IMPRIMATUR Haec Concio in 1 Pet. 2. 15. Guil. Sill, R. P. D. Henr. Episc. Lond. à Sacris Dom.

Ian. 28. 1677/8.

Pag. 1. the last line but one, for earnestly read earnest.

A SERMON PREACHED Before the Right Honourable Sir FRANCIS CHAPLIN, Lord Mayor OF LONDON, AT GVILD-HALL Chapell, November the 18th. 1677.

By WILLIAM BATTIE, Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty.

LONDON, Printed by E. Flesher for R. Royston, Bookseller to His most Sacred MAJESTY, at the Angel in Amen-Corner. 1678.

TO THE Right Reverend Father in God, ANTHONY, By Divine Providence LORD BISHOP Of the Diocese of NORWICH.


THis Sermon had never been more publick then the Preaching of it made it, had it not been complained of, and represented by some of the Governours of the City of London, for a Sermon that deserved to be Censured, as reflecting upon the Government of the City. Your Lordship being my Diocesan, I have here presented your Lordship with the whole of what was preached; humbly submitting my self and my Sermon to your Lordship's Censure. It may be suspected, that I have suppressed in the printing, something that was preached; which [Page] I have not done: something may be added, but nothing is diminished: so that if there be no Reflexions upon the Government of the City in my Sermon now, there were none then. My Discourse, as my Text did direct me, was wholly to the Governed. Directions to Governours as Governours, from me, would have been pre­sumptuous, and therefore I used none. There is one Expression indeed in my Sermon to this purpose, That were Laws duly executed, men durst not despise and affront the Government so as they doe: which Expression, if it reflect any thing, it is Praise and Applause to the Go­vernment and the Laws we are governed by; and onely wisheth, that the Mean whereby Go­vernment attains its End, were sometimes look­ed a little better after. Reflexions either up­on the Government, or Governours, I ever thought improper for the Pulpit. Nay, I have ever hated them from the time that Pulpits were turned by such doings into Drums, to beat up for Sedition and Rebellion; remem­bring what the dismal Consequences of them have been to this Church and State. I am so unwilling to reflect upon any, that I am not pleased that the Vindication I have made of my self, by the printing of my Sermon, will re­flect, [Page] as it will, upon the Misrepresenters of it, accusing them (except my pressing Subjection to Governours be reflecting upon the Government) of the breach of the Ninth Commandment. But the Slander I had not at all weighed, but that it reflects upon the Government my sly Ac­cusers seem so tender of. For the Government will be suspected to be in evil Circumstances, if it shall be found inconvenient to press due Subjection unto Governours: and men will be made to fear that we are in such Times again as we were in about the time of the Scotch In­vasion, when they who appeared for the Go­vernment, by adhering to their lawfull Go­vernours, were accounted the Delinquents; whilst others were accounted the best Subjects, (as it is observed by him that hath lately writ the Life of Archbishop Bramhall) when their Swords were drawn against him who could onely grant them Commissions, and their Scabbards thrown away. My Lord, my ap­pealing to your Lordship is in a right line; and my presenting your Lordship thus publickly with my Sermon, for as much as I doe it in my own Defence, it will (I hope) in part excuse the Defects of it, of which I am so Conscious, that the Requests I had of Friends had not [Page] prevailed with me to publish it, if I had not had this Provocation. For the thing that I believe gave Offence, my declaring that the Execution of the Laws is the best Expedient to preserve them from Contempt: my Opinion herein I shall never retract: and your Lord­ship's Government, from the time of your Lord­ship's Translation to the Diocese of Norwich, hath very much confirmed me and others in it. And the Experience the Clergy have, that it is not Preaching and Writing will so preserve the Peace, as the Governours interposing himself to see the Laws observed, doth oblige the whole Body of the Clergy, to desire heartily the long continuance of your Lordship's Government over us, and particularly

Your most obedient Servant,
William Battie.

A SERMON Preached before the Lord MAYOR, Novemb. 18. 1677.

1 S. PETER II. 15.‘For so is the Will of God, that with Well-doing ye may put to silence the Ignorance of Foolish men.’

WE do not in any of the Apostles Epistles meet with any particular Addresses to the Magistrates of the Age they lived in; yet the Duty of Subjection unto Magistrates is fre­quently enjoyned all Christians whatsoever. Hus­bands and Wives, Parents and Children, Masters and Servants, have all the special Duties of their several Callings taught them in the Apostles Writings: but for Magistrates, though their Office is no-where so vindicated as by the Apostles, yet the Persons un­der Subjection are the persons onely who are taught their Duty; which is Subjection: A Duty our A­postle (as also the Apostle S. Paul) is very earnest in the pressing upon the Christians of that Age; and the more earnestly (as is thought) for these two Reasons.

  • [Page 2]1. To prevent the Danger the new-converted Gentiles might be in of being leavened with the old Leaven of the Iews; viz. a perverse and fro­ward Disposition unto Magistracy. A Leaven that had so soured that Nation, that in the vogue of the world they were accounted for no better then Pests of Nations, and Enemies of Mankind; because they were stubborn and stiff-necked to Authority, as Mo­ses long before had found them.
  • 2. Again, the Apostles are thought to be the more earnest in the pressing of this Duty, writing in the Reign of the Emperour Nero, whose many monstrous Wickednesses, and particular Malice a­gainst Christians, were likely to endanger the en­snaring of them into Temptations to despise and op­pose his Authority; and that to the great Scandal of their Religion: the Devil needing nothing more to nip the Christian Religion in the bud, then to get it voiced in the world for a Licencer of Sedition and Rebellion, in case the Supreme Governour be vicious. For this allowed, who is so short-sighted as not to foresee, that in succeeding Ages the Heads of Factions have nothing more to doe to promote their Treasonous Designs, but to get the Supreme Governour represented to the People for an Idola­ter, or a Tyrant. And if then by Arms or Money they can get him in their power, if they cut him off, it is but writing over his Statue, Exit Tyran­nus; and all is salved. Well, the Apostles (to let the World know, the Gospel allows no Disobedi­ence upon any such account) do the more earnest­ly press Subjection to Authority, at the time the Roman Empire had as wicked a Governour as ever before or since.

