A Seasonable VINDICATION OF THE Truly Catholick Doctrine OF THE Church of England: IN REPLY TO Dr. Sherlock's ANSWER to Ano­nymus his three Letters concerning Church-Communion.

Errare possum, Haereticus aut Schismaticus esse nolo.

LONDON: Printed for Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1683.

Anonymus his REPLY to Dr. Sherlock's Answer to his Three Letters about Church-Communion.

SIR,

BEING neither Prophet,Dr. Sher­lock's Letter to Anonym. pag. 54. nor Pro­phet's Son, nor having any outward Sign, whereby I might judg of your pleasure to teach me my Catechism in private; I, by publishing my Objecti­ons against your Discourses about Church-Communion, have given you the opportu­nity of glutting and satiating your Revenge, Sherlock's Discourse of the know­ledg of Christ 2d ed. p. 32. & 43. (accor­ding to your own decent Expression of Divine Justice) and insulting over the Ignorance of an ill­taught Lay-man, who knew not what it was to press Dr. Sherlock to explain himself, in a Matter where­in his own Brethren, such as are as far from the Im­putation of Deism or Socinianism as himself,See his Let­ter, p. 55. and are not likely to contemn the Notion of a Church, and of the Evangelical Priesthood and Sacraments, have been highly dissatisfied, as he himself well knows.

You blame me,Ibid. p. 57. for offering no Argument to disprove any Thing you say, nor shewing wherein lay the [Page 2] Weakness of your Arguments: As if it were nothing to urge to a Man the plain Consequences of his Do­ctrine,Sherlock's Answer to Danson, p. 6. which (as you know who teaches us) is a plain way of Reasoning, which all Men allow of, to convince Men of the Ʋnsoundness of their Doctrines.

This perhaps I may have done in the first and se­cond Letters: And for my third, where you say, I run nothing but Dregs and Lees, His Letter to Anonym. p. 33. and where you think little new, but Repetitions of old Queries; per­haps some will belive, it was not altogether imper­tinent to shew wherein your Art lay, in applying that to a Church in one Sence, which belong'd to it in another.

But admit all this were nothing to the disproof of what you undertook; Ibid. p. 57. I think it had been enough, if I had only put such Questions as might oblige you to explain your self: And if your Discourse stood in need of it,Ibid. p. 5. you may well think your self concer­ned in my Queries, and ought to thank me for put­ting you upon a Purgation.

Which you have made in such a manner, as if your Trial had been by Fire.

Truly I should have been glad to have found it done with such Charity and Candor, as becomes a Messenger of the Prince of Peace, and might have given some reasonable satisfaction, that you aim at something better, than running down at any rate those who have the misfortune to think otherwise than you do.

You complain indeed,Ibid. p. 53. that I have not treated you with that Civility which I owe your Person, or your Profession; nay, as good as tell me, I have been scandalously rude, when you wish for my own sake I [Page 3] had carried my self better. Truly, if it be such Rude­ness to charge a Clergy-man with what one takes to be the Import of his Doctrine, and calling it uncha­ritable, or owing to ill Principles, where he believes it so, I confess my self guilty. Yet I appeal to all unbiass'd Men, whether those foul Representations of Christianity, which I still conceive to lurk within the former general Assertions, were animadverted on with that Severity which ought to have been.

But yet it seems you were resolved to be even with me in the worst Sence. Wherefore, to pass by the telling me in effect,His Letter, p. 57. that a Fool may ask more Questions than a wise Man can answer, but that mine are very foolish and impertinent Questions, generally nothing to the purpose, (which is such a Re­buke, as if you should bid me ask no more with a dirty Face) you insinuate,Pag. 56. That I espouse a Schism or Faction, only to shew my Wit in defending it, and to make my self considerable by espousing a Party, Pag. 21, & 56. and am no hearty Lover of the Church of England;Pag. 53. that it is not in my Nature to be civil to a Clergy-man.

That I disown part of the due Authority of Bi­shops: Pag. 54. That I think of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, as a very indifferent Ceremony: That I de­signed to affront Dr. Stilling fleet, and Dr. Tillotson, whom I greatly reverence;Pag. 48, & 50. and particularly, would charge the former with endeavouring to prove all Church-Communion needless.

That I excuse Dissenters upon such Principles as tend [...] to undermine Christianity,Pag. 56. &c.

But these Insinuations, to which I shall not give their due Epithete, were not enough for your pur­pose; but you must come to a positive Charge, [Page 4] which you scatter up and down your Answer, as that I never spare any Man's Reputation to serve my Designs; His Letter, p. 50. and that my Reproaches and Commendations are but different Ways of Abuse.

Nay, you are so indiscreet to charge upon me what I chiefly write against, and blame you for, which is, Pag. 45. That where two Churches are not in Commu­nion with each other, they cannot both belong to the same Body, but that it is evident, that one of these mast needs be cut off from Christ's Body.

Where you take advantage of the Printer's Mis­take,Anonymus's 3d Letter, p. 26. putting it is, for is it? which I made by way of Question, as manifestly appears by the Cohe­rence.

But the dreadfullest part of your Charge is in the ghostly Counsel which you vouchsafe me, where you tell me, Pag. 53. It is evident I have a great Spite at the whole Order of the Clergy: That I am guilty of too plain a Contempt of all Church-Authority:Pag. 54. That tho I pretend to be in Communion with the Church of Eng­land, I make the Church it self a very needless and insignificant Thing, for I know no necessity of commu­nicating with any Church: That I will not allow it to be Schism, to separate from the Church: And that I think it a pretty indifferent thing, whether Men be baptized, or not, or by whom. Then, to deal plainly with me, you think I have more need to be taught my Catechism, than to set up for a Writer of Books: And that the Consequence of the Way I am in, is no less than a Con­tempt of all revealed and instituted Religion. And what, of most Men, I should not have expected from Dr. Sherlock, my Notions are condemned, as owing to Deists and Socinians.Pag. 55.

[Page 5] And thus, Sir, in the Spirit of Meekness and Charity, you have drawn up a very fair Charge.

You may treat me with as much scorn and con­tempt as you please, and I shall consider it but as your natural Infirmity; where God Almighty makes allowances, we ought: But I ought not to be silent under such Reproaches, of which your own Conscience cannot but acquit every Thing that I have said or wrote to you.

And further, no reasonable Man can think me concerned to vindicate my self: The most solemn Protestations concerning my more private Thoughts, would be but scoffed at, by them who are resolved to believe the worst.

And my Comfort is, no Orthodox Clergy-man, that knows me, will be so uncharitable: But to bring Compurgators of such, (whose Friendships, as they are dulce decus meum, so they are praesidium too against such fatal Miscarriages) would but ex­pose their venerable Names to such Usage as I have met with.

But be that never so hard, for once I will set an Example to a Clergy-man, and shew, that I can con­tain my self after all these causeless Calumnies, tho you cannot bear to be told of the Truth.

Wherefore I shall calmly shew,

  • I. How groundless both your open and imply'd Accusations are against me.
  • II. What cause I had to put you upon explaining your self.
  • [Page 6] III. How unsatisfactory your Explanation is in its own Nature.

So much of your Charge as I am concern'd to answer particularly, resolves it self into these gene­ral Heads.

  • 1. My Want of Love to the Church of England, and taking part with Dissenters, out of Zeal for their Cause, or Vain-Glory.
  • 2. That I have a Spite at the whole Order of Clergy-men, and disown part of the Power of Bishops.
  • 3. That I designed to affront Dr. Stillingfleet, and Dr. Tillotson.
  • 4. That I discover a Contempt of all Church-Authority, and think the Church it self an in­significant Thing.
  • 5. And lastly; That I am guilty of Deism and Socinianism. And,

That my Principles tend to undermine Christi­anity, and to the Contempt of all revealed Religion.

First Article.

In the first Article you would argue me guilty of Hypocrisy, in pretending to be in constant Commu­nion with the Church of England, when I want that Love for it, which is essential to Union and Com­munion with it; or of a great deal of Vanity, in labouring to shew my Wit in the Defence of a [Page 7] Cause, which I my self know to stand in need of Wit and Artifice.

But if it happen, that the Church of England is no more concerned in your Censures, than perhaps you may think your self to be in the Doctrine of its Articles or Homiles.

And that it gives you no warrant to call the Dis­senters Schismaticks, and such as are deprived of the Influences of the Divine Spirit, while they scruple Conformity.

My taxing you with want of Charity towards Dissenters, will be as far from the suspicion of such a Zeal for them, as implies a Dis-esteem of our Church, or such a Defence of their Cause, as may be impu­ted to Wantonness or Vanity, Luke 10. that it may be more like the Act of that Samaritan, who took care of the poor Man, who had been most barbarously used by Thieves, and could meet with no pity from the Priest and the Levite, who past by on the other side.

Whatever you think of this Matter, I am bold to affirm, that our Church no-where warrants your As­sertions, either in its Articles, Homilies, or Canons. Indeed in the Canons of King James, the Authority of which, as to us Lay-men, I need not here en­quire into, I find Schismatici mentioned in some of the Titles, but not in any of the Canons, to be sure by no means applied in your manner.

But then you tell me,His Letter, pag. 21. No Man who had any kind­ness for the Church, with which he pretends to hold Communion, would make such a vile Insinuation, as if profest Atheists were admitted to Communion. But cer­tainly there may be a profest Atheist, tho he doth not profess himself so at the time of his communi­cating, [...] [Page 10] for want of that Euphemia, which one cannot greatly offend against by one single Word, of no ill signifi­cation.

I am sure you, of all Men, have no reason to press hard upon me in this Particular.

Third Article.

That I may be depriv'd of the Patronage of two such great Luminaries of our Church, as Dr. Stillingfleet, and Dr. Tillotson, Pag. 49. you tax me with a Design of affronting Dr. S. and dealing with the other great Man at the same rate.Pag. 50.

Secret Things belong to God; but I am sure you could have no Revelation from above of any such Design; nor can any thing that I have said look that way.

Assure your self, I cited the Words against the abso­lute Necessity of Church-Communion, (whence you ground your Reflection) in the same Sence as I receive them, which is in their utmost Latitude, but by no means as if they would set aside all Government in the Church. But you are certainly guilty of the Affront against them, if you think there is any harm in the Quotations, or as if I expose their Failings thereby. I will not here return upon you, That you never spare any Man's Reputation, to serve your Design, &c. which would come as properly from me, as it did from you.

But when you were upon such Authorities, you would have done well to have reconciled your self to Dr. Stilling­fleet's Sence of Schism, which, if his Judgment be valu­able in competition with Dr. Sherlock's,Vid. Preface to the three Letters. lies not in a vo­luntary Departure out of any particular Church, but the true Catholick Church. And the Reason which he gives [Page 11] for it, is the Ground which I go upon. If you will teach me my Catechism better in this Point, I am very ready to learn.

Fourth Article.

The fourth Article has many in the Belly of it; for under the supposed Contempt of Church-Authority, are, in your Sence, contained:

1. The thinking the Church it self an insignificant Thing, and that no causeless Separation from it can be a Schism.

2. A despising the Evangelical Priesthood, as you call it.

3. The looking upon the Sacraments as very indiffe­rent Ceremonies. Pag. 54.

1. In the first, you (as is usual with you) would take advantage of your own Confusion, in blending together the Notion of the Catholick, and of a particular Church; For tho one may think that it signifies not much, or is not one's Duty to communicate with every particular sound Church; yet it is, no doubt, always his Duty to communicate, actually, or in Inclination, with the Church of Christ, in that which essentially constitutes it his Church: Nay, and there may be a Schismatical Se­paration, even upon the account of lesser Matters. But my Question is, Whether there may not be a Separation, causeless in the Nature of the Thing occasioning it, tho not in relation to the Party's Conscience who scruples it, and that without Schism.

But as▪ Dr. Stillingfleet rightly distinguishes,Preface to the three Letters. between what is necessary to Salvation, and what is necessary to the Government of the Church; my receiving his Sence, [Page 12] has sufficiently anticipated and removed this Imputation, unless you will fix it upon him too.

2. But for the second; If by an Evangelical Priesthood, you mean such as is necessary to offer up Sacrifices for us; I know of no such upon Earth, by the Gospel-Insti­tution.

3. For the third, which may take in what may seem omitted on the foregoing Head; I desire to be inform'd, what one Passage has faln from me, which looks like an excusing the Contempt or Neglect of the Sacraments, or of them to whom ordinarily it belongs to administer them. Yet methinks you do not duly consider, that a Thing may be one's Duty by virtue of a positive Command, and con­sequently ought to be done, when fit Circumstances concur; yet not being enjoin'd as the necessary Means to Salvation, when such Circumstances are wanting, the actual Exercise is not required; yet it does not follow, that therefore 'tis indifferent.

What the Judicious Hooker says of Baptism, is doubt­less equally applicable to the other Sacrament, and all the Parts of the Office of the Ministry.

That God (saith he) hath committed the Ministry of Baptism unto special Men;
Hooker's Eccles. Pol. p. 332.
it is for Order's sake in his Church, and not to the end that their Authority might give being, or add force to the Sacrament it self.

To this purpose I did before cite the deservedly estee­med Authors, Dr. Stillingfleet, Dr. Tillotson, and their Forerunner, Mr. Chillingworth; yet certainly this does not overthrow the Necessity of a setled Ministry, Answer to Anon. p. 49. and a re­gular Authority in the Church.

It were an easy matter here to make a pompous shew of Reading; I shall only observe to you, that some of my Questions related to the supposed absolute Necessity [Page 13] of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism; others, to the Authority of them who administer it. Indeed that of the Lord's Supper was not mentioned by me, because, as you had handled the Matter, the chief Dispute was about the forming of a Church,Resolut. of Cases, p. 10. and Church-Communion, which you tell us, is something antecedent to all the Acts and Of­fices of Communion.

I must tell you, I had my Warrant for such Interro­gations as I made upon both Heads, from very great Lights in our Church.

Mr. Hooker, when he was to argue against the Dissen­ters of his Time, found them to stand much upon the Authority of their Ministry, which they contended to be by Divine Right, and that others could not duly admi­nister the Sacraments.Hooker, f. 317. Now tho that great Man asserts, That it hath been constantly held, as well touching Believers as Martyrs, that Baptism taken away by Necessity, is sup­plied by desire of Baptism, and to Children, by a presu­med Desire: Ibid. f. 320. Yet he chiefly addresses himself to prove, That Baptism by any Man, in case of Necessity, is valid; which, he says, was the Voice of the whole World heretofore.

But a learned Oxford Professor, Mr. George Abbot, in a Theological Lecture there, de Circumcisione & Baptis­mo, goes to prove it unlawful, for any of the Laity to usurp upon the Ministerial Office in this, because Bap­tism is not absolutely necessary in it self. Questiones in Scholâ Theol. per G. Abbot, edit. 1598, p. 106. He concludes his elaborate Reading thus: Interea tamen ista sunt, quae hodiernâ oratione accepistis: Externo Sacramento non sic astringi & alligari Dei gratiam, ut sine ipso salvare ali­quando nolit. Ideo (que) & diffidenter quoad Deum, & au­dacter quoad se, Faeminas Laicos (que) facere, qui baptizare aggrediuntur. Tertiò, tamen cum sigillum sit impressum, non esse iterandum.

[Page 14] Fifth Article.

The fifth Article, which is not so explicit as the fore­going, of being guilty of Deism, Socinianism, and what not, is laid but as a Consequence of the former; where­fore that Imputation being wip'd off, I fear no Man's charging me with this.

And to deal as plainly with you, as you, I think you, have done with me, I should have expected this sooner from another Man. Whatever you or I say, the World will judg, whether he is most likely to be guilty of Deism, undermining Christianity, and contemning all re­vealed Religion, who calls your Opinions in question; or he who will argue,Res. of Ca­ses, p. 9. that it is as necessary to commu­nicate with every sound Part of the Catholick Church,Gods Coven. is with the whole Body of Chri­stians, as uni­ted in one Communion. as with any; and that one is as much obliged to com­municate as a Member with some particular, visible, sound Part, as to be a Christian; and that not only by joining in the Purity of Faith and Worship, (for that he tells us Hereticks might do) but in all other Acts or Terms of Communion:Ibid. p. 30. Vindicat. of Def. p. 70. And that notwithstanding the Efficacy which God Almighty has promised to a true lively Faith in the Merits of Christ Jesus, it is as necessary to Sal­vation to know which of the Churches, divided in Acci­dentals, is in the right, and with which we are bound to communicate, Resolut. of Cases, p. 37, 38. rejecting all divided Communions for Schis­matical, as it is to be of the Christian Religion. Such sort of Mediums must needs do as great Disservice to Christianity, as counterfeit Miracles to the true; and he who imposes the Belief of both, as of equal Autho­rity, or under equal Necessity, to my thinking, bids prety fair for the undermining and contempt of all.

