Mr. RICHARD BAXTER's LAST LEGACY IN SELECT ADMONITIONS AND DIRECTIONS TO ALL Sober Dissenters.

To whom—Being dead, he yet speaketh.

LONDON: Printed and are to be Sold by E. Whitlock, near Stationer's-Hall. 1697.

THE PREFACE TO DISSENTERS.

THE Instructions here recommended as Mr. Bax­ter's Legacy, were collected out of his own genu­ine Writings, and perused by him in his Life-time, and being much for his Reputation with all sober Persons; he seemed well pleased with them, notwithstanding much oblo­quy and reproach from divers Dissenters; for in the Preface to his Christian Directory, he says, It was objected, that his Writings differing from the common Judgment, had already caused offence to the Godly; to which he answers, If God bless me with opportunity and help, I will offend such Men much more, by endeavouring farther than ever I have done, the quenching of that Fire which they are still blowing up, and detecting the Folly and Mischief of those Logomachies by which they militate against Love and Concord, and in­flame and tear the Church of God. And in his Second Ad­monition to Bagshaw, he stiles himself a Long-maligned and re­sisted endeavourer of the Churches Vnity and Peace; and in p. 11. of that Book, he thus declares his Christian temper [Page] and resolution. If Injuries or Interest would excuse any Sin, I think their are few Ministers in England who have more inducement to the angry separating way than I have; But shall I therefore wrong the Truth? God forbid! and p. 52. He further tells Bagshaw, I repent that I no more discoura­ged the Spirit of peevish quarrelling with Superiours and Church Orders, and though I ever disliked it and opposed it, yet that I sometimes did too much encourage such as were of their temper, by speaking too sharply against those things which I thought to be Church Corruptions, and was too loth to displease the Contentious, for fear of being uncapable to do them good, meeting with too few Religious Persons that were not too much pleased with such invectives; and when Mr. Bagshaw objected, that he chose to communicate on Easter-day in a very populous Church, purposely that it might be known; he answered, p. 76. If a Man by many years for­bearing all publick Prayers, and Sacraments should tempt o­thers to think that he is against them or counts them needless, How should he cure that Scandal, but by doing that openly and pleading for it which he is supposed to be against? Mi­nisters being bound to teach the People by Example as well as Doctrine. The Question which he maintained against Mr. Bagshaw was, Is it lawful to hold communion with such Chri­stian Churches as have worthy or tollerable Pastors, notwith­standing the Parochial order of the Ministers Conformity and use of the Common Prayer-Book? And concludes, p. 89. That we ought to do so when some special Reasons as from Autho­rity, Scandal, &c. do require it.

He saith,In the 3d. Part of his Life. p. 169. I wrote a Book at the end of my Cain and Abel on purpose to shew the lawfulness of communicating with the Church of England; but before it was printed, Dr. Owen (having heard of it) sent me 12 Arguments against joyning with the Church of England, which I answered; whereupon a swarm of Revilers poured out their keenest Censures upon [Page] me; one said I was an Apostate; another said that my Trea­tise of Episcopacy fully proved the duty of Separation, and I were reported to be a pleader for Baal and Anti-christ; in Answer to all which, I published a Treatise in defence of Catholick Communion, to which I refer you.

I will tell the World a certain Truth, I Preach, I Write, I frequently and openly talk against Separation, and for the lawfulness of joyning with the Church in the use of the Litur­gy, and to rebuke Mens extreams and censures of the Episco­pal Clergy, and for an impartial Love of all true Christians. I sharply reprove the weak Reasonings of those that are o­therwise minded, and by this I occasion the true Sectarians every where to speak against me, Apol. p. 62. I take it for a duty to Preach against Schism, Sedition, and Rebellion and all Principles that tend to breed or feed them, and to use all Opportunities and Interest in the People to promote their Loyalty and Publick Peace, p. 18, 19.

I did not vary from my most early Opinion concerning these things, for in my Epistle to the Saints Rest, I gave the same Admonition to my Flock at Kidderminister in these words. I charge you in Christ's name, as you will answer it when we shall meet at Judgment, that you faithfully and constantly practise these Directions—Above all, see that ye be followers of Peace and Vnity in the Church, and among your selves. I differ from many in several things of conside­rable moment, yet if I should zealously press my judgment on others so as to disturb the Peace of the Church, and sepa­rate from my Brethren, I should fear least I should prove a Firebrand in Hell, for being a Firebrand in the Church: And for all the interest I have in your Judgments and Af­fections, I charge you, that if God should give me up to any Factious Church-rendring course, that you forsake me, and fol­low me not a step, believe not those to be Friends of the Church, who would cure her by cutting her Throat.

[Page] Vpon writing my Cure of Church Divisions, Mr. Bag­shaw, p. 152. Published other Invectives against me, as that one worthy of credit told him, that the Learned and Judicious Mr. Herle, having read that Book, said, That it had been better for the Church of God, if Mr. Baxter's Friends had never sent him to School, and that Mr. Caw­dry had a like opinion of that Book, and that another Per­son as knowing in the Mystery of Godliness, as either of them, told a Friend of his, that notwithstanding the noise about Mr. Baxter, he would end in Flesh and Blood. But Mr. Baxter was well fortified against these obloquies, having been surfeited, as he says, with humane Applause.

But notwithstanding all these Clamours and vexatious Troubles, Mr. Baxter kept a constant course, pleading for Concord and Vnity almost in every Book which he set forth, and that with such cogent Arguments, as the like are scarce to be found on any other Subject which he hath written up­on, as from the following Admonitions collected out of a few of his many Treatises will appear to the Judicious Reader; and many more may be observed in those that are conver­sant in his Writings, wherein although some things acciden­tally written, may seem to be contradictory, yet as he told Mr. L'Estrange he was well able to reconcile them. And by his distinctions he hath reconciled many seeming Contradicti­ons, by help whereof, as Mr. Silvester observed in the Pre­face to his Life, as he could speak what he would, so he could prove what he spake. I am well perswaded, that by the following Collections, any impartial Separatist may find sufficient Arguments to resolve all his Scruples and Objecti­ons against Conformity to the Established Worship, for which end they are now Published by the Collector. But I foresee it will be necessary to obviate two Objections that will be made against these Admonitions: First, That Mr. Baxter hath written plain Contradictions to them, and the Separa­ting [Page] Brethren will adhere to his First Sentiments which lead them to their Non-conformity; to which I Answer, That Mr. Baxter gave them this Precaution in one of his first and best Treatises, charging them strictly, that if God should give him over to any Church-rendring course, that they would forsake him, and not follow him a step. Secondly, That what they interpret as Contradictions, were in Truth no o­ther then Confessions of his former mis-apprehensions and pas­sionate heats of his intemperate Zeal; but these are the Re­sults of his sedate and rational Deliberation. The great Apostle St. Paul, was not ashamed to record in Holy Writ, what enormities a misgrounded Zeal had hurried him into, while he was in an estate of Ignorance and Vnbelief, 1 Tim. 1. 13. and this doubtless was Mr. Baxter's practice for re­flecting upon what he had said, or done, to countenance the Separating way; he saw it had done more hurt than good, for which reason he recanted them. But these instructions of his are like the Coelestial Bodies, which carry light and benign influences with them; they are self-evident, and speak home to the Judgment and Consciences of all unprejudiced Men, who cannot resist the force of that Reason and Demon­stration, which inspires every part of them with so much Life and Power, Beauty and Ornament, Consistency and Symmetry, as will render them highly Acceptable, Amiable, and Beneficial to such as shall embrace and practise them. As for such Dissenters as have conceived any hard thoughts of Mr. Baxter, or these his Admonitions, I intreat them to consider, whether they can answer or confute them to the satisfaction of their own Consciences, and if they cannot, then whether it be not rational and pious to walk by these di­rections which tend so much to the establishment of the pub­lick Peace of this divided Church and Nation, and to their own present and eternal welfare.

[Page] 2. Objection. It may be said that these Amonitions are now become unseasonable, there being a Toleration granted to Men of all Perswasions to Worship God after their several modes.

Answ. To this I say, that Schism is a Sin antecedent to all Humane Constitutions, as being directly forbid in the Holy Gospel, and consequently will continue to be sinful, tho' all the Kings and Rulers of the Earth should indulge, and tolerate them; for the Laws of Men cannot make void the Law of God, nor alter the nature of things, and justifie or make that to be good which the only Lawgiver of Christians hath condemned as unlawful; and as it is said of Poligamy among the Jews, that the Law of Moses connived at it, for the hardness of their hearts, so it is for the hardness and uncharitableness of Mens Spirits, that Rulers are con­strained for a time to tolerate and bear with many things that are Offensive and Prejudicial to the prosperity of their Government. For Toleration far differs from the approba­tion of a thing, and implieth the unlawfulness thereof, ra­ther than the Justification of it. Besides, the present Tole­ration is far from intending or making an establishment of the Practises which are tolerated to the prejudice of the Church, which hath for many Ages, and now doth continue in actual possession of all its Powers and Priviledges as in time past. So that as the present Schism and Separations is possitively condemned by the Laws of the Gospel, so they have not any approbation from the Laws of Men, but what the corruptions of Men, and their ungovernable Tempers make tolerable on some pressing occasions, and unhappy juncture of Affairs.

I beseech you therefore read the following Admonitions without Prejudice, and judge of them by the end for which they were first written by Mr. Baxter, and are now publish­ed by, &c.

Mr. RICHARD

Mr. RICHARD BAXTER's LAST LEGACY TO ALL Sober Dissenters.

Of the Church.

IN a Petition drawn by Mr. B. to be presented to the King, He makes this a part of the Profession of his Religion. I do willingly profess my consent to all the Holy Canonical Scrip­tures, as the Word of God; And to the Doctrine of the Church of England professed in the 39 Articles of Religion, as in sense agreea­ble to the Word of God. And I renounce all Errors or Heresies contrary to any of these. And I do hold, that the Book of Common-Prayer, and of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, containeth in it nothing so dis­agreeable to the Word of God, as maketh it unlawful to live in the peaceable Communion of the Church that useth it. Mr. Baxters Life Part 3. p. 161.

Mr. Baxter in his Reasons for the Christian Religion, p. 464.

Sect. 2. The Church of Christ being his Body is but one, and hath many parts, but should have no Parties, but Unity and Concord without Division.

[Page 2] § 3. Therefore no Christian must be of a Party or Sect as such, that is, as dividing it self from the rest, causing Schism or Contention in the Body, or making a rent unnecessarily in any particular Church which is a part.

§ 8. Nothing will warrant us to separate from a Church as no Church, but the want of something essential to a Church.

§ 11. It is essential to particular Political Churches, that they be constituted of true Bishops or Pastors and of Flocks of baptized or professed Christians, united for holy Communion in the Worshipping of God, and the promoting of the Salvati­on of the Several Members.

§ 12. It is essential to a true Bishop or Pastor of the Church to be in Office (that is in authority and obligation) appointed by Christ in Subordination to him in the three parts of his Of­fices, Prophetical, Priestly and Kingly. That is, to teach the People, to stand between them and God in Worship, and to guide or govern them by the Paternal exercise of the Keys of his Church.

§ 15. If a Church which in all other respects is purest and best, will impose any sin upon all that will have any local Com­munion with it, tho' we must not separate from that Church as no Church, yet must we not commit that sin, but patient­ly suffer them to exclude us from their Communion.

§ 1. We do not say you are no true Ministers nor Churches, nor that it is unlawful to communicate with you. Apology, p. 82. See also p. 87. 89.

§ 2. Where Parish Bounds are judged necessary, all Persons living in the Parish may be constrained to hear Publick Teach­ing, and to Worship God either in that, or in some other ap­proved or tolerated Church within their convenient reach, or Neighbourhood. Way of Concord. Part 3. p. 139.

§ 3. The People are no Judges who is fit to be, and shall be a Minister of Christ, the Supream Civil Magistrate is Judge whom he must countenance, maintain and tolerate— The disposal of the Tithes and Temples is in the Power of the Prince and Patron by his grant—Who but Physitians are fit to judge, who is meet to be a Licensed Physitian. p. 127. Of the 2d. Defence.

§ 4. In case of meer different Modes, Circumstances, and Order of Worship, see that you give Authority, and the Con­sent [Page 3] of the Church where you are, their due: Christian Directo­ry, Part. 3. p. 13.

§ 5. Conform your selves to all the Lawful Customs and Gestures of the Church with which you joyn; You come not thither proudly to shew your selves wiser than they in the Cir­cumstances of Worship, nor needlesly to differ from them, much less to harden Men into a Scorn of strictness, by seeing you to place Religion in singularities in lawful and indifferent things, but you come to Exercise Peace, Love, and Concord, and with one Mind and Mouth to glorifie God; stand when the Church standeth; sit when the Church sitteth, and kneel when the Church kneeleth, in cases where God doth not forbid it. Chri­stian Directory, p. 71. Part 3.

§ 6. Temples Utensels, Lands devoted and lawfully sepa­rated by Man for holy uses are holy, as justly related to God by that Separation. Every thing should be reverenced accord­ing to the measure of its Holiness, and this expressed by such Signs and Gestures as are fit to honour God, to whom they are related. And so to be uncovered in a Church, and use re­verent Cariage and Gestures there, doth tend to preserve due re­verence to God and to his Worship, 1 Cor. 16. 20. Christian Directory, Part 3. p. 167.

§ 7. Plain intelligible Church Musick which occasioneth not Divisions, but the Church agreeth in, for my part, I never doubted but to be lawful. For 1. God set it up long after Moses's Ceremonial Law by David, Solomon, &c. 2. It is not meerly an Instituted Ceremony, but a Natural help to the Minds alacrity; and it is a Duty, not a Sin to use the helps of Nature and lawful Art. As it is Lawful to use the help of Spectacles in reading the Bible, so is it of Musick to exhilerate the Soul to God. 3. Jesus Christ joyned with the Jewes that used it, and spake not against it. 4. No Scripture forbids it. 5. Nothing can be said against it, but what may be said against Tunes and melody of Voices; yea it is not a humane Inven­tion, as the last Psalm and many others shew, which call us to praise the Lord with Instruments of Musick.

§ 8. Let not prejudice against Melody or Church-Musick possess you with a splenatick disgust of that which should be your most joyful work, if you know how much the Incorpo­rate Soul must make use of the Body in harmony, and the [Page 4] joyful praises of Jehovah. Do not then Quarrel with lawful helps, because they are sensible and corporal, Christian Direct. p. 72. Part. 3. p. 167. Harmony and Melody are so high a Pleasure of the Sense, that they are nearest to rational delight, if not participating of them, and exceedingly fitted to elevate the Mind and Affections unto God. We the Ministers who drew up the Worcester Agreement, required our People to de­clare in these Words: IAB do consent to be a Member of the particular Church of Christ in D. whereof, EF is Teacher and Overseer, and to submit to his Teaching and Ministerial guidance and over-sight, according to God's Word.

Of the Doctrine of the Church of England.

As for the Doctrine of the Church of England, Preface to 5. Disput. p. 6. the Bishops and their Followers from the first Reformation begun by King Edward the Sixth, were sound in Doctrine, adhearing to the Augustine method expressed now in the Articles and Homilies; they differed not in any considerable point from those whom they called Puritans, but it was in the form of Government, Liturgy and Ceremonies, that the difference lay.

The Independents as well as the Presbyterians offer to Subscribe the XXXIX Articles as distinct from Prelacy and Ceremony. And when I was in the Country, I knew not of one Minister to ten that are now silenced, that was not in the main of the same Principles with my self.

Mr. Baxter's Reasons for Obedience in Lawful things, Page 483. of his Five Disputations.

Sect. 1. Lest Men that are apt to run from one extream into another,Defence of Principles of Love, p. 64. should make an ill use of that which I have be­fore written, I shall here annex some Reasons to perswade Men to just Obedience, and preserve them from any sinful Nonconformity to the commands of their Governours, and the evil effects that are like to follow thereupon.

§ 2. But First I will lay together some Propositions for de­cision of the Controversie; How far we are bound to obey Mens Precepts about Religion? Especially in case we doubt of the lawfulness of obeying them? And so cannot obey them in Faith?

[Page 5] § 3. Briefly: 1. We must obey both Magistrates and Past­ors in all things lawful which belong to their Offices to com­mand. 2. It belongs not to their Office to make God a new Worship; But to command the Mode and Circumstances of Worship belongeth to their Office: for guiding them wherein God hath given them general Rules. 3. We must not take the lawful Commands of our Governours to be unlawful. 4. If we do through weakness or perversness take Lawful things to be unlawful, that will not excuse us in our disobedience. Our error is our Sin, and one sin will not excuse another Sin. Even as on the other side, if we judge things unlawful to be lawful, that will not excuse us for our disobedience to God in obeying Men. 5. As I have before shewed, many things that are miscommanded, must be obeyed. 6. As an erroneous judgment will not excuse us from Obedience to our Gover­nours, so much less will a doubtfulness excuse us. 7. As such a doubting, erring judgment cannot obey in (plenary) Faith, so much less can he disobey in Faith. For it is a known Com­mand of God, that we obey them that have the Rule over us: but they have no Word of God against the act of Obedience now in quection. It is their own erring judgment that in­tangleth them in a necessity of sinning (till it be changed.) 7. In doubtful Cases, it is our duty to use God's means for our Information: and one means is to consult with our Teach­ers, and hear their words with teachableness and meekness, 8. If upon advising with them we remain in doubt about the lawfulness of some Circumstance of order, if it be such as may be dispensed with, they should dispence with us: if it may not be dispensed without a greater injury to the Church or Cause of God, than our dispensation will countervail, then is it our duty to obey our Teachers, notwithstanding such doubts: For it being their Office to Teach us, it must be our duty to believe them with a Humane Faith, in cases where we have no Evidences to the contrary: And the Duty of Obeying them ☞ being certain, and the sinfulness of the thing commanded be­ing uncertain and unknown, and only suspected, we must go on the surer side. 9. Yet must we in great and doubtful cases, not take up with the suspected judgment of a single Pastor, but apply our selves to the unanimous Pastors of other Churches. 10. Christians should not be over busie in prying into the ☞ [Page 6] work of their Governours, nor too forward to suspect their de­terminations: But when they know that it is their Rulers work to guide them by determining of due Circumstances of Worship, they should without causeless scruples readily obey, till they see just reason to stop them in their obedience; They must not go out of their own places to search into the Actions of another Man's Office, to trouble themselves without any cause. No reason can be given, why a lawful thing should become unlawful? Because a lawful Superior doth command it, else Superiors may take away all our Christian Liberty, and make all things unlawful by commanding them; you would take it ill from a Child or Servant when you bid them learn a Form of Prayer or Catechism, if they should say it was lawful for us till you commanded it, but because you bid us it is unlawful.

