A Vindication OF LITURGIES, SHEWING The Lawfulness, Ʋsefulness, and Antiquity, of performing the Publick Worship of GOD, by set Forms of Prayer.

Wherein several other things also of consider­able use, are occasionally discussed.

In Answer to a late Book, Intituled, A Reason­able Account, why some pious Non-Conforming Ministers in England, judge it sinful for them to perform their Ministerial Acts in publick so­lemn Prayer, by the prescribed Forms of others.


LONDON, Printed for Walter Kettilby at the Bishops-Head in St Paul's Church-Yard, 1680.

TO THE Right Reverend FATHER in GOD ANTHONY Lord Bishop OF NORWICH, My Honoured DIOCESAN.


IT is too well known, that not­withstanding the purity of Do­ctrine and Worship, and the Primitive Orders of the Mini­stry, established in our Church; in all [Page]which Excellencies and Perfections no part of the Christian World doth excel her, if any equal her; it hath been and still is her portion, in Conformity to our Saviour, to his Apostles, and to the purest Primitive Church, to be assaul­ted and impugned, by the various opposi­tions of many Adversaries. Besides others, our Dissenting Parties within this last year have been very active, both by other methods, and by Books of se­veral kinds, expressing their objections against our publick Order and Consti­tution.

And one of them, for the justifying their separation, hath adventured so far, as to charge the general use of pre­scribed Forms of Prayer to be sinful: which if it were true, would indeed be an high accusation against our publick worship, and therewith against all the famous Christian Churches. He pre­tends an Answer to all that I had said, for the lawfulness and expediency [Page]of fixed Liturgies: unto which I have here returned, as I hope, a sufficient Reply. The manner of his writing, is in this respect, more commendable than of some others, in that he plainly stateth his Question, and then produceth his Arguments, that the strength of them may be fairly tried. But I could have wished for his own sake, that he had not oft intermixed his passionate and ground­less aspersions, upon our publick Consti­tutions and Ministry; and his talking at a high rate with confident words, upon very weak and slender appearances of Reason. For such things are testi­monies, either of the rashness and weak­ness of the Writer, who brings these things as a supply, for want of what is rational and substantial; or else of the badness of the cause, which needs such supports to maintain it.

And though I thought this discourse not at all like to prevail with under­standing men; there were many [Page]things which enclined me to undertake an examination thereof. That Book is spread abroad, under the name of a per­son of as great esteem amongst our Dissenters, as any other in these parts. There is a fair appearance of a regular way of reasoning, though there wants strength of Argument; and he more than once declares, that he thinks himself to have fully answered what I had writ­ten for Forms of Prayer; and therefore I was particularly concerned to shew his mistake. And though the more cautious and wary men among our Dissenters will not affirm the constant use of Forms to be sinful, because they think such a posi­tion not defensible; yet the Genius of that party is much set against them, and in their practice they reject them almost generally, with some eagerness: and therefore the determining this case, is of the greater concernment, with respect to our Non-Conformists in general.

And I have had so much experience of [Page]the World, as to know, that the greater part of men are not so intelligent, and soberly considerative, as to search into the strength or weakness of Arguments, unless they be directed and assisted: which defect when it meets with an unsteady temper, is the occasion of much infelicity to Civil and Ecclesiastical Society. And as I think it in any case, a piece of Christian Charity, to guide men in their duty; so this is of greater moment, where the Peace of the Church is concerned, as well as the private duty of Christians. But it was not the least thing which prevailed with me to this undertaking, that the Book I answer, led me to the considering several mistaken notions and asserti­ons, and I hope to the clearing them, which having been presumed to be truths, have misguided many well-disposed per­sons.

Upon many accounts, this Discourse addresseth it self to your Lordship, hum­bly entreating your acceptance thereof. It [Page]defends that common way of Christian Worship, by publick Liturgies; which hath been the constant use of this esta­blished Church, wherein your Lordship de­servedly enjoyeth an eminent place; and of the Reasonableness and usefulness of whose publick service, your self gave a seasonable account. And probably the Book I answer, was also written within the limits of your Lordships Jurisdiction: and therefore I present this Discourse to your view, craving your Approbation. And this I do with the greater confidence, because of the truth of what I defend; the clearness and evidence whereof is such, as will also, I hope, recommend it self to any sober and indifferent enquirer. I do confess I had this great advantage a­gainst my Opponent, that I have mani­fest truth on my side, and this advantage I have made the best use of that I could. I am so apprehensive of my own defects, that I cannot expect that this Treatise should be in all things free from them. But I am [Page]sensible, that if I have trifled in the main subject, which is a matter of weight and seriousness, I am so far from deserving your Lordships favour herein, that I can­not reasonably presume on your pardon, for prefixing your name hereunto.

But the chief reason of my presenting this to your Lordship, is, that I might ex­press a thankful acknowledgment of those favourable respects I have received from you, and profess that real honour which my self, with the rest of your Clergy, have for you. And that God will preserve and bless your Lordship, is the hearty desire and Prayer of him, who according to his duty

Hath a great and humble Reverence, both for your Lordships Office and Person, WILLIAM FALKNER.


  • THE Introduction, giving the Rea­der an Account of the occasion of this Discourse. Page 1
  • Chap. I. Of the state of the Question pro­posed by this Writer, with some Observa­tions thereupon. p. 10
  • Chap. II. Of the gift of Prayer, what it properly is? How abilities of expression are the gifts of God? and how far Mi­nisters are obliged, to use their own abi­lities in Religious Worship? p. 28
  • Chap. III. Of Devotion and attentive fervency of mind in publick Prayer, and whether the use of Liturgies be hindran­ces, or helps therein. p. 73
  • Sect. I. Various pretences for Forms of Pray­er being hindrances to attention, or fer­vency examined, and the contrary mani­fested. Ibid.
  • Sect. II. A defence of some things urged in my Libertas Ecclesiastica, to prove Forms of Prayer to be no disadvantage to de­votion. p. 98
  • Sect. III. The Antiquity of the publick use of Liturgies, from the first Ages of Chri­stianity, [Page]and in the Jewish Church, both in their Temple worship and Syna­gogues. p. 136
  • Sect. IV. Some expressions vilifying Uni­formity, and charging Forms of Prayer to be an Engine of perpetual discord, with some others, examined. p. 164
  • Chap. IV. Forms of Prayer are not for­bidden in Scripture. Some things are necessary to be determined in Gods wor­ship, which he hath not particularly en­joined. Of the Authority of Superiours, and the judgment of discretion, and some other things. p. 177
  • Chap. V. Of other Prayers, besides those in the Liturgy and publick service. p. 193
  • Chap. VI. Of Preaching. Whether it be as useful and fit to preach, as to pray in a set Form of words? Of what account preaching is? Exceptions against the Sermons of our Ministers, as being sa­tyrical, advancing the power of na­ture, and justification by works, an­swered. p. 206
  • Chap. VII. Praying by a Form, is rashly charged with mocking God. p. 219
  • Chap. VIII. Forms of Prayer do not de­base the Ministry. Of the Ministerial Office, and the need of learning and knowledge. Of the Priestly Office under the Law, and the large Revenue God [Page]appointed for the Priests and Levites. The pretence of ill effects from Liturgies refuted. p. 225
  • Chap. IX. Several Arguments for Forms of Prayer, proved solid and substantial, and among them some things concerning submission to superiours. p. 241
  • Chap. X. A Perswasive Conclusion di­rected to our Dissenters, to consider how unaccountable to God, and how dangerous to themselves, their separation is. p. 266

A Vindication OF LITURGIES.

The Introduction, giving the Reader an account of the occasion of this discourse.

HAving several years since publish­ed my Libertas Ecclesiastica, where­in I endeavoured a Vindication of our Liturgy; there came lately to my hands a Discourse, in which is a pretended answer to two Sections of my Book, con­cerning the lawfulness, expediency, and an­tiquity of set forms of prayer. When I first looked into it, I thought it a strange un­dertaking, to attempt to prove, that it is sinful for Ministers, who are able to com­pose [Page 2]Prayers themselves, to make use of any form of Prayer in their Ministration, which was composed by other men; and that any man might justly suspect his own reasoning, when it engaged him in such an enterprize. But when I had read it, I found many things said therein, which might possibly misguide the weak and un­wary Reader, but nothing which was of any great weight. And indeed no false position is capable of being firmly pro­ved by solid Arguments, though to un­discerning men, it may be rendred plau­sible by mistaken fallacies.

Yet because I am very sensible, that the Assertion maintained by this Author, is both in it self false and erroneous, and also tendeth to undermine the true exer­cise of Religion, and the Peace and Well-fare of the Church of God; I resolved to examine all his Arguments, and to return a fair Answer to so much of his Book, as was needful for the discussing of the Que­stion proposed, and for the defending my self against his Oppositions. And this I thought my self the more concerned to undertake, because so far as this strange assertion should be received as true, it would make void the design of my for­mer Book, which was to manifest, that it was both lawful and a duty, for Ministers [Page 3]and People, to embrace, attend upon, and join in the publick service, worship and Ministrations of the Church of England. And I knew not how far any appearances of reasoning might be magnified, by such persons who are engaged against our Church, many of whom in a sinking cause, (so far as concerneth the evidence of truth and reason) may be willing to catch hold on any twig.

The Author of this Book hath not pub­lished his own name therewith, and there­fore I shall not be curious to enquire after it, but shall treat him as an unknown per­son. And I confess, I cannot easily con­ceive, that he under whose name it goes, should be so defective both in learning and consideration, as to be guilty of such mistakes and palpable over-sights, as may be found in some places of this Book. For besides many other unaccountable positi­ons and misunderstandings, divers of which I shall mention in my following Discourse; it is observable, that what he writes con­cerning the ancient practices of the Church, after the Apostles time; or con­cerning any thing written in those days, is generally done so loosely, and some­times with such wonderful extravagan­cy, as may surprize an intelligent Rea­der with some kind of admiration: of [Page 4]which I shall give the Reader here one instance.

4. When he speaks of the original of Liturgies, he saithCh. 2. p. 68, 69., We do believe, that Gregory the Great, under the protection of Charles the Great, was the Father of all those that dwell in these Tents, and this eight hundred or a thousand years after Christ. But first to speak of Gregory the Great, eight hundred or a thousand years after Christ, is far enough from truth, when he died about the year 604. And secondly, that Gregory the Great should be under the protection of Charles the Great, is impossible, when he was dead about two hundred years, before Charles the Great began his Reign. And thirdly, it is altogether as unaccountable, that the original of Liturgies was in the time ei­ther of Gregory the Gerat, or Charles the Great, when they were in use many hun­dred years before them both, as I shall shewCh. 3. Sect. 3. in the following Treatise. This mistake concerning these persons, whose names were so famous in History, that a man of ordinary reading could not be unacquainted with them, is as if any per­son should presume to give an account of the Church of the Israelites, and should assert, that the offering of Sacrifices under the Mosaical Law, had its beginning in [Page 5]the days of Eli the Priest, in the Reign of King Jehosaphat, six hundred or eight hundred years after the Israelites came out of Egypt. Surely it is a strange confidence for any person to vent such things, and to write positively what he no better un­derstandeth.

5. But whoever the Author of this Dis­course is, I shall apply my self to the clear­ing of the truth concerning the matter of it, which I shall do with as much succinct­ness as is expedient. And therefore though I shall not willingly omit any thing con­siderable, which he urgeth against the lawful use of constant publick Liturgies, or against what I have said in their de­fence; yet where he mentions objections made by others, against the force of his Arguments, and gives his Answers to them, I shall pass by such things, where the in­sisting upon them is not needful for the defence of our Church, or the decision of the Case proposed. And in answering his Arguments, I shall wave the repetition of his long Syllogisms, which is a tedious way of proceeding; and in rational Dis­courses of this nature, is acceptable to few others, than those who may admire the art of making a Syllogism. But I shall give a faithful account of the substance of his Arguments, and leave it to the im­partial [Page 6]Reader, to judge of the validity of my Answers. And that I may the more gratifie such, who will compare his Discourse and mine, I shall keep to his method which he hath used, except where he speaks to the same thing in dif­ferent places, and in that Case I shall think it sufficient to have spoken to it once for all. And I shall so order my Answer, that my first Chapter may answer his first, my second his second, and so onward to the end of his Book.

6. But touching my former Discourse which this Writer opposeth, he seemeth not very well pleased, with my having chosen that subjectIn his last leaf to the Reader. to write on, viz. the defence of our Liturgy, nor with the time when my Book was written, which he saith was in that nick of time of his Maje­sties most Gracious Indulgence, if it was possible to perswade the Parliament, that there was no need of any indulgence to­wards them. Now as to the subject mat­ter of my Livertas Ecclesiastica, if he dis­like my having engaged therein, or my undertaking now to defend so much of two Sections thereof, as he hath opposed, I am content so far to bear his dislike and censure; but I think my self to have gi­ven a sufficientLibert. Eccles. B. 1. Ch. 1. account thereof. And if what he observes concerning the time was [Page 7]true, I think that was a fit time to defend and justify our Communion, when they who divide themselves from us, made the greatest opposition against it; and in­volved themselves in the heinous sin of Schism. But the truth is, I was engaged in that work before that Declaration came abroad, but may Book was not published, till after his Majesty had cancelled that Declaration: the Declaration which was made March 1671/2. was Cancelled about the end of 1672. and my Book came abroad in Octob. 1673.

7. But as to the perswading our Gover­nours against any Indulgence or favour towards them, it is possible the positions of this Writer may do more to that pur­pose, than I have done. I did indeed ju­stify the lawfulness of performing what is required of Ministers, concerning the Liturgy; which was no more than to vindicate, what the practice and acknow­ledgment of every conforming Minister had before owned. But I think it my duty, to leave the ordering of publick affairs to my superiours, and did not by any expression that I am aware of, inter­pose in their work.

8. But I know not how far such Dis­courses as this of this Author, ma [...] [...] vince superiours, that such persons ar [...] [...] [Page 8]capable of being taken in, into any duly regulated and setled establishment; be­cause of the unreasonableness of their de­mands, and the weakness of their Argu­ments, since he declareth against the en­joining the ordinary use of any Liturgy, or set form whatsoever, in publick Mini­strations. And we may see byCh. 10. p. 164. the close of his Book, that he accounteth it the only medium he can fancy, for a just comprehen­sion, that there be no Forms of Prayer en­joined, though they may be recommended by superiours and left at liberty. And yet it seemeth probable from hisIn the two last leaves. Preface, that all this is not enough; for he there tells us of other six things he hath, to put in dispute besides this. I do not doubt but all those six things, may be as easily an­swered as produced: and the Reader may make a probable judgment of the strength and force of those other things, by this one which he hath singled out from the rest, and therefore surely he thought it to be as considerable as any of the other.

9. And it might be expected, that he who is curiously severe, in judging of a fit time, for publishing other mens Dis­courses, should have a sufficient care of the seasonableness of his own. And he who considers the business of our Enemies [Page 9]abroad, and how they are encouraged by our discords at home, may well think, that they who have any true value for the Reformation, should at this time en­cline to promote a setled establishment of the Church, which may tend to uphold and secure it. And since our dissenters by sufficient tryal, found in our late di­stracted times, that they could not erect, much less maintain any establishment in their way, we may thence discern that no settlement can reasonably be expect­ed but upon the foundations of the Church of England, which hath also the advantage of truth, and agreement with Primitive Christianity. And therefore it was no fit time now to vent such notions which widen our breaches, are inconsi­stent with any publick establishment of a Church, and which put advantages into the hands of other Enemies, and serve their purposes. And yet I confess this of the time, is the least fault of this Dis­course; but that which is the greater is, that the drift thereof tends to confusion, and the things contained in it are unsound and untrue, which I shall now come to manifest.

CHAP. I. Of stating the Question, concerning the established constant use of Forms of Prayer, in the publick service of God.

IN managing his opposition against the constant use of prescribed Forms of Prayer,The Questi­on proposed, concerning the lawful­ness of using Forms by Ministers who have gifts. the forementioned Writer doth in his first Chapter, give us the state of the Question, which he undertakes to dispute, and therein he expresseth what he yieldeth, and granteth as lawful, and what he judgeth and esteemeth to be sin­ful, and undertaketh to prove it so: and herein he hath declared himself with suf­ficient clearness and plainness: What he contends for he thus expresseth,Reasona­ble Ac­count, p. 5. All that we affirm is this, That our Consciences do from arguments, which to us at least seem highly probable, judge, That it is unlawful for Ministers, having the gift of prayer, or­dinarily to perform their ministerial acts in solemn, stated, publick Prayer, by reading or reciting forms of Prayer composed by other men, confessedly, not divinely and immedi­ately inspired, although our superiours do requrie this of us.

[Page 11]2. But he alloweth and acknowledg­eth,p. 2. that their labours are profitable, who have drawn the matter of Prayer into Forms: p. 3. that any Form of Prayer contained in the Scripture, may be used as part of our Prayer, whether it be under any command or no; but if it be commanded, it undoubt­edly ought to be used; ibid. That if a Minister distrusting his own memory or invention, shall compose Prayers for his own use, he may do it: ibid. that it is lawful, yea necessary, for them who join with others in Prayer, to make use of their words, which yet are but a Form to them: ibid. that he that ministers in Prayer to others may use a prescribed Form of anothers composure, if he have not the gift of Prayer. Andp. 4. that he alloweth short ejaculatory Forms; such as Lord have mercy upon us. This being the sense of this Wri­ter, I shall concerning his stating this Que­stion observe three things.

3. Obs. 1. From these premises, the Rea­der may yet have a little further insight into the matter of this Question: to which end he may consider, First, that our Prayer is directed to the most high God, and therefore it was called by the ancient WritersGreg. Nys. de Orat. [...] andCl. Alex. Strom. l. 7. [...], an having to do with, and speaking unto God. Secondly, that the ordinary wants of Christians (except extraordinary [Page 12]emergencies, which may be otherwise provided for) and consequently the usual matter of Prayer, for publick Assemblies especially, is constantly the same. He who will deny this, must as well condemn the Directory, forDirect. Of Assembling the Congre­gation. Of publick Prayer be­fore Sermon &c. directing to the matter of publick Prayer, as the Common Prayer for expressing the words; nor can he have such honourable thoughts as he ought to have, and as the Christian Church always hath had, of the Contents of the Lords Prayer. Thirdly, that the granting it lawful, for a Minister to use a prescribed Form of Prayer, of anothers composure, if he have not the gift of Prayer; is as much as to acknowledge, that such a Prayer, piously performed, is a true wor­ship of God, and may be acceptable to him; otherwise it would not be lawful. Fourthly, That the difference betwixt praying for the same things in a Form, and praying for them without a Form is this, that in the former way the same words and methods are constantly used, whereas in the latter the expressions are altered and changed, The result of this Questi­on is, Whe­ther variety of expressi­ons be of great conse­quence for the pleasing God? and oft-times the order and me­thod also, according as the person think­eth fit, or as he is able to perform it.

4. Wherefore fifthly, The main result of this Question, at the last comes to this: Whether mens changing of expressions, va­rying [Page 13]of phrases, and altering their order and method in their Prayers to God, be things so valuable and considerable in his sight, that his laws and will do require this, and that he hath such an eye unto it, that the humble, devout, and Religi­ous supplications, and addresses of pious persons, are not acceptable to him, unless they be attended with such variety of ex­pressions, where the persons have so much volubility of speech? Now upon a short view, it may appear, that the affirmative in this Question, is very unlikely and im­probable upon several accounts.

5. If we consult the rules of holy Scrip­ture; The contra­ry appears from Scrip­ture. our Saviour particularly rebuked the vanity of them, who think they shall be heard by their [...], much speak­ing or many and various words, Mat. 6.7. And as a remedy against it, taught his Disciples that comprehensive Form of the Lords Prayer. And from this Text S. Aug. Aug. Ep. 121. c 10. accounteth superfluity of words, to be un­meet for Prayer for things necessary. And hence also S. Hilary inferreth, that we shouldHil. in Mat. Can. 5. orare ad Deum, non multiloquio sed conscientia, pray to God not with a mul­titude of words, but with a good Conscience. And it is accounted a piece of reverence to God, which Solomon directed us to make use of in our addresses to him, Eccl. 5.2. [Page 14] Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not they heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

6.From the Jewish worship. And it may be considered, that un­der the Law, God did not require daily various changes, of the real expressions of religious worship and service; but ap­pointed them to be continually the same, Numb. 28.2, 3, &c. which makes it more than probable, that the variety of verbal expressions, is not requisite to obtain his acceptance under the Gospel. The daily burnt-offering was continually without any varying the thing, a lamb of the first year, with the same sort of meat-offering, and drink-offering; and the Priests without any varying of rites about that Sacrifice, were as Josephus saith,Joseph. Ant. Jud. l. 3. c. 10. [...], performing their office always in the same manner. Only upon their sabbath days, the ordinary sacrifice was doubled; and upon other days of great solemnity, there was an addition of other Sacrifices And I need not direct the intelligent Rea­der to observe, how much the service of our Church is in these things correspon­dent to what the wisdom of God himself then established: our Evangelical services being now morning and evening offered unto God, as then were the Legal: as hath [Page 15]been observed byBishop Sparrow's Ration. of Com. Pr. p. 3, 8. And from the nature of God. our Reverend and Learned Diocesan.

7. And he who considereth that God is a spirit, and that true piety, and good­ness, and sincerity, are the things in which he delights, cannot easily perswade him­self, that the use of different phrases in Prayer, can be of any great moment be­fore him, unless he had particularly com­manded this, and then indeed it would be a part of Obedience. Proper words are necessary in publick Prayer, that by their expressive significancy, the whole Con­gregation may join in their united Petiti­ons, and also for the promoting order and decency, and manifesting a due honour to Gods worship, and reverence for his name; and all these things may be most usefully provided for, in a well ordered Form. But words are not in re­ligious service valuable in themselves, fur­ther than they have respect to such things; but a pure heart, and the exercise of true piety, is that which God accepteth.

8. This truth is so manifest, that even the Ethnick Writers do frequently ex­press it. The Satyrist declares of a well fixed integrity, and inward purity of mind and heart,Pers. in Satyr. 2. Haec cedo ut admoveam templis & farre litabo; that this is the most valuable thing without compare, in [Page 16]the publick worship. And when Hierocles had declared,Hier. in Pyth. p. 26. what the Pythian Oracle spake to the same purpose, he thus ex­presseth his own sense, [...], with piety of mind every expression is acceptable to God, and without it, none. And amongst the Christian Writers such expressions are frequent, as that of S. Cyprian, Cyp. de Orat. Dom. Deus non vocis, sed cordis auditor est; God hears not the voice but the heart: and that of Cl. A­lexandrinus, that the most excellent ser­vice isCl. Alex. Strom. l. 7. [...], by a religi­ous devotion, and that as men observe our words, so God observes our minds and thoughts. But now the affecting variety of words, in the worship of God (where fit words may be best secured by a good Form) is both apt to hinder due devo­tion, and it also speaks such persons much concerned, about that which is too low and mean to procure Gods acceptance. And it implies a misconception of the di­vine nature and Being, in them who look upon such things, as of great concernment to please him; And the making that a necessary part of Religion which is not such, by laying a doctrinal necessity, upon it, where men are able to perform it, cannot be excused from being a piece of superstition, or a teaching for doctrines [Page 17]the precepts or fancies of men. Chap. I.

9. Obs. 2.Opposition against our Church and Liturgy is upon un­certain grounds. It may be noted, that this Author, though he sometimes talk high, doth not account himself certain of the truth of this position which he layeth down, in his stating the case, and in the following part of his Book undertakes to prove. His position expresseth the sinful­ness of using Forms of Prayer, in the Case he proposeth: and he saith,p. 2. their judg­ment of Conscience is that they are unlawful, and this theyCh. 8. p. 132. from their hearts believe, and so must practise. But when he speaks of his Arguments, he saith, they have Arguments whichp. 2. appear very probable, andp. 5. seem highly probable, with other like expressions. And how far this evidence doth prevail with himself, we may dis­cern by these words,p. 164 & p. 70. We judge not our selves infallible in our sentiments in this case; we condemn not our brethren which judge otherwise and accordingly practise, p. 132. & in p. 22. We dare not judge those who we think have the gift of Prayer, but think not fit to use it in their or­dinary ser­vice — Whether it be sin in them, we leave to Gods de­terminati­on. we pray God that if we be in the mistake, God would reveal it to us. These words do plainly speak doubtfulness and uncertainty, as do those in the Margent: for no understand­ing man can use such expressions, concern­ing what he certainly knows to be sin. In speaking of the sinfulness of theft or lying, he would not say, we condemn not them who practise otherwise, &c. to wit, thieves [Page 18]and lyars, since he certainly knows these things to be sin, and therefore that the practisers of them ought to be condemned. Yet at sometimes he speaks, as if he pro­ceeded onP. 25. & p. 123. demonstrations.

10. Now I hope to make it manifest, that his Arguments do not so much as prove any probability of truth in his asser­tion: yet I could in the mean time hearti­ly wish, that both he, and others with him, would seriously consider, how un­safe it is for themselves, The hurt and danger of such pra­ctices consi­dered. and dangerous to Religion, for men to oppose the state and order of a well setled Church, upon proba­ble Arguments. Where we have certain evi­dence of any thing being our duty, we are bound to embrace it, whomsoever we contradict: but certain evidence no man can have of an errour being truth. And to proceed upon probable Arguments only, yea or on such as men may by their mi­stake esteem, and confidently assert to be certain, is in an errour no safe foundation for practice.

11. The Donatists by their restless Pleas, and various disputations, manifest­ed that they proceeded on such Argu­ments, which to them seemed highly pro­bable; the same may be said of the Arians and Eunomians whose Arguments are fre­quently produced byAthan. contr. Ari­an. Or. 4. & passim. Athanasius, Naz. O­rat. 35, & 36. Gr. Nys. & Ba­sil. adv. Eu­nom. Gr. [Page 19]Nazianzene, and other ancient Writers, to a greater number than this Writer hath against Forms of Prayer. And almost all who were of old guilty of any Heresy or Schism, as also at this day the Romanists, Anabaptists, Quakers, and other such Sects, have their Arguments which they account probable. And for the Brownists, who declared in theirPraestant. Viror E­pist p. 925. Preface to their Con­fession, that the Church of England, its Ministry, and its worship, were all adul­terous; Fr. Johnson published hisJohn [...] Reason [...] for s [...] ­tion. seven Arguments of one sort, and seven of ano­ther sort, such as to them seemed proba­ble, and all of them in Syllogisms, as our Author produceth his seven Arguments in Syllogisms against Forms of Prayer. And Erbury and others with him, had their Arguments which to them seemed proba­ble, which they undertookMr. Long in Exam. of Mr Hales of Schism, p. 133. at Oxford to produce, and urge against all ordina­tion and ministry. Yet if I should ask this Author, whether he thinks all these per­sons did perform their duty to God aright, and were to be discharged from sin, in thus venting their errors and heresies, and that the Church of God received no disad­vantage from them, I presume he would not assert this; however we are sure of the contrary. And then the consequence will be, that if it be a duty, to hold Com­munion [Page 20]with our publick Assemblies, and to perform the worship of God according to our established Constitutions; they cannot be acquitted from sin, nor excused from doing hurt to the Church of God, who reject these duties upon their probable Ar­guments.

12. But in requital for his so favoura­ble expressions towards us, in not con­demning our using the Liturgy of the Church, this Author expects that we ought not to change him, and others of his per­swasion, with any blame in their dissent and separation.Reasona­ble Ac­count, p. 64. Dissenters are to be blamed. We condemn not our brethren. Let not them, saith he, judge and condemn us; We are in our dissents in the case, anothers servants. Now it becomes no man to pass that judgment on others, which is peculiar to God, as, concerning the hidden things of the heart of man, or his final state: but we are allowed to ac­count and judge those actions of men to be evil, which are manifestly so. And it is very unreasonable, that if they who violate any Laws of God or Man, do not blame others for keeping them, that there­fore they must not be charged with the breaking them. If S. Peter did not fault S. Paul, who according to his duty kept Communion with the Church at Antioch, S. Paul did not therefore think himself [Page 21]obliged not to rebuke S. Peter, for his un­warrantable withdrawing from it: but he declares in this case, Gal. 2.11. I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed; and v. 14. I saw that they walked not up­rightly, according to the truth of the Gospel.

13. Wherefore, because I think it my duty to deal faithfully and plainly in these things, I do freely profess, that be­sides what concerns the Laws of the Church and of the Realm; I account my self to have as plain evidence from the Laws of God, and the Constitution of the Christian Church, that Schism and unnecessary sepa­ration is a sin, in the breach of Christian Ʋnity, as that Adultery is a sin in breaking the bond of Wedlock. And I account my self to be as certain, that if ever there was any unwarrantable separation, from any known Church since the Apostles time, the separation from the Church of Eng­land is really such: since our Church is truly as free from any just exception, in its Constitution, doctrine and worship, as any other since that time either was, or is. And it seemeth highly probable, if I do not mistake plain words, that some of our dissenters themselves, are at some times satisfied either of so much, or of that which comes very near it, concerning [Page 22]the excellent Constitution of our Church Dr Owen saith,Of Evang. Love, p. 54, 55. We look upon the Church of England, or the generality of the nation professing Christian Religion (measuring them by the doctrine received since the Re­formation) to be as sound and healthful a part of the Catholick Church, as any in the World; and again,ibid. p. 87. We believe that the generality of the inhabitants of this nation, are by their profession constituted an eminent part of the Kingdom of Christ in this World. But if pitieth me to consider upon what weak and unwarrantable pretences, such persons venture upon the practices of real separation: and by what insufficient ex­cuses, they plead for themselves in the de­fence thereof.

14.This Au­thors opini­on is a hea­vy charge against the most e­minent Churches, and men. Obs. 3. There are considerable pre­judices against the truth of our Authors assertion, as it is by him stated, even such which, beside the more direct evidences (of which hereafter) will perswade a so­ber man, to be wary of entertaining it, if he duly observe them. For this opinion is not only against the Church of England, but the most famous Churches in the Pri­mitive times, who used such set Forms in their publick worship, as besides what hath been said already, will sufficiently appear in the following Discourse. This is also against the Constitution of many [Page 23]eminent Protestant Churches abroad, which I have elsewhereLibert. Eccl. B. 1. Ch. 4. Sect. 1. n. 11, 12. observed briefly, and shall not need here to add further proof, since this Author doth not deny the same, but tells usReason. Acc. Ch. 2. p. 9. the continuance of Liturgies upon the Reformation, owes it self in a great measure to their not having men able to pray without a Form. And yet I cannot but think, that this Author is a person of so much modesty, and hath such a respect to many of those Reformers, and their Successors, as not to think them inferiour to himself; and then they must come un­der the censure of his assertion. And to me it seemeth a very hard thing to em­brace such a position, as must cast re­proach on almost all the Churches of Christ in all Ages; and must also conclude all the most famous Ministers therein, to have lived and died, in the constant pra­ctice of the same sin unrepented of. Now I can easily apprehend, that such a con­sideration as this, will have a different influence upon such men as this Author, according to the different temper in which it may meet with them. For at one time he tells usCh. 9. p. 163. authority or practice is a lamentable Argument: but at another time he declares, concerning the sense and apprehensions of good men, thatCh. 2. p. 44. the sen­sus piorum, neither is, nor ever was judged [Page 24]by persons of sobriety and worth, an inconsi­derable Argument; for the truth of a pro­position (especially a practical proposition) not plainly determined in holy Writ.

15.Nor is it consistent with it self. his very stating his Question, overthrows the main foundati­ons, and chief Arguments of his Discourse: and then he who will embrace our Au­thors assertion, according as he hath sta­ted it, upon such Arguments as he chiefly urgeth, must learn to affirm and deny the same thing, or to reconcile things con­tradictory; which to me and to all ratio­nal men must be, when observed, another great prejudice against his opinion. Now in stating his Case, he grants, as I above observed, that such Forms of Prayer as God hath commanded in Scripture, (if any such be) must be used, and other Scripture Forms, though not commanded, may be used as part of our Prayer; and yet he de­clares it sinful for such Ministers who can pray otherwise, to use Forms. 1. From the duty of using their own Ch. 2. p. 6, 7, &c. and Ch. 3. gifts, and 2. From the hindrance of pious dispositi­ons, or attention and fervency, from the use of a Form of words in Prayer; and yet if these Arguments are of any weight, they must conclude against the lawful use of Scripture Forms, as well as of o­thers, which yet he asserteth to be lawful. [Page 25]And indeed, some Scripture Forms being in the New Testament commanded to be used, that sufficiently manifesteth, that a set Form of words in Prayer can be no hindrance to a religious temper of mind, unless we will grant that our Saviours commands are hurtful to his Religion, and that such Positions of men, which are contrary to his Precepts, ought to be preferred before them.

16. He acknowledgeth also, p. 3. that it is lawful, yea necessary, for them who join with others in Prayer, to make use of his words who speaketh, which c an be but a Form to them. And p. 19. he saith, such persons have nothing to do but to exercise their grace. And this consideration was made use of, to prove the lawfulness of Forms, byPract. Ca­techism, B. 3. Sect. 2. Bishop Tayl. Of Prayer Extempore, n. 46, 47. Disp. of Liturg. Prop. 1. Arg. 6. Dr Hammond, Dr Taylor, and Mr Baxter. Now from hence it not only follows, that such Prayers are acceptable to God, which are put up by pious men with devout hearts, but without the ex­ercise of their own gifts; but it must also be hence concluded, that Ʋnity in publick Prayer, is more acceptable to God, than the use of mens own abilities in conception or expression. For otherwise, it would be the duty of all persons in the publick As­semblies, who have any such abilities, not to take notice of the Ministers words, or [Page 26]to join in them; but distinctly to exer­cise their own gifts, or make use of their private conceptions there, or else to with­draw themselves from the publick Assem­blies, that they may have the more free opportunity for the exercise of them.

17.Nor gene­rally owned by the Non-Conform­ists. I shall only add in the last place, that this assertion of our Author is such, that a great part, and I think the greater part of the Nonconformists themselves will not own. Indeed in Qu. Eliz. her time, theIn Bishop Whitgifts Defence Tr. 9. Ch. 2. Div. 2. first Admonition disliked the being tied to any Forms of Prayer invented by men, but Mr Cartwright in hisibid. Div. 3. Reply, de­clares his agreement for a prescript Form to be used in the Church. And besides o­ther particular persons, the Presbyterian Commissioners at the Savoy, made not our Authors Position any part of their obje­ctions, yea they were willing to have composedGrand debate; in exceptions of Presbyt. p. 29. new Forms, as themselves ex­press. And it would be well if our dis­senting Brethren would really consider, how great their disagreements are among themselves, even in so many things; that it cannot be expected that any way of settlement should be agreed upon among themselves, as it was experimentally ma­nifested by the proceedings of 1643, 1644, 1645. and the years ensuing.

18. And I should be wanting in due [Page 27]returns of civility to our Author, if I do not do him so much right, as to acknow­ledge, that his perspicuous stating the Que­stion, hath made way for the fairer exa­mination thereof. And he also disowns those wilder extreams in denying the lawfulness of all Forms in general, and al­so declares, that hep. 18. doth not argue for praying ex tempore, but only in the use of our own gifts, which excludes not preme­ditation: But I must likewise do the truth that right, as to observe, that his position as he hath stated it, is not consi­stent therewith; and therefore ought not to be asserted or defended.

CHAP. II. Ch. II. Of the gift of Prayer.

THE first Argument produced a­gainst the lawfulness of ordinarily using a set Form, by such Ministers who have a gift of Prayer, is because (saith he) this gift is a mean given by God for the performance of this religious act of Prayer, and thereforeReasona. Account. p. 5, 6. may not be neglected or omitted. And he tells us by the gift of Prayer he meansp. 6. a mans ability fitly to ex­press his mind to God in Prayer. And that such a person, who is able fitly to express his mind in his own words, ought to make use of them in publick Administrations, and may not lawfully pray by a Form; he endeavours to prove, by urging some Scriptures which require the use of some gifts, as 1 Tim. 4.14. 1 Pet. 4.10, 11. Rom. 12.3, 6.

