THE RECONCILER: OR An Epistle Pacificatorie of the seeming differences of opi­nion concerning the true being and visibilitie of the Roman Church.

ENLARGED With the addition of Letters of Resolution, for that purpose, from some famous Divines of our CHVRCH.

By Ios: Exon.

LONDON, Printed for NATH: BVTTER. 1629.

TO THE RIGHT HO­NOVRABLE, AND truly religious, my singular good Lord, Edward Earle of Norwich.

My ever honoured Lord:

I Confesse my charity led me into an error; Your Lord­shippe well knowes how apt I am to be overtaken with these better de­ceits of an over kinde credulitie. I [Page 2] had thought that any dash of my pen, in a sudden, and easie adver­tisement, might have served to have quitted that ignorant scan­dall, which was cast upon my mis-taken assertion, of the true vi­sibility of the Romane Church. The issue proves all otherwise: I finde, to my griefe, that the mis­understanding tenacitie of some zealous spirits hath made it a quarrell. It cannot but trouble me to see that the position, which is so familiarly current with the best reformed Divines; & which hath beene so oft and long since published by mee without con­tradiction; yea, not without the approbation and applause of the whole representative body of the Clergie of this kingdome, should [Page 3] now be quarrelled, and drawne into the detestation of those that know it not; As one therefore that should thinke it corosive enough, that any occasion should be taken by ought of mine, to ra­vell but one thred of that seamless coat, I doe earnestly desire, by a more full explication, to give cleare satisfaction to all Readers; and by this seasonable reconcile­ment, to stop the flood-gates of contention; I know it will not be unpleasing to your Lordship, that through your honourable and pi­ous hands, these welcome papers should be transmitted to many; Wherein I shall first beseech, yea adjure al Christians, under whose eies they shall fall, by the dreadfull name of that GOD, who shall [Page 4] judge both the quicke, and the dead, to lay aside all unjust preju­dices; and to allow the words of Truth, and Peace; I dare confi­dently say, Let us be understood, and we are agreed.

The searcher of all harts knows how far it was from my thoughts to speak ought in favour of the Roman Synagogue: If I have not sufficiently branded that Strūpet, I justly suffer. Luthers broad word is by me already both safely cōstru­ed,Ob. & sufficiently vindicated. But, doe you not say, It is a true visible Church? Doe you not yeeld some kinde of communion with these clients of Antichrist? What is, if this be not, favour? Marke well, Christian Reader, and the Lord give thee understanding in all [Page 5] things:Resp. To beginne with the latter; No man can say but the Church of Rome holds some Truths; those truths are Gods, and in his right, ours, why should not wee challenge our owne, wheresoever we finde it? If a ve­rie Devill shall say of Christ, Thou art the Sonne of the living God, wee will snatch this truth out of his mouth, as usurped; and in spight of him, proclaime it for our own. Indeed; there is no communion betwixt light and darknesse, but there is communion betwixt light and light; Now all truth is light, and therefore symbolizeth with it selfe. With that light, therefore, whose glimmering yet remaines in their darknesse, our clearer light will, and must hold [Page 6] communion; If they professe three Persons in one Godhead; two natures in one person of Christ; shall we detrect to joine with them in this Christian veri­tie? We abhorre to have any com­munion with them in their er­rors, in their idolatrous or super­stitious practices, these are their owne, not ours. If we durst have taken their part in these, this breach had not beene; Now who can but say that wee must hate their evill, and allow their good? It is no countenance to their errors that we imbrace our owne truths; It is no disparagement to our truths, that they have blended them with their errors: Here can be no difference, then, if this com­munion bee not mis-taken; no [Page 7] man will say that we may sever from their common truths; No man will say that we may joyne with them in their hatefull er­rours.

For the former; Hee that saith a theefe is truly a man, doth hee therein fauour that theefe? He that saith, a diseased, dropsied, dying bodie, is a true (though corrupt) body, doth he favour that disease, or that living carcasse? It is no o­ther, no more that I say of the Church of Rome: Truenesse of being, and outward visibility, are no praise to her; Yea, these are ag­gravations to her falshood: The advantage that is both sought and found in this assertion is onely ours; as we shall see in the sequell, without any danger of their gain. [Page 8] I say, then, that she is a true church, but, I say withall, shee is a false Church: True in existence, but false in beleefe: Let not the ho­monymie of a word breed jarres, where the sense is accorded: If we doe not yeeld her the true be­ing of a Church, why do we call her the Church of Rome? What speake we of? or where is the sub­ject of our question? who sees not that there is a morall trueness, and a naturall? He that is moral­ly the falsest man, is, in nature, as truly a man, as the honestest; and therefore in this regard as true a man: In the same sense therefore that wee say the Devill is a true (though false) spirit; that a cheater it a true (though false) man, wee may & must say, that the Church [Page 9] of Rome is a true (though false) Church; Certainely, there hath beene a true errour, and mis-ta­king of the sense that is guiltie of this quarrell. As for the visibility, there can be no question: Would God, that Church did not too much fill our eie, yea the world; There is nothing wherein it doth more pride it selfe, than in a glo­rious conspicuitie, scorning, in this regard, the obscure paucitie of their opposers.

But you say,Ob. What is this but to play with ambiguities; That the Church of Rome is it selfe, that is, a Church; that it is visible; that it is truly existent, there can be no doubt; but is it still a part of the truly existent, visible church of Christ?Resp. Surely, no otherwise [Page 10] than an hereticall and Apostaticall Church is, and may be: Reader, whosoever thou art, for Gods sake, for thy soules sake, marke where thou treadest; Else thou shalt bee sure to fall either into an open gulfe of uncharitablenesse, or into a dangerous precipice of errour. There is no feare, nor fa­vour to say, that the Church of Rome, under a Christian face, hath an Antichristian heart; over­turning that foundation by neces­sarie inferences, which by open profession in avoweth: That face, that profession, those avowed principles are enough to give it claime to a true outward visibili­tie of a Christian Church; whiles those damnable inferences are e­nough to feoffe it in the true style [Page 11] of heresie, and Antichristianisme; Now, this heresie, this Antichri­stianisme makes Rome justly odi­ous, and execrable to God, to An­gels, and Men; but cannot utter­ly dischurch it, whiles those main principles maintaine a weake life in that crazie, and corrupted bodie.