§ 4. And now I intreat all humble Christians readily to o­bey both Magistrates and Pastors in all lawful things; and to consider, to that end, of these Reasons following. Reas. 1. If you will not obey in Lawful things, you deny Authority, or overthrow Government it self, which is a great Ordinance of God, established in the fifth Commandment with promise: And as that Commandment respecting Societies and com­mon good, is greater than the following commands, as they respect the private good of our Neighbours, or are but particu­lar means to that Publick good, whose Foundation is laid in the Fifth Commandment; so accordingly the sin against this Fifth Commandment must be greater than that against the rest.

§ 5. Reas. 2. In disobeying the lawful commands of our Superiors, we disobey Christ, who ruleth by them as his Offi­cers. Even as the disobeying a Justice of Peace or Judge is a disobeying of the Soveraign Power; yea in some cases when their Sentence is unjust. Some of the Ancient Doctors thought that the Fifth Commandment was the last of the First Table of the Decalogue; and that the Honouring of Governors is part of our Honour to God, they being mentioned there as his Offi­cers, with whom he himself is honoured or dishonoured, obey­ed or disobeyed: For it is God's Authority that the Magistrate, Parent, and Pastor is endued with, and empowred by to rule those that are put under them.

§ 6. Reas. 3. What confusion will be brought into the Church if Pastors be not obeyed in things lawful? For instance: If the [Page 7] Pastors appoint the Congregation to Assemble at one hour, and the People will scruple the time, and say, it is unlawful, and so will choose some of them one time, and some another, what disorder will here be? and worse, if the Pastors appoint a Place of Worship, and any of the People scruple obeying them, and will come to another place, what confusion will here be? Peo­ple are many, and the Pastors are few: And therefore there may be some Unity if the People be ruled by the Pastors; but there can be none, if the Pastors must be ruled by the People, for the People will not agree among themselves: And therefore if we obey one part of them, we must disobey and displease the rest. And their ignorance makes them unfit to rule.

§ 7. Reas. 4. Moreover, Disobedience in matters of Circum­stance, will exclude and overthrow the Substance of the Worship it self. God commandeth us to pray: If one part of the Church will not joyn with a stinted form of Prayer, and the other part will not joyn without it, but both Parties cannot be pleased, and so one part must cast off Prayer it self, or separate from the rest. God commandeth the Reading, and Preaching, and Hearing of the Scripture, and the Singing of Psalms: But he hath left it to Man to make or choose the best Translation of Scripture, or Version of the Psalms. Now if the Pastor ap­point one Version and Translation, and the Church joyn in the use of it, if any Members will scruple joyning in this Transla­tion or Version, they must needs forbear the whole duty of Hearing the Scripture, and Singing Psalms in that Congrega­tion. If they pretend a scruple against the appointed time or place of Worship, they will thereby cast off the Worship it self. For if they avoid our Time or Place, they cannot meet with us, nor Worship with us.

§ 8. Reas. 5. And when they are thus carried to separate from the Congregation, upon such grounds as these, they will be no where fixt, but may be still subdividing, and separating from one another, till they are resolved into individuals, and have left no such thing as a Church among them. For they can have no assurance or probability, that some of themselves will not dissent from the rest in one Circumstance or other, as they did from their Pastors and the Church that they were of before.

§ 6. Reas. 9. By this means the Wicked that are Disobedi­ent [Page 8] to their Teachers, and reject the Worship of God it self, will be hardened in their Sin, and taught by Professors to de­fend their Ungodliness: For the very same course that you take will serve their turns. They need not deny any Duty in the Substance, but deny the Circumstance, and so put off the Substance of the Duty. If a Wicked Man will not hear the Word Preached, he may say [I am not against Preaching; but I am unsatisfied of the lawfulness of your Time or Place, I am in judgment against coming to your Steeple-house, or against the Lord's Day.] And so he shall never hear, though he say he is for Heating. If a Wicked Man will not be personally instructed, or admonish­ed, or be accountable to the Church or Pastors for any scandals of his life, nor submit to any Discipline, he may say [I am for Dis­cipline, I know it is my duty to be instructed: but I am not satisfied that I am bound to come to you when you send for me, or to appear at such a place as you appoint: the Word of God nameth no time or place, and you shall not deprive me of my Liberty.] If a Wicked Man would not hear or read the Scripture, or sing Psalms, he may say, that he is for the Duty, but he is only against this and that Tran­slation and Version: And so while every Version is excepted a­gainst the Duty is as much evaded, as if it were denied it self. By this device it is that the Rebellion of unruly People is de­fended: They run to the Circumstances of the Duty, and ask [Where are they bound to come to a Minister? or to be ex­amined by him, in order to a Baptism or Lord's Supper? or to speak their consent to be Church-members, or to subscribe to a Profession, or to read an English Bible, or to hear in a Steeple-house, with many such like.] Thus also it is that they put off Family-prayer, and ask, [Where are they bound to pray in their Family Morning and Evening?] and so keep no constan­cy in Family-prayer at all, under pretence of denying only the Circumstances.

§ 10. Reas. 7. By this Disobedience in things lawful, the Members of the Church will be involved in contentions, and so ingaged in bitter Uncharitableness, and Censures, and Per­secutions, and Reproaches of one another: which scandalous courses will nourish Vice, dishonour God, rejoyce the Ene­mies, grieve the Godly that are Peaceable and Judicious, and wound the Consciences of the contenders. We see the begin­ning of such Fires are small, but whither they tend, and what will be the end of them, we see not.

[Page 9] § 11. Reas. 8. By these means also Magistrates will be pro­voked to take Men of tender Consciences for factious, unruly, and unreasonable Men, and to turn their Enemies, and use violence against them, to the great injury of the Church: when they see them so self-conceited, and refusing Obedience in lawful Circumstances.

§ 12. Reas. 9. By this means also the Conversion and Esta­blishment of Souls will be much hindred, and People possessed with Prejudice against the Church and Ordinances, when they take us to be but humorous People, and see us in such Conten­tions among our selves. To my knowledge, our late diffe­rence about some such lesser things, hath turned off, or hin­dered abundance of People from liking the holy Doctrine and Life which we profess.

§ 13. Reas. 10. It will seem to the wisest, to savour of no small measure of Pride, when People on the account of lawful Circumstances, dare set themselves against their Go­vernours and Teachers, and quarrel with the Ordinances of God, and with the Churches: Humble Men would sooner su­spect themselves, and quarrel with their own Distempers, and submit to those that are wiser than themselves, and that are set over them for their Guidance by the Lord. There may more dangerous Pride be manifested in these matters, than in Appa­rel, and such lower Trifles.

§ 14. Reas. 11. Consider also what yielding in things lawful the Scripture recommendeth to us? How far yielded Paul when he Circumcised Timothy? Acts 16. 3. And when he [took the men, and purified himself with them in the Temple, to signifie the accomplishment of the days of Purification until that an Offering should be offered for every one of them] and this for almost seven days, Acts 21. 26, 27. with the foregoing Verses.

§ 15. So 1 Cor. 9. 19, 20. [For though I be free from all Men, yet have I made my self Servant unto all, that I might gain the more: And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law, as under the Law, that I might gain them that are under the Law: To them that are without Law, as without Law (being not without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ) that I might gain them that are without Law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all Men, that I might, by all means save [Page 10] some, and this I do for the Gospels sake, &c.] Study this Exam­ple.

§ 16. Read also Rom. 14. and 15. Chapters, how much Con­descension the Apostle requireth even among Equals, about Meats and Days. And 1 Cor. 8. 13. the Apostle would tye up himself from eating any flesh while the World standeth, rather than make a weak Brother to offend. Many other Passages of Scripture require a Condescension in things of this indifferent nature, and shew that the Kingdom of God doth not consist in them.

§ 17. And Matthew 12. 1, 2, to 9. you find that Hunger ju­stified the Disciples of Christ for plucking and rubbing the Ears of Corn on the Sabbath days. And Hunger justified David, and those that were with him, for entring into the House of God, and eating the Shew-bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for them which were with him, but only for the Priests: And the Priests in the Temple were blameless for prophaning the Sabbath-day.] Now if things before acciden­tally evil, may by this much Necessity become lawful and a duty, then may the Commands of Magistrates or Pastors, and the Unity of the Church, and the avoiding of Contention, and Offence, and other Evils, be also sufficient to warrant us in obeying, even in convenient Circumstantials of the Wor­ship of God, that otherwise could not be justified.

§ 18. Reas. 12. Lastly consider, how much God hath ex­pressed himself in his Word to be pleased in the Obedience of Be­lievers. Not only in their Obedience to Christ immediately, but also to him in his Officers, 1 Sam. 15. 22. [Behold to obey is better than Sacrifice, &c.] Col. 3. 20, 22. [Children obey your Pa­rents in all things, (that is, all lawful things) for this is well-plea­sing to the Lord.] [Servants obey in all things your Masters accord­ing to the flesh, &c.] And Obedience to Pastors is as much com­manded, 1 Thes. 5. 12, 13. [We beseech you Brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admo­nish you, and esteem them very highly, &c.] Heb. 13. 17. [Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your selves, for they watch for your Souls, as they must give account, &c.] So Verse 7. and 24. 1 Tim. 5. 17, &c.

§ 19. As the general Commission to a Parent, or Master, or Magistrate to govern their inferiour Relations, doth authorize [Page 11] them to many particular Acts belonging to their Office, that were never named in their Commission: so your general Com­mand to obey them, obligeth you to obey them in the said par­ticulars. And so it is also betwixt the Pastors and the Flock, in Matters belonging to the Office of a Pastor.

§ 20. If a Child shall ask a Parent, [Where doth God's Word allow you to command me to learn this Catechism, or read this Di­vine's Writings, or repeat this Sermon, or write it? &c.] doth not the question deserve to be answered with the Rod? The gene­ral Commission for Parents to govern their Children is suffici­ent. So if a School-master command his Scholars to come to such a place to School, and to take their places in such an or­der, and to learn such Books, and do such Exercises, &c. the general Commission that he hath to Teach and Govern them, will allow him to do all this. (Though it will not allow him to set his Scholars to any Artifice or Manual Operation alien to his Profession.) So if a Minister determine of the variable Circumstances of Worship, as what Place and People shall come to, and at what time, to be Catechised, Examined, In­structed, &c. what Translation or Version of Psalms to use, what Utensils to make use of about God's Service, or such like, he is warranted for this by his General Commission. And if he miss it in the Manner, by choosing inconvenient Circumstan­ces, or by unnecessary Determination of Points that should rather be left undetermined to Liberty, thought this be his own Sin, it will not excuse the People from Obedience; unless the Errour of his Directions be so great as would frustrate the Or­dinance it self, or do more harm than our Disobedience would do; which in Circumstantials is rarely found.

By long Experience I am assured,Preface to Christian Direct. ad finem. that Practical Religion will afford both to Church, State, and Conscience more cer­tain, and more solid Peace, than contending Disputers, with all their pretences of Orthodoxness, and Zeal against Errours for the Truth, will ever bring, or did ever attain to.

Holy Common-wealth, p. 352. God never instituted Churches to be kept up in Disobedience to those Christian Magistrates which he Commands us to obey upon pain of Damnation. Disobedience to our Rulers is in Ministers double Treason and Wickedness.

Page 30. of the 1st Plea. Princes and Rulers may forbid all [Page 12] that preach Rebellion and Sedition, and may punish them if they do it: and may hinder the Incorrigible, whose preaching may do more hurt than good, from exercising their Ministry, or preaching within their Dominions.

Pag. 32. They should see that their Kingdoms be well pro­vided of Publick Preachers and Catechists: And may by due means compel the Ignorant to hear and learn what Christi­anity is.

And Sect. 37. They ought to be Preservers of Peace and Charity among Churches, and to hinder Preachers from un­charitable and unrighteous Reviling each other, and their un­peaceable Controversies and Contentions.

Pag. 35. Sect. 40. They may make their own Officers circa Sacra, to execute their Magistratical Power: And if they au­thorize any particular Bishops or Pastors to exercise any such Power as belongs to the Prince to give, not contrary to Christ's Laws—we judge that the Subjects ought to obey for Con­science sake.

Christian Direct. He that is silenced by a just Power, though unjustly, in a Country that needeth not his preaching, must forbear therefore.

Let none perswade you (i. e.) the Magistrates, that you are such Terrestrial Animals that have nothing to do with the Hea­venly Concernment of your Subjects; Bodily things (Rewards and Punishments) are the Means whereby you may promote it; you are Custodes utriusque tabulae, and must bend the force of all your Government to the Saving of the Peoples Souls.

The Mischief of Separation.

The Mischief of Separation lies not in the bare Errour of Judgment,Epistle De­dicatory to Saints Rest. but in the Unchristian and Church-dissolving Di­vision and Alienation, which thence followeth; contrary to that Humility and Love, which is the visible Character of Christians, and to that Oneness, which is still in Scripture a­scribed to the visible Church. Alas, that Pride and Ignorance should have such power among Believers, that Men cannot be of several Judgments in lesser Points, but they must needs be of several Churches. God will make us value Peace and U­nion a little more, before we shall taste of the perfect everlast­ing [Page 13] Peace and Union; yea, before we shall see the Blessing of Union in the Church. Wounding is a dividing, healing is a re-uniting; a Building is of many Stones or Pieces orderly conjoyned; a Church is an Aggregation of Individuals, an Association of Believers: What then is it to demolish, but to separate and disjoyn? and what is it to dissolve Churches, but to break their Association, to reduce them to the Individuals, to cut them into shreds?

As for the Differences in way of Government, between the moderate Presbyterians, Independants, Episcopal, and Erastian, I make no doubt, but if Mens Spirits stood not at a greater di­stance than their Principles, they would quickly be united. But of all the four sorts, there are some that run so high in their Principles, that they run out of the hearing of Peace or Truth.—For Anabaptism and Antinomianism God spake ef­fectually against them, by those wondrous Monsters in New-England; but Wonders are over-lookt, where the heart is hard­ned, and God intends to get his Justice a Name. The fear­ful Delusions, that God hath formerly given them over to, and the horrid Confusion which they have introduced where they have sprung, hath spoken fully against both these later Sects. The weeping Eyes, the bleeding Sides, the lacerated Members of these Churches, the reproach of the Gospel, the disappointed Reformation, the hideous Doctrines, and unheard of Wickedness that hath followed them, the contemned Or­dinances, the reproached, slandered, and ejected Ministers, the Weak that are scandalized, the Professors are apostalized, the Wicked hardned, and the open Enemies of the Gospel, that now insult; all these do describe them more plainly to England, than words can do, and cry loud in the Ears of God and Man. What will be the Answer, time will shew; but from Rev. 2. 14, 15, 16, &c. we may probably con­jecture.