2.What the gift of Prayer is? Now that I may give the clearest satisfaction to the Reader in this particu­lar, I shall not content my self barely to answer this Argument, and to shew the weakness thereof; but I shall first give an account, What that is which is and may be called the Gift of Prayer? and [Page 29]how far this is afforded? and how far mens own abilities must be exercised?Of the na­ture of Prayer. And for the better understanding of this, it must be observed, that a pious and devout Prayer, doth contain a great part of the lively exercise, and practice of Religion and Piety; especially if we comprehend under the name of Prayer, both confessi­on and thanksgiving. It includeth a pro­fessed owning the true God, and Faith in him, and acknowledging him to be the Governour and disposer of all things, and the Author of all good: and this is called by Philo Philo lib. Quod De­us sit im­mutabilis, p. 306. [...], a great Prayer. It taketh in also a professed owning the Almighty power, infinite wisdom, goodness, faithfulness and Omniscience of God: and also the exercise of reverence, submission, humility, hope, affectionate desire, heavenly mindedness, and repentance; together with a lively sense and belief of the Gos­pel grace and promises, and of the merits, Mediation and Intercession of our only Lord and Saviour; and a sincere love to all men, and particularly to the Church, and our Governours, for whom we pray.

3. Wherefore first, that is eminently and especially to be esteemed the gift of Prayer, which disposeth and enableth to the performance of the duty of Prayer. [Page 30]And therefore since Prayer is not so much a verbal thing,The gift of Prayer is a devout tem­per of mind as a pious address of the heart, soul and spirit unto God, Gods bestowing the supplies and assistances of his grace, which kindle and excite pious dispositions in seeking unto God, with earnest and affectionate desires, a lively faith, and the exercise of inward devotion; this is most properly his vouchsafing, and bestowing the gift of Prayer: and our re­ceiving and exercising them, is our having and using the gift of Prayer. For as the gift of Charity, doth not consist in speak­ing of the matters or rules of Charity, but in being inwardly disposed to the lively practice of that divine grace, so is it also in Prayer. Now if any persons shall here say (as some are used to speak) that what I have expressed, is not the gift, but the grace of Prayer, he may consider that by Grace, he can here understand nothing else but an excellent and gracious gift; and as S. Austin declaredAug. Ep. 105. Sixto. ipsa oratio in­ter gratiae munera reperitur; Prayer it self is to be reckoned amongst the works of grace.

4. And whereas this AuthorReas. Acc. p. 19. produ­ceth two places of Scripture, to prove the gift of Prayer from the holy Spirit,This shewed from the Holy Scrip­ture. Zec. 12.10. and Rom. 8.26. it is remark­ably observable, that both these places [Page 31]so far as they speak of the spirit or gift of Prayer, have particular respect to the in­ward affection and devotion of the heart, and not, according to his notion, to the ability of expression. The former place is Zec. 12.10. I will pour upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and suppli­cations; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn, &c. Where the Hebrew word translated Sup­plications is by divers Interpreters, as the Chaldee Paraphrast, the Septuagint, the Syriack and Arabick Versions, and Pag­nine, agreeably to the derivation of it, rendred Mercies or Compassions. And since the spirit of supplications, is the spirit of grace, it therefore is to be understood ac­cording to the common sense of Interpre­ters, of piety of mind and affections, and an holy temper and disposition of heart, to trust in God and call upon him. And the following words, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn, &c. will infer the same thing, if those words be taken as expressions of true repentance, which is the sense of many good Expositors; though some modern andEus. Dem. Evang. l. 8. Test. 4. ancient Writers, look upon them, as expressing the anguish of them who had despised and disobeyed our Blessed Lord and Saviour.

[Page 32]5. The other place is Rom. 8.26. The spirit helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what to pray for as we ought, but the spirit it self maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now concerning the former part of these words, it cannot be conceived, that this great Apostle, and other Christians at that time, should be ignorant of the common matters of Christian Prayer, who could not but be acquainted withAug. Ep. 121. ad Prob. the Lords Prayer, but a considerable part of the sense of this clause is, that whilest under troubles and sufferings, of which the Apostle was dis­coursing, even good men are apt to think their present redress and deliverance most desirable, as this Apostle himself did the departing of that outward affliction which he callsAug. ib. Chrys. in Rom. 8.26. a thorn in the flesh, 2 Cor. 12.7, 8, 10. the influence of Gods spirit di­rects them to seek his Kingdom, and with hope, and patience, and submission, to re­sign themselves unto the will of God, that that may be done on earth, and that his most wise Government should order all their affairs in this life. And the guidance of the Holy Spirit by keeping pious men humble, preserves them ordinarily from such irregular inclinations and desires, as appeared in the request of the two Sons of Zebedee, James and John, [Page 33]which they made to our Lord. And all this is performed by the influence of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

6. And in the latter part of these words, the Spirits making intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered, may well be applied to vehement affections, and inward gracious motions of the heart; but cannot consistently with com­mon sense, be referred to words and ex­pressions. But I see no great difference, whether this clause be understood imme­diately of the Holy Ghost himself, as most of theAug. Ep. 105. & Ep. 121. & passim [...] Ambr [...] ad Horon [...] Ancients understand it, that he gemendi inspirat affectum, promotes affe­ctionate groans; as in a like way of ex­pression they observe the Spirit is said to cry Abba Father, Gal. 4.6. because there­by we cry Abba Father, Rom. 8.15. Or whether it be understood of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the spirits of pious men who are influenced thereby, in de­pendance upon him; which is the inter­pretation ofChrys. in loc. S. Chrysostom, and is also mentioned byContra Serm. Ari­an. S. Austin.

7. The continued and encreased sup­plies of this divine grace and gift of Prayer, This gift necessary to be exerci­sed. or inward devotion of mind, is usually vouchsafed to pious men, according to their diligence, and progress in piety, goodness and righteousness, and their fre­quent [Page 34]practice of these duties of Religi­on, with careful preparation of mind. And the exercise of this gift being so great a part of Religion, and of singular use for obtaining various blessings from God, it ought by all men to be performed with the greatest seriousness. And as that abi­lity of expression, whereby a man largely professeth the particular doctrines of the Christian Faith, in the several Articles of our Belief, is not properly the gift of Faith or of believing, so neither is the like abi­lity of expressing the matter of our Prayer, to be accounted in any proper sense the gift of Prayer, but rather of speaking, utterance, or Elocution. But it is the inward gracious dispositions, and mo­tions of our hearts and minds, which is the most powerful Oratory, to prevail with God. And this whether with or without a Form of words; yea whether joined with outward expressions, or at­tended with silence, is the effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man, which availeth much. Hereby as Cl. Alexandri­nus Cl. Alex. Strom. l. 7. saith, [...], We speak distinctly though with silence, Of the ex­traordinary gifts used in Prayer, in the be­ginning of Christiaui­ty. and utter inward loud cries, where no voice is heard.

8. Secondly, There was also a gift of Prayer, and praying with the spirit, when [Page 35]together with what is above expressed, many Christians in the beginning of Chri­stianity, were frequently enabled, by the extraordinary impulses and immediate in­spiration of the Holy Spirit upon their minds, so to pray either in their own or other Languages, that these motions of their hearts, and inward desires, and also their words and expressions, were the proper and extraordinary works and di­ctates of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 14.14, 15, 16, 17. And it seemeth highly proba­ble, that the Apostle had some respect to this gift, Rom. 8.26, 27. according to the interpretation ofChrys. in Rom. 8. S. Chrysostome, who thinks that for the better clearing those words, there must be recourse had to the times of such extraordinary gifts, which in his days were ceased. And he saith, God then gave gifts which are called also spirits; and having mentioned the gift or spirit of prophecy, of wisdom, heal­ing, miracles, tongues, &c. he addeth, after all these, [...], there was a gift of Prayer, which is also called a spirit (or spirit of Prayer) and he who had this, saith he, prayed for the whole multitude. And in another place the same Father observes, that this gift which he there also calls,Chrys. in 1 Cor. 14. [...], was sometimes accompanied with the gift of [Page 36]tongues, or an ability by the inspiration of the spirit, to express these Prayers in other Languages: which is also manifest from the Scriptures themselves, 1 Cor. 14.14, 15, 16.

9.How far such extra­ordinary gifts were to be used? Now he who had this gift, ought to make use thereof in a due and regular manner, especially so far as concerned the matter of this inspiration and gui­dance. For this was an extraordinary and singular favour from God, and these im­pulses were most excellent assistances, and infallible guides, for the right performance of the duty of Prayer, and making inter­cession according to the will of God, Rom. 8.27. But these eminent and extraordi­nary motions being miraculous, were pe­culiar to that primitive time, for which they were calculated, when the Christian Faith needed Confirmation, by the demon­stration of the spirit, both for the establish­ing of Christians, and the Conversion of others. But no man now can justly pre­tend to speak or pray, by such infallible inspirations, nor ought he to be credited who shall so pretend. Yet they who then received these assistances, were not obli­ged always to make use of them, meerly for the exercising of their gifts in the Christian Assemblies; but they ought on­ly so far to use them, as was consistent [Page 37]with the rules of order, and decency, and edification; but in other Cases they were to forbear the use thereof, as is manifest from 1 Cor. 14. And upon this account, the Apostle argues against the publick use of the gift of Prayer in an unknown tongue, though in the use of inspired gifts, 1 Cor. 14.14. my spirit prayeth, but my understanding, [...], is unfruitful; i.e. my gift is exercised, and my own mind and spirit is affected; but my sense and meaning is not declared, to the profit and benefit of others. For [...], which is here rendred understanding, appears to be used by S. Paul in this place, for the de­clared sense of his words and expressions, or the trueValla, Lud. Cap­pel. in loc. meaning of what he spake, as appears from v. 19. and so it is used elsewhere in this Epistle, 1 Cor. 2.16. we have [...], the mind of Christ, or the plain and true manifestation of his mind and doctrine.

10. From this 1 Cor. Ch. 14. I had in my Libertas Ecclesiastica given this as an Answer to that Argument against set Forms of Prayer, that they limit the use of gifts:Lib. Eccl. B. 1. Ch. 4. Sect 2. p. 120. That by the will of God, bounds and limits were to be set, even to the use of the extraordinary gifts of Gods spirit, that the Church might be edified, 1 Cor. 14.26, 27, 28, 30, 33. Whereas now no such mira­culous [Page 38]emanations of the Holy Ghost can be pretended. Now in reply to this, this Au­thor usethReas. Ac­count. p. 14, 15, 16, 17. many words, and saith these Precepts of the Apostle in this Chapter, were against two or three speaking or gabling together, and for the avoiding undue length in their Discourses, and that if any speak in an unknown tongue some should interpret. And then he declares, that such disorderly things may be restrained; but saith, it is one thing to restrain the notorious abuse of gifts, but it is a quite different thing to restrain the use of them. And to this pur­pose he misrepresents my sense, in a Syllo­gism of his own, and then triumphs over what himself had formed; wherewith I shall not trouble the Reader, but shall in a few words declare, what manifest evi­dence there is in this Chapter, for that which I urged from it.

11.Rules for the exercise of such gifts laid down 1 Cor. 14. considered. My intention was to shew, that the use of particular gifts, is not of so great necessity in the Church, because they are gifts, but that even some of the extraor­dinary emanations of the Holy Spirit might be, and ought to be forborn to be exercised, where this forbearance tended to decent order, or edification. And if this be plainly proved from this Chapter, the general urging the necessity of the use of all gifts given of God, further than [Page 39]that use is orderly and needful for edifi­cation, is an errour and mistake. Now the Apostle in this Chapter declares that charity, edification, and the good and profit of others, are things to be preferred and valued, above extraordinary spiritual gifts, v. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. that they who had these extraordinary gifts of the spirit, were not bound to use them in the Church, meerly because they were gifts, unless the use thereof was for the profit and edifica­tion of others, v. 2, 6, 18, 19. Yea the use of the gift of tongues, though given by the special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was totally forbidden, where there was no interpreter, v. 23, 27, 28. and yet so far as concerns the nature of gifts, an ability to speak with other tongues, by peculiar assist­ances of the Spirit, was as much, yea more a gift, than an ability of expressing our selves in our own tongue, without any such extraordinary and peculiar assistance. And they who had other gifts of revela­tion, interpretation or doctrine, were to hold their peace, so far as was requisite to the observing the rules of order, and de­cency, and the avoiding confusion, v. 26, 30, 33, 40. But in our Case, there are no such gifts in being now, as then were in the Church, and therefore no restraint laid upon any such; here is no prohibi­ting [Page 40]that which is the proper gift of Prayer as I have above shewed, nor is any thing forbidden directly or indirectly, by the injoining Liturgies, which is of greater use to the edification of the Church; as I shallIn Ch. 3. hereafter shew; but here is a di­rection for a better and more useful per­formance of the duty of Prayer prescri­bed.

12. Thirdly, I acknowledge there is an ability in many persons, whereby they can express their minds in some de­gree fitly to God in Prayer. This our Au­thor dothReas. Acc. p. 6, 8, 10. divers times declare to be that which he accounteth the gift of Prayer. And I do not love to contend about ex­pressions; yet the phrase of the gift of Prayer, is no where used at all in the Scripture, and the ancient Writers do usefully for the promoting devotion in Prayer, discourse of it as a work of the heart and soul, and not of words: Prayer, saith S. Basil Basil. in Mart. Ju­litt. & in Bas. de O­rat. [...], we do not at all define to be a business of words: and whilest we are warned a­gainst confidence in [...], much speak­ing, it is [...], a diligent dis­position of heart, that is of great use. Where­fore as I before said, I esteem not this ability of expression, to be properly the gift of Prayer, but rather of speech or [Page 41]utterance, or a piece of elocution.

13.How far readiness of expression in Prayer is a gift of God? This facility of expression is procu­red and enlarged, in men who have a competent natural freedom of speech, by use and exercise, and is advanced by va­rious methods. I acknowledge that in some an affectionateness of devotion doth contribute much thereto: and in others confident self-conceit, and an heated fancy, and (as I have read some particular in­stances) even diabolical contracts have promoted the same. And as I cannot ad­mit these things last mentioned to be cal­led the gifts of God, so neither is it to be allowed, that the natural product of them in those persons should be so esteemed; and much less are they to be called Gifts of the Holy Spirit. And it is manifest, that a readiness of expressing the sense of their minds, with fluency of fit words, and vo­lubility of speech, doth attend even such men, who make use of their Prayers and other Discourses, to propagate and up­hold errors, and heretical doctrines, and Enthusiasm, and even them who are sunk into the depth of impiety; as well as those who design to promote truth and goodness. And it must be an high disho­nour to the Holy Spirit for any to say, that he gives his immediate and peculiar assist­ances, to the advancing of error and fals­hood. [Page 42]S. Paul observed a sleight and cun­ning craftiness, in them who lie in wait to deceive, Eph. 4.14. and that by good words and fair speeches, they deceive the hearts of the simple, [...], men of innocent and harmless intentions, Rom. 16.18. And Nazianzene describes the discourses of He­reticks, that they hadNaz. O­rat. 33. [...], a quick, nimble, and voluble tongue, and they spake, [...], with a masculine and generous stile, and choice and approved words. And these persons and such like, might be forward enough to call these things gifts, and to use our Authors Argument against the re­straint of them.

14. The high advantages of the influ­ences, and aids of the Holy Spirit in the Church of God, are with great thankful­ness to God and our Saviour to be ac­knowledged; but the operations of this spirit tend to produce purity, holiness and goodness. Christians are commanded in the Holy Scriptures to pray in the spirit, which (besides what was extraordinary, and peculiar to those times) consists in inward piety of heart, and not in variety of words. And copiousness of expression is so far from being an evidence of his con­duct, that in S. Chrysostoms judgment, where there is an over-flowing abun­dance, [Page 43]and multitude of words in Prayer, this cannot consist with that praying in the spirit, which is commanded by the Apo­stle, Eph. 6.18. It is saith he,Chrys. in Eph. 6. [...], not to pray in the spirit, when any one useth multitudes of words and repetitions. And indeed to pray in the spirit, as the Apostle directs, is to perform the duty of Prayer with a pious temper of mind, according to the Christian rules; whereas the de­signed use of variety of words and expres­sions, and the affecting this, is contrary to the Precepts of our Saviour. The Com­mentaries under S. Ambrose his name de­clare,In Eph. 6. Hoc est in spiritu semper or are, mun­da conscientia, & fide integra precem ad Deum dirigere; This is to pray always in the spirit, to direct prayer to God with a pure conscience, and an upright faith: and Calvin explains praying in the spirit, by declaring the inward devoutness of affe­ction, which is a fruit of that spirit;In Ep. Jud. v. 20. hinc ardor & vehementia, hinc deni (que) gemitus illi inenarrabiles, Hence proceed warmth and earnestness of spirit and groans, that cannot be uttered.

15. I acknowledge a sober and due freedom of expression, to be a gift of God, in the same manner that the capacities of mens understanding, and all other abilities [Page 44]of mind and body, are Gods gifts. But it is plain that this liberty of expression, is the product of the natural capacities men receive from God, which are improved in well disposed persons by ordinary means, under Gods blessing. And I cannot discern (and I think no man else can) that a Ministers ability of speech, either for Prayer, or Preaching, or Conference, is of any other nature, than that freedom of expression which a Lawyer hath to plead, or which other persons of good ca­pacities and liberal education, and who have accustomed themselves to discourse, do make use of concerning such things, as they have well considered: only it may be advanced by a pious affection towards the things he may discourse of.

16. I shall now consider, whether it be the duty of Christians, or particularly of Ministers, to make use of such abilities, at all times, in the exercises of Religion. And besides what I have said before,How far Ministers are obliged to exercise all their a­bilities? it may justly be accounted a considerable, if not an unanswerable objection, against the necessity contended for, of a Mini­sters using a particular gift, or ability wherewith he is endued, meerly because it is a gift; in that this would equally make it his duty, to use his present or extempore ability of conception, and expres­sion [Page 45]in Prayer or Preaching, if he have any such ability, and the use of his memory, in declaring what he hath himself concei­ved, or thought on before-hand, and also his reading what hath been before com­posed, either by himself or by others. But the use of these several abilities at the same time, is impossible, because of their being inconsistent with one another. But God obligeth no man to impossibilities.

17. And besides this, if it be necessary to the obtaining the favour of God, for Ministers to use their own gifts, in utter­ing variety of expressions in their Prayers to God, because they may not neglect the use of any of their gifts or abilities; then it must be necessary also, where the per­son who Ministers hath an ability to per­form it, and the Auditory (among lear­ned men and Scholars) hath a capacity to understand it; to perform the Offices of Prayer in the use of divers languages, some part in one language, and some part in another, exercising therein all his several abilities. For our Authors Argument will as much prove the necessity of this, as the necessity of his using his own parts, in dif­ferent ways of expression, in his own lan­guage; since the former is a more eminent and extraordinary ability than the latter, and if no gift or accomplishment, may be [Page 46]totally neglected in the service of God, then not this, which is of so considerable a degree. But yet if we consider God,Cl. Alex. Strom. l. 7. [...], he desires not, and is not pleased with the variety of sounds of words and languages; and the urging such a practice as a neces­sary duty of Religion, would represent Re­ligion, as if it was a business of affectation, fancy and humour; and not of piety and seriousness. Now this I mention, to ma­nifest hereby, of how low and little con­cernment in Religion, the meer exercise of a mans own abilities are, further than they have an influence upon the profit and edification of others.

18.No duty to use any abi­lity, further than is or­derly and for edifica­tion. And there are also many other abilities, gifts or perfections of another nature, which God bestows upon some Ministers, the exercise of which they may lawfully, and usefully, wholly omit in their Ministerial employments. For in­stance, he who is eminently able by cri­tical learning, to explicate divers difficult Texts of Scripture; or who is one of a piercing judgment, to fathom the depth of the greatest controversies, will not only be free from sin, but may be commended, if he silence these his abilities in his popu­lar Sermons, and acquaint common Audi­tories with such doctrines and duties, as [Page 47]are both useful for their practice, and su­table to their capacities. Thus S. Paul dealt with his Corinthians, feeding them with milk, 1 Cor. 3.2.

19. I shall now go further, and shew,'Tis best for the Church, that the a­blest men in some cases ordinarily make use of what was formed by others abi­lities. that Ministers who have themselves gifts, and abilities of the greatest degree, both lawfully may, and for the greater good of the Church, ought, to make use of what is drawn up to their hands by others, in some great and weighty cases, rather than of their own gifts, in the neglect of what is so composed, drawn up and esta­blished. And of this I shall give two in­stances.

20. My first instance shall be, concern­ing the translation of the Holy Scripture. Now I presume this Author will acknow­ledge,As the Translation of Scripture. that Ministers ought to instruct their people, in the doctrine and Religion of Christianity, out of the holy Scriptures. But according to his Principles, he who is able to give an account of the Original, ought not to cite the Scripture according to our English Translation, but must use his own gift and ability, in making a new Translation of his own: and possibly, if he be guided by our Authors way of rea­soning, he must be still making new Translations of the same Text of Scrip­ture, when he cites it a second, third, [Page 48]and fourth time, if he be able to vary so oft. And yet it is easy to see, that a fixed and well considered Translation must be of more value and esteem, and of greater use for the instructing people in the doctrine of Christianity, than this changeable method. And in this case, we have the acknowledgment of this Writer himself, who saith,Reas. Acc. p. 20. both Christ and his Apostles made frequent use of the Septuagint Version.

21. Our Author himself proposeth it, as an objection against his opinion, that according to it,P. 19. Ministers who are able must be bound in reading the Scriptures, to make a Translation of their own. And here at first he makes a doubt, whether read­ing the Scriptures be a Ministerial act; and saith, Christ never said to them, Go and read, and he supposeth the Scriptures may be read by inferiour officers, as is done in other Reformed Churches. But thus far his Answer is very insufficient, if it be con­sidered, 1. That the reading the holy Scriptures in the Church, hath been a part of the publick Offices in the Christian As­semblies, from the time of theTertul. Apol. c. 39. Just. Mart. Apol. 2. first Cen­turies, and even in the Apostles times, and by their Precept, Act. 15.31. Col. 4.16. 1 Thes. 5.27. and that this is included in that charge to Timothy, 1 Tim. 4.13. Give [Page 49]attendance to reading, is acknowledged by manyV. Dr Hammond, & in Baldw. in loc. Expositors. And therefore if all publick offices ought to be performed by the use of mens own gifts, why not this? 2. Even the publick Prayers were also in the ancient Greek Church, usually performed or read, not by the chief Offi­cers, but by the Deacon, asChrys. in Rom. & passim. S. Chrysostom oft expresseth. 3. That yet when per­sons of great abilities do undertake to read the Scriptures publickly, they must either sin according to his Position, in neglecting the use of their gifts, or else must make New Translations. 4. That what ever such men as our Author will deter­mine, concerning the publick reading the Scriptures, which was also constantlyBuxt. Syn. Jud. c. 9. practised in the Jewish Church, Act. 13.15, 27. ch. 15.21. and where our Savi­our himself, after he had begun to preach, stood up for to read, Luk. 4.15, 16. Yet so long as instructing the people out of the Scriptures, is acknowledged a Mini­sterial Act, they must according to his Argument, be hence obliged to make new Translations.

22. But for a further Answer, he tells us,p. 20. That no single Minister is fit to be trusted with this, nor to enter a dissent to the ordinary Version, — but with great mo­desty and upon weighty grounds. Now I [Page 50]commend the modesty of these expressi­ons, though I think in the former clause, they run too far into the other extream. I do not see what reason our Author hath, to condemn S. Hieroms translating the Old Testament, out of the Original Hebrew (or his Translating the Scriptures, for the use of hisHi [...]ron. Sophro­nio. Country-men into the Dalma­tian or Slavonian Tongue, and the like undertakings of divers other persons) be­cause this was performed by a single Pres­byter: and for this work, he hath been deservedly honoured in the Christian Church. And I did not think, he would have been so severe against the Version of Junius and Tremellius, or (if they may escape the better because they were two) against Beza's Version of the New Testa­ment. Yet I suppose all understanding men will grant, that the undertaking new Translations of the Bible, when the old one is sufficiently perfect, is a very need­less enterprize, to make them more nu­merous than learned men are.

23. But why may not what he speaks of a Version, be as well and as truly af­firmed concerning the publick Prayers of the Church, when there are as great abi­lities required, (not indeed of skill in the learned languages, and ancient Cu­stoms, but) of true wisdom, care, conside­ration [Page 51]and prudence, and as much autho­rity also, fitly to comprise the common addresses of the Church, and to recom­mend them to be presented to God in its publick service, as to make a translation of the Scripture? And why private Mi­nisters should have a greater liberty, to enter their dissents here, than concerning a Translation, I do not understand; es­pecially since we are more certain, that our Liturgy is free from any mistake or er­rour, in the matter of it, than we can be in some difficult Texts, concerning any Translation yet extant, every Age afford­ing further helps, for the clearer under­standing of some of them. And it is as easy a thing to make declamations against them who shall suppose, that many Mi­nisters are not able to examine, and give the sense of the original Texts, especially of the New Testament, as our Author can make against them, who think all private Ministers not sufficiently able, with due fitness, exactness and comprehensive­ness, daily to compose new solemn addres­ses to God, to present therein the common service of the Church. And yet if their private abilities could constantly enable them, to make Prayers every way as per­fect, as a well-ordered Form is, I shall in the next Chapter shew the advantages, [Page 52]that a fixed Form in the publick service, would still have above them.

24. But besides this, I know not how our Author will be able here to Answer his own instance. For whatsoever may be said of other Ministers; were notReas. Ac­count. ibi­dem. Christ, and his Apostles who were divinely inspi­red, of abilities sufficient to be intrusted with usual interpreting the Scriptures from the Original, yea and of making an infal­lible translation also? And yet they thought it neither necessary nor fit, when ever they cited the Scripture, to exercise their gifts, in making a new Version, but as he himself observeth, they frequently and for the most part followed the Septuagint. Indeed if our Author should embrace that Notion, from Aristaeus, which is men­tioned byPhil. de Vit. Mos l. 2. p. 659. Philo, and espoused by many of theJust. Mart. Co­hort. ad Gr. Cl. A­lex. Strom. 1. Epiphan de Mens & Pond. Au­gustin. &c. ancient Writers of the Church; and favoured by theNovel. Tit. 29. Const. 146. c. 1. Imperial Law, and by someSalian. An. Mund. 3775. n. 71. &c. Mr Greg. in Opus [...]. and others ci­ted by B. Walton Proleg. 9. in Bibl. Po­lygl. learned men of later days, that the Version of the Septuagint was framed by a kind of divine inspiration, he would hereby in some degree avoid this difficul­ty. But he hath shut himself out from this Plea, since in the same place he declareth, that Christ and his Apostles made use of this Version, though as full of mistakes as any other. And in that the Pen-men of the New Testament, did sometimes vary very [Page 53]considerably from the Septuagint; as for instance, in that Prophecy of Zech. 12.10. cited Joh. 19.37. where the Septuagint inHieron. in Zech. 12. S. Hieroms time were observed, and affirmed by him to read it, as our most ordinary Copies thereof now do; this is evidence enough, that they did not esteem that Version to be of divine inspi­ration.

25. A second instance I shall give,No new Creeds to be daily made. con­cerneth the Creed, or profession of the Christian Faith. Now supposing accord­ing to the assertion ofVoss. de Trib. Symb. Dis­sert. 1. c. 25. &c. Vossius, that the Creed called the Apostles, was not made by themselves: In reciting the Articles of the Christian Faith at Baptism, or accord­ing to the ancient Custom to theAug. de Symbol. ad Catechum. Cate­chumeni before Baptism; it cannot be ex­pedient, that every Minister should every time exercise his gifts, in forming a new Creed. And if he should do this, it would neither be so close and pithy in its matter and substance, nor of that authority, which the received Creeds are; and this would be the way to lose the old faith, by a changeable novelty of words. The anci­ent Custom of the Church, was to keep to theirRuffin. in Symbol. fixed Creeds. And then they who would not acquiesce in the recei­ved Symbol or Rule of Faith, were look­ed upon withSocr. Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. [...]. suspicion, of having [Page 54]designs against the true Faith.

26.Publick Forms al­lowed by Dissenters. The like may be said of publick Confessions. And which way soever our Author may be enclined in this Case, some of the chief persons of the Presbyterian Party, in our late times, discerned so much hurt by the rejecting these publick Forms, as made them earnest in pleading the usefulness of them. Thus for instance, Dr Tuckney, on 2 Tim. 1.13. Hold fast the Form of sound words. Whence he declares,Form of sound words, p. 246. Forms so much decryed in our times, were not so undervalued in Paul's, who you see left with Timothy a Form of words. And he said,p. 248. these have been ever in use, since God himself wrote the Deca­logue, — and Christ taught us his own Prayer, — And the Apostles their Canons, Act. 15. and the Primitive Churches and Fathers their Creeds. And he not only asserts,p. 252. that the Forms of sound words are useful and in some cases necessary: but complains also, that ourp. 258. experience in these wofully distracted times, too sadly cry­eth aloud, that the not keeping more close to such Forms of sound words, (which our Church was sometimes famous for, in point of Doctrine) — hath miserably torn us in pieces, and divided us in semper divisibilia, with more to that purpose. And con­cerning every man taking the liberty, of [Page 55]venting his own novel composures of this kind, he declaresp. 272. many such Forms are in these times of Deformation rather than Reformation, minted daily. So he in the Year 1650.

27. And amongst the Independents, when their Elders and Messengers, from the several parts of the Realm, met at the Savoy, to publish their joint Declaration of Faith and Order; this their General As­sembly, it seems, thought it not necessary or requisite for them, to make use of their gifts to compose a new Confession of Faith. For in the main part of what they pub­lished,In De­clar of the Faith and Order of the Congr. Churches. in several whole Chapters, and most of their Paragraphs, they kept ex­actly even to the words of the Confession of the Assembly at Westminster, making very few alterations in any other things, save where the Independent opinions dif­fered from the Presbyterians. And yet themselvesIn the Preface. highly magnified, and applau­ded their own proceedings in this Con­vention, and their Ʋnity therein.

28. And it may be further considered,Well consi­ [...] Forms more com­pleat than other vari­ed compo­s [...]res. that in all these things, viz. the Version of Scripture, the Declaration of the Articles of Faith, and in publick Prayers, it may well be presumed, that what is well con­sidered and setled, or prescribed as a Form, is more perfect and compleat in the com­posure, [Page 56]than can be expected in any me­thod of ordinary variation. And to as­sert, that these things may be always bet­ter (or as well) performed, and compo­sed by every Minister, or even by the most eminent person whomsoever, in a constant way of varying, in the use of their own abilities, than in a well consi­dered and digested Form; is as much as to affirm, that the varied expressions of men at every particular time, are more pro­per, pithy, expressive and full, than the best composed Prayer that is at any time made, and reviewed with the greatest con­sideration and care: for so it may be expected that a publickly established Form is.

29. And he who talketh of this our Church, that if all her Ministers cannot constantly in their daily new Prayers, equal or out-do the perfection or exactness of a well considered Form, (for this must be his sense, if he speaks to any purpose) thatReas. Ac­count. p. 157. this may be spoken to the shame of the Church of God in England: these raw and extravagant speeches will be to the shame of those who utter them, so far as they will be ashamed of uncharitable and reproachful calumnies against the Church of God, and of speaking against all sense and reason.

[Page 57]30. Now the result of what I have hi­therto discoursed is, that what our Au­thor contends for, is neither the true and proper gift of Prayer, which is necessary to be exercised; nor yet any singular or peculiar gift of the spirit of God, as a spe­cial benefit of Christs Exaltation; but it is an ability of a more common and ordi­nary nature. And that it is neither a duty, nor yet expedient, that such abilities should be used and constantly exercised, any further than is agreeable to the rules of edification and order. Thus much I thought fit to write for the Readers better satis­faction, concerning the subject or matter of his first Argument; but I shall not need to do the like concerning the rest: And now it will be no hard thing, to Answer the Argument it self.

31. The substance of his Argument is,Reas. Acc. p. 5, 6. that a Ministers own gift, of expressing his mind fitly to God in Prayer, is a mean given by God, for the performance of the Religious act of Prayer; and therefore may not be omitted, no not at the command of man. To which I Answer,

32. First, That a mean given of God, Means or abilities not necessa­ry for the performing duties, may be omitted. if it be only capable of being used, and not a necessary mean to the performance of the duty, may lawfully be omitted. Especially when there are several means, [Page 58]which may all of them singly be used, he who chuseth one of them, and the most profitable, is not to be faulted, because he doth not use the other which is less profi­table. Thus in the publick Prayers of the Church; whereas a Ministers present flu­ency of expression, or his remembrance of what himself hath before conceived, with respect to that particular time; or his using a set Form, are different ways or means of performing this service; he who chuseth the last, which hath many ad­vantages of the other two, is not to be blamed because he doth not chuse either of those two. And by this it may appear, that this Writers own Argument, if it were of any strength, might easily be in­verted, and retorted against himself, if we put in the phrase of a Form of Prayer, instead of a Ministers own gift, &c.

33. Secondly, That ability of expression was not peculiarly and particularly given by God to Ministers, that they might thereby perform the publick Offices of Prayer. This is manifest, because this is also given to them, whom God never calls to perform the publick Offices of Mi­nistration. And also because if our Lord had intended it, to be the duty of all Mi­nisters of the Gospel, that they must use their own abilities of expression in the [Page 59]Prayers of the Church, and might not make use of any Forms, he would not himself have given them an Example, of composing a Form of Prayer, and deliver­ing this to be used by his own Apostles, and this too to be made use of, not as their private addresses, for themselves alone; but with respect to the whole Christian Society, and therefore beginning as was anciently observedCyp. de Orat. Dom. Non dici­mus patermeus—publica no­bis est & communis oratio. Our Father, as being a publick and Common Prayer. And this was the more considerable because it was agreeable to, and in approbation of what John the Baptist had directed his Disci­ples: and the like method had been be­fore used, throughout all the state of the Jewish Church, as I have inLibert. Eccles. p. 103, 104. another place evinced, and shall further prove, Ch. 3. Sect. 3. n. 27, 28, &c.

34.The Autho­rity of our Governours is to be ho­noured. The authority of our Governours is also in this Case of considerable weight. For though the command of man is not to be performed, if it be against the will of God; yet since it is fit, that a due order of publick worship in Christian Assem­blies, should be provided for by them, who have the chief Authority and inspection therein; the constant use of the Liturgy, being of it self agreeable to the will of God, becomes more obligatory upon us, because this way of worship is wisely [Page 60] established by our superiours. And the Apostle S. Paul declared, that the use ever of extraordinary spiritual gifts, must give place to decency and order, 1 Cor. 14.26,—33,—40.

35. But he further saith, that a man own gift or ability of expression in Pray­er, isReas. Ac­count. p. 6, & 7, & 18. a divine mean, but a Form o [...] Prayer isp. 7. & 18. Liturgies are no meer humane means for Gods wor­ship. a meer humane mean. Now this must be upon supposition, that an ability to compose a Prayer to speak it, is a di­vine ability, (which how far it is true, I have shewed above) but the same ability to compose the same Prayer, if it be to be written, is a meer humane ability. But no man can see any truth in such a sup­position, nor any reason for it.

36. But however our Author think fit to talk; so far as he hath proved any thing, he hath proved the composing of Liturgies, to be by a divine ability, or gift of Prayer. For he thus argues against those who deny any such gift, as the gift of Prayer. p. 8. This is, saith he, either [...] deny what is evident to sense, That there are some persons able, fitly to express then minds to God in Prayer, or to deny the Scriptures, which say, Jam. 1.17. th [...] every good gift, and every perfect gift com­eth from above, from the Father of lights. Besides that, it stubbeth up all Liturgies by [Page 61]the roots, none it seems having any ability to make them. Now the result of this Dis­course is, that the ability to make Litur­gies is the gift of Prayer, and a gift of God; and consequently they must be a divine mean for the performance of Prayer, or such an one as is afforded to us by the assistance of God. Besides this, God hath so far declared his approbation of Forms of Prayer, that he himself de­livered such, and enjoined them under the Old Testament, as our Saviour did under the New: and if that may be further cal­led divine, which serves the ends of God in the World, and conduceth to holiness and piety, upon this account also good and well-ordered Forms must be so esteemed.

37. But it now remains, that I examine his proofs, produced to shew that it is a duty, in the publick Prayers of the Church, for a Minister to use his own gifts of ex­pression, if he have such abilities. His firstp. 6. proof is, 1 Tim. 4.14. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by Prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. But Ans. 1. In this place the Apostle requires Timothy, to take care of executing his Episcopal Office, The Precepts of the Scrip­ture con­cerning the use of gifts considered. and exercising his authority (which things were given by the laying on of hands) and also to discharge the duty of his place and [Page 62] function, with care and diligence, accord­ing to the grace which God had giver him. 2. Here is not a word spoken it this Text concerning Prayer, or the per­formance thereof by any such gift as our Author pleads for, nor doth the Context which mentioneth reading, exhortation, and doctrine, speak any thing thereof. And I suppose this Author doth not account the gift of Prayer, to be given by the lay­ing on of hands, when himself saith, the Churchp. 13. should judge of her Ministers gift of Prayer, before she trust them with the publick Ministry.

