Manifested out of the Scriptures, Fathers, Ecclesiasticall Histories, Papists, and sundrie other Authors.

By Iames Peregrin.

LVK. 16.14.15.

All these things also heard the Pharises, vvho vvere coueteous, and they derided him.

And he said vnto them, ye are they vvhich iustifie your selues before men, but God knoweth your hearts: for that vvhich is highly esteemed amongst men is abomination in the sight of God.

Printed, MDCXXXII.

To the sacred honour of the Lord God, Creator of all things, and Iudge of all men.

ALmightie and euerlasting God, vvho hast set thy king vpon thy holy hill of Sion, & giuen him a kingdom that all nations, and languages should serue him, a kingdom that shall haue no ende; giue vs vvee beseech thee to knovv vvhat it is to haue him for the Christ, the only King and Lavvgiuer of his church, the Anointing that thou hast giuen vs▪ and to see that vvee haue, no neede that any man teach vs, but as the same anointing teacheth vs of all things, by himselfe, and by his Apostles, and Prophets. O teach vs at last to abide in him, as he hath taught vs, that vvhen he shall ap­peare, vvee may not be ashamed before him at his comming. Thou only, O Lord, canst best iudge vvhat are the things that truly belong to his kingdom and gouerument, vvhat subordinate officers thou hast giuen to guide thy church, and vvho are Intruders and vsurpers: vvho serue aright to main­taine thy Truth and gouernment, and vvho to obscure and oppresse the same: vvho serue thy kingdom in a right vvay, & vvho only pretend it, not seruing thee the Lord, but theire owne bellies. To vvhome then, but to thee, O dreadfull God, should I thy poore seruant dedicate these his vveake labours? For thou, o Lord God, best knowest the work that thou hast vvrought in thine, thou art best able to trie, and teach others to trie the Spirits vvhether they be of God, or noe: thou searehest the heart & the reines, the end and scoape of euery mans vn­dertakings, vvho are led by thy Spirit into all Truth, and vvho are only lifted vp in an opinion thereof: vvho finding thy guidance in some things, presume that thou teachest them all vvhich they beleeue, or to vvhich they are conformable, and doe not rather thinke it better to beleeue all that thou tea­chest, to be conformed to that, and be reformed by it: vvho haue thy Truth in respect of the persons, authoritie and [Page]benefits of men, and vvho in respect of thee alone, the only fountaine of Truth. Thou, o God, the righteous Iudge, seest vvhether I haue collected these proofes & obseruations for the cause of Christ alone, or for sinister respects; thou best knovvest thy ovvne Truth, and art best able to defend it, and all them that seeke it. Princes are men: such as trust to much to theire iudgment and protection, do oft finde themselues revvarded accordingly: Thou hast the hearts of kings, and all other men, in thy hand, thou canst turne them to see and ac­knovvledge thy truth. Thou only, that makest light to shine out of darknes, canst shine in theire hearts, to giue them true knovvledge and obedience. Other Patrons can a litle counte­nance a booke vvith their greate names & favours: but thou, o Kings of kings hast a name aboue all names: thou only canst persvvade Iapheth to dvvell in the tents of Shem. Thou only canst informe and assure the heart in thy ovvne Truth. VVho is able to hinder the light thereof, vvhen thou vvilt haue it knovvne & acknovvledged? O therefore be mercifull vnto vs, & cause the light of thy countenance to shine vpon vs, that thy vvay may be knovvne vpon earth, & thy sauing health vnto all nations; that they may see the things that belong vn­to their peace, least haueing them hid from theire eies, they groape at noone day, straine at a gnat & swallow a Camel. Thou art the greate God that vvilt take account of euerie mans vvorkes, and bring euerie secret vvorke, and counseil vnto light. It is thy grace and protection that I stand in neede of. O be vvith me, and forsake me not, but shevv thy might in my vveakenes. This g [...]ace & vvhat else thou knovvest neede­full for me, the Reader, or any of thy afflicted people, grant vnto vs all for Iesus Christ his sake, the Sonne of thy loue, to vvhome vvith thee, and thy holy Spirit, three persons and one God, be ascribed, as due is, all honour, might, maiestie and dominion, novv and for euer.

To the Christian Reader.

IF a man, Christian Reader, liuing in Rome, Spaine, or any other kingdom, where the truth is in any point oppressed, should to con­uince and conuert his nation, be desirous to set out a booke on that subiect: he would easely conceiue, that by making himselfe publick he should nothing benefit the cause, he might fall and perish in the in­quisition before three men could come to reade it: and that therefore it were better to liue obscurely, and get it secretly printed and dispersed: who could for this either blame him, or vnder nice pretences, reiect his proofes fairely deducted out of Gods word? So, if I, considering that I haue liued an obscure life, a [...] smale and of no reputation, that in this case to make my self publick would doe no good, but rather raise against me many mightie and vndeserued ennemies, & get my labour in Christs, cause the sooner suppressed, haue therfore tooke a like priuate course, to the ende that Gods Truth might finde the more vnpreuentible passage: thinke not, that it will excuse any man, to say of me, he is a libeller, or as the Pharises did of our Lord and Sauiour, As for this fellow vvee knovv not vvhence he is. Ioh. 9.29.33. But if God, by so weake a meanes as I am, open thine eyes in a point of any consequence, say rather of the poore seruant, as the man borne blinde of the Lord and maister, If this man vvere not of God, he could doe nothing. Let me not be reckoned anGal. 4.16. enemie for manifesting Gods truth: but remember that herein thou shewest thy1. Ioh. 5.3 loue to God, if his doctrine, his commandements be not grieuous vnto thee For his sake therefore reade this smale treatises and hereby thou maiest see a reason, why many learned ministers do not or will not know or regard the truth in this point: why the most in Eng­land are so vnwilling to know any thing thereof, seast it should hinder them from subscribing, and hauing of a good liuing, or cause them to be put to silence, if they should either preach, write, or speake against the gouernment of the Bishops.

If I haue proued that it makes greatly to the saluation of the Church, and the preseruing of the faith it selfe, in that puritie and simpliciue, wherein it was left vnto vs by the Apostles and Prophets, that the Truth of God, be well knowne and manifested, in this point: remember it is thy duty, not to haue that blessed Truth vvith respect of persons: but in a right receiuing of it,Iam. 2.1. to Kisse the Sonne least he be angrie, and euen to crie mightely to God,Psa. 2. to reforme that Church, by whose power, any part of his Testament, lies darkened vnder a corrupt glosse, or being cleered, is forced to seeke corners. And thus hopeing that God will raise vp many friends to his owne cause, and giue them hearts to vse all ho [...]st wisdom and dilligence in such a case, I rest Thine in Christ Iesus

Iames Peregrin.

THE LETTERS PATENTS OF THE PRESBYTERIE, VVith the Plea and fruites of the Prelacie.

MAn, fallen in Adam, going after his ovvne vnderstanding in spirituall things, vvalketh on in darknes, and oft thinketh himselfe in the right vvay, vvhen he erreth & knovveth not vvhether he goeth: vvherein vvho is many times mort blinde in som things, then he that thinks himselfe perfit, a Scribe, and a messenger fit for the kingdome of God? vvherefore our Sauiour thanketh his Father, that he had hid these things from this vvise & learned, Mat. 11. 1. Cor. 1.20. & reuealed them to babes. And the Apostle saith, vvhere is the vvise? vvhere is the Scribe? vvhere is the disputer of this vvorld? Hath not God made foolish the vvisdom of this vvorld? But least som man might here say, If this be oft the case of Rab­bins, Doctours and Guides, vvhat shall become of their poore Disciples? If the Shepheards erre, the sheepe must needes vvander, and be in a vvorse estate: the Lord in his greate mercie promised,Ioel 2.28. Isa. 44.3. Chap. 42.16. 1. Cor. 1.27. that he vvould povvre out of his spirit vpon all flesh, vpon theirs seede and ofspring: and make the blinde to see. VVhich he so fully performed, as to choose to foolish things of the vvorld to confound the vvise. And yet because many vvould pretend the Spirit that mani­fest litle, but som fevv vvell knowne principles, & the visiō of their ovvne heart, and that they vvrest the Scriptures to con­firme it, he bids his people trie the spirits, and addeth, these gracious promises, fulfilled in the Gospell,Ier. 31.34. They shall all know [Page 2]me from the least of them to the greatest of them. 1. Cor. 2.16. The spirituall man discerneth all things. Neuerthelēs to shevv they should come to it by a Rule, he had said, A law shall proceede from me, Isa. 51.4. & I vvill make my iudgment to rest for a light of the people, mine armes shall iudge the people. chap. 2.3. The Iles shall vvaite upon me, and on mine Arme shall they trust. That is on my vvord. For the Prophets had said,Mich. 4.2. The Lavv shall goe forth of Sion, and the vvord of the Lord out of Ierusalem, And he shall iudge amonge the nations: 2. Tim. 3.15.16. euen in this vvorld: The reuealed vvord is sufficient in all matters of faith and saluation, For doctrine reproofe, and instruction, that the man of God may be perfit.

The holy Ghost teacheth that vvhich Christ hath spoken,Ioh. 16. and no other doctrine, for saith our Lord, He shall not speake of himselfe, but vvhatsoeuer he shall heare, that shall he speake, and he vvill shew you things to come (as the things in the Reuelation,Reuel. 4.1. that some shall depart from the faith, & the like.) He shall take of mine and shew unto you. Ioh 15.15. For he had said, All things that I haue heard of my Father, I haue made knowne vnto you:Act. 20.27. therefore the holy Ghost brought all these to their remembrance: and they haue declared to vs all that councell of God. That vvhich is vvritten, is that vvhich Christ hath spoken to them,1. Ioh. 1.3. as Iohn saith, That vvhich vvee haue seene and heard declare vvee unto you, that is to say in these our vvritings, that ye also may haue fellovship vvith vs, that is in the knovvledge of these things, and truly our fellovvship is vvith the Father and vvith his Sonne Iesus Christ, that is in knovving the1. Cor. 2.16. minde of God. He excepteth nothing reuea­led, vvhether it be aboute the conuersion and perseuerance of the Saints, or Predestination it selfe, so far as it is reuealed in the Scripture. This vvord is anCant. 3.4. Psa. 45.1. ointment powred out. It ministreth grace in them that art his. Grace vvas powred into his lips: and saith Iohn, ye neede not that any man teach you, but [Page 3]as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, 1. Ioh. 2.27. and is truth and is no lie: VVhich I vvill no further vrge against the vn­vvritten verities, presumptions, errours and blasphemies of the Church of Rome. For he, vvho is the vvord, saith, I am the light of the vvorld he that followeth me shall not vvalke in in darknesse, but shall haue the light of life. Ioh. 8.12. And this is not only meant of Apostles and Doctors, but of euerie true be­leeuer, as he saith, I am come a light into the vvorld,chap. 12.46.40. that vvhosoeuer beleeueth on me should not abide in darknesse. And to shevv vs that in all matters of faith vvee ought to be iud­ged by the reuealed vvord novv, since vvee must, vvhether vvee vvill or no, be iudged by it at the last day, he addeth, He that reiecteth me, and receiueth not my vvords, hath one that iudgeth him: the vvord that I haue spoken, he shall iudge him in the last day. Certaine it is, that Christ as he is the eteernall vvord manifested and preached, is the only Iudge and Gouer­nour of his church in matters of faith & saluation: therefore it is said to him, Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Psa. 110. The kingdome,Dan. 7.14. and dominion vnder the vvhole heauen is giuen to him, vvho is the Arme of God that should rule for him. God ruleth by his power for euer, that is by his vvord;Isa. 40.10. of vvhome is saide, I vvill giue thee for a couenant of the people,Psa. 66.2. for a light of the Gentiles. I haue set my King upon my holy hill of Sion. He shall reigne ouer the House of Iacob for euer. Luk. 1.33.

BVt because hereticks, and prophane and vnruly persons, vvould arise in the church: & there must needes be some orders & officers in the church, before vvhom such might be conuēted, & by whose paines in alleadging the scriptures, they might be conuinced, reformed & ordered:Act. 20. he ordained som to be ouerseers of the flock, that should not be nouices, but vvell gronded in the faith,1. Tim. 3.6 to hold fast the faithfull word as they haue bene taught, Tit. 1.9. that they may be able by sound doctrin both to exhort [Page 4]and conuince the gainsayers. VVhich vvhile they faithfully doe, vvithout pressing for doctrines the commandements of men: it is not so much, they that rule, as Christ the vvord that ruleth in them:Isaie 9.6. chap. 11.4. therefore it is said: The gouernment shall be vpon his shoulders. He shall smite the earth vvith the rod of of his mouth. And so they are subordinate Shepheards and Bishops to feed the flock, to keepe and reduce the sheepe vnto the obedience of the chiefe Shepheard & Bishop of theire soules, 1. Pet. 2.25 chap. 5.4. vvhich is Christ. In regard vvhereof, the vveapons of theire vvarfare are not carnall, but mightie through God, to the pulling downe of strong holds, 2. Cor. 10.4 casting downe imaginations, and euerie high thought, that exalteth it selfe against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captiuitie euery thought to the obe­dience of Christ.

The greatest question is aboute the dignitie, iurisdiction, povver and authoritie of these Officers, and especially of the office of a Bishop: vvhether by Gods Testament, and ordi­nance it be to superintend ouer other Pastors and Elders in a diocesse or Prouince: or, as others affirme, Pastoral, ouer one flocke and congregation, vvherein he is an Elder, and vvith other Elders an ouerseer of the same. In vvhich controuersie, men, that are not vvillingly ignorant, or vvilfully obstinate and blind, may receiue full satisfaction by the cleere testimo­nies of Scripture, and consent of the Fathers, shevving vs the old and good vvay that all should seeke & follow. VVhereas he that commeth vvith a scoffing, or preuidicate censure, speaking euill of the things he knowes not, Iude 10. Pro. 3.22. Pro. 14.6. Psa. 25.14. or in frowardnes will not know, can not so easily discerne the Truth. Ascorner seeketh vvisdome, and findeth it not, but knowledge is easy to him that vvill vnderstand, The secret of the lord is vvith them that feare him, and he vvill shew them his couenant.