He that is not a Son of Peace, is not a Son of God. All other Sins destroy the Church consequently, but Division and Separation demolish it directly. Building the Church is but an orderly joyning of the Materials, and what then is disjoyning but pulling down? Many Doctrinal differences must be to­lerated in a Church, and why, but for Unity and Peace? therefore Disunion and Separation is utterly intolerable. Be­lieve [Page 14] not those to be the Churches Friends, that would cure and reform her by cutting her throat. Those that say, no truth must be concealed for Peace, have usually as little of the one as the other. Study Gal. 2. 22. Rom. 14. 1. Acts 21. 24, 26. 1 Tim. 1. 4. & 6. 4. Titus 3. 8, 9. I hope, sad experience speaks this lesson to your very hearts, if I should say nothing. Do not your hearts bleed to look upon the State of England, and to think how few Towns, or Cities there be (where is any forwardness in Religion) that are not cut into shreds and crumbled as to dust, by Separations and Divisions? To think what a wound we have hereby given to the very Christian Name, how we have hardned the Ignorant, confirmed the Papists, and are our selves become the scorn of our Enemies, and the grief of our Friends, and how many of our dearest best esteemed Friends, have fallen to notorious Pride or Im­piety, yea, some, to be worse than open Infidels? These are Pillars of Salt, see that you remember them. Though of your own selves, Men should arise, speaking perverse things, to draw Disciples after them, Acts 20. 30. Yea though an Angel from Heaven should draw you to Divisions, see that you follow him not. If there be erroneous practices in the Church, keep your selves innocent, with Moderation and Peace. It must be no small Error, that must force a Separation. Justin Martyr pro­fessed, that if a Jew should keep the Ceremonial Law, so he did not perswade the Gentiles to it, as necessary, yet if he ac­knowledged Christ, he judgeth that he might be saved, and he would imbrace him, and have communion with him. Paul would have him received, that is weak in the Faith, and not Un-church whole Parishes of those that we know not, nor were ever brought to a just trial. I ever loved a godly peaceable Conformist, better than a turbulent Non-conformist. I differ from many, in several things of considerable moment, yet if I should zealously press my judgment on others, so as to disturb the Peace of the Church, and separate from my Brethren that are contrary minded, I should fear, lest I should prove a Fire­brand in Hell, for being a Fire brand in the Church. And for all the interest I have in your Judgments and Affections, I here charge you, that if God should give me up, to any Factions, Church rending Course, (against which I daily pray) that you forsake me, and follow me not a step. And [Page 15] for peace with one another, follow it with all your might, If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, live peaceably with all men, Rom. 12. 18. (mark this.) When you feel any sparks of dis­content in your Breasts, take them as kindled by the Devil from Hell, and take heed you cherish them not. If the flames begin to break forth, in Censoriousness, Reproaches, and hard Speeches of others, be as speedy and busie in quenching it, as if it were Fire in the Thatch of your Houses. For why should your Houses be dearer to you than the Church, which is the House of God? Or your Souls, which are the Temples of the Holy Ghost? Hath God spoke more against any Sin than Unpeaceableness? If ye forgive not Men their trespasses, nei­ther will your Heavenly Father forgive you: which Lodovi­cus Crocius says, is the measure, and essential property of the least degree of true Faith; if you love not one another, you are not Disciples of Christ.

Publick Wars and Private Quarrels usually pretend the Re­formation of the Church,Saints Rest, p. 551. the vindicating of the Truth, and the welfare of Souls; but they as usually prove in the issue, the greatest means to the overthrow of all. It is as natural for both Wars and private Contentions to produce Errors, Schisms, contempt of Magistracy, Ministry, and Ordinances, as it is for a dead Carrion to breed Worms and Vermine. Be­lieve it from one, that hath too many years experience of it; it is as hard a thing to maintain even in your People, a sound understanding, a tender Conscience, a Lively, gracious, Hea­venly frame of Spirit, and an upright Life in a way of War and Contention, as to keep your Candle lighted in the greatest Storms, or under the Waters. The like I may say of perverse and fierce Disputings about the Circumstantials of Discipline, or other Questions, that are far from the Foun­dation; they oftner lose the truth than find it. Wo to those Ministers, that make unnecessarry Divisions, and Parties a­mong the People, that so they may get themselves a name, and be cryed up by many Followers. The way to prosper your labours is to quench all flames of Contention, to your power. Study the Peace and Unity of your Congregati­ons, keep out all occasions of Divisions, especially the Doctrine of Separation, and popular Church-Government, the appa­rent Seminary of Faction, and perpetual Contentions. If [Page 16] once the People be taught, that it belongs to them to govern themselves, and those the Scripture calleth their Guides and Rulers, we shall have mad work. They that would pluck up the Headge of Government, as if the Vineyard could not be fruitful, except it lay waste, to the pleasure of all the Beasts of the Forest, are like the pond, that grudged at the Banks and Damm, and thought it injurious to be restrained of its liberty, and therefore combined with the Winds, to raise a Tempest, and so assault and beat down the Banks in their rage; And now where is that peaceable Association of Waters? We feel now, how those are mistaken that thought the way for the Churches Unity, was to dig up the Banks and let all loose, that every Man in Religion might do what he list.

Wo to those Ministers, that make unnecessary Divisions, and Parties among the People, that so they may get themselves a name, and be cried up by many Followers. The way to pros­per your labours, is to quench all Flames of Contention. Study the Peace of your Congregations; keep out all occasi­ons of Divisions, especially the Doctrine of Separation, and popular Government, the apparent Seminarys of Faction, and perpetual Contentions. Every tender Conscience should be as tender of Church Divisions, and real Schism, as of Drunk­enness, Whoredom, and other such enormous Sins, James 3. 14, 15, 16. Reasons for Christ. Relig. p. 485. Sect. 34.

If it be objected that I preached to separate Congregations; my Answer is, That I preach'd only to some of many Thou­sands that cannot come into the Temples, many of which never heard a Sermon of many years. And what I did, was only to preach to such as could not come to our Churches. Answ. to Letter, p. 24. quasi dicerit that where Parish Churches are large enough, there Separate Congregations are unlawful.

They are, usually, Men least acquainted with a Heavenly Life,p. 666. who are the violent disputers about the Circumstantials of Religion. As the body doth languish in consuming Fe­vers, when the native heat abates within, and unnatural heat inflaming the external parts succeeds: so when the Zeal of a Christian doth leave the Internals of Religion, and fly to Cere­monials, Externals, or Inferior things, the Soul must needs consume and languish.

Of Conformity.

For Conformity, P. 55. though to Ministers it be another thing, by reason of the new impositions, than it was to our Predeces­sors; yet to the People, Conformity is the same, if not easi­er, (especially to them that I now speak to:) for it is the Li­turgy, Ceremonies, and Ministry, that most alienate them. And the Liturgy is a little amended, as to them, by the change of the Translation, and some little words, and by longer Prayers; and the Ceremonies are the same; and Thirty Years ago, there were many bare reading, not preach­ing Ministers, for one that is now. Therefore our case of Separation being the same as of old, I take it to be fully con­futed, by the ancient Non-conformists: and I have so great a Veneration for the worthy Names, much more an Estimation of the Reasonings, of Mr. Cartwright, Egerton, Hildersham, Dod, Amesius, Parker, Baines, Brightman, Ball, Bradshaw, Paget, Lang­ley, Nicols, Herring, &c. that I shall not think, they knew not why they chose this Subject, and wrote more against Separa­tion, than the Conformists did. I am very glad that the pious Lectures of Mr. Hildersham, Mr. R. Rogers, and such old Non-conformists, are in so good esteem among good People, where they will read them, urging the People, not only against Se­paration, but to come to the very beginning of the Publick Worship, and preferring it before their Private Duties.

When I think what holy Learned Men the old Conformists were,P. 57. my heart riseth against the thoughts of separating from them. If I had come to their Churches, when they used the Common Prayer, and Administred the Sacrament, could I have departed and said, It is not lawful for any Christian here to communicate with you? What! to such Men as Mr. Bolton, Whateley, Fenner, Dent, Crook, Dike, Stock, Smith, Dr. Preston, Sibbs, Stoughton, Taylor, and abundance other such? yea, such as Bishop Jewel, Grindal, Hall, Potter, Davenant, Carleton, &c. Dr. Field, Smith, Jo. White, Willet, &c. yea, and the Martyrs too? as Cranmer, Ridley, Hooper himself, Farrar, Bradford, Fill­pot, Sanders, &c. Could I separate from all these on the Rea­sons now in question? Yea Calvin himself, and the Churches of his way were all separated from by the Separatists of their times.

[Page 18] And though Ministerial Conformity is now much altered,P. 12, 13. (as to Ingagements) many (of the Assembly of Divines) that are yet living, do Conform again; nor would I shun Commu­nion with the Reverend Members of that Assembly, Twiss, Gataker, Whitaker, and the rest, if again they used the Litur­gy among us. And if the old Conformists, such as Bolton, &c. were alive, and used now the same Liturgy and Ceremonies as they did then, (which was worse than now) I could not think their Communion in Prayer and Sacraments, unlawful, nor Censure that Man as injurious to the Church, who should write to perswade others not to separate from them.

Read over some of the old Non-conformists Books against Separation,Defense, p. 89. as Mr. Jacob's the Independent, against Johnson, and Mr. Bradshaw, and Mr. Gataker's Defence against Cann, Mr. Gifford, Darrell, Paget, &c. and fullest of all (at the begin­ning of our Troubles) Mr. John Ball in Three Books: In these you will find the same Objections answered, or more and greater. And I profess my Judgment, That our ordinary Boasters, that think they know more in this Controversie than the old Non-conformists did, as far as I am able to discern, are as far below them almost as they are below either Chamier, Sa­deel, Whitaker, or such other in dealing with a Papist.

Objections answered.

But what if there be gross and scandalous Sinners are Members of the Church? Christian Directory, p. 747. Answ. If you be wanting in your Duty to re­form it, it is your sin; but if bare Presence made their sin to be ours, it would also make all the sins of the Assembly ours.

But what if they are sins committed in the open Assembly, even by the Minister himself in his Praying, Preaching, and other Administra­tions? Answ. 1. A Ministers personal Faults may damn him­self, and must be matter of lamentation to the Church, who ought to do their best to reform them, or get better, by any law­ful means: But in case they cannot, his sin is none of theirs, nor doth it make his Administration null, or ineffectual, nor will it allow you to separate from the Worship which he administreth. —You may not separate from him, unless you can prove him, or his Ministry, utterly intolerable, by such Faults as these: [Page 19] 1. An utter insufficiency in Knowledge, or Utterance, for the necessary parts of the Ministerial Work: as if he be not able to Teach the necessary Points of Christian Religion, nor to Administer the Sacraments, and other parts of Publick Wor­ship. 2. If he set himself to oppose the ends of his Ministry, and preach down Godliness, or any part of it, that is necessa­ry to Salvation: Or be a Preacher of Heresie, preaching up any damning Errour, or preaching down any necessary sa­ving Truth. 3. If he so deprave the Publick Worship, as to destroy the Substance of it, as in putting up Blasphemy for Prayer or Praise, or commit Idolatry, or set up new Sacra­ments, or impose any Actual Sin on the People.

But there are other Ministerial Faults which warrant not our Separation;See Christ. Direct. p. 606. as, 1. Some tolerable Errours of Judgment, or Envy, and pettish Opposition to others, Phil. 1. 15. 2. It is not unlawful to joyn with a Minister, that hath many De­fects in his Ministration, or manner of Worship; as if he preach with some Ignorance, Disorder, unfit Expressions or Gestures, and the like in Prayer and Sacraments. 3. It is not unlawful to joyn with a Minister, that hath some material Er­rour or Untruth in Preaching or Praying, sobeit we be not called to approve it, and so it be not pernicious and destructive to the ends of his Ministry. If we run away from all that vent any Untruth or Mistake in Publick or private Worship, we shall scarce know, what Church or Person we may hold Communion with. For 1. a small Sin may no more be done or owned, than a greater. 2. And then another Man's Weak­ness may disoblige me, and discharge me from my Duty.

Of Subscription with Assent and Consent, particularly concerning Infants baptized.

Q. 152. Is it lawful to subscribe or profess full assent and consent to any religious Books, Christ. Di­rect. p. 902 beside the Bible, seeing all are fallible. Answ. 3. It is lawful to Profess or Subscribe our Assent and Consent to any Humane Writing, which we judge to be true and good, ac­cording to the Measure of its Truth and Goodness. As if Church-Confessions, that are sound, be offered us for our Con­sent, we may say, or subscribe, I hold all the Doctrine in this Book to be true and good. And by so doing I do not assert the infal­libility [Page 20] of the Author, but only the verity of the Writing. I do not say that he cannot err, but that he erreth not in this, as far as I am able to discern.

Q. 35. Is it certain by the word of God, P. 807. that all Infants baptized, and dying before actual sin, are undoutedly saved? Answ. I think that all the Children of true Christians do by Baptism receive a publick investiture,P. 810. by God's appointment, into a state of Remission, Adoption, and right to Salvation, at present; though I dare not say, I am undoubtedly certain of it.— But I say, as the Synod of Dort, Art. 1. That believing Pa­rents have no cause to doubt of the Salvation of their Children, that die in Infancy, before they commit actual sin; that is, not to trouble themselves with fears about it. For if such Infants were admitted to outward Priviledges only, then (which is my second Reason) we have no Promise,Ibid. or Certainty, or Ground of Faith for the Pardon and Salvation of any individual In­fants in the World: and if there be no Promise, there is no Faith of it, nor no Baptism to Seal it, and so we make Anti-paedobaptism unavoidable.

Whereas some mis-interpret the words of the old Rubrick of Confirmation in the English Liturgy,P. 812. as if it spake of all that are baptized, whether they have right or not, the words themselves may serve to rectifie that mistake: [And that no Man shall think any detriment shall come to Children by deferring of their Confirmation, he shall know for truth, that it is certain by God's Word, that Children being baptized have all things necessary for their Salvation, and be undoubtedly saved.] where it is plain, they mean, they have all things necessary ex parte Ecclesiae, or all God's ap­plying Ordinances necessary, though they should die uncon­firmed, supposing they have all things necessary to just Bap­tism on their own part: which is but what the Ancients were wont to say of the baptized Adult: but they never meant, that the Infidel and Impenitent were in a state of Life, because he was baptized, but that all that truly consent to the Covenant▪ and signifie this by being baptized are saved. So the Church of England saith, that they receive no detriment by delaying Confirmation; but it never said, that they received no detri­ment by their Parents or Responses Infidelity or Hypocrisie, or by their want of true Right, coram Deo, to be baptized.

[Page 21] Q. 39. What is the true meaning of Sponsors or Godfathers,P. 814. 1st Edit. and is it lawful to make use of them? Answ. My Opinion is, that they did both witness the probability of the Parents fide­lity;P. 815. and also promised, that if they should either apostaize, or die, they would see that the Children were piously educated. If you take them, but as the ancient Churches did, for such as do attest the Parents fidelity, (in their perswasion) and do promise, first, to mind you of your Duty, and next to take care of their pious Education, if you die; I know no reason you have to scruple this much; yea more, it is in your power to agree with the Godfathers, that they shall represent your own Persons, and speak and promise what they do, as your Deputies, only in your Names: and what have you against this?

Object. When the Church-men mean another thing, this is but to juggle with the World? Answ. How can you prove, that the Authority that made, or imposed the Liturgy, meant any o­ther thing? 2. If the Imposers had meant ill, in a thing that may be done well, you may discharge your Conscience, by doing it well, and making a sufficient Profession of your bet­ter Sense.

As for the Antiquity of God-fathers, the current consent of Historians assures us that Hyginus Bishop of Rome, did first or­dain God-fathers at the Baptism of Infants. He lived but for­ty years after St John. Preface to Infant Baptism.

Christ. Direct. p. 116. Part 3. Q. 41. Whether they are really baptized, who are baptized according to the English Liturgy and Canons, where the Parents seem excluded, and those to consent for the Infant, who have no power to do it?

Answ. p. 117. That the Parents Consent is supposed, though he be absent. 2. The Parent is not required to be absent. 3. The Reason of that Canon seems to be their jealousie lest any would exclude God-fathers. 4. While the Church hath not declared what Person the Sponsors bear, nor any farther what they are to do, than to speak the Covenanting words, and promise to see the pious Education of the Child, the Parents may agree that the God-fathers shall do all this as their Depu­ties primarily and in their steads, and secondly as Friends that promise their Assistance. 5. While Parents really consent, it is not their Silence that nullifieth the Covenant. 6. All Parents [Page 22] are supposed and required to be themselves the Choosers of the Sponsors and Sureties, and also to give notice to the Ministers before hand, by which it appears their Consent is presuppo­sed: And though my own Judgment be that they should be the principal Covenanters for the Child expresly, yet the want of that expresness will not make the Persons to be unbap­tized.

Q. 42. How is the Holy Ghost given to Infants in Baptism? whether all the Children of true Christians have inward sanctifying Grace? &c. Answ. My judgment agreeth more in this with Davenant's, than any others; saving that he doth not appro­priate the Benefits of Baptism to the Children of true Believers, so much as I do. And though, by a Letter impleading Dave­nant's Cause, I was the occasion of printing good Mr. Gataker's Answer to him; yet I am still most inclined to his judgment, Not, that all the baptized, but that all the baptized Seed of true Christians are pardoned, justified, adopted, and have a title to the Spirit, and Salvation. And we must choose great Inconveniences, if this Opinion be forsaken, viz. That all Infants must be taken to be out of Covenant with God, and to have no promise of Salvation; whereas, surely the Law of Grace, as well as the Covenant of Works, included all the Seed in their Capacity.

Of the Responses.

Q. 83. May the People bare a Vocal part in Worship, P. 856. and do any more than say Amen? Answ. The People bare an equal part in singing the Psalms, which are Prayer, and Praise, and In­struction: if they may do so in the Psalms in Metre, there can be no reason given, but they may lawfully do so in Psalms in Prose; for saying them, and singing them, are but modes of Utterance, and the ancient Singing was liker our Saying, than our Tunes. The Primitive Christians were so full of zeal and love to Christ, that they would have taken it for an In­jury, and a quenching of the Spirit, to have been wholly re­strained from bearing their part in the Praises of the Church. The use of the Tongue keepeth awake the Mind, and stirreth up God's Graces in his Servants. It was the decay of Zeal in the People, that first shut out the Responses: while they [Page 23] kept up the Ancient Zeal, they were inclined to take their part vocally in the Worship. And this was seconded by the Pride and Usurpation of the Priests thereupon; who thought the People of God too prophane to speak in the Assemblies, and meddle so much with Holy things. Yet the very remem­brance of former zeal caused most Churches to retain many of the words of their predecessors, even when they lost the Life and Spirit which should animate them; and so the same words came into the Liturgies, and were used by too many, customarily, and in formality, which their Ancestors had used in the servour of their Souls. And if it were not, that a dead-hearted, formal People, by speaking the Responses care­lesly and hypocritically, do bring them into disgrace with many, that see the necessity of Seriousness, I think, few good People would be against them now.—It is here the duty of every Christian, to labour to restore the life and spirit to the Words, that they may again be used in a serious and ho­ly manner, as heretofore, Exod. 19. 8. In as solemn an As­sembly as any of ours, when God gave Moses a form of words to preach to the People, all the People answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do. So Exod. 24. 3. and Deuter. 5. 27. which God approved of, v. 28, 29. See Levit. 9. 24. 2 Kings 23. 2, 3. 1 Chron. 1. 35, 36. It is a command,P. 857. Psal. 67. 3, 5. Let all the People praise thee, O God, &c. And he that will limit this to single Persons, or say that it must not be, vocally, in the Church, or, it must be in metre only, and never in prose, must prove it lest he be proved one, that addeth to God's Word.