38. And 3. if this Text had particu­larly expressed the use of the gift of Prayer, and intended this concerning ut­terance and expression, as it doth not; the Argument from Timothy, at that time, when publick Offices of the Church were often performed by miraculous gifts, and who himself was in all probability fur­nished therewith, would not be of force, for them who have no such extraordinary gifts. Yet such Precepts do not enjoin the use of any gifts, further than may consist with order and tend to edification; which are general rules for the exercise of all gifts. And when the Apostle saith in this Verse, and 1 Tim. 1.18. that Timothies Ordination, and the discharge of his Fun­ction, [Page 63]was by prophecy, even this hath re­spect to those miraculous emanations of the Holy Spirit, who in those times, did in an extraordinary manner, often make choice of persons to be ordained; and di­rected the Apostles by Prophecy, or some other way of guidance, whom they should make choice of. To which purposeEp. ad Corinth. p. 54. Cle­mens Romanus speaks of the Apostles, [...], chusing and ap­proving by the Spirit, those whom they or­dained Bishops and Deacons. AndEuseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. [...]. Euse­bius from Clemens Alexandrinus, declares as a certain account of History, concern­ing S. John, that he ordained Bishops, and others of the Clergy, of persons [...], who were sig­nified and marked out by the spirit.

39. Now how severe this Writer is en­clined to be, against such like Arguments, produced by others against his opinion, from Texts where there is no mention at all of Prayer, we may discern by this in­stance. When he took notice that that Text Rom. 15.6. that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, was pro­duced, as well it might be, in favour of Forms: he breaks out into a swelling passion, and in contempt cries outReas. Acc. p. 142. Ridi­culous! is there in that Text a word con­cerning Prayer, &c. Now though there be [Page 64]in that Text, a more general expressi [...] of glorifying God, of the practice and ex­ercise of whichGrot. in Rom. 15.6. i. e. Ut cum Deum laudatis, ei (que) preces funditis, fa­ciatis id, non tan­tum eo­dem ver­borum so­no (sicut [...] fieri solebant) sed & ani­mo pleno mutuae di­lectionis. Prayer is one part [...] branch: yet if there had been no su [...] expression, if I had been of his Council I would have advised him to milder ex­pressions, for his own sake, towards such ways of arguing as himself maketh [...] of, but with less strength and evidence.

40. Another place of Scripture he pro­duceth is, 1 Pet. 4.10. As every one ha [...] received the gift, even so minister the sa [...] one to another, &c. Now this Verse is b [...] Dr Ham­mond in loc. many Writers, understood of givi [...] ­alms, to which sense its Connexion wi [...] the former Verse doth incline. But if [...] be understood concerning any ministe­rial abilities, of which the following Ver [...] discourseth, the main part of what I me [...] ­tioned in the second and third Answer to the forecited place of Scripture, w [...] equally agree to this. And indeed th [...] place cannot be understood, to have a [...] particular respect to Prayer; since [...] speaks of ministring one to another: Where­as in Prayer, and all proper acts of w [...] ­ship, as well as in sacrifice, he that mini­streth, ministreth only to God, to who [...] alone the Prayers and Service of the Church was directed.

41. He mentioneth also Rom. 12.6. [Page 65] Having gifts, differing according to the grace given to us, whether Prophecy, let us prophesie according to the proportion of faith. But the same Answer will fit this place also: for neither here, nor in 1 Pet. 4.10. is any mention at all of Prayer, but the other gifts, which the Apostles had their particular eye upon, are expresly named in the following Verses, in both these Chapters. And yet if the Apostle had then commanded them to have used such expressions in Prayer, as they were furnish­ed with by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, asGrot. in in Jud. 20. Grotius seemeth to think, that pray­ing in the Holy Ghost, Jude v. 20. is to pray, according to the dictates of the Holy Spirit, (which yet is more proba­bly, from the connexion of that phrase, with their most holy faith preceding it, and the love of God following it, to be under­stood of the grace of the Spirit) this would not have a like respect to us now, since the like dictates, and effusion of spiritual gifts are not now afforded. They then not only prayed, but also sung by the peculiar guidance of the Spirit, as is manifest, 1 Cor. 14.15, 26. and were therefore infallibly guided in both; but neither assistances of infallibility are now pretended to, from the divine spirit, save only in the deceits of Popery and Enthu­siasm, [Page 66]nor will our Author allow, thatReas. Acc. p. 18, 19. new hymns ought to be composed by the exercise of gifts.

42. And he produceth Rom. 12.3. where the Apostle requireth every one to think of himself soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith, and giveth us the last part of this Verse in Greek, as if there were some stress to be laid thereupon. But this ap­pears to be so little to his purpose, that I cannot ghess what he aimed at herein, unless it be that a Minister ought to think himself able, by his constant gifts, to outdo the perfection of Liturgies; which is directly against what the Apo­stle enjoined in the former part of that Verse, that no man should think of him­self more highly, than he ought to think. For I conceive it to be a manifest truth, that there is now no man whosoever he be, who by constant alterations, and making new Prayers, according to his own abili­ties, can perform these services at all times, with that exactness, which may be had in a Form: but he will some­times either omit something expedient, or be defective in due expression, or be wanting in that pithiness, closeness and comprehensiveness, which may be provi­ded for by a Form.

[Page 67]43. Now as there is not one word in any of these Texts, concerning the parti­cular use either of extraordinary gifts, and much less of ordinary abilities, in publick Prayer; so I cannot see, how any Christian can conceive, that they were at all intended against the use of Forms; unless he can first perswade himself, that these Apostles intended to contradict the direction and command of our Saviour, concerning the Lords Prayer.

44. Having now sufficiently, as I hope, answered what he produceth as his Argu­ment, I shall not take notice of those other particular Answers, which he men­tioneth, as having been by some given to this Argument, and unto which he gives his replies: though several of them are sufficiently vindicated, from what I have said. But there are two or three other passages in this Chapter, which I shall briefly reflect upon.

45. His description of the gift of Prayer, for the publick service of the Church, as beingp. 6, 8. This Au­thors ac­count of the gift of Prayer very deficient. an ability to express ones mind fitly to God in Prayer, is very defective and imperfect, especially in two things, though I use the phrase of the gift of Prayer here, improperly in his own sense. 1. In that he accounts this ability of com­posing or forming Prayers, to consist [Page 68]only in a persons being able to express his mind, whereas it is chiefly to be provi­ded that the conceptions of his mind be sober, and well ordered, comprehensive, and every way sutable to the nature of the duty. 2. In that he only mentions the expressing his mind; Whereas in publick Prayers, it is not a mans own private desires or wants, so far as they are peculiar to himself, which he is to pre­sent to God; but he is to express what is fit, to represent the minds of the whole Assembly, and the common desires and wants, and joint Devotions of all the Congregation.

46. Another place I shall examine is, where he tells us they p. 9, 10. His defa­v [...]ing the ministry of our. Church is unjust, and unrea­sonable. think it will be hard to find nine or ten thousand Scholars in England, furnished with the gift either of praying or preaching, in any tolerable manner: and one great reason is, because they have been so tied to a Liturgy, that they have never applied themselves to the study of the Scriptures, and their own hearts, as they should. Thus in this place and in many others, he takes any occasion to reproach, and cast dirt upon the Mini­stry of the Church of England; even to such excess, as sometimes to call them (though he excepts very many particular persons from that charge)p. 124. an ignorant, [Page 69]lazy and sottish Ministry. And he is the more liberal in these exorbitant Censures, when he doth withal bespatter our Li­turgy, as in both these places, or what he termsp. 149. that pitiful thing called Ʋnifor­mity, in words, and syllables, and phra­ses.

47. Now I conceive my self abun­dantly warranted to say, that the abili­ties of the present Ministry of the Church of England are such as were never in this Church outdone (if equalled) in any fore­going Age; nor as I verily believe, in any other part of the Christian World, since the Apostolical times, in any Church of so large extent. And it is an easy thing, but mightily unworthy of a Professor of Christianity, to speak bad and evil words of the mosT worthy men and things. But doth the use of a Liturgy hinder men from studying the Scriptures, or their own hearts, (which is a loud calumny upon our Ministry, and many other excellent per­sons, of eminent piety and goodness, who have a very high value for our Liturgy) and were the ancient Fathers, and our first Reformers, and their Successors, who closely adhered to a Liturgy, men of no understanding in the Scriptures, and men of no piety of heart, or holiness of life? Or is the dayly reading the Scriptures, as [Page 70]is done in the Liturgy (and by the Mi­nistry of England at other times also) that which must hinder mens study and under­standing in them? and is the constant use of morning and evening devotions, which the Liturgy directeth, the great obstacle to piety, and to mens taking serious care of their own hearts, to have them possessed with fear and reverence of God, and dispo­sed to the exercises of Religion, and univer­sal obedience? And what a wild accusati­on is this, to revile and asperse a National Ministry at random, and at a venture, concerning such things, wherein every Reader may discern, that it is impossible for him to know what he speaks to be true, and others, blessed be God, know them to be false?

48. And I wish our Author be not him­self defective, in some part at least, of what he chargeth upon others. For in studying the Scriptures, he could not but meet with Precepts against evil speaking, false accusing, rash judging, and uncharita­bleness; and in studying his own heart, he would discern, whether he had not of­fended in any of these. And I presume him (though I am not very certain who he is) to be so much a Scholar, as to know that [...], the usual Greek word for the Evil one, doth properly and prima­rily [Page 71]signify a Calumniator, and it is thence unlikely, that any of the spirit of Chri­stianity should be contained in reproach­ing others, which Nazianzen accounted to beNaz. O­rat. 53. [...], one of the greatest evils.

49. In Answer to such words, I could also without much pains, find out defa­ming and reflective expressions, if I were enclined that way; but I am content herein to be inferiour to him, but truly sorry to see what liberty he sometimes gives himself in such things. I have long since learned, from the example of our Lord and Saviour, from the rules of the Christian Religion, and particularly from our Church-Catechism, to keep my tongue from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering. And if he will not take it ill from me, which I assure him, I intend no otherwise than with a truly charitable mind; I dare confidently affirm, that if he shall please to be a strict observer of so much, though it be out of our Liturgy, he will not thereby be the worse man.

50. And I hope he may be the less of­fended with me for this Counsel, because I do not write it out of any private pro­vocation, or any apprehension of disre­spectful expressions towards my self. I acknowledge his expressions towards me [Page 72]in particular, to have been very civil and courteous, and I thank him for them. And I shall not return to him any thing un­meet. But I should not be faithful to the truth, nor to himself, if I should not shew the weakness and mistakes of his Argu­ments, so far as I discern them. And the duty I owe to the Church, of which I am a member, cannot well be discharged, without taxing his reproachful words a­gainst it, where I meet with them.

51. What he speaketh concerningp. 18, 19. Hymns and Anthems, I shall have occa­sion to take notice of in the nextCh. 3. Sect. 2. n. 38, &c. Chap­ter.

CHAP. III. Of Devotion, and attentive fervency of mind in publick Prayer: and whether the use of Liturgies be hin­drances, or helps therein.

SECT. I. His pretences for Forms of publick Prayer, being an impediment to attention and fervency, examined, and the contrary ma­nifested.

HIS second Argument against the lawfulness of the ordinary publick use of Forms, by him who hath abilities of expressing himself without them, is, that they hinder the attention, intention and fervency, both of Minister and people, and thereforeReas. Acc. p. 23. may not be used. But this charge against well-ordered Forms, can never be made out: and his proofs will appear very weak and slender.

2. Now I freely acknowledge and as­sert,Pious de­votion greatly needful in Prayer. that in our Prayer we ought to have a holy and Religious sense of God, and of Jesus our Mediator. We ought also to [Page 74]be serious in minding and attending to the duty in hand,Ch. III. and as free as may be from distractions: and to have a lively exercise of faith, hope, reverence, and such other Christian Graces, as I mentioned in then. 2. former Chapter. And the more de­vout we are, to the higher degree we are raised of this temper, and active dis­position of mind. This is indeed of great consequence in our addresses to God, and asAug. de Temp. Serm. 157. S. Austin saith, Prayer being a spiritual thing, it is so much the more accepted of God by how much our spirits and affecti­ons are answerable to this duty. If this be what he means by his attention and in­tention; it will be readily granted, that that way or model of service, which hin­ders these duties, and is not consistent with their exercise, is thereupon unlawfull And this seems to be his sense, when he saith,p. 33. attention is for the soul, hoc agere, to do what it pretends to do: and byp. 34. in­tention and fervour, he means, an holy zeal and heat — of the inward man, of sorrow in confession, desires in petition, joy in thanksgiving. But there may be too great a stress laid upon zeal, earnestness and fervency: since this is sometimes found, even to some degree of ecstasie, in men of hot heads, strong imaginations, and deluded minds, in whom it is far [Page 75]from the temper of sober devotion.Sect. I. And an awful reverence of God, a Religious and godly fear, a humble submissiveness, and sober exercise of other Christian gra­ces, is far to be preferred before it. Now I doubt not, but that a pious man may pray seriously, religiously and affectio­nately, either in the use of a Form, or without one; but I think the former hath in many cases the advantage, and speci­ally in the publick service of the Church, as may hereafter appear.

3. When he comes to prove, that the use of set Forms of Prayer hindreth atten­tion and fervency, he useth high words, and saith,p. 25. it is to them next to a demon­stration, and p. 26. it is impossible for any with­out self-condennation to deny it. But if af­ter all this, his proofs shall appear shallow and insufficient, then these will be evin­ced to be rash words, and talking lavishly with immoderate confidence.

4. In his discoursing concerning atten­tion, instead of Arguments he proposeth three questions, which he would have considered. First,p. 25. Whether it be possible for any person, to read any discourse, with that degree of attention of thoughts, Diligent attention may be ea­sily given to what is read. as he must pronounce the same with by heart. To which I Answer, that it is certain this may be easily done, and I think it strange it [Page 76]should be questioned. How usual is it t [...] read the Scriptures, and other Books, wi [...] as great attention, as the same things ca [...] be spoken without reading? Particular [...] in considering his Arguments, I shoul [...] have thought him big with strange con­ceits who should tell me that I must b [...] at the pains of getting them withou [...] Book, before I could attend to their sense [...] and I know I can do it better, by view­ing them in his Book. If our Author ca [...] not do thus much, he cannot be of capa­city to make any great proficiency, by any thing he hath read: and he must b [...] the unfittest man, of any I know, to an­swer other mens Writings, when he can­not well attend to their sense in readin [...] them. And it is strange to me that any man should write a Book, if he think [...] man can much attend to its sense in read­ing it; and he that is of this opinion needs not be much concerned how care­lesly he writes.

5. The ancient Christians declared, the reading the Holy Scriptures to have had [...] mighty efficacy upon their minds and spi­rits, insomuch that he devout Reade [...] was thereby, asOrig. cont. Cels. Origen expresseth it, i [...] a manner inspired: which could not have been, without a diligent attention [...] them. But if our Authors way of Di­course [Page 77]course were of any force, the delivery of Christian Doctrine by Oral Tradition, must be much more vigorous, lively and pow­erful, than by the Scriptures. I confess, he doth make a particular exception con­cerning the Scriptures, when he speaks of oft reading what we are before acquain­ted with; and saith,p. 27. God hath secured an abiding reverence for them in all pious souls. But I suppose he doth not mean, that this is done in any extraordinary and miraculous manner. And it is plain, that even the Scriptures are read by ma­ny with carelesness, and have been long observed to have been perverted, and abu­sed byIren. adv. Haer. l. 1. c. 1, &c. 15. Tert. de prae­script. adv. Haer. c. 17. Hereticks. Wherefore the reve­rence that pious men have for the Scrip­tures, in reading them, is chiefly with re­spect to God, because they are his word and his laws, whereby his will is declared to men. But since asAug. de Temp. Serm. 112. S. Aug. observed, when we pray, we speak to God; and when we read, God speaks to us; a Religi­ous honour and fear of God, so far as it prevails, will secure a reverence to the frequent use of the same Prayer, because therein also we have to do with God, and address our selves unto him.

6. A second thing he would have con­sidered, (which, as the former, hath par­ticular respect to him that Ministreth) is, [Page 78] whether any thing can more conduce to [...] the thoughts upon the duty, and God, p. 26. than when a man can trust his affection to thrust out words. A pious temper of mind doth more six mens hearts on God in Prayer, than the greatest freedom of expression can do. Now having consi­dered this, I think it past all doubt, th [...] a devout sense of Gods presence, and o [...] his purity, and of the great assurance w [...] have of his readiness to help and ble [...] them who Religiously and diligently see [...] him, together with humble considerati­ons of our dependance upon him, and a careful preparing our hearts to approach unto him, do wonderfully more conduce to fix our thoughts and minds upon God and our duty, than using our own word with freedom of expression, and a vole­ble tongue can do. And by this method the whole Christian Assembly, as well as the Minister, may be prepared for the right performance of this service. Our Author [...] method may occasion him who mini­streth, to attend the more carefully [...] his words, but this only is that, which commands and guides the heart. And that mens hearts may be as much composed, an [...] their Spirits as fervent, in the use of a fet Form, as in any other way, is mani­fest from what I formerly observed,Libert. Eccl. B. 1. Ch. 4. p. 135. that our Saviours praying more earnestly in his agony, was in repeating again and again the same words. And the Leyden Syn. pur. Theol. Disp. 36. n. 33. Pro­fessors [Page 79]observed, that when upon his Cross he said, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? he used a Form of de­precation from the Psalmist; and yet sure no Christian can think, that he the less attended to what he spake.

7. The third thing he would have considered, is, whether any such attention be to be expected from people p. 27. Of the at­tention of the People in Prayer. to Forms of Prayer, which they oft hear, as to a concei­ved Prayers? Now that part of attention, which consists in considering the way and manner of expressions, conceptions or me­thod, is like to be the greater in the use of a conceived Prayer, by reason of its being new: but this is of no benefit to Religion, but a real hindrance to true de­votion. But a pious attention of soul, to join in the matter of Prayer, may be the better performed, by persons Religiously disposed, in a set Form, when they know before-hand what Prayers they are to present, and come prepared to join in them.

8. But to render what he aims at the more plausible, he saith,Ibid. God re­quires at­tention to his word in known du­ties as much as in new things. it is at least an ingenious observation, that God to stir up his peoples attentions and affections tells them, he would do a new thing; and that I did in my Preface to my Libertas Eccle­siastica say, the humour of this Age is more [Page 80]apt to seek for new Books, Ch. II. than to read [...] ones. Concerning what he first observeth 1. The Scriptures sometimes call that [...] new thing, which is so wonderful and [...] ­raculous, that the like was never hear [...] before. Thus when the earth was to op [...] its mouth, and swallow up Corah and [...] Company, this is called Gods making [...] new thing, Num. 16.30. The like expres­sion is used in Jer. 31.22. which Te [...] was by theHieron. in loc. Aug. de Temp. Serm. 9. ancient Writers expounded concerning the miraculous conception [...] Christ. But are varied expressions thing of this nature? 2. Doth God never inten [...] to stir up the attentions and affections [...] men by his word, but when he tells the [...] he will speak or do a new thing? Surel [...] God declared, Jer. 7.23. — 28. that the command of obeying his voice, was th [...] which all the Prophets had urged, an [...] yet he did not thereupon allow, that [...] should be the less attended to. An [...] whereas in this very page he said, th [...] God hath secured an abiding reverence, [...] all pious souls to the holy Scriptures, it wa [...] not so ingenious an observation as our Au­thor thought it, to contradict himself here, as if no such reverence and attentio [...] would be given by Gods people to h [...] word, but in new things.

9. And which way soever in othe [...] [Page 81]things, the genius of men, and the hu­mour of the age may tend; true devotion in Religion always enclines to the same things; to wit, to glorifie God for his in­finite excellency, to praise him for his abundant goodness, to confess our sins, and implore his pardon, grace and protection; and the blessings both of this life and of eternal life. He who would leave out these old and constant matters of Prayer, will but badly guide others in that duty: and they who are diligently attentive to what is new in the variety and novelty of expressions, but neglect attention to these old things, will not be the better Christians. Our Author tells us, none gives that attention to a discourse or story he Ibid. hath heard an hundred times over, that he gives to a new one. A devout temper not like that of hearing a Story, to be pleased only with new things. And I wonder he should have no greater sense and understanding in these things, than to argue from such comparisons. For though in things that tend to instruct mens understandings, or gratifie and humour their fancies, those things which are new, do most affect them; yet in the exercise of grace, the fear and reverence of God, and desires after the same kind of divine blessings, are more serious and earnest in those persons, who by a long continued practice, have accustomed themselves to these very [Page 82]things,Ch. III. than in them who have been hi­therto strangers to them, and unacquain­ted with the, and to whom they are altogether new things.

10. He next comes to prove,Of fervency in Prayer. that fer­vency and intention of spirit in Prayer, is hindred by the use of Forms. To this purpose he saith,Reas. Acc. p. 28. & p. 52. as to him that mini­streth; there is a great deal of difference between words following the affections, and affections following the words. And this he saith is an old Argument of Didoclavius. And the very same was urged byDe Con­scient. l. 4. c. 17. qu. 4. Ame­sius, and therefore surely was thought to be the best Argument, these Writers could meet with. And our Author also saith,p. 31, 32. they believe the people do find a different flame in these Prayers: but it is not easy to assign the reason of the difference.

11. Now here I grant,A Religious man is more devout in a Form of Prayer by his frequent use of it. that in such a Form of Prayer, as the person hath ne­ver before read or used, there can be no particular previous preparation of heart or affections, to join in the several Peti­tions thereof; and this in the first use of such a Form, I admit and acknowledge to be a disadvantage to devotion. But if thus much be true, it will manifest, that the people must be hindred in the fervency of their devotions, by joining in a con­ceived Prayer: because being unacquain­ted [Page 83]before-hand, with what would be therein expressed,Of affecti­ons follow­ing words in Prayer. their affections must fol­low the speakers words. And thus the for­mer part of what he asserts, doth wholly undermine and disprove the latter, which was laid down without any proof at all: and this is the more considerable, because the devotion of the people or the whole Congregation, rather than of the Mini­ster, is chiefly to be regarded in publick Prayer, and on their part lyeth this dis­advantage.

12. But in such an ordinary Form, which he who ministreth is well acquain­ted with, there is no such impediment to his devotion. For he may come with his heart particularly disposed, to apply him­self to God for those special blessings (and so may the people do also in the like case) and so the pious disposition and acting of his spirit, as to those particular Prayers, is not only the sudden consequent of his present reading those words, but is pre­vious thereunto.This Author partial. But here I cannot but take notice of our Authors great partia­lity, concerning the preparation of mens hearts to Prayer. He declares in his own wayp. 26. that a premeditation of the great­ness and majesty of God, and of ones own vileness, &c. are of great use: but to him who usethp. 28. prescribed Forms, he allows [Page 84]only that there may be some general pre­vious preparation of affections, but it is hard to keep them warm so long, as until he comes to his work. Thus prejudices hurry men into the most unreasonable absurdi­ties, and unaccountable censures of o­thers. And that we may further see how much this Writer fights in the dark, and doth not weigh the force and tendency of what he urgeth; to prove Forms to be an obstruction to fervency in Prayer, he tells us, theyp. 28, 29. think it not possible, that the words of another should so well fit our hearts, and be so expressive of raised affecti­ons as our own. Some things urged a­gainst forms of Prayer, will equal­ly conclude-against all publick worship. Now these words are of no weight against Forms, since they may best express what things we ought to de­sire: But I suppose he did not consider, that what he thus speaks, tends to declare, that the people cannot with fervent affe­ctions join with the Minister in any Prayer whatsoever, because they are not their own words: and then all publick Prayer fitted to the people must be condemned; and so they must either take up with the Quakers silence, or the Romish service, where the Assembly are not capable of understanding, and consequently of join­ing with the Priests in their Service.

13. But he hath another thing to urge, which particularly concerneth the Mini­sters [Page 85]reading of a Form: and that is, that thenp. 29. the soul looks through the eye, and is diverted from its contemplation upon God. His sense is, that the looking upon the words in the Book, must hinder his heart from being directed unto God, be­cause as he after saith,p. 31. and the same sence p. 52. it is impossible, that any created being should in the same action duly intend two objects. Now our Author is so unhappy in his Arguments, that they not only recoil with equal vio­lence upon himself, but what he urgeth, is against all vocal Prayer, whether of Mi­nisters or others, in publick or in private; and also against others joining with them. For the considering of words, phrases, me­thod and sense, is a different thing in con­ceived Prayer, from the directing the heart and spirit unto God; and this must take up more of his mind and thoughts, than the looking upon a Book doth. And the peoples hearing and observing the words of Prayer spoken, is as different a thing from the motions of the mind toward God, as the seeing the same words is.Reading or hearing words hin­ders not the minding the sence of them. But in truth, since the main use of words is, that they are to express things, the use of the same act about the word and the thing signified by it (as to understand each of them) or the use of such different acts about the word and the thing signi­fied [Page 86]by it, as to read or hear the one, and to understand or be affected with the other, are no impediments at all to the vigorous actings of our souls and minds. He must be no ordinary man, that is able to make out, that the seeing or hearing the words of any Proposition or Discourse, hindreth from clearly understanding the sense thereof, when these words are wholly subservient to the thing, to express the sense and meaning thereof. Nor can I be perswaded, that I affect any thing of God or goodness the less, for hearing or read­ing such words, as represent and express them, or direct and excite my affections towards them. And withal he who is well acquainted with a Form of Prayer, needeth no industrious exercise of his eye in the use thereof.

14. But on the other hand,Manifold advantages to piety from the use of Forms of Prayer. since in such conceived Prayers as our Author pleads for, the Ministers mind must be imployed in considering and conceiving and digesting his words, and his method, and sense; and is apt to be sometimes soli­citous, lest he do amiss in any of these, and may sometimes have pleasing reflexions up­on his own fluency; or the contrary; these things may more justly be esteemed hindrances to his devotion. And besides what I have abovesaid concerning the [Page 87]devotions of the people, the using con­ceived Prayers as the publick service of the Church, may be an impediment thereof, upon these several accounts.

1. They are not certain, 1 that they can join in the matter of a new conceived Prayer, till they have well considered it, and therefore are the more apt to hesitate concerning it. 2 2. In the time of Prayer they may be too apt to give their minds liberty of observing the expressions, and the manner of the composure of the Prayer, either to judge of it or imitate it, which tend to distract the mind, and divert it from the worship of God.3 3. And they further want this benefit which attendeth our publick Form, that the joining in that Prayer, which is with one accord put up to God, in the several Assemblies of our Church, may reasonably be, and to many is, a quickning of their devotion, from the benefit of Christian Ʋnity, and theBishop Sparrow's Rationale of Com. Prayer, p. 9. promise annexed thereunto, Mat. 18.19, 20. Concerning which Text S. Cyprian observed, that though some, not consider­ing the whole discourse, made use of the last clause to encourage division: yet it appears from the Connexion of that with the former Verse; If two of you shall agree, &c. that,Cypr. de Unit. Eccl. si collecti unanimiter oraverint, duo aut tres licet sint, impetrare possunt de [Page 88]Dei Majestate, quod postulant; if they be gathered together with one accord, though they be but two or three, they may obtain what they seek for of the divine Majesty. And therefore there may be a greater hope of obtaining those very things, which we particularly know to be the joint desire of so great a number of Christians.4 4. Besides this, there are ve­ry many persons, who have not that quick­ness of capacity, which is necessary for their hearts and affections to go along with new Prayers, who yet can piously and devoutly join in those they have been well acquainted with.5 5. And withal, whensoever there are (as is too frequent) any impertinencies, or unadvised and un­becoming expressions in conceived Prayer, or whatsoever is the result of passion, im­prudence, negligence, weakness or bad principles and erroneous opinions, this must be expected to be a disturbance and hindrance to the fervency and devotion of the Auditors.

15. But because I am apprehensive,Whether in the Apostles times all publick worship was performed by extraordi­nary gifts. that some may be apt to think, that much of what I have said in the preferring the use of publick Forms to other conceived Prayers, may seem applicable at first view, to the Apostolical times also, as if the use of their miraculous gifts, when [Page 89]they used no Forms, were to be under­valued, I shall therefore desire these things may be considered. First, that as it is manifest, that under the Old Testa­ment, they who had the gift of prophecy, were not at all times under the special impulses of the divine spirit; so it is nei­ther certain nor probable, that in all the Primitive Churches, these extraordinary gifts were constantly afforded to all its Ministers, for the performing all their Ministrations thereby. The Apostle's di­rections to Timothy, to give attendance to reading, meditation, care and diligence, 1 Tim. 4.13, 15, 16. 2 Tim. 2.15. do seem plainly to evince the contrary. And since the Jewish Church, both at, and be­fore the coming of our Saviour, made constant use of Forms of prayer, as hath been observed by diversBuxt. Syn. Jud. c. 5. learned men, and the same hath been particularly pro­ved, both both from their Talmud, and Rituals, as well as from their other Rabbins bySeld. in Eutychi­um. Mr Selden, as was observed by Dr Ham­mond, in his view of the Directory, Ch. 1. Sect. 15. and also byHor. Heb. in Mat. 6.9. Dr Lightfoot; and conformably hereunto, the Baptist and our Saviour, taught their Disciples Forms of Prayer: I see no reason at all to con­clude, that the publick Prayers in those early Primitive times, were never per­formed [Page 90]by the use of Forms. But of this the Reader may judge more when he hath read to the end of this Chapter.

16. Secondly, When they had these extraordinary assistances, it is but reasona­ble to think, that the Holy Spirit did not put them upon designed constant using variety of words, and new phrases, in those things which were their common and u­sual parts of worship. For since our Savi­our himself shewed his dislike to the [...], or many and various words in Prayer, and gave an example for the due performance of it, in his comprehensive Form; the Spirit of God in the Primitive Christians, acting according to the will of God, would not guide them to what was contrary to our Saviours prescripti­ons. Thirdly,Great dif­ference be­tween Prayer by Apostolical and extra­ordinary gifts, and other con­ceived Prayer. Where there were such extraordinary motions of the spirit, for the composing Prayers, Psalms or Hymns, these were free from those disadvanta­ges I have above expressed, which at­tend conceived Prayers of other men. Under those impulses, the speaker need not be solicitous in his thoughts, about words and composure. There could be no defects in the matter, or fulness of ex­pression, where these things were direct­ed by the guidance of the Spirit. And the plentiful effusion of that Holy Spirit, [Page 91]tended rather more to promote inward fervency, and devotion of pious men, both speaker and hearers, than to guide their expressions, since grace and holiness were his chief gifts, and principal design. And the people could not make any doubts or demurs, about their ready consent to every part of those supplications, which were directed by extraordinary inspirati­ons. And the knowing that they were the special motions of the Holy Spirit, would both excite their attention, and raise the exercise of their faith and hope, in a firm confidence that those intercessions by the Holy Spirit, being certainly according to the will of God, were accepted of him.

17. Now though what I have said may be sufficient to answer his Argument, and to vindicate Forms of Prayer, from being any obstructions to serious piety; yet with respect to this Argument, I shall desire three things to be observed.

Obs. 1. That Attention, and intention and fervency, as our Author expresseth them, is not the whole business, that is needful to be minded and taken care of in the publick service of the Church, as he seems to intimate, both in the tendency of this Chapter, and particularly when he saith,Reas. Acc. p. 27. Attention of thoughts is not all our duty in Prayer, intention of spirit, and [Page 92]fervency of affections is also a prime requi­site. Other du­ties as ne­cessary in Prayer, as intention and fer­vency. But men may be vigorous and earn­est in the exercise of all this, while the matter of their Prayer may not be in all things sutable to the will of God, and even when several things which ought to be part of our Religious Addresses, are omitted. Wherefore there must be a chief care that the matter of our Prayers be rightly ordered, and that our expressions and behaviour be such, as manifest a due reverence to the Majesty of God. And in this Case, a well composed Form hath a manifest advantage above other Prayers.

18. And we must also take care that our zeal and devotion be regular and or­derly, and that they do not cross any other duties, which we are obliged to perform: and the care of such duties, are in many Cases of greater consequence, than the degree of fervency. Thus if any man think he can be more fervent in his private Prayers, than in joining in any publick service; he is not thereby allowed to neglect the publick Assemblies, and to retire himself at that time to his Closet: since this publick worship is a special ho­mage we are to do to God, and is parti­cularly enjoined in the New Testament, Heb. 10.25. as it was in the Old Testa­ment, [Page 93]and by the Laws of nature: And if any man conceiveth, that a different method from that used in the Church, whereof he is a member, would more conduce to raise his affectionateness, he may not thereupon separate, and make a Schism: but as a member of the Church he is to endeavour the preservation of its Ʋnity, and to obey them who have the rule over it, and not to intrude into the place of the Chief Governours. Otherwise Schisms would be perpetuated and mul­tiplied without end; and yet must they be all justified, since they have been ge­nerally observed to have appeared under the disguise of exalting Piety and Religion. Other Cases might be produced to the same purpose (as if a Minister could be more fervent in the publick Assembly, in expressing such things as are peculiarly his own private concernment, or if the Jews thought their zeal for God to be the highest, and their service to him the greatest, in their opposing the Gospel) but these may manifest, that this pretence, of fervency being hindred by Forms, if it were true, as it is not, is so ill managed by the Dissenters, in being made a prin­ciple of separation, that it could not ju­stifie their undertaking.

19. Obs. 2. There may be in many per­sons [Page 94]a want of due devotion, or attention and fervency in the use of a Form; and yet this not at all proceed from the Form it self, which therefore is not to be bla­med; but from other manifest causes, which ought to be removed.Want of de­votion in the worship of God, is the fault of the person, and not of the service, in a wel­composed Form. It is not possible, that well ordered expressions of the matters of Prayer, and Religious ser­vice, should of themselves hinder mens affectionate joining in them. Nor can I think that there is any hindrance in any Christian whomsoever, of the most Reli­gious exercise of Christian graces, or of the most raised devotion in the use of a Form of Prayer; unless it be where persons are under prejudices against Forms, or else are negligent in the exercises of Piety. And both these are faults of the person, which ought to be amended. It is too manifest, that the censures our Dissenters unjustly vent, and the out-cries and oppositions they make, against our useful and pious publick Forms, hath made many, in their attendance upon the publick service of God, more irreverent in their gestures, and more careless of their devotion; and hath caused others to neglect the publick, and I fear all private exercise of Religion too; and have made others to engage in separation with that giddiness, that at last they know not where to stand, nor which [Page 95]way to go. And can they think they have hereby done good service, either to God, or the souls of men, in occasioning the worship of God to be by many neg­lected, and the minds of men to be per­perted from true Piety? Our Author speaking concerning Forms of Prayer saith, thatp. 40. it is a great cooling to a Chri­stians spirit, when his mind suggests doubts to him, whether this be a way, mode or me­thod of worship, which God will accept. This is one effect of suggesting needless scru­ples against Forms, and which the Au­thors of them must Answer for.

20. Obs. 3. Publick service being that,That is the best model of worship, which is most guided by the rules of our Reli­gion. in which the whole Church is interested, it ought to be so ordered, as may fit the general temper of the true Christian spi­rit, but must not be censured, if it suit not with the inclination of all particular persons (which is not possible to be done) especially where their minds are disorder­ed by passion or prejudice. And this due order is best effected, where there is most care taken of due reverence to God, and of using the best consideration, for the di­gesting and ordering all things duly, and according to the rules of Religion. But Forms have manifestly this advantage, of having been most considered; and of reverence to God, in not being rash and [Page 96]hasty to utter any thing before God, Eccl. 5.2.

21. There are several other expressi­ons, in the former part of this Writers third Chapter, which might deserve some reflections. Some of them I shall wholly wave. But when he so oft inculcates, that we may not use less proper means, in God's service,p. 22, 43, 44. & pas­sim. if our superiours command, or if man command, or whoever require it, with other such like expressions, these things seem to have no favourable aspect upon our Go­vernours, but rather to insinuate, that the Question under debate is in the Issue, whether Gods command, or mans which is contrary to it, must be obeyed? But I hope I have sufficiently shewed, that he hath said nothing hitherto, to prove the Sanction of our Common-Prayer to be against the command of God. If it were so, he need not name, nor we would not plead, the commands of men.