[Page 3]And in the Verses before my Text he calls for this Subjection to Authority, of whatsoever Rank or Degree; whether it be to the King, as Supreme; or unto Governours, as unto them that are sent by him. And having thus laid before them their Duty unto Magistracy; in the words of the Text, and in the following Verses, he enforceth it, First, by laying down the strongest Argument that can be alledged for it, this in the Text: and then, by removing the great Objection made against it by Libertines, of whom the Apostles had then a great Jealousy. They would needs fansy themselves to be made so free by their Religion, that they were now no longer to be the Servants of Men. As to this Objection, sug­gested in the words, as free, in the next Verse, the Apostle answers it, by giving them to understand, that Christ's Free men are still God's Servants: so that their Liberty could be no Cloak for them to be Seditious and Malicious; for why? it was onely a Liberty to serve God. And how it is the Will of God, that we express the Fear we have of him in the Honour we have for our King, and in the Love we have for our Brethren, we are acquainted in the seventeenth Verse, where they are enjoyned all together: Love the Brotherhood. Fear God. Ho­nour the King.

The Text is plainly an Exhortation to primitive Christians, so to behave themselves towards their Superiours, as to keep up the Reputation of their Religion, and disperse the Scandals cast upon it by Ignorant and Foolish men.

In the whole Verse we have these things conside­rable.

  • [Page 4]1. The Persons who were to silence others, and who consequently were evil spoken of; Ye Belie­vers.
  • 2. The Persons who spoke evil of them; Igno­rant and Foolish men.
  • 3. The Duty of those who were evil spoken of, towards them who spake evil of them; which was, to put them to silence.
  • 4. The Expedient whereby they were to doe it; Well-doing.
  • 5. The grand Motive of this, and every other Christian Duty; it is the Will of God we doe it; For so is the Will of God.

I. For the First, the Persons that were to silence others, and that consequently were apt to be tradu­ced by the World, they were the Christians of the purest Age of the Church; Infant-Christians, as I may call them with respect to the Age of the Gospel-Church at that time; Christians almost always un­der the Lash of Persecution, and so, for that reason, besides the indispensable obligation which Christia­nity laid upon them to secure their innocence, could not chuse but be very innocent, and far from da­ring to intermeddle with the Affairs of those Pow­ers that kept them so much in Slavery. Poor Doves! the Roman Eagle kept them too much in awe to venture, if they had been willing, upon tampering with State-affairs: and yet all the Tumults and Seditions of the Times were sometimes fathered upon them. Nero sets Rome on fire; and the poor Christians, as Tacitus in his Annals tells us, (in usum nocturni luminis) must be made Bonefires of, as the Authours of it. Whence we learn, that In­nocency [Page 5] is no security from Infamy, and that the Best of men are not exempt from the basest Calum­nies. No: it hath ever been the Fate of the best Religion, and the zealousest Asserters of it, to un­dergo the World's harshest Censures. But one righteous man in Sodom, and he was accounted the Trouble-town. He had the Zeal to oppose their not-to-be-named Lewdness; and thus they deride him for his pains,Gen. 19. 9. This Fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a Iudge. The great Prophet Elijah, that alone asserted the Worship of the true God in the time of an universal Defection from his Worship to Idolatry,1 King. 18. 17. was therefore called the Troubler of Is­rael. And how doth good Ieremiah bemoan him­self on this Account?Jer. 15. 10. Woe is me, my Mother, that thou hast born me a man of Strife, and a man of Con­tention to the whole Earth. I have neither lent on V­sury, nor have men lent to me on Vsury, yet every one doth curse me. And when the Lord of the Vine­yard last of all sent his Son into the World, the very Original of Innocency, who, as in the twenty second verse of this Chapter, did no Sin, neither was Guile found in his mouth; how was it the World e­steemed of him? no otherwise then it was long be­fore prophesied by Isaiah;Isa. 53.3. He was despised and re­jected of men, we hid as it were our faces from him, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. He was accounted a Wine-bibber, nay a Sorcerer, a man that cast out Devils by the help of the Prince of Devils. And if the great Master of the whole family of Hea­ven and Earth was thus aspersed, it is not to be ima­gined, that his Servants after him should fare any better at the World's hands.Matth. 10. 25. And he himself tells them so beforehand; lest, when they met with this [Page 6] Usage, they should think it very strange, to be so requited for their labour of Love unto the World. How basely do the Iews abuse the great Apostle of the Gentiles by their Oratour Tertullus, calling him a Pestilent fellow, a mover of Sedition, Acts 24.5. and a Ring-leader of a Sect? And S. Paul himself at large tells us, how himself and the rest of the Apostles were accounted of in the World:1 Cor. 4. 13. We are made as the Filth of the world, and the Off-scouring of all things unto this day. So far hath Innocency and Integrity ever been from exempting the best of God's Servants from the World's harshest Censures.

II. Now in the next Particular, which is, the Persons who are to be silenced, we have the Reason whence it is that Good men cannot have the World's good word. The Persons to be silenced are, Igno­rant and Foolish men. And this gives us the true account of it, and plainly tells us, that it is the Ig­norance of Evil men that makes them speak evil of those that be Good. Fools, who know least, are usually given to speak most, and oftenest, and what comes next the tongue's end. And indeed the words of Fools come no farther off then from whence you hear them, being in labris nata: whereas the words of Wise men are said to come è sulco pectoris, from the ground of the Heart. And therefore no wonder if Fools speak so readily, and so at random as they do, of things and persons that oft-times they have no knowledge of: which thing is not onely their Folly, but their Shame also, in the opi­nion of Solomon, Prov. 18. 13. who tells us that he that answereth a matter before he hear it, it is a Folly and a Shame to him.

[Page 7]Now this being the Cause why Evil men speak evil of those that are Good, their Folly and Igno­rance, we may lawfully infer these two things from it.