Q. 84. Is it not a Sin for our Clerks, to make themselves the mouth of the People? P. 857 Answ. The Clerks are not appointed to be the Mouth of the People, but each Clerk is one of the People, commanded to do that which all should do, lest it should be wholly left undone. If all the Congregation will speak all that the Clerk doth, it will answer the primary de­sire of the Church Governors who bid the People do it

Of Bowing at the Name Jesus—And of Priests, Altars, &c.

Q. 86. Is it lawful to bow at the name of Jesus? Answ. That we may lawfully express our reverence,P. [...] when the names [Page 24] (God, Jehovah, Jesus, Christ, &c.) are uttered, I have met with few Christians who deny; nor know I any reason to deny it. If I live and joyn in a Church where it is command­ed, and peremptorily urged, to bow at the Name of Jesus, and where my not doing it, would be divisive, Scandalous, or offensive; I will bow at the Name of God, Jehovah, Je­sus, Christ, Lord, &c. My judgment of standing at the Go­spel, and kneeling at the Decalogue, (when it is commanded) is the same.P. 859.

Q. 122. May the name, Priests, Sacrifice and Altars, be law­fully used? P. 882. Answ. The New Testament useth all the Greek names, which we Translate Priests, Sacrifice and Altars; and our Translation is not intolerable, if Priest come from Pres­byter (I need not prove that) if it do not, yet all Ministers are Subordinate to Christ in his Priestly Office. And the word Sacrifice is used of us, and our offered Worship, 1 Pet. 2. 5. Heb. 13. 15, 16. Phil. 4. 18. Eph. 5. 2. Rom. 12. 1. and Heb. 13. 10. saith we have an Altar, which word is frequently used in the Revelations, in relation to Gospel times. We must not therefore be quarrelsome against the bare names, unless they be abused to some ill use. The Ancient Fathers and Churches did ever use all these words so familiarly, without any Question oa Scruple raised by the Orthodox, or Here­ticks about them, that we should be wary, how we condemn these words, lest we give advantage to the Papists to tell their Followers, that all Antiquity is on their side. The Lord's Supper is by Protestants truly called a Commemorative Sacrifice.

Of the Communion-Table, &c.

Q. 123. May the Communion Tables be turned Altarwise? and railed in? P. 882. and is it lawful to come up to the Rails to Communi­cate? Answ. 1. God hath not given a particular command, or prohibition about these Circumstances, but only general rules for Edification, Unity, Decency and Order. 2. They that do it out of a design to draw Men to Popery, or to in­courage Men in it, do sin. 3. So do they, that rail in the Table, to signifie, that Lay-Christians must not come to it, but be kept at a distance. 4. But where there are no such [Page 25] ends, but only to imitate the Ancients, that did thus, and to shew reverence to the Table on the account of the Sacrament, by keeping away Dogs, keeping Boys from sitting on it; and the professed Doctrine of the Church condemneth Tran­substantiation, the real Corporal-presence, &c. in this case Christians should take these, for such as they are, indifferent things, and not censure or condemn each other for them. 5. And to communicate, is not only lawful in this case, where we cannot prove, that the Minister sinneth, but even, when we suspect an ill design in him, which we cannot prove, yea, or when we can prove that his personal interpretation of the Place, Name, Scituation, and Rail, is unsound; for we As­semble there to Communicate in, and according to the pro­fessed Doctrine of Christianity, and the Churches, and our own open profession, and not after every private Opinion, and Error of the Minister. Whether we shall receive the Lord's Supper at a Table, or in our Seats? Whether the Ta­ble shall be of Wood or Stone, Round or Long, or Square? Whether it shall stand on the East or West side of the Tem­ple, or in the middle? Whether it shall have Rails, or no Rails? All these are left to Humane Prudence. As for stand­ing at the reading of the Gospel, Page 148. he says, If I live where Rulers peremtorily command it, as a signified consent to the Gospel, I would obey them rather than give offence. And for kneeling when the Decalogue is read: That the thing it self is lawful, is past doubt; and if it be commanded, and the omission would be offensive, I would use it, though mistaken Persons were present, because I cannot disobey nor differ from the whole Assembly without a greater hurt and scandal, than seeming to harden the mistaking Person, and because I could and would by other means remove that Persons danger as from me, by making him know that it is no Pray­er; And the rather because in our times the Minister may in the Pulpit tell the People the contrary. We must not lightly differ from the Churches where we live in such things. I like best to kneel in Prayer and Confession of Sins. To stand up in Praises to God; at Singing and Reading Psalms of Praise and other Hymns; to set at Hearing the Word, be­cause the body hath necessity of some rest.

Of the Creed.

Q. 139. What is the Use and Authority of the Creed? Is it of the Apostle framing or not? P. 896. Answ. Its use is, to be a plain explication of the Faith professed in the Baptismal Covenant; And for the satisfation of the Church, that Men indeed un­derstand what they did in Baptism, and professed to believe. 2. It is the Word of God, as to the matter of it, whatever it be as to the order, or Composition of the Words. 3. It is not to be doubted, but the Apostles did use a Creed commonly in their days, which was the same with that, now called the Apostles, and the Nicene, in the main. 4. And it is easily pro­bable, that Christ composed a Creed, when he made his Cove­nant, and instituted Baptism, Matth. 28. 19. 5. That the Apostles did cause the baptizable, to understand the Three Articles of Christ's own Creed and Covenant, and used ma­ny explicatory words to make them understand it. 6. It is more than probable, that the matter opened by them, was still the same when the words were not the same. 7. And it is also more than probable, that they did not needlesly vary the words, lest it should teach Men to vary the matter. And Lastly, No doubt but this practice of the Apostles was imita­ted by the Churches, and that thus the Essentials of Religion were by the Tradition of the Creed, and Baptism, delivered by themselves, as far as Christianity went, long before any Book of the New Testament was written. And the following Churches, using the same Creed, might so far well call it the Apostles Creed.

Of the Apocrypha.

Q. 150. Is it lawful to read the Apocrypha, P. 901. Christian Directory, P. 179. 2d Edit. or Homilies? Answ. It is lawful, so be it they be sound Doctrine, and fitted to the Peoples Edification. 2. So be it they be not read scandalously, without sufficient differencing them from God's Book. 3. So they be not read to exclude, or hinder the read­ing of the Scripture, or other necessary Church duty. 4. So they be not read read to keep up an ignorant lazy Ministry, that can, or will do no better. 5. And especially if Au­thority [Page 27] command it, and the Churches agreement require it.

Of the Oath of Canonical Obedience.

Q. 153. May we lawfully swear obedience, P. 902. in all things law­ful and honest, either to Usurpers, or to our lawful Pastors? Answ. If the King shall command us, it is lawful. So the old Non-conformists, who thought the English Prelacy an unlawful Of­fice, yet maintained that it is lawful to take the Oath of Ca­nonical Obedience, because they thought it was imposed by the King, and Laws, and that we swear them to them, not as Officers claming a Divine Right in the Spiritual Government, but as Ordinaries or Officers, made by the King, according to the Oath of Supremacy, And if Prelacy were proved ne­ver so unlawful, no doubt but by the Kings Command, we may swear or perform formal Obedience to a Prelate. Read Bradshaw against Can concerning this, Pag. 181. Christ. Direct. 2d. Edit.

Of the Holiness of Churches.

Q. 170. Are Temples, Fonts, Utensils, Church-lands, much more Ministers Holy! P. 915. And what reverence is due to them, as Holy? Answ. Temples, Utensils, Lands, &c. devoted, and lawfully separated by Man, for Holy uses, are Holy, as justly related to God by that lawful separation. Ministers are more Holy than Temples, Lands, or Utensils, as being nearlier related to holy things; and things separated by God, are more Holy than those justly separated by Man. And so of Days, every thing should be reverenced according to the measure of its Holiness: And this expressed by such Signs, Gestures, Acti­ons, as are fittest to Honour God, to whom they are rela­ted. And so to be uncovered in the Church, and use reve­rent Carriage and Gestures there, doth tend to preserve due Reverence to God, and to his Worship, 1 Cor. 16. 20.

Of the Power of the Magistrate in Circumstantials.

We flatly affirm, that the Kings Laws do bind the Mind, Soul, or Conscience to a conscionable performance of all his lawful commands, Apol 4. We are so tender of obeying our Rulers, that we will do any thing to obey and please them, except disobeying God, Page 111.

We doubt not but Magistrates may restrain false Teachers from seducing others, and drawing them to Sin. Of Episcopacy, Page 193.

Princes and Rulers may for Orders sake, distribute their Christian Kingdoms into Parishes, which shall be the Ordi­nary Bounds of particular Churches. And such distribution is very Congruous to the ends of the Ministry and Churches, and conduceth to Order and Peace. Non-confor. Plea, Pag. 31.

When Pastors by Concord, or Magistrates by Laws, have setled lawful Circumstances, or Accidents of Church Order, or Worship, or Discipline, though they be in particular but Humane Institutions, it is sinful Disobedience to violate them without necessity, as Parochial Order, Associations, Times, Places, Ministers, Scripture Translations, &c. Page 49.

God's Laws bind us to keep Love and Concord, and the Agreement of Councils may determine of the matter in altera­ble Points, and so absent and present. Bishops may for Con­cord sake be obliged by God's Law to keep such Canons▪ and they are matter of Duty, Page. 266.

The true interest of a meer Non-conformist, requireth him to live in Loyalty, Peace, and Patience, and in Love and Communion with the Parochial Churches, Page 251. N. 11. I deny not but Magistrates may moderately drive Men to hear God's Word, and to do the immediate Duties of their Places. Of Episcopacy, Page 144.

Those Modes or Circumstances of Worship,Five Disp. P. 361. which are ne­cessary in genere, but left undetermined by God, in specie, are left by God to humane, prudential determination, (else an impossibility should be necessary.)P. 401. It is left to humane determi­nation what Place the Publick Assemblies shall be held in. And to determine of the time, except where God hath determined already, and what Utensils to imploy about the Publick Wor­ship.

Of the Surplice.

Some decent Habit is necessary;P. 409. either the Magistrate, or the Minister, or associated Pastors must determine what. I think neither Magistrate, nor Synod, should do more than hinder indecency; if they do, and tye all to one habit (and suppose it were an indecent habit) yet this is but an imprudent use of power, it is a thing within the Magistrates reach, he doth not aliene work, but his own work amiss, and there­fore the thing in it self being lawful, I would obey him, and use that garment, if I could not be dispensed with. Yea though, secondarily, the whiteness be to signifie purity, and so it be made a teaching sign, yet would I obey. And see no reason to scruple the lawfulness of the Ring in Marriage;P. 411. for, though the Papists make a Sacrament of Marriage, yet we have no reason to take it for any Ordinance of Divine Worship, more than the solemnizing a Contract between a Prince and People. All things are sanctified and pure to the Pure. And, for Organs or other Instruments of Musick in God's Worship,P. 412. they being a help, partly naturally and partly artificial to the exhilarating the Spirits, for the praise of God, I know no ar­gument to prove them simply unlawful,Christ. Di­rect. p. 884 but what would prove a Cup of Wine unlawful, or the Tune and Metre, and Melody of Singing unlawful.

Here therefore we thus conclude Page 423. That every misordering of such great Affairs, is the Sin of them that do it, yet the Subject is not exempted from Obedience by every such mistake of the Governour. And §. 67. If the Mis­choosing of such Circumstances by the Governors, be but an inconvenience, and destroy not the Ordinance it self or fru­strate the ends of it, we are to obey, for he the judge of his own Works, and not we: The thing is not sinful, though in­convenient.

Page 398. Of Five Disputations. § 25. Prop. 12. It may be very Sinful to command some Ceremonies which may law­fully, yea must in duty be used when they are commanded. And Prop. 14. Certain things, commonly called Ceremonies, may lawfully be used in the Church upon humane imposition, and when it is not against the Law of God, no Person should [Page 30] disobey the command of their Lawful Governours in such things.

If the Prince command one thing, not contrary to God's Law, and the Pastors command the contrary, we must obey the Prince before the Pastor; We must obey the Magistrate; We know not that their Commands are lawful, as long as we have no sufficient Reason to believe them unlawful. Page 356. of Holy Common-wealth. and Page 357.

Of Holy-Days.

The Holy Doctrine, Lives and Sufferings of the Martyrs, and other Holy Men, hath been so great a Mercy to the Church, that for any thing I know, it is lawful to keep An­niversary Thanksgiving in remembrance of them, and to en­courage the weak, and provoke them to constancy and imi­tation —No Christian should refuse that which is lawful, nor to joyn with the Church in Holy Exercises, on the days of thankful Commemoration of the Apostles and Martyrs, and Excellent Instruments of the Church, much less pertu­lently to work, and set open their Shops to the offence of o­thers, but rather to perswade others to imitate their Holy Lives, to whom they give such honours. Chr. Direct. p. 167. Part. 3.

Nor do I scruple to keep a day in remembrance of any e­minent Servant of Christ,Five Disp. or Martyr,P. 412. to praise God for their Doctrine, or Example, and honour their Memorial. I am re­solved,P. 416. if I live where such Holy-days, (Christ's Nativity, Cir­cumcision, Fasting, Transfiguration, Ascension, and such like) are observed,P. 117. to censure no Man for observing them. But, if I lived under a Government, that peremprorily commanded it, I would observe the outward rest of such a Holy-day,See Christ. Direct. and I would Preach on it,P. 885. and joyn with the Assemblies in God's Worship, yea I would thus observe the day, rather than of­fend a weak Brother, or hinder any Man's Salvation; much more rather than I would make any division in the Church.

Of the Cross in Baptism.

Of all our Ceremonies,P. 418. there is none that I have more sus­pected to be simply unlawful than the Cross in Baptism, yet [Page 31] I dare not peremptorily say, that the Cross in Baptism is un­lawful; nor will I condemn Ancients or Moderns that use it; nor will I make any disturbance in the Church about it, more than my own forbearance will make. I presume not to cen­sure them that judge it lawful, but only give the Reasons that make me doubt, and rather think it to be unlawful, though still with a suspicion of my own Understanding.

P. 123. of Christ. Direct. Q. 49. May one offer his Child to be baptized with the sign of the Cross, the use of Crisme, and the white Garment, Milk and Honey, or Exorcism, as in the Lutheran Churches.

Answ. 4. When he cannot lawfully have better, he may and must offer his Child to them that will so baptize him, rather than not at all, because Baptism is God's Ordinance, and the Sin is the Ministers, and not his. Another Man's sinful mode will not justifie the neglect of our Duty, else we might not joyn in Prayer or Sacrament in which the Minister modally sinneth (i. e.) in none.

Mr. B. grants p. 161. of Christ. Direct. Edit. 2. That it is not unlawful to make an Image to be objectum vel medium excitans ad Cultum Dei, an object of our Consideration, exciting our Minds to worship God as a Death's-head or Crucifix, to stir up in us a worshipping Affection; and that it is lawful by the sight of a Crucifix to be provoked to worship God.

I durst not to have reproved any of the ancient Christians that used the Sign of the Cross meerly as a Professing Sign, to shew the Heathen and Jews that they believed in a Crucified Christ, and were not ashamed of his Cross. Of Church Govern­ment, p. 404.

Mr. Baxter's Judgment concerning Confirmation agreeable to the practice of the Church of England, Confirma­tion, p. 207, 220, 230. may be seen in a par­ticular Treatise on that Subject.

Of Conventicles.

Q. 172. Are all religious and private Meetings forbidden by Ru­lers, Christ. Di­rect. p. 916. unlawful Conventicles? Answ. 1. It is more to the Honour of the Church, and of Religion, and of God, and more to our Safety and Edification, to have God's Worship performed so­lemnly, publickly, and in great Assemblies, than in a corner, [Page 32] secretly and with few. 2. It is a great mercy, where Rulers allow the Church such Publick Worship. 3. Caeteris paribus, all Christians. should prefer such Publick Worship before Private, and no private Meetings should be kept up, which are oppo­site, or prejudicial to such publick Meetings. And therefore if such Meetings, (or any that are unnecessary, to the ends of the Ministry, the Service of God, and good of Souls) be for­bidden by lawful Rulers, they must be forborn. And it must be remembred, that Rulers, that are Infidels, Papists, Here­ticks, or Persecutors, that restrain Church-Meetings, to the injury of Men's Souls, must be distinguished from pious Prin­ces, that only restrain Hereticks, and real Schismaticks, for the Churches good. 2. And that times of Heresie and Schism may make private Meetings more dangerous, than quiet times. And so even the Scottish Church forbad private Meetings, in the Separatists days of late. And when they do more hurt than good, and are justly forbidden, no doubt, in that case, it is a duty to obey, and to forbear them.

