A REPLY TO Mr. Baxter's Pretended Confutation of a Book Entituled, Separation of Churches from Episco­pal Government, &c. proved SCHISMATICAL. To which are added, Three Letters written to him in the Year 1673, con­cerning the Possibility of Discipline under a Diocesan Government, (which though relating to the Subject of most of his late Books, have never yet been Answered.)

By HENRY DODWELL, M. A. and sometimes Fellow of Trinity College near Dublin in Ireland.

I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.

Jer. 23. 32.

Reader, take heed of believing words of reproach against Adversaries, when Interest and Siding hath made men partial.

Mr. Baxters An­swer to Dr. Stillingfleet, p. 81.

London, Printed for Benj. Tooke at the Ship in S. Pauls Churchyard. 1681.

TO THE Right Reverend Father in God, Dr. WILLIAM LLOYD, L. Bishop of S. Asaph.

My dearest and most honoured Lord,

I Am not a Person who ever had any design on Patrons, and am therefore little used to this Ceremony of Dedications, being withall sensible how insignificant it is in many other regards. But I cannot satisfie my self if I should omit this occasion of a Publick Ac­knowledgment of those many Fa­vours I have received from your Lordship, ever since I had the hap­piness to be personally known unto you. I will not trouble you with an Enumeration of the Particulars, I know you had rather do them [Page] than hear of them. But I have se­veral peculiar Reasons for this Ad­dress: The Possibility of Discipline in a Diocesan Jurisdiction is a Subject nearly concerning your Lordship up­on your new Promotion, and I hope your Lordship will let Mr. Bax­ter see from your own experience, that it is as practicable in a Diocese, as in his Worcestershire Association. He allows no preeminence of one Minister above others, in order to the forming such Associations for great and generous designs, but what re­sults from the difference of Talents. But certainly where, besides this preeminence in Talents, there is also a preeminence in Office too; where be­sides these gifts and qualifications of a Person to persuade his Brethren, there is also an antecedent obligation incumbent on them to hearken to his persuasions, it cannot choose but add considerably to the efficacy of [Page] such his persuasions, both to engage them at first, and to hold them toge­ther when they are once engaged. This assistance therefore I hope for from your Lordship, that you will help me to convince him from his own Topick of Experience, and that you will give him an experiment of his own Age and Country, that he may not still complain of being re­mitted to Ancient and Forein Pre­cedents.

Besides, you have given me hopes of an assistance in the Dispute it self, by Publishing a Discourse concerning the Ancient Church-Go­vernment in these Islands. You will there let him see his great mistakes in our ancient Irish, and Scotish, and British History, concerning the Pal­ladian and Anti-Palladian Bishops, as he is pleased to distinguish them; and not onely his mistakes, but Sel­dens and Blondells, and the most ac­curate [Page] Antiquaries of the contrary Party. I am glad that I have gi­ven the occasion of it, by which I hope I shall do the World service, though I cannot by any thing of my own. I have no more to say, but to return my heartiest thanks for it, and remain,

My dearest Lord,
Your Lordships most obsequious obliged Servant, HENRY DODWELL.

The Contents of the whole Book.

Contents of the Reply.

Mr. Baxter's disingenuous dealing with my Person. A Defence of my self. § 1, 2. Why I am unwilling to recriminate. § 3. An account of the Publication of these Let­ters. § 4. His endeavours against me can­not in reason be called a Confutation, as the word Confutation signifies either an An­swer to my Proofs, or a Disproof of my Answers. § 5. Nor as it may signifie a Disproof of my principal Conclusion, by proof of Truths inconsistent with it. § 6. Nor as it may signifie a Disproof of what is said in defence of my Principal Conclusion, though without particular application. § 7. His invidious consequences, concerning the multitude concerned in my Principles, do not prove the Principles themselves false. § 8. Not proving them false, the unkind­ness of the application will be rather his than mine. § 9. A Defence of our English Succession from Aidan and Finan, &c. § 10. His Hypothesis concerning God's giving Ecclesiastical Power immediately, [Page] drawn out into several Propositions. § 11. This is the onely likely way of justifying our Adversaries Ordinations. Their Simili­tudes will not do without it; not that of a Husband over the Wife; not that of the Power of a Corporation conveyed by Char­ter. § 12, 13, 14. Two things permised before a particular Answer to that Hypo­thesis; 1. That at least it must be granted, that the reasoning of my former Book will hold, on supposition that Ecclesiastical Power is given by God, not immediately, but by the interposition of the Ordeiners. § 15. 2. That this Hypothesis is not agreeable to the Notions of any Party that owns any such thing as Ecclesiastical Pow­er; but onely of Enthusiasts, who utterly deprive the Church of any such Power, or of being a Political Society. § 16, 17. The mischievous consequences of this Hypo­thesis. § 18. Authority does not necessa­rily result from true qualifications. It is not agreeable to the sentiments of Mankind to think so. Not in Supreme Power. § 19. Not in Subordinate. God suits his Esta­blishments in Government to the senti­ments of Mankind. § 20. It is not agree­able to the Principles of Ecclesiastical Go­vernment in particular. The Rights of God not alienable without a particular and [Page] express consent. § 21. The Right of For­giving offences least alienable of all other Rights. § 22. Less alienable by a Gover­nour (which is the person God assumes here) than by any other person. § 23. This Hy­pothesis not agreeable to Authority. The Scripture account of extraordinary offices being grounded on Gifts not favourable to our Adversaries. § 24. Much less perti­nent to the Scripture account concerning ordinary offices. The Independency of gifted persons on the ordinary Gover­nours expresly opposed in the Scripture. § 25. The Scripture constantly supposes Man instrumental in giving ordinary Ec­clesiastical Authority. § 26, 27. It is no dishonour to the Holy Ghost to suppose him given by Men instrumentally. § 28. Want of Gifts does not invalidate Ecclesiastical Authority when once given. § 29. Gifts for Preaching not essential to the Ministry. § 30. Application to the forementioned Hypothesis. § 31. Arguments of Mr. Bax­ter's Self-conviction. Conclusion. § 32.

Contents of Letter I.

What sorts of Disputes are, upon a vir­tuous account, to be blamed in Dissenters; and what way of managing them is com­mendable. [Page] § 1. A short Account and De­fence of the Preface to my Letters of Ad­vice. § 2. A short Defence of the Possibili­ty of Discipline in a Diocesan Govern­ment. § 3. The Epistles of Ignatius not questioned by all the Presbyterians. § 4. My thoughts concerning the Reasons of Nonconformity mentioned in Mr. Baxter's Letter. § 5.

Contents of Letter II.

Introduction. § 1. Quest. 1. Whether the Bishop be bound to discharge his whole duty in his own person? Or, Whether he may not take in the assistances of others? That he may, granted by Mr. Baxter. Quest. 2. waved by me. § 2. Mr. Baxter's reasons do as solidly disprove a possibility of Secular Discipline under a Secular Mo­narch, of a Precinct as large as a Diocese, as of Diocesan Discipline. § 3. Secular Monarchs as well responsible for the mis­carriage of particular Subjects as Bishops, and their charge is as great. The Persons, Crimes, and Laws, belonging to the care of the Secular Governour more numerous than they which belong to the Ecclesiastical. § 4, 5. So are the necessities to be provi­ded for by the Secular Governour. § 6, 7, 8. [Page] An Objection prevented. § 9. Mr. Bax­ter's first answer refuted. The Govern­ment of a Diocese may be administred with­out any more than three Orders. § 10. The Church may for prudential reasons consti­tute new Officers, though not Orders. § 11. Mr. Baxter's second answer refuted. Per­sonal Capacity as requisite in a Prince as in a Bishop. § 12. An Objection prevent­ed. § 13. Mr. Baxter's third, fourth, and fifth answers refuted. § 14, 15. His sixth answer rejected. § 16. What I mean when I make the decretory power of Govern­ment proper to the Supreme, and the Exe­cutive onely to be communicated to inferiour Governours. § 17. The decretory pow­er of Government does not necessarily in­clude personal or particular Exploration. § 18, 19. His seventh answer considered. Good men need Government as well as others. Their mistakes more dangerous to Government than the mistakes of others. § 20. Mr. Baxter's Objection in favour of me. His first answer refuted. § 21. His second answer refuted. De­claration is no act of power. § 22. The unbecomingness of Doctrines, so dispara­ging to Ecclesiastical Authority, to Mr. Baxter as a Curer of Church-divisions. § 23. The first Reformers at length sen­sible [Page] of the necessity of Church Authority to Peace and Discipline. § 24. Mr. Bax­ter's uncandid character of a Prelatick Christian. § 25. The use of external coercion in Religion is not to make men onely dissemblers. § 26, 27, 28. No Disci­pline to be expected without a coercive power somewhere. § 29. The liberty de­sired by Mr. Baxter inconsistent with the Principles of the Ignatian Episcopacy, so much recommended by himself on other occa­sions. § 30. Inconsistent with the discipline of the Church described by Tertullian and Firmilian. § 31. Inconsistent with that of S. Cyprian. No reason why Mr. Baxter should desire to disown them from being parts of his Cure, who do not observe Rules of Di­scipline. § 32. My second Argument for the Possibility of Diocesan Discipline from the actual experience of former times. § 33. The notion of a Church for no more than are capable of personal inspection of a single Presbyter, not proved to be of Divine Institution from Acts 14. 23. § 34, 35. His second and third answer refuted. The di­stribution of particular Cures to particular Presbyters, (from whence it comes to pass, that one Diocese includes many such Socie­ties as are fitted for personal Communi­on) is more convenient than their govern­ing [Page] the same multitudes in common. Very probably as ancient as they had settled places of Meeting. How ancient in the Chur­ches of Rome and Alexandria. § 36. How vigorous notwithstanding discipline was at that very time at Alexandria. § 37. His fourth answer refuted. § 38. His fifth an­swer refuted. § 39. His sixth answer re­futed. § 40. His seventh answer refuted. The ancient Cities of the Roman Empire that had single Bishops more generally as great and populous as now. § 41, 42. The Ecclesiastical Government of those Cities proportioned to the Civil. § 43. Whether our Diocesan Office be a driving men to sin? § 44, 45, 46. His eighth answer re­futed. Great Cities then had great num­bers of Christians. Instanced in the Chur­ches of Hierusalem, Samaria, Antioch, Antiochia Pisidiae, Thessalonica, Beroea, Ephesus. § 47. These were Churches in all likelyhood designed by the Apostles them­selves as precedents for others. The mul­titudes of Christians every where in the Roman Empire in the time of Tertullian. § 48. Instances of other Churches very numerous besides Rome and Alexandria, Neocaesarea, Carthage. The passage of S. Cyprian concerning his Contribution explained. § 49, 50. The ancient nume­rousness [Page] of Christians proved from Pliny § 51. The possibility of their meeting in the same Assemblies. § 52. Several ways how greater numbers might communicate from the same Altar, than could ordinarily meet in the same Assemblies. § 53. S. Pa­trick's Dioceses not equivalent to our mo­dern Parishes. § 54. My Argument from the numerousness of the Church of Rome in the time of Cornelius. His answers refuted. § 55. His endeavours to give an account how the Clergie then might have been numerous, though their People had been few. § 56. His first five answered. § 57. His sixth. § 58. His seventh. § 59. His eighth. § 60. His ninth. § 61. His tenth. § 62. No Instance of Mr. Baxter's noti­on of a Church of a Society under the Cure of one single Priest, but onely in those two Churches of Rome and Alexandria, so much disowned in this very matter by him­self. § 63. Ulphilas Bishop of the whole Nation of the Goths. Whether an Arri­an? § 64. Frumentius Bishop of the In­dians, and Moses of the Arabians. The Christians of both more numerous than our single Parishes. § 65. His first answer refuted. § 66. His second answer refuted. § 67. A Conclusory Exhortation. § 68.

Contents of Letter III.

Reasons of delaying this Answer. § 1. Endeavours to prevent his displeasure. § 2. Advices then against some Intimations of his of publishing our Letters. § 3. My unwillingness to differ from him in any thing tolerable. § 4. The Charge of SCHISM briefly stated against them. § 5. A pathetical Application of all that had been said to Mr. Baxter. § 6.


PAge 4. Line 9. after Baxter read has. p. 12. l. ult. dele Parenthesin. p. 14. l. 27. tell. p. 16. l 9. dele rather. p. 17. l. 7. actual. p. 42. marg. Separat. proved Schismat. p. 59. l. 28. dele the note of Interrogation. p. 60. l. 24. whither r. why then. l. 26. officers. marg. Proleg. p. 67. l. 2. [...] r. [...]. p. 76. l. 4. were. p. 86. at the last Break I onely note Sect. XXXII. p. 100. l. 27. difformity. p. 102. l. 9. dele are touched. p. 103. l. 11. prophaneness & l. 18. l. 23. after Presbyters a Colon. p. 108. l. 6. knew. p. 130. l. 9. kind. Whole. p. 145. l. 18, 19. blot out of the Text Dr. Stilling fleet's, and put in the margin Dr. Stilling fleet's Irenic. p. 179. l. 17. either is actually. p. 187. l. ult. change the Parenthesis into a Comma. p. 199. l. 9. believe it. p. 201. l. 6. strangness. p. 202. l. 16. de­termining. p. 211. l. 19, 20. [...]. p. 212. l. 6. [...]. p. 214. l. 15. [...]. p. 215. l. 7. [...]. p. 224. l. 9. main­tained? p. 228. l. 8. [...]. p. 236. l. 9, 10. Cyzicenus. p. 249. l. 25. a City. p. 251. l. 14. contradistinction. p. 252. Anastarius, l. 18, 19. Tatieus. p. 253. l. 19. can. p. 254. l. 18. [...]. p. 256. l. 26. maintenance. p. 257. l. 20. [...]. p. 268. l. 19. you may. p. 274. l. 9. dele is. p. 275. l. 5. urbis, quaesissetis quib. l. 23. dele note Interrog. l. 26. oppressed. p. 276. l. 10. Pres­byter; marg. [...]. p. 284. l. 5. credible, l. 7. dele was. p. 285. l. 14. credible. p. 291. l. 19. dele one or. p. 293. l. 1. ad l. 21. [...]. p. 296. l. 22. Bishop; p. 308. l. 3. indispensable. p. 310. l. 11. 46. p 313. l. 10. be. p. 321. l. 8. their, l. 20. Frumentius. p. 322. l. 10. Homoeusians. p. 323. l. 24. would. p. 324. l. 15. more, in Constantius's time especially. p. 326. l. 13. Mavia, l. 17. that, though. p. 327. l. 16. excuse a Separation for the want. p. 331. l. 15. in case of an ext. p. 332. l. 19. that, l. 27. cases you would. p. 334. l. 8. inquisitive.

A Reply to Mr. Baxter's pre­tended Confutation of my Book OF SCHISM.
[Page 94]The Summary of my Book treating of the Sinfulness and Mischief of SCHISM, with reference to the Chapters, where each particu­lar of this Summary is proved.


Mr. Baxter's disingenuous dealing with my Person. A Defence of my self. § 1, 2. Why I am unwilling to recriminate. § 3. An account of the Publication of these Letters. § 4. His endeavours against me cannot in reason be called a Confutation, as the word Confutation signifies either an Answer to my Proofs, or a Disproof of my Answers. § 5. Nor as it may signifie a Disproof of my principal Con­clusion, by proof of Truths inconsistent with it. § 6. Nor as it may signifie a Disproof of what is said in defence of my Principal Conclusion, though without [Page 2] particular application. § 7. His invi­dious consequences, concerning the mul­titude concerned in my Principles, do not prove the Principles themselves false. § 8. Not proving them false, the unkind­ness of the application will be rather his than mine. § 9. A defence of our Eng­lish Succession from Aidan and Finan, &c. § 10. His Hypothesis concerning God's giving Ecclesiastical Power im­mediately, drawn out into several Pro­positions. § 11. This is the onely likely way of justifying our Adversaries Ordi­nations. Their Similitudes will not do without it; not that of a Husband over the Wife; not that of the Power of a Corporation conveyed by Charter. § 12, 13, 14. Two things premised be­fore a particular Answer to that Hypo­thesis; 1. That at least it must be grant­ed, that the reasoning of my former Book will hold, on supposition that Ecclesia­stical Power is given by God, not imme­diately, but by the interposition of the Ordeiners. § 15. 2. That this Hypo­thesis is not agreeable to the Notions of any Party that owns any such thing as Ecclesiastical Power; but onely of En­thusiasts, who utterly deprive the Church of any such Power, or of being a Politi­cal [Page 3] Society. § 16, 17. The mischievous consequences of this Hypothesis. § 18. Authority does not necessarily result from true Qualifications. It is not agreeable to the sentiments of Mankind to think so. Not in Supreme Power. § 19. Not in Subordinate. God suits his Establish­ments in Government to the sentiments of Mankind. § 20. It is not agreeable to the principles of Ecclesiastical Govern­ment in particular. The Rights of God not alienable without a particular and express consent. § 21. The Right of Forgiving offences least alienable of all other Rights. § 22. Less alienable by a Governour (which is the person God as­sumes here) than by any other person. § 23. This Hypothesis not agreeable to Authority. The Scripture account of extraordinary Offices being grounded on Gifts not favourable to our Adversaries. § 24. Much less pertinent to the Scrip­ture account concerning ordinary Offi­ces. The Independency of gifted per­sons on the ordinary Governours ex­presly opposed in the Scripture. § 25. The Scripture constantly supposes Man instrumental in giving ordinary Ecclesi­astical Authority. § 26, 27. It is no dishonour to the Holy Ghost to suppose [Page 4] him given by Men instrumentally. § 28. Want of Gifts does not invalidate Ec­clesiastical Authority when once given. § 29. Gifts for Preaching not essential to the Ministry. § 30. Application to the forementioned Hypothesis, § 31. Ar­guments of Mr. Baxter's s;elf Convicti­on. Conclusion. § 32.

§ I MR. Baxter in a late Book of his bestowed one whole Chapter on the Confutation of my Schismatical Book (so he is also pleased to call it) of SCHISM. I wish with all my heart he had confined himself to my Book, The true and onely way of Conc. part 3. chap. 9. and forborn unbeco­ming, as well as undeserved, Insinuations concerning my Person. I mean particu­larly those Suggestions concerning Com­munion, which most oblige me on the ac­count of conscience to take notice of them; and which notwithstanding can hardly be discussed, without what I am otherwise so averse to, some consequen­tial Reflection on him. He has indeed put me in hopes of some amends for it. If he perform it, it will be well for his own sake. For my part I do not intend to [Page 5] depend This I had written be­fore I had seen the Admoni­on prefixed to his Church History, where he pretends to make me the amends he had pro­mised, but still leaves it as a di­spute what I really am, to be determined not from his Testimony, but from my Book. We had at his own nomination referred the form of his Purgation to the excellent Dean of Canterbury, to whom I had expresly given warning of such slippery forms, from some tryal I had of him both in Discourse, and in a Letter; but he ne­ver consulted him. By this it appears how little reason I had to depend on him. However I am glad he has acquainted the Reader with the true rea­son of these disingenuous Suspicions concerning me, that he has referr'd him to my Books. He cannot mean my two Books designodly against the Ro­manists, but onely the last of Schism. Vpon which the Controversie will be reduced to this short issue; They who will have the defence of Ecclesiasti­cal Authority to pass for Popery will judge me a Papist; but they who will take the estimate of Popery from what the Laws and Church of England has condemned under that name, will find no shadow for so base an Accusation. I am heartily content to abide this tryal; but Mr. Baxter had deale more sincerely, if he (who is, on other occasions where there is no need, so offended at others for not explaining terms not understood by the parties in different senses) had been here as careful to warn his Reader, that this was all he meant by the name of Popery. He cannot but know, that the Commonalty, to whom he would make me odious by this insinuation, mean far different and worse things by it, than the bare defence of Ecclesia­stical Authority free from any of the Romish Encroachments and Usur­pations. on it. I know how ordinary it is for the Nonconformists to asperse that same Religion, which has been settled here by those Laws and Legislators, who first excluded Popery, with that same odi­ous Name, against which those Laws and Legislators were deservedly so zealous. We know how very lately they have again been endeavouring it, and even at a time when themselves pretended a cor­dial union among Protestants so very ne­cessary. I know particularly how Mr. Baxter has been guilty of it in his Book of the Grotian Religion. I know how [Page 6] Moderation in the Disputes of Christendom is apt to be so miscalled by these, who so much pretend themselves to Modera­tion. What difference is there betwixt that which was decried as Grotianism in those excellent persons Bishop Bramhall and Doctor Pierce; and that which is so much applauded as equal and candid dealing in Monsieur le Blanc, Mr. Baxter himself, and as many of that Party as have affected the praise of being Men of Healing Principles? I know how the defence of Order, and Discipline, and Ec­clesiastical Power, is apt to be so miscalled by them. And far be it from me that I should endeavour to purchase their good word or opinion, by deserting such Cau­ses as these, let them call them by what odious names they please. For others who are more equal Judges, I think I have as much to say to clear my self from the imputation of Popery, as Mr. Baxter him­self has, or can have. I mention not my Education from the beginning in the Communion of the Church of England, and never varying from it. I mention not my Renunciation of Popery when I was made Fellow of the College of Dublin, which he seems willing to asperse, be­cause I had once the honour to be a Mem­ber [Page 7] of it. I mention not my Books against Popery, Considerat. of present concern­ment. in one of which I have endea­voured to prove, that the Doctrines of the Church, as well as the Court, of Rome are treasonable; which let any equal per­son think what service it could do them, by one who must be supposed onely to dissemble himself of another Communi­on. I mention not the Witnesses of my Life in those places where I have spent the greatest part of it.

§ II MY present communicating with the Church of England, and none other, will with equal Judges, who will allow any possibility for Protestants to clear themselves from the imputation of Pope­ry, when charged on them in times of ill design, Part 3. Ch. 9. Sect. 32. be a sufficient Purgation, not­withstanding his Cavils to the contrary. If my mind should change, (as at pre­sent I foresee no probability that it ever will) I hope in God that greater Fears than those I have from him, shall never force me to dissemble. At present I in­tend, that this shall not fright me from any reasonable Candour to Papists, as well as other Adversaries. And this methinks a Peace-maker, and a person of that Catholick temper to which Mr. Bax­ter does so pretend, should not be angry [Page 8] at,Terms of Conc. part 2. chap. 5. sect. 39. who can himself (when he thinks fit) give a just Character of what he thinks commendable in them. But I am weary of such Personal Subjects, in which the Publick is so little concern'd; and I am not willing to make this slander look too like a matter of real dispute by too sollicitous a defence. All I shall say further for my own vindication in this matter is, that I challenge the justice of them that know me, and that I claim the charity of those who do not, till they have better information, than the Surmi­ses, rather than Arguments, of this other­wise good man in his passion. I dare stand by an Authority which he cannot well decline; it is his own against himself in this very Book wherein he has traduced me.Part 3. Ch. 2. Sect. 11. Himself has observed how ordina­ry it is to charge even just moderation in Disputes wherein the Papists are con­cerned with Grotianism; no doubt out of a consciousness of his own guilt, for I believe he is himself the principal (if not the onely) Author of the charge of Groti­anism to the Sons of the Church of Eng­land. Part 1. Ch. 13. Sect. 2. Himself has also observed how not onely the common gang, but even learned men, yea and zealous religious men are to be suspected in their evil Characters, and Re­ports [Page 9] of those that they are speaking against as Adversaries. And he says, It grieveth him to think how little most Adversaries in this case are to be believed. So that with­out disparagement to his acknowledged zeal and religiousness, the impartial Rea­der has from himself a sufficient warning to suspect him in this matter.

§ III FAR be it from me to recriminate, or to return him evil for evil. I have in truth a just Reverence for his Devotional Labours, and the benefit that many Souls have received by them. I have a Reverence for his publick designs of charity, and particularly for that of en­deavouring the Peace of Christendom, and am sorry that my agreeing with him in it, (which I hoped might have been an endearment) has in the event proved an occasion of offence. I have withall a Re­verence for his years, and am unwilling that the defects of his Age and Controver­sial Writings, should impair any of that Credit his former and Devotional Wri­tings have justly gained him. On these accounts I most willingly pass by his other personal Reflections on me, which my Conscience will permit me to take no notice of. I pass by even his disrespect­ful mention of our primitive Forefathers, [Page 10] of Bishops as Bishops, and Clergie as Clergie, and even of those to whom in his Epi­scopal Ordination he must have promised Canonical Obedience antecedently to the Covenant. I pass by the Imperfections of his way of reasoning used generally in his later Writings. I pass by whatsoever may concern his person, as far as my cause will give me leave. I cannot deny, but some of these may justly forfeit him that reverence which his other Performances have deserved. But besides my own un­willingness to take advantage even of just Forfeitures, I have other prudential reasons to forbear such a subject. They admini­ster no occasion of promoting useful Knowledge; they are neither likely to be received by others, nor to benefit him­self, as proceeding from an Adversary.

§ IV CONCERNING the cause it self I find so little said, as that I had thought to cast my self upon the candour of our disinterested Readers. But remem­bring that a subject which was wanting here, was given me formerly in these Let­ters which pass'd between us some years since, upon the Publication of my Letters of Advice; remembring that the same things which had been objected then, are still objected anew in this, and his other [Page 11] late Books, withoutSince my writing of this I find Mr. Baxter once referring to the second of these Letters in his Church History; but he has added nothing that I find against what had here been ar­gued, excepting his account of the small numbers of the Church of Alexandria from Mr. Clarkson; which I should here have considered, if that as well as the rest of the design of his Church History, had not been already undertaken by an excellent and learned Friend, from whom I hope the World will shortly have an account of it. the least notice of those An­swers which had been so long since returned to them; considering with­all, that that subject was new, and not, that I knew of, considered professedly in any modern Discourse; I thought it not unseason­able to take this occasion of publishing them, the ra­ther because they may serve as an Answer to the greatest part of the Argument of his Book; and because what new matter is here urged, might conveniently enough be included in a Preface. But because I had desired him not to publish any thing without common consent; Let. 3. sect. 3. and because I wanted the Copies of his Letters, which I (being to keep the Originals) did there­fore not transcribe, but yet could not now come at, because they were in Ireland, and are mislaid since my departure; and because I was willing to take leave to correct what I thought amiss in my own Letters, yet so as to do him no wrong by doing so; I therefore craved his concur­rence and assistance in the Publication. But [Page 12] he lest me to dispose of my own as I thought fit. I have accordingly taken the liberty to expunge some things perso­nal, and, but very rarely, to add what might better clear my own sense; but was in both as cautious as I could be, not to misrepresent him to his disadvantage, and the rather because I wanted his own Originals. I have always endeavoured rather to answer his sense than his ex­pressions, whenever I thought his expressi­ons were not so much for the advantage of his cause. But if any suspect otherwise of an Adversary, I am content, and shall be glad that what I say may pass for a Reply rather to his cause than his person; that he be charged with nothing but what he owns again in this Book, or will own again when there is occasion. I know not what himself can desire more in order to my dealing fairly.

§ V TO come therefore more closely to his pretended Confutation of my Book, I wonder what it is that any in­different person can indeed mistake in it for a Confutation. Part 3. ch. 9. sect. 20. I have given a Summa­ry of my whole design in the beginning of it; (I wish he had transcribed it where he pretends to give an account of my De­sign and Doctrine.) It had certainly been [Page 13] no disparagement to him, to have allow­ed me for a fitter Interpreter of my own mind than himself) I have digested it into the several Propositions whereof it con­sists,See the Summary at the end of this Re­ply. in the natural order wherein they follow each other, with reference to the several Chapters wherein they are proved, by which the Reader may readily inform himself,Ibid. sect. 29. whether I onely beg, and do not prove, so many things as this reverend person pretends begged and not proved by me. And every Chapter has, in the Con­tents, a general Analysis of the proofs con­tained in it. I did prevent all the An­swers I know of, not onely in his Disputa­tions of Church Government, and in Voe­tius, but in all others that either I had read or could foresee, though I did not think it needful to make an endless Appli­cation to every particular Author that had written on the subject. Whoever will not believe me let him try, after he has once throughly acquainted himself with my principles. And what has he done against all this that may deserve the name of a Confutation? Has he answered the proofs, I do not say of my whole Work, but of any single proposition, I think I might say, of any one single Argument in it? For my part I cannot find one single Instance, [Page 14] and let the Reader iudge between us. But it may be by Confuting he does not mean Answering, but Disproving. Has he therefore disproved any Answers on my part, that might either be given conse­quently to my principles, or which were expresly given by me? Whoever had designed the Improvement of Know­ledge, would have endeavoured the pre­vention of such Answers, as might have been made by my principles; but I have not had the favour to have those taken notice of, which were particularly and ex­presly given.Part 3. ch. 9. sect. 12. The Opinion of those who make Episcopacy and Presbytery not differ­ent in order but degree, and the Case of a desolate Island, Ib. sect. 11. are still urged and urged as Arguments, as confidently as if nothing yet had been said concerning them. Yet I had considered the former in a whole Chapter. Ch. 23. Concerning the later I denied what he said,Ch. 28. sect. 29, &c. and gave my Reasons of denial: yet has he not been pleased to take any the least notice either of the de­nial or the disproof. He tells me that I call men oft to Catholick Unity, and never tells them what it is, or how it may be known; yet even this I made the subject of a prin­cipal part of a Chapter. Ch. 27. By which the Reader will judge,Part 3. ch. 9. sect. 19, 20. who it is that provokes [Page 15] to write the same things over again. And now when neither Proofs▪ are answered, nor Answers disproved, how can that pro­perly be called a Confutation?

§ VI I KNOW not for my own part what he can mean further by this word but a disproof of my conclusion, though without any particular application to my Principles. And if this must pass for a Confutation, why may not my Book, though written the former of the two, be called a Confutation of his, as well as his a Confutation of mine? For if my conclusion must therefore be supposed false, because inconsistent with what he has proved true; why must not his be for the same reason supposed false, because inconsistent with what I have proved true also? But yet even in this way of of Confutation, of disproving falshoods by proving truths inconsistent with them, it ought to be considered, whether all the Answers that may be given in defence of my principal Conclusion be proved false, as well as the Conclusion defended by them, though their Phaenomena were not parti­cularly accounted for? Or at least whe­ther his disproofs be of themselves more certain or more evident to us, than those Arguments by which I had positively pro­ved [Page 16] it? If neither of these can be pre­tended in his case, with what Justice can he call his Performance a Confutation? And not now to enter into the particular merit of his cause, let us see whether his disproof will endure a tryal by even these presumptions. He says, that Church Power is given immediately by God, and therefore may be had rather where it is not received by the Ministry of Men, nor can be dimi­nished by any intention of theirs from whom it is received. This he proves from two Similitudes, that of the Power of a Corporation given by the Charter, (which was expresly considered by me,Ch. 20. sect. 21. if it had been his custom to take notice of any Answers) and that of a Husband over the Wife. Suppose I shall at present be so kind, (and he must indeed acknowledge it for a kindness) as to let his Similitudes pass for Arguments; yet who can be so extremely partial, as to think them compa­rable with those used by me, deduced à priori, from the nature and first original of Ecclesiastical Power? Wise men value any Arguments whatsoever before Simili­tudes. How much more such as these, which are acknowledged to be, in their own nature, the strongest of all Argu­ments?

[Page 17] § VII HAS he therefore proved what is said in defence of my principal Conclusi­on false, as well as the Conclusion it self? Has he proved that our title to the benefits of the Gospel does not depend on the actual promise of God? or that our title to his actual promises is not to be derived from our Interest in his Covenant? or that our legal Interest in the Covenant is not ob­tained by the Seals? or that the validity of the Seals does not require Authority in him who presumes to use them? or that the same Reasons which made this Autho­rity necessary for this validity of the Seals, will not hold now (as well as they did in the days of the Apostles) and for ever? Does he deny any of these things? can he in the least pretend to have disproved them? Do any of his Arguments reach them either directly, or by any clear and necessary consequence? Can he defend his Brethrens Ordinations or Sacraments admi­nistred by them who never received Epi­scopal Orders? If he have done none of all these, nor so much as attempted them, what will become of his pretended Con­futation?

§ VIII TILL he do, or attempt these things, I cannot conceive how he can pre­tend to prove my Doctrine false. All [Page 18] that he endeavours is to make it popularly odious. That is the tendency of all those odious consequences which he deduces from it, concerning my unchurching and unchristening such multitudes of Christians and Churches. The consequences are of his own deducing. I undertake not to judge where I am not throughly informed in the matter of fact. But what if these con­sequences should really follow? will he thence conclude my reasonings false, be­cause multitudes are concerned in the con­sequences of them? This also was an Ob­jection prevented and accounted for in my Preface, Pref. sect. 11, &c. if he had thought himself obliged to speak to Answers in his Confu­tations. But does he not know that this very same Objection was made use of by the Heathens against Christianity, and by the Romanists against the Reformation, that if either Christianity or Protestancy were the onely true way to Salvation ex­clusively to others; then much the grea­ter number of Mankind or Christians must have been out of the true way of Salvati­on? And can he deny that the matter of fact was true, that there was indeed a time when Heathens were more nume­rous than Christians, and Romanists than Protestants? Will he therefore grant [Page 19] that Christianity and Protestancy were not the onely ordinary true means of Salvati­on? I know he will be far from saying so. But yet he is not sensible how much himself is more concerned in the Conse­quence of this Discourse than I am. He that in his Diocesan Ordination must have promised Canonical Obedience to his Ordi­nary, cannot renounce our Diocesan Com­munion as Diocesan, without some charge of sin, greater than the sin of breaking his Promise of Canonical Obedience. And if this sin agree to Diocesan Communion as Diocesan, then certainly it must be not onely a single act of sin, but a state of sin; and such a state of sin as all will acknow­ledge destructive of Salvation, so agreeing to Diocesan Communion as Diocesan, it must agree to all Diocesan Communion whatsoever. And if all Diocesan Commu­nion as Diocesan be destructive of Salvati­on, how much more uncharitable will he prove than I, if to maintain principles from whence consequences will follow, which will prove hurtful to faulty persons, must be thought uncharitable? How few are those Protestants that want Episcopal Ordination (who can alone seem charge­able with the consequences of my Dis­course) in comparison of the whole Greek [Page 20] and Latin Churches, and those other Fo­rein Protestants also, as well as those of our own Dominions, which will be con­cerned in the consequences of his? I might here declame as tragically as he does, and retort a great part of his own Discourse upon himself, if I were desirous to take advantage of this Topick against him, not so much to prove his Doctrine false, as to expose it as odious. If he will say, that he has notwithstanding charitable thoughts concerning the persons of many, who differ from him in principles of their own nature destructive of Salvation: Abate his affection to his party, which makes him (as his matter requires) speak incon­sistently; and I think I shall allow as much candour and charity to the persons of Dissenters, as he can rationally, and with any consistency with any, even his own, prin­ciples.

§ IX IF therefore it be granted, that these consequences are no just argument to prove the principles false from which they fol­low; it will then follow further, that in order to the confutation of my principles, he ought not to content himself with de­ducing these consequences, without more distinct application to the principles them­selves; it will follow, that even the odium [Page 21] of such consequences is irrational and sinful, and therefore not at all regardable in conscience, whatever it may in prudence. No truly conscientious persons can be of­fended at just consequences from principles whose truth is not proved questionable, especially where positive reasons have been produced for them. And therefore whoever are so, must for that very reason, at least in this particular, be presumed not to act conscienciously, or consequently to be regardable on account of conscience; It will follow, that till he do answer more distinctly to my principles, the very un­kindness of the application will be rather his than mine. For till he weaken the proof of my principles, I shall have reason in all equity to presume them true. And if he draw Inferences unfavourable to them from unconvicted principles, it will be he, not I, that must be responsible, at least for the application. If therefore he will not make them less concerned than it is their Interest to be in case of real dan­ger, let him first secure them from the danger by a conviction of my principles; which when he does, he will have me as well as them indebted to him for the Obligation. Till he do so, certainly plain dealing and a fair warning is the most real [Page 22] office of Friendship, that can be shewn in case of danger. I wish I may, by this inti­mation, prevail with whosoever shall hereafter trouble themselves to answer me, not to satisfie themselves with invi­dious clamours, and evasions of a direct Answer to my principles. A direct An­swer would better become them, as Lo­vers and Enquirers of truth, rather than Votaries to a Party; would more tend to the satisfaction of conscientious Dissenters; would afford a better subject for useful in­formation.

§ X As for particulars, there are onely two that I can know of, in which indifferent Friends do think me concerned. One is, that he says, and says it more than once, that the Generality of our Saxon Bishops derive their Succession from Aidan and Finan, who (says he) were no Bishops, as Bede and others fully testifie. So that he says,Premoniti­on. Terms of Conc. p. 11. chap. 5. sect 23. & Church History. The denying the validity of the Ordi­nation by Presbyters, shaketh the Succession of the Episcopal Church of England, and pro­veth it on that supposition interrupted. I know not how it becomes him, who himself pretends Episcopal Ordination, to discover his Forefathers nakedness, Part 3. ch. 9. sect. 4, 13 if it had been true that is here suggested. But not to expostulate with him concerning [Page 23] the unkindness herein shewed to his Or­dainers, what benefit can he do his own cause by this Objection? Would it fol­low, that his Brethren have Succession be­cause we had fail'd of it? Would it fol­low, that Succession is not necessary, be­cause none could justifie their Claims by it? Would it follow, that the Right of Ordination must in course be escheated to the Presbyteries, or the People, or the Magistracy, in case no Right could now be made out by Derivation from the Apo­stles? If Succession be still necessary for the validity of Orders, as it may be not­withstanding this Argument, till he an­swer the Arguments produced to prove it necessary; all that he can expect by using such Arguments as these will be, not to satisfie us, but to prove us as faulty as themselves; not to quiet the consciences of those who should be afraid of Sacrilegious Ordinances, but onely to make them de­spair of ever being quieted. And there­fore this is an Answer, if at all fit to be insisted on, yet not till he had attempted a more particular Answer.

But, God be praised, we have no need to be concerned for this Objection: Bede is so far from denying Aidan and Finan to have been Bishops, as that he expresly [Page 24] affirms the contrary. Bede Hist. Angl. III. 3, 5. Oswald King of Nor­thumberland sent to the Elders of the Scots for a Bishop; Antistes is the word in Bede's Latine, and Biscop in the Saxon of Alfred. Accordingly he receives Ponti­ficem Aidanum as the Latine, or Biscop as it is again in the Saxon. When this Bi­shop was come, he has an Episcopal Se [...] provided for him; so Bede most expresly, Veniente igitur ad se EPISCOPO, Rex l [...] ­cum Sedis EPISCOPALIS in Insula Lin­disfarnensi, ubi ipse petebat, tribuit. Again, Monachus ipse EPISCOPUS Aidanus. He elsewhere tells us the very time when he was made Bishop,Ib. c. 5. accepto gradu EPISCO­PATUS quo tempore eidem Monasterio Se­genius Abbas & Presbyter praefecit. Where the Saxon also gives him the Title of Bi­shop, though it omits the particularizing of the time when he received it. He therefore also gives an account of the rea­son why his Monastery pitch'd on him particularly as a person fit for that Im­ployment. He tells us, that thereupon they judged him dignum Episcopatu, that accordingly illum Ordinantes ad praedican­dum miserunt. [...]. 6. Again, he is called Reve­rendissimus Antistes, (Biscop in the Saxon) and praefatus Episcopus. The same Title is very frequently given him, cap. 14, 15, [Page 25] 16, 17. & l. 4. 23, 27. l. 5. 23. so frequent­ly, as that I do not know whether it be worth while to transcribe each particular Instance, and the Time of his Bishoprick distinctly noted. So also in his Epitome at the Year DCLI, Aidanus Episcopus de­functus est. So extremely little occasion he had of even mistaking in this matter from Bede himself. Nor could he have much greater from those others to whom he refers us, who must have taken what they had from Bede, if they had any Au­thority. The Saxon Chronicon transcribes the very words of Bede's Epitome, and at the same Year. The like Agreement there is in those who took from him at a greater distance,Simeon. Dunelm. in Collect. Seldeni. Tur­gotus, Simeon. Dunelm. in Collect. Seldeni. Simeon Dunel­mensis, Malmesb. de gest. Angl. l. 3. de gest. Pontif. Angl. l. 3. Malmesburien­sis, Huntingd. Hist. l. 3. Huntington, &c. if any be yet further cu­rious.

Nor is Bede and his Transcribers less clear in the case of Finan. Bede Eccl. Hist. II [...]. 17 Bede is most express. Immediately after the death of Aidan, he subjoyns, Successit verò ei in Epi­scopatum Finan, & ipse illo ab Hii Scotorum insulâ ac Monasterio destinatus, ac tempore non pauco in EPISCOPATU permansit. Concerning the Baptism of Peada Son of [Page 26] Pendan, L. 3. c. 21. King of the Middle Angles and the Mercians, Ibid. Baptizatus est ergo à Finano Epi­scopo. Duma also (mentioned by Mr. Bax­ter) was sent as Bishop of that new Colo­ny of Christians, ordinatus à Finano EPI­SCOPO. L. 3. c. 22. Sigbercht King of the East Sax­ons was baptized by the same Finan, Bap­tizatus est à Finano EPISCOPO. And when Cedd a holy person was invited by Sigbercht for the Conversion of his Peo­ple, he took occasion to make a visit at Lindisfarn, the Seat of the Northumbrian Bishops, propter colloquium Finani EPI­SCOPI, where he was made Bishop by Finan, vocatis ad se in Ministerium Ordi­nationis aliis duobus EPISCOPIS. Qui, accepto gradu Episcopatûs, rediit ad provin­ciam, & majore autoritate coeptum opus ex­plens, fecit per loca Ecclesias, Presbyteros & Diaconos ordinavit, &c. We see here how punctual Observers of the Canons these Scotish Bishops were, notwithstand­ing our Adversaries would fain persuade us, that themselves were ordained by Presbyters, because the Monks of the Isle of Hii (though Bishops) were subject to their Abbot, though onely a Presbyter as to the Rules of their Monastick Discipline, for the sake of their first Founder Colum­ba, who never exceeded the Order of Presbyter.

[Page 27] But Mr. Baxter would do well to let us know what use they could have had of Bishops at all,See Bishop Bramhalls Vind. of the Church of Engl. c. 9. Bishop Pearson Vind. Ign. l. 1. c. 10. if it were not to perform some office, for which no Superiority of their Presbyter Abbot in the Monastery could qualifie them without Bishops. And what either then, or ever was taken for so unseparable a Right of Episcopacy as Or­dination? If therefore they were wil­ling their Presbyter Abbot should, for the sake of Columba, have all the Honour of which a Presbyter was capable, and yet thought it necessary to have Bishops also for their Ordinations; is not this a plain Conviction, that they thought this Office of Ordination not performable by single Presbyters? And how had it been an unusual Order, as Bede expresly says it was, that Presbyters (if such onely had been meant by the name of Bishops) should have been subject to the Abbot, who was also a Presbyter? But to fancy that the Offices of Bishops and Presbyters were confounded in those later Ages of which we are discoursing, (whatever they were in the Apostles) is indeed a fancy so extravagant, as Mr. Baxter could hardly have been guilty of, if he had been either so ingenuous or skilful in Church History as he would fain persuade [Page 28] us. But so far were those ancient Scots from invading this Right of Episcopacy, that as to Ordination they strictly obser­ved even our present Canons. Three Bi­shops were at the Consecration of a Bi­shop, who when he was thus consecra­ted, and not before, had that greater Au­thority of ordaining Presbyters and Dea­cons, which it hence appears was not al­lowed to any under Bishops. But to re­turn from whence I have digressed, Finan and Aidan are both of them expresly said again to have been Bishops, and not onely so, but the Cathedral Church of Finan is mentioned again by Bede: L. 3. c. 25. Interim Aida­no EPISCOPO de hac vita sublato, Finan pro illo gradum EPISCOPATUS, à Scotis ordinatus ac missus acceperat, qui in insula Landisfarnensi fecit Ecclesiam EPISCOPA­LI Sedi congruam. c. 26. Again, concerning the Dispute between Wilfred and Cole­man, Facta est autem haec quaestio Anno Do­minicae Incarnationis DCLXIV, qui fuit annus Oswi Regis XII, EPISCOPATUS autem Scotorum, quem gesserunt in provin­cia Anglorum, annus XXX, siquidem Aida­nus XVII annis, Finan X, Coleman III, EPISCOPATUM tenuere. Yet after all it is very well known, that our English Succession, even in the Kingdom of Nor­thumberland, [Page 29] was not derived down to us from Coleman, the last of those Scotish Bi­shops, but from Wilfrede a Saxon who suc­ceeded him. I wish he would not write such things of such consequence, and so often, with such confidence, without once consulting his Authors. As for his other Authors, he would oblige us to tell us who they are, that could know any thing concerning those times, but what they must have from Bede as well as we.

