JUS CAESARIS ET Ecclesiae vere dictae.

OR A TREATISE WHEREIN Independency, Presbytery, the Power of Kings, and of the Church, or of the Brethren in Ecclesiasti­cal Concerns, Government and Discipline of the Church.

AND Wherein also the use of Liturgies, Tolleration, Con­nivence, Conventicles or Private Assemblies, Ex­communication, Election of Popes, Bishops, Priests, what and whom are meant by the Term CHURCH, 18 Mathew are discoursed.

AND How 1 Cor. 14.32. generally misunderstood is rightly expounded.

Wherein also the Popes Power over Princes, and the Liberty of the Press, are discoursed.

By William Denton, M. D. M. q. R.

LONDON, Printed for the Author, and are to be sold by John Kersey and Henry Faythorn, at the Rose in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1681.

TO THE READER.

IT is impossible, but that the pressing home of such truths of such nature as this Treatise is compiled of, must necessarily traverse and thwart the Interests, grandeur, profit and affections of some Men, who have, or are a­part of the body of Government in this and other Nati­ons, and therefore no Man can be fit for such an incounter, who is not above all hopes, and fears (it being almost impossible to find a Person so espoused to publick good, and publick truths, in which there shall not be some that will hate, and threaten, and persecute him when they ap­prehend that he shall oppose the design of their private Profit, Gran­deur, Domination, or other Interests, tho but by demonstration of plain truths, how necessary and clear and just soever they be, according to Amos 5.10. They hate him that rebuketh in the Gate, and abhor him that speaketh uprightly:) for which reason I must con­fess my self Impar negotio, not in any measure so qualified, and yet have attempted itDedisti ti­mentibus te vexillum quo utuntur propter veritatem po­tentissimè, Psalm 60. as boldly, as if I were; and tho I have suffered in this kind before by the foul mouths, and bitter pens of R. P. I. S. P. W. and others, and by tongues, sans Nombre in all places and companies, and tho I expect the same fate again, for that great inquiries have been made, and great diligence used to trace me from my youth to find out the Irregularities and Aberrations thereof which have not been few, they have now spit their Venom, and done their worst, and I am at a point, such revenge being at best but savage justice, and I have learnt from 51 Esay 7. Not to fear the reproach of Men, nor to be afraid of their revilings, which can reach the Body only, not the Soul. Be­sides, I am confident that neither God, nor yet common humanity or common justice will permit Truth, and innocent plain dealing to have such ill hap, nor Vertue such misfortune even in this World, that Fame and Infamy should always depend, and be at the disposition of the black tongues, and pens of Malevolents, tho Ecclesiasticks, or great Per­sons. It is not my Person, but the Truths (which always carry their own Shields and Bucklers) I have published, that hath already galled some. I shall here only commit to their considerations, that to Calumni­ate the Defenders of Apostolick Doctrines, and of the just rights and powers of Princes, and Civil Magistrates, is obliquely to Calumniate [Page] Christ himself, and Kings, and Supream Magistrates (Defenders of the Faith) themselves; Darts many times, being as equally fatal by a glance, as if darted in a direct line: my comfort is, that Truth is alwayes pleasing unto God, and in some sence is the Eternal Word of God, and ought so to be acknowledged by every individual, and falshood and untruths displeasing unto Him, and unto all good and pious Men, and no Man can receive injury from the Truth, that doth not ground himself upon falshoods, Truth being always one and the same thing, and fals­hood infinite. Truths ought to be submitted unto, not out of con­straint only, but out of willingness and love to embrace them, not only for the Evidence, but for the Author and goodness of them; and it is our duty willingly to resign our judgments to be captivated unto all kinds of saving Truths, even to the extirpating of those presumptions, prepossessi­ons, and principles of corruption, which use to smother and cloud and adul­terate Divine Truths. And to calumniate, punish, or discountenance defenders of Divine Truths seasonably spoken, doth not become, nor is it wont to be done by any pious, just, or prudent Majestrates, but the contrary; and it is no Gospel Principle for any Man, how great and how Ecclesiastick soever, to stir up envy against another but upon sure and true grounds. Zorobabel obtained honour and favour of King Darius and all his Nobles above his Competitors for wisdom, for that he preferred and declared Truth to bear away the Victory above all things, 3 Esdras 3.12. All the Earth calleth upon Truth, Hea­ven blesseth it, all Works shake and tremble at it, and with it is no unrighteous thing. Wine, Women, Kings are wicked, and such are all their wicked works, and there is no Truth in them, and they shall perish in their unrighteousness. Truth endureth and is always strong, it liveth and conquereth for ever, with her there is no accepting of per­sons, or rewards, but she doth the things that are just, and refraineth from all unjust and wicked things, and all Men do well like of her Works, neither in her judgment is there any unrighteousness, and she is the Strength, Kingdom, Power and Majesty of all Ages. Blessed be the God of Truth. At which Declaration, all the People shouted and said, great is Truth, and mighty above all things. It is also alike impossible to please all Men. I never put pen to paper with any such presumption or hopes, the best Men, and the best Christians is my chief­est design to gratifie; but even in that also, I fear I shall miss much of my aim, and desires; divers Men, tho good Men, having divers judg­ments, and divers interests, and according to divers Lights, have di­vers understandings; and Ecclesiasticks as well as others are subject to the Inchantments of Passion, Ends, Interest, and Parties. Tho I [Page]am no Prophet, nor yet Son of a Prophet, yet I do foresee that there is a Generation of Men, worthy, and learned, who tho of different per­swasions among themselves in affairs of their own function, that yet will all unite and center in censuring of me, as if I leapt out of my own Province into theirs, to visit their transactions; but I have learnt of St. Austin, that it is arrogance in no Man, either to seek, or assert truth, it being an equal Crime of the same nature, both to conceal truth, and divulge untruths. The Protestant Clergy, I doubt not but will ac­knowledge that it is evers Man's duty and concern to be a good Chri­stian, and as Christians their undeniable right to try Spirits and to examine by the Scriptures, whether the things our Priests do teach us, are so in truth or no. The Apostles themselves did subject their Preachments to the judgments of their Auditors, and I never heard that Protestant Divines did ever pretend to greater Abilities than they had, or to any Infallibility: and if we poor Laicks should not be left to our own free judgments and examinations, what better choice can we make, than to philip Cross or Pile, whether to be Prelate, Presbyter, Independant, Quaker or Phanatick, Protestant or Papist, Turk or Jew. Wherefore hath God differenced us from Bruits, by giving us light of Reason and of Conscience, if others must have the guidance and custody of them, and we be led Captive by the Reason and Consci­ence of other men. We ought no more to rely on another man's light of Reason or of Conscience, than on another man's eyes to see or legs to walk withall. This were but to put a Cheat upon our selves, and to cast the care of our Faith and Religion upon others, as if not worthy our own care or concern, or as if we be seduced, they, not we, were to answer for it. God's Precepts were not given to Popes, Pre­lates, Priests, Councils, Synods or particular Churches, or to great Clarks only, but to every Individual, and every man ought to act according as he is perswaded in his own Heart, we are Disciples only, not Slaves. Besides are not Laicks Priests also? Is it not Gospel? He hath made us Kings and Priests to God and his Fa­ther, Rev. 1.6. and for certain the Holy Ghost and Learning are not the Clergies Peculiar.

§. As to the Romish Clergy, I have much more to say unto them, not expecting any just or fair dealing from them, for that they have trea­ted us far worse than the Aegyptians did the Israelites, for they held them in Bondage but four hundred and thirty years, but the Roman Pontiffs have evilly treated us more than that time twice told; treated us indeed after a very strange rate, as if we could not tell ten, or as if [Page]we did not know our right hands from our left: Treated us as the Phi­listines did Sampson, put out our eyes, and then make sport with us: our understandings must be captivated to the Popes bare ipse dixit, whe­ther with or against Reason or Scripture, or indeed against our very Sen­ces; and we must be content to be led blindfold into the Abyss of igno­rance and destruction where Abbaddon reigns, and made believe it is our happiness so to be; as if ignorance in good earnest were the Mother of Devotion. Dominus Deus noster Papa, like God on mount Sinai, thundring out his Interdicts, that none presume to go up into the Mount, nor yet to touch but the border of it, not so much as to peep into the Scri­pture without leave, forsooth, least we be shot thro with the dart of Ex-communication, or drawn into the Inquisition, tho all Scripture was given indifferently to all Men by Christ and his Apostles, as their only Patent and Evidence for their Inheritance reserved for them in Heaven; and is in its own nature profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction, for Righteousness, 2 Tim. 3.10. and tho we are commanded to search them, for that in them we have eternal Life, 5 John 39. But this ought to be no wonderment to any that they who have kept us blindfold so long, should yet desire to keep us hood-winkt still. Heroick and publick spirited minds, tho long plaid upon, and abus'd with shadow of Reason and usurped Powers, will at length find words and reasons to ease and right themselves. Every Man is too apt to indulge his own fancy, and opinions; yea, and intitle God and his Word, to the favouring of them also, we shall be all saved or damned according to what our selves (not what our Priests) do believe and practise. Publick refutation of errors (tho long re­ceived, and tho contrary to the design and interest of some, and those no small ones) hath in its own nature more of Candour and sweetness, than of Gall, and ought so to be esteemed: He doth too proudly scorn his own imperfections and corrupted nature, that blusheth to think that he can err: and as they betray too much selfishness and weakness, who dare not write or speak Truth, so do they much more, that for ends, not good, are afraid that Truth should come to light. Nature hath not left the most beautiful flesh and blood without some moles, some blemishes. The Church on Earth, tho lovely, yet is not without her Naevi, some blackness with her oomeliness, and to flatter her Children in them, is worse than to write a Satyr against them. As Revenge is not more due to any Injuries, than unto those that are committed against the Church; so no Benefits are more valuable than those that are done unto the Church. In all Writings great care ought to be taken to write no­thing that might give offence, nor to omit any thing that can be said in de­fence [Page]of Truth, without suffering our Pens to run riot in any thing, which by interpretation might be drawn into offence, altho the malicious subtilties and prevaricating Wits of some hath made it appear, that there can be nothing so moderately spoken, which is not subject to depraved expositions. My main design is to discover Truth, sine formidine oppositi, with­out respect or dread of any interest or party; Amicus Praesul, Ami­cus Presbyter, Amicus Independens, sed magis amica Veritas. I am not ignorant how imprudent it is to disoblige, or anger great Men, or any Party, or indeed any number of men. I have tasted of that sowr grape already, tho by endeavors only to find out Truth by discoursing of it, but that Spirit is wretchedly mean, that dares not write or speak Truth, without a sneaking and pitiful Apology. If we had those hungring, thirsting, and most ardent affections to all sincere uncorrupted and heavenly Truths, which are proportional to that Spirit of Christ, which is, or ought to be in us, there would not be such bitter Contests and Animosities as are amongst us for trivials, things rather respecting In­terest and Domination, than the sincere Word of Truth, which adds value and honor to every Asserter thereof, but receives no value from any Man. I have endeavoured quantum in me, to do that right to all Perswasions, as to urge what may most conduce to the making good of the same, and what their cause will rationally bear, and that in terms plain and perspicuous, without School-tricks. If I have missed of my aim, the Reason is at hand, Bernardus non vidit omnia, no more Oraculous or infallible than themselves.

They that see best, see at best but thro a Glass darkly, even the Scribes, the Wise and the Disputers of this World, are many times both far from Certainty, and far from Truth, and no wonder: Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this World? 1 Cor. 1.20. Elias cum ve­nerit, solvit dubia.

THE SUMME Of Mr. J. M. His TREATISE.

MR. J. M. in his Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes denies the Civil Magistrate to be Custos utrius (que) tabulae, unless be meant by Keeper, the Defender only: And averrs, That it is a false and deceivable Maxime not to be defended or maintained by any Proof, or Argument, which hath not in that his Treatise been first or last re­futed: Therein also averring, That there can be no place left for the Ma­gistrate or his Force, in the settlement of Religion, by appointing either what we shall believe in divine, or practice in religious things: And that to compel but outward Profession, is to compel Hypocrisie, not to ad­vance Religion: And that Christian Liberty sets us free not only from the Bondage of Ceremonies, but also from the forcible Imposition of Circum­stances of Place and Time, in the Worship of God, though imposed with a confident perswasion of morality in them, which he holds to be impos­sible in Place and Time: And that the settlement of Religion belongs only to each particular Church by perswasive and spiritual means within it self; And that the defence of things religious setled in the Churches within themselves, and the repressing of their Contraries determinable by the common light of Nature, only belongs to the Magistrate. All which he endeavours to make good by four Spiritual Reasons, as he calls them, as on a firm square.

1st. That Protestants have no other Divine Rule or Authority from without them, warrantable to one another, as a common ground, but the Scripture; and no other within them, but the illumination of the Spirit so interpreting that Scripture as warrantable only to our selves, and to such whose Consciences we can so perswade can have no other ground in matter of Religion, but only from the Scriptures.

And these being not possible to be understood without the Divine Illu­mination, which no man can know at all times to be in himself, much less to be at any time for certain in any other, it must follow, That no Man, or Body of Men, can be the infallible Judges, or Determiners, in matters of Religion to any other Mens Consciences but their own, f. 6. Wherefore if we count it a crime for Papists to believe only as the Church believes, how much greater crime will it be for a Protestant to believe as the State believes? And it being the general consent of all Pro­testant [Page 2]Writers, That neither Traditions, nor Councils, nor Canons of any visible Church, much less any Edicts of any Magistrate or Civil Ses­sion, but the Scripture only can be the sinal Judge or Rule, in matters of Religion, f. 7. and that only in the Conscience of every Christian to him­self; which Protestation made by the first publick Reformers of our Re­ligion against the Imperial Edicts of Charles the 5th. imposing Church-Traditions without Scripture, gave first beginning to the Name of Prote­stant: And therefore the Conscience not being the Magistrates Province, he ought not to force or impose, because he hath no right to judge; and yet when he comes to the Toleration of Popery, he seems to be of ano­ther mind, averring.

§. But as for Popery and Idolatry, why they also may not hence plead to be tolerated, I have much less to say: For that their Religion, the more considered, the less can be acknowledged a Religion, but a Roman Princi­pality rather, he might have said an entire Apostacy from the Apostolick Faith, endeavouring to keep up her old universal Dominion, under a new Name, and meer Shadow of Catholick Religion, being more rightly na­med a Catholick Heresie against the Scripture, supported mainly by a Civil, and (except in Rome) by a Forreign Power; Justly therefore to be su­spected, not tolerated by the Magistrate of another Country; besides of an implicit Faith which they profess, the Conscience also becomes impli­cit, and so by voluntary servitude to Mans Law, doth forfeit her Christian Liberty; who then can plead for such a Conscience, as, being implicitly enthralled to Man in stead of God, almost becomes no Conscience, as the Will, not free, becomes no Will? Nevertheless, if they ought not to be tolerated, it is for just reason of State, more than of Religion; which they who force, though professing to be Protestants, deserve as little to be tolerated themselves, being no less guilty of Popery in the most Popish Point. And for Idolatry, who knows it not to be evident against all Scripture, Old and New, and therefore a true Heresie, or ra­ther Impiety, wherein a right Conscience can have nought to do, and the work thereof so manifest, that a Magistrate can hardly err in pro­hibiting and quite removing at least the publick and scandalous use thereof.

The Second Scriptural Reason is, If we should grant the Civil Magistrate were able to judge in those things; yet as a Civil Magistrate he hath no right, because Christ hath a Government of his own sufficient of it self to all its ends and purposes in governing his Church, and is much diffe­rent from that of the Civil Magistrate: 1st. Because it deals only with the Inward Man, and his Actions, which are all Spiritual, and to out­ward force not liable: 2dly. To shew us the Divine Excellency of his Spiritual Kingdom, able without worldly force to subdue all the Powers and Kingdoms of this World, which are upheld by outward force only: That the Inward Man is nothing else but the Inward part of Man, his Un­derstanding, and his Will, and that his Actions thence proceeding, yet not simply thence, but from the Work of Divine Grace upon them, are the whole matter of Religion under the Gospel.

The Third Scriptural Reason, is from the wrong the Civil Power doth with its Force or Imposition, by violating the Fundamental Priviledge of the Gospel, the new birth-right of every true Believers Christian Li­berty.

The Fourth Scriptural Reason, is from the consideration of all those ends which the Magistrate can pretend to the interposing of his force therein; which can hardly be other than, 1st. The Glory of God, 2dly. The Spiri­tual good of them, whom he forceth: or 3dly. The Temporal punish­ment of their scandal to others.

§. Mr. P. N. in his Treatise of the same Subject,P. N. his O­pinion, P. 22. with the other of J. M. is far more ingenious herein, not only asserting the Supremacy and Authority of all Kings and Civil Magistrates in general over all persons, and things Ecclesiastical both by Scripture, Reason, and Authentick Au­thors; but also of our Kings in particular, most pertinently and particu­larly out of our own Municipal Laws and Constitutions to boot: He doth therein also as strongly assert Independency, which rightly stated, and rightly understood, is without doubt the Tenent and Practice of our Church both by Scripture, and by the Opinion of sound Judicious and Orthodox Divines, very great Friends unto, and Contenders for Episco­pacy, as Bishop Bilson, Dr. Jackson, Mr. Hooker, and others: But the In­dependency of Churches, which these Men and others as Orthodox as themselves plead for, is not altogether the same with that which P. N. and other his Associates do contend for: These Men maintain, that an Unity of Discipline, or Coactive Laws, full power of Jurisdiction, or Independant Judicature, is not seated in any one Church or Person, (Pope, or other to whom all other Churches and Persons must vail Bon­net and submit) but the same power is in each of those Churches; and this they maintain against the Romanists, the English Priests and Jesuits, who do not only hold this Unity of Independent Judicature to be necessa­ry to the Constitution of the Visible Catholick Church, but that of ne­cessity it must be radically in one person, to wit, the Pope, on whom, as upon the Head and Fountain, the unity of the Holy Catholick visible Church doth depend; and for this reason they put his Holiness into the definition of the Holy Catholick Church, and contrary to this the Pro­testant Divines do maintain, That the Church of England, and all other National Churches, have a Discipline of Government and Judicature within themselves, Independent of any other Person, Church or Power. And this is the Drift and Scope both of Bishop Bilson, Dr. Jackson, and others, in their several Treatises.

§. That which P. N. contends for in the Congregational (termed also the Independant) way is this, viz. ‘That those who are called out of the World by the Ministry of the Gospel, have power given them by Christ, being a competent Number, to gather themselves together in his Name, and judge their Warrant to be from 18. Mat. And a Church so gathered becomes a Body or Spiritual Corporation; and be­ing joyned thus by mutual Assent of each Person, have power one over another, as in all Fraternities, and liberty from Christ to choose their Officers, censure Offenders, make Canons and Orders in circumstan­tials, for regulating their Affairs. And they further say; as the Church-Catholick in general, so each parcel of it, each particular Church hath Christ also for its Head, and in such a union with him, and such existence in him, even as a Church, 1 Thes. 11.) as that if Persons, making up this Body, be considered distinctly, and as incor­porated one with another only, and not in their relation to Christ also, as one with them, and chief in the midst of them, 18. Mat. 20. Where [Page 4]two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them, they are not a compleat Body, or Spiritual Politie: And upon this account it is they profess their dependency to be upon Christ alone for the government and manage of this his Kingdom: and thus being dependent upon Christ their only Law-giver, 4. Ja. 12. Who is the wis­dom of the Father, and best knoweth how to govern his own House, they profess themselves Independent in respect to the Authority or So­vereignty of any other Person, Church, Synod, or meer Ecclesiastical Power whatsoever; yet notwithstanding they own and submit to Ma­gistrates in Matters and Causes both Ecclesiastical and Civil, as an Or­dinance of God, and so far as God hath given the Civil Magistrate Au­thority to command and require. But finding in the Books of God, that there are some things of so misterious, and of so Spiritual a Na­ture, and peculiar to holy Worship; that Christ hath reserved the sole Menage thereof to be ordered by himself, as expressed in his Word, and no otherwise. Now although the Magistrate may and ought to require of his Subjects due obedience to such duties, yet ought he not by any Laws or Statutes that he shall enact in this kind, either add, alter, or diminish any thing Christ hath established, either in the sub­stance or necessary circumstance thereof; and if he shall so do, the Churches are required of the Lord, (the one Law giver, who is able to save, and to destroy) 4. James 12. not to be subject, 2 Colos. 20. And it is a sin for them, through fear of Man, or the like temptation, to observe and keep such Statutes; and for this they bring 6. Mich. 16. For the Statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the House of Ahab, and ye walk in their Councils, &c. And in this sense only they profess themselves subject to the Civil Magistrates supremacy in Ecclesiastical Affairs, and go no further; and in this also reserve to themselves the sole judgment of what matters are thus meerly spiritual, and apper­taining to the Worship of God. So that if the Christian Magistrate shall, out of a good intention, appoint Ceremonies, or such like helps, for the stirring up our dull minds, and to make the Worship of God more edifying; or shall appoint a day to be observed, as sacred in the Remembrance of the Birth, or Resurrection of Christ, or to the Ho­nour of the blessed Virgin, or holy Apostles, if the Magistrate, for bet­ter government of the Church, establish Arch-bishops, Bishops, Chan­cellors, &c. or any Officers that are not appointed by Christ himself, they will by no means submit, but choose rather to suffer, which they term Passive Obedience.’ Thus far P. N. from his own Mouth, and under his own Hand to me verbatim.

§. But those Reverend Authors Bilson and others, considering the Ci­vil Magistrate is highly responsable, being appointed by the Lord as Custos utrius (que) tabulae, if any matters of impiety in respect of God, as well as unrighteousness in respect to Men, be permitted or countenanced by him, therefore he is to see to it that his People be not seduced into Errors, He­resies, or hurtful Opinions tending to prophaness and disloyalty. And God having trusted him with Authority in these things, it must of ne­cessity also belong to him to judge what Crimes fall within his Province and Cognizance, and accordingly to apply himself as the Minister of God for incouragement to those that are good, and to execute wrath upon them that do evil. And not to be looked upon as only a by-stander Im­pedimenta removere, as P. N. would have him, or to execute only what [Page 5]the Ecclesiasticks have decreed by their Censures, or in their Synodals, as some others, though the Name of Independent was not then in com­mon use.

§. Others, as Mr. John Robinson in his Apology in Justification of the same Tenets endeavours to prove the same, averring, ‘That by Intend­ment of the Scriptures, speaking definitely of visible Ministerial Chur­ches, no other is to be understood ordinarily at least than one Congre­gation met together in one place in such competent numbers, as that they may all hear and understand one another, 18. Mat. 17, 20. If he neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: for where two or three are ga­thered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them: And, when you are gathered together, and my Spirit with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 5.4. All that believed were together, and had all things common, 2. Acts 44. And they were all with one accord in Solomons Porch, 5. Acts 12. Then the Twelve called the Multitude of the Disciples unto them, &c. and the saying pleased the whole Multitude, 6. Acts 2, 5. When ye come together therefore into one place, 1 Cor. 11.20. If therefore the whole Church he come together in one place, 1 Cor. 14.23. Paul gave it in charge to the Elders of every particular Church, (as was that of E­phesus) 20. Acts 17, 28. That ye take heed unto all the Flock whereof the Holy Ghost hath made you Overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own Blood. Paul doth entitle the particular Con­gregation which was at Corinth (and which properly and immediately he did instruct and admonish) to the Body of Christ, 1 Cor. 12.27. To be the Temple of God, 2 Cor. 16. And to be one Virgine spoused to one Hus­band Christ, 2 Cor. 11.2. We may not therefore, saith he, under pre­tence of Antiquity, Unity, humane Prudence, or any Colour whatso­ever, remove the Ancient Bounds of the visible, and ministerial Church, which our first and right Fathers, to wit, Apostles have set, in compa­rison of whom the most ancient of those, which are so called, are but Infants and beardless. There is indeed one Church, one Body, one Spirit, one Hope of our Calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, i. e. of one Kind and Nature, not one in number, as one Sea: Neither was the Church of Rome in the Apostles days more one with the Church of Co­rinth, than was the Baptism of Peter one with Pauls Baptism, or than Peter and Paul were one; neither was Peter or Paul more one whole intire perfect Man (consisting of their Parts Essential and Integral) without relation to other Men, than is a particular Congregation right­ly instituted and ordered. A whole, intire, and perfect Church imme­diately and independently in respect of other Churches under Christ, since the Pastor is not a Minister of some part of a Church, but of the whole particular Church, 20. Acts 28. If the Ministers Office be to be confined within the circle of a particular Congregation, then also the Ministerial Church it self. Now the Pastors Office is either circumscri­bed within these Bounds, or else the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, was also the Angel of the Church of Smyrna, and so the Pastor of this Church, is the Pastor of that, and by consequence of all; every Pastor is an universal Bishop or Pope by Office, if not for execution, yet for power, according to which Power we are to judge of the Office.’

§. Before I proceed to return any answer, I must make a general Parae­nesis, Paraenesis. and lay it down as a general Precaution, (relating to the Applica­cation [Page 6]of Texts of Scripture) to which the Reader is to have respect throughout this Book in treating and handling of all Opinions, which are divers and not few, viz. It stands not with the Wisdom and Learn­ing, no, nor yet with the sincerity of Ecclesiasticks, how great soever, how illuminated, or how sincere soever they would be thought to be, to alledge in favour of their Opinions, Places and Texts of Scripture in a forreign or uncouth, if not contrary sence to their own most natural meaning, by urging some ambiguous or doubtful terms or Texts of Scri­pture, that possibly may have a double meaning, and accordingly setling a Position on some portion of Scripture in the one sense, which is true, and thereby purchasing some Credit, and assent in the Readers minds by such Scripture Allegations, and then in the Close conclude in another sense, which is not true, or contrary, or at best, not applicable to the Premisses or Positions first laid down. It is, I take it, a received Axiome amongst Divines, that that sense of Scripture which agreeth best with the literal words thereof is most genuine, and most especially to be em­brac'd, and that which is farther fetcht, as most forreign, so least to be relyed on. God be thanked, this latter Generation is now come ex ephe­bis out of its minority, and wardship, wherein it hath been long held Captive by blind obedience and Romish Tyranny, and begins now to relish, and judge of Spiritual Viands, not by the quality or condition, or tast of them that cook it, or serve it up unto us, but by the savoury tast it hath of its own. Indeed it is observable, that an inordinate affection to find fault, or to bring over others, that are of a different perswasion, to their own Opinions,Volendi valde quicquid vo­lunt. (of which they are so singularly fond, that they on all occasions scruple not to intitle God and his Word to the patronage of them) doth oftentimes transport Men, yea zealous, pious Men, no less than any other affection whatsoever. Hence is the Shop of transform­ing Texts of Scripture, Ita veritatem amant ut velint vera esse quaecun (que) amant, August. Such lovers they are of truth, that they wish all may be true which they love: And vehement desires often reiterated, are often metamorphosed into perswasions. And therefore I heartily wish, that Persons thus opinionated would consider, that it is neither sound, nor convenient, no, nor yet peaceable, with a few ambiguous terms, or with School quiddities, or with Places of Scripture wrested or transform­ed to plant a Doctrine, or introduce an opinion in the Church, that will pervert or subvert the present setled state thereof. Persons of great Learning and Reputation in the World ought above others to be so just, as not to urge Scripture Allegations purposely to amuze or seduce the Readers, but to look back unto the very Spring and Fountain wherefore they were recorded by the Prophets and Apostles, and then to urge them in the truest understanding and intent thereof, out of which no Writers with sincerity should dare with Sophistical Schoolies to seek or endeavour to carry them, lest otherwise their Readers, much biassed with the Abi­lities and Integrity of their Persons, be thereby blindly led into errors by other Mens Passions and Interest. So to handle Scripture is no new Ar­tifice, it was a trick even in our Saviours days, and practised upon him­self, the putting of a wrong gloss upon Christs Word, 14. Mark 58. made an evil ingredient towards his Condemnation. The Pharises were most excellently gifted in this Art; one while when Paul manifested Christs appearance unto them once in the way to Damascus, and afterwards in the Temple, commanding them to preach his Resurrection to the Gentiles; they then with great indignation cryed, Away with such a fellow from the [Page 7]Earth, for it is not sit that he should live, 22. Acts 8.17.18.22. Another while to serve their own turns and party against the Saduces, (who de­ny all Apparition of Spirit or Angel, or hope of Resurrection from the dead, which the Pharises confess) Pauls conformity with the Pharises in manifesti g and proving the Resurrection from the dead, doth relish so well with them, that his other particular differences, or dissentions from them, no way displeases them. For he giving express Testimony, that Christ, whom they had crucified, did appear unto him, did so please their humour, that the Scribes which were on the Pharises part acquitted him by Proclamation, viz. We find no evil in this Man, but if a Spirit or Angel hath spoken unto him, let us not fight against God, 23. Acts 9. This they did not out of true love to Paul, or to the Truth he taught, but from love of themselves, their Party, and their Opinions, and from jea­lous impatiency of contradiction in publick by an Inferiour Sect; so when Christ had fully satisfied a curious question captiously proposed by the Sadduces, by proving the Resurrection out of Moses, saying, I am the God of Abraham, of Isaack, and of Jacob; certain of them answered, Master, thou hast well said, 20. Luke 39. Though the Pharises were well pleased of his Probat of the Resurrection against the Sadduces, yet for all that they could judge him to death, for avouching himself to be the great Judge of those that were raised from the dead; whereby it appears, that both their approbation, and condemnation of our Saviour in these particulars, did issue out of one and the same corrupt, and monstrous Fountain, that could send forth sweet water and bitter, 3. James 11. viz. from love of their Party, love of Authority over the People, and ap­plause of Men, from a stubborn opiniative and envious desire to excel their opposites, and not to be excelled by any; so when John came neither eating nor drinking, yet they say, he hath a Devil; and when the Son of Man came both eating and drinking, then, Behold a Man gluttonous, and a Wine-bibber, a friend of Publicans and Sinners, 11. Mat. 18, 19. The Devils and unclean Spirits in this kind were in some measure more ingenious than the Jews; for when Christ had disobliged them by cast­ing them out, as soon as they saw him, they fell down before him, and cryed, Thou art the Son of God, 3. Mark 10. But the Scribes which came down from Jerusalem, said he hath Belzabub, and by the Prince of the Devils casteth he out Devils, 21. Acts 22. So the Jews were pleased nei­ther full nor fasting. Thus can perverse Spirits and Wits turn and wind any thing never so innocently and plainly spoken, or written, unto a diffe­rent or contrary sence. The same Spirit of Contention and way-ward emulation reigns at this day through Christendome, and rageth oft­times no less in defence of good Causes than of bad, and makes many to concur with Schismatical or false Opinions, in transforming particular places of Scripture, which makes for private desires or designs, as facti­ous opposition to the Sadduces did the Pharises, to consent unto our Savi­our, and unto St. Paul, in the Points mentioned.

§. The Monks, Friars, and Jesuits, like the Pharises, are rare Sophi­sters, can handy dandy, shuffle and cut Texts of Scripture with most ad­mirable dexterity. Their impertinent Collections to prove Purgatory from such places of Scripture, as have no other semblance with it, save only, that they mention Metaphorical Fire, would make an impartial Reader call to mind the Fable of the Apes or Monkies, who espying Glow-worms in the night, gathered sticks, and blowed themselves breath­less [Page 8]to make them burn: Would not Impudence it self blush, and Stu­pidity tremble at the senseless collections and deduction of these Men.

As the Papists, and among them the Jesuits more especially have no pa­rallel except the Jews in this kind; so in other main Points of their Reli­gion as concerning the Infallibility of the Pope, Transubstantiation, the Authority of the Church, the real Presence, their Prayers in an un­known Tongue, and the like, they do not go so much beyond others, as besides themselves. The extream desire they have, that Sacred Autho­rity should countenance and abet their profitable Tenents, makes them wrest and transform Places of Scripture beyond all Construction, where­by they do not manifest the Truth, but the poyson of their Doctrines, and their Zeal, and earnestness herein to be a Spice or Symptome of Spi­ritual madness or Phanaticisme.

Musing and dreaming are of near alliance: He that thinks of nothing but of confirming his own conclusions or apprehensions, will quickly perswade himself, that the Word of God speaks just so. As the Fool thinketh, so the Bell clinketh; the superstitious Phisiognomer and Palmi­ster are not without their Scripture, 13. Ex. 9. And it shall be a sign unto thee upon thy hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, &c. and that in 37. Job. 7. he sealeth up the hand of every Man, that all Men may know his Work. What is this else but to make deformed Pictures of beautiful Colours, or senseless and ridiculous Inferences out of Divine and Super­natural Antecedents, or of plain Texts of Scripture: Except we do strict­ly compare the Marginal Quotations of some Jesuitical, Anabaptistical, Quaking, and Schismatical discourses with the Texts, and both with the Conclusions intended by the Author, one would hardly believe it possible for some Men to speak or write nothing but Gospel-language, and yet to speak or write scarce a true or wise or pertinent word to the pur­pose.

Desire of Victory, and to excel others, is a Disease hardly cured in any Men, Sects or Parties, and oft-times work most indefatigably where it works most secretly. Gods Gifts of Wit, Learning and Judgment some can admire, and magnifie in others, and acknowledge them to be above their own: yet will they not in conclusion be perswaded, that any Men, not of their own Sect or Opinion, have so pure and clear a Beam of Light as themselves, or know so much of Gods Eternal Will and Purpo­ses, as they do; and it is no marvel, that such who for expounding grea­test Mysteries have betaken themselves wholly to the Spirit, or to the La­bours of Men, whom they presume to be throughly sanctified, i. e. that are free of their Brotherhood, and Corporation only, or at least served a compleat Apprentiship to their supposed Spirit. But the wisest oft mis­carry in their Projects, and so do these, by taking wrong measures, in that they think there is no direct way to Grace but by undervaluing helps of Art or gifts of Nature; of this misconceit the Quakers, the Enthu­siasts, the Phanaticks, are most guilty. The first and immediate Issue of this Perswasion is, that every action which is not warranted by some ex­press Rule of Scripture apprehended by Grace, is not of Faith, and being not of Faith, it must be a sin; so that these two Propositions, 1. All A­ctions warranted by the express Word of God must needs be lawful; 2. All lawful Actions must needs be warranted by the express Word of God, differ no more in their Logical and Grammatical sence, than house-keeping and keeping house do in common understanding; utitur Diabolus Testimoniis Scripturarum non ut doceat sed ut fallat, S. Ambrose. That [Page 9]admonition of St. Paul to the Philip. 2.3. concerns these times as much as those wherein he wrote, and the Maintainers of true Religion most of all, and it were most happy for Christianity if all Christians could in good ear­nest embrace it: Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in low­liness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

§. Having thus precautioned the Readers by a General and Impartial Ad­monition, being as lyable to the lash thereof my self (if a transgressor) as any other without any particular reflection, and much less upon the Scrip­tures immediately foregoing, brought by the Independants, upon which it may seem to have most reflection, as being inserted in the very rear, and next adjoyning unto them: yet I must say, that unto my apprehension there is generally a vein of fallacy, or (to express it as modestly as the case will bear) of Misapplication runs through very many of their Scriptural quota­tions, applying that which is meant of the Church in one sence, unto that which is to be understood of the Church in another sence, or that which is meant of a National Church, or of a City Church; as of that of Jerusa­lem, or of those famous Churches of Asia unto every petit Congregation, and the like, concerning the powers of Churches and the use of the term Liberty and the like. Though I am thus Opiniated, yet I must say withal, that were the Scene of the Church laid in Turkey, or any Heathenish, Gentile, or Savage Country, professed enemies to the Gospel and Cross of Christ, where no Legislative power taketh Gods pure Religion into their prote­ction, I could have much less to say against them, but until better informa­tion must acknowledge them a very plausible, if not a full proof of their Independency; but the Scene being laid here in a Christian Common­wealth, I suppose they will come very short of proof.

§. As of one and the same litteral sense of some words or texts of Scrip­ture,Daille lic. [...]. c. 11. f. 1 [...]. there may be, and usually are, two or more objects, the one more, the other less principal and proper; among which the word Church hath a great variety of significations, and importances, and by consequence it must have one principal object, of which all the principal Powers, Attributes, and Titles of the Church are punctually and accurately verified, and other ob­jects less principal; to which notwithstanding the same name or title, are in some measure often communicated. So there is nothing which sooner precipitates, both the more and less learned into errors, than Iden­tity of names or words, including in them diversity of significations or im­portances; and consequently each several signification or importance, is al­ways incroaching upon the Powers, Attributes, or Prerogatives which most properly appertain to some other more prime and principal. Now the best way to prevent the inconveniences whereunto the multiplicity and diversity of its significations or acceptations do expose us, is in reading; first to consider of the Powers, Attributes, Prerogatives, or Royalties which belong either solely or principally unto it, and then to value the other sig­nifications or importances, and rate their several Attributes or Properties by the nearness or remoteness of their affinity with it, or reference un­to it.

§. The Church of Christ which we term his Body mystical, can be but One, and that only apprehensible by the intellectual conceipt of our minds, and not sensibly to be discerned by any of us, for that some are in Heaven, and some on Earth; and though the persons of those on earth be visible, yet we cannot know that they are truly and infallibly of that Body, the sin­cerity of their hearts, and Faith being to us invisible, and to God only di­stinctly [Page 10]and individually known, yet may we rationally know, that there is such a reall Body; a Body collective, consisting of many; a Body my­stical, because the mystery of their conjunction is removed altogether from our senses. All are not Israel that are of Israel, Rom. 9.6. and no mortal can infallibly distinguish them. It was Christ only that knew Nathaniel to be a true Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile, John 21.15. Many may prophesie, cast out Devils, and do wonderful works in Christs Name, Matth. 22. and yet be deceivers, whom God only can know and distinguish. But this Church is not the proper subject of this discourse.

§. As the everlasting promises of love, mercy, and blessedness belongs unto the mystical Church; even so when we read of any duty which the Church of God is obliged unto, the Church which this doth concern is a sensibly known Company; and this visible Church in like sort is but one successively con­tinued from the beginning of the World, and will continue untill time shall be no more; and which consists partly of Members before, and partly of Members since the coming of Christ; and which have already, and which shall hereafter embrace the Christian Religion, we term as by a more proper Name the Church of Christ, whereof there are many Members, yet but one Body, 1 Cor. 12.27. And therefore the Apostle affirmeth plainly all men Christian, be they Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, they are all incorpo­rated into one Company, they all make but one Body, that he might recon­cile both unto God in One Body, Eph. 2.16. that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs also and of the same Body, Eph. 3.6. And they all professing one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, Eph. 4.5. Neither is this Church the Visible Church [...], the only proper subject matter of this discourse, though it be not altogether exclusive.

§. For preservation even of Christianity, and of Christian unity, peace, and concord, there is not any thing more needful and requisite, than that such as are of the Visible Church have mutual fellowship and society one with another. In which consideration, to use their own simile, As the Sea or Collection of waters, Gen. 1.10. being one, one in nature, yet not one in name and number; for that within divers precincts it hath divers names, as the Bal­tick, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea; so the Catholick Visible Church is in like sort divided into a number of distinct Societies, every of which is term­ed a Church within it self. In this sense the Church is always a visible So­ciety of men; not meerly an Assembly, but a Society. For though the name of Church be given unto Christian Assemblies, and though any number of Christian men congregated may quodam sensu be termed a Church, yet Assemblies properly are rather things that belong to the Church than the Church it self, men are assembled for performance of publick Actions, which Actions being ended, the Assembly dissolveth it self, and is no longer in being; whereas the Church which was assembled doth no less continue afterwards than before: Where but three are, and they of the Laity also, there is a Church, a Christian Assembly. But a Church, as in this discourse we ought to understand it, is a Society, or a Fraternity (to use their own terms still) i. e. a number of men belonging unto some Christian Fellowship, the place and limits whereof is certain, and who are endued with suffici­ent powers, attributes, and properties to govern it self; and this Church is the most proper subject of this discourse, which doth neither exclude the Members of the holy Church Triumphant or Militant, nor yet consists only of them, or of men internally, though ineffectually called; but of them and of others called only vocatione merè externa, by vocation meerly ex­ternal. [Page 11]Thus the several societies of Christian men, unto every one of which the name of Church is rightfully attributed, as the Church of Rome, France, Spain, England, and, as of old, the seven Churches of Asia, which certainly hold a nearer resemblance unto National or Provincial Churches, than unto the Gathered Congregations; for most certainly each of these had certain particular Congregations under them, as London hath, must be en­dued with correspondent general properties, and powers belonging of right unto them as they are publick Christian Societies. And all the powers gi­ven by Christ to the Churches Militant, or to visible Ministerial Churches, are most properly attributed to such Churches, and not to those where two or three, or some few only in respect of the whole are gathered, and such are our Independent Churches here in respect of the Church of England: and such like are our several Parishes, which more properly and strictly ought to be accounted of as Members, or Homogeneal parts of the Church of Eng­land, than so many several Churches endued with such powers; though in common discourses we may allow them the title or appellation of Churches, yet in discourses of this nature being disputative, they ought to be distin­guished.

§. Unto the Attributes or Prerogatives attributed to the Church in the Apostles or Nicene Creed, or unto the Promises annexed unto it in the Scrip­tures, the Visible Ministerial Churches have no claim or title, save only in rever­sion or reflection, or in expectancy; i. e. the Mystical Body of Christ is only instated in the Blessings, Prerogatives, and Promises made unto the Church; yet from this Body, or rather from Christ the Head of this Body, both Blessings and Powers do immediately and successively (like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aarons beard, that went down to the skirts of his Garments) descend though in different Measures unto the several Members of it, as unto National Churches, more and greater Powers; and unto the several Congregations thereof Blessings and Powers, though not in the same measure and fullness; and indeed by Analogie and Participation unto all and every one that hath put on Christ by profession. Thus we are to conceive of the Catholick Church as of one entire Body made up by the Collection and aggregation of all the faithful unto the unity thereof, from which union there ariseth unto every one of them such a relation unto, and such a dependance upon the Church Catholick, as parts use to have in respect of the whole: whereupon it followeth, that neither particular persons, nor particular Churches are to work as several di­vided Bodies by themselves, which is the ground of all Schism; but to teach, and to be taught, and to do all other Christian duties, as parts conjoyned unto the whole, and Members of the same Common-wealth or Corporati­on; and therefore the Bishops of the Antient Church, though they had the government of particular Congregations only committed unto them, yet in regard of this Communion which they had with the universal, did usually take to themselves the title of Bishops of the Catholick Church, which maketh strongly as well against the new Separatists as the old Donatists, who either hold it a thing not much material, so they profess the Faith of Christ, whether they do it in the Catholick Communion, or out of it; or else which is worse, dote so much upon the perfection of their own Party, that they refuse to joyn in fellowship with the rest of the body of Chri­stians, as if they themselves were the only people of God, and all wisdom must live and die with them and their Generation.

§. To prosecute their own simile of Fraternities or Corporations, where­by they claim a power over one another by consent or agreement: Be it that every Church exceeds an ordinary Assembly or Multitude, in that it is a Society of Men incorporated, and every Corporation or Society corpo­rate supposeth an unity more than meerly local between the Members thereof, an Union by Laws and Statutes; or else they were no more signi­ficant than so many men meeting at a Play or Whitsun-Ale, quod non est aliquid formatum, non est aliquid vere unum; that which hath no set form or fashion can have no true real unity; for it is the form of every thing which giveth it a distinct entity or unity. Hence it is that though all men are mortal, yet Corporations consisting of such mortal men, are yet accounted immortal, because their Laws and Ordinances is the life, the soul, and spirit of every Corporation or Body Civil, every Church in what usual sense soever it be taken, is a Society or Body Politick, though every Society or Body Politick is not a Church. And that which differ­enceth the Church, properly so called, from a Society or Body meerly Civil, is the diversity of Laws and Ordinances, and the different manner of uni­on between the Members, All this is to fortifie and to make plain their simile, and which they will not gainsay.

Yet withal I shall commit to their consideration, that there are no Cor­porations in England, nor in any well governed Commonwealth, without a proper Charter from the Crown and Laws of the Kingdom to autho­rize them to be a Corporation, and to make By-laws (as they call them) or to have power one over another: So none of them are independent of the publick Laws of the Kingdom or Nation whereof they are Subjects, or have any authority to form or establish themselves by any power of their own, but by what is derivative from some other power paramount. So also there is no Parish in England, nor any Company of Christians that have power of themselves so to confederat or congregat into a Church, such a Church as hath all the Powers and Attributes wherewith a National Church is endowed, and to meet as an Independent Congregation, to make Laws, choose Officers, censure Offenders, make Canons and Orders in circum­stantials without authority first obtained from the supreme Powers legisla­tive, or without any Supervisors or Superintendents, or Laws over them: if every particle of the Church hath this power derived unto it from Christ, then certainly the same cannot be denied to a whole National Church; and whether be more just or equal that a part should govern the whole, or the whole the parts, judg ye. Power to meet, to fast, and pray, to break bread, and administer Sacraments (which renders them capable of the ap­pellation of a Church) cannot reasonably and ordinarily be denied unto them; yet this doth no way qualifie them to be Independent. The strength and virtue even of the Law of Nations is such, that no particular Nation can lawfully prejudice the same by any their several Laws and Ordinances, more than a single person by his private resolutions can abrogate the Laws of a Nation wherein he lives. For as Civil Law being the Act of a whol Body Politick, doth therefore overrule each several part of the same Body, so there is no reason that any one Common-wealth it self should, to the prejudice of another, annul that whereupon the whole world hath agreed. Now as there is great cause of Communion, and consequently of Laws for the maintenance of communion amongst Nations; so amongst Nations Chri­stian, the like in regard even of Christianity hath been always adjudged needful. And in this kind of correspondence amongst Nations, the force [Page 13]of General Councils doth stand: For as one and the same Law divine is unto all Christian Churches a rule for the chiefest things, by means where­of they all in that respect make one Church, as having all but one Lord and Lawgiver Christ, one Faith, one Baptism, Jam. 4.12. Eph. 4.5. So th [...] urgent necessities of mutual communion for propagation of the Gospel, and for preservation of unity in these things, as also for order in some other things convenient to be every where uniformily kept, maketh it requisite that the Church of God here on earth have her Laws also of spiritual commerce between Christian Nations; Laws by vertue whereof all Churches may en­joy freely the use of those reverend, religious, and sacred consultations, which are termed Councils General, a thing whereof Gods own blessed Spirit was the Author; a thing practised by the holy Apostles themselves; a thing always afterwards kept and observed throughout the world; a thing never otherwise than highly esteemed of till pride, ambition, and ty­ranny began by factions, and vile endeavours to abuse that divine Inven­tion unto the furtherance of wicked purposes. But as the just Authority of Civil Courts, and Parliaments, is not therefore to be abolished, because sometimes there is cunning used to frame them according to the private intents and interests of men over-potent in the Common-wealth; so the grievous abuse which hath been of Councils, should rather cause men to study how so gracious a thing may again be reduced to the first perfection, than in regard of the stains and blemishes sithence growing be held for ever in extreme disgrace. What hath been here affirmed of the Laws of Nations in general, and of General Councils, to make the thing we treat of more evi­dent and reasonable, the same reasons are as applicable and adequate to all intents and purposes of every particular Kingdom and Government, and runs parallel throughout all Laws both of Church and State, made by every par­ticulat Church and Nation; and it cannot be otherwise without shaking and hazarding the very foundation of all peaceable and good Governments in the World. For should it be in the power of any small or greater num­bers, less than the whol, to confederat, and avowedly to act contrary to publick established Sanctions either of Church or State, what issue could be expected but abominable disorder and confusion, and every man to do what seems best in his own eyes; as once in Israel when there was no King: for as the Civil Laws of every Nation, so of England, are made for the whole Kingdom primarily, and to the particular Divisions and Fraterni­ties secondarily; and obedience is yielded unto them, not as Eastern, or as Western, Northern, or Southern men, but as Subjects of the same King­dom: So the Laws of Christ are given to the whole Church primarily, and yet they oblige every particular Church to the observation of them; but not because in such a particular congregated Brotherhood, but because Subjects of Christs visible ministerial Church.

I am verily perswaded that it cannot demonstratively be made appear by any, that every congregated Church in the best and purest times after the days of the Apostles, was a Plenipotentiary Church unto it self to all in­tents and purposes. I must confess that they would very much have ob­liged us, if they had at any time given us any one instance of such a Church; but they having not yet done it, I take it for granted that it is not to be done; though if such an instance could be made, yet the posture of Eccle­siastical persons and affairs being so much different now from what it was then, may quite alter the case. I must confess it cannot reasonably be ima­gined that it could then be otherwise, because in those days all Kingdoms [Page 14]and Governments were so far from being friends to Christianity or Chri­stian Churches, that they were all Persecutors thereof, and therefore not possible that there should be any National Churches, and happily were none till the lays of Constantine the first Christian Emperor.

§. Their Maxim or Position is this, viz. 1. That they who are called out of the world by the ministry of the Gospel (as all Christians are) have power given them by Christ, being a competent number, to gather themselves together in his name. 2. That a Church so gathered becomes a Body or spiritual Cor­poration; and being joyned thus by mutual assent of each person, have power one over another (as in all Fraternities) and liberty from Christ to choose their Officers, censure Offenders, make Canons and Orders in Circumstantials for the regulating of their affairs.

§. Unto the first part of their Position I can so far subscribe, that it is tru, that where but two or three (whether with or without a Priest) are gathered together in Christs Name, the presence of Christs Spirit is by promise annexed unto them, Matth. 18.20. and the particular Assemblies of Christians were thereby intended and approved by Christ, viz. to have communion in the publick exercise of holy duties mentioned, Act. 2.42, 46. viz. breaking of bread and prayer. But that it doth describe or purport a mutual agreement, which doth formally constitute them a Church Indepen­dent without any regard had to the National Church wherein they live, is not so very clear, the Text not warranting the same in the least; if it do, then every Family by the same Text might claim Independency.

§. As unto the other part of the Position I can by no means submit with­out very great qualifications. But if the second part of their Position be tru of every particular Assembly, it must necessarily be much more tru of the whole or National Church, for which they were primarily given and ordained, and unto other Churches under the same Government but secon­darily and subordinat. Moreover consider the Original Commission for gathering of Churches; Go teach all Nations, and baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Matth. 28.19. which Commission was before the Church was cantonized into divisions and subdivisions by publick Authority, or the Independent Congregational Fraternities set up by any par­ticular men. The distinction of Churches fell out naturally and necessarily, as this or that City or Nation was here or there converted by some one or other of the Apostles and their Successors, and so division of Chur­ches came secondarily for convenient administration of Ordinances, and communication of Members. The fallacy or mistake lies in the misnomer, or misapplication of terms. The Congregations in such meetings termed Churches ought more properly to be called Assemblies than Churches, for they have not all the powers belonging to a Church more properly so cal­led, they being only partes similares, Homogeneal parts of some more en­tire or ample visible Church; in this sense Families are sometimes stiled Churches.

§. It follows, That a Church so qualified, and so gathered becomes a Body or spiritual Corporation, which may be, nay, which is tru in a qualified sense; so at the least the meanest or lowest Member of the Catholick Church or House of God, is the Temple of God; yea a King and a Priest, Rev. 5.9, 10. Is it reasonable therefore to argue from hence, that therefore every tru lively Member of the holy Catholick Church hath the power of a Church, because such titles are in some sense applicable unto them?

§. It follows, and being joyned thus by mutual assent of each person, they have power over one another as in all Fraternites, and liberty from Christ to choose their Officers, censure Offenders, make Canons, and Orders in Circum­stantials for the Regulating of their affairs. Be it so, yet even then all the power they can lawfully claim, is to assemble to Pray, Preach, and Admi­nister Sacraments, which I shall not deny them; but as for other powers (except to put them out of that particular Congregation) I know none they have right unto, or that they can endow one another withal, but what must necessarily in respect of good government be subordinate to the more su­preme and greater power of the same kind, which is the Christian Common-wealth, which is the National Christian Church, the publick power of all Societies being above every soul contained in the same Fraternities; and the prin­cipal use of that power is to give Laws unto all that are under it; which Laws in such case ought to be obeyed, unless there be reason shewed, which may necessarily enforce, that the Law of Reason or of God doth enjoyn the contrary, because except our private and but probable resolutions be by the Law of publick determinations over-ruled, we take away all pos­sibility of sociable life in the world. If they will have powers over one an­other (as in all Fraternities) then they must be first made a Corporation by some more supreme Authority, and endowed with powers as all other Fraternities are; for no number of men in any entire rightful Government can give themselves orders or powers distinct and exempt from the supe­rior Jurisdiction, these must be had from the supreme established Power, else if instead of censuring Fornicators or Adulterers to the White Sheer, or Stool of Repentance, they should censure or condemn them to the Gallies; or as in the Old Law, Levit. 20.10. to be stoned to death, I doubt they would not do it impune, and yet a Christian Common-wealth, which is a Christian Church, might lawfully enact such a Law. Liberty from Christ alone for their demanded powers I know they claim, but quo war­ranto? non sum informatus, especially free and exempt from all superior ju­risdiction: Texts they can name none that are applicable to such Congre­gations, but will be much more properly applicable to National Churches to govern the whole. As for the power of Censures, so of the making of Canons and Orders in Circumstantials for regulating of their affairs, the same reasons hold more strongly for the National Church, who (as well as the Independents) profess their Independency upon Christ alone, and to be their only Head and Lawgiver, as best knowing how to govern his own house. If Independency be sound doctrine, then if the Independent, the Roman Pontif, the Prelate, the Presbyter, the Anabaptist, the Socinian, the Quaker, and a thousand more Sects should set up each for themselves, by the same doctrine in this or any other Christian Nation, who shall reform? they can­not all be in the right, and to reform one another is against the very na­ture of Independency, and yet reformation ought to be, and power there­of must be seated somewhere, either in the Civil Magistrate, or in Synods, Councils, &c. the chiefest reformations in the Jewish Church have been by the Kings, and supreme Magistrates, sometimes without the peoples con­sent, and sometimes commanding and compelling them to consent. So Asa commanding, That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, Man, or Woman: So Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 29.3, 4.18. and so Josiah, 2 Chron. 24.31.32. And so indeed all the good Kings of Israel; and if they did not, judgments were denounced against them by the Prophers from God, and they were punished; which power is not abrogated, but confirmed by the Gospel.

They farther say, As the Church Catholick in General, so each parcel of it, each particular Church hath Christ also for its head, and in such a union with him, and such existence in him (even as a Church) 1 Thes. 1.1. Paul and Sylvanus and Timotheus unto the Church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ, Grace, &c. we say so too; but how this makes for Independency, that is the great question; the Empha­sis and stress of which verse lies in these words, viz. which is in God the Fa­ther, and in the Lord Jesus Christ; which some think to be a description of the Church of God, to put difference betwixt Christian Churches and the Assembly of Pagans and Jews, which are not in God, but in Idols; not in Christ, but in an absolute God, whom they conceive and worship out of the blessed Trinity, in the Father and the Son; that is, say some, in the Faith and Worship of the Trinity; say others, in blessed and heavenly fel­lowship with the Father and the Son by bond of the Spirit: others think that they do import a kind of [...] — and subsistence in the Deity, by the means of the union mystical betwixt Christ and his Church, The Father in us, and we in him, 1 Joh. 3.24. Partakers of the Divine nature, 2 Pet. 3.4. Take the words in which sense you please. I do not see how they are more applicable to Independent than unto other Christian Churches not esteemed Independent; if they contain any other reasons more favouring Independent Churches than others, I must confess that they are unto me in­cognito, and I guess unto them also, for that they have not specified any.

§. I can say Amen also to what follows in the negative, viz. [As that if persons making up this Body be considered distinctly, and as incorporated one with another only, and not in their relation to Christ also, as one with them, and chief in the midst of them, Matt. 18.20. they are not a compleat Body or spiritual Polity.] For though a million of Bishops, Prelats, or Clarks, even the Popes and his Cardinals assisting, not thus qualified should assemble for their own gain, dignities, or jurisdiction, or for any other sinister end, or if their consultations should be managed by superior power or faction (as not long since in that pack'd brib'd Conventicle at Trent Independently in their esteem, made up of Titulars and Pentioners and Bishops) they have no like interest in the former promise. For any Church visible or repre­sentative, whose Individuals are not so qualified, the greater part where­of for number, or more principal Authority, may be Infideles, aut Haere­tici occulti, Hereticks or Atheists in heart: for though their persons and profession of their Faith may be to us mortals visible, yet the sincerity of their hearts and faith is to us invisible.

And I can say Amen also to some part of the affirmative, which follows, viz. That we as well as they do profess our dependency also to be upon Christ alone, for the government and management of this his Kingdom; and thus being dependent upon Christ our only Lawgiver, James 4.12. who is the wis­dom of the Father, and best knoweth how to govern his own house. But I cannot from hence conclude them Independent as they do, in respect to the Authority or Soveraignty of any other Person, Church, Synod, or Power whatsoever: there is modus in rebus, difference between staring and stark mad, between submitting to Superiors, as if they were Lords, and had dominion of our Faith; and to our Superiors representative, making whol­som Laws for order and good government only, and those not exclusive our consent neither, virtually at least.

Yet I say that this also may be true in some part, as in Substantials, though not in Circumstantials: As if Authority should command the ad­ministration [Page 17]of the Eucharist which was instituted by Christ himself in the days of his flesh (and is of so mysterious and so spiritual a nature, that who­soever shall add or diminish from it will be in danger of the menace re­corded, Revel. 12.18, 19.) in one kind only (as our holy Father at Rome doth) when as Christ commanded to be given and received in both kinds, or should command service in an unknown tongue contrary to St. Pauls prescript, 1 Cor. 10. such Canons, such Commands may come within the verge of the Statutes of Omri indeed and consequently, no obligation on any Church or Person to submit thereunto: but this holds not in innocent Circumstantials. Therefore to quote Mich. 6.16. to me seems very strange: as if there were no difference between our Canons and the Statutes of Omri, who did worse than all that were before him, walking in all the ways of Jero­boam, 1 King. 16.25, 26, who did sin, and made Israel to sin, 1 K. 14.16. as if no difference between his Priests, who consecrated whoever would, even the lowest of the People, Priests of the high places; and our Bishops and Priests, Priests of the most high God, as if no difference between Jeroboams Calves and our service, but both must be alike Idolatrous; this is hard. But I for­bear; only the 6. of Mich. 16. will not warrant the Assertion as to us what ever it may do at Rome; they must if they can bring better proofs, the Text is not in the least applicable to our Discipline and Polity; this is plainly to pervert Scripture, and comes within the verge of the Paraenesis pre­scribed.

§. Those famous Churches of Jerusalem of Ephesus, Corinth, Smirna, &c. were of old quasi National Churches, or at least instead of them pro tempore; for that then, and in those days there were no National Churches, no Kings, or Common-wealth Nursing-Fathers of the Church; so that when Religion was planted in chief Cities these Cities (wherein no doubt were several Congrega­tions) were as it were the Mother and chief Churches, and in all probability the minor Churches in the Suburbs and Villages next adjacent unto such Chur­ches, had more especially recourse for advice unto the next Metropolitan or more ample Church, who had all the powers rightfully belonging to a Compleat Church. But it cannot demonstratively be made out that every Parish or Congregation in those days was a Plenipotentiary Church to all intents and purposes, and that they were Independent in their sense: For in­stance, in those famous Churches of Philadelphia, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sar­dis, Laodicea, &c. as Independent they cannot, for that as each of those Churches had many Presbyters, so consequently they had many Congrega­tions, and yet the Title of Church was attributed only to each Church in general, and to the Angel of that Church as chief Governor thereof, and not to every particular Presbyter, and his gathered Congregation there;Nero quaesitissi­mis poenis affe­cit quos profla­gitia invisos vulgus Christi­anos appellabat. Auctor nomi­nis ejus Christus qui Tiberio impe­rante per Procu­ratorem Ponti­um Pilatum supplicio affect­userat. Repres­saque inpraes [...]ns exitiabil [...]s su­p [...]rstitio, &c. Tacitus An­nul. l. 15. c. 10. and these Churches in all probability were governed by the whole number of the faithful, but whether ex praecepto, or prudenter only, I leave to every man to judg. I must confess that I do not know any one Church in the whole New Testament that is characterized as Independent; the most probable to have been so is that of Cenchrea, and that only because it was a very poor ma­ritime Town a few leagues distant from Corinth, and yet it is said to be Op­pidum Corinthiorum navium statione celeberrimum, & ideo frequens valde & populosum, the Port of that City, and therefore not so very probable to have been Independent: more probably happily that Church in Caesars House may be thought to have been Independent, because gathered under the Nose of Nero that cruel Tyrant, and consequently might not have so free recourse to other Churches for advice. What should here follow concern­ing [Page 18]the power of the Civil Magistrate, shall be referred to a more pro­per place.

§. A more plausible Argument for Independency, and unobserved by any that I have yet read, is, viz. that when Christ sent his twelve Apostles two by two into several Coasts to preach his Gospel, and to teach all Nations, &c. It was not that the Churches gathered by St. Paul should be subject unto the Government or Inspection of St. Peter, or unto the Churches ga­thered by him: nor that the Churches gathered by St. Peter should be sub­ject unto the Judicature of St. Paul, or the Churches gathered by him; and so of all the other Apostles: but every Apostle and his gathered Church had a right of Ecclesiastical Government intrinsick within it self, not de­pending on any of the other Apostles, nor responsible for their Actions to any other Church, Person, or Officers: and that divers of the Apostles met in Council at Jerusalem to settle some urgent things then controverted, and not then agreed on, was prudential only, and voluntary, not essential, compulsory or obligatory, yet a practice very worthy of Imitation.

§. That the Apostles and other Ambassadors of Christ were so sent, and that they and their Congregations were independent in point of Discipline and Judicature one of the other, is not denied by any Protestant Divines that I know of, and it is or ought to be as little gain-said that it could not then be otherwise. And why? Christ knew that the Messengers which he sent to gather a People to himself out of Saracens and Insidels, Jews and Gentiles, by perswasive means only, were to build up his Church within the Bosom of Kingdoms, which were and would continue avowed Enemies to his Gospel every where for a long time then to come. And therefore he gave them such Doctrines and such Commissions for Doctrine and Disci­pline as they might any where publish, and exercise in a quiet, and peace­able manner, the Subjects of no Common-wealth being any where therein concerned in goods or person, by vertue of that spiritual regiment where­unto Christian Religion once embraced, did make them lyable. And in­deed if they had not a Government within themselves, they could have none at all concerning Christian Religion: For Princes and all Nations were then professed and bitter enemies to Christian Religion, which Govern­ment did also extend it self unto small matters, even such as were other­wise impleadable and remediable in the Civil Courts and Judicatures of the Kingdome or State though heathenish, wherein and under whom they lived as Subjects, Dare any of you, saith St. Paul, having a matter against another go to law before the unjust, and not before the Saints; do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 1 Cor. 6.1, 2. So that upon the whole matter the Sum total of Religion that Christ committed to his A­postles and they to their successors, consisted in the Doctrin and Discipline thereof, viz. to preach him and him crucified, and to perswade others to become Christians through the belief of one Lord, one Faith, and one Bap­tisme, and when once admitted by the door of Baptism into the Christian Church then to become and to be accounted Members of the visible Church Christian.

As for Discipine, that concerns moral righteousness and honesty of life, and their contraries unrighteousness, and dishonesty; and therefore Christ gave them this General Precept, viz. to love one another, even our neighbours as our selves; and if any did transgress the Vertues and Laws which belong unto moral righteousness, and honesty of life, which are not [Page 19]proper and peculiar unto Christian men as Christians, but as Men) what then? the transgressors were first privatly to be admonished if the offence were private; those that sinned openly were to be rebuked openly; if they did not then repent and amend, then to be admonished by two or three; if still they remained incorrigible, then to acquaint that Congregation of Christian Brethren, of which they were Members, and if still they continued refra­ctory after private and publick Admonitions, Warnings, and Prayers, then not to own them as Brethren, nor to keep company with them, with such, no, not to eat with them, and in the end to pursue them as if Publicans and Hea­thens, as not being worthy of the Name and Profession of Christians, which they had put on, they not living to the adorning, but to the shame of the Gospel. And this is the sum of the whol Government or Discipline, which Christ after the death of the Apostles, (who having gifts extraordinary, had also powers extraordinary, which died with them) left to his Church for ought appears by any Scripture extant. And what need of more? For if the Ministers of the everlasting Gospel have liberty to Instruct, break Bread, Baptize, and Pray, the Civil Christian Magistrat hath sufficient power by Gods own Ordinance to order all the rest.

§. To me indeed it seems marvelous, nay monstrous, that out of so plain; so intelligible, so easily practicable directions for the Government of Christian Churches, that so various, so meerly wordly and pompous, nay imperious and impious forms of Church Government, should be drawn into use, as have been hundreds of years practised both in the Eastern and Western Empires, and all held forth to be according to the Gospel, when in truth they all differ from the true Gospel Discipline as far as the East is from the West, they being all degenerated into meer worldly forms set up for meer worldly self-ends and interests.

If any man can more plainly make out any other form from the Gospel, it would be a favour, my self I must confess to be Impar Negotio, it is past my understanding. Indeed to me it seems wonderful, whilst I consider that though Histories are ful and plain how and when the several forms crept in, and got Accruments partly by the supineness and negligence of the Brethren of their own Rights and Priviledges, partly by the craft and subtlety of proud, covetous and ambitious Clergy; and partly by the care­lesness of Princes, who not willing to trouble themselves with the care of Religion devolved it upon others, that they should yet endeavour to keep us hoodwinkt, though they know that our eyes are now open. If there be any other Gospel-form of Government, let it plainly appear without offering violence to any Texts of Scripture; if not, why should we be wi­ser than Christ our Head and Lawgiver? God only is truth, and all men are subject to errors, what remains? but that all his Servants, and more especially the Priests of the most high God (whose lips above others should more especially preserve knowledg) do abandon humane errors and fals superstructures, and keep the praecepts of God only, that they may remain stedfast in the truth only.

§. Some are of opinion that there is no need at all of any Ecclesiastical Government as distinct from the Civil if Christian and Orthodox; and if there be, that yet the Body of the Church is to govern it self, and not the Cler­gie or Officers the Body: they are to teach them their duty, but the pro­visionary, coercive, and executive power is seated in the Body, and not in the Pope or Presbyter. I know the grand objection against Independency is, that it is destructive to Government, and tends to Anarchy; a meer slan­der, [Page 20]rather than a just objection, for if rightly considered, it would be found the least Chagreen to any Civil Government of any Ecclesiastical Government at this very day in use in any Nation; and if not mistaken, I have Christ (who was the Wisdom of the Father) and his Apostles to justi­fy me herein: For the Government that is herein stated may be exercised under any Government how averse soever to Christianity it self without clashing or interfeering therewith. And if Christ left no other Govern­ment, (as for certain he did not,) why should we pretend to be wiser than Christ himself? The same was exercised by the Apostles, and long after; and how incroachments of power were gained to the Clergy Stories are full. Vide Fra Paolo Sarpi his Treatise of Beneficiary Matters.

§. On the contrary how thwarting Popish or Presbyterian Governments are to Civil Powers, we need go no farther than to Geneva, Rome, and Scotland. Hierusalem, not Rome, is the Mother of us all, there was the Church of the Jews most eminent and perspicuous when Christ came. From this Metropolis of the Holy Land or Palaestine, of which God said more than ever he said of any place, saying, This is my rest, here will I dwell for evermore. Here did the Messias begin first to build his Church (as foretold by the Prophets) by teaching the Doctrines of the Messiah, remission of sins, his tru worship wherein his Spirit was so prevalent as he was acknowledged to be the tru Messiah, and so embraced more eminently by Zacharias, Eli­zabeth and John the Baptist. Here according to Luke 2. was Christ pre­sented by the impulse of the holy Spirit in the Temple according to the Mosaic Rite. Here just and devout Simeon came by the Spirit into the Temple, waiting for the consolation of Israel, where he acknowledged the Son of Mary to be the true Messiah, and prophesied that he was set for the fal and rising again of many in Israel; and having sung his sweet Nunc dimittis blessed, and declared him a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. Though the number of the faithful was but smal at first, yet it did daily grow and encrease, being baptized of John his Forerunner in the Temple at Jerusalem, and afterwards teaching in their Synagogues, and confirming his Doctrins by his Miracles.

His Doctrins were not confined to Jerusalem only, but from thence were afterwards propagated unto other Cities, Towns, and Villages, as to Be­thany, John 11.18. about 15 Furlongs from Jerusalem, where Martha and Mary Sisters, and their Brother Lazarus did inhabit amongst other good Christians famous for borrowing an Ass with its Foal to ride into Jerusalem: to Emmaus famous for Christs appearing there after his Re­surrection: to Bethlem, where Christ was born: to Jerico, where Christ instructed Zaccheus touching the Messiah, remission of sins, good works, &c. Luke 19.9. there he restored sight to the blind, &c. Matth. 20. Mar. 10. Luke 18. the like is tru of Ephrain, Bethabara, Aenon, al Judaea, al the Region about, and beyond Jordan: so in Idumaea, Samaria, Galilaea, Ca­pernaum, Bethsaida, Corazin, Genezareth, Magdalo, Naim, Caena, the Region of the Gadarens and Girgasins, Caesarea, Philippi, the Coasts of Tyre and Sy­don, al Syria: that the tru Doctrin was preached and planted in al these and more places in the life time of Christ is manifest by the testimony of the Apostles and Evangelists, according as Christ a little before his ascension had told them. All which were so many separate or several Churches or Congregations as independent each of other; as one Apostle was in­dependent of another; and the reason why they should be so is as demon­strable, for that all the Apostles were alike insallible.

Whilst Christ was upon Earth he was the supreme Independent Head of al the Churches, and so remains to the end of the World; for it was he that chose, and made the Body his Church, and not the Body him to be their Head: so that other Heads besides him there never was, never will be. Go­vernors and Rulers there are and may be, God having given the Body power over it self. After his Ascension having given them their Commission, viz. Go ye and teach al Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe al things whatsoever I have commanded you, Matth. 28.19, 20. and having filled all the Apostles with the Holy Ghost, according to his promise, and endued them with tongues they departed, and separated and gathered several Congregations or Churches, so that the sound went into al the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world, Rom. 10.18. According as Christ had told them, You shal receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shal be Witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in al Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth, Act. 1.8. preaching repentance and re­mission of sins in his name among all Nations, beginning at Jerusalem, Luke 24.47. And thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every Kindred, and Tongue, and People and Nations, Rev. 5.9.

As Palestine had the honour and happiness to have the Saviour of the World to be born in her after a wonderful manner, and there first to teach his Doctrins, the glad tydings of the Gospel, and by his death, there to seal eternal salvation to Mankind, and there by his miraculous Resurrection to becom the first fruits of them that slept, and swallowing up death in victory: And after his glorious and joyful Resurrection, having led capti­vity captive, he gave gifts unto Men, and called some to be his Apostles, some, &c. who after they had chosen Mathias in the place of Judas the Traitor, and cloven Tongues like as fire having sate upon each of them, and al filled with the Holy Ghost; and having preached the Gospel at Je­rusalem, and thereabouts, and done many miracles whereby the Word of God and the number of Disciples daily increasing from 120 unto 3000 and more, and more daily accruing: the chief Pontiffs and Saduces being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resur­rection of the dead, began to persecute them (which seem to be the same year that Christ was crucified, viz. Anno Aetatis suae 33. and 18 Tibe­rii) scourging some, and killing others; which persecution occasioned divers of the Brethren to withdraw themselves into neighbouring places, which gave opportunity to the Gospel to be more universally spread throughout Palestine (the Apostles yet remaining in Jerusalem, Act. 8. who afterwards dispersing themselves also spread the Gospel into al Nations) after this sort and manner, viz. when a certain number of Brethren being convert­ed and well instructed in the true faith agreed among them themselves to build or hire a Temple, Tabernacle, or House, for their joynt meetings and exercising of their Religion, hired a Priest, and constituted a Church; and as the number encreased so that one Church and Priest being not sufficient for them al, those who were most remote did build another, and fit them­selves with more conveniences. And about the end of the first Century or beginning of the second, for good order and concord, and for civility and respect they did bear to their Bishop or Priest, custom began to include his consent also, which in process of time soon degenerated into usurpation by the Artifices of the Priests or Bishops, of which Rome in process of time taking hold, made great use to the abusing of the power of the Brethren, and to incroach upon the priviledges of the Body of the Church.

Al this while the Apostles and their Successors were independent one of the other, and so were their several and select gathered Congregations. The like may be as truly verified of the several Churches gathered in the neigh­bouring Villages, and indeed throughout al Palestine. The Persecution increasing 19 Tiberii, Paul himself being as it were Signiser or Inquisitor Haereticorum, great cruelty being used towards the Christians, caused the Apostles and some of their Disciples to dispose of themselves into neigh­bouring Nations (whereby the great wisdom and counsel of God was emi­nent, that thereby the propagation of the Gospel became more universally spread) yet so that some of the Apostles were always at Jerusalem, as the principal Seat of the Church of Christ, always ready to confirm and streng­then the Brethren under their Persecutions; and though they made often excursions from Jerusalem into other Regions, yet they many times returned thither again; Paul himself returned thither five times after his conversion, from whence he was carried prisoner to Rome, where though detained two years a prisoner, yet preached the Gospel, even then and there.

All this while no footsteps of any Dependency that any one Church throughout all Palaestine or the Regions round about, had of another. Com­munications and Advisoes reciprocal, there might be between the gathered Churches far and near; but no dependencies obligatory upon one another.

Soon after Christs ascention the Gospel was preached by the Apostles to al Nations both in Asia, Africa and Europe, and in the mediteranean Islands, as Cyprus, Crete, Samothracia,, and in the Aegean Sea, Lesbon, Chion, Samon, Trogyllium, Pathmos, Sicily, Melita.

Though there were thousands of Churches gathered by the Apostles, yet there are no footsteps remaining, that the Churches gathered by any one A­postle, were subject or did depend on any one or more Churches gather­ed by any other or more Apostles. The like I may say after the death of the Apostles, that no one Church by what Apostle soever gathered, was left subject to any other Church, gathered by any other Apostle, no, nor yet subject to any Church of their own converting and gathering; but every Church was to be governed by its own peculiar Body; observing Gospel precepts, viz. to love one another, and to do all things in decency and in order, &c. How and when the Supremacy of the Clergy came in Histories are ful and plain, and would have been yet more ful and plain, had but our Holy Fathers Inquisitors been as Innocent as Doves, as they were cursedly wise as was that Divelish Serpent that beguiled Eve, whilst they have scarce left us a Father or Monument of Antiquity, whose very bowels they have not raked out, and yet still retain that Hellish and daring Impudence to persevere in that embowelling trade, and yet every hedge Priest to boast that All (they cannot speak less than all) the Fathers are on their side, though their very Hearts and Intrals (had they not been raked out by such unreasonable and cruel hands,) would have born witness against them, and for us.

§. By all which it appears that the Summ and meaning of the visible Church and of the Government thereof upon Earth lies in a very narrow room, and is very plain, and obvious to every understanding though Eccle­siastick's of all perswasions, have by perverting plain truths and texts ren­dred them as obscure as they could, that they might not appear clear unto poor Laick's. And which aggravates the more, we find by woful expe­rience, that as of old so now they still are very well content and pleased that we should yet be kept on in an amaze and Laberinth, and to know no more [Page 23]of Church and Church-Government then what will stand with the grandeur, benefit and domination of Ecclesiastick's only, and still continuing blind­ed in extreme ignorance. We should have them only in admiration, as if Gods and Oracles; indeed Bellarmine in his tract against Gerson, ‘magnifying the Popes Power above the Skies saith, and saith truly, that the holy Church is not like the Common-wealth of Venice, or of Geneva, La christ San­ta non è simil [...] a [...]la Rep. di Ven [...]tia. &c. p. 318. or of other Cities which confer upon their Dukes that Power, which themselves please, in regard whereof it must be said that the Common-wealth is above the Prince; neither is it like to an earthly Kingdom, in which the People transfer their own Authority unto the Monarch, and in certain cases may free them­selves from Royal Dominion, and reduce themselves to the Government of inferior Majestrates, as did the Romans when they passed from Domi­nion Royal to Consular-Government, for that the Church of Christ is a most perfect Kingdom, and an absolute Monarchy, which hath no dependance on the People, neither from them had its Original; but dependeth on­ly on the Divine Will which Christ sheweth when he saith, ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you. 15. John 16. Luke 32.33. 2. Psal. 6.’ but what strange Blasphemous Conclusions he hath drawn out of these premi­ses and texts, which relate only to Christ himself, by applying them to his Vicar General, I will not in this place concern my self at all.

The position it self is thus far true, that the Church is not a Common-wealth, as Venice, much less a Kingdom, as England which hath a Blood Royal, and Kings succeed by Birth, nor as some other Kingdomes by Testament, which hapily may change the Government, because the Church, which is Christs Body, hath Christ for its perpetual and immortal Head, and King, who whilst Man in the daies of his flesh, first made the Body the Church, and not the Body him, the Head thereof, governed it both visibly, and invisibly, invisibly by influencing his Body, and conferring Gifts and Graces upon men fit for his Body the Church: now touching this inward and merely Spiritual Government, it is not like unto any Government, no Prince, Pope, or Prelate having any such Government at all; but only Christ, who knoweth the hearts of all men, (which are deceitful above all things) and can only influence them and can confer Gifts and Graces upon them, where­by they are made, and may become free Denizens of the Heavenly Jerusa­lem.

And because Christ was always to have his Body the Church on earth, e­ven unto the end of the world, to be composed of visible Men, and Members, and not of one visible Man, the Pope, as the same Bellarmine and others would make us believe, he hath appointed the Authority, which his Body should have after his Ascention with promise that he would be with them un­to the end of the world, and therefore he set some in the Church as Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, and after that Miracles, then Gifts of Healing, Helps in Government, Diversities of Tongues, 1 Cor. 12.28. Some of which as Miracles, Diversities of Tongues, and Gifts of Healing, died and ceased with the A­postles, who only were extraordinarily and Infallibly Gifted and inspired as necessary only for the first planting of the Gospel. Therefore when Christ Ascended on high he gave Gifts unto Men, 68. Psal. 18.4. Eph. 8. yet di­versly, and in divers Measures, and according to his Promise, John. 14.26. Sent the Holy Ghost the Comforter amongst them which should teach his Body, the Church, all things, and should continue with them unto the end of the World.

§. For soon after his Ascention the Apostles together with the rest of the Body being met together in a great Assembly, and after they had prayed, [Page 24] the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and great Grace was upon them all, 4. Act. 31.32.33. and accordingly the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every Man, to profit withal, to one the Word of Wisdome, to another the Word of Knowledge, to another faith &c. and all by the same Spirit. 1. Cor. 12.7.8. and all these for the edifying of the Body of Christ 4. Eph. 12, For though the Body be one, yet hath it many Members, and all the Members of that one Body being many, are one Body, whereof Christ is the head, 1. Cor. 12.12.

In the visible Government of the Church, Christ appointed and instituted a Priesthood (in which likewise it is dissimilar to all temporal Governments) which quodam sensuis Independent of the Church, though touching the appli­cation of the Authority to the Person, it is elective and depending of the Body of the Church: under this Priesthood is comprehended Bishops and Presbiters, now what their Authority and Powers are, vide their Commissi­on, 28. Mat. 19.20. go teach all Nations, Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to ob­serve all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and loe I am with you al­ways, unto the end of the world: other Powers besides these, and laying on of hands, especially coercive, I know none derived unto them by any text of Scripture.

These Bishops, these Presbiters, these Ministers, or Pastors, are not Lords and Masters, as in the Roman Church; but are Servants to the Body of the Church. For we preach not our selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and our selves your Servants for Jesus sake, 2. Cor. 4.5. and these Authorities are not coercive, but are given them to exhort, reprove, rebuke, beseech, intreat for Christs sake, and by the mercies of God, &c. 12. Rom. 3. chap. 15.30. 1 Thes. 4.1. according to the Doctrines, Precepts, Rules, and Commands set down in Scripture, which are able to make us wise unto Salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus, and which is profitable for Doctrine, for re­proof, for Correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the Man of God may be perfected throughly furnished to all good works. 2 Tim. 3.16.17. These and such like only are all the Powers that belong unto the Priesthood, by any Law of God, and there is no need of any other: for what concerns punishment for Sins, or the breach of moral Duties, or municipal laws; the Body hath Power to make laws, and ordain punishments for any of its Mem­bers.

§. I know that they have a long time hooked in by Head and shoulders, a kind of coercive Power,Excommuni­cation. by usurping to themselves the Power of Excom­munication, a thing I must confess that hath made a great noise and buzz in the world, but in truth a magnificum nihil, a meer ignis fatuus, there being no such thing in the whole new Testament as now used, and that which Pope and Presbiter would have to be it, is as much in the Power of the La­icks, against them, as in them against the Laicks, and most truly in the Body of the Church. In the Romish Church the Bishop or his Vicar excommu­nicateth without the advice or participation of any, many times also the Register only, and that (which is most important by Authority deligated, a Clark of the first Tonsure deputed Comissary in some slight Cause, doth ex­communicate a Priest. Yea Leo. 10. in the Council of Lateran in the 11. Session, by a perpetual constitution of his, hath granted faculty to a secular person to excommunicate the very Bishops, and that which doth more import, Navar saith, c. 27, no. 11. that if any man shall obtain an excommunication of some Prelate, if the obtainer shall not have an intent that the party be ex­communicated, [Page 25]he shall not be excommunicated, moreover he saith, ch. 23. num. 104. that the excommunication pronounced by the Law it self, against him that payeth not a Pension (for example sake) on the Vigil of the Na­tivity is not incurred by him that payeth it not, no, not in many month's and years after, if the Creditor thereof would not have it incurred; But if on the other side, after many Month's or Years, he would have it incurred, it is reputed to have been incurred from the day of the debt;’ from the Vigil of the Nativity, and so is the stile of the Court; but the Council of Trent hath now expresly provided otherwise, Ses. 25. c. 3, forbid­ding secular Princes, that they hinder not Prelates to excommunicate, nor com­mand that any excommunication be revoked, considering that this is no part of their Office; by this you may in little see what a nose of wax is made of excommunication, and all this and much more grounded and occasioned from wrong Glosses, put upon plain Texts. But of this more fully here­after.

