CERTAINE ARGVMENTS AND MOTIVES, Of speciall moment, propounded to the consideration of our most noble KING and State: Tending to perswade them to abolish that unhappy and unhallowed government of our Church by Bishops; and in stead thereof to set up the government of the Lord Iesus Christ, and his holy Ordinances, in their purity and power.

Isaiah. 26.13.

O Lord our God, other Lords besides thee have had dominion over us.

Lamenta. 5.8.

Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doeth deliver us out of their hand.

Math. 15.13.

Every plant, which my heavenly father hath not planted, shall bee rooted up.

Math. 5.13.

If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it bee salted? It is thence­forth good for nothing but to bee cast out, & to bee troden under foote of men.


CERTAINE ARGVMENTS and Motives, of special moment, propounded to the consideration of our most noble King and State: Tending to perswade them to abolish that un­happy and unhallowed government of our Church by Bishops; & instead thereof to set up the government of the Lord Iesus Christ, and his holy Ordi­nances, in their purity and power.

THe Archbishops & Lord Bishops of Eng­land are the maine hinderers of the free passage of the Gospel, & of the growth of godlines in that famous & flourishing Realme.

1 They stop the mouthes of the faithfullest & fruitfullest Ministers in the land; some one of which hath (by his labours in the Church) done God more good service, & gained more soules to Christ by his Ministery, then al the Bishops have done, that either now are, or ever have beene in the kingdome, since the Gospel beganne last to be preached & published amongst us. What a woful havock did they make in our Church, in the beginning of King Iames his raigne; when they turned out at a clap foure hundred of the ablest & most conscionable Ministers in the land, for not yeelding to such things as B. Ʋa­ghan some of themselves then openly confessed to bee trifles & nifles, gewgawes & gamboles, fitter for children then for men of discretion? Howsoever the King [Page 4] caried the name of it, yet these wicked Prelats put him upon it, and did egregiously abuse both him and his authority to countenance their owne cruelty. His commaundement & commissi­on was, that they should first convince mens consciences, before they proceeded against them. But they fall pell-mell upon them, and turned them out, leaving them to the wide world, to seeke for satisfaction where they could finde it; they knowing that they were able to give them none. How have they gone on ever since, though not altogether so boisterously, and with so much violence, yet weeding out by degrees, one after another, the most painefull and profitable workmen in the Lords harvest, & such as did him the best & the faithfullest service in this vineyard of his? And to what exigents and extremities are both the Ministers & mem­bers of our churches at this day exposed; who, as it is wel knowne, do dailie in troupes and great multitudes, not without much griefe, quitt the kingdome, to shelter themselves in forraine countries from the unjust usurpation, and mer­ciles and matchles tyranny of these Antichristian Prelats, the tenderest of whose mercies are cruell? Prov. 12.10.

2 They beeing, either all, or the most of them, corrupt and unsound in their iudgments, do favour none of their clergy, as they call them, but such as go on in a plaine and direct way to Popery, or looke terribly a-squint towards Armi­nianisme, & Pelagianisme; either of which who­soever [Page 5] opposeth (especially if hee do it profes­sedly and in good earnest) they will bee sure to crush him, if they can, though he bee never so conformable, according to their owne hellish Canons, and though he bee so painefull in the worke of his Ministery, & so vnblamable in the course of his life, that they have nothing to lay to his charge. How then is it possible that the Gos­pel should thrive and prosper amongst us, and how can it bee expected that it should run and bee glorified, when these Tyrants, who sitt at the sterne, & affect the Title of Fathers of the Church, countenance none but men of corrupt mindes, like themselves, and cry downe, with might and maine, all such as do but looke towards synce­rity? In their devillish Canons (of which Hell it selfe would bee ashamed if there were any shame there) they anathematize, and curse with Bell, Booke, and Candle, all such as mislike and pro­fesse against their Romish Hierarchy; they pro­nounce them excommunicate ipso facto. O mon­strous wretches, that dare give such uniust sen­tence, and thunder out such a direfull and dread­full censure against those faithfull servants of Christ, which beare witnes to the truth of his, which wil stand, when all they that oppose it shal melt away like snow before the sunne: B. Ban­croft. Some of them have growne to such a height of impudency and impiety, that they have not stuck to say, that if S. Paul himselfe were a Prea­cher in the land, or any other man as richly sto­red and furnihed with the graces of Gods Spirit, [Page 6] for that great worke of the Ministery, as S. Paul was, unlesse hee would conforme himselfe to the orders of the Church now established, they would suspend, and deprive, and degrade him, and cast him out of their Synagogue; so little re­gard have they of any mans abilities and indow­ments! It is wonder that they do not expunge out of the Canon of holy Scripture sundry of S. Paules epistles, which make so directly against them and their government. Most certaine it is that if that blessed Apostle were now, upon any complaint made against him, to give an account of his life and doctrine before them, he should finde lesse favour at their hands, then hee did at the hands of Felix, Act. 23.35. they would not stay till his accusers came, but they would force him by their cursed oth ex officio (which was hatched in hell) to accuse himselfe, or else to pri­son hee must, there to ly long enough, without baile or maineprise. What pity is it that such ungracious wretches should bee put into any place of eminency, which know no better how to use it? When the righteous are in authority, the people reioyce, but when the wicked beareth rule, the people sigh, Prov. 29:2.

