AN APOLOGY FOR THE English Presbyterians, WITH A DEFENCE OF THE Heads of Agreement Assented to by the Ʋnited Ministers, in the Year 91.

LONDON, Printed, and are to be Sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster, 1699.


IN the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth, and James the First, the English Presby­terians were represented to be for such a Church-Government as was Inconsistent with, and Destructive of the King's Supremacy in Matters Ecclesiastical, as well as of the Dio­cesan Form. And that the Civil Magistrate might be induc'd to Believe it, Three Articles were proposed to be Subscribed unto; the First about the Supremacy, the other Two about the Government, Liturgy, and Ceremonies of the Church; whereupon they, who refused Subscripti­on only to the Second and Third, were said to do so, because they would not Allow of the First.

This Accusation was the more generally Receiv'd, because the English Presbyterians Corresponded with their Brethren in Scotland, (who deny the Supremacy) about Episcopacy, the Liturgy, and the Ceremonies; and among the Con­forming Clergy, there were some, who would have introduced the Classical Government, [Page ii] under the Name of Diocesan; which moved Archbishop Bancroft to Publish his Scotizing Dangerous Positions and Survey. Besides the Classical National Government being found­ed on a Divine Right, was the more frightful to the Queen, her Nobility and Gentry, who would never suffer the Divine Right of the Di­ocesan Government; knowing that the Divine Right of a National Church Government of any sort, and the Regal Supremacy can never simul & semel dwell in the same Kingdom, the Setting up of the One, being a Subversion of the other.

The English Presbyterians, Observing the Nature of the Accusation, and the Arts, used to insinuate the Belief of it into the Minds of their Governours, judg'd it necessary to do their Part to clear themselves from those Impu­tations, which they did, in their Protestations, Petitions, and other Writings, by a Free, Open and Ʋndisguised Representation of their Prin­ciples about the Nature and Constitution, and Power of Particular Churches; and also a­bout the King's Supremacy, making it Evi­dent, that in all these Points, they agreed en­tirely with the first Reformers, even with them who sate up a Church at Franckfort, in Queen Mary's day; and had a Chief hand, in Refor­ming the Church of England, under Queen Elizabeth, who settled Parochian Churches (which for their Form, are the same with Congregational) as the only Churches of Di­vine Institution, recognizing all the Superiorities [Page iii] and Preheminences which the Diocesan Bishop hath above the Presbyter to be only Jure Regio, or Parliamentario, so that as the Parochian Presbyters are of God's Institution, the Dio­cesan Bishop is of the Prince's making; and accordingly, as every Creator takes care of his own Creature, as God has Provided a Maintainance for the Presbyter, the King hath also Endowed the Bishop, which is as I take it, the true reason why Sr. Thomas Ridley, a Person Zealous for the Church, in his View of the Civil and Eccle­siastical Laws, Par. 3. Cap. 5. Affirms, That God hath by his Word made Tythes due to Paro­chian Churches, but not to Diocesan Bishops, whose Indowments stood in good Tem­poral, and Finable Lands, which Gratious Princes, and other good Benefactors of for­mer Ages bestowed upon them.

The English Presbyterians keeping tightly to those Principles, on which the Reformation began, were Esteemed by the Nobility, and Gentry to be Men of such Peaceable Princi­ples as might be safely Indulg'd; who therefore oft in Parliaments made Application to the Prince on their behalf.

On these Principles the late Union between the Congregational and Presbyterian was entered into, giving so much Security to the Church of England, that no Sincere Approver of it, can have any hand in setting up that Government, which endangers it; Their being for any such Mo­del, is a being for what destroys those Churches, [Page iv] which they themselves Believe to be of God's Ap­pointment. Nor Indeed can they be for the Divine Institution of any other Particular Churches than what are Congregational, unless upon this Prin­ciple, [That the Catholick-Church-Visible is a Govern'd Society, that hath a Supreme Power under Christ, Monarchical, Aristocratical, or Democratical, Authorized to Govern the Whole by Legislation and Judgment;] Which is a Notion so contrary to what not only all true Protestants in general, but the English Presbyterians, as well as the Congregationalists in particular are for, that they detest, and abhor it.

A Clear Conviction of these things, upon ma­ture Deliberation, and a serious Observation of the Sentiments of our Wisest and most kind Friends, with a sincere Desire, that my Brethren may be cleared from those Aspersions, (which either through the Inadvertency of some of them­selves, or the Crafty Insinuations of their Adver­saries) hath been cast upon them, and that they may continue in the Peaceable Injoyment of that Liberty, which through the Auspicious influence of the Government they are Possessed of, hath moved me to make this Apologetical Repre­sentation of their Genuine Principles: Being strongly Perswaded, that as our Governours will consider the Real difference there is between the Principles of the English and CLASSICAL Presbyterians, and notwithstanding their Indig­nation against the Latter, will always extend their Generous and Christian Compassions to­wards the Former; So my Brethren of the Pres­byterian [Page v] Denomination, will give some Evident Demonstrations of their sincere and Constant ad­herence to those Principles of the English Presbyterians, as Delivered long ago in their Protestations, &c. and lately in the Heads of Agreement, and Particularly to those Arti­cles of it, by which they are set at the greatest Distance from Intermedling with the National Church Form.



PAge 49. line 20. for Especially, read Specifically. p. 61. l. 6. for as, read and; l. 16. for Ecclesiastical, read Classical.

AN APOLOGY FOR THE English Presbyterians.

THE Prejudices, which are, in the minds of many, against the Presbyterians in this Kingdom, arising from some mistaken No­tions, entertain'd about the Principles, which Men of that Denomination are said to embrace, there can't be, I think, a more Effectual Apology made for them, than what is done by an Impartial Re­presentation of those Principles they do really own; and what, tho' laid to their Charge, they do with the most Indigna­tion and Abhorrence disavow. I will therefore faithfully propose what the En­glish Presbyterians, for whom alone I make this Plea, do, and do not, hold; And for the greater satisfaction of my Reader, I [Page 2] will set in the clearest Light I can, the Notions espoused by the Classical or Scotch Presbyterians, with which the English could never comply; though upon the Supposal, that they are zealous Defenders of that Classical Government, they have fall'n under the Displeasure and Con­tempt of our Civil and Ecclesiastical Go­nours.


What are the Principles about Church-Government, held by the English Pres­byterians, wherein they do differ from the Classical-Scotch-Presbyterians.

§.1. THE Principles held by the En­glish Presbyterians about the Constitution, and Power of Particular Churches, and their Subordination to the Civil Magistrate, are briefly these.

1. That a Governing Church is of no larger Extent than a Worshipping Con­gregation.

2. That the Ruling Power of their Of­ficers is not to be stretch'd beyond the Bounds and Limits of their Worshipping Congregation.

3. That what Power besides this is re­quisite to reform the Disorders in Parti­cular Churches, such as the Removing Scandalous and Heretical Teachers, &c. is vested in the Civil Magistrate.

4. That it belongs also to the Civil Magistrate to convene Synods, or Assem­blies of Ministers, when there shall be an occasion for them, whose Power, when convened, is only Persuasive, not Coercive.

§.2. The Principles, which the Classical or Scotch Presbyterians, who assert the Divine Right of a National Church-Go­vernment, do advance, are,

1. That One Governing Church is made up of many worshipping Congregations.

2. That the Ruling Power of their Of­ficers is extended beyond the Bounds of a single Congregation. For, by asserting the Catholick Church Visible to be a Govern'd Society, or Organnick Body, they must ne­cessarily, and do professedly own, that the Ministry, Ordinances, and Censures are given firstly to the Catholick Church Vi­sible, and secondarily to particular Chur­ches, which, whether Congregational, Classical, Provincial. &c. are not properly Churches, but only Parts or Members [Page 4] diversly combin'd) of the Catholick Church, which is the only proper Visible Church, whereupon all Church-Power is habitu­ally seated in the Officers of the Catholick Church Visible, as such, and therefore ex­tended beyond the Bounds of single Con­gregations, even to the utmost Limits of the Catholick Church Visible.

3. That the Ruling Officers in their lar­ger Assemblies, viz. Classical, Provincial, National, Patriarchal, and Oecumenical, have a Power inherent in them to reform the Disorders of particular Churches, and to remove scandalous or Heretical Teachers.

4. That it belongs to the Church and not to the Civil Magistrate, to convene Synods or Assemblies of Ministers and other Ruling Officers.

§.3. In these particular Instances, you have a full, though brief Account of what is embraced by the English, and by the Classical Presbyterians. And it's now my Part to vindicate the former from those Reproaches unjustly cast upon them, and shew that the Charge can not be fairly laid at the Door of any Presbyterian, but the Classical.

§.4. That I may do the English Pres­byterians Justice, in the representing their Principles I must consider what the mise­rable State of the Church was before Lu­ther; upon what Principles the Prote­stants went in their Endeavours to re­form the Church; and then evince, that the English Presbyterians stuck firmly to those Principles, upon which the Separa­tion was made from the Church of Rome.


The Miserable State of the Church before Luther, the Principles on which the Reformation was begun and carryed on, with a state of the Controversie between Papist, and Protestant. The English Presbyterians constantly adhered to the Reformed about Church-Government, particularly Cartwright &c.

§.1. ABout the time that Luther with many others endeavour'd a Re­formation of the Church, the Great Evil complained of was the Intolerable Ty­ranny of the Ecclesiasticks. The People were then so very much under the Pow­er of the Clergy, that they were perfect [Page 6] Strangers to the least Part of Christian Liberty, besides, the Inferiour Clergy so grievously Oppressed by their Superi­ours, and all so much Slaves to the Plea­sure of the greatest, that throughout all Europe, the Miseries of the People were so great and pressing, that none durst open their Mouths in favour of their Ancient Rights, and Privileges. Yea,

§.2. The Domination, and Tyranny of Popish Prelates, who aimed more at Worldly Grandeur, than at the advan­cing Christ's Glory, was grown to such a Height, that they did what-ever was good in their own Eyes, and that they might do it with the grea­ter Countenance, they asserted, that there was a Catholick Church Visible; that this Catholick Visible Church was One Governed Corporation, or Society, under one supreme Governing Power, to which they ascended by sundry steps, from the Diocesane to the Provincial, from thence to the Patriarchal.

§.3. The first Reformers, as many of their Fore-Fathers, such as the Wicklif­fists, Hussists, &c. groaning under these Insupportable Burdens, and throughly [Page 7] understanding from whence they had their Rise, laid the Ax to the Root of the Antichristian Tyranny, denying that there was a Catholick Church Visible.