§. Though the Congregational men have not fully modelled out unto us the Platform of their Government and Discipline as the Presbyterians have done, yet in general they do affirm,Independency and Church-Government. that to each gathered Church Christ hath given all Power and Authority requisite unto that Order and Discipline, which he hath in­stituted for them to observe, and to execute the same with Commands and Rules as before. And negatively that there is not instituted by Christ any person or Church more extensive or Catholick entrusted with Power over other Churches, and that each particular Church consists of Officers, and Members, which Mem­bers they call Brethren, and the Officers they stile Pastors, Teachers, Elders, and Deacons, and that there are no stated Synods in a fixed combination of Churches, nor any Synods appointed by Christ in any way of sub-ordination to one another, nor no one Church to have Power of Censures, but of inspection only over other Churches, and Members thereof that Counsel and Advice might mu­tually be communicated.

That it was so in the days of the Apostles and continued so for some Generations after, every Individual gathered Church, every Christian So­cietie (as it is natural to all Societies as well Christian as Civil) governing it self by its own Laws and Constitutions, whithout being obliged to any other superintendency, hapily is so manifest that it would not be gainsaid: But when the Church became planted and spread its Branches, and took root in divers Nations, and whole Common-wealths became Christian, and Kings and Queens and other Civil Governments became Nursing-Fa­thers and Mothers of the Church; then of necessity for the quiet state of the whole, the case came to be altered, it being then impossible that every individual Member or Brother of any Christian Kingdom or Common-wealth, should personally meet to make Laws and Orders for the better reglement of the whole, as they did whilst the Churches were in small par­ticular Congregations, or Cities in a Jewish or Gentile State. And yet all Laws are presumed to be made by universal and common consent, in which regard the Churches have been enforced to have as well Churches as Bodies Politick Representative, and in as much when partly by the Supineness and inadvertency of the Brethren without foresight of any Peril, or Incroach­ment upon their Rights, and Powers by the Clergy, and partly by the dex­terity and usurpation of the then degenerating Clergy, designing to advance themselves by ingrossing all Powers and Revenues to themselves, not by any right derived to them by any Gospel precept, the practise and custome (injuriously enough to the Laity and consequently to the Church of God in [Page 26]the truest sence) began soon to admit none but Clergy and Church men only, as Members of the Body ecclesiastick, or Church representative. The name of the Church, hath by such their wiles been in a manner appropriated and monopolized to the Clergy or Church-men only, when in truth the Church in its truest and Scripture sence consisting of Laity and Clergy, can have no representative of both (which only makes the Church compleat) except both have their peculiar Representatives in Councils, Synods, Convocations, &c. whether Provincial, National, or Oecumenical. This Doctrine (of which more hereafter) though never so demonstrable and obvious to every understanding, was so bitter a Pill, that it could by no means be swallowed at Trent, and therefore in the Consults and Discourses concerning the very title of that Council (concerning which there were very great Debates and Disputes) the Bishop of Feltre, would not have it Christened Ecumeni­cal and general, least the Protestants should from thence argumentize that some of every Order of the universal Church ought to be present, which because it consists of Clergy and Laity, it cannot intirely and compleatly be repre­sented, if the Laity be excluded: But on the contrary the Bishop of St. Mark did as erroneously as magisterially affirm, that the Laicks were most impro­perly called the Church, and that for that very reason it was very requisite to use the title that the Synod representeth the Church universal, to make the Laity be understood that they are not the Church, but ought to hearken unto and obey the Church, which in Romish dialect is nought else but the Pope, by which it is apparent, that if packt Synods canonize us out of the Church to day, they may canonize us out of our Christian names to morrow, and out of our Christianity the next day. But of this more hereafter when the Clergy and Laity shall be more fully discoursed.

Yet by the favour of the great Bishop of St. Mark, nay by the favour of the Council of Trent it self, in the beginning it was no so, for in the Council of the Apostles, and a more early and more Authentick could not be, and which ought to be a Rule and Pattern, the decree was not made by the A­postles alone, but the Epistle was entituled with the names of the 3 degrees assisting in that Congregation, viz. Apostles, Elders, and Brothers, and Pe­ter (esteemed and stiled by the Romanists Princeps Apostolorum) by the Popes good leave was included in the first, without Prerogative (though not always Sans reprimand) by which it is apparent, that the assembling of a whole Church to handle the Name of God, the Disputes about Doctrine and Discipline is a thing most profitable, used by the Holy Apostles in the choice of Matthias and the 7 Deacons, with which the Diocesan Councils have great resemblance. But of the meeting of Christians from many remote places to consult together the forementioned place, 15. Act. is a famous ex­ample when Paul and Barnab as, with others of Syria, met with the Apo­stles and other Disciples in Jerusalem, who were assembled about the question of keeping the Law.

By all which it is manifest, that in the beginning of Christianity, the Church­es were Democratically Governed by a kind of Common Council, as St. Jerome and others do confess; but as the Ecclesiasticks by insensible gradations got Reputation and Power, so they endeavoured a Monarchical Regiment, which in tract of time they instituted and got to be established, giving all the Superintendency to the Bishops, whom all Orders of the Church did obey. The neighbouring Bishops, whose Churches were under one jurisdiction, had likewise their commerce and communion, and did govern themselves also as it were in common by Synods, attributing much to the Bishop of the most [Page 27]Principal City, ordaining him as it were the Head or Governour of that Body, and in process of time, by a more ample communion, which all the Provinces of one Jurisdiction or larger Government held together, the Bishop of the City where the Prince did reside, gained a kind of Superiority or ra­ther Priority by custom, not by any right. The more chief Jurisdictions were the imperial City of Rome with its neighbouring Cities, Alexandria which governed Aegypt, Lybia, and Pentapolis, Antioch, for Syria, and other Provinces of the East: There were other lesser Jurisdictions, wherein the same was observed. This Government being at first meerly prudential, introduced and approved only by Custom, was afterwards established by the first Council of Nice, Can. 6. under Constantine, and ordained by a Canon that it should continue: yet withal it did ordain, that those many Honora­ble preheminences which the Bishop of Hierusalem had, should be continu­ed unto him, Cant. 7. yet so that nothing should be taken from the dignity of the Metropolitan then Bishop of Caesaria. This Government which hath been ever held in all the Churches of the East, was altered in the Latine, not without great endeavours to make all other Churches stoop to the Lure, and submit to the Will and Pleasure of the Bishop of Rome.

After that it pleased God to give peace to the Christians, and that the Roman Emperors received the Holy Faith, there then happening more dif­ficulties in Doctrine and Discipline, which did disturb the publick Peace and quiet, another sort of Episcopal Assemblies had beginning, congregated by Princes, or their Lieutenants, to remedy their troubles, these Assemblies were guided, and governed by those Princes and Magistrates, yet so, that the decision of the principal matters, for which the Council was congregat­ed, was left to the common opinion of the Assembly.

After the Eastern and Western Empires were divided, there remained still in the West, some Marks of the Antient Councils, and many were cele­brated in France and Germany under the Posterity of Charles the Great, and not a few in Spain, under the Kings of the Gothes.

At last Princes being absolutely debarred, to intermeddle in Ecclesiastical matters, that kind of Council grew in disuse, and that alone remained which was called by the Ecclesiasticks themselves, the Convocation of which Provincial Councils was almost wholly ingrossed and usurped by the Pope, by intruding and sending his Legats to be Presidents, wheresoever he heard there was a Treaty to hold a Council. And after a certain time he took the power to himself, which the Roman Emperors used, to convocate a Council of the whole Empire, and to be President himself, if present, if ab­sent to send Legates to be Presidents. But a little more than one Age being past, it was very necessary, that every Nation should Assemble by it self, and resolve according to the Number of Voices, and that the general decision should be established, not by the suffrages of particular men, but by the plu­rality of the voices of the Nations, so it was observed in the Council of Con­stance and Basil, which use as it is good where the Government is free, as it was when the world had no Pope, so it ill befits the Pope, who desires all Coun­cils to be subject to him.

§. Having thus summarily given a short prospect of the state of the Church, in the first and purer times, and how in succeeding times it came by degrees to be altered, I proceed and say again to the Independents, that be it as they would have it, that the gathered Churches by one Apostle were not subject to the inspection and subordination of an other, or of all the Apostles (the cause of such Independency being then and in them reasonable, [Page 29]for that each Apostle was guided by an infallible Spirit, and so not absolutely necessary, and yet even in their times it was thought fit to call a Council for setling of some differences) yet it doth not therefore follow, nor cannot demonstratively be proved, that every individual Pastor, after the times of the Apostles, had their select Congregations seperate and distinct from others, or that those Congregations were Independent, free and exempt from all inspection, or superintendency of Magistrates or Bishops, or other Presbiters. The conjectures and probabilities (and they have no Arguments of an other nature) seem strong for the contrary, for Religion did first take place in Cities, which had their Ecclesiastical Colledges, consisting of Presbi­ters and Deacons, whom first the Apostles and their Deligats the Evangelists, did both ordain and govern, such were the Colledges of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Rome, Corinth, a [...] the rest where the Apostles are known to have planted our Faith and Religion. Now Religion in those days and places, and the cure of Souls, was their general charge in common, over all that were about them, neither had any one Presbyter, for ought that appears by any ecclesiastical History, his several cure or seperate title distinct, and apart until the division of Parishes, which was first made by the People, when a certain number of Inhabitants having received the true Faith, built a Temple for the exercising of their Religion, hired a Priest, and did consti­tute a Church, which by them was called a Parish, and when the number was increased if one Church, and Priest were not sufficient, they who were most remote did build another, and sit themselves better. And in process of time for the sake of good Order and concord, custom began to have the Bishops consent also, andHic Titulos in urbe Roma divisit pres­biteris. Evaristus Bishop in the Sea of Rome, about the year 112. began to assign precincts to ever Church or Title, which the Christians held, and to appoint unto each Presbyter a certain compass whereof himself should take charge alone: himHic Presbite­ris ecclesias di­visit coemite­ria parochias & dio diaeceses constituit. Dionisius papa 24. followed Ao. 268. which was found so commodious that all parts of Christendom followed the example, and among the rest our Churches in the reign of Er­combert the 7th. King of Kent. (Hoc de Hono­rio maxime me­mo rabile, God­wins Episc. p. 59. Honorius also being then Arch-Bishop of Can­terbury) about the year 636. became divided in like manner, and have so continued ever since. Other distinction of the Churches there doth not ap­pear any in the Writings of the Apostles save those according to Cities only 15. Acts 36.1. Apocal. 20. wherein they planted the Gospel of Christ, and erected ecclesiastical Colledges of Presbyters and Deacons ordained, by the Apostles to exercise ecclesiastical functions, promiscuously and at large, till the said Evaristus did about 100 years after Christ distinguish the Church of Rome into Parishes, tying each one to his proper station, so that indesi­nite care of souls, and indefinite ordination do approach nearer the Apostles times and example. And prescription for the congregational way may be more justly grounded on the example of the People (who are the Brethren, who are the Church) and of Evaristus then of any Apostle of Christ.

Moreover this the Independents will hardly evade, each Church in the Apostles days had many Presbyters that laboured in the Word, the Scrip­tures do plainly witness it. In the Church of Jerusalem, 15. Acts 6.23. of Antioch, 13. Acts 1. of Ephesus, 20. Acts 17.28. of whom, 16. Rom. of Corinth, 1 Corinth. 14.29. of Phillippi, 1. Phil. 1. of Thessalonica, 1. Thes. 5.12. of other Churches the like is affirmed, 13. Heb. 7. James 5.14. 1. Pet. 5.1. Now if each Church had more Presbiters and Pastors than one in the days of the Apostles (as it is manifest they had) then can it be hardly made [Page 28]out by right reason, that every individual Presbyter or Pastor had his par­ticular and circumscribed gathered Church free of all subordination, they seem contradictory in themselves. On the contrary, in the more pure times no man was ever ordained for some hundred of years, to whom there was not appointed both his proper and special Office and Charge, and Antiquity knew no distinction between Ordination and Benefice, and or­daining was the same thing as to give an Office, and the right of having ones livelyhood from the common goods of the Church.

§. The Independents do farther aver for their own justification, and that most truly, that it is a thing natural, that all free and Independent Societies should themselves make their own Laws (of which sort they take their ga­thered Churches to be) which is the thing questioned and denyed, and say, they are not Independent for the reasons shewed. But be it so yet then it is averred, that it is as true and as natural, that the Legislative-Christian-Power should and doth belong to the whole (England for example) and not to any certain Parish, City or Country, as to London, York, &c. of a Politick Body, though happily some one part may have a greater share therein than some others. And as this right doth naturally belong to a Commonwealth, so it must needs belong to the Church of God, which in the truest understanding is the Commonwealth, if Christian, and the Peo­pele thereof do publickly embrace the true Religion. As this very thing doth make it the Church, so the whole England, not any certain part (as St. Paul in London, St. Peter at Westminster or at York) hath the power of making Laws, and constitutions ecclesiastical. A Law is the deed of the whole body politick, whereof, if the Presbyter or Independent judge them­selves to be any part, then is the Law even their own deed also, as being made by the representatives of the whole wherein they are included, as having their most proper representatives in our Parliaments and Convocations, the undoubted Legislative Power of this Kingdom. And is it reasonable in things of this nature and consequence, to give men audience, pleading for the overthrow of that which (as it were) their own very deed hath ratifi­ed? Laws that have been approved both in Church and State may be, no man doubteth, again repealed, and to that end also disputed against by the same Authority: But this most properly is when the whole doth deliberate what Laws each part shall observe, and not when a few run counter the Laws which the whole hath made in a full and free Parliament and lawfull Convocation. Be it, that some reasons induce some persons to be otherwise minded, if those reasons be demonstrative and absolutely necessary, such I confess discharge consciences, and setteth them at full liberty; but if proba­ble only, what thing was there ever set down so agreeable to sound reason, but some probable shew against it may be made: Is it meet that when Acts of Parliaments and Canons have been publickly received, and long practis­ed, that general obedience thereunto should cease to be exacted, in case some few led by some probable conceits, should make open protestation of their dissatisfaction. Certainly in such cases they are obliged to suspend their judgments, for that in otherwise doing they offend against God by troubling his Church without any just or necessary cause.

For until the Civil Christian Magistrate (whose power it is that I contend for) doth otherwise order and determine, obedience is to be given to the Laws Ecclesiastical and Civil, if not contrary to the word of God. Turpis est pars quae universo non congruit suo.

Out of which premises, and of what will follow more particularly, I [Page 30]shall take the liberty to assert and conclude, that the Church of England in general is undeniably Independent, and hath intrinsick power within it self without any forraign aid or dependency, or any subordination to any other Person, Church, or Council to govern it self, and that every Parish or Con­gregation thereof, is not so Independent; but rather that every particular doth depend upon the whole, for that all ought to govern the whole, and every particular thereof, and every one ought to imploy himself most in that which is most particularly recommended to him, and that the true Re­presentatives of this Church of England, and of all other National Churches is the Legislative Power thereof, and that the King is the chief Governor thereof according to the constituted Laws and Canons thereof.

§. And this Legislative Power hath lawful Authority to constitute all Qualifications unto all publick Ecclesiastical preferments, so that they which will not submit to such qualifications, shall be uncapable of such publick Benefices and Preferments. But neither this nor any other Power throughout the whole Ʋniverse, hath any lawful Authority to forbid the gathering of Churches or stop the mouths of any Bishop or Presbyter to preach the Gospel, nor to forbid the solemn assembling together of the Saints, or of the Brethren, according to their several Commissions, viz. go teach all Nations, &c. 28. Matth. 19.20. And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works, not forsaking the Assembling of our selves together, as the manner of some is but exhort one another 10. Hebr. 24.25. if this had not been good Doctrine, and practised even by Christ himself, his Apostles, and their followers (maugre all the Interdicts of Jewish and Gentile States and Princes cursed Tyrants) the Gospel had never been spread. In such Cases where commands of Governments are contrary to commands of God, it is undoubtedly better to obey God than Man. I have dwelt the longer on this subject of Indepen­cy, for that though in truth it the be elder Brother unto Presbyterian Govern­ment by 1600 years, yet it seems unto most to be but my Lord Musshrome, and of yesterdays extract, and very little understood by Vulgar Capacities. In the Treaty whereof I have taken occasion in some measure to trace both the wayes of the Church, and the wiles of the Church-Men from its very Infancy, and shall pursue it farther when I come to shew what, and who are meant by the term Church, so that if possible the Government of the Church may be made easie and intelligible to every understanding. Plain dealing is best, and truth (like beauty) is most beautiful, when stark naked, stript of all paints, and School-tricks and Glosses, by which truth is more often con­founded and defaced, than brought unto light in its pure and natural co­lours.

§. I shall now proceed and say something of the Presbyterian way, but shall not meddle with their Model at all, it being done, and done to my hand, it hangs on every Hedg, and is decyphered and refelled in an Iliad of Pamphlets, and is as perfectly disliked and disgusted as known, and there­fore I think we may bid them defiance, set it up, and establish it if they can, especially if excommunication the main prop and pillar thereof were taken away, without which it must necessarily fall to the ground, and which is of no use in any Christian State, and which in truth is a nemo scit utterly un­known to Scripture it self, as now used especially.

And yet so fond are they of it, and so wedded unto it, and such is the selfishness of the Clergy, of all perswasions, and so great a Biass is their inter­est, and love of domination, that the very thought of parting with it, doth cut them to the heart, and it cannot be got from them without rending and [Page 31]tearing, as if it were as perverse as an unclean spirit, and though in truth, it makes no return, considerable unto any of them; but what redounds unto their dishonour and reproach. I shall only shew some of their tenets and practises, by which you may the better judge of them, and I shall not go far to fetch them, and declare that now to erect and establish that Govern­ment here or in any other Christian Common-wealth, were to erect Regnum in Regno, and then in short process of time, upon every difference and dispute as it happened in the State of Venice, 1610. where Father Ava­raldo a Capuchin, being demanded by the Inquisitors at Rome, for a certain opinion concerning Anti-Christ, and from that Inquisition the process being sent to Bressia where the Father was, the Inquisition at Bressia, proceeded in the Cause without the Civil Assistants, and answered them not without a design to cajole the Civil Magistrate out of his just right, by a nice distincti­on, viz. that they ought not to assist, but only in causes which were be­gun at the proper Tribunal, but not when the Denuntiation was given at Rome, so in a very short time, as it is possible, so it is very probable that both the Independent and Presbyterian Government would incroach, and in­trench on the Civil Powers (so natural is it for every power to incroach upon another) and either jostle it quite out of doors, or make the Civil subservient to the ecclesiastical Power, the sad effects of which hath been manifested in Scotland already where the Presbytery, when they will speak out plainly, claim to be coordinate at least with the Civil Jurisdiction, and if we consult their practises, we shall find them Paramount.

§. According to Sa. Rutherford there is a mutual and reciprocal subjection of Magistrate, and Pastor; Pastors, as subject in a Civil Relation, and Magistrates as they have Souls, and stand in need to be led to Heaven, are under Pastors and Elders: For if they hear not the Church, and commit in­cest, they are to be cast out of the Church, 18. Matth. 1. Cor. 5.16. Rom. 17.1. 1. Thes. 3.14.15. that God respecteth not the Persons of Kings, and we find them not excepted. If the Preachers of the Gospel be to all believers over them in the Lord, 1. Thes. 5.12. 1. Tim. 5.17. they have some Au­thority over the Christian Magistrate, Divine Right of Church Govern­ment and Excommunication. Presbytery displayed, printed 1644. and reprinted 1663. together with the forms of Church Policy claimed and presented to the Convention at Edenburgh in January 1560 drawn up by Knox, and to the Parliament of Scotland, and sitting in Striveling 1578. by Mr. Andrew Melvil, and together with their particular proceedings (justifying their Arguments by their Facts) truly related by King Charles the first, in his large Declaration, concerning the late tumults in Scotland, printed 1639. do abundantly make it appear, that their Maxims relating to Church and State Policy, are the same with the Jesuits, their Sermons delivered according to the Dialogue of Becanus, Scippius and Eudaeman Johannes, and their Arguments to be taken out of Bellarmine, and Suarez, as may also appear by King James his monitory Preface, and his Apologia for the Oath of Allegiance, and by the Books written in Defence of them both: To this Assertion, also give Testimony the Writings of Buchanan and Knox, &c. of old, and Sa. Rutherford, in his Lex Rex printed 1644. and his Plea for Presbytery, printed 1642. and his Divine Right of Church Government and excommunication, printed 1646. and a 100 more Pamphlets of later days.

§. If we examine their practises in particulars, most notoriously known, we shall find them answerable to their Positions.

Upon the return of Angus Arrol and Huntley, Popish Lords Fugitives for some Rebellious designs into Scotland, Anno. 1596. K. I. and con­vention meeting in August at Falkland, intended to shew some favour to them, which being ratified at another convention of the States, at Dun­fermling, in Septemb. the Church forsooth took pet at it, and thereupon entred into a Combination to cross and prevent it. K. J. for the better preservation of his Realm in peace and setled quietness, consulted with much kindness, Mr. Robert Bruce, as one for whom the King had a particular kindness and the most leading man amongst them, who was very willing that Angus and Arrol should return on the conditions proposed, but by no means would admit that Huntley should return, though he marryed the Kings Cousin, whom he accounted as his own Daughter, and offered to satisfie the Church and fulfil the conditions required, and one who had the greatest power amongst them, and therefore his Interest most likely to do the K. most service, or most prejudice, whereupon Bruce most in­solently replyed, I see Sir that your resolution is to take Huntly into fa­vour, which if you do, I will oppose, and you shall choose whether you will lose Huntley or me, for us both you cannot keep: There's your Presbiter in his right Colours!

This done the Commissioners of the Church (which Stile they most wrong­fully assume and monopolize to themselves only, as if the King his Council and Parliament, I might say the meanest of their Congregations were not as much of the Church as themselves) assembled at Edenburgh, where they ordained to acquaint all the Presbiteries, with what had been done and passed, finding great fault with the Conditions granted to Huntly, and the rest by the King and the Conventions, as bringing a manifest hazard both to Church and State, and therefore was desired to inform their flocks, and both by publick Doctrine, and private Conference, to stir up the Country people, to apprehend the danger, to be in readiness, to resist the same. Oh brave Sheba's! Trumpeters of Sedition and Commotion, a speedy way to set a whole Kingdom against the King in a trice; they proceeded yet farther by proclaiming a day of Humiliation through the whole Country, to be on the first Sunday (mark that) in December, that in Nomine Domini, they might with the better grace fast for strife, and debate, and to smite with the fist of Wickedness, and the cause assigned, was the return of the excommu­nicated Lords, whereby danger was threatned to Religion (mostly made a Dequoy, to intice heady and highminded men, and despisers of Govern­ment, not modeled by themselves to Rebellion) and therefore the Presby­teries should call before them their Entertainers, Resetters, and such as keep company with them, and proceed summarily with the censures of the Church, una citatione quia periclitatur salus ecclesiae & Reipublicae. I wonder where this Jure Divino Power is to be found, that they assumed this Preroga­tive, to Cite, Summon, &c. any for causes of Rebellion, or censure by excommunication: A meer device of their own, which they can never make clearly out, either what it is, or of what extent, or if there be any such thing, that they only have power to execute it, or that they can delegate it.

Nor rested they here, but ordained that a number of Commissioners se­lected out of all the quarters of the Country, should reside at Edenburgh, to receive advertisements, as should be sent from other places, and take advice upon the most expedient in every case and in every busi­ness that occurred, by direction of this Council, which by a new name, was [Page 33]now forsooth called the Council of the Church. And was not this to erect Regnum in Regno?

If the punishment and pardon of Rebels, be not a civil affair, I do not see what is: But rather than they will have their power docked, they will by their Inordine ad Spiritualia (their Pastoral Sheep-hook) hook even Crowns and Diadems within the verge of their mitered Caps and Pow­ers.

Whilst these things were agitated, divers conferences passed between the King and them, wherein the King and his Council made many prudent and gracious Offers, and condescentions, with great respect to the privi­ledges of the Church, but no reasonings prevailing with them, the King was forced to express, and said that there could be no agreement so long as the marches of the two Jurisdictions were not distinguished, that in their Preachings they did censure the affairs of the State and Council, convo­cate general Assemblies without his Licence; conclude what they thought good, not once desiring his Allowance and Approbation, and in their Synods, Presbyteries, and particular Sessions, meddle with every thing up­on colour of scandal: Besides divers other disorders which at an other time he would propound and have reformed, else it was vain to think of any agreement, or that the same being made could stand, and continue any while.

Whilest these conferences lasted, these just complaints of the King were verifyed and made good by all the Presbyteries, in the person of Mr. David Blake, one of the Ministers of St. Andrews, with whom they sided and whom they defended to their utmost.

This David Blake in a Sermon, uttered divers spightful speeches against the King and Queen, the Lords of the Council and Session, and had called the Queen of England an Atheist a Woman of no Religion: of which her Ambassador complaining to the King he was cited to appear before the Council, 10. Novemb. Mr. Andrew Melvil, accompanying him to Eden­burgh, did labour to make this a common cause, giving out that the same was done only as a preparative against the Ministers to bring their Doctrine under the censure and controulment of the King and Council; and so far he prevailed with the Commissioners of the Church, as they sent certain of their number to entreat the deserting of the Diet; ‘saying it would be ill taken to draw Ministers in question upon trifling delations (very trifling matters, as you will see by the Articles against him) when as the enemies of the truth were spared, and overseen. Proud Presbyters! Paul himself, submitted his doctrines to the Test and judgment of his Auditory. Judge ye what I say, and yet these insolent Priests may defame Princes, Councils, Parliaments, and say and do what they please, impune. No man must say, why do ye so? a shrewd sign, their Coyn is not currant when it will not abide the Touch-stone.

They farther gave out, that the Ministers were troubled for the free re­buke of sin and sinners, and the Scepter of Christs Kingdom sought to be overthrown.

The process they said, intended against Mr. Blake, was but a Policy to divert the Ministers from prosecuting their Suit against Popish Earles, and if he should submit his doctrine to the tryal of the Council, the liberties of the Church and spiritual Government of the House of God would be quite subverted, and therefore they concluded, that in any case a Declinator should be used, and protestation made against these proceedings, whereupon [Page 34]a Declinator was framed and presented by Blake, viz. ‘that seeing he was brought thither to be judged by his Majesty and Council, for his doctrine, and that his answering to the pretended accusation might import a Pre­judice to the liberties of the Church, and be taken for an acknowledgment of his Majesties Jurisdiction in matters meerly spiritual. He was con­strained in all Humility to decline that Judicatory, because the Lord Jesus of whom he had the grace of his calling, had given him his Word for a Rule for his Preaching, and that he could not fall in the reverence of any Civil Law, but in so far as he should be tryed to have passed his in­structions, which Tryal belonged only to the Prophets and Pastors, the spirit of the Prophets being subject to them alone: For this and other reasons in the said Declinator alledged. He for himself and in the name of the Commissioners of the general Assembly, who had subscribed the same Declinator (by which it appears that Blake was not herein a single but a publick person, and that these desperate Tenets, were the Tenets of the whole Presbytery and not of Blake singly) did humbly beseech his Majesty not to infringe the liberty of the Church, but manifest his care in maintaining the same’ i. e. in words at length and not in figures; that his Majesty would subject his Regality to their Presbytery, and be to them a King indeed, but yet no otherwise then the stump of Wood was to the Frogs in the Fable, a quiet and tame Idol, whom every Frog every waspish Presbyter may play upon and securely dance about.

Now let us see his Peccadilloes, not only charged, but strongly proved against him, viz. 1o. That he affirmed in Pulpit, that the popish Lords were returned into the Country, with his Majesties knowledge and on his Assu­rance, and said that in so doing he had detected the Treachery of his Heart. 2ly. that he had called all Kings the Devils Barnes, adding that the Devil was in the Court, and in the Guiders of it. 3ly. In his Prayer for the Queen he had used these words, We must pray for her for the Fashion, but we have not cause, for she will never do us good, so that we have little reason to pray for her. 4ly. That he had called the Queen of England an Atheist. 5ly. That he had discuss'd a suspention granted by the Lords of the Session in Pulpit and called them Miscreants and Bribers. 6ly. That speaking of the Nobility, he said they were degenerated, Godless, Dissemblers and E­nemies to the Church, likewise speaking of the Council, he called them Holy-glasses, Cormorants, men of no Religion. 7ly. That he had convocated divers Noblemen, Barons and other within St. Andrews in June 1594. caused them to take Armes, and divide themselves in Troops of Horse, and Foot, and had thereby usurped the Power of the King and Civil Magistrate.

The Summons being read, he desired to be remitted to his own Ordinary, hereby meaning the Presbytery where the Doctrine was taught, contending that speeches delivered in Pulpit, all be it alledged to be Treasonable, could not be judged by the King till the Church (by which term they always mean themselves) first took cognisance thereof, and thereupon delivered the Declinator. The King notwithstanding in favour of him deferred far­ther proceedings herein, till the last of November. In the mean time the Commissioners for the Church took advantage of his favour, and sent a Copy of the Declinator with a Letter to all the Presbyteries requiring them to subscribe the same and to commend the cause in hand in their publick and private Prayers to God, using their best credit with their flocks, and employ­ing all their labours for the maintenance thereof.

This their stirring up of Subjects against their King, extorted from the King by the advice of his Council a Proclamation, discharging the said Commission as unlawful in it self, and more unlawfully executed by the said Commissioners, commanding six of them to depart to their several Flocks within 24 hours, and not to return to act therein under pain of Re­bellion. Upon notice of this intended Proclamation, the Commissioners re­solved that since they were convened by the Warrant of Christ in a most needful and dangerous time to see unto the good of the Church, & ne quid ecclesia detrimenti caperet, they should obey God rather than Man, notwith­standing any charge that should be given; would continue together so long as conveniently they might.

They sent also some of their Number to the Octavians or Councellors that were trusted with the management of all affairs of the Kingdom for their assistance; but the President with some Choller answered that as these Controversies were begun, so they should end without their advice.

Having failed herein they sent to the King, humbly entreating a surcease of the Process against Mr. Blake, &c. to which the King returned this gracious Answer, that if yet they would pass by the Declinator or declare at least, that it was not a general but particular Declinator, used in the case of Mr. David Blake, as being a cause of flander and pertaining to the judgment of the Church, he should also pass from the Summons and surcease the Suit. This not pleasing, they resolve to stand to the Declinator unless the King would pass by the Summons, and remitting the Suit to the Ecclesiastical Judge, make an act of Council, that no Minister should be charged for his Preaching, at least before the meeting of the general Assem­bly. Whereupon the Proclamation was published, the Commissioners charged to depart out of the Town, and Mr. Blake by a new Summons cited to the last of November. ‘The Commissioners being advertised thereof, they advised a Petition to the King and Noblemen, praying the King that he would remit the determination of the differences to a lawful Assem­bly, and not to incroach upon the limits of Christs Kingdom upon any pretence, exhorting the Noblemen that as they had been, so they would still keep themselves free from working any prejudice to the liberty of the Gospel, and being Executionres of the Malicious devices of those who sought the thraldome of the Gospel, and that they would procure by their credit, a continuation of all Controversies, unto a free and lawful Assembly.’

This Petition prevailing nothing, Blake appeared and was convicted, it being sound that the crimes and accusations contained in the Summons were seditious and treasonable, and that his Majesty, his Council, and other ‘Judges substituted by his Authority, were competent Judges in all matters, either Criminal or Civil, as well to Ministers as other Subjects.’ Though Robert Pont after the Summons were read, protested that the Process in hand, and whatsoever followed thereupon should not prejudice the liberty of the Church in matters of Doctrine, whereunto the King answered he would only censure Treasonable Speeches of a Minister in a Sermon which he and his Council would judge. Notwithstanding all this, so gracious was the King, that he sought by all gentle means and sound reasons prosering Pardon Amnesty and Restauration to Blake, &c. But the more gracious his conde­scentions were (which were not a few) the more refractory stubborn and insolent were the Presbyters, insomuch that when the King sent to them, that he did not intend to use Blake with rigor, Mr. Robert Bruce in the [Page 36]Name of the rest answered, ‘that if the matter had concerned Blake alone the offer might be accepted: But the liberty of Christs Kingdome had re­ceived such a wound by the said proceedings, usurping spiritual Judicatory, as if Blakes life and the lives of twenty others had been taken, it would not have grieved the hearts of good Brethren so much as these injurious proceedings had done, and that either these things behoved to be retreated or they would oppose so long as they had breath.’ Brave Blades still! and they were as good as their words, standing it out to the uttermost, by so­menting sedition, and raising tumults, till at last some of the chiefest of them were forced to fly to New-Castle.

Upon all these Conferences with the King, and answers returned of his Messages, the Burden of their Song was still, ‘That their Messages and Commission ought not to be controuled in a Civil Judicature, nay tho they preached seditiously or rebelliously, for which tho they ought to be punished, yet it ought to be first cognossed by the Church; unto which the King once replied, and shall not I have power to call and punish a Mini­ster so preaching, but must come to your Presbytery and be a Complainer? I have good proof in the Process of Gibson and Ross what justice you would do me. When nothing would satisfie them, on the second of December sen­tence was given that Blake had fasly slandred and treasonably calumniated the King and his Queen, Queen Elizabeth, the Lords of his Council and Ses­sion; therefore his punishment being remitted to the King, it was ordained, that till his Majesties pleasure should be declared, he should be confined beyond the North Water, and enter into his ward within six days.

There were several Treaties after this Sentence in order to an accommo­dation, but still the same spirit reigned in them, and they returned as proud and insolent answers, in so much that the Lord Lyndsey told the King on their behalf, that they durst convene against his Proclamation, and do more than so, and that they would not suffer Religion to be overthrown: at which the King leaving the room, Lyndsey returned to the Church, and said, there was no course but one, Let us stay together that are here, and promise to take one part, and advertise our Friends, and the Favourers of Religion to come unto us, for it shall be either Theirs or Ours. Hence a great clamour to Arms to bring out Haman, others cryed The Sword of the Lord and Gideon; so great was the fury of the People.

This produced new Petitions and new Conferences, yet all but second parts to the same tune, Great is Diana of the Ephesians, the Liberties and Prerogatives and Scepter of the Church they will cry some hours, some weeks together, rather than they will lose their spiritual Independent Mo­narchy and Judicatory over King, Council, and People; and during this fu­rious contest, Mr. John Welch preaching in the High Church, said, the King was possessed of a Devil, and one Devil being cast out, seven more was entred in place, And that the Subjects might lawfully rise and take the Sword out of his hand, which he confirmed by the example of a Father, that falling in a frenzy, might be taken by the Children and Servants of the Family, and tied hand and foot from doing violence. Brave Gospel Doctrine! fit for Anti­christ and his Pulpits, who may perhaps grant Priviledges and Prerogatives to his Church, exempting his Clergy and Ministers from all questioning: But my Creed is, that happily such Priviledges and Liberties may be in their Books or in their Alcoran, but not in Bibliis sacris. Thus the Chorus and Burden of the Song is, that every Contradiction of a waspish Priest is an incroachment upon the limits of Christs Kingdom: a prejudice to the li­berty, [Page 37]and seeking the thraldom of the Gospel, &c. whereas in truth it is the Priests that have incroached and usurped upon the Priviledges and Rights of the Church truly so called. Deus bone! as slight as they make of the King and his Council, and other the Laity, by avowing that the spirit of the Prophets must be subject only to the Prophets; What Rule have these Presby­ters to judg by? what Logick? what way of Ratiocination, that the Laity have not, and know not, and understand not as well as they? what Infallibi­lity above Kings and other the Laity have these men? I must confess I ne­ver found them writing in terminis for this Infallibility: But if we may guess at their meaning by their mumping, their Actions and their Arguments are premisses which to some may seem to yield such conclusions, that they would fain have their Doctrines, though treasonable, to be embraced as Oracles: Are not these Doctrines purely Romish? surely yes. St. Paul was certainly more infallible than they, and yet he submitted his Preachments to his Auditory in general, not exclusive the Laity, Judg ye what I say. Nay, the Layity as well as Priests are commanded to search the Scriptures and try Spirits, and shall not the King and his Sages, Judg of Doctrines, because delivered in a Pulpit, which may concern the bene esse, nay perhaps, the very esse, quiet state, and weal of a Kingdom. If I were put to it, I should not doubt but to make it out, that there is as good warrant in Scripture for the infallibility of Kings, as there is for either Pope or Presbyter, though I must profess, there is no sound ground, no nor yet probable ap­pearance for either.

If the Presbiter will have his Doctrines received without controulment and contradiction, he must shew better warrant than the Pope, because he pretends to judg (what I think the Pope doth not) even Affections. Spotsw. Hist.

Mr. Andrew Melvil in his form of Church Policy presented by him to the Parliament sitting in Striveling, Anno 1578. hath this head, The Magistrate commands in external things only, and actions done before Men: But the Spi­ritual Ruler (such as Mr. Melvil and his fellow Presbyters are) judgeth both the Assections and the external Actions in respect of conscience by the word of God. In which form there are other dangerous heads sutable to what Mr. Blake and the Presbyteries so sharply contended for in his cause, and what tumults, &c. ensued thereupon in the Contest for that desperate form Histories do abundantly shew; but I forbear. But seeing they make so desperate ill use of 1 Cor. 14.32. by perverting very plain texts, I am re­solved (though no Presbyter) to try if I can hit the true and natural sense and meaning thereof, seeing they have not, and perhaps will not, it not being for their interest and prerogatives.

§. Its true the Spirit of the Prophets is subject to the Prophets, 1 Cor. 14.32. but what doth this avail Pope or Presbyters, surely they will not say, that the Prophets of the New Testament since the Apostles days are so au­thentick and infallible as those of the Old. Besides, what if the terms Pro­phet and Prophesying are in some senses and places, and happily in this, as applicable to the Laity as to the Clergy? nay, what if in this very Text by Prophets is meant in general, all Believers, those within the Pale of the Church, excluding those only without as unfit to judg such matters? Mark the Contest; First Prophesying (in general) serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe, v. 22. Secondly, If therefore the whole Church (not Priests only) come together in one place, and all speak, &c. v. 23. and All prophesy, v. 24. And every one of you hath a Psalm, hath a Doctrine, &c. 26. If any man speak, v. 27. Let the Prophets speak two or three, and [Page 38]let the other judg, v. 29. If any thing be revealed to Another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace, v. 30. For ye may all prophesie one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted, v. 31. And the spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets, v. 32. Let the Women keep silence, &c. v. 31. wherefore Brethren covet to prophesy, v. 39.’ Now if the words or terms of Whole Church, All, Every one, Any man, The other, Another, Brethren be words and terms of universality, and differencing, then certainly the words Prophets and Prophesying are in this Chapter more especially applicable to the Auditory, the Brethren than to the Presbyters themselves, and is an ad­monition and warrant to the faithful to assemble and speak to edification; besides the commanding of the Women silence, is a pregnant presumption, if not an affirmation, That all the Brethren might speak: so likewise is the command to the Brethren to covet to prophesy. But be it as they would have it, that by Prophets are meant Presbyters only, which is impossible in true construction, but the contrary, yet those Presbyters by the command of the same Apostle, v. 29. are to be judged by the other, that are not Presbyters, which is a better warrant to the King and his Council and Judges to judg them, than they can shew to Judg, King and Council, and to usurp Judg­ment to themselves only: Besides the very command in the very first verse is to all to follow Charity, to desire Spiritual gifts, but rather that they may prophesy; and by prophesying by the scope of this Chapter is clearly meant speaking to edification and exhortation and comfort, that our words might minister Grace to the Hearers; which certainly is the duty of every man; and which, if Mr. Blake had observed, he had never been called in question. Now tell me how much less doth the Presbyter claim than the Pope, who pretends, that every Clergy or Church-man, both they and their Family; nay the very Concubines of Priests are exempt from all Jurisdiction Tempo­ral, and that jure divino; and that from the same Apostle Paul, 2 Cor. 2.15. He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. The same Scripture is as strong for the Presbyter as the Pope; and it is to be feared that if he were as fast in the Saddle as the Pope is, that he would claim it as peremptorily, and therefore sit to be prevented by the wisdom of Princes. But were the Allegations true and pertinent, either there should be no Spiritual man besides the Pope or Presbyter, and so the subject of the Proposition should be homo singularis, one man only; or if there be more Spiritual men, they should all of them be Popes or Presbyters to judg all others, and be judged of none, no not of the Pope of Rome him­self, unless he be no body. For those are convertible, he that saith all ex­cepteth none, and he that saith none excepteth all. Touching the Prophesy we hold saith J. Robinson, f. 45, 46. the very same that the Synod (held at Embden, 1571.) hath declared, Harm. Synod. Belg. p. 21, 22. viz. 1o. In all Churches, whether but springing up or grown to some ripeness, let the order of Prophesy be observed according to Pauls institution. 2.o. Into the Fellowship of this work are to be admitted, not only the Ministers, but the Teachers too, as also the Elders and Deacons, yea even of the Mul­titude, which are willing to conser their gifts received of God, 2 Cor. 4.13. to the common utility of the Church, Luke 2.46, 47. and c. 4.15, 16. &c. fol. 47.48.

§. During the Contest between Adrian the Sixth and the German Prin­ces in Anno 1523. in the case of Luther, they thinking it reasonable did signify unto his Holiness from the Dyet at Noremberg, that married Priests and Religious persons, who returned to the world in case they did commit [Page 39]any wickedness that the Prince or Magistrate in whose Territory they shall offend, ought to give them their due chastisement, which did not please the Pope, and therefore he did reply, That it would be against the Liberty of the Church, and the Sickle would be put into another mans Field, and those men would be censured by the World who were reserved unto Christ.

For Princes should not presume to believe that they were devolved to their Jurisdiction by their Apostacy, nor that they could be punished by them, and for their other Offences, in regard the Character remaining in them, and the Order, they are ever under the power of the Church; neither can Princes do more than delate them to their Bishops and Superiors, that they may chastize them, Conc. Trid. 27.28. Thus let Pope and Presbyter go hand in hand as to Spiritual Empire and Dominion. Though it be besides my purpose to examine particulars, yet in the general I cannot but wonder that so many learned and conscientious persons, men of great abilities and good lives, should countenance and defend that Church Discipline and Go­vernment, as it is composed and compounded by Calvin, the first Brocher and Hammerer thereof as taught by Christ and his Apostles in the Word of God, when no Father ever witnessed, no Council ever favoured, no Church ever found out or practised it since the days of the Apostles; and when the general and successive consent of all succeeding Ages is resolute against it, as never expounding Pauls words in favour of it till about this last Century; and this in opposition unto, and derogation of Episcopal Re­giment, which on the contrary hath been observed every where for many Ages and Generations throughout the Christian world, nemine contradicente except the old Heretick Aerius: No Church till Calvins time ever alledging or perceiving the Word of God to be against it: for if but any one Church upon the face of the whole earth, that hath been governed by Calvins or the Scotch Presbytery, or any one Church that hath not been ordered by Episcopal Regiment since the death of the Apostles could possibly have been found out, no doubt but that we should long since have heard of it with our ears, and seen it with our eyes in their Writings, for that the Favourers and Abettors thereof have wanted neither abilities, industry, nor stomack neither to make it known.

Besides to me it seems strangely improbable (I might say impossible) that the Church of Christ should never know what belonged to the Government of her self till of late, and that the Son of God should be spoiled of half his Kingdom by his own Servants, Citizens, nay Martyrs for 1500 years together, without remorse or remembrance of any one man, that so great injury was offered him, and without one Champion to throw out his Gaunt­let in the demand and challenge of his right. Moreover how is it possible that all the Churches in the world should with one consent immediately on the Apostles deaths reject that form of governing the Church according to the Geneva cut (which they would fain perswade you to believe was set­led and approved by the Apostles) and embrace a new and strange kind of Government Episcopal, without Precept or Precedent for their so doing; for my part I think it much more safe, prudent, and reasonable to esteem this a new device of Calvins (a Chintera of his own brain, set up to serve his own ends, and to introduce his own Domination) than to proclaim so many Apostolick men and antient learned Fathers, to be manifest despisers of Episcopal Discipline, and voluntary Supporters, if not Inventers, of An­tichrists Pride and Tyranny.

§. I find four Priviledges extraordinary given by Christ to the Aposto­lic Function requisite for the first founding of the Church. What Privile­ges peculiar to the Apostles which died with them. 1. Their Vo­cation immediate from Christ, not from Men, nor by Men, Gal. 2.12. and their immediate instruction in the mystery of Christ by Christ himself. 2. Their Commission extending over all the Earth, without limitation to any place. 3. Their direction infallible, the Holy Ghost guiding them whether they wrote or spake. This Office by consent of all Divines be­gun and ended in their persons to whom at first it was committed. And except that Man of sin, that hath entred by intrusion and violence into the Prerogatives royal of Christ, no man would dare to arrogate the Privileges of this Calling. He indeed challengeth as in the right of Peter, universal power over the whole Church on earth: He assumeth and appropriateth to himself glory of Miracles, but all lying in form or end; and (if we were so mad as to believe) infallible assistance of the Spirit in all things, that he shall sententiously deliver to the Church out of his Chair of Pestilence. Sa­pientum octavus. Apostolorum 41. 4. Their power wonderful, as well to convert and confirm Believers as to chastize and revenge Disobeyers, whereby they did not only speak with tongues, cure diseases, work mira­cles, know secrets, understand all wisdom, but gave the Holy Ghost to others that they might do the like, and that they might store the whol world out of hand with meet Pastors and Teachers.

All which were given to their individual persons, and were thought re­quisite by that wisdom which is above for the first spreading of the Faith, and planting of Churches amongst Jews and Gentiles; that all Nations might be converted unto Christ by the sight of their Miracles, and dire­cted by the truth of their Doctrine.

§. But although all these died with their persons,But and what delegated to their Succes­sors to remain for ever. yet are there other three, and some make four points of Apostolic delegation, which have, and must have their permanency and perpetuity in the Church of Christ, the better to maintain and propagate the Church, once setled, and Faith once preached: As 1. Dispensing the Word; 2. Administring the Sacraments; 3. Imposing of hands; 4. Guiding the Keys to shut or open the Kingdom of Heaven. These, especially the three first parts of the Apostolic Functi­on are not decayed, and cannot be wanted in the Church of God, and are now seated in our Bishops and Presbyters by Apostolic successive delegation. The first Two, by reason they are the ordinary means and instruments by which the Spirit of God worketh each mans salvation, must be general to all Pastors and Presbyters; the other Two, according to common accep­tation, rather respect the governing and cleansing of Christs Church; and therefore in the opinion of some, no reason they should be committed to the power of every Presbyter, as the Word and Sacraments are, as Inde­pendents and Presbyters would have it: For as there can be no order, but confusion in a Common-wealth where every man ruleth, so would there be no peace but confusion in the Church of Christ if every Presbyter might impose hands, and use the Keys at his pleasure. Though the Presbyter of each Church had charge of the Word and Sacraments even in the Apostles times, yet might they not impose hands, nor use the Keys without the A­postles, or such as the Apostles departing or dying left to be their Substitutes and Successors in the Churches which they had planted. At Samaria Philip preached and baptized, 8 Acts 5.12. and albeit he dispensed the Word and Sacraments, yet could he not impose hands on them, but Peter and John came from Hierusalem, and laid their hands on them, and (so) they received [Page 41]the Holy Ghost, 8. Acts 14.17. The Churches of Lystra, 14. Acts 20. Iconi­um and Antioch were planted before, yet were Paul and Barnabas forced at their return to increase the number of Presbyters in each of those places, by Imposition of their hands, v. 23. The Churches of Ephesus and Crete were erected by Paul, and had their Presbyters, yet could they not create others, but Timothy and Titus were left there to impose hands and ordain Elders in every City, as occasion required, Tim. 1.5. Tit. 1.5.

§. Having thus briefly seen what Powers Christ left unto his Ministers to continue in the Church, let us now consider to whom he committed them.To whom were committed the Pow­ers Christ left to continue in the Church. I find several persons under several Names and Titles to whom these pow­ers were committed, and by them shared; as Apostles, Prophets, Evange­lists, Teachers, Pastors, and Deacons.

§. Touching the Apostles (whom the Bishops did succeed) they proba­bly had a superior Vocation and Jurisdiction above Prophets and Evange­lists, Pastors, Teachers, Deacons, and the 70 Disciples in the Church of God, and had the government and oversight of them which will soon appear. If we consider what Paul writeth of himself, and unto them directing and appointing what to do, and how to be conversant in the Church of God, what to refrain in themselves, what to rebuke in others: In which cases it is not to be said that the Apostle presumed above his calling, or had a seve­ral Commission distinct from the rest of the Apostles: But in his doings and Writings we may perceive the height and strength of Apostolic Autho­rity, so guided by the spirit of wisdom, that it displeased none in the Church, but the proud and contentious troublers of the Church, such as drew Disci­ples after them to reign over their Brethren, or seduced the simple to serve their own turns, as Diotrephes 3 John 9.

These Prerogatives were so proper to the Apostles, that no Evangelist nor Prophet in the New Testament came near it.

§. Touching Prophets, Prophets. they were such as having otherwise learned the Gospel, had a special gift of expounding Scriptures bestowed on them from above, and of foreshewing things to come; of this sort was Agabus and sun­dry others in Jerusalem, Acts 11.27. Acts 21.10. who notwithstanding are not therefore to be reckoned with the Clergy, because no mans gifts or qualities can make a Minister of Holy things, unless Ordination do give him power. And we no where find Prophets to have been made by Ordination, but all whom the Church did ordain were to serve either as Presbyters or Deacons.

§. Touching Evangelists they were Presbyters of principal sufficiency, Evangelists. whom the Apostles sent abroad and used as Agents in Ecclesiastical affairs where­soever they saw need; such were Annanias, Acts 9.18. Apollos Acts 18.27. Timothy 2 Tim. 3.15.5.14.28. and others, and were thus employed. In Trajans days, according to Eusebius, many of the Apostles, Disciples, and Scholars to shew their willing minds in execution of that which Christ first of all required at the hands of Men, they sold their Possessions, gave them to the poor, and undertook the labour ofEvangelista 1o qui Evan­gelium scripsit, ut Matcus, Luca, &c. 2o qui annunciat missus vel primo a Christo ante mortem, sio 70 discipuli 10 Luke. Vel 2o ab Apostolis, sic Timotheus dicitur Evangelista a Paulo constitutus Presbyter & Episcopus. 3o A Christo post resurrectionem sic Annanias Acts 9.18. Evangelists: they painfully preached Christ, and delivered the Gospel to them, who as yet had never heard the Doctrine of Faith.

§. Touching Pastors and Teachers,Pastors. Teachers. they were no other than Presbyters, howbeit setled in some certain charge; and thereby differing from Evan­gelists: which title the Apostles likewise gave themselves, 1 Pet. 1.5. The Elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an Elder. Albeit that Name was not proper, but common unto them with others: for of Pres­byters, some were greater, some less in power, and that by our Saviours own appointment; the greater they which received fulness of spiritual power, the less they to whom less was granted.

§. Unto these 2 degrees appointed by Christ, the Apostles soon after his Ascension annexed Deacons by Ordination, Deacons. whose office at first was to di­stribute the Churches Goods, to provide therewith for the Poor, and to see that all things of expence might be faithfully disposed of; and they were also to attend upon the Presbyters at the time of Divine Service.

§. By all which it appears, that Churches Apostolic did know but 3 de­grees in the power of Ecclesiastical order; 1. Apostles, 2. Presbyters, 3. Dea­cons; and afterwards instead of Apostles, Bishops: whether Bishops and Presbyters were two distinct Orders, or one and the same, I will not here enquire into, only this is plain, and beyond all contradiction, viz. they have one and the same Ordination and Commission, and not different and distinct, and thereby become more essentially Officers of the Church.

§. Many Errors have been broached and maintained, and not without some more than ordinary warmth among the Ecclesiasties, meerly through inadvertency, through confounding and want of right distinguishing Ser­vices, Offices, and Orders Ecclesiastical: the first of which three, and in part the second may be executed by the Laity, during which execution only they differ from others of the Laity; which works and services they also may give over at any time, and are no more of the Essence of the Church than Widows, or indeed any other Laicks now are, or were of old, for that they are not admitted into the Church, nor tyed by irrevocable Ordi­nation, as Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons are, which makes them to be of the Essence, or more especially, Officers of the Church. These things con­sidered there is no reason we should alter the Apostles Discipline without the Apostles warrant: Produce that, and we acquiesce; till then we are just­ly to be excused, and I hope you will not blame us, if we prefer the uni­versal judgment of the Primitive Church touching the Church Government by Bishops before particular and late dreams: They were nearer the Apo­stles times than Calvin (whom for his other great pains and Abilities for the good of Christ's Flock, I do much honour) who broached not his new Church Polity until about Anno 1500. Was it possible (I appeal to your selves) that all the Churches of Christ dispersed far and near over the face of the Earth, should at one time, and that immediately after the last survi­ving Apostle, and as it were Momento temporis, joyn or jump in one and the self same Government Episcopal, had it not been delivered and setled by the Apostles, and their Disciples, that converted the World. We construe the Apostles Writings by their doings, others measure the Scriptures by their own humours, first framing Churches to their fancies, and then conceit that the Scriptures answer and favour their Chimaera's, and by their so do­ing come within the Verge of the Paroenesis.

If Bishops claim or usurp more than is their due, or abuse the power which Gods Law or the favour of Princes justly alloweth to them and Pastors, in Nomine Dei spare them not; let the world know it: but do not attempt to put out the lights of our Firmament, because Phanatics, [Page 43]and Men intoxicated stumble or miss their way whilst they shine.

§. Gods promise to his People is, Dabo vobis Pastores juxta cor meum, 3 Jer. 41. & pascent vos scientia & doctrina. It is evident that the firm of all Pasto­ral charge consisteth in preaching of the Gospel, in administration of Sacra­ments, and (by mistake) according to some, in the punishment of such of­fences as absolutely exclude us out of the Kingdom of God: These being the main things which Christ recommended to his Apostles, committing them to their charge, the which things only were practised by them, as also by their immediate Successors; and I hope our Bishops will not be found insufficient for these great Mysteries, nor will be found to have warped or swerved from them, though we have not wanted Coblers of Glocester, the vanity of the present Churches, and many other Ichabods heavily com­plaining.

§. Besides, for great and just reasons of State,Concerning Innovators in general. prudent Magistrates ought to be very circumspect and jealous, and to fear the sequels of Church In­novations and Combinations, even beyond all apparent cause of fear, for that they who believe the Attempts for new Discipline without the licence of Civil Powers are lawful (as most Innovators, and Men given to change do,) and that not without some design, as well to remove some persons out of the Saddle that themselves might be therein seated, as to reform some errors, will easily dispute what may be attempted against Superiors, which will not have the Scepter of their new Discipline to rule over them.

For they that will not stick to affirm,Amat [...]ai ra­nam, ranam nuit else Dia­nam. That the Discipline which they say they have, and we want, is one of the essential parts of Gods Wor­ship, and therefore the better to introduce a good opinion of their own Diana, they have not stuck andaciter calumniari, and to style Episcopal Regiment Antichristian, will as little scruple to affirm withal, That the Peo­ple themselves upon peril of Salvation, without staying for the Magistrate may gather themselves into it, always having in a readiness to say, that they never found that God ever made any Precept or Command, which to perform we must needs have leave of another.

§. Moreover, as every order of Religious men, so every Form of Church-Government (that only excepted which Christ instituted) besits not every Civil Government nor Kingdom, nor every State; and therefore the King­dom of France and renowned State of Venice, for great reasons of State banished the Jesuits. And we have an excellent example of this in the famous Government of the Kings of Castilia, where without the Kings li­cence no new Religious Order (and of such nature is every differing Church-Discipline from the Discipline by Law established) could have en­trance into those Kingdoms; and therefore the Capuchin Friers could not be admitted thither. The Foundations of these and the like Decrees are no less equal, reasonable, and lawful, than most necessary and most antient. For Cicero in oratione pro domo sua sheweth that no man could consecrate an Altar injussu populi, so that the equity of such Laws hath time out of mind been apparently known unto the World. And Mecoenas his counsel to Augustus (in Dione) was very prudent: Eos qui in divinis aliquid in­novant odio habe & coerce, non Deorum solum causa: sed quia nova numina hi tales introducentes multos impellunt ad mutationem rerum, unde conjurati­ones, seditiones, conciliabula existunt, res profecto minime conducibilis-princi­patui, & legibus quoque expressum est quod in religionem committitur in om­nium sertur injuriam.

For it would not in any wise be permitted to a great Number of a strange State (and such are all Papists having sworn obedience to another Head) contrary to their customs of life, and divers ends from those of the present Governments, to enter into the state of such a Common-wealth, Gather themselves together into one or divers places, to make amongst them one or more Heads or Governors, and in secret to practise with the Princes Subjects, seeing this would be presently accounted as one or more Conventicles of very dangerous consequence, and accordingly would be prohibited and interrupted; so under the pretext of some new Church Po­lity (be it Popish, Presbyterian, or Quaking, all alike as to the thing in que­stion) not by that State established, many, very many, not only of the same, but of other Nations also, may frequently assemble and gather to­gether under one or more Heads, Presbyters, or Teachers, contrary in Customs and Affections to the established Church-Discipline, and perhaps unto true Doctrine also; and the many opportunities they have, through Confessions, Meetings, Sermons, and other spiritual Conferences, insinua­ting with the Princes Subjects, they may by such secret vast diffused scarce­ly to be discerned, and powerful means and opportunities corrupt them in their sidelity, and withdraw them from their Allegiances, of which we are not without sad experience of elder and later days, both from Papists and others not a few of several perswasions: And the danger of union in an united confederacy or conspiracy is to be avoided, for that it prevails more than number; besides discontented minds in the beginning of tumults when any happen, (occasioned by themselves or others) will easily agree, though their ends be divers, each one hoping thereby to get uppermost, or to turn up that Trump that they have most mind to follow, and so en­danger the State. For these many excellent causes all Church Congregations ought very diligently and narrowly to be visited and looked into for the Iic preservation and Peace of the State: for that they being of such diffe­rent minds and tempers, cannot assemble together without eminent and notable danger, if the Prince be not always made privy with what passeth among them in their Assemblies and Congregations; and therefore they ought to be treated according to the danger that necessarily attendeth such Innovations.

§. Cautilousness is the sinews of wisdom:Farilior cau­tio est ubi ma­nifesta formi­do. And nothing is more dan­gerous, than to be secure in matters of State. In some Forreign Countries every Hoast is bound to bring his travelling guest before an Officer there to certifie his Name, with the occasion of his coming, and intended time of a­boad in those parts. And in case he stay longer, he must again renew his Licence; so curious and vigilant also are they to keep their City from In­fection, that without a Certificate witnessing their coming from whol­som places, they may not escape the Lazaretto: How more watchful ought Magistrates to be, to prevent the Contagion of the Souls of their Subjects, and therefore in prudence they ought to inspect and supervise all Pastors, and Teachers, High, and Low, that no mischief or disturbance, to the quiet State of the Realm be contrived, hatched, or fomented by their Doctrine or Discipline.

§. In Tuscany, when Pius the 4th attempted to give the Office of Inqui­sition to the Friers of St. Dominic, Cosmo the great Duke would not con­sent, why? Because those of that Order took part with the Enemies of the House of Medices, when they were driven out of Florence, Anno. 1494. The same reason and example holds with us, and do shew that [Page 45]there ought an Account to be made to the King of all such as are recom­mended to him, either for Orders or Preserments, that he may be fully satisfied, that their Piety and Duty towards their Prince, and Religion, the Christian life of the People, and the Devotion of the Ecclesiasticks themselves towards their natural Prince, and Country may not be pre­judicial to their quiet State.

§. Besides these grand reasons of State against Conventicles the 32 Ca­non of those stiled Apostolical doth Ordain,Si quis Pres­byter, &c. de­ponatur quasi principatus a­mator existens, est enim tyran­nus, &c. Ca­non. 32. That if any Presbyter con­temning his Bishop shall colligate a part, and erect another Altar (of which nature Conventicles are) Deponatur as a lover of Empire, for he is a Ty­rant: All which reasons do perswade that Common-wealth Christian, or not Christian, may for good and sound reasons suppress Conventicles of a dangerous consequence that are really and truly so, but not out of fears and jealousies that they will prove so. For holy Writ seems very much to favour and warrant Meetings or Conventicles of the Brethren, Subjects of any Kingdom solemnly meeting in the name and fear of God, either with or without a Priest, to the end that their mutual edification among them­selves, and quickening one another to zeal and constancy in true Faith, Piety and Religion, and the preserving themselves against Apostacy, may thereby be advanced and reinforced. No doubt but that many excellent advantages may accrew thereby, as provoking one another to love, and to good works, mutual observance, and communicating of each others dis­positions, tempers, gifts, experiences, vertues, failings, that they may the better sit themselves to do one another good, or to receive comfort and consolation one of another in such Christian Conversation. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and unto good works, not forsaking the as­sembling of our selves together, as the manner of some is, (by which expression he seems to rebuke those that did forsake such Meetings) but exhort one another; and so much the more as you see the day approaching, 10 Heb. 24, 25. which place, together with the practice of the Apostles, doth not warrant Publick Assemblies only, but also the Private Meetings of Christians for mutual conference, and exhorting one another, which are not to be neg­lected nor forsaken, but to be used for preserving unity in the Church, but not to foster Schism, Separation, Treason, Rebellion, or to hinder the more publick Assemblies. More fully to the same purport is 1 Cor. 14.23.24.25. to 33. whosoever seriously considers first that this Epistle is wrirten to the Church of God in general (and not to Priests) which is at Corinth, and to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours; and then that all the Documents, Doctrines, and Intimations in that Chap­ter specified, relating to spiritual gifts, to prophesying, and speaking with tongues are directed to the Brethren and Church in general; if therefore the whole Church be come together into some place, and all speak, &c. V. 23. may with good consequence and deduction conclude that all so­lemn Conventicles and Meetings tending to edification, whether 5 or 5000, or whether with or without a Priest, are thereby warranted, and that it is a fundamental right due to all Christians, and a duty incumbent on them all so to congregate, and so to glorify God, and edify one another; and the very order, deportment, and decency of such Assemblies is therein de­scribed and pourtraied out. These being the Commandments of God V. 37. with what good conscience then can any discountenance or speak against such Congregations when the same duty is certainly as incumbent [Page 46]upon them that discountenance and speak against them, as upon those that countenance or frequent them. Is it because they are afraid of the breath of fools, to be accounted Puritanical, Presbyterian, or Independent? or that because they think every man in Hell that is worse than themselves, or those that are better but in a fools Paradise? or that by so frequenting they should crush Arts of compliance, plausibility, ambition, and prefer­ments? or that they are afraid of being righteous overmuch? what is this else but Demas-like to forsake the fellowship of Saints, and to embrace this present World, making the Souls of men (the most precious thing that ever God created) subordinate to their lusts and risings, and Balaam-like, for hope of honour or preferment, become more senseless of Gods Command than was his dumb Ass, and like Micha's Levite, for a little better reward swallow down Theft and Idolatry, flatter profaneness, betray the truth of the Gospel, and smother and dissemble the strictness and purity of Gods most holy ways.

§. Consider that all Instruction and Edification is not from Priests, nor out of Pulpits only: Apollos Minister of Caesarea and of Iconia was an elo­quent man, mighty in the Scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, fer­vent in the spirit, who spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, and spake boldly in the Synagogue: and yet Aquila and Priscilla his Wife, Tent­makers, when they heard him, took him home, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly, 18 Acts 24, 25, 26. For he knew only the Baptism of John: So that it is possible that some Doctrines and some Truths may be revealed, or revealed more perfectly to Auditors and sitters by, than to the Priests themselves, tho qualified as Apollos was, besides the practice of former times, even in the days of the Apostles, and times of persecution no­thing more common; witness 20 John 19.26.

Then the same day at Evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut, (ergo private) when the Disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, &c. And after 8 days again his Disciples were within and Thomas with them, then came Jesus, the doors being shut, &c. V. 26. The Rulers of the Jews being offended at Peters Sermon, for that thousands were converted thereat, did imprison him and John, and commanded them to preach no more in that Name, adding also threatnings; but Peter and John boldly answer­ed, whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than un­to God, judg ye; for we cannot but speak the things we have heard and seen: whereupon they being farther threatned, and let go, they did not desist, but went to their own company, and having prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness, 4 Acts 1.2.17.19.20.23.31. And it came to pass that a whol year they assem­bled themselves with the Church, and taught much People, 11. Acts 26. K. Herod having persecuted the Christians, killed James, and imprisoned Peter, whom an Angel delivered on the prayers of the Church assembled in the House of Mary the Mother of John, where many were gathered together praying, 12. Acts 2.3.12.

Upon the first day of the week, when the Disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, continuing his speech until Midnight, there being many lights in the upper Chamber, whereby it is apparent that Paul did not only teach publickly in the Temple, but also from House to House, not ceasing to warn every one night and day with tears, 20 Acts. 7.8.20.31. Paul having escaped shipwrack, and being upon Melita, [Page 47]many came to him unto his Lodging to whom he expounded and testified the Kingdom of God, &c. and Paul dwelt two whol years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the King­dom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding him, 28. Acts 1.23.30.31.

The application is easie and obvious without a Comment: times of perse­cution can be no objection here, nor alter the case, if lawful then under Perscutors and Enemies of the Gospel, nay a duty injoyned, certainly much more lawful now under the Nursing Fathers and Mothers of the Church: Reasons of State only can have room here either pro or con, Con­venticles of such nature being so far from being against Scripture, that they are warranted thereby both by Precept and Example of Christ and his Apo­stles, and of the most pure and primitive times, which may be a Document at least and caution to all in Authority, that they do not hand over head, and without due consideration, suppress all Conventicles promiscuously (as if Conventicles, and Schism, and Conspiracy were termini convertibiles) least by mistake or inadvertency they act over again the Priests of old, the Captain of the Temple, and the Sadduces, or those lewd fellows of the baser sort, who upon such like occasions being grieved that the Apostles taught the People, and preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead, accusing them for turning the world upside down by acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, came upon them, laid hands on them, put them in prison, and com­manded them not to speak at all, nor teach in the Name of Jesus. But Peter filled with the Holy Ghost and John answered them boldly, saying, whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judg ye 4. Acts 18.19. And being let go (no fault having been found in them for so congregating and so preaching) they went to their own Company, and after report made of all that the Chief Priests and Elders had said unto them, they lift up their voices with one accord, and applied and said with David, Why did the Heathen rage, and the People imagine vain things; the Kings of the Earth stood up, and the Rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ. V. 25.26.

‘When many signs and wonders were wrought among the People by the Apostles (few men daring to joyn themselves to them (the temper and complexion of many in these our days I doubt) but the People mag­nified them) the High Priest with his Sect of Sadduces being filled with indignation imprisoned them, whom the Angel of the Lord delivered mi­raculously by night, the doors being shut, with command to stand and speak in the Temple to the People all the words of this life, and they were sound so teaching, when by the command of the High Priest that the Captain of the Temple with his Officers seized them in the Temple, and brought them without violence (for they feared the People least they should have been stoned) before the Council, who tho cut to the heart at the stout and resolute answers and deportment of the Apostles, yet waved the counsel given to slay them, and followed the advice of Gamaliel, a Pharisee, a Doctor of Law, had in reputation among all the People, who cautioned them to take heed what they did to these Men, invited thereunto by the example of Theudas and Judas of Galilee, who advised to refrain from these Men, and let them alone upon this grand reason, because if this counsel or this work be of Men it will come to nought, but if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it, least happily ye be found even to fight against God; to whom they all agreed, yet not with­out [Page 48]beating, and commanding them that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus; and yet they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ in the Temple and in every House, 5. Acts 12.42. When Christ was as­cending up to Jerusalem, and being come even at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of Disciples rejoyced and praised God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, where­at the Pharisees being offended, said, Master rebuke thy Disciples; but instead of silencing them, he rebuked the Pharisees and said unto them I tell you, that if these should hold their peace the stones would immediately cry out, 19. Luke 37.40.’ If our Separatists, our Schismaticks (falsly so mis­called) do so assemble contrary to Decrees of Caesar, yet it is not without strict Precepts, and great Examples of Christ the Lord Paramount and of his Apostles.

If Paul that great Apostle 1. Rom. 11.12. did long to see the Romans that he might be comforted together with them through their mutual Faith both theirs and his, it is evident that one mans faith may by such assembling be helpful to another, though not to justify, yet to comfort and confirm, when as they shall see their own experimental perswasions backed with the experiences and testimonies of others. And though the experience of Gods Children together in the Word do sufficiently establish us in truths, yet it is a confirmation not to be neglected that we have others of our Brethren from like experience with us to give testimony thereto. And it were to be wished that such Christian Assemblies and Conferences were for this end more carefully used not forbidden. No doubt the concent of Gods Children in the same truths would add unto us no small comfort, and Confirmation. Ferus in Math. 11. reports of a kind of conference in use among the Anti­ent Heremites and Monks, that they were wont to meet together, and there freely to lay open each to other their several temptations, means of re­sistance, and gracious issue for counsel, comfort, confirmation. &c. An excellent example of the like we have in the worthy Preacher Mr. Richard Rogers of Essex in his 7 Treatises. Treat. 5. c. 13.14.

If Paul that great Apostle hoped and expected to be somewhat holpen and comforted by the mutual faith of his own converts when they Assem­ble and meet together, may not then the greatest of Gods Saints here be somewhat helped by the meanest of Gods People, and who sees it not in experience, that the People by such Assembling, such conferences help their Pastors as well as themselves, as Remembrancers, as Incouragers, as Pro­vokers of their diligence, and to emulation to Love, and to good Works by being Whetstones, and as it were Spurs unto them as men, though ge­nerally of less knowledg, yet sometimes of more feeling experience in the truth, than many of their Ministers? It will not then be unbeseeming our greatest Pastors or Prelates to encourage, and to be seen in the Assemblies of Saints Let the Priests of Rome sit in the Assembly of Mockers and re­joyce: But let Protestant Ministers count it their happiness, and part of the performance of their Ministry, to frequent the Company and Assem­bling together of such of his People, as in whom he sees evidences of true faith and fear of God. 10 Hebr. 24.25. not forgetting the Assembling of your selves together. &c. Nemo sibi soli nascitur. No man, whether of the Cler­gy or Laity, Male or Female, Literate, or Illiterate hath Talents, Gifts or Graces for himself only, and to Napkin up, but to dispence them for the good of others also. To save Souls every man is or ought to be a Priest, the Command is universal. 19 Levit. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy Brother in thine [Page 49]heart; thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy Brother and not suffer sin upon him, so that in the Language of the Law, not to Communicate what good we can to the Brethren, is to hate them at the very heart; doth not all the World Center in this, Erranti monstrare viam, to guide the blind and those that are out of the way, to Communicate light to them that sit in darkness of mind, knowledg to the ignorant? Doth not every Parent teach his Chil­dren, every Master his Servants, and every Man his Friend and Neigh­bour in Arts and Sciences? and shall less care be taken of the Eternal, than of the Temporal condition of their Souls than of their Bodies? To do good to all men, and to help to save Souls, is to Christians a Law moral, never to be forgotten, never to be omitted, God being always pleased with such Sacrifice. Besides, it is not without great Example. How many of the Laity in all Ages and Countries have by writing for the publick good propagated the Gospel of Christ, as if some se­cret Instinct of Nature, or some Illapse from Heaven had spirited them so to do? To obviate here some usual Objections or calumnies. It is frivolous to think that by the Laity thus ingaging, that the Honour of the Clergy is thereby Ecclipsed, or their profit diminished, or that con­fusion in Government will ensue. No, no. But on the contrary, their countenancing of such persons is their Honour, demonstrating to all the World how unblameably they walk, shewing joy of any helpers in the Lords Vineyard, in gaining Souls to Heaven; deeming it a pitiful muck-worm-spirit, savouring too rankly of Earthly, and too little of Hea­venly-mindedness, to ground their Honour and Veneration upon other Mens ignorance (as the Papists do) as if their more full and perfect know­ledg should discover and judge of their defects and aberrations. Our Pro­testant Clergy bids defiance to all such little durty Intrigues. Let Rome appropriate that Glory, that priviledge to her self, and boast of their own Principle and Maxim, that ignorance is the Mother of Devotion, the Pro­testant Clergy scorn to be pettish and froward, that the Laity contribute their Talents in participating of their charge, their labour in the Lord. They know it is more agreeable to their calling to wish with Moses. 11 Numb. 29. that all the Lords people were Prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them, and that every man did think himself bound in Consci­ence to discharge a part of the common good of all Christians, and did believe that the care of other mens Souls, did concern them as well as the care of their own, and that they ought to love their Neighbours as them­selves.

When the Apostle took order to Ordain some, on whom the burthen of Preaching the Gospel should be more particularly incumbent as a more peculiar duty upon them, they did not thereby impropriate and confine Preaching, or Instructing so wholly to those Persons only, as to stifle and suppress all other mens Talents that were not Ordained, that had been to limit the Holy one of Israel, and to contradict their other more general Pre­cepts, viz. of speaking (and consequently of writing) to Edifycation, that they might administer Grace unto the hearers and readers: But they pru­dently considering that every mans care was no mans care, they in their most wise and Christian care did more especially Ordain some, whose du­ty it should be to serve at the Altar, and attend on the Gospel alone, whose voyces we were to hear as sent by God himself, the better to keep the Of­fice and Ministry in great veneration to the end of the World, and that they should teach as e Cathedra, as persons set apart and ordained to the [Page 50]office by Christ himself, according to the promise made, I will give you Pa­stors which shall feed you with knowledg and understanding, 3. Jer. 15. and all people commanded to hearken unto their voices, 17. Deut. 10.11. Let private profession and practice of Christianity improve never so much, yet the great honour of worthy publick Professors can never be impaired but advanced thereby while the Gospel lasteth; but this their right and great honour impeacheth not the general right which all Christians have to stu­dy each others good, to endeavour the conversion and confirming of one another. Tu autem conversus confirma fratres. It is a general Command to all, and consequently a duty perpetually obliging to desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that they may prophesie, according to 1 Cor. 1.14. in which Chapter by Prophets is not meant the Clergy only (as it is generally so mis­understood) but all Christians in general; and by Prophesying is meant speaking unto men to edification, and exhortation and comfort, V. 3. the duty of every individual. And I do not know but that a solemn private Assem­bly of Christians met in these our days in the name and fear of God, ex­ercising holy duties and Ordinances, is as true a Church in Gospel under­standing, as the like number so congregated in the days of Christ and his Apostles according to Matth. 18.

These things rightly considered, I cannot but wonder (and that not without some astonishment) with what face or shew of conscience any, especially of our Protestant Clergy (for in our Alternate changes they have been all some way or other this way culpable) whether Prelate Presbyter, or Independent, (all striving to set up themselves) can countenance, advise or any way consent to forbid such Assembling; is it not enough that sub­mission to the present Established Government of Church and State be the qualification to all Ecclesiastical Livings and Preferments for those that can and will submit and conform thereto, but they must silence dissenters as truly worshipping and serving God in truth as themselves, tho happily not so modishly, nor yet so Ceremoniously: I pray God forgive them, and that the Character of Whited wall given to the High Priest by St. Paul may never be their doom.

§. In things indifferent and good, so they be liberal and free, it may so happen that an error may be committed against the Princes command, but for those duties that are expresly commanded by God, the 5. Acts 29. Its better to obey God than Man, must take place. Consider the contrary, if a Prince command lawful things, must we notwithstanding have license from another to obey him? and without it, is it a Non licet? And shall not Gods Commands be lawfully obeyed without license from another? Na­ture in all her sinal drifts giveth also such faculties and powers as are requi­site and necessary for attaining the same: and shall God prescribe an end and Commandments, and shall they not be obeyed and put in practice without the favour and license of men? Absit! its too absurd and incon­venient. I have been the freer herein, because I have been so far from frequenting or countenancing such Assemblies by my presence, that I have been but once at any one of them above these 20 years, nor do I converse with any of them. Happily I can conform with better satisfaction to con­science than they can that so congregate.

