A Second Sheet for the MINISTRY Iustifying our CALLING Against Quakers, Seekers, and Papists, and all that deny us to be the Ministers of Christ.

By Richard Baxter.

LONDON, Printed by R. White. for Nevil Simmons Bookseller in Kederminster, 1657.

A second Sheet for the MINISTRY: Justifying our Calling against Quakers, Seekers and Papists, and all that deny us to be the Ministers of Christ.

THe corruption of the Romish Church being most in the errors and vices of the Priests, which made men abhor the offering of the Lord (1 Sam. 2.17.) the Reproach which they brought upon themselves, did much pre­pare men to hearken to the Reformers: The observing of this, and of the necessary dependance of the people on their Pastors, hath caused the Papists to bend their force against the Ministers of the Reformed Churches, and to use all their wit to defame their persons, and callings, and make them seem ignorant, un­worthy, or no Ministers to the people. On this errand they send abroad their agents; This is the saving Gospel that the Seekers, Quakers, and their brethren preach; that the Scripture is not the Gospel or word of God, and that we are no true Ministers. Whatever Doctrine we are preaching, the Opposers▪work is, to call us deceivers, and ask, How we prove our selves true Ministers? My work therefore at this time, for the sake of the igno­rant in our Assemblies, shall be, to acquaint them with our answer to this demand. And I shall give it you in order, in certain Propositions.

Prop. 1. Both in the Old and New Testament there is mention of two distinct sort of Ministers, of Gods appointment. First, such as received some new Re­velation ▪ (either a Law, or a particular Message) immediately from God; so that the people could not be sure that their Doctrine was true, till they were sure that the men were sent of God. These were called Prophets, in the Old Testament, and Apostles, Prophets, &c. in the New. So Moses recei­ved the Law from God: and the following Prophets their particular Mes­sages. So the Apostles received the Gospel from Christ; and so did the se­venty▪ and other Disciples that conversed with him: and other Prophets and Evangelists had it by immediate inspiration. All these were Necessa­rily by Miracles, or some infallible Evidence to prove their own call, be­fore the hearers could receive their Doctrine: for this was their Message; [The Lord hath commanded me to say thus or thus to you] or [The word which the Lord spake to me is thus or thus] This sort of Ministers the Papists and Seekers do confess.

But besides these, there is a second sort of true Ministers, whose Office is not to receive from God any new Doctrine, Law, or Message; but to proclaim the Laws already delivered, and teach men the doctrine already reveal­ed, and to Oversee and govern the Churches of Christ according to his Laws, and to go before the people in the worship of God: The Prophets and A­postles [Page] did both these; both Reveal the doctrine which they received from Christ, and teach and guide the Church by it when they had done: but the latter sort of Ministers do but▪ the later sort of the work. The Papists and Seekers cheat men by jumbling all together, as if there were no Ministers of Gods appointment but those of the former sort; and therefore they call for miracles to prove our Ministry. Here therefore I shall first prove, that the second sort of Ministers are of Gods institution: 2. That such need not prove their calling by miracles; though yet God may work Miracles by them if he please. 3. That we are true Ministers of Christ, of this sort.

1. Christ found such Ministers under the Law, that were to teach and Rule by the Law before received, and not to receive new Laws or Messa­ges: I mean the ordinary Priests and Levites, as distinguished from Prophets. These Priests were to keep the Law, and teach it the people, and the people were to seek it at their mouth, and by it they were to judge mens causes: and also they were to stand between the people and God in publique wor­ship, as is exprest, Deut. 31.26. Josh. 23.6. Neh. 8.1, 2, 3, 8, 18. & 9.3. Levit. 1. & 2. & 4. & 5. & 7. & 13. & 14. throughout, Num. 5. & 6. Deut. 17.12. Mal. 2.7. Ier. 18.18. The Prophet had visions: but the Priest had the Law, Ezek. 7.26. Isa 8.16, 20. Hag. 2.11, 12. Num. 1.50. 1 Chron. 9.26. & 16.4. 2 Chron. 19.11. & 20.19. & 30.17, 22. He was called A Teaching Priest, 2 Chron. 15.13. Lev. 10 10, 11. Deut. 24.8. 2 Chron. 17.7.9. Ezek. 44.23▪ 2 Chron. 35.3. And Christ himself sends the cleansed to the Priest, and commandeth them to hear the Pharises that sat in Moses Chair, though they were no Prophets: so that besides the Prophets that had their message immediately from God, there were Priests that were called the Ministers of the Lord, Joel and Levites that were not to bring new Revelations, but to Teach, and Rule, and worship according to the old. For Moses of old time hath in every City them that preach him, being read in the Synagogues every Sabbath day, Acts 15.21. The Jews rejected Christ because they knew him not, nor the voyce of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath day, Acts 13.27. And even unto this day, when Moses is read the Vail is on their heart, 2 Cor. 3.15. And they that would not believe Moses and the Prophets (thus read and preached) neither will they be perswaded though one rose from the dead, Luke 16.29, 31.

2. And as Priests and Levites were distinct from Prophets before Christ, so Christ appointed besides the Apostles and Prophetical revealers of his Gospel, a standing sort of Ministers, to 1. Teach, 2. Rule, 3. And worship according to the Gospel which the former had Revealed, and attested, and proved to the world. These were called Overseers, or Bishops, Presbyters, or Elders, Pastors and T [...]achers; and also the Deacons were joyned to assist them, Acts 14.23. They ordained them Elders (not Prophets or Apostles) in every Church, Tit. 1.5. Titus was to ordain Elders in every City. Timothy hath full direction for the Ordaining of Bishops or Elders and Deacons, 1 Tim. 3.

