where he hath no charge, it wold grieue a man to thinke, what incon­ueniences doth follow, but principal­ly, how filthily it stinketh of the olde Popish indelible character, frō whēce it hath his ground, and neither of a­ny reason, or of the worde of God. And yet forsooth it is so perfect, that it may abide no reformatiō. Fourth­ly, if you will see how well the autho­rity which they claime and practize, is vsed of them, that onelye haue the choyse and admission of Ministers: Looke ouer the vvhole Realme of Englande, What a multitude of vn­fitte Pastours shall you finde in euery place? So that Ieroboam neuer made worse Priestes of the refuse of the people, to serue his Golden Calues, then they haue ordayned Ministers to feede the Flocke of Christe, which hee hathe purchased with his owne bloude.

[Page 128] This complaint we confesse is gree­uous, but the indignity of the mat­ter inforceth it. We know that vaine excuses shall not be wanting, of ne­cessity, &c. But if necessity compel­led thē to take such at the first; what necessity compelleth them, to suffer them to bee such still? For, if they woulde needes admit ignoraunt per­sons to that charge: yet should they haue enforced them to study, as wel as to other thinges, they haue infor­ced them vnto, that in time they might haue growne to be meete for their calling. Which if they had done in 10. 12. or 13. yeeres space, a great many might haue proued excellētly well learned, and able to serue in the Church with great fruit and profit: and the rest according to proporti­on of their time, might haue come to some mediocrity in knowledg, wher­as nowe as ignoraunt and as vnfit as they were the first day, so are they still for the moste parte, and will so continue to theire liues ende, if they may be suffered in idlenesse, as [Page 129] they haue beene hitherto. Then it is a torment to thinke what ambitious suing, what enuious labouring, what vnseemelie flattering, what prodigall bribing, is vsed to attayne to greate dignities in the Church, to farre vn­meete for the modesty and grauitye that shoulde be in Christian preach­ers. And as for the inferior benefices, from the fattest Parsonadge, to the poorest Vicaradge almoste, if it bee worth 40. pounds by the year, what Symonicall bargains of leases, Annu­ities, Reseruations, exhibitions: yea, notwithstanding the Act of Parlia­ment, Anno. 13. by Antedates and other subtil conueyances, what chri­stian heart can think of them, with­out detestation of such horrible a­buses? Shall we speak here any thing of the popish priesthood, the greatest blasphemy that euer was: how long was it allowed for a lawfull ministe­ry, vntill by the Godlye meaning of the sayde Parliament, some brandmarke of shame, was set vppon it? But howe pitifullye that authority [Page 130] was abused, which was by the same statute committed to the bishops, in allowing of priests that came to doe their penance, by negligence of the bishops, & bribery of their Officers: the country crieth out of it, and the state of the church, is little amended by it. Old Sir Iohn Lacklatin, that had not seen some of his benefices, a dosē yeare before, was carried aboute on his Mare, and sometimes on a Cart: First to the bishop whom he chose, if he might for his purpose, such one as had bene a priest of his owne order, and cared leaste what ministers serue in his Diocesse, and then from Shire to Shire, one distant an hundred mile from another, mumbling vp his Ar­ticles in his morowmasse voice, in e­uery Church where hee had liuing, and returned as very a beaste as hee came.

But this and all other inconue­niences before rehearsed, shoulde vtterlye bee auoyded, if wee mighte once establish the lawfull election of Pastours, according to the word [Page 131] of God. It were also greatly to bee wished, that it might bee broughte to passe, that in euery Congregati­on, there shoulde be two pastors at the least, both because the charge is great, and also for supplying the lack of the one, if the other were sicke or absent vppon necessity, or any such like case. Which thing were both agreeable to the example of the A­postolike Churche, and also verye profitable for the Congregation. Wee doe not meane this in euerye Parish, as they bee nowe distingui­shed, but in euery Congregation as they may be disposed, both for best edifying and also for sufficient liuing for the Pastors.

It will bee obiected, when we haue all thinges at our pleasure, concer­ning the Election of Pastors, yet will there creepe in many abuses. Wee answere, they shall not so soone, nor so easily, nor so many abuses creepe in, as nowe at wide Windowes, yea, great port-gates doe throng in.

But if as many or more abuses (if [Page 132] more coulde bee) were crept in, yet were the case better then it is now: for we shoulde be sure, that God ap­prooueth our order, though he con­demn the abuses, because it is grounded vpon Gods worde, whereas now he abhorreth both.

