A IVST AND NECESSARIE APOLOGIE OF CERTAIN CHRISTIANS, no lesse contumeliously then commonly called Brownists or Barrowists.

By Mr. IOHN ROBINSON, Pastor of the Eng­lish Church at Leyden, first published in Latin in his and the Churches name over which he was set, after translated into English by himself, and now republished for the speciall and common good of our own Countrimen.

Psal. 41. 2.

O Blessed is he that prudently attendeth to the poore-weakling.

Printed in the yeere of our Lord M.DC.XXV.

A Iust and Necessarie APOLOGIE.

THE cryme of Heresy none ought patiently to indure, Ierom to P [...] mach. sayd Ierom of ould; and that not with­out cause: For whereas in other accusations, ey­ther a mans goods, or good name, or bodily life, at the most, is indaungered; in this, the life of the soul (which fayth is) commeth in question.

But well it is for the servants of Iesus Christ, that they have him (their gratious Lord, and Saviour) for their Iudg: by whose alone judgment (notwithstanding all mens pre­judices) they shall stand, or fall for ever. And, if any others any where, surely I, and they with me, have need to get this divine comfort deeplie printed in our hearts; whose profession giues oc­casion to many, as doth our condition liberty unto all, to spare no severitie of censure upon us.

Four sorts of heavie freinds we have found, and felt in sorrow­full experience wheresoever we have become. The first whereof is the unhallowed multitude, who living without God in the world;Ioh. 3. and walking themselvs perversly, and in the workes of darknes, cannot but hate, as the light it self, so all those, who haue receaved grace of God, to walke therein with good consci­ence. And as the Apostles in their dayes were everie where most vexed with the hatred of the unbeleeving Iewes, their own coun­trymen; so are we by the like of ours like mynded. Of whom whilst the most do want their countrie for causes so unlike unto [Page 4] ours, no marvayl though there be no better concurrance of eyther affection, or action between us.

The second is of them, who are enamoured on that Romish Hierarchie, as on a stately, and potent Ladie. Against which, and for the holy presbyteriall government, as Christs institution by his Apostles, whilst we doe in word and deed, give a free, & full testi­monie; alasse, with how many, and how great waves of affliction are we overwhelmed by their [...]atred, and power? Dem [...]trius of Ephesus, with his Silver-smiths, was of all other men, to the Apo­stle Paul (opposing himself to the Majestie of Diana, and the [...] pro­fit withall) the most infestuous. And who will marvayl, if we no­thing obsequio [...]s to the Hierarchicall Diana (in her self, magnifi­cent enough, & enough advantageable unto hers) be abhominable unto this kinde of people, aboue all others, even Atheists, Papists and most flagitious persons not excepted, whom they haue devout enough, and over, unto that Goddesse.

A third kinde is of those, who so servily inbondage themselues, and their consciences, either to the edicts of Princes, or to the de­terminations of certaine doctors, or to both these jointly, as that they think nothing well done in case of R [...]ligion, which eyther these teach not, or they commaund not: and on the other side, almost any thing warrantable, which is commended by the one of them, or commaunded by the other. And as of these some are so transported with wa [...]pish zeale, as they can scarcely without a fit of an ague, eyther speak to, or think of him, who a litle steps out of their troad; so others of them are so cunning, and wote so well how to make their market, that though they be indeed almost like mynded with us in all things, yet do they vehemently affect unchri­stian emnitie with us: not because they themselues judge us so de­serving; but others, whom therein they think it a poynt of their wisdom to gratify.

The fourth, and last sorte are they, who through credulitie, and lightnes of beleif haue their ears open to the false, and feigned sug­gestions of slaunderous tongues. These men whilst they are over good, and easie towards the evill, and injurious, unto whom they give credence; become injurious themselus to the good, and in­nocent: though in truth it be hard to say, unto which of three they [Page 5] doe the greatest wrong▪ whether to their brethren, of whom they causelesly conceaue amisse, whilst either they greedily devour, or easily receave such false reports, & vituperies, as venemous tongues spit out against them: or to their own souls, which they thereby make accessorie to others mallice: or to the calumniators them­selus, whom they put in heart to go bouldly on in reproaching the innocent, whilst they know, where to finde receavers for their slaunders, as do theeues for their stoln goods.

Now, alasse, what sufficient bulwark of defence haue we (poore people) to oppose unto the violence of so many, and mightie ad­versaries? First, and most (as a brazen wall) [...] cons [...]ence be­fore God, and men (so farre as humain frailtie will permit) pure, and unsteyned. Next, thine equanimitie joyned with wisdom (god­ly, and christian Reader): for whose cause we haue pe [...]ed, and published this our just, and necessarie defence: lest being circum­vented by prejudice, thou mayst happen to hate that whereof thou art ignorant: then which nothing in Tertullians judgment, is more uniust, no not though the thing in it self iustly deserue hatred. Tertullian [...] the [...]. By this we do earnestly crave, that (as thou safely mayst, so) thou wilst inge­nuously passe sentence upon us, and our profession and not by the unsavourie reportes eyther in word, or writing, of our adversaries whomsoever: who do most commonly take libertie to suggest a­gainst us (underlings,) not what in truth & conscience they should; but what eyther fame reporteth, or ignorance suspecteth, or mal­lice inventeth, or proud contempt deems suiteing with our mean­nes and simplicitie.

Two opprobries (amongst others infinite) haue beene of late by our adversaries cast upon us; by which we are not onely occasio­ned, but after a sorte necessitated to the publishing of this our Apo­logie: lest by not resuting such criminations (so great,Cypr. tr [...]ct. [...] and greivous) we should seeme to acknowledg a cryme, as Cyprian speaketh. The former, by some of those, who in our owne countrie, are reputed the cheif Masters and Patrons both of Religion & truth: by whom there hath been, not a flying bruit spread amongst the multitude; but a solemn accusation to them in speciall authoritie, framed a­gainst us: First, that we (lewd Brownists) do refuse, and reject one of the Sacraments: secondly, that we haue amongst us no ecclesi­asticall [Page 6] ministrie, but doe giue libertie to everie mechanicall person to preach publiquely in the church. Thirdly, that we are in errour about the verie Trinitie. Fourthly, and lastly, that being become so odious to the magistrates here, as that we are by violence to be driven the countrie, we are now constreyned to seek some other, and farr parte of the world to settle in.

The other contumelie is in a Duch Rhime without name, fra­med it may be, (and as commonly it comes to passe) between the cup and the wall, as sayth the proverb. This balad-maker compa­ring the receaved religion in the Dutch churches to a tree: the Sec­taries in the countrie (of which he nameth not a few) to certayn beasts endeavouring this trees ruine, and overthrow, likens the Brownists to a litle worme, gnawing at the root thereof; and not having lesse will, but lesse power to hurte, then the residue. Wee are indeed wormes and not men, Psal. 22, 9. the reproach of men, and despised of the people, whom high and low, and all that will, may without daun­ger, tread, and trample under foot.

But to giue thee satisfaction (Christian and indifferent Reader) whosoever thou art, that chusest rather to take knowledg of mens innocencie, then to condemn the same unknown; and that it may appear unto thee, how alike unhonest our adversaries are in their accusations, though of unlike condition in themselus, We do pro­fesse before God and men, that such is our accord in the case of re­ligion, with the Duch reformed churches, as that we are ready to subscribe to all, and everie article of faith in the same church, as they are layd down in the Harmonie of Confessions of fayth, published in their name: one onely particle (and the same not of the greatest weight) in the sixth Article, touching the Scriptures, being conveni­ently interpreted, and conformably to it self, & the generall judg­ment of the learned amongst them.

The scope of the Article is, (as appears in the margent) to di­stinguish between the books Canonicall, and Apocriphall, as they are called. Touching which Apocryphall notwithstanding it is judg­ed, and affirmed, that they may be read in the Church. Which if it be meant of their private reading by the members of the church, we willingly assent: if of publique, pastorall, and ecclesiasticall read­ing, we are indeed otherwise mynded: neither admit we any other [Page 7] books to that dignitie in the church, then such as were penned by the Holy men of God, moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Pet. 1, 21. And as the Apostle Iames testified of the Iewes,Act. 15. 21. that they had Moses read in the Synagogue everie Sabbath day: so we think it sufficient for the Christian assemblyes, that with Moses Christ, that is, the books of the new testament be joyned with the old, and they alone be read.

Neither need we seek further, or for other Arguments to con­firme our opinion, then the Article it self affoardeth us. The words thereof are these:

Moreover, we put a difference between the Holy writings,Harmonie of Confess. Of the script. Art. 6, Conf. Belg. and those which they call Apocryphal, to wit, so as the Apocryphall may indeed [...] read in the church, & that it may be lawfull to take instructions from [...]hem, so far sorth, as they agree with the canonicall books: but such [...] hand is their authoritie, or firmnes, that upon their testimonie any doctrine of faith, and Christian Religion may be founded, much lesse that they haue force to infringe, or weaken the others authoritie.

And first, if the Apocriphall books be publiquely read in the Church, as well as the Canonicall, the difference which in word is professed, seems indeed by this so reading them, to be taken away: since the selfe same religious act (viz. publique reading) is perfor­med about the one and other, although not altogether to the same end. And if publique reading of the Canonicall Scriptures be commanded of God in his worship, either the reading of these Apocripha books is a parte of Gods worship also, (which the Bel­gick Churches do not beleiv) or els they must be unlawfull to be read publiquely in the Church, especially comming together for that onely end of worshipping God. Publiquely, I say; for the pri­vate reading of them, as of other books, comes not under the re­spect of worship properly, but of an act, and exercise preparati [...] unto worship, as both Law [...]ers, and Divines speak.

Secondly, in this verie Article, the Canonicall bookes, as op­posed to the Apocriphall, are called holy writeings. The Apocri­phall then are not holy, as not being hallowed to this end, that is not commaunded of God in the holy writeings of the Prophets, and Apostles. Now what haue the holy assemblies to do, especial­ly convening, and meeting together for the solemn worship of God, and exercising themselus in the same, with books not holy, [Page 8] that is, not hallowed, or injoyned of God, for his most holy ser­vice [...]

Thirdly, seeing these books are Apocriphall, that is, hidden, and concealed, their verie name may put them in minde of their duetie in concealing themselvs within the vaile of privacie. And surely no small immodestie it is in them, which ought to conteyn themselus in private use, and interteynment, thus bouldly to presse into pub­lique assemblie. They must therefore change either their names, or their manners; as women by their sex, so they by their name, well expressing their nature, are inhibited all libertie of speaking in the church.

I [...]d, and conclude out of our countrie-man M. Broughton, that those Apocriphall books are so stuffed with trifles, fables, lyes and superstitions of all sorts; that the midle place between the ould and new Testament, as ill becomes them, as it would do a Turkish slaue, and leaper, between two the noblest Princes of all Europe.

But to return whence I dig [...]essed. Seing that (as appears in the preface) the intention of the Belgick Churches was, as in divulg­ing their Confession,Preface to the [...]arm of Confess. to render a reason of the hope, which is in them, and plainly to make known their perswasion in the matter of fayth; so al­so in publishing the Harmony of Confessions, to giue all men to under­stand, and take knowledg of that most near conjunction which they haue with the sacred, and truely Catholique church of God, and all the holy and sound members thereof: by what tight, or rather injurie could we be excluded from the followship of the same churches, who do [...] better accorde, and have greater congruitie with them in the mat­ter of fayth & religion, then the greatest part of those, whose con­fessions they do publi [...] to the veiw of all men, as the congnissance, and badges of their Christian consociation? And with what con­science of a Christian, or rather licentiousnes of a Rhymer, could that adversarie traduce us to the world, as endeavoring the ruine of the reformed churches?

But perhaps, that which may be, is suspected to be by some, (which also the false accuser doth insinuate in his libell against us) and that, what in word we professe, we denye in deed; and what we would seem to build with our tongues, we do, as it were, with our hands pull down. If so it be, and that in deed we be found [Page 9] to be such, I doe freely confesse, that no censure upon us can be too severe, no hatred more greivous then we do deserv.

Now the guilt of this evill must cleav unto our fingers, if at all, one of these two wa [...]es, either in regard of our selvs, or of the re­formed Churches. For our selvs, and our course of life, (for ne­cessitie compelleth, as it were foolishly to bable out that, wherein modestie perswadeth silence) and how we converse with God, and men, whether publiquely in the Church, or privately in the fami­ly, we refuse not, by the grace of God bestowed upon frayl crea­tures, labouring of the same humain infirmities with other men, the search and censure of our most bitter adversaries, if not desti­tute of all, both honestie, and wisdom.

Touching the reformed Churches, what more shall I say? We account them the true Churches of Iesus Christ, and both professe, & practise communion with them in the holy things of God, what in us lyeth; their sermons such of ours frequent, as understand the Dutch tongue; the sacraments we do administer unto their known members, if by occasion any of them be present with us; their di­stractions, and other evils we do seriously bewayl, and do desire from the Lord their holy, and firm peace.

But happily, it wil be objected, that we are not like-mynded with them in all things, nor do approve of sundry practises in use a­mongst them, if not by publique institution (which it seems they want) yet by almost universall consent, and uniform custome. I graunt it; neither doubt I, but that there are many godly, and pru­dent men in the same churches, who also dislike in effect the things which we doe: and amongst other things, this mal [...]part, and un­bridled bouldnes of unskilfull men, who make it a very May-game to passe most rash censure upon the fayth, and so by consequence, upon the eternall salvation of their brethren, and to impeach their credit, whom they neither do, nor perhaps willingly would know: lest that which they lust to condemn unknown, they should be constreyned to allow, if they once knew it: and withall to disallow that, into which they themselvs haue been led formerly by common errour of the times. Which maladie is also so frequent, and ordi­narie, as that it may truely be said of many, that they then think themselus most acceptable unto God, when they can make their [Page 10] brethren (differing from them in some smaller matters) most odi­ous unto men. This rageing plague except the Lord God in mer­cie asswage, and bend the mindes of godly, and modest men (the Ministers of his word) to put to their helping hand that way, it wi [...] without all doubt, come to passe, (which God forbid) that the mul­titude of Christians will come to judg of their estate with the Lo [...] not so much by the christian vertues, which themselvs indeed have as which they imagine others want.

But that it may appear unto thee (Christian Reader) wherein [...] do dissent from the Dutch reformed Churches, and upon wha [...] grounds: and that none may take occasion of suspicion, that the things are either greater, or more absurd, for which those hateful [...] Brownists are had by many in such detestation, then indeed an [...] truth they are, I will breifly, as I can, present unto thy christian vei [...] either all, or the most, & our greatest differences, with the ground [...] thereof.

CHAP. I. Of the largenes of Churches.

AND first, it is evident, that the most, especially cittie-chur­ches, are so great and populous, as that two or three dive [...] temples are not sufficient for one, and the same Church to meet [...] at once. We on the contrarie, so judg, that no particular churc [...] under the New Testament, ought to consist of more members, the [...] can meet together in one place; because,

1. The Holy Scriptures speaking definitely of the politicall, or ministeriall, commonly called, visible church, instituted by Christ and his Apostles, by his power, understand none other then on [...] congregation convening, and comming together, ordinarie at least in one place. Math. 18, 17, 20. gathered together in my name: wi [...] 1 Corinth. 5, 4. when you are come together. Act. 2, 44. Al [...] that beleeved were together: and chap. 5, 12. They were all with one accord in Salomons porch. Also chap. 6, 2, 5. and chap. 13, 1, 2. with [Page 11] [...]4, 27. and 14, 23. with Tit. 1, 5. Act. 15, 4, 22, 25. and 21, 22. So 1 Corinth. 11, 20. when yee therefore come together in one, to wit place, not minde, as some conceipt, for from that the Corinthians were to far: and lastly chap. 14, 23. If the whole church come toge­ther into some place.

2. There is then had the most full, and perfit communion of the body in the holy things of God, which is the next and immedi­ate end of the visible Church,Act. 2, 42. when all the members thereof do convene, and assemble together in some one place. And if nature,Heb. 10, 25. as Philosophers teach, ever intend that which is most persit, much more grace. Now that the church (commonly called visible) is then most truely visible indeed, when it is assembled in one place; and the communion thereof then most full, and intire, when all its members inspired, as it were, with the same presence of the holy ghost, do from the same Pastor, rec [...]av the same provocations of grace, at the same time, and in the same place: when they all by the same voice, (banding as it were together) do with one accord pour out their prayers unto God:Te [...]tul Apol. ch. 37. when they all participate of one, and the same holy bread; and lastly, when they all together consent unani­mously,1 Cor. 10. 17 either in the choice of the same officer, or censuring of the same offender, no man admitting a due thought of things, can make doubt of.

3. We have the Apostle Paul giving it in charge to the Elders of everie particular Church (as was that of Ephesus) that they take heed unto al the flock, whereof the holy ghost made them Bishops, Act. 20, 17, 28. or overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. But surely, as that flock is verie inordinate, if not monstrous, which for the largenes thereof, neither ever doth, nor possibly can feed together; so that sheepheard of the Lords flock seemeth not aright, and as he ought, to fulfill his charge, which doth not at the least, everie Lords day, minister unto the same, the wholesom food of Gods word. Ad hereunto, that in these huge and vast flocks, the governers cannot take knowledg of the manners of the people private, or publick; no nor so much, as of their presence at, or ab­sence from the church assemblies: whereby what domage cometh unto true pietie, any man may easily conjecture, and miserable ex­perience makes too too manifest in the reformed Churches. I con­clude [Page 12] therefore, since (as Iunius sayth) it concerneth the Pastour throughly to know the church committed unto him, the persons, their works and courses, Iunius [...]. lib. 1, cap. 2. without the knowledg of which things, he shall profit them no more then a tincking cymball, &c. that it were a point of good pro­vision both for the conscience of the officers, and edification of the people, that a division were made of the cittie-churches, which by continuall accession of members, are thus grown out of kinde, into different, and distinct congregations, under their certain, and distinct Pastours, and Elders.