P. 117. of the first Plea. If the generality of the Ministry ob­tain their Liberty by some small tolerable Sin or Errour, and the sounder part be few and unnecessary in that Country, Pru­dence bindeth them to go to some other place that needeth them, and never to exercise their Ministry in that place, where in true Reason it is like to do more hurt than good.

Holy Common-wealth, Thesis 240. It is necessary to the Churches Peace, that no private Congregations may be gather­ed, or Anti-Churches erected, without approbation or Tole­ration from the Magistrate. If private Assemblies be permit­ted promiscuously and unlimitedly, it will then be impossible to restrain Heresie and Impiety; yea, they may meet to plot against the Magistrate. And no Assemblies whatsoever, besides the Parish Churches, are to be allowed by the Magistrate.

It is a dangerous thing,Christ. Di­rect. p. 49. to be ensnared in a Sect; it will, be­fore you are aware, possess you with a feaverish, sinful Zeal for the Opinions and Interest of that Sect; it will make you bold, in bitter Invectives and Censures, against those that differ from you; it will corrupt your Church-communion, and fill your very Prayers with Partiality, and Human Passions; it will se­cretly bring Malice, under the name of Zeal, into your minds and words. In a word, it is a secret, but deadly Enemy to [Page 33] Christian Love and Peace. Let them that are wiser, and more Orthodox, and godly than others, shew (as the Holy Ghost directeth them, James 3. 13, 14, &c.) out of a good conversation their works with meekness of wisdom: But if ye have bitter envying (or zeal) and strife in your hearts, Glory not, and lye not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devillish.

P. 36. of the Defence. The interest of the Protestant Reli­gion must be much kept up, by keeping up as much of Truth, Piety, and Reputation, as is possible, in the Parish Churches.

Sacril. Desertion, p. 92. In Parish-Churches, where all may hear the Parish Minister, I would not have you, without ne­cessity, to preach the same hour of the day, but at some mid­dle time, that you may not seem to vye with him for Auditors, nor to draw the People from him; but let them go with you to hear him, and after come to hear you.

Saints Rest, p. 518. Do not meet together in opposition to the Publick Meeting, nor yet to make a groundless Schism, or to separate from the Church whereof you are a Member; nor to destroy the old, that you may gather a new Church out of its ruines, as long as it hath the Essentials, and there is hope of reforming it. The great advantages that Satan hath got upon the Church, through the Sin of the Pastors in these days, is by Division; by this he hath promoted all the rest of his Designs. Our Divisions gratifie the Papists greatly, hazard the Protestant Religion more than most of you seem to regard or believe; it advantageth Profaneness, and greatly hinders the Success of the Ministers; it pleaseth Satan, and builds up his Kingdom.

Preface to Confession. The hand of God is apparently gone out against the Separatists, you see you do but prepare for a further progress: Seekers, Ranters, Quakers, and too many pro­fessed Infidels, do spring up from among you, as if this were the Journeys end, and perfection of your Revolt. By such fear­ful Dissertions did God formerly witness his detestation of those that withdrew from the Unity of the Church. Parties will arise in the Separate Churches, and separate again from them, till they are dissolved. I beseech you (my Brethren) to o­pen their Eyes so far as to regard Experience; How few sepa­rated Churches do now Exist that were in being 100 years ago? Can you name any? and would you have all the Churches of Christ dissolved?

Of Communion in the Lord's Supper.

Q. 2. May we communicate with unworthy persons? Christian Directory, p. 616. 1st Edit. Answ. It is your duty to communicate with that Church which hath a true Pastor, and where the denominating part of the Members are capable of Church-Communion, though there may some Infidels, or Heathen, or uncapable Persons violently intrude, or scandalous Persons are admitted, through the neglect of Discipline, in case you have not your choice to hold personal communion with a better Church, and in case also you be not guilty of the Corruption, but by seasonable and modest pro­fessing your dissent, do clear your self of the guilt of such in­trusion and corruption.

If we Sin not by omitting our own Duty,Christ. Di­rect. p. 137. 2d Edit. it will be no Sin of ours to communicate with the Church where Scanda­lous Sinners or Hereticks are permitted, the Pastors and Delin­quents Sins are not ours.

Q. 3. But what if I cannot communicate, unless I conform to an imposed gesture, as kneeling? Answ. I never yet heard any thing to prove kneeling unlawful; there is no Word of God, for, or against, any gesture. Christ's example cannot be proved to ob­lige us in this, and his gesture was not such a sitting as ours. The nature of the Ordinance is mixt. And if it be lawful to take a Pardon from the King upon our Knees, I know not what can make it unlawful to take a Sealed Pardon from Christ,Five Disp. P. 411. by his Ambassador, upon our Knees. As for this Ce­remony of kneeling at the Sacrament especially, since the Ru­brick is inserted, which disclaimeth, both all Bread-worship, and the bodily Real-presence, my judgment was ever for it. God having made some gesture necessary, and confined us to none, but left it to humane determination, I shall submit to Magistrates in their proper Work. I am not sure, that Christ intended the example of himself in this as oligatory; but I am sure,Defense, P. 177. he hath commanded me obedience, and peace. Mr. Per­kins was for kneeling, and Mr. Baines in his Letters writes for it, and answers objections against it.

Pag. 133. of Mr. B's Life. I cannot be so narrow in my Principles of Church Communion, as many are, who are so much for a Liturgy, or so much against it; so much for [Page 35] Ceremonies, or so much against them, that they can hold Communion with no Church that is not of their mind or way. If I were among the Greeks, the Lutherans, the Independants, yea the Anabaptists, I would hold sometime Communion with them as Christians—I cannot be of their Opinion, that think God will not accept him that prayeth by the Common-Prayer-Book, and that such Forms are a Self-invented Worship which God rejecteth.

Q. 4. But what if I cannot Communicate, Christ. Di­rect. p. 607. but according to the Administration of the Common-Prayer-Book? Answ. 1. That it is not unlawful to receive according to the Administration of the Common-Prayer-Book, because it is a Form, needs no proof to any, that is Judicious. 2. Nor yet, for any evil in this particular Form, for in this part the Common-Prayer is generally approved. 3. Nor yet, because it is imposed; for a Command maketh not that unlawful to us, which is lawful before, but it maketh many things lawful, and duties, that else would have been unlawful accidentally. 4. And the in­tentions of the Commanders we have little to do with. And for the consequents, they must be weighed on both sides, and the consequents of our refusal will not be found light. In ge­neral, I must here tell the People of God, in the bitter sorrow of my Soul, that at last it is time for them to discern that tem­ptation, that hath in all Ages of the Church almost, made this Sacrament of our Union, to be the grand occasion or instru­ment of our Divisions. And that, true Humility, and Acquain­tance with our selves, and Love to Christ, and one another, would shew some Men, that it was but their Pride and Preju­dice, and Ignorance, that made them think so heinously of o­ther Mens manner of Worship. And that, on all sides, among true Christians, the manner of their Worship is not so odious, as Prejudice, and Faction, and Partiality representeth it. And that God accepteth that, which they reject. And they should see, how the Devil hath undone the common People, by this means, by teaching them every one to expect salvation for being of that Party which he taketh to be the right Church, and for Worshipping in that manner which he, and his Party, thinketh best. And so wonderful a thing is prejudice, that every Party, by this,Christ. Di­rect. p. 48. is brought to think that ridiculous and vile, which the other Party accounteth best. But to magnifie any one Church [Page 36] or Party, so as to deny due love and communion to the rest, is Schism. To limit all the Church to your Party, and deny all, or any of the rest, to be Christians, and parts of the Universal Church, is Schism, by a dangerous breach of Charity. It is Schism also, to condemn unjustly any particular Church, as no Church. And it is Schism, to withdraw your bodily com­munion from a Church that you were bound to hold commu­nion with, upon a false supposition that it is no Church, or is not lawfully to be communicated with. And it is Schism, to make Divisions or Parties in a Church,P. 49. though you divide not from that Church. The holiness of the Party that Men adhere to, is made a pretence to excuse Schism; but this must make but a gradual difference in our esteem and love to some Chri­stians above others. If really they are most holy, I must love them most, and labour to be as holy as they: But I must not therefore, unjustly deny communion, or due respect to other Christians, that are less holy, nor cleave to them as a Sect, or divided Party, whom I esteem most holy. For the holiest are most Charitable, and most against the Divisions among Chri­stians, and tenderest of their Unity and Peace. Own the best, as best, but none, as a divided Sect; espouse not their dividing interest; confine not your especial love to a Party, but extend it to all the Members of Christ. Deny not local Communion when there is occasion for it, to any Church, that hath the Substance of True Worship, and forceth you not to sin. Love them as true Christians,Baxter of Confirma­tion, p. 3. and Churches, even when they drive you from their Communion. I have found that Refor­mation is to be accomplished more by restoration of Ordinan­ces and Administrations to their Primitive Nature and Use, than by utter abolition.

Mr. Bagshaw objected to Mr. Baxter, that he chose to com­municate in a very populous Church upon Easter-day, pur­posely that it might be known: To this Mr. Baxter Answers, p. 76. If a Man by many Years forbearing all Publick Prayer, and Sacraments, should tempt others to think that he is a­gainst them, or thinks them needless; How should he cure that Scandal, but by doing that openly, pleading for it which he is supposed to be against, Ministers being bound to teach by Example as well as Doctrine?

Of the Liturgy.

§ 1. Mr. Baxter in the 2d. page of his exceptions against the Liturgy, urged an Objection of Mr. Hales in these Words. To load our Publick Forms with Private Fancies on which we differ, is the most soveraign way to perpetuate Schism, See al­so, p. 48. The Bishops gave this Answer to the Objection; We heartily desire that according to this Proposal, great care may be taken to suppress private Conceptions of Prayer, lest private Opinions be made matter of Prayer, as it hath, and will be, if private Per­sons take liberty to make publick Prayers. To this I agreed, p. 201. Cure of Divisions, in these words; Every Separatist, Anabap­tist, Antinomian, doth too willingly put his Errors into his Prayers: The Sense of which Mr. Bagshaw thus expounds. p. 7. Of his Antidote, by mentioning of Separatists, as a distinct bo­dy of Men from the Antinomian, Anabaptists, &c. It is evident he can mean no other but his Presbyterian and Congregational-Brethren.

§ 2. That which God prescribed is lawful, but God pre­scribed Forms of Prayer, as the Titles and Matter of many of the Psalms prove, which were daily used in the Jews Syna­gogues. Christ. Direct. 2d. Edit. p. 139.

Q. 74. Is it lawful to impose Forms on the Congregation in pub­lick Worship? Answ. Yes, and more than lawful. It is the Pastors duty so to do; for whether he forethink what to pray, or not, his Prayer is to them a Form of Words, and they are bound to concur with him in Spirit or Desire, and to say, Amen. So that every Minister by Office is daily to impose a Form of Prayer on all the People; only some Men impose the same Form many times over, or every day, and others impose every day a new one. pag. 140. Ibid.

Pag. 142, 143. Mr. Baxter shews the conveniencies and incon­veniencies, both of see and prescribed Prayers; and adds, My own judgment is, that somewhat of both ways joyned together will best obviate the inconveniencies of both, though by this I cross the conceits of prejudiced Men on both extremes; I think I cross not the judgment of the Church of England, which alloweth free Prayers in the Pulpit, and at the Visitation of the Sick—Nor of the Famous Non conformists, Cartwright, [Page 38] Hildersham, Greenham, Amisius, Perkins, Bains, &c. Mr. Cart­wright all the time that he lived abroad, used the same Form before Sermon and after, and read Prayers in the Church, and concluded with the Lords Prayer.

§. 4. Pag. 102. Of, Mr. Baxter's life, Part 1. Under pre­tence of the purity of their Churches, the Separatists set them­selves against the same Men, that the Drunkards and Swearers set against, doing what they could to make them odious, and put them down, only they did it more profanely than the Profane, in saying, Let the Lord be glorified; let the Gospel be propagated; abusing Sacred Scripture to their purpose. All this began in unwarrantable Separations, and too much aggravating the faults of the Churches, and Common People, and Com­mon-Prayer-Book, and Ministry, which because they thought they needed amendments it required their obstinate Separation, and allowed them to make odious any thing that was amiss and if any Man had rebuked them for making it more faulty than it was, they called him a pleader for Antichrist and Baal, and every eror in the mode of Worship was Idolatry, Popery, Antichristianism, Superstition, Will-worship, &c. When many of their own Prayers were full of Carnal Passion, Faction, Disorder, vain Repetitions, unsound and loathsome Expressions, and their Doctrine full of Errors and Confussion.

§ 5. Pag. 169. Part. 3. Of B's Life. I wrote a Book called Cain and Abel, intending a third Part, to tell Dissenters, why I went to the Parish Church, and Communicated; and why they should not suffer as Separatists, least they suffer as Evil doers; which a Bookseller importuned me to let him Print, but for Reasons then given, I delayed it; but at last consented to publish the Reasons of my Communicating in the Parish Churches, and against Separations: But a Manuscript of Dr. Owen's, containing Twelve Arguments against joyning with the Liturgy in Publick Churches was sent me, which I answer­ed, whereupon a swarm of Revilers powred out their keenest Censures whom I answered. Another said, that my Treatise of Episcopacy fully proved the duty of Separation; whereupon I explained that Treatise, and all these things together I Pub­lished in a Treatise in defence of Catholick Communion, to which I refer such as desire farther Satisfaction.

§ 7. I shall name but one Passage more on this Head, in [Page 39] his Defence of the Principles of Love. pag. 88. The Covenant (he saith) bindeth us to Reformation according to God's Word, and the Example of the best Reformed Churches: But to pre­fer no Publick Worship, or a worse before the Liturgy, is Deformation and Profaneness; and it is greater Reformation to prefer the Liturgy before none, than to prefer Extemporate Publick Worship before the Liturgy; for all the Reformed Churches in Christendom do commonly profess to hold Com­munion with the English Churches in the Liturgy, if they come among us where it is used, so that it seems in Mr. Baxter's Judgment a breach of the Covenant to prefer no Publick Worship before the Liturgy, or to refuse Occasional Commu­nion in the use of the Liturgy, as if it were unlawful, when in Mr. B's as well as in the Judgment of all the Reformed Churches, it is to be preferred to Extemporate Publick Worsip.

My Opinion as to Liturgy in general,Dispute the 4th. of Church Go­vernment. is, 1. That a stinted Liturgy is in it self lawful.P. 358. P. 2. That a stinted Liturgy in some parts of Publick Service is necessary.359. 3. In the parts where in is not necessary, it may not only be submitted to, but desired, when the peace of the Church requireth it. 4. It is not of such necessity to take the matter, and words out of the Holy Scriptures,See Christ, Direct. P. 874. but that we may joyn in a Liturgy, or use it, if the Form of Words be not from Scripture. This is thus pro­ved: 1. That which is not directly, or consequentially for­bidden by God, remaineth lawful. A stinted Liturgy is not directly, or consequentially forbidden of God: Therefore it remaineth lawful. The major is undoubted, because nothing but a prohibition can make a thing unlawful; where there is no Law, there is no Transgression. Yet I have heard very Reve­rend Men Answer this, That it is enough that it is not com­manded, though not forbidden, which is plainly to deny both Scripture and Civil Principles. Now for the Minor, That a stinted Liturgy is not forbidden, we need no other proof, than that no Prohibion can be produced.P. 361.

The main Body of Non-Conformist Ministers did judge, that the Ordinary Liturgy appointed for Publick Worship, was such as a good Christian might lawfully joyn in, Apol. p. 148.

If it be lawful for the People to use a stinted form of Words,P. 364. in Publick Prayer, then is it in it self lawful for the Pastors: But it is lawful for the People, &c. For the Pastors Prayer [Page 40] (which they must pray over with him, and not only hear it) is a stinted Form to them, even as much as if he had learnt it out of a Book.

It is lawful to use a Form in Preaching, therefore a stinted Liturgy is lawful. 1. Because Preaching is a part of that Liturgy. 2. Because the reason is the same for Prayer as for that in the main.

That which hath been the practice of the Church in Scrip­ture times and down to this day, and is yet the practice of al­most all the Churches of Christ on earth, is not like to be un­lawful: But such is the use of some stinted Forms, &c.

I have shewed, that it was so in the Jewish Church. That it hath been of ancient use in the Church, since Christ, and at this day in Africk, Asia, Europe, and the Reformed Churches in France, Holland, Geneva, &c. is so well known, that I need not stand to prove it: And those few that seem to disuse it, do yet use it in Psalms and other parts of Worship. As for the Common-Prayer it self, I never rejected it, because it was a Form; or thought it simply unlawful, because it was such a Form; but have made use of it, and would do again in the like case.