[Page 15] For Socinianism, His Letter to Anonym. p. 35. not knowing upon what account I should come to be caution'd against it, I should think it used meerly as a Term of Reproach, to be given of course when a Man is angry, and wants better Arguments, were it not that perhaps you might do it designedly, to pre­vent my joining in that Charge, which others have in this respect undertaken to make good against your self; and crying Whore first, as they say, would oblige me to find another Addition for you.

Truly I shall not go about to retort it, not being at leisure to tell you, wherein you may seem not to have answered fully,Vid. his De­fence and Continuat. p. 534. or to have slighted many Things as Buffoonry, which have been very closely▪ as well as acute­ly urged.

I shall only observe upon good Authority,Mr. Chilling­worth's Pref. that the Socinians give themselves a greater Liberty of enquiring into the Modes of Existencies, and the Nature of Di­vine Mysteries, than becomes short-sighted Mortals. And if other Men, equally full of themselves, happen to differ from them, when they adventure upon their own way of explaining those sublime Truths, which retire to be the Objects of our Admiration, rather than of a distinct Perception; If the Scripture-Account which the Homilies of our Church afford them, be look'd on as too great a stinting of their Spirit of Enquiry, they have no great reason to expect, that God's Grace should be engaged to protect them from dangerous Errors, see­ing they attempt to be wise above what is written.

And perhaps he who will reproach as magical any No­tion of the Union of true Believers with Christ Jesus,Vindic. of the Def. of Dr. Stilling. p. 46. and with each other, which does not agree with his Po­litical Scheme, or with the visible Connection of the Parts of a natural Body, may take to himself as dange­rous [Page 16] a Latitude; and then we need not wonder, if he apply to the Church of Christ what he has observed of a natural Body, Viz.

That the Ʋnion of every Member with the Body,Vindic▪ p. 38. is its Ʋnion with that part of the Body which is next, &c.

Had he but made Provision for the Cloaths too, and had argued, that that part of the Body which is naked, cannot be united to that which is cloathed, it might have come up more fully to his purpose of proving a necessity of Union in Accidentals, as well as in Essentials.

Pray the next time you see our loving Friend W. S. tell him so much is expected from him.

Having said what I conceiv'd fitting, for an Antidote against the spreading of your Reflections upon me, I shall here justify the Pertinency of my Questions to you, and shew,

II. What Cause I had to put you upon explaining your self, concerning the Notions of Church-Com­munion.

My apparent Design being to do this, you have no reason to blame me for not giving you your own Words, Letter to A­nonym. p. 2. with that dependance and connection, in which the whole Strength of the Discourse consists; for had that been ne­ver so well laid together, I ought to believe it to pro­ceed upon some false Ground,Vid. Dr Still. The Faith of Protestants re­duced to Prin­ciples, p. 487. as being contrary to those Notions, which must be antecedent to the Belief of all revealed Religion.

You know one, who thinks himself not concern'd what Consequences are charged upon his Hypothesis, Vid. Mr. D's Reply to Mr. Baxter. so that he prove it positively true. Perhaps you may [Page 17] may be as confident of yours, as he was of his.

'Twas enough for me to oblige you to speak plainly what your Notion was. I must confess, I did suspect it of D—lism, which indeed you overthrow in that Book to which you refer me for my Satisfaction; but would establish one much weaker, and with less shew of Reason.

That which made me suspect your Principle to be that way,Resol. of Cases of Consc. p. 38 was, Your asserting the absolute Necessity for every Man who lives here, as he would be a Member of Christ's Body, to communicate with the National Church, because of its being a sound part of the Catholick Church.

To which end you held,

1. That 'tis as necessary for every Man to communi­cate with some particular visible sound Church,Vid. è contra B. Morton's Apol. Cathol. p. 32, & p. 40. Resol. p. 31. as to be a Christian.

2. That the only visible way God has of forming a Church,Ibid. p. 5. is by granting a Church-Covenant, which is the Divine Charter whereon the Church is founded,N. B. VVhen I had charg'd the Conse­quence of your Opinion to be such as Church Governours please, you op­posed it not. and in­vesting some Persons with Power and Authority to re­ceive others, according to the Terms and Conditions of the Covenant, and by such Covenant-Rites, and Forms of Admission, as he is pleased to institute, which under the Gospel is Baptism, is under the Law it was Circumcision.

3. That no Man can be a Member of the Church, or in Covenant with God, Vid. 3d Letter, p. 28. who is not visibly admitted into God's Covenant by Bapptism. Resol. of Ca­ses, p. 5.

4. That which makes any thing in a strict Sence an Act of Church-Communion,Ibid. p. 33. is, that it is performed in the Fellowship of the Apostles, or in Communion with the Bishops and Ministers of the Church.

[...]

[Page 22] supposes, that we ought to communicate with a sound Church, whether it has Authority over us or no; which wants no more to expose it, than to retort some of your own Words:Letter to Anon p. 8. For your way of arguing is, as if a Man should say, there is a divine Law to obey Civil Magistrates. Therefore into whatever Government you come, whe­ther as Ambassador from a Foreign Prince, or otherwise, you are bound to live according to the Laws of that Government,Ibid. p. 41. in every respect, as much as a Native. And for Foreigners to enjoy several Immunities from Taxes, and the like, is contrary to the Fundamental Laws of Government.

But you are positive, that Obedience to the Church of England is a Duty incumbent on those which are, Ibid. p▪ 6. or ought to live in Obedience to this particular Church: That is, they who ought to live in Obedience, ought to live in Obedience; which is a greater Blunder surely, than my speaking only of Power and Censures,Ibid. p. 7. when I was tal­king of Communion: For surely the submitting to the Churches Terms of Communion, is submitting to its Power. Well, however, this Submission, you say, may be called a Part of the Divine Covenant. Which gives me occasion to mind you of what our Homilies say about Obedience to Human Laws.

God hath appointed his Laws,Homilies. 2d Serm. of good VVorks, f. 35. whereby his Pleasure is to be honoured: His pleasure is also, that all Mens Laws, not being contrary unto his Laws, shall be o­beyed and kept, as good and necessary for every Common-Weal, but not as Things wherein principally his Honour resteth.

And all Civil and Man's Laws either be, or should be made to bring Men the better to keep God's Laws [Page 23] that consequently or following, God should be the better honoured by them.

Howbeit the Scribes and Pharisees were not content that their Laws should be no higher esteemed than other positive and Civil Laws, nor would not have them called by the Name of Temporal Laws, Or part of the Divine Cove­nant. but Holy Traditions; and would have them esteemed not only for a right and true worshipping of God, as God's Laws be indeed, but also for the most high honouring of God, to which the Commandments of God should give place.

St. Paul, speaking of those who scrupled eating some Meats, upon their apprehension that they were unclean, which he tells them was a causless Scruple in the Nature of the Thing, tho not as to their Consciences, assures them, that,

He that doubteth is damned if he eat,Rom. 14. 23. because he eateth not of Faith; for whatsoever is not of Faith, is Sin.

If you will say, this was spoke where there was no humane Law to determine its Indifference; I desire you to consider, whether such an Answer savours not of that Pharisaism which our Church condemns.

But certain it is, if active Obedience in the Matter which one scruples, which is Submission to the Power of the Church, be or may be called Part of the Divine, Covenant, which unites us to God, and to each other, there can be no Suspension of Communion because of doubt; but he is out of God's Covenant, and must be damn'd, continuing so, who does not actually conform to those very Things which he conscienciously scruples; nay, and the Church may excommunicate him while he is under this Doubt: For you know who teaches us, that it is impossible that a Church, which is not Schis­matical [Page 24] in its Terms,Vindic. of the Def. of Dr. S. p. 416. that is, (as seems there meant) which imposes nothing in it self contrary to God's Law, can excommunicate schismatically. Indeed the Excom­munication, according to that Notion, does but declare the State he was in before; for by not actually obeying that part of the Divine Covenant, the Man was de­priv'd of all other possible Means of Salvation; agree­ably to which the Defender of Dr. Stillingfleet says:

When our Saviour so expresly asserts,
Ibid. p. 116.
Whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Hea­ven: If by binding and loosing, we will understand putting out or receiving into the Church, (which that Author plainly doth but immediatly before) it makes the Communion of the Church absolutely necessary to Salvation.

This shews that my Consequence was rightly inferr'd, when I argued,

That if Submission to the Power and Censures of the Church be part of the Divine Covenant: then, as he who is not admitted into this Church, is no Member of the Catholick, and has no Right to any of the Benefits of being a Member of Christ's Body; so it is with every one who is excluded by Church-Censures, tho excom­municated for a slight Contempt or Neglect, nay, for a wrongful Cause.

Your Answer to this,Letter to A­nonymus, p. 24. is of one who lives in Eng­land, and renounces Communion; when the Question is of withdrawing, or refusing, because of real Scru­ples, which you will have to be an adhering to their own private Fancies, and to proceed from Pride and Opinio­nativeness, [Page 25] because they don't believe as the Church believes.

But then you say in general Terms, Page 7▪ Whoever is excom­municated from one sound Part of the Catholick Church, is excommunicated from all.

Whether this be upon the Supposition, that every sound Church is bound to ratify the Censures of ano­ther; and that he who divides from his Bishop's Altar, divides from a Mystical Head, answering to the Jewish High-Priest, as is taught by him from whom you borrow the Notion, That Christianity is nothing but Mystical Ju­daism; perhaps one may know hereafter.

But if a Man excommunicated from one sound Part, be, as you would have him, by consequence cut off from the whole Catholick Church, that Church to the Unity of which you say the Influences of the Divine Spirit are confined; Resol. of Cases of Consc. p. 48. to what purpose is your Distinction between a Judicial Sentence, Letter to A­nonymus, p. 7. and an Act of a Man's own Choice? For you suppose, the Man chuses that which justifies the Sentence. And how can you say, you will not pretend to determine the Final State of Men? Whereas he who dies after such a Sentence, unrestored to the Church-Communion, dies in a Condition, as you tell us, de­priv'd of all the Influences of the Divine Spirit, and con­sequently of all Means of Salvation. And 'tis but small Comfort for such a Man, that the Church did not de­sign his Damnation,Vid. Vindic. of the Def. p. 4.4. Because the Church casts no Man out of a State of Salvation; that this excludes them from a State of Salvation, is not the Act of the Church, but God's Act. As if you should say, that when you cast an in­nocent Man out of your Ship, into the vast Ocean, where he is sure to perish; that this excludes the poor Wretch from the State of Life, is not your Act, but God's.

[Page 26] Truly, Sir, how much soever you may slight the way of asking Questions, I think it better to ask you, Whe­ther you believe a Man, thus put out of the State of Salvation by God himself, can be sav'd of his own na­tural Power, without the Influence of the Divine Spirit, which it seems he is depriv'd of by a fallible Sentence? than to charge you with Pelagianism, Letter to A­non. p. 7. when you think you determine nothing of the Man's Final State.

But I am sure, Homily, f. 209 Our Church teaches us, that, It is the Holy-Ghost, and no other Thing, that doth quicken the Minds of Men, stirring up good and godly Motions in their Hearts, which are agreeable to the Will and Command­ment of God, such as otherwise, of their own crooked and perverse Natures they should never have.

The other Horn of my formidable Dilemma, Pag. 8. as you slightingly call it, you avoid with becoming Caution; and supposing it to be aim'd against all manner of Obli­gation to Communion with this Church, Letter, p. 8. take not its real Force, which is, That if this Submission or Obedience be no part of the Divine Covenant, then it may so hap­pen, that a Man living here may be a Member of the Catholick Church, tho he is not in Communion with this sound Church. To which you give not the least colourable Answer.

And I believe by this time you see, Letter, p. 8. or at least, others will see, that the Supposition that he ought to commu­nicate, if Communion may be had, is not to the Questi­on, Whether this be part of the Divine Covenant, or no? For if it be part of the Divine Covenant, then I must confess, 'twill not be a sufficient Excuse, that the Submission is not neglected or contemn'd; for it ought to be actual, whatever be the Scruple; especially if [Page 27] the Thing enjoined be not unlawful in it self, tho it be in the Conscience of the Party.

But then to the Query, Letter, p. 9. Whether Dissenters may not reply, that they are ready to communicate, if the Communion be not clogg'd with some Things, which are no part of the Divine Covenant? You say, The Reply is weak and im­pertinent, because Obedience in all lawful Things is in a large Notion part of the Divine Covenant; and the Supposition is, of communicating where Communion may be had.

Now the Question being put of their scrupling the Lawfulness, I leave it to your self to consider, whether our Church does not condemn this Opinion as Phari­saical.

3. The third Head or Query,Letter to A­non. p. 9. which concerns the Derivation of Church-Power from Christ himself, you suppose not to belong to you.

But surely, at first sight, before one hears your lear­ned Answer,Letter, p. 4▪ 5. one would think it strange, how it should come to pass, that you should admit the Dissenters to have full Church-Power amongst them, and yet charge them with Schism, for not communicating with us; while you suppose, that whoever communicates with them will be guilty of Schism.

Methinks Mr. D.'s Ground of charging them herein as much more plausible; which is, That they are Schis­maticks in dividing from them, who derive all Church-Power within this Nation from our Saviour, and his Apostles, exclusively of all others. But pray, is the Church-Power in the hands of our Conformists, by rea­son of the Divine Law, or because of the Civil Law, which makes them the governing Part?

[Page 28] If it be by reason of the Divine Law, Mr. D. is in the right, notwithstanding all that you say against him. If it be by the Civil Law, then the Reason why I ought to communicate with Conformists, and not with Dissen­ters, is by reason of a Difference made by Human Laws. And then see if you can answer what you say against Mr. Humphreys his peaceable Design of uniting the Epis­copal Men,Vindicat. of Dr. Stilling. p. 4, & 5. Presbyterians, and Independents, under one Civil Government; where you say, If the Evil and Sin­fulness of Separation consisted only in Obedience to Humane Laws, I should think it a barbarous Thing to make any Laws, which shall ensnare Men in so great a Guilt.

But in Answer to my Question,

You own that a Lay-man may preach the Gospel,Letter, p. 10. where there is none of the Clergy. But since you here set aside the Question of the Derivation of Power from under our Saviour, and his Apostles, or from the Di­vine Law; how come dissenting Ministers to be Schis­maticks for preaching the Gospel? or they not to be Schismaticks, who refuse to communicate with them, even where they require no Terms of Communion, not only not unlawful, but perhaps which are no way differing from what Christ himself requires?

The first Query here was upon supposition, that you would in no case allow a Church to be gathered with­out a constant Succession of Church-Ministers; which tho you deny to follow from your Doctrine, is but the Consequence of many of your Assertions, particularly of these two:Resol. of Ca­ses, p. 7, 22. (1.) That it is absurd to gather a Church out of a Church of baptized Christians, and divide Neigh­bour-Christians into distinct Communions. Ibid. p. 42. (2.) That [Page 29] there cannot be two distinct Churches, for distinct Commu­nions, in one City or Nation.

Taking it for granted, as I had reason, that you went herein upon the Authority of the Church-Officers, I ask'd,

Whether this would not put the Being of our Church upon an hazardous Issue, and oblige your self to prove, that 'twas a true Church before the Reformation? Which surely is no remote Consequence from the Sup­position that the Church-Power was lodged with them of the Church of Rome before, in opposition to which our Church was erected, and out of which it was gathered.

But then you say to my second Query upon this, That there was not the same Necessity for private Christians, reforming from an Antichristian Church, to usurp the Ministry, Letter, p. 10. as there is for a Lay-man in an Heathen Nation.

But you do not observe, that the Force of this lies in the Supposition, that the Power was lodg'd with the Popish Clergy; upon which account the Acts of the Reformed Ministry, in opposition to them, would be but like the Acts of Lay-men.

And you know who has asserted,

That Recourse ought to be had to the Intention of the Church-Governors,Vid. Mr▪ D's Reply to Mr. Baxter, p▪ 43, 81, 22. Ecclesiastical Power being their Gift: And this does oblige all to a strict dependance on the supreme visible Power, so as to leave no Place for Appeal concerning the Practice of such Government: And they are the most certain, as well as the most competent Judges of their own Intentions.

But should we have recourse to such Church-Gover­nours, pray do you think they would say, you have Power of keeping up a Form of Church-Government [Page 30] in opposition to theirs, or that your Officers are better than Lay-men? To put this home to you, I shall here subjoin a Passage of your own.