22. When he describes the Souls atten­tion in Prayer, to be itsp. 33. & p. 61. In Prayer is required a more im­mediate intuition and con­templation of God. immediate con­templation of God: his expression here, and that in the margent seems to me to be too high for such persons, as have not out-done S. Paul, who said, now we see through a glass darkly. And I shall on­ly further note, that our Author is at sometimes more kind and complying to [Page 97]wards, and hath more savourable expres­sions concerning the use of Forms, than at other times. For speaking concerning Prayer without Forms, as most exciting fervency of affections, he saith,p. 32. We be­lieve this will justifie it self to the experience of every pious deliberate soul. But he yields a little farther when he said,p. 44. We do not think, but the experience of Christians may be different in the case, and some may find the use of their own gifts the more advant a­geous, others may possibly find Forms more advantageous. And in another place he saith, concerning attention in the use of publick Forms, against which he had le­vied so many forces,p. 53. the Minister may (for ought we yet discern) do his work with equal attention of thoughts: for the attention of the hearers, we yet a little doubt it.

SECT. II. A defence of some things urged in my Liber­tas Ecclesiastica, to shew Forms no dis­advantage to devotion.

FOR trying whether Forms were any prejudice to piety and Religion, I proposed itLib. Eccl. B. 1. Ch. 4. p. 121. as useful, to consult the judg­ment of them, who are least partial, and yet able to make a true estimate, and especially to consider the evidences of Reason, which may be produced. This method this Au­thor approves of; and undertakes first to examine what I mentioned under the former head.

2. And in the entrance upon it, he tell us (what I lately noted from him) of the different experiences of Christians. And thence he saith,Reas. Acc. p. 45. every one is bound in Prayer to use that lawful mean, which he finds most conducive to keep his thoughts at­tentive, and his affections fervent; so as one may be under an obligation not to use Forms, another under an obligation for the present to use them. And then he declares, that things of this nature are no fit matter for a superiours command; and compares it with superiours making a law, that all Ministers should pray with their eyes shut.

[Page 99]3. Now concerning his former clause,Sect. II. I desire it may be observed, that what ever is pretended, there is more of sincere piety and true Religious fervency exer­cised, in complying with a well ordered establishment, than by breaking it. For the preserving Unity, and giving due re­verence to superiours, are duties which our Religion enjoin. And that Argument wherebyp. 24. More of piety and fervency in the keeping peace and unity, than in breaking them. this Writer proves attention and fervency to be necessary, because we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, doth also re­quire an universal practice of all piety and Religious obedience: this being the love of God to keep his Commandments. And he who seriously minds his duty, must have a conscientious regard to Ʋnity, order and the duties of due submis­sion; and the observing them are not the way to make him less devout and fervent, unless we can imagine, that the breaking some of the divine Precepts, is a way of preparation to fit and dispose us for the keeping others. Whereas in truth, all pra­ctices of sin do more or less indispose men for the pious discharge of their duties; but Religion is so Ʋniform, that the ex­ercise of one part of our duty, will never hinder a pious man from the best perfor­mance of another; nor can it, unless the [Page 100]duties of Religion should thwart and cross one another; to assert which, would be a reflexion upon God himself. And I have inLibert. Eccles. B. 1. Ch. 1. p. 16, 17, 18. another place observed, that the promises of Gods grace and presence, are chiefly made to them who embrace Peace and Ʋnity; and that therein is the greatest encrease of Christianity, in per­sons who are serious and diligent.

4. And concerning the acceptable wor­shipping of God, I desire that it may be further considered, that when our Savi­our commands him, [...]king Ʋ [...]nd [...]ing superio [...]rs [...]in [...] s [...] ­ces. who brings his gift to the Altar, if his Brother hath ought a­gainst him, to go first and be reconciled to his Brother, and then come and offer his gift, Mat. 5.23, 24. this Precept must needs be of the greater force, when it hath respect to the whole Church, or So­ciety of Christians, and also to our supe­riours. For if the Church of which any one was a member, hath this against him, that he hath unwarrantably broken its peace and unity, and forsaken its Commu­nion; and if his superiours have this against him, that he hath disobeyed that authority, which God and our Saviour hath established, and hath not yielded due submission and respect thereto; he must according to our Saviours direction, first return to his duty, and be reconciled [Page 101]to those whom he hath injured, before he can expect that God will receive his service.

5. Concerning the fitness and reasona­bleness of superiours making laws about Forms of Prayer, I shall discourse some­what inSect. 4. a. [...]. another place. But whilest he compareth the enjoining a well-ordered Liturgy, [...] e­st [...] ­ment of the order of [...]hip to be honoured. which is really of great use to Religion, with making a law that all Mi­nisters should pray with their eyes shut, which can be of no advantage: this looks too like a design of humouring the vain fancies of unruly men, in exposing the pious actions of superiours, to their con­tempt and derision; as if they were empty and foolish things. But these are not things to be sported with; when according to S. Peters doctrine, 2 Pet. 2.9, 10. the speaking evil of dignities, is one part of the description of them, whom God chiefly reserves to the day of judgment to be punished.

6. And there can be no publick worship in any Congregation, unless it be first de­termined to be either with, or without a Form. And is it allowable, and necessary for order, that he who officiateth in any Christian Assembly, should determine this by his authority; but only unsit, that our Governours should determine any thing [Page 102]herein, though God hath charged them with the care of his Church, and hath fix­ed in them a supremacy in matters Ecclesi­astical? Without this, great confusion. But if our Authors opinion be, as it seems to be by his discourse, that all private Christians ought so to determine themselves, as to join in the several dif­ferent modes of worship according as themselves are inclined (and consequent­ly they must change these too, as oft as their inclinations vary; and all their Church-Covenants and obligations to con­tinue in Communion with any particular Society, will be as unjust encroachments upon Christian Liberty, as penal Laws and an Act of Ʋniformity) this also is very un­accountable. For this makes our Saviours constitution of his Church so far void, as to account the members born and baptized in an established Church, to be under no obligation to the guides and Pastors of the Church, but that they are wholly left to themselves, to seek or found a new one, and it takes away all possibility of any furture establishment. And the Issue of any future establishent. And the Issue of this must also be at last, that it shall be necessary, that there be as many several ways of publick worship, exercised in every Precinct, as there are different opinions and fancies of men living in it, that none of them may be at a loss, for such a pub­lick [Page 103]worship which themselves best ap­prove. And likewise there must be no care of establishing such things, as may express most reverence to God, or tend most to the real prosit and advantage of men, but in Religion every man must do what is right in his own eyes. But this is such a way of confusion as gratifies the fanciful inclinations of men, but doth not provide for the honour of God, and the care of true piety.

7. That Forms of Prayer are not dis­advantageous, but useful and profitable to piety, ILib. Eccl. p 121. produced two testimonies, against which I supposed our Dissenters would not object. The first was of the Leyden Professors, who say, they contend, Of the Ley­den Profes­sors. that they are not only lawful but very ad­vantageous, because every Christian cannot fitly conceive new Prayers, and the attention of Auditors in great Assemblies, is not a little helped by usual Forms. Now o [...] Au­thor doth not deny that they [...] to this purpose, but first saith,Reas. Ac­count, p. 46. [...] without reason signifieth nothing. But it sig­nifieth as much as I intended, that is, to express the sense of such persons, whom he cannot charge with partiality; but my reasons I afterward expressed. But he further observeth, that they recommend the abilitySyn. The­ol. Di [...] 36. n. [...]. of praying without previous [Page 104]Forms upon emergent occasions. But doth their adding this, deny what they before declared with some earnestness, concern­ing the ordinary publick service? We do esteem such abilities also in their proper place, and do set a value upon those Books of devotion, which are composed by them, with prudence and piety. And how far Prayers without Forms are de­sireable to be used, I shall give my sense inCh. 5. another Chapter, where he treats of them.

8. The other testimony I produced,Of the Wa­lachrian Classis. was from the Walachrian Classis, who commend Forms, for helping the attention of the Anditors in great Assemblies, and for Consid. Cont. in Angl. c. 7. p. 173, 174, 176. keeping Ʋniformity, preventing scan­dals, and encreasing edification; and they declare how piously God may be worship­ped in the use of them. Now though our Author saith little to the former testimo­ny, he hath much to say to this. Some­times he seemeth [...]o acknowledge them, to speak against his sense and opinion. And thereforeReas. Acc. p. 51. & 54. he sets himself, to answer some few of their Arguments, which they urge for the use of Forms. And speaking concerning a prescribed Form promoting attenting, saith,p. 53. He admire, that our Reverend B [...]iren should so much as mention it, [...] a due medium in the case. [Page 105]And he acknowledgeth,p. 54. They have some expressions, which would make one think, they judged it lawful, for some Mi­nisters, having the gift of Prayer, in pub­lick to use the prescribed Forms of others, commended to them sometimes. In which words he useth a great deal more wari­ness of expression than will appear agree­able to their sense. And again he saith,p. 55. authority apart from the reasons they give, signifieth little in the case.

9. And now I must entreat my Rea­ders patience a while, that I may exa­mine his exceptions he enters against this testimony, or its being intended to the sense for which I produced it. And though some of these lie scattered in his Discourse, I have so collected them, as to digest them under particular heads.

10. He first objects thatReas. Acc. p. 46, 47, 48. the Cons. Cont. in Angl. p. 171. Wala­chrians profess themselves to agree with Ame­sius de Cas. Consc. l. 4. cap. 17. qu. 4. and with the Leyden Professors. And then he takes pains to prove, that Amesius was not for preferring the use of publick Forms, as of most advantage to Piety, but in the place cited, speaks of them, as the less perfect way of praying. Now I ac­knowledge this to be the sense of Amesius. But it should have been observed by our Author, that the Walachrians only de­clared [Page 106]their Agreement with him, in that Question which was by them proposed, viz. Whether Forms were lawful, and not superstitious, and whether it be lawful to communicate with them who use them? And in the resolution of this Question, they agree with Amesius: in hac contro­versia faciles accedimus iis quae ab Amesio su­per hac Quaestione scribuntur. But it is ano­ther Question, Whether praying by pub­lick Forms, be the most useful way of per­forming that service; and though Amesius in the same place, seems by general ex­pressions to take in this Case, they could not in this agree both with him, and the Leyden Professors, and their own sense of this they fully express,Cons. Cont. p. 173, 174. that Forms in publick worship help the attention of Au­ditors and are for edification. And they declare not their own sense alone, butp. 178, 179. in omnibus pene Ecclesiis Reformatis appro­bantur Ecclesiasticae Liturgiae precum (que) for­mulae, ut utiles, & aedificationi Ecclesiae con­ducentes; In almost all the Reformed Churches, Church-Liturgies and Forms of Prayer are approved as profitable, and con­ducing to edification. And more concern­ing their sense may appear from n. 13, 14, 16.

11. Secondly, he saith,Reas. Acc. p. 48. the Walachri­ans rejected our English Common-Prayer [Page 107]Book, and therefore their testimony ought not to have been produced, to coun­tenance it. Now I acknowledge that they did rashly condemnCons. Cont. p. 172. the English Service, nor did I produce their testimony, as if they had particularly favoured it. I am inclined to think, it was misrepresented to them. But their evidence is the more considerable, in what they say concerning Forms in general, for which purpose only I cited them, since they were so far from being partial on our side, that they clo­sed too far with them, who were for the subverting our Liturgy, and censured it as Idolatrous and superstitious.

12. Thirdly, he saith, they, Reas. Acc. p. 53. and the Leyden Professors, speak rather of the law­fulness of Forms in general, than of Mini­sters using them. Whereas they propose their Question, concerning Forms,Consid. Cont. p. 171. in publico cultu, in publick worship: They and the Leyden Professors declare their usefulness, in magnis praecipue Ecclesiarum conventibus, especially p. 173. in the great Church Assemblies, and in publici cultûs exercitiis, in the performances of publick worship: and they discoursed of them, asp. 179. Forms of Prayer and of administration of Sacra­ments. Now in these Cases they must have special respect to Ministers using them: and the same appears from what I [Page 108]cited concerning Liturgies, n. 10. and al­so from the following Paragraph.

13. Fourthly, He saith,Reas. Acc. p. 53, 54. there is not a word in them, to justifie the lawful use of Forms imposed upon all Ministers. Now the Reader may observe these words; say they,Cons. Cont. in Angl. p. 179. Mascula est sententia J. Calvini in Epistola 87. ad Protectorem Angliae. Quod ad formulas, inquit, precum, &c. It is an excellent sentence of Calvin, in his 87th Epistle to the Protector of England. Con­cerning Forms of Prayer and Ecclesiastical Rites, I much approve, that it may be cer­tain, from which the Pastors may not de­part in their function, both to provide for the unskilfulness of some, and that the con­sent and agreement of all Churches may be more manifest, and that a stop may be put to the changeable levity of some, who affect novelties. And they add,Ibid. there ought to be a stated Catechism, statam Sa­cramentorum Administrationem, publicam item precum formulam, a stated Admini­stration of Sacraments, and a stated pub­lick Form of Prayers.

14. Fifthly, He saith, they sayReas. Acc. p. 50, 51. holy affections may accompany a Form, This saith he, toucheth not the Question, which is about the magis and minus. And so he excepts against them, as not speaking an equal intention and fervency to be exerci­sed [Page 109]in Forms. Now I might say, that they do speak of due attention and reverence, in the use of Forms, p. 174. and our Author saith, due attention must be equal attention, p. 52. And when they declare Forms to be profitable, and that by them attention is helped, p. 173, 174. this not only speaks the devotion to be equal in the use of Forms, to what it might otherwise be, but that it may be hereby the greater. And they commend them,Cons. Cont. p. 174. ad majorem Ecclesiarum aedificationem, for the greater edification of Churches; and this must be for the making them the better.

15. Sixthly, He saith,Reas. Acc. p. 53. they speak not a word of the lawfulness or utility of reading Prayers. And what they speak of Forms, he would it seems have meant, not of Forms read, but gotten without Book, of which he discourseth, p. 25, 26. But they judge Forms profitable,Cons. Cont. p. 174. & p. 176. modo cum debita attentione, reverentia, &c. ex libro pronuncientur, if they be with due attention and reverence pronounced out of a Book. This our Author but half a page before p. 52. thus expressed, so they be read with attention: so the Walachrians. If this be not enough, they further declarep. 176. sacras Scripturae literas legunt fideles, &c. Christi­ans read the holy Scriptures, with under­standing, humility, reverence, zeal, &c. and [Page 110]why may not Prayers be pronounced in the same manner, Ch. III. out of prescribed Forms? And here again our Author but two pa­ges before, p. 51. translates these words of the Walachrians, quidni & orationes eodem modo ex praescriptis formulis pronun­ciari possunt; and therefore why may not Forms of Prayer be so read. These fre­quent contradictions in this Discourse, make me sometimes apt to think, that whereas it always speaks in the plural number, as we believe, we judge, we say, it may possibly be, that some part of it may be written by one hand, and some­thing added by another, and that may be the cause of its so many disagreements with it self.

16. Lastly, We are told,Reas. Acc. p. 53. the Wala­chrians in stating the question, profess only to speak to the case, where men want an abi­lity, or a liberty to exercise it. But the Classis of Walachria tell us, they dis­course of Prayers prescribed,Cons. Cont. p. 173. ut utiles &c. as profitable for them who want abi­lity, or a liberty of exercising it, & ut at­tentio auditorum, &c. and that the atten­tion of the Auditors in great Assemblies, may be helped and guided. And again they com­mend them asp. 174. profitable, non tantum in necessitatis casu, &c. not only in a case of necessity, where fit ability is wanting; but [Page 111]also that the Auditors attention may be helped and directed, &c. And their sense herein may be also manifest from n. 13.

17. Now though I laid no great weight upon this testimony, as is manifest from the words immediately following it,Libert. Eccl. p. 122. But the surest way of tryal, is from considering several Arguments; yet the Reader may easily see, that they spake fully enough to the purpose, for which I produced them. And though our Author when he first mentioned this testimony of the Wala­chrian Classis, promisedReas. Acc. p. 46. We will give our Reader a full account of what is said by them; he hath not only been very defe­ctive in his account, but hath uttered divers manifest falshoods. This must dis­cover either an high degree of careless­ness, which is not to deal faithfully with his Reader, especially after his particular promise to the contrary; or else which I am not willing to suspect, a design of im­posing upon those, who will take things of this nature upon his credit. And if all these things were meer mistakes and over­sights, as I am most enclined to believe, it pitieth me greatly to see, how strangely some mens minds lie open to them, against very plain and clear evidence.

18. To prove Forms of Prayer to be no disadvantage to piety, I urged in [Page 112]myCh. 4. p. 122, 123. Arguments to shew Forms of Prayer to be no hin­drance to piety. 1. From God and our Saviour prescribing them. Libertas Ecclesiastica three Argu­ments. My first Argument was, That God himself prescribed a constant Form of Prayer, for the Jewish offerings, and for the Priests blessing, and our Saviour directed the Lords Prayer as a Form: but the Holy God and our blessed Saviour, would not enjoin what is of its own nature an hindrance to godli­ness, piety and Religion.

19. In answer to this Argument, our Author turns every way. He sometimes misrepresents my sense, as if I affirmed, that God and Christ had appointed the Forms of Prayer which are now ordinarily used, p. 56. or as if the scope of my Argument was to prove, that men may lawfully ap­point what God may appoint, and saith the same Argument would prove a liberty for men to make new Scriptures, p. 56, 58. But the Question under debate, was not at all concerning the authority of men, nor concerning the lawfulness of appointing Forms merely, but it was whether the use of them be an advantage or prejudice to Religion. Nor am I so void of all reve­rence to God, as ever so much as to think, that any Creature hath an authority to do or command, whatsoever God him­self can do or command. But the sub­stance of what he further Answers, is re­ducible to two heads.

[Page 113]20. First, That God Reas. Acc. p. 56, 57, 58. may legitimate some things by his Precept, which other­wise would be unlawful: and then such things being commanded, will be no pre­judice to devotion, since God will secure his own institutions. And here he tells us God might direct Images of Oxen and Che­rubims to be in his Temple, and the people might worship before them; but Aaron might not make a golden Calf. And God might command Abraham to offer up Isaac. And therefore this will only conclude, that Forms of Prayer are not in themselves un­lawful as murther (though by his instance, they may be as unlawful as for a Father to kill his Son) or incest.

21. Now the sense of this part of his Answer, is, That the God of infinite good­ness and purity, may appoint and enjoin, and consequently may be pleased with, such things as are in their nature hurtful to piety, and oppose goodness and purity in the World. And I desire our Author upon his further thoughts, to consider what high reflexions these things cast up­on the divine majesty. Indeed God did appoint the Ceremonial worship of the Israe­lites,Nothing which God commands is a rule of practice, can hinder piety. which was a more imperfect way of serving God, than that under the Gos­pel; yet considering the state of the World as it then was, and how God con­descended [Page 114]therein to the infirmities of men, and that this was typical of Christ to come, it was at that time a real help to Religious Piety. But it is contrary to the divine nature to assert, that God should give institutions and rules, for ordering that part of his worship, which is moral and perpetual as Prayer is, and these to be of force both throughout the Jewish and Christian Church; which yet are a disadvantage to Piety. But besides many other Forms, those in Deut. 21.8. and Deut. 26.3, 5.... 10. and v. 13, 14, 15. were to be of use throughout the Jewish State; and the Lords Prayer throughout the Ages of the Christian Church. It was called the daily Conc. Tolet. 4. c. 9. Prayer, by one of the Councils of Toledo, and to be used thrice a day, in the time of theConst. Ap. l. 7. c. 25. Constitutions called Apostolical.

22. The pretences on which our Au­thor relies are very weak.How far Gods insti­tutions are secured from mens ma­king ill use of them. For it is un­reasonable to imagine, that God should establish standing institutions, which in their own nature tend to hinder piety, and then should undertake by some extraor­dinary method, to preserve them from being abused; when it is plain, he doth not further secure his most excellent insti­tutions, from being abused, than their own excellency and the piety of the Chri­stian [Page 115]Spirit doth conduce thereunto. The holy Scriptures have been wrested, and perverted by evil men, and Prayer it self hath been abused to Hypocrisy; and yet both these are divine institutions.

23. And concerning the Images of the Oxen and Cherubims, he is mistaken in saying, that the people might lawfully worship before them which were in the Temple: for the people might not come within the Sanctuary where they were, and so might not so much as see them. But there is a greater mistake than this,Of the Ima­ges of Oxen within the Temple; and of Cheru­bims upon the walls and doors thereof. concerning their use in worship. There were indeed Cherubims graven upon the walls, and doors of the temple, 1 Kin. 6.29, 35. but God never allowed or ap­pointed these to such ends and purposes, as the Golden Calf was made and used, but for the adorning the Temple. They were not intended as representations of God himself, nor might the people give to them any part of divine honour, or say to them, these are thy Gods O Israel, Ex. 32.4. But molten or carved work, when it was not made to be worshipped, or to be a Symbolical representation of God, was never forbidden to the Jews, as many of the Jews themselves have by mistake imagined; nor were those pieces of art, when secured from these abuses, any dis­advantage [Page 116]to Piety and Religion. There was anciently the stamp of a Castle, and other resemblances upon the Shekel of Salomon, and other Jewish Medals, as ap­pears from the representation of them inWaser. de Antiq. num. Hebr. Walton. in Supplem. ad Brere­wood de Pond. &c. Waserus and Bishop Walton; and nei­ther this, nor the Lyons about Salomons Throne, were to be condemned as un­lawful, 1 Kin. 10.19, 20. Nor did the second Commandment forbid the likeness of any Creature to be made; so as in general to condemn the Arts of limning, carving, and engraving; but only for­bad it to be made, so as to receive any part of that worship, which is due to God, asAnt. Jud. l. 3. c. 4. Josephus truly gives an account thereof.

24. Nor will the command given to Abraham, to offer up his son, prove that Gods Precepts require any thing to be performed, which is in its own nature prejudicial to Piety. For this was only a Precept of tryal, God did not desire that the Father should slay his Son, but asAmb. de Abr. l. 1. c. 22. S. Ambrose said, tentabat si Dei prae­cepta praeferret filio, made a tryal, whether he esteemed the commands of God above his son. Of the Pre­cept for A­braham's Offering Isaac. And this Tryal was no disadvantage to Abrahams Piety, but a great evidence, and high exercise of it. But Gods with­holding Abraham from slaying his Son, by [Page 117]giving him a countermand, after he had tried his obedience, is a considerable in­stance to shew, that nothing is grateful and pleasing to God, that is not every way reconcileable to goodness: and the ancient Christian Writers accounted justly, the bloody, inhumane, and obscene rites, of many of the Pagan Deities, to be a suffi­cient objection, both against them, and their worship. And besides this, Isaacs bearing the Wood, and being laid upon the Altar, hath been accountedAug. de Civ. Dei. l. 14. c. 22. First Les­son on Good Fri­day, in our Common Prayer. a figure of the suffering of our Saviour, and this act of Abrahams obedience, might be com­manded with some respect thereunto: and upon this obedience, Abraham recei­ved some peculiar instructions, and pro­mises concerning the Messias, Gen. 22.16, 17, 18. all which tended to promote, and advance his Faith and Piety. Now as it is unsafe, from such instances as this, to censure the usefulness of any of Gods or­dinary Precepts, which he appointed to be of continued use; so I desire our Au­thor to consider, whether this branch of his discourse be an help or hindrance to piety and Religion, in teaching men to slight and disesteem, and consequently to neglect and break, any of the least of Gods Commandments.

25. But he further saith,Reas. Acc. p. 57. it is not un­questionable, [Page 118]whether God and Christ pre­scribed Forms of blessing and prayer, to be used by Ministers and people. Gods com­mand is express in the Old Te­stament for Forms of Prayer. Now the Forms of Prayer I above mentioned out of Deuteronomy, are so plainly and ex­presly directed, that he who will be so bold as to assert, that God only intended that they should use those words, or such others as themselves should think more fit for that purpose; he may as well say, that when God appointed his particular Sacrifices, his meaning was, that they should either offer those sacrifices, which he had appointed, or some other, which they should think more expedient. For the injunction of the special sacrifices God appointed, is not more express, than of those Prayers which he commanded.

26. And as the particular Form of the Priestly benediction is plainly appointed, Num. 6.23, 24, 25, 26. so it hath been observed byBuxt. Sy­nag. Ju­daic. c. 21. Buxtorfe, Drusius, and other learned men, that upon the day of atone­ment, the High Priest solemnly pronounced this Form of blessing the people in the Temple,And for the Priests bles­sing. and did then peculiarly pro­nounce the name of Jehovah. And some Christian Writers have thought, that the name Jehovah being thrice expressed in that Benediction was some intimation of the Trinity. And thePar. Chald. Jon. in Num. 6.23, 24, 25, 26. Chaldee Paraphrase [Page 119]under the name of Jonathan ben Ʋziel, to express the constant and strict obser­vation, of the very words of this solemn Benediction, in the Hebrew Tongue, re­citeth all the words thereof in the He­brew, before he gives the sense of it in his Paraphrase, but doth not do the like in other places of the Law. And this very blessing is not only used as a Form by the Church of England, in the Office for the Visitation of the sick, but the same is in the Geneva Liturgy composed byPrec. Ec­cles. Form. Genev. Cal­vin, and also in that drawn up byLuther. Tom. 3. f. 10. Lu­ther, at the beginning of the German Re­formation. And the members of that As­sembly, which set up the Directory in the place of our Liturgy, did so far assert the Form of this Priestly Benediction, that in theirAssembl. Annot. on Num. 6.23. Annotations on those words, On this wise ye shall bless saying, they say, Or thus, in a set Form of words.

27. All that our Author hath against this, is to declare in these strange words of Mr Cotton, Reas. Acc. ubi sup. The Priests are indeed di­rected to a Form of blessing, Num. 6.22. &c. but that they used that, and no other Form, doth not appear; It is certain, the Apostles used divers other Forms. Now though what I have said be sufficient, to give an account of the use of this Bene­diction; yet it is very unreasonable to [Page 120]suppose, that Gods Precepts have not au­thority enough, to make what they pre­scribe a duty, unless we can prove, that men undertook the ordinary and constant practice of them. Nor is the Apostles using other Benedictions, at all to his purpose; since this Benediction was not prescribed for them, but only for the Priests, Aaron and his Sons in the Tem­ple Service. And besides this, a Benedi­ction prescribed for any solemn publick service, doth not hinder the use of other Benedictions out of that particular ser­vice, and upon other occasions; though they be given by the same person, as was the Benediction of Eli the High Priest, to Hannah and Elkanah, 1 Sam. 1.17. & Ch. 2.20.

28. He goes on to tell us that theyp. 57. do not think, that ever our Saviour in­tended the Lords Prayer to be used syllabi­cally. AndDe Ca­sib. Consc. l. 4. c. 17. qu. 5. Amesius also declares, that our Lord did not intend to prescribe a Form of words, to be constantly observed, in the Lords Prayer. Now it may well seem strange, that any persons should harbour such an opinion as this, if they had not some interest, which enclined them to have such apprehensions con­cerning the Lords Prayer. But as our late Gracious Soveraign observed, [...]. c. 16. its [Page 121]great guilt is, that it is the warrant and O­riginal Pattern of all set Liturgies in the Christian Church. And I cannot but wonder, thatGrot. in Mat. 6.9. & in Luc. 11.1. Grotius should entertain this extravagant and unreasonable con­ceit.

29. But that our Saviour delivered this Prayer as a Form, to be of ordinary use, I gave manifest evidence,Libert. Eccles. p. 100, 101, 102. from the expressions of his precept, from the occa­sion of his delivering it, from the manner of its composure, and from clear testimo­nies, concerning the usual practice of the Primitive Church, in the first, second, and third Centuries, in observing it as a Form. And our Author thought not fit to an­swer any thing to these proofs,The Lords Prayer was directed to be a Form. nor in­deed to take any notice of them, unto which I shall refer the Reader. But this novel and groundless notion, is also great­ly opposite to the sense of the ancient Church, in the following Centuries, and would have been then earnestly explo­ded; since they looked upon the Apo­stles themselves, and all other Christians, to have been enjoined by divine Precept, to make use of this Prayer as a Form. S. Hierome declared,Hieron. adv. Pelag. l. 3. c. 5. Docuit Apostolos suos, ut quotidie in corporis illius sacrificio cre­dentes audeant loqui Pater noster, &c. He taught his Apostles, that every day believing in [Page 122]the sacrifice of his body they should say, Our Father which art in Heaven, &c. AndAug. E­pist. 89. S. Austin saith, Omnibus necessaria est Oratio Dominica, quam ipsis arietibus gre­gis, i. e. ipsis Apostolis suis, Dominus de­dit, ut unusquis (que) Deo dicat, Dimitte nobis debita nostra, &c. The Lords Prayer is necessary for all, which the Lord gave to the chief of his flock, that is, to the very Apostles themselves, that every one should say to God, Forgive us our trespasses, &c.

30. Among the Protestants, as their Writers do generally acknowledge it to be a prescribed Form, so Apollonius and the Classis ofConsid. contr. Ang. p. 177, 178. Walachria observed, In omnibus Reformatarum Ecclesiarum Litur­giis, &c. In all the publick Liturgies which are extant of the Reformed Churches, the Lords Prayer is prescribed to be used. But our Authors Assertion not only contra­dicts the sense of the ancient Catholick Church, and the generality of Protestants abroad; but he herein clasheth as well with the Directory, and with that Assem­bly at Westminster which rejected our Common Prayer, as with the Church of England. In theDirect. Of Prayer after Serm. Directory they said, The Prayer which Christ taught his Disci­ples, is not only a pattern of Prayer, but it self a most comprehensive Prayer, and we [Page 123]recommend it to be used in the Prayers of the Church. And the members of that Assembly in their Annotations affirm, thatAssembl. Annot. on Luk. 11.2. It is the most exact and sacred Form of Prayer, indited and taught the Disciples (who were to teach the whole World the rules and practice of true Religion) by Christ himself, who is best able to teach his servants to pray. And again, Christ pre­scribed this Form of Prayer to be used by them.

31. Now it is an unreasonable confi­dence and presumption, to oppose and contradict the general sense of the Chri­stian Church in all Ages, and even the truly Primitive and Reformed Churches, if it be not upon great evidence. Where­fore I shall now examine, what this Wri­ter hath to say for his opinion. He saith,Reas. Acc. p. 57. If the Apostles had apprehended it left for a Form of words and syllables, we should have found some after record of the use of it. But if he mean, there would be some record of this in the Scriptures and wri­tings of the Apostles; this is very vain, since it is certain, they do not contain such Prayers as were used in the publick Assemblies: and it is as unreasonable to expect this in them, as to expect that all Books of instruction, written by any of our Church, should repeat our Publick [Page 124]Liturgy: and it is very usual for such Books, to have other expressions of Prayer and Supplication, than those of our Common-Prayer. And if this objection were of any weight, it would as much prove, that our Saviour never intended, that Christian Baptism should be admini­stred, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as that the Lords Prayer should not be used, though he plainly commanded both.

32. But if by record, The Lords Prayer used as a Form in the Pri­mitive Church. he means evi­dence beyond all exception, from authen­tick ancient Writers, concerning the pra­ctice of the Primitive Church; though the producing such evidence is not neces­sary, to make the Precepts of our Savi­our valid; I have sufficiently manifested so much, in the place lately referred un­to; but if he took no notice thereof, I cannot help that. And besides what I mentioned above, n. 29. S. Aug. assures us,Hom. 42. inter 50. Ad altare Dei quotidie dicitur Oratio Do­minica, The Lords Prayer is daily said at Gods Altar. And in another place, speak­ing of the Communion Service, he saith, that the Prayers thereof,Ep. 59. ad Paul. Qu. 5. fere omnis Ec­clesia Dominica Oratione concludit; almost every Church doth conclude with the Lords Prayer. And the use of it after the re­ceiving [Page 125]the Sacrament was also observed byDe Sacr. l. 5. c. 4. S. Ambrose.

33. But our Author saith. 2. If Christ intended it for a Form, Ibid. p. 57. all that can be concluded is, that Christ may appoint a Li­turgy for his Church, which surely none de­nies. But it will also follow, that Forms of Prayer are not to be rejected and con­demned, but ought to be esteemed of profitable use. It gives an approbation to other publick Forms. For since such Forms were of use among the Jews, in our Saviours time, as I have observed, and shall more particularly manifest in the end of the next Section, our Lord was so far from reproving this practice, or John the Bap­tist his conforming to the like, that him­self taught his own Disciples a Form also, as the Baptist had taught his. Wherefore this manifestly declares an approbation of Forms of Prayer, taught and directed by others, who have the chief authority in the Church.

34. The last thing he urgeth is,p. 57, 58. that supposing that Christ intended this as a Form at that time, whether it was to last beyond his Resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Ghost, is a farther Question. And though he doth not positively assert this, yet he would have his Reader to be of this opinion, and offers in proof of it, what he saith, was well observed, which I [Page 126]shall by and by consider.The Pre­cepts of Christ which all ancient Churches reverenced, may not now be laid aside. But first, Is it not a strange boldness and irreverence to­wards any Precept or Institution of our Saviour, for him to suggest to men, that it is expired and antiquated, when our Lord himself gave no intimation of its being temporary, and the Ʋniversal Church hath understood it otherwise? Is not this a new piece of Pharisaism, in teaching men how to make void the Com­mandments of God, by looking upon them as out of date? This Author may by these means, do some service for them, who contend that the Sacrament of Bap­tism was only intended for the first ad­mission of Nations into the Christian Church, so far as the reputation of his bare authority will go. Yea, and for those also who look upon the Lords Sup­per, the Ordination of Ministers, and many other Christian duties, not to be needful for the succeeding Ages after the Apostles.

35.The Apostles had extra­ordinary assistances and abili­ties before the Resur­rection of Christ. Secondly, His supposing Forms might be requisite for the Apostles before Christ Resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Ghost, but that no such low things are since that time fit to be conti­nued, doth too plainly manifest, that some persons are strangely big with swel­ling conceits of themselves. Dare our [Page 127]Author speak out the plain sense of this suggestion? which is this, That himself and other dissenters are men of far greater abilities than the Apostles of our Saviour were, before his Resurrection, though they were then called to be his Apostles, were sent forth to preach his Gospel, and were enabled to work miracles, and cast out Devils: and consequently that these men now, may reasonably look upon such directions and precepts to be of too low and inferiour a nature for them to observe, which yet were enjoined upon, and were fit for the state of the Apostles before the Resurrection.

36. Thirdly his pretence of proof for this opinion is very shallow, which isp. 58. that Christ left out his own name in the Lords Prayer:Of praying in the name of Christ. but in that name his Disciples were afterwards enjoined to ask: Joh. 14.13, 14. Joh. 16.23. But to ask in his name, is to ask through his mediation, up­on the encouragement of his merits, and his being our intercessor, and advocate at Gods right hand in our nature, which is a priviledge peculiar to the time since the ascension of our Lord; and also to ask sutably to the rules and doctrine of Christianity. This is the sense which is generally given, of this expression, of asking in the name of Christ: and even [Page 128]the Assemblies Annotations declare, ask­ing in the name of Christ to beAssembl. Annot. on Joh. 14.14. & Ch. 16.24, 26. through his mediation, and they also add from S. Gregory, si id quod non expedit petitur, non in nomine Jesu petitur pater; if that be desired which should not be, God is not asked in the name of Jesus. And this sense of this phrase, In his name, that it signi­fies upon his account, and though him, is evident from Joh. 1.12. Joh. 20.31. and many other places. But the Apostles un­der the guidance of Gods Spirit, did not always verbally express the name Jesus, in all their Prayers, as Rom. 15.13. 2 Thes. 3.16. and elsewhere.

37. Now in the Lords Prayer, we know that what we ask, is according to the will of our Lord, being directed by him. We call not God Our Father, but upon the account of Christ, and upon his account we desire all our Petitions in the Lords Prayer to be granted. And our desiring that Gods name may be hallowed, that his Kingdom should come, and that our trespasses may be forgiven, &c. have par­ticular respect to our Mediator. And in this whole Prayer, we according to the direction of our Church-Catechism, trust that God of his mercy and goodness [...] do what we ask, through our Lord Jesu [...] Christ, and therefore we say, Amen. And [Page 129]this is also the general sense of allFormula à Resor­matis usur­pata ante illius Orationis recitationem. Haec & alia quae nosti Domine nobis esse necessaria, à te postulamus in nomine Christi ea Orationis formula quam ipse nos docuit. Pater noster, &c. Thes. Salm. Par. 3. loc. Com. 47. n. 13. sober Protestants.