§.4. Here the Reformed fix'd their Foot, affirming, that the Universal Church was made up only of Elect Be­lievers, and was Invisible: that those spe­cial Privileges, which the Papists appro­priated to their Catholick Church Visi­ble, belonged only to the Invisible Church, and hereby left no foundation for the raising a Catholick Church Govern­ment upon, for Sublato Fundamento tolli­tur Opus, and thus their Catholick Go­vernment fell to the Ground. The Go­vernment, in Controversie, being Ex­ternal, as well as Catholick, must have a Visible as well as a Catholick Church for its State; so that where no such Catho­lick Church, there can be no such Catho­lick Government. On the other hand,

§.5. The Papists being fully convinced that the Reformers had taken the most effectual way to subvert their Church Government, and divest them of that Au­thority they assumed to themselves over the Consciences of the People, owned it, [Page 8] and in Opposition unto them, held that there was a Catholick Church Visible, under an External Polity, or Government. So Alphonsus a Castro advers. Haeres. Lib. 1. ‘The Wickliffists, Hussists, and Lutheranes do stifly insist on the Invisibility of the Catholick Church, and is the strongest Shield they have to defend themselves against whatever is urged from the Church's Authority, which is the sharpest Weapon we can use against them.’ Gre­gory de Valentina Anal. Fid. Cathol. lib. 6. Chap. 3. ‘If the Ʋniversal Church be Composed only of those who are Predestinated, and truly Righteous, the Government of the Church of Rome can never be defended.’ And Rodericus de Arriago confesseth, (de Divin. sid. Disp. 7. §. 1. Num. 3.) That the true Reason, why they lay so much stress upon this Part of the Controversie, is because the Support of the Papall Power Depends upon it. Many other Authorities may be at any time produced for the Confirmation of this Point, but the thing it self is so clear that it's not needful.

§.6. The Reformed in this Kingdom agree'd with the Wickliffists, Hussists, and Lutheranes, owning that the Catholick [Page 9] Church was no otherwise visible, than as it might be seen in Particular Church-Assemblies, which closely examined a­mounts to more, than that there is no Church, properly speaking, Visible, but what is Particular, and no External Church-Government but what is seated in Particular Churches; that the Refor­ming such Disorders, as cannot be done by that Power which is Peculiar to Paro­chiall, or Congregational Churches, be­longs to the Civil Magistrate, viz. such as the convening the Assemblies of Mi­nisters, and the removing Scandalous, Turbulent, and Heretical Teachers. But

§.7. If all that Power, which is meer­ly Spiritual and Ecclesiastical, be appropri­ated to particular Congregations, then all that Power exercised in Classical, Dioce­sane, Provincial, National, Patriarchal, and Oecumenical Synods or Assemblies, falls to the ground, together with their having Authority to determine Controversies of Faith; for sublato fundamento tollitur opus, as has been already observed.

§.8. This being for many Years after the Reformation began in this Land, ge­nerally received, the English Presbyterians [Page 10] took Advantage against that Part of the Church of England, which retaining too much of the Catholick Church Leven, would fain have preserved somewhat of the old Papal Power. Some feeble Efforts were put forth in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth and James the First, but re infecta; and in the Reign of Charles the First, by the help of Archbishop Laud and his Followers, great Advancements were made towards the Restoring this Power; But

§.9. The general Vogue of the Episco­pal, as well as the Cry of the Nonconfor­mists, being against the Exercise of any such Power, the Difficulties the Archbi­shop met with were next to insuperable; especially upon the account of the Diffe­rent Copies, about the Twentieth Arti­cle of the Church of England, for as some Copies begin thus, ‘[The Church hath Power to decree Rites and Cere­monies and Authority in Controversies of Faith, it is not Lawfull &c.]’ So others begin at, [It is not Lawfull, &c.] Where­upon Laud's Party found it necessary to oppugn the old Doctrine about the Au­thority and Government of the Church, and whereas the 20th Article in some [Page 11] Ancient Copies of the Queen's Reign be­gan at, [It is not Lawfull for the Church to Ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word, &c.] 'twas such an obstacle in the way of their Designs, that they were hard put to it, and found it necessary, if possible, to remove it. And accordingly

§.10. Dr. Heylin, a chief Instrument in this Design, did on the 24th day of April, Ann. 1627. answer in the Divinity-Schools at Oxon, upon these two Questi­ons, viz. (1.) An Ecclesia unquam fuit in­visibilis? And (2.) An Ecclesia possit er­rare? Both which he determined in the Negative. And in stating of the first, he fell upon a different way from that of Dr. Prideaux, in his Lecture, De Visibi­litate Ecclesiae, and other Tractates of and about that time, in which the Visibility of the Church, was no otherwise proved, than as scattered amongst the Waldenses, Wickliffists, Hussists, &c. For Heylin, not liking this manner of Proceeding, be­cause it utterly discontinued the Succession in the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy chose ra­ther to look for a Continual Visible Church, in Asia, Ethiopia, Greece, Italy, and Rome it self.

§.11. In the Year 1633. Heylin was at Oxon to Answer for his Degree of Doctor, and insisted on the Authority of the Church, as formerly he did on the Infallibility, and Visibility of it. His Questions were (1.) An Ecclesia habeat Authoritatem in Decer­nendis fidei Controversiis? (2.) Interpretan­di Scripturas? (3.) Decernendi Ritus & Ceremonias? all which he held in the Affirmative; declaring it to be the Plain and Positive Doctrine of the Church of England in the 20th Article, which runs thus, in terminis viz. Habet Ecclesia Ritus sive Ceremonias statuendi Jus, & in fidei Controversiis Authoritatem: But,

§.12. Dr. Prideaux, then in the Chair, expressed great Dissatisfaction with Hey­lin, charging him with falsifying the Pub­lick Doctrine of the Church, as others accused Laud and other Bishops, for ma­king this Addition, the better to support their Power and Tyranny. But, saith Hey­lin, in his Examen Historicum, ‘Archbi­shop Laud in his Speech in the Star-Chamber, June 15. 1637. made it ap­pear, that the said Clause was in a Printed Book of Articles, published in the Year 1563. being but very few [Page 13] Months after they had passed in the Convocation, which was on the 29th of January, 1562. in the English Ac­count; and more than so, he shewed unto the Lords a Copy of the 20th Article, exemplified out of the Records, and attested by the hands of a Pub­lick Notary, in which that very Clause was found, which had been charged upon the Bishops for an Innovation. And thus much I can say of my own Knowledge, that having occasion to consult the Records of Convocation, I found this controverted Clause verba­tim, in these following words; Habet Ec­clesia Ritus statuendi Jus, & in fidei Contro­versiis Authoritatem, so far Dr. Heylin, p. 144. who further adds, ‘That in the Year 1571, (the Puritan Faction begin­ning to grow very strong) the Articles were again Printed in Latin and En­glish, and this Clause left out, Publish­ed according to those Copies in the Harmony of Confessions, Printed at Ge­neva, Ann. 1612. That the Archbishop in his Speech, p. 71. was of this Opi­nion too.’

§.13. There was, we see, a great deal of stress laid on this Clause of the 20th Article, because the Assertion, that the Church hath Authority in Controversies of Faith, is so necessary to National and lar­ger Synods and Assemblies, and the lay­ing aside this Clause so accommodated to the Principles on which the Reformation was begun and carried on. For which reason I will offer what I know of this matter, and therein be very impartial.

§.14. (1.) That this Clause is not either in the Latin or English Copies, Printed Ann. 1571. is granted by Dr. Heylin, and I have by me a Copy in Latin, published by John Day, Ann. 1575. in which 'tis not. (2.) I have seen a Copy, Ann. 1563. in which it is, and so it may be in the Records of the Convocations, as has been suggested, for ought that I do know to the contrary. However (3.) I do affirm upon my own Knowledge, and in most humble manner address my self to the present Archbishop of Canterbury, who was of C. C. C. C. to Dr. Green, Master, and to the worthy Fellows of that Colledge, for their concurrent Testimony, that in the Manuscript Library, given to that [Page 15] House by Archbishop Matthew Parker, there are the Articles of the Church of England, which I can't call thirty nine be­cause they are more) subscribed by the Bishops, in the Year 1562. with the num­ber of Pages, and of every Line in each Page in which the Articles are; and that the twentieth Article is exactly the same with the twenty first of Edward VI. with­out this Clause; whence I conclude, first, That the leaving of it out being, as is acknowledged by Archbishop Laud and Dr. Heylin, most adjusted to the Princi­ples of the Nonconformists, the true and genuine Reason is, because the first Re­formers of the Church of England, and the Nonconformists were of a mind in this Particular, and opposed the Papal Tyran­ny upon the same Foundation. Secondly, That although in the beginning of the Queen there were some otherwise mind­ed, who added this Clause to the Copy of 1563. yet the Bishops unanimously ad­hered to the Copy which laid this Clause aside. But to return; It is manifest,

§.15. That the Old Nonconformists, whom I call English Presbyterians, being firm Adherers unto the first Reformers, did in their Opposition to the Papal Ty­ranny, [Page 16] hold, first, That there was no pro­per Visible Church, but what was Parti­cular; secondly, That Particular Chur­ches were of the same Extent with Sin­gle Congregations; and the Power of those in Office was confined to the Li­mits of a single Congregation.

§.16. The Learned Mr. Cartwright, a Person of that esteem amongst the Non­conformists in the Reign of the Queen, as to be chosen by them to defend their Principles against Dr. Whtgift, expressing their sense with much Freedom and Clear­ness, I need insist on no other to prove what I affirm of them; and who-ever is conversant with the Books then written, will see, that their Authors so generally and frequently refer'd themselves to his Writings; and so constantly undertook his Defence as to be satisfied, that the mentioning what was pressed by others is altogether unnecessary.