If any object, that there is one visible, and catholick Church, comprehending as the parts thereof,Object. all the particular Churches, and severall congregations of divers places; as there is one Ocean, or Sea, dive [...]sly called, according to the divers regions by whose shores it passeth; and that therefore this matter is not worth la­bour spending about it,Answ. I answer, First, that the Catholick church neither is, nor can be called visible: since onely things singular are visible, and discerned by sence: whereas universals, or things catho­lick, are either onely in the understanding,See Sadell a­gainst Tur. in solut. 2. sy­log on Math. 1 [...]. Scalig de subul. ex [...]. [...]07. as some are of minde, or as others think better, are made such, to wit universals, by the un­derstanding, abstracting from them all circumstanstiall accidents, consi­dering that the kindes intelligible have their existence in nature, that is in the Individuals.

2. The Catholick church, with due reverence unto learned ned men be it spoken, is verie unskilfully said to be one, as the sea is one. For, first, it is expressedly said Gen. 1, 9, 10. that the wa­ters which were under the heauens, were gathered into one place, or con­ceptacle, which God called Sea, or seas. But the Catholick church, which is said to comprehend al particular congregations in her bo­som, is not gathered together into one place, nor ever shall be, be­fore the glorious coming of Christ. 2. The Ocean is a body so continued, as that all, and everie part thereof is continually fluent, so as the self same waters, which in their flux do make one sea, do in their reflux by contrarie windes, make another, and so contrarie­wise. But thus to affirm of particular churches, and their materiall constitutive cause, were most absurd. 3. If some one particular sea were drawn drie, or should fail his course, a disturbance of all the rest would necessarily follow; But and if the sea should in di­vers [Page 13] places at once happen to be exhausted, or drawn drie, there would then be a fayling of the Ocean: neither were the waters now gathered into one place, neither made they one sea, and bo­dy of water, either continued, or conjoyned. But now, on the other side, upon the defection, or dissipation of this or that parti­cular church, no such impediment should come in the way, but that the rest might hould their full course, as before. Yea, I adde moreover, if all, and everie particular assembly in the world should languish, and fall away, (one onely excepted) that (onely) one did still remain the true, & entire Church of Christ, without any either subordination, or coordination, or dependencie spirituall, save un­to Christ alone. The reason is plain, because this singular, and sole assembly may under Christ the head, use, and enjoy everie one of his institutions: the communion of Saints combyned together in solemn, and sacred covenant, the word of God, Sacraments, Censures, and ministrations whatsoever by Christ appointed, and therewith the same Christs most gratious presence.

And upon this ground it is, that the Apostle Paul doth intitle the particular congregation, which was at Corinth, and which pro­perly, and immediately he did instruct, and admonish,1 Cor. 12, 27. 2 Cor. 6, 10 [...] & 11, 2. to the body of Christ, the temple of God, and one virgin espoused to one housband Christ. We may not therefore under pretence of antiquitie, unitie, humain prudence, or any colour whatsoever, remove the auncient bounds of the visible and ministeriall church, which our right fa­thers, to wit, the Apostles, have set, in compar [...]son of whom, the most ancient of those, which are so called, are but infants, [...]. [...]n Prov. and beardlesse, as one truely, and wittily sayth.

There is indeed one church, and as the Apostle speaketh, one bodie, as one spirit, one hope of our calling, one sayth, one baptism; Eph. 4, 4, 5. that is, of one kinde, and nature; not one in number, as one Ocean. Neither was the church at Rome in the Apostles dayes, more one with the Church of Corinth, then was the baptism of Peter one with Pauls baptism, or then Peter, and Paul were one. Neither was Peter or Paul more one, whole, intire, and perfit man (consisting of their parts essentiall, and integrall) without relation unto other men; then is a particular congregation (rightly instituted, and ordered) a whole, intire, and perfit Church immediately, [Page 14] and independently, in respect of other Churches, under Christ.

To conclude, since the Pastor is not a minister of some part of a Church, but of the whole particular Church, Act. 20, 28. At­tend to the whole Flock, or Church, whereof the holy Ghost hath made you Bishops &c. if the ministers office be to be confined within the circle of a particular congregation, then also the ministeriall church it self. Now the Pastors office is either circumscribed within these bounds, or els the Angell of the Church of Ephesus was also the An­gell of the Church of S [...]rna; and so the Pastour of this Church is al­so the Pastour of that; and by consequence, of all; that is, everie Pastour is an universall Bishop, or Pope by office, if not for exe­q [...]ution, yet for power; according to which power, we are to judg of the office.

What then? will some man say. Is it not lawfull for a Pastour to exequute his pastorall office but in the congregation over which he is set? I answer with the Apostle No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that [...] is called of God, as Aaron, Hebr. 5, 3, 4. It is not lawfull for thee (reverend brother) to do the work of a Pastour where thou art no Pastour, lest thou arrogate to thy self that ho­nour, which apperteyns not unto thee. Thou art called, that is elected, and ordeyned a Pastour of some particular Church, and not of all churches. It is not onely lawfull, but requisite, that the Pastour of one Church (or [...]aither he that is the Pastour) and so any other member, imparte the gift either spirituall, or bodily, which he hath receaved, to other churches, out of the common bond of charitie, in which he is obliged: not so, to exequute a publique office over them by the prerogative of authoritie, which he hath not but onely over his owne. We will illustrate this by a si­militude. Any citizen of Leyd [...]n may enjoy certain priveledges in the cittie of Delph, by vertue of the politick combination of the united provinces, and cittie, under the supream heads thereof the States generall; which he is bound also to help and assist with all his power if necessitie require; but that the ordinarie magistrate of Leyden should presume to exequute his publique office in the cittie of Delph, were an insolent, and unheard of usurpation. The ve­rie same, and not otherwise, is to be said of Pastors, and particular [Page 15] Churches, in respect of that spirituall combination mutuall under their chief, and sole Lord Iesus Christ.

CHAP. II. Of the administration of Baptism.

THE Dutch Reformed Churches (as is evident by their pra­ctise compared with then profession) are neither so true unto their own grounds,See I [...]arm. of C [...]nfess. Belg. & French, Calvin, Be­ [...]a. &c. as they ought, neither do they so well provide for the dignitie of the thing, whilst they administer the Sacrament of Baptism to the infants of such, as are not within the Covenant, nor have either parent a member of any Church, because

1. Baptism now (as circumcision of ould) is the seal of the covenant of God with the faythfull, and their seed,C [...]los. 2, 11, 12. I will be thy God and the God of thy seed. Genes. 17, 9. and the seal of the righ­teousnes of fayth. Rom. 4, 11. and is one, as there is one sayth, and one baptism. Ephes. 4, 4, 5. and therefore ought not to be admini­stred to others, then those within the compasse of the same cove­nant: nor but upon fayth coming between, either of the partie to be baptized, or of one parent at the least. If any shall answer, that this gratious promise of God is not to be restreined to the next immediate children, but is extended euen to those, who follow a fa [...]r off, I grant it, except infidelitie, or other sin come between; by which the parents with themselvs break off their seed externally & actually from the cōmunion of the church, & holy things thereof. And if we be not to insist in the next, and immediate parent, why in the grand-father, or great-grand-father, and so for the rest, till we climbe up, as high, as to No [...]h himself? Whereupon it should follow, that not the Infants of Iewes, nor of Turks, no nor of Gentiles neither, should have baptism denyed them. Surely the grace of Christ must needs be universall, and wherein all have in­terest, if the seal thereof apperteyn unto all. Neither should the Church (amongst whose sacred furniture Baptism is) by this rule be any more the house of God, peculiar to his children and ser­vants; [Page 16] but more like a common In, whose doore stands wide open to all that passe by the high way.

2. The Apostle 1 Corinth. 7, 14. upon this ground, that the one parent is a beleever, avoweth the childe holy: which otherwise he pronounceth impure, in respect of the Covenant, and holynes thereof (leaving unto God his secret judgments). Now what have the impure, and unhallowed to do with the holy things of God? And what hath the Pastour, and sheepheard in holy things to do with them, who are no portion of the Lords flock? What have I to doe (sayth the Apostle) to judg them that are without? Do not ye judg them that are within? 1 Cor. 5, 12. So (reverend brethren) what have you to do, to baptize them that are without? do you not baptize them that are within, and them alone? In the number of whom yet you reckon not those infants (though baptized by you) nor belonging to your charge. Whence also (God knoweth) it cometh to passe, for the most part, that they who are thus by you baptized into the name of the Lord, are by their godlesse parents education made the servants of Sathan.

3. The Baptism of Infants, in all soundnes of judgment, ser­veth, and that immediately for the comfort of their godly parents; whose hearts it filleth with no small joy, whilst they behould the gratious promise of God made to them and their seed, ratified and confirmed by this seal: even as of ould the circumcision of Isaak was granted, and injoyned by God unto Abraham his, and our fa­ther, first and immediately, for the confirmation of his fayth. Whence I conclude, that the seal of the righteousnes of faith (which baptism is) doth no more belong to the seed of godlesse parents, then doth the comfort flowing from the righteousnes of fayth un­to the parents themselvs. Whom as it would effectually move to more serious, and sad thoughts of their own estate with God, if they beheld their infants (so dear unto them) excluded thorough their default from the comfortable [...]eal of Gods Covenant; so can they not but, by the undue administration of the same, take occasi­on of hardening themselvs in their accustomed perversnes. I con­clude then with Tertullian speaking (as Iunius interprets him) of the children of such,T [...]tul of [...]ipt. ch. 18. Iu [...]us annot. in ide [...] cap. as were strangers from the covenant of God, Let them come, when they are grown to year [...]s; let them when they have [Page 17] learned, and are taught wherefore they come; let them then be made Christians, when they can know Christ.

CHAP. III. Of written Leyturgies.

VVE cannot but mislike that custome in use, by which the Pastour is wont to repeat and read out of a prayer-book certayn formes, for his and the Churches prayers, and that for these reasons,

1. Because this externall mean and manner of worshiping God in prayer is no where found in the written word,Psay 29, 13. Mat. 28, 10. Co [...]os. 2, 23. (by the prescript whereof alone he is to be worshipped) whatsoever either the Iewes fable of the Leyturgie of Ezra; or the Papists of S. Peters, or S. Iames Leyturgies. Yea, contrariwise, I add for overplusse, that it did not seem good to the Apostles, the last penmen of the [...]. ghost, that any such prescript form for such end should come in use, in the churches. And this seemeth unto me verie clear, from the former Epistle of Paul to Timothy, chap. 2, 1, 2. The kings of the earth in those dayes, and such as were in authoritie under them, being, as it were, so many sworn enemies of the name of Christ, this conceipt might easily (and it seems did) creepe into the mindes of divers Christians, that these kindes of men were raither to be prayed a­gainst, then for, by the servants of Christ. And now, what was the medicine prescribed by the Apostle for this malad [...]e in that Epi­stle written to Timothy for that verie end,1 [...]. 3. 1 [...]. that he might know how to converse in the church of God? Did he now either send Timothy to any Leyturgie formerly let forth for his own and others da [...] ­tion? Or did he himself frame any for the purpose, whose b [...]ten troad the Churches following afterwards should not erre? No­thing lesse: although a more [...]it, and full occasion for that busines scarce be offered: which without doubt, Paul would [...]o more have l [...]t slip, th [...]n did the other Apostles, th [...]t which was more light, for the introduction of Deacons, if [...]t had seemed good to th [...] [...] 6. [Page 18] H. Ghost (by whose singe [...] he was guided in the ordering of the Churches) that any such book-prayer should have come into use.

Three things especially are objected, which must here be clea­red. The first is, that David, and other Prophets penned the book of Psalmes for the mother Church of Israell. The second, that Christ himself delivered to his disciples a certain form of prayer, commonly called, The Lords prayer. The third, that Moses from the Lord Numb. 6. gave direction to Aa [...]on, and his sonnes, in what form of words they should blesse the children of Israel.

I answer first generally, that the consequence followeth not from the authoritie of Christ, and of Moses, and of the Apostles, in or­deyning these, and these forms of divine worship, for the like au­thoritie in ordinance Bishops, and Pastours, to ordeyn other, and di­vers forms, for the same end. What can be spoken more insolent­ly? Christ the Lord, Moses, the Prophets, and Apostles being im­mediately, and infallibly guided by the spirit of Christ, have pre­scribed certain set formes of Gods worship; therefore others though not immediately and infallibly guided by the same spirit, may also prescribe them. Why may they not by this argumenta­tion, as well frame us a new Canon of holy Scriptures, considering that even th [...]se verie formes, wherewith also they equalize their own, are parts, and portions of the same Scriptures. More parti­cularly. And first for Psalms. I deny that there is th [...] same reason of a prayer, and of a Psalm; or (whereupon the difference hangeth) that singing, and praying are all one. For the question is not, which I desire the Reader once for all to bea [...]n minde) eyther of the internall affection of him which singeth, or prayeth, or of the subject matter of the song or prayer: but of the externall act, and exercise of praying and singing. Now these two exercises both the holy Scriptures, and common sence in everie man, that pleaseth but to open his eyes, and look upon them, do plainly difference.

For first, if to sing be to pray, then whosoever singeth prayeth: but how far from truth this is, the Psalmes of David, 1, 2, and many others in which not the least parcell of prayer is to be found, do plainly evince.

2. Is any man sad amongst you, Iam. 5. 17. (sayth the Apostle) let him pray: is he merry let him sing. To pray then, and to sing, are not the same, [Page 19] nor which do agree (to wit primarily) with the same constitution of the minde.

3. In prayer the Pastours voyce is onely heard, unto which the people,1 Cor. 14, 16 as the Apostle teacheth, are to add their Ame [...] but in sing­ing, all the multitude have as well their part for tunable voice, as the pastour himself. Neyther can divers possibly sing together, without confusion, but by a certain, and set form both of words, and syllables: which yet may be done in church prayer, and is eve­rie where.

4. We have the same Apostle els where teaching us thus: [...] phes 5, 19. Speak­ing to your selvs in Psalms, Hymnes and spiritual songs, &c. And a­gain, Let the word of Christ dwell in you plenteously, with all wisdom, Colos. 3, 16. teaching and admonishing yourselvs mutually in Psalms Hymns, &c. In singing then we doe speak to our selvs, or one to another mu­tually: but in praying, neither to our selvs, nor to our brethren, but unto God alone. And the reason hereof is evident. When as we read or sing the Psalms of David (for what other thing is it to sing out of a book,Scalig. po [...]t. li 1. c [...]. 2. then to read with a loud, and harmonious voice? of which Harmonie singing is a kinde): these self same Psalms in this verie use do still remain, and so are read or sung, as a part of the word of God in the holy Scriptures: and in which God speaketh unto us: whereas on the other side, we do speak unto God, in all our prayers, whether mentall onely, or vocall withall.

5. Even these verie Psalmes, whose matter is prayer, and thanks­giving, were framed, and composed by the prophets into Psalms, and spirituall songs, for this verie end, that the men of God might in them teach us, as in the written word of God, whereof they are parts, both what petitions they in their distresses put up to the Lord, and also what thanksgiving they returned upon their deliverance, that so we in reading & singing them, might instruct and admonish ourselvs both publiquely, & privatly, whether by way of doctrine, or admonition, or consolation, for the promoteing of the glorie of God in our hearts.

Lastly, that I may discend unto them, who are onely taught by experience; If any going out of the temple, wh [...]lst the Church were singing a Psalm, either before, or after sermon, being asked [Page 20] of one that met him, what the church were then doing, should an­swer that it were at prayer; would he not be judged by all men to tell a ly? But altogether without cause, if to sing be to pray, as ma­ny imagine.

Touching the Lords prayer. We deny it to be the meaning of Christ, teaching his dise ples, when they pray to say, Our father, &c. to binde them, and the Holy Ghost in them, by which they ought to pray, to a certain form of words,Iude 21. & sillables, which they should repeat by heart, or (which is our question,) read out of a book. Because, 1. the two Euangelists Matthew, and Luke of whom both the one and other did aright both understand, and expresse the mea­ning of Christ, do not precisely keep the same words. 2. By these words, when you pray, is meant, whensoever you pray: whereup­on it should follow, that we were tyed to this stint of words alone, and alwaies: and so might lawfully use none other, except it be lawfull for us sometimes to pray raither by the levell of our own dev [...]se, then of Christs prescript. The words therefore of Cyprian are good in a good sence.Cyprian. de [...]at. domin. Mat. 6, 6. To pray otherwise then Christ hath taught, is not onely ignorance, but guilt, seeing he himself hath sayd, you reject the precept of God, that you may observ your own tradition. 3. Amongst the manie, and manifould prayers of the Apostles to be seen in the holy scriptures, this form of words is not found: and yet can it not be denyed, but they alwaies prayed as they were taught in this place by their Master Christ: whose meaning therefore it could not be to tye them necessarily to anie such certain of words. 4. It ap­pears by the context, that the purpose of Christ is to speak of pri­vate, or raither secret prayer, and such as everie Christian apart from others, and in his closet, with the doore shut unto him, should pour out unto the Lord. Now that one alone, and by himself should say, Our father, seems not verie congtuous. Lastly, seeing of the like there is the like consideration, If the Apostle Iames in these words, Go to now, ye that say, to day or to morrow we will goe into such a cittie &c.Iam. 4, 13. and vers. 15. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and doe this or that, do neither simplie fault with the form of words, Calv. in Iam. ch. 4. v. 15. nor prescribe necessarily anie other, but onely (to use Calvins words) wakens them from their dream, who without respect of the divine providence, will make themselvs maysters of a whole yeare, [Page 21] when there is not a moment in their power: so neither are we to con­ceav that our Saviour Christ Math. 6. and Luke 11 doth injoin unto his anie set words to pray in,Idem in Mat 6, 9. but onely shewes whither all our prayers and vowes ought to be referred, Vrsiu [...]s, B [...] ­can [...]s, Pisca­tor, P [...]ins, &c. as with all other orthodox wri­ters about this matter, the said Author speaketh: howsoever di­vers uns [...]kilfull men cease not still to sing unto us, euen to loath­somnes, the song, when you pray say, as the Papists do theirs, This is my bodie: as though the controversie were about the words, and not raither about the meaning of them.

