AN ANSWER TO THE Call to Humiliation: OR, A VINDICATION OF THE Church of England. From the Reproaches and Objections of W. Woodward, in Two Fast Sermons, Preach'd in his Conventicle at Lemster, in the County of He­reford, and afterwards Published by him.

Printed for Edward Robinson Junior, Book­seller in Ludlow. 1691.

AN ANSWER TO THE Call to HƲMILIATION: OR, A Vindication of the Church of England.

WHEN I first met with this importunate Call to Humiliation, I wonder'd how it came into the Head of that Minister, to call upon the Church of England in a Conventicle; he might as well have call'd upon the Socinian Church in Poland, or the Quakers in Pensylvania. How absurd was it to summon the Church of England to the Stool of Repentance in a Presbyterian Assembly at Lemster, and to proclaim a Fast for Persecution to those whom he pretends were perse­cuted by her? But thô the Church was out of his Audience, yet it was matter of great Edification to his Hearers, to calumniate and reproach her; and I presume at the next gathering he was well rewarded for it. See how this Minister keeps his Days of Humiliation; he Fasts notoriously for Strife and Debate; instead of healing our Wounds, he enlarges and enflames them; he sets forth the Sufferings of his Dissenters, with Hyperbole's, and ly­ing aggravations, to what purpose, but to exulcerate and enrage them? as if he were sent in the Spirit of Elijah, he calls in effect for Fire from Heaven upon us. The Prophanation of our Fast Day, was not enough for his Invectives; withal, he could find [Page 2]but little work of Humiliation for his own Sectaries, but with loads of Sackcloth and Ashes he overwhelms our Church, and in a word, he has laid out his whole Gift of Calling, and Clamou­ring, and Railing upon it.

The best Apology against such a Libel, would be Patience and Silence; and the best Answer, that which Mr. Hooker made to certain Reasons and Raileries of the Puritans, to his Reasons, No, and to his Raileries Nothing. But there is sometimes a ne­cessity of answering some Persons according to their folly; the ap­plause and triumph with which this Pamphlet has been cried up by his followers, the Confidence wherewith they pronounce eve­ry thing unanswerable, that is not answer'd; and the Comple­ment ofp. 27. Dumb Dogs, which this Holy Rabshakeh has bestowed upon us, do make it necessary to say something in our vindicati­on, and to shew how easie it is to defend our Church, against the feeble Assaults of a Lemster Conventicle.

In answer to his Two Sermons, as he calls them, I will con­sider,

  • 1. His Declamations about Persecution.
  • 2. The Reasons and Objections which he pleads for his Non-conformity.

Days of Humiliation are at all times necessary to the Church of Christ, which, while it is Militant, will be never so far without Spot and Blemish, as not to stand in need of publick Ex­plations; but when the Judgments of God, are either imminent, or present, and the unbounded wickedness of a Nation, do force them down from Heaven, then certainly is the time to weep, to Sanctify a Fast, and to call all the Inhabitants of the Land to a Publick Repentance. Our Church on such occasions hath content­ed her Self to follow the example of Religious Men in Scripture, and to prescribe such general Confessions, as are universally true of all, and particularly, applicable to the Case of every one; there is a Confession in that last Office, so full and comprehen­sive, that no one, who is not much in love with Cavil, can ac­cuse the insufficiency of it. But this Minister is dissatisfied with it, he hath searched amongSee p. 10, 11. the accursed stuff, (as he stiles it) of Ecclesiastical Affairs, and after much pains in rummaging,See p. 10, 11. he finds that the accursed thing See p. 10, 11. lies hid under the covering of De­cency and Order, Penal Laws, Laws for Ʋniformity, Subscriptions; Declarations, Liturgies, Articles, Laws for Ceremonies, and Forms of Prayer. Thus one whole Constitution is accursed in his Opini­on; [Page 3]even the Articles of our Religion are not excepted, thô ap­prov'd by all the Protestant Churches, and Seal'd with the Blood of Martyrs, and the Prayers of all Churches, for at least 1 [...]00 Years together, have been nothing but Curses; and, as Achan's Sacriledge, an Abomination to the Lord.

But Persecution is the great Rock of Offence, and he is very an­gry at the Compilers of the Office, because they have not men­tion'd it in the Confession; he cannot forgive a certainThe Bi­shop of Sa­rum. Bishop in particular, who, he thinks, assisted in composing the Form, and had before Declar'd, that Persecution had not a little contribu­ted to fill up the measures of the sins of a Church, See his Ep. Ded. and p. 11. and that they who were guilty, ought seriously to profess their Repentance of it; But he observes, That he said this before he was a Bishop, which is, to insi­nuate, that it is no wonder he should now prevaricate, and that he was fall'n from Grace by taking a Bishoprick on him; But here he had an occasion of shewing his Spight at the Order, and even a Reconciling Bishop, could have no Quarter from him. Now, for once, let Persecution be as heinous a Sin as he can make it, and let it be granted, that many Church men have been guilty of it; Yet, Why must it be particularly confess'd in a general Humiliation? Why more than Drunkenness, Perjury, Blasphemy, or Whoredom? Would he have every individual Confess, that he has been a Per­secutor, a Drunkard, a Blasphemer, and a Whoremaster? If many are innocent of these Crimes, so they are of Persecution; There are thousands of Congregations that never persecuted any one, and yet this Ʋnjust Judge would force them to plead Guilty of it. Be the Sin never so Epidemical, yet, why should I confess it, if I am not Guilty? And as for those that are, let him read over the Confessions, and he will find, they are in general Expressions included in it, and general Confessions are sufficient, because no others can be accommodated to so many millions of Christians; but nothing will please that Minister, unless the whole Church lye prostrate at his Feet, and submit to the Discipline he impo­ses, and then, perhaps, he would think her sufficiently hum­bled, and condescend to pardon her.

Let us now reflect a little on the extremity of their Sufferings, as he is pleas'd to represent them; and one single Paragraph out of all his Tragical Aggravations will be sufficient. He as­sures us,p. 4. That it is as clear as the Sun, that for near 30 years last past, 1600 Ministers of the Gospel have suffer'd very hard things upon the account of Conscience, by reason of great Fines, and long Imprison­ments. [Page 4]At the Restauration there were many Mininsters ejected who had either intruded themselves into the Freeholds of others, or had Ʋsurp'd their Benefices in the times of Schism and Rebel­lion, without lawful Qualisications; so that they were ejected, not for Conscience, but Intrusion; whether they were just 1600, is not worth enquiry; but that they all suffer'd for Conscience, cannot be so clear as he pretends, for I suppose, neither he, nor we can know the Consciences of 1600, without something of Omnisci­ence; but that all the 1600 did suffer by long Imprisonment, is an unconscionable overlashing, and 'tis as clear as the Sun, that it is a notorious Falshood. He adds, That many of them have dyed for want of natural Bread, and that both the Shepheards and the Flocks have been starved. What! Have their Ministers died with Famine? Have whole Congregations perished for want of Bread? This is cer­tainly all Fiction and Romance; or, if you will, the Rhetorick of common beggars, who with doleful Complaints of Starving, cheat the People into Compassion. I Grant, That many Families of Dis­senters have been distress'd by Penal Laws, thô I think he can never make it out, that they were many thousands. But the conclusion of this Tragedy, is beyond measure extravagant. If, says be, the Sufferings of our Brethren were written at large, as the Sufferings of the Saints at other times have been, Mr. Fox his Book of Martyrs, would be but an Enchiridion in comparison of it. That Work is an account of the Sufferings of Christians, from the Crucisixion of our Saviour, to the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; and as Volumi­nous as it is, it has not bulk enough for the Dissenters Sufferings since the Restauration; nay, it is but a little Epitome in com­parison. They, alas! have suffered more in 30 years, than the whole Church in 1600; and the Martyrologies of the whole Ca­tholick Church, may be infinitely exceeded by the Acts and Monu­ments of a few little Conventicles. One would think that many Myriads of Dissenters had suffered Martyrdom; That every in­dividual Church of England-man had destroyed as many as Dio­clesian; and that all England had been a Sea of Blood for 30 years together; when in the mean time, not one of them suf­fered death for his Religion, not many of them were ruined in their Estates, and pecuniary punishments, were the only persecution of almost all of them. Yet he has the Confidence to say,P. 11. That the Church of England had taken into her hand the Bloody Club of Cain to Martyr the Dissenters; that his Weapon was a Club is revealed to him byP. 4. Bucheltzerus, to whom the Cabala was deriv'd; but that the [Page 5]Church of England has used it against the Dissenters, is the revelati­on of Beelzebub, for the Father of Lyes can be his only Author for it. Let him name but one Dissenter that has been martyr'd by the Church, and he shall have my Licence to revile her with all the odious Names, from Coin to the Apocalyptick Whore, in Scripture: But if that be impossible, he may still revile, if he please, but I think he will be no where believed, but in his Conventicle and his Patmos; so the place of his retreat isEp. Ded. called by the fifth Evangelist, that he may be paralell'd to one of the former.

But this magnifying of Sufferings is an old Artifice of Dissenters; so did their Ancestors the Donatists, as may be seen in St. Austin, and so did the Popish Priests, (their late Brethren and Allies,) in the time of Queen Elizabeth, as may be seen in Creswell's Philopater and the Books of Parsons. Behold how one of them exclaimeth, Where are now the old Tyrants of the World, Nero, Decius, Diocle­sian, Maxentius, and the rest of the great Persecutors of the Christi­ous? Where is Genserick and Hunricus, with their Arrian Here­ticks? Alluding to the Persecutions of the State here as infinitely beyond them. This was just such another Outcry about Persecu­tion as this Ministers. And how did the States-men of those Times apologize for their Severity?See a Treatise of the Lord Burluigh, Entitled, The Exe­cution of Justice in England, for Main­tenance of publick Peace. The sum of thier defence was this; That what they did was necessary to the Preservation of the State, and that their Treasons and Seditions occasion'd the hard Laws against them. And, Will not the same defence serve to justifie the Laws against the Dissenters? The severestAs the 1 Eliz. c. 2.23 Eliz. c. 1.35 Eliz. c. 1. Laws, and the seve­rest Proceedings against them, were in the Time of Queen Eliza­beth, they were then suspended, deprived, imprison'd, banish'd, and some of them evenBarrow and Green­wood. executed, for their scandalous Writings; and the ground of these Proceedings may be learnt from the Queen her self in the Speech of the Lord Keeper Puckering to the Par­liament, Transeri­bed by Dr. Pierce from his own hand Writing, and Pub­lished in his Disco­very a­gainst Mr. Baxter, an. 1659. p. 109. which was delivered by her Command and Direction: There he tells them, That they were commanded by her Majesty, to give no ear to the Sollicitations of the Puritans, of whom he declares, It may be doubted, whether they, or the Jesuits, do offer more danger, or be more speedily to be repressed, and this Reason is there given for it, because they publish, in their Books, and teach in all their Conventicles, sundry Opinions, not only dangerous to the Realm, but also Derogatory to her sacred Majesty and her Crown, and by Se­paration of themselves from the Ʋnity of their fellow Subjects, and by abusing the sacred Authority of their Prince, they do joyn with the Je­suits in opening the Door, and preparing the Way, to the Spanish In­vasion, [Page 6] that is threatned against the Realm. Thus far the Queen her self, by the Mouth of her Lord Keeper; and so effectual was this Speech, that the Parliament then passed the Act of the 35 Eliz. the severest against the Dissenters in the whole Body of our Laws. But a larger account of the true Reasons of those hard Laws against the Papists and Dissenters may be seen in aIt is prin­ted at large in Dr. Bur­net's Hist. of the Re­form. par. 2 lib. 3. p. 420. Let­ter of Sir Francis Walsingham her Secretary, to Monsieur Chiroy a Frenchman. The Preservation of the State, against their Se­ditious Practices, is there assign'd as the true Cause of those Se­verities. And as to the Puritans, he concludes, that after they had been a great while tolerated; When they desended into that vile and base Means of Defacing the Government of the Church by ri­diculous Pasquils; when they began to make many Subjects in doubt to take Oaths, which is one of the fundamental Points of Justice in all Pla­ces; when they began both to vaunt of their Strength and Number of their Partizans, and to use Comminations, that their Cause would prevail through uproar and violence; then it appeared to be no more Deal, no more Canscience, but meer Faction and Division; and therefore, though the State were compell'd to hold somewhat a harder hand to restrain them than before, yet was it with as great a moderation, as the Peace of the State or Church could permit. Such were the Reasons of the Laws and Prosecutions against them in the happy Days of Queen Elizabeth: And have not these Observations been since confirm'd by woful Experience? Is it any wonder, that at the Restoration of our Church and Covernment, (which had been destroy'd by a most unjustifiable Rebellion, when the whole Kingdom had been turn'd into an Aceldama, and the best of Kings was barbarously murdered,) the Law-givers should look back upon the Miseries they had felt, and secure the King, the Kingdom, and the Church, against the increase of those Sectaries that had so lately destroy'd them; and yet it is notorious, that these Laws were never rigorously executed, but when necessity requir'd it: Their Assemblies were ever tolerated or connived at, when themselves were pleased to shew that favour to the Government; but when they began to libel, associate, and plot, against the King, and it was evident, that the ruin of Church and State was again attempted; and all the Sectaries were ready to contribute their Strength and Power to effect it, was it not then high time for the Government to oppose them, to secure it self by the Execution of Laws, and to prosecute those who were resol­ved to ruin it. They had Liberty enough, till it was made a Cloak of Maliciousness, and the Government did never persecute [Page 7]them, but when it was persecuted by them. How impertinem then is it to clamour at the Church, because the State made Laws for its own preservation; How unjust to arraign their Gover­nors as Tyrannical, because they would not be destroyed; and how impious to call suffering for Sedition; I ersecution for the Gospel.

