OR A MEDITATION TEN­DING TO STILL THE passions of unquiet Brownists, upon Heb. 10.25.

Wherein is Iustified, against them, that the blessed Church of England

  • 1 Is a true Church.
  • 2 Hath a true Ministry.
  • 3 Hath a true Worship.

By ROBERT ABBOT, Vicar of Cranbrooke in Kent.

Mat. 11.19.

Wisedome is Justified of her Children.

Hosea 2.1.

Say to your brethren Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

LONDON, Printed by Thomas Payne for Philemon Stephens and Christopher Meredith, and are to be sould at their shoppe at the signe of the Golden Lyon in Saint Pauls Church-yard. 1639.

REverendo in Christo Pa­tri ac Domino, Domino Gualtero Episcopo Wintoni­ensi, serenissimae Majestati ab Eleemosynis, Aureae Pe­riscelidis Praesuli Clarissimo, Domino suo intimè ob­servando,

Robertus Abbott librum hunc, quo Celebritas Anglicanae Ecclesiae, ministerij, & cultus, asseritur, & qui Ecclesiae matri, ut pacifici amoris pignus dica­tur, ad perpetuam observantiae Justae memoriam, ut magno in eadem Ecclesia Patri, ejusdem­que causae Patrono, humili­ter dat, & consecrat.


DEare and blessed Mo­ther) thou hast been long pestered with undutifull, yea un­naturall sons. Some­times they have beene superstiti­ous, sometimes prophane, and for some yeares, some that have professed themselves best to God, have beene undutifull to thee. It is an ill signe, if children acknow­ledge a father, and deny a mother, that all hath not beene well Doest [Page] thou live in perpetuall adulteries and rebellions that thy children renounce thee? Surely thy love is to thy husband alone. Though when thy husband knowes of it, and hee doth not mislike it, nay, gives thee generall allowance, thou takest some ornaments and Iewels from blessed and good men▪ yet is thy heart to Christ continually, yea and all thy carri­ages are according to his will. Many of thy worthy sonnes have vindicated this truth both against Rhemes, and Amsterdame. They could not indure that their mo­ther should be called whore, much lesse prooved so. Amongst the rest, I thy unworthy sonne have appeared in thy cause, renouncing all the bloud in my heart that ri­seth against Christ, and thee his spouse. If I appeare of too mild a [Page] temper, thou hast not begotten me of murthering mettle, but of that word which makes us turne speares, and swords into mat­tocks and sythes. How soever I look, I am sure I am thy child. And if I have done thee any honour in this poore service, I am glad: if not, yet I have done the best that I thought fit for these opposers; and so with my humble prayers for the flourishing, and increase of thy peace and truth, I kisse thy hand, and rest

Thy obedient sonne to his utmost power, ROBERT ABBOT.

TO THE COVRTEOVS AND CHRISTIAN READERS, ESPECIALLY TO HIS OWNE Parishioners, grace, and truth, and peace, with the Churches of God in CHRIST.

DEarely beloved) I have lived now by Gods gratious dispen­sation, above fifty yeares; and in the place of my allotment two and twenty full. How unprofitably so ever in the dayes of my vanity, when the world, the flesh, and the Devill, bore sway; yet, through undeserved grace, painefully, ever since the weight of a peoples care was noticed to my consci­ence. I have had great labours, some watchings, many strifes, and con­tentions, [Page] with my selfe, and others, a­bout truth, and godlinesse. And though I have earnestly contended that the mouth of the oxe might not be muzled, that treadeth out the corne, but that J, and others of Gods labourers, [...]ight live honorable of the gospell, and at the Altar, at which we serve, as Christ hath ordained: yet (with a good conscience) I can say as the Apostle, I have coveted no mans gold, or silver, or apparrell: I have loved, and desired to spend, and to be spent, though the more I love, the lesse I am loved of some few

I know that J must lay downe this tabernacle, and the time of my dissolution is not farre off. Therefore doe I more seriously beginne to thinke of my state: and doe set upon it to exa­mine how I am like to be presented be­fore the tribunall seate of God. Whē I thinke of my sinnes, and manifold [Page] infirmities I feare & quake, through the sight of the maiesty purity and iu­stice of God: but when I think of Christ the mediator of the new testament, and of the infinite value of his bloud of­fered in the dearenesse of Gods love, and applyed & rested on by faith, which the holy Ghost in a saving measure hath given me; I approach with confi­dence and the lifting up of my head.

But, till that time come I lie under the expectation of flouds of sorrowes, streames of temptations, and other hu­mane infirmities. I pray that J may doe nothing that may dishonour Christ my master, and that I may suffer no­thing that may drive me from him and his service. J know that the wasters of grace are strong, and many, and that no goodnesse is entayled to us without great care and vigilancy. I know that sinnes and afflictions are the two great enemies of perseverance. [Page] And though sinne be the most power­full, which yet (through grace) I have learned to trample upon with the con­stant acts of piety and charity, accor­ding to my measure, yet afflictions are my next care, which if they bee slighted, will make secret inrodes to hind [...]r peace with God

My afflictions have not beene so weighty as millions of Gods deare saints have felt. In this Gods grace hath beene marvellous, because hee knowes my weakenesse to beare, and my unwor­thinesse to bee a souldier in that war­fare: yet have they not beene so lit­tle, as that they have not made me work enough. It is grievous to bee slighted of them whom a man dearely loves and to have contempt powred upon that which comes in fulnesse of strength, and tendernesse of affection to doe good. Jt is hard not once scarce to be thanked, for constant travels to [Page] edifie and save soules. It is something to see respects fly abroad in full mea­sure to strangers, when nearer relati­ons are forgotten.

But to bee persecuted by the tongues of those a man deserves well of, and to be privily smitten of those from whom best incouragements are due, will wound the heart of a David though he be after Gods owne heart. J have of long suffered words of dimi­nution and disparagement. They have beene my meate, drinke, and cloathing. Though when I have beene downe the wind of weakenes, feeblenesse of spirit ha [...] given advantage for a deepe impression, yet (blessed be God) as strength hath appeared I have kicked at them with chearefulnesse, though pride and folly hath sometimes mis­interpreted this also.

I have often looked into the cause. Lord, what have I done? Have I [Page] not lived like thy servant, though with much sensible weakenesse? have I not laboured in thy vineyard with all my strength? have J not taught thy truth by taking heede to reading and doctrine? yes surely, saith my conscience I have kept back none of thy counsell, I have not strengthened the hands of wick­ednesse. I have loved the godly, as such, though I have hated their indis­cretions, as well as my owne. J have been kinde and courteous to those that have ill rewarded me. Onely, this is the truth, J have loved the Church of God amongst us, and the whole go­vernement ecclesiasticall, and tempo­rall If any thing have appeared harsh, I have excused it a [...] I was bound. I have not indured to heare publike scandalls to bee layed upon them. I have opposed gainesayers with earnestnesse of spirit, others will [Page] say, like a man, but J will say, and J am sure, like a minister.

This hath fallen upon darke melan­cholick, high lookt, and sowre natures, and so hath suffered a disgust. Some have beene sowred, but sweetned a­gaine with the trade of the good word of God, and the practise of affability. Some have beene estranged till this contracted folly hath beene digested. Some have complayned of chiding, when my nature can chide nothing but sinne and disorder: and some have hardned themselves in error, and schisme. To crosse me (I feare) and my tenets for the Church, they have revenged upon themselves.

What these few will gaine in the issue I doe not know. This (I doubt) that they will repent, if greatnesse of sto­mack will let them looke backe againe, when it is too late. But for you (my good people) in whose hearts God [Page] hath writ mee by the preaching of Christ, and his truth, ye have not so runne in vaine. Ye will not be delu­ded with their pretences and sweet words. Yee have heard formerly from me all these grounds, and oppositions of Brownisme, which here J present unto you: and here have J thus ad­dressed them for you, that they may keepe you from that snare of simple ones, and that they may ever lie by you, when J am dead, and with my Christ, to keepe you upright in the waies of our blessed Church.

I know that some of you beare a deare and tender affection to these few seduced ones, though now they will not heare you. Ye have lived in the same Church together like friends: ye have delighted in the same word of God, prayer, and sacraments: yee have sweetly comforted one another in the private communion of Saints: and [Page] ye see that still they seeme to live un­blameable lives towards men, and that they pretend to delight still in the word of Christ, which is the onely rule of salvation. These things will give great advantage to them to worke upon you, and to you to keepe intimate familiarity with them. But (in the feare of God I beseech you) take heede: weigh well what in this discourse J say, and God give you understanding in all things. Jt is no small charge to unchurch a church, to unminister a ministery, and to unworship a worship. They must be sure of their hands, that they can, and will answer it to Christ with con­fidence when they have done it. To doe it with a trembling heart, is to doe it a­gainst conscience. To doe it with full assurance of understanding, is to doe it with sure warrants, and precepts of Christ. If they have such against our [Page] Church, I am sure we shall finde them: if not let them goe, if they will, but follow not them in the breach.

To keepe you out of it, I have done as J doe: and to gaine them too, if they will not bee resolved without grounds. J am sure they shall have no iust cause to except against my dealing with them. They may except against me, as an English Priest, and Bishops creature, as I heare, but shall never against my course with them. I have dealt with them with matter more then with words: and because they pretend to two things, to the scriptures, and to conscience, and I know a third thing in them, weakenesse. Therefore have J dealt with them accordingly. J have compared scripture with scrip­ture, to finde out the truth, but cannot finde theirs. I have dealt [Page] conscionably with them in fighting with that onely weapon against them, of their owne choosing, the word of Christ. And because they are weake, I have not shewed my selfe a man in giving them any bitter language, or exasperating termes. As the barking of one dogge begets the barking of another, though it bee a­gainst the Moone: so is it with high words, and therefore it were glorious, and above a man, if it were layed downe on all sides, and partakings. But as the waves of the sea, when they meete not with a rocke, but with the sands, they returne backe-againe with a wate­ry flash: so have J done by them, that all our matters may be done in love.

Indeede I have taken their affe­cted name out of their mouthes, se­paratists; [Page] and given their right one unto them, Brownists; and this J have done out of conscience. I finde by experience that the word, Separation, doth winne to their cause: For, when people of strong affections, and weaker Iudgements, doe reade of the necessity of separa­tion in the scriptures; and can not discerne how we have made separa­tion from heathenisme, and when we have beene thrust out of Rome (because wee were unwilling to bee so bad as shee) have maintayned our just standing from her in a divided way; they have beene willing to hearken to a separa­ting plott. Therefore Browne be­ing the leader amongst us, to this breach, (if now time hath not made it worse then he intended it) J can not nickname, but inconscience call [Page] the childe after the fathers name. Jt was Christs course, ye are of your father the Devill, his children ye are, and so must I.

Jt is true also, that afterwards, yee may finde some opinions gone against, that are held by some that keepe Communion with our Church, as of a true Church. But I am sure they are the Brownists opini­ons also, to whom I speake. All that I can say therefore for that, is this. Jt may bee, that some of you know, or have heard of that Noble Moralizers fable of Amphi­olus, who when hee was in all his military accoutraments to give combate (as hee thought) to Argalus a Knight of the Sunne. This mans wife dressed her selfe in her hus­bands armour, and gave her husbands enemy meeting. Amphiolus en­counters [Page] valiantly, gave a wound in the necke, closeth, overthrowes, and gives a mortall wound in the bo­dy. But when hee opened the ar­mour, viewes his Conquest, and saw it was faire Parthenia, Arga­lus his wife, he could have no com­fort of the day, it became not a man so to ruine a woman. Such is my case heere. J say as a father of old, I dare not write against a Bishop of my communion; the love of brotherly peace is glorious in the Church, even among men that o­therwise differ in opinion. But if they put on the armes of an e­nemy, (because they will bee so) with whom I fight for truth, I cannot helpe it, if they meete with a blow, though I glory not in it, yea am sorry that there should be any such cause.

[Page]I have now done, and commend you all to the word of Gods grace which is able to save your soules, though no Bownist, nor Anabap­tist had ever beene hatched. Live in peace, and the God of peace shall bee with you. Give not way to any opinion whereby the u­nity of spirit, and the bond of love may be broken. Play the men, be strong and of a good courage. Have prepared hearts to dye for Christs cause: but, to bee sticklers in such poore quarrels, as can nei­ther bring peace to the Church, nor comfort to you at last, abhorre. Wee must all appeare before the Iudgement seate of God, where colours shall doe us no good, because we shall be iudged naked: where pre­tences shall doe us no good, because the bookes shall bee opened: [Page] and where no authors or favourers of Sects, or Schismes shall shelter us, because we must stand before the man Christ Iesus: to whom I ever leave you, and in whose name ye shall have the prayers of

Yours to be used in the ser­vice of the Gospel ROBERT ABBOT.

The Contents of this Me­ditation is thus summed up. In

Section 1.
The state of Christians and their care to keepe it.
Section 2.
The way to keepe a Christian state is pub­lick communion in assemblies.
Section 3.
The vice of those that forsake publick communion: and first of the prophane.
Section 4.
The forsakers of our assemblies that would be accounted holy; and first of their name of Iustice, Brownists, which is due to them.
Section 5.
Of that name they would have, Separa­tists, [Page] and how unjustly it is expected and assumed by them.
Section 6.
Of the Brownists opinions upon which they forsake our Church: and first whe­ther we be a true Church.
Section 7.
Of their first exception against us, a­bout the nature of a visible Church.
Section 8.
Of their second exception against us, a­bout our enterance into a true Church, where of their covenant.
Section 9.
A question by the way (because some of them question it) about baptizing of Ba­stards of impenitent Christians.
Section 10.
Of their third exception against us, a­bout the head of our Church, Christ, and the King under him.
Section 11.
Of their fourth exception against us a­bout [Page] the members of our Church; where is debated of wicked professors comming to the Lords table.
Section 12.
Of their last exception against our Church about the government of it: and first of the power of Governement, whether in the whole assembly.
Section 13.
Of their exceptions against the persons governing, Bishops, and the exercise of their goverment, in ordination, excom­munication, imposing oathes.
Section 14.
Of their second opinion upon which they separate from us: because wee have not a true ministery, where of ordeyners, titles, callings, infirmities, and maintenance.
Section 15.
Of their last opinion upon which they separate from us; because wee have not a true worship: where of Ceremonies of order, and significant, and of stinted pray­ers.
[Page] Section 16.
Of their maine exception in their for­mer argument, to witt, our common prayer booke: where of the order of di­vine service, and their exceptions against kneeling, Crosse, and responses or answers in Baptisme.
Section 17.
Of the use that is to bee made of all good assemblies: to learne consideration, and exhortation, because the day is approaching, which is applied to our foasakers.

A Postscript.

GOod Reader, there are two texts of scripture whereupon the Brownists do build their frame, besides many other in particular questions. These thou shalt finde cleared (as I judge in conscience) in most Sections, as thou goest along. These are 1 Cor. 6.17. whereupon they ground their separation; and Mat. 18.15, 16, 17, 18. 1 Cor. 5. whereupon they ground the new Parish discipline. Thou shalt finde these cleared Section 5. and 12. But before thou readest, I would intreate thee to correct the errours of the presse, printed at the latter end of the booke: and then learne with me, or learne me.

A TRIALL OF OVR CHVRCH FORSAKERS OR A meditation to still the passions of unquiet Brow­nists, upon Heb. 10.25.

‘Not forsaking the assembling of our selves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as yee see the day approaching.’

SECTION I. The estate of Christians and their care to keepe it,

THe better our estate is, the more wee must labour to keepe it. A poore man takes no great thought for iron bolts and barres: a wooden latch, a pin serves his turne,Mat. 6.21 and yet hee sleepes securely. A rich man, [Page 2] whose treasure is great, and whose heart is nailed to it, hath lockes, bolts, and barres of strongest assurance. Thus must it be with a Christian He is not now in a beggerly estate he is crowned with loving kindnesses and ten­der mercies unspeakable.Psal. 103.4 He hath liberty to enter into heaven: hee hath a way made to leade him thither: and he hath an able guide for his conduct. The holiest is set be­fore him.Heb. 10.19 20. His liberty to enter is purchased by the bloud of Iesus. His way thither is Christs flesh, consecrated by the fulnesse of the God-head dwelling in him bodily. Col. 2.9. Heb. 10.21 His guide is the high-priest over the house of God, Christ the Lord, Christ alone purchased this liberty he alone is this way, by the marriage of our flesh: hee alone is this guide who hath au­thority over the house of God, and cannot bee defeated.Act. 20.28 His liberty is of the surest tenure, by purchase with the bloud of the sonne of God. His way is of the firmest sooting, su­rest foundation, and best making, by Christ himself.Ioh. 14. And his guide is truth it selfe, one that cannot deceive,Col. 3.11. even our Iesus Christ who is all and in all.

What therefore should hee now doe▪ Let them get an estate in meanes offered which may present to God this coate o [...] armes.Heb. 10.22 A field of heavenly truth, and since­rity (the royallest in Gods eies), charged with a cleane washed body, opened, for all the world to looke upon. In the midst, an heart sprinckled from an ill conscience, breathing [Page 3] out by degrees, a full assurance of faith.

And because he is a souldier, and many e­nemies will assault his colours, to win them, that he may never give them againe; let him not only have such christian armes,Heb. 10.23 Apoc. 3.11 but hold fast the profession of his faith, without wa­vering, that he doe not loose his crowne, and honour with Christ.

But, Lord, how hard is this? The Chri­stian is weak,Eph. 6. and his enemies many & migh­ty. It is true therefore let him be strong in the Lord, and run to such meanes as God hath appointed, who knowes best how to give, [...] Pet. 1.5 and how to guard all his graces given. And what meanes are they? The publike and private communion of Saints, mentioned in these words. The publicke is, not to for­sake the assembling of our selves together. The private is,Heb. 10.24 upon due consideration of our selves to exhort one another. These will make the christian keepe his ground, not loose his colours, not quit the field, but over­come in living,Rom. 8. and bee more then Conque­rours in dying.

The words (without curiosity) present these three parts unto you. First, the vertue of some Christians, or rather the act of it. Secondly, the vice of others, or rather the act of many vices: and thirdly, the use to be made of eschewing the one, and following the other. The act of vertue in all Chri­stians,1 who would keep what they have, is, m [...]n to forsake the assembling of our selves toge­ther: [Page 4] to keep publick communion of saints in the acts of religion and worship.

2 The act of vices in some Christians, who have no care to keepe what they have, or a vicious care to get something worse; is,Iud. 5.15 to forsake the assemblies, though the division of Reuben make great thoughts of heart.

3 The use that is to be made of flying the vices of these, and following the vertue of the others, is, to gaine ability from sound judgment, and due consideration, to exhort one another; which hee sets on with a motive; because the day is approaching, in which all must give accounts according to receits.

Thus have yee seene in a word, that a christian hath a rich and precious estate:Iam. 2.5. 2 Pet. 1.1 1 Tim. 2.4 that God is willing he should keep it to bring him to heaven: that it is possible for him to doe so in Gods way: that this way is here set downe; and therefore further follow it with me to Gods glory, and your good.

SECT. 2. The way to keepe a Christian state is publick communion.

TO speake first of the act of vertue of all good christians. If they would draw neere to heaven, and stand fast there, they must not forsake the assemblings of our selves toge­ther: they must love church assemblies, and the publicke fellowship of the saints: in a [Page 5] word, they that are good, and would be bet­ter,Tit. 1.4. Iude 3. must choose to bee where Gods people are in publicke service for the common faith, and our common salvation.

All the best saints and people of God have been ever for this. They have loved, and de­lighted to pray, reade, meditate, and con­ferre in private: but were most glad when others would say unto them,Ps. 122.1. let us go into the house of the Lord. They mourned when they could not go with the throng of them,Psal. 42.4 that went to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise to keepe holy day. Yea,Ps. 84.10 they ac­counted a day in his courts better then a thou­sand, and had rather bee doorekeepers in the house of God, then to dwel in the tents of un­godlinesse.

Not onely they under the law were for it (when yet Gods blessings were in drops to ours in pouring showres):Ioel 2.28 Act. 2.17 but as it was prophecied, that, in the daies of Christ,Es. 2.3. Mic. 4. chri­stians should say, come let us goe up to the mountaine of the Lord, to the house of the God of Iacob; so was it fulfilled by the first converted Jewes and Gentiles, as wee see in the history of the Acts.

Yea, in the hardest times, and dayes of persecution, when goods, liberties, and lives, lay at the stake, how readily did they de­prive themselves of naturall comforts for spiritual? To the caves and holes of the earth, to stinking mines, and pits, to woods and dens would they flock (when they had [Page 6] no places authorised for assemblings) to per­form their devotions, and publick worships.

This hath beene ever the glorious pra­ctise of Gods people: and we cannot won­der at it, when wee consider, the presence in our assemblies, and the benefit that ariseth from them.

First in our assemblies are Gods people, Gods Angels, Gods ordinances, and God 1 himselfe. There are Gods people, who have respect due unto them from the greatest Princes in the world. Paul speaking to all sorts of Christians, saith, submit your selves one unto another in the feare of the Lord:Eph. 5.2 [...]. and there is a double submission, of Reverence, of Service. By the first, all inferiours must submit themselves to their elders, and to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake.2 Pet. 5 5 1 Pet. 2.13 By the second, even the highest must submit to the lowest for good. Thus Peter hath it, bee subject one to another: and that ye may not be hindered,1 Pet. 5.5 hee cloathed with humility. Thus Esay prophecied,Es. 49.23 Kings and Queenes shall bow down to the church, with their faces to the earth, and shal lick up the dust of her feete. Not by a subjection of reverence, as if they must be underlings to the censures of that particular congregation whereof they are (as Brow­nists would have it, whereof hereafter): but by a subjection of service, when they use their crownes and dignities for the honour and advancement of religion, as every good king doth.Mat. 18.10 For they must not despise one [Page 7] of Christs little ones: but with many people and strong nations seek the Lord, Zach. 8.22.23. and take hold of the skirt of him that is a Iew (that is a religious person) saying, we will go with you, for we have heard the Lord is with you; there are the Angels also. This was figured in the curtaines of the Tabernacle, where Cheru­bims were wrought of cunning worke:Ex. 26 1 and in the walls of the temple, where were carved the carvings of Cherubims: yea,1 Kin. 6.29 this also hath been taught by the Apostle; who would have women to have power on their heads, (that is, a vaile,1 Cor. 11.10 as a significant ceremony of subjection to the man, among the Corinthians) because of the Angels, who are their guardians, and there more espe­cially, present with them. There are with Gods people, and angels Gods ordinances al­so, both the word, prayer, and sacraments.3 The word to bee a seed of immortality, and a word of life: praier to powre out our soules, 1 Pet. 1.23 Phil. 2.13 Lam. 2.19 that God and all grace may have roome enough to dwell in them: and the sacra­ments,Rom. 4.11 to be the seales of the righteousnesse of faith, and so, the buckets of heaven to convey grace by Gods assistance, and cove­nant, to the worthy receivers. Lastly, there is with Gods people, angels, and ordinances, God himselfe. For though wee cannot limit 4 him to temples made with hands:Acts 7. yet Christ having promised to be with his Apostles alwaies to the end of the world (which there­fore must be enlarged to their successours [Page 8] when they were dead:Apoc. 1.13) and he having pre­sented himselfe in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: and lastly, having cove­nanted for his word and spirits going together:Es. 59.21 therefore certainely hee is (by way of special favour) in the assemblings of his peo­ple.2 Cor. 3.8 9. If to the Jewes, much more to us: be­cause the ministration of the spirit is much more glorious. Lay now this together, that in our assemblings there are Gods people, Gods Angels, Gods ordinances, and God himselfe and yee cannot wonder that the good have chosen to dwel in publick assemblies, if it might be,Psal. 23▪6 for ever.

Secondly, in our assemblies all things are for benefit: every thing is edifiable. And if our hearts were in tune, Psal. 57.7 Eph. 1.3 and our heads full of the expectation of Gods spirituall blessings in heavenly things in Christ, how might the kingdome of sinne and Satan fall downe like lightning, Luk. 10.18 Iosh. 6. as the walls of Iericho at the sound of those rams-hornes of old, when we are in publicke worship.Es 59.21 Ioh. 16.13 There yee have not onely the spirit promised, which will lead you into all saving truth, convince, convert, and comfort you,Eph 4 13 till yee are of full stature in Christ: but yee have many hands to help you in confession, supplication, deprecation, intercession, and giving of thankes. There ye have many encouragements to hold on in the way of Christ. There is the word to promise, sacraments to confirme, prayer to procure, and many of Gods people to [Page 9] give you the right hand of fellowship till you come to your journeyes end.Gal. 2. The first step to apostacy is the neglect of publick assem­blies. As a man that hath an inclination to take wicked courses, withdrawes himselfe from good company (as Iudas when he went out from Christ and his disciples, and yoaked with the high-priest and elders) so, if a man encline to warp, hee declines the assemblies of Gods people, as one wearie of such a course. But if hee stick unto them, his hands are strengthened to hold God fast, by the word of precept, promise, and correction; by the sacraments, wherein a bargaine is strook betweene God and us, by the prayers of our selves and others, which bring God neere to helpe; and by the examples of others,Gal. 2.14 which have a compelling vertue to good, as well as ill. When therefore yee consider this bundle of profit, yee cannot wonder that Gods people have so constantly tyed them­selves to watch at the gate, Pro. 8.34 and wait at the postes of the doores, where publicke worship hath beene prepared.

Oh that all Gods people that ate good and would be better, would lay these things to heart, and not forsake our assembling together! God workes by these meanes, and if wee forsake them, wee forsake the hands of the God of strength, which are in them stirred up to come and help us.Psal 80.2 Psal. 42.2 For­sake church assemblies and yee turne your backes upon Gods face, angels, saints, and [Page 10] comforting acts of worship.

Ezech. 13 22▪ Ier, 23, 14.Forsake church assemblies and ye sad the hearts of Gods people, strengthen the hands of wickednesse, and shew no reverence to worship. Forsake church-assemblies, and yee let loose thousand of temptations upon you against faith and manners: the Devill will take you upon his owne ground.

Object.You wil say (happily) that great presence▪ and profit is talked of, but ye see none, nor feele any upon you.Sol. It maybe so, yet with­out the fault of our assemblies, and with the fault of none but your unworthy selves. Take therfore this advice in Gods feare, and speed better hereafter.

1 First, come with prepared hearts, that is, hearts unloaded of the guilt of wilfull sins: hearts standing in awe of Gods presence, and worshipping in feare: and hearts sin­cerely purposing to bee better. Yee know Gods advice, lay apart all filthinesse and su­perfluity of naughtinesse, Iam. 1.21 and receive with meeknesse the ingraffed word which is able to save your souls. Ye know Peters proposition, now are we all here present before God, to heare all things that are commanded thee of God:Act. 10.33 Psal. 5.7 Es. 2, 3. Ps. 119, 34. and Daevids practise. In thy feare wil I worship towards thy holy temple. Ye know the pro­phecy that went of you of old, and Davids resolution, to keepe the law, yea, to observe it with his whole heart, according to grace gi­ven. Do but you thus, and yee shall find pre­sence 2 and profit. Secondly, bring an humble [Page 11] soule along with you to God house. If God doe meete with you in our assemblies, hee acknowledgeth a Publican, Luke 18, before a Pharisee: hee calls no man Benjamin, the sonne of his right hand, but those whom their owne hearts call Benoni, in their humi­lity: hee salutes them not Naomi, beautifull, who doe not humbly feele themselves Ma­rah, bitter. The humble God wil teach, Psal. 25 9. Luke 1, and the humbled God will lift up: for he fills the hungry with good things. Bring but such sen­ses, and yee shall see presence and profit. But if yee bee swift to heare, and not slow to speak, Iam, 1. Luke 1, slow to wrath, God sends such rich ones emp­tie away, and casts such mighty ones from their thrones.

Thirdly, carry your hearts along tho­rough 3 the whole service. Loose your hearts, and loose your comforts in any thing ye do. It was sweetly sung of old,Psal▪ 86, 4. re­joyce the soule of thy servant, for unto thee doe I lift up my soule. Let that plummet runne downe to the ground, and the wheeles of your actions will not runne to your con­tent. Therefore, do but you come with pre­pared hearts, humbled soules, and binde your hearts for hearty service in the whole, and then the presence in our assemblies shall bee for you, and the profit for you too, as well as for others, who are thus vertuous, as not to forsake our assemblings together.

SECT. 3. The vice of those that forsake publick Com­munion. 1▪ of the prophane.

ALl that can be said, will not prevaile with all. There are so many vices to overwhelm that, as it was of old, so is it stil, it is the manner of some to forsake our assem­blings together. The Apostle saw it of old, and laboured against it as an enemy to per­severance in the unity of faith and manners, we see it stil and must labour against this act of many vices.

Ile speake (thorough Gods helpe) but of two sorts of persons, too neere unto us, who give themselves unto this fault: the first are prophane, the second would be accounted truely religious. The prophane shew them­selves by foure degrees of forsaking our assemblies. The first, is coming to our assem­mblies like those that are unwilling. These that doe so are not altogether withdrawn in body, but in heart are too farre from us. The godly say,Zach. 8▪ 21 Es. 42.8 Ps. 110.3 let us go speedily and pray be­fore the Lord: they are like the Isles that wait for the law; because they are willing people. But they come as if they were in fet­ters,Zach. 5.7 and bolts, like Zachariahs women pressed into an Epha with a talent of lead. Lord, how slow is their pace, as if it were to the jaile, 2 or Bridewel. The second is, loving to be any where, rather then in the assembly. Surely, [Page 13] when any act this, though sometimes they come, yet they forsake apace. Gods people cannot rejoyce in such commers, when God told Ezekiel that hee should goe to a re­bellious people that were unwilling to submit,Ezech. 2.3 5. Ezech. 3.14. hee went in bitternesse and indignation of spirit. Such needes must be the movings of the heart of the assembly about such com­mers. These thinke not that they should come to doe homage to God, as David presseth, give, give, unto the Lord, Ps. 29.1, 2 glory strength, worship due unto his name. They thinke not, that hee that despiseth the mi­nistery done in assemblies, despiseth not man, Luk. 10▪ 16 but Christ: therefore they love any mee­tings rather then them. They account church-assemblies rather matters of com­plement, then necessitie. They need no soule reparations, so their bodies bee fat, and well-liking.

Wee read of one Victorinus of old,August. who would bee a Christian,Ego te non depu­tabo inter Christia­nos, nisi in ecclesia te videro. but frequented not christian assemblies. But godly Simplicianus met him, and thus saluted him, I will not rec­kon thee among Christians, unlesse I see thee in the church among them. Let these men take home this judgement, and see how they can digest it. The third degree, is preferring 3 private before publicke worship. If they can say they read, & pray at home (though they reade but their owne indictment, and pray for their owne punishment in the neglect of Gods rule in assembling) they think [Page 14] all is well, and conscience is wel enough satisfied. But these are enemies to the honor of God, to their owne good, and to the good of others. God is most honoured in the ser­vice of assemblies:Ps. 35.18 therefore David vowed to give thanks to God in a great congregation ▪ He knew that this advanced Gods honour most. Our owne good surely shall be greater in assemblies:Psal. 87.2 the Lord loves the gates of Sion (where publick worship was) more then all the dwellings of Iudah; and certainely where his love is, there are best meanes for our good. Besides, wee come to seek that which is lost,Apoc. 3.2. or ready to dye: and when many seeke there is more hope of finding. Ther­fore when God was turned away from fa­vour,Ioel. 2, 15 16. the people were appointed to blow the trumpet in Sion, to gather together, that they might be more successeful. Lastly, the profit of others by our examples will be more conspicuous in assemblies:Matth. 5 our light will there best shine before men. For this end was Solamons brazen scaffold in the midst of the court:2 Chto. 6 13, 2 King 11▪ 14. and Ioash stood by the pillar as the manner was. It is true, that others examples in doing worse must not weaken us in doing better.Hos. 4.15 Ex. 23.2 Though Israel play the harlot, yet let not Iudah sin: we must not follow a multitude to do evill, much lesse must ye follow some. Exam­ples are not the rule which we should follow If they be good, they cleare a law they doe not make it. Following of others cannot help us in the day of account. I have done [Page 15] as others, will be a poore plea.1 Cor, 10 8. Num. 25 9. The three and twenty thousand were not helped by the thou­sand Princes, who were their leaders to their destruction. But yet if our examples be good in acts of assembling and worship according to Gods rule, then will others profit bee helped, as by the contrary it will bee much hindered.

The last degree whereby prophane per­sons 4 withdraw from our assemblies is, not coming with the first, and not staying with the last. David would not bee guilty: he desired to bee a doorekeeper, Psal. 84 who was first in, and last out. Hee knew not how better to professe himselfe to be a seeker of God early, Pro 8.17 and to stand in neede of all the acts of worship, from the first humbling for a bles­ssing, and craving of it, to the last giving of it: and thus should it bee with us. Wee must come with the first. Act, 10.33 Cornelius and his friends, and servants, waited for Peter. They prevented him that nothing might fall from his ministery untaken up.Ioh. 5 The cripple wai­ted for the moving of the waters at the descending of the angel: so must all Gods willing people at the places of assembling.Psal. 110.3 Pro. 8.33 Wee must also stay with the last. Even the Prince shall bee in the midst of the people in the temple, he shal go in, when they go in, Ezech. 4 10. and when they go forth, they shall go forth toge­ther. The Jewes and Gentiles at Antiochia continued in publicke service till the congre­gation was dissolved. Act. 13.43 And though Za­chary [Page 16] stayed long in the middle temple,Luk. 1.21 Numb. 6.24, 25, 26▪ yet the people would not depart without the blessing which the Priest must give. If any doe otherwise (without necessity) they withdraw from our assemblings, and are in a way of forsaking.

SECT. 4. 2 The forsakers of our assemblies that would be accounted godly; and first of their name.

THere are others, who would bee ac­counted truely religious, who forsake the assembling of our selves together▪ and these have a name of pride, and a name of ju­stice. The name of pride, which they take to themselves, is separatists. They read sometimes in the scriptures of separation, especially when Paul (saith according to the prophet) come out from among them and be ye separate. Es. 52.11. [...] Cor. 6.17 And when they doe not wisely observe our state, which is not to be separated from, but see with full con­tentment their owne vaine separation, they will needs glory in the name of Separatists, as others doe of catholickes. The name of Justice is Brownists; which though they love not to heare of, because Browne, after his platforme of a new way of advancing Christs kingdome, upon wiser thoughts, returned from them, yet how justly they must retaine that name may appeare in that which followes.

[Page 17]Wee reade of five introductions to this schisme, before it was raised to the height it now hath: height I say, in mold, and opi­nion, not in members, which have beene so few this sixteene hundred yeares and more, that we may demonstratively say, it is a brat of mans braine, not a child of Christ, that so long growes not at all.

First, about two hundred fifty three 1 yeares after Christ, wee reade of one No­vatus, Novatus rerum no­varum sē ­per cupi­dus, arro­gantiâ in­flatus, e­piscopis male cog­nitus, &c. C [...]ipri. wo first lived under Cyprian, next at Rome. Hee being willing to get himselfe a name, denied repentance to them that had denied Christ, thorough heat of perse­cution, though out of feare. Yea, he denied repentance to believers who after baptisme fell into any grosse sinne. After by a strong ambition hee had indeavoured to bee a Bishop, and was disappointed, he led many poore soules into his sect: who because they thought themselves better then o­ther christians (upon the former conceits) called themselves Cathari, or Puritanes. These suffered their ebbe, and flow, for a time as pride and humility tooke turnes. I am sure that your forsakers will not childe it from such a father. Here was a separation from the unitie of the church, but they will not have it theirs.

Secondly, about three hundred thirty and 2 one yeares after Christ, or (as some write) something lower, wee read of one Donatus, who, not being able to make his party good [Page 18] against Cecilianus his Bishop, took stomach, and drew a strong party after him for a time. They had this pretense for their sepa­ration,In cōmu­nione sa­cramento­rum mali maculant bonos. that the wicked did defile the good in the communion of the sacraments. They accounted the church to bee no where, but in Africk amongst themselves. They judg­ed their time to bee the harvest of the church, they being a choise remnant, like a little wheat in much chaffe. If they were pressed to conformity by the authority of the Emperour,Quid Im­peratori cū ecclesia? they cried out, what hath the Emperour to doe with the church? Being as­ked, how they could prove that they onely were the church? They replied, from the wonders of Donatus: from their prayers heard at the sepulchers of the Donatists: and from the visions, and dreames of the mem­bers of their church,Sacramēta sancta & efficacia quando per san­ctos homi­nes. They accounted sacra­ments holy onely, when administred by ho­ly persons. They account no true baptisme, but in their church: and therefore they rebaptized all that came into their com­munion. They would runne into invited and unnecessary dangers. This they cal­led martyrdom, whether they suffered from themselves, Circum­celliones. or others. I am sure also that our forsakers will not owne these for their setters up in all points, if for nothing else, yet for this they had Bishops. Heere was a separation long and irkesom, yet surely, they will not be of such an episcopall separation. Thirdly, Lucifer stomacha­bundus discessit ab Euse­bio: et qui se illi con­junxerūt ab ecclesia ipsi se se­gregarunt besides the separatiō of Lucifer: who [Page 19] falling at odds with Eusebius Vercellensis a­bout the ordination of honest Paulinus, de­parted in choler from the peace of the church, and made a proud breach, wee reade about the yeare after Christ three hundred seventy one, of one Audeus a Syrian, who raised up by the cōmon opinion of his zeal, and integrity, a company of followers, who would not pray with other Christians,Vitupera­bant epis­copos, di­vites, ip­sos appel­antes. Quòd in ecclesia ferrentur faenerato­res & im­puri. Anthropo­morphi [...]ae. and Bishops, crying these downe as being too rich: who also gave this reason of their separation, that in the bosome of the church, were suffered usurers, and impure livers. These sometimes dwelt in solitary places by them­selves, and sometimes in the suburbs of ci­ties. They fained also great holinesse and chastity, and dreamed God to have mans forme, and humane parts. But their sect outlived not their persons: and I am sure also, that our forsakers wil not acknowledge themselves to bee of this condemned breed.

Fourthly, when the thoughts of the best 4 christians were taken up with more weighty matters, and the necessity of times had invited them to faith and doctrine, or the vaile of darkenesse had covered too many hearts, these pettie si­dings beganne to vanish, and were at last utterly extinct, till the light of the Gospel shined upon the church with fuller glorie againe. Then, as the enemy troubled the wheat with blasted corne, Matth. 13▪ our forsakers say [Page 20] they had a church againe. In king Henry the eights, and Luthers dayes they finde (say they) some congregations upon their bottome. And indeed wee finde in stories, that some of their vaine opinions crept into the heads of some right godly persons, in other points who were ready to suffer for Christ, and did so: for it is hard not to fall from one extreamity to another,Gal. 6. if sound judgement (according to the rule gi­ven) doe not poise the lightnesse of affe­ctions. But these in Germany, were crow­ned with the name of Anabaptists, whose doctrine, and practise, to overthrow the Church, and state, are well knowne, and as well confuted and condemned, by Luther, Calvine, Zanchius, and an whole army of others. But our forsakers (I am sure) will not own these in all points, neither will they owne them, because they forsake them also in some.

5 Fiftly therefore, wee must goe lower yet: and if wee come to the daies of blessed Queene Elizabeth, after divers strugglings for excesses (which surely is no friend to the Gospel among variety of judgements,1 Cor. 13. which know but in part), wee meete with one Browne, who first raiseth a new platforme of all the tenets of our forsa­kers (if yet, by time, and age, they have not made them worse). This man, after hee had infected some by preaching, found meanes to poison others by writing of [Page 21] his Estate of true Christians, and other pam­phlets. His conceits, within this last age, have lived and died by turnes, as they have been the objects of discontēted, or quiet spi­rits. If humble soules have met with them, they have seene in them the poi­son of peace, the renting of the seame­lesse coate of Christs church, the building upon a covenant of workes, and the hinde­ring of the progresse of the Gospell in faith, and love. But if they have beene cast upon a raging sea of an unquiet, and dis­jointed heart, they have bred Barrowes, Greenwoods, Penries, Robinsons, Iohnsons, Aynsworths, and Smiths, the onely men (so farre as I know) of that full straine, who have tasted of more or lesse learning ill placed, from Christs time downward. See­ing therfore, Browne is the first full-fa­ther of our forsakers, who raised up their building to that height they would faine maintaine it at: surely, they can have no other name of justice then Brownists, which they must hold, except they can prove that theirs is a newer way.

Indeed Browne did afterward fall away from them, and his owne tenets, for the most part.