Object. But if a faulty manner of praying be prescribed, Christ. Di­rect. p. 748. and im­posed by a Law, I know it before-hand and am guilty of it. Answ. If the thing be sinful, either it is, 1. Because the Prayers are de­fective and faulty; Or, 2. Because they are imposed; Or, 3. because you knew the Fault before-hand, but none of these can prove your joyning with them sinful. 1. Not because they are faulty; for you may joyn with as faulty Prayers (you confess) if not imposed. 2. Not because imposed for that is an extenuation,See Christ. Direct. p. 848. and not an aggravation. For (1.) it proveth the Minister less voluntary of the two, than those are that do it without any command, through the errour of their own Judgments. (2.) Because (though lawful things oft become unlawful when Superiours forbid them, yet) no reason can be given, why a lawful thing should become unlawful, because a lawful Superiour doth command it; else Superiours might take away all our Christian Liberty, and make all things unlawful to us, by commanding them. You would take it for a wild Conceit in your Children or Servants, if they say, when you bid them learn a Catechism, or use a Form of Prayer, It was [Page 41] lawful for us to do it till you commanded us, but because you bid us do it, it is unlawful. If it be a Duty to obey Gover­nours in all lawful things, then it is not a Sin to obey them. 3. It is not your knowing before hand, that makes it unlaw­ful: for 1. I know in general before hand, that all imperfect Men will do imperfectly: and though I know not the particu­lar, that maketh it never the lawfuller, if fore-knowledge it self did make it unlawful. 2. If you know that (e. g.) an Antinomian, or some mistaken Preacher, would constantly drop some words for his Errour, in praying or preaching, that will not make it unlawful in your own Judgment, for you to joyn (if it be not a flat Heresie.) 3. It is another Man's Errour or Fault that you foreknow, and not your own. 4. God himself doth, as an Universal Cause of Nature, concur with Men in those Acts which he foreknoweth they will sinfully do, yet is not the Authour or Approver of the Sin.

We (the Commissioners 1663.)Defence, p. 38. all thought a Liturgy law­ful, and divers Learned and Reverend Nonconformists of London met to consider how far it was their duty, or lawful to Communicate with the Parish Churches, where they lived, in the Liturgy and Sacrament, and I proved four Propositions: 1. That it is lawful to use a Form: 2. That it is lawful to joyn with some Parish Churches in the use of the Liturgy: 3. That it is lawful to joyn with some Parish Churches in the Lord's Supper: 4. That it is to some a duty to joyn with some Parish Churches three times a year in the Lord's Supper: and none of the Brethren seemed to dissent, but took the Rea­sons to be valid.

Were I in Armenia, P. 176. Abassia, or among the Greeks, I would joyn in a much more defective Form than our Liturgy, rather than none. And this is the judgment of many New-England Ministers, conform to the old Non-conformists, who did some of them read the Common Prayer, and the most of them judged it lawful to joyn in it, or else Mr. Hildersham, Mr. Richard Rogers, &c. would not write so earnestly for coming to the beginning,P. 54. and preferring it before all private Duties. And truly, I am not able to bear the thoughts of separating from almost all Christ's Churches upon Earth; but he that separates from one, or many, upon a reason common to al­most all, doth virtually separate from almost all; and he that [Page 42] separates from all among us upon the account of the unlaw­fulness of our Liturgy, and the badness of our Ministry, doth separate from them upon a reason common to almost all, or the far greatest part, as I conceive.

Those Forms of Liturgy which now are most distasted,Cure of Divisions, P. 200. were brought in by the most zealous religious People at the first: The many short Invocations, Versicles and Responses, which the People use, were brought in when the Souls of the Faith­ful did abound with Zeal, and in holy fervors break out in such expressions, and could not well endure to be bare Audi­tors, and not vocally to bear their part in the praises of God and prayers of the Church.

I have shewed at large,P. 174. How far God hath given Men pow­er to prescribe, and impose Forms for others, and commanded others to obey them:P. 179. when Christ said, When ye pray, say, Our Father, &c. he bound the Disciples in duty to do as he bid them;P. 185. How Forms may be imposed publickly on the Con­gregations of Believers, and on the Ministers, yea though the Forms imposed be worse than the exercise of their own gifts, (though among us no Man be forbidden to use his own gifts in the Pulpit.) The Pharisees long Liturgy (it is like) was in many things worse than ours; yet Christ and his Apostles oft­en joyned with them,Five Disp. p. 363. and never condemned them. I shall now only add that the Lord's Prayer is a Form directed to God as in the Third Person, and not to Man only as a di­rectory for Prayer in the Second Person: it is not, Pray to God your Father in Heaven that his name may be Hallowed, his King­dom come, &c. But, Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, &c. And it seems by the Disciples words, that thus John taught his Disciples to pray, Luke 11. 1. and we have in the Scripture the mention of many Set Forms of Service to God, which therefore we may well use. And I desire the Rea­der again to Note, that though Prayer was corrupted by the Pharisees, yet Christ usually joyned in their Synagogues, Luke 14. 17. and never medled with our controversie about the law­fulness of Set Forms. [This Mr. Baxter infers from Calvins note on Matth. 6. before the Preface to the Defence.]

Pag. 76. Of Concord. I constantly joyn with my Parish Church in Liturgy and Sacraments, and hope so to do while I live.

[Page 43] I take the Common-Prayer to be better incomparably than the Prayers or Sermons of many that I hear.

As for the Common Prayer it self, I never rejected it, be­cause it was a Form, or thought it simply unlawful, because it was such a Form, but have made use of it, and would a­gain in the like case.

He that separates upon the account of the unlawfulness of our Liturgy, and the badness of our Ministry, doth separate upon a reason common to almost all of the far greatest part of the Churches. See the Defence, p. 54.

The defects of the Liturgy, and the faults of those by whom we suffer, are easily heightned even beyond desert. Defence, p. 68.

Apology, p. 9. Having perused all the Foreign and Antient Liturgies in the Bibliotheca Patrum, I doubt not but our own is incomparably better than any that is there.

That which is not unlawful in it self, is not therefore un­lawful, because it is commanded, Obedience to Superiors, is our duty and not our sin, unless in sinful things. p. 152. Christ. Direct. 2d Edit.

Of Obedience to our Pastors.

We are indangered by divisions,Sacrileg. Deserting, P. 103. principally because the self-conceited part of Religious people will not be ruled by their Pastors, but must have their way, and will needs be ru­lers of the Church and them. But pleasing the ignorant Pro­fessors humors, is a Sin that shews us to be too humane and carnal, and hath always sad effects at last. It is a high degree of pride for persons of (ordinary) understandings,P. 101, 102. to conclude, that almost all Christs Churches in the World for Thirteen Hundred Years at least, have offered such Worship to God, as that you are obliged to avoid it, and all their Communion in it; and that almost all the Catholick Church on Earth at this day is below your Communion, for using Forms. Mark, Is it not more of the Women and Apprentices that are of this mind, than of old experienced Christians?

I think till we have better taught,Baxter a­gainst Cram­don, p. 83. even our godly People, what credit and obedience is due to their Teachers, and Spiri­tual Guides, the Church of England shall never have peace, or [Page 44] any good or established Order,Cure of Di­vis. p. 393. We are broken for want of the knowledge of this truth; till this be known we shall never be well bound up and healed. The People of the New Separati­on, so much rule their Ministers, that many of them have been forced to forsake their own judgments to comply with the vi­olent.

Labour to maintain the Ordinances and Ministry in e­steem.Saints Rest P. 519.

The Church is bound to take many a Man,Church Go­vernment. P. 131. as a True Mini­ster to them, and receive the Ordinances from him, in Faith and expectation of Blessing upon promise, who yet before God is a sinful invader, an usurper of the Ministry, and shall be con­demned for it. (How much more then to respect their law­ful Bishops and Pastors?)

Of Lay-Elders.

For Lay-Elders,5. Disput. Preface, p. 4. As far as I understand, the greatest part, if not three for one of the English Ministers, are of this mind, That unordained Elders wanting power to Preach or Admini­ster Sacraments, are not Officers in the Church of God's ap­pointment: Of this number I am one, and Mr. Vines was ano­ther.

In the Worcester Agreement Printed 1653. Mr. Baxter de­clared, that neither Scripture nor Antiquity knew of any such Officers as Lay-Elders.

In the Third Defence, p. 58. It was notorious, that the Parli­ament yielded to Presbytery to exclude Episcopacy, because they had no other way to uphold their Wars, without which they had no way to hold up themselves, but by help of the Scots.

My first Book (Viz. the Preface to Saints Rest.) disclaims Lay-Elders, Pag. 109. to Hinckly.

Of Bishops.

Page 832. of Mr. Baxter's Directory, Q. 56. Mr. Baxter tells you in the Margin of those Reasons for a larger Episco­pacy, That in the Apostles Days there were under Christ in the Universal Church, many general Officers that had the care [Page 45] of gathering and over-seeing Churches up and down, and were fixed by stated Relation unto none. And most Christi­an Churches think, that though the extraordinary Gifts, Pri­vileges and Officers cease, yet Government being an or­dinary part of their Work, the same Form of Government which Christ and the Holy Ghost did settle in the first Ages, tho' not with the same extraordinary Gifts and Adjuncts were settled for all following Ages: 1. Because we read of settling that Form, (viz.) general Officers as well as Particular, but never of any Abolition. 2. Because if we affirm a Cessation without Proof, we seem to accuse God of Mutability, as setting a Form of Government for one Age only. 3. And we leave room for audacious Wits to question other Gospel-Institutions, as Pastors, Sacraments, &c. 4. It was general Of­ficers that Christ promised to be with to the end of the World, Matth. 28. 20. And in this Premonition he says, he doth not dispute the Lawfulness of Arch-Bishops, over Parochial-Bi­shops, as Successors to the Apostles, and other general Offi­cers of the first Age, in the ordinary continued parts of their Office. And in his Plea for Peace, p. 263. Some of us incline much to think, that Arch-Bishops (i. e.) Bishops that have over-sight of many Churches, with their Pastors, are lawful Successors of the Apostles, in the ordinary part of their Work. So also, First Plea, p. 35. and of his accepting two parts of Episcopacy, not varying the Species in the Preface to the second Plea.

In Church-History, p. 37. and in Plea for Peace, p. 66. the Bi­shops in Cyprian's time had the best ordered Churches in the World; and the Bishops were the most Godly, Faithful, Peaceable company of Bishops since the Apostle's times. In Preface to the Second Plea, we offered Arch-Bishop Usher's Model, and when his Majesty would not grant us that, he pre­scribed the Episcopacy of England, as it stood with little Alte­ration, this we joyfully and thankfully accepted, as a hopeful means of a common Conformity and Concord.

See more p. 3. of his Apology, and p. 161. I shewed, that there are in Directory, p. 832. such general Officers in the Church; as an Army, that is headed by the general him­self, and a Regiment by the Colonel, and a Troophy a Cap­tain; there was no parity then in the Church-Officers.

[Page 46] In the Preface to the Five Disputations, p. 9. Two sorts of Epi­scopacy are allowed, first, such as St. Hierome says were brought into the Church for a Remedy against Schism; the Bishop of this Constitution was to preside over Presbyters, and without him nothing was to be done in the Church that was of Moment. S. 58. of Church Hist.

The Second is that which succeeds the Apostles in the ordi­nary parts of Church-Government, while some Senior Pastors have the care of Supervising many Churches, as the Visitors had in Scotland; and are so far Episcopi-Episcoporum, having no constraining Power of the Sword.

But a Power to admonish and instruct the Pastors, and to Regulate Ordinations, Synods, and all great and common Circumstances that belong to Churches: For if there were one Form of Government, in which some Pastors had such extensive Work and Power, as Timothy, Titus, and the Evan­gelists had, as well as Apostles, we must not change it without Proof, that Christ himself would have it changed. Many wise Men think, that the Presbyterians rejecting all Episcopa­cy, setting up unordained Elders, and National Churches headed by National Assemblies, are divisive and unwarranta­ble, as their making by the Scots Covenant, the renouncing of Episcopacy, to be the test of National Concord was divi­sive. Page 72. of the Third Defence, Part the last.

Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Hoper, Jewel, Davenant, Usher, Moreton, Abbot, Hall, Potter, Charleton, were all Pious as well as Learned Bishops, and so were many Conformist Ministers, Sibs, Preston, Fenner, Bolton, Whately, Dent, Crook, Pike, Stock, Stoughton, Taylor, &c. My Judgment is, that a Peace with the Divines of the Episcopal Judgment is much to be desired, and earnestly endeavoured. If it be Objected, that he calls the Bishops their Silencers and Persecutors, p. 104. of his Apology he says, no Bishops have Silenced us by Spiritual Government, that we know of, but only as Barons by the Secular Laws, to which some of them gave their Votes, for Mr. Baxter acknow­ledgeth all did not.

As for Bishops (viz.) a Diocesan,Five Disp. p. 20. ruling all the Presby­ters, but leaving the Presbyters to rule the People, and conse­quently taking to himself the sole, or chief power of Ordina­tion, but leaving censures and absolution to them, except in [Page 47] case of Appeal to himself; I must needs say, that this sort of Episcopacy is very ancient, and hath been for many Ages of very common reception through a great part of the Church— And if I lived in a place, where this government were esta­blished, and managed for God, I would submit thereto, and live peaceably under it, and do nothing to the disturbance, disgrace or discouragement of it. (You may see how far Mr. Vines and Mr. Baxter did agree in the notion of a Bishop over ma­ny Presbyters.)P. 352. Of which Grotius in his Commentary on the Acts, and particularly chap. 17. saith, that as in every particu­lar Synagogue, many of which were in some one City (in Jerusalem 480.) Sigonius de Repub. Heb. l. 2. c. 8. there was [...], such was the Primi­tive Bishop. And doubtless the first Bishops were over the com­munity of Presbyters, as Presbyters, in joynt relation to one Church or Region; which Region being upon the increase of Believers divided into more Churches, and in after-times, those Churches assigned to particular Men; yet he the Bishop, continued Bishop over them still. For thatMr. Bax­ter. you say, he had a negative Voice, that is more then ever I saw proved, or I think ever shall, for the first 200 Years; and yet I have la­boured to enquire into it. That makes him Angelus Princeps, not Angelus Praeses, as Dr. Reinolds saith. Calvin denies that, and makes him Consul in Senatu, or as a Speaker in the House of Parliament, which, as I have heard that D. B. did say, was but to make him foreman of the Jury. As touching the Introduction of ruling Elders, such as are modelled out by Parliament, my judgment is sufficiently known. I am of your Judgment in the point, There should be such Elders, as have power to Preach as well as Rule. On this Mr. Baxter reflects, p. 353. Though Mr. Vines here yield not the negative Voice to have been de facto, in the first or second age, nor to be de jure; yet he, without any question yielded to the stating of a President, durante vitâ, if he prove not unworthy, which was one point that I propounded to him; and I make no doubt, but he would have yielded to a voluntary consent of Presbyters, de facto, not to ordain without the President. And the difficulties that are before us, de facto, in setting up a Parochial Episcopacy, which he mentioneth, I have cleared already in these Papers, shewing partly, that the thing is alrea­dy existent, and partly how more fully to accomplish it.

The Instances which he gives, are in the Episcopacy of the [Page 48] Protestant Churches in Poland, from Adrian Regenvolscius, Hist. Eccles. Sclavon. l. 3. p. 424. N. B. Whereas from the first Re­formation of the Churches in the Province of the lesser Po­lonia, it hath been received by Use and Custom, that out of the Elders of all those (Districtus) Divisions, which are 36 in Number, one Primate, or Chief, in Order, who is com­monly called Superintendent of the Churches of lesser Poland, and doth preside over the Provincial Synods, be chosen by the Authority, Consent, and Suffrage of the Provincial Sy­nod, and that he be inaugurated, and declared (not by imposi­tion of Hands, to avoid the suspicion of Primacy, and the appearance of Authority and Power over the other Elders) only by Benediction, and fraternal Prayers, and by reading over the Offices which concern this Function, and the Pray­ers of the whole Synod, for the sake of Government and good Order in the Church of God, &c.

The other instance is of the Churches of the Bohemian Confession, who have among the Pastors of the Churches, their Conseniors and Seniors, and one President over all, re­lated by the same Regenvolscius, p. 315. The Elders or the Superintendents of the Bohemian and Moravian Churches, &c. are for the most part chosen out of their Fellow-Elders, and are Ordained and Consecrated to the Office of Seigniory by Imposition of Hands, and Publick inauguration, &c.

Mr. Baxter dislikes our Species of Diocesan Bishops, because of their Chancellors, which is very groundless for the power of Legislation, the Foundation and Form of Government, which being wholly in the Bishops and Clergy, who in Con­vocation have the sole Power of making Canons for the Go­vernment of the Church; and there being no Censure to be inflicted but according to those Canons, the Lay-Chancellor are but inferior Officers, intrusted by their Bishops with some part of the Executive Power; the Bishops themselves, as well as their Chancellors, having the Canons to direct and over­rule them in the Execution; and if there be any extra-judicial Process, there lye Appeals from them both. Moreover, the Chancellors being bred up to the Study and Practice of the Canon and Civil Laws, are most fit for Executing the Canons, being acquainted with the Nature of Evidences, Probations, and judicial Process, which meer Presbyters cannot be presu­sed [Page 49] to understand so well; and this Office of Chancellors be­ing allowed by the Laws of the Land, they may be submitted to as they are the King's Officers, by Mr. Baxter's own Conces­sions. This may satisfie the impartial Reader against those bitter Invectives of Mr. Baxter, against the Species of Diocesan Bishops, as being Anti-Christian, and the Military Instruments of the Devil.

Those that treated with the Bishops,Defense, P. 65. 1660. did yield to such an Episcopacy, as the old Nonconformists would scarce generally have consented to, i. e. to Bishop Usher's Model.

Episcopacy is not such an upstart thing, nor defended by such contemptible Reasons, as that the Controversie is like to die with this Age; undoubtedly there will be a Godly and Learned Party for it, while the World endureth. And it is a numerous Party: All the Greek Church, the Armenian, Sy­rian, Abassine, and all others, but a few of the Reformed. For Denmark, Sweden, part of Germany and Transilvania, have a Superintendency, as high as that I plead for, p. 11. If you know no Godly Persons of the Episcopal way, I do, and as my acquaintance increaseth, I know more and more, and some I take to be much better than my self; I will say a greater word, that I know those of them, whom I think as Godly, Humble Ministers, as most of the Non-conformists, whom I know, p. 12. And I believe there are many hundred Godly Ministers in the Church of England, and that their Churches are true Churches. And I am confident, most of the Mini­sters in England would be content to yield to such an Episco­pacy, as you may find in the Published Judgments of Bishop Hall, Usher, Dr. Forbes, Hodsworth, and others. Preface to the Five Disputations, p. 9.