If these Ministers had any regard to the Judgment of St. Aug. Tom. 2. Epist. 48. contra Donat. & Rogat. de­vi Corrig. Haeret. Au­gustine, it would be to some purpose to ranscribe the essicacious Reasons; with which he justifies the use of Temporal Penalties, for the reducing of Dissenters; but however they may deal with him, the agreement of their chief Divines, the declar'd Judgment of their infallible Assembly, and their own undeniable practice, when they had power, will be enough to silence and condemn them.

The Dissenters of late have wearied the World with their out­cries against Persecution, they have magnified Liberty of Consci­ence as the Magna Charta of Mankind, and cryed it up in their Addresses to K. James, as the restoring of God himself to his Empire; But nothing in the World that thinks and sees, can possi­bly believe them; for their own Writings, both past and present do manifestly shew, that they never condemn Persecution, but when they cannot Persecute. It may be prov'd by a vast cloud of witnes­ses, That Toleration has been ever damn'd by the Presbyterians; and therefore it unavoidably follows, that Persecution has been ever approv'd by them. I could make good this by a deduction from their first Apostle Mr. Cartwright, to their present Patriarch Mr. Baxter; but in a Matter so notorious, so much labour, is un­necessary. I appeal to the Testimonies ofThey were these, Dr. Bur­gess, Mr. Ward, Mr. William Good, Mr. Tho. Tho­rowgood, Mr. Humf. Hardwick, Arthur Salwey, Will. Rey­nar, Geo. Hughes, Edm. Calamy, Tho. Case, John Lightfoot, Tho. Watson. R. Baxter, Tho. Horton, Lazarus Ser­man, Matt. Newcomen, Richard Vines, Simeon Ash; James Crauford, Tho. Edwards. Twenty of their most eminent Preachers, who in the Reign of Presbytery, did in their Sermons and Writings, with great Zeal, inveigh against Toleration, as unlawful in it self, and destructive unto Church and State: I refer you likewise to a very pathetical Letter to the Assembly, Subscribed by all the London Divines, Ann. 16 [...]5. wherein they expresly De­clare their abhorrence of Toleration, and exhort the Assembly to allow no Liberty to the Independants, as being notorious Schis maticks; and both this Letter, and that collection of Tostimo­nies are to be found in a Pamphlet, Entituled, Toleration disprov'd, which was Printed at Oxford, Ann. 1670. But hear the Divines of that Assembly it self, expostulating with their Dissenting Brethren the Independants; Papers of Accommodation, cited by Dr. Still. in his Sermon about the mischief of Separation, p. 41, 42. They desire an Answer to this one thing. Whe­ther some must be denied Liberty of their Conscience in matter of Pra­ctice, [Page 8]ctice, or none? If none, then say they, we must renounce our Covenant, and let in Prelacp again, and all other ways; If a denial of Liberty unto some, may be just, then Vniformity may be selted without any Tyranny: They charge them farther withCited out of the same Papers, in his unrea­sonableness of Speara­ration. p. 69. opening a gap for all Sects to challenge such a Liberty as their due; And add, That this Li­berty was denied by the Churches of New England, and they have as just grounds to deny it as tdey. Thus we see, that not the Pres­byterians only, but even the new Light of Independancy is against Toleration; and that persecution of Dissenters was not only their Doctrine, but their Vow and Covenant also. In that Covenant they Swore to extirpate Prelacy, and to endeavour after Ʋniformity in Doctrine, Discipline and Worship; and is it not a wonderful Con­fidence in this Minister, to Arraign the Church for persecuting, and at the same time to contend for the obligation of a persecu­ting Covenant, to reckon Ʋniformity among the accursed Stuff, and then Declare that they are bound by Oath to settle it.

But their practice at last, is the clearest demonstration of their Doctrine. Behold, anAn Ordi­nance for putting in execution the Dire­ctory, Au­gust. 11. 1645. Ordinance of Parliament against the use of the Liturgy; If any person hereafter shall at any time use, or cause to be used the Book of Common Prayer in any Church, or Publick place of Worship, or in any Private place or Family within the Kingdom; every person so offending, for the first offence, shall pay the sum of Five, for the Second, Ten pounds, and for the Third, shall suffer One whole years imprisonment, without Bail or Mainprize. Do any of our Laws forbid the dissenters to serve God in their own Families, as they please? or where is there such an abridgment of Liberty in our Statute Book? But yet their proceedings were much more cruel than their Ordinances; so far were they from allowing any indul­gence to the Church of England, that they would not allow Li­berty of Conscience to the Supreme Head and Governor of it; They refused to permit their King the use of the Common Prayer in his own Chappel, and infisted to obtrude the Directory upon him against his Conscience; so that he had reason to complain, as he did,Decl. of Jun. 18. af­ter the Votes of Nun-Ad­dresses. of their offering violence to the Conscience of their Sovereign, and to say, If it be Liberty of Conscience they desire, he who wants it, is most ready to give it. Nay, those Prosbyterians, when they had him in their custody, were so inhumane, as to deny him the attendance of so much as one Chaplain for the performance of Divine offices, thô the Good King did often and earnestly Request it, which (as himself observes in hisIn his [...]. Meditations on it) was a piece of Rigor and Barbarisme, greater, than is ever us'd by Christians, to the mean­est [Page 9]prisoners, and greatest malefactors. Thus it was that they dealt with their Sovereign; and the whole Houshold were Treated no better than the Master of it.

It is known to all the World, how the Episcopal Party were plundred, Sequestred, Decimated, Imprisoned, and totally Ruin'd by them; With what rigor their rebellious Oaths, Covenants, Engagements and Abjurations were impos'd, and that they were all ejected out of the Churches, Colledges, Schools, and Uni­versities. The LordSurvey of the Le­viathan, p. 305 Clarendon tells us, That the Reverend Bi­shops who were left alive, and out of prison being strip'd of all that was their own, preserved themselves from Famine, by stooping to the lowest Offices of Teaching Schools, and Officiating in private Families for their Bread, which, together with the Alms of Charitable Persous, was the only portion of the poor Bishops, and all the faithful Clergy of the Church of England.His Pre­face to Bi­shop Mor­tons de­fence of Episcopa­cy. p. 39. Sir Henry Yelverton computes, (and he thought that he was not mistaken) that there were 8000, who forsook all for the Covenant; and of an 729 Parishes within the Bills of Mortality in Londom, 15 were ejected, besides the Prebends of St. Pauls and Westminster.

And now it will not be improper to add the Reply of Arch-Bishop Bramhal to Mr. Baxter's Complaint, That the most Learn­ed, Godly, Painful and Peaceable Men were ejected, because they durst not use the Ceremonies. Let Mr. B. says he,P. 643. of his Works. sum up in­to one Catalogue, all the Nonconformists throughout the Kingdom of England, ever since the beginning of the Reformation, who have been cast aside at any time, because they durst not use the Ceremonies; I dare abate him all the rest of the Kingdom, and only exhibit the Martyrolo­gies of London, and the Two Ʋniversities; or a List of those, who in these late intestine Wars, have been imprison'd and banish'd by his Par­ty in these three places alone, or left to the merciless World to beg their Bread, for no other Crime but Loyalty, and because they stood affectod to the Ancient Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England; and they shall double them for Number, and for Learning, Piety, Industry, and the love of Peace, exceed them incomparably. This is an asser­tion that shall stand unconfuted for ever and let every one now judge between the Church of England and the Separatists, which have been the greatest Persecutors.

Thus have I been forced to retort the accusation, and to make it good by undeniable Proofs against them; that I might silence, if possible, their Hypocritical Clamours, and convince their Follow­ers, that they are inexcusable in Judging that in others, which [Page 10]they do themselves; and that of all men they are the unsittest to pull the Mote out of the Churches Eye, when the Beam is in their own. If Persecution be the accursed Thing, why have not the Dis­senters themseves appointed Days of Humiliation for it? Why do they not give it a Place in their Confessions? Is it not strange, that, in 40 years time, they should not express their Repentance? And (to use this Ministers Expression,) is it not fit, that for one Tear of the Church of England, they should drop ten, nay, an hundred for one. It will be objected, that some of them, of late years, have condemn'd all Persecution for Religion; but have they ever kept a Day of Humiliation for it? Do they not think themselves bound by Covenant to extirpate the whole Government of the Church of England? And notwithstanding the Clamours of that Party against Persecution, is it not evident, that where-ever they get Power, they immediately persecute. We have two Books alrea­dy of the History of their Persecutions in Scotland, and when to the extirpation of all the Bishops, the ruin of Six hundred Mini­sters, and the Desolation of four Universities, they shall add the Destruction of the miserable Reliques of that Church, I will not say their Story will be much greater than Fox's Martyrology, but I think the Dissenters Sufferings will be but an Enchiridion to it. In the mean time we have a fair Specimen, however of the modera­tion of that Party, whose tender Mercies have been always cruel, and a clear Demonstration of what may be expected by us, if GOD, in His just Judgments, should deliver up our Church unto their Fury. And yet these are the men that exclaim against Per­secution, and cry out against the Church of England as cruel and tyrannical, but let them remember that Reflection, which was long since extorted by their Clamours,Dr. St. Serm. on the Mis­chief of Se­par. p. 55. That they want the Inge­nuity of Adonibezek to reflect on the Thumbs and Toes; which they have cut off from others, and think themselves bound to do it again, if it were in their Power.