But seeing the first authour justly gives the name (as that carpenter that builds an house for the building of it, though afterward hee burne it down) therefore I cannot bee so unjust, as to suffer them, by mee, to [Page 22] bee called by any other, then that they received from him in his new christiani­ty.

The issue of this discourse.If now, you aske the issue of this dis­course; it is to draw to this conclusion, that this church of theirs was never heard of till Brownes time; and so I argue thus. That which never was a true church from Christs time to the daies of Queene Elizabeth, was not a true church then, nor is a true church now:Matth. [...]6. for the gates of hell must not prevaile against it. But the Brownists church was never a true church from Christs time to the dayes of Queene Elizabeth: Therefore it was not a true church then, nor is now as they would have it,

Object. Sol.If they say, that some of their opini­ons were of old: I confesse it is true. But let them shew but one church, which either positively in all points which make their church (to them) a church; or negatively, in denying contrary tenets held by the true church, and then they shall bee the true church for mee.

Object. Sol.But it may bee they will say, that the church of Rome thus disputes against us▪ It is true: and so doe wee against them about their church built up by the late coun­cell of Trent: affirming confidently that there was never one church but was under the curse of that councel, if it had beene of force before. But when they plead so a­gainst [Page 23] us, wee goe to that which made true visible churches in the Apostles dayes, and ever since, that is professed submission to the rule of faith in the scriptures,Act. 2. Act. 10. Matth. 16 and a profession of faith in the trinity, especially in Jesus Christ our Lord, that rocke where­upon the church is built: and so long as we have this, wee feare not their plea.

If they say,Object. Sol. that they doe thus much to make them a true church also. It is true, they doe it, as wee doe; and yet they denie us (so doing) to be a true church except wee be of their new covenant. If therefore, they cannot finde a church of that cove­nant till Brownes daies, how can they bee a true church which hath never failed, nor e­ver shall? Let them duely consider this issue, and God give them understanding in all things.

SECT. 5. Of that name they would have (Separatists) and how unjustly assumed as a title of honour.

IT is most true,Object. that they are loath to ac­knowledge the name of Browne their fa­ther, not sticking to brand him with the li­very of a turne-coate, if not Apostate (and surely deserves to bee soundly lashed who would rashly father it to such a breach): yea, and they tell us, that they will have [Page 24] their name from scriptures, not from men, and will be called, they of the separation.

Sol.In this I am yet glad, that they love the scriptures more then men: and I humbly pray, that all that would be accounted good men, would not tell us what this good man, and that,2 Pet 1.19 1 Cor. 2.5 held, and said; but what Jesus Christ hath left to be held in the sure word of God, that their faith may not stand in the wise­dome of men. But yet before we believe them, we must know in what scripture their name of separation stands.

Levit. 20.24. 1 Kin. 8.53We reade indeed that God saith to Isra­el, I am the Lord thy God which separate you from other people, which Salomon thus expounds, thou didst separate them from a­mong all the people of the earth. But are not all christians separated thus as well as they, from Iewes, Turkes, Heathens? Israel was not separate from raigning sinne, and sin­ners, but for profession and service of the true God. For even then God said of them,Numb. 14 2 [...].35. yee have tempted me these tenne times, and have not harkened unto my voyce: this e­vill congregation are gathered together a­gainst mee: Deut▪ 9.6, 7, 8. thou art a stiffenecked people: thou hast provoked me to wrath, and I was an­gry with thee to destroy thee: and I hope, all christians are of no worse separation then this.

We reade againe that Paul at Ephesus, de­parted from the wicked, and separated the disciples. Act 19.9. It is well it was an Apostle, who [Page 25] had an universall Jurisdiction by immedi­ate Call, and not private persons, who may not doe as hee. It was well, it was Paul, who went to Jewish synagogues, to have spirituall communion, and preached none other thing,Act. 26.22 23. but that which Moses and the Prophets did say should come to passe, and not his owne dreames. But for his separating the disciples, we reade, he sepa­rated them from divers, not from all; and that from those that were hardened, and be­lieved not, and spake evill of faith in Christ be­fore the multitude, as the text saith. What is this to our church? wherein they cannot find one member that believes not in Christ (at least doctrinally), nor one that speakes evill of the way of believing in Christ, though thousands justly speak evill of their way, which is the thing in question.

Wee reade also againe that renowned place, come out from among them, 2 Cor. 6.17 and be yee separate, and touch no uncleane thing, and I will receive you saith the Lord. For what fellowship hath righteousnesse with unrighteous­nesse, and what agreement hath light with dark­nesse? But this will not affoord them the name of separatists neither. Looke to the persons that must be separated from. ver. 14, 15▪ 16 They are heathenish Infidels, unbelievers, Idolaters, in utter darkenesse, and so, not acknowled­ging the true God. And are wee in the church of England such? Doe wee not pr [...] ­fesse saving truth? Doe we not look, from [Page 26] the first, to the last, to bee saved onely by Christ?Tit. 1, 15, 16. If any professe they know God, and by workes deny him, yet shall not all things be pure to them that are pure? Looke next to the persons that are charged to separate. They are the christian Corinthians, to whom the Apostle gives sweete words, The church of God; 1 Cor. 1▪ 2 4.9, 30▪ 1 Cor, 3.23 1 Cor. 4, 15 1 Cor. 9.2 1 Cor. 11.2 2 Cor. 7.11 12, 13. called to be saints; a gracious people by Iesus Christ; called to the fellowship of Gods son; in Christ, Christs owne; begotten in Christ Iesus thorough the Gospell; the seale of mine Apostleship in the Lord; whom I praise because yee keepe the ordinances; and who are full of godly sorrow, with the signes of it: yet will these Corinthians justifie the church of England by their wicked vices, both in publicke, and in their private mee­tings, as I shall (if God please) sh [...]w here­after. Consider now, that this christian church,1 Cor. 5.1 which was commanded to sepa­rate from heathens in their Idol-feasts, and abominable atheisme, was yet in some­thing worse then the heathens themselves yet doth hee not teach them to separate one from another in christian duties of piety and charity; but to redresse each other as they could, and onely to separate from the heathens, that they may be all knowne to be professed, and not dissembled christi­ans.Eph. 5.1 [...] Looke lastly, to the matter the Apostle treateth of. It is to warne christians from having fellowship with the unfruitfull workes of darkenesse, and to reprove them (in their [Page 27] places) in word, judgement,2 Cor. 6▪ 14, 15, 16. affection and conversation. That, with which they must have no fellowship, Paul termeth unrighteousnesse, darknesse, Belial, Idols. The way whereby they may have fellowship with them▪ he termes, yoaking, concord, par­taking, and agreement. And it plainely ap­peares that it is as murh as if he had said, yee that are christians must not be with the un­righteous men of darkenesse, sonnes of Be­lial, and Idolaters, as if ye were yoaked in their society, living at one, partaking, and agreeing with them in their wicked course. How I pray, can they raise a name of separa­tion to themselves from hence, except they can prove that all of us live in unrighteous­nesse, and darknesse, in league with Satan, and in idolatrie, and that we as paires, and couples are linked together, and partake of these evils? or how can we justly give them that name of Separatists except wee will grant our selves to bee such? let them bee, from their first father, Brownists: and be­cause they will be of the number and man­ner of those, some that forsake the assembling of our selves together; therefore let us with a good conscience, and as quiet a spirit as their cause will permit examine their grounds by the word of God.

SECT. 6. Of the Brownists opinions upon which they for­sake our church, 1. Because we are not a true church.

These grounds of Brownisme they referre to three heads, to wit, our church, our ministery, and our worship.

  • 1 They deny us to have a true church.
  • 2 They deny us to have a true ministery.
  • 3 They deny us to have a true worship.

If this charge were true, surely, they might say as David to Eliab, Is there not a cause? But whether it bee not most false let a good conscience, guided by the word of God, Judge,

First, they deny that wee have a true church. And though wee being in posses­sion, and they labouring to cast us out, we might put them to the proofe, yet shall I (by Gods helpe) tender them this one reason, among many, to prove that we have a true church.

Where there is the true matter and form of a true church, there is a true church. For this cannot be denied, that the matter and forme of a true man make a true man, that is, the body and soule united: so must it be in the church. But our church hath the true matter and forme of a true church: and therefore is a true church.

It is denied by the Brownists that wee have such matter and forme; and it is pro­ved [Page 29] thus, first for the matter. The true matter of a true church is such as professe sa­ving truth taught in the Scriptures, and is proved thus. That which makes a man a true member of a true churh, that doth make a true church (for members doe con­stitute the whole): but profession of sa­ving truth makes a true member of a true church; for Symon Magus, Act. 8.13.37, 38. upon his pro­fession was admitted a member, till he fell away: and the Eunuch upon the same pro­fession was admitted too by baptisme, and for ought wee know continued for ever. Now, that we in the church of England do professe saving truth, according to the scriptures cannot be denied. If the Brow­nists say, that wee overthrow all by thou­sands of wicked lives in persons, in, and of our church. I am sure that the church of Co­rinth was worse then ours can be (in some things), it was too bad with envyings, 1 Cor. 3.3 1 Cor. 6. 1 Cor. 8. 1 Cor. 10. 1 Cor. 11. & 15. 1 Cor. 5. carnall men, uncharitable wretches, that went to law before infidels, scandalizing the weake, partaking with Idols, heresies, a­buse of the Lords supper by drunkennesse, and contempt of the poore, and with dete­stable incest: yet when Paul writes unto them (even before the incestuous person was cast out) he salutes them all, as those that are the church of God, Saints by calling, 1 Cor. 1.2 and sanctified in Christ Iesus, at least, by a sanctification of consecration in baptisme,Heb. 10.29 and their profession.

[Page 30] Object. Sol.But say the Brownists, doth profession make a church of the body of Christ? will nothing but the body of Christ serve for a true church? Then let them know that Christs body may be taken two wayes: for a body of all those that shall be saved;Eph▪ 1.23. and this is the catholicke church, which are in communion of saints for life: and for a bo­dy of those that are in the way of salvation if they be not enemies to themselves; as eve­ry branch in Christ that beareth not fruit. Ioh. 15.2 1 Cor. 12 12▪ 1 Cor. 1.30 Thus the whole church of Corinth was Christ as well as any other part of the church, and in Christ Iesus, though too ma­ny members of it professed without power. For profession brings a church into out­ward fellowship with Christs body (as bad servants with a good master) and so into the way of being savingly of the body of Christ if they resist not, Act. 7.51 Eph. 4 30 1 Thes▪ 5.19. Heb. 10, 29 grieve not, quench not, or despise not the spirit of grace.

Secondly, for the forme of a true church, that is Christ united unto the persons pro­fessing his saving truth. For as the forme of a man is his soule united to his body; so the forme of a church, which is the body of Christ, is Christ united unto it. Now, that Christ is united unto our church, is proved thus: because hee gives the law of union to us as to the body, and makes it effectuall for conviction, or conversion, to serve the living and true God. As a king is united to his subjects by his lawes, and ex­ecutions [Page 31] of them for rewards and punish­ments: so is Jesus Christ to our church. As the head united gives lawes to the body for safety: so doth Christ give lawes to us for our salvation in his word.Psal. 147. He hath not dealt so with every nation, yet (blessed bee his name) he hath so dealt with us to the joy of our soules.Object. True (say the Brownists) wee have his lawes, but doe not answer them in our lives.

This doth not cut us off (being but true in part) till Christ hath sued out his bill of di­vorce,Sol. no more then the disobedience of a wife makes her no wife; the disobedience of a sonne no sonne; and the disobedience of a servant no servant.

Againe Christ is united to us, because hee makes his law effectuall for the convincing of all, and for the converting of many soules to cleave unto him faithfully.Gal. 3.17 Rom. 6. VVe are bap­tized, and so put on Christ, and are graffed into the similitude of his death and resurrection. But as we grow in age, many grow in grace­lesnesse, and forget the covenant of their God. Psal. 78.10 37. Then comes the word of Christ convin­cing, and calls many backe, kills sinne, quic­kens grace,Luk. 1.17 and converts the hearts of the fa­thers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisedome of the just. This the Brownists will not deny. They confesse that God hath many gracious people amongst us by the word, and sacraments. VVhence, I pray, doth this proceed, but from the influence [Page 32] and power of Christ united to us? I am sure that Christ is the way to heaven;Ioh. 14. and one soule cannot bee converted from the kingdome of sinne to grace, but it is by the power and influence of Christs three offices. As he is a Prophet,1 Cor. 1.30 hee must be his wisedome, to teach him repentance from dead works, and faith in Christ. As hee is a Priest, he must make his attonement betwixt God and him for righteousnesse. And as he is a King, hee must over-master the gates of hell, and maintaine him to himselfe in the way of salvation, for sanctification, and full redemption. Conclude therefore, that if wee have the matter and forme of a true church, wee must bee a true church against all exception, if good conscience judge by the word of God.

SECT. 7. Brownists first exceptions against us, about the nature of a visible Church.

BUt because the Brownists make a great noise in maintaining against us, that ours is not a true church: therefore take particular view of their pleas against it, that wee may see the unjustnesse of their forsa­king it. I shall by Gods helpe referre them to five heads.

  • [Page 33]1 What they meane by a true church.
  • 2 The entrance into a true church.
  • 3 The head of a true church.
  • 4 The members of a true church.
  • 5 The governement of a true church,

They meane by a true church,What Browne meane by a true church. a set con­gregation 1 of more or fewer, separated from all false waies, and having sufficient autho­rity within it selfe for governement in all causes ecclesiasticall, and assembling (at times convenient) for exercise of governe­ment and solemne worship. This is the full summe of what I can conceive them to say of a true church: in which they would make it up of these foure ingredients.

First, it must be a set congregation (which 1 we call a parish, and they mislike). Every one of these they would have an absolute church, depending upon none but Christ: and so they deny kings over countries, and Bishops over diocesses to bee members of the church, except they can shew those par­ticular congregations whereof they are but equall members to be ruled by the joint con­sent of the whole number, or (it may bee) the greatest part.

Secondly, it must bee separated from all 2 false wayes, not onely of Iewes, Turkes, and Pagans, but from all grosse sinnes and sin­ners, which doe pollute the worship of the sincerest service of God. Yet surely, they would have them better taught, and made good, that, by the consent of the members, [Page 34] they might be jointed in at last.

3 Thirdly, it must have sufficient authority within it selfe for governement in all causes ecclesiasticall, that is, a plenary power, by consent of members, to ordaine mini­sters, call, or cast them out, (as the necessi­ty of the church requires) to excommuni­cate, and receive in, and to order all things in their assemblies for the advancement of Christs kingdome, without the leave or re­straint of any.

4 Fourthly, it must assemble for acts of go­vernement, and solemne worship, (without which it is but a shadow) that is, it must meete in their meeting places to pray, preach, prophecy, baptize, and communi­cate, as the spirit gives wisedome and utte­rance.

Now, because they finde not our chur­ches thus made up, according to their owne fansies; therefore doe they forsake them as false, or (at the least) no true churches. This is their new way of churching and un­churching of assemblies (so farre as I can ga­ther by their conferences and writings): and they judge of our assemblies after this mould. I hope they will not deny us to have assemblies; or to be separate from Iewes, Turkes, Pagans, Idolaters, and wicked Belia­lists, in communion for spirituall life by Christ; that wee have authority, and power for ordination, excommunication, absolution, and order; or that wee have [Page 35] assemblies for governement, and solemne worship: and for the rest of the frame it is but the issue of their owne braine, and not of the law and rule of Christ.

For first, whereas they would have no nationall churches, but particular in depen­dent congregations:Act. 7.38 they must confesse that the whole nation of Israel was but one church. And though then they had but one Tabernacle, yet when after they were divided into severall Synagogues, did they not continue the only church of God? were they not still reputed of God as one man, though some were better, and more worse?

It is true, say they,Object. because they had but one high-priest, a figure of Christ which was to vanish. Nay rather,Sol. because they were but one people and common-wealth, professing the same religion, and ruled by the same lawes, both before they had one high-priest, and after, when (by corruption) they had two. Luk. 3.2. Neither was the high-priest in respect of governement a type of Christ (for so was Melchizedech, Heb, 7. of whose order Christ was, and not after the order of Aa­ron): but in respect of his sacrifice, and intercession for the whole people, and his en­terance alone into the holy of holies, bearing the names of the twelve tribes: and Christs governement belongs to his kingdome, not to his priest-hood. Besides, must they not confesse that that one church of the na­tion [Page 36] of Jewes was governed: by one law, and one king? one law for the sub­stance of governement, and one king to or­der both priests, and people: and that not as a type of Christ, but as a king by royall authority,1 Sam. 15. as head of the tribes, as I shal cleare hereafter.1 Tim. 3.15 Yea, doe wee not reade of the church of Ephesus which was one house of God; over which Timothy was the first an­gell and Bishop (as it comes to us from old­est records) to rule all Presbyters, Deacons, Widowes, and people in their severall assem­blies? For how fond were it to thinke that all the Elders, Deacons, and believers that Paul gives him Jurisdiction over there, should be of one assembly? Especially see­ing Titus his fellow-Bishop was left in Cre­ta to ordeine elders, Tit. 1.5 and oversee them in every city, according to the necessity of severall assemblies.

2 Secondly, whereas they urge that a true church must be separate from all false waies: it is true; it must be thus in profession, when they are plainely discovered by undoubted scriptures: but that it must be actually thus, or be unchurched, is utterly false. Israel was Gods people, 1 Sam. 2.29.12. when the sonnes of Eli (in com­munion with them) were sonnes of Belial and knew not the Lord. Moses calls them Gods people, Ex. 32.11. Ex. 22.16 even when they were not sepa­rated from Idolatry: because he had no au­thority to cast them off, before God him­selfe had given a bill of divorce. God by [Page 37] Esay, calls the Jewes his children and people, Es. 1.2, 3 when they were so farre from being separa­ted from rulers of Sodome, rebellious Princes, Es. 1.10▪ 23 companions of theeves: that they had such teachers as caused them to erre, Es. 3.12.16 Es. 5.8 such women as were full of hellish pride, such rich men as were cruell oppressours, such inhabitants as the earth was defiled under them;Es. 24 [...] and such a face of the church as the faithfull city was become an harlot, with their oakes, Es. 1.21 22 29. and gar­dens of idolatrie, ready to bring confusion. Paul calls the Corinthians a church of God, 1 Cor. 1.2 saints by calling, when at that instant many in communion with them had debates, en­vyings, whisperings, wraths, strifes, backbi­tings, swellings, tumults, and had not repented of the uncleannesse, fornication, and lascivious­nesse, which they had committed.2 Cor. 12 20.21. Apoc. 2 & 3. Read the epistles of Christ to the seven churches in Asia, and yee shall finde much abominable wickednesse, and yet they were crowned by Christ himselfe with the name of churches.Object. Sol. If the Brownists plead that these churches should have beene separated. Indeed they should have better then they were, and be­cause they were not, they after felt the hea­vie hand of God: but that the good should have fallen out with God for the sinne of man, and beene separated from the good things of God, for the wickednesse of those that were in outward communion of chri­stianity, that we no where, nor ever, I am sure shall read.

[Page 38] Thirdly, whereas they plead, that every particular congregation hath sufficient po­wer, by generall vote of members, in all cau­ses ecclesiasticall, I must wonder, before an­swere, what? have the people, all the mem­bers, power of jurisdiction over all? What new scripture hath ever Christ made for this confusion? Surely, we finde it not before the law: for then power of governement lay upon Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaack, Iacob, Ioseph, and their peeres. Surely it was not under the law:Ex. 18.19 for then power of go­vernement lay upon Moses, and his assistants, (even by the advice of Iethro) and upon Aaron, to whom the people must assent. The law was delivered to the priests and el­ders, Deut. 31.9 28. and they were charged to looke to the rest. It is as sure also that it is not under the Gospel. The people attempted no­thing but by the liking leave, and approba­tion of the Apostles. The Apostles ordeined elders in every city for the people without them,Act, 14.23 Act. 2 [...] ▪ 17 and conferred with the elders of the church for the good of their assemblies without the people:Act. 21.18 23. yea, and upon con­sultation did decre [...] a matter for the peace of the church without them when their gifts were at the height.Ob [...]ect. Sol. Act. [...]5. [...] 23. It is true, that some­times the people were acquainted with some great matter in counsell: not because they had authority without which the Apostles and elders could doe nothing: but to ac­qu [...]int them with reasons, and to incourage [Page 39] them in their graces.Sub con­scientia plebis. Thus Bishop Cyprian sometimes did, and sometimes superiours do require the assent of inferiours for better peace and love.

And that the people had no authority in governing the church appeares by the com­mission of Christ to his Apostles, and those that should succeed them,Matth. 18 19, 20. goe yee (saith Christ) and teach and baptise, teaching them to observe what ever I have commanded, and I am with you alwaies to the end of the world. The promise is as the charge, to the Apo­stles and their successours, and not to the people in businesse that concernes them not.

Againe, I will give thee the keyes of the king­dome of heaven,Mat. 16.19 (saith Christ to Peter in the name of the rest): and therefore, makes good his word to them all; he sent them, inspired them, and then said,Io [...]. 20, 21 22, 23. whose sinnes ye remit or retaine, shall be remitted or re­tained. It would be strange after this com­mission, to heare of a power of governing in the people;Eph. 4▪ 11 12. especially seeing for the exe­cuting of it, Christ gave officers to his church, and not to his church power to make them: hee gave them to his church,2 Cor. 5.20. to bee in Christs stead to direct and rule by his word, and not to bee directed and ruled by it. Therefore if any thing be out of or­der he blameth them, not the people. I con­tended with the Rulers and nobles, Neh. 13.11 17. saith Ne­hemiah: and to the Angels of churches [Page 40] speakes Christ sharpely for things amisse.Apoc. 2▪ & 3. Ro 13.1 2 3. 1 Pet. 2.13 14. Tit. 2.1 Heb. 13.8 17. 1 Tim. 5 17. Numb. 16 Matth. 18 1 Cor. 5 And for the people, Christ would not have them rule, but to be subject to magistrates, and spirituall overseers. This I am confi­dent of, that there cannot one precept, or practise be given that the people should, or did rule in the church, but under their guides and teachers, except Corah and his accom­plices who were swallowed up in wrath. As for that text, tell the church, and that other of the incestuous person, we shall meete with them in their proper places. In the meane time know, that the sonne of man hath left his house, Mar. 13.34 2 Cor. 10.8 1 Tim. 3.15 and given authority to his servants (for edification, not for destruction) and not to his house, which is the church. The people are still called sheep, brethren, houshold of faith, spouse, and children: but their teachers are knowne by the name of Elders, Overseers, and Fathers, on whom the governement lies.Object. Apoc. 1.6 But (say the Brownists) the saints are answereable to the kings of old, who are to have power ecclesiasticall in their hands. Indeed they are so called,Sol. but not in respect of any outward power over others more then before, but of inward power to rule, by the annointing of Christ,1 Ioh. 2 over their own pride and corruption. This they will not doe, and so speake evill of them in authority, 2 Pet. 2 and advance themselves above the pitch which God hath given there. It is a brave thing to rule, and who would not doe so? But if they were Davids weaned childe, Psal. 130.3 they would [Page 41] rather bee subject by doing and suffering, then lift up themselves to high places of go­vernement, from whence they may fall to their shame and sorrow.

Lastly, whereas they put into the end of their assembling, not onely the exercise of governement, whereof they have none, and preaching, prayer, sacraments, which are good indeed, if done by right persons, and in right manner; but prophecying too: sure­ly herein they walke not with a right foote according to the truth of the scriptures.Gal. 2.14 They make prophecying an act of some private per­sons, whereby, as the spirit moves them, they put in, in publicke, their verdicts with their Pastours and Doctours, about the sence, doctrine, and application of the scrip­tures propounded: but how Christs word makes this good to them I cannot see, nor ever shall. Indeed the Apostle speakes of prophecying, 1 Cor. 14.1 but as of an office of some per­sons then, not of an ordinary gift now. He saith, let the prophets speake two or three:ver. 29. and I am sure, that prophets have an office to prophecy. Hee saith also, prophecying is a speaking to men to exhortation, edification, ver. 3. and comfort: and I pray, what can the highest gift of preaching doe more? If they may preach,Mat. 28.18 Mar. 16.15.6. Object. Sol. why may they not administer the sacraments, seeing both goe together? They cannot say, that to preach is an act of office, and to prophecy, is an act out of of­fice. For where the Apostle speakes ex­pressely [Page 42] of prophecying according to the proportion of faith, hee doth speak as plain­ly of offices as of gifts. Ro. 12.4, 6

If therefore they will prophecy, let them shew their calling to that office, and then vent their gifts. Doe they doe it by vertue of their generall, or speciall calling? They deny any speciall calling, and wee denie that they doe it by vertue of the generall calling of a christian, because that gives not the of­fice. How much better were it for them to follow the word of Christ, no man taketh this honour to himselfe, Heb. 5.4 but he that is called of God as Aaron, then by jumbling ordinary, and extraordinary gifts and offices together, to utter things, for want of knowledge, wise­dome reading, 2 Tim. 2 13. 1 Tim. 4.13. and doctrine, unworthy of the great God of assemblies.

Thus have I considered the foure parcels of which the Brownists make up a true visible. None of which singly, nor all jointly can make our blessed church not to be so: because they are made up of di­vers falshoods already discovered.What a true visi­ble church is. Let us now take better view out of Gods word, what a true visible church is, that in it we may see our owne.

A true visible churth is, men called, and united in the profession of the truth according to the scriptures. This is alwaies where there is a true visible church, either planted, or continued, or restored. If it be nationall, it is a company of people professing truth in [Page 43] an whole land, as the churches of Iudea, Act. 9.31 Ap. 2, & 3▪ Sa­maria, and Galile, with those of Asia. If it be Parochial, it is a company of people pro­fessing the truth in a towne, or parish:Act. 14.23. as in those where the Apostles ordained elders in every church. If it be domesticall, it is a company professing the truth in a family:Rom. 16.5 1 Cor. 16.19. as in Philemons house, and others. It is true, that the truth may bee more purely professed in one church then in another: more purely in Smyrna, and Philadelphia, which were praised, and lesse purely in Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea, which were dispraised. It is true also that some chur­ches may be in infancy, and so lesse perfect, as that in Creta, where Titus was left to re­dresse things amisse, Tit. 1.5. and those churches of the Gentiles, which must not bee troubled for feare of a rent: and some of riper age, Act. 15.19 as that at Ierusalem, where Iames was Bi­shop, and the Apostles held a councel, Act. 15. and so had a more setled forme of governement: and that of Philippi, Phil. 1.1. which had their Bishops and Deacons. But if they joine to professe the truth of Christ they are true visible churches.

First, Mat. 9 36. Eph. 2. Rom 10. Act. 8. Act 13. they ramble (as sheep without a shep­heard) without God, without Christ. Christ makes himselfe knowne unto them by the preaching of the word. They assemble as those that professe to seeke salvation that way, some more closely, some more loose­ly. They publickely submit to the word [Page 44] of God and Sacraments,Act. 20 1 Cor. 1. [...] and calling on the name of the Lord. These persons thus pro­fessing make up a true visible church, either in a kingdome,Gal. 2 city, town, or house, though they bee worse then Peter in his worse part (not walking with a right foote):Act. 8 yea though too many of them bee as bad as Simon Ma­gus who joyned to Philip and was baptized. When God sent forth his servants to invite guests, Matth. 22 there was the calling of a church, When good and bad that were invited, came to the wedding feast, there was their pro­fession. This made up a visible church, though many were called and few chosen, but left in their chosen wayes to their ruine. When wise and foolish virgines came of duty to attend their Lord,Matth. 25 though five only had lasting oile, and five had but lampes on­ly,Mat. 13.2 3. &c. there was a true visible church. When the sower went out to sowe the word of God, though some fell in the high-wayes, and some among the stones, some among thornes, Mat. 13.24 25. &c. Deus no­bis impe­ravit con­gregatio­onem, sibi servavit separatio­nem. August. Mat. 13.47 48. &c. and but some in good grounds; yet all these professing hearers made up a true visible church. When a man sowed good seed, and his enemie sowed tares, or blasted corne, which sprang up as from the same roote, which must grow together till the harvest, there is a true visible church. When a net was cast into the sea and gathered to­gether fish, both good and bad; good to bee reserved in vessels, and bad to be cast away, there also is a true visible church, the king­dome [Page 45] of heaven upon earth. The word comes, and when it is received, Act. 2.41 Apoc. 2.1. Matth. 5 it makes the church by profession a candlesticke, a citie set on an hill which cannot be hid, especi­ally when those that receive it are baptized, which is the seale of profession. As open profession of men, who say they are willing to fight under the colours of a captaine (and therefore take their military sacrament) are a true visible army, though many runne away in the day of battell: so is it in the visible church, which is as acompany of two armies. Cains, Chams, Iudasses, Cant. 6.13 Simon the sorcerers, and Demas, their profession made them all members of the visible church, with Abel, Noah, Peter, Philip, and Paul. It is true,Object. that afterwards they either went backe, or were throwne out by justice; but the question is, what made them members of the visible church?Sol. and that was joyning in profession of the truth, as the profession of the same trade, art, craft, science, or mystery, makes men of such a society, though some are more worthy, and some lesse.

This therefore being Gods truth con­cerning the nature of the visible church; and the Brownists visible church being cou­pled of many falshoods, whatsoever they say, cannot helpe their new church, nor hurt our old church, which is built upon the rocke,Eph. 2.20. the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ himselfe being the chiefe corner stone.

SECT. 8. Brownists second exception against us: about the entrance into a true church.

NExt they object against us the entrance into a true church. Wee should (say they) have entred into the state of a visible church, by voluntary covenant upon know­ledge, to advance the kingdome of Christ▪ and so to have a right to the name of a true church, and to the priviledges of it for us, and our children: but wee were forced in our first planting by edicts, lawes, and pro­clamations, and yet admitted members, and our posteritie after us by baptisme, even of such of us as are not members in­deed.

Put case this great plea were true at first, yet may not an after mending of what was first amisse, rectifie and confirme all? Things may bee ill done at first, which being once done, may bee of force, and being well carried may end with a blessing. A child marries without consent of parents, and it is wickedly done, yet when it is done, and sealed with the bed by free con­sent, shall it not bee of force? Nay, doe not parents looke upon their courses, and, if they see a good carriage, and good suc­cesse, doe they not like it well, and follow it with their blessings? Shall wee make [Page 47] God an harder master? will hee not love Iacob though hee got the blessing by deceit? God purposed him the blessing: and though hee got not the possession the right way, shall his purpose faile? God forbid: yea let God be true and every man a lyar; Ro, 3.3, 4 Iacobs unbeliefe makes not the faith of God of none effect. So might God deale with us. Hee purposed to us the covenant of the Gospell, and wee came not to it the right way, yet when we are in it, in the place where it was said unto us, ye are not my people, Rom. 9.26 wee shall bee called the children of the living God. Put case a childe bee cut out of the mothers belly, and come not the ordinary way, shal the father when hee sees it live, and thrive, deny it to be his childe, and conclude it to be a bastard? So will our God deale with us.

But why should wee grant them this? wee failed not in our entrance: they can never prove it by the word of Christ. A true visible church may bee considered two waies; in the planting, and in the reforming of it. How wee entred into a true church in our first planting, God knowes,Ro. 10.18 we know not from his word. The sound of the Apo­stles went into all the earth, and their words into the end of the world. The Gospel is come unto you (saith Paul to the Colossians) and to all the world, and bringeth forth fruit:Col. 1 6. and surely it entred to us (as it should) by some Apostle, or Apostolicke men, to make our [Page 48] ancient predecessours a true church. Be­fore, we were without Christ: now wee know him. Before, wee were without the covenant; now wee are in by baptisme. Before, wee were no professours; now we are,Ex. 20. and God shewes mercy to thousands among them that love him, and keepe his commandements, and is their God, and the God of their seede. Gen. 9.9. Gen. 17.7. But this is not the state of the question now.

Therefore for the reforming of a church God would have this course. As it was with Iob, hee was first of Gods making, and next (by Gods permission) of the Devils marring, when he was full of bot­ches and sores, scarce knowne to his friends, and loathsome to his wife. All this while Iob was a true man, as he was before, though clouded with some fearefull fits of impati­ence. But when God would lift up Iob a­gaine, hee did not make a new Iob, but re­formed the old, he cured, and cleansed him, that hee might appeare like himselfe, and his end was happy. So God dealt with the church. After it had covenanted with God at first, it wanted no botches, it was fearefully overspread with diseases. But when God would have it raised againe, hee doth not build a new church, but refor­meth the old. Hee shewes our forefathers where they were at a losse: that they had the faith of Christ in the articles, and the profession of it in publicke festivities: but [Page 49] with fearefull superstitions and vanities. Therefore hee puts into their hands, and the hands of his ministers, the word of his covenant, and the sacraments of his cove­nant rightly administred: and thus (by degrees) wee fall to publicke profession of Christs truth, by union of lawes, consents, and practises. What then, is the want in our entrance, which doth make us no true church?

The Brownists heere, plead foure things.

  • 1 All our members entred not upon know­ledge.
  • 2 They made not a covenant for Christ.
  • 3 They were not voluntary professours.
  • 4 They were baptized when they were the seede of those that were not members of the visible church by a­ctuall profession.

That all our members entred not upon knowledge, is false; were they in planting from no church, or in reforming from a corrupt church? Surely, the knowledge of the doctrine of salvation by the blessed trinitie, Mat. 28. is sufficient for the receiving in of members. For Christ saith, Goe teach all nations and baptize them. And wh [...]t must they bee taught? That which they must bee baptized into, their faith in the father, son, and holy Ghost, which was Christs first creede that made churches. Had not the members of our reforming church this [Page 50] knowledge? where was the seede of our many hundreds of Martyrs? and where is these mens charities? Even the darkest times that our church hath suffered hath preserved this knowledge, and the pro­fession of looking to bee saved by Iesus Christ the sonne of the living God, Matth. 16 which is that Rocke against which the gates of hell shall not prevaile.

2 Yea but (they say secondly), put case they had this knowledge, yet they entred not into our visible church by covenant. In­deed it is lawfull for christians, that have beene disjointed in the service of God, to make covenants betwixt themselves to serve him better. So Asa and his people entred into a covenant to seeke the Lord God of their fathers, 2 Chro. 15.12.14. yea, and they sware unto the Lord. So wee reade of the Princes, Le­vites, and Priests, that made a sure cove­nant,Neh. 9.38writ it, and sealed it. Surely, this was a good way to tye up the unruly colts that were among them to Gods service, if they had but naturall conscience, and the Prophets did not condemn it. From whence I conclude, that it is lawfull to helpe our selves in the service of God by any meanes not forbidden, though it bee not precisely commanded in the word: yet is their pra­ctise a binding law to us so far, as to un­church us if wee doe it not? How many glorious visible churches doe wee reade of in the scriptures, which never tooke this [Page 51] course, nor were bound unto it, and yet entred covenant with Christ too when they were admitted members?

They were made Christs disciples by tea­ching, and receiving the word, Mat. 28.19 Act. 2.41. 2 Cor. 5.19 Levit. 2.13 Deut. 29 12. Deut. 26 18. Deut. 33.3. & 26.17 Act 2.41 Act. 8.12 37.38. Mat. 28.19 1 Cor. 10.16 Psal. 44.17 which is the word of reconciliation. And this word gi­ven to his people, is, Gods covenanting with them, and his avouching them to bee his peculiar people: and their receiving it, is their covenanting with him, and taking God to bee their God. Then doe they goe to the seales of the covenant (the sacraments), according to Christs rule, which doe knit us rogether in an holy league, for the ser­vice of Christ, to our eternall good, if wee doe not deale falsly with God concerning his co­venant. If therefore, they denie not (as they cannot) that our first members had the true word of God, and sacraments, nei­ther can they deny that they have entred in­to the church by covenant.Gal. 3.27 Rom. 4.11. Hee that is bap­tized, putteth on Christ: and baptisme is Christs seale of the covenant upon them that are baptized,Ezech. 16.20. as those that were cir­cumcised, were said to bee borne to God by covenant: which if we breake, we renew againe so oft as we come to the supper of the Lord.

Yea but (they say thirdly), put case 3 that they entred covenant with God by baptisme, yet were they forced to keepe his covenant, in a better way then they had done, by the edicts, lawes, and procla­mations [Page 52] of princes. They were not vo­luntary servers of Christ, Psal. 110.3. Acts 2 41 as the members of a true visible church should be. Put this case to them also, yee are the sonnes of your mother, who was forced by the au­thority of her father, or guardian, to mar­rie your father: will yee say, that yee are bastards, not lawfull heires, or not true members of the family, because your mo­ther was not married to your father freely, and willingly? with what will soever shee was married, shee afterward lived in love, faithfulnesse, and obedience, and brought forth much fruit unto him. Such may bee the case of a true visible church. Shee may come to Christ her husband, as a Beare to the stake, being forced by conviction, and the power of naturall conscience; she may bee drawne before shee runne after him;Cant. 1.4. yet afterward, shee remembring his love more then wine, Rom. 7.4. may live in obedient love, and bring forth fruit unto God. Though this bee a sufficient plea, yet let them know, that the first members of our church, in plan­ting, were a willing people, for ought they know, and for our first members in refor­ming, I answere foure things. First, that the free acts of the leaders of the people are accounted by God as the acts of all; when Moses was bid tell the children of Israel; and hee did but tell the elders of Israel, and they answered,Ex. all the people are said to answer together in them. So Ioshuah called [Page 53] twelve choise men, out of every tribe a man, to carry twelve stones,Iosh 4. [...], 8 and the chil­dren of Israel, whom they represented, are said to do it. So Asa tooke away the altars of the strange Gods, and brake the idols,2 Chro. 24 2.4 7.and cut downe the groves willingly; and though hee commanded his people, and ruled by power, yet they obeying, are said, to seeke the Lord▪ and to prosper. Thus far then, our first reformers were willing members; they were willing in their guides and lea­ders, who willingly put themselves on to advance the kingdome of Christ. Secondly, not onely the governours, but the people were willing covenanters in generall body. It was done by the free proceedings of the house of parliament, where Knights, and Burgesses, were chosen by the free vote of the commons: and they (being knowne to be able men) doe refer themselves to their determination in the Lord. What though some submitted out of feare of po­wer? Thus, many in Mardocai's time became Iewes for feare, Hest. 8.17. yet were so ac­counted. And many in Hezekiahs time were brought by postes, as it were,2 Chro. 30 by the sound of the trumpet, to the passeover, and yet their service was accepted. Thirdly, put case the lawes, and proclamations of our Princes forced some to bee members, who were willing to doe worse.

It was not in the first planting of a church, where faith is not to be forced (the [Page 54] kingdome of heaven suffers violence, Violentiū non coa­ctorum est regnum caelorum. 2 Chro. 30 19.20. but faith suffers not compulsion): but it was in the reforming of a church; and in such a case God did blesse the compulsion of Hezekiah, and the people were not rejected, as no members, though they were not purified according to the purification of the sanctu­ary.2 Chro. [...]3 16 2 Chro. 34 32.33. Did not Manasseh, after hee was come home to God, command Iudah to serve the God of Israel? Did not Iosiah cause and make his people to stand to his co­venant to serve, even to serve the Lord our God? Is it not lawfull for good Princes in reforming to follow these examples? may not they binde their people some way, by oath, 2 Chro. 15 12 Neh. 9.38 & 10.29. Ez. 10.3, 19 Object. Sol. bond, subscription, or taking, and gi­ving hands for better performance of duties of religion? why may not our good Prin­ces follow those old patternes in reforming? They say, because it is not found in the new testament. Bee it so: yet it is found in the old testament, and not condemned in the new, nor any other order prescribed in such a case. Surely, seeing in this new devised way, they will bee tried by none but the new testament, they shall be cast at this bar in their own courses. Let them give but one text to prove any man called, or ordained to a Pastours office in the church, by a company of private men alone, and I shall give them another text to prove any thing they please, I can yet reade of none but Apostles, Evangelists, and the elder­ship [Page 55] that made ministers there. If they can shew no text, I am sure they have no such Pastours as they ought: but I am sure we have true kings, who have power in refor­ming, to compell wicked people to be bet­ter then they are,Rom. 13. because they beare not the sword for nought.