VVhen Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles had first preached the Gospell in diuers of their cities, he & Barnabas retourned [Page 5]againe to Lystra, & to Iconium, and Antioch,Act. 13. chap. to confirme the soules of the Disciples, & exhort them to continue in the faith: & then it is said expresly, They ordained them Elders in euerie church by election. The vvord in the Greeke is Presbuterois Presbyters or Elders. Of it comes the Latin vvord Presbyter, vvhich signifies an Elder: and vvhich, as all confesse, in the primatiue ages of the church, was giuen (if not to som others, yet at least) to euerie ordinarie Pastor, of euerie congregatiō, in regard, that he, vvatched ouer the flock, to keepe them sound in the saith, and holy in life and manners. In place of those that men call parsons, or Curates of seuerall Parishes, there vvere then presbiters of seuerall congregations.Nicod. Dictionar. French and Latin. Our vvord preist seemes to come from the French vvord Prestre a preist, vvhich, as Nicod obserueth, properlie signifies an Elder or presbiter: though after the masse vvas vnderstood to be a Sacrifice, offered by the hand of presbiters, the name prestre or preist remained, but vvas also corruptly applied to a Sacrificer or Masse preist, & in time vvas only taken in that sense both in France, and elsvvhere. VVherein vve may an­svvere vvith our Sauiour, from the beginning, it vvas not so; but a Preist, that was a Presbiter or Elder: therfore throughout the vvhole booke of God, vvhere there is any speech of those orders of Aarons Sons, that vvaited at the Altar, the french Protestants do not in their Bibles translate it preist, but Sa­crificer: & blame vs that vvee do not the like, to distinguish them & all masse mongers from the presbiters or priests or­dained in the nevv Testament. Indeede Reuel. 1. Christ is s [...]de to make vs kings & Hiereis, Sacrificers, vvhere you haue the same vvord that in the Septuagint, and in the Gospell is put for the Ievvish Sacricificers: but this is by Iohn mystical­lie applied to all true Christians, and is not here Presbuterois, Presbiters, but a vvord far different, and therefore can not be vnderstood of the office, and ministrie of the Presbyters [Page 6]ordained by the Apostles. In the nevv Testament mention is oft made of these Presbyters or Elders.Act. Paul, Barnabas, and others vvere sent to Ierusalem vnto the Apostles, and Elders: vvhen they came thither.vers. 22. They vvere receiued of the church, and of the Apostles and Elders. And the Apostles, and Elders came together, Act. 16.4. to consider of this matter. Then it pleased the Apostles, and Elders, vvith the vvhole church. And vvrote let­ters, The Apostles, chap. 10.17.18. &c. and Elders, and brethren send greeting. They deliuered them, the decrees that vvere ordained of the Apostles, and Elders. From Miletus he sent to Ephesus, & called the Elders of the church: and said vnto them, ye know from the first daie that I came into Asia &c. vers. 28. Take heede therefore vnto your selues, and to all the flock ouer vvhich the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops, to feede the church of God. The new translation reads it Ouerseers, but the vvord is Episcopus, Bishops, the same, that is vsed 1. Tim. 3. A Bishop must be blamelesse &c. Indeede both there, and here it may be translated a Bishop, or an Ouerseer. For in the original, as a Presbiter is an Elder, so a Bishop is an Ouerseer. But marke he saith to the Presbyters, Take heede to all the flock ouer vvhich the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops to feede, &c. VVhence it is infalliblie plaine 1. That the Presbiterall gouernment is the expresse ordinance of the holy Ghost,Ioh. 16. vvho changeth not: and of vvhome Christ saith, He shall not speake of himselfe: for he shall take of mine & shew vnto you. Heb. 13. Novv Christ is yesterdaie, and to daie, and the same also for euer. This ordinance is therefore vnalterable. 2. That Elders by Christs ordinance are, or ought to be, ouer euery congregation. Take heede to all the flock ouer vvhich the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops.Act 14 23 So Paul and Barna­bas ordained them Elders in euerie church by election, & Paul saith to Titus, I left thee in Creete, to set in order the things that are vvanting, Tit. 1.5. &c. ordaine Elders in euerie citie, as I had appoin­ted thee. For a vvhole prouince, or diocesse is to greate a [Page 7]flock for one man, he can not take heede to all the flock, as the Elders of one church may.

3. That their office is to feede the flock, & church of God, vvhich one man can not doe in a vvhole Diocesse, & vvhen they haue occasion to binde or loose, to reproue, correct, or comfort, to excommunicate, or restore, that must also be by the vvord: for it is he that in iust causes giues them authority, themselues are not Lords of Gods heritage, as S Peter saith,1. Pet. 5.3 to doe it at their ovvne pleasure, by their ovvne rules, and tradi­tions, but1. Cor. 5.4 vvith the power of Christ. For he smites the earth, vvith the rod of his mouth.

4. That the holy Ghost hath made the Presbiters Bishops ouer the flock. For the vvords are peremptorie, Take heede to your selues, & to all the flock, ouer vvhich the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops: there vvere diuers Elders of the church of phesus & the places that bordered neer it, as of that of Philippi, or Ierusalem act. 21.18. to them all Paul saith, The holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feede the church, So Phil. 1. To all the saints vvhich are at Philippi vvith the Bishops & Deacons: that is, vvith the Elders, presbiters,Phil. 1.1. and deacons: for ye see the presbiters are bishops: or othervvise you must graunt, that there vvere more bishops then one in [...] citie: therefore Theodore vvell vnderstands it of the presbi­ters: vvhich Bellarmine, obseruing can not denie,Bellar. de Clericis l 4 c. 14. Tit. but that here also presbiters are called Bishops. VVhich is yet more cleere by that to Titus, I left thee in Creete, that thou shouldest [...]daine presbiters in euerie citie, if any be blamelesse, the hus­band of one vvife, haueing faithfull children not accused of riot [...]r vnrulie for a bishop, (that is the Presbiter before mentio­ned) must be blamelesse, &c. Vbi supra. All vvhich places are so cleare that Bellarmine confesseth, that in them all the presbiters are called Bishops, & consequently, that the Trent fathers cried, vvho vvould proue, that Diocessan Bishops are instituted by [Page 8]Christ and superiour to Presbyters iure diuino, Histor. of the councel of Trent. pag. 597. 598. en­glish. because Paul saith, Take heede to all the flock ouer vvhich the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops: vvhich by his ovvne confession is spoken to Presbyters: therefore he ansvvers to all the three places verrie poorely, that in those daies, these names Bishop & Pres­byter vvere common to all preists, as if Phil. 1. vvith the Bis­hops and deacons, the sense must be thus, VVith the Preists & theire ministers the deacons: vvhich is a vveake shift of a Iesuit and so learned a Cardinal. For did the Apostle call the pres­byters, Bishops in all these three places, & say the holy Ghost had made them Bishops ouer the flocke, & yet are they not so? And if it vvere then a name so common to all preists, why should it novv be thus restrained to one in a countie or pro­uince? and he accounted an heretick, that vvith the holy Ghost affirmeth, the presbiters to be Bishops, as in these three places?

And therefore out of all doubt,1. Tim. 3. vvhen Paul saith, If any man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a good vvorke, &c. That is the office of a presbiter or Elder, vvho is a Bishop, & that so he addeth, These things vvrite I unto thee, that thou mightest know how thou (a Bishop or presbiter) oughtest to be­haue thy selfe. Othervvise he vvould not haue passed, as he doth from the duty of a Bishop to the duty of a deacon: but rather first from the duty of a Bishop to the duty of a presbi­ter or pastor, that is, if it had not beene one and the fame of­fice, somtime set forth vnder the name of an Elder or presbi­ter,Tit. & somtime of a Bishop, as in that to Titus before allead­ged (vvhich shevves vs that vvhen it is said of Titus, that he vvas ordained the first Bishop of the Cretians, that must needes be the first presbiter,Chrisost. in 1. Tim. 3. & so Timothie. (2. Tim. in fin.) vvhich in effect is acknovvledged by Chrysos. in his Comentarie on that chapter to Timothie, vvho, though he liued in a time vvhen canons, custom, and cloaked ambition had made a litle [Page 9]difference, saith, There is almost no difference betweene a Bishop and a presbyter, seeing the care of the church is also graunted to the presbyters: surely by giuing of orders only they are their su­periours, & herein they only seeme to be more then the presbiters. Bellarmin acknovvledgeth that Primasius,Bellar. de clerìcis, l. 4. c. 14. Theophilact and Oecumenius, in their Comentaries vpon the same place do teach the same thing, & almost in the same vvords. VVherin they come but litle short of that, vvhich is more plainly affir­med by Hierom, on the first of Titus.Hieron. in Tit. 1. A presbiter and a Bish­op is one and the same thing: and before by the instinct of the deuil, factions vvere made in religion, and it vvas said among the people: I am of Paul, I of Apollo & I of Cephas, the churches vvere gouerned by the common consent of the presbiters: but after euery one thought those which he had baptised to be his, not Christs, it vvas ordained in all the vvorld, that one chosen from among the presbiters should be set ouer the rest, unto vvhome all the care of the church should pertaine, and the seedes of Sbhismes should be taken away. And a litle lovver. As therfore presbiters know themselues to be subiect by the custome of the church to him that is set ouer them, so let the Bishops know, it is rather by the custom of the church, then by any disposition of the diuine truth, that they are greater then the presbiters, and that the church ought to be gouerned in commune. Vbi supra. Bellarmin doth not only cite these places thus, but confesseth farther that Hierō. hath the like things in his 85. Epistle to Euagrius. Yet he vvould faine haue it thought that Hierō. held a Bishop to be greater then a presbiter iure diuino: contenting himselfe, for lack of a better, to take that for a sufficient proofe, vvhere he saith to Euagrius, vvhat doth the Bishop, giueing of orders excepted, vvhich the presbiter may not also doe? vvhereas indeede this doth rather proue the contrarie, namely that presbiters had decisiue voices in councels, might excommunicate, or doe any thing else in their flocks, belonging to gouernment, saue [Page 10]the giuing of orders, this beeing all the difference of povver and authority, the Bishops had them gained.

VVherein you must needes vnderstand him as before, that it is rather by the custome of the church, then any disposi­tion of the diuine truth, that they vvere herein greater then the Elders: the same or the like humain ordinance & custom, vvhich restrained the title of a Bishop to one in a Diocesse, vvhich before vvas common to all presbiters, gaue him also the sole povver of giuing of orders, vvhich before belonged to presbiters in common,1. Tim. 4.14. as is cleere by that, Neglect not the gift that is in thee, vvhich vvas giuen thee by prophesie, vvith the laying on of the hands of the presbiterie. Kemnitius there­fore doth vvell obserue here,Vbi supra. that a Bishop may be ordained by Presbiters, therefore there is no difference betweene a Bishop and a presbiter. Bellarmin hereat offended ansvvers vvith the Greekes verie vveakely, By the presbiterall name, they vnderstood the quire or companie of the presbiters, that i [...] of the Bishops, vvhich laide their hands on the new bishop. They that laied their hands on him vvere presbiters, but that is (say Bellarmin and others) Bishops. So saith S. Paul, and so say vvee, presbiters are bishops. Indeed Bellarmin and the Greekes, do rather meane the bishops vvere presbiters; but it is as true the presbiters are bishops, and that the loue of proffit or preeminence, or mens care to saue the honour of their church, and customs, haue blinded many, that they can not see a thing so cleere, that by imposition of hands of the presbiterie, he was made a presbiter, that is a bishop. VVhere vvee must vnderstand, that they only laide their hands on those that vvere chosen by voices or hands. For it is said. They ordained them Elders by suffrages, Act. 14.23, Beza annot as Beza obserueth out of the Greeke vvord VVhich commeth from a custome of the Greeks, vvho gaue their suffrages, by holding vp their hands. And, saith he, the force of this vvord Keirotonesantes, is to be obserued, that vvee may know, that Paul and Barnabas did nothing of a [Page 11]priuate vvill, neither excercised any tirannie in the church, like that vvhich is vsed by the Romish harlot, Idem Annota. in 1. Tim. 4.14. or her pages, vvhich they call ordinaries. So as he shevveth, vvas the gift of pro­phesie, giuen to Timothie vvith the laying on of the hands of the Presbiters. And thus is that to be vnderstood, lay hands so­dainlie on noe man, &c. that is doe not, vvhat in thee lieth, so­dainlie to admit any man to any Eclesiasticall fūction, Idem in cap. 5.22. for neither did all authoritie reside in the power of Timothie alone, but the Election vvas made by the suffrages of the vvhole church, as vvee said on Act. 14.23. and as is cleere by the election of Ma­thias, and of the deacons, & lastlie by this that vvith the laying on of the hands of the Presbiterie, the man chosen vvas conse­crated to the Lord, as 1. Tim. 4.14.Idem in Tit. 1. By these places, as he shevveth, is that of Titus to be expounded, That thou shouldest ordaine them Elders, that is by suffrages, as Act. 14.23. by which place you may vnderstand vvhy he addeth, as had appointed thee, see also 1. Tim. 5.22. For in the choice of Mathias, nothing is carried by Peter, Idem in Act. 1. as by one endued with more excellent dignitie but by the suffrages of the vvhole church, there assembled: It is said: They appointed tvvo. So for deacons the Apostles said: Looke ye out among you seauen men, &c. then it is added. And the saying pleased the vvhole multitude, And they chose Steuen, Act. 6.3. &c. And set them before the Apostles, & vvhen they had praied, they laid their hands on them. Therefore lay hands sodainly on no man, that is till he be vvell, & aduisedly chosen, & praiers be made vvith fasting. VVhich is spoken to all presbiters in his person, & especially to himselfe, as beeing both a presbi­ter & an Euangelist, which is greater. And thus indeede Paul left Titus to ordaine them presbiters in euerie citie, Tit. 1.5.7. that is by suffrages, as he had done Act. 14.25. Othervvise Titus should seeme to haue had an office like that,Histor. of the counc. of Trent. pag. 611. vvhich the papalins in Trent chalenged for the Pope, to be a bishop of bishops, that other bishops should receiue institutiō & iurisdictiō frō him. [Page 12]For these presbiters are called Bishops vers. 7. but this makes not Titus a presbiter of presbiters, that is a Bishop of Bishops, much lesse doth it giue it to any other or infer that he must haue one to succeede him in such office.