It is hard kicking against the Pricks, Acts 26.14. and ill offending little ones; a heavy doom lyes at the doors of such, for their Angels do alwayes behold the face of God in Heaven, Mat. 18.10. you know the charge was given to Kings them­selves, saying, touch not mine anointed, and do my Prophets no harm. 105 [Page 51] Psal. 14.15. stopping such mouths is injurious to God and man. Doth the Law judge any man before it hear him and know what he doth? 9 John 51. The sum then is, that as all Men and Doctrines condemning sin, and wicked lives are to be tollerated, nay, encouraged: So to stop the Mouths and Pens of such is to hinder them from doing their duty, and from obey­ing the Laws and Commands of God. Now if such should in truth prove to be the very case of our Conventiclers, and that their solemn meetings together be in good earnest for the better, and not for the worse, to wrestle with God with strong and importunate prayers for the Welfare of King and Kingdom, of Church, and State, and to mourn not only for their own personal Sins, but for all the abominations that are done in the midst of the Land, and to preach Jesus Christ and him Crucified only, and that he would make a high way of Holiness through the Land that way-fa­ring-men tho fools may not err therein. 35 Esay. 8. To stir up the gifts and spirits that are in them by fruitful and seasonable conferences, each borrowing light from his Brothers Candle. If such should prove to be the truth of their case (as they and their Auditors most solemnly aver it to be, and it hath not yet judicially appeared to have been otherwise) will not then the Op­pugners of such Christian liberty, Gospel precepts, and Apostolick practices, be accounted to have laid Snares in Mispah, and spread Nets upon Tabor, to have used Laws, Menaces, and Subtilties to keep Gods people from his Court and Sanctuary, and to confine and oblige them to Worship af­ter the modes of men? And will not such obligations come within the lash and verge of the Woe denounced by Isaiah, against those that make a Man an Offender, for a word, and lay a Snare for them that reprove in the Gate and turn aside the Just for a thing of naught. 29.21. Nay, will it not look, like that old Machivilian trick Audacter calumniari the better to bring about ends, and purposes little conducing to the power and en­crease of Godliness. It is an undoubted Gospel truth that no Power hath lawful Right, and Authority to forbid Christians assembling together to Preach the Gospel, and to perform Spiritual duties. When God sent his own Son out of his own Bosom to take on him the form of a Servant and to become obedi­ent to the death of the Cross, for us Men and for our Salvation, he gave him the Heathen for his Inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for his Possession. 2 Psal. 8. and anoynted him with the Oyl of gladness above his fellows, whereby he became King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, whose Throne was to endure for ever and ever, and the Scepter of Righteousness to be the Scepter of his Kingdom. 1 Heb. 8.9. who whilst in the dayes of his flesh, did gather a Church, a Kingdom out of Jews and Gentiles peculiar to himself, and established the Government thereof sufficient to all its ends and purposes by his own Laws and Precepts, far different and distinct from all other Governments in the World, to which all other Kings and Governments in the World were to conform and submit, and to become nursing Fathers and Mothers thereof, and that under a severe prophetical Menace of being else broken with a rod of Iron, and dasht in pieces like a Potters vessel. 2. Psal. 9. and therefore Christs Worship and Government being Independent and subject to no other Laws or Jurisdictions but his own (which no Nation how great soever hath so Righteous. 4 Deut. 8.) no other Power or Principality can Lawfully forbid any Assemblies or Con­gregations to meet and worship him according to his own sanctions, and to publish and teach his truths, or to contradict, impede, or alter any of his Laws which are so Righteous and just, that they may be exercised and pra­ctised [Page 52]under any worldly Government without clashing with it, or inter­rupting it, the Subjects of whose Kingdom being true to the Principles of Christian Religion (viz. to love one another, even their Enemies and their neighbours as themselves, to do justly, to love mercy, to obey Kings and all that are in Authority, in all civil and moral affairs, and to pray for them, and pay tribute, &c.) can never fairly be accounted as seditious Separatists, Schismatical or Trayterous, or that they worshipping God innocently ac­cording as Christ himself hath instituted, can be justly liable to Bonds, Mulcts, Imprisonments, or can come under any other Jurisdiction, as to their Worship and Service of God. It is true the Jews did hate him & de facto (the chief Priests, Sadduces, Scribes and Pharisees being the chief Inquisitors and Instigators) did by Menaces, Prohibitions, Prisons, Dun­geons, Beatings, Stonings, what not? Forbid him, his Apostles and Dis­ciples to publish his Gospel or teach in his Name. Nay, they did not use force only, but craft also, and yet all would not do. They took Counsel how they might intangle him in his talk, and sent unto him some of their own Disciples, to catch him about paying of Tribute to Caesar. 22 Mat. 15.12 Mark. 13, 14. Accused him of Blasphemy. 14 Mark. 64. and of perverting the Nation, and for forbidding to give Tribute to Caesar, for stirring up the people, teaching throughout all Jury. 23 Luke 2.5. And if we let him alone all men will believe on him, and the Romans shall come and will take away our place and Nation. 11 Joh. 48. And yet for all this and more when some of the Pharisees spake to Christ to rebuke his Disciples, for praising God for all the mighty works they had seen, answered, that if these should hold their peace, the Stones would immediately cry out. 19 Luk. 37.40. Did his Apostles and Disciples speed better than their Master? I trow not. They falsly accused Steven of Blasphemy and stoned him. 7 Acts. The High Priest with the sect of the Sadduces put the Apostles in Prison for Preach­ing the Gospel, but God sent an Angel by Night, who opened the Prison doors and brought them forth and (maugre all their rage against them) commanded them to go stand and speak in the Temple to the People all the words of this Life, and they accordingly without dread of farther Perse­cution, and without asking leave of any Authority, entred into the Temple early in the Morning and taught, and when the Captain of the Temple had found them so teaching, brought them again before the High Priest, who strictly charged them that they should not teach in the Name of Jesus Christ, for that they had filled Jerusalem with his Doctrine intending to bring his Blood upon them. As high and as home a charge I confess as can be laid against any now. What answer made they? we ought to obey God rather then man. Though they were cut to the heart at this convincing and unan­swerable repartie, and took Council to slay them: Yet when Gamaliel had advised them that it was hard sighting against God, they followed his ad­vice and did refrain from them and let them alone, on this grand reason, for if this Council or this work be of Men it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, least happily ye be found to sight against God. And to him they agreed, yet beat them and command [...]d that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go, and they departed from the Council, but yet ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ daily in the Tem­ple, and in every house. 5 Acts 17.42. I'le trouble you with no Applica­tions or Reflections, do but turn the Tables awhile, and consider, that if all the Reproaches, Calumnies, Lies, and Slanders cast on our worthy Prelates and Priests of late should be taken for truth, and they thereup­on [Page 53]silenced, and deprived without being impleaded or convicted, would they not think themselves very hardly dealt withal? And was not such their case fresh yet in our own memories? And was it unjust then in them? And is it just now in others, because the Scene is altered, and the Tables turned? Doth God pervert Judgment? Or doth the Almighty pervert Justice? 8 Job. 3. And shall we follow such examples of Men, vile Men perverting all Judgment and Justice? Absit! It is unbeseeming no See episcopal no not that of Rome it self, nor indeed any of that most reve­rend Coat high or low, to become Servants unto all, that they may gain the more, nor to be made all things to all Men, that by all means they might save some, nor yet to humble themselves to all wayes, and means, condu­cing to the gaining of Souls to Jesus Christ, no, nor to warn every one night and day (in Church or Conventicle) with tears and from House to House. 20 Acts 20. Cura animarum being undoubtedly the main duty and glory both of Priest and Prelate, and to be apt to teach, to be instant in season, out of season, to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 2 Tim. 4.1.2. For hereunto most especially, if not only, they are called as was Aaron, and if not called to this duty, they are cal­led unto none as I know of by any Patent or Commission from Heaven. Salvation and Damnation of Souls is of everlasting consequence, and of the highest concern in the World to every Individual, and is it not rea­sonable then, that every Man should have Liberty, and free Access to that Ministry, whether Publick, or private under which he can profit most? Moreover if causeless fears, and jealousies, that Conventicles may Nurse and nuzzle up a faction averse to present Constitutions, and to preserve a party in animosity against the establisht Government of Church and State, and that their Pastors will abuse their callings to the subversion of Church and State; if such reasonings may prevail, happily all the Orders of the Church, and all the Ordinances of God, nay Scripture it self may be for­bidden (as in the Church of Rome) by the very same Logick: For if a thing Lawful in it self may be forbidden out of causeless fears, and jea­lousies only of being abused, no Man can be assured of the exercise and enjoyment of his calling, whether Priestly, or Prelatical though never so Warrantable, never so strictly commanded by the word of God. It is not unworthy of consideration, whether a Divine Precept so Solemnly binding conscience with a VVo attending the non-performance of the du­ty enjoyned, can Lawfully be superseded by any humane Law, for fear only that evil may ensue. Besides, this liberty is indulged to them in some Popish Countries, as in France, Poland, Germany, and even by Mahume­tans; and is it not bitter then, to be wounded in the house of Friends, the one to persecute the other for slight pretences about things owned to be indifferent: Were it not better and more secure to allow them publick places only (I do not say preferments) that all the World might hear their Doctrines, and Preachments, and punish or not punish accordingly; if Papalins, their Doctrines, Tenets, and Vows of Obedience to another Head and forreign Power being publickly known to all the World, and as publickly professed, and avowed by them for sound and true, though in truth salse and erroneous Doctrines, render them uncapable of Tolera­tion, because in their own very Nature they are destructive unto our Government, King and Nation, unto our Laws, Liberties, Religion and Worship; and what were it else, but to establish Idolatry and Superstiti­on by a Law? Besides the Pope pretends Right and Title to our very [Page 54] Church and Kingdoms, In the dayes of Henry 8. the Earl of Des­mond profer­ed Ireland to the French K. (the Instru­ment whereof yet remains on Record in the Court of Paris) and the Pope after­wards trans­ferred the Ti­tle of all our Dominions unto Charles 5th. which by new grants was confirm­ed unto his Son Philip, in the time of Queen Eliza­beth, with a resolution to settle this Crown on the Spanish Infan­ta. &c. and when times serve, makes no bones by his Bulls and his Assassinates as much as in him lies to Crown and Ʋncrown our Kings and Queens, and absolve their Subjects of their Obedience to them, and to exhaust our Treasury as part of his own Patrimony, to maintain the pride and luxury of his Court and Prelates. And since we have in great part shaken off his Antichristian Yoak and Usurpations, he yet continues to keep his Agitators and Spies here even at our charge, and hath not ceased by his Bulls, Jesuits, Assasinates and Emissaries, at once to destroy both King and Parliament, and by the bold and impudent Im­postures of his Priests and Jesuits, perpetually to seduce corrupt and per­vert from the right wayes of the Lord, as many as they can of our No­bility, Gentry, and Pesantry, not sparing the Royal Family, making them turn Tenants for their Lives and Souls, which they hold only at the will and pleasure of their Lord God the Pope, and Tributary for their e­states. Whether therefore it be fit or reasonable to tollerate Men thus de­sperately set and Principl'd against this Church and State, I submit to the wisdome of King and Parliament, who are best able to provide for their own, and the publick safety of our King and Kingdom.

As to that they nick-name and miscal their Catholick Religion (more justly the most Catholick Heresie in the World) it is such a piece of Linsey­wolsey-stuff, interwoven with so many ridiculous Ceremonies borrowed from Jews, Turks, Heathens, peculiar Absurdities, Blasphemies, Supersti­tions and Idolatries, imposing not only on our Understandings, but on our very Senses,V. les Confor­mitez des Cere­monies, &c. A Leyde, 1667. & Traite des Anciennes Ce­remonies, &c. 1 is 73. in owning the Scriptures to be the word of God, and yet denying the free and common use thereof, commanding to believe very Bread and Wine to be Flesh and Blood, attributing infallibility to his Holiness, by vertue whereof he may take away the Bread in the Eu­charist from the Laity, as well as he hath already deprived and cheated them of the Wine, may make lying with other mens Wives no Adulte­ry, Robbing no Theft, Killing Innocent men, even Kings and Queens un­der pretence of Heresie, no Murder (whereof we have had sad experi­ence even in these our dayes) in sum, who ever submits to the Popes infallibility, renders himself Captive to be led into all Heresie, and even to Hell it self, as if the Scripture in good earnest had come from Heaven meerly to make the Pope optimum maximum et supremum numen in terris, that he is sole Interpreter of all Scriptures, and Judge of all Controver­sies, and that his Tribunal and Gods are all one, and 1000 more absurdi­ties, which in effect is to renounce Christianity, and to yield blind obe­dience and implicite Faith to his ipsedixit, and to become Antichristians. For by their own Doctrines of Intention, they have given us just cause to question their very Christianity, for if they hold true to that Doctrine, it's impossible they should infallibly know that they have either true Pope, true Bishop, true Priest, or that they are true Christians, and therefore they may thank themselves and their own Doctrines, if we allow them at best to be but Mungril Christians like those of Samaria, who feared God, yet served Idols, and like those of Israel who swore by the Lord and Melcom. And therefore not worthy to be called a Religion, at least Christian, unless by way of Complement and civility, they Exalting the Pope above all that is called God, endeavouring by the impudent impostures of Baals Priests, to enslave whole Nations to his vile ends and purposes, quo jure quâve in­juriâ, and all this under the Vizard of his false Religion. All which con­sidered, I humbly conceive that no Tolleration is to be allowed Papists, [Page 55]whether we respect either Church or State policy, tho there are those a­mong our selves (for what good ends is past my understanding, except to make us as very Mungrils as the Papists) that would lead and whee­dle us into a fair way of reconciliation by a School-trick, of distinguish­ing between the Court and Church of Rome. What? Is it possible that Righteousness can have fellowship with Unrighteousness? Can light have Communion with darkness? Can Christ and Belial agree together? What agreement can the Temple of God have with Idols? Can we joyn our bodies to the very Mother of Harlots, and not be one body with her? From such we are commanded to come out and seperate not tollerate. 52 Esay. 11.31 Jerem. 1. 1 Cor. 6.16. 2 Cor. 6.14.15, 16, 17, 18. And then God will be a Father unto us and we shall be his Sons a d Daughters. We are se­perate, we are come out, for shame then, let us not hanker after, nor talk of returning to Onyons and Garlick, nor with the Dog to his Vo­mit, we are washed and cleansed from the dregs and silth of Rome, and therefore never to return with the nasty and beastly Sow that was wash­ed to her wallowing in the mire. If Quakers, they are as little to be in­dulged for reasons diametrically opposite, for that the very Scriptures are not heartily and throughly owned by them, nor are they a Rule of Faith unto them. Indeed they have no known Rules, no established Principles, no Doctrine infallible to be Governed by, the light within them, being only the Rule and Guide of their Consciences, which may be Ho­sanna to day, and Crucifige tomorrow, no Connivence, no Tolleration due to those Religions whose Principles are unknown, or destroy our Go­vernment. If Presbyter or Independents, the case as to them is far differ­ent, they owning the same Scriptures for their Rule and Guide, profes­sing the same Articles of Faith, the same Doctrines, and Worship, and the providence of God having called and sixed them here, as if to this great work of Preaching the Gospel designed, their Mouths can­not justly be stopt, but upon some politick Accounts and reasons of State only, Prudence, not Conscience is then to be the guide of Coun­cils. For Example, If a Presbyter hath swallowed a solemn League and Covenant so solemnly, that he cannot, nor will not renounce it, what should the Government do? Indulge those that will not protect that; It portends a dangerous Reserve, a sower Leaven, Tinder in the Bosom, apt to take sire, apt to relapse into the same prodigious mischiefs. Is it not much more agreeable to sound reason, that the Royal Son should pare the Nails of those that cannot disgorge themselves of that fatal Cove­nant which introduced those Premises which yielded that sanguinary Con­clusion, which made the Father a Glorious King, by bringing of him to the Block? Conscience of factious Priests or of Covenanters in such cases, is not adust in any measure, Adaequate in the Ballance against the safety, peace, and quiet of Crowns, and Kingdoms for that we have no Lydius lapis, no infallible touch-stone to discover whether Consciences are truly weak, or only pretended to be so, the searcher of hearts only knows that insallibly. And if pretence may be a just excuse to warrant disobedience unto established Sanctions, Laws would then be no Laws at all, for he that would might, and he that would not, might choose whe­ther he would obey or no, for that no Man can distinguish between real, and pretended Scrupulosities. That some should be indulged, and others not, ought to be no cause of complaint neither, for that every thing is n t convenient for every Body, nor for every Sect and State, the same [Page 56]Legislators that have power to Indulge some, may by the same right for­bid others, and indeed make any Laws convenient. For the Common­wealth ought to be always kept in a quiet and peaceable temper, even ad pondus if possible: enough! This only by way of Hint and Caution, that there be great waryness, and circumspection in granting, and deny­ing Indulgences. If Priests otherwise Orthodox, and worthy, be silenced for such or the like reasons, this ariseth not from the discipline of the Church, nor from the Nature of Lyturgies, but from the Government of the State. What? Must there then be no relief for scrupulous and ten­der Consciences that cannot renounce Covenants, or comply with Inno­cent Ceremonies, and Commands? yes, if they are truly so, and do not enter-sere with the Established Government of Church and State. 1. Con­sciences really and truly Scrupulous, and tender, if they break not out into overt act are not within the Magistrates Province, but if rashly without consideration of obtaining, or foresight of peril or perturbation of the Church or State, they will adventure to take Solemn Leagues and Covenants to introduce a separate Mode or Government in Church or State contrary to that already established by the Magistrate, then they most properly come within his verge and cognizance. 2. Consciences ought ge­nerally not to be forced, nay, cannot whilst they are in their proper cir­cle, but are to be gained, and reduced by dint of Argument and force of Truth, by moderate connivence, and by the use of good Instruction, and perswasion. 3. Consciences when they rove and become excentrick, moving beyond their proper circle and bounds, and being out of their proper Sphear, tend and prove to be matter of Faction, loose their pro­per Nature, and forfeit their just Priviledges and Prerogatives, then, and not till then, the civil Magistrate may take notice, and justly restrain or punish their undue practises, and contempts, if such, though guilded most speciously with pretences of Conscience and Religion.

§. As happily their opinion is not so infallibly orthodox, who affirm that all Church Discipline and Reformation must be after one Platform, and that they which will perfectly reform, must bring and reduce the form unto the State which it was at in the days of the Apostles. A thing in the opinion of Judicious Hooker, neither possible nor certain, nor yet absolutely convenient. For that which was used in their dayes, the Scripture (he saith) doth not fully declare, so that making those times the Rule and Canon of Church Government, they make a Rule which not being possible to be fully known, is as impossible to be fully kept: so happily their opinion is as little Orthodox, and as little convenient, who deem it no good policy, to alter or innovate any thing in Church affairs, or to endeavour to reduce it to that State wherein it stood in the dayes of the Apostles, the one opinion conducing to bring Reformation to Anullity, the other to an Impossibility. In elder times, soon after the dayes of the Apostles, and more especially after Constantines dayes there were imperfections no doubt, and warpings from the Apostolical Rules and practises, and happily in some things greater than in the present. Anti­quity therefore ought not so to be revered, and adored, as that something in these latter Ages may not be reputed better, and more convenient, there being no necessity, that the same publick things should be always ordered in one and the self same manner, but as times have mutations, so it may be sit to alter or change the Government of Church or State. It is possible that the Antient manner of Governing may not be profita­ble, [Page 57]except the Antient state of the Church do return also: But if Anti­quity must be so revered as not to admit of the least Innovation, then without all peradventure that Government which Christ and his Apostles instituted and lest unto his Church must necessarily be the most Antient, and have the fairest pretence unto Jus divinum for its justification; and then for those very reasons ought to remain unto this very day unalterable, and all other Modes and Forms can be but Prudential only, and at the discre­tion of the Church rightly so called. And there can be no doubt but that Christ left such a Government to his Church as might be exercised in any Kingdom, Christian or other, without enterfering or clashing with the Civil Government of any Nation or Kingdom wheresoever the Apostles and their Successors in all Ages and Countries should preach the Gospel, and gather Churches. And that the self-same Government is plainly set down in the new Testament, and that it was instituted by the Apostles, and that the Antient Fathers after their example did prosecute the same for about 250 years after Christ with great success and increase of Converts unto Christi­anity. And such Government being practicable then, notwithstanding the great enmity that all Nations and Governments had even unto Chri­stianity it self there can be no doubt, and no reason can evince but it may be as practicable now, which is the opinion of very many, and those not Phanaticks. And then Independents will have very fair and antient Records to shew for their Congregational way, if not the most an­tient.

§. With all wise and sober-minded persons, Custome and Usage obtain­eth that reverence and esteem as to yield a just ground for deliberation before it be altered, or abrogated, though not of absolute direction and adherency. All Constitutions and ordinances concern the Church or State, be they never so pure in their first institution may corrupt and de­generate, and why the Civil State should be purged and reformed by new Laws, devising remedies as fast as times breed and discover inconveniences, and mischiefs: And the Ecclesiastical State of this or that Kingdom should still continue on its lees or dreggs, without refining or purifying by new Canons and Constitutions, is beyond the comprehension of all sober minds and reason. H. Grotius makes this observation on the 2 Kings 18.14. He removed the High places, and brake the Images, cut down the Groves, and brake in pieces the Brazen Serpent that Moses had made. Nota quem secerat Moses, Egregium Regibus documentum, ut quamvis bene instituta sed non necessaria ubi [...], male usurpanturè conspectu tollant, ne parant offendicu­lum caecis. This H. Grotius notes as an excellent document for Kings, that things never so well, never so lawfully instituted, as the Brazen Serpent (was by Moses himself) if not necessary, and grow to be abused, ought to be taken away (as King Hezekiah did the Serpent) least they prove a Snare and an offence unto the weaker Brethren. Moreover, if an absolute ne­cessity be laid upon all men to subscribe and conform to the present esta­blished Religion and Worship, by the very self same reason the next year he may be obliged to subscribe and conform to the contrary, and so unto all Religions in the world successively.

§. As a perverse and a morose retaining of Customes and Usages may be as prejudicial to right Reformation as Innovations; so to remove Abu­ses, nay Customs or Rights that may be spared without prejudice unto true Worship, and the Doctrine of Faith, doth not impeach good Orders, nor lawful Authority, but ratify and establish them. Gods Church is com­pared to a Vineyard, and a good Husband, who is ever pruning therein, [Page 58]not unseasonably, not unskilfully, but lightly and prudently he findeth ever somewhat to do.

If men were peaceably minded, methinks it were not hard to agree in this, That every Church, be it of England, France, Sweden, &c. do that which is convenient for the State of it self, and of the Common-wealth: The antient and true bounds of Unity, being one Faith, one Baptism, and not one Ceremony, one Policy; suppose another were a better form, yet not always that which is best, but of good things that which is best and may be had with least prejudice, is to be embraced. Our Church is not now to plant; it is settled and established. In Civil States suppose a Republick in the opinion of some, to be a better policy than a Kingdom, yet God forbid that lawful Kingdoms should be obliged to innovate and make alterations, as often as men given to change desire or plead for it; Gods Providence is to be consulted as well as his Word. There are Schismatical Customs, as well as Schismatical Doctrines and Opinions: So as the Civil Magistrate take care that the general Rules be observed, viz. That Christs Flock be duly fed; that there be authentick Ordination, a Succession in Bishops and Ministers, that there be a due and reverend use of the Keys, a due Administration of the Sacraments; that those that preach the Gospel do live by the Gospel; that all things tend to Edification, and that all things be done in order and with decency: the rest may be left to the discretion and prudence of inferiour Labourers, and we ought to acquiesce. The President of that City is very severe, which permitteth none to propound new Laws that had not a cord about their Necks, ready for vengeance if it were found unprofitable: but by their leaves, all Innovations are not to be rejected; for divine Plato teacheth us, in all Common-wealths on just grounds there ought to be some changes, and that States-men therein ought to imitate skilful Musicians, Qui artem Musices non mutant, sed Mu­sices modum. And it is not unworthy our observation, that even evil forms of Policy have been sometimes well ordered and rectified by good Gover­nours and Commanders; and so the State of Boetia flourished once under Epaminondas and Pelopidas, and yet it owed this Prosperity not to the Go­vernment of the City, for that was ill constituted, but to the Governours, for they were wise and virtuous. The contrary also happened to Lacede­mon, for that fared ill sometimes, and suffered much distempers, because though its fundamental Laws were good, yet its Kings and Ephori were many times tyrannous and unjust.

§. More particularly the Congregational Government, though ab initio it were in use, and may be again if the National Church thought it conve­nient: And I do not know but that it will suit now with any Government as well as when Christ did institute it; but the truth is, it hath been quite of date and doors, as they would now set it up, ever since whole Cities, Com­monwealths and Kingdoms became Christian, and have been mutually in­corporated and interwoven one with the other; however the Doctrine and Tenet thereof is as sound and as practicable now as ever.

The Arguments which the Independents bring to prove the consistency of their Congregational way with our Kingly and Civil Government, are only prudential and probable, which I shall not go about to contradict or examin, but exmantissa grant, not only their Consistency with our Govern­ment, but that also the Civil Magistrates may so govern if they please, they submitting to Indubitable Ordination (as I take Episcopal to be) for it is not sit that any Ordinance so very essential to the very making and perpetua­ting of a Gospel Ministry, should be left upon a Moot point, as it would [Page 59]be, if either Presbyterian or Independent Ordination should take place: But then I hope the Congregational men will be as ingenuous, and con­fess, that the Ecclesiastical Discipline and Government already established, is as consistent with our Civil Laws and Government, and that the legisla­tive power may continue the same Government, or alter it to any other form, so it be of force to suppress Vice, and to maintain true Faith and Religion, even to that Gallintaufrey Platform, establishing Presbytery (which is but a minced or cantonized Papacy in point of Rule and Domination) by order and ordinance of that demy-parliament 29. August. 1648. which hath no good foundation in Scripture, no ground in Reason, no Authority beyond Jo. Calvin to make it good. But Christian Common-wealths, and Civil Magistrates may establish what Government so qualified they please, the thing I contend for. Its true that the Priests of divers perswasions will highly caress Majesty in words: But if the Civil Magistrate offer to impose but a Cap, a Surplice, a cross in Baptism, or the like, then they stiffly cry out, where is your Rule, your Warrant in Scripture for them? And may not the Magistrate with as good Logick demand of Presbyter and Independent their express Warrant and Rule of Scripture for their Governments, for receiving the Communion sitting, or for their altering the time of tak­ing of it, or their Preaching in their Caps, in a Cloak, or Buff Coats as lately they did.

If men were humble and not wedded to their own fancies, they might see the right Independency already established in this Kingdom, and with no great difference from that of the Independents, who would have only Churches voluntarily gathered and submitted unto, whereby those that would might be of Peters, or of Pauls, or of any Ministers Congregation, and those that would not, might refuse to be of either, or indeed of any, so that in effect (they having no power to compel) the whole Kingdom might be either Atheists, or Papists, Quakers, or Fanaticks, nay, Jews or Ranters, or indeed what not, if no better care were taken? But the great wisdom of our Princes (armed with the Sword, and with Power to Command and Com­pel from on High) well knowing it a duty incumbent upon them (as it was once upon Paul) to take care of all the persons and Churches within their Dominions, and that they were to be accomptable to God for their good or evil Government in Church and State) have divided this whole Nation into Precincts, Parishes, or Congregations (call them what you will) and hath allotted to every Parish a Church, to which all are enjoyned to resort and frequent, and a Minister endowed with maintenance, who is to exe­cute his Pastoral Office over them, and his Parishoners are compellable by by the Laws, Canons, and Edicts of the Prince, to receive their spiritual Food and Bread of Life at his hand, and mouth, and it is not left to them to come, or not to come to the Church of God, and hear the Law, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ at their pleasure: But care hath been and is still taken, that the Ministers and Pastors shall not be without their Flocks, nor the Flocks without their Pastors; who are licenced and enjoyned, to Pray, Preach, Baptize, Now what is the difference? The Congregational way is voluntary, unlimited and unprescribed: the Parochial is quodam modo compulsory, bounded and circumscribed, and so it ought to be, or else how can Princes rationally give any good Accompt to God of their care of his Churches, if they should leave every man to do herein what seemeth best in his own eyes? as once in Israel when there was no King. And if Princes have no Power to Prescribe, Compel and Punish, why should they be [Page 60]blamed and punished, for the Idolatrous and otherwise erronious Wor­ship of others? And if they have power, why do the Non-conformists quarrel at the use thereof? one Parish is as little dependant on another as the Congregational men would have their Congregations to be, and yet both Parishes and Congregations are properly, and rather homogenial parts of Englands Church, than so many distinct Churches, though Quodam Modo they may be stiled Churches, as Paul did Families in Houses in his time.

§. Both Presbyters and Independents willingly oblige themselves to no form, being against all set forms, but leaving themselves at large in all their Administrations. Our Supream Governours, as in duty bound, prescribe and enjoyn, as in our Liturgy, the daily teaching of the Fundamentals of Christianity, that all his Subjects may be sure to have them sincerely dis­penced unto them. If there be no form for dispencing of them, how can the Prince be sure that they are rightly dispenced and taught? nay, how can he be sure that they are taught at all? and if not certain thereof, how can he give to God a good and sure account, that they were sincerely taught, or that the Alcoran Talmude or Trent Creed were not taught instead there­of? If our Liturgy be daily used, the very solemn days which by Antient In­stitution of the Church are to be celebrated, for the Commemoration of the Blessed Trinity, Advent of our Saviour, his Nativity, Circumcision, Passion, Resurrection, and Assention, will so preserve these things among the Common People, that is scarcely imaginable that they should be so grosly ignorant as not to have explicite knowledge of those mysteries of Christ, so publickly and frequently solemnized in the Church: The want of which Liturgy, hath in these late times ushered in much ignorance, even of the necessary fun­damentals, and made a wide Gap for ignorance, nay, Atheism, not only to creep, but to leap in amongst us. How many Congregations or Parishes wanted the Holy Communion, for the greater part of twenty years toge­ther in the late times? now who was to blame, or responsible to God for so hainous a sin as the keeping back the Bread of Life, the Incumbent or the Civil Magistrate or both? and who was in fault when it was afterwards given, yet to those only that would sit, and take it at a long Table (deny­ing it to others, that desired to receive it in the most reverend man­ner by kneeling) the Incumbent or the Magistrate that might have ruled it otherwaies, thereby excommunicating in their sence at least with exclu­sion a Sacris; all the Parish at one breath, save a few? What could his Im­perial Infallible Holiness at Rome have done more imperiously, then to deny the Bread of Life to those that would not submit to their ipse dixit. The hainousness of this crime of robbing whole Parishes of the Lords own Supper, Table, Cup, Body and Blood, for so many years together, in our late times, is abundantly set forth, attested and proved to be from Popish Principles in a Book entituled, A new Discovery of some Romish Emissaries, &c. The sum then of the Contest will be between Prince and Priest, whe­ther Presbyterian Independant or Popish, matters not much. They being in the point of Domination, not much different, only the Independant is most moderate, and the Pope most exorbitant, extending his Supremacy and Jurisdiction over forrain Princes, and beyond his own Territories, even to the Excommunication, nay, Deposition of Kings, and how much less the Presbyter claims, Sa. Rutherford in the forenamed Book and his (if I may call it his) Book called Lex Rex do speak, and as the Argu­ments are the same, so the same Answer will reach them all.

§. The Priests conceive by their mandate, viz. Go teach all Nations Baptizing, &c. received from Christ, Independant of any earthly Power, that they have by vertue thereof Authority to put in execution that Man­date. 1o. In their opinion to preach and pray, what when and where they please, Administer the Sacraments after what form and manner seems best unto every of them, though never so different one from the other, use any form of Discipline, excommunicate whom and when they please, and all this without being accomptable to any earthly power, or having any Supe­rior over them.

§. The Prince on the other side, though he pretend not to Preach, Baptise, impose hands, administer Sacraments, use the Keys, or the like, yet deems it more particularly and more especially within his Province, to take care of these Priests and Priestly things, to see that the Persons be able, and well quallified, and that they execute the Mandat according to the Doctrine of Faith, and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And as to coun­tenance and maintain these that do perform their Function accordingly, so to silence and punish those that do not, else why should he be blamed for giving liberty to a Popish Priest, or Phanatick Quaker, more than unto an Independant or Presbyterian.

§. A King is he that Ruleth others, and the relation of the Word doth teach us, that there can be no King but in respect of his Subjects, and his duty towards them is to direct, to command, and punish, in all things needful. Where God chargeth the King, to keep and observe all the words of the Law keeping and observing are not there referred to his private Acti­ons as a Man, but to his publick Functions as a King; and therefore the Kings, in these words, received the charg and oversight of the whole Law, that is, an express command from God, to see the Law kept, and every part thereof observed of all men within his Dominions; and the breakers of it, Prophets, Priests and People to be punished. Now the Law con­tained all things that any way touched the true Service and Worship of God, and therefore the Kings had one and the self same power to com­mand, and punish as well in the Precepts of Pi [...]ty, as other points of Policy, neither did God favour or prosper any of the Kings of Israel or Judah, but such as chiefly respected and carefully maintained the Ordinances of Religion prescribed unto them in Moses Law. This Power is granted to belong to Princes, even by some Papists themselves, witness that mode­rate and learned Servite Padre Paolo, throughout his History of the In­quisition, ‘where he complains and avers that amongst the perverse opini­ons (of which this our unhappy Age is full) this also is preached, that the care of Religion doth not belong to the Prince; that in other times Holy Bishops did not preach nor recommend any thing more to Princes than the care of Religion, they warned them of nothing, nor modestly rebuked them for any thing more than for their carelesness in it. And now nothing is more preached than that, to the Prince belongeth not the charge of Di­vine things, though contrariwise the Holy Scripture be full of places, wherein Religion is commended to the protection of Princes by the Di­vine Majesty, which also promiseth Peace and Prosperity to those States where Piety is savoured, and Desolation and Destruction threatned to those States wherein Divine things are held as Alien.’ David though being entred into a Kingdom out of Order, both internally and externally, and being very busie both in Wars, and framing a politick Government, yet did set his chief care on matters of Religion; Solomon entring into a [Page 62]quiet and exceeding well ordered Kingdom, regarded also Religion more than any other part of the Government. The Princes most applauded in former Ages, as Constantine, Theodosius, Charlemain, St. Lewis, and others made it their chief care, and travail to protect and rule the Affairs of the Church. It is a great deceit to set forth this part as a thing of less moment since the neglect of this doth provoke the divine wrath: experience tells that a State cannot stand untroubled where change of Religion cometh, for that true Religion is the foundation of States. He that ruleth over Men must be just ruling in the fear of God, 2 Sam. 23.3. It is an abomination to Kings to commit wickedness, for the Throne is established by righteousness, 16. Prov. 12.14. It were a great absurdity to leave the total care of it to others un­der pretence that they are spiritual, where temporal Authority will not reach, or that a Prince hath any greater charge or imployment than this.

§. As it is manifest that the Prince is not Pretor, nor Prefect, nor Provedi­tore, no nor Priest, nor Bishop: So it is as true, that he is to oversee and cause them to do their duties, both the one and the other. And here lieth the deceit, that the particular care of Religion is proper to the Officers of the Church, as the Civil Government is to the Prince, who ought to do neither the one nor the other, but is to direct all, and to take heed that none do fail in his Office. This being the Princes charge, as well in mat­ters of Religion as in any other part of the Government: And as in other matters, the Prince is to be informed of all occurrences, so ought he to be particularly advertised of all that happeneth in matters of Religion. And I conceive that therefore a Prince is more bound than a private Subject, to fear, and to serve God, to be both zealous, and jealous of his holy Faith, to honour, cherish, and defend Gods true Church; that he (as Pope Eleutherius writ to King Lucius) being Christs Vicar, in his own Domini­ons should discharge Christs Place and Commands; and also more bound to avoid Hypocrisie, Superstition, and all open and scandalous sins, to pre­serve his Dignity, and maintain his State and Royalty in the exercise of Re­ligion. Because Regis exemplum in numerabiles populos catervatim secum ducit, and least that happen to his People, which sometime fell out to the Jews through Moses long absence, who thinking that in him they were deprived of the true God, made themselves one of Gold.

§. It is agreed by all, That God hath not left humane Nature desti­tute of such remedies as are necessary to its conservation; and that Rule and Dominion being necessary to the conservation where that Rule and Dominion is granted, there all things necessary for the support of that Rule and Dominion are granted also. It is farther granted also, that supreme power ought to be entire and undivided, and cannot else be sufficient for the protection of all, if it do not extend over all, without any other equal power to controul or diminish it: and that therefore the supreme Tempo­ral Magistrate ought to command Ecclesiastical persons as well as Civil. Look back a little into the old Testament, and consider the Jewish Church and Republick, of which the Lord himself doth testify 4. Deut. 7.8. That his people hath Statutes and Laws so just and wise, that the Institutes of no people, that the Sanctions of no Republick, that no Ordinances howsoever wisely constitute were able to compare with them; therefore methinks, that the Church and State should be most divinely and wisely ordered, that cometh as near as the circumstances of the present matter will permit, to the Constitution of the Jewish Church and State, in which matters were so ordered by God, that we find not any where two diverse Judicatories [Page 63]concerning manners, the one Politick, the other Ecclesiastick: what then hindereth that the Church now also on whom God hath bestowed a Christian Magistrate, should be less content with one Government. To me it seem­eth monstrous, to place two heads upon one body of a visible Church, whose Commands, Decrees and Government are divers, so that the rule of one, is not subject to the care of the other. For the Ecclesiastical Senate or Presbytery would have the Supream Power of Punishing Vices, even in Magistrates themselves, though not with Corporal Punishment yet with Excommunication, and debatring them from the Sacraments, whereas one Magistrate appointed by God may now as well bridle all transgressions as he could of old; was it not so in the Kingdom of Solomon, which was as it were a Type of Christs Church reigning on this Earth? And I do not find either under Moses or under the Judges or Kings, or under the Govern­ment of those which were called Rulers, such two discrepant Judicatories. Nature denies saith Musculus, two Authentick Governments in the same People, whereof one is not subject to the other. It is manifest that David did dispose of all Offices and Ministers of the Church, 1 Ch. 22.27. After­wards Solomon did not only build but consecrate the Temple and not a Priest. Hitherto belongeth that famous History of Jehosaphat in the 2 Chr. 19. which doth perfectly clear this cause, as also doth the History of Ezekias, and indeed the whole Old Testament. It is too well known, that though Papists and Presbyters do allow something to secular Magistrates in the Rule of the Church, yet the Supremacy of Power they do utterly and in very terms deny. And having obtained possession of power in the Church, and that (as they hold out) by Christs own institution, they are very loath to resign the same again at the demand, and into the hands of Princes. It is true, that when our Saviour first gave Commission to his Disciples, to Preach, Baptize and Propogate the true Faith in the World; secular Authority being universally averse thereunto, he was of necessity to com­mit for the present, both Doctrines and Discipline to the charge of his A­postles, yet not without a promise: That Kings should be their Nursing Fathers, and Queens the Nursing Mothers of his Church, who though now they are come in, and become friendly to Religion, and willing to advance the spiritual prosperity of the Church, as well as of the Temporal of the State, yet both Papists and Presbyters having got possession are loath to be disquietted, dreaming of a Spiritual Empire belonging to Priests, more worthy and Sacred than that of the Emperors, and so secretly preferring the Crosier before the Crown.

§. Power and Government are things most awful, and honourable, and the truest owners thereof next under God are Princes, whom the true le­gitimat Church, ever looked upon as Cods immediate Vicegerents, Deputies and Governours thereof. St. Peter 1.2. Writing to the Church, in the time of a Heathen and Impious Emperor commandeth every Soul to be Subject to the higher Powers. He acknowlegeth power in a very Nero, and that to be the higher Power. And to that Power of that Nero, he subjects every soul, Christian and Heathen, Priest and Layman, and it may not seem strange that meer Power and Rule, in an unbeliever and wicked Prince, should be so sacred and inviolable. We must take notice that the wickedness of Princes in ill Commands, though it discharge us as to those ill Commands, yet it doth not discharge their power or Rule either in those or any other. For when Princes rule well, they are to be obeyed, when ill they are to be endured, and this very endurance is an effect of obedience and sub­jection. [Page 64]The violence of this or that Nero may be Tyrannous; but the lawful Authority whereby the same violence is done, is not Tyranny.

Neither is the Office of Kings the less Glorious, because they can use force nor yet that of Ministers the more Glorious, because they may use none but perswasive Motives and Allurements. For Power it self being a Glorious Divine thing, it must be most honourable to use it in Gods Cause, and his Glory, and the advance and increase of his Flock and Kingdom, and therefore we see Iosiah, and other good Kings are commended for using compulsion, and on the contrary other Kings which used it not for the suppressing of Ido­latry, removing the high places and the like, did draw curses on themselves and their subjects. And whereas it is objected by I. M. and others, that Force and Compulsion, restrain only from the act of sin, but not the Will from the liking thereof, and that to compel outward profession, is to compel Hypo­crisy, not to advance Religion. But we see common experience teacheth us better effects thereof. For Scotland, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Bohe­mia, England, &c. suffered great changes of Religion in a short space, and these changes were wrought by the force of Civil Magistrates, and could never else, without strange Miracles from Heaven have been so soon compassed, and these Changes have not proved the less sincere, because Civil Authority wrought them, as the Samaritan first believed Christ on the Womans word, but then for his own sake, so those that were compelled to the Wedding, so ma­ny Papists in Queen Elizabeths dayes, which came to our Churches, first to save their Purses, afterwards came out of liking, of which the Pope being advertised forbad it, and made it a Signum Distinctivum. Its a shrewd sign that that Babe is spurious, which the Mother is ashamed to bring to light, and that is Falshood and Dross, not Truth and Gold, which dares not abide any Test, and that those Masses are not of a Divine Origine, that must be ce­lebrated in an unknown Tongue; and trusted only with the Priests who are parties to the Cheat.

Besides the means used in all Laws of God and man to induce obedience, are rewards and punishments, both which may occasion Hypocrisie. Corrup­ted man is as inclinable to dissemble Religion which he believes not, as well for hope of reward as for fear of punishment, which is vitio personae non prae­mii vel poenae, else God would not have appointed them as mounds of his laws and motives of obedience. The pious example of a good King is of mervelous inducement towards Religion, yet one may hypocritically dissem­ble his Religion to please his Prince. Example is so powerful a motive that it is said to compel, 2 Gal. 14. Peccant magistratus cum minis & paenis alios peccare non prohibent. 13 Nehem. 17.21.22. If Nebuchadnezar erect his prodigious Idol, and upon pain of a Fiery Furnace require all to worship it, all People, Nations and Languages are presently upon their faces. If per­secution be but threatned Demas-like we presently forsake the fellowship of Saints and imbrace this present world. On the other side rewards of ho­nour and preferment will cause some Balaam-like, to run and ride and be­come more sensless of Gods wrath and indignation than was his dumb Asse, and like Micha's Leuite for a little better reward swallow down theft and Idolatry together.

§. Authority it self hath not so rigorous a sway over the souls of men, as to obtrude disliked Religions universally, it must perswade as well as compel, and convince as well as command, or else great alterations cannot easily and suddenly be perfected. And in this respect Proclamations, of Princes, and commanding Edicts mostly prove more efficacious Sermons [Page 65]than those from out of the Pulpits; look back on former times and it is evident that before Constantine favoured Religion the Gospel spread but slowly, and that not without a wondeful confluence of Heavenly Signs and Miracles wrought by our Saviour and his Disciples; all which we may probably conjecture had never been in such plentiful manner mani­fested to the World, had it not been to countervail the enmity and oppositi­on of secular Authority. And it may be conjectured, nay presumed, that had the Caesars heartily by command, and example joyned in the propagation of Christs Doctrine, more might have been effected towards the propaga­tion of the Gospel by their Cooperation, than all Christs Apostles Bishops and other Presbyters, did effect by their extraordinary gifts and superna­tural endowments; we see also that Constantines Conversion was of more moment and did more conduce to the prosperity and propagation of Chri­stianity, than all the labours and endeavours of thousands of Preachers and Confessors and Martyrs, which before had attempted the same. We see Ed. 6. though a Minor, in a short time very much dispelled the mists of Popish errors and superstition, and when no men were more averse to the truth than the Clergy, yet he set up the banner thereof in all his Domi­nions, and redeemed millions of souls from the thraldom of Hell and Rome. So Queen Elizabeth, though a single woman was a most admirable instrument in the same design, and what she did in England, other Princes did the like in their Dominions, whatsoever was effected by the labour of Ministers af­ter our Saviour, the same if not greater matters were sooner expedited by the ordinary Power and Wisdome of Princes, when Ministers were gene­rally opposite thereunto. And as we see the spiritual power of Princes, how strangely prevalent it is for the truth, so we see most woful effects thereof against the truth: Religion was not sooner reformed by E. 6. than it was deformed again by Q. M. And although many godly Ministers were here then setled as appears by the numerous Martyrs, yet all those Ministers could not uphold Religion with all their labours and hands, so strongly as Q. M. could subvert it with the least of her Fingers; one fierce King of Spain bound himself in a cursed Oath to maintain the Popish Religion and to ex­tirpate all contrary Doctrines out of his confines, which taking effect ac­cordingly, It demonstrates and confirms that one Kings Enmity or supineness towards Religion, is more pernitious than a thousand Ministers zeal is or can be advantagious to the spreading of the Gospel, which consequence alone ought to sway and prevail very much with Princes to act very vigo­rously and very circumspectly in matters of Religion, as being most emi­nently to accompt for it, and for that their countenance or discountenance of the true or false Religion, of sin or piety, is next unto or a kind of an esta­blishing the one or the other by a Law according to that antient received Maxim. Regis ad exemplum, totus componitur Orbis.

Therefore the examples of Kings and chief Magistrates being of such wonderful avail, and indeed of more consequence than 20000 Pulpits, no doubt if they would put in practice and follow the example of King Davids resolution in the 101 Psal. to walk in their Houses with a perfect heart, to behave themselves wisely in a perfect way, to set no wicked thing before their eyes, to hate the work of them that turn aside, not to know a wicked person, to shew no favour, to give no countenance, no preferment, to any wicked person; but to let their eyes be upon the faithful of the Land, and on them that excel in virtue, that they may dwell with them, and that they, and only they that walk in a perfect way do serve them, that they that work deceit should [Page 66]not dwell in their Houses, nor they that tell lies tarry in their Sght. No doubt I say, but such Princes by such pious practices and examples, would by such discountenancing of Sin and Sinners quickly destroy the wicked of the Land, and cut off all wicked doers from the City of the Lord, and would conduce much even to the making of a high way of holiness throughout the Land, that wayfaring Men though Fools might noterre therein.

For who knoweth not that example doth as certainly kill Souls, as Fire and Fagot do bodies, and that an exemplary life of Men in Authority doth incline and invite their Subjects and Servants to the same, whether it be holy or unholy, more, much more than Pulpits, or any verbal Rhetorick. St. Peter did not Preach Judaism, but only for fear of offending, the Jews did forbear to eat with the Gentiles, yet St. Paul reproveth him for it to his face, and interpreteth that fact of his as an effective and almost com­pulsive seducement, Cogis Judaizare? 2. Gal. 14. Why compellest thou the Gentiles to Judaize? so Nehemiah 13. c. v. 17. Contended with the Nobles of Judah, saying, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day? and yet the Rulers had not sinned by personal commission, but by partial Connivence and toleration of the sins of others. Besides it is not the Clergy only that is so immediately and so universally responsable for the publick discountenancing of Religion (being chiefly responsable for their particular Flocks only) for even the abuses of the very Clergy it self, will one day be set on the Magistrates account, and according to that vast spiritual Power which God hath put into the hands of Princes, so will God certainly require at their hands.

§. Preaching is not the only means of Salvation, nor Ministers the only Preachers, nor Sacraments only efficacious, because the Clergy only may administer them. Though Pope and Presbyter call themselves only, spiri­tual persons, the Church, and Lot of Christ, and put Princes into the number of Temporal and Laymen and limit them to secular things, yet God will not be so mocked, they ought to acknowledge the character of Divinity, which is so much more fairly stamped on Princes, than it is on them, and let them not rob Princes of that influence in sacred things which they themselves can never enjoy. For as Princes must answer for wilful or negligent permitting a wicked Clergy, so must Pope Presbyter and Independent answer for endea­vouring to cajol Princes out of their Supream Power, on pretence that Gods Message is so delivered to them. Let Ministers assist Princes in their Spiritual and Religious Offices, as Aaron and Hur did Moses, let them not contend for Supremacy over Causes and Persons Ecclesiastical and Civil; but let them accompt it their most Supreme Service, to attend on that Supremacy, so shall more honour and sanctity pass from Pope and Presbyter, to Kings and Em­perors, and more efficacy and vertue from Kings to Ministers, more Grace and happiness from both to the People.

§.Excommuni­cation. The main Argument used both by Pope and Presbyter to raise the Miter and Consistory above the Crown, is drawn from the power of the Church in Excommunication, which Sword Church men only claim, and where­with they think they may as freely strike Princes as Princes may strike them with their Temporal Sword, of both which a word in general, and also in particular, as it relates to Princes. Excommunication, that great Popish and Presbyterian Thunderboult and Diana of their Discipline, claimed to be their due Jure Divino, and so highly exalted by them that it is not more monopolized, nor advanced higher at Rome, than it would be here by them within their Precincts, if not curbed by the Civil Magistrate, so [Page 67]apt it is to be tyrannically abused by Pope and Presbyter, for experience tells us, that if they might have their Will, they would by virtue thereof put such a Spiritual Pad-lock upon the Temporal Sword, and by their In or­dine ad Spiritualia, take such fast hold of it themselves, that if they and Christian Princes should chance to differ, they may be sure (so long as their Doctrine concerning it, will be believed) to have the drawing of it themselves, and leave poor Christian Princes to whom the Sword of Right (more antient than Papacy or John Calvins Presbytery) more properly be­longs, to defend themselves with the Scabbard, for which several of them have paid dear, witness amongst others, those 17 Scotish Ministers, who be­ing convented before the Council of Scotland, for holding a solemn Assem­bly at Aberdeen without the Kings leave, 2. July 1605. utterly denied the Authority both of King and Council in that behalf, affirming, that in matters Ecclesiastical, they neither ow nor ought to acknowledge themselves in any subjection either to the King or to his Council, and that all spiritual diffe­rences should be tryed and determined by the Church (meaning thereby themselves the Clergy) for which cause and for denying the Kings Suprema­cy, 6 of the chief of them were arraigned and condemned at Blackness in Scotland January 10. 1605. and how insolently some of the same Tribe vsed King James, more than once he himself hath published in Print, and their imperious exhorbitances may be read as in several other Books, so in Presbytery Displayed printed 1644. and how they used King Charles the first, I. M. hath demonstrated in his Tenure of Kings, therein manifesting, that they founded the Premises that enabled the Phanaticks to conclude that sanguinary and unparalled Catastrophe: And that their good deeds also may be remembred, we do recount them to have been very instrumental in the restoration of the Son, which is some kind of expiation for their injuries done unto the Father.

Some and those of no small esteem in the Church are of opinion, that the exercise of Excommunication was then only needful, when no visible Church had any legal or civil remedy to preserve its unity, or purge it self of gross Offenders, or that the right or power of Excommunication, which the Apostles and immediate Successors had, did utterly expire, when once whole Cities and Common-wealths became Christian, and were enabled from the Supreme Civil Magistrate to punish Offenders, and to enact coercive and penal Laws, and other means necessary for the spreading and promulgating of the Gospel. Sure I am, that experience hath made it more than proba­ble that after the Church and Common-wealths were so linked and interwo­ven together, that every Member of the Common-wealth was enforced to become a Member of the Church, and to be so admitted by the Church Go­vernours, the edge of this spiritual Sword was very much abated, and the force of former spiritual Ordinances became stifled with the multitude of those persons against whom they were directed, whether the defect be in the power it self or in such as have, but to do not use it as they ought, cer­tain it is that this branch of discipline is not in our days so effectual, as in for­mer times it hath been.

The meer spiritual Power with which alone the Apostles and their Imme­diate Successors were endued, was of greater efficacy than both the remain­der of the like spiritual Power, in Dermier Bishops and Pastors, and all the strength of secular Civil Power wherewith Princes States or Kingdoms since the mutual incorporation of Common-wealths and Churches have (as they were in conscience and Jure Divino bound) assisted Prelates and Church [Page 68]Governours; of this nature seems to be the Apostolical Rod. 1. Cor. 4.21. wherewith Paul threatneth the Corinthians, whereby is meant as he explains himself, 2. Cor. 13.10. ch. 10.16. ch. 13.2. To use sharpness, to revenge all un­righteousness, not to spare, all which are expressions of a certain miraculous vertue of impossing punishment. Thus Annanias and Saphira fell down dead 14. Acts 13. Elymas was smitten with blindness. 1. Tim. 1.2. Himeneus, Alexander, and the Incestuous Corinthian were delivered to Sathan, 1. Cor. 55.

§. To deliver to Sathan was plainly a point of miraculous Power which in­flicted torment on the Body, such as Saul in former times felt after his de­parture from God, as Chrisostome and other Fathers interpret. This is cer­tain when the earthly powers used not their right of punishing God had given them to purge and defend the Church, what was wanting in human aid, God himself supplied by divine assistance. After the Emperors took on them the Patronage of the Church (whose office was to punish them that troubled the Church without or within) the forenamed divine punishment expired. And most properly, that divine execution of revenge was the jurisdiction of God not of Men, because the whole work was Gods, not the Apostles. God that he might give testimony to the truth of the Gospel preached, as at the Apostles Prayers or presence, or touch, he healed diseases, and cast out Divils; so at their imprecation commanded men to be vexed with Diseases, and seized by Divils.

Nor did Paul more by delivering men to Satan, than did Peter and John by curing the lame man, who say they did nothing by their own Power, Acts 12. and ascribe the whole effect to God. At the Prayers also of the Church did God often shew the like signs of his displeasure, therefore are the Corinthians, 1. Cor. 5.2. blamed that they mourned not, to the end the Incestuous person might be taken away from among them: And to the same effect is that wish, not command of the Apostles to the Galatians 5.12. would they were cut off that trouble you.

This kind of Excommunication if it may be so called, was a Corporal punishment, and there is no appearance of any internal obduration, by the binding power of Pope or Presbyter; and it was miraculous, and there­fore it might be of use then, when the Keys of Church-men could not err, and when a Temporal Sword was wanting, yet now it is utterly useless and abolished.

§. For any other Excommunication of present or perpetual necessity in Ecclesiastical Regiment there is very little, indeed no plain proof in Scrip­ture, if any at all, it is the spiritual Scepter of the Pope and Presbyter, with­out which their Empire would appear meerly Imaginary, and therefore their Zeal is fierce and strong for it, though their reasons be weak. It seems to me a very obscure and lame deduction, that the Keys of Heaven in the Gospel must needs import real Power and jurisdiction in Clergy men, and in them only, and that that Sword is as miraculous as it was, or as useful as if it were miraculous, and that the stroak of it is meerly Spiritual, and not to be supplied by the Temporal Sword, and that Princes are as well liable to it, as other Laymen.

§. In case of utter impenitency, of open and obstinate perverseness, Heaven is shut without the Pope or Presbyters Power, and in case of feigned penitence neither the Popes nor Presbyters Keys can open effectually, though they discern or discern not the hypocricy, and in case of true penitence if Pope or Presbyter be mistaken, yet Heaven will not remain shut.

§. Some excellent writers against the usurped power of the Romish Church, in use or exercise of St. Peters Keys, as well before Luther as since, have been of opinion that the visible Church hath only power to declare who are separated or excommunicated ipso facto, from the holy Catholick Church, and that she hath no power so to separate or excommunicate any, unless they have first excommunicated themselves, or voided their hopes or interests in the holy Catholick Church, by heretical positions or opinions, or by lewd and scandalous misdemeanors. Of this opinion was that famous Wesselius which was intituled Lux Mundi before Luther arose, or the so pure Light of the Gospel which we now enjoy.

Besides Divines themselves have not hitherto agreed, nor are ever like to agree, what this excommunication is, or what the extent of it is, or whether the Presbyter alone, or joyned with the Laity, or Lait without the Presbyter have power to execute it, or whether it be so spiritually inhe­rent in the Pope or Presbyter, as that they can or cannot depute the execu­tion thereof to Deligates or Proxies. In these great straights and uncer­tainties concerning excommunication, held out to be of such high concern, as to make the excommunicated as it were accursed and cut off from the Church, what shall poor Laicks do? who are well assured, that be their Commission what it will, that it extends not to impower them to teach and much less to impose any Doctrines, but what are undoubtedly and meerly true, the Apostles themselves pretending to no other.

§. Some endeavour to support this feigned pillar of their disci­pline by Arguments drawn from the Jewish manner of excommunication, which according to some was twofold, 1o called Niddui, and was only a temporary separation commonly for 30 dayes, from all commerce or society with any man within a certain distance. This is it which is thought to be that which is called in the New Testament a casting out of the Synagogue, 2o. The second more severe and terrible than the former was, when a scan­dalous ossender with curses out of the Law of Moses, in the publick audi­ence of the whole Church, without any limitation of time, was excluded from the Communion of it. This is that which is thought to be that which is called in the New Testament, a delivering up unto Sathan, in Hebrew this is called Cherim and in Greek Anathema, which was twofold, 1o. Simple when what I have now mentioned was performed, 2o. with an addition of Anathema Maranatha, or as the Syrian pronounce it Moranetho, when be­sides all other maledictions out of the Law, they added this clause, Our Lord cometh, by which form the excommunicated person as desperate with­out all hope of pardon or restitution was left unto the Lord, to receive from him a heavy doom at his coming. In imitation of this Jewish excommuni­cation which generally is defined by almost all to be an exclusion of the Fel­lowship and Communion of Believers, the Popish Divines have also framed 2 kinds of excommunication, viz. 1o. A lesser, 2o. the greater, 1o. the les­ser, That the excommunicated is to be debarred not from the profession of the same Faith, nor from giving his consent to the same Doctrine with the present Church, whereof he is a visible Member but from the soel partici­pation of the Sacraments, have added also another which they term the greater Excommunication and Anathema, and have against the clear sence of Scripture (I wish the Presbyterians could herein plead not guilty) defined it to be an interdiction of Churches private commerce, and all other lawful converse, because the Apostle Cor. 14. openly sheweth, that neither the heathen nor any person whatsoever were forbidden from hearing of the Di­vine [Page 70]word, from the Reading, Thanksgivings and Prayers of Christians And I have not found extant in the Scripture any Precept or Example whereby it is commanded or taught, that they who err only in life and manners should be removed from the Sacraments. I do not read that any person at any time amongst the Jews was for such causes forbid by the Priests, Levites, Prophets, Scribes or Pharases, to come unto the Sacrifices Ceremonies or Sacraments. The high Priests esteemed Christ and his Apostles most wicked persons, yet we do not find that during Christs life or after his death, that ever they went about to debar them of the Sacra­ments and Sacrifices instituted by God; they reprehended indeed Christ for eating and drinking with Publicans and Sinners, but not for praying in the Temple with them, nor for going up with them and all others to Je­rusalem to celebrate the Passover; neither did they debar any Publican Jew, no nor the most cruel Hereticks the Sadduces from their Temple or Ceremo­nies, but permitted them the honour to ascend the high Priest-hood; and I do not indeed well see how the Priests could hinder the Scandalous sinners from eating of the Passover if they would, for that they did not eat before the Priests, but in their private Houses; and I have not observed that the presence of a Priest was absolutely necessary to that matter. And certainly if the law had permitted them to debar any from their Sacraments and Sacrifices but the Leprous and unclean, they would certainly have debarred Christ and his Apostles, such was their desperate and inveterate malice to­wards him and them, presuming his design to have been to destroy their City and Temple, their Name and Nation.

§. Upon these and other like reasons and grounds, there are some who do not stick to affirm that the Clergy hath not so much power to excom­municate the Laity as the Laity the Clergy, all power being given to the Body of the Church, and not to the Priests thereof, to govern it self, and that there is no other excommunication then what is common to both, viz. To withdraw our selves from every Brother that walketh disorderly, 2 Thess. 3.6. If any obey not our saying, have no company with him, that he may be a­shamed, v. 34. not to eat with the Brother, that is a Fornicator, or Covetous, or an Idolater, or a Rayler, or a Drunkard, or an Extortioner, 1 Cor. 5.11. and put away from amongst you that evil person, v. 13. All which precepts belong to all both Laity and Clergy, indifferently. Let excommunication be what it will (if any there be.)

An exclusion from the Word and Sacraments it cannot be, yet what ever it is, it is attributed to the Church and that most rightfully. But then it is to be considered that by the venerable and Apostolical name of Church, was antiently and ab initio understood all the faithful as well Laity as Clergy, though of latter years it hath been injuriously wrested to signify the Clergy only, whereas in truth the Laity as well as the Clergy, as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy Priesthood, a chosen Generation to offer up Spi­ritual Sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 2.5.9. For it is certain that St. Peter gave the title of Clergy to all Christians in general, and that Pope Higinus (who lived in the second Century) and his Successors most injuriousty took it from them, usurping and appropriating the name of Church to themselves and their Priests only, which is since attributed to the Popes, only by the Pope and Court of Rome and their Creatures, and con­demning the rest of Gods holy people to an injurious and alienate appellati­on of Laity, separating themselves from the Laity as unclean and prophane, by local partitions in Churches, &c. and so the distinction insensibly crept in by degrees.

§. Because the Word and term Church hath been so much wrested and abused by men of different per­swasions for different ends and interests,By Church is to be mean [...] [...] Apostolical and Legitimate [...] but not that which is usurp [...]d and imployed to the subversion of publick Government and of Religion it self, for it is certain that nothing hath been so great a hin­drance to the grwoth and propagation of the truly Catholick Religion, as the ex­tending the just liberties thereof into li­cence, by grasping at more and other powers than ever Christ gave them by any Commission, which alone hath caused and maintained so great and deplorable divisions in Religion. and so little understood by the vulgar both of Protestants and Papists, and that I may open the eyes of some that yeild blind obedience and magnify the Pope, and indeed I know not what nor whom for the Church, and to shew in little the tricks and artisices of the Popish Clergy to increase their Power and Coffers, I shall shew how, when and where it was first used in the New Testament, and how degenerated, and what ill use hath been made of since.

By the word Church in the New Testament is meant the society of Christi­ans or number of Believers in Christ,Vide. 19. Art, of Religion. already come and to come in the flesh, crucified, dead, buried and ascended into Heaven, for the planting and increasing whereof Christ himself laboured during his abode on earth, by Miracles, Signs and Wonders, and after his Resurrection before he was taken up and a Cloud had received him out of their sight, he appointed his eleven Disciples (Judas having fallen by transgression from his Ministry and Apostleship, that he might go to his own place) to teach all Nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever he had com­manded them, 28 Mat. 19.20. and to preach repentance and remission of sins in his Name among all Nations beginning at Jerusalem, 24 Luk. 47 charg­ing them to tarry in the City of Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. v. 49.

After they had received the Holy Ghost in that miraculous manner of cloven tongues, ‘on the day of Pentecost Peter standing up with the eleven, preached so powerfully unto the multitude then, and there gathered to understand the wonderful miracle of cloven tongues, ushered in by a rushing mighty wind, and to see the effects thereof, that at that Sermon there were converted about 3000. Souls, which gladly received him, and were baptized, and continued stedfast in the Apostles Doctrine, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread from house to house, and in prayers praising God, and having favour with all the people, 2 Acts v. 41.42. and the Lord added to the Church i. e. to all the Apostles and Disciples left by Christ, and unto those converted at this Sermon of St. Peters, daily such as should be saved, 2 Acts 47.’ the first society or congregation that we read of called a Church in the new Testament, 47. so that from this very day and time and upon this occasion (which was within few dayes after Christs Aesension) was the Congregation or Societies of Believers called the Church. And it is here more especially to be observed, that the name of Church was not here given as peculiar to the Apostles or Clergy, but as com­mon to all believers, the number of whom daily increasing, quickly came to be cantonzied, divided and subdivided into Cities, Provinces, Countries, Houses. Hence the various expressions, so were the Churches established in the Faith, and increased in number daily, 16 Acts 5. All the Churches of the Gentiles, 16. Rom. 4. All the Churches of the Saints, 1 Cor. 14.33. The Churches throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, 9 Acts 30. 1 Gal. 21.22. So ordain in all Churches, 1 Cor. 7.17. The Churches of Asia salute you. 1 Cor. 16.19. The Church at Antioch, 13 Acts 1. The Churches of Thessalonians, 1 Thes. 1.1. The Church that is at Babilon saluteth you, 1 Pet. 5.13. The seven Churches of Asia, Apocal. hence also more minute subdivisions, as great [Page 72] Pricilla and Aqvila together with the Church in their House, 1 Cor. 16.19. salute Nymphas and the Church in his House, 4 Colos. 15. Paul and Timothy to Philemon and to the Church in his House, Philemon 2. When St. Paul sent for the Elders of Ephesus and willed them to take heed to themselves and all the Flock over which the holy Ghost had made them overseers to feed the Church of God, 28 Act. 17.28. What meant he by the Church? the Priests to whom he spake, or the people, the People no doubt; the Church is never taken in the New or Old Testament for the Priests alone, but gene­rally for the whole Congregation of the faithful. Having thus demonstra­ted who are meant by the word and term of Church, let us now consider what powers and priviledges they were indulged and endowed withal, both Priest and People from Christ.

§. What Powers and Priviledges did belong to the Ecclesiasticks, as A­postles, Bishops, Priests and Deacons I have intimated before, shewing that the Apostles had jurisdiction over Prophets Evangelists Presbyters and Dea­cons, and I think will not be denied. Then the Canons stiled Apostolical, ‘say Canon 38. let the Presbyters and Deacons do nothing without the knowledge or consent of the Bishop, he is the man that is trusted with the Lords People, and that must render an account of their Souls.’ Ig­natius Bishop of Antioch almost 30 years in the Apostles times agreeth fully with that Canon saying, do nothing neither Presbyter nor Deacon without the Bishop, neither let any thing seem orderly without his liking, for it is unlawful and displeasing unto God. And again without the Bishop let no man do any thing that pertaineth to the Church, Ignat. ep. 3. ad Magnes. Ibid. ep. 7. ad Smyrneos, Cencil. Ancy­ran. can. 13. La­odicens. 56. A­ralatens. c. 19. Tolet. 1. c. 20. by which it plainly appears that in the purest times Bi­shops were both Pastors of the Churches, and Governours of the Presbyters in every City that believed, so long as they ruled well, and were instead of the Apostles, and as their Successors they had charge of ordaining others for the work of the Ministry, and guiding the Keys with the advice and Consent of the Brethren and Church there Congregated.

§. Christ being now ascended in triumph into Heaven, ‘the eleven Apostles returned from Mount Olivet unto Jerusalem, where they continued with one accord in Prayer and Supplication with the Women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with his Brethren, and Peter standing up in the midst of the Disciples, the number of Names together being about 120. moved that of these Men, which had companied with them all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongst them, one might be or­dained in the room of Judas, to be a witness with them of his Resurrecti­on, and they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas who was surnamed Justus and Matthias. And they prayed and said, thou Lord which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this Ministry and Apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they gave forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbred with the ele­ven Apostles, 1. Acts 12. &c. Its observable that this being the first and most considerable action that the Apostles together with those Disciples, who had given their Names to Christ, did after his Ascension, and before the Holy Ghost had been powered out upon them, they did not go about it without taking the other Disciples (which were Laicks) into their Coun­cil, and making them partakers of the Facts, for when they had prayed, they cast Lots.

The like the Apostles did when there grew a'murmuring for the neglect of the Grecian Widdows, they called the Multitude of the Disciples, di­recting them to look out seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and Wisdome, &c. And the saying pleased the whole Multitude, and they chose Steven and the rest; whom they set before the Apostles, who laid their hands on them, 2. Acts 2.3.4.5.6. so that upon the whole matter the choice and election of those seven Deacons was committed (by the whole Chorus of the Apostles) unto the Multitude, they had their con­cern, their part to act in it. Paul being in danger of being killed by the Jews at Jerusalem, the Brethren having notice thereof brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus, 9. Acts. 30. News being brought to the Apostles and Brethren that were at Jerusalem, of the Conversion of Cornelius, when Peter came up to Hierusalen, they that were of the Circumcision, the Brethren there contended with him, saying, thou went­est in to men uncircumcised and didst eat with them, 11. Acts 23. by which it is manifest that the Brethren, the Church that then was at Jerusalem by their own right did impose a kind of necessity on Peter (Prince of the Apostles and Pope of Rome in the esteem of Romanists) to vindicate himself by rehearsing the whole matter, and he as humbly without stand­ing upon his Apostolical Dignity or Papal Authority, did give the Body of the Church satisfaction, and then had their approbation also by their saying, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life, v. 18.

When Peter was miraculously delivered out of Prison by an Angel he came to the House of Mary, where many were gathered together praying, 12. Acts 12. and spake unto them saying, go shew these things unto James (president of the Church at Jerusalem) and to the Brethren v. 17. and that ex aequo that the whole Body might sympathize and partici­pate of the joy, and might not be held in suspence between Hope and Fear.

In the Church at Antioch (famous for Prophets and Teachers) as they were ministring to the Lord and fasting, the holy Ghost said to the whole Congregation, seperate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them, and when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, by the Elders they sent them away, 13. Acts 1.2.3.

Paul and Barnabas having been persecuted from Iconium returned to Antioch, and having gathered the Church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles, 14. Acts 27.15. Acts 1. In the Church of Antioch there being a great dissention raised by certain men, which came down from Judea concerning Circumcision, with whom Paul and Barnabas had had no small disputation, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and cer­tain other of them

should go up to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders about this question, where they were received of the Church and of the Apostles and Elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them, and after Peter had spoken, all the Multitude kept si­lence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul declaring it, &c. and it pleased the Apostles and Elders with the whole Church, to send cho­sen men of their own Company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, and wrote Letters by them, the title of which Letters was, the Apostles and Elders and Brethren send greeting unto the Brethren, &c. It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and unto us, to lay upon you no greater [Page 74]Burthen than these necessary things, &c. when they came to Antioch, and when they had gathered the Multitude together they delivered the Epistle, and Judas and Silas being Prophets also themselves exhorted the Brethren, and confirmed them. 32. and afterwards were let go in peace from the Brethren unto the Apostles, 33. and Paul chose Silas, and departed being recommended by the Brethren unto the Grace of God. 40.

And the Brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Baeraea 17. Acts 10. And the Brethren sent away Paul to go as it were by Sea, v. 14. and Paul took his leave of the Brethren, 18. Acts 18. and when he had landed at Caesaraea, he went up and saluted the Church, 22. when Apollas was disposed to pass into Achaia, the Brethren wrote exhorting the Disciples to receive him, 27.

Paul with others passing from Miletum to Jerusalem, they all brought us on our way with Wives and Children till we were out of the City, 21. Acts 5. and at Ptolemaies they saluted the Brethren, v. 7. and coming to Jerusalem the Brethren received them gladly, v. 17. and the Multitude must needs come together, v. 22. and all may know that those things whereof they were informed concerning Paul are nothing, v. 24. Paul directs his Epistle to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be Saints, wishing them Grace and Peace, &c. 1. Rom. 7. beseeching them to mark them which cause Divisions and Offences contrary to the Doctrine which they have learned, and avoid them, 16. Rom. 17.

The same Apostle directs his first Epistle to the Corinthians in like man­ner, viz. unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord both theirs and ours, 1. Cor. 1.2. to this Church so comprehensive, so generally stated, and not to the Clergy thereof (not one word of that in the Text) did Paul di­rect his advice and give his judgment concerning the Incestuous person, c. 5. In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered to­gether and my Spirit with the Power of our Lord Jesus Christ to deli­ver such a one unto Sathan, &c. v. 4.5. mark the reason, what have I to do to judge them that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? but them that are without God judgeth, therefore put away from among your selves that wicked person, v. 12.13. this again is reinforced, c. 6. in things of a lesser concern and of another nature, as about go­ing to Law, know ye not that we shall judge Angels, how much more things that pertain to this life? and set them to judge who are least esteemed in the Church, v. 2.3.4. &c. and again, ch. 10.15. I speak as to wise Men, judge ye what I say.

The same Apostle directeth his second Epistle to the Corinthians af­ter the same manner, viz. unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the Saints which are in all Achaia, c. 11. this Church he requir­eth to forgive and to comfort that excommunicated person, even as himself also upon his true repentance had forgiven him, and withal declaring, that sufficient, to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many (of all the Brethren) with this farther demonstration, that to whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also (and this is not without some Courtship) to whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also. For if I forgive any thing to whom ye forgive it, for your sakes forgive I it in the presence of Christ, lest Sathan, &c. And whether we be afflicted it is for your [Page 75]Consolation and Salvation, or whether we be comforted it is for your Con­solation and Salvation, 2. Cor. 1.6.10.11.

By all which places and expressions and many more it doth and may more plainly appear, that what mean opinion soever the Pope and Papalines have of the Laity or Brethren or Body of the Church (accounting them no other than Banditi or vassals thereof) St. Paul and Timothy had them in very great esteem and veneration, most candidly declaring that they had no Dominion over their faith (which the Pope absolutely and most Magisterially claims by endeavouring to lead us captive under pretence of his infallibility) but were helpers of their joy, and you also helping toge­ther by prayer for us, that for the gist bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given of many on our behalf, c. 11.24. St. Paul exhorting the Corinthians to a liberal contribution for the poor Saints at Jerusalem, did not alone commend unto them the fitness and willingness of Titus and other Brethren for the Collection thereof, but declares that they were also chosen of the Churches, whether any do in­quire of Titus he is my Partner and fellow helper, concerning you or our Brethren be inquired of, they are the Messengers of the Churches and the Glory of Christ, 2. Cor. 8.19.23.

The same Paul and all the Brethren which were with him, directs his Epistle unto the Churches of Galatia, and exhorts the Brethren, that if ‘a man be overtaken in a fault ye which are Spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thy self lest thou also be tempted, bear ye one anothers burthens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ. c. 6.12.’ In this Epistle to the Ephesians, he directs to the Saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus, c. 1.1.

To the Philippians, it is with some addition viz. to all the Saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the Bishops and Deaons, c. 1.1. To the Saints and faithful Brethren which are at Colosse c. 11. where he sa­lutes the Brethren which are in Laodicea and Nimphas and the Church which is in his House, and he takes care that when this Epistle is read amongst them that it be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans, and that they read the Epistle from Laodicea, c. 4.16. and that the Brethren say to Archippus, take heed to the Ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. v. 17.

Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus writing to the Church of the Thes­salonians, do beseech the Brethren to know them which labour among them, and are over them in the Lord and admonish them, and to esteem them very highly in love for their workes sake: And we exhort the Bre­thren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, see that none render evil for evil, prove all things, 1. Thess. 1.1. and ch. 5. v. 12.13.14.15.21. and we command you Brethren that you with­draw your selves from every Brother that walketh disorderly, and if any man obey not our word, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed, 2. Thess. 3.6.14. all and singular, which precepts ‘are the duty of the Brethren in common and were directed to them, even to admonish their very Teachers who were over them in the Lord,’ St. James directs his Epistle to the 12 Tribes which are scattered a­broad, 1. Ja. 1. and St. Peter to the Strangers scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythinia, 1. Pet. 1.1. as hav­ing obtained like precious faith with Peter himself, ‘elect according to the foreknowledge of God through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ, v. 2.’ the Elders amongst them he exhorts apart. ch. 5.

§. Now who can be so blind in such clear light, and upon such Apo­stolical evidence as not to see that the Laity, the Brethren, the Multi­tude or whole Congregation of Believers, which is the Church the Body thereof whom the Apostles themselves called into Council with them, ‘1. Acts 12.13.2. ch. 2.3.4.5.6. gave them power to have a share or part in the choice of Apostles, 1. Acts 12.26. to choose Deacons. 2. Acts 2.34. to seperate persons for the work of the Ministry, 13. Acts. 1.2. to whom the Apostles gave an account from time to time of their travels, of successes in their Ministry, of their treatments good or bad, 12. Acts 12.17.14. Acts 27. and whose assistance and company along with them unto Hierusalem they require about the assair of Circum­cision, 15. Act. and to mark them which cause divisions, and to avoid them, 16. Rom 17. to whom Paul addressed his advice concerning the Incestuous person, 1. Cor. 5. and required them to forgive and com­fort the excommunicate, 2. Ch. 6.10.11. required their aid in the choice of Messengers, and to restore persons overtaken in a fault in the spirit of meekness, 6. Gal. 12. to whom he commits the care to see that his Epistle to the Colossians be read, and sent to the Laodiceans, and that they read the Epistle from Laodicea, 4. Coloss. 16. and that they should mind their Guides of their duty v. 17. who contended with Peter a­bout his demeanour towards the circumcised, until he had cleared himself by rehearsing the whole matter, 11 Acts 1.18. whom the A­postles commanded to warn them that are unruly, and to comfort the feeble minded, to support the weak, and to see that none render evil for evil unto any man, and to prove all things, 1. Thess. 1.1. and 5. ch. 12.13.14.15.21. and to judge of Doctrine, 1. Cor. 10.15. and to note those that obey not the word, and to have no company with them, that they may be ashamed, 1. Thess. 36. and to know them which labour among them, and are over them in the Lord, and to admonish them and to esteem them in love. To whom most of St. Pauls Epistles were written, only that to the Philippians was writ­ten to these together with the Bishops and Deacons, and some un­to private persons, as to Titus, Philemon, to the elect Lady and her Children.’

Now I say who can be so blind after such clear Apostolical evidence, as not to see the power, interests, or concerns the Laity or Brethren have in the Government and Affairs of the Church, and that not without this great moral and fundamental right, and reason peculiar to every Society, quod omnes tangit ab omnibus tractari debet, to which St. Paul seems ‘to allude and have respect, 2. Cor. 1.11. you also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf, and therefore he writes to all the Church at Corinth, to forgive the excommuni­cate person because it was inflicted of many 2. c. 6. for though the body be one yet hath it many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body 1. Cor. 12.12. and whether one member suffer all the members suffer with it, or one member be ho­noured all the members rejoyce with it, we are the Body of Christ and members in particular, 26.27.’

And according to St. Cyprian it seemeth most equal and of Institution moral and unchangeable, that the commonalty fearing God and keep­ing his Commandements, should have the special hand either in choosing a [Page 77]worthy Priest or of rejecting the unworthy, which also (saith he) we see to be founded upon Divine Authority, Cypr. ep. lib. 4.1. A. sec. edit. Pa­risiis ep. 68. p. 113. which is not St. Cyprians Epistle only,A. viz. Ad Clerum & ple­bes in Hispani­a consislentis de Basilide & Martiale, &c. propter quod plebs obsequens prae [...]ptis Domi­nicis, & D [...] ­um metuens, a peccatore prae­posito s [...]perare se debet, nec se ad sacrilegi sacerdotis sa­crisicia misce­re, quando ip­sa maxime ha­beat potesta­tem v [...]l cli­gendi dignos, sacerdotes, vel indignos recusandi, quod & ipsum videmus de Divina Au­thoritate de­scendere ut sa­cerdos plebe praesente sub omnium oculis deligatur, & dignus atque Idoneus publi­co judicio ac testimonio comprobetur, sic ut in Nume­ris 20. c. 25. Moysi praecepit, dicens, appre­bende Aaron fratrem tuum, & Eleazarum silium ejus, Et Aaron appositus moriatur illic. Coram omni synagoga jubet Deus constitui sacerdotem i.e. instruit & ostendit ordinationes sacerdotales non nisi sub populi assistentis conscientia sieri oportere ut plebe praesente, vel detegantur malorum crimina, vel bonorum merita praedicentur, &c. sit ordinatio justa & legitima, quae omnium sussragio & judicio fuerit examinata, quod observatur in Actis Apostolorum, 1.15. quando in ordinando in lo­cum Judae Episcopo Petrus ad plebem loquitur, surrexit, inquit, Petrus in medlo discentium, fuit autem turba in uno. Nec hoc in episcoporum tantum & sacerdotum, sed in Diaconorum ordinationibus observasse Apostolos animadvertimus, de quo & ipso in actis eorum Scriptum est, & convocaverunt, inquit, illiduodecem totam plebem Discipulorum & dixerunt iis quod uti­que idcirco tam diligenter & caute convocata plebe tota gerebatur, ne quis ad altaris ministerium vel ad sacerdotalem locum indignus obreperet. Ordinari enim nonnunquam indignos non secundum dei voluntatem sed secundum hum [...]nam praesumptio­nem, & haec deo displicere, quae non veniant ex legitima & justa ordinatione, Deus ipse manifestat per Osee Prophetam 8.4. dicens: sibimetipsis constituerunt Regem & non per me, propter quod diligenter de traditione divina & Apostolica observatione observandum est & tenendum quod apud nos quoqe & fere per provincias universas tenetur ut ad ordinationes rite celebrandas, ad eam plebem cui Praepositus ordinatur, episcopi ejusdem provinciae proximi quique conveniant & episcopus de­ligatur plebe praesente, quae singulorum vitam plenissime novit, & uniuscujusque actum de ejus conversatione perspexit, quod & apud vos factum videmus in Sabini Collegae nostri ordinatione, ut de universae fraternitatis suffragio, ut de episcoporum qui in praesentia convenerant, quique de eo ad vos literas secerant judicio, episcopatus ei deferretur & manus ei in locum Basilidis imponeretur. Est enim Deus verax omnis autem homo mendax, 3. Rom. si autem omnis homo mendax 3. Rom. est, & solus Deus verax, quid aliud servi, & maxime sacerdotes dei sacere debemus nisi ut humanos errores & mendacia relinquamus, & praecepta dominica custodientes in Dei veritate maneamus, Cypriani Epist. 68. edit. Parisiis per Rigalt 1666. vel ep. 4. edit. Basiliae, M. D. xxx. f. 18. And it is observable that this is not St. Cyprians Epistle alone, but the Epistle of 36 Bishops more, viz. Caecilius, Primus, Policarpus, Nicomedes, Lucianus, Successus, Sedatus, Fortunatus, Januarius, Secundinus, Pom­ponius, Honoratus, Victor, Aurelius, Satius, Petrus, Alius Januarius, Saturninus, Alius, Aurelius, Venantius, Alius Saturninus, Vincentius, Libosus, Geminius, Marcellus, Jambus, Adelphius, Victoricus & Paulus, Faelici Presbitero & plebibus consistentibus ad legionem & Asturicae, &c. And certainly all these could not be mistaken in so plain matter of fact. Besides it is not this Epistle only that asserts this subject matter, but St. Cyprian hath divers others Epistles of the same Purport and Tenor, viz. 5.11.13 26.27.28.29.30.41.42. &c. Written upon several the like occasions. but the E­pistle of 36 Bishops to the People of Leon, Asturia and Emerita, a shrewd argument of its universal practice in those more pure times, so near the Apostles. And it cannot be collected out of any place of Scripture, that Christ instituting pastors in the Church hath exempted them from the Churches obedience, she being the common Mother of all Christians, as well Ecclesiastical as Secular, the practice of those times which were freest from corruption even when the holy Martyrs were Bishops, was, that Pastors were subject to the Censures of the Church, whereof St. Cyprian gives abundant testimony, Ibid. ep. 68. pag. 113. The same is to be held of Excommunication, seeing it behoveth the Christian Multitude to avoid the Fellowship of the Excommunicated, not only in the course of Religion but even in common and familiar conversation (the rights of Nature, Family and Common-wealth ever kept inviolate) and that whom yesterday we were to repute a Brother near and dear in Christ, to morrow we must hold as an Heathen and Publican, and as for destruction to the flesh delivered to Sathan, 18. Mat. 1. Cor. 5. who is so unequal a Judg as not to think it a most equal thing that the Multitude should clearly and undoubtedly take knowledge both of the heynousness of the crime, and the Incorrigible contumacy of the person, after the use of all means and remedies for the reclaiming them? If this be not allowed to the Brethren, then doth the Church not herein live by her own but by her Officers Faith, neither are her Governours to be reputed as Servants but as Lords over her, contrary to 2. Cor. 4.5. neither do they exercise their Office for the good of the Brethren in the Church as they ought, but tyrannically as they ought not; of this opinion is Chrysost. in Epist ad Titum, and Celestine decreed that no Bishop should be or­dained against the Will of the People, but that the consent of the Clergy nd the People was requisite.

In the primitive times, all Christians that lived in the Communion of the Catholick Faith were called ecclesiasticks, but now it is most, though abu­sively appropriated unto Church-Men both at Rome and elsewhere, though no tolerable reason can be given, why Princes and their People should be esteemed so inconsiderable, and as it were of no value and con­cern in the esteem of the ecclesiasticks. For if the variety of opinions of the vulgar, their meanness of knowledge, their passions and the like (the u­sual and scornful objections of Papists against the Laicks) be urged to ren­der them uncapable and unfit, these very objections if allowed for currant, may possibly exclude the greatest part of the Clergy, also from the Autho­rity which they lay claim unto in this particular. For it cannot be denied but that diversities of opinions, malice, ignorance, animosities, pride, am­bition, selfconceitedness, covetousness, excess of exhorbitant passions have generally as great a share amongst the Clergy as the People, nay often times many among the ordinary sort of Christians in a Church are more con­siderable for their Learning, Piety, Temper and meekn ss, than their Pa­stors, St. Ambrose serm. 17. (T. 4. p. 725. Plerunque clerus erravit, Sacerdo­tum nutavit sententia, divites cum seculi istius terreno rege senserunt, Populus fidem propriam servavit) hath informed us, that many times the Clergy have erred, the Bishops have wavered in their opinions, the Rich men have adhered in their judgment to earthly Princes of the World; mean while the People alone pre­served the truth intire. And it is well known that whole Nations have been converted by Laymen and women, Soozm. lib. 2. c. 14. Niceph. lib. 14. c. 10. Socrat. lib. 1. c. 19.20. seeing then that what hath happened may happen again, that the Clergy hath held erroneous and here­tical opinions, whilst the People hath held the truth: It is very evident, that the Opi­nions and Councils and Advisoes of the Laity ought not so wholly to be neglected and slighted. Certainly Divines only are not inspired from God, nor only understand holy Mysteries. Laicks in all ages have been that wanted neither Learning nor Piety, St. Cyprian records that in the Council at Carthage where the question touching the Baptism of Hereticks was debated, the greatest part of the People were present, Praesente etiam plebis maxima parte, f. 282, the like for the real presence, confitentur alii quod sides sua, qua astruunt, quod panis & vinum remanent post consecrationem in naturis suis, adhue servatur La­icis, & antiquitus servabatur, Jo. Tissington in Confessione cont. Jo. Wiclisf quam MSS. habeo. Ʋsher, Serm. f. 24.