38. My second Argument to prove Forms of Prayer to be no disadvantage to devotion, wasLibert. Eccles. p. 122, 123. because it is generally ac­knowledged, that the singing Psalms of Prayer and praise, may be advantageously performed in a set Form of words: and the Scriptures are not the less edifying because they are contained in a set form of words. But concerning singing Psalms this Writer saith,p. 59. this is a mistake of the Question; andp. 60. that these are such Forms, as God hath Canonized. And he tells us he is against singing by any Forms not made of God, which he callsp. 18, 19. & p. 60.78. Apocryphal Anthems, as much as he is against Liturgical Forms of Prayer. And yet he allowsp. 78. & p. 60. singing the Psalms in Meter, though the words be not dictated of God,My second Argument was, that the Psalms in a set Form of words are useful to de­votion; and so are the Scriptures. because the sense and matter in the Psalms in Meter is so directed.

39. But when he saith, this Argument mistakes the Question, the Reader will ea­sily see it was proper enough, for the Question or Case of which I was discour­sing, which was in general, whether Forms [Page 130]of Prayer are disadvantageous to Piety. But our Author, that he might avoid the force of this and some other Arguments, hath put the Question into another me­thod, but hath not done it solidly, nor hath he avoided the force of this Argu­ment thereby. For first when he grants, concerning the Psalms of Prayer and praise, that God hath Canonized those Forms; he here asserteth, what in An­swer to the former Argument he would not own, viz. that God ever appointed or prescribed any Forms of Prayer. And as the matter of many of the Psalms is Prayer; So S. Hierome observes, there areHieron. Epist. 139. & Com­ment. in Ps. 189. four Psalms, which bear the title of Prayers, to wit as he counts them ac­cording to the Septuagint, Psal. but in our English Bibles, Psal. And from hence we may infer the usefulness of Forms, for the promoting piety, according to the purport and design of my foregoing Ar­gument.

40.Liturgies justified, by allowing Psalms in Meter to be sung. Secondly, Whilst he allows the using set Forms of Prayer, and praising God in meter, to be good and Religious, because the matter is directed by God, though the expressions are not; he doth hereby, so far as concerns reason and Argument, yield that which will neces­sarily [Page 131]infer the usefulness of Liturgies, to be in like manner generally used. For the like allowance may certainly be made to the use of words in prose, which may be made to them in meter; which is according to his sense, that they may by all Christians be profitably used, where the matter of them is none other, than what God himself hath directed us to pray for, and the words such as are fit to express that matter, which is according to his will. And there is greater security of the matter of a fixed well-considered Liturgy, being such as God approves of, than there can be in the usual variations of the conceived Prayers of some thou­sands of persons.

41. Thirdly, Whilst our Author de­clares, hep. 78. Ecclesiasti­cal Hymns of publick use in the Christian Church. abhorreth any singing in pub­lick worship, or what is not composed by the Pen-men of holy Writ, even this also is very unreasonable. The Scriptures indeed direct us both to pray, and to sing praises to God: but it is the matter and pious performance of them, and not the different tone, or flexure of the voice, which God regardeth. And it is certainly as hard a task for him to prove, that we may sing to God in no other Hymns, but what are expressed in Scrip­ture, as it would be for him to prove, that [Page 132]we may pray to God in no other Prayer, than what is contained in Scripture; which would be as much against other conceived Prayers, as against Forms. Es­pecially when in some ancient Churches, as well as modern, their practice was, whatAug. Cons. l. 10. c. 13. S. Augustine commends in Alexan­dria, in the time of Athanasius, that their reciting Psalms or Hymns, was modico flexu vocis, with a small alteration of the voice, and the manner of uttering them was, pronuncianti vicinior quam canenti, more a deliberate speaking, than a proper singing. But there must be an extraordinary acute­ness of nicety to discover, why any person may express the praises of God, accord­ing to his own conceptions, in his ordinary way of speech, but may not do it in some­what a more deliberate way of pronuncia­tion.

42. Fourthly, If it had been for our Authors purpose, he would have thought it a sufficient proof from Scripture, for the composing new Hymns; that the Pro­phet Isay, with respect to the Gospel times, commands to sing to the Lord a new song, Is. 42.10. And that the Angelical Hymn, Luk. 2. and those of the Virgin Mary, of Zechary, and of Simeon, were all of them newly composed for the spe­cial occasions; that the Apostle declared [Page 133]he would sing with the spirit, 1 Cor. 14.15. and that S. John, in his Vision of the Gospel worship, representeth the Church, as singing a new song, Rev. 5.9. and ch. 14.3. And however this Writer censu­reth this, the general practice of the Christian Church hath ever admitted and used some hymns composed by men, ha­ving a particular respect to Christianity, as our Church ordereth the Son of S. Ambrose. Very many such Ecclesiastical Hymns are collected byCassand. Hymn. Eccl. Cassander. And this practice was as early in the Church, as the end of the first Century, when Pliny upon Examination of the practice of the Christians, in their Assemblies, found that they were wont upon a set day, to meet together before it was light,Plin. E­pist. l. 10. Ep. 97. carménque Christo quasi Deo dicere secum invicem, and to say an hymn to Christ as being God, one towards another. Now in that it was their usual practice to say such an Hymn, and that this was expressed by the generality of the Assembly, this speaks it a Form which they used: and the phrase of secum invicem is a consider­able intimation, that they expressed it by parts, or Responsals, one towards another. And its being said to Christ as God, makes it highly probable, that it was an Hymn, particularly composed under Christianity, [Page 134]in honour of Christ. But this is fully con­firmed, in that it was part of the charge against Paulus Samosatenus, byEus. Hist. Eccl. l. 7. c. [...]. the Council of Antioch, that he suppressed the use of those Hymns, which were up­on our Lord Jesus Christ, as being new things, [...], the compositions of men of late days. And that there were various Psalms and Odes composed before that time by Christians, concerning the Divinity of Christ, is also declared inEus. Hist. l. 5. c. [...]. Eusebius.

43. But the true cause, why our Au­thor doth not allow of any Hymns, com­posed since the Apostles time, is not from any Reason or Scripture, but because this would not serve the interest of his opi­nion, and withal secure the practice of our Dissenters. For he acknowledgeth, that the whole Congregation joining in singing,Reas. Acc. p. 78. cannot possibly be done but by a set Form, without notorious confusion: and therefore the allowing new Hymns to be composed, would include an al­lowing men to appoint Forms of Prayer and praise. And besides this, he is sensi­ble, that they cannot without running into many indecencies, pretend to abili­ties of constant varied conceptions in the making Hymns, since as he saithp. 78. not one of many attain the gift of Hymn-making.

[Page 135]44. Concerning the Holy Scriptures, he saithp. 60. there are Precepts for reading them, and also promises in the same case. But this doth the more strengthen my Argu­ment; because such Forms as are so far appointed and approved of God, can be no hindrances to Piety. He saith alsop. 61. that there are different workings of the Soul to God in Prayer, and in reading. But though there be different acts of the mind, exercised in these duties: yet that consideration, reverence, faith, submission, and other gracious dispositions, which sute the special parts of divine truth, doth require as much seriousness, dili­gence and care, in reading the Holy Scriptures, as in Prayer. And however, having shewed that a Form of words in Prayer, doth not hinder any exercises of piety therein, I do not think this exception to deserve any further an­swer.

45. But what he saith,Ibid. that there are different workings of the soul towards God in singing and in Prayer, I suppose he will upon further consideration, discern to be an oversight: Since the application to God, for the same things, require the same pious exercises of mind, whether it be in prose, or in meter. And it was another oversight that he declares me to [Page 136] know and confess, what he thus asserts; when I never declared any such thing, but know the contrary.

SECT. III. Of the Antiquity of set Forms of Prayer.

MY third Argument for Forms be­ing no hindrance to Devotion, wasLibert. Eccl. p. 123. that all the Ages of the Christian Church, from the first Centuries, have used them as an advantage to Religion. My third Argument was, from the use of Forms of Prayer, in all the Ages of the Pri­mitive Church. And when I added that it is not at all probable, that such excellently devout and judicious men, as the fourth and fifth Centuries abounded with, should be so stupid and dull-spirited, as not any of them to discern be­tween the helps and hindrances of devotion, in matters of most ordinary practice; This Author first saithp. 62. Certainly it was possible, i. e. possible all those judicious men should be so stupid. Now this is a rash and contumelious expression, and if this be true concerning such men, as S. Atha­nasius, Basil, Ambrose, Hierome, Eusebius, Chrysostome, and S. Austin, and others such like, all pretence from experience must in this case be laid aside. For though [Page 137]our Author sometimes intimates, that these famous men are now out-done by those for whom he pleads; there is so lit­tle appearance of the truth hereof, that this needs no particular answer.

2. When I saidLib. Eccl. B. 1. Ch. 4. Sect. 1. n. 9. p. 106. that Forms of Prayer were of use in the Church about thirteen hundred years since, is acknowledged by them who plead most against them, from Conc. Laod. c. 18. 3 Carth. Can. 23. and Con. Milev. c. 12. hep. 66. somewhat misre­presenting my words, saith, we hold no such thing. But whatever singular and unreasonable conceit, he or some other persons may have,Smect. Answ. to Remonstr. p. 7. Smectymnuus derive the Pedigree of Liturgies from those three Canons, acknowledging that the Church in the Laodicean Canon ordained,Our chief Dissenters own Forms of Prayer to have been used 1300. years. that none should vary but use always the same Form; that the Carthaginian Canon fur­ther limited the Form; and the Milevi­tan Canon would have none other used than what was approved in the Synod. Thus they. And the Presbyterian Commissio­ners at the Savoy say, theyGrand Debate. p. 11. cannot find any Records of know credit, concerning any intire Form of Liturgies, within the first three hundred years. And their fixing this period of time, is sufficient to justify my assertion.

3. But our Author saith, he believes p. 67. [Page 138] they might have denied any such Record of a Liturgy generally imposed for six hun­dred years, and fixeth the Original of Liturgies uponp. 69. Gregory the Great, under the protection of Charles the Great, and this eight hundred or a thousand years after Christ; Liturgies not first e­stablished by Gre­gory the Great, un­der Charles the Great. Of which gross mistake in Histo­ry, having taken notice of it in my In­troduction, n. 4. I shall say no more here, but that we may not reasonably expect any accuracy in the right computation of the time, of the birth and first production of Liturgies, from him who talks so loosely and falsly, about the Age in which Gre­gory the Great lived, whom he would make the Father of them. And it is speaking enough at random to fix their original now at six hundred years after Christ, and then at eight hundred, or a a thousand years after Christ: but if in which soever of these periods they began, it must be under Gregory the Great, he must then suppose against the credit of all certain History, that Gregorius Mag­nus was Pope for above four hundred years, in imitation of the Jewish fancy that Phinehas the High Priest livedR. Dav. Kimch. in Mal. 2. v. 5. V. Scalig. in Eus. Chron. an. ab Abra­hamo 861. a­bove three hundred years. And if this could be true, which I never saw so much as hinted in any Author before, then Gregory the Great might become contem­porary [Page 139]with Charles the Great, and being by that time unable to govern himself, by reason of his extream Age, might be put under his protection.

4. Now though something was done by Gregory the Great, in the new model­ling Sanction of Charles the Great, for the enjoining the Roman Offices: I shall be­fore the end of this Section, produce as much evidence as is necessary, for the sa­tisfaction of the unprejudiced Reader, concerning the use of set Forms of Prayer in the Christian Church, in the several Centuries, before the six hundredth year of Christ. And thereby I hope to give a fair proof, for that assertion of Cap­pellus (and for a more early practice also) who saidSyntag. Thes. Thes. Salm. Part. 3. Loc. Com. 47. n. 49. Earum (formularum) usus in universa Ecclesia Christiana, toto terrarum orbe, jam à plusquam 1300. annis perpetuo obtinuit. A publick Form of Liturgy hath obtained in the universal Christian Church throughout the whole World for above thirteen hundred years. And he addeth in the same place, that it doth now every where obtain, nisi apud novitios istos Independentes, but amongst them who embrace the new upstart Innovations of Independency.

5. But our Author will not allow all [Page 140]the three Canons above mentioned, to have any respect to Liturgies, and their establishment: and herein he hath en­gaged himself against what Smectymnuus asserted, to whom my words had a par­ticular respect. He first excepts against what is inferred from the Canon of Laodi­cea, which Council Baronius (though he had sometimes thoughtAnnal Eccl. An. 125. n. 158. otherwise) up­on a more accurate consideration, as he thought,In Ap­pen. ad Tom. 4. n. 1,—7. concludes to have been be­fore the time of the first Nicene Council. But I must confess, the other opinion that this Council sate about the year 364 is the more probable, from the observa­tion ofde Conc. Sacerd. & Imper. l. 3. c. 3. n. 5. De Marca, That Conc. Laod. c. 7. condemns the Photinians, when Photinus himself lived in the Reign of Constan­tius.

6. But he saith, The Bishops Reas. Acc. p. 64. in that Council may not be called the Church in that Age. Indeed, this was a Provincial Council, yet many Bishops from the seve­ral Asian Dioceses were here assembled,The eigh­teenth Ca­non of the Council of Laodicea considered. as appears from the title of that Council. And this may appear a remarkable testi­mony concerning the general state of the Church, if we consider that this very Ca­non was taken into the Code of the univer­sal Church, being the 122d therein, which Code was extant at the time of the Coun­cil [Page 141]of Chalcedon, An. 451. (which was the greatest of the four first General Councils) and was so far approved there­in, that that Council cited some Canons of Provincial Councils, which were ta­ken into that Code, as general and au­thentick Rules, not taking any notice of the Provinicla Councils, by which they were first made; but only citing them ac­cording to the number and order they were in that Code. This is manifest from the testimonies produced out of that Council, which are prefixed to Justellus his Edition of the Codex canonum Eccle­siae Ʋniversae: and thereby it appears, that the Canons of this Code were owned to be of universal authority, by this their reception, though they were many of them only provincial, in their first Con­stitution.

7. And this Code or Collection of Ca­nons, was also confirmed and established in thisConc. Chalced. Can. 1. General Council: and therefore this Canon, which was one branch there­of, is sufficient to acquaint us, what was generally approved in the Christian Church, at that time when this Code was compo­sed and received. And we have this fur­ther argument, to prove that this Canon was of general approbation, when it was first composed; because there was no ap­pearance [Page 142]of any part of the Christian Church then opposing it, or declaring a­gainst it. For it was then usual, that when any Bishops or Synods, asserted or deter­mined any thing, either concerning do­ctrine, or rules of order, wherein other Bishops or Churches thought them to err, they would withstand them. Thus con­cerning the receiving penitents, the Nova­tian errors were condemned byLibel. Synodic. Syn. 21, 22, 23. West­ern, Eastern, and Carthaginian Councils: and the oppositions against the general rebaptizing Hereticks, and the contests about the Roman and Asian time of cele­brating Easter, are obvious in the Histories of those ancient times.

8. Our Author further tells us,p. 65. that Council of Laodicea saith nothing of stated Forms of Prayer, c. 18. only orders Prayers to be poured out, Morning and Evening. Thus he clasheth with Smectymnuus above produced. And to clear this matter, this Canon declares, [...], that there ought always to be the very same service of Prayers, both in the Mornings and in the Evenings. That is, there must be the same Morning service, and the same Even­ing service continually, and asZonar. in Conc. Laod. c. 18. &c Bal­sam. ib. Zonaras ex­pounds it, that those Prayers only should [Page 143]be used in their publick service, which had been received in the publick Assem­blies; and to the same purpose Balsamon. And for further confirmation, that this Council had a particular respect to set forms of Prayer then in use, in its nextConc. La­od. c. 19. Canon it gives an account of some part of the order of their service, that after the Sermon or Homily, they had first the prayer for the Catechumeni, and when they were gone out, the prayer for the Penitents, and when they were gone a­way, three prayers for the Fideles, the first [...], in silence, the second and third [...], by open pronoun­cing. And all this was performed before the Communion or Consecration thereof, the whole Assembly, as I conceive, be­ing to join in heart and affection, but si­lently in the first prayer, but in the two other they were to join in vocal expressi­on. Now this cannot be otherwise un­derstood, than to enclude the use of a form, and also an obedience to orders and rules established by the authority of the Church.

9. He next takes some notice of 3. Conc. Carth. c. 23. which enjoins, Quascunque sibi preces aliquis describit, &c. Whatsoe­ver prayer any one shall copy out for himself, he may not use them, unless he first conferre [Page 144]with the understanding Brethren. Our Authour saith,p. 65. This plainly hints that Ministers were wont to compose their own prayers. But if he had considered what account I gave concerning this Canon, in myLibert. Eccles. p. 119. Libertas Ecclesiastica, he might have seen reason to have been of another mind. But he takes no notice at all of what I said concerning it, when I parti­cularly considered it, and did shew, that that Canon gives no proof, that constant forms were not in use before that time: but he observes only that I quoted this in Libertas Ecclesiastica p. 106. where I on­ly mentioned it, as being owned by our Dissenters, to have contributed some­thing toward the establishing of forms.

10. The nextConc. Mi­lev. c. 12. Liturgies established by the Coun­cil of Mile­vis. Canon which Smectym­nuus allow to give a full establishment in the African Territories, to Liturgical forms, is something (though not much) differently expressed, in several Copies thereof, both in the title, and in the body of the Canon. But as it is in the African Code, which is the most authentick and of highest authority, its Title is, Of Prayers to be said at the Altar. And theConc. Carth. Gr. in Zonar. c. 117. in Balsam. c. 106. Cod. Can. Eccl. Jusicl. c. 103. Canon it self requires, that the prayers which are approved in the Council (in the several parts of publick worship) should be celebrated of all persons, and that none [Page 145]other which be against the Faith be at all used, but those shall be said which are col­lected by the wiser men. But that which our Author saith to this Canon is,p. 64, 65, 66. that the African Ministry being tainted with Pe­lagianism, Prayers agreed by the Council, were thereupon decreed to be used in that Province: and yet they do not say, no other, but no other against the Faith, should be used.

11. Now in the sense he taketh it, it doth go as far for the establishing Forms of Liturgy, as agrees with the practice of our Church. But when I consider, what S. Austin, who was a Member of this Council of Milevis, declareth,Aug. de Bapt. cont. Donat. l. 6. c. 25. that the Prayers used by many persons were daily amended, when they were declared to the more learned men; and that many things were found in them contrary to the Catholick Faith, — and that many persons took up with Prayers composed not only by unskilful persons, but also by Hereticks; I say when I consider this, I encline to another sense of this Council. And that is, that in the former part it makes constant provision, for the use of Forms ordered by the Coun­cil, in the publick service of the Church; and in the latter part it takes care, that no private Books of devotion, which were composed by Hereticks, should be enter­tained [Page 146]by any Catholick Christians; and the same thing was very probably taken care of in 3 Conc. Carth. c. 23. above mentioned.

12. But though both Heretical and Schismatical Principles had spread them­selves in Africa, it is no way probable, that their Ministry was at this time tain­ted with Pelagianism, nor could that be the foundation for enjoining Forms. For it appears by this Council ofConc. Milevit. 1. c. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Milevis, that the Bishops and chief of the Clergy, were very severe against it, and yet they obliged themselves to constant Forms. And when Coelestius an African Presbyter, had before this time earnestly espoused Pelagianism, there wasOros. de Arbitr. Li­bert. p. 621, 622. no stay for him in Africa, but he was forced to desert those parts. I shall only add further, that the vast Precincts of the African Church, who were directed by this Canon, were much larger than our national Church, and might equal a considerable part of Europe.

13. And whereas I gave several testi­monies, in myp. 106, 107, 108, 109. Libertas Ecclesiastica, of the use of Liturgies, before the time of those Canons above-mentioned, our Au­thor takes no notice at all of most of them, and what he doth mention, is with great oversight and carelesness. I declared, that I yield it most probable, that [Page 147]the ancient Roman, Jerusalem, and Alex­andrian Offices, Of the Li­turgies un­der the name of S. James, &c. were called the Liturgies of S. Peter, S. James and S. Mark, because of their certain early use in the Churches where they presided, though it is not cer­tain that they were composed by them, this being mentioned by no ancient. Writer of the first Centuries. But our Author inti­mating as if I did assert these Liturgies to these Authors, addsReas. Acc. p. 66. what a lamentable shift it is to tell us that they have undergone divers alterations: but those words were not at all used by me, concerning any of these Liturgies, but concerning those of S. Chrysostom, S. Ambrose, and S. Basil, Libert. Eccl. p. 107. But I might well have used them concerning these other Liturgies also. He speaking ofIbid. the hor­rible imposture of these, and other Litur­gies of S. Andrew, S. Matthew, Clemens, Dionys. Areop. &c. which I did not so much as name, declares, they are so gene­rally rejected by all sober and learned Au­thors, both Papists and Protestants, that we stand amazed (it seems a little thing will affright him) to hear our Reverend Brother so much as naming them.

14. Now I grant, that these Liturgies according as they are now exhibited, un­der the names of S. James, &c. are mani­festly proved, not to be intirely their [Page 148] genuine off-spring, both from several do­ctrines, and names, which are expressed in several of them. But this is not enough to prove, the other parts thereof to be of no primitive composure. For so far as concerns the mention of some names of persons, living in after Ages; it seems to me no sufficient Argument to prove, that our English Liturgy which was in use at the beginning of our Wars, was not in substance established, under King Edward the Sixth, or Queen Elizabeth; because there were then Prayers for King Charles, Queen Mary and Charles Prince of Wales. And concerning doctrines (for instance, that the Liturgy now extant, under the name of S. James oft expresseth the Bles­sed Virgin to be [...], which yet was never urged against the Heresy ofEus. Hist. Eccl. l. 5. c. [...]. Ar­temon, or against Nestorianism, by the an­cient Fathers, who made use of all the testimonies they could meet with; where­as this must have been a testimony very obvious, and of great authority, if this had then been in that Liturgy as recei­ved from S. James) I think it but reason­able to imagine, that when a general Council had declared any doctrine to be Heresy, some such expressions might thereupon be added, to the constant Li­turgies then in use, as may manifest their [Page 149]holding the Catholick doctrine, in detesta­tion of those Heresies. And in like man­ner, when corrupt doctrines became gene­rally received, especially if they concern­ed any thing of worship, (as of adora­tion of Saints, &c.) it cannot but be ex­pected, that they should be inserted into the Liturgy of that Church which embra­ced them.

15. But I fear our Author spake with­out his Book, when in general and with respect to all the Prayers therein, he said, these Liturgies are generally rejected, by all sober and learned Authors, both Papists and Protestants. To instance particularly in the Liturgy of S. James. Amongst the Romanists, it is asserted to him byAn. 63. n. 220. Ba­ronius, andDe Ritib. l. 2. c. 3. n. 6. Durantus, and very great numbers of other Authors. The same is affirmed in a peculiar Tract, written to that purpose, byAllat. de Liturg. S. Jacobi. Leo Allatius, who al­so produceth the testimonies of Sixtus Senensis, Possevinus, Pamelius, Sanctius, and many other Latin and Greek Authors, even as early, as to Proclus, who was Bi­shop of Constantinople in the next Age to S. Chrysostom, being educated under, and ordained Deacon bySocr. Hist. l. 6. c. [...]. & l. 7. c. [...]. Atticus, who was Bishop of Constantinople, the next year after S. Chrysostom was thence banished. And Bellarmine also owns it to have been [Page 150]S. James's, though he admits it to have been greatly altered.

16. Amongst the Protestants also, many appear inclined to own Liturgies, to have been established from and by the Apostles. EvenIn An­not. mi­nor. in 1 Cor. 11.34. Beza saith, Quae ad ordinem spe­ctant ut precum formulae, & caetera hujus­modi, — disposuit Apostolus in Ecclesiis; The Apostle did set in order in the Churches, such things as had relation unto order, as Forms of Prayer, and other things of like nature. And the Walachrian Classis ac­knowledged, that the ChurchesCons. Contr. in Angl. p. 180. ab Apo­stolicis & Primitivae Ecclesiae temporibus, from the Apostolical and primitive times unto this day, have performed the publick worship of God, out of certain and prescri­bed Forms. And if they were from the Apostolical times, it may well be that some Apostles had an hand in making them.

17. And more particularly in our own Church,Annot. on S. Jude, v. 20. and View of the Dire­ctory, Sect. 17. Dr Hammond judged that the Apostles and they whom the Holy Ghost set apart to plant the Churches, had mira­culous gifts, and by them they prayed; he addeth, some of these special Prayers thus conceived, were received and kept by those whom they thus taught, and are they which the ancients mean by the Liturgy of S. James, &c. AndEccl. Angl. Vind. c. 10. D. Durel concerning these Li­turgies [Page 151]of S. James, &c. saith, mihi dubi­um non est, I make no doubt but some things are found in them, which do proceed from the Authors to whom they are attributed. AndSalmas. contr. Grot. opus Posth. p. 254. Salmasius as was observed by Dr Hammond in his view of the new Dire­ctory, said Jacobi, Clementis, Basilii, Chry­sostomi Liturgiae, partim verae sunt, partim falsae; the Liturgies of James, Clement, Basil, Chrysostome, are partly true, and partly false. Which words shew that he accounted some things to be genuine in them, but with an addition of other things spurious. See also Mr Of Reli­gious As­sembl. c. 7. p. 248. Thornedike to the same sense.

18. Our Author also takes a slight notice of that weighty evidence I produ­ced, for the proof of Forms of Prayer,Lib. Eccl. p. 107, 108. in the time of Constantine. And he only tells us, thatReas. Acc. p. 67. Constantines compo­sing Godly Prayers for his Souldiers, is a good Argument that the Church had then no publick Liturgies: for surely Constantine need not then have made any, and it had been a great derogation from the honour of the Church.

19. But if our Author had duly obser­ved what I produced,Forms of Prayer used in publick service in Constan­tines time. and consulted Eu­sebius in the places to which I referred, he would have found 1. That these Prayers which Constantine made, and Eu­sebius [Page 152]applauded, were peculiarly fitted for his Souldiers, as is manifest from that particular Prayer related byDe Vit. Const. l. 4. c. 20. Eusebius: and therefore his inferring from hence, that the Church had no Forms before that time, is as if he would conclude, that because we have had Prayers lately fra­med, to be used at sea, that therefore we never had before that time any Common-Prayer. And besides this,Ib. c. 19. Eusebius de­clares, that these Prayers he composed were to be used on the Sunday, by that part of his Souldiers, who had not embra­ced the Christian Religion, whilest the other part of his Army who were Chri­stians, did attend the Assemblies of the Church, and join in its Prayers. 2. He might also have further observed, that Constantine was said by Eusebius, de Vit. Const. l. 4. c. 17. to order his own palace, according to the manner and usage of the Church; in that taking into his hands the Books, he either applyed himself to the Scriptures, or expressed, [...], those Prayers which had received an au­thoritative sanction. But this clear evi­dence for the use of Forms of Prayer he was willing to overlook; as also what I produced from Origen, Cyprian, and others.

[Page 153]20. But because this Authour pretends,Liturgies more anci­ent than six hundred years after Christ. that there was no established Liturgy be­fore the time of Gregory the Great, nor till six hundred years after Christ; that the Reader may see, how much he would be imposed upon, by giving cre­dit to any such untrue and groundless Assertion, I shall (waving very many Ci­tations of some Clauses of Liturgies in St. Austin, St. Chrysostome, and many other of the ancient Writers) produce as many testimonies as are sufficient to satisfie an indifferent Reader, that in all the first A­ges of the Christian Church, for the first six hundred years, there were publick forms of Prayer, and Liturgies establish­ed.

21. Justinian the Emperour began his Reign above seventy years,—Enjoined by the Im­perial Law An. 541. and ended it almost forty, before the year 600, and his Imperial Sanctions were of as large ex­tent as his Empire. He accounteth it a great fault,Novel. 137. in Praef. that there were some per­sons of the Clergy and Monks, who were not versed, as his Canons required, in the prayers of the usual Service, and of Baptism. And he declares that he would have things canonically ordered, which if it had been before done, they would every one have acquainted themselves with the holy Li­turgies, ibid. c. 1. [...]. [Page 154]And he also by his Imperial Sanction required, that every person ordained Bishop ibid. c. 2. should re­cite the office for the holy Communion, and the prayer for Baptism, and the other prayers. And he also enjoinsibid. c. 6. these prayers in the performing publick offices, and in the ad­ministring Baptism, not to be said by the Bishops or Presbyters silently, but so as they may be heard. Which things are plain testimonies, both that the Church then had Liturgical Forms, and that they were established and enjoined by an Imperial Law.

22. And besides this, it was enacted by Justinian Novel. 131. c. 1. that the Canons of the four holy Synods, [...], both such as were made by them, and such as were confirmed by the Council of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon, should have the force of laws. And there­fore if there was any Canon, which en­joined the use of forms of prayer, con­firmed by the Council of Chalcedon, (for the proof of which, I referre to n. 6, 7, 8. and 23. of this Section) then by virtue of this Constitution, that Canon had an e­qual authority with a law of the Empire, throughout all the Dominions thereof. And both these Constitutions of Justini­an bear date in the same year 541. which [Page 155]is fifty nine years before the period our Authour fixeth upon.

23. In the middle of the foregoing Century, from the year 400. and down­wards,Their ordi­nary and e­stablished use in the fifth Centu­ry manifest­ed. was the General Council of Chal­adon, An. 451. in which that Code, wherein was the Canon of Laodicea, which required the constant use of Litur­gies, was both approved and confirmed, as may appear above, n. 6, 7, 8. and therefore the use of Liturgies was hereby established in the Christian Church, as far as the authority of a general Council did extend. In this time Proclus, a Bishop of Constantinople of good note, declared forms of divine service, to have beenProcl. Const. de Tradit. Li­turg. in Bibl. Patr. de­livered from St. James and Clement, and to have been ordered by St. Basil and St. Chrysostome. But how far soever his au­thority may prevail, concerning the time almost four hundred years before him, when St. James and St. Clement li­ved, he being the first Writer which I have met with, who mentions the ancient Liturgies under their particular names; yet for the later times, his authority is unquestionable, that there were then Li­turgical forms, and that these had been so long in the Church, as not to be then ac­counted new upstart things. And he could not but have sufficient opportunity [Page 156]to understand fully what he delivers con­cerning St. Chrysostome especially, since [...] was Bishop in the same See of Constantino­ple, and was educated there about the en [...] of St. Chrysostom's time. And at the begin­ning of this Century, was the Council of Milevis, whose Canon enjoining se [...] forms of Prayers, isn. 10, 11, 12. above produced i [...] this Section.

24. In the Century beginning An. 300 the attestation to the Liturgy of St. Chry­sostome, in the foregoing Paragraph, [...] the more considerable in this Case, be­cause, asTheod. Hist. Eccl. l. 5. c. 28. Theodoret informs us, his Go­vernment and Authority extended it sel [...] over Thracia, Asia and Pontus, and he e­stablished excellent laws, [...], to twenty eight Provinces, within those Regions.The like in the fourth Century. St. Basil's ordering a pub­lick form of Liturgy in this Age, is not only what hath been generally received and acknowledged in the Greek Church but hath a further confirmation from Pr [...] ­clus above mentioned, and also from the testimony of theConc. in Trull. c. 32. sixth General Council, commonly so called, where they also mention the Liturgy of St. James. And when Julian, for the begetting a greater respect to Gentilism, ordered many thing therein,Soz. Hist. l. 5. c. 15. [...], after the order of the Christian worship, one [Page 157]thing which Sozomen declares, they were to imitate the Christians in, was [...], in their constituted prayers: whichNaz. Or. 3. p. 101, 102. Nazianzen calls [...], a form of prayers to be expressed by parts: this must manifestly prove the use of such forms then, in the ordinary offi­ces of the Christian Church. Concern­ing this Age, the Reader may add what I above mentioned, from Eusebius, n. 19. and from the Council of Laodicea, n. 5, 6, 7, 8.

25. In the preceding Age from the year 200. what I cited in myLib. Eccl. p. 108. Liber­tas Ecclesiastica, from Origen in his Ho­milies on Jeremy, urging a Clause out of their usual Forms of Prayer, and speak­ing in his Books against Celsus, of the Christians using, [...],And in the third Age, beginning An. 200. the appointed prayers, with what I there ad­ded from St. Cyprian and Tertullian, may be considerable evidences, that the Church then used forms of prayer. To this may be added, what I above obser­ved,Sect. 2. n. 41. concerning the ordinary publick use of set Hymns, composed by pious men, under the time of Christianity; which the Council of Antioch against Pau­lus Samosatenus censured him for disuse­ing.

[Page 158]26. In the two first Centuries, Publick forms in the two first C [...]turies. we ment with few Christian Writers, and yet the [...] are some things expressed in Justin Ma­tyr, and Ignatius, which seem to favour the use of forms of prayer, as I noted in my Libertas Ecclesiastica. But the testi­mony I producedSect. 2. ibid. above from Pliny, in his Epistle to Trajan, at the entrance of the second Century, doth sufficiently shew, that the Christians in their publick Assemblies, used a set form in Hymns of Ecclesiastical composure. And the words ofIn Philo­pat. ver. sin. Lucian, who also lived under Trajan, give us a fair intimation, if not certain e­vidence, of a form of Liturgy then used by Christians. Where he brings in Tr [...] ­phon in his Dialogues, expressing several things concerning the doctrine and pra­ctice of the Christian Church, and at last he directs, [...], for the beginning, the prayer from the fa­ther (the Lords prayer) and adding at the ending the Ode with many names, or the fa­mous hymn. Indeed, a learned man was of opinion, thatJ. Greg. Not. & Ob­serv. in Scr. c. 38. the [...], was the Clause at the end of the Lords prayer, For thine is the Kingdom, &c. but it is much more probable, if not certain, that there must be more than one single Clause, in that which he called an Ode; [Page 159]and it is very likely, that [...], may here strictly imply the expressing many names, or many titles. According to this senseView of the Direct. Ch. 1. Sect. 17. Dr Hammond thought, that Ode or Hymn intended, might be that in the end of our Communion ser­vice, Glory be to God on high, &c. And an Hymn much like to this appears to have been very ancient, being expressed in that Collection, under the name ofConst. A­post. l. 7. c. 48, 49. Apostolical Constitutions. And that this Clause in Lucian, hath respect to a parti­cular Hymn, composed for the giving Glory to our Lord and Saviour especially, I am enclined to believe, from the testi­mony of Pliny, lately referred unto, from whence it appears, that such an hymn, (which he expresseth soliti sunt carmen Christo quasi Deo dicere secum invi­cem) was at that very time looked on, as a remarkable thing in the Christian service, and was of ordinary use in the Christian Assembly. Now though I can­not be positive in determining the par­ticular Hymn; it is a considerable evi­dence, that the Christians then used a form of publick service, in that they be­gan it with the Lords prayer, (whichTertul. de Orat. c. 9. Tertullian also shews, to have been anci­ently used before any other prayers) and ended it with a particular known; and re­markable hymn.

[Page 160]27. And as before this time,Our Savi­our joined in a form of prayer, and taught his Disciples a form. our Sa­viour instituted that excellent form of the Lords Prayer; so that is the greater warrant for the use of forms of prayer, if we consider, that such publick forms, com­posed by such men, who had chief autho­rity in the Church, were before our Sa­viours time, and in his time, of ordinary use in the Jewish worship. But our Lord complied so far with the use of these forms, that himself usually joined in this Syna­gogue-worship. Luke 4.16. being of a­nother temper, as to the honouring of Gods publick worship, than this Author, and others of his mind; since the far­thest that they will go is, as he tells us,Reas. Acc. p. 21. that some of them at a pinch can hear prescribed forms. And moreover, our Lord thought fit, as John the Baptist had done, to continue this practice, of direct­ing forms of prayer amongst his Disciples; and thereby gave a general approbation to this ancient usage in the Jewish Church, and gave his own example for the like practice in the Christian Church, of praying to God in forms piously compo­sed, and to be devoutly used.

28. In their temple service, their sacri­fices and offerings were rites of Phil. de Vict. p. 842, 843. supplica­tion and thanksgiving. But these sacri­fices being always the same, upon the [Page 161]same occasion, and the manner of per­forming them being unvaried and uni­form,The Temple-Sacrifices were real expressions of Divine worship in an unvari­ed form. they were as constant forms of sup­plication, or the same expressions of the same thing, in the worship of God. And as the daily service was constant and inva­riable, so the several extraordinary Sa­crifices, were as different offices for special occasions. And herein it also appears, that God is so little pleased with variety of expressions, that amongst the several nu­merous sorts of Cattel and Fowls,ibid. p. 835. only three sorts of the former, as Philo obser­ved, viz. Oxen, Sheep and Goats, and two of the latter, Pigeons and Turtles, might be presented to God in Sacrifice. Nor was there any alteration in the me­thod of their ordinary service. For whereas there was sacrifice and incense dai­ly offered, the same Authour acquaints us, that the Priests strictly observed this order,Phil. de Victim. of­ferent. p. 850. first to offer the incense, as a rite of thanksgiving; and after that their Sacrifice. And their incense was daily offered, before the rising of the Sun, asAnriq. Jud. l. 3. c. 10. Josephus declares, which is also agreea­ble to the direction of the Law it self, Exod. 30.8. But in the evening service, the incense was constantly offered after the Sacrifice.