First, That it is certainly not the Wisedom of those that would be accounted wise men, to receive and harbour, or at all to hearken to the Reports of such persons. It argues an empty hollowness of Mind in men, like Echo's to catch at, and to re­turn every noise and sound they hear; or a Mind full, if of any thing, of mischievous sly intents. And indeed, even all the Mischief of evil Reports hap­pens from such persons: the Clamours of foolish persons generally doing no hurt, till persons in re­pute for Wisedom and Worth begin to listen to them. The Receiver here is as bad, if not worse then the Thief. When one officiously told Simo­nides how evil things men spoke of him, he made him this Answer; Et quando tu tandem desines me au­ribus calumniari? And when wilt thou leave slan­dering me with thy Ears? Most excellent and high­ly worthy our imitation was the way of Constantine the Great in this point, who burnt the mutual Ac­cusations of his Clergy, telling the Complainants, he wished his Cloak large enough to cover all their Faults. Were all men of his humour, the Devil's work of raising and spreading Slanders would go but slowly on in the world: were there no Recei­vers, there would be fewer Thieves. Let such then as would go for understanding men and sober Christians,Prov. 25. 23. put on the angry Countenance at the hea­ring of all slanderous Reports, which, as the North­wind drives away Rain, repells the Calumnies of a Backbiting tongue.

[Page 8]Secondly, We learn here what little Cause they have to be troubled, who make Conscience to dis­charge the Duties of their several Callings confor­mably to the Laws of the Church and Kingdom they belong unto, (whether Subordinate Gover­nours in the Church and State, or such as be in Subjection onely,) if now and then they meet with some harsh Censures for so doing; considering what it is they are to be imputed to, the Ignorance of Foolish men. Nemo patitur Praejudicium ab iis quibus non est Iudicium: Can we suffer by their O­pinion who have no Judgment? Let no man's heart fail him then, nor encline him to a poor pu­sillanimous Compliance with the Humours, to avoid the Clamours, of Foolish men.

Falsus honor juvat, & mendax infamia terret:
Quem, nisi mendosum, & mendacem?—
Hor. Epist. Lib. 1. Ep. 16.

That of S. Ambrose is Encouragement enough a­gainst all their scornfull Censures.Amb. de Interp. Lib. 2. Ca. 2. Si fuerit Praeju­dicium in seculo, non erit in judicio Dei; The Pre­judices of the World prejudice us nothing before God. No Wind shakes the Earth but the Wind within it. If we keep our Consciences calm and clear concerning our due Subjection to God's Law and Man's, we need not fear the shaking by any Wind without us: and what shaking happens, a good Conscience will so recreate us therein, that we shall not need at all to value it.

III. Now for the Third thing, the Duty of those who are evil spoken of towards them who speak evil of them, which is, to silence them; [...], os occludere, to shut the Mouths of evil speakers. In 1 Cor. 9. 9. it is rendered muzzle: Thou shalt not [Page 9] muzzle the mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the Corn. But now may some say, Who is sufficient for this thing? Is it not a kind of impossibility that is here put upon us? Were foolish Men as tractable as Oxen, the matter might be thought feasible: But Solomon represents them for persons wholly untrac­table;Prov. 27. 22. Though thou bray a Fool in a Mortar, among Wheat with a Pestill, yet will not his Foolishness de­part from him.

In Answer; Here we are to distinguish of Fools according to the Distinction we have of Ignorance. There is Ignorantia purae privationis, and Ignorantia pravae dispositionis, an Ignorance of Weakness, and an Ignorance of Wilfulness: So there is the weak Fool, and the wilfull Fool. Now the weak Fool is the reputed Fool, but the wilfull Fool is the Fool; the Fool that Solomon found would take no impressions. None so blind as they that will not see. Some are blind through Ignorance, some through Interest; in whom the God of this World (to use the Apostle's words) hath blinded their Eyes; being preingaged by their Interests, they will not judge sincerely of Things and Persons. Malunt nescire, (as Tertullian in his Apology hath it) quia jam oderunt. Now to stop the mouths of such from speaking evil of us, is a very hard task. To stop the mouths of such from speaking evil of us, who stop the mouths of their own Consciences whilst they speak evil of us, is a work that never was nor will be done, nor is it expected from us. All that is required of us here, as at all practicable by us, is, that, with the Apostle, we so demean our selves, that we commend our selves to every man's Conscience in the sight of God; and this is practicable: to order our selves [Page 10] so, that whereas wilfully Ignorant men speak evil of us, as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed and con­founded, at least in their Consciences, when they accuse our good Conversation.

To put the case in their Compliance, who are Magistrates or Ministers, with the Commands of their Superiours; Can we imagine that any in their Con­sciences do blame them for it? especially when they shall consider that the Oath of God is upon them, whereby they have solemnly bound themselves to the Obedience of those Commands? No, they doe it not: and onely in a consciencious observing such Commands shall they stop the mouths of mens Con­sciences. And if by not observing of them, out of a poor pitifull cringing to be popular, they study to stop mens mouths from hard words, they shall therein open the mouths of their own Consciences, and the Consciences of others, justly to accuse them: and they are onely weak Fools, who will not ac­count them for very Hypocrites and Dissemblers with God and the World.

But now for such whose Ignorance hath not this tang of Malice in it, and who indeed know no­thing of Things and Persons, but as they have seen them at a distance, and through the Prospective of other mens Prejudices, and the Misrepresentations of their partial Guides; it is possible by degrees to stop the mouths of such: as the same Tertullian in his Apology, Simul ac desinunt ignorare, desinunt odisse: The Cause being meer Ignorance, as the Cause is taken away, the Effect ceaseth; and the silencing of them then is feasible. And where it is but possible, we are to endeavour it, as the Apostle counsells;2 Tim. 2. 25. In meekness instructing those that oppose [Page 11] themselves, if peradventure God will give them Re­pentance.

But now here the Question will be, How must we doe it? Suppose they accuse us for our good Conversation towards our Superiours, our peaceable Subjection to their lawfull Commands, what Expe­dient is there in this Case? The Text tells us, it is Well-doing. We are never while we live to expect it in that way, that some would have men to believe to be the Meekness and the Moderation the Apostle requires, viz. by forbearing our selves the doing our several Duties conformably to the Commands of our Superiours; and by the allowing, the coaxing and applauding those who oppose themselves, in their Prejudices and Misapprehensions. For why? this doth not remove the Cause of their Prejudices, their Ignorance; and so is no more the way to cure them of their Prejudices, then it is the Rider's way to make his Horse leave starting at the things he is afraid of, by running him away from them; which the Rider never doth, but brings him nearer to them. In like manner, that they who speak evil of us may neither accuse us, nor the things they are so apt to take offence at, it must not be our way, to humour them in their Shiness and Dislikes, but in all the ways of Peace and Meekness, to persuade them wishly to see into the inoffensiveness of the things, and the little cause they have to startle at them: and then, which is the Expedient of the Text, to set them an Example for their Duty in our own Well-doing, which is the Fourth Particular.