That their work was not to bring new Doctrine, but to Teach, Rule, and worship according to that Received, I now prove, 2 Tim. 2.2. The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faith­ful men, who shall be able to teach others also] Mark, that its the same, and not a new Doctrine: and that as heard from Paul among many witnesses, and [Page 4] not as received immediately from God: and others were thus to receive it down from Timothy. And v. 15. Study to shew thy self approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,] It is not to bring new Truths, but rightly to divide the old. And 2 Tim. 1.13. Hold fast the form of words which thou hast heard of me (not which thou hadst immediately from God) in Faith and Love which is in Christ Jesus; that Good thing which was committed unto thee, keep, by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. The Holy Ghost is to help us in keeping that which is committed to us, and not to reveal more, 2 Tim. 6.13, 14. [I give thee charge in the sight of God—that thou keep this Commandment without spot, unrebukable, till the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was a form of Doctrine delivered to the Church of Rome, Rom. 6.17. And 1 Tim. 5.17. The Elders that Rule well are worthy of double honour, especially they that labour in the word and Do­ctrine. You see their work was to Rule and labour in the word and Do­ctrine, 1 Tim. 4.13, 14, 15, 16. Till I come, give attendance to Reading, to Ex­hortation, to Doctrine; meditate upon these things: give thy self wholly to them, that thy prof [...]ing may appear to all: Take heed unto thy self, and unto thy Doctrine: continue in them: for in doing this, thou shalt both save thy self and them that hear thee.] 1. Tim. 4.6. [If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shall be a good Minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine whereunto thou hast attained:] Mark here the description of a good Minister of Christ; One thats nourished up in▪ the words of faith and good doctrine, (which is the use of Schools and Univer­sities) and having attained it, makes it his work to teach it, and put others in remembrance of it, Tit. 1.7, 9, 10, 11. For a Bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God — holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught (mark that) that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, &c.] So 1 Tim. 3.1, 5. The office of a Bishop is to Rule and take care of the Church of God:] To take heed to themselves, and to all the flock, and feed the Church of God: and to watch hereunto, according to the word of Gods grace, which is fully and wholly delivered by his Apostles, and is able to build us up, and give us an inheritance among the sanctified: as Act. 20.28, 20, 27, 35, 32. 1 Thess. 5.12, 13. We beseech you brethren to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you (this is their Office) and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake (and not revile them as the servants of Satan do) and be at peace among your selves, Heb. 13.7, 17, 24. Remember them which have the Rule over you, which have spoken to you the word of God: Obey them that have the Rule over you, and submit your selves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give ac­count, that they may do it with Joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Salute all them that have the Rule over you: The Elders of the Church are to pray with, and for the sick, Jam. [...].14. They must feed the flock of God among them, taking the oversight of it, 1 Pet. 5.1, 2. Thus you see their Office and work.

2. And that they were not to bring any new Doctrine, further appears, in [Page 5] that they have a charge to Preach no other doctrine, 1 Tim. 1.3. Nor to be tossed as children with every wind of doctrine, Eph. 4.14. Nor carried about with divers and strange doctrines, Heb. 13.9.

3. Yea, if any man bring not the doctrine of Christ, we must not receive him into our houses, or bid him God speed, lest we be partakers of his evil deeds, for be that abideth not in this doctrine hath not God, 2 John 9.10, 11. Gal. 1.8, 9. [Though we or an Angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel to you, then that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again: If any man preach any other Gospel to you then that ye have received, let him be accursed.] And Rom. 16.17, 18. Now I beseech you Brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the Doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.] 1 Tim. 6.3. If any man teach otherwise, and con­sent not to wholsome words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Do­ctrine which is according to Godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but do [...] ­ing. —]

4. And if all Ministers must be receivers of new Doctrines, the Church would never know when it hath all, but would be still obeying an imperfect Law. 5. And it would be an oppression to the Church instead of a Dire­ction, to be so overwhelmed with new Doctrines and Precepts. 6. And it would accuse Christ the Lawgiver of such mutability, as wise Princes are not guilty of; to be still changing or adding to his Laws. 7. There was great occasion for the New Testament or Gospel, upon the great work of our Redemption: but there is no such cause for alterations since. 8. The Priests before Christ were not to receive new Laws, as is said. 9. The com­panions of the Apostles that wrought Miracles, had not all new Revelati­ons; but did it to seal up this Gospel. 10. What need we more then actual experience, that God doth not give New Revelations to the world, and none since the Scripture-times, have sealed any other by Miracles.

And thus I have proved to you the two sorts of Ministers: as Paul plain­ [...] distinguisheth them, 1 Cor. 3.10, 11, 12. Eph. 2.20. There are Planters and Waterers, Master builders that lay the foundation, and others that build thereon: [...]ther foundation can no man lay then that which is laid: but every man that [...]ildeth hay or stubble and loseth his work, doth not nullifie the Ministry. We are built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the head corner-stone: but we are not built on the foundation of every Pa­stor, Teacher, Elder, Bishop or Deacon: Though both in their places (A­postles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) are given for the per­fecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministry, for the Edifying of the body of Christ, Eph. 4.11, 12. That we might be one united Body, having one fixed standing doctrine, ver. 14, 15, 16. And how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was con­firmed unto us by them that heard him: (mark whence the Church receiveth it) God also bearing them witness (but not every Elder or Teacher) both with signs and wonders, and with divers Miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to his own will, Heb. 2.3, 4.