3 Their poysoning of the fountaines, and those violent courses which they take against Ministers, discourage Parents from sending their children to the Vniversities. How well would our Naioths and our Bethels, our schooles of the Prophets, be furnished with yong Students, which would bee ready upon all occasions to bee [Page 7] called forth to serve God both in the Church and in the common wealth, if these wretched miscreants did not nip in the bud, and crush in the shel, & strangle in the birth the very beginnings of grace in those young plants, which would otherwise increase with the increasings of God, and would grow vp like Cedars in Lebanon? There is an evil eye cast vpon them, if once they do but be­ginne to walke in the waies of God, and run not with others to the same excesse of riot. And of what straine or garbe so ever they bee, there is a very strict order taken, that vnlesse they will both subscribe, and take a most shamefull Oth, they shal take no degree in schooles, to testify their progresse and proceeding in humane learning. Nor is there any preferment to bee had, or to bee held, except men will yeeld to the corrup­tions of the times; which are now growne so great, that they are not to bee endured. Which maketh Parents many times to put the best and most towardly of their children upon other im­ployments; and if they send any to the Vniversi­ties; they bee such, for the most part, as are good for litle but to serve the times. Wherein these Adversaries of the grace of God bring such a da­mage and detriment to our King and State, as they will never bee able to recompense, as that good Queene Hester speaketh in another case con­cerning their brother Haman, Hest. 7.4.

4 They disharten young Schollers from ap­plying themselves to the study of Divinity, by their denying admittance and enterance into the [Page 8] Ministery to all men, though never so singular­ly and extraordinarily qualified, except their consciences bee made of cheveril, and will (like Kids leather) stretch every way; and vnlesse they will by their practise of conformity iustify a great number of things, which they know to bee grossely and palpably evill. And when men are in possession of Pastorall charges, they are put to so much drudgery in the execution of their Mi­nisteriall fuction, that they were better to rub horse heeles, then, as the case now stands, to bee Ministers in the church of England, and to live in such base servitude and slavery vnder those Antichristian & accursed Prelats. No attire must serve their turne, when they come to discharge their duty in the Lords Sanctuary, but the ha­bit of the whore of Rome, and the very massing garment it selfe of that filthy trumpet. They must crosse, and crouch, and cringe at the command of those their Lords and Masters. They must ad­mitt to the Sacramēt of the Lords supper whom­soever these Catercaps allow of, though never so unworthy; and they must reject and repell from that holy Communion and company all such as wil not kneele in the act of receiving, though they know right well that they do refuse it onely out of the tendernes of their consciences, because they dare not synne against their God in so do­ing; and albeit they are perswaded in their very soules, that they bee in all other respects the fit­test Persons in their Congregations to come to the Lords Table. They must at their beck cast [Page 9] out of the church, by the fearfull sentence of Excommunication, many times the best Christi­ans in their Parishes for very triviall businesses: as for not appearing in one of their Courts, when haply they had no warning; or for non­payment of a fee of foure pence to a paltry Ap­paritour. They must reade in their churches, as Canonicall Scripture, those Apocrypha-bookes, which are full of fables & fictions, of lies and of leasings. They must baptise, if they bee required, in a house meerely private, which nourisheth a super­stitious opinion of the necessity of Baptisme; and they must use conditional Baptisme in the publike Congregation, after the childe hath beene pri­vately baptised. They must housle the sick, mary with the Ring, Church women, and do a thousand such things, any one of which a man that maketh conscience of his waies dare not adventure upon for a world. And yet all these things must a poore Minister do, if hee will hold his place, and enjoy his Ministery. Which maketh many of our best and finest wits to betake themselves to the study of the law, or physicke, and to abandon & put out of their minds all thoughts of entering into the Ministery; which, as things are now caried, they hold to bee a calling not fitt for an honest man. What a heavy and dolefull account shall these Vermine one day give to our God for devouring his pleasant plants? And what shall become of these Foxes, which thus destroy the Lords vines? Cant. 2.15.

5 They have had an intention a long while, [Page 10] if not wholly to put downe, yet at least to di­minish and lessen preaching. Which though they durst not assaile with open violence, for feare of the people, amongst whom it would have made them more odious then they are al­ready; yet have they these many yeeres beene secretly undermining it. About the beginning of King Iames his raigne, or the later end of Queene Elisabeths of blessed memory, B. Ban­croft. the Pre­late of London called before him all the Ministers of the City, and gave them expresse charge that they should preach but once upon the Lords day: and if any of them would do any thing in the afternoone (which hee neither required, nor did greatly approve of) hee told them, that hee would have them Catechise. No Catechisme hee permitted them to use, but the ordinary, What is your name, &c. for so hee expressed himselfe. And if any amongst them would needes explane and open the same, hee told them, that the lesse paines they tooke for that which they delivered, it were the better: for, saith hee, it is not need­full that the people should know too much. O horrible treachery and cruelty against the pre­tious soules of Gods people! Who would ever have looked for such words out of the mouth of a very rakeshame in times of so great light? Since that, they have had a project to suppresse Lectu­rers; which in some countries they did despe­rately set upon, and proceede in with a rage that reached to heaven. In other places they have like­wise attempted it, but somewhat moreley surely [Page 11] and insensibly. And doubtles they had prevailed in this plott had not the Lord himselfe extraor­dinarily stirred up the hart of a noble man, who heard of it, to go to our gracious King, and to acquaint him with the vilenes and odiousnes of the designe of theirs; and by that meanes they were disappointed of their purpose, when they made no question but they should have gott it ratified by his Maiesties royall authority. If they had prevailed in that, it is to bee thought that their next attempt would have beene, to have taken the Bible out of mens handes, and so to have brought the people of this land back againe to that Cymmerian and Egyptian darknes, in which our forefathers for many yeeres together did heretofore ly buried. B. Ravis. One of that cursed crew lieth entombed in Paules church, with one booke at his head, and another at his feete. That at his feete is thought to bee the Bible, which these godles Prelats tread under foote. That at his head is supposed to bee the booke of common praier, which hee caried with him as a Crowne to the place whither hee is gone. But whither these monsters (which are neither Ministers, nor members of any of our Congregations) I professe I know not; unlesse it bee to the place whither their fellow traitour Iudas is gone before, Act. 2.25. there to remaine among such as the Apostle speaketh of, Phil. 3.19. For it can not bee imagined that there should bee any place in heaven for these wretches: but as they hate Gods people here upon earth with a perfect hatred [Page 12] so it is to bee thought that the Lord will set a great gulfe, and make an eternall separation be­tween them, & the vessels of his mercy, Luke 16.26. 2. Thess.