[Page 162]29. And their Sacrifices were attended in the Temple with particular prayers and praises. The Levites in the Temple sung praises, in a set form of words, 2 Chr. 29.27, 30. And the Priests joined pray­ers with their Sacrifices; and that these in their constant and ordinary service, were set forms, (besides what hath been byThornd. of Rel. As­semb. Ch. 7. some observed from the Samaritan Chro­nicle) hath probable evidence from Phi­lo, who describing the Priest in this acti­on, saith he isDe Vict­im. p. 843. [...], making common lauds for all the people, Publick forms of prayer ac­companied their tem­ple-sacrifi­cis. in the most holy prayers. And we can produce instances of set forms of pray­er, used not only by the people, but even by the Priests themselves, upon the most high and solemn occasions. Such is that, when in case of a great impendent danger of sad calamity, the Priests weeping between the Porch and the Altar, were to say, Joel 2.17. Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine Heritage to reproach, &c. And both the Talmud and other Jewish Writers, declare how upon the day of a­tonement, the High Priest himself used several stated prayers, asHor. Heb. in Mat. 6.13. hath been ob­served by learned men; and the very prayers themselves, are thence expressed [Page 163]byde Sacrif. l. 1. c. 8. p. 95. &c. 15. p. 169, 170. Dr Outram. And the forms of pray­er used at the Jewish Passover, have been noted by Scaliger, Buxtorf, Syn. Jud. c. 13. Ainsworth in Exod. 12.8. Dr Light­foot on Mat. 26.26. and divers others.

30. In their worship in the Synagogues and their Schools, besides other prayers added of latter times, the eighteen prayers, which are much mentioned, and of great account amongst the Jewish Wri­ters, are asserted bySeld. in Eutych. Buxt. Syn. Jud. c. 5. the Rabbins to be as ancient as the time of Ezra. But that little or nothing of this whole number of the eighteen prayers, is of any later date than the time of our Saviour, Dr. Lightfoot Hor. Heb. in Mat. 6.9. affirmeth, might be proved at large if need did require. And I shall think it sufficient for me further to ob­serve,The like u­sed in the Jewish Sy­nagogues. that it is certain they had forms of prayer of ordinary and common use, in the Jewish Nation, as early as the times of our Saviour, from the testimony of Josephus, concerning the Essens, expres­sing before Sun-rise in their supplications,de Bel. Judaic. l. 2. c. 7. [...], some such prayers as were delivered to them from the fore­going Ages, and were received amongst the Jews. And upon a view of what I have now produced in this Section, the Reader may see reason to believe the [Page 164]truth of what was asserted byin Loc. Theol. de Precat. Melan­cthon, concerning forms of prayer, Eccle­sia semper eas proposuit, & publicè & pri­vatim eas exerceri jubet, The Church of God hath always proposed them, and thought them fit to be used, both publickly and pri­vately.

SECT. IV. Some expressions vilifying Uniformity, and charging forms of prayer to be an engine of perpetual discord, with o­thers in the latter part of his third Cha­pter, reflected on.

HAving sufficiently, I hope, answer­ed what hath been urged in this Discourse, to prove the use of forms of prayer, to be any hindrance to piety and devoutness in religious worship; and vin­dicated my arguments, whereby I under­took to prove the contrary; it is but ex­pedient to consider some other reflective expressions, which are in the latter part of this his third Chapter.

2. When our Authour observed, that the Walachrian Classis commended forms of prayer, as conducing to several [Page 165]good ends; and particularly to this,Sect. IV. That uniformity in publick worship may be in all Churches observed: Of Ʋnifor­mity, or the having the same form of worship throughout the whole Realm. he takes occasion to fall foul upon that Ʋniformity, which they thought valuable, and which is e­stablished in our Church. But he first declares his approbation ofp. 54, 55. Ʋniformity in the ordinary matter of prayer, pursuant to an unity in Doctrine, and this he tells us is necessary. And then he thus ex­presseth his contempt of Uniformity, in that sense our Church approves it, and our Laws and Government establish it, calling itReas. Ac. p. 55. that pitiful thing now called Ʋ ­niformity, which lyes in an oneness of sylla­bles, words and phrases; a thing which ne­ver came into the heart of God to command. And in another place, he enquires how it shall be proved, thatp. 149. that pitiful thing called uniformity in words and syllables and phrases, was ever desired of God, or that it ever came into his or his Sons heart. Thus he can come very nigh to a form of words and phrases, in reviling them in o­thers. And here is one part of the diffe­rence between us, that whilst we use a form of words in the holy exercises of Re­ligion, he useth his form of words in scof­fing at this religious exercise, and the Constitution of our Governours: and [Page 166]to us it appears, that the deriding religi­ous exercises, is not so good a work as the practising them.

3. But whether God or Christ ever commanded a set form of words to be u­sed in prayer, which our Author so con­fidently denies,Excellent benefits by the establi­shing this uniformity. may be sufficiently dis­cerned from what I have said in the fore­going Sections. But is this Ʋniformity, in the use of a devout and pious form, such a pitiful thing, as he represents it, when by this means almost all the ad­vantages in the use of forms, which I have above mentioned, are obtained? Hereby a decent and regular way of wor­ship, in full and comprehensive sense, and fit words, is secured in all Assemblies of the Church of England. Hereby sober and understanding Christians are assured, that they can heartily join in the publick service, which is to be presented to God. Hereby the minds and affections of the people may be particularly prepared be­fore-hand, to go along with the seve­ral parts of worship. Hereby both Mini­sters and people are relieved against va­rious distractions, which new variety of words and expressions do suggest. Here­by the Unity of desiring the same things, in so many several Assemblies, may quick­en [Page 167]a considerate mans devotion. And hereby all unbecoming and scandalous expressions, which disturb the soberest Christians, and administer matter for de­rision to others (of which too many in­stances might be given) are in the chief parts of Divine service and worship pre­vented.

4. And besides this, how much this Uniformity, which is una & eadem publi­ci Divini cultûs externi forma, in the ex­pression ofThes. Sal. de Liturg. Par. 3. n. 32. Cappellus, doth contribute towards the promoting Unity, Peace and Charity, I shall represent in his words. It is that, saith he, qua arctius colligantur, in eadem sincerae Religionis, Fidei & Cha­ritatis communione, inter se fidelium ani­mi, &c. in which the minds of the faithful are more closely knit together, in the same communion of sincere Religion, Faith and Charity amongst themselves, and thereby in the Church in every Nation, &c. there is less of disturbances, factions, contentions, schisms and divisions, from that infinite di­versity and multiplied variety of external worship, which must necessarily arise, if there be no certain and prescribed forms of that worship, to which all are kept. And now is it a pitiful thing, that our Gover­nours should in the best manner take care [Page 168]for the preventing so much evil, and the promoting so much good? or is it not ra­ther an unworthy thing, to reproach and calumniate the good deeds of others, and especially of our Superiours?

5. But whereas our Author declares for an Ʋniformity in matter of Prayer, pur­suant to an unity in doctrine; and calls that aReas. Acc. p. 149. beauteous Ʋniformity, when we all speak the same thing, as to the matter of Prayer; do the same thing, in the same specifical acts of worship; and on the same day, the Lords-day, I desire two things may be here observed: First, that our Author doth not pretend that men ordi­narily ought to pray for other things, than what may be contained in a well-disposed Form, so that the Question only is, whether, where the matter is the same, we are to prefer fixed, known, and well deliberated words, or sudden, uncer­tain, and changeable expressions. Now all the great advantages mentioned in the foregoing Paragraphs, and in the first Section of this Chapter, are on our side: when on the other side, men may have the greater opportunity of shewing what a volubility of speech they have attained un­to, and what store of good expressions they are furnished with; which may gra­tify [Page 169]the inclinations and fancies of some [...]en, but are not of chief advantage to piety.

6. Secondly, Let it be considered,Ill effects of the want of such an Ʋniformity. whether it can be reasonably expected, that Ʋniformity in the matter of Prayer, and the worship of God, and Ʋnity in doctrine, should be continued, where publick Forms are rejected. Now no better tryal can be made of such a case as this, than by experience, unless it can be proved, that the minds of men are now otherwise disposed than they were in those days, when this Kingdom had a plain experimental proof hereof. But con­cerning Uniformity in the matter of Prayer, it is a thing notorious, that in our late times, when the Liturgy was ta­ken away; the Presbyterians, Indepen­dents, and other Parties, prayed one against the other, and against the esta­blishing that way of Government which others of them prayed for: divers per­sons made their own passions, singular opi­nions and errors, a considerable part of their Prayers: others rejected all confes­sion of sins, as not owning it to be any part of their devotion. In many places of this Kingdom, that great part of Chri­stian worship, in the Administration and [Page 170]participation of the Lords Supper, was for ten, twelve, fourteen and sixteen years together totally laid aside: the admini­string Infant Baptism, was by some Mi­nisters disused, and by others appropria­ted to a select Company. I might in­stance in other things, wherein the mat­ter of Prayer then varied too generally from what our Liturgy and the rules of our Religion direct us to; particularly concerning our Prayer for the King: it being not amiss observed, by our [...]. c. 16. late gracious Soveraign, that one thing which made many be the more against our Li­turgy then, was on this account.

7. And they were then so far from Ʋnity of doctrine, that one who profes­sed himself a Non-Conformist acknow­ledged about 1646,Gangrae­na. Part. 1. p. 175. We in these four last years have overpast the Deeds of the Pre­lates, in whose time never so many nor so great errors were heard of, much less such blasphemies and confusions. We have worse things among us, more corrupt doctrines and unheard of practices than in eighty years before; denying the Scriptures to be the word of God, denying the Trinity, and the Divinity of Christ, the Immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the Body, Hell, and Heaven, &c. And I know no sober [Page 171]Christian will call this unity in doctrine.

8. But though our Author thinks fit unreasonably to vilify uniformity, I sup­pose some Readers will be apt to think, that of the two, his words may be the more truly returned upon himself, That the affecting that pitiful thing called va­ [...]ing of words and phrases, never entred [...]o the heart of God to command, to [...]e a part of his Religion; and it should not enter into the heart of any good man [...] think that such things will please him.

9. In another place this Author ex­presseth much evil to be produced by Li­turgies. As that they areReas. Acc. p. 63. an engine of perpetual discord, and are made use of to deprive the Church of God of hundreds of [...]dly and painful Ministers: and to the like purpose he speaksp. 130. Of the cau­ses of our­discords and divisi­ons. elsewhere. Now [...]e who shall consider, that there have been Liturgies in all ages of the Church of God from the beginning, and that no discord was occasioned by them; and that they are of themselves of excellent use; and that when our Liturgy was laid aside, almost forty years since, this was far from procuring concord; he will be apt to think that our Author hath mistaken the true cause of our discords [Page 172]and divisions. But there are other plain and manifest causes thereof, viz. from an ill temper of mind, whereby men neglect the due reverence they owe to their supe­riours, and the care they ought to main­tain of peace and Ʋnity in the Church; when some men set themselves with ea­gerness to oppose regular establishments upon slight grounds, and others yield themselves to be led by the passions and errors of those whom they esteem; and when many causlesly affect new things, and indulge themselves to set up for new models, of ordering the Communion of the Church, and the way of divine wor­ship; These things will indeed perpetually cause divisions, unless they be removed. And if any Ministers shall rather forsake their Ministry, than admit of any Forms of Liturgy; the true cause of this will be from some of the things now men­tioned: or else from their own great mistakes, in being perswaded by such weak Arguments, as his discourse may furnish them with: or else from their going too far to comply with and please other men.

10. But in truth, the establishing Li­turgies doth in a considerable measure put a stop to discords and divisions. To [Page 173]this purpose Cappellus accounted it very fit, that as far as may be, there should beThes. Salm. ubi sup. n. 46. una in Ecclesia externi cultûs divini fermula; the same Form of publick divine worship in the Church, and this he thought of great use, ad unitatem spiritûs, & cha­ritatis, inter fideles, quantum obtineri id potest, conservandam, for the preserving, as far as that can be obtained, the unity of the spirit, and of charity amongst believers. And though our Author would be con­tent that some should use Liturgies, but other Ministers should use their own words and method, Cappellus in the same place declares, that this is by no means adviseable, and that this would be so far from procuring peace, that from hence would arise, contemptus, odia, rixae, con­tentiones, &c. contempt, hatred, clashings, contentions, strife, and infinite quarrels to the great scandal of the Church.

11. But plain experience doth beyond all authority prove, that concord is never like to be the effect of the laying aside all Forms of publick worship. For when this was done in our late sad times, thereupon all manner of errors, sects, he­resies and blasphemies, were broached and vented. After this it was thatJus div. Min. E­vang. Ep. to Read. 1653. the Pres­byterian Ministers complained of the [Page 174] bitter, woful, and unutterable fruits of di­visions, which, say they, have almost de­stroyed, not only the Ministry, but even the very heart and life of Religion and God­liness.

12. Our Author saith also, that Forms of Prayerp. 63. hinder Ministers care to stu­dy the Scriptures: which he before ur­ged, and I before answered, Chap. 1. n. 47.

13. He saith also,Ibid. that hereby many such Ministers have crept into the Church, of whom every one who hath any concern for Gods glory, or the Churches repute, hath cause to blush and be ashamed. Now I shall leave him to consider by himself, whose work he is doing, whilest he takes all oc­casions to reproach that Ministry, and thereupon to hinder their labours whom our Saviour hath called to serve him in his Church. And we have so little reason to blush and be ashamed of the generality of the English Ministry, that we have abundant reason to bless God for their great worth. And besides this, the faults which can be chargeable upon any particular persons in the Ministry, must be either from their being 1. not sound in doctrine, or 2. not of a holy and good life, or 3. from their not being men of [Page 175] sufficient abilities, and such as diligently [...]charge their Ministerial work. But set Forms of Prayer piously composed, and instantly used, can contribute nothing [...] either of the two former, when they manifestly promote the contrary good. And for the last, as the great abilities of our Ministry is very evident; so I shall answer this, where he doth more par­ticularly insist upon it inCh. 8. n. 10. another place.

14. This Writer in the end of this Chapter declareth,p. 70. that he thinks he [...]th fully answered whatsoever I had of­ [...]red, but I leave it to the diligent Rea­ [...]er to judge, how little reason he hath to think so. But he there saith, his strict design is not to answer me, but to shew they [...]ve probable Arguments, inducing them to believe, that it would be sinful for them, ordinarily to use the prescribed Forms of others: and therefore he proceeds to add further Arguments. Nor is it my design in this discourse mainly to vindicate my self, much less to oppose him; but to vin­dicate the truth, and therefore I shall add my Answer to his remaining Argu­ments, contenting my self only to give an account of the main substance of them, if I may so call it, and not to in­terpose [Page 176]my self, in what he speaks a­gainst other particular persons, or in any digressions, which are of no necessary concern, to the Vindication of fixed Forms of Prayer, or defending other publick Constitutions.

CHAP. IV. Ch. IV. Forms of Prayer are not forbidden ei­ther in the Second Commandment, or by any other Divine Precept.

HIs third Argument is, that it is Sin­ful for Ministers, having the gift of Prayer, to use prescribed Forms, no ne­cessity compelling; because God hathReas. Account, p. 71. neither by the light of Nature directed them, nor in his Word prescribed them. Now it is acknowledged, that all the parts of Divine Worship must be such,Of the parts of Divine Worship, and the manner of performing it. as the light of Nature, or the revealed Will of God do direct. By the former, our dependance as Creatures, doth oblige us to acknowledg and honour God; and to call upon him, and pray unto him: And the holy Scriptures give us further Precepts, and encouragements in these Duties. And in the parts and duties of Divine Worship, the manner of per­forming them, and our outward expres­sions therein, must be such as is sutable to the Duty it self; as swerveth from no Divine Precept, or Institution; and is recommended either by the light of [Page 178]Nature or Scripture. But from what I have said in the former Chapter, it may appear,Forms of Prayer are agreeable to the light of Nature and Scrip­ture. that Forms of Prayer in the publick Worship of God, are recom­mended by the Light of Nature, as it directeth us to chuse the best, and most expedient and profitable way of per­forming that Worship; and that the Scriptures also do encourage us in, and give their approbation of the use there­of.

2. But there is yet a further design in this Argument, which is, That no­thing may be used in God's Worship, which he hath not himself prescribed. To this end, he saith, the sense of the Second Commandment is this, P. 73. Thou shalt worship in no other Way, by no other Means or Religious Rites, than what I have prescribed: And again,P. 75. & the like P. 74. We judg all Acts, Rites and Means of Wor­ship prohibited by God, which either in express Terms, or by first consequences from Scripture, are not prescribed. Now if he will be consistent with himself, and conclude any thing in the Case under debate from these things, which are ra­ther Positions,And are not forbid­den be the the Second Command­ment. and unproved Asserti­ons, than Arguments; his Inference must be, That no words and expressions (for of these we are now discoursing) [Page 179]ought to be used in the Worship of God, which are not by him prescribed. But con­cerning this Argument, I shall observe three things.

3. Obs. 1. That he here contradict­eth, what he declared in the stating his Question, and hath oft repeated, ha­ving as he tells us,P. 91. Again and again, said, That they do not think Forms of Prayer unlawful. This Ar­gument Clasheth with him­self. But if they be not prescribed, and all means not prescri­bed be prohibited, they must be asser­ted to be unlawful. And being thus prohibited, no pretence of necessity on Mans part, can make them lawful. For according to that ancient rule, Nulla est necessitas delinquendi, quibus una est ne­cessitas non delinquendi, Tertul. It can be ne­ver necessary for them to sin, for whom it is only necessary that they do no sin. And it is more necessary, to forbear any pre­sent external expression of Homage to God, than to make use of that which is unlawful and forbidden, as is mani­fest in the instance of Saul's sacrificing.

4. Obs. 2. By this way of arguing, the particular conceptions and expressi­ons, of him who prayeth without a Form, are as much forbidden, And will conclude Prayers without Forms to be fitful. as the use of a Form is pretended to be; since God hath not prescribed these Expressi­ons. [Page 178] [...] [Page 179] [...] [Page 180]But here our Author tells us, that the light of Nature shews our own inven­tion to be a mean, and a sufficient mean in this act of Worship. Thus Men who talk at this loose rate can tell, when it serves their own turn, how to allow what God hath not prescribed, and to justifie it upon this very account; be­cause it is the Invention of Man, though they can declaim against Ecclesiastical Constitutions, under the very name of Inventions of Men. But if we may use words and expressions, and a method and composition of Prayer, not particu­larly prescribed of God; what an un­reasonable vanity is it, to argue from this Topick against a Form of Prayer, because these particular things in this Form, are not appointed of God.

5. But possibly he may tell us, as some have done, that by keeping to the con­stant use of a Form of Prayer, we make that a proper part of Divine Worship. Now though this was answeredThes. Salmur. Part 3. de Liturg. n. 35. by Cappellus, and in part byLib. Ec­cles. B 2. p. 305, 306. me else­where, I shall here say, That we are far from thinking, that any particular Form of Prayer, appointed in any part of the Church, is necessary to be used in all Christian Churches in the World; who all of them are obliged to perform all [Page 181]the proper parts of Divine Worship. Nor is Religion, and the Worship of God placed in the bare reciting the words of a Form, but chiefly in the pious devotion of the Heart, of which these words are an expression and guide. And thus much must be allowed to the use of words in those Prayers, which for distinction sake, I call Conceived Prayers. I hope he will not say, that it is the constant and prescribed use, of the same thing not commanded of God, which only is forbidden in the Second Commandment; as if the worshipping an Image was only forbidden, where there is a constant Adoration given to the same Image, but that it is allowable where there is so great a number of them, that men sometimes make choice of one, and sometimes of another, with various changes. We allow the Second Commandment, and the Rules of Scrip­ture concerning God's Worship, to re­quire that no act of Divine Adoration be given to any thing else besides God himself;What God hath for­bidden, or command­ed concern­ing his Worship. and that that Homage and Ser­vice which is sutable to his Nature, and according to his Will, be religiously per­formed; and that no such pretended Worship, which is unsutable to his Na­ture, or disagreeing to his Will, ought [Page 182]to be presented to him. But this sug­gestion, that Forms of Prayer are for­bidden by the Second Commandment, as included under Idolatry, is so unreason­able, thatView of Direct. Chap. 1. Sect. 22. Dr. Hammond might justly wonder, at the strangeness and prodigiousness thereof; and Cappellus might well declare, concerning them who urge this, as an Argument,Ubi sup. n. Cras­se admodum hîc homines isti hallucinan­tur; These Men are herein exceeding gros­ly deceived.

6. Obs. 3. This Position, That no­thing may be used or appointed in God's Worship, but what is particularly en­joyned by God himself, (besidesReas. Acc. p. 75, 76, 77. & p. 86, 87. ne­cessary circumstances to humane actions as Humane) is that, concerning the false­ness and dangerous consequence of which I discoursed largely in my Liber­tas Ecclesiastica B 2. c. 1. through­out, & c. 2., to which I refer, nor is any answer given thereto by this Writer. And I shall here note, that as it is improved,That Posi­tion that nothing not prescri­bed, may be used in Gods Wor­ship, is de­structive of all Rell­gion. it is destructive to pub­lick Worship and Religion. For since God hath commanded us to pray, but hath not in all acts of Worship, enjoyned our Words, or the performance of this Duty with or without a Form; it must according to this Position, be done in neither, since each of these are by con­sequence [Page 183]sequence pretended to be forbidden, be­ing not prescribed. The same may be said of our Saviour's Precept, concern­ing the celebrating his Supper in Bread and Wine, but he hath not prescribed or determined the sort of Bread, or the kind of Wine. And though God hath commanded us to sing Praises to him; whatever this Writer saith, he can ne­ver prove, the singing continually the Psalms of David, and others recorded in Scripture, to be particularly enjoyned by a Divine Institution, under the Go­spel; though the Church of God hath very generally and advantageously used them. Wherefore the result of this as­sertion is, for men to contradict them­selves, in the performances of Religion, and (which is far more intolerable) to look upon God, as having contradicted himself, in giving such Laws, which so clash with one another, that they cannot be obeyed, and that by the one he hath set us free from observing the other.

7. But if these things may be deter­mined by men, as they indeed must be, the common rules of Prudence will not allow that it should be lawful and fit, for every Minister by his more sudden and vario thoughts, to determine these things for the Congregation where he [Page 184]ministers;Things ne­cessary to be determi­ned in Re­ligion, may be best de­termined by publick Constitu­tions. and that it should be un­lawful and unreasonable, that any such things should be considered and resol­ved on, by the deliberate Consultations of the most prudent Men: And if we consider the Authority of our Superi­ours, to reject pious Forms of Prayer by them appointed, and which I have shewed to be of excellent use, speaks a wnat of just Reverence and Submission to them, and a not yielding to them that due Superiority in matters Ecclesiastical, for the right ordering the exercises of Religion, which belongeth to them; of which I have in another Book discoursed some-what.

8. But whilst this Author in this Chapter observes, that some urge the DutyP. 74, 85, 86. of obeying Superiours in things lawful, and not forbidden of God, as an obligation upon Inferiours in our Case, to joyn in our publick Forms of Prayer; besides what he urgeth against this, that Forms of Prayer are things forbidden of God, as I above noted, he hath some other expressions, concern­ing the Power and Authority of Supe­riours, and our obedience to them, which I shall reflect upon.

9. He grants that the Superiour may in some cases determine of such a thing,P. 88. [Page 185]which both he and the Inferiour confess to be in it self indifferent; but not in things,P. 77. which the Superi­our acknowledgeth not necessary, and the Inferiour thinks are forbidden. Useful things are fit to be stablished, tho some by mistake may rashly Condemn them. Now if any Inferiour, or any Person whosoe­ver, account any thing to be forbidden, and proceed in his judgment upon good and true grounds; no such thing may be appointed, being in it self evil; whe­ther the Superiours acknowledg it not necessary, or by mistake think it is so. But where any Superiours do upon good grounds, judg any thing to be of good and profitable use for the publick good, though not absolutely necessary in it self: And some Inferiours out of mistakes, or forwardness to censure, will condemn such things as sinful and unlawful; it is no way fit that such good Orders be laid aside; and many others, and the Church it self, be deprived of the good they might receive from them, by yielding a Compliance to these mi­stakes. And whereas he here urgethP. 77. the duty of Charity, he ought to consider, that real charity in providing for the good and profit of the Souls of Men, is of far greater value, than that which he calls Charity, in gratifying the Opinions, and complying with the Er­rors [Page 186]of Men, in their mistakes. But of the appointments of such things as are scrupled, I have treated more at large in anotherLibert. Eccl. B. 2. Ch. 2. § 3. through­out Discourse.

10. Concerning obedience to Supe­riours, he saith,P. 80. Doth this make a sufficient reason for practice in Divine Worship, that Man commandeth it? And he producethP. 81. Bishop Jewel's Testi­mony, that God is to be obeyed, rather than Men; which we assert: AndP. 82, 83, 84. Bishop Davenant, condemning the blind obedience of the Jesuits, and asserting unto all men such a judgment of discretion, that they may consider whether the things be true, or lawful, which are directed by their Superiours. And then he tells us, ThatP. 84. blind Obedience is the very foundation of Popery; but the judgment of private and practical Discretion, is the foundation of the Protestant Religion.

11. Now it is true, That to yield such a blind Obedience to Superiours, as to account them Infallible, and thereup­on to account that all they deliver must be received, without any liberty to ex­amine the truth, and lawfulness thereof, is a foundation of Popery. But to own the due Authority of our superiours and Spiritual guides, and to acknowledg, that they may determine matters of [Page 187] Order and Decency in the Church, and that it is the duty of Inferiours to sub­mit themselves to such Determinations, if they be not contrary to the Will of God, is that which Christianity requireth, and is a necessary foundation of Peace and Ʋ ­nity. What judg­ment of discretion, the true principles of Religi­on do al­low in all Men. And to make use of our own judg­ments and understandings, so as to reject whatsoever we certainly know to be false and evil, is that which all true Religion and good Conscience, and the Christi­an and Protestant Principles will direct. But for any to think it their duty, to close with such Arguments as seem to them probable, but are weak and fallaci­ous, and are of no clear evidence and undoubted certainty; and to account themselves warranted thereby, to pur­sue what is against the established State and Order of the Church, and its Peace and Welfare; and against the Authori­ty of their Superiours, or any rules of Duty; this will lead Men into all man­ner of evil Faction, Schism, and Fana­ticism, and such Principles cannot justi­fie themselves in the sight of God, or good Men, as I haveCh. 1. n. 9. &c. above shew­ed.

12. This is that which the Writers of our Church declare against, and so do Protestants generally, and so doth [Page 188]particularlyDaven. de Judice Contro­vers. c. 1.2. Bishop Davenant, who first reserving to god the Supreme power of judging, ibid. c. 16. asserteth to our Supe­riors, the ministerial judgment, whereby, besides other things, they have Autho­rity to judge, de constitutionibus ad ex­ternam Ecclesiae politiam pertinentibus, of Constitutions belonging to the ex­ternal Polity of the church. And he then declares the necessity of a judg­ment of discretion in all Christians: which he understands, according to the sense I have in the former Paragraph expres­sed, as is manifest both from that Trea­tise, and the other cited by this Writer, In Epist. ad Colos. c. 2. v. 23. And he particularly acknowledgeth it, to be the general sense of Protestants; ibid. cap. ult. Judi­cium hoc discretionis vanum, falsum, fana­ticum esse concedunt, quando ex privato sensu & phantasmate ipsius judicantis di­manat; verum, firmum & legitimum, cum oritur ex lumine infuso Spiritus Sancti, & dirigitur ad normam verbi: That they acknowledg that judgment of discreti­on to be vain, false and Fanatical, when it proceeds upon the private sense and fancy of him that judgeth; but that it is true, firm and allowable, when it is inlightned by the Holy Spirit, and di­rected by the rule of the word. Where­fore [Page 189]he gives no allowance to mens pro­ceeding upon probable and uncertain arguments, but only upon manifest and clear evidence, in opposing what is esta­blished by Superiors. And indeed dis­obeying upon such grounds as are not manifest, is but a blind disobedience, which may well be ranked with blind Obedience. We and all sober Prote­stants are against both; and if the for­mer should be followed, by Children to their Parents, and Servants to their Masters, especially in working Fancies, and weak Judgments, it would bring nothing but confusion into Families.

13. This Author also tells us, That to justifie the Subjects obedience,p. 89. there must appear to him, some reason from a Divine command, requiring the thing. Here if the Precepts of Ʋnity, Peace, Order and Obedience be sufficient, these are frequent and clear; but if he still mean, that no particular thing may be established, unless, it be some way de­termined, by a Divine Precept, this I have above refuted, n. 2. &c.

14. He declares alsoibid. that Gestures or Actions, that are idle or insignificant, are in worship sinful; and therefore may not be submitted to. Now it is well, he hereby disallows the fond notion of [Page 190]them, who decry our Rites or Ceremo­nies, because they are significant. The ap­p [...]inting Liturgy in what sense to reckoned among things in­different. But this can make nothing against Forms of Prayer, where the words express the sense of the Prayer, and are not only significant, but very useful. And though such thngs as are appointed, in the due order of the Church; as the Forms and Order of Prayer, Hymns, and such like, have been usually and frequently called things indifferent: the word indifferent here, is only to be understood in oppo­sition to what is in it self absolutely neces­sary, but not in opposition to, or di­stinction from what is good, useful, and profitable to Edification. so that such things are, if I may so call them, in them­selves legally indifferent, being particu­larly established by no Divine Law, and which may as things of Ecclesiastical liberty be appointed by Superiors, not morally indifferent, as if the appoint­ment and practice of them, was not use­ful, profitable and good.

15. He saith also, thatibid. an appro­priated habit is in worship sinful (the contrary I have sufficiently proved in myB. 2. ch. 1. p. 320, 321. & ch. 4. p. 492, &c. Libertas Ecclesiastica) and that for the Superiour to command any such thing, will be a sin unto him, as Gideons Ephod was a snare to his house. Jud. 8.27. But [Page 191]the Scripture saith, concerning Gideons Ephod, which he made and put in his own City; that all Israel went thither a whoring after it; which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and his house. So that publick Idolatry in which Gideons family did in all probability joyn, was that whereby [...] became a snare unto them.Of Gide­ons Ephod. But nei­ther was the Ephod of Samuel, 1 Sam. [...]. 8. nor of David, 2 Sam. 6.14. nor the Levites garments, 2 Chr. 5.12. at all blamed in the Holy Scriptures, but approved, though none of them were appointed by the Law of God: and therefore it must be somthing of another nature, than the bare making an habit, that was of so ill consequence to Gideon and his Family. And as this at last came to a manifest and general Idolatry, so there was probably somthing blameable in its first Constitution. St. Austin Quaest. super Ju­dic. c. 41. from the great proportion of Gold, al­lotted tot he making this Ephod, Jud. 8.26. thinketh that other ministerial things, relating to Gods service, were made therewith: and others think that Gideon making an Ephod, like the high Priests, intended to worship God, and enquire of God thereby, in his own city, and not in Gods Tabernacle, which was to erect a Schism. Now Schism and Ido­latry, [Page 192]whether they be commanded by Superiors, or practised by Inferiors, joyntly or separately, will be a Snare unto them, as they were to the house of Gidcon.

16. Our Author takes notice, thatp. 91.92. commands in Scripture, and examples, are urged for forms of Prayer; and saith, it can never be proved, that there were forms of Prayer in the Jewish Church, or that the Lords Prayer was intended as an ordinary form: and however what is produced from these things, concern­ing the State of the Gospel, he calls pitiful inconclusive Arguments. And saith he, if David made Psalms (which are Pray­ers) he was a Prophet, but did he make an Act of Ʋniformity too? But that the Jewish Church had forms of Prayer; that the Lords Prayer (which surely was delivered under the Gospel) was delive­red as a form, and that the Arguments from hence are cogent, I have proved in the former chapter. And since the ordinary practice of the Jews, in using forms, was approved by our Saviour, it is not considerable, whether any of them were established by David, or other persons in Authority. Yet David did in some things appoint rules and orders for the service of God, 1 Chr. 25.2, 6. [Page 193]And Hezekiah and his Princes, ordered in what form of words the Levites should sing praise to God, 2 Chr. 29.30.

CHAP. V. Ch. V. Of other Prayers, besides those in the Liturgy, and publick service of the Church.

HIs fourth Argument is, That the ad­mitting, or agreeing Reas. Account. p. 93.94. Ministers to use ordinarily prescribed forms of Pray­er, is of sufficient force to restrain the total exercise of the gift of Prayer, which is sinful. And that by this principle, Mi­nisters may not pray otherwise, before and after Sermon. And that if the Ma­gistrate shall hereafter make a Law, p. 95. Of the use of other Prayers, besides forms. of the Latitude of that of Nebu­chadnezzar, to tie men to pray no where to God, neither in Family, or Closet, but in the use of a form, or the Churches Prayers, they must obey this also, by the same reason, which obligeth them, to use set forms in the publick use of the Liturgy. And, saith he,p. 97. who shall determine, how far the Magistrate may impose, or not im­pose? [Page 194]Now in this Chapter he produ­ceth nothing new, to prove it a Duty, for men to use their own abilities of ex­pression in Prayer; but saith,p. 93. he takes this to shine sufficiently in its own light.

2. Wherefore, in answering this Chapter, I shall premise three things, First, That I have above shewed,Chap. 1. that mens abilities of expression, which are not properly the gift of Prayer, are not on other accounts necessary to be used; unless, where they be requisite, for the better performing the worship of God.

3. Secondly, that since I have mani­fested, the usefulness of setChap. 1. & 2. forms in themselves, for the publick offices of Religious worship, and do not found their lawfulness, and expediency meerly upon Obedience to our Superiors; there­fore I can be no way concerned here, to determine, or enquire after, the extent or boundaries of the Authority of our Governors, in ordering things relating to the worship of God.

4. Thirdly,The extent of Gover­nours Au­thority, not requisite to be question­ed, in every act of Obe­dience. That it doth not express any great reverence to Superiors, for any to deny submission, to the lawful and useful Constitutions by them established; and to plead for this, by putting other Questions, about their power of com­manding things, which seem disadvan­tageous [Page 195]to Religion, and by declaring, that the extent of their Authority, is not sufficiently stated. What confusion would it bring into Families, if when Children, or Servants, are commanded there to joyn in any exercise of Religi­on, as in prayer in the Family (which our Author grants, must be a form to them, who joyn in the words of others) they may be allowed to answer, they will not comply therewith, because, by so doing, they may be imposed on in Religion, from one thing to another: and they must first know the strict bounds of that Authority they are under, and who shall fix them. And the like may be said, of the several conventions of different Sepa­ratists. But if it be enough, to say in the case of a Family, that they may then deny actual obedience and subjection, when any thing is required of them, which they know to be evil; we acknow­ledg the same in our case.

5. And thus much might be sufficient,Whether it be a duty, to use other Prayers be­sides form [...]. for answer to this Chapter, as it hath a particular aspect upon the Authority and commands of our Governors; yet be­cause, I would not avoid any thing, which may seem material and useful, I shall farther here consider, Whether, and how far, Christians, or Ministers, [Page 196]are under any obligation to Duty, to use any other prayers, besides set forms, in all those particular cases mentioned in this chapter; before and after Sermon, in the Family, and in the Closet. Now comprehensive and well ordered forms, being with deliberation fitted to the common state of Christians, and the ends of our Religion; are as I have above shewed, to be preferred, in the publick worship of God. And that before or after Sermon, there should ordinarily be new and varied Prayers, I know no rule of reason, or precept of the Christian Religion, which requireth this, and maketh it a Duty.