But for that we are verie odiously traduced by divers, as abhor­ring from this form, and that we will not (as they use to speak) say the Lords prayer, I will in few, and plain terms set down what our judgment is about it.

1. And seeing that, as the Poet hath it, the names do commonly suit with the things, we may see, and sorrow withall, in the phrases in common use about this most Christian duetie of prayer, what it is with the unhallowed multitude of Christians to pray, namely to say prayer, to read prayer, to hear prayer, and raither any thing then in­deed to pray, that is, then to pour out the conceptions of a godly and devout minde unto God, from faith and feeling of our wants, by the holy Ghost.

2. We do affirm, that this form of words is unproperly, how commonly soever, called the Lords prayer: as neither being a prayer as it is the Lords, nor the Lords as it is a prayer. As it is of the Lord Christ, and so the Lords (whether by himself uttered in words, or committed to writing by his Euangel [...]sts) it hath the con­sideration, and respect of a sermon, and of Euangelicall doctrine, in which Christ taught his disciples; and not of a prayer put up to his Father: as on the contrarie it neither was, nor could be used prayer wise by Christ, in so manie words; with whose most persit sanctimonie it did not agree for him to say, forgive us our trespasses.

3. We do firmly beleiv, that all, and everie both Church and person is bound alwayes to pray, as Christ hath there taught: whe­ther we respect the matter there propounded, or the affections there injoyned, or the commodious, and compend [...]ous simplicitie, which Christ our Saviour, and onely mayster, there opposeth, both to the vain bablings, and oft repetitions of the heathens: and that [Page 22] in these things, and them alone, the commandement of Christ doth consist, we both firmly beleiv, and confidently avow.

4. And lastly, we doubt not but that this verie form of words may be, and is rightly used in prayer unto God, provided there be neither opinion of necessitie, by which superstitious persons think themselvs stinted by the Lord to words, and sillables, nor of per­fection, by which many are of minde, that they have then at the last, and not before prayed per [...]itly, when they have repeated this form of words. And it is well, if some spot of this myre cleav not to the fingers of many ministers; which make it a matter of great conscience not to conclude their, and the churches prayers apply­ed specially to the present state of things, with this number, and measure of words. Which custom as it is used verie commonly, so in my judgment, with no great reason, for these two causes.

First, it seems to crosse all good order, and method, by which men should d [...]scend from the more generall unto that which is more speciall: and not go the clean contrarie way, as in this they do.

Secondly, Since the rule, according to Phylosophie, and good reason, is alwaies before the thing ruled, and that this form is by Christ inst [...]tuted, for this purpose, that it might be the rule, and squire of all our prayers,Tertull lib. de Ora [...]. and as Tertullian saith, is premised, as the foundation of all our accessorie d [...]s [...]es, me thinks the same should rai­ther be used in the first place; upon which as the same author hath it, everie one should build the circumstances of his occasioned requests.

It remayneth that in a few words I answer that, which is by some objected touching those solemn blessings, at the first imparted by the Patriarks to their first born, and after by the Preists to Israel the first born of God.Exod. 4, 22.

And to let passe, 1. that the composers, and imposers of the Leyturg [...]es now in use have not equall authoritie with Moses the man of God, not are th [...] writings any way comparable with his: 2. That Moses did not prescribe unto the Priests a st [...]nt of words for blessing (much lesse to be read out of a book) but the substance of the thing;See M. [...] son of written [...]. which by manie Arguments, save that I studie for brevitie, might be proved. 3. If that were Moses his minde, and the Lords by him, the minister were bound to the same form of [Page 23] blessing upon the Israell of God now,Gal. 6, 16. which the church is: since there is nothing in it not morall, and perpetuall, or not concerning the church now,Calvin. in Gene [...]. c. 27 1. as then. I do answer this one thing, & the same in Calvins words, viz. that these blessings were not ordinarie prayers, but a lawfull author [...]tie divinely interposed to testifie the grace of election: which [...] also confirms by divers reasons. Neither can anie man who considers the words of the text make question, but that the Priests in blessing (Israel, not God) do direct their speach unto Israel by way of promise, and not unto God by way of prayer. So blesse you (saith Moses) the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord blesse thee, &c. The same is to be judged of the salutations of the Apo­stles in their Epistles, (whereof they are a part, and so a part of the holy Scriptures): albeit yet they in them, as the Preists in their blessings, desired to have their truly loving affection taken know­ledg of by them to whom they wrote: and what good things they both desired at the hands of the Lord for them, and also promised them in his name.

2. We dislike all reading of prayer in the act of praying, as in­convenient, yea directly contrarie unto that act? In prayer we do pour out matter, to wit the holy conceptions of the minde, from within to without; that is, from the heart to God: on the contra­rie, in reading, we do receav and admit matter from without to within; that is from the book, into the heart. Let him that pray­eth do that which he doth, not another thing, not a divers thing. Let the whole man, and all that he is, both in soul and bodie, be b [...]nt upon God, with whom he converseth. The eyes of the minde are lifted to God in prayer; and why not the eyes of the bodie also? both which [...]e that prayeth, by intending them upon a book, both depresseth, & averteth from God. The Apostle exhorteth, that the men pray, lifting up pure hands to God in everie place. 1 Tim. 2, 8▪ In like manner, (besides the reason of the thing, we have the Patriarks, Prophets, Christ himself, with his Apostles, and disciples, for insample of lifting up the eyes to heaven in prayer. Not this gesture of body is simply necessarie but most convenient, (save in some great temp­tation, and depression of minde, both to expresse, and further the intention of a godly heart.

Let devout and learned men (if they please, commit to writing [Page 24] their holy meditations, and secret conferences with God, as did Austin, and others amongst the ancients; and many of later time [...] which may be read, and that with no small benefit both by Pastour and people; but privately, and for better preparation unto prayer. Now the preparation unto prayer is verie unseasonable at the self­same time of the solemn performance thereof; and unreasonable in, and by the self same act.

3. Seeing that publique prayer (as Bucanus saith) is a second part of the ministrie; Bucanus cō m [...]n places of prayer. as also that amongst the gifts of the holie Ghost, wherewith the Pastor is indued from above, that is not small, not to be despised, by which he is able conveniently both for matter, and form, to conceav a prayer according to the churches present occa­sion;, and necessities; by the reading of this prescript form that (truly excellent) gift giuen of God for this end is made void, and of none use, and the spirit (contrarie to that which ought to be) ex­tinguished. 1 Thes. 5, 19. The manifestation of the spirit (saith the Apostle) is given to everie one (especially to everie Pastour) to profit withall. 1 Cor. 12, 7. But he who reads a form of prayer conceaved, and consigned by another, doth not manifest the pastorall gift, (for of the internall affection our question is not) of the spirit given to him to profit withall, but to that other by whom the form of prayer was ind [...]ted.

4. If to read such a form of prayer be to pray aright, and pastour like no probable reason can be rendred, wherefore to read a ser­mon, or homilie, is not as well to preach aright, and as is required of the Pastour of the Church. Which so being, small reason had the Apostle,Act. 6. treating of the ecclesiasticall ministerie, which princi­pally consists in these two exercises,2 Cor. 2, 16. to crie out, as he did, who is sufficient for these things? For who is not sufficient even of the vul­gar sort? who can not read a Leiturgie, and an Homilie?

5. The spirit (saith the same Apostle,Rom. 8, 26. speaking of all Christians) helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what to pray, as we ought. Yes, Paul, (with your l [...]av right well; for we have in our prayer-book, what we ought to pray, word for word, whether the spirit be pre­sent or not. What then is to be done in this busines? That which Tertullian saith the Christians of his time did.T [...]tul. Apol. against the Gentles. We pray (saith he) without any to prompt us, because we pray from the heart. But he who reads his prayers, or rather the prayers of him that p [...]nned them, [Page 25] and his lesson out of a book, hath one that prompts him, and that diligently, both what, and how much, and after what manner, and with what words and sillables he ought to pray.

Lastly, if it would be just matter of shame to any earthly Father, that his childe, who desired of him bread, fish, or an egge, should need to read out of a book, or paper, Father, pray you give me bread, fish, or egge; how much more contumel [...]ous is it, to our heauen­ly father, and his holy spirit,Zac. 12, 10. Rom. 8, 26, Iude [...]0. Zac 11, 15. wherewith he furnisheth all his chil­dren, specially his ministers according to their place, that an help so unworthie, and more then babe [...]sh, and indeed the instrument of a foolish sheepheard, namely a bare reader (with which kinde of vermin Rome, and England are pestered) should be used by such godly, & learned pastors, as wherewith the reformed churches are furnished

CHAP. IIII. Of the Ecclesiasticall Presbyterie.

VVE do so acknowledg, and approve of, as divinely insti­tuted, the Presbyte [...]es of the particular churches, as with all we judg them sundrie wai [...]es defective. As first we require: that all receaved into the colledg,1 Tim. [...] 2. Tit. 1, 5, 7, 9 and company of Elders, even those which are called governers, should be apt to teach, and able to exhorte with sound doctrine, and convince g [...]nsayers, and that not onely pri­vately, or in the consistorie, but in the publick assemblie also, as the nature of their publique office requireth. I am not ignorant, what that learned man Gersom Bucer in his late treatise hath published about this matter, [...] gov. nam. p4. 32, 33, 44. neither do I unwillingly assent thereunto: pro­vided onely, that what he requires in those Elders, that they be able to performe publiquely, and in the church assembly, if not exactly, yet competently.

A second defect, which we wish supplyed is, that of annuall, o [...] tryennuall or temporarie, they might be perpetuall, and for l [...]fe, (except by some casualtie, or occurrence they be disabled) as the pastours themselvs. This terme of years for the Elders administra­tion [Page 26] in the Reformed Churches,pag. 34. 35, 36. the forenamed author in the same place doth not so much defend, as excuse; but it seemeth raithe [...] needfull to have it reformed (which is also the desire of the said learned man) and that for these reasons.

1. The Apostle Paul calling unto him the Elders of the church of E­phesus to M [...]letum, Act. 20, 17, 28. doth pronounce of them all, as well the gover­ners, as those that laboured in the word, that they were made Bishops or overseers of the same Church, by the holy Ghost. Now the autho­ritie of that the appo [...]nter ought to work in the appointed great conscience, not lightly to relinquish that charge, which by the dis­position of the holy Ghost they had taken upon them.

2. The same Apostle doth in the same place admonish, [...]. 28, 29, 30, 31. and ex­hort the same Elders that they should take heed unto themselvs, and to all the fl [...]k, lest the same, after his departure should unhappily be damnified, either by wolves entering in among them, or such as should rise up from themselvs speaking perverse things. Now if the date of their Eldership, & charge were shortly to be out, they might well think with themselvs, that the Apostles admonition for after times did not much concern them, whose term of office should so shortly be expired, and were perhaps to follow the Apostles depar­ture at the heeles.

3. It was sacriledg for the Levites being consecrated to the Lord, for the service of the Tabernacle and Temple, to retire from the office undertaken by them, although (age growing upon them) they were exempted from some the more labo [...]ous works of that ministration:Numb. 8. How then is it lawfull for the Elders, or Dea­cons (being now no more at their own disposing, but as the Levites of ould, the Lords sacred and consecrated ones) to withdraw so lightly from his speciall service? No man under the Law might change a beast, I [...]vi. 17, 9, 10. if clean, no not a better for a worse, if once hallowed to the Lord. How much lesse may the church then discharge her officers (or they themselvs) ministering faythfully, and as they ought?

Lastly,1 Tim. 5, 21. [...]nd 6, 14. 1 Corm. 14, 37. 1 Tim. 5, 11, [...]2. the Apostle Paul instructing the Church in Timothy to keep the commandement of Christ unrebukeable untill that his glori­ous appearing, doth not permit, no not to the widowes & D [...]aco­nesses to [...]elinquish the office once taken upon them: unto whom [Page 27] for that verie cause he forbids mariage it self, otherwise permitted to all, and to some injoyned. How much lesse lawfull is it for the Elders, or Deacons of the church (whose both condition, and mi­nisterie is far more excellent) for far lighter causes, to look back, and relinquish their vocation, wherein Christ hath in such sort pla­ced them?

A third thing there is, and that of most moment, viz. that the Elders do not administer their publique office publiquely, as they should, but onely in their private consistorie. And first, the admini­strat on of everie office doth [...]n right follow the nature of the same; whether domesticall in the familie, or civill in the common wealth, or spirituall in the Church: the Elders office then being publique, requires answerable, and publique administrat on. Not that it is unlawfull for the Elders to convene, and meet apart from the bo­die, and to deliberate of such things as concerns the same, and so to do sundrie things by vertue of their office, but because that is not sufficient,Colos. 4, 17. neither do they indeed fulfill their publique, and church-office, office, which in the Lord they have receaved, except as privately, and and in their consistorie, so also (and that specially) publiquely, and in the face of the congregation they exequute the same.

2. The Apostle beseecheth them of Thessalonica that they would in love highly esteem for their works sake, 1 Thes 5, 12, 13. not onely them which labou­red among them, to wit, in doctrine; but them also, which were over them in the Lord, and admonished them. 1 Tim. 5, 17. But of the work of their Elders which govern, the Reformed churches must needs be igno­rant; neither doe, or can they know, whether they be good, or bad. Their pastours they do prosequute with due love, & honour, out of their own certain knowledg of them and their work, but their Elders onely by hearsay.

Lastly,Act. 20, 17, 28. the same Apostle warneth the Elders of [...]phesus, that they attend & take heed to the whole flock, in which they were made Bishops. But it cannot be, that he should ministerially, as he ought, feed the whole church, whose voice the greatest part thereof never so much as once heareth. To lead, or receav a she [...]p now and then into the sheepfould, to confirm one that is weak, or correct one that stray­eth, and that apart from the flock, is in no wise to feed the whole flock, as the Apostle requireth.

[Page 28] And that this point may be made the more plain, let us discend unto some such particulars, as in which the Elders office seemeth specially to consist. And they are, the admitting of members into the church, upon profession of faith made, and the reproving and censuring of obstinate offenders, whether sinning publiquely, or privately with scandall. As we willingly leave the exequut on, and administration of these things to the Elders alone in the setled, and well ordered state of the church, so do we deny plainly, that they are, or can be rightly, and orderly done, but with the peoples pri­vat [...]e and consent.

For the first, Christ the Lord gave in charge to his Apostles to preach in his name remission of sins, and therewith life eternall: and that such Iewes, or Gentiles, as should beleiv, and repent, viz. professe holily faith and repentance, (for to judg of the heart is Gods prerogative) they should receav into the fellowship of the Church, and baptize. And that these all, and everie of them were publiquely, and in the face of the congregation to be administred, the Acts of the Apostles do plent [...]ously make known. And if Bap­tism, the consequent of the confession of faith, in them baptized, and the badg of our consociation with Christ and his Church, be to be celebrated publiquely, why is not the profession of saith pro­portionably (although by the formerly baptized through a kinde of unorderly anticipation) to be made publiquely also, and there­withall the consociation ecclesiasticall, as the former? The cove­nant privately made, and the s [...]al publiquely annexed are dispro­portionate.

I further add, that since persons admitted into the Church, are by the whole bodie, if not of enemies, at least of strangers become and are to be reputed b [...]ethren [...]n Christ most nearly joyned, and they with whom, they are to call upon one common Father pub­liquely to participate of one holy bread, and with whom they are to have all things, 1 Cor. 10, 17 even bodily goods after a sort common, as everie one hath need, Act. 2, 44, 45. it seemeth most equall, that not onely the Presbyters (the churches servants under Christ) but the whole commonaltie also should take knowledg in their persons, both of their holy profession of faith, and voluntarie submission made as unto Christ himself, so to his most holy institutions in his Church.

[Page 29] To come to the second head. And 1. those who sin, that is, with publique scandall, rebuke publiquely, 1 Tim. 5, 20. sayth the Apostle, that others also may fear. And if the Elders themselvs, of whom he speaketh, for whose credit the greatest care is to be taken much more any other, Beza in ann. on the place. as Beza rightly observeth. And that not for this cause alone, that when the punishment comes to one, the fear might reach unto ma­ny, which yet wise men in all publique exequutions would haue carefully provided for, but also that both he that so sinneth may be the more ashamed, and others both within, and without may with­all take knowledg, how litle indulgent the Church is to her own dearest ones in their enormous sins.

2. With this also it well conforteth, that Christ the onely Doc­tour of his Church would haue not onely sins scandalous commit­ted in publique, publiquely reproved,Math. 18, 15 1 [...], 17. and before the multitude, but even those which are private, obstinately persisted in, when he saith, Tell the Church, &c.

I am not ignorant how diversly divers men do interpret these words: whilst some by the Church do understand the civill come of the Magistrate; others the Hierarchicall Bishop, with his offici­als; others the senate of Elders excluding the people. And thus whilst these strive for the power, and name withall of the church amongst themselvs, the church indeed, and which Christ the Lord meaneth is well nigh stripped both of power, and name.

The first of these three interpretations I will not trouble my self with;Beza, Zan­ch [...]us, Parker, G Bucer, &c. as being almost of all, and that worthily expleded, and re­jected; and aboundantly refuted by divers learned men: the two latter are to be aslau [...]t [...]d with almost the same weapons.