6 They have suppressed that famous & wor­thy worke of buying in, and restoring to the church Impropriations; which was a most charita­ble, and usefull & hopefull busines, and likely to have brought more advantage to the Ministery of England, then any one thing of that nature, which hath beene undertaken in any mans me­mory. Divers were brought in, & brought back againe to the Church, by those men which were trusted with that busines; who caried them­selves very faithfully in it; & many great summes lay ready, which would have beene frankly and freely given for the buying in of moe, if that worke had gone on as it began: whereby much glory would have redounded to God, as much comfort to thousands of poore soules, which now are like to want it. In many places where the maintenance of the Minister was short and scant, the feoffees did, out of those Impropriations which they had in their hands, make a supply and addition, to make the living competent for an able and an honest man. In other places, where there was most want of preaching, they set up Lectures, and put in men of good abilities, and such as would teach the people to bee obedient to God, and loyall to their Soveraigne. And where there were Lectures before, which had not a competency of meanes allotted to them, they [Page 13] increased their allowance, that so he Ministers might go on the more confortably in the worke of their Minstery. But this made our Bishops sick of the splene. They cried out that this would bee the ruine of the Church of England. The truth is they feared, but without cause, that this would in time have clipped their wings, & have abrid­ged their authority, whereof they are much more jelous then of Gods glory; and that caused them to set the matter so much to hart. It is true that the fatall blow was given to that worke in ano­ther Court: but these ungratious Prelats kindled the coles, and blew that fire, which hath con­sumed and brought it to nothing. Wherein they have shewed themselves to bee like to their fa­ther the Devill, who, as a roaring Lion, walketh about seeking whom hee may devoure, 1. Pet. 5.8.

They have put downe the meetings of the men of several shires & counties, now dwellers in London, which were wont to assemble toge­ther once a yeere, & did a great deale of good to those countries where they were borne. There they set up, and do to this day maintaine at their owne charge, Lectures in Market townes, and other places of greatest resort, where they supposed they might do most good, and where there was greatest want of preaching; which was a great ease and comfort to the Christians in those parts: and more they would have done every yeere for the good of those places, if these meetings of theirs had not beene thus unseasonably interrup­ted and broken off by these men which beare ill [Page 14] will to Sion. But the name of a Lecture is ynough to crush & quash any such pious & good worke. I know well that the places, where they used to meete, were denied them by another authority: but the Prelats were the plotters and contrivers of this mischiefe, out of that inveterate malice and hatred which they beare against preaching. Wherein they resemble their Predecessours, the Scribes and Pharises, which shut up the kingdome of heaven against men, & will neither go in themselves, nor suffer them that are entering to go in, Mat. 23.13.

8 They urge and presse upon Ministers a Subscription not onely against reason, but directly against Law. The statute of the 13. Elizabeth re­quireth of Ministers no subscription but to the Articles of religion, and that also no further then they concerne faith and Sacraments onely. But these troublers of Israel, and disturbers of the peace of our church, wil have them subscribe not onely to that whole booke, but to foure other bookes also, namely the booke of common prayer, the booke of Ordination, and two bookes Homilies; in some one of which said bookes it is well knowne that there bee many hundreds of foule and grosse corruptions. And if a man have sub­scribed in his younger yeeres, when hee knew no better, and was unable, and it may bee un­willing also to examine, and try things by the true touchstone, and to weigh them in the bal­lance of the Sanctuary; if afterwards hee re­nounce, or do but revolt from his subscription, and shall refuse to justify by his practise that to [Page 15] which ignorantly and unadvisedly hee did for­merly subscribe with his hand; though hee have done God faithfull service in his Church for the space of many yeeres, and have taken more then ordinary paines in his ministery, they turne him out with a great deale of wrath and indignation, and expose him, his wife & children, to misery & beggery. And if in these cases men bee content to leave their native soyle, & shall seeke to secure and safegard themselves in other nations from the fury of these Tigers, yet thither will their malice follow them, and their armes are now growne so long, that even there also they can reach them. But there will a time come, when these wretches shall know to their cost, and by miserable and wofull experience, when it will bee to late, that it is the Lord Iesus himselfe whom they persecute, and that they kick against pricks, Act. 9.5. And hee that hath those starrs in his right hand, Revel. 1.16. and accounteth of them as his Iewels, will one day render into the bosome of their Persecutours, and that with more then or­dinary severity, all the wrongs which they have done to those poore servants of his, & will then bee throughly avenged of all his and their ma­licious and despitefull enemies.