§ XI The other particular is that which does indeed look most like reasoning and prin­ciples, of any thing that is said by him in his whole Book. And I shall endeavour to shew him all the fair dealing I can, in representing what he says to the best ad­vantage. The Summ therefore of what he says seems most conveniently reduci­ble to these Propositions.

1. That the power of the Ministry is grounded on the gifts and qualifications of the person immediately; so that whoever has those gifts and qualifications, has there­by an essential right to the power; and he that bestows those gifts, does thereby bestow the power; and they who cannot bestow them, cannot consequently dispose of the power.

[Page 30] 2. That God alone has the disposal of these gifts, and disposes of these gifts imme­diately, has never impowered men to confer these gifts, but onely to examine and declare them; which Declaration does not make but find them qualified, and consequently impow­ered, before any humane interposition.

3. That even in the Apostles times these gifts and qualifications were not ordinarily given in Ordination, but supposed to be an­tecedent to it; as appears from that gift of Prophecy and discerning of Spirits, by which they were enabled to judge who were fit to be ordained; which must have related to gifts and qualifications not given by the Apostles, but by God immediately. And that if any gifts and qualifications were super added in the very act of Ordination; yet they were extraordinary, and therefore not to be ex­pected by Successors, especially not at this di­stance of the Age we live in.

4. That these gifts being given by God immediately, and this power being thus ne­cessarily consequent to these gifts; even the designation of the particular person is from God, as well as the investing him with the power. So that all that the interposition of men can do in this matter, cannot be to give any power to the person to be ordained that he had not before; but onely to judge of it in order [Page 31] to acceptance, as to its exercise. The judg­ment of the person himself will be necessary in order to his own acceptance. The judgment of the Senior Pastors (not in order to the investing them by Ordination by delivery with the power,Part 3. c. 9. sect. 7. p. 75 as Mr. Baxter speaks in­consistently with his own Principles, who acknowledges no power given by the act of Ordination, for I am willing to consider his Cause free from the inconve­niences of his management; but) either as they are the ordinary Representatives of the people in accepting, and such as are first to propose whatsoever is to be proposed to the people, even in affairs wherein their suffra­ges are not ultimately concluded by their Re­presentatives, or as at least the Solemnities of Acceptance are to be transacted by them. The judgment of the people also, as they are the Objects of his Ministry, and as they are supposed on that account to have the original right of Acceptance.

5. That the way to know what persons are by God invested with power, and with what power they are invested, is by the Scriptures. There he is supposed to have described the gifts and qualifications, which when Pastors and People find in any man, they must be supposed to be obliged to accept him. And there he is supposed to have described that [Page 32] power, which himself gives by giving him such gifts and qualifications.

6. That this power being thus given by God immediately, without any humane inter­position in the giving it, but onely in the ac­cepting it; consequently the extent of this power must be known by enquiring, not into the mind of the Accepters, but of the giver of it; and the mind of God the giver is to be known onely in the Scriptures.

7. That the extent of this power being thus to be gathered from the Scriptures, as private persons are not obliged to think their Governours Expositions truest, but may with reason and conscience differ from them, (there being nothing requisite for the understand­ing of the Scriptures, that is capable of being known by the Clergie, which learned Laicks are not as capable of knowing also;) so pri­vate persons may believe themselves invested with a power from the Scriptures, which their Superiours neither gave them, nor be­lieve to be the sense of such Scriptures, either that themselves ought to give it as authori­zed by God to do so, or that God will himself give it immediately.

8. That persons authorized have not one­ly power to believe what they take to be the sense of the Scriptures, though different from the sense of ordinary Ecclesiastical Gover­nours; [Page 33] but also to practise their different sense, at least so far as their Authority ex­tends. And therefore if a Bishop or his whole Presbytery, whether in irregular or regular Assemblies, do deny a Presbyter any part of his Office, which indeed they never gave him, neither by any invalid, nor on these principles by any valid, act of theirs; he may notwithstanding use and exercise it as given him by God immediately.

9. That every person for himself, as he is as capable of understanding those Scriptures, which describe the extent of the power as any others, though Superiours; but yet is more conscious to himself of his own integrity, in using means to the best of his abilities, and following his own convictions, than any others; so for the gifts and qualifications, which by this Hypothesis confer an immediate title to the Office, he can much better judge than any others, because they are things more within his own cognizance than they can be of any others. So that in order to his own pra­ctice, he must on these principles be obliged in reason, and conscience, and prudence, more to rely on his own judgment, than on that of any others.

10. That this power being immediately from God, he is to presume that what God did once give, that he intends still to give till [Page 34] he declares his pleasure to the contrary. This Observation will both make Scripture-prece­dent (which is the utmost they can pretend concerning the power of Church Officers, de­scribed in Scripture as in a Charter) an Ar­gument now, and will excuse them from the extreme difficult task to which their ordina­ry management does oblige them, of proving it obligatory on other principles. For grant it never so mutable in its own nature, yet even mutable Determinations oblige till the Legislators pleasure be known for an actual change. But supposing this power to have been immediately from God, without any so much as interposition of men; supposing therefore (as has been shewed on these princi­ples) that it must appear to us by an express word of God, such as may seem express to us without humane Authority even in the expo­sition of it; supposing that no such express word of God is ever to be expected for the fu­ture: it will follow, that what is left deter­mined any way in the Scripture, must for ever be as secure from an actual change, as if it had been of its own nature immutable. But if the power it self be given by men; then if they will prove it immutable by the men who give it, they must endeavour to prove it either from the nature of the thing, or the continuance of the same [Page 35] reason and circumstances of its first institu­tion, or some express command of God in Scripture, that they should not actually change it; which yet would not prove an in­validity, but onely an irregularity in their doings, supposing the power not to come from God immediately, but by their mediation; which would be much more difficult for them to prove than than they are aware of. Whence it will further follow,

11. That all that others can do, whether Bishops, or Presbyters, or People, cannot be either to give any power, or to inform any person that he has power, which he had (though he knew it not) antecedently to their Declaration; or to hinder him of the exer­cise of that power which he has, and may know that he has independently on their De­claration: and therefore can be onely to judge for themselves in order to their own accept­ance. So that if they refuse him, that can­not in conscience hinder him from either finding, or proselyting others that will accept him. And in the mean time he may ex­ercise that power where he can, and exer­cise it to the full extent of it, as far as him­self conceives it to extend, because he must on these principles be supposed to have it, and to know he has it, whether they accept of it or not.

[Page 36] § XII I KNOW some things are suggest­ed in this way of Management, which are not actually observed by Mr. Baxter, nor Mr. Humfrey, nor any other that I know of, that has undertaken this Hypo­thesis; and I believe some things, which when they see how consequentially they destroy all Ecclesiastical Order and Govern­ment, themselves will then perhaps be willing to disown. But I am confident nothing has been added, but what has been for the advantage of the Argument, and what is consequential and agreeable to the main Hypothesis; and for that they must, whether they will or no, be re­sponsible till they are pleased to disown the Hypothesis to which it is consequent. Certainly it is much more defensible than the bare Simile's of the Husbands power over the Wife, or of the power con­veyed by an Original Charter to all suc­ceeding Posterity. 'Tis true indeed, that no compacts of the Wife with the Husband can diminish that Right which was ne­ver given him by any Compact of hers, for that very reason, because God never left her at her liberty, whether she should be subject or no, but onely to chuse the person, to whom she was in particular to [Page 37] pay Subjection. But certainly my Rea­soning will hold, if Ecclesiastical Power be properly given by the Mediation of those Ecclesiastical Persons, who minister in the Act of Ordination. And that it is not properly given by them is onely begged by that Similitude, but proved onely by the Hypothesis now mentioned. But as for Charters, the Instance is very unhappy to their purpose. They cannot, I be­lieve, give an Instance in any Humane Charters, where bare qualifications, though acknowledged, and acknowledged by them who have power to invest them in office, are thought sufficient to invest them without some further act of them who have power to invest them. They can­not give an Instance where the Acts of such acknowledgedly qualified, but not invested, persons are thought valid in Law, or the Acts of persons lawfully in­vested, though confessedly less qualified, are not thought valid, a plain sign that their Investiture does properly confer such power. They cannot give an Instance of any power settled by Charter, where upon a faileur of all who are by the Charter im­powered to dispose of Offices, that power must devolve to those who are not by the Charter impowered (on foresight of [Page 38] such a case) to dispose of them, and where such a Charter is not thought in Law to fail by becoming unpracticable, till the supreme unaccountable Power be pleased again to interpose concerning it, which is the very case impugned by me in the Nonconformists. They cannot give an Instance of any Humane Charter, that ever allows any person impowered, to extend his own power by a private exposition of the Charter, against the sense of all the visible supreme Powers of the Society; and not onely to challenge it (on such an account) but to practice it also; or that does ratifie such practice when attempted; or that does not look on it as invalid as well as irregular. Yet this is also their Case, who arrogate this power of ordaining others, against the sense and permission of all their supreme visible Governours.

§ XIII BESIDES, many things are taken for granted very confidently in this Hypo­thesis, which they will find extremely difficult to prove when they are put to it. Where can they find such a Charter for the power of Presbyters in the Scriptures as they speak of? Where can they find their power described in any professed Con­stitution concerning it? They may in­deed some actual practises of Presbyters [Page 39] there; but will they call that a Charter? Will they make all actual practises obliga­tory for ever, and unalterable by the pru­dence of succeeding Ages? Are not many actual practises grounded on circumstan­ces? Are not many of those circumstan­ces obnoxious to great mutability? Are not ordinary Governours the competent Judges of their actual change? If any pra­ctises be grounded on unalterable reasons, it will be by those reasons that they must become unalterable, not from their being barely actual practices, not from their be­ing barely historically mentioned in the Scriptures. And what is that reason that makes such a just proportion of power im­mutably due to the Office of Presbyters? Yet when all is done, it is not reason but writing that makes a Charter. Where do they find men plead Charters in humane affairs upon so weak pretences to them? And where is it that reason is admitted to prove the right of an actual practice of power? Reason does indeed prove it fit that men should have that power given them which is reasonable. Does it there­fore follow, that they actually have that power which it is reasonable they should have? If they actually have it not given them, by those who had power to give it [Page 40] them, that is sufficient to prove their practice of it an Usurpation, and utterly invalid as to all intents and purposes of Law. But for matter of fact I do not see but that this supposition concerning the inseparable connexion of the power of Or­dination with the office of a Presbyter, will rather ruine than advance their Cause, as I have accordingly retorted it in my for­mer Book. Since it is certain, that this power of ordaining others was not given to the first dividing Presbyters, it will follow plainly that they were not made Presbyters at all, if the power of Ordinati­on be essential to the office of a Presbyter. And then their succession will fail as well on account of their want of true Presby­ters, as of their Presbyters wanting the power of Ordination.

§ XIV BUT neither did I onely overthrow their succession on account of their first Ministers not receiving this power of Or­daining others, from the Bishops who or­dained them, but from the invalidity of that act by which they derived their Or­ders to their Successors, supposing they had indeed received a power of Ordination. Supposing they had it, yet they could not exercise it but in lawful Assemblies, which none but the Bishops as Presidents of the [Page 41] Presbyteries had power to indict; nor yet even there, supposing all Presbyters equal, could they carry it but by plurality of suf­frages. And therefore the generality of their later Ordinations being performed by single over-voted persons, without the consent of the greater part of those Pres­byteries of which they were originally Members, and out of lawful Assemblies, must on these accounts be not onely ir­regular but invalid too. Here there­fore no Presbyters were at all made, and therefore it is in vain to talk of Char­ters to prove the power of legal Pres­byters, when these are not the per­sons of whom those Charters speak, and whose power they are conceived to de­scribe. And the same is applicable also to the Commonalty. Neither can they exert any power of which they might other­wise have been capable, but by majority of Votes, and in regular Assemblies. If they do, it is Null by the fundamental prin­ciples even of Democratical Government. This therefore will destroy the validity of their second Ordinations, though their first had been valid; will null all their Ordina­tions in the state of Separation, though the Orders received by them in the Chur­ches Communion had been as valid, and [Page 42] valid to as great purposes, as they can pre­tend to prove by any Charters. These are Arguments not (that I know of) insisted on by Jansenius, not answered by Voet or Mr. Baxter, not (I believe) thought of or considered either by them, or by any others of our Adversaries, that have most accurarely managed their cause; and will hold if they were as succesful as them­selves desire in answering the others. The Hypothesis therefore thus managed is that which alone it is their Interest to stand by. And if this prove nothing, or no­thing to their purpose, we shall have no reason to be very solicitous for any thing else that is pretended by them.

§ XV I HAVE said several things in an­swer to this same Argument as urged by Mr. Humfrey, a person of much more can­dour and judgment, Seperat. proved Scismat. ch. 20. 15, &c. and elaborate thought­fulness than Mr. Baxter. I am unwilling to repeat any thing there said more than I needs must, though he has served it as he uses to do Answers, passed them all by without any notice taken of them. Yet he is the person who has the confidence to complain of being forced to repetitions. What I shall now say, shall rather be with a prospect on the Argument it self, and with reference to some worthy [Page 43] Brethren of our own Communion, than on account of any new Obligation I can think my self under from any thing new observed by Mr. Baxter. First therefore, I shall onely desire at present, that what has been said Chap. XXII. of my former Book, be onely understood on supposition, that Ecclesiastical Power is not conferred immediately by God, but mediately by the interposition of the Ordainers. And on that supposition I cannot conceive what reason there can be to question it. Who can doubt but that, supposing Ecclesiasti­cal Power to be properly their gift, it must be conveyed to others by virtue of some compact of theirs whose gift it is, as all other gifts are to which any one else can pretend a legal right? Who can doubt but the legal validity of all such Con­veyances depends upon that which the Law presumes to be the intention of the Giver? Who can doubt but that the Law presumes every one to mean that which he ought to mean? Who can doubt but that in all like cases of legal ju­dicature, that is still presumed to be the sense of the Law, which is the sense of all the visible Makers and Executioners of Laws, no legal appeal being ever admitted to Powers future or invisible? Who can [Page 44] doubt that if the Laws be competent Judges in any case, they are most so in such cases, wherein publick not private Right is concerned, such as is that of Ec­clesiastical Power, which is the subject of our present Dispute? Who can doubt but the visible Powers of any Communion must judge, that all Ordainers ought to mean to give that Power, which by the principles of their Communion is thought proper for the Office to which the person is ordained; and to mean to withhold that which by the principles of their Commu­nion is thought unlawful to be given to that Office? Who can doubt but where it was thought Heresie to believe, that Bishops and Presbyters had the same power, there it must also have been thought un­lawful to give it them? Who can doubt but that where the Power of Ordination was taken for the peculiar prerogative of the Bishop, there it must have been thought unlawful to give this particular branch of power of simple Presbyters? If all these suppositions agree with the matter of fact in that Age wherein these separa­tions were first made, I cannot possibly conceive how that power of ordaining others (on which the validity of the pre­sent Sacraments and Ordinances of our seve­ral [Page 45] Sects do at present depend) could have been conveyed to the first Presbyters of the several Parties, by any gift of those Bishops and Presbyteries who first ordained them. So that if they will pretend at all to have it, they must necessarily bethink themselves of some other Hypothesis, such as this, by which they might have it an­tecedently to, and independently on, the gift of the Ordainers.

§ XVI 2. THEREFORE I desire it may be observed further, that this Hypothesis is not agreeable to the notions or practices of any Party whatsoever, that owns any such thing as Ecclesiastical Power for the suppression of Heresie or the pre­vention of Schism; but onely for Enthu­siasts, who utterly deprive the Church of any such power, or of being a political So­ciety. I do not say but that it may follow from some principles expresly owned by them, (as particularly from that principle so much received among the Sects, that it is dishonourable to think, that the Holy Ghost can be given by any means of Hu­mane Ministry, though of his own Ap­pointment; for the giving of the Holy Ghost was in the Jewish Theocracy the exact Method of investing any with po­wer) but onely that it is not agreeable to [Page 46] their notions and practices concerning Go­vernment. For all that hold any such thing as Government must, unless they will make it perfectly useless, own a pow­er of restraining particular persons from Innovation; I mean, which may in consci­ence oblige such persons, (how different soever from the sentiments of their Supe­riours, yet) even in conscience to forbear Divisions in the same Churches, or erect­ing new ones in opposition to those which are already established. But this cannot be maintained by this Hypothesis. For where all that others can do, can nei­ther hinder a private person from Authori­ty, nor from knowing that he has it, not even from such a knowledge as may suffice in conscience, to justifie his acting pursu­antly to that Authority. There it is plain he is under no obligation to forbear drawing parties after him if he can. As for the Interest others have in admitting him for their Minister, that signifies no­thing to this purpose: It onely secures that they shall not be drawn away with­out their own consent. And for that what use is there of Government? If he can persuade and seduce them, he will have the consent of as many as he can per­suade and seduce. If he cannot persuade [Page 47] them, it will not be in his power to make any Divisions, though there were no such thing as Government. And this is the ra­ther so, because in order to persuasion there is, on these principles, no obligation incumbent on private persons from the Determinations of Assemblies. For as that private knowledge, which such a per­son may have of his own Authority, may suffice to justifie his own acting as a per­son authorized, so the private evidence every particular person may have of his Gifts, and consequently of his Authority grounded on those Gifts, may also suffice for to make it lawful for such a person to receive him for his own private use, though over-voted by the Suffrages of re­gular Assemblies. So that for this there is no need of any, so much as Democratical Authority. And the same reason which will make this power possible to be had without, nay and contrary to, the inten­tion and gift of the Bishop, will prove it also possible to be had without any gift of the Presbytery, or of the People as they are capable of giving any Authority, by any Rules even of Democratical Govern­ment.

§ XVII BUT the Hypothesis I am now consi­dering as it agrees with the principles, so [Page 48] it fully answers the designs of our modern Enthusiasts. It agrees with their principles. For these are they who indeed make the office immediately consequent to the gifts, so that where women have the gifts, they are thought to have as good a title to the office as men. These conceive extraordi­nary gifts and inspirations to be common now as well as in the time of the Apo­stles; conceive these gifts to be given by God immediately, without dependence on Sacraments or Humane Ministeries; conceive every one who has the Spirit, to have withall the gift of discerning the Spi­rit in himself and others, so that in or­der to his own satisfaction he is concei­ved to have a surer testimony within him­self than any Humane Authority, yet so as that he cannot deny but that others of his Brethren, who are supposed to have the like gifts, have also a right to judge of his gifts in order to their own reception. It answers their designs. For receiving their Authority immediately from God, it follows in course that they should not in reason be responsible to any but him. And as they are not supposed to receive any Authority from men, so neither is there any rational Obligation for depend­ence or subjection to men. This I warn [Page 49] that they, who upon other occasions op­pose this Hypothesis when maintained by Euthusiasts, may see how little it is their Interest to be driven to such principles as these in their own defence; how much they as well as we are concerned to an­swer what can be said for them; and how bad that Cause must be, that cannot be maintained but by recourse to such principles, as upon other occasions are so disowned by themselves.

THESE things therefore being thus premised, § XVIII I come now more closely to examine the Hypothesis it self. No doubt some Dispositions are necessary to qualifie men for Ecclesiastical Offices. No doubt it is fit that Ordainers should judge who have those Dispositions before they intrust them with the Offices for which they are qualified by such Dispositions. No doubt but these Dispositions are Gods gifts, not onely on account of that common Provi­dence by which even natural endowments are his gifts, but also an account of that supernatural assistance which is thought ne­cessary for all virtues and ordinary graces, in opposition to the Pelagians, and for all iminent Discriminations between Men and Men. But these things are not more proper to Ecclesiastical than to Secular Offi­ces. [Page 50] There is also the like necessity of Di­spositions for Secular as for Ecclesiastical Im­ployments. There is a like necessity of Gra­ces as well as of Gifts among those Dispo­sitions. There is a like necessity of Divine and Supernatural Assistance for those Graces which tend to the accomplishing of men for such Imployments, as there is for those that fit men for Ecclesiasticals. Yet who is there that therefore thinks that God gives Secular Authority also antece­dently to any interposition of Men? What confusions and disorders, what violations of Authority and Obedience, would he intro­duce in Seculars who should think so?

BUT not to take advantage against these principles from the falshood of their Consequences,§ XIX. themselves are also very questionable. It is very unreasonable to think that Authority must necessarily result from even true qualifications; or that it must so depend on them, as that where the persons ordained may want any of them, there the whole Ordination must be Null, because of the incapacity of the matter. I shall speak to both these Uses of this Argument, be­cause they are both of them, as occasion serves, insisted on by Mr. Baxter. 1. It is unreasonable to conclude that Authority must necessarily result even from the true [Page 51] qualifications. It is not agreeable to the sentiments of Mankind in chusing persons qualified. They certainly suppose per­sons qualified antecedently to their own election of them, because their judging. them so is the reason why they do elect them. But do they therefore suppose them already authorized? If so, what need of any further act of giving the pow­er? How shall they do when they con­fess many Candidates sufficiently qualified for an Office, of which notwithstanding onely one is capable? Can their not electing them deprive the persons rejected of their qualifications? Can it upon these principles deprive them of their authori­ty, if that do necessarily result from their qualifications? If it cannot, then in case of an Elective Kingdom, all the persons who were admitted as Candidates (which they would not have been, if their Ele­ctors at least had not judged them qualified) must, when they are put by as well as be­fore, be supposed to be Kings. And where can such a supposition end but in a Civil War? But among all the unrea­sonable pretensions that have been made by persons interessed, and of power suffici­ent to prosecute their Interests by force, what History can afford an instance of [Page 52] any one who challenged the power onely because he was thought qualified, and permitted to stand Candidate for it?

THUS it is in case of Supreme Pow­er, § XX. but much more in Subordinate. They who have derived the Supreme Power from God, that they might this way the better assert their Unaccountableness to Men, have for that very reason thought it necessary, that inferiour Governours should receive their power from Men, that they may thereby be made dependent and accountable to those Men (as well as God) from whom they had received it. And who is there that doubts, but that a legal warrant of the meanest Justice of Peace is of more force in Law, than the advice of the ablest and most prudent Lawyer, who is much better qualified to be a Justice than he who is one? This is the sense of Mankind, which (besides that it overthrows the consequence, that if the gifts of particular Ministers be from God immediately, therefore their Authority must be so too, till proved more particu­larly than as yet they have attempted to prove it) will also be of great moment for proving Right in a question of this na­ture. For that Crimes of disobedience to Government may indeed prove criminal, [Page 53] and imputable to the person guilty of them, it is requisite that their criminal­ness may appear to him from his own Notions. And accordingly God has al­ways fitted Governments established by himself to the notions received among the persons to be governed. If therefore men do take it for the best preservative of Soci­eties, to have all inferiour Governours ob­liged to a strict dependence on the su­preme; and the best security of this, that Inferiours, whatever their qualifications be, should yet receive their power it self from their Superiours; then certainly we have reason to presume, even on this ac­count, that this same Method was also observed by God himself in his provisions for Ecclesiastical Government.

THIS presumption there is,§ XXI. that God would never make this Authority immedi­ately consequent to the qualifications re­quisite to dispose men, from the notions of Mankind concerning Government in gene­ral. And as little reason there is to believe it from the particular principles of Ecclesia­stical Government, those very principles I mean which are owned by themselves when they are settling, though they are forgotten and contradicted when they are onely intent upon overthrowing the Autho­rity [Page 54] of their own Superiours. When they as well as I make the power of the Church a power of sealing Covenants in Gods Name, and of transacting for him with Mankind, it is strange how they could fall into this mistake, if they had minded being con­stant to these principles. No doubt who­ever would imploy a proxy to act in his name, and to make legal covenants that should oblige himself, would in prudence chuse one that should be skilful in the Law, and prudent as well as faithful to his trust. But which of themselves would therefore give an indefinite Autho­rity to all that were so qualified to seal legal obligations for them without a more particular Deputation? Which of them would think themselves justly dealt with, or obliged even in conscience to perform­ance, if any person whom even them­selves could not deny to be so qualified, should presume to do so? And can they think God legally obliged in a case, wherein they would think themselves injured if it were their own? Is this to judge of God by the same measures by which they would be content to be judg­ed by themselves, which God owns as just, and appeals to in the Prophets? If themselves think other qualifications re­quisite, [Page 55] for trust as well as for abilities of management of a trust to be committed to them, before they think it prudent to entrust a person, even of known and con­fessed Abilities, with a power of obliging themselves; has not God the same frail persons to deal with, who may fail in fide­lity to his trust, as well as in point of abi­lity to discharge it? But to let alone the inconvenience, and to insist onely on the justice of this Cause; do not themselves look upon this right of disposing of what is their own gift, and of impowering others to do it, as a right inherent in themselves, which no other mans qualifications, how great or acknowledged soever, can in ju­stice alienate from themselves, or entitle him to, without a more particular act of their own? And must the power of God in sealing Covenants for Heaven and the Holy Ghost, and pardon of sins, escheat to all that are qualified, without any more distinct gift than that of their qualificati­ons themselves? Of the two, certainly the disadvantage does rather lie on the creature's side. Their rights may indeed be disposed of in some cases without their own act, because they are not absolutely at their own disposal, but depend on the pleasure of God, and of their lawful Superi­ours [Page 56] impowered by him. But the inde­pendency of the Divine Right excludes all possibility of any case wherein any right of his can be disposed of without his own particular consent and act for disposing of it.

AND yet of all Rights, § XXII. Forgiveness of offences committed against any one, is that which is least capable of a general alienation. Property in Goods, especially as among Men, depends generally on compacts or positive humane (and therefore variable) Constitutions. But offences re­late to their persons, as also the grief and resentment consequent to them, and there­fore may be where there is no such thing as property in goods; and the remitting of Offences does essentially consist in the re­mission of that personal resentment, and other mischiefs as consequent to it, and therefore must be as unalienable from any as his own person. As long as his person is free and at his own disposal, so long none but himself can undertake for the manag­ment of his own resentments. Though in truth in God his benefits, conveyed by this covenant, are as unalienable without his own express act, as his right to forgive sins committed against himself. Men may by general acts put the Effects out of [Page 57] their own power to recall them. They may disposses themselves both of their goods and of their power to right them­selves, and even of their legal right and equity by some less prudent management. But neither can God act imprudently, nor are his gifts at the actual disposal of his Creatures, even where he has obliged him­self to ratifie what is engaged for in his name. Even there it is he, not the crea­ture, that must immediately confer the Spirit, and pardon of sins, and the eternal rewards promised by him. The very actual giving them is not in their power. How then can this right be granted by God to any without a most particular and ex­press conveyance?

YET is not this all;§ XXIII we are to consi­der further, that in forgiving or punishing sin God acts under the notion of a Gover­nour. Now a Governour has not the same liberty in forgiving offences against the publick, and against himself as a publick person, as a private person may have in re­mitting private injuries. A private per­son need onely consider his own private interest, and in doing so he may remit much of his own right where no others are concerned. But a publick person must consider the publick interest, and must not [Page 58] take any other course in forgiving publick offences, than what may be beneficial for the publick. Humane Governours are ob­liged hereunto by the Law of Nature, by the nature of the trust committed to them, by the implicite interpositions of Providence by which they are made Go­vernours, and by the common dictates of natural conscience. And even God is also obliged to it, not by imposition of any Superiour, but by his own natural inclina­tions. Having undertaken the person of a Governour, it is as impossible that he should use any other methods in pardon­ing offences against his Government, than what is for the benefit of the Society, whose government he has undertaken, as it is impossible that he should not act well and wisely. But who does ever think it fit that private persons should have a right to pardon or retain Offences committed against the Government, without a parti­cular express gift? Who thinks it fit that they should have a right to pass a pardon under the Broad Seal, and in due solemnities of Law, for no other reason but onely because they are qualified for it? Who thinks such Pardons valid, or thinks it just and reasonable that they should be so? How is it possible that [Page 59] Government should ever be maintained, if the right of it be resolved into pleas so ca­pable of being made use of by false preten­ders, and so little notorious to Subjects that are so highly concern'd in it? How can Go­vernment be maintained where Inferiours may pardon what their Superiours con­demn, where Rebels may justifie or pardon their own Rebellions, by as good a title as they who are actually possessed of the Su­preme Government, (as they may certainly do, if Inferiours as well as Superiours de­rive their Authority from God immediate­ly) where pretended Expositions of Char­ters against the sense of all the present visible Governours of a Society must be thought to give men an authority here in this Life, which how falsly so ever pre­tended, must yet by this means be ren­dered uncapable of conviction till the day of judgment? For what can in the conse­quence more necessarily invest men with authority, than this power of pardoning or punishing offences committed against the publick?

THUS unreasonable it is to believe,§ XXIV that bare qualifications do invest any with actual power? What can they now pre­tend further, but an authority sufficient to countervail and silence all these contrary [Page 60] Reasonings? I repeat not now what I have elsewhere proved,Prolog. ad D. Stearn de Obstin. that some reasons are such, as to be greater Evidence than any other authority whatsoever. I insist not on what might have been said to shew, that the reasons now produced are of that sort. But alas, how little do they produce to prove this from authority, which yet is the foundation of all their consequential reasonings? How much less to prove their sense to be the sense of Scrip­ture, than what has been produced to prove the contrary to be the sense of God? They observe, that God is said to have given some Apostles, Eph. 4. 11. some Pastors, &c. as if their very gifts had made them so. But where do they find that God ever gave Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons? Will they not allow some difference between the extraordinary offices there spoken of, and the ordinary ones of which we are at present disputing? Will they not allow a difference in this very matter of their gifts? Whither do they reason so confi­dently from those extraordinaries to these ordinaries? Those extraordinary offices seem indeed to have been made neither of man nor by man, Gal. 1. 1. but by God himself immediate­ly, and possibly by the degrees of their in­spiration received their several denomina­tions [Page 91] of that kind respectively. Thus S. Paul proves his Apostleship, which it seems was then called in question by his Rival false Apostles, among other Argu­ments, by that especially, that he was made so before he had ever seen any of the Apostles, and when he did see them, that they received him on equal terms, and added nothing to him above what he had received before. And what men could pretend to give that Supreme Dig­nity of the Apostolical Office who were not themselves Apostles? The like might have been observed concerning others of those extraordinary offices. And I have before conjectured that, according to these extraordinary gifts, so they perform­ed the several Offices of their Ecclesiastical Assemblies. So I understand the [...] and [...], 1 Cor. 14. 16. to which the Amen was in course replied by him who answered among the people, as it was answered in the Office of the Eucharist in the time of S. Justin Martyr. And can they desire any more? Yet even then there was this dependence on the ordinary Officers of the Church, that even these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were generally not given but by that Imposition of hands, which usually follow­ed [Page 62] after their Baptism, that even then their deviating from the Spirit of those from whom they had received the Spirit in that office, at least of confirmation, was a presumption against those who first de­viated from their predecessors; Gal. 11. 6, 7, 8, 9. (so S. Paul proves his own Orthodoxy from his agreement with those who were in Christ before him, though he had not received his Doctrine from them, and he general­ly presupposes this Principle in his Di­sputes against the disorderly Prophets.) That there were manifestations of the Spirit, signs of the Apostleships, the gifts of discerning of the Spirits, and Judges of the Spirits for the satisfaction of others, not onely to judge in order to their own recep­tion, (as our Brethren would have it) but to judge so as that they were not to be presumed to have the Spirit at all, who could not abide their Judgments, if after their rejection they presumed to exercise any such gifts in the state of Separation. If they will plead these extraordinary gifts themselves, let them grant the continu­ance of the like gifts in their Superiours, and we shall be at least secure from any Schismatical Consequences of such pretensi­ons. But if they will alone challenge this continuance to themselves; let them [Page 63] consider how unequal dealing this is; let them consider how different from their pretended Veneration of Apostolical Pre­cedents, when they separate those gifts now which then were made mutually use­ful by their conjunction; how different this is from the Judgment of the Apostles themselves, and consequently of God, by whom the Apostles were more particu­larly inspir'd in what they did relating to these extraordinaries, who did not it seems think these pretences to extraordinaries safe, without these remedies from the gifts of others, and particularly of Superi­ours. Several of these things were al­ready suggested and proved, and will be more particularly in my Second Part, if it please God to encourage me to go on with it, by which this whole Reasoning is overthrown, which is drawn from these Apostolical Precedents, even in extra­ordinaries.

AS for those other precedents, § XXV. of their ordinary establishments for Succession, when these extraordinary gifts or evidences of them should fail, (which are in truth the onely precedents which are pleadable as arguments in our present times) there is so extremely little in favour of such pre­tences, as would make one wonder how [Page 64] considering persons could fall into such mistakes. The Inconveniences and Schisms resulting from those very pretences to ex­traordinaries, were observed and parti­cularly provided for even in those Aposto­lical Ages. Such were the Prophets speak­ing 1 Cor. 14. 29, 30, 31. many of them at once, their using the gift of Tongues in the Ecclesiastical Offices without anV. 13. Interpreter, the Pro­phetesses using their Gifts in promiseuous Assemblies ofV. 34. men, their prophecying as it should seem like the Sibyls, with their hair 1 Cor. 11. 5, 6, 10, 13, 15. dishevel'd, and without their veils, unbecoming the modesty of their Sex. How does the Apostle provide to remedy these Inconveniences, but by ob­liging all to a strict dependence on their Superiours? by obliging the Prophets not to speak but in 1 Cor. 14. 30, 31. order, not to use their gifts but forV. 26. edification, not to use themV. 40. indecorously, to submit to the V. 29. Judges of their Prophecies; by re­straining the women universally from all V. 34, 35. publick exercise of their gifts; a plain sign that the Spirit who gave those gifts, did not thereby exempt any who had them, from their due Subordinations, much less did thereby give them the go­verning power of their Ecclesiastical Assem­blies, as our Brethren would fain persuade [Page 65] us. This also was the great occasion of that Schism which was the subject of S. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians, and that not many years after this former had been written to them by S. Paul. The gifted Brethren did then also assume, and raised a Sedition against the ordinary Presbyters of that Church, and are again taught their duty of Obedience, Humility, and Subjection, through the whole cur­rent of that Epistle. How could that be, if their very gifts had made them Presbyters, when acknowledged, as they are not here denied? This very pre­tence therefore was particularly and ex­presly disowned by those very Prece­dents, to which our Brethren do so ea­gerly appeal.

ACCORDINGLY they never find any of those Officers, § XXVI to whom Suc­cession is at present pretended, made im­mediately by God, but by the interventi­on of men, notwithstanding that there were then Gifts of the Spirit requisite to qualifie men for those offices. There were the [...],Rom. 12. 6, 7, 8. and [...], and [...], and [...] reckon'd among the gifts of the Spirit, which fitted men for the offices of Bishops and Presbyters. There was also the [...],v. 7. with other gifts fitting men [Page 66] for the offices of Deacons. Yet who sees not this express difference between these and those extraordinary Officers, that these never so much as pretended to be imme­diately from God without the mediation of Men? What great Argument had it been for S. Paul to prove his Apostleship by, that he was not of Men or by Men, if this were the ordinary case in the ordinary Governours and Officers of the Church? if all that men did was onely a recognition of their gifts, and a solemn reception of their Authority, which was as requisite for Apostles as ordinary Bishops and Deacons? Where do we find any of these ordinary Officers made, but there is express menti­on of Men, who laid on their hands, and performed the Ceremony, and that by a distinct Imposition of Hands from that whereby they then usually received the Holy Ghost, immediately after their Bap­tism? And the words used concerning it,Acts 14. 23 [...] and [...], are the same by which the giving of Authority, Tit. 1. 5. even in Secular Offices, where Authority is con­fessedly given, is usually expressed ac­cording to the custom of that Age. S. Ti­mothy is said to have his [...] of S. Paul, 2 Tim. 1. 6. is said to have it given him, among other things, by the [Page 67] laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, [...].1 Tim. 4▪ 14. What can be more clear than these words, if they be understood of Or­dination? And who are more forward to understand them so than our Breth­ren, when they are concerned to pro­duce Precedents of Ordinations by Presby­ters? But I confess I am not my self ve­ry confident of that Exposition. The thing is clear enough from this new Im­position of hands, which was used on this occasion of ordaining the ordinary Officers of the Church, but not of the extraordi­nary. When S. Matthias was chosen Apostle into the place of Judas, no more was done than onely to know God's plea­sure concerning it, according to that or­dinary way of Divination usual in such cases by Lots. When that was known, there was no further act of Men, no Im­position of hands, onely he was added to complete the number of the Twelve Apo­stles. That more was observed in ordina­ry Ordinations, [...], Acts 1. 26. why was it but to shew, that the Influence of humane acts was grea­ter in them.

BESIDES,§ XXVII. the very Ceremony of Imposition of hands, was generally design­ed to communicate some of those superna­tural [Page 68] gifts, wherewith they were them­selves endued. So it was in their casting out of Devils. and their curing the sick, and particularly so it was in their giving the Holy Ghost. And indeed what other gift is imaginable, that was ordinarily ne­cessary for ordained persons? Them­selves cannot think it could be dispossessing or healing, &c. What could it therefore be but the Holy Ghost himself? And what gifts could be then thought necessa­ry for making ordinary Officers, but such as are ordinary and perpetual as the Offices themselves? If therefore the Holy Ghost was given, this was (according to the Jews) an investing them with power, where he was given particularly with such a design. So it was in the case of1 Sam. 10. 9. Saul and1 Sam. 16. 14. David, and of theS. John 20. 20, 21. Apostles themselves. And what other design is conceivable in giving the Holy Ghost to them, who were supposed already to have received him before in their Baptism, and that Imposition of hands which then usually accompanied their Baptism? And if the Holy Ghost were given in Ordinati­on, then plainly they had not all their gifts antecedently to their Ordination, as our Brethren conceive, particularly not those which immediately intituled them [Page 69] to Ecclesiastical Power. If these Gifts of the Holy Ghost (which immediately inti­tuled them to Power) were given them by the ministry of Men; then certainly the Power it self was not given them imme­diately by God, but by humane ministry. And therefore their antecedent gifts (which they judged of by the gift of di­scerning of Spirits) did not immediately give them the power.

THE great Prejudice that possesses our Brethren against this power being thus given by the ministry of men, § XXVIII. is that, conceiving it to result from the gift of the Holy Ghost, they think it dishonour­able to the Holy Ghost to say that he is gi­ven by men. But how can they deny those plain Evidences of Scripture wherein he was so frequently given by the Apostles? Will not their Conjectures reach them as well as our Ecclesiastical Officers now? Were not they men of the like frail sinful nature as ours are now? But if they would indeed consider how he does it, what is there more dishonourable in this than in the whole management of the In­carnation? Why may not God the Father and Son (whose Gift undoubtedly he is) give him by covenant as well as other­wise? Why may not himself do so too? [Page 70] Supposing them willing to take this way of disposing of him, what can hinder them from deputing men to represent them in the solemnities of such a covenant to be made with men? What is there in this, I do not say dishonourable, but unu­sual, where ever such covenants have been made? Having done so, how can it be thought dishonourable that they should be obliged by their own act of deputation, to ratifie what is by him acted in their name, when they have impowered him to do so? Nay, would it not rather be dis­honourable to the Divine Persons, to think them not faithful to those obligati­ons, which they have been pleased to im­pose upon themselves? Why may they not impower men for all future ages as well as that of the Apostles, seeing there are new persons, and new explicit covenants to be made with each of them for their own persons in all succeeding ages? Why may not they be as firmly obliged by the act of a wicked man as a good, if he come lawfully by his power of deputation, by a regular suc­cession from those who first received it? Nay, who is there of themselves, that does the least question this in other cases, where their Interest does not make them justly suspicious of partiality? Does the [Page 71] Law ever make the least inquiry into the Lives of Proxies, where it is satisfied of their Authority? Who ever thinks that a Bond signed by a Proxy, who is a good man, does more oblige the person for whom he is concerned, than a like Obli­gation signed by another who were viti­ous, supposing them equally authorized? Do any of themselves think what Judas acted as an Apostle, to have been less obli­ging to his Master, or less valid in the effect, than what was acted by any of the other Apostles? Thus I have shewn, that those gifts to which Ecclesiastical Power is really consequent, are not given by God immediately and antecedently to humane interposition, and that those gifts that are indeed given antecedently to Or­dination, are not, nor were, such as did entitle them, who were acknowledged to have them, to any Ecclesiastical Office or Authority.

SO also,§ XXIX on the contrary, neither does the want of such extraordinary gifts as men are capable of having antecedently to Ordi­nation, irritate the whole act of the Or­dainers, and make it null, in regard of the incapacity of the maker, supposing they should be mistaken in judging them to have them who have them not, as [Page 72] Mr. Baxter does frequently intimate. This he urges sometimes so far as to make In­moralities of Life sufficient to deprive them of their power, and to excuse a Sepa­ration from their Ministry, from the guilt of SCHISM. Should I tell him, that this very Doctrine of his was con­demned as SCHISMATICAL in the Donatists by the Ancients, I easily foresee how little the Authority of those Ancients is like to signifie with him, who scruples no occasion of aspersing their Sa­cred Memory with opprobrious and re­proachful Epithetes.Ch. Hist. professedly, and else­where. I have already shewn from the nature of the things, how little the validity of their Ministry is con­cerned in the holiness or unholiness of their Lives. The same is easie to be pro­ved concerning those other qualifications, if he had considered them in relation to my principles. He should first have re­membred, that there are two sorts of Uncapacities of such a person to be or­dained, such as make him utterly unca­pable of the Office it self, and such as onely make him uncapable of administring it wisely and advantageously. Now though these later Uncapacities ought to be considered by Ordainers, whilest the person as yet stands onely Candidate for [Page 73] Ordination, and even afterwards may reflect on the fidelity or prudence of his Or­dainers; yet they are onely the former sort of Incapacities that can irritate their act when past and irrevocable. He should further have considered, that no Incapa­city can irritate the whole gift of an office, but that which makes a man uncapable of the essential work of an office; not that which onely incapacitates him for such works as are not essential, but onely orna­mental. Now the essential work of the Mi­nistry according to my principles, (which he ought to have confuted more particu­larly in this matter, if he was unwilling to stand by their consequences) is to trans­act between God-and Men, to seal Cove­nants on behalf of God, and to accept of those which are made by men, and to ob­lige them to perform their part of the co­venant by, otherwise authoritatively ex­cluding them from Gods part. Hence re­sults the whole power of Ecclesiastical Go­vernment. And for this no great gifts and abilities are essential. All the skill that is requisite essentially is onely in gene­ral, to know the benefits to be performed on Gods part, and the duties to be promi­sed on Mans, and the nature and obliga­tion of covenants in general, and the parti­cular [Page 74] Solemnities of Ecclesiastical Covenants. And of this how can any be uncapable, who is but capable of understanding the common dealings of the world? And how can Governours be supposed so grosly mi­staken, as that when they design peculiar and excellent qualifications, they should fall short of such mean ones as these▪

THE gifts so much insisted on by Mr. Baxter and his Brethren, § XXX. are such as ac­complish an excellent and useful Preach­er, which Office of Preaching they have been used on all occasions to magnifie, as if it were the onely, or at least the princi­pal, imployment of the Ministry. But how can they prove that, suppose their office were to preach, it is essential to eve­ry particular Officer, that he be eminently gifted for and skilful in it? How can they prove that Preaching is at all any essential part of the office? How can they prove that in the primitive Apostolical times, every particular Presbyter did either practice it, or did think himself obliged to do so? If they cannot, how will it follow that he who is lawfully impower­ed, must therefore be no Minister on ac­count of incapacity, if he could not preach at all? And they are his Brethren, who upon other occasions do suggest the most [Page 75] likely Arguments, to prove that Preach­ing was no essential part of the imploy­ment of an ordinary Presbyter. They are the persons who tell us, that in the pri­mitive times Preaching was looked on as the peculiar office of the Bishop. If so, how could it be any essential part of the duty of ordinary Presbyters? They tell us, (I do not say Mr. Baxter is one of them) of the distinction between ruling Presby­ters and those who laboured in word and doctrine. 1 Tim. 5. 17. They can never prove that any of those Presbyters were Laicks, but how­ever the distinction seems plainly to im­ply, that some of those Clerical Presbyters did onely rule, and did not concern them­selves in word and doctrine. Nor was this unagreeable to the aproved advice of the Apostle, Rom. 12. 6, 7, 8. who would have every man lay out himself according to his different gifts, not that every one should endeavour all, as the Custom is now. So he that had the gift of Prophecy was to give himself to Prophecy, he who had the gift of Preaching (called elsewhere [...] or [...]) was to give himself to Teach­ing, he who had the gift of Exhortation (called [...] or [...]) was to give himself to Exhortation. And so they who had the gift of Government (cal­led [Page 76] [...], whether of the whole Church or particularly for managing the Church Alms, then given for the use of the poor) where to lay out themselves upon that [...], very probably the same with that mentioned in S. Timothy. And when Judas and Silas persuaded the differing Parties of Jews and Gentiles, to agree in the accommodation of the Synod of Jeru­salem, Acts 15. 32. exercising the Gift of [...], they are observed to have done it, not as ordinary Presbyters, but as Prophets, to whom (it seems) that Gift of [...] was then thought proper. And by this means it should seem that they did de­signedly contrive the mutual necessity of each others gifts, for the maintaining that Unity of the Spirit, so much insisted on by the Apostle, in his Disputes against the disorders of the gifted persons of those times, that each might have some which might make him useful to his Brethren; but that none should have so many of them as to disoblige him from a depend­ence on the gifts of others. And if this was the precedent of the Apostolical Ages, how false measures then do our Brethren take, (who are yet the greatest Pretend­ers of Reverence to the Scripture-times and Apostolical Precedents) when they judge [Page 77] of the whole Ministry by this onely Imploy­ment of Preaching. But it is easie to see what Exigency of their cause has brought them, to it. Their great neglect of Sa­craments and their contempt of Excommu­nication, and their opposition to all that power that can give them justifiable Sacra­ments, and their Consciousness how little their own Sacraments can oblige others to adhere to themselves, who have given so ill precedents of deserting the Sacraments of those who were originally their own actual and present Superiours, have obliged them to such slight thoughts of the Sacra­ments, as if they were the least part of the Office of a Minister.