IV. This is the way the Apostle prescribes; a way so clearly the onely way to return wicked mens Re­proaches [Page 12] to the best advantage to our selves, that very Heathens have hit upon it. Diogenes being asked by one, how he might best revenge himself of an evil Tongue; he makes this Reply, Si teipsum quàm maximè Bonum & Honestum virum praestiteris: Thou wilt best acquit thy self of his Reproaches, if in all things thou shalt behave thy self as becomes an Honest and an Upright man. Now, Well-doing is a very comprehensive word, as the Psalmist saith of its Rule, the Command of God; it is ex­ceeding broad, and may be thought to put upon us the whole Duty of Man. And indeed, without walking so as the Grace of God teacheth us, righ­teously, godly and soberly in this evil World, we do not come up to the Duty of Well-doing, nor shall we silence Gainsayers; especially such of us as through our Callings are more in the Eye of the World, and who are sure, though but Earthen Ves­sels, to have fewest Grains of allowance given us. But of Well-doing taken in this Latitude, Well-doing in the Text onely means a Branch, our wal­king righteously towards our Superiours. For the Apostle having immediately before commanded them to submit themselves to every Ordinance of Man, he here tells them, that in so doing they would put to silence the Ignorance of Foolish men. The thing plain­ly meant then, is Submission to Authority, accor­ding as he had directed them. And calling this, as he doth, Well-doing it self, we may well account it a considerable part of it: and we may lawfully in­fer upon it, that it is very much our Duty to give this Subjection to our Superiours. And that it is so, we have this farther in the Text to assure us of it, That it is God's will we doe it: which is the Fifth and last Particular in the Text.

[Page 13]V. It is the Will of God we submit our selves to Authority. And this I called the grand Motive of this Well-doing: for it is that, beyond which we are not to enquire for any other; God's Will being, as the onely Rule, so the onely supreme Reason of our Obedience. And upon the account of this Motive alone, we are sufficiently assured, that it is not left to our Wills as an Arbitrary thing, and in our Choice whether we will doe it or no: but that it is a matter of necessity, as the Apostle S. Paul is most express in it, Ye must needs be subject. Rom. 13.5 This is such a Motive, that as there can be no higher as­signed, so there needs no other. Onely we are in such an Age, wherein (for want of good Discipline) Disputing hath turned Obeying out of Doors; so that, except God reveal his Will in the terrible way he did upon Mount Sinai, we are not carefull to hearken to it; especially if our Wills be crossed by it. But, as our Saviour hath told us long since, We have Moses and the Prophets, the ordinary way; and other Revelation there will be none, till God re­veal himself from Heaven in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance upon the Transgressours of his Will.

Let this then satisfie us to persuade us to Obedi­ence, that it is the Will of God, and thus revealed to us. But if this will not prevail with us, let it serve for a farther Motive, to consider, that in the great Day, when God will reveal himself in that terrible manner, of which the Apostle tells us 2 Thess. 1. 8. it shall then go hardest with Despisers of Government, as S. Peter tells us, 2 Ep. 2.9, 10. where he saith that chiefly Despisers of Government, among others, are reserved to the Day of Iudgment to be punished. [...]. The Simple Verb [Page 14] ( [...]) in Scripture is rendred to mind, to savour, to affect; so that the Compound may well be ren­dred persons that do not mind, that will not relish, that do not affect Government, [...]. The same word [...] is used by S. Iude, when in the same manner he denounceth Judgment (in the eighth Verse of his Epistle) against such persons; which we render there Dominion: but there we have another word for despise, [...] which word, saith Beza, signifies to depose or remove a thing out of its place. But the same Persons are meant in both places; and there is no more diffe­rence between S. Peter's Despisers, and S. Iude's Deposers of Government, then between brute Beasts, (to which S. Iude in the tenth Verse compares them) when under restraint, and when at liberty, which then shake off the service they had no mind to be­fore. They who are S. Peter's Despisers, no Reli­shers of Government, will, when it lies in their way, (as Experience hath shewn this Nation) be S. Iude's Deposers, Deposers of Government and Governours too: but both shall be reserved unto Punishment; chiefly such, saith S. Peter; and saith S. Iude, to the Vengeance of eternal Fire.

And the case being thus with Despisers of Go­vernment, it would be well done by Governours, not to give them the least occasion for it. This is according to S. Paul's advice to Timothy: 1 Tim. 4. 12. in stead of exhorting the People not to despise Timothy, he advises Timothy not to let them doe it: his meaning is,1 Tim. 3. 15. that he would have Timothy so to behave himself in the House of God, as not to give them the least oc­casion for it.

Well, the Despisers of Government bringing that [Page 15] Mischief they do to the Societies they belong unto, and heaping to themselves such Wrath against the Day of Wrath, it is an Office of Mercy to them (besides what it is to the Government) in Governours, to their power to restrain them: which they may doe, (and I think are bound to doe, as they would not partake in their Sin) in looking after the Executi­on of the Laws. For were Laws duly executed, men durst as well eat Fire, as affront Authority, and play with Penal Statutes. Witness how tame, not long since, England, Ireland, and Scotland too, were made and kept by a small number of the In­habitants, without a Toleration of Popery or Pre­lacy.

Well, if this will not prevail with us, to make us submit unto Authority, that it is the Will of God we doe it; Consider we within our selves of this other Motive, How we shall be able, if we will not doe his Will, to endure his Wrath, which we see Despisers of Authority have no hopes of esca­ping, but upon these Presumptions, that there is no Credit to be given to the Holy Scriptures, no Life to come, nor Day of Judgment to be hereafter.

The Duty of Subjection is thus enforced: and there are but few who do not, at least in words, own it to be due to Magistrates: but, how far, and wherein, lies all the Controversy.