Should a Company of private Christians,Vid. Def. of Dr▪ Stil. p. 369▪ on their own choice, separate themselves from their Bishops, and unite into a Church-Society, this were a Church-Faction and Schism, and all they did were null and void.

Here you must admit, that a Minister Episcopally or­dained, may possibly join with them in this Separation from the Bishop; or else you will allow of what will overthrow your Assertion, as to Separation, even from the most sound Church.

Wherefore this being admitted, and it being laid gene­rally, shew me, if you can, wherein this differs from Mr. D. at least, how Separation from Papists, or from whatever unlawful Terms of Communion, can upon your Hypothesis be freed from Schism.

You assure us, you do not charge our Dissenters with Schism,Letter, p. 11. from the Invalidity of their Orders, but from their causless and sinful Separation. And tho they have true Orders, and are true Churches, but yet divide Christi­an Communion, by separating from any sound Part of the Christian Church, they are Schismaticks; nay, if it were only in separating from each other.

Wherefore since Separation, and ordinarily refusing to communicate where one never did, but as you sup­pose, ought, come to the same thing, you cannot blame me, if I represent your Notion to be, That where there are several Churches within a Nation, which here you admit of, whether one of these Churches has Authority over the Members of the other, or no; yet he who re­fuses to communicate with any one of these, is a Schis­matick: And so you make it in relation to Churches in several Nations.

[Page 31] If this be your meaning, as I take it to be, then you have no reason to cry out of Mis-representation,Pag. 11. and blending together Things of a different Nature, when I ask,

Query 4.Ibid. Whether from the Supposition, that there is to be but one Church-Covenant throughout the Catholick Church, that there cannot be one true Church within another? And that the Nature of Catholick Communion is such, that one ought to be ready to communicate with any sound Church, from which one is not hindred by reason of the Distance of Place?

It does not follow.

Here you stop me before you make an Answer, as if I did not fairly, to take every one of these Propositions for yours, or in tacking together some Things not very consistent with each other. Because you had in some place asserted,Pag. 12. that there could be but one Church in one Place; therefore it seems, not only our Dissenters, but also Foreigners living here, are without any Church. Tho to avoid the Force of my Questions, now you would admit, that the Dissenters may have sufficient Church-Officers and Power, but however, that they are Schismaticks, Answer to A­non. p. 11. if it were only for dividing from each other.

You had said further, that nothing can justify the Di­stinction of Christians into several Churches, Ibid. p. 12. but only such a Distance of Place, as makes it necessary and expedi­ent to put them under the Conduct and Government of se­veral Bishops.

What that Distance of Place is, which makes this ne­cessary and expedient, you are not pleased to inform us. But nothing, it seems, but Distance, can with you justify [Page 32] a Distinction of Churches, be the Terms never so un­lawful; which is but the same in effect with what you had said elsewhere, as that 'tis absurd to gather a Church out of a Church of baptized Christians. Nay further, here is more wholesom Doctrine, which is, That no Di­stinction of Churches is justifiable, but under Bishops. Yet alas!Letter to Ano­nym, p. 4. you do not dispute against the Dissenters Form of Church-Government, or deny their being rightly in­vested with Church-Power, no, not you.

But it lies not upon me to reconcile you to your self; nor can you deny the having said a Thing in one place, because of the contrary in another.

The only Proposition which you can seem to deny with any colour, is, That one ought to be ready to commu­nicate with any sound Church, from which one is not hindred by distance of Place. But surely 'tis full enough to this purpose, that,

The Exercise of true Christian Communion in a particular Church,Discourse con­cerning Church Communion, p. 14, 15. is nothing else but the Exercise of Catholick Com­munion in a particular Church, which the Necessity of Af­fairs requires, since all the Christians in the World cannot meet together for Acts of Worship. But there is nothing in all these Acts of Communion, which does more peculiarly unite us to such a particular Church, than to the whole Church.

Again, Ibid. p. 26. To be in Communion with the Church, signifies to be a Member of it; and that not of any particular Church, as distinguish'd from the whole Catholick Church, but to be a Member of the one Body of Christ, and of every sound Part of it.

Wherefore as a Man is a Member of every sound Church, sure he may communicate with any sound Church, if Distance do not hinder; nay, the refusing [Page 33] Communion in such Case, is the very Schism which you all along declaim against.

Having thus fix'd upon you every one of these Pro­positions,Viz. but one Church-Cove­nant. (for the first of them I cannot believe that you will yet deny.)

I shall consider with you what follows.

Wherefore I still assert,

Either that the French Protestants have no Church here,Three Letters, p. 13. but are Schismaticks, in not communicating with ours; Or that ours is guilty of Schism, in making the Terms of Com­munion so streight, that it is not the Duty of every one, tho a licensed Stranger, to communicate with this Church.

Now to avoid the Question here, you have a pretty Notion, whereby you would make French Protestants to have no Church, calling them an Ecclesiastical Colony, belonging to the Church abroad. But all Church-Power being exercised amongst themselves here, you have no more ground to call them an Ecclesiastical Colony, in respect of the French Church, than you may call ours so in respect of any other, to which we might have for­merly belonged,Resol. of C [...] ­ses, p. [...]5. especially since they cannot meet with the Mother-Church in France, for Acts of Worship; and therefore have your own allowed Distinction from that.

But if these refuse to communicate with our Church, you make Schismaticks of them, only excuse them, as being exempted from the Jurisdiction of this Church.

But this you condemn,Letter to A­non. p. 14. as being contrary to the Practice of the Primitive Church; and besides, consider not what you said to Mr. Humphreys his Project; nor your charging the Dissenters with Schism, for not com­municating with each other, notwithstanding that one cannot pretend Jurisdiction over the other; and so must [Page 34] be in the same case with those that are priviledged or exempted.

Wherefore the French Protestants are beholden to you for a good Lift.

But taking it for granted, that 'tis the Duty of these French Protestants to communicate with our Church, when ever they are required, you take no notice of the Consequence from your Tenent, which is, that they ought notwithstanding an Exemption; for else it follows, that our Church is too streight in its Terms of Commu­nion: And you cannot surely but remember where we are taught,Vindic. of the Def. of Dr. Stil. p. 360. That Ʋnion to the Body consists in Vnion to that Part which is next.

2. But I ask'd you further, Whether it does not fol­low, from the Obligation to communicate, or to be ready to communicate with any true Church, where Distance does not hinder, that a Member of the Church of England is not obliged to constant Communion with that Church, but may occasionally communicate with the French Church, nay, with Dissenters too, if he be­lieves that any of their Congregations is a true Mem­ber of the Catholick Church.

Here I lie under your sore displeasure, Page 16. for turning your own Artillery upon you. Page 18. And you think, No Man in his Wits ever understood this Question in any other Sence, than that whatever Church I can occasionally communicate with, I am also bound to communicate constantly with, when­ever such Reasons as are necessary to determine my Commu­nion to a particular Church, make it my Duty so to do.

And a very doughty Question this is; for surely 'tis beyond dispute, that whatever necessarily determines my Communion to a particular sound Church, makes constant Communion with it my Duty; and is no more, [Page 35] than that what makes it my Duty, makes it my Duty. But the Question is, Whether any thing necessarily de­termines my Communion to a particular Church, and what it is? And thus I might leave you upon your Mistake of the Question. But,

I think 'tis demonstrable, from what you your self say, that the Place does not determine my Communion with a sound Church, no, not so much as ordinarily.

You distinguish between a State of Communion, and Acts of Communion: But unless a Man, tho he has suf­ficient Opportunities, may be in a State of Communion, without any actual Communion, I know not what is meant by saying, Resol of Ca­ses, pag. 15. No Act of Communion more peculiarly unites us to any particular Church, than to the whole Christi­an Church;Letter, p. 15. and that 'tis no Interruption of our Communi­on with the Church of England, to communicate actually with any Church that is in Communion with it: And yet a Member, as a Member, is in constant Communion.

Perhaps indeed, if the Communion of Churches is suppos'd to be upon the Catholick essential Terms, actu­al Communion with a Church, which is in Communion with this, is no Interruption or Suspension of Com­munion with this.

But admit now, that the French Church, which you say is in Communion with ours, would be ready, if re­quired, to hold communion with us in every Point wherein we may seem to differ, but yet should keep up their separate Meetings or Assemblies; and an English Protestant, believing that he may receive most Benefit from their Preachers, should never actually communi­cate with our Church, but always with that; would he be in a State of Communion with our Church, or no? And tho the Civil Power has made a Distinction of Pa­rishes, [Page 36] and some other Places appointed or allowed by its Laws, in one of which it requires the Sacraments to be received at such and such times: If they receive not in any of these Places, will the receiving with the French Church justify them, and free them from the danger of being excommunicated as Schismaticks? If it will not, as you must acknowledg, then either the French Church is not in communion with us, whereas you say, they are in communion with us; or else communicating with a Church in communion with ours, is not a Communion with our Church.

Nay,Pag. 15. and you say, that according to the Laws of Catholick Communion, nothing but Distance of Place can suspend our Obligation to actual Communion.

But if I may communicate with the French Church, as being in communion with us, then the Place does not determine even my ordinary presential or actual Communion to ours; nor does it yet appear what does.

But you offer at it, when you tell us, 'tis separate Power and Jurisdiction, Pag. 20. which determines this Matter; but separate Communion would be Schismatical.

But still what Jurisdiction can there be to oblige me, contrary to the Terms of Catholick Communion, which (according to your own concession) will suffer me to wander? Is it the Civil Power, as it unites us under a National Church? Pray remember how you run Mr. Humphreys down, upon the Supposition that the Civil Power should take off the Obligation to Episcopal Communion.

Is it the Divine Right? Pray consider Mr. D. again, and then you may think your self beholden to me, for bringing your Notions under the Protection of so in­genious a Person.

[Page 37] In the mean while be pleased to shew wherein you differ from him,Defence of Dr. S. p. 585. when you suppose you have found a National Church antecedent to any Human Authority.

For this is either as you make the Union of the Bishops to be the National Church, or the Union of the Clergy and Laity together. If you make it to consist in the Union of the Bishops, then certainly to make that ante­cedent to Human Authority, you must betake your self to D—lism; at least, you have not yet invented any other way, who a working Head may do Wonders.

If the Union be of Clergy and Laity together, then it is by Consent, which is Humane Contract or Agree­ment, and is the same with Humane Law, by you ex­ploded.

And Consent, Page 566, supra. you say, is all that is necessary to unite a Body or Society in one Communion.

But then this Consent you hold to be necessary by a Divine Law. And here indeed is Cardo rei.

Well then, this Consent, which is necessary by a Di­vine Law, is either in Fundamentals only, or in Funda­mentals and Accidentals too.

Whatever Church differs from a sound Church in Fundamentals, is certainly ipso facto cut off from Christ's Body, without Excommunication.

But the Question is, Whether if in Accidentals only the danger be the same?

Dr. Stillingfleet says,Vid. Preface to the 3 Let­ters. it is not; and you have not yet proved it is.

Indeed you talk very wisely of the Catholick Church, which is the Root and Fountain of Ʋnity,Vindic p. 24. and was ante­cent to particular Churches.

But I would gladly know whether these Accidentals were antecedent too; or whether it is not the Fountain [Page 38] of Unity, only upon the account of the Fundamentals essential to it.

Speak home to this, and shame all the Orthodox Writers before you, and of this Age, if you please. Assure your self, my concern was only to admonish your self, and your unthinking Hearers, of the Danger I con­ceiv'd to lie in your way. If neither you will retract, nor they distrust your Authority, however I have discharg'd my self.

But it not being improper for me to make some En­quiry into the Political Constitution of a Church, viz. as it is founded on Consent, which, as was before cited, is all that is necessary to unite a Body or Society into one Communion. Here 'tis presumed, that the Consent of the Minor Part is so included in the Major, that every one is bound, as he would avoid the damnable Sin of Schism, to conform to that sound Church, or particular Way of Worship, which carries it by most Voices. But suppose, that according to Mr. Humphreys his Model, several Ways should be left indifferent; or that the Number of Voices should be equally divided; or where there are three Negatives, it could not be agreed by all three, dividing by a National Act from a false Way of Wor­ship; which of the distinct Communions in the true Way should be the National? Would not more than one Church in such case be consistent with one Civil Government? And can it be made appear, which of these is the Root and Fountain of Ʋnity, according to your Cabalistical Terms, to which the others ought to unite.

But suppose one of the Churches carries it by plu­rality of Votes, and looking upon all others as Schis­matical, and therein as Heretical too, should, with the [Page 39] African Fathers,Vindic. of the Defence, p. 14: deny these Schismaticks, their Commu­nion, unless they should be re-baptized, which you own to have been a Mistake in those Fathers: Pray, would they still continue Schismaticks, who would refuse to come in upon those Terms? Or would the prevailing Party, which vigorously insisted on this, be Schismatical?

But as you say, that there ought to be but one Church, and one Communion in one place; and that Dissenters are Schismaticks in separating from each other, as well as from the Church of England, while they live in England. I de­sire you to resolve me one Question; which is this.

Whether the Christian Church at Rome, gathered out of the Gentiles in the time of the Apostles, or that distinct Church which was gathered out of Jews, was the Church of the Place?

You will say, No doubt that the Church gathered from among the Gentiles, was the only sound Church. But what think you then of those poor Jews, who through the Mis-fortune of their Education were so wedded to the Jewish Rites, that they thought them necessary to be retained along with Christianity; which (as you do) probably they thought to be nothing else but mystical Judaism; and would not communicate in those Christian Congregations, which believed those Rites to be abolished by the Christian Religion?

Were these poor Men Schismaticks, and as bad as Mur­derers and Adulterers?

If they were, they might well argue, that our Saviour introduced a very hard Law, which not only obliged them to a severer Mortification of their Appetites and Desires, but required of them upon pain of Damnation, to act against their Consciences in those very things which they scrupled, as they thought by Divine Warrant.

[Page 40] But as to their Case, Dr Stil. of the Mischief of Separ. p. 172. Dr. Stillingfleet tells us, that, It was agreed by all the Governours of the Christian Church, that the Jewish Christians should be left to their own Liberty, out of respect to the Law of Moses, and out of regard to the Peace of the Christian Church, which might have been ex­treamly hazarded, if the Apostles had presently set them­selves against the observing the Jewish Customs among the Jews themselves.

But if it had been absolutely necessary to Catholick-Communion that there should be but one Church in a place. The Apostles, who were the Governours, would never have suffer'd this: Which since they did, I con­ceive it directly conclusive against your Notion.

Nor is it to be suppos'd, that these Jews had no di­stinct Church-Officers. For Timothy might have been over a Church of converted Jews, being circumcis'd, which for ought we know was for that very end.

Nay, Gal. c. 2. 13. St. Peter himself withdrew, and separated himself from the Gentiles: And, as St. Paul told him, would com­pel (to wit, Vers. 14. by his Example) the Gentiles to live as do the Jews.

But will you say, (as you must, if you are consi­stent with your self) that St. Peter was a Schismatick by this?

You say, There cannot be any competition betwixt two Churches; because there must be but one in the same place.

How far this agrees with the fore-going Instance, you would do well to consider.

If in this matter I have fastened many absurd Proposi­ons upon you,pag. 18. tis not, I conceive, for want of due re­gard of my own Reputation, or the common Principles of Honesty; you well know the old Observation, uno dato absurdo sequuntur mille.

[Page 41] 5. As to my Query about virtual Baptism, you say, You speak only of the necessity of visible Communion in visible Members: And these you suppose not capable of Com­munion with the visible Church, not being made Mem­bers. But the Question is, Whether they be not made Members of the invisible? And if they be, your Notion, of the absolutle necessity of being visibly received into Communion, falls.

6. As to that of a profest Athiest;Answer to A­nonym. p. 21. you here place both him and a Schismatick in the same state of Exclusion from the Catholick Church. Yet it may be a Question, Whether by our unwary wording things, you do not suppose that the Atheist is intituled to Acts of Commu­nion, but the Schismatick is not. The first you seem to suppose to be in a State of Covenant with God.

For a Church-State and a Covenant-State you make the same thing: Resol. p 6. And if it be not, or that Baptism does not give us this, you argue that, then a Man may be in Covenant with God through Christ, and yet be no Member of Christ: or, he may be a Member of Christ, viz. as baptiz'd, and yet no Member of his Body, which is the Church.

Nay, in your glorious Vindication, you number Schis­maticks among them who you say, shall at the last day be judged, not as Infidels, but as wicked and Apostate Chri­stians.