Prop. 2. And now that these later Ministers need not prove their calling by Mi­racles, I prove thus: 1. God never imposed such a task upon them, nor com­manded [Page 6] the people to require such a proof, & not to believe any but workers of Miracles. 2. God gave not all the gift of Miracles that were employed in his work even in the Apostles daies: Are all workers of Miracles? saith Paul; some had by the Spirit, the word of wisdom, and of knowledge, and others Tongues, and others Interpretation, and others Miracles, 1 Cor. 12.29, 7, 8, 9, 10. 3. They that have the Holy Ghost are owned by Christ; and so have many without working Miracles. See Rom. 8.9. 1 Cor. 12.3. Gal. 5.18, 22, 23, 24. 1 Cor. 6.11. Eph. 3.16. & 5.9, 18. 1 Pet. 1.2, 22. Rom. 15.13, 16. Tit. 3.5. 4. The Law of Moses was kept and taught by Priests and Levites that wrought not Miracles. 5. If the Laws of all Nations may be kept with­out Miracles, so may the Laws of Christ. 6. If humane writings are kept without Miracles, (as Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Livy, &c.) so may the Laws of God much more, as being the daily subject of the belief, medita­tion, conference, preaching, controversies, devotions of Christians through the world, and translated into so many Tongues. 7. There is nothing in the Nature of the thing that requireth ordinary Miracles. Cannot men sufficiently prove without Miracles, that there have been such men as Cae­sar, Pompey, Aristotle, or which be Calvins or Bellarmines writings, &c. Much more evidently may they prove what doctrine is essential to Christianity, and the Scripture that contains the whole. 8. Else Parents could not teach their children, nor bring them up in the Nurture and admonition of the Lord, Eph. 6.4. Nor teach them with Timothy, from a child to know the Scriptures, which are able to make men wise to salvation through faith in Christ, 2 Tim. 3.15. Must no Parents teach their children to know Christ, but such as can work Miracles? 9. The Doctrine which we preach is fully confirmed by Miracles already, by Christ and his Apostles: There needs no greater then Christs own Resurrection, nor more then were done; which Universal un­questionable History and Tradition hath brought down to our hands. 10. It is a ridiculous expectation, that every person should see the Miracles before they do believe. Then if Christ had done Miracles before all Jerusalem, save one man, that one man should not be bound to believe: Or if I could do miracles in this Town or Countrey, none must believe me ever the more but those that see it. And so you may as well say, I should not believe that there is any Sea or Land, City or Kingdom, France, Spain, Rome, &c. but what I see. Are these men worthy to be talkt with? that believe no body, and confess themselves such Lyars that they would have no body believe them. It was not all that saw Christs Miracles or Resurrection, or the Apostles mi­racles! It seems the rest were not bound to be Christians? Even as Clem. Writer told me, that no man is bound to believe that Christ did Rise again, or the rest of Christianity, that seeth not Miracles himself to prove it: adding withall, that indeed Antichrist may do Miracles; and so it seems for all the talk, miracles themselves would not serve if they saw them. 11. Is it not to put a scorn on God Almighty, to say that the Glory of all his most miraculous works should be buried to all that saw them not; and that Parents should not tell them to their children, or children should not believe them if they do? 12. Its injurious to Posterity, that the knowledge of the most won­derful works of God shall be only for the good of them that see them; [Page 7] and that all ages after shall be never the better. 13. It tends to make men mad and as Ideots, that must know and believe no more then they see: what▪ kind of folks must these be? that know not that there is either Prince or Parliament, City or Countrey, or any folks in the world but those they have seen? This will not stand with trading, converse, Subjection, Socie­ties; and its doubtful whether such are capable of managing estates; or should not be put under others as Ideots? 14. Children cannot learn to read nor speak without some kind of belief of them that teach them: nor can they obey their parents nor learn any trade: nor obey Physitians: so that this conceit of incredulity is against the Nature, livelihood, and life of man. 15. And they would tie God to be at the beck of every unreasonable Infidel that shall say, [Though all the Town have seen thy Miracles, yet I will see my self, or else I will not believe.] 16. They expect that God should overturn the course of Nature: for if Miracles be as ordinary as the operations of Nature, they are confounded. 17. And by this they would cross themselves, and make Miracles uneffectual: For if they were ordinary, few would be moved by them as any proof of a Divine Testimony: were it as ordinary for the Sun to go backward as forward, who would take it for a Miracle? To this Clem. Writer answers me, that [Miracles were convincing in the first Age when they were common.] Answ. How com­mon? Not as natural operations: Nor so as for all Countreys or persons to see them; 500 saw Christ at once after his Resurrection: 5000. were once miraculously fed: but as this was not every days work, so what was this to others? And in that it was but for an age, and rarely in after ages, shews that they were not for every mans eyes. 18. What need we more proof then actual experience, that God doth not often now work miracles! And he that saith the Gospel, and Christian faith, and Church, and Ministry are therefore ceased, its like will not take it ill to be taken himself for an Heathen or Infidel. 19. And we have experience of millions that still do actually and stedfastly believe in Christ without Miracles: and many have laid down their lives on that belief: therefore without miracles men may believe. But to this Clem. Writer saith to me, [These believers of all sorts con­demn each other as Hereticks.] Answ. But not as Infidels. None but the ig­norant or passionate condemn all other sorts as Hereticks. The sober do not. And it is not enough to prove you a bastard, if an angry Brother call you so. 20. Because this sheet alloweth me not room, I intreat the Reader to peruse these Texts, which tell him aloud that the word and works of God must be believed by Tradition, though without Miracles, Exod. 10.1, 2. & 12.14, 17, 26, 27, 42. Deut. 11.2. to the 22. & 29.22. to 28. Josh. 4.6, 7. & 22.24. to 32. Psalm 48.13. & 78.1. to 9. & 102.18. & 145.4. & 89.1. Joel 1.2, 3, 4. Acts 1.8. & 2.32. & 5.30, 31, 32. & 10.38. to 42. & 13.30, 31. & 1.22. & 4.33. & 22.15. & 26.16. & 23.11. 2 Tim. 2.2. John 20.29. & 19.35. & 15.27. & 12.17. & 5.33. & 1.15, 32, 34. Luke 4.22. 1 Pet. 5.1. And that you would read my Determination of this very Que­stion, in my Book against Infidelity, I proceed to the next.