§.17. This Learned Cartwright, wri­ting in Defence of the Admonition tot he Parliament, (Published in the Year 1572. Answered by Dr. Whitgift,) doth not only make a Reply to that Answer, which was in the Year 1574. defended by Whit­gift; [Page 17] But in his Reply to this Defence of the Answer, Anno 1575. expresseth him­self fully to this effect, I both mention Cartwright's Reply to Whitgift's Defence of the Answer, and do inculcate it, because Fuller, Heylin, and Walton, have told the World, that the Defence of the Answer kept the Field with all the Marks of an absolute Victory; whereas it's most mani­fest, that Cartwright made a Reply there­unto in two Parts, the First, Anno 1575. and Anno 1577. he Published the rest. And what is Remarkable, Fuller, in the same or very next Page, where he so con­fidently avers, that Cartwright never Re­plyed to the Second Answer, doth himself refer to the first part of the Reply, that was made unto it. See his Church Hist. Cent. 16. l. 9. p. 102. Now in the first Part of this second Reply, Cartwright fully Confirms the Truth of my Assertion, ‘That every Particular Church should have her Bishop, is manifest by Paul to Timothy. For seeing the Discription of a Bishop which he gives doth Agree unto the Minister of every Congregation, and nothing there requir'd in the one, which is not in the other, it follows, that the Minister of every Congregation is the Bishop thereof. For the Description [Page 18] agreeing with every of them, the things described must likewise. Secondly, un­less he do by this description of the Bi­shop set forth the nature of every Mi­nister of the Word in his Congregation, in describing the Offices of the Church he has left out the Principalest Mem­bers, and was more careful in describing the Deacons Ministry, not occupied in the Word, than the teaching Ministries, But that is absurd; it must follow that he understood them by the name of Bishop: Furthermore St. Paul's Bishop was appointed to the same Place, where­unto his Deacons: But his Deacons were assigned to a Particular Congregation — St. Paul also there assigning the Charge and Care of the Bishop over the Church of God, must either give him Charge over the Whole Body of the Catholick Church, or over One Particular Congregation; or of the Faithfull Company of one House: But he extendeth not the Charge over all the Catholick Church, for that were to make a Pope not a Bishop; nor restrain­eth him to the Faithful of one House­hold, considering that he opposeth the Government of his House to the Govern­ment of the Church: It followeth there­fore that he appointeth him to one Par­ticular [Page 19] Church. That by this Word [Church] must be understood one of these three Significations, it standeth upon this Ground; that in none of St. Paul's other Epistles, or St. Luke's Writings, that word [Church] is ever used other­wise; and never signifieth the Church, either of a Province or Diocese, Rep. 2. Part. 1. p. 360. and in page 687. saith he, I have shewed that Scripture useth not to call a Province or Diocese, a Church, but either the whole Ʋniversal, or else a Particular Congregation. Thus you see how Mr. Cartwright doth, not only hold a Presbyter and a Bishop to be the same office, but that the office of a Presbyter is Appropriated to a single Con­gregatio, and that the Holy Scripture never speakes of a Diocesane or Provincial Church, but only of the Ʋniversal (which is Invisible) and a Particular Church, and therefore not of a Classical Church. But

§.18. What I shall offer from the mul­titude of Nonconformists, whose Sorrows encreased on James the First's coming to the English Throne, will evidence what I affirm to Persons of the meanest Capa­cities. For Dr. Ames, who gathered up the sence of these Old Nonconformists, [Page 20] whom he styles, in his Preface to his English Puritanism, [Rigid Presbyterians,] declared positively, that they Hold and Maintain, ‘That every Company, Congre­gation, and Assembly of true Believers, joining together according to the Or­der of the Gospel, in the true Worship of God, is a true Visible Church of Christ; and that the same Title [viz. of True Visible Church] is Improperly given to other Societies, Combinations, or Assemblies whatsoever — That Christ Jesus hath not Subjected any Church, or Congregation of his to any other Superiour Ecclesiastical Juris­diction than unto that which is within it. self. So that if a whole Church, or Congregation, shall err in any Matter of Faith, and Religion, no other Churches, or Spiritual Church-Officers, have (by any Warrant from the Word of God,) Power to Censure, Punish or Controul the same: But are only to Counsel, or Advise the same, and leave their Souls to the immediate Judgment of Christ, and their Bodies to the Sword and Power of the CIVIL MAGISTRATE, who alone upon Earth hath Power to Punish a whole Church or Congrega­tion — They hold, that every Estab­lished [Page 21] Church ought (as a special Pre­rogative, wherewith she is endowed by Jesus ChrisT) to have Power and Liberty to choose their own Spiritual and Ecclesaistical Officers — They hold and believe the EQuality in Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, and Authority of Church­es and Church-Ministers, is no more De­rogatory and Repugnant to the State and Glory of a Monarch, than the Parity and Equality of School-Masters or Ma­sters of Families.’ Chap. 2. §. 1. 5. 11. There was also about this time a Protesta­tion of the Kings Supremacy made in the Name of the Afflicted Ministers, in which they declare. ‘That they confine, and bound all Ecclesiastical Power within the Limits only of one Par­ticular Congregation; holding, that the greatest Ecclesiastical Power ought not to stretch beyond the same: And that it is an ARROGATING PRINCELY Supre­macy, for any Ecclesaistical Person or Per­sons whosoever, to take upon themselves Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction over many Churches — That it is utterly unlaw­ful for any one Minister to take upon himself, or accept of a sole Eclesiasti­cal Jurisdiction over so much as one Congregation. And therefore some of [Page 22] the most Honest and Godly in the Con­gregation, ought to be adjoined to the Minister, in the Spiritual Regiment of the Souls of the Congregation, of which he is a Pastor — That those Ecclesiasti­cal Persons, that make claim to greater Power and Authority than this, especi­ally they that make claim Jure Divino, of Power, or Jurisdiction to meddle with other Churches than that one Congregation, of which they are or ought to be Members, do USURP UPON THE SUREMACY OF THE CIVIL MA­GISTRATE.’ §. 24, 25, 27. And a little before, §. 12. ‘We hold that the King has Power to Remove out of the Churches, all Scandalous, Schismatical, and Hereti­cal Teachers. And, §. 14. ‘That the King only hath Power within his Dominions to Convene Synods, or General Assem­blies of Ministers.

§.9. Soon after this Protestation, a Christian, and Modest Offer of a most In­different Conference, or Disputation about the Main and Principal Controversies be­twixt the Prelates, and the late Silenced Ministers in England, was made; in which, viz. P. 2, 3. the Nonconforming Ministers undertook to prove, ‘That [Page 23] there is no true Visible Church of Christ, but a Particular Ordinary Congregation only; that every true Visible Church of Christ, or Ordinary Assembly of the Faithful, hath by Christ's Ordinance, Power in it self, immediately under Christ, to Elect and Ordain, Deprive and Depose their Ministers; and to Execute all other Ecclesiastical Censures: That the Pastor of a Particular Congregati­on is the Highest Ordinary Ecclesiasti­cal Officer in any true Constituted Vi­sible Church of Christ: That the Civil Magistrates ought to be the Overseers of Provinces, and Dioceses, and of THE SEVERAL CHURCHES THEREIN: And it is their Office and Duty injoyned them by God, to take Knowledge, to Pu­nish and Redress all Misgoverning, or ill Treating of any Church, or Church-Officer.’

§.10. What is here affirm'd by these Deprived Ministers is so full, not only a­gainst the Diocesan, but Classical way, that it may tempt some to take it for Granted, That whilst I profess to set down the Prin­ciples of the English Presbyterians, I am only describing the Brownists, in which they will, perhaps, be confirm'd, when [Page 24] they consider, that in this same Offer it's asserted, ‘That the Pastor alone ought not to exercise Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction over his Church, but others ought to be joyned to him by the Assignment of the same Church, NEITHER OUGHT HE, AND THEY TO PERFORM ANY Main, and Material Ecclesiastical Act, WITH­OUT THE FREE CONSENT OF THE CONGREGATION:’ However it's very manifest, that these Nonconformists were far from closing with Brownism, as ap­pears from what they Answer to the 11th Opposition, in which 'tis demanded, ‘[Why do they not wholly with the Brownists separate, and get them to Amsterdam, to their Holy Brethren there?] Where they Protest, that they are Persuaded, that many of the Conforming Ministers are true Ministers of Jesus Christ, in­dowed with Gifts from Heaven for that Holy Function: And that the Holy Churches, which they teach are true Churches;’ which was sufficient to clear them from the Reproaches of being Brownists.

§.11. And as they so freely express their own true Sense in these Matters, so it is with an Assurance, that none of the [Page 25] Conformable Clergy were so much a­gainst the above-mentioned Assertions, which they undertook to maintain, but would rather Close with them, than Ex­pose themselves to the Lash of such Pe­nalties as the Deprived Ministers lay un­der: Their Words are Pag. 16, 17. ‘The former Propositions are such, that there will not be found, (as we are verily perswaded in our Consciences) any one Conformable Minister, except he be a Masked Papist, that will Refuse to sub­scribe to ANY ONE OF THEM, if so be it would please the King and State by Law to Urge them thereunto, under such Penalties as the Ministers are urged to subscribe unto the Articles, devised by the Prelates — Yea, we are out of all doubt, that the Prelates them­selves, if the case stood but upon the sa­ving of their Temporalities, (which else they should lose) would with HEART, and HAND subscribe to ANY ONE of the aforesaid Propositions.’ Besides,

§.12. These English Presbyterians were so fully convinced of the Truth of the a­foresaid Propositions, which they offered to defend, that they were perswaded they were such, that if the Ministers should [Page 26] not constantly hold, and maintain the same against all Men, they cannot see how possibly (by the Rules of Divinity) the SEPARATION of our Churches from the Church of Rome, and from the Pope, the Supream Head thereof, can be Justified, p. 11. But,

§.13. As this offer for a Conference was made in the Year 1606, so 'twas followed Anno 1609, with a Petition of the Depri­ved Ministers, in which they declare themselves [...] ‘As we hold, That your Majesty within your Dominions, have Power to call Synods, and to Dissolve them, so we hold likewise, that RULING Synods, and UNITED Presbyteries, ex­ercising Government and Imposing Laws and Decrees upon several Chur­ches, and the Pastors of them, are not only Humane Institutions, but in regard of the said Government and Authority of Imposing Laws altogether UNLAWFUL, and USURPING upon the SUPREMACY of the Civil MAGISTRATE — We acknow­ledge (as hath been above remembred) no other Power, and Authority for the OVERSEEING, RULING, and Censuring of Particular Churches (how many soever in number) in the Case of their Misgovernment, than that which is Ori­ginally [Page 27] Invested in your Royal Person, and from it derived to such of your Laity, as you shall Judge Worthy to be De­puted to the Execution of the same un­der you; so as the Favour humbly sollici­ted by us is, That whereas our Lord Je­sus hath given to each PARTICULAR CHURCH, or ORDINARY CONGREGA­TION this Right, and Priviledge, viz. To Elect, Ordain, and Deprive her own Ministers; and to Exercise all other Parts of Lawful Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction under him.’ So far the Petitioning Mi­nisters (P. 13, 14.) who (in P. 18.) say, ‘That in this Church (speaking of a Par­ticular Church, and the Officers there­of) which is confined within the Bounds of a Parish; one is a Pastor, another a Teacher, others Elders, and others Deacons.