But after all, this Minister, though he furiously declaims against Persecution, and with so much Malice and Acrimony arraigns the Church of England for it, yet if his invectives be well considered, one shall find that he no where declares for Liberty of Conscience, and that no one ought to be perfecuted for his Religion. When he condemns Persecution, he adds always,See p. 3, 4, 6, 8, 11. for the Truth, which is a plain Intimation, that Persecution for Error he accounts Law­ful; if he really does not, to what purpose is that Limitation? Why did he not openly condemn all Punishments for Conscience; [Page 11]but then he would have condemned the constant Doctrine of his Party, and though he was too wary to do that, yet it would have spoyl'd the design his Sermons, if he had spoke out honestly, and asserted the Lawfulness of persecuting men for their Errors: But if this be his Judgment, (and that Limitation is a strong Presum­ption of it,) then the sum of all is this, That the Presbyterians may lawfully persecute all other Churches, but must never be persecuted themselves by any, because all other Churches are erroneous, and the whole Inelosure of Truth is theirs, and it is only the Persecution of Truth that is condemned by them.

It is evident, that he himself founds the Iniquity of the severe Proceedings against them, upon this ground alone, that they suffered for the Truth. For to this Objection,p. 11. that the Nonconformists have been buffeted for their Faults; his only Reply is this, Let's have a fair Hearing before we be judged, the Persecution of Truth is a great Sin wherever 'tis found; then he immediately proposes the Reasons of their Nonconformity, and concludes at last,p. 24. That if in all these: Things the Nonconformists are in the right, and have witnessed to the Truth, then ought the Church of England to hang down her head, &c. And thus, as he states the case himself, if the Dissenters have not witnessed to the Truth, the Church of England is not guilty, and all their Outcries about Persecution must pass for nothing. Here then lies the stress of the dispute, Whether the Nonconformists have Truth on their side, and were therefore really persecuted for Righ­teousness-sake? I proceed therefore to examine.

Q. The Reasons and Objections which he pleads for his Non conformity.

His first Stumbling block is the Subscription in the Act of Ʋnifor­mity, with the Oath in the Oxford. Act, in which are these Words, I. A. B. do declare, That it is unlawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to take Arms against the King: Again I do swear, That it is not law­ful, &c. He adds, we refused thus to declare and swear, and he re­quires three Things to be observed;

First, A man may believe a Proposition to be true, but would not be willing to swear it; and this Objection is a perfect Cavil. He that asserts a Proposition to be true, does mean only that he is con­vinced of its Truth, and he that swears it is true, does only call God to witness that he is convinced of it. Nothing is more ob­vious than that in all assertory Oaths, when we swear to the Truth of Things, we are understood to declare no more than our own Belief and Knowledge concerning them; and thus, when I swear [Page 12]that it is unlawful to resist, nothing more can be understood, than that I am fully satisfied of it; if I believe it unlawful, I may sub­scribe and declare that it is so, and if I cam do that, I may also swear it, since in this Case an Oath, superadded to a Declaration, must follow the nature of the Principal, and can be nothing else but a Sacred Confirmation of my sincerity in declaring; and I am mo­rally certain, that no Magistrate in England would have refused to administer the Oath with this Interpretation.

Secondly, he objects, that Barclay, Grotius, and others who have written in favour of Kings, do yet allow some Cases, in which it is law­ful to resist them, and if a King does govern by his Will, and not by Law, he doth excidere de jure, that is, he forfeits his Right to Go­vern. I answer, that an Arbitrary King does forfeit his Right, is affirmed by neither of these Authors, but is contradicted by them; and though it be true, that Barelay, Grotius, and others, whether Republicans, Jesuits, or Presbyterians, have allowed Exceptions for resisting, yet I am sure the Holy Ghost has made none in Scrip­ture; they that resist shall receive Damnation, is denounced without any Limitation, and how shall we limit, where GOD hath not li­mited, or distinguish, where He hath not distinguished. So was the Rule understood and practiced by the first and best of Christians, so was it taught by the first Reformers of our Church, and some of them with their Blood bore witness to it. The Popes were the first Christians that taught Resistance, but though an Augel from Heaven had taught it, we have received another Doctrine, and could not have departed from it.

Thirdly, he adds, That all the Nobility and Gentry of England and Scotland, and all the Protestant Princes beyond Sea, in their Proceedings against King James, have justified the Nonconformists in refusing the Oath. Now I have no Correspondence with all these Princes, No­bility and Gentry, and therefore know not their minds about it, but I am sure he cannot make good his all without taking Sanctuary in Hyperbole. There be many that think those Proceedings may be justified without justifying Resistance, but I believe there are no Princes that will allow it against themselves, and if the Majority of the Nobility and Gentry do justifie what they once condemn'd, their Authority can be urged on neither side, and though there he a Revolution of Opinions as well as Governments, yet the nature of Things is immutable, and Truth the same yesterday, to day, and for ever.

His Second scruple is about Reordination, as tho' Ordination by Presbyters were not sufficient, without the laying on of the hands of those, we now call Bishops. But first, since this Minister hath now undertaken to argue, he should have prov'd, that Reor­dination implys a Nullity of their former Orders; But, as no Declaration of their insufficiency is requir'd, so, neither is it imply'd in the nature of the thing, nor understood to be so by Construction of the Fact, as appears from the Reordination of ma­ny French Ministers, whose Orders have never been condemned by our Church, who never intended to renource them by that Acti­on, nor are supposed to do so. Secondly, tho' the Ordination of Presbyters be granted to be sufficient, yet this will not justify the Nonconformists Ordinations; There is all evidnet difference be­twixt the Case of these Ministers and the Presbyters of some Foreign Churches.

1. Those Foreign Divines, tho' their Churches are not under Episcopal Government, yet they do not separate from Episcopal Communion, but have all own'd Commun on with the Church of England. Blondel, their best Advocate for Presbyterian Parity, does yet condemn Separation from Bishop; as Schismatical, and expreslyPraef. ad Apol. p. 59. declares, that Aerius was therefore an Heretick, be­cause he asserted, That separation was to be made from those who ad­mitted any difference between Bishops and Presbyters. But their ap­proving of Episcopal Government, and coadmning Separation from it as Schismatical, has been so often, so irrefragablyIbid p. 47 and Bram­hall's Re­plication to affirm the Bishop of Chalce­don, p. 164 of his Works. pro­ved, that there can be no longer any Controversie about it. But on the other side, the present Nonconformists do make Episcopal Government the chief reason of their Separation, and condemn it as unlawful and Antichristian, which no Resormed Church or Di­vine that we know, did ever before them; and this is certainly a very material difference between them.

2. The Ordination of Presbyters withou: Bishops in those Fo­reign Churches, has been generally defended by the plea of Ne­cessity; thus it has been defended by some of the ForeignBishop Hall's, and Mortons Bcoks in defence of Eiscopacy, Archbi­shop Bram­hall in his Sup. Dr. Durell's Church Govern­ment, Say­well's E­vangelical and Catho­lick Uni­ty, and lately in the Judg­ment of Foreign, reformed Divines. Di­vines themselves, and thus by manyAs Down­ham, Ma­son, Field, Andrews, and leately by Dr. Sher­lock in his Vindicati­on of the defence of Dr. Still. Divines of our own Church. As their circumstances were, it was impossible for them to have Bishops, and therefore they wanted them out of invincible neces­sity; whereas our Presbyterians are uncapal le of that Plea, they reject the Authority of Bishops, and Ordain in opposition to them, and therefore it is evident, they are under no necessity, and con­sequently their Orders may be thought in ufficient, without im­peaching [Page 14]the validity of Foreign Ordinations; And thus having separated their Cause, from that of other Protestants, I proceed to examine what he urges for it, and his first Reason is this;

I. That the word of God makes not difference between the Bishop and the Presbyter, or Pastor of a Church, and he cites those Texts, Acts 20.7.28. and Tit. 1.5, 6, 7. to prove that those, Names are promiscuously used. Three ways have been taken to An­swer this Objection; 1. That both the Names of Bishop, and Presbyter in Scripture, denote always the Prelatical Bishop, and not the Modern Presbyter. 2. That even in Scripture, the Names are so distinguished, that a mere Presbyter alone is never call'd a Bishop, tho' a Bishop is often call'd a Presbyter. Both these Opinions have been well defendedBy Dr. Hammond and Dr. Taylor., and perhaps, it is im­possible to consute them; but to cut off all superfluous Disputes, it is enough to Answer, 3. That tho' the Names of Bishop and Presbyter are not distinct in Scripture; yet it is a very fallacious way of arguing from the indistinction of Names; to infer the Identity of Offices. St. John the Apostle calls himself twice a2d Ep. John v. 1. 3d Ep. v. 1. Pres­byter, Rom. 16.7. Andronious Junia, andPhil. 2.25. Epapheaditus, (who according to this Minister's opinion, were only Presbyters,) are reciprocally call'd Apostles; Are the Offices of an Apostle and Presbyter therefore really the same? This one instance is a clear Demonstration of the Falshood of that Consequence. Though there was a confusion of Names, there was yet, a distinction of Offices, and if that can be proved, viz. That in the Apostolical Churches, some single Persons had a Pre-eminency of Power and Authority over the other Presbyters, it will necessarily follow, that that Office, (to which the Name of Bishops is now appropriated,) is at least of Apostolical Insti­tution.

Timothy and Titus See Jus Divinum Ministerii Anglicani, p. 71, 72. are granted by all sides to have had such a Superiority; and the Presbyterians only pretend that their Office was extraordinary, and expired with them; but this is affirmed without sufficient Proof, for what, though Timothy be required to do the Work of an Evangelist, can they prove that this signifies any more than a Preacher of the Gospel? And if it could be proved to be a Temporary Office, how does it appear that his Episcopal Power was a part of that Office, or that it was not distinct and se­parate from it? On the contrary it may be proved, by a Cloud of Witnesses, that this Power was not Temporary, but was every where derived by Succession upon single Persons; and particulably: as to the Succession of Timothy and Titus, we have the Confession [Page 15]of Du Moulin, In his 3d. Ep. to Bi­shop An­drews, p. 181, 182. That the Episcopal Order was (of Apostolical institu­tion)—and that what name soever we give to Timothy and Titus, whether Bishops or Evangelists, it is manife that they had Bishops for their Successors and Heirs of their pre-eminency.) And in fine, this precarious Pretence of extraordinary Offices may with equal rea­son be urg'd, (as we find it is by Anabaptists; Quakers and Socini­ans) against the whole Order of the Ministry; and if it be ad­mitted (as Mr.In his Christian Directory, cited in the Ʋnreason. of Separ. p. 264. Baxter once confess'd) we leave room for andaecious Wits, to question other Gospel Institutions, at Pastors and Sacraments, and to say they were but for one Age. The Sum is this, there is clear Evldence in Scripture, that there were some Officers who had Power of Jurisdiction over Presbyters, and therefore the Texts which he produces to shew the Community of Names can be no Argument against it.

But to justifie Ordination by Presbyter, he cites, 1 Tim. 4.14. where it is intimated that Timothy was ordained by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. To this it is answeredOn the brief Ac­count of Church Govern­ment, in Answer to the wri­tings of the Presbyte­rians, p. 195. &c.. 1. That Presbytery there is taken for the Office of a Presbyter, and so the Sense runs thus, neglect not the Gift, or Office of a Presbyter which was given thee by Prophecy with the Imposition of hands; and this Sense is warranted by the Authority ofCalv. In­stit. lib. 4. c. 3. sect. 16. Calvin, and of St.St Jerom. in Locum. Je­rome long before him. 2. If Presbytery be taken for the Ordai­ners: it may nevertheless be understood of such Presbyters as had a Superior Power over others, for as Apostles and Bishops are sometimes called Presbyters, so might they Collectively be called Presbytery; and accordingly it is observed, that the Apostles themselves are called by St Ignatius, the Presbytery of the Church. 3. It is evident from 2 Tim. 1.6. that St. Paul was the principal, if not the only [...] ordainer of him, and surely it is no good consequence, that if Presbyters may assist an Apostle or a Bishop at an Ordmation, therefore they may ordain without him. He con­chides, that Augustine, Jerome, and Chrysostome with many other Greeks and Latins, are of his Judgment, but he produces no pas­sages out of any of these Authours, but asserts roundly, that they are all of his mind, and 'tis as easie to answer, that they are all against him; however, when he shall produce his Testimonies, it will be time enough to examine them.