Yea, but (say they lastly) put case 4 they entred upon necessarie knowledge; that they made a covenant in receiving the word, and sacraments; that they were voluntarily, or forced, yet lawfull profes­sours, when they stated a visible church: yet they were (many of them) baptized, when they were the seed of them that were not mem­bers of the visible church. Conceive it thus. If a man be a member of the visible church, then his children have a right to baptisme, before they actually professe the faith, by vertue of that promise, I will be thy God, Gen. 17.7 and the God of thy seede. But if hee bee not a member of a visible church, (as a Iew, Turke, or Pagan) then have they no right to it, before they actually confesse,Act 8. as the Eunuch did. Now the Brownists (keeping a great coile about the jointing of members into a church, as if it were all one to be jointed in­to the body of Christ, coapted, and fitted to our head Christ, for life and salvation, and to bee a member of the visible church, in outward communion and fellowship of Christ, for the outward priviledges of the church) they have (I say) espied, among [Page 56] many others, this one crime, in the Dutch, and French churches,Fran. Iohns Ar­tic against Fr and Dutch Churches. that they baptize the seede of them that are no members of the visible church: much more, when they looke upon us, whom they account not members of a true visible church, must they quarrell (if all bee of his mind), if our first reformers be not members of a true vi­sible church, and yet their children are bap­tized before they are of yeares to professe their owne faith.

SECT. 9. A question by the way, about bapti­zing Bastards of impenitent Christians.

I Confesse, I never yet talked with any Brownist about this particular; yet be­cause I finde too many conscious people, hanging after forraigne novelties, and ga­zing upon (with admiration) the membring, and dismembring in visible churches: who when they heare of Christians lawfully be­gotten children denied baptisme, beginne to wonder that christians bastards should be admitted. Therefore to cleare both (as God shall in able) I shall labour to satisfie o­thers (as I have done some) in this question. whether bastards are baptizable while their mothers are in their sinnes of adultery, or forni­cation, and whether men ought not to stay their baptisme, untill they be reconciled to God, in [Page 57] open church, which is publickely scandalized by her fact, and from which she hath dismembred her selfe by her misdeed?

In this I finde two questions inwrapt in one: whether bastards are baptizable? and whether men ought not to stay such bap­tisme, till the harlot bee reconciled to God, and this be done in the open church scanda­lized, from which by her fact she hath cut herselfe off by her sinne? I shall first labour to state these questions, and then the cases will more easily appeare.

The estate of the first may be thus set. By bastards, such children are meant, as come not into the world by lawfull acts of mar­riage: and by baptizable is meant, such as have a right to the sacrament of baptisme in the church. And the question is not, whether bastards in generall are baptizable? for so it is certaine that all are not, as the ba­stards of Iewes, Turkes, and Pagans, who have no right to baptisme but by personall confession. But the question is, whether the bastards of the professours at large, in a christian church, which is in covenant with God (for the outward priviledge of the church at least) have right to baptisme? of these the inquiry is, because in the second part of this question, is spoken of the mo­thers reconciling to God, in the open church offended.

The state of the second question must be laid by considering two things:

  • [Page 58]1 The persons enquired of·
  • 2 The duty of these persons.

The persons enquired of, are Men: and it is too generall a terme. For it cannot meane, any men of that assembly, where such a bastard is presented: for they have no au­thority (knowne to mee from scriptures) to meddle in any censure ecclesiasticall. These onely are to meddle heere,Ioh. 20, 21 22, 23▪ who are sent, and inspired with delegated service and mini­nistery from Christ, either immediately, or mediately. Neither can it meane the Pastors, and deputed teachers of that assembly: for they have but a dependent authority accor­ding to the lawes of Eutaxy, 1 Cor. 14. and good order in the church. Presbiters under Bishops, Bishops under Synods, Synods under Coun­cels, and Councels under the word of Christ in plaine scriptures. Our highest appeale is to our head Christ Iesus.

For if ordinary Pastours had such inde­pendent power in such cases, thinke whe­ther it would not set up a Pope in every pa­rish, especially considering that wee have neither precept, nor president, in all the new testament, of such power given to any assembly, or Presbiter, that ever I could yet finde. By men ther [...]fore, wee must under­stand the publick governours of that church, that is,Ensem stringēdo, decreta publicādo the King, Prince, state, Bishop, and convocation, by their lawes ecclesiasticall for the good of the church. The question en­quires of those, in respect of order, decree, [Page 59] and command: and of these in respect of Canons, and executions accordingly. Thus I take up the minde of the question, or else I know not what it would have.

Next, consider in the question, the du­ty of these persons, whether they ought to stay bastards from baptisme? By this, two things may bee meant: denying baptisme; but no man would utterly exclude such: and suspending baptisme; and of this is the que­stion: for it makes a double limitation; first, till the harlot be reconciled to God. In this, the question meddles not with the judgement of God, who by his sure omnisci­ence, knowes who are reconciled to him, and who not: nor with the judgement of the conscitnce of any reconciled persons, who by the assurance of faith or hope, may believe, or hope, that they are reconciled; for this is Gods tribunall: but with the judgement of the church, which under the sa­crament of charity (as it was termed of old) by the harlots words, and actions may judge the best: and so this parr of the question is utterly void. For I never yet knew harlot but would confesse, and la­ment her sinne, and promise amendement before her bastard was baptized, and so give a ground for charitable hope.

The second limitation is, till shee bee pub­lickely reconciled to the church scandalized, from which by her fact shee hath cu [...] her selfe off. In which foure things are to bee [Page 60] pondered. First, the manner of her re­conciling, which is required by the questi­on; in the open church. But what if she be ready to be swallowed up of sorrow?2 Cor. 2:7. Shall wee not have the church to apply her power of mitigating indulgence? shall we have no­thing but extreamitie? Did God allow in the time of the law,Exod. 21.28, 29, 30. that if an oxe did kill a man by the masters negligence, there might bee a commutation of punishment, from death to a ransome of mony, and will wee in no case have a mitigation of rigour from the open church, when yet Justice may bee done, and that, with more good some­times, both upon the partie, and others by charitable and indulgent acts?

2 Secondly, the persons offended, are the Church scandalized: by which the question meanes not the Catholik, or nationall Church; for with both these the harlot may be friends still; because they cannot take notice of every such fact, to bee offended by it: But the particular Church and assembly united by God, and the lawes for the professing of 3 saving truth. Thirdly, consider then the danger of the harlot offending; shee hath cut her selfe off, as the question implyes: but consider how she hath cut her selfe off? and how farre? shee hath not cut her selfe off by excommunication ecclesiasticall: for that is not in her power, and the Church hath not yet proceeded against her: but by excom­munication morall, by the wickednesse of [Page 61] her fact, which makes her censurable both heere and hereafter, in an high degree, if she repent not heartily. But how farre hath she cut her selfe off? Not from the visible Church; for she still professeth saving faith; and would not but have the benefit of it for much: yea, shee still hath the character of Baptisme, which is the outward marke of a Christian: for otherwise upon her recon­ciliation she should be baptized againe, which surely the question intends not: but from two things in the visible Church: first, from the inward comforts of christianity, till shee repent unto life: For (I thinke) it will not bee denyed, but that shee may doe this, before ecclesiasticall indulgence bee ap­plyed unto her upon outward submission. And secondly, from publike communion with the visible Church in some holy things, when she is proceeded against, till shee hath outwardly, in the congregation confessed her fault (if neede require) and promised amendment. In some holy things (I say) for I answer, none will deny her a right to reade the word of God, or to heare it read, to heare good exhortations and instructi­ons, or to pray in private, which yet are the acts of a true Christian.

Fourthly, consider the remedy of this dan­ger, (her reconciling to the Church:) by which we must not vnderstand, her returning into favour, by communion with the Church in repentance unto life, and the faith of the [Page 62] elect; for no man, or men, can judge cer­tainely of these: but onely returning into favour by communion with the Church in profession to have them.

The question being thus stated, wee may the more easily conceive and give sa­tisfying answers. To the first, whether Ba­stards are baptizable?1 Why the bastards of christi­ans are baptiza­ble? I answer, the bastards (as other children) of Iewes, Turkes, and Infidels are not: but the bastards of profes­sors of Christianity are, for these two rea­sons.

First, because that which gives right unto the parents, gives right unto the children in the parents right (for when the parents pro­fessed the faith of Christ,1 Cor. 1.16. the Apostles did baptize them and their children, if any such were in the houshold:Act. 12. Act. 8. Mat. 28.) But profession of Christianity gives right to the Parents: for if men doe but professe their faith in the Trinity, they are baptizeable: and there­fore the bastards of Christans are baptize­able.

Secondly, because the children of Christi­ans are baptizeable: but bastards of Christi­ans, are the children of Christians; for o­therwise such parents should be rebaptized: therefore they are baptizeable.

To the second question, whether men ought to stay their baptisme, till the harlot be reconci­led unto God in the open church▪ which is just­ly scandalized by her fact, and from which shee hath dismembred herselfe by her misdeed? I [Page 63] answere, first to the grounds of the questi­on in limitations: and next to the question it selfe.

To the grounds of the question,2 An har­lots fact doth not make her no Chri­stian. I answer two things. First, that her fact hath not so dismembred her as to make her no chri­stian. For let me aske, doth a vaste sinne so cut off from Christ, that it doth unchri­stian a man or woman? I doe not aske this to move any man or woman to flatter themselves in such a case. For such have just cause to doubt whether they are u­nivocall members of saving Christ: nei­ther can they know by assurance of faith, whether ever they shall rise againe: because God saies to no man, sinne, and my grace shall helpe thee up. But I aske it, to shew the hope and charity of the church, about such wicked professours of christianity. Besides, if her fact had made her no christian, shee should be rebaptized: but shee hath still the character of baptisme, and hath right to the inward comforts of it, if she repent: and so, in her state, and right, her bastard hath a right also.

Secondly, I answer, that her scandalizing of the church, where shee lives,3 An harlots fact doth not de­prive her or her child of the right of christiani­ty. doth not de­prive her selfe, or her childe, of the right of christianity. As for her childe, the scan­dall was given by the mother, not that, who is a sufferer in the shame of the sinne, not a doer in the worke of it. As for her selfe, though her scandall deprive her of [Page 64] the best comforts of christianity, till she re­pent: yet not of a right to some of the outward priviledges of Christianity, where­of the baptisme of her childe is one.

And this the rather, because an harlot amongst christians, having a bastard and not professing her selfe sorrowfull, and that shee doth believe in Christ, is not (for ought I know, or have heard) to bee found what ever her heart be.

4 No man ought lawfully to stay ba­stards frō Baptisme.Now, secondly, to the question it selfe, I answer, that no man either in that church, or over that church, ought lawfully to stay bastards from baptisme. Because they that are in the covenant of Christianity (as those that are to be regenerated, though not yet actu­ally regenerate) are not to be stayed from baptisme:Vt regene­randi et­si nondum regenerati but the bastards of christian har­lots are in such a covenant of christianity: therefore they ought not to bee staied from it. That it is thus with christian harlots ap­peares thus: because if a christian church be in the covenant of christianity, then all the members,1 Cor. 12, 27. and matter of it are: therefore the church of Corinth is called the body of Christ, in respect of the covenant of christia­nity, though fearfull wickednesse was acted in that church about word, sacraments, and conversation. But such bastards are some of the members of a christian church, there­fore they ought not to bee staied from bap­tisme. That they are mēbers of a a christian church, appeareth thus, Because all that are [Page 65] within the Jurisdiction and judgement of a christian church, are the members and mat­ter of it, for (saith Paul) What have I to do to judge them that are without?1 Cor. [...].12 but bastards of Christians are within the judgement and jurisdiction of the Church: for else, why were they circumcised of old, and some way censured to certaine generations?Deut. 23.2 and why in the Christian Church have susceptors (or God-fathers) beene appointed for them, to undertake for their education? Therefore are they members of a Christian Church.

Secondly, the proceeding of Abrah [...]m (the father of the faithfull) in his house when he was called into the covenant of circum­cision, ought to bee a president to christian Churches in the covenant of Baptisme. But Ishmael was circumcised as wel as Isaack, though Agar bro [...]ght h [...]m forth unto bondage, If then no men ought lawfully so to doe,Gal. 4. Gen. 21. surely such Bastards are not to be denyed baptisme finally, or to be suspended from it in due time, understanding it as is before said. Thus have I answered these questions.

But I know, others have answered other­wise: let it therefore bee heard and exami­ned. Some have answered negatively, that Bastards ought not to be baptized untill their mothers be reconciled to God openly in the Church, in the which her child is to be baptized; let us therefore.

  • 1 Heare their reasons for their opinions.
  • 2 How they maintaine it again [...] ob [...]ecti­ons made.

[Page 66] Object.Their reasons are two. First, because all they, and onely they may be baptized, which either doe actually beleeve, or are of belee­ving parents: but bastards in infancy, doe not beleeve actually, nor are of beleeving parents:Sol. therefore they are not bap­tizable. But I answer to the argument, and application of it. The argument is imper­fect:Exposi­titij. for what if bastards bee such as whose parents are unknowne? in such a case the lear­ned say well, if they shall be borne among christians,Si inter Christia­nos nati fuerint, ex Charitate habendi profilijs Christia­norum si non sit ju­sta causa contrariū praesu­mendi. the law of charity is to repute thē for the children of christians, if there be not a just cause to presume otherwise. There­fore the argument should runne thus. All they, and onely they should bee bapti­zed, which either doe actually beleeve, or which are of beleeving parents, or in charity may bee presumed so to bee. To the application of it to bastards, I say; none will resolutely affirme, that Christian bastards while they are infants, are neither actuall beleevers, nor of beleeving parents, nor may bee presumed so to bee: will they hold, that in the act of adultery there is an utter falling from the covenant of christia­nity?1 Cor. 6. In sensu composito. Have they not read of taking the members of Christ, and making them the members of an harlot? or will they hold that the act of whoredome doth utterly ex­tinguish baptismall grace in the parents? I thinke they will not; I know they cannot. No corporation doth cast off their members from their enfranchisements before triall, [Page 67] convictions, and judgement: much lesse will Christ. Yet they say two things in their owne defence. First, that bastards beleeve not actually. Indeede it were too lofty to say that they beleeve as men of yeares who are wrought upon by the word, and prayer. But were it not very harsh to say they are infidels? Are they not members of a Church in the outward covenant of christianity as well as others? Have they not read of the seedes of faith, in such? or that Christ speaking of little ones, saith, they beleeve in his name? Mat. 18.6. It may be, he speakes of such as were admitted already into the covenant of circumcision: but may not they judge charitably of Ba­stards, in such a case, seeing ye see, or may see (in the issue) bastards to live graciously in the bosome of the Church? If they know none such, yet I doe; blessed be God.

Secondly, they say that the fathers and mothers of bastards are unbeleevers: because they are unjust, they worke from the flesh, 1 Cor. 6:9.10 Gal. 5.9.22. 1 Cor. 6. 1 Tim. 5.8 they are shut out of the Kingdome of heaven, and they provide not for their owne: and thus they reason. They that are unjust, bring forth the fruits of the flesh, shut themselves out of the kingdome of heaven, and provide not for their owne as they ought, are unbelee­vers. But fathers and mothers of bastard are such: therefore they are unbeleevers. To this I answer two waies.

First in generall, by using their own reason layed otherwise thus. They that are unjust, live in the flesh, shut themselves out of hea­ven [Page 68] & proprovide not for their own are un­beleevers. But many christian parents of chil­dren lawfully begotten are such: therefore they are unbeleevers I confesse there is some difference to be put here betwixt parents of lawfully begotten children, & parents of ba­stards, because those doe it in an act of ju­stice and goodnesse, and that by Gods or­dinance if they doe it as they ought; and these doe it in an act of impudence and in­justice. But if an act of injustice and uncha­ritablenesse doth of it selfe, make them un­beleevers, as they are such, then it reacheth to the one as well as to the other. But there is no good religion bids us to thinke that an act of injustice in the parents should put a child both into the state of sinne (in the neglect of a sacrament, Eze. 18.) and into the state of punishment (in being deprived of it) when yet the child hath not followed, nor countenan­ced the parents wickednesse.

Secondly, I answer in particular to the ar­gument, and first to the ground of it, that such wicked christians are not so unbelie­vers as to bee quite unchristianed, and so to be deprived, in themselves, and their ba­stards of the sign and seale of the covenant. There are two sorts of unbelievers; unbe­lievers in part,Two sorts of unbe­l [...]evers. [...] In part. rnd unbelievers in whole: unbelievers in part, and in some particulars, when the word of God is not so received of them, as the rule of faith and obedience in some particular parts of it as it ought.

[Page 69]Of these there are to many amongst us, and all christian churches. From hence proceedes that, they not believing the word of chastity, are unchaste, the word of ju­stice, are unjust, and the word of care for children, are carelesse, and the like,2 In whole. Vnbe­lievers in whole, when christianity is dead in them at the roote; as when the whole saving word is rejected. This is that unbe­liefe which doth unchristian a man and wo­man, and if it be finall, is a state of Paga­nisme. Though (it may be) there be such parents in the eyes of God; (yet I thinke) few or none are such among Christians in the eies of the church. They will all pro­fesse to believe in Christ, and when they are convincingly moved, will lament their sins, and promise to doe so no more. To the ap­plication of the argument to fathers and mothers of bastards in a christian church, that they are such, is an unsufficient plea. And whether they bee so, to the cutting of them off from Christianity in generall, and making their bastards unbaptizable, judge by what is said, and what followeth.

Secondly, they give another reason thus.Object. They that have no grace already conferred, are not to bee made partakers of the signe and seale of grace. Rom. 4.11. But bastards have not grace conferred, they neither actually believing, nor being borne of christian parents: and therefore they are not to bee baptized, I answer,Sol. they meane not (I thinke) the inward [Page 70] grace of actuall faith, such as Abraham had; for then, why was Ishmael circumci­sed?

But they meane the outward grace of ha­ving right to the signe and seale of the cove­nant; and thus their application to bastards is false: understand their argument thus. They that have not the outward grace of right to the signe and seale of the covenant, are not baptizable. What though Abraham had true actuall faith when hee submitted to circumcision, doth it follow that all that succeed him in circumcision should have so also? Prove that and turne Anabaptists: take away circumcision and baptisme from all infants. Therefore I deny the applicati­on, that bastards of wicked christians have not the grace of right to baptisme. They have a right to receive that right whereto their parents have a right to convey: and certainely these have a right to convey the right of baptisme to their children; both as they are believers of the word of salvation by Christ, and as they professe to stand in such a way, though they are wicked and ungodly in particular acts.

They have a right also to the offers of grace in a christian church, and so have a right to baptisme: for heerein God offereth grace by way of signe, and seale of Gods co­venant. To understand this, conceive these two points.

First, the difference of the offer of grace to [Page 71] them within, and to them without the church. They without have a right to it in the word: for I may preach the word to a Iew, Turke, Heathen, if hee come within my limit,Mat. 28.19. and will heare. But they within have a right un­to it in the word, and sacraments, according to Christs commission.

Secondly, the priviledge they have by it, is, not to bee graffed into the body of Christ, according to the election of grace, but accor­ding to the profession of the Gospel, and the state of the church visible heere.

Thus their reasons are voide from pro­ving that bastards are not baptizable. Now marke what reasons they make, and finde a­gainst them, and what they answer.

First, some of the bastards predecessours Objection. 1 have beene believers, and this is sufficient to admit them to baptisme, according to the promise made to believers, and to their po­sterity. This is a poore objection,Censure. thus pro­pounded. For what Iew, Turke, or Pagan is there, who may not pretend that some of their predecessours have beene believers,Rom. 11. Col. 1. if the Gospell have beene preached thorough the world. They must be predecessours in a chri­stian church, in outward covenant with God. But let us see their answer.Sol. They give a text to prove the contrary, and require a text to oppose them.

Their text is Saint Paules, who speaking of immediate parents, saith, except one of them are believers, their children are uncleane, 1 Cor. 7.14 but [Page 72] now (by the faith of one) they are holy. Censure. They will not prove (I hope) that believers chil­dren are holy by an infused, or derived ho­linesse from them: for from them they are the children of wrath, but onely that they have a foederall holinesse, Eph. 2, by which they have a right to bapti [...]me.Sanctita­tem foede­ralem, ut qui sunt regene­randi non regenerati Neither will they prove that it is necessary to a childs baptisme, to have immediate predecessours such believers, as doe in all things contrary to such sinnes as doe wound or waste a good conscience. It is enough i [...] one be a believet, that is, a doctri­nall christian, though like the worst in the church of Corinth. If hee bee a Iew, the A­postle calls him circumcision, Rom. 2. and if hee pro­fesse faith in Christ, hee is a christian for his owne, and his childes baptisme. What though the Apostle speakes of immediate parents there, where hee speakes of a church newly converted to the faith from heathenisme, and so to be a church that wanted predecessours before times? may wee not therefore make use of other texts more comfortable for us▪ who have had the Gospel a long time, and that, sealed with such christian bloud?

If now they require a text to oppose them; let them take that, The promise is to you, and to your children. Act. 2.39. But they answer, that the un­believer, and his children, are not the posterity of the believer;Object. I say, yes, if they be mem­bers of a visible church. Those wicked kings of Iudah, Sol. that were idolaters, were the posteri­ty of Abraham, and David, and had right to [Page 73] the promi [...]es made to them, yea, and to the ever blessed Messias, who descended from them. If they repented not, they had no inward comfort from him, yet had they out­ward right unto him, by vertue of the promi­ses made to Abraham and David.

But they say,Obiect. Sol. can uncleane bastards be the seed of the believing? I answer, that I ap­prove that in these termes they expresse ha­tred to the sinne: but in that they forget a foederall cleannesse in uncleane christians chil­dren, by vertue of Gods promise to believers foregoing them, they goe the right way, not onely to fill he I with bastards, but with true begotten children, whose immediate parents are (too often) guilty of greater sinnes then whoredome, though that bee damnable e­nough.

Secondly, they finde another objection; Objection. 2 God hath promised to shew mercy unto a thou­sand generations, Exod. 20. to them that love him and keepe his commandements. Therefore bastards of wicked Christians are baptizable.

The reason should have been put thus:Censure. God hath promised to shew mercy to a thousand generations of Israelites in outward commu­nion with him: for otherwise it followes not, that the bastards of christians are bapti­zable. But what answer they? They say Solution. 1 three things; first they say, it followes not: because bastards are not the generation of them that love God, and keepe his comman­dements. Take heed:Censure. was not Davids child [Page 74] got of the wife of Vrijah the generation of them that loved God at all, though in that act David loved him not? nor was Ishmael the generation of Abraham that loved God, though in that act (out of ignorāce not who­ly excusing) Abraham loved him not? yes, as Iosiah was the generation of them that loved God, though Manasseh his father had long and fearefull fits of cruell Idolatry: so in this case, bastards may bee the generation of them that love God, though their immedi­ate Solution. 2 parents in those accursed acts, loved him not. Secondly, they say, that it is one thing to say, that God will shew grace and favour to one, and another thing to say, that he is already in grace,Censure. as hee must bee that is baptized. I have answered before, that the bastards of Christians have the grace of right to Baptisme, and that is sufficient in this case: for otherwise, Ishmaels right to Solution. 3 circumcision cannot bee found. Thirdly, they say, that that promise of God in the second commandement may have a double sence, first, that God will extend his mer­cy to many ages on them that love him, when they are come to age, and capeable of his love by practise.Censure. But thus they make them that love God to bee the posterity, when it is plaine, the promise was made to them that received the law then, and were to continue in the profession of saving truth, and so to all others in such a case. Second­ly, that God will shew little children favour for their fathers and mothers sake to a thou­sand [Page 75] generations. But this they thinke, cannot bee meant, neither in deede is, as I conceive Yet then adde a third sence, which they forget, that God will shew the posteri­ty, that continues in the profession of his name, favour; not for their parents sake, but for his owne sake, for his promise sake,Gen. [...]7. which he makes to them that love him, and that, for many generations; and then I rea­son thus. That which keepes the generations to come, who live as professors in the visible Church in covenant with God, that gives in­fants of such parents right to the seale of the co­venant, of which they are capable. But Gods promise to faithfull parents in the visible Church, keepes such generations to come in covenant with God: and therefore have they right to the scale of the covenant, whereof they are capable. Now whereas they aske, whether all children, or some have right? I answer, all, to the grace of right to Baptisme.

Thirdly, they bring forth another ob­jection,Objection. 3 that if bastards bee withheld from Baptisme, there will be no difference put be­twixt Bastards and their parents. They an­swer here what if there be no difference put?Sol. And whatsoever the objection bee, (for I know not who ownes it) they runne here a strange course. Out of a desire to honour the seventh commandement, they disho­nour the first, and third.Heb. 13. Let adultery bee abominable (because whoremongers and adul­terers [Page 76] God will Iudge) yet let God have his honour in hating infidelity above whore­dome. Let not the Scripture bee wronged; but thoroughly weigh their words. They say first,Censure. that Bastards and their parents are all infidels: what? though their parents bee Christians?1 Tim. 5.8. yes surely, say they; because Saint Paul saith they are worse then infidels. Let them consider, because they are worse then carefull infidels, in not caring for their children (which is against the fift and eight commandements) are they worse then infidels in infidelity? They are christians, yet worse, and better, worse in disgracing their posterity:2 Pet. 2.19, 20. yet better in be­leeving still the doctrine of christianity, and so giving a right to baptisme. But they say further, that parents of bastards are worse in state then Turkes, and they would prove it from a Text of finall Apostacy: but what proofe this can be against an act of whoredome (in the passion of lust, clowding reason in an heate) I cannot tell? Let a Turk be a Turk, but no worse; and let a dam­nable Harlot be an harlot, but no worse. Her state is bad enough to bring her to hell with­out Objection. 4 repentance, but not to exclude her child from baptisme, if she be a Christian at large.

Fourthly, they meete with another objecti­on,Censure. that Bastards are borne, & the Church is their Mother; therefore baptisme ought not to be denyed them. It should have beene put thus; they are borne of Christian parents, who by profession are members of the [Page 77] Church, and so the Church is their Mother,Sol. and the mother of their seede; and there­fore to bee baptized. But in their answer, they fall into two errors. First, that the Church is a company of true beleevers whō God bath chosen to eternall life; which Church I pray? Not that whereof new borne bastards of Christian parents are by profession members. The holy Catholike Church, and proper body of Christ, may be defined by beleevers in that sence of it: but that the visible Church, in the outward face of it, is thus defined, wants warrant in the word of Christ. Thus the Church is a num­ber of persons united according to the word.Act. 2. 42. 1 Cor. 1, 2. in the profession of saving truth, whether they are elect, or no. Their second error is, that Bastards are infidels; for this can not bee conceived of bastards of Christian parents, as is before proved.Objection. 5

Fiftly, they yet finde more arguments to oppose them:Censure. Bastards may belong to Gods election, and therefore are not to be denyed Baptisme: It should have beene thus set: They may belong to Gods election as members of the visible Church: for other­wise election may belong to Jewes and Turkes, who yet are not Baptizable without personable profession. But they answer thus,Sol. it must not be said, they may belong,Censure. but they doe belong to Gods election: for o­therwise the signe is not to bee administred unto them. Doe they consider how thus they take away Baptisme from all men, [Page 78] women,2 Tim. 2.19 and children? The Lord knowes who are his and the Church reaches but to the judgement of charity. A judgement of certainety, to warrant us in these acts is no where granted, though baptisme bee defer­red to the last gaspe for any thing knowne to me of faith.

Objection. 6 Sixtly, they further finde another argu­ment against them▪ that if bastards were denied baptisme, this were to make the children to beare the iniquity of their Pa­rents.Eze. 18. But may they not rather thus di­spute?Censure. The children whose parents have a right to baptisme, have also a right to baptisme themselves, notwithstanding their parents personal faults; for otherwise they shall be punished for parents faults: But the christian parents of bastar [...]s have a right to baptisme themselves: and therefore so have their children. They have a right of possession to the baptisme they have: and a right of expectation to the comfort of it, upon their faith and repentance. But take their answer,Sol. and they say foure things. First, that they do not meane to deny bap­tisme, but to defer it. Indeed heere is some charity, but not enough, upon for­mer grounds, Againe they say, to defer baptisme is not to punish them for their pa­rents sinnes; yes that it is, if it bee meerely inflicted for parents sinnes. Though the baptisme of children of believers is not to remunerate them for their parents righre­ousnesse, but a blessing upon them for Gods [Page 79] promise sake to believers; yet to deprive infants of it meerely for parents sake, is a punishment for parents sinnes. Thirdly they say, that the Prophet Ezekiel speaks of actu­all sinnes of great ones, and not of little chil­drens sinnes: and when they have sayd thus, they confesse it is not to the purpose heere. Yet consider this point: Can any man be guilty of the personal sinne of ano­ther, with whom onely there is communi­on of suffering, and not of sinning? God forbid, and yet such is the case of infants from us. Lastly they aske, what danger is it if bastards should bee unbaptized till they are of yeares? I answer, there are dan­gers more then one. The danger of inju­stice at large, in withholding a right from them: yea, may I not call it sacriledge?Act. 8. & 9 The danger of the neglect of this ordinance, which is the ordinary way of God for en­trance into the visible church.Mat. 28. And the dan­ger of elevating baptisme above the mind of Christ, who will have grace offered to all entring christians in it, yea, and given by way of promise and covenant which shall not faile to the receivers.

Lastly, they yet finde another reason a­gainst Objection. 7 them: that though the parents of bastards have greatly sinned, yet we ought to judge charitably of them, and of their children. I lay it downe otherwise, thus: They who (at least) in the judgement of charity are christians,Censure. ought not to have [Page 80] their children kept from baptisme: but the parents of bastards in a christian church, are (at least) in the judgement of charity chri­stians, (for otherwise they were rebaptiza­ble) therefore their children ought not to be kept from baptisme.Sol. Now take their an­swer. They say, the judgement of charity ought alwaies to be according to truth. This is true, of truth probably presumed. But what doe they assume? that whoremongers and harlots cannot bee judged such while they are in their sinnes, which make them unbelievers. But say, I pray: Is their sin properly against faith or manners? Is the bad working, or idlenesse of faith, in this sinne against manners, of such power, as utterly to roote out their doctrinall faith, which yet is sufficient to intitle their children to baptisme? If they answer but these demands well, they shall see their owne errours.

Thus have I taken in by the way, a view of th [...]s question, which [...]s not an every day doubt, and is usefull [...]or the quieting of ma­ny godly persons in this particular▪ and my conclusion is this. That in the reforming of our visible church, which consisted of visible christians before (though much out of order) wee, their seed, in their right, and so in a right of our owne were more purely baptized, and so made true mem­bers of our true visible church, whatsoe­ver Brownists plead to the contrary. For as [Page 81] bastards of christian parents have a right to bee baptized into their parents christianity: so much more had wee into ours. Our predecessours had a state whereof they re­pented; and so have these of which they should. If neither of them repented as they should, yet were both of them true christi­ans: and so both their posterities were right­ly baptized, and made true members of a true visible church: i [...] not for such gover­nement as Brownists dreame of, yet to be governed as members of Gods house, for conviction, or conversion to life.

SECT. 10. Brownists third exception against us about the head of our Church.

WEe having now done what the Brownists do mean by a true church and the falsitie of it; and with the entrance into it: wee are now come unto their third exception, taken from the head of a true visible church. They finde from time to time our kings to interpose their autho­rity over every particular assembly in our church, for the keeping of them in pious, and peaceable wayes, according to the lawes of God and our church, and common-wealth: and because they fansie no visible [Page 82] churches, but particular congregations, which must bee fully furnished from Christ, with power of governing themselves: and they doe perceive withall that the supreame authority of a king over churches, doth (ac­cording to kingly duty) hinder their ere­cting of new waies, and tie them up to ob­serve the laudable customes of the church: therefore (as if they willingly subscribed to the speech of Gallio, that wicked deputy of Achaia, Act 18.12, 13, 14, 15. If it were a matter of wrong, or wicked lewdnesse, O yee Iewes, reason would that I should beare with you, but if it be a que­stion of words, and names, and of your law, looke yee to it, for I will be no judge of such mat­ters), they cry out, wee have no head but Christ: he shall rule over us: we will wait upon him onely: but you have another head, and that is the king, whose lawes you follow for government of the church, and upon whom ye do depend for building, or pulling downe whatsoever Christs law saith.

Now, to pricke and open this blister, con­sider,

  • 1 That Christ is the head of the catholicke Church,
  • 2 That Christ is the head of particular Churches.
  • 3 That Christ is the head of our church.
  • 4 That the headship of the king, doth not hinder but helpe this, and that accor­ding to Christs word.

[Page 83]That Christ is the head of the catholicke church, no christian will deny,1 Christ is the head of the ca­tholike Church, Eph. 1.22. Col. 1.18. Iohn 1 16. Col. 1 19 Eph 1.22. Eph. 9.6. 1 Iohn 2. Eph. 5.23. or if hee doe, he will bee convinced by scriptures, which teach him to bee the head of the body, even his church. He hath in him most per­fectly, whatsoever may be for the life and salvation of his church. He hath all things subjected to him for the behoofe of his church. He takes up all debates, suites, quarrels, and controversies betwixt God and his church, as a counsellour, advocate, yea, husband for his wife. Hee is the Prince of our salvation, the proper fountaine of all spiriruall life and governement. No head is such an head as hee is: Politicall heads give the influence of civill favour; Oeconomicall heads of houshold, and wed­locke favours: but this all-sufficient spiritu­all head, of saying favours, spiritual bles­sings in heavenly things. Eph 1.3. This therefore is certaine, that thousands in this catholicke church doe runne into folly, rebellion, and blasphemy. Into folly; because they doe things without the generall, or particular direction of Christ: Christ is not in all their counsels. Into rebellion, because they doe things against the direction of Christ: let Christ say what he will, they will do what they list. Into blasphemy, because they think not Christs counsel worth the while, s [...] long as they can shift without it: it is good when they are sicke, but if well, it is but as Elias to Ahab, a troubler of Israel. 1 King. 1.18. These may [Page 84] be in the catholicke church, they are not of it, because Christ is not their head by infusion of grace.

Secondly, it is true also, that he is the head of particular churches,2. Christ is the head of particu­lar Chur­ches▪ 1 Cor. 12.27. and visible assemblies. Therefore the church of Corinth is called the body of Christ, and members in particular. This church (as any other particular church) may be considered two wayes: In it selfe, and so it was a body: with reference to other churches, and so it was a member of the ca­tholick church. But consider it both, or either of these wayes; if it bee the body of Christ, if a member of his body, or if both, Christ is the head of it:Apoc. 1. hee is in the midst of the seven golden candlestickes. Therefore also the church of Ephesus, 1 Tim. 3.15. is called the house of God: and as in an house there is an head, the hus­band is the wifes head; so, but more tran­scendently,1 Cor. 11. is Christ the head of every par­ticular house or church. For God hath set his sonne over his own house, Heb. 3 6. Heb. 10. and our high-priest is over the house of God. This is t [...]ue.

3. Christ is the head of our Church.But thirdly, say the Brownists, what is that to us? Christ is not our head. Yes, Christ is the head of our church of England. For doe but consider

  • 1 Wherein Christs headship stands?
  • 2 How hee useth and exerciseth it?

Christs headship doth stand in providing fit meanes for the gathering and enlarging of his visible church, or churches, and making them effectuall. There is a foundation to bee [Page 85] layd, which properly is Christ, and for,1 Cor 3.10, 11. Eph. 2.20. 1 Pet. 2.7. 1 Cor. 3.10 and from him the Prophets, and Apostles. There are builders, yea master builders, as well as o­thers, to bee provided. There are materials to be at hand, saints by calling some of which grow up to be lively stones, a spirituall house, 1 Cor. 1.2. 1 Pet. 2.5 1 Cor. 3 9. that they may be Gods building. These faith­full ones must be laied and coupled together, as by joints, till they grow into an holy temple, Eph. 4.11.12. for the habitation of the Lord, by the spirit. Now, that this may be done, Christ is the principal agent, he adds unto his church, Acts 2.47. Iohn 14.6. that they may come to the father by him. And withall hee provides his word, that they might believe,Ioh. 10.31 1 Cor 3 5. Rom 6.4. 1 Cor. 10.16 and ministers, by whom they may doe it: and the sacraments, that they may bee baptized into his death, and have the communion of the bloud of Christ. Hee rests not heere, but to 2 make them effectual, in the use of these means, hee comes amongst these citizens with the saints, Eph. 2.19 and grants to those that by grace re­ceive the spirit which is of God,1 Cor. 2.12. Acts 11.18. Acts 15.11 Acts 2.47 Acts 11.20. to 26. repentance unto life, and faith to purifie their hearts: and so hee addeth to the church from day to day, a great number that believe and turne unto the Lord. But for those that come in to the voyce of the word, and supper of the gospel in word and sacraments, and have Simon Magus, Iu­das, Hymeneus, Alexander, and Demas his heart, if the conviction of themselves, and the conversion of others, and their perseverance doe them no good, he shewes sometimes what they deserve, by fearefull judgements, Acts 5. and the [Page 86] censures of the church,Mat. 16. Iohn 20. Mat. 13. but hee will shew it in full power when the great day of separation comes.

Now looke, (in the feare of God) whe­ther our ever blessed Iesus Christ bee not thus our head. Have wee not (thorough grace) the word of God, gifts, ministery, and sacra­ments from Christs rule? Say the Brownists, ye have not all Christs ordinances,Obiect. yee want his discipline. To that I shall speake in due place:Sol. in the meane time, put case it were true; yet were it a true visible church, though not a perfect one. That is an ordinance for the comely and well being, not for the being of the church. But it lies upon them to prove that, what they say we want, are Christs or­dinances, and branches or his kingdome. This they never can doe by the undoubted word of Christ.

Besides, hath not Christ our head, in the use and exercise of these blessings manifested his effectuall power?Mic 7.19. How many iniquities are subdued, and sinnes cast into the depthes of the sea? what place is there, where we shall not find the serpents head broken?Gen. 3.15 Some have beene in their ordinary businesses, as the wo­man of Samaria, Iohn 4 7. and have come off with the bells of the horses, pots in Ierusalem, and Iu­dah?Zac. 14 20 2 [...]. as well as pots in the Lords house, engra­ved with holinesse unto the Lord. Some have been disciplined with the misery of the h [...]sks of swine, Luk. 15.57. and have beene translated out of the kingdome of darkenesse, Col. 1.13 into the kingdome of [Page 87] Gods deare sonne. Some have heard and read good things to scoffe and cavill at them, but have been suddenly changed from glory, 2 Cor. 3 1 [...] to glo­ry, as by the spirit of the Lord. Some have brea­thed out the stinking breath of sinne, as Saul, Acts 9. and others have seene the heates of persecuti­ons, and they have returned home to call upon the name of the Lord Iesus, both theirs and ours. 1 Cor. 1.2. Yea, and some have seene others fall away from the faith of Christ, and by the preaching of Christ, have met with graffing in, the ri­ches of the Gentiles, reconciling, and salvation. Rom. 11. [...] 12.15.19. And though with Christ they have had a sword sent, Mat. 10.34 Phil. 11.13 14 yet bonds in Christ have beene fa­mous, and the brethren in the Lord have wa­xed confident, and bold to speake the word with­out feare. Thus hath it beene with our bles­sed church: the kingdome of heaven hath suffered violence,Mat. 11.22 and the violent have taken it by force. But the ministery of the Brow­nists hath had no such communion, and in­fluence, with, and from Christ our head; one of a city, two of a tribe, heere a little, and there a little, doth not answer, in a con­tinuall course from Christ hither, the power of Christs intercession,Psal. 2. for the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for his possession.

But (say the Brownists) wee have other heads besides Christ.Obiect. Sol. I say we have no other mysticall head beside Christ;4 The head­ship of the King doth not hin­der the headship of Christ. 1 Cor. 11. Esa. 9.15. 1 Sam. 15 17. Exod. 18.25 but onely poli­ticall heads to keepe peace, and to see that e­very person, within their compasse, doe his du­ty [Page 88] religiously. Thus the husband is the wives head; the honorable man the head; Saul, the head of the Tribes; and Moses chose men of courage, and made them heads over the people.

But (say they) our King is our head, so as to rule in matters of religion. This is true: yet (fourthly) co [...]sider that this head­ship of the King doth not hinder [...]ut helpe the advancement of Christs headship, and that according to the word of Christ. To cleare this, follow mee in two particu­lars.

  • 1 That God hath given a power of go­vernement to the Church for the well ordering of it selfe.
  • 2 That Christ hath made Kings prime officers to advance it in their places.