Proposition 3. This ordinary Ministry for Teaching, Ruling, and Publike worship, was ordained by Christ▪ to continue till his coming, and doth yet conti­nue, [Page 8] and did not cease when the extraordinary Ministry ceased. I prove it, Matth. 16.18. Ʋpon this Rock will I build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.] The Church never did nor can subsist without its Officers, who are an Essential part of it, as it is a Political Body, and the first and most eminent part, as it is a Community. And therefore if the Mi­nistry be extinct, the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church. And then Christ is overcome, or hath broke his Promise. And then he were not Christ: so that if Christ be Christ, the Church and Ministry continue. So Luke 1.33. He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his Kingdom there shall be no end; Isa. 9.6, 7. Of the encrease of his government and Peace there shall be no end; Psalm 145.13. Thy Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. Christ ruleth by his Officers in his Church. If Church or Ministry had an end, his King­dom had an end, and he raigned nor for ever, Matth. 28.20. Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. To this express promise, Clem. Writer hath no wiser an answer, but that, [It is conditional. If they teach men to ob­serve all things that Christ hath commanded, then he will be with them, else not.] Repl. This is your forgery: here is no such words; but an absolute promise. His being with them, is to support and help them in his work. And will you feign Christ to promise them help on condition they do it without? The further cavils against this Text and others, the London Ministers in their Vindication have answered at large, Eph. 4.11, 12, 13. The Pastors and Teachers are given to the Church for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the saith, and of the knowledge of the son of God to a perfect man, &c.] Ex­traordinary and ordinary Officers are here conjoyned, who between them are to perfect the building, the first laying the foundation, and the others building thereon, 1 Tim. 6.13, 14. I give thee charge in the sight of God — that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ] which must needs extend to his successors. The faithful and wise stewards that give the children their meat in due season, will be found so doing by the Lord at his coming, Luke 12.42, 43. And it is not till the last day that Christ will give up the Kingdom to the Father, 1 Cor. 15.25. 2. The Apostles actually setled an ordinary Ministry in their time, as is proved. 3. There are commands for setling successors of these, as 2 Tim. 2.2. Tit. 1.5. as is proved. 4. These Ministers are described, and the way of their ordination setled by Canons, 1 Tim. 3. Tit. 1. 5. We find the several Angels of the Churches in their places, Revel. 2. & 3. and promises to some of them for the future, with a command [Hold fast till I come, 2.23.] and 3.10. [I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come on all the world: Behold, I come quickly.] 6. Christ hath commanded the Ministerial work to continue to the end: As the Preaching of the word must be to all Nations and every creature, Matth. 28.19. Mark 16.15. And these most cruel men would have all the Preachers give over their work, and leave the world to perish in Infidelity. So for the Assembling of our selves together, and exhorting one another, we are commanded not to forsake it, as is the man­ner of some, and so much the more, as we see the day approaching, Heb. 10.23, [Page 9] 24, 25. So that the nearer we are to Christs coming, the closer must we stick to Church-communion and holy Assemblies: considering that its but a little while, and he that comes will come, and shall not tarry: ver. 37. God doth on purpose forbear his coming because he is long suffering, and will continue the means to call men to repentance, and then the day of the Lord will come suddenly, 2 Pet. 3.9, 10. [The word of the Lord endureth for ever: and this is the word which by the Gospel is preached to you, 1 Pet. 1.25. The Lords Sup­per is Instituted to be used to shew the Lords death till he come, 1 Cor. 11.26. Church-government or Discipline is a fixed Ordinance, Mat. 18.15, 16, 17. And if the work continue, the workmen must continue. 7. The mercy of God, and the Efficacy of Christs blood, and the necessities of the Church continue: we still need a Teaching Ministry, Heb. 5.11. and for our need it is Instituted till the Church be perfect, that we be not as children toss'd up and down, Eph. 4.13, 14. What enemies to us and to the love and mercy of God are they that would perswade men that he so quickly withdrew so great a mercy, when the gifts and calling of God are without Repentance? 8. The Law and its Priesthood was not removed but by the Glory of a bet­ter Law and Ministry: And Christ is the Mediator of a better Covenant and Promises, Heb. 7.22. & 8.7, 8. Therefore he will not deal so much worse. 9. Christ telleth us that a wise man will consider whether he can go through with it, before he build or make war? Therefore he would not himself begin to build his Church, and enter himself the Captain of our Salvation, and presently let his enterprize fall. 10. If the Ministry con­tinue not, then the Church continueth not; for as the Head, Liver, and Stomack, or Lungs are to the body, so is the ministry to the Church, 1 Cor. 12.13, 19, 20, 28, 29. They Plant and water it, 1 Cor. 3.6. and build it, ver. 10. For how shall we believe on him of whom we have not heard, and how shall we hear without a Preacher? and how shall they preach unless they be sent? Rom. 10.14. But the Church doth continue: for first, else Christ were no longer the Head of it, the King, Prophet, or Priest, and so not Christ: But he is a Priest for ever, abiding continually: he continueth ever, and hath an unchange­able Priesthood; he ever liveth to make intercession for those that come to God by him, Heb. 7.3, 22, 24, 25. 2. Those that deny the Church, must needs deny themselves Christians and members of that Church. 3. There is no Salva­tion promised but to the Church, Eph. 5.23, 25, 26, 27. Mark 16.16. 4. Blind­ness is on the Jews but till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved: Therefore it is most evident that the Gentile Church shall not cease till the fulness have prepared for the re-ingrassing of the Jews, Rom. 11.25, 26. 5. It is an everlasting Kingdom, which cannot be moved, and the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, whereof even the Angels and perfected spirits of the just are a part, to which we come by faith: therefore it ceaseth not, Heb. 12.22, 23, 28. 6. When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away, 1 Cor. 13.10 but not be­fore. 11. If nothing can separate us from the love of God, no not any di­stress or tribulation, then are not all the Ministers and Church cut off, Rom. 8.34. to 39. Yea, those that in all ages suffer for his sake are not cut off from him: but so many faithful Ministers do. 12. But what should I say [Page 10] any more against that assertion which carrieth stark Heathenism or Infi­delity in its forehead, reproaching Christ as no Christ, and teaching men that they are not bound to be Christians, and believe the Gospel, and per­swading the world to despise Christs messengers and Ordinances; and Mi­nisters to cast off their Masters work; which in two words is, to turn In­fidels, or Apostates. I must refer you for my fuller answer to such men, to my Book against Infidelity.