But is not this language diffe­rent from that whereto our eares and eies have beene inured, from the mouthes, and pens of some reverend Divines and professors of our Church? Know, Reader, that the streame of the famous Doctors, both at home, and a­broad, hath runne strongly my way: I should have feared, and hated to goe alone; what reason is there then to single out one man [Page 12] in a throng? Some few worthie Authors have spoken otherwise, in the warmth of their zealous contention; yet so, as that even to them durst I appeale for my Iud­ges; for if their sound differ from me, their sense agrees with me: that, which as I touched in my Advertisement, so I am now rea­die to make cleare by the instance of learned Zanchius; whose preg­nant testimonies compared toge­ther, shall plainly teach us, how easie a reconcilement may bee made betwixt these two, seeming­ly-contrarie, opinions: That wor­thie Author, in his profession of Christian Religion, which hee wrote, and published, in the 70. yeare of his age, having defined the Church of Christ in generall, [Page 13] and passed thorow the properties of it, at last, descending to the sub­division of the Church militant, comes to inquire, how particular Churches may be knowne to be the true churches of Christ, wher­of he determines thus. Illas igitur, &c. Those Churches therefore doe wee acknowledge for the true Churches of Christ; in which first of all, the pure doctrine of the Gospell is preached, heard, admit­ted; and so onely admitted, that there is neither place, nor eare gi­ven to the contrarie: For both these are the just propertie of the flocke or sheepe of Christ; name­ly, both to heare the voice of their owne Pastor, and to reject the voice of strangers. Iohn 10. 4. In which, secondly, the Sacraments [Page 14] instituted by Christ, are lawfully, and (as much as may bee) accor­ding to Christs institution, admi­nistred, and received; and there­fore, in which the Sacraments devised by men are not admitted, and allowed; In which lastly, the discipline of Christ hath the due place; that is, where both pub­liquely, and privately, charitable care is had, both by admonitions, corrections, and at last (if need be) by excommunications, that the Commandements of God be du­ly kept, and that all persons live soberly, iustly, and piously, to the glory of God, and edification of their neighbour. Thus hee; wherein, who sees not how di­rectly he aymes, both at the justi­fying of our Churches, and the [Page 15] casheering of the Roman, which is palpably guiltie of the violation of these wholsome rules? And in­deed, it must needes be said, if we bring the Roman Church to this touch, she is cast for a meer coun­terfeit; shee is as farre from truth, as truth is from falshood: Now by this time you goe away with an opinion that learned Zanchie is my professed adversarie, and hath directly condemned my po­sition, of the truenesse, and visibi­litie of the Roman Church: Have but patience, I beseech you, to read what the same excellent Author writes, in his golden Preface to that noble worke, De natura Dei; where this question is clearly, & punctuall decided: There you shall finde, that having passed [Page 16] through the wofull and gloomie offuscations of the Church of God, in all former ages, he, descen­ding to the darknesse of the pre­sent Babylon; concludes thus: Deinde non potuit Satan, &c. More­over, Satan could not, in the verie Roman Church, doe what he li­sted, as hee had done in the Ea­sterne; to bring all things to such passe, as that it should no more have the forme of a Christian Church; For, in spight of Satan, that Church retained still the chief foundations of the faith, although weakned with the doctrines of men; it retained the publique prea­ching of the word of God, thogh in many places mis-understood, and mis-construed; the invocati­on of the name of Christ, though [Page 17] joyned also with the invocation of dead men; the administration of Baptisme, instituted by Christ himselfe, howsoever defiled with the addition of many superstiti­ons. So as, together with the sym­bole of the covenant, the Cove­nant it selfe remained still in her; I meane in all the Churches of the West, no otherwise than it did in the Church of Israel, even after that all things were in part profa­ned by Ieroboam, and other impi­ous, and Idolatrous Kings, upon the defection made by them from the Church, and Tribe of Iuda; For, neither doe I assent to them which would have the Church of Rome to have no lesse ceased to be the Church of Christ, than those Easterne Churches, which [Page 18] afterwards turned Mahumetan; what Church was ever more corrupt than the Church of the ten Tribes, yet we learne from the Scriptures, that it was still the Church of God? And how doth S. Paul call that Church, where­in Antichrist (hee saith) shall sit, the Temple of God? neither is it any Baptisme at all, that is admini­stred out of the Church of Christ. The wife that is an Adulteresse, doth not cease to be a wife, unlesse being despoiled of her mariage-ring, she be manifestly divorced: The Church of Rome, therefore, is yet the Church of Christ; but what manner of Church? Surely so corrupted and depraved, and with so great tyrannie oppressed, that you can neither, with a good [Page 19] conscience, partake with them, in their holy things, nor safely dwell amongst them. Thus he againe; Wherein you see hee speakes as home for me, as I could devise to speake for my selfe: and as appo­sitely professeth to oppose the contrarie.

Looke, now how this learned Author may be reconciled to his owne pen; and by the very same way, shall my pen bee reconciled with others: Either he agrees not with himselfe, or else, in his sense, I agree with my gainsayers: No­thing is more plaine, then that hee in that former speech, and all o­ther classicke Authors, that speake in that Key, meane, by a True Church, a sound, pure, right belee­ving Church; so as their vera is [Page 20] rather verax: Ibid. prae­fat. de nat. Dei. Zanchie explicates the terme, whiles he joines veram & puram together; so as in this construction it is no true Church that is an unsound one; as if truth of existence were all one with truth of doctrine: In this sense, whosoever shall say the Church of Rome is a true Church, I say he calls evill good, and is no better than a teacher of lyes. But, if we measure the true being of a visible Church, by the direct mainte­nance of fundamentall principles, though by consequences indirect­ly overturned, and by the possessi­on of the word of God, and his Sacraments, though not without soule adulteration; what judici­ous Christian can but, with mee, subscribe to learned Zanchius, that [Page 21] the Church of Rome hath yet the true visibilitie of a Church of Christ: what should I need to press the latitude, and multiplicity of sense of the word, Church; there is no one term that I know, in all use of speech, so various; If, in a large sense, it be taken to com­prehend the society of all that pro­fesse Christian Religion, through the whole world, howsoever im­pured, who can denie this title to the Roman? If, in a strict sense, it be taken (as it is by Zanchius here, and all those Divines who refuse to give this style to the Synagogue of Rome) for the companie of e­lect faithfull men gathered into one mysticall bodie under one head, Christ, washed by his blood; justified by his merits, sanctified [Page 22] by his Spirit, conscionablie wait­ing upon the true ordinances of God, in his pure Word, and holie Sacramēts▪ who can be so shame­lesse, as to give this title to the Ro­man Church? Both these senten­ces, then, are equally true; The Church of Rome is yet a true Church in the first sense; The Church of Rome long since ceased to bee a true Church in the second. As those friendly soul­diers therefore, of old, said to their fellowes ( [...]?) why fight we? Stay, stay, deare brethren, for Gods sake, for his Churches sake, for your soules sake, stay these bu­sie and unprofitable litigations; put up, on both sides, your angrie pens; Turne your Swords into Sithes, to cut downe the ranke corruptiōs of the Roman church; [Page 23] and your Speares into Mattockes, to beat downe the walls of this mysticall Babylon; There are ene­mies [...]now abroad, Let us bee friends at home; But if your sense be the same, you will aske, why our termes varie, and why wee have chosen to fall upon that ma­ner of expression, which gives ad­uantage to the Adversarie, offence to our owne? Christian Reader, let me beseech thee, in the bowels of Christ, to weigh well this mat­ter, and then tell me why such of­fence, such advantage should bee rather given by my words, than by the same words, in the mouth of Luther, of Calvin, of Zanchie, Iu­nius, Plessee, Hooker, Andrewes, Field, Crakenthorpe, Bedel, and that whole cloud of learned and pi­ous [Page 24] Authors, who have, without exceptiō, used the same language? And why more by my words, now, than twentie yeares agoe, at which time I published the same truth, in a more ful and liberall ex­pression. Wise and charitable Christians may not be apt to take offence where none is given. As for anie Advantage that is hereby given to the Adversaries, they may put it in their eye, and see ne­ver the worse. Loe; say they, we are of the true visible Church; this is enough for us; why are we forsaken, why are we presecuted, why are we solicited to change? Alas, poore soules, doe they not know, that Hypocrites, leud per­sons, reprobates, are no lesse mem­bers of the true visible Church? [Page 25] what gaine they by this but a dee­per damnation? To what pur­pose did the Iewes crie, The Tem­ple of the Lord, whiles they despigh­ted the Lord of that Temple? Is the sea-weed ever the lesse vile, be­cause it is dragd vp together with good fish? They are of the visible Church, such as it is; what is this but to say, they are neither Iewes, nor Turkes, nor Pagans; but mis­beleevers, damnablie hereticall in opinion, shamefullie idolatrous in practice; Let them make their best of this just Elogie; and tri­umph in this style, may we never prosper if we envie them this glo­rie: Our care shall be, that, besides the Church sensible,Epist. l. 2. resp. ad Ca­tabaptist. (as Zuinglius distinguisheth) we may be of the Church spirituall; and not resting [Page 26] in a fruitlesse visibilitie, wee may finde our selves livelie limbes of the mystical body of Christ; which onelie condition shall give us a true right to heaven; whiles fa­shionable profession, in vaine cries, Lord, Lord, and is barred out of those blessed gates, with an, I know you not.

Neither may the Reader think, that I affect to goe by-waies of speech: no, I had not taken this path, unlesse I had found it both more beaten, and fairer: I am not so unwise, to teach the Adversarie what disadvantage I conceive to be given to our most just cause, by the other manner of explication. Let it suffice to say, that this form of defence more fully stops the ad­versaries mouth in those two [Page 27] maine and envious scandals, which hee casts upon our holy Religion, Defection from the Church, and Innovation; than which, no suggestion hath wont to bee more prevalent with weake, and ungrounded hearts, what wee further win by this, not more charitable, than safe Tenet, I had rather it should bee silently conceived by the judi­cious, then blazoned by my free penne; shortly, in this state of the question, our gaine is as cleare, as the Adversaries losse: our ancient Truth triumphes over their upstart errours, our charitie over their mercilesse pre­sumptions; Feare not therefore, deare brethren, where there is on roome for danger; Suspect [Page 28] not fraud where there is nothing but plaine, honest, simplicitie of intentions; censure not where there is the same Truth, clad in a different, but more easie habite of words; But if any mans fervent zeale shall rather draw him to the liking of that other, rougher, and harder way, so as in the meane time he keepe within the bounds of Christian charitie, I taxe him not; let everie man abound in his owne sense; Onely let our hearts, and tongues, and hands, conspire together in peace with our selves, in warre with our common enemies.