1 The Church hath a power to governe it selfe under Christ. Mat. 22.23. Exod. 2.14As a man cannot well be without cloathes & good nourture: so neither can the Church well be without the walles of government. She must also bee able to hold up her head against her enemies that shall say, by what authority dost thou these things, and who made thee a man of authority? Therefore hath Christ given the particular, or generall rules of the word, to give a commission to the Church to governe it selfe both in matters of substance, and in matters of circumstance. In matters of substance it hath power to go­verne it selfe, by ordering concerning the Word, Acts 2.41.42. Sacraments and Prayer, so as to make them most comfortable: concerning [Page 89] Church Offices from time to time,Acts 14.23. Tit. 1.5. Iam. 1 Cor. 16.1, 2. Gal 6.6. 2 Thes. 3.6. 1 Cor. 11.20. and du­ties of charity: concerning the Churches censures, publike assemblies, and oversight that all these bee done to the honour of Christ, and advancement of religion. In matters of Circumstances, it hath power to ordaine some outward rites and ceremonies for the outward carriage of Gods worship. In the Church of Antioch there was a question a­about Circumcision (an uselesse, because dying ceremony then.) The Apostles, Acts 15 1. 2 El­ders, and brethren at Ierusalem (by their con­sent and to encourage them in grace) con­sulted about it, and delivered their judge­ment as a rule for the Church to follow.Ver. 10.24 28 They disanulled the ceremony of Circum­cision in those Churches troubled: and esta­blish others for a time,verse 29. as abstaining from meate offered to Idoles and bloud: which yet in themselves were but things indifferent. For meate commendeth us not to God: 1 Cor. 8.8. for nei­ther if we eate, are we the better; neither if we eate not, are wee the worse. Againe in the Church of Corinth, there was a custome which grew to a publicke order in the Church, of covering and uncovering, 1 Cor 11▪ 4.5, &c. to sig­nifie the headship and soveraignty of the man, and the subjection of the woman. This was countenanced by the Apostle for the peace of the Church,ver. 33 34 and other otders established. Yea when he purposely trea­teth of acts of ordinary and extraordinary worship, hee gives them rules for the [Page 90] government and outward carriage of them,1 Cor. 14.26.46. let all things bee done to edyfyng, and let all things be done decently and in order. Thus in matters of substance hath Christ made his Church able to governe it selfe by particu­lar rules, and in matters of circumstance by generall rules of edification, order, and de­cency.

2 Kings are prime of­ficers to advance govern­ment in Churches. Mat. 28. Mat. 16. Mat [...] 6 Rom. [...]2.8 1 Cor, 11.28. Rom. 13.5Secondly, he hath also made Kings prime officers to advance this governement in their places. That hee hath made them Church-officers must be thus taken up. Not strictly, as Ministers, who have the highest hand under Christ in the Word, Sacra­ments, and keyes of censures Ecclesiasticall▪ but largely, as those that are to care for good order about them. The offices of ruling and governing which Paul speakes of, cannot be proved not to belong to them. They are Ministers for our good: and our good is not chiefely civil (I hope) but spirituall. The Apostle would have us pray for them, that we may not onely live in civill honesty, but in Godlinesse, to bee countenanced, and esta­blished by them?1 Tim. 2.2. Surely being members of Church, they cannot but be chiefe ones too, as being Christs Lieftenants, who according to his promise are to bee nursing fathers, Esa. 49.23 and their queenes nurcing mothers, who have their authority, breasts and duggs to reach the neede of all under them, to cherish and feede the Church of Christ ac­cording to his rules. It is true, they are [Page 91] servants to the Church,Object. and all good Kings doe so acknowledge themselves:Sol. but not to be equals, or subjects to the members of the Church; but to make their prime au­thority serviceable to the advancement of the Gospel for the salvation of Christs people. Hence is it that God hath given them a sword, Rom. [...]3. that when they oversee the waies of the Church within their reach, they may maintaine the rights of it, and by a coactive and coercive power suppresse the opposites: for without this they cannot be the ministers of God for our good.

But (say the Brownists) wherein stands this office of Kings in the Church,Object. and over the members of it? I answer,Sol. first, in calling of assemblies both civill and sacred.Num. 10.1, 2. Iosh 24. [...] ▪ 18. 1 Chro. 15. 2 Chro. 15.14. 2 Chro. 22.3. 2 Chro 20 2 Chro. 34 29 30 1 King. 15 12, 14, 14. 2 King. 23.2, 3. 2 Chro. 29.3, 4, 5. 2 Chro. [...] ▪ 14, [...]5 The two silver Trumpets wer given to Moses the magistrate: and least we should looke upon him as some extraor­dinary person, we see that right maintained by Ioshua, David, Solomon, Iehoshaphat, He­zekiah, and Iosiah. Secondly, in abolishing false worship, and establishing true, as we see in Asa, Iosiah, Hezikiah. Thirdly, in looking to the ministry, both that it bee sound and good (as Solomon, who thereup­on deposed Abiathar, and put Sadock in his roome, as hee performed other acts of justice by royall authority, and Iehosaphat who sent his princes to see that the Priests and Levites did teach the law of God in their cities:) and that the ministery bee [Page 92] maintained according to the honours that God hath bestowed upon them,2 Chro. 29 4, & 31.4.16, 17. 2 Chro. 35 2. as Solomon, Hezekiah, Iosiah, and Nehemiah. Fourthly, in causing the people to serve the Lord, as Hezekiah, Neh. 13.11.12. 2 Chro. 30 2 Chro. 34 2 Chro. 15 and compelling all that were round in Israel (formerly professing Gods religion) to seeke the Lord as Iosiah and Asa: Their people were in the house of God commit­ted to their charge, and they will see them to live according to the order set by God. Lastly, 2 Chro. 19 18. in appointing consistories for the well ordering of the people; as Iehoshaphat, who set over the Levites and Priests, and chiefe of the families of Israel, for the judgement and cause of the Lord at Ierusalem.

Object.All this is true (say they) of the Jewish kings, who were types of Christ: but wee reade of no such officers in the new testa­ment.Sol. These men are liberall in making types of Christs kingdome; but I wonder whence they will prove it, what word of Christ will they bring for it? It is true, that in some things, some of the kings of Iudah were types of Christ (as Salomon in his name and building the the temple, and David in his troubles, and victories, and as hee was a king, and a prophet): but that all the kings of Iudah were types in their governements over the church and state, even Saul him­selfe, when God made him head of the tribes, cannot bee proved for Gods truth.1 Sam. 15.17. And whereas they talke of no such officers in the new testament. Say it bee so: there were [Page 93] no christian Magistrates while those scrip­tures were in writing: and Christ knew them to be sufficiently instructed in the old. This is a sure rule, that what is warranted in the old testament, and not contradicted in the old or new, may (as the warrant goes, either by pre­cept for things necessary, or paterne for things lawfull) goe for currant still. But see­ing the new testament saith, that wee must pray for kings, that by their authority wee may live in godlinesse, 1 Tim. 2.2. as by those that are o­ver us for our good, spirituall and temporall, surely,3. Rom 13.5. they have warrant enough to use their power, over all their people to ad­vance godlinesse, and the good of religion as well as justice.

But (say they) it is for Christ,Obiect. not for kings, to appoint orders about his worship. This is true for substantiall orders;Sol. for these thas are in the will of Christ may not be al­tered: but for matters of circumstance, which concerne time, place, and outward forme, not determined, kings are bound, as supreame members of the church, over which they are, to use christian consistories to order them, so as may agree to the condi­tion of his church, as well as the master of a family may command his steward to or­der his whole family, that the private wor­ship in his family be not dishonoured. This ads both to the glory and strength of a church: to the glory of it, when kings are nourcing fathers; and to the strength of it, [Page 94] when the power of a king is the churches, for the suppressing of vice, and maintenance of vertue.

Obiect. Sol.But then (say they) they may enjoine their owne inventions in stead of Gods will. I answer, that the inventions of men are of two sorts: of things contrary to the word of Christ, as worshipping of images, invocati­on of saints, forbidding marriage and meats, as these things which directly pollute per­sons, or times, or the like. These are impi­ous: and it these are enjoined, christians must patiently suffer, and lovingly mourne, till in the day of Judgment God fanne away the chaffe. But there are others, which in their owne nature are indifferent, neither commanded nor forbidden by God; and of which Christ saith, hee that is not against us, is with us. Mar. 9.40 In these the christian magistrate hath a power for order, and uniformity. For if Godly persons may bring up customes in the times of Gods worship,Hest. 9. 1 Cor. 11. as the Jewes did their Purim: and if Christians may or­der what garments women may weare when they come to church (which Paul af­ter allowed) why▪ may not the christian magistrate for the peace of his whole bo­dy?

Object.But then (say they) this makes things arbitrary, and indifferent to become ne­cessary.Sol. This is true: but you must con­ceive that a thing may bee said to bee ne­cessary two waies; necessary in it selfe, [Page 95] and necessary in the outward submission to the use of it. In it selfe, a thing indifferent can­not bee made necessary. It is alwaies as it is by nature, and conscience informed must so judge it, yet in the outward use, for the peace of the Church, it may upon com­mand, become necessary. After the death of Christ, till the destruction of the temple,Acts 15.28. Acts 16.3. Acts 21.81 22, 23, 24▪ 25. abstaining from things strangled, and bloud, circumcision, legall vowes, and puri­fyings were indifferent in themselves, (for else the Apostles would not have used them so): yet for the peace of some churches they were judged necessary to be yeelded in love; and so may it bee in other things: yet the indifferent nature of things is not ta­ken away, but the necessary use prescribed, for the peace of the church, upon better grounds then that wee should suffer our selves to be unsetled from royall power.

But againe (say they) then kings may re­quire such things as swarve from some ho­ly patternes wee have in the scriptures;Obiect. and so by granting this governement, wee shall bee ill to helpe, I say, howsoever they use it, wee must grant what God hath given,Sol. as they are all the keepers of both the tables. Deut. 17. If they use it well, thou must obey in the Lord If ill, thy prayers and teares must be thy weapons, and thy body must suffer his pe­nalties, and it is praise worthy for thee to suffer, not in a supposed good cause, but in a good cause without controversie (which is [Page 96] not the case of sufferers in these dayes of peace and the Gospel so farre as I know) but for in [...]oynements, swar [...]ing from patternes.Exod. 12. I finde this in scriptures, that Godly men have swarved from pat­ternes, not seconded by a perpetuall law, which might seeme to bind stron [...]ly. The Jewes sate at the passover in Christs t [...]me (or rather lay leaning) though the first gesture was standing or walking:Mat. 26. and godly men and women communicate in the morning, and in a Church, though the first patterne was otherwise:Iosh 5.5.6 7.9. Math. 12.3 5. 2 Chro. 7.7. 1 King. 8.64. 2 Chro. 30 2, 3, 17.18▪ &c. Object. Sol. Object. Pro. 2.20. Sol. yea th [...]s is plaine, that Gods ceremonies might in some cases be dispen­sed withall without sinne, much more may men bee unlosed from patternes which are not the examples of a law binding so.

I know it will be said that the examples of Gods people (commended by the holy Ghost) are every whit of as great [...]orce as a command. It is true, if they be examples of a rule: otherwise they shew things law­full, but not things necessary. Solomon in­deede sayes, walke in the way of good men, and keepe the waies of the righteous. But good men, and righteous men are so with re­spect to Gods law after which they walke; otherwise they are not so, though b [...]ng so good, they may give a patterne of that which is lawfull, but not necessary.

My conclusion is this, that the Chur [...]h hath power to governe it se [...]; by particular lawes in matters of substance, and by g [...] neral [Page 97] in the outward carriage of order, com­linesse, and edification. And when a king, as head of governement under Christ, puts in [...]his authority and power for seeing things carried within the churches of his kingdome according to these rules, hee is a prime officer under Christ by Christs owne promise, and appointment, whatsoever Brownists can say against it. If they wil stil stand against it (for few of them are found so humble as to search, and yeeld) they cannot but know this, that in breaking the lawes of men that are not against Christ, Mar. 9.40. Rom 13.5. they sinne against conscience. And as magistrates are incouraged to bee great helps to religion by obedience, so, by the contrary, they are provoked to trouble. This therefore is a sure rule, that a Christian that will not stu­dy to be quiet, in respect of the laws of men, what possible he can, is a singular burthen to the Church in which he lives.

SECT. 11. Brownists fourth exception against us, about the members of our Church.

WEe are now come from the Brow­nists meaning by a true Church, and their entrance into, and head of a true church, to the members of a true church. Heere they take on amaine, that the true [Page 98] members of a true Church ought to be saints by calling; whereas ours are a mixture of good and bad, penitent, and impenitent, to the pollution of the whole body: and that, therefore we are not a true church. But this still discovers strange weaknesse. For put case a man had never a good finger, nor hand, never a good toe, nor foote, never a haire on head, or beard; or if he have all his members, yet he hath the palsie in one, the goute in another, blindenesse in ano­ther, deafenesse in another, botches in ano­ther, numnesse and deadnesse in another, is hee therefore no true man? Surely hee is a true man still, though a miserable one. So is it in a visible church; many members may bee weake, and many wicked, as well as some truely gracious; and yet, in the whole body a true church still. Peter and Iohn met with a beggar, at the gate of the temple cal­led Beautifull, who was faine to be carried, because he was lame from his mothers wombe, Act. 3.2. and yet the holy Ghost calls him, a certaine man: and Paul met with an Apostolicall Church in Corinth, which was worse in ma­ny members then that poore cripple was, and yet hee called it a true church of God:1 Cor. 1.2. for the God of truth admits of no falshood.

But to cleare this more fully, I shall by (Gods assistance) consider three things:

  • 1 What they say true, of their owne members and ours.
  • 2 What they say false, of the members [Page 99] of a true visible church.
  • 3 That their dreame of pollution, is from their owne braines, not from Christs ordinance.

This they say truely, that the members of a true church are saints by calling. 1. Saints by calling. 1 Cor. 1.2. Profes­sion of saving truth (as I have shewed) makes such true members; and all that so professe themselves (though there be much chaffe among the wheate) are such saints by calling. He that professeth so much know­ledge, either actually, or foederally, as ad­mits him to baptisme, hath put on Christ. Gal 3. And he that hath put on Christ,Act. 1. Ioh. 15.2. though as an elect vessell as Paul, or as one in Christ bearing no fruit, and therefore justly to be cut off, is certainely a saint by calling. There are two sorts of saints by calling: such as are sanctifi­ed by habituall infusions, and actual expresse­ments; and such as are so by baptismal pro­fession, and many gifts of the spirit,Heb. 10. [...]9 and so by consecration to God. This may fall upon those that are justly rejected for their hypo­crisie and wickednesse These two sorts, have ever and ever shall (to the end of the world) make up the true members of a true visible church.

This secondly, they say falsely,2 Renew­ed Saints not onely matter of a visible Church. that the members of a true visible church, are onely such saints as are so regenerated, as they have actual communion with Christ in all the acts of saving grace. If they would sp [...]ake of the Catholick Church. It is the [Page 100] number of all faithfull people, which are u­nited to Christ by the union of the body, head, spirit, and faith of truth. By the first, all members are knit together with the head in one body:1 Cor. 12. and so receive grace from the head according to the measure of everie member. By the second, it hath but one head: As the body is but one, so the head is but one, from whence it receiveth the grace of life.2 Cor. 12.11. Eph. 4.3. By the third, the whole Church is directed and governed by one spirit, which is the spirit of sanctification. And by the fourth, the whole church receiveth the do­ctrine once given to the saints, Iude 3. which it cleaves unto for ever,Eph 2.20. Rom. 14.5. 2 Tim. 3.16. that in this foundation, and love of union it may receive from Christ all saving doctrine, with the comfortable fruits of it. If they would speake of this ca­tholick church, let them draw up the mem­bers to that sanctitie which the word, and world, will affoord.

2 Nay, if they would speake of such mem­bers of the visible church, who shall from Christ receive al spiritual blessings in heaven­ly things, Eph 1.3. Eph. 4.12, 13. and be jointed into the body of Christ, till they come to a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulnesse of Christ; let them speake of all holinesse too, so far as our knowledge in part can reach unto in this kingdome of heaven upon earth.1 Cor. 13 9

3 If further they would speak of such mem­bers as are fittest to beare rule in the visible church: surely though Iudas be in as well as [Page 101] Peter by Christs his call, and yong Timothy, 1 Cor. 16.10. can worke the worke of the Lord as Paul doth: yet surely they that are best, and of ablest gifts are fittest for highest places in the visi­ble church. Which because the Brownists perceive, therefore they having set up to themselves a governement of all the mem­bers (which they cannot make good) they thinke not onely the holiest persons to bee the fittest, but the onely members of their visible churches.

If lastly, they would speake of those that 4 are the greatest comforts, and ornaments of a visible church: then surely, holy persons are. For Davids eies runne over with wa­ter, when members in the church,Psal. 119. as well as others kept not Gods law: yea, and it is a fearfull reproach, and tending to corrupti­on to them that favour it.

But when they speake of such members 5 onely in the visible church, who are so holy as they imagine, to whom if others joyne themselves in spirituall communion, they are unchurched; this surely hath no ground, but in their owne braine. This is an un­doubted rule,A mixed company in the visi­ble Church that it is Gods will that a mixed company be invited to the wedding of Christ, the feast of the gospell, which makes up a visible church. The wedding of Christ is either compleate in heaven, or begunne in the church. To that in heaven, a mixed com­pany is not invited, but conditionally, Ioh. 3.16 1 Cor. 15· for no uncleane thing shall enter into the kingdome [Page 102] of heaven. To this in the church, a mixed company is invited, and thorough the po­wer of the sweet word of grace, comes both to the word and sacraments; as Symon Ma­gus to baptisme,Act 8. and the drunken and fa­ctious Corinthians to the supper of the Lord.1 Cor. 11.

And that it is Gods will to invite a mixed company appeares by texts, examples, and reasons. The text is cleare in Gods com­mission,Mat. 22.9. Goe ye into the high-wayes, and as many as ye finde, invite to the marriage: and also in his servants execution,10. they went, and gathered together all▪ as many as they found, both good and bad. All these were members of this feast, till God came and made the se­paration: and when he did come, hee bla­med not his servants for inviting, and guests for being in communion with the unwor­thy, but friend,12. how camest thou in hither? But (say they) what is this kingdome of heaven?Object. Is it not the world? Doth not Christ himselfe so expound it in opening the parable of the tares?Mat. [...]3.38 Sol. The Field is the world. It is true, hee saith the field is the world, but hee saith not the kingdome of heaven is the world. Surely, the whole world lies in wickednesse, 1 Ioh. 5. and is farre different from the kingdom of heaven in the church· Therfore doth not Christ say, the kingdome of heaven is like to the world, but it is like unto a man, Mat. 13.24 this man is the son of man, who raiseth to himselfe a visible church heere. [Page 103] This he raiseth not in Jury onely, but (now the separation wall is broken downe) in the world. Here by vertue of his Gospel, he doth sow the children of the Kingdome, ver. 38. according to that promise of old, I will sowe her to mee in the earth. But the Devill,Hos. 2.23. that envies Christs Kingdome (not the world) sowes the Tares which are the children of that wic­ked one. These Tares grow up in the King­dome of Heaven, which is in the field of the world, with the good seed, and so long as the Divell is the Divell, and envies, it will be so. And it is Christs Judgement con­cerning them, Let them alone, till the harvest, least while ye pluck up the Tares, yee pull up the Wheate. Surely they were other than the weeds of the world out of the Church. These might have been plucked up without dangering the Church. They were blasted Corne upon one stalke, which from the power of the Gospel were called into the Church, but degenerated by the supersow­ing of Satan, into wickednesse in life and doctrine; and so became as these Tares, which grow up together with this good seed till the Harvest. Thus the Text is cleare. Next for examples, looke to all the visible Churches that ever were, and they stand for a mixed company. In Adams house there was a Cain, in Noahs a Cham, and in Christs a Judas. But (say they) these were cast out. It is true, some way or other, but while they were in, they were true [Page 104] members of the visible Church, as those that could plead, Wee have eate and drunke in thy presence, Luk. 13.26, 27. Mat. 7 22. and thou hast taught in our streets. Have we not by thy Name propheci­ed, and by thy Name cast out Devils? Yet, in the Harvest, because they were onely outward, not inward members, they shall heare depart from mee, I know you not, to wit, to save you and bring you to life. As the Temple in Christs dayes was the house of God, Mat. 24.13. and yet, by the mixture, a denne of theeves:2 Thes 2.4. Apo. 18.1, 2. 1 Cor 3.3. 1 Cor. 15.12. 1 Cor. 5.1. 1 Cor. 11.21. 1 Cor. 1 12 1 Cor. 5. Gal. 1. Gal 3. so may the visible Church now be Gods Temple, and the habitation of Devils. In the Church of Corinth there were carnall people, an incestuous beast, denyers of the Resurrection, and drunken, and uncharitable partakers of the Sacrament of the Lords Body and Bloud, yet a true visible church of God then; yea and after, when of all these wicked ones, none was cast out, but that one incestuous person. So in the Church of Galatia, there were false brethren that crept in, revolters from the Faith of Christ, who bewitched others with false doctrine against the foundation, yet was it saluted, and was,Object. a true Church of God. If it seeme strange to men (who would ingrosse all re­ligion to themselves) yet it doth not to Christ, who would have done otherwise, but did not for these causes.

Sol.First, in respect of the Gospel, it is the 1 sweet message of salvation, which cannot but allure all sorts. Who doth not desire [Page 105] salvation? so long as they like the termes and conditions, they come, heare and re­ceive; and though they had rather have it upon their owne conditions, yet they desire salvation by Christ, and so all sorts are mixt. Besides the Gospel hath a double use; to be a savour of life unto life, out of Gods intention:2 Cor. 2, 16. and to be a savour of death unto death, out of mans abuse. So long as God intendeth his grace that bringeth salvation, Tit. 2.11. and appeares un­to all men, Ro. 6.1. and man abuseth it to sin that grace may abound, there cannot but bee a mixt company.

Secondly, in respect of God: He is wil­ling 2 to manifest his divine goodnesse to all, 1 Tim. 2.4 both Iewes and Gentiles, in tendring the meanes of grace. He would have a ground of his mercy to spare wicked hypocrites for the godlies sake:Gen. 18.22. and it is fit that he have arguments of justice within the Church,Mat. 22.13 that the godly may feare and not sinne. So long as this goodnesse of God holds, and the reason of Gods state and government, there will be a mixed company.

Thirdly, in respect of the godly. They must be tryed, and exercised in faith, wise­dome,3 and patience. Heresies must bee a­mongst thē,1 Cor. 1 [...].29 Iud. 2.2 [...]. that they that are approved might be knowne. As the Canaanites were left a­mong the Israelites to prove them: so are wicked professors among those that are good: yea the goodnesse of the godly, by this meanes, is made more perspicuous. [Page 106] As it is a more grievous fault not to bee good among the good, so it is an high and excellent praise to bee good among those that are wicked; as Zachary, Elizabeth, Ioseph, the blessed Virgin, Symeon, and Han­nah, in bad times, and in a corrupt Church.

Fourthly, in respect of Satan and ungod­ly 4 men. God will not banish Satans ma­lice, no not out of the Church here: there­fore as of old, so still he permits him to sowe his tares. Mat. 13.28 And hee would have the wicked to have many cords to draw them to Christ to bee more justly confounded. If the Word, Sacraments, Prayer, and the Ex­amples of good men in the communion of goodnesse, prevaile not with them, their sentence will be manifested to be more just, when it shall be said, binde them hand and foot, Mat. 22. cast them into utter darknesse, where shall be wayling, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. So long as God hath godly men in the Church to be tryed, and to be glorified: so long as Satan hath malice, and the wicked are under arguments of just conviction, there will bee a mixed company.

Lastly, in respect of the Church, and the 5 use of the Supper,Mat. 16. whereunto it is invited, Christ hath committed unto his Church the exercise of censures according to the se­verall carriages of members.Iohn 20. If there were to be none but good, loosing would be e­nough; but seeing there are to bee good and bad, binding is necessary also. And that [Page 107] this is provided for members, is certaine;1 Cor. 5.12 For (saith Paul) what have I to doe to judge those that are without? And for the use of Christs supper, whereto wee are invited, it is to give both the unions with Christ. The union of profession, and outward covenant; when men professe themselves to be Christs, and there­fore come to the coven [...]nt, in the word, and seales of it in the sacraments; from which yet (alas) men for their sinnes, are daily cut off: and the union by power,Ro. 11.20. and inward covenant; when men in Christs wayes are Christs indeed,Gal. 5.24. and therefore come to the covenant and seales,Ioh. 15.4. with an humble purpose to abide with him for ever. So long as the church hath censures to exercise upon her unruly members; and both these unions with Christ hold true, there will be a mixture in the visible Church.

But (say the Brownists) it is true,Object. there may bee a mixture admitted to the hearing of the word, but not as mem­bers of the Church yet. And why so?Sol. Surely, if they heare and consent unto it (though in hypocrisie) God accounts them in covenant, and then who shall deny them to be members? Moses l [...]id before the face of Israel all the words which the Lord com­manded him; and the people answered, all that the Lord commands we will heare, and doe. Deut. 5.27 This many of them did in hypocrisie, and therefore God complaines,vers. [...]9. O that there were such an heart in them! yet marke what the [Page 108] Lord said to Moses, and Moses to the peo­ple. To Moses God said, write these words, for after the tenour of these words, Ex. 34 27 I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel: and to the people Moses said, thou hast avouched this day, Deut. 26.17.18 the Lord to be thy God, and to walke in his wayes, and the Lord hath avouched thee to be his peculiar people. Say I pray; which of our members doe not thus readily professe? who will say that he will not heare God, and do his will? If they doe it in hypocrisie, woe unto them: if they doe it in profession, they are in outward covenant, as Gods people: if they are in covenant, who can denie them to bee members before they are cast out? But they dreame of other members who must bee chosen into their congregations for governe­ment,Object. as those that have a full right from Christ to give voices for ordinations, electi­ons, excommunications, absolutions, and the like, (as if all the members of a common­wealth must bee counsellours, if not kings) but where will they finde in Christs word, that none are members of a visible church,Sol. but those that are admitted members for govern­ment, I cannot tell, except they have a new testament not knowne to us.

It is true, that Peter calleth Gods people, a chosen generation, Obiect. a royal priest-hood, an ho­ly nation. Sol. 1 Pet. 2.9. But I hope, he doth not write to any particular visible church, but to the dis­persed saints in divers churches,1 Pet. 1.1, 2. that were e­lect according to the foreknowledge of God the [Page 109] Father, None will deny these to be true members of the churches where they live: and if they doe deny others, who have not such high graces as these had, to be members of a visible church as well as they, (though notwithstanding their profession to bee ser­vants of Christ, they flatter with their mouth, Ps. 78.36, 37. 2 Tim. 2▪ 20▪ 21. and lie with their tongues, because their heart is not right with God, neither are they stedfast in his covenant) they must denie the whole course of scripture, which must judge them at the latter day.

But (say they) how can the wicked bee members of the church of Christ,Object. seeing Christ is not their head?Sol. Christ hath told no man thus. For though he be not their head by infusion of saving and sanctifying graces of the spirit unto eternall life:1 Cor 11. yet is he their head: (as they are his members) by profes­sed governement. A good husband is the head of a wicked wife: and a good king is the head of wicked subjects: so Christ is the head of wicked members, to draw them to better courses,Luk. 19.27. or to have them brought forth to bee slaine before him, because they will not that hee rule over them as he should.

But (say they) the visible church is the kingdome of heaven:Object. and wicked men are not the members of that.Sol. Rom. 14. The kingdome of heaven stands in righteousnesse, peace, and joy in the holy Ghost: of this kingdome they are not members. But the kingdome of heaven is like unto a net, that gathered of every kinde;Ma [...]. 13.47, 48, 49 of [Page 110] this kingdome they are members, till Christ cast away the bad in the end of the world. They are not in this kingdome by the power of godlinesse: they are in this kingdome by profession, and presence among and with the meanes of salvation, till the kingdome be re­moved from them.

Object.But (say they) wicked men are dead: and how can dead members bee members of a li­ving body? Iust as an unfruitfull, or rotten branch,Sol. is a branch, till it be cut off; that bough is dead, (say wee) yet is a bough. That member is gangrenated, yet is a member till the Chirurgions knife comes and hath done its office. Sardis was a true visible church, yet had but a name to live,Apo. 3.1. but was dead: so may wicked men be in the church, as mem­bers for outward communion, but not for in­ward comfort.

Obiect.Well (say they): put case that wicked Christians are members of the visible church till they are cut off;Sol. yet they should bee cut off in a true church, whereas they continue in yours, and are not cut off. Put case this charge were true; yet Christ learnes not to argue from thence, that ours is no true church. This may make us a corrupt church, but not a false one. How many wicked members were in the only church of God in Christs time; yet he separates not from it as a false church? For as a tree, or man, or beast, may have corrupt members, yet not be false creatures in their kindes: so may it bee in a Church. [Page 111] And rashly to separate from such members, will not prove the correction of them, but their hinderance in good, when they see themselves contemned without conviction and judgement. Thus are they put further from the Kingdome of Heaven, and made seven-fold the child of hell more, How wic­ked mem­bers are cut off from us. to the hazard of all. But this is false that ungodly men are not cut off from our true Church. They are cut off two wayes, by acts of the state, and acts of the Church. The State, when they are judiciously tryed, cuts off many of them by the Gallowes: and in the Church they are cut off three wayes; Ministerially, when 1 by declaring Christs pleasure what they should be, and denouncing his wrath against them for what they are,Ier. 15.19. the vile are separa­ted from the precious, as those that have no actuall right to the salvation of Christ:2 professionally, when Gods good people pray against their wickednesse, reprove it,Psal. 109. Eph. 5. Psal. 120. complaine against it, and practise otherwise in wills, affections, and whole courses, and are pay­ed for it with their reproaches and persecu­tions: and lastly, Ecclesiastically, when by 3 processe and publike tryall, they are cast out of our Synagogues and assemblies. If all tast not the bitternesse of this censure (when Church-officers remember not the Oath of God, and so through feare, favour,Eccles. 8.2 and af­fection, bring them not before the Chur­ches tribunall) yet many doe to be examples to all, as in the Church of Corinth, whereof [Page 112] many wicked persons one incestuous beast was cast out.

Object.But (say they) you should separate from them all, at least in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper.

Sol.The Apostle Paul saw all the disorders in the Church of Corinth, yet taught not a separation in this Sacrament, but gave this rule of remedy,1 Cor. 11.28. Gal. 6.5. Let a man examine himselfe: and to the Galatians he saith, Every man shall beare his owne burthen. Though in duties of charity we must beare one anothers burthens, yet in rendring of accounts,vers. 3. we must beare our owne: Which, were it well observed, it would make them more carefull to reforme themselves, then curiously to pry into, and censure others. Againe, put case wicked persons come to our Communions of the Body and Bloud of Christ, wee should not separate from them, but they should separate from us: It is but theirs by their profession, but it is ours by our power of grace. When things are naught wee must separate, but when they are good wee must stay in our owne right.1 Sam 2.17.24. It was sinne in Israel to sepa­rate from the sacrifices, for the mixture of Elies wicked sonnes whom God would de­stroy. But because this doth sticke so much with them, and their partners, that wicked men come to our Sacrament of the Lords Supper, I shall therefore (by Gods helpe) cleare these three particulars:

  • [Page 113]1 What right a wicked man hath by vertue of the gospel to this sacramēt?
  • 2 What benefit he can have from it?
  • 3 VVhat separation Gods word will warrant from such receivers?

For the first the sacrament hath a double 1 office: to offer grace to them that will re­ceive it according to their profession; and to exhibit this grace offered to the worthy receiver. It doth the first, as a signe, the bread, and wine of the Lord; these proclaime to all comers, that Christ is to bee had in the use of them, if they bee so disposed as they should, to take him. It doth the se­cond as a seale, the bread and wine, 1 Cor. 10. which is the communion of the Lord. These proclaime to the faithfull, that they shall not onely have bread and wine, but Christ the Lord,Ioh. 6. as that Mannah that came downe from hea­ven to feede them to eternall life. The wic­ked Christian hath a right unto it as it of­fers grace,Mat. 22.9.10. which he hath truely offered to him, on Gods part, in his invitation if hee will take it on Gods condition. The same right that Simon Magus had to baptisme,Act. 8. have wicked Christians to the supper of the Lord. He professed himselfe to believe in Christ, upon Philips preaching, and he had a right to baptisme, and was baptized. It is true that baptisme is a sacrament of our in­graffing into Christ, and the Lords supper of our growing into Christ. But he that is a baptized Christian,1 Cor. 11. and hath understan­ding [Page 114] to examine and judge himselfe, cannot be denyed his right to this sacrament, as wel as to that. Both are but the seales of one covenant: and whosoever receiveth the word of Christ, and professeth to accept it by faith, hath a right to the offers of the grace of Christ in both the sacraments: but not to the exhibiting of it, if the barre of impure unbeliefe lyes betwixt God and his soule.

2 If secondly, you aske what benefit this wicked man can have by this sacrament? I answer, hee hath the benefit of profession; he doth receive Christs liverie of servants,Mat. 22.12 friend, and doth submit himselfe to his ordinance, and acknowledge his publick authority for the benefit of his church. And this is a glo­rious benefit, in it selfe, for a christian to weare Christs badge. But hee doth not re­ceive the benefit of the body and bloud of Christ, with the benefits of them to life: For if he did thus eate his flesh, Ioh. 6.54. and drinke his bloud, hee had eternall life. He brings his soule to the sacrament without the conditi­ons of the covenant written upon it,Ier 31. Heb. 8. and so, though he accept of the offer of grace in the signe, yet hee carries not away the seale of it, no more then Iudas did from the passe­over. His right, and benefit therefore will bring little comfort to him at the last, when his reckoning comes.

3 Thirdly, this wicked man having a right to it, and a benefit too, (such as it is to [Page 115] him), you aske, what separation Gods word will warrant from such communicants? I answer, that I cannot finde in the word of God, that any separation was made in the sacrament by the godly, from the wicked not cast out for their unworthinesse.Ex. 12. All the [...]ewes that were circumcised (and not cast out of their synagogues) were to eate the passeo­ver, or dye: the children that could eat, as a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and growne per­sons, as a sacrament & seale of Gods covenant So all christians (that are not infants, mad­men, fooles, and excommunicates, who can­not examine, and judge themselves, or are af­ter conviction, notorious offenders, and so cast out) are not repellable (if they come) from the sacrament of the Lords supper. It is true, wee reade much in the writings of men of suspensions from this sacrament, even of those, that were neither children, fooles, mad-men, demoniacks, nor excommunicate persons by private, ministers: but I would see this (for the right of it) soundly proved by the undoubted rule of Christ. I have read also, that the blessed Fathers, in the wary dis­cipline fit for their times, did not onely pro­claime before the sacrament by their Dea­cons, depart ye that are novices, possessed, and under your penance for your crimes; but would not also admit any, but the believers, and the baptized, so much as to see the sacrament. I have reade also of the cautelousnesse of those holy men, in admitting penitents to the [Page 116] Lords table. As they first admitted them in­to the limits of the church: next to lye down as humble suiters, to forget scandall, at the church porch: next to heare, but not stay prayers: next to heare, and stay prayers too: next to see the sacrament of the Lords supper, but not to receive it: and lastly, when they were sufficiently humbled, and edged to those high mysteries, they were admitted to the Lords table. These courses had high and excellent use in those times, when they were to lift up the honour of the sacrament in the sight of infidels, and hold close such christians as played fast and loose with Christ, as peace, or persecution came. And though they had not particular warrant from God, yet it being done decently, in order, 1 Cor. 14. and for edification of the body, had war­rant sufficient from that generall rule. As I have reade these things of times past, and ad­mire them, so I know, for the present, that it were a glorious and comfortable thing, if none but holy persons would draw neere un­to this holy table, as wee deale withall our communicants by way of exhortation, and perswasion from the danger of Iudas. This certainely is fullest of joy, when Christ meetes with none but his faithfull servants, and not one unworthy to trouble the day. But if wic­ked Christians that are not lawfully convi­cted, and are not notorious in law (though they bee notorious in fact) whether these, (when they will offer themselves to the sa­crament as Christs servants professing his [Page 117] name, to their owne hurt) be to bee separa­ted from, by the word of Christ, this is the question.

I know we may by way of admonition, before hand, tell them of the danger, and by way of perswasion presse them better to prepare themselves: but wee may not for their sakes discommon our selves from the table of the Lord.2 Cor. 6. If it were the table of de­vils, away we must goe: but being the ta­ble of Christ, if others abuse themselves at it without our fault, wee must accept of Christs love, and leave it to Christ to punish him, or them, that doe dishonour them. You know many theeves in this christian common-wealth; will you therefore se­parate your selves from the common-wealth, because these theeves are in com­mon body with you? No: you will leave them to the lawes of it to bee punished, and as it lies in your lot, doe your best to further it, but you will not forsake the common-wealth: So must you doe to the table of Jesus Christ. The blessed Apostle saith, we have received power to edifie, not to destroy. 2 Cor. 10.8 And if wee should fall out with Christs sup­per for wicked mens sake, and separate from Christs ordinance, because wicked men will not use it as they should, and breake off from many godly persons, because more wicked persons are not excommunicate, for any thing I know, we may more destroy then edifie.

[Page 118] Obiect. Matth. 7 Matth. 15. Sol.But (say the Brownists) holy things must not bee cast to dogs and swine, the childrens bread must not be given to whelps. This is true, if we can helpe it. But every wic­ked christian is not a swine or dog, nor any alien from the cōmon-wealth of Israel, as the Canaanitish woman, till her new faith made her a prosilite. Not one of ten thousand of thē (whom they so highly judge) wil dare to trample the sacrament under their feet, and all to rent the giver of it unto them. But put case, that some such miscreant might bee found, because these reputed dogges and swine abuse it to themselves, will you abuse it too in separating from it which exhibits so much good.

Obiect. Sol.But (they say perhaps) the ministers might keep them away from it, but do not. By what authority might they? Put case they had the authority of a judge (which is false heere) may a judge hang a thiefe before his trial? So, nor may hee discom­mon any from the Lords table till trial and sentence bee past. If any wicked christian should say I am not excommunicate, I will receive, shall they disturbe Christs sonnes for the unmannerlinesse of such a servant? Noe: God is not the God of confusion, but order. Let them come at their own perill, to our misery, not to our sinne when wee have warned.

Object.But (say the Brownists) we shall partake in other mens sins, and so be polluted with [Page 119] such communions. To make this vanish,Sol. it is the third and last point propounded, that remaines in this section to bee conside­red. That their dreamed of pollution is from their owne braines, 3 Of pol­lution of commu­nion by wicked members. not from the ordinance of Christ. They account all then polluted, that are in spiritual communion in the wor­ship of God with wicked and ungodly men. But the Prophets reproved many abuses, and never taught any pollution, neither did God appoint any sacrifice to expiate such pollution. There was a sacrifice for the whole congregation, Levit. 4.13.14. &c. to satisfy for their sinnes of ignorance, but not to take off the guilt of pollution by a mixture in the service of God. God tyed them all to the kingdome, priest­hood, and temple, and hee doth not tye men necessarily to sinne. The godly people in the time of the law, were never reprooved for the worship of God, though wicked men were present. Indeed the priests were bla­med highly, as violaters of the law, because they put no difference betwixt the holy, Ezek. 22.26. and the profane, nor have shewed difference betwixt the uncleane and cleane; and that justly too:Deut. 17.8 9. be­cause God had made them teachers of the people, and they neglected the sabbaths: and because he had made them ordinary Iudges in these, & other cases, according to his word. But they never judged the godly polluted, for not separating from the wicked in Gods service. Againe, Christ and his Apostles,Apoc. 2. & 3. reproved many corruptions in churches, yet [Page 120] never taught or practised separation upon a conceit of pollution.1 Cor. 11. 2 Cor. 12. Yea, Christ commen­deth the church of Thyatyra, for living wel, where corruption was. Iezabel was suffered there:Apoc. 2.20 24.25.26. yet as many as have not this doctrine, nor knowne the depthes of satan, hold fast till I come; and he that overcommeth, shal have power over the nations. Surely the best were not polluted by the worst, nor taught separati­on, but constancy in good, and reward at last.