It is obiected that Paul saith,1. Tim. 5.19. against a presbiter, receiue not an accusation, but before two or three vvitnesses. Vbi supra VVhere saith Bellarmin, vve see a Bishop, in the time of the Apostles, the Iudge of the presbiters: therefore their true prince & superiour. I ansvver this can not be 1.Mat. 20.25 Because Christ saith to his Disci­ples, ye know that the Prince of the Gentiles exercises dominion oner them, and they that are greate exercise authoritie upon them, But it shall not be so among you. And S. Peter saith to the presbiters, take the ouersight of the flock, not as beeing Lords ouer Gods heritage: much lesse as Lords ouer other presbi­ters, for that vvere to make one a Bishops of Bishops, or the Pope of a prouince. 2. That Timothie vvas the first presbiter or Bishop in that church, and not only an Euangelist, vvhich is greater, but a man of exterordinarie gifts: therfore S. Paul vvrites to him an Elder, vvhat course he and all Elders are to take, if any of their number be accused before them, as he saith, that thou mightest knovv hovv to behaue thy selfe, 5. tim. 3.15 &c, For all the Elders vsed to meete in such greate cases: and oft times other brethren also of the congregation Act. Paul saith to the Corinthians vvhen ye are gathered toge­ther, 3. cor. 5.4. and my spirit vvith the power of our Lord Iesus Christ, Mat. 18.17 de­liuer such a one unto Satan. In vvhich sense Christ saith, If he shall neglect to heare tvvo or three, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to heare the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen. And Paul bids the presbyters to take heede to themselues, Act. 20. and to all the flocke ouer vvhich the holy Ghost had made them Bishops: for of your owne selues shall men arise speaking Peruerse things: somtime the deuill may bring an Elder to that vvickednesse, and then ye see the other Elders are the [Page 13]Bishops that are to looke to it, and reforme it,1. Cor. 14.31. that office is not giuen to one in a diocesse. For as the Spirits of the Pro­phets are subiect to the Prophets. So the Spirits of the Elders must in such cases be subiect to the Elders. VVheras if a Bish­op fall into such faults like the Appealer, he vvill be subiect to none: vvho dare aske him? you vvill say the Archbishop: but if the Archbishop be corrupt and mightie in court, vvho dare once taxe him? The Pope. Adde he can not erre, or all is nothing. Such an endles labarinth, follovves this humaine inuention of diocessan, and prouinciall Bishops: vvhich hath and doth make vvickednes abound, because it hath not so good meanes to stay and represse it, as the Eldership hath:1. Cor. 12.28. vvhich v [...] as ordained for that end, not by man but by God himselfe. God hath set some in the church first Apostles, se­condarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers then miracles, the gifts of healing, helpers, Gouernors, &c. these last are tvvo distinct offices as Ar. Montan. Beza, and others reade them,Beza. Annot. in hoc lec. vnder­standing the helpers to be deacons, that helped the poore & sick And Gouernours to declare the order of the presbyters, vvho vvere keepers of the discipline of the church, as vvee said elsvvhere. To vvhom then belongeth the Gouernment, but to those that God hath set in the church? Novv vvee can reade of no others that he set to gouerne, besides the Apostles and Euangelist, but presbyters. Hath God then set them for Gouernours in the church, & vvill men presume to supplant them, and set others? Dare men say that the gouernment, by diocessan Bishops, ordained by men is better then this of Elders, ordained by God? To vvhome indeede God must needes giue a better blessing, as beeing his ovvne ordinance, he hath set them in the church. Neither doth that proue the contrarie, because in Amsterdam, and som other cities of Holland, there are many Religions: for neither Bishops, if they had such, nor Elders can hinder it, if the pollicie suffer [Page 14]them. But looke into the reformed churches there, in France, and elsvvhere, and you shall finde them better gouerned: and much better vvould be, if som burgers to enritch themselues, and get places of authority, or a league, & trade vvith Spaine, did not vvaxe negligent in religion, and for such ends turne Arminians and nevvters. If an Apostle vvere novv liuing, and should vvrite an Epistle to Mr. Moulin pastor and Elder in Sedan: Against an Elder receiue not an accusation vnder two or there vvitnesses, that vvould not argue, that he vvere ouer other Pastors and Elders in the prouince; nor as a Lord in his ovvne congregation: but rather vvhat vvere his duty, yea the duty of all Elders assembled in such a case.

The Apostle recounting all the officers, and Gouernours of the church,Ephes. 4. saith, He gaue some Apostles: and some Pro­phets: and some Pastors, and Teachers: vvhere he neither na­mes Bishops nor Elders, much lesse both, as tvvo distinct cal­lings, because the Pastor by his place vvas a Presbiter, and so a Bishop properlie, & the deacons had the care of the Almes. In such a church, as that of Ephesus or Philippi, there vvere diuers, vvho vvere teachers and helpers, but one vvho vvas somevvhat more properlie the Pastor, and so the bishop of that flock: therefore though the charge go to all the Elders, Take beede to your selues, Reuel. 2. and to all the flocke, &c▪ yet this is somvvhat more especiallie applied to him that is pastor, and so the first Elder or bishop. Vnto the Angel of the church of Ephesus vvrite, that is to the pastor. Euen as in the church of Paris at this day, vvhich is one congregation, of about six thousand communicants, there are three preachers, vvho are all Elders to feede the flock, yet one of them is reckoned the pastor, & the other tvvo helpers: the like in Diepe, and diuers other cities, vvhere they liue amōg persecuting Papists, as the old Christians did among the heathen: hauing but one con­gregation or flock in a citie. In some lesser cities, or vvhere [Page 15]there are fevver protestants, there is only a pastor vvith lay Elders. And thus out of all doubt,Act. 14. Tit. 1.5. it vvas in the primatiue church, till after the death of the Apostles, vvho ordained Elders in euerie church, and citie, vvhere one vvas the pastor, yet in matter of gouernment, all the Elders of a church ruled together, by commō consent: euen in Ierusalem things were not done vvithout the Elders, but the decrees vvent out in all their names. VVhen Paul vvent last to Ierusalem, there vvere diuers vvith him: But, saith Luke,Act. 21.18. Paul vvent in vvith vs to Iames, & all the Elders vvere present. The Apostle would doe nothing vvithout them. Therefore Paul saith,1. Tim. 5.17. Let the Elders that rule vvell be counted vvorthy of double honour, espectiallie they vvho labour in the vvord & doctrine. VVhence also som collect, that there vvere som Elders, that vvere not ministers, but lay-men of the more vnderstāding, & best gouerned sort. Hovvsoeuer, ye see they had all share in the gouernment vvere it vvith Timothie, Titus, or vvhosoeuer. For these vvere not greater then the Apostles, vvhich vvas the highest calling in the church: yet euen vvith them in Ierusalem, there vvere Elders, as it vvere in ioynt commission for matter of gouern­ment: they themselues tooke on them this office, & disdained not to be reckoned vvith other presbiters. Peter saith,1. Pet. 5.1. Theor Elders. 2. Ioh. presbiters vvhich are among you, I exhort, vvho am also Sumpresbuteros a fellovv presbiter: and Iohn, that might haue said, The Apostle, chooseth rather to say, The Elder to the elect ladie, The or Elder. Presbiter to the vvelbeloued Gaius.

None of the Apostles are in the nevv Testament called bishops, but presbiters, because a presbiter vvas a bishop, & then a name of no lesse honour, but rather of greater, beeing. Indeed one and the same pastorall office in euerie congrega­tion, it vvas the highest in the church next the Apostles, E­uangelists, and pastors, the Elders beeing the officers, vvhich God had appointed to gouern his church to the vvorlds end. [Page 16]The holy Ghost saith not Bishops, least aftervvard it should haue bene takē for diocessan Bishops but Elders. Neither doth Iohn set the Pope, or any Bishop, but Christ among them, as their only head, for chap. 5. Christ standeth in the midst of the throne, and in the midst of the Elders, to shevv they truly be­long to his gouernment, as diocessan Bishops, so that of An­tichrist It was stoutly defended in the councell of Trent,Histor. of the concell of Trent. pag. 599. & 613. Rom. 13.1. that they held, of the Pope & not immediately of God True not so rightly as the Elders doe: nor yet in a manner so litle di­gressing as the first diocessan Bishops did, as vve shall further see in the sequel: therfore they are not so truly of Gods King­dome, but rather of a contrarie, For indeede There is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God. VVhence it follovves, that all povvers, much more those that gouerne the church, must be ordained of God, or else they be not lavvfull. Novv this can not be said of the Pope and Cardinals nor of Diocessan, Bishops: for these vvere not ordained of God, but of men. Ergo &c. They are indeede against Elders vvhich are the povvers ordained of God. VVhosoeuer there­fore resisteth these powers, resisteth the ordinance of God. One of the Elders speakes to Iohn concerning the Martirs,Reuel. 7. that suffered in the ten persecutions, signified by those troubles that follovved the opening of the seauen seales, then past & gone. And though vvhilst the vvoman, the true Church fled, and remained in the vvildernes from Antichristian titannie and superstition, their gouernment must needes be hid, and persecured vvith her: yet vvhen the Gospell is restored, the Temple of God opened, & diuers kingdoms of this vvorld, be­came the kingdoms of our Lord, Reuel. 11. and of his Christ, the Elders vvorship & giue thanks: as also vvhen Babilon is destroied: & herevpon it is said: The Lord God omnipotent reighneth: that is in his vvord and ordinances. [...]hap. 194.5.6. Elders are then restored, vvhereas before she & her traditions, & hierarchie gouerned [Page 17]churches. For in that they are euer thus about the throne, on Seates, both before & after Babilon is destroied, this sheweth that they are the only spirituall Rulers, ordained by God; to gouerne his church vnder Christ, to the vvorlds end, and by him set about his throne, as those vvhich by his ordinance haue had the Ecclesiasticall gouernment, ought still to haue it by the furtherance of Christian kings, and princes, that are nursing fathers, and in Gods good time shall haue it againe. Christ vviloe in the midst of the Elders. Both that of the Bishop of Rome, and of all other diocessian, and prouinciall Bishops, shall be ouerthrovven:Isa 9.7. Heb. 2.8. and then of the increase of his gouernment, and peace there shall be no ende. but he vvill put all things in subiection vnder his feete. VVhich all as vvell high as lovv, should endeauour to knovv, that knovving it, vvhen in praier they say, thy kingdome come, in heart they may both pray, that God vvould sent it, and vse the best meanes they can to effect it.

By all vvhich is manifest, that the Presbiters, vvere the Bishops and Gouernours of the church, in the time of the Apostles, & a vvhile after: and that the preeminence, vvhich after some one in a prouince obtained, vvas by consent and custome, & not by authoritie of Scripture. VVhich is ingeni­ously acknovvledged by S. Austin.August, in Epist. 19. ad Hibron. quae iam Ecclesiae vsus obti­nuit. Ambros. comment. in cap. 4. ad Ephes. Bellar. de clericis l. 4. cap. 4. For although according to the termes of honour, vvhich now the vse of the church hath ob­tained, a Bishop vvhich is greater then the Presbiterie, neuer­thelesse, Austin is in many things lesse then Hierom, Note those vvords, vvhich now the custom of the church hath obtained, he saith not vvhich is giuen in the nevv Testamēt. Ambrose saith, that of old the antienter Presbiters, vvere called bishops, that the eldest dying, the next might succeede him: but because the following presbiters, began to be found vnworthy to hold the primacie, the reason vvas changed vvisdome foreseeing that not order but merrit should make a bishop, he vvas ordained by the [Page 18]choice of manie preists. VVhence vvee see, that the litle pri­macie, & authoritie the bishop had in his time gained, vvas not obtained all at a time, but by degrees: vvherin things had bene still altered.Bellar. 'de clericis lib 4. cap. 14. VVich Bellarmin vvould faine denie, but can not: striuing to make nothing of these, & al other proofes: vvithout daring to taske these fathers of heresie: vvhich yet he boldly fastens on Caluin,Caluin. l. 4 Instit. c. 4. Kemnitius, and others for hol­ding the same things, and producing these proofes. Caluin, saith he, speakes thus, Such as to vvhome the duty of teaching vvas enioined, vvere named presbiters, they out of their number in diuers cities, choose one to vvhom they specially gaue the title of a bishop, least out of equalitie, as it is vvont to be, discords should arise: yet vvas not the bishop so the superiour in dignitie, and honour, that he should haue lordship ouer his collegues: but looke vvhat priueleidges a Consull hath in the Senate, to make report of the buisnesses, that by aduising, warning, & perswading he may preceede others, gouern the vvhole action by his authori­tie, and put in execution that, vvhich is determined by common consent: the same office had the bishop in the companie of the presbiters: and that this verie thing vvas brought in for the necessitie of the time by humaine consent, the ancient fathers themselues confesse it, ye haue heard their testimonie. Against this Bellarmin for lack of better proofes alleadgeth the Acts of the Councell of Trent,Vbi supra. vvherein the bishops vvere Iudges in their ovvne cause, as they had euer beene since the Coun­cell of Nice.