Thus farre have I (Right Ho­nourable) in a desire of peace, poured out my selfe into a plaine explication, and easie accordance: [Page 29] Those whom I strive to satisfie, are onely mis-takers; whose cen­sures, if some man would have either laught out, or despised, yet I have condescended to take off by a serious deprecation, and just defence.

It is an vnreasonable motion to request mindes prepossessed with prejudice to heare reason; Whole Volumes are nothing to such as have contented them­selves onely to take up opinions upon trust, and will hold them, because they know where they had them: In vaine should I spend my selfe in beating upon such an­viles; but for those ingenuous Christians, which will hold an eare open for justice, and truth, I have said enough, if ought at all needed.

[Page 30] Alas, my Lord, I see and grieve to see it; it is my Rochet that hath offended, and not I; In another habit, I, long since, published this, and more, without dislike; It is this colour of innocence that hath bleared some over-tender eyes; Wherein I know not whether I should more pittie their errour, or applaud my owne sufferings; although I may not say with the Psalmist, What hath the righteous done? Let mee (I beseech your Lordship) upon this occasion, have leave to give a little vent to my just griefe in this point.

The other day I fell upon a Latine Pamphlet, homely for style, tedious for length, zealous­ly uncharitable for stuffe, where­in the Author (onely wise in this, [Page 31] that he would bee unknowne) in a grave fiercenesse flies in the face of our English Prelacie; not so much enveighing against their Persons, (which he could be con­tent to reverence) as their verie places. I blest my selfe to see the case so altered: Heretofore, the Person had wont to beare off manie blowes from the function; now the verie function wounds the person: In what case are we, when that which should com­mand respect, brands us? What blacke Art hath raised up this spirit of Aerius from his pit? Wo is mee, that zeale should breed such monsters of conceit: It is the honour, the Pompe, the wealthe, the pleasure (hee saith) of the Episcopall Chaire that is guil­tie [Page 32] of the depravation of our Cal­ling; and if himselfe were so over­layd with greatnesse, hee should suspect his owne fidelitie. Alas, poore man, at what distance doth hee see us? Foggie Ayre useth to represent everie object farre big­ger than it is. Our Sauiour in his temptation upon the Mount, had onely the glorie of those Kingdomes showed to him, by that subtile Spirit, not the cares, and vexations; Right so are our dignities exhibited to these envi­ous beholders; Little doe these men see the toyles, and anxieties that attend this supposedly-plea­sing eminence.

All the revenge that I would wish to this uncharitable Cen­surer, should bee this, that hee [Page 33] might bee but for a while adjudg­ed to this so glorious seate of mine; that so his experience might taste the bewitching pleasures of this envied greatnesse; hee should well finde more danger of being over-spent with worke, than of languishing with ease & delicacie.

For mee I need not appeale to Heaven: Eyes enow can witnesse how few free houres I have en­joyed, since I put on these Robes of sacred honour. In so much as I could finde in my heart, with holy Gregorie, to complaine of my change; were it not, that I see these publique troubles are so many acceptable services to my God, whose glorie is the end of my being: Certainly, my Lord, if none but earthly respects should [Page 34] sway me, I should heartily wish to change this Pallace (which the Providence of God, and the bountie of my gracious Sove­raigne hath put mee into) for my quiet Cell at Waltham, where I had so sweet leasure to enjoy God, your Lordship, and my selfe: But I have followed the calling of my God, to whose service I am willingly sacrificed; and must now, in an holy obedience to his Divine Majestie, with what cheerefulnesse I may, ride out all the stormes of envie, which una­voidably will alight vpon the least appearance of a conceived greatnesse; in the meane time, what ever I may seeme to others, I was never lesse in my owne ap­prehensions; and, were it not for [Page 35] this attendance of envie, could not yeeld my selfe any whit grea­ter than I was; what ever I am, that good God of mine, make mee faithfull to him; and com­pose the unquiet spirits of men, to a conscionable care of the pub­lique peace; with which prayer, together with the apprecation of all happinesse to your Lordship, and all yours, I take leave and am

Your Lordships truly de­voted in all hearty observance and dutie, IOS. EXON.

TO THE CHRI­STIAN READER Wisedome and Charitie.

IT is no easie mat­ter for a man so far to mortifie his self-love, as to neglect himselfe for the publique good; & to vaile his private ingage­ments (though with some see­ming disadvantage) to the peace of the Church; that which [Page 38] is too apparent in the present occasion. Whiles there might be some colour of ambiguitie of termes, and possibilitie of mis­construction, in that Position concerning the true being, and visibility of the Roman church; I could the lesse marvell that a mistaking should breed a quarrell; but now, after so clear an explication, as I have given of my sense, and so satisfactory a reconcilement, as no ingenu­ous Christian can except a­gainst; I am not a little trou­bled to see the peace of the church yet disquieted with per­sonall, [Page 39] and unkinde disserta­tions.

Surely (what ever may bee pretended) not one haire of a­ny Christians head can be in­dangered, in that assertion of mine (yet not so much mine, as the most of the reformed Di­vines of Christendome) as it is by them, and me both un­derstood, and interpreted; since we call all Christians to no lesse detestation of the abhominable corruptiōs, & Idolatries of the Roman Church, notwithstan­ding the yeeldance of a boot­lesse visibilitie, then those that [Page 40] deny it the being, and name of a Church: yea wee raise more strong advantage against the adversary by this grant, then by that denyall.

Neyther is here the least contradiction to any clause of the Articles of our Church, of England, in that sense where­in I have delivered my selfe; such is my true filiall honor to that our holy Mother, that I should hate my selfe, if I should offer to oppose any of her sa­cred dictates; how ever it may sound to an ignorant eare.

In every opposition there [Page 41] must be supposed the same sub­ject, the same respect, the same understanding of both; Else how ever the words run, the matter disagrees not. For ex­ample; If one man shall say, The Church is visible, mate­riall, consisting of lime and stone; Another shall say, The Church is invisible, immate­all, not consisting of any earth­ly stuffe; these two doe not con­tradict each other; whiles the one speakes of the outward fa­bricke of the Church; the o­ther of the spirituall state of the Church; Neyther is it [Page 42] otherwise in my assertion, and that which is counter-alledged from the Articles or Homi­lies of the Church; as I have sufficiently explained my sense both in my Advertisement, and Reconciler; It is not for me to cloy my Reader with re­petitions.

Now, lest I might perhaps seeme partiall to my own cause; and flatter my selfe in my own opinion; I have craved the judgement of some, of the most eminent & approved Divines of our Church, & the French; whose names are justly reve­rend; [Page 43] whose workes have made thē famous in our gates: I have of many hundreds, selected on­ly foure;B. Morton of Cov. and Lichfield. B. Dauenan [...] of Salisbury Dr. Pride­aux of Ox­ford. Dr. Prime­rose Prea­cher of the French Church. two Bishops, and two Doctors; such, as whose very mētion is able to stop the mouth of calumny; and to make igno­rance ashamed of it selfe. I have taken the boldnes to pub­lish their private Letters in answer to mine. Peruse them, Reader, and take satisfaction; and confesse it was thy mista­king, and not my errour that made me appeare foule: Fare­well, and love peace, and the God of peace be with thee.

I. E.

To the Right Reuerend Father in God, THOMAS, Lord Bishop of Couentree and Lichfield.

MY Lord; may your leasure serue you to read ouer this poore sheete of Paper, and to censure it: Your name is left out in the Cata­logue of some other famous Diuines, mentioned in the body of it, that you might not be forestalled. I suffer [Page 62] for that wherein your selfe, amongst many renowmed Orthodoxe Doctors of the Church, are my partner; As if you had not already said it enough; I beseech your Lordship say, once more, what you thinke of the true being, and visibilitie of the Romane Church, Your ex­cellent and zealous wri­tings haue iustly won you a constant reputation of great learning, and no lesse since­ritie, and haue placed you out of the reach of suspici­on; No man can, no man [Page 63] dare mis-doubt your decisi­on; If you find any one word amisse in this explica­tion, spare me not; I shall gladly kisse your rod; and hold your vtmost seueritie a fauour; But if you here meete with no other then the words of a commonly professed truth; acquit me so farre as to say, there is no reason I should suffer alone; And let the wilfull, or igno­rant mis-takers know that they wound innocencie, and, through my sids, strike their best friends. I should not [Page 64] herein desire you to tender my fame, if the iniurie done to my name did not reflect vpon my holy station, vpon my wel-meant labours, vp­on almost all the famous, and wel-deseruing Authors that haue stood for the truth of God; and lastly if I did not see this mis-taken quar­rell to threaten much preiu­dice to the Church of God; whose Peace is no lesse deare to vs both, then our liues; In earnest desire, and hope of some few satisfacto­rie lines from your Reue­rend [Page 65] hand, in answere to this, my bold, yet iust, suit, I take leaue, and am

Your much deuo­ted and louing Brother, IOS. EXON.