HAVING therefore thus proved,§ XXXI that what power is received by any ordained person, is properly given him by the Mi­nistry of his Ordainers, I cannot foresee what can be further urged against my Argument drawn from the intention of them who gave it, but that taking it with the Distinctions and Limitations which I have made use of in managing it, it is such as any Law, or Equity either, would consider in order to the validity of a Con­veyance. And it is easie now to make Ap­plication also to the particulars of the con­trary Hypothesis, as I have managed it.

[Page 78] To the I. It has been proved, that pow­er does not immediately result from those gifts which onely qualifie men for the Ad­ministration of Ecclesiastical Offices. Whence also the consequences do fail, that the gi­ving or not giving of those Offices is to be proved from the giving or not giving of those gifts.

To the II. That gift of the Holy Ghost which does indeed immediately invest with Ecclesiastical Power is disposed of by God, but not immediately, but by the Mi­nistry of the Ordainers, who do not onely declare, but properly convey it.

To the III. The gifts which in the Apostles times were antecedent to Ordinati­on, and which were judged of by the gift of discerning of Spirits in the Ordainers, did not intitle to the power, but onely that gift which was given in Ordination, which as to the essentials of it was not extraordi­nary, (though it might be so in regard of some manifestations of it) and therefore fit to be expected in all future genera­tions.

To the IV. Though the Interest of the person to be ordained, and the people, be onely acceptance, yet it has appeared that the Interest of the Ordainers is not accept­ance and recognition of a power already re­ceived, [Page 79] but the conveyance of a new power, which the Candidate for Ordination had not before he received it by virtue of this conveyance from them, because God does not convey it but by their Ministry.

To the V. The gifts described in the Scriptures were many of them extraordi­nary, in which we are not concerned now; of those that were ordinary, all were not requisite in each particular person, and in­deed fewer were requisite according to the Discipline of those times, when each of them laid out themselves on some par­ticular imployments than now, when each particular Minister must undertake all the several necessities of a Parish; and this very difference of their Imployments will make the Scripture times uncapable of being precedents now, when the Imploy­ment is so much changed from what it was then, and will make many more Mi­nisters by the qualifications requisite then, than can be by those which are required now, all which must be owned to be valid Ministers antecedently to any humane Or­dination, (if our Adversaries principles hold) though they be not qualified for much the greatest part of that which is counted the Ministerial Imployment now. Nor does it appear that the Scripture does [Page 80] oblige us to accept them immediately for true Ministers, even upon recognition of those gifts which are indeed true qualifi­cations. And withall the Scriptures are very far from describing all the particulars of power of our present ordinary Ecclesiasti­cal Offices with that likelyhood of design to do it, and that distinctness, as might in reason have been expected if the Holy Ghost, or the sacred Writers, had intend­ed them as a Charter for the extent of those Offices in future Ages. They do not distin­guish between their Ordinaries, which were to descend to their Successors, and their Extraordinaries, which were not. They do not distinguish between Pruden­tials, which might validly be changed by acts of humane authority, and Immuta­bles, which might not. They do not de­scend to any particulars, but such as were occasioned by the Disputes of that Age. They do not so much as explain any terms, which were then notorious, though it could not be expected they should always be so, even to the distance of our present times; nor have they done any thing which, upon these principles might pre­vent litigious Disputes concerning Govern­ment and Subjection, which no doubt so good and wise a Governour as God would [Page 81] have done for a Society, so well beloved by him as his Church, if he had designed her a written Charter to appeal to for all future Generations.

To the VI. As it does prove that re­course were indeed to be had to the Scrip­tures, for knowing the mind of God im­mediately concerning the extent of Eccle­siastical Power, supposing the Power it self were immediately derived from him; so by the same proportion of reasoning it confirms my argument, that recourse ought now to be had to the intention of the Ordainers, seeing it has appeared that God is pleased not to confer it actually, but by their mediation.

To the VII. It thence appears how ir­reconcileable this Hypothesis of our Ad­versaries is with Government in this life, in that it permits persons to assume Au­thority, and to extend it as far as they think fit, by appealing to writings against the sense of all the visible Authority of this life, and this rationally by their principles, which let any of themselves consider and explain (if they can) how it is reconcila­ble with the practice of any visible Govern­ment upon earth. On the contrary, our Hypothesis, obliging inferiour Governours to prove their title to their Office, and the [Page 82] extent of it, from the intention of their superiour Governours, does oblige all to a strict dependence on the supreme visible pow­er, so as to leave no place for Appeal con­cerning the practice of such Government, (which as it lasts onely for this life, so it ought not to admit of Disputes more last­ing than its practice) from them, and that upon rational and conscientious principles. For how fallible soever they may be con­ceived to be in expounding Scriptures, yet none can deny them to be the most cer­tain, aswell as the most competent, Judges of their own intentions. As certianly there­fore as God has made his Church a visible Society, and constituted a visible Govern­ment in it; so certainly it is to be presu­med, that their Hypothesis must be false, which by rational consequence does make it unpracticable; and ours true, which does so fitly secure the practice of such Go­vernment by a like rational consequence.

To the VIII. It is in truth very conse­quent to the former proposition, but ha­ving indeed no more evidence of its truth, as applied to our present subject, than its being consequential, it is sufficiently over­thrown by what has been said against the principles from which it follows. And this use may be also made further of its [Page 83] being consequential, that whatever may be said against it to prove it false, will more strongly convict the principles them­selves of falshood, than if it were not so naturally consequent from them. And let any equal person consider, how any Ecclesiastical Government can be practicable on these terms. Subjects may indeed pre­serve their due Subordination to their Su­periors, notwithstanding their differing from them in opinion. But how can they preserve it if they also practise different­ly? They may possibly do it, notwith­standing practices of humane infirmity, and disavowed by themselves. But how can they do it, whilest they defend their pra­ctises, and pretend Divine Authority for them? It is yet harder to reconcile such practises as these with Authority. Yet they who disown their Subjection in some singular instances, may yet own it in all others. But how is it possible that they should own it, who do not onely defend single practices different from the sense of their Superiours, but pretend to Authori­ty and Offices unaccountable to them, which must justifie a whole course of diffe­rent practices? Who defend their Autho­rity and Offices by such principles, as if they were true must in reason make [Page 84] them unaccountable. If their Authority be immediately received from God, and the Rule of their practices be taken from the Scriptures as understood by themselves; what reason can there be of Subjection to any humane Superiours? As certainly therefore as all that is false, which de­stroys the practicabless of Government; as certainly as this Proposition does so, so certainly is it false, and all those other antecedent principles from whence it does naturally follow.

To the IX. The same things may be said, that it is indeed rationally consequent to the former, to justifie the lawfulness and prudence of differing from Superiours in a judgment of private discretion, and consequently of differing in practice, and that practice the practice of an Autho­rity where yet it is established on such principles, as that a different judgment even of private discretion, may be allowed as sufficient to defend such different pra­ctices.

To the X. It is the onely rational way of making Scripture precedents in such matters as these are, an obliging Rule to our present times, and rational onely on the principles now mentioned. If, on the [Page 85] contrary, God give his authority by men, then for prudential cases the commands of those same men ought by the same reason to be taken for his commands, as the Authori­ty given by them is taken for his Authori­ty. And then these being Cases not to be expected in the Scripture, and there being notwithstanding a means to know God's mind concerning them as far as we are concerned to know it in order to the knowledge of our duty, and there being withall so little reason to presume, that the sacred Writers or the Holy Ghost in­tended to give us any account of such mat­ters; they will not find it so easie as they think, to prove us obliged even by Scrip­ture precedent it self in such cases.

To the XI. It is a consequence which it may be our Brethren will not stand by, who when they speak of the Interest of Presbyters and People, in judging concern­ing the gifts of such a Candidate, in order to their own acceptance of him, and speak of this with a design of solving the Phae­nomena of Government by it, and of re­straining disorderly persons from erect­ing new Churches and Schisms at their plea­sure, will no doubt be willing to believe, that persons so excluded, or at least not admitted by the Presbyters or the People, [Page 86] ought in conscience or modesty at least to forbear the exercise of their gifts and authority, till they be somewhere regular­ly admitted. But how they can avoid this consequence, admitting this Hypothesis of an immediate call from God, for my part I confess I cannot understand. If they be sensible how inconsistent such disorderly practices as these are with Government, (as they seem to be when they endeavour, by this Interest of Churches in admitting gifted persons, to prevent the consequence of such disorderly practices) it will then concern them seriously to reflect on their principles, which will justifie practices, which themselves confess to be so disor­derly, and will ruine Government, for which themselves pretend to have at least some little reverence.

I onely observe one thing more,Part 3. c. 9. sect. 21. p. 92, that Mr. Baxter tells me, that I have at first given the Nonconformists their cause, and confirm'd them. But I am not conscious, nor is he pleased to tell me where I have done it. If I could tell how to excuse them, I should still think my self obliged to own my convictions. But whatever I have done, methinks he of all men should not upbraid me, who gives so many Rea­sons of Suspicion, that he is conscious of [Page 87] defending a bad Cause. It is hard to think of any artifice, which a person so conscious would make use of, but Mr. Bax­ter has practised something which looks very like it. Such a one would evade all direct Disputes of the merit of the cause, would neither answer Arguments, nor con­fute Answers. Such a one, where he could not justifie the Succession of Orders not derived from Bishops, would have re­course to those of the Nonconformists who had Episcopal Orders, Part 3. c. 9▪ sect 13. p▪ 85. but had not been impleaded in those Disputes concer­ning the necessity of Succession. Such a one would make a Conclusion odious, where he could not disprove it as false; Ib. sect. 33. p. 102, 103 would endeavour to raise the affections of his Rea­ders, where he despaired of prevailing on their Judgments; Ib. sect. 2. p. 74, 100. would traduce the person of his Adversary, where he had no hopes of obtaining his cause. Such a one would be as confident as he is in gene­ral charges of Absurdities, Ib. p. 92, 90. Contradictions, and Wordiness, &c. but would withall be as cautious as he is of mentioning any par­ticulars of such Charges. Such a one would refer an Adversary to Books writ­ten before for Answers to Arguments not so much as treated of in those Books,Ib. sect. 19. p. 90. would with great boldness impose on Rea­ders [Page 88] ignorant of those matters, that all had been already answered there, and that the onely reason why no more is answered now is onely to avoid Repetiti­ons; so that unless a new question be pro­duced as well as a new argument, there shall never want an excuse for want of a new Answer. I wonder how Mr. Baxter can pretend to have answered what I have said concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost, or the sin unto death, or the Sacraments, (which yet I see are so dis­pleasing to him) or even the way of de­riving their Succession from their first Se­paration, what I have said concerning the opinion of the Schoolmen, that Bishops and Presbyters differ onely in degree, to shew how unsufficient that is for justifying their present Succession; what I have said concerning this way of resolving the Di­spute, not into ancient Learning, but more modern Histories of their Succession; what concerning their derivation of Power from any valid act even of the Presbyte­ries themselves, &c. Should I say things so notoriously false with such confidence, I confess I could not tell how to excuse my self from his uncivil Epithete of Au­daciousness. Ib. sect. 2. p. 74. Such a one would slight the question that pinched him, how momen­tous [Page 89] soever it might prove in its conse­quences, Ib. p. 81. and divert to others, though of no use, yet more capable of odium, and of a popular talent of raising passion. And has not Mr. Baxter (who cannot find leisure to answer these Arguments,Ib. sect. 2. p. 47. sect. 29. p. 97. wherein the Orders of his Brethren, and their Sacra­ments, and the whole comfort of their Communion, are generally concerned) shewn, that he has a great deal of leisure to rake Church History to asperse the dead, and blaspheme the living Rulers of his peo­ple, for condemning Heresies, when yet the generality of his Brethren themselves do not pretend to differ from us in any thing which even we call Heresie? To what end is all this, but to make a noise at a distance, to divert us from the real de­bate? Such a one would cavil as he does about words. What can I think it else but cavil, when he pretends himself so extremely ignorant in the meaning of the Terms of our Dispute? When he who has lived all his Life in England, p. 92. and has received his Orders from a Bishop of the Church of England, Ib. sect. 13. p. 85. is yet to learn what we in England, in our Disputes with his Party, mean by the name of Bishop; nay, even by that of the Church of England? If he thought himself in earnest as igno­rant [Page 90] as he pretends, why would he med­dle in Disputes where he does not under­stand the Terms? If he knows better things, what charity can excuse him from the charge of Insincerity? Though per­sons may, yet causes cannot aequivocate. There is but one sense of all Terms, which causes oblige men to mean, and that eve­ry one ought to know who pretends to skill in causes. Other senses I did not think my self obliged to take notice of in Terms of notorious signification, till I found some occasion for it from the misunder­standings of my Adversaries. But there is one thing that looks most like an Argu­ment of Self-conviction, which though it has been taken up by persons of worse de­sign than he, yet does withall run through the Reasoning of several of the later Books of Mr. Baxter; that is, that our Clergie must alone be responsible for all the scandals that any Clergie, who never had any affinity with ours, but that of their common office, were ever guilty of. What is this but in effect to acknowledge that ours are the onely real Clergie? What is it but to acknowledge the conclu­siveness of those Arguments, which have been used by me to disprove the Title of their Ministers to the Office of real Cler­gie-men? [Page 91] If they thought their own to be Clergie-men, why will they not be as obnoxious to all the scandals they can rake of Clergie-men out of the Histories of Sixteen hundred Years, as ours? I wish I could by this Suggestion make them sen­sible of the disingenuity they shew in this way of Reasoning, and of the mischief they do themselves and the common cause of Christianity. It is strange if Mr. Baxter can ever expect to revive Parochial Di­scipline by such means as these, of ruining Diocesan. Can he ever expect to prevail with those irreligious Laicks, who are on this occasion so ready to make use of this misguided zeal of his Brethren, not as more orthodox than others, but as a po­pular party, to submit themselves to the Censures of his Parochial Ministers, when he teaches them to despise an Authority so much more venerable than theirs, on all the accounts which Mankind owns for just reasons of veneration? Can he in earnest hope, than an upstart Authority of Innovators, too late to have their Scan­dals traced through any distant Histories, can procure reverence with them, who are told such vile things of those, who upon the first division were found possessed of an Authority so much more received [Page 92] by a peaceable as well as a just prescription? Can he expect that he can preserve that Authority in Inferiours, which he endea­vours to ruine in their Superiours? Can he think to preserve it in those, whom it seems himself dares not own for Clergie-men, whilest he teaches them to asperse the very name as well as the authority of Clergie-men? Can he think to preserve it in those, who have no other but extraor­dinary ways of pretending to a Divine Au­thority, or to pretend Charters expound­ed by themselves in their own favour, when he teaches them to undervalue an Authority, derived by all the ways by which it is reasonable to expect an Autho­rity, should be derived at such a distance? Can he expect in the age we live in, that the great ones will ever be induced to pay respect to the inferiour Clergie, who are so unknown to our Laws, when they are taught to deny it to those, who have as good a Title even to legal honours as themselves? Mr. Baxter may possibly ruine us, if God should grant him the curse of a success on his present Endea­vours; but I cannot for my life conceive how he can settle us, or really reform our lives, or restore Discipline, on such Prin­ciples as these. True Latitudinarianism [Page 93] does onely tend to introduce Scepticism into the minds, and Libertinism into the lives of Men. God deliver us from an experiment of his Projects, and him from the dissatisfaction of a fruitless repentance, when he cannot remedy us.

THIS is all which I think fit to say at present. § XXXII. If Mr. Baxter, or any of his Brethren, shall think fit to reply further to my Book,Pref. sect. 19. I shall again humbly put them in mind of the same requests I made formerly: if they will be pleased to ob­serve them, they will not onely approve their own sincerity by doing so, but also minister a subject of useful information; if they do not, they will force me instead of yielding or rejoyning, to cast my self up­on the indifferent and impartial Readers candour to judge between us, and I hope they will not flatter themselves with the hopes that all will be partial.

THat all are obliged to submit to all un­sinful conditions of the Episcopal Communion where they live,1. if imposed by the Ecclesiastical Governours thereof; and that the nature of this Obligation is such,2. as will make them who, rather than they will submit to such Conditions, either separate themselves, or suffer themselves to be exclu­ded from Communion by such Governours for such a refusal of submission, guilty of the sin of SCHISM.

Here are two Parts.

I. That all are obliged to submit to all un­sinful conditions of the Episcopal Communion where they live, [...]. if imposed by the Ecclesiasti­cal Government thereof.

This proved by these two degrees:

1. That the supposition, of their being less secure of Salvation out of this Episcopal Communion than in it, is sufficient to prove them obliged to submit to all terms, not di­rectly [Page 95] sinful, however unexpedient, rather than separate themselves, or suffer them­selves to be excluded, from this Communion. Ch. I. § 7, 8, 9, 10.

2. That there is indeed less security of Salvation to be had even on performance of the moral conditions of Salvation, out of this Episcopal Communion than in it.

This proved from two things:

(1.) That they cannot be so well assured of their Salvation in the use of extraordi­nary as of ordinary means; nay, that they being left to extraordinaries is a condition either very hazardous, or at least very un­comfortable at present, whatever it may prove hereafter. Ch. II.

(2.) That these ordinary means of Sal­vation are, in respect of every particular per­son, confined to the Episcopal Communi­on of the Place he lives in, as long as he lives in it.

This proved from two things.

(I.)A. That these ordinary means of Sal­vation are confined to the external Commu­nion of the visible Church.

This proved from four things.

1. We cannot be assured that God will do for us what is necessary for our Salvation on his part, otherwise than by his express pro­mises that he will do it. Ch. III. § 1, 2.

[Page 96] 2. The ordinary means how we may assure our selves of our Interest in his Pro­mises is by our Interest in his Covenant, by which they are conveyed to us. Ch. III. from § 5. to the end.

3. The onely ordinary means, by which we may assure our selves of our Interest in this Covenant with him, is by our partaking in these external Solemnities, by which this Covenant is transacted and maintained. Ch. IV, V, VI, VII.

4. The participation in these external Solemnities with any legal validity is onely to be had in the external Communion of the visible Church. Ch. VIII.

(II.) That this visible Church, B. to whose external Communion these ordinary means of Salvation are confined, is no other than the Episcopal Communion of the place where any one lives, whilest he lives there.

This proved in both parts.

(1.) That the visible Church, a. to whose external Communion these ordinary means of Salvation are confined, is the Epi­scopal Communion.

This proved by these degrees.

I. That Salvation is not ordinarily to be expected without an external participation of the Sacraments. (A)

[Page 97] 1. Negatively, Not by those other popu­lar means which ordinary persons are apt to trust in, to the neglect of the Sa­craments, that is,

  • 1. Not by hearing the Word prea­ched. Ch. IX.
  • 2. Not by private Prayer, nor in­deed by any, out of the Communion of the Church. Ch. X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV.

2. Positively, That Salvation is ordina­rily to be expected onely by this exter­nal participation of the Sacraments.

  • 1. Proved concerning Baptism. Ch. XV.
  • 2. Concerning the Lords Supper. Ch. XVI, XVII.

II. That the validity of the Sacraments depends on the Authority of the persons by whom they are administred.(B.) Ch. XVIII.

III. No other Ministers have the Au­thority of administring the Sacraments,(C.) but onely they who receive their Orders in the Episcopal Communion.

This proved by four degrees.

1. That the Authority of administring the Sacraments must be derived from God. Ch. XIX.

2. That though it be derived from God, yet it is not so derived without the mediation [Page 98] of those men to whom it was at first commit­ted. Ch. XX.

3. That it cannot be so derived from those men to whom it was at first committed, with­out a continued succession of persons order­ly receiving Authority from those who had Authority to give it them, from those first times of the Apostles to ours at present. Ch. XXI.

4. That this Authority is not now to be expected any where but in the Episcopal Communion. Ch. XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV.

(2.) That the Episcopal Communion to which every particular person is obliged to joyn himself,b. as he would enjoy the ordinary means of his own particular salvation, is the Episcopal Communion of the place where­in he lives, whilest he lives in it. Ch. XXVI.

II. That the nature of this Obligation to unsinful conditions of their Episcopal Com­munion is such as will make them guilty of the sin of SCHISM, [...]. who, rather than they will submit to such conditions, either separate themselves, or suffer themselves to be exclu­ded from Communion by their respective Dio­cesan Ordinaries. Ch. XXVII.


The Contents.

What sorts of Disputes are, upon a virtu­ous account, to be blamed in Dissenters; and what way of managing them is com­mendable, § 1. A short Account and Defence of the Preface to my Letters of Advice, § 2. A short Defence of the Possibility of Discipline in a Diocesan Government, § 3. The Epistles of Ig­natius not question'd by all the Presbyte­rians, § 4. My thoughts concerning the Reasons of Nonconformity mentioned in Mr. Baxter's Letter, § 5.

Reverend and Worthy Sir,

§ I I Have received your very kind Let­ter, wherein I hardly know whether I should be more thankful for your Approbation or your Reproof, both of them being in their kind so useful, and both of them being performed by you with so great Civility. I am confident that if our modern Disputes had been [Page 100] moderated with that candour, men would certainly have been more peaceful, and very probably more orthodox, than now we find them. I could very heartily have wished, that the Opinions wherein we differ, had not been of that nature, as to separate Communion. For this I look upon as the onely Circumstance that can make such differences grievous to a pious person. For as for those others which exasperate many, that Dissenters are not so wise as to discern the truth, or so fortunate in avoiding prejudices, or lighting on faith­ful Informations in a time when they are capable of receiving them; or that they are not so submissive as themselves expect to that Pope, which Luther has long since observed in every mans heart, &c. They are reasons either sinful, or at least unsuffi­cient to excuse the sin of uncharitableness upon such an account. But as they are, considering them as tempered with that piety and moderation, which may expiate their others malignities; that they are al­leaged rather as Apologies for your selves, than as Obligations on others, rather to excuse your deformity in not assisting at our Altars, than erecting others in opposition to them; that you are still inquisitive and desirous of further information, and ready [Page 101] to lay down your mistakes when you are convinced that they are such; that still you preserve a peaceable mind, and em­brace our Communion it self in voto, though perhaps not actually; these are so valuable Considerations even before God as well as Man, for excusing from the guilt of error, as that whatever I may think of your Opinions, I hope it shall not hinder me from a cordial respect and ve­neration of your person.

§ II AS I do very much esteem the good opinion of so great a Lover of peace and piety as your self, and should have been sorry to have given any just occasion of offence to you; so I am not a little glad, that upon a view of the particulars men­tioned in your Letter, I find my self to be so very innocent. For as for my Preface, the main designs driven on in it are, that disrespect to the Clergie is shewn to have been an Introductory to the Atheism of the Age we live in; that the conformable Clergie, that is, such as would answer the design of the Church, not onely as to their exteriour demeanour in publick solomen Assemblies, but also as to the qualifications of their persons, and the conduct of their whole lives, could not prove either tri­fling in their Preaching, or scandalous in [Page 102] their Examples; and therefore that the Church is not responsible for their misde­meanours where they prove otherwise; and that the Laity are in their proportion obliged to the same duties with the Cler­gie, and therefore may make use of the Advice there prescribed; or to touch at the errors of our modern School-Divinity, are touched, and to make some propo­sals for their reformation. In these things I can see no occasion of offence, but ra­ther some Preservatives against it. The onely thing I suppose you aim at is, my taxing some Opinions of Nonconformists, (and that with as little personal reflection as I was able) which I conceived prejudi­cial to Church Authority, which Opinions because you seem to disown, I do not see how you should apprehend your self as particularly concerned in what is there said; especially there being nothing in the discourse whereby you could con­clude either your self, or any of your mo­derate temper, to have been intended, I assure you I intended none but such as were guilty, and with being so I charged none particularly. But that not onely the old Puritans and Separatists of Queen Eli­zabeth's times, &c. but also very many of ours now are guilty of them, is too [Page 103] notorious to suppose you ignorant of it. I could heartily wish that the number of better principled and more peaceable Dissen­ters were greater than I fear it is. Nor do I see that what is there said can make it unuseful, even to the persons truly concerned, that value truth more than any, however beloved party. Seeing it may let them see the evil consequence of their principles, and their influence on that Atheism and Prophanness, which I am confident themselves do most cordial­ly detest, which I conceived to be more likely to prevail with them than any other Arguments, as being more suited to their pious disposition. Or, supposing that my fears were indeed groundless of the Introduction of prophanness by the contempt of Government, or of contempt of Government by their disobedience to it; yet might it at least warn them from confining on such dangerous consequences, or from coming to them unawares, by an abuse of principles generally true, but ob­noxious to particular inconveniences, when unwarily managed. I mean, it may put them in mind of the greater Momentousness of good Government, and of Peace, than of many other differen­ces, and consequently of the great En­gagements [Page 104] incumbent on them for their preservation. Whence they would fur­ther find themselves obliged, so to oppose the particular abusive Constitutions of Governours, as not to bring their Govern­ment it self into contempt, nor to suggest unanswerable Apologies to factious per­sons for the future, when they are un­willing to be obedient. These are abuses which your self, I believe, would wish redressed in the causes of our Church-divi­sions. But if that part of my Discourse could not be useful, yet could it not be prejudicial to them, nothing being urged either invectively or imperiously, and there­fore no harm being done, if I should prove utterly mistaken.

§ III THAT you should marvel how revi­ving Discipline could by me be expected from the constitution of our present Ecclesiastical Government, does seem no less marvel­lous to me; especially as to the Excepti­on you make against it. For if it were impossible to maintain Discipline under a Government so far Monarchical, as to ap­propriate the decretory power of the Go­vernment of many to a single person, though the execution be intrusted to many; then it would follow, that the Secular Disci­pline under a Secular Monarch of any ex­tent [Page 105] were impossible also to be observed. Your same reasons will proceed as strong­ly here, as where you apply them. For it is every way as impossible for any such Prince to have a particular cognizance of every particular cause, much more of eve­ry particular person in his Dominions, as for a Bishop in his Diocese. As therefore it appears by experience (I shall instance a Scripture-example because I know that will be liable to least exception) that David (in an extent more vast, and a peo­ple more numerous, than that of the largest Diocese, 120 miles in length, and 60 miles in breadth, and rather better in David's days, where were accounted 1300000 Men fit for war, besides Artifi­cers and such others not coming under that account) was yet able to give a good account of his Government, without par­ticular inspection into all causes, or com­munication of his power to numerous co­ordinate Presbyteries. So I do not see why it may not hold as well for a possibility of Discipline under an Ecclesiastical Monarch of a much narrower extent. For the rea­son produced by you seems to proceed from the nature of Government in general, and therefore must proceed with the same force in Seculars as Ecclesiasticals, [Page 106] there being no ingredient peculiarly rela­ting to Religion, much less to Christianity, which might alter the case, or argue a disparity. For certainly Princes as well as Bishops are responsible for the miscarri­age of their particular Subjects, as far as they may be prevented by their moral di­ligence; and yet you will not thence con­clude, that every particular must come under his immediate personal care and cognizance; nor is it proved, that the Bishop is otherwise obliged to such a care upon peculiar respects. Besides that, it is plainly against experience even in Ecclesia­sticals: for as it hath fallen out in some places where there were many Cities, that the Bishops were proportionably multiplied, as in Africa and Ireland; so that it was not upon account of the im­possibility of the managing the charge of much greater multitudes than the Inha­bitants of those small Cities, appears in that even in the very same places the greatness of no City was thought sufficient for multiplying the Bishops, though it was for the inferiour Clergie. I need not tell you how great Rome was in Decius his time under Cornelius, and how full of Christians, which required the united en­deavours of 1000 Clergie, as appears [Page 107] from the said Cornelius his Epistle to Fabius of Antioch in Eusebius; [...]. Cornel, [...]d Fab. Ant. apud Euseb. Eccles. Hist. 6. 43. yet was one Bi­shop thought sufficient for all, nay the erecting another Al­tar in the same Church was thought to be formal Schism, as appears from the Contro­versies betwixt Cornelius and Novatian, and S. Cyprian and Felicissimus. The same also might have been shewn in several other Cities, exceeding numerous and abounding with Christians, as Anti­och, Alexandria, and Carthage, &c. which even in those earlier Ages, when Disci­pline was at the greatest rigour, were yet governed by single Bishops. Nay, whole Nations were sometimes governed by one onely, as the Goths by Ulphilas, and the Indians by Aedesius, and the Arabi­ans by Moses; which is an Argument in­sisted on by some Presbyterians, for shew­ing the probability of Ordinations by mere Presbyters. Yet are there no Com­plaints of dissolution of Discipline in such places, upon account of the greatness of their charge. Which to me seem suffici­ent Convictions, that the multitude of persons governed is not the reason of [Page 108] our present Neglects in that parti­cular.

§ IV WHEN I said that Ignatius his Epistles were question'd by the Presbyte­rians, I never said nor intended it con­cerning all (for I know of Vedelius his Apology for them) much less did I lay it particularly to your charge; so that if you had here forborn assuming to your self what was spoken of others, (many of whose Opinions I am confident you will not undertake to justifie) there had been no occasion of this Exception. That other Presbyterians, and those by far the greatest number, have denied them, can­not be questioned.

§ V AS for the Reasons of Nonconformity alleaged by you and your Brethren of the Savoy Conference in 1660, if I might without offence presume to interpose my own thoughts, they are as follow­eth: For the approving, not onely sub­mitting to, such things as you disliked, and that by an oath, I am sure there are many Conformists themselves that under­stand no more to have been intended by the Church, but an exterior submission, not an internal approbation of the particu­lars. And particularly I have been in­formed by a Letter from a very worthy [Page 109] credible person, who pretends to have had it from the Bishop himself, that Bi­shop Sanderson, who was a Member of your Conference, interposed those words in the Act of Parliament, where it is re­quired, that Ministers declare their un­feigned assent and consent to the use of all things in the Book of Common Prayer, &c. designedly that this Objection might be prevented. The new Article of Faith in­serted in our Rubrick I do not know, nor can I now get the Book that past betwixt you at the Conference, to know what you mean. That Lay-chancellors were disused, and that the Bishops did more consult their Presbyteries, I could for my own part heartily wish. But I cannot think these abuses momentous enough to war­rant Schism; and I know your self are for bearing with some things things that are not so well, rather than the Church of God should be divided for them. In brief, I do not understand any of the six Parti­culars mentioned as the reasons that keep you off, though you do indeed disapprove them, both because you do not undertake to determine what they might be to others, but onely what they are to persons of your mind, (though I confess this might be understood as a modest declining to [Page 110] judge of others) and because you conceive piety the most likely means to unite us, which could not be if we imposed any thing on you against your Consciences. So that the onely one that may be presu­med to have been thought sufficient by you to this purpose seems to have been another, which because you intimate somewhat obscurely, I do not know whether you would be willing that it should be taken notice of. But however (I suppose) that it self does onely deprive us of your Clerical, not your Laical Com­munion. God give us all to discern the things that belong unto peace. As for other Questions we may easily a wait our Lords pleasure, who when he comes shall tell us all things; and in the mean time pre­serve charity, and be wise unto sobriety. I hope, Sir, you will excuse my freedom, and let me know whether I may in any thing be serviceable to you; and above all things reserve a portion in your Pray­ers for,

Your unfeigned Wellwisher, HENRY DODWELL.


The Contents.

Introduction. § 1. Quest. 1. Whether the Bishop be bound to discharge his whole duty in his own person? Or, Whether he may not take in the assistance of others? That he may, granted by Mr. Baxter. Quest. 2. waved by me. § 2. Mr. Baxter's reasons do as solidly dis­prove a possibility of Secular Discipline under a Secular Monarch, of a Precinct as large as a Diocese, as of Diocesan Discipline. § 3. Secular Monarchs as well responsible for the miscarriage of particular Subjects as Bishops, and their charge is as great. The Persons, Crimes, and Laws, belonging to the care of the Se­cular Governour more numerous than they which belong to the Ecclesiastical. § 4, 5. So are the necessities to be provi­ded for by the Secular Governour. § 6, 7, 8. An Objection prevented. § 9. Mr. Baxter's first answer refuted. The Government of a Diocese may be admi­nistred without any more than three Or­ders. [Page 112] § 10. The Church may for pru­dential reasons constitute new Officers, though not Orders. § 11. Mr. Baxter's second answer refuted. Personal Ca­pacity as requisite in a Prince as in a Bi­shop. § 12. An Objection prevented. § 13. Mr. Baxter's third, fourth, and fifth answers refuted. § 14, 15. His sixth answer rejected. § 16. What I mean when I make the decretory power of Government proper to the Supreme, and the executive onely to be communi­cated to inferiour Governours. § 17. The decretory power of Government does not necessarily include personal or particular Exploration. § 18, 19. His seventh answer considered. Good men need Government as well as others. Their mistakes more dangerous to Govern­ment than the mistakes of others. § 20. Mr. Baxter's Objection in favour of me. His first answer refuted. § 21. His se­cond answer refuted. Declaration is no act of power. § 22. The unbeco­mingness of Doctrines, so disparaging to Ecclesiastical Authority, to Mr. Bax­ter as a Curer of Church-divisions. § 23. The first Reformers at length sensible of the necessity of Church Au­thority to Peace and Discipline. § 24. [Page 113] Mr. Baxter's uncandid character of a Prelatick Christian. § 25. The use of external coercion in Religion is not to make men onely dissemblers. § 26, 27, 28. No Discipline to be expected with­out a coercive power somewhere. § 29. The liberty desired by Mr. Baxter incon­sistent with the principles of the Ignati­an Episcopacy, so much recommended by himself on other occasions. § 30. In­consistent with the Discipline of the Church described by Tertullian and Fir­milian. § 31. Inconsistent with that of S. Cyprian. No reason why Mr. Baxter should desire to disown them from being parts of his Cure, who do not observe Rules of Discipline. § 32. My second Argument for the Possibility of Dioce­san Discipline from the actual experi­ence of former times. § 33. The noti­on of a Church for no more than are ca­pable of the personal inspection of a single Presbyter, not proved to be of Divine In­stitution from Acts 14. 23. § 34, 35. His second and third answer refuted. The distribution of particular Cures to particular Presbyters, (from whence it comes to pass, that one Diocese includes many such Societies as are fitted for personal Communion) is more conve­nient [Page 114] than their governing the same mul­titudes in common. Very probably as ancient as they had settled places of Meeting. How ancient in the Churches of Rome and Alexandria. § 36. How vigorous notwithstanding Discipline was at that very time at Alexandria. § 37. His fourth answer refuted. § 38. His fifth answer refuted. § 39. His sixth answer refuted. § 40. His seventh an­swer refuted. The ancient Cities of the Roman Empire that had single Bishops were generally as great and populous as now. § 41, 42. The Ecclesiastical Go­vernment of those Cities proportioned to the Civil. § 43. Whether our Dioce­sans Office be a driving men to sin? § 44, 45, 46. His eighth answer refu­ted. Great Cities then had great num­bers of Christians. Instanced in the Churches of Hierusalem, Samaria, Anti­och, Antiochia Pisidiae, Thessalonica, Beroea, Ephesus. § 47. These were Churches in all likelyhood designed by the Apostles themselves as precedents for others. The multitudes of Chri­stians every where in the Roman Em­pire in the time of Tertullian. § 48. In­stances of other Churches very nume­rous besides Rome and Alexandria. [Page 115] Neocaesarea, Carthage. The passage of S. Cyprian concerning his Contribution explained. § 49, 50. The ancient nu­merousness of Christians proved from Pliny. § 51. The possibility of their meeting in the same Assemblies. § 52. Several ways how greater numbers might communicate from the same Altar, than could ordinarily meet in the same Assem­blies. § 53. S. Patrick's Dioceses not equivalent to our modern Parishes. § 54. My Argument from the numerousness of the Church of Rome in the time of Cornelius. His answers refuted. § 55. His endeavours to give an account how the Clergie then might have been nume­rous, though their people had been few. § 56. His first five answered. § 57. His sixth. § 58. His seventh. § 59. His eighth. § 60. His ninth. § 61. His tenth. § 62. No Instance of Mr. Bax­ter's notion of a Church of a Society un­der the Cure of one single Priest, but one­ly in those two Churches of Rome and Alexandria, so much disowned in this very matter by himself. § 63. Ulphilas Bishop of the whole Nation of the Goths. Whether an Arrian? § 64. Frumentius Bishop of the Indians, and Moses of the Arabians. The Christi­ans [Page 116] of both more numerous than our single Parishes. § 65. His first answer refuted. § 56. His second answer re­futed. § 67. A Conclusory Exhorta­tion. § 68.

Reverend Sir,

§ I AS I have before expressed my sorrow for dealing in such a Controversie that divides Com­munion with a person of your piety and candour, and from whom I am so unwilling to differ upon any tolerable terms; so I am withall glad that we can still maintain an unpassionate way of debating it, which for my part I con­ceive not onely most Christian, but most useful and succesful. It is onely with this design that I am willing to continue it, wherein I hope you will not be displea­sed at me for venturing on that Liberty your self are pleased to take, and which I hope through Gods gracious assistance I shall never abuse. For my meaning is as much as is possible to abstain from all things personal, and to insist onely on the way proposed by S. Augustine to Maximi­nus, [Page 117] Ut res cum re, causa cum causa, ratio cum ratione decertet. And here it selfe I shall endeavour to avoid the multitude of unnecessary controvers [...]es, that we may be more accurate in the discussion of such as shall remain.

§ II THE principal controversie of your Letter is concerning the possibility of re­viving Ecclesiastical Discipline under a Diocesan Episcopacy. Where I am glad to find that the Dispute seems rather deri­ved from your forgetfulness of your own Concessions and mine, than any real dif­ference of our Opinions, when clearly and candidly explained. For I can perceive onely two things questioned betwixt us through your Letter. 1. Whether the Bishop be obliged in his own person to a parti­cular care of all the Souls contained within his Jurisdiction, or whether he may not as­sume Assistents and Coadjutors dependent on himself, over whom he is to exercise the Of­fice of a Bishop, that is, an Overseer: not to take the whole burden on himself, but to ob­lige them to the performance of their duty, and to punish their Delinquencies? 2. Whe­ther supposing this Delegation lawful, Lay-Chancellors be fit to be entrusted with it?

The former you seem to have yielded when you say;1. ‘If this had been all our [Page 118] Dispute, whether a Patriarch or Arch­bishop can rule 1000 Churches by 1000 inferiour Bishops or Church-rulers, I had said something.’ Which is indeed the onely thing asserted by me in my Proofs, and the very Case in pra­ctice, no Bishop undertaking the parti­cular Cure of a whole Diocese, without the assistance of his particular respective Parochians. When therefore you ask, ‘Whether it follows that our Church-Monarch can oversee all himself, with­out any Suboverseers, or rule them (by Gods Word on the conscience) without any Subrulers? Sure you cannot mean that this is the Practice of our Diocesans. And if your design be to assert, that eve­ry Cl [...]rgyman is bound to a particular per­sonal care of all within his Limits, and therefore ought not to undertake a Cure too great for his personal cognizance, and which he cannot manage without Assist­ants; this should have been more direct­ly proved than your Letter attempts. So also for the second,2. Whether supposing this Assistance lawful, it were fit to be en­trusted to Lay-chancellors? I expresly de­clined that question, (if you had remem­bred it;) as also, Whether it were expe­dient that the Bishops Government were [Page 119] so Monarchical, as to exclude the counsel of Presbyters. But though we be thus agreed in the main (if not the whole) difficulty, if rightly explained; yet your Arguments and Answers, if allowed, do so consequently overthrow your concessions themselves, as that it is easie to observe how heat of Discourse does transport you beyond the equity of your more composed thoughts.

§ III IF I may therefore securely take it for granted, that a Bishop with many Subru­lers (and such are the particular Parish Ministers) may govern a Diocese of as large extent at least as ours are, as your words seem to grant; I can then imagine no possible difficulty concerning the possi­bility of reviving Discipline under a Dio­cesan Government.

For by Discipline, I suppose, we mean nothing but good Laws punctually executed, both of which are necessarily implied in the nature of good Government. Either therefore you must deny that such good Laws, and such punctual Execution, may be had under such a Diocesan Govern­ment; and then you will destroy the possi­bility of such Government, contrary to your own concession; or you must say that such Government may be maintained [Page 120] without good Laws or punctual Execution, which is alike absurd to affirm concern­ing a good Government, concerning which alone we are at present disputing. But because I find by some of your other Works, that you do indeed deny a possi­bility of Discipline under a Diocesan Go­vernment, nay sometimes deny the law­fulness of communicating with a Diocesan Church as Diocesan; perhaps this Con­fession may have slipped from you una­wares, so that it may not be safe to take you at your word. If this later be your case, (as methinks it must, if there be any real controversie betwixt us) all that at present I am willing to undertake, (that I may not enlarge beyond necessi­ty) is the Examination of your Answers to the Reasons produced in my former Letter. My first Reason is therefore for proving the possibility of Discipline under a Monarchical Diocesan, in the sense there and here already explain'd (which I could gladly wish you would keep in mind for preventing misunderstandings on your part, and unnecessary repetitions on mine) was, that your Reasons being not drawn from testimony, or any positive and peculiar prescriptions, which might make the case singular; but from reason, and that not [Page 121] particularly drawn from the nature of Government as Ecclesiastical, but general, from the principles of Government as such) will proceed as strongly against the possi­bility of Secular Discipline under a Secular, as Ecclesiastical under an Ecclesiastical Mo­narch. Seeing therefore that in a Secular Monarchy as absolute as the Ecclesiastical we speak of, and as remote from a possi­bility of a cognizance of all particulars, and of a much larger extent than any Diocese, Secular Discipline may notwith­standing be preserved: it must needs fol­low, that no Reasons of this kind can prove it impossible under such an Ecclesia­stical Monarchy, as is the subject of our present Discourse. Nay, as it hence ap­pears possible, not onely upon particular accounts, but simply, as having been actu­ally performed under Secular Monarchies: So it must upon these principles be pre­sumed actually performable in Ecclesiasti­cals, which will not onely evince the falshood of your Reasons, but also the truth of the contrary assertion. In this Argu­ment you seem to grant (what is also proved in my Letter from the Instance of Davids Kingdom of Israel, and good Go­vernment of it, (which I thought least liable to exception) that Secular Disci­pline [Page 122] is preservable under Secular Monar­chy. That also what agrees to Ecclesiasti­cal Government, not by virtue of any pe­culiar Ingredients as Ecclesiastical, but by virtue of the common principles of Govern­ment in general, must agree to all other Governments; as also, on the contrary, that what agrees to other Forms of Go­vernment upon the like general accounts, must likewise agree to that which is Ec­clesiastical; are so clear, that as I do not perceive that what you say tends to the denyal of it, so I do not think it worth my time to prove it. The only thing therefore remaining, which you seem to question in your Answer is, that the Reasons produ­ced by you proceed on Principles peculi­ar to Ecclesiastical Government as such. For your principal endeavour is to shew a disparity, why, though Secular Disci­pline be indeed maintainable under a Se­cular Monarchy, yet Ecclesiastical must not be presumed to be so under an Eccle­siastical. For which you refer me to my Lord Bacon; and your own Letter to Lu­dovicus Molinaeus, besides what you add to that purpose in your present Letter. For the very supposal of a Disparity does necessarily proceed on peculiar Conside­rations, and is directly repugnant to the [Page 123] notion of general and common Princi­ples. Now to let you understand that your Reasons do indeed proceed on prin­ciples common to all Government of the same number of persons and extent of place, as that of the largest of our Dioceses, Secu­lar as well as Sacred. I need onely to in­vert those Topicks of duty; which be­cause you think impossible that they should be discharged, you thence infer an impossibility of Ecclesiastical Discipline, that you may see that none of those same Instances of duty are to be exempted from the Cure of the Secular Magistrate.