7. The seventh Query,Vindic. of the Defence of Dr. Still. p. 62. which goes upon that Ground (which you give, and do not yet recede from) for the Belief of your lodging Church-Power so with the Cler­gy,Vid. 3 Letters to the Dr. p. 8. that they who conform not to them, or who incur their Displeasure, would be in a woful Case; you answer only with a Scoff; but say not whether the Clergy are the Church Representative, or whether what I urge would follow from that Supposition, or no.

[Page 42] These were the general Questions; and whether most of them were impertinent, or are now fairly an­swered, 'tis for others to determine.

From hence I am obliged to follow you to my three Sets of Queries, Letter to A­non. p. 22. as you call them, relating to sveral Propositions and the parting-blow of four Queries relating to the Text.

Because of my asking Questions concerning your Sense of our Saviour's Promise to his Apostles, which you seem to suppose to go along with Church-Gover­nours in Succession,Vid▪ his An­swer to Owen, in his Defence of the Dis­course of the Knowledg of Christ, p. 107. as distinguish'd from the Body of Christians, and without allowing private Christians that share which the Words of the Promise import; you intimate my designing to confute our Saviour, and bur­lesque his Institution.

But to use mostly your own Expressions, if my de­sign of Charity, and to deliver that blessed Institution from the Freaks of an Enthusiastick Fancy, and to ex­pound it to a plain and easy Sense, such as is agreeable to the Ʋnderstanding of Men, and worthy of the Spirit of God, be to burlesque Scripture, I acknowledg the Charge.

To my first Qustion:

Whether our Saviour's Promise of Divine Assistance, did not extend to all the Members of the Church, considering every Man in his respective Station and Capacity, as well as to the Apostles as Church-Governours?

You answer; Letter to Anon. p. 23. That there are Promises which relate to the whole Church; and Promises which belong to particular Christians, as well as Promises which relate particularly to the Apostles and Governours of the Church.

Well, for the comfort of us poor Lay-men, there are some Promises which relate to us.

[Page 43] It being so, then I may well ask,

2. Whether it signifies any thing to say, there is no Pro­mise to particular Churches, provided there be to particular Persons, such as are in Charity with all Men, and are ready to communicate with any Church, which requires no more of them than what they conceive to be their Duty, according to the Divine Covenant?

You think it hard to know what this Query means. But surely 'tis material to know, whether or no such Men may be saved, otherwise than under Church-Go­vernors. And truly you tell us pretty plainly, (I wish for your own sake, it had been a little more covert) that such have no Promises, but as Members of the Church, that is, of the visible Church, under Church-Officers, if you answer to the purpose. You add indeed, When Communion may be had upon lawful Terms; I hope this implies, that 'tis possible the Terms may be unlawful.

Which yields me my fourth Question upon this Mat­ter.Vid. Query 4. But it likewise yields, That if the Terms are un­lawful, private Christians are entitled to these Promises, tho not visibly admitted into a Church-State; which is contrary to what you all along drive at.

But it seems however, your Charity to these Men, who think the Terms such as they ought not to comply with, is so great,Letter to A­nonymus, p. 24. to believe them guilty of Schism, as adhering to their own private Fancies, in opposition to Church-Authori­ty, out of Pride and Opinionativeness; which God alone can judg.

[Page 44] 3. The third Query is, Whether if the Promise you mention be confined to the Apostles, as Church-Governors, it will not exclude the Civil Power?

To which you answer,Letter to A­nonym. p. 24. That the Civil and Ecclesi­astical Power are very distinct, but very consistent. But such a Power in the Church-Officers, as would make them the Church-Representative, and prevent a National Reformation, tho by the Civil Power, is of another Nature. Nor do you think fit yet to declare, what the Power is which you would have lodged in Church-Officers.

But for fear you should go beyond your Warrant in this Matter, I shall mind you of what our Church tea­ches us, which is, that,

We must not think,Homily con­cerning the Holy-Ghost, f. 212. that this Comforter was either promi­sed, or else given only to the Apostles, but to the Ʋniversal Church of Christ, dispersed through the whole World. And speaking of Christ's Promise, that the Spirit of Truth should abide with them for ever, and that he would be always with them; he meaneth, saith our Church, by Grace, Ver­tue and Power; and that (it says) was indifferently to all that should believe in him, through their (the Apostles) Words, that is, to wit, for his whole Church.

To my Inferences from the second Proposition, which I consider apart:

You make such an Answer, as if we had been at cross Purposes.

For my Questions were grounded upon your asser­ting, without any limitation, That 'tis absurd to gather a Church out of a Church of Baptized Christians. And in­deed it is but a Golden Aphorism, wherein you epito­mize [Page 45] a great Part of your Discourses on this Subject.

And you answer,Letter to A­nonymus, p. 25. That the Independents are out in their way of gathering Churches; and that we sepa­rated not from the Papists upon their Principles. Which is nothing to the purpose. But you do confess indeed, that we may separate from any Church of baptized Christi­ans, if their Communion be sinful.

But wherein the Difference lies, I know not; except by Separation, you would only have a withdrawing from Communion, but will not allow the setting up a distinct Church-Communion, be the Cause of with­drawing never so just. Which unless you mean, I hope you will be so ingenuous to confess,Vid. the Case of indifferent Things. this was not so wari­ly worded, and so sound as might have been. But if you have a Patent to make Words signify what you please, besides their natural and presumable Intendment, to make generals particular, or vice versâ, much good may it do you; provided they afford you not a Loop-hole for the most uncharitable Censures.

Yet give me leave, before I quit this, to demonstrate, that you have not answered fairly in restraining this, as if spoke only of Independents. These were your own Words:

When there is one Church within the Bowels of another,Resol. of Ca­ses of Consc. p. 21. a new Church, gathered out of a Church already constituted, and formed into a distinct and separate Society; this di­vides Christian Communion, and is a notorious Schism. This is the plain case of the Presbyterian and Independent Churches, and those other Conventicles of Sectaries which are among us: They are Churches in a Church, Churches formed out of the National Church; by which means Christians, who live together, refuse to worship God in the same Assemblies.

[Page 46] Pray,Letter to Ano­nym. p. 46. Sir, would you have me fancy some general Scope and Design, which no Man can understand, from the Words you utter in any particular Place.

This, I suppose, may satisfy reasonable Men, that all my Queries under this Head are not impertinent.

The third, which was still under the same Head, tho you would divide it, was this:

Whether, as in the Primitive Times, there was but one Bishop, and consequently one Church in a City, there are not now as many Churches within the National, as there are Bishopricks?

To which you answer, Every Bishoprick is a distinct Episcopal Church. Well then, how does that agree with the Primitive Rule, from which in another place you had occasion to argue?

And you know, to mention no more, St. Ignatius, who liv'd in the first Century, says,

Every Church has but one Altar, S. Ignatii Ep. and one Bishop, with the College of Presbyters, and the Deacons; which Bishop, the People, with the Magistrates, [...], nay, and Caesar himself must obey. Now except you will make all the Bishops, and the Arch-Bishop of York, but Pastors to the Metropolitan of Canterbury, it may be a Question how that Rule would hold good here. And how will this correspond with what you say in the Book you would have your Notions tried by, where you say, Every particular Bishop is the supreme Governour in his own Diocess? Defence of Dr. Stilling. p. 568. When, according to this, he would be but one of the College of Presbyters? And that seems in your own Sence,Vid. Vindic. of the Def. p. 57. to have been the Heresy or Schism of the Novatians, that they would pretend to a Bishop [Page 47] of their own, independent upon him whom the Ca­tholicks supposed to have been lawfully possest of the Church.Vid. Mr. D's owe Priest­hood. And you know in that case Occupancy is ad­judg'd to be a good Title.

But then you say, Def. of Dr. S. p. 568. Every Bishop has relation to the whole Christian Church, and is to take care of Neighbouring Chur­ches; and therefore those Bishops should govern their Churches by mutual Advice and Counsel.

But suppose they will not, any more than one Prince will be governed by the Advice of his Neighbour; do not you make Independent Soveraigns of them? But admit the Civil Power should not interpose to the uni­ting of them.

4. Would not that which was the fourth Query prove to be not very impertinent?

Which is, Letter, p. 10. Dr. p. 26. Whether it is more absurd that there should be Independent or Presbyterian Churches within the National, than that there should be so many Bishopricks.

But further as the Primitive Fathers made Schism to be in a dividing from the Bishop; that is, as you will have it, were it only upon the account of Accidentals (tho St. Ignatius particularly goes upon a Schism,Ignat. Ep. ad Phil. [...], or dividing from Truth). How, even upon the Notion of dividing in Accidentals, will he that divides from one Bishop, but yet communicates with another, be guilty of Schism?

5. And then my 5th Supposal, which you here admit, that the Independents or Presbyterians have among them sufficient Church-Officers and Power, as much as clears them from the Imputation of Schism, as it does that Bishop and his Flock, who will not be impos'd [Page 48] upon by his Neighbouring Bishop, but will have Rites and Ceremonies different from the other, and with which he expects that all should comply that communi­cate at his Altar.Vindic. of the Defen. p. 433. And if it be lawful for him to deter­mine indifferent Circumstances and external Solemnities; you know, 'tis necessary to make them the Terms of Com­munion.

6. Then the 6th Query relates to the Charitableness of your Censure of such honest-minded Men, as com­municate with them. Where you say, Indeed you know not what Allowances Christ will make for the Mistakes of well­meaning Men.

Tho else-where,Vid. Pag. as I have shewn, you deprive them of all the means of Salvation.

The Queries upon your Supposition,Pag. 27. that the Inde­pendents exclude themselves from Catholick Communi­on, by requiring of their Members a new Covenant, no part of the Baptismal Vow; I need not take any great pains to re-assert.

1. The first was, Whether any Obstacle to Catholick-Communion brought in by Men, may not be a means of de­priving Men of it, as well as Covenant or Contract.

2. If it may, (which you do not deny) will you not upon this account make our Church more guilty than the In­dependants. Baptism you own, is the only thing which ad­mits into the Catholick Church; but they require no new Covenant at Baptism; ergo, they admit into the Church without any clog or hinderance of human Invention.

Now you, who it seems have been better acquainted with the ways of Separation than I can pretend to, deny my Minor, and say that they baptize no Child but of [Page 49] such Parents as were in Church-Covenant with them.

Having no time to be at present instructed in their way, I will admit all this to you, and will admit them faulty: But then the Question is, Whether your Argu­ment will not equally concern our Church.

For it being put,Vid. proved from Dr. Still. Mischief of Separat. as I do it just after, concerning an Adult Person that would be received to Baptism; he finds this Rite of Admission instituted by our Church.

Upon which he scruples:

1. Whether the Rite of Admission into this Church being made necessary to his Admission into the Catho­lick Church, the Rite ought not to have been only of Divine Institution.

2. Whether the Canon declaring that 'tis used as a lawful outward Ceremony and honourable Badg, whereby the Infant is dedicated to the Service of him who died upon the Cross; there is not, according to the common and natu­ral Intendment of the Words, as much Efficacy ascribed to this Rite as there is to Baptism it self, of which our Church Catechism hath it.

Wherein I was made a Member of Christ, the Child of God, and an Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Wherein, seems here of like Signification with whereby, and to be so taken by our Church, when it says;

By holy Promises,
Homily of swearing, f. 47
with calling the Name of God to witness, we are made lively Members of Christ, when we profess his Religion, receiving the Sacrament of Baptism.

Wherefore,

Quest. 1. Whether such a Man may not honstly scru­ple this?

[Page 50] 2. Whether it ought to be made a Term of Commu­nion to such an one?

3. Whether in such case the enjoying this under a Penalty would not sufficiently answer the end of Church Government, without making it a Term of Communion, which you suppose necessary in every law­ful Injunction.

But waving this,Pag. 29. till you know my own Exceptions against the Sign of the Cross (which 'tis not likely I shall ever have occasion to except against upon my own account, or my Childs, since I think there can be no Magick in it to affect the Infant). You would avoid the Suspition of yielding to the like Accusation against our Church with that which you set up against the Indepen­dents, by this Distinction.

That the Independent Church is schismatical in its Constitution; for admit this an unlawful and sinful Term of Communion, yet, say you, the Frame and essential Consti­tution of the Church is not Schismatical.

But except you yield to me that a matter enjoyn'd, tho it be not sinful in its own nature, may be so to the Party of whom 'tis required, and call this a sinful Term in that Respect: be pleas'd to consider again how a Church commanding things sinful, and admitting none into Communion with it but upon those sinful Terms, can avoid the Imputation of being Schismatical in its Frame and essential Constitution, any more than the Inde­pendents for requiring a new Church-Covenant.

If you say, the Church may quit those Terms, and still continue a sound Church: so may they and yet continue Independent.

But if I ought to learn my Catechism from our Church it self, rather than from any Doctor in it, I should think [Page 51] that whereever there is any Congregation or Fellowship of God's faithful and elect People, Homilies, f. 213. built upon the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the Head Corner-stone; that must be such a Church as cannot pos­sibly differ in its essential Frame and Constitution from any other sound Church.

But when you say, 'Tis impossible that a Church, which is not Schismatical, should excommunicate Schismatically; 'tis worth enquiring, whether you mean, That tho it does enjoin Terms sinful and unlawful in themselves, and excommunicate them who cannot comply in such Matters, it has, by that exercise of its Power of the Keys, deprived those Dissenters of Catholick Communi­on, as not being Schismatical in its essential Frame and Constitution.

Being excellent good at leaving out the Force of any Question, to which you are loth to give a direct Answer, you say, my three first Queries relating to the meaning of the Text, come onely to this,

Whether every particular Church may not be called the Body of Christ?

Whereas it was, Whether it might not be an entire Body? And you yield my Question; yet you say, all the Chur­ches in the World are but one Body, and must be but one Communion. Which if you will allow to be by virtue of a mystical or spiritual Union, need not be disputed.

Yet it being a Question, Whether you would yield a particular Church to be a proper Body of Christ; why might I not ask, Whether it may not at least be ta­ken so in a Metaphorical Sence?

And surely you,Vid. his Def. and Continu­ation, p. 119. who have been charg'd to turn the Priesthood of our Saviour from proper into Metaphori­cal, might well enough understand what I meant by this Word.

[Page 52] But if you consider the Force of the Question upon the Text, it is to know your Warrant for arguing, that it is always Schism to refuse the Communion of any sound Church, where-ever you find it, whether it has Authority over you, or no; from a Text, which only charges Schism upon Members of the same particular Church, or Body of Christ, with which they did actu­ally communicate.

For my 4th Query from the Text, of the Nature of Schism, you condemn me to the Drudgery of examining the Defence of Dr. Stillingfleet: But as you speak not directly to it, I shall here take it for unanswered; yet I shall not deny it some Consideration in its due time.

But thus you say, you have honestly answered all my Queries in my first Letter: And truly the Judgment of Charity obliges me to hope that you have, according to the Intention of your own Mind. And yet 'tis a very diffi­cult thing to believe, that you should not have discern­ment enough of your self, to see through all your false Colours.

If they are Errors of your Understanding, I hope God will not call you to so severe an Account for them, as you threaten to well-meaning Dissenters.

My second Letter you may, if you please, term pee­vish, for conjuring you, as a Protestant Divine, to answer my Doubts categorically, and that without refer­ring me to what Mr. D. or any profest Papist had writ on that Subject. But perhaps very few Men, that ob­serve the Neighbourhood of the Doctrines, through Mediums not far differing, leading to the like End, will much condemn the Caution which I there gave you.

[Page 53] Wherefore to vindicate my self to you, I shall give a taste of your Agreement with Popish Mediums. And since you disown D—lism, shall as much as conveni­ently may be, strip your Positions of what is directly his way.

And perhaps it will not seem improbable, that you should have borrowed some of those Arguments, which I look upon as tending to, or proceeding from Unchari­tableness, from the Author of Charity maintained by Ca­tholicks.

His Labour is,Vide Chilling-worth, cap. 5. to prove all Protestants Schismaticks, because they withdrew from the Communion of the visible Church; that is, in his Sence, the Church of Rome, and those that were in Communion with her. And he cites St. Austin, to prove, That not a diverse Faith, but the divided Society of Communion doth make Schisma­ticks: From whence he argues, ‘That the Catholick or Universal Church is one Congregation or Company of Faithful People, and therefore implies not only Faith, to make them faithful Believers; but also Com­munion, or common Union, to make them one in Charity; which excludes Separation and Division.’

He goes on: ‘By the Definition of Schism may be inferred, that the Guilt thereof is contracted, not only by Division from the Universal Church, but also by a Separation from a particular Church or Diocess, which agrees with the Universal.’

You would prove, That Men, as they would avoid the Sin of Schism, must communicate with the Natio­nal Church, or with some Church that is in Communion with it, and reject the Communion of all other Parties and Sects of Christians.