To the Right Reuerend Father in God, my verie good Lord and Brother IOSEPH Lord Bishop of Exon, these.

RIght Reuerend, and as dearely beloued Bro­ther, I haue (I confesse) beene too long in your Lordships debt for these Letters; which are now to Apologize for me, that although I had my pay­ment [Page 67] ready, and in nume­ratis at the first reading of your Reconciler, yet I reserued my Answere vntill I had perused the two other Bookes and seconds, that so I might returne my payment cum faenore.

In that your Lord­ships Tractate, I could not but obserue the liue­ly Image of your selfe; that [...]s (according to the generall interpretation of all sound professors of the Gospell of Christ) of a [Page 68] most Orthodoxe Diuine; And now remembring the Accordance your Lordship hath with o­thers touching the Argu­ment of your Booke, I must needes reflect vpon my selfe; who haue long since defended the same point, in the defence of many others. I do there­fore much blame the Pe­tulcitie of whatsoeuer au­thor that should dare to impute a Popish affecti­on to him, whome (be­sides his excellent wri­tings [Page 69] and Sermons) Gods visible, eminent, and re­splendent Graces of Illu­mination, zeale, pietie & eloquence haue made truely Honourable and glorious in the Church of Christ. Let me say no more, I suffer in your suffering, not more in con­sonancie of iudgement then in the sympathie of my affection. Goe on deare Brother with your deserued Honor in Gods Church with holy cou­rage, knowing that the [Page 70] dirtie feete of an Aduer­sarie, the more they tread, and rubbe, the more lu­stre they giue the figure grauen in Gold. Our Lord Iesus preserue vs to the glorie of his sauing grace.

Your Lordships vnani­mous friend and Brother, THO. Couent. and Lichfield.

To the Right Reuerend Father in God, IOHN, Lord Bishop of Salis­burie.

MY Lord, I send you this little Pamph­let for your censure; It is not credible how stran­gely I haue beene traduced euerie where, for that, which I conceiue to be the common opinion of refor­med Diuines, yea of reaso­nable men; that is, for affir­ming [Page 72] the true being and vi­sibilitie of the Romane Church; You see how cleare­ly I haue endeauored to ex­plicate this harmelesse posi­tion; yet I perceiue some tough mis-vnderstandings will not bee satisfied; Your Lordship hath with great reputation spent manie yeares in the Diuinitie-Chaire of the famous Vni­uersitie of Cambridge. Let me therefore beseech you, whose Learning, and since­ritie is so throughly appro­ued in Gods Church, that [Page 73] you would freely (how short­ly so euer) expresse your selfe in this point; and, if you find that I haue deuia­ted, but one hayre-breadth from the Truth, correct me; If not, free me by your iust sentence: What need I in­treat you to pittie those, whose desires of faithfull of­fices to the Church of God are vnthankefully repayed with suspicion, and sclaun­der; whose may not this case be? I had thought I had sufficiently in all my wri­tings, and in this verie last [Page 74] Booke of mine (whence this quarrell is picked) showed my feruent zeale for Gods truth against that Antichri­an faction of Rome, and yet I doubt not but your owne eares can witnesse what I haue suffered. Yea as if this calumnie were not enough, there want not those whose secret whisper­ings cast vpon mee the foule aspersions of another Sect, whose name is as much ha­ted, as little vnderstood, My Lord, you know I had a place with you (though [Page 75] vnworthy) in that famous Sinod of DROT, where (howsoeuer sicknesse berea­ued me of the houres of a conclusiue subscription) yet, your Lordship heard me, with equall vehemencie to to the rest, swaying downe the vnreasonablenesse of that way: I am still the same man, and shall liue and die in the suffrage of that Reuerend Synod; and doe confidently auow, that those other opposed opinions cannot stand with the Do­ctrine of the Church of Eng­land. [Page 76] But if for the compo­sing of the differences at home (which your Lordship knowes to be farre different from Netherlandish) there could haue beene ten­dred any such faire proposi­tions of accordance, as might bee no preiudice to Gods truth, I should haue thought it an holy, and happie pro­iect, wherein, if it be not a fault to haue wished a safe peace, I am innocent. God so loue me as I doe the tran­quilitie and happinesse of his Church; yet can I not so [Page 77] ouer-affect it that I would sacrifice one dram of Truth to it; To that good God doe I appeale as the witnesse of my sincere he art to his whole Truth, and no lesse then e­uer zealous detestation of al Poperie, & Pelagianisme. Your Lordship will be plea­sed to pardon this importu­nitie, and to vouchsaue your speedy answere, to

Your much deuoted and faithfull Brother, IOS. EXON.

MY Lord; you desire my opinion concer­ning an assertion of yours, wherat some haue taken offence. The propo­sition was this. [That the Ro­mane Church remaynes yet a True Visible Church.] The oc­casion which makes this an ill sounding proposition in the eares of Protestants (especial­ly such as are not throughly ac­quainted with Schoole Distin­ctions) is the vsuall acception of the Word, True, in our English tongue. For though [Page 79] men skilled in Metaphysickes hold it for a maxime, Ens, Ve­rum, Bonum conuertuntur: yet with vs, he which shall affirme, Such an one is a True Christi­an, a True Gentleman, a True Scholler, a True Souldier, or the like; hee is conceiued not only to adscribe Truenesse of Beeing vnto all these, but those Due Qualities, or Requisite Actions wherby they are made commendable or Praise-wor­thy in their seuerall kinds. In this sense the Roman Church is no more a True Church in re­spect of Christ, or those due Qualities, and proper Actions which Christ requires; then an arrant whore is a True and loy­all Wife vnto her Husband I [Page 80] durst vpon mine oath be one of your Compurgators, that you neuer intended to adorne that Strumpet with the Title of a True Church in this meaning. But your owne Writings haue so fully cleered you herein; that Suspition it selfe, cannot reaosnably suspect you in this point. I therefore can say no more concerning your mista­ken proposition then this. If in that treatise wherein it was de­liuered; the Antecedents, or Consequents were such, as serued fitly to leade the Reader into that Sense, which vnder the word True, comprehen­deth only Truth of Beeing or Existencie, and not the Due Qualities of the thing or sub­iect; [Page 81] you haue beene cause­lesly traduced. But on the o­ther side, if that Proposition comes in ex abrupto, or stands solitarie in your discourse, you cannot maruell though by ta­king the word True according to the more ordinarie accepti­on, your true meaning was mistaken. In briefe, your Pro­position admits a True sense; & in that sense, is by the best lear­ned in our Reformed Church, not disallowed. For The Bee­ing of a Church does principal­ly stand vpon the Gratious A­ction of God, calling men out of Darknesse and Death, vnto the Participation of sight and life in Christ Iesus. So long as God continues this Calling [Page 82] vnto any people, though they (as much as in them lies) Dar­ken this light, and corrupt the meanes which should bring them to life and saluation in Christ; yet where God Calls men vnto the Participation of life in Christ, by the word & by the Sacraments, there is the true Being of a Christian Church; let men bee neuer so false in their Expositions of GODS Word, or neuer so vntrustie in mingling their owne Traditi­ons with Gods Ordinances. Thus the Church of the Iewes lost not her Being of a Church, when shee became an Idola­trous Church. And thus vnder the gouernment of the Scribes and Pharisees, who voided the [Page 83] Commandements of God by their owne Traditions; there was yet standing a true Church in which Zacharias, Elizabeth, the Virgin Mary, and our Sa­uiour himselfe was borne, who were mēbers of that Church, and yet participated not in the corruptions thereof. Thus to grant that the Roman was, and is a True Visible Christian Church, (though in doctrine a false, and in practice an Idola­trous Church) is a true asserti­on, and of greater vse and ne­cessitie in our Controuersie with Papists about the Perpe­tuitie of the Christian Church, then is vnderstood by those who gainsay it. This in your Reconciler is so wel explicated, [Page 84] as if any shall continue in tra­ducing you, in regard of that Proposition, so explained, I thinke it wil be only those who are better acquainted with wrangling, then reasoning, and deeper in loue with strife, then truth: As for the aspersion of Arminianisme, I can testifie that in our Ioint imployment at the Synod of Dort, you were as farre from it, as my selfe. And I know that no man can im­brace it in the Doctrine of Pre­destination, and Grace, but he must first desert the Articles a­greed vpon by the Church of England, nor in the point of perseuerance, but he must vary from the common Tenet, and receiued opinion of our best [Page 85] approued Doctors in the Eng­lish Church. I am assured that you neither haue deserted the one, nor will vary from the o­ther. And therefore be no more troubled with other mens groundlesse suspitions, then you would be in like case, with their idle Dreames. Thus I haue inlarged my selfe beyond my first intent. But my loue to your selfe, and the assurance of your constant loue vnto the Truth, inforced me thereunto. I rest alwayes

Your louing Brother IO. SARVM.