Prop. 4. God hath in his Law appointed a standing way for the calling of these ordinary Teaching, Ruling, worshipping Ministers, in all ages; and doth himself call them in this way. 1. He Instituteth the Office. 2. He command­eth that fit persons be ordained to this Office. 3. He describeth them by their necessary Qualifications. All this is at large, 1 Tim 3. Tit. 1. Act. 20. 1 Pet. 5. &c. This is his work by his standing Law. By which also he com­mandeth the people to choose, consent to, or accept the fit, and to hear and obey them, Acts 14.23. 2 Thes. 5.12. Acts 6.3, 5. Heb. 13.7, 17. And then by providence, 1. He giveth them those gifts of the Spirit that may com­petently qualifie them for their Office. 2. He assisteth the choosers and ordainers to discern those qualifications, and do their duties. 3. He caus­eth some special fitness of a Minister to the special province or charge, which he is to undertake, and special inviting occasions and opportunities, and oft-times causeth Necessity to make the choice. 4. He coweth the heart of the person called to consent, and usually to desire the work, (for the right ends.) 5. And if he be called to be the Pastor of a particular Church; he moveth the people to consent or accept him. And thus God according to his appointed Order doth call his Ministers. Besides which, he afterward 1. Helps them in his work 2. And procureth them liberty, and often furtherance from Christian Magistrates. 3. And giveth them success.

Proposition 5. The faithful Pastors of the Reformed Churches, are these or­dinary Ministers of Christ, approved by him, and given in great mercy to his people, who are bound to know, honour and obey them in the Lord.

I exclude not all others, but I now prove that these are true Ministers. Argument 1. They that have all that is essential to true Ministers, are true Mi­nisters: But such are these Pastors of the Reformed Churches: as I prove thus: If the Office it self be of Gods Institution, and their Qualifications com­petent, and their entrance right in every point of flat Necessity, then they have all that is essential to true Ministers: But the former is true, as I shall prove in the three several parts. 1. That the Office it self is of Gods ap­pointment, is proved fully before, and confessed by all Christians that ever I knew, Acts 14.23. 1 Tim. 3. Tit. 1. 1 Pet. 5.1, 2. 1 Thes. 5.12. Heb. 13.7, 17, 24. Acts 20.28. 2. For Qualifications, they have 1. competent Knowledge, 2. and Ʋtterance, 3. and Godliness: and these are the Qualifications that God accepteth, 1 Cor. 12.8. 1 Tim. 2.15. 1 Tim. 5.17. Mark the Canons of the Holy Ghost, 2 Tim. 2.2. They must be 1. Faithful men, 2. Able to teach others: But such are those in Question, 1 Tim. 3. A Bishop must be blameless (that is, not scandalous) the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous, one that ruleth [Page 11] well his own house, having his children in subjection, with all gravity.] To which is added, Tit. 1.8, 9. A lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound Doctrine both to exhort, and to convince the gainsayers.] Let all here Note, 1. That here is not only the mention of the Vertues necessary to the Being, but to the well-being also of a Minister: 2. And yet through the great mercy of God, all these are the Qualifications of multitudes of the Pastors of the Reformed Churches, as malice it self must be forced to con­fess. But if any deny it of any particular men, as that is nothing to the rest; so an unproved accusation is not by honest men to be believed. The world knows that the Act for rejecting scandalous, insufficient, negligent Ministers is very strict, and Commissioners in each County forward to exe­cute it, and Ministers have enemies enough to search out their faults, and yet none are more forward then Ministers themselves to have the act put in execution, so that their standing Justifies them before the world: Or, if any will yet deny them the necessary Qualifications, I here challenge and provoke them to accuse all that are guilty, and cast them out; or else to confess themselves meer slanderers, and backbiters, and learn more truth and modesty hereafter. 3. And for the third point, their entrance into the Office: They have all that God hath made Necessary to a just entrance, as I prove: They that have a true Ordination, and the Peoples consent, and the Ma­gistrates allowance, have all that God hath made necessary to a just entrance, and more then all: But the said Pastors of the Reformed Churches have true Ordination, and the Peoples consent, and the Magistrates allowance: That they have true Ordination, I shall shew anon in answering all that can be said against it. The Peoples consent, by Electing, or Accepting is known by the fact: and so is the Magistrates by Law and fact: I put in all this▪ though more then necessary, that all Objections may be satisfied at once: So that the Enumerations being unquestionable, the conclusion is so to. In short: All those are true Ministers, that are in an Office of Gods own Institution, and are competently fitted for that office by Knowledge, Godliness, and Ʋtterance, and have all, and more then all that God hath made necessary to a right entrance or admission, even true Ordination, consent of the flock, and the Magistrates allowance. But such are the said Pastors of the Reformed Churches, therefore they are true Ministers of Christ.