§ IV I BELIEVE you will not questi­on but that every Secular Magistrate is as responsible for his Cure as the Ecclesiasti­cal; and that this Cure is not so general, but that all particular Misdemeanours of particular persons, that are capable of an exteriour cognizance, both as to their prevention and punishment are compre­hended under it. If so, then certainly, 1. As many persons will belong to the Care of the Civil, as the Ecclesiastical Go­vernment; nay, generally more, seeing that in the same precincts it is true what Optatus Milevitanus tells us,Contra Parm. l. 3. that the Church is contained in the Commonwealth, not the Commonwealth in the Church; [Page 124] there being no Members of the Church not liable to the Civil Government, but many in the Commonwealth not being subject to the Church, as Pagans, Jews, Mahumetans, and other Infidels. And, 2. At least as many crimes will come un­der Secular as Ecclesiastical cognizance, nay generally more, both as to the indi­viduals and kinds of Crimes. As to the individuals, because those who are not obnoxious to the power of the Church, as Infidels, are to be presumed generally more careless of themselves, and less ca­pable of good impressions, as wanting those most powerful Motives for reclaiming men from a vicious course of life, which are taught by the Doctrines of Christia­nity. And as to the kinds of Crimes. For as for the Law of Nature, the punishment of Offences against that will as properly belong to the Magistrate as the Bishop, and that not onely as to the Second Table, (which does professedly concern Crimes against Secular Conversation) but also the First, as far as it relates to Natural Religion, the Interest of the State being so nearly involved in that of Religion, especially as far as it is natural, as that all Obligation of conscience is derived from thence, which is incomparably a better [Page 125] Preservative of the Princes Rights, than that of external force. As for the positive Laws of the State, they are far more nu­merous than those of Christianity; ac­cording to those who make the Scripture an adequate Rule of such Positives. For how extremely do these fall short of those Volumes of Codes and Pandects; Charters and Statutes, Civil and Municipal, of all the distinct subordinat Societies to which every particular person is related, by multiplication whereof his duties and possible offences must be proportionably multiplied? That I may not now menti­on all the extemporary provisional com­mands which are acknowledged obliga­tory, (even to the sinfulness of such dis­obediences) by virtue of the general Sub­jection due to ordinary and extraordinary Superiours? But yet the positive impositi­ons of the Scriptures themselves, which may be conceived ordinarily and eter­nally obligatory to sin, are extremely short of the Voluminousness of the Cano­nical Writers themselves. For deduct first all those passages that are purely hi­storical; for as for the obligation of Scrip­ture-precedent, which is so much insisted on by some, themselves dare not main­tain it in the utmost latitude. Nor have [Page 126] they yet established such Notes, where­by we might discern when we are con­cerned in them, and when we are not: and when we are, when onely its imita­tion is commendable, and when its omission is directly sinful; what is obligatory in all circumstances, and what onely in some particular ones; what are all the circum­stances requisite for such obligation, and how we may know when they concurr particularly in our present case; when their obligation arises from the authority; and when onely from the prudence of their Author; when they oblige as Laws, and when onely as Rules; when upon account of the authority of the person, and when onely of the reason of the thing. For when this obligation is derived from the reason of the thing, (as I might have proved it generally to be either as to the establishment of the Rule, or at least as to its application to the particular case to be ruled by it) then it cannot be proved without recourse to other Laws of Nature or Prudence, or positive Constitutions; so that such precedents will not encrease the number of Scripture-obligations. Deduct also all promises and threats, all exhortati­ons and dehortations, which are not them­selves precepts, but suppose the proof of [Page 127] the precepts which they concern by other mediums. And, even of that small part of the Scripture, which after these dedu­ctions will still remain properly precep­tive, which (for the Old Testament) does according to the computation of the Rab­bins, who are most minutely critical in such punctilio's, amount to no more than 643, including both affirmatives and ne­gatives. If we still further consider, how many of them are onely positive enforce­ments of natural Laws, and so reducible to the forementioned consideration; how many of them that are positive concern the Jews, not as a Church, but as a Com­monwealth; how all of them that concern them as a Church, are now evacuated by that Evangelical Liberty, which has abro­gated the Mosaick Authority, from which they derived their Sanction; how, even of the New Testament prescriptions, ma­ny are onely provisional, and onely grounded on temporary reasons, and those such as are not suitable to our present times and places; how many are confes­sedly antiquated, and how hard it is to distinguish Apostolical Connivanees from Approbations, their Approbations from Con­stitutions, their Constitutions as of ordi­nary Governours, and their Traditions as [Page 128] extraordinarily sent and impowered by our Saviour, for the eternal and unaltera­ble obligation of the Catholick Church. When all these things, I say, are consi­dered and allowed for, the positive Consti­tutions of the Scripture, which may ob­lige us antecedently to the Churches Impo­sition, (which the persons I am speaking of do not value) and that to sin, will be extremely short of the number of Secular Laws.

§ V AND though we should, to increase the number, add the Ecclesiastical Laws to those of the Scriptures; yet neither so would they exceed the Secular. For to make this comparison with Justice, we should, 1. Compare onely such Ecclesia­stical Laws, as do not derive their force from any civil Sanctions: For they that do must needs suppose those civil Sancti­ons at least as numerous as themselves, and therefore cannot be presumed to over-number them. And this considera­tion will be extended not onely to such Instances, wherein Ecclesiastical Persons exercise a Power confessedly dependent on the Concessions of Princes, as in Marria­ges, and Wills and Testaments, and the certain proportion of the Ecclesiastical main­tainance, &c. but also to those spiritual [Page 129] crimes, more immediately relating to their cognizance, as established under Secular Penalties, which will de jure in­clude all affairs of that nature in Christian Commonwealths, where the Prince is ac­knowledged to be custos utriusque juris, and de facto does include the Ecclesiastical Constitutions of our Kingdoms, where the Clergie are not onely by Law, but by pro­mise in King Henry the Eighth his time, (as far as that promise can oblige their Successors) obliged to make no Laws with­out the Secular permission. Seeing there­fore that (with us at least) there are no Ecclesiastical Laws but what are seconded by the Secular, but many Secular not se­conded by Ecclesiastical; it must needs follow, that Secular Laws, and conse­quently Crimes, must be more numerous than such as are Ecclesiastical. But, 2. Abate even out of the Jus Pontifici­um, Petr. de Marca de Concord. Sac. & Imp. l. 3. c. 6. which has swelled to the greatest Voluminousness in this kind, not onely such things as are undertaken by Ecclesia­stical persons by the favour of Princes, but such as are usurped against their express consent; and wherein the Romish Clergie, who have so exceeded in this kind, can­not de jure challenge any Legislative pow­er; and the number of such Laws will [Page 130] yet extremely decrease. And, 3. All such Laws as are grounded on Ecclesiasti­cal Usurpation, such as are all those which abridge the power of ordinary Bishops, and ascribe all to the omnipotency of the Ro­man See, which seems to be the principal scandal that first alienated Spalato from them. I need not instance particulars of this kind, whose Titles abound with them as those of reserved Cases, of Exem­ptions, of Appeals from without the Li­mits of the Roman Patriarchate, &c. And 4. All such Laws as are grounded on false Doctrines, as those against the use of the Cup in Laical Communion, against reading the Scriptures, concerning Indulgences, and the like practices grounded on the supposal of Purgatory, &c. And, 5. All such as are misbecoming the candour and equity of a Christian Church: such as are all those relating to the Inquisition, in relation to the delation and punishment of the persons and suppressing the Books of Hereticks, &c. the very things the Catho­licks under the persecutions complained of, as unequal in the Pagans, and prejudicial to all just Information. And, 6. All, even indifferent, Constitutions which, though lawful to be obeyed, are yet ei­ther imprudent as to the things, or bur­thensom [Page 131] as to their number, and there­fore unnecessary to be imposed; for if S. Augustine complained, that even in his time the Constitutions of this kind ex­ceeded the servitude of the Law, we may do it much more justly now, when they are incomparably more numerous. These things, I say, and the like being retrench­ed, and no more being left, than what are absolutely necessary for the Govern­ment, of a Church, reformed from all en­croachments and abuses, would reduce the Ecclesiastical Laws into a narrow compass; as we find them in the several Codices Ec­clesiae Universae Romanae & Africanae, which though extremely short of the Voluminousness of the present Canon Law, yet were thought sufficient for se­veral Centuries, before the ambitions and factiousness of private Prelates had dissol­ved the unity of the Catholick Church.

§ VI AND as the Crimes have thus ap­peared more numerous, that come under the cognizance of the Civil than Ecclesta­stical Governours; so also, 3. The necessi­ties to be provided for by the Magistrate are so too. Thus Maries better part (which was Religion) is represented by our Saviour himself as a solicitousness onely for one thing necessary; whereas [Page 132] Martha was troubled about many things. For Religion teaches us an indifferency as to our desires, and an unconcernedness as to events, and a confident acquiescency in God for our temporal provision, the effi­cacious procurement and security where­of is the design of temporal Laws. It preserves us from many or great designs, from all ambitions or competitions, from all resentment and impatience of inju­ries; and for such persons very few Laws will prove sufficient, for direction onely, not for coertion: for the Apostle tells us, that the Law is not for the righteous. And as the Necessities are thus certainly fewer in persons of an eminent perfection in Religion, so the means of bringing them to that perfection are fewer and easi­er than those of a secular conversation; it being much easier to curb our own desires, which is the design of Religion, than to curb the world and the course of provi­dence, which are many times necessary for their gratification; which is the design of the world. Besides, that the good things of Religion are not like those of the world, the less to particulars for being communicated to many, which is the great occasion of those many controversies concerning meum and tuum, which make [Page 133] the eares of men so intricate, and their Laws so very voluminous. And though the things themselves were more obno­xious to injury than they are, yet the persons are not so inclinable to offer it; Religion much more effectually uniting and endearing its Professors, than the most excellent humane Laws. To which may be added, that in case of incorrigible­ness the Church is much more easily clea­red of the prejudice of a corrupt member, than the Commonwealth. The Church is sufficiently cleared of his scandal by dis­owning him, and excluding him from Communion, and the blessings conse­quent thereunto; but the State is never secure from suffering by him while he lives, which is much the more difficult case.

§ VII IT had been very easie for me to have added many more difficulties in the Secu­lar Government of a multitude, which have not place in the Ecclesiastical; and that without the partiality of insisting onely on the conveniences of one part, and onely on the inconveniences of the other, (which I confess very fallacious and un­fit for a faithful representation of the Cause) but in such Instances as might be competent for an absolute and equal sen­tence [Page 134] concerning the whole. Nay, I might have insisted on your own To­picks, and shewn you, 1. The many Re­quisites for making a good Subject, and wherein more positive Laws are concern­ed, than in making a good Christian. First, many Laws of the Commonwealth con­cern Marriages, that there may be no injury to the Friends or the Persons con­cerned, or the Children. When the Children are begotten, there are further Laws for preserving them in the womb; and when they are born, for securing them from murder or exposing, or un­wholsom nourishment, or vicious educati­on. The oeconomical charge of Educati­on does require more care and con­stant attendance of the Nurse than is ever pretended or required from any Minister in the conversion of Souls. Many are the casualties of their childish Follies, many the distempers of their irregular Actions, many the dangers they can neither avoid nor complain of, to such as might prevent or remedy them. And yet for all these their Nurses are made responsible if they happen by their negligence. Nay, so great is this care for some years, as to take up the whole time of the Nurse, which the conversion of no sinner does of a [Page 135] Minister. Yet certainly you would not think your own Argument good if I should apply it here. If the nursing of one child take up the whole time of one person, then what one person can be able to govern as many children as are in ordi­nary Families? And if this Govern­ment of many children appear thus im­possible to one person, then much more that of a Family, of a Corporation, of a City, of a Province, &c. And if to avoid this you reply, that although every Master of a family be not able personally to discharge the duty of governing many children, yet he can by his authority oblige the Nurses and Tutors to do their duty, and so at least mediately govern them; (as the King, though he cannot possibly be per­sonally present in all places of his Domi­nions, where it is necessary that Justice be administred, can yet command such as may, and punish them upon non-per­formance of their duty, which Subordina­tion and Delegation may be so contrived, as that they who come under his more immediate personal inspection may be proportionable enough to the Abilities of one man;) I pray consider whether the case be not exactly the same here: For if one Minister be able to govern [Page 136] 400, which is the lowest number men­tioned by you as in a Parish, then why may not a Bishop govern 400 Ministers? especially considering that the Govern­ment of a Bishop over his Clergie, is onely in general to see that they do their duty, and does not require so particular an in­spection into their performances, as that of a Minister over his Parishioners. For it is much easier for a Bishop to inform himself, whether a Minister perform the duty of his Cure, whether of Preach­ing, or Praying, or Visiting, and whether he be of a good repute, or at least not scandalous, with his Parishioners; than for a Minister not onely to inform him self of those Quaere's concerning each of his flock, whether they discharge their calling justly and conscienciously, and what means may be used for their re­covery in case of their default, who are not so easily to be cast out of the Mini­sters care by Excommunication, as scanda­lous Ministers are out of the Bishops by deprivation. Besides his catechizings of the ignorant, and his admonitions of the knowing, and his resolutions of perplex­ed consciences, and his awaiting fit oppor­tunities and circumstances for rendering his persuasions more prevalent, are most ex­pensive [Page 137] of time, and yet are not so abso­lutely necessary to be critically observed in Government, (where the publick Ser­vice may be promoted by other Instru­ments, if persuasions prove unsuccesful) as in private discourses, where the perso­nal advantage of the party concerned is principally intended.

§ VIII BUT then if you would be pleased to consider further, how few Parishes are so little peopled as to consist onely of 400, and how few Dioceses consist of so many Ministers that have proper and di­stinct Cures; how that usually the most eminent men for Parts and Action are, or should be, chosen Bishops, many of them upon personal regards able to per­form the work of many ordinary Mini­sters, and may well be presumed extra­ordinary, considering the great advantage for choice from the disproportion of their number, so few Bishops being to be cho­sen out of so many Ministers. If you would consider further how untrue it is, that the dispensation of discipline, even as it is practised, is managed by the Bishop alone, who has his inferiour Officers for preparing things for his cognizance, be­sides the direction of learned Lawyers for his assistance in point of counsel, (which [Page 138] is the main reason that may be pretend­ed, for proving the Government of many better than that which is Monarchical;) and for counsel in this kind the Clergie themselves are not qualified as Clergie­men, but as Lawyers, but would have much more of this assistance, according to my Book, where I have professed my self desirous, that the Bishops would more communicate the great Affairs of Government with their Clergie, which I confess I think more agreeable to the pri­mitive Form. If, I say, you had consider­ed these things, you would find Disci­pline much more practicable under a Dio­cesan, than a Secular Monarchy. And I wish you would consider whether your Arguments will not proceed with the same force; I do not say onely against those numerous Parishes of 30000 or 50000 persons, which is a greater num­ber than I believe are in some of our Irish Dioceses, especially if onely Protestants be accounted, (and yet you do not pretend a duty of separating from the communion of such Parishes, as you do from our com­munion as Diocesan; though certainly a Bishop with a multitude of Clergie, more subject to him than ordinary Curates are to their principal Parsons, is much more [Page 139] able for the Government of a Diocese, than an ordinary Minister, wanting such ad­vantages, is for the Government of such a Parish) but against Provincial and Natio­nal Classes also. For it is as impossible for every particular Elder of even a Provin­cial Class, which were often of larger ex­tent than our Dioceses, to inform him­self particularly of every person and cause to be brought before him, so as to be able to judge distinctly of their merit, as for a Diocesan Bishop. And I can perceive no­thing that may with any plausibility be pretended there, that may not with as much force be urged here.

§ IX IF it be pretended that there is a mul­titude who have their distinct Govern­ments in their respective precincts mutual­ly independent on each other, some of whom by advantage of their neighbour­hood may have opportunity of inform­ing themselves particularly of every cause belonging to their Jurisdiction. The same may be pretended here, the same number of Clergie being imployed under a Diocesan, as under a Classical Govern­ment. But it is withall clear, that a much greater number of them will, even in such Classes, prove incapable of that ad­vantage of personal information, who yet [Page 140] would not be denied their decisive vote on the testimony of others. And in all Polyarchical Governments the suffrages of the major part is as decretory as that of a single person, in that which is Monarchi­cal; so that still the Government is ma­naged without particular information. If their multitude be urged for the security of their counsel, that is had also here, especially in the Hypothesis defended by me, where Presbyters are joyned in Go­vernment with the Bishops. But with this advantage in our case, that the same security of counsel is here joyned with ex­pediteness in its decision and execution, and security from equal suffrages, the want of which do oftentimes more prejudice polyarchical Societies, than the security of their counsels do avail them. And it is plainly as impossible, if not more, for any Class, which can onely be convened oc­casionally, to execute its own Decrees with­out Delegation as for the Bishop.

§ X YOUR answers for shewing the dis­parity betwixt Civil and Ecclesiastical Go­vernment, as many of them as are true, (for all are not) do onely prove a dispa­rity on other accounts, (which is not de­nied) but not such a one as may hinder the governableness of the same multitude [Page 141] by an Ecclesiastical, and that in foro ex­teriori, (which is the onely question I am concerned in at present) which is ac­knowledged governable by a Secular Ma­gistrate. You have neither any thing of reason, nor of any positive revelation of God, which might make such a multitude less governable, by reason of some liber­ties restrained in the Church, but allowed in the Commonwealth. ‘Your 1. is, that the standing of the Magistrates office is by the Law of Nature, which therefore alloweth variety and mutations of in­feriour Orders, as there is cause. But the standing of the Clergy is by supernatural institution; our Book of Ordination telling us, that there are three Orders, &c. Whence you con­clude, that men may not alter them, or make more of the same kind.’ The force of this Answer, as far as I can ap­prehend it, seems to consist in these two things; 1. That the government of a Dio­cese cannot be administred without more than three Orders, for those three, you seem to allow from the Book of Ordinati­on; and, 2. That it is not in the power of the Church to institute new Orders be­sides the three already established, though it be in the power of the State to [Page 142] innovate as they please by reason of the disparity by you mentioned. The for­mer is so manifestly false, as that if ever Discipline were observed ever since the government of the Church was Diocesan, (which is hard to deny, since it has been Diocesan as far as Ecclesiastical History can inform us) it was under these three Orders. Nay, the Presbyterians pretend their Classical Discipline to be maintainable by one Order alone, for Deaconship they make onely a kind of civil office for dis­posing of the alms of the Church. So sufficient they account the Subordination of particular persons singly considered to the same persons, as considered collective­ly in an Assembly, without any distinction of Orders for Government. And why the President of these Presbyteries, though not of a distinct Order, as most of the Schoolmen, and many of the Episcopal Au­thors, maintain, especially those of the old Prelatists, (as your self have else­where observed) may not upon the same terms maintain Discipline, for my part I cannot understand. The ground, I be­lieve, of your mistake is, that in the ad­ministration of our Prelatick Episcopacy you have observed some other Officers of prudential Ecclesiastical Constitution, [Page 143] which are intrusted with Jurisdiction, as Deans, Archdeacons, Vicars General, Lay­chancellors, &c. which you mistake for Orders, because they have different duties in the subordination of the policy of the Church. But, 1. I do not doubt but that you know better than I can tell you, that even Diocesan Government, as Diocesan, may and has been actually administred without them in the primitive times. Some of them being of civil constitution, for administring the power of the Prince in the exteriour government of the Church, as he is [...], (that I may use the language of Constantine the Great) and all of them of prudential use, onely convenient, not simply necessary, even in the opinion of them that use them. And 2. You cannot pretend, that the addition of new Officers (though possibly unlawful upon other accounts, yet) should make the Discipline of a populous precinct less, but rather more maintainable. For cer­tainly in such a case the multitude of Offi­cers is an advantage. And let me intreat you to remember that this is the real question, not Whether Diocesan Govern­ment be constituted by God, but Whe­ther Discipline be maintainable under it. But, 3. Suppose it as inconvenient as you [Page 144] please, even for the maintainance of Di­scipline, (which I am not willing at pre­sent to digress to) nay even unlawful to be introduced by Governours; yet how can it be proved that it is lawful for Sub­jects to undertake its Reformation with­out and against the consent of Governours? And how can they be excused, even in such a case, for refusing passive obedience; for separating from them, and joyning with Parties formed in opposition to them? Which seems to be your case in separa­ting from our Communion as Diocesan, and communicating with such who have cast off their obedience, and united them­selves in a communion opposite to their ori­ginal Superiours? And, 4. You may be pleased to consider, that as we do not call all these prudential Offices Orders, so there is no reason why we should do so in the Ecclesiastical notion of the word. For not now to make use of that distinction be­twixt Order and Jurisdiction, which is generally followed by the Ancient and Modern Popish Schoolmen, that Order is circa corpus Christi mysticum, and Jurisdi­ction circa corpus Christi verum, accord­ing whereunto these offices will differ in Jurisdiction, not in Order. It is plain, that every rank of men in Ecclesiastical [Page 145] Assemblies, are not by the Presbyterians themselves accounted distinct Orders, as Scribes, Moderators, Lay-Elders, &c. But onely such as by a distinct solemn consecrati­on have a distinct power given them for the dispensation of divine graces, not to be de­prived or repealed as to its original right, though it may be restrained as to its actual execution. In which sense it is plain, that these Offices neither are, nor suppose a distinction of Orders.

§ XI BUT then for the second proposition supposed in your Answers, That the Church has not power of constituting new Orders; though I doubt not you under­stand what Conclusion may be inferred from the Doctrine of that ingenious per­son, who has professedly disproved Dr. Stillingfleet's all divine unalterable right of any certain form of Church-government, because I confess my self not to be of his mind; yet if you mean by Orders all de­putation even of Ecclesiastical persons to particular offices, executive of their gene­ral power; then I think you have no way disproved prudential Innovations in that kind. Nay, I doubt not but that it were easie to instance in all other Sects, as well as the Presbyterians, that have any face of Government, unscriptural Officers. The [Page 146] Scripture has not used the word, and therefore cannot be pretended to have condemned. Nor has the Church ever understood it in this sense, when she has owned but three or two Holy Orders. But if by Orders you mean the limited sense of the Church of that word, then I confess they are not multipliable by the Church, but conceive I have shewn the no-necessity of it in our Prelatick Diocesan Government.

§ XII YOUR second disparity is, ‘That Kingly Power requireth not, ad dispositi­onem materiae, such persnal ability as the pastoral office doth. That a child may be a King, and that it may serve turn if he be but the Head of Power, and give others commission to do all the rest of the governing work. But it is not so with a Judge, a Physician, an Orator, or a Bishop, who is not subje­ctum capax of the essence of the office without personal aptitude.’ This seems to me a plain mistake even in the judg­ment of those Nations which are govern­ed by an hereditary Monarchy, who do not suffer their Princes, whilest children, to intermeddle; I do not say in the execu­tive (which belongs not to them as abso­lute Princes) but in the decretory parts of [Page 147] their Government, (which is their Royal­ty) but oblige them to perform all by Re­gents and Protectors, till themselves come to the years of personal aptitude, in the mean time reserving them onely the honour, without the power of a King. And this sense of the necessity of personal abi­lities, as it appears from the Scripture, which accounts those Nations miserable that are under such Princes, and the na­ture of the Office it self, which is as chargable with the miscarriages of their Subjects as Ecclesiasticks, as is excellently discoursed by Socrates in Xenophon; Mon. Soci. so the avoiding such defects in regard of per­sonal Incapacity seems to be the reason of all those Nations who have made their Government elective; and even of those which are hereditary, who have excluded persons notoriously incapable, or at least so judged by them, as Fools in all places, Women in France, and even such as are judged fit in regard of natural endow­ments, till they come to be so personally. That children therefore are any where permitted the honour of Kings, is not be­cause that they think them sufficiently qualified, or that they think it convenient to stand to the hazardous contingency of their future qualifications; but that it is [Page 148] accounted a less evil so to be assured of their person, than to expose themselves to the danger of Civil Wars and Sediti­ons on that account, if it were managed by popular election. And accordingly those Nations themselves onely make those Offices hereditary, which being supreme are supposed, in the interregna, not to leave a Power sufficiently preservative of the publick peace. Otherwise they that are consistent with such a Power, are even among them Elective, as all inferi­our Magistracies. And upon these ac­counts of avoiding greater inconveniences, it is not repugnant to the Ecclesiastical Magistracy as such, to be hereditary, as appears from the High Priesthood among the Jews, which yet you will not conclude not to have required personal abilities. But still your comparison of a Prince wanting personal abilities with a Bishop having them, are not methinks to the purpose, for shewing a greater multitude to be governable by such a Prince, than such a Bishop. Nay, certainly in such a case the advantage will lie on the Bishops side, personal abilities being much more sufficient for the discharge of such a trust, than the want of them. Nor will it be sufficient for you to reply, That the de­fect [Page 149] of personal abilities in a Prince is sup­plied by the assistances of his substitute Governours, whose united aids are more considerable than the personal abilities of any single Bishop. For it will be requisite for making the comparison even, that the Bishop as well as the Prince be considered with the like assistances of Substitutes; and then the advantage will still remain as formerly on the Bishops side. For cer­tainly the Bishop having personal abilities to judge of the sufficiency of his Substi­tues, and to call them to an account in case of their default, must needs be able to perform more work than such a Prince, who must not be supposed able to assure himself of the sufficiency or honesty of his inferiour Officers.

§ XIII IF it be pretended, that Princes have power to nominate such Substitutes, but that Bishops have not; and therefore that the comparison is rightly formed betwixt Princes with their Substitutes, and Bishops singly considered; I pray remember, 1. That the question is not, Whether Bi­shops may lawfully use Substitutes, but what were possible to be performed by them in the nature of the thing. For of this kind were your Arguments from the many requisites for dealing with a single [Page 150] Soul, much more will so many Souls as are included in a Parish, and more yet for as many Parishes as are comprehended in a Diocese. These, I say, if they prove any thing, prove the impossibility of discipline in a Diocesan Government, not onely its unlawfulness; and the proving its possibi­lity not onely lawfulness, was my design in this Argument drawn from the good Government of Secular Monarchy. Now this is clearly granted me in this Answer. For if a Prince without personal abilities may yet govern a Kingdom by his Substi­tutes, much more might a Bishop with the like Substitutes, and personal abilities besides. And, 2. It is plainly the case in practice among us, for Bishops to govern their Dioceses not alone, but by the assist­ance of other Officers, besides the distinct subordinate Parochians. And to this Go­vernment as thus established, I believe you objected the impossibility of discipline. And, 3. The lawfulness of such Substitution was, you know, the thing principally debated; and therefore you ought not so confidently to have urged your sense of it as a disparity.

§ XIV YOUR third and fourth disparities are onely against Bishops substituting Laymen; which because I did not under­take [Page 151] to defend, shall not look on my self as further concerned in. Your fifth is, ‘That either it is the Bishops work that is delegated by him, or some other. If properly his own, then either he maketh more Bishops, (and that you say is all you plead for) or else a Presbyter or Lay­man may do a Bishops proper work; and then what need of a Bishop? This is an Exception so easily answered, as that I verily persuade my self, that such a Wit as yours is would have easily defended us against it, if it had been objected by ano­ther Adversary. And if I might be so bold, I would humbly beg you not to exercise your wit, in bringing needless and weak Arguments ex abundanti, but onely to insist on such as are in your own judgment convictive. For certainly if you had but cursorily reflected on this Ar­gument, you would readily have discern­ed, that this is so far from being a dispa­rity, as that indeed (if it prove any thing) it will proceed with as much force against the possibility of Secular Discipline under a Civil Government of the same extent with a Diocese. For may it not as well be urg­ed against the power of Delegation in a Prince, that either it must be his own work that is delegated by him, or some [Page 152] other? If that which is properly his own, then he must either make many Princes, (which were directly destructive to his Monarchical Government) or else he who is no Prince may do a Prince's work, and then what need of a Prince? Besides that, your pretended Contradiction will proceed with as much force here as in the Church. Consider, I pray, what you would answer in behalf of a Secular Mo­narch, and see whether it will not be equally appliable to that which is Ecclesi­astical. I believe your self would deny, that every inferiour Officer, who is delega­ted to do the Prince's work, is thereby made a Prince, seeing that though he do exert the same power, yet he does not do it adequatly (some Acts of grace being still reserved to the Prince's person incommu­nicably;) or if adequately, yet at least not independently, all other Officers being sub­ject to the supreme. For these two are the formal constitutives of a Prince's power as such; so that they who want them, how many soever of his commands are exe­cuted, or how much soever of his power is administred by them, will not therefore prove formal Princes. Besides that, up­on these Principles it may be affirmed, that though the Prince may indeed im­ploy [Page 153] others in all the Services of the Com­monwealth; yet it does not thence neces­sarily follow, that he delegates that which is properly his own work. For to do all things himself is so far from being his proper, as that it is none of his work as a Prince, but onely to take care that the supreme Officers entrusted under him do their duty, and to punish them in case of default; so that [...], or irresponsible power, is that which is proper to him, and which if it be communicated to others, must make them also Princes; and this care of obliging others to the perform­ance of their duties is so inseparable a Royalty of the Supreme Power, as that those Princes who have entrusted others with it, have been judged by all prudent persons Princes onely in name, not in effect, as Chilperick of France, Sardanapalus, &c. This proper work therefore of the Prince being reserved to himself incommunica­bly, it will plainly appear that this Depu­tation will not supersede the necessity of the supreme Monarch; and that there will be no contradiction in the case, the infe­riour Officers still remaining Subjects, not Princes, notwithstanding whatsoever De­putation that does not make them absolute and unaccountable, and unobnoxious to the [Page 154] care and cognizance of the Supreme. The Application to our present case is easily made. For when I mentioned the Dele­gation of the Bishops power to particular Parochians, I onely meant such a subordi­nate power for governing their respective Parishes, as Viceroys and Lieutenants have under Secular Monarchs for the Govern­ment of particular Provinces; but this subordinate power is so far from being the proper work of a Bishop as such, as that it would make him no Bishop to suppose it in him at all. That therefore which is proper to a Bishop as such, that is, the power of compelling the Parochians to the performance of their duties, is not com­municated to any Parochian; and when it has been communicated to any simple Presbyters, it has been counted as great an effeminacy and betraying of their pow­er, as the like case in Seculars was reputed in the Secular Princes now mentioned. For this was the occasion of the Aboliti­on of the Co-episcopi about the ninth Cen­tury, that the Bishops made use of them as pretences for their own sloth in the performance of their own duties. If therefore any thing of this kind have crept in in the later ages, I will not defend it; but onely shall desire you to remem­ber, [Page 155] that it is not pertinent to your design of making all Presbyters as such, without any such particular deputation, equal with them; and that your Arguments, if they proved any thing, are more directly le­velled against Diocesan Episcopacy as such, without any such abusive deputation.

§ XV BUT this at present may suffice to shew, that that power which is by the Bi­shops permitted to Parish Ministers, does not make them Bishops, nor make them who are so properly unnecessary; which methinks your self might easily have un­derstood, if you had but reflected on what your self know concerning its pra­ctice among us, without such dilemmatical uncertainties, which would make one think you a stranger to it. The other member of your dilemma you do not pro­secute, whether because you forgot it, or that you thought it of it self sufficiently evident, I know not; I suppose your Ar­gument would have been, that if the power delegated by the Bishop to the infe­riour Clergy were none of his own, then he could not delegate it, seeing that none can justly dispose of that which is not his own. To this the Answer is easie, from the pa­rallel power of Princes already insisted on, that this power is the Bishops the same [Page 156] way as that of inferiour Magistrates is the supreme Prince's, not to be executed by his own person, but by others obnoxious to his election and censures, which is suffici­ent to shew, that the disposal of it is his, though not the Execution.

§ XVI YOUR sixth Answer, which you call your chief one, is that which I before observed to be a Concession of all that I pretended to prove, that a Bishop with inferiour Church-rulers can govern a scope as large as a Diocese. But when in appli­cation of it to our purpose you ask, ‘Whether it follows, that our Church-Monarch can oversee them all himself, without any Suboverseers, or rule them (by Gods Word on the Conscience) without any Subrulers. I wonder that you should seem so to forget the practice of our Ministers of ruling our Parishes as Subrulers under the Bishop. It may be your meaning is, that our Parish Mini­sters were not allowed a part in the Su­preme Government of their Churches, as if that were sufficient to deny the name of proper Church-rulers. But you might have remembred, 1. That my desire was, that the Bishops, as in S. Cyprians time so now, would more communicate their affairs of any considerable importance [Page 157] with their Presbytery. And, 2. That even according to the Rubricks of our Church the Parish Minister or Curate is allowed the power, not onely of dissuading, (which yet is all that is allowed the Church by several of our Nonconforming Brethren) but also of hindering notorious ill livers and uncharitable persons from the Communi­on, onely with a provision that they sig­nifie such their proceedings to the Ordina­ry within fourteen days at the furthest, which was no more than necessary for keeping them to the notion of Sub, not principal Rulers. This quick and easie dispatch in case of the Ministers concur­rence, would make one wonder at your complaints concerning the dilatory pro­ceedings of the Ecclesiastical Courts in this affair, if the Clergy could be persuaded to be unanimous and vigorous in the per­formance of their duty. And, 3. As it is plain that there are many Subrulers under Princes, who are not of their Privy Coun­cil; so you cannot therefore conclude the Parish Ministers not to be Subrulers under the Bishop even now, because all great affairs are not originally transacted by their Council. Nay, 4. Your self con­fess Legislation it self to be communica­ted to the inferiour Clergy in the Lower [Page 158] House in Convocations, when they make Canons, which are Church-Laws. And this which is one of the highest acts of Go­vernment being communicated to them, can you yet complain of their exclusion from Government?

WHEN I described the Ecclesiastical Monarchy I spoke of,§ XVII to be such as does appropriate the decretory power of Govern­ment to it, communicating onely the exe­cutive to others, you bid me hold to that. What your meaning is thereby I do not know; for neither do you seem to per­suade me to hold to it as truth, seeing you afterwards seem to dislike it. Nor can I think that you would have me to hold to an error, that you might have advantage of disputing against me. What you ex­cept against a mere Executioner's being no Governour, might easily have been prevented, if you had considered that the word [mere] was none of mine, and that the executive power was by me opposed to that which is decretory, that is, which is absolute, and unaccountable to any Supe­riour on earth, at least within such limits. Which as it may include much more power than that which your self call more than executive, that of reproving, exhort­ing, convincing, &c. So that decretory in [Page 159] this sense can agree to a subject, I believe your selfe will hardly affirm. And indeed if you had been pleased to follow the ana­logy in the civil power, where I do not find you so scrupulous in Ecclesiastical, you would more clearly have understood my meaning, and its unconcernedness in your Exceptions. For in civils, at least the de­cretory power (from whence all Laws and Rules of proceeding are originally borrow­ed, and to which all appeals, in case of difficulty in their sense or partiality of inferiour Judges, are finally resolved) will I believe be owned by your self as proper to the supreme Magistrate. And how will you call that power of the Subject as such, that is, as depending hereon by a more proper name than that of executive (though it may withall include some­thing decretory in affairs of inferiour con­cernment, which though decretory in re­spect of their Inferiours, is yet onely executive in relation to the sense and design of their Supreme to which they are even in such cases confined) for my part I do not understand. If I knew what were more, either indeed expressive of my meaning, or likely to be understood so by you, though indeed less proper, I would rather have used it, than have given you [Page 160] occasion to leave my sense, and onely to dispute the impropriety of my expressi­ons.

BUT you pretend your Arguments to prove the Bishop ‘uncapable even of the judicial work, § XVIII (by which I suppose you mean the same that I called decreto­ry) because the exploration is part of that, which you seem to imply to be neither fit to be entrusted with others, nor yet possible to be managed by the Bishop in his own person in so large a cir­cuit as a Diocese. This Argument also would have been found false if applied to the Secular Power. For by the same rea­son you may prove, that a Prince cannot govern a Diocese, because he cannot ex­plore every particular crime committed within his Jurisdiction, which according to you he must do in his own person if he be a Judge. Consider, I pray, whether what you would answer in defence of the power of Princes, which may not be as plausibly urged in behalf of Bishops? Would you not say, that there is a two­fold judicial power; such as determines Laws and general rules of proceeding, and such as does apply them to particular facts; and that the former is that onely which reserved as the prerogative of the supreme [Page 161] power, the later onely (which is that alone which alone includes exploration particu­lar and personal) is communicated to infe­riour Officers? And you might have descerned, that the former onely was that which I called decretory, and which was by me appropriated to our Supreme Eccle­siastical Monarch, which you see does not necessarily include exploration. And even concerning that exploration which is re­quisite for pronouncing Sentence in our ordinary Secular Tribunals, you might have answered in behalf of Princes, that it is not necessary that it be so minute and ex­act as might be had from a personal ac­quaintance with the person, and observa­tion of his humour and behaviour in the course of his life; but for the Judges in­formation that is thought sufficient which is publick and juridical, upon the testimonies of honest persons, who have known the person and his fact: for upon these Evi­dences our ordinary Judges do generally proceed in sentencing such as they never saw or knew before. Nor is it onely usu­al in practice, but in reason it is thought abundantly sufficient. And, I pray, what may be the disparity that may make this just in our Secular, and unjust in our Ec­clesiastical proceedings? Is it that the [Page 162] credit of the witnesses may as well be su­spected as partial or mistaken, (even where no grounds do appear sufficiently convi­ctive of such a suspicion) as the persons themselves? Or is it that there have been frequent Experiences of their decei­ving such as have relied on their Testi­mony? And are not these difficulties as great in secular causes, where yet they are not thought considerable? For humane affairs are not capable of demonstrations, but proceed generally on onely moral cer­tainty, oftentimes onely on probabilities, which are therefore after the utmost hu­mane diligence acknowledged fallible: Yet it is thought prudent to rely even on such proofs, where the publick advantage by the decision of such causes is more considerable, than the prejudice that may redound to the person concerned by a particular mistake, when such proof is the best that the matter is capable of, or that can be had, and that its failings are more rare and unusual. And the same Reasons are as cogent for the like pro­ceedings in Ecclesiastical Courts. Or is it that some crimes are so secret, as that they cannot be juridically discovered with such Evidence as may satisfie a prudent person without personal and particular [Page 163] information? But you may remember that all crimes do not come under the cog­nizance of publick discipline, but onely such as are great and notorious, concerning which this cannot be pretended. And as Governours have thought it just and prudent in some criminal causes, to pro­ceed on conjectures and presumptions, which themselves confess harsh in some instan­ces, as judging it fitter that some few In­nocents should suffer some prejudice rather than that many guilty should escape; so in others, where the probabilities are more frequently fallible, they have rejected them, as conceiving it more just that some few Nocents should escape, rather that many Innocents should suffer. Be­sides that, where this publick Evidence does not appear, the crime cannot be so scandalous, nor consequently can the Church in such a case be so nearly con­cerned for its punishment.

INDEED in some attempts it has been found,§ XIX. that persons have used much more liberty in private for venting and propagating scandalous Reports, than when their oath has been required for publick service, by which means they have at once made the crime very scanda­lous, and yet rescued the criminal from [Page 164] justice. But then the blame of such im­punity is not to be imputed to the negli­gence of such a Judge, but the prevarica­tion of such witnesses, and therefore will not be pertinent to our purpose. And then for other less or less notorious Crimes the private power of exhorting, repro­ving, &c. (which you call more than exe­cutive, and is no more denied a Minister in his own Parish under a Diocesan, than any other Form of government) may and must prove sufficient, because no other is either convenient or possible. Or is it that the penitence of the criminal, which is requisite to his absolution, (which is equally an act of power as that of censure) cannot be so certainly known by this publick Juridical Evidence? This (be­sides that it may be as plausibly objected in Secular Causes, where personal peni­tence, at least that which is judged so, is as much required to absolution from secu­lar penalties, and where these Juridical Evidences are perfectly as fallible) will not appear so difficult as it may seem, if it be considered what kind of penitence is requisite for this Ecclesiastical Absolution? 1. Not a universal penitence for all sins, but onely those which he had been before censured for. 2. These not secret, but [Page 165] publick and notorious. For none but these can be scandalous, and none but scandalous sins do fall under publick Ecclesiastical Ju­risdiction. And, 3. Not real penitence, even for these themselves, but onely so far as it may be signified to the satisfacti­on of a prudent person by exteriour indica­tions. And, 4. These exteriour indicati­ons, not private but publick, such as pub­lick confession of the sin, and asking for­giveness for it, and giving publick satisfa­ction to the injured party and the Church, and her scandalized enemies, and all cir­cumstantiated with such pregnant evi­dences of sincerity, as may be thought sufficient probabilities of it in the judg­ment of equal prudent persons. And, 5. These publick indications, such as may satisfie even strangers, who have been scandalized with his crimes, though un­acquainted with his person. Now why a Bishop may not in this publick juridical way of proceeding explore the penitence, even of particular criminals, without per­sonal acquaintance, as well as the scanda­lized multitude, and as well as secular Judges, as you have produced none, so for my part I see no cogent Argument. And yet further, 6. Considering that it is not the personal sin, but the publick scan­dal [Page 166] of it, which brings it to a publick cog­nizance, though these signs should fail of signifying his real personal penitence; yet if they satisfie the multitude, though erroneously they take off the scandal, and therefore give a just reason of revoking such publick censares? For every cause that may be sufficient to dissuade a person, upon an account of his own interests, to abstain from communion, will not be so for depriving him of it authoritatively. For they are not all sorts of crimes that put us out of the state of grace, as they ought to be that deprive us of our right to communion; not all that can deprive us of that right, that have not Evidence enough to warrant a coercive involuntary punishment; nor all that have that Evi­dence, that are fit to be punished publick­ly, and I believe you will not question but that Excommunication is a publick pu­nishment. And thus, I believe, by this time you may understand, how that though the Bishop sentence upon other mens words, (which your self confess may perhaps sometimes be done) yet there are as good prudential preservatives against that inconvenience which you thence infer, That he must excommunicate all that some body else says he must excommunicate, [Page 167] as there are against the like in Secular Tribunals, which do confessedly sentence on other mens words, and yet do not therefore condemn all that some body saith they must condemn.