6.Before Ser­mons. Before Sermons Of Re­ligious Assembl. c. 7 p. 237. & 252. Mr. Thorndike observes, That in the flourishing times of the Church, Preachers were wont to com­mend themselves, and their labours to Gods blessing. But this was frequently, at least, done by a set form. A short form to this purpose, of St. Ambrose is, as Mr. Thorn­dike there observed, yet extant, may be seen in Ferrarius de ritu concion. and from thence inAlliance of Divine Offices. Chap. 6. p. 183. Mr. Hamon L'estrange, and the form of Aquinas, is published byCasland. Prec. Ec. Cassander. And some of the most eager of our Dissenters, ahve formerly kept themselves ordinarily to set forms before their Sermons. And our Church [Page 197]in herCan. 55 Canons, hath given direction for a form of Prayer, to be used before Sermons, as is there expresed, or to that effect: but among the different practices, it is not necessary for me here, to con­sider what liberty is hereby allowed to Ministers.

7. In the close of the Sermon, After Ser­mons. many Homilies of the ancient Writers, had some supplicatory expressions, interwoven as a conclusory part thereof, and some­times with particular respect to the sub­ject of their Discourse. Such things were in some of their popular Discour­ses, practised byBasil. Hom. 2. & 6. in Hexaem. De Jejun. Hom. 1. de Mam. Mart. & de Lib. Arb. St. Basil, Naz. Orat. 2.6, 10, 28, 42. V. Schol. Gr. in Not. Billij in Naz. Orat. 18. Gr. Nazianzen, St. Chrysostom, in some Ho­milies, ad Pop. Antioch, and others, and also in St. Augustine, St. Gregory, Bernard, and divers others: and our Church doth not seem to dislike this Method, which is imitated in some of her Homilies. But yet this was used but in some, either of the ancient Homilies, or of those of our Church; St. Austin used most re­quently the same conclusory Prayer, or Collect, which is extant inAug. Tom. 8. pag. ult. his works. The method used by several persons, of the several persuasions among our Dis­senters, who frequently have prayed over the several heads and parts of their Ser­mons, that their Auditors might be per­suaded [Page 198]of them, stands chargeable with this fault among others; that asDisc. Prayer extem­poret. Bishop Taylor observed, as their Sermons according to their different parties, were oft directed against one another, and in contradiction to one another, so by con­sequence were their Prayers, and there­fore the matter of Prayer must be, in many of them unsound. But that excel­lent Collect, Grant we beseech thee Al­mighty God, &c. much used in our Chnrch after Sermons, (besides, the ex­pressions in the Prayer for the Church militant, to the same purpoe) is so pi­thy, in desiring the blessing of God, for obtaining the best effect of the Sermon, that no pretence can remain, to charge any blame upon those, who use no diffe­rent concluding supplicatory expressi­ons of their own.

8. Indeed there are sometimes extra­ordinary cases and occasions, which are proper matter for our publick Prayers and Thanksgivings, and ought not to be omitted. It is observed byAnn. Eccl. An. 37. n. 7.8. Ba­nonius, that the Church presented their especial Suffrages to God, for the good success of Gratian against the Alemans: andAthan. Apol. 2. ad Con­stant. Athanasius did publickly do the like, for Constantius against Magnentius. Such cases as are most weighty, or usual, [Page 199]are provided for by particular Collects in our Liturgy; and if they be cases of particular persons, they may be com­prised in the Prayer for all conditions of men, and the general Thanksgiving, ac­cording to the directions in our Liturgy. And these parts are as blameless, and as commendable in their use, as the ordi­nary parts of the Liturgy. And if there should yet be some great and extraordnary case, which is not sufficiently con­tained, under any of these Prayers or Praises: Dr. Hammond declared,Pract. Catechism l. 3. Sect. 2. The Church sometimes permits, and upon incidental occasions prescribes, other forms in the Congregation. Such are upon great special reasons, the Prayers for particu­lar public days of Humiliation and Thanksgiving. And if saith Mr.Discour. 1. on Mat. 6.9. [...] Mede, There be any sudden unexpected oc­casions, for which the Church cannot pro­vide, the spirit of her Ministers is free. Who will forbid her Ministers to supply in such a case, that by a voluntary and arbitra­ry form, that the Church could not provide for in a set form? But such cases where this is necessary, will be very rare, and must keep their place.

9. And for Family, and Closet Prayers, what ever freedom of expression any man hath, whensoever he devoutly and [Page 200]piously addresseth himself to God in a form of words, in the daily and constant matters of worship,Of Prayer in Fami­lies and Closets. as acknowledging, and adoring the Divine excellencies and perfections, blessing God for daily bene­fits, and seeking to him for such mercies, as we always stand in need of; I do not see, how the least blame can be charged upon such a Person, but his mind may be enlarged, his memory helped, and his affections quickned thereby.

10. And so far as I can discern, the ordinary use of a well composed form, may usually in a Family, most conduce to the promoting inward and serious Piety, upon many of the same grounds that prove it expedient in the publick service. and the disparaging the use of forms of Prayer in Families, is both un­reasonable, and really hurtful to Religi­on:Forms of Prayer of great use in Families. it being the probable occasion of the total neglect of such Religious servi­ces in many Families; many persons on this account, omitting the use of all Prayer in their Families, rather than to expose themselves to be censured as weak, in using a Form. And other per­sons of greater confidence, perform this much worse, both as to matter and words of Prayer, and the profit of others, than they might do in the use of a good form. [Page 201]And I desire, that this thing may be se­riously and carefully considered, it being of concernment to the real profit and good of men, however it may be slight­ed by some conceited and self-pleasing Persons. To this purpose, Cappellus declared his dislike of them, whoThes. Salmur. de Litur­g. n. 30. cer­tas orandi formulas, etiam in privatis fami­lijs damnant, condemn fixed forms of Prayer, even in private Families. And what Melancthon speaks, in approbation of forms in private, as well as in publick, I haveCh. 3. Sect. 3. n. ult. above noted.

11. But because, many private cases, which may be of great concernment to particular persons and Families, may be more properly taken into the subject of Family Devotions, than of publick As­semblies: it is expedient, and ordinarily necessary, that such things also be upon emergent occasions presented to God, for obtaining his help and blessing, in as suitable words, as the person is able to express, and without affecting variety of words. And in the Closet, many things concerning the persons own particular case and wnats, which cannot be com­prised in a form, are needful matters of his private and retired Devotion: which may either be by vocal expressions, or only by the inward lively motions of a [Page 202]contrite spirit, as the person himself finds most expedient. Wherefore Dr. Hammond declared,ubi sup. That it is suppo­sed by the Church, that in the Family and Closet, every man may ask his own wants, in what form of words he shall think fit. and what he said, and the liberty therein expressed, was observed as an instance of the moderation of our Church, by my worthy friendMode­rat. of the Chur. Ch. 7. §. 6. Dr. Puller. And I acknowledg, That if any Superior should forbid all such private Confessi­ons and Petitions, this being against the duty of a Creature, and a Christian, ought not to be submitted to. But blessed be God our Governors are far enough from any such thing, nor ought our Au­thor to propose it.

12. Wherefore the result of this mat­ter, is this, That the performing the pub­lick offices of the Church by a set-form, is that which is really profitable to Chri­stianity: and the appointing them to be so performed, ought not to be looked on, as meer act of Power and Domini­on, in our Superiors, which is designed no farther than to try the Subjects obe­dience; but in this case, it is a pious act of their Christian care and prudence. If all Ministers should perform these Offices, without prescribed Forms, how [Page 203]many inconveniencies, Constant use of Li­turgies is advanta­geous. and what impedi­ments to piety must constantly in some things, and might frequently in others thence ensue, is easie to be considered; and in many things hath been, and in part willCh. 9. farther be expressed in this Book. the celebrating these Offices by some with a Form, and by others without one, would be an engine of Discord and Faction; and men of high conceit and rash confidence, who are most apt to mis­carry, would be most impatient of that restraint, from which others are free. And if any one person under a wel-con­stituted order, use his own different way of celebrating Divine Offices, (be­ing member of that, and not of any foreign Church) even this would be against the peace of the Church, and so not to be desired of any good man. And this man also, whoever he be, un­less he keep himself to the same seriously premeditated things, will not perform these with that exactness, that is in a Form, and may be sometimes liable to defects of memory or expression. And Forms of Prayer are also of excellent and singular use in Families and in Clo­sets.

13. Yet we account other Prayers, besides Forms, in their placeDr. Hammon. Pract. Catech. of Prayer. allow­able. [Page 204]God forbid, that any should speak, against the general matter and design of such a Work, as St. Austins Confessions, or the pious Meditations and Soliloquies,Other Prayers in their place useful. of many ancient and mo­dern devout men. And we esteem it so useful an exercise of Religion, for Christians frequently to set themselves to take a strict account of themselves, and penitently to confess their particular neglects and trespasses, and to implore the needful mercies and blessings of God, that none need to fear, that any Christian Governor will ever prohibit such things. And whereas by a constant strict course of Piety, some persons have arrived in a tranquillity of mind, to an higher de­gree of Mortification, Of the highest and most raised Devoti­ons. and holy sublime affections to, and sense of God, and his Goodness, than the generality even of other pious Christians; it is fit that in their private Devotions, they express, as they think most expedient, the noble, grave and sober sentiments of their Souls, in acts of Adoration. But such things are unfit for publick conventions, being too high for the common state of men, who can more easily admire them, than joyn in them. And all En. husi­astical pretences, and the methods of speaking mystical non-sense, deserve no [Page 205]where either commendation or any al­lowance.

14. And I humbly beseech Almighty God, in the name of his only Son, who founded his Church in Ʋnity, that all men who have any love of God or goodness, may at length learn to study, and to do and speak those things, which tend to peace in the Church, and not to make breaches therein, and to divide it. And that we may all more thankfully acknowledg the signal mercy of God to us, That we have the priviledg of having been educated, in so excellent a part of the Christian Church, as our Church is. And God grant that this Discourse, may have some influence to­wards these ends.

15. But it would be diligently con­sidered,No peace and order, where eve­ry person or party will un­dertake to new-model the Church That no Church can enjoy Peace, but that whose members keep their own station, and the governing and ordering part, is left to the Gover­nors and Superiors, to be determined by them, others yielding due submission in things lawful. But if every man, or every several club, or distinction and party of men, may claim to themselves a power, of new-modelling the state of the Church; this not only tends to con­fusions, but speaks them to intrude them­selves [Page 206]into the office of the Supreme Governor;Ch. VI. and that they may overlook and overturn, all the foundation and fa­brick of a well ordered Church.

CHAP. VI. Of Preaching, and whether it be as reasonable, to preach in a Form of Words composed by others, as to pray in a prescribed Form?

HIS fifth Argument is,Reas. Acc. p. 98, 100. that if Ministers may obey Men, in perfor­ming their Ministerial Acts of solemn Prayer, by the prescribed Forms of o­thers; upon the same principle may all Ministerial Gifts in preaching be sup­pressed, and Ministers may be appoin­ted to read some Discourses of others to the People. Now what I premised to the foregoing Argument, may be a­gain useful to be considered here. But since I have manifested, the ordinary and constant usefulness, of set Forms of Prayer in Publick Worship, for the ad­vantage of Religion; if he be able to prove the same, concerning the ordi­nary [Page 207]using the Discourses of others in Preaching, (as I conceive he never can) he hath then, and not till then, made the Cases parallel.

2. The different practice of the Chri­stian Church, Forms of Prayer, be­ing most expedient, do not prove it best to have constant Forms of Preaching. which for many Ages be­fore the Romish Corruptions over­spread it, constantly used set Forms of Prayer, when their Sermons were com­posed by the Preachers themselves, and the like usage in our own Church, may incline modest men to think, that these Cases are not alike. The Apostolical Doctrine required of the Clergy, that they should be apt to teach, and so doth our own Book of Ordination, and theCan. Ap. 58. Syn. in Trul. c. 19. Ancient Canons required their dili­gent practice herein: And the use of such Instructions or Exhortations, in the Christian Assemblies, is of as early Ori­ginal as from the first Ages, as appears from the Testimonies ofJust. Mar. Ap. 2. Justin Mar­tyr, andTert. Apol. c. 39. Tertullian; and the con­tinuance thereof is evident from very many Homilies, Tractates and Orations of following Ages, which are yet ex­tant. And our Author may, if he please, consider such differences as these.

3. First, Preaching is directed to Men, but publick Prayer to God in the [Page 208]name of Men. And therefore as bothDisc. 1. on Mat. 6.9. Mr. Mede, andOf Pray­er extem. n. 57. Bishop Taylor, observe, It is convenient the People should know beforehand, what the Mini­ster puts up to God in their names, but there is not the like reason for Preach­ing. And variety of Words and Expres­sions, have a considerable efficacy upon the minds of Men: Whereas it is a thing unworthy of God, asInstit. l. 3. c. 20. n. 29. Calvin ob­serves, to think that he is humano more persuadendus, to be wrought upon by words as Men are. For while he search­eth the Heart, his attention is not to be procured by arts of Speech, or him­self moved, affected, or pleased by a new composure of words.Several things which make the case of Prayer and Preaching herein dif­ferent. And besides this, a pious reverence not only in our Hearts, but in well-deliberated words, and in gestures also, is considerable in the sight of God; and this is more due to God to whom we pray, than to Men to whom we preach.

4. Secondly, As the matter for Ser­mons, or popular Discourses, is of so large extent, as to include all the great and necessary Doctrines and Rules of Religion, so that are too oft corrupt No­tions and Opinions which subvert Piety, and ill practices which may be apt to prevail, at some special times and places. [Page 209]Now here a watchful Minister, will en­deavour to beat down all such Notions and Practices, which cannot well be done but by his own Abilities, in an­swering all their Pleas, Pretences and Objections.

5. Thirdly, By this means he can ac­quaint his People with such things as he thinks, in the Matter of them, most pro­per and sutable to them, and can pro­pose these things in such a manner, as is most agreeing to their Capacities; which thing was noted byTr. 13. Ch. 1. Div. 7, Bishop Whitgift, to be of great advantage in or­der to profiting. And to this purpose also it is reasonable, that the Method and manner of Composure, of popular Discourses, be such as suit the Place, Time and Age, wherein we live.

6. Fourthly, It is not only requisite that our Publick Service of God be at all times so comprehensive, as to take in all the usual parts of Religious Wor­ship: Adoration, Thanksgiving, and Sup­plication, for all ordinary Blessings; but this also seemeth enjoyned by Apostoli­cal Precept, 1 Tim. 2.1, 2. and there­fore it is expedient to secure this Com­prehensiveness, by a publick Form. But it is no way needful, that every Ser­mon should contain all the necessary [Page 210]points of Doctrine and Practice, but such a particular Branch thereof, as the Speaker thinks most proper. But was he to declare or express all the Articles, or Doctrines of the Christian Faith; certainly a known Creed is more fit for this purpose, than a new Composure. And besides this, as the temper of the Age accounteth it a Disparagement to preach a Sermon composed by another Man; this temper having nothing of hurt in it (as the condemning Forms of Prayer hath) is fit to be complied with, for the benefit of the Hearers. And these things will shew, that able Mini­sters ought ordinarily to preach Sermons of their own preparing. See also Chap. 7. n. 4.

6. But notwithstanding this,Instructi­ons and Exhorta­tions in some cases best perfor­med by a Form. it is far from being a Sin, for Ministers in their instructing others, to make use of what is Composed by others, in such cases, where this may tend to the greater pro­fit or advantage, of the Persons to be instructed. In acquainting others with the principles of Religion, or Catechi­sing them, it is certainly best, that this be done in the use of a known set Form of Catechism. The short exhorta­tion in administring the holy Communion, (and the like may be said of other Of­fices) [Page 211]where the Graces to be exerci­sed, and the Duties to be performed, are constantly the same, may be better performed in a well composed pithy Form, than by a continued varying.

7. And for Sermons, as it may be ve­ry allowable, to cite one or more sen­tences from an approved Author, when this may be of good use: So I know no reason, why in some cases the using a larger portion of anothers Discourse, openly and freely owning the Author, may not be done without any blame, where the authority of the Person, or the Discourse it self, might have a grea­ter efficacy, on the promoting Good­ness and Religion, than what the Spea­ker might express in his own words. It wasAug de Doc. Chr. l. 4. c. 29. St. Austin's judgment, that such of the Clergy who could not com­pose Discourses, so well as they could speak them, might do good service to the Church, by publickly pronouncing what was made by others. And I doubt not, it had been much better for many Teach­ers, and for the Church of God too, if they had sown good Seed, received from other faithful Hands, rather than to have dispersed their own Tares, Er­rors, and unsound Doctrines. In the Primitive Times, it was ordinary, to [Page 212]read publickly on the Lord's Days, in the Christian Assemblies, the Epistles of some eminent Men, and some Histo­rical Relations which concerned the Church: And there would be the same reason for a Sermon or Homily, where that might have a remarkable influence on the Churches good. And it is most probable, that the ApostleWhitak. Controv. r. 1. Qu. 3. c. 4. Da­ven. in Loc. requires an Epistle written from the Church of Laodicea, to be read in the Church at Coloss, Col. 4.16.

8. But though I have a due value and esteem for Preaching, yet I can by no means come up to our Author's height, who not only calls Preaching theReas. Acc. p. 99. greatest Ordinance of the Gospel; but he also declaresP. 108. from the Commissio­ners in the Savoy, that Preaching is such a Speaking in God's Name to the Peo­ple, and a speaking his Word, Truth, or Message, that we make God a Lyar, if we speak a falshood in his Name. Sure­ly he who thinks,Of the due esteem and value for Preaching. that every expression he useth in Preaching, must be a Di­vine Oracle, and that if he be guilty of any Mistake, he becomes thereby so horrid a Blasphemer, as to make God a Lyar; had need confine himself to the manifest Articles of the Christian Faith, and the clear and plain rules of Practice, [Page 213]or to some certain form of sound words; and for other things had need shut and seal up his lips, until he have surely at­tained (what he must never expect) the gift of Infallibility: and our Author, if he preach at that loose rate which he writeth, hath reason then to tremble and stand amazed.

9. In preaching, the Minister by con­sidering the general rules of Goodness and Truth, and the particular Doctrines of the Scripture, and divine Revelation, is conscientiously towards God and man, to declare what he discerneth to be useful and wholsom Truth. And in the main and necessary things of the Christi­an Faith and Life, there is such certain evidence thereof, that I do willingly call it infallible: and other Expositions, Directions and Notions, he is to express with pious care and sincerity, but not with any pretence to Infallibility. I do acknowledg, that it is matter of La­mentation, that very many persons are much wanting in that due Reverence, they ought to have for their spiritual Guides, whom God hath set over them; and their Counsels, Instructions, Exhor­tations and Discourses are not received with such an humble temper of mind, as is suitable to be expressed, to Gods offi­cers [Page 214]and Ministers, unto whom he hath committed a very great Authority. And there is also another great miscarriage on the other hand, in them who lay too high a stress upon preaching and hearing, and too little upon practising; or upon the fearing God, and keeping his Com­mandments; upon honouring the pecu­liar Institutions of our Saviour, in reve­rencing the Ministry he sent, highly esteeming the Unity and Communion of the Church which he founded, celebra­ting the Sacraments which he instituted; and in being peaceable, humble, meek and charitable towards men, and obedient to Superiours.

10. I shall take no further notice of any thing in this Chapter, save of one clause wherein he reflects on the Mini­stry of our Church, and their preaching, saith hep. 107 How many Discourses of late years, have we had in Pulpits, pretending to prove, men have a natural power to things spiritually good; That we are not ju­stified by the imputed righteousness of Christ, but by our own works? How many perfect Satyrs, Railleries, and evomitions of the lusts and choler in the Preachers hearts? These are the kind words and meek expressions, of one who judgeth and censures the sharpness of other men; [Page 215]and in almost every Chapter, he breaks out into the same temper and spirit of Reproaching. Now whosoever they be,Our Au­thor no fit person to complain of contumeli­ous expres­sions in Sermons. who are over fierce and Satyrical in their words, I shall neither justifie nor excuse them. But thus much I shall add, that within these Twenty years last past, I have heard very many Sermons, preached by Reverend and worthy persons of the Church of England, besides what I have preached my self; and in all these Discourses, I do not remember, that I ever heard so many Contumelious ex­pressions, towards our Dissenters, as may be found against the Ministry of our Church, in this one little Book of our complaining Author.

11. And concerning Discourses, to prove that men have a natural power to do things spiritually good, Of the power of men to do things spi­ritually good. it is easie to see through his mistake. All the Ministers of our Church, with thankfulness be­lieve and profess, Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of the World; and that the new Covenant of grace is confirmed through him, and that we are now un­der this day of grace and Salvation; wherein God gives his aids and assi­stances, besides the instructions of his word, the mighty motives of his Gospel, and the benefits of the Ministry of re­conciliation, [Page 216]and his holy Sacraments. And surely all this, is more than the power of Nature. Now to say, That men under these helps, if they be not wanting to themselves, may work out their own Salvation, believe and submit themselves to the Doctrines of the Go­spel, and live Godly, Righteously and Soberly: this is not to exalt the power of Nature, as our Author mistakes it, but it is to own the advantages of the Gospel-Grace, and of the mediation and undertaking of our Saviour. But if under these gracious circumstances, men are in no capacity of doing any spiritual good, or of being persuaded to it; I cannot understand to what end Preach­ing can tend, when it must be in vain to exhort them to their Duty, and unrea­sonable to reprove their neglect of it; Nor can they act without natural powers and faculties.

12. And concerning Justification there is as little reason for his complaint, as in the former head. We disclaim every where merit in our own works and actions, and do here acknowledg, That our Saviour hath, as our mediator, in­terposed by his Obedience, Righteous­ness and Sacrifice, to expiate our Sins, give the sanction to the new Covenant [Page 217]of Grace and Righteousness and to assure the mercy of God, and pardon and for­giveness upon the terms thereof.Of the terms arnd condition of our ju­stification, an its de­pendence upon the Righteous­ness and Sacrifice of Christ. But if we speak of the Gospel-condition of Justification, that must be performed by us our selves, and we do account, that as Repentance, which excludes forsaking evil and doing good, is a necessary con­dition to the obtaining pardon of sin (which I presume no sober Christian will deny) so consequently, it must be necessary to our being justified; unless we can be justified, and yet unpar­doned.

13. Or to speak plainly, all sin what­soever stands forbidden by the Holy rules and precepts of the Gospel, as much as by any other Dispensation: but the terms of the Gospel-Covenant, are so gracious and extensive, that they admit Repentance, tender pardon, and accept the sincere obedience of the Christian faith and life; yet all that is necessary, as the condition of the Gospel, in order to our being ac­cepted into Gods favour, is necessary to our justification. And that a renewed and Holy life is necessary hereto, is ma­nifest, from that wrath and threatning, denounced against workers of Iniquity, and from the impossibility for them to find favour, in the sight of God, who [Page 218]do not do the Will of our Father which is in Heaven.

14. Yet the Gospel-justification, up­on these terms of Grace in the new Co­venant, is still through the redemption of our Saviour, and faith in him: and from the benefit of his Sacrifice, we receive the pardon of our sins, in the Holy Sa­craments of the Gospel especially; in the administration of which Sacra­ments, is a principal part of the benefit of the Ministry of Reconciliation. But it cannot be, that the Righteousness of Christ, should be so imputed to us, that we should be looked on, as having done or suffered, what he did or suffered: for then must every Christian be reputed and looked on, as having performed the office of Mediator, and having paid to God the price of Redemption, for the sins of the World, and as having made Re­conciliation, and obtained thereby Re­mission: and then besides many other gross absurdities, they might be invoca­ted on this account, for the dispensing the same. And they who are reputed to have performed compleat actual sin­less Obedience, need no such Grace, whereby they must receive pardon and Remission. But the Holy Jesus by his Sacrifice, hath made a way of Reconcili­ation, [Page 219]and, as our Mediator, hath by his Blood established that new Covenant of Grace, whereby through his Redemp­tion, we may be justified, upon perfor­ming the Conditions of his Gospel. And I see no other blame can be charged on this Doctrine, unless it be, that it is consistent with it self, and with what was delivered by the Apostles of our Lord.

CHAP. VII. Praying by a Form, is very rashly and injuriously charged with mocking of God.

IN his seventh Chapter, he produceth his sixth Argument, which is, That forReas. Acc. p. 115. Ministers who have the Gift of Prayer, to perform publick Vocal Prayer, by the prescribed Forms of others, is to pretend to do an act of Worship, and at the same time not to do it, and isP. 115 to mock God and deceive their own Souls.

2. Now this is a very heavy Charge, if it be true, and can be proved; but if all this shall appear to be a false Ac­cusation, [Page 220]and to be untrue,Ch. VII. it is then no little Slander and Calumny, upon the Religious Worship of God;Praying by a Form no mocking God. and upon all those Churches of God, and Pious Christians, who make use of Forms in their Prayers. And to make good his Charge, our Author must here recal and deny, what he hath so often grant­ed, That the use of Forms of Prayer are in themselves lawful, and that they may be lawfully used by Ministers in some cases. For if they be a mocking of God, and the duty of Prayer is not really performed, in the use of them, but is only pretended so to be, to the deceiving mens own Souls, then they are certainly unlawful.

3. Now his chief and yet trifling Ar­gument, to make good this very weigh­ty and heavy Charge, is this,P. 116, 117. That the command to go and Preach, requi­reth the Ministers exercise of his own Inventing and Composing, and therefore so must the Command to make publick Prayers. Now in answer to this, it may be sufficient to say,The nature and exer­cise of Prayer is sutably per­formed by a Form. That every Duty is to be performed, sutably to the nature of the Duty it self, or in such a manner, as may best tend to the pleasing of God, and the exercising true Piety therein. But in publick [Page 221]Prayer, Religious Devotion, and gra­cious dispositions and desires towards God, are the great things to be practised; and to that end, the use of a Form of words in publick Ser­vice, is well accommodated, as I have shewed, and therefore may be not only fitly, but profitably used.

4. And with respect to Preaching, though our Author will find it a dif­ficult task to prove, that in every In­struction, a Minister is bound to have new matter of Invention and Compositi­on; yet his greatest mistake is, in sup­posing the cases of Instruction, Exhor­tation, or Preaching, and of Praying, to be parallel. For where in instructing others in the knowledg of Religion,Of the comparing Preaching and Pray­ing. it is the Ministers duty to teach them what they before understood not, and to that end to use new Words, that they may learn Knowledg; it can never be imagined, that he ought also to ac­quaint God in Prayer, with what he be­fore understood not. And when in Exhortations to Men, to make them better, and to change their Tempers, it may be of good use, to suggest to them, and urge upon them, such Arguments and Considerations, as before they ei­ther never thought of, or at least did [Page 222]not duly consider the weight and force of them; there is not the like reason of using frequently new words and expres­sions to God, as if men were to put him in mind, of the force of such things, as he had not considered. Surely no­thing can be more weak, than to insist on such unlike Comparisons, instead of Arguments.

5. But besides this, he tells us, that those words in Scripture, which are used in commanding publick Prayer, are not used concerning the reciting or reading the words of others. Thus he saith when Prayer is commanded, Hos. 14.2. and Joel 2.17. the word is [...], say, and he saith,P. 118. He is not awar of any Text in the Old Testament, where that word signifies the Recitation, or repetition of Words formed by others. Of the words of Scripture which en­joyn Pray­er. Now if this was true, it would be very little, or not at all to purpose, unless he could prove, that the using of the words of a Form, is not Speaking, or Saying. But yet in truth, notwithstanding his pretence to Critical Observations, in which he is also very unhappy, this ve­ry word [...] to Speak, or Say, is very frequently in the Old Testament, used for reciting the words prescribed by others; as in Gen. 32.4. Deut. 26.5. [Page 223] Deut. 27.14. and in many other places.

6. And he tells us,P. 119. That in the New Testament, the Precepts for Pray­er are expressed, by [...], to Pray, and [...], to Say, to wit, in Praying. But what meaneth he? Are these words never made use of for the reciting a Form of Prayer, when they are the very words, by which the Lords Prayer is prescribed? The former [...]. Mat. 6.9. and both of them [...]. Luke 11.2. And the former of them, toge­ther with the Noun derived from the latter, is used [...]. Mat. 26.44. to ex­press our Saviour his Praying the third time, saying the same words. I might al­so mind our Author, that giving thanks to God, is in Scripture expressed to be done, in reciting the words of others, 1 Chron. 16.7. But though I was not willing to pass by any thing which he urged, though but under the appea­rance of an Argument, I must intreat the Readers pardon, in giving him the trouble of perusing a thing so very in­considerable, as this Argument is.

7. Indeed he tells us,p. 120. he layes a greater stress upon his former Arguments, than upon this: but what little reason he hath, to lay any such stress upon them, may, I hope, by this time appear. [Page 224]But he saith, he cannot think this altoge­ther vain and impertinent; but of that, let others judge. But withal, this Ar­gument had need to be of great force, when upon the account of this, he tells us again, in theIbid. close of this Chap­ter, he makes it a great question, whether if we think to fulfil the command of God, for vocal Ministerial prayer, by reading Forms, we should not come short of what God requires, and both mock God, and de­ceive our own Souls. Thus some men with extravagancy enough, can speak great and swelling words, supported, or rather unsupported, by weak, feeble and impotent Arguments. And his last words of this Chapter are, That there is neither Precept nor President, for pray­ing by Forms; which assertion, he hath peremptorily avowed again and again, though it be plainly against both the Scriptures, and the sense of the Ʋniversal Church, and the contrary thereunto I have aboveChap. 3. Sect. 2, & 3. plainly proved.

CHAP. VIII. C. VIII. Forms of Prayer are falsly accused, of debasing the Ministry, and of seve­ral unblest Effects.

HIs seventh Argument is,Reas. Acc. p. 120, 121. That Ministers performing their Mini­sterial acts in Prayer, by prescribed Forms, tends to level the sacred Office of the Mi­nistry, to the capacity of the meanest of the People: but saith he,p. 121. God would never have erected an Office, to do what the meanest person in the Church, hath a natu­ral ability to do. And he there adds, there is nothing plainer in the whole Book of God, than that God hath established a peculiar order of persons to be his Mini­sters, to declare his will unto his People, and on their behalf to intercede with God in Prayer. And he saith, if thisp. 122. might be performed by Forms, there would be no great reason for any peculiar mainte­nance for the Ministry, nor for Honour and Reverence to them. Now in answer to this, I shall observe four things:

2. Obs. 1. That he gives a very de­fective description, of the work and [Page 226]business of the Ministry; as if it only consisted in being Orators, and in the well using words and expressions.Of the work and Office of the Mini­stry. And this is no more than a master of a Family may do, to instruct and pray for those of his Family: but it must be the exer­cise of a special power of Office, which must be the chief Ministerial performan­ces, of those who are in the Sacred fun­ction of the Ministry. Wherefore by special Authority and Commission, to re­ceive persons into the Church, in the name of Christ; and to govern them in it, to exercise the power of the Keys, to consecrate the holy Sacraments, and therein to exhibit in Christs name, the tender and seal of remission of Sins, and by his Authority Ministerially to dis­pense Absolution and Remission, to them who are qualified to receive it, by per­forming the conditions of the Gospel; these and other such acts of Authority, are the great and chief parts of the Mi­nisterial office, which he wholly omits. And even instructions and prayers, per­formed by those who are in this Sacred function, are of greater moment, be­cause of their Office. But what God worketh by their Ministry, is especially to be regarded; and if this was nothing, asChrys. in 2 Tim. c. 1. Hom. 2. St. Chrysostome argues, [...], [Page 227]&c. Thou thy self neither hast any Baptism, nor dost thou receive the Sacra­ments, nor dost thou enjoy Benedictions, nor indeed art thou a Christian.

3. Obs. 2. The use of Forms of Prayer is far from rendring learning, knowledg, and such like abilities useless, or needless for the Ministry: nor can any man that knows the work and du­ty of a Minister, judge so. Besides his preaching, so as to approve himself a workman that need not be ashamed; he is by his Office, to be a spiritual Guide to the consciences of others,Learning and know­ledg great­ly requisite to the Mi­nistry. when they apply themselves to him for Counsel and Advice, not only for their comfort, but chiefly for their practice. He is to direct and oblige Offenders, who are under his care, to observe the due rules and exer­cises of Repentance; and this with re­spect to conscience, men ought to take more notice of, than most persons do. And in a time, when the Church and Truth hath many enemies (and this Au­thor might have been better employed, than to have appeared as one) the Mi­nisters of the Church are to be able to convince, or at least to confound their Adversaries, and detect their errors, and the danger of them. They are also to watch over their charge, and as much [Page 228]as may be, to preserve them from being led aside, by the slight and cunning craf­tiness of them, who would deceive them. And these are things, which re­quire far greater abilities, study, care and diligence, than is needful to enable any man, to use fluent expressions in Prayer.

4.The wean­est persons A [...]ristred in the Church, when forms of Prayer were dis­ [...]ed most. Obs. 3. The time when Liturgies were laid aside in England, was that time when many of the meanest of the Peo­ple, both men of weak abilities, who yet could speak confidently, and also men of bad and erroneous Principles, were thought fit to be taken into the Ministry, in the place of many sound and able men, who were cast out. And the performing Prayer, and popular Ser­mons, after that method our Author con­tends for, in expression of their own, may be effected, to the satisfaction of great numbers of ordinary hearers (whatever may be pretended to the contrary) by a man who hath a forward tongue, and but indifferent parts, with­out any considerable learning or study, and without much knowledg of the Doctrines of Religion and Christianity. There are so many evidences of this, among the several parties of our divi­ded Separations, that the chief persons [Page 229]among our Dissenters, do very well know the Truth thereof.

5. Obs. 4. Our Author's assertion, That God would never erect an Office or Order of Persons, to do what the meanest of the People, have a natural capacity to do, is also certainly false. The Priests Office un­der the Law. For under the Law, the office of the Priests, was par­ticularly appointed to minister before the Lord, by offering Incense and Sa­crifices, though Corah and his Compa­ny, and any other of the Israelites, had Natural Capacities of knowing how to order the Incense and Sacrifices, as well as the Priests. And the High Priest was to offer the Sacrifices for Attonement, and to enter into the Holy of Holies, with the Blood thereof; and perform­ing other Rites of Expiation, to bless the People; and upon occasion to ask coun­sel of God by Ʋrim and Thummim. The Levites also, were to wait on the service of the Tabernacle. And these and such like Rites, were accompanied with Prayers and Praises; but I haveCh 3. Sect. 3. a­bove shewed, that prescribed Forms were used in that Service. But none of these Persons were by their relation to the Tabernacle, or Temple, or by ver­tue of the Offices of Divine Appoint­ment, Scribes or Rabbins, or Doctors [Page 230]of the Law, and Sons of the Prophets, to teach the People in their Synagogues. Indeed after the time of David, when the Ark had rest in the Tabernacle he pitched, many of the Levites were made Officers and Judges of the People, and were therefore to direct them in the Law of God, and the knowledg of his Will, and some of their Scribes might also be of this Tribe, as well as of any other. But this was not their Original Office, further than as good Men, and the special Servants of god to attend upon his Worship, they would by their Example, and no doubt by their Coun­sel also, excite others to perform care­fully the Service of God, and to keep his Law.

6. And with respect to what our Au­thor speaks,God's Law made a large pro­vision for the Main­tenance of the Levites concerning the Maintenance of the Ministry, it is worthy to be obser­ved, that God himself then thought fit, for the Honour of his Worship and Mi­nistry, to allot and appoint a greater In­come, for the support and plentiful sub­sistance of the Priests and Levites, than our Clergy now enjoy, and the Revenue of their Priests, was greater than that of our Bishops. For the manifesting of which, it may be considered, that after the Israelites came out of Egypt, the o­ther [Page 231]Tribes besides the Levites, had males from twenty years old and upward, six hundred thousand, three thousand, five hundred and fifty, Numb. 1.45, 46, 47. But the Levites being numbred from a month old and upwards, were only twen­ty and two thousand, Numb. 3.39. And in reasonable conjecture, those of them who were under twenty years old, might be near as many, as those who were above it. But if there were thir­teen thousand Levites, who were twen­ty years old and upwards, we will pro­ceed upon that Supposition as probable. Now God gave the Tribe of Levi all the Tenth, or Tith of the Land of Is­rael, Numb. 18.21, 24. and the other nine parts being reserved to the other Israelites, these thirteen thousand Levites, who were grown Men, had a larger provision, from these Tithes alone, than sixty seven thousand grown Men of the other Israelites had, though every one of these Israelites, was to have their in­heritance of Freehold, and none was to be poor among them. So that every man of the Levites, had from this Re­venue alone, a more ample Provision and Subsistance, than five Men of the other Tribes, who were heads of Fa­milies, taking them one with another. [Page 232]But then if to this be added, their own Flocks, and the Suburbs of their Cities, Numb. 35.2, 3. and their share, in the extraordinary Tithe of the third Year, Deut. 14.28, 29. and in some other Ob­lations, Deut. 12.12. Chap. 16.11. These things with other Accessions and Priviledges, which they had, make their proportion much more considerable.