But not to bee too large, consider tho­roughly but these three conclusions. First, God doth acquit the godly from the sinnes of the wicked, though they bee mixed in the ordi­nances of God. They that walke in my sta­tutes and ordinances,Ezek. 11.20.21. Ezek. shall bee my people, but they whose heart walketh after detestable things, I will recompence their way upon their owne head. The soule that sinnes, shall dye, not he that is guiltlesse. The wicked shall die in his iniquity, Ezek. 33 [...] but warne him, and thou shalt deliver thy soule. I am confident (saith Paul) that you will bee no otherwise min­ded,Gal. 5.10. but hee that troubleth you shall beare his judgmēt, Tit. 1 15. whosoever he be. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the impure nothing is pure. All there were in spirituall communion to­gether, yet God doth not cast the sinnes of the guilty upon the innocent, but doth ac­quit the one, and accuse the other,

Object.Yea but, (say the Brownists) God doth not acquit them that consent to the wicked­nesse [Page 121] of others. This is most true:Sol. we must neither sinne, nor have fellowship with sinne, 1 Tim. 5.22. Eph 5.11. Pro. 1.10. nor consent to sinners: If we doe, we make other mens sinnes our owne. Now we may be said to consent to sinne, both in things lawfull, and in things unlawfull. In things unlawfull when wee have fellowship with wicked doers, and are accessary to their of­fences: and this may bee divers wayes, whereof some are proper to superiours, and some common to all. Superiours may bee guilty of other mens sinnes two wayes, by command, and by connivence. By the first, if they injoyne that which is evill, all the evill that is done upon their injunction is theirs, whether it bee publike or private. Nebuchadnezzar by law and edict,Dan. 3.4, 5, 6. was guil­ty of all the Idolatry and cruelty which did insue upon it. Therefore woe to them that decree wicked decrees, Es. 10.1. and write grievous things. Saul was guilty of that murther done upon the Lords Priests:1 Sam. 22.18.19. 2 Sam 11.15, 17. and David of the death of Vriah, because they comman­ded them. By the second, if they wincke at faults which are in their power to redresse. Iehoas [...] tooke not away the high places,2 K [...] 12.3. and so was guilty of his peoples incense. Ahab wincked at B [...]nhadad, and let him go, when God had given him into his hands for death, and was guilty.Mar [...]5. Pilate wincked at the cruelty of the Jewes, and notwithstan­ding all his washing was guilty. David dis­pleased not Adonjah from his youth,1 Kin [...] nor [Page 122] said▪ Why dost thou thus? and so was guilty of his riot and rebellion. All may be guilty of the sinnes of others, both before the of­fence be committed, and in, and after it. Before the offence, by provocation, counsell, approbation, and silence when called to speak. By provocation, either when men rage the heart, and fire the passions by thwarting and daring words or actions,1 Kin. 21.7.25. Prov. 1.11, 12, 13. Pro. 7.18. 1 Cor. 15.33. 2 Sa. 13.5. Mar. 6. [...]4. Act. 19.25. Nu. 25.3. & 31.16. as Iezabel, who provoked her husband Ahab: or when they allure and entise with sweet words, as that Harlot, Come let us fill our selves with love until the morning; or with infecting and evill words. By Counsel, when men advise to any sinne: Thus Ionadab was guilty of the incest of Amnon; Herodias of the bloud of Iohn Baptist; Demetrius of the uprore a­gainst Paul; and Balaam of Israels Baal­peor. By Approbation, when men doe not onely doe such things as are worthy of death,Ro. 1.32. but favour them that doe them. This may be done directly, either by word of deed, as when Saul consented to the death of Stephen, Act▪ 8.1. Act. 7.58. and kept the garments of them that stoned him, or by interpretation, when a man is bound to withstand another mans sinne, and doth not either by word or deed. Moses hath given us a precept to speake in our places,Lev. 19.17. & 20.45. and told us the danger of silence. To speake ill doth draw men into sinne, and to hold our peace ill doth leave a man in sinne. By example, when we live wickedly in the sight of others. For though, haply, [Page 123] the sinnes that wee practise bee not imitated of all:2 Sam. 12.14 yet because wee have done what in us lies to set others a copy, which some will too greedily follow, therfore are we guilty; we may be guilty againe of the sins of others, in and after the sin is committed, when men doe excuse, or defend the sinnes, or flatter men in them. Woe to them that speake good of evil, Es. 5.20. Pro. 24.24 and evil of good. He that saith to the wicked, thou art righteous, him shall the people curse, as him that is guilty. Lastly, wee may bee said to consent to sinne, in things lawfull by scandall, when men use their liberty which God hath given them, in things indifferent (left in their owne power to doe or not to doe) to the wilfull offence, and snare of others that are weake. Of this Paul speakes doctrinal­ly, it is good neither to eate flesh, Ro. 14.21 nor drink-wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stum­bleth, and in his owne example,1 Cor. 8.13 if meate of­fend my brother, I will eate no flesh while the world lasteth: so carefull was hee not to have communion in the sinnes of o­thers.

Now let us see whether we are polluted by the sinnes of the wicked by consent. Because they consent with us in doing of our good, doe wee therefore consent with them in doing their evill?Eph 5 11 Their courses are daily repro­ved, both publickely, and privately:1 Cor. 6. [...] they are judged as such, whose examples wee would not follow for a world. They are neither commanded to doe as they doe, nor winked [Page 124] at when lawfully tried; wee doe not provoke, counsel, or approve their cursed hypocrisies. They have no such examples from us: and have beene so long instructed, both by pub­licke instruments and preachings, and private conferences, that their scandals are taken, and not given, in those things (free in them­selves, but not to us by the command of lawfull authority) whereat they will still take offence. How are we yet guilty of the sinnes of others to our pollution?Obiect. O say they, every con­gregation hath power in its owne hand to redresse things amisse, to repell wicked livers from our communions, whereas wee wait up­on our king, when wee should doe it without him: and so are guilty of al the wickednesse of our assemblies.Sol. The vanity of this I have shewed in part before; and shall doe it more in the next section: yet in the meane time, first wee confesse, that wee have power to re­dresse disorders: not in every particular church; for then no man under the Gospel could perish in the gainesaying of Corah, as Saint Iude saith they may.Iud. 11. Superiority was the cause of his mutiny, because he might not be equal to Aaron:Num. 16.10. but in every diocesse, where wee are governed not by the lawes of one man, but of Synods of Bishops and Pres­byters: and if persons (that should be as the house of Cloe, to informe, and that upon oath, of things amisse) were not more to be bla­med then offices, we might be as happy as any church under heaven. The impetuous carriage [Page 125] of some, who despise dominions, Iud. 8. [...]. 2 Pet 2.10. and speake evill of dignities, and that, without feare, and thinke it as easie to governe multitudes, as an handfull, makes them think otherwise: but if things bee weighed by the rule of the word, wisedome, and charity, it will bee found, I am sure, that wee have power in­deed. But secondly, whereas they make us guilty of the wickednesse of our assem­blies, by waiting upon the pleasure of our king, and not reforming without him, here­in wee joy, yea, and will rejoyce againe: wee waite not upon kings and princes to bee Christians, and to serve God faithfully by the acts of true Faith, Hope, and Charity. If all the kings and Emperors in the world say against it, wee must, and (by grace) will doe it. Yea, if all the stormes in the world bee raised, we must strive unto bloud, Heb. 12.4. but with teares, prayers, patience in suffe­ring, not with armes, and violence. This we doe by private profession: but when it comes to a publicke reformation of Christian Chur­ches already planted, it is our glory to waite upon Christian kings, whose subjects we are, that wee will not governe, but under him, nor build walls for the citizens of the saints, but under the defence of their swords; especially considering that wee know, wee cannot without them mend our hands.2 Chro. 14. & 15. 2 Chro. 29 & 30. & 34. When wee looke to the daies of Asa, Iehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Iosiah, wee finde that no Israelite ever took upon [Page 126] him to reforme either without, before, or a­gainst them. Ezr. 2. & 3. When the Temple of Ierusa­lem lay waste, Zorababel and Ioshuah did no­thing without Cyrus:Neh. 2. nor did Nehemiah any thing without Artashashte. Indeed in their times, God knowing the time was come, when according to prophecie, he was to looke upon the desolations of Ierusalem, and restore it, prepared and whetted the hearts of the people of the Iewes, by Hag­gai and Zechariah, Hag. 1. Zech. 4. but they built no­thing but by the leave of their Kings, and when countermands came, they laid downe their tooles, and the worke of the house of God ceased;Ez. 4.23.23. so good subjects they would bee notwithstanding the height of their Religion.

Object. Hag. 1.4, 6But (say they) they should have done o­therwise: For Haggai reproves them for letting the house of God lye waste, and God sends a famine upon them.Sol. This is true, they were too blame when they minded their owne houses more, and took not their seasons allowed them for this great worke. But that either the Prophet threatned, or God punished them, for not building when they were under the Interdict, that let them prove, and they shall have more said. How unhappy are they we now see, while they make our assemblies polluted for not doing that (if we wanted it, as we doe not) which is unlawfull for us to doe without lawfull authority? The Apostles indeed planted [Page 127] Churches without waiting upon Heathen Kings; but they had Apostolicall authori­tie, & were to do according to Christs com­mission to them, which was out of date in their death: but we cannot reforme with­out or against Christian Kings (if we could yet make a better reformation) except they can shew a new Commission under Christs owne hand. If therefor wee have faults we cannot help (and provided we consent not) we are not polluted.

The second conclusion is this, That God 2 declares it to be a sinne for the godly to leave the worship of God for the wickednesse of those that come unto it. We know that the sinne of the sonnes of Ely was so great,1 Sam. 2.17, 24. that men abhorred the offerings of the Lord: but in so doing it is said, that the Lords people did trans­gresse, even unto a cry. Surely,Object. this truth will not easily bee outfaced: yet some of them to avoid it say, that no marvell if mo­rall wickednesse did not pollute the Iewish worship, because God required onely cere­moniall cleannesse then.Sol. But how false this is, appeares by Gods Covenant with Abra­ham, where God required sincerity: by the morall law which was Gods covenant:Gen. 17.1. Ex. 34. [...]8. Deu. 10 12. Levit. 6. Num. 35 33. Levit. 18.21.24, 25. Es. 1.9.15. & 38.2.10 by Gods requiring, then, truth in the inward part: by his injoyning sacrifices for morall transgressions as well as ceremoniall: by his signifying of pollution by morall un­cleannesses: and by threatning of morall sinnes, and abhorring all ceremoniall service; [Page 128] when men sinned morally against God. Surely, their morall pollutions went beyond their typicall, and wrought their utter ru­ine at last, notwithstanding The Temple of the Lord, Ier. 7. the Temple of the Lord: and yet Christ himselfe would not separate from such worshippers as were polluted, so long as the worship was Gods. It was fit for a Pharise;Es. 65.5. Luk. 18.14 Tit. 1. it was not fit for Christ, who knew that to the pure all things are pure.

3 The last conclusion is this, That the Scrip­ture admits godly Christians to the holy things of God, Matth. 5.23.24. though open wicked men be there. Di­vers good people goe to the Altar with their gifts: Some are in charity, and some wic­kedly uncharitable, their brethren have something against them. Now, Christ doth not bid them all goe away, because of that malicious man,1 Cor. 11.23.28. but bids him that is malici­ous (if he would have Gods blessing) goe and be reconciled and come againe. Againe, when Paul saw fearefull wickednesse in Co­rinthian Communions, hee doth not bid them all abstaine for feare of pollution, but (according as hee had received of the Lord) he bids them examine themselves, and so let them eate of this bread, and drinke of this Cup, whatsoever others be. Certainely, the Apo­stle was not acquainted with the doctrine of the Brownists, which teacheth, that because another doth sinne, I may not doe my du­ty to God: because a wicked man will come to the Sacrament, I may not: because [Page 129] another man offendeth God, in serving him, I may not serve him then for feare of pollution. No king shall have subjects, nor master have servant, nor shall God have worshippers upon these termes.

But (say they) the worship of God is pol­luted by such uncleane worshippers.Object. Sol. This is true, but to whom? to them that serve him aright, or to them that serve him a­misse? The Apostle saith, that the unwor­thy communicant eateth and drinketh judgement to himselfe, 1 Cor. 1 [...] 29. not to them that are better. It is true, that hee that touched a dead body, and purified not himselfe, defiled the tabernacle, but it was unto himselfe,Numb. 19 13.20. who therefore was to bee cut off, and not others that were innocent. It is true too, that the judgement of the priests was right, that if an uncleane person touch bread, pottage, wine, Hag. 2.12 13. oyle or meate, it shall be uncleane, to himselfe that is uncleane, but not to him that tou­cheth it that is cleane, and so a prophane christian that comes to the Lords supper, pollutes not what the minister performes, and good people receive, but what himselfe toucheth. It is true also, that a seditious multitude charged Paul falsely,Act 21.28 that he pol­luted the holy place by bringing Greekes into the Temple. For, though God forbade the Is­raelites to admit the Moabites, Deut. 23.3 and Ammo­nites, for a long time into the common-wealth of Israel, what is this to prose [...]ites, by profession, comming into the temple? All [Page 130] this is true I say: yet this typical pollution (which did not foreshadow the pollution of visible assemblies, but the holinesse and im­purity and sincere Christians, and hypo, crites) doth not prove the pollution of all worship to the good, for the naughtinesse of the bad, Christ is not so hard a master; nei­ther doth hee blame the worthy guests for being polluted by the unworthy, or suffe­ring him to come in, but saith to him onely, friend, Matth. 22 how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment?

SECT. 12. Brownists last exception against our Church, about the governement of it, for Power.

FRom the Brownists meaning, by a true Church, and their entrance into, head and members of a true church, we are at last come to the governement of a true church: and because they finde ours not to bee governed according to their fansies, therefore they except against it, as Antichristian, and there­fore, not a true Church.

It is true that governement is an excellent blessing, it is as the bridle to the horse, the rudder to the ship, yea, the lawes and judge­ment seate of a kingdome. A right to this cannot be separated from a true church. For if it bee a church, it hath right to Christs [Page 131] lawes, judgements, and executions to go­verne it as his kingdome upon earth. Yea, the use of this right cannot bee taken away, without the great sinne of them that doe it, and injury to the church from whom it is taken; yea, the Church that is robbed of it, ought not to rest in this wrong, when they are so oppressed: but ought of dutie to pray to God for it, and humbly to sup­plicate unto men in authority, who are able, as Christs prime officers for the welfare of the Church, to helpe them at such a lift. But no Church ought to call for such a go­vernement as Christ never commanded; yea, no church ought when they have a go­vernement sutable to the Apostles, and pri­mitive times of the Church, and not con­trary to any law of Christ, but sutable to his generall rules in the scriptures, for some pre­tended, or true defects in governement, to make a schism and separation from publick communion.

Yes (say the Brownists) where govern­ment is so base, that foule corruptions rule,Object. from such a Church wee must separate. But who laid this (must) upon you?Sol. I am sure not Christ, who taught us otherwise in his blessed life. There were fearefull cor­ruptions in the Church of the Jewes, both in the priests, in the people, and in the worship of God. In the priests, there was ignorance;Mat. 23.16 Mat. 24.3. for they were blinde guides. There was un­godlines, for they said, and did not There was corrupt entrance into their calling; for Cai­phas [Page 132] was high-priest for that yeare:Ioh. 11.49 hee was Annuary (be like) though by Gods law the high-priest should continue during life. In the people there was obstinate wickednesse. They would have broke Christs necke downe a steepe hill.Luk. 4 28, 29. Lu. 23.18 Mat. 11.20 21.22. &c Mat. 27.25 They rejected him, and chose Barabbas. They were in worse state then Tyrus, Sidon, and Sodome. They drew, and wisht the guilt of Christs bloud to bee up­on them and their children. In the worshippe of God they used many superstitions precise­ly;Mar 7.9. Matth. 21.12▪ 13. Ioh. 9.22. Matth. 5. the temple was made a denne of theeves: the Censures were abused for the casting out of innocents: the doctrine of God was corrupted by glosses: and the blessed sacra­ments were abused: for they observed not the Passeover on the time appointed, and therefore Christs was before theirs. Ioh. 19.14 Not­withstanding all these corruptions, by slack governement, yet did Christ hold publicke cōmunion with them. Hee was circumcised the eight day:Luk. 2 21 Luk. 2.22. Luk. 2.46 Luk. 3.21 Ioh. 2.13. Matth▪ 23 1, 2, 3▪ he was presented to the Lord as well as others: he heard, & was baptized: he eat the Passeover with them, and allowed his disciples to heare the very Pharisees. Can they therfore justly say, that they must sepa­rate from a Church corrupted for want of I governement?

Object.Yes (say they) that they must: when go­vernement is naught, practise is answerable, and better of either cannot be had. I won­der what they would have done,Sol. if they had lived in the times of the Jud­ges,Iudg. 18. when every man did what hee li­sted? [Page 133] or in our blessed Saviours time, when so many schismaticks, and sectaries had rule and governement? or in the Apostles time,3 Ioh▪ [...].9 when Diotrephes used such tyrannical pride, and usurped such authority, that hee would not receive the very Apostles ▪ would they have separated? I am sure, that neither Israel, nor Christ, nor his Apostles did so? Iohn did onely write to the Church about it: And are these wiser then they?

No (say they) wee doe it not out of an opinion of our owne wisedome,Obiect. but out of conscience, and for the glory of God, and for Sions sake. But take they heed:Es▪ 62 [...] Sol. every one that pretends to make the word of Christ his rule, hath not these ends before him as he ought. Gentilis, that impious blas­phemer of the Trinity, when he was called to answer, said,Se sti [...] ­lis consci­entiae a­dactum, [...] fecisse Se pro gloria al­tissimi de [...] pati▪ Act 23, 1 [...] Object. Sol. that hee was drawne to maintaine his cause from touch of conscience: and when hee was to dye, that hee did suffer for the glory of the most high God. And Paul when he was yet a Pharisee, lived in all good conscience, when naturall wisedome was his interpreter of Gods word. Even so, may it be with them.

O no: they are sure of their hand: they are taught of God, and they must separate from such a wicked governmēt as ours is for conscience sake. Why, what is the mat­ter? let us (in the feare of God) heare the worst, that wee may mend, or bee obsti­nate. I never heard but three things plea­ded [Page 134] against our governement by them.

  • 1 The power of true government.
  • 2 The persons of our governours.
  • 3 And their exercise of our government.

We wil heare them in all, to the last word, and our good God give us understanding in all things for peace and salvation.

Object.The power of true Church government (say the Brownists) is in the whole Church and in every particular member in body, and not onely in the prime members onely. In this they doe not onely fight against us,Sol. but against al the Presbyteries in the world: and so they pull more adversaries upon them, then they will be able to withstand: In this they beate downe at one blow that which hath exercised the wits of thousands, without satisfaction to millions of consci­ences. Yea in this they joyne hands with Corah, Nu. 16.3. Dathan, and Abiram, who loved not the governement of the best, be­cause all the congregation is holy, every one of them.

Object.But against whomsoever they fight, and with whomsoever they joyne, surely (say they) true Church government is in the whole congregation.Sol. It is true, that if wee consider the Church as a compleat body under Christ the head, Eph. 1. then the power of Church government is in the whole Church: As the animal body is said to see, to goe, to worke, to speake originally, though subje­ctively and formally, it is the eye sees, the foot [Page 135] goes, the hand works, and the tongue speaks.1 Cor. 12▪ But that the whole body of Christ (the Church catholike, or particular for her part) should have this power, so as to have power to exercise it formally, cannot bee made good from the word of Christ. Before the Law, Church government lay upon Adam, Noah, Abraham, and the rest of the Patri­archs. Vnder the Law, it lay upon Moses and Aaron (though to Moses was added by Iethroes advise seventy Elders, Ex. 1. [...]8. not by Gods immediate direction, though after they were approved by him.) Vnder the Gos­pel the gifts of power and government was bestowed upon some, not upon all:Ro. 12.6, 8. 1 Tim. 4.14. & 5 [...] and the people never attempted any thing with­out the Apostles leave, assistance, and dire­ction. The Apostles ordained Elders, and not the people without them.Act▪ 14.23 The Apostles called for the Elders and conferred with them without the people.Act. 20.17. The Elders did consult with Iames and Paul, Act. 21▪ [...]8 23. without as­king the votes of the people, and did a mat­ter of weight for the peace of the Church from their owne judgements:Act. 15.2 [...], 23. Yea and when the whole Church was with the Apostles and Elders in counsell these are preferred before them as their superiours, who had their consent of love and charity, but not of authority. Therefore the people were not reproved for the disorders of the Church and Common-wealth,Ne. 13.11 Apoc. 2▪ 1. & 12.18▪ Apoc. 3.1. but the Princes and the Priests: according to which generall [Page 136] course we must understand those few parti­culars wherein blame seemes to bee layed upon the body of the people also. For the people are still commanded subjection and submission to governours ecclesiasticall and temporall:Ro. 13, 21. Tit. 3.1. Act. 20 28 Heb. 13▪ 17 and are still called by the names of sheepe, brethren, saints, houshold, spouse, children, and the like; whereas their gover­nours are called Bishops, Overseers, Elders, Presbyters, Angels, Fathers, as termes of superiority.1 Pet. 2. Apoc. 1.6. It is true, they are also cal­led a royall Priesthood, and Kings: but not in regard of externall power of govern­ment in the Church, but of internall power of saving grace to rule over their own cor­ruptions,Ro. 6.12. that sin may not raigne in their mor­tall bodies; which if they would exercise as they ought these quarrels might soone cease.

Object.Noe (say the Brownists) these quarrels must not cease, so long as we find in Scrip­tures, the peoples power of government in the Church, maintained. For they instance in two high parts of government, excom­munication and absolution, and they find the peoples power in both.Math. 18.15, 16, 17, 18, 19. For Christ saith, If thy brother trespasse against thee, and he will not heare thee, or more with thee, Goe tell the church, that is say they, the whole con­gregation, and as hee doth heare or neglect that, let him be to thee either bound or loo­sed by excommunication or absolution. Hence they argue thus: Church is taken [Page 137] for every particular congregation where Christians live: before this in body, the de­linquent that is obstinate must bee conven­ted, bee it lesse or greater: and it hath a power in governement, even in these things of highest nature: therefore the power of government is in the people, as well, as deep­ly, as in others. Heere is their impregnable hold (as they thinke) and therefore they come upon us thus roundly: Christ hath charged his Apostles,Mat. 28.20. and their true succes­sours: that they should teach all nations to ob­serve all things whatsoever hee hath comman­ded them: but you that are the ministers of the Church of England, doe not teach us to observe all things: for Christ hath com­manded a forme of governement,Matth. 18. wherein all members should have publicke cogni­zance of offences for the advancement of the kingdome of Christ, and you suffer him to be dishonoured, and us to bee robbed of our rights; and therfore ye are not the mini­sters of Christ, neither is your Church a true Church of Christ.

Thus (so farre as I can gather from them,Sol. and conceive) I have given them the full advantage of their plea. But if all this were true, it doth not follow that wee are not the true ministers of Christ, nor that our Church is not his true Church. Not the first, because that exposition of Christs words is their owne, and not Christs. If Christ had said unto us, that hee would have [Page 40] such a governement erected in every parish, then wee should dishonour our master, and rob Gods people, not to preach it. Others have with prayer, care, and conscience loo­ked upon those words of Christ, as well as they: and yet some finde in that Church mentioned by Christ, onely the Iewish San­hedrim: some the Pope and his conclave: some the presbytery of mixt elders: some the consistory of preaching elders: and some Bi­shops and superintendents, who have the highest oversight to punish Church scan­dals under the Magistrates, under whom they live. But these men (as if they would exclude other mens discourses, and binde up their consciences to their interpretations) will have their meaning to be the true sence, and no other.

1 Neither doth it follow, that our Church is not the true Church of Christ. What though-something that Christ hath com­manded to be observed be not taught, nor observed, doth it therefore follow that such a Church is not his? What Christian is there that hath all Christs observations taught in every congregation where hee comes, or, if hee have them all, doth ob­serve and doe them as he ought? And yet, I hope, he may be a true Christian, and sa­ved in the day of Christ. As in a Christi­an, wee must observe what gives him sa­ving fellowship with Christ, to wit, Repentance from dead workes,Heb. 6 1. 1 Tim, 1.5. and Faith [Page 141] unfained:Eph. 4.1. and how he walketh worthy of this fellowship in the way of life, to wit, by deniall of himselfe, taking up of the crosse, Mat. 16.24 and following Christ, so farre, that no wilfull nor delibe­rate sinne raigne in him:Rom. 6.12 and then though he do not observe every outward forme and rule, yet (I hope) Christ may be his Christ, and he Christs member to life. So in a church must we observe what gives it true ecclesiasticall fellowship with Christ, to wit, the Apostles doctrine, and fellowship, breaking of bread, Act. 2.42. and praier: and then, if it professe to know these, and to continue in them, so far as it is come, Phil. 3. though it observe not every thing that other men thinke it should, yet I hope it is a true church of Christ.

But (say they) we have not the Apostles doctrine and fellowship for want of this po­pular governement. Let them prove once,Obiect. Sol. that this is any part of the Apostles doctrine and fellowship. Indeed they tell us (as before) that Christ said, goe tell the Church, Matth. 18. and so forth: but how this Last serves their feet, comes next to bee discussed. If this church were e­very congregation, and if one man may bind, and loose, it is certaine the whole congregati­on may doe so also, and so have the greatest power of church governement in their owne hand: but whether the text will conclude for such power is the thing in question.

Learned men of most ages have much loo­ked upon that text,Matth. 18 expoūded. and have applied it either by way of allusion, or properly to church [Page 140] discipline, some way or other. Some chur­ches in this last age have looked upon it fully, and (as they thinke) have squared an exact discipline according to it; though I cannot finde that they cut their course fully accor­ding to their owne sence. Some particular persons finding this to bee the strongest hold for that new discipline, have sought to over­throw it so, as utterly to roote out excommu­nication from the church; and others (fin­ding the good use of that censure for the well being of the church) have beene as eagar to maintaine this hold. But discipline, and that censure, hath hold strong enough from other texts, though that of Christ bee set in its proper sence. For when wee looke to that promise of Christ to his disciples in the name of Peter, Mat. 16.19 Ioh. 20.23 1 Cor. 5. 1 Tim. 2 Tim. and how he made it good to his Apo­stles, & lay together the rules & practises of the apostles, especially in the epistles to the Corin­thians, and to Timothy (which last are spent in rules, for the well ordering of the governing, and the governed) we shall find ground suf­ficient for church governement, either in pat­terne, or precept, generall or speciall, though we suffer this text to appear in its own colors.

Col. 3.13.Let me tell them then, that as Paul saith: Forbeare one another, and forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel, or complaint against any: so Christ in that chapter gives a remedy against private contentions. This is plaine to everie eye,Mat. 18.7. that is not wilfully blinded, that Christ in that chapter tells of the danger [Page 141] of scandals; and thereupon he gives a double direction: first to live so,Ma. 18. av. 8 ad v. 15. Mat. 18.15 ad finem. as not to give scan­dal to others, and secondly, to carry them­selves aright to others that give scandal to them; and that all this is to bee referred to private offences, the unbroken course of the chapter shewes, as Saint Basil hath observed many hundred yeares agoe. That which mo­ved Christ to this discourse, was the present state of the Iewish disciples under the Romane Empire. Luk. 19.2. Mat. 9 9. The Romanes had no governe­ment over them, and the authority of their edlers was much diminished. For many of the Iewes became servants to the Romanes, as their Publicanes, to gather in their tri­bute: such were Zacheus, yea, and Matthew. These were freed from the authority of the Iewes; as all other Iewes were that were free­men of Rome, which made Paul when hee saw oppression before him, to appeale to Caesar, Act. 25.11 Act. 22 28 and to plead that he was free borne. This was a great vexation to the Iew in recovering of right, and defending himselfe from wrong. Therefore Christ to moderate the Iewes pas­sions arising one against another, directs them what course to take; you must not deale (saith hee) one with another presently, as with Publicanes, & Heathens, who are out of Iewish power, and cannot bee impleaded any where, but before a Romane barre: but to cut off al differences betwixt you and your brethren, yee must proceed in a gentle way.

[Page 142]Why? what must they doe? If thy bro­ther (a Iew) shall trespasse against thee (a Iew), right thy selfe by degrees. First, deale with him fraternally, according to the rule of charity,Mat. 18.15. tel him his fault betweene thee and him alone. If that will doe no good to gaine him,ver. 16. then secondly, deale with him legally, take with the one or two more, that may heare the difference, convince him of errour, and perswade him to peace: for this is Moses law, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, eve­ry word bee established. Deu. 19. [...]5 Heb. 10.28 If that will not yet bring him home, then thirdly, deale with him Iewishly, tell it unto the Church, complaine to the Sanhedrim, Mat. 18.17. tell the seventy elders who sit yet, by Gods approbation, to heare har­der causes, and to decide greater doubts a­gainst peace, and charity. If yet hee bee so gracel [...]sse as to neglect thee, and them too, then lastly, deale with him heathenishly by Romane soveraignety to which now you are subject, but thinke him to bee as an Heathen and Publican, & deale with him accordingly: The law is good if it bee used lawfully;1 Tim 1.8 Allusive. 1 Cor. 6.1.6. let Cae­sars justice end the difference betwixt you. It is true, the Apostle saith, that Brother must not dare to goe to law with brother, and that be­fore unbelievers: yet I hope even then, when the Iewes,Ro. 9.13. Pauls brethren wronged him, and the saints could not right him, hee appealed unto Caesar. Therefore ye must put a difference betwixt the christian Corinthians, after the death of Christ, and the christian Iewes before the death of Christ. These had [Page 143] no Church government setled, but that of the Iewes, which by Romane authority was neglected and slighted: but the Corin­thians had. For Christ never medled to set­tle any other Church government during life, but the Iewish, which was to bee of force til after his death: but then he sent his Spirit to direct his Apostles in all necessaries.Ioh. 16. The Iewes were Christians but in working: for the best of them (even the Apostles) were dreggish in faith and life: In faith about the death and resurrection of Christ, and about a temporall Kingdome doted up­on. In life, when they too full of revenge in drawing the sword as Peter, or for calling down fire frō heaven upon the Samaritans. But the Corinthians were more perfectly instructed in the mysteries of faith and cha­rity, and therefore their brawles would bee more scandalous,1 Cor. 6▪ 2. having such wise Saints among them who shall judge the world. Lastly, the Apostle findes not fault with the Corinthians for going to law absolutely one with another before infidels; for even Heathen Kings, and all that are in authority are to be prayed for, 1 Tim. [...].1, 2. that Christians may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godlinesse and honesty: And this they cannot doe except their Thrones minister justice in mine and thine. It is lawfull therefore when raking and politicke Christians doe bite and devoure one another, doe serve their owne bellies, Gal. 5 15. Ro. 16.18. and by good words and faire speaches doe deceive the [Page 144] hearts of the simple, and defraud one another in bargaining, 1 Thes. 4. to appeale to the minister of ju­stice.Ro. 13.1, 4. For all power is of God, and the very Heathen Magistrate doth not beare the sword in vaine. But he findes fault with them, that they set too great a price upon the things of this life; that they were too contentious about them; that they went to law before Heathens to the scandall of Christianity; and that they appealed to forraigne judgement, when they might have remedy by wise Saints neerer hand, which the Jewes could not have, when their Elders by Romane li­berty were contemned.

Why the former sense is true.Now, if they doubt whether this sense may bee admitted, I shall (by Gods helpe) cleare it from the Text, and maintaine it from exceptions that may arise thence. First, therefore consider that Peter under­stood this discourse of private offences one­ly: therefore when Christ hath done, hee saith,Mat. 18.21 Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me? Against me, saith Peter, intimating a private trespasse. Secondly, consider Christs answer to Peter in a Parable, where he con­cludes thus, So shall my heavenly Father doe to you, vers. 35. if yee from your hearts forgive not every one his brother his trespasses: where hee still speakes of private trespasses. Thirdly, con­sider the propriety of speech in the words of Christ. If thy brother, saith Christ, that is, a Jew:vers. 15. for no Jew nor Disciple then called any other man brother but a Iew. If thy [Page 145] brother sin against thee, therefore the of­fence is still private and personall. Lastly, vers. 17. consider that Christ sends the offender from the Church neglected to the plaintiffes cen­sure and punishment to be sought. He doth not say, let him be to the Church as an hea­then and Publican, that is, excommunicate: (for Heathens were not excommunicated;1 Cor. 5.11. for what have we to doe to judge those that are without? no nor Publicans neither; for we reade onely that Christ wrought Zacheus to restore where he wronged,Luk. 19. but we read not that he left his office. And when the Publi­cans came to Iohn Baptist, Luk. 3.12.13. hee did not bid them leave their places, but exact no more than that which is appointed you:) but saith Christ, let him bee to thee: because hee hath despised the Church, which is the highest tribunall under Caesar, hee is in thy hand to take Caesars course with him.

But (say they then) how will you main­taine this sense from just exceptiōs.Obiect. Sol. We had need indeed: for we are persecuted from this Text by two sorts of persons. The Papists say that here Christ refers us to the Christian Church (the Pope out of his chaire) to end all controversies. But what have Christians to doe here, if it was the comfort or a Iew against a Iew in private offences? The Brownists say, that here is a Rule for every private Congrega­tion like themselves to claime a suffici­sufficient [Page 146] power by, to advance Christs king­dome.Object. And it can be no other (say they) for the word (church) cannot bee taken for the Iewish Sanhedrim; it is a christian word proper to congregations of saints.Sol. Nay, that word in Gods language is used for any assem­bly.Act▪ The assembly was confused; it shall hee determined in a lawfull assembly; yee cannot give an account of this concourse, therefore hee dissolued the assembly, saith the holy Ghost of a wicked uproare; and in all three places the word church is used. Why then may not the grave assembly of the seventy elders be called a church?

Object.Yea but (they say) heere is mention made of binding and loosing, which are proper to church censures.Sol. It is true, that for their af­finity in sound, they have beene often apply­ed so, at least by way of allusion. But we read of a threefold binding in the new testament▪ Divine, Ministeriall, and Fraternal, Divine▪ 1 when God at last doth justly give over to ever­lasting obduration, and restraint, those that are cast into hell:2 Pet. 2.4. Jude 6. Matth. 22. so the devils a [...]e reserved in everlasting chaines: and God saith of final contemners of grace, binde him hand and foot, cast him into utter darkenesse. Ministerial, 2 when the preachers of the Gospell binde over obstinate sinners to wrath, either morally, by way of denunciation only, or Ecclesiastically, by way of processe. This Christ promised to the disciples in the name of Peter, Mat. 16 19 Joh. 20.23 and per­formed to all his disciples: yea and this is [Page 147] most fearefull, when the bond is laid right, because they doe it by commission from God as Gods Ambassadours; yet is it solu­ble to true penitents. Fraternall and brother­ly 3 binding; when one man bindes another for private offences obstinately stood in: and of that doth Christ speake in this place. If ye have won him by a loving conviction, ye loose him of his guilt to you: If hee will live in his uncharitablenesse, ye binde him by your seeking peace: for hee that will not be reconciled from the heart,Matth. 5.25, 26. Obiect. Sol. Matth. [...]8.19. Quid hoc si [...] velit series ipsa loci decla­rat. Siqui cor­reptus est animo in­doluerit & in i­dem pro­positum venerit cum eo [...] quo corri­piaetur da­bitur ei de cle­mentissimo Deo ven [...]a &c. God will not be reconciled unto him, hee shall into the prison till he hath paid the utmost farthing.

But (it may be said) how shall I be assu­red that upon my brothers submission, and mine and my witnesses acceptance, that his bond of guilt shall be loosed by God? From Christs promise, that if two shall agree on earth, as touching any thing that they shall aske, it shall b [...] done for them (to their brethren) of my Father which is in Heaven. Thus Saint Basil of old: If two shall aske by consent it shall be done: what this meaneth the pro­cesse of the place shewes (saith he:) for imme­diately before Christ speaketh of him that reproveth his brother, and him that is re­proved; and If he that be reproved be grieved for his fault, and be joyned with the reprover in the same minde, the pardon which is asked shall be granted from our most gracious God. This I alledge (as I could in this cause many other) not because they like it: but because [Page 148] they may know that this sense is not a new one of my owne. I know that they runne a new and uncharitable way, for when they reade that Christ promiseth not doing for them that aske, except they agree on earth: they peremptorily conclude, that they ought not to pray with them that doe not consent with them in their opinions. Therefore would they neither pray with me, nor suffer me to pray with them to our good God to lead us us into the way of truth: nor will they pray with their owne wives and children, though never so pious, if they doe not meet in the same center of conceits.

Object.Yea but (say they) all the Text before must be understood of publike Church scan­dals because of Christs promise,Mat.18 20 Where two or three be gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them: which is ever ap­plyed to publike meetings.

Sol.It is true: it is so applyed, and so may and must. For it holds strongly, that i [...] Christ be present with private persons, who agree in building up one another in charity much more is he present in publike conven­tions where faith climbes, hope rootes, cha­rity flames, and zeale burnes up corruption, when they are well used. But yet this proves not, but that here Christ may treate of private scandals, as the whole context shewes, and may incourage brotherly pray­ers one for another in peace, because Christ [Page 149] is present with them. But all this is but a flash to them yet:Object. for this text must needes bee a rule of their perfect discipline in the body of their mem­bers:1 Cor. 1.5 because the Apostle blames the whole church of Corinth, for not casting out of the incestuous person. Sol. That this is no perfect rule of discipline, may appeare to any man that will consider, that heere is no direction to proceed against sins against God, or o­thers, but onely against thee, & thee. Heere is no excommunication ordained: for it is not said, put him out from among you, 1 Cor 5. but let him bee to thee for seeking further reme­dy. Lastly, heere is no determining po­wer given to the church; for the party of­fended is principall to admonish, tell, fine. The church is not to excommunicate, but to turne the offender over to the offended party, let him be to thee, not to us: yea the church is not to call him by summons, but to expect the plaintiffes comming: and moreover, if heere were a perfect rule, it might fall out that two or three men, yea women, pretending to bee gathered in Christs name, might cast out whole con­gregations for not consenting unto them.

And for that place to the Corinths, Object▪ 1 Cor. [...] where Saint Paul is charged to countenance this their new parish discipline; because hee blamed the Corinthians that the incestuous person was not cast out: I answer, hee might have had just cause to blame them,Sol. if [Page 150] hee had committed any such thing to their trust, by devolving his authority to them: but that hee did not yet put over his autho­rity to them in body, appeares divers waies. First, though the power of go­vernement, in respect of use, belong to the whole church for benefit, that where the fact is notorious, the law might be notori­ous too, so as the whole church may bee witnesse of the doome,1 Cor. 5.4. when they are gathe­red together: yet in regard of the possession for managing of it, it belongs onely to the Pastors, and chiefe Bishops. For when Christ made that promise of binding and loosing to his disciples, hee did not make it to them as Apostles properly: for it is no such personall priviledge as not to descend: It is needefull for the church in all ages, therefore not tyed to any. Neither did he make it unto them as the body of christians: for when hee made good his promise, hee tells us that hee sent and inspired them,Ioh. 20. and after both these, gave this commission of binding and loosing: but hee sent not all, nor inspired all, as he signified by breathing upon the Apostles. But he did it to them, as pastors, and chiefe Bishops, and so to men of office for the use and comfort of the church for ever, And terrour of ungodly men. Secondly, the persons to whom this authority of perpetu­all governement of the church (in ecclesi­asticall way) was committed, were the chief Pastours (as Bishops were anciently called) [Page 151] therefore if Paul had fixed the blame in that particular upon any, it would have been up­on the Angel, Apoc. 2▪ & 3. and chiefe overseer of that church. For Paul and Christ are not of a severall spirit and judgement in church-disci­pline. Thirdly, if therefore Paul blame a­ny for this, it is under the whole church, those that by office were to redresse these out­rages, and to see to the holinesse, charity, and comelinesse of that church. But lastly, if wee looke into the words more narrowly, wee shall finde the true fault that hee blamed the church of Corinth for.1 Cor. 5.1. They had a com­mon fame of such a wickednesse committed amongst them, that the Gentiles by the light of nature did abhorre. Paul (having as yet supreame power ecclesiasticall under Christ in his owne hand, and (for ought we know) not having setled a Bishop in highest church governement, as in Ephesus, Creta, Asia,) did expect from them woefull complaints of this disorder, that hee might have directed thē accordingly, for the taking of it away from among them, with the author of it.Ver▪ 2. that he might be [...] away from them, no [...] cast out [...] themselv [...]. But they were so farre from this, that they were puffed up with their owne gifts, and lamented not that wickednesse that raigned among them, that by d [...]e course it might bee removed. This therefore is that, which the Apostle blameth in the Corinthians. Therefore that hee may shew them, that they are not so much to admire themselves, as to take off their eyes from the great faults committed [Page 152] against them, and that they are to la­ment, and doe their best, that such wicked persons might be taken away from among them, and not thrust out in a crowd: the Apostle doth three things by authority i [...] the face of the Church, vers. 4. who of conscience ought to consent and beare witnesse to the doome. First, the act of an Apostle, Deli­ver such an one unto Satan (it may be) that he might have power over his body to torment him, as appeares in the Stories of Ananias, Sapphira, Elimas, Alexander. Secondly, the act of a Bishop,vers▪ 13: put away from amongst you that wicked person, that being suspended from the preservatives of his soule in the visible communion of Saints, he might have a way to bring him to godly sorrow. And thirdly, the act of every godly Pastour, to mourne that if any be called a brother, and bee a fornicator, vers. 11. or covetous, or an Idolater, or a rayler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one eate not: that is, be so farre from countenancing of him in his sinne, that yee take him not into unnecessary familiarity. Now, how from hence can be picked a po­pular government of the Church, God knoweth, I cannot yet reach.