This is no new nor yet strange Doctrine, for in the very first Synod (which of all others ought to be a rule and a Pattern, for that it began in the life time and presence of the Apostles) to decide whether the convert­ed Gentiles were bound to observe Moses Law, was composed by a meet­ing in Jerusalem of 4. Apostles and of all the Faithful that were in the City. An example which in regard of Antiquity and Divine Authority, is of more credit than all those that have succeeded, take them all together, and by which example the various doubts and differences relating to the Church, which afterwards sprang up in every Province for the space of 200. years and more, even all St. Cyprians time (whom Chronologers have com­puted to have been created Bishop, about Anno. Dom. 248. and longer) the Bi­shops and chiefest of the Churches assembled themselves to qualify and com­pose them, and I do not find that the right of assent and suffrage in electi­ons of Church-men was taken from the People, till about the year 870. Distinct. &c. 36.

§. Let us look a little farther, and trace matter of fact in point of Election of Priests and Bishops, who were chosen either 1o. by Lots, 2o. by voices, [Page 79]or 3o, by the Spirit of Prophesie. Of these Three, the First and the Third were by God himself; which Use ceased with the Apostles, who indeed found none fit, but qualified them for the Work. The Second, to wit, by Voices of all the Faithful, only remaining: In Scripture there is no Precept, but Example for the same: it is manifest that God committed and left this Point, among others, to the Body of the Church, to whom he gave power to govern it self; with other general Precepts, of Loving one ano­ther; of Doing all things decently and in order; of Laying Hands suddenly on no man; and describing Qualifications sit for the same, to be their Guide and Directions. That the Bishops and Priests were chosen by Popu­lar Election, until the Days of Constantine, and some time after, hath been demonstrated out of St Cyprian, and others. Afterwards, when Pride, Ambition, Covetousness, Self-Interest, and Affectation of Domination, had more universally corrupted the Minds of men, and after the Donations of Constantine had given more Honour and more Power to the Christians, then more eminently began the Spirit of Antichrist to work, and every In­terest began to set up for it self, and the Priests and Bishops began then to be chosen, sometimes by the People, or Brethren, sometimes by the Em­perors, sometimes by the Emperors, People and Clergy, and sometimes by the Clergy and People, according as the several Interests grew more or less po­tent, till at last it devolved where now it is, at Rome, even on the Cardinals, who are well advanced, from being Parish-Priests of Rome, to be Peers and Compeers with Kings and Princes. Vid. Fra. Paolo Sarpi of Beneficiary Matters.

It is undeniable, that the Popes themselves were so chosen,An. Dom. 233. p. 158. sometimes by one Interest, sometimes by another. Cornelius the 20th Pope, was made Bishop of Rome by Testimony of the Clergy, and Suffrage of the People. It is true, the Council of Laodicea, congregated An. D. 364. un­der Liberius the 35th Pope, or, according to Coriolanus, An. D. 321. Or­dained, That it was not to be granted to the People, that they should make choice of those that were to serve at the Altar, c. 13. But what Right they had so to Ordain, appeareth not. Notwithstanding which, Bishops were chosen by Popular Election after this Council, as may appear by the Great Nicene Council, Assembled, according to Baronius, 6 years after the Council of Laodicaea, in their Synodal Fpistle to the Church of Alexandria, and to the beloved Brethren of Aegypt, Libia and Pentapolis, apud Theodo­ret, lib. 1. c. 9. And that they enjoyed the same Liberty before the Nicene Council, is clear by St Cyprian, Ep. 68. Sect. 4. The People obeying the Lords Commandments, and fearing God, ought to separate themselves from a sinful Ruler, and not to intermingle themselves with a Sacrilegious Priest, seeing they especially have power either to elect worthy Priests, or reject un­worthy. All the Romans, as well Laity as Clergy, chose Leo the 45th Pope, Pelagius the Second, the 63d Pope was chosen by the People; so was Gre­gory the First, the 64th Pope. And so was Vitilianus the 76th Pope.

§ The Suffrages of the People are so clearly manifested by all Antiqui­ty, that Pamelius himself in Ep. Cypr. 68. saith, We deny not the old Rite of Electing Bishops by which they were wont to be chosen, the People be­ing present, yea rather, by the Voyces of the People; for that it was obser­ved in Affrica, is evident by the Election of Eradius, the Successor of St Au­stin, concerninig which, there is extant his 100 Ep. In Greece, in the Age of Chrysostom, as appeareth by his Third Book of Priesthood. In Spain, by Cyprian and Isidore, in his Third Book of Offices. In France, by the [Page 80]Epistle of Celestinus: In Rome, by those things which were spoken upon the Epistle to Antonianus: yea every where else, by the 87th. Epistle of Leo; and that this Custom continued until Gregory the First, appeareth by his Epistle; yea even unto the Times of the Emperors Charles and Lo­dowick, as it is manifest enough out of the first Book of their Chapters: And the same Pamelius, in another place, saith, The Manner of choosing the Bishop of Rome, was often changed. First, St Peter chose his Succes­sors Linus, Cletus and Clemens; then Anacletus and the rest unto the se­cond Schism (between Damasus and Vesicinus) were Created by the Suf­frages of the Clergy and the People. If Pamelius a Papist confess all this, what need have we of farther proof, tho Histories swell with more of like Proofs? Besides the Antiquity, the Reason that it ought to be so, hath the general Gospel, and moral Equity for its justification.

God having set down no certain Rule for the way of Election, it is most just and equitable, that the People should choose their own Pastors, because their own Souls (the most precious thing that ever God created) were concerned therein; and for that by their so Electing, they were the more engaged more quietly to receive, and more diligently to hear the Word of Truth from their Mouths, more heartily to love and reverence their Persons, and also more chearfully and bountifully to maintain their Pastors and Bishops, whom they themselves had chosen. Before Constan­tines Conversion, which, according to Baronius, was about the Year 312. the Elections, without dispute, were made by Clergy and People, both in the Eastern and Western Empires; but after his Days and Donations, there grew Disputes, Animosities, and great Troubles between several Inte­rests, about Elections, and more especially about those of the Bishops of Rome. In his Days succeeded 3 Bishops of Rome, Sylvester, Marcus and Julius, all chosen by the Suffrages of the Clergy and People. And though in the Choice of Liberius, Successor to Julius, Constantius intermedled not, yet before that, he did interpose in the East, and cast Proclus out of the Church. The truth is, sometimes the power of Election was given to the Emperor by Pope, Canons and Councils; sometimes the Emperor de­volved his power again to the Clergy, P. Adrian, Leo, Clement, all with a Council granted it to Charles, Otho, and Henry. Senate and People. The Custom of choosing by the Emperor, continued from Vigilius to Benedict the Se­cond; in which space, there were about Twenty Popes, all Created by Im­perial Authority. And P. Adrian the First, with a whole Synod, gave to Charles the Great (who confirmed the Donations of Pipin, who gave the Possessions of the Exarch of Ravenna, and also Pentapolis, as a Patrimony to St Peter, which first enabled and encouraged them to contend, affront, and set at nought Kings and Emperors in future Ages) the Right and Power of choosing the Popes, and disposing of the See Apostolick, and granted to him the Honour of being Patricius, and designed that Bishops in all Provinces should take Investitures from him, and that a Bishop should be Consecrated by none unless he were first invested by the Emperor. Theo­derick de Niem saith,De Jure & Princip. Impe­rii, cited by the Bishop of Ely in Resp. ad Apolog. c. 8. the Roman People granted to him, and translated upon him all their Right and Power; and according to their example, P. Adrian, with all the Clergy, People, and the whole Sacred Synod grant­ed to the Emperor Charles all their Right and Power of Electing the Pope. Here all Interests pretenders to have power of Election, voluntarily without compulsion, devolved all their Authority upon the Emperor Charles, and consequently was then indisputably invested therewith; which done, with what Right or Justice could any succeeding Popes divest them of it?

After this, Henry being Crowned Emperor by Clement the Second,Platin [...] in Vi­ta Clem. 2. he caused the Romans to swear that they would not meddle at all with E­lections, but by the Emperors Command, for that he saw the World was come to that pass, that every factious Fellow, were he never so base, so he were Rich and Potent, might corrupt their Voyces, and obtain the Popedom by bribes. And well he might;An. 912. N. 8. for Baronius himself complains in the very preceding Century, that most silthy Harlots did bear all the sway at Rome. This was the time when Strumpets did thrust their Lovers into the Seat of Peter. This was that time when all Canons were put to silence, the Pontisical Decrees stisled, the antient Traditions proscribed, the old Customs, sacred Rites, and former use of choosing the high Bishop, utterly extinguished. This was the time, to say nothing of Formosus, Luit. pr. l. [...]. c. 6. Sergius, and others, when P. John the Twelfth exceeded in all monstrous Abominations, polluted his own Fathers Concubine, made his Palace a Stews, put out the eyes of his Godfather, gelded one of his Cardinals, plaid at Dice, invocating Jupiter and Venus, and drunk a Health to the Devil. Notwithstanding all the Right of Elections inherent in Kings and Emperors, as Nursing Fathers of the Church, and all the Grants conferred on the Emperor by all that did or could pretend to have any power thereof, as Pope, Senate, Clergy, People, who not? and notwithstanding the Oath they had taken not to interpose in the Elections, yet ungrateful, persidious Gregory the Seventh, in a Council holden An. D. 1080. he excluded all Secular Prin­ces whatsoever from Investitures, reserving Elections to the Clergy and Peo­ple only; and was seconded by his Successors, and Ʋrban, he deposed his own Lord and Sovereign, who confirmed him in the Popedom, and gave away the Empire to Rodolph, a Rebel, promised Forgiveness of Sins to all that obeyed him; forcing him at last to redeem his Peace, and rather lose Investitures than the Empire.

Thus the Right of Elections, which was for many hundreds of Years practised by the Greek, Roman, and German Emperors, and Ratified by Clement the Second, by Leo the Eighth, by Adrian the First, with their se­veral Councils, and before them all, by Pope Vigilius, and before him, by the Practice, Use and Approbation of the more Antient and Purest Times, was now wrested and extorted from him and them by Perjury, Cursing and Banning. And as they excluded the Emperor, reducing Elections to the Clergy and People, so afterwards they excluded the People, and brought them only to the Clergy: after that, they excluded the Clergy, and Mo­nopolized them only to the Cardinals; since which time, there have been as monstrous Popes as ever were before.

To say nothing of the Liberties of the Gallican Church, whose Kings had the Choice of Bishops almost 300 years before the Empire came to their hands, nor yet with what Artifices, Labour and Sweat the Pragmati­cal Sanction set up by Charles the Seventh, was endeavoured to be made null and of no effect by P. Pius the Second, in the days of Lewis; and by Leo the Tenth, in the Reign of Francis the First. I cannot but wonder to see how tame Christian Princes have been, in suffering themselves to be thus imposed upon: Had they had but the Mettle of Lewis the Twelfth, the French King, who being Excommunicated by Julius the Second, stampt his Coyn with Perdam Nomen Babylonis; or had they had but the Wis­dom and Courage of Hen. 8. of England, or had but followed the grave Adviso [...]s that Theoderick of Niem gave to Rupert King of the Romans, they had long since been brought to be like the rest of their Brethren, [Page 82]good and honest Prelates, faithfully labouring in Gods Vineyard, without Usurping the Rights of Princes, and of their Fellow-Bi­shops.

§. This was so palpable and undeniable, that in the very Council of Trent, it was urged by Thomas Passio, a Cannon of Valentia, ‘That it was very plain by the Canons, that in the Choice of Bishops, and Deputati­ons of Priest and Deacons, the People of all sorts were present, and gave Voice or Approbation; of which the Hereticks the Lutherans, made most pestiferous Use, and therefore moved, that the Voyces and Consent of the People in Ordination should be taken away, and that the Pontifical also ought to be corrected, and those Places expunged which make mention thereof, because so long as they continued there, the Hereticks would make use of them to prove that the Assistance of the People is necessary and thereby destroy the Church, which (according to the Romish Court-Dialect) is the Pope. It was urged moreover, that the Places were many, that made mention of the People giving their Suffrages and Consent in the Ordination of the Ministers of the Church, and that they should be all blotted out of the Pontifical; yet he recited but one, viz. That where the Bishop at the Ordination of a Priest,Pontif. Rom. de Ordinat. Presb. viz. 38. Neque fuit frustra a Patribus insti­tutum, ut de electione eorum, qui ad regimen Altaris adhibendi sunt consula­tur etiam populus, quia de vita & con­versatione praesentandi quod nunquam ignoratur à pluribus scitur à paucis, & necesse est ut facilius ei quis obedienti­am exhibeat Ordinato, cui assensus prae­buerit Ordinando.’ saith, It was not without good reason that the Fathers had or­dained, That the Advice of the People should be taken touching the Elections of those Persons who were to serve at the Altar, to the end that having given their Assent to their Ordination, they might more readily yield Obedi­ence to those who were so Ordained. The Design of this righteous Canon was to have all that made against the Grandeur of his Holiness blotted out of the Pontifi­cal, that there might be no Trace or Footsteps of them left remaining for the future. For if this and other Rites shall remain, the Hereticks will al­ways detract from the Catholick Church, as Luther did. Pietro Soave Pola­no 590. Therefore in this, as well as in other points Indices expurgatorii are of most excellent Use to serve a Papal Turn.

Moreover Paulinus saith of himself, That having a purpose to apply him­self to the Service of God in the Clergy, he would for humiliation pass through all Ecclesiastical Degrees,Ostiarius, Le­ctor, Exorcista, Acolythus, Sub­diaconus, Dia­conus, Presby­ter, Episcopus. beginning from the Ostiary; but whilst he was thinking to begin, being but yet a Laick, the Multitude took him by force in Barcelona, on Christmas Day, carried him before the Bishop, and caused him to be Ordained Priest at the first, which would not have been done, if it had not been the Use in those Times. Ibid. 587.

Many of the Fathers also of the Council of Trent much desired that a Decree should pass concerning the Election of Bishops, purporting that a Cathedral being vacant, the Metropolitan should write unto the Chapter the Name of him who was to be promoted, who should afterwards be published in Pulpit in all the Parish-Churches of the City on Sunday, and hanged on the Door of the Church, and afterwards the Metropolitan should go to the City vacant, and examine Witnesses concerning the Qualities of the Person; and all his Letters Patents and Testimonials being read in the Chapter, every one should be heard that would oppose any thing against his Person; of all which, an Instrument should be made and sent to the Pope, and read in the Consistory. But such a Decree was too good to pass in that Packt Council, which having too much publick respect to the publick Good even of their own Catholick Church (Protestant Churches [Page 83]having not the same reasons to complain) was oppsed by all Arts and In­dustry by the Bishop of Bertinoro, General Laynez, and by all the Pentioners and Favourites of the Court of Rome (which by much was the major part) ‘for the many and great inconveniences that would ensue thereby: And what were they? Forsooth, that such a Decree would be a Cause of Ca­lumnies and Seditions, and that thereby some Authorities long since taken away, would be restored to the People, V [...]. Ao. 870. Distinct. 73. Padre Paolo Defence 75. with which they would usurp the Election of Bishops, which formerly they were wont to have, that this was to bind the Authority of the Pope, that he could not gratifie any one.’ Just and pregnant Reasons I must confess, to perswade unto Usurpation of the Right of others, and therefore it could not pass.

‘The like Opposition was made against the Article concerning those who were to be promoted to the greater Orders, in which it was also said, that their Names ought to be published to the People three Sundays, and af­fixed to the doors of the Church, and that their Letters Testimonial ought to be subscribed by four Priests, and four Laicks of the Parish, alledging that no Authority ought to be given to the Laicks in these Affairs which are purely Ecclesiastical, 725, 726. what Right soever they had unto them.’

In the Discourse also of the Reformation of Cardinals, a Congregation was ordained on purpose to consult and find a means that Princes might not intermeddle in the Conclave in the Election of the Pope; so jealous and unwilling are they to have any Laick, great or small, to come within their Verge, their Scrinia sacra, or to intermeddle in such their Concerns, though they have none de Jure, (but their Priesthood) but what they have either obtained by Power, or usurped by Fraud, or by the Supineness or Favours of Pious Princes.

But when some of the Council thought in order to Reformation, to make a Constitution, that no Bishop should have any Temporal Offices ei­ther in Rome, or in the Ecclesiastical Dominions, that, even that also would be a great prejudice to the Ecclesiasticks of France, Polonia, and of other Countries and Kingdoms where they are Councellors of Kings, and have the Principal Offices, of which they would soon be deprived by the insti­gation of the Secular Nobility, for their own Interests, and therefore that String was not to be touched upon, but left unto the Popes order­ing.

Furthermore, the Bishop of St. Mark, in the Dispute about the Title of the Council of Trent, had the boldness to aver that the Laicks are most improperly called the Church; for that the Canons determine that they have no Authority to command, but Necessity to obey; and that the Council ought to Decree that the Seculars ought humbly to receive the Doctrine of Faith, which is given them by the Church, without disputing or think­ing of it, Petro Soave Polano 141. That is in Romish understanding, that that Religion which the Pope (Obedience unto him, being made by them a true Mark of the Church) doth please to give them, ought to be embra­ced by the Laicks without dispute. What is this else, but plainly and grosly to mock the world, and to think all men Fools and Cuddens but themselves, and to perswade themselves that all their Absurdities should be believed without more ado? What is this less than to perswade Ratio­nal men that they are Bruits, Horses or Asses, void of all understanding? or that hearing, they do not hear; or that seeing, they do not see; or that perceiving, they do not understand. Qui vult decipi decipiatur.

§. Thus have I unto the meanest Capacities made plain and evident both by Precept and Practice out of the Word of Truth, the Title and Inte­rest which the whole Congregation of Believers have unto the Appellation and Powers. of the Church, and unto Ecclesiastical Concerns, without wresting or perverting any one Text of Scripture.

§. Now the Pope would very much oblige us, if he would vouchsafe unto us but only one plain Text to warrant the Powers he exerciseth and lays claim unto over the Laity, or how he comes to be so essential to the Church, as to be put into the very definition thereof: It being plain downright non­sence (if it be good manners to say so) to aver that any one single person alone, how great soever, can suffice to make a Church, a Congregation: for that at least two or three are necessarily required to make an Assembly or Congregation. Ecclesia, or the Church, even in its Natural and Gramma­tical Construction, signifying a Plurality or Multitude, be it Civil or Ec­clesiastical. And as it is a new, so it is an absurd kind of Trope, devised by the Romanists to make the Pope, a single person, to signifie the Church. I know the Papalins are most excellent Artists, most rare Alchymists, surpas­sing even those our Brethren Roseae Crucis, who are modest Mountibanks in respect of these Audaces Jesuitae; for they took the whole Book of Genesis to found their Phanatick Chymaeraes upon; but these can extract their ex­travagancies out of two or three words only, viz. Pasce oves meas, i.e. Feed my Sheep; out of this Word Pasce, Bellarm. hath extracted so many Quintessences, so many Elixirs, so many Legions of Diabolical or Antichristian Arguments for the Popes Pride and Grandeur, that he can hardly desire any thing that these would not afford him: will he be a King, as well as a Bishop? and will he have Temporal Power to be as extensive as his Spiritual?

Bellarmine assures him that it is so: for that Christ said to Peter, Pasce i.e. Regio more Impera, Play the Rex at pleasure. In the ancient Church, when any Heresie disturbed the Truth, and publick Peace, a grave Assem­bly of Bishops and others were called, and the Book of God fairly laid open before them, and out of it were all Doubts determined. Now Scri­ptures and Councils are needless. Will the Pope be supreme Judge of all Controversies?Lib. 4. De Rom. Pontif. C. 1. C. 3. Bellarmine thinks the Claim to be well grounded upon this Pasce, Joh. 21.17. And it is a great wonder in his Judgment that the Pope was never thought infallible till this last age, since this Pasce implies this also so clearly, and if the Hereticks do not believe that his Holiness hath power to make new Articles of Faith, and when they cry shame upon Pope Pius the Fourth for adding Twelve new Articles to the old Apostles Creed, it is because they are ignorant, and know not what Pasce signifieth. In sum, this one Word, with them contains more Matter than all the Bible besides. It works Miracles, makes the Pope omnipotent, gives him all pow­er not only in Heaven, and on Earth, but even in Purgatory (a place that God knows nothing of) for if you ask by what Authority he takes upon him to pardon Sins and Souls after Death, to give or sell the Saints Merits, to dispence with Oaths, to depose Kings, and dispose of their Kingdoms, or if he list, to murder them, &c. If you look the Popes Lexicon (as Dr. Potter well observes) you shall find that Pasce expresly denotes all this Authority, and enables him to be not only a Prince, or a Pastor, or Bishop, but even a Butcher too by the self-same Logick; for what is mur­dering of Kings, and that by Mariana his quacunque arte, less than savage Butchery? For according to Sententia Baronii Cardinalis super excommuni­catione [Page 85]Venetorum, Ministerium Petri est duplex, pascere & occidere, Feed my Sheep, Joh. 21.15, 16, 17. Kill and eat, Acts 10.13. dixit enim­ei Dominus Pasce oves meas, Joh. 21.15, 16, 17. Audivitque è Coelo vocem occide & manduca, Acts 10.13. The Words I confess are plain, and words of truth, and their natural Sence obvious to every Capacity; but such Conclusions and Deductions from them as are drawn by the Popes Parti­zans and Sycophants, are strangely uncouth, and utterly unknown to right Reason, and so notoriously false, that they carry their own Con­futation in their Foreheads, that they that run may read them, and need no other Answer; yet in their due place they shall be touched.

§. But to return; The Esteem and Powers allotted to the Brethren or body of the Church by the Apostles, they did preserve unto themselves above 250 years after Christ, which is very plain and manifest by the abundant Testimony of the most Antient Fathers and Old Canons, as by Clement First Bishop of Rome, who lived in or near the Apostles days; by Tertullian and Cyprian, who lived in the Third Century, with divers others: but because to cite the whole Caravan of Witnesses at large, and in parti­cular, would make this very Paragraph swell into a Volume, I forbear, and shall only gently touch some of them hereafter, that by them you may guess at the rest.

§. As in the first and purest times, the Name and Title of Church was common to all Congregations and Societies of Believers; so unto them al­so, according to all antient Records, did belong also the Use and Propri­ety of the Goods which were called Ecclesiastical; in which times the poor and the Ministers had their Food and Rayment from one common Fund or Bank; and (which is observable) those were more principally provided for than these. But not long after, this excellent Use was perverted by the Subtilty of the Clergy, and the poor put in the lowest place; which according to the former Use, ought to have continued in the first and chief­est. And when the Name of the Church became appropriated to the Clergy only, all other Christians being excluded, then that was applied to few, which belonged to all, and that to the rich, which first served for the poor. In the beginning of those Times, the Clergy having divided among themselves all the Revenues of the Church, the Charges which be­fore were, and were called Ministeries and Offices of Spiritual Care, the Temporalty and Profits being now most esteemed, were now called Benesices; and so long as the Old Canons remained, that one man should not be Ordained unto Two Titles, Titulus was the Old Word for a Church, Many Ages after Christ. A Bishoprick (be­fore the World was divided into Parishes) was called [...], a Parish; and who­ever was Ordeined in and for one Bishop­rick, he could not belong unto two. And for many Ages there were no Tithes paid or due, but the Church and Clergy were maintained by the Oblations of the Peo­ple, and those by the old Canons divided into four parts. none could have more than one Benefice. But the Revenues be­ing by Wars or Inundations diminished, and become not sufficient for their Maintenance, one Man might hold two; yet so as that he should attend them both. This was begun, in favour not of the Man Benesiced, but of the Church, which because it could not have a proper Minister, might have at least some other Service, upon pretence of the insufficiency of the Be­nefice, and that none could be found to serve in them, they began to grant more of them unto one, though no necessity appeared for the Ser­vice of the Churches; and the Mask being taken away by little and little, they were not ashamed to do it for the Man Benesiced. But the World being scandalized thereat, there was a Moderation used; whereupon a di­stinction [Page 86]began of Men tied to Residence, and not tied, and of Benesices compatible and not compatible; calling those of Residency incompatible one with another,Trattato delle materie benesi­ciarie, 144 145, &c. and the other compatible with these and with themselves; yet the Gloss of the Canonist (to make a shew at least of Honesty) always declared that many Benefices should not be given to one, but when one is not sufficient for maintenance. But they cut this Sufficiency very large, proportioning it not to the Person, but to the Quality; not esteeming it sufficient for an ordinary Priest, if it were not enough for himself, the Family of his Parents, three Servants, and an Horse, and more, if he were Noble and Learned. And it is strange how much they allowed for a Bishop, in regard of the Decorum he was to keep. For Cardinals, it is sufficient to note the common Saying of the Court, that they are equal unto Kings, by which they conclude,Aequiparant [...]r Regibus, 144. that no Revenue is too much for them, except it be more than enough for a King. The Custom being begun, and neither the World nor Equity being able to resist it, the Popes reserved to them­selves power to dispence with the Incompatible, and to have more than two of the other. But to find a colourable way to put this in practice, they laid hold on Commendaes; Commendaes. a thing instituted at first to good purpose, but after used to this end only. For when by reason of Wars, Pestilence, and other such Causes, the Election or Provision could not be made so soon, the Superiour did recommend the vacant Church to some honest and worthy man to take care of it, besides the care of his own, until a Rector were provided, who then had nothing to do with the Revenues, but to govern them, and consign them to another. In progress of Time the Commenda­taries, not without divers pretences of Honesty and Necessity, made use of the Fruits; and to enjoy them the longer, sought means to hinder the Provision. For remedy whereof, Order was taken that the Commenda should not last longer than six Months; but the Popes by the plenitude of their Power, did pass these Limits, and commended for a longer time, and at length for the Life of the Commendataries, giving him power to use the Fruits, besides the necessary Charges. This good Invention, so degenera­ted, was used in the corrupted times for a Cloak of Pluralities; observing the words of the Law to give but one Benefice to one Man, contrary to the Sence, in regard that a Commendatary for Life is the same in reality with the Titular. Great Exorbitancies were committed in the number of the Benefices Commended, so that after the Lutheran Stirs began, and all men demanded Reformation, Clement the Seventh, in the Year 1534. was not ashamed to commend unto his Nephew Hippolitus, Cardinal de Medi­cis all the Benefices of the World, Secular and Regular Dignities, and Parso­nages simple, and with cure, being vacant, for Six Months, to begin from the first day of his possession, with power to dispose of and convert to his use all the Fruits. This exorbitancy was the height of all, which in former times the Court did not use, though it gave in Commenda a very great num­ber unto one. Therefore the Union formerly invented and used for a good end, was now made use of to palliate Plurality. This was practised when a Church was destroyed, or the Revenues usurped, that little which remain­ed, together with the Charge, being transferred to the next, and all made one Benefice, the Industry of the Courtier found out, that besides these re­spects, Benefices might be united, so that by Collation thereof Plurality was wholly covered, though in favour of some Cardinal or great Person 30 or 40 in divers places of Christendom were united. But an Inconvenience did arise, because a number of Benesices did decrease, and the favour done to [Page 87]one, was afterwards done to many, without merit or demand, to the great dammage of the Court and Channery. And this was remedied with a sub­tle and witty Invention, to unite as many Benesices as pleased the Pope, on­ly during the Life of him on whom they were conferred, by whose death the Ʋnion was understood to be dissolved ipso sacte, and the Benefices re­turned to the first state, so they shewed the world their excellent Inventi­ons, conferring a Benesice, which was but one in shew, but many indeed; Hist. Coun. Fr. P [...]iro Soave Polano. Trattato delle Benesiciare.

These things thus premised, it is obvious to all, even to those of the smallest understandings, that it hath not been without grand Reason of State-Ecclesiastick, that the Clergy have thus Magisterially Monopolized un­to themselves the Name, and Goods, and Estate of the Church. All which considered, it is demonstrable that the Popish Clergy have (under pretence of Piety) cleverly cheated their Laity of their proper Goods, Rights and Prerogatives; for which their so doing, they are more properly to be ac­counted Sacrilegious than H. 8. for retaking Abbeys, and other (which they called) Church-Lands, into his own and his Parliaments disposal, to whom of just Right they did more properly belong than unto Popes and Popish Clergy.

I have examined all the most considerable Places or Texts of Scripture, [...] wherein the Word Church is mentioned, and I cannot understand that any one of them (no not that famous, and so much magnified, and so much insisted upon place, Matth. 18.15, 20. whereof, by wresting it from its ge­nuine Sence, so much ill use hath been made) ought to be construed or re­strained to the Pope; no, nor yet unto the Clergy only; nay so far from it, that most of them do strongly seem to intimate the whole Congregation of Believers distinct, though not exclusive, the Clergy to be the Church; and yet such hath been the Pride and Ambition of Popes, as to impose the scornful Name of Laity upon those that are not of the Clergy. To use the Terms of Laity and Clergy, as Terms distinguishing the Pastors from the Flock, is acceptable and useful; but when they will make so ill use thereof, by affixing, and thereby appropriating the Title of the Church, and power thereof to themselves only, that certainly is neither in the Text, nor yet in their Commission, but is very injurious to the rest of Gods Heritage; it being manfest that the Popish Clergy having by Insinuations, Tricks and Cheats, devested the Church, i.e. the Body of the Brethren of their primi­tive Right and Power, it is evident to all the world what abominable abuses they have brought thereby into the Church: whereas the Clergy in Aposto­lical sense are more truly they whom they call the Laity; the Word Clerus being observed to be but only once used in the New Testament, and there, in that very sense and signification, 1 Pet. 5.3. Where he admonisheth the Priests, neque ut dominantes Cleris, sed ut qui sitis exemplaria gregis, viz. That they should not be as Lords over Clerum Domini, i.e. Gods Heritage, (not Priests) whereby is meant all the faithful flock of Christ (as it fol­lows) but be examples of the Flock. Now having once robb'd them of the Title, it was but very convenient and sutable to their ambitious ends and purposes, to strip them also of their Power: for without peradventure, all the Churches Power is vested in, and doth of just Right belong to the Body of the Church, to the Congregation of the Faithful. Moreover, in the very Ordination of Priests and Bishops, it will be marvellous diffi­cult clearly to prove whether the laying on of the Bishops hands, or the lifting up of the hands of the Congregation conferred most; for certainly in [Page 88]the most pure times they were jointly used. Bellarmine indeed saith, that the Holy Scripture doth no where give the Church power over the Pa­stors, much less over the Supreme Pastor: But Gerson affirmeth, that Christ sent St. Peter to the Church, when he said unto him, Die Ecclesiae; and he was as Learned as Bellarmine; and if they cannot agree among themselves, what shall their Flocks do, or whom shall they believe? It is confest that Christ hath given great powers to his Church truly so called, and in­stituted Pastors to feed them with Knowledge and Ʋnderstanding, and they are so well taught, that they understand very well that Christ hath no where exempted Bellarmines Supreme Pastor, our Supreme Ʋsurper, from the Obedience of his Church, but hath subjected him to the Censures of the Church.

§. As to the Text it self, Mat. 18.15, 16, 20. If there were no more in it than this, that the Expositors themselves do much disser about the true Sence and Meaning thereof, acknowledging it to be very hard to hit, by reason that the state of the Jewish Church is not so well known in our days, as when our Saviour spake the words, we may justly be excused if we plead and demur thereunto. Take Text and Context together.

Moreover if thy Brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Brother. v. 15. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be esta­blished. v. 16. And if he neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a Heathen man and Publican. v. 17. Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound on Heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven. v. 18. Again, I say unto you, if two of you shall agree on Earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven. v. 19. For where two or three are ga­thered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them, v. 20.’

What is here meant by the Church, whether the Church of Christ then only in fieri, not yet planted, as some would have it, or the Jewish Church then planted and setled, or the Civil Assemblies that God ordained in the Commonwealth, to govern his People, and determine their Quarrels, breeds great Questions amongst Divines themselves, which alone is some Justification to us if we make further Enquiry, and try Spirits, especial­ly having a Command so to do, and to beware of false Prophets. The Rea­son that prevails with some to believe that the Church of Christ is not by these words meant, are,

1. This was a Direction to the Jews, serving them for their present State and Time.

2. Christ had then no Church in Jewry, to which they might address themselves, and complain; for he ever preached in the Synagogues and Tem­ple, whither all that would, resorted, John 18.20. Much less did he ga­ther Churches sapart from the Jews, to receive, and consider, and redress the Complaint and Injuries of their Brethren; and if he did, yet is there not one Syllable in the Text to induce us to believe that such Church or Assembly was constituted only of Ecclesiasticks, of Popes or of Presbyters, or that it was to continue and remain in force for ever in the Church.

3. The Matters to becomplained of, are of that nature as Priests of Christ may not challenge Judicially and Authoritatively to hear and deter­mine. [Page 89]Private Wrongs and Offences betwixt man and man must be re­dressed by compromise, or judicially by Laws, and consequently belongs to the Civil Magistrate. The Church of Christ, quatenus a Church, hath no Warrant to make Laws, or give Judgment in Civil or Private Wrongs and Trespasses, and therefore I suppose that no Clergy, except the Romish, will pretend to this. Christ himself, when he was desired to make peace, to end a Strife about parting an Inheritance, answered, Man, who made me a Judge or Divider among you? Luke 12.13, 14. What Christ refused as no part of his Calling, the Bishops, Pastors and Presbyters of his Church must not challenge as annexed to their Commission and Vocation. The Disci­ple is not above his Master, Luke 6.40. Mat. 10.24. As his Father sent him, so sent he them, John 20. [...]1. but not with a farther or larger Commis­sion.

4. That Church is here spoken of, which abhorred Ethnicks as unclean persons, and shunned all Society with Publicans; but neither Christ nor his Church did ever so, therefore the Church of Christ is not probably meant by these words, Let him be to thee as an Heathen and a Publican; for they never re­fused nor declined to converse with either. To the Baptism of John came the Publicans, Luke 3.12. and were received of him. Our Saviour was account­ed a friend unto them, Mark 11.19. Matthew the Apostle was chosen sitting at the Receipt of Custom, Mat. 9.9. Zackeus a chief Publican was the Child of Abraham, Luke 19.9. The Publican that prayed in the Temple was justisied before the Pharisee, Luke 18.14. and told by Christ, that they should go in­to Heaven before the Scribes and Elders that despised them, Mat. 21.21. The Publicans then were Members of Christs Church, and Inheritors of his Kingdom, and therefore by slying and sorsaking the Fellowship of Publicans, the Church of Christ could not be described, nor thereby, meant.

The like may be said of Ethnicks and Gentiles, who, though they were Strangers to the Commonwealth of Israel, when as yet they knew no God, yet never were they persons excommunicated; and since the Incarnation of Christ, they became partakers of this Promises, and true Members of hi [...] Catholick Church; so that this can be no Rule for Christs Church to ground Excommunication upon, nor yet to measure persons excommunicated by Gentiles and Publicans, seeing that amongst the Jews, Publicans believed, and entred the Kingdom of God; and after the Rejection of that Nation, the Church of Christ consisted chiefly, if not wholly of Gentiles and Eth­nicks converted.

Others argue thus; 1. They were Jews to whom Christ spake. 2. Bid­ding them tell it to the Church, he sends them to some Judge or Judicature, to which they could go, and were bound to obey. 3. It is certain the Mosaical Judicial Law was then in being, and to them obligatory, and stood so till Christs Death, he and his Apostles living under the Obligati­on of it. 4. They say for certain the Christian Church was not then Constituted; so that it is irrational, if not ridiculous, to say that he sends them (when he bids them tell it to the Church) to any Episcopal, Presby­terian, or Independent Judges, when there were no such things in the World. 5. It is then evident that he sends them there to some Jewish Judges, to whom they could go, and were bound to obey. And the Jews had then (as also before and after) three Courts of Judicature. 1. The Supreme, the Sanhedrim, which sate only in Jerusalem. 2. The Consessus-viginti-trium-viralis, which consisted of 23 persons in greater [Page 90]Towns and Cities. 3. Consessus trium-viralis, wherein the Judges were on­ly three, and such a Judicature they had in all lesser Towns, and every one of those Courts was usually called Ecclesia, a Church; so that (to those so opinionated) it seems certain that the Persons and the Cause (an Action of Trespass only considered) it was the Consessus triumviralis he sends them unto.

The Christian Church, say they, cannot for the Reasons above-said, be meant in those Words, Tell it to the Church; though with the same Breath they cannot deny, but acknowledge, that wherever Christ taught and converted men, there was a Christian Church, yet say, that while he lived, it was under the Legal Oeconomy, and not that of the Gospel; for that, when our Saviour spake that, the Sacrament of Baptism (which only makes a Member of the Christian Church) nor the Lords Supper were institu­ted.

All which are capable of a very short Answer, viz. It is certain, and without dispute evident by the very Texts themselves, Mat. 18.1. Mark 9.32. Luke 9.46. that Christ spake these words in a House in Capernaum, un­to his Disciples, applying himself to them in particular; but what Jews were there, let the Texts be Judge. But be it that a mixt multitude of Jews, Gentiles and others (for they all slockt after him, and he ordinarily taught them even in the Temples and Synagogues, though forbidden by the Jewish Magistracy) to all which Christs Precept of Dic Ecclesiae, was very applicable, and by them very practicable, though more especially and parti­cularly directed to his own Church; and be it, that the Sacraments were not then instituted, nor a Local or Formal Church constituted, Christ be­ing then in the Flesh, governing it by his own sic dico, sic jubeo; yet with­out all peradventure, converted Jews and Gentiles were at the very mo­ment of their Conversion incorporated into Christs Body the Church, though not yet Baptized, which their Baptism did afterwards declare and manifest to all the World their open admission into Christs Church, and their open Profession of the Gospel.

That Christ in the days of his Flesh, and his Disciples were under the Legal Oeconomy, is very true as to their Persons and Civil Concerns; but then it is as true that his Gospel Precepts and Doctrines were not subject to that Legal Oeconomy, but the contrary; if otherwise, the Gospel had ne­ver been preached unto them by Christ nor his Apostles, nor ever could have been preached unto the utmost ends of the Earth, as was foretold and promised. Though neither Episcopal, Presbyterian nor bid pendent Churches were then established, yet Christ had his Church then in being, though not so distinguished; and to that Church he sent his Disciples and Auditors so to do, when he said Tell the Church, as best beseeming the Professors of him and his Gospel. As to the consideration of Actions of Trespass only, be it so, that the Matters of Trespass only were in that Mandate of Christ to be considered, yet even in those Christ would have all his Members so to govern and demean themselves as he there prescribes; but if still the Offenders will be refractory, and not submit to those Rules, what then? Then let him be to thee as a Heathen, or a Publican; i.e. pursue him in the Civil Courts of Judicature (as if he were separated from your Company, (which is all the Excommunication that I know of) and not a Brother in Christ) be it the Sanhedrim, or the Consessus viginti-trium-vi­ralis, or the Consessus trium-viralis, to which, all both Jews, Gentiles and Christians were to yield Obedience.

§. Notwithstanding all these plausible and various Interpretations of these plain Texts of Scripture, devised purposely to obscure and to put false Glosses on plain Texts, rather than to illustrate and give the Natural and Genuine meaning of them. The Words in truth are a plain, very plain Direction to the Church Christian, i.e. the Congregation of Believers (not ex­cluding Jew or Gentile, Publican or Heathen, who were to observe the same, when converted) which though it was not so setled in Jury, as it is now setled in Romish or Presbyterian Governments, with all its Trinkets and Trappings, yet sure it will never be denied, but that wherever Christ taught and converted (and so the Apostles after him) that there was a Church of Christ, and such a Church, as was very easily capable and suf­ficient to execute and put in practice these Powers, Documents and Di­rections set down, Mat. 18.15, 16. which were so very easie and familiar, that the least esteemed in the Church, might execute them under any Go­vernment throughout the whole Universe, without the least clashing or enterfeering therewith, viz. Christ spake these words in a House in Caper­naum, to his Disciples, Mat. 18.1. Mark 9.33. Luke 9.46. where hap­pily there might be a mixt multitude of Jews and Gentiles, to all which, Christs Precept of Dic Ecclesiae, was very applicable, though more espe­cially and immediately to his own Church: If thy Brother transgress against thee, What then? Goe, and tell him his Fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy Brother; but if he will not hear thee, What then? then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established; and if he shall neglect to hear them; What then? Tell it to the Church; i.e. to that whole con­gregated Church or Assembly whereof thou and he are Members. What then? If he neglect to hear them, let him be to thee as an Heathen or Publican; i.e. Put him out, or let him be no longer of your Congregation or Church, and account him not as a Brother in Christ, but let him be to thee as an Hea­then or Publican; i.e. Pursue him in the Courts of Civil Judicature, as thou wouldst do any other that is not a Christian, i.e. as a Publican or Heathen, or as any other wrong-doer; whereby it plainly appears, that Christ (by Dic Ecclesiae) sends them to his own Congregated Church, not Judicially to determine Differences, but amicably and charitably to re­concile dissenting Brethren; but if neither by themselves, nor yet by the help and advice of two or three Brethren, nor yet by the interposition or mediation of the whole Parish or Congregated Church, Reconciliation cannot be obtained, What then? then implead him in Westminster-Hall, in any Civil Courts of Judicature.

All which rightly considered, makes not the least for Excommunication, but rather shews, that there was no necessity of introducing any other Government into the Church Christian, the rest all belonging to the Civil Governments of Princes and States.

I am not ignorant what work, what strange work Romish Hectors make of these two Words, viz. Dic Ecclesiae, i.e. Tell the Church, i.e. Praelatis Ecclesiae, i.e. to the Prelates of the Church, according to many Popish Writers; but till of late years, no one understood it of the Pope alone, or of any one single Person; which is so demonstrable not only by the Text it self, but by their old and antient Breviaries, that it cannot be de­nied. And therefore they would oblige us very much, if they would sa­tisfie us why in that Gospel which is read on the Tuesday after the Third Sunday in Lent, where it was written in the old Breviaries, Respiciens [Page 92]Jesus in Discipulos suos, dixit Simoni Petro, si peccaverit in te frater tuus, vade, & corripe eum intor te & ipsum solum, &c. Jesus looking upon his Disciples, said unto Simon Peter, if your Brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault, &c.

It was so read in the Antient Breviaries; Breviar. Rom. impress. Par. 1492. per Joh. de Prato. and in Breviar. impress. 1534. And why they have (in their Breviaries Printed of late years, viz. Breviar. Clem. 8. Jussu recog. p. 369.) taken away these words, is no Riddle; their Excuse is ready at hand, viz. That they are not in the New Testament; but of many other words which are found in the Breviaries, and not in the New Testament, it is said they come ex Traditione Apostolicâ; and so they will tell us, that however the Evangelists do not affirm it, yet it comes by Tradition (that old and bold Imposture;) that these words were directed to Peter. Now then here ought to be some distinction, by which there may appear a dif­ference between this Tradition and the others, which when it is made, yet all will be too little to excuse, that for many hundred years it was not so read, and consequently so believed of all Catholicks for so many Ages, that it was spoken particularly to Peter, Dic Ecclesiae. So that they must needs equivocate in the Noun Church, and interpret it Dic tibi ipsi, i.e. Tell it to thy self;To this purpose we have a more signal corruption, not of their Breviary, but of the Gospel it self. For in the Gospel Translated into Persian by Xauerius, it is added after Dic Ecclesiae, and if he refuse to hear the Church, then tell it Romano Pontisici, to the Pope of Rome; and if he refuse to hear him, let him be an Hea­then, &c. yea, yet farther, it will be a Sence so palpably wrested, to understand by the Church, one sole Person; and that, not so much because the Noun it self cannot bear it, as for that, Christ him­self interpreting it in the words immediately follow­ing, saith, Ʋbi sunt duo vel tres, Where there are two or three gathered together, &c. So that it is apparently cleared, that he understood by the Church, a Con­gregation of two or three at the least assembled in his Name. But grant them what they vehemently contend for, viz. That Christ said to Peter himself, Tell the Church; yet for that very reason Peter himself was sent unto some other persons constituting a Church, and therefore by the Term Church, Peter could not possibly be meant or intended.

§. It is objected out of John 9.12. That the Scribes and Pharisees did in Christs time, thrust such as they deemed Offenders, out of their Syna­gogue; which they will needs have to be Excommunication, and that the same power was bequeathed unto the Church Christian, is Mat. 15.20. That they did so, may be true; but that they had good warrant so to do, out of Moses, I find not. A Separation of the Leper from the Company of men, and of the unclean from coming near the Holy Places, are things Moses prescribeth, but Excommunication no where that I know of. A Bastard might not enter into the Congregation of the Lord unto the Tenth Ge­neration, Deut. 23.2. Nor yet the Ammonites or Moabites, v. 23. But the Children of the Edomites and Egyptians were received in the Third Generati­on, v. 8. Aliens were not admitted to be of the Number of the Lords People; and any Uncleanness of the Flesh did separate for a season the Jews themselves from approaching near to the Congregation, or Taberna­cle of God; but neither of these is Excommunication. The Strangers which were not yet admitted, could not be rejected, the Natural Insirmi­ties and Uncleanness of the Body, as Leprosie, Pollution, Touching of the Dead, &c. are made Remembrances of our Corruption, not Causes of Excommunication. For greater Sins committed, God appointed Cor­poral [Page 93]punishments; for Wrongs he required Recompence; for smaller Matters, he accepted Sacrifices of Confession and Repentance; other Censures in Moses, I know none, at least, that will amount unto Excom­munication. The casting of Men out of their Synagogues, was first de­vised by the Pharisees, to serve their proud and aspiring humor; for that the chiefest power of the Sword was translated unto Strangers, and the highest Dignity remained unto the Sadduces, Jos. Antiq. lib. 18. c. 20. and though sharply pursued by them, against Christ and his Disciples, yet was it no spiritual course, but rather a temporal loss of all such Honours, Offices, Priviledges and Freedoms as the parties had in Church or State where they lived, and a plain adjudging them to imprisonment, Scourging, and such other Chastisements as the Synedrion, by their Laws, might and did inflict; unto which I presume no Ministers of the Gospel will pretend or lay any claim. St. John reports, c. 19. v, 38. That Joseph of Arimathea was Christs Disciple, but secretly, for fear of the Jews. And c. 12.42. That many of the chief Rulers believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be cast out of their Synagogue: now Believers in Christ could be in no dread or fear of the Spiritual Curse and Excommunication of the Pharisees, for that they excommunicated themselves, when they forsook the Jewish Church, and became Christians; they better understood their In­terest in Christ than so: wherefore this casting out of the Synagogue, if not wholly Civil, yet at least was intermixed with the Civil Regiment, and the terror thereof wholly proceeded from the power of the Sword, confirm­ed by God to the Council and Elders of that Commonwealth, which the Pastors of Christs Church may not usurp nor challenge, unless the Civil Ma­gistrate do Counsel and Authorize their Doings, and if so, yet questioned by some.

As for that other Phrase, viz. He shall be cut off from the midst of his People, so often used in the Law, and so often and strongly insisted upon by some to express a kind of Excommunication and Anathematization: I must take leave to dissent from them also that are so perswaded of the Sence of this Exposition. Moses himself, not the Rabbins, is the best Expositor, and out of him, not out of them Proofs are to be sought. In Levit. 18. God threatning Incest, Adultery, Sodomy, Buggary, and Offering Chil­dren unto Moloch, concludeth v. 29, that whosoever shall commit any of these Abominations, shall be cut off from among the People, i.e. shall die the death; as is expressed Levit. 20.3, 4, 17. Whoever shall give his Children unto Mo­loch, shall die the death, the People of the Land shall stone him to death; and if the People of the Land kill him not, then will I set my face against that Man and his Family, and cut him off. So for Incest; they shall be cut off in the sight of their People, i.e. openly put to death: So likewise for any wilful breach of Gods Law. The person that doth ought presumptuously, &c. there­fore shall he be cut off from among his People, i.e. suffer death: When this kind of Speech is referred to the Magistrate, then Execution is enjoyned; when to God, then it is a Commination denounced, that he will plague and root them out, and their Remembrances from the People of God, Nahum 3. Jer. 11.22, 23. Ezek. 14.8, 13, 21. Ezek. 21.28. The Separati­on mentioned, Ezra 10.8, 11, 12. And Nehemiah's chasing away some that married strange Wives, Nehem. 13. were joyned with Forfeitures of all their Goods, smiting their Bodies, separating them from the People, and chasing them from the place, pulling off the hair, and taking an Oath of them by God, not to commit the like, do plainly shew the Civil Use of the Sword in the [Page 94]Princes hands, not the spiritual force of the Word in the Priests Mouth, and therefore the one can be no Argument nor President for the other.

§. Unto me the most Natural and Genuine Sence of Mat. 18.15, 22. seems to import,The proper sence of Mat. 18.15, 22. that Christ well knowing that his Apostles and Disciples which were to survive him, and whom he intended to Commissionate to Teach and Baptize all Nations, and to gather a People unto himself, by declaring the Mind and Will of his Father, by preaching his Gospel, and that out of the very bosom and bowels of Kingdoms and Commonwealths which then were, and also likely so to continue for many Generations then to come, prophane and sworn Adversaries to his Gospel, and unto the Preachers and Embracers thereof, and consequently would be in as great dan­gers and Troubles as Sheep among Wolves; and therefore his all-seeing Wisdom thought fit to prescribe them such a Government and Discipline, which they might exercise among themselves in much peace and quietness, suitable to the Gospel of Peace, and without any noise or disturbance to the Magistrates or Subjects of any Nation or Kingdom, or to the Govern­ment thereof, how wicked or adverse soever they should be to Christ and his Kingdom, and therefore here he prescribes them some Rules, more particularly relating unto private Offences, which must needs be, whilst men are men. If thy Brother shall trespass against thee, c. 18. v. 15, &c. The Party grieved must be Man, not God. If thy Brother trespass against thee, (not against God) reprove him: The first Admonition must be secret and friendly, as between Brother and Brother, between thee and him alone. Again, if the wrong-doer repent himself, the Sufferer must forgive him, and not seven times only, but seventy times seven, v. 21, 22. and elsewhere. viz. Luke 17.3, 4. This together with the Lords Prayer, teacheth us to forgive the Sins that are committed against our selves; but we have here, no directions. nor power to remit other mens sins and harms, much less to remit and pardon the Injuries offered unto God.

2. If he repent not, we must yet give him a second Admonition with one or two witnesses, before we tell it to the Church; and if he then repent we must then also forgive. These be no Precepts for open and notorious sins, dishonouring God, and scandalizing his Church (for such the Rule is given, 1 Tim. 5.20. Those that sin rebuke openly, that the rest may fear;) but for private Trespasses between man and man. This is no Judicial proceeding in Episcopal Audience, in the Conclave, or Consistory, but a charitable war­ning in secret, by him alone that is grieved and oppressed with wrong or reproach. This is a general Duty binding every Christian, and not a special Authority to Popes and Presbyters. There is no Command that the open and scandalous Sinners should be reproved in secret, or twice admonished before they be censured by the Church. The incestuous Corinth had neither private nor double warning before he was delivered to Sathan by the Church, according to St. Paul's Advice.

Though Christ declined intermedling with the Judicial part of ending Controversies and differences between man and man, yet he prescribes them Rules to compose them themselves. 1. By private admonition of the Party grieved. 2. By admonition of two or three of the Brethren of the Church. 3. If they prevail not, then to communicate the wrong done to the Church, i.e. to the whole Congregations of Believers whereof both Parties are members (and not to the Pope or Priest, whereof not one [Page 95]plain Syllable in the Text) so that, not only by the mouth of two or three witnesses only, but also by the testimony and admonition of many, even of the whole congregated Church, every word may be established, that by such publick reproof the wrong-doer might be brought to repentance and amendment. 4. If he neglect all private and publick admonition, then let him be to thee as a Heathen-man and a Publican, i.e. do not own him to be of your Congregation, but pursue, and prosecute, and implead him, as thou wouldst do an Ethnick or Publican, or any one that is not of the Christian Church and Congregation, in any of the Courts of Judicature of that City and Kingdom wherein they live. Christ for the Honour and Glo­ry of his Gospel, would have none of his to be wrong-doers, or be given to strifes and debates, or to go to Law before the unbelievers, as it is in 1 Cor. 6.1, 2, 8. If ye have Judgment, saith he, for things pertaining to this life, what then? (Tell the Pope and his Cardinals; nothing less, but) set them to judge who are least esteemed in the Church (in which Rank I dare not place either Pope or Presbyter, lest they bring their Action of Scandalum Magnatum for my so doing) and make them Judges of your Causes and Quarrels; where by the way it is observable, that the Word Church in this place also doth not signifie the Pope, nor yet the Presbyters only, but the whole congregated Church, the Sequel will clear it. Is it so that there is not a wise man among you, no not one, that shall be able to judge between his Brethren? but Brother goeth to Law with Brother, and that before the unbe­lievers, v. 5.6. Where the words (Brethren, a Wise man, not one, Ʋnbelievers) are general and indesinite Terms, and not limited to Ecclesiastics. Then certainly Christ never meant that the Members of his Church should for pri­vate Trespasses complain to the Pope or his Parish-Priests, and that they should have power sufficient to hear and determine all such Matters as were so offered unto them, and to excommunicate those that would not stand un­to their Sentence and Determination, that would have been an Infringement and incroachment on the Magistrates Office; for the Matters of Complaint are of that Nature, that the Ministers of Christ might not challenge to hear and determine, they were forbid it. Man, who made me a Judge or Divider over you? Luke 12.13, 14. And as his Father sent him, so sent he them, John 20.21. and consequently did belong to the Civil Magistrate. Besides, neither in Mat. 18. nor yet in 1 Cor. 6. the Word Church, whether thereby should be meant Jewish or Christian, can possibly signisie the Priests of either, (or at least not exclusive the Laity) whatever the scope and drift of these two places are, it cannot be to Authorize the Clergy to inter­meddle with matters pertaining to the Magistrate, and to exclude those from the Society and Communion of the Saints and Sacraments, that obey not their resolution.

If Excommunication, or Binding or loosing be to be proved out of Mat. 18. as the Papalins and Presbyters would have it, yet it is such as is common to the Laity in private offences, i.e. to every Individual of the Church. For what concerns Binding and Loosing, the Words are plain and demonstrative, viz. Whatsever ye shall bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven; which must have reference to the parties grieving and grieved, it cannot be denied; and those are every individual of the Church; and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven. Again I say, If two of you (in general, without denoting or pointing at the Clergy) shall agree on Earth as touch­ing any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my [...]ather which is in Heaven; for where two or three (indefinitely, and not limited to [Page 96]the Pope, or to those of the Presbytery only) are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them, Mat. 18.18, 19, 20. These are general Precepts, and purport a general Duty, binding every Christian, and not especial or applicable only to Popes or Presbyters: Christ then in these places speak­eth of private men and offences, which he only that is oppressed and wrong­ed hath most right to reprove and forgive; and therefore not only the Judg­ment of Pope and Presbyter making whom they please Banditi? of the Church, but the reprehension and admonition of our meanest Brother offended and injured by us, must be regarded and reverenced, for so much as the Lord on high heareth the desires, and granteth the Prayers of any two joyning together for his Glory, and others Good; and in their own debts and trespasses private persons have more right to bind and loose their oppressors before God, than either Pope or Presbyter. This power here attributed to all Christians, is no new Doctrine, but hath been acknowledged for good by St. Austin, Theophylact, and others, and it doth not in the least derogate from, or impeach the publick use of the Keys in the hands of Bishops and Pastors, for they had also their particular Commission, John 20.23. Whose­soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose sins soever ye re­tain, they are retained: yea speaking particularly to one of them, Mat. 16.19. I will give unto thee the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven; so that the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven all Priests received in Peter before Christ's Death, and after his Resurrection, he gave all his Apostles the like power, as Cyprian and Je­rome observe, and that is a power which no Temporal or Civil Magistrate or Prince can confer; it is derived unto them from a higher Power.

§. I am not ignorant that these Doctrines are held as Heretical at Rome, and that they that hold them are cursed with Bell, Book and Candle; which is obvious to every intelligent Reader that consults the first, fifth, and sixth Canons of the sourteenth Session of the Council of Trent, and the Anathemaes following, who shall find it to be so; and I humbly conceive not without grand reason of State-Papal: for should these Doctrines, and these that depend upon them, be received for Orthodox, Adieu to all the Pick­locks of all the secretest Councils of all Kingdoms and States where Romish Doctrines prevail; and also Adieu to a world of Merry-pence that else would thereby come into their Sanctuary Sanctum Sanctorum, their Coffers, for commuting and mitigating of Penance, &c. For by their Institution of their Sacrament of Penance, their Church understands it to be instituted by Christ, an entire, full and Sacramental Confession of all sins, to be made by all persons of the years of discretion, lapsed after Baptism, and that Jure Divino it is absolutely necessary so to do, and that because Christ before his Ascension into Heaven, lest his Priests to be his Vicars tanquam Praesides & Judices, unto whom all mortal Sins ought to be brought and confes­sed, whereby by vertue and power of the Keys of remission and retention of Sins, Mat. 16.19. John 20.23. they pronounce Sentence, and give Judgment, which they cannot rightly do (if you will believe themselves) nor justly proportion, or impose Penance upon a general Confession only, except the lapsed declare their Sins unto them in specie & sigillatim, parti­cularly and in kind, Can. 5. This to me seems wonderful strange, that if Christ would have introduced a Rite to confess our Sins so particularly and punctually to Romish Priests, as that no Use was ever the like, that y [...] [Page 97]he would be so understood by words ambiguous, from which it must be drawn by very disjointed and unlinckt consequences, very far fetcht, consequences as incoherent as are Churton Sands, of which the Neighbor­hood do merrily story, that the Devil himself could never make Belropes thereof) and not by most plain and perspicuous Terms, as when he insti­tuted the Eucharist, there being not one plain word in the whole New Testament to command us so to do. James indeed, c. 5. v. 16. exhorts us to confess our faults one to another; but what is that to Romish Priests? James writ not to them, but to the Twelve Tribes scattored abroad. This, Text is an Argument to perswade us to confess our faults one to another and to pray one for another, that we may receive reciprocally the Councils, Benefits and Consolatinos of each others Prayers; but this institutes no Sa­cramental Confession to be performed to Romish Priests, nor any power of pardoning to the Pope or his Priests, nor any greater obligation on the Laity to confess to the Priest, than on the Priests to confess to the Laity. Mark the enforcement, The effectual fervent Prayer of a righteous man (Priest or not Priest) availeth much. Though these Canons make the Priests the only Ministrators of Absolution and Remission, and that the Act in them is not Nudum Ministerium, a naked Ministery of pronouncing and declaring Sins to be forgiven to the confessed, but that it is in the Priest Act us Judicialis, a Judicial Act, by whom, velut à Judice, as by a Judge, Sentence is pronounced, Canon 6.

They farther make the very Circumstances of Sins to alter the kind of them, and therefore they have made two kinds of Sins, viz. Mortal and Venial, Canon 5. which is more than ever God himself made, though he made two kinds of Sinners, voz. Penitent and Impenitent. And in the con­clusion they have Anathematized all those that are of contrary Opinions, though there be not one plain Text of Scripture to warrant their so do­ing. Now I would very fain know why the Institution being made by the Word Remitto, the Form also was not Remitto, I remit thy Sins, rather than absolvo te, I absolve thee; and that if by these words a Sacra­ment of Absolution is instituted with this Form Absolvo te, by which one is absolved, why it doth not follow by an irresistable necessity, that ano­ther Sacrament of Binding be not instituted, in which this Form should likewise be Ligo te; because it cannot by any right Reason be understood how the same Authority to loose and bind, founded upon the words of Christ, absolutely alike, doth require in Absolution the pronouncing of the words Absolvo te, and that other of Binding, doth not require pronoun­cing of the words Ligo te; nor by what reason to execute that which Christ hath said, Whose Sins ye retain, &c. and whatsoever ye shall bind, &c. And it is not necessary to say Ligo te, but to execute whatsoever ye loose on Earth, &c. and whose Sins ye remit, it is necessary to say Absolvo te. And the same Canon doth also declare that Christ by the same words did constitute the Priests sui ipsius Vicarios tanquam Praesides & Judices, &c. Can. 5. Judges of Sin, and therefore that it is necessary to confess them all ab­solutely and in particular (which is impossible for him that confesseth to know) together with the Circumstances, which speciem peccati mutant, alter the kind; seeing that it doth appear by the words of the Lord, that he hath not distinguished Two sorts of Sins, one to be remitted, the other to be retained, whereby it would be necessary to know of which sort the Delinquent is guilty; but one only, which doth comprehend all; and therefore the word Peccata, Sins in general is only used; but he hath [Page 98]distinguished two sorts of Sinners, saying, Quorum & Quorum, one of the Penitent, unto whom Remission is granted; another of the Obstinate or Impenitent, to whom it is denied; therefore they are rather to know the State of the Delinquent, than the Nature or Number of the Sins; but con­cerning the Circumstances, which they say alter the kind, certainly every good Christian may swear with a very good Conscience, that the holy Apostles and their Disciples, most skilful in things spiritual, not regarding humane sub­tilties, did never know what were the Circumstances which alter the kind, and yet there is made of it an Article of Faith necessary to Salvation. But as it is approved by the Papists, that Absolvo was a Judicial Word, and re­puted a good Consequence, that if the Priests do absolve, they are Judges; so it appeareth to be an inconsistency to condemn those who say it is a naked Ministery to pronounce and to Anathematize those that so think, Ca­non 6, 9. It being plain, that the Office of a Judge is nothing but to pro­nounce him innocent who is so, and the Transgressor guilty, and that this the Metaphor of the Judge doth not bear, that the Priest can make a Just man of a Delinquent, as is ascribed to him. The Prince indeed may par­don Traitors and other Offenders, and restore them to their good Names and Blood; to whom, he that maketh a wicked man just, is more like than to a Judge, who doth ever transgress his Office when he pronounceth any thing but that which he findeth to be true according to Allegata & Pro­bata. But that which is most wonderful, they prove the Doctrine of Specifical and singular Confession of Sins with the Circumstances, by affirming out of Can. 5. That the Judicature cannot be executed without knowledge of the Cause, nor Equity observed in imposing punishment, if the faults be known only in general, and afterwards, that Christ hath commanded this Confession, that they may impose the condign punishment: What is this but plainly to mock the world, and to think all men void of under­standing but themselves, and to perswade themselves that all their Absur­dities must be believed upon trust, how absurd soever? For who know­eth not, and seeth not daily the Confessors enjoyn Penance not only with­out weighing the Merits of the Faults, but without having the least consi­deration of them? It would seem by the words of the Canon and Coun­cil, that the Confessors should have a Ballance to make difference of every Grain, and yet oftentimes to recite five Pater nosters, shall be a Penance for many Murders, Adulteries and Thefts, and yet the most learned Con­fessors, and generally all in giving Penance, do say to every man, that they do impose only part of the Penance, therefore it is not necessary to impose that exact Penance which the Faults do deserve, nor to have a particular enumeration made of the Sins and Circumstances. But what need one go so far, when the same Council in the Ninth Chapter of the Doctrine, and the Thirteenth Anathematism, doth ordain, that satisfaction is made by voluntary Penance, Sponte suscep­tis. Sesf. 14. cap. 9. De O­peribus satisfa­ctoriis, & can. 13. and suffering Hardships: Therefore it is not needful, nor yet just to impose in Confession the Punishment which is correspondent, and by just consequence not to make a Specifical Enume­ration, which is said to be ordained for this end: And that not consider­ing any thing spoken before, the Confessor though most learned, atten­tive and wise, having heard the Confession of any ordinary man for one Year, much more of a great sinner for many years, it is impossible he should judge aright, though he had Canons of the punishment due to any Sin whatsoever, without danger to err very much: For a Confessor seeing all in Writing, and considering many days of it, could not make a Ballance [Page 99]to decide justly, much less hearing, and resolving presently, as the Custom is. What is this else, but to scorn, vilifie us, and as if insensible Brutes, Horses or Mules (which have no understanding) to impose such Absur­dities upon our Reasons, Belief and Consciences?

§. Thus you see what work, what strange work the Papists make with Binding and Loosing, by drawing wrong Conclusions and Consequences from Premises which will not yield them. That which is clear and appa­rent without the help of any Sophistry or false Arts, is, That Christ before his Ascension, having commanded his Apostles to preach the Gospel, &c. he left also to them and to his Disciples, as Representatives of all the Faithful, this Principle and Catholick Precept, viz. To love one another, John 13.34. Charging them, amicably, not judicially to make peace between dissent­ing and discording Brethren, and for the Dernier result and remedy, gi­ving the care thereof to theMat. 10.15, 18. Body of the Church, promising it should be bound and loosed in Heaven whatsoever they did bind and loose on Earth; 1 Cor. 5.4, 13. and whatsoever two did ask (with a common consent) should be granted by the Father, Mat. 18.18, 19. In this charitable Office,2 Thes. 3.14. to give satisfacti­on to the offended, and pardon to the offender, the Primitive Church was always exercised. And unto this Rule did St. Paul conform, when he or­dained that Brothers having Civil Suits one against another, should not go to the Tribunals of the Infidels, but that wise men (not Priests) should be appointed to judge the Differences; and this was a kind of Civil Judg­ment, as the other was the similitude of a Criminal, but were both so different from the Judgment of the world, that as these are executed by the power of the Judge, who enforceth submission, so those only by the will of the Guilty to receive them; who refusing them, the Ecclesiastical Judge remaineth without execution, and hath no power to enforce, but to foreshew the Judgment of God, which will follow in this Life or the next.

This kind of Proceedings, and this kind of Judicature was according unto Christ's Institution, and would not enterfeer with any Civil Go­vernment, Christian or not Christian, and unto which the Apostles did conform, and which lasted some Centuries of years in the Church, and was esteemed by the Saints of those more pure times the Judgment of Charity, not of Jurisdiction, because they did thereby charitably, not ju­dicially or magisterially reconcile the persons, compose the differences, and rebuke the Sins and Vices, of the Believing Brethren, and did thereby prevent the Scandal and Reproaches that otherwise they and their Reli­gion would have been exposed and liable unto from Unbelievers.

This kind of Judicature was so far from being essential or peculiar un­to the Bishops and Presbyters, as that the least esteemed in the Church were as capable of it as the greatest; indeed any that were wise and able to judge between the Brethren, rather than to suffer them to go to Law before the Ʋnbelievers, 1 Cor. 6.4, 5, 6. The Apostles (who had greater Abilities, and understood their Commission better than ever any Pope did) refused to take this Charge upon themselves, as being not fit for Preachers of the Gospel to take any Civil Employment, that might any way impede the main End and Design, (which was to give themselves continually to Prayer, and to the Ministry of the Word) and by reason whereof they could not serve God in that whereunto they were chiefly called, with­out distraction; and therefore for the same reason would not serve Ta­bles, but would have such Duties devolved upon others, Acts 6.2, 3, 4. [Page 100]Nay, Paul most solemnly professeth that Christ sent him not to Baptize, but to Preach the Gospel, 1 Cor. 1.17. So wholly did he devote his Ser­vice to the exact performance of his Commission. Of the same Opinion was the Bishop of Aiace in the Council of Trent, who in the Debate of Re­sidence, which he held to be Jure Divino, complained that the cause of their Non-Residence was, that the Bishops did busie themselves in the Courts of Princes, and in the Affairs of the World, being Judges, Chan­cellors, Secretaries, Councellors, Treasurers, there being few Offices of State, into which Bishops have not insinuated themselves, though forbid by St. Paul, 2 Tim. 2.4. who thought it necessary that a Souldier of the Church should not entangle himself with the Affairs of this Life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a Souldier; therefore he moved that the Coun­cil would constitute, that it should not be lawful for Bishops, or others who have Cure of Souls, to exercise any Secular Office or Charge.

In the Ecclesiastical Laws, there is a whole Title to this effect; Ne Clerici vel Monachi Secularibus negotiis se immisceant. And St. Chrysostom hath a long Discourse,In Decretal. in Mat. Hom. 26. Consid. 1.24. complaining of Clergy-men leaving the Care of Souls, become Proctors, Economists, &c. practising things unbeseeming the Ministry.

Though the Papalins cannot deny these to be great Truths, yet in this, as in divers other Cases, they please themselves with false Glosses upon plain Texts of Scripture, asserting most Magisterially for their Justificati­on, the Popes Authority to dispense not only with Humane, but Divine Laws: that in Humane Laws his Authority is absolute and unlimited, because he is superior to them all; and therefore when he doth dispense, though with­out any cause, the Dispensation notwithstanding was to be held for good; and that in Divine Laws he had power to dispense, but not without a Cause; al­ledging St. Paul for their justifications, 1 Cor. 4.1. Who saith that the Ministers of Christ are the Dispensers of the Mysteries of God, and that to him the Apostle, the Dispensation of the Gospel had been committed, 1 Cor. 9.17. And that howsoever the Popes Dispensation concerning the Divine Law, be not of force, yet every one ought to captivate his Ʋnderstanding, and believe that he hath granted it for a lawful Cause, and that it is Temeri­ty to call it into question, Hist. Conc. Trent, 675.

Bonny Glosses I must confess, and well calculated for the Zenith of the Popes Altitudes and Authorities, but they are quite contrary to Aposto­lick Doctrine, and the Conclusion drawn hath no warrant at all from the Text; for the Text doth not prove a power of Dispensation to be in the Bishop of Rome, i.e. a Disobligation from the Law and Commandments of God and the Gospel, as the Popes would have us believe, but only a power to dispense, i.e. to publish and declare the Divine Mysteries and Word of God, which is perpetual, and remaineth inviolable for ever; ac­cording to Eph. 3.2, 8, 9. Eph. 6.19. Col. 1.26. c. 4.3. What is this but to wrest and pervert the very Words and Sense of Scripture, and as much as in them lieth, to make a new Gospel, as they made a new Creed at Trent.

In Human Laws happily a Dispensation may lie; for that the Law-ma­kers are subject to infirmities and fallibility, and unable to foresee all Cases, and future Accidents and Occurrences, which when they come to be discovered and known, may justly admit of some Exceptions and Di­spensations. But where God is the Law-giver, from whose all-seeing Eye nothing is concealed, and by whom no Accident is not foreseen, the Law [Page 101]can have no Exception, no Dispensation; for that by such Dispensation the strength of all Gods Laws is taken away, made null, and in truth escheated into the Breast and Power of the Popes Holiness. From such corrupt Glosses it is that there are few or no Cardinals without many Bishopricks, how incompatible soever they are together. Hence also the Use of Com­mendaes and Ʋnions for Life; Administrations (at first invented probably for good ends) by which against all Laws, many Benesices were given to one person alone really, with appearance that he had but one only. There­fore the Law of God and Nature ought not to be esteemed as a common written Law, which in some Cases happily may be dispensed withal, and made more gentle, for that all his Laws are even Equity and Justice it self. Besides, the Pope who takes himself to be the great Dispenser Para­mount, cannot in any case free him that is bound. Paul was obliged to preach the Gospel, as being called thereunto, (and so was Peter, and all the rest of the Apostles, and all the Bishops and Priests are no otherwise sent and called, than to preach the Gospel, and feed Christ's Flock, as all the Apostles were, which includes the Pope himself, if he be Peters Successor) yea a necessity was laid upon him, yea wo unto him if he did not preach the Gospel, 1 Cor. 9.16. And therefore he most earnestly desires the Ephesians, c. 6.18, 19, 20. that they would always pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watch thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for him; for what I pray? that he might have a Dispensation not to preach, or not to attend his Flock, and be Non-resident, or having put his hand to the Plough, that he might look back, or that he might have great Employ­ments in Civil Affairs, in Princes Courts, that would necessarily hinder his preaching? Nothing less: What then? Even that Ʋtterance might be given unto him, that he might open his mouth boldly, to dispence and make known the Mysteries of the Gospel, for which he was an Ambassador, Eph. 6.18, 19, 20. The like unto the Colossians, c. 4.2, 3. And did not the same Paul most solemnly, and most severely charge Timothy before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, and his Kingdom, to preach the Word, to be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, &c. 2 Tim. 4.1, 2. By which it demonstratively appears, that in St. Paul's Grammar and Construction, to dispense and make known, are Terms Synonimous and Equivalent, maugre the false Glosses of the Papalins. And when think you would Paul, unto whom by Revelation was made known the Mystery of Christ, whereof he was made a Minister, that he should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable Riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the Fellowship of the Mystery, &c. Eph. 3.2, 3, 8, 9. or any other of the Apostles have besought Peter, or any of his Succes­sors of Rome, for a Dispensation not to Preach? They were better taught than so, than to take other Civil Employments, which must necessarily hin­der them from preaching, and declaring the Mystery of the Gospel; for in true understanding, to be a Priest, and not to preach, is to be no Priest, having as much as in them lies, un-priested themselves after the Character imprinted; for Christ never gave any Authority to his Ministers, but what was meerly and purely Spiritual.

Yet so it was that the Judgment of the whole Church or Congregation, (as is necessary and natural to all Societies Civil and Ecclesiastick, for the sake of Order) was fit to be conducted and managed by some one, who should preside, and guide the Actions and Deliberations, propose the Mat­ters, and collect the Results of the Assembly which Care being always [Page 102]due to the most worthy, and best qualified person for such an Action, was mostly committed to the Bishop, not of right, but of choice.

§. This kind of Judicial Proceeding was observed and kept on foot un­to the Year 250,Ep. 5. f. 12, 13, 14. as is plainly to be seen by the Epistles of St. Cyprian, who in the matter concerning those, ‘who did eat of Meats offered to Idols, and subscribed to the Religion of the Gentiles, writeth to the Presbyte­ry, that he doth not think to do any thing without their Counsel, and the Consent of the People; and writeth to the People, that at his return, he will examine the Causes and Merits thereof, in their Presence, and under their Iudgment. And he wrote to those Priests, who of their own heads reconciled some, that they should give an Account unto the People. Soon after this time of the Day these kinds of Proceedings begun to lose of their Purity and Simplicity, and to degenerate into Em­pire. For indeed as before, so more especially, and more confidently, soon after Constantines Days and Donations, the succeeding Bishops, not without some Artifices, and some Usurpations, quickly began to set up for themselves; and indeed in short time mounted so high, that they became suspected of Princes, and terrible to the People; their Tribunals became a common Pleading-place, having obtained Execution by the Ministry of the Civil Magistrate, Petr. AErodius. and to obtain the Name of Episcopal Jurisdiction, and Episcopal Audience, and the like.

This Rome was not built in one Day, nor in one Age; the Piety and Charity of that more pure Age made them and their Judgments to be had in great veneration, which insensibly was the Cause that the Church in the truest sence, not regarding the Charge given and laid upon them by Christ and his Apostles, did supinely leave the Care to the Bishops, who readily and with great care embraced it, and soon erected their Tribunals. This kind of Judgment, though it were not like to the first, in regard of the former, viz. to determine all by the Opinion of the whole Church, yet it had some semblance with it; and Constantine finding some Ease and Conveniency, to have Causes determined by the Authority of Religion, added this to his other Powers granted to them, viz. That no Appeal should lie from the Sentence of the Bishop; and Valence the Emperor inlar­ged them in the Year 365. But those Judicial Proceedings and Negotia­tions did not please; the best and most pious Bishops being of St. Pauls mind, who deemed such Employments and Powers not fit for a Preacher of the Gospel, and therefore would not take such himself. But Arcadius, and Honorius, 70 years after the Law of Constantine, finding the Bishops to degenerate, and to abuse their Power, revoked that Law in part, ordain­ing that they should judge Causes of Religion, not Civil, except by con­sent, and that they should not be thought to be a Court; which not be­ing observed in Rome, by reason of the great power the Bishop there had, Valentinian being there in the Year 452. did renew it; but the succeeding Emperors restored some part of it, and Justinian established unto them a Court and Audience, &c. By which means and gradations the Popes had got the Knack of encroaching, and were thereby the better enabled to crave and get more, and that not without making the world believe that those, and more were their due, and that not Jure Ecclesiastico only, but Divino also; a Band so sure and strong, that it would hardly be loosed, though Posterity should find Inconveniences, and would redress them. 200 years were not fully elapsed ere they claimed absolutely all Judica­ture, [Page 103]Criminal and Civil over the Clergy, and in some things over the Laity also; pretending the Cause was Ecclesiastical. Besides, they contrived ano­ther kind of Judicature, which they termed Mixt; whereby they hooked in all Judicature to themselves; so that after the Year 1050. having with much Art and Industry Monopolized all the Causes of the Clergy to them­selves, and very many of the Laity, under the Title of Spirituality, and almost all the rest, under the Title of a Mixt Judicature, and placing them­selves above the Secular Magistrates, upon pretence of Justice denied: they were at length so bold as to say, that the Bishop had the power to judge, not by the grant or favour of Princes, or by the will or concession of the People, or the whole Church, or by Custom or Ʋsage; but that it was essential to the Episcopal Dignity, and given to it by Christ; whereby they put such a Hook in the Noses, and such a Yoke on the Necks of Laicks and Civil Magistrates, that the Papalins themselves have never since been able to shake it off unto this very day. And though the Laws of the Emperors remain in the Codes of Theodosius and Justinian, and in the Ca­pitulars of Charles the Great, and Lewis the Debonaire, and though all Sto­ries, both Ecclesiastical and Prophane, do shew how, when, and by whom these Powers have been granted, adding the Reasons and Causes, yet so de­monstrable, so notorious a Truth hath not had such power, but that a bare Ipse dixit of the Popes, without any proof at all, hath been able to over­come it, which the Canonists have so far maintained, as to declare those Hereticks who do not suffer themselves that have been thus long blindfold, to remain hoodwinkt still.

Though the Light of this Truth was not so extinguished, but that both Learned and Pious men in those very first times did oppose their Doctrine, viz. ‘That no Civil Magistrate could meddle in any of those Causes which the Clergy had appropriated, because they are Spiritual; and that Laicks are uncapable of things Spiritual; yet the opposition of the better, who had the Truth on their side, could not overcome the greater part, and so upon the Spiritual Power given by Christ to the Church, to bind and loose, and upon the Institution of St. Paul, to compose Contentions among Christians, without going to the Tribunal of Infidels, in tract of time, and by many gradations,’ a Temporal Tribunal hath been built by their own Industry, Arts, and Ambition, and for their own Use, Ends, and Interests, more remarkable than ever was in the world, or can be parallell'd; for thereby they have erected Regnum in Regno, raised to themselves an Em­pire independent of the Commonwealth, and (which is more intolerable) established on such grounds (such as Jus Divinum is it) which have so pre­vailed with such admirable success, that it hath given the Pope of Rome as much at once, as former Bishops were getting in 1300 years before; and all this by making not the Power to bind and loose the foundation of Ju­risdiction, but the power of seeding, and so affirming, that all Jurisdiction was given the Pope by Christ in the person of Peter, when he said to him Feed my Sheep.

§. But to return to the other Branch, viz. Excommunication; Excommunica­tion. for the lawful force and use whereof, they also plead strongly out of the same Chapter, Matth. 18.17. If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be to thee as a Heathen man and Publican (of which a little more here) pretending also that the Antient Writers lean very much that way. It may be so, yet happily if their full scope, sence and meaning were fathomed and com­prehended, [Page 104]and not this and that Scrap and Sentence here and there ex­punged and picked out, and wrested to serve a turn against the Meaning of the Fathers, happily they would not be found so clearly on their side as they ween for; but be it so that Excommunication may hereout be drawn and deduced, yet certes it must then also be of the same Nature, as binding and loosing is of in the same place, and will then also belong to Privateers: For they belonging both unto one thing, and unto the same persons, by the self-same words will naturally and necessarily fall into the same Predicament, and then the meaning of those words are no more but, Pursue them in those Courts that thou wouldest a Pagan and Publi­can that should do thee wrong; and what affinity hath this with Excom­munication used in the Church of Rome? or else those words may be un­derstood of a private forsaking of all company with the wrong-doer, as thou wouldest shun Pagans or Publicans, until he repent and reform him­self; which if you please to call Excommunication, be it so: but then also it belongs to every Individual of the Church, and not unto Ecclesiasticks only, and is sutable to many other Precepts of the Apostles, viz. to with­draw our selves from every Brother that walketh disorderly, 2 Thes. 3.6, 14, 15. 1 Cor. 5.11, 13. but that they should be kept from the Word and Sacraments, and that Divine Service must cease if an obstinate excommu­nicate person will not quit the Church, there is not any one plain Text nor Syllable in the whole Bible. This is an Excommunication of their own ma­king, not of Christs Institution.

And yet Excommunication was declared by the then Brethren Presby­ters, in the Ordinance of Aug. 29. 1648. to be shutting out of a person from the Communion of the Church; but what Warrant out of the Word of God they had so to do, non constat.