¶To the Reuerend and learned, Master Doctor PRE­DEAVX, professor of Diuinitie in Oxford, and Rector of EXCETER Colledge.

WOrthy Master Doctor Prede­aux: All our li­tle world here, takes notice of your worth, and eminen­cie; who haue long furnish­ed the Diuinitie Chaire in that famous Vniuersitie, with mutuall grace and ho­nour. [Page 87] Let me intreate you, vpon the perusall of this so­rie sheete of Paper, to im­part your selfe freely to me, in your censure; and to ex­presse to mee your cleare iudgement, concerning the true being, and visibilitie of the Romane Church; you see in what sence I professe to hold it; neither was any o­ther euer in my thoughts; Say, I beseech you, whether you thinke any learned Or­thodoxe Diuine can, with any colour of reason, main­taine a contradiction here­vnto; [Page 88] And if you find (as I doubt not) much necessitie and vse of this true, and safe Tenet; helpe me to adde (if you please) a further supplie of Antidotes to those Popish spiders, that would faine sucke poyson out of this herbe. It was my earnest desire that this satisfactorie reconcilement might haue stilled all tongues, and pens, concerning this ill-raysed brabble: but I see to my griefe, how much men care for themselues more, then peace; I suffer, and the [Page 89] Church is disquieted; your learning and grauitie will be ready to contribute to a seasonable pacification; In desire, and exspectation of your speedie answere, I take my leaue, and am

Your very louing friend, and fellow-labourer, IOS. EXON.

Right Reuerend Father in GOD;

VPon the receite of your Recon­ciler, which it pleased you to send me, I tooke occasion (as my manifolde distractions would permit) to peruse what had beene said on both sides, concerning the now-being of the Ro­mane Church. VVher­in I must professe, that I [Page 91] could not but wonder at the needlesse exceptions against your Tenet; you affirming no new thing in that passage misliked in your Old Religion. And this your Aduertisement (afterward) so fully and punctually cleareth, and your Reconciler so ac­quitteth, with such satis­fying ingenuitie, that I cannot imagin they haue considered it well, or meane wel, that shal per­sist to oppose it. For who perceiues not, that your [Page 93] Lordship leaues no more to Rome, then our best Diuines euer since the Reformation haue gran­ted? If their speeches haue beene sometimes seemingly different, their meaning hath beene al­wayes the same; that in respect of the common Truths yet professed a­mong the Papists they may, and ought to bee tearmed, a True visible. Church, in opposition to Iewes, Turkes, and Pa­gans, who directly denie [Page 93] the Foundation, howso­euer their Antichristian aditions make them no better then the Syna­gogue of Sathan. This being agreed vpon by those, whose Iudgement wee haue good reason to follow (cited in your Ad­uertisement, and by o­thers) they doe an ill of­fice to our Church (in my opinion) who set them at ods in this point, that are so excellently re­conciled; and giue more aduantage to the Aduer­sarie [Page 94] by quarrelling with our worthies, then the Aduersarie is like to get by our acknowledgment, that they are such a mise­rable Church, as we dis­couer them to be. VVhat I haue thought long since in this behalfe, it appea­reth in my Lecture De Visibilitate Ecclesiae; and as often as this hath come in question in our pub­licke Disputes, we deter­mine here no otherwise, then your Lordship hath stated it. And yet wee [Page 95] trust to giue as little van­tage to Poperie, as those that doe detest it; and are as circumspect to main­taine our receiued Doct­rine and Discipline with­out the least scandall to the weakest, as those that would seeme most forward. That distincti­on of Romes case before, and since, the Councell of Trent, holds not to dis-Church it; but shewes it rather to be more incure­able now, then heretofore Neither find I any parti­culars [Page 96] obiected, which those worthy men haue not sufficiently cleared, that haue iustifyed your Assertion. Not to trou­ble therefore your weigh­tier affairs with my need­lesse interposition; As that controuersie about the Altar (Iosuah 22.) had presently a faire end vp­on the ful vnderstanding of the good meaning on both sides; so I trust in God this shall haue: In which I am so perswaded that if it were to bee dis­cussed [Page 97] there after our Scholasticall manner, it might well bee defended either pro, or con, with out preiudice to the Truth, according to the full sta­ting, which your Aduer­tisement, and Reconciler haue afforded. And thus, with tender of my due obseruance, and Prayers for your happinesse, I rest

Your Lordships in Christ to be commanded, IO. PRIDEAVX

¶To my Reuerend and learned friend M. Doctor PRI­MEROSE, Preacher to the French Church in LONDON.

WOrthy Master Doctor Prime­rose; you haue beene long acknowledged a great light in the Refor­med Churches of France; hauing, for many yeeres, shined in your orbe, the fa­mous Church of Burdeaux, [Page 99] with notable effects, and singular approbation both for iudgment and sinceritie; both which also your lear­ned writings haue well ap­proued; So as your sentence cannot be liable to the dan­ger of any suspition; Let me intreate you to declare free­ly what you hold concerning the truenesse, and visibilitie of the Romane Church, as it is by me explicated; And, with all, to impart your knowledg of the common Tenet of those foraine Di­uines, with whom you haue [Page 100] so long conuersed, concer­ning this point; which (if I mistake not) onely a stub­burne ignorance will needs make litigious. It grieues my Soule to see the peace of the Church troubled with so absurd a mes prison; In exspectation of your answer, I take leaue, and commend you, and your holy labours to the blessing of our God. Farewell; from

Your louing Brother, and fellow-labourer IOS. EXON.

To the Right Reuerend Father in God, and my very good Lord, IOSEPH Bishop of Exceter.

Right Reuerend Father in God,

I Haue beene so bu­sied about my ne­cessarie studies for preaching on Sun­day, Tuesday, and this Thurs­day, that I could not giue soo­ner a full answer to your Lord­ships Letter, which I receiued on Friday last at night, where­by I am desired to declare free­ly [Page 102] what I think concerning the truenesse and visibilitie of the present Roman Church, as it is by your Lordship explicated, and what is the common tenet of the forraine Diuines; with whom I haue so long conuersed beyond the Seas, concerning that point. I might answere in two lines, that I haue read your Reconciler, and iudge your o­pinion concerning that point to be learned, sound, and true▪ Though that if I durst fauour an officious lie, I would wil­lingly giue my Suffrage to those Diuines which out of a most feruent zeale to God, and perfect hatred to Idolatry, hold that the Roman Church is in all things BABEL, in nothing BETHEL. And as they which [Page 103] seek to set right a crooked tree, bow it the cleane contrary way to make it straight, so to reco­uer and pull out of the fire of eternall damnation, the Roman Christians, I would gladly pourtray them with sable co­lours, and make their religion more black in their owne eyes, then they are in ours the hellish coloured faces of the flat-nosed Ethiopians, or to the Spaniard the monstrous Sambenit of the Inquisition.

But fearing the true reproch cast by Iob in his friends teeth, Iob 13. 7. Will you speake wickedly for God, and talke deceitfully for him? and knowing that we must not speake a lie, no not against the Deuill which is the Father of lies, I say that the Roman [Page 104] Church is both BABEL and BETHEL, and as Gods Tem­ple was in Christs daies at once Mat. 24. 13. the house of Prayer, and a den of theeues, so shee is in our dayes,2. Thes. 2. 4. Gods Temple, and the Reuel. 18. 1, 2. habitation of Deuils, the hold of euery foule spirit, and a cage of euery vncleane, and hatefull bird; which I proue thus.