[Page 54] Indeed you will say,Page 39. that you qualify it, if the Natio­nal Church be sound,Page 38. that is, if there be nothing sinful in its Constitution and Worship.

Yet 'tis a Question, whether your Arguments go not as far as the Jesuit's.

For you suppose with him, that there must be some particular Church, with which we must communicate, under Church-Officers: Or, to use your own Words, We must of necessity join in the actual and visible Communi­on of the Church. Reply, p. 34.

Suppose the Dissenters say, with Mr. Chillingworth, We don't leave the Church, but only its external Commu­nion; You look upon that as absurd, and wonder that they should assign Reasons why they cannot communicate with us, Reply, p. 22. and yet at the same time will not own that they have made any Separation. Nay, you affirm, That for two Churches to renounce each others Communion,Pag. 23 or at least, to withdraw ordinary Communion from each other, from a profest Dislike, and yet still to continue in a State of Communion with one another, is a downright Contradiction. Well, be it so, then it seems Protestants, by withdraw­ing from the Communion of the Romish Church, put themselves out of a State of Communion with the Chri­stian Church, just as Dissenters do. Yet our great Cham­pion thought he had furnish'd us with a litle Armour, Chillingworth p. 265. which might repel all the Jesuit's Batteries; and could not understand it to be a Contradiction, to say, One leaves the Church by ceasing to be a Member of it, by ceasing to have those Requisites which constitute a Man a Member of it, as Faith and Obedience: But we leave the external Communion of a Church, by refusing to communicate with any Church in her Liturgies and Worship.

[Page 55] What tho,Resol▪ p. 30. according to Mr. Chillingworth's Rule, 'tis possible to be a Member of the Church without actual Communion? You say,Page 31. 'Tis as necessary actually to communicate with some Church or other, as 'tis to be a Christian.

Wherefore it seems those Protestants in Popish Countries, who did actually communicate with no Church, had not what essentially constituted them Christians.

You will say, that you make allowance for Cases of Ne­cessity, when Communion cannot be had but upon sinful Terms: But surely 'tis absolutely necessary to be a Christian.

Nay,Vindicat. of Dr. Stilling. p. 116, 117. in that very Book which you refer me to, for your Thoughts at large, you assert from your own, and the Popish Notion of the Power of the Keys, that the Communion of the Church is absolutely necessary to Salvation.

Wherefore methinks many of your Expressions would make no improper Sound out of a Papist's Mouth.

We are the Visible or National Church;Letter to A­nonimus p. 32. Vindic. of the Def. of Dr. Stil. p. 6. your Division from us is Schism, and Separation from the Church; and every Se­paration is a Schism on one side or other.

Nay, you renounce our Communion; Resol of Ca­ses, pag. 2 [...]. for to withdraw your selves from ordinary Communion with the Church in which you live, into distinct and separate Societies for Worship, is to renounce their Communion.Page 13, And, he who disputes the Authority, or destroys the Vnity of the Church, renounces his Membership and Communion with it.

Besides, Page 7. 'tis enough that 'tis a Separation, and gathering a Church out of a Church, which did before consist of baptized Christians.page [...]7. Ye are Schismaticks, in dividing your selves from the Body of Christians; and all your Prayers and Sacraments are not Acts of Christian Communion, but a Schismatical Combination.

You may pretend, that if you do not divide upon the ac­count of sinful Terms,page 44. yet you do it for greater Edification, and purer Ordinances: And that at least 'tis very doubtful, whether the Church on Earth has power of clogging God's Ordinances with such Rites, as shall be made Terms and Con­ditions of receiving them.

Well, 'tis no matter for all this: Doubt, and divide from us, and be damn'd. It's pleasant, that you should pretend [Page 56] Edification, to break the Vnity of the Church: Be assured, that the Influences of the Divine Spirit are confined to this Vnity. What Allowances Christ will make for the Mistakes of well-meaning Men, Letter to Ano­nym. p. 26. who divide the Communion of the Church, I cannot determine; but his Mercies in such a Case are uncovenanted; and such an one is no Member of the Invisible Church, that we do or can know of. And if he separate from the Visible Church, tho upon the account of sinful Terms, the Thread of this Reasoning affords him no Clue to lead him to the Gate of Life: For having no visible Church that he knows of, with which to communicate; or by Misfortune being depriv'd of the Opportunity, he was thereby denied the ordinary Means of Salvation. And it may be said in your Words,Resol. of Ca­ses of Consc. p. 5. I do not now speak of the invisible Ope­rations of the Divine Spirit.

Truly, Sir, to my thinking, either I have rightly represen­ted your Agreement here, or Words are to be governed by some Authority which you have not yet produced.

The half Answer, Letter to A­nonymus, p▪ 30. which you suppose already given to the Question, with which I closed my second Letter, had, I doubt not, its due Consideration, where-ever 'twas met with.

But the Question was this:

Whether if the Nature of Catholick Communion requires a readiness to communicate with any sound Church; and yet a Church obliges us to communicate with that alone, exclusive of other sound Churches, while Distance does not hinder the occasional and frequent Communion with others; is not that Church guilty of Schism in such an Injunction, contrary to the Nature of Catholick Communion?

Your Answer is, Page 30. That no Church can be supposed to forbid Communion with any Church, which is in Communion with her.

But 'tis its Duty to forbid Communion with Schismatical Conventicles.

Which is as much as to say, that the French, the Greek Church, or any other, that is not in Communion with our Church, is a Schismatical Conventicle.

And such you observe, that I am pleased to call sound Chur­ches, wherein you intimate, That no Church, which is not in [Page 57] Communion with ours, that is, not ready actually to commu­nicate in all its Accidentals, can be sound and Orthodox.

But then the frequent Communion with another Church being in the Question, what provision does your Answer make for so much as the ordinary Communion, which you call constant, with the National Church. But then you having admitted, that Dissenters have proper Church-Officers and Power, what Answer will you make to what follows?Letter to A­non. p▪ 31. Or at least, is it not impossible, that he who communicates sometimes with one true Church, sometimes with another, can be a Schismatick, or any more than an Offender against a positive Humane Law?

You say indeed,Answer to A­non p 31. he is an Offender against the Vnity of the Church, and the Evangelical Laws of Catholick Communion; but you have not yet been pleased to produce those Evangelical Laws, which oblige Men upon the pain of Damnation, conse­quent upon Schism, to communicate with the Church-Officers allowed of by the Civil Power, rejecting others as Schismati­cal, tho admitted to have the same Evangelical Institution.

Indeed you look upon it as self-evident,Resol. of Cases of Consc. p. 38 ‘That where-ever there is a Church establish'd by Publick Authority, if there be nothing sinful in its Constitution and Worship, we are bound to communicate with that Church, and to reject the Communi­on of all other Parties and Sects of Christians; for the Ad­vantage always lies on the side of Authority.’

But how this is made out by any thing you say, I cannot find.

In my Judgment you afford no other Notion of Catholick Communion, but as an Agreement and Readiness to commu­nicate in Accidentals, as well as Essentials, with any sound Church, be it National or otherwise.

Indeed you suppose Dissenters to have no sound Church, for want of a National Establishment; but then you make no manner of provision for so much as the ordinary actual Com­munion in any Episcopal Church, where one lives, if so be that one communicates actually with any other Church which is in Communion with that.

But if it should happen, that the true Notion of Catholick Communion consists only in a Communion in Essentials, and [Page 58] being united by the Christian Bond of Charity, notwithstan­ding Separations for lesser Matters; then by the same reason I may communicate with any sound Church, and nothing but Humane Law can restrain me,Vi [...]ic of the Defence, p. 5: which, by your own Confession, can neither make nor cure a Schism.

And indeed what should hinder, but that Humane Law may as well confine me to the Communion of the Bishop of the Diocess where I live, which you know were but according to the old Rule, of One Altar, one Bishop; as well as to give me a Latitude for any Diocess, provided I do not straggle into a Church, which is not in Communion with our Bishops? This Confinement to one Bishop, you must say, upon your grounds, would be contrary to the Nature of Catholick Communion; but we have your Authority for it, that the other is not.

Yet it seems, if Presbytery should have the Advantage of Authority, they who refuse Communion with the National Church, upon pretence of purer Ordinances, and the Belief that Episcopacy is the Ordinance of God, must be as bad as Murderers and Adulterers, that is, very Schismaticks.

And judg you, Ibid. whether 'twould not be a barbarous Thing to make any Laws, which shall ensnare Men in so great a Guilt.

But here you take notice of a Passage or two in my Preface: The one, Vid▪ Preface to the 3 Let­ters. That perhaps it is no Absurdity to suppose, that Men may as well continue Members of the National Church, notwith­standing their breaking many positive Laws, made for the outward management and ordering of it, tho not fundamental and necessary to its Being; as he who incurs the Penalty of any Statute of the Realm about Civil Affairs, may however be a sound Member of the State, if he keep from Treason, or other Capital Crimes.

This you answer by a begging, and indeed mistaking the Question, and will have it of a Schismatical Separation, which you elswhere express by renouncing Communion.

And this you may compare to Treason and Rebellion in the State, if you think fit. But the Church is not much beholden to you, for making that in which Conformity is expected, fun­damental and necessary to its Being. And when you compare a Man that communicates sometimes with one true Church, some­times with another, to a Man that joins sometimes with his [Page 59] Prince's Forces, and sometimes with his Enemies; the Compari­son is either very impertinent, or very uncharitable, in suppo­sing that a Church, which differs from this in what is really accidental, how essential soever you make it, is Antichristian, or an Enemy to Christ, which surely no true Church is; yet I must confess, herein you agree with your self, when you say, There may be a true Church, Vindic▪ p 70. which is no Catholick Church, that is, no true part of the Catholick Church.

I add;

Nay, possibly, that there should be several Religious Assemblies, living by different Customs and Rules, and yet continuing Members of the National Church, is not more inconsistent, than that particu­lar Places should have their particular Customs and By-Laws, distinct from the Common-Law of the Land, without making a distinct Go­vernment.

This you condemn, without vouchsafing it a fair Hearing, as nibling at that Healing Project, Letter to Anon▪ p. 32. for which you think you have sufficiently exposed Mr. Humphreys. But I shall chuse the Pro­tection of the great Protestant Champion, Mr. Chillingworth; and if you are resolved to wound him through my Side, I will bear the Brunt of it as well as I can.

To reduce Christians to Unity,
Chillingworth, ed. anno 1664, f. 187.
there are but two Ways that may be conceived, probable: The one, by taking away Diversity of Opinions touching Matters of Religion; the other, by shewing that the Diversity of Opinions, which is among the several Sects of Christians, ought to be no Hinde­rance to their Unity in Communion.

The first he looks on as not likely, without a Miracle.

What then remains, says he, but that the other way must be taken, and Christians must be taught to set an higher value upon those high Points of Faith and Obedience, wherein they agree, than upon Matters of less moment, wherein they dif­fer; and understand, that Agreement in those ought to be more effectual to join them in one Communion, than their Diffe­rence in other Things of less moment to divide them.

When I say, One Communion, I mean, in a common Pro­fession of those Articles of Faith wherein all consent, a joint Worship of God after such a way as all esteem lawful; and a [Page 60] mutual Performance of all those Works of Charity, which Christians owe one unto another.

And to such a Communion, what better Inducement could be thought of, than to demonstrate, that what was univer­sally believed of all Christians, if it were joined with a Love of Truth, and holy Obedience, was sufficient to bring Men to Heaven: For why should Men be more rigid than God? Why should any Error exclude any Man from the Churches Communion, which will not deprive him of eternal Sal­vation?

To the same Sence is the Passage I had in that Preface cited out of Dr. Tillotson's Sermon;Letter to A­non. p. 50. and you may as well ask him, as me, Is the Catholick Church then, and Communion of Saints, no part of our Creed?

Your Notion of Communion is a new Article.

But to re-assert what I had observed of your managing the Charge of Schism.pag. 33.

I had said, People might not well understand what it is, un­less it be taken to lie wholly in want of Charity: And in the Errata, Resol. of Ca­ses, p 47. to avoid the Cavil of its being common, such as we have for all Mankind, I had added the Epithete of Christian.

I say further, to my thinking, as St. Paul speaks of it: He supposes a continuance still of the same Body, and ascribes it to Christians, continuing such, nay, and communicating with each other.

And this you were not able to deny; nay, you well know, that not only the Thing,1 Cor. 1. 10. but the very Word, [...], had by that Apostle been applied to such.

Hence you would argue, Letter to A­non. p. 33. That I will not allow causless Sepa­ration from a sound Part of the Catholick Church to be Schism, but place Schism wholly in want of Charity.

But 'tis obvious, that I do it no more than the Apostle him­self does.

But besides, it induces the Belief, that Schism is not such a Crime as you imagine: For if the Corinthians were Schisma­ticks, whilst they continued in Communion with each other, and yet were particular Members of Christ's Body; then Schism [Page 61] does not cut off from Christ's Body, nor do you rightly apply the Addition of Apostate Christian.

Further, by what Authority do you apply that to a refusing Communion with any sound Church whatever, upon your sup­posed Notion of Catholick Communion, from a Text which mentions no other Schism, but what was between them who liv'd in the same Communion?

And still, beyond all this, it seems demonstrable from the Text, that the Causa formalis, or that which constitutes Schism, is not Separation, tho it be causless, unless it be accom­panied with want of Charity.

For since there may be Schism, where there is no Separation of Communion, then it must be something which consists with joint Communion; and find out something, besides Want of Charity, if you can.

The Apostle's Notion of Schism we have seen; but I won­der by what Authority you affirm'd, Defence of Dr. S. p. 59. That Schism is nothing else but a Breach of Christian Communion;Ibid. p. 60. and that where the Vnity of the Church is broken by distinct and opposite Communions, there is the full Nature of Schism; and where this is not, there is either no Schism, or only a partial Schism, which is like a great Wound in the Arm, which does not sever it from the Body. 'Tis not every Quarrel or Contention, (agreeably to your Notion, you might add, tho it be such as the Apostle calls Schism) which makes a Schism; but the Breach of Christian Communion.

Let me desire you to consider, whether, by departing from the Scripture-Account of this, misled perhaps by the Disputes of some of the Ancients, thundring against each other, you will not enter at least into the Confines of Donatism. You say of those Hereticks,Defence of Dr. S. p. 61. They confined the Church of Christ to Africa, and to their own Communion.

Mr. Chillingworth gives us a fuller Account wherein their Heresy lay, in these Words:

That upon a vain Pretence of the Corruption of the Church,Chillingworth▪ f. 151. they separated themselves from the Communion of other Parts of the Church; and that they required it as a necessary Condition to make a Man a Member of the Church, that he should be of their Com­munion, and divide himself from all other Communions, from which they were divided.

[Page 62] It seems according to them,Vindic. of the Defence, p. 70. to use your Words, Tho a Church retained the Purity of the Faith and Worship, and was so far true; yet it was not every way sound and Orthodox, nor a Catholick Church, unless it observ'd those Conditions of Ca­tholick Communion, which were two:

1. That it must be in Communion with theirs.

2. That it must divide from all other Communions, from which they are divided.

1. For the first, you teach us, that,

The visible Vnion of all Churches in and to Christ,Ibid. p. 51. consists in their visible Communion with each other,Ibid. p. 59. and Communion with a parti­cular Church, which is it self in Catholick Communion, is as neces­sary as Communion with the Catholick Church.

Whoever lives in England, Letter to A­nonym. p. 7. and renounces Communion with the Church of England, is a Schismatick from the Catholick Church.

And if occasionally we communicate with some other sound Part of the Catholick Church, Resol. p. 29. in the same Communion, we may do it without Schism, so this be as owning our selves Members.

But an ordinary withdrawing upon a profest Dislike, Resol. p. 23. you make as destructive of a State of Communion, as a formal Renuncia­tion.Letter, p. 9. Wherefore, as you hold, that we are bound to maintain Communion with all sound Parts of the Catholick Church, Resol. p. 19. and that in other Matters, besides the Agreement in all the Articles of Faith, and Essentials of Worship; it does follow, that it must be in those very Matters which distinguish one Communion from another. And the National Church being that sound Part, wherewith every Christian here is to communicate, herein you have found out a Root, Vindic. of the Defen. p. 23. Fountain, and Principle of Ʋnion, or Be­ginning of the Catholick Church, Ibid. p. 26. to which all particular Churches are, or ought to be united, and by virtue of this Catholick Ʋnity, are one Catholick Church.