Object.But yet (say the Brownists) you may reach thus much to confound you, that if Paul would not have you eate with such wicked brothers, much lesse would he have you to receive the Sacrament with them: for he hath more care of his owne supper than [Page 153] of ours. This is certaine that God hath a greater care of his own Supper than of ours:Sol. and therefore though he be willing that all should come both good and bad, yet if they come, and stay bad, and hee come to try them,Matth. 22. they shall bee bound hand and foot and cast into hell. It is certaine also that wee must have a great care of the Supper of the Lord as we can in our places; private per­sons, by private communion of Saints; Presbyters, by publike preaching by Word and Doctrine, and by private exhortations as they can; and Church-Officers by pre­sentments, and punishments fit. But it doth not therefore follow, because wee may not eate with them (that is, converse fami­liarly and unnecessarily with them) that therefor we may not eate the Lords Supper with the Saints, because wicked persons are there. Their wickednesse we countenance, when we keepe company with them: our goodnes they countenance, when they come into publike communion with us: we have no need of their eating with us, they shew their need of their eating with us in the Sa­crament, when we have no power to keepe them backe.

Yet (say they still) wee have power to keepe them backe:Object. for Paul speaking of the incestuous person saith,1 Cor▪ [...].6. sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many; therefore the whole Church had power and used it against him. It is true, [Page 154] it was inflicted by many assessors and consē ­ters to his doom, but not as prime executors of that doome. The Apostle saith, that the Saints shall judge the world, by way of life, witnesse,1 Cor. 6.2. consent, and approbation▪ yet is it not Christ that is the Judge of wicked and good? So though this punishment was in­flicted upon him by many, by way of con­sent, and approbation yet was it primely in­flicted by Paul, 1 Cor. 5.3, 4. and his authority in those that declared it. Thus have I satisfied my selfe (if not others) in this point concer­ning the power of governement, which lies not in all the congregation for executi­on and prime officiating, but in the chiefe governours who beare the place of Paul and the other Apostles.

SECT. 13. Brownists exceptions against the persons go­verning in our Church, and against the exercise of their governe­ment.

PVt case that the power of governement were not in every particular congregati­on, yet our governours are not to bee allow­ed, yea to be banished the church, say they. They are farre from the sweete moderate spirit of Melancthon, one of the blessed re­formers, [Page 155] who, so the Pope of Rome himselfe would have admitted of the Gospel of Christ in truth, would have permitted his superiority over Bishops, by humane right, for the peace and com­mon tranquility of christians under him. But nothing will serve these people but the damnation of the Pope, and the shame and confusion of all Bishops, one, and the other.

And there are three things principally in them, at which they except, and against which they stumble:

  • 1 Their name.
    1 Their name. Object.
  • 2 Their degree.
  • 3 Their jurisdiction.

Why (say they) should they appropri­ate to themselvs this name of Bishops, which belongs to all other Pastours as well as to them? There is good cause;Sol. for there are two sorts of Bishops: first ordinary Bishops, Act. 20.28 such as were all the Elders of Ephesus. Es. 56.10. These must not bee blinde watch-men: for if they see not, they cannot oversee. They must not sleepe and bee secure:Matth. 13. they must have a great care to keepe safe those that are com­mitted to them, that the enemy come not and sowe tares. Secondly, there are extra­ordinary Bishops, such as have precedence, & jurisdiction, not onely over the flock, but o­ver the elders and presbyters, which are cal­led Angels; such were Timothy, Apoc▪ 2▪ & [...] and Titus the first ordained Bishops of the churches of E­phesus and Creta, as appeares in the postscript [Page 156] of those epistles.2 Tim. & Tit. post sc. Which though haply they are no part of the canonicall scriptures, yet are they authenticall records of matters of fact to help our understandings in the need­full stories of th [...]se times, without which we may think amisse. From these, they justly as­sume those names which have beene given to men of their order, ever since the Apo­stles dayes.

But put case they could not make such aclaime,Aernis. if there be the office, shall we quarrell about the names? The first man that ever found fault with the name, would fame have been a Bishop himselfe; but when he found himselfe crossed, he comforted himself with this, that yet, as he was a Presbyter, he was e­quall with them. But let no good Christians be unquiet for names, if there may bee an a­greement in things named.1 Cor. 6.4. Ro 15.8. Matth. 20.28. 1 Pet. 2.25. Heb. 3.1. 1 Pet. 5.1. 3 Ioh. 1. 2 Cor. 8.23. Phil. 2.25 Apoc. 1. & 2. & 3. Object. The Apostles were called Deacons in Gods language, yea, and Christ himselfe, who came to that end. Christ is called the Arch-bishop, and the A­postle of our soules. The Apostles are called Elders, and Elders were called Apostles, and Bishops are called Angels. What matters it then for names, if wee can agree in other things?

But (say they) wee doe not agree in other things: for these Bishops are in a degree a­bove Presbyters, and so there is an unequall ministery in the Church of Christ which should not bee.2 Their de­gree. Now surely they have had this from the Apostles dayes:Sol. yea the scrip­ture [Page 157] mentioneth a superiority in the ministe­ry of the Church▪ first Apostles, 1 Cor▪ 12.2 [...]. secondarily pro­phets, thirdly teachers. And this is a sure rule, that such a ministery as is most like the mini­sterie ordained by Christ (it not being deny­ed unto us expressely, or by consequent, and another commanded) may be lawfully main­tained by us as Christs ministery. But such is an unequall ministery in degree, as Prophets, Ephes▪ [...] Apostles, Evangelists, Pastours, and Doctours, one above another in larger authority, & gifts: for those that were called immediately did excell those that were called by men. And a­mong those that were called by men, where might bee a rising to an higher degree accor­ding as they profited in faith and godlinesse. Therefore Paul saith, that they that use the office of a Deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree. 1 Tim 3.1 [...]. Therefore may wee lawfully maintaine a superiority in the ministery of Christ now.

But (it may be) they would not stand so much upon this,3. Their ju­risdiction Ob▪ because (for ought I can finde) there is some inequality betwixt their pretended Pastors and Doctors); but that there is a Iurisdiction in our Bishops, not one­ly over the flock, but over the compresby­ters their brethren. It is true, there is so,Sol. and that justly; without which, wee should have as many religions as parishes: and for that I say this. Such jurisdiction as is patter­ned or prescribed in the epistles to Timothy, and Titus, is worthily exercised in our [Page 158] church of Christ. If it bee said, that that jurisdiction was personal in them; this takes away the comfort of doctrine in all the othe [...] epistles: for it may be as well said, that the rules of faith and doctrine in them are perso­nall, and belong to that age. But as this can­not be said,1 Tim. 3.15. 1 Tim. 6.14. so nor that: for those rules ten­ded to the government of the house of God, and were to be kept to the appearing of our Lord Ie­sus Christ. Now that, that jurisdiction pat­terned or prescribed in those epistles was e­piscopal, appeareth thus. Set aside matters matrimonial, and testamentary, which are the wise donation of princes for the conscio­nable ordering of such affaires, and the juris­diction of Bishops doth stand in two things principally,

1. Ordinati­on. Tit 1.5. 1 Tim. 5.22First in ordination, for the ordaining of ministers. Titus was left in Crete to ordeine el­ders: and the Apostle would have Timothy lay hands rashly on none, that is, ordaine. But (say they) these ordeined not as Bishops, but as Evangelists.Object. Sol. But this they must prove that they were Evangelists strictly so called. Evangelists were immediately called, so wa [...] not Timothy:Act. 16.2.3. 1 Tim. 4.14. Object. 2 Tim 4.5. Sol. 1 Cor. 16.10. for according to his good report, and the prophesies, that went of him for his great use of the church, hee was ordained by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. Yea, but (say they) that Paul bids him doe the worke of an Evangelist. True: but may they not as well prove Timothy to be an Apo­stle, because hee did the worke of the Lord as [Page 159] Paul did? know therefore that Evangelist may be taken three wayes: for a penner of the Gospel by divine instinct; so the Apo­stles were Evangelists. For a preacher of the Gospel by divine instinct; so they are ac­counted so properly. And for a preacher of the Gospell by ordinary diligence and assi­stance: and thus Timothy an Evangelist may be a Bishop to ordaine, though not properly as a preacher, yet as made a great overseer for that use. But (say the Brownists) Bishops claime ordination to themselves alone:Object. so did not Timothy and Titus who did it with the eldership.Sol. Whether these did it alwaies with the assistant presbyters is not yet pro­ved, there being no set law knowne to us then, nor I doubt ever will. Indeed, for our Bishops, they ordaine Deacons alone, and so they may according to ancient custome, and neither I, nor they, know any thing a­gainst it. But for the ordination of Pres­byters, as it was in the primitive Church, so our Lawes require that the Bishop should have his assistants, the power of ordaining be­ing in him, and the liberty of approbation in these.

Secondly, the jurisdiction of Bishops stands in redressing things amisse.2. Redres­sing things amisse▪ Tit. 1.5. Titus was left in Creta to redresse things amisse, not onely in the people, but Presbyters. Over Presbyters I say, they had a power to com­mand, as Paul saith to Timothy, 1 Tim. 1.3 I left thee at Ephesus that thou mightst charge some that [Page 160] they preach no other doctrine: to judge, there­fore he saith,1 Tim. 5.19. against an Elder receive not an accusation under two or three witnesses, which was a juridicall proceeding: and to silence, as occasion is offered; for whose mouthes must be stopped, Tit. 1.11. saith Paul to Titus. Which power, if it be onely by verball conviction, as every Minister of the New Testament is bound to doe as he is able, and not by reall suspension, as hee is over Presbyters, the precept is alto­gether in vaine and idle. For words doe but breed words, and contentious spirits will never have an end.

Obiect. Act. 4.17.18, 19, 20.But (say they) the Apostles would not suffer themselves to be silenced, no more should wee. If we cannot doe our office in publike, we should doe it private.

Sol.This is true of the Apostles, and they did well in it, but there are two sorts of Prea­chers: such as were immediately called, who had their gifts, and matter, and calling, immediately from Christ; these none but Christ can silence, they are his elect vessels as Paul, Act 9. to carry his Name: And such as are immediately called, who have their matter and gifts by reading and industry, and their calling by, and from the testimony of man. Now, because some mens sinnes goe before, and some mens follow after, 1 Tim. 5.24. they that gave power, and testimony according to appearance, may, according to after appearance, take testimony away from the unworthy, ex­cept they could prove themselves Apostles.

[Page 161]But yet (say they) grant all this true, yet are there divers exceptions against our Bi­shops? what? such as may justifie a sepa­ration? Let us heare them.Object. Put case Ti­mothy and Titus were Bishops, yet were they not such as ours, that is Diocesan Bishops,Sol. what then? were they parish Bishops? I wish them read in Church stories of the best times, without which they can never un­derstand some passages of scriptures of the practise of the Church. I am sure this they should finde, that Timothy and Titus had some compasse of jurisdiction allotted,Tit. 1.5. wherein there were Churches at least accor­ding to cities, wherein there were many pres­byters to be overseene, and ordered: and what was this but a Diocesse, which as the Church increased, increased with it.

But these (say they) for all that, Object had no princely authority, and Lordly command o­ver their brethren. That is true: neither is this absolutely necessary to the calling,Sol. or of the essence of it; yet doth it not overthrow it, but adorne and strengthen it when it is well used. If a Bishop were called a beggar, it doth not overthrow his calling; so nei­ther, if he be called a pallace, who knowes not, that that proceeded from the favour of our Princes, that they might be Barons of the parliament to direct the conscience in deepe matters of state?

But (say they) this is against the word of God. Be not Lords over Gods heritage, Object. 1 Pet. 5. [...] saith [Page 162] Peter, and saith Christ, the Lords of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, Mat. 20.25, 26, 27. and they that are great exercise authority over them: but it shall not be so among you: but whosoever wil be great among you, let him be your minister, and whosoever would be chiefe among you, let him bee your servant: therefore neither the Apostles, nor their successors, must as Lords rule over the flocke of Christ, or over one a­nother.Sol. Stay heere: Christ affoords no such conclusion. Hee is pleased to oppose, not Kings and Bishops which are in excel­lent subordination either to other, but Gen­tiles and Christians: and he doth not abolish magistracy from Christianity; for then his Apostles were ill schollars, who taught that higher powers are ordained of God, Ro. 13.1. &c. 1 Pet 2.13 14, 17, &c. and that they must be obeyed by all under them: nei­ther would he abolish an inequality of ministe­ry in the Church; for hee himselfe (I hope) had superiority over his disciples; ye cal me master, Ioh. 13.13 and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am: yea, and hee himselfe made first A­postles, 1 Cor 12.28. secondly Prophets, thirdly teachers, which implies an order, degree, and subor­dination either to other: neither doth hee heere forbid that his disciples should bee ut­terly excluded from dealing in any matter of right in the Common wealth; for then they could easily have replied, Lord wee desire not to meddle in secular affaires, but to have superiority over one another in the Church. But hee labours to prevent the [Page 163] wicked customes of heathen kings in Chri­stian Common-wealthes and Churches, that is, their ruling by their owne lusts and wills, and their ruling for their owne ends without respect to the peoples goods. This is to play the Lords, to domineere over the people, as if they were their vassals, and themselves had all Lordship paramount that could bee imagined. Now, can any man not soaked in malice or prejudice say,Ezek. 34.4. that our Bishops rule thus like heathens with force and crueltie. when they governe according to the lawes, and Canons of Church and Common-wealth? Is not this to rule with the consent of the people in the lawes of the Common-wealth, and with the consent of the presbyterie in the Canons of the Church?

Yea, but now for the exercise of this go­vernement of the Church,Object. it is (say the Brownists) fearefully abused by the Bishops in three particulars:

  • 1 In shouldering out such officers in the Church as Christ hath ordained.
  • 2 In imposing oathes upon good men to accuse themselves.
  • 3 And in base usage of the high censure of excommunication.

Put case all these were true:Sol. were this a sufficient cause of separation? was Christ no master when his purse-bearer betrayed him, and the rest of his servants runne away from him? Is his [...]eamelesse coate to bee [Page 164] rent in sunder because some of those about him have cast some spots upon it? Because they may (if they will) accuse themselves, will they therefore accuse Christ as if his bounty in our Church were not worth the injoyment? Because one thing is not well u­sed in the punishment of vice, shall all things be neglected, and spu [...]ned at that are amongst us for the maintenance of vertue? yea shall the holy spirit of God assistant in the meanes of salvation amongst us, be belyed, as if all the grace they have gotten amongst us, were no grace till they had discarded us, as some of them doe?

But let us take a viewe of the particulars, and see whether it be so or no, and how far? First (they say) that Bishops justle out Christs officers out of the Church.Object. And who are these? They tell us first of Elders, lay gover­ning Elders who should have power in the censures of the church and all matters of or­der. Indeed they had wont to tell us of these much.Sol. 1 Tim. 5.17. But since Master Smith (once of their Church) hath pulled downe that tottering wall, by proving that there can bee but one sort of Elders proved from the scripture, that is, Pastours, whose governing duty is to feede the flocke of God:Tit. 1.9 and that the Apostle to Ti­mothy, doth not import a distribution of offi­cers, but commendation of severall workes in one office;1 Thes. 5.11, 13. 1 Tim. 3.1 4. teaching that Elders are to be ho­noured for two workes, well-ruling, and la­borious teaching, as he proves by severall texts [Page 165] compared. And since they weigh that a true Church may stand without them; be­cause otherwise the first Church of Christi­ans from the death of Christ till these sup­posed Elders are ordained,Act▪ 14 were not a true Church. And especially since they have brought in their new parish discipline, whereby all power of governement is in the whole congregation; they are not backe­ward to confesse that a true Church may be without them, and that they doe not much stand upon that exception against us (as once a Pastour of that Church confessed to mee). Therefore neede not I use more words about that.

But yet they claime their Doctours,Object. and Deacons, which (they say) the Bishops have banished out of the Church. Indeed wee reade of Doctors to teach the word of God:Sol. Eph. [...].11. and if in every congregation (if maintenance were answerable) there were one in whom were the word of knowledge, 1 Cor. 12. [...] and another in whom were the word of wisdome (if these gifts meete not in one man) wee would not mislike it. But that this must be so, as a distinct office and officer in the church, this we deny. For teaching and preaching may meete in the same officer (whether Pastour of charge, or Doctour of the chaire). Christ went about teaching, and preaching the Gos­pel. Paul and Barnabas continued teaching, Mat 9 [...] Act 1 [...]. [...] 1 Tim. 6 [...] and preaching; Timothy must teach, and preach. And these the Apostle doth not [Page 164] [...] [Page 165] [...] [Page 166] make severall offices:Eph. 4.11. he disjoines them not, but couples them together, Pastors and teachers; to signifie, that though they bee divers gifts, yet they may be, and are often coupled in one man.

2 Cor. 6.4 Ro. 15.8. Act. 6.And for Deacons (which is a name given to ministers, and to Christ himselfe) wee reade indeed of certaine men (not called Deacons there) whose worke was to mini­ster to the necessity of the saints, that the A­postles be not driven to leave the word of God, and serve tables: but have not we such, who take care for the poore, that the worke of the Lord by us be not hindred? Are not our Church-wardens, and overseers the same for substance of office, if they would be also alwaies the same for conscience?

Object.But (say they) wee have not the Dea­cons of Christ. I am sure we have Deacons for the assistance of the worke of the mini­stery,1 Tim. 3.13 who serve it for a better degree if they perofrme it wisely. But that Deacons should be such brethren, who doe alwaies attend the businesse of the poore, and not belong to ministeriall order, is without ground: mark their qualification, which needed not for such a worke,Act. 6.3. men full of the holy Ghost: mark their ordination, Act. 6.6. Act. 7. Act. 8.35, 38. which was with imposition of hands, a ceremony ministerial: marke their practise, Stephen preached, and Philip preached, and baptized too: marke their de­scription, they must be proved, and found fit, and if they performe their office well, they [Page 167] shall purchase to themselves a good degree, 1 Tim. 3.13 to ascend higher to be Presbyters, yea and to be Bishops also. And are not our Deacons such? were they not, yet can wee not bee denied to be a true Church, seeing after the ascension, Christ had a true Church before Deacons were thought of.

Put case Bishops did no hurt this way,Object. yet they impose oathes upon good men to accuse themselves, (say they) which is a­gainst the law of nature, justice, and religi­on.Sol. Certainely nature is for the preservati­on of the whole body, and head, and so is justice, and religion too. If therefore such oathes are for the maintenance of the head, and body in publicke peace and tranquility, why they may not stand with nature, justice, and religion, I cannot see.Ex. 22.10.11, 12. If one man bee intrusted with another mans goods which perish, and he pretend that it be dead or stolne, then saith the law, an oath of the Lord shall bee betweene them, and the loser shal accept it, or the wronger shal make restitu­tion. What is heere but an imposing an oath upon a man to accuse, or excuse him­selfe? If a man trespassed against his neigh­bour,1 King. 8.31. an oath was to be layed upon him to cause him to sweare before the altar, in Gods house: yea, and if any person were con­cealed from the King,1 King. [...]8.10. he tooke an oath of the kingdome and nation that they found him not as Obadiah saith to Elijah: what is heere a­gaine but an oath imposed to excuse, or to [Page 168] accuse a mans selfe? And what doe our Bi­shops more then thus?Gen. 25.33. If Iacob bound Esau by an oath to secure that which he had bought of him.1 Kin. 2.8.43, 44. If Salomon bound Shime [...] by an oath to his confinement in Ierusalem, because hee knew hee had a wicked heart against governe­ment, from his grievous curse against David, to secure his peace, why may not our Bishops (having law in their hand) secure the rights of the Church, and peace of the state, by the like oath also? How is it possible that the Church and state can ever live securely, when false brethren come in privily to bring us into bondage;Gal. 2.4. when they creep into houses and lead captive simple women;2 T [...]m▪ 3.6 Iude 4. [...] Tim. 2.1 [...]. when certaine men creep in unawares, whose words eate as doth a canker, being closely conveyed, and having secret operations upon weake spirits, I say, how is it possible to bee safe from th [...]se, but by the oath of God to make them manifest? A [...] when treason is detected, suspected, presu­med, or fained, I hope no man thinke it un­fit that the king, who is worth tenne thousand of us, should be secured by an oath, though it bee to the losse of thousands of lives: so (nor I thinke) can they judge it unfit that the Church, the spouse of Christ should be secu­red of her rights, and peace, by an oath▪ though thousands doe suffer in goods, and li­berty by it.

But (say they) if Bishops may be excused in former things, yet can they not in the base usage of the censure of excommunicati­on, [Page 169] I am yet glad that they doe so highly account of it: for it is a fearefull censure in­deed, when men by it are separated from publike Communion, and fellowship with Christ in his ordinances of salvation, and so bound and held under the guilt of sinne. Too many doe too highly esteeme it; and because some zealous men in former times have called the Excommunication of the Pope and his clergy (when it was whetted against grace and the true worship of God) a woodden dagger; therefore they think that they may doe the like against ours.

Why not (say the Brownists?Object.) seeing the Bishops doe ingrosse it to themselves, when it is a common power to the whole Church.Sol. They doe use it no otherwise than Paul, who while hee kept that key in his owne hands,1 Cor. 5. by his owne spirit and au­thority, cast out the incestuous person, as I have said before. Nay, they doe not in­grosse it to themselves; for they doe de­nounce it according to Canons and rules which are made in Synods and convocati­ons of Bishops and Presbyters, gathered by the authority of their Princes.

But (say they) they are decreed by Chan­cellors,Object. Commissaries, and Officials.Sol. By them indeed as servants to the Lawes and Canons of the Church under their jurisdi­ction, for execution. For the censures are not referred to them, or any, but according to Lawes and Constitutions, which they [Page 170] are sworn to execute justly and impartially. I thinke that they cannot blame this service of theirs, if they consider the originall. First Bishops judged ecclesiasticall causes in person, under which burthen they groaned, and the Church was deprived of other comforts. Then, when causes increased by the increase of the Church, and all ordinary cases were ruled by the canons of Counsels, there was lesse need of Bishops presence. And when matters of Tythes, Testamentary, and Matrimoniall (by the favour of Prin­ces) were referred to Ecclesiasticall cogni­sance, then such assistants were ordained, as by such study and industry were usefull to serve the Church under Bishops: and what hurt is here?

Object.Sweet servants indeed (say they) who having this spirituall Sword in their hands doe thus abuse it. Doe we not see indulgen­ces, and pardons, by their absolutions, and suspensions of processes, flye abroad for money in their commutations, and purse penances?Sol. Indulgen­ces. As for Indulgences, they are of two sorts, Papall, and Evangelicall; the Pope grants them out of Papall authority, by way of mitigation of these satisfactions we owe to God: these we abhorre and dis­claime as impious. But in our Church they are granted, upon repentance and promise of amendment, by way of mitigation of that satisfaction wee owe to men offended by us. Of these Paul doth speake, sufficient [Page 171] to such a man is this punishment: yee ought to▪2 Cor. 2.6, 7, 8, 10forgive him, lest he be swallowed up with too much sorrow. And if this be not regulated aright, the fault is in persons,Object. not in this good order. It is true that this is granted when offenders doe but say to them,Sol. I am sorry, I repent, I will doe it no more: which though it be not enough to take off the me­rit of sinne before God, yet is it enough to take off the censure of excommunication. For this is a sure rule, that that which is e­nough to constitute an outward member of the visible Church, is enough to admit a wounded member into the outward privi­ledges of it.Purse pe­nances. And for purse penances and commutations, of which you speake, let it be considered that it hath some ground in the Word of God.Ex. 21▪ 29, 30. For if there may bee a commutation by the purse for murther (as ye may see in the law of the owners Oxe killing a man, as I have said) why not for lesse matters when it is well regula­ted?

Yea but (say they) doe we not see more abominations yet? Is not power,Obiect. by their dispensing of Excommunications, taken from Churches, to remove scandals, and purge out wicked livers, to the annoyance of the Kingdome of Christ? Put case wee had not power to remove scandals,Sol. must they therefore separate? If they abstained from the approbation of sinne, and labored to supply the defect of this power by holi­nesse [Page 172] of life, might they not thus judge the world, 1 Cor. 6.2. and continue in our fellowship with glorious comfort? Put case we had no po­wer to purge wicked livers, must they pre­sently say, Depart from me, I am holier than thou?Gal. 6. They should beare onely their owne burthens in sinne, and one anothers burthen by compassion, toleration, charity, and meeknesse. By rash separation the cor­rection of the wicked is not furthered, but hindred: for when they see themselves contemned, they are put further from the Kingdome of Heaven, and made sevenfold the child of Hell more, to the hazzard of all. But the truth is we have excellent power for both these workes. Though not in all the members of every particular congrega­tion, as they meane; for then no man could perish in the gaine-saying of Core, Jude. whose mutiny was because he could not be equall to Aaron, Nu. 16.10. whom God appointed his supe­riour: yet have wee it in every Diocesse, where lawes are made not by one but many, for the ruling of all under them. And if persons were not sometimes in fault more then offices (who yet seeme worse through the impetuous carriages of those that speake evill of governement, 2 Pet. 2. and thinke it as easie to rule multitudes, as a few in a Parlour) wee might be easily as happy in our power as all the Churches under Heaven.

Object.Then, I pray, tell me (say they) the rea­son [Page 173] of two things; why ungodly men are not cast out? and why your excommunicati­on is thundred against good men, meaning Solution. 1 themselves? The reason of the first is because good Canons are not observed. Were Bi­shops never so good, and their officers never so carefull under them, yet if Church-war­dens, that should, upon the oath of God, pre­sent scandals, thinke thus; I shall be accoun­ted a troubler of my neighbours, our present­ments come to nothing, but to make the court rich, to present the poore, brings but charge to the parish, meaning his owne purse, no man can observe all the Canons, or it is better, to punish them before the civill magi­strate out of prejudice to courts of spirituall judicature; then is it impossible, be the go­vernement never so good that wicked men should bee cast out. But if Church-wardens be as the house of Cloe to Paul to give true in­formation and to open the eyes of the not-seeing judge, they shall soone heere, as of that incestuous person, Cast them out. But the truth is, this question neede not be moved by them, seeing they see more cast out in our Churches, then in the Churches of Corinth, whereof choise of wicked members we heare onely of excommunicating onely one beast.

To the second quaere I answere, because it Solution. 2 may fall out so in all the societies in the world, that a good man may not be a good ci­tizen, nor a good member of a visible Church. [Page 174] If then they are cast out it is not for good­nesse, but because they are not good enough. There is a double goodnesse, a certaine good­nesse, and a controversal goodnesse, which is so judged of some good men, but not so of o­thers as good as they. No good man is cast out by us for certaine goodnesse, but for con­troversal, which ends in stirres and tumults, and then, I would they were cut off that trou­ble you saith Paul. Gal. 5. Againe there is a double goodnesse, in the thing it selfe, and in the carriage of it: as Iobs cause was good, yet he carried it badly, and therefore before God re­ceived him to his favour, he was driven to ab­horre himselfe and repent in dust and ashes. Iob. 42. No man by us is cast out for any good thing, but for his undiscreet and bad carriage of it. A man doth not onely love the meate, but the dressing of it, so doth God the manner, as well as the matter, and so doth the Church. If therefore the carriage of goodnesse end in fa­ction, and turbulency, the actours, happly, may bee justly cast out for a time to make them more humbly wise.

Object.Yea but (say they) such good men as were persecuted for our consciences by the Bishops and their instruments, with their curses, and prisons, when wicked men are spared. It may 1 fall out so justly in three cases:Sol. when wicked men confesse their faults, and they deny 2 them, when there is publicke cognisance by a cleare and open law against their faults, and 3 not against the other. And thirdly, when [Page 175] one disturbs the publike peace of the church more then the other. For (as it is well said) in a Common-wealth some smaller offence hath heavier punishment, as breaking open a poore Cottage where no goods are lost, or person hurt, then the stealing of some cat­tell, which haply are more worth, because the publike tranquility and peace of subjects is more hurt: so also is it justly in the Church when publike peace is in haz­ard.

But is the sinne of separation so great,Object. that it should be punished more then blas­phemy, perjury, whoring, drunkennesse, say they?Sol. All these and other sinnes are detestable, and by all lawes fall under great censures,1 Cor. 4. [...]1. and finde not the spirit of meeknesse but the rod, when the sleepy consciences of Officers will present them in due course of Law.The great­nesse of the sin of separation Yet the sinne of separation is very great. It makes men throw durt in their mothers face, and defile their fathers and brethren. It stands and pleads it own justi­fication in despight of government, whereas the other are selfe condemned wretches. It sowreth many quickly under shew of holi­nesse, whereas the other are abhorred by a naturall conscience. It begets divisions which breed thoughts of heart, Jud. 5. and proud contentions, whereas none will contend in defence of the other; yea, it shakes the hearts of men in Religion, making them to doubt whether any Religion be good. For [Page 176] while they see these that are reputed good men to be so divided, the adversary tri­umphs, the scoffer mockes, but the serious Christian, that knowes he must have a Re­ligion to bring him to heaven, knowes not which way to take. His body is in one Church, his soule in another, his opinion in neither, but as the wind of affection, and the tide of well pleasing persons carry him▪ whereas the other move him not one foo [...] in Religion. For Religion gives holy and good principles. If they be not sucked into make men better, it is not because Religion is naught, but because those that professe it are too bad, as they will know in the day of our Lord Iesus. Weigh but this throughly, and you will not blame Bishops for the punishment of the vaine sinne of separa­tion.

Obiect.But put case (say they) that they did well in all their former use of excommuni­cation, yet when they make it base and vile in excommunicating for triviall and unwor­thy causes, as fees, and small portions of money to be paid by them that are not able to pay, in this they sinne against the King­dome of Christ. Indeed if it be so through Bishops faults,Sol. now verily there is a fault. I know no Bishop in our Church but would willingly redresse it. If there be a defect any where it is in Law, not in Bishops Courts. If there were any common Law for the poore Minister to recover his Offerings, and [Page 177] other petty dues▪ for the officers of courts to procure their fees, whereof both must live or sterve, would they ever run to the dreadfull sentence of excommunication? It proceeds not from any order or sentence of our Bishops, but from a meere want of other law, for which I hope they will not separate from the common-wealth; get some law to recover their rights other wayes, and then excommunication shall shine in its glory. Yet, in the meane time, thus much (I am sure) may be said, to quiet a tender conscience. A man askes his dues, and it is denied: so hee that denies it, is an unrighteous person. He askes it againe, and it is denied in choller: so, he that de­nies, is a contentious person; hee askes it againe, and hee is reviled: so hee that doth so is a reviler. Now, the holy Ghost saith,Ro. 2.8, 9. that contentious persons shall have in­dignation, and wrath, tribulation, and an­guish: that unrighteous persons, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. theeves and revilers, shall not inherit the Kingdome of God. Therefore they are bound in heaven while they are so. Is not this reciprocall then, those that are bound in heaven, should upon due conviction, bee bound on earth, and those that are so bound on earth, shall bee bound in heaven? But these that will not pay just fees, dues, if they bee able, upon conviction, and contumacy, are bound in heaven: therefore upon their contumacy th [...]y may lawfully bee excommunicate.

[Page 178] Ob.Yea but (say they) the Bishops officers should have no fees at all in spirituall cases. Should they not live?Sol. so it may bee, some would, that would doe what they list. But when they spend their time and strength in rectifying disorders as they can by law, shall they have no reward? Indeed it were a gra­cious thing, if there were a common treasu­ry to maintaine them that they might heare no more of,Hos. 4. they eate up the sinnes of the people: yet because they must bee maintained one of these two wayes; either out of the common purse of the innocent, or out of the purses of the guilty. Iudge whether it be more equal that one man should spend for another mans sinne, or that a man that will sinne should be driven to spend for his owne; that if he feare not sinne, yet at the least he may feare the weak­ning of his purse. And thus (at the last, by Gods blessing) have I done with the first ge­neral plea of the Brownists against us, that we are no true Church. We have all their pleas, about the nature of a true Church, the ente­rance into a true Church, the head of a true Church, the members of a true Church, and the government of a true Church. In al which, thorough Christs assistance, I have so cleared our Church, and shewed the vaine singularity of theirs, that, if they will not come to us, yet wee shall keepe where we are, and not forsake the fellowship in our assemblies.

SECT. 14. The Brownists second opinion upon▪ which they forsake our Church, because we have not a true ministery.

WE are now (by Gods favour) come unto their second opinion, upon which they ground their separati­on from us to be just, and necessary; that we have not a true ministery, and therefore (a­lasse) they pitty me and others of my bre­thren. They doe, or should know, that the best ministery, now, is the opening and apply­ing the word by them that are sent, that which Paul saith of prophecying, that it is a spea­king unto men for exhortation, edification, [...] Cor. 14.3. and comfort, is this same with the best ministery. And if they that doe it be sent, Rom. 10. then surely it is right as it should bee. Now, to the sen­ding of this ministery there must bee three acts: the act of Christ; the act of the Church; and the act of the parties sent. To Christ all authority and power is given, Matth. 28. and he useth a double act: an immediate act when he doth, in calling, extraordinarily fit men with knowledge, and power to do his work, so he fitted the Prophets, Apostles, and Evangelists. A mediate act, when he doth it the ordinary way, by meanes, and degrees. Men (by his grace) take heede to doctrine, and to themselves, give attendance upon reading;1 Tim. 4.16.13. and attaine to these foure things: integri­ty [Page 180] of life,1 Tim. 3 7. 1 Tim. 2.2. 1 Tim. 3.2. 2 Tim. 3.16. 1 Tim. 3.2 1 Pet. 5.2. by which they get a good report even of those that are without: Soundnesse in christian Doctrine; by which they are able to teach, exhort, reprove, correct, and instruct those committed to them. Dexterity in teaching, by which they are apt to teach, and communicate their knowledge to o­thers.Joh. 21.15, 16, 17. And lastly, willingnesse, by which they feed the flocke of God willingly and of a ready minde, out of love and zeale to Christ. Of all these no ordinary man can judge: but hee that findes them in himselfe may say, I thank God, I find this act of Christ in sending me which opens the doore. The act of the Church is the Porter that doth let us in:Joh. 10. and stands in foure things, presentation, probation, ordination, and election. Presenta­tion is when those that are to be called are presented.Act. 1.23. Thus the Disciples presented or set before the Apostles Ioseph, Barsabas, and Matthias;Act. 6.6. as after they set before them the Deacons that were to be called. Probation is a triall of their gifts and life: as Paul saith,1 Tim 3.10. 1 Tim. 4.14. Act 6.6. Act. 13.3. Tit. 1.5. Let them first bee proved, and then let them minister if they be found worthy. Ordi­nation is when they are consecrated and set apart with imposition of hands, and prayer. Thus Paul and Barnabas ordained the El­ders in every Church, and Titus was left in Creta for this end. Election and calling is when they are assigned for execution of their Office to their particular titles and al­lotments, as Matthias to his Apostolicall [Page 181] jurisdiction, and Timothy, and Titus to E­piscopall in Ephesus and Creta; which Ele­ction though it may bee conceived to goe before Ordination in respect of the office to which they are elected, yet not in respect of the execution of it in their particular places. The Act of the party sent, is a desire of the Office for the glory of God, and a purpose to spend and to be spent upon that service. They must have (ordinarily) a desire of their office, 1 Tim. 3. [...]. 1 Cor. 1 [...]. [...] and to addict themselves to the Mini­stery of the Saints as the house of Stephanas. If it seeme to be unlawfull for a man to de­sire it, because Moses and Ieremy were un­willing to undertake such high service;Exod. 4. Jer. 1.6. and all the Apostles were called without their owne seeking, and above their desires; yea and some ancient worthies have been found to hang backe when such offices have beene tendred? yet when wee consider the wil­lingnesse of Esay, here am I send me, Es. 6. we must learn to judge aright. If any desire it when they are not meet and qualified,How the M [...]nistery may be de­sired. it is a wic­kednesse against justice and charity: against justice in taking the hire when hee is no la­bourer; and against charity in not feeding the soules committed his trust. If any qua­lified man desire it in a wicked way, as am­bitions suit, slavish flattery, or the like, it is stained to them who make gaine their godli­nesse. 1 Tim. 6. But if they desire it out of notice and testimony of sufficiencie to bee Christs instruments (as they are able) to further the [Page 182] worke of the Lord,1 Tim. 4.16. 1 Tim. 3.1. Joh. 21.15. and the salvation of souls, as Esay, it is both just and charitable. It is a worthy worke, and full of charity, and to bee desired: Yea God moves the heart of some to it, and he never doth that to what is un­lawfull. As for Moses, Ieremy, and some others, it proceeded out of a too backward modesty, upon conscience of their owne unworthinesse: and as for the Apostles their case was different; they knew of no such service to be done, and therefore they could not desire it. Againe, the partie sent hath a purpose to spend, and to be spent in the service of Christ.Act. 20.28 1 Pet. 5.1, 2. 2 Tim 4.2 Matt. 28.20. 2 Tim 4.7, 8. Dan 12.3 They know it to bee a worke; yea, and to bee a worthy worke too; because hee never laboureth without Christ his Lord and master: hee laboureth for the saving of soules, in whose hearts they have honour, as well as with God in Christ: and therefore hee resolves to say as Paul, I will very gladly spend, 2 Cor. 12.15. and bee spent for you, though the more abundantly I love you, the lesse I bee loved.

This they doe or should know to make up the best Ministery of Christ.Object. Sol. But (say they) where is this to be found? Certainly in our Church, in those that are sent accor­ding to the true meaning of our Lawes and Canons both ecclesiasticall and temporall. It is their true intent and meaning, that none should enter (when they can be had) but such as are such and thus qualified. If it bee otherwise, it falls out as betwixt [Page 183] Ahimaaz and Cushi: 2 Sam, 18.19. ad finē. Ahimaaz was for­ward and would goe carry newes to the King: Ioab denyes him, and sends Cushi; yet Ahimaaz presseth, and would goe, and went with much a doe, and came to the king first. But when hee came there, hee could onely say, I saw a tumult, but I know not what. It was Cushi that did the message to purpose, who was the messenger inten­ded. So in the intention of our lawes and governours, the best able, instructed, and worthy should still be sent: but when they are deluded with unworthy presentations; false testimonies, seeming appearances of learning and gravity,1 Tim [...].2 [...] (for some mens sinnes goe before, some follow after) and with po­pular importunities, which seldom proves to the best, the least worthy runne fast [...]st, to the scandal of good lawes, and blessed orders. But for all this, why should wee not have a true ministery?

O no (say the Brownists),Object. excuse what you can, you have not the true ministery of Christ. Indeed we have not Prophets,Sol. Apo­stles, and proper Evangelists:Eph. 4. Marks o [...] true tea­chers. but have we not Past [...]rs and teachers? Look upon Christs formal markes of true shepheards. First, they are not the ministers of the Pope of Rome that spiritual Babilonian; no more are wee. They are proper sacrificing priests for the quicke and the dead, so are not wee. They are his by doctrine, oath, obedience, which [...]s the true marke of a servant: so are not wee.Ro. 6.16 Ioh. 8.34 [Page 184] They are imbraced by him as his sonnes, we are disclaimed, and persecuted by him with fire and fagot.Ioh. 15.19 If wee were of him he would love us, for the wor [...]d love her owne. Se­condly, they publish sound doctrine, which is the trial of a true minister. Such as stand not in his counsel, Ier.23.22. and declare not his word, are not sent of God as they should:1 Tim. 4.6 but if they bee nourished up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine, to which they have attained, of which they put the brethren in remembrance, I hope they are true pastours. It is true that all truth is not sit at once;Ioh▪ 16.22 1 Cor. 3. there must be first milke, then stronger meate: and ordinary pastours have not all truths so revealed as they cannot erre in sōething:1 Cor. 13. Phil. 3.15, 16. yet if they walk ac­cording to the same rule, minding the same thing, and humbly expect, though they bee other­wise minded then some other of their bre­thren, in some things, till God reveale even that unto them, by the scriptures, and pub­licke discussions, and lawfull definitions of the Church, I hope they are the true mi­nisters of Christ.