YOUR seventh Disparity is,§ XX. ‘That in the Kingdom there is not one Subject of an hundred, or many hundred, who hath Law-suits with others once in a year, or seven years, or his life; not one of some hundreds where you have lived, that findeth the Magistrate work as a criminal, &c. But we are all of a sinning corrupt disposition, and that the Pastor hath few of his flock that need not some personal Applications in one degree or other. And even as to gross sins lived in, and ignorance, or heresie against the very essence of Christianity, it is a good Parish, where a considerable part of it are not guilty.’ To this it is easie to reply, That though the case were as you have represented it, that men were, not onely where you have li­ved, but generally more guilty of crimes obnoxious to Ecclesiastical than Secular cognizance; yet it would not follow, that more were governable by a Secular than by an Ecclesiastical Magistrate; 1. Because I have already shewn, That [Page 168] there are even in the same precincts very many more persons, if not crimes, subject to the Magistrate than the Church, as In­fidels, Excommunicated persons, and such as are incorrigible by Ecclesiastical censures, &c. Besides those who are religious, who are not the less subject to the Magi­strate for their being Members of the Church. And, 2. There are many other ends of government besides the punishment of criminals, such as are the prevention of the crimes, the promotion of unanimity and industry, and publick generous de­signs, and the determination of disputable controversies, wherein good and well-mean­ing men may bonâfide differ from each other, and the like. They must as well build as take away the rubbish. And there­fore there is a government where there are no crimes, over the Angels and beatifi­ed Spirits. But especially among men, where crimes are at least acknowledged possible, the prevention of crimes may be a work of no less diligence than their re­formation. And, 3. The freedom of good men from these more ordinary scandalous crimes, (which I perceive you to instance in) though it may less frequently exer­cise the secular power; yet where it does, it will most dangerously. For, 1. Virtue [Page 169] raises the spirits of men, and makes them active and industrious, that they may satisfie themselves of their usefulness in their generations. Whereas, on the contrary, Vice does emasculate mens spi­rits, and make them slothful and sluggish, and lovers of their own ease, and more unfit for commotions. And, 2. Virtue makes men publick spirited, whereas Vice does debase them to private and little Interests. So that the Adversaries of these are onely such ordinarily as may oppose them in their limited and particular de­signs, and therefore onely private per­sons; but these having the same object with the publick Magistrate, that is, the publick concernment, must more directly clash with him in case of different persuasi­on. And, 3. The very authority of Virtue with the multitude, (who cannot but re­verence it in others, how little soever they practise it themselves) cannot chuse but very much advantage virtuous persons for the forming of a party more than such as are vicious, who, though they may be flattered and loved by such as are gainers by their vices, yet cannot in prudence be thought so fit for management of their publick concernments, even by vicious per­sons themselves, who act upon princi­ples [Page 170] of worldly prudence, as they who are more honoured, and publick-spirited, and honest and sincere, and so every way as well more fit, as more able for the dis­charge of a publick trust. And, 4. The onely curbs of the Supreme Powers, whe­ther of rewards or punishments, are less regarded by virtuous than vicious per­sons, and therefore must needs be less able to restrain them. For how can he who undervalues Death and Fear, and all deprivation of exteriors, be governed by any humane power? Besides, 5. The great courage, and that not precipitant but ra­tional, which animates good men to the susception of great Attempts, from the satisfaction of their own consciences, and their strong confidence of the present assistance or future rewards of God, of which wicked men are wholly destitute. These considerations, I say, and many others, may suffice to shew, that the mistakes of good men are of more mischievous influ­ence on the Commonwealth, than the crimes of debauched persons, and therefore far from diminishing the care of the su­preme Magistrate. And accordingly you may find the most virtuous ages of the Romans more troublesom for popular Broils and Seditions, than those later [Page 171] ones of wickedness. Witness the almost perpetual clashings betwixt the Senate and the People, the popular envies against their Hero's, Coriolanus, Camillus, Scipio Africanus, &c. But, 4. Though the ge­nerality of people were actually every where as little troublesom to the Magi­strate, as where you have known them (which I doubt you can hardly undertake for;) yet you must not thence estimate the qualifications and duty of a Magistrate. For as none would think it prudent for a person putting to Sea in a calm, to choose a Pilot sufficient onely for that season, but unprovided for a Storm; so certainly a Magistrate ought to be prepar'd and qualifi­ed with abilities for governing a crimi­nal and unquiet people, even then when he lies under the actual obligation for ex­ercising them, especially considering it as a case so very ordinary, and so probably to be expected. If therefore a Bishop may not undertake the charge of a Dio­cese, because impossible to be performed by him; I may as well by the same points of reason conclude, that a Magistrate may not take that of a Province or Kingdom, even when in the good humour you sup­pose them, because he must not in pru­dence venture on that, unless he be prepa­red [Page 172] for them when vicious, which you suppose impossible, and therefore unfit to be engaged on. And, 5. You do not propose the case with any equality; for if you would do so, you should not com­pare a Prince governing a regular people and a Bishop with an irregular scanda­lous Diocese, but have supposed the Sub­jects in both cases regular, or in both ir­regular. And if you will needs suppose in favour of the Prince, that his Subjects are as little criminal in his Courts, as you have found them where you have been acquainted, to shew the possibility of his governing such a people, though in a large precinct; why can you not suppose in fa­vour of the Bishop, that the Subjects of his Diocese behave themselves as innocently in reference to crimes obnoxious to the publick cognizance of his Courts? Is it either because that even persons so sup­posed equally innocent in relation to the charges of both Courts, are yet more diffi­cultly governable by an Ecclesiastical than a Secular Magistrate? This is not as much as pretended, I am confident, not as much as plausibly proved, in your pre­sent Discourse. Or is it that the Suppo­sition it self in relation to Ecclesiastical crimes is more difficult, it being more [Page 173] rare and improbable to find a people inno­cent in crimes of publick Ecclesiastical, than Secular cognizance? If this later be your meaning, I doubt neither of the reasons intimated by you will maintain you in it. Not that of your own experience; for I believe you would have found those good persons of your acquaintance as little troublesom to the Bishops, as the King's Courts, as little guilty of incestuous Mar­riages, forging Wills and Testaments, Si­mony, &c. as of any acts of secular inju­stice. And as for the other concerning our propensity to actual, deduced from the original, sin; you have not as yet proved this propensity greater to Ecclesiastical than Secular crimes. But it is rather pro­bable, that as the crimes cognoscible in the Ecclesiastical Courts are generally more heinous, so they are more easily avoidable. If you have any inclination to think so, for preventing it I pray re­member what I have already intimated, that they are not all sorts of sins against God that are cognoscible in the Bishops Courts, but onely such as are great, and scandalous, and notorious. And then con­sider whether it be not as easie to suppose a people innocent of great, and scandalous, and notorious sins against God and Reli­gion, [Page 174] as of injustice towards Men. For this indeed will be the true state of the question. 2. Therefore it will not be so easily proved, that the crimes cognosci­ble in the Secular Courts are so few, in comparison of those that are Ecclesiastical. This I have already proved before, and am not willing to repeat what I have there said. At present methinks your own Concessions, if closely reflected on, would have prevented your pretending otherwise. For, besides that those mul­titudes of persons guilty of crimes ob­noxious to the Bishops Courts, (which I have said every impenitent sinner is not, and have given my reason why I said so) are I doubt guilty of many more civil crimes, for which I shall onely appeal to your own experience; I pray consider how many of the crimes cognoscible in the Bishops Courts are originally civil, as those concerning Marriages, Wills and Testaments, Tithes. &c. which are mere arbitrary concessions of Princes in favour of the Church, as protected by them. And the rest that are not, yet come un­der the Princes cognizance, as the Churches Canons are made Laws of the Common­wealth, and her Censures are seconded by coercive secular penalties imposed by [Page 175] the Prince on such as have proved refra­ctory against her Spiritual Authority. Upon which account it is impossible but that the Secular causes must needs prove more numerous, as including all Ecclesia­sticals, and many proper to themselves be­sides. So that this Disparity is every way unconvictive of your purpose. For if you mean those persons who are so innocent of secular crimes, to be different from those who are supposed so very guilty of Ecclesiasticals, then there can be no just disparity pretended, because there is indeed no equal comparison. But if you mean the same persons in both cases, then the Disparity cannot be pretended true, because the Supposition is false.

BUT you object in favour of me,§ XXI. ‘That the Parish-priest is to reprove, ex­hort, and convince [sinners] first, till he prove them impenitent; and that he is to instruct the Ignorant, Infidels, and Hereticks; (which must needs consi­derably lessen the number of criminals, who onely in case of their convicted im­penitency in the use of these means, should be further impleaded in that severer way of proceeding in the Bishops Courts.) To this you answer. 1. That this is more than an executive power. If it be so, I do not know [Page 176] any that denies it you, so that you have no reason that I know of to complain on that account. None hinders you from reproving, exhorting, convincing, and in­structing whom you please, especially such as are intrusted to you as Members of your cure. But I am sure this is not more than that executive power, which I said was communicated to the inferiour Clergie, in opposition to that which I cal­led decretory, reserved to our Ecclesiastical Monarch; for I believe you will not call this power of reproving, exhorting, &c. de­cretory. I believe you meant a power merely executive. But you may remem­ber, that that was neither my word nor meaning; nor do I for my part think this power mentioned by you to be more than that which were merely executive. My reason you will suddenly under­stand.

SECONDLY,§ XXII. therefore you an­swer, That you desire no more at all from Bishops or any. If so, you need not de­sire it, for none denies it you. But you say, ‘You know no other Episcopal power over the people, but thus personally to convince men, and to declare to the con­gregation upon proof, the fitness or un­fitness of men for their communion by [Page 177] penitence or impenitence. If you know no other power than this, you know none at all. For this power of convin­cing men will as well agree to the mean­est Laick who has reason on his side, as the greatest Bishop; seeing either of them may convince if furnished with such rea­son, but neither can without it. And yet sure you will not say, that the mean­est Laick has any power over him whom he may thus convince, at least not cohe­rently to your own principles, who in opposition to our Lay-chancellours make Jurisdiction inseparable from Orders. So also if the power of Excommunication be no more than declaring a person unfit for the communion of the congregation as be­ing impenitent, and Absolution be a de­claration of his fitness for such communi­on as a penitent; then every prosecutor of a criminal, every witness produced against him, every prudent skilful Canonist, every Laick that is sufficiently informed of the sense of the Law and matter of fact, may as well excommunicate as the Bishop or the Presbytery. For every such skilful person may know the fitness or unfitness of such a person for communion, and knowing it may declare his knowledge with the rea­sons of it; and upon such declaration the [Page 178] people may, if they pleafe, do as he would have them, either communicate with, or separate from such a person. For indeed no declaration of it self formally and precisely understood is obligatory, but as it is a promulgation of that which antece­dently has a just obligative power, In actu primo, yet is not in actu secundo obligato­ry quoad nos till we know it. As though the King and Parliament have a power of making Laws, and therefore what has passed all their Votes, in the first moment when it has done so, is immediately a Law; yet it is not in actu secundo obliga­tory on the Subject, so as that its violation by him does incur the annexed penalty till it be legally promulged. Yet so it is, on the contray, that this legal promulgation it self, that is, such a promulgation as is performed by the person authorized by Law, with all the requisite circumstances, cannot make any thing really obligatory, that has not formerly been decreed by the Legislative Power. Unless therefore there be in the Church a power antece­dent to such declaration, the declaration can make none, seeing every one may declare his own sense as well as the Governour; and declaration does onely make that obli­gatory quoad nos, which was so in se ante­cedently. [Page 179] I did not before charge you with any of those pernicious Doctrines to Church Authority taxed in my Preface, and am sorry now you give me so just oc­casion to do it. It may be I may misun­derstand you, and shall be very glad to acknowledge my mistake when you shall call it one.

AND I beseech you,§ XXIII who have so publickly professed your self a Friend to publick peace, and an Enemy to Church-divisions, to consider whether those dispa­raging Doctrines concerning the power of the Church be not Seminaries of infinite and eternal Schisms. For if the Church have no other power but persuasive and de­clarative, then he who either actually per­suaded of the equity of her particular im­positions, or at least pretends it, may freely remonstrate against them, and re­fuse obedience to them, and cannot be re­strained frm seditious behaviour by Ex­communication, unless at least the greater part of Communicants be satisfied, and pro­fess themselves to be so, that it is their duty, not in obedience to their Superiours, but on account of the particular reason­ableness of the thing, to withdraw them­selves from his communion. And even then it self, if he can persuade a few to [Page 180] his Party he may upon these principles, without any scruple of conscience erect a new communion for himself. For indeed what can hinder him when government, which is the principle of unity in all So­cieties, is thus deprived of all other awe of conscience to oblige him to obedience, distinct from his particular satisfaction of the reasonableness of the things; or of any coercive means of his restraint, be his cause never so bad, and his dissatisfa­ction never so onely pretended? And when the unity of the Catholick Church is thus made to depend on so hazardous and rarely-contingent a condition, as the per­suasion of its many thousand members, of infinite interests and capacities, of the rea­sonableness of every particular indifferent or probable Constitution, who can ever secure it for so long a time, as the Govern­ment of the Church was designed for by him, who first did constitute it? I know for prevention of these inconveniences you would have Governours cautious in de­termining any thing but what is clear and necessary. And for my part I wish it so too, that for matters of belief (it not be­ing in Subjects minds to believe what they please) they would determine no­thing but what were very evident, and [Page 181] even for matters indifferent, that they would neither determine more of them than were needful, nor such of them as were not convenient in the circumstances, and suitable to the dispositions of the age of their determination, nor be too te­nacious in maintaining them when their inconveniences should be found greater than their advantage. Though I confess withall, that it were in prudence much safer, to make any such change by their own free Election, than to seem necessita­ted to it by mutinous and seditious Re­monstrances of their Subjects, such a com­pliance being of greater consequential prejudice to government, and consequent­ly to Ecclesiastical Unity, than a maintain­ance of a thing indifferent, though incon­venient. But withall you know, that Unanimity even in things indifferent (much more in matters of Faith) is in general and indefinitely necessary, though not particularly determined in the Scrip­ture; that this unanimous observance of things of such a nature is not morally possible by the particular conviction of every Subject of their fitness; that there­fore there is no security for their unani­mous observance but that of authority, and no authority so proper as that which [Page 182] is Ecclesiastical; that when it is so impo­sed, it is an instance of obedience to the authority imposing; that being so, what­ever it may be in its own nature, it can­not still remain indifferent as to its use, seeing it is not indifferent whether Sub­jects ought to be obedient to their lawful Sovereigns. And therefore methinks it would become you in healing Church-divisions, to take a care of preserving as well the Prerogatives of Governours, as the Christian Liberty of Subjects, seeing extremes on both sides are alike prejudicial to Ecclesiastical Unity. Indeed I confess many of our first Reformers not to have been so cautions herein as the Interest of the Church would have required, who feel­ing themselves oppressed by a Tyrannical Ecclesiastical Power, and being extremely exasperated by their violent and rigorous proceedings, were almost onely sollici­tous about Negatives, never satisfying themselves with any reasonable retrench­ments of such exorbitancies; onely shew­ing how far Ecclesiastical Power might not presume, but not how far it might pro­ceed. And they were then the more ex­cusable for not proceeding to such posi­tives, because the ends of such Ecclesia­stical Power, the preserrvation of unity [Page 183] both in faith and practice were then more easily attainable without the Interpositi­on of the exercise of such a power. For their first zeal against the common Ad­versary will oblige them in prudence to conceal their lesser Animosities, and the danger of weakening themselves, whose united strengths were no more than ne­cessary for their common preservation, which was a mischief so great and immi­nent, as might make many less, at least comparatively, tolerable, and might keep them from being so dogmatical in impo­sing or opposing Opinions of inferiour concern. And for matters of practice, the zele of their first beginnings, and the watchful eyes of their Adversaries for ob­serving their lapses, and the great use of good personal Lives for the propagation of their opinions, made them at first less sensible of the loss of Discipline, whilest upon these accounts they performed those things of themselves, which Discipline should have compelled them to, as far as Ecclesiastical Censures might compel them, that is, as far they valued the opinion of so many wise and good men, and as far as they feared the loss of the ordinary means of grace, and those dangers they were exposed to when cast out of that Society, [Page 184] which could alone entitle them to the Di­vine Protection, and all the terrours that are signified in their delivery to Satan, I am necessitated to interpose this Explica­tion of the compulsion of Ecclesiastical Disci­pline, because I see you otherwise apt enough to misunderstand me. And even for the observation of things indifferent, the very great opinion they had entertain­ed for some of the first Reformers, and the little leisure for reflection on their own condition, when they were so di­verted by their heats against the common Adversary, and the little willingness they had to dissent, at least to make a breach, for little things, from them whom they loved so dearly, for their unanimity in their common and greatest cencern, coa­gulated the multitude in a willing observa­tion even of indifferent punctilio's.

YET we find those Hero's themselves complain of this defect.§ XXIV Our Church of England wishes that Discipline might be restored in her Commination, a sign that she was sensible of its want and necessity; and Luther commends it among the Bo­hemians, and wishes also that it were re­stored among his own; and the want of positive constitutions in this kind seems to have been the greatest scandal to Eras­mus, [Page 185] to alienate him from the Protestants, to whom he had formerly been well af­fected. But Bullinger and Gualther do, as I remember, in their Epistles to Erastus, confess their Helvetian Churches to have no other discipline than what was exerci­sed by the Civil Magistrate. But when upon a defervescency of their first zele, and a liberty occasioned by their great successes against the common Adversary, men at length got the leisure to enquire with the same freedom into the Do­ctrines of the Reformers, as the Reformers themselves had into those of the then ex­tant Ecclesiastical Governours, and so di­vert that zele which had been enkindled and heated in the prosecution of the com­mon cause against each other, in the pro­secution of their own private sentiments; and when they grew more remiss in the care of their lives, and began by degrees to take advantage of their freedom from their former yoke of Ecclesiastical Govern­ours, and to relapse into their former disso­luteness, and to be curious and critical in inquiring into the merit of every Ecclesia­stical observance, and to make themselves Judges of the expediency as well as law­fulness of things confessedly indifferent, and not to content themselves with their [Page 186] own thoughts, but to discountenance their dissenting Brethren, and to divide the Church, and to disrespect their Superiours, who in later times were not held in that great veneration as their predecessors; then at length at Geneva, and other places that were swayed by the authority of Calvin, it was found as well in prudence, upon ac­count of its experienced reasonableness and use; as in duty, upon account of its Institution in the Scriptures, necessary to revive Ecclesiastical Power, that might for future Ages prevent and restrain the exor­bitancies of men abusing their liberty, and secure the peace of the Church. And what­ever they had before disputed against their Adversaries, prejudicial to Ecclesia­stical Power in general, it is plain that the authority which that very wise and pru­dent person thought necessary for the pre­servation of peace and piety in the Church, is more than persuasive and declaratory, even coercive of persons otherwise persua­ded. I shall not mention those excesses which I believe you will not approve, their encroachments on the Regal Autho­rity in Scotland, and the burning of Ser­vetus and Gentilis at Geneva, and the Book written by Beza to justifie that action. It is very plain that the Presby­ries, [Page 187] where ever they have been set up, have exercised a power coercive, whether in defining Heresies, or censuring prophane or refractory disobedient persons. And if Calvin found the necessity of this coer­cive power then, I am sure, as our experi­ence since his time is much greater, so we have found much reason to approve the truth of what he onely foresaw. For all the later Sects have prevailed on the con­cessions of the former. And by the same reason, as the first Presbyterians, who broke the peace of the Church, thought themselves to be excused, because they professed themselves unsatisfied with the Churches persuasions to her Impositions; so every later Sect has pretended the same against the Presbyterians. And as long as there is any unanimous observance of the Church, that is not particularly ex­pressed in the Scripture, at least not clear­ly, with that evidence which may be pre­sumed sufficient to satisfie every well-mean­ing person as well as our selves, (which I doubt will be found as long as such a thing as communion with the Church as a body politick is owned, that is, as long as it is not dissolved into mere Enthusiasm) we shall never be secure of the communi­on) not onely of pretended, but really dissa­tisfied [Page 188] pious persons. And till you make a power in the Church coercive of mens practice, as well as a belief of Fundamen­tals, a requisite condition to unity; I fear you will never be able to reach what you are so zealously and commendably at­tempting, the Cure of our Church-divi­sions.

BUT that which makes me most of all wonder is,§ XXV that you should pretend that this persuasive declarative power is de­nied to Parish Ministers; and the reason you give for it seems to me more parado­xical: ‘That the Minister can have no access to the guilty by their own wills, and that there is no law nor penalty that you know of to constrain any to come to you, or receive you, to hear or an­swer you.’ Here one would think that you did approve of coercive means, as ne­cessary for doing good to those that are unwilling to be persuaded. For if you did not, why should you blame our Diocesan Discipline for not allowing you that which you would not have allowed? But presently after you take occasion from these coercive means, ‘which you con­fess are used among us, to inveigh against us, as if our Prelatick Christian Profession were onely to choose rather [Page 189] to be Christians and communicate, than to lie in Gaol, and have all our Estates confiscate.’ One would think that you were desirous to find Objections against us, when thus almost at the same time you blame us for having that, which immediately before you blamed us for wanting. For the difference is not (as one would think) from the most candid interpretation of your words, That you would have such guilty persons forced to con­fer with you, but not to profess themselves Christians, and communicate without your leave: for you afterwards profess simply, that you would have no force at all. Be­sides, what force is it that you mean? is it that exteriour one of laws and corporal penalties? (this your words seem plainly to imply.) This you know does not be­long to the Church, but the civil Magi­strates power circa sacra, who is therefore to be blamed for it, and not the Church, if it be a crime, and some body must needs bear the blame. Or are they the spiritual coercions of the Church? I know none of that kind but Excommunication, which is of no force with those who do not va­lue the advantage of communion; and they who do, need not to be forced to confer with their Minister. Besides that, [Page 190] your self know and have confessed, that the power of Suspension of unworthy persons from the Sacrament is allowed to the Parish Minister even in our Church, so that even in that case he has his reme­dy in his own hand, as far as it can be proved expedient that he should under a Monarchical Government. But methinks your description of a Prelatick Christian is very harsh, and (though for my part I am resolved to take nothing ill, because I verily believe, not onely by this Letter, but your other publick writings, that the heat of your style, and the extraordinary expedition you make use of, not allowing your self time for second thoughts, do transport you to such expressions, as your serious reflections would not approve; yet) would, to other less favourable Judges of your good meaning, rather tend to ex­asperate than cure those divisions, for which you are justly so much concerned. And besides your own acknowledgment of many good Prelatick Christians on other occasions, ‘you cannot be ignorant, that many of them have been Christians of that which you call the old profession, that is, [have been Christians, and held communion with the Church, though they have gone to prison and death for [Page 191] it]’ not onely in Queen Maries days, but even in your own memory in England and Ireland, when their being so has brought sufferings on them, not rescued them from them. So that I do not un­derstand why you should stigmatize them with the name of Prelatical.

INDEED if you could shew,§ XXVI that it was rather the extraordinary good influences of God, and their own good in­clinations, that made them voluntarily good, against their worldly interests, not­withstanding their malignant principles, which of themselves would have made them otherwise; I confess your com­mendable inclination to speak of things as they are might have excused the rigour of such expressions. But, 1. You cannot but know that these exterior compulsions have not been proper to Prelatists, but common to all those that have owned such a thing as discipline, Presbyterians as well as Papists; so that there is no rea­son to appropriate to such Christians as are made so by coercive discipline the invidi­ous name of Prelatical. And, 2. You have not, and I believe you cannot, prove that such external force must needs of it self make Prelatists dissemblers: 1. Be­cause all that are of themselves good, will [Page 192] not need such force, this being onely a se­condary reserve for reducing such as are desperate, as to that power which alone you allow the Church, that is, of persuasi­on, none being this way compelled, but they who cannot be persuaded. And cer­tainly for such persons it is at least a less evil to profess themselves Christians, though dissemblingly, than not so much as to profess themselves so, both in re­gard of the honour which is done Religi­on even in professing it, and the edification of others, who may be moved by their example, and that they are by this means taken from the sins of open hostilities against the truth. And, 2. You must not presently condemn all of dissimulation, who are brought to a sense of their duty by fear. Otherwise you will condemn all the penal laws of the Commonwealth, as tending to make their Subjects dissem­blingly loyal, and all Gods providential crosses and menaces of hell, as tending ra­ther to make men profess themselves Christians rather than be damned, &c. For frequent experience cannot but have informed you, who are so very experien­ced, that the fear of Man, as well as of God, has to many proved the beginning of true wisdom; that good Christians have [Page 193] found more occasion to bless God for their crosses than their consolations; that the terrible vengeance of God against sin­ners, even in this life, under the Old Te­stament, was a great restraint to that hard-hearted people, to deterr them from their sins, and to reduce them to solid real piety, whom we find less efficaciously moved to their duty by any other means. For I pray consider, 3. That this dissimu­lation which you seem to suppose to be the ordinary consequent of exterior compul­sion, cannot indeed have any place but up­on these conditions; that, 1. The sufferer do believe his cause to be good; and, 2. That such belief be grounded on conscientious motives, (whether really or apparently con­scientious I now dispute not, seeing the person must act according to the evidence of his own conscience, however really errone­ous, after he has used his best endeavours for its information;) and, 3. That this persuasion of his conscience be unalter­able; or at least, 4. That such exteriour compulsion be neither a means nor a pro­bable occasion to make men alter their opi­nions, atleast not to make good and con­scientious persons to alter, at least not or­dinarily; so that it be presumed, that the multitude of goodmen cannot be altered up­on [Page 194] such terms, and therefore that if the multitude do, they cannot be generally presumed to do it on just and conscien­tious motives; and yet, 5. That, not­withstanding his being persuaded as for­merly, he be by his exterior compulsion wrought on to make an unveracious ex­teriour profession.

NOW to shew briefly that none of these hold,§ XXVII. at least not all of them, which is requisite for your purpose; I must pre­mise, 1. That the design of this kind of discourse against these coercive means, if it be to hinder them, must be to persuade them in whose power they are, that is, the Church or the Magistrate, that their practice were sinful to them. That, 2. Nothing can be imputably sinful to Go­vernours, but what either does or may, in the use of their utmost moral diligence, appear to them to be so. So that it is not your opinion of the sinfulness of such coer­cion, that can prove it sinful to them, un­less they be of the same mind, or neglect the moral means of information, which if you suppose the case evident, you must presume such as would infallibly bring them to be so. 3. Therefore what are the real thoughts of Governours, and whe­ther they have made use of the means of [Page 195] information with integrity and diligence, none can for their own satisfaction (which is principally to be taken notice of in or­der to the imputableness of sin) judge of so well as themselves. Nor, 4. Can we better be assured of their sense herein than by their word, unless it be by the evidence of the thing. It is not there­fore every proof that may seem satisfacto­ry to our selves, that may warrant our presumption of their sense, unless it be such as is thought cognoscible by them, and whose evidence is presumed inevitable up­on a sincere examination. And, 5. It is not sufficient as to the matter in hand, that it appear that some persons have in­deed been made hypocrites for fear of this exterior coercion, but it must further be shewn that its natural tendency is to do so, or at least that it is its most usual con­sequent. And, 6. That it is an occasion of their hypocrisie by virtue of it self, not of the disposition of the Subject. For the sins that are derived from the disposition of the Subject, they that give the immediate occasions are not responsible for. Other­wise when the wicked turn Gods grace into wantonness, and those things which should have been for their good into the occasions of falling, and the word preached turns to [Page 196] be the savour of death unto death to its unworthy hearers, and the blessed Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper to its unworthy receivers; you might conclude God, who gives those abused favours, to be the pro­per occasion of the abusers sin. And (be­cause there are some who will with less scruple grant of God, that he is, the de­signer of his creatures sins, than they would grant it concerning any good men) S. Paul had been the culpable occasion of the perjury of those conspirators, who had sworn not to eat untill they had killed him, onely by making use of just means for his own preservation. And these you may ea­sily believe to be the thoughts of Govern­ours, concerning those whom they are pleased to prosecute for their opinions. That they do as seriously believe, that the reasons which satisfie themselves, are as sufficient to satisfie all others, that use their moral diligence for finding satisfa­ction, as the sufferers believe it concern­ing their own reasons, that they are suffi­cient to satisfie their Governours; and therefore that such dissenting hypocritical Subjects are as faulty in not using their di­ligence in the use of the means, if they find not actual satisfaction, as such Sub­jects believe the same concerning their [Page 197] Governours. And, 7. That this personal hypocrisie of such dissembling persons is a greater inconvenience to the publick, than the toleration of their seditious behaviour. For as it is certain that Governours no more than other good Christians, may de­sign any sin for any good whatsoever; so it will not be easily disproved either by reason or authority of Casuists, that they may design that from whence they know a sin will necessarily follow, for the avoidal of a greater both inconvenience and sin, such as is sedition in respect of hypocrisie. For though it be unlawful to choose any evil where it may be avoided; yet it is not so when two occurr, whereof at least one is inevitable, to make choice of the less be­fore the greater. And now upon these supposals it were easie to shew, from these conditions of dissimulation, that either there were no necessity that the sufferers under these coercive means must needs dissemble; or if there were, yet at least not such as would make it imputable as sin to Governours; or if it were a sin to them absolutely, yet not such under such a streightned election.

BUT I must avoid prolixity,§ XXVIII. and therefore at present shall onely briefly make Application to the forementioned [Page 198] conditions of dissimulation. 1. Therefore it is not necessary that every sufferer for his opinions must believe his cause to be good; for there are bad as well as good of all much received opinions, that maintain them not upon account of their truth, but because they are themselves factiously di­sposed, and love contradiction, especially to Superiours, (a humour such people of the vulgar are usually too much addicted to) or affect popularity or singularity, or promise themselves some great advanta­ges by publick Innovations and Distur­bances, or engage in a party out of kind­ness to their Friends that are concerned in it. Much less, 2. Is it necessary that eve­ry one who does indeed believe his own Opinion true, must do it upon Motives, so much as apparently conscientious. For education and custom, and the authority of a person respected, or a vainglorious ostentation of his own Wit, or the shame of being mistaken or convicted, may at first incline many to defend Opinions for­tuitously taken up, and afterwards the love of their own arguments may delude many to believe what they have once asserted. And God knows whether the vulgar of most Opinions be not acted thus, whatever pretences they make of consci­ence, [Page 199] (for custom may go very far in ma­king men abhor unusual, innocent, or commendable things as prophane and pi­acular, as appeared in the Experiment of Darius Hystaspis in Herodotus, who found the Scythian to pretend as much conscience for eating, as the Grecian for burying his dead Relations.) And we have reason to believe, if of too many, whom we find the most zealous maintainers of opi­nions controverted, and yet the most neg­ligent practisers of such as are undoubted, which certainly would not be, if Gods sake, or conscience, or a sense of their own duty, were the reasons inducing them to believe them. Now these Deductions being made, the number of conscientious Dissenters would I doubt be generally found the smaller. And it is a general and just rule of publick proceedings, not to forbear that which may generally do good, though it may prove inconvenient and prejudicial in some rarer Instances. Nor would these coercive means oblige these Dissenters upon Motives not conscientious to dissimulation or hypocrisie. But even for those fewer truly conscientious Dissenters which would remain, it is not necessary, 3. That if they have been of a different Opinion, they should persevere in it unal­terably. [Page 200] And as their minds may alter at any time, so as well when they are prosecuted for their Opinions as other­wise, in which case their conversion may be veracious. And possibly the number even of good converts, even upon such an occasion, would be more, if they did not some of them, for fear of being censured as time-servers, not allow the contrary Opinion the same favour of an equal hear­ing, when it is countenanced by Autho­rity as otherwise, or at least not express their sentiments so freely and ingenuou­sly; not heeding that hereby instead of courage and constancy, they onely choose their conquerour, being more awed by the persecution of the tongue than of the sword. Nor, 4. Is it true, that this coercion is not a probable means of bringing even good men to a conscientious change of their Opini­ons. For, 1. It is of it self likely to allay that tumour and rigour of spirit, to which even good men themselves are frequently betrayed by prosperity, which does usually alienate them from all sober thoughts of accommodation, and even of sober and im­partial inquiry. And I believe you who have so well studied the peace of the Church, do very well understand, that in very many things mens spirits, are at a [Page 201] greater distance than their principles, in all which for making peace it is sufficient to make men peaceable. Indeed for a while such a way of proceeding may ra­ther exasperate than calm them; but by that time that the strangness of it is over, and the sudden tumour has evaporated and spent it self, they are at length redu­ced to a more composed temper. And I be­lieve your own experience, which is great in the late and present posture of Affairs, cannot but let you understand the much greater moderation of those Presbyterians of your temper and acquaintance now than formerly. For it is natural for men, as well in wars of opinions as of swords, when they have wearied themselves with fighting to desire peace. And, 2. As this coercion brings good men themselves to this more sedate and candid temper, which makes them more competent Jud­ges of rational discourses; so it usually ob­liges them to a more faithful and accurate inquiry than formerly. For good men can no more than others endure afflictions willingly and patiently, unless they be ani­mated by the goodness of the cause, and that they cannot so well satisfie them­selves of, without an impartial inquiry into its merits. Besides that good men [Page 202] themselves, and that reasonably enough are unwilling to suffer, unless it be indeed necessary for the preservation of their more momentous interests, and therefore are willing to admit of any satisfactory favourable construction of their duty, that may dispense with such severe perform­ances, which cannot be attained but by a more close inquiry into the merit of the thing, and the nature of the Obligation. And hence it follows, 3. That they must upon prudential, and yet just and rational accounts, be favourably enclined to the Opinions of their prosecutors, as far as any favour may be just and conscientious. And this may do much for determing them in all such cases, as are not either very evi­dent or very momentous; and such not ve­ry many would be found on a severe exa­mination. And, 4. Affliction does very much quicken good mens consciences, to approve themselves to God when they are destitute of humane consolations. And this also may exceedingly contribute to a conscientious change, when by this they are freed from those carnal prejudices, which before had blinded or diverted them from a clear discovery, and are ex­cited to a greater industry in the inquiry of means, and obliged to a greater sinceri­ty [Page 203] in following conviction, when they consider how much their greatest Inter­ests are concerned in it, and how vain it is to hope to escape his discovery in case of negligence or dissimulations, who is the immediate Lord of conscience. Upon all these accounts therefore Governours, who are to be presumed to believe their own Opinions true, may justly believe exter­nal coercion to be a means of reducing others to them, conscientious as well as such as are not. But, 5. Though you might with more plausibility pretend, that dissimulation would indeed be the or­dinary consequent of coercive means alone, they being alone no rational arguments for working a conscientious change; yet when they are not designed as the princi­pal arguments inviting to such a change, but merely as dispositions to prepare and qualifie the persons for receiving conscien­tious arguments, the case will be clearly otherwise. Now this I believe you do already know to be the case with us. Be­sides what coercive means may have been pretended, the means of information are freely communicated to any that desires them. Our Books are extant, our learn­ed men and Parish Ministers are freely to be consulted with; and why these may [Page 204] not ordinarily be presumed likely to make a conscientious change, onely be­cause people are necessitated to use them, I do not understand. And, 6. The case is not such as you have proposed it. None was obliged to be Christian rather than go to Gaol, &c. I believe you cannot instance any Law lately in use, that obli­ged people to profess any thing not be­lieved by them. All I think that can be pretended was to restrain persons, not from the publick profession, nor from the private practice of their Opinions; but onely from practising them in publick or great assemblies, that might create suspi­cion to the State. Otherwise I know no­thing restrictive of those persons you are concerned for, from being commonly known to be such as they were. And I pray, what necessity is there then of dissi­mulation? The onely Canon of that kind that I can think of, is that of communica­ting once a year at Easter, the exacting whereof whether by infliction of Civil or Ecclesiastical penalties, whether of Non-conformists, or even Conformists them­selves, has been at least where I have been, so generally neglected, that I do not know any reason you have to complain of it. For any other coercive means for [Page 205] compelling Dissenters to communicate with us, I know none that have been ri­gorously executed to my knowledge in Ireland. What has been done in England your self know better, and therefore I shall very willingly leave you to your own information, wherein I hope you will be ingenuous. Yet, 7. Suppose that coercive means were not for the good of the persons concerned, but did indeed make them Prelatical Christians, as you call them, that is, dissemblers; this were not sufficient to shew that they are there­fore not to be used, if their punishment and dissimulation it self may prove for the ad­vantage of the publick. For you know that Governours are not to heed private advantages any otherwise, than in sub­ordination and coincidency with the pub­lick, and that even in civil affairs there are some few punishments imposed, which are known to be utterly inconsistent with the civil interests of the party punished, (and their civil interests are properly ob­noxious to the care of Governours) for such are all that are capital, especially such of them as are withall rigorous and painful. For in publick punishments there are other ends more considerable than private emen­dation, namely the prevention of future [Page 206] offences from the same person, and the terror of others by his example. Nor is this way of proceeding blamed by any just (however favourable) Judge of such things, when personal emendation has been first attempted, and no criminals are sub­jected to such censures, but such as have been found, in the use of all other pru­dential rational means, incorrigible. To such it is not thought any more cruelty to be severe for the good of the Commonwealth, than it is for a Chirurgeon to cut off a gan­greened member for the preservation of its owners life. And such is the design of the Church, who is not for using even her spiritual coercions (which onely be­long to her) but onely on such persons on whom her rational inducements have proved desperate and succesless.

BUT notwithstanding your former contrary intimations you say,§ XXIX ‘You de­sire no force nor Church power; but not to take these, 1. for Christians; 2. for your special Christian flock; 1. who are no Christians; 2. who themselves re­fuse it. But this power you desire here is more than that which alone was al­lowed by you to Bishops, of reproving, ex­horting, instructing, and declaring persons fitness or unfitness for communion by their [Page 207] penitence or impenitence. For what if your people believe those penitent whom you think impenitent, or on the contra­ry? What if they be not satisfied with your Declarations, or resolved not to ob­serve them? What if at least the great­er part, which is always predominant in popular Governments, be not of your opi­nion? Would you think your self obli­ged in such a case to make your peoples opinion or your own, the rule of your pra­ctice in receiving or rejecting persons from your communion? If you follow your people, then you are as capable of being imposed on against your will, (for receiving such persons for Christians, and for part of your Christian flock, who are no Christians, and who themselves refuse it) by them as you are now by the Bishop. And it does not appear that the greater part of your flock (especially if such as you describe, whereof whole Parishes have been presented by the Churchwardens) are likely to stand with you in opposition to your Bishop. And if they stand for him against you, you can have no reason to ob­trude your own judgment and complain, according to this principle? But if not­withstanding their dissent from you, you yet resolve to follow your own judgment, [Page 208] in receiving or rejecting according to your own thoughts of the penitence or im­penitence of the person obnoxious to your Discipline; then you will indeed be so far from desiring no Church power, as that you would desire more than you seem willing to grant the Bishops, which is onely declarative. And then if you may as a Governour impose on the people, why may not the Bishop as your Govern­our impose on you? Indeed there can be no such thing as Government without such an Imposition as you speak of. For the reason of all Government is the ine­quality of mens Judgment in their own causes, and the inconvenience of deciding their differences by force, which is many times the greatest on the unjust side. The design therefore of all Government is to entrust a third person or society, supposed impartial to the litigant parties, with a power sufficient to compel either of them to submit to her decision. For seeing it is not ordinarily to be expected, that dif­ferences should be decided by a persuasion of both parties of the equity of decisions, but that both parties will frequently prove tenacious of their own Opinions; therefore it is necessary that the guilty, whatever he be, who will seldom believe [Page 209] his own condemnation just, be imposed on; and such an Imposition being thus thought necessary, common prudence will suggest, that it is much more equal and secure for the party imposed on, that he be imposed on by the common arbitrator of their differences than by his partially affected adversary. And accordingly where there is no need of imposition there is none of government, and the seat of go­vernment is finally resolved on them, who have this power of imposing their own sentiments on others; so that to deny Ministers this power over the peo­ple, or the Bishops over the Ministers, is to make neither the one nor the other properly Governours. Besides, the pow­er of Excommunication and Absolution (which you seem to mean in this your complaint, that the independent use of them is not communicated to the Mini­sters) are so incommunicably proper to the supreme governour, (who, as having the power of a Society, must also have that of admitting to, and rejecting mem­bers from it) as that it were impossible for him to give an account of his charge, if others may admit and reject at pleasure without dependence on him. So that to complain of being imposed on in this kind, [Page 210] is indeed in effect to complain of the Bi­shops superiority over you. And if this reason were of any force, it would pro­ceed as much against the Presbyterian go­vernment as the Episcopal, for even among them the Minister may as well be over­voted, and consequently overruled, by the Classes, as with us by the Bishops. So inseparable this power of imposing on Parish Ministers is found from Govern­ment, as that is indeed admitted by all them who own a Government superiour to single Parishes?

BUT,§ XXX. I pray, quo jure do you chal­lenge this Parochial power of Excommu­nication and Absolution independent on your Ordinaries? I shall at present give you leave to say, (not because that I think you can prove it, but because I am unwilling at present to dispute it) that Presbyters were not onely counsellors, but coordinate governours with the Bishop. But how can you shew the least likely­hood that the Bishop had not at least a negative vote among them? That as he could not do any thing without their suffrages, so they were able to conclude any thing without his? Much less are you able to prove, that every particular Presbyter, singly taken, ever had within [Page 211] his own Jurisdiction the power of deter­mining so momentous a thing as Ecclesia­stical censures. Whereever you find any Presidents over Presbyteries in the Scrip­tures, whether Apostles, or Evangelists, or Angels, you cannot find any Precedent of any thing carried by the major vote against the consent of the President, as at least one of the prevailing number. And for the Ignatian Episcopacy and so down­wards to S. Cyprian, which you seem to approve, it is very plain that all the pow­er of Presbyters was dependent on the Bishop. Thus Ignatius (in his genuine uninterpolated Epistle to the Ephesians) [...].Edit. Vs­ser. p. 3. And that that [...] is the Communi­on of the Bishop, appears from the sequel, whence he concludes, [...]. whence you may easily guess what he would have thought of Presbyters com­municating in opposition to the Bishop, that even such Communions being with­out the altar, must needs have been de­stitute of the bread of God. To the same purpose also the same blessed Martyr ad­vises even Presbyters not to despise the youth of Damas the Bishop of the Magne­sians, Ep. ad Magn. p. 11. [...], [Page 212] (the word [...] translated apposite­ly to the sense of this place, familiariter uti, seems to argue a greater distance than you would I believe think consist­ent with the parity you are so desirous of) [...] (observe I pray again the word [...] re­verence) [...], (hence it appears that Presbyters as well as others are concerned in this his Ex­hortation) [...], (this is the [...] so much dispu­ted of, the youthfulness of their Bishops person, not the novelty of the Institution of his Order, for it was that youthful­ness which they were likely to take advan­tage of, which is the notion of [...]. You see here that even Presbyters are not to take ad­vantage even of a youthful Bishop, either for presuming on too much familiarity with him, or denying him the reverence due to his Order, though in a youthful person. That they are to yield to him, [Page 213] or rather to Jesus Christ, whose person is represented by him, (and sure you would not think much to be imposed on by Jesus Christ.) That this duty is to be paid without all hypocrisie to the Bishop for Gods sake, whom it is impossible to deceive. That hearkning to him (for that is the notion of [...], which in the Hellenistick style then in use, is the same with obedience) is part of that. And that the disrespect to him in any of these duties, redounds to the dishonour of God, for whose sake he is to be ho­noured. And now I pray consider how you can reconcile herewith your desired liberty of excommunicating without his privity or consent. Immediately after he blames them who give their Bishop the honour of an empty name, and yet do all things without his privity, and expresly censures them as [...], men of no good consciences, [...] Where, besides the co­herence formerly noted, it is plain, that even Presbyters also are included, be­cause he speaks of Assemblies, which could not be celebrated without some act of priestly power. And if such Assem­blies be not according to the command, nor the rules of good conscience, how [Page 214] your proceedings without the consent or privity of your Bishop can be excusable I do not understand. In the Epistle ad Tral­lian. after having enjoyned respect to all the three Orders, he concludes, [...],p. 17. whence you may easily conclude his thoughts concerning such Assemblies, which are maintained without one of them, that is of Episco­pacy, as they must needs be who take upon them to act independently on their Bishop. So in the Epistle to the Phila­delphians, he says expresly that as many as are on Gods part and Jesus Christ, [...],p. 28. by which you may see what he would have thought of those who should have joyned with any Presbyter, exercising an Authority differ­ent from, and independent on, that of the Bishop. Nay, he confidently char­ges them, not as from his own private sense, but inspiration, (and those extra­ordinary [...] had not as yet failed in his time) [...], and after teaches that God gives remission of sin to them that are penitent, onely on that condition,p. 30. [...], which if it be so, how can the Absolutions of Presbyters at­tempted without the consent of their [Page 215] Bishop be valid? But what can be more clear against your Independency of Parish Ministers in the exercise of disci­pline, than that excellent passage in the Epistle to the Smyrnaeans; p. 36. [...]. And a little after; [...] So again; [...]. You see how expresly all persons (Pres­byters themselves not excepted) are forbidden to meddle in Ecclesiasticals without order from the Bishop. You see what Ecclesiasticals he means by his enumeration of the particulars, not onely Baptism and the Feasts of Love, but the very Eucharist. You see how clearly he disowns the validity of that Eucharist which is not received either from the Bishop himself, or some person authori­zed by him. Which both may serve to let you see, that even Presbyters them­selves are included, seeing your self do not allow the power of admitting to communion Laicks or Deacons, though au­thorized; [Page 216] and that the power you seem to challenge of communicating whom you please, without the Bishops Licence is again censured as invalid, as a dishonour of God, nay as a service of the Devil, which would have been thought harsh and passi­onate expressions, if the Age he lived in, before the starting of our modern Con­troversies, had not put him beyond any just or probable suspicions of partiality.