Some there be who are against the Magistrate's meddling at all in Matters Ecclesiastical. Quid Im­peratori cum Ecclesia? was the Objection of Donatus, an old Separatist; What hath the Emperour to doe with Matters concerning the Church? To which Objection the Reply Optatus made was then judged fully sufficient, The Commonwealth is not in the [Page 16] Church, but the Church is in the Commonwealth; and consequently, the Governour of the Common­wealth is Governour also of the Church.

But that which meets with greatest opposition at this day is this, That the Magistrate should give Commands in things indifferent pertaining to the Worship of God. But this men quarrel at without any colour of Reason for the same: For these things are the peculiar Province, as to Church-concernments, wherein the Legislative and Executive Power of the Magistrate is exercised. Things of Divine In­stitution do require our Submission by warrant from a Superiour and Paramount Injunction, and cannot be accounted Humane Ordinances or Things indif­ferent: But as to these other things, we have sun­dry Ordinances in the Holy Scriptures. Esther 9. 20. we find a religious Festival appointed by Mor­decai, without any Command from God for it. And in the Book of the Maccabees we reade of another Festival instituted by Iudas Maccabaeus and the Iews, which was afterwards approved of by Christ's presence at it. And in the New Testament we find the Rulers of the Church imposing their Commands in things indifferent,Acts 15. 20. as they thought expedient for the present good of the Church. The things in­deed are called necessary: Vers. 28. but considering what some of these things were, it is plain they were onely called so, with relation to their End; being at that time judged necessary, though not in their Nature, yet in their Use, for the present quiet and composure of Differences in the Church. And as soon as the black Cloud of Persecution was dis­persed by Constantine the Great, this Authority, in matters Ecclesiastical, was assumed by the Monarchs [Page 17] of the Christian World, and very much to the Sa­tisfaction of the Fathers of the Church in those times. Felix est necessitas (saith S. Augustin) quae nos cogit ad meliora. And thus he adviseth the Powers then in being, Forìs inveniatur necessitas, & intus nascetur voluntas; Let there be a Power without, and there will be a Will within.

And what is very considerable here, The Injunc­tions of Superiours in these things have never been disliked, but by the Factions they have run cross to. If Calvin's Opinion will weigh any thing with the Men who now oppose themselves, and scruple in these matters, we have it at large in his Epistle to the Duke of Somerset, the Protectour in the days of Edward the VI. where he adviseth the Protectour in these words: Statum esse Catechismum oportet, sta­tam Sacramentorum Administrationem, publicámque Precum formulam; There ought (saith he) to be a set Catechism, a set Form for Administration of Sa­craments, and a set Form of publick Prayers, from which it may not be lawfull for the Pastours of the Church to depart and vary as they please. And that, (as he tells us) for these Ends: That the Ig­norance of some may hereby be relieved, the wan­ton Lightness of others in affecting and meditating Novelties restrained; and then, that the Agreement among your selves, and with other Reformed Chur­ches, may be known to the World. Which be all very good Ends; and the bare mentioning of them is enough to satisfie any, that Calvin did not think the Forms usefull onely for those Times, and as things then stood, (as Separatists at this day per­suade their Proselytes) but for succeeding Ages also. For in what Age may it not be necessary to [Page 18] have these good Ends looked after? And in the same Epistle he tells the Protectour, he understood there were two sorts of Seditious persons in this Kingdom then, (who have continued ever since, and been as very Thorns in the side of the Govern­ment from that time to this, as ever the Canaanites were to the Israelites.) The one sort (he tells him) were those, who would by no means forgo the Su­perstitions of Rome: the other sort he styles Cere­brosi and Phrenetici, Brain-sick Phreneticks, who, under a pretence of Gospel-Liberty, endeavoured the introducing [...], all Disorder and Confusi­on into the Church; wherein (to use his own words, though something harsh) excitantur à Sa­tana nominatim, they are prompted by the Devil himself, that the World may take offence at the best Religion, as the Fomenter of Rebellion in the State, and Confusion in the Church. This is his Censure: and as severe is his Direction; (but it's Calvin's) Merentur quidem tum hi tum illi Gladio ultore coër­ceri, Both these sorts of Seditious persons deserve to be restrained by the Sword which God hath put into thy Hand. And Beza's Opinion is the same also in these matters:Beza Epist. 24. ad Pe­regrinarum in Anglia Ecclesia­rum Fra­tres. What Laws the Magi­strate makes in things indifferent, for the sake of Order and Decency in the Church, they are to be observed of all Godly men; and they so far bind the Conscience, that no Knowing and Understan­ding man can, without Sin, either doe what is for­bidden, or omit what is commanded.

And after the Copy of these great Men, did the Presbyterians of the late Times write; The bare In­junctions of Parliament were held Canonical in these Matters when time was. They are the words [Page 19] of a known Tractate Licensed by Mr. Downham; No man that is endowed with right Reason, but will acknowledge there is a Necessity of a Government. If of a Government, then, of Vniformity; else it will be confused. Therefore there is a Necessity of suppres­sing all Conventicles, and that all men should observe such Order, Time, and Place, and publick Gesture, as the Parliament, by the Advice of the Assembly, shall appoint, And no man that hath any use of Conscience in any thing, but must acknowledge that he is to obey the Laws of the Land in which he lives in all indifferent Things, or else he is Turbulent and deserves Censure, even for matters concerning Worship.

Thus far that Authour, who was not alone in the opinion, in the late Times, that the Supreme Power may give Command in these things. Whence it appears, That they who could not endure the Constitutions of their Superiours in these Matters, could (when they became Superiours themselves) call for Constitutions agreeable to their own Minds in the same Matters: and consequently, (as Mr. Ien­kins expresseth it in a Sermon before one of the Vsurper's Parliaments) That the reason why men cry out against Government, is not, because they would have no Government;Policy of Princes, pa. 37. but, because they would have it in themselves; or they desire to burn the Rod, that they may play the Wantons the more freely.

Now if the Magistrate hath power to command in these things, it is our Duty to observe their Com­mands: and the common Objections many make to excuse themselves, can have no weight in them. And here it may not be amiss to take notice of two Objections against this Obedience.