Christ. Direct. the Second Edition, p. 189. Part 3. Q. How doth the Holy Ghost set Bishops over the Church? Answ. By ma­king the Office it self so far as the Apostles had any hand in it, Christ himself having made their Office. The Holy Ghost in the Electors and Ordainers, directeth them to discern the fitness of the Persons, and so to call such as God approveth of and calleth by the Holy Ghost in them, which is done by the ordinary help of God's Spirit, in the wise and faithful Electors and Ordainers; the Holy Ghost doth qualifie them for the Work, by due Life, Light and Love, Knowledge, Willing­ness [Page 50] and Activity, and so inclining them to it, and marking out the Person by his Gifts, which was done at first by extra­ordinary Gifts, and ever since by ordinary, special, and sa­ving in some, common, and only fitted to the Churches In­struction in others, so that whoever is not competently quali­fied is not called by the Holy Ghost, when Christ ascended he gave gifts to Men, some Apostles, &c. Eph. 4. 78, &c.

Of Sacriledge.

Q. 171. What is Sacriledge? Christ. Di­rect. p. 916. Ans. It is a robbing God by the unjust alienation of Holy things. As deposing Kings, silen­cing true Ministers, the unjust alienating of Temples, Utensils, Lands, Days separated by God himself and justly consecrated by Man.

Mr. Vines his Letter to Mr. Baxter, p. 35. of the 5 Disput. concerning Sacriledge.

As for your Question about Sacriledge, I am very near you in the present Opinion. The point was never stated nor de­bated in the Isle of Wight; I did for my part decline the dis­pute, for I could not maintain the cause as on the Parliament side; And because, both I and others were unwilling, it was never brought to open debate. The Commissioners did ar­gue it with the King, but they went upon grounds of Law and Polity, and it was only about Bishops Lands; for they then averred the continuance of Dean and Chapter Lands to the use of the Church. Some deny that there is any sin of Sacriledge under the Gospel, and if there be any, they agree not in the definition. Some hold an Alienation of Church-goods, in case of Necessity, and then make the necessity, what, and as extensive, as they please. The most are of Opinion, that while the Church lies so unprovided for, the donations are not alienable, sine Sacrilegio. If there were a Surplusage above the competent maintenance, it were another matter. It is clear enough, the Donors wills are frustrated, and that their gene­ral intention, and the general use (Viz. the maintenance of God's Worship, and Ministers) should stand, though the par­ticular use might be superstitious. I cited in my last Sermon [Page 51] before the Parliament a place out of Mr. Hildersham, on Psal. 51. touching Sacriledge, it did not please. If his description of it be true, then you will still be of your own mind. I dare encourage no Purchasers, &c.

Mr. Baxter's Advice to separating Brethren.

Mr. B's Epistle to separate Congregations. Consider this, It is the judgment of some, that Thousands are gone to Hell, and Ten thousands on their march thither, that in all probability had not come there, if they had not been tempted from the Parish Churches for injoyment of Communion in a purer Church.

Pag. 21. Of Defence. The Interest of the Protestant Religi­on must be much kept up by means of the Parish Ministers, and by Doctrine and Worship there performed, and they that think and endeavour contrary, shall have the hearty thanks and concurrence of the Papists.

And I am perswaded, that all the Arguments of Bellarmin, and other Books that have been written, have not done so much to make Papists in England, as the Multitude of Sects among our selves. Defence p. 21.

In The Second Admonition to Bagshaw, p. 78. It is Lawful to hold Communion with our Churches, having but tolerable Ministers, notwithstanding the Parochial Order, and the Mi­nisters Conformity, and the use of the Common-Prayer-Book, and that we ought to do so when some special reason, as from Authority, Scandal, &c. do require it.

A Ministers personal faults do not allow a People to sepa­rate from the Worship of God, nor all Ministerial faults, but only those that prove him or his Ministration utterly intolera­ble. Answer to Dr. Stillingfleet. p. 50.

The word Schism signifieth any sinful Division among Christians; there may be a Schism in a Church, when no party divideth from it; as when one says, I am of Paul, &c. 1 Cor. 3. 3. A Man may cause Divisions from a Church, that separates not from it himself.

The sparks of Schism are kindled, when proud Persons are brainsick with a fond estimation of their own opinions, and heart-sick for propagating them.

[Page 52] Till Church Divisions be rightly apprehended, as Whore­dom, Swearing and Drunkenness are, they will never be well cured. Imprint therefore on your minds the true Character of them, and consider the Effects, and then you will fear this con­founding Sin, as much as a consuming Plague.

Pag. 63 When you are tempted to separate from any Church for defectiveness in its manner of Worship; enquire how God is Worshipped in all the Churches on Earth, and then consider if you lived among them, you would forsake com­munion with them all. Read the Church History, and consi­der what Heresies have been in times past, and what havock Schisms have caused among Christians, for if this had been known by well meaning Persons in our days, we should not have seen those same opinions appleaded as New Lights, which were long ago exploded as Old Heresies: Nor should we have seen many honest People taking that same course to reform the Church now, and advance the Gospel, which in so many Ages and Nations destroyed the Church, and cast out the Gospel. A narrow Soul that taketh all Christs Interest in the World to lye in a few of their Separate Meetings, and shuts up all the Church in a Nut-shell, must needs be guilty of the foulest Schisms. It is a Catholick Spirit and Principles loving a Christian as a Christian, abhorring the very name of Sects and Parties, as the Churches Wounds, that makes a Catholick indeed.

Mr. Caudry in his Book of Schism; against Dr. Owen, p. 14. says, that Toleration (of separate Congregations) had done more to the rooting out Religion from the hearts of many in Seven Years, than the inforcing of Uniformity in Seventy Years before.

As to Separation:Cure of Di­vis. p. 80. Be the backwardest to divide and sepa­rate, and do it not without a certain warrant, and extreme necessity; resolve with Augustine, I will not be the Chaff, and yet I will not go out of the Floor, though the Chaff be there. Never give over your just desire and endeavour for Reforma­tion, and yet as long as you can possibly avoid it. Forsake not the Church that you desire to reform; as Paul said to them, that were to forsake a Shipwrackt Vessel, If these abide not in the Ship, ye cannot be saved. Many a one, by unlawful flying and shifting for his own greater peace and safety, doth much more hazard his own and others.

Of Raising Churches against Churches.

Church gathering is Church scattering work, p. 110. Christ. Direct.

The Interest of the Christian Protestant Religion in England, Defence, p. 36. must be much kept up by keeping up as much of Truth, Piety, and Reputation as is possible in the Parish-Churches. There­fore,—In Parishes where all may hear the Parish-minister,Sacrilegi­ous desert­ing, p. 92. I would not have you, without necessity, to Preach at the same hour of the day, but at some middle time, that you may not seem to vie with him for Auditors, nor to draw the People from him; but let them go with you to hear him, and after come and hear you.

Do not meet together in opposition to the publick meeting,Saints Rest P. 518. nor at the time of publick Worship, nor yet to make a ground­less Schism, or to separate from the Church, whereof you are Members, nor to destroy the old, that you may gather a new Church out of its Ruines, as long as it hath the Essentials, and there is hope of reforming it; nor yet would I have you for­ward to vent your own supposed gifts and parts in teaching, where there is no necessity of it; nor as a separated Church, but as a part of the Church more diligent than the rest in re­deeming time. Let all your private meetings be in subordina­tion to the publick, and by the approbation and consent of your Spiritual guides, Remembring them which have the rule over you, Heb. 13. 7, 8, 9. And I beseech you Brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the Doctrine which you have learned and avoid them, &c. Rom. 16. 17, 18. I would you would ponder every one of these words, for they are the precious advice of the Spirit of God, and necessary now as well as then.

The great advantages that Satan hath got upon the Church through the sin of the Pastors,Preface to Confess. in these later days, is by division. By this he hath promoted all the rest of his designs. Our division gratifieth the Papist,Defence, p. 17. and greatly hazardeth the Protestant Re­ligion, more than most of you seem to believe or regard. It advantageth Profaneness, and greatly hindereth the success of the Ministers; it pleaseth Satan and builds up his kingdom.

[Page 54] The hand of God is apparently gone out against the Sepa­ratists;Epistle to separate Congrega­gations. you see you do but prepare Persons for a further pro­gress; Seekers, Ranters, Quakers and too many professed In­fidels, do spring up from among you, as if this were the jour­neys end and perfection of your revolt. By such fearful deser­tions did God formerly witness his detestation of those that withdrew from the unity of the Church.Defence, p. 50. And separati­on will ruine the separated Churches themselves; it will ad­mit of no consistency. Parties will arise in the separated Churches, and separate again from them till they are dissolved. I beseech my Brethren to open their eyes so far, as to regard experience. How few separated Churches do now exist, that were in being an hundred years ago, can you name any? and would you have all the Churches of Christ to be dissolved?

In the year 1634. Roger Williams of New-England, an As­sistant to Mr. Kalph Smith Pastor at Plymouth, Answ. to Exceptions, p. 170. where, having vented divers singular opinions, he was dismissed, went to Sa­lem, which place in a years time he filled with Principles of rigid Separation, tending to Anabaptistry, as that it is not lawful for an unregenerate Man to pray, or take an Oath, in special not the Oath of Fidelity to the Magistrate. He forbad any of his Church-members to hear the godly Ministers of England when occasionally they went thither. He taught that the Magistrate had nothing to do in matters of the First Table; that there should be an unlimited Toleration of all Religions; that to punish any Man for his Conscience was Persecution. He separated not only from the Churches of Old, but of New-England also, as Antichristian. After that, he would not pray, or give thanks with his own Wife or Family, because they went to the Church-Assemblies. He kept private Meetings by way of separation from, and opposition to the Church-Assem­bly; and being banished as a disturber of the Peace, he sat down at a place called Providence, and there fell to Anabap­tistry, renouncing Infant Baptism. And after a while he told his People, that he was out of the way himself, and had mis­led them, for he could not find that any on Earth had power to administer Baptism, and therefore their last Baptism was a nullity as well as the first, and that they must wait for the coming of new Apostles; and so they dissolved and turned Seekers.

[Page 55] The case of the Summer Islands as related by Mr. Vaughan, a worthy Minister come from thence upon discouragement, would make a Christians heart to bleed. To hear how strict and regular, and hopeful that Plantation once was, and how one godly Minister by Separation, selecting a few to be his Church, rejecting all the rest from the Sacrament, the rejected party were dolefully estranged from Religion, and the selected party turned Quakers. But our own case is yet a more lamen­table proof, what Separation hath done against Religion; so that it is my wonder that any good man can over-look it.

Above all things I intreat the dividing Brethren,Defence, P. 68. if they can so long lay aside partiality, to judge of the reasons of their separation. The defects of the Liturgy, and the faults of those by whom we suffer, are easily heightned even beyond desert. But when many of us vent untruths, and slanders against our Brethren, and multiply publick untruths, we never make scruple of communion with such. Suppose one should say, that a Peo­ple guilty of such sins, as are condemned, Exod. 23. 1, 2. Psal. 15. 3. Rom. 1. 30, &c. (i. e. raising false reports, reproaching our Neighbours, strife and debates) should not be communi­cated with, especially when not one of those offenders is cal­led to repentance for it, what answer will you give to this which will not confute your own objections against commu­nion with many Parish Churches in this Land?

As to Popery;Defence, p. 21. The interest of the Protestant Religion must be much kept up, by the means of the Parish Ministers, and by the Doctrine and Worship there performed; and they that think and endeavour contrary to this, (of which side soever) shall have the hearty thanks and concurrence of the Papists. Nor am I causelesly afraid,P. 52. that if we suffer the Principles and Practices, which I write against, to proceed without our con­tradiction, Popery will get by it so great advantage as may hazard us all, and we may lose that which the several Parties do contend about.

Three ways especially Popery will grow out of our divisi­ons, 1. By the odium and scorn of our disagreements, incon­sistency, and multiplied Sects, they will perswade People, that we must either come for unity to them, or else all run mad, and crumble into dust and individuals. Thousands have been drawn to Popery, or confirmed in it, by this Argument [Page 56] already: And I am perswaded, that all the Arguments else in Bellarmine, and all other Books that ever were written, have not done so much to make Papists in England, as the multi­titude of Sects among our selves. Some Professors of Religious strictness and great esteem for Godliness, having run from Sect to Sect, and finding no consistency turned Papists them­selves.

2. Who knows not how fair a game the Papists have to play by our divisions? Methinks I hear them hissing on both Parties, saying to one side, Lay more upon them, and abate them nothing: And to the other, Stand it out, and yield to nothing: hoping that our divisions will carry us to such pra­ctices, as shall make us accounted Seditious, Rebellious, and dangerous to the Publick Peace, and so they may pass for bet­ter subjects than we, or else, that they may get a Toleration together with us. And shall they use our hands to do their work? We have already served them unspeakably, both in this, and in abating the odium of the Gunpower-Plot, and other Treasons.

3. It is not the least of our danger,Key for Catholicks. lest by our Follies, Ex­tremities and rigors we so exasperate the common People, as to make them readier to joyn with the Papists, than with us, in in case of competitions, invasions or insurrections against the King and Kingdoms peace.

The Papists account, that if the Puritans get the day, they shall make great advantage of it; for they will be unsetled, and all in pieces, and not know how to settle the Govern­ment. Factions and Distractions (say they) give us footing for continual attempts. To make all sure we will secretly have our party among Puritans also, that we may be sure to main­tain our interest.

Let the Magistrate cherish the disputations of the Teachers,Baxter's Holy Com­monwealth. and let him procure them often to debate together, and re­prove one another: For when Men see that there is nothing certain among them, they will easily yield saith Contzen the Jesuit.

Of Toleration.

Shall the meer pretence of Carnal Liberty be thought an Argument for a wicked damning Liberty, a Liberty to destroy and deceive as many as they can; will merciful Rulers set up a Trade for Butchering Souls, and allow Men to set up a Shop of Poyson for all Men to buy and take what they will, yea to proclaim this Poyson for Souls in the Streets and Church As­semblies. Saints Rest, p. 133.

Could I have believed him, that would have told me five years ago, that when the Scorners of Godliness were subdued, and the bitter Persecuters of Church were destroyed, that such should succeed them who suffered with us, and were our intimate Friends, which we took sweet councel, and went up together to the House of God, should draw their Swords against each other, and seek each others blood so fiercely? O what a potent instrument for Satan is a mis­guided Conscience when it is set at Liberty.

Of Spiritual Pride.

Proud Men will not grow in the same Field,Epistle to separate Congrega­gations. or Church, where Tares do grow, but will transplant themselves, because God will not pluck up the Tares, especially if any Ministerial neglect of Discipline be conjoyned; and instead of blaming their own Pride, lay the blame on the corruptions of the Church.—The Pharisees Liturgy is frequent in separate Assemblies, God I thank thee, I am not as other men. But this is very remarkable, that it is a pretence of our impurity, and a greater purity with you that is pleaded by such as first turn o­ver to you; and that this height of all impieties should be the usual issue or a way, pretended so exact and clean, doubtless it is not Gods mind, by this to dis [...]ourag [...] any from purity and true Reformation, but to shew his detestation of that spi­ritual pride, which maketh Men to have too high thoughts of themselves, and too much to contemn others, and to desire to be further separated from them, than God in the day of grace doth allow of. Consider this, it is the judgment of some, that Thousands are gone to Hell, and Ten Thousands on their [Page 58] march thither, that in all probability had never come there, if they had not been tempted from the Parish Churches, for injoyment of communion in a purer Church.

He that causeth differences of Judgment and Practice,Christ. Di­rect. p. 733. and contendings in the Church, doth cause divisions, though none separate from the Church. If you may not divide in the Church, nor from it, then you may not causelesly divide from it your selves.

And commonly Appearance,Cure of Divisions, P. 359. Advantage, Interest, and a taking Tone and Voice do more with the most, than solid evi­dence of truth. But they who desire to have a party follow them, and are busie in perswading others to be of their mind, and speak perverse things, &c. are guilty of Church divisions.

Do not you condemn a carnal state?Defence, p. 3. Remember they are carnal, who are contentious dividers in the Churches, 1 Cor. 3. 1. You will disallow a fleshly mind and life; Remember then, that the works of the flesh are these, As Adultery, Fornicati­on, &c. So Hatred, or Enmity, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife, Cure of Divis. p. 77. Seditions, [...], Dividings into Parties.—When once Parties are ingaged by their Opinions in Anti-Churches, and fierce disputings, the Flesh and Satan will be working in them against all that is holy, sweet and safe.

The Fire is blown up, when Men are desirous to have a party follow them, and cry them up, and thereupon are busie in perswading others to be of their Mind, and do speak per­verse things to draw away Disciples after them, to be accoun­ted Masters of a Party. Christ. Direct. p. 52. part. 3.