I HAVE the rather insisted on the Testimony of this blessed Martyr,§ XXXI because you seem to seem to have been willing to have condescended to the Ignation Epi­scopacy, and were therefore concerned, because in my Catalogue of the ancient Writers, I said Ignatius was decretory against the Presbyterians. I might have descended lower, because you said you would have yield to the Episcopacy practised in S. Cyprians time, to shew that this liberty you desire, of admitting to, or excluding from, your flock whom you please, was not even in those Ages allowed to bare Presbyters. At present I shall onely note a passage or two, be­cause I am desirous of hastening. Bap­tism therefore, which has always been thought to require less power than the Lords Supper, De Bap­tism. c. 17 was not in Tertullians time permitted to Deacons nor Priests them­selves, [Page 217] without the Authority of their Bishop. These are his words; Dandi quidem (viz. Baptismi) habet jus summus sacerdos, qui est Episcopus. Dehinc Pres­byteri & Diaconi, non tamen sine Episcopi authoritate, propter Ecclesiae honorem. Quo salvo, salva pax est, &c. Exactly herein agreeing with Ignatius. Ep. 75. apud S. Cyprian. p. 182. ed. Pamel. And the same seems to have been the sense and pra­ctice of the Asiatick Churches in the time of Firmilian, who, though indeed he mention the majores natu praesides (under which word, according to the use of that Age, I confess Presbyters may be included) as having the power of Bapti­zing, Imposition of hands, in reconciling penitents especially, and of Ordination, which we do not deny them; yet he seems to intimate their dependence on the Bishop in the administration of that power which properly belonged to them, which is all that we desire. For thus he afterwards expresly asserts the power of remission of sins, (either in Baptism or Absolution of Penitents, as appears from the occasion of the Dispute concerning the validity of both among the Here­ticks) to have been given to the Apo­stles,p. 184. & Ecclesiis quas illi à Christo missi con­stituerunt, & EPISCOPIS qui eis [Page 218] dinatione vicariâ successerunt. Where it is to be observed, 1. That no exclusive particle be expressed, yet it must necessa­rily be understood from the whole design of his Discourse, which is to exclude the Baptism of Hereticks from being remissive of sins, because the power of remitting sins is not granted to them, which would not follow unless all which had that pow­er conferred on them, had been adequat­ly enumerated by him. And, 2. That by the Churches here mentioned cannot be understood a Society contradistinct from the Bishops. For I believe you can­not produce a precedent of that age, where the word is taken for the other Clergie; so that there are onely two other Senses that I can think of reduci­ble to this purpose; either for the Laity, and that your self I believe will not think intelligible here, that the power of remit­ting sins by Baptism, or otherwise, does agree to them; or for the complex of both the Laity and the Body of the Cler­gie, in contradistinction to the Bishop. And to this his proof of the power of remitting sins given to the Apostles, being also given to the Church in this contradi­stinct sense, must have been impertinent­ly urged from its being given to the [Page 219] Apostles, seeing that the Church in the Apostles time must have been as contradi­stinct from the Apostles, as the later Chur­ches from their respective Bishops. By the word Churches therefore are onely meant Orthodox Societies, including Bi­shops as well as other members; whence it will follow, that the Church is onely therefore said to have this power, because the Bishops have it; and therefore that no Ecclesiastical Member can have it inde­pendently on them. 3. Therefore that by the word Bishops, to whom this power of remitting sins is given, to which all other Ecclesiastical Power is consequent, Presby­ters are not included; will appear pro­bable, if you consider, 1. That though the word Presbyter and Sacerdos be attri­buted to Bishops properly so called, yet at least in that age I believe you will hard­ly find that a simple Presbyter is called Episcopus. Blondell himself I think will not furnish you with an Instance. And, 2. That these Bishops are such as are cal­led Successors of the Apostles. And that by these Successors of the Apostles, single persons are understood in the language of that age, appears in that when they prove Succession from the Apostles, they do it by catalogues of single persons, as [Page 220] those in Irenaeus, Tertullian, &c. and that Bishops in the confined sense are so fre­quently said to be Successors of the Apo­stles, which is not said of simple Presby­ters. See S. Cyprian ep. 42, 65, 69. and the Author de Aleatoribus, with many others usually produced in the Disputes concerning Episcopacy.

AND then for the sense of S. Cypri­an, § XXXII. he was as resolute in vindicating his own right, as condescending in his practice. He it is that asserts the unaccountableness of the Episcopal Office to any under God; In Concil. Carthag. init. that makes the Church in the Bishop, as well as the Bishop in the Church; Ep. 4. ad Cornel. that charges the contempt of the Bishop as the original of all Schism and Heresie, and parallels it with the Sin of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram; that spares not even Presbyters themselves, when presuming to act without his order, but puts them in mind of his being their Superiour, and charges them with rebellion, when they took that liberty you desire of acting arbitra­rily and independently. Instances of all these kinds might have been produced, if I were not afraid of being too tedeous, These things may at present suffice to shew, that the liberty you desire of ad­mitting or rejecting whom you please from your own flock, is not more unrea­sonable [Page 221] than dissonant from the practice of those Ages for which you profess a reve­rence. Nor do I understand your design in the use of that liberty you desire. If it be that you would have those whom you think unworthy of your flock excluded from your cure; that is as improper as if a Physician should desire to be excused from visiting those who are most dange­rously, though not desperately, sick. Cer­tainly the contrary would rather follow, that as they need most, so they should have most of your care. It is our Savi­ours own saying, that the whole need not a physician, but the sick; that is, at least not comparatively: and generally his greatest pains and favours were extended to those who had least deserved them. Nor is their unwillingness to deal with you in affairs of this nature a sufficient reason to exempt them from your Cure; for this unwillingness it self is a most considerable ingredient in their distemper, and that which makes them most truly pitiable, and it would be as great a piece of inhumanity for the spiritual as the corporal Physician, to desert them on that pretence, I am sure very different from the behaviour of Christ and his Apostles, who found the World generally as much prejudiced [Page 222] against and unwilling to hear, them con­cerning affairs of that nature, as you can with any probability presume concerning a Christian Auditory. If your meaning be, not to be excused from the use of all other good means for their recovery, but onely from admitting them to the blessed Sacrament, which ought to be the privilege of such as are already deserving; I pray consider, 1. Whether though you deny them to be Christians, yet their very Bap­tism and exterior profession of Christianity, be not at least sufficient to entitle them to exterior privileges, if on their own peril they will venture on them; and that Sa­cramental privileges are but exteriour. They are invited to the marriage feast, and none may exclude them if they come, though it is at their own hazard if they presume to do so without the marriage gar­ment. And, 2. That this does at least hold till they be convicted and censured by their due Superiour, and you know it is questioned whether you, as a private Presbyter, ought to have that power. But, 3. That you have a power of suspend­ing refractory persons till you acquaint the Bishop, and with him you have that power of convincing and persuading, which seems as much as your self desire, so that [Page 223] even upon this account you have no rea­son to complain.

MY second Argument was from expe­rience even in Ecclesiasticals; § XXXIII to which you answer, that ‘It's hard then to know any thing, and that you dispute all this while as if the question were, Whe­ther men in England speak English; that therefore if you herein erre, you profess your self incurable, and allow me to de­spair of you.’ If I had disputed from present experience in England, I should have confessed your Answer proper, that I had endeavour'd to conquer your sense and experience, as you elsewhere express it. But I wonder how you could understand me so, considering that our present want of discipline was the reason of my desire of its revival, whence you took the occasi­on of these Disputes. My meaning was, that in the primitive times, when Bishops were indeed laborious and conscientious, and were willing and desirous to do what they could do, experience shewed that di­scipline was actually maintained under such a Diocesan Government; and there­fore I concluded, that the multitude of per­sons governed was not the reason of our present neglects. And what is it that is scrupled in this Discourse, or need put [Page 224] you to those unequal resolutions of being uncurable? Is it whether the number of Christians in Dioceses were equal then with what we have now? This was proved in my former Letter. Or that the Bishop then challenged the same pow­er over the Presbytery as now? This I have but lately proved. Or that disci­pline was then maintained. This I do not find that you deny. Nay certainly your self thought discipline maintainable under it, when you professed your self ready to yield to such an Episcopacy. Or that what was then performed by the same Government, is still performable, if men would be the same? The admissi­on of this would not oblige you to questi­on your self or experience. Nor indeed is any thing of this kind concerning anti­quity as notorious to you, as what men do at present in England.

FOR proving the great multitudes then subject to Diocesan Discipline I said,§ XXXIV ‘That the greatness of no City was thought sufficient to multiply Bishops. To this you answer, 1. That Gods Insti­tution was, that every Church have a Bishop, for which you quote Acts 14. 23. &c.’ But, 1. The place you refer me to has no mention of a Divine Institu­tion; [Page 225] for Apostolical practice is not a suffi­cient proof of that, and this is all which is so much as intimated in this place. 2. It does not as much as mention the word Bishop, but that of Presbyter. And though the words were granted to have been then confounded; yet you know they were so afterwards when the things were certainly distinct. And therefore you cannot conclude from the word Presbyter, that a Bishop was meant, espe­cially in the sense wherein it was after­wards appropriated. Nor, 3. Is it evi­dent that by [...] is meant a single Presbyter in every particu­lar Church, as in a Parish; but it may as well be meant of Presbyteries as Presby­ters. And when afterwards the Presi­dency of a single Monarch was introduced, no Churches and Presbyteries but such as had Bishops, and were Diocesan in the sense we now understand the word. And if they were Presbyteries, you cannot hence disprove the presidency of one over the rest, as we find it soon after practi­sed. Nor, 4. Is it evident that by [...] must needs be meant a Parish, as it con­cerns you to believe. For the word Church is as applicable to great as small Societies, and the great ones may as well [Page 226] be called one in their kind, though they be capable of a further subdivision into many Churches of smaller denomination. Thus the Catholick Church is called one in the Constantinopolitan Creed, though con­sisting of many national, and the Church of England but one national Church, though consisting of two Provincial; and the Province of Canterbury but one Provincial Church, though consisting of several Dio­cesan; and every Diocese but one Dioce­san Church, though consisting of several Parishes. And even in the Scripture there are several notions of the word of different proportions. There are the [...], and there are the two or three gathered in the name of Christ, which from the coherence, and the Jewish noti­ons of Assemblies, seem to make up a Church, Exhort. Cast. and accordingly Tertullian calls an Assembly of two or three a Church, though consisting onely of Laicks. And yet these Churches are so little serviceable to your purpose, as that I believe you would not be for confining a private Presbyter to so small a cure, I am sure they are much beneath those populous Parishes which you do not seem to disapprove. Suppo­sing therefore I should grant you, that every distinct Church should have a di­stinct [Page 227] Bishop; yet how will you prove with the least plausibility, that this Church must be understood of a Parochial one, that the multitude of Bishops may answer that of Parishes? Especially con­sidering that the notion of the word for a Parochial Church will not be so easily de­duced from Scripture, as that for a Dio­cese. For thus much the Independents, I think, do prove sufficiently, that a whole Church in those times did generally meet in one place; but they fail in proving di­stinction of Churches in Cities, though ne­ver so great and populous, which two put together do plainly amount to our noti­on, not of a Parochial, but Diocesan Church, there appearing no footsteps in those times of any Subdivisions allotted to particular Presbyters. Besides, if we may believe the [...] here parallel with those [...], Tit. l. 5. as in all likelyhood they are; then a Church will be that which will extend to the Li­berties of a whole City. And because you find no mention of distinct Presbyters for Villages recommended to Titus's care it seems very probable that they were suffi­ciently provided for by those of the City, and therefore that they had some depend­ence on them. That the name of Chur­ches [Page 228] was attributed first to Cities, see proved by the Excellent Dr. Stilling fleet, Iren. p. 2. c. 7. § 2, 4.

FOR that the Apostles did take care even for Villages we have the express Te­stimony of S. Clemens Romanus, § XXXV. (that [...]) if these words be un­derstood as commonly they are.p. 54. edit. Junii. But I confess it does not seem to me so clear, that by [...] here is understood those Country Villages, which are obnoxious to the Jurisdiction of the City; but rather Regiones, as it is translated, not as Rome and Constantinople were divided into their Regiones answerable to our Wards, but as it may in a larger sense signifie whole Provinces, under which many Cities might be comprehended (my Reasons I would give if I were not unwilling to digress;) much less am I satisfied with Blondell's Conjecture, who conceives it to relate to the Chorepiscopi, and thence concludes that they were not originally subject to the City Bishop. For though [...] were indeed taken in the sense he is concerned it should be; yet there is no necessity that it should be referred to [...], as if distinct Bishops had been [Page 229] imposed over them from those of the Ci­ties to which they were related, but may conveniently enough be joyned with [...], to signifie their preaching in the Villages as well as Cities, and their election of fit persons from both for Bi­shops and Deacons, to be disposed of where they thought convenient. However it were, it seems very probable that the Apostles, as they planted Christianity first in Cities, so they seemed to have settled the Government there first; and as they generally left the Villages to be convert­ed by excursions from the Cities, so it seems most credible, that the influences of the Government must have followed that of the propagation of their Doctrine. Certainly the [...] menti­oned by Ignatius, in his Inscription of his Epistle to the Romans, over which the Church of Rome is said [...], cannot in the narrowest exposition choose but include a Precinct as large as our ordina­ry Dioceses. But, 5. Supposing all had been as you would have them, that it had been enjoyned by the Apostles, that every Parochial Church should have a di­stinct Bishop; yet how can you prove that it was an Injunction of an immutable and eternally-obliging nature, (as it is clear that [Page 230] some, that of abstaining from bloud, Acts 15. was not.) For if they be not, you ought not to urge them to the prejudice of superinduced Constitutions. But lastly, all that you can hence pretend for your purpose is onely, that the having onely one Bishop in the appropriated sense in a Diocese, was not conformable to the sense of the Apostles. But it does not thence follow, that discipline is not maintaina­ble under such a Government, which was the onely thing for whose proof I produced it. You answer, 2. ‘That a particular Church was a Society of neigh­bour Christians convened in personal communion for Gods worship. I confess per­sonal communion was generally practised with the Bishop, but I have proved it to be of whole Cities, and such great Assem­blies as could not be served by a single per­son, (without the assistance of a Presbyte­ry, which the Bishop had for his help;) and therefore could not be Parochial in the sense of the word now commonly used. If you thinke otherwise, when you prove it I may then, and not till then, be concerned to think of a further Answer.

YOU answer 3. ‘That for 250 years you think I cannot prove,§ XXXVI that any one [Page 231] Bishop in the world (save at Alexan­dria and Rome) had more such congre­gations and altars than one; nor there for a long time after the Apostles, nor in many Churches for some hundred years longer.’ The is the same mistake as before, to think them answerable to our Parishes, who did then all communicate at one altar; whereas indeed the fame circuit and number of Inhabitants, who had first been governed by the Bishop and his Presbytery in common, no particular Presbyter having nay proper portion assigned him, but by the provisional com­mands of the Bishop, was afterwards di­stributed into parts proportionable to the number of the Presbytery, that so every one might know his own work. And I pray, what essential difference is there be­twixt the same Presbyteries, as acting in common as they did at first with the Bi­shop; and distributed into several divisions as they are now, unless it be that this la­ter is more convenient? And if the Bi­shop was major universis when they acted in conjunction with him; why must he be minor singulis, or at least aequalis, when dispersed to their several distinct Imploy­ments? If all of them when united might not attempt any thing without his [Page 232] consent and privity; why must each of them be allowed that liberty when depri­ved of their united forces? And if disci­pline was maintainable by them, when by acting in common they were more remote from particular exploration; why should it not be much more so when none is in­vited to be negligent by trusting to ano­ther, as men are apt to do in cases of com­mon concernment, and when each of them has a task proportionable to his own abilities? But, 2. Suppose that this subdivision of the Diocese into Parishes, (which is all that you can pretend to have been attempted at Rome and Ale­xandria, for by this means it fell out by accident, that there were several altars under the Jurisdiction of the same Bi­shop) had not answered the primitive ex­ample, nay had been a culpable, not a law­ful prudential Innovation; yet will you say that discipline was not maintained, when it was actually (however upon other accounts) culpably introduced? If you grant it was, that is sufficient for my purpose, to shew that the experience of those times has evinced the possibility of discipline under a Diocesan Government, and therefore that it is practicable even now if men would but endeavour it. If [Page 233] you say it was not, you must then charge the most celebrated Churches in the purest earliest Ages with want of discipline. For in Rome the first division into Titles (an­swerable to our Parishes) is attributed to Pope Euaristus, Under Domitian in the year 83, according to Eury­chius. (who came into his See Anno Dom. 112.) by the Author de Vit. Pontif. commonly ascribed to Damasus. For afterwards in the two Epistles of Pius (which are of better repute with Blon­dell than the others that bear his Name) to Justus Viennens. we find mention of two Titles then newly established by Eu­prepia and the Pastor; so that I think this division there (if we may trust these Authors for it; and if we may not, you will have no ground of charging the Ro­mans of those Ages with plurality of Al­tars more than in other places) will ap­pear to have been as soon as they had any settled places to meet in. For before that their meetings seem to have been ambu­latory and uncertain; sometimes in the Temple, sometimes in the [...], some­times in secret places, particularly in the Coemeteria, (for of some of these may the passages of 1 Cor. 11. and the ancient Author of Philopatris in Trajan's time, who bears the name of Lucian, be un­derstood) and then it was not so conve­nient [Page 234] to subdivide into Parishes, when there were not any settled places peculi­arly designed and convenient for Paro­chial Assemblies. Upon which account there will be no reason that the necessi­tous examples of the former Age should prejudge against the prudence and con­veniences of this. But the Titles men­tioned by Pius, as left by Legacy, seem to have been perpetually alienated to the use of the Church, and therefore fitter for this purpose. Which if it be suppo­sed, then the antiquity of divers Altars in the same Diocese will be equal with Churches and Parishes which you do not condemn, and as ancient as they could be with any tolerable convenience, and you cannot blame them for being no soo­ner. And sure you will not deny, that even then, and a long while after, disci­pline was maintained among the Roma­nists themselves. If you do, you must contradict all the histories of that Age, which mention the Martyrdoms of their Bishops of those Ages, together with ve­ry many of their other Clergy and Laity for several Successions;Tertul. and the great Elogies of Tertullian and S. Cyprian, Praescr. and the confident Appeals to the Roman Church as well as others,Iren. l. 3. adv. Hoer. for the Asserti­on [Page 235] on of Apostolical Tradition, used frequent­ly by the Fathers against the Hereticks; whereas a sensible decay in discipline would have weakened their credit even in Doctrinals. And for the other Instance of Alexandria, the first mention that we find of a subdivision there is in the time of Arius, who is said to have been Presbyter of a Church called Baucalis, upon which occasion Epiphanius tells us, [...] (so it is to be read) [...]. Epiphan. Haeres. 69. N. 1. Vide etiam Hae­res. 68. N. 4. That the Churches of the Catholick Communion in Alexandria, under the Jurisdiction of the same Archbishop, had their par­ticular Presbyters assigned them, for the Ecclesiastical necessities of the Inhabi­tants, which divisions were by the Alexandrians, according to the cu­stom of their Country, called [...]. But it is not mentioned as an Innovation in or near his time, and therefore is in all probability to be presumed much more ancient. And if the custom of the eldest Presbyters succeeding in order to the Episcopacy, was in Alexandria, (where it seems observed as a special custom) pra­ctised from the Apostles time to Hera­clas, (who was Scholar to Origen) as [Page 236] S. Hierom and Eutychius say it was, and there ceased at S. Hierom seems to inti­mate, then it would be very probable that this subdivision into [...] was in­troduced at least before that time of He­raclas; because some reliques of that pra­ctice remained even in Arius his time, whose place as Presbyter of Baucalis is made next to the Bishop. Act. Concil. Nicen. l. 2. c. 1. (So Gelasius Cy­ricenus speaking concerning Alexander, [...].) Whence also the relation in Nicephorus Calistus of the quarrel of Arius with one Baucalus, being the first and second Pres­byters of that Church of Alexandria, which is given as an occasion of his Heresie; a story very probably raised by occasion of his mistaking Baucalis the name of his Parish for the name of a Man, who is made second because Arius was known to be the first. For this Precedeny of Arius is no way probable to have been because of his longer standing in his office of Pres­bytery, seeing Alexander is said expresly to have given him it, who was the first that made him Presbyter, for he was one­ly made Deacon by Achillas the Prede­cessor of Alexander. Now Alexander himself is by Baronius thought to have succeeded Achillas in the Year 311, and if [Page 237] he be mistaken, seems rather to erre in placing him too soon after Peter, and the difference betwixt him and Arius arose about the Year 315, not above four years after, too small a time to make him in course the senior Presbyter. This Prece­dency therefore seems to be upon ac­count of his Parish, which at the first distribution had in all probability been allotted to that Presbyter, who had been senior in due course of standing, which therefore seems to have been introduced whilest that seniority was observed, that is, at least before the time of Heraclas.

AND how long before Heraclas his time this distinction might have been in­troduced you cannot tell;§ XXXVII. yet I believe you will hardly say, I am sure much more hardly prove, that discipline failed there in the time of Heraclas, or for a long time after.Apud Eu­seb. l. 4. c. 40, 41. l. 7. 10, 11. After Heraclas, how much the Church of Alexandria and himself parti­cularly suffered for Christianity, you have fully related by his Successor Dionysius in Eusebius, in the time of Decius and Vale­rian; and how severe they were in their Fasts, appears from the Canonical Epistle of that same Dionysius to Basilides, besides his other penitential Treatise now lost. What the Alexandrians also suffered in [Page 238] the most bloudy Persecution of Dioclesi­an, [...]. 8. c. 10, 12, 13. you may find in the same Eusebius, and particularly in Thebais, (which by the Nicene Canon establishing the [...] we find to have been influenced by the Alexandrian Discipline) the number of Martyrs was so great as to denominate a famous Epocha, which those Countries observe to this day, called the Annus Martyrum or Dioclesiani. Which severi­ty is by so much the more remarkable, because it followed an intervall of rest, which usually corrupts that discipline which is onely voluntary, and unseconded by good Laws. I need not mention the Martyrdom of their Bishop S. Peter in this Persecution; his very severe Canoni­cal Epistle is sufficient to shew how rigo­rous discipline was then practised, when in the heigth of persecution such severe Penances against lapsed persons were not judged unseasonable to be exercised on such persons, over whom they had no coercive power, but the obligation of the Penitents conscience. I might have pro­ceeded to have shewn the same severity still maintained in that City, (which you so particularly reflect on as unworthy to be made a precedent) during the Prelacy of Alexander and the great Athanasius, [Page 239] from the great Elogies given to those ex­cellent Prelates by the Fathers, and the courage shewn by them, in ejecting and keeping out Arius, and the very slight Exceptions urged by the Arians their Enemies against them, especially in the several Synods convened in the cause of Athanasius. Euseb. l. 9. c. 8. But for evincing the general severity of the Lives of Christians, that memorable Example of their great dili­gence in providing for those who had been formerly their severest Persecutors, in the great Plague and Famine which immediately followed the Persecution of Dioclesian, and venturing many of their own lives in the service, when they had been deserted by their nearest Friends, may be an illustrious evidence. Besides the Controversie betwixt S. Pet. of Alexandria and Meletius, Epiph. the occasion of the Meletian Schism,Haeres. 68. N. 3. shews how generally the Alexan­drians were affected to discipline. For when S. Pet. though severe enough against lapsed persons, as appears by his foremen­tioned Epistle, yet thought it a necessary Indulgence to admit Penitents to Commu­nion during the Persecution, even Priests as well as others, that they might be the better animated to new occasions of suf­ferings; Meletius opposed it, and was [Page 240] followed by much the greater part of the Clergie. Nor ought you to conclude, that the like subdivision was not introdu­ced into other Churches, because we have no Records attesting it to have been so, seeing there is so little extant of the Hi­stories of those earlier Centuries, much less any thing so minute and particular in de­scribing the Customs of particular Chur­ches, as that it would be safe to argue negatively, from their omission of a custom to conclude that there was none. For my design, it is sufficient that the anci­ent Dioceses had as many Presbyters, be­sides other Clergie requisite to rule them, in conjunction with the Bishop, as are now thought sufficient, since their distri­bution into particular Parishes; besides the Chorepiscopi and the Clergie under them, all subject to the Government of the City Bishop. Which is enough to shew, that the charge of a Diocese was as great then as now, and much beyond what you would have it, the abilities of a particu­lar person without Parochial Subrulers.

4. YOU say,§ XXXVIII. ‘At Antioch (the third Patriarchate) Ignatius professeth that every Church had one Altar, and one Bishop with his Presbyters and Deacons, Fellow-servants.)’ If you mean every [Page 241] Church at Antioch, as if that or any other City in that time, had more than one Bi­shop presiding over a Presbytery; that is more than you will find in Ignatius, or any Authentick Writer of that time. But if you mean at Antioch as a Patriar­chate, that is, within that circuit which was afterwards subject to the Bishop of Antioch as a Patriarch, including the whole Oriental Diocese, there were many Cities that had in them but one Altar with one Bishop and his Clergie, that I have already granted probable; but have withall shewn how little it will advan­tage your Cause, or prejudice mine, and I am not desirous to trouble you with Re­petition. The name of Fellow-servants I doubt you misunderstand; it is indeed true if related to God, that persons of all Orders in the Church are his Fellow-ser­vants; but if you mean it (as I doubt you do) that they are Servants coequal among themselves, that is clearly against the whole current of Ignatius his Epistles, and against the supposition of their being distinct Orders; and, I believe, against your own opinion concerning Priests and Deacons, whom I think you will not say to be thus coequal. But for what you add further, (as if you had it out of the same [Page 242] Ignatius, though indeed you have not scored it as you did the former part) ‘That in this one Church the Bishop must enquire The place intended is I be­lieve Ep. ad. Polycrap. [...], &c. p. 139. Ed. Vsser. all by name, even Servant Men and Maids, and see that they absented not them­selves from the Church; whence you ask, Why is not Ignatius. confuted if he erred? and refer me to Mr. Mede on the point.’ I am confident that you will find no such thing in Ignatius or Mr. Mede that will need confuting. For this inquiry by name need not have been performed by perso­nal visitation of them, but by Schedules delivered to him by his subordinate Cler­gie, which if any of our Bishops would do, I should be so far from offering to confute, as that I should highly honour and reverence him for it.

BUT you say,§ XXXIX 5. ‘That Alexandria and Rome by not multiplying Bishops as Churches or Converts needed it, began the great sin and calamity which hath undone us, and therefore are not to be our patern. If you mean by Bishops your Parish Ministers, (as you seem to do) who must have no greater charge [Page 243] than one particular person, unassisted with a Presbytery, may give a particular account of; then sure you cannot but know, that as they are by you thought singular in introducing this distinction of Altars in the same City; so they must have been so in multiplying such a kind of Bishops that might attend them, at least in more accurately proportioning them to the multitudes of Churches and Converts. But if you mean a multitude of Parish Priests, whom you would fain call Bi­shops, independent on a principal Presi­dent; then it would concern you to prove, 1. That Alexandria and Rome were herein singular, which you will find impossible to be done. And, 2. That their guilt herein was not onely an occasi­on (for occasions of evil cannot be proved evil, and so unfit for being paterns) but natural causes of that grand sin and cala­mity you so lament.

YOU answer or rather argue,§ XL. 6. ‘That were Bishops necessarily to be distributed by Cities, the Empires that have few or no Cities, must have few or no Bishops; and an Emperour might (aliud agendo) depose all the Bishops by disfranchising the Cities.’ This does not shew the impossibility of a Bi­shops [Page 244] maintaining discipline in a City that is great and populous, (which is in­deed our question) but onely the incon­venience of scrupulously multiplying Bi­shops according to the multitude of Ci­ties. And that, as it is not to our pur­pose, so I know no Adversary you have in it. For there are no humane Esta­blishments whatsoever that can fit all circumstances; yet are not such possible in­convenient cases thought sufficient to abrogate them though known and fore­seen. And therefore it were not in pru­dence a sufficient reason for the Church to alter her general rule of multiplying Bi­shops by Cities, because the cases mention­ed by you are but rare and improbable, which kind are not taken notice of by hu­mane Legislators. They are rare; for where will you find that Empire that hath few or no Cities, at least in those ci­vilized parts of the world they were then acquainted with? They are impro­bable; for the administration of justice among Subjects, and the encouragement of traffick, which are the Governours In­terests, do require such Privileges to be given to places not too distant from each other. But if the inconveniences were greater than indeed they are, and suffici­ent [Page 245] to persuade a deviation from such a general rule in such cases. Yet, 1. The Church never acknowledged any unalter­able divine obligation to observe it, but has always reserved a power to her self of deviating in such cases, of which she might be satisfied that they were suffici­ently momentous. And, 2. She has in such cases actually taken the liberty of exert­ing her own power; as in those Nations which had but one Bishop, though many Cities, of which instances were already given; and in those places where Cities too numerous, and too little frequented, against which she has made those express Canons, Can. 6. Concil. Sandicens. that Bishops should not be placed over them,Can. 57. Conc. Laodic. Epist. nè vi­lesceret nomen Episcopi, 1. Pseudo-Clementin. ad Ja­cob. ep. 1. Pseudo-Anacleti & Dist. 80. ep. 3. Pseudo-Ana­cleti n. 2. which those of your Per­suasion do so often take notice of with offence.

BUT,§ XLI. 7. You say, ‘Every Corpora­tion, Oppidum, like our Market Towns, was then truly [...]. And if we will procure every such City with us to have a Bishop, and the office of such Bishops to be to drive men from sin, and not to it; and to silence Blasphemers, not faithful Preachers of the Gospel; all [Page 246] our Controversies of Prelacy are then at an end.’ But I fear though you had your desire, that in analogy to Cities Bi­shops should be multiplied according to the number of Cities, (which Rule you lately seemed to dislike) and that every Market Town should be accounted a City, as you conceive it to have been practised among the Ancients, and that Bishops discharged their duty as you have de­scribed it; yet you would hardly suffer our Controversies to end so, especially if you acted consequently to your own Prin­ciples. For you know, by the same rule that small Cities, as you have described them, must have distinct Bishops; the greatest that are, London it self for ex­ample, must have but one, together with the Villages about it; and I doubt that would be found to be a charge as dispro­portionable to the abilities of a single man, as some of our Country Dioceses, especi­ally here in Ireland. The 15th. part in Taxes, 14th. real­ly, p. 83, 84 Nay, by Captain Grants Calculation London bears a great­er proportion to all England than any single Diocese, which is onely the 25th. part. Now according to your Princi­ples, our Communion quâ Diocesan, that is, if I understand you as exceeding the abilities of a single man, is not to be em­braced. [Page 247] Therefore even in this case you must refuse to communicate with the Church of London. And considering that in communicating with a particular, you do communicate with all with whom that particular Church holds Communion, (for Communion with a particular Church is no where understood as a profession of union with her alone, but also with all such whom she accounts orthodox mem­bers of the Catholick Church) you must by the same sequel conceive your self ob­liged to decline the Communion of all particular Churches communicating with London. Unless therefore you suppose a Schism of all other Churches from her, you must make one from them; and so be in the same condition wherein you are at present. I confess you do not act consequently to this later Principle, whilest you refuse not our Parish Commu­nion, which communicates with our Dio­cesan quà Diocesan; and so I had much rather decline the Dispute, than urge you too far to approve your self more ratio­nal by your being more uncharitable, which may too probably be the event if you should prove too tenacious of your present Opinions. But I believe, Sir, if you would be pleased to examine, you [Page 248] would certainly find your self mistaken in thinking their ordinary Cities to have been no more considerable than our ordi­nary Market Towns; for sure you know that then as well as now Cities were the highest denomination; and that in those flourishing Countries, proportionably much more populous than England, it is likely their Cities were accordingly fre­quented. Nay, most of the Cities of those times, especially the Oriental the Greeks and Asiaticks, had been little Repub­licks among themselves, before the suc­cess of war had subdued them to the yoke of a common Master, which must in all likelihood have made them more con­siderable, when their Governours care and interests were more confined to them, than if they had originally been included in a greater Society. Besides the wars wa­ged by them, and the resistance made against numerous Armies, and the mul­titude and capaciousness of their Tem­ples and Theatres, then so frequent in or­dinary Cities, (as you may see for the small Tract of Greece very fully in Pau­sanias, besides what other Authors have mentioned occasionally concerning that and other places) are sufficient Argu­ments of their ordinary populousness. [Page 249] And considering that those Cities that were among them eminent for greatness, did rather exceed than fall short of those which are accounted so now; we have reason to believe that the common Cities did likewise hold the like proportion.

NAY,§ XLII. according to all the qualifica­tions of our modern Cities, those ancient ones were every way as considerable as ours. They were Towns corporate among themselves. This appears from the Go­vernment mentioned as exercised among them; the [...], Acts 19. 39. the [...], and [...], and [...], so ve­ry frequently mentioned in Greek Cities, and the Praetors and Aedibes among the Latines. They were walled, whence the ordinary Etymology of Urbs quasi Orbis, from the compass allotted for the walls by the plow, and the customs for plowing, for founding, and demolishing their walls, so famous among the Romans. And the same you may observe to have been the general custom; for you will, I believe, never meet any mention of City a unwal­led, though possibly not with those cere­monies and formalities. And this seems to have been one of their principal distin­ctions from places of a near, but inferi­our account; that the O [...]ida among the [Page 250] Latines, and the [...] among the Greeks, were not walled as our Market Towns usually are not. They had Sub­urbs subject to their Jurisdiction frequent­ly mentioned in the Scriptures, particu­larly those of the Levites, Numb. 35. 5. have 2000 cubits on every side without the walls, which is near a mile. So the Romans had their Pomoeria and Suburba­na, and the Greeks their [...] or [...] obvious in Authors. And besides these Suburbs there were several places of infe­riour denomination subject to the ancient Cities; these you have frequently menti­oned Josh. 16. and in several other passa­ges of that and other Books of Scripture, and are rendered Towns in our English Translation, Vici and Villulae, Castella, and sometimes Oppida, in the Vulgar; [...] and [...] in the LXXII. And expresly Aristotle defines a City [...].Polit. l. 1. c. 2. And as the Grecians had their [...] subject to their Cities, so the Romans particularly had their Pagos, pla­ces of some natural advantage for strength, to which the Rusticks might have a ready recourse in time of danger, instituted by Servius Tullius, yet subject to their City, as you may see in Halicar­nassaeus; whence you know the name [Page 251] Paganus first signified a Country Clown, in opposition to a Citizen, or a person of civil education. And generally through Italy you may find mention of Vici and Villae and Oppida, and the Ager denomi­nated from the City, who in all affairs of consequence had recourse to their neighbouring Cities. And besides the Examples now mentioned from the Scri­ptures, the same practice seems to have been observed in other Oriental parts, as appears from Isidorus Characenus, who in his Parthick Stages mentions not only [...] but [...], in contradiction to Cities; as also in Xenophon in exped. Cyr. And that they were subject to the Cities might have been shewn from the manner of their Census described by S. Luke 3. 2. that they were to be taxed in their own Ci­ties, which seems to have been the com­mon custom of the whole Roman Empire, and the ordinary practice of the men of those Ages, to denominate themselves from the City they had relation to, though born in the Villages, and their usual re­course on solemn occasions to the City Sacrifices, a practice very much conform­ed to their secular dependences by the an­cient Legislators; besides their repairing thither for secular justice. But besides all [Page 252] this, the right of a City was given to pla­ces, not upon account of their greatness and populousness, but by special Charter. A clear instance hereof we have in 13 Action of the Council of Chalcedon; there we find Anastatius Nicaenus pleading a a right to Basilinopolis, because it had been formerly a Region of Nice, (what Regions were, is notorious from the divi­sions of Rome and Constantinople into them) till it was made a City by Julian or some other Emperour. Here we see a place so considerable, as that it was afterwards made a City, yet formerly onely a Ward of another City, which Ward was in all likelyhood equivalent our ordinary Mar­ket Towns. Nay more than that, for he gives instances of two such others, Tati­ens and Doris, that were then acknowledg­ed Regions of Nice. We see also this Region raised to the dignity of a city by the Im­perial Rescript. And further he proves the dependence of Basilinopolis on Nice by this argument, that the Emperour who made it a City took [...] or Curiales, (whence the Imperial Rescripts them­selves are frequently called Pragmatica) from Nice; and that the custom was still observed, that the Vacancies of Basilino­polis, as they fell, were supplied from [Page 253] Nice, and that they were frequently translated from thence back to Nice again; and that thus that which had for­merly been a Region became a City. Where several things are observable to my purpose: 1. That that which made the Region a City, was the having Court­officers of their own, whence it appears that Courts were appropriated to Cities, and that therefore all other Towns not thus privileged must have been subject to the Jurisdiction of the Cities. 2. That these Courts were granted by special Charter of the Emperour. And, 3. that the borrowing these Officers from another City, if constantly observed, signified some secular dependence of such a place on such a City, from whence they were bor­rowed. And now I pray what an such a Town walled, incorporated, and having Ju­risdiction, not onely over Suburbs, but a pro­portion of the Villages and Towns adjacent, by special Imperial Charters, want of our modern notion of a City, even as contra­distinct to our Market Towns?

AND that the Government of the Church was proportioned to that of the State is so commonly observed by learned Men,§ XLIII as that I cannot think it necessary to be tedeous in proving it. And that in [Page 254] this very particular of the subjection of the [...] to the City Bishop, appears from the 17th. Canon of this same Council, where it is not onely for this, but all other affairs of a like nature, established as a general Rule, (very pro­bably occasioned by the forementioned Controversie;) [...]. And though we had no ex­press Testimony, yet the multitude of the Clergy requisite for the Government of their ordinary [...], a whole Presbytery in the City, besides the Deacons, and the other inferiour Orders there, and others in the Country subject to the Chorepisco­pus or [...], and all subject to the Ci­ty Bishop, do plainly shew that the Bi­shops Jurisdiction, if not as large as now, was at least much larger than our ordi­nary Market Towns, which usually have but one Parish, and are therefore thought sufficiently governable by an ordinary single Presbyters. And this form of go­verning Cities was so universal, as that your Assertion to the contrary is not credible even in Africa, or any other place where Bishops or Cities are observed to have been most frequent or numerous: [Page 255] But if it had indeed been otherwise in some singular places, yet it is plain that the general rate of Cities among the An­cients was equal to ours. Whence it will follow, that the Dioceses generally designed were such as ours are now, though in some particular more anomalous In­stances they were (it may be) as small as you would have them. Whence two things will follow very apposite to my design: 1. That the Judgment of those Ages themselves were certainly more for us than you, seeing their judgment is onely to be concluded from their general rules, not from their particular anomalous pra­ctices. And, 2. that the case of discipline must have been the same with them as us. For the general observation of disci­pline cannot be effected by singular, but general practices and designs. Whence it will be easie to infer, that if discipline was then generally observed, then it is observable under a Diocesan Government, in the sense we are now disputing con­cerning it. For such I have proved to have been generally practised then, and if it was observed then, you can give no disparity why it may not be so now, if Governours would be equally industri­ous.

[Page 256] ‘YOUR intimation concerning to Bishops you would have in your Par [...] ­chial Dioceses; § XLIV (that their office must be to drive men from sin, and not to it and to silence Blasphemers, and not faithful Preachers of the Gospel;)’ as if our Bishops were guilty of the contrary, is methinks very sharp and uncharita­ble. We are all agreed, you as well as we, that this is our Diocesan Bishops office. Our onely difference is, that you con­ceive their actual practice to be other­wise. But I pray consider seriously what good meaning you can have herein if your desire had been granted? Is it that the Bishop must not do that which himself thinks to be driving men to sin? You cannot but know that they pretend, (and how can you know that they do not re­ally believe) their prosecutions of Dissent­ers to be not a driving them to sin, but from it, from disobedience to that which they think lawful Ecclesiastical Govern­ment, and from those Separations which themselves judge Schismatical, and from the defence and malice of unlawful Oaths. And certainly what they think to be Dis­obedience and Schism, and the maintain­ing of unlawful Oaths, your self [...] blame them if they believe them [...] [Page 257] [...] And the Preachers silenced by [...] not by them thought faithful [...] of the Gospel, at least not in the [...] of their silencing; but [...]eachers of [...] and Founders and Fomenters of parties, to the great weakning of the common Interest of the Gospel. And can you think it faulty in them to be zealous against them, whom they conceive to be such enemies to the Gospel, at least while they think them so, and profess themselves unable to find any reason to think otherwise? Or do you mean that the Bishop must not drive to that which the Criminal will pretend to be a sin, or prosecute that which he calls faithful Preaching of the Gospel? If so, you had dealt more plainly to have denied the Bishop any power at all to drive men from sin, or silence Blasphemers; than to grant him it, and yet to make it useless and un­practicable, as it must needs be if he must not practise it till the Sinner or Blasphe­mers confess themselves so, for how rare­ly do you find real Criminals plead guilty at the Bar? Besides that, by this means the most innocent if any must onely suffer; and the most dangerous must generally escape. For they who confess their crime must generally be presumed penitent, and they who are so are almost innocent, if we [Page 258] may believe the Tragedian; but he who denies his guilt, aggravates it by the disin­genuity of his Apologie. Besides, he who confesses himself a Sinner or a Blasphemer, is onely chargeable with a personal guilt; but he who denies sins and blasphemies to be sins, sins more heinously, not onely sinning himself, but teaching others to do so too. Nor is the multitude onely more considerable, that is drawn aside by this later sort of disingenuous sinners, but the quality of the persons seduced, and the greatness of their danger is much more considerable, than in those who are pre­judiced by the former. For none are likely to be seduc'd by professed debauchees, but such as are ill-inclined themselves. But they who are deceived by them who teach ill principles, not onely defending sins ad excusing them, but pretending them to be duties, are usually such who are of the best lives, and the most innocent meaning, whose Errors are like to be au­thenticated by their personal authority and reputation. And those who acknowledge their sins are more easily recoverable, their own consciences being ready upon any occasion to joyn with external conviction whensoever offered to them; but they who mistake their sins for the service of God, do both alienate their minds from [Page 259] conviction, by laying out their zeal against hearing or impartial considering that which they look on as a temptation; and in the event resolve their conviction into an issue of more difficult proof. For it is generally more easie even to the meanest most popular capacity, to prove a matter of fact than a matter of right, how unque­stionable soever. Certainly you would your self acknowledge him to be much the greater and more dangerous person, who should preach for drunkenness, and maintained it to be an evangelical duty, and call this his Preaching a faithful preaching of the Gospel, and accordingly be guilty of it, without any thing of re­morse or shame, than he who should inge­nuously confess his guilt and blame-worthi­ness for it.

NOW this you know is the sense of Superiours concerning Dissenters; § XLV they think that to be their Subjects duty, which their Subjects pretend to be sins. And can you blame them for obliging their Subjects to perform their duty? If you do, you will thereby make their Government use­less and unsignificant. They think Schism to be a sin really much greater than those which sound louder in the vulgar esteem, than drunkenness, &c. and more nearly relating to their trust as Governours, as [Page 260] being more directly prejudicial to the publick, to take care of which is their pe­culiar office as Governours. They think that which is called faithful preaching of the Gospel, not to be for reforming of mens lives, which is the great design of the Gospel, (for God be praised we do not differ in Subjects of that kind, but men may be as zealous as they please against vice, though Conformists) but the consti­tuting and perpetuating of Schism, which is by so much the more dangerous by how much it is more palliated by specious ti­tles, such as is that now mentioned; so that though themselves may believe them faithful in other things, yet in this they are far from thinking them so, and there­fore as far from prosecuting them as faithful Preachers. And I believe your self will hardly pretend, that their fideli­ty in some things must excuse their un­faithfulness in others. Or do you mean, that persons of a pious conversation and conscientious, must not be driven to that which they think sin, or from that which they think faithful Preaching of the Go­spel? If you mean that all truly pious conscientious persons ought to be treated with all candour and respect, before seve­rer means be used; or that the use of se­verer [Page 261] means is utterly to be forborn, as far as may be, that is, as far as such for­bearance may be reconcilable with the publick Interest, which is to be preferred before the private of any single person how pious soever; I could for my part heartily wish it were so too, and I believe most of the Bishops do practice according­ly with those concerning whom they have entertained such a good opinion, and do endeavour to shew the same charitable demeanour to them on earth, which they think God will in heaven.