9 They thrust Christ out of his chaire of Estate, and will not suffer him to rule & raigne amongst us, according to his owne holy will revealed in his word, by Pastours, Teachers, and Elders; which hee hath ordained and appointed for the gover­ning of his Churches, and for the perfecting of the [Page 16] Saints, &c. till wee all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the soone of God, unto a per­fect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulnes of Christ, Rom. 12.7.8. and 1. Tim. 5.17. Ephes. 4.12.13. Wherein they plainely professe, and pro­claime openly to the whole world, that they are fighters against God himselfe, and maine opposers of his grace and goodnes. How would the Gos­pel flourish in our land, & what glorious successe and intertainement would it finde in the harts of men, if the Lord Iesus might once bee permitted to rule in our Congregations, by his owne Offi­cers & ordinances; and if that holy governement of his might bee set up amongst us in perfect beauty? What a goodly sight would it bee to see every Congregation of Christians in this king­dome to bee a complete & entire spirituall body within it selfe, without having any dependance upon these Romish Prelats, and their Popish Canons? It is that which the great God of heaven looketh for at the hands of our State, to which hee hath vouchsafed so many and so great mercies. The Lord Iesus Christ, who is a great King, and the Lord and Lawgiver of his Church, hath fitted & furnished men extraordinarily for this great worke & service. And the harts of all the people of the land, which are any whitt well affected, tooke that way; as appeareth by their continuall labouring for it ever since the beginning of the raigne of Queene Elizabeth of pious and happy memory. Onely these wicked Bishops oppose it, which never did good nor ever will do. They [Page 17] can not endure the name of Discipline, but have alwaies set themselves with tooth and naile, and with might and maine, against the kingdome of our blessed Saviour, and his sacred soveraignety. But let them looke to it, and remember what is like to bee their doome, if they mend not their maners: Those mine enemies which would not that I should raigne over them, bring hither, and slay them before mee, Luke 19.27.

10 They hinder, as much as in them lieth, the publishing of all bookes, though never so mo­destly written, in the defence of Christs holy cause, and that unalterable government, which hee in his last will and Testament hath prescribed to his Churches. And if by their scoutes, which they have in every corner, they can discover & finde out the Printer of any such Treatises, they deale very rigorously and roughly with him. Himselfe they commit close enough to Prison, and there they let him ly as long as they please, even till they have ruined him, his wife, and chil­dren; they seize upon his Presse and letters, and sell them away before his face for a song; they rifle and ransack his house, and cary away, by those helhounds their Pursivants, as much of his goods as they list, without ever making any restitution of that which they do so wrongfully & and feloniously take from him; when as in the meane while they suffer the Printers of popish Pamphlets to go on in their way with out inter­ruption. Nay when such notorious Offenders are brought to them, and put into their hands, they [Page 18] send them away, if not with a reward, yet cer­tainely without any check or punishment; so well do many of these lazy lubbers and idle drones like of those Romish varlets and their Re­ligion. Yea, whereas printing by the blessing of God hath beene a speciall meanes of spreading and divulging the Gospel in the Christian world in these later times; it is verily beleeved by many, that these wretches have a purpose, if they can handsomely and cleanly accomplish it, wholly to suppresse that rare mystery, and most noble and fa­mous Art. Divers Printers complaine (and I sup­pose not without cause) that they can get no­thing licensed, They, who are authorised and appointed for that purpose, do not simply and absolutely deny to do it; but they delay them extraordinarily, and beyond all measure. When they have attended them, and called upon them, moneth after moneth, and one yeere after an­other, their answere in conclusion is, that they are not at leisure to reade over their treatises. Nay, it is reported by some, but how true that is time will shew, that they shall not bee suffered to print their old copies, which they have for­merly printed with priviledge, till the Licenser do certify a-new, under his hand, that hee hath carefully read over every passage both in the body of those bookes, and in the Epistles pre­fixed before them, and that there is nothing in them repugnant to those tenents, which these grand Clergy-masters do now hold. Which if it bee true, it is high time both for Printers and [Page 19] Bookesellers to go and learne some new Trade; for they will not bee able to live of the old. By this meanes these vipers do closely eate out the bowels of our church, and they run a course di­rectly and pointblanck contrary to that of the holy Apostle, 2. Thess. 3.1. whose desire was, that the word of God might have free passage & bee glorified.

It were to bee wished therefore that our King and State would turne out these Abby­lubbers, & pluck those fat morsels out of their mouthes, and cause them to get their living by the sweate of their browes, as other poore Ministers do, which labour in the word and doctrine. And it will manifestly appeare to bee a worke most fitt & necessary to be done, if these things following bee well weighed, and rightly and duely considered of.