If it be ask'd, What 'tis which brings one with safety to this Beginning of the Catholick Church?Resol. of Ca­ses, p. 27. 'Tis not humane Law, as it has plac'd us under such a Government and Discipline, and which makes the only Distinction of Churches, you allow of; but the Principles of Catholick Communion, against which whatever Church offends, you will not yield it to be sound and [Page 63] Orthodox.Resol. p. 19. And you assure us, We have nothing else to do, but to judg whether that part of the Church wherein we live, be so sound and Orthodox, that we may communicate with it according to the Principles of Catholick Communion: If it be, we are bound to communicate with it, under peril of Schism from the Catholick Church, if we do not.

And consequently, whatever Church refuses our Communion, 'tis not sound and Orthodox, or any part of the Catholick Church, as not retaining the true Principles of Catholick Com­munion. Thus far Donatus might have gone, taking it for granted, that his Church was the Beginning of the Catholick Church.

2. This first Point being setled, 'tis no wonder if it be like­wise required, that we must divide from the Communion of all that are divided from this sound part of the Catholick Church. And methinks Donatus himself might argue, That 'tis evident the pretended Catholicks understand not the true Principles of Catholicism; for if they did, they would never proffer a Composition with us, and yield that the surviving Bishop should govern these, which are now distinct Communi­ons: They must own, either that they are not any part of Christ's Body,Answer to A­nonym. p. 45. or else that we are not; for 'tis impossible, that two Churches, which are not in Communion with each other, can both belong to the same Body. And therefore the Obligation to Catho­lick Communion, Ibid. p. 15. does equally oblige us to renounce the Communion of Schismaticks.

You in effect justify Donatus his Terms of Communion; and when you say,Vindic. p. 70. Their Churches were in all Things like the Catholick Churches, excepting Catholick Communion, you as good as tell us, he only mistook the Church, which he should have made the Beginning of the Catholick Church. If he had been with St. Austin, he had been no Heretick, for refusing to receive Hereticks into the Church without Re-baptization, and dam­ning all that were of a Communion divided from his, or that would not consent to have them excommunicated, who with­out proof had been accused of being Traditors.

But as you teach us, that that Church is not sound, which keeps not to the Principles of Catholick Communion; [Page 64] Mr. Chillingworth shews, wherein they swerv'd from that sound Principle:Chillingworth f. 151.

The Condition of their Communion (says he) was both unne­cessary, and unlawful to be required; and therefore the exacting of it was directly opposite to the Churches Catholicism.

For ought yet appears, Donatus and you are pretty well agreed in the Notion of Catholick Communion, and of the Breach of this Unity,Def. of Dr. S. p. 60. wherein we are taught that the full Nature of Schism lies. He, with you, confin'd the Influences of the Holy Spirit to this Ʋnity.

Yet whether he would have intreagu'd this Business of Church-Communion, as you have done, I cannot tell. All the Sence which I can gather out of your Notion, as the Leaf-Gold is spread out, is this:

That to be a Member of the Christian Church, and in a State of Communion with it, 'tis not enough to be admitted into the Church by Baptism, nor to exercise any Acts of Com­munion with a particular Church, unless it be in Communion with every sound part of the Christian Church, and that so, as to own your self for a Member of every such sound Church. And tho you do own your self a Member, as perhaps every one will that agrees in Essentials; yet if you ordinarily with­draw from that sound Church where you are, which must al­ways be the only sound Church on the Place, upon any pro­fest Dislike, or communicate with them that are of a divided, and consequently a Schismatical Communion, you forfeit your Membership,Resol. p. 43. even tho that other Church has nothing sinful in its Communion: Which in one place, you think enough to make any Church sound and Orthodox; whereas in others, it serves your purpose to have it believed, that it cannot be sound and Orthodox, unless it maintain Communion in Accidentals with every other sound Part.

Upon the erecting this Scheme, and observing the Rules of Art you have already given, one may be able to resolve a great many nice horary Questions: Yet some of them must stay for your own Solution, or Elias's.

[Page 65] Quest. If Baptism lets one into the Church, and entitles one to all the Privileges of Church-Membership, how comes it to pass,Resol. of Ca­ses, p. 12. that one who ordinarily dissents, is an Intruder, when he exercises an Act of Communion?

Answ. You had your Answer already, if you had Eyes to see it:Answer to A­non. p. 33. He who despises the Authority, or destroys the Ʋnity of the Church,Resol. p. 13. renounces his Membership and Communion with it.

Quest. What tho he does actually communicate?

Resp. Yes, Answer, p. 17. thou Man of perverse Understanding; Church-Communion does not consist in particular Acts of Communion,Resol. p. 13. but in Membership.

Quest. Well then, if neither Baptism, nor particular Acts of Communion, are enough to make, or at least continue me a Member; pray how many Acts of Communion will do the Business?

Resp. Why, I tell you, it must be constant Communion.

Quest. What do you mean by constant Communion?

Resp. I mean ordinary Communion, Pag. 29. that is, always some­times.

Quest. Well, what is it that obliges me always sometimes to communicate with a particular Church? Does Baptism do it?

Resp. No, Page▪ 7. we know no Church, but all Christians are made Members of by Baptism.

Quest. What then, if I chuse ordinarily to communicate with another Church?

Resp. If you divide your self from this Body,Page▪ 9. and set up dis­tinct and separate Societies, which you call Churches, but which are not Members, nor live in Communion with the one Catholick Church, you cannot carry your Right and Title to the Covenant, out of the Church with you.

Quest. But do you not tell us,Page▪ 11. that our Communion with the Church consists in being Members of the Church, which we are made by Baptism: And they being baptized into the same Faith, I should think they hold Communion with the Church?

Resp. But let me tell you, tho sometimes I maintain, That Baptism makes us Members of the whole Church,Page▪ 28. and gives us a Right to communicate with every sound part of it; yet in spite of Contradiction, I hold, That Baptism at most gives Men only a [Page 66] Disposition to be Church-Members, but does not make them Members of any Church.Vindic. of the Def. p▪ 6. Besides, where there are two separte Churches, one, if not both, must be Schismatical. And the National Church having the Advantage of Authority, Resol. p. 38. you are bound to reject the Communion of all other Parties and Sects of Christians, as Schis­matical: If you do not, you renounce your Membership, and by destroying the Unity of the Church, forfeit your Interest in the Divine Charter,Resol. p▪ 9. and cannot carry your Right and Title to the Convenant out of the Church with you.

Quest. Suppose I do not communicate with any other Church, yet ordinarily withdraw from Communion with yours, at the Times appointed for Worship, or other Acts of Communion; is it enough to own my self a Member? Or if not, how long Suspension will amount to a Forfeiture?

Resp. 'Tis not enough to own your self a Member; for to withdraw from the visible Communion of the Church,Resol. p. 35. is Separation. Now if Separation from Religious Assemblies, be to break Cowmu­nion; then to live in Communion with the Church, requires our actual Communion.

Quest. Well then, thus far I have learnt my Catechism, that there must be actual Communion, and that actual Communion must be constant or ordinary; otherwise a Man wilfully se­parates himself, and forfeits his Interest in the Divine Charter.

So it seems, tho Acts of Communion are but Effects and Applications of Church-membership, yet the Non-user of them forfeits the Right one had by Baptism, even tho one be not cast out of the Church by any Sentence; and nothing but or­dinary Communion amounts to owning a Membership. How many Acts are necessary to avoid the Forfeiture, we are yet to learn.

And further, if we live where Communion may be had with another Church, in communion with that which expects our constant Attendance, we as well own our selves Members by a constant Communion with the other, as with that: For, as you inform us, there is nothing in Baptism, nor in all the Acts of Communion, Resol. p. 14, 15. which does more peculiarly unite us to such a particular Church, Letter to A­non. p. 16. than to the whole Christian Church: And 'tis no Inter­ruption of Communion to communicate actually with any Church, [Page 67] that is in Communion with another sound Part.

But if it should fall out, that notwithstanding the Division of Communions upon lesser Matters, a divided Communion may continue a sound part of the Christian Church, the Neces­sity of constant Communion with a Church, where occasional is lawful, will stand in need of some other Medium to sup­port it.

Resp. O but there is a differene between being a Member of the Ʋniversal Church,Answer to A­non. p. 18. and of all particular Churches, which are Parts and Members of the sniversal Church.

Quest. Why so? may I not communicate with any sound Part, which is in communion with this Church, and professing no dislike of its Communion, thereby own my self a Member, especially since my communicating with the one, does not in­terrupt the Communion with the other; and neither Baptism, nor all the Acts of Communion, unite me more to one than another?

Resp. I care not for that, Ibid. p. 19. for constant Communion in a particu­lar Church, confines Church-Membership to that particular Church in which you communicate.

Quest. If I may not offend, I should say my Question is, What obliges to constant Communion? But you seem to say no more, than that constant Communion obliges to constant Com­munion; or in your own Phrase, confines Church-Membership to that particular Church.

So it seems, if constant Communion be omitted, that Obli­gation or Confinement ceases.

I shall trouble you but with one Question more in this place; and that is, Whether the Necessity of re-baptizing those who were of a separate Communion, does not follow upon your Grounds, as well as upon Donatus's, and that tho the Party had not been baptized in a Schism? Certainly this is no remote consequence from the Supposition, that Separation makes a for­feiture of all the Privileges acquired by Baptism: For if they were forfeited, how can they be restor'd without a new Grant?Resol. of Ca­ses, p▪ 8. Nay, they are your own Words, that the guilty Di­vider forfeits his Interest in the Covenant, without a new Grant.

[Page 68] But a little to examine the Foundation of your charitable Positions.

You suppose, that Christ's Body being but one, whoever se­parates from any sound Part, separates from the whole.

But is it not equally evident, that whoever separates from any true Part, separates from the whole? Surely a true Mem­ber is a Member, tho it be not sound. Yet you say, there may be a true Church, Vindic. of the Def. p. 70. tho no Catholick Church; that is, according to your Argument, no part of the Catholick Church. Is Christ's Body made up only of sound Members? Are all that are un­sound, divided from the Body? But if a true Member be of the Body, as well as that which is sound, do not you, by refu­sing to communicate with any true Member, upon your own Principles, refuse to be of the Body; especially when the on­ly Unsoundness is, that it differs by reason of some Acci­dentals, from that Church where you exercise the Acts of Ca­tholick Communion? And it might be well to know, whether you own that there is any sound Church, besides the Church of England, with which you can communicate, how much so­ever you talk of Catholick Communion? Or at least, whether you are not Schismatical, in dividing from some true Chur­ches?Def. of Dr. St. p. 139. And may not you be charged with denying the very Notion of a Catholick Church, and asserting that Christ has not one, but twenty, or a hundred several Bodies?

But whereas you affirm, that he who divides from one sound Part, divides from all: is it not rather demonstrable, that he who communicates with one sound Part, or one true Part, communicates with all, as being united to Christ's Body? As he that touches a Man's Finger, touches his Body; but it does not follow, that one cannot touch his Body, unless he touch his Finger.

But since you are so fond of this Notion, give me leave to turn your own Artillery upon you; and if you have condemned your self, or the Church in which you live, of Schism, and divi­ding from Christ's Body, you may thank your self.

[Page 69] If it follows from the Identity of Christ's Body, that who­ever is divided from any sound Member, is divided from the whole, being that Member is united to the Body; so it must necessarily be, if you divide from any true Member, unless a true Member is no Member.

And you your self being sensible of this, have taught, that 'tis absurd to gather a Church out of a Christian Church,Resol. p. 22. and divide Neighbour-Christians into distinct Communions. Nay, you left your self no possible Evasion, when you affirmed, that the only thing that can give us in particular a Right to the Blessings of the Covenant,Ibid. p. 10. is, that we observe the Conditions of this Cove­nant,Resol. p▪ 16. and live in Ʋnity and Communion with all true Christian Chur­ches in the World.

If therefore there be any true Christian Church, with which you refuse to communicate, have you not made a good Rod for your own Back?

The Church of Rome, Answer to A­non. p. 10. as you own, is a true, tho a corrupt Church; but you, I suppose, refuse to communicate with this true Church; are you not therefore cut off from Christ's Body?

You will say perhaps, you cannot communicate but upon sinful Terms: Vindic. p. 50. But what's that to the purpose? If this is stil a true Church, and Member of Christ's Body, you know Christ has but one Body, one Spouse, one Flock, one Church: And if we be no Members of this one Church, we are not united to Christ.

The Parts of this Body must be united to each other, that they may be united to Christ; else it would be as if the Parts of the natural Body should divide from each other, Ibid. p▪ 46. and hang toge­ther by a magical kind of Ʋnion with the Soul.

And Ʋnion to the Body consists in being united to that part of the Body which is next.

You have foreclosed your self from saying, that you are united in what is essential to its being a Member of Christ's Body, and have a participation of the same vital Heat, and animal Spirits; but think it hard, that one Member should be charged with the putrid Sores or Wounds of another; and to speak plainly, that you forsake it only in its Uncatholick [Page 70] Terms. This would come too nigh that very Fanaticism which you deride.

And you having told us, that a Compliance with the Order, Government, Ʋindic. of the Defen. p. 396. Discipline, and Worship, as well as the Doctrine of the Catholick Church, is absolutely necessary to Catholick Communi­on. 'Tis upon your own Grounds necessary to comply with every true part of the Catholick Church in all these, as well as with every sound Part.

Wherefore might not the Papists beat you into their Church, with those Weapons which you have forg'd against others?

Might not they tell you, that you want Christian Charity, unless you are united in one Communion with this one Body?Vindic▪ p. 90. That you want the chief Branch of Holiness,Ibid. p. 91. without which none shall see God;Ibid. p. 100. That all the Blessings of the Gospel are promised to us in a Church-State; That the Effects and Application of the Grace, Merit, and Satisfaction of Christ Jesus is confined to this Body,page 104. (consisting of Members sound and unsound); That the Gospel-Covenant is confin'd to the Communion of the Christian Church;page 1 [...]7. That to remit Sins, is to restore Men to the Peace and Communion of the Church; and to retain them, is to cast Men out of the Church, or keep them under Church-Censures; which is a plain Demonstration, that Sins are forgiven only in the Communion of the Church.

But yet further, 'tis a Question, whether you are in Com­munion even with every Church, which requires nothing sinful as a Term of its Communion, Resol. p. 43. and is upon that account sound and Orthodox?

You say indeed, you should make no scruple to communicate with the Lutheran Church, Vindic. of the Defen. p. 725. if it did not require of you the Be­lief of Consubstantiation: Yet certainly you did not attend to your own Grounds, when you said so.

For if that be not in Communion with our Church, you know you would be a Schismatick, if you communicated with it.

But that their Church is not in Communion with ours, ap­pears upon your own Rule, for that the Governors are not in Communion with each other, Resol. p. 25. which you make essential to the Communion of particular Churches.

[Page 71] And for this 'tis not necessary to shew, that the Governors of each side condemn the others Constitution: 'Tis enough if the Governors of that Church which you are of, do condemn the Constitution of the other, or of any part of it.

You say indeed, Vindic. of the Def. p. 396. that our Church is so far from condemning Foreign Reformed Churches for the want of Bishops, that it has always lived in Communion with them.

If this be so,Ibid. p. 148. then as a Bishop in the same Communion with us, might, with the leave of English Bishops, exercise his Episcopal Office in any Church in England; so might a Protestant Minister ordain­ed abroad without Episcopal Ordination. But I take it, you will not say, that he may: If he may not, this is a condemning with a witness:Page 338. For if any of them have no Orders amongst them, where is their regular Church-Society? Nay, as you believe the Right of Episcopal Government, 'tis questionable, whether you do Divine not deny that such have any proper Church-Officers.

And further, that you may not take the Difference about the Constitution of Churches, or the Validity of a particular kind of Ordination, to be meerly between the Bishops of our Church, and the Presbyters of another; I take leave to inform you, that the Stat. 14. of this King, cap. 4. has provided, that every Person which was not then in holy Orders, by Episcopal Ordination, or should not be so ordained before a Day prefixt, should be utterly disabled, and ipso facto depriv'd from all manner of Ecclesiastical Promotions; and that none for the future should be admitted to any such Promotion, nor should presume to consecrate and administer the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, unless Episcopally ordained.

The Penalty indeed is not made to extend to Foreigners of Reformed Churches allowed here; but quere, whether the Declaration of Disability does not?

If you say, by the Lutheran Church, you mean only those reli­gious Societies of Lutherans, Defence of Dr. S. p. 332. which are in Sweden and Denmark, under Bishops, or at least, that have Superintendents or Gene­rales, ordained and ordaining Episcopally, which surely some Lutheran Societies want: you may avoid the Consequence, as to such, and all others of the Reformation, which are without Episcopal Orders, by denying them to be Christian Churches, [Page 72] if you please; for then indeed it would not follow, from your condemning such Societies, that you thereby refuse Communion with a sound Church.