Secondly, He proceeds to justifie his Orders by the Authority of our own and Foreign Churches, All our learned Divines at the Reformation from Popery, beld that Ordination by the Pastors of Churches (he means Presbyters) was valid and good. Thus he [Page 16]affirms on, without proving, many Greeks and Latines and all our Divines, are only consident Phrases and ought to pass for nothing; in short I defie him to produce any one of those Divines, that has allowed of Presbyterian Ordinations made in a Schismatical opposition to Bishops, and without the Case of necessity. But he adds, The Twenty third Article of Ministring in the Congregation, seems to speak as much; That Article declares, That it is not lawful to exercise the Ministry without a lawful Calling, and that those are lawfully called, who are called by Men, who have publick Authority given them in the Quibus potestas publice concessa est in Ec­clesia Art. Edit. 1552 & 1562. Congnegation, i.e. the Church to do it. And how impertinent is this Allegation? was publick Authority ever given in our Church to Presbyters, to ordain Priests or Deacons? on the contrary, it is expressy provided in the Preface to theApproved Art. 36. and esta­blished by Acts of Parl. Reg. Edw. 6. & Eliz. p. 58. Form of Ordination in our Liturgy, that whereas it is evident unto all Men diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles time there hath been these Orders of Ministers in Christs Church, Bishops, Priests and Deacons—therefore to the intent these Orders should be continued, and reverently used and esteemed in the Church of England; it is requisite, that no Man shall execute any of them, excep the be called, tryed, examined, and admitted according to the Form hereafter following; and I hope it is evident from that form, that a Bishop is necessary to Ordination.

He goes on and affirms, That the French, Belgick and Helvetick Churches, besides many others, are of his Judgment. All the other Protestant Churches (excepting only Geneva) have Episoopal Govern­ment, and that they allow Ordination by Presbyters in opposi­tion to it, is an Assertion that may well be thought incredible, till it be sufficiently proved; and as for the Churches he menti­ons, their Divines account the Non-Conformists Ordinations Schis­matical, and the best defence of their own is necessity. But he needs not name the Church of Scotland, for Scotland, (says he) hath justified all our Non-Conformity. By Scotland he means the Pres­byterian party of that Kingdom,See the Letters a­bout the Persecuti­on Scot­land p. 58. the lesser part for the whole; but however, if Scotland justifies them, it is the only Church in the world that do so.

Lastly, He adds, our Diocesan Bishops may glory over us, as the Kings Bishops, or Bishops of the State, which is just the Raillery of the Papists, Parliament Bishops, and Nags-head Bishops. But are our Bishops ordained by the King and State? are they not Christ's Bi­shops, and Scripture Bishops? No, for this new Apostle of Pat­mos, does Peremptorily tell them, that they must not pretend to be [Page 17]so near in Blood to the Scripture Bishops of the first Two hundred years as the Pastors of single Congregations. But with Submission to his Apostleship, I reply, that theJus Divin. Minis. Aug. 71. Presbyterian Assembly have granted, that Timothy and Titus had super out Authority over Pres­byters, and therefore our Bishops having the same Authority, may pretend to Kindred with them. 2.Ibid. p. 140. They acknowledge also after Blondel, that above 140 years after Christ, Bishops were set over Presbyters; so that they grant them to be introduced with­in 40 or 50 years after the decease of all the Apostles. 3. The Epistles of Ignatius (who was Contemporary with the Apostles, and suffered Martyrdom within nine years after the decease of St. John) do manifestly shew; that the superiour Authority of Bi­shops was then established in the Church, and therefore certainly by Apostolical Institution. And the Authority of these Epistles has been so demonstratively cleared from all Exceptions by Bi­shop Pearson, that there is now no Contreversie about it. 4. Mr. Chillingworth at the end of his Book, has plainly demonstrated the Apostolical Institution of Episcopacy, and he Sums up his Demon­stration in these Words.

Episcopal Government is acknowledged to have been received univer­sally in the Church, presently after the Apostles times.

Between the Apostles times, and this presently after, there was not time enough for, nor possibility of so great an Alteration;

And therefore, there was no such Alterat on as is pretended. And therefore, Episcopacy being By Peter du Moulin, Beza. Cha­mier Nic. vedetius, whom he cites as Confessing it. confessed to be so Antient and Catholick, must be granted also to be Apostolick. Quod erat Demonstrandum.

And I hope this Minister will condescend to answer this De­monstration, when he writes again, or ho­wever be so modest, as not to conclude so confidently, when he has proved nothing. But behold the Chair of Infallibility! Wherefore I say, that Ordi­nation by the hands of the Pastors of Churches, filled with the Holy Ghost, is much more elegible than by Diocesan Bishops; a very pe­remptory Decree, but we must not question it, for Pythagoras hath said so; yet thus much I presume to Answer, that Diocesan Bishops are filled with the Holy Ghost, as well as parochal Pastors, and that Schismaticks have no Title to it.

We come now to his Third Reason of Non-Conformity, the Declaration of Assent and Consent, required in the Act of Ʋniformity to the Book of Common-Prayes. And [...] He can't Assent to that passage [Page 18]in the Athanasian Creed, where it is said, that every one that doth not keep that Faith whole, shall without doubt perish Everlastingly. Now it is certain, the Athanasian Creed is entirelyThe Judg­ment of Foreign Reformed Churches, p. 32, 33. received, and approved by all the protestant Churches in the World, (excepting only the Antitrinitarians) as hath been lately observed; and therefore this Minister is herein a Non-Conformist to all Protestant Churches, as well as to the Church of England, and they are all Condemned together, as practising a point of Popery, in damning all that differ from them. Let us see now the Reason upon which all Protestant Churches are condemned by him. One Article (says he) of that Creed is about the Procession of the Holy Ghost, from the Father and the Son, which the Greek Churches did not believe nor receive; and supposing them in an Error, he adds, I must be very bold if I leap into the Throne of Judgment, and pronounce them damned. I am as much afraid as he is, of inva­ding Christ's Tribunal, and pronouncing any one damned, much more a whole Church, and such a Church as comprehends so many Millions of Christians.

But, 1. The Differences between the Greek and Latine Church, about the Article of Procession, is byMr. Field of the Church, lib. 3. c. 1. Loads Conf. p. 16. Pearson on the Creed, p. 324. Learned men affirmed, to be only verbal, because the Greeks acknowledged under another Scri­pture Expression in the same thing, which the Latines understand by Procession, viz. that the Spirit is of, or from the Son, as he is of and from the Father; That as the Son is God of God, by being of the Fa­ther, so the Holy Ghost is God of God, by being of the Father and the Son, as receiving that infinite and eternal Essence from them both; Thus Bishop Pearson upon the Article, and if so it be, then there is no difference about the Doctrine it self, but only about the word Procession. But says this Minister, The Procession of the Holy [...] Ghost is a most profound Mystery, and very much obscured by bringing in word Procession; and is not this a most profound Objection? Is it not rather profound Non Sense, to say, that the Procession is ob­scured by the word Procession? And how does the expressing that Mystery by Procession any more obscure it, than the infinite Dura­tion of God is obscured by calling it Eternity? But, the Scripture on that occasion never uses the word. In relation to the Father, it is usedJohn 15.26. expresly, and in Relation to the Son, it is contained vir­tually in Scripture, where the Holy Ghost is often said to be the Spirit of the Son, and that is all which is understood by proceed­ing from him: and if no words are to be admitted, that are not found in Scripture, (the old-Subtersuge of the Arrians) we must not [Page 19]only exterminate Homoonsios, Procession, and eternal Generation, but we must burn all our Bibles, except the Greek and Hebrew, be­cause they are not properly the Word of God, but Words that signifie by the Agreement of Men; and if the original Words of Scripture may be Translated by Words of humane Institution, why may not a Doctrine of Scripture be so expressed also.

Secondly, as many of the Roman Church have absolved the Greeks from damnable Error in this Point, so it is notorious, that the Writers of our Church have always vindicated them from it; and therefore it cannot be imagined, that our Church in this Creed should pronounce them damn'd; and it must be manifest injustice to put such Interpretations upon the Creeds of a Church, as have heen ever disclaimed by the chiefest Writers of it.

Thirdly, These damnatory Clauses must be understood to re­fer only to the Belief of the Doctrines contained in the Creed, and not to every particular Word and Expression in it. The great Fundamental Doctrine, which in this Creel is called the Catholick Faith, is this, That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Ʋnity, and of this Faith it is declared, That they who keep it not, shall perish everlastingly. And they who believe this, viz. That the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are Three Persons and me God, do believe all that follows in the Creed, which contains nothing, but what is Essential to the Unity and Distinction of the Three Persons, and therefore however, they who believe the Trinity, may scruple some Words and Expressions in this Creed, or understand nothing of them; yet as long as they believe the Doctrines, they are not included in the Sentence of perishing everlastingly. Faith belongs not unto Words but Things, and though no one shall be damn'd for a Word, yet it is no uncharitableness to say after our Saviour, that he, who believeth not, shall be damn'd; neither is it any Popery to conclude, that if the Belief of the Trinity be necessary to Bap­tism, it is necessary to Salvation; and if this Minister be of ano­ther mind, let him answer the Arguments that have beenDr. Sher. Vindicati­on of the Doctrine of the Trinity. lately urged for the necessity of that Belief; and let him also satisfie the World, if he can, why the Athanasian Creed, which the Presby­terians appointed to be read in Churches, in their Directory drawn up at the Savoy, an. 1661, should be afterwards a Reason of their Nonconformity.

But he goes on with his Scruples about the Matter of Consent, and declines to speak of the Ceremonies, the Cross, the Surplice, and behold the Reason, because all know they came from Rome, and [Page 20]when Rome falls, they will fall too. This is an Art full of Venome, to traduce by odious Insinuations, that which cannot be opposed by just Objections. It appears fromOrig. in Ps. 38. Hom. 2. Origen and others, that the Cross in Baptism, and fromSee Hoo­ker, lib. 5. rect. 29. S. Chrysostome, and S. Jerome, that such a Garment as the Surplice, were of Ancient Usage; their An­tiquity is far enough beyond Popery, and they come no more from Rome, than do our Creeds and our Bibles; and if this Minister hath had a Revelation in his Patmos, that they shall fall with Rome, we are foretold, that in the last Times false Prophets shall arise, and must not take his Dream for Vision. Next, en passant, he up­braids us with our praying for King James, a profest Papist, that he might persevere in the Faith, but there is no such Prayer in our Li­turgy; and if there were, seeing the Papists are Christians, and believe all that is necessary to Salvation, (for I hope, he will not leap into the Throne of Judgement, and pronounce them damn'd,) why may we not pray for their Perseverance in the Faith, not the Faith of a Papist, but the Faith of a Christian, that will suffice to save them. And now, after these little Skirmishes, we enter into the Battel, and must encounter the Reasons which he has mustered up against reading the imposed Form of Common Prayer. And here pray judge between the Church of England and the Nonconformists.

First, he affirms, that during the Apostles Times, and two or three Hundred Years after, there was no Liturgy used nor imposed, neither did they direct for the drawing up of any, and inforcing it by Penal Laws. Here are many things jumbled together, which must be separated, Penal Laws; imposing set Forms; Directions for them by the Apostles; and the Primitive use of them. As for Penal Laws, the Presbyterians themselves allow them, and their Directory is as accountable for them as our Liturgy; imposing to be consi­dered hereafter; and as to Directions for composing Forms, out of many that are urged, I shall select these three Considerations.