The former of these two, though it be in it self the more diffe­rent from Christs meaning, yet comes it in this circumstance now in consideration, the nearer the truth in our judgment, considered in its exequution: since neither the Bishops, nor their officials, Chauncelours, Commisaries, or other Court-keepers do exclude the people from their consistories, and courts: but to offer them­selvs in their publique judgments, and censures to the ve [...]w of all, who please to be present thereat. And I think [...] of either amongst Gentiles or Iewes, or Christians (be it spoken without offence) before this last age, that publique judgments and [Page 30] other acts of publique nature, as these are, should be privately exer­cised, and without the peoples privitie. It was not so in Israel of ould, where by Gods appointment the Elders were to sit, and judg in the gates of the cittie: nor in the synagogues themselvs, from which manie are of minde, how truly I will not say, that the Chri­stian Eldership was derived, after the Roman tyrannie had confined into them the Iewes civill conventions, and judgments; nor in the primative church, no not in some ages after the Apostles, as might easily be proved out of Tertullian, Cyptian, and others, if I would trie the matter in that court:Aug [...]t of Ch [...]. [...] lib. 3. but it is much more safe, as Austin saith, to walke by the divine Scriptures.

And first the word [...] church, originally Greek, answering to the Hebrew [...], doth primarily, and properly signifie a conven­tion of citizens called from their houses by the publ [...]que c [...]yer, ei­ther to hear some publique sentence or charge given: but translated to religious use, denoteth an assemblie of persons called out of the state of corrupt nature into that of supernaturall grace, by the pub­lishing of the gospell. Now the Elders, or presbyters (as such) are, and so are said to be, called, to wit, to their office of Eldership, but called out they are not, being themselvs to call out the church, and unto it to perform the cryers office. Neither do I think that the name Ecclesia, Church, hath been used by any Greek author, be­fore the Apostles times, or in their daies, or in the age after them for the assemblie of sole governers in the act of their government, or indeed before the same governers had seazed into their own, & onely hands the churches both name and power.

But you will say, as learned men use to do, that these Elders su­steyn the person of the whole multitude, and supplie their room, for the avoiding of confusion; and so are [...]ightly, as commonly called The church representative.

I answer. First, no godly, no nor reasonable man will affirm, that this representation is to be extended to all the acts of religion, or indeed to others, then these, which are exercised in the govern­ing of the Church. What is it then? The Elders in ruling, and governing the Church must represent the people, and ocupie their place. It should seem then, that it appe [...]teyns unto the people, un­to the people primarily, and originally (under Christ) to rule and [Page 31] govern the church, that is, themselvs. But who will so say of a government not personall, but publique, and instituted, as the churches is?

2. If the Elders in their consistorie represent the church, then whatsoever they either decree, or do agreeing to the word of God whether respecting faith or manners, that also the church decreeth and doth, though absent, though ignorant both what the thing is, which is done, and upon what grounds it is done by the Elders: this being the nature of representations, that what the representing doth within the bounds of his commission, that the represented doth primarily, and much more, as but using the other for his in­strument. Now how dissonant this is to true faith and pietie, how consonant unto the Papists implicit faith, no man can be ignorant: and I had raither wise men should consider, then I aggravate.

3. The constant, and universall practise of the Apostles & Apo­stolick churches do quite crosse this consistorian course. The Apo­stle Paul, well acquainted with the meaning of Christ, doth 1 Cor. 5. so reduce into practise, the rule and prescript of his maister Matth. 18. or to use the words of the Bishop of Chester,Bish of Win­ch [...], ans [...] to Tertus pa. 43. There commaunds to bring into practise this power, In the name of Christ, with his spirit, as he seems to leav no place for doubting to him, who with diligence, and without prejudice, will compare together these two places, what the Lord meaneth, when he saith, Tell the Church, This our Apostle doth in that place reprove not the Elders or go­verners alone, but with them also the whole commonaltie and bo­die, for tolerating the incestuous person amongst them. Which therefore accordingly, as his authoritie Apostolicall,2 Ge [...]in. 11, 28. and care for all the churches d [...]d require, he admonisheth, and directeth, that as mindefull both of the sinners repentance, and salvation, and there­with of their own puritie, they would exclude, by due order, that wicked man from their holy fellowship. And that by these words, (when ye are come together) the whole church is to be understood, manie, but heavie freinds to the peoples libertie, Iesuites, P [...]cla­tists, and others do graunt. But we will annex certain reasons for the further clearing of the thing.

1. They among whom the fornicatour was, who were puffed up, ver. 1, 2, 4, 7▪ 13. when they should have sorrowed, and out of the middest of whom, he was [Page 32] to be put, who had done that thing; they were to be gathered together in one, and to judg and excommunicate that incestuous person. But the fornicatour was not amongst the Elders alone, neither were they alone puffed up when they should have sorrowed, neither was that wicked man to be taken out of the midst of them, and still left in the midst of the people; and therefore not to be judged by them alone, but by the church with them, though governed by them.

2. It did not of ould apperteyn onely to the Levites and Elders in Israel,v. 1. 7. to purge out of their houses the materiall leven, but to eve­rie father of familie also: so by proportion to the whole church now to purge out the leven spirituall there spoken of: which also could not leven the whole lump, or church, in the Apostles meaning, except it had concerned the whole church to purge it out.

3. The Apostle wrote not to the Elders onely, but with them to the whole bodie,i [...]s. 9. not to be commingled with fornicators, covet [...]us persons, or the like, called brethren: he therefore admonisheth them, as the other,11. to cast their stone at the incestuous man, for the taking him away from the Lords people.

Manie more Arguments, and the same verie clear, might be drawn to this end, out of the text it self; but for brevitie sake I will omit them, and annex this onely one which followeth, from the second chapter of the second Epistle. The same Apostle writing to these same Corinthians about the same incestuous person, but now penitent, as before delinquent, seriously exhorts them, that look what severitie they had formerly shewed in censuring him for his sin, the like compassion they would now shew, in [...]eceaving him again upon his repentance: therein plainly insinuateing, that this busines was not in the hands of the Elders alone, except we will say, that they alone were made sad by the Apostles reproof, that they alone by their studie, defence, indignation, zeal, ch. 7, 9, 11. and 2, 7, 8. &c. testified, that they were pure in the thing, and except it belonged to them alone to par­don, and comfort the repentant sinner, and to confirm their love unto him.

And whereas some would inclose this whole power within the Apostles circuit; as if he alone, Bishop-like, had passed sentence judicia [...]ie upon the offender, and onely committed the declaration, [Page 33] and publication of it in the church, to some his substitute, I deem it not lost labour breifly to [...]hew how erroneous this opinion is of externall monarchicall government, yea power also, which is more, in the church of Christ.

And, first, one alone, how great soever, cannot suffice to make the Church,See the Bishop of Church, an­swer to Tertus p. 41, 42. or a congregation, which Christ hath furnished with power of binding, and loosing Math. 18, 17, 18. both reason, and scripture teaching, that for an assembly, and congregation at least two or three are required. ver. 19. The Church (which name signifies a multitude, designeing by a new trope, one alone singular person, Whitakers of the authoritie of the Script. lib. 1. as saith D. Whitakers against Stapleton, going about to prove that the name of the church belongs to the Pastours, or Byshops, or Pope alone.

2. It is expresly affirmed 2 Cor. 2, 6. that the incestuous per­son was censured by many: which many or more, the Apostle oppo­seth to himself alone, as appeareth by the context; and not to all, as some erroneously think.

3. The Apostle plainly, and sharply reproveth the Corinthians for that before his writing they had not voyded that sinfull man, their holy fellowship, and so prevented the reporte by which such a crime, and the same unpunished came to his ears. This their pow­er then the man of God doth not seaze into his own hands as for­feyt by their default in not using it, but vehemently (and as became a faithfull minister) exhorts and admonist [...]es them to use it, as they ought in the judging, purging out, and taking from among themselvs that wicked man, and so any other within, or called a brother, sinning in the like manner.

4. If the Apostle Paul being absent from Corinth had excom­municated this sinner, then had he judicially condemned,See [...] chap. 2. and judg­ed a man unaccused, unconvicted, and unreproved (at least face to face, and before his judg): then which what more unjust can be imagined of, or ascribed unto the holy Apostle? I conclude therefore with Peter Martyr, The Apostle, as great as he was, Pet. Ma [...]. [...] 1 [...]or. ch. 5. doth not so far usurp to himself power, as that he one, and alone by himself should excommunicate: which yet the Pope, and ma [...]y Bishops (both Romish and English) dare do: Injudging he goes before others, as it is meet the cheif in the Church should do, that so the lesse skilfull multitude might be directed in judging by their voting before them.

[Page 34] Thus much of this place. The next followeth, which is Acts 1,Act. 1. When another was to succeed in the room of Iudas the traytour, not Peter alone, or the Apostles with him, but (that the ordination might be just and lawfull, being made with the knowledg of the people as­sistent, Cyprian l. 1. Epist. 4. and examined by the verdit, and judgment of all) the multitude of the disciples together did substitute two,ver. 15. whom they deemed most ex­cellent, that of them the Lord, who knew the hearts of all men, might take unto himself the man, which he knew most fit. That which belonged unto God,Gal. 1, 1. namely, to designe an Apostle immediately, was left unto him: the disciples also in this work, rete [...]ing what might be their libertie:Calvin in Act. 1. which Calvin notes upon this place, to have been a kinde of middle temper.

The third place followeth,Act. 6. which is Act. 6. handling the choice of Deacons, and that by the same Church in Ierusalem, not now small, as before, but (which I wish may be marked to stop the pas­sage, which some think lyes open for escape through smaller as­semblies) now become great, and populous. In this busines the Apostles informe the church what kinde of men they ought to chuse: the multitude chuseth whom they judg fit, and meet accor­dingly; and the same present to the Apostles: upon whom so cho­sen by the people, the said Apostles impose hands as a solemn sym­bole of their consecration, joyning therewith common prayer. Now if the Deacons onely betrusted with the churches monie were not to be made but by the peoples suffrage, and election, much lesse Pastors & Elders, unto whose fidelitie under Christ the same Church doth commit the incomparable treasure of their souls.

To the same purpose (in regarde of the matter in hand) serveth that,Act. 14. which we read Act. 14, 23. where Paul and Barnabas do or­deyn Elders in everie Church, by suffrages (not their own as some fan­cie, unto whom to lift up, & to lay on hands is all one) but the peoples; or by the lifting up of hands, by which signe, the Grecians, as appears in Demosthenes, and others, the peoples vote or voyce-giving in their popular assemblies was wonte to be made. I ad (which is espe­cially to be observed) that the Apostles in doing their part in the ordination of Elders, did what they did, as it were, by the way: staying onely, most like, two or three daies in a place: so as they could not possibly by their own experience take sufficient know­ledg, [Page 35] what persons in the church were apt to teach or govern: who able to exhort with sound doctrine, 1 Tim. 3. & to convince the gainsayers: how un­blamable they were, how watchfull, given to hospitalitie, temperate, Tit. 1. &c. and with these, how mannered wives, and children they had. These things onely the bretheren which conversed with them publiquely, and privately, could sufficiently take knowledg, and experience of. Vpon their electing them did the ordination conferred by the Apo­stles, as the hands of the Church, depend. By election the persons elected have right to their offices; into the actuall possession where­of they are solemnly admitted by ordination.

This troup of proofes, that known,Act 15. and notable place Act. 15. shall shut up: in which we have the peoples libertie in the chur­ches both of Antioch, and Ierusalem plentifully confirmed and commended by Apostolick practise to ensueing churches, and times.

And first,See Whit k. of the author. of II. [...] lib. 1, ch. 5. sect. 1. it is evident, that in the church of Antioch together with the Elders (which it appears then it had Act. 14, 21, 23.) the brethren were admitted into the fellowship of the busines, and dis­quisition made about circumcision: Paul & Barnabas with the rest of the delegates then sent being brought on their journey by the church. ver. 3. the letters also being written back from Ierusalem to the bre­thren which were at Antioch, ver. 23. and which is specially to be noted, then, and not before, delivered when the multitude were come together. vers. 30. So in the church at Ierusalem the messengers from Antioch were receaved not onely of the Apostles and Elders, but of the Church with them, vers. 4. And as the question was propoun­ded so was it, discussed before the whole church by the Apostles, & Elders comming together to look unto that busines. ver. 6. yet not so as the brethren were wholly bound to silence, seeing that ver. 11. the whole multitude is said to have held their peace, that is, to have yeilded to Peters speach, and reasons. Lastly, as Silas and Iudas were sent with Paul and Barnabas, by the Apostles, and Elders with the whole Church unto Antioch, vers. 22. so were the letters written back in the name of them all to the brethren at Antioch. ver. 23. And al­though the decrees to be observed by the churches of the Gentiles, (whereof no one, excepting Antioch, had any delegates present) which were also part of the word of God, and holy Canon, could [Page 36] come from none other then the Apostles,See Iohan. Wolph. in 2 long. c. 23. immediately inspired by the H. Ghost, they notwithstanding in the publishing of the same, did not disdam the consenting suffrage of the brethren of that par­ticular church of Ierusalem, where the assembly was.

And surely, if it ever did, or could apperteyn to any church of­ficers or governers whatsoever to represent the church-assemblies, in elections, censures, and other Ecclesiasticall judgments, and oc­currences; then without doubt unto the Apostles in an eminent, and peculiar manner (especially living in that rude, and childish state of the church) considering both how superlative their office was, and how admirable their gifts, and endowments of the holy Ghost, together with their incomparable both pietie, & prudence: by which they were both most able, and willing to promote the Christian faith in holynes. And although this constant, and uni­form both practise, and institution of the Apostles unto divers (po­litick persons, swelling with pride of fleshly reason, dispising Apo­stolicall simplicitie, and who, as [...]eneus speaks, would be rectifiers of the Apostles, [...]. against Heres. [...]ib. 3. Theodor. dial. 1. Tertull. a­gainst Her­mog. seem worthie of light regard, yet to us, who beleiv with Theodoret, that we ought to rest in the Apostolicall, and prophe­ticall demonstrations, and who with Tertullian do adore the fulnes of the Scriptures, they seem of singular weight, and moment.

And whilst I consider with my self in the fear of God, how it was the Apostles duetie to teach the disciples of Christ to observ what­soever he commanded them; Mat. 28, 20. [...] Cor. 14, 37 ch. 4. 1. a Cor. 5, 5. and how the Apostle Paul testifieth, that even the things, which he wrote touching order, and comlynes to be ob­served in the church-exercises, were the commandements of the Lord, as also how the same Apostle clearly professeth, that he and his fellow officers were onely to be reputed as ministers and ambassa­dours of Christ, to whom therefore in the exequution of their of­fice it was not permitted to do, or speak the least thing, which they had not in charge from him, it is unto me a matter of great scruple, and conscience, to depart one hair-breadth (extraordinarie acci­dents ever excepted) from their practise, & institution, in any thing truely ecclesiasticall, though never so small in it self: whatsoever, by whomsoever, and with what colour soever is invented, and im­posed, touching the government of the church which is the house and tabernacle of the living God. [...] Tim. 3. And a partner in this faith I do hope [Page 37] to live, and die, and to appear before Iesus Christ, with bouldnes in that great and fearfull day of his coming.

I add, that seeing the Christian congregation as the spouse of Christ, free, and ingenuous, hath the church officers whosoever, as Christ Iesus her housbands, so also her servants for Iesus sake, 2 Cor. 4, 5. 1 Tim. 4, 16, ch. 5, 17, 18. whom under Christ she trusteth with her eternall salvation, and un­to whom for their labour shee oweth wages for releif and mainte­nance; Considering also how much it makes both to whet on the diligence of the ministers, and to inforce the diligence of the peo­ple, whilst these on the one side consider with themselvs, how they have them set over them, whom above others themselvs have liked, and made choice of; and they on the other side, that they are set over those by whom they before others were made choice of, and elected: that which Cyprian hath, seemeth most equall, and of in­stitution morall, and unchangeable, that the commonaltie fearing God & keeping his commaundements, Cypr. Epist. 4, li. 4, 1. should have the speciall hand either in chusing of worthie Preists, or ministers, or of rejecting the unworthie: which also, saith he, we see to be founded upon divine authoritie.

The same is to be held of excommunication. Seeing that it be­hooveth the Christian multitude to avoide the fellowship of the ex­communicated not onely in the course of religion, but even in common, and familiar conversation (the rights of nature, familie, and common wealth ever kept inviolated): and that whom yester­day I was to repute a brother near, and dear in Christ, to morrow I must hould as an Heathen, and Publican, and as,Math. 18. 1 Corinth. 5. for the destruction of the flesh, delivered to Sathan: who is so unequall a judg, as not to think it a most equall thing, that the multitude should clearly, and undoubtedly take knowledg both of the heynousnes of the crime, and incorrigeable contumacie of the person, after the use of all means, and remedies for reclayming him. This if it be not done, then doth not the church herein live by her own, but by her officers faith; neither are her governers to be reputed as servants, but Lords unto her; neither do they exercise their office popular [...]lie in the church as they ought, but tyrannicallie, as they ought not, by Chrisostoms verdit.Chrisost. in Epist. to Tit, His words are these. He who bears himself upon an externall and worldly power, because he rules legally, and that men must of necessitie obey him, doth oft times, and that not without cause, exercise authoritie [Page 38] against the will, and wel-liking of his subiects? But on the other side, he who will be over those, who voluntarily submit unto him, and can him thank, and yet will presume to do things as himself liketh, & as if he were to give account to none other thereof, that man raither exerciseth his au­thor [...]tie tyrannically then popularly.