BUT,§ XLVI Sir, you know that they who are indeed free from carnal vices, and such as are obnoxious to observation, may yet be guilty of spiritual, such as Obstinacy in yielding to conviction, or Disobedience to Superiours, or Negligence in inquiry, or too much prejudice or aversation to the persons or reasons of their adversaries, be­fore they have given them an equal hear­ing, or some such other prejudice, which unawares seduces the very best and wisest persons; and their guilt upon some of these accounts may be discerned and judged by their Superiours, from their perverse demeanour under those milder Treat­ments. And when it is discerned, though their innocence as to carnal crimes may [Page 262] indeed, in prudence and charity, be thought sufficient for the expiation or pre­terition of smaller delinquences, yet they can upon neither account be judged so, in regard of crimes of a more heinous na­ture than their virtues are eminent, and of such a kind would Schism and Facti­ousness appear to such as would equally and soberly consider them. But suppose that Governours do indeed believe, that their Subjects do bonâ fide believe as they profess, and conceive themselves obliged in conscience to deny their due obedience, and to follow those factious courses they were engaged in; yet sure you cannot think but that well meaning men, as well as others, may be mistaken, and that ve­ry dangerously; nor does their goodness se­cure their judgment from error, in think­ing that evil which is good, and on the contrary; but onely their practice, that they are not likely to be guilty of what themselves think evil, nor to be negligent of what themselves think good. One would verily think, that Raviliac and several such resolute persons, who enga­ged themselves without any private pro­vocation, on dangers they could never hope to escape, and much greater than any possible secular ends, if in their wits, [Page 263] could have been animated by nothing to such desperate enterprizes, but onely a strong persuasion of the goodness of their cause, and the hope of future rewards. And yet you would not think that a sufficient reason to exempt them from the severity of the Law. God may in­deed be merciful to such in regard of their pious intentions. But, 1. Their pra­ctises by being acknowledged to need mercy, must be supposed blamable, not commendable; S. Paul confesses himself the chief of sinners, in regard of those persecutions, for which he owns his igno­rance as the reason of his pardon. And, 2. Even God himself does often chastize them for the terror of others, with tem­poral afflictions, whom he intends to spare in the world to come. A clear example hereof we have in David, 2 Sam. 12. 13, 14. where after his sins of murdering Uriah, and defiling Bathsheba, had been forgiven him; it is yet expresly added, that because by this deed he had given occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme; the child that had been born of that adulterous mixture should surely die. And therefore good men themselves, when guilty of Schism, giving the like scandal to the enemies of the truth, and drawing [Page 264] others to the like sin by their persuasion [...] example, may in this life be punished for the good of others. And, 3. God himself cannot be thought merciful to men good for all other things, and peccant onely in one kind, especially if of so heinous a na­ture, as Schism without their repentance, either particular by an actual explicite confession and reformation of it when known; or general and implicite, and in voto, when they are penitent for all sins unknown as well as known, and are in a ready preparation of mind to use and ac­cept of all moral means of discovery, and to reform what might be convicted by such discovery how dear soever other­wise. And this you know is the case of the Church in punishing well meaning persons who are guilty of Schism. It is plain, that they are so far from being pe­nitent for what she thinks to be sin, as that they defend it, and draw others to it. And as to general repentance, she thinks she has not reason to believe it in them, when upon proposal of her reasons they shew themselves perverse, and factious, and incorrigible. If it be pretended, that the Church may be mistaken in censures, I pray consider, 4. That she must act ac­cording to her own conscience, though er­roneous; [Page 265] and though God may prove in­deed indulgent to many persons, whom he as a searcher of their hearts may know to be penitent; yet the Church being ob­liged to accommodate her demeanour to them, to her own knowledge, may at the same time justly and commendably prose­cute them, if they seem otherwise to her. And I believe you will find it a ge­neral occasion of your mistakes in this kind, that you look upon Superiors as ob­liged to act according to your own private conscience. But if your self had been a Governour, and had to do with a person of a reputation otherwise unblamable, but yet notoriously guilty of some very re­markable offence coming under your cog­nizance, and so far from being penitent for it, as that he should defend it, and preach it to others, and call such Preach­ing a faithful Preaching of the Gospel; I believe you would think your self more secure in acting according to your own conscience, than that of the criminal, though you might confess your self as liable to mistakes as him. And believe it, that it is the most equal way to clear your self from prejudices, and to prevent uncharitable censures to represent their case as if it had been your own.

[Page 266] YOU answer,§ XLVII. 8.‘That I must re­member that great Cities had long but few Christians in comparison of the Heathens till Constantine's time, and mostly long after. But, 1. Though this had indeed been true, yet it will not fol­low that the Government must have been proportioned onely to the necessities of those few, both because Heathens as well as Christians, the reducing of Infidels, as well as the government of Believers, be­longed to their charge. Which must have been by so much greater rather than less, as there was much more difficulty in reducing one from his vicious practises as well as his opinions, to the severe rules of Christianity, than to govern many, espe­cially such good and excellent persons as Converts were generally in those times, when actually reduced; and because Christianity was in a growing condition, and therefore the Government was to be proportioned to their future hopes, as well as their present fruitions. But, 2. The supposition, That Christians were so few till Constantine's time or afterwards, is a great mistake. In the Church of Jerusa­lem we find 3000 converted by one Ser­mon, Acts 11. 41. besides those who had already been converted by our Saviours [Page 267] personal Preaching, (which may be sup­posed to have been very many, by the multitude that sung Hosannahs before him, which amazed the whole City, and the terror of the Pharisees, who durst not seize on him by force for fear of the people, and their profession, that all the world went after him, &c.) and those who were afterwards daily added, ver. 47. be­sides 5000 men more expresly said to have been converted by another Sermon, Acts 4. 4. and multitudes of men and wo­men, chap. 5. 14. added through all Judaea, under which Jerusalem was also com­prehended) Acts 9. 31. And in the same place after Herod Agrippa's death the Word of God further grew and multiplied, Acts 12. 24. and many thousands are men­tioned (though imperfectly, for in the Greek is [...] ten thousands) Acts 21. 20. Yet were all these under single Bi­shops, S. James and his Successors, as far as History can inform us, though in all likelyhood this number was vastly in­creased, when most of the refractory Jews, who most of all hindered the pro­gress of the Gospel, were destroyed in the Siege of Titus, and generally banished, when it was reedified by Adrian, and by him called Aelia. This is very observa­ble, because it is most likely to have been [Page 268] established by the Apostles as a patern for other Cities. But it was not herein sin­gular even in those times; for Samaria seems generally to have been converted. This appears, in that all the people are said to have been deceived by Simon Magus, Acts 8. 9. all from the least to the greatest, ver. 10. and the same number seems to have been converted by S. Philip, and to have been baptized both men and women, ver. 12. and therefore Samaria is said to have received the word of God, ver. 14. Now the least that can be understood by these expressions is, that much the great­er part received the faith, which must have very much exceeded the Govern­ment of a single solitary person. In the Church of Antioch Ignatius his charge, (by which you in some part understand the extent of the Diocesan Government mentioned in his Epistles) a great num­ber is said to have believed, Acts 11. 21. and after Barnabas his coming, much peo­ple is said to have been added to the Lord, ver. 24. who are therefore to have been supposed distinct from the former. And again, ver. 26. Saul and Barnabas toge­ther for a year together taught much peo­ple, who there first received the name of Christians, very probably from the great [Page 269] multitudes observable there above other places adjacent, which could hardly have been so likely, if they had not held some great proportion to the Inhabitants, which if they did must have very much exceeded our ordinary Parochial Cures. For Antioch was the third City of the Ro­man Empire in Secular as well as Ecclesia­stical Dignity; so in Antiochia Pisidiae ma­ny of the Jews and religious Proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13. 43. And afterwards almost all the City came to­gether to hear the word of God, ver. 44. and with what event may be conceived from that which follows, ver. 48, 49. That the Gentiles were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained, to eternal life believed: and that the word of the Lord was published in all regions. Which, besides the opposition mention­ed onely by the Jews and devout and ho­nourable women, (that is, Proselytesses of the Gates, as some understand) acted by them, ver. 50. must imply the number of Converts to have been extremely consi­derable in proportion to the whole, which must have included a great multi­tude, this City being a Metropolis of a Province. In Thessalonica some (of the Jews) believed, and of the devout Greeks a [Page 270] great multitude, and of the chief women not a few, Acts 17. 4. And in Beraea, another remarkable City, they were more noble than those of Thessaloniea, ver. 11. And accordingly many of the Jews believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men not a few, v. 12. In Ephesus S. Ti­mothy's Diocese, S. Paul himself disputeth first three moneths in the Synagogue, Acts 19. 8. afterwards two years in the school of Tyrannus; so that all which dwelt in Asia (that is, the Lydian or Proconsular, where­of Ephesus was the Metropolis) heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks, ver. 9. 10. fear came upon all of them; and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, ver. 17. And you may guess at the great multitude of Converts by the vast summe which their conjuring books then burnt were valued at, 50000 pieces of silver, v. 19. which is observed by the Holy Ghost himself, as an Argument how mightily the word of God grew and prevailed, ver. 20. And it must argue a very great number, considering that books were a commodity which is not to have been presumed a considerable part of the ri­ches of each, much less of that particu­lar subject, (however the [...] be celebrated among the Ancients) and [Page 271] the total number of the persons concern­ed must needs be greater, by how much the particular proportions to be distribu­ted among them are likely to have been less to the particulars; and it is according­ly observable, that no particular is noted to have been considerably impoverished by so great a loss.

THESE are the most remarkable Cities mentioned in the Acts, § XLVIII which we have reason to believe to have abounded with numbers of Christians, too great for the Cure of a single person. And it is to be considered, that as in their preaching you find little mention of their preaching in villages, but in Cities; so it is most credible that they left them to the care of the Government established in the Cities. Whence it will follow, that the Ecclesia­stical as well as the Secular Government of Villages depended on the Cities, and that therefore they were Dioceses in the modern extent, and that the Government established in Cities seems to have been most agreeable to the design of the Apo­stles. And of all Cities those are to be supposed most accurately provided for by the Apostles, which were converted by their personal preaching, and which in their times had numbers sufficient for Go­vernment; [Page 272] and therefore if other places had deviated from the examples of these, as those in Africa and Ireland, which you cannot prove to have been convert­ed by the Apostles, you ought rather to have corrected those by these, than as you preposterously do, to confine the Dioceses converted and established by the Apostles, to the dimensions of them which were not. But besides these Scripture Arguments evincing the great number of Christians, even in the times of the Apo­stles themselves; another may be drawn from the multitudes of Heresies, which must have needs drawn great numbers from the Church, not onely that swarm which rose immediately after the decease of the Apostles, as the Basilidians, Valenti­nians, &c. but also those who were con­temporary with the Apostles themselves as the Simonians, Nicolaitans, Ebionites, Corinthians, &c. For though some few of these did, even in the Apostles times themselves, separate, as is clear from 1 John 11. 19. and several other places of the Epistles, where they are blamed and confuted, and the multitudes of them that perished in Jerusalem in the Capti­vity; yet most of them did then act more covertly, and were followed by [Page 273] smaller parties, in regard of what was done after the decease of the Apostles, which is the reason why Hegesippus in Eusebius calls the Church a pure Virgin till the time of Trajan, in whose time S. John the last of them died, not long after his return from Patmos. Now if the Christians were so numerous, as it ap­pears they were, even after these dedu­ctions of their own members by relapse, and the hinderance of the conversion of others, whom we find to have been alie­nated at a greater distance by this scan­dal of the multitude of their Sects, (for about that time we find it objected by Celsus, who wrote his Book against the Christians under Hadrian, the immediate Successor of Trajan, if we may believe Origen) we cannot think their number so small as you conceive in the times of the Apostles, when they did not labour under these disadvantages. But when they had overcome these difficulties, and were exercised with new persecutions, it is strange how exceedingly they encrea­sed. In Severus his time, about the Year of our Lord 201,Sect. 37. & Anno 200. Sect. 7. according to Baronius, Tertullian wrote his Apologie, which was above 100 years before Constantine; yet even then there were such multitudes of [Page 274] Christians, as that he prefers them before the Moors, and Marcomans, and Parthians; as being spread over all the Roman world. His words, though they be so known that I wonder that you forgot them, yet are withall so very pertinent and full to my purpose, as that I think it necessa­ry to transcribe them; thus therefore he is in Cap. 37. Apolog. Plures nimirum Mauri & Marcomanni, ipsique Parthi, vel quantae­cunque unius tamen loci, & suorum finium, gentes, quàm totius orbis? Externi su­mus, & vestra omnia implevimus, urbes, in­sulas, castella, mancipia, conciliabula, castra ipsa, tribus, decurias, palatium, senatum, fo­rum. Sola vobis relinquimus templa. Here you see Cities, and throughout the whole world, (that is, according to the language of those times, the Roman Empire) full of them. What can be more contrary to your Assertion? Yet fulness may be understood with a latitude, for a great, though not the greatest number. But that he understood the greatest, will easi­ly appear from what he afterwards adds; Potuimus & inermes, nec rebelles, sed tan­tummodo discordes, solius divortii invidiâ adversus vos dimicâsse. Si enim tanta vis hominum in aliquem orbis remoti sinum ab­rupissemus à vobis, suffudisset utique domi­nationem [Page 275] vestram tot qualiumcunque amissio civtum, imò & ipsâ destitutione punisset. Proculdubio expavissetis ad sobitudinem ve­stram, ad silentium rerum & stuporem quen­dam, quasi mortuae urbis quaesissetis, quibus ves vobis remansissent; nunc enim pauciores hostes habet is prae multitudine Christianorum pene omnium civium, pene omnes cives Christianos, habendo. And again, Suffe­cisset hoc solùm nostrae ultioni, quòd vacuae exinde possessio immundis spiritibus pateret. Certainly they whose very secession would leave nothing but solitude, and silence, and amazement, and empty possessions for unclean spirits behind them; they who had left their City as it were dead, almost destitute of Citizens to be governed, and their Ene­mies more numerous than their Subjects, must needs have been much the greater number. But when he says expresly, that almost all their Citizens were Christi­ans, what can be clearer than that? (notwithstanding what allowances may be made for the confidence of the man, and the humour of the opressed parties to ad­vance their numbers.) Christians were so far from being few in comparison of the Heathens, as that the contrary seems most probable, that the Heathens [Page 276] in the Roman Empire were considerably outnumbered by them.

AND that in other Cities besides Rome and Alexandria, § XLIX (which though Apostolical Sees you will not admit as [...] numbers were under the Government of Ecclesiastical Mo­narchs with their Presbyteries, than had been governable by any single (however able) Presbyter. Instances may be given (besides the general proofs already inti­mated) out of the good Records of those times, as imperfect as we have them ex­tant at present. One is of Neocaesarea a metropolis of the Province of Pontus Pole­moniacus, (which I take notice of that you may understand how great a City it was.) Here though the persons are ex­presly said to have been [...] &c. S. Greg. Nysser. Vit. S. Greg. Thaumaturgi, edit. inter opera Thaumaturgi, à Gerard. Voss. p. 255. infinite, that inhabited the City it self and the ad­jacent Region, (by which you may understand the extent of the Diocese of those times, that it included the [...] as well as the [...], and that the number of the Inhabitants of such a Diocese did far exceed the Government of a single Presbyter;) yet there were but 17 Chri­stians when S. Gregory Thaumaturgus was [Page 277] first made their Bishop, who managed his charge with such good success, as that in a Visitation of his Diocese a little be­fore his death, again expressed as former­ly,p. 313. ib. [...] he found onely the same number of 17 Pagans. Yet this infinite number he had governed himself, without any addition of coordinate coadjutors upon the increase of his charge, and left them in the same condition [...], that is, to his succeeding Bishop. Sure you cannot but think this Diocese ex­ceeded the greatest Parish in London. Another is that of Carthage, the multi­tude of Christians wherein, intimated in my former Letter, you tell me plainly, you believe not. Not to insist on the ge­neral Argument I formerly made use of; from the multitude of Presbyters here as well as elsewhere, which sure would not have been multiplied if one had been suffi­cient; the testimony of Pontius con­cerning the great multitude of Christians, that were present at the Martyrdom of S. Cyprian, (of which himself seems to have been one, which may make him the more credible) is somewhat considera­ble. He tells us,Pont in vit. S. Cypr. fin. that comitatu ejus infini­tus exercitus adhaerebat, quasi ad expugnan­dam [Page 278] mortem manu fact â veniretur. Which military expressions of their readiness to die, are not so applicable to any as to Chri­stians, who were onely concerned on that account. But a more pregnant presum­tion of their numbers is the summe col­lected out of the Contributions of his Dio­cese for the relief of Captives.Ep. 60. ed. Pamel. Misimus autem (says he) sestertia centum millia nummûm, quae istic in Ecclesia cui de Domi­ni indulgentiâ praesumus, cleri & plebis apud nos consistentis eollatione, collecta sunt, &c. This 100000 sestertia being reduced to our English Coyn, according to the rate observed by Mr. Brereuood and Dr. Hake­will, will amount to 781250 l. and more according to the Bishop of Hereford; a summe so vast in the judgment of Pame­lius and Baroni [...]s, as without the Autho­rity of any new MS. and against the con­sentient readings of the former Editions of Manutius and Morellius, by no greater warrant than their own conjecture of the incredibility of the thing, they venture to correct it by leaving out the later words millia nummûm, reading onely sestertia centum, and by that means reducing it to 1000 part. Yet even so it rose to 781 l. 5 s. a summe very considerable for a single Parish of those times, especi­ally [Page 279] considering that they were newly recovered from a severe persecution, which may be presumed considerably to have exhausted them, both by the summs confiscated, and the loss of all their lands and rising rents, and the multiplication of the domestick objects of their charity; (for we find the necessities of the Martyrs and Confessors to have been supplied out of the Treasury of the Church from the story of Peregrinus in Lucian, and several passages in S. Cyprian's Epistles) besides the greater value of Money in those times before the discovery of the Indies, and the readiness of that Church to a new contribution, if the Numidian Bishops to whom they write should think it necessa­ry. A sign that they had not been ex­tremely impoverished by their former cha­rity, whereas such a summ would, even in these days, since the great supplies from America, have ruined several of our modern Parishes.

BUT notwithstanding these diffi­culties I confess a single Parish (I mean the same multitude of Christians than which might have made up a Parish according to our late estimation) might have advanced a summ as great as this later of Pamelius and Baronius, § L. without disabling them­selves [Page 280] for future contributions. For I con­sider that in those times, as well as the Apostles there were those who sold their lands, and brought the prices to the Bishop, who (as S. Justin Martyr tells us) was [...],Apolog. 11. p. 99. of which we have S. Cyprian himself for an example, Pont. vit. Cypr. who disposed of his own Land that way at his conversion, and had the same Land returned into his hands when Bishop, which he again intended to sell if he had not been prevented by the persecution, as Pontius his Deacon assures us. Besides, there was the Offertory at every Commu­nion, which we find practised in S. Justin Martyr's time, and the same S. Cyprian's, and in the time of the Author of the Constitutions called Apostolical, and in those times was reckoned as a part of the Communion it self, and accordingly criminals were as well excluded from the Offertory as from the blessed Sacra­ment; and it was then the general pra­ctice to communicate daily. To which may be added their more solemn Syna­xes and Offertories on Sunday, on which the Apostle himself particularly advised a provision for the poor, and their occasional contributions, such as that mentioned by the Apostle for the poor Christians in [Page 281] Judaea, and this of S. Cyprian's we are speaking of. And indeed besides the great propension of the Christians of those ages to works of charity, and the particu­lar diligence of S. Cyprian, to stir them up to it by his own example, as well as exhor­tation, (as appears from Pontius, and from his Treatise de Opere & Elemosynis still extant.) It was in reason the most pru­dent course they could take, to convert their Lands into Moneys to prevent for­feiture, and to lay out the Moneys on such good uses which might entitle them to future rewards, rather than hazard their loss in such times, when they were unsecure how long they might keep them; besides, that such a disposal of their riches was the most likely way to animate them for future accidents, and to make them unconcerned for temporal fru­itions, and to raise their minds to Hea­ven, where their Treasures had been de­posited. Besides the great fruitfulness of the Country adjacent ob­served by [...] Strabol. 11. Greg. p. 131. vide l. 18. p. 833. Strabo, and se­veral other ancient and modern Authors, which must have enhanced the price of their Lands when exposed to sale; and not onely that, but its great [Page 282] improvements, if we may judge of S. Cy­prians time, by what it was when Aga­thocles invaded the Carthaginians, which you may see described in Diodorus Sicu­lus, Bibl. l. 20. p. 731. edit. Graeco-Latin. Hannov. 1604. that it was admired by the Sicilians themselves, whose own Countrey was admired for the same cau­ses by the rest of the World; and the vastness of the City it self, if estimated with what it was before it was destroy­ed by the Romans. L. 18. The Island it stood in was (as Strabo tells us) 460 stadia in compass, all walled in, which being re­duced to our miles, will amount to about 45 miles. A scope very much larger than London, and their Walls so vast and ca­pacious, as to contain Stables for Ele­phants, and 4000 Horses, and Lodgings and Guard-houses for 20000 Foot and 4000 Horse, which were their ordinary constant Guards, as Appian. Bell. Punic. p. 56. edit. Graeco-Latin. Stephani 1592. And when it was destroyed by Scipio Africanus junior or Aemilianus, had 700000 Inhabitants.Strabo ib. And though at its rebuilding by Julius Caesar it might possi­bly fall short of its ancient magnificence; yet it was certainly a very great City even then, after the rate which then they [Page 283] counted great, which rate I might easily have shewn to be as great as now. So [...]. Id. ib. Strabo, who lived not long after the Restaurati­on, says that it was even then inhabited as well as any other City in Libya; and after him it is by Ptolem. l. 4. Greg. c. 3. Ptolemy, who yet flou­rished about 100 years be­fore St. Cyprian, called [...]; andTertullian. de Pall. Tertulli­an andApul. Florid. Apuleius call the Carthaginians Principes Africae, rela­ting to their own as well as former times, (for Alexandria, which was under a Praefectus Augustalis, was excluded from the ordinary notion of Africa, according to the Notitiae of those times) as very well they might, considering that of the six African Provinces that of Carthage onely wasSee Pamel. in Tertullian. de Pall. & S. Cyprian. epist. 45, 49. Proconsular, and the City was the residence of the Proconsul him­self, which must very considerably have contributed to its greatness. And now considering the very great fertility, and improvements, and populousness of the City, and the adjacent Region under its Civil, if not Ecclesiastical, Jurisdiction; consi­dering that in times of persecution it is [Page 284] most probable, that as much of this as belonged to Christians was converted in­to ready money; that of these very vast summs, which may have been thought credibly have been levied by these means, many were entirely bestowed on charita­ble uses, and that generally so much was as could be spar'd from the owners necessary expences, and therefore might be reputed superfluities, were so; that according to the state of Christian Affairs in those times, much more could have been re­puted superfluities than now, when not onely all expences not adequate to the dignity of their persons were accounted so, but even such as were, it being nei­safe nor prudent, nor agreeable to the he­roical magnanimity so common then to maintain that dignity; that as the for­mer summs were exhausted, more were daily brought in, that saying of Tertulli­an appearing then experimentally true, that the Sanguis Martyrum was Semen Ec­clesiae. These things▪ I say, being consi­dered, it cannot be thought so incredible as Pamelius and Baronius conceive, that a considerable proportion of the Inhabi­tants of the Diocese of Carthage, accord­ing to the rate of Dioceses in those times, might indeed contribute the greater [Page 285] summ, so well attested by consent of MSS. so that there will be no necessity to leave the received reading upon ac­count of their onely conjectures, which have hence appeared so groundless. But then as this summ of 100000 Sestertia is in a parallel case granted by Seneca, Conso. ad Helv. c. 10 to have been equal to the Revenues of a Province, and so too great for a Parish after the rate now in use; so it is no way improbable that considerable part of the Diocese might indeed have given the Revenue of a Province, (upon the terms now described) without disabling them­selves for further future Contributions. It being therefore so well attested by the consent of Copies, that the summ given was so great, as not to be thought credi­concerning a Parish, and it being no way credible that any but converted Chri­stians did contribute to it; it must hence follow, that the number of Christian Con­verts was even then greater in Carthage, than in any of our modern Parishes.

TO these Christian Authors concern­ing the multitude of Christians I shall add a Heathen. § LI. It is Pliny whom I mean, who thus dissuades Trajan from his seve­rity against the Christians by an argu­ment from the multitude of the persons [Page 286] likely to be concerned in it:Plin. ep. l. 10. ep. 97. Visa est mihi res digna consultatione, maximè prop­ter periclitantium numerum. Multi enim omnis aetatis, omnis ordinis, utriusque sexus etiam vocantur in periculum, & vocabun­tur. Neque enim civitates tantum, sed vi­cos etiam atque agros superstitionis istius contagio pervagata est, quae videtur sisti & corrigi posse. Certè satis constat, prope jam desolata templa coepisse celebrari, & sacra so­lennia diu intermissa repeti, passimque voenire victimas, quarum adhuc rarissimus emptor inveniebatur, ex quo facilè est opinari, quae turba hominum emendari possit, si sit poeni­tentiae locus. You see that many, not as you say few, were Christians, that not onely Cities, but Villages and Towns were overrun with that contagion, (as he calls it) that he thence concludes what a great multitude (that is, turba) might be gain'd by a more indulgent way of treat­ing them. And that this multitude was to be understood comparatively to the Heathens, (directly contrary to what you say, that in comparison of them they were but few) appears clearly from what he adds, that their Temples had been al­most desolate, (exactly herein agreeing with Tertullian's Sola vobis relinquimus templa) that their solemn Festivities had [Page 287] been long intermitted, that their Sacrifi­ces (which we find to have been exposed to sale in the Markets, 1 Cor. 10. 25.) found few buyers; which could not have been if the number of Heathens had been then con­siderable, I do not say as you do, compara­tively with the Christians, but even abso­lutely in it self. And then for discerning the pregnancy of this Testimony I pray consi­der, 1. That this Epistle of Pliny is mentio­ned by Tertullian, Tertul. Apol. Euseb. Chron. num. 2223 Oros. l. 7. Eusebius, and Orosius; so that there can be no doubt of its being genuine. Consider, 2. That this Epistle was certainly written very soon after S. John's death, who died in Trajan's time, (Baronius places S. John's death in the second year of Trajan, and the wri­ting of this Epistle in the fifth or there­abouts;) and therefore the words diu intermissa will in all likelihood extend the paucity of Heathens in those parts to S. Johns time, at least certainly very long before your Period of Constantine. 3. That this Church of Bithynia, of which Pliny gives account being his own Province, was converted in the Apostles times, as appears 1 S. Pet. 1. 1. and therefore the Government there settled must have been, [...]f not instituted, yet at least approved by them, especially being so near those [Page 288] Sees which were undoubtedly founded by the Apostles. Yet it cannot even here be shewn, that ever one City had more than one presiding Bishop. 4. That this Testimony is of an Adversary, whose In­terest had been to have made the Christi­ans more despicable by concealing their numbers, if he could have done it veraci­ously. And, 5. That as Pliny must in all probability be presumed veracious in tel­ling what he knew, so he had means of knowing what was really true, being Go­vernour of the Province, and having actu­ally made enquiry after the Christians in their persecutions of them.

I BELIEVE the great reason that inclines you to believe the paucity of Chri­stians in those times is,§ LII. that in great and po­pular Cities they were able to communi­cate at one Altar, upon which account you conceive them to have been no more than what may assemble in our ordinary Parochial Congregations. But you might as well have concluded whole Cities indeed, nay whole Nations, to have no more people in them than our ordinary Parochial As­semblies. You know every clean Male in Jewry was to appear before God at the two solemn Feasts of Easter and of Taber­nacles, whose numbers computed by Ce­stius [Page 289] Gallus, amounted to a number sure too great for a Parish, and the number in Jerusalem when besieged by Titus, ta­ken there upon occasion of Easter, is a plain Argument of the vastness of their religious Assemblies. Nor was it onely proper to the Jews thus to confederate and unite their Commonwealth by their Conventions on account of Religion to partake of the same Altar, but the same Policy was observed among the Heathens. The Assemblies of whole Cities are so ordi­nary, that it were but pedantick to give instances of them. For those of Nations you may observe the Athenian Panathe­naicks, the Olympick Solemnities which were of all Greece, and then the Panio­nia of the Asiatick Iones, not now to men­tion those of the Barbarians. Nor were onely Sacrifices common to these vast Assemblies from the same Altar, which is more easily intelligible, but speeches also were made to numbers much greater than our Parochial Assemblies, which I believe you will think the greater difficulty, how the Bishop, who you say then was the principal, if not the onely Preacher, should be heard in a Multitude proporti­onable to a populous City. Yet is this so far from being incredible, as that it was [Page 290] in those Ages frequently practised. I will not instance in places of special con­trivance, as that at the Roman Rostra, the Theatres, and Amphitheatres, where ma­ny thousands, sometimes 100000 or more, have heard with convenience. And yet it is very probable, that these publick places of religious Assemblies were contrived with conveniency for that pur­pose. Nay it is certain, that the Jews had their Suggesta and Cathedrae raised on high for that end. Nor shall I mention the Orations of Generals to their Armies, who had the like advantages. It is very clear that upon occasions not so solemn nor prepared, great Routs of tumultuous people, wanting heads to whom a parti­cular address might have been confined, have yet been spoken to. I will not again instance in the Speeches of Petro­nius and King Agrippa to the generality of the Jewish Nation, of which we are discoursing. Scripture Examples, though purely historical, I find most easily ad­mitted by you, and therefore I am the rather willing to insist on them. Reho­boam speaks to all Israel, 1 Kings 12. 1, 13, 16, 20. So Jehoiada makes a covenant with all the people of the Land, 2 Kings 11. 17, 18, 20. Our Saviour preaches his [Page 291] Sermon on the Mount to great multi­tudes from several places, S. Matth. 4. 25. v. 1. And several other places, to 4000 at one time, and 5000 at another, though in wildernesses; by which we may guess how much greater his Auditories were in populous Cities. The Town Clerk of the Ephesians to the whole City, Acts 19. 29, 35. S. Paul to all the City of Jerusalem, Acts 21. 30, 36, 39, 40. And by the mul­titudes converted by single Sermons of the Apostles, you may easily conjecture the vastness of their Auditories. Which will be the rather credible when it is considered, that the principal preaching of the first Propagators of Christianity, was generally in places of greatest fre­quent, such as the Temple, or Synagogues, or Streets, or or Schools, or Market-places. Thus you see that it will not follow, that the number of Christians must have been few, if they assembled in one place for the Word and Sacraments, and if the Bishop alone had preached.

BUT neither supposition is so very certain,§ LIII. at least not so general, as you seem to believe it. For preaching, we see that while the extraordinary [...] of prophecy lasted, under which preaching was comprehended as well as prayer, [Page 292] (which by the way is observable against them who allow studied Sermons, and yet complain of the Spirit's being quenched if their prayers be other than extempora­ry) several Prophets met and officiated in their Synaxes, 1 Cor. 14. 29, 30, 31. so far was it then from being confined to any person; Bishop or other, to preach to the people. And even afterwards we find preaching not always performed by the Bishop, though I am apt indeed to think it was ordinarily. The Catechists were usually Presbyters, and Origen, though a Presbyter, yet preached before Bishops. But for the times of persecution, wherein they could not meet so numerously in one Assembly; yet other provisions might have been made agreeably enough to the Principles of those Ages, for supplying the necessities of much greater than pa­rochial multitudes. Such was that of re­serving the species, which I believe was a shift found out in times of persecution, when every particular person could not get any opportunity of frequenting the Synaxes as often as he was desirous to communicate, which was then daily, it being the first meat they tasted. This reservation is clear from S. Cyprian de laps. the Author De Spectaculis among [Page 293] his works, Tert. l. 11. and Ux. Dionys. Alex. ep. ad Fab. Antioch. in Euseb. S. Iren. to Pope Victor. Now by this means very great multitudes might frequently communi­cate, though their Synaxes were rarely and thinly celebrated, that they might not give their Governours any just offence by their numerousness. For by Pliny's Epistle to Trajan it appears, that they did upon this account utterly forbear their feasts of charity, upon his putting of the Law De Hetaeriis in force; and in all probability yielded as far as lawfully they conceived they might in the Eucha­rist it self. A second shift was that of sending the Sacraments by the Deacons to those that were absent. So S. Justin Martyr expresly,Apol. 11. p. 97. [...]. And again,Ib. p. 98. [...]. And who knows whether the breaking of bread [...], or from house to house, as we read it Acts 11. 46. (if it be meant of the Sacrament, and not rather of their feasts of love) may not allude to this cu­stom? I shall not now dispute it, but onely observe that this practice, though [Page 294] not grounded on this Text, yet certainly used in those times, might from the same Altar have communicated much greater multitudes than are contained in our or­dinary Parishes. But there was also a third Expedient for these numerous Communions, that though indeed the Roman Altar, where the blessed Sacrament was ordina­rily and solemnly administred, were onely one, even in those populous Ci­ties, and that in the power of the Bishop; yet in private and occasional Assemblies Presbyters were permitted to do it by leave of the Bishop, without any prejudice to the Unity of the Church, which was signified by the Unity of their Altar. I will not mention the instances hereof in the Acts of the Martyrs, which are not so secure to be trusted. Ignatius and Ter­tullian are very clear to this purpose in the places already produced. Now this account being given how, notwithstand­ing the multitude of Communicants, and though the Sacrament were the greatest obligation to meet in publick Assemblies, yet much greater numbers than our Pa­rishes might have been supplied conveni­ently enough from one President and one Altar; it will be easie to give an account of other things. For as for preaching, [Page 295] which is now more insisted on as a rea­son of Church Assemblies than the Sacra­ments, though certainly very differently from the sense of those Ages. First, you cannot prove that to have been so appro­priated to the Bishop, as that ordinary Pres­byters were excluded from it. All that can be pretended to this purpose is, that the Exhortation with the Communion Office was then generally in the presence of the Bishop, and that in his presence it was not usual for Presbyters to preach; (for this is the onely thing that was thought so strange in preaching of Ori­gen before Theophilus, and S. Augustine before Valerius, that it was done in the presence of their Bishops) and that the power of Ecclesiastical Assemblies, upon what pretence soever, preaching as well as other Offices was appropriated to the Bi­shops. But, 1. All private visitations and conferences which were much better suit­ed to the exigencies of those times, might undoubtedly be performed by single Pres­byters; and these being performed with that diligence as they were then, would in a great measure supersede the necessi­ty of publick Sermons. And, 2. Even for those publick preachings, which had no relation to the Communion Office, where [Page 296] that one Altar was concerned, might have been ordinarily permitted them by the Bishop. And, 3. Even those which were connected with that Office, might yet by the Bishops leave have been permitted in places distinct from the one Altar, as well as the Communion it self.

YOUR instance of ‘St. Patrick founding 365 Churches, § LIV. (for I onely take notice of the more probable num­ber) and ordaining in them 365 Bi­shops, and under them 3000 Presbyters, does not methinks seem any thing to your purpose. You say, Here is no more Bishops than Churches; I believe you meant the contrary, that there were no more Churches than Bishops, for this is onely to your design, of having as many Bishops as Churches, that is, in your no­tion of the word, as Parishes. And you know though we pretend many Parish Churches may be subject to one Bishop. Yet we are far from saying that there ought to be many Bishops in one Parish. But admitting there were in S. Patrick's time no more Churches than Bishops, yet how can it follow thence, that there were no more Parishes, or that the word Church in those Ages used without any restrictive Particle, must signifie that [Page 297] onely which were equivalent to our pre­sent Parishes? For you know that we do not pretend, that there ought to be any more liberty for a Bishop to hold plu­rality of Dioceses, than for a Minister to have plurality of Parishes, though I will not defend all practices in both particu­lars; so that if the word Church imply that which is Diocesan, as most probably it did according to the sense of those times, then we do not think there ought to be more Churches than Bishops. Indeed I confess the Dioceses of those times must have been for scope of Land, as much less as the number 365 is greater than 21, or thereabouts, which is our number now. But it is withall most clear, 1. That as small as they were, they were yet great­er than Parishes, there being about nine Presbyters to a Bishop, as your self observe. For your own notion of a Parish contain­ing no more than are capable of being governed by a single person, where nine persons were thought necessary, there must be supposed nine times that propor­tion, that is, nine Parishes. And then if you think your self obliged to abstain from that Communion where Discipline is impossible, and think it impossible where the Bishop undertakes the government of [Page 298] any more than he is able to give an ac­count of by his own personal care; you must have conceived your self obliged as much to separate from Diocesan Com­munion quà Diocesan then as now, and therefore should not plead those Dioceses as precedents. But, 2. Your own princi­ples will warrant the enlargment of your Dioceses now; for if Bishops might in the primitive times take the charge of whole Cities, not because the Cities were small, or the Inhabitants few, but be­cause they who owned Episcopal Authori­ty, that is, Christians, were so; then I may say our present Dioceses may be ve­ry much inlarged since the divisions of Christians. For whereas then they were all unanimous, the case is otherwise how, when Papists and Scots, and other Non-conformists, being deduced of all Sects and Opinions, those onely are accounted that own our present Episcopal Authority, would be so few comparatively, so that you see that by Separation upon account of the too great extent of our Dioceses, the inconvenience is not remedied, but confirmed in consequence of your own Principles. But, 3. What inconvenience soever may indeed be in things of this nature, is to be judged as well as reformed [Page 299] by the Governours, (whose proper care it is) not to be remedied by worse, such as are the undutifulness and separations of private persons from their Superiours on that account.

I CONFIRMED this by Argu­ment from experience, § LV. from an instance of Rome which though so great in Cor­nelius his time, as to need the Services of above 1000 Clergie, was yet at the same time under the Government of one onely Bishop. To this you answer, 1. That this was above 250 years after Christs Birth. But this is not the que­stion, how soon it was, but whether it was not when discipline was severely enough observed? For from hence it follows, that experience has then shewn, that discipline was sufficiently reconci­lable with a Diocesan Government, and therefore may be so now if Governours would be equally industrious. And that discipline was then observed, I believe you will not deny. You answer, 2. That ‘you never took all the impotent persons, poor, and widows, in the Church, to be Clergie-men and Clergie-women. I shall not dispute the propriety of my expression, (not but that I know that the word has indeed been used in a very large sense, so [Page 300] as to comprehend most persons relating to the Church, and possibly all there enu­merated) both because I do not conceive the thing material to my present pur­pose, which is onely to shew the nume­rousness of the Church from the multi­tude of Presbyters, whom you will not deny to be properly Clergie-men; and because I confess I too much trusted my memory in quoting the place, and upon consulting the place find my self to have been mistaken in two things: 1. That I thought the word Clergie to have been used by Cornelius. 2. That I thought that all the several sorts there mention­ed, Presbyters, Deacons, &c. to have been comprized in the number 1500, whereas I now find, that the later sort of the poor maintained on the charges of the Church were onely therein included. Omitting therefore these mistakes, which now I know I will not undertake to justifie, the thing I insist on is, that here are 46 Presbyters mentioned, and that there were in Rome quadraginta, Optat. Mi­lev. l. 11. cont. Parm. & quod ex­currit, Basilicae, (as we learn from Opta­tus) when Victor Garbiensis was sent from Africa to be made the Schismatical Bishop of Rome, which was about the persecuti­on of Dioclesian, when the Schism of the [Page 301] Donatists commenced. Which number­of Basilicae or Parish Churches (for you have already seemed to grant, that Rome was then divided into Parishes) may ve­ry well agree with the number of Pres­byters mentioned by Cornelius. There being therefore even then so many Chri­stians in Rome, as were able to make up 46 Parishes, besides those of the [...] or Region adjacent subject, according to the practice of those times, to the Juris­diction of the City Bishop; it is plain that the Diocese was even then of a larg­er extent than Parochial, as your self had already granted, (though here you en­deavour to answer the arguments, that are designed to prove no more than what you had granted;) and therefore 46 times exceeding the ability of a single person. Yet I believe you will not deny, but that all this number was then suffi­ciently governed by one Bishop, without any visible decay of discipline observable in those times. I know indeed that Mr. Potter in order to his own design does endeavour to prove the number of Presbyters and Titles originally derived from Cletus, Interp. of the number 666, c. 19. Euaristus, Dionysius, and Marcellus to have been 25. Nor shall I now digress to shew the ground of his [Page 302] mistake. All that I shall desire you to observe at present is, that his Authors are either evidently late, or suspicious if pretendedly ancient; not comparable in credibility to Cornelius and Optatus produ­ced by me. But if I should admit all that he pretends, yet 25 Parishes them­selves are too large an extent for such Dioceses, as you desire, that might not exceed the personal abilities of one.

BUT you endeavour to give some account how their Clergie might be nu­merous though their people were few, § LVI. from the conceived extraordinary exi­gencies of those times. But neither does it appear that the exigencies were indeed so extraordinary, there appearing no ground to believe any Innovation accom­modated to present exigencies; but ra­ther that that had been the ordinary Go­vernment: if it had, were it to your pur­pose. For the same extraordinary exigen­cies, which then required the united helps of a multitude of Clergie, made the burthen too great for one; and therefore if a Bishop cannot (as by your Principles he cannot) undertake the government of a number too great for his personal care, without prejudice of discipline; it will follow that he could not do it then. But [Page 303] it appearing clearly otherwise, namely that discipline was severely maintained under a Government properly Diocesan, that is including a multitude of subordi­nate cures; it is plain, that what neg­lects are now in that kind, are not to be imputed to the Government but the Go­vernours.

BUT I shall consider the disparities themselves:§ LVII. 1.‘The Christians meet­ings were then obscure and small in houses, (as the tolerated Churches in London.)’ But I have already shewn you how the multitudes of Christians were (according to the practises of those Ages) suppliable without any unnecessary mul­tiplication of Altars, or Priests, or Chur­ches; and that this multitude of Priests was not accommodated to their extraor­dinary meetings in houses occasionally, but their solemn appointed places for Parochial Assemblies, for such were the Tituli or Basilicae. You consider, 2. ‘That these meetings were in so vast a City in so many distinct places. But the Chri­stians of those times were not so sparing of their pains, as to scruple the distances of places in the greatest Cities, for the comfort of their Synaxes; for in S. Ju­stin Martyr's time they came out of the [Page 304] Country to the City-meetings, much more from the most distant places of the same City. And therefore it is not probable that the distance of place, but the mul­titude of the persons, occasioned the multiplication of the Clergie. And by the multitude of their poor, 1500 not onely 1050 as you mistake) you may guess at their multitudes. For it was too great a proportion for the multitudes of one Pa­rish, especially where S. Paul's Rule was severely observed, that none should be maintained on the Churches account, but such as were poor indeed, and where none should eat who did not labour if he were able. Besides, the treasures of that Church were thought worthy the design of the Secular Magistracy, and great multitudes of poor are said to have been maintained on the Church account in the time of Pope Sixtus and S. Laurence. Prudent. Perist. in Laurent. You consider, 3. The Suburbicarian Assemblies; I sup­pose you mean the Assemblies in the Sub­urbs of Rome, not those of the Regiones Suburbicariae, (which I believe you will not doubt but that they contained a num­ber too great for a single Parish) and then the former Answer will suffice, that they who ordinarily came out of the Country to the City Assemblies, were not likely to [Page 305] scruple coming to them from the Suburbs, if their numbers might be entertained in one place with convenience. 4. You say, many Presbyters used still to be with the Bishop in the same Assembly. If you mean it on solemn occasions of great concern­ment for the Government of the Church, I confess it; but you cannot thence infer, that they being deducted few would re­main for Parochial Cures, being those be­ing but rare, they might all be spared from their Parochial Affairs. But if you think, that in all ordinary Synaxes such a number of them were obliged to a per­sonal attendance on him, as must distract them from their other Imployments; I believe you have no ground to think so. In the Form of their Offices by S. Justin Martyr you find no mention but of the [...] and the [...], a sign that there was no part of the Office obliging Presby­ters to be present. 5. You observe, that here were in all but seven Deacons. But this is no argument to conclude the pau­city of Believers; for it was an Opinion taken up in that Age, from that unsecure principle of making Apostolical Practice even in Ecclesiasticals obligatory, that no Church, how great soever, must have any more than seven, because there were [Page 306] no more in the Church of Jerusalem at their first Institution. The words of the Neocaesarean Canon are plain;Can. 14. [...]. And that this number was not casually taken up in the Church of Rome, Conc. Neo­caesar. but upon some such designed account,Pseudo-Euarist. ep. 1. may very probably be conjectured because we find it observed in S. Laurence his time, who being Arch­deacon of Rome is called Primus è septem viris qui stant ad aram proximi, Perist. ubi supra. &c. by Prudentius. And you will accordingly find constantly in the Author of the Pon­tifical, the number of Deacons ordained by every Bishop of Rome to be less than of Presbyters; and this comparative pau­city of Deacons in respect of Presbyters was accounted by S. Hierom an occasion of the Deacons presumption, in his Epist. 85. ad Euagr. And if the form of Christs appearing in the Revelations, be taken from the Bishops sitting in the Church (as if I be not mistaken the most learned and judicious Mr. Thorndike thinks it is) then as the 24 Elders may allude to the Christian Presbyteries, derived from the lesser Sanhedrims of the Jews consisting of 24;Vid. Orig. tract. 24. in Matth. so the seven ministring Spirits may in conformity to the septenary number of [Page 307] Angels, so famous among the Jews, (as Mr. Mede proves professedly) which are called [...] by the Apostle, Heb. 1. allude to the septenary number of Deacons, which were always attending on the Bishop, in a readiness to execute his commands, as the Angels are suppo­sed by the Jews to do on God himself. Nor need you wonder that so small a number of Deacons might be conceived sufficient to answer so great a proportion of Presbyters, considering that their speci­al Office was to distribute the Alms of the Church to such as were maintained on publick charity, and to attend more imme­diately on the Bishops person, as ordinary Executioners of his commands. For I believe you will never find that they per­formed any service to Presbyters act­ing separately from their Bishop. And certainly for distribution of Alms, and per­sonal attendance on the Bishop, as small a number as seven might be sufficient in a great City.