1. Seeing there is convincingSee Dr. Flam­mond's View of the Dire­ctory; Sel­den on Eu­tichyus, p. 83. Dr. Lightfoot, Vol. 2. p. 158. and Dr. Comber's Scholastical History, p. 3. the Examiner of Dr. Combet, p. 4. does question the Solidity of their Proofs, but yet declines to undertake them. Evidence, that the Jewish Church had a fixed Liturgy, and therefore both our Saviour, and his Apostles, who frequented their Synagogues, did certainly joyn in it, and not one Iota is to be found in the Gospel that condemns it; from this Silence, and that Practice, we may certainly con­clude, that the use of fixed Liturgies is lawful; that the joyning in them is warranted by their Example; and that separation from a Church upon that account is absolutely unlawful.

2. Our Saviour himself composed a Form of Prayer, for his Disciples, and in so doing hathSee M. Mede on Matt. 6 9. commended a set Form of Prayer unto His Church; He enjoyn'd them, when they prayed, to say, Our Father, &c. which is as plain a Prescription of a Form as any Words can express. It isClark­son's Disc. conc. Li­turgies. p. 3. confessed that this Form was anciently used in the Church, and this Primitive Use may be very reasona­bly ascribed to that Prescription, especially when we have so plain a Testimony as that ofTert. de Orat. ca. 1. Tertullian, Novis Discipulis Christus novam Orationis Formam determinavit; i. e. Christ hath prescribed a new Form of Prayer to his new Disciples: And therefore from the In­stitution, nay from the Use of that Prayer which is confessedly an­cient, we may certainly conclude, that a Form of Prayer is lawful in it self; that it is useful and edifying, that a Prayor is not there­fore unlawful or inexpedient because it is a Form; and that the Prescription, or Use of a Form in a Church, will not justifie sepa­ration from it.

3. All the Directions which our Saviour or His Apostles have given for the Performance of the Duty of Prayer, may be apply'd to Forms of Prayer; suppose a Prayer to be exactly composed ac­cording to those Directions, may not such a Prayer be frequently used? Does it cease to be made according to those Directions if it becomes a Form? Is a good Prayer spoyled by using it often? And can the same Prayer be agreeable and not agreeable to Scrip­ture, though it is not altered? The Spirit has given Directions for Prayer, and those are equally applicable to Prayers composed by private Men, and to those that are made for the use of a Church by the Governors of it; he hath given no Direction that private or extemporate Prayer should be only used in the Church. The Rules are general, and if the Apostles have not directed the draw­ing up Forms, they have left no Directions for any Prayer at all, seeing every Prayer either is, or may be a Form.

Lastly, As to the Use of Liturgies in the first Ages of the Church he affirms, That it hath been abundantly cleared by those that have laboured in this Controversie, that the Pastors of Churches in the Pri­mitive Times did not read Prayers. Those Labourers he refers to, are only Mr. Clarkson, for out of his Discourse of Liturgies he has extracted his Objections, and they are all answered already in Dr. Comber's Scholastical History; but because he has rallied up some few of them to defend his Nonconformity it is necessary to oppose the same Answers to them. He says, it is abundantly cleared, that the Primitive Pastors did not read Prayers. Mr. Clarkson indeed [Page 22]affirms, that no such Phrase is to be met with in any Writers of the Four of five first Ages at least; And to this it is replyedDr. Comber's Schol. Hist. pt. 2d. p. 206, &c. that no such Phrase as extempore Prayer, nor any thing Equivalent can be produced in that time; that if written Forms of Prayer be clear­ly proved in those Ages, such positive Evidence cannot be over­thrown by a negative Argument, and the want of a Phrase will not prove that any thing that was not which is proved to have been: That Mr. Clarkson himself hath found written Forms with­in that time; and that it is certain, that the Jews had written Forms, and yet the reading them is is no where mentioned in Scripture. The Minister proceeds and urges, that Act. 12.5. the Prayer for Peter's Enlargement was [...] instant, forvent without ceasing, but not by any Form, as is agreed on all sides; as if Prayer by a Form could not be instant and servent; but the antient Church were of another opinion, when the Litany was common­ly expressed bySee Dr. Comber on the Lita­ny. [...], that is, earnest or servent Sup­plications. However, tho it be granted, that no set Form was used on such an extraordinary occasion, does it follow that none was therefore used in the ordinary Prayers of the Church? Or suppose that no Forms were used when the Church had the ex­traordinary Assistance of the Holy Ghost to direct their Prayer; does it follow, that no Forms are to be used, when that Assist­ance is long since ceased? if it does, then it follows also, that studying Languages is now unlawful, because the Apostles were taught them by Inspiration, and that no Preacher ought to predmeditate or write his Sermons, because we never read that the Apostles did so.

But the next Objection he thinks to be demonstrative, some says he, have been so curious as to observe, that in the Primitive times, the Saints usually prayed with their Eyes fixed on the Mercy-Seat, or closed, which utterly disables Persons from reading Prayers. Mr.On Psal. 132.7. Mede has proved, that the Jews worshiped towards the Ark, (whose cover was the Mercy Seat) and that the ancient Christians worshiped towards the Holy Table or Altar, which Answers to the Mercy Seat in the Jewish Temple; but whether their Eyes were fixed or closed is a moot Point to me, and I have not the Curiosity to make a research in to it. Mr. Clarkson Labours to prove that they lift up their Eyes towards Heaven; but however, they disposed of their Eyes, I hope the officiating Minister might nevertheless read Prayers to them. In out own Assemblies some devout Per­sons may be seen with their Eyes closed, others looking towards [Page 23]the Altar, and others towards Heaven, and even the Minister himself does often lift up his Eyes in Prayer; but I hope all this is no Argument that we have no Liturgy in our Church, and that they who scruple its use, do scruple nothing, and if it is no Argu­ment now, it never was one.

2. We come next to his Second Class of Reasons, which he thus begins, The Pastors of Churches in the Primitive times, were under the teaching of the Anointing, and had the Spirit and Gift of Prayer. Suppose we this to be true, that they were taught to pray by the Unction of the Spirit; was this Unction extraordi­nary, as the Gifts of Languages, Prophecying and Miracles? or was it an ordinary standing Gift, which was to continue in the Church unto the end of the World? If he means the former, to what purpose does he urge a Gift which no one now can just­ly pretend to? if the later, why did he not explain the Nature of it, and shew the Promise, the extent and the necessity of it, and withal answer the Arguments,Dr. Falk­ners Liber­tus Eccles. his Vindication of Liturgies, and the Cases Conc. the Lawfulness of joyning with Forms of Prayer, part. 1. that have been urg'd against these Pretences.

But whatever he means by this Gift of Prayer, he would prove the use of it from Justin Martyr, and Tertullian theJustius Apol. 2. p. 98. [...] in the former, he says, is Vindicated beyond all Exceptian. The Objectors understand by that Phrase, that the chief Minister used his own Abilities in composing a Prayer. ButLibe [...]tas Eccles. p. 113. &c. Schol. Hist. p. 33. & part. 1. others think that it signifies his praying with all his might, i. e. with the utmost intention and fervency of Spirit. They explain this Phrase by another of the same Author used a little before it, where he says, that they made their common Prayers to God [...], i. e. fervent­ly and importunately. They further prove, that the same Ex­pression in another place of Justin (where he represents the Chri­stians in general, as praising God with Prayers and Thanksgivings, [...]) must signifie only fervency of Devotion, since it can­not be pretended that every Christian in the Congregation pray­ed publickly by his own Ability and Composure; and lastly they shew, that this Phrase is by the antient Writers applied to singing of Hymns, which were set Forms of Prayers and Praises, and not Composed at every meeting by the Minister; and these are plain Demonstrations, that this Expression is no Proof of any Gift in praying, since it often signifies only fervency in it. The [Page 24] P. 24. Examiner of Dr. Comber labours much to vindicate this Phrase, and he cannot deny, that it sometimes signifies only fervency of Spirit when it is appled to the People, but he thinks it a very plain Case, that a Minister cannot properly be said to pray to the ut­most of his Ability, when he doth not pray to the utmost of his Ablity; and may not the same thing be said of the People also? If the Minister use a Form, may he not likewise pray with all his might, or as well as he is able? and is not this a plain Equivocating upon the word Ability? take it first for fervency, and then for a fa­culty of composing, and the Contradiction is solved, and the Fal­lacy Transparent.

The other Proof is out ofTert. Apol. cap. 1. Tertullian, sine Monitore quia de pectore oramus, we pray without a Monitor, because we pray out of the Heart. But this can be no Proof against a Form of Prayer; sor 1. They who joyn with a Minister that prays Extempore, do pray as much with a Monitor, and have a Prayer dictated to them as much, as if they joyned in a prescribed Liturgy. And 2. Pray­ing out of the Heart,Schol. Hist. part. 1. [...]p. 46. &c. may signifie either saying a Prayer by Heart; or secret mental Prayer without words; or praying hear­tily, sincerely and affectionately, de anima innocenti, de Spiritis Sancto, (as Tertullian a little after) with a prayer proceeding from an innocent Soul, and the Holy Spirit moving and exciting it These interpretations are probable and consistent with the use of Liturgies, and consequently from this passage no Argument can be drawn against them: Yet from thence this Minister takes oc­casion to vent his Malice against Liturgies, and to reproach them, as an heathenish way of Praying. Now if our Saviour prescribed a Form to his Disciples, (and it is impossible for him to prove the the contray) then this reproach is Blasphemy; might not an Atheist say as well, That Prayer it self is an Heathenish practice, or a Quietest, Comment. in Entychi­um, p. 55. taht vocal Prayer is a Heathenish way of praying. Mr. Selden thought it probable that the Heathens learnt to use set Forms from the Example of the Jewish Church, and he cites Au­thorities to prove it, andView of the Dire­ctory. Dr. Hammond produces out of Plato and Alexander, ab Alex. these two Reasons of that practice, which he thinks may pass Christian, least evil things should be asked in stead of good, and least any thing should be said Preposterously in their Prayers; and therefore the practice of the Heathens is so far from being a prejudice to Liturgies, that it is a solid Argument for them, Whether either, or both, the Example of Gods Church, or the Catholick reason of mankind were the Original of it, the [Page 25]universal use of them among Jews and Christians, and Heathens, is an impregnable Proof of their expediency, and can be ascribed to no other cause, but the voice of God or Nature.