Church dividers are the most successful Servants of the Devil, being Enemies to the Family of Christ in his Livery. They gratifie Satan and all the Enemies of the Church, and do the very works that he would have them do, more effectually than open Enemies could do: As mutineers in an Army may do more to destroy it than the power of the Enemy, p. 60. It is a Sin that contradicteth all Gods Ordinances and means of Grace. A Sin against as great and lamentable experiences as almost any Sin can be; this is a heinous aggravation of it, that commonly it is justified and not repented of, yea it is fathered upon God, every Sect pretending Gods Authority, and it re­presents his Kingdom worse than that of the Devil which is not divided.

Of Superstition.

Do you not hate Superstition?p. 282. Consider then, what Super­stition is; it is the making of any new parts of Religion to our selves, and fathering them upon God. Of this there are Two sorts, Positive, and Negative. When we falsely say, This is a duty commanded by God, or when we falsely say, This is a sin forbidden by God, take heed of both. For in­stance,P. 288. The Scripture telleth us of no Church-Elders, but what were ordained, and of none but such as were of the same Office with the Preaching Pastors or Elders, of none that had not Authority to Baptize and Administer the Lord's Supper; nor doth Church History tell us of any other, as a Divine Office. But now we have concluded, that there is a distinct Office of Ruling Elders, who need not be Ordained, and who have no power to Baptize, or to Administer the Lord's Supper. This I think is Superstition,P. 290. for we feign God to have made a Church Office which he never made.—That it is simply unlawful to use a Form of Prayer, or to read a Prayer on a Book; That if a School-master impose a Form upon a Scholar, or a Parent on a Child, it maketh it become unlawful; That our presence maketh us guilty of all the errors, or unmeet ex­pressions of the Minister, in publick Worship, at least if we before know of them, and therefore that we must joyn with none, whose Errors or Mis-expression we know of before;—That we are guilty of the sins of all unworthy or scandalous Communicants, if we communicate with them, though their admission is not by our fault; That he whose judgment is a­gainst a Diocesan-Church may not lawfully joyn with a Pa­rish-Church, if the Minister be but subject to the Diocesin; That whatsoever is unlawfully commanded, is not lawful to be obeyed; That it is unlawful to do any thing in the Worship of God, which is imposed by Men, and is not commanded in the Scripture: These and more such as these are Superstitions, which some Religious People have brought in. And by all such inventions fathered upon God,P. 292. and made a part of Reli­gion, the minds of Men are corrupted, and disquieted, and the Churches disturbed and divided.

[Page 60] Most of our Acquaintance think it their duty to keep up the Reputation of the Publick Conformable Ministry. p. 246. of Plea, and p. 109. We are far from designing any abasement of the Clergy; nor do we deny or draw others to deny any due Reverence or Obedience to them.

I repent, that I no more discouraged the peevish Spirit of quarelling with Superiors, and Church Orders; And that I encouraged such by speaking too sharply against those things, which I thought to be Church Corruptions. Admonition to Bagshaw.

The People are ready to scorn the Gravest and Wisest Pa­stors, we are indangered by Divisions; chiefly because the Self-conceited part of the Religious People will not be ruled by their Pastors. Cure of Divisions, p. 393.

I repent, that I no more discouraged the Spirit of peevish quarrelling with Superiors, and Church Orders, and (though I ever disliked and opposed it) yet that I did sometime too much encourage such as were of their temper, by speaking too sharply against those things which I thought to be Church Corruptions, and was too loath to displease the Contentious, for fear of being uncapable to do them good, and meeting with too few Religious Persons, that were not pleased with such invectives. P. 52. to Bagshaw.

In The Preface to Christ. Direct. It is said, That my Write­ings differing from the common judgment, had already caused offence to the Godly. Answ. 4. If God bless me with oppor­tunity and help, I will offend such Men much more, by en­deavouring further than ever I have done, the quenching that Fire which they are still blowing up, and detecting the Folly and Mischiefs of those Logomachies, by which they militate against Love and Concord, and inflame and tare the Church of God: And let them know, that I am about it.

Of Prejudice.

Take heed of suffering Prejudice and Fancy to go for rea­son,Christ. Di­rect. p. 66. Part. 3. and raise in your Minds unjustifiable distasts of any way or mode of Worship. It is wonderful to see what Fancy and Prejudice can do, get once a hard Opinion of a thing, and your Judgments will make light of all that is said for it, and [Page 61] will see nothing that should reconcile you to it. Partiality will carry you away from Equity and Truth. Abundance of things appear now false and evil to Men, that once imagined them to be so, which would seem harmless and laudable, if tried by a Mind that is clear from Prejudice.

Of Censoriousness.

Is not Censoriousness and Rash Judging a Sin?Preface to Cure of Di­visions. Yet one Congregation of the Division labours to make others odious and contemptible, and that is called the Preaching of Truth, and purer Worshipping of God. I have seen this grow up to the height of Ranters, in horrid Blasphemies; and then of Quakers, in disdainful Pride and Surliness, and into Seekers, that were to seek for a Ministry, a Church, a Scripture, and consequently a Christ. I have lived to see it put to the Que­stion (in the little Parliament) whether all the Ministers of the Parishes of England should be put down at once. I have seen how confidently the killing of the King, the rebellious demolishing of the Government of the Land, the killing of many Thousands of their Brethren, the turnings and overturn­ings of all kind of Rule, even that which themselves set up, have been committed, and justified, and profanely fathered upon God; these with much more such fruits of love-killing Principles I have seen.

If you converse with Censorious Separatists,Cur [...]. p. 152. you shall hear so many invectives against them that are truly Catholick and sober, as will make you think, that Love and Peace, and Ca­tholick Communion are some sinful and mischievous things.

The experience of Twenty six Years in this Kingdom may convince the World,P. 24. what crimes may stand with high pro­fessions; such as the generation springing up will scarce believe. What high Professors were the proudest overturners of all Go­vernment, and resisters and despisers of Ministry and Holy Order in the Churches? The most railing Quakers, and most filthy blaspheming Ranters, to warn the World to take heed of being proud of superficial gifts, and high profession, and that he that stands in his own conceit should take heed lest he fall.

I have much ado to forbear naming some high ProfessorsP. [...] [Page 62] known lately at Worcester, Exeter, and other places, who died Apostate Infidels, deriding Christianity, and the Immortality of the Soul,P. 188. who once were Separatists. And I have heard of some Separatists, who when others of a contrary judgment were going to the Churches at London, looked in at the Doors, saying, The Devil choak thee, art thou not out of thy pot­tage yet?

I commend to all that of the Apostle,P. 22. Phil. 2. 3. Let nothing be done through strife and vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Read this Verse over on your Knees, and beg of God to write it on your Hearts. And I would wish all Assemblies of dividers and unwarrantable Se­paratists, to write it over the Doors of their Meeting places, and join with it, Rom. 12. 10. but especially study James 3. In a word, if God would cure the Church of Religious Pride, the Pride of Wisdom, and the Pride of Piety and Goodness, the Church would have fewer Heresies and Contentions, and much more Peace, true Wisdom and Goodness.

The forwardness of many to keep open Divisions,Preface to Confess. and to affect communion with none, but such as say as they do, is a down right mark of a Schismatick. And I know that dividing Principles and Dispositions do tend directly to the ruine and damnation of those in whom they do prevail.

When Men fall into several Parties,Christ. Di­rect. p. 734. burning in Zeal against each other, abating charity, censuring and condemning one another, backbiting and reviling each other, through envy and strife; when they look strangely on each other, as being of several sides, as if they were not Children of the same Fa­ther, nor Members of the same Body, or as if Christ were di­vided, one being of Paul, and another of Apollo, &c. and e­very one of a Faction, letting out their thoughts in jealousies and evil surmises of each other, perverting the words and actions of each to an ugly sense; and snatching occasions to present one another as fools, or odious to the hearers (as if you should plainly say, I pray you hate, or despise these Peo­ple, whom I hate and despise:) This is the core of the Plague sore, it is Schism in the bud. S. 16. When People in the same Church do gather into private Meetings, not under the gui­dance of their Pastors, to edifie one another in holy exercises, in love and peace, but in opposition to their lawful Pastors, or [Page 63] to one another, to propagate their single opinions, and in­crease their Parties, and speak against those that are not on their side, Schism is then ready to increase and multiply, and the Swarm is ready to come forth, and be gon. S. 17. When these People actually depart, and renounce or forsake the com­munion of the Church, and cast off their faithful Pastors, and draw into a separated Body by themselves, and choose them Pastors, and call themselves a Church, and all without any just, sufficient cause; when thus Churches are gathered out of Churches, before the old ones are dissolved, or they have any warrant to depart; when thus Pastor is set up against Pastor, Church against Church, and Altar against Altar, this is Schism ripe and fruitful, the Swarm is gone and hived in another place. S. 19. If they shall also judge that Church to be no Church from which they separated, and so cut off a part of the Body of Christ by an unrighteous Censure, and condemn the innocent, and usurp Authority over their Guides; this is Diso­bedience and Uncharitableness, with Schism. A true Christian that hateth Fornication, Drunkenness, Lying, Perjury, be­cause forbidden in the Word of God, will hate Divisions also, which are so frequently and vehemently forbidden, Jo. 17. 21, 22. Ro. 14. throughout. Ro. 15. 12. 1 Cor. 1. 10. Eph. 4. 1, 2, &c. 1 Cor. 12. Phil. 3. 15. Ro. 16. 17, 18. 1 Tim. 1. 4. James 3. The mischief of Divisions may be seen at large, p. 739.

Q. May, Christian Directory. P. 854. or must a Minister, silenced, or forbid to preach the Gospel, go on still to preach it against the Law? Answ. He that is silenced by just power, though unjustly, in a Country, that needeth not his Preaching, must forbear there, and if he can, must go into another Country, where he may be more ser­viceable. We must do any lawful thing to procure the Magi­strates licence to preach in his Dominions.

How Humane Laws bind the Conscience.

Q. Whether the Laws of men do bind the Conscience? p. 36. part the 4th. Answ. p. 37. Taking Conscience in a stricter sense, as including es­sentially, a relation to God's obligation, the full sense of the the question is this, Whether it be a sin against God to break the laws of man? Answ. It is a sin against God to break such [Page 64] Laws as Rulers are authorized by God to make: First, be­cause God commandeth us to obey our Rulers. God com­mandeth us to obey in general, and their Law determineth of the particular matter, therefore God obligeth us (in con­science of his Law) to obey them in that particular. 2. Be­cause by making them his Officers, by his Commission, he hath given them a certain beam of Authority, which is Di­vine, as derived from God; therefore they can command us by a power derived from God: therefore to disobey is to sin against a Power derived from God. Man being God's Offi­cer, First his own Law layeth on us an obligation derivatively Divine, (for it is no Law, which hath no Obligation, and it is no Authoritative Obligation, which is not derived from God.) 2. God's own Law bindeth us to obey Man's Laws, Rom. 13.

And it may be a good reason,Baxter of Confirma­tion, P. 293. to perswade Obedience to our Ecclesiastical Governours, because Preaching is a cheap and easie work, in comparison of Church-government.

Take heed of engaging your selves in a Sect,Christ. Di­rect. part 4. p. 73. or Faction; a narrow Sectarian separating mind will make all the Truths of God give place to the opinions of his Party, and measure the prosperity of the Gospel, by the prosperity of his Party; he will not stick to persecute all the rest of the Church of Christ, if the interest of his Sect require it. Overvalue not any pri­vate or singular opinions of your own, or others; for if once spiritual Pride and Ignorance of your own weakness make you espouse particular opinions, as peculiarly your own, you will think your conceits more illuminating and necessary, than they are, as if Mens sincerity lay in the imbracing of them, and their Salvation on the receiving of them; and think all that are against your Opinion, deserve to be cast out as Ene­mies to Reformation; and perhaps, Twenty Years after, ex­perience may bring you to your wits, and make you see the falshood, or smalness of all those points, which you made so great a matter of, and then what comfort will you have of your persecutions?

O the deceitfulness of the heart of Man!Cure of Di­vis. p. 254. P. 261. Little do the ma­ny real Separatists, who cry out against Persecution suspect, that the same spirit is in them. Whence is Persecution, but from thinking ill of others, and abhorring or not loving them? [Page 65] and do not you do so by those whom you causlesly separate from? It is one and the same sin in the Persecutor and Divi­der, or Separatist, which causeth the one to smite their Bre­thren, and the other to excommunicate them; the one to cast them into Prison as Schismaticks, and the other to cast them out of the Church as profane; the one to account them into­lerable in the Land, and the other to account them intolerable in the Church: the inward thoughts of both are the same, that those whom they smite or separate from, are bad and unlove­ly, and unfit for better usage.

But I have observed that Professors of Religion did oppose and deride almost all that Worship of God out of (pretended) Conscience, which others did out of profaneness. Saints Rest, part 1. c. 7. Sect. 14.

It was none of the old cause,Holy Com­monwealth. Eddit. to Pres. Prop. that the People should have liberty, and the Magistrate should have no power, in all mat­ters of God's Worship, Faith and Conscience: And as it is not the old cause, so it is not the good cause. For first, It con­tradicteth the express revelation of the Will of God in the Ho­ly Scripture. Moses, as a Magistrate, had to do in matters of Religion, and so had the Kings of Israel, and Judah.—Law, and Providence, are both quite changed, if Toleration of false Worship, and other abuses of Religion tend not to the ruine of the Common-wealth. If Magistrates must give liber­ty for all to propagate a false Religion, then so must Parents and Masters also, which would be a Crime so horrid in the Nature and Effects of it, as I am loth to name with its proper titles.

The Magistrates will quickly find that the distractions of the Church will breed and feed such distractions in the Com­mon-wealth,Of Confir. P. 309. as may make them wish they had quenched the fire, while it was yet quenchable.—Our unity is not only our strength, but their strength; and the fire that begun in the Church, may, if let alone, reach the Court.

Pag. 423. of his 5 Disputations, He lays down this as the summ of what he had said, That Man may determine of Modes and Circumstances of Worship, necessary and command­ed in genere, but not determined by God in specie, Sect. 65. and then infers, Sect. 67. If the mischoosing of such circumstances by Church governors be but an inconvenience, and do not de­stroy [Page 58] the Ordinance it self, or frustrate the ends of it, we are to obey. 1. For he is the Judge in his own work, and not we. 2. The thing is not sinful though inconvenient. 3. Obe­dience is commanded to our lawful Governors. Sect. 70. And when we do obey in a case of miscommanding, it is not a do­ing evil that good may come of it, as some do misconceive; but it is only a submitting to that which is ill-commanded, but not evil in him that doth submit. It is the determiner that is the cause of the inconvenience, and not the obeyer. Nor is it inconvenient for me to obey, though it be worse perhaps to him that commandeth: while he sinneth in commanding, he may make it my duty to obey, Pag. 461. Sect. 6. The reasons of this are obvious and clear, even because it is the Office of the Governors to determine of such Circum­stances: It is the Pastor's Office to guide and oversee the Flock, and when he determineth these, he is but in his own way, and doth but his own work; and therefore he is therein the Judge, if the case be controvertible. If none shall obey a Magistrate or Pastor in the works of their own Office, as long as they think he did them not the best way, all Governours then would be presently over­thrown, and obedience denyed. We are sure that God hath commanded us to obey them that are over us in the Lord, 1 Thes. 5. 12. Heb. 13. 7. 17, &c. And therefore a certain duty may not be forborn on uncertain conjectures, or upon every mis­carriage of them that we owe it to. This would un-church all Churches (as they are Political Societies:) for if Pastors be taken down, and the work of Pastors, the Church is ta­ken down. Sect. 7. And the things in which the Pastor is now supposed to err, are not of themselves unlawful, but only by such an accident as being over-weighed by another accident shall cease to make them unlawful. For instance, p. 461. Sect. 4. If of two Translations of Scripture, or two Versions of the Psalms the Pastor use the worser, (so it be tolerable) we must obey. And Sect. 7. If the Pastor appoint a more imperfect Version of the Psalms to be sung in the Church (as is commonly used in England) the obeying of him in the use of this will not bring so much hurt to the Church, as the disobeying on that account would do. For besides the sin of disobedience it self, the Church would be in a confusion if [Page 59] they forsake his conduct that preserves the Union; and some will be for this and some for that, and so the Worship it self will be overthrown. And let it still be remembred, that we allow both Magistrates and Pastors to see to the execution of God's Laws, and to determine of circumstances in order there­to that are necessary in genere, p. 482. Sect. 35. but not de­termined of God in specie, p. 422. Sect. 65. It may be very sinful to command some Ceremonies which may lawfully, yea must in duty be used by the Subject when they are com­manded, p. 398. Certain things commonly called Ceremo­nies may lawfully be used in the Church upon humane im­position, and when it is not against the Law of God; no Person should disobey the Laws of their lawful Governors in such things.

If there should be any Pastors of the Churches who instead of concurring to heal the Flock of these dividing Principles,Cure of Di­visions. P. 253. shall rather joyn with backbiters and incourage them in their misreports and slanders, because it tends to the supposed in­terest of their party or themselves; Let them prepare to An­swer such unfaithfulness to their Consciences, which will be shortly awakened; And to the great Shepherd of the Flock, who is at the door, and who told even the Devils Agents that, A House or Kingdom divided against it self cannot stand, but is brought to nought.

For farther Satisfaction I refer the Reader to Mr. Baxter's Case of Separation, in the Appendix to his Life, p. 67, to p. 80. where he thus concludes; More may be seen in Mr. Nye's Book for hearing the Parish Preachers, and in Mr. Tomb's who wrote against Infant Baptism, vindicating the lawfulness and duty of joyning in ordinary Communion, in Word, Pray­er, and Sacrament with the Parish Churches.

FINIS.

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.