[Page 20]1. It is objected, That Obedience in these things hath ever given Offence; and therefore we are at liberty, and freed, by the Example of S. Paul, to obey, or not to obey, who in 1 Cor. 8. 13. tells us, If meat make my Brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my Brother to offend. This is much insisted on; but very weak­ly, if the Magistrate have power to command, and if it be our Duty to obey. For thus there is a great deal of difference between the Apostle's eating Meats sacrificed to Idols, and our obeying our Su­periours in these things. The Apostle by eating might offend some of the weaker sort; but by not eating he could offend none. Now this holds not in our observing the Commands of our Superiours. By observing of them we may indeed offend some weaker ones, (who could never yet tell us what would please them;) but it cannot be said, that by the not observing of them we shall offend none: for our Obedience being thus grounded, we thereby give just Offence to the greater sort of men, and the more considerable, to the King and his Council, by whom these Injunctions have been established: and so in being pleasers of some men, we shall be found the Enemies of Christ, in whose name we are com­manded this Submission; and in the conclusion we shall really offend our Brother, by not obeying our Governours, so as the Apostle was resolved he ne­ver would. For thus we become a Stumbling-block to him, the thing the Apostle cautions against by his own Example, Verse 9. of that Chapter; we shall endanger the emboldening of him by our Ex­ample, (as the Apostle's words are;) we shall en­crease his Dislike of his Duty, and confirm him in [Page 21] his Disobedience. And this is Vrsin's Opinion,Ursin. loc. Theol. in 3. praecept. Scandalum datum est, in rebus a­diaphoris Errores in animis infirmorum confirmare. To adde Confirmation to erroneous Opinions in the Minds of the weak about indifferent things, is gi­ving Offence.

2. Again, it is objected, We must not doe the things we doubt of; so that we are discharged and excused, while we doubt of the Lawfulness of our Obedience.

Now, here two things would be considered. First, whether the Doubting that in these days is alledged, is not pretended onely. Secondly, whe­ther Doubting here is any Discharge or no.

1. It would be considered, whether the Doubt­ing that is now alledged, is not onely pretended; and the rather, because Beza himself suspected it,Beza Epist. 8. ad D. Edm. Grin­dallum Episc. Lond. when he writ to Bishop Grindall, then Bishop of London, in the Year 1566. Having a little before told the Bishop, that it was very much his Judgment, that the Rites necessary for the sake of Order and Decency ought to be retained; he farther tells him, that Infirmity at that time must needs be pretended onely, when the Gospel had then for so many years been preached and received, and confirmed by the Bloud of so many excellent Martyrs. But to lay down some Rules, whereby we may give some Judg­ment in the thing, whether the Doubting men al­ledge, to excuse themselves, be sincere or no.

First, The words of Beza offer one Rule to us, and question the sincerity of those Doubtings, where men have had sufficient opportunity of being fully instructed in the things they doubt about. He thought Eleven years a fair time: and what may [Page 22] we think of Ten times as many more years, that have passed since those illustrious Martyrs (as he duly styles them) confirmed what they preached, and the Orders they legally obtained in these things, with their Bloud? At the time the Gospel was first divulged by the Apostles, untill such time as the Iews might be satisfied concerning the Liberty of Christians from the Rites of the Law of Moses, with consideration to their Weakness, the Apostles did not presently use their Liberty: but S. Paul cir­cumciseth Timothy; and, by the advice of the A­postles, Acts 21. 23, 24. he went into the Temple, to purifie himself according to the Law of Moses. But when sufficient Means and Opportunity was once enjoyed, they doe no such thing; but Saint Paul withstood Saint Peter to the face for doing it, Gal. 2. 11. And we do not reade that Saint Peter did justifie to Saint Paul's face his fear of the Use of his Liberty.

Secondly, Men may, if they will, examine them­selves in the Sincerity of their Doubtings, by the care and pains they have used (according to the time they have had for it) to get their Doubtings resolved: which thing, if their Doubtings be sin­cere, they will force them to; and if they do not, there is not one dram of Sincerity and real Tender­ness belonging to them. For Doubting, and for­bearing Obedience here, is a kind of Murmuring against our Superiours, as if they commanded us that whereby we might sin in obeying them. And will any sincere honest man think so evil of his Governours, and their Predecessours, without en­quiring what cause he hath for it? especially when he shall consider, that the greatest gain his Gover­nours [Page 23] can have by his Obedience, is the Peace of the whole Society, in whose common Welfare the Loyal Subject shall have his equal Share with the Magistrate who commands.

Thirdly, Whereas they pretend they are full of Doubting in yielding Obedience to these Com­mands, to assure themselves they are sincere, they may examine themselves by this Rule, which is truly taken from the nature of Doubting, By considering what the thought, and care, and fear is, they have had about refusing Obedience. For, Doubting onely on the one side, is no real Doubting: For in such Doubting the Mind is in bivio, uncertain, and in suspence, and questions the one side as well as the other, not knowing which to take; but fears sinning by Obeying, and fears sinning by not Obey­ing. So that if men onely doubt Obedience to their Superiours Commands in these things, and ne­ver doubt on the other side, their Doubting is one­ly Pretence; they are determined, fixed, and set, say what they will; their Doubtings are onely Pre­judices, taken up on trust from their partial Guides, who, for gainfull Ends, may cherish them in their Doubtings; their Craft by which they live being in danger to be set at nought, should their Prose­lytes once be cured of their Doubtings. And were they not blinded by their Prejudices, in stead of Doubting, where they pretend they do, they would have a suspicious Eye on the other side rather, where private Interest is the Directour.

But, 2. It would be considered, whether, if men do really doubt, their Doubting is an Excuse for their Disobedience.

Now as to this, We may conclude, from the na­ture [Page 24] of Doubting, that it doeth no such thing. For of Doubting, here it must be granted, that the summe of it is this, I may probably sin in this Sub­mission: (probably, I say; for Certainty it cannot be, and Doubting too.) Now Submission being stated and agreed, as I have shewn you, to be the Magistrate's Due, and our Duty, bare Doubting cannot discharge us from it: a Probability of sin­ning cannot discharge a man from obeying a plain Precept. A thing indeed meerly arbitrary and in my power, (as to recreate my self with any lawfull Game,) if I doubt about it, or offend others with it, I must forbear; there is onely the crossing of my own Fancy and Will therein, of which no evil can come: But in things commanded, and so taken out of my power by the intervening Command of Man, and by the Command of God that backs that, re­quiring our Obedience for his sake, my Doubting, or the Offence others may take, is no Excuse here; for, thus we should oppose Liberty to Necessity, Charity to Duty, the bare fear of offending the weak, to the certain offence of the higher Powers; nay, we should doe more for Man's sake, then for the Lord's.