In Trent it vvas alleadged that the Augustin confession put noe difference betweene a bishop, Histor. of the Counc. of Trent. pag. 606. and a preist, but by humaine constitution, and affirmed the superioritie of bishops vvas first by custome, and after by Ecclesiasticall constitution. VVhich those Trent fathers vvould faine haue disproued, but could not. For though in the age after the Apostles, custome had brought in a kinde of diocessan bishops to preside in Synods, [Page 19]yet in other respects, they vvere reckoned among other pres­biters,Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiast. lib. 5. c. 22.23.24. till about the yeere 195. vvhen Victor presbiter or bishop of Rome, tooke on him to excommunicate the chur­ches of Asia, about the feast of Easter, and for it, as Eusebius shevveth, vvas reproued by sundrie bishops: among the rest by Ireneus in an Epistle to Victor. The Preists, saith he, which before Soter presided in that church, vvhich you novv gouerne, namely, Anicetus, Pius, Higinus, Telesphorus, and Xistus, neither obserued that day themselues, nor suffered others to obserue it, yet they kept peace with others that did: vvhere note he calleth them not bishops but Preists,or presbi­ters. notvvithstanding the eminen­cie of that church, and the custome of presiding among other presbiters, as a kinde of diocessan: because a presbiter vvas a bishop. Againe, But the preist vvhich vvere before you sent vnto them, &c. So fared it betweene Policarpus, and Anicetus the priest, that is the bishop of Rome. It is true that after this proud and rash act of Victor, the bishop of Rome grevv greater, & the name of a bishop came to be more restrained to those that liued in greate cities, and presided in Synods: as also by that act of Steuen bishop of Rome, vvho attempted [...]o restore Basilides & Martialis tvvo bishops of Spaine about the yeere 250. And as Monsieur du Plesses obseruethMyster. of Iniquit. in the councell held at Rome vnder Syluester an. 324. the Preists stood behind the place vvhere the bishops sate. And in the con­cell of Nice, held the yere after,Concil. Nicen. 1. can. 6.7. the 6. canon is read in these words, let the ancient customes be obserued, vvhich are in Egipt, Lybia, & Pentapolis, so that the bishop vvhich is in Alexandria haue authoritie ouer all these, because such also is the manner or custome of the bishop of Rome. VVhich is but a vveake autho­rity for prouincial bishops, seeing the canon confesseth, that it had beene only a thing of custom: vvheras if it had bene an Apostolick institution, the concell vvould rather haue alled­ged that. Mounsieur duVbi supra. Plesses proues that many of the Ancient call it a custome.

[Page 20] Other things aduanced this dignity, & the vvrath of God for it.Cyprian. l. de lapsis. Euseb. lib. 8. cap. 1. Cyprian yealdeth this reason of the persecution of Decius, because euerie man slept in the coueteous desires of his owne heart. VVhich he shevveth in the clergie. Eusebius giues a like reason of the succeeding persecutiō of Dioclesian, There vvas, saith he, amongst vs nought els, but cursed spea­kings, & continuall iarres of prelates, falling out vvith Prelates, & congregations vvith congregations: They also vvhich seemed to be pastors, casting of this law, and rule of pietie kindled con­tentions betweene themselues, seeking only to increase debates, threats, iealousies, heart burnings and reuenge, vvith an immo­derate desire to command and sway, as in a Tyrannie. It is easie to conceiue, that vvhen peace and plentie came in, all things vvould vvaxe vvorse. Constantine to bring his people to Christianitie,Anno 330. Damasus & Anastas. in vita Syl­vest. as he pulled dovvne Idolatrie, so he applied the reuenues of their Temples, to the maintenance of the Chri­stian churches: and besides gaue them other great gifts: his greatest Princes, beeing conuerted, did the like, as appeares in the life of Syluest, and by Cedranus his Historie. S. Hierom, complaineth of Preists that vvrunge rewards from ladies, Cedrenus pag. 243. Hieron. ad Eustich. Epist. 22. Ad Nepo­tian, 2. In God. Theodos. and from others. Others there are, vvho spend theire vvhole times in learntng the names, houses, and qualities of these ladies. Ovid in another place, There be Clerks, vvhich possesse more vnder poore Christ, then erst they did vnder the rich diuell. This contagion spread so far, that the Imperours, Valentinian, Valens & Gratian, made lavves against it, prohibiting Clergie men to set foote vvithin the doores of vvidowes, or Orphans to receiuee gifts by Testament, &c. VVith plentie came in cor­ruption in life and religion. Baronius confesseth that men at that time hallovved heathenish rites & ceremonies,Barō. To 1. art. 44. art. 88. &c. To. 3. art. 324. art. 78. & 79. by brin­ging them into christian churches: That Constantine ordai­ned, That the bishops of the Christian lavve, should thence for­vvard haue the same priueleidges, vvhich the idolatrous preists [Page 21]had enioied. That the Pagan preists had a chiefe among them, Rex Sacrificulus, and their soueraigne Pontife, arbitrator of all questions among them. And vvho, saith he, can thinke, that Constantine vvould long endure, that these should exceed the Christians in pompe and glory? then he proues the Pope and Cardinals to haue the like glory in riding, clothing, salutati­ons, and crovvning. VVhich is to shevv the Pope in habit of a pagan. Thus vvhile diocessan Bishops vvere ordained, to vvithstand dinisions, on the contrarie they vvere increased therby, as appeares by the reasons Cyprian, & Eusebius giue of the persecutions, & others about the feast of Easter, appeales, pride & errours, in such as was Paulus Semosateneus, Arrius, Nestorius, & others, by whose great names,Fuseb. de vit. Con­stant. lib. 1. c. 37. & 38. grosse errours were receiued, & propagated. Cōstantine, by reason of sūdry dissenti­ons which he saw daily to arise betwene bishops, assembled Synods.

Novv to see more exactly hovv from so small beginnings bishops came to the greate power, they haue,Hist. of the coure. of Trent pag. 226. vvee may sinde it proued in the historie of the councell of Trent: That at first the churches were gouerned by the common councell of the presbitery, and how after to withstand diuisions, the monarchicall gouernment was instituted giuing superintendency to the bishop. The neighbour bishops, whose churches because they were vnder one prouince had commerce, did gouerne themselues also by Synods: and to make the gouernment more easy, attributing much to the Bishop of the principall citie, they made him as it were head of that body: and so the Bishop of the citie, where the Ruler did reside, gained a certaine superiority by custome. These prefectures were the Imperiall citie of Rome: the prefecture of Alexandria, which gouerned Egypt, Libia, and Pentapolis: of Antioch for Syria, and other Prouinces of the East. This gouernment, brought in & ap [...]ued by custom only, was established by the first councell of Nice. The Pope had no other ground of his greatnes, saue this, and the translation of the seate of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople, till about the yeere 607. vvhen he obtained of Phocas, that murdered his master, to be called vniuersall Bishop, vvhich title, vvas a litle before proued to be Anti­christian, by his Predecessor Gregorie, 1. The inundation of the Gothes, and Vandals had eclipsed his glorie,Guiciard. and so did [Page 22]the Fxarchs of Rauenna, till the Lombards, hauing gotten that Exarchat, & long oppressed all Italie, Pipin chased them avvay, and gaue this part to the Bishop, & church of Rome: vvhich vvas confirmed by his Sonne Charles, that vtterlie rooted the Lombards out, and vvas by the Pope crovvned Emperour: yet the Popes vvere subiect to him, till his poste­ritie grovving vveake, seuen Electors vvere ordained, and the Imperiall povver, being translated to the Germans, and noe longer hereditarie, vvas much diminished, and that of the Popes thereby increased, espetially, after they obtained of the Emperour Henry the second, that the Cardinals only should choose the Pope, and then the Cardinals also vvaxed great.

If this shevv not hovv bishops, but rather hovv the Pope grevv greate, it is supplied by another discourse in the Histo­rie of the councell of Trent, vvhere it being considered, in vvhat cases Christ saith,Mat. 18.17. Tell the church, and vvhat povver is giuen to a congregation, in that place to the Corinthians, vve may see hovv things vvere carried after diocessan Bishops vvere thus ordained.1. Cor. 5.4. The iudgment of the church (as is necessary in euery multitude) was fi [...],Histor. of the concell of Trent pag. 330. to pag. 335. hat it should be conducted by one, who should preside, and guide the action. This care, due to the most principall, and worthy person was alwaies committed to the Bishop. And where the churches were many, the propositions, and deliberations were made by the Bishop first in the colledge of Preists, and Deacons, which they called the Presbiterie, and there were ripened, to receiue afterward the last reso­lution in the generall congregation of the church. This forme was still on foote in the yeere 250. & is plainly seene by the Epistles of Cyprian, who in matter concerning those who did eate of meates offered to Idols, and subseribe to the Religion of the Gentiles, writeth to the Presbiterie, that he doth not thinke to do any thing without their counsells, & con­sent of the people: and writeth to the people, that, at his retourne, he will examine the causes, and merits thereof, in their presence, and vnder their iudgment and he wrote to those Preists, who of their owne braine had reconciled some, that they should giue an account to the people. I must here referre you to the Historie it selfe, vvhich sheweth hovv this gouernment had bene defended against the Canonists, & only recite som things to shevv hovv it decaied, & hovv in [Page 23]the ruine thereof, that of the Bishops increased; vvherein if I striue to much too abridge things, cōsult the with place it selfe for better satisfaction. The goodnesse and Charitie of the Bishops,I dem vbi supra. made their opinion for the most part to be followed, & by title and litle, was cause that the churches, charity waxing cold, not regarding the charge laide vpon them by Christ, did leaue the care to the Bishop: and ambi­tion, a wittie passion, which doth insinuate it selfe in shew of vertue, caused it to be readily embraced. But the principall cause of the change was the ceasing of the persecutions. For then the Bishops did erect as it were a tribunall, which was much frequented: because as temporall commodities, so suits did increase. The iudgment though distering from the former in forme, to determine all by the opinion of the church, was yet of the same sinceritie. Which Constantine obseruing, made a law, that there should lie no appeale from the sentences of Bishops: and if in a cause depending before a secular tribunall, either of the parties shall demand Episcopall iudgment, the cause shalbe remitted to him. Here the tribunall of the Bishop began to be a common pleading place. The Emperour Valence enlarging it in the yeere 365. gaue the Bishops the care ouer all the prizes of vindible things. Which troubled Austin, and other good Bishops. Afterwards some Bishops beginning to abuse the power giuen them by Constantine, that law was 70. yeeres after, reuoked by Arcadius, and an ordination made that they should iudge causes of religion, and not ciuill, except both parties did consent, and declared that they should not be thought to haue a court. Which law beeing not much obserued in Rome, in regard of the greate power of the Bishop, Valentinian, being then in the citie, an. 452. did renew it, and made it to be put in execution. But a litle after part of the power taken away, was restored by the following Princes: So that Iustinian established vnto them a court, and audience, the causes of Religion, Ecclesiasticall faults of the clergie, & diuers voluntarie surisdictions ouer the laietie. By these degrees they got domination.

The Empire being diuided, and kingdoms erected,Idem pag. 332. the Bishops for the most part were made councellors of the Prince, which by mixture of spirituall and temporall charges, caused their iurisdiction to increase ex­ceedingly. Before 200. yeeres were past, they pretended absolutely all iudicature, criminall, and ciuill, ouer the Clergie, and in some things ouer the laietie. After the yeere 1050. All the causes of the Clergie beeing appropriated to the Bishops, and verie many of the laiesie, vnder the title of spiritualitie, and almost all the rest vnder the name of a mixed iudicature, and placing themselues aboue the secular Ma­gistrates, vpon pretence of iustice denied, they came to say that the Bishop, had that power to iudge, not by graunt, or conniuence of Princes, [Page 24]or by the will of the people, or by custome, but that it was essentiall to the Episcopall dignitie, and giuen it by Christ. And though the lawes of the Emperours remaine in the Codes of Theodosius and Iustinian, in the capitulars of Charles the greate, and Lewis the debonaire, and others of later Princes, which all shew, when, & by whome this power was graun­ted, and all Histories Ecclesiasticall, and prophane agree in the same: yet so notorious a truth hath bene ouercome, by a contrary affirmation only, without any proofe.Pag. 334. In the councell of Trent a defect was considered, that the charitie of the superiours was turned into domination, and that thence grew appeale vpon appeale. Iohannes Groperus, who assisted there as a diuine, and a lawier, spake honourably of appeales, & said that while the heare of faith remained in the breasts of Christians, Appeales were not heard of. But charitie in the Iudges waxing cold, and place being giuen to passion, they entred into the church, for the same reasons, which brought them into the secular courts, that is, for the ease of the oppressed. And as the first iudicatures belonged not to the bishop only, but to him with the councell of his Preists, so the Appeale was not diuolued to one man, but vnto another congregation. But the Bishops taking away the Synods, did institute courts and officers, like the seculars. Neither did the mischiefe stop there, but passed to greater abuses then in the secular court. Which he shewes in that Appeale, was made from Appeale, till it came to the Pope, and somtime by a leap to him without more a doe. Iohn Baptista, Castellus vvas made to salue vp these soares, by a cunning oration, Pag. 335. and 336. in the next congregation. And so, to restore Synodall iudicatures was reiected almost by all, because it did diminish the Episcopall, & was too popular. For proceeding against the persons of the Bishops, no man desiring to facilitate the iudicature against himselfe, the restoring of it to parochiall Synods, vnto which it did formerly be­long, was not spoken of English Bishops in like wisdome suppresse all bookes, & Preachers that speake of the right of Elders, or of such Synods and the like things, that neither theu nor their owne vsurpations, may be knowne. By all vvhich vvee may see, that it is a vveake de­fence, for the authoritie of Bishops, & against the Eldership, to alleadge the grant of Emperours & Kings, or as Bellarmin doth the Acts of any councell, much lesse that of Trent. Gods ordinance & vvord, should euer be of more force, & esteeme vvith true Christians, then any of this kinde vvhatsoeuer.

By these affirmations of this impartiall Author, vvhome they can not call a Brovvnist, or a Puritan, vvee may see, that they in the church of England, vvho vnderstand this clause, [Page 25] Tell the church, as if it vvere meant, tell the Bishops, or their Officials, doe not only vvilfully vnderstand it, as Christ neuer meant it, & of such as he neuer ordained, but euen contrarie to the interpretation, vnderstanding, and practise of the pri­mitiue church till the time of Cyprian, that is for 250. yeers after Christ. VVhich shevves the Gouernment of Diocessan Bishops, & their Officials, Chancellors, Courts, and procee­dings to be popish, nouell, & intollerable: such as make the ordinance of God of none effect, & take things vpon them, vvhich belong not to them. If a man dvvelling in the Isle of Ieresey, in the Isle of vvight, or in Surrey, find himselfe much vvronged & molested by a neighbour, vvould Tell the church: should he run to the Bishop of the Diocesse, or to his Chancelour at VVinchester, and not rather to the flock, and the Elders thereof, vvhereof he and the offendour are members? vvhich flock should, haue the povver the church of Corinth had.