Argument 2. Those that have not only the essentials, but excell all other Mi­nisters on earth (that are known to the world) are certainly the true Ministers of Christ. But such are the Ministers before mentioned of the Reformed Churches, Ergo. This will be proved at once with the next, which is,

Argument 3. Either these Pastors of the Reformed Churches, are the true Mini­sters of Christ, or else there are none such visible in the world: But there are such visibly and certainly in the world, as was proved: Else there is no Church, no Ordinances, no Christianity, no Christ: For he can be no King without Subjects and Laws: no Master without a School and Scholars: no Physitian without Patients: no Husband without his Spouse: no Head without a Bo­dy: no Intercessor without a Church to intercede for. And to Believe the holy Catholick Church, and the Communion of Saints, is part of our Belief and [Page 12] therefore the Christian faith is gone if these be gone. And that either we, or None are Christs true Ministers, I prove thus: 1. We challenge the ad­versary to name us the true Church and Ministry; if these be none of them, where be they, and who are they? speak out, or give up your wicked cause. If you know not who they be or where, then how know you that there are any such? True Ministers are like a Light that shineth to all the house, even the lights of the world, and like a City on a hill that cannot be hid, Matth. 5.14, 15, 16. 2. But let us try the particulars: 1. The Seekers have no Church or Ministry. 2. The Quakers have no Ordination, that we know of, and are every way so unworthy, and had no being in the world till a few years ago, that he is either no Christian, or of a crazed brain, that thinks Christ hath no Church or Ministry but them. 3. The Anabaptists, Socinians, Swenkfeldians, Familists, Paracelsians, Weigelians, and such like, have no more to shew for their Ministry and Churches then we, but their errors; and are so few and so lately sprung up, that of them also I may say, that he that takes them for the only Church, or Ministers, is either out of the faith, or much out of his wits. 4. The Eastern and Southern Churches have no more to shew for their Ministry and Churches then we: but are incomparably more ignorant., and erroneous: few of them doing more then Read their Liturgies and Homilies, and so administer the Sacra­ments. 5. All the controversie therefore lyeth between us and the Papists. Either they are true Ministers and a Church, or not. If not, then its left to us. If they are, then we are so much more. For we have much more unquestionable evidence of our Title. 1. The Office of a T [...]aching, Guiding, worship­ing Presbyter which we are in, is beyond all question, and yielded by them­selves, to be of Divine Institution. But the office of a Mass-Priest, to make a god of a piece of bread, and turn bread into flesh, so that there shall be Quantity, colour, taste, &c. without bread, or any subject; and a mans eyes, tast, or feeling shall not know that its bread or wine, when we see, taste, and feel it; as also to celebrate publike worship in an unknown tongue; this Office is more questionable then ours. 2. It remaineth a great doubt, whether the Pope be not the Antichrist: but of our Ministry theres no such doubt. 3. For Knowledge, Godliness and Utterance, and all true Ministe­rial abilities, as its well known what an ignorant Rabble their common se­cular Mass-Priests are, so those military Fryers and Jesuites that are chosen of purpose to play their game among us, and credit their cause: if they have any reliques of truth or modesty, will confess that the generality of our Ministers are much beyond theirs for parts and Piety; or at least, that we cannot be denied to be true Ministers for want of necessary Abilities: We should rejoyce if their Ministers, Priests, or Jesuites were neer of such Piety as those of the Reformed Churches. Some of their Jesuites and Fryers are learned men: in which also we have those that equal the best of them: but for the learning, ability, or Piety of the common Ministers on both sides, there is no comparison to be made. 4. All the Question then is of the way of entrance. And there 1. The Papists seek not the Peoples consent so much as we do. 2. They despise the Magistrates consent, in comparison of us. 3. And for Ordination, which is it that all the stress [Page 13] must be laid on, we have it, and neerer the Rule of God then they. Are [...] ordained with fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands? so are we. M [...] it be by one of a superiour Order? Who then shall Ordain or consecrate the Pope? And yet a multitude of our Ministers are ordained [...] Bishops, if that be necessary: But the great Objection is, that we have not an uninterrupted succession from the Apostles, and so those that ordained us had no Power; and therefore could not give it to us.