Ioh. 10.2.7Thirdly, they have the true properties of a good shepheard given by Christ. They goe in by the doore, vers. 3. that is, Jesus Christ who cal­leth them by his Church. The porter ope­neth to them, that is, not the wh [...]le house, multitude, and congregation; this cannot but bee a vaine dreame: but partly the holy Ghost who openeth to them by gifts, and partly the governours of the Church, who [Page 185] are delegated under Christ for their admit­tance. They call their sheep by their names, Vers. 3. Pro. 27.23 la­bouring to know the state of their flocks, that they may draw out of their treasury things, Mat. 13.52 both new, and old, and minister to them ac­cording to their need. They lead them forth, Vers. 3. from pasture to pasture,Psa. 92.14 from milk to strong meate, that they may be sat and wel-liking be­fore Christ. For though many of their peo­ple are ignorant and wicked (because they will not come to Christ that they may be saved) yet as the Shepheard leades his cattell to greene pastures and waters,J [...]hn 5. though they will not eat or drink of them: so our good Ezekiels are leaders of their people, though the wicked, that follow not, perish. And lastly, they goe before their flockes, Jo [...]. 10 4. in sound Doctrine and good life, both according to the intention of our Church in sending them, and very often in plaine examples. And are not these true Ministers that doe thus?

Fourthly, they have an ordinary and dai­ly assistance of Christ for the converting of soules. For though it cannot be said of eve­ry particular true Minister:Es. 4 [...].4. for I have la­boured in vaine and spent my strength for no­thing, said Esay; The bellowes are burnt, the lead is consumed, the Founder melteth in vaine, Jer. 6.29. for the wicked are not plucked away: yet is it true, of a true Ministery of a Church, in ge­nerall; for if they stand in Gods counsell, Jer. 23. [...]2. and declare his Word to Gods people they shall turne [Page 187] them. And is it not thus with our Ministe­ry?Ro. 1▪ 16. Hath not the Gospel beene the power of God by it to many that have beleeved it? Can they not truly say,1 Cor. 4:15. In Christ Iesus wee have begotten thousands through the Gos­pel?Object. Let it be said, that our Ministery hath converted none from Heathenisme and Ju­daisme to Christianity, as the Apostles did; yet hath it beene by Christs blessing,Sol. power­fully sealed by plucking away thousands from lewd courses, by no compulsion, but by the feare of God wrought by the prea­ching of the hammer and fire of the Law and Gospel,Jer. 23.29. by us; and by converting them to holinesse of life.Object. If it be said that none can be converted but Infidels, such as the Apo­stles converted in the first planting of the Churches of the Gentiles:Sol. It is certaine that it is as true a conversion from any sinne to sanctification, as from infidelity to faith. For Iohn Baptist was sent to turne the disobe­dient Iewes:Luk. [...].17. Luk. 22.32. Jer. 31.18. and Peter after his fall was to be converted: and Ephraim was to say, turne thou me and I shall be turned: and the rem­nant of Iacob was to returne to the mighty God. Es. 10.21.

Object. Joh. 4.But (say they) this may be done by pri­vate persons, as by the woman of Samaria, and by the good wife, who winnes her hus­band by her conversation. 1 Pet. 3.1. Who doth doubt that as the base carriage of Christians doth make religion blasphemed: so the faire car­riage of thē doth win aliens to like it? Who [Page 186] doubts but the perswasions of others may draw men to Christ or his followers to bee informed in good wayes?Act. 18. Who doubts of Aquilas and Priscillas taking Apollos (a man mighty in the Scriptures) and making him understand the wayes of Christ better? Yea and Christ (if hee please) may use them as meanes for thorow conversion. But what is Christs ordinary way? hee hath now given Pastors and Doctors, not onely for the setting of the Saints in joynt, Ephes. 4.11.12. and edifying of the body of Christ, but for the worke of the Mi­nistery: and what is that? It is to open mens eyes, and to turne them from darknesse to light, Act. 26.18. that they may receive forgivenesse of sinnes and inheritance among them that are sanctif [...]ed by Faith in Christ. Therefore our Ministery having done thus, are not these true Mi­nisters?

No (say the Brownists) and therefore doe they make exceptions against us.Object. They like not our ordainers, our titles, our callings, our infirmities, nor our maintenances: there­fore we are not true Ministers.Sol. Let us fol­low them with Christs light. It is as if they should have said, though we cannot over­throw the substance of your Ministery, yet we reject you because of the circumstances of it, as the children of Israel who could not out-face Elishaes calling from God, yet could in scorne say come up thou bald-pate, 2 King. [...].23 thou art not without thy blemish, till the Beares stopt their mouthes. Let [Page 188] them take heede. If a King have all the sub­stance of right and Kingshippe, yet if in his inauguration hee have not a pleasing [...]n­nointer, title, acclamation, maintenance, or have some infirmities, is hee not a right King? I doubt, if these spirits had power in their hand, neither true King, nor true Priest, nor true peo­ple, should scarcely be found to stand be­fore them.

Object.But to the particulars. They say, wee are ordained by Bishops,Sol. who are (as they are such) the very limbes of Antichrist. That they are the blessed governors of our Church, according to the patterne, and rules Apo [...]to­licall, of Timothy and Titus, I have shewed be­fore. And by whom should wee be ordained but by such? Can a good man dreame that the body of a people of men, and women, have a power to ordaine and consecrate pres­byters, when if he runne thorough the whole new testament, he can never find but bresby­ters ordained by presbyters? If ours bee Bi­shops, yet they are presbyters and more. They have an order, and jurisdiction, by right above us,Tit. 1.5. as Titus in Creta, yet I hope, that doth not exclude presbytership from them. The inferiour orders may stand alone, but the su­periour comprehends all. A Bishop may reade, administer sacraments, and doe other offices of the inferiour orders, and often doth: whereas the other inferiour offices have no ju­risdiction over their brethren, where the bles­sing [Page 189] of Bishops may by the favour of times, and Princes bee setled according to the word of God. That which is their weapon heere, I suffer to runne unto my heart, not to wound it, but to comfort it: that I have not beene brought up in other Churches, to receive my ordination from the presbytery (which yet is good in case of necessity, when our way can­not be had): but that I have received it by the hand of a Bishop, as well as presbyters, which makes the practises and rules of scrip­tures about ordinations the lesse defective, the more compleat.

But these Bishops of ours (say they) doe or­daine us Priests, Object. Sol. which is not a ministery of the new testament. And what if we be so cal­led in our ordination? Is it so contemptible a name which is put upon all Christians, Apoc. 1▪ [...] both kings and beggars? may not we be called so as ministers, as well as we, and they too as Christians? Indeed, popish Priests had an ill name, when they ruled our people, which made it a name of disgrace: and proud and scornefull people will cast it upon us, with disgrace, who doe deserve better: but by Christs helpe, I shall never bee ashamed of that name which I must labour to answer in my office, if I will bee found faithfull.Ep [...]. 1. Phil. [...]. Col. 1▪ Christ as a Priest maketh intercession; and I as a Priest must pray for my people, as Paul did often. Christ as a Priest did offer a sacrifice; & I as a Priest must minister the Gospel of God, that the sacrificing of my people may be acceptable, Ro. 15.16. as [Page 190] Paul of the Gentiles. And why should any bee offended at that name by which the holy Ghost calls us? for when Esay speaketh of the ministers of the new testament, hee saith, of them will I take for Priests, and Levites; saith the Lord.Es. 66.21. What matters it what wee are called, so long as wee offer no idolatrous sacrifice, but onely in our office commemo­rate the sacrifice of Christ, and doe other ser­vices for his honour?

Object.Put case wee may bee Priests in name, and Presbyters indeed, yet (say they) wee are not called by the people, whose souls we feed, but are put upon them by lawes and Canons. This is in part true,Sol. but not fully: for while Presbyters are put into parishes by law, they come unto them by their owne consent. For have not the people chosen knights, and Bur­gesses to draw up, and to consent to lawes for them? And have not Presbyters chosen clarkes, synodically to meete, to make rul [...]s and Canons for them? And doe not both these settle Presbyters in every parish. There­fore they are inducted by all ministers and peoples consent. But put case it were fully true, were wee not therefore true ministers? Did we never heare of a man and woman that were married together against the will of one party (by the power of parents) who yet, being married, were true man and wife, and by an after combining, lived lovingly together? so may it bee in this case: a free consent of minister and people after, in the true worship [Page 191] of God may supply and make up that de­fect. But is it certaine that the people have such a right in calling their Presbyters? Let us looke into the sure word of God. I see the right of Christian Magistrates in choo­sing them unto their places.Ex 28.1 [...] Ex. 40.16 1 Chro. 23.1, 2, 3, &c. 1 Kin 2.27 2 Chro▪ 8.14. 2 Chro, [...]9 24. Take thou unto thee Aaron for the Priests office, saith God: and thus did Moses. See also how David did sort, and divide the Priests and Levites for their severall workes. Did not Solomon by sove­raignety deprive Abiathar, and induct Za­doch, yea and appoint the Priests and Levites to their severall service, as David? Did not Hezekiah the same, and that not by instinct, as a type of I know not whom, but still after the example of David, who was not checked for it? Why then should our Christian kings lose their rights, which they partly execute by themselves, and partly according to the lawes by their delegates, and officers, both in Church, and Common-wealth? It is true, we may reade of the people to have some hand about Church officers in the scriptures,Act. [...], 15. &c. Act. 6.2. as when Matthias was chosen, and when the Dea­cons (as they call them there) were: yea and in after times too, till uproares, tumults, and seditions followed for want of those graces, which the people in the Apostles times had: but let them duely weigh, that Christ hath left no precept for that, no nor established practise in all Churches. Yea, such elections never were but when the A­postles [Page 192] were present with them, yea the peo­ple must be confessed then to have extra­ordinary gifts (they were baptized, Act. 2.38. Act. 10.44 and the Holy Ghost came upon them) and so to bee able to be assistant in choyce. Yet these people did never assume it as a right in themselves, but come to it upon the Apo­stles exhortations for the time being. How slender therefore are such grounds, which fell out in unimitable cases, and when there was no Christian Magistrate, to carry with them a continued right, let good consciences guided by the Word of God, judge▪

I know not what the Brownists will say to this; but I am sure they loade us with fresh burthens which presse us downe from being a true Ministery, at least in the guilty. They finde in many of our congregations wicked and ignorant Priests,Obiect. who pollute the whole worship of Christ; and are these the true Ministers of Christ?Sol. They are true Ministers of Christ, if they minister the things of Christ truely: true Word, true Sacraments,Eph. 47. true Prayers according to the measure of the gift of Christ. There is a dif­ference betwixt a good man and a true man: so betwixt a good Minister and a true Mini­ster. I wish from my soule that this distin­ction need not: and that all Presbyters and Bishops were both unreproveable in life, 1 Tim. 3. and able to teach; that so neither Brownists nor Atheists may have occasion to stumble at them. But so long as Satan and hypocrisie [Page 193] are in the Church,1 Sa. 2.24. there will bee such an­noyances: Yet Gods people must not ab­horre the sacrifices for the wickednesses of Elyes sonnes;Joh. 3.22. Joh. 4.2. Joh. 6.70. if they doe they sinne as God hath said. Put case they be wicked Priests, yet may they performe the true service of Christ. Iesus Disciples baptized sufficiently (I hope) and Iudas was one of them, yet himselfe was a Divell. The Priests and Le­vites of old offered sacrifices, celebrated Sa­craments whereby the faithfull had their faith confirmed, yet too many of them were too wicked. Christs ordinances have their efficiencie from him, not from them that serve about them. The garden may bee watered and made fruitfull by water that runs thorow a woodden gutter, yet that not a whit the better, but the worse for it. The Sunne may give us comfortable light tho­row a sluttish and noysome window, yet that never the better by it. The field may bring forth a goodly crop though sowed with a durty hand. The Bell may call us to the Church though it never enter it selfe but by the sound. The Well may yeeld excellent water though it have much mud. Therefore though such Preachers are odi­ous, yet how can the people refuse the holy things of God which come truely from them. They will if they deserve hanging, receive the Kings pardon whosoever writes or brings it to them. They have deserved worse, Hell, will they refuse the seale of a [Page 194] pardon from a wicked Priest? Put case they be ignorant Priests (though, blessed be God, that cloud was never better blowne over) I hope they know how to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments truely. The Disciples were not such excel­lent Clearkes when they baptized. Though they were initiated in Christs Schoole, ex­amine whether they did not doe it before they were sent to preach:Joh. 3.22.24. Mat. 4.12.17. They baptized before Iohn was cast into prison: and Christ did not begin to preach himselfe publikely before Iohn was imprisoned, and after that he sent his Disciples to preach: what they were that went with Peter to Cornelius let them certainly tell me. The Text calls them cer­taine brethren;Act. 10.23. vers. 48. yet when Peter had preached to Cornelius and those about him, hee com­manded them to be baptized: who baptized them? As yet there was no communion betwixt the faithfull and the Gentiles, and onely certaine brethren went with Peter, and no Deacons chosen but them at Ierusa­lem. I doubt they will not find such cleark­ship in them. Thus I answer them, not to uphold an ignorant ministery, I abhorre it from my soule: or to beare with private persons medling with the holy things of God; for our Church government is a­gainst it. But partly because the Word saith,1 Cor. 12.28. that God hath set in the Church helps or helpers to be assistant in reading and in ministring of the Sacraments to teachers, [Page 195] and partly because none should thinke no Sacraments true Sacraments, except admi­nistred by learned Clearkes fully able to teach.

But now, to let all things passe which are gone for this time, the Brownists will have about with our Ministery if it be but for our maintenance. Our maintenance is a Jewish and ceremoniall maintenance; namely,Object. Tythes, which are fitter for the ministers of Antichrist, whose Religion hath a mixture of Judaisme in it, then for the Ministery of Christ.Sol. 1 Cor [...]. [...] ▪ vers. 8, 9.10▪ 1 [...]. They will not deny that they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gos­pel: this Christ hath ordained, and not man. Nor will they deny that the Apostle proves by the Law and Leviticall practice, that the Ministers of the Gospel must have mainte­nance from the Church. Neither will they deny that he that laboureth in the Word and doctrine is worthy of double honor, 1 Tim. [...].17▪ 18. Gal. 6.6. & must be communicated unto by him that he teacheth in all good things: But yet they doe not love to heare of these Iewish Tythes. I would aske them this one question: They say they must doe nothing about the worship of God, or for the support and maintenance of it, but what they must have a particular war­rant from the Word of God for. Well then, seeing God doth require that Pastours should bee maintained honourably by a communicating in every good thing, let them tell me, how they will satisfie their con­sciences [Page 196] in the particular quantity they must be­stow upon them: Some men will say one thing, some another, but how will consci­ence be satisfied, that it may dye in the peace of justice and charity? The Scripture speakes not of any other particular quantity but the tenth part, what therfore else can satisfie conscience that it erre not?

Object. Sol.But (they will say) that [...]thes are Jewish ceremonies which are abo [...]ished. It is easie to say so, but not so easie to prove. For Jewish ceremonies are shadowes of things to come, Col. 2.17 the body whereof is Christ. Let them shew from Gods word that tythes are so ac­counted. I am sure than God blames the faulty performance and resting in ceremo­nies:Es. 1. but hee never blameth the neglect of ceremonies, as of tythes, when hee saith, ye are cursed with a curse, for yee have robbed me, Mal 3.9 even this whole nation, in not paying tythes. Yea we never read that ever Christ said so much of any Jewish ceremony as of tythes,Matth. 23 Object. these things ought ye not to leave un­done. If it be said, that this maintenance cannot be proved out of the new testament. I say,Sol. that this wil trouble any man to prove: for when Paul proves out of the law, that the ministery of the new testament hath maintenance due, doth he not say, (so) hath the Lord ordained, 1 Cor. 9.14 that hee that preacheth the Gospel should live of the Gospel? and how is that? As they of old lived at the al­tar by tythes, so we now. Againe, doth not [Page 197] the Apostle say, that tythes are due to the ministery of Christ that lives, Heb. 7.6, 7, 8▪ 9. because they were due to Melchizedech, to whom Abra­ham payed them as a Priest, and tythe-ta­ker, and type of Christ? who therefore should receive them,2 Cor 5 20 but those that are in his stead to beseech you to be reconciled unto God? The same reason that God gives why Levi should have Gods portion, (because God is his portion) is it not true, of ministers whom alone hee hath taken to bee ministers of the new testament? It is true,2 Cor. 3. they are not Priests after the order of Melchizedech, as Christ was, yet the High-priest of our pro­fession, hath ordained us to live out of his portion, which must bee his tythes due to him, or else our consciences can never bee setled what it is. Let them duely weigh this, and when they can salve it up well, as in the sight of God, then may they heare of much more; we hate Judaisme as much as they, but we cannot beare that title, except it be inflicted by Christ himselfe. And thus (by the helpe of God) I have cleared their second exception, upon which they sepa­rate, because wee are not a true ministe­ry.

SECT. 15. The Brownists last opinion upon which they forsake our Church, because wee have not a true worship.

WE are now come (thorough Christs helpe) unto their last exception a­gainst us; which concernes the worship of God amongst us, as if wee had not a true, but an idolatrous worship of the true God. This they doe so much detest (and so do we too, if they can prove it) that they cannot with any good conscience have communi­on with us in it. Doe not wee cleave to the onely true God, by knowledge, repen­tance, faith, feare, love, confidence, joy, thankfulnesse, patience, and adoration? Doe wee not know God to bee the onely true God, and therefore give him his true wor­ship in spirit and truth, according to his word? Doe we not pray to him knowing­ly, faithfully, zealously, penitently, and obe­diently desiring to be made better? Doe we not preach and heare his word carefully, and reverently, desiring to know, and doe? Doe wee not administer the sacraments of Christ, and receive them with a desire and purpose to enter covenant with God to bee his people, and keepe it unto our lives end? Doe we not in all these lament our defects, and others, labouring to helpe what we can, and what we cannot patiently suffer; and lo­vingly [Page 199] mourne till Christ in the day of judge­ment fanne away the chaffe? Doe we not pub­lickely solemnize the Lords day, that in the publicke use of Gods ordinances wee may learne to bee better, and doe better till wee come to the full age in Christ Jesus? How then can it be imagined that wee should not have a true worship?

Yes (say the Brownists) your worship is Ceremonial, typical, and stinted, Object. contrary to Christs will,Ioh. 4. who would have you worship him in spirit and truth. Sol. First they say it is a ceremonial worship; will no worshippe please them, but a slovenly one, unbecom­ming the person of that God whom wee worship? If our ceremonies were part of the worship, as they of the Jewes, or proper worship, as many are reputed in the Church of Rome, then they might talke aloud: but when they are but outward accidents for the well and orderly carriage of the worship of God, what hurt is in them? Will it grieve any man to see Christians to worship their God in an humble, comely, and reve­rend way? Nay would it not vexe any good soule to see them to doe otherwise.

They say,Ob [...]ect. Heb. 3 [...] that Christ was more faithfull in the house of God then Moses. If therefore Moses prescribed Gods worship onely ac­cording to the patterne given, much more doth Christ, to which it is wickednesse to us to adde.Sol. Indeed Christ is more faithfull then Moses: for the law was given by Mo­ses, [Page 200] but grace and truth by Iesus Christ: Moses gave a perfect shadow of our reconciliation under types, but Christ gives a perfect bo­dy which hath nothing but truth in him, and not a shadow of things, as the things of Moses. Ioh. 14. Heb. 10. But what is this to decent ceremo­nies, which are not types and shadowes of Christ, and his but onely documents, and signes of our humble and reverend respects to God? As faithfull as Moses was, yet even then had the Jewes ceremonies of or­der, and comlinesse, which were not dis­allowed by God, or reprooved by his Pro­phets.Two sorts of ceremo­nies. There are two sorts of ceremonies: such as corrupt the worship of God, and such as doe preserve by advancing the worship of God. If they had made any types of Christ which God had not made, they had cor­rupted the worship of God,Deut. 4.2. as the Brownists doe; who when we tell them of the acts of the kings of Iudah ▪ about the worship of God, they presently (without the warrant of God) tell us that they were types of Christ. They may [...] well say that the kings of o­ther nations were types of Christ too: be­cause the Jewes were to have Kings accor­ding to other nations. 1 Sam. 8.5 Deu. 17.14 But when the devout Jewes did by their owne ceremonies, labour to carry the worship of God in the most be­comming way, in this they did preserve the worship of God by advancing it. Thus Salo­mons peace-offering was commanded, but his advancement of that service was permit­ted [Page 201] to himself, when he offered two & twenty thousand oxen, 1 Kin. 8.63 and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. Did he now goe against the faithfulnesse of Moses, when he comman­ded it not? Did hre not likewise honour God with the solemnity of seven dayes, ver▪ 65. and seven daies without particular warrant? He was commanded to pray, but when hee ad­ded this ceremony of his owne (fit for that time of jubilation) to stand before the Altar, ver. 22. and spread forth his hands toward heaven, did hee corrupt the worship of God because Moses commanded it not? If Princes hold their people faithfully to them, to serve God and the King, this is commanded them, Deut. 17. as the Law is committed to them: but if Io­shuah doe it by setting up a stone in Shechem;Josh. 24▪ 26. 2 Ch. 15.14 Nehe. 9. ult. & 10▪ 11. if Asa doe it by an oath, and if Nehemiah doe it by subscription, who hath required it? Is Moses unfaithfull? Are not these things permitted to them and us? To remember Gods benefits is commanded:Hest. 9. but for Mor­decai and the Iewes to doe it by the Feast of Purim, who hath required it? was it not onely permitted? So it is with us:1 Cor. 14 26.40. wee have precepts and permissions under generall rules. In conscience to the precepts wee preach and heare the word, wee administer and receive the Sacrament, wee pray both publikely and privately: But in conscience to the permission, we heare and preach from the Pulpit, or from none, with one in a gowne, or cloake, in white, or in blacke: [Page 202] wee receive standing, sitting, or kneeling▪ we pray standing, lying, or sitting, as ne­cessity and order is put upon us by God and our superiours, and as the worship of God may bee best advanced: And what hurt is heere?

Object.But (say they) these permissions are put upon us by peremptory Lawes contrary to our Christian liberty.Sol. By a Law indeed they are bound to them with us, but not contrary to Christian liberty: for then Ti­tus was in vaine left in Creta to set in order things that are wanting, Tit. 1.5. if Christians in the outward carriage of things might doe what they list. Therefore I wish them brotherly to consider something concerning ceremo­nies, and something concerning Christian liberty. Ceremonies may be considered two wayes: Before a Law hath bound this or that way; and After the bond of a Law. Be­fore, they may have not onely variety, but contrariety, and yet not displease God. One eateth, Rom. 14.3.5, another eateth not, yet God receiveth both: one esteemeth one day above another, ano­ther esteemeth every day alike, yet if they bee charitable, and fully perswaded in their own hearts, God is not displeased. But when a Law hath passed upon them, those things that are permissions in themselves are pre­cepts in their use: as when the Church de­creed the abstaining from stranguled and bloud, Act. 15. so long as was convenient for the Churches of the Iewes. As God loves that [Page 203] we should keepe the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, in one faith:Eph 4 3▪ 5 Col. 2.5. so Paul joyes when hee beholds the order among the Colossi­ans, that all their things were done in love. So long as wee are free, wee are like the daughters of Zelophehad, who,Num. 36 so they kept within their owne tribe, might marry whom they pleased: so wee may looke which way we please, and settle according to our pleasure. But when the law of expediency is put upon us, wee must say, all things are lawfull, but all things are not expedient. 1 Cor. 10▪ 23. When the law of Charity is put upon us, wee must say, if meate make my brother to offend, 1 Cor. 8.13 I will eate no flesh while the world standeth. And when the law of loyalty is put upon us, we must say, thou (O Chri­stian king) art worth ten thousand of us, the scandall of thee swallowes up the scandall of ten thousand persons; therefore wee must doe as Ioab, number the people, 2 Sam. [...]4. no sinne in it selfe, though we see inconveniences that may fall upon it. Next, concerning Christian li­berty, it doth not make us lawlesse: for then were it vaine for any Church whatsoever, to determine what is fit for ceremonies to bee done by them: for then every one might flye to Christian liberty, and say, I will doe what I list, my Christian liberty shall beare me out. And how unfit this were▪ every religious soule c [...]n judge: but it is a liberty that frees our consciences from inward bondage, that we be not brought under the dominion of any thing. 1 Cor. 6. [...] I [Page 204] eate fish or flesh as is appointed, but I am brought under the dominion of neither. I weare white or blacke, I stand, or sit, or kneele, but I am brought under the dominion of none of them. In my conscience, my Christi­an liberty hath set me free, but in my practise, I am bound in these things to expediency, cha­rity, or loyalty for the establishing of good order in the Church, or in the cōmon-weale. If they would but duely consider these two things, they would never talk of permissions turned into lawes to prejudice Christian li­berty. Yea, Christian wisedome would learne them too, that religious worship is cal­led by the name of outward ceremonies used in them:Eph. 3.14 Gen. 14.22. as God calls praying, b [...]wing of the knees, and swearing, lifting up our hands; not because these are commanded duties in such acts of worship, but because God permits, and loves our well carriage in his worship ac­cording to generall rules, though we have no particular precepts.

Yea, but (say they) our ceremonies are typicall and Iewish ceremonies, which hurt our worship.Object. They meane (as I conceive) they are teaching ceremonies, not ceremonies of meere order, but significant, to put us in minde of duty.Sol. I am sorry that this should be ac­counted a fault. If they did not signifie, how could they edifie?1 Cor. 14.26. Were they types and sha­dowes of the mysteries of the Gospell inven­ted by men, indeed Christ were ill advised not to ordaine them. But being onely mo [...]al do­cuments [Page 205] and monitors of some duties, I won­der where their guilt lies. If I had an hun­dred boxes in my house for my uses, and some few of them had a marke upon them, to direct me where my mony lay, that I might be carefull of that, doth this savour of want of naturall wisedome? So neither doth it taste of want of spirituall wisedome, to set a marke upon some few ceremonies, to put me in minde of my duty to Christ.

What are these (say they) but images set up to our selves for religious use. What?Object. to worship? to adore God in, or by? No,Sol. but to reminde us of what we ought to doe. And this was the practise of the Church in all ages; Abraham put his servants hand under his thigh in swearing,Gen. 24. surely to signifie his subjection to him in that businesse about the promised seede. Moses set up an Altar when Ama­leck was overthrowne, and called it Iehovah Nissi, to signifie, that the Lord was their ban­ner.Ex. 17.15 Iosh. [...]2.24, to 35. The two tribes and a halfe built an al­tar, not to distinguish their borders, but to signifie, that they were Gods people, and that they had all one God, to whom they, and their posterity must sacrifice upon his owne altar:1 Sam. Samuel set up a stone when the Phili­stims were discomforted, and called it Eben-Ezer, to signifie that the Lord helped them. When Christ the truth was come, hee used hu­mane significant ceremonies, as the feast of de­dication, sitting at the Passeover, a signe of rest,Joh. 2. the water pots of the jewish purifications, the [Page 206] custome of embalming,Luk. 4.17, 20. beside other formali­ties of the synagogue. The Corinthians had the womens vaile in the congregation, to sig­nifie subjection,1 Cor, 11. 1 Cor. 16.20. 2 Pet. 2.11 Jude. and the kisse of peace ▪ to signifie love. Other Christians had Agapae at the sacrament, in the roome whereof the Christi­ans offertory was brought in for pious uses, to signifie that love they should have one to a­nother. So wee have standing at the beliefe▪ to signifie that it is not a prayer, and that wee are ready to confesse our faith; kneeling at the commandements, to signifie the honour we have to that God that gave it, and that wee must be ready to dart up prayer for our obe­dience; and kneeling at the sacrament, to sig­nifie an humble acknowledgement of Gods love for so great a benefit. And doe wee and all these saints before us set up images to our selves in these ceremonies, for religious u [...]e? God forbid. The practise of these saints when the lawes of God were purely taught and kept, teach us, that though we my not set up an image to worship God by,1 Cor. 14. or in, yet may we set up some edifying signes to put us in minde of those duties wee owe to God. The Patriarchs may build altars, give their chil­dren proper names, to be admonishing signes of their duties to God: and we may set all our sences on work that way. We may set up a poste in a darke and dangerous passage, that when I goe that way and touch it, it may sig­nifie my danger, and I may avoide it▪ I may set a watch-man in a towre to give a sound [Page 207] when the enemy comes, that he may signi­fie my enemies approach, and I may avoid him. I may set up a Sea marke to signifie a Rocke neere, that I split not upon it, And may not we be as wise for our soules as for our bodies? God forbid. I am sure he hath no where forbidden it: therefore it is not against Christ. If it be not against him, Mar. 9 40. it is for him, saith our Saviour.

Why then (say they) have we cast out all the significant ceremonies of Popery.Object. Not for their significancy barely,Sol. but for their weight and measure. They are not to them onely, as outward gar­nishments of worship, but as proper worship, efficacious and meritorious: their number stifles devotion, and fills it with shewes without substance. A cup of water refreshes, but an whole Well of wa­ter choakes. Yea an hundred Sermons weekly would not edifie, they would eate out our conscience in our particular cal­lings: much more would an hundred cere­monies eate out the substance of our gene­rall callings, when a few may much refresh and profit, if judgement over-power fancie and affection.

Yea but (say they) our significant cere­monies were taken from Idolaters and limbs of Antichrist who have abused them.Object▪ Were this true,Sol. Pro. 25▪ 4 yet take the drosse from the silver and make a vessel for the finer: but it is false. Though they have had such as ours, [Page 208] and have still, yet ours are our owne, and were never theirs in speciall. Fire and wa­ter are contrary, yet they agree in their kind, they are both elements: so ours are ceremonies, and so are theirs, but other­wise they differ as fire and water; they scorne therefore ours, and we deride theirs. We read of sacrifices offered to Devils,1 Cor. 8. & 10. yet some of this was sold in shambles, and some the Heathens made feasts of. It was all the same flesh in kind, but not in use. The chri­stians did damnably if they went to it when it was sacrificed, yea and if they went to their Idol feasts when they blessed an idol, it was idolatry: but if they bought part of that flesh in the Shambles, and eate it, or went to their private feasts when they eate of it (for ought they knew) without refe­rence to the Idol, then saith Paul, Eate ma­king no question for conscience sake. So say we of our crosse, Surplice, kneeling, they were ordinances before Idolators abused them. If they take them and blesse an Idol with them, be it upon their own pates▪ but if we be invited to them in a better use (and not know, nor have just cause to suspect any lurking Idolatry) why should wee make so many needlesse questions about the use of them? Put case such as they are, pertained to Idolaters. So did Goliahs sword, yet Da­vid laid it up in an holy place for better use. So did bowing belong to Baal, prostrating the whole body to Idols,1 Kin. 19. Ex. 23.24. kissing to the Calves, [Page 209] kissing the hand to the hoste of heaven,Ezek. 18.6 Ps 44.20. Ex. 32.6.19. Am. 2.8. lif­ting up the eies, stretching forth both hands, showting for joy, sitting or lying along upon the ground, or on a carpet, to idols: yet all these we may use in the worship of the true God. So for our ceremonies, such as they are pertained to idolaters, but were not idola­trous of themselves. The crosse was used as a signe of profession before idolatrie prevai­led. The white garment was ordained as a cover-sloven in the poverty of the Church; kneeling was used as an act of reverence be­fore the breaden God was hatcht. And may not we lawfully use them now, to shew that we are in communion and fellowship with that blessed and persecuted Church, without such noises and schismes.

Yea,Obiect. but in our worship there is (say they) as bad as all behinde; wee have a stin­ted worship by that foule idol the common pray­er booke, and so we worship not in spirit, Ioh. 4. Sol. and truth. Doe we not worship in spirit, when the spirit moves towards heaven as well as the flesh? Doe wee not worship in truth, when our petitions are true petitions, uttered with a true tongue according to the truth of our hearts? Doe wee not worship in spirit and truth, when with such petitions, heart, and tongue; we seek to God in all places, not trusting in any? Certainely wee doe, and should doe farre better, were it not for them who disgrace our common-prayer booke, and draw the hearts of Gods people from [Page 210] it. Yet those that know the vanity of their words, and trust them not, know also, that they, even when they use that booke to send their prayers t [...] heaven by, doe pray in spirit and truth, God bearing them wit­nesse by the holy Ghost.

Object. Sol.How can they pray in spirit (say they) when they use him not? what? Is there no spirit but our owne? Surely there is a publicke spirit, and a private spirit. The first, hath wrought in the holy saints, and army of martyrs, who have laied up stocks of prai­er for us generations that follow them: and by the blessed providence of God, they are come into our hands. There wee see how they prayed for us before we were. There we learne to pray of them, of whom the world was not worthy. This spirit we use as well as our owne: and it is pitty that any Christian that can pray to God by his owne dexterity of spirit, should yet contemne the workings, and helpings of the publicke spi­rit, without whom the world had never had such a benefit.

Object.But alasse (say they) our spirits are quite stinted when they are fettered with words appointed.Sol. Surely, the freedome of spirit stands not so much in freedome of words, and in intention of zeale. As a servant that delivers his masters message in his masters words may doe it with a free spirit: So may a man pray when he takes to himselfe words, and not coines them himself.H [...]s. 14.2. The best pray­ers [Page 211] are those that are delivered in Gods words: and are our spirits stinted because we tye our selves to Gods words? As Gods Spirit is not stinted when it speakes unto us by the Scriptures read: so nor our spirits when wee speake feelingly to God by read Prayers. Put case one man pray with a thousand that have large spirits, will they say that their spirits are stinted because they are tyed up, for the time being, to his spi­rit? so nor when wee pray with others Prayers. Have wee a spirit better than the Disciples of Christ? and doe wee know what will stint them better than Christ? yet Christ gave them the Lords Prayer not onely to say after that manner, Matth. 6. when hee taught the Doctrine of Prayer,Luk. 11▪ 2. but also to say, when hee taught them the practice of Prayer.

But (say they) hath not God given eve­ry good Christian a spirit of supplication, Object. Zach. 12. [...]0. by which they have a faculty and power to pray? The Disciples (I hope) were good Christians, yet they say to Christ,Luk. 11. [...]. teach us to pray. Yet know that there is a double po­wer to pray: An inward power, A double power of prayer. by which the heart moves, and goes out of it selfe af­ter God, Christ, grace, and salvation. This power all good Christians have, by the spi­rit of adoption, whereby they cry Abba, Father. Rom. 8. An outward power, whereby they are able distinctly and judiciously to expresse the motions and desires of their hearts. This [Page 212] power all have not, and therefore have neede still to have further helpe and di­rection, as our Saviour did helpe his Dis­ciples.

Object.But surely (they may say) the Lords Prayer is not a forme of Prayer taught his Disciples, or us. It is short and imperfect, it hath no such glory in it as some other; I may think [...] it, though Christs word be say ▪ and none are tyed to this forme of Prayer alone. Let all this stand till it be removed. It is true it is short,Sol. and in that is seene the glorious wisdome of Christ; but it is most perfect. We must pray all manner of Pray­ers, Eph. 6. 1 Tim. 2. Supplications, intercessions, and giving of thankes: yet all these are comprehended in it. Againe, there is infinitely more glo­ry in it then in all Prayers made by men. If all Prayers be made they have their graynes of weight from hence. It briefly compre­hends them all, and hath the best authority in the world. The wisdome of God the son of God, the beloved of God made it and ex­pressed it with his tongue, in such blessed or­der as men & Angels cannot devise the like. It is true that Christ saith,Psal. 14. say it: but there is a saying with the mind and heart, as well as with the tongue. For there are two parts of Prayer;Psal. 47. 1 Cor. 14. the soule of Prayer, when it is presented with understanding, heart, and spi­rit: and the body of Prayer to helpe our fervencie;Lu. 22.41 Lom 3. as when we bowe our knees, lift up our hearts with our hands, and our eyes [Page 213] are lift up to God, and our bones say,Ps. 123 1. Ps. 35.10. Psal. 45. Lord who is like unto thee, and our tongues are the pennes of ready writers. Yet hath not Christ tyed us unto this prayer only. Christ himselfe hath other prayers beside this, and the Apostles many, together with the Church, and godly particulars. Yet by rea­son of the perfection of it both in matter, order, and words: by reason of the suffici­ency of it to supply all wants: and by rea­son of our forgetfulnesse to aske all, or halfe; it is a sure and comforting way (what ever wee pray) to use it alwaies with judgement and understanding.

But (say some of them) it is of so large ex­tent that wee cannot comprehend it.Object. Sol. It is true, that it is of large extent and there­fore we must labor for strength of judgmēt, and memory to put it up from the heart, that we may not tumble it over (as the man­ner of some is) as if it burnt their tongues. But Christs lookes not that we should con­ceive of every thing in it▪ every time wee use it. As there are few prayers wee can make▪ but are of larger extent then wee presently conceive, as when we say, the Lord san [...]tifie your sickenesse unto you, the Lord blesse you, the Lord give you grace, there are more things comprehended then presently meant [...] so in the Lords prayer; and therefore wee must have docible hearts to understād it bet­ter, & better, and we must have wisedom ac­cording to our apprehension, to apply it to severall occasions.

[Page 214] Object.But (say they) this or any other stinted prayer, are the very cut-throates of devoti­on,Sol. and coolers of affections. Indeed they are so to wicked hearts. Children must bee pleased with novelties, and wicked men loath Gods continued favours, though it bee Mannah from heaven:Num. 21.5 but if set prayers wrought so of themselves, would Christ ever have given a set forme to his disciples? Certainely they will be no enemies to devo­tion, if Christians bee zealous and carefull in using them. For the constant practise of the saints in scriptures commends them unto us in prescribed Psalmes, and formes of blessing. And such is the inequalitie of gifts dispensed by Christ unto his people, that to some a pre­scribed forme is necessary, when he hath not given them gifts of knowledge, and utte­rance to expresse their desires in any comely way; To others necessary too, who are a­ble fitly, and fully to doe it in private, yet are not so faced, and tongued, that they can doe it with confidence in publicke; to all it is excellently usefull, that they may not onely have helpe of their owne spirits, but of the publick spirit of God working in his church, to advance them forward to heaven. It is a world of pittie, that men that have some great gifts (as they thinke) should contemn them that have them not, though haply they have others better then they. To have a gift of expressing our desires in fit order, [Page 215] matter, and words, is a comely ornament, yet may it, and doth often fall upon an hy­pocrite, it is not of the essence of a saveable Christian [...] but to say, wee know not what to pray for as we ought, but the spirit helpes me (publickly and privately) with groanes and sighes that cannot be expressed, to say thus,Ro. 8.26, 27. I say, and to feele the truth of it too, is a note of a good Christian, and can fall upon none but a childe of the kingdome of heaven.

But (say they) put case that others may be helped by set formes of prayer,Object. yet is there no reason that a Minister or Presby­ter that hath gifts, should bee tied to a forme of words. Neither is he alwaies,Sol. Why se [...] formes are prescribed ministers? but that he should bee tied to common solemne praier, as with us, there is excellent reason for it, as well as in all other reformed Churches, except theirs. First, for uniformity, that all Gods people in our Church might meete at the same time, and put up the same peti­tions with earnest desires, in the same man­ner. And is not this a comforting thought, that we have an opener way to heavē made us, by the joint suites of all good English or hearts. Secondly, for memory, that he may not forget the generall necessities of all the Church, and so sticke upon those par­ticulars onely, which are according to his owne feeling. Thirdly, for honour to the blessed saints and martyres whose prayers they were. That as we have had benefit by them, when they were put up to God be­fore, [Page 214] so wee may bring benefit to our selves and others by them, when wee pray them now. Fourthly, for his calling sake. Hee is not immediatly called by God, [...] & the Church. Therefore as he is called by God, he useth those gifts which hee hath received from God; as he is called by the Church, he is to use and honour the publicke gifts of the Church, in interpretation, prayer, and the like. What more need bee said to justifie our worship by set formes of prayer, for the pre­sent I see not: when I shall, by Gods assi­stance I shall say more.

SECT. 16. The Brownists maine exceptions in their former argument, against our common-prayer booke more spe­cially.