3. He transcribes this Objection after Mr. Clarkson, when the Christians were so numerous in Constantinople, that it was thought necessaryto dispose of them in several Churche, the Emperour Constan­tineEuseb. de vita Const. lib. 4. c. 35. [...] to Eusebius for 50 Bibles, for the use of those Churches, but there is no mention of any one common Prayer Book. Eusebius commends Constantine for observing in his Court the manner of the publick Service in the Church, he first imoplyed his mind in the Meditation of the Scriptures, and then with those who dwelt in his Palace he repeated,Ibid cap. 17. [...], the authorized Prayers; and it is known, that he himself composed a Prayer which heIbid cap. 19, 20. prescribed to his Army. And after such convincing, Proofs can a Negative Argument be thought considerable enough to Ballance them. Is it imaginable that Eusebius intended to give an exact Inventory of all that was provided for those Churches? Constantine sends to Eusebius in Palastine for 50 Bibles, probably because the best Copies might be there most easily procured; does it there­fore follow, that no prayer Books were provided at Constantinople, where it was easie to procure them? and if we should send to Holland for Bibles when we want them, would it not be as plain a Demonstration, that we have no prayer Books in England? Sue Schol. Hist part. 2d. p. 48. &c. He pretends, That when Forms of Prayer began to be used, ever Church made use of what Forms they pleased, and for this he cites Socrates Scholas. lib. 5. the passage he intends is in Chap. 22. In which the Historian reflecting upon a division among the Novatians about the time of keeping Easter, and shewing that antiently in different Churches, it was observed at different times without breach of Communion, does pass from thence to observe the diversity of other different usages in the Christan Chruches, as the different Customs of keeping the Fasts before Easter, the Marriages of the Clergy, and the different Rites and times of Prayer, and inter­preting Scripture in many Provinces and Countreys. The he tells us, that the Novations in the Hollespont did not observe the same manner of praying with those of Constantinople, and con­cludes, that upon the whole every where, and in all the Worships (or Rites) of Prayers, you cannot find, that they agree together, two in the same thing; and this is the passage they insist on. But 1. [...], may signifie Ceremonies and Rites of Prayer, for of different Ceremonies he was before Discoursing, and then [Page 26]the Passage will be no proof of different Forms. 2. Admitting that he speaks of different Prayers, this diversity is not spoken of single Congregations, but of several Nations and Dioceses, such as, for instance, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Constantinople. 3. A little after we have the reason fo this variety, I judge, says Socrates, that the Bishops, who presided in several Gages, were the cause of it; and how? They transmitted their own Ʋsage as a Law to those who should come after them; thus the cause of this diversity was not Li­berty, but Law and Prescription. 4. Immediately after, he vin­dicates the Nicene Council, which had determined the Controversie about Easter, and prescribed a certain time to keep it. But diver­sity in praying, and the different times of Easter, are by this Hi­storian proposed as things alike indifferent; and if Church Authority may determine and prescribe in one case, so it may also in the other. Thus we have the great Example of the Nicene Fathers for prescribing, and in stead of the Liberty they pretend to, the Prescription of set Forms, or Rights of Prayer to whole Dioceses and Nations. In short, the design of the Historian is to shew, that there were divers Customs in the Church in Things indifferent, and that the Communion of the Church ought not to be divided for them: Now Custom is a Law, introduced by Practice; and Law is a restraint upon Liberty: And if indifferent things may be pre­scribed by Custom, they may be prescribed by Canons, and Sepa­ration for them is alike unlawful.

He observes further, that there were several Liturgies allowed even in the Roman Communion, and that this Branch of the Churches Li­berty was taken away by the Council of Trent, and here in England by the Reformation. And what was that Liberty which was thus abridged? Not an Arbitrary Liberty in every Pastor of a Parish to use what Form he pleased, but the use of different Rules of Prayer that were before prescribed and practiced in different National Churches and Dioceses. The different Offices in England, as those for instance after the use of Sarum and York, did agree in Substance, they had the same Forms of Prayer, and differed for the most part in Rubricks and Ritualities only; and when our first Reformers esta­blished an uniform Order, it was not esteemed an Encroachment up­on Christian Liberty; neither are Unity, Order and Uniformity, the less valuable because Councils and Popes were for them

5. His next Reason is an Invective against the Introducers of Liturgies, and in the midst of it he defines ex Cathedrd, That the Liturgies which bear the great Names of S. James, Peter, Mark, [Page 27]Basil and Chrysostome are known Forgeries. That they are ent rely genuine as they are now extant, is affirmed by no one; but that they are Forgeries quite throughout, and especially the Liturgy ascribed to St. James, is so far from being known, that we may safely affirm, that it is impossible to know it: And the contrary opinion of so Learned men, asSee Falk­ners Vin­dication, p. 149. Baronius, Ddurantus, Leo, Allatius, Sixtus Senensis, Possevinus, Pamelius, and others among the Roma­nists; Dr. Hammond, Thorudike, Falkner, Casaubon, Salmotius, Durel, and some other Protestants will bear me out in affirming it.

But behold the Modesty, Charity and Humility of this Mini­ster; 'Twas the Ignorance, Carnality, Sloth and Laziness of the Clergy, together with their Pride which first brought in and imposed Service-Books on the Churches — When the Church began to be an Harlot, when Bishops were not Silver Trumpets, but tinkling Cymbals, &c. when in Councils, as of Ephesus and Chalcedon, they profest they did literas ignorare, and could not write their own Names to confirm their Canons, then came in our Liturgies. Thus far the Son of Thunder, but I take heart again, for find it is brutum fulmen, and our Prayer-Books are in no danger from it. The Falshood and weakness of this Raillery isSchol. Hist. part. 2d. p. 276. sufficiently exposed already, and it is impossible such stuff should impose upon any, but the greatest Bigots of Fanaticism. Ignorance, Carnality, Pride and Laziness brought in Liturgies; he might as well have said, that Burglary or Ʋsury did introduce them; if Pride and Ignorance brought in Liturgies, why are they not read in Conventicles? forIn his Cure of Divisions. Mr. Bax­ter hath complained to all the World, that the People who fre­quent them, for their Ignorance, Injudiciousness, Pride and Self­conceitedness are their Grief and their Shaine, and certainly we may believe him. But if Pride and Ignorance brought in Litugies; we remember well then Entbusiasm, Sacriledge and Rebellion did eject them. We havePreface to Dr. Still. Ʋnreason­ableness of Separa­tion. had convincing Proofs, that the Jesuits first brought extempore Prayers into England; those Missionaries of Antichristian were the first Teachers of them; and when Presbyterian Ministers were Trumpets to Rebellion, when their Sermons and their Arms brought the best of Kings to the Scaffold, when the Church was rent in pieces with damnable Doctrines, when Jero­roham's Priests profaned the Pulpits and the Altars, when the Stalls and the Shambles were the chief Schools of the Prophets, when all Religion was vanished into Cant; and Blasphemy and Nonsense were entitled to the Holy Spirit; then were Liturgies [Page 28]first abolished, and extempore Prayers first universally practised in any Christian Nation in the World.

But Liturgies, he says, were brought in when the Church be­gan to be an Harlot. Smectymnius Answer to Remonst. p. 7. derived their Pedigree from Three Canons of the Laodicean, Carthaginian, and Milevitan Councils; and thus they are allowed to be in use about 1300 years since, and has the Church been a Whore for so many Ages? has she forsaken her Spouse so long? has she renounced Christ Je­sus for 13 Centuries together? Yes, and much longer too, when we dispute about Episcopacy; for when we come to that Con­troversie, the Mystery of iniquity was working even in the times of the Apostles; and the Church did then begin to be an Harlot also; so little do some men care how they wound our common Christianity, and condemn the whole Catholick Church of Christ, so they may but vent their Malice against Liturgies and Bishops. But because he cannot deny that Liturgies were introduced in the 4th and 5th Centuries, he particularly Rallies upon the Ignorance of the Bishops of those Ages. And were those ever reputed igno­rant Ages? when was the Church better enlightned with Learn­ing, than when Chrysostome, Basil, Nyssene, Nahianhen, Epiphani­us, the two Cyrills, Lactantius, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Isi­dore Pelus. Theodoret, Vincentius, Gennadius, and many others were the Luminaries of it. But among these Gnosticks even the Mecha­nicks, and the Women have been thought more able Divines than the Fathers; and indeed if Ability is to be measured by the Gift of Prayer, as they call it, they may vye Learning even with their own Teachers; for their most ignorant Zealots do often pray with as much fluency of words, with as much pretence to the Spirit, (and which is the main Gift) with as much Confidence, as the ablest Ministers among them. But the Bishops of Ephesus and Chalcedon could not write their Names, and Mr. Clarkson indeed produces the Subscriptions of Three or four to prove it. And toSchol. Hist. pt. 2. p. 300. this it is replied, That those Subscriptions are of no credit as being suspected of Forgery; but suppose there were four Bi­shops among 830 in those Councils, who were so illiterate, is it not a very impudent Calumny to say indefinitely, as he does, That the Bishops of Ephesus and Chalcedon could not write their Names to confirm their Canons? might it not as well be said, that the Assembly of Divines at Westminster were Independants, because there were Five of that Sect among them, or that the Nonconfor­mists Ministers of this Age, have generally died as Traitors, be­cause [Page 29]Two or three were executed for being in Monmouths Re­bellion.

His last Reason concerns the imposing of Liturgies; and here he denies not the Lawfulness of them, but after he has begged the belief of his Followers, That they were not used in the Primitive times for many Hundred of years, he pretends to prove the unlaw­fulness of imposing them. Now one would think it a very plain Case, that things lawful in themselves may be lawfully enjoyned by lawful Authority; but this Minister is of another opinion, and the only Reason he gives for the unlawfulness of prescribing Forms is this, That it is a restraint upon the Gifts of such Ministers, as have Ability to compose better Prayers themselves and this he illustrates by the trite instances of Trespass Offering, and of a Law obliging those, who are not Lame and Impotent to make use of Crutches. But, 1. All this is impertinent to the Dispute before us; for the Mi­nisters in our Church are not restrained from the Exercise of their own Abilities in publick Prayers; they may use their own con­ceived Prayers in the Pulpit, and the Fifty fifth Canon, as explain­ed by the general Practise, is an allowance of it, and therefore if the Exercise of Abilities be not excluded in our Church, the pretence of restraint can never justifie a Separation from it.

Secondly, The Objection is grounded on these false Suppositi­ons; that God is better served by conceived Prayers, than by a publick Liturgy; that the Church is less difyed by it; that it is unlawful to lay a restraint upon private Gifts; and that it is law­ful to separate for better Edification; and unless all these Propo­sitions here precariously supposed to be true, (and I think he will find it impossible to prove them) then his whole reasoning, and the Crutches, he has brought to prop it, and the Pidgeons, Lambs and Bullocks which attend it, are plainly unserviceable to him. His Pidgeons and Crutches are designed to intimate that a Form of Prayer is a cheap, impotent, unedifying way of Worship, in Comparison of their extempore Effusions; but this he should have proved; for he knows we assert the contrary; we think that Prayers are not more acceptable, because they are inconside­rate or of private Composure; that the Framers of our Liturgy were as well gifted as Dissenters; that the Church may be better edifyed by the Spirit of the Church, than by the Spirit of a Mem­ber; and that those Prayers are fittest for the People, which they are before acquainted with, and wherein they are secured from Presumption and Impertinence, Blasphemy and Nonsense.

He should have proved likewise, that the Exercise of private Gifts cannot lawfully be restrained by publick Authority; we know, that even the miraculous Gifts of the Spirit were subject to restraint, and we have an express Rule, That the Spirit of the Prophets must be subject to the Prophets: There is no Law, no Rea­son, nor Revelation against such a restraint; on the contrary both Reason and Religion do require, that the use of private Abi­lities be regulated by publick Order, and that the vain Ostentati­on of them be restrained.Epist. 87. ad Prot. Aug. Calvin has expresly declared for the necessity of prescribing Forms, To remedy the simplicity and un­skilfulness of some, to testifie the Consent of all the Churches in the same Prayers, and to prevent the desultory Lightness of those, who af­fect Novelty; In short, all the Foreign reformed Churches, do either use or approve of prescribed Liturgies; the old Nonconformists al­ways allowed them, and even the Presbyterian Directory prescribed every thing but Words; and if private Spirits may be restrained to Sense and Matter, why not to Form and Language also?

Lastly, Admitting that such restraint is unlawful, and that conceived Prayers are more edifying than Forms, he should then have proved, that it is lawful to separate for better Edification. The antient Puritans thought otherwise, and so did the Presby­terian Assembly in their Controversie with the Independents; See Ʋnrea­sonableness of Separa­tion pt. 1. and so both Reason, Experience, and Revelation do convince us, that the restraint of private Gifts will not justifie the dividing of Christ; that the silenceing an able Minister is not so mischievous as Schism; that the Pretences of better Edification is the fruitful Parent of endless Separations, and that the Church (which is in the House of the living God) cannot be built or edified, by being torn in pieces and destroyed? Thus have I considered at large his Discourse about Liturgies, it is the principal Fort and Bulwark of his Cause, and the slight defences which remain will be easily de­molished.