6. You say,§ LVIII ‘That many then were Presbyters that used not to preach, but for privater oversight, and as the Bi­shops Assessors. This, though for my part I conceive it very true, seems strange to me to proceed from a person of your [Page 308] principles, who usually teach publick prea­ching in Ecclesiastical Assemblies to be the indispensible duty of every particular Gospel Minister, by which name they in­clude, if they do not onely mean, Priests. But supposing it true as I believe it was, that there were several Priests who did not preach; yet will not this diminish the multitude of Parishes, as you seem to conceive. For I believe you cannot prove that publick preaching was then account­ed an ordinary parochial imployment. And though it were not, yet there were others equivalent sufficient to take up the time and pains bestowed on it now, with equal edification; such were visiting, communicating, exhorting, persuading, re­solving cases of conscience, and satisfying themselves concerning the lives of peni­tents, for discerning who were fit or unfit for their communion; all those Offices which were performed out of their pub­lick Synaxes, and all that were perform­ed in them besides preaching, that is, their ordinary prayers, their hymni antelucani, their reading of the Scriptures, their cate­chizings, their general Exhortations pro re nata not designed and solemn, their collections and [...]. So that though there had not been so many Preachers, in [Page 309] our modern notion of the word, yet there might have been as many Parochial Priests as Titles or Parishes.

7. YOU say,§ LIX. ‘That the poorer sort most commonly received the Gospel. If your meaning herein be to conclude, that the 1500 poor were the most consi­derable part of Believers, that you might conclude the whole number of Converts to have been small; you should have re­membered what poor they were, such as were maintained on the publick charity, that is, such as were not onely poor but impotent, unable to get their livings otherwise. And sure you cannot but think, that the multitude of other Belie­vers upon whose charity they were main­tained, especially if poor themselves, (though able to earn a livelyhood) as you seem to suppose, must have been great, especially considering the other expenses of their charity on the Clergie, on the Martyrs and Confessors, on their hospitality to strangers, &c. all which may be sufficient presumptions that these 1500 poor did not in any probability bear any considerable proportion to the mul­titudes of the Roman Church by whom they were maintained. And I believe in few Cities in our Kings Dominions, if [Page 310] any, will be found so great a number of poor, who by reason of impotency are thought by the Magistrates fit objects of the publick charity, even in these our Ages, wherein all are supposed Professors of Christianity.

8. You say,§ LX. ‘That none of these but the 46 Presbyters had any power in the discipline. If you mean a decretory pow­er in the sense I have explained it, then I think I have proved that the 45 Presby­ters themselves had it not, but the Bishop alone. But you can thence no more con­clude the paucity of Believers in one of the Dioceses of those times, than in any one of ours now, when it is plain that the Bishop himself has monopolized it, as your self complain. But if you mean an executive or even a consultory power of giving consent or advice in affairs of di­scipline, to be decreed by the Bishop; that was so far from being confined to the Presbyters, as that it was communicated to the Deacons, nay to the common people themselves. This might easily have been cleared from Cornelius his Contemporary S. Cyprian, (from whom we have the clearest account of the discipline of that Age) if I had not been unwilling to be more tedeous than needs I must; and be­cause [Page 311] upon reflection I believe your self will acknowledge it, and because it is usually undertaken by Presbyterian, but especially Independent, Authors. Indeed there were some privileges of the Presby­ters, that they onely sate in the Bishops presence, as S. Hierom tells us, besides other distinctions in Synaxes. But it is sufficient for my purpose that the execu­tion of discipline, which is the main thing which necessarily requires plurality, was managed by all; and that for counsel here was a number exceeding the Councils of several Princes of Dominions larger than any Dioceses.

But,§ LXI. 9. You say, ‘That by all this reckoning the whole Church maintained not (besides the Officers) near 1000 poor, we may probably conjecture that the whole Church of that Bish. was not bigger than some one London Parish, (Stepney, S. Giles Cripplegate) where are about 50000 Souls.’ But, 1. You are mista­ken in your account: For, 1. The num­ber of the poor besides the Officers were not near 1000 onely, but 1500; for the Officers are not included in that number, as you suppose. 2. That number of poor maintained on the publick charity, does imply a greater number than you sup­pose [Page 312] For consider, 1. That no poor were reckoned in that number, but such as were unable to earn a livelyhood for them­selves, according to S. Pauls Rule alrea­dy mentioned. Consider, 2. That even of those impotent poor none were to be charged on the Church that had believing Friends able to maintain them, accord­ing to another Rule of the same S. Paul, 1 Tim. 5. 4, 8. by which means none were likely to have been maintained by the Church, but such as might have been starved if they had not been so relieved. Now considering that, according to Cap­tain Graunts Calculation of 229250 in London, not above 51 were starved, which he reckons as the 4000th. part, but with too great latitude, for it is in­deed the 4495th. part, besides a Fracti­on of 5, or thereabouts, if his Numbers be rightly printed; let 1500 be multi­plied by 4495, and the summ will be 6742500; or if it be multiplied by his own proportion of 4000, it will amount to 6000000, a summ too great for the City. And by all deductions that may be made, for the unkindness of some Christian Friends, and of most Heathen, that would leave many destitute of their help, for no other reason than their being [Page 313] Christians; and of others that were main­tained by the Church, not for want of callings, but of lawful ones, as the Stage­player in S. Cyprian; and the remisness of some Officers of those many entrusted in this affair, who either might have not used their utmost diligence in informing themselves of the poverty and helples­ness of the persons admitted by them, or might have failed of the success, and be­ing misinformed after all humane dili­gence, and have had persons sufficient either in themselves, or by help of their Friends, obtruded on them; or all other failings imaginable, (for I confess moral affairs are not to be estimated by Mathe­matical measures;) yet it will be hard af­ter all to bring the summ so low as 460000, which Captain Graunt con­ceives to be the whole number of Inha­bitants in London, much more to reduce it to the limits of the greatest Parish mentioned by you. But, 2. If you had indeed computed right, and the number had been no greater than of one of those great Parishes you speak of; yet why should not the numbers of people here mentioned be thought sufficient for a Diocese even in our modern sense? For I doubt there are no Cities in the Kings [Page 314] Dominions that have Episcopal Sees, that have 50000 Inhabitants, except London. Ours of Dublin, which is thought by most that have seen it, to be second to London for greatness and populousness, is by a Bill of Mortality, and an account of the Poll-money sent to Captain Graunt, esti­mated to contain onely 30000, or there­abouts, (though I can hardly believe that to be our full number;) according to which estimation the Parishes you speak of will exceed us by two thirds more; and so I believe they will equal our whole Diocese; for I believe the rest of it put together can hardly exceed the proporti­on of two third parts to the City. And can you think the same number in a Pa­rish governable by the single unassisted abi­lities of a single Parish Minister, and not think it so by a Bishop seconded by his Presbytery, Dignitaries, and Parochial Cu­rates. Or, if the case of preserving disci­pline be harder in such a Parish than such a Diocese, (as certainly upon the accounts now mentioned it needs must be;) then I pray consider what equality is it to com­municate with our Parishes indiscrimi­nately, (such great ones themselves not being excepted;) and yet to separate as indiscriminately from our Diocesan Com­munion, [Page 315] even of such as exceed not those greater Parishes in the numbers of their people, though they do in numbers of their Governours. And if you think that as many may meet in one place, as may make up our ordinary present Dioceses, (as you must do if they may be conveni­ently included in a Parish;) then how can you conclude the less populousness of the ancient than our modern Dioceses, from that very Topick of their meeting in one place? For my part I verily believe that it is by accident, not designedly, that those Parishes have so vastly exceeded their ordinary proportion, merely from the encrease of the trade of the City in those parts, which were more thinly in­habited when the Parishes were first di­stributed, as you may easily conjecture from the disproportion, some of them exceeding other Parishes in your City an hundredfold, as is observed by Captain Graunt, which is more than there are Parishes in some of our Dioceses; and from the disproportion of their ancient Churches, when they were designed Pa­rishes, with their present multitudes, and their equality with those other Parish Churches, whose present Parishioners are so extremely unequal, and that these vast [Page 316] Parishes are generally in the Suburbs, where the City was very likely to en­crease. And therefore seeing the great­ness of those Parishes seem never yet to have been approved, though they were not yet amended; you cannot thence conjecture, what has certainly appeared false as to matter of fact, that the Roman Christians were no more than one Parish, under the personal and immediate care of their Bishop.

10. You say,§ LXII. ‘When none were Chri­stians but persecuted Voluntiers, they were the holiest and best of men, and you have tried that 600 such make less work for discipline, than 10 of the Rabble that are driven into our Chur­ches, and choose them rather than the Gaol. Upon account of which concei­ved disparity, I presume your meaning is to conclude, that one Bishop might rule a greater number than now, and there­fore though Diocesan Churches might in­deed have been rulable by one Bishop then, yet we are not thence to conclude that it may be so now. But I have al­ready shewn that Government must not be proportioned onely to the good humours of men, but must be able to prevent and reform those lapses to which men easily [Page 317] and naturally degenerate, and therefore that there must have been the same power in Governours then as now, though there was not the same necessity of its actual exercise. And that the Bishops power was not onely over orderly Converts, but over lapsed criminals, who had then more temptations to fall, and being so to be­have themselves refractorily against the discipline of their Church, when their lapses were countenanced, than now when they are discouraged by the Civil Magistrate; and over the Heathens who were to be converted and severely disci­plined for the trial of their veracity, and securing them from a relapse. And if you find it so hard a matter now to per­suade such as know their duty, and acknow­ledge their reasonableness, and have a re­verence of such persuaders and persuasions, instilled in them by the principles of their Christian Education, to the practice of what they cannot deny themselves obli­ged to; certainly the difficulty of re­claiming Heathens must have been much greater, who were as debauched in their lives as ours now, and less disposed for correction, in all the regards now men­tioned than vicious Christians, nay contra­rily prejudiced, not onely by practical but [Page 318] dogmatical prejudices against the wisest and most rational exhortations, as pro­ceeding from the mouth of a Christian, of whom they had conceived so unworthy an opinion, by reason of the slanders rai­sed against them then so commonly be­lieved.

‘BUT when all is done (you say) two Cities under the power of great temptations,§ LXIII are not to be our rule against Gods word, and the state of all other Churches in the world, and un­deniable experience. So that it seems you are at last diffident of your Excepti­ons against those two instances, and yet unwilling to yield though you should be convinced of their weakness. Indeed if what you pretend were true, that they were against Gods word, &c. I should confess so great evidence sufficient to re­ject them. But it is certainly otherwise, and I believe you cannot give an instance of a Parochial Church in the sense we now understand it; for such a multitude of Believers as were governable by a single Presbyter alone, either in the Scriptures, or in any other Church in the world, (ex­cepting those two so much decried by you) for the first three Centuries, so far you are from proving what you seem to [Page 319] design, that Bishops ought to be multi­plied in proportion to them. Your vo­lume of proof from Antiquity of one Altar and one Bishop in one Church will not do it; for I have already shewn that Church to be the Church of a whole City how great soever, and therefore to have been Diocesan not Parochial. And for the Argument from Experience, though it will hold well enough as I have managed it, that discipline has once been preser­ved under a Diocesan Government, there­fore it may be so again; yet not vice ver­sâ as you do, discipline is not observed, (for this is all the undeniable experience you so much insist on) therefore it can­not.

MY instance of Ulphilas Bishop of the whole Nation of the Goths, § LXIV which sure were greater than one Parish, you seem to deny, when you say he was Bishop onely of a few Goths, who were presently presecuted to the death by Athanarichus, (ut Socrat. l. 4. c. 32.) which few you say I may call a King­dom if I please.’ But the number were not so small as you suppose; for they were converted long before they were persuaded to the Arrian Communion, which was no sooner than the time of Valens, [Page 320] when Eudoxius prevailed with Ulphilas to bring them to it. For they were van­quished by Constantine, Soc. l. 1. c. 18. and by admira­tion of his success against themselves were drawn to embrace his Religion, to which they imputed his victories so strange beyond their expectation; and accordingly had a former Bishop in their Nation one Theophilus before Ulphilas, Ib. l. 11. c. 41. so that though even at the first the Nation, that is, at least the generality of them were converted to Christianity; yet be­fore the time you speak of they had a considerable time to allow for further propagation. And accordingly when Vl­philas was brought over to the Arrians, he is said to have separated [...],Sozom. l. 6. c. 37. (an expression certainly as comprehensive as that I used of a Kingdom) from the Communion of the Catholick Church. For his Authority is described to have been so great with the Goths, as that they took his words for irrefragable Laws, Theod. l. 4. c. 37. and yet certainly was not so great with any but converted Christians. Sozom. l. 6. c. 37. But you say, They were presently persecuted to the death by Athanaricus. If you mean this as an Argument that they were few, because they were presently extirpated by persecu­tion, you are certainly mistaken. For [Page 321] Athanaricus his storm lasted not long, but upon Phritigernes his return,Socr. Hist. who by the assistance of the Romans prevail­ed against them,Eccl. 4. 33 the Christian Religion again returned,Soz. 4. 37. and was countenanced and so far advanced, as that in their In­vasions of the Roman Empire afterwards in Honorius his time ther Army was gene­rally Christian, which could not have probably been, if they had been extirpa­ted by Athanaricus. But you say, That Ulphilas was an Arian. But, 1. If he had been so, yet that cannot weaken his Authority in our present case, both be­cause this practice of a Nations having but one Bishop, is never reckoned by the Haeresiographers as a point of Arianism, no nor as a singularity of the Arians them­selves upon personal accounts. Nay, my other instances of Tiramentus and Moses were both Catholicks; nay, the Goths themselves whilest Catholicks had the same form of Government that is, till Ulphilas was wrought on by Eudoxius. Till that time not onely his Predecessor Theophilus, but himself maintained the Nicene Faith in opposition to the Arian Communion, and yet in all likelyhood they were not much less numerous when Catholicks than when Arians; for the [Page 322] whole Nation which is said by him to have been reconciled to the Arian Com­munion, were in all likelyhood none but Christians, and therefore Catholicks, see­ing they seem at that time to have been unanimous. But, 2. It does not appear that he was a real Arian. I confess he did communicate with the Arians, and that not onely with the more moderate Homousians, but also with those who owned Christ to be a creature, and by degrees from communicating with the Arians the Goths afterwards used the Arian Forms of speaking, and from them proceeded to embrace much of their Opinion, and so at length alienated themselves from the Catholick Communi­on, as appears in their later persecutions of the Catholicks in Italy and Africa. But at first the very reason that prevailed with Ulphilas was, that Eudoxius pre­tended the difference betwixt themselves and the Catholicks to be [...],Theod. ubi suprae. as Theodoret shews, and Sozomen censures his proceeding herein as done [...], as inconsiderate rather than out of any ill design. And there were other deceits as disingenuous as this used by the Arians, to draw such to their Communion who were known re­ally [Page 323] to retain the Nicene Faith. You know how the greatest part of the La­tine Fathers were imposed on in the Coun­cil of Ariminum by Valens and Ursacius, who read [...] instead of [...] in the Nicene Creed, and how a Confession of their Faith was drawn up by them at Nice in Thrace, and imposed on the Ca­tholicks under the name of the famous Nicene Creed of Bithynia. So that there were two reasons that in those Ages pre­vailed with some Catholicks to commu­nicate with the Arians; one that the first quarrel betwixt Alexander and Arius was thought onely personal, not on ac­count of any real difference, at least that that betwixt the later Arians and the Ca­tholicks was so; another was that, if there was any real difference, yet it was rather in expressions mutually misunder­stood, than in things, or at least in things not conceived sufficiently momentous to divide Communion. As therefore you woud not I believe in your own practice have it concluded, that you are an Inde­pendent or Prelatist, because you are for communicating with such as are so, but onely that you think our differences un­worthy that the Churches peace should be broken for them; so you cannot conclude [Page 324] that Ulphilas was an Arian, because he communicated with such as were, but onely that he thought the Controversies too trivial. Nor can you blame him for thinking them trivial, seeing he was persuaded they were nothing but words. Nor is such his communion the least inti­mation of his deserting the Catholick Do­ctrine, seeing he embraced them no fur­ther than he conceived them not to differ from what he had formerly believed. Nor need you think it so strange in Ulphilas, for I verily believe that there were very many more in Constantine's time,Of this kind of Dispensation even in matters of faith see Examples of S. Greg. Naz. S. Basil, Maximus in Petr. de Marc. l. 3. de concord. Sacr. & Imper. c. 13. sect. 10, 11. especially who did not seem to condemn or desert the Catholick Doctrine, but were unwilling to separate Communion for any unscriptural expression whatsoe­ver, where they conceived the sense se­cure; and did as much censure the Arian Forms of [...] and [...], as the Catholick [...] of being unscriptural. So that their whole design seems to have been, that persons agreeing in things might not disagree about words, which I believe you will not disapprove.

To my other instance of a National, § LXV. at least much greater than Parochial [Page 325] Church, under one Bishop, that of the In­dians, (not the Persians, as you mistake) both converted and governed by Frumenti­us, you say, ‘It is easie to gather by the History how few of them were then converted.’ If you mean, that they were so few, that they might conveni­ently resort to one place of meeting, (which we mean by a Parish) the con­trary is so manifest from the places, as I believe you would not have said other­wise, if you had been pleased to have con­sulted them.Socr. l. 1. c. 19. Socrates plainly mentions one [...] founded before Frumentius was consecrated their Bishop by S. Atha­nasius; but after his return to them with Episcopal power, he as plainly says, that he founded many more. Soz. l. 11. c. 24. Sozomen says, that he did [...] in the Plural Number;Theod. l. 1. c. 23. Theodoret, that [...], which appears also from Ruffinus, who had the relation from Aedesius himself, who was the Companion of Frumentius. To my third instance of Moses, all that you answer is, that its likely he had as few among the Arabians, there being no mention in the History of any thing to persuade us, that he had many Churches under him, that you remember. Sozomen's words [Page 326] concerning him are,Soz. l. 4. c. 38. [...]. Theodoret is indeed indefinite,Theod. l. 4. c. [...]. but yet his words are such as imply a very considera­ble multitude; [...]. For if they had been but few who were converted by him, it is not likely that the expressions would have been so unli­mited, having before spoken of the whole Nation, who had desired him by their Princess Maria.

AFTER these instances of great num­bers under the Jurisdiction of single Bi­shops, § LXVI I at length applied them to my purpose, observing that they were so many, yet discipline was not dissolved. To this you answer, 1. ‘That in all this I leave out a matter of chief considera­tion, viz. That all the Presbyters then were Assistants in discipline, and had a true Church Government, which now they have not.’ If you mean such Go­vernment as you count true, in respect of their Parishioners, this you know is not denied them; they have a power of exe­cuting their Ordinaries commands among them, and to discharge their own office, though with dependence on the Bishop, [Page 327] which is as much as is consistent with an Ecclesiastical Monarchick Government, and is an assistance sufficient to enable an Ecclesiastical as well as a Secular Monarch to preserve discipline. If such as is true in respect of the Government in general; even this they have in the lower houses of our Convocations. So that all that you can complain of among us as dissonant from the primitive example, is that they are not indeed assistant at their Bishops counsels in every particular act of disci­pline. This you may remember I wished reformed, but as it is I cannot conceive it so extremely prejudicial to discipline, as to excuse the want of it under a Diocesan Government. For even among us the Bi­shop, or he who represents him, (though for my part I could wish that he would act personally without such Representa­tives) does not give sentence in particu­lar acts of discipline without counsel, and that counsel qualified with such requisites as would make Presbyters fit to assist in it, that is, skill in the Canon Laws and prudence in Government; so that their be­ing also ordained persons would onely prove an advantage of decorum, not of material influence on Government. Cer­tainly unless Clergiemen were better skilled [Page 328] in these things, than I doubt they are commonly, their onely being Clergiemen would not so conveniently fit them for service in this kind, if wanting those other more essential qualifications, as their having them though wanting Orders. So that of the two evils which follow their disunion in the same persons this seems to be the less. But if you think no assistance sufficient, but such as may make them independent on their Bishop, that I have proved as far from the practice of those earlier ages as of the pre­sent.

2. YOU say,§ LXVII. ‘It's strange that we that have eyes and ears must be sent to the Persians (you mean the Indians) and ancient History, to know whether one Bishop can hear, and try, and ad­monish so many thousands at once, as we see by experience are those objects of discipline, which the Scripture descri­beth; and when we see that it is not done.’ But all this need not have been thought so strange, if you had remem­bred the true state of the question; that it was not whether discipline were actually maintained by our Diocesan Government? but whether it could not possibly be main­tained under it? and that it does no way [Page 329] follow that it cannot because it is not. That although this argument ab actu ad potentiam negativè (which is yours) do not hold, yet mine which proceeds affir­matively will, That discipline has actually been maintained under a Diocesan Go­vernment, therefore it is still possible to be maintained under it. That for conclu­ding this possibility it is not requisite that it must be maintained in all times and pla­ces, but it is sufficient that it was in any, and that sure may be proved as well by ancient and exotick Histories, as by those which are modern and of our own Country. And for shewing the possibility, I have al­ready proved, that so many thousands may as well be disciplined by one Ecclesi­astical as one Secular Monarch. That of those many thousand objects of discipline you conceive described in the Scripture, many are onely Objects of private cogni­zance, which is not denied to ordinary Parish Ministers. That they who are of publick are not so extremely numerous, or if they were, they may be dealt with as in Seculars, some punished in terrorem, and others equally guilty permitted to escape without any great charge of par­tiality, than what is ordinarily thought equitable in great multitudes by secular [Page 330] persons. And that of those which re­main, it is not so requisite that all be tried at once, and that one must hinder the procedure against the other. But after all this you say, ‘We have talked but of a Phantasm; for it is not one Bi­shop but one Layman, a Chancellour, that useth this decretory power of the Keys, &c. and that the Bishop rarely meddleth with it.’ Still you forget that I did in my former Letter expresly decline this Controversie, and intimated that our present question was not concerning the decorum of the person, but the possibility of discipline under him; (and sure you will not deny that a Laymans abilities for Go­vernment may be as great as a Clergie­mans, whence it will follow, that disci­pline may as well be preserved under him;) that our question was concerning Diocesan Government as such, that is, as including under it the Cures of several Presbyters, to which this office of Lay­chancellour is accidental. The business of the Covenant I am unwilling to engage in, because I do not know whether it can be done conveniently without of­fence. Your Explication of my Infor­mation concerning the words [consent to the use, &c.] in the Act for Uniformity, I [Page 331] verily believe to be true, both because you say it, and because it doth not deny, but onely give a further account of some passages not mentioned by my worthy Author; and because the word [use] is omitted in the Form it self, though mentioned immediately before. What the Reasons were that were urged by the House of Commons for proving them intolerable I know not, nor have been informed by you; yet I could con­jecture several that were very apposite and expedient, notwithstanding they might not intend to oblige to an internal assent, in case exteriour peaceable acqui­escency, as it is usually understood by Conformists themselves; and that they did not intend to exclude peaceable Con­formists, though otherwise not satisfied of the expedience of every single Impositi­on, seems very credible, because there is not the least intimation of so rigid an exposition as that is which is mentioned by you, That you must never endeavour any alteration, no not by a request or word. All that is desired is, that you would not, while you are a private person, endea­vour any further than by request and words; (as indeed you cannot lawfully and justly do without encroaching on the [Page 332] offices of others, which cannot be excu­sed by the conceived justice of your cause.) That you would give leave, when all is done, to the persons requested by you to judge of the reasonableness of your requests, not obliging them to act by yours but their own consciences, which when all is done must be the measure of their own proceedings. That in case of their dissent from you, you neither raise parties against them, nor encourage them that do by communicating with them. That you would in such a case not easily conclude the error to be in your Superi­ours, considering that your self are at least as fallible as they; or if you did in­deed think the cause so evident, as might justly warrant your dissent, (as I confess thet there are some degrees of evidence to private persons sufficient to counter­vail any authority whatsoever) yet that you would use no other means for pre­vailing against the conceived prejudices of Governours, than such as would be­come the modesty of a private person, powerful persuasions and hearty prayers. That even in such cases they would give active obedience in things not sinful, and passive in such as were. This behaviour would salve the difficulties on both sides, [Page 333] would both preserve the peace of the Church, and the peace of a Dissenters con­science, if invincibly persuaded; would minister more comfort to him, and satis­fie him of his own sincerity in designing the glory of God, when there were less suspicions of any ends of his own; and his sufferings for the peace of the Church would be as glorious and rewardable, if we may believe S. Cyprian, as if they were for the faith of the Church.

IF I had been dealing with a person less zealous and industrious for this peace than you have approved your self by publick Monuments,§ LXVIII it had here been seasonable to have conjured you by all that is or can be dear to a Lover of God, or of the honour of Religion; by all your sacred or civil Interests, by your respects either to the Church or Country of your birth and education, which are not more prejudiced by any thing than our Ecclesi­astical Divisions; that you would be plea­sed to lay out those great Talents of Parts and Interest in the Peoples Affections, wherewith God has so abundantly en­riched you, on the reconciliation of the people with themselves and with their Go­vernours, (I am confident you would find that a more effectual course of promo­ting [Page 334] discipline, for which you are so zea­lous, than the unsettlement of the present and forcible Establishment of another Form of Government as much maligned as this when it has prevailed, and has attempt­ed the execution of discipline.) That you would consider it as your greatest secu­rity, to be inquisitor and wary in a cause of so dangerous consequence, if you should prove mistaken, and your greatest honour to yield to truth, and to relinquish any opinions, how long maintained, or how dear soever, when they shall appear to be erroneous. That you would be pleased in order thereunto, to consider impartially what I confess has here been weakly re­presented, not as an adversary to my cause; but as a diligent enquirer after truth, where ever it may be found, as our most serious common interest. That therefore you would excuse my failings in the im­propriety of words, and correct those that may be found in the disadvantage of my management, and consider all not accord­ing to the unskilfulness of my proposal, but the nature, strength, and evidence of the Ar­guments themselves, as discoverable in or­der to your own satisfaction, by your own more discerning judgment. That you would beware of precipitancy in resol­ving, [Page 335] and of tenaciousness in maintaining unsufficiently grounded resolutions, in a question of so great consequence for ca­tholick peace. These (I say) and the like Topicks might have been urged and in­sisted on to another, that had been less skilful or sincere; but to you I believe it is sufficient to have intimated them, rather as warnings what you may avoid, than as instructions in what you need to be infor­med. I shall therefore recommend the whole success to God, who has often ma­nifested strength out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, and to your own ingenu­ous and pious industry and favourable judg­ment, in an affair so nearly concerning the Churches peace, and the good of Souls, for which you are deservedly so zealous; and conclude, onely desiring the conti­nuance of your prayers (if I have already impetrated any portion in them) for

Your sincerely affectionate Friend and Servant, HENRY DODWELL.


The Contents.

Reasons of delaying this Answer, § 1 Endeavours to prevent his displeasure § 2. Advices then against some Intima­tions of his of publishing our Letters, § 3. My unwillingness to differ from him in any thing tolerable, § 4. The Charge of SCHISM briefly stated against them, § 5. A pathetical Ap­plication of all that had been said to Mr. Baxter, § 6.

Reverend Sir,

§ I IT is now some considerable time since I received a short Letter of yours, assuring me of your receipt of my former larger Reply to yours. But partly in expectation of a larger An­swer to the body of mine, and partly be­cause I thought you a little offended at my former freedom, and because I was jealous how things never so innocently [Page 337] intended might have been understood, till a little time had abated the resentment; and because I was, and I hope ever shall be, very unwilling to give an occasion, though I be conscious of no cause of di­sturbance to a person so pious and peaceable, and who has already exposed himself so freely to the persecuting pens and tongues of the exasperated Zealots of the several parties, for his desire to bring them to a mutual better understanding, I have defer­red my Answer hitherto.

§ II I AM really sorry to see our misun­derstandings still so continued, possibly through my obscurity; for otherwise I think there is nothing new objected by you, but what I think I might have re­ferred you to the several Paragraphs where I endeavoured to answer it, which yet you take not the least notice of. You may perceive how far I have been from any thing that might savour of arro­gance; how I have therefore waved those principal disputes, which I perceived had principally alienated you from our Commu­nion; and how I have engaged on none but such whither you seemed your self to invite me, and how even there I have behaved my self, though indeed freely, (which I have always looked on the in­dispensable [Page 338] duty of a virtuous friend, and I presumed you to be of my mind) yet with all possible respect to your person, and submission in matters of private con­cernment, and acknowledgment of my mistakes where convicted. I had never so much as mentioned these things, if I had not been necessitated to it for your satisfaction and my own defence. If I have spoken any thing which might be capable of an ill construction, and may be spared without prejudice to the merit of my cause; I do again most heartily re­tract it, and submit to your own corre­ction, if you be pleased to let me know the particulars. For I desire to have no other Contentions with you, but that which I believe you will not be offended with, the [...], an emulation who shall most contribute to a solid peace. These things I hope may satisfie a mind more displeased, and less influenced with Christianity, than yours, whom I find ve­ry well disposed even in the height of these little resentments; and I hope we shall both of us defeat the Devils policy, in turning those things which he intend­ed as provocations, into grounds of a fu­ture mutual endearment.

[Page 339] § III ONE very good expedient to this purpose will be, not to be too forward to publish any thing on either side, both be­cause there are several acknowledged mi­stakes, which I would not have by any means obtruded on the publick, (I mean in my own papers, for I do not undertake to censure yours;) and many things may be further cultivated, and I think we may both of us be more willing to yield to truth, whilest our Disputes are managed with due privacy and candour.

§ IV I HAVE always and still do pro­fess my self unwilling to engage in any Disputes of private personal opinions with you, that may either be defended or de­nied without breach of mutual charity; and that I have been necessitated to such unhappy ones as divide external commu­nion, though I believe they do on both sides leave room for personal charity: as I am sorry for it, so it is my duty to my dear Mother the Church, my love to real peace, which I am sorry to see you as per­nicious to in your consequences, as you are zealous for in your directly professed principles, the very same things which have made me love and honour you, that have here obliged me to contradict you. And therefore I hope you will give me, [Page 240] if not your ear, yet your pardon.

§ V IF onely Heresie could oblige to sepa­rate communion, and there were no such thing as Schism; then I do confess that your plea for the external communion of all that agree in matters fundamental, would be more satisfactory; or if all Schism were onely in the overvaluing of lesser differences. But considering that God has made the Christian Church not onely a multitude of Christians agreeing in their assent to several propositions, like the fol­lowers of Plato or Aristotle, but a body politick, consisting of Governours and Go­verned, united in an exteriour way of profession in Creeds and Sacraments, and im­powered with an authority of depriving refractory persons of the benefits of Com­munion, for the onely crime of disobedi­ence, though the instance wherein obedi­ence were required, were otherwise of no very considerable consequence. And considering that all the Sects were at first subject to the Jurisdiction of the Church, which was conformable to all other times and places, where there has been any such society as a Church, (as far as History can inform us, for all Blondell's vast reading and diligence, when throughly examined, will not afford you a different example) [Page 341] in that very form of Government from which they separated; the question will not be whether a Surplice, &c. be necessa­ry to be imposed? but whether the first Separators could be excused for their dis­obedience to a Government so firmly settled by so long and so peaceable a prescri­ption, under whose Jurisdiction them­selves were born? not whether Episcopa­cy be the form established by God as obli­gatory on all, where they are supposed in their own liberty of choice? but whether it be not lawful to submit to it? or whether Subjects can be excused for their disobedi­ence to a Government, under whose Juris­diction they are born, if acknowledged as lawful, though not most perfect? not whether Episcopacy ought to be changed? but whether Subjects could lawfully do it without the consent of Superiours? whe­ther Subjects erecting a new form of Go­vernment, independent on that of the Bi­shop within his Jurisdiction, be so much as passive obedience? whether if it be not, it can be an excuse from the guilt of Schism? whether erecting an altar in op­position to the one altar of the Bishop, be not the very notion of Schism condemn­ed by the Church as such, as soon as Ec­clesiastical History informs us of any such [Page 342] thing as Schism in the world? whether by this way of proceeding there be any security for the future against the enter­prizes of any factious person, that shall pretend the discovery of a new form of Government, either in substance or in any indifferent circumstance, to hinder the infi­nite propagation of Schism? whether if the first Separators had no power to do so, they could propagate any to their Suc­cessors? whether if they could not, the present case be not the same as formerly? whether your communicating with Schis­maticks do not countenance them, and involve you in the guilt of it?

§ VI IF there be any such thing as Schism in opposition to Ecclesiastical Government, I beseech you consider how it is possible to be committed, if not by the means now mentioned? For Gods sake, for your Souls sake, for the Churches sake, I beg of you as on my bended knees, that as there is no reason that you should receive these things, so you would not reject them for my sake, because the proponent is contemptible. The question is not, whe­ther you should be of my opinion? but whether you should not beware of being guilty of the sin of Schism, and being accessa­ry to those divisions which you do so seri­ously [Page 343] deplore? Our Saviour did not deny the Scripture when quoted by the Devil, and I hope you will not disown the truth from a Christian, though weak and unwor­thy to be called so. S. Augustine, who was a great writer as you have been, ne­ver got more honour by any than by his Retractations. And I know I need not tell you, that no victory is more glorious than to be overcome by truth. I intreat you excuse my eagerness in this affair, and believe it to proceed from nothing so much as from a hearty affection to your person, and an ambition of a near union to you, in the truly solid bonds of catholick unity, who might by your example be highly instrumental in the recovery of many Souls from that dangerous sin of Schism, of which too many are too little sensible. If I may any way prevail on you in these things, impose what penance you please for other errors or imprudences, whe­ther real or conceived to be so, on

Your sincerely affectionate Friend and Servant, HENRY DODWELL.


SInce my Letter to Mr. Baxter, which gave him warning of my design to pub­lish these, he has hastened out an old Discourse written before my Let­ters, which he will needs have pass for an Answer to my Letters, which were writ­ten afterwards. He cannot pretend it to make any Application to most of the parti­culars of mine: all therefore that he can truly so much as pretend, is onely that it is virtually an Answer, by disproving my An­swers by such principles as are unanswer­able by any principles laid down by mine, or by a further proof of his own assertions. But he is the person who accepts not of such vir­tual Answers from his Adversary. Other­wise why is he still so clamorous for Answers to Voetius and his own Disputations of Church-government? For what is there in either of them (as far as I am concerned, who am not concerned for any of the peculiar ways, by which the Romanists manage this same Argument, not now to mention the ma­ny other particulars, which peculiarly relate [Page 345] to the singular ways of stating the same Que­stions, in other Protestant, or even Episco­pal, Authors, which are notwithstanding nor made use of by me) but what has already been sufficiently provided for by the principles of my former Discourse?

But I will not deal so hardly with him as he does with me. I accept even of virtual Answers where I can find them. What has he therefore said to the Subjects of the two Particulars which himself mentions as the summe of my Letters? Has he produced any thing new, to shew that his Arguments to prove the impossibility of Ecclesiastical Discipline, in a Diocese consisting of a number of Presbyters proportionable to the populousness of the Diocese, but obnoxious to the curb and Ecclesiastical coercion of the Diocesan Bishop, do not as validly overthrow the possibility of the like Secular Discipline under a Monarch of a District equal to a Diocese, with the like assistance of subordinate Governours? Has he pro­ved that it is more the Bishops office to take a personal care of every Soul in his Diocese, than it is the Monarchs to secure the Lives and Fortunes of every Subject in his Do­minions? Has he offered any further proof, that any thing in the Bishops Office does oblige him to discharge his Office to every In­dividual [Page 346] in his own person, more than the like office of the Magistrate does him to be particularly acquainted with all the cases of his particular Subjects? Has he shewn that it is any more a culpable delegation of the Episcopal Office, to imploy others in the care of those many numbers in a Dio­cese, to which no care of a single person can extend, than it is in a Prince that he does not personally arrest and punish every parti­cular Offender? Till these things, or something equivalent to these, be urged with greater force than they were in those Letters of his which were answered by mine, and urged in such a way as may prevent the Answers which may be given by the princi­ples laid down here; I cannot in equity think my self obliged to make particular applicati­ons to such Answers as afford no matter for further improvement or discovery.

The other particular insisted on by me was, that in those primitive times, where­in discipline did most remarkably flourish, the Government of the Church was not­withstanding Diocesan; which plainly shews that discipline is still practicable under a Diocesan Government. And what has he done new for avoiding this consequence? Does he deny that discipline was then pra­ctised? This he does not that I know deny, [Page 347] concerning those earliest ages, of which we are at present disputing. Does he therefore deny that the Government then was Dio­cesan? This is all he aims at. But what has he produced new, for disproving what I have here said to prove it so? He still re­peats his old Assertion, that [...] then was equivalent to our present Market Towns of one Parish. But I see nothing new produ­ced to disprove what I have said to prove mine, that Cities then were walled and incorporated, and included the Jurisdicti­on of the Countrey that belonged to them, and were generally in those places which were converted by the Apostles, as great if not more great and populous, as ours are now; and consisting of as great numbers of Christians of one denomination. And cer­tainly those Cities, which had generally been Commonwealths, including their Juris­diction in the Country subject to them, how small soever he will fancy the Cities them­selves to have been, were yet too numerous to meet particularly in Assemblies so fre­quently as Christians did meet then, and in such times of jealousie from an otherwise perswaded Government. I have also pro­ved the same from the multitude of Presby­teries assisting the Bishop, of which no ima­ginable account could have been given if a [Page 346] [...] [Page 347] [...] [Page 348] Bishops charge had been then no greater than could have been discharged by a single person, even this himself acknowledges from Ignatius, yet does not see how inconsistent­ly with his own Hypothesis, nor does he offer to give the least account of it. I have observed that the multitude of Church­governours was proportionably as great then as now, but that the allotting each Presbyter his particular Cure, as it is now done by the distinction of Parishes, is in truth a more convenient expedient for ma­king the Government practicable. I have shewn that his own decryed Instances of Rome and Alexandria are the onely Instan­ces in all Antiquity, of Churches fitted and confined to the management of single per­sons. I have given an account how so great multitudes might notwithstanding commu­nicate from the same Altar. To all these things I find nothing here replied, nor is it likely that he thought of them in a Book written so long before mine.

In short, though he have indeed produced more Instances, yet I see none but what are reducible to the same Topicks, and are there­fore already answered in generally speaking to those Topicks. I find neither any new Ar­guments, nor any further Improvements of old ones, much less any satisfactory account [Page 349] of my Arguments or contrary Assertions. So that if this be all he has to say, I see no reason why I may not leave it to the Reader to judge between us. These are my present thoughts on a cursory view of the design and management of his Book, that part espe­cially wherein I am more particularly concern­ed. However I do not prejudge either the Reader or my self, if upon a close perusal any thing do yet appear, that may deserve a further examination, more than I see yet any reason to expect. I shall be thankful to him who will tell me what it is. O that it would please God to awaken this good mans former zeal for solid peace and piety! Those are things for which his Talents serve better than they do for Controversie. How much rather would I serve him in the mean­est offices that might be really subservient to these things, than thus contend with him in these unedifying dividing Disputations?


A Catalogue of some Books sold by Benjamin Tooke at the Ship in S. Pauls Churchyard.

HErodoti Halicarnassaei Historiarum Libri IX. Ejusdem Narratio de Vita Homeri excerpta [...] Ctesiae libris Persicis & Indicis. Graeco-Lat. Folio. Francisci Suarez Tractatus de Legibus ac Deo Legistatore, in X. Libros distributus, utriusque fori hominibus non minus utilis quam necessarius. Folio.

Herbert. Thorndicus de Ratione as Jure finiendi controversias Ecclesiae. Folio.

The Holy Court in five Tomes, written in French by N. Caussin. The fourth Edition. Folio.

The Works of the most Reverend Father John Bramhall, D. D. late Lord Archbishop of Ar­magh, Primate and Metropolitan of all Ireland, some of which were never before printed; with the Life of the Author. Folio.

The History and Vindication of the Loyal For­mualry or Irish Remonstrance in several Treati­ses, by F. Peter Walsh. Folio.

A Collection of all the Statutes now in use in the Kingdom of Ireland, with Notes in the Mar­gin, and a Continuation of the Statutes made in the Reign of the late King Charles 1. And like­wise the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, &c. As also a necessary Table to the whole Work. Folio.

Several Chirurgical Treatises by Richard Wiseman Serjeant Chirurgeon. Folio.

The Primitive Origination of Mankind consi­dered and examined according to the Light of [Page] Nature, by Sir M. Hale, Knight, late Chief Ju­stice of the Kings Bench. Folio.

Sir Richard Bakers Chronicle of England. Folio.

Bishop Sandersons Sermons. Folio.

Bentivolio and Vrania in six Books, by N. In­gelo, D. D. Folio.

Le Beaus Pledeur, a Book of Entries contain­ing Declarations, Informations, and other select and approved Pleadings, with Special Verdicts and Demurrers, in most Actions Real, Personal, and Mixt. Together with faithful References to the most authentick Law-books now extant, and a more copious and useful Table than hath been printed in any Book of Entries. The whole comprehending the Art and Method of good Pleading. By Sir Humphry Winch, some­times one of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas. Folio.

Skinneri Etymologicon Linguae Anglicanae, seu Explicatio vocum Anglicarum Etymologica ex pro­priis fontibus, in 5 distinctas classes digesta. Folio.

Holyoaks last Dictionary in 3 parts; 1. The English before the Latin, 2. The Latin before the English, 3. The proper names of Persons, Pla­ces, &c. Folio.

Sixty one Sermons preach'd mostly on publick occasions, by Adam Littleton, D. D. Rector of Chelsey, and Ch [...]plain in ordinary to His Majesty. Folio.

Dr. Edw. Brownes Travels illustrated with Fi­gures. Quarto.

The Controversial Letters, or the grand Con­troversie concerning the pretended Authority of Popes, and the true Soveraignty of Kings. Quar­to.

[Page] A true Widow, a Comedy acted at the Duke Theatre, written by Tho. Shadwell. Quarto.

A Vindication of the Syncerity of the Prote­stant Religion in the point of Obedience to So­veraigns, by P. Du Moulin, D. D. Canon of Christ Church Canterbury. The fourth Edition, in which more light is given about the horrid Popish Plot whereby our late Sovereign K. Charles 1. was mur­der'd. Quarto.

Phocaena, or the Anatomy of a Porpess diffect­ed at Gresham College, with a preliminary Dis­course concerning Anatomy, and a Natural Hi­story of Animals, by E. Tyson, D. D. Quarto.

Dodwells Separation of Churches from Episco­pal Government, as practised by our present Non­conformists, proved Schismatical from such Prin­ciples as are least controverted, and do withall most popularly explain the sinfulness and mischief of Schism. Quarto.

—Two Letters of Advice, 1. For the Sus­ception of Holy Orders, 2. For Study Theologi­cal, especially such as are rational, with a Cata­logue of the Christian Writers and genuine Works that are extant of the first three Centu­ries. Octavo.

Discourse concerning Sarchoniat honis Phoenician History. Octavo.

—Considerations of present concernment, how far Romanists may be trusted by Princes of another Persuasion. Octavo.

—Two short Discourses against the Ro­manists, 1. An account of the Fundamental Prin­ciple of Popery, and of the Insufficiency of their Proofs for it. 2. An Answer to six Quere's pro­posed to a Gentlewoman of the Church of Engl.


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