But of the authority that Pastors haue as members of the Synode, we haue spoken hitherto sufficiently. By which it is euidēt, how all things haue beene corrupted in Poperye, which had at the first any good insti­tution, which corruptions we also retaine at this day, without desiring of any refourmation. For, to begin first with our particuler Synodes, good lord what a mockery they are of law ful synodes, beeing holden for no o­ther ende almoste, but to gather vp fees, both ordinary & extraordinary, with dayly newe deuises to poll the poore Priestes of their mony, which they extort for seeing the Letters of orders, for Dynners and suche like matters. And yet a newe inuented pyllage, vvhereby they compell men [Page 133] to buy Bookes of them for 4. pence or 6. pence, which are to deare of a peny or two pence: and not onelye suche small Ware, but also greate bookes, beeing such as euerie parish is appointed to buy, must be bought of them for two or three Shyllinges in a Booke dearer, then it may bee bought in Paules Church-yarde: yea otherwhiles, though the Parish bee furnished of them alreadye, they are not authenticall, except they be boughte at Master Chauncellers and Officiall, at Master Regesters hands. As for refourmation of any thing in the Churche, there are indeede many presentments, and men sworn to presente matters, but little or none amendmente at all doth fol­lowe. So that it is a common say­ing in the Countrie, when the pre­sentment is once receyued, they shal neuer heare more of it. Soone after the Visitation or Synode, the petit­bribing Sumner, rideth foorth laden with Excommunications, which hee scattereth abroad in the Country, as [Page 134] thicke as Haileshot, against this par­son, and that Vicar: this Church war­den, and that Side-man, whome hee himselfe when he came to summon him to the Synode, for a Cheeze or a Gammon of Bacon, had vn­dertaken to excuse for none appa­raunce. But when he is once Ex­communicated, there is no remedy, but hee must trudge to the Chaun­celour or Officiall for absolution, who after hee hath once absolued his Purse of a fewe Groates, giueth him his blessing and sendeth him a­way. And this is the image of our li­tle or particuler Synode.

Our generall Conuocations haue a more shevve of good order,Chusing of Clearkes of the Conuo­catiō house. but in effect little better. For firste, they are stuffed full of Popish and pro­phane Chauncelloures, and other Lawyers, which beeing meere laye men, and vnlearned in Diuinitie, by their owne Lawe, ought to be no members of the Synode: And yet these will beare the greatest sway in all thinges. The Byshops, as though [Page 135] they were greater then the Apostles, must haue their seuerall couuenticle, wheras the Apostles and elders came together with the whole multitude, Actes 15.Actes 15. And as they are seuered in place, so will they bee higher in au­thoritie. So that whatsoeuer is de­creed amongest them, that must bee called the determynation of the whole Synode. So that no manne muste bee suffered to speake anye thinge agaynste it, bee it neuer so reasonable, or agreeable to the vvorde of GOD: yea, vvhosoe­uer vvill not subscribe to all suche thinges, as they decree, muste bee excluded out of the Conuocation, as vvas practized and threatened in the Conuocation at the foresayde Parliamente, vnto diuerse Godlye and learned Preachers, that offered to speake agaynste dyuerse grosse and palpable erroures, that had e­scaped the Byshoppes decrees. As for the distinction of Canonicall and Apocriphall bookes, for expli­cation of the clause in the article of [Page 136] Predestination: where it is sayde, that the elect may fall from Grace, and such like matters. If this bee not to practise Lordshippe ouer our faith: to set downe decrees of Reli­gion, which must bee accepted of all men, without eyther reason or te­stimony of the Scripture to prooue them, and no man permitted to shew anye reason or Scripture, that infor­ceth his Conscience to the contra­rye, but onely to hang vppon the authority of bishops: Let some other declare what Paul meaneth, 2. Cor. 1. 4.2. Cor. 1. 14. where he denieth, that he woulde excercise any Lordship, ouer the faith of the Corinthians.