4. The Point that follows next, is the abjuring of the solemn League and Covenant, as in it self an unlawful Oath, and imposed on the Subjects of the Realm, against the known Laws and Liberties of this Kingdom. And is it not extreamly modest in these Men, to Quarrel at the State, for requiring them to renounce an Im­pious and Rebellious Covenant? was it reasonable to admit such men into the Offices of the Church, as were sworn and obstinate­ly resolved to extirpate the whole Government of it? But let us consider the Reasons which he urges against the abjurating that Covenant.

1. There are many learned Preachers that never redd a Law Rook, they know nothing of Manna Charta, Bracton, Littleton, Cook, Common Law or Statute Law—is it reasonable then to require them, to declare the Covenant is contrary to known Laws and Liberties, which they are utterly unacquainted with? Indeed there is no necessity that a good Preacher should be an able Lawyer; and much less is it necessary to read over a Lawyers Library, to be convinced, that the Cove­nant was illegal, can none but profound Lawyers know that Fe­lony and Burglary are against our Laws and Liberties? Does not every sensible man know, that the impofit on of an Oath with­out Law to warrant it, is contrary to it and that nothing is Law, which has not the concurrence of King, Lords and Commons to enact it? have these Ministers never heard of the3 Car. 1. c. 1. S. 2. Petition of Right, which declares all others without Law to be against our Laws and Liberties? Or can they tell us by what Law the Cove­nant was established? was it not imposed without the Concur­rence of the King. and against his express Command? had they never heard of the Oaths and Laws about the Kings Supremacy? and is not theVid. in­dicium A­cad Oxo­niensis de solrum Freder. p. 8. 14. Cotenant plainly Contradictory to it? and Lastly, do they not know that this Abjuration is required by an Act of Par­liament? and what need then of consulting Law Books about a Covenant, for which there is no President in them, when the Legi­slative Power it self has declared the unlawfulness of it? it is ma­nifest this Ignorance is affected; time was, when they were so well acquainted with Laws and Liberties, that they preached the Peo­ple into a Rebellion for them; in the Covenant it self they swore expreslyArtic. 3. to preserve the Priviledges of Parliament, and the Liberties of the Kingdom; if then they knew those Liberties, can they now be unacquainted with them? or is it not as lawful to abjure, as to swear, without knowledge. Article 1. They swore to preserve the Religion of the Church of Scotland in Doctrine, Wor­ship, Discipline and Government; and was there one in a Thousand of the Covenanters that had a competent knowledge of these par­ticulars? How could it be imagined, that he common People should know them? and yet they never scrupled to exhort them to take it, tho they were morally certain, they did not understand it. And Lastly, why is not this Objection now considered by the Virgin Daughter of Scotland, as he Phrases it: There they force the Clergy to swear that W. and M. are lawful King and Queen by Laws of that Kingdom, and is this reasonable, when they are ut­terly unacquainted with those Laws, and many Learned Preachers [Page 40]have never read the Civil not Statute Law, nor Craig nor Skine, nor the Original Contract; but it is always to be observed, that the Presbyterians never do condemn what they do not practice.

2. The Substance of his next Reason is this, That the Covenant was taken by the People of Two or three Kingdoms, and a man had need be a good. Casuist, that can declare understandingly, that no one man is bound by that Oath, which almost every man took. Now I believe this Covenant was not taken by the Majority of these Kingdoms; in England I am sure it was generally refused by the Clergy, the Universities and the greatest part of the Nobility and Gentry. But admit the Majority took it, the force of his Reason depends upon this Proposition; That an Oath taken by a vast munitude must needs be Obligatory; and is it necessary to read all the Casni­stical Books of Divinity to confute so manifest a Falshood? in Po­pish Countries many Millions do take Monastick Vows, and all the Clergy swear obedience to the Pope; and may not an ordinary Casuist declare understandingly, that none of them are bound by those Vows and Oaths which all of them have taken? The Holy League in France was sworn by more than the Solemn League in England, was it therefore Obligatory? and is it not a sufficient Humiliation to which this Minister has called me, to be bound to answer such Absurdities.

3. He urges, that by the Covenant all Persons were bound in their places to endeavour a Reformation of the Church according to the Scri­ptures, and the Examples of the best reformed Churches, and he asks, is this an unlawful Oath? I answer, the Question is deceitful; a man hinds himself by Oath to serve God and the Devil, and he asks, is it not lawful to serve God? is this an unlawful Oath? Thus the Covenanters did swear to endeavour Reformation, Art. 1. and to extirpate Episcopacy. Art. 2. But this Minister mentions Reforma­tion only, and then impertinently demands, is this Oath unlawful? I am ready to maintain against him, that an Oath to serve the Devil is not more unlawful, than an Oath to destroy Episcopacy; and that upon this ground, because it is of Apostolical Institution. There are many other things unlawful in that Covenant, (as any one may be satisfied by the unanswerable Reasons of the Univer­sity of Oxford against it) and therefore if this Minister will prove it lawful, let him justifie it throughout, and not fly to such Me­thods, as may serve to justifie the most execrable Oaths that can be, by producing one single Passage, that may seem justifiable in them. But thus he proceeds, If a man should swear, that in his Place [Page 41]and Calling he would endeavour to cast every Idol out of the World: and what is the consequence of this terrible If? Why, truly no­thing at all; but he filly adds, that in Scotland they have cast off Prelacy, and established Presbytery, i. e. they have cast out the Idol, and set up the true God among them; but if this be his meaning, that Episcopacy is Idolatry, I account of him as one of the incura­ble Fanatical Roul, that call every thing Idol or Antichrist that dis­pleases them, and I am not obliged to answer Bigotry and Frenzy.

The last Point he insists on, is a Passage out of the Commination Office in the Liturgy, wherein the Church declares her Desire, that the Godly Discipline, used in the Primitive Church, may be again re­stored; and says, it is much to be wished for. It is wonderful to con­sider, what work he makes with this Passage! but I am willing to believe he never read it in the Liturgy. It was long since an old conceit of the Nonconformists, Vid. Hooker, p. 331. that the Primitive Discipline, which was so much wished for by the Compilers of our Liturgy, was the Presbyterian Discipline, and from them, I presume, he borrowed the Objection. But in the Liturgy it self there is no Foundation for it, as will appear from a view of the Passage it self in the Pre­face to the Commination; Brethren, in the Primitive Church, there was a Godly Discipline, that at the beginning of Lent, such Persons as stood convicted of Notorious Sins, were put to open Penance, and pu­nished in this World— In stead whereof, (until the said Discipline may be restored again, which is much to be wished for,) it is thought good, &c. and is Presbytery the Discipline here desired? undoubt­edly as much as Popery or Mahumetanism; It not that Discipline ex­presly declared to be the Discipline of publick Penance, which in the ancient Church was inflicted upon such as stood convicted of Notorious Sins at the beginning of Lent, in order to their Absolu­tion, and Admission to the Holy Sacrament at Easter? What can be more express and evident, than that the Ancient Leut Discipline is there alone intended? And have the Non conformists, as he pre­tends, ever written for, preached for, and suffered for, the Resto­ration of this Discipline? Have they ever wish'd or desired it? Have they not always written and preach'd against it? Do they not still exclaim at it, as Popery and Superstition? But this Mi­nister pronounces considently, that this Expression stands in the Li­turgy, as well for the Justification of the Nonconformists, as for a Testi­mony against the Prelates. Thus the Godly Discipline is a Condem­nation to them who have always desired it, and Justification to them who have always opposed it; and if Nonconformists must [Page 42]needs be justified by Blunder and Contradiction, this Minister I confess is a fit Apologist for them. But behold the Reflections he makes on this Passage.

First, The Reformers and Compilers of this Book of Common Prayer had no full Satisfaction with what was then done. What, Were they not fully satisfied with the Liturgy? The first Liturgy of Edward the 6th was applauded by the whole2, 3 Ed. 6. c. 1. Parliament, as composed by the Special Aid of the Holy Ghost; andActs and Monu­ments, Tom. 3. p. 171. Doctor Taylor the Martyr publickly declared, that the whole Church-Service in King Ed­ward's Second Liturgy, was so fully perfected according to the Rules of our Christian Religion, that no Christian Conscience could be offended with any thing therein contained. The Papists were the only Persons in those Times, that were dissatisfied with it, and therefore, in Queen Mary's days, a Challenge was made byIbid. Tom. 3. p. 18. Cranmer, that with P. Martyr, and four or five more, they would enter the Lists with any Papists living, and defend the Common Prayer Book to be perfectly agreeable to the Word of God, and the same, in effect, which had been for 1500 Years in the Church of Christ; and let any one now con­sider, whether our first Reformers were not fully satisfied with the Liturgy. But he adds, they ingenuously confess, they came short of the Primitive Discipline, and that the Reformation should have been carried on higher, if the Times would have given leave. They con­fess, they could not revive the ancient Discipline of Lent, and they desired a higher Conformity to the Primitive Church, (not in relation to the Hierarchy and Liturgy, but) in the strictness of Mens Lives, and the impartial severity of publick Penance, Yet, says he, they had then their Government by Bishops, Archbishops, Chan­cellors, Archdeacons, &c. as we have at this day. They had so, and were fully satisfied with it, and there were no Protestants in that Age that separated from it. Archdeacon Philpot, Archbishop Cran­mer, and several Bishops, our first Reformers and Martyrs, approved that Government, and lived and died in the Administration of it; they did not permit it only, as Moses did Divorces to the Jews, be­cause of the hardness of their Hearts, (as this Minister does falsely insinuate,) but they never intimated the least Suspition of its un­lawfulness, and they plainly,Preface to the Book of Ordin. [...]. declared Episcopacy to be evidently founded upon Scripture and Apostolical Institution. But these Reformers and Martyrs were ignorant of those things which are now known unto Women and Artificers; poor Men! they were under a dispensation of Darkness, and the Gospel-Light of Separation was totally hidden from them.

Secondly, he observes, That it is more than 1 [...]00 Years since these good Men recorded their Desires of Restoring the said Discipline; and is it enough (say he,) that the Church carries her good Wishes with her through all Generations Enough certainly, while the Restoring that Discipline is impossible: Our first Reformers could not revive it, because the universal and incorrigible Wickedness of that Age, could not endure the Yoke of Primitive Penance and are scandalous Offenders now less numerous or loss incorrigible? If the Reformers are excusable, much more our present Governors, by how much the present Age is more untractable and more obstinate against the Bands of Discipline. Is it possible now to reduce Offenders to the Primi­tive Humiliations, the Fastings and Watchings, the Sackcloth and Ashes the Prostration at the Church Doors, and the other Austerities of Ancient Penance? Will any of the Dissenter's submit to this Discipline as a satisfaction for their Schism? If such an impracticable Discipline were imposed, these Ministers would presently cry out Popery encourage all Offenders to oppose it, and set open the Doors of their Conventicles to receive them such an Imposition would be vain and pernicious, it would scandalize the weak, and alienate the obstinate, and serve only to empty our Churches, and crowd the Conventicles; and though for that reason they may desire it. yet the Church is not obliged to prescribe a Remedy, that will make the Physician contemptible, and the Patient incurable. The restoring of that Salutary Discipline (as the reviving of Primitive Piety,) may be al­ways wish'd for, but perhaps will never be attained; but the licentious Wickedness of the present Times, the general Contempt of all the Censure of the Church, and the manifold Schisms with which it is rent in pieces, do make it now impossible; and if it were established, it is not to be hoped, that the obstinacy of the Dissenters would be subdued, nor their Aversion to the Church be reconciled by it.