The Lord God put it into the hearts of those who bear greatest sway in the reformed churches, to indeavour the furnishing of the same with such Elders, as may both fully, and constantly, and po­pularly, discharge their place, for the peace of their own consc [...]en­ces before God, the edification of the Churches over which they are set, as also for the abateing, if not abolishing, of that contempt in which Prelat [...]sts, and supercilious persons use to hould these lay-Elders, as they call them.

But now lest any should take occasion, either by the things here spoken by us, or els where of us, to conceave, that we either exer­cise amongst our selvs, or would thrust upon others, any popular, or democraticall Church-government; may it please the Christian Reader to make estimate of both our judgment, and practise in this point, according to these three declarations following.

First, we beleev, that the externall Church-government under Christ the onely mediatour,See Bodin of Commonu [...]. book 1. chap. last. and monarch thereof is plainly aristo­craticall, and to be administred by some certain choice men, al­though the state, which manie unskilfully confound with the go­vernment, be after a sort popular, and democraticall. By this it ap­perteyns to the people freely to vote in elections and judgments of the church: in respect of the other we make account, it be­hoves the Elders to govern the people even in their voting in just li­bertie,1 Cor. 12. 28 1 Tim. 5, 17 Heb. 13, 17. given by Christ whatsoever. Let the Elders publiquely pro­pound, and order all things in the church, & so give their sentence on them; let them reprove them that sin, convince the gain-sayers, comfort the repentant, and so administer all things according to the prescript of Gods word: Let the people of faith, give their assent to their Elders holy and lawfull administration: that so the eccle­siasticall elections, and censures may be ratified, and put into so­lemn exequution by the Elders, eyther in the ordination of officers after election, or excommunication of offenders after obstinacie in sin.

[Page 39] 2. We doubt not but that the Elders both lawfully may, and ne­cessarily ought, and that by vertue of their office,Act. 20, 18. to meet apart at times from the bodie of the Church, to deliberate of such things as concern her welfare, as for the preventing of things unnecessarie, so for the preparing (according to just order) of things necessarie, so as publiquely, and before the people, they may be prosequuted with most conveniencie, and least trouble that may be.

3. By the people whose libertie, and right in voteing we thus avow, and stand for; in matters truly publique and ecclesiasticall, we do not understand (as it hath pleased some contumeliously to upbraid us) women, and children; but onely men, and them grown, and of discretion: making account,1 Cor. 14, 34, 35. 1 Tim. 2, 12. that as children by their nonage, so women by their sex are debarred of the use of authoritie in the Church.

CHAP. V. Of Holy-dayes.

IT seemeth not without all leven of superstition, that the Duch reformed Churches do observ certain dayes consecrated as holy to the Nativity, Resurrection, and Ascention of Christ, and the same also (as it commonly comes to passe where humain devices are reared up by the side of divine institutions) much more holy then the Lords day, by him himselfe appoynted.

And for this, first we are taught by Moses, thus speaking unto the people of Israel in the name of the Lord.Exod. 31, 13 Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep for it is a signe between me and you thoroughout your genera­tions that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctifie you, that it appertayns unto God alone (and to no man, or Angel) as to sanctifie whether person, or thing, so to institute the signes, or means of sanctification, of which number holy dayes are. I ad, if the Lord as lehovah, and the God of his people Is [...]ael, and su­pream Lawgiver,Exod. 20. do ordeyn the sanctification of a day in the de­calogue, how far should Gods servants be, eyther Magistrates [Page 40] from takeing this honour of God unto themselves by commaund­ing a holy day; or subjects by observing it to give the same unto any other save God alone?

2. It was not the least part of Israels defection, first in the wil­dernes, afterwards under Ieroboam; that they ordeyned a [...]east to Ichovah, whom they represented to themselvs by the goulden calvs which they had made.

3. Seeing that every first day of the weeke (called by Iohn the Lords day) is consecrated by Christ himself and his Apostles to the memoriall of Christs resurrection, and Gods solemn worship; it seems too much for anie mortall man to appoint, or make an anni­versarie memoriall (and the same most solemn and sacred) of the same resurrection, or so to observe it.

Lastly, that you may see it was a man, from whom this device came, and so erred, as one saith (not to meddle with the uncertain­tie either of the day of the month, or month of the yeare in which Christ was born, as it is most certain on the contrarie that, this 25 of December cannot be the time, what good reason (I would know) can be rendred, why a day should be consecrated rather to the birth, circumcision, and ascension of Christ, then to his death, seeing that the Scriptures every where do ascribe our redemption and salvation to his death, and passion in speciall manner?

CHAP. VI. Of the celebration of Mariage by the Pastours of the Church.

SIxtly, and lastly, we cannot assent to the receaved opinion and practise answerable in the Reformed Churches, by which the Pastours thereof do celebrate marriage publiquely, and by vertue of their office: [...]. 3, 16, [...]. because

1 The holy S [...]r [...]pture divinely inspired, that the man of God, that [Page 41] is the minister, may be perfitly furnished to every good work, doth no where furnish or oblige the minister to this work.

2. Marriage doth properly and imediately appertein to the fa­mily, (which is primarily framed of man, and wife) and Citties,K [...]ch [...]m. cu [...]s phyl. d [...]p. 28, c. 6. and other politicall bodies consisting of manie familyes. Seconda­rily, and mediately to the common wealth, and publique gover­ners of the same: who therefore weighing their office, and what concerneth them doe accordingly, in the low countries, come­lily, and in good order [...]y that knott of marriage amongst such theire subjects, as require it at their hands.G [...]n. 1, 27. & 2, 22. Chem. [...]xam. part. 2 of mar. Neither did God as a minister joyn in marriage our first parents (as some would make him) but as their common father by right of creation, and the chief maister of the marriage: neither ought the Pastours office to be streched to anie other acts then those of religion, and such as are peculiar to christians:Bu [...]anu [...] in Commo [...] pla­ces. amongst which marriage (common to Gentiles as well, as to them) hath no place.

Lastly, considering how popish superstitition hath so far pre­vailed, that marriage in the Romish church hath gott a room a­mongst the sacraments, truly, and properly so called, [...] and by Christ the Lord instituted; the celebration, and consecration whereof the patrons, and consorts of that superstition will have so tyed to the priests fingers, that, by the decree of Evaristus the first, they account the marriage no better then incestuous, which the priest consecrates not; it the more concerns the reverend brethren, and Pastours of the reformed Churches to see unto it, that by their practise they neither doe, nor seem to advantage this popish errour. And these are the points of our difference frō the Belgick churches: which are nei [...]her so small; as that they deserv to be neglected, es­pecially of them unto whom nothing seemeth small; which pro­ceeds from the gracious either mouth or spirit of the Lord Iesus: nor yet so great, as to dissolv the bond of brotherly charitie, and communion.

If any now shal object, that there are yet other things beside these, in which we consort not so well with them, nor they with us; as for example, 1. In the sanctification of the Lords day, in which we seem even superstitiously rigid. 2. In a certain popular exercise of prophesi amongst us: 3. In our dislike of the publique Tem­ples, [Page 42] and sundry other indifferent things, as they are termed; be­sides, that we are accused by some for not having in due estimation the magistrates authoritie in matters of religion; I do answere, and first, that in the two first of these, the same Churches do not differ from us in judgment, but in practise: as appears evident­ly by the Harmonie of the Belgick Synods lately published by S. R. Of the former of those two, the author of the same book, testifieth in his Preface to the Reader, pag. 11, 12. that the Synod held at Middleborough in Zeland, 1581. did supplicate unto the magistrate, that by his authoritie he would decree the sanctification of the Lords day, abolishing the mani­fould abuses thereof. That sanctification then of the Lords day which the reformed churches do endeavour unto, and desire to have for­tified by the magistrates authoritie, that we (considering it as imme­diately imposed by Christ upon his churches) by the grace of God, labour to perform, being thereunto induced by these, amongst other reasons.

CHAP. VII. Of the sanctification of the Lords day.

FIrst the sanctification of the Sabboth is a part of the Deca­logue, or morall law, written in tables of stone by the finger of God: of which Christ our Lord pronounceth, that no one [...]o [...]e, or title shall passe away. Math. 5, 18. Now if it be unpossible for one title of the law to be dissolved, much more for a whole word, or commande­ment, and one of ten; by which it should come to passe, that Chri­stians now were not to count of ten commandements of the moral law, but of nyne onely.

If reply be made that the fourth commandement is so ceremo­niall, that notwithstanding it hath this morall in it, that some tyme be assigned, and taken for the publique ministerie, and exercises of religion, I answer:

1. That the same may be said in generall, of the Mosaicall cere­monies whatsoever: all, and everie one whereof affoardeth some­thing [Page 43] morall. For instance, The Mosaicall Temple, or Tabernacle had this morall in it, and perteyning to us, as well as to the Israe­lites, that it was a fit and convenient place for the Church assembly. Is therefore the precept for the tabernacle as well morall,Exod. 25, & 26. Exod. 20. as that for the Sabboth? Is it alike a part of the decalogue, and morall law? Is it alike one of the ten Commandements?

2. If the morall sanctification of the Sabboth stand in this, that sometime be assigned to the publique ministerie, then were the Is­raelites, especially the preists, and Levites, bound to an everie day sabboth and sanctification morall,Num. 29, 38 being bound everie day to offer in the tabernacle, and temple, two young lambs, the one at morning, the other at evening for a daylie sacrifice.

3. If the second precept of the Decalogue do in the affirmative part injoyn all outward instituted worship of God; then also by consequence it requi [...]es some set time (as a naturall circumstance ab­solutely necessarie to everie finite action) in which the same wor­ship is to be performed. In va [...]n then is the fourth commandement, and to no purpose, if it injoyn nothing at all, but that which was injoyned before, namely in the second.

4. The verie essence of the fourth commaundment consists in this, that a day of seaven be kept holy, that is separated from com­mon use, and consecrated to God, in wh [...]ch as in a holy day the works of divine worship, and such as serve for the spirituall man ought to be exercised, as appears plainly by the reason taken from Gods example, upon which the commandement is founded. Take this away, and the life of the precept seemeth to suffer violence. The truly godly take some tyme for the exercises of Gods worship not onely publique, and Ecclesiasticall, but private also, and dome­sticall: yea in their closets, as Christ teacheth. Yet are not these either times, or places, in which such things are done, then others ar [...] ▪ Eyther therefore a day in it self must be holy, by divine institution, or the Decalogue is may [...]ed in the fourth commandement.

But you will doubtlesse object the change made from the last daie, to the first day of the week. I answer, 1. that change is mee [...] ­ly circumstantiall, & in which also the essence of the precept i [...] not abolished, but established. As for example. God promised unto children duly honouring their parents a long life in that land (to wit ofEx [...]d. 20. [Page 44] Canaan, then to be possessed by his people) which the Lord thy God gave unto them. Ephes. 6, 2. The same promise by the Apostles testimonie still stands good to obedient children, though out of Canaan, and in another land, so doth the same precept stand in force for the san­ctification of the sabboth, though removed to another of the seven dayes by the Lords hand.

2. It is evident that this alteration was made both upon weigh­tie ground, and warrantable authoritie. The ground is Christ our Saviours resurrection from the dead:2 Cor. 8. 17 in wh [...]ch mans new creation (at least in respect of Christ working the same in the state of humi­liation for that [...]nd undertaken) was perfeited: a new kinde of king­dome of God, Luke 7, 28. after a sort established: and, as the Scriptures speak, all things made new. And why not also a new sabboth after a sort? in which yet notwithstanding the former (as [...]he creation also by Christ [...] is not so properly abolished, as perfited.

The authoritie upon which this change lea [...]eth, is no lesse then of Christ himself: who, first, by word of mouth for the fortie dayes after his resurrection,Calv. in Act 1, 3. Ioh. 20, 19 26. Luke 24. 36 [...] Gen 2, 2. taught the disciples the things, which ap­perteyned to the kingdom of God, that is, as Calvin saith, whatsoever things they published either by word or writing afterward. 2. By his example, or fact, setting himself in the middest of the same his Apostles, the first day of the week, and as Iunius saith, everie eigth day, till his ascension into heaven: & therein not onely blessing them with his bodily, but much more, with his spirituall, and that speci­all presence. 3. By his spirit speaking in his Apostles, whose of­fice it was to teach his disciples to observ what things soever he had com­manded them, Mat. 28, 18. Act. 20, 26. 1 Cor. 4, 1. and to declare unto them the whole counsail of God: who also in their whole ministration were to be reputed none other then the ministers of Christ, and lastly whose both writing (& preachings accordingly) even about order and comlines to be kept in the church exercises were the commandements of the Lord Iesus. 1 Cor. 14, 37 Agreable here­unto it was, that the Apostle Paul coming to Troa [...], and there with his companie abid [...]ng seven dayes, Act. 20, 66, 27. he did not till the first day of the week (which yet was the last of the seven) call together the a [...]sciples to eat bread, 1 Cor. 16, 1, 2. that is to communicate in the Lords supper. Hereupon al­so it was, that the same Apostle ordeyned, that on everie first day of the week, as on a day sanctified for the holie assemblies, and [...]ttest [Page 45] for most effectuall provocations to the supplying of the necessities of the poore Saints, everie one of the richer sort, should lay something apart, as God had blessed him, for the releif of the Churches in Syria, at that tyme oppressed with great penurie, and want. Lastly upon none other ground but this, was this day, by Iohn the Apostle, na­med expresly the Lords day, Rev 1. 10▪ [...]gnat ad Magnes. [...]ull. Martyr. Apol. 2. Tertull. de Idol Eus [...]b. l. 4, 23 de Dionis. August. de verb. Apoll. serm. 15. as being consecrated to the resurrection and service of the Lord Iesus: for which end also it was kept in the primitive Churches, as appeareth by most ancient and authen­tick writers. Neyther did Pathmos more distinctly denote a certain and known Iland, and Iohn a certain and known person, then did the Lords day a day certain, and known especially unto Christians, unto whom the Apostle wrote. Whereunto also agreeth that of Austin, This Lords day is therefore so called, because on that day the Lord rose again, or that by the verie name i [...] might teach us, how it ought to be consecrated to the Lord.

The second reason is, because the sanctification of the Sabboth (the circumstantiall change notwithstanding) doth as well belong to us in our times, as to the Israelites in theirs; whether we respect the Reason of the commandement, or the end. The reason is taken from the example of God himself, who rested the seventh day from the works of creation. The ends are, 1, that we framing our selvs to Gods example, after six daies spent in servile works, or works of acquisition, might rest the seaventh. 2. That we might recount with our selvs, not onely with thankfull, but also composed hearts, as the creation of man,1 Pet. 1, 3. and of all other things for mans good, so al­so his re-creation, & renovation clearly shineing in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. 3. That sequest [...]ing our hearts, tongues,Esay 58, 13. and hands from everie servile work (so far as humain infirmitie will bea [...]) we might cons [...]crate unto God a certain and set time, & day, for the works of pietie towards him, and of charitie towards men. And albeit the state of Israell of ould compared with ours,Gal. 4, 1. was childish, and elementa [...]ie, and so needed the more helps both for restraint, and supportance; yet have not we atteyned to such manlike perfection, as that we need none at all in this kinde.

And (not to meddle with the table of Christians, whose ave [...]s [...]es from the due sanctification of this day gives no obscure testamonie, that the same is sacred, & of God, from which their prophane con­versation [Page 46] so much abhorreth) how behooffull, and necessarie it is for the true worshippers of God, that for some certain, and whole day they should emptie, and disburden their hearts of their earthly cares (though in themselves lawfull) that so they might wholy con­secrate themselvs to God, publiquely in his house, and privately in their own; partly by preparing themselvs, and theirs for the pub­lique worship, and ministrie, & partly by calling to minde in them­selvs, and instructing, and examining of those which belong unto them, as they ought, touching the things which they have publique­ly heard; as also in m [...]ditateing of the most glorious works of Gods hands, the verie experience of everie godly, and devout man may teach him. He that sels himself to the holy, and severe obser­vation of this the Lords Sabboth, turning away his foot from the Sab­both, not to do that wherin he delighteth, Esay. 58, 13, 14. on the Lords holy day, & calling the Sabboth a delight, the holy of the Lord, & honourable and shall honour him, not doing hi [...] own wayes, nor performing his own pleasure, or speak­ing his own words; then shall he delight himself in the Lord, and he will cause him to [...]ide upon the high places of the earth, and feed him with the heritage of Iacob his father, because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it: Where as on the contrarie, no man doth or can neglect the same without apparent prejudice and wrong to pietie, and goodnes both in himself, and those under him. To let passe other things, how easily doth this thought steal into the heart not thoroughly perswa­ded of the holynes of this day? what now! There is in the day no holynes by Gods appointment, save onely, as in it, the publique sermons of the church with prayer, and thanksgiving are to be fre­quented, and performed: for me to be present at everie sermon, speciallie made in the cittie, both on the Lords day, and everie o­ther day of the week, my speciall calling, and worldly affairs will not permit: Besides, it were verie commodious for me on this Lords day, to make an end of such or such a work which I have in hand, to deal in such a busines, to undertake such a journey; And what should hinder me from so doing? But provided alwaies, up­on this condition, that look what this day wants, the morrow, or next day shall plentifully supply: or, if it so fall out, thorough mine importunate bu [...]sines, that I bee something more behinde this week in these things, I will certainly, and at the furthest, the [Page 47] next week be so much the more frequent in them, and so make God, and my soul amends. And why (as is the guise of ill debters) will not men desire, and take longer day, even to months, and years also? considering how on the one side the heart of man is dayly faster taken & held by the bait of worldly profit, and pleasure; and on the other, lesse affectioned to Gods holy word, by the lesse fre­quent hearing of it. And hence, alasse, cometh it to passe, that true pietie languisheth so much in the most, and with it such other christian vertues as use to accompanie it. Hence flow those tears of sorrow, and lamenting, which no true christian casting his eyes upon the reformed churches can forbear.