For, although their decrees were neuer so perfect, yet it were an ex­ample of tyrannicall Dominion, nei­ther to giue reasons to satisfie the ig­noraunt them selues, nor to hear or cōfute that which might be alleaged against them by others, but for a few lordbishops in comparison of all the conuocation, to sit by them selues & order all thinges at their pleasures, [Page 137] as though the Gospell sprang firste from them, or had come vnto them only, it sauoreth of nothing so much as of popish tyranny: Whereas other­wise it is well knowne they are not al of the best learned, nor all of longest study, nor all of soundest iudgement, nor all of greatest zeale, nor all of best example, and therfore not mee­test to be the onely determiners in Ecclesiasticall matters, to the preiu­dice of the whole synode. Wherefore it is greatly to be desired, that our synodes also, which are so farre out of order, maye be refourmed accor­ding to the scripture, and the exam­ple of the primitiue Church, that all thinges may be done with such mo­desty, grauitie & iudgement, as they were by the Apostles and Elders.Actes. 15. Act. 15. And now that we haue set forth the whole Ecclesiasticall ministerye, according to the word of God, with all the duties & authoritie that per­tayneth vnto it: the place requyreth, that we should also intreat of the au­thority of the ciuil Magistrate in mat­ters [Page 138] ecclesiastical. Of the title of the princes supremacie, if it be truly vn­derstood, we moue no contronersie: but that it doth properly apperteine to the ciuil magistrat, to be the high­est gouernor of al persons within his dominion, so that the soueraign Em­pyre of God be kept whol. But here­in resteth all the doubt, howe this is truely to be vnderstoode, & that shal we best vnderstand by the contrarie: namely by the vsurped tiranny of an­tichrist. For antichrist did challenge vnto himselfe al authority, both that which is proper to god, & that which is cōmon to men. Therefore that the pope claimed to be that only head of the church, frō which the whol body receiued direction, & was kept in v­nity of faith: This was blasphemous against Christ, & therfore may not be vsurped by any Ciuill magistrate, no more thē by the pope. Likewise, wher hee challengeth authoritye to alter, change & dispence with the cōman­dement of god, to make new articles of faith, to ordain new sacramēts, &c. [Page 139] this is also blasphemous and ought not to be vsurped of any ciuil prince, On the other side, where he challen­geth authority ouer all princes, & so ouer al the clergy, that he did exempt them from the ciuil iurisdiction, this is contumelious, & iniurious against al christian kings. And therfore eue­ry prince in his own dominiō, ought to cast off the yoke of his subiection, and to bring al ecclesiastical persons vnto his obedience and iurisdiction. Here haue we the first part of the ti­tle of supreame gouernment ouer al persons. In matter or causes ecclesia­stical: likewise, the pope doth not only presume against god, as we said be­fore: but also against the lawfull au­thority, giuen by God vnto men. For he forbiddeth princes to medle with reformation of Ecclesiasticall mat­ters, or to make anye lawes pertay­ning to causes of religion, answering them, that those things do appertain onlye to him & the general counsel. But when he cōmeth to debate anye thing with his clergy, then al laws & [Page 140] knowledge, are enclosed in the clo­set of his brest. When any generall counsel must be holden, all that they doe receiueth authoritie from him. For except he doe allowe, it is no­thing. And he is so wyse, that ney­ther with the councell, nor without the counsell he can erre or thinke a­misse in matters Ecclesiasticall: wher­as it is not onely lawful, but also ne­cessary for Princesse, if they will doe their dutie, to looke to the reforma­tion of religion, and to make lawes of matters Ecclesiasticall, but so that we confounde not the offices of the Prince and the Pastour. Eor, as it is not lawfull for the Prince to preach, nor administer the Sacramentes: no more is it lawfull for him to make lawes in Ecclesiastical causes, contra­rie to the knowledge of his learned Pastors. For, as these three partes of a pastors dutie, are graunted to him by God, preaching, ministring of sa­craments, and Ecclesiasticall gouern­ment: he maye no more take from a Pastor the third, then he may the two [Page 141] first. By this it appeareth, how farre it is lawful for Princes to intermedle with causes Ecclesiasticall: namelye that it is the chiefest poynt of their dutie, to haue especiall regarde that God may be glorified in their domi­nion, and therefore they ought to make ciuill lawes to binde the peo­ple vnto the confession of true faith, and the right administring and re­ceiuing of the sacramentes, and to all ecclesiastical orders, that they beeing instructed by the worde of God, tho­row the ministerie of the preaching of the same, shall vnderstande to bee profitable for edifying of the church of Christe, and the aduauncement of the glory of God. If any shall offende against the laws, whether he be prea­cher or hearer, beside the ecclesiasti­call censure, which he shoulde not es­cape, he is also to be punished in bo­dye by the ciuill magistrate. This we see that all christian Emperours ob­serued, that when anye controuersie arose, either of doctrine, or of order and ceremonies, they commaunded [Page 142] the Cleargie to consult & determine thereof, according to the scripture, who assembling togeather incounsel obeyed their commandement. Their conclusion then by authoritie of the Emperour, was commaunded euerye where to be obserued, and those that impugned it, to be punished: the same order we reade also to bee obserued, by the christian kinges of Fraunce & Spaine, yea and of this our Brittany also, in gouerning their Ecclesiastical state, by the aduise of the Cleargie of their dominion. But it will perhaps be sayd, that for Princes to subscribe to the determination of priestes (as they call them) is no supremacie, but a subiection. We answer, it is no sub­iection vnto men, but to God & his worde, to doe nothing in these mat­ters, but by the faithfull aduise of thē, that know his will, & are bounde to teach it vnto all men: No more then it is to be counted a subiection for a Prince in ciuill affayres, to fol­low the aduise of wise and faithfull Counsellers. Whereby we see that if [Page 143] Gods ordinaunce were not plaine in the scriptures, yet reason it self wold conclude, that if in Temporal mat­ters, a wise prince wil doe nothing of weight, without the counsell of wise men: how much more in Gods busi­nes which are of greatest importāce, shold they not decree any thing with out the aduise of them, that be lear­ned in those matters. And if all prin­ces by heathen wise mens iudgments are so rulers, that they are seruaunts of the laws, & of the cōmon wealth: why should it be accounted for anye dishonour vnto princes, to be obedi­ent to the lawes of God their father, and to serue to the commoditie of the church their mother? It is a grea­ter honor to be the son of God, and the child of the church, then to be a monarch of al the earth. Of this ho­nourable subiection to GOD and his church. Esay prophesieth Cha­piter. 49. 23. Kinges shall be thy nur­sing Fathers, Esay. 49. 23. and Queenes shall bee thy Nurses. They shall worship thee with their faces towardes the earth, and licke the dust [Page 144] of thy feete, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. The prophet meaneth, that Kinges and Queenes shal be so care­ful, for the preseruatiō of the church, that they shall thinke no seruice too base for them, so they maye pro­fite the Church of Christ withal. Vn­to this honourable subiection, the holy Ghost exhorteth princes in the second psalme: after that they haue tryed that they preuayle nothing in stryuing againste the kingdome of Christ: Be now therefore wise (O yee Kinges): Psal. 2. 10. 11 be learned that iudge the earth, serue the Lord with feare, and reioyce vn­to him with trembling, Declaring that it is a ioyfull seruice to bee obedient to Christ: yea to serue GOD is in­deede to reigne. And especiallye it is to be noted, where Saint Paule commaundeth prayers and suppli­cations, to bee made for the con­uersion of Kinges vnto the know­ledge of the truth, and their own sal­uation, that he alleadgeeth this rea­son,1. Tim. 2. 2. That we may lead a quiet and peace­able life, in all Godlinesse and honestie vn­der [Page 145] their protection. A godly and honest life, wee may liue, vnder enemies of the Churche and persecutors: but a peaceable and quiet life in all godli­nesse and honesty, only vnder a chri­stian Prince. This thing therefore the Church most humbly desireth of the prince: for this end the Church con­tinually prayeth to GOD for the Prince: in this respect the Churche most obediently submitteth her self vnto the Prince, as a Childe to his nurce, that both prince and people may honour God in this life, and af­ter this life, reigne with Christe euer­lastingly.