§.14. These Quotations out of the old English Presbyterians, do sufficiently evince, that they held, that properly speaking, there was no other Visible Church, but what was Congregational, that the Power of their Officers is not to be stretched beyond the Bounds of a single Congregation; that what Power is needful besides this, for Reforming Particular Churches, is In­vested in the Civil Magistrate, to whom it doth also belong to Convene Synods, &c. And it must be also Remark'd,

§.15. That in these Instances the En­glish Presbyterian, and the Congregationalist are most entirely Agreed, as appears, not only from what is in the Preface to the Savoy Confession, where it's Decla­red by them in these Words: ‘As for our selves we are able to trace the Footsteps of an Independent Congregational way, in the Antientest Customs of the Churches, as also in the WRITINGS of our soundest Protestant Divines, and (that which we are much satisfied in) a full Concurrence throughout, in all the Substantial Parts of Church-Government with our Reve­rend Brethren, the Old Puritan Noncon­formists — See Puritanis. Angl. by Dr. Ames, as the Opinions of Whitehead, Gilbe, Fox, Dearing, Greenham, Cart­wright, Venner, Fulk, Whitaker, Rai­nolds, Perkins, &c.’ But also from what is in the Preface to the English Presbytery, (of which more in due place) where the Author, mentioning Dr. Ames his Puri­tanism, adds, To which Presbytery is, at least, a Piece of a Successor. And thus it continued till the Meeting of the Assembly of Divines at Westminister in the Year 1641, without the putting forth of any Efforts for the Classical by Nonconformists.


The Setting up of the Classical Presbytery in this Land Attempted by the Scots, and by their Interests in the Assembly at West­minister; but met with so much Opposition, not only from the INDEPENDENTS, but from sundry others, that it could never take amongst us.

§.1. THE English Presbyterians, consi­dered in Contradistinction un­to the Brownists, and other Dissenters from the Church of England, prevailing from the beginning of the Reformation, till the Assembly at Westminister, met with some Check from the Attempts made up­on them, as well as upon the Church of England by the Scots, and their Influence on the Assembly; but the English Presbyteri­ans were so powerful in this Nation at that time, and the Independents, who, in the above-mention'd particulars, Agreed with the English Presbyterians, had obtain'd so great an Interest in the Parliament, and Army, and the Multitude of them, who Dissented from the Church of England, DOING SO, upon a Principle that did set 'em as much against the Classical Church [Page 30] Government, the Obstacles which lay in the way of the Assemblies setting up the Classical Presbytery, were so many, that they never adventured to Assert the Di­vine Right of that Form; and the Parlia­ment would never allow of all the Assem­bly presented to 'em. And what was by an Ordinance of both Houses Established, could never get Reputation enough a­mongst the People to be generally Recei­ved.

§.2. This being a Point of extraordi­nary Importance, in the present Case, I will be the more Distinct in my At­tempt to clear it. And seeing 'tis Granted on all hands, that notwithstanding the most the Scots and their Friends either in the Parliament or Assembly could do, the People of this Nation could never be Pre­vailed with to Submit to the Classical Church-Government, I will only shew what were the True Reasons, why it could gain no more amongsts us, and the rather, because not only Mr. Robert Bay­ly, in his Disswasive from Errour, but also the Learned Mr. Baxter, in the Narrative he gives of his own Life, p. 73. do charge the Independents for being the only hinder­ers. Mr. Bayly with Unchristian bitterness, [Page 31] and sundry false and Rayling Accusations, saith, ‘that all the Prelates and the Papists cannot, nor do hinder so much the work of Reformation, as the five Dis­senting Members, viz. the Independents; But Mr. Baxter with more temper, saith, ‘that the five Dissenting Bretheren, Joyned with the Rest till they had Drawn up a CONFESSION OF FAITH, a Larger, and Shorter Catechism; but when they came to Church Government they enga­ged them in many long Debates, and kept that Business as long as possibly they could, Undetermined; and after that, kept it so long Ʋnexecuted in al­most all Parts of the Land, saving Lon­don and Lancashire, that their Party had time to strengthen themselves in the Army and the Parliament, and hinder the Execution after all, and keep the Government determined of, a stran­ger to most of the People of this Land, who know it but by hearsay, as it was Represented by Reporters. So far Mr. Baxter, who to the shame of Mr. Bayly (whose Classical Zeal transported him him beyond all Bounds of Truth, when he Accused the Independents, for Patro­nizing all manner of Abominable Er­rours, and Heresies,) hath confuted him, [Page 32] and done them the Justice of Leaving it on Record, that they Joyned with the Assembly, in the Confession of Faith, lar­ger and shorter Catechism. But

§.3. My design is cheifly to clear the Truth and show, that as the Independents did undoubtedly their Part to hinder the setting up of a National Church-Govern­ment, which would have Ruined those Churches, which are of Christ's Institu­tion; so there were others, who attempted the same that the Independents did; for both the Prelatists, and the English Pres­byterians had, upon different Reasons, their hands in the Opposition, and also the Bo­dy of the People.

§.4. 1. That the Prelatists had their share in the hindring it, is Apparent from what is in the Letter sent by the Assembly to the Belgick, and other Refor­med Churches, p. 7. in which they de­clare, ‘That in those Troublesome times the Honourable Houses of Parliament cal­led the Assembly to give them their best Counsels for the Reformation of the Church, &c. — And in this Work (say they) we are now excercised, tho' the [Page 33] Enemy hath stirred up the Heart of our Dear, and Dread Sovereign AGAINST us.’ Now, it's well known that none so Pow­erful with the King, as the Church of England, who did, you see, their most to prevent the Assemblies erecting the Clas­sical Government, by setting his Majesty against them. But,

§.5. 2. The great Impediment that lay in their way, was the Power of the En­glish Presbyterians, who had Leaven'd the Gentry as well as the Common People, with Principles opposite unto the Scotch Church Government, and most conform to the Rule settled by the first Reformers, in Defence of their Separation from Rome. And whoever will consider what the Par­liament did in Calling, and Directing their Synod, and in Approving and Rejecting what was Presented to them by the As­sembly, will see reason enough to conclude I am in the Right. For,

§.6. 1. This Synod was not called ei­ther in the Diocesan, or Classical way, as Mr. Baxter observes, but the Parliament, as if Resolv'd to take the English Presbyte­rians for their Conduct, chose the Assem­bly themselves. ‘The Parliament (saith [Page 34] Mr. Baxter, ubi seq.) not intending to call an Assembly, which should pretend a Divine Right, to make Obliging Laws, or Canons to bind their Brethren, but an Ecclesiastical Council, to be Advisers to themselves, did think they best knew who were the fittest to give them Ad­vice, and therefore chose them all them­selve.’ Thus touching their Calling, which was most Remote from the Scotch-Classical way, and conform to the English-Presbyterian Principles, who are only for Perswasive Synods.

§.7. 2. This Assembly when thus cal­led, could not proceed by virtue of any Inherent Power in themselves, but in all their Debates were confined by the Parlia­ment; so Mr. B. ‘This Assembly was confined by Parliament, to Debate only such things as they Proposed to them. And many Lords and Commons were joyned in Commission with them, to see, that they did not go beyond their Commissi­on. So far was this Synod from being formed according to the Classical Model. Whence I infer,

§.8. 3. That one Reason, why the As­sembly never adventur'd upon the settling the Divine Right of their Government, was because the Parliament would never endure it. I say, that this is one Reason; for they had another which moved them to wave the Jus Divinum, namely, their getting the greater Advantage against their Dissenting Brethren, by putting 'em on the Proof of divers other General Pro­positions, as necessary to evince, that the Presbyterial Government over many Con­gregations might not be; Whereas, if the Assembly had Asserted the Divine Right of the Classical Government, or that it ra­ther should be, the Debate might have much sooner come to an Issue; but their putting it only on a [may be,] left it in such Ambiguous and Incomprehensive Terms, as to necessitate their Opponents to those Delays, that were in this Debate.

But as this was one Reason, so the Par­liaments being against the [must be,] had some Influence on the Assembly, and greatly Distressed them. And that the Parliament was against their Divine Right, is manifest from their Rejecting what did in the least look that way, as it's related in the Preface to the Savoy-Confession, where [Page 36] 'tis thus. ‘The Honourable Houses of Parliament thought it not convenient to have Matters of Discipline, and Church-Government put into a Confession of Faith, especially such Particulars thereof as then were, and still are Controverted and and under Dispute by Men Orthodox and sound in Faith. The 30th Chap­ter therefore of that Confession, as it was presented to them by the Assembly, which is of Church Censures; as also Cap. 31. of Synods, and Councils, by whom to be cal­led, of what Force in their Decrees and Determinations. — These were such Doubtful Assertions, and so Unsuitable to a Confession of Faith, as the Honoura­ble Houses in their Great Wisdom thought fit to lay them aside.’ So mani­fest it is that the Parliament would never allow of the Church Government accord­ing to the Scotch Modell, nor suffer any thing to look like their Synods having an Obliging Power over their Brethren; and considering the State of Affairs in that jun­cture, nothing but a Conviction, that the English Presbytery was more agreeable to the Scripture Rule, than the Classical, could have hindered their Complyance with the Scots in this Matter. It is also further to be observed,

§.9. 4. That the Author of certain Considerations tending to Peace amongst Protestants, Printed by Parkhurst, Anno 1674, doth express himself thus, viz. ‘The late Presbyterian Assembly, if you will have it called so, DIFFERED MUCH FROM THE ASSEMBLIES OF THE CHURCH of Scotland. They at West­minster (saith Heylin) Attribute Power to the Civil Magistrate, not only of cal­ling Synods, and Church Assemblies, but also of being Present at them, and to Provide, that whatever is therein con­cluded, be done agreeably to the Mind, and Will of God. As to the Matter of Church-Government, the Divine Right of their Presbyteries — not a Word deli­vered. Besides, their National-Assem­blies were to be Subordinate to the Power of the Parliament, — by the Ordinance of the 14th of March, which makes it quite ANOTHER THING from the SCOT­TISH PRESBYTERIES, and other Assem­blies of the KIRK, which hold themselves to be SUPREME, and UNACCOUNTABLE in THEIR ACTINGS, without respect to the KING, the PARLIAMENT, and the Courts of Justice. So Heylin, in his Hi­story of Presbyt. p. 476. So that tho the [Page 38] Scotch and Classical-Presbyterians laboured hard to set up their Government, yet could they not do it. Something of the Shadow of it they had, but not the Thing, and what they had, gave not satisfaction to the London Presbyterians. For,