This brings me to our Churches Sence and Application of this Matter.

O,
Homily against Contention, f. 9.
says it, how the Church is divided! O how the Cities be cut and mangled! O how the Coat of Christ, which was without Seam, is all to rent and torn! O Body mystical of Christ, where is that holy Unity, out of which whosoever is, he is not in Christ! If one Member be pulled from another, where is the Body? If the Body be drawn from the Head, where is the Life of the Body? We cannot be joined to Christ our Head,
Vid. where it places the Unity.
except we be glued with Concord and Charity to one another: For he that is not of this Unity, is not of the Church of Christ, which is a Congregation or Ʋnity together, not a Division. St. Paul saith, that as long as Emulation, or En­vying,
Sects for Doc­trine, as well as distinct Communion.
Contention, and Factions, or Sects be among us, we be carnal, and walk according to the fleshly Man. And St. James saith, If ye have bitter Emulation, or Envying and Contention in our Hearts, glory not of it; for where Conten­tion is, there is Ʋnstedfastness, and all evil Deeds. And why do we not hear St. Paul, which prayeth us, whereas he might command us: I beseech you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you speak all one Thing, and that there be no Dis­sention among you; but that you will be one whole Body; of one Mind, and of one Opinion in the Truth? If his Desire be reasonable and honest, why do we not grant it? If his Re­quest be for our Profit, why do we refuse it? And if we list not to hear his Petition of Prayer, yet let us hear his Ex­hortation, where he saith, I exhort you, that you walk a becomes the Vocation in which you be called, with all submission and meekness, with lenity and softness of Mind, bearing one another by Charity, studying to keep the Ʋnity of the Spirit by the Bond of of Peace: For there is one Body, one Spirit, one Faith, one Bap­tism. There is, saith he, but one Body, of the which he can be no lively Member, that is at variance with the other Mem­bers. There is one Spirit which joineth and knitteth all Things in one; and how can this Spirit reign in us, when among our [Page 73] selves we be divided? There is but one Frith; and how can we then say, He is of the Old Faith, and he is of the New Faith? There is but one Baptism; and then shall not all they which be baptized be one? Contention causeth Division; wherefore it ought not to be among Christians, whom one Faith and Baptism joineth in an Unity.

If all Differences in Opinions be here forbid, as cutting Men off from Christ's Body, it may be said perhaps, that Schism cannot possibly be avoided. But what seems intended by the Apostles, and by our Church, is, That notwithstanding such Differences, Men should be united in the same Faith, by the Bond of Charity, which you may call a magical Ʋnion, when Men divide from each other in their Opinions, if you please. Certain it is, neither the Scriptures, nor our Church speak of dividing Communions; yet there is no doubt, but that may be Schism in a divided Communion, which is in a joint. And who­ever want true Christian Charity, they are the Schismaticks, whether in communion with a Visible Church, or withdrawing from it.

Having shewn what Account the Scriptures and our Church give of Schism,Vid. Mr. Hales of Eaton his Tract of Schism, in his Remains, edit. Anno 1673. it may not be improper to shew in what sence it has been taken, by some of the greatest Eminency in our Church.

I had before shewn, how Dr. Stillingfleet had defended our Church against the Imputation of Schism, in dividing Commu­nion from the Papists; and how the Primitive Fathers ought to be understood,Vid. Prefaced to the 3 Let­ters. when they write of this; That Schism did not lie in a voluntary Departure out of any particular Church, upon the account of any Thing extrinsecal and accidental: (Christian Charity, to be sure, is essential.)

I shall only subjoin the Testimony of Mr. Hooker; and if I have these two on my side, I shall think my self sufficiently well back'd.

The Apostle affirmeth plainly (saith he) of all Men Christian,Eccles. Polit. f. 83. that be they Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, they are all incorpora­ted into one Company, they all make but one Body; the Ʋnity of which visible Body and Church of Christ consisteth in that Ʋnifor­mity, which all several Persons thereunto belonging have, by reason [Page 74] of that one Lord, whose Servants they all profess themselves; that one Faith, which they all acknowledg; that one Baptism, where­with they are all initiated. The Visible Church of Christ is therefore one, in outward Profession of those Things, which supernaturally appertain to the very Essence of Christianity, and are necessarily re­quired in every particular Man. Let all the House of Israel know for certain, faith Peter, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, even this Jesus whom ye have crucified. Christians therefore they are not, which call not him their Master and Lord.

But this extraordinary Person could not think himself obli­ged in Charity to his own Soul, Answer to A­nonymus, p. 5 [...] and to deliver himself from the Guilt of the Blood of Dissenters, to instruct them in the Necessity of one Communion in Accidentals, if they would continue Christi­ans: Nay, he thought, that altho they should be excommuni­cated, yet even that could not cut them off from Christ's Body. His Words are these:

As for the Act of Excommunication,Eccles. Polit. f. 88. it neither shutteth out from the Mystical, nor clean from the Visible Church, but only from Fellowship with the Visible in Holy Duties.

But you, it seems, have considered this Matter better than Mr. Hooker,Def. of Dr. St. p. 208. and affirm, That every Bishop and Presbyter shuts out of the Catholick Church by Excommunication.

And this leads me to the Notion of a true or sound Church. And surely it was not impertinent for me to desire you to define what you meant by it, when considered as Catholick and Uni­versal, when in a more restrained Sence, seeing, as I had shewn, you seem to have no other Idea of it,Vid▪ 3 Letters p. 18, 23. but as particular, visible, nay, and that national too; or at least, as being the only true Church within the Nation or City where one resides.

Here I shew'd, that you applied that to the Visible National Church, which belongs to the Invisible, as well as Visible Church; where it lay not upon me to prove that the Influences and Ope­rations of the Holy Spirit are not confined to the Visible Church: Letter to Anon. p. 34. 'Twas enough to have shewn, that you had no ground for what you had said from the Text, which will not bear that restraint.

And the same thing is obvious of what you call my Attempt to prove Congregational Churches, from 1 Cor. 14. 23. For how can you prove, that one ought to communicate with the [Page 75] National Church and not communicate with any other Con­gregation, from what proves no more than that you ought to meet in some publick Place of Worship, even according to your own Argument in the Defence of Dr. Stillingfleet, which is no beter than to argue, that because you must go to some Church, therefore you must to this.

Not being concern'd for Congregational Churches more than others, I should not give my self the trouble to examine what you say against them, did not you oblige me to a small Diversion to observe how wonderfully you prove that it is very plain that the Apostle in 1 Cor. cap. 14. means no more but that all the Members of the Church do worship God in the publick Assembly of the Church, Def. of Dr. Stil. p. 393. tho not all in the same Assembly and Congre­gation; where to oppose aright, you should have made it [in those publick Assemblies which meet together in one place] for there is no doubt but successive Assemblies must be meant, or else there could be no Provision for more than one Meeting, and then how can you, without begging the Question, maintain that when the Women are commanded to keep silence in the Churches, [...], it might not be spoke of several successive Assemblies still in one place?

Nor are you more happy in encountring the difficulty upon [...].Ibid. p. 394.

You say indeed, it is very plain that it does not always signify one place.

And who says it does, when Circumstances determine it another way: but how can you affirm it to be so here without still begging the Question?

For your purpose you instance in Acts, 4. 26, 27. [...]. The Kings of the Earth stood up, and the Rulers were gathered together, [...], against the Lord and against his Christ, &c.

This you say well, signifies no more than an Agreement and Conspiracy in one Design.

But would not the most proper Inference from this Quota­tion be that as a Conspiracy may by a Figure be called a Meet­ing together, [...], therefore tis not to be proved from that Text which prohibits a forsaking the assembling together, that those who live in a Church need actually to assemble toge­ther; [Page 76] but if they agree in the same Lord, the same Faith, the same Baptism, they may be said to gather together [...].

You cite another Text, Acts 2. 44. And all that believed were together [...]; 'tis in the Greek, [...]: indeed this signifies no more then that they were together, and being together may be granted not to refer to their religious Assem­blies, but their common Abode: but what is this to [...];

‘If therefore the whole Church come together, [...],’ where one would think [...] is not added for nothing, but must signify the same place. And to my thinking there is another Passage in this Epistle to the Corinthians, which regards them as a Church that used to assemble together in one place, which is where the Apostle directs them to excommunicate a notorious Sinner [...].1 Cor. 5 v. 1 [...].

When ye are met together, and my Spirit, &c.

Do you think that there was any need of a Miracle to pro­nounce the Sentence of Excommunication and that it must be done in the very same moment in distant Congregations?

I may be bold to say, that neither Scripture nor the Homilies take notice of your fancied Catholick or National Commu­nion.

If you say that what we find in the Homilies to this purpose, being spoke in a Church already constituted, must relate to the present Constitution; so may it be said of the Apostle's Exhor­tation to that Church to which he wrote, which for ought yet appears, was a single Independent Congregation.

Yet it may be a Question, whether such Limitation can be supposed to have been intended in the following Words, which you may read in the Homilies.

Churches are not destitute of Promises, for as much as our Saviour Christ saith,Hom. for re­paring to Churches. Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst among them. A great num­ber therefore coming to Church together in the Name of Christ, have there, (that is to say, in their Church) their God and Saviour Christ Jesus present among the Congrega­tion of his faithful People, by his Grace, by his Favour and [Page 77] godly Assistance, according to his most and comfortable Promise.

Now,Hom. of the place and time of Prayer, fol. 126. concerning the Place where the People of God ought to resort together, and where especially they ought to celebrate and sanctify the Sabbath-Day, that Place is called the Temple or Church, because the Company or Congrega­tion of God's People, Dr. Stilling. which is properly called the Church, doth there assemble themselves. The holy Patriarchs for a great Number of Years had neither Temple nor Church to resort unto. In the time of Christ and his Apostles there were no Temples nor Churches for Christian Men;Ibid. p. 127. for why, they were always, or for the most part, in Persecution, Vexation, and Trouble, so that there could be no Liberty nor Licence obtained for that purpose; yet God delighted much that they should often resort together in one Place, &c.

But then speaking of the building of Churches afterwards, it says, And to these Temples have Christians customably used to resort, &c.

True it is that the chief and special Temples of God wherein he hath greatest Pleasure,Ibid. and most delighteth to dwell, are the Bodies and Minds of true Christians, and the chosen People of God, ac­cording to the Doctrine of Holy Scriptures, &c.

Yet this notwithstanding,Fol. 120. God doth allow the material Temple made with Lime and Stone, &c.

How far this agrees with your Notion, That such Temples of God cease to be so, if they are divided from, or shut out of these material Temples,Vid. Pref to 3 Letters. I cannot see; nor how you have brought your Notion of a Church into Conformity with the 19th Article, which I before mentioned, but you thought fit to slight, as not worth your Notice.

And therefore 'tis not likely that the Homiles should be any more regarded.

Yet however it may not be amiss to mind you of what our Homilies teach us of a sound or true Church. The Passage before cited proves, that a particular Company or Congregation of God's People is the Church in proper speaking. And then for the Catholick visible Church, we have its Definition or De­scription in these words.

[Page 78] The true Church is an Universal Congregation or Fellow­ship of God's Faithful elect People,
Hom. f. 213.
built upon the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus himself being the Head Corner-Stone. And it has always three Rules or Marks whereby it is known. (1.) Pure and sound Doctrine. (2.) The Sacraments ministred according to Christ's Holy Institution. And, (3.) The right use of Ecclesiastical Disci­pline.

These Notes tho ascribed to all in general, are manifestly to be applied respectively to select Congregations, or Fellow­ships of Christians: For 'tis not possible that all can be joyned in actual Communion. But in these things they are to be rea­dy to communicate with each other as if they were one entire Body, in the first without any Limitation; in the two last as the Church says of the Sacraments, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. 9th Article.

And to prevent all affected Ignorance of our Churches Sense in this particular, it assures us that Christ makes Interces­sion not only for himself and his Apostles, but indifferently for all them that believe in him through their Words,Homilies. that is to wit, for his whole Church.

I leave it to you run to the Parallel between what the Church teaches, and what you would impose on us in this matter. I shall not repeat the Particulars, but shall only observe upon your Notion of Discipline.

1. That according to you the Power of the Keys is absolute in Church-men's Hands,Vindic. of Dr. Still. p. 116. from whose Power of binding and loosing you infer, that Church-Communion is absolutely necessary to Salvation.

Whereas our Church says,

Christ ordained the Authority of the Keys to excommunicate no­torious Sinners,Hom. f. 213. and to absolve them that are truly penitent.

2. And secondly, Resol. of Ca­ses, pag. 6. Whereas you affirm, That every profess'd Christian, who is received into the Church by Baptism, is a Church-Member;Pag. 10. and all Church-Members have a common Right to Church-Priviledges: That teaches otherwise.

Why,
Hom. of the Sacram. f. 205.
says it, cryed the Deacon in the Primitive Church, if any be holy let him draw near? Why did they celebrate these [Page 79] Mysteries the Quire-door being shut? Why were the publick Penitents and Learners in Religion, commanded to avoid; Was it not because this Table received no unholy, unclean, or sinful Guests?

And this it enforces from the Example of our Blessed Savi­our, and the conforming Practice of the Primitive Church in these words:

According to this Example of our Saviour Christ,
Homily of the right use of the Church, f. 9.
in the Primitive Church, which was most holy and godly, and in the which due Discipline with Severity was used against the wicked, open Offenders were not suffered once to enter into the House of the Lord, nor admitted to Common-Prayer, and the use of the holy Sacraments with other true Christi­ans, untill they had done open Penance before the whole Church.

Here I might well leave you to bethink your self of return­ing into the Bosom of our Church, after you have divided from the Unity of its Doctrine. And I might advise you to have a care of contending too eagerly in the maintaining your own Opinions, for fear of running into the Formality of that which you take such pains to fright others from. Tho it may be a good way to convert Schismaticks, to convince them of the Errour of their Ways,Pag. 51. yet even that may be done schismatically, at least the causless Imputation of it may return upon the for­ward Censurer.

But lest you should think I say this to avoid the notice of my shameful Baffle in the Story of Pope Victor, Pag. 36. which you will have to be a feigned Case, told me by some body.

Be it known to you, Hen. Gutherit p. 235. that the Authority which I had next at hand was a late learned▪ Chronologist; who has these words; Romanae Ecclesiae Episcopus fuit Victor qui ab Anno Christi 192 sedit Annos 10, in Concilio statuit ut Pascha semper die Do­minicâ celebrarètur, at (que) adèo èxcommunicavit omnes Episcopos & Ecclesias in Asiâ quae eâdem die Pascha non celebrabant.

Here I might as well think that the Bishop pronounc'd the Sentence of Excommunication in Council, as he alone is said statuere, what was done by common Consent; and so we know Rex statuit is often used.

[Page 80] The Excommunication you contend to have been only his own Act, not the Act of the Council. And you cite Eusebius, which calls▪ that, which I should take for an Exemplification of the Act of the Council, his Letter.

I am sure Socrates his Expression of this favours me,Socrat. lib. 5. f. 695. when he says, [...], he sent them the Sentence of Excommunication. And the matter having been agreed on in a Council at Rome, where he presided, 'tis certainly most probable that this was not of his own Head.

Nor is it in the least any Argument against me, that other Bishops in Communion with him resented it ill: Being those o­ther Bishops, Irenaeus particularly, were not at that Council: For, as Eusebius himself shews, as Victor presided at Rome, Ire­naeus did in France.

So that those of the same Communion were only such as agreed in that Doctrine of the account of time; about which I shall not dispute whether Arithmetick was concern'd or no: Yet I find it a long while since,Antigonus Pa­laeologus. by an old Emperour, called Questio temporis non Fidei.

But I find not in Eusebius that Irenaeus prevented this from taking effect,Letter, p. 36. as you affirm; for the Sentence was actually pro­nounc'd, as both Eusebius and Socrates inform us. But when retracted, or whether at all, appears not.

But be it as you contend, that this was only the Act of a Schismatical Bishop; how comes it to pass that his Church was not concerned in this?

St. Cyprian says, Cyprian, lib. 4. Ep. 9. Qui cum Episcopo non sunt in Ecclesiâ non sunt.

And St. Ignatius, Ignat. Ep. ad Philadelph. [...].

Both agree that there's no being in the Church, or in Christ, unless they side with their Bishop.

And a Gentleman whose Authority I hope you will not except against,One Priest­hood, one Al­tar, p. 253. says of St. Cyprian;

He makes all Bishops equal, to have the whole Power in So­lidum, to be absolute Judges of their own Acts, and be ac­countable to none but God.