Other Expressions and Powers there are recorded in Scripture, of which they make use for the founding and upholding of Excommunication; as the Delivery unto Sathan, 1 Cor. 5.5. as Hymenaeus and Alexander, and the Incestuous Person were; the striking of Ananias and Saphira dead by Peter, and of Elymas the Sorcerer blind by Paul; owning himself to have vengeance in rea­diness against all disobedience, 2 Cor. 10.6. and his professing that he will not spare, 2 Cor. 13.2. As also, when some for abusing the Lords Supper, became weak, and sick, and fell asleep, or became dead: These and the like might have been Arguments for the like Powers, had they not died with the Apostles; but with Excommunication they have no Analogy, no Re­semblance: they were Arrows indeed in the Quivers of the Apostles, To­kens (as one of them expresseth, 2 Cor. 12.12.) of an Apostle, wrought with Signs, and Wonders, and mighty Deeds, but no Arguments for Ex­communication; whereby it is evident that in their Days, when as yet there were no Christian Magistrates to punish the Sins and Offences of the Bre­thren, the power of God, sometimes by himself, sometimes by his Apo­stles, did afflict and punish the disobedient more or less grievously, accor­ding as their Sins were more or less heinous, that thereby they might learn not to blaspheme, nor yet to detain the Truth of God in unrighteousness, and that the rest might fear to provoke his Wrath and Indignation by like Sins and Uncleanness. For without all controversie, the Delivery unto Sa­than, the smiting some with Death, and others with Blindness and Sickness, were Corporal punishments, and of a far different Nature from that of Excommunication, even according to their own shewing, there being not any other punishment belonging to the essence of Excommunication, but [Page 105]the sole debarring from the participation of the Word and Sacra­ments.

§. However, let us a little consider the Delivery of the Incestuous per­son unto Sathan, 1 Cor. 5. of which no small use is made to justifie Excom­munication. Take the Story as it lies plainly in the Text, without any Vizards or Equivocations. St. Paul understanding that there was such for­nication at Corinth, as was not so much as named among the Gentiles, viz. that one should have his Fathers Wife, wrote unto them his first Epistle, and sent it by Stephanus and others, signifying unto them, that though he were absent in Body, but present in Spirit, had already judged as present, him that had so done, and therefore advised them in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that being gathered together, and his Spirit with the vertue of the Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one unto Sathan. Now it is obser­vable that when St. Paul wrote this Epistle, he was absent, at Philippi, a City of Macedonia, and directed it not to any one single person, Pope or other, but unto the Church of God which was at Corinth, and to them that were sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. He did not (according to Romish Custom) write by his Breves, I excommu­nicate such a one (and in one Scrap of Paper send (as much as in him li­eth) Kings, and Queens, and Emperors, nay whole Kingdoms and States to the Devil) but he wrote to the Church (a Collective Body) that be­ing gathered together with his Spirit, they should deliver that Incestuous person to Sathan. And again, when he wrote his Second Epistle, he dire­cted it also unto the Church of God which was at Corinth, with all the Saints which are in all Achaia, declaring it sufficient to such a Man is this Punishment, which was inflicted of many; admonishing them to forgive, and comfort him, lest perhaps he should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow; whereby it is plain, and not to be gainsaid, that the Delivering of him unto Sathan (be the Punishment, be the Censure what it will) it was inflicted by many, 2 Cor. 2.6. Now if Paul an Apostle, would not ex­communicate or deliver unto Sathan at his own will and pleasure, but would consult the Church, that the Matter being transacted by common Authority and Approbation, the Censure, the Punishment might be performed by Common Consent: It being most just and equal, and of Moral Right, that they who to morrow must deliver such a one to Sathan, whom to day they account as a Brother dear in Christ, should be fully satisfied why and where­fore. Now how came Signore Papa alone to be entituled to exercise Pow­ers greater than the Apostle Paul would use? What hath he to do with it more than the rest of his Brethren? If so interrogated, I can make no other Answer but Ignoramus. Moreover, hath the practice of Christ's Vicars at Rome, been correspondent to that of Paul the Apostle? of such esteem and prevalency is publick consent with God himself, even in the Af­fairs of the Church, that though in his secret Decree Paul and Barnabas were to be set apart for the Work of the Ministry; yet by God's own appointment were they separated, after Fasting and Prayer, to the same, by the Church which was at Antioch, Acts 13.2. Thereby teaching us not to despise the Office of the Church, i.e. of the Multitude of Brethren where it may be had.

By these very small Hints it is easily discernable what a Nose of Wax the Papalins make both of Scripture, and Tradition, and Excommunication [Page 106]their great and terrible Thunderbolt, even against Kings and Kingdoms, not considering the little efficacy it hath. What was the State of Venice, and her Duke, or Queen Elizabeth and her Dominions the worse for Ro­mish Excommunications and Interdicts? or what the worse the Kings of Spain for being excommunicated every Maunday Thursday? And indeed what the worse his Holiness at Rome, for being solemnly excommunicated every year by the Muscovite? Fops!

§. Some indeed of later days have intimated a great and just dislike of those who have hitherto endeavoured to hang Excommunication on some doubtful Places of Scripture, but yet endeavour to settle it on another Basis, viz. on the Nature and Constitution of the Church Christian, as a So­ciety Instituted by Jesus Christ; ‘whereby they say it is manifest that if Excommunication cannot be established upon some better and other Bot­tom than what hath hitherto been laid by their Predecessors on some doubtful places of Scripture, it must necessarily decay and fall to the ground; moreover they most ingenuously confess themselves unsatisfied as to any convincing Argument whereby it can be proved that any were denied Admission unto the Lords Supper, who were admitted to all other parts of Church-Society, and owned as Members in them.’

§. Though I have said enough already sparsim (that if rightly applied) doth demolish this Fabrick of Fundamental Right, yet I will add a little, and but a little more, viz. that if by the Word Church in these Positions, be meant only the Clergy (met or not met in Councils, Synods, Consistories, Convocations or Assemblies, as the Representatives of the Church, Assembled by their own power, as by a Fundamental Right grounded on Christs In­stitution) then to say no more, is hereby justified Robert Bruce, David Blake, and those seventeen Scottish Ministers before-mentioned, and their Tenets, denying the King and his Council to have any Authority in Mat­ters Ecclesiastical. For certainly if God hath given them power of them­selves to Assemble, and Consult, and make Laws, and hath not withal given them Force and Power to put them in execution, they have only a mock and ridiculous Authority, which God never instituted nor ordained. And if it be not so meant, then they either say nothing to the purpose, or equivocate.

But if herein by the WordBy the word Church, may be meant ei­ther all Belie­vers holding saving Truth in general, of what conditi­on or quality soever; or else more striftly, the collective Body of the Clergy; for if we speak right of the Church Universal, or this or that Particular Church, as of Spain, France, England, &c. this Term may be taken in either of those two Sences. Church, be meant the Civil Power, and Laity, together with the Clergy, then we are Friends, and that Fundamental Right arising from the Constitution of the Church, derived from Christ himself, of Right belongs to the Commonwealth, if Christian, and to e­very congregated Number of Believers gathered in any Gentile State or People, and united into one Society, and not only to the Clergy thereof, and the Laity are as capable, and have as much Right to be of such Coun­cils and Synods as the Ecclesiasticks.

Or that the Church be not semper and perpetuo a peculiar Society, sepa­rate and distinct from the Commonwealth (as certainly it is not) or that the Officers thereof (as limited by these Positions, unto Teachers and Pa­stors injuriously enough, if they pretend beyond Teachings, Administra­tions of Sacraments, Imposition of hands for Ordination, and the publick use of the Keys) are not only inflicters or executioners of Church-Cen­sures (as certainly they are not) then the very Foundation of this Fa­brick for the Support and Justification of Excommunication must necessarily fall to the ground.

It is true that every Church is a Society, or Body Politick, though eve­ry Society or Body Politick is not a Church: every Member of the Militant Church is ordinarily a Member of the Christian Commonwealth or King­dom wherein he lives, and è contra. That which differenceth the Church properly so called, from a Society or Body meerly Civil, is the diversity of Laws, and Ordinances, and the different manner of Union betwixt the Members of it. A Church, A Commonwealth, or Body Civil are not neces­sarily two Bodies contra-distinct or Opposite (as the Romanists often dream or presuppose in their Arguments brought for the Prerogatives of the Ro­man Church, alledging that those have first their being, and then they frame their Government, and therefore are free, and that all Jurisdiction is ori­ginally in them, which they do communicate to Magistrates, without de­priving themselves of it: But the Church did not make it self, and its Go­vernment, but Christ did first Institute Laws by which it should be Go­verned, and then did Christ assemble it) but rather, one Body endowed with several or distinct Powers or Perfections; when a Kingdom or Com­monwealth becomes Christian, and Consequently, a Church, it looseth no­thing of what it had, but rather acquires a New Perfection and Accom­plishment, by the Accrument of Divine Powers added to the Civil: It may be true, that when the Church was first Founded by Jesus Christ, that it was altogether distinct from the Commonwealth, for indeed it could not be then otherwise, for that all Kingdoms and Commonwealths were then open, and professed Enemies to the Gospel, and therefore the Regi­ment given unto the Church by Jesus Christ, was accordingly such as might be exercised by the Members thereof in any Nation, and among any Peo­ple, be their Government what it would, or their Enmity to the Gospel never so great, without clashing or interfeering with it, or with them, and without the least disturbance of the quiet State of the Kingdom or Peo­ple, whereunto they were sent for their Conversion. But when that Pro­phesie that Kings should be the Nursing Fathers, and Queens the Nursing Mothers of the Church was to be fulfilled, and whole Kingdoms embraced the Gospel and became Christians, then the Church, and Commonwealth be­came one, and were no longer contra distinct: Certainly the Justifying of Excommunications or Church Censures in this manner, on such grounds and Positions is (to speak modestly) scarce safe or defensible. For that they seem too much to Countenance and to approach too near unto the Positi­ons of the Papists, which are 1o that the Spiritual Power, is above all Se­cular and Civil Power, which Assertion were it rightly limited, and Sta­ted is in it self Orthodox as here is declared, but the more Orthodox it is in it self, the more Pernitious and deadly it makes the second Position, unto which they seek to Wed it, viz. 2o that this Supream and Spiritual Power is totally Stated in the Clergy, as in a Body distinct from the Body Politick.

And the most of them hold the plenitude of this Power to be in the Pope, from whom all Spiritual Power of Jurisdiction is derived unto the rest of the Clergy, after the same manner as Jurisdiction, in causes Tem­poral is derived unto the Inferior Magistrates, from the Civil Monarch in each Kingdom: And that the Regiment of the Church, is Regimen Monar­chicum, a Visible Monarchy, of which the Pope is the visible Monarch, there­fore without all doubt, it is not only less Obnoxious to Cavils and So­phisms, but also, more truly Orthodoxal, and more Justisiable to aver and maintain, that the Church and Commonwealth Christian, tho happily like [Page 108]Man and Wife, before their Intermarriage were two Bodies, two contra­distinct Societies, but being once Incorporated by mutual and reciprocal Wedlock, do become one Body, one Society, endowed with several Pow­ers, and several Perfections newly acquired by such Intermarriage, where­with she was not endowed before her Intermarriage, and so consequently, the Powers of the Church do escheat into that of the Commonwealth whensoever it becomes Christian, whereof the Pastors and Teachers are special Members and Officers, according to their Commission, but for no other ends nor purposes above the Laity, though the Authors of these Po­sitions do fully acknowledg, that the Person of the Supream Magistrate, must and ought to be exempted, as to any outward effects of the Power of Excommunication: Yet these Positions are subject unto so many nice and School distinctions, that it is much to be feared, that perverse and subtle wits would strongly Combate with us, with our own Weapons, and find or make a way to render the Power of the Magistrate, only serviceable unto the Power or Interest of the Clergy.

Do but a little consider, how subtelty Bellarmine, in his tract against Ger­son of Excommunication, doth endeavour to erect and prove Regimen Ec­clesiasticum, to be Monarchicum, upon the like fundamental right, f. 4.142. whilst he affirms, that the holy Church, is not like to the Commonwealth of Venice, or of Geneva, or of other Cities which confer upon their Dukes, and Princes, that Power which themselves please, in regard whereof it may be said, that the Commonwealth is above the Prince, neither yet is it like to an earthly Kingdom, in which the People transfer their own Au­thority unto the Monarch, and in certain Cases, may free themselves from Royal Dominion, and reduce themselves to the Government of Inferior Magistrates, as did the Romans, when they changed from Dominion Roy­al, to Consular Government; for the Church of Christ is a most perfect King­dome, and an absolute Monarchy, which hath no dependance on the People, neither from them had its Original, but dependeth only upon the Divine Will, and that this Kingdom doth not depend on Men, Christ sheweth when he saith, you chose not me, but I chose you. 15 John, 16. thou hast made us unto our God, Kings and Priests, and we shall Reign on the Earth. 5. Apoc. 10. And this is the cause, why this Kingdom is in the Scripture resem­bled to a Family, who then is a faithful and wise Servant, whom his Lord hath made Ruler over his Houshold. 24. Matth. 25. Because the Father of the Family, doth not depend on the Family, neither from them hath his Authority: So by consequence, the Vicar general of Christ, doth not de­pend on the Church, but only on Christ, from whom he hath his Authori­ty, and doth affirm that Christ doth declare, that a Bishop in his particular Church, and the Pope in the Church Ʋniversal, is as it were a high Steward in Gods Family (quis enim fidelis dispensator et prudens. 12 Luke 42.) and hath Power over the Family, and not the Family over him: contra-Gers. Yet by the leave of so great a Prelate St. Cyprian, (tho no Cardinal yet) of great­er reputation saith, that the practise of those times which were freest from Corruption, even when the Holy Martyrs were Bishops was, that Pastors were subject to the Censures of the Church. And lib. 1. c. 4. giveth an express Testimony, where speaking of the People he saith. Quando ipsa plebs maxime habeat potestatem vel eligendi dignos sacerdotes, vel indignos recu­sandi, quod & ipsam videmusde divina Authoritate descendere, ut sacerdos plebe praesente sub omnium oculis deligatur, &c. whereby it appears that the supream Power of choosing such Priests as are worthy, and refusing un­worthy, [Page 109]doth principally rest in the People. And he speaketh of Bishops particularly, although in the words alledged he mentioneth Priests, and withal it is not only St. Cyprians Epistle, but the Epistle of thirty six Bishops, and written to the Common People of Leon, Asturia, and Emerita. Vide his 14. Epist. of his 3. Lib. such Authorities we may alledge, but not mystical and enforced Explications, nor yet wrong Conclusions from right Premisses.

The Faithful Flock of Christ ought to resemble Sheep indeed in humi­lity and innocency, yet ought they not to be so sheepish or sottish as to de­cline the Authority which Christ their great Shepherd hath bestowed on them, either of choosing them a Good, or of judging a Wicked Shep­herd. St. Austin proves unanswerably, that Doctrines are to be grounded on the Literal Sense of the Scripture, and not on any Mystical Interpre­tation.

In this equivocating Art of Sophistry Bellarmine hath shewed both in this Subject as in others, his great dexterity, first to settle with the Reader the Relation which the Holy Church hath towards the Divine Majesty, and then to conclude on the Relation towards the Pope; such false Sophistry, such disingenuity becomes not so great a Prince, so great a Scholar as him­self; but the Parisians (no Protestants) conclude that God hath called the Church to the Faith and his Worship, and that he hath placed Christ over it for an Head for ever, who first himself did govern it on Earth in the days of his Flesh, but being ascended into Heaven, doth rule it with inward influence and assistance invisible unto the end of the World.

It is true, that the Church is not a Common-wealth, as Venice, or as Geneva, which give as much Authority as themselves please to their Dukes, and Princes; nor a Kingdom, which may change the manner of governing it, neither invisibly nor visibly, because that Christ hath prescribed the man­ner: much less is it such a Kingdom as England, which hath a Blood-Royal, where the Kings succeed by Birth, neither as some other by Testament; but as touching the Inward Government, and meerly Spiritual, it is not like unto any, because it hath a perpetual Immortal and Eternal King, who only knows the Heart and tries the Reins.

In the visible Government it hath a Ministry whose Authority was institu­ted by Christ, and independing of the Church, but as concerning the Appli­cation of this Authority unto this or that Person it is elective or depending of it. Wherefore when he alledgeth, I am constituted a King by him. Our Lord God shall give him a Kingdom, Luke 1.32. and 12.32. You chose not me, but I have chosen you, John 15.16. Thou hast made us to our God a Kingdom. All these places, and such like others, are meant of the Invisible, Spiritual, and Interior Kingdom, where the Pope hath no regiment nor in­fluence at all, but Christ is all in all governing by his Spirit, and according to the Council of his own Will.

Thus he having laid down and proposed to use a Proposition or Doctrine, quodammodo, and in some sense true, and having Validity under the Co­vert of an Universal, yet having applied it to wrong Particulars, it hath lost its Energy, and Effort, and its fallacy is discovered. A piece of Arti­fice and Skill, that runs through the Veins and Lines of most Popish Wri­ters in the Controversies between us and them; and what else is this but to make Lies their refuge, and under Falshood to shelter themselves.

If Popes may now excommunicate as they pretend, yet this concludes not that they may excommunicate Princes, or Magistrates, or whole Common­wealths. [Page 110]The Primitives of old did use excommunication very sparingly, and moderately, and with great prudence and policy, and with great re­spect to the good of the Church: And therefore be the Power what or where it will St. Augustine holds an Excommunication against a Multitude, though it were for some notorious and manifest sin, too sacrilegious, perni­cious, impious and insolent. Lib. 3. contra Ep. Permen. 23.4.4. c. non potest. And Thomas putteth a Question, whether any generality may be excom­municated, and he answereth himself, No, and produceth Reasons for the same, concluding, that the Church appointeth with great Providence, that no Community might be excommunicated. And all other Divines with one accord determine the same. And also Pope Innocent the 4th in the Chap. Rom. saith, In Ʋniversitatem vel Collegium proferri sententiam Excommuni­cationis penitus prohibere, de Sentent. excom. in 6. We must know, that it is of worse consequence and example, where [...]t is used against Princes, than divers other Bodies and Societies, in as much as one Prince is of more consequence and power than thousands of other Lay-men: We know also, that in all Judgments there is a necessity of a Legal Trial to precede Conviction. And that great Multitudes may be convented, examined, sentenced, and pu­nished with less disturbance of Peace, less violation of Majesty, than those that sway the Ball-Imperial. Besides, if the condemnation of Princes might be upon due Trials, without violence, yet the execution of the Sen­tence would produce more monstrous events in them than in private Men; for how shall the People honour, obey, and reverence him in the State as Gods Lieutenant, whom they see accursed, cut off, and abhorred in the Church as the Devils Vassal? upon the excommunication of Princes whole Nations have been interdicted, witness England, Venice, and other, in the times of several Popes, whole States subjected to ruine, the Innocent with the Obstinate, the Princes with the People, all have have been sacrificed to Blood-thirsty-Popish-Priests under pretence of obedience to the Holy Catholick Church. In what Code of the Ancient Church can it be found where any such strange kind of punishment was ever instituted, as that for the offence of a few, many Millions of Souls should be accursed, cast out of the Church, and in Popish construction, damned? How can they call that Power Apostolical, that punisheth in this manner; seeing the Aposto­lical Power was given for edification, and not for destruction? And yet so precipitate have some Popes been as to excommunicate whole States and Kingdoms. Surely therefore we ought not so tamely to acquiesce on the bare ipse dixit of the Clergy pleading in their own Cause, and for them­selves only, exclusive the Laity. Certainly it is too small a security for so great a concern, therefore let us a little examine what they urge for this exorbitant Power.

§. If Kings be not this way punishable, then they are no other way, which is mischievous in the Church. Sol. The Jewish Kings were as great and scan­dalous sinners, as Kings-Christian now are; yet God assigned no Rulers Spiritual for their Castigation, and we must suppose that if it had been so extreamly, and publickly mischievous, God would not have suffered it: Besides, if Scandal shall not remain unpunishable in the Prince, yet it shall in the Spiritual Man, which is a Mischief of the same nature with the other: For if Caesar shall abide the Censure of this or that froward Pope or Consistory, what Judgment shall the Pope or Consistory abide? If this Spi­ritual Supremacy rest in any one, that one must be unpunishable; for two [Page 111]Supreams are things incompatible: And if this Supremacy rest in more than one, is is very hardly consistent with Monarchy, for the one or other must be transcendent.

§. Without all contradiction it is a manifest violence to use the Power of excommunication, be it what it will (if any such thing there be at all) granted by Christ, contrary to his own Institution, and towards him, that hath Power, and unjustly useth the same, the remedy is to have recourse to a Superior if he may, but if there be no Superior to whom to have re­course, God hath allowed no other remedy to a Prince thus offended, but to make resistance with his own force, opposing himself and force to force, because it comes from God: And the Civil Being of every Common-wealth or Kingdom, is to the end of his Glory: And therefore a Prince cannot permit without a sin and offence, that his own Liberty should be infringed, which is the Civil Being of every Principality, and there is no doubt, but that negligence in defending it, is a dangerous offence to God, and most hainous, if he voluntarily suffer it to be usurped and incroached upon.

§. To obey therefore the Commandements of God, Kings, when acco­sted and assaulted by Excommunication Papal or Presbyterian, may and ought to oppose themselves against the Authors of them, that will take away the Power which God hath given them to make Laws both Civil and Ecclesia­stical, and with Justice to defend themselves and their injured Subjects, in their Lives, Honours, Goods, and Religion. And as the Innocent by an error in facto, unjustly excommunicated, to avoid scandal, is bound pa­tiently to endure. So when the Error is in Jure, and the manifest injustice thereof is apparent, to avoid scandal likewise, the Prince is bound to resist and oppose himself against the Injury. Because there is no doubt but that such unjust Censures are against Magistracy it self; and therefore when it shall be known to other Kingdoms, that such a Prince or State for fear of unjust Censures, and those invalid, hath yielded unto violence, (whereof there are Examples not a few) and omitted to exercise, and execute his Natural Power, they would be exceedingly scandalized thereat; as also the Subjects that should discover such a vain fear, they would become very perverse: And therefore for this cause also, it is both equal and necessary for the Prince, to make due resistance; for such, no doubt, or more weighty Reasons, have our Kings and Queens defended themselves, and their Subjects, against all such Thunderbolts; and so did the Venetians against Paul the Fifth, who, without, any colour of reason, excommunicated them, being not a few Millions of Men: The like have the Emperors and Kings of England and of France done, and they had Authority so to do, by their great Charter from Heaven. The Church, both Laity and Clergy, but especially the Clergy, ought to pacifie their Minds and Consciences, at­tending the Service of God under the protection of their Princes, constant­ly believing, that the Holy Ghost was promised and given to all the Faith­ful, both Laity and Clergy, amongst whom Christ himself is present when they are congregated in his Name, and that none can justly be excluded out of the Holy Catholick Church, except by their own sins they be first exclu­ded out of the favour of God: and that the obedience which God com­mands us to perform to our Ecclesiastical Superiors, is not a foolish or ridi­culous Subjection, nor the Power of Pope or Presbyters, an Arbitrary Judgment, but both the one and the other must be ruled by the Law of [Page 112] God, who, Deut. 17.10, 11, 12. ordained not an absolute obedience to the Priest, but a prescribed observance according to the Law-Divine. Facies quaecun (que) dixerint qui praesunt loco quem eligerit Jehovah, & docuerint te juxta Legem ejus. It is the Word of God only (not of Men) in the Priests Mouths that me must obey. God only is an Infallible Rule, to whom only we must profess and yield obedience, without all exception. He that ge­nerally professeth this towards others, without the Commandments of God, (as the Papists do) sinneth, and whosoever supposeth any Humane Will to be infallible, (as the Papists do) committeth great Blasphemy, in ascribing to the Creature a Property only Divine. We have an Example hereof in the Acts, when the Ancient Church expostulated and contended with Peter himself about the Vocation of the Gentiles, he did not thunder against them with hideous and abominable Excommunications, nor use me­nacing Language, nor went about to silence them: but he taught and per­swaded them by Reason, and Authority of Divine Revelations, and the Words of our Saviour. The very same Peter commanded the Elders to feed the Flock of God, taking the over-sight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly: not for filthy Lucre, (for Cardinalisme or Nepotisme sake) but of a ready mind, neither as being Lords over Gods Heritage, but being Examples to the Flock, 1 Pet. 5.2, 3. by which it is evident; that Priests must not domineer nor command with Empire, but with Holy Deportment and Instructions of Piety, for that they have no Dominion of our Faith, but are (or should be) Helpers of our Joy, 2 Cor. 1.24. The very same St. Peter, when he erred in Antioch, St. Paul did not forbear boldly to repre­hend him in the presence of all Men, Gal. 2.11. St. Paul's superexcellency above any thing that we can pretend unto, was no Warrant for him to op­pose himself against one whom it was not lawful to resist. Who more humble, or gave greater acknowledgement of his due Reverence to the High Priest than Paul did? In this questionless Paul did no more than what the least of us may do with due Reverence to his Holiness; Quaecun (que) scripta sunt, ad nostram Doctrinam scripta sunt, Rom. 15.4. the Holy Ghost would never have written this History but for our Example, to the end we might imitate it: And we see that all the Popish Doctors in discussing how any one may oppose himself to the Pope when he erreth and governs un­worthily, they have recourse to this Example.

Let no Man therefore be troubled, depending only on the Authority of a Pope, for that, according to their own Doctors, not one, but two Keys were given to Peter, and to the rest of the Apostles; and if they be not both used together, the effect of Loosing and Binding doth not ensue, the one being of Power, the other of Knowledge and Discretion: Christ never gave Power to be used without due Knowledge and Circumspection, but with great and exquisite Judgment; the which wanting, Power only takes no effect: The Canonists themselves say, That the Power of Binding and Loosing is intended by a Key not erring; and Pope Leo expresly affirmeth it in a Canon, speaking of this Priviledge given by St. Peter, Manet ergo Petri privilegium ubicun (que) ex ipsius fertur aequitate Judicium, nec nimia est vel severitas, vel remissio ubi nihil erit ligatum vel solutum nisi quod Beatus Petrus solverit aut ligaverit. 24. q. 1. c. Manet.

§. Of old the Holy Bishops did preach and teach Princes, that they ha­ving two Callings, the one of Christians, the other of Princes, were bound in both of them, to serve God as Christians in observing the Divine Pre­cepts, [Page 113]as every other private Person; but as Princes to serve God by or­daining just and good Laws, and directing their Subjects, to Piety, Ho­nesty, and Justice, by having his Eyes on the Faithful of the Land, that they that excel in Vertue and Piety may dwell with him, by not countenancing wicked Persons by erecting publick Places of Worship, and as much as in them lyeth, by chalking out a High-way of Holiness throughout their Dominions, by their Good and Pious Example, that way-faring Men, though Fools, might not erre therein, by punishing all such as transgress Gods Commandments, especially those of the Decalogue, wherein those that sin against the first Table, which more immediately concern the Divine Honour, are worse than those that sin against the Second, which concern Justice amongst Men: Wherefore Kings are more bound to punish Blasphemies, Heresies, and Perjuries, than Murders and Thefts. For this cause were divers Laws made against such Crimes as are Registred in the Justinian and Theodosian Codes, imposing on the guilty Pecuniary Mulcts, Banishment, Privation of Part, or of all their Goods, according to the Circumstances of the Of­fence; the execution of which Laws are committed to their Secular Offi­cers: And accordingly this our Kingdom, from its Original of being Chri­stian, hath been accustomed to sentence and punish in case of grievous offence, any Person Ecclesiastical, of what Degree or Order soever; by which means it hath hitherto preserved the Ancient and Independent Li­berty of its true Dominion and Empire.

§. Every Criminal Judgment hath three parts: 1. For Example,Criminal Judgment hath three parts. The Cognisance of the Cause. 2. The Cognisance of the Fact. 3. The Sen­tence. 1. For Example, In the Judgment of Heresie, or the Cognisance of the Reason, is, whether such an Opinion be Heretical or no? 2. The Cognisance of the Fact, is, whether the Person so accused or denounced hath defended or held the same? 3. The Sentence consisteth either of Ab­solving or Condemning: The first Cognisance, what Opinion was Here­tical, was mostly Ecclesiastical, but not absolutely exclusive of Secular Learned Men, appointed by the Emperors. And when there grew any dif­ficulty of some Opinion, the Emperor did require the Judgment of Bishops, and if need were, did call Councils. For the Cognisance of the Fact, whe­ther the accused Person were Innocent or Guilty, that he might have the punishment ordained by the Laws of the Emperor, and the Sentence of Condemnation, or Absolution, did all belong to the Secular Power.

Thus were matters ordered for Causes of Heresie, &c. in the Church under the Roman Empire, until about 800 Years after Christ, when the Eastern Empire being divided from the Western, this Form rested in the Eastern till the end of it. In the Western the Princes needed not make any Laws, nor take much care about this Business, seeing for the space of 300 Years, from 800 to 1100, there were very few Hereticks found in those Parts, and when any Case did happen which chanced but very seldom, the Bishop did judge of it in the same manner as he proceeded against Eccle­siastical Persons, as against Infringers of Holy-days, Breakers of Fasts, and such like judging and punishing them themselves, in those Places, where they had Jurisdiction granted them by the Princes, and where they had not the like Power, they did implore the Secular Aid to punish them. After the Year 1100. by reason of the continual differences, which for about fifty Years before had been between the Emperors and Popes, and lasted afterwards for a whole Age, until about 1200 Years, with frequent [Page 114]Jars and Wars, and the wicked life of the then Clergy, there did arise an infinite number of Hereticks, (as the Papists are pleased to call them) whose most common Heresies were against the Popes Authority, and where the Multitude of them exceeded, there was a forced Toleration.

About this time of the day Pope Innocent the fourth subtilly designed, by introducing the Inquisition, Inquisition. more Authoritatively to deprive the Civil Ma­gistrates of their Rights, over Causes and Persons Ecclesiastical, to whose Judgment was committed the punishment of Heresie, &c. by the Ancient Laws of the Empire, and by the Laws of Frederick the second, and by particular Statutes, which each City was forced to make for the preservation of their own indubitable and independent Right of Governing Ecclesia­stical Causes and Persons, according to their great Charter from Heaven.

But the Pope sinding great opposition from all Places, he offered one Ex­pedient, which in shew made the Civil Magistrate the Inquisitors Companion, but in Substance and Effect his Lacquey. This Opposition grew so strong, and was so universal, that the Pope could not introduce his Tribunals Inqui­sitory, except it were in the Provinces of Lombardy, Romania, and Marca Trevisana, nor in them neither, for all his Bulls and severe Edicts as he desi­red, no nor yet as he did without great reluctancy and opposition, from the Civil Magistrates, though in those three Provinces his Authority was very great, they having no Prince, and each City governing it self; and where the Pope also had a part, because he had assisted them in their late Wars: And although the said Frederick, Anno 1244. set forth four Pro­clamations, receiving the Fathers Inquisitors into his protection, and impo­sing the Penalty of Fire (the first Law that imposed death) upon obsti­nate Hereticks; for which kindness, and assistance of his, he was admira­bly well requited by the same Pope, who first excommunicated, and then deposed him; and, as Hier-Marius reports, corrupted one to poison him, which not taking effect, corrupted another to strangle him; so that A­lexander the fourth his Successor, Anno 1259. and Clement the fourth 1265. were constrained to moderate the Edicts of Innocent the fourth: And four other succeeding Popes employed themselves in overcoming the difficulties, which thwarted them in setling the Inquisition. After some moderation, it being setled in those three Provinces, it afterwards crept into Tuscany, and so into Arragon, and into some Cities of Germany and France, out of which it was soon exiled, and in Arragon they were reduced to a very small number. Into the Kingdom of Naples it was not brought, there being little correspondence between the Popes, and the Kings thereof. In the Year 1484. the King of Spain admitted it into his Dominions; yet so cautionate and jealous was he, as he reserved himself to be Lord paramount thereof, of choosing the Inquisitor General, whom the Pope confirms: And for the rest, the Court of Rome was not admitted to intermeddle any far­ther; so that though the King seemed willing to gratifie the See Apostolick, yet did he reserve his Supremacy of Power, over all Causes and Persons Ecclesiastical, to himself; and so doth the State of Venice, by their Coadju­tors and Inspectors of the Tribunals Inquisitory. In which Republick, the Inquisition doth not depend on the Court of Rome, but properly belongs to the Republick Independent, set up and constituted by the same, and esta­blished by contract and agreement with Pope Nicholas the fourth, prout in his Bull of 28. Aug. 1289. wherein is inserted the very determination of the greater Council made the fourth of the same Month. And therefore, as they ought, are to be governed by their own Customs and Ordinances, [Page 115]without being obliged to receive Orders from the Pope: And indeed be­fore the admittance of the Inquisition there was in effect the same Office, though meerly Secular, to which Noble-men were raised, to enquire after Hereticks; and this the Republick made good afterwards against the See-Apostolick, in the Years 1289. 1301. 1605. 1606. and 1607. upon Disputes, maintaining their Civil Authority in Ecclesiasticis to be their undoubted Right, and cannot be taken away by any Bull or Decree, made in any manner, by any Pope to whom soever. Hist. Inquisit.

§. By all which it appears, that neither Monarchs, nor Free States, would be juggled out of their just Right of Commanding over Persons and Cau­ses Ecclesiastical, and that those Condescentions of the Civil Magistrates were only to gratifie some Popes out of special favour to them, and not for any just Right the Popes had unto them: For let Pope or Presbyter pretend what they please to the contrary, they do as much as in them lies endea­vour to erect Regnum in Regno, by giving Temporal Monarchy only an im­perfect broken Right in some things, but controlable and defeasible by the Spiritual Monarchy in other things. And the World hath had a long and sad experience of this, whilst Kings had the Popes and Presbiters their Su­periors in any thing, they remained Supream in nothing, whilst their Rule in Popish Countries was by Division diminished in some things, they found it insufficient in all things; so that they did command joyntly with the Pope, but were commanded wholly, unless by force they extricated themselves out of their snares. So Calvin and his Followers complain and grumble much at the Power that the Civil Magistrate assumes in England, France, and Ger­many, over Causes and Persons Ecclesiastical, holding Princes incompetent for Spiritual Regency, accounting the intermedling of Princes therein, as an Abolition or Prophanation of the same.

§. But let us not doubt to submit all things under one Supream on Earth, submitting and recommending him by our Prayers unto his Supream in Hea­ven; for it is no small thing in such a Case to be left to the searching Judg­ment of God: nor need we doubt or hold our selves utterly remediless, whilst we can truly say, Omne sub Regno graviore Regnum est. And let us not mistake our Supream on Earth; for if God had intended to have left us a Spiritual Sword, or miraculous Judicatory, never before known or useful to the World, and that to be of perpetual necessity, sans doubt he would have left us some clear command in Scripture, and not have involved and mantled his meaning in Metaphors, so intricate and ambiguous. But to let pass this Theam of Excommunication, so unpleasant to Popish and Presbyte­rian Ears, let us examine the Magistrates Power as it relates to Religion in commanding Liturgies, and concerning Toleration, Compulsion, and Go­vernment, &c.

§. All just Dominion and Empire is founded on true Religion and Piety, i.e, all Governours and Governments were ordained for the good of the Governed, and they are obliged by the Law of God to govern according to Rules of Religion and Piety, no Nation under Heaven having Statutes and Judgments so just and righteous as are prescribed by God himself, and who act not according to them, an Iliad of Curses will attend them, and their Plagues shall be wonderful, Deut. 28.58. It is Righteousness and Judgment that is the Establishment of Thrones. A Kingdom is tran­slated [Page 116]from one People to another for unrighteousness, Eccles. 10.8. And, The King that faithfully judgeth the Poor, his Throne shall be established for ever, Prov. 29.14.

If I am not much mistaken, the necessity of a Liturgy, and the warran­tableness of establishing the use thereof, is easily deducible, nay, doth na­turally flow from the Charge and Right of Government, which Kings have in the Government of the Church, and granted unto them by their great Charter from Heaven, their Command from God.

For Kings and all other just Governments being granted to be Custodes utrius (que) Tabulae, it must necessarily follow, that the Government of the Church is their Duty, and consequently ought to be their chief Care. And that they be so, what need we other Proof or Argument, than that through the whole Scripture Kings have been charged therewith, and according to their countenancing or discountenancing Idolatry and other sins, or abet­ting, and supporting Gods true Religion, or establishing, or but conniving at Idolatry, or other Impieties: so they received from God by his Messen­gers the Prophets praise, or dispraise, reward or punishment accordingly, and those of no less concern than the establishment or deprivations of their Kingdoms: And it will as naturally follow, that if the care of the Church be the Duty of Kings, that then they both may and ought to set up and establish a publick Standard and Test within their Dominions, to measure and try all Mens Religion by as to the outward profession thereof, and out­ward conformity thereunto, and to appoint, and allow publick conse­crated, or (to speak more inoffensively to all Parties) seperated Places or Churches for publick Divine Worship, and Service, and administration of Gods Holy Sacraments and Ordinances, to the frequenting of which they may make strict Laws, or else how is it possible for the Magistrate to have cog­nisance of them, and of their Religions? and why else should the Magistrate be blamed for the Idolatry, or other sins of his Subjects, if he have no power to inspect, take cognisance, and to restrain from sinful practises? nor yet to force unto the reading of the Law, and the Prophets, and the Go­spel, nor to the frequenting of Gods Holy Ordinances. Now this Standard or Test, I call a Liturgy, without which, or something equivalent, how is it possible for Kings to give a good account to God of their Care, and well-governing of the Church, within their respective Dominions; which Li­turgy in general ought to contain so many Fundamentals of Christian Re­ligion; to the Belief of which if Christians joyn answerable Practise, it may certainly bring them to Heaven.

What the Particulars of this Liturgy should be, I will not here meddle withal, only thus, If it contain any thing contrary to the Word of God, it ought not to be, and much less to be enjoyned, and if it do, the Magi­strate must answer for it at the day of his Account, and Dissenters thereunto not be blamed. Therefore, as he tenders the good of his own Soul, it be­hoves him to take care that all therein be warrantable by the Word of God, or at least no way contrary unto it, and to leave nothing, or as little as is possible, upon a Moote Point. Concerning our own established Liturgy, I shall only say this in general for Justification thereof, That whosoever con­sults it, shall find no Point of Belief wanting in it absolutely necessary to Salvation, and that the Method of it is incomparably good, scarce capable of Melioration, being but the History of Christ, beginning with his Ad­vent, and so proceeding to his Nativity, Circumcision, Epiphany, Passion, Resurrection, Ascention, &c. all very requisite at least, if not absolutely [Page 117]necessary to be known and believed, and all justified and made out by suitable Chapters, Epistles, Gospels, Collects, Prayers, &c. containing also a laudable and very reverend Form of Administring the Sacraments, and the like for Marriage, Burial of the Dead, Ordination, and Consecration of Bishops and Presbyters, and all these according, or at least not contrary, to the Tenor of Holy Writ, and therefore fit to be enjoyned, and its use established, and the disuse and abuse thereof to be discountenanced by the Magistrate. If any be unsatisfied with any Part or Expression, or Rite, or Ge­sture, or Habit, or Vestment therein mentioned, or therewith used, I refer them to Judicious Hooker, (never yet answered) and others, for satisfa­ction, it being not my design to justisie every Particular of this or any other Liturgy, but to assert the necessity, requisiteness, and conveniency of Liturgies in general from the Antiquity and Universal Use of all Christian Churches in all parts of the World;In rebus de qui­bus nil c [...]rti­slatuit Divina Scriptura, mos Populi l [...]ei & instituta ma­jorum pro lege t [...] [...]nd asunt. August. ad Casulanum. which alone almost argues the neces­sity of it to be established by a Law of Nature, or Moral Reason, and not to be esteemed of as a thing indifferent, that may or may not be used; so necessary, that without it I cannot see how any Prince can take general cognisance of the Religion of his People. Take this also along with you in farther Justification of our Liturgy, That by the Order contained in the Book of Common-Prayer, on Sundays and Holy-days, half an hour before Even-song, so the Old Common-Prayer-Book and Canon, as I re­member, or according to the Newer Books, after the Second Lesson, the Curate of every Parish ought to examine Children sent unto him in some Points of the Catechisme; and all Fathers, Mothers, Masters, Dames, should cause their Children, Servants, and Apprentices, to resort unto the Church, at the time appointed, there to hear, and to be obediently ordered by the Curate, until such time as that they have learnt all that in the said Book is commanded: And when the Bishops shall appoint the Children to be brought before them for their Confirmation, the Curate of every Parish shall bring or send the Names of those Children of his Parish which can answer to the Questions of the Catechisme: And there ought none to be admitted to the Holy Communion until such time as he can say his Cate­chisme, and be Confirmed.

SOME REMARQUES UPON A DISCOURSE CONCERNING LITURGIES, &c.

NOtwithstanding all the great Care, Piety, and Prudence of our Fore-fathers successively used Age after Age in com­piling of so excellent a thing as a Liturgy, and of which this Nation hath received so great benefit, that it hath proved by experience to be (what once Paul the fourth averred of his great Darling the Inquisition for the Avail against Heresie, and defence of the Apostolick See) the true Ram to keep out Heresie and Popery; yet as of Elder, so of more Puny Days, but especially since 1640. there have been published Pamphlets, sans Nombre, villifying, and condemning the Use, and Imposition of Liturgies, besides much Gall which hath dropt from many a bitter Pen against them by the By, from Writers writing on other Occasions. But of them all that have come unto my view, none, prima facie, carries more shew of Reason and Learning, than that which bears the Title of A Discourse concerning Li­turgies, and their Impositions, published 1662. by a nameless Author. To answer which would require a large Volume; which not being my Work or Design here, I shall only, tanquam Canis ad Nilum, touch and away, give you a very short Sum and Account of his large Discourse, (containing above 170 Pages in Quarto in a small Print) and say something to the most material Arguments only of it; for there be many of his Averments and Postulata, which if we should both give and grant, yet would be rather Arguments for than against Liturgies; as that Christ never instituted nor ap­pointed Liturgies, that the Apostles never used them; nor yet the Fathers in the Purest Times. For though Christ never Instituted Liturgies, it is enough that he commanded, Rem Liturgiarum, the Matter, Worship, and Doctrines contained in our Liturgies; for of such, and such only, I desire to be understood. If such Reasoning may be allowed for currant Do­ctrine, it will certainly prove as strong against Sermons and Administrations, that he or any other preacheth, and useth, as against Liturgies; for cer­tainly [Page 119]Christ never appointed the Form, though happily he hath the Mat­ter of the one and of the other, jam sumus, ergo, pares, they are both on the same bottom. Besides, is it reasonable to think it fit that Christ, in whom (even whilst on Earth) dwelled all the fulness of the God-head bo­dily, Col. 2.9. that had the Power of all Matter, Form, and Language, and whatever he spake or thought was infallible, should yet tie himself to any stinted Forms of Words? The like say I for the Apostles, in whom the Spirit also dwelt bodily as in Christ himself, even after the same manner, though not in the same measure, witness those Emanations from their Words, from their Touch, from their Shadows, curing Diseases by Hand­kerchiefs, Aprons and Shadows; and witness their Infallible Spirit, that what ever they dictated as Truth, was Truth, and is come down as Scripture to us: witness also the Cloven Tongues sitting upon each of them, where­by they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and were endowed to speak with Tongues. If the Apostles, I say, after all these Gifts and Graces so miraculously bestowed on them, should have limited the Spirit by using stinted Forms, happily they would not have been found so faithful in the House of God, as was Moses.

Is it then rational from such Premisses to deduce this Conclusion, that because the Apostles (Gifted and Spirited in that abundant measure as they were) used no Liturgies nor stinted Forms, therefore we (that are nei­ther infallible as they were, nor yet have the Spirit in the same measure as they had) should use none? May not we rather, and with much more Evidence of Reason from the Nature of the thing varied, conclude the contrary to be absolutely warranted; and for that very reason affirm Li­turgies and stinted Forms to be much more justifiable now, and rather to be used by us in these days, than by them in those days? Certainly if they cannot lay most undoubted claim unto the same in-being Principles, and unto the same measure which was in them, this their Goliah-Argument hath its Head cut off with his own Sword. O! but in the Purer Times, next and nearest to the days of the Apostles, the Fathers (who neither were Infallible, nor yet had the Spirit in the same measure as the Apostles had) never used them: whether they did or did not use them, we neither cer­tainly know, nor yet why they did or did not; and if we did, yet that could be no infallible demonstration for us to do just as they did, without consideration had of the disferent posture of Affairs between these and those times: But be it so that they did not use them, what then? may not a succeeding Generation sind out a necessary remedy, or convenient preser­vative, to defend the pure Worship of God from Taint and Infection of Idolatry or Superstition that a former Age two or three have not used. Such kind of Negative Allegations (Arguments they cannot be) may in­duce to deliberate, and consider, whether sit to be appointed, or used or not; but can never rationally conclude, that therefore we can use nothing that those Purer Times did not: The Condition and Posture of Christian Affairs are now altered. In the Primitive Times, next unto the days of the Apostles, every Pastor had care only of his own gathered Church, and every Bishop with his Presbiters of this or that City; and so in that respect (there being then no Civil Protectors, but all professed Enemies of the Gospel) no need then of Liturgies, though happily as lawful then, though not so necessary, as now, when whole Kingdoms and Common-wealths are become Christian, and consequently the care of their Spiritual State is be­come much more extensive, stretching over great Kingdoms, is now de­volved [Page 120]by Divine Right on the Civil Christian Magistrate, who may, no doubt, impose a wholesom Form of sound Words by way of Lyturgy; for that without it, or something equivalent to it, it is not possible for a Prince to have that due inspection and oversight over his vastly-extended Flock, as a Shepherd may have of his Fold in one Parish or one City.

§. But to sum up his Discourse in as narow a compass as I can, f. 22. ‘It treats about Christs Institutions of Gospel-Worship in his publick As­semblies: The chief Acts whereof he refers to three Heads; 1. Preach­ing of the Word. 2. Administration of the Sacraments. 3. The Ex­ercise of Discipline, (of which he says little or nothing) all to be per­formed with Prayer and Thanksgiving. For the Administration of these, so far as they are purely of his Institution, Christ gave Rules to his Dis­ciples, and appointed Persons, 1. Pastors and Teachers, for the regular Administration of them, which was to be performed and executed two ways, fo. 12.1. Either by such Spiritual Abilities for the discharge and performance of this whole Work, as will answer the Mind of Christ therein, and so serve for the End proposed: 2. Or by the Prescription of a Form of Words, whose reading and pronuntiation in these Administra­tions should outwardly serve as to all the Ends of Prayer and Thanks­giving required in them which they do contain. Against the second way only he disputes and argues stifly, averring, 1. That Christ not in any thing, or by any Act of his, did intimate the necessity or lawful use of any such Liturgies as these which we are inquiring after, or prescribed or limited Forms of Prayer or Praises to be used or read in the publick Administration of Evangelical Institutions; but made provision, ren­dring all such Prescriptions useless, and because they cannot be made use of, but by rejection of the Provision by himself, made unlawful. Fo. 29.2. No Liturgies used or prescribed, or their usefulness intimated by the Apostles, nor by the Churches of their Plantation. Fo. 20, 21, 38. It's but reasonable to allow unto the Ministers of the Gospel that liberty in the Worship of God, which was confessedly left unto them by Christ and his Apostles; fo. 24. and therefore unreasonable to impose Forms on others whom they undertake to inform, 32. and who desire to stand fast in the Liberty with which Christ hath made them free; averring, That they must have a great considence in their own wisdom and suffi­ciency, who will undertake to appoint and impose on others the ob­servation of things in the Worship of God, which neither the Lord Jesus, nor his Apostles did appoint or impose; 22. and withal deplo­ring, That Liturgies should be made the Hinge, whereon the whole ex­ercise of the Ministry must turn. Fo. 31, 40. All such Imposition be­ing destitute of any Plea, or Pretence from Scripture, or Antiquity, f. 31. in his 7th Ch. he declares, That he doth not in especial intend the Liturgy now in use in England, any farther than to make it an Instance of such imposed Liturgies, whereof we treat; and therefore will not at all enquire what footing it hath in the Law, how, nor when established, nor what particular failings are pleaded to be in it, nor what conformity it bears with the Roman Offices, &c. nor doth he oppose the directive part of this Liturgy as to the reading of the Scripture, the Administration of the Ordinances by Christ appointed, nor the Composition of Forms of Prayer suited to the Nature of Institutions to which they relate, so they be not imposed on the Administrators of them to be read precisely, as pre­scribed. [Page 121]But the thing alone which he would (be thought to) oppose, is, The composing of Forms of Prayer in the Worship of God in all Gospel-Administrations to be used by the Ministers of the Churches, in all publick Assemblies, by a precise reading of the Words prescribed unto them, with Commands for the reading of other things, which they are not to omit upon the Penalty contained in the Sanction of the whole Ser­vice, and the several parts of it, fo. 42. It is only about its Imposition, and the necessity of its observance by vertue of that Imposition that he discourseth, f. 44.’

§. If the Author of this Discourse had only pursued what he here inti­mates in these last words, and bent his Force only against the composing and imposing of Forms of Prayer, &c. i.e. Liturgies in general, he had dealt much more candidly, and saved himself and me some labour: But because he seems to look one way, whilst he rows another, pretends to ar­gue only against Liturgies in general, how consonant soever they be to Gospel-Truths and Doctrines, (for against such he must dispute, or he hath no Adversary that I know of, I am sure I am no defender of any other) and their Imposition, whilst he shoots many envenomed Arrows against our established Liturgy, (wherein his own consent is involved, because established by Act of Parliament and Convocation, and perhaps subscri­bed unto by himself) and then concludes, ‘That on these and no better terms is that prescribed Liturgy we treat of introduced and imposed; [which Terms are, 1. That it is not appointed of God: 2. Not pra­ctised in the Purer Times: 3. An Humane Invention: 4. Hinders Edi­fication: 5. An Abridgement of Christian Liberty: 6. That it is made necessary by the Commands of Men;] and then admires with what peace and satisfaction to their own Souls Men can pretend to Act as by Commission from Christ, as the chief Administrators of his Gospel, and Worship, on the Farth, and make it their whole business almost to teach Men to do and observe what he never commanded, and rigorously to enquire after into the observation of their own commands, whilst those of the Lord Jesus are openly neglected.’

I'le make no exasperating Comment on these and other the like severe Reflections on our Anti-Liturgists, because he pretends to use it only by way of Instance; neither will I, as I said at first, go about to defend eve­ry thing relating to this, or that Liturgy, my design being only to defend the Composition, Use, and Imposition of a wholesom Form of sound words, formed into that which we now call a Liturgy. It's enough for me if such a Liturgy may be composed, against which there can be no just exception, and that there may be such, I have never read, or heard to the con­trary.

§. The Ends of Liturgies our Author reduces singly into one, viz. ‘That the Ordinances and Institutions of Christ may be publickly admi­nistred, and solemnized in the Church with Decency and Order, unto the Edification of Assemblies wherein they are used:’ But because he confesseth that there is no other assigned that he knows of, I shall take li­berty to Assign one or two more, though this alone be sufficient: 1. That so many Fundamental Truths (the necessary and common Food of all the Sons and Daughters of the Church) should be daily and purely read and taught (as well as the Ordinances and Institutions administred) [Page 122]without corrupt Glosses or Comments, as may be sufsicient to make the Comers thereunto wise unto Salvation. And that our English Liturgy con­tains such Truths needs no proof, it's Matter of Fact, and proves it self. And if it doth not appear to be so unto the Author, let him discover its desiciency, the radical necessary Truth that is not there taught, or not rightly taught therein, and I shall acknowledge it; and yet if it were de­fective, it can only be a just exception against this Liturgy, but not against Liturgies in general that may be otherwise composed. 2. One other and great End of Liturgies relates to the Civil Magistrates, who impose Litur­gies as the best Medium to justifie their Pastoral Care (pardon the Expres­sion, it as rightly belongs to them as to Popes or Presbyters) of the Souls as well as of the Bodies of their Flocks, their Subjects, in that they com­mand them to be daily fed with the sincere Milk, and other stronger Meat of the Word. Ezek. 34.23. Now Princes are as truly Pastors as Priests, and that of Christs Flock, yea Pastors of the Pastors, as a Bishop once called King Edgar, whose principal charge and care is or ought to be, that Divine Things may be rightly ordered, and the Salvation of Men procured. Hence it was that Constantine called himself a Bishop, and other Emperors had the Title of Renowned Pontiffs, or Priests. In the Emperor Martianus, the Roman Bishop extols his Priestly Mind, and Apostolical Affection; and Theodoret mentions the Apostolical Cares of Theodosius; wherefore the Kings Power is also Spiritual, as it is conversant about Religion, which is a Spiritual thing, as it is also Military, Naval, or Maritime, &c. though he be neither Ma­riner nor Soldier: And Balsamo Bishop of Antioch observes, that in those times the Emperors did instruct the People in Religion. And how good Josiah went up into the House of the Lord, and all the Men of Judah, and the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the Priests and the Levites, and all the People great and small, and how he read in their Ears all the words of the Book of the Covenant, and how he made a Covenant before the Lord to walk after the Lord, &c. and how he caused all that were present to stand to it, &c. is re­corded, 2 Chron. 34. and is worthy of the Imitation of all Princes: Such, and many other prudent Considerations, no doubt, made our good Josiah, Edw. 6. and his Counsellors, (however this Author writes slightingly as to the Case of Liturgies, f. 37. of that never to be forgotten Reforma­tion) to take care, that as there is a Common Salvation, Jud. 3. and a Common Faith, Tit. 1.4. which is alike precious, 2 Pet. 1.1. in the highest Apostle, and meanest Believer, (for we may not think that Heaven was prepared for deep Clarks only) a Rule of Faith, (besides that large mea­sure of Knowledge whereof all are not capable) common to small and great, which they moulded into the Form of a Liturgy, (if he please to give me leave so to express it, and not wrest my words beyond my mean­ing) containing so many Credenda and Agenda, so many things to be be­lieved and done by all Christians, of such weight and moment, that if be­lieved, and a Life led accordingly, would doubtless bring all such Belie­vers in their appointed times to Eternal Bliss; and such Credenda are con­tained in our Liturgy, deny it that can without a Slander. For indeed Li­turgies have a more special regard to the weaker sort, and meanest Capaci­ties, (Ignorance of Scripture and of the Principles of Catholick Faith that are absolutely necessary to Salvation being a dangerous Gulfe, and the chiefest support of Popery;) and therefore is it so plainly, so methodically, and in such few, apt, and Scripture Expressions composed both for the Credenda and the Agenda, that the meanest may understand all necessary [Page 123]Truths, and not mistake, and they are so often read, and taught by the frequent use thereof, that even Babes do suck them in almost with their Milk, and can hardly be forgotten; nay, the very Solemn Days which by the Ancient Institution of the Church are celebrated for the Commemora­tion of the Blessed Trinity, the Nativity, Passion, Resurrection, Silvest. in summa verb. si­dei §. 6. Tho. in secunda secundae q. 3. Art. 7. and Ascen­tion of our Saviour Christ, doth so preserve the memory of these things among the Common People, that by the Popish Doctors themselves it is made an Argument of gross and supine Ignorance, that any should not have explicit knowledge of those Mysteries of Christ which are thus pub­lickly, plainly, and frequently solemnized in the Church. Ʋsh. 25. Fur­thermore this very Discourse hath furnished me with one very good Quo­tation for the Justifying the command of Liturgies by the Magistrate, and hath not impeached the Reasons thereof by any thing he hath written in derogation thereof, though he hath endeavoured it. ‘After he hath told us f. 33. That in the Latin Church Ambrose used one Form, Gregory another, and Isidor a third; and that it is not unlikely but that the Li­turgies were as many as were the Episcopal Churches of those days. Hence saith he in the beginning of the fifth (he might have said in the fourth Century, in which Ambrose flourished (by which it appears ex ore tuo, that they are no very Novel Invention, and that the wisdom of Ages for the good they have found by them have thought fit to continue them to this day, and therefore certainly not temerariously to be disputed against) in an African Council Can. 70. (which is the 103d in the Codex Canonum Ecclesiae Africanae) it is provided, that no Prayers be read in the Admi­nistration of the Eucharist, but such as have been approved in the same Council, or have been observed by some prudent Men formerly;Ne forte ali­quid contra fi­dem vel per ig­norantiam vel per minus stu­dium sit com­positum. which Canon, with some addition, is confirmed in the Second Milevitan Coun­cil, Can. 12. and the Reason given in both is, Lest there should any thing contrary to the Faith creep into their way of Worship. He farther adds, f. 34. ‘That many parts of the World, especially the last in those days, swarmed with Antitrinitarian and other Hereticks, who many of them, by unsuspected wiles, and dissimulations, and subscriptions of Con­fessions,’ (and why may not these be practised again? and why may not Princes now use Liturgies, a Remedy found out, it seems by Prelates, and derived to our days, attested by many Ages to have been effectual against such and the like evil Machinations of Sathan and his Disciples, as well as Prelates did of old) ‘endeavoured to creep into the Office of the Mini­stry of the Church; partly out of blind zeal to diffuse the poison of their abominations, partly out of carnal policy, &c. which increased the necessity of composing such Forms of publick Worship, as being silled with the Expressions pointing against Errors of those times, might be a means to keep Seducers from imposing themselves on Ecclesiastical Admi­nistrations. Thus there is no Ancient Liturgy, but it is full of the Ex­pressions that had been consented upon in the Councils that were con­vened for the condemnation of those Errors which were in those days most rife and pernitious.’ Though these very Reasons (abstract from those relating to the Power of Princes herein) prevail very much with me, and I am confident will with most rational and most unbiassed Persons for the establishing of Liturgies; yet our Author slights them, because it doth ‘not appear unto him, that these Reasons could possibly be taken from the Word, the Practise of the Apostles, or the Churches by them planted, or those that followed them for some Generations, nor from any Council held [Page 124]before their days, and so is not much concerned to know what they were. If our Author as an unbiassed and disinteressed unconcerned Person had consulted Scripture as much about the Power of Kings in things pertaining to God, as he hath done about the Liberties and Priviledges of his own Order, he could never have said, that these Reasons could not be possibly taken from Scripture, for Kings have their Power from Scripture as well as Priests. Though I have herein said something of the Kings Power, and more I suspect than all of his Profession, will cheerfully subscribe unto, yet I will say somewhat more here. In the Christian Church the Right and Office of the highest Power is not only conversant about the whole Body of Religion, but about the single Parts also, as Reasons and Examples do evince. In­deed it cannot be otherwise; for he that hath Right upon the Whole, hath Right upon the Parts. An Example is, Ezekias, who, that he might sup­press the Adorers Superstition, took away the Brazen Serpent, though set up by Moses; and by the same Right, against the Decrees of the second Nicene Synod, Charles the Great forbade the Adoration of Images. More­over it is most plain, that the Supream Powers used their Authority in defi­ning things which the Divine Law hath left undefined: The King of Ni­nevey proclaimed a Fast; David commands the Ark to be transported; So­lomon orders all things for the Ornament of the Temple, and after him Josiah: who also takes care, that the Treasure destined for Sacred Ʋses be not alienated. The Constitutions in Theodosius and Justinians Codes, and the Novels, and the French Capitulars, justifie the same; but because not in Scripture, I only mention them here. It seems very reasonable, that if Princes have power to pull down a Brazen Serpent, though set up for the healing of the People by a Prophet, when once the People commit Idolatry by offering Incense to it, that they have also just Power to erect, or command an unquestionable Liturgy, that may really and effectually conduce to the pre­venting or suppressing of Idolatry. And therefore if the very words of such Liturgy were not commanded precisely to be read, but were only in the Nature of a Directory, (which happily may not be displeasing to our Author) what could hinder but that some Popish Priests might again intro­duce at the time of Baptizing of Infants the use of Spittle, the kissing of them, the blowing in the face of them, to blow away the Devil forsooth, to give them the Eucharist, and many more such Fopperies now generally difused amongst Protestants, and others may baptize in Nomine Patris Filij & Spiritus Sancti, as we do; others in Nomine Patris Majoris & Filij Minoris, as the Arrians did; others, in Nomine Patris per Filium in Spiritu Sancto; others not in the Name of the Trinity, but in the Death of Christ, &c. and who shall hinder them? Other Sacrilegious Priests might also rob Gods dear Children of their Blessed Viands of half their just due in the Eucharist, and give them Bread only, keeping the Wine to them­selves, and teach them, that the Bread in their Hands is a proper, real, and propitiatory Sacrifice of Christ for the Living and for the Dead; and that which they eat under the shew of Bread, to be the very Flesh of Christ; whereas in truth they eat only the Substance of Bread, and indeed may make them believe that the very Moon is made of Green Cheese, infect their Flocks at their pleasure with Arrianisme, Socinianisme, the Doctrines of Adamites, Ranters, Quakers, and indeed what not? And if they did so, why were the Prince to be blamed if he did not prevent it if he had no Command or Power so to do? If he have Power, why so angry, that he makes use of it? If you know a better way, teach it, if not, submit [Page 125]to this, and acquiesee. This our Author seems to contradict by opposing experience to the contrary; and therefore, f. 63. he desires that none would be offended, if as his own apprehension he affirms that the Introdu­ction of Liturgies was on the account insisted on, the principal means of encreasing and carrying on that sad defection and apostacy, in the guilt whereof most Churches in the World had enwrapped themselves. A bold Charge I confess, but not against us, and much they have to answer for, that impose and use such Liturgies; and therefore I shall not be offended at this his Affirmation, but shall grant him his desire, and conclude upon the truth of it, that if Idolatrous, Superstitious, erroneous, and Heretical Liturgies, Mass-Books, (call them what you will, for such he must mean) have been so powerful and effectual to keep out Truth, and prevent the true Worship of God through most Churches in the World, what should hinder but that Liturgies teaching nothing but what the Word of God teacheth, nor pre­scribing any thing in the Worship of God but what is according to Scri­pture, (I must mind him that I plead for no other) should be as powerful and as effectual for the keeping out of Heresie, Idolatry, Superstition, and what ever is contrary unto sound Faith and Doctrine? And that they have been so, is as certainly verified, and as plainly to be demonstrated in all Places where such Liturgies (nay, though happily not altogether such, though I wish they were all reduced to such) have been used, as that which he affirms of erronious Liturgies.

§. At the Conference that was before King James at Hampton-Court, the Bishop of London put His Majesty in mind of what Monsieur Roguë the French Ambassador gave out concerning our Service and Ceremonies upon the solemn view and audience of them, viz. ‘That if the Reformed Churches in France had kept the same order among them, which we have, he was assured that there would have been many thousands of Protestants more there than now there are, f. 38.’ If some Innocent Ce­remonies were not commanded, and others not so Innocent abolished, what could hinder but that Shrines covering of Shrines, Trindilles, Rolls of Wax, Pictures, Painting, and all other Monuments of feigned Miracles, Pilgrimages, Idolatry, and Superstition, long since razed out of the Walls and Glass Windows might be brought into use again? If no Liturgies were established and imposed, what should hinder but the use of the Service of Th. Becquet, and Prayers, having Rubricks containing Pardons, or Indul­gences, and all other Superstitions, Legends and Prayers should be again intro­duced? And also the use of Hallowing Water, Bread, Salt, Bells, Candles on Candlemas-day, Ashes on Ash-Wednesday, Palms on Palm-Sunday: the Font on Easter Eve, Fire on Paschal, and a Sepulcher on Good-Friday, and several Masses contrary to the Form and Order of the Book of Communion, all long since abolished in Edw. 6. and Queen Elizabeth's days, and we may conclude confidently, yet without Arrogancy, that such Liturgies are warrantable and profitable, and that as many as do walk according to such Liturgies, (neither overthrowing that which they have built, by superin­ducing any damnable Heresies thereupon, nor otherwise vitiating their Holy Faith with a lewd and wicked conversation) Peace shall be upon them, and Mercy, and upon the Israel of God; and I appeal to all that shall read this, if I may not with as good a Warrant affirm that our Liturgy hath kept out Popery and its Trinkets, as he affirm as he doth; and certainly they are both equally and alike powerful towards the encreasing and sup­pressing [Page 126]of true and false Faith, Doctrine, and Worship. And it cannot be denied, but that since 1640. since our Liturgy hath been thus vilisied, set at naught, and disused, but that whole swarms of Sectaries, like the Frogs and Locusts in Egypt, have overspread the Land, and that open Pro­fanation, Blasphemy, Atheisme more in vogue since, than before. We have hitherto been openly battering his Out-works, his main and strongest Forts are yet behind,Vide Act Ʋni­form. f. 82.140. Car. 2. viz. ‘That Liturgies are a Humane Invention, that they occasion neglect and disabilities, 63. That they hinder the due exer­cise and improvement of Spiritual Gifts, and it is accordingly done in the imposed Liturgy, 67. It says expresly, That the Ministers of the Go­spel shall not use or exercise any Spiritual Gift in the Administration of those Ordinances for which provision is made in the Book, 68. That the Imposition of a Liturgy to be used always as a Form in all Gospel Ad­ministrations, (which he says do consist in Prayer, Thanksgiving, In­structions, and Exhortations, sutably applied unto the special Nature and End of the several Ordinances themselves, and the use of them in the Church, 63.) is an unwarrantable Abridgement of that Liberty where­with Christ hath made us free, and therefore sin in the Use and Imposition thereof. And as it is a Sin in others to abridge us of the Liberty purcha­sed for us by Jesus Christ, so it is in us to give it up, and not to suffer in our Testimony for it, 69. and then concludes, That the great Rule of Administrations is, That all things be done to Edification. And this is the main End of the Ministry it self in all the Duties thereof that are purely Evangelical; and what ever is contrary unto, or a hindrance of Edifica­tion, ought not to be appointed or observed in the Worship of God; and such is the state and condition of this Imposed Liturgy in Church-Ad­ministrations, for the Reasons mentioned, c. 10. f, 65.’

§. By which it appears, that one great Objection in their Esteem (though opprobrious only) against Liturgies is, That they are an Humane Invention. Be it so: what then? Therefore nothing of Humane Invention, be it ne­ver so consonant and advantagious unto the Truth, or the true Worship of God, is to be necessarily and indispensibly used in the publick Worship of God. If so, then by the same Rule and Reason we may conclude, that no Man must teach in private, or preach in publick, for that such Sermons, such Catechisings, are as truly the Inventions of the Brains of every Indi­vidual Person, as Liturgies are of the whole Church, or its Representative; for be it that the Forms of Liturgies were never instituted nor commanded by Christ, no more were the Forms of any Sermon or Prayers preached or prayed by particular Men since the days of Christ, and his Apostles: It is enough that the Subject Matter both of the one and of the other be ac­cording to Holy Writ: And we may rest assured, that as God will bless the Gifts and Labours of private Men in publick Prayers and Sermons, so will he also bless the publick delivery of his Word and Mind by such stint­ed Prayers, and such selected portions of Scripture, as many learned, pious, and gifted Pastors, Teachers and Fathers of the Church met toge­ther in the Name and Fear of God (which is not without the Promise Mat. 18.20. of a Blessing) with Prayers and Supplications, inventing, divising, and ordaining for the Glory of God, and real good of the Souls of Men, have solemnly appointed to be gathered into an excellent Form and Method, called a Liturgy, to be solemnly read for Gods Glory, and the Peoples Good; when as Reading is as truly the Ordinance of God, as [Page 127]preaching, Deut. 31.11, 12, 13. Indeed if Liturgies did contain like stuff as that of the Alcoran, or of the Romish Services, or Credenda or Agenda, Matters of Belief and Worship, contrary unto Divine Worship, Truths and Institutions, then indeed they may justly be called Humane Inventions worthily to be condemned, and demand who required these things? And so to Worship, and so to Sacrifice, were no more acceptable to God than to slay a Man, or to cut off a Dogs Neck, or to offer Swines Blood, Isa. 66.3. or to bless an Idol: And then indeed it might justly be said, That they have chosen their own Ways, their own Inventions, and that they that delight in such Litur­gies delight in their own abominations: But for such like we contend not,Ecclesiae non licet quis [...] instituere qu [...]d Verbo D [...]i scripto ad [...]er setur. nay against such our Church hath provided in terminis in the 20, 21. Act, made 1552. in the Innocent Time of King Edw. 6. viz. It is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing (ergo not Liturgies) that is contrary to Gods Word written, &c. nor to enforce any thing beside the same to be be­lieved for necessity of Salvation: nay the very same Josiah-like-Prince in his Injunctions set forth in the second Year of his Reign 1547. commands his Bishops, and other his Clergy, at least four times in the Year, to preach a­gainst Works devised by Mens Phantasies, besides Scripture; so far were our Pastoral Fathers of that time from countenancing Humane Inventions, or putting any such thing into the Liturgy, that they commanded that they should be preached against by all the Clergy, and so did Queen Elizabeth in her Injunctions Anno 1559. which have been observed ever since.

§. ‘That Liturgies are a Provision of Means exclusive of that Provision of Means for the Accomplishing of those Ends in the Worship of God for which Jesus Christ hath made and doth continue to make Provision; and therefore not allowable, and are unlawful.’

This Argument alone, I must confess, if true, were enough of it self to confound and overthrow all Liturgies whatsoever; there would need no other, and therefore he labours hard to make it good; alledging, ‘That the Administration of Gospel Ordinances in the Church consists in Prayer, Thanksgiving, Instructions and Exhortations sutably applied, &c. that he appointed Persons, viz. Pastors and Teachers for the Regular Admi­nistration of them; that the Furniture and Provision that Christ made for the performance of them, is, his bestowing of Gifts on such Persons called according to his mind to the Office of the Ministry, enabling them unto, and to be exercised in that Work. But the Provision that Litur­gies make, is, by a precise reading and pronouncing of the Words set down therein, without Alteration, Diminution, or Addition, and that toties quoties, (let so much go for currant;) and therefore exclusive the former, unless it can be made appear, that an Ability to read the pre­scribed words of the Liturgy be the Gifts promised by Christ for the discharge of the Work of that Ministry.’

§. This I conceive is no good Sequel, and must be inquired into; that those that composed our Liturgy, or those that may compose a new one, (either were or may be Persons qualified and gifted for the Work of the Ministry, and for edifying of the Body of Christ, and consequently without ex­ception) and that the Subject and Matter of our Liturgy is, or the Mat­ter and Contents of another Liturgy may be, (either is or may be will make good my Assertion for Liturgies in general) both for the Credenda and Agenda, for Prayers, Thanksgiving, Instructions, and Exhortations [Page 128]according to the Doctrine of the Gospel I think no sober Man will deny. Now if the Persons and Matter be granted to be such, then I conceive that it can be as little gain-said but that the composing of such Forms by such Persons is as truly a Gift, and an Exercise of some parts of the Gifts of the Work of the Ministry, as their composing of Prayers and Sermons, and afterwards praying, and preaching them without Book is by the several Ministers of the Gospel. This or that Form of words, and without Book, or within Book, cannot alter the Case.

For that which giveth the very Being to Sermons, conceived Prayers, &c. is the Wit and Ʋnderstanding of Man, and consequently they are many times corrupt; and it is the like Wit and Understanding of Man that gives Being to Liturgies, jam sumus ergo pares, in this, though hap­pily they may have their reciprocal Excellencies and Preheminencies one over the other in this or that particular consideration. I hope, and am ve­rily perswaded, that this Author when he penned this Conclusion and Ex­ception (viz. And therefore exclusive the former, unless that it can be made appear, that an Ability to read the prescribed words of the Liturgy be the Gifts promised by Christ for the discharge of the Work of the Ministers) did not intend to put tricks upon, or abuse his Readers, by equivocally wording of it. For a Child, or Heathen, or Infidel, or any other not called to the Ministry that hath newly learned his Horn-Book, may have an Ability to read the prescribed Words, &c. And in such it cannot be ex­pected that an Ability to read, &c. should be the Gifts promised. And therefore he is not to be understood barely of an Ability to read, which any Infidel or Child may do, but of reading the publick Service of God by those whom God hath appointed and gifted to administer in his Temple and Church; and by the Gifts, that he doth not intend all the Gifts promi­sed, nor yet that reading is the Gift [...] above all other Gifts, which are many; and therefore cannot reasonably be intended that any one, or if he mean all, or more than one Gift, should be instar omnium either instead or above all the other. It's enough for me if I can make it out that publick readings of the publick Service of God by the Pastors of the Church be one of his many Gifts, or that it be an Ordinance appointed by God him­self, and that it is quodam sensu preaching, or tant a monte: I shall not in the least trouble my self to prove reading to be a Gift, presuming, that it will not be denied either by our Author or any other. But I shall endea­vour to make it appear that such reading (such reading as we both do or should mean) is an Ordinance appointed by God, and practised by his People. And if it appears that both Precept and Practice doth abet and fa­vour the Liturgists, then I hope our Author will not be so peremptory in casting Aspersions on Liturgies.

§. First consult the Old Testament, and you shall find, that Moses (gifted no doubt) himself took the Book of the Covenant and read in the audience of all the People, (and therefore publick Service) and they said, all that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient, Exod. 34.7. Likewise the com­mand to the King, Deut. 17. was, That when he sate upon the Throne of his Kingdom, that he shall write him a Copy of this Law in a Book, &c. and shall read therein all the days of his life, &c. v. 17, 18, 19. The like command was to the Priests and Elders of Israel, to whom Moses deliver­ed the Law written, That when all Israel, Men, Women, Children, Stran­gers, come to appear before the Lord thy God in the Place where he shall choose, [Page 129]thou shalt read this Law before all Israel in their hearing, (of Sermons in those days there is no mention) to the end (and Liturgies are to the same end) that they may hear, and learn, and fear before the Lord your God, Deut. 31.9, 10, 11, 12. Moreover of Reading, and of the success and be­nefit thereof, the Scripture farther witnesseth, That when the Book of the Law had been some time missing, and was afterwards found, the good King Josiah, which heard it but only read by Shaphan, tore his Cloaths, and confessed, that great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, and thereupon went up into the House of the Lord, and all the Men of Judah, and Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he read in their Ears all the Words of the Book of the Covenant that was found in the House of the Lord, &c. 2 Chr. 34.18, 19, &c. whereby it is abundantly manifest, that here was not only a Command performed, (according to Deut. 31.13. Thou shalt read this Law) but repentance wrought by only reading of the Word: the like effect I mentioned before, Exod. 34.7. Again, the Solemn and Religious manner of reading, and hearing the Law, and the Comfort and Instructi­ons the People received thereby, is plainly and in terminis set down Nehem. 8. And all the People gathered themselves together as one Man, &c. and they spake unto Ezra the Scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, &c. And Ezra the Priest brought the Law before the Congregation, and he read therein from the Morning until the Mid-day before the Men and the Women, and those that could understand; and Ezra the Scribe stood upon a Pulpit, and opened the Book in the sight of all the People; (and therefore publick Service) and Ezra blessed the Lord the great God, and all the People an­swered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands also day by day, from the first day to the last day, viz. seven days he read in the Book of the Law of God, v. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.18. There is also a Promise of blessing annexed to it, That the Deaf shall hear the Words of the Book of the Lord, Isa. 29.18. and a Command from the same Prophet, Seek ye out the Book of the Lord, and read. Ch. 34.16.

§. Having now out of some few of many places of the Old Testament made good the Precept and the Practise of the Old Prophets, Kings, and Priests; let us now see what the New Testament, Christ and his Apostles, will afford us, that by two such unquestionable and immutable Witnesses every word may be established; first, That Christ himself is of the same Opinion with the Prophet, appears by Luke 16.31. where he saith, That if they would not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be perswaded though one arose from the dead. Nay, how often doth Christ send the Scribes, Pharises, and Saduces unto the Scripture, saying, How readest thou? or, have you not read? as in the matter of pulling the Ears of Corn on the Sabbath-day, Mat. 12.3. So concerning Divorces, Mat. 19.3. The Peoples crying Hosanna, Mat. 21.16. and concerning the Stone which the Builders refused, 42. and the Resurrection of the Dead, C. 22.31. nay, when he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and, as his custom was, he went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up for to read, Luke 4.16. and Paul coming to Antioch, went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and sate down, and after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the Rulers of the Synagogne sent unto them, that if they had any word of Exhortation to the People, to go on; then Paul declared, and laid the condemning of Jesus to the charge of those that dwelt at Jerusalem, and their Rulers, because they knew him not, [Page 130]nor yet the Voices of the Prophets, which are read every Sabbath-day, Acts 13.14, 15.27, 28. So the Apostles and Elders being solemnly met together in Council at Jerusalem, declared, that Moses of old time had in every City them that preached Christ, being read in the Synagogues every Sabbath-day, Acts 15.24.’ By which it seems in the esteem of the Apostles and Elders in those days, that reading was esteemed preaching; and the result of their meeting being written in an Epistle, and delivered to the Churches, and read, they rejoyced for the Consolation, 30.31. Likewise the Apostle Paul required, that those things which any one Churches Affairs gave particular occasion to write might for the Instruction of all be pub­lished, and that by reading; and therefore commands, ‘That when this Epistle is read among you, that it be read also in the Church of the Laodi­ceans: and that likewise, that ye read the Epistle to Laodicea, Col [...]s. 4.16.’ the like charge he gave to the Thess. 15.27. I adjure or charge you by the Lord, that this Epistle be read unto all the Holy Brethren, 1 Thes. 5.27. so you see that the Charge is peremptory, or with great vehemency; and therefore I shall confidently say with St. John, Blessed is he that read­eth, because the Word it self doth pronounce him so, if he also observe the same, Rev. 1.3. Adjurations we find none in use amongst Gods Servants, save when some duty of weight is charged upon the Adjured: And so Paul uses it here, adjuring to performance of it, and thereby notising unto us of how great necessity and use to Gods People is the reading of Scriptures in the Congregation; neither is it to be limited to this Epistle only, for that all Scriptures have the same Author, and are of the same use to the Church of God, and the like charge is given for other Scriptures, Coloss. 4.16. Now consider the Use in all Ages to Jewish Church; Nehemiah and others (as before) give Testimony for their times, and no doubt but after-times continued it. Josephus against Appian. In unaqua (que) septimana ad legem audiendam conveniunt universi: Every Week they all come to hear the Law; and records the Fruit thereof, Nostrorum quilibet de legibus interrogatus, facilius quam nomen suum recitat; they knew the Law as well as their own Names: To this agrees Acts 15.21. to after times Sto­ries give witness, Socrates, of the Church at Alexandria, once or twice a-week the Scriptures are read in the Assembly; and so necessary they thought it, that they ordained an Order of Readers, who had to that Function their Solemn Consecration: So was Julian (afterwards the Apostate) ordained a Reader in the Church of Nicomedia. Then consider the Power of it; 1. For discerning things that differ, and trial of Doctrines taught by the Preachers; to which End Esay calls to the Law and to the Testimony, and Beraeans practised it with commendations, 2. The People are thereby better acquainted with the Letter of Scriptures, and Language of the Holy Ghost, which always carries much more Awe, Majesty, and Con­viction, than what is not Scripture, the Power of it being exceeding great to work knowledge. God having in things necessary condescended even unto the meanest Capacity, it confirms Faith, and always is a strong Prepara­tive to saving Faith and Conversion, as to Austin was the obeying of the Voice from Heaven, Tolle, lege, to Junius the reading of St. Johns Gospel: in Josiah what remorse and compunction wrought it, 2 Kings 22.20. what Godly Sorrow to Repentance wrought it in the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 7.8, 9. of such necessity and avail to Gods People is the naked read­ing of Scriptures in the Congregation.