§.10. 5. The Presbyterians of the Pro­vince of London, considering the Church-Government Established by the Ordinance of March 14. 1645, did, in their Conside­rations, and Cautions from Sion-Colledge, June, 19. 1646. declare, ‘That there is not a Compleat Rule of these ORDINAN­CES: — That there are many Necessary things, NOT YET ESTABLISHED; and some things WHEREIN their Consciences are NOT SO FULLY SATISFIED.’ And at this time they Published in the same Pa­per, ‘Their Joynt Resolution to Practise in all things according to the Rule of the Word, and according to these Ordinan­ces, SO FAR AS THEY CONCEIVE THEM CORRESPONDENT TO IT.’ Besides,

S.11. 6. That Part of the Assemblies Confession, which gave most Countenance to the Classical way, as it was Rejected by the Parliament, so was it hastily Published from the Scotch Copy, where it had an [Page 39] Approbation; and such is the Integrity of Zealots for the Classical Government, as to conceal the Approved Copy from the World, and Publish what never had an Imprimatur from that Government, which called the Assembly.

§.12. These Considerations may con­vince the Impartial Reader, that how much soever the English Presbytery took in this Nation from the Beginning of the Re­formation, yet the Classical way would not go down either with the Gentry or Com­mon People; tho Episcopacy was laid a­side, and Scottish Influences very power­ful, yet could not the Parliament be pre­vailed with to Establish the Classical Go­vernment, and that their having some­what like it, was enough to frighten the Sober People of England from a Closure with it. For,

§.13. Tho in many Places the Ministers were for it, yet as Dr. Du-Moulin, ‘When the Presbyterian Government came to the Execution and Practice, there was not one of ten Thousand of the People, that wuld submit unto it. — And one of the Ministers, who was the most Eminent, confessed to me, that being Pastor of the [Page 40] Greatest Parish, in London, he was ne­ver able to establish in it a Consistory, nor find any that would be of it, but a Pitiful Scotch Taylor. Vid. Confor. of the Inde­pendent Government, with that of the Primi­tive, p. 36.

§.14. The Cheshire Ministers in their Attestation to the Testimony of the Re­verend Brethren of the Province of Lon­don, express their Grief, because so much of the Classical Presbytery as was Establi­shed, prevailed so little in most Places, and impute the true Reasons of it, ‘Partly to the Mis-representations of it to those that should submit unto it; For to some it is (say they) rendered FORMIDABLE, as if it were MORE OPPRESSIVE than ever the Prelacy was; to others DESPI­CABLE, for want of a Competent Power to proceed to Effectual Reformation of Of­fenders:’ That is, the Parliament annex­ed no Penalties to be Inflicted on them, who could not in Conscience conform to this National-Church-Constitution. More­over,

§.15. There were amongst the Mini­sters a considerable Number, who enter­ed into Associations, and set up another [Page 41] sort of Government, comprehending the Moderate Episcopal, and the Independents, upon the Principles maintain'd by the En­glish Presbyterians. For Mr. Baxter, who was an English Presbyterian, was the Great Promoter of it; who freely declared, he could not agree with the Assembly in eve­ry Point of Government (ubi sup. P. 73.) and in P. 97. he mentions the Progress made of their Associating Design.

§.16. Thus great Endeavours were, during the time the Assembly sate, for the bringing in the Classical Church Govern­ment, but 'twas so contrary to the Genius of the Nation, that no sort, neither the Magistrate nor People, could be entirely for it, nor could the Shadow of it find ac­ceptance amongst us, the Sober Party, who Dissented from the Diocesans, being for the most part English Presbyterians, and Congregationalists.


The ENGLISH PRESBYTERY after the Re­stauration of Charles II. prevail'd again, and so continued till the late Ʋnion com­menced. These things shewn out of the Writings of Dr. Collings, and Mr. Bax­ter.

§.1. WHen Charles II. was Restored, soon after the Presbyterians were cast out, and the Episcopal put into their Places, whereupon the Nonconfor­mists, who were not of the Independent way, did soon, by their Practice, and the several Books written in Defence of their Nonconformity, convince their closest Ob­servers, that they were for those Princi­ples, which the English Presbyterians had from time to time Asserted. And that thus much may with the greatest Clear­ness, and to the most satisfaction be evin­ced, I will refer to what Dr. Collings, and Mr. Baxter have offered on this Occa­sion.

§.2. 1. Dr. Collings, who laboured much, and wrote well in the Controversie about Church-Government, gives an Account [Page 43] of the main Opinions of those Ministers, and People in England, who go under the Name of Presbyterians, and calls his Book ENGLISH PRESBYTERY.

§.3. 2. In the Account he gives of their Opinions, he tells us, That they were for a Catholick Church Visible, which the Old English Presbyterians would never own; but the it must be observ'd, that he doth not represent them as Asserters of a Catho­lick Church Visible, form'd into one Go­vern'd Society, or an Organick Body. For he carefully appropriates the Governing Power to fixed single Congregations, in which the Ruling Officers may have the Knowledge of every Member under his Care — His Words are, ‘They Believe, that Christ hath Appropriated Ministers of the Gospel to this Visible Church, who may Preach the Gospel, and Baptize in any Parts of it, but CAN ONLY Ex­ercise an ordinary Jurisdiction, in those particular Parts of it, over which God hath given them a particular Oversight as Pastors and Teachers. The Exercise of Acts of Jurisdiction, REQUIRING A PAR­TICULAR KNOWLEDGE of PERSONS O­PINIONS, KNOWLEDGE, and CONVER­SATION, which no single Person can [Page 44] have as to all the Members of the Visi­ble Church, P. 6. §. 4. and in the same Page, § 6. 'tis added, ‘They Believe Persons thus set apart, (as in a forego­going Paragraph) to the Ministry, are fully Authorized to Preach the Gospel, and to Baptize in any Place, where they are called to it, AND TO ADMINISTER THE LORD'S SUPPER, when they shall be FIXED IN ANY CONGREGATION, that they may Administer it knowingly to Per­sons, that are able to discern the Lord's Body — and to EXERCISE ACTS OF JU­RISDICTION in THEIR FIXED CONGRE­GATION.’ And P. 10. §. 2. ‘An Ad­monition, which is a Church Censure, is the Act of the whole Congregation, or the officers of it, as well in the Name of Christ, as IN THEIR NAMES, shewing a Person Offending, his Errour from the Word of God, and Exhorting and Warning him to Reform. This they say, may be often Repeated. — 4. Excom­muniation being the Highest Censure, they Believe, ought not to be Denoun­ced by any Persons, but those whom God's Word hath appointed thereunto. — The Persons Decreating it, must be the Church, by its Officr, or Officers, (they agreeing thereunto—)’

§.4. 3. The Doctor, in these Paragraphs, as he truly Represents the English Presby­terians to be of Opinion, that Christ's Mi­nisters may Preach and Baptize, whenever in the Visible Church they are called so: He adds, That they say, the Exercise of Jurisdiction belongs to the Minister, as he is fixed to a Congregation; that he is to Ad­monish Ecclesiastically in Christ's and the Churches Names; that the Persons decree­ing to Excommunicate, must be the Church, by the Officer, or Officers; allow­wing unto the Christian Magistrate more Power in these Matters than Classical Presbyterians, as in P. 8, 9, and so far from making the Catholick Church Visible, a Governed Society, or Organnick Body, that you see they Appropriate the Power of Jurisdiction unto a fixed a Congregation, without mentioning a Subordination of Classical, or Provincial Assemblies of the Ruling Officers, unto a National, or other Greater Synods. But,

§.5. 1. The Learned Mr. Baxter, who about the Nature and Constitution of Par­ticular Churches, hath been more Elabo­rate, and Convincing than most, in De­sending their Non-conformity unto the [Page 46] Church of England, doth most exactly describe the English Presbyterians, fetch­ing his Arguments from the Inconsistency there is between the Diocesan Government, and the Specific Nature of Christ's Insti­tuted Churches, Ministry, and Discipline. And,

§.6. 2. That he may the more clearly shew where the Strength of his Argu­ments doth lie, he distinguisheth between particular Instituted Churches, and the Catholick Church Visible; affirming, that they are Specifically Distinct from each o­ther, upon the account of the different sorts of Communion, that are had in a Par­ticular, and in the Catholick Church. For, saith he,

§.7. 3. Communion, which is the Essen­tiating End of these Societies, is twofold, The One sort is in the same Species, or kind of Worship only; and the other, in the same Individual Acts of Worship: Ad­ding, that the Communion, which is in the same kind of Worship only, may be between them, who are at the greatest distance from each other, and consequent­ly with every Member of the Catholick Church Visible, which therefore he cal­leth [Page 47] Catholick Communion, and seeing it can be only in kind, it cannot be more visi­ble, as such than the Species of things are. But Communion, in the same Individual Acts of Worship, is by joyning in the same Ordinances of the Word, Prayer, and Lord's Supper, and they, who have Com­munion with each other, in this way, must meet in the same Place, at one and the same time, and 'tis therefore called Per­sonal-Presential, or Local Communion, which is therefore Proper, and Adaequate to a particular Congregational-Church. This is a thing that must be Inculcated, viz. Communion in the same Individual Acts, can be had only in a single Congre­gation, because there alone they can actu­ally joyn in the same Worship; whence it necessarily follows,

§.8. 4. That that Communion which is stretched beyond the Bounds of one single Congregation, being only in the same kind of Worship, is of the same sort with Catholick Communion. And seeing the Members of a Diocesan, or Classical Church can have no other Communion with each other than what is Catholick, they want that Communion, which is Es­sential unto those particular Churches [Page 48] which are of Divine Institution, and spe­cifically distinguished from the Catholick Church. And on the other Hand, the Asserting Diocesan, or Classical to be par­ticular Churches of the Lowest Rank and Order, is quantum in se, a destroying Pa­rish, or Congregational Churches; and as stretching particular Churches to a larger Extent, is to make the Ends of their Con­stitution impossible to be attained: As Mr. Alsop, in his Misch. of Impos. ‘It is very Lawful to build a Ship, or a Man of War as big as two or three Yachts, which may do better Service; but it's folly to make one that would reach from Calais to Dover, which must lie like a Log un­meet for Sailing, and the Ends for which all Ships are Built. Which he mentions to shew, that the extending a particular Church beyond the Bounds of a single Congregation, doth frustrate the End of its Institution; or, as Mr. Baxter has it, makes the Impossibility of Christ's Discipline in our Churches undeniable.