1 Their places and callings are abominable, & accursed, and Antichristian. Gods Bishops, out of all question, they are not. Hee knoweth no Lord Bishops, nor will hee ever acknowledge and owne them for his. Mans Bishops they them­selves confidently affirme they are not; though the B. Whit­gift. discreetest and moderatest of theirs Pre­decessours have heretofore ingenuously con­fessed, that their callings are of humane institu­tion, and that it in the power of the Magistrate to turne them all out at his will and pleasure; & that hee may do it without sinne against God: But this our Prelats now-a-daies disclaime, and [Page 20] will not indure to heare of it. Beeing then nei­ther Gods Bishops, nor mans, they must of ne­cessity bee ordained and set up by the Devill, whose eldest sonne is the Pope of Rome, and these pety Popes, our Bishops, are all younger brethren to him; there going but a paire of sheetes betweene them. Their Lordly authority hath certainely no foundation nor footing in the Scripture, but is directly contrary to the institution of Christ, & his blessed will and Testament; and it hath beene the ground of that Antichristian Hierarchy of the man of sinne, whom God will consume with the spirit of his mouth, 2. Thess. 2.8. Their civill power deserveth rather to bee exploded then refuted. Christ expressely forbiddeth his disciples such Lordly dominion, Luke 22.25. Hee himselfe re­fused to bee made a King, Iohn 6.15. professing that his kingdome was not of this world, Iohn 18.36. Hee refused to part an heritage betwixt brethrē, Luke 12.14. Hee would not give sentence against the woman taken in adultery, Iohn 8.11. What intolerable presumption is it then for our Prelats to exercise such authority, as our blessed Saviour neither practised himselfe, nor permitted to his disciples. Nor is the ecclesiasticall Iurisdiction, which they usurpe over the Ministers of the Gospel, any whitt better, but is Antichristian and naught, as well as the other. Christ Iesus tooke upon him the forme of a servant, Phil, 2.7. Hee came not to bee ministred unto, but to mi­nister, Math. 20.28. (and the servant is not above his Lord, Math. 10.24.) Hee forbiddeth his [Page 21] disciples all such dominion & soveraignty, Math. 20.25. Marke 10.43. His Apostles receive equall power and authority from him, Math. 18.18. Iohn 20.23. They clayme no superiority or pri­macy one above another, but stile themselves servants, 2. Cor. 4.5. Ministers & dispensers. 1. Cor. 4.1. and Ambassadours, 2. Cor. 5.20. They send Peter and Iohn as their messengers to Samaria, Acts 8.14. which argueth equality. Peter dis­claiming all such superiority equalleth himselfe with the Ministers and Elders of the Church, calling himselfe their fellow elder, 1. Pet. 5.1. and forbiddeth Ministers to usurpe any Lordship over Gods heritage, ver. 3. S. Iohn rebuketh Dio­trephes for affecting preheminence, Epist. 3.9. Nor did ever any man take upon him to bee a Pastour of Pastours, but that man of sinne, and Lord Bishops, which are his genuine ofspring, & are lineally descended from him. As therefore their offices and functions were hatched in hell, so it would bee a very happy thing for this state of ours, if it would please God and our King, that they might bee returned and sent back againe thither; that our church, which these many yeeres hath borne them as a heavy burden, may bee no longer cumbred with them.

2 No man living upon the face of the earth may presume to prescribe a paterne according to which the Churches of Christ should bee for­med; nor may any creature in heaven or earth, without a commission from the sonne of God, appoint lawes for the guilding and governing of [Page 22] his house: that beeing a glory which the Lord Iesus Christ hath reserved in his owne hands, and wil communicate neither with man nor Angel; it belonging as properly to him to rule his church according to the good pleasure of his owne will, as it belongeth to him to save it by the merit of his sufferings. Hee by the appoint­ment of his father is the onely head, King, Lord, Lawgiver, & supreme Governour of his Church, which hee hath washed and made white with his blond, Ephes. 1.22. Iames. 4.12. Revel. 7.14. Hee hath not left his Church, which is his body, maimed or imperfect, destitute of lawes and Offices needfull for the governing of the same, but hath appointed a Ministery for it, with a cal­ling thereunto, and with lawes limiting their function and governments, leaving nothing therein to the will of man, Col. 2.18. This go­vernment, with ail the offices & functions there­to appertaining, are set downe in the written word of God (the onely rule both of doctrine & discipline in the church) which is able to make the man of God perfect to every good worke. 2. Tim. 3.17. The offices appointed by Christ for the ruling of his churches are those of Pastours, Teachers, and Elders; whose severall gifts, properties, and qua­lifications are distinctly and at large set downe in the Scripture. These offices and ministeries, and the lawes concerning the same, are sufficient for the ruling of Christ his Church here on earth; and that forme and frame of government, pre­scribed and left by our Saviour for the ordering [Page 23] of his house, is every way complete of it selfe, and needeth no helpe of man to make it perfect. Else Christ can not bee honoured as a perfect governour of his Church; and otherwise both the Scripture and Christs body are imperfect. And if these bee not perfect, then may man erect new offices, and adde new Ministeries, and hee may also take away, and alter any of these at his owne pleasure. Then also is the Church of the new Testament inferiour to that of the old, which received all the lawes & ordinances from God himselfe. But to affirme all or any one of these it is impious and absurd. And as this go­vernment appointed by Christ is sufficient and most perfect, so is it perpetuall, and may not bee altered by men or Angeles. Timothie is com­maunded to keepe this platforme, and all the or­dinances concerning it, to the glorious comming of the Lord Iesus, 1. Tim. 5.21. and 6.13.14. All the offices of this church mentioned Rom. are called members of the body of the church, ver. 5. and 1. Cor. 12.27.28: which is the body of Christ, Eph. 1.22.23. If therefore the church of Christ, which is his body, must continue perfect till his comming, these offices and ministeries must also continue; for if any one of them bee taken away, his body is maimed and mangled. And if Christ shall continue to bee governour of his churches, hee must continue to rule and governe in them by his owne Officers, and by those lawes and or­dinances which hee himselfe hath prescribed in his word; otherwise hee is not the governour [Page 24] of them. If his Officers bee refused, hee is re­jected; and if the order of government appoin­ted by him bee thrust out, & another substituted in the roome of it, then is hee, upon the point, deposed from his regency, & the scepter is taken out of his hands.