It is remarkeable, that vvhen Christ vvould reproue the seuen churches for certaine corruptions crept into them, he doth not say vvrite, and send it to the chiefe officers of the church, to the Archbishops, bishops, or their officials, Chan­celours, &c. For there vvere no such officers then, but vvrite, and send it vnto the seuen churches,Reu. 1.11. that is to the vvhole flock in Ephesus, so to that in Smyrna, and so in all the rest. So it is still added, Let him that hath an eare, chap. 2.7. heare vvhat the Spirit saith to the churches. Euerie man that vvas a member of the church must heare it, and take care to redresse it. In­deed he bids him vvrite to the Angel, that is to the Pastor of the church of Ephesus, and so of the rest, because the Pastor as the principall man, and a President in the congregation, should propound, and make it knovvne to the rest, he being one vvhome it did a litle more concerne then the rest, as he vvas Shepheard of the flock, & so one that should looke to [Page 26]such faults: yet all the Elders of euerie church, vvere also to looke to it, as those that had share in the gouernment, and things vvere determined by voices of all men, members of the church. The Epistles vvere vvritten to them all, as appe­ares also by that to the church of Smyrna: the deuill shall cast some of you into prison. Vers. 10.22 23. I vvill giue vnto euerie one of you ac­cording to his vvorks: And vnto you I say, the rest of them of Thiatira, as many as haue not this learning, &c. VVhen he saith, of some churches, that they had kept his name, and not denied the faith, &c. and of others that they had left their first loue, or had them vvhich held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, of Balaam, or the vvoman lezabel: It is sens­les to thinke, that only the Angel of each church is com­mended or taxed. The reproofes, and incitements to repen­tance are not to him alone, but to the church. Paul spea­king to the church of the Colossians,Col. 4.17. saith, Say to Archippus, Take heede to the ministrie, that thou hast receiued in the Lord, that thou fulfill it. He vvrit his Epistles, vvherein their are directions for gouernment, to the churches. He vvilleth the church at Rome,Rom. 16.17. to marke them vvhich cause diuisions, and offences, contrarie to the doctrine they had learned, and to auoyde them. In that greate busines, Act. 15. the brethren vvere at the discussing of it, the de­crees vvent out in all their names. It seemed good to the Apostles, Act 15.22.23. and Elders, vvith the vvhole church. Letters vvere vvritten after this manner, The Apostles, and Elders, and brethren, vnto the brethren, &c. And in that it is said,Vers. 12. All the multitude kept silence, and heard Barnabas, &c. All this shevves they had libertie to speake in due time, if they had seene cause.Act. 6.5. The saying pleased the multitude. This shevves their consent, and that they had voices. For as Paul informed by the house of Cloe, that there [Page 27]vvere diuisions among them,1. Cor. 2. conuinced them as an Apostle vvith vvords, vvhich are the vvord of God: so vvhen by them, or by such others, he vvas informed of the in­cestious Corinthian, he conuinced them, yet he referred the censure to the church,Chap. 5.4. and vvould not doe the thing himselfe, though as an Apostle he vvas a generall officer in all churches. He vvisheth them to excommunicate him: and after vvhen he had repented2. Cor. 2.7. to forgiue him. It is true that the Keies of binding, and loosing in this kinde, vvere principallie giuen to the Pastors: but ye see they did not excommunicate, and restore vvithout the con­sent of the church.

And yet it is not meant hereby, that this parochiall Go­uernment should be ouerloaden vvith businesses: much lesse vvith friuilous contentions. For some things may be ended by the arbitration of tvvo or three neighbours, and many causes are fitter for the common lavves, and those courts vvhere the Kings Chancellour, and other Iudges sit, but only that such matters should be in the churches povver, as are fit, that the church should take care of them, and iudge them. So that this doth not ouerthrovv the authoritie of Christian Magistrates, and their courts. Neither can this be a cause of confusion, making that vvhich is all mens busines, to be no mans: so that there­vpon carelesnes should arise, or pride, and contention. For vvee see, that after this manner, many things haue beene vvell discussed, and determined in the high court of Parliament, vvhere all things passe by voices: as like­vvise in ciuill corporations, and common counsailes: In vvhich, things are best, and most vncorruptlie car­ried, vvhen men may speake their mindes freelie, and are not oueravved by such greate ones, as are the Bishops, [Page 28]that haue povver to sit on their skirts that displease them. For in this case men should thinke of that,Mat. 23.8. One is your master euen Christ, & ye are brethren. Doe ye not know that the saints shall iudge the vvorld? 1. Cor. 3.6. chap. 2.15. He that is spirituall discerneth all things. And thinke vvee then, that they may not as vvell be fit Iudges of manners novv, as they vvere in the Apostles time, and the age next after them? If it vvere once in vse, men vvould soone be vvell enabled to the vvorke.

Besides the proofes out of Cyprian aboue mentioned,Tertull. Apol. c. 39. lib. 3. con­tra a pist. Parment. Tertullian makes the officers to be only Presidents in the as­semblie: Hierom ad Demet. affirmes, that the church it selfe hath right in excommunication, as the Elders haue in other church censures. Augustin thinks that it helpes much to the shaming of the partie, that he be excommunicate by the vvhole church. Zvvinglius, Artie. 8. explanat. speaking of the con­tention vvhich hath bene, vvhat a church is, acknovvledges no other churches, but 1. the companie of sure, and firme be­leeuers dispersed through the vvhole vvorld, called the Catho­lick church. And 2, seuerall congregations vvhich conueni­ently meete together in some one place, &c. of these he affirmes Christ to speake Mat. 18. Tell the church. Peter Martyr in his common places, Pant. 4. chap. 5. Sect. 9 making the church a Monarchie in respect of Christ, an Aristocracie in respect of the Elders, addeth also, that because in the church, there are matters of greate vveight, and importance, referred vnto the people, as excommunication, absolution, choosing Ministers, and the like, it hath also a consideration of popular gouernment: and vpon 1. Cor. 5.4. The Apostle, as greate as he vvas vvould not excommunicate alone, but did take counsaile vvith the church that the thing might be done by common authority. VVhich not­vvithstanding both Romish, & English bishops dare doe. The Apostle indeede goes before the rest, vvhich is the duty of the ancients of the church, that the more ignorant multitude, by their [Page 29] [...]uffrages goeing before, may be directed, iudging. Lib 1. de regno Christi cap. 9. Bucer affir­mes, that Paul accuses the Corinthians, for that the vvhole church had not excommunicated the incestious persons. Bastin­gius, Loc. 4. quest. 85. of his Catechisme, speaking of the dif­ference betvveene the tvvo keies, that of preaching, and the other of discipline, placeth it in this, that the former, vvhich is of the preaching of the Gospel, is committed to the ministers, the other, because it pertaines to the discipline of excommunica­tion, is permitted to the vvhole church. I omit that vvhich Mr. Foxe, Mr Cartvvright, and other English men had said to this purpose, because it vvould be too long for this place.

It vvilbe obiected, that many learned English men, hold better vvith the Episcopall gouernment. I ansvvere, the ne­cessitie of conformitie, imposed on them furnisheth them vvith arguments to that purpose. They knovv the Bishops can not looke to all things necessarie in euerie parish. But, say they, there are church vvardens, & side men: They might adde vvhose office serues to litle, but to looke to the obser­uation of their traditions, and ceremonies, and therefore not for the kingdome of God, but for the dominion of Bishops: they are but a mockerie of the Eldership. They knovv, that if the parish be full of prophane Svvearers, drunkards, forni­cators, extortioners, defrauders, and the like, all these in their turnes may come to be churchvvardens. If they be but con­formable to ceremonies, and do but speake vvell of the booke of common praier, though they haue no true loue to preaching, and hearing of the vvord, vvhereby, knovvledge, faith, and other graces are vvrought in the soule, but scorne, and mocke them that haue: they yet thinke themselues the better subiects, the better Christians, yea fitter to be church­vvardens then professors: and the Bishops, finding them to be a bridle to such religious spirits, are vvell contented, kow­ [...]ng such ignorant conformists, are fittest for their turnes. [Page 30](If the person or curate be also a Droane, a non resident, or a good fellovv, there is a flock strangely gouerned) such are not apt for the kingdome of God, the blind can not leade the blind, the drunkard reforme drunkards. These vvill neuer informe the Bishop of corruption in manners, much lesse in doctrine, such as shames the Christian profession. And if they did, he is but one, he can not looke to things in euerie flock to knovv euerie sheepe, as Elders may in one congre­gation. If men had not the ceremonies, and seruice, to serue them for an intire religion, or a cloake of one, they could not for shame, but make some profession of loue to the vvord, & good conuersation. If there vvere but three, or fovver reli­gious men in a parish to be the officers, their example might moue the rest, such could not be scorned as they are. In the reformed churches men are ashamed to scorne professors, if they did, they should be reckoned prophane, and soone be questioned; it vvould not serue them to say they loue the common praiers, they should soone be taught to knovv, that He that turnes away his eare from hearing of the law his praier shalbe abhominable. Pro. 28.9.

3. By all this vvee may see, that those abuse the vvorld, vvho for the authoritie of English Bishops, and the Hierar­chie there, alledge the succession of lames at Ierusalem, of Peter at Antioch, of Marke at Alexandria, of Timothie at Ephesus, & Titus in Creete. For vvee see there vvere no such Lord Bishops, Courts, Chancellours, and proceedings as are novv. The Apostles oft staied in these places, and looked to things as generall officers in all churches: but vsed no such Ep [...]sc pall authoritie as ours doe, vvho come not in by the word, that is by Christ the Doore, but clim vp another vvay, by the traditions,Ioh. 10. and corruptions of men, like theeues that come to steale to fle [...]ce and not to feede the flock. Ciuill go­uernments may vpon good reasons be altered, & a nevv sor [...] [Page 31]of officers ordained. But Christ that changeth not, set officers in his kingdome to gouerne, and therein the perfit forme of his kingdome: the church is a kingdome, vvhich can not be shaken. Timothie vvas an Euangelist,Heb. 12.28. but hath no succes­sours in that office, noe more can the Apostles in theirs: they left to seuerall congregations, the choice of Presbyters, con­suring of offendours, and debating of matters as is alreadie proued. Other successours they haue not,To go­uerne. Bellarm. de clericis l. 1. c. 14. as Papists are an­s [...]vered for Peters being at Rome To as good purpose Bellar­min, and others thinke to make men [...]lee from this opinion, as from a monster, by s [...]ying it vvas the herisie of Aerius. Medinae cited by Bellarmin affirmes, that S. Hierom vvas herein vvholly of the opinion of the Aerians, and that not only S. Hierom vvas in that heresie, but also Ambrose, Augustine, Sedu­lius, Primasius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumemus and Theophi­lius, And so saith Medina, the opinion of those fathers, otherwise verie holy, and expert in the holy Scriptures, vvas by the church first condemned in Aerius, then in the VValdenses, and lastly in Iohn vvicklife. And againe Of old therefore this opinion vvas dissembled, and tollerated in Hierom, and those Greeke Fathers for their honour, and reuerence: contrariwise in the hereticks, be­cause they are also estranged from the church in other things, it hath bene alwaies condemned as hereticall. Bellarmine sticks not to say, Medina wanted vvit,Hist. of the counc. of Trent. pag. 591. in being thus plaine knowing it had bene maintained in Trent, & that men vvould be ready to affirme, if this be not heresie in Hierom, and those other fathers, neither can it be iustlie called so in Aerius, vvho liued in the same times. VVhich Kemnitius spares not to manifest,Examen. conc. Trid. shevving that it vvas an ordinarie trick in those times, vvhen they could not ansvvere a mans arguments, to disgrace him vvith the name of heresie. Bellarmin saith,Vbi supra. That all the fathers constantly taught that bishops suceede the Apostles, & Presbyters the 70. disciples. I ansvvere 1. vvee haue proued the contrarie out of Hierom, & others, 2. That Presbyters who are Bishops [Page 32]may succeede the Apostles,Mat. 28.20 as they vvere Pastors, and Elders of any church, as Peter and Iohn call themselues, and as Ti­mothie, and Titus vvere, and so that may be vnderstood, I am vvith you alvvaies to the end of the vvorld, in their successours as they vvere, Pastors, Teachers, and Elders, but not as they vvere Apostles, and so ouer Titus, Timothie, and all Elders. For to be an Apostle is to be sent immediatly from God, to haue an Embassage from him, and as a maister builder to lay the foundation for others to build vpon: 1. Cor. 3.10. Tit. 1.5. & to or­daine, and appoint things, as Paul did. This did the Apostles in their Gospels, Epistles, and Acts. But this can not Bishops do: for they are not so sent immediatly from God, hauing an immediate embassage: they haue theirs from the Apostles, and Prophets, and so mediately. Neither are they maister builders, to lay a fondation for others to build vpon, though they oft assume it in imposing their traditions, and rites for lavves: for other foundation can no man lay, then that is laide, vvhich is Iesus Christ. Therfore the Apostles can noe other­vvise haue Successours, then as they vvere Pastors, and Elders, & that must be in teaching the same, &Gal. 1.8. noe other doctrine, Medina alledged by Bellarmin,Vbi supra saith, The hereticks the vval­denses vsed the testimonie of Hierom, they therefore, and Hierom vvere of one opinion, that is, that the church ought to be gouerned by Presbiters, and that the gouernment by dioces­san Bishops is of humaine authoritie, and inuention: and consequently the vvisdome of the flesh, Rom. 8.7. vvhich is en [...]mitie vvith God: for it is not subiect to the law of God, neither indeede can be. As vvee may see in those greate defendors of the Hierarchie in the church of Rome, and in England, that vvill not be conuinced, in this point, by the Testament of Christ. So much are they blinded by the proffit, and honour, that follovves it, but crie out that this is nothing, but the madnes of the Brovvnists, and some others that seeke innovation, & change, that these are priuate spirits, and that they giue a [Page 33]priuate interpretation of the scriptures, and Fathers, because it agrees not vvith theirs, vvho are more in number, and greater in povver. VVhich yet is the priuate interpretation, because not according to the expresse meaning of the holy Ghost. The consent of many clocks, and vvatches in a citie, doth not proue them to goe true, vnles they accord vvith the Sunne: No more doth that of many Bishops, and Councels, vnles they agree vvith the vvord. One Paphnutius hauing that on his side is not a priuate spirit, but ought to be prefer­red before many of a contrarie concord, as the Councell of Nice shevved in him. Therefore, it is but a shift, and a moc­kerie to call this Tenet Brovvnisme, vvhen they knovv this of the Eldership is the gouernmēt of the reformed churches in France, Germanie, &c. and that to condemne this for an errour, is to condemne them all, yea the fathers before alled­ged, and the verie Apostles themselues.