The third Reason is taken from that Apostolicall determination (wrested by many to a contrarie meaning) Coloss. 2, 16, 17.Colos. 2, 16. 17. Let no man therefore judg you in meat, or drink, or in respect of a feast or new moone, or sabbaths; which are the shadow of good things to come, but the bodie is Christ. Whence it appeareth more then plainly, that onely those sabboths are abolished by Christs comeing in the flesh, which were types and figures of Christ to come, of which sort as there were not a few instituted of God by Moses, so doth this Apostle here, and elswhere sufficiently declare the abrogateing, and abolishing of the same by Christ. But that the Sabboth, of which we now speak comes in that reckoning we plainly deny.

For, 1. In its primary institution Gen. 2. there can nothing be found not wholy morall. Let a man haveing many e [...]es as Argus, search the same with a candle, he seekes (as we say) a knot in a bul [...]ush, if he think to find in it any either shadow of Christ, or shadow of shadow. If any shall except, that God by Moses did enjoyn unto the Israelites the sanctification of this day, that it might be a signe between him, and Israel throughout their generations, Exod. 31, 13. that they might know, that he is the Lord that doth sanctifie them, I do an­swer, first, in the words of Arminius,Armin. in theol. disp. pr [...]v. p. 186, 187. that the Reason upon which God did afterwards commend unto his people, the sanctification of the sabboth because it was a signe between God and his people, that it was Iehovah that sanctified them, may be applyed to the times of the new testament, & further with them also the sabboths sanctification. 2. Admit that this use were ceremoniall, and typicall in the fourth comman­dement, yet were there no force in the consequence from one end [Page 48] & use typicall, and ceremoniall, superinduced, and brought in up­on the precept, to prove the precept it self ceremoniall, and ty­picall in the institution. By the same reason it may be affirmed, that both the Covenant of God made with Abraham, I will be thy God, Gen. 49, 3. and the God of thy seed, as also the right of the first born, for a double port on, & manie things more of like consideration, were merely ceremoniall, and typicall, seeing that even unto them also, were annexed, and that by Gods appointment, divers typicall, and temporall respects:Gal. 3. 8, 16, 17. of which notwithstanding none soundly minded will deny, that the one is euangelicall, and the other na­turall. 3. Considering that the observation of this sabboth was either injoyned (as I perswade my self it was from Gen. 2, 1, 2, 3. & Exod. 16, 26, 30.) to Adam, in innocency and not yet needing Christ; or at least, that the reason of the institution did fit the state of innocencie as well, as it did the Israelites afterward I doe undoubtedly conclude, that the same Sabboth in the primarie, and essentiall institution thereof is not to come upon their file, which as the shadows of future things had Christ for the body.

Fourthly, I argue from that premonition of Christ Math. 24, 20. Pray that your flight be not in winter nor on the Sabboth. Mat. 24, 20 I am not ig­norant how the most divines both ancient, and later do under­stand this sermon (as Chrisostom saith) as made of the Iewes; seeing that,Chrisost ho [...] 77. [...] Mat. 24. as the same authour hath it, neither the Apostles did observ the Sabboth day, neither yet were they in Iudea when these things were done of the Romans: many of them having departed this life, and the rest (if anie survived) having bestowed themselvs in other places. But (with due reverence to them all be it spoken) it seemeth by the text to be otherwise. For 1. Christ made not this sermon to the Iewes, [...]. 3. as Iewes, but to his disciples, and those alone, and the same comming unto him secretly to be taught by him: whom he fore­warned in the same place how that first at the hands of the Iewes in Iudea, and after, of the Gentiles every where, they should be e­vill intreated for his names sake. v. 3, 4, 9. 25, 26. with Luke 21. 12. Secondly, our Saviour in saying Pray ye, makes it plain, that that he speaks of them, and their associates unto whom he speakes, to wit, Christians. Lastly how could it be that Christ, who by his death (now drawing so neare as that there was but a [Page 49] step unto it) was to abrogate, and abolish all Iewish ceremonies, and shadowes, should to carefully provide for the so religious ob­servation of a shadowish, and ceremoniall sabboth: and that not for a day or two, but for so many yeares after the same his death; Could anie thing more weightie be spoken by Christ, or which could more deeply imprint in the hearts of men a religious regard of the Sabboth, then that it behooved them to obte [...]n by prayer at Gods hands, that they might not be const [...]eined unto that thing although permitted them of God in case of urgent necessitie, which might violate and interrupt the publique, and solemn sanc­tification thereof; It is true then which Chrisostome saith, that the Apostles did not observ the Sabboth, to wit, Iewish: but the Chri­stian Sabboth, o [...] Lords day they did undoubtedly celebrate.

The fift and last Reason may be fetcht from the verie Gentiles themselvs, who directed by the glimps of the light of nature, how darkly soever shineing in them, had their holy daies, and some of the same such, as in which not so much as the pleading,Var [...] and deter­mining of suites were admitted. It seemeth naturall, that some day, and morall that some day certain, and distinct, be sacred unto God: and the same (as Iunius saith) every seaventh day): [...] Gen. 2, 2. in which men forbearing all servile works, may consecrate, and give themselvs to God in the duties of pietie, and of charitie to men. Which with what hinderance unto the one, and other is everie where neg­lected, can scarse either be uttered, or conceaved. For what tra [...] ­va [...]l if upon the overslipping of the most seasonable seed-time, a slender harvest follow; or that (the market day being neglected) penu [...]ie of provision should be found in the family; We christ an [...] have the Lords day by the Lord Christ assigned us for the exercises of pietie, and mercie, in which he offers, and exhibits h [...]rself in the fruits of his gracious presence in a singular manner to be seen, and injoyed of his, religiously observing the same. Let us at no hand (as alike unmindfull of Gods ordinance and mans infirmitie suffer) the fruit of such a benefit to dy in our hands: but let us accordingly acknowledg the same in thought, word, and work, to his honour, and our own good.

CHAP. VIII. Of the exercise of Prophecie.

THere are they (whose names I forbear, for their credits sake) who have not spared, and that in their publique writings, to lay to our charge, that we will needs have all, and everie member of the Church a Prophet, and to prophesie publiquely. With what mindes they let loose their tongues to utter these, and manie mo most false and absurde vituperies against us, we leav it to God to judg, who knoweth: with what conscience, and desert of cre­dit therein, unto thee (Christian Reader) into whose hands this our Apologie shall come.

We learn from the Apostle Paul 1 Cor. 14, 3. that he who pro­phesieth speaketh unto men to edification, exhortation, & comfort: which to perform conveniently, and as becomes the church-assemblie, we make account comes within the compasse but of a few of the mul­titude; happily two or three in each of our churches, considering their weak, and depressed estate. Touching prophesie then we think the verie same, that the Synode held at Embden 1571 hath decreed in these words. 1. In all churches, whether but springing up, Harm Synod [...]. pag. 21 22. or grown to s [...]me ripenes, let the order of prophesie be observed, according to Pauls institution. 2. Into the fellowship of this work are to be admitted not onely the ministers, but the teachers too, as also of the Elders and Dea­cons, yea even of the multitude, which are willing to confir their gift re­ceaved of God, to the common utilitie of the Church: but so as they first be allowed by the judgment of the ministers, And as the A­postle somet [...]mes said,2 Cor. 4. 13. We beleev, and therefore we speak, so because we beleev with the Belgick churches, that this exercise is to be ob­served in all congregations, therefore we also observ it in ours.Luke 2, 46, 47 & [...] 4, 15, 16. Ad. 8, 4 n [...]th 11 19, 20. 21. & ch. 13. 14 15 16 & ch. 18, 24, 25, 26, & [...] Of this our both faith & practise, we have these amongst other speciall foundations.

The first we fetch from the examples in the Iewish church, where libertie both for teaching and disputing publiquely both in temple and synagogue, was freely given to all gifted accordingly, without respect had to any office.

[Page 51] If any object, that the examples of Christ, and the Apostles in this case are incompetent, seeing that Christ was furnished with his own, and the Apostles with his authoritie; he alledgeth that which is true in it self, but to small purpose; considering we lay not our foundation in this, that Christ and his Apostles so d [...]d; but in that libertie so to do, was alwaies, and in all places graunted, & some­times offered them. This libertie they obteyned not by the au­thoritie of Christ, which the Rulers of the Synagogues & Temple no more acknowledged then they did Christ himself: but by the order then receaved, and still continued to this day amongst the Iewes,In. 18, 18. that they whom with the Scriptures they call wise men, with­out all regard of publique office, having any word of exhortation to the people, should say on, as we have it written Act. 13, 23.Mat. 23. 34. 1 Cor. 1, 20. Where­unto [...]ad, that divers of them in whom we instance were furnished with no such authoritie specially from Christ.

The second we take from the Apostle Paul 1 Cor. 14▪ where to the full, he informeth the church at Corinth of the order of that exercise, which they had formerly violated. [...] 1 Cor 14 [...] P. 1. [...] on 1 Cor. 14, 31. Which whole order (ac­cording to Bezaj is apparently taken, from the receaved custom in the Iewish Synagogues. Which custom saith Peter Martyr) seeing it was of [...]uld both good and laudable in the synagogues of the Iewes, the Apostle disdeyns not to transfer it to the church of Christ. of which also he ten­ders this reason, because it was not a legall ceremonie, but servs to the edification of the Church. If this be so, then must they needs take their marks amisse, who imagine that the Apostle in this place speaks of the extraordinarie gift, and exercise of prophesie. And although it be not like, that the Church of Corinth was, in that so plenteous effusion of the gifts of the spirit, altogether destitute of extraordinarie prophets, yet that the Apostle did not in that place aime at them, may be proved by manie mo, and the same (as I think) firm arguments drawn from the self same text. Which that I may do the more commodiously, the prudent reader must call to minde, that upon the foundation of the extraordinarie prophets, [...]ph. 2, 20. as well as of the verie Apostles, the church is built; and that that mysterie of Christ, ch. 3, 4. 5. by the spirit immediately, and infalliblie inlightining their minde, was in the same manner, though not in all in the same degree, revealed to them, and the other.

[Page 52] This so considered, 1. It seems altogether unprobable, that so manie Prophets of this ranke (although inf [...]riour in gifts) should have been found in that one small congregation, as the Apostle in­sinuates ver. 24, 29, 31, that Corinth had.

2. The Apostles in Corinth not onely behaved themselvs inor­dinately in the church, but withall (as by interpreters from ver. 29, and 32 is generally delivered were subject to errour in the verie doctrine which they propounded; which to affirm of the extraor­dinarie Prophets, these skilfull m [...]ister builders, who together with the Apostles la [...]d the foundation, together participated the same holy spirit, seemeth not a litle to shake the foundation of Christian religion. And if one of these extraordinarie prophets might [...], why not they all: And [...] the Prophets, why not the Apostles. And [...]f they might [...], how should it appear, that they have not cried? And so by consequence, what either then was, o [...] now is the firmnes and certaintie of the Christian fa [...]th?

3. Seeing that the Apostle ver. 34, 35, injoyns women deep si­lence in this church exercise, not permitting them a all to speak; it seems most plain that he hath no [...]y, nor respect at all, to these extraordinarie gifts and endowments of prophesie authorising even women furnished with them,Fool 15, 21. Iudg. 5, 1. [...] Kin. 22, 14 [...] 2, 36. Apoc. 2, 20. to speak publiquely, and in mens pre­sence, as appears in Mirjam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna, as also even in Iezabel her self in regard of order, and others.

Lastly, the Apostle ver. 36, upbraideth those verie Prophets un­to whom he directeth his speach, as such, as from whom the word of God came not: but without cause, yea not without notable injurie, if they were extraordinarie Prophets, that is, inspired with the holy Ghost, and his immediate instruments: seeing that from these kinde of Prophets, as well as from Paul the Apostle the word of God came, though in different degree, and measure.

The third foundation of this exercise is laid in the manifould, and the same most excellent ends atteynable onely by this means. 1. That God may be glorified, whilst everie one doth administer to ano­ther the gift, 1 Pet. 4, 10, 11. which he hath receaved, as good dispensers of the ma [...]ssuld grace of God. 2. That the spirit be not extinguished, that is the gift of prophesie,1 This. 5, 9 2 [...]. or teaching; in which it may so come to passe, that some in the church, though no ministers, may excell the verie pastours [Page 53] themselvs. 3. That such as are to be taken into the ministerie of the church,1 Tim. 1, 3. 1 Ioh. 4. 1. Apo. 2, 2, 7. with c. 1, 11. may both become, and appear apt to teach. This seeing the Apostle would have done, he would questionlesse have some order for the doing of it: which, excepting this of prophesie, we have none of Apostolicall institution. 4. That the doctrine of the church may be preserved pure,See [...]. Acent. [...]ra­ [...]ag. [...]ath. pag. 168, 169. Iuke 2, 40. & 4, 21, 2 [...]. Act. 17, 2. & 18, 24, 26, 28. 1 Cor 14 35 [...] l. 6, c. 12, 3 [...] 1 Cor. 14, 4, 24, 25. Act. 20 28. [...] a­gainst Tu [...]. S [...]h. pa. 67, 68. [...] Mart. in 1 [...]. 14, 29. from the insection of errour: which is far more easilie corrupted, when some one or two alone in the church speak all, and all the rest have deep, and perpetuall silence enjoyned them. 5. That things doubtfull arising in teaching may be cleared, things obscure opened, things [...] convinced; and lastly, that as by the beating together of two stones [...] appear­eth, so may the light of the truth more clearly [...]hine by disputations, quest [...]ons, and answers modestly had, and made, and as becomes the church of Saints, and worke of God. 6. For the edification of the church, and conversion of them that beleiv not: and this the raither because it apperteyneth not properly to the pasteurs, as Pa­stours, to turn goats or wolves into sheep, but raither to [...] the flock and sheep of Christ, in which the H. Ghost hath made them over­seers. 7. And lastly, lest by excluding the commonaltie and multitude from Church affairs, the people of God be devided, and charitie lestened, and familiaritie, and good will be extinguished between the order of mi­nisters and people.

CHAP. IX. Of Temples.

TO speak nothing of the office of the Christian magistrate in demolishing the monuments, and snares of Idolatrie (which these Temples want not, if themselvs be not such) I account that the consideration is one of a temple, [...] 2, 15. as a temple, that is, a holy place, as it is counted of the most, consecrated either to God him­self, or to some Saint (made therein a false God,Pet. Mart [...] 2 [...]. 10, 27. though being a true Saint) whose name it bears; and which for its magnificent building, and superstitious form agrees far better to the [...] re­ligion [Page 54] pompous, and idolatrous as it is, then to the Reformed,Ioh. Wolph [...]n 2 King. 17, 19, and 19, 6. and Apostolicall simplicitie. And another, and the same far divers, of a place, although in the house sometimes consecrated for such a temple, partly naturall, which is simplie necessarie to everie [...] action; partly civill, in which the church may well, and conveni­ently assemble together. The former use I deem altogether un­lawfull; the latter not so, but lawfull, provided alwaies that the opinion of holines be removed, and withall such blemishes of su­perstition, as wherewith things lawfull in themselvs are usually stayned.

CHAP. X. Of things indifferent.

VVE do so repute manie things as indifferent, or mean in themselvs and then own nature (& as houlding a middle place as it were, between the things simplie commaunded, and the things simplie forbidden of God, as that the same things being once drawn into use, and practise, do necessarily undergoe the re­spect and consideration of good or evill. This the Apostle teach­eth 1 Corinth. 14. in his so diligent warning the Church of Co­rinth, that all things be done decently, in order, and to edification. The things then thus accounted indifferent, when they once come into use in the church, do either work the exercises of religion the more comely, orderly, and edificative, and are such as without which, the same exercises cannot be performed but confusedly, un­comelily, and un [...]iuitfully, at least in part, or els they swarve from the Apostolicall Canon. With this commaundement of the Apostle, yea of Christ the Lord, agrees the rule of the phylosophers, The ac­cessorie fell [...]w [...]th the nature of the principall. For example. Let the principall, as they speak, be some naturall good thing, the verie least accessorie or circumstance, by which this principall is rightly, and orderly furthered, and promoted undergoes also the conside­ration of a naturall good. The same rule houlds in actions civill: [Page 55] much more in the things, which appertein to religion, and Gods worship. I therefore conclude, that the least [...]ite, or ceremonie ser­ving rightly, and orderly to further the principall act, and exercise of religion, doth worthily obteyn, after a sort, the respect and de­nomination of a religious, and ecclesiasticall good thing: which principall act if it do not truely, and effectually promote and ad­vance, it is a vain addition at the best, beseeming onely vain purpo­ses, and persons,Math. 15, 9. which worship God in vain, teaching for doctrines mens traditions: seeing whatsoever is to be done in the church, is al­so, and first to be taught, that so it may be done.

2. Whatsoever hath being in nature, is some certain thing first, and properly, and to be reduced to some certain, and distinct head. Now all things whatsoever in use, either in, or about Gods wor­ship, may and must be referred necessarilie to some one of these three heads. Eyther they are things naturall, and simplie necessarie to the exercise; of which sort are the naturall circumstances of time, and place, without which no finite action can be performed: also for the administring of Baptism, either a fonte or other vessell to hould water: and so for other adjoints absolutely necessarie for the administring of the holy things of the Church: or secondly, they are things civill, and comely: as for example, A convenient place in which the church may conveniently, and comelily meet to­gether, not a stable, or swynestye, also that habit of the minister, that coveting of the L. Table, those ministring vessels, and other accessories, and appurt [...]nances whatsoever, without which the holy things of God, cannot be dispensed so [...]villy, and comely, as is meet. Or lastly, they are properly things sacred, and holy, and by consequence, parts of externall divine worship: and the same either commaunded by God, and so lawfull, or of mans devise, & there­fore superst [...]t [...]ous.