I intend not to follow this Minister through his tedious Digression about Reformation, and much less to ramble with him as far as the Temple at Je­rusalem, to which, forsaking his Text and his Purpose, he undertakes a Pilgrimage, and returns with these wise Observations,P. 22, 23. That the Temple was built upon Ornan's Barn; that this Ornan was of Princely descent, be­cause he had a Princely Mind; and that Temple-Work is hard Work, 'tis Thresh­ing. Thus, after a long Journey, he brings back nothing, but Apes and Peacocks as himself observes of some who ramble into the Indies. These are the Sa­ving Doctrines for which this Thresher is admitted by his Hearers; and since a Barn is his Delight, may he never Thresh in the Houses of GOD, nor profane those Sanctuaries that are consecrated to his Worship.

But I return to Reformation, and in Answer to his Harrangue about it I desire it may be remembred, 1. That this Minister does not seek the same Reformation which was sought by Christ and his Apostles, for Pres­bytery is not the Gospel, neither is Extirpation of Bishops the Propagation of Christianity. 2 Reformation is very good in it self and the Churchmen are for it much more than the Dissenters, but they cannot be convinced that the [Page 44]removing Decency, Order, and an Apostolical Government, is Reformation; they know, that this is the usual Vizard to disguise Sacrilege, Avarice and Am­bition, and that the Sectaries endeavour not to reform the Church, but to de­stroy it, that they may seize on its Inheritance; and withall they cannot but reflect upon the experience which we have had of Sectarian Reformation; when Prelatical Government was reformed into no Government, and a sober Liturgy into Enthusiasm, and 39 Articles into infinite Heresies, that could scarce be pa­rallell'd in all the ancient Catalogues, and in stead of the Power of Godliness, there ensued such an Inundation of Wickedness, as no Age could parallel. This was observed by theFor in­stance, by Edwards in his Gan­graina. Presbyterians themselves, and an ingenious Foreigner who then resided at London, made this Observation upon those Times,A Letter of a Noble Venetian to Ca. Bar­barino, Translated and Prin­ted 1648. p. 19. one of the Fruits, says he, of this Blessed Parliament, and of these two Sectaries, (Presby­terians and Independants,) is, that they have made more Atheists, than I think there are in all Europe besides; and if we judge of the Tree by its Fruits, and de­sire to see no more such Reformations, have they reason to blame us for it?

3. It should be considered, that no pretence of Reformation can justifie Sepa­ration from a Church, in which no sinful Terms of Communion are imposed. There is no Church in the World, which is free from all Corruptions in Doctrine, Wor­ship, Discipline, or Manners, and if the want of some Reformation be a just rea­son for Renouncing Communion, the Unity of the Church is nothing but a No­tion, and it will be lawful for every Man to separate from all the Churches in the World, for it is only the Triumphant Church in Heaven, which is perfectly without spot and blemish. Defect of Discipline, and purer Communion, were the pretences of the Donatist and Novatian Schisms; but they were condemn'd by the Catholick Church, andAug. con. Parmen. Epis. lib. 2, 3. Tom. 7. S. Austin proves at large against the Donatists, that Corruption in Discipline or Manners cannot make the Communion of such a Church sinful, nor justifie Separation; and hence any one may discern, how impertinent to this purpose are all this Ministers Clamours about Reformation; for though the pursuit of it may be commeadable, and the Church may need it, yet it is evident his Nonconformity and Separation cannot be justified by it, for there is no Church upon Earth, which needs not Reformation, and if Men may separate where they see any thing amiss, this Principle will carry them to a Separation from all Christian-Society, and that is a plain Demonstration of the Faishood of it.

I have now considered and weigh'd all his Pleas for Nonconformity, and having found them light and deceitful in the Ballance, having sufficiently prov'd them to be false and fallacious; I conclude, that the Nonconformists were not per­secuted for Righteousness sake, and that hisP. 24. virulent Reproaches of the Church of England in Prophetick Language are no better than Blasphemy, and a contumeli­ous Prophanation of Gods word, by making it the Instrument of his Spite and Animosity.

And one Ressection more will make it yet more evident, that they did not suf­fer for Righteousness; it is this, that tho his Pleas be allowed to have Truth and Reason in them, yet they will not justifie the Dissenters Separation. Every one knows that these Ministers were not punished for not conforming as Ministers, but for setting up Conventicles; tho they could not Act as publick Ministers, yet they might have adher'd to the Communion of the Church, and then they would have been in no danger of Persecution; they suffered for their Separation, and if all this Ministers Objections will not justifie it, they will not justifie their Sufferings for it. The Plea of Reformation I have shewn already to be insufficient; and it is evident that Lay Dissenters are unconcerned in all the others; they were neither ablig'd to [Page 45]renounce the Covenant, nor the Lawfulness of Resistance, nor the Ordination of Presbyters, nor to declare their Assent and Consent to the Common-prayer; and this Minister himself denies not the Lawfulness of their joyning in it. Thus he hath left all his Congregation without any defence, and it remains that they suffered not for Righteousness, but for an unrighteous and indefensible Separation.

Let us see whether the same Objections will justifie his own Separation? Sup­pose the Oath of Non-resistance to be unlawful, was that a term of our Commu­nion? was it required of all that come to our Prayers or Sacraments? and might he not have adhered to the Communion of our Church without swearing or de­claring it? be it granted next that Reordination is unlawful to be comply'd with; was that likewise any term of Communion in Worship and Sacraments? And if they could not Preach as Ministers, could they not Communicate as Laymen? and is the unlawful silencing of a Minister to be revenged with Schisin? The next point is the use of the Liturgy; and is there any thing unlawful in all our Prayers? if he cannot Consent to some Passages in the Rubrick, or in a Creed that is very Sel­dom recited, yet there is nothing sinful in our ordinary Worship, and the occasi­onal Communion allow'd by the Presbyterians themselves is a clear Confession of it: And Lastly, as to the Covenant, if it must not be renounced, cannot they worship God in our Churches without renouncing it? or does it at all oblige them to Separation? Mr.Defence of Cure, p. 68. Baxter has prov'd, that the Covenant binds them to Com­munion with our Church, because, it binds to Reformation according to the Ex­ample of the best reformed Churches; but all reformed Churches in Christendom do commonly profess to hold Communion with the English Churches in the Liturgy; if they come amongst us where it is used; therefore (says he) it seems to me to be Perjury and Covenant breaking to refuse Communion with the Churches that use the Liturgy, as a thing meerly on that Account unlawful. Thus Mr. Baxter; and these Concessions are very remarkable; that Separation on the Account of our Liturgy is unlawful; that it is a breach of their Covenant; and is condemned by all Reformed Churches; and what new Pleas can this Minister produce to defend his Separation?

Will he urge the Pretence of necessity to Preach the Gospel, and that therefore he was forced to separate, because he could not do it in our Churches? But if he was under the same necessity the Apostle was, then he has surely the Commission and Authority of an Apostle; but if he hath no Commission from God, (let me use the words of an antientMr. Gif­fard cited in the Ʋn­reasonable­ness of Se­par. p. 80. Nonconformist) it is the Devil that hath sent him forward to Preach against the Authority of the Church, and the Prohibition of the Christian Magistrate. In short, they have neither the same Commission as the Apostles; neither is there the same necessity of their Preaching, for the Gospel is now planted in this Kingdom; it is Preached in our Churches and it would not be extinguished if this Minister and his Brethren (to use his own Seraphical Expres­sions) were all them Dumb Dogs, or Breasts without Milk, or Bells without Clappers. And withal it is here to be observed, that it is evidently proved,Ibid p. 1. sect. 8, 9, 10, 11, & 17. that according to the Doctrine of the most learned Nonconformists of former times, both their Separating and their Preaching are absolutely unlawful.

The Sum of all is this; the Laws against the Dissenters were made for the se­curity of the Church and State; the Execution of them was not so cruel, as is pre­tended; their persecuting of the Government did extort it; the Presbyterians themselves have always condemned Toleration; they do ever persecute whenever they have Power; this Minister declaims only against Persecution for the Truth; but all his Pretences to Truth appear to be false and groundless; and if they were admitted, would not justifie Separation; and therefore the result is this; That his Call to Humiliation is an unreasonable Clamour, and that it ought to have [Page 46]been directed to the Presbyterians themselves, and especially to their Ministers; who have been the most grievous Persecutors; who have crubified Christ Jesus by dividing hith; have torn his Body into pieces; have separated from the whole Catholick Church; under pretence of Reforming the Reformed Religion have Re­proached and weaken'd it, have been always undermining that Church which is the Bulwark of it; have bound themselves by impious Oaths, and very lately ebtred into an Alliance with the Papists, to destroy it: And lastly, have suffered obsti­nately for an Unrighteous Chuse, condemned by Reason and Revelation, by the Universal Church of all Ages, and by all the Reformed Churches in the World.

Having now Answer'd the whole Design if this Pamphlet, and all that looks like Argument in it; it would be superfluous to examine the Remainder and to re­flect particularly on his malicious Hints and Intimations, his Cant and Shtyr, his a­buse of Scripture, his Uses and his Prayers, which he Recommends to his People, and wherein he Feaches them that Vile and Divilish Practice of turning Prayers into Libels, and instructs them to Pray much worse than the Pharisee; to commend themselves to GodSee p. 27. As followers of the Lamb and the Lords Anoin­ted, and to accuse the Church-men before him, as Dumb Dogs and Wolves, and bloudy Persecutors. Thus do they fill up the measure of their Fathers, who sin their Prayers taught the People to Speak evil of Dignities, and to Curse the best of Kings, as a Bloudy, Persecuting, obdurate Tyrant.

Yet I cannot but take notice of his insolent, Triumph for the Establishment of Presbytery in Scotland. Now, says he, is fulfilled that which was spoken by the Prophet, The Land of Zebulun, &c. — The People which sate in Darkness saw great Light, and to them which sat in the Region and Shadow of Death, Light is sprung up. And was this Prophecy never fulfilled till now? It Presbytery the Messias whose Light is there foretold? Did Nailor himself ever utter more Abo­minable Blasphemy? Has the Virgin Daughter of Scotland proclaim'd a new Gospel which was not Preach'd before? Is it the Evangelium Armatum, or the Gospel of Xaverius, or of the Whore of Babylon? Hither to I thought that Episcopal Churches might have the Light of the Gospel; but a new Light hath now discovered that they are all in Darkness, and that all Christian Churches for 1500 Years together, have been in the Regions of Death, without Christ, without the Light of the Gos­pel, and consequently without Salvation.

One thing more I must observe, that the Sermons and Writings of these Mini­sters do make it as clear as the Sun, that all the projects of Ʋnïon with that Party are absolutely impracticable. The Presbyterians are the only Dissenters that are thought capable of Comprehension; but to take them into our Church, we must cast out our Liturgy, and our Bishops, we must submit our Necks to the Iron Yoke of Presbytery; in short we must destroy our Church if we will have an Ʋnion with them; no Alterations will content them; they who have, & they who have not taken the Covenant do think themselves bound to extirpate Prelacy, and to Reform according to the model of Scotland, they desire no Ʋnion, and despise it; when Treaties of Peace are proposed they make themselves ready to Battel; their Ho­stility is Irreconcileable, and the total Destruction of our Church is the sum of all their Endeavours and Designs.

But Oh! That our Lives were as good as our Religion, and our Manners pure and primitive as the Constitution of our Church; for then would God cover is under his Wings, and he that hath deliver'd, and doth deliver, would still deliver us. Our Church, we know, is Founded on a Rock, let us depart from Iniquity, and her Foundation shall stand sure, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.


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