It vvill be obiected, Diocessan Bishops came in, soone af­ter the death of the Apostles: and if the church gouerned by Elders be the true church, vvhere vvas the true church from the first comming in of diocessan Bishops, till the Nicene Councell, vvhen they vvere first confirmed by a generall councell, and Imperiall authoritie, and the vvoman fled into the vvildernes, and vvas follovved by a flood of Gothes,Reuel. 12. and Vandals: I ansvvere, Bishops vvere then diocessan, & prouin­ciall, rather nomine, quam re, in name then indeed, excercising title povver, and authoritie ouer them, as ye haue seene out of the testimonie of Cyprian, Hierom, and Chrysostom. VVhat doeth the bishop, giuing of orders excepted, vvhich the Presbyter may not doe? He vvas not then come to his power, [...]nd strength, but vvas then litle other then a Presbyter in [...]atter of gouernment, had a Pastorall charge ouer one con­ [...]regation, yea gouerned like them, and vvith them: the Pres­ [...]yters had their voices in Councels, they neither vvere nor [Page 34]vvould be so soone thrust out. So that for a time, they had still the essentiall parts of a true church: at least till such stai­nes, and blemishes grevv greater, & the Hierarchie excercised more authoritie ouer the Presbiters, and became the mint, defence, & authority of humaine inuentiō, errour & superfli­tiō, & to be made a marke of a true church. Then the mistery of iniquitie, that had long before vvrought, in that inuentiō, began to shevv the fruits thereof: then that vvas true vvhich one saith of episcopacie, It vvas inuented against an euill, but the remedy proued worse then the disease. For out of these smal beginnings, issued. 1. The insupportable povver, & impietie of the Pope, and church of Rome: vvhich haue brought so many, and so vnspeakeable euills on the church. For though perhaps those ancients meant to doe noe hurt, but rather much good, in ordaining diocessan Bishops, and giuing them but litle power: yet hereby the misterie of iniquity wrough [...] for they thus presuming to set one ouer others in a diocesse, this povver increased: & vvith like reason, & authoritie Arch­bishops, and Patriarcks vvere set ouer Bishops, & in the end a Pope ouer all. For grant they may ordaine diocessan Bishops, and that their ordinance is by a diuine instinct, and of good authoritie, and it vvill fellovv, that others after them, may as vvell ordaine the rest: and that their ordinance also is by di­uine instinct, and of good authoritie: & so indeed to ordaine Cardinals, and as manie vpstart orders of Priests, and friers, as are among the Papists. I might add setting vp of Images to be vvorshipped, and all other popish Tenets, and customes, vvhich haue bene authorised by councels, and kings, if that vvere sufficient, as some thinke it is.

Hence therefore as from a spring haue issued all the errours of the Romish church, established by Bishops in councels for sound, and good doctrines, and all the vast au­thoritie, and povver of Bishops, and the multitude of those [Page 35]traditions, and ceremonies, vvherevvith, they as Rulers, haue burdened the church, and by vvhich the vvord of God hath bene made of none effect: So that novv neither the Romish, nor English, Bishops, vvill endure that the scriptures should be alledged in these points of their Hierarchie, & traditions: and many as vvell of the Princes, and Clergie, as of the com­mon people, seeing the name, and office of a Bishop in the Scriptures, are contented vvith the Bishops, to take it for graunted, that it is meant of diocessan Bishops, that the go­uernment of the church, vvas in the nevv Testament giuen to them, & not to Elders: or at least as others inferre, As the church vvas enlarged, vnder the old title of bishops a nevv order of gouernment might be ordained by counsailes of men, and authoritie of Emperours, and kings, for the better gouernment of the church. As if any thing could be better deuised, or bring forth better fruite, then the ordinance of God: vvho hath punished, that presumption vvith so ill fruites of it, to make vs see the contrarie: or as if the Testa­ment of God vvere insufficient, and he had not as sufficient­lie prouided for his church in this point, as in others. He vvill teach vs at length to knovv the tree by the fruit: and that these great places in the Hierarchie, are but meere baites to corrupt men: and make them to please such bishops, and courtiers as can aduance them, ofters bribes, vvrest the Scrip­tures for the Hierarchie, Arminiaisme, and such popish points, traditions, and ceremonies, as make the vvord of God of none effect.

Neither is it any reasoning from the time of Augustin, and those fathers, that savv Diocessan Bishops, and said not much against them, but rather seemed to thinke their vse, tollerable, and proffitable, and them to be hereticks, that denied it, beeing established by councels.

[Page 36] 1. Because the povver of Bishops, as vve proued in those daies, vvas nothing like that they novv haue, but as one saith, as vnlike, as the povver of the Duke of Venice in the Senate, is to that vvhich some Monarch hath in his dominions, and ouer his subiects.

2. Those Fathers had not seene such fruits of it, in Anti­christ, and Antichristian povver, as vve haue: and so vvhat it is to take such a custome, or an ordinance of a Concell, for a good vvarrant. So many traditions, and superstitious rites vvere not then inuented, much lesse proposed as lavves by the Episcopall povver.

3. That it is no reasoning from the consent, or continu­ance of the fathers, if the institution be not vvarrantable by Gods vvord. Neither they nor a generall Councell, nor Em­perours, & kings, can make that to be ex iure diuine, vvhich is not so by Gods Testament. Men vvill not presume to make other Ouerseers to a mans Testament, then he hath appoin­ted, to see it performed, much lesse ought they to doe it to Gods, as they haue in ordaining diocessan Bishops, and suf­fering them to obscure, and annihilate those places of scrip­ture, vvherein God giues the Ecclesiasticall gouernment to the Presbyters, or sacrilegiously to vsurpe, and applie them to any gouernment, so contrarie to the Eldership, as that of the Hierarchie is. These passages of the nevv Testament are the letters Patents of the Presbyterie: and yet diocessan Bishops doe not only vsurpe them, as Papists doe some pla­ces for the Pope, and make them serue to authorise a con­trary gouernment, most pernicious to the ordinance of God, but quite exclude the Presbyters, to vvhome they vvere granted, from the gouernment, and from that effectuall povver in Synods, vvhich is due to them. & not to Bishops: vvho could not vvell be opposed in the Nicene Councell, because the hurt, and vvrong that Bishops doe to Christ [...] [Page 37]kingdome could not be so manifest to Constantine, and his [...]onnes, nor so euident in the time of Cyprian, and Atha­ [...]asius, as it vvas since, or novv is. Euen as the Lion, or Leo­ [...]ard doth but litle harme, vvhile it is but a litle vvhelpe. For [...]deed they had not such dominion ouer Presbiters, nor [...]ch courts, Chancellours, Officials, Dea [...]es, povver in pro­ [...]ues of vvilles, and Testaments, much lesse in forbidding [...]he defence of the truth against Pelagians: nor such Rules, [...]nd ceremonies to suspend, and silence about surplesses, cere­monies, &c. Neither can the church giue it them, much [...]sse, some in Synods, that beare the name of the church, if [...]he things giuen, and commanded be against the kingdome, [...]nd ordinance of God, or make religion rediculous, and the word of none effect, as may be said of the Hierarchie, and [...]ome ceremonies.

As namely that in baptising an Infant, they should signe [...]im, vvith the signe of the crosse in token, that he shall not be shamed to confesse the faith of Christ, and manfully to fight [...]nder his banner against sinne, &c. and yet vvhen he comes page, he is prohibited to contend for that faith against Ar­minian and popish, errours: yea a minister is also forbidden [...]o doe it, though at his ordination he is made to promise to be ready vvith all diligence to banish, See the or­dering of Bishops Priests, &c. and driue away all [...]rronious, & strange doctrines, contrarie to Gods vvord: VVhat [...]ockeries are these? And novv in these daies of the churches [...]rouble, & persecution, haue the English, that stand so much [...]or these signes, and ceremonies, proued better souldiers of Christ, in such cases as that of the Palatinate, and the like, [...]hen they of other churches, that haue them not? or haue [...]hey not rather proued vvorse? Doe they more feare God, [...]re they more obedient to his ordinances, and keepe the [...]hurch more vncorrupt, then those Protestants that vveare [...]o surplesses, bovv not to the Altar, nor kneele not vvhen [Page 38]they receiue? Surely not more, but lesse. Such a one as Doctor Lambe, or other prophane men, amidst all their knovvne abhominations, may liue in more peace vvith them, then one, that vvithout iust cause they call a Puritain. God is much better pleased vvhen churches, and their learned defenders, are more in deedes, and lesse in such signes of humaine in­uention, as are but meere mockeries, and burdens.

That ancient Bishops and Synods haue vsed, and ordained these, & the like things, is no warrant for them. For you may see the case of the ancient Bishops in their successions, by the English, and their most learned defenders: vvho (as manie novv liuing haue seene) because they receiued not the loue of the Truth, 2. Thes. 2. in matter of the Eldership, traditions, and ceremo­nies, but their Isa. 29. feare toward God hath, in these cases, bene taught by the precepts of men: therefore God hath giuen them ouer to beleeue some popish, and Arminian lies: and because they receiue not the loue of the truth, in those matters of Arminianisme, wherin also their feare toward God is taught by the precepts of men, God must needes giue them ouer to stronger delusions, to beleeue vvorse things, & the vvisdome of their vvise, and learned men, must needes be more, and more hid, and perishing: and they must needes fall more, and more into earthly polecies, practises, and factions, to colour, and maintaine vvhat they haue done amisse, and to hold vp▪ and increase their povver against parliaments, and all their opposers: vvhich is not to preserue order, but to confound it, nor to be true, but false helpers to kings, and States: vvhereby Romish religion is more helped, then the Protestant, the House of Austria, then the house of God, the greate vvhore, then the reformed churches, and all true, & effectuall confe­deracie, vvith those churches, against the common enemie, is hindred: for indeed to desire Romes ouerthrovv, vvere to seeke their ovvne, in that vvhich is Romish: they can not [Page 39]truly loue them, that are gouerned by Presbiters:2. Cor. 6.10. for vvhat communion hath light vvith darknes?

Hence it is that forraigne Protestants, vvho, trusting to [...]he helpe of the English haue suffered for it, and in steade of helpe haue seene many dangerous diuisions in English par­ [...]iaments, and counsailes, vvhich could not haue bene so car­ried avvay, but by the helpe, and counenance of the Bishops, [...]ay, that these euils in England, and all others, that by these meanes haue be▪ allen the reformed churches, haue sprung from the English prelacie, & Hierarchie, vvhich bring forth [...]uch Protestants, & Bishops, & vvhich maintaine a nevvtrall, or mixed religion, partly popish, in the Hierarchie, traditions, and ceremonies, maintained vvith most zeale, partly of the reformed, in points of faith lesse regarded, and partly of Ar­minianisme lately receiued: all vvhich makes them luke­vvarme Laodiceans, or nevvters, that as much helpe the one side, as the other, in treaties, leagues, succours, &c. And so the Prelates, vvith their Hierarchie, and traditions, are like to the [...]iuer Euphrates, that ran betvveene Babylon, & her enemies, vvatered both sides, & hindred the surprising of her, as these must needes doe the sacking of Rome, till their dominion, & [...]iches, that makes them thus corrupt, be taken avvay, & their [...]euenues turned to better vses. And therefore their saying against vs, that this is Cham like to discouer the nakenes of ones Father, or mother,1. Sam. 6.16. 2 Sam. 6. vvith the Bethshemites to prie into the Arke, vvith Vzzah that offered to support it, to meddle in things that belong not to vs, but to the Bishops: there must be such to preserue order, and all the other parts of their plea, are plainly a bused, made meere shifts, & mights as vv [...]ll haue serued the Papists against VValdo, Luther & Caluin, as them against the Eldership. If they vvould speake truth, they might rather say, as by Constantines, so by Queen Flizabeths comming to the crovvne, vvith peace entred plentie, & ho­nour, and vvith them anibition, coueteosnes, & corruption. [Page 40]So in short time, and by degrees, it fared vvith those ancient Bishops, their feare tovvard God in matters of their Hierar­chie, traditions, and ceremonies, began to be taught by the precepts of men: vvith these ambition, and coueteousnes en­tred into the church: therefore first in these, & then in other things, their vvisdome began to be hid, and perishing, so that they could not see the mischiefes follovving diocessan, and prouinciall Bishops.

4 The church of Rome at that time the Bulvvark, and au­thoritie of diocessan Episcopacie, vvas not then knovvne to be the VVhore ef Babylon, and mother of fornications: but for her integritie in other matters, as against Arrians, and other hereticks vvas thought the pillar of truth: and for the greatnes of her Bishop not opposed by many, but rather applauded [...] the most: therefore fevv or none vvould then speake against her custome, and tenets: vvhich indeede made their ovvne Episcopall authoritie to be held the more lavvfull; and neces­sarie, the rather because of the honour & profit, that accom­panied it: So prone is all mankinde to encline to those vani­ties, and be blinded by them.