§.9. 5. This Point being with much earnestness stated by this Learned Person, he declares in the Narrative he wrote of his own Life, P. 339. "That one Charge, which the Nonconformists brought against [Page 49] our Prelacy is, ‘That it destroyeth the Species, or Form of Particular Churches, Instituted by Christ. The Churches Instituted by Christ, are [Holy Socie­ties, Associated for PERSONAL Commu­nion under their Particular Pastors.]’ But all such Societies are Destroyed by the Di­ocesan Frame. — Ergo, ‘It is destructive of the Form of Particular Churches In­stituted by Christ. They [viz. the Nonconformists,] distinguish between [Personal, Local Communion of Saints by Pastors, and their Flocks] and [Com­munion of Heat only—] we have Heart-Communion with all the Catholick Church throughout the World — But [a Holy Communion of Souls, or Indivi­dual Persons, as Members of the same Particular Church, for Publick Wor­ship, and a Holy Life] is ESPECIALLY distinct from the former, as is apparent by the Distinct End: 2. The Distinct Manner of Communion; yea, and the Matter of it. And, in his Treatise of Episcopacy, more fully.’ ‘We cannot Subscribe to that Form of Church Go­vernment as God, or Lawful, which in its Nature Excludeth or Destroyeth the ver Specifical Nature of the Particular Churches, which were Instituted by the Ho­ly [Page 50] Ghost, and settled in the Primitive Times—’

But such we take the present Diocesan Form to be. Ergo,’

‘The Major will be denied by very few that we have to do with. — The Minor I thus prove.’

The Species of a Particular Church, which the Holy Ghost did Institute, was [One Society of Christians united under one or more Bishops, for PERSONAL COMMUNION [...] in Publick Worship, and Holy Living.

The Diocesan English Frame is [De­structive of, or] Inconsistent with the Spe­cies of a Particular Church.

‘Ergo, The Diocesan English Frame is Inconsistent with (or Destructive of) the Species of the Holy Ghost's Institution.

‘In the Major, 1. By [Bishops] I mean Sacred Ministers, Authorized by Di­vine Appointment, to be the STATED Guides of the Church, by Doctrine, Worship, and Discipline.’

By [Personal Communion] I mean, ‘That the said Churches were no more nume­rous than our English Parishes, nor had more Assemblies; or no more than could have the same Personal Communion; and that there were never any Churches, [Page 51] Infimae vel primae Speciei, which consist­ed of many such Stated Assemblies. I shall therefore now Prove, That the Churches of the Holy Ghost's Instituti­on, were no more Numerous, or were such Single Congregations.

‘1. From the Holy Scriptures.

‘2. From the Confession of the Dio­cesans.

‘3. From the Testimony of Antiquity.

‘All proving fully, That the Ancient Episcopal Churches, were but such sin­gle Societies, or Congregations, as I have described.’

§.10. 6. What Mr. B. here affirms, re­spects chiefly the Communion of the Church, and upon this account he doth from the Specifical Difference there is between Ca­tholick, and Particular Church Communion; and from the Inconsistence there is be­tween Diocesan, and Parish, or Congrega­tional Churches; and the Destructive Na­ture of the Diocesan Government, as 'tis framed to destroy Congregational Churches; from these Topicks, he brings those Ar­guments, by which he defends our Non­conformity to the Church of England, which he could never have done, were he not full well assured, that the Nonconformists ge­nerally [Page 52] held Particular Churches to be Congregational. And,

§.11. 7. That he was satisfied his Ar­guments were as much against Classical, as they were against Diocesan Churches, evi­dently appears by what he hath in his Treatise of Episcopacy, Part 1. C. 7. P. 120. when he saith, ‘That by a Diocesan Church, WE mean all the Christians within that Circuit, who have but one Bishop over them, tho' they be of MA­NY PARISH CHURCHES, yea FEW PRES­BYTERIANS take the Word so Narrow as this. For, (I think) too many of them do with Rutherford Distinguish between a Worshipping Church, and a Governing Church, (and SADLING THE HORSE FOR PRELACY TO MOUNT ON) do Affirm, that many (about Twelve usually) of these Worshiping Churches, like our Pa­rishes) may make but one Governed, or Presbyterial Church.’

§.12. What more directly belongs to the Government of the Church, we shall consider, if God will, elsewhere; and will only Note in this place, That whoever will consult Mr. Baxter's Treatise of Epis­copacy, and what he saith of the Ministry [Page 53] and Discipline of Christ's Instituted Chur­ches, will find that the English Presbyteri­ans, whom he describes, were as much against the Classical Presbytery, as the Con­gregationalists are. We will in the next propose the Sentiments of those English Presbyterians, who entered into an Union with their Congregational Brethren.


The Difference between the Classical Pres­byterian, and the Congregationalist sta­ted. The Design of the late Union, and the Principles, upon which 'twas founded, consistent with the Established National Chuch Form, and such as Justifie the Separation of the First Reformers from Rome. The Classical odel Destructive of them, and therefore Rejected.

§.1. THAT it may be the more easi­ly understood what Principles the Presbyterians, who were Men of Sense and Integrity, must be supposed to be of, when they Ʋnited with their Congregatio­nal Brethren; I will give an Impartial State of the Controversie about the Nature and Power of Instituted Churches, as dis­cuss'd by them, who were for the Classical [Page 54] Church Government, and by the Indepen­dents forty or fifty Years ago.

§.2. This Controversie, as to that part of it which concerns my present Purpose, may be reduced to these Heads.

1. Whether there be a Catholick-Visible-Political-Church?

2. Whether there be a Particular Church Essential Ʋnorganiz'd, vested with a Power to choose their own Officers? Or, An Ecclesia Institute sit Genus? An Integrum?

§.3. In the Writings of Cawdrey, Hud­son, Hooker, Stone, Allen, Sheppard, and the Dissenting Brethren of the Westminster Assembly, there being an Impartial State of this Controversie, I will, out of their Writings, set it in as clear a Light as I can.

§.4. 1. The Learned Mr. Cawdrey, who agreeth in Opinion with the Judicious Mr. Hudson, and the London Ministers in their Jus Divinum, doth, in his Vindiciae Vindiciarum, and Review of Mr. Hooker's Survey, declare not only for a Visible Ca­tholick Church, but ‘That this Visible Ca­tholick Church may, in a fair and candid Sense, be said to be POLITICAL, and [Page 55] that the Notion of CHURCH-ESSENTIAL, or HOMOGENOUS, is but the Modus, or State of a Church, applicable both to the whole Chuch, and every compleat Congregation, consisting of Visible Saints and Officers — But, it is not possible there should be an Essential-Church exi­sting without Officers — If we would speak exactly, neither a Classis of Offi­cers Assembled, nor a Company of Visi­ble Saints combined, can properly be cal­led a Church. They [viz. the Indepen­dents,] deny a Classis of Officers to be a Church; and We [who are for Classes,] deny a Company of Saints, combined without Officers to be a Church, being both of them but PARTS of a Church; part of the Matter of a Church, and therefore PROPERLY no Church. The Truth is, tho' both a Classis, and a Com­pany of Saints combined without Offi­cers, have by Custom, obtained to be called Churches, yet PROPERLY they are but Parts or Members of the whole Church diversly combined — But we add, If we will speak exactly, a Particular Congregation consisting of Officers and Members, is not PROPERLY a Church, but a Member of the Catho­lick Visible POLITICAL Church — And, [Page 56] if they, much more some Members of that Member; Visible Saints, without Officers, are Improperly called a Church — Again, here lies one of the great Mistakes in the Independent way, That they imagine a Church without, and before any Officers, and then give them Power to make Officers. — So far the Learned Mr. Cawdrey.

§.5. 2. The Judicious Mr. Hudson, states the Controversie after the same man­ner, but more elaborately, and with grea­ter Logical Exactness, and expresly affirms the Catholick Church Visible to be a Totum Integrale, or POLITICAL Society; to be a Corporation, or Body Politick, in which there is a Governing, and Governed Part. And on the Supposition, that the Catho­lick Church Visible is a Totum Integrale, 'twill unavoidably follow, as Learned Mr. Calamy hath happily expressed it in his Preface to Mr. Hudson, that the Congrega­tional Government is not right. ‘The Truth is (saith he) the Position there held forth, would utterly overthrow the Grounds and Pillars of the Congre­gational Government; for if there be a Catholick Church Visible, and this Church be not only a Church Entitive, [Page 57] but a Church Organical, and a Totum In­tegrale, having all Church Powers habi­tually seated in the Officers of it, which they have Commissions from Christ to Exert, and put into Act upon a Lawful Call; and if particular Congregations are Integral Parts and Members of the Church Catholick, as the Jewish Syna­gogues were of the Jewish Church; and if the Ministry, Orders, and Censures were given by Christ, first to the Church Ge­neral Visible, and secondarily to the Church Particular, then 'twill follow, that the particular Congregation is not the First Receptacle of Church Power; and that all Church Power is not Entire­ly and Independently in a particular Con­gregation.’ So far Mr. Calamy, to whom I add, That according to this Notion, Vi­sible Saints combined for Church Commu­nion without Officers, are not a Church Essential, and have not a Power to choose Officers, &c. For upon this Principle, it's manifest, yea 'tis owned, That to the Ca­tholick Church Visible, which is a Totum Integrale, or an Organized Body, a POLI­TICAL Church, the Administration and Immediate Participation of Government, and all other Ordinances are firstly and immediately given; yea further, it must [Page 58] be granted, that particular Churches, whe­ther Congregational or Classical, Provincial or National, are not Properly Churches, but Integral Parts of the Catholick Visi­ble POLITICAL Church; that whoever is a Visible Christian, has an Immediate Right to all Ordinances; and that the Re­lation of every Minister is firstly and habi­tually unto the Catholick Church Visible, and secondarily to this or that Particular Church, which is not Properly a Church; that where-ever any single Christian comes, he is a Member of the Particular Church in that Place, and has a Right to all Ordi­nances, tho he never joyn'd himself to any; and whoever is ordained, he is a Pastor of the Catholick Church, may Administer all Ordinances, whither soever he comes, and Excommunicate Delinquents. Tho', for Order sake, his Power is not exercised, yet the Power remains Entire in every Or­dained Minister, even in them who are called to take the Charge of any particular Church.