Now to come to a Conclusion. A Duty thus grounded, and against which so little is to be ob­jected, ought chearfully to be observed by us: And being proposed, as it is, for a thing whereby we shall credit our Religion, those words of the Apostle, Philip. 4. 8. Whatsoever things are of good Report, if there be any Vertue, if there be any Praise, suffice to persuade us to it. Let who will expect, by their Scruples about this Duty, and their Shiness [Page 25] of it, to gain the name of men of stricter Sanctity, and men of Conscience; let us seek the Honour that cometh of God onely, and doe the Honour we can to our Religion, onely in the way that God in his Word directs us.

It is descending to lower Motives, to mention the Honour we ought to have to the Memories of the Religious Governours of our Church, who were the worthy Instruments in our Reformation. But I am unwilling to pass it by, because they who at this day are the greatest Sticklers against the Sub­jection I have been speaking of, do all pretend to have a great Veneration for them.

Now, how was it our Saviour advised the Iews to shew the Honour they had for Abraham and Mo­ses, but in the approving of their Works and Say­ings? Well, the things our Submission is required in, are their Works, and such, as we may confident­ly affirm this of them, that they were not devised nor enacted rashly, but upon good Deliberation, and out of pure Design to settle us in Unity. Nor were they ushered in by Rebellion, as were the Covenant and the Directory: and they had the Ap­probation of all the Reformed Churches then in being. Calvin did pass upon them his Valde probo. And if we may expound one Epistle of his by ano­ther, what he calls tolerabiles Ineptias, in his Epistle to the dissenting Exiles at Frankford, without men­tioning what they were, are the things that in his larger Epistle to the Duke of Somerset he finds fault with particularly, and they are, Prayers for the Dead, Exorcisms, the use of Chrism in Baptism, and Extream Unction; which since the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth have been left out [Page 26] of all our Common-Prayer-Books. I say, the In­junctions of our first Reformers were not mutinous, nor the Product of hasty inconsiderate Zeal; but enacted as soberly and as regularly as could be ima­gined, and with good Design to settle us in Unity and Peace, which then was, and at this day can be our onely Countermine under Heaven, against all the Plots and Policies of them who (ever since the time our Princes have rightfully enfranchised themselves from the Usurpations of the Court and See of Rome) have sought our Ruine by all Arts and Methods, but chiefly by Dividing of us.

Again, we ought not to forget what the Apostle minds us of in the following Verses, the Honour we are owing our present Governours: and where­in do we so shew it, as in submitting in this man­ner to their Ordinances?

And here it would be considered, that as at first these Injunctions were wisely established, and with good Design for the securing of the Peace of the Church and State; so, they have not been re-in­forced since His MAJESTIE's happy Return, but upon the experience of an Inundation of Mi­sery and Confusion, wherewith we were overflowed through the pulling down of the Wall these Laws were to us. In the pulling down whereof, they who had the next hand in it to the Iesuits, the Presbyterians, were soon made sensible of the Over­sight they had committed. I am apt to believe, they never repented them of it. For Mr. Love, upon the Scaffold, justified what he had done that way. And Mr. Ienkins, some years after, in the Sermon before mentioned, praised God for it in these words,Policy of Princes, pa. 33. Praised be that God who hath [Page 27] delivered us from the Imposition of Prelatical Inno­vations, Altar-Genu-flexions, and Cringings, with Crossings, and all that Popish Trash and Trumpery. And truly, (I speak no more then I have often thought and said) The removal of those insuppor­table Burthens countervails for the Bloud and Trea­sure shed and spent in these late Distractions. (And the King's Bloud, and the King's and Churche's Revenue were part.) Nor did I as ever yet hear of any Godly men that desired it, were it possible, to purchase their Friends or Money again at so dear a rate, as with the return of these, to have those Soul-burthening Antichristian Yokes re-imposed upon us: and if any such there be, I am sure that desire is no part of their Godliness; and I profess my self in that to be none of the number. And Mr. Faircloth, in one of his Sermons before the Parliament upon the seventh Chapter of Iudges and the twenty fifth Verse, intercedes with the Parliament for the laying of the Wall down, e­ven with the ground, in these words; Extirpate all Achans with Babylonish garments, Orders, Cere­monies, Gestures, let them be rooted out from among us: We, even all the godly Ministers of the Coun­try, will be with you. But, though they repented them not of the pulling down of the old Wall, they were extreamly troubled they had not se­cured their own Inclosures from succeeding Tides; and great was their fear of farther Breaches, through Toleration, as their many solicitous Ap­plications to the Powers then in being, to pre­vent them, do declare. Which because they car­ry in them an Acknowledgment of the Confusion they had brought these Kingdoms into, by laying [Page 28] wast the ancient Government in Church and State, I am fully assured, that it was not their opinion then, that Toleration would be the means to deliver us out of those Confusions. And it may not be amiss to remember them of some of them.Policy of Princes, pa. 33. Mr. Ienkins, in the Sermon before mentioned, having observed, that it was looked upon as a Blessing, that they were in Days that men might be as good as they pleased, (which had then been lately Dr. Iohn Owen's words in one of his Sermons) he intreats the Parliament in these words, I beseech you, as you love your own Souls, and as you dread the Anger of him, whose Anger if kindled but a little, blessed are all they that put their trust in him, let not men be suffered to be as wicked as they please. Verse 3. Page 117. And in his Commentary upon S. Iude, he thus contends with Magistrates: They who reign by God, should reign for him. How unreasonable is it, that people should be Lawless onely in Religion? Shall it not be indifferent whether men will pay a Tax, and shall it be indifferent whether they will ever hear a Sermon? And then he mentions Artaxerxes his De­cree, Ezra 7. 26. as if he would have had it decreed after the manner of the Medes and Persians, that men should be confined to hear him and his Brethren, upon the penalty of Death, Banishment, Confiscation of Goods, and Imprisonment; for so runs that De­cree. And lest they should boggle at these things, in any sense of their Obligation to Moderation, he thus cautions them as to this: Pag. 121. How soon learned is the Wisedom of shunning Troubles, of Self-preservation, and tame Silence, when Religion is endangered? (i.e. when Presbytery was in danger of being worsted by the After-Subdivisions) and how easily, but, alas! how falsely, is this called Moderation? And in his [Page 29] Sermon before mentioned he hath these words:Page 23. Because no Conscience can be touched, must all Practi­ces be suffered? And Dr. Manton, at the same time, in his Comment upon the eleventh Verse of S. Iude, Page 402, and 403. warning Magistrates to be aware of the followers of Corah, (to use his own words) of Factious and Se­ditious persons, compared to Cain, as he observes well, because of their Cruelty, and to Balaam, because of their Covetousness; he assures the Magistrates, That the Danger of the latter Times would not be so proba­bly from a second Deluge of Antichristians, as from Seditious Insurrections of Sectaries, who, though they seem to be meek and full of Love, while their Party is contemptible; yet when they grow considerable, they appear in their Colours. The Antichristian Party car­rieth things by Power, and Worldly Greatness: but this Party is a creeping Party, that gets into Houses. This is the Party from whence I fear such Danger and Disturbance. And the same sense and fear of Tole­ration and Sectaries had the Ministers of the Pro­vince of London; witness their Subscription to a Book called, A Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ; and to our Solemn League and Covenant: in which Book, this is mentioned, among others, for one abo­minable Errour, viz. Page 22. That little can be done, unless Liberty of Conscience be allowed, for every man, and sort of men, to worship God in that way, and perform the Ordinances of Christ in that manner, as shall ap­pear to them most agreeable to God's Word. And the Trouble they had, to think what other Reformed Churches would say of them, should this take place, they thus expressed: Is this England, which Cove­nanted to Extirpate Popery, Prelacy, Superstition, Schism, &c? and after so long Travail, hath she now [Page 30] brought forth an hideous Monster of Toleration?