5. Though it vvere vvithout all true authoritie of Scrip­ture, yet custome, and consent of Synods had established, and increased it, as they also did the primacie, and povver of the Pope in the Nicence, Sardean, and other councels: & therefore it vvas thought an heresie in Aerius to dissent from them vvhereas the heresie vvas rather in them that dissented from the institution, and practise of the church in the time of the Apostles: but indeed the misterie of iniquitie could not other vvise haue vvrought, that the church of Rome should be­come the great vvhore, and her Bishop the Antichrist. For these ordinances, that set vp diocessan Bishops, Archbishops and Patriarchs, vvith many many nevv rites, and ceremonies, fur­thered the greatnes, and authoritie of the Bishop, and church [Page 41]of Rome, and such vvas then the custome, and doctrine of that church, implying, that they vvere necessarie: therefore it vvas counted Schisme, and heresie to hold any thing to the cōtrarie, though taught in scriptures, the name of the church did carrie it against all proofes vvhatsoeuer. If any opposed, and saide, these things vvere Ievvish, heathenish. or Anti­christian, or tended that vvay, they could not vvant instru­mentall daubers, to quiet or confound them, vvith abusing such places as that,Gal. 5.15. Ephes. 4.3. If ye bite & deuoure one another, take heede ye be not deuoured one of another. Keepe the vnitie of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Dispute not about things indisterent, but rather obserue vnitie, and vniformitie, vvith due obedience to the church, to Bishops, to Synods, and their ordinances: and neuer say they are ill carried: be not so seditious, schisma­ticall or peruerse: they are your guides, and you should be guided, and ruled by them. By these, and the like meanes, and deuises, they passed from errour to errour.

Euen as at this day in England, the Supporters of the Hier­archie, and Arminianisme preuaile by the same reasons, by abusing the same, and the like places, and by saying, the an­cient Synods ordained Archbishops, and Bishops, and the custome, and doctrine of the church of England doe implie, and teach, that they, and their traditions, and gouernment are necessarie, therefore it is schisme, and heresie to dissent from them, that is, though you hold vvith the scriptures: the name of the church of England must carrie it against all proofes vvhatsoeuer: and therefore though they vvill not be accounted Papists, as those are vvho stand for the Pope, yet are they Pontificians, such as maintaine diocessan, and pro­uinciall Bishops, & the opposers thereof to be schismaticks and hereticks. For they knovv, that as it vvas of old, so at this day, the calling of them hereticks, is (next to povver, custome and humaine constitution) the best argument to defend their [Page 42]Hierarchie, and the traditions thereof. For vvhile they scoffe at them, and their Tenets, and call them hereticks, Puri [...]ains, & peruerse Spirits, that labour to proue that the Hierarchie ought to be abolished, & the Eldership restored, this makes Princes, nobles, ministers, and people to stop their eares, and eyes, against all the best reasons, and proofes of Scripture, in these cases, and in like manner to scoffe at them.Luk. 16.14. Iohn 9.29. So the Pharises derided Christ, like as at this day, the greatest defence of Romish religion, is scoffing at the Protestant faith, calling it heresie, & them hereticks that professe it: this makes Prin­ces, Priests, and people to looke no further, but to stop their eares against all proofes, as against the Sophistrie of here­ticks. VVith this deuise also hath the church of Rome pre­uailed from time to time, and by it ran from one errour to another, till she became full of abhominations, and to haue such povver, that no man durst vndertake to conuince her. And so may the church of England, vvho hath begun such a progresse, in some popish ceremonies, & Arminian errours, vvhich are maintained by practises, as beeing such, as they vvill suffer no man to dispute against: but vvith povver, and cunning pretences prohibit all from gainsaying her Prelates in any thing,2. Cor. 1.24. as the church of Rome did. This is to haue do­minion ouer mens faith, vvhich the Apostles abhorred, seeing the truth of God, is in these points reuealed, and things reuea­led belong to vs, to vvhome it is giuen to contend for the faith. VVhence it must needes follovv, that they also vvill get a povver to doe, & teach vvhat they list, and yet no man shall dare to conuince them. For Christ saith, He that is vniust is the least, Luk. 16.10 is vniust also in much.

Let no man therefore say these are small differences, that the authoritie of Bishops should be receiued in them, or that they are matters too high for the people, seeing they are not higher then the mysteries of the Trinitie, vvhich being [Page 43]also taught in Scriptures should be held of all, and not for­bidden, as these are, to open a gap forWhich is the drift of the pro­ [...]ectors and Abettors. poperie to enter. For such euer haue bene, such are, and such must needes be the fruit of greatnes in the clergie. And therefore vvhereas some say, as the church grevv larger, and larger, so there might be nevv offices, & officers ordained, hauing greater honour, and more ample iurisdiction, and command, ouer vvhole countries, and Prouinces, they see here the fruits of it, in Rome, and in England. It is not the putting of religious men into the papacie, or into English Bishopvvricks, that vvill helpe these things, if the callings be of men, and not of God, as is proued in both. For out of this opinion Anti­christ arose to his greatnes, and the church of Rome to her authoritie, errour, and tyrannie,Luk. 16.15 and that vvhich is highly esteemed amongst men is (oft times) abhomination in the sight of God, that punisheth mens inuentions, and presumptions. VVhich in this case vvere verie absurd. For the church vvas much enlarged in the Apostles daies, yet did they not appoint diocessan Bishops, and Archbishops:Act. 14.23 Tit. 1.5. but as churches vvere daily founded in any kingdome, so they ordained them El­ders, and deacons in euery church or congregation, hauing no other spirituall head then Christ; nor no other meanes to repr [...]sse errour, and Schisme, then vvas in the Apostles time, to vvit, calling of Synods to reduce doctrine, and discipline to that of the Apostles. VVhich indeed should be furthered, cherished, and maintained by kings, and Ma­gistrates, as by nursing fathers. VVherein all should re­member those things. Remoue not the ancient bounds, Pro. 22.28 Eccle. 10.8 vvhich thy Fathers haue set. He that breaketh an hedge a Serpent shall bite him. The Inuentours, enlargers, and maintai­mers of Diocessan Episcopacie, haue remoued, and broken the bounds, the Apostles set, and haue planted Diocessan, and Prouinciall Bishops, trees that brought out fruits [Page 44]accordingly many biting errours haue bene propagated by the great names of Bishops and Popes, such as Paulus Semo­sateneus, Liberius, Nestorius, and many others, after the bounds were brokē, which should haue bin better obserued. And if in any congregation, by reason of the largenes of the parish, or the many, and rich people that dvvell in it, some ministers come to better meanes then other, happy man by his lot: that is the greatest difference, that ought to haue bene betvveene one Pastor & an other. The choice of ministers lying most in the parish, and such ministers, and Elders, as dvvell neere about them. And this vvay ministers, and people should haue bene better prouided for, then novv they are, vvhen some haue double benefices, Bishopvvricks, Denaries, comendaes, and in a vvord some fevv haue all, though they preach litle, but the most haue litle or neuer a vvhit, though they vvould preach, and instruct. Therefore vvhereas some say these places are better encouragments to make Schollars studdie, then the paritie of the Puri [...]ains: vve see here that they are rather nurseries of superstition, briberie, simonie, non residencie, idlenes, ambition, and errour, and meere allurements to make men studdie, to maintaine such traditions, and ceremonies as make the vvord of none effect, to get dominion ouer mens faith, and euen to mold religion after the pleasure of such as can aduance them to those great places: so exceedingly doe they corrupt the church. And ther­fore that hath, and vvill more fully be found of them vvhich Zanchie saith of the Hierarchie, & ordinances of the ancient fathers, and councels. * All things by succession of times vver [...] brought to an extreame tyrannie and ambition: Zanch. sides de religio. Christia. cap. 25. See. 12. vvhich is the reason vvhy, by so much the neerer, as men approach in these or­ders of ministers to the simplicitie of the Apostles, by so much the more ought they to be approued by vs, and vvee iudge th [...] men ought to indeauour that things may euery where be brough [...] [Page 45] [...]o that order. All the Reformed Churches hold, and follovv [...]he proofes of this opinion.Ioh. 3.20. Only the Prelates and Doctors of England account them verie strange, and therefore hate [...]he light in this point. So that God may say of them, as of [...]phraim, I haue vvriten to him the greate things of my law, Hos. 3.12. [...]ut they vvere counted as a strang thing. They haue a better [...]pinion of their ovvne ordinances, and are better acquainted [...]vith them: they suffer Princes, and people to heare, and [...]novv them, and all the reasons they haue for them; but not [...]he proofes that are for the Eldership, though our Lord say: He that is of God, heareth Gods vvords: Ioh. 8.47. yee therefore heare [...]hem not, because ye are not of God.chap. 18.37 Euery one that is of the Truth heareth my voice. VVherein they are not the more [...]xcusable, because these or the like things haue bene in some [...]ort vsed by the ancient churches, or are commanded by Kings & States, vvhen indeed it hath commonly bene, at the [...]nstance of the Bishops or their faction. It is strang that men, [...]hat thus beare all the svvay in the church, rule all things, and [...]uen giue lavves to others, haue no other vvarrant for this [...]heir office, & authority, then custome, Ecclesiastical constitu­ [...]on, vvherein themselues haue bene the Iudges, or the con­ [...]ent, and appointment of Kings. For as to such custome, and [...]onstitution, that which a learned Author saith in a like case, [...]s vvorthy obseruation.Histor. of the counc, of Trent. pag. 18. The impietie of Nestorius had diuided Christ, making two sonnes, and denying him to be God, who was borne [...]f the blessed virgin, the church to inculcate the Catholike truth in the [...]indes of the faithfull, made often mencion of her in the churches, as [...]vell of the East, as of the West, with this title, Marie the mother of God. This being instituted only for th [...] honour of Christ, was by litle, and litle [...]ommunicated also to the mother, and finally applied to her alone, and [...]herefore when Images began to multiplie, Christ was painted as a babe [...]n his mothers armes, to put vs in minde of the worship due vnto him, [...]uen in that age. But in progresse of time, it was turned into the worship [...]f the mother, without the sonne, he remaining as an appendex in the [...]icture. The writers and Preachers, especiallie those that were contem­ [...]latiue, caried with the terrent of the vulgar, which is able to doe much [Page 46]in these matters, leauing to mencion Christ, inuented with one accord new praises, Epithites, and religious seruices: In so much, that aboute the yeere 1050. a daily office was instituted to the blessed virgin, distingui­shed by seuen Canonical howres, in a former which anciently was euer vsed to the honour of the diuine maiestie, and in the next hundred veers, the worship so increased, that it came to the height, euen to attribute that vnto her, which the Scriptures speake of the diuine wisdome. And amongst these inuented nouities, this was one, her totall exemption from originall sinne. Yet this remained only in the breasts of some few priuate men, hauing no place in Ecclesiasticall ceremonies, or amōgst the learned. He shevveth, hovv it vvas opposed, and yet after came to be receiued by the industrie of Scotus, and other Franciscans, vvhich is a Storie too lōg for this place. From this part of the narration, wee see hovv many euils sprung from that ancient inuention of painting Christ as a babe in his mothers armes, vvhich it may be, did litle hurt at the first, and vvas beheld, as a thing indifferent, vvith litle or no offence, & accounted tollerable, if allovved by authoritie. The inuentors might meane as litle harme in it, yet doubtles the inuention, and al­lovvance gaue occasion of all these euils, & vvas some breack of the second comandement; as vvomen that frisse their hair, paint, or lay open their naked breasts are occasions of lust, & breake the commandement, & such precepts, as require mo­destie, though they doe not these things on purpose to make men fornicators, but for fashion sake, to get husbands, or the like reason. At this day there is such an Image of the virgin reedified, & beautified at the crosse in cheape side. Besides En­gl [...]sh Papists, diuers Spaniards, & others, haue bene obserued to vvorship it: and therefore neither the ancient custome of this inuention, nor any constitution allowing it, nor the little hurt it did at the first, or novv doth to many, can serue to ex­cuse the Rulers that suffer it. For vvee see many kings are bla­med for suffering the high places, vvhich some time vvere litle frequented, or at least not by many. Smal faults & errours make vvay for greater. It may be the inuentors and maintai­ners of diocessan Bishops, & som Romish ceremonies meant [Page 47] [...]s litle hurt at the first, as any of these; yet seeing they haue [...]one, doe, & may doe so much hurt, it is a great fault to main­ [...]aine or suffer them. The Iesuits know, that the maintenance of them, and suppressing of bookes against them, are notable [...]nductions to nevvtralitie, luke vvarmnes, ignorance, errour, [...]nd poperie, as they finde in many Arminians, and pontifici­ [...]ns: & further, that no Protestant church in the vvorld hath [...]o handsom a cloake for a church Papist, Spanish, or Romish, [...]s these serue for. And yet these, as all the errours of the Ro­mish church, being once receiued, haue bene maintained by men of great pretie, & knovvledge in other things. VVho are thought to haue more knovvledge, holines, & deuotion then some franciscans, that maintaine these errours about the bles­ [...]ed virgin, & others of poperie. The deuil, & all corrupt men, hauing once broached any errour, euer get some of the most religious, and learned to defend it, or at least, that it is a thing indifferent or tollerable: thus the beginnings of Diocessan Bishops, and Romish ceremonies, some primacie in the Pope, Images in the churches to a religious vse, and the like, being begun vvith smaller digressions from the truth, haue gained some to defend them, as things indifferent, and tolle­rable, vvho vvere reckoned, & oft vvere, men of great knovv­ledge, and pierie in other matters and then these errours, and abuses, being thus defended, grevv greater, and more intolle­rable. So the Bishops in England, hauing gotten some men to subscribe, that are verie learned, & religious, they then get them also to defend their Hierarchie, traditions, and ceremo­nies: vvhich doctrine they knovv, vvill be best receiued at such mens hand, as vvee haue of late seene in Doctor Burges, and others, much graced by the Bishops, vvho among themselues also haue some that are, and others, that seeme to be verie religious in many things. But vvee should re­member, that these are but men, that engaged a litle in any cause, are subiect to fall farther into it; that gifts or hopes of [Page 48]preferment blind the eies of the vvise, that the church of Ro­me could neuer haue gained her cause in so many things, if she had not had the helpe of men, esteemed as religious, and learned; that she could neuer vvant of this sort, vvho had such revvards for her champions, & such povver to suspend, and silence, the opposers; no more can the Bishops.