Thus haue we breefely set foorth a form of reformation, touching mat­ters ecclesiastical (as we are through­ly perswaded) agreeable to the word of God, and as we are able to proue, consenting with the example of the primitiue Church, building only vp­pon the most sure foundation of the canonicall scriptures: but intending more at large, if occasion shall serue, hereafter to set foorth, the practize [Page 146] and consent of the Godly fathers in their Actes, Counsels and writinges, following the same rule & interpre­tation of the scripture that we haue done. Therfore we protest before the liuing God and his holy Angels, and before the Lord Iesus Christ, that shal come to iudge the quicke and the dead, and before the Queenes maie­stie our most gratious Soueraigne, & the whole assemblie of all estates of this Realme: that as the whol world may plainly see, we seeke hereby not our owne profite, ease nor aduance­ment, but onely the glorye of God, and the profite of his Church: so by this present writing, wee discharge our conscience, according to our du­tie which is to shew vnto all men the true waye of reformation: and to mooue them that haue authoritie to put it in practize, and to seeke by all lawfull and ordinarye meanes, that it may take place, that if it may please God to giue it good successe, at this time to be imbraced, we maye fulfill the rest of our course with ioy. But if [Page 147] our sinnes be the let, that this or the like groūded vpon Gods worde, may not now be receiued: yet the present age may see & iudge, what is the vt­termost of our desire, concerning re­formation, which hitherto for lacke of such a publike testimoniall, hath been subiect to infinite slaunders, de­uised by the aduersaries of Gods truth & hinderance of Godly proce­dings vnto reformatiō. And that the posterity may know that the truth in this time, was not generallye vnkno­wen nor vntestified, concerning the right regiment of the church of god: nor this disordered forme of ecclesi­asticall gouernement, which we haue receiued for the most part of popery, deliuered to our Children without contradictiō, that our example shold not be preiudicial vnto them: as the exāple of our Godly fathers (which in this poynt neglected their duetie) hath beene preiudiciall vnto vs. The Lorde graunt for Christes sake, that we beeing so farre from perfection, God may open al our eyes to see the [Page 148] same, and bend our heartes earnestly to labour to attaine therevnto: and in the mean time, so farre as we haue attained, that we may proceede al by one rule, that we may be like affecti­oned to seeke the glory of God, and to build vp the ruynes of his temple, that with one hearte and with one voyce, we maye praise the Father of our Lorde Iesus Christ in his holye Temple, which is the congregati­on of saints in the holy ghost, to whom be al honor & Dominion for euer­more. Amen.


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