In these, and many the like Expressions that might be alledged, we see that, how little soever it was the Presbyterians repented them of the first Breach they themselves had made, they were yet so sensible of the Confusion they had brought upon this Nation by it, that they were utterly against Toleration, as that which would certainly endanger more Breaches. But all their Applications to the Usurpers, and all their Endeavours this way, were no better, nor other, nor less vain, (till God, by restoring us our KING, built up the old Wall again for us) then theirs, who take no care to se­cure their Lands from an Inundation, till the Sea hath made a Breach into them. A Neighbourly Agreement before-hand, to put to all hands, where there was the greatest appearance of Danger, might have prevented the Mischief; but the Breach once made, he onely who sets Bounds to the Sea can help here. Well, this was our Condition, by Breach af­ter Breach we were overflown with Confusion, in the words of the Psalmist, we were brought very low; and God helped us, when we were very hope­less of it from any other hand; and, in a manner even miraculous, he hath made up our Wall again for us, by giving us our Iudges as at the first, and our Counsellours as at the beginning.

Now, as Samuel exhorteth the Israelites, Let us fear the Lord our God, considering what great things he hath done for us; and let us honour the Authority by which he hath done it, and express it in the Honour we are ready to pay to all their Commands in the observing of them, and to their Commands in the things I have been speaking of in [Page 31] particular; and the rather, because we cannot be truly accounted any other then Despisers of Autho­rity, if we oppose our selves here: for the things most of them are such, as it is very likely we should doe them of our own heads, were there no Appoint­ments about them. What other are, Kneeling at Prayers, Kneeling at the Sacrament, and the having our Heads uncovered in the time of Divine Service and Sermon, and the like? For men to oppose them­selves in such things, they will never satisfie any ra­tional person, that they object and scruple and dis­obey upon a Consciencious Account; but out of an untoward Principle of Opposition rather, whereby some men are inclined to dislike some Cir­cumstances in Religion, meerly upon the account of their Establishment by Authority: which surely is despising of Authority, and argues a very cross and sullen temper of Mind, and such as is not to be hu­moured; especially when we shall consider how great a matter a little Fire did here kindle. It is not long since these Kingdoms were all in a Flame, and here it was they took fire first, in these Chips, the Dissatisfactions of men about these Indifferent things; many persons very inconsiderately preferring a little Pleasing of themselves, a small portion of private Satisfaction, in being admired for persons of a Purer way, and having many Followers, before the publick Peace and Safety of the Church and State. Let the burnt Child dread the Fire. Take we warning henceforth, never to be so far wedded to our own private Persuasions, as not to consider, that where the publick Peace and Safety of the Church and Kingdom are concerned, it is most meet for us to strike Sail, and to give place, and above [Page 32] all things,Rom. 14. 19. to follow after the things which make for peace, as the Apostle counsels, even concerning these Indifferent things; for of them had he been discour­sing; as the observing of Days, and the eating of Meats. In these things we are so to order our selves, as to endeavour the promoting of the publick Peace, by reasoning with our selves, about these things, in this manner, and behaving our selves accordingly: I am of this Opinion, but my Brother is of another; but by whose Opinion the publick Peace shall be best promoted, let that Opinion by all means have the place, and be yielded to. For what thing in this World is comparable to universal Peace and Accord amongst Christians, who have one God, one Faith, one Hope, one Baptism; so many Obligati­ons to be at one amongst our selves? Next to Glory to God on high, in the estimation of the blessed An­gels, comes Peace on Earth. The sweet Singer of Israel, as wanting words to express its Excellency, breaks out into this Admiration of it,Psal. 133.1. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is, for Brethren to dwell to­gether in Vnity. Let those who have the like Esteem for it, follow the things that make for it, by submitting to the wholsome and innocent Constitu­tions that were devised purely for the conserving of it. Which that we may all of us doe, and so by our Peaceable Conversation put to silence such as speak evil of us, as of evil-doers, The God of Peace give us his Grace to enable us thereunto, for the Merits and sake of Iesus our Peace-maker, the Prince of Peace, to whom, with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, Adoration and Thanksgiving, henceforth and for ever.



This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.