THough set formes of publicke pray [...]r may be lawfull, usefull, commendable, and glorious,Ob. yet they say, that our common prayers are not so fit a way to worship God by: nay they say more, that that worship is plainely idolatrous. I am sure that that assertion is weakely superstitious. I would wish them that they be piously carefull, that they speake not evill of that they know not, 2 Pet. 2. be­cause they are not careful or willing to know, [Page] we ordinarily know unwise young men, when their whose soules live in their affections, to make many objections against many good or­ders, and lawes, who, when ripenesse, and experience, hath made them see the reasons, have beene ashamed of what they have done: and may it not be so with these men and wo­men? Howsoever I would intreate them to consider what they may reade in the historie of our Church, that when a godly martyr was reading in a primar of our Church, and came to Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, an ungodly serving-man, who was set to attend him, blasphemously mocked at it, but hee was strooke madde that night, and dyed miserably. Let them duely consider this, and feare to open their mouthes against any comforts of the godly, and ad­vancement of godlinesse. As for my part, I have reade some liturgies beside our owne, and have heard of others: but (blessed be God) I never saw, or heard of any more fully ac­complished for the worke in hand. But am I not deceived?

Let us (in the feare of God) take a view how it proceeds in all publicke service, and call in along their exception (which I know) as we goe along. There is in it first, a preparati­on to publicke service, and then the service, and worship it selfe. The preparation is by me­ditation, exhortation, and prayers.

The Presbyter, or Deacon, doth in the be­ginning propound some texts of scripture [Page 218] to be thought upon, that we by their medi­tation, may draw our selves into the pre­sence of our God to heare and doe.Object. Yea indeed (say they) they doe corrupt the text. For though they say,Ezek. 18.21, 22. At what time soever a sinner doth repent from the bottome of his heart, God will blot them out of his remembrance, which is not the speech of Ezekiel. Sol. I pray is not this the full sense of the Prophet; made speake to ordinary capacity, if not his words? Doth he not say, if the wicked will turne? Is not this equivalent to at what time soever, whether to day, to morrow, or whensoever? I hope when conditions are performed, God will be as good as his word whensoever. Doth he not say, If they turne from all their iniquities, and keepe all my Sta­tutes? What is this but repent from the bottome of the heart, and leave no root of bitternesse behind? Doth he not say, Hee shall live, his sinnes shall not be mentioned unto him? what is this but I will put them or blot them out of my remembrance? This is not corruption, I hope, when the Text is plain­ly expressed in the true sense of it.

Secondly, he doth exhort the people ac­cording 2 to the Scriptures to confesse their sinnes with a lowly, penitent, and obedient heart, saying after him. By this hee puts them in minde what to doe, namely to con­fesse their sinnes aright, that their poyson being vomited up, they may the better set themselves to seeke God in the other acts [Page 219] of worship. But (say they) what need this,Object. saying after me, seeing the Presbyters Prayer and the peoples Amen is enough.Sol. Indeed it is enough to a Prayer, the petitions whereof are not knowne to the people before, such as that of Ezra, Neh. 8, 6. and when men exercised their owne gifts for the edification of ma­ny.1 Cor. 14.16. But is it therefore unlawfull for the people to say after their leader when hee prompteth them, or they are taught by the Church? Doe not all the people, as well as the Presbyter pray to God, and praise God in singing Psalmes? And I am sure the Word of Christ, which warranteth what is commanded, and what it goeth not a­gainst is not against it. It is true,Object. it is un­comely for many mouthes to put up a peti­tion to the King at once: It would con­found him whose apprehension and under­standing is limited. But it is not so to God who is understanding it selfe, wisdome it selfe, Sol. to whom millions sing Psalmes at once, and thousand millions pray to him at once over all the world.

Thirdly, he doth pray for and with them,3 that they may doe as hee exhorted them For first there is the joynt confession of all their unworthinesse, and Prayer to GOD that they may live better in after times. Confession without a purpose to amend does no good:Prov. 28. therefore are both united in our good confession. Then doth he (for their encouragement) declare and pronounce the [Page 218] absolution and forgivenesse of sinnes to true pe­nitent beleevers according to the Gospel;Matth. 16. Joh. 20▪ and applying it to the people prayes, that up­on their repentance, their sinnes being done away, they may doe worthily that service which now they are about. A [...]d then to supply all defects in all, all pray with one heart, as one man, the Lords Prayer, which is the King of Prayers: and so rise with short and earnest prayers, that they may praise God, and that God would help them; and with a profession of their faith in the Trinitie, and desire that all glory may bee given unto that blessed three in one. Thus, I am sure, if wee have pious and humble soules, may we be prepared, for the publike worship of God, publikely.

Now for the service and worship it selfe, in this good Booke it hath three degrees, the Beginning, Middle, and End of it. In the beginning of it there is reading of Psalmes ▪ principally to raise up our affections, and of other Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, to confirme our judgements in the truth,Act. 17. and to helpe us to search whether things heard are so or no. There is confession of our faith, that wee may professe it as a briefe rule from Scriptures, to try whether we stand in the faith, whereto we may re­ferre the truths of faith in the Scriptures. And we have Prayers wherein wee are not long at once, or with a breath; but have di­stinct and divided salutations, praises and [Page 219] Petitions, for our selves: chiefe members, and the Church, that we may the better hold out unto the end without distractions.

All this (I am sure) none, if they un­derstand, can justly blame. Onely there is one thing (worth notice) which doth hard­ly relish to some fewe, and can by no meanes be indured by the Brownists, and that is the Litany. This stickes most, because they are more carefull to make objections against it, then answers for it, that they may have comfort and peace with us. Therefore (with Christs helpe) I shall indeavour two things; to shew the reason of the name, and how they may satisfie themselves against such scruples as may arise. It is called a Litany, Of the Lit [...]y. which is an humble prayer, whose use is most for adversi­ty. It comes of a word that signifies to sup­plicate, from whence comes suppliant pray­ers. The ancient Churches were full of them, as I could shew, which usually beganne with Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us; and why should ours be empty, see­ing wee would be accounted as good Christi­ans as they?

There are divers exceptions against ours, therefore let us see next, how they may satis­fie themselvs against them. There is no Church that I know, but must have a favourable con­struction of some things, and so must ou [...]s▪ yet in this I see not, but that all excepters may be fully satisfied. The exceptions that I have yet met with, are against the manner of [Page 222] this prayer, and against the matter of it.

Ob.Against the manner (they say) that it is with repetitions of the people, and interlocu­tary passages.Sol. As for that, I finde that in the scriptures God hath commanded publicke prayers, that is, that Presbyter and people should pray: but he hath not commanded a­ny forme, or manner, to carry their prayers in, but onely that it bee done to edification. Therfore he hath left that free to the wisdome and judgement of the governours. And this we have often experience of, that if a continu­ed prayer be but halfe so long, some will bee nodding before it bee done; whereas if they be kept busie, by the matter in hand, they are more vigilant.Ob. But (say they) he hath given us the Lords prayer all in one length, and set Amen in the latter end.Sol. Luk. 11. This is true: yet marke, he said to his disciples, when yee pray, say, Our Father, and Amen too: and hee hath not told them in what manner they should say it when they pray together: whether one should say the Petitions, and the rest, Amen, or whether all should say the Petitions, and Amen too: In this he hath left them to edif [...]cation,Object. and us also. But (it is said) that some parts of the Litany are so said, that the reader shewes one­ly what they must pray for, and the people make the suite, as when they say from such, and such a thing, good Lord deliver us: and this seemes to bee absurd.Sol. That the people should make it without the minister is not in­joyned: [Page 223] that the minister doth not intend and make the suite, is false, except hee bee carelesse, and wicked. As the people say Amen aloude; and the minister saith it too, though happly not so loude: so the mini­ster intends, and saith, Good Lord deliver us, though the people in turnes, exceede in voice.

Against the matter of this prayer, many things are objected, few things weighed, and nothing proved, but evident quarrels. There are exceptions against words and phrases; and against suites conveyed in them. The wordes and phrases are, by thy crosse, and passion, by thy pretious death, &c. Which some of them,Object. out of the le [...]ity of minde, call conjuring; some, out of worse, cal swearing, as if none could out sweare the Litany. Sol. Let them take heede how they blaspheme the piety of Gods servants. It was none of Elies goodnesse, when hee re­proached the prayers of Hannah;1 Sam. 1. as if shee were drunke when shee made them. Let them apply this to themselves. It will not be denied but that Christ brought us a great benefit by all these. For what hee did as a publicke person, hee did for us and our salvation, in one degree or other. Now, what is this, but a praying that all these acts, and passions of Christ, in their ver­tue and merit bee applyed to us by Gods love, that wee may finde the profit of them?


[Page 222]But now the suites that wee convey in the words of that good Prayer are trouble­some to them, both when we sue for things, and Persons,Object. As for things, wee pray a­gainst two things which they doe not like, against sudden death, and against the sinnes of our forefathers. Sol. As for the first, there is a double sudden death: sudden in time, and sudden for want of preparation. God hath said, that hee will come before that wee are aware, like a thiefe in the night. His will bee done: wee pray not against that. But wee pray that his comming may not be so sudden, but that through wisdome given,Es. 38.1. Matth. 25 we may set our houses in order, and bee as the wise virgines having our lampes and oyle in a readinesse: and from such sudden death good Lord deliver us. As for the sinnes of our forefathers (which being dead are now out of the state of forgive­nesse) wee pray not that their sinnes bee forgiven them, [...] ▪ 20. but that they bee not remem­bred to be punished in us. God punisheth to the third and fourth generation: and the Psal­mist saith,Psal. 109.13, 14. Let the iniquitie of his fathers be re­membred before the Lord, and let not the sinne of his mother be blotted out, that their poste­rity bee cut off, and in the generations following their names bee blotted out. And because these comminations have conditions of Repentance annexed to them, doe not wee well to repent, and cry to God, remember not the iniquity of [Page 223] forefathers, for feare of those sinnes that have gone before us.

But yet they like not the Persons that we pray for, when wee say,Ob▪ that God would have mercy upon all men. For Christ saith,Joh. 17. he prayed not for the world: but our Church cares not whom they pray for. Indeed,Sol. because wee finde that wee have a Precept, pray for all men, and an holy practise,1 Tim. 2 1 Ps. 67.3. Let the People praise thee O God, let all the People praise thee, therefore wee doe as wee are bound in praying for all men. Yet doe not wee pray for the world, but against it that we may follow Christ. Christ prayed for the Jewes and Gentiles that persecuted him to death, father forgive them, Luk. 23. for they know not what they doe: yet he prayes not for the world that lies in wickednesse, 1 Joh. 5. but that it come out, and serve God: so wee pray once more against their wickednesse, Psal 141. As some translate. but wee pray for their Persons. As farre as our charity tends, so farre our Prayers extend; and I am sure wee must doe good to all. Gal. 6.2. 1 Joh 5, 16 But if God shall reveale any speciall Persons that have sinned unto death, wee will not pray for them. In the meane time, give us leave (if you have so much charity) to pray that there may bee none such. Yea,Object. but (say they) wee pray in that Litany, for all that travaile by land, or by water, and so for thieves, and pyrats too, yea, and I know not for what, Devills in mens braines,Sol. who compasse the earth too and fro. Where is [Page 224] their charity? The pious Church provideth a Prayer for Men and not for Devils, who are out of hope, and out of all Communi­on with her: and for all men that are within a saveable condition in that word, Our Fa­ther. So shee prayes for theeves and py­rats to make them better, or else against them, to maintaine Gods just providence in their future punishments. If these bee all their exceptions against our good Litany, as they are all I have heard, I hope they will give me leave to use it as I doe, and use it with me in peace.

The second degree of our Church wor­ship is the middle of it, when wee reade the commandements of our great God with Prayer, when we read the Epistles and Gos­pels, more fully to strengthen our faith, and pray for the whole Church.Object. In the first, they doe except that we kneele when the commandements are reade, as if it were a Prayer.Sol. Noe: wee doe it not to make it a Prayer: it is none. But yet wee doe it, partly to testifie our subjection to the God that gave it,Ex. 19. as the People on mount Sinai fell downe at the publication of it, and as wee kneele before the King: and partly, because it is joyned with that submissive Prayer, Lord have mercy upon us, and in­cline our hearts to keepe this law.

Next come the Epistles (as indeede the whole word is an Epistle written to our soules): wherein wee have sometimes [Page 225] prayers, but mostly fit rules of holinesse of life: and after the Gospels,Eph. 4 1. that wee may know the benefits of which we must live wor­thy. These strengthen our faith in all the articles, and further our thankfulnesse for all Gods mercies by Christ and his Apo­stles. I know nothing worth notice that is heere excepted against.Object. If they call them shreads of scripture, yet they are scriptures, and fit texts applyed to every season. And if Christ would not onely preach truths,Sol. but fit truths for the people: and if they themselves (I hope) will choose fit texts for feasts, and fasts, times of solemnity, and times of mourning, I hope also that the Church cannot bee denyed this liberty. If they say,Object. they are applyed to divers ho­lidayes which are not of Christs appoint­ment. Yet are they not without Christs leave and permission.Sol. If Christ have per­mitted them (though God saith,Ex. 20. six daies thou shalt labour) yet to use their liberty according to discretion, upon any of the six to refresh themselves, or spend in holy exercises; is he an harder master, yea husband unto his Church? Surely, as occasion is offered, they may choose any fit dayes either to feast, or to fast.

But alasse (say they) all this,Ob. in that common-prayer booke is but an English masse, taken out of the masse-booke of Rome. Sol. Belike then wee had it out of the [Page 226] Temple of God, 2 Thes. 2.4. where that man of sinne sitteth, well: bee it so. A thiefe hath got a true mans purse, may not Justice deliver it to him againe, and leave the thiefe to his Judge and punishment? Such is our case. The Pope could not have hid himselfe so long, but under the banner of Christ, and the service of God with the Saints. There­fore hee gets the Leitourgy, or common-prayer booke of the blessed Fathers, and adds to it of his owne rubbish, as Masses for quicke and dead, Dirges, Requiems, Praying to Saints and ANGELS, bles­sing of Bells and Candles, to give power to drive away Devils. When this was espy­ed, by the breaking out of the beames of the glorious Gospel, the blessed Martyres challenge their owne, and leave the wicked trash to the founder. And is not this Ju­stice? If these men had gold and silver mingled with durt, and poyson, would they cry out, all durt, all poyson, and worke for more? No: they would wash, cleanse, purifie, and keepe the gold and sil­ver for their uses. So have we done, and noe more. Wee have taken off the spots, and keepe the garments, We have washed away the filth, from the gold of the first great Saints and Martyres. If this bee a fault, wee rejoyce in it, and commend to others, as Doctour Rowland Taylour when hee was going to be burned, next unto the Bible, the Service-booke, to bring up our chil­dren [Page 227] in the feare of God. And so I passe that.

The last degree is the end of our common-prayer worship, which is the administration of Sacraments. The wit of Men and An­gels cannot devise a better way of GODS worship in them. Such grave exhortati­ons, effectuall Prayers, propounding of warrants, laying downe of promises, con­fident expectations of their making good by Christ, to Children, Parents, and all penitent and believing Christians, are there upon record, that a modest man would wonder how any exceptions could be found out. Yet three things are there that much trouble them, and us by them.

  • 1 Kneeling at the Communion.
  • 2 Crosse in Baptisme, and
  • 3 The responses, or answeres in Bap­tisme.

As for kneeling, I shall indeavour (with Gods helpe) to doe two things: shew that they may lawfully worship God in the use to this Sacrament, kneeling; and take a­way their maine rubs in the way. That which is for Christ they may lawfully doe: but kneeling at the Sacrament is for Christ:Mar 9.4. for what is not against him, is for him. If it bee against him, let them shew where hee hath forbidden it. If they cannot, they may lawfully kneele. Againe, that which is neither commanded nor forbidden by God, they may lawfully doe (for the A­postle [Page 228] saith of such things,1 Cor, 6. all things are lawfull) yea they must necessarily doe it now,Rom. 13.5 not out of conscience to the gesture, but out of conscience to the command of our Christian King and Church: But kneeling at the Communion is neither commanded nor forbidden by God, but commanded by the King and Church: therefore they may, they must kneele. Againe, if they kneele not, but sit, as an act of Religion, they make it essentiall to the supper, and the A­postle Paul an unfaithfull servant to so good a Master.1 Cor. 11. For hee saith that what he recei­ved of the Lord he delivered unto them: but he doth not speake one word of the gesture. Therefore sitting is no act of Religion, the gesture is left to the Church, they may kneele, or Paul is unfaithfull. Lastly, if they kneele not, they bring juster censures upon themselves then they can give to us that kneele, which they are bound to avoid. As they be justly charged first to worship God by the will of man, Es. 29.13. Mat. 15.9. and so in vaine ▪ For to place a worship of God in sitting or stan­ding rather then in kneeling, is a worship of God by the will of man, because they have no such warrant from God. Second­ly,D [...]ut. 4 2: & 12.32. they be justly charged to adde to, or take from the Word, and so to corrupt it: For all impositions upon the conscience, which God hath not warranted are such additions. But such are these new traditions, as kneele not,Col. 2▪ but stand or sit, touch not, taste not, [Page 229] which things perish with the using. Third­ly, they are justly charged to have communi­on with the worst hereticks. For Arrians doe directly deny the Divinity of Christ, and to professe themselves to doe it, they will not kneele at the Communion of the blessed Body and Bloud of Christ, but sit. These charges they lay upon us, but more justly they lye upon themselves: be­cause we make not kneeling an act of wor­ship from men, or an addition to the Word, but onely an act of good order, to witnesse our reverence to God, who is pl [...]ased to give us such a pledge of his love. How they will answer these things to God, I know not. They either cannot, or will not answer them to me, onely they put in their plea against kneeling in the act of receiving, which I shall now labour to remove.

They mainly urge the example of Christ,Object. that he and his Disciples sat at the supper.Sol. But all the world is not able to prove that they sat at the delivering and receiving of the Bread and Cup. Hee sate down indeed with them, but then hee tooke, he blessed, hee brake, he gave: what gesture hee used in blessing they cannot tell. Certainely if ac­cording to Scripture examples, Deu. 27.12 1 King. 8.14.55. Neh. 8.5. Object. Sol. hee either kneeled or stood: then whether after his blessing they sate downe againe, let them tell me. Never let them dreame that hee sate as a shadow of rest in heaven: for let them shew that Christs pleasure was to ordaine [Page 230] shadowes in the New Testament when the body was come, and Canaan, that old shadow was to be cursed; or if hee did, Ile tell them that Paul was an unfaithfull servant, that would not teach that shadow to the Corinthians, to whom he professeth to deliver what he received. But grant that Christ did sit; what hee occasionally did, is no example to binde us to doe the like: but as by occasion hee administred at night, after supper, with unlevined bread; so hee might occasionally sit according to the ceremony of the Jewish Church at the Passeover. Besides if they would sit be­cause Christ sate, they must sit as hee did, or else they doe not imitate Christ: but Christ might sit a sacrifice way, or lying along, and leaning, which they doe not observe.

Object.But put case they sit not in every point like Christ, yet they tell us of the fitnesse of this gesture, to signifie our fellowship with Christ on earth and in heaven.Sol. Th [...] they will ordaine a significant ceremony against us, but not for us. And in truth, they dreame so much of fellowship with Christ, that they forget him to be their Soveraigne King and Lord, and so are too sawcie with him. But for the Table gesture, will they have all other formalities, at a Table, fit for the Table of the Lord? I [...] not, why must this alone be fit,1 Cor. 10. when Christ hath no said so? Besides, if Table gesture be [Page 231] urged, Christs example doth not binde. For his was not a common Table gesture, but onely used at sacrifices and sacred Feasts, when they did discumbe or lye along. Had Christ told us that this was the fittest gesture we should have rested in his pleasure: but he having left it at liber­ty, and even common understanding jud­ging of it fittest to receive a seale of a par­don upon the knee, as the greatest signe of thankfulnesse used for such a favour why wee should not take it up, wee cannot yet see.

Yea but (say they) we doe not only looke to the fitnesse of sitting,Object. but to the begin­ning of kneeling: It was begun by a wic­ked Pope in honour of the breaden God: and therefore not to be continued by us. Put case this plea were true,Sol. yet that which was misapplied to the honour of a crea­ture, may (I hope) be rightly applied to the honour of our God; for else no man may sit: because the accursed Arrians have brought in this sitting at the Sacrament to dishonour Christ: And the Pope seconds them, who sits then in state to advance himselfe above all Gods people, both Kings and beggars. But the truth is, that no Pope brought in kneeling in the act of receiving. It was brought in by him indeed at the Ele­vation, and when the Sacrament was carried in procession, but not as we doe use it. They have no Law (that I could ever yet read of) [Page 232] save onely for the Pope himselfe to receive it sitting, but onely the Law of Custome and Convenience to receive it knee­ling.

Ob.Put case all this bee true; yet (say they) the use of kneeling stickes with them They doe not know why they should kneele now,Sol. seeing kneeling is a part of GODS worship, or a signe of it. It is no part of Gods worship, or signe of it in it selfe: for then wee might not use it in civill, or ordinary things.Psal. 95.5. Indeede wee are exhor­ted to it) which shewes the lawfulnesse of it, as wee are,Ps 149.3. Ps. 150.4. Psal. 47.1. to praise GOD in the dance, and to clap our hands: but there is no Pre­cept which bindes it to GOD alone. The Servants of GOD have sometimes stood, and sometimes sate reverendly before the LORD,2. Sam. 17. 1 King. 1.47. and sometimes laine along, that GOD might have his worship in all ge­stures left free to the users. But why should they speake of worship heere, when wee neither require kneeling, to worship the consecrated Bread by, no nor him that doth administer the Sacrament, but to testifye our humble thankefulnesse to GOD for our pardon sealed. There remaines now nothing of worth under this head, but their readie obedience, when GOD shall humble their mindes, and quiet their hearts, that they may live in peace, and worship with us.

The second and third things that trouble [Page 233] them, are in our Baptisme: and are the Crosse in Baptisme, and the Respon [...]es,The crosse in Bap­tisme. or Answeres of the Godfathers and Godmo­thers in the childes name. As for the Crosse, I wondred alwayes that private persons should once name it, seeing it concernes the consciences of us that administer, not of in­fants that receive it, who by it are made neither better, nor worse. They are but seers, and sufferers in it, not doers of it. If therefore wee can satisfie our selves in the doing of it, that wee may preach IESUS CHRIST unto them in the Churches peace, they have cause to thanke us, and to thanke GOD for pacifying our consciences for their good, and not cry out against us, and runne away from us.Object. Sol. O but they can­not abide to see that idolatrous and abomi­nable Crosse to passe over poore Childrens faces, without either reason, or religion. There is reason for it; because it depends up­on the commands of superiours, and rea­son wills that they bee obeyed in lawfull and possible things. There is Religion for it; because it is but a ceremony testifying our communion with the primitive CHVRCH which gloryed in, and was persecuted for the Crosse of CHRIST: and good Reli­gion hath never beene against such things. As to testifie Communion with believing Iewes, even the Gentiles abstained from stranguled and bloud:Act. 1 [...]. so to testifie our Com­munion with the believing Gentiles of old, [Page 234] wee retayne that signe still, which they used in the face of their Persecutours, to signifie that they were ready to confesse that LORD who dyed for them on the Crosse. What though the Church of ROME did after­wards fearefully abuse it, yet it is (certaine­ly) to us neither abominable, not idola­trous.How wee use the signe of the crosse? 1 Cor. 16.20. 1 Pet. 5.14 Wee use it not as a signe from GOD to men, as the Sacraments are: nor as a signe from Men to GOD, as bowing in Prayer [...] is: but as a signe from Men to Men, as that old kisse of love. For as that did signifie Christian concord and agreement: so this, our hope if the Childe lives, that it will fight under the banner of CHRIST; therefore if the Childe bee ready to dye, this signe (by good order) is omitted? The Church of ROME useth it, both for Con­secration, Benediction, and Operation effe­ctive of I know not what feates: but wee use it to none of these purposes.Object. If it bee sayd that the Child by that badge is dedica­ted to GODS service in our use of it, as the CANON runnes:Sol. yet the sence must not bee contrary to the commanded use. Therefore as wee are sayd to wed with a ring, which is nothing but a declaring of a mar­riage knot, by giving and receiving of a ring, and by joyning of hands: and as the Priest was said to cleanse the leaper by the appointed meanes,Levit. 14. when hee did onely declare and pronounce him to bee cleane: so the Crosse is no dedicating signe, for that is done in [Page 235] Baptisme, which receives it into the Congre­gation of CHRISTS flocke, but onely de­clares, to the hope of the CHURCH, that it shall so live to CHRIST. I see not but this may satisfie the soule of any good Christian (knowing what I said before of ceremonies) concerning the use of the Crosse in our good Church.

As for the Godfathers and Godmothers answering in the name of the childe,Obiect. Responses Sol. though it seeme unreasonable to them, yet is there excellent reasons for it. They know there were questions and answeres in Philips baptizing of the Eunuch, Act. 8. which hath ever beene continued in the Church because of the covenant in Baptisme. And though in­fants cannot answer, yet are there three reasons why their sureties should. The first is ecclesiasticall, the second civill, and the 1 third divine. The Church reason is, because it might put the whole congregation in minde of what was done by them: when they were baptized, they entered cove­nant with God. As the Prophet spake to the dead altar to admonish living Ieroboam, O Altar, Altar, heare the word of the Lord: so doe wee to infants to admonish all that heare [...]t. The Civill reason is, because by 2 the [...] of Guardianship, the Guardian an­sweres for the Pupil under their charge; and by this, takes upon him an obligation of dut [...] his power, and promise of faith­fulnesse▪ as hee can: and what he doth, stands [Page 236] in law as his pupils act. Now, because our sureties in Baptisme are such, there­fore they answere for children, and what they doe professe to doe, is accounted the infants act,1 Sam. 20.42. to which hee is bound, as wee see in the civill covenant betwixt David and Ionathan, and their seedes for ever. The 3 Divine reason is, because in the very substance of Baptisme,Rom. 4.11 which is a signe and seale of the covenant of grace, there is an in­terrogation on GODS part for repentance, and beliefe of the GOSPEL, and on our parts a repromission or answere of a good conscience, [...] Pet. 3.21. which is opened and expoun­ded by these questions and answeres. If notwithstanding these reasons they seeme yet to bee unreasonable; it is enough they know them, and they must stand, till they can from sound grounds overthrow them from the word of Christ.

Thus (by GODS blessing) I have fi­nished the three grounds upon which our forsakers leave us: and (I hope) I shall satisfie them in this, that wee have a true CHURCH, a true MINISTERY, a true WORSHIP, and that they (for a­ny thing I know) have no just cause to say otherwise. If yet they persevere and multiply scandal, and schisme, they must once againe remember the blessed wordes wee beganne with,Heb. 10.25 Not forsaking the assembling of our selves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one ano­ther: [Page 237] and so much the more as yee see the day approaching.

SECT. 17. The use to bee made of the constancy of some, and forsakings of o [...]her: con­sideration, exhortation, because the day is approa­ching.

IT is the course of too many to cleave to the assemblies, but they are never the better. They onely stand to outward pro­fession, but grow not in grace and the know­ledge of our Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ. 2 Pet. 3. Hence is it, that if never so many of them stand, they cannot incourage them: nor if never so many fall away, they cannot wisely consider them, and exhort unto faith­fulnesse. Therefore the Apostle would have us such knowing, and wise Christi­ans, by the helpe of publicke assemblies, that wee may wisely consider one another, and weightily exhort one another, that wee may keepe one another in sound knowledge and pious practise.

There are three things which wee shoud consider in our selves; our aptnesse to fall,1 Consider one ano­ther. the difficulty of our standing, and our love to that way which is most dangerous. [Page 238] Though God set us not justly in slipperie places, yet are apt to slide away continu­ally. Wee carry about with us the foolish and unwise flesh, which makes us unwarie, and so we are soone caught in a deceitfull net. Eccles. 9. There are questing snares of gaine, and questioning snares or frivolous and idle things which end in noyse and tumult with­out profit: and thus wee are apt to fall. We as hardly keepe our standings, we are children,1 Cor. 16. and doe not play the men. We are a mixture of weakenesse, and must have Gods good spirit lead us, Psal. 143· Eph. 6. Matth. 7. or downe wee goe. Satan is principality and power, by whom the winde rises, and the rayne falls, and the flouds come, and then our house, if it bee not strongly founded goes to wrack. That little strength wee have is apt to false us, by faith wee stand, Rom. 11. 2 Thes. 3.10, and still there is some­thing lacking to our faith. And thus it comes that wee hardly keepe our feete steady. Wee are also too much in love with that way that hath most danger in it. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weake, Matth. 26. and is ready to eate poyson for wholesome foode; some­times out of custome, sometimes out of curiositie, and sometimes out of an ill appetite wee have got to unwholesome things.

But if wee doe wisely consider these things in one another, wee will bee full of [Page 239] compassion. And as they that consider not are full of fierce and fiery censure, as Iu­dah to Tamar, Gen 38. bring her forth and let her be burnt, not considering his owne guilt: so they that doe it, are led by the con­trary spirit. As when wee consider a man aloft, who totters, is apt to fall, and unable to keepe his feete in a setled po­sture, our bowels yearne, our flesh drops feare, and wee are out of our selves with sudden apprehension: so is it with a man that considers his brother; hee puts him on by fellow feeling. Yea then wee will prudently deale one with another to keep up. As wee see dispositions, gifts, ver­tues or faults, wee wisely fore-thinke, how to maintaine the best, and prevent the worst. Besides, this considering brings us to Pauls rule,Gal. 6.1. If a brother fall by in­firmity, (not by pride and selfe conceit) restore him with the spirit of meekenesse;1 Cor. 4. ult. with a tender heart and hand, set him in joynt againe.

For want of this consideration too ma­ny Christians are ready to faile. The frailety of the flesh, the opposition of grace is little considered, and so there is neither wisedome, compassion, or meek­nesse to heale. Men difference not stub­borne faylers, for whom there is a rod of iron; and weake failers, for whom there is a Spirit of meekenesse. Men dis­cerne not sinners of custome, who are as [Page 240] blacke-moores and sinners overtaken,Ier. 23. who with stripes must not bee driven quite a­way, and so doe more hurt than good. But bee more wise to consider hereafter than before. This moved Paul to say, Hee that stands, Rom. 11. let him take heed lest hee fall. This moved Iohn to say, little chil­dren,1 John 5.21. Luke 22. keepe your selves from Idols. Yea this mooved CHRIST to say, When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Out of such consideration, I have labou­red to give this revalsion and Antidote. And if our forsakers had had it too, it might have saved mee a labour, and they might with it have had more wisdome, meeknesse, and compassion, and lesse heart-dividing censures.

2 Exhort one ano­ther.The Apostle would have us also make such use of publike assemblies that wee may exhort one another. Hee knowes that it is a great worke to continue in love to God, his truth, and Saints, and in good workes. Pride is one of the last sinnes that dye. It is like a man of a strong heart which hardly yeelds; his heart is more in compasse than another mans. It will worke it selfe out of lesse sinne and more grace:Pro. 13.10. Iam. 1.21 and where pride is, there is contention: and so lesse truth and love. Againe, superfluity of maliciousnesse drownes the whole nature of man. Even when the head floates with Christ, the heart is too much drencht in this. It is cros­sed, [Page 241] and will crosse againe, like the de­vils cocke, to spurre all opposites: and hence also comes losse of truth and love. Againe, the spirit of a man lusteth after envy. Jam. 3. Mat. 20. This makes the eye evill because God is good. It desires to bee in the up­permost forme, like the two sonnes of Zebedeus. Therefore Ioseph, the reformed Prodigall, and the last workers in the Vineyard are grumbled at: and hence al­so is lesse truth and love. Lastly, truth and love enter at a narrow passage,Eph. 1. and Christ comes not with all his mighty power at first. As the Sea is not sifted thorow the narrow crevises of the earth at once: so is it with truth and love. And as a Conquerour, that leaves most of his Ar­mie behinde him, subdues not presently: so it is with Christ and us. Wee are not able to receive his truth and love toge­ther, neither stands it with his dispensa­tion, wee being not extraordinary, but ordinary servants, who must attaine by industry. Hence therefore men dreaming that they have attained, when there is much behind, doe ill use what truth and love they have, and so faile foulely.

Neither is it lesse difficult to continue in good workes. The fountaine is apt to be dry, that is, a good heart.John 7. If out of the belly doe not flow rivers of waters of life, no waters will runne to the living. How soon is this streame dryed up, because men live [Page 242] not with Christ the spring-head? Besides, men are not altogether for gathering this worlds goods to spend it upon their lusts. They forget that there is a time to scatter, Eccles. 3. and then they cast not their bread upon the waters, Eccles. 11. they beleeve not that they shall finde it so. Lastly, men have three bad thoughts that keepe them from good workes. They thinke that no man is more worthy to have then themselves. Some are wicked and not worthy: some are good, yet themselves are better: some are idle and will live upon the spoile: and some are painefull, and therefore the better able to provide for themselves: still selfe is thought to be the onely man to have. They thinke themselves againe the absolute owners of what they have.1 Sam. 25. It is their owne, as Nabal said, why should they give it to others? This they willingly thinke not, that they are stewards, Luk. 19. and so are kept backe. Lastly, they thinke this worlds goods the onely commanders of men and things: and there­fore they will not put themselves out of them that they may rule all.

Now, because it is so difficult a work, not only to continue in good works, but in truth and love which must make them excellent: therefore the Apostle would have us so im­prove our selves by the fellowship of pub­like assemblies that we may be able to exhort one another. Such is the inconstancie of na­ture in all good courses, that it is easily apt [Page 243] to change from good to worse. Moses was but a while gone, and Israel fell to idolatry. Ex. 32. Paul wondred that the Galathians were so soone turned to another Gospel. Gal. 1▪6. Yea such is our slownesse in good, that we had need be spurred continually.Apo. 2.4. Ephesus forsakes her first love: Yea and when Christs hearers heard, they must be exhorted to heare:Mat. 13.9. and when the Thessalonians did edifie one another they must bee exhorted to doe it. 1 Thes. [...].11. Men are in a dead sleepe, and they are loth to be awaked as the sluggard: they thinke themselves able to exhort themselves,Prov. 6. they love not many masters, Jam, 4. they see not how frozen they are, till their owne hearts smite them, as Davids, 2 Sam. 24.10. 2 Sam. 16.7, 8. till God raise up some ad­versary to reproach them, or till God take them in hand himselfe by some heavie visi­tation. Therefore saith Paul, exhort one another. Oh that wee could alwayes walk in the presence of this duty,Heb. 1 [...]. and suffer the words of exhortation too. The wicked will call one upon another to goe to hell,Ex. [...]. Prov. [...]. why should not we to get one another to­wards heaven. But how our forsakers will answer it to God I know not, who cast themselves out of our assemblies in folly, before they are cast out in justice, and for­goe this whetstone of exhortation, for a blunt sticke of their owne devising. This I am sure, they might be exhorted with us, and learne to exhort others better from us then they doe, to leade poore [Page 244] soules into the wayes of discord, distracti­on, and strife.

3 The day approa­cheth.I have but one thing to thinke upon this text more, and that is Pauls mo­tive and inforcement (so much the more because ye see the day approaching) men complaine much of dayes, and times▪ but I am sure, the worse they are the more had they neede to keepe the com­munion of Saints both publicke, and private. Evill dayes will come fast e­nough, no man had neede to pull them upon himselfe. If hee doe, there is (the day) comming which will pay to the purpose (without a pardon) for all his sinnes and indiscretions.Luk 19.42 All other dayes are our dayes, in which wee eate, drinke, marrie, give in marriage, work, play, pray, and heare, and the like: but this is the day, with GODS marke upon it, when all shall bee awaked and gathered before their JUDGE. The thought of this day should sharpen us to love assemblies, and call others to them, because they are the ordinances of CHRIST the JUDGE▪ On this day there will bee fulnesse of feares and ter­rours. Fearefull sights of an universall fire, throne, and JUDGE: fearefull yel­lings and cryings of desperate men: fearefull accusations from heaven, earth, and consciences; and the fearefullest sentence that ever yet passed, Goe yee [Page 245] cursed. Therefore had wee neede all our lives to get something to comfort us against that time, for it is an evill time to the wicked. On that day will there bee an expectation of comfort, or discomfort, for ever, and ever, upon all that wee have done, either in our assemblies, or out of them. On that day wee shall heare such accounts as wee have never heard, as how wee have willfully sinned in every secret. Eccles 12. In the secret of our understanding, will, affections, judgements, consciences, cor­ners, woods, and denns? How many assemblies wee have neglected? How many wee have prophaned, in being no better? How many in our power wee have not exhorted? How many have ex­horted us, and wee have not answered and followed? On that day shall I bee judged if I have taught you to acknow­ledge our CHURCH a true CHURCH, our MINISTERY a true MINISTE­RY, and our WORSHIP a true WOR­SHIP, against my judgement and con­science according to the rule of CHRIST so farre as I am come, yea, and I shall bee cast also. And on that day, shall our forsakers escape scotfree? shall they not passe a strickt triall and examination? Have yee had a care to keepe a Christian state to CHRISTS honour? Have yee loved publicke assemblies to that end and [Page 246] use? Have yee not forsaken the assem­blies of CHRISTS people for no just cause? Is not that a true church which pro­fesseth the name of Christ according to his word, whereto it submits as the rule of the religion it hath? Is not that a true Church which enters covenant with mee, as all the Christians in the World by entring into my schoole by Baptisme? Is not that a true Church which acknowledgeth mee onely head for supreame rule, and under mee my liefetenants and chiefe officers, to governe according to my lawes general, and speciall? Is not that a true Church which rejoyceth in good members, yet dare not forbid wicked hypocrites from the outward priviledges of my feast, be­cause I have commanded her that good and bad should bee called? Is not that a true Church which hath the power of go­vernement in best and wisest, when I ne­ver commanded that whole assemblies should ever have an independent power to doe according to voyces, which cannot but bee the authour of schisme? Is not that a true Church which doth exercise go­vernement according to my patternes and rules, ins [...]rting things in order, ordaining teachers, and casting out unworthy beasts, as information, and conviction could bee justly had? Have you forsaken such a Church, to set up a Church of your owne devising, which hath never beene from my [Page 247] time downeward; to ordaine Pastours and Doctours that are not able to divide the word of God aright; to cast out, or keepe in according to the voyces of two, or three men or women, which may out of selfe-conceit, and pretence of my word, presume to bee a Church contrary to my will? What Ministery have you forsaken? A ministery that hath beene honoured by the bloud of blessed martyrs: that are no woo­den Priests, but whose breath hath blowne away Romish tyranny, idolatrie, super­stitions, and falsities, which dishonoured mee and my offices; a ministery that hath gained soules from heathenisme, and pro­phanenesse in their turnes, and moved (by my blessing) effectually to serve the living and true God, even to thousands, and mil­lions? What worship have you forsaken? a worship of praying and receiving of Sa­craments with my word, with petitions, supplications, intercessions, and giving of thankes to my father in my name? Have yee forsaken such a worship, and all because every one that goe before in worship have not their tongues at liberty to say what they list, but are helped by the publicke spirit of my Church, so as they may with one heart and mouth at one time, when I have no where commanded the contrary? Oh let this Terrour of the Lord perswade men.2 Cor. 5.11. 2 Pet. 3. A thousand yeares with Christ are but as one day; for the Iudge standeth at the doore: [Page 248] and when hee doth come, thinke what praise and honour ye shall get by disturbing a Church where is a true Ministery, and worship, by disheartning of Gods tender people from his service, under pretence of his word, when for none of your fancies you can produce one precept of Christ. The most you pretend are obscure places (which by the diligentest searchers of scriptures have beene and are diversly expounded, and therefore no sure footing) or some obscure examples without lawes; which yet, if they were never so pregnant, prove but the law­fulnesse, not the necessitie of such practises. And will you hazard the peace of a Christi­an Church, the comfort of your conscien­ces, the liberty of your goods, and bodies, upon so sandy a foundation. Oh thinke upon that day, and take wiser mens advice then your selves that have not beene carried with rashnesse, puffed with pride, in love with a conceit of selfe-government, or pric­ked with envies, emulations, jealousies, just punishments, and see whether such men will warrant your courses upon the price of their soules in that day. And if all candor bee not banished, if hatred to an English Priest, a Bishops creature (as some body is termed) have not put out the eies of wise­dome and charity, doe but reade what heere in all humble love, and without bitternesse of language is presented unto you. Read it as in the sight and presence of God. See [Page 249] that my hearts desire is that you may have comfort with us, and that heereafter you may bee saved without needing repentance for this your unwise and unwarranted way. If it doe not (except you outface light) sa­tisfie you; in the maine it will burne like stubble, chaffe, and straw, in the day of Christ. But if it doe, and yet (out of a thought of what a brave thing it is to cast downe the governement of others, that you may governe your selves, and then call it Christs) and yet (I say) will not follow it, then That day approacheth, and I send you over to him, to doe with you ac­cording to his pleasure, yet with hearty and humble prayers for the saving of your misse-led Soules.


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