These Considerations should, and I hope will instruct us to beware how in our Judgment we vilisie this so holy and wholesom an Ordinance of God, it being as much Gods Ordinance that the Scriptures be read in the Congregation, as that they be interpreted and applied to the People by Preachments. Let us not be Monsters in our Worship, attributing a Ne­mis to some Ordinances, thereby debasing or derogating from other Ordi­nances; Sathans Policy herein is not inconsiderable, that would thereby fain make us prophane Anabaptists or Quakers, to contemn all Gods Ordi­nances, by permitting us to over-admire some one, that the rest may be despicable in our esteem: Prayer, amongst Romanists we see half Idolized; Preaching, too prophanely scoffed at: Reading, there are that most magnifie. There are of another Strain, desiring to turn our whole Liturgy, after the French or Geneva Schomme, into a meer Preachment. Know ye not that these all are Holy Ordinances of God, necessary, useful, powerful to their Ends assigned: of them all may we not say they are ordained of God? they that contemn shall receive condemnation? who, except prejudice or unpreparedness, have forestalled his profiting, hath not felt Gods Spirit by reading to enlighten, admonish, excite, mortifie, &c.? or can think God hath in vain, with such adjuration, enjoyned it to those that are Guides of the Congregation? I say as our Saviour of the Commandments, Whoso con­temns the least of these Ordinances, and teacheth Men so, he shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 5.19.29. Petrus Cunaeus de Repub. Hebr. lib. 2. c. 17. affirms, That howsoever the Law was read amongst them in the former times, either in publick or private; yet the bare Text was only read without gloss or descant. Interpretatio Magistrorum nulla, Commen­tatio nulla, but in the second Temple, when there were no Prophets, then did the Scribes and Doctors begin to Comment, and make several Expositions on the Holy Text, ex quo natae disputationes & sententiae contrariae, from whence, saith he, sprang up Debates and doubtful Disputations; and most probable it is, (saith another upon him) that from this Liberty of Interpre­tation sprung up diversity of Judgments, from whence arose the several Sects of Pharises Essenes and Saduces; who by their difference of Opinions did distract the Multitude, and condemn one another; even so, &c. Therefore thrice accursed is that practise of Rome, monopolizing Scriptures to the Clergy, (all Participes Criminis, Parties to the Cheat) as their Priviledge and Prerogative, interdicting the People, acquaintance with them without fa­culty first obtained from the Ordinary to some few, but at no hand may be publickly read in a Vulgar Tongue.Luke 11.52. Is not this the taking away the Key of Knowledge, and hindering those that would enter in? what, I beseech you, was Gods aim in that Gift of Tongues, what time he meant to set open to Gentiles the door of Faith, but that every one might hear in that Tongue wherein he was born the wonderful Works of God? Acts 2.8.11. To what purpose were the Labours of Ancients translating Scriptures into Vulgar Languages? as Hierom into the Dalmatian, Chrysostome into the Armenian Tongue, Vulphilas into the Language of the Goths? In Bedes time were ex­tant Translations into six several Languages for the use of the People of this Island: Vainly, except to the Laity also, their use was freely intended: This Apostrophe by the By relating only to Romanists, who, by so doing,Amongst Jews under Antio­chus, 1597. do vilifie the Gift of Tongues, and act diametrically contrary to the whole, Ch. 14. of the first of the Corinthians; thereby making themselves wiser than Christ and his Apostles. It can be but a frivolous Cavil for our Anti­liturgists to say, that the Intendment of the before-recited Portions of [Page 132]Scripture is for the reading of Scriptures only, and not for any thing that is composed by Man; whereas St. Pauls Charge to Timothy was general, viz. That he should give attendance to Reading, to Exhortation, to Doctrine, 1 Tim. 4.13. If this may be allowed for currant, I doubt it may prove as strong against Sermons, and where are we then? The Sermons of our Priests, and of our days, are not so the Word of God as the Sermons of the Apostles were: nay they are but quodam modo and interpretativè, term­ed Gods Word, because his Word is the Subject of which they treat, and Liturgies in this sense are or should be as much the Word of God, as Ser­mons; for the Wit and Gifts of Man gives equally the Being and Form to them both. Will you confine the Spirit, and ascribe Vital Operation to Sermons alone, or to the Administrations of every Individual Priest only, and not unto those composed by Bodies Collective? Is that to divide the Word aright, nay, is it not partial dispensation, so to rob Peter to pay Paul, to derogate from, and to deprive one Gift and Way of Administra­tion of its just Efficacy and Operation, and to attribute it wholly to ano­ther Gift of the same Stamp? Nay, is it not imparting the most peculiar Glory of the Word of God unto that, which is not properly his Word, nor no more his Word than Liturgies are? Apostolick Sermons were, no doubt, unto such as heard them, the Word of God; and are not their Wri­tings so now to us? Sermons are not the only Preaching, which doth save Souls: Writing or reading of what is written and spoken; speaking either extempore or premeditately do differ indeed, yet not so, but that they may all serve to one and the self-same general, if not particular End and Effect, and in our Case to the edification of the Church. The Apostles indeed could not write with their Tongues; but they did preach as well with their Pens when they writ, as with their Tongues when they spake the Gospel of Christ; and our usual publick reading of the Word of God, with the rest of the Liturgy, for the Peoples instruction, (by his good leave) is Preaching, Acts 15.21, 22. Can any Man imagine, or shew a Reason, that reading it self is not one of the ordinary Means and Gifts, which God hath appointed for the conveying of his Truths into the Hearts of Men; which being received, may be effectual for the saving of their Souls? Belief in all Sorts doth come by hearing and attending to the Word of Life, whether it be preached or read. The Word it self, whether read or heard, some time convinceth the Judgment, and perswadeth the Affections. Sometime Truth is wrought in the Heart by private conference and instruction from private Persons; so Apollos, though an Eloquent Man, and mighty in the Scriptures, yet was taught the Way of God more perfectly by Aquila, and Priscilla a Woman, Acts 18.26. Some Truth is taught by those whom the Church hath publickly called to the publick reading or interpreting of the Word. All these tend unto one and the same Glorious End, viz. to the Knowledge of Jesus, and him Crucified. And as Preaching (which is ex­plaining by lively Voice, and applied according to the Wisdom of the Speaker) doth not in its own Nature justle out or prejudice the Efficacy of any other means or way of publick Instruction, be it by Liturgy, or other­wise, or inforce the utter disability of any other means thought requisite in this Church for the saving of Souls: So Liturgies in their own Nature are not exclusive of any other provision of Means that Christ hath ordained for the benefit and service of his Church, as this Discourser avers: For the saving Force of the Word is not restrained to any one certain kind of de­livery; but how ever the same shall come to be made known, it hath its [Page 133]Force and Energy, and doth ordinarily save by every Mean, whether pub­lick or private, reading Liturgies, or hearing Sermons, or private Confe­rence, and Instruction, whether they be premeditated or extemporary. O! but though Liturgies are not in their own Natures exclusive of the use of other Talents, yet the English Liturgy (there is the grand Pique) doth avowedly and expresly say, ‘That the Ministers of the Gospel shall not use or exercise any Spiritual Gift in the Administration of those Ordinan­ces for which provision is made in the Book, f. 67, 68. And consequently the necessary and undispensable Use of Liturgies is directly exclusive of the Use of the Means provided by Christ, and for the End for which the Liturgy is invented and imposed, 63, 67, 68. And farther he saith, That the Liberty which some say is granted for a Man to use his own Gifts and Abilities in Prayer before and after Sermon will he fears, (as things now stand) upon due Considerations appear rather to be taken than given, and is very questionable, 42, 43. And that however it concerns not our present Question, because it is taken for granted by those that plead for the strict observation of a Book, that the whole Gospel-worship of God in the Assembly of Christians may be carried on and performed with­out any such Preaching as is prefaced with that Liberty pretended, 42, 43. and for that many that are looked upon as skilled in that Law and My­stery of it, do by their practise give another Interpretation of the intend­ment of its Imposition, making it extend to all that is done in publick Worship, the bare preaching or reading of a Sermon or Homily except­ed, 64. nor, saith he, is that the matter enquired into, whether Mini­sters may at any time, or in any part of Gods Worship, make use of their Gifs; but whether they may do it in all those Administrations, for whose performance to the edification of his Body they are bestowed on them by Jesus Christ, which, by the Rule of the Liturgy, we have shewed that they may not; and he doubts not but it will be granted by those who contend for the Imposition of the Liturgy, that it extends to the Principal Parts, if not to the Whole of the publick Worship of God in the Church, 64.’

§. If all were true that is here alledged, the day might probably be his own: but, me thinks in thus arguing our Author is not so candid as his other very Learned and Ingenious Writings speak him to be, when he deals with others in Points of difference of a far more dangerous concern and consequence: For though he cannot but most assuredly and demon­stratively know that here all Ministers of the Gospel have not only a li­berty, but are expresly commanded to use and improve their Talents even in publick, as often as they are called, either to implore Blessings, or deprecate Sins, and Judgments, to render Thanks, or to discourse and en­large themselves on all or any part of the Worship of God, or Christian Doctrine, and that it is the daily practise of them so to do throughout all the Kings Dominions: yet for him to say that it is a Liberty rather taken than given, and is very questionable, and that upon what this Man says, and that Man thinks or practises, is not to be ingenious according to his old wont; but to avoid all Sophistry, and to come to the demonstration of the Truth, this is meer matter of Fact, and we cannot erre in it, the de­monstration of which will and must clear this Point, and we must stand and fall thereby; and therefore sit liber Judex, together with the con­stant practise of the Church from the very Birth and first Introduction of [Page 134]our Liturgy unto this very day, for we must take both together: for that, the constant and uninterrupted Practise, Use, and Custom, is of that very great Force and Vertue, as sometimes to wear out and obliterate the very Force and Vertue of an Enacted Law to the contrary. The Matter of Fact alledged on his part is, That the Liturgy says expresly, that the Mini­sters of the Gospel shall not use nor exercise any Spiritual Gift, &c. but how or where to find this in the Liturgy, I know not; for I have turned it over once and again, and cannot find the least footsteps of any such Prohibi­tion, yet I will not affirm that it is not there. It's possible I may have over-look'd it; but grant it be in terminis, as he hath worded it, yet if from the first Institution of Liturgies the Use and Practise hath been con­trary, as most certainly it hath been, and no Man ever questioned for using his Talents, nay all commanded by Injunctions and Acts of Parliament to improve them, and strict Inquiry made accordingly at the Bishops Visi­tations according unto Articles of Visitation; then undoubtedly no such Prohibition was ever intended by the Imposition of our Liturgy, what ever the words may import: Indeed in the late Act of Uniformity it is Enacted, ‘That no Form or Orders of Common-Prayers, Administration of Sa­crament Rites and Ceremonies shall be openly used in any Church or Chappel, &c. other than what is prescribed and appointed to be used in and by the said Book: What doth this hinder, but that every Priest may use his own Talents in praying before and after Sermon, and in his Sermons to illustrate or declare any thing that best pleaseth him concerning any Do­ctrine, Ordinance, or Administration: This may be a Prohibition of the Use of any other Form or Book, Popish, Turkish, or other to be used in publick in the Nature of a Liturgy, but can never be fairly interpreted to be a Prohibition of the Use of Ministers Talents, which they may have occa­sion to exercise in their Oraisons, Preachings, Collations, Catechisings, or other Teachings in publick. Nay, were the words as he relates them, yet the general and constant practises of the Church having been diametrically contrary to those very words and sense of them, doth manifest to all the World, that the Intendment of them was never to be exclusive of the ex­ercise of the Ministers Gifts and Graces in the publick Worship of God, as this Author suggests it to be: Nay, suppose there were such a Prohibition in the strictest sense, and that it were to be strictly observed, (which were as much as in them lieth to null the very Ordinance of God, and to stifle his Spirit, which blows where it listeth) yet that makes nothing against Li­turgies in General, that may be composed and enjoyned without any such Sting or Venom in the Tail of them: Surely our Author cannot intend, that whilst he is reading of the Liturgy, or administring according unto it, either of the Sacraments, or any of the Ordinances, that he cannot use his own Talents eodem momento; if he should thus vainly argue, I must then refer him unto the Commands and Power of the Civil Magistrate, and unto the 1 Cor. 14.26, 27. where all things are commanded to be done for Order, and Decency, and in course, one speaking after another, and one Gift used after another, for God is not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace, as in all the Churches of the Saints, v. 33. I did at first resolve to wave the Justifying of the Particulars of any one, or other Liturgy; but being un­avoidably cast upon it, I must go on a little farther, though never so con­trary to my resolution and design: We have already considered Matter of Fact on the behalf of the Author, let us see now Matter of Fact making against him in the very Body of our Common-Prayer-Book. After the [Page 135] Nicene Creed, &c. it ordains, That then shall follow the Sermon, which is far from a Command; That Ministers shall not use or exercise any Spiritual Gift, &c. the same Book also directs, That the Curate of every Parish shall, after the Second Lesson at Evening Prayer, openly in the Church in­struct and examine Children, &c. which is so far from prohibiting the Ʋse of the Ministers Gifts and Talents, that it commands the exercise of them: Then consult the Book of Ordering Priests and Deacons, and then you will find, that the Bishops give many pious Exhortations to those that are to be ordained, declaring it to be their Duty and Office to instruct, preach, pre­monish, teach, seed, and provide for the Lords Family, and withal faith­ful diligence to use both publick and private Admonitions and Exhortations as well to the Sick as to the Whole, &c.’ and then ordaining them, bids them to be faithful Dispensers of the Word of God, and of his Holy Sacra­ments. Are not these Liberties, nay Commands, that they shall not Nap­kin-up their Talents, but shall employ and put them out unto Feneration Spiritual and Heavenly? Then consult all the Injunctions and Articles of Visitation from the days of Edw. 6. unto this our Age, and you will find them all full of like Commands, Exhortations, Inquiries, &c. I shall only trouble you with some few things out of the very first Injunctions, as the purest in the days of Edw. 6, 15.47. ‘where all Ecclesiastical Persons ha­ving care of Souls, are enjoyned to the uttermost of their Wit, Know­ledge, and Learning, sincerely and purely to teach in their Sermons the Word of God, and in the same exhort their Hearers to the Works of Faith, Mercy and Charity specially prescribed and commanded in Scri­pture, and that Works devised by Mens Phantasies besides Scripture, as Pilgrimages, &c. are detested and abhorred by God; they are therein also charged to exhort and counsel by all the ways and means they may, as well in their Sermons, and Collations, as otherwise, Fathers, Mothers, Masters, to bestow their Children and Servants in Learning, &c. and that they provide that the Sacraments be duly and reverently ministred in their Parishes: Nay, they are in those Injunctions charged, that if any do or shall know any Man within their Parish, or elsewhere, that is, a Letter of the Word of God to be read in English, or sincerely preach­ed, &c. they shall discover them to the Council, or the next Justice of Peace, in order to their punishment, s. 3, 4, 5.’ The same Injunctions command, That the Sabbath be spent in hearing the Word of God read and taught in private and publick Prayers, &c. Arch-bishop Cranmer, in pur­suance of these Injunctions, by his Articles of Visitation the same year made Inquiry, Whether the Ministers did preach purely and sincerely the Word of God in every of their Cures. Ridley, Bishop of London, in the Year 1550. prefixed before his Articles of Visitation 2 Tim. 4.12. viz.

I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, and his Kingdom, Preach the Word, be instant in season out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering, and Doctrine. And in the Body of them there are several Articles of Inquiry after the preaching of the Pastors, one whereof is, Whether any do preach any thing in derogation of the Book of Common-Prayer: And not without good cause, for that it was the Decree of a very Ancient Council, that no Man should be admitted to speak against that whereunto he had formerly subscribed; and it is against the Statute 1 Eliz. to speak against the Liturgy and Discipline established, Confer. 26, 27. in the Year 1564. there were Articles framed purposely for Doctrine and Preaching: [Page 136]Much after the same Tenor and purport have all our subsequent Injun­ctions, Articles, Canons, and Constitutions Ecclesiastical in our several Princes Reigns been: Nay in our very Acts of Parliament there is much concerning Preachers and Preaching: And is it then possible, that all this should be, and yet ‘the liberty which some say is granted for a Man to use their own Gifts and Abilities should appear rather to be taken than given, as this Author suggests. Certainly this great Cloud of Witnesses will cure our Author of this his fear, and set him and all others right as to Mat­ter of Fact in this Point, and so I leave it.

§. Other Objections he makes against Liturgies, if imposed, as that they occasion neglect, and disabilities; that they hinder the due Exercise and Im­provement of Spiritual Gifts, and that they are an unwarrantable Abridgement of that Liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free; and therefore sin in the Ʋse and Imposition thereof. These I take to be rather Libels, than just Ob­jections, for that there is no property belonging unto a good Pastor but what is very consistent with the true Nature and Use of sound Liturgies, as hath been shewed already. But if there be any such Watch-men that are blind, ignorant, dumb Dogs that cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber, greedy Dogs which can never have enough, lazy, idle Shepherds that cannot understand, Isa. 56.10, 11. that will take occasion from the Imposi­tion of Liturgies to neglect to feed their Flocks, to strengthen the Diseased, to heal the Sick, to bind up that which is broken, and to seek that which is lost; yet this cannot without slander be imputed unto the Nature and Condition of Liturgies, or their Imposition, but unto the Shepherds themselves, who will exact their due, but neglect their Duty, who take the hire of Labourers, but live as Loiterers, who love Pride, fulness of Bread, and abundance of Idleness, and to feed themselves, and not the Lords Flock, Ezek. 34.3. looking to their own ways every one for his gain from his Quarter, saying, We will fetch Wine, and fill our selves with Strong Drink, and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant, Isa. 56.10, 11, 12. (the more shame for those that ordain such, and put such into Preferments) and no doubt but God will in his due time require his Flock at the Hands of such Pastors, and feed them with judgment, causing their Habitation to mourn, and themselves to howl, for that God will spoil their Glory, Zech. 11.3. for indeed I know no power that Gospel-Ministers can undoubtedly challenge by their Charter from Heaven, but to preach in season out of sea­son, to teach their Flock, and duly to Administer Gods Ordinances and Sa­craments. And if this should be denied them by vertue of the Impo­sition of Liturgies, or that Liturgies were really exclusive of that Provision of Means that Christ hath ordained for the Edification of his Church (as this Author seems to brand them) it were better that both Liturgies and my self were tied to a Mil-stone and both cast into the midst of the Sea, than that I should thus plead for them; but being clearly convinced of the contrary, I shall go to that which is last to be touched, viz.

§. That Liturgies, if imposed, are against Christian Liberty.

§. Christian Liberty I must confess is a specious, and glorious term, a most precious and most excellent thing, an inestimable Blessing purchased by the death of the Son of God Jesus Christ blessed for ever; and therefore ought not to be infringed or impeached by any, and let him be Anathema that [Page 137]would willingly and knowingly endeavour it. And as it is a thing of very high concern to all Christians, so it is very apt to be highly wrested and abused contrary to the holy Ghost by Christians of divers perswasions, every man Writing and shaping it to his own humor, and fancying to themselves liberty in such and such things, and then wresting places to favour their fancies, which were never so intended by the Holy Ghost, which crime is chiefly charged and falls most heavily upon the Anabaptists, who do embrace an opinion very Licentious, Extravagant, and even de­structive to all Government, holding that a Christian Mans Liberty is lost, and the Soul which Christ hath Redeemed unto himself, injuriously drawn into Servitude under the Yoak of Humane power, if any Law be now imposed be­sides the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in obedience whereunto the Spirit of God, and not the constraint of Men is to lead us according to that of the Blessed Apostle, such as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God, Rom. 8.14. and not such as live in Thraldom unto Men, therefore their Judgment is, that amongst Christians there must be no Magistrates, for if there must be Magistrates, they must have Power to make Laws besides the Laws of God, but this Power they have not, because Christians have a free use of all the Creatures of God by Christian Liberty. Next unto the Anabaptists, it falls heavy (I wish I could say not Justly) upon some scrupulous Non-conformists, that under pretence of Christian Liberty, wherein they say they ought to stand fast (and so no doubt they ought) they often deny obedience to the Lawful Commands of the Magistrate, in the business of the Lord, and so use (or rather abuse) their Liberty, for a Cloak to cover their malitiousness, I will not say but their misunderstandings, and not as the Servants of God, 1 Pet. 2.16. There are others of the like Syna­gogue of Libertines; as Phanaticks, Quakers, Ranters, Adamites, & others. But because they are Persons having no Principles, no Mediums whereon to Ground and Regulate Discourses or Disputations, I shall wave and a little, look into the true nature of Christian Liberty, which according to Calvin con­tains some higher thing than the Liberty in the use of Ceremonies, and which I take to be a Spiritual Right or Condition in all the parts of it, because it pertains to Conscience. Be the extent of this Liberty what it will in it self, it is inwardly in the Conscience: But the publick use of it being in outward things and Actions, is therefore under the Order of Humane Laws, because Liberty is in Conscience, and the Magistrates Authority pertains to the Body.

§. For to make all restraint of the Outward Man in matters indifferent,Confer. at Hamp. Court, 70, 71. an Impeachment of Christian Liberty; what were it else, but even to bring Flat Anabaptism and Anarchy into Church and State, and to overthrow all bounds of Subjection and Obedience to lawful Authority? For wherein can the immediate Power and Authority of Rulers consist, or the due obe­dience of Inferiours be shown, if not in indifferent and Arbitrary things? For things absolutely necessary and commanded by God we are bound to do, whether Humane Authority required them or no, and things absolutely un­lawful as Prohibited by God, we are bound not to do, whether Humane Authority forbid them or no, there are no other things left then, wherein to express properly the obedience due to Superiour Authority, than in­different things, In rebus mediis lex posita est obedientiae, Bern. Ep. if any retort, as some have done, that if we are obliged to do things absolutely necessary and commanded by God, and obliged not to do things absolutely [Page 138] unlawful and forbidden by God without the Interposition of Humane Au­thority, then there are no things left for the exercise of Christian Liberty but only things indifferent, among which Liturgies may be reckoned, which Liberty if invaded or infringed by any Humane Authority: A great Gospel priviledge is thereby infringed which ought not to be: Then I must retort on them also and return their own Weapons upon themselves; if every restraint in things indifferent be injurious to Christian Liberty: then themselves are no less Injurious by their Negative Restraint, viz. use no Liturgy, wear not, cross not, kneel not, &c. like that Col. 2.1. touch not, taste not, handle not, then they would have the World believe our Church is by her positive restraint unto the use of our Liturgies and Cere­monies therewith used, let themselves be Judged, whether it is more Inju­rious to Christian Liberty, Publick Authority, by mature advice Command­ing what may be forborn, or Private Spirits through humourous dislikes, or at best not upon any demonstrative reasons forbidding what may be used, the whole Church Imposing the use, Or a few Dissenters requiring the forbearance of such things as are otherwise, and in themselves equally in­different for use or for forbearance. Besides, if I am not much mistaken, the true Nature of Evangelical Liberty, as intimated before, consists chiefly, if not wholly, about things of a higher strain and Nature, than of matters Indifferent, and it will be very hard to prove (by any one plain Text of Scripture without Wresting) the Liberty so much contended for, to be their Gospel and inviolable right, when the Power of the Magistrate doth interpose Pro or Con. For if indifferent things be the only subject matter both of Publick Christian Authority, and of Christian Private Liberty in every Individual Christian, whereon to exercise themselves, then the whole Gitt of the Contest will be, whether Publick Authority, or every Private Person be to be Indulged and Obeyed, Judge, even ye your selves, Judge.

§. Now, the best way to my apprehension to understand what the Apo­stles in their Writings do mean and intend by the Words and Terms of Liberty and Freedom, will be, to consider them with their opposites, viz. Bondage and Servitude, and this St. Paul doth (as in other of his Epistles so) most fully and most plainly in his Epistle to the Galatians, where he pur­sues these two opposite Terms Allegorically, under the two Titles of two Mothers, the one viz. Agar a Servant gendring unto Bondage, the other viz. Sarah a Free Woman gendring unto Freedom, thereby signifying the Two Testaments, viz. the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace, and thereby shewing that the Jews in respect of the Christian Church of the New Testament, were as Children differing nothing from Servants, but were under Tutors and Governours, and in Bondage under the Rudiments of the World: i.e. the Law or Ministry of Moses so called, in respect of a more full and clear Doctrine in the Ministry of the New Testament. Now the Law is a grievous Yoak which none can bear, because First it did bind the Church of the Old Testament to the Observation of many, and those very costly and burthensome Ceremonies and Sacrifices. Secondly, be­cause it did bind every Offender to everlasting death, Gen. 2.17.3 Gal. 13.3. it is a Yoak, as it increaseth Sin, (not casually but occasionally) and as it is the strength of it, 1 Cor. 15.56. 5. Rom. 20.7, 8. and whose property it is to gender unto Bondage. But after the fullness of time was come, and Christ had Redeemed them that were under the Law, they [Page 139]did then receive the Adoption of Sons. God had sent forth the Spirit of his Son into their Hearts, they were then no more Servants but Sons, i. e. such as enjoy the liberty of Sons, and were Free indeed, because the Son had made them Free, John 8.36. so Agar which typifieth the Law, is in Bondage with her Children, but Jerusalem which is above and typifieth the Gospel, is free, Gal. 4.25, 26.

Now Christian Liberty consists, first in our being delivered from the Curse of the Law for the breach thereof, and from the Obligation of the Law, whereby it binds us to bring perfect righteousness in our Own Per­sons according unto, do this and live. Secondly, From the Observation of the Ceremonial Law of Moses, Col. 2.16. Thirdly, It delivers from the Ty­ranny and Dominion of Sin, For Sin shall not have Dominion over you, for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace, Rom. 6.14. Fourthly, Christian Liberty is to have a freedom in good things, we are delivered from our Ene­mies, that we may serve God in righteousness and holiness before him, all the daies of our lives without sear, Luke 1.47, 75. and Paul saith, where the Spirit is, there is Liberty, Cor. 12.3, 17. Fifthly, It consists in the free use of all the Creatures of God, Whatever is sold in the Shambles, that Ea [...], asking no Questions for Conscience sake, 1 Cor. 10.25, 27.

I have perused these and divers others, if not all the places of Scripture urged by several of the Synagogue of the Libertines, whereby they lay claim unto their exhorbitant, dearly beloved, and much Idolized Liberty, to do what they list without controle or Inspection into their Actings, in and about Holy things, and do (and whosoever shall soberly and se­riously consider them together with their Contexts shall) find them all to Center into their own one and the same most naturall and genuine sence and meaning, viz. that by Liberty and Freedom in them mentioned, is mainly if not meerly meant the Liberty from the Yoak, Bondage, and Curse of the Law, it being a Spiritual liberty in all the parts of it, freeing the true Christian from the Servitude of Sin, and from all other Yoaks of Spiritual Bondage, wherewith Sin hath intangled us, and from which Christ the Author of this Liberty hath redeemed us and that the Law of this Liberty is the Gospel, and that neither in the Texts of Scripture urged by this Author, nor in any other that I know of, is there any one Syllable of force to support the Liberty that this Author seems to plead for, that is Impeached or Contradicted by the Imposition of sound Orthodox Liturgies. Mostly all the Texts wherein Liberty and Freedom are but Named, are ge­nerally Mustred up as a Cloud of Witnesses to shadow and shelter the Pleaders for their fancyed Liberty, that under the pretence and umbrage of them and their corrupt glosses upon them they may with the better grace deny obedience to the Lawful Magistrate in Lawful things in and about the Worship of God, and so use or rather abuse their true Gospel Liberty (which no man can take from them) for a Cloak to cover their Non-compliance with the Lawful Commands of the Civil Magistrate, which indeed are the Commands of the National Church, which to do, is certainly not to approve themselves unto God, Workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2.15. but by thus perverting and shaping Texts of Scripture to suit with their own fancies, they walk and dispute in Craftiness, handling the word of God deceitfully, and do not com­mend themselves to every mans Conscience in the sight of God, by manifestation of the truth, 2 Cor. 4.2.

§. Here I must call to mind the General Paraenesis or admonition laid down in the beginning of this Book, viz. p. 4. without any particular re­flection or respect unto this or that Author or Sect of any perswasion, being as lyable my self to the lash thereof, as any other if a transgressor. In my opinion (with submission to better Judgments) all the Texts mentioned by this our Author, do mainly if not meerly intend a Liberty from the Yoak and Curse of the Law. For first Christian Liberty is opposed to Jewish Bondage, and Servitude to that Yoak and Curse which lay upon them, and from which the Gospel freed them. Now that Gospel freed them and us, first from the Curse of the Moral Law, Rom. 8.1, 3. Gal. 10.13. not from the obedience of that Law, the obligation of it is Eternal and Indispensable, Parents, Ministers, and Magistrates, are as much to be obeyed now as then. Secondly, From the Yoak and Burthen of the Ceremonial Law, Acts 15.10, 28. This Law was abrogated at the death of Christ as to its obligation, and though it was observed by the Jews for some time after, even by St. Paul, Acts 21.20, 21, &c. yet this observati­on was not necessary, ex obligatione & vi legis, but voluntarily submitted unto in Christian prudence to gain the Jews.

Secondly, This is that Christian Liberty which Christ purchased for us, and the Bondage from which he freed us, and would have us stand fast in the maintaining of it, Gal. 1.4. And let us now see how candidly this Author deals herein with his Scripture Quotations. Of this Liberty pur­chased for us by Jesus Christ, so far as it relates to the Worship of God he makes two parts; first a Freedom from those Pedagogical Institutions of God himself, which by his own appointment, were to continue only to the time of Reformation, F. 69. this we will not question. Secondly, a Free­dom from subjection to the Authority of Men, as to any new Imposition in or about the Worship of God, 1 Cor. 7.21. And the same Rule is given out as to our duty and deportment in reference unto both these, Gal. 5.1. 1 Pet. 2.16. f. 70. unto this second part of Liberty only, I must crave leave to give check, and ask what he means by New Impositi­on. If by New Imposition be meant a new and false kind of Worship, or Doctrines that are not agreeable to the word of truth, but are plainly and clearly contrary thereunto, I say so too, but if thereby be meant a Liturgy, (and another cannot significantly be intended, having set up that for his mark and instance) not commanding nor expressing any new divised, or other Doctrine or Worship than what is agreeable to the Gospel of Truth, and other I defend not (and his main force is bent against Liturgies in gene­ral) I shall take Liberty to be a dissenting Brother until better informed. If I should appeal to himself, that if he had the same Liberty allowed him that he contends for, would he not adorn and deliver this Gospel Wor­ship, Truth, and Doctrines in his own dress of flourishing Retorick Elo­quence and Expressions, whereof he is a great Master. And is the Liturgy any more or other than Gospel-Worship, Truth, and Doctrines expressed, and made manifest by the various expressions of men, as capable of the same knowledge, and of the dictates and illapses of the same Spirit as him­self? O! but its Imposition, and the necessity of its observance by virtue of that Imposition, is the grand Pique indeed, that cannot be digested, it being in his Judgment, very unreasonable to impose forms on others, who ‘desire to stand fast in the Liberty with which Christ hath made them free, f. 31. God having never delegated his power to any to appoint or institute any [Page 141]thing in his Worship or about it, that seemeth meet unto their Wisdom, f. 50.’ this I take to be generally true, that whatsoever is lawful to be used without Imposition, may lawfully be imposed, and as lawfully used when imposed, therefore Imposition or not Imposition alters not the Case but is quite out of Doors: then this Liberty rightly stated, rightly understood and not wrested, is not denyed to this Author, nor unto any other that I know of, no nor yet so abridged by the Liturgy, but that he may have his desire and stand fast therein. But how he will prove this Christian Liberty to extend to such Dimensions and Latitudes as he pretends a right unto, hic labor, hoc opus. For though God never deligated his power to any without consideration of right or wrong to introduce a new or other false Worship, yet sure this Author upon Second and better thoughts and considerations, will not deny but that God hath delegated power to some on earth, that are no Priests, to regulate and Order some things in and about his own Worship, that seemeth meet unto their Wisdoms that are not contrary thereunto, as to appoint publick places for the Congregation to meet in, and to see that they do meet accordingly, and to appoint Pastors to read and Preach his word, and Administer his Sacraments rightly and duly, and to provide a maintenance, that they that serve at the Altar may live of the Altar, that all things may be done decently and in order, among which (some things) Liturgies may justly claim a Room, and to be imposed.

§. Now let us examine his Scripture Proofs, The first Text he brings to prove his Second Part of Christian Liberty (having divided it into two parts as before,) viz. that we have a Freedom from Subjection to the Au­thority of Men, as to any New Impositions in or about the Worship of God, 1 Cor. 7.21. Art thou called being a Servant? care not for it; but if thou maist be made Free, use it rather. What of this? Doth this prove that we have a Freedom from Subjection, &c. unto me any Sentence out of the Apocrypha, Alcaron, or Talmud might have been as good a Proof. The Scope of the Apostle in that verse (and indeed almost of that whole Chapter) being only to perswade the Corinthians unto contentedness of mind, in what Estate or condition of life soever they shall be called unto or placed in, and therefore in the Verse immediately before, he Commands, that every Man abide in the same calling wherein he was called, v. 20. and then follows, art thou called to be a Servant, &c. and in the subsequent Verses he reasons it thus, For he that is called in the Lord being a Servant, is the Lords Free-man, likewise, he that was called being Free, is Christs Servant, v. 22. and then follows, let every Man herein abide with God, v. 24. By all which the Apostle only teacheth, that all men ought to be con­tented with their Vocation, yet not so tyed, as it were by a perpetual and unalterable Law, that they may not be at Liberty to alter their Condition, when just Cause so requireth; and this he makes good by way of instancing the Condition of Servants, with words of Consolation, that though they are Servants to men, yet they being once made par­takers of that Grace of Christ, may notwithstanding in Spirit and Truth serve the Lord Christ, whose Service is perfect Freedom; and withall teacheth, that Liberty being far more Excellent and Commodious than Bondage, is rather to be chosen when opportunely it may be had. But in all this, not one Syllable towards the making good of his Assertion, viz. A Freedom from subjection to the Authority of Men, &c. He then proceeds [Page 142]to affirm that the same Rule is given out, as to our duty and deportment in reference unto both these, viz. the two parts of liberty divided by him as before, which he endeavours to provo by Gal. 5.1. and 1 Pet. 2.16. but with what success will appear upon their Scanning, stand fast there­fore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us Free, and be not intangled again with the Yoak of Bondage, Gal. 5.1. I most willingly confess the force that this place hath, for the justifying of his first part of Christian Liberty: but as to the Justifying of the second part, I conceive with submission to better Judgments, that it is of no validity at all. The Liberty here mentioned by Paul (the Apostle of uncircumcision) besides the general Intendment and respect it had to the general Freedom from the Obligation, Bondage, and Curse of the Law, purchased by Jesus Christ, it did more particularly respect Circumcision a part of the Mosaical Law, which might have been performed in Titus, as it had been before in Timo­thy, had not (saith Paul) false Brethren, who came in privily to spy out our Liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into Bon­dage, Gal. 2.4. Bondage! What Bondage? Subjection to the Authority of Men, commanding Lawful things about the Worship of God? Nothing less, but Bondage by binding them to a necessary observance of the Cere­monial Law, by teaching the necessity of Circumcision (which before Christ was a Sacrament, and a Seal of the righteousness of Faith, Rom. 4.11. But after the death of Christ, till the destruction of the Temple, it was a dead Ceremony, yet some time used as a thing indifferent: After the Destruction of the Temple, when the Church of the New Testament was planted amongst the Gentiles, it was a deadly Ceremony, and ceased to be indifferent,) imposing it upon him and Titus, making it a meritorious cause of Salvation, and teaching Justification and Salvation, was partly by Christ and partly by the Law, thereby intending to overthrow the Gospel of Christ, Gal. 1.7. against this Bondage, this Doctrine Paul Preached: behold I Paul say unto you, that if ye be Circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing, Gal. 5.2. that is, if you be Circumcized, believing that Circumcision shall be a Meritorious cause of your Salvation, and go back from your Christian profession and Liberty, Christ shall profit you nothing. And that which Paul saith here of Circumcision in particular, he means generally of the whole Law, for I testifie again to every Man that is Cir­cumcised, that he is a Debtor to do the whole Law, Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are Justified by the Law, ye are fallen from Grace, v. 3, 4. Therefore saith Paul, stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us Free, and be not intangled again with the Yoak of Bon­dage, v. 1.

That this is the most natural and genuine (if not only) sence of this por­tion of Scripture, will not I think be denied by any Protestant: but what farther use he can make of this for the Justifying his Second part of Chri­stian Liberty, without stretching and wresting the words beyond their meaning, is past my understanding, I am sure it is not safe nor warrantable, to impose any other sence on the Apostles words, than what he meant and is clear and evident. After such a deceitful way of handling Scripture, it would be no hard task to prove by Scripture that there is no God, that Prophets are Fools, and that Spiritual men are mad, Hos. 7.

But we proceed to his other places of Scripture (which are but two more) and examine if he hath dealt any more candidly, in alledging them, viz. 1 Pet. 2.16. and Acts 15. which we will examine as they lye [Page 143]in Order, the first of them is that of St. Peter, which he hath only quoted as he hath done the rest in Figures, (and not set down at length) without making any Application of them, the words are, As free, and not using your liberty for a Cloak of malitiousness, but as the Servants of God. But by what construction to make this Text favour or make good his Assertion, (viz.) A freedom from subjection to the Authority of men, as to any new Im­position in or about the Worship of God,) I must confess my Self to be Impar Negotio, and I believe it to be past his Skill also, without wresting the words beyond their Natural meaning. However I will give my Essay, by declaring the plain genuine sence of the place, and freely leave the Reader to Judge and make out the rest. This Verse is relative, being the Close or Period of somewhat before prescribed, but more especially of the three last Verses immediately going before, which relates unto and re­spect obedience and submission to Government. The Text and Context lye thus together. Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as Supream, or unto Governours, as unto them as are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the Praise of them that do well, for so is the will of God, that with well doing he may put to silence the ignorance of Foolish men, as free, and not using your liberty for a Cloak of malitiousness, but as the Servants of God. Honour all Men, Love the Brother-hood, fear God, honour the King, 1 Pet. 2.13.17.’ The Apostles when they Preached the Gospel-Doctrine of Christian Li­berty, At which false Teachers in those dayes did, and some in these our dayes do take advantage from the very name of Liberty, to teach the new Converted Christians, under that pretence to despise their Governours and Government, did take, and amongst them our Apostle doth here take occasion from that ground, to endeavour to prevent the abuses and misconstructions of the Glorious and wholsome Doctrine of Christian Li­berty by teaching that Christian Subjection and obedience under the term of well-doing, was very consistent with the Doctrine of Christian Liberty, and therefore he shews it to be the will of God, that they should submit to every Ordinance of Man, that by such submission, such well doing, they may put to silence the ignorance of Foolish Men, (viz.) false Teachers and false accusers,) and that this is reinforced with a strong Debet stampt upon it, (viz.) this they ought to do for the Lords sake, and this they might do as free without the least abridgement of their Christian Liberty, and freedom, and that as they had not their Christian Liberty, so they should not use it for a Cloak of malitiousness, (A Garment very ill becom­ing Professors of the Gospel) but as the Servants of God should Honour all Men, Love the Brother-hood, Fear God, Honour the King, and so proceed to the Subjection of Servants towards their Master, &c. this I conceive to be the natural, and no forced Scope of that part of the Chapter, whence the sixteenth Verse was taken, in which construction it more probably rather concludes against, than for our Discourser, as being Diametrically opposite to the end for which our Author quoted this Apostle. However, sit lector Judex. His next and last Fortress and Refuge is Acts 15. which is also brought to Justifie not only Freedom from Mosaical Institutions, but also from any succeeding Impositions of Men, ‘our Liberty equally respecting them both, yet he grants there may be, yea that de facto there ought to be an Abridgement made of our Liberty, as to the performance of some things at some times, which in general we are made free unto, where the performance in the use and exercise of our Liberty would [Page 144]prove an hindrance to Edification, the great thing whereunto all things are subservient. But then the case must be so stated Antecedent to any Imposition: that Abridgements of the Liberty of the Disciples of Christ by Impositions on them of things, which he hath not appointed, nor made necessary by circumstances Antecedent unto such Impositions, are plain Ʋsurpations on the Consciences of the Disciples of Christ, destructive of the liberty which he hath purchased for them, and which if it be their duty to walk according to Gospel Rule, is sinful to submit unto, and then concludes, that of this nature is the Imposition of a Liturgy contended about, is evident: It having no Institution or appointment by Jesus Christ, it being wholly of men, there being nothing Antecedent to its Imposition, that should make it necessary to be Imposed: A necessity of its obser­vation is induced upon and by its Imposition, which is directly ob­structive to our liberty in Jesus Christ, f. 70, 71.’ All which, and much more to the same purpose, I must confess our Author hath very perempto­rily and very Magisterially delivered, as if as true as Gospel it self: but whether in truth they are so sound that they cannot be condemned, and that both my self and others that are of contrary Judgments may be ashamed, I must crave leave to bring this Portion also of Scripture Acts 15.28. f. 25.70. to the Test, as I have done the others, and leave the Rea­ders to Judge, he himself having only by quoting of it, bid it Euge and Vale, only giving it a Salute and a Farewel, in one and the same breath, viz.

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things, viz. That ye abstain from Meats offered to Idols, from Blood, and from things strangled, and from Fornication, v. 28, 29. Ergo what? Ergo the Civil Magistrates ought not to impose a Liturgy, containing a wholsome form of sound words and Worship (for of such I must be always understood.) It must conclude so much, or it concludes nothing against the use or Imposition of such Liturgies, and whether such premises will yield that Conclusion, I leave the Reader to Judge; Nay, what if this place doth rather conclude for Imposition than otherwise, and that out of his own reasoning: For he confesseth, f. 15. that the things there mentioned and imposed, were not necessary in their own nature, but in the posture of things in the Churches necessary to the avoid­ance of Scandal, whereby the observation of that Injunction was to be re­gulated, which reason for ought appears to me, may more rationally yield this conclusion, Ergo, the Civil Christian Magistrate (which Collectively is as well representative of the Church, as of the Civil State) may impose Liturgies not absolutely necessary in their own Nature, but necessary for the sake of Order, Uniformity, Peace, and Coveniency of the Church, Testimo­ny of Obedience to the Magistrate Civil and Ecclesiastick, avoiding of Scandal, preventing of sundry evils that otherwise would ensue. But be it that this Text will Logically yield neither the one Conclusion nor the other; yet let us examine the occasion of this meeting, and of this resolu­tion, and let the Reader Judge how much or how little it makes for or against the Liberty the Discourser layes claim unto thereby.

The true State of the Question which the Apostles met to decide at Jerusalem was, whether the Gentiles which believed in Christ were to be Circumcised or not, and consequently bound, or not bound to keep the whole Law: It was this, to resolve, That whereas all such as embraced the Worship of God of Israel conformed to one of the kinds of Proselytes, [Page 145]Faederis or Januae, unto whether of them the Gentiles which had or should receive the Gospel of Christ were to conform themselves. St. Peter demon­strates it to the Council to be the will of God, that they should conform to the latter, and not to the former, because that Cornelius the first Christned Gentile (to whom he was sent) was no Circumcised Proselyte, but a Pro­selyte of the Gate, yet received he no Commission to Circumcise him. Yea the Holy Ghost as he was Preaching, fell on him and his Houshold being Uncircumcised, as it did upon those of the Circumcision; whereby it appeared that God would have the rest of the Gentiles which embraced the Faith, to be after the Pattern of Cornelius, and to have no more im­posed upon them than he had. And accordingly the Council defined, that no greater Burthen should be laid upon them than these necessary things mentioned, v. 28, 29. If it seemed good to the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost himself directing them to impose things as necessary, that were not so in their own Nature, as our Author confesseth, surely then the more natural and Logical deduction from the Fifteenth of Acts is, that for the same or other sound reason, and as the posture of things may so stand, some things not in their own Nature necessary, may by Lawful Authority be imposed for some Important considerations.

Here by the way it is fit to be intimated, that in this discourse the terms Necessary and Necessity be rightly understood, viz. that by Necessity is to be understood not a Doctrinal but an Obediential Necessity, not an absolute Necessity, but a Necessity, ex Hypothesi, or Necessitas convenientiae, so that by necessary, is to be understood very commendable, very expedient, very Behooful for the weale of Church or State.

This done I return to the Fifteenth of Acts, Jewish Ordinances had some things natural in them (which come not in our Verge at this time) and some things positive, some whereof by the coming of Christ were necessary to be abolished, and othersome indifferent to be kept or not; of the former kind were Circumcision and Sacrifice. The Apostle notwithstanding, did not so teach the present and utter Abolition, no not of those things which were necessarily to cease, but that even the Jews becoming Christians, might for a time continue in them, and therefore in Jerusalem the first Bishops even till the overthrow thereof, were Circumcised: And as for those positive things, which might either cease or continue, prout the present posture or State of the Church should require, the Apostles thought it necessary to bind even the Gentiles for a time to abstain as the Jews did, from things offered unto Idols, &c. In other matters where the Gentiles were free, and the Jews in their own Judgment still oblidged, the Apostles Precept unto the Jews, Condemn not the Gentiles: unto the Gentiles, despise not the Jews, Rom. 14.10. the one sort they warned to take heed, that Nicity and Scrupulosity did not make them rigorous, in giving unadvised sentence against their Bre­thren, which were free, the other, that they did not become scandalous by abusing their Liberty and Freedom to the Offence of their weak Brethren, which were scrupulous, whereby it is evident that the Apostle did impose upon the Churches of the Gentiles, some things only in respect of conveni­ency and fitness for the present State of the Church as it then stood; the words of the Councils decree are, It seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things, viz. That ye abstain from meats offered to Idols, &c. 28, 29. Indeed to have commanded the Gentiles to have been conformable to the Jews in those things, which were necessarily to cease at the coming of Christ, had [Page 146]been to have continued a Yoak upon the Disciples, which neither their Fore­fathers nor they were able to bear, Acts 15.10. And indeed to impose the like things upon us now, were to bring us again into such Bondage, in respect (of the Royal and perfect Law of Liberty, James 1.25, and 28.) as were insupportable, to bring us back to Onions and Garlick, and to leave the Land flowing with Milk and Honey. But to conclude from hence the unlawfulness of imposing Liturgies as our Author here doth, is such a deduction, such a peace of Scholastick Divinity, as is quite past my under­standing. Notwithstanding all these Texts of Scripture by the Author alledged, I humbly conceive that all the Christian Liberty that can be meant by these Texts, is fully allowed to our Dissenters, and is not in the least im­peached thereby.

§. There is one Subterfuge yet more left, which is drawn from the ex­ample of this very Council, viz. If Imposition be lawful, yet the Scandal, the Offence, or Inconvenience ought to be Antecedent to the Imposition: And then with much confidence, and very little truth (as I humbly conceive) avers, that there is no thing Antecedent unto its (thereby meaning the Li­turgy) Imposition that should make it necessary to be Imposed, either I under­stand not his meaning, or this is a very strange Doctrine, contrary to the very attributes of God, contrary to the very grounds of all Arts and Sci­ences, and Governments in the World: contrary to the very nature of Wisdom, for what is it else, but to deny even Gods Providence, his fore­sight, his preventing Workings and Graces; and to deny in men the use of their Prudence, their Reason, their Foresight, and their Forecast. Must the Old good Axiomes made Venerable by the Universal Acceptations of all Ages all the World over, be now thrust out of doors, and be accounted Foolish and Invalid, nay unlawful? Venienti occurrere morbo, turpius ejici­tur quam non admittitur hostis, to prevent Diseases, to keep out an Enemy rather than beat him out, are now grown absolete. Of Old this Axiome was held good, that he that is suddenly surprised, is half Conquered, and he that is forewarned, is half Armed, nay its two against one, a Wise man in Peace prepares for War, a Wise Marriner prepares in his Haven against Leakes and Batteries of Enemies, and violent Storms and Tempests. It was wont to go for currant, that it is too late to provide against an Evil when it is come, and that they are Fools and ill advised, that say, had I wist? or who would have thought it? But now it seems, Evils, at least in the Church, must be Antecedent, and consequently cast out, not prevented, though foreseen: so that that which hath been approved Wisdom all the World over, is according to this new light, these new Doctrines esteemed Folly, as a thing of naught, nay unlawful to be used.

However let no man deceive himself by thinking there may be some dif­ference in these Axiomes, or in the persons Executing or Practising them as they may relate to Church or State, to Civil or to Ecclesiastical concerns, For in this the same wisdom and Foresight is equal, indifferently respecting both concerns, and the power of Superiours for restraint, prevention, or Imposition equal in both, and the necessity of obedience in Inferiors, equal in both. And as no Man hitherto hath been, so I think no Man ever will be able to shew a real and substantial difference between them, to make an inequality: But as Civil Magistrates may for just reason of State prohibite and Impose concerning some things and persons: So Church Governors may upon as good and just reasons impose Liturgies, either for preventing [Page 147]or removing Idolatry, Superstition, Scandal, Inconveniences, nay be it on­ly for the sake of order, or Conformity. Wherefore I do conclude that it is much greater prudence to prevent evils and inconveniencies, than to amend and Reform them when they happen. But what do I trouble my self about this, for that it will not appear to be our case,Scandal and offence did precede the Imposition of our Liturgy. if our Author be found Tardy in matter of Fact, as I presume he will, for he saith expre­sly, that there is nothing Antecedent to its imposition to make it necessary to be imposed: In which I will joyn Issue with him, and let our Church History be Judge between us. Whoever knows but little of Church History, knows that long before we ever had a Reformed Liturgie established in England (the first of that nature, and also the second, was in the Minority of Edw. 6.) there was a Liturgie, a Popish Breviary and a Mass Book, long used and established in England as full of Idolatrous and superstitious Doctrines, Ce­remonies, and Worship as Leaves, which had so poysoned and infected all the Kings Dominions, that it had run into the veins of every Parish. A­gainst this Poyson our Josiah-like Prince and Minor, by the advice of his Spiritual Physitians and Councellors ordains several Antidotes, both to expel that which was Corrupt, and Venemous, and to Ordain and set up that which was wholesom, even a Liturgy (as the chief Turn-key to let in and to keep out both the pure and impure, sound and unsound) con­taining a wholsom form of sound words able to prevent the return of the lately expelled Romish Corruptions, which was accompanied also with o­ther helps, as Commands from the King by Proclamations, Injunctions, Visitations, Instructions, Acts of Parliament, and indeed what not, that a wise and well-meaning Council could suggest for the advance of a more pure Reformation, all little enough, so strangely and so universally had the former Leaven and Poyson of Idolatry, and Superstition wrought in the hearts and minds of the generality of this Nation, which Antidote and Remedy was found to be so effectual both for the expelling Idolatrous and Superstitious Worship, under which this Nation had long, and heavily groaned, and also for the Propagation of more pure Gospel-truths and worship, that Queen Mary was no sooner quietly Seated on her Throne, but that even by the advice of her Popish Council she nulled all that her Brother had done in that behalf, because they had by experience found it so effectual for the keeping out of Romish Doctrines, and Worship, and therefore by a Statute 1o Mary, 2o repealed the Statutes of 5 and 6 Edw. 6.1. which had been frivolous to have done, had they not found the real effects of it to their prejudice, nay, of such admirable force and vertue was the use of that Liturgy found to be in those days, and in that conjuncture of affairs, that the wisdom of the very next succeeding Princess (who hap­pily had as wise a Council, as ever any of her Predecessors had) and there­fore most likely to be best acquainted with the Avail and effects thereof, thought it then also the best and most avaliable means that possible could be found by the Ecclesiastical and Civil wisdom of those days, in order to the Readvancement and propogation of the true reformed Religion, so happily begun in the days of her most excellent Brother, to repeal what Queen Mary had done, and to re-establish what Edward 6, had done, ac­cording to an Act of Uniformity, made 1o Eliz. by all which, and by much more that might be justly alleadged it is demonstrable, that the cause was Antecedent to the Imposition, the Popish Mass-Book before the reform­ed Liturgy.

If our Author be not yet satisfied in this matter of Fact, that at the first reformation scandal, and other necessary circumstances were Antecedent un­to the Imposition of the Liturgy, I shall then beg the favour of him but a little to look back upon the 6 Ch. of his own Book, fo. 36.39. and consider if according to his own Heraldry, his own draught of the Pedegree of our Reformation and Liturgy, if he give not the Precedency to the Scandal (the Mass-Book, so great a Scandal that it may be justly called a Catholick scan­dal or Heresie against the very Scripture it self) and not to the Imposition which certainly is as demonstrable as that Car. 1. was before Car. 2. And confesseth that the scandal and Reformation then did somewhat resemble the Scandal and Imposition mentioned, 15 Acts. For after he hath pleased himself in summing up some ends and some considerations, which he con­ceives the then present Reformers had in framing of our Liturgy, he then says. And this afterwards accordingly they (meaning the Priests) did, reading the Service-Book instead of the Mass, &c. (which is a plain Con­fession that the Mass, and consequently the Scandal was before the Impo­sition of our Liturgy) rejecting out of the Offices before in use (what can be more plain) such things as were directly contrary to the Articles of Faith, professed in the Reformation in hand, Translating of what remained, into En­glish, it being before in Latine, (Another plain demonstration) with such sup­plies and alterations, as the rejection of those things beforementioned made ne­cessary, f. 39. And thus almost every Line gives precedency to the Scandal before the Imposition. And indeed its impossible it should be otherwise, for without all peradventure the Corruptions to be Reformed must pre­ceed the Reformation, and consequently, be Antecedent to the Liturgy. He also, there confesseth, that indeed somewhat there was in this Case (meaning the Reformation and the Imposition of the Liturgy) not much un­like that insisted on the entrance of this Discourse. viz. ch. 1. Between the believing Jews and the Gentiles, mentioned, Acts 15. the more like they are, the more it Justifies our Liturgy. He proceeds yet further on in mak­ing the Parallel and Similitude between the Scandal in the days of the A­postles, and the Scandal in the days of our Reformers, which still justifies them and their Reformation, together with their Liturgy, tho he is pleas­ed to make other Inferences as that because the use of those necessary things im­posed, Acts 15. ceased, so should now the use of our Liturgy, and that it seem­ed to be the Aim of our first Reformers, f. 39.40. But where this Aim of our first Reformers doth appear, non constat, & idem est non esse & non ap­parere. But were it so in truth, yet this is not our case, for the same grand reasons that prevailed with our Reformers to introduce and impose a Litur­gy, are still in full force and vertue to continue it, viz. to prevent the re­turn of Popish Worship and Administrations in the publick service. Intus existens prohibet Alienum.

§. It is also observable that besides the Popish Scandal which was Antece­dent to our Liturgy (which alone was cause sufficient to introduce a Counter-Mine, a Liturgy) there were Scandals of another nature Antece­dent also, and prevalent enough to introduce the same, and that to be con­firmed by Act of Parliament, and that under penalties not small. For tho before the Liturgy was made, reviewed and confirmed by Edw. 6. He had set forth one uniform Order of Administring the Holy Communion in both kinds, yet all people being in a manner left to themselves, to give and re­ceive the Holy Eucharist being only under general directions, and that as [Page 149]yet but by Proclamation only, that what about the placing of the Alter or Table, and what about the manner of giving and receiving of it, it caused great Schisms and Factions, and gave great occasions to the grand Adver­saries, the Papists, to reproach us that we could not so much as agree, where or how to set the Table, nor how to give or receive the Eucharist when set, some taking and placing it one way, and some another,Miles Hubard display of Protestants f. 81. which gave occasion unto some (prophanely enough) to call it our Oyster-Board which, White of Lincoln, charged on Bishop Ridley: the like did Weston Prolu­cutor of the Convocation, 1 Mary reproach Lattimer withal, telling him, that Protestants were like Apes, not knowing which way to turn their Tails. And it is Recorded in the Register Book of Petworth, that many at this time affirmed the most blessed Sacrament of the Alter to be of lit­tle regard, that in many places it was irreverently used, and cast out of the Church, and many other Enormities committed, which they seconded by oppugning the established Ceremonies, and it is not improbable, but that if the Liberty here pleaded for, were granted, but that the same disorders and confusions would also return, and therefore for these also amongst many other reasons Antecedent also (as for avoiding diversities of Formes, and Opinions, and for establishing Consent, touching true Re­ligion and Worship, and for removing of some Offences taken by Calvin and his followers, whose design it was to have this as well as other Church­es, to depend on his direction: It was thought fit by our Learned and prudent Governors, both of Church and State (the better to settle peace and truth, and to keep out Error and Superstition) to Establish a Litur­gy and Rubrick.

As Reformation was a Work most glorious, so it was a work most difficult, because it was to Null and cancel such Customs and usages in Divine Worship as tract of time, Age after Age for many Generations had made so habitual, and had taken such deep root and Impressions in the Hearts and Souls of the People of all sorts from Father to Son, that in humane reason it appeared almost impossible. And therefore a Work not to be undertaken by blew-Apron or Tradesmen, nor yet by giddy Phanatick Multitude, nor indeed by any but by the Supream Magistrate, and therefore a Work fit only for a King, and such a King only as was fit for such a Work, fit to match the Empress of Abominations and of the World, and such a King proved Henry the 8th, Having great courage and great understanding, and great resolution, without which requisites he could never have done what he did.

§. As our Author in his sixth Chapter hath given us his Account of the Refor­mation and of the Introduction of our Liturgy (not without some unbe­seeming reflections, on so great so good a Work) to make the better way for the design of his Book, so I shall take leave to give you also a short ac­count thereof for the better Justification of our Liturgy, and leave the Reader to Judge and favour which he please.

Tho Henry the 8th, from his Cradle lived in an Antichristian Age and Church, so that he suckt in the very Milk of the Mother of Harlots and Abominations, and tho he made great havock of the Blood of Saints and Martyrs, scourging them to Death with his Six knotted-Whip of Articles. And tho he made great havock of the Popes Power and Patrimony wrongfully, so called, and not excrescences: For indeed Monasteries, &c. That he destroyed and took away, were for the most part exempt from [Page 150] Episcopal Jurisdiction, and wholly depended on the Pope, who was not so much the rightful Head of the Church then, as was this Henry the 8th, and therefore were not so essentially belonging to the Church as were the Bishops and their Patrimony, yet it cannot be denied but that he left the Officers and Fathers of the Church that were more truly so, (the Bishops) in many respects in a better condition then he found it, both in respect of the Polity and the Endowments of it, and also in order to a Refor­mation of Doctrine and Worship, the Polity was mended, in that he ba­nished the Power of the Pope and setled it on himself, to whom it did more rightfully belong, and on his Bishops, moderated the extream Se­verity of the Six Articles, abolished the superstitious usages observed on St. Nichola's day, all which may abundantly be seen in the Church Histo­ry and by his Proclamation of Sept. 19. 1530. by a Publick instrument of the Convocation dated, March 22. after acknowledging him to be Supream Head of the Church of England, as also by several Acts of Parliament, viz. H. 24.8. c. 12.25. H. 8. c. 1.20, 21. and 28. H. 8. c. 10. In Order to a Reformation, H. 8. first permitted the Bible to be Translated by Mr. Tyndall, Anno 1530. afterwards Martyr. But some Bishops having ill Cha­racterized him to the King, it was afterwards suppressed: But the Popes Authority declining about the year 1536. the King issued out an Order for a New Translation (indulging in the Interim the use of a Bible, then passing under a feigned Name of Mathews Bible, not much differing from Tyndalls) which came forth Anno 1540. which was called the great Bible, and sometimes Coverdales Bible or Translation, the publick uses thereof and of all other Translations was interdicted, 1542. and so continued without leave of the King or Ordinary first had, until Edward 6. repeal­ed that Statute, and introduced the publick use thereof again, according to Miles Coverdales Translation, which doth not much differ from Tyndalls, from this Translation doth our Liturgy derive the Translations of the Psalms and other Portions of Canonical Scripture, since which time we have had two other more exact and refined Translations, one in Queen Elizabeth her time called the Bishops Bible, another in King James's time; that the Psalms and other Portions of Scripture in our Liturgy, were not altered in Queen Elizabeths days, according to the best Translation then extant, was be­cause it could not be done without altering the whole Frame of the Li­turgy, which the Sages of those times thought not prudent to endeavour, by reason of the different temper of those Parliaments, in which it had always some potent Enemies, but why they were not lately altered with our Liturgy, and as the Scotch Liturgy before had been, I can give no ac­count. If the last Translation be the most perfect, why were they not made Conformable to that and so compiled? if it be not the best, why is it commanded to be used at all? H. 8. by his Injunctions, 1536, and 1538. abolished Church Holy dayes and Holy dayes in Harvest time, he ba­nished the Popes Supremacy and asserted his own, he forbade Images and Pilgrimages, commanded Prayers in the Mother-tongue, and every Pa­rish to provide a Bible in English, and to place it in the Quire, for every Man to Read therein and no Man to be discouraged from it, but to be ex­horted thereunto, the Lords Prayer to be Learned in English, Sermons to be made Quarterly at least, with Instructions not to trust in Works divised by Mens fantasies besides Scripture, as in wandring to Pilgrimages, offer­ing of Money, Candles, or Tapers to feigned Reliques, or Images, or Kis­sing, or Licking the same, saying, over a number of Beads not under­stood, [Page 151]or such like Superstition, and therefore all such Images, to be pul­led down, that that most detestable offence of Idolatry may be avoided, the commemoration of Tho. Becket to be quite omitted, Fox, 1247, 1250. In farther Order to a Reformation in points of Doctrine, he first caused his Convocation, Anno 1537. to Compose a Book expounding the Creed, the Lords Prayer, the ten Commandments, the Avy Mary, and the seven Sacraments, more agreeable to the truth then formerly, and it was called the Institution of a Christian Man. But this Book lay snug and played least in sight as long as the six Articles were in force, and afterwards was Corrected by the Kings own Hand, and approved by the Convocation As­sembled, 1543. and published under the Title of a necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man. He likewise commanded all Curates to teach the Lords Prayer, the Creed, Avy Mary, and the ten Commandments in English, and also the Bible in English, to be placed in every Parish Church by his Injunctions, Anno 1536, 1541. Then by his Injunctions, May 6. 1546. he caused an Extract to be drawn out of the Latine Service con­taining many of the best and most edifying Prayers, which with the Le­tany he caused to be made English, that the People might the better un­derstand the Prayers of the Church, which was called his Primer, so far and farther did this great Spirited Prince proceed towards Reformation, sweeping away some of those many Romish Rubbish and Corruptions where­with Religion was then Tainted with a fierce Beesom of Destruction, which none durst to have attempted or gone about (as the posture of things then stood at home and abroad) but a Prince able to match the very Mother, and Mrs. of those very Abominations in sierceness, and haughtiness of Spirit, of whom it is storied, that he never spared Man in his Anger, nor Woman in his Lust. And thus did God by fomenting an evil spirit between two such fierce Enemies unto the truth, and purity of his Church, and worship turn the malice and mischief of his Churches E­nemies, unto his own Glory, and his Churches use, and advantage, and by his providence and disposal, made use both of their Persons and Purposes even against their own wills to his own most Righteous, and wonderful ends secretly, and mightily directed their wicked designs and Machinati­ons to the Comfort of his Church, and chosen in the Accomplishing, where­of he shall ever be admired by all those that Believe, that they who in succeeding Ages shall gather themselves against Syon, and say, let her be defiled, and let our eyes see it may themselves fear and tremble to be gathered as Sheaves into the Floor, and the Daughter of Syon to arise and thrash them with Horns of Iron and Hoofs of Brass.

Henry 8. Having by thus breaking the Ice made some way towards Re­formation, tho happily not Intentionally unto what followed, marched of the Stage of this World unto the Generation of his Fathers, to give an Account unto the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (as all his Predeces­sors had before done, and all his Successors must do) of all the things he had done in the Flesh whether they were good, or whether they were evil, his Son Edw. 6. Ascends the Throne, Inheriting his Fathers Crown, but not his Vices, who? Josiah-like, both in Minority and Piety took care in Cu­nabulis in the very Infancy of his Reign, that his Council should consult and use all their endeavours to make a more Gospel-like and through Re­formation, in which he did not patrizare (as his Sister Queen Mary did af­ter him) march furiously with Fire and Faggot, nor yet according to the advice that Calvin (who fond of his own Chymara, and Pettish at all Prin­ces [Page 152]that in Reformation would not tread in his Steps) gave to the Pro­tector, viz. to go on without fear or wit: but proceeded therein pacatè and consultò well knowing that his Father by the rough handling of his Wives, of the Pope, and of other great Princes and Persons, provoked and lest many great and bitter Enemies to his Crown, and that more he should raise against himself on the score of his intended Reformation, but he con­sidered withal that Dimidium facti qui bene coepit habet, that Alterations be­gun and founded in Wisdom, and prosecuted with care would continue firm and durable. Therefore he and his Grave sages were not (as some of more puny dayes were) for the violent pulling up of root and branch, plant and build, who would, and who could, but they took all things in­to consideration. As that tho Reformation ought to be, yet could not be without the Alteration of long received and Established Laws and Or­ders, Rites and Ceremonies, such as had been from Generation to Gene­ration an Impediment unto Piety, and true Gospel Worship, and unto which the generality of the People were wedded, having been Trained up therein from their Cradles, that, as the change of all Laws, and more especially of such as related to Religion, ought very circumspectly to be proceeded in; Laws as all other sublunary things being subject to Imper­fection, and many times grounded and made on Sandy and unsure Foun­dations and wrong Suggestions, that many times tho they be enacted as behooful, yet in Experiment and Practise prove very Inconvenient and dangerous if continued, that Experience daily finds just reason to abro­gate many Laws tho of long standing, and Laws that are expedient for one Age, not to be so for another; that sometimes alteration of Laws tho from the worse to the better (which was the case of our Reformers and Reformation) is many times attended with Inconveniences and those very considerable; and therefore wise Legislators do not always choose nor e­nact that, nor all, which is most behooful, but that which is most behoo­ful and may be practised with least disturbance to the quiet State of the Church or Kingdom. David knew many things fit to be done in his Kingdom, yet for great reasons of State would not do them himself, but when he lay on his Death Bed left them in Charge with his Son to do, say­ing, thou art a wise Man, do thou according to thy wisdom. 1 King. 2.6.9.

Therefore our prudent and pious Josiah did as early as he could abolish such things as might be abolished, and establish others as might be receiv­ed with least disturbance, and most approbation of the Peoples minds, and without danger, leaving other some to be cancelled and abrogated by himself, if God had lent him longer life, and sit opportunities, or by his Successors if God so pleased, or by disusage through tract of time. Did not Christ and his Apostles Steer the same moderate course, when they introduced Gospel Worship, whilst they dispensed for a season with Cir­cumcision and other Ceremonies in the Proselites of the Gate which after­wards became absolete meerly through tract of time and disusage. Did not Circumcision continue in the Church for the Succession of 15 Bishops next Succeeding the Apostles, having been all Circumcised? And might not our Reformers for the same reasons justly retain such Innocent Ceremo­nies as they did, declaring as they did declare? might not Naaman the Syrian go Innocently into the House of Rimon the Idol Temple, not to VVorship, but to do his Master service, declaring publickly as he did? I know that there is no God in all the Earth but in Israel, thy Servant from henceforth will offer neither burnt Offering nor Sacrifice unto other Gods, but only to the Lord. 2 King. 5.15.17.

This most excellent Prince (tho he were the Son of a Boarnerges, yet fu­ry he hated, sire and faggot were none of his principles) after much so­lemn deliberation chose to Steer his Course in a mild and gentle way, and therefore first recalled those that had abandoned the Kingdom, and re­leased the Imprisoned, because they would not submit to Romish supersti­tion and corruptions, that they might enjoy that liberty of Conscience, for which they had suffered extremities in his Fathers time, and that they might be serviceable to him in the furtherance of the work of Reformation, and forthwith without staying, for the return of the Banished he smoothed the way to the intended work, by setting out some preparatory Injunctions, yet extant, which were sent abroad into all parts of the Kingdom by certain Commissioners or Visitors attended by Godly and Learned Preachers, ap­pointed to instruct the People, where they were to sit and Act, the better to facilitate the work, that the people might not cool or relapse, these Preachers were more particularly instructed, besides the points contained in the said Injunctions, to disswade the People from Praying to Saints, to the dead, from Adoring of Images, from the use of Beads, Ashes and Processions from Mass, Dyrgies, Praying in unknown Languages, &c. all which was done to prepare the People, by little and little, that with the more ease and less opposition, they might insensibly admit the total in­tended Alteration in the Face of the Church. In the whole Progress they did deem it best to remove those things first, which were least need­ful and newliest crept in, and therefore did Abrogate a number of Sts. dayes, and recalled the Latine Services, and all Antiphoneys, Missals, Grailes, Processionals, Manuals, Legends. Pies Portuasies, Journals and Ordinals, after the use of Sarum, Lincolne, York, Bangor, Hereford, or any other of Private use, and all other Books of Service, that might hinder the Service in English, and so Established the Liturgy, which was also Tran­slated into the French, for the use of the Marches of Calais, and the I­slands of Jersey and Guernsey, famous for that unparallel'd Martyrdom of Perotine Massey, who being great with Child was in the Marian dayes there committed to the Flames, amidst which, her Belly bursting and her Child falling into the Fire was (like a Brand) pluckt forth thereof by one Wil­liam House, but was presently ramanded again to the flames by Gosling the Baily, that it might have the Honour which never any had before to be born as well as dye a Martyr. Articles of Religion and discipline Cate­chisms, Churches cleansed of things burthensom to the People, offensive and scandalous to the Simple, to which, God gave such Blessings and Success, that many Papists considering the reasonableness and purity of the Worship, frequented our Churches and turn'd Protestants, others, tho Pa­pists, still frequented our Churches, until the Pope made it a signum di­stinctivum and then many return'd with the Dog to the Vomit, and with the Sow that was washed to her wallowing in the Mire, unto their old Idola­trous and Superstitious fopperies again. Tho this most worthy Prince by his wise and moderate Council and management, brought that great, that difficult, that admirable work of Reformation to such excellent perfecti­on in so short time, that this Nation hath found the Blessing and comfort of it ever since, even to this very day, yet doth it not escape the pri­vate reproach of this Author among others (tho elsewhere he seem also in some part to approve it) who would have us remember that our Refor­mers were but men, who never claimed Infallibility: and that the Reforma­tion was performed by men which never claimed perfection. f. 36. that the Book [Page 154]of Common Prayer became a bone of contention from its very Cradle to this Nation and unto other parts of the World; many of the People and Ministers seeming to be enlightned with a beam of truth, with an equal luster and brightness, with that which shined in the minds of their Brethren, wholly decrying that prudential Complyance with the Peo­ples Ignorance and Adherence to Popery, and which Considerations he supposes ought to prevail with sober men, to take the whole matter of the Imposition of this, or the like form, once more under a Sedate Consideration.’ f. 40.41.

§. It is true that our Reformers were but Men: that they never claim­ed Infallibility, nor their work perfection, such perfection as God promi­ses, Isay. 35.8. a High way of Holyness throughout this Land, that Way-fa­ring men, tho Fools, should not err therein, yet such perfection as the wis­dom of the wise and Godly of those times, and the posture of Affairs then could devise and would admit of, we humbly conceive they had and ought so to be esteemed. But is not he that Objects these, and were not those great Luminaries he minds us of, Men, subject to like Passions and Infirmities with their Brethren? or is he, or were they any more Infalli­ble than those he Objects against? If not so, nor so, why so quarrelsom? why so Captious? O! to have the whole matter taken once more into a Sedate Consideration. The request I confess is modest and mannerly and not without Reverence, and it shall be considered with like respects.

By this Discourse of his, he seems to me to be of Opinion happily not erroneous, viz. That there is no such Contrariety between the different Opinions of the Assenters and Dissenters, in point of Liturgies and things indifferent, but that some moderation and connivance may be indulged to the Dissenters without peril of Inconvenience to the Government, and that without it, these petty differences and trifles may accidentally foment Divisions and disturb the quiet State of the Kingdom, and therefore the more prudent and safe way were to connive (at least by a prudent Neu­trality between the Contrarieties) and take care that none do Condemn the other, nor yet the present Government, but that all do live peacibly and Piously together.

In the dayes of Luther many moderate Popish Princes were of the same Opinion, and that many of the Modern Innovators Opinions might have been tollerated, if they had been modestly Maintained without Con­demning the Church of Rome and the Doctrine of the Schools, which constrained Leo to retort against Luther those Arrows which he had first Shot against the Apostolick See: But what more usual in all Countries Ages and Times, than for Innovators by Petition, nay, by Protestation to shew willingness to refer themselves and to submit to a Sedate Considera­tion, nay, even for Papists themselves in their Differences and Disputes (which are not few, as may be seen in Bellum Papale) to refer themselves to the Pope, yet neither the one nor the other ought to be believed, that he or they have a purpose to acquiesce, if a neat and sit occasion be offer­ed to evade. Of this great truth the Arrians, the Dominicans, and Fran­ciscans, Jansenists, and Molinists, indeed all Sects and Heresies give abun­dant Testimony, nay, of this, Luther himself was a Manifest example, who (while he had to do only with the Fryers-Pardon-mongers in Ger­many in matters of Indulgencies as also with the Doctors of Rome) did always say that he referred himself to the Pope, and when Leo challen­ged [Page 155]the promise for real, which was pretended only, Martin did not on­ly not keep it, but inveighed more against his Holyness, than he had done against the Pardon-Mongers.

I appeal to our Author himself, was it ever found in any Story, that e­ver any man or number of men were willing to have their Opinions Con­demned? rather if their Opinions were rejected, they defended them more obstinately, fortifying themselves the more by reason of Opposition, by which means of many Sects, many Heresies have sprung.

§. But to come more closely to his desire, let us consider and examine matter of Fact, how far this Discourser and his Predecessors of the same perswasions have been gratified already in this way, and what effect it hath had, and how far it hath wrought upon them. Was not the first Li­turgy in Edward the 6th, time, Composed by as Learned and as Pious Men, Men, known to all the world to have been famous in their Generation, for hazarding their Bodies to be burned in Queen Maries days, or if they e­scaped the Fire, were Banished or imprisoned, and only because they would not submit to Popery and Superstition, and upon as solemn deliberation as that Age could, or perhaps, as any Age since hath afforded: was not that Liturgy ratified by Act of Parliament, set forth March 17. 1549. and (to gratifie some that fancied themselves to have a more pure Beam of light) was it not revised again in the same King's time, and re-established? An. 5.6 Edward 6. And was it not taken again into most Solemn Conside­ration. Eliz. 1. and before the Parliament would pass their Vote for it, and put their Stamp unto it, was it not held requisite that a Disputation should be held in English before them, for the better clearing of some points therein, as about Service in a Tongue unknown to the People, a­bout the Power of the Church concerning Ceremonies, Ecclesiastical Rites, &c. and was it not held accordingly by 9 of each party, which began the 30th of March, each party one day delivering in Writing their Arguments, and the other the next day answering them in Writing a­gain?

§. Did not King James in the very beginning of his Reign so far con­descend, as to comply with some of his more scrupulous Subjects, (who deeming themselves also to have a more pure beam of light than Prelates or Conformists) Petitioned his Majesty for some amendments of our Li­turgy, on pretence of fitting it unto more encrease of Piety, as after a­bove 40 years establishment and quiet usage thereof, to have it scanned and debated over again by a most Solemn conference at Hampton Court, his Majesty with others of his Council being present, and undoubtedly as well able to Judge as any that argued Pro or Con? whose admirable dex­terity in discerning, whose Judgment and Learning in Affairs and Con­troversies of that Nature, gave such satisfaction even to the Opponents themselves, that they all seemed satisfied, and promised Conformity, and Obedience for the future, and Dr. Sparks one of the chief favourers of that Petition did write a Book to perswade unto Conformity, at which Conference the Abetters of the Petition gave so little satisfaction unto his Majesty, that he deemed all their exceptions to be no other than the Phantasms of scrupulous Indiscretion, and therefore concluded that if af­ter 45 years injoyment of the clear light of the Gospel, any did yet continue dissatisfied, that such dissatisfaction did proceed rather out of [Page 156]stubbornness of Opinion than out of true tenderness of Conscience. How far our Service Book was taken into sedate Consideration under the Reign of Charles the First of ever Blessed memory, and also of Charles the Second since his Restauration, and how little it hath wrought upon those for whose sake it was taken into Consideration is so Notoriously known, and yet so fresh in our memories, that it is enough I have only menti­oned it. And is it not now setled de Novo and ratified by that Power that gives Life unto all our Laws, but yet if his desires should be grant­ed, and indeed our Liturgy should be found to stand in need of some few and small amendments, and should be amended to the satisfaction of this Importunate Petitioner, yet if his Book be a just portraicture of his Opinion, he out-shoots Calvin one Bows length at least, in that he is a­gainst all stinted Formes of Prayers and Praises, to be Read and used by the Administrators of Gospel Ordinances in their Administration of them (which Calvin was not) yet it makes nothing against a Liturgy, that may, or doth need none, and for such it is as I plead: Besides, Moses did not think it an Impeachment of the gifts of the Ministry, nor yet of Edisication, when he prescribed a set form of Blessing the People, Numb. 6.23.27. Be­sides what security will or can this Petitioner give, that we shall from thenceforth have no more the like Impetuous and Importunate desires from others, and that our Liturgy shall then rest unquarrelled at? Or what security can he give, if he should be gratified in taking away the Liturgy, that the quiet State of the Kingdom shall not be disturbed, or that Popery and Popish Worship in several Parishes, if not in all, shall not reenter?

Besides, all great Councils in matters tending to Innovation in the Pub­lick Government (especially when Religion is concerned therein) ought in prudence to be back't by Arms, least they prove destructive to the un­dertakers, which consideration made Edw. 6. to put himself at the Head of an Army for the preservation of his Person, of his Council, and even of the Reformation it self, it was but prudence and high time so to do, and that early too, as the several Insurrections did shortly after demon­strate, in which though Inclosures were pretended, and were in the Front and Face of them, yet returning to Idolatrous and Superstitious Worship, was in the Heart and in the depth of their design.

Besides, it is marvellous to consider that after the Act for Repealing of all such Statutes as any way seemed to touch the Subject in Life or Liberty for matter of Conscience made in the times of Richard the 2d, and Henry the 4th, against the Lollards, who differed in Opinion from the Church of Rome, or in the time of Henry the 8th, as that Terrible Act of the 6 Articles made 31 Henry 8. and those other of a more mild Nature made 35 Henry 8. c. 9. for the qualification of the said 6 Articles, and the Act prohibiting the Reading of the Bible in English, made 34 Henry 3. c. 1. were passed, and before the Liturgy was established. All men seem­ed by such Repealing to have had a liberty of Reading Scripture, and of being their own Expositors of entertaining what opinions in Religion best pleased their fancies, and promulgating them (such a Liberty is now ear­nestly but inconsiderately pleaded for again.)

But what did this Liberty produce but Factions, Schisms, and variety of Fashions, and Modes in Celebrating the common Service and Admini­stration of the Sacraments and other Rights and Ceremonies of the Church, nay, it is observed as intimated before in the Register of Petworth, that [Page 157]many at this time affirmed the most blessed Sacrament to be of little re­gard, that in many places it was irreverently used, and cast out of the Church, and many other great enormities committed, nay, many of the Licensed Preachers appear'd as Active against the Kings proceedings, as any of the unlicensed Preachers had been found to be now what se­curity can this our Author give to our Prince, that if the like Liberty should now be Indulged to him and others that it shall not be abused, nor produce the like or worse effects?

All which together with the Insurrections in Cornwall, Devon, Nor­folk, Suffolk, and other Counties springing therefrom, the King and his Council seeing the dangerous consequence thereof, concluded that Uni­formity was the best remedy against Schisme, Heresie, Faction, and for the quiet State and Weal of the Kingdom, and therefore gave Order to the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and other Learned and Pious Men (rather than to use Severity against his Subjects) that a publick Liturgy should be drawn and Confirmed by Parliament with several Penalties to be Infli­cted on all those, who should not readily conform to the Rules and ap­pointments of it, and accordingly it was so signified unto the Kingdom by Proclamation.

Queen Elizabeth, who was not unacquainted with such Sollicitations, nor with the Consequences of them, gave that reason in her time for not suffering any deviation from the established Form, viz. that the English, Angli beli [...] intrepidi. as they were Zealous in their Religion, so they were a Stout and War­like Nation, and the difference in Rites and Worship would unavoid­ably beget words and disputes, which would certainly beget Animosi­ties, and consequently Blows and Insurrections, the experience whereof she had seen in the first years of her Brothers Reformation, for the Com­missioners attending the Kings Injunctions, met in many places with Scorn, and Reproach, and Railing, and the farther they went from London the worse they were handled, in somuch that as one of them was pulling down Images in Cornwall, was Stabbed by a Priest, who tho Hanged in Smith­field, which quieted all matters for a time, yet the next year the Storm arose more violently than before, not only in the Western parts, but in a manner all the Kingdom over, which great Commotions the Council foreseeing as the most probable consequence of such Alterations, especi­ally, when they are sudden and pressed too fast, did let the People un­derstand that there was no Intention to abolish their Antient Ceremo­nies, which might consist with Piety, or the Peace or Prosit of the Nati­on, and therefore the King, both by his Proclamation dated in Jan. 1548. commanded a strict observance of Lent, and also pursued it by his own observance thereof in his Court, by which and other like Innocent com­plyances did the King make good and established his most happy Refor­mation, and yet is he and his work, and his prudent Innocent Complyan­ces evil spoken of by some Boarnarges, hot and fiery spirits, because for­sooth there were some that had a Beam of Light, of equal Lustre that would have had it otherwise. The most eminent whereof were Bonner, Calvin, John Alasco, and Hooper the very first Anti-Liturgists. Pardon I beseech you that I name that Sanguinary Bonner the same day with those Pious Men. John Al [...]sco and Hooper having suffered very much for the truth, and Bonner having made the truth highly to suffer, and Calvin who setting aside the fondness of his own Brat, the Chimera of his own Invention, his Church discipline, and also his rigid opinions concerning Election and [Page 158] Reprobation (now even in this our Age become the Darling arguments of our Atheists, or which is as bad of all those that live as it were without God in the World, who tho they profess God with their Mouths, yet in their Works do deny him) was both as wise a Man, and as orthodox in points of Doctrine, as any as that age did afford, and did Write so much, yet so it is, that the Beam of light which Bonner and his Gang en­joyed, led him and his Complices as much to make the Liturgy a Bone of Contention to them, in that it took away so much and retained so little, as the Beam of Light of the others did make it a Bone of Contention to them, because it took away no more and retained so much. For Bonner did still suffer sundry Idolatrous private Masses of peculiar Names, as the Apostles Mass, the Ladies Mass, and the like to be daily solemnly sung within certain particular Chappels of St. Paul, cloaking them with the Names of the Apostles Communion and our Ladies Communion, not once finding any fault therewith, until commanded by the Council, and that by several Letters, 1265.