3 If this holy government instituted and or­dained by the sonne of God himselfe might bee erected and set up in our churches, there would bee such a confluence & concurrence of all good things, contributing joyntly to the happines of this kingdome, as our eyes have never yet seene. Gods blessing doth ever accompany his owne ordinance. But if that bee either sleighted or neglected; though men take the wisest and the most politike courses, that their silly and shallow braines can devise, for the attaining of the same ends which God aimeth at the Lord bloweth upon them, and blasteth them, & bringeth them all to nothing, that they do no good; as might easily bee exemplified in many other particu­lars, as well as in this of Church government, if neede required. For hee destroyeth the wisdome of the wise, & bringeth to nothing the understanding of the prudent, 1. Cor. 1.19. the foolishnes of God beeing wiser then men, and the weakenes of God stronger then men, ver. 25. But to keepe to the point in hand. This government of the church by Arch­bishops and Lord Bishops was first brought in, and hath beene very unhappily continued in our land under a pretence of preserving the peace & unity of the Church, & for the preventing of schismes [Page 25] and divisions in the same. But the wofull ex­perience of many yeeres sheweth, that these strange Lords, who by their places should bee fathers and fosterers of the church, have beene, and are to this day, cruell and cursed Stepfathers to it, and in stead of preventing distractions and dissensions among us, they have beene from time to time the sole cause and originall of all those most lamentable divisions, and of those heavy pressures, which our poore churches have groned under, ever since the Gospel came into this kingdome. What errour and heresies have they of late brought in & countenanced by their authority, to the harts griefe of many of the best affected people of the land? How do Arminia­nisme and Bellarminianisme prevaile by reason of that favour which these linsey-woolsey luke­warme Laodiceans shew to those which set their faces that way? What a rent have they lately made in our church by their strict pressing of people to come to their owne Congregations when there is no preaching, and by their urging of crouching and cringing at the name of Iesus, & before their Altars, and other such like trumpery? What a number of our best and most judicious Christians do they daily drive out of the land by their harsh, and base, and uncivill usage of them? Sith therefore the Gospel is so much op­posed, and oppugned, & troden downe by these Antichristian Prelats, what a blessed and worthy worke would it bee, and how acceptable a service to God, if it would please our most gratious King [Page 26] to depose & thrust our these proud usurpers, who have too too long domineered and tyrannised over Gods heritage, and to set the Lord Iesus Christ upon his Throne and to take order that hee may rule his churches according to his owne will revealed in his word? Which glorious and happy enterprise, if his Maiestie would seriously set upon, and go through with, I dare be bold to say, that the Lord would make good to him, and this state, as much as hee once promised and did accordingly performe to the people of the Iewes, upon their onset and first beginning to sett forward the building of his Temple, Hag. 2.18.19. Hee would from that very day remove all those heavy judgments which have these many yeeres waited upon that cursed government of Bishops, and in stead of them hee would shower downe such abundance and variety of his choy­sest mercies and blessings upon our King and his kingdomes, as would make all the world to wonder, and to stand amazed at it. Oh, that his Maiestie would but try what the Lord would do in that case! England would then bee as Ierusa­lem sometime was, the praise of the world, the perfection of beauty, and the ioy of the whole earth. Then would the Lord dwel amongst us, and bee a father unto us, and hee would rejoyce over us and delight in us to do us good. Then would our exiles returne, & the poore despised, and dispersed, and distressed servants of God would sing for joy of hart, and the voice of weeping would bee no more heard amongst us, nor the voice [Page 27] of crying, for these Wolves, and Leopards, & Lions beeing throwne out of those places wherein they do daily such a world of mischiefe, there would bee none to hurt or destroy in Gods holy Moun­taine: our land would then bee full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

4 Whereas his Maiestie hath at this time much use and many imployments for mony; if hee would bee pleased to turne these brute creatures a-grazing, and seize upon their Bishopricks, and take into his hands the Cathedrall Churches (as King Henry the eighth sometimes did the Abbies, and those irreligious houses) hee might, to his owne harts content, bee plentifully supplied at the present for all his occasions, and have a large yeerly Revenue comming in, sufficient to main­taine an Army in the field to suppresse & subdue all the enemies of his Crownes and Kingdomes, and to helpe downe with that man of synne, who is drunke with the bloud of Gods Saints. And why will our renowned Soveraigne suffer such a happy and golden opportunity to slip out of his hands? It is thought by some, that if King Iames had lived, hee would have done it, and would have tasted their flesh. And why should not our noble and religious King (who in other things is an imi­tatour of his fathers vertues) effect that which his father so much affected, & had a good minde to do, if time had served for it? What should hinder him? I confesse freely, I know not. These Lordly Prelats never did any good in the Church of God; nor do they any at this time; nor will [Page 28] they ever hereafter do any, but a great deale of mischiefe. Idle they are above measure, and many of them grossely and palpably ignorant: and they are growne to such an extreme height of pride, and ambition, and tyranny, that it is a great wonder how the State can thus long beare them. Most odious they are both to God and man; and the very name of a Bishop beginneth now to stinke in the nosethrils of all the people of the Land, that savour the things of God, or have any relish of Religion, though they looke not towards syncerity, nor beare any love to it: And for their Collegiate Churches, what bee they, for the most part, but dennes of theeves, and cages of uncleane Birds? There is a great deale of super­stitious and false worship nourished and maintai­ned in them, to the dishonour of Almightie God, to the scandall of that holy Religion which is professed amongst us, and to the reioycing & en­couraging of Papists, who laugh in their sleeves, and are in good hope to have their Ronish reli­gion one day sett up againe in this Kingdome, seeing wee retaine such monuments of their Idolatry and superstition still in the midst of us, and do re-edify & repaire them with such zeale, as if therein wee did God good service. What pitty is it that such an infinite masse of mony, as is raised yeerely out of these Bishopricks, and the livings belonging to those Cloysters, should bee so vainely, and basely, and irreligiously consu­med and devoured by such useles, and worthies persons, as are good for nothing but to cleave [Page 29] wood with their heads, when as in the meane while our deare and dread Soveraigne wanteth it for better purposes? What an advantage would it bee to our King, and what an advancement of the revenue of the Crowne, if the increase and profit which ariseth & issueth out of these large and ample possessions (which is now meerely and wholly to no purpose wasted) might bee brought into his Maiesties Treasury, there to bee preserved to his use and to bee alwaies in a readines to bee disposed of by him according to his godly wisdome, to the glory of God, and in the service of the State; and might bee there carefully stored up, as a meanes of supply, and as a stock of provision, for the accommodating of his Maiesty, when, and as often as hee shall have use of it, and for the fitting and furnishing of those many necessary and just occasions which hee hath to imploy and expend the same upon?