Proposition 6. The want of an uninterrupted succession, and so of Power in the Ordainers doth not disable our title to the Ministry, or set us in a worse condition then the Papists. For if it be only the succession of possession of the Office, there is no man of brains can deny, but we have an uninterrupted succession down from the Apostles. But if it be a succession of Right Ordina­tion that is questioned, 1. The Papists have none such themselves. 2. We have more of it then they. 3. It is not necessary that this be uninterrupt­ed. All these I prove: 1. The Popes themselves from whom their power flows, have been Hereticks, denied the immortality of the soul, Whoremong­ers, Sodomites, Simonists, Murderers, so that for many of them successively the Papists confess they were Apostatical, and not Apostolical: see in their own Writers the lives of Silvest. 2. Alexand. 3 & 6. John 13. & 22. &: 23. Greg. 7. Ʋrban. 7. and abundance more. Joh. 13. was proved in Council to have ravished maids and wives at the Apostolick doors, murdered many, drunk to the Devil, askt help at dice of Jupiter and Venus: and was kill'd in the act of Adultery. Read the proofs in my Book against Popery, pag. 269, 270, 255, 101. The Council at Pisa deposed two Popes at once, called them Hereticks departed from the faith. The Council at Constance deposed Joh. 23. as holding that there was no eternal life, immortality of the soul or Re­surrection: The Council at Basil deposed Eugenius 4. as a Simonist and per­jured wretch, a Schismatick, and obstinate Heretick. Now these men are un­capable of the Ministry, as an Infidel is, for want of Essential Qualifica­tions: As Copper is no currant coyn, though the stamp of the Prince against his will be put upon it: Undisposed matter cannot receive the form. A fit man unordained is neerer the Ministry, then such a man ordained. So that here was a Nullity. 2. And all the following Popes were the suc­cessors of Eugenius, that was deposed and thus judged by a general Coun­cil; but by force brought them to submit and held the place. 3. Either the Election, Ordination, or both is it that giveth them the Essence of their Papacy. If Election, then there hath been a long interruption: For some­while the People chose, and in other ages the Emperors chose, and in these times the Cardinals; and therefore some of them had no lawful choyce: And for Ordination, or Consecration. 1. There have been three or four Popes at once, and all were consecrated, that yet are now confessed to have been no true Popes. 2. Inferiours only consecrated. 3. And such as had no power themselves. Besides that, the Sea hath been very many years vacant, and some score years the Pope hath been at Avignion, and had but the name of P. of Rome. And when three or four have been Pope at once, Bellarmine confesseth, learned men knew not which was the Right, yea, Ge­neral Councils knew not. The Council at Basil thought Faelix the fifth [Page 14] was the right Pope, but it proved otherwise, so that many palpable inter­cisions have been made at Rome.

2. Our Ordination hath been less interrupted then theirs.

Object. But you are not ordained by Bishops. Answ. 1. Almost all in England are till of late, if that will serve. 2. Presbyters may or [...] in case of Necessity, as the generality of the old Episcopal men grant, and their Ordination is not Null. 3. Presbyters have power to Ordain, and were restrained only from the exercise by humane Laws, as many of the Schoolmen confess. 4. Presbyters have still ordained with the Bishop: therefore they had authority to it, and the work is not alien to their Function. 5. Our Parish Presbyters are Bishops, having some of them As­sistants, and Deacons under them. Or as Grotius notes, at least, they are so, as being the chief Guides of that Church: Their own Rule is, that every City should have a Bishop: and every corporation is truly a City, [...], and therefore must have a Bishop. 6. The Jus Divinum of Prelacy is lis sub judice. 7. Bishop Ʋsher maintaining to me the validity of the Ordina­tion of the Presbyters without a Bishop, told me how he answered King C. who askt him for an instance in Church-History, viz. That Hierom ad Evag. tels us of more; that the Presbyters of Alexandria, till the dayes of Heroclas and Dionysius took one from among themselves, and made him Bi­shop: therefore they may make a Presbyter, which is less. 8. Its at last confessed, that in Scripture-times there were no Presbyters under Bishops, but the single Churches had single Pastors. 9. No man can prove Or­dination by fixed Bishops over many Churches (now called Diocesan) in the first age: The fixed Bishops had no more at first but single Churches. Object. But you never received power from the Bishop to ordain: and there­fore cannot have that which was never given you. Answ. If they put men into that Office, to which God hath affixed the power of Ordination, then they do their part to convey the power. As if you marry a couple, and ex­press not the mans authority over the woman, yet he hath it nevertheless by being made her husband. So he that is made a Pastor in City or Country, may do the work of a Pastor, though each particular was not named.

Proposition 7. Ordination is ordinarily necessary as a means of our right entrance, but not absolutely necessary to the Being of our Office or Power. For 1. God, having already settled the Office, Duty, and Power, and what Qua­lifications shall be necessary, and giving these Qualifications to men, he hath left nothing to man but mutual consent, and to judge of the person qualified, and solemnly introduce him. 2. God hath not tyed himself or us absolutely to the [...]udgement of Ordainers. If a Bishop ordain a Heathen, or any man void of essential Qualifications, its Null, as being against a flat command of God: And if Bishops refuse to ordain us Pastors, the people must take them without: because the command of Preaching, Hearing, Sacraments, &c. is greater then that of Ordination, and before it. Positives yield to natural morals, and matters of Order to the substance and end of the Duty ordered. See my Christian Concord, pag. 82, 83, 84. 3. Ordination is no more necessa­ry to the Ministry then Baptism to Christianity. As those that are first Princes by Title, must be crowned, and those that are Souldiers by contract, must [Page 15] be listed and take colours, and those that are husband and wife by contract, must be solemnly married, which are celebrating, perfecting actions; so they that are first heart-Christians by Believing, or by parents Dedicating them to God, must be solemnly entred under the hand of the Minister: And those that are by approbation and consent initially Ministers, must by solem­nization have the Office publikely delivered them by the Ministers of Christ. So that as a man is a Christian indeed before Baptism initially, and is justified initially before, and in case of Necessity may be saved without it (the Papists confessing that the vow will serve) so is it in the case of Ordination to the Ministry.