The Church is to be consi­dered three manner of wayes. First according to Gods right which he keepeth ouer her, and maintaineth in her by the com­mon and externall calling of his Word and Sacraments. Se­condly, according to the pure preaching of the Word, and externall obedience in hearing, receiuing, and keeping the Word syncerely preached.

[Page 105] Thirdly, according to the e­lection of grace, and the perso­nall calling, which hath per­petually the inward working of the Holy Ghost ioyned with the outward preaching of the Word, as in Acts 16. 14. Lydia. Thence commeth1. Pet. 3. 21. the answere of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Iesus Christ.

To begin with the last con­sideration, these only are Gods Church which areRom. 2. 2 [...] 29. Iewes in­wardly in the spirit, aswell as out­wardly in the letter, whose prayse is not of men, but of God, Iohn 1. who are Nathaniels, and true Israe­lites, in whom there is no guile: Inuisible to all men: Visible to God alone,2. Tim. 2. 19. who knoweth them that are his, and each of them to themselues, because1. Cor. 2. 12. they haue [Page 106] receiued the Spirit which is of God, that they might know the things which are freely giuen to them of God, andReuel 2 17. the white stone, which no man knoweth, sa­uing he that receiueth it. Of this Church called by the Apostle, the people which God foreknew, Rom. 11. there is no controuer­sie amongst our Diuines.

In the second considerati­on, these onely are the true vi­sible Church of God, amongst whom the Word of God is tru­ly preached without the mix­ture of humane traditions, the holy Sacraments are celebra­ted according to their first in­stitution, and the people con­senteth to bee led and ruled by the Word of God. As when Exod 19. 7, 8. Exod. 24. 3, 7. Moses laid before the faces of [Page 107] the people all the words which the Lord commanded him, and all the people answered together, All that the Lord hath spoken we will doe, the Lord said vnto Moses, Exod. 34. 27. Write thou these words: For af­ter the tenor of these words I haue made a couenant with thee, and with Israel: And Moses said to the people,Dent. 26. 17, 18. Thou hast auou­ched this day the Lord to bee thy thy God, & to walke in his wayes; and to keepe his Statutes, and his Commandements, and his Iudge­ments, & to harken vnto his voice: And the Lord hath auouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, & that thou shouldest keepe all his Commande­ments. This condition of the Commandement GOD did often inclucate into their eares [Page 108] by his Prophets. As when hee said to them by Ieremiah, Ier. 7. 23. Ier. 1 [...]. 4. This thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and yee shall bee my people, and walke yee in all the wayes, in that I haue commanded you, that it may bee well vnto you.

So in the Gospell, Christ saith,Iohn 10. 27. My sheepe heare my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ButIohn 10. 7. a stranger will they not follow, but will flie from him: For they know not the voice of stran­gers: where he giueth the first marke of the visibly true and pure Church, to wit, the pure preaching, and hearing of Christs voice. As likewise Saint Iohn saith,1. Iohn 4. 6. He that knoweth God heareth vs: hereby know wee the Spirit of truth, and the spirit of [Page 109] errour. Againe, the Lord saith, Iohn 13. 35. By this shall all men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye haue loue one to another, pointing out the concord and holy agreement which is among the brethren, as another marke of the ortho­doxe Church: As likewise when hee saith,Matth. 5. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good workes, and glorifie your Father which is in Heauen, hee sheweth that good workes are the visible mark of the true orthodoxe Church: The true preaching & reuerent hearing of the Gospel, is a visible mark of our faith and hope: Our concord in the Lord, is a marke of our Charitie: Our good workes are reall and sensible testimonies of our inward [Page 110] Faith, Hope, and Charitie. Where wee finde these three signes, we know certainly that there is Christs true Church, and iudge charitably, that is probably, that euery one in whom wee see these outward tokens of Christs true and or­thodoxe Church, is a true member of the mysticall body of the Lord Iesus. I say charita­bly, because outward markes may be outwardly counterfei­ted by Hypocrites, as it is said of Israel,Ps. 78. 36. 37. They did flatter with their mouth, and they lyed vnto him with their tongues, for their heart was not right with him, nei­ther were they stedfast in his Coue­nant: And of many of these that followed our Sauiour,Iohn 2. 23. 24. Many beleeued in his Name, when they [Page 111] saw the miracles which he did: But Iesus did not commit himselfe vnto them, because he knew all men.

Therefore when the peo­ple of Israel departed from the Couenant, and by their Idola­trie brake, as much as in them lay, the contract of marriage betweene them and God, they ceased in that behalfe, to bee Gods true Spouse and people, though still they called him their Husband and their God. When they made a molten Calfe in the Wildernesse, and worshipped the works of▪ their owne fingers, God said to Mo­ses, Exod▪ 32. 7. Thy people which thou broughtest out of the land of E­gypt, haue corrupted themselues, and not my people. And Moses to shew that on their part they [Page 112] had broken the Couenant, Exod. 32. 19. broken the Tables of the Coue­nant, when vnder Achaz they did worse, Isaiah called them Esay 1. 4, 9. children that are corrupted, their Prince and Gouernours, Rulers of Sodome, themselues, people of Gomorrah. their holy Citie▪ an Harlot: And God about the same time cried vnto them by Micah, Micah. 2. 7, 8. Thou that art named the house of Iacob: Thou that was [...]late my people. And to the teh Tribes by Hosea, Hosea 4. 17. Yee are not my people, and I will not bee your God: After the same manner Christ said to the Iewes, which gloried and made their boast that God was their Father,Iohn 8. 42. 4 [...]. If God were your Father, yee would loue me; Yee are of your father the Deuill: And the lusts of your Fa­ther yee will doe?

[Page 113] If we speake of the Romish Church according to this di­stinction, defining the Church by the keeping of the Coue­nant in purenesse of doctrine, and holinesse of life, God him­selfe hath stript her of that glo­rious Name, calling herReuel. 11. 8. spi­ritually Sodome, Egypt, and Reuel. 14 [...] Ba­bylon. Sodome in the pollution of her most filthy life; Egypt in the abominable multitude of her filthy Idols; Babylon in the cruell and bloudie oppression and persecution of the Saints. And because she was to cal her selfe as falsly as arrogantly the mother Church, the Angell cal­leth her THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMI­NATIONS OF THE EARTH: Because also shee was to bring [Page 114] and magnifie her selfe in the multitude of her Saints, hee saith, thatReuel. 17. 5, 6 shee is drunke with the bloud of the Saints, and with the bloud of the Martyrs of Iesus. And taking from her the name of the Church, which she chal­lengeth priuatiuely to all other Christian congregations, hee nameth her, as I haue already said,Reuel. 18. 2. the habitation of Deuils, the hold of euerie foule spirit, and a Cage of euerie vncleane and hate­full bird.

In the first sence Moses said to God,Exod. 32. 11. why doth thy wrath wax hote against THY people: be­cause although they had bro­ken the Couenant on their part by the workes of their hands, God had not as yet broken it on his part. Ieremiah in the grea­test [Page 115] heate of their monstruous I dolatries prayed after the same maner,Iere. 14 21. Doe not abhorre vs for thy Names sake, doe not dis­grace the Throne of thy glorie: Re­member, breake not thy Couenant with vs. And Esaiah, Esa. 64. 8, 9. Thou art our Father, we are ALL thy people. For so long as God cals a people to him by his word and Sacraments, and honour­eth them with his name: So long also as they consent to be called by his name, professing it outwardly, they remaine his people, although they answere not his calling, neither in soundnesse of faith, nor in ho­linesse of life. Euen as rebelli­ous Subiects are still true Sub­iects on the Kings behalfe, who looseth not his right by [Page 116] their Rebellion: Nay on their owne also in some maner, be­cause they still keepe and pro­fesse his Name, and giue not themselues to any forraine Prince. Did Dauid loose his right by the Rebellion of the people vnder his sonne Absa­lom! And therefore when the King subdueth these traitours, hee carrieth himselfe towards them, both in forgiuing and in punishing, as their lawfull and naturall Prince, and not as a Conquerour of new Subiects. So as a strumpet is a true wife, so long as her husband con­sents to dwell with her, and shee is named by his name; And as Agar when shee fled from her mistresse Sarai, was still Sarais maide, as shee con­fessed, [Page 117] saying,Gene. 16. 8. I flee from the face of my mistresse Sarai. In like manner a rebellious, fugitiue, and whooring Church, is still a true Church, so long as God keeping the right of a King, of a Master, of a Husband ouer her, giueth her not the bill of Diuorcement, but consents that her Name bee called vpon her, and shee still calleth her selfe his kingdome, his maide, his wife. Thus God calleth the Iewes His people, euen then when he said they were not his people, because hee had not broken the band of marriage with them, and put them away by diuorcement. Therefore he said vnto them,Esa. 50. Where are the Letters of your mothers diuorce­ment, whom I haue put away? [Page 118] Meaning he had not giuen vn­to them a writing of diuorce­ment, but did still acknow­ledge them to bee his spouse, notwithstanding their mani­fold and most filthy Whore­domes with false Gods, which he charged them with, saying vnto them by Ieremiah, Iere. 3. 14. Thou hast polluted the land with thy whooredomes, and with thy wic­kednesse: Thou hast a whoores forehead, and refusest to bee asha­med, wilt thou not for this time cry vnto me, my father thou art the guide of my youth. Turne, O back­sliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married vnto you: Or ac­cording to the French transla­tion, I haue the right of an Hus­band ouer you. So after hee had called the ten TribesHosea 1. 6, 9. Lo-ruha­ma, [Page 119] and Lo-hammi, saying, hee would no more haue mercie vpon them, and that they were not his people, he calleth them his people,Hosea 4. 12. My people, saith he, asketh counsell at their stickes, and their stuffe answereth them.