Nay you your self have told us that it is essential to the Com­munion of particular Churches that their Governours should be in Communion with each other.Resol. p. 25.

[Page 81] Wherefore the Asian and Latine Churches were in a State of Separation, and the Laity of one side or other were necessi­tated to communicate in a Schism.

This, Sir, may supersede my enquiry into your Niceties upon a Case of your own making.

But the same which you suppose Victor's to have been, you say, Resol. p. 43 was the Case of St. Chrysostom, and Epiphanius, and some other Bishops in those Days, who separated from each other: as Mr. Chillingworth has it of them, Chillingworth f. 255. Divers times it hath happen'd, as in the Case of St. Chrysostom and Epiphanius, that particular Men, and particular Churches, have, upon an overvalued Difference, either renounced Communion mutually, or one of them separated from the other.Letter to A­nonym. p. 42. Herein you agree with that great Champi­on, that however they maintained Communion with the Catholick Church.

Yet how that is possible upon your grounds, I cannot imagine.

But it seems poor Tertullian, Vid. Preface to 3 Letters. and his Followers, were not worth your Pity, and you would not vouchsafe them a taste of your Skill.

I should think upon your own Principles, since two Chur­ches,Answer to A­nonym. p. 45. which are not in Communion with each other, cannot both belong to the same Body, or the one Catholick Church; that the Bishops, with their Followers, on the one side or other, were extra Ecclesiam foris. Letter to A­non. p. 45.

The Contradiction which I charged you with,Three Letters, p. 26. about occasi­onal and constant Communion, you would avoid, by affirming, that you no-where assert, that the Communion of the Church does not make us Members of any particular Church, Page 46, you having added [as such]:Page 14. These Words I find elsewhere explained by [as distinguish'd from the Ʋniversal Church.] And a little before you had said,Vid. 3 Letters, p. 25, 26. that this Membership may extend to the remo­test Part of the World, if the Body whereof we are Members, reach so far. This I think comes up to what I urg'd, which I find no reason to retract.

I had produced Mr. Chillingworth to prove,Letter to Ano­nym. p. 47. that it may hap­pen, that one is not obliged so much as sometimes to communi­cate [Page 82] with a sound Part of the Catholick Church, because you live where there is such an one.

And this, because such a sound Church may impose upon you the Belief of some Error, not destructive of the Faith, or some unnecessary Conditions of Communion, if not unlawful.

And you Sarcastically call me a subtil Arguer, for calling such a Church sound; as if it might not however be sound in its Vitals, and such an one as our Homilies would call a true Church.

Surely you do not consider what Advantage you give Dis­senters in this.

But however, a Man of your Parts knows how to bring him­self off in any case. And methinks 'tis a wonderful Instance of your Art, that what Mr. Chillingworth says, in opposition to the Necessity of communicating with a corrupt Church, ha­ving all the Face of Authority; and that however Christ may have a visible true Church on Earth, Letter to A­non. p. 48. a Company of Men professing so much as was necessary to Salvation; should be turned into his meaning a formed and visible Church-Society, and pleading for the corrupt Church, when he was justifying the Separation of private Christians.

When I had said, that if our Church required Conformity to its Rites and Ceremonies, as necessary to Salvation, it could not blame Men for dividing from it; you say, The Church could and would blame Men in such case; Ibid. p. 51. and whether you do not put the Church in Christ's stead, may be worth a Thought.

The last Passage in my Letters, which you thought worth your Notice, was this:

He who tells us,Answer to A­non. p. 51. or he says nothing, that the Divine Spirit con­fines his Influences to the Ʋnity of the Church in such Conformity, not only makes such Conformity necessary to Salvation, but imputes to the Church the Damnation of many thousands of Souls, who might expect to be saved upon other Terms.

I am persuaded, that there are very few of our Orthodox Clergy, that will not concur with me in this; and think, that whoever makes such Conformity necessary to Salvation, and will affirm, that our Church warrants him in so doing, brings the greatest Reproach upon it, and gives the greatest Advantage to [Page 83] Separation imaginable; and therefore will be far from think­ing that he encourages the Dissenters in their Non-communion with us, who removes so great a Bar to an entire Com­munion.

Before the Book of Common-Prayer, there is a Declaration, the Authority of which I hope you will not dispute, which is, That some Ceremonies are retained in our Church, for a Discipline and Order, which upon just Causes may be altered and changed, and therefore are not to be esteemed equal with God's Laws. Where I take it, the Reason why they are not to be esteemed equal with God's Laws, is not meerly because of their Mutability, for God's own positive Laws have been changed; but because they are enjoined only for Discipline and Order, some Determi­nation of which may be necessary to Government, tho not to Christianity. This (I conceive) may be a good Warrant for the above-mentioned Remark.

To serve which, as you did that of the Divine Covenant, you would have it spoke in relation to those that live elsewhere in any part of the World: But as to them who live here, to whom the Subject Matter related,Answer to A­non. p. 52. you do own, that Subjection to Church-Authority in all lawful Things, (that is, such Confor­mity) is necessary to the Vnity of the Church, and necessary to Salvation.

Tho some may not know what Idea to form of the Church of England, distinct from other sound Churches, but as incor­porated with the State, and relying on a Civil Sanction; you cautiously confine this Question to Church-Authority.

Wherefore, admitting that our Bishops have possession of the Churches by a Right antecedent to any Humane Authority, Defence of Dr. S. p. 585. and consequently may exercise Episcopal Jurisdiction within their respective Diocesses without any such Authority.

What will you say to that Statute, which enacts,

That all Archbishops and Bishops of this Realm,28 Hen. 8. cap. 16. or any of the King's Dominions, consecrated, and at this present time taken and reputed for Archbishops and Bishops, may, by Authority of this present Parliament, and not by virtue of any Provision, or other Foreign Authority, &c. keep, enjoy, and retain their Archbishopricks, and Bishopricks, in as large and ample manner, as if they had been [Page 84] promoted, elected, confirmed, and consecrated, according to the due Course of the Laws of this Realm. Was this impertinent, or presumptuous?

But as that very Act permits them to minister, use, and exer­cise all and every Thing and Things, pertaining to [...] Office or Or­der of an Archbishop and Bishop.

Quere, Whether our Saviour himself did not set the utmost Bounds of their Power,Mat. 28. 20. when having commissioned his Apostles to teach all Nations, baptizing them, he adds, as it were by way of necessary Caution, teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.

How extensive soever the Civil Power is, it may be a Questi­on from hence, What Right they who claim to be lawful Suc­cessors to the Apostles, have to command Things not forbid by Christ, without being tied up to his positive Institutions? And how comes it to pass, that they who are entred into Christ's Church by Baptism, and continue in the Profession of his pure Religion, should be Schismaticks, and cut off from his Body, meerly for disobeying Additions, the Authority of which they soberly dispute?Answer to A­non. p. 32.

You say, in one part of your Answer to me, That whatever Variety and Difference in the Rules of Worship, is consistent with one Communion, may be granted, when the Prudence of Governours sees it fit and expedient.

Where as you condemn such Indulgence, as is inconsistent with one Communion, it may be thought to be equally conclusive against the Imposition of any Thing inconsistent with one Com­munion, Ibid. p. 40. or the great Law of Catholick Communion. And when you confess, that the Government of the Church since the Apostles Days, was never so entirely in the Bishop's Breast, that what he did should be thought the Act of the Church, any further than he com­plied with those Laws, Ibid. p. 4. by which the Church was to be governed. You having likewise set aside the Civil Authority, and admitted that Dissenters have sufficient Church-Power amongst them, I again ask, How they can be Schismaticks for dividing from the Bi­shops, upon the account of suspected Rites and Ceremonies, which they believe not to agree with those Laws by which the Charch was to be governed, as being greatly prejudicial to, if not inconsistent with one Communion?

[Page 85] And I would willingly be satisfied, how you can bring within the foregoing Rules,Answer, p 40. what you assert but within three Pages, where having held, that there was no Schism between the Latin and Asian Churches, yet you will have it, that private Christians at Rome, could not receive the Asians into the Communion of the Church, without the Bishop's Authority.

But to word this Matter according to your Hypothesis; Ibid. p. 52. Tho Conformity to the Church of England, that is, Obedience to the Church-Governours, the Bishops, is not essential to the Ʋnity of the Catholick Church; yet it is for all that live here.

I should have been contented to have the Controversy con­fin'd to Persons living here, but that you tempt me further.

You say indeed, Ibid. p. 52. That Christians, who live under the Govern­ment and Jurisdiction of other Churches, may, and do preserve the Ʋnity of the Church, without Conformity to the Church of England.

But pray, can they preserve the Unity of the Church, without Catholick Communion,Vindic. of the Defen. p. 396. to which, as you have told us, a Compliance with the Order, Government, Discipline, and Worship, as well as the Doctrine of the Catholick Church, is absolutely neces­sary? And then, Ibid. p. 36. All the Churches of the World are but one Church, or one Society, and have the same Right or Obligation of them to communicate with each other, as Opportunity serves, in all those Duties, for the sake of which Christian Churches are institu­ted, as the Members of a particular Church are.

There are some other Passages in my third Letter, which perhaps might want to have something said to them; but I shall only refer the Whole, with what I have here wrote, to your second and cooler Thoughts. But I must confess, I won­der how I escap'd unrebuk'd, when I observ'd, that you your self made a sufficient Excuse for some even causless Separation. And if the Sinfulness of Separation lies in not observing your Terms of Catholick Communion, the Dissenters would think themselves pretty sake under Mr. Chillingworth's Defence against the Papists,Chillingworth, f. 56. not only when he affirms, That the Gospel of Christ is the whole Covenant between God and Man; nor when he blames the Papists for making Salvation depend on Things Ibid. p. 79. [Page 86] casual, and in the Power of Man to confer, or not to confer.

But if it were only because of the Obscurity and Doubtful­ness, if not Inconsistency of the Grounds, whence the Obli­gation to constant Communion with the Church is inferr'd; for he thought it Demonstration,Chillingworth f. 92. that nothing is necessary to be believed, but what is plainly revealed.

Now, Sir, I take leave to tell you, that I have faithfully followed you in all your subtil Windings; I am sure I have no­where perverted your Discourses,Letter to A­nonymus, p. 5. how much soever I may have mistaken them. And 'tis no easy matter to take his Sence rightly, who is inconsistent with himself.

It has not been the least, nor perhaps the least pertinent part of my Task, to fix your own Principles upon you; some of which need no other Exposure, but to be set in their proper Light, where, like the Cadmoean Issue, they may be left to de­stroy each other.

If you forget in one place, what serv'd your purpose in another, or go to prove too little, or too much, for what possi­bly might be your general Scope and Design; Answer to A­non. p. 46. I hope you will for the future be more cautious of condemning Men for Dishonesty, in arguing upon what they find.

By this time 'tis likely I may in a double Sence have tir'd your Patience, which you value your self upon. I must confess, the Substance of what lies in Dispute between us, might be brought into a much narrower Compass. But perhaps it was no more than requisite, to put several Questions to you, to prevent all colourable Evasion, that one might take up what might be artfully slipt over upon another.

And certainly, any one that observes what Skill you use in the management of this Controversy, will think that many Things, which might have seem'd superfluous, were but ne­cessary to oblige you to speak out.

Thus when I had ask'd, 3d Letter to Dr. S. p. 18. Whether a Man has a Right to be of a particular Church, as he is a Christian, that is, (as I then thought, and still do) a true Member of the Catholick Church; I should not have added, [Or becomes a Christian, only as recei­ved into a particular Church.] were it not that I wrote to one▪ [Page 87] who seems to think no Man can be a true Member of the Ca­tholick Church, before he has been actually receiv'd into some particular Church.Answer to A­nonymus, p. 34.But you, taking no notice of the last Branch of the Question, wonder I should ask you, Whether a Man has a Right to be of a particular Church, as he is a Christian? when you say, The whole Design of your Tract is, to prove that every Christian, by being so, is a Member of the Catholick Church, and has a Right to communicate with all sound Parts of the Catho­lick Church, and bound to communicate with that Part of it in which he lives.

Now 'tis odds, but it may be as evident upon this your whole Design, that every particular Church is bound to receive every Christian, as such, into its Communion, without imposing any Terms but meer Christianity; as that a Christian must communicate with that sound Part where he lives, even in other Terms.

Yet here you speak not one Word to the Question, how a Man becomes a Christian, whether it be only as received into a particular Church: Indeed you had said in your Resolutions, which I thought you might have either justified or retracted, That no Man can be in Covenant with God, Resol. p. 5. or a Member of his Church, who is not at least visibly admitted, which must be by some particular Church; and surely no Man can be a Christian, who is not in Covenant with God: Wherefore, according to you, no Man can be a Christian, before he has been received into a particular Church.

Nay, further; either every Christian, as such, has not a Right to communicate with all sound Parts of the Catholick Church; or else he who is excommunicated, tho for a wrongful Cause, cea­ses to be a Christian.

But alas! Sir, it were endless to insist upon all the Advan­tages which I might take from your Assertions, assure your self, I have not wittingly shun'd the Encounter of any Thing, that might look like an Argument for you; many Things have had a particular Consideration, meerly as they were yours.

And since for a more large Account of your exterminating Hypothesis, Def. of Dr. Stil. & Vindic. you directed me to certain oracular Writings, for­merly publish'd, I was willing to be at a little pains to pick [Page 88] out the choicest Flowers from every Place, and having sorted them together, to present you with a Nosegay out of your own Garden; you know even the same Flowers yield some variety of Scent, according to their different sortings.

Finding (which before I was ignorant of) that your Ser­mons were but the Gleanings of those Notions, which you have been cultivating for some Years; I have not the Vanity to believe that I should,Aliud agendo. by the mispending a few Hours, ob­lige you to condemn them, and the Books out of which they were extracted, for waste Paper.

Wherefore all that I can now expect, besides the undeceiving some, and provoking others to lay your Errors more convin­cingly before you, is, to have fairly rid my hands of this Controversy, in which I shall not willingly engage further.

However, if press'd to it, I shall not decline the Honour, as far as my mean Abilities, and many Avocations will permit, to vindicate the Catholick Doctrine of our sound and Ortho­dox Church, from such Misrepresentations on this Point, as tend to the giving Men ill Impressions concerning it. And what I have already done, perhaps may not appear more to answer the Obligation of Christian Charity to Dissenters, than of Gratitude that indulgent Mother, which requires nothing of me, but what I can chearfully and readily obey.

Let Men teach no other Doctrine but what that warrants; and very few at least will be likely to stray for better Edifi­cation.

Sure I am, 'tis not the Thundering of Damnation against Men, that convinces them, tho it may fright them out of their Wits. They may listen to mild Instruction, from one that not only preaches up humble Obedience to its Authority, but practises it, and had rather read an Homily to his Parish, than have the Glory of leading a Sect after his profound Notions, and of giving Authority to the severest Censures upon Men, who are suff [...]ciently unhappy that they cannot conform.

The truly Pious (and such both you and I ought to believe there are amongst them) will, as far as they are able, submit to the Authority that is over them; and in the mean while, [Page 89] will use all diligence to inform their Understandings of the Lawfulness of what is required of them.

For them who are not so, 'tis enough that humane Law has made Conformity their Secular Interest; and if that won't drive them within the Church-Walls, nothing will.

And now, Sir, lest you or I should be carried too far in the heat of Dispute, I shall, instead of that Ghostly Counsel which you gave me, in great Charity, set down that of our good Church:

If any Thing be necessary to be taught,Homily against Contention, f. 91. reasoned, or disputed, let us do it with all meekness, softness, and lenity: If any Thing shall chance to be spoken uncomely, let one bear another's Frailty: He that is faulty, let him rather amend, than defend that he hath spoken amiss, lest he fall by Contention, from a foolish Error, into an obstinate Heresy.

As you seem careful to clear Novatianus from the Guilt of Heresy,Vindic. of the Def. of Dr. St. p▪ 57. in believing that they who had once through Infirmity communicated with Idolaters,Not excluded, &c. for any Er­ror or Heresy in Faith, but for a Schisma­tical Separati­on from the Catholick Church. could upon to Terms whatever obtain God's Pardon: I cannot tell how far I may have offen­ded beyond the hopes of yours, tho I am,

Reverend Sir,
Yours to serve you, ANONYMUS.

ERRATA.

PAge 34. line 32. dele sound. P. 39. l. 6. read rigorously. Ibid. l. 13. r. the Jews and Gentiles uniting. Ibid. l. 17. r. Jews and Gentiles. P. 71. l. 15. r. Divine-Right; l. 16. dele Divine. P. 73. l. 1. r. Faith.

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