The 34.Art. 34. Article saith thus, It is not necessary that traditions, & ceremonies be in all places one or vtterly like, for at all times, they haue bene diuers, and may be changed according to the di­uersitie of countries times, and mens manners, so that nothing be ordained, against Gods vvord. I ansvvere, in some cases this may be admitted. For the Apostle vvould not haue a man praying, to be couered in the church, and in those hot coun­tries, if any that might wel endure to be bareheaded in praier,1. Cor. 11.4. &c. as the most might, should haue vvorne a night cap, or the like thing in the church, it had bene as greate an euill in him as if he had vvorne a hart: yet in ours, being a much colder countrie, the church, vvith good reason, allovveth such to vveare night caps in time of praier, as can not vvith safety of their health be vncouered so long. God requires not the death or danger of his creatures in such cases. In Muscouie, Svvede, and some colder Climates, men are so bitten vvith frost, that they are constrained to keepe somvvhat on their heads. Here necessitie requireth, that the ceremonie be not the same, nor in some old or sick body, that is not able to kneele all the time of praier. But vvhat necessitie is there for the crosse in Baptisme, the surplesse, copes, or kneeling at the Sacrament, which vvere not vsed in the age of the Apost­les, are but meere mockeries, make the vvord of none effect, and haue bene so much abused to idollatrie, as the Image of the blessed virgin? Because the Apostle saith,1. Cor. 14.40. Let all things be done decently, and in order, therefore some infer, the church or the magistrate may ordaine these, and the like. A foolish [Page 49]inference, that serues as vvell for the Paplsts, and their trum­peries, pretended to belong to decencie, & order, as for them. For hovv is there more decencie, and order, in these things then vvas in the time of the Apostles, or is novv in the refor­med churches? The Apostle speakes of decencie and order, vvhereby they should be the better Christians, the vvomen being couered, the men vncouered in time of praier: the men speaking in a knovvne tongue, and one after another, not confusedly, the vvomen keeping silence in the church: of these, and the like, he saith, Let all things be done decently, and in order. But vvhat better Christians are men for the crosse in baptisme, for the surplesse, and kneeling at the Sa­crament? vvhat more decencie, and order in the surplesse, then in a shirt of haire, a Iesuits cloake a friers vvhite roabe, a Capuchins gray govvne, & hood, or the rope vvherevvith he girds himselfe? vvhat more decencie, and order in the crosse in baptisme, then in the crosse that hangs at the friers girdle? in kneeling at the receiuing of the bread, then in kneeling at the feete of a Priest in confession, before a crosse, or Image, or at their receiuing of the host? vvhat more de­cencie, and order in diocessan, & prouinciall Bishops, Chan­cellours, Deanes, and Archdeacons, and their courts, and proceedings, then in those of the church of Rome, the Car­dinals Generals, and Canonists, saue in the degrees of super­stition and impietie?

That place indeed giues vvarrant in some cases, as touching the time, and place of Gods vvorship, and needefull ceremo­nies therein. That on the Lords day, it should begin about 8. or 9. in the morning, and end before noone, and begin a­gaine about tvvo, because men in many places haue far to church, and the daies being short, must haue time to goe to, and fro, and to dine. That though in the primatiue church, the place vvere oft in mens houses, a barne, or in the feildes: [Page 50]yet novv it is fit to haue a Temple, vvhere it may be had, or a place set apart for that vse. In the reformed churches one rea­des the chapters, & begins the Psalmes, these things are done in better order, when they are committed to one, vvho com­monly hath a good voice, and skill in tuning: and if it vvere not so, there vvould be some disorder. Order is also taken for the most decent comming to the table of the Lord, gather­ing of almes, keeping silence, and vsing decent gesture in the church. Novv if these things were not altogether thus in the primatiue church: yet the alteration in ceremonie, is litle or nothing, and rather to things decent, and necessarie, then to hurtfull, & vnproffitable. But this can not be said of the crosse in baptisme, the surplesse, or kneeling at the Sacrament, much lesse of the Episcopall povver, and Hierarchie, these are not things necessarie, but vnproffitable, & hurtfull, not better but vvorse. In England verie many Ministers, & some that haue smal meanes, weare beuer hats of great price (which not many yeeres since vvere vvorne of none but Princes) also cassocks, & dublits of Sattin, cloakes faced, & some lined vvith veluer, & plush: their vviues also goe in loose govvnes of silke, beuer hats, fannes in their hands, and many other vanities. It is true that both the one, and the other may goe neare, & cleane, not fordid, and nastie, but yet not thus costly, and vainly: vvherin they making litle conscience, are the easier induced to thinke of tvvo liuings to maintaine it, and a coach to boote, & then of being made Doctors, Deanes, & Bishops, and somtimes at the instance of their vviues, because they vvould haue place; yea to buye these honours, and benefices, or flatter for them: vvherin mens mindes are seldome satisfied, but rather more enflamed, and corrupted: being Doctors they vvould haue a prebendarie▪ or another liuing, and then be Deanes: hauing a Denarie, they vvould haue a Bishopvvrick, hauing gotten that, they aime at a better: and to attaine them, they are still [Page 51]forced to flatter, bribe, bid, & outbid, as in a market, or vvhere things are sold by the candle, or at an outcrie, to the extreme shame of the Christian professiō. So that if these great places vvere lavvfull, yet almost nothing is left to desert, or free election: commonly all goes by money, corruption, or friends in the court, such as the Duke, vvho strengthen their faction, by them▪ Hence follovves idlenes, and non residence, luke­vvarmnes, and temporising: they vvho make no conscience of such th [...]ngs can not but be blind in others, the spirit of God forsakes them, they are the more easely induced to de­fend the Hierarchie, and ceremonies, to let in Arminianisme, some kinde of poperie, or other corruption in doctrine, and discipline at the pleasure of such as can aduance them, or at least to vvinke at such proceedings: and thus they become nourishers of poperie, and the steps to it: for our Sauiour saith, He that is not vvith me is against me; Mat. 12.30 and he that ga­thereth not vvith me scattereth abroade. But indeed an euill tree can not bring foorth good fruite. These great places in the Hierarchie being not of God, but of men, such must needes, be the fruits of them. If the church seeing these euils spring from pride, ambition, & coueteousnes, should ordaine a meane to all, in apparell, and yeerely maintenance and such other things, like that in the reformed churches, doubtles such an ordmāce vvere to be obeied, the church hath povver to doe it, not simplie, & absolutely by any authoritie giuen it in all things, that they please to call indifferent, but in things thus necessarie, & agreable to the vvord of Gods, vvhich for­bids such costly apparell, and lordship in them, & commands them to be graue, and ensamples to the flocks: the churches authoritie is nothing but in these cases, and such others of discipline as is aboue named. In all other, Christ is the only lavvgiuer of his Church, as the Sole husband thereof, and Lord of the familie.

[Page 52] Not to insist vpon other things, vvhat necessarie vse is there, of Cathedral churches, of vvhich, some make so much religion, to haue them reedefied? In that of London, the vpper, and lesse part is only vsed in seruice. Some of those greate fabricks haue bene, and might be vvell imploied as colledgiate churches, for reading of lectures, and preseruing of puritie in doctrine, good manners, and learning: things of this nature doe indeed make them somvvhat vvorthy the re­pairing. The greatest Temples in the reformed churches are put to good vse, but vvhere there is not such vse, there it is not vvorth the cost.Plesses myst. of iniquit. progres. 24. Mounsieur du Plesses obserueth that vvhen religion, and doctrine began to be corrupted, that they might couer it, and see me no lesse religious, they fell to buil­ding of Temples, and Altars, to presse deuoute gestures, cere­monies, &c. euen so the Bishops, that vvant zeale against poperie, Arminianisme non residencie, and such errours, and abuses, as are crept into the church, flatter such friends, and supporters of them, as are mighty, or able to defend, & reward them, and in the meane time, to seeme no lesse religious, make greate religion of deuoute gestures, building, repairing, and adoring of Temples in both vvhich, the Papists exceede them: and as he saith,Plesses vbi supra. The vvorser sort of men are euer most spendfull in such things to shadow, and obscure the memorie of their euill acts. It is true, that many vvho vvorship in spirit, and truth, and are zealous that doctrine may be preserued in the purity the Apostles left it, are yet too negligēt in deuoute gesture in praier, that some grovv too familiar, and sauc [...]e vvith God: this is ill, but the other is much vvorse, vvhen men seeke the outvvard, neglect due preaching, and hearing, the defence of the truth, & cause of God, in such cases as that of the Palatinate, the Rochellers, and the like, or flatter their falle friends, and betraiers, such as the Duke, &c. for vvhile thus the true church of God,Mat. 23.23. the liuing stones and Temples, [Page 53]vvherein God dvvels, are spoiled and vvasted, such mens cal­ling for bodely gestures, & building of Temples, is but tithing of mint, and annise, and leauing the vveightier matters vn­ [...]ared for, like hypocriticall Pharises. Yet vvho sees not that these are the chiefe things the Bishops looke after? vvho in the meane time thinke it sufficient, that Synods, and kings haue established their authoritie.

It is true that Solomon iustly deposed Abiathar the Priest,1. King. 2.27. chap. 25.13 2 Chro. 17.6.7. and put Zadock in his roome, that Asa remoued his mother from being Queene, because she had made an idole, vvhich he destroied, as Hezechiah did the brasen serpent, vvhen it vvas abused to idolatrie: that Ichoshaphat, and Iosiah put downe idollatrie, reformed the church, and caused the vvord of God to be duly taught: That Christian Kings, as nursing fathers haue great authority in like cases: but all this is, as vvas said of Synods, in things necessarie, as reformation of abuses supres­sing errours, abolishing of idollatrie, and superstitious rites, and gouernments, reestablishing a preaching ministrie, and Elders, and ordaining ordinances, and ceremonies, so neces­sarie, as those aboue mencioned: That God vvill require it of them, if they doe not looke after these things. But for the Hierarchie, and popish ceremonies, so hurtfull, to proue that they may be maintained, I hope they vvill not say,1. King. 11 2. King. 16 10. Salomon built the high places, Ieroboam set vp Calues, Ahaz saw an Altar at Damascus, and made Vrijah the Priest build such a one, so prone are the clergie to thinke the vvill of the Prince a sufficient vvarrant, that any king of Israel, or Iudah did what he list in religion,2. Chro. 22 34. that among the reft Ahaziah vvalked in the vvaies of the house of Ahab: for after the death of his father they, & his mother were his counsellers to his destruction. They should rather put the higher povvers in minde of that, vvhy tempt ye God, to put a yoke vpon the necks of the Disciples, Act. 15.10. vvhich neither our fathers, nor vvee are able to it beare? The [Page 54]King of Kings would not doe it, but after he had finished his Testament,Reu. 2, 24. he saith, I will put vpon you none other burden; and shall men then presume that they may doe it, if they can get kings to authorise them? Kings should remember that Christ is set vpon the holy hill of Sion, Psal. 2. as the onlyIsa. 33.22. King, and lavvgiuer of his church in matters of religion: in regard vvhereof it is said, Be vvise now therefore, o ye kings: be in­structed ye Iudges of the earth. Serue the Lord vvith feare, and reioyce vvith trembling. Kisse the Sonne least he be angrie: as if he said, shevv your subiection, and loue to him, in setting vp Gods throne, and ordinances, not Satans. VVhere any Ecclesiastical povver, and dominion is besides, and against his ordinances, there hath Satan his throne, though in some go­uernments, & orders more pernicious, then in others: among the Papists, in Popes, Cardinals, Iesuits, Regulars, & Bishops. In the Franciscans, or Capuchins lesse then in the Iesuits: yet hath he it, as vvell in the best order of them, as in Mahume­tans, or any other vvherein it is vvorst. If English Bishops haue a povver besides, and against the ordinances of God, & that is pernicious to his kingdome, Satan hath his throne in them, though not in so desperate a manner as in others.

It helpes not to say, that many of them striue to doe God seruice in many things For so doe diuers in all those orders of the Papists, and so far as they can doe it vvi [...]h the safety of their religion, and order: but cast their crovvnes ordinances, ceremonies, tradi [...]ions, and rules at the feete of Christ Iesus, to haue them tried, and iudged by the vvord, they vvill no [...] no more vvill the Bishops. VVhen I consider hovv vveake their vsurped and tyrannicall title is, I am amased that as yet, no English Bishop euer did it. Yet vvhen I remember againe that the Scripture saith: Gifts blind the eies of the vvise: that our Lord saith.Luk. 16. No man can serue two maisters: ye can not serue [Page 55]God and Mammon. His seruants ye are to vvhome ye obey: Rom. 6. then I vvonder the lesse, I maruaile not that they doe not beleeue these things: because indeed our Sauiour saith to such men, How can ye beleeue vvhich receiue honour one of another, Ioh. 5.44. and seeke not the honour, that commeth f om God only? and of such men: If any man doe his vvill, he shall know of the doctrine, Ioh. 7.17. vvhether it be of God or noe. These and their de [...]enders can not v [...]ell knovv, because they are not vvilling to knovv it, much lesse so to doe it, as to be reformed by it. They are re­solued to holde to the Hierarchie, because they haue subscri­ [...]ed, or for the honour, proffit, or peace they haue, or may haue [...]y it, or vnder it, & vvithout vvhich, as things are they knovv [...]ot hovv to liue, much lesse to preache, and doe good Novv [...]he great and mightie God the father of lights, vvith vvhome [...] no variablenes, and from vvhome euery good, and perfit gift [...]roceedeth: giue them, and vs all the grace,Luk. 9. that denying our [...]elues, our ovvne affections, vvisdoms, proffits, earthly ima­ [...]inations, vanities, and delights, vvee may become true Dis­ [...]ples, and follovvers of Christ, such as truly seeke the king­ [...]ome of God, and the righteousnes thereof, that by his mercie vvee may once come to see that ioyfull day,Reuel. 19. vvherein that blessed acclamation shall be heard, Alleluia: For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.



  • PAg. 1. line 20. for to reade the.
  • Pag. 2 line 23. for hath read hath bin. lin 32. art reade art.
  • Pag. 12. line 22. for Ovid. And in an.
  • Pag. 23. for the vvith, reade vvith the.
  • Pag. 29. for in like, reade vvho in like.
  • Pag. 41. line 7. for sended, reade tended.
  • Pag. 45. the last line for terrent, read torrent.

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