But after that God had scat­tered them among the Medes and other nations of Assyria, and broken his couenant with them, they became not onely in the second, but also in the first sence. Iesrehel, and no more Israel, Lo-ruhama, and no more Ruhama, Lo-hammi, & no more Hammi. Then was fulfilled the the prophesie,Hosea 2. 2. Plead with your mother, plead: For shee is not my wife, neither am I her husband. So the Iewes which were Gods people in the midst of their id­olatrie, [Page 120] since they haue denied Christ to bee the Messias, the Mediatour betweene GOD and them, and haue crucified the Lord of glory, are no more Gods people, although they beg still that name.Reuel. 3. 9. They are, saith Christ, the Synagogue of Sa­tan: They say they are Iewes, and are not, but doe lye: For seeing GodRom. 11 17. hath broken them off, and grafted the Gentiles in their roome, they qualifie themselues Gods people as falsely and iniuriously, as a whoore lawfully diuorced by her husband, calleth her selfe his wife.

To applie this to the Ro­mane Church, which hath a­dulterated and corrupted the whole seruice of God, and is [Page 121] more adulterous then was at any time Iuda or Ephraim, and therefore is not a true visible Church in the second sence, I say shee is one in some sort in the first. In her God doth still keepe his true word in the Old and New Testament, as the contract of his marriage with her. In her is the true Creed, the true Decalogue, the true Lords Prayer, which Luther calleth the kernel of Christianitie: In her Christ is Preached, though corruptly. In her the Trinitie and Incarnation of Christ are beleeued: In her the Father, the Sonne and the Holy Ghost are prayed vnto, though in an vnknown tongue to the most part: In her the lit­tle children are Baptised in the [Page 122] Name of the Father, of the Sonne, and of the Holy Ghost. And no Diuine will denie that their Baptisme is a true Sacra­ment, whereby their children are borne to God, seeing wee doe not rebaptise them, where leauing her, they adioyne themselues to vs. Who then can denie, that shee is a true Church? For out of the Church there is no Baptisme, and the Church alone beareth children to God. In her sitteth the man of sinne, the sonne of perditi­on, who sitteth2. Thess. 2. 4. in the Temple of God, which is the Church. Its graunted that shee is Baby­lon in the second sence: And Reuel. 18. 4. Gods people is commanded to come out of Babylon. What is Gods people, but Gods Church [Page 123] which forsaketh her successiue­ly, as of old the typicall people came out of the typicall Baby­lon, not at once, but at many seuerall times? If then we ap­plie vnto her Gods comman­dement, exhorting her to come out of Babylon, either wee vnderstand not what wee say, or we acknowledge her to bee Gods people, that is Gods Church, though idolatrous, rebellious, and disobedient: Neither shall shee cease to bee Gods people in this sence, till the comming of the blessed day, when the ayre shall re­bound with the shouting of the Saints,Reuel. 14. 8. Babylon is fallen, shee is fallen that great Citie, be­cause shee made all nations drunke with the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

[Page 124] I say then, that as Ierusalem was at the same time the holy Citie, and a Harlot, the Temple was Bethel and Bethauen, Gods House, and a house of Iniqui­tie, the Iewes were Gods people, and no people, Gods children & the Deuils, Ephraim was Idam­mi and Lo-Hammi, in diuers r [...] ­spects, euen so the Romish Church is both BETHEL and BABEL, Bethel from God, calling her to the communion of his grace in Christ by his Word, and Sacrament of Bap­tisme, Babel from her selfe, be­cause shee hath made a galli­maufrey of the Christian Reli­gion, confounding pell-mell her owne traditions with Gods Word, her owne merits with Christs, the bloud of Martyrs [Page 125] with the bloud of the Lambe of God,Iohn 1. 29. which taketh away the sinne of the world, Purgatorie with the same bloud,1. Iohn 1. 7. which purgeth vs from all sinne, Iusti­fication by workes with Iusti­fication Gal. 2. 16. by faith only, praying to the Creatures with praying to the Creator, Idols of men, women, beasts, Angels with Gods worship, the mediation of Saints with the mediation of him who isHeb. 7. 22, 25. the suretie of the new Testament, and is able to saue to the vttermost all those that come vnto God by him, seeing hee euer liueth to make intercession for them. Nay, as Caluin said truly, in the Romish Church Christ is scarcely knowne among the Saints, of whom some are in Heauen, as the Apostles, &c. [Page 126] some on Earth, as the Pope, some in Hell, as Saint George an Arrian Hereticke, and bloudie Butcher of true Christians, Saint Dominicke the firebrand of the warre against the Albi­geois, Saint Garnet whom Ty­burne sent to his owne place, to bee rewarded of the Gunne­powder Treason: Some did neuer die, because they had neuer the honour to liue, as Saint Christopher, Saint Kathe­rine, Saint Vrsule, Saint Longin, who was a Speare. Saint Eloi who was two couple of sharpe nailes, and many more of the same stuffe. In a word, the roa­ring of the Camards of Bahal is so lowd in that Church, that Christs voice is scant heard in her, and yet heard both in the [Page 127] mouth of these Babylonian builders, which vnderstand not one another, and in the mouthes of the people halting betweene Christ and the Pope their Bahal. And therefore in that behalfe not the true, but a true Christian Church.

This testimony is the praise of the most wonderfull pati­ence of God, who suffereth so long that common hackney to beare his Name. It is her shame, As it is the shame of a Queane married to a good husband, to be conuicted of running vp & downe after strangers Its a vantage to vs in our imploy­ment for her conuersion. For as when Agar had confessed truly that she was Sarahs maid, the Angell tooke her at her [Page 128] word, saying,Gen. 16. 9. Returne to thy Mistresse, and submit thy selfe to her, and perswaded her: Euen so wee take the Roman Church by the necke, when shee con­fesseth that shee is Christs Church, as shee is indeed, ex­horting her to returne vnto Christ, to obey his Word, to submit her selfe vnto him, and to folow the true Faith of the ancient Catholicke and Apo­stolicke Church. Neither is it any vantage to her against vs, to inforce vs to returne to her, or to vpbraid vs for forsaking her. For as Moses, when the people had committed Idola­trie, Exod. 33. 7. tooke his Tabernacle, and pitched it without the Campe, afarre off from the Campe, brea­king of all communication [Page 129] with those which had broken the Couenant of the LORD their God, till they repented: As God said to Ieremiah, of the Iewes, which hadEzech. 16. 25. opened their legges to euery one that passed by, & multiplied their whore­domes, Ier. 15. 1. 19. Cast them out of my fight, and let them goe forth: Let them returne vnto thee: but re­turne not thou vnto them. As Ho­sea said of Ephraim, Hosea 4. 17. Ephraim is ioyned to Idols, let him alone: So Christ saith vnto vs,Reuel. 18. 1. Come out of Babylon, my people, that yee be not partakers of her sinnes: and that ye receiue not of her plagues: Her sinnes are a spirituall le­prosie. And we run away from leprous men, though true men, and our neerest and dearest friends, crying what they are [Page 130] loth to cry,Leuit. 13. 45. Vncleane vncleane, lest their breath should infect vs: Her sinnes are infidelitie, not negatiue, but pri [...]atiue, not in whole, but in part; As Saint Paul a beleeuing lew was in vnbeliefe when he persceuted the Church: And Saint Paul saith vnto vs2. Cor. 6. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Be ye not vnequal­ly yoked together with vnbelee­uers, &c. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the vncleane thing, and I will receiue you, and will be a Father vnto you, and yee shall bee my sonnes and daughters, saith the Lord Almightie. A faith­full subiect will not take a trai­tour, though a subiect, by the hand, nor I a Papist in matter of his Religion: Neither will honest women [...] [Page 131] with the greatest Lady, thogh shee be a great ones wife.