§.6. 1. On the other hand, the First Reformers of all Perswasions subverted this Notion in their Opposition unto the Papists, by denying such a thing as a Visible Ca­tholick Church, Sublato Fundamento tolli­tur [Page 59] opus. And they who now own, that the many Visible Christians, scattered through the World, may be called the Catholick Church Visible, yet do strenuously oppugn its being a Political Church. And these Congregationalists affirm the Church Catholick Visible to be Totum Ʋniversale, Genericum, or as they sometimes express it, a Totum Essentiale; that this Totum Gene­ricum gives Essence unto its Species, or Parts, and is its Cause, and in order of Nature before its Species, as a Cause is be­fore its Effects, But then it must, (to prevent mistake) be carefully observ'd, that by [Church Universal Visible] they mean a Congregational, or a Particular Church Essential, which including the Ge­neral Nature of a Church, they call Ge­neral or Ʋniversal; but such as hath (where the Combination is) its Essentials existent, antecedently to the Considerati­on of its being an Integrum, or a Body Po­litick, and as such is dressed with a Power of choosing its Officers, and of becoming thereby a Totum Integrale, or an Organick Body.

§.7. 2. Fit Matter Combined, before formed into an Organick Body, is, (with them) the Church Essential; the only im­mediate [Page 60] Seat of Church Power; or, to express it in the Words of Mr. Allen and Mr. Sheppard, (Def. of the Nine Proposit. p. 88.) ‘The true Form of all Church Societies, Instituted by Christ, to which he hath given the actual Administrati­on, and Immediate Participation of Church Government, and all other In­stituted Ordinances, as the Subject there­of, is Congregational.

§.8. These two Reverend Brethren do not, (I confess) think themselves obliged to encumber this Controversie with those Logical Niceties of a Totum Genericum, a Totum Integrale, yet do they hold, ‘That the true State of this Controversie lies here, concerning the NATURE, ORDER, and FORM of such Visible Societies, as Christ Jesus, by Divine Institution in the Gospel, hath reduced his Visible Members unto, for the Actual and Im­mediate Injoyment of all his Instituted Ordinances.’ And the Chain of their Principles lies thus.

First, There is a Particular Church Es­sential, which is Congregational; this Con­gregation is made up of Visible Saints, who upon their Mutual Consent and A­greement to walk together according to [Page 61] Gospel Rule, have an Immediate Right to Stated Communion in all the Special Ordinances of the Gospel; that as they have Power to Combine together, as a­foresaid, so being combined, they have a Power of choosing their own Officers, as being furnished with such, have received Authority from Jesus Christ to Exercise Government, and of enjoying all Ordi­nances of Worship within themselves.

§.9. These then are the Points where­in Mr. Cawdrey, Hudson, and others, who were for the Classical Churches and Go­vernment, differed from the old Noncon­formists, and the English Presbyterian and Congregationalist. For, the Ecclesiastical Presbyterians held the Catholick Church Visible to be a Body Politick; the first Seat of all Ordinances, and that the Pastor's Office was with Relation to the whole Catholick Church; that they might Ad­minister all Ordinances of Worship and Discipline wheresoever they came. The Congregational Presbyterian, in opposition unto 'em, denied the Catholick Church Visible to be a Body Politick, or Governed Society, that Visible Saints combin'd for Communion in all Odinances, whilst with­out Officers, were a particular Church Es­sential; [Page 62] tha these Churches had Power to choose their own Officers; and that the Ru­ling Power of these Officers was confined within the Bounds of Congregational Par­ticular Churches.

§.10. Well then let us in the next place compare these distinct Notions with the late Heads of Agreement, and see whether the Ʋnited Brethren fell in with the English Presbyterian Principles in this Matter, or not?

§.11. 1. If we do but impartially ob­serve the Design of this Agreement, we shall find it to be nothing else than an Im­provement of our Liberty, in such a way as may most effectually convince them of the Church of England, that nothing is more Remote from our Thoughts, than a ma­king the least Incroachment upon, or in any wise an Intermedling with the Natio­nal Church Form; and whereas the Con­gregational and English Presbyterian Prin­ciples are best adjusted to this end, as well as most Conform to the Gospel Rule, we took special care in drawing up the A­greement, to Assert, and Explain their Principles. And therefore, as we did in the Preface, and in the Title of the first [Page 63] Page, positively declare against Intermed­ling with the National Church Form: So,

§.12. 2. We did express our Dislike of that Principle, on which either a Dioce­san, or Classical Church Government, is erected: For by the first Article in the first Section, the Catholick Churches being a Totum Integrale, a Society under an Ex­ternal Polity or Government, is Disclaimed in these Words, viz. ‘But as for the No­tion of a Visible Catholick Church, as it may signifie its having been collected into any Formed Society, under a Visible Head on Earth; whether one Person sin­gly, or many collectively, we, with the rest of Protestants, do UNANIMOUSLY DISCLAIM IT.’

§.13. 3. Agreeably hereunto, a particu­lar Church ESSENTIAL, with its Rights and Liberties, is Asserted, and Described, first more generally, Art. 2. ‘We Agree, that particular Societies of Visible Saints, who under Christ their Head are stated­ly joyn'd together for ORDINARY COM­MUNION with one another in ALL THE Ordinances of Christ, are Particular Churches. That is to say, a Congrega­tion of Visible Saints, statedly joyn'd toge­ther [Page 64] for these Ends. So that here is a Par­ticular Church Essential asserted, that this particular Church Essential is Congregati­onal also cleared, and as such agreed un­to; for it's said, that they are statedly joyn'd together for ORDINARY Communion with one another, in all the Ordinances of Christ, which cannot be but in one single Congregation. But,

§.14. 4. There is special care taken to secure this Principle by declaring in the second Article, That these Societies are to be owned by each other for Instituted Churches of Christ, than which nothing can be more plainly delivered, in opposition to the Classical Government.

§.15. 5. This particular Congregatio­nal Church Essential, is more particularly described as to its Matter and Form, Art. 3. and 4. Besides,

§.16. The Right of this Church Essen­tial to choose its own Officers, is secured by Art. 6. ‘That each Particular Church hath Right to choose their own Officers, and being furnished with such as are duly Qualified and Ordained according to Gospel Rule, HATH AUTHORITY from [Page 65] Jesus Christ, for EXERCISING GOVERN­MENT, and of Enjoying ALL the Ordi­nances of Worship WITHIN IT SELF.’ This then being the Turning Point be­tween those who are for a Catholick Church Government, and these, who are for a Par­ticular Congregational Government; I will be the more distinct in showing what depends on a Right, or wrong stating it.

§.17. 1. If this Article contains not the Truth, then indeed the Cause must be yielded to the Classical, Diocesan, Provin­cial, National, Patriarchal, and Papal Church Government. For, upon the same Reason the Government is stretched be­yond a single Congregational, to a Classical Church, it must be carried to the outmost Bounds of the Catholick, which is the Papal: For it is impossible to carry it to a Classical, or Diocesan, upon any other Rea­son, than as it is a Larger part of the Ca­tholick Church Polity, which still must pay a Deference unto a Larger, until you come to a larger than that, and at last to the Largest of all, viz. the Papal; which is a Truth that hath been so fully cleared by Mr. Baxter, and is in its own Nature so very Plain and Obvious, that [Page 66] a small Measure of Attention will help an ordinary Capacity to see into it.

§.18. 2. But, if this Article, of the Ʋnited Brethren DOTH contain the Truth, and a particular Church Essential hath Power to choose its own Officers; and being furnished with such, hath received Authority from Christ to exercise Go­vernment, and enjoy all Ordinances of Wor­ship within it self, then it unavoidably fol­lows, that Congregational Churches are in a Proper Sense Particular Churches; that all Church Power doth firstly belong unto them; and that Classical, Provincial, Na­tional, Patriarchal, Churches are not Pro­perly Churches, nor have they a Power over Particular Congregational Churches. Be­sides,

§.19. 3. If the Ʋnited Brethren, name­ly, the English Presbyterian and Congregati­onalists, do herein Assert no more than they are Authorized to do by the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, then the First Refor­mers in their Separation from ROME, and their setting up Churches of another sort, than what were established by the Pope, did no more than what they were em­powered by Jesus Christ himself to do, as [Page 67] will clearly appear by an Impartial Propo­sal of the Judgment of the Learned Gil­bertus Voetius, Meinardus Shottanus, and Carolus de Maetz, Divinity Professors at Ʋtrecht, which upon such Mighty Consi­derations, as relate to the Vitals of the Reformation they gave, in the resolving some Cases proposed unto them, on the Forming that Particular Church, of which one Mr. Park was chosen Pastor, who hath said enough to justifie what the Ʋ ­nited Brethren have Asserted about a Parti­cular Church ESSENTIAL, and the Power of choosing her own Officers. Consider then that the Questions proposed were,

‘1. Whether such Faithful Persons, as without the Authority of any Ecclesia­stical Society, either Classical, or Presby­terial, by Combination forming them­selves into a Society for Communion, in the Ordinances of the Gospel, may be Acknowledged to be ESSENTIALLY a Church?

‘2. Whether this Church ESSENTIAL hath Power to choose a Pastor?

To the first they answer, ‘That it is, and may be said to be Essentially a True Church of Christ, [Distinguenda est, (say they) Ecclesiae Particularis Essentia ab INTEGRITATE, & Perfectione ejus [Page 68] ORGANICA, Voet. Pol. Eccles. Part. 1. Lib. 1. Cap. 3.] to wit, an External, Vi­sible, Instituted, Parochial, Particular Church.’ Their fourth Reason for it is this. ‘If the contrary Opinion should be admitted, we cannot (say they) see what may be the Consequences thereof, with respect to those Difficult Controver­sies with the Papists, about the Perpe­tual Succession of the Churches some Years before Luther, about their Sepa­ration from Rome; about the first Ga­thering and Constituting Reformed Chur­ches; and calling of Ministers before, with, at, and since the Reforma­tion.’