Now if any shall further ask me, what power then I ascribe ey­ther to the civill magistrate, or Church-governors for mak [...]ng lawes about things indifferent? I answer touching Church-gover­ners first,Izec. 44. 11 Ma [...]. 20. 2 [...]. 2 Cor. 4, 5. 1 Pet. 1, 3. being to treat by and by of the Magistrate, that no such power, to speak properly, belongs unto them; as being not Lords but servants of the church, under Christ the onely Lord thereof: ex­ercising, as saith Austin, from Christ, and the Apostles a m [...]mb [...], [Page 56] not a Lordship: and who therefore are to learn, if ther will be c [...]ment with their [...],August of the [...] of God l. 19. B [...]r [...]t. of Caus. [...]. 2. Which [...] them, that a [...] better becomes them, then as [...]pter, as Bernard speaketh, For to [...]ake lawes, by all mens graunt, belongs to them, and them onely, who do swey [...]pters, [...] Lords [...].

Moreover the holy scriptures everie where teach, that the high­est Church-officers, and governers are but ambassadours of God, and interpreters, and proclaymers or cryers of his word. But nei­ther [...] nor interpreter, nor cryer, no nor the herald, the most honourable of all proclaimers, [...] contr. 3. l. 5, c. 7, or publishers of Edicts, can commaund any thing [...] of the least matter by his own authoritie, as lunius sayth rightly. It is certain, that the governers of Churches do stand in need of wisdom and discretion for the applying, & determining of the common rules of order and comlynes taken from the Scri­pture, and common sense, to certain cases, and according to certain circumstances: But what makes this for the power of making lawes in the Church? which as M. Perkins makes account, is a part of Christs prerogative royall: [...] c. 18. considering withall, that neyther the Church, not the meanest member thereof is further bound unto these their determinations, then they apper to agree with order, and comlines: neither are the ministers in any thing at all, (as are the magistrates in manie things to be obeyed for the authoritie of the commaunder, [...] on 2 [...]. of [...]. but for the reason of the commaundment, which the mini­sters are also bound in duetie to manifest, & approve unto the con­sciences of h [...]m over whom they are set.

CHAP. XI. Of civill Magistrates.

VVE beleev the verie same touching the civill Magistrate with the Belgick reformed Churches, and willingly sub­scribe to their confession: and the more, because, what is by many restreyned to the Christian Magistrate, they extend indefinitely, and absolutely to the Magistrate whomsoever. And that surely upon [Page 57] good ground: seeing the magistracie is one, & the power the same, whether the person be christian or heathen: neither is there wanting in an heathen magistrate (that he might rule as he ought) authoritie of order, but will of person: neither is his power increased by the accession of christianitie, but onely sanctified, as is first his person. The Prince rules over his subjects, as he is a Prince, and they subjects simply, not as faithfull or christian, he or they. One­ly Christ the Lord of our faith hath the faithfull (as faithfull) for his subjects: neither are the subjects of Kings as subjects, [...]ame part of the church, but of the kingdom. [...]p of Ch [...]. to [...]citus [...]. 35.

Besides, there is one and the same christian faith of the Prince and subject, and all things common unto both, which spring from the same; seeing that in Christ Iesus there is neither servant, nor freeman, I ad neither magistrate, nor subject, but all are one in him. As therefore none, no not the least power of publique admi­nistrat on comes to the subjects by their christianitie; to neither is the Princes, thereby at all increased. And indeed how can it? The ma­gistrate though [...]-Heathen hath power, as the minister of God for the good of his subjects to command and procure in and by good,R [...]n. 13, 4. and lawfull manner, and means, whatsoever apperteines either to their naturall, or spirituall life, so the same be not contrarie to Gods word: upon which word of God if it beat, God forbid, that the christian magistrate should take libertie to use or rather abuse his authoritie for the same: which yet if he do eyther the one, or other, whether by commanding what God forbids, or by for­bidding what God commaunds, seeing it comes by the fault of the person, not of the office, the subject is not f [...]ed from the bond of allegiance, but as still tyed to obedience as active for the doing of the thing commanded if it be lawfull, so passive, if unlawfull, by suffering patiently the punishment though un­justly inflicted.

Lastly if anie civill, and coactive power in things whether ci­vill, or ecclesiasticall, come to the magistrate, by his christianity, then if it so fall out that he make defection from the same, whe­ther by idolatrie, or heresie, or profanes, it must follow, that thereupon his kingly power is dim [...]nished, and abridged: where­by how wide a window, or gate rather would be opened to sed [...]ti­ons [Page 58] subjects under pretext (specially catholick) religion, to taise tumults in kingdoms, no man can be ignorant.

CHAP. XII. Of the Church of England.

THere remains one, and that a great matter of exception against us, and the same the fountain well nigh of all our calamitie: to wit, that we seem evill-affected towards the church of England, and so averse from the same, as that we do no lesse then make a plain secession, and separation from it.

I answer, First, that our fayth is not negative: as Papists use to ob­ject to the Euangelicall churches, nor which consists in the con­demning of others, and wipeing their names out of the bead- [...]oul of churches, but in the edifying of our selvs: neither require we of anie of ours in the confession of their fayth, that they either re­nounce, or in one word contest with the church of England, whatsoever the world clamours of us this way. Our faith is foun­ded upon the writings of the prophets, and Apostles, in which [...]o mention of the church of England is made. We deem it our dutie what is found in them to beleev with the heart to righteousnes, and to confesse with the tongue to salvation. Rom. 10, 10▪

Secondly, we accord (as far as the Belgick, and other Reformed churches) with the Church of England in the Articles of faith, and heads of Christian religion published in the name of that church, and to be found in the Harmonie of the Confessions of fayth.

Thirdly, if by the Church be understood the Catholick Church dispersed upon the face of the whole earth, we do willingly ac­knowledg, that a singular part thereof, and the same visible, and conspicuous is to be found in the land, and with it, do professe and practise what in us layes, communion in all things in themselvs law­full, and done in right order.

But and if by the word Church be understood a spirituall poli­tick body, such as was in her time, the Church of Israell; and in hers [Page 59] the church of Rome, Corinth, the seven churches of Asia, and others with them partaking of the same Apostolicall constitution, and as unto which do apperteyn the Oracles of God, Sacraments, Cen­sures, Government, and ministerie ecclesiasticall, with other sacred institutions of Christ; I cannot but confesse, and professe (though with great greif) that it is to us matter of scruple, which we cannot overcome, to give that honour unto it, which is due from the ser­vants of Christ to the Church of Christ, rightly collected, and constituted.

And, that there may be place left in the eyes of the prudent Rea­der for our defence in this case, so far forth as equitie and reason will permit, he must once, and again be intreated by me, seriously to weigh with himself, and in his heart, this one advertizement following.

That a man may do a thing truely pleasing, and acceptable to God, it sufficeth not, that both the door in his person be accepted of God, the thing done commaunded by God, and that he do it with good, and holy affection before God, except withall, and first he be possessed of that state, & condition of life, which may affoard him a lawfull calling to that work. That a man, though never so good, with never so good a minde, should exercise the office, or do (though the best) works of a Magistrate, father of famillie, hous­band, steward, citizen, or messenger, except he were first lawfully called, and preferred to the state of a Magistrate, maister of sam [...]lie, housband, or the like; so far were he from deserving anie praise for so doing, as on the contrarie he most justly incur [...]ed the censure of great rashnes, and violation of all order in familie and common wealth; as taking unto himself that honour, unto which he was not cal­led of God. He [...]. 5. 4. The same houldeth, and that specially in course of Re­ligion, which is the specially state of mans life: so as if anie either as a Pastour dispence the holy things of the ministeriall Church, with­out a lawfull pastorall calling going before; or participate in the same, out of a just, and lawfull Church-state; neither that dispen­sation, nor this participation can be warranted, but both the one, and other are usurpations, and in which is seen not the use, but ab­use of holy things, and confusion of order. And as it behoveth everie person first to beleev, and know, that he is truly a Christian, [Page 60] and partaker of the grace of Christ, before he can hope to please God in the performance of this or that particular Christian work; so doth it also concern everie Christian to provide, that he be first possessed of a just, and lawfull Church-order, before he so much as touch with his least finger the holy things of the Church there­unto proper, and peculiar. Proper, I say, & peculiar, amongst which I do not simpl [...]e reckon the hearing of the word, which both lawfullie may, and necessarily ought to be done, not onely of Christians though members of no particular church, but even of Infidels, prophane persons, excommunicates, and any others: as being that in which no communion spirituall passeth, either eccle­siasticall, or personall, between the teacher, & heater, but accord­ing to some union ecclesiasticall or personall going before: seeing that Christian saith comes by hearing the gospell, by faith union, & from union communion.

This thus prem sed, I will speak a few things of the Church of England; not by way of accusation of it, but for our own purga­tion in the eyes of the godly, and equall Reader, of the imputed c [...]ime of Schism, so far as truth, and equitie will bear.

And first, seeing that the people of God is materially (as they speak, the church of God, it is required to the constitution of a ho­ly Church of God,Rom 1, 7. 1 Cor. 1, 2. 2 Cor. 1, 1. that the people be holy, or saints and sanctified i [...] Christ Iesus: truely, and internally in regard of God, and their own consciences; externally, and in appearance in respect of others, whom it concerns to discern and judg of them, according to the word of God, and rule of charitie. And considering that our que­stion is about the Church externall, and visible, as it is called, we are not so fond, or raitha [...] frant [...]ck, as to require, in respect of o­thers, other holynes in the members thereof, then that which is vi­sible and externall.

Now how marvaylous a thing is it, and lamentable withall, that amongst Christians anie should be found so far at ods, with Chri­stian holines, as to think that others then apparently holy at the least, deserved admittance into the fellowship of Christs church, and therewith of Christ? Do, or can the grat [...]ous promises of God made to the Church, the heavenly blessings due to the Church, the seales of divine grace given to the Church, ap­perteyn [Page 61] to others then such? Are others to be admitted into the fa­milie of God, the kingdom of Christ, and as it were the suburbs of heaven? The Church of God is by him called, and destinated to advance his glorie in the holynes of their lives, and conversations;Calvin in 1 Conn. c. 5. what then have those to do with it, or it with those, who, as Calvin saith,Idem in Rom. 2, 24. live not but with Gods dishonour? For they, as the same author both truly and holily affirmeth) who are called, and accounted the peo­ple of God, do bear as it were in their forheads, the name of God, where­upon it cannot but come to passe, Revel. 4. 8. that before men even God himself after a sort should be steyned with their filth. And this I deem the raither to be observed, seeing that there are to be found, and these not a few, who would thrust upon the churches of our thrice holy Lord, a ve­rie stage-like holynes: stoutly striveving to make it good, that to constitute a true, and lawfull member of the visible church, no more is required, then that a man with his mouth confesse Christ, although in his works he plainly declare himself to be of the syna­gogue of Sathan.Tit. 1, 16. But what saith the holy spirit of these impure spi­rits? They professe they know God, saith the Apostle, but in their works they deny him, being abhominable, and rebellious, and to everie good work reprobate. Are abhominable persons to be brought into the temple of God? rebellious persons into the kingdom of God? such as are reprobate unto everie good work into the familie of God,1 Cor. 5. which is as it were the Storehouse of all good works? If anie one that is called a brother, be a fornicatour, or covetous, or idolatour, or rayler, or drun­kard, or extortioner, or anie waie a wicked one, such a one by the A­postles direction, is to be expelled, and driven out of the churches confines. And seeing that, as one truly saith, It is a matter of grea­ter contumelie to thrust out, then to keep out a guest, with what consci­ence can such plagues be receaved into the church, to the purgeing out wherof the same church, furnished for that end with the pow­er of Christ, stands in conscience bound? or by what authoritie I pray, can such persons be compelled into the bosom of the spouse of Christ, as for the expelling of whom far from her fellowship,1 Ioh. 1, 6. & imbraceing all authoritie ought to conspire? He that saith he hath fellowship with God, and walks in darknes is a lyer, and doth not truly. Profession of Christ therefore with the mouth,Ioh. 8. 40. in those that work the works of darknes, and so by consequence, that by which a man [Page 62] is raither branded for a naturall child of the divell, then marked for a true member of the Church.Psa. 101, 7. Lastly, David that holy man of God, and tipe of Christ, doth holily professe, that he who works deceipt, shall not continue in his house: And shall the workers of decept, and of all wickednes not onely be admitted, but even constreyned into the house of the living God,Psal. 93, 5. which the church is: O Iehovah, holy­nes becometh thine house to length of dayes. Which notwithstanding (a sicknes desperate of all remedie) that so it stands with the Church of England, no man to whom England is known, can be ignorant: seeing that all the natives there, and subjects of the kingdom, al­though never such strangers from all shew of true pietie, and good­nes, and fraught never so full with manie most heynous impieties, and vices (of which ranck whether there be not an infinite, and far the greater number, I would to God it could with anie reason be doubted) are without difference compelled, and inforced by most seveere lawes civill & ecclesiasticall, into the bodie of that church. And of this confused heap (a few, compared with the rest, godly persons mingled among) is that nationall church, commonly called the Church of England, collected, and framed. And such is the materiall constitution of that church. But if now you demaund of me, how it is formally constituted; & whether upon profession of fayth, and repentance (in word at least) made by them of years, any combynation, and consociation of the members into particu­lar congregations, (which consociation doth formally constitute the ministeriall Church, and members thereof, as both the Scrip­tures and reason manifest) either is, or hath been made since the uni­versall and Antichristian apostasie and defection in poperie? No­thing lesse; but onely by their parrish perambulation, as they call it, and standing of the houses in which they dwell. Everie subject of the kingdom dwelling in this or that parrish, whether in cittie, or countrie, whether in his own or other mans house, is thereby, ipso facto, made legally a member of the same parrish in which that house is situated: and bound, will he, nill he, fit, or unfit, as with iron bonds, and all his with him, to participate in all holy things, & some unholy also in that same parrish church.

If any object, that yet the minister of the parish may suspend from the supper of the Lord flagitious persons, and so by com­plaint [Page 63] made to M. Chancelour, or M. Officiall, procure their ex­communication; to let passe, that this is meerly a matter of form for the most part, and a remedie as ill, as the disease, I do answer, that even by this is proved undeniablie that which I intend: viz. that all these parrishioners before mentioned, are not without, 1 Corin. 5, 11, 12. but within, and members of the Church (and the same, as before con­stituted) whom she judgeth.

There is besides these a third evill in the way, and the same as predominant, and overtopping all other things in that church, as was Saul higher then all the rest of the people: and with whose Reho­boam-like [...]inger we miserable men are pressed, and oppressed: and that is, the Hierarchicall church government in the hands of the Lord Bishops and their substitutes: (the verie same with that of Rome, the Pope the head onely cut off, upon whose shoulders al­so many, though not without notable injurie, would place the su­preme Magistrate) and administred by the self same Canon law.

Now this vast, and unsatiable Hierarchicall gulfe, swallowing up and devouring the whole order,Park. eccles. pol 3, 35. and Hier. gene­rally. and use of the presbyterie, and therewith the peoples libertie, and withall, by M. Parkers testimo­nie (with whom a Bishop in England is the Pastour of the whole dio­cesse, and the Priests or ministers, onely his delegates and helpers) the verie office of the Pastours themselvs, as did the seaven lean, and evill favoured kine the seaven fat, and the seaven wizened ears the seaven full that went before them, Gen. 41. and so by consequence, not being of Christ the Lord,2 Thes. 2, 4. but of him rayther, who opposeth and advanceth himself against whatsoever is called God, or is worshiped; so as he sits in the Temple of God, as God, 1 Chran. 29, 11, 12, 13, 19. (for unto God alone dwelling in his Temple it apperteyns to appoint the offices of the ministers, & to prescribe the peoples bonds) our hands are bound by that supreme, and sole authoritie of Iesus Christ in his Churches, upon which both the order of Presbyterie, and libertie of people, and office of Pastour are founded,1 Cor. 5, 4. and from whom as the one onely Lord, all ecclesiasti­call power floweth,ch, 12, 5, 28. and by whom all ministeries are instituted, from giving any the least honour or obedience to the same hie [...]archicall exaltation in it self, or its subordinates, which (as phylosophi [...] tea­cheth) are one with it.

Wherein yet I would not so be understood, as if we were at anie [Page 64] defiance with the persons of the Bishops, much lesse with the kings civill authoritie whereof they are possessed, whether in matters ci­vill or ecclesiasticall.Rom. 14, 14 Of their persons their own Lords shall judg, to whom they stand or fall. There have been of that ranke who in our Marian da [...]es have preferred the profession of the truth of the gos­pell before their lives: I hope there are also of their successours, who, if pressed with the same necessitie (which God forbid) would give the same testimonie, though at the same rate, unto the same truth of God revealed unto them.

Now as concerning their civill authoritie; albeit we do not be­leev, that the same is at all competent to the true ministers of the gospell, especially in that eminencie, externall glorie, and pompe of this world, in which they far exceed manie worldly princes, and rayther seem to represent the tryumphant, then the militant church; yet for so much as they both obteyn the same by the gift of the king, and exercise it in his name, we do not unwillingly yeald ho­nour, and obedience unto it, and to his majestie in it.