This I haue euer taught priuately, Preached publikely, published in Printed Bookes a­gainst Papists, during these thirtie three yeares of my Mi­nistrie in the French Churches, without any aduantage to our Aduersaries, without any con­tradiction of our diuines, with­out any acception taken a­gainst it by our Churches, or any particular among the bre­thren, which all in their name Preach and publish that they are of the same mind, calling themselues The Reformed Chur­ches, and our Religion The re­formed religion. For as the good Kings of Iuda did not build a new Temple, call to God a [Page 132] new people, set vp a new Reli­gion, but repurge and clense the old Temple, restore the an­cient Religion, exhorted Gods people to shake off the new in­uentions of the new patched Religion, and to returne to the Lord their God by the olde way, which their fathers had beaten, and Moses had traced vnto them in the Law; And as Zorobabel, Esdras, N [...]h [...]. 3. & 4. Nehemiah, Ieshuah, builded the Wals of Ierusalem vpon the ancient foundation, euerie man buil­ding next himselfe; Euen so the Protestant Diuines haue euerie one next himselfe, not builded a new Church vpon a new foundation, but repurged the auncient Church of idola­trie, superstition, false inter­pretations [Page 133] of the Scriptures, and traditions of men, where­of shee was fuller then euer Augeas his Stable was full of mucke, but beaten downe, and burned with the fire of Gods word the Wals1. Cor. 3. 20, 10, 11. of Wood, Hay, Stubble, which the Babylonian builders had raysed vpon the old foundation, which is Christ Iesus, and edified vpon it a faire Palace of Siluer, Gold, pre­cious Stones. This same is the opinion also of my Collegues of the French Church of this Citie of London.

If any selfe-conceited Chri­stian thinketh this an aduan­tage, rather then a disparage­ment & disgrace to that punke, the Romane Church, and taketh thereby occasion to perseuere [Page 134] to be her Bawd or Stalion, and to runne a whoring with her, I say with the Psalmist,Psal. 36. 3. The wicked hath left off to bee wise, and to doe good, And with the Angell,Reuel. 22. 11. Hee that is vniust, let him he vniust still: And he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: For neither must an honest heart speake a lie for the good that may come of it; Nor conceale in time and place a necessarie truth for any euill that may insue of it. If it harden more and more the flintie hearts of some vnto death, it will soften and melt the iron hearts of o­thers vnto life, that seeing a­mong vs the mudde and dirt of humane traditions, wherewith the Pope and his Clergie had furred and soyled the bright­shining [Page 135] glasse of the Gospel, wi­ped away from this heauenly mirror of Gods fauor, they may come vnto vs, and2. Cor. 3. 18 beholding with open face, as in a glasse, the glorie of the Lord, may be changed with vs into the same image, from gloire to glorie, euen as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Which last effect I pray with my heart your Reconci­ler may haue with those that are children of peace: And so recommending your Lord­ship, with all your learned, e­loquent, sound, and vsefull labours to GODS most powerfull blessing and my selfe to the continuance of your [Page 136] godly Prayers, and old friendship, I re­maine for euer

Your Lordships most humble and affectionate Seruant, Gilbert Primrose.

¶To my VVorthy and much respected Friend Mr. H. CHOM­LEY.

MAster Cholmely, I haue perused your learned and full reply to Master Bur­tons answere; wherein you haue in a iudicious eye a­bundantly righted your self, and cleared a iust cause; so, [Page 138] as the Reader would won­der where an Aduersarie might find ground to raise an opposition; But, let me tell you, Were it a Booke written by the pen of an Angest from Heauen, in this subiect, I should doubt whether to wish it publique. How true, how iust soeuer the plea be, I find (such is the selfe-loue, and partiali­tie of our corrupt nature) the quarrell is inlarged by multiplying of words; when I see a fire quenched with Oyle, I will expect to see a [Page 139] controuersie of this nature, stinted by publike altercati­on. New matter still rises in the agitation, and giues hint to a fore-resolued oppo­site, of a fresh disquisition: So as we may sooner see an end of the common peace, then of an vnkindly iarre in the Church; especially such a one, as is fomented with a mistaken Zeale on the one side, and with a confidence of knowledge, on the other. Silence hath somtimes quie­ted such like mis-raised brab­bles, neuer, interchange of [Page 140] words; This very question was on foot, some fortie yeares agoe, in the hote chase of great Authors, but, whether through the inge­nuitie of the parties, or some ouer-ruling act of Diuine Prouidence, it soone died, without noyse; so I wish it may now doe; Rather let the weaker title goe away with the last word, then the Church shall bee distracted; For that Position of mine, which occasioned your vin­dication, you see it suffici­ently abetted, and determi­ned, [Page 141] by so reuerend autho­ritie, as admits no excepti­on; I dare say; No lear­ned Diuine of our owne Church, or the foraine, can but subscribe (in this our sense) to the iudgement of these Worthies; To draw forth therefore this cord of contention to any futher length, were no lesse need­lesse, then preiudiciall to the publike peace; Hee is not worthy to bee satisfied, that will yet wrangle.

As for those personall aspersions that are cast vpon [Page 142] you by malice, be perswaded to despise them. These We­sterne parts, where your re­putation is deseruedly pre­cious, know your Zeale for Gods truth no lesse feruent, (though better gouerned) then the most fierie of your Censurers; No man more hateth Popish Superstition; only your fault is, that you doe not more hate errour, then iniustice; and cannot abide wrong measure offe­red to the worst enemie. Neither bee you troubled with that idle exprobration [Page 143] of a Prebendary retributi­on; who would care for a contumely so void of truth? God knowes that worthlesse gift was conferred vpon you, ere this taske came into ei­ther of our thoughts; And who so knowes the entire respects betwixt vs, from our very cradles, till this day, may well thinke that a Prebend of three pounds by yeare, need not go for a fee, where there is so much, and so ancient cause of dearenesse: I am sorrie to see such rancour vnder the [Page 144] cote of Zeale; Surely, no­thing but mere malice can bee guiltie of this charge; no lesse then of that other enuious challenge of your decay of graces, of falling from your first loue, from industry to ease, from a weekly, to a Monethly preaching; When those that know the state of your Tiuerton, the foure-par­ted diuision of that charge, and your forced confine­ment to your owne day, by publique authoritie, both Spirituall, and Temporall, [Page 145] must needs acquit you, and cry downe the wrong of an accuser; As for the vigour of Gods good graces in you, both common, and sancti­fying, all the Countrie are your ample witnesses; I that haue interknowne you from our childhoods, cannot but professe to find the entrance of your age no lesse aboue the best of your youth in abilities, then in time; and still, no lesse fruitfull in promises; of increase, then in eminent performances. What need I vrge this? [Page 146] your Aduersaries do enough feele your worth; So as (to speake seriously) I cannot sufficiently wonder at the libertie of those men, who professing a strict conscience of their wayes, dare let their pens, or tongues loose to so iniurious and vncharitable detraction, whereof they know the iust auenger is in Heauen; It should not be thus betwixt Brethren, no not with enemies.

For the mayne businesse; There wants not confidence on either side; I am appealed [Page 147] to by hoth; an vnmeet Iudge, considering my so deepe in­gagements. But, if my vm­perage may stand, I award an eternall silence to both parts; Sit downe in peace, then, you, and your worthy second; Whose yong ripenes, and modest and learned dis­course, is worthy of better intertainment then con­tempt; And let your Zea­lous Opponents say, that you haue ouer-comne your selues in a resolued cessation of pens; and them, in a loue of peace.

[Page 148] Farewell, from your louing Friend and ancient Col­league.


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