§.20. The Strength of what they offer on this Occasion, lieth here; namely, in case Visible Saints combin'd for Commu­nion in the Ordinances of the Gospel, have Power, by Virtue of Jesus Christ's Insti­tution, to call and choose their own Officers: The first Reformers, in combining thus, and choosing their own Officers, acted in pursuance of the Authority given 'em by Jesus Christ, and are Justified. But had they not such a Power, their Case is not ea­sily defended. These Great Divines there­fore in Answer to the second Enquiry, af­firm, [Page 69] That a Church Essential has a Power belonging unto it, to call a Pastor. So that these Learned Men, have urged Argu­ments sufficient to justifie what the Ʋnited Brethren have done, in defining a Church Essential, and in shewing how it becomes an Integral, Organical, Political Body: And what they have urged from the Con­sideration of the Fatal Consequences of the contrary Doctrine, with respect to the First Reformation, hath enough in it to satisfie any considering Mind about the Reasons that have Influenced the Ʋnited Brethren, to fix their Foot on this Princi­ple about a Particular Church Essential, in the framing the Heads of their Agree­ment. Once more,

§.21. As the Ʋnited Brethren have As­serted Particular Churches to be Congrega­tional, so it's evident, they have confined the Power of their Officers to their own Churches: For in the Section of Commu­nion with other Churches, Art. 2. it is a­greed, ‘That none of our Particular Churches shall be Subordinate to one a­nother; each being endow'd with Equa­lity of Power from Jesus Christ; and that none of the said Particular Chur­ches, their Officer, or Officers, shall Ex­ercise [Page 70] any Power, or have any Superiority over any other Church, or their Officers. So clear it is, that this Article, by denying unto one Officer singly, and to many Officers collectively, any sort of Power, or Superi­ority over one another, doth lay an im­pregnable Bar against the setting up of Classical, Provincial, or National Assem­blies, invested with a Power to govern Congregational Churches. For, it must be acknowledged, that in forming the late Heads of Agreement, special care was taken to convince them of the Church of England, that there was no place for us to make the least Incroachments on the Established National Church Form; That the Mounds and Barriers we raised to keep all within the Confines of the Tolleration granted us, were such, that no sincere Approver of the Ʋnion, can have any Hand in erecting any thing like a Natio­nal Church Form; and therefore can ne­ver be for Classical, Provincial or Natio­nal Assemblies of Ministers: Their going about any such thing, is a breaking down the strongest Mounds, a violating the most Solemn Engagements, and a tearing up the very Foundation, on which the late Union was built, which can never be answered to our Countrey Brethren, nor to their [Page 71] own Consciences, much less unto a Holy and Jealous God. For,

§.22. By the Heads of Agreement, as all that Church Power we claim is confi­ned to Particular Congregational Chur­ches, and a Superiority of Power denied to any one Officer or Officers of Churches; so Particular Churches were no further concern'd to give any account of their own Actings, beside what the Civil Magistrate requires, but what on some special Occa­sions might be needful in a Brotherly way to Neighbour Congregations when desi­red, and 'twas for the removal of Scandals, or the rectifying Mistakes. But for stated Classical, Provincial, or Natural Assem­bles, and the coming under the Obligation of making a Diligent Observation, and a Faithful Report of the State of their Con­gregations, unto any of those larger As­semblies, there is not one Word in our Agreement. Nor, can any of our Num­ber consent that our Ministers should take upon 'em the Office of stated Inquisitors, or Informers: For, as such an Imploy is as likely to Ruine, as it is to serve its chiefest Contrivers, so it's Ʋnworthy of Men, in so Holy a Function, and contrary to that Work, Christ Jesus has called his Mini­sters [Page 72] unto; which, lying in strenuous En­deavours to further the Salvation of them committed to their care, cannot be faith­fully performed, but by keeping within the Pale of their Single Congregations. And seeing this is what is granted to us by the Toleration, to which we have hitherto confined our selves, we declare it to be our Firm Resolution, always to do so; being as much Dissatisfied with that Church-Form, which endangers the Established Church, as any in that Church can be, For,

§.23. That very Form of Church Go­vernment, which alone can give just Ground of Suspicion, is as Destructive of those Churches we believe to be of Di­vine Institution, as it can be of the Esta­blished Church Form. The Jure Divino Classical Government, that Rivals it with the Episcopal, doth as really destroy Con­gregational Churches, by making them but Parts of a Proper Church, as it would sub­vert the Diocesan, were it set up amongst us. Yea, if we more closely look into this Matter, we shall find the Classical Go­vernment more Hurtful to our Church way, than it can be to theirs, seeing it al­lows of Diocesan, under the Name of Clas­sical, [Page 73] and strikes only at their Rulers, and not at their Church-state, whilst it Ʋn­churches all our Congregations, and Divests the Officers of that Power, which we think Christ has given them; and are therefore more Formidable unto, and Dreaded by us, than by the Church it self; which Consi­deration will, we hope, satisfie our Supe­riours, and every thoughtful Person of the Church, That they are in no Danger from us.

§.24. That they destroy our Church way, is farther evident, in that they bring every Paroch and Congregation under the Government of their Classical, and other Larger Assemblies, by the Obligation of a Divine Law; and that they may to their own greater Satisfaction, prove thus much, they make the Catholick Church Visible to be one Govern'd Society, or Body Politick, which must necessarily be under a Gover­ned Head, either of One single Person, or of many Collectively; whereby they run so far, as to destroy not only Congregatio­nal Churches, but to subvert that very Prin­ciple, upon which the Reformation was be­gun in this Land, and do lay a Foundation for that Papal Anti-christian Power, which [Page 74] in its Exercise, hath shed the Blood of Thousands, who are now under the Al­tar, crying, How long Holy and True dost thou not Avenge, &c. and against which, we have, by the Oath of Supremacy Sworn: So that tho' we agree with our Classical Brethren of Scotland, in affirming Bishops and Presbyters to be of the same Order, (which only is against the Divine, not REGAL Right of Episcopacy) and do great­ly Honour them for their Zeal against Su­perstition, and Profaneness, and for their Soundness in the Faith; yet must declare, in the Words of Mr. Baxter, [in his Dis­course against the Revolt to a Foreign Ju­risdiction, which would be to England, its PERJURY, CHURCH-RUINE, and SLAVERY, Pag. 365.] That we are Dis­pleased with those Scots, that have causelesly Quarrell'd with the Oath of Supremacy, and SO HELPT TO Open a Door to a FO­REIGN JURISDICTION, which the King­dom is Sworn against. And therefore we cannot, in Confcience, have any Hand in setting it up in this Nation. However we must do 'em so much Justice as to add,

§.25. That we are fully perswaded, their Soundness in the Faith is such, that they will never approve of the late Classical Project, as 'tis designed by some of its Contrivers. The true Faith hath obtain'd so great an Interest in their Hearts, that they'll never be wheedled to joyn in the same Comprehension with either Quaker, or Ʋnitarian, tho' they pretend a Zeal for the Classical Government. If then the late Projectors propose their Model with an Ex­pectation to decoy our Scotch Brethren into a Complyance with it, they will find them­selves, I doubt not, to have greatly failed in their Politicks; seeing, in the Issue, their Project cannot but appear to be as vain, as the Ʋnitarians threatning the Church of England to be for the Classical way, is Ridi­culous, which yet they have done, as may be seen in their Agreement with the Catho­lick Church, P. 13. where it's thus: ‘I wish the Church had not given, and may never give cause to the Ʋnita­rians, either by Exclusion, or Persecution, to have Recourse to Mr. Calvin's Expe­dient.’

§.26. I might here take notice by whom this Classical Model was hatch'd, and how it was nourish'd under the Encourage­ment and Warrant of a late State-Mini­ster, and was, in its first Projection to be of the same Extent and Comprehension with the Friendly Society, that there might be a more easie Coalescence, when it should be most for the Advantage of those that were at the Head of it. But to be o­ver nice in the Enquiry, were to make the thing it self now too considerable. For whatever might have been expected from so hopeful a Design, whilst it was to be carried on with all possible Privacy, it has the Misfortune, like some Medicines, and Perfumes, to lose both its Virtue and Savour too, by being exposed to the open Air. But, if we consider it in the first Contrivance, it would be hard to give an Instance of a more Bold and Undigested Undertaking ever attempted by Thinking Men, which makes it the more surprizing to find a Statesman tampering with it, were it not that some Men delight in Pa­radoxes, of which of late Years, we have had not a few Instances; and how far it is from being one, to think either, that our [Page 77] Brethren in Scotland could be prevail'd up­on by these Gentlemen, or the Orthodox Church of England frighted with the Ghost of a Classical Government; I leave Wiser Men to judge.

To Conclude.

§.27. When our Governours, in their great Wisdom, shall consider how strong­ly the Principles of the English Presbyteri­ans, and Congregationalists, do Oblige 'em to confine themselves to Matters meerly Spiritual, in their single Congregations, how many Barriers are in pursuance of their Principles, set up against their In­termedling with the National Church Form; and that the very Government, from which alone they are in danger, if it should prevail, would at the same time destroy that Church Form, for which we plead, will be fully satisfied in that Security our Principles do give unto them. Nor can we think, that our Nobility and Gentry will be fond of a Jure Divino National Church Go­vernment of any sort, much less of the [Page 78] Classical; which tho' it hath been in most Esteem amongst the Presbyterian Nobi­lity and Gentry in Scotland, yet now is become too heavy a Yoak for them to bear; who therefore have lately disco­vered their disbelief of its Divine Right, by a Legal Establishment of several Pa­rochian Congregational Churches, exempt from the Classical Government; which they would never have done, had they been of Opinion, that the Classical way was injoyned them by a Divine Ʋnal­terable Law; so that as the Divine Right of the Classical Presbytery could never be Established in England, in like manner it's not like to continue much longer in Scotland. And, considering the true State of Affairs Ecclesiastical, at this time, we have good Reason to hope, That as the Divine Right of any other National Church Government, never yet gained a Legal Settlement amongst us, so it never will; and that there­fore we may, upon good Grounds, rec­kon our selves to be, in point of our Liberty, Safe: For, as our Principles won't suffer us to harm the Church; so our Legislators will never bring them­selves and Posterity into the Bondage of [Page 79] any Jure Divino National Church, upon which Account, and no other, can they think themselves obliged to disquiet Peaceable Dissenters.


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