Tho I am far from thinking that any Person or any Reformation can be too pure, when God hath commanded us to be Holy, as he is Holy, and perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect, it can then be but an accursed modesty, even next unto Atheism, to believe that any Man or any Re­formation can have a Nimis of Purity and Piety, yet I can no more re­nounce moderation, reason and Prudence in guiding and Governing Church than State Assairs, nor yet subscribe unto Calvins Counsel unto Bu­cer, viz. to take heed of his old fault, viz. of running a moderate course in his Reformations, nor yet his Advice to the Protector, Advising him to take away all Ceremonies, and to Reform the Church without regard unto peace at home, or Correspondency abroad; such considerations being only to be had in Civil matters, but not in matters of the Church, wherein not any thing is to be exacted, which is not warranted by the Word, and in managing whereof, there is not any thing more distastsul in the eyes of God, than World­ly Wisdom, either in moderating, cutting off, or going backwards, but meer­ly as we are directed by his Will revealed, Ep. ad Protect.

More particularly for example sake, see the ill Fruits and Effects of such Liberty as our Discourser Pleads for, being granted unto John A­lasco (A Polonian born) and unto his Congregation of Germans and other Strangers, by Edw. 6th, about the year 1550. who being persecu­ted in their own Country, for the same Religion which was then here professed, fled hither for Succour, to whom the King by the Advice of his Council, out of great Zeal to the propagation of the true Religion, and out of most wonderful Commiserations unto those that were per­secuted for the profession and exercise thereof most graciously afforded them Favour, Entertainment, and Protection, and did assign them the West part of the Church, then lately belonging unto the Augustine Fry­ers for their Exercising of Religious Duties, and made them a Corporati­on consisting of a Superintendent, and 4 other Ministers with Power to fill the Vacant places by a new Succession, and the Parties by them chosen to be approved by the King and Council, all which and much more his Majesty by Patent, dated July 24.4. Edw. 6. did indulge unto him and them, notwithstanding, that they differed from the Government and Forms of Worship established in the Church of England, which Indulgen­ces the King and Council did hope might have been enjoyed to the Comfort and Advancement, and not to the detriment of the Religion [Page 159]and Worship here professed; and yet it did prove otherwise, and did ad­minister great occasion of great disturbance to the Church, in the setling of the Reformation then in agitation and in fieri. For by permitting these Men tho strangers, to live under an other kind of Government, and to Worship God with Forms different from what were by Law here esta­blished, proved in the Issue the setting up of one Altar against another, and the erecting of Regnum in Regno.

This gave encouragement unto that good and Pious person John Hoop­per, afterwards Bishop of Gloster, and a Holy Martyr, who leaving the Kingdom in the persecuting dayes of Henry the 8th, and setling himself at Zurich, a Town in Switzerland, where he enjoyed the society of fa­mous Bullinger, and other good and Learned Men, and returning into England in the dayes of Edward the 6th, and bringing with him stron­ger Inclinations to the nakedness of the Zuinglian or Helvetian Churches, tho dissering in opinion from them in some points of Doctrine, and more especially, in those of Predestination, and being preferred by the Kings Letters Patents, to the Bishoprick of Gloucester, he did very much scru­ple to be consecrated in the Bishops habit setled by Rules of the Church, which bred very great Inconveniencies and Disturbances, inclining others to boggle at the same, and other like Rites and Habits, from which, Men and time we may justly Write the date of our Liturgy, becoming a Bone of Contention. Indeed, he was so Pious a Person, that he found many and great Friends, both at home and abroad, to Countenance him as the Earl of Warwick, the Protector, Calvin, nay, the King himself, did Write unto Arch-Bishop Cranmer (afterwards his fellow Martyr) to dispence with his Scruples. But the Arch-Bishop (to whom Ridley then Bishop of London, stuck very close) humbly besought the King to Pardon him, if he did not obey his Commands against his Laws, which would preserve him in peace and quietness, if he kept them. And yet some Indulgence through so great mediation was permitted unto him, viz. that tho he were Consecrated, in the habit then in use, yet he should not ordinari­ly be obliged to wear it. These differences being thus Broached, and finding such great Favourers of them, gave encouragement to John A­lasco to step out of his bounds, and so to abuse the Royal Priviledges that were granted to him, as that he appeared in favour of the Zuin­glian and Calvinian up-start Discipline, by Publishing his Book intituled Forma & ratio totius Ecclesiastici Ministerij, wherein he maintains sit­ting at the Holy Communion, which Custome he brought from Poland, where sitting at the Sacrament, was used by the Arrians, who looking no otherwise on Christ then as their Elder Brother, denying his Godhead thought it no robbery to be equal with him, nor ye [...] to sit Cheek by Jowl with him at his own Table.

From such Familiarity shall I say or irreverence towards the Son of God, grew great contempt of that Ordinance, even in those times as hath been observed out of the Register Book of Petworth.

And yet these were not all the mischiefs these Indulgences did pro­duce. For what with Calvins Interposing and mediations with the Pro­tector on the behalf of Bishop Hooper, and tho his exceptions against some Antient usages in the Liturgy, and tho the Indulgences and Conveniences granted unto John Alasco and his Congregation of Strangers, a successive multiplication of Factions and Disorders in the Church did ensue; from the Irreverent receiving of the Sacrament, grew a Contempt and Depra­ving [Page 160]of the Sacrament it self; from the Contempt of the grave habit of the Clergy, grew a disteem of the Men first, and then vilifying and contempt of the Ministry it self: So, that it was Preached at St. Pauls, by one St. Stephen the Curate of St. Katherine Christ Church, that it was sit the Names of Churches and of the Week dayes should be altered, the Fish dayes should be kept on any other dayes, than on Fridayes and Saturdayes, and Lent at any other time than between Shrovetide and Easter, we are told also by John Stow, that he had seen the said St. Stephen to leave the Pulpit, and to Preach in a Tree in the Church Yard, and then returning into the Church to sing the Communion Service on a Tomb Stone, neg­lecting the place appointed for that purpose.

And was not the like, or greater contempts in fashion in our late dayes of Liberty, when Liturgies were not only not imposed, but disgraced, set at nought and used but by some few, and that in Corners only, so that such exorbitant effects cannot be justly imputed unto the Imposition of Li­turgies. Look but a little abroad even in the same Age, presently after the death of Edward the 6th, during the short Reign of Queen Mary, where no Liturgy was Imposed, and you shall sind the same sad conse­quences and effects of Liberty among the several Churches or Congrega­tions, gathered mostly of those that withdrew themselves from the cruel persecution that Reigned in the Marian dayes unto Embden, Stratzburg, Frankford, Zurick, Geneva, and other Transmarine places, amongst whom the Ball of Contention was very hotly bandied by Calvin, Goodman, Knox, Wood, Sutton, Whittingham, Williams, Cox, Grindall, Sandys, Haddon, Chamber, Parkhust, and divers others, and all those in defence of several wayes of Worship, wherein Knox acted his part so furiously, that he gave disturbance to the quiet State and Condition of the Empire so high­ly, that he being accused of high Treason against the Empire, he with­drew himself from Stratsburg, to Geneva, the usual product of such Con­troversies. This I only hint at, to make it appear that Liturgies and Forms of Divine Worship do become Bones of Contention, as well where they are not Imposed, as where they are; so that Imposition or not Imposition, matters little, the Contentious will be always Contending: If there were not imposed a stinted Form of Words for the Administration of the Sa­crament, what should hinder but that every individual Priest might imi­tate the Vicar of Ratisdale, in King James's time, or do worse, who was proved before the Arch-Bishop, and the Lord Chancellour, by his unseem­ly and unreverent usage of the Eucharist, dealing the Bread out of a Basket, every Man putting in his Hand and taking out a piece, to have made many Loath the Holy Communion, and wholly to refuse to come to the Church Confer, f. 99. 100. Now on the contrary, by such Impositi­on all such abominable Irreverent practices are prevented, and thereby care is taken according as the Council of Milevis, Can. 12. decreed, Ne forte aliquid contra sidem, vel per ignorantiam, vel per minus studium sit composi­tum? Lest by chance either through ignorance or want of due Study and Consideration, Heterodox or unsound Tenets be Broached, or unre­verend practises used: Moreover Calvin himself adviseth it with his Valde Probo, Ep. ad Protect. I do exceedingly approve of it, 1o, ut consulatur quo­rundam simplicitati & imperitiae. As a means to help and supply the sim­plicity and unskilfulness of some, 2o, ut certus constet Ecclesiarum omnium in­ter se consensus, that the consent and harmony of all Churches under one Government may the better be ascertained, 3o, ut obviam eatur desultoriae [Page 161]quorundam levitati, qui Novationes quasdam affectant. That the Capricci­ous giddiness and Levity of such, who like nothing but Changes and Innovations, may be obviated. Nay, the same Calvin inforceth it farther with an Oportet, statam esse oportet Sacramentorum celebrationem Publicam item precum formulam, Epist. Protectori. There is no other remedy, an e­stablished set Form, there must be for Celebration of the Sacraments, and also for Common Prayer, which Opinion of his I doubt the Discourser doth not favour.

§. It's a strange Phanatick Opinion, that hath long possessed the minds of some, that nothing may be Lawfully done or used in the Churches of Christ, unless there be express Command or Example for it in Scripture, which Tenet is unsound in it self, and pernicious in its consequences, up­on which, also the great Doctors and Patrons of Liberty do graft ano­ther, viz. that without some express Command from God, there is no Power under Heaven, which may presume by any Law to restrain the Liberty which God hath given, which Opinions shake, nay, overthrow the very Fabrick and Foundation of all Governments, and tend only to Anarchy and Confusion, and to disso [...]e all Families, Cities, Corporati­ons, Kingdoms, Churches, leaving every Man to the freedom of his own mind (to the Quakers Light within them) in such things as are not either Commanded or Prohibited by the Law of God; and because only in these things the positive Precepts of Men have place, which Precepts cannot possibly be given without some abridgement of their Liberty, to whom they are given; whereas, in truth, the Diametrically opposite Opinion is only Infallibly true, viz. those things which the Law of God leaveth Arbitrary, and at Liberty, and whereof the Scriptures are silent, are all subject to the positive Laws of Men, which Laws, for the com­mon benefit, may abridge particular Mens Liberty in such things, as far as the Rules of Equity and common good will suffer. If this be not sound Doctrine, adieu to all Societies and all Government, the World must be turned topsi turvy. Of this so Poysonous root and branch I shall say no more, but shall leave our Anti-Liturgists, our Non-Assenters, to consider, if these late dayes of Liberty, have not in very great part brought their own Axiomes home to themselves, for as in the dayes of Yore the Non-Conformist, asked our Prelates and Conformists, what Com­mand or Example in Scripture have you for kneeling at the Communion, for wearing a Cap, Hood, Surplice? For Lord Bishops, or for their wear­ing of Lawn sleeves, or of Pleated Velvet, or Taffaty Hats? For a Liturgy or keeping Holy-dayes: so now Phanaticks, Quakers, and others to them, where are your Lay-Presbiters, your Congregational, Classical, Provincial, Synodical, and National Assemblies, your Parochial and Classical Elder­ships, &c. to be found in Scripture? where your Steeple Houses, your Na­tional Churches, your Tyths, and Mortuaries, your Infant Sprinklings. Nay, where your meeter Psalms, your two Sacrantents, your weekly Sabbaths, nay your Ministery, your Church? shew us, say they, Command or Ex­ample for them in Scripture, now seeing the one have lent the other their Premisses, I shall leave them to wrangle among themselves about the Con­clusion, which in Sum is no other but to exchange with each other a Row­land for an Oliver. Whilst one throws Stones at the Innocent Ceremonies used in the Sacraments and Church Administrations, another strikes at the very Sacraments themselves, whilst one Disputes against the comely Ha­bits [Page 162]and reverend Titles of the Clergy, the other by the same Logick Questions, the very Functions of Bishops and Priesthood, the one seeks to abolish the Festivals of the Saints, and the other, even that of the Lords-day, the one would have no Churches nor Priests, the other no Scriptures, all which with divers others of the same Leaven, are but the Spawn and Fruits of Idol-liberty, so that the Dernier result must end in a sad Catastrophe, Confusion, disorder and every evil work. Before I conclude, this passant observation I will make by the way of all, viz. that they are not so peremptory in demanding, and peevish in in­sifting upon Scripture Precepts and Examples, for things they like not to yield obedience unto, as they are negligent in the use of other things, for which there are far more plain Precepts and Example even of Christ himself, and that with his own debet stampt upon them, witness the Ad­ministration of the Sacrament, which Christ Administred in the Evening, ‘first rising from Supper, laying aside his Garments, girding himself with a Towel, powring Water into a Bason, Washing his Disciples Feet, and wiping them with a Towel wherewith he was Girded then taking his Garments and sitting down again, and saying, ye call me Master, and Lord, and ye say well, for [...] I am, if I then your Lord and Ma­ster have washt your Feet, ye also ought to wash one anothers Feet, for I have given you an example, that ye would do as I have done unto you. Verily, I say unto you, the Servant is not greater than his Lord, neither he that is sent, greater then he that sent him, if ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. John 13.4.5.12.17.’ what more plain Precept, greater Example, or stronger inforcements for his Suc­cessors, his Ministers, to do the like can ye have? and yet how little of this is performed by them, is not unknown to any. Greet one ano­ther with a Holy Kiss, is a Precept likewise Apostolical, 1 Pet. 5.14. and was in Customary use before their approaching the Lords Table, until the dayes of Justine Martyr, Apoll. 2, and Tertullian blames the Omissi­on of that Right grown upon the Church in times of the Solemn Fast­ings and Prayers: Then they withdrew that Osculum pacis, when in his Judgment it was most convenient and necessary, de Oratione. When Widdows are to be chosen for the Service of the Church, this Qualifica­tion is required, She must be one that had Washed the Saints Feet: 1 Tim. 5.10. and our Saviour by his Precept and Example, Commends to his Disciples Washing each others Feet, John 13.14, 15. may not much of the like nature be said for the disuse of Anoynting, Love Feasts, &c. but I forbear, having no other design herein, then to manifest to the World how some kind of Men can take and leave, object and refuse at pleasure, more I fear to gratifie Humors, Parties, and Interest, then in truth induced thereunto by sound reason.

Are we bound to these and the like Ceremonies still? I say not so; but I say that as they are to blame, that would oblige us to all Ceremonious Traditions, and Practises of Apostles, according to the Letter, allowing no Church Liberty to swerve therefrom, be the Governments or posture of Affairs how different, or variable soever: So they are to blame, and in­fringers of Church Liberty, that will not allow the Church, Power to in­novate, or impose some things in their Judgments, necessary and behoo­ful for the better regulating thereof tho there be no express Precept, nor Practise of Christ or of his Apostles, to Warrant the same. Let the Church of God even in the dayes of our Saviour, serve us for Example. [Page 163]In their Domestical Celebration of the Passover; which Supper they di­vided (as it were) into two Courses, what Scripture did give Command them, that between the 1st and the 2d, he that was chief should put off the residue of his Garments, and keeping on his Feast-Robe only, to wash the Feet of them that were with him? what Scripture did Command them never to list up their hands unwasht in Prayer unto God, which custome Aristaeus de coenatori nuptialio sheweth wherefore they did so religiously observe? what Scripture did Command the Jews every Festival day to fast till the sixth hour? what Commandment had the Gileadites to erect that Alter which was spoken of in the Book of Joshua? what Commandment had the Women of Israel to mourn yearly, and lament in the memory of Jephtha's Daughter? what Commandment had the Jews to Celebrate their Feast of Dedication, never spoken of in the Law, yet solemnised even by Christ himself? what Commandment had they for the Ceremony of Odours used about the Bodies of the Dead, after which Custom Christ was contented that his own precious Body should be Imbalmed? In the Church of the Jews is it not granted, that That appointment for the hour for daily Sacrifices, the building of Synagogues throughout the Land, to Pray and Preach in when they came not up to Jerusalem, the erecting of Pulpits and Chairs to Preach in, the Order of Burial, the Rights of Marriage, with such like, being matters appertaining to the Church, yet are not any where prescribed in the Law, but were by the Churches discretion instituted? The Conclusion.

§. When I Consider through how difficult a Chapter,Conclusion. through what Contrarieties of Opinions, what Contradictions of Men of different Tem­pers, Principles, Ends, and Interests, through how many Enemies, both Forreign and Domestick, and those of the highest Potency this Reforma­tion did attain its accomplishment; I cannot but wonder how any that seemed or thought themselves to have a Beam of Light of equal Lustre, &c. Should yet to add unto the other difficulties Injicere scrupulum, cast in their bones also of Contention by speaking, or Writing in derogation of that Reformation, and that Liturgy (contrary to the very Acts of Par­liament, made 2 Edw. 6.1. 1o Eliz. c. 1. under several penalties) which the Wisdom and Zeal to Gods Truth and Glory of that Age was endea­vouring to accomplish, which could never have been brought to that perfection it was brought unto, had not God miraculously Blessed their endeavours, by giving them a just ballance, and a just weight of all con­siderations relating both to Church and State, and also of moderation. For the Parliament conveened in Nov. 1547. consisted of members dis­agreeing in Religion, tho probably they agreed to serve the present time, and preserve themselves, for tho many, both of the Nobility and Gentry, stood well affected to the Church of Rome, yet consented to all such Acts as were made against it, not improbably out of a fear of loosing such Church-Lands and booty as they had got, in case, that Religion should prevail and get up again, and for the rest, who were either to make or improve their Fortunes, they happily did promote a Reformation for their particular ends and interests.

§. That at the time of Reformation and framing of a Liturgy, others besides the Reformers were enlightned with a Beam of Truth of an equal Lu­stre and Brightness, with that which shined in the minds of their Brethren, [Page 164]I cannot gainsay, nor will deny: But by any thing that hath been yet Written, it doth not in the least appear, that those that then did, or since have made the Liturgy a bone of Contention, had a more clear beam of Truth in so disparaging that blessed Reformation and Liturgy, and therefore more shame for such the Sons of the Church, to vilifie and set at nought the Constitution of their Mother, who Travailed so long with them, and brought them forth with great, so very great and ex­quisite difficulties. Probrosa Ales quae Proprium nidum polluit. If the Bre­thren of that Age then had, or this Author now hath a new Light, a new and clear Beam of Truth, it would certainly make evident, for the very nature of light is to make manifest. 5 Eph. 8.13. But seeing no rea­sons demonstrative, are brought to make good such positions, is it not both prudence and duty in us, rather to rely on our own Judgments, being backt and reinforced with the Judgment of so many Learned, Pi­ous, Reformers, Liturgists, that gave Testimony thereunto with their blood, and of the Kings Privy Council, and also of his great Council of Parliament, both of those times and of the succeeding Generations, all concurring in the Approbation and Imposition of the Liturgy, rather then to follow the Fancy and Opinion of one, or of a very few, either of that or the Succeeding Ages, that pretend indeed more light, but in truth have less, for ought that hitherto hath been Demonstrated. But enough of this Subject, I shall only leave all those of the Synagogue of the Libertines seriously to consider, if ever such Liberty as is desired by all sorts of men of different perswasions were ever given under any Christian Government, and yet if it hath been given, if every Sect of them in their several alternate Courses and turns, as they have happily got successively the Power, and been uppermost, have not endeavour­ed their utmost, to depress and keep under all other Sects, differing from themselves.

These things thus premised and well weighed, I deem I may con­clude without the imputation of much Arrogancy, that Christ having Commanded Rem tho not formam Liturgiarum, the Subject matter, tho not the very Form and Words of our Liturgies, that tho neither Christ nor his Apostles did ever Practise, or intimate any such thing, nor yet the Church of Christ for some Centuries of years next after Christ, that they may still be imposed without the least desert of the Scandalous Im­putation of being an unwarrantable Abridgment, or Infringement of Chri­stian Liberty, or of the Rules which Christ gave to his Pastors and Teach­ers for the Regular Administration of his Word and Worship, or of any spiritual Abilities given or promised to be continued to them, for the dis­charge and performance of the whole Work of the Ministry, and will an­swer the mind of Christ, and will much, very much conduce unto the main end proposed, viz. Edification.

And that they are but mistaken Averments to affirm, that Liturgies or prescribed or limited Forms of Prayer and Praises to be used or Read in the publick Administration of Evangelical Institutions, cannot be made use of but by rejection of the Provision made by Christ. And that the Im­position of them doth impose on others the observation of things in the Wor­ship of God, which neither the Lord Jesus nor his Apostles did appoint or impose. And that all such Imposition is destitute of any Plea or Pretence from Scripture or Antiquity, And that Liturgies are an Humane Invention contrary to the mind of Christ. I could now wish that this our Author [Page 165](seeing Liturgies do not please) would so far have obliged this whole Church and State, as to have prescribed us some better and more Adae­quate mean for the supplying of the defects of Liturgies, and for the more easie and Familiar teaching and keeping our fundamentals pure and clean, and for the keeping out of Popery, Idolatry, Superstition, and indeed, all kind of Trash and Trumpery, that like a Torrent hath overspread this Nation, since these dayes of Liberty, and decrying Litur­gies from Ranters, Quakers, Adamites, Enthusiasts, Phanaticks, Seekers, Antitrinitarians, Antisabatarians, Famulists and indeed from an Iliad more of others, ejusdem farinae. [...] si quid novisti rectius Candidus Imperti, si non his utere me [...]um.

It were done but like a Man in Buss, to make here a proud Chal­lenge to all our new and brightest Luminaries, to give us any one Ma­chin or Paralel so excellent or equal in all respects to that of Liturgies for the ends mentioned, but I forbear and shall only crave Liberty, most humbly to recommend unto all parties, viz. Prelates, Presbiters, Indepen­dents, &c. that Admonition which St. Paul gave to the Phillippians, which concern these times, as much as those wherein he Wrote, and the maintai­ners of true Religion most of all, and it were most happy for Christia­nity, if all Christians could in very good earnest embrace it, viz. let no­thing be done through strife, or vain Glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better then themselves. 2 c. 3. And that other Precept also of the same Apostle, viz. to study to be quiet. 1 Thes. 4.11. Duties without doubt with all our might to be endeavoured, and in no Age or Church more necessary to be pressed and urged, then our own abounding with so ma­ny busie Spirits and rest-less male-contents.

Athens it self not more mad upon News and Novelties then our En­glish Nation, not only in vain things, but in matters of far greater con­cern, our love of change and that Israelitish humor revived in us, even in Church Government to be like other Nations. Tho we have seen Gods blessing on our Ministery, to the envy of Adversaries, and admiration of neighbour Churches, and have demonstrated our Discipline to suit with the Primitive and Apostolick State of the Church: this yet seems want­ing, that we have not experimented Forreign Formes, nor shaped our Al­ter according to the fashion, fetcht us from Damascus, 2 King. 16.10, 11. from Geneva, or other Forreign Countries. I could wish our Tumultu­ous and almost mutinous stirrings and Sallies in that kind had not made us a Reproach among Papists, and a scandal amongst the Enemies of the Gospel, my Prayer to God shall be to settle us in unity of mind and af­fections, that we may speak and think one thing, Studying the things that con­cern Peace, and wherewith we may edifie one another. 1 Cor. 1.10. I shall now conclude the discourse concerning Liturgies, with this observation that in using a Liturgy, we have followed all the Churches in the World, even the most Antientest of St. Chrysostome and Basil, that never any Church in the World, but had its set Formes of Prayer especially for the Publick. And because our Discourser doth so peremptorily aver. f. 3. that there were no Liturgies in the purest times, next and nearest to the dayes of the Apostles and that the Fathers never used any (All Negatives and which he can ne­ver prove) I shall here give you a small Catalogue of some few of many Liturgies and Rituals, which if the Legitimate Issue of their reputed Fa­thers, then without all doubt and Controversie, they were in use in the Apostles dayes and purest times. But at worst if but Spurious and Ille­gitimate; [Page 166]yet if such in truth, they at least prove their own Antiquity and Universality, to be very early and very general, because used in divers Countries, as appears by the divers Languages they are in, viz. Hebrew, Greek, Latine, Arabick, Syriack, Gothick, Aethiopick, &c. viz. Liturgiae Grecae nomen Preferentes Jacobi, Petri, Marci, Clementis, Basilij, Chrysosto­mi, Gregorij, Rom.

  • Liturgia Ecclesiae Constantinopolitan.
  • Novum Anthologium.
  • Basilij Anaphora Syriaca.
  • Missa Angamallencis Christianorum St. Thomae.
Graecorum.
  • Euchologium.
  • Menaea.
  • Octoechum Anastasimum.
  • Pentecostarium.
  • Armenor Liturgia.
  • Missa Ambrosiana.
Liturg. Aegyptia
  • Basilij.
  • Gregorij Nazianzini.
  • Cyrilli Alexandrini.
  • Gregorij Antiphonarium & Sacramentarium.
  • Officium Muzarabum in Hispania.
  • Missale Gothicum.
  • Ordo Romanus Antiquus.
  • Missa Latina Antiqua.
  • Liturgia Ecclesiae Graecae lingua Prosica.
  • Officia Arabica.
  • Consider, 1o. That in the Jewish Church they had set Formes. 10 Numb. 35, 36. Moses prescribed a set. Form of Prayer, for the going out and co­ming in of the Ark. 68 Psal. 1, 2. The Lord prescribes. 6 Numb. 23. A set Form of Blessing. Confession is prescribed every time they offered the Ob­lation, they should use this Form. 102 Psal. was Penned for an afflicted Soul, and 92 the Title. 1 Chr. 16.7. 2 Chr. 7, 6. Christ taught his Prayer twice, which is both a Prayer and Form of Prayer, when we Pray this Prayer, it is a most sure and excellent Comfort to us that we know, that what we ask, it is according to his Will. 1 Joh. 22.
  • 2o. In the Christian Church set Forms were used even in the dayes of Christ and his Apostles. Christ gave his Disciples a set Form, 6 Mat. 9. he uses a set Form himself, 26 Mat. 44. The same Word. 3o. He and his Apostles had their Hymn, 26 Mat. 30. 4o, Such Psalms and Hymns perpe­tually in the Apostles times, and by their Command, 3 Collossans 16.5 Eph. 19.
  • 3o. Davids Psalms (which contain, Prayers, Praises, Thanksgiving, &c. which are the matter of all Liturgies) have been Read and Sung in the Church in all Ages. And our Non-Conformists who deny set Forms did (in Olivers time when the Liturgy was taken away) Sing Psalms in the Church, many of which are Prayers and set Forms, both as to the mat­ter and Form.
  • 4o. For the Administration of Sacraments, Christ prescribed set Forms, which all Christian Churches in all Ages have used; and they and we (ex precepto Christi) bound to use them, 28 Mat. 19. Go and Baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy-Ghost. So in the Lords Supper, take, eat, this is my Body. &c.
  • [Page 167]5o. Justin Martyr, in Apologia pro Christianis, expresly tells us, that in their publick Assemblies they had [...] Common Prayers (no Dire­ctory) and among other things Singing of Psalmes.
  • 6o. Missa Latina Antiqua, published first by Flac. Illiricus, afterwards by Card. Bona, was in use in the 6th Century, and is the freest from all Po­pish Errors and Superstition of any extant.
  • 7o. the Antient Liturgies of James, Chrysostome, Ambrose, &c. have been Interpolated and Corrupted, is evident, and that they had such Li­turgies, may be as evident from the Words of Cyril of Jerusalem, for the Liturgy of James, Chrysostome, Ambrose, & others.

What more sure or sollid Foundation for the Building up, Propagating and Establishing of Religion in these our Kingdoms, even amongst those of meanest Capacities could be laid, than this already laid in our Litur­gy by the Fathers of our Church. And yet so perverse and froward have many of her Sons been, that they have even scorned to Build thereon, which frowardness of theirs, together with the Idleness and Insufficiency of other Conformists, and Non-Conformists conspiring with the Frozen Zeal of the People, and together, with the open Prophanation of the Sabbath, and not putting the Laws in Execution against open and scanda­lous sins (against which there can be no excuse) and countenance given to Sin and Sinners, either by Sinful Examples, or not discountenancing them, and a temporising fearfulness in others, and out of a cursed modesty not daring to call Vices by their proper names (a shrewd sign as one ob­serves of their Raign and Commonness, and that great Persons, whom it is not safe nor prudent to anger, are Infected therewith) have very much prejudiced and impeded the growth, and spreading of the purity of Re­ligion, and Piety within these Realms and Dominions, as well as in others; for with what considence can we rebuke others for sins, that we are Guil­ty of our selves, or Perswade, Invite, or draw others to our Church, If we cannot agree, where, and how to lay our Foundations, and make super­structures.

§. Of old it was the Imputation of Brownists, that our Church held it a Piaculum, not to wear a Surplice, and a Venial Sin to be a Lewd-lived Minister, and many late Ichabods and Coblers of Glocester, and naked truths make many heavy Complaints against our Clergy, (Immerito; I hope) of Jehosaphat it is said, that when he went to plant Religion among the People, and to prevent Idolatry, he sent Levites abroad into Cities of Judah, to teach and instruct the People in the ways of the Lord, 2 Chr. 17.8.9. The like have our Kings done by their Laws and Bishops: yet if not­withstanding all the care to make Laws against Sin and Sinners, none do execute them, and to furnish his People with able and Laborious Pa­stors that may feed them with knowledge and understanding, the present store of able well-lived-Conformists serve not, may I not in compassion to the Churches necessity, and to stop the Mouths of all Jchabods mo­destly wish the removal of some Injunctions that may be spared without prejudice to pure Faith, and Worship, and some Connivence granted to those that dissent from the Conformers in Judgment, for matters of Cir­cumstance and Ceremony, whilst yet they Preach true Doctrine, and carry themselves peacibly in the Church. The Lord would not have the Cana­anites at once cast out, least the Wild Beasts should increase upon his Peo­ple, Exod. 23.29. Suffer me then having thus totis viribus asserted Litur­gies, [Page 168]to Plead for Israelites, Scrupulous, Conscientious Israelites indeed, that it may suffice them to lack Livings, and the Churches not be deprived of their pains, at least let them help to bear part of the Burthen, and draw Water for the People, out of the Wells of Salvation, let them be as Priscilla and Aquilla and Ʋrbane to Paul, Rom. 16. Helpers in Christ Jesus, or as Gaius to John, who thought himself bound in duty, 3 Joh. 8. To receive him and such like, that they might be fellow-helpers to the truth. And what inconvenience can insue by such Permission or Conni­vence I cannot foresee, so that they Preach in Publick, and that Confor­mity be still reserved as the Qualification to all Publick Ecclesiastical Pre­fermonts.

§. In the great differences between the Romanists and the Lutherans, which began about the beginning of the 16th Century about 1517. It seemed good to the Emperor about 1532. to settle a Peace of Religion, called the Interim which was the first, tho very small Liberty of Religi­on, which those that adhered to Luthers Confession, called the Augustine, obtained by Publick Decree, for which the Emperor was reproved at Rome as putting his Sickle (as they said) into another mans Harvest, every Prince being obliged by the strictest Bond of Censures, to the extirpation of those that were Condemned by the Pope, as Luther and his Adherents were by Leo the 10th, and also by the Emperor, 1520, 1521, wherein they ought to spend their Goods, Estates, and Lives, and the Emperors much more, because they do so Solemnly Swear unto it, but others Commended the Piety and Wisdom of the Emperor, for his so doing, thereby securing the Lutherans unto him, by granting some small Indulgences to them, who were Christians, tho dissenting from them in some particulars, being to­lerable differences, lest they might have crossed him in his other great Concernments and Wars. They said also, that the Maxime so renowned in Rome, viz. That it is more meet to Prosecute Hereticks (Lutherans) then Infidels, was well fitted to the Popes Dominion and Meridian, but not to the benefit of Christendome, Alleadging also, that Kingdoms and Principa­lities, ought not to be Governed, by the Laws and Interests of Priests, who are partial for their own Greatness, and Profits, but according to the exigence of the Publick good of Church and State, which requireth now and then some Connivence and Toleration of some defects: Moreover, that it was the duty of every Christian Prince to endeavour equally, that his Subjects, and every Bishop his Flock, do maintain the true Faith, as also that they observe all the Commandments, there being no greater Obligati­on to punish Hereticks or Dissenters, than Fornicators, and Drunkards, or Swearers, which all Nations abhor and make Laws against. And the In­conveniences, by giving some Indulgences, to some that do not defend or hold all our Opinions, cannot be great, but they may be very great by denying them some convenient Liberties, and Priviledges, thereby keep­ing up a considerable Party in Animosity, that cannot Religiously Con­form to every Minute particular.

§. Let us look a little back and abroad, and consider what other States even where the Pope and Inquisition do Domine, have done, when differ­ences about Doctrine and Worship have been broached, and disorders in Church and State have ensued.

§. About the year 1548. Paul 3. when the Emperor Charles the 5th, had by [...]is own Authority Published a Reformation of the Clergy, which con­tained about 130 Precepts, so just and Equitable, that scarce any former Reformation was more exact or less partial, without Subtilties or Snares to in [...]rap the unadvised, and which might have been acceptable to Rome her self, except in a point or two, but being made by the Emperor, it seemed more insupportable than the Interim, which Rome could by no means in­dure, it being a fundamental maxime of that Court, that the Seculars of what degree or honesty soever, cannot give Laws to the Clergy, tho to a good end, and because the Pope and his Conclave were not able to endure such an affront (or Tyranny as they called it) nor yet able to resist it, he pre­sently so for humbled himself to Heresie, as that he quickly dispatch't Nun­cio after Nuncio into Germany, first the Bishop of Fano, and then the Bi­shop of Verona and Terentino for his Nuncij, with a Bull of large Faculties and P [...]rs, dated the last of August, to Pardon and Embrace all, to remit some things of the old Discipline, giving them faculty fully to ab­solve in both Courts, all secular Persons, tho Kings, or Princes, Regulars, C [...]ll [...]ges, and Communities, from all Excommunications and Censures, even from Temporal Punishments incurred for matter of Heresie tho relapsed, [...] to di [...]ence with Irregularities in what case soever, even for Bigamy, to restore them to Fame, Honour, and Dignity, to remit every abjura­tion and Penance due, to absolve from Oaths, and Homages made, and Perjuries committed, and to absolve the Regulars from Apostacy, giving them Power to wear the Regular Habit, under the Habit of a Secular Priest, to give leave to every Person, tho Ecclesiastick, to eat flesh and forbidden Meats in Lent and fasting day [...]s, to moderate the number of Feasts, to grant the use of the Chalice: indeed, any thing rather than to approve of a Reformation, made by the Emperor or any Secular Prince, tho never so Potent and conducing to the saving of Souls. To descant upon the Absurdities and Contradictions of this Bull, in taking upon him to restore Kings and Princes to Honours, Fame, and Dignity, to absolve from unlawful Oaths, which need none, and from just Oaths, which no Man can obsolve: to absolve the Friars, which forsook their Cloysters, to wear the Habit covered, as if the Kingdom of God did consist in a Co­l [...]r or vestment, which not being worn in shew, yet it was necessary to have it in secret, is not to my purpose, but it is observable and remarkable to shew that if Rome her self, that proud Imperious Usurper of Powers Omnipotent, could so far humble her self, even to her Hereticks and Here­sies, as to dispence with so much of her old Discipline, and to grant such Liberties to them, rather than to admit of a Reformation made by a Se­cular Prince, may it not suffice England and be Honourable, just and be­coming her Protestant self, to Reform things which are a shame to the Church, and a scandal to the People, and that having Power over the Goods, and Lives of Nonconformists, and of Dissenters (Hereticks, Schis­maticks, Separatists, names not justly applycable, either to them, or to their Opposites, each equally differing one from the other, but neither one from the other in Doctrines fundamental, but in things indifferent and Cere­monial only, which neither Conformists, nor yet Non conformists can In­fallibly know who Infallibly hath or hath not the truth on their side, and therefore ought to bear with each other, the stronger, with the Infirmi­ties of the weaker, not accounting and reviling each other as Enemies, but admonishing each other as Brethren, those Ignominious separating terms [Page 170]of Schismaticks, Separatists &c. more properly belonging to Papists who err not in Ceremonials, Circumstantials, and Superstructures only, but in Doctrines Fundamental, and therefore may justly separate from such) to let them make publick Profession of the same Gospel, the same Reli­gion with the Church of England, to avoid suspicion by Private Conventi­cles or Assemblies, and to suffer their Consciences to be free, and to be­long to God and themselves only, who desire only to save Souls, the most precious thing that ever God Created.

§. About the year 1559. the Duke of Savoy, sent one expresly to de­sire Pope Pius the 4th, that by his favour he might make a Colloquy of Re­ligion within his own Dominions, to instruct his People of the Vallies who were generally Alienated from the Old Religion of Rome, these were a part of those Waldenses who 400 years before, forsook the Church of Rome, and in regard of their persecutions fled into Polonia, Germany, Puglia, Provence, and some of them into the Valleys of Montesenis, L [...] ­cernia, Angrovia; Perosa, and St. Martin: but the Pope answered, that he would by no means consent thereunto: but offered to send a Legate with Divines to instruct, and Authority to absolve his Subjects when Converted: yet said withal that he had little hope to Convert them, be­cause the Hereticks were obstinate, and whatsoever is done to exhort them to acknowledge their fault, they expound to be a want of force to Com­pel them, that it cannot be remembred, that any good was ever done by moderation: and that experience hath taught, that the sooner Justice is used and force of Arms when the other is not sufficient, so much the better the Success is, and if he would proceed to Arms, he would send him assistance. Your Servant Sir Ghostly Council, I wot: more becoming a Wolf or an Hireling than a good Shepherd, and it is a shrewd sign that he ne­ver entred into Christs Sheepfold by the Door, which is Christ, but climbed up some other way to Steal, and to Kill, and to Destroy, 10 of John, 1.10.

But the Duke not liking at all the sending of a Legate, because it would have provoked his Subjects the more, and forced him to have pro­ceeded according to the Interests of others, thinking it better to take Arms, which the Pope Commended more, and promised Assistance: where­fore the Duke resolving to make them receive the Catholick Religion (re­ctius Heresy) he caused many to be Burned, and to be put to death by other means, and to be condemned to the Gallies, being more especially insti­gated thereunto by Inquisitor Thomaso, Jacamello a Dominican Fryer, which strange Persecution forced themHere note that in the Church of Rome, the Popes were the first Preachers of Force and Violence, and that St. Dominick was one of the first that Preached the Doctrine of Death, and Tortures for Opinions in Religion, he was the Founder of the begging Orders, of Friers Preachers, and therefore in honour of him, the Inquisition is intrusted only to the Friers of his Order. And if their own Legends speak truth, his own Mother, the Night before he was born, Dreamed that she was brought to Bed of a great Dog with a fire Brand in his Mouth, the signification and application whereof, I leave to every Reader to make. On­ly his deportment towards the Albigenses is storied to be rabying against whom he so Preached, adeo quidem ut c [...]n­tum haereticorum millia uh octo Millibus catholicorum fusa & intersercta fuisse perhibeantur, saith one of him, and of those who became Captives, 180 were Burnt to Death, the first Example that I find in the Church of Rome of putting Dissenting Bretheren to Death. Of this order was this precious Inquisitor Jacomello. to Arms, alleadging for their Justifica­tion, that Magistrates were set over them by God and themselves, for the good and behoof of the Governed, and not the Governed Ordained for the Lusts of Magistrates to be destroyed and killed at pleasure: that their Condition being desperate, they might use Arms in their own Defence, and [Page 171]that in their Condition, their appeal unto Arms was not so much against the Prince as against the Pope, who usurped more Authority than did De­jure belong unto him, and did also abuse the Authority of their Prince, by subtle and crafty seducements for his own sinister ends. Hence there were War all this year and part of the next. And the Duke having made more than a years tryal to reduce them by Wars, and Punishments being therein assisted with Money from the Pope, and at last, after many Skirmi­shes, an Appeal being made unto the Lord of Hoasts by a formal pitcht Battel, the Duke lost 7000 men, slew but 14 of his Enemies, and tho he did often recruit his Army, yet had he always the worst. Therefore the Duke wisely considering that he did thereby only make his Subjects the more Warlike, and teach and inure them more Stoutly to Offend him, Consume his own Country, and VVast his Treasury, he resolved to re­ceive them into favour, and made an agreement with them, 5o, Junij, in which he pardoned all past faults, gave them Liberty of Conscience, ap­pointed them places where they might meet, gave leave to those that were Fled to return, and restitution of Goods to those that were Ba­nished.

Which Agreement very much distasted the Pope (that an Italian Prince who had been Assisted by him, and might have more need of him, should yet permit Hereticks to Live freely in his Territories, and for that the example would be urged by greater Princes, when they inclined to per­mit another Religion, whereof he bitterly complained in the Consistory, comparing the Ministers of the most Catholick King, with the Duke, who having about the same time discovered 3000 Lutherans, who went out of Cosenza, and retired themselves to the Mountains, to Live according to their Doctrine, did Hang some, Burn others, and put the rest into the Gallies, but the Duke justifying his Cause with such Reasons, which the Pope not being able to answer, did Acquiesce. And are not such Coun­cils, such Advisocs, greater marks of an Hireling, or a Butcher, than Obe­dience to the Pope, a true Mark of the Church?

Appello ad Caesarem, & Deum Deorum, & Dominum Dominorum, qui non accipit personam, neque recipit munus, 10 of Deut. 17.

§. About the same time there were great Troubles and Disorders in France, for cause of Religion, Multitudes disdaining to see poor Innocent Christians drawn every day to the Stake to be Burned, Guilty of nothing but of Zeal, to Worship God, to keep a more intimate, near and dear Communion with their God, and to fave their own Souls. These Hu­mors were not Purged, nor yet allaied, neither by Punishments, nor Par­dons proferred and Proclaimed, but that greater Tumults were raised in Province, Languedoc, and Poicton, whether the Preachers of Geneva were called and came willingly, by whose Sermons the number of the Prote­stants did daily increase, examples of great fear being always joyned with o­thers of equal boldness: for the quieting of which Humors, Francis the 2d, the 11o, Aprilis, 1559. intimated a National Synod as a proper Remedy. But the same Hireling, Pius the 4th, as before in the cause of the Duke of Savoy, did most severely complain, that the King had Pardoned Here­ticks and Errors committed against Religion, wherein none had Power but himself, and that he would not by any means Consent to an Assembly of Prelates, either in France, or elsewhere, for that a National Council of that or of any other Kingdom, would be a kind of Schism from the universal [Page 172]Church, give bad example to other Nations, and make Prelates proud, assuming greater Authority with Diminution of his own, and that to consent to a National Synod, was to consent that the Axe should be laid to the Root of the Papacy, and that by consequence, it was an Aliena­tion from the Apostolick See. As if God had not given to every National Church and State, all things necessary to Govern themselves by, but that they must all run to Rome and Romish Priests for redress, nay this good Shepherd commanded his Nuntio to intimate farther to the King, that if he would resolve to compel his Subjects by force, that he would assist him with all his Power and Labour, that the King of Spain, and Princes of Italy should do the like: But if he refused to compel his Subjects by force, then his Nuntio was to insinuate to him, that all the mischief and Poyson came from Geneva; that the extirpation of that root would take away great part of the nourishments of the Evils that disquieted his Do­minions.

§. Dissentions and Troubles, Fears and Jealousies, still increasing in France, the King, (maugre all the Popes Arguments and Interests) cal­led a great Assembly at Fountain Bleau 21 Aug. 1560. who being Petitioned by the Reformatists, desired nothing but a moderation of their cruel Pu­nishments, and that they might make publick profession of their Religi­on, to avoid suspition, which might arise by Conventicles or private Assem­blies. John Monluc the Bishop of Valence did therein complain, that Pro­vision had not been made against them, because the Popes had no other aim, but to hold the Princes in Wars, and the Princes thinking to suppress the Evil with Racks and Tortures, having not attained their desired end, nor the Magistrates and Bishops justly performed their Duty, the princi­pal Remedy was to fly unto God; to assemble Godly Men to find a way to root out the Vices of the Clergy, to forbid Infamous and Immodest Songs, and instead of them, to Command the Singing of Psalms, and Ho­ly Hymns in the Vulgar Tongue: And farther shewed, that they did grie­vously erre, who troubled the Publick with Arms, upon pretence of Re­ligion, and that their error was as great who Condemned to Death, those that adhered to the New Doctrine, only for the Opinion of Piety.

During these disorders, Francis the first Dying, the 5th of Dec. 1560. and Charles the 9th, Aged 10 years, Succeeding; he more like the good Shepherd, than he that Styled himself Pius by the mature advice of his Council, after Solemn and great Consultations and deliberations about the Troubles and Disorders in Religion Ordained, that all that were in Prison for Religion, should be set at Liberty, their Processes made void, their Offences pardoned, and their Goodsrestored, and tho the Pope and Parliament did much regret and repine at these Liberties: yet in the year 1561. the King by his Edict, did Command, that no man under pretence of discovering the Congregations for Religion which were forbid, should en­ter with many or few into another Mans House, that Prisoners for Religion should be set at Liberty, and that those that fled since the time of Francis the 1st, might return and repossess their Goods.

§. And in the year, 1562. the Queen of Navar, Prince of Conde, Admi­ral, and the Dutchess of Ferrara, having long made request, that Places should be allowed to the Huguenots for their Sermons and Worship, which being mainly opposed by the Pope and his Papalins, Tumults did arise, as [Page 173]in other places, so more especially in Dyon and Paris most notorious, for the Death of many, for quieting whereof, the King and his Council called the Presidents of all the Parliaments, to consider of a remedy that might be sit and Adaequate to the troubles of the whole Kingdom; these being all Assembled on the 17th of January, it was resolved, tho not with­out great Opposition, that the Edict of July should be in part remitted, and that the Protestants have leave to exercise their Religion, without, but not within the City, and that they should not be molested in their Ser­mons and Assemblies Congregated out of the City, nor hindred by the Magistrates, tho the Magistrates and Officers might be present at their Sermons and Meetings, if they pleased. Tho the Parliament could hardly be brought to accept of this Edict, yet it did take effect, and was Pub­lished the 6th of March, but with this Proviso, that it was not to ap­prove the New Religion, but only by way of provision, until it was other­wise ordained by the King, which was soon after, For the Enemy of all Righteousness, full of all subtilty and all mischief, like the Child of the Devil, did not cease to pervert the right wayes of the Lord, by whose Instigation the Parliament of Paris made a Sanguinary Decree in July following, viz. that it should be lawful to slay all the Hugonots, which by publick order was to be Read every Sunday, in every Parish. Thus you see Indulgences have frequently been granted by the Papalins (that crudele genus) even unto Protestants (Hereticks in their esteem) when the Peace of the Kingdom and obedience of Subjects become questionable, non obstante the Bishop of Rome, who cannot think no Persecution severe enough, that is less than fire and faggot, or what was formerly used against the Albigences, of whom Philippus Augustus put to Death 600 in one day, and against the Waldenses who were choaked in the Caves, whither they fled to hide them­selves.

Herein I desire to be fairly understood, that I do not by thus arguing Plead for Tolleration or Connivence, towards any Perswasion or Religi­on, who either have no sound Gospel Principles of good Life and good Doctrine: or whose Principles and Doctrine are averse and chag-reen to the Publick and Just Interests of States and Kingdoms, or whose Morals are like those of the Jesuits, or who fail in fundamentals, but for those on whom are obtruded or required more performances as necessary than ever God made necessary, whereby the Door into the Church, and the Gates of Heaven are by the Commands of Men made narrower than ever God made them. Opinions and Problems about things indifferent and not fundamental, nor yet absolutely necessary, ought to keep their just Forms and Bounds, and not to be Imposed as Oracles, which being of doubtful disputation, and the truth of them not to be made evident by any infallible Power of Judicature, ought not to be brought into the Fa­mily or Tribe of Faith, and therefore not to be obtruded, or Imposed ne­cessarily, because they cannot be made clear Infallibly, and because they have no Warrant from Scripture so to do. Some Doctrines are absolute­ly necessary; others as clearly not necessary; let those be urged as neces­sary, these only left to Men indifferently, because indeterminate by Scri­pture.

Both Governors and Governed are like Men, and subject to like Passi­ons and Biasses: peevishness and Impatience of Contradiction, or Glory of Conquest may bear sway in either, the best of Men, are but Men at the best. To be free from all Ignorance and error is the great Privi­ledge [Page 174]of the Church Triumphant, when our Faith shall be turned into vi­sion, and our dark knowledge into clear Comprehension; and therefore to expect an absolute and general assent in all particles of truth, is a mar­velous Vanity, and to exact it, a greater Tyranny of pernitious Conse­quence in the Church.

Heretofore Wise Princes (unless some times over born by the unreason­able importunities of proud and haughty Popes and Prelates) indulged Tolleration unto dissenting Brethren, whose opinions did not disturb the Publick Peace and Interest of Nations. And these latter Ages have giv­en us an undeniable Argument from the good success thereof, not with­out this great reason, that prudent Indulgence doth not disturb, but se­cure publick Peace, because by so doing, there is not so much as the pretence of Religion left to make quarrels withal, because it is indulged unto them; see the fruits of it in our neighbour Nations, whilst France fought against the Hugonots it did but spill her own blood, exhaust her own Treasure, weaken her own strength, and could do no great things abroad; but becoming wiser, how powerful at home, how formidable abroad, both by Sea and Land, I need not tell, but the most remarkable instance is to be collected from the different success of the different tem­pers of Margaret of Parma, in the Government of the Neatherlands, and the Duke de Alva, when she by her moderation and Clemency, had al­most quencht the great fire and flame therein kindled, He, her Succes­sor in that Government, managed it with that fury, that it proved too hot, both for him, his Prince, and his Religion to abide it. He did not consi­der him that said, Fury is not in me, 27 of Esay 4th, and where is the Fu­ry of the oppressor? 51 of Isa. 13. him that loveth Violence his Soul hateth, 11 Psal. 5th. for thy Violence against thy Brother Jacob, shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever, Obad 10. For the Dukelike Jehu most furiously did drive on the designs concluded on at Bajon, for the extirpation of the Protestant Religion.

§. Some others, not Papalins, nor yet Phanaticks, are much against any Connivence, and not altogether without some shew of reason: As, that to give Dissenters satisfaction in some requests, will but give them encou­ragement and pretence to prepare more, and to think they are their due; and that it is easier and more secure to deny their demands, than being once gratified, tho but in part to prescribe them a measure, or a Non Ʋl­tra: and that the granting their desires, tho but modest, will give the party encouragement to believe that they were deservedly desired, nay, perhaps that they were enforced, which opinion alone, tho not true, but believed to be so, might endanger the quiet State of the Church, or at least might be a great abetting to their party and obstinacy, and keep o­thers from Assenting and Consenting, which, say some amongst us, ought not to be imposed, affirming full Assent and Consent in respect of Veraci­ty to be due, not to the Scriptures themselves, but as they are expressed in their first Original Tongues, which opinion, if true, yet is it no just ob­jection with us, for that full Assent and Consent is not required by the Ast of Parliament, establishing our Liturgy, to the veracity of every thing con­tained therein, but only to the use of it in general.

§. On the contrary, in Ballance to these, it is averred that it is a Rule in Christian Actions, that as evil is not to be done, that good may follow, [Page 175]so no good of obligation is to be omitted or forbidden, for fear that evil may ensue. And that the great Wisdom of Experience, both of Elder and more puny dayes hath sufficiently taught Posterity, that it is some­times most necessary for the quiet and welfare both of Church and State, to yield to the infirmities, and scrupulous imperfections of others, and to apply and accommodate themselves to that remedy, which, tho in rigor is not due, yet in prudence and equity is convenient, and may with good Conscience be tollerated; for all Laws ought to be fitted to times and Per­sons as they alter and change: most assuredly the using of some remission in yielding unto the desires of the People, in matters which are de jure positivo, or Pontisicio of humane sanction, only may conduce to the quiet State of the Church, but cannot disturb it: what else is the whole Regi­ment, or Brigade of things Adiaphorous, wherein truth may be on either side without being dissimular to her self? If no liberty allowed, what availeth the blotting out the hand Writing of ordinances, and the Nailing of it to the Cross? 2 Col. 14.20. to what end is the purchase of Christian Liberty, St. Paul so often boasts of? his Doctrine is, that he that eats all things or eateth Herbs only, or he that esteems one day above another, or he that e­steems every day alike, may do either to the Lord, and Eat, or not Eat, re­gard, or not regard a day, Conform, or not Conform, use, or not use Liturgies, all may be done to the Lord; and why should we then judge one another, in the use or disuse of any of these? the Kingdom of God is not Meat, nor Drink, nor Lawn Sleeves, nor Surplice, nor Capes, nor Mi­ter, but Righteousness, and Peace, and Joy, in the Holy Ghost. 14. Rom. How many things of an indifferent nature might be tollerated in peace, and left to Conscience only, were it not for great thoughts of heart, or for testy Spirits? and had we instead thereof but pure Love, and Charity; and were it not for some secret Hypocrisie that prompts to be ever judg­ing one another, saying, stand by thy self, come not near me, for I am Ho­lyer than thou? 65 Isay. 5. contrary to the Apostolical precept, 14 of Rom. 13. let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this ra­ther, that no Man put a slumbling Block, or an occasion to fall in his Brothers way, to impose more things as necessary, than ever God made or imposed as necessary, and that under severities, what is it less than to create stumbling Blocks, or contrive occasions for our Brethren to stumble and fall by? It cannot be expected, that all Man, and things in a Church should be Gold and Silver, and Precious Stones, there will be some Wood, some Hay, some Stubble, Wheat and Tares, good and bad; humane Ordinances must grow till the Harvest; it is the Angels Ministery, not ours, that must sever them.

I intend not here that Superstitions, Idolatry, or Popery should be tol­lerated or countenanced, which as it self extirpates all pure Religion, and undefiled, and all civil Supremacies to boot, so it self ought utterly to be destroyed, Root, and Branch, yet not by Fire and Faggot, not by Cru­sadoes, and cursed Inquisitions, but by wholsome Laws and discountenan­ces, and other mild means: that likewise which is absolutely evil, either a­gainst Faith or manners, as Popery is, no Law can possibly Tollerate, that intends not to unlaw it self; but those bordering indifferent things, whe­ther of some point of Doctrine not fundamental, or of Discipline, which tho they may be many, yet may be held without the violation or inter­ruption of the unity of the Spirit, or of the bond of Peace, and may be permitted. I appeal to their respective Judgments, who they think in the [Page 176]day of their Account will rather be justified, they that are instrumental to Impose or Command things that may be spared in the Worship of God; or they that Conscientiously, tho Erroneously cannot submit unto the use of such things, tho in their own and true nature but indifferent: Who made the Schisme between Rome and us, Rome imposing, or we refusing?

§. The Counsel tho but of a poor Woman of Abel, being sollowed, saved the City, and may not I, tho the least in the Church of the New Testament, Plead­ing thus impartially, pro and con Dissenters, now also intreat, that Dissen­ting Brethren in point of Liturgies and Ceremonies imposed, that seeing Atheism, Apostacy, and squinting toward Rome, and the countenancing of sin and sinners is so much feared by them, that they would be well ad­vised how they forsake their Mother in this her necessity, and not so wholly indulge, and please themselves in their own fancies and opinions, and thereby adventure, rather to Sacrifice Church and State to Schism, War, and Ruine, than forsake their Humors. I counsel no Man to do ought, no not in things in different, with a doubting Conscience. Fearful are the Examples of such as are unresolved, yield to Practice. Notwith­standing, give me leave with a Worthy and Reverend Divine, to pro­pound as a matter not unworthy their Consideration and Deliberation, whether this should not be a Ministers resolution, viz. To lay down his Ministery for nothing, for which also, he ought not to lay down his Life? and whether with Comfort may Ministers, especially after their allowing of our Liturgy and Ceremonies at the time of their Ordination, and by their several Subscriptions, and otherwise having thus put their hands to the Plough, look back, and leave their Calling, rather than use the Liturgy, and enjoyned Ceremonies in our Church, teaching as she doth, and pra­ctising Gods pure Worship, detesting all Idolatry and Superstition, and urging Ceremonies, Innocent Ceremonies, not for Ornament, much less for necessity of Gods Service, but for decency, order and policy only, and as means to testifie Subscription to the Lawful Power of the Ma­gistrate:

I appeal to your selves, do you in good earnest think that Paul (who accounted himself a fool for Christs sake, became weak, despised, endured Hun­ger, Thirst, Nakedness, Buffeting, Fighting with Beasts at Ephesus, work­ing with his own hands, being defamed, and made the silth of the World, and the Off-scowring of all things, who made himself Servant unto all, unto the Jews a Jew: to them that are under the Law, as under the Law: to them that are without Law as without Law: to the weak as weak, who became all things to all Men, that he might by all means save some, and all this for the Gos­pells sake, 1 Cor. 4.10, 11, 12, 13. c. 9.19, 20, 21, 22. And that he that re­joyced that Christ was Preached in season, and out of season, tho out of envy and strife, tho not sincerely, tho but in pretence not in truth) would ever have scrupled to have used the Ceremonies, the Innocent Ceremonies of our Church, or that he would have silenced himself, or looked back, ra­ther than have Preached in a Cap and Hood: in Lawn Sleeves or Surplice: in Cowl, or Miter, or indeed in any habit tho unbeseeming? It were vain so to imagine. It is rather to be presumed that he would as in 1 of Phil. 18. have answered, what then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pre­tence, or in truth Christ is Preached, and I therein do rejoyce, yea and will rejoyce. Is it then reasonably to be Imagined, that he that gloried that Christ was Preached every way, tho out of envy and strife, tho not sincerely, [Page 177]would not have rejoyced to have him Preached in a Linnen decency or any habit, yea, tho happily not well beseeming.

On the other side it were not imprudent, nor yet below, nor Priest nor Prelate to consider whether Paul, so complacent to all tempers and all strengths, and infirmities (as it is manifest that he was) and all to gain Souls, would ever have promoted or contributed the least towards the imposing of things not necessary on his Brethren or fellow Labourers? I trow not! seeing not only he, but the Council met at Jerusalem, together with the holy Ghost, then and there assisting them (and greater assistance none on Earth can pretend unto) having already declared; that to impose things not necessary is burthensom. For it seemed good unto the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater Burthen than things necessary, 15 of Acts 28. and therefore would not do it, and his Precept is, what you have seen in me, that do, Phil. 4.8.

Take therefore the example of Paul and his Doctrine for your Pat­tern, and consider well your charge and Indelible Character, the necessity laid upon you, that have put your hands to the Plough, by having had hands laid on you, and the Wo denounced against you, if you look back, and silence your selves by your non-conformity unto Liturgy and Ceremonies so Innocent. Consider also that your Consciences can have no place here, for that it is out of the Ken of Mortals to discover, whether real or pretended only, and therefore cannot be the least dust in the Bal­lance to weigh any thing against the solemn and weighty Charge and necessity laid upon you, and the Wo denounced against the non-perfor­mance of your duty, nor yet to weigh any thing against the peace and quiet of Church and State when ever they come in Competition, and are involved in such disputes; what if all or any of our enjoyned Ceremo­nies or Habits or Liturgy are needless, sinful, they can never be proved? what if the Worship be as pure without them? nay, what if the Imposi­tion be sinful which can never be proved neither? what do all or any of these concern you? the Imposers, not you, must account for that to their and your Master, and must stand or fall according as they have done well or ill therein. It is not to be doubted, but that some Commands may be sinful and yet the performance of such Commands not so.

However most assuredly Salvation and Damnation do not depend on things indifferent: but the peace or disturbance of a Commonwealth may, for the diversity of opinions in such things do more affect publick peace, than Religion or Faith salvisical. Christian Princes and Magistrates have Consciences, and an account to give of them, as well as their Subjects, and it is their greatest wisdom, nay, a duty incumbent upon them, as to consider the Interests of their Dominions, so more especially to consider the Interests of Christianity and Religion, in the propagation of the Gos­pel, and in the increase of Godliness the greatest interests of all States and Kingdoms of the World, maugre the black mouths of all Atheists to the contrary. And it is to be presumed that all Laws are (because they ought to be) made with such respect and regard.

I Appeal to your selves, is it reasonable that any Generation of Men, whether Papists, or Protestants, Quakers, or Phanaticks, Jews, or Gen­tiles, indeed any kind of Men of any perswasion whatsoever, upon pre­tence of Conscience (unto which all mankind without possibility of be­ing confuted, may pretend and lay claim as well as they) should lege jam constituta, be tollerated to disobey it? Were not this to take away the [Page 178]obliging part of the Law, and in good earnest to make it null and void, and to make the Law to obey the Men, and not the Men the Law, and in the conclusion to destroy all Government, and to bring all to Anarchy and confusion?

§. The Lutherans were not all of one mind concerning the aforemen­tioned Interim, and therefore some of them about the year 1548. did in part yield to Caesar, alleadging for their Justification, that the things done by them were indifferent, and by consequence that they did not concern their Salvation to reprove or allow, to receive or reject them, and that it was Lawful, nay, necessary to suffer some servitude, some infringements of Liberty, when no impiety was joyned with it, and therefore in these the Emperor was to be obeyed, which practise I hope our Dissenters will on better thoughts think sit to follow, especially considering, that in the cause of Religion every subdivision gives many advantages, and much strength to our common adversary the Papists, it being much more advantagious to the whole Body of the Church, that the Members thereof, tho infirm, and crazy, should be still continued members, than that they should be ut­terly rejected, or cut off from the Body by any Interdict, or Censure of those that bear Rule over them, or by any frivolous scruples or frowardness of their own: even Members whilst crazy may contribute some strength some advantage to the whole Body: but when dismembred they can add no strength to the whole, but may diminish and trouble the quiet State of the whole; besides cutting off, and rejecting often causeth despair, and makes desperate, but if they be still carryed in the Bosom of the Church, and like Lambs in the Arms hereof, such gentle means may reclaim them without giving any trouble to the peace of Church or State, what if the Abatement of some rigors do thwart the designs and interest of some, that never think they have Domination enough? must there not therefore be a slacking of some severities, when for want thereof, the peace of the Church is thereby endangered? Indeed, Pope Adrian the 6th, in his Letter, dated 25 of Nov. 1552. to the Dyet at Noremberg, by his Nuntio advised sar o­therwise in the cause of Luther, exhorting them to proceed unto sharp and fiery Remedies, to cut the dead Members from the Body, as Anti­ently was done to Dathan and Abiram, to Ananias and Saphira, to Jo­vinian and Vigilantius, and as their Predecessors did to John Husse, and Je­rom of Praghe in the Council of Constance, whose example in his esteem they ought to follow: He Wrote Letters also almost to all the Princes of the same purport and tenour, terming Martin a Phanatick or Frantick Man. The same Council did his Nuntio most vehemently reinforce un­to them by 7 mighty reasons (as he thought) mentioned in his instructi­ons. But when he endeavoured to give them satisfaction as to Reforma­tion of the Centum gravamina, of the scandals, and grievances of the Church and Court of Rome, Preached against by Luther, and spoken a­gainst by all the Empire, He was then of another mind, and then forsooth, the Disease being inveterate and multiplyed, it was necessary to proceed slowly in the Cure, and to begin from things of greater weight to avoid confounding of all, by desiring to do all together, and the Court of Rome only was to reform them, and they were to rest content with promises on­ly, so that Centum gravamina were but gently to be touched, not to be rooted out, no need of quick and sharp Remedies for the extirpating of them, but the Dyel well observing that the Nuntio took wrong measures of [Page 179]good and evil, only as they had relation to the Profit, Honour, and Pow­er of the Court of Rome, and not to the necessities of Germany, and to the advancement of true Religion and Piety, and deeming that the conservati­on of the peace of Church and State ought rather to incite, to do the good that is easie to be executed, than to support the evil that is hard to be indured, they resused to use such Keen Remedies, and that for most weigh­ty and urgent reasons.

§. The plain and demonstrative truth and medium is, that as whatso­ever is absolutely necessary, for real advance and propagation of the Gospel, or for the Establishing, or well Governing, of the Church of the New Te­stament, ought strictly to be asserted: so about things indifferent, or that are of a middle nature between sit, and necessary, and not absolutely so, there ought to be no Strife, no Contention, no Crusadoes, no Inquisiti­ons, no unreasonable severities used, considering, that Non-Assenters are Heirs of the same Common Salvation, and who otherwise do agree in the Fundamentals of the same Common Faith in one Kingdom, there being no Reasons that the Consciences of Men sound in Doctrine, and Holy in Life and Conversation, and willing to Conform, tho not to every petit Ceremony, yet without any scandalous difference, should be Rackt and Ensnar'd by Oaths and Subscriptions unto things doubtful, not absolutely good, nor yet absolutely necessary, and without which, the Doctrine would be as pure, and the Polity as Excellent as now it is. Imposition of such severities for such things where Episcopal Government bears Sway, seems to me to disparage and debase even that most Excellent Regiment it self, as if that could not Subsist or Flourish, except the Mouths of some other Learned and Painful Labourers and Husband-men in Gods Vine­yard be Sealed up by Wiles and Snares. Certainly, Episcopal Government stands not upon such Lame Crutches, as that the abatement of some few Ri­gors in things at best but Indifferent, should endanger thereby the over­throw thereof, it needs not, Certainly, it needs no such Artifices, for its Establishment, it being no more for the Support and Honour of Episcopal Government, to have Men Preaching the sincere Word of Truth, and li­ving accordingly to be silenced, and accounted their Opposites: Than it is to have some Conformists to assert it with their Tongues and with their Pens, and yet be a reproach to it, by being Dumb, by their Non-residen­cy, by their Lives and Conversations: or that it is for others to Drink, Swear, and Prophane, to avoid the Name and Censure of being Puritani­cal, or Presbyterian, and that they may be reputed Prelatical: But be it a great sin in the Governors and Fathers of our Church, to be instrumen­tal to stop the Mouths, and hinder the use of Gospel Talents in many of the Inferior Pastors upon slight and slender occasions, yet it is a greater Crime for such Inferior Pastors to deprive themselves and their Flocks, of the same Gospel Priviledges, upon the same or like niceties, for that they ought to be more unwilling to separate themselves from the Communion of the Church, to which they are called by stopping their own Mouths, than to be cut off from the Commonwealth wherein they live.

It is impossible but that Offences must come, 17 of Luk. 1.18 of Mat. 7. and therefore it is impossible, that all visible Ministerial Churches, or the Polity of them should be pure, and uncorrupt, or that all should be Is­rael, that are of Israel, and therefore some unworthiness in Members, and some Corruptions in Officers, and some Offices in the Church, tho not ab­solutely [Page 180]necessary, may with good Conscience be born withal, and that some Errors at least in the Discipline and External Rites may be tollerated, seeing, there may be the Temple of God, tho Prophaned. A Holy City without a Wall: A Field of the Lord, tho the Enemy Sow Tares. Look back and Consider, that the Jewish Church was stained with almost all En­ormities of a higher Nature, both for Manners, and Faith, and yet unto the same, all Israelites and Jews whatsoever without difference were Com­pelled by King Josiah, and others, when the People of God Worshipped the Calf in the Wilderness, when they Adored the Brazen Serpent; when they served the Gods of Nations; when they Bowed themselves to Baal; when they Burnt Incense and Sacrificed unto Idols; and for which, Gods Wrath was Kindled against them, and the Prophets justly Condemned them, yet there was pure Corn, tho mingled with Tares. A Church of some sound, tho mingled with some unsound Members, which will be unto the Har­vest untill the end of the World, till the Angells the Reapers come and gather the Tares to be Burned with unquencheable Fire. Therefore all Parties and Men of different perswasions ought seriously to Consider, that the best Men, are but Men at the best, alike Subject to Passions, and Fra­ilties, to have their Affections misperswaded, and their Judgments mis­guided, some to have knowledge without Zeal; others to have Zeal with­out knowledge, that the greatest Clerks are not always the Wisest men: and therefore that both they that have, and they that have not the truth or best Pollity on their side in Differences and Disputes of this Nature, which concern chiefly, if not meerly Polity, and Regulations, Rites and Ceremonies ought to be so Charitable one towards another, as to believe that they all holding fast (as they all do) the main Principles and Doctrines of the Gospel; that they err only by misconstruction, and that each o­thers Errors are not concerning Fundamentals, but Discipline only, and those also purae negationis, and not pravae dispositionis, and therefore may live peacibly and holily here, under either Government, and may hereaf­ter meet in the presence of God, and see his Face with Comfort, who­soever should submit to other.

§. Consider again, that those Churches which were Founded and Go­verned by the Apostles themselves, and where they Preached and Resi­ded, were not exempt from Imperfections perhaps as great, if not greater than those now in the Church of England, whereof the Epistle to the Gal. gives a clear Testimony, but more clearly, 1 Cor. 1.12. and 1 Cor. 3.4, 5. As to their Charity, they are Taxed that some of them adhered to Paul, some to Cephas, others to Apollos, with a Schism, and express Renting of the Seamless Coat of Christ. And as for Opinions and Doctrines, there were some that denyed the Resurrection. 1 Cor. 15.12. As for Peace and Con­cord, they drew their Pleadings and Differences before the Tribunals of Insi­dels. 1 Cor. 11.8.9. 1 Cor. 6. As for manners, they had Fornication among them, and such as was not so much as named amongst the Gentiles. 1 Cor. 5.12. As for Customs, the Supper of the Lord was converted into Banquets where some were Drunk, and others Hungry, nay, there were Heresies and Schisms among them also. 1 Cor. 11.20, 21. &c. And all this while the Apostle acknowledgeth them to be a true Church, and a Body of Christ, and did not silence himself, but continued labouring by his Preachments, Fastings, and Prayers to amend them, and yet he lived under a Govern­ment Averse even to Christianity it self. How ought we then to stand [Page 181]fast, and comply, and dispence with some irregularities in the Church, where God by his singular Grace hath setled us, altho in the Government thereof there have been, and still are Imperfections and Abuses, which are also by tract of time converted into marvellous grievances. For reason of State and of good Government its good to be observant of all established San­ctions, and tho many Novelties of Reformations do arise, yet to accom­modate our selves with readiness unto them, howbeit we do not much approve of them, because things of Custom have their Remedies, but In­novations are never without their mischiefs, against which it is very hard to find a Remedy.

§. Edification in the Indisputable truths of Faith, and in the Indispen­sable duties of Life, being the main end and Objects of Church Govern­ment and Discipline, its Honour enough for Episcopal Government to en­force Gods Commandements only, there being no necessity of enjoyn­ing more than what the Apostles did in plain and perspicuous terms, with­out making use of obscure Allegorical and Metaphorical Expressions for Exorbitant Powers, for Excommunication, Censures, and God knows what? Yet, Be it as some Dissenters would have it, that all Men professing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, have an undoubted Right and Priviledge to Assem­ble and Associate together to Pray, Preach, and Perform Gospel Ordinan­ces, without Assenting, or Consenting, nay, contrary to the Approbation and Commands of the Civil Magistrate, nay, and that by a Paramount Power, derived even from Christ himself, and all this, not without the Warrant of this Demonstration, that except it had been, and were still so, the Gospel could never have been Preached to all Nations, then mor­tal Enemies to Christ and his Gospel, nor could yet be Preached, where the unknown God is only Worshipped. Be it so, as in truth it is so, that the Preachers of the Word of Salvation, and the Administrators of the Sacraments, being things Commanded them by God, ought not to be for­bidden by men, and are so far exempt from Humane Law, that the Pro­hibition of them is of no Force, or Virtue, it being in such Cases better to obey God than Men. 5 Act. 22. and for that no Mans right ought to be denyed him either in things Civil, or Spiritual, for fear they should abuse it, for that then no mans right shall be preserved safe unto him. Be it so I say, even as they would have it, yet as surely and as undoubtedly the Caesars have their Patent, their Charter and Charge, from the same Pa­ramount Power, for the Countenancing and Propagating the Gospel, and supervising the Professors thereof, and they have a Pastorship to give an Account of, as well as those of the Clergy, and therefore they ought to be as scrupulously careful, and as Zealously watchful as themselves: Was it not Prophesied of David a King. 34 Ezek. 23. I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall Feed them, even my Servant David, he shall Feed them, and he shall be their Shepherd, and I the Lord will be their God, and my Servant David a Prince among them. v. 24. and was he not taken ac­cordingly from the Sheepfold, to Feed Jacob his People, and Israel his In­heritance, and he Fed them according to the Integrity of his Heart, and guided them by the Skilfulness of his Hands. 78 Psal. 70.71, 72.

Besides, were this Objection of greater Force than in truth it is, yet, it hath no place in this Kingdom, for that such Liberty of Assembling, is not only not denyed, but permitted, Countenanced, nay, Commanded, and Churches separated for that very end and purpose only, that what [Page 182]Talents, what Light soever the Complainants may have, they may not hide them under a Bushel, or in a Conventicle, but may manifest them pub­lickly to all Commers: But if under this their great Gospel Priviledge, and under the Shelter of indiscreet Niceties they will meet in Private, and thereby give a jealous State great Cause, only to suspect that they do it, that thereby they may the more opportunely Foster and Foment a Party Averse to present Established Constitutions of Church and State, then cer­tainly Caesar hath as undoubted a Gospel Power and right to Prevent, In­hibit, and punish Transgressors. If their Doctrine be sound and good, why should they not have Churches? if not, why should they be permit­ted in Corners? Look but a little back, and consider if the late times have not given too great cause of fears and jealousies to a Wise and Christian State, to use all just endeavours to prevent the like for the Future, Con­sider also what moved our fore-fathers to make severe and Sanguinary Laws against Papists, was it not because they were troublers of our Israel, working like Moles under Ground, endeavouring the Ruin of our Church and State? If some may be suffered, tho but by Connivence to break thro small Laws, both themselves and others will thereby be encouraged to set the greater at nought.

Herein I desire to be rightly understood, not, as if I Pleaded for a general Tolleration, nothing less! I abhor the thoughts of it, as will ap­pear hereafter, there being a Vast difference between such a Tolleration of Idolatry, Superstition (crying sins, and therefore absolutely unlawful) and a Remission only of some few severities in some Acts, Canons, and Injunctions which relate only to Formalities, that tho in construction of Law may be exacted, yet may be dispensed withal, without prejudice to sound Doctrine or good Conversation, and without which the Worship of God would be as pure and sincere.

Indeed, all Acts, Canons, and Injunctions, whether they relate unto Uniformity or not, ought according to their own Nature to be sincere and free from all Traps and Covert designs to exclude any that Profess the same Faith and Worship, tho many cannot perhaps, thro meer tender­ness of Conscience, submit to every thing therein enjoyned. In Concerns of this Nature, Scripture in a more especial manner ought to be the Rule of Resolutions, and that abstractly and purely, without mixing and bring­ing with them Interest, Usurpation, or Artifices of men, else what were it but by Edicts to lay Snares in Mispah, and spread Nets upon Tabor, to use Laws, Menaces, and subtleties to keep Gods People from his Court and Sanctuary, and Confine them to State-Religion, and to Walk after the Mode of the Commands of men?

Those Non-conformists, Non-assenters, that have received Order (which they could not have had but permissu superiorum, by the Licence, and under the Authority of the King in our Laws expressed, For no Man hath Pow­er to give himself either Orders to be a Priest, or Institution to a Pastoral Charge, but must depend upon another Power, who by Acts, Canons, and Edicts long since published and extant, hath directed the qualifications of the Persons to be Ordained; the manner and Form how; the Persons, who ought to Ordain them, &c. and they could not be ignorant that the Liturgy and enjoyned Ceremonies were by the Imperative Constitutive Go­vernment of this Church and State, to be Countenanced and used in pub­lick Churches by the Bishops, Presbyters, and Pastors; either they consult­ed their Consciences when they entered on the Ministery by taking Ho­ly [Page 183]Orders, whether they could Comply and Submit unto the whole Frame of Government and Polity of this Church, Constituted by Act of Parlia­ment, from whom they were to receive Authority and Licence to Exer­cise their Function, Gifts, and Talents, or they did not, If they did not, they are inexcusable for entring on so Sacred a Calling, Stamped with an Indelible Character so rashly, so unadvisedly, without perspect or fore­sight of Consequences, and yet if they were so pur-blind, as not to see one step before them, yet their neglect herein cannot be Pleaded in their Excuse, it being their own Fault; in Common Justice, no Court will per­mit any man to take Advantage of his own misdemeanors or failings: Besides, hath not every Minister that hath receiv'd Pastoral Charge, twice or thrice, if not oftner witnessed his allowance of all and singular the 39 Articles of our Church, once at his Ordination before the Bishop, then at his Institution into his Benefice before his Ordinary, and both these by Subscription under his own hand, and afterwards upon his Induction be­fore his own Flock, and that by verbal Approbation, he hath not only acknowledged in the Church, ‘the Power of Ordaining Rites and Ce­remonies. 20 Articles. But he hath after a sort bound himself openly to rebuke such as willingly and purposely break the Traditions and Ce­remonies of the Church, as Offenders of the Common Order of the Church, and Wounders of the Consciences of the weak Brethren and hurters of the Authority of the Magistrate, Artic. 34. and is it not ena­cted, 1o, Eliz. c. 2. that they shall be punished (pro ut in the Act) that shall Preach, declare, or speak any thing in derogation or depraving our Li­turgy, &c.’ Are not then such Dissenters obliged both in Conscience, and by virtue of their own Voluntary Acts and Subscriptions, to be constant to their own Hands and Tongues, if they would be accounted Faithful in Gods House as was Moses: And is it reasonable then to hearken unto such, Pleading against their own Voluntary Acts and Subscriptions, their own Hands and Tongues? Besides, quo jure with what Face or Conscience can they expect Temples, maintenance, protection, and all things requisite for their Ministery, from that Law and Government that they will not Pro­tect, Countenance, nor submit unto?

§ Indeed, it seems to me an old piece of Conscientiousness, if not Impiety, to enter the Holy Ministerial Function to day when they are sure without Conformity to be silenced to morrow; Besides, it is Nicety and Indiscretion to exact an express Rule of Scripture or Faith, for the Cross in Baptism, for standing at the Creed, Kneeling at the Lords Beard, for Ha­bits in Divine Service, the usual sear-Crows of scrupulous men. In these cases consent of the Church or Tradition, may suffice, so there be no ex­press Law of Command to the contrary. He that exacts in these Points as express Rules of Faith, or Warrant of Scripture for his Obedience to Ecclesiastical Government as he would, or as every man ought to do, for adventuring upon Worshipping of Images, Invocation of Saints, &c. doth make his Brain or Fancy the chief Seat of his Religion, which should be seated in the Heart, and Intitles God to the Fancies and Chymaeraes of their own Brains.

Thus to disobey the Church in these Cases, wherein it hath Authority to Command Obedience, is to disobey those Mandates of God, which give the Body of the Church Authority to make Laws to Govern it self by in things indifferent, neither expresly Forbidden, nor expresly Command­ed [Page 184]by the Law of God, I know the Apostles Rule is, let every man be ful­ly pers [...]ded in his own mind, 14 Rom. 5. And this full perswasion or assu­rance of Faith is in the Cases there mentioned necessary, because whatso­ever is not of Faith, is Sin, v. 23. This last Maxim is undoubtedly true, and the former Precept most exactly to be observed in such Causes as the Apostle there speaks of, that is, where the positive Practise (unless our Warrant be Authentick in it self, and evident to us) is very dangerous or deadly; whereas on the contrary, the forbearance of such Practise, is either safe or not prejudicial to our Souls, but to our Bodies only, or State temporal, such Ceremonies as be neither against Faith, nor adverse to good manners, in the Judgment of St. Austin, ep. 11.8. go for indif­ferent, and may be Born in Christian Unity without Offence or Confusi­on. If God hath left things indifferent, what Authority can make them necessary? Let them be so still, and their nature not changed by any In­junction, and Unity will necessarily ensue. Quodam modo, it may be true, that in Ordination there is something which they receive thereby from God, Independent of the King, or any Civil Power, viz. Authori­ty to T [...]ch, Baptize, and Administer Sacraments by Virtue of Ordination.

And [...] is as true, that there is something in Ordination, or appendant to it, which they receive from the King, First, Licence to be Ordained, and Liberty to exercise what God hath Authorized them to do, viz. to Preach, Baptize, &c. In which Ordination also there is, if not an Overt, yet a ta­cite and implyed condition, viz. Submission to the Imperative Consti­tutive Government of the present Church that doth permit them to be Ordained, Licence them to Preach, Establish them a maintenance, &c. All which if they expect from the Prince, all the reason Imaginable that he should judge and appoint who should be capable of such Liberty and maintenance, and appoint the qualifications, or else if he should give the same Countenance, Liberty, and maintenance, to Popish Priests or Jews, why were he to be blamed, if he had no Power nor Command from God, to Judg, to Licence, or Tollerate, Suppress or Prohibit? There­fore if after Ordination and Admission into the Ministery, they refuse to submit to the Established Government of the present National Church, the same Authority that permitted them Ordination, may for sound and good reasons as Warrantably deny them publick preferments and publick places for the exercise thereof, for the Application of the Persons to the Charge is wholly in the Body of the Church and Magistrates Power, which is one and the same thing, whether you consider Independent or not ndepen­dent Churches. And I appeal to all the Congregations Presbyterian and Independent, whether they will admit any into their particular Societies, that will not submit to their Government Constitutive by consent? And do not again Excommunicate those that after their admission do deny submission to their Constitutions. I would have no man patient in causa laesae fidei, yet it is Pauls Counsel and Practise, in things indifferent, to be­come all unto all, and to be indifferently minded, 1 Cor. 9.2 [...]. Moderation what Wise man but approves in external Rites to fit himself to that Church, wherein God shall call or occasion him to Live?