5 It would bee a marvellous ease for this Kingdome, if by the mercifull goodnes of our God it might once bee freed from these Anti­christian Prelats, & their Courts, which robbe his Maiesties subjects of an exceeding great summe of mony every yeere. One would not ima­gine how much they extort from Ministers, Churchwardens, and the rest of the people of the land, for fees, and by meanes of those unjust vexations which they put them continually unto. Many men are perswaded that they, and their Chauncellours, Commissaries, Officials, Doctours, roctours, Registers, Pursivants, Apparitours, and [Page 30] others of that cursed crew, do rake and scrape from the Subject more then would suffice to pay to our King two or three Subsidies every yeere. And what becommeth of all this? It maintaineth a company of idle Belly-gods, and a number of ungodly and ungratious persons, which are unprofitable burdens of the earth, and are onely whips in Gods hand to scourge and chastise his people withall: whose service when the Lord hath used a while for that pur­pose, hee wil then most certainely throw his Rods into the fire, Esay. 10.5.12: And if in the meane season our most wise and judicious King would bee pleased to sqeaze them, and to take from them that thick clay wherewith they are overladen; hee should do a worke acceptable to God, and such as wherein his soule might take a great deale of comfort here, and which would much further his reckoning in the day of the Lord Iesus, when hee shall come with power & great glory to judge both the quick & the dead.