Proposition 8. It is only Christ and not the Ordainers, People or Magistrates that give us our Office and Power: Only the people and approvers design the person which shall receive it from Christ: and our own consent, and the peoples is of necessity thereto (and our own much as theirs) and the Ordainers do Instrumentally invest us in it: But the Power and Duty arise directly from Gods Institution, when the person is designed. Now I pro­ceed to prove our calling.

Argument 4. We have a far clearer Call then the Priests before Christ had to the Priesthood: For they were not of the true Line: they bought the Priesthood: they corrupted the Doctrine and worship, and were of wicked lives. And yet Christ commanded submission to their Ministry, Ergo.

Argument 5. If we have as clear a call to our Office as any Magistrates on earth have to theirs, then we are true Ministers of Christ. For they are true Magistrates: and God is the Fountain of their power too: and its impos­sible they should have any but from him. Or from him but by his means. Officers have no power but from the Soveraign. The Prince was at first chosen by God, immediately, as well as the Apostles were by Christ, yet no Prince can plead an uninterrupted succession thence: And if they may Reign without it, we may be Pastors without it: and yet I cannot say that we are without it, though Princes be. Kings were formerly anointed by inspired Prophets, and were Prophets themselves. And as the continuance of this is not necessary to them, so neither to us. The differences between their pow­er and ours, makes nothing against this Argument: If conquest, or the peo­ples consent, or Birth, or directing Providences can prove their Title, then Consent, Ordination, Providence, with due Qualifications, will sure prove ours: were it not for fear, they should soon hear the Arguments more set home against themselves, that are now bent against the Ministers.

Argument 6. If besides all this God own us by such a blessing on our labours, that he maketh us the means of propogating and continuing his Gospel and Church, and brings most of his chosen to Ʋnion with Christ, Reconciliation, Ho­liness, and to Heaven by our Ministry, then certainly we are his true Ministers; But experience assureth us of the former: therefore — so much for Argument.

Proposition 9. If a Minister be in quiet possession of the place, and fit for it, the people are bound to obey him as a Minister, wi [...]hout knowing that he was justly ordained or called. Argum. 1. We must obey a Magistrate without as­surance of his call and title, Rom. 13. therefore a Minister. 2. Christ commanded hearing and obeying them that were not called as God ap­pointed: [Page 16] because they were Priests, or sat in Moses Chair, and taught the truth, Luke 16.29. Matth. 23.2. Luke 5.14. Matth. 8.4. Mark 1.44. 3. Else the people are put upon Impossibilities: Can all the poor people tell before they submit to Minister, what is essential to his call, and whether he have all that is so, and whether his Orders be true or forged, and whether they that ordained him were truly ordained, or chosen themselves? Not one of twenty thousand knows all this by their Pastors.

Proposition 10. The Ordinances are valid to the people when the Minister is uncalled and unordained, if they know it not: He that hath no just call, shall answer for what he doth as an Intruder; but the people shall have for all that the fruit of his ministration; and Preaching, and Baptism, and other acts shall not be Null to them. 1. The Papists themselves confess this. 2. Else scarce a man could tell whether he be baptized, or may use any Ordinance because he cannot have an exact account of the Ministers call, no nor know that he is indeed a Christian, I knew divers in the Bishops daies that forg­ed themselves Orders, and acted long before it was discovered. 3. It is the Office which is Gods Ordinance, that is blest, and valid to the people, and not his call only. 4. It is he that sinneth that must suffer, and not the In­nocent; therefore his sin depriveth them not of their due. 5. As an usurp­ing Magistrate oweth us protection, though he shall answer for his usurpati­on: so an usurping Minister oweth us his labour; so that the people are bound to hear and obey men, when they are uncertain of their due call, if they possess the place: and shall have the blessing of such Administrations. For we are sure the Office and work is of God.

Proposition 11. The truth of our doctrine depends not on our calling. Were we no Ministers, we can prove the Gospel true which we deliver. And any man must be believed, that brings a truth that concerneth our peace. There­fore let Quakers, and Seekers, and Papists first disprove our Doctrine if they can: and not cheat the people by perswading them that our calling must first be proved; as a Prophets must be.

Object. But you have your learning only from Books, and Ʋniversities: and so have not true Ministers. Answ. We have it from God in the Use of his means, even by Prayer, Reading, study, & learning his works & word of our Teach­ers, whether at Universities or elswhere. And we are commanded to study and meditate on these things, and give our selves wholly to them, and to meditate on Gods Law day and night, Psal. 1.2. 2 Tim 2.15 1 Tim. 4.13, 15. Christs Mi­nisters must be Teachers or Tutors to others, and commit the things which they have heard to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also, 2 Tim. 2.2. Good Ministers of Christ are nourished up in the words of faith and good doctrine, and so attain to it, 1 Tim. 4.6. All should learn according to their time of teaching, Heb. 5.11, 12, 14. We study nothing but the Word, and works of God: and is not that a wretch and not a man that will reproach us as no Ministers, for doing that which we have our Reason for, and which must be the work of our lives! Poor Christians, as you love God and your souls, and would not cast off Christ and Heaven, let not Deceivers draw you to cast off the Ministry, Scripture, or the Ordinances of God.

Octob. 23. 1657.


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