§. I will make no severe reflections on any peccadilloes of any persons of any perswasion, but believe, that as they are all Heirs of the same Faith, and of the same Salvation, and all Brethren of Christ, so they may all meet in Heaven, and therefore will exhort all to Unity, and [Page 185]and Peace, and Love, the last Legacy Christ left to Disciples, viz. Love one another, and I hope they all have the same Christian Love and Charity each toward other. Paul and Barnabas Jarred, yet Preached the Gospel, and why not you? Our love to God is more espetially ma­nifested and signalized by our love to Saints, for whom we ought to lay down our lives, 1 Joh. 3.16. David a King, and a man after Cods own Heart, solemnly Protests, all my delight is in the Saints on the Earth, and in such as excell in Vertue, 16 Psal. 3. The proximity and near Relation that Saints have with Christ, should encourage them whom he hath dignified with his own name, and Power to prefer the Saints in love. To Saul an Enemy, David shewed kindness, but his Soul clave to the Soul of Jonathan, 1 Sam. 18.13. Gods Precepts, and Saints Practise, oblige us always to limit the specially of our Love to the Houshold of Faith, if ye all have Faith towards God (of which I make no question) why then live ye not in love one towards another? why so dissenting? why such animosities each towards other, scarce affording a good word one of the other? I hope you have not so learned Christ. Gods love to his Chosen so impartial, that whether Graecian, or Barbarian, Bond, or Free, all are one in Christ Jesus. Gods favours for Salvation are Extend­ed to all, Prince, Pesant, Prelate, Presbyter, Independent, Conformist, Non-Conformist, Assenter, Dissenter, Liturgist, or Antiliturgist, however different among your selves in point of Discipline, nothing in Doctrines fundamental. All a like Redeemed by the Blood of Christ, Sanctified by his Grace and Providence, the ground of all Holy Love is the same in all, the Image of God, the Loadstone of all gracious Affections. A­page imbelles quaerimonias! A way then with all Animosities, all evil speakings, and murmurings one against another, as if Ca-sirouna dogs [...]ch to other. Beware also of Partiality in affections towards one another, must your Love and Testimonies thereof be limited only to place, and outw [...]rd Eminency in our Church, and of your own rank and perswa­sion only? must Dissenters, tho never so Rich in Faith, be scarce vouch­safed your Eugè, unless the same moment you give them your Vale, meats scarce meet for the Dogs of your Flock: To such I say with Paul, de­spise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not? 1 Cor. 11.22. Be Exhorted therefore without partiality to love each other in good earnest, considering that our Love to the Brethren, is the best Evidence of our Love towards God, and the best Evidence of our Sincerity in lov­ing, and surest sign of true Gracious Love, when it is Impartial to all, tho Dissenting Brethren, for if our Love be sincere and without dis­simulation, it will be impartial, and will work no ill to the Brethren and is the very fulfilling of the Law.

It is not to be denyed, but that tho the Body, the Catholick Church be one, yet it hath many Members, and all the Members of that one Bo­dy being many, are one Body, whereof Christ is the Head. 1 Cor. 12.12. whether Prelate, Presbyter, or Independent, whether National or Con­gregational Churches are all Members of the same Catholick Body, and therefore I do deem it very unbrotherlike, if not unscholastick to stig­matizey either Conformist, or Non-Conformist with the name of Seperatist, or Schismatick, because, they all hold the Truth in Righteousness, those names more properly belong to Dogs, to evil Workers, to the Concision of which, we ought to beware and avoid. 3 Phil. 2. the Conformist and Non-Conformist, the Liturgist, and Anti-Liturgist, they all serve and [Page 186]Worship God in Truth, and in Sincerity, and give God thanks, and are certainly Members of the same Body, and neither ought to Esteem o­ther, Seperatist or Schismatick, but the stronger to bear the Infirmities of the weaker, they differing only in Circumstantials, not in Fundamentals or things absolutely necessary. St. John, 3 Ep. Commendeth to Pious Prea­chers the Example of Gajus and Demetrius, for their peaceable deportments towards the Brethren, and their love of the Truth, and Rebukes Diotre­phes for loving praeheminence among the Brethren, and for prating against them with usalicious words (unbeseeming both Conformists and Non-confor­mists) and not receiving them, nor yet the love of the Truth, but forbid­ding them that would, and in as much as in them lyeth, casting them out of the Church. Take heed and by love serve one another, for in this one word, Love, all the Law is fulfilled, for if ye bite and devour one another, take heed, I say, ye be not Consumed one of another. 5 Gal. 13.14, 15.

FINIS.

I Have now done with our Friends at home, Friends, and good Friends, I hope, tho of different perswasions, having had no greater design, than by modest arguing to dis­cover which of those several Doctrines and Practices they would severally obtrude upon us, are most true. It is all one to me, which are the truest Opinions, so I could be so happy, as to know the right, that I might be certain to embrace them, and them only. Having, I say, thus done with our Friends at home, I am now to parly and combat more particu­larly with a very strange Generation of Men, Men who tho very quick sighted, yet will not see, will not understand, be the Evidence of the truth never so demonstrative. What hope can mortal wights have to prevail with them, who prevaricate with God himself, under pretence of a Spirit Infallible and unerring? So that the Popes sence of Scripture must without examinations be submitted unto; tho he Interpret and Act con­trary to the very plain words, and Texts of Scripture, and contrary to our very Sences, witness their Prayers and Services in an unknown Tongue contrary to the very words, whole Scope and design of the fourteenth Chapter of the First of Corinthians, Concil. Latera­nens. verum Christi corpu [...] & Sanguis, &c witness also their believ­ing and maintaining the Bread and Wine in the Eucharist, to be the very Flesh and Blood of Christ's Body, contrary to our very Sences, and not the Sences of a few, but of all the Christian World for 1600 years toge­ther; and this forsooth must be done under the notion of a Miracle of Transubstantiation, by the miraculous omnipotent power of God, who yet never revealed that he would Juggle with his People by any Deda­lean Jugling Arts, and alwayes practised the clean contrary; and there­fore to believe this to be done by a Miracle, is to believe it a Miracle contrary to the very nature of all the Miracles that ever God wrought. For the true nature of a Miracle, is to make that evident to our very Senses, which no reason can Fathom or comprehend, and such were all Gods Miracles, viz. the standing still of the Sun in Joshua 10.12, 13. The going back of the Sun ten Degrees in the Sun-dial of Ahaz. Isay 38.8. The dividing of the Water, and making them to stand on an heap, that they might be a Sanctuary unto Israel, and to return again to be a Grave unto Egypt, Exod. 15.8. the dry and the wet Fleece. Judges 6.37.40. the preserving of the Three Children in the fiery Furnace. Daniel 3. so that the fire had no power over their bodies, not so much as a hair of their heads singed, or their Coats changed, or so much as the smell of fire had passed upon them, and yet consumed their Persecutors in the sight of them all: The delivery of Daniel out of the Lions Den, which yet brake all the bones of his accusers in pieces, or ever they came to the bottom of the Den, Dan. 6. was it ever known, that a man born blind, was made to see, John 9. or that the dead were raised? Yet did Christ cure the blind, raised the dead, caused the dead Stones of the Temple to rend in sunder, and put blackness on the face of the Sun at mid-day. All these indeed have the true nature of Miracles, and were made manifest to the very sences of those Nations where they were wrought, and were not other­wise to be made credible. But to believe Bread to be Flesh, and Wine to be Blood, participates more with Hocus Pocus with the Art of Jug­ling, than of doing Miracles. What is this but to be bruitish in know­ledg? they will not understand. Is not this to reproach their Maker, [Page 190]that when he hath given them eyes and ears, and reasonable Souls, that they will yet neither see, nor hear, nor understand? Have you not read the four and fortieth of Isay, describing the Sottish dotage of Ido­latrous Jews? He burneth part thereof in the fire, with part thereof he eateth flesh: he rosteth rost, and is satisfied: he warmeth himself, and the residue thereof he maketh a God, even his Graven Image: he falleth down to it, and worshipeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me, for thou art my God. And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge or understanding to say, I have burnt part thereof in the fire; I have baked on the Coals thereof, I have roasted flesh, and eaten thereof, and shall I make the residue thereof an Abomination? Shall I fall down to the Stock of a Tree? A deceived heart hath turned him aside.

Praetiosa & grandia sonant, veri effoeta defendunt: Deum loquuntur, si­mulachra Adorant, Ambres. ad Symachum.

§. Is Romish Infatuation less? Semble and fancy to your selves, a Papist prostrate before his breaden God. (At which Hildebrand so strangely angry for that he answers not, how the Emperor Henry the Fourth might be destroyed, throws him into the fire Benno Ʋrsperg. Math. Paris.) He knows it to be the Art of the Confectioner, the Composition of the Baker,Valera. 66. sees, toucheth, tasteth it Bread and Wine, cannot be ignorant, goes out at the draught: yet adores it, prayeth unto it, saying, deliver me, for thou art my God, so fast glewed are their eyes, that they will not see: so obdurate are their hearts, they will not understand. Like may be observed in many other their absurd opinions, contrary to sence, reason, all sound Authority, and what not? Why thus infatuated? Why thus seduced by Antichristian Mystery? Why thus given up to strong de­lusions, to Infatuation, and besottedness so great, as that errors palpable and such as may be felt, are entertained for truth? And why so stiff and perverse in adhering to them, so incorrigible, that no perswasion nor af­frightment from God or Man can reclaim them from? The reason is assigned, viz. because they will not receive the love of the Truth, that they might be saved, 2 Thes. 2.10. what hope have I then to perswade or convince, whom neither Evidence of Scripture, nor demonstration of Sences, nor Suffrage of Antientest Fathers, nor Consent of most Antient Councils, nor blood of Martyrs, nor Sword of Magistrates, nor disco­very of Antichrist, nor consumption of his Kingdom, or I am perswad­ed, ruine of that Babylon can win from palpablest errors?

§. Though all the wisest and most sober men of the World, have ever taught that Kingdoms, Cities, Companies, cannot long continue, nor prosper, where Religion and Piety are slighted or neglected: yet there are some, and those no small Fools, (though great Wits in their own esteem) who have so little of the fear of God before their eyes, that they think that Princes are so much the more firm, and established in their Thrones, by how much more ignorant and wicked their Sub­jects are, and Religion vilified, and set at naught, because, say they, they are thereby more proper, and as it were born to Servitude, and the Yoak. Patientiores servitutis quos non decet nisi esse servos, Plin. Pan. when as the contrary is most true, pessimus quisque asperrime rectorem pa­titur, contra facile imperium in bonos qui metuentes magis quam metuendi. Salust. ad Caesarem, the most wicked are the most impatient of Authority: [Page 191]and contrarily the best men are the most obedient, fearing others more than they are to be feared themselves. And therefore that great Prince Augustus had wont to say, that Religion and Piety did Deisie Princes. The Piety of a Soverain, consisteth in his care for the maintenance and pre­servation of Religion, as the Propagator and Protector thereof. This conduceth unto his own honour and Preservation, for they that truly fear God, dare not attempt, nor think of any thing, either against their Prince, who is the Image of God upon Earth, or against the State: Nothing but Religion can maintain humane Society; without it all manner of wickedness, and Savage Cruelties would abound; Religion only doth bridle, and keep in Order Common-weals. The State of the Romans, saith Cicero himself, did increase and flourish more by Re­ligion than by all other means, wherefore it ought to be the Princes chiefest care, that Religion be preserved in its purity, according to the just Laws and Ceremonies of the same: He must likewise endeavor to hinder Innovations and Controversies therein: For that change in Reli­gion, and a wrong done thereunto, draweth along with it a change and declination in the Common-wealth, as Mecenas well discourseth to Au­gustus Dion.

Religion of all Weapons is most potent, overcometh all affections, and charity it self, and is the surest bond of Humane Society: Kingdoms are more bounded, and more divided by Religion, than by any other Con­fines and Boundaries whatsoever. He that is bigot in his Religion, con­temneth Wife, Children, Kindred, nay his own Life; if there be dif­ference in Religion in the same Family, the Father is against the Son, and the Son against the Father. The Mother against the Daughter, and the Daughter against the Mother; the Mother in Law against the Daugh­ter in Law, and the Daugh­ter in Law against the Mother in Law, Luke 12.5, 3. it is storied to be the Observation of King James (of ever Blessed Memory) that the Puritans of that Age were not to be obliged, and that not without great reason, for that no obligation can be Pa­ramount to that of Religion and Conscience, wherein God hath the chief Throne.

As it is not to be tollerated, that every one should shape out his own Religion, and bring in new Rites at his pleasure, and consequently trou­ble the publick peace, so it is most necessary that every one, both Kings, Priests and People should amend themselves, because a good life is a most vehement Orator to perswade. And Magistrates are more bound than private men to fear God, [He that ruleth over men, must be just ruling in the fear of God, 2 Sam. 23.3. and it is an Abomination to Kings to commit Wickedness, for the Throne is Established by Righteous­ness, Pet. 16.12.14.] to be zealous of Holy Faith, that they discharge Christ his place, in whose stead they are. And they are also more bound to avoid Hypocrisie and Superstition, to maintain their Power and State in the exercise of Religion, to take great heed that that does not hap­pen to their People, which sometime fell out to the Jews through Moses long absence, who thinking that in him they were deprived of the true God, they made them one of Gold. A thing which if it were well considered, the World would not be at that pass which now it is at. He that ruleth with the best Arts of peace, useth this as a chief instrument to cause the people to believe this as a firm truth, viz. that the Prince is ordained by God for the good of his people, and ruleth [Page 192]with approbation of Divine Authority, and the Subject consequently is obliged to obey him in all his lawful commands. Princes of all others have most reason to justifie and advance Religion, as having no other right or title (consent excepted) to Govern by, that is Obligatory. If they disclaim that, Adieu to all other rights and pretentions. For that over any one single person, and much less over a multitude, (and such is every Politick Society in the World) no one man, nor yet any num­ber of men have compleat lawful Authority to be Lord or Judge (Pa­ternal Government excepted, which even nature it self hath Established from the very Creation of man, all men having ever been taken as law­ful Lords and Kings in their own Houses all the World over) but by consent of men, or by immediate appointment of God, unto whom all the World is subject, Hook. Eccl. Pol. f. 70.

As all Princes and Civil Magistrates, whether of Kingdoms or Repu­blicks, have two callings, the one of Christian the other of Governors: so in both of them they are obliged by the strictest Bonds of Divine Precepts, to serve God both as Christians in observing the Divine Pre­cepts in general, as every other private person with all their hearts, minds, and souls; and as Princes also with well ordering of Laws, and exemplarily encouraging and exhorting their Subjects to Piety, Honesty, and Justice, punishing all such as transgress Gods Commandements, espe­cially those of the Decalogue. This Power God hath given to Princes, not peculiarly for their own use only, so that they may not suffer it to be impaired without sin, for that it proceedeth from God, and is given by him for the good and benefit of the Governed, and therefore they ought to be marvellous careful, not to suffer it in the least to be dimi­nished or Impeached by Pope, or any other Ecclesiastick, who for many Centuries, under a shew of Zeal, have quo jure quave injuriû endeavour­ed to make way for their Ambition, and to usurp, and monopolize that power to themselves, which of indubitable Right belongeth to the civil Magistrate, least it thereby become insufficient for good and intire Go­vernment, and thereby both Prince and People suffer Injury, and God be offended. For if Princes be not bound to the governed, yet to God it is a debt and duty which cannot be fully and truly paid, but by pre­serving his publick Authority intire, and by no means suffering it to be impeached or diminished, which Power is not Arbitrary, so as to go­vern according to fancy (quod libet licet) and so one mans will may be­come the cause of all mens misery, such an apprehension might cause even a Saint to be misled, and to walk besides his rule, which is the word of God, by me Kings Raign, and Princes decree Justice, Prov. 8.15.

It is unknown to few, how Ecclesiasticks for some hundreds of years by-past, have with all their might laboured to Usurp Temporal Jurisdi­ction from Princes, and how great progress they have made in it, tho not without great disturbances of the Civil Governments wherein they have endeavored it, and which the revolution of many Ages hath not as yet wholly recovered, and for want of which whole Nations fare the worse unto this very day. And of latter years Cardinal Bellarmine set forth a Book, wherein he is so bold, as to labour to make Princes sub­ject to the Pope in Causes Temporal, and most impudently dares to treat them all as Hereticks, which say, that the Prince in Temporal Affairs, hath no Superior but God only, thereby preferring the Ambitious ends [Page 193]of the Court of Rome, before the Publick ends of Gods Holy Truth, and of his Vice-gerents. He pretends therein to write against Barclay, but his main drift and design is to advance the Popes Power to the Zenith and top of omnipotency it self.

In this Book he treats of nothing, but of the Popes Power over Princes, wherein it is more than five and twenty times inculcated, viz. That when the Pope judgeth a Prince for faults, or unfitness, unworthy to Govern, or that he knows that it is profitable for the Church, he may deprive him of his Government. And he sundry times affirms therein, That when the Pope commands that Obedience be not given to a Prince that is deprived by him, that then he is no more a Prince, but a private Person. Nay, he is so bold as to affirm, That the Pope, if he shall deem it expedient, may dispose of all the goods of any Christian whatsoever, and all must go for nothing, if he only say, it is his opinion. Nay farther averrs, That it is an Article of the Catholick Faith, viz. that he is a Heretick that doth not believe the same, and all this with strange impudence, scarce to be parallel'd.

This Book was written by Bellarmine, presently after the Murther of Henry the Great of France, before whose death such Doctrines were but whispered and covertly broached, but soon after his death, they vo­mited them out most impudently, leading Princes then as it were in Triumph, as that they might be Excommunicated by the Pope, deprived of their Kingdoms for unskilful Governing, weakness of strength, or any other cause or ineptitude that His Holiness shall deem just.

This Book was so offensive to some of the Roman Catholicks themselves, not only because of those false Doctrines so broached, but because he asserted those Doctrines to be the Doctrines and Faith of the Catholick Church, and pronounceth all those that did think otherwise to be teme­rarious and scandalous Hereticks, Parasites of Princes, Ethnicks and Pu­blicans. Notwithstanding all these bold Averments, the wise State of Ve­nice fore-seeing the evil consequences of such Doctrines, might follow to the disturbance of the Peace of a Nation, they presently forbid the coming in of that Book into their Dominions, lest their Subjects there­by should be seduced into the same errors: Whoever shall wisely consi­der that Murder perpetrated by Ravillac, 1610. throw the Instigation of the Jesuits, and the Decree of the Sorbon, clearing themselves, and lay­ing all the guilt thereof, and of all Assassinating Doctrines and Princi­ples, on the Jesuits, and shall also consider Anti-cotton's Refutation of Father Cotton (a Jesuit and Confessor to the said Henry the Fourth, who had highly oblidged him and the Society, by giving them his House at La Flesche for a Colledge with 1000 Crowns yearly Pension for Twen­ty years, and had otherwise marvellously obliged them by many favors, thereby hoping to secure his Life, but all in vain) his Declaratory Letter to the Queen, and shall also consider the Discourse to the Lords of Par­liament at Paris touching the said Murther, all manifestly proving the Jesuits to be the Plotters and Actors in that horrible Murther, all printed soon after that detestable stroak, viz. 1610. and shall also consider that the said Book of Bellarmine, was the very same year Printed at Rome under the Popes Nose, with an Imprimatur by Fr. Ludovicus Ystelli Ma­gistri Sacri Palatii Apostolici: And shall also consider the Popes silence and calmness in all these great concerns, may well conclude, that if the Pope were not Particeps Criminis, yet he seemed to be accessory by his [Page 194]silence, and to be content and very well pleased, and that there was a right understanding between him and the Jesuits. About this time also, viz. 1610. as if Hell-hounds had been breaking loose, the Jesuits were so insolent, fierce and zealous, to make His Holiness Almighty on Earth, that there being in Rome a very great number, above 150 Catchpoles, Serjeants or Bayliffs, whom they perceiving to be men of dissolute lives, of profligated honesty, and living very little like Christians (the fitter for their turns) they designed to erect in their Church, a Society of them only, pretending to teach them Christian Doctrine, and to exercise them in frequent Confessions, which the Governor and Court of Rome under­standing, and suspecting so strict a Practice of the Jesuits, with such their Ministers, they complained with the Pontiff. Wherefore the Bishop of — who had advanced them 30000 Crowns in order thereunto, being near to death, and died soon after, then the Apostolick Chamber not approving the Donation, took the Money as a Booty, and applied it as they thought fit.

§. That Reverence which is due, and deservedly given to Religion, hath been the cause that many abuses, which came under the Ʋmbrage of that Sacred Canopy, have had such easie admittance, whereby the evil designs that have lain couchant under that pretence, and the true ends of the designers have not appeared, until time hath made a disco­very when [...] hath been too late to remedy them without great distur­bances. The Covetous desire of inlarging Phylacteries, Wealth, and Au­thority, doth so naturally blind men, even Ecclesiasticks, that without any respect to plainness and sincerity of Gods own Holy Writ, they be­take themselves to Cavils only, pittiful Blasphemous Cavils, Averring, that if God doth punish, and hath punished Sinners; the Pope, and In­quisitors his delegates may, and ought also to punish them. Certainly to say no worse, to draw Arguments from the Divine Omnipotency, to Humane Authority, agrees in no proportion with the Reverence due to the Divine Majesty.

Nothing more frequent and ordinary, than for Judges whose Juris­dictions and Powers are limited by Paramount Authority, to seek the enlargement thereof, tho by the disabling of the General Jurisdiction, as well Civil as Ecclesiastick: And this proceedeth as well from the natural Inclination, which all men have to command in chief, as also from the profit and Grandeur, which necessarily attends Soveraignty. But if such Ecclesiasticks or others do seek enlargement of their Power be­yond their Commission and natural duty, the Supream Civil Magistrate is most to blame if he suffer it, tho sometimes with good intent and success, for that it can never be with Wisdom. Therefore if Ecclesiasti­cal persons shall fail in their duties, the power will return to that Body who gave it without depriving it self of it. Wherefore it is no wonder, if the secular person ought to be an Overseer of him that exerciseth a charge which he himself hath given him.

The old and true Legitimate Romanists, for the first 300 years and more (whose Faith and Doctrine the Protestants at this day both own and defend) were altogether unacquainted with the Doctrines of Ec­clesiastical greatness, Liberties (or Licence rather) Immunities and Juris­dictions that are now claimed by the now degenerate, and Bastardized Romanists, who tho of Rome, yet are not true Romanists indeed, who [Page 195]under a Spiritual pretence, but with a secret ambitious end, and desire of Worldly Wealth and Domination, would free themselves from the obe­dience due unto the Prince; and by false insinuations take away the love, and reverence due by the people unto their Prince, and cement it unto themselves. And to bring these things to pass, they have lately invented a Doctrine of Ʋniversal Monarchy, and have erected an Order of Jesuits, and a Court of Inquisition, whose main concern and design is, to maintain the Popes Power to be above that of Kings, which Doctrine was unheard of till the dayes of Hildebrand I. Gregory the Seventh, 1073. neither is there any Book found concerning it, till about the year 1300. then did they begin to write of it scatteringly,Vide Gold astum but there were not above two Books which treated of nothing else but this, until about the year 1400. and three until the year 1500. after this the number encreased a little, but it was tolerable. But after the year 1560. this Doctrine be­gan to encrease in such manner, that they gave over writing of other Doctrines, and little was printed in Italy, but Books in diminution of Se­cular Authority, and exaltation of the Ecclesiastical. The Confessors like­wise need no other learning to be approved of, whence is universally spread a perverse opinion, that Princes and Magistrates are humane In­ventions, yea, and Tyrannical, that they ought only by compulsion to be obeyed, that the disobeying of Laws, and defrauding the Publick Revenues is no sin: and he that doth not pay, if he can but fly from it, remains not guilty before God. And contrarywise, that every beck of Ecclesiastical persons without any other thought ought to be taken for a Divine Precept, and binds the conscience: And this Doctrine above all others, is the chiefest cause of most or of all the Inconveniencies, which have happened in these latter Ages: In Italy Books that defend the Princes Temporal Authority, and affirm that Ecclesiastical Persons are also subject to publick Constitutions, and punishable if they violate the publick tranquillity, these are condemned Books, and suppressed more than any others. They have gelded the Books of Antient Authors by new Printing of them, and taken out all which argue or plead for Tem­poral Aurhority, so that if in Authors we find no good Doctrine fa­vouring Temporal Authority, we know who hath taken it away. If we find any that exalteth the Ecclesiastical, we know, who hath put it in, and in truth we can be assured of the truth of no Book that hath been under their censures. And it is also most evident, that those who desire to have an unquestionable liberty to brand the lawful Temporal Power, and that Doctrine which opposeth it self to their attempts, with the name of Tyranny, do design that under pretence of Religion, they may become Arbitrators of all Government.

From henceforth these Doctrines and Tenets did wonderfully increase, and multiply, spawning out others as prodigious and Monstrous as them­selves, so that in the Sixteenth Century, and in the dayes of Paul the Fifth more especially, they arrived unto most admirable perfection, for in his dayes Books were Printed (as one well observes) by hundreds,Padre Paolo nay by thousands, the purports of which being summarily collected by a diligent Observator, and Contemporary of the same time he hath Re­corded them to be, ‘that the Temporal Power of Princes is subordinate to the Power Ecclesiastical, and subject to it, consequently that the Pope hath Authority to deprive Princes of their Estates for their faults and errors which they commit in Government, yea tho they have not [Page 194] [...] [Page 195] [...] [Page 196]committed any fault, when the Pope shall judge it fit for the good of the Church: that the Pope may free Subjects from their obe­dience, and from their fidelity, which they owe unto their Princes, in which case they are obliged to cast off all subjection, and even to pursue the Prince if the Pope command it, and altho they all agreed to hold these maximes, yet they were not all at Accord touching the manner; for they that were touched with a little shame, said so great an Authoriy did not reside in the Pope, because Jesus Christ had not given him any Temporal Authority, but because this was necessary for the Spiritual. Wherefore Jesus Christ giving Spiritual Authority, had given also indirectly the Temporal, which was a vain shift, seeing they made no other difference than of words. But the greater part of these men spake plainly, that the Pope hath all Authority in Heaven and Earth, both Spiritual and Temporal, over all Princes of the World, no otherwise than over his Subjects and Vassals: that he might correct them for any fault whatsoever: that he is a Temporal Monarch over all the Earth: that from any Temporal Soveraign Prince, men might appeal to the Pope: that he might give Laws to all Princes, and annul those, which were made by them: for the exemption of Ecclesiasticks they all with one voice denied, that they held it by the Grace and Priviledges of Princes, altho their Laws to that purpose, Constitutions and Priviledges, be yet extant; but they were not agreed how they had received it, some of them affirming that it was de Jure Divino; others that it came by constitutions of Popes and Councils. But all consented upon this, that they are not subject to the Prince, no not in case of Treason, and that they are not bound to obey the Laws, unless it were vi directivâ. And some passed so far as to say, that the Ecclesiasticks ought to exa­mine, whether the Laws and Commands of the Prince be just, and whether the People be obliged to obey them, and that they owe not unto the Prince, either contributions, customs, or obedience: that the Pope cannot erre or fail, because he hath the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and therefore that it is necessary to obey his Commandments, whether they be just or unjust: That to him appertains the clearing of all difficulties, so as it is not lawful for any to depart from his resolution, nor to make reply, tho the resolution be unjust: That tho all the World differ in opinion from the Pope, yet it is meet nevertheless to yield to him, and he is not excused from sin, who follows not his advice, tho all the World judge it to be false. Their Books were full also of such other Maxims, that the Pope is a God upon Earth, a Son of Justice, a light of Religion; that the Judgment of God and the Pope, is one and the same thing, as also the Tribunal, and the Court of the Pope and God: That to doubt of the Power of the Pope, is as much as to doubt of the Power of God. And it is notable, what Cardinal Bellarmine hath boldly Written, that to restrain the Obedience due unto the Pope unto things concerning the Salvation of the Soul, is to bring it to no­thing: That St. Paul appealed to Caesar, who was not his Judge, and not to St. Peter, lest the By-standers should have laughed at him:’ That the Holy Bishops of Old, shewed themselves subject to Emperors, because the times so required, others adjoyned farther, that then it was meet to introduce the Empire of the Pope by little and little, it being a thing unseasonable to despoil Princes newly converted of their Estates, and also to permit something unto them for to interess them. Other like [Page 197]discourses they made, which many Godly persons abhorred to read, and reputed them Blasphemies. Hist. of the Inquisition, Sparsim.

§. Moreover, these were not the Scriblings of some Vulgar Pens, but some Ecclesiasticks of very great quality, Printed in favour of the Roman Pontiffs cause, a very seditious Sheet, wherein was affirmed against all sound Do­ctrine, that Marriages within the State of the Republick were invalid, the Matrimonial Conjunction, Adultery, and the Children all Bastards, that it was not only lawful butmeritorious for Pastors to abandon their Flocks; And whither did all this tend, but to unty the very Bonds of the Civil Government of all States? To contradict which, there was published a Treatise of John Gerson written 150 years before, to which was adjoyned a Letter, exhorting all Curates to take care of their Churches, not fearing the Offence of God by not observing the Interdict. Soon after came out a Treatise of Cardinal Bellarmine against that of Gerson, then followed the admonition of Cardinal Baronius, as also a discourse of Cardinal Colonna, endeavouring to terrifie the Prelates and other Ecclesiasticks placed in the greatest places by the fear of censures, and the privation of their Dignities and Benefices: Bellarmine aimed to shake the devout Consciences, by exalting the Authority of the Pope so far, as to make it equal to that of God.Bellarmine, Baro [...]ius, Colonna. In summ, all the three Cardinals laboured mainly (how conscientiously let the World judge) to disguise the truth, that it should not be discovered. These are not only false and Blasphemous, but new Doctrines also, never known to the Old Ro­mans for many hundred of years. The Sun at Noon never saw these abo­minations, until within these 3 or 400 years, whereby it is apparent, that they are not all Rome which are of Rome, neither are they all Le­gitimate Children begotten in the Lord by the Doctrines of St. Peter, but are the degenerate and Bastard Plants and Successors, tho they boast of their succeeding Peter in his Local Chair at Rome, tho they differ from him in his Doctrines and tho in the truest understanding the Protestants, are the Legitimate Children of St. Peter, and not those that stile themselves St. Peter's Successors at Rome.

§. The Antient Fathers taught obedience to Princes, Antient Fa­thers taught obedience to Princes. but never taught that the Pope hath Power to abrogate the Laws of Princes in Temporal matters, or to deprive them of their Crowns, or free their Subjects [...] their Allegiance: that to depose Kings from their Thrones, is a new thing never attempted till within these 600 years, and is against the Scri­ptures, and the examples of Jesus Christ and of his Saints, and to teach that in Case of Controversie between the Pope and a Prince, it is lawful to pursue the Prince with frauds and open force, or that the Subjects which do Rebel against him, do by that means obtain the Remission of their sins, are Doctrines Seditious and Sacrilegious. That Ecclesiastical men by Divine Law are not exempted from the Secular Power neither in their Per­sons, nor in their Goods, though they have received from Godly and Devout Princes since Constantine the Great, until Frederick the Second, divers Priviledges, which they had power only to grant for their own times, and their own Dominions, which did exempt them from the power of Inferior Magistrates only, but not from their own Soveraign Authority. That the exemptions granted by Popes unto the Order of the Clergy, have not been admitted in some places, and in others admitted only in part, and that they have been valid so far only, as they have been re­ceived, that notwithstanding any Papal exemption, the Prince hath still [Page 198]power over their Persons and Goods, whensoever necessity constrains him to serve himself of them. And if at any time they should abuse such exemption to the perturbation of the publick tranquillity, that the Prince is obliged to provide a remedy. Now, that these Evils having gotten such exorbitant growth, and have been so troublesom to all States and Kingdoms, whom may Kings and Princes blame but themselves, (who not having that due regard to the Divine Precepts, which so straitly oblige them to take knowledge of Gods most Holy Law, and of Reli­gion, but have altogether neglected this duty, as if Religion were a thing that did not concern them, and as if they were not to render an account to God, neither for themselves, nor for their Subjects, by neg­lecting the care and defence of it against the Divine Precepts of Gods word, the Doctrine of Sacred Canons and Fathers, and the Practice of Pious Princes) contenting themselves with a Religion, without know­ing what it is, or how it should be kept from Corruption, tollerating for their own Ease, and worldly Interests, the people to be kept in ignorance, and to be deceived by often alterations, under pretence and Mask of Religion and Piety, with a dayly permission, not only to Reli­gious persons, but to all sorts of men to invent new Orders and Rites, as Jesuitism, Inquisition, &c. for their own profit, Interest and Greatness, without considering, that in the end, every old Order, Rite and Custom, carries along with it its own Credit, which invites belief, and so Religion becomes changeable, and meerly serviceable to the Interests and Ends of those that manage it. And these alterations having been once received, and a while continued by the present Kings, and Princes have been no small obligation to their Heirs and Successors, to continue them upon the reason of Authority stampt upon them by time and custom. A thing that often happens in all humane affairs, but chiefly in Religion, when superstition and false Doctrines are broached and invented, for ends not suitable to pure Religion, and undefiled. As every Government, so that of the Church more especially requires watchfulness and faithfulness, and he that dischargeth himself of these, destroyeth himself of so much of his Authority, and happily doth not perceive it till it be lost, and cannot be recovered again, which hath been the Case of many supine and negli­gent Princes. Kings and Princes ought not in any prudence to trust to the Pope or any other Ecclesiastick mens care, nor have recourse to any one but to abound in care themselves, forbidding all that may hurt a good Government, lest his Subjects be circumvented, and induced to embrace and favour opinions repugnant to good Government. Certainly those Princes are much, very much to blame, and guilty of a great sin, that neglect to preserve that Jurisdiction and Power, that God and the Go­verned have given them, because their Authority is given unto them, not for themselves, but for the benefit of the People, they being the depositaries, the Custodes and Executors, not the Patrons of that Authority, to change, im­peach, or diminish it at their own Will and pleasure: Wherefore it is a gross ignorance, and a most wretched sin not to maintain that, which God hath conferred upon them, and Princes are not peradventure guilty of a greater sin and offence before God, than out of an ignorant Zeal to have suffered so great a part of their power to be usurped from them by Ecclesiasticks, and that they are no longer able to rule their people committed to their Charge, without admitting and intermixing an Ec­clesiastical Government to bear some sway, of which all Popish Princes [Page 199]are highly guilty. The long negligence of Princes in this particular, hath been pernitious to the true legitimate Church of God, truly so called, and to all Ecclesiastical Order, and happily the true Original, found of all those mischiefs, which by gradations hath brought into the Church, the most Worldly politick, and selfish Government that ever was, and thereby busied the Ecclesiasticks in things not only different, but also contrary to the Instituted Ministery of Christ, keeping Christendom in perpetual discord, and even the Divisions that are at this day amongst Christians so irreconcileable by any other means than the Omnipotent, and mira­culous hand of God, which were not bred so much by Obstinacy in di­versity of Opinions, and Contrariety of Doctrine, as from the strife about Jurisdiction, which after by degeneration, and growing into Factions, hath taken up the Mask of Religion. And it is observable, that the best Princes from time to time have been they, that have kept their Juris­diction most intire; and the negligent Princes, they that have given away or lost a great part, or by their Insufficiency, suffered others to Usurp or Metamorphize it with a deformation from its purity which it first had in the Church. And for a probate of this, it is not necessary to run back to the examples of the Constantines, the Theodosioes, the Justi­nians, whose Laws and Codes, whoever will read, shall find this to be true, but to those that are nearer to our own Age, and to those whom the Roman Church this day acknowledgeth to be even the Basis of their Temporal Greatness, Charles the Fifth, Philip the Second, and other Ca­tholick Kings. It will be hard to find such a Government amongst Chri­stians, which at some time or other hath not suffered by Encounters with the Court of Rome about its Jurisdiction. It was about 1100 years since the abuse of imploying Spiritual Arms to Worldly ends crept in to maintain their usurped Powers: whereby they have given an Eternal Scandal to Religion, and are now grown so K [...]gnaviter impudentes, That the Catholick Religion with them, is no other but what their own pride, ambition, interests, will and pleasure do dictate.

Memorials are in all Histories of the lamentable Tragedies that have succeeded, when Popes have proceeded to Excommunicate Princes, and publish Interdicts against Kings and States; and what hath been the occasion of the quarrels but Jurisdiction, witness the centum gravamina of Germany. During the Quarrels between Pope Paul the Fifth, and the State of Venice, there wanted not Writers that reckoned up the in­tollerable oppression of Princes, by Popes, who both in times past and present, make lamentable and continual complaints of them. A Cata­logue of which Books may be seen at the end of the Memoires of Philip de Canay, and also in Goldastus.

The dayly vexation which they have, by the Nuntioes treating with Princes, as imperiously, and insolently as if they were his Slaves, carrying alwayes before them the Medusaes head, Pretence of Religion, to fright the fearful, and such as do not dive and penetrate into the depth of their Secrets, the Arcana of the Papacy, which happily the profoundest Polititians are not able to do, so dark are their works, and so deep even unto Hell do they dig to hide their Councils, a shrewd sign that they are deeds of darkness, and cannot abide the light. They farther shewed, that nothing would content the Pontificians, but the Servitude and Subjection of all Italy at least.

So easily and ordinarily is Religion made a Stalking Horse or Instru­ment of the greatest wickedness, by those who are either fallen from Truth, or else fascinated by some more potent error, suffering themselves to be guided, or blinded by corrupt and worldly Byasses. Paul the Fifth was so bent upon his own Jurisdiction, and of that Pontificial Chair, that his great design was to Establish a Congregation in Rome, whose only study and charge should be to consider of the means whereby Ec­clesiastical Authority might be maintained and enlarged, and to mortifie the presumptions of Secular Princes. In order whereunto he sent into all Courts and Kingdoms such Nuntioes and Agitators, as were inclinable to like thoughts: His Nuntio in Venice was so passionate in this Cause, that he blushed not to say unto the Duke in full Assembly, that Almes and other works of Piety, the frequenting of Sacraments, and all other good and Christian Actions, ad nihilum valent ultra, were nothing avail­able, if men did not favor the Ecclesiastical liberty: these were his words. And in his ordinary discourse would often say, that Christian perfection doth not consist in Almes-Deeds, and Devotions; but in exalting the Ec­clesiastical Jurisdiction, which is the true Cement of that perfection. No wonder, that the Nuntio was so peremptory, when the Pope himself would say, that he was placed in that Chair, for to sustain the Jurisdicti­on Ecclesiastical, that he would not endure Secular Princes to Judg [...] Ec­clesiastical Persons, who are not subject unto Kings, and whom they cannot Chastise, tho they be Rebellious, that he had power over all, and could deprive Kings, and to this end had Legions of Angels for his aid and assistance: that tho he should lose his skin, yet would maintain the Cause of God and his own Reputation, and in defence whereof, he would think himself happy to lose his blood, Trim Tram like Master like Man! Moreover they are arrived at the Quintescence of Policy, as to maintain in all places a terrible faction, and pay them with the Purses of that State whereof they Plot the utter Ruine. Whither all these Do­ctrines tend, he that will but open his eyes, may see, even to make the Pope the Head and Confaloniere, the chief Standard-bearer of the Church, and Emperors, Kings and Princes, their Caudataries only to carry their Traines after them. In plain English, if these Doctrines be received as true and Censures, and Excommunication of any force or virtue (as they are but mear vanity and Bug-beares.) All Princes were in a sad condition, nay utterly undone both in this Life, and in that which is to come, meer Vassals, they and their Subjects likewise, in no better condition than the Sheep in Demosthenes, where the Dogs were to be banished, and the Wolves to be their Guardians: for they endeavor to make the World believe, that they have power over their Souls and Bodies at their plea­sure, both in this Life and after Death. These have been the Collections and Observations of Fra. Paolo, and other learned and faithful Writers, and eye-witnesses.

The best is, Ab initio non fuit sie, there are no such Doctrines in Bibliis Sacris, but the contrary. And our Doctrines concerning these points, and indeed our Religion is the same which is contained in the Scriptures, in General Councils, and in the Fathers of the First Three, I might say Five Ages (which have not been purified in their Purgatory, their In­dices expurg.) and agrees with the Articles of Faith, and only differs in those which they have lately invented and added, which he that exa­mines them one by one shall find, that none of them make for the Glory [Page 201]of God, but all for the Increase of the Grandeur, Wealth, worldly Power and Jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Order, so that in truth the true Roman Religion, such as it was in the dayes of the Apostles, and some Centu­ries next succeeding, is insensibly but manifestly Bastardized, and become spurious at Rome, and all reduced to a new fashioned Religion, which chiefly, if not only, makes for the pomp and Interest of the Court of Rome: So that in truth these latter Popes are no more nor otherwise the true Possessors or Successors of St. Peter's Doctrines at Rome, than the Grand Signior is of the Doctrines of St. James's at Jerusalem, or of St. Paul's in those famous Churches of Asia.

In the dayes of Sixtus Quintus (that Great Prince) there lived in Italy that famous Alchymist, and Impostor Nick-named Mamugna, who was verily believed that he could make Gold, not by the Vulgar only, but by Cardinals, Princes, nay by the Pope himself. One more wise and more merry than the rest, habiting himself like this famous Alchymist, went up and down the City of Venice in a Gondelo, well fraught with a Cargo of fire, Bellows, Crucible Glasses, &c. crying, Al Magmugna, A tre lire il soldo del loro sino? who buyes a shillings worth of pure Gold for nine pence, which being told, the Turkish Chiaus made this short answer. Il gran sig­nore dumque verra a servirlo, if he can make Gold, the Great Turk shall come to be his Servant. I shall make no other Application or inference of this Mountebank Story than what is natural, qui vult decipi decipiatur, if Princes will be content to let false and base Coin go for currant, be it so.

But in truth all the Papalins were not of the same mind and opinions with those famous Cardinals and Jesuits the Popes Partisans, nor with the Court of Rome, but Books were Printed Pro and Con by Papalins them­selves in great numbers. For besides the Papalins within the State of Ve­nice, the Sorbonists were very Orthodox, and maintained the Defence of the lawful Secular Power, opposing themselves against the Usurpations of Rome, and maintaining the Liberty of the Gallican Church, for that Kingdom holds it for a matter most certain and apparent, that Popes have no power over Princes, and that they ought not to proceed by Censures against them, or their Officers in things which concern the State. And as soon as the King knew of the publication of the Monitory at Rome, he complained greatly of the too hasty proceedings of the Pope, and sent a dispatch to him with speed, requesting him to accommodate the diffe­rences.

The King of Polonia absolutely denyed the publishing of the Popes Monitory, for that it did not stand with reason to govern themselves after another fashion towards that Republick of Venice, whose Cause was common with his own Kingdom.

The Catholick King of Spain, on whom the Pope relyed for Succors, for that he had sometime before made liberal offers unto His Holiness, from which he retreated in time of necessity, and advised him to neglect his own private Interests for the universal good of Christendom, and said that it did not beseem the Father of all Christendom, to ground a War so cruel, and pernitious to Christian People upon a King so pious, and that His Holiness would abase the Apostolick Dignity, if he sustained by humane means, the Authority which God had given him. Quarrels of Paul the Fifth, pag. 374, 375, 376.

Thus you see Rome it self divided, the Pope and Court of Rome differ­ing in this their greatest point, and Diana (Jurisdiction) both from the old and from the more Novel Church of Rome, as well as from that of the Church of the Protestants. And thus you may perceive the unquiet and uncertain State that all Princes are like to be in, and their Conditi­on never like to be better whilst such monstrous State-destroying-Prin­ciples are held for Gospel at Rome. For it matters not whether these Doctrines are true or false, or received and believed by others or no, nor yet whether Protestants or Papists, it is all a case, so long as so believed at Rome. You see the State of Venice, a Popish Republick, no more safe nor quiet, than England a Protestant Kingdom. Had the Popes Swords been keen and powerful enough, no doubt, but that they would have brought both those States in their respective differences and quar­rels, as once Frederick Barbarossa the Emperor, to that Brute Alexander the Third, creeping on their knees, to obtain Absolution from their Sen­tences of Excommunication, or as Henry the Fourth, whom Hildebrand would not release from his Excommunication, till he came bare-foot to Canusium in a bitter cold Winter, waiting three dayes before the Popes Palace for his Absolution, which he hardly obtained by the Intercession of the Dutchess Matilda.

The Pope besides that, he is the Head of Romish Religion, is also a Prince, who hath for more than 600 years by past, aspired to the Monarchy of all Italy at least, (I might say at an universal Monarchy Temporal and Spiritual) which he hath been some time so near to obtain, that it is a wonder that he hath misled of it, seeing he leaves no stone unturned, quacunque arte, to enlarge his Jurisdiction. He hath three great charges upon him, 1. That of Religion. 2. That of Ecclesiastical affairs. 3. The Temporalty of his Estate: The care of all which I shall not grudge him, as of right belonging unto him in one or other of his Capacities, so he kept within his own Dominions and Territories, tho happily all of the Romish Religion will not allow him so much, for that all Bishops ought to be governed by the Canons, and (in which both Pope and all Bishops antiently, in the best and purest dayes did acknowledge the Supream power to be,) to which they all submitted, and not by the Pope alone, there being also three kinds of Canons. 1. Of Spiritual things. 2. Of Temporal things. 3. Of those that are mixt of both, the Care of the first belongs to the Pope within his own Territories, and to the Ecclesi­astical Order observing the Canons. With the Second he hath nothing to do out of his own Dominions, quatenus a Bishop. And Princes ought to take as much care of the third, as Church-men, if not more. And those Princes are too unworthy, ignorant, and mean, that will suffer themselves to be excluded or usurped upon. And if the Pope of Rome use all his power to make men believe that Princes ought to be excluded, why then do they which have the advantage of many clear Texts of Scripture, of the Judgments of Councils and Fathers, together with the practice of all times, suffer themselves to be so abused? If they did un­derstand, and would maintain in them the power which God and the people hath given them, they would quickly put off the Mask, and make those blush that design so to abuse the goodness and simplicity of others, and would vindicate themselves from the constant injuries which are offered them, and not suffer themselves to be led by the Nose as they are, as if they had offended Religion, by defending the power which [Page 203]God had granted unto them, and the Jurisdiction whereof a Prince ought not to suffer the least diminution, but rather put a Flook into their Nostrils, as Henry the Eighth did.

Certainly, not only for truth and conscience sake, but even for necessity and reason of good Government every Faithful Man, but most especi­ally Princes, ought carefully to defend and to make the preservation of Religion their chiefest concern and business. For this end God hath appointed Princes as his Lieutenants, and conferred Greatness and Ma­jesty upon them, to make them Protectors, Defenders, Conservators, and Nursing Fathers of his Church, in which calling, the greatest of them can never give a good account to God, neither can it answer the ends of Government they are intrusted withall by God and Man, except it be by a continual and Vigilant care in matters of Religion. And how be it there be many abuses, yet that is not to be imputed to the fault of Re­ligion, (which is in it self true,James 1.4 pure and Holy) but unto them that abuse it. Perfection and absolute purity, endeavoring to be perfect and in­tire, wanting nothing, is the very end whereunto the Church, and every Individual thereof, ought to pretend and aspire unto, tho it be not the path wherein they alwayes tread.

Tho divers Times do require divers Laws and Orders, and tho Popes for the more excellent Government, should make more reasonable Laws than other Princes (which is not reasonable to believe) and should im­pose them to be received (which he ought not to do) yet as in the World, nothing can be held unchangeable, and every custom ought to be accommodated to the time and persons, so it is to be done by them only, whom in reason and of just right it concerns to do it, and by no others, viz. by the lawful, and natural Prince, by the advice and con­sent of his people and not by the Pope. If any one not lawfully called thereunto, could rule common business of himself, which tho he did do with good intent, and happy Issue, yet did he nevertheless transgress Di­vine and humane Laws. For to give just force unto a Law, it is not suf­ficient that it be convenient and reasonable, for that it is essential that it be made by those who have full power to make them, and this not only for the preservation of Power and Jurisdiction, but also for the necessity of a good Government.

It is a strange piece of Jesuitical non-sensical Polity, to hearken unto them when they tell us, that Laws in all Kingdoms may be without con­fusion, because they are of force, and in use at Rome, and yet things are there in a quiet and peaceable condition, the State of Rome being diffe­rent from that of other Princes: For that the Romans most impudently and against all reason affirm, that they are above these Ordinances, if they think sit they may or may not observe them or dispence with them, and they do wonderfully serve for their ends, as well when they are observed, as when they are disobeyed, because they are not to be ruled by the Laws, but they do rule, and govern the Laws. In other Kingdoms, when the Laws are once published and received, they are no more in the Princes power, they must then run to Rome to seek a Remedy, where they re­gard not what is behooful to another State, but to their own, and what will serve their own Turn and Ends best. Their great Design being to monopolize under colour of Religion, the Administration of some cer­tain things, without which States cannot be governed, by which means Rome would become Mistress of the World, and judge of all Govern­ments, [Page 204]proposing that if there be any Inconvenience, they should have recourse to the Pope, and he will redress. But the Remedy which comes not from the same Prince, but from them who have their proper and di­stinct Interests is worser than the disease. God whose works are perfect, and who is the Author of all Principalities and Order, gives to every Go­vernment, as much power as is necessary to Govern it self well: neither will he have it acknowledged from any other but from his Divine Ma­jesty. All that which Kings acknowledge from others, but from God and their own Subjects is meer Slavery and Subjection, whether in Civil or Ecclesiastick concerns.

§. As it is destructive to Kings to acknowledge the Pope to have the least power in the making of their Laws, so it is no less destructive to allow him any priviledge to suspend them, it being nothing less than to confess a want of Wisdom or of Authority to ordain them, which in ef­fect is to cut the very sinews of Government, which must needs be haz­arded, if they grant him but a power, by his Censures, to constrain them but unto a Suspension, a thing deadly pernitious to the liberty of all So­veraign Princes, who must necessarily rest deprived of all Soveraignty, when they submit themselves unto the Pope, who shall have power by his Excommunications, or Interdicts, to force them to regulate or suspend their Laws and Ordinances after his Will, and pretence of Ecclesiastical lib [...]rty will produce this monstrous effect, that no Law shall be exempt from the Cen­sure of the Pope, seeing he attributeth to himself Authority to define and determine even against the opinion of all the World, what Laws are just or unjust, nay but to suspend the least Law for fear, or at the menace of another, necessarily infers a Subjection. And to give Popes never so little in things of this nature, is but to make them more Insolent, and to give them encouragement to demand and stuggle for more, and to mi­nister occasions to conceive pretensions above all Princes, for what power soever they now enjoy, beyond Preaching and Administration of Sacra­ments, they have had from the largess and good graces of good and Pious Emperors, tho now so grateful as to scorn to acknowledge them, but to claim them by the most potent claim in the World, Jure Divino, and to fight against the Sons and Successors, with the very Weapons which their Fore-Fathers and Predecessors had put into their hands. In sum, the Popish claim of such enormous, and exorbitant Jurisdiction over all Kings and Bishops, hath certainly been the grand cause of all the dis­cords, troubles and wars in all Countries of these latter Ages. Both the Eastern and Western Churches lived in Brotherly Communion, and Chri­stian Charity for 900 years or more. In which time the Pope of Rome was complemented both by the Greeks and Latins as the Successor of St. Peter, and to be the first of the Eastern Catholick Bishops, more out of respect of Rome being the Imperial City, than of any Divine right he had above his fellow Bishops. In the Persecution of Hereticks his help, as also the help of the other Italian Bishops was implored, and peace was easily preserved because the Supream power was in the Canons, to which both Greeks and Latins professed to owe subjection, the Ecclesiastical Discipline was ex­actly maintained in both Churches by their own proper Prelates, as it seemed best unto them, but absolutely according to the disposition and tenour of the Canons, no intruding into one anothers Government, but each mutually assisting other in the observation of the Canons.

In those dayes never any Pope of Rome pretended so much as to con­fer a Benefice within the Diocess of another Bishop, nor had the Court of Rome as yet introduced the Custom of drawing Moneys from others by way of Bulls and Dispensations. But immediately after the Court of Rome began to challenge a Freedom, from being subject to the Canons, and that at their pleasure they might change all Antient Constitutions of the Fathers, Councels, yea, and of the Apostles themselves, and en­deavored in the room of the Antient Primacy of the See Apostolick, to introduce an absolute Monarchy and Dominion, not bounded or regu­lated by any Law or Canons, the Division soon sprang up, and tho 700 years past, Peace and Re-union have been divers times attempted, yet could it never be effected, because disputes have ever been intended, and promoted more than the taking away of that abuse which was the true Cause that brought Divisions in, and made the Rupture, and is the only Cause that still maintains them. Whilst the Churches were united, the Doctrine of St. Paul was held by both Churches, and observed, that in affairs of publick Government, all men ought to pay subjection to the Prince, because God commands it should be so, whom he doth disobey, who will not yield obedience to the secular power by him appointed for the Government of all Mankind, never did any pretend that he might not be punished for misdeeds, holding it for certain, that exemption to do evil, is a thing condemned both by God and Man, the words of St. Paul in those dayes were held for good and sound Doctrine, viz. wilt thou not be afraid of the Temporal Power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise for the same, but if thou dost evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the Sword in vain, for he is the Minister of God, a Revenger to exe­cute wrath upon him that doth evil, Rom. 13.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. After the Di­vision of those Churches, the same opinion still remained in the East, and continues to this day. The truth of these things being so undeni­able, methinks that it would not be unbeseeming him, who accounts himself the Father of all Christendom, to put off the Mask of Religion, and abandon all his pretentions unto unlimited Powers, which would in good earnest be for the good of all Christendom, considering he hath but one Soul, and that he ought to do any thing to save it, and nothing to destroy it, and that it is not made of any better or other mould or mettal, than the Souls of his Brethren, in both Capacities of Prince or Bishops, and that Heaven and Hell must divide the whole World, and therefore he should wave his own private sublunary Interests for the universal good of all Christendom. If such considerations move not, yet methinks they should consider, that the World is now grown wiser, and have made a full discovery of the Vanity of all his Excommunications, Censures, of his Bulls, Interdicts, &c. nay they themselves have made them all Ridiculous in many particulars, witness themselves at Rome, who Annually with great formality and Solemnity, Excommunicate their most Catholick King of Spain every Maunday Thursday, for keeping away part of St. Peters Patrimony, and with as great Formality and So­lemnity absolve him again on Good Friday, without giving any satisfa­ction, witness also the Venetians, who upon the close with Paul the Fifth, so slighted all his Monitories, Interdicts, Excommunications and Censures, that they did not only refuse Absolution and Apostolick Benediction offer­ed by him, but also refused to give him the Ordinary satisfaction of words, [Page 206]and of all Pontilles, Subtleties, Ceremonies that might have the least Semblance or appearance of any such thing. The Pope finding himself thus baffled and slighted, did not desist, but had recourse unto little pittiful tricks, and Subterfuges, and therefore suffered to go abroad and to be divulged Four Counterfeit Writings. 1. A Breve to Cardinal Joyeuse, which gave faculty to take away Censures. 2. An Instrument of Abso­lution, dated April 21: 3. An Instrument of the Delivery of the Pri­soners. 4. A Decree of the Senate for the restitution of the Religi­ous, &c. which tho they did not dare to divulge in formal Copies, yet under-hand dispersed Breviates of them, designing, that after a while (when they might not be so easily detected and discovered) they might be produced and pretended to be true, and so to be believed of necessi­ty. And this Policy hath often succeeded well to these men, who have many times given colour to many such false Writings, prejudicial to di­vers Princes. So Gregory the Second served Alphonsus King of Spain, about the Office of Mozarabes. So Innocent the Third Anno Dom. 1 199. saith that the Interdict against France, (because King Philip Augustus had put away his Wife Isemberge) was observed in the Kingdom, when there was no such thing. So Adrian the 20. Anno 870. sent a severe Monitor to Charles the Bald King of France, which afterwards he was fain to recall with many submissive excuses. Stories are full of such Artifices.

§. What Pitty? nay, what shame is it? that so great Princes as Popes, esteeming themselves Gods on Earth, and Vicars of Christ, should by taking such wrong measures of their Authority and Jurisdiction, be dri­ven to such pittiful tricks to uphold Powers so exorbitant, and which were never given unto them by any Law of God or Man? Did they but seriously consider, 1. That they, like Gods own Sabbath were ordain­ed for men, and not men for the Sabbath, nor yet for Popes, that what Powers soever of Right belongs unto them, they are given unto them for the good and benefit of Christians, and not to Tyrannize or Lord it over Gods Heritage. 2. That God hath not given unto Popes any greater Authority in the Government of their Dominions, whether of Church or State, than unto other Princes and Bishops, to whom God hath also confirmed and ratified all Power that is necessary for the good of the Governed: And as it appertaineth not to other Emperors and Kings to govern Romish Church or State; so it doth as little appertain to Popes to Govern either Church or State of other Kingdoms. 3. That no peo­ple were or ever will be contented with a Government, which tends more to the benefit, grandeur, pomp and pride of life of those that Go­vern, than to the good and comfort of those that are governed, it be­ing the natural and fundamental right of the governed, to apply and devolve as much of their own power, without divesting themselves thereof as they please, to one or more Persons, subject nevertheless to the trusts reposed in them, to be alwayes imployed and improved to the behoof and benefit of the governed. 4. That all people do with some contentedness, endure a reasonable Bond, but from an excessive one, every one doth naturally endeavor by all means, tho indirect, to free themselves. The Antient History of Nodus Gordianus, which because Alexander could not unty, he cut in pieces (whereby Oraculi sortem vel [Page 207]elusit vel im [...]evit) is applicable to all Humane tyes and Obligations, not excepting Governments Ecclesiastick or Civil, which if of such a Nature, that those that are unjustly or too hard bound, may free themselves by ordinary way of Justice, then they are endured with some patience: But if there be no ordinary means to relieve themselves, then they ever have had, and I fear ever will have recourse to means extraordinary, tho In­direct, as Seditions and the like: Wherefore it is undoubtedly doing God, the best Service, to keep every Government within its due bounds, which is absolutely necessary for the preserving and propagating of Religion, and for keeping the State in quiet temperament, and that to grant Ec­clesiasticks exorbitant Authority, thinking it to be a favoring of Religi­on, as heretofore they did perswade some Emperors, with design to get their power into their own hands, is an undiscreet Zeal, prone to end in the dishonour of God, damage of Religion, and in publick confusion. As God himself without respect to Persons made the Earth by his Power, established the World by his Wisdom, stretched out the Heavens by his un­derstanding, Jer. 51.15. so he never made Kingdoms and Nations for Popes or Princes, but both the one and the other for the Comfort and Solace of the governed. Think you that if his Vicars or Ambassadors, or Vice Royes govern otherwise than according to his own Rules and Precepts, (who will measure all by his own Line, and righteousness by his own Plum­met) that they shall go unpunished? I tell you nay, but except they re­pent they shall all likewise perish, His Holiness himself not excepted, accor­ding unto Jer. 23.1, 2. Wo to the Pastors that destroy and scatter the Sheep of my Pasture. Therefore thus saith the Lord, ye have scattered my Flocks, and driven them away, and have not visited them, behold I will visit upon you the evil of your doings. I say again, is it reasonable to be­lieve that ever God, who created light and darkness, Heaven and Earth, the Sea and all things that are therein, and created, and formed all Man­kind in general, a little lower than the Angels, out of one and the same Clay, in his own likeness, and after his own Image, without respect to these or those Persons Popes or others, and gave unto Mankind in Gene­ral, Dominion over the Fish of the Sea, and over the Foul of the Air, and over the Cattel, and over all the Earth, and over every living thing that moveth upon the Earth, and all this for the good and comfort of all men in general, should yet subject all Mankind (Emperors, Kings, and Tem­poral Princes not excepted) to the will and pleasure of one Pope, or one Vicar, or one Ambassador, or one Vice-Roy as Ʋniversal Monarch, to be governed and guided by the Will and pleasure of these men, be­cause they stile themselves Gods Vicars, nay, Gods on Earth, whereby one Mans will may become all mens misery? No! God made all Go­vernors in the World, for the good and happiness of the governed, and not the governed to be subject to the Will, Lusts and Pleasures of the Governors, he never gave Precepts nor Commands relating to Govern­ment, and Governors, but what conduced to the good of the governed, and alwayes rebuked and punished all such Governors, as well those, that he anointed, and set up himself, as severely, as those whom the Peo­ple did choose, that walked and governed contrary to his Rules and Pre­cepts. Did God think you send his own Son out of his own bosom, to take on him the form of a Servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humble himself, and became obedient to that [Page 208]shameful death, the death of the Cross for us Men, and our Salvation in Ge­neral? And can we then be so sottish, as to believe that all Mankind were made to be Slaves and Vassals unto one Compito, one Vicar General made Governor by themselves, by delegating their own Power (without divesting themselves thereof) upon this or that man for their own good and benefit, and for the better Government of their whole body, either explicitely or implicitely, alwayes implyed, and alwayes so to be un­derstood undoubtedly all Governors in the World, whether Ecclesiastick or Civil, be their Power what it will, never so absolute, never so Arbi­trary, yet by the Law of God, they ought to govern no otherwise than Christ himself would govern, were he come in glory to Reign on Earth, and to square their Actions according to the Dictates and Laws of God, delivered unto us by the Prophets and Apostles. And tho so to govern be a happiness and a favour indeed unto the Subjects, yet it is an absolute duty unto God and Man, and of which he will certainly one day exact an Account. The reason is demonstrable, for that no man living (Paternal Government excepted) nor any number of men whatsoever can have any compleat lawful Authority over any Politick Society of men, but he must have it either by consent of Parties, or immediate appointment of God. Hooker 70. Notwithstanding this natural right of publick Societies, I appeal to all Story, if ever it were Recorded, that ever any Pope quitted his pretensions to his Supremacy, or to his pretended power over any Temporal Prince that was at variance with him (since the day that they first took them up) unless he were Cudgelled into better man­ners and better obedience, or that they have made any publick disclai­mer thereof unto this very day, since Gregory. Bellarmine who was Infe­rior to few Cardinals for learning, and a stout Assertor of the Popes Au­thority over Temporal Princes (witness his many wri­tings on that Subject,De potestate Papae in temporalibus tem­pora lib. adversus Barclalum. Ris posta al trattato de 17. Theologi commonefactio Regiorum Cognito. Risposta á un libro In­titolato Ris posta de un de ottore in Theol. & als. wherein he hath manifested to all the World his searching wit, which indeed was all that Romish and Italian understandings could possi­bly suggest for its justification, even during the time of the difference between Paul the Fifth and the Venetians, wherein all the great Wits, Divines, Lawyers, and others were at work and imployed Pro and Con, of which Subject there were many, and many tracts of Papists against Papists, all which, in truth, of the Popes side ended in Paralogismes, captious reasonings, coyning evasions, and creating Subtil­ties, but were beaten out of the Pit even by Papists themselves so shame­fully, that the State of Venice refused to condescend to give their Signior Papa the satisfaction of Words only.) hath said as much for its justification as it is capable of, and that with all the advantages that his great learning and his prevaricating subtle wit could possibly prompt and suggest.

§. This Bellarmine in his Tract against John Gerson (who wrote above 150 years before) printed at Rome in Italian 1606. saith, who can or will deny if he be a true Catholick that the Pope hath Au­thority, as universal Pastor, Et chi puo negare, se sia Catholico, che appertenga al Papa come pastore univer­sale, riprendere qual si voglia Principe é Republica de i peccati loro, & se non ob­bediscono constringere li con censure Ec­clesiastiche ad obbedire. 330.7. to rebuke or reprove any Prince or State for their sins, and if they refuse to obey to compel them unto it by Ecclesiastical censures. And he alledgeth for his warrant and Justification, that St. Gregory did veryRiprese aspramenti. sharply reprove the Em­peror [Page 209]Mauritius, for a Law that he had made that was prejudicial to Gods Service. And Innocent 3. ch. Novit. de Judiciis doth plainly de­termine (dichiare appertamente, che al sommo Pontifice appertiene la cen­sura de i peccati de tutti li principi del mondo) that it belongs to the Pope to censure the sins and offences of all the Princes in the World. Non Intendimus, saith he, judicare de foedo cujus ad ipsum (Regem viz.) spectat Judicium, sed decernere de peccato cujus ad nos pertinet, sine dubi­tatione, Censura, quam in quemlibet De i peccati di tutti li principi del mundo. (which he Interprets, all the Princes of the World) exercere possumus & debemus. We do not intend, saith Innocent, to Judge of the Fee (and yet he made King John (in favour of whom this very Decretal was pretended to be made) his Foedatary, and gave the Inheritance and possession of all his Dominions unto Lodo­wick the French King, and after would have done as much for Lodo­wick, had he not pared his Nails) which appertains unto the King to do, but to judge of the sin, the Censure of which without doubt belongs to us, and which we may and ought to exercise on every person.

And a little after, Cum non humanae constitutioni, sed divinae potius inni­tamur quia potestas nostra non est ex homine sed ex Deo, nullus qui sit sanae mentis, ignorat, quin ad officium nostrum spectat, de quocunque mortali peccato corripere quemlibet Christianum, & si correptionem contempserit, per districtionem Ecclesiasticam coercere; sed forsitan dicetur, quod aliter cum regi­bus & aliter cum aliis est agendum. Caeterum seriptum legimus in lege divi­na, ita magnum Judicabis ut parvum, nec erit apudte exceptio personarum, Deut. 1.17.16. Ch. 19. ‘Seeing we do not rely on Humane but Di­vine constitution, because our power is not from Man but of God, and no Man that is of a sound mind, is ignorant that it belongs to our Office, to rebuke every Christian of Mortal sin, which if he contemn, then to compel him by Ecclesiastical distriction. If it be said that Kings are otherwise to be treated than other men, it is written Deut. 1.17.’ Ye shall not respect persons in Judgment, ye shall hear the small as well as the great. Bellarmin goes on to make farther proof out of Pope Boniface, 8. his extravagant unam sanctam de Majorit & obedient, viz. si deviat terrena potestas, judicabitur a potestate spirituali. That the Temporal Authority when it erreth, ought to be reformed and rectified by the Spiritual. For altho a Temporal Prince that is absolute, acknowledgeth no other Tem­poral Prince for his Superior, yet if he be a Christian, he must of force acknowledge the head of all Christendom, Boniface dice benissimo, cbe la po­tesia temporale quando erra deve essere drizzata dalla spirituale per che se bene il Principe temporale assoluto non rico­nosce pro Superiore nessun altro Principe temporale: tuttavia se è Christiano è forzi che riconos [...]a per Superiore il capo della Christianita che è il sommo Pontifice, Vicario di Christo in terra & chi noa erede questo non è Catholico. which is the Pope, Christs Vicar on Earth to be his Supe­rior. And he that believes not this, is no true Catholick.

Let us now examine how well he hath proved his purpose by the Au­thority of St. Gregory, who as he saith,Bellarmines al­legation of Saint Gregory examined. did sharply reprove the Emperor Mauritius. In the 61. Ep. Lib. 2. An. Dom. 593. there is contained indeed a very humble (not sharp) advertisement or remonstrance of Gregory to Mauritius, upon occasion of a Law he had made, that no Man that was tyed to serve in the War, or in any publick charge might become a Monk, until he had given up his Account, and finished his time of Service in the Wars, Now let us see how sharp his reproof is, ego autem indignus ve­strae [Page 210]pietatis famulus in hac suggestione, neque ut Episcopus, neque ut ser­vus jure reipublicae, sed jure privato loquor. I the unworthy Servant of your piety, in thus putting you in mind, do speak not as a Bishop, nor by a publick right, but in a private Capacity. And a little after, ego vero Dominis meis loquens, quis sum nisi pulvis & vermis? sed tamen quia contra Autorem omnium Deum hane intendere constitutionem sentio Domi­nis tacere non possum. And after the bringing in God as it were speak­ing to the Emperor, saith, sacerdotes meos tuae manui Commisi, & tu [...]a meo servitio milites tuos subtrahis? and a little after, requirat ergo Domi­nus meus piissimus, quis prior imperatorum talem legem dederit, & subtilius extimet si debuit dari. And concluding in the end what it is that he de­sires of the Emperor, saith, unde per eundem tremendum Judicem depre­cor ne illae tantae lachrimae, tantae orationes, tanta jejunia, tantaeque elemo­slnae Domini mei, ex qualibet occasione apud omnipotentis Dei oculos fuscen­tur, sed aut temperanda pietas vestra, aut mutando rigorem ejusdem legis in­flectat, such humble and decent remonstrance well-becoming a Pious Bi­shop or Pastor, deserves not to be termed by Bellarmine, A sharp repre­hension. But what follows is yet more worthy to be considered, Ego qui­dent jussioni subjectus eandem legem per diversas partes terrarum transmitto, & quia lex ipsa omnipotenti Deo minime concordat, ecce per suggestionis meae paginam Dominis nuntiavi; utrobique ergo quae debui exolvi, qui & Impe­ratori obedientiam praebui & pro Deo, quod sensi, minime tacui. By which humble expressions, it appears that it was not a sharp reprehension, but rather an humble and respective remonstrance, which hath no agreement with the Doctrine wich Bellarmine hath published, wherein he makes the Pope Supream Temporal Monarch, and the Princes of the World less than his Vassals, as his words do necessarily infer, altho they dare not yet avow it in express terms: Consider Reader whether Gregory calling himself so often the Emperors unworthy Servant, and his saying, that as one that ac­knowledgeth himself subject to his Commandement, he had sent abroad into divers parts of the World, a Law which in his conscience he held not to be just: And that other saying of his, that in so doing, he rendred unto the Emperor that obedience that was due unto him, whether I say these Speeches do agree with the Doctrine which Bellarmine hath published, who ever desires to know more of Gregory's modesty, prudence and submissive de­portment towards his Lord the Emperor, may receive full satisfaction, if he please to read his 64th. Epistle. I shall end this with this observation of Bellarmines great subtilty, in that he forbears to quote the place it self of Gregory, being so exact and subtle in his Allegation of other places. But what if Pope Gregory did sharply reprove him? It was but his duty Quatenus a Bishop, which priviledge belongs to all Bishops as well as to the Pope, as being in the same Commission, viz. Tell Judah of her sins, and Israel of her transgressions, so it is but according to the duty of all Priests, to dispense the word of truth, be therewith displeased who will. And all being granted, it makes nothing at all for the Impery of Popes over Princes.

His next Fortress,Ch. Novit exa­mined. is the Chapter Novit, which because it most parti­cularly concerned John King of England, you shall have the true ground and History thereof. This Chapter Novit de Judiciis was indeed admi­rably well designed and well Calculated for Papal Grandeur and Impe­ry, but not in the least, (what pretence soever was held out) for the just [Page 211]right of Kings or of any other Mode of Civil Government, good of Christians, or glory of God. It was designed purposely by Innocent the Third, to trample on the necks of Kings, as once that Monster Alex­ander the Third did on the prostrate neck of the Emperor Frederick Bar­barossa, blasphemously arrogating to himself for his warrant Psalm 91.13. Thou shalt tread upon the Lion and Adder, the young Lion and the Dragon shalt thou trample under thy feet, (as if David more than 1000 years be­fore there was any Pope, should particularly Prophesie of Popes.) And he followed this blow with all the might he had, by endeavoring to put it in practice on John King of England, and Philip Augustus King of France. But the truth is, he wanted the Welch-mans Back-sword with two Edges, for he neither had the true Bilbo-blade, Temporal Power, sufficient to force obedience: nor yet the Sword of the Spirit, Rightful Authority, to do what he did. He only sent out his Voice, yea and that a mighty voice, by thundring out his abominable Excommunications, which only proved to be vox & praeterea nihil. Take the Scene and History as it then lay. After long Wars between Philip Augustus King of France, and Richard King of England. About Anno Dom. 1199. Richard died, and his Brother John surnamed Lackland succeeded him, either by the Nomination or appointment of his Brother, as some affirm, or by Usurpation upon Arthur, who was Son to Geossery another Elder Brother of his. But those Territories which John possessed in France, submitted themselves to the Dominion of Arthur, followed the faction of the French King, and was supported by him. But at length about Anno Dom. 1200. by means of a Marriage between Lewis Son and Heir, and Successor of the French King, and Blanche of Castile, King John's Sisters Daughter (of which Marriage issued afterwards St. Lewis) A Peace was concluded between Philip and John, wherein Arthur was like­wise comprised; upon this Condition, that John should do Homage to Philip for the Dominions of Brittany and Normandy, and Arthur should do Homage for the same unto John. After this upon some occasion that fell out, Arthur was put in Prison by his Uncle the King of En­gland and there died, Anno Dom. 1203. and the common opinion was, that he was murthered by his Uncles command, whereupon Philip Au­gustus as Chief Lord of the Fee, caused John to be cited to Paris: and upon default of his appearance, condemned him, and confiscated those Territories which he held of him, and went afterwards with an Army to seize them into his hands by force. John pretended that this was di­rectly against the Peace and Treatise between them, and made his com­plaint to Innocent the Third, who commanded both the Kings upon pain of Excommunication to keep Peace, and to surcease from War, and sent also a Legate unto them for that purpose. John for whose advantage this Commandment was, did gladly embrace, but Philip found himself much grieved, and took great exceptions against it, and so did the Pre­lates of France in this behalf, unto whom Innocent the Third made that answer contained in the Chapter Novit. Philip for all that desisted not from his former purpose, but went on and conquered by the Sword, all the Territories that the English at that time possessed in France: neither could the Pope prevail any thing by his Commands. In the year 1208. Innocent the Third Excommunicated John, and Interdicted his whole Kingdom, which continued six years and three months, yet did not John [Page 212]yield to obey the Pope in that he required of him. The Pope sent Pan­dulphus his Legate into France to Philip, to perswade him to make War upon John. Philip made his preparations accordingly, and many Bar­rons of England combined themselves with him, but in the mean time Pandulphus coming into England, and letting John see the danger he was in, advised him to become the Popes Foedatary. John enforced by the present peril, accepted the advice, and made his Kingdom Tributary to the Pope, to pay him yearly 1000 Marks of Gold, Pandulphus here­upon returned into France, and commanded Philip upon pain of Ex­communication, that he should molest John no longer, as being now become the Foedatary of the Church, but Philip refused to obey, and the War continued, whereupon in the year 1215. in the Council of La­teran, Pope Innocent sent out an Excommunication against all those that molested John King of England. And for that Cause in the year 1216. Another Legate called Guallo went to Paris, who by vertue of that Sen­tence of Excommunication, commanded Philip and Lewis his Son, to forbear to pass with an Army into England, which they were then pre­pared to do. But notwithstanding all this, Lewis desisted not, but en­tred John's Kingdom with a great power, altho the same Guallo was gone over into England, and there ceased not dayly to thunder out his Excommunications. This War continued unto the death of John, after which Lewis had gotten many places of that Kingdom into his hands, made Truce for five years with Henry the Son of John who succeeded his Father. Thus you see how the very Holiness of Rome can Handy, Dandy, play fast and loose with Kings themselves.

§. Concerning the desperate damnable Doctrines of this Chapter Novit, little ought to be said, for that they rather deserve a Spunge than an answer, to be obliterated out of all Records, minds and memories, and because Gabriel Biel (a man of their own Leaven) hath taken great pains on that Can. Lec. 75. to give some tollerable interpretation, but can find none but this, viz. that this Decretal and all other of the same te­nor must be understood, in foro poenitentiae. A lame shift to help a lame Dog over a stile; But Bellarmine will not be so consined, he will extend it farther,Frier Paolo. and mark what follows, even according to men of Rome, that whoever will affirm (as Bellarmine doth) that they are to be understood in foro exteriori shall have much ado to avoid the absurdities and the utter overthrow of the Secular Power ordained of God, and the confu­sion of the World, which will arise out of these Doctrines. For his pur­pose is to conclude, that where Princes use their Power to the hurt of their own Souls, or their Peoples, and to the prejudice of Christian Re­ligion, the Pope may take the matter in hand to redress it. If this must go for currant Doctrine, mark what will follow, viz. There is no action of man in Individuo, but it is either a good work, or it is a sin. Now if it belongs to the Pope to exercise Jurisdiction over all Sins, and withall to take upon him to determine what is sin, and what not, I say there is no longer any Prince but the Pope, nay farther, there is no place left for any private Government.

In sum, the Pope may (by this Doctrine) examine all Laws, all Edicts, all Par­liaments, all Councils, all Successions, all Translation of Princes; he may call in question, and examine all Inheritances and Contracts of all private Men, [Page 213]all Marriages, all Treatises of Peace and War between Prince and Prince, because it belongs to the Shepherd to have a care of his Sheep. And this inference doth not only necessarily follow of this supposition, but it is also allowed by the Canonists that write upon that Chapter Novit. And yet nevertheless have the wisest men, and of the most understanding, noted and taxed it to be full of Absurdities, which to avoid, some have out of that Chapter Novit, framed a distinction where there can be none, viz. that it is one thing to judge of the matter or of the Action, or of the contract, and another to judge of the sin: for if it be the Pope's right to judge of all things as they are sins, and to forbid them, and to enforce all men to obey his determinations therein, what is there more left then for the Prince to do? Not one of Democritus's Moats: for Bellar­mine hath taught us a very general Doctrine, that to judge whether any Law contain in it sin or not, it belongs to the Pope, as it belongs to the Ec­clesiastical Judge, to determine whether a Civil Contract contain in it the sin of Ʋsury.

Hence it will necessarily follow,Che il giudicare st una lege centient p [...]ccato è pregiudicio alla chi [...]a tocca alt' isteslo sommo Pontifice, che è gindice supren o si come il giudlcare, se un con­tratto civile contengo peccato di usura appertiene al medisimo Giudice Ecclesi­allico quals appertient la cognitione de i p [...]ccati, f. 330, 331. that not only the Pope, but every Ecclesiastical Judge shall have Power to determine all matters: for it can belong no more to him to judge whether a Contract offend in Usury, than whether it contain any other wrong or Injury to his neighbor; for all that do so are sins, as well as the other. And by the same reason it will belong to the Ecclesiastical Judge to determine of all manner of sin. And in brief, because there is no Action or Affair, either Publick or Private, where­unto sin is not Incident, if it shall be in the Power of the Ecclesiastical Judge to determine and judge of it, and either to allow it or forbid it, and to enforce obedience to his own determinations. All transactions about Contracts, all Courts of Justice, and all private Families may well be transferred into the Bishops Palace, good grist to that Mill! But the true Christian Doctrine, and the common practice all the World over, avoids all these absurdities, subjecting all Crimes and Offences unto the Temporal Jurisdiction, according to the example of Christ and his Apo­stles, who never pretended to have or exercise any Temporal coertion, or coactive Authority over (mens) sins. And if the Pope were Christ's true Vicar indeed, he would never usurp more than ever Christ exer­cised himself, or gave him Authority to do. The main business of Peter and of the rest of the Apostles, was to Teach and Preach dayly in the Temple, and in every House Jesus Christ, Acts 5.42. Thus you see that these very Doctrines contained in the Chapter Novit, need little of our Confutation, it is done to our hands by several of themselves, and ac­cording to their own St. Thomas, they are too general, because there must be excepted all internal motions of the mind, whereof the Pope hath no power at all to judge, unless it be in foro Poenitentiae, (in which also every Priest hath equal power with himself (no pleasing Doctrine at Rome) and of this sort are the greatest number of sins. And their own Divines and Canonists do generally agree, that in the Excommunications granted against Hereticks, those are not comprized which err mentally, so that they which attempt to defend as Bellarmine doth this Propositi­on, viz. that the Pope may judge of all sins, they are forced to except the greater part of particular sins. Besides a Prince may sin by breaking his [Page 214]own Laws, as the same St. Thomas proves, 1.2. quaest. 96. Art. 5. yet of this sin, he cannot be judged of any but God alone, as Cajetane in that place declareth, shewing that in foro Poenitentiae, and in the sight of God is all one in sence. Certes, to affirm that a Prince transgressing his own Laws, should be therein subject to the Censures of the Pope, were wholly to take away the Power and Authority of Princes. And to affirm that he should be subject to them in other Crimes and not in that, were to overthrow the very ground of the reason presupposed in that infamous Chapter Novit. Moreover it is very necessary, well to observe the very words of Innocent the Third. Intendimus decernere de peccato cujus ad nos pertinet sine dubitatione Censura, quam in quemlibet exercere possu­mus & debemus. And a little after, Ad officium nostrum spectat de quocun­que peccato mortali corripere quemlibet Christianum, which Bellarmine Tran­slates, le tutti di Principi del mundo. All the Princes of the World (by which it is plain, he had more than an ordinary Pique at Kings and Princes) Now if he be bound by the duty of his place (quia potestas nostra non est ex homine sed ex Deo) to denounce censures against every mortal sin, and against every Christian so offending, surely if he do it not, he sins and endangers damnation to himself. And yet we do not find that the Pope sends out any Censures against the Curtizans, the Concu­bines of Priests, and profest Harlots, who yet abide and persist notori­ously in their sins. Besides if by (quemlibet Christianum) be under­stood, all the Princes of the World, as Bellarmine hath rendred it, it be­longs to him to Excommunicate the Turk, the King of Persia, the Tartar cum multis aliis. And St. Peter's Successor must accuse St. Paul of false Doctrine, who said 1 Cor. 1.5.12. quid mihi de his qui foris sunt judica­re? what have I to do to Judge them that are without?

§. I have insisted the longer on this Chapter Novit, because it was de­signed purposely under pretence of favor to make an Ass of England and her King, it being made use of to that very end, and also against the French King, as appears by the Story. And trow you Contrives she not? Complots she not at this very day to make England once more to carry the Saddle? If ever the like Fate betides us, or if ever it be again the Stile of England, I cannot say less, than Not the Pope only, but the Devil rides us.

§. His next recourse is unto another Buckram Decretal, Extravagant Ʋnam San