6 His Majestie shall do a worke of singular charity and mercy to the soules of these Bloud­suckers, if hee will bee pleased, in compassion and commiseration of their deplored and despe­rate condition, to pluck them out of those pestilentiall places, which they do unjustly usurpe, and most tyrannously abuse, to the pro­vocation of the wrath & displeasure of the great God of heaven, & to the opening of the mouthes of the enemies of the Gospel; who by the exor­bitancies and insolencies of these proud men take [Page 31] occasion to blaspheme and speake evill of that sacred truth which wee professe, and to traduce and maligne our government, to the dishonour of our nation, and the disgrace of our King and countrie, both at home and in foraine parts. Most certaine it is, that if they bee let alone in their course, they go on desperately in a way that leadeth to death, the issue whereof will bee hell, and eternall woe and misery in another world: whereas if their prefermets, with which they are even fatted and glutted above measure, might bee taken from them, and they put upon the worke of the Ministery, which they were bredde and brought up to, it might please God that that might bee a meanes to pluck them out of the fire, and to save the soules of some of them, if amongst that cursed company there be any that be­long to the election of grace; whereof I confesse there is a great deale of question to bee made. For the most of them do maliciously and despite­fully oppose the truth, and do with a high hand set themselves against the good waies of God, & do most furiously and fiercely persecute all those poore Christians that set their faces towards Sion, and indevour to walke with their God in the truth & uprightnes of their harts, & will not bee drawne for feare or favour to conforme them­selves to those shamefull corruptions in doctrine and discipline, which they multiply daily, & presse hotely upon men, without either feare or witt, to the ruine of our Church, and the supplanting and undermining of our most holy & heavenly [Page 32] Religion, the bringing in of which not many yeeres since cost a great deale of bloud. And as for those few of them in whom there is any sparke of goodnes, the eye of whose understan­ding is not yet quite put out, that which they in the course of their government do against the truth, and servants, and cause of God, they do it against the perswasion of their owne harts, and against the checks of their consciences, which pursue them so close, and do so terrify & affright them, that without all boubt they can have little or no peace at all, having such an adversary with­in them, as will never suffer them to bee quiet, but is still accusing & tormenting them whether they sleepe or wake. Which made Sr. Fran­cis Ha­stings. one say wit­tily long agoe, that of our Bishops the best were the worst; because that which they did, they did cleane against the haire, and knew right well that they sinned against God in the doing of it; which is a fearfull aggravation of their iniquity. Hee that was B. Ʋa­ghan. Bishop of London when that lamentable havock and spoyle was made amongst our Mi­nisters about the beginning of King Iames his raigne, after that hee had in the Consistory su­spended and deprived some of the Ministers of London, was the whole night following in such a heate and sweate (it beeing then a cold season of the yeare, about the beginning of February) that although there was a good fire in his cham­ber, & they which attended him plyed him with hote clothes, as fast as they could possibly warme them at the fire, & bring them to him lying then [Page 33] in his bed, yet could they not all that night, with all that they could do, coole him, and dry up his sweate; as some yet alive can testify, who then waited upon him in his chamber: Hee was so perplexed and terrified with the thoughts of that which hee had done, that hee could take no rest; nor did hee ever claw it off, but died very quickly after it. Within a few daies after (for hee lived not many) hee said openly at his table, that the Persecutions of those times were worse then those in Queene Maries daies. B. Mor­ton. One who sate at the table with him, then a Deane now a Bishop, hearing him say so, spake to him in latine, & prayed him to forbeare such speeches, telling him that if they came to the Kings eare, they would bee ill taken. For answere whereunto hee said againe in en­glish, with a great deale of vehemency and ear­nestnes, that the present Persecutions were greater and farre more grievous then those in Queene Maries dates were; & hee gave his reasons for it. For then, saith hee, men were quickly dispatched out of the way, whereas now they are forced to live in misery; and a languishing life every man knoweth to bee a lingering death. Then men were permitted to speake freely for themselves; whereas now at the first dash, saith hee, the Oth is tendered to them, which if they refuse, to prison they go without any mercy or pity; no baile will serve the turne. What would this man have said if hee had lived to see these times? A strange kinde of creatures these Bishops bee: they are neither fish nor flesh, nor yet good red her­ring, [Page 34] as the old Proverb is. A man cannot tell what to make of them. Papists they would not bee thought to bee, & yet many of them are little better. Good Protestants surely very few of them bee. Those amongst them, which bee not downe-right Papists, looke shrewdly that way, & maintaine many of their grosse and absurd opi­nions, and make no bones to affirme openly, that there is not such a distance betweene them and us, but that wee may meete them in the midway; nor such a discrepance & difference betwixt their religion and ours, but that they may bee easily reconciled, if men were peaceably minded. And accordingly B. Mountague some of them have mediated most shamefully both in Pulpit and in Print for a Paci­fication. & have indevoured to make a hotch-potch and a Gallimawfrie of both religions mixed and blended together, to the utter subverting and rooting out of that glorious Gospel of our bles­sed Lord and Saviour, which hath beene hereto­fore for many yeeres most couragiously & con­stantly professed and maintained amongst us against all adversaries whatsoever. If the Lord bee not the more merciful to us, they will bring us back againe into Egypt before we are aware; for it appeareth plainely now to all the world, that that is the thing which they ayme mainely at; & it seemeth that they care not who know­eth it. Nor is it any new or strange thing that Bishops should looke towards Popery; for so have their Predecessours done before them: An Blackwel. Archpriest many yeeres agoe being prisoner in [Page 35] the Clinke, where divers Ministers of the Gospel were also prisoners at the same time, said to one of them, that hee marvelled of what religion the Bishops of England were. Vs, saith hee, they committ because wee are Papists, as they terme us; and you they commit, because you will not bee Papists. That they persecute us, saith hee, it is not much to bee marvelled at, because there is some seeming difference betweene them and us, though it bee not much: but that one Minister of the Gospel should persecute another, & that one Protestant should pursue another to bonds and imprisonment for religions sake that is a strange thing. But of the two, saith hee, they love us the better. A Papist they like well ynough, if they durst shewit, but Puritanes they hate with their hart; and that all the world may see. Surely hee spake the truth. For Papists they love, and like, & hug in their bosomes in secret: but Puritanes, as they nickname them, & all purity & syncerity they do utterly abhorre. Are these wolves then fitt to have the government of the sheepe of Christ? Nay is it not more then time that they should bee unhorsed, and throwne violently out of their places, before they ruine and spoyle all, which they will do very speedily if they bee let alone? They have already brought this Kingdome into a most lamentable condition; & if they bee not looked to the sooner, it is to bee feared that they will put all into a confusion & combustion; for they are desperately set upon mischiefe.

7 It is a matter worthy to bee considered of, how our State can quitt it selfe of guilt and sinne [Page 36] against God, in that it tolerateth, and hath not in all this time with indignation cast out these Anti­christian usurpers, which are so pernicious & preju­diciall both to our church and commonwealth. The Magistrate, by the ordinance & appointment of God, is to take care that both the Tables of Gods law bee duely kept. Now, these proud Pre­lats are delinquents against both of them; & they transgresse with a high hand. As their places are accursed, so their demeanour and deportment in them is most tyrannous and cruel. They robbe God of his glory, and the Church of a great deale of comfort; and the commonwealth they pill & pole above measure. And yet these sacrilegious & traiterous Time-servers are not onely tolerated, but countenanced also, and upheld amongst us; the more is the pity. For most sure & certaine it is; that when sinne in a state is not duely punished, the land is defiled, and Gods wrath is provoked; which will not bee pacified but by inflicting due and deserved punishment upon Transgressours. Numb. 35.33. In which regard there if good hope con­ceived, that our King & State will take this matter into serious consideration, and will now at last execute the just vengeance of our God upon these enormous and agregious Malefactours, who have so long & so despitefully troden under foote the holy and blessed Ordinances of Christ, and in stead of them have advanced and set up the fond & foolish devises of their owne giddy braines; which is such a high dishonour to our Lord Iesus Christ, and such a hor­rible indignity offered to him, as wee have good cause to hope that this Christian State will no longer endure; especially when all these things above-mentioned shall bee laid together, and well weighed in the ballance of Gods Sanctuary;


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