But whereas it seems unto manie plain, and evident, that we may adjoin our selvs to the Church of England without any subjection, or relation unto the spirituall government, and governers thereof; that is altogether beyond our capacities: neither can we compre­hend it, how it may be that he, who subjects, and joyns himself to anie publique, and politique bodie, or communitie, whether spiri­tuall, or civil, becomes not in so doing, ipso facto, subject to the publique government, and governers thereof, and undergoes not a relation, and respect actually unto them. They raither are with all seriousnes to consider, how faythfully, and sincerely they quit themselvs, and their consciences before God, and men, who con­tending, and proving in and by so manie words, and arguments, that the hierarchicall government is papall, and Antichristian, do neverthelesse submit themselvs thereunto both in the respect, and relation politicall formerly mentioned, and also in acts properly ecclesiasticall, into which the ecclesiasticall government, and spiri­tuall policie of the church doth necessarily diffuse it self. Now I do earnestly entreat thee, whosoever thou art, acquainted with Bel­gick, or raither Christian libertie,Theodoret. Dial. 1. and either free from the mists of prejudice, or if anie way prejudiced, yet not chusing raither to serve a [Page 65] preconceaved opinion, then to follow an apparent truth, that thou woul­dest truly & ingenuously tell, whether if the Magistrates here (from which they are far) should by publique edict, under severe penaltie constreyn all, and everie the native subjects of the countrie into the bosom of the church, without anie difference made, either in re­spect of fayth or manners, according to the place of their habita­tion, and should set over this church so collected and constituted, an Hierarchicall Bishop provinciall or diocesan, in whose hands alone, with his Officials, Chauncellours, Commissaries, Archdea­cons, and other Court-keepers, canonicall authoritie should be pla­ced, to constitute and depose ministers, excommunicate, and ab­solve both ministers, and people, yea whole churches (yea with the living the dead, that they may obteyn Christian buriall): whether now in this confused heap, and under this spirituall Lordship, thou wouldest endure to remain either Pastour or member. I suppose not.Colos. 2, 5. You (brethren) have not so learned Christ; whom you acknow­ledg both for the author of your faith, and instituter of your order ecclesiasticall. Neyther yet we, having learned otherwise by the grace of God. Christ the king doth gather, and form unto himself another kinde of kingdom amongst men, and the same to be admi­nistred by other officers, and according to other lawes. And if no place upon the face of the [...]ruth should be free for us (poore crea­tures) refusing upon meer conscience of God (as thou God the judg, and searcher of hearts knowest) to commingle, and prosti­tute our selvs in and unto this confusion, and domination hierarchi­call, we have most assured hope, that heaven it self is open for us by Christ, who is the way, and whom in this dutie also we do serve, in which we shall at the length be fully free from this, and all other incumbrances.

Our adversaries bear in hand not onely others, but even us our selvs also, that we do for certain trifleing matters, & as they speak, circumstantiall corruptions, sequester our selvs from the Church of England. And as nurses use to lisp with children, so they, that they might discend to our capacities, do oft and much instruct us, that unworthie members must be born in the church, especially of private per­sons; that some corruptions at least in the discipline and externall rites, are to be tolerated; that there may be the temple of God, though propha­ned; [Page 66] the holy cittie though without a wall; the feild of the Lord, though the enemie sowtares amongst the wheat; also a heap of wheat, though much chaffe commingled therewithall. And that we, dul-bayards as we are; may at the length conceav those things, they verie seriously inculcate & whet upon us in these & the like considerations: as that the Israelitish church in its time was steyned with almost all enormities, both for manners and fayth: that [...]nto the same all Israelites and Iewes whatsoever without difference, were violently compelled by King Iosiah and others; as also, that in the parable, all were compelled to come to the mariage, good and bad, that the house might be filled. Lastly, that in the Apostolick Churches themselvs, there were not wanting some who practised, and others who taught vile, and evill things: that in one place the discipline was neglected, in another the verie doctrine of fayth corrup­ted, and manie the like matters, which it were to long to repeat.

Surely, foolish were we if we knew not these things, impu­dent, if we denyed them to be true for the most part; and lastly, unequall, if we acknowledged not, that manie the same, or like blemishes after a sort, will, and do creep into the Churches of our dayes: which yet to disclaym as unlawfull for the same, stood nei­ther with wisdom, nor charitie. But the prudent Reader may plain­ly observe by the premises, that they are other matters, and of grea­ter weight, for the most part, wherewith we, and our consciences are pressed.

We do not judg it an evill intollerable (though greatly to be be­wayled) that evill men should be suffered in the church; but that all of most vile, and desperate condition, that such, and so great a kingdom affoards, should thereinto will they, nill they, be com­pelled: nor that the discipline (as they call it) or ecclesiast call go­vernment instituted by Christ, is neglected or violated, but that a­nother plain contrarie unto it is set up by law, and fully, and pub­liquely everie where exercised: Neither lyes our exception against any personall, or acc [...]dentarie profanation of the Temple, but against the faultie frame of it, in respect of the causes constitutive, matter and form: Neither strive we about the walles of the cittie, but about the true, and lawfull citizens, the policie and govern­ment of the cittie of God, and essentiall administration of the same.

But to give more ful satisfaction to the indifferent reader, it seems [Page 67] worth the labour to descend particularly to a few, and the same the cheifest objections made on the contrarie behalf. And of them, that which may and ought to be said touching the Church of Israel, & its condition compared with the christian churches seems to deserve the first place. And touching it; first, the constitution of the Church of Israel is not to be considered in that whole, much lesse apostaticall, na­tion, but in holy Abraham, from whom it came, & in whom it was ho­ly, as the lump in the first fruits, & the branches in the holy root: Rom. 11, 16. and that by vertue of the gratious covenant, I will be thy God, & the God of thy seed, Gen. 17. 7. first contracted with Abraham himself, & after renued with his seed, whole Israell. But now to affirm any such thing of the whole English nation were foolish; to prove it impossible.

2. God doth not now a daies select,Exod 10. 6. L [...]v. [...]0 25. & seve [...] from others as his pe­culiar, anie whole nation or people, as sometimes he did the people of Israel, both ecclesiastically, & civilly:Act. 10, 35. but in everie nation they who feare God, & work righteousnes are accepted of him. These, in what natiō soever combyning together in holy covenant, and worshiping God after the prescript of his H. word are that holy nation, the common wealth of Israel, 1 Cor 5, 10. the Israel of God, the temple & tabernacle of the living God, in which he hath promised to dwell: these he would have scattered in all places of the world, & to hould intercourse with the men of the world in the com­mon affairs of this life, for their gaming if it may be unto Christ:Act. 2, 42. God adding dayly unto the church such as should be saved. Whereas on the con­trarie, unto the church of England, whereof all natural English are to­gether, & at once made members, it can hardly be, if at all, that anie at anie time should be added.

3. The verie land of Canaan was legally holy, [...] 19, [...], 25. Gen. 14. [...]. & the land of the Lords in­heritance, & whose fruit was to be circumcised, & her sabbaths kept, by the Lords appointment: & in which alone by divine [...]ght [...] were to be payed. And as holy things are not to be mingled with, or prost [...]tuted unto prophane, so neither was anie place in this land to be permitted unto prophane persons to dwell in. The seven prophane nations, which formerly had inhabited it, [...] 7, 15 Num. 1 [...]. 13. were altogether to be destroyed by the Israelites being to possesse it for their inheritance, neither was mercie to be shewed them. After, if any, whether born in the land, or strangers, did ought with an high hand, he was to be cut off from among his people. [...] 15. 12 1 [...]. Herewith accords that of David the king, I will betime destroy all the wicked of the land. Lastly, [...]e that did not seek the Lord God of Israell with all his heart, was to be put [...] [Page 68] death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. Far be it from God­ly princes, & other potentates in the world, to think, that it behooveth them in this rigorous manner to deal with their subjects: although there want not, who partly from a preposterous, & Iudaizeing zeal, & partly to serv their own ambition, cease not to inculcate unto the kings of the earth, above that is meet, the examples of the kings of Iudah.

4. It is not true that the kings of Iudah or Israel did const [...]yn any into the church by force, or compel them to undergo the condition of members, but only being members, to do their dutie. All the Israel [...]tes and posteritie of Iakob, had their part in the Lords covenant: unto which also they were bound to stand under perill of cutting off from the Lords people, both spiritually & bodily, according to the dispensation of the ould Testament in the land of Canaan. But of this our question is not for the present: That neither is to be considered, whether king David, Salomon, Iehosaphat & others did force circumcision, & other Mosaicall institutions upon the Edom [...]tes, Ammonites, and others by them subdued, & held in civill subjection; or whether they compelled them by coactive lawes, would they, nould they, fit or unfit, into the Church of God. That this was so, cannot be affirmed with modestie: which yet except it so were, hath nothing in it, which e [...]ther can hurte our cause, or help our adversaries.

Lastly, he who well weigheth with himself what legall, and typicall holines was in use of old in Israel, shadowing out the true, & sp [...]ritual holines; and withall by how much, both the more clear revelat on of heavenly things, & more plenteous grace of the spirit [...]s afforded to the churches since Christ, then was formerly to Israel, he shall see manie things making for the tolerating of much in Israel; which in us [...] plain­ly intollerable:See Rev. 2, 5. and 3, 16. & [...]thall Par [...]u [...] on 1 Cor. 7, 11. and that God will not use that patience & long-suffer­ing towards any church now, nor permit, or wink at those things in it, which for the hardnes of their hearts, he bore in that ancient people.

The parable of the tares Matth. 13. followeth; with which as with some thunderboult, men both learned, and unlearned think us beaten all to fitters.

But first, these words, Let both grow togither till the harvest, v. 30. (frō which alone they do dispute) Christ the Lord doth not expound nor meddle with, in the opening of the parable: from them therefore nothing firm can be concluded. 2. Christ him [...]elf interprets the feild, not the Churh, but the world v. 38. as also the harvest not the end of the [Page 69] Church, but of the world, v. 39. And if by the world, you understand the Church, you must needs say, that Christ in the expounding of one parable, used another. 3. Both the text it self,vers. 28, 29, 30, 31. & reason of the thing do plainly teach that he doth not speak at all of excommunication, which servs for the bettering of the tares, but of their finall rooting up to perd [...]tion. Lastly, admit Christ spake of men apparently wicked in the Church,Se [...] S [...]ee. of ch. di [...]cip. 2 part m [...]th. 2. p. 24, 27, 25 28. either not to be excommunicated in certain cases (which with Gellius Snecanus I confidently denie) or not excommunicated as they ought to be, & therefore to be born of private members; the for­mer of which is too ordinarie, especially in Churches enjoying peace, & prosperitie: the latter of which (the Church not being desperately bent on evill) I easily assent to, yet doth this place affoard no medicine for our grief; which ariseth not from any corrupt, or negligent ad­ministration of the Churches discipline, thorough the car [...]lesnes or want of wisdom (it may be too much wisdom such as it is) of the ad­ministers thereof, which are personall things; but from the verie con­stitution of the church it self, & subject of ecclesiasticall both govern­ment and power. Yea, I ad unto all these things, that we for our parts are willing in the busines, and controversie in hand to appeal unto the tribunall of this verie parable, and that expounded by our adversaries themselvs, & do willingly condiscend, that by it alone judgment be given in this matter.

Our Saviour Christ doth plainly teach, that this feild was sown with good seed alone; & that after, whilst men slept, the enemie, the divel came, & sowed [...]ares amongst the wheat. But on the contrarie, in the sowing the English f [...]ld, whether we respect the nat [...]onall or parochiall churches, together with the wheat the tares, & that exceeding the other infinite­ly, were at first, & yet are sown, & that of purpose, & under most severe penalt [...]s. And hence is the first & princ [...]pall pr [...]judice to our English harvest, & frō which I conceav all the rest to come. For unto this Ch. thus clapped, & clouted together of all persons of all sorts, & spirits without difference, no man equally & prudently weighing things, can denie, but that the pompous & imperious Hierarchicall government, together with all its accessories doth right well accorde.

To the things objected from the parable of the mariage Luke 14. & Mat. 22. I onely answer, that those servants were the Prophets and Apostles; the son Christ himself; the compulsion to be made no other­wise, then by the preaching of the word: by which, as Calvin hath it, [Page 70] God doth importunately sollicit our slo [...]thfulnes, not onely pricking us with ex­hortations, Calvin in Math. 22, 9. but cōpelling us with threatnings to come unto him: which word of God as it is by some wholly contemned, so doth it extort from o­thers, onely an externall & hypocritical obedience, but by manie is re­ceaved, through the blessing of God, with al holy & devout affection.

Now unto these pa [...]ables of Christ manie are wont, and that very busily, to annex one of their own. A heap, say they, of wheat although it have much chaf mixed with it, & the [...] more in quantitie then the wheat is, [...] notwithstanding truly, & is rightly termed a heap of wheat; according to the Phylo [...]ophers rule, The den [...]mination to not of the greater, but better part.

I answer; first, that this axiom is not simply true: for if in the church, or any other convention popular, or in which things passe by voyces, the greater part hap to exceed the better, the denominat on of that pas­sage, or decree, and so the whole processe of the matter, is according to the greater, though the worser part.

2. The chaf in that wheat is either of the same wheat, or of other, & brought from els where: if of that same, then it makes nothing to the present purpose, since wicked men appe [...]ein not to the persons of the godly, no [...] are their chaf: if of other, & from els where, it may easi­ly be added in that quantitie & proportion, as that neither it may de­serv the name of an heap of wheat, but of chaf; nor he that sels it for wheat, of an honest merchant, but of a deceiptfull impostour.

4. The things objected from the Apostolicall Churches are alto­gether personall, & accidentall; from which that the churches gather­ed of men, and by men governed, should be exempted, is [...]aither to be desired, then hoped for. But for us, the things which most afflict us in the Ch. of England, & presse us in the respect fore-mentioned to a se­cession from the same, do concern the verie materiall, & formall con­stitution of the ministeriall church, together with the essentiall admi­nistration of the Church-policie. And how different these things are, who seeth not?

Lastly, it is objected, that in the Ch. of England lively faith, & true pietie are both begotten, and nourished, in the hearts of many, by the preaching of the gospell there. God forbid, that we should not ac­knowledg that, & withall, that infinite thanks for the same are due to Gods great power & goodnes, both in respect of our selvs and others: Who notwithstanding the great confusion, both of persons, and things [Page 71] there to be found, vouchsafeth to his elect so plentifull grace, cover­ing under the vayl of his superaboundant goodnes & mercy, by their [...]ncere fayth in Christ Iesus, their sins & aberrations, whether of ig­norance, or infirmitie. What then must be done? should we continue in sin, that grace might abound? or shall we against knowledg go on to walk inordinately, because in our ignorance God hath vouchsafed us of his grace in that disordered state of things? without the ministerial church (of which we speak) the preaching of the gospell both may, & useth to be had, & by it sayth to be ingenerated, except christian churches be to be gathered of infidels & unbeleevers. Besides, what Minos, or Rha­ [...]amant will deny, that even in the bosom of the Romish church some fa [...]thfull persons may be found? how much more in that of England, in which the main truths of the gospell, the most & greatest errours of poperie being banished, are taught by so manie godly & learned men, with such zeal, and earnestnes? Now what of these things? Is it there­fore lawfull for a Christian, eyther to content himself with himself, without joyning to any christian congregation; or to continue still in the bosom of the church of Rome, as a member under the Pope th [...] head? I therefore conclude out of M. Brightman, whose words I had raither use then mine own,M. Bright on Rev ch vers. 26. speaking of the government & ministerie of the Church of England, The fruit, to wit, of the word preached, doth no more exempt from blame our corruptions, then a true child doth adulterie.

And here thou hast (Christian Reader) the whole order of our con­versation in the work of Christian religion, set down both as breifly, and plainly, as I could. If in anie thing we [...]er, advertise us brotherly, with desire of our information, & not (as our countrimens manner for the most part is) with a minde of reproaching us, or grat fying of o­thers: and whom thou findest in errour, thou shalt not leave in obsti­nacie, nor as having a minde prone to schism. E [...]re we may (alasse too easily): but heretiques (by the grace of God) we will not be? But & if the things which we do, seem [...]ight in thine eyes, (as to us certainly they do) I do earnestly, & by the Lord Iesus admonish and exhort thy godly minde, that thou wilst neither withould thy due obedience frō his truth, no [...] just succour from thy distressed brethren. Neither do thou indure, that either the smalnes of the number, or meannes of the [...]ondition of those that professe it,Ter [...]u [...] pre [...]er [...] Heret. should prejudice with thee the pro­ [...]ssion of the truth: but have in minde that of Te [...]tullian, Do we mea­sure mens faith by their persons, or their persons by their faith? as also that [Page 72] of Austin,Austin against Maxim. 3, 14. Iames 2, 1. Let matter weigh with matter, and cause with cause, and rea [...] with reason: but especially that of the Apostle, My brethren, have [...] the faith of our glorious Lord Iesus Christ in respect of persons. But now, it so come to passe (which God forbid) that the most being eyther fore­stalled by prejudice, or by prosperitie made secure, there be few found especially men of learning, who will so far vouchsafe to stoop, as to look upon so despised creatures, and their cause; this alone remaineth that we turn our faces & mouths unto thee (o most powerfull Lord, & gratious father) humbly imploreing help from God towards those, who are by men left desolate. There is with thee no respect of per­sons, neither are men lesse regarders of thee, if regarders of thee, so the worlds disregarding them. They who truly fear thee, and wo [...] righteousnes, although constreyned to live by leav in a forrain land, exiled from countrie, spoyled of goods, destitute of freinds, few in number, and mean in condition, are for all that unto thee (O gratious God) nothing the lesse acceptable: Thou numbrest all their wandrings, and puttest their tears into thy bottels: Are they not written in thy book? Towards thee, O Lord, are our eyes; confirm our hearts, & bend thine ear, and suffer not our feet to slip, or our face to be asha­med, O thou both just, and mercifull God. To him through Christ be praise, for ever, in the Church of Saints; and to thee (loving and Christian Reader) grace, peace, and eternall happines. Amen.

FINIS.

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