7.The great Revenue appointed by God for the Priests. And whereas at that time, there were only five Persons consecrated Priests; Aaron the High Priest, and his Sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Exod. 28.1. Nadab and Abihu being dead without any Issue, Lev. 10.2. Num. 3.2, 3, 4. there remained then on­ly three Persons, who ministred as Priests, in the Service of God. I confess their number after increased, and so did the number of the other Tribes. But these Priests had the tenth of the Tithe allotted to them, Numb. 18.26, 28. and upon this account alone, there was appointed by the Divine Law, for these three Priests, a much greater Revenue, than for six thousand Men fit for War, of the other Tribes. But besides this, the Priests had the First-fruits of the Land, which God gave to them, Numb. 18.12. which, asPhilo. de Sacer­dot. Pro­em. & Honor. p. 830, 831. Philo, agreeably to the Scripture observes, included even the [Page 233] First-fruits of their Bread, and the best of their Corn, Wine, Oyl, and other in­crease. And it hath been observed from other Jewish Writers, that some gave the Fortieth part of their increase, others the Fiftieth, and others the Six­tieth part for their First-fruits. The Redemption also of the First-born of Men, and of them who were under a Vow, the Firstlings of the clean Beasts, and the redemption of other Firstlings; their proportion in the se­veral Sacrifices, in some the wave Breast, and heave Shoulder, and the Skins of se­veral Burnt-offerings, asIbid. p. 833. Philo no­ted, and the Scripture it self declares, Lev. 7.8. These things, besides their interest in Free-will Offerings, and vo­luntary Oblations, do very much add to the greatness of their Revenue, which was assigned them by the Law.

8. And we may further note from Josephus, who was himself one of the Priests, that notwithstanding this ample Provision, God then made for these his Priests, yet they were not at the expence of the daily Sacrifice, or the Lamb that was offered every Morning and Eve­ning; but that was defraiedJos. An­tiq. Jud. l. 3. c. 10. [...], by a publick or com­mon Charge: Only the daily Meat-offer­ing [Page 234]was prepared by the Priests, upon their own expence, and the Bullock of­fered for the High Priest, upon the day of Atonement, was at the charge of the High Priest himself, asIbid. the same Au­thor attesteth.

9. Thus whatsoever our Author may think to the contrary, the Wisdom of the most High God did annex a great, and honourable Revenue, (such saithUbi sup. Philo, as might resemble the glory and majesty of Princes) for them who were his Officers, though their Work was none other, than what other Persons had a natural capacity to do. But other Persons had not a Divine Authority to act as God's Officers, and to intermeddle in his sacred Institutions. And it is a much more high and honourable thing, in the sight of all who have any lively sense of God upon their hearts, to be his Officers, invested with a special and ex­cellent authority from him, than to be so far popular Orators, as to be able to speak to the satisfaction of the People, or even to their admiration.

10. Having now ended his Syllogisti­cal Arguments, he tells us,P. 123. He shall only instance in one thing more, and that is those unblest effects, which, saith he, are matters of Demonstration to us: These [Page 235] P. 131. he calls, Effects obvious to every Eye; and entring upon them saith,P. 124. Let us instance in some too evident effects of Forms of Prayer, &c. And the first of these is, The filling the Church of God, with an ignorant, lazy, and sottish Mi­nistry. He indeed here excepts very many Persons, but yet these are his re­proachful words, reflecting upon the generality of our Ministry, or in his own expression, those that fill the Church. Now such an open notorious and shameless Calumny, ought not to pass without just rebuke. The great accuser of the Brethren, to his grief and indignation knows, that there is now in England as Learned, Able,The Eng­lish Clergy falsly asper­sed as Ig­norant, Lazie, and Sottish. and In­dustrious a Clergy, as this Church ever had, or any other of so numerous a Mi­nistry: Nor can the main Body of our Clergy, be called Ignorant and Sottish, but by such Persons as make no con­science of Slandering, and speaking fals­ly. And truly, Sir, to say no more, the reason and understanding part of this your Discourse, which you intitle, A Reasonable Account, &c. is very far from being above the pitch, of the ge­nerality of that part of our Ministry, which I have had the opportunity to know. And if you were indeed the [Page 236]main Men, acquainted with Knowledg and Learning, and had the advantage of Truth also on your side, as you pretend, how easily might you bafle and confute us, by clear and plain Evidence, which your selves are sensible enough you can­not do. And therefore your most usual Methods are, to work upon the fearful and melancholy temper of some, and up­on the fierce and angry disposition of others, and upon the earnest and weak af­fections, and the prejudices of many well-disposed People: But you can hope to prevail little, on men of even, calm, and composed Tempers, and Persons of the best judgment and understanding.

11. A second effect he instanceth in, is,P. 125. The loss of Ministerial Gifts and Abilities. But blessed be God, there is no loss in our Church, of any Abilities, requisite for the due discharge of the Ministry. But he here again falls upon the gift of Prayer; of which, as also of the lawfulness, and profitableness of u­sing of Forms of Prayer, I have suffi­ciently discoursed, in the former part of this Book.

12. His third and last,P. 130. If not ef­fect, yet experimented consequence of pre­scribed Forms, is a flood of Iniquity, for more than an hundred Years, caused there­by, [Page 237]in our parts of the World. Hence saith he, Bitter words in Pulpits, and printed Books, which have vexed righte­ous Souls, who have had nothing to reply, but, The Lord rebuke you. (They it seems wholly imitating the pattern of the Archangel, contending with the Devil, Jude 9.Ill effects charged upon Litur­gies, pro­ceed from another cause. Or of the Lord check­ing of Satan, Zech 3.2.) Hence saith he, Are ungodly representations to Superiours, of Men of whom the World was not wor­thy; hence suspensions of so many thou­sands, and Ruines of so many eminent Servants of God and their Families, and hence the separations of Christians from one another. Thus our Author char­geth a great deal of evil, upon our Laws and Governours, which accord­ing to his rash Position they must stand guilty of, unless all enjoyned Liturgies, and Uniformity be utterly rooted out of the Church, and unless they will lay aside that care they ought to have, of the due order and decency of the pub­lick Worship of God; and unless an Inlt may be opened, to such Confusions, Heresies, yea, and Blasphemies, as in these Kingdoms were brought into the Church, when Liturgies were shut out, and the publick Worship was perform­ed even by men of Erroneous princi­ples, [Page 238]according to the vanity of their own minds. But that our Author hath mistaken the true cause, of that evil he complains of, I have shewedCh. 3. Sect. 4. above, to which I refer. But that the violent and ungrounded oppositions, against law­ful constitutions, are too great an inlet into much iniquity, will I think appear manifest enough, from what I wrote in myB. 1. Ch. 1. throughout Libertas Ecclesiastica. And I do both heartily pity, and am really grieved and sorry, for the temper of such persons, who by their mistakes, and too much of eagerness and passion in them, not only expose themselves to outward inconveniencies, but which is of far grea­ter concernment, both run themselves into many sinful undertakings, and are the occasion of much hurt and evil to the Church of God; and make use of the latter, as a remedy against the former.

13. If any persons among us, have spoken or written, with overmuch pas­sion or sharpness, we will defend no man, wheresoever he deserves blame: but our Governours, and the Constitution of our Church, are not concerned herein. But have our Dissenters replyed nothing but calmness and meekness, as this Au­thor suggests? One might be apt to think, upon considering such words, that [Page 239]he is a stranger in England, and unac­quainted with affairs here, and may have lately come from some unknown Island, separated from converse with other parts of the world. I heartily wish their party had been as free from all fierceness, as this Author pretends,Many sad and evil effects from the opposers of our Liturg [...] and then both Church and State, would have enjoyed more quiet, and many things had never been heard of which have been a scandal to Christianity. But if their writings be reviewed from Mar­tin Mar-prelate to this present year, ma­ny of them will manifest that keen and bitter words, and reproaches and revi­lings, are no strangers to their Tents. It seems not wholly to have savoured of the spirit of Christian meekness, patience and gentleness, when they made such violent invectives against our Gover­nours, and Establishment, as kindled our late dreadful civil Wars, when they eje­cted, sequestred, imprisoned, and put to Death, great numbers of the Clergy, Gentry and Nobility, for their loyalty to the King, and their honourable respect to the Church, when they strained their hands, and more deeply their Consciences in eager and forward shedding the blood of many thousands of Christians, and dared to stretch out their hands against [Page 240]the Lords Anointed, and to take away the life of one of the best Princes, that ever the Christian world enjoyed. All this seems not to speak only the meekness of the Lamb, and the innocence of the Dove.

14. Besides the writings of particu­lar persons, could it be any other than a strange fierceness inAnsw. to Remon. p. 83.84. Smectymnuus, in charging the Clergy of our Church, with bringing in a new Creed, other Scri­ptures, another Baptism and Eucharist, and another Christ too; and another Heaven, from what Christianity propo­seth; which they call an Heaven recep­tive of Drunkards, Swearers, Adulte­rers, &c. Can it be otherwise, than that passion and uncharitableness made them write, what they could not but know to be far from Truth? They who have much conversed with very many men of this way, cannot be unacquainted with their temper of rash censuring, and un­charitable speaking, and may see reason to conclude, that these are not the great examples of Christian meekness. These things I should not have mentioned, but that as a charge against the establishment of our Liturgy, and the care of our Governours therein, our Author pre­tends many unblest effects to proceed [Page 241]from it,Ch. IX. whilest there is nothing but goodness and mildness in them who op­pose it; though he afterward acknow­ledgeth passions in them.

CHAP. IX. The Arguments for set Forms of Pray­er, are solid and substantial.

IN his ninth Chapter, he mentioneth divers Arguments, produced for Forms of Prayer, to which he returns his answers. Now since I have above, not only answered his Arguments, but in several parts of my Discourse, have proved the profitable use of Forms of Prayer, and have in my thirdSect. 2. Chap­ter, vindicated several Arguments, which I urged in my Libertas Ecclesiastica, it is not necessary for me to undertake the defence of others, which are insisted on by other men. But the five last Argu­ments expressed in this Chapter, which were urged by my self, I shall particu­larly consider, reflecting also upon some other Arguments and expressions.

2. And indeed my foregoing Dis­course, [Page 242]hath given a sufficient reply to many of his answers,Ch. VIII. to the Arguments he recites in this Chapter. For instance, To the first Argument for the lawful­ness of Ministers using Forms,p. 134. Forms of Prayer are not forbid­den. that what God hath not forbidden is lawful, he answers, that Forms in the case by him stated, are forbidden by the second com­mandment; which I spake to, Chap. 4. that they are forbidden by the precepts to stir up gifts; which I considered, Chap. 2. and are forbidden by those com­mands, which require us to worship God with all our hearts, and with the greatest attention and fervency; and of this I discoursed Chap. 3.

3. To the second Argument, from the Lords Prayer being a Form, and from the use of the Psalms of David, and the Priestly blessing under the Law,p. 135.136. he only repeats what he had before spoken, and the mistakes of which I have manifested, Chap. 3. Sect. 2.

4. The third Argument (which hath respect to 1 Cor. 14, 40.) is, that Forms of Prayer p. 136. Of matters of order, decency & circum­stance. are matters of meer decen­cy, order and circumstance, and therefore may be lawfully commanded and pra­ctised. Now though I account them to be more than so, and not to be only things of external order, but to be more [Page 243] internally of profitable use, and conducive to the edification and good of the Church and its members; yet I shall observe what weak answers he gives to this Argument. As to order he saithibid. order only respects prius and posterius first and last. This was I conceive rash­ly written; for surely he could not be ignorant, that the Apostles [...], had respect to order of regular constitu­tion and appointment, and not to order of number and mere succession of one thing after another. Concerning De­cency, he saithibid. nothing can be decent, but the contrary must be indecent. Now though a Form, and no Form, are not properly contrary, but rather contra­diction; and though many indecencies have been committed, where Forms of Prayer have been rejected; and the con­demning Forms is worse than indecency, being an hurtful errour; yet his assertion is also false; a white Garment may be decent, and so may a black one, and yet white and black are contrary. Con­cerning Circumstances, he saithp. 137. Forms are no Circumstances relating to the action as humane, because it may be performed without them. By this reason standing, or any other particular gesture in read­ing, is no circumstance, which yet hath [Page 244]been usually thought so:Ch. IX. and some gesture is at all times, and in all actions necessary. And as for the words of pub­lick Prayer, there can be no such Prayer without any words, nor unless these words be fixed on, and determined by some person: but the sense and matter, taken care of in Forms of Prayer, is of an higher nature than a Circumstance. And he addsibid. that he conceives no Cir­cumstances appropriated to an action as Religious, are left to mens liberty to de­termine. According to which rule, it must be sinful for a Father to command his Child, or for any man to determine himself, to kneel in Prayer, out of any reverence to God, because, this is a cir­cumstance to the action as Religious. If all this be not trifling, I know not what is.

5. The fourth Argument is, thatibid. all the essentials to Prayer may be found (I would add, may in publick Prayer be best secured) in a prescribed Form. This Prayer may be in the matter agreea­ble to the will of God, it may be put up in the name of Christ, and it may be at­tended with exercise of Graces, and sanctified Affections. But he here an­swersp. 138. All things necessary and essen­tial to Prayer, may be in the use of a Form. that the use of his own gifts is also necessary: but this pretence I have [Page 245]refuted, Chap. 2. and I presume, no pious man can easily think, that the will and pleasure of God, should require a mans own abilities to be exercised, merely to shew his parts, when the whole business of Religion, may be every way as well, or better performed without them; as may appear in every Minister under­taking to make new translations of Scri­pture, whensoever he cites them, that his gift may be exercised. But he saith also, thatibid. he hath given his reasons, why Praying by Forms cannot be with the same attention, and intention and ferven­cy: But these reasons I have answered in my third Chapter, and have manife­sted the contrary.

6. In his sixth Argument, he produ­ceth 1 Tim. 2.1, 2. where the Apostle commands, that Prayers, &c. be made for all men, and herep. 140. he takes notice of what I said, in my Libert as Ecclesiastica, p. 109. that many have thought the Apostle had a special eye to the composure of Forms of Prayer, agreeably to what the Baptist, and our Saviour prescribed to their Disci­ples, in this his command to Timothy, the Governour of the Church. And he ob­serves that I added, though the phrase [...], may either signifie, that Prayers be put up to God, or that they be [Page 246]composed, in this place it may well intend both. And I now add, That the evi­dence I have given of the use of Forms, in the earliest Ages of Christianity, and also in the Jewish Church, makes it the more probable, that the Apostle might have some eye unto them.

7. But he tells me, but upon what reason I know not,P. 141. that I am a little critical with the Verb [...], and saith he, [...], a Poet comes from it; but he is but a miserable Poet, who should on­ly read or recite, Copies of Verses compo­sed by others. Now though I speak of composing Prayers which might be reci­ted, or publickly used; yet to gratify our Author, I shall acquaint him, that though the Imperial Law of Justinian, established the use of Forms of Prayer, as ICh. 3. Sect. 3. above shewed, yet the pray­ing by these Forms isJustin. Novel. 137. c. 6. there expres­sed by [...]. But be­sides this, he is but a little Critical, in imagining so unreasonable a thing, as that the signification of [...], must be every where accommodated to [...] a Poet. Our Au­thors fancy about Poe­try. And he is so unhappy in this his Fancy, as well as in his Argu­ments, that as weak as it is, it is not so much as fitted to serve his own Design. I am persuaded that upon further [Page 247]thoughts, he will not open his mouth,Ch. VIII. for practising according to his own lit­tle Criticism, or for making Prayers, af­ter the manner that Poets make Verses; who are for exercising their own Fan­cies, and gratifying the Humours of o­ther men, more than for keeping close to truth, or minding what is serious. And I wish, that no such miscarriages may prevail with any, according to our Author's way and method, which he contends for. And with respect to the Speaker, if this Criticism was of any weight; as they are not the best Poets, who trust themselves to their present sudden abilities of expression; but ra­ther they, who with great care, consi­der both matter and words, and write them down, and have left their Wri­tings for lasting Monuments; those also must be the best Prayers, which are composed in like manner. But for the People, they are utterly cut out, from having any part in making publick con­fessions, or supplications to Almighty God, according to this conceit, though the Scriptures, and the Language of the Church, admit them to have a share therein.

8. His seventh Argument, being on­ly intended as a general proof for the [Page 248] lawfulness of Forms enjoyned, is this,Reas. Acc. p. 146. that a man may lawfully determine himself to the use of Forms, and there­fore may be lawfully determined to them by his Superiours. Here he first tells us, this doth not reach his Question, con­cerning Ministers who have the gift of Prayer. But he saith further, A Chri­stian hath a liberty to determine himself, where he may not lawfully be determined by his Superiour; as in case of Marriage to a particular Woman, in the choice of his Trade and course of Life, and a Mi­nister may determine himself, to write his Sermon constantly at length. Now these words, as many others in this Dis­course, being written with reflection upon the authority of Superiours, I shall consider the weight of them, with re­spect to the Case in hand.

9. Wherefore it may be observed, that there are two Cases, concerning the matter of a Law, which may render it unlawful,Of the lawfulness of being determined by our Su­periours, where we may deter­mine our selves. to be enacted by Superiours: The one when it takes away the just civil Rights, and freedoms of the Sub­ject, and imposeth unreasonable needless burdens; the other when it is against the rules of Conscience. In the former case it is true, that a man's own civil rights, are so far at his own disposal, [Page 249]and in his own power, that he may here determine himself, to what his Superiour may not determine him. Thus a free Subject of a considerable estate, may if he please settle his Estate upon another Person, or remove his Habitation into another Country, or resolve upon a sin­gle Life, or put himself into the conditi­on of a Servant. Another Person of like competent Estate, may determine himself to a retired Life, a sparing Diet, and a mean Garb; and if he be free from dependent Relations, may resolve to give the surplusage of his Estate to pious, publick, and charitable Ʋses. But it is not fit nor lawful for his Supe­riour, so to deprive him of his civil Rights, as to put upon him so much burden and trouble. But in things which are lawful or unlawful, according to the rules of Conscience, where he may lawfully as to Conscience determine him­self to any thing, he may lawfully be determined by his Superiour; and if from the unlawfulness in Conscience, he may not be determined, to any particu­lar thing by his Superiour, neither may he determine himself to it. And the reason of this is, because if this thing be a Sin, a man may not lawfully deter­mine himself to it, but if it be no Sin, [Page 250]no principle of Conscience will oblige him, not to be determined by his Supe­riour. Now the appointing prescribed Forms of Prayer (taking this in gene­ral as ourP. 163, 164. In the present Question, we sup­pose Forms as good [...]nd perfect, as the W [...]t and Piety of men can make. Author discourseth of it) can be no invading the civil rights of Subjects, or imposing things burdensome to their outward condition considered apart from Conscience; and therefore if there be any dispute about the law­fulness hereof, it must proceed from the rules of Conscience. And therefore if a man may lawfully determine himself in this case, or any other of like nature, he may also be lawfully determined by his Superiour.

10. He also tells us,P. 147. It is no Popery for People to think their Spiritual Guides, and Go­vernours wiser than themselves. That the Au­thor of this Argument, would persuade us to be Papists, in that he would have men think, that the judgment of Superiours is better than our own. But he might con­sider, that since God hath appointed Spiritual Guides, it is both the most pru­dent course, and the duty of private Persons, in cases of practice which them­selves do not throughly understand, to consult them, receive their counsel, and be directed by them. And his establish­ing other Governours, manifesteth that they are appointed to consider, what within the sphere of their Power, is [Page 251]useful for the publick good, and others are to be directed by them, and to rest satisfied in their determination. Nor is this any thing of Popery, but due Chri­stian sobriety. Only this limitation must be admitted, that as I haveCh. 4. n. 11.12. above shewed, if any thing be proposed by them, which upon plain and certain evi­dence appears to be unlawful, those who are under them, ought then to reject their Direction and Authority, as being contradicted by a greater and higher.

11. The tenth Argument mentioned by him is, ThatReas. Acc. p. 149. Forms are necessary for Ʋniformity. And here he again de­clares, against that pitiful thing, called Ʋniformity in words, and syllables and phrases, as he upbraidingly stiles it. But having answered this in aCh. 3. Sect. 4. former Chapter, and therewith justified Unifor­mity, and shewed the great benefit of it, and of Forms of Prayer upon this ac­count, I shall not need to repeat it again here.

12. But that he may vent himself the more, against Liturgy and Ʋniformity, he tells us, that in the case of Daniel the Princes resolved p. 150. it necessary to establish an Ʋniformity in Prayers; and all must be commanded to pray only to Darius. Yet here was nothing of Ʋniformity in words [Page 252]and phrases, of which he was discoursing; but that matters not,An act for Uniformity is no such wicked thing, as the prohi­bitive Act of worship by Darius. so long as an occa­sion can be taken to reproach Ʋniformi­ty. He might as well, if he had pleased, have called that precept of our Saviour, Mat. 4.10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve; an act of Uniformity, only that would not serve his purpose, to insinuate that Li­turgy and Uniformity, are like that act in the time of Darius, designed wholly for mischief, and to hinder the worship of God, and to establish Idolatry against the second commandment, though not so grosly as in worshiping the Persian Kings, who were wont to receive Di­vine worship, as is evident in the many te­stimonies produced byDrus. in Esther. c. 3 Drusius. But these things are so manifestly uncharita­ble, that every sober considering man may easily discern them. And since the Holy God appointed certain Forms of Prayer, to be used under the old Testa­ment, and our Blessed Saviour prescribed the Lords Prayer under the new; and since the ancient Jewish Church, and the Christian Church in the purest times, used Forms of Prayer; no considering per­son, who hath any sense of God or Reli­gion, can think that all these must be con­demned of designing nothing but mis­chievous [Page 253]things, and the ruining the true way of Religion; how far soever some mens angry temper may be unjustly dis­pleased, with Forms and Ʋniformity.

13. This Writer in some following pages, discoursing about the ability or gift of Prayer, at length saith,p. 154. as we judg, the Apostle, Heb. 5.1. hath given us the perfect notion of a Minister, in the description of the high Priest, he is but a person taken from men, and ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he might offer Prayers and praises, Preach and administer the holy Sacraments. So he. But I hope he was not knowingly so bold with the Holy Scripture, as to alter and change both the words and sense of it, as he pleaseth: when the Apostle speaks nothing in that place of Prayer, Praise, Preaching or Sacraments, but of offering gifts and sacrifices for Sins. And therefore I shall pass by this, as a gross oversight in him; or possibly something may be left out by the Prin­ter.

14. I now come to justifie five Rea­sons, mentioned in myCh. 4. p. 97.98, 99. Expedien­cy of set Forms pro­ved. Libertas Ec­clesiastica (besides others which I vin­dicated, in the third Chapter of this discourse) for the requisiteness of set Forms of Prayer, which I there produ­ced, [Page 254]to shew not only the lawfulness, but the usefulness and expediency of Forms.

15. My first Reason was, because hereby a fit, true, right and well ordered way of worship, in addresses to God, may be best secured to the Church, in the publick service of God. To this he saith, 1. That alone is p. 156. 1. as best securing a fit and right way of worship. a right way of worship, which God hath instituted. And I reply, that Prayer performed with a devout heart, where the matter is holy, pious and re­ligious, and expressed without affecting variety of words, is according to his will, and appointed by him. But he hath not instituted the very words we are to use, upon all occasions, whether we pray by a Form, or by any conceived Prayer, of which I said more, Chap. 4.

16. He saithibid. 2. That God should be so worshipped is reasonable, but that this should aforehand be secured, is not possible, in men who may err: nor will Forms secure it, which may be read falsly and dis­orderly enough. To which I answer, That when he requires, that none should be admitted to the Ministryp. 153. and in o­ther pla­ces. who have not the gift of Prayer, is not the intent of this, to secure as much as may be, the right performance of that duty? but this may be best provided for by a Form, as I shewed in the second and third [Page 255]Chapters. And what he speaks of read­ing falsly, as a disparagement to Forms is inconsiderable, and is one of the weak Arguments, of the meanest disputants for Oral Tradition, against the Scriptures. For there may be as many mistakes,Of read­ing falsly, see also n. 24. in reading the Scriptures, as the Prayers of the Church: and besides that, they who would decry their Authority, can talk of their being possibly printed false, or it may be in some things translated amiss, or that the copies whence they were translated might not be every where pure and right. But such little objecti­ons, are easily seen through by men of understanding.

17. He saith 3.p. 157. That for twenty years together, the worship of God was per­formed in a well-ordered manner, in hun­dreds of Congregations in England with­out Forms. Now though I have shew­ed, (Chap. 2. & 3.) that it cannot be reasonably expected, that it should be constantly performed so well in any one Congregation, by any Person whomsoe­ver, in a way of constant varying, as in the use of a good Form; yet there ought to be respect had to all our Con­gregations. And we do not think that a well ordered Worship, where one or both the Sacraments were in many pla­ces [Page 256]disused, and other considerable parts of Worship and Prayer, (as confession of Sin) purposely and generally omit­ted by others, as I observed above: And the several Sects, ordered the Wor­ship of God according to their own Er­rors. And I can as easily be persuaded, that the Papists, Arians, and Donatists, did rightly order the Worship of God, as that all our several Sects and Parties did so.

18. My second Reason was, That needful and comprehensive Petitions, for all spiritual and outward wants, with fit thanksgivings, may not in the publick sup­plications of the Church be omitted, which can be no other way so well, or at all se­cured. To this he saith,P. 157. It is to the shame of our Church, 2 As pro­viding for a compre­hensiveness of Prayers. if there be not Per­sons enough sufficient for this, and how­ever there are some. Now in this An­swer he contradicts what in the forego­ing Page he said, in answer to my for­mer Reason, to wit, That it is not pos­sible to secure this right Worship before­hand. And I have above shewed, that no Persons, in using constant altera­tions, can perform publick Worship, with that due fulness, comprehensive­ness, and pithiness, which is in a well-ordered Form.

[Page 257]19. But that able men may not be under restraint, he is willing thatIbid. Forms be composed, extant and left at li­berty This he again mentions, in the last Paragraph of his Book. And this me­thod was declared by Didoclavius, Al [...]ar: Damasc. p. 613. whom our Author cites in his Title Page, to have taken place in his days in Scotland: Who also tells us, that him­self having been many years in the Mi­nistry, had never used them, nor did he think them wise that did. And the leaving Forms of Prayer at liberty, Ill effects of having Forms left at liberty. would besides the inconveniences above ob­served, have this ill issue in the end. That they who seek to be esteemed of a dividing Party, or are solicitous to avoid the fierce censures of rash Men, or who are highly conceited of them­selves and affect singularity, or who are Erroneous, and not willing to walk in the sound path of Religion, will be most sure to avoid Forms, for the pro­moting these ill purposes, which will be to the great damage of the Church.

20. He adds thatP. 158. This Argument would hold stronger, for Forms of Ser­mons. It holds indeed to prove, a com­prehensive summary of the Articles of the Christian Faith, to be better expres­sed, in the fixed words of known and [Page 258] received Creeds, then in the composing of new Creeds, of every mans own ma­king. But for ordinary Preaching, I have shewed the contrary, Chap. 6.

21. My third Reason was, That the hearts of pious men may be more devout, and better united in the Service of God, by considering beforehand, what Prayers and Thanksgivings they are to offer up, and come the more ready and prepared to joyn in them. To this he saith,P. 158. Such a particular foreknowledg is not needful, andP. 159. it rather hinders devotion and affection, as he hath proved. But this pretended proof I have answered,3. As con­du [...]ing to the better preparation of mens hearts and affections. and evidenced the contrary, in the third Chapter. And sure the Ministers pre­meditation, what he should ask, in the way and method our Author proposeth, which he alloweth, (and so must every one, who thinks care and consideration to be useful, in the most weighty things, or who would not be rash to utter any thing before God, which he would not do before a Prince) must be an hin­drance to his devotion, if the Peoples knowledg beforehand what they shall pray for, must hinder theirs.

22. He further saithP. 158, 159. there needs no more than a general composure of spi­rit to seek God, to ask whatsoever they or [Page 259]others stand in need of, and to confess all Sin. Now I acknowledg this to be ve­ry good and pious. But possibly, what they come thus prepared to do, as to confession of Sin may be omitted, and also the asking of many other things, which are reliefs for our constant wants, and other things may be prayed for, which they cannot so readily joyn in. And this general composure or preparation, where these parts of service are omitted, can be of no more use, than such a general pre­paration is, in the worship of the Ro­mish Church, where the vulgar, know not particularly what is expressed by the Priest. But in a well-composed Form, according to the use of the Re­formed Churches, these things are much better provided for.

23. He saith also,P. 158. If the Mini­ster transgress his Rule, Concerning the People correcting the erring Minister. and ask what is not according to the Will of God, the People may withhold their Amen. But such a worship in others, our Author would be apt to call, offering the Blind and the Lame; and when they have a Male in their flock, to offer to God a corrupt thing; when the Speaker in his part doth amiss, and the People at best, must forbear their act of publick wor­ship, in the time of it, and when they come to perform it. But besides this, [Page 260]the people are not able thus to over-rule their Teachers, and it is a great distracti­on and discomposure to them, where they must be constantly put upon these doubtful disquisitions: and it is too plain, that many thousands are misled, by the errors of them whom they receive as their guides, into Antinomianism, Popery, Quakerism, and the worst of Sects.

24. But that he may catch at every thing, he saith again here,ibid. that Forms may be read falsly. But beside what I above answered, this is very unlike, in what is so well known, and constantly used: but if there should be some words pronounced amiss, the People may more easily help themselves here, they having oft heard and joyned in this Form, which is no new thing to them, and many of them having the advantage of their Books also.

25.4. As best fitted for the difficultest of­fices of Sa­cramental Admini­strations. My fourth Reason is, That such difficult parts of Church-offices, as Bap­tism and the Lords Supper, the matter of which requires great consideration, may in composing a Form be so framed, that men of greatest understandings may with readi­est assent entertain them, and that they may be sufficiently vindicated, against the bold­est opposers. Now this Argument is of the greater weight, because of the great [Page 261]concernment of Sacramental Admini­strations. If an error be committed in any thing essential to Baptism, the Bap­tism it self, and the persons membership in the Church, must thereupon be que­stioned. If the like happen in the Lords Supper (which without Forms, may sometimes be occasioned by defect of memory, and some present confusion) there may not only be a loss in the high benefits and blessings of that ordinance, but (as in Baptism also) a profanation of the ordinance it self.

26. Here he saith,Reas. Acc p. 159, 160, 161. In the Lords Supper, the Consecration is by reading the words of Institution and Prayer; the di­stribution hath nothing of difficulty, and the application is by Exhortation and Prayer, and surely he that can pray and preach can do that. And for Baptism: the Baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, with a fore­going Prayer, and Prayer or Thanksgiving concluding, is, he judgeth, sufficient with­out a Form. Now it is well, that the words of Christs Institution in the Lords Supper, and the Form of Baptism, are thought needful to be retained and ob­served. But I know not why other persons may not think, themselves to have a liberty of varying here, with as [Page 262]much reason, as our Author rejects the use of the Lords Prayer. And there­fore it is not certain, if Forms were laid aside, how far, and how long, he could give any security in this particular; when some may, asIrenaeus adv. Hae­res l. 1. c. 18. Irenaeus tells us, some who forsook the Catholick Church did, vainly by obscure Paraphrases, alter the Form of Baptism in the name of the Fa­ther, &c. and the matter also, or the use of Water.

27. And touching Prayer in this case, (and Exhortation also) there is no small difficulty. For there are various mi­stakes concerning the Sacraments, which some would have only significative signs, others will have them to be an absolute sealing in Christs name, remission and other blessings, to every person who communicateth in them, and that there­fore certain evidence of actual grace in the Communicants, is necessary to the Administration thereof. And other mistakes there are, concerning the effects and gracious benefits of the Sacraments, concerning their efficacy and operation, and the manner of Christs presence there­with. Now they who keep a well or­dered Form, are in the most sure and safe way. But they who affect to vary con­stantly, may from the difficulty of the [Page 263]Subject, more easily go astray here, than in other cases. And here particular Per­sons will be apt to express themselves, according to their own different opinions, whereby they may err and miscarry, and great inconvenience and hurt may en­sue.

28. My fifth Reason for the expedi­ency of Forms of Prayer, is, That this may be an evidence to other Churches, and future times, after what way and manner we worship God, and that such a Church is in its measure a pure and incorrupt Church. To this he saithp. 162. 1. Where hath God required the leaving any such Testimony? Now we need not a special command, 5. As lea­ving a te­stimony to others of our right worship. for every particular thing, which is of good use; and his question might equal­ly be put concerning Forms of publick Confession, which all Protestant Churches have owned, amongst other ends, for a Testimony of their owning the true prin­ciples of Religion. And the precepts of Christian profession, and the case of Ʋnity with all true parts of the Christian Church, doth at least greatly recommend such a Testimony as this. And since in all cases of Religion we are to give an answer to them who accuse us, where that is needful; to this end, Forms may be of considerable use. Besides the [Page 264]charge of the Romanists, some earnest Lutherans accused the Churches of the Palatinate, for not having the Sacraments truly Administred, for the refelling of which,Ursin Praesat. in Apol. Ca­tech. Ʋrsin appeals to their pub­lick Forms.

29. He saith 2.ibid. That Forms of Sermons are also needful to this end; but though we have many volumes of our Printed Sermons, they are no direct part of our common Worship.

30. He saith, 3. While we declare our selves Christians, and that we worship God according to his word, ibid. we leave a suffi­cient Testimony, that we are a true Church of God. If this be true, our Author hath now found a precept for giving such a Testimony, if he allow any precept for declaring our selves Christians: But indeed if persons so declaring themselves Christians, &c. do enough in this case, then all manner of Sects and Hereticks, who own the Christian name, give suffi­cient Testimony of their being a true Church, and of their right worshiping God. But we are further to profess the true Catholick Doctrine, and to wor­ship God according to the true rules of Christianity.

31. He saith, 4.ibid. a confession of Faith, is a sufficient Testimony. It is so, [Page 265]as to our Doctrine, not as to our Wor­ship: since several chief parts of wor­ship (as the Sacraments) may still be neglected: and there may be many other defects in worship, performed without the use of Forms, by forgetfulness, or being at a loss. And withall, no such Confessions of Faith, were kept to in England, by all those who undertook to guide others in the worship of God, in our late times when the Liturgy was taken away: nor do all our several di­viders, who reject our Church and Li­turgy, agree in any such Confession at this time.

CHAP. X. Ch. X. A persuasive Conclusion.

HIs tenth and last Chapter, which contains little more than one Page, is has Conclusion; wherein in some things, he more particularly repeats his own sense, but addeth nothing of any further Argument, which requires my answer. Among these things he saith,Reas. Acc. p. 164. We do not think it unlawful, to joyn with another praying by the use of Forms, provided the matter be good and pious. It is gran­ted that the Congre­gation may discharge their duty by joyning in publick Forms. We have in such praying nothing to do but to say Amen, whether he who ordinarily doth so, doth his ministerial duty, we con­fess that we question. But that we may do our duty, though he fails in his, we do not question. From these words it is ap­parent, that after all his discourse, he here freely grants, that all the Congre­gation, except the Minister who offici­ateth, may without question do their du­ty in the use of Forms of Prayer. And then they cannot be justified and excu­sed from Sin, who make separation out of dislike of them.

2. But as the conclusion of my Dis­course, [Page 267]I shall hence take occasion to apply my self a little to all those, who dissent and divide from our Church, both Teachers and People, Our dissen­ting Bre­thren in­treated [...] consider how they will an­swer for such sad divisions. (and among them to the Author of that Discourse which I have examined, if he shall please to take notice of it) by serious and earnest persunsion. And that I would intreat of them is, that they would calmly consider, what good account they can give to God, and what security they have from the dangers of Sin, in making that sad separation, wherein they engage, and too much please them­selves. That these Divisions do hin­der Religion and Piety, and disorder the Spirits and Minds of men, is so ma­nifest, that some among your selves have much complained thereof; That these are the great encouragements to Popery, and that here is the greatest danger of undermining our Protestant Reformati­on, both many Romish Authors, and some of your own Writers do acknow­ledg: And many other sad effects there are of these Dissentions.

3. Friends, can you think rending the Church, to be a slight thing? Hath God given you any special leave or au­thority, to overlook all your Obligati­ons to a Constituted Church? Or may any [Page 268]Christians at their pleasure, divide them­selves from any Church,When they cannot and mostly do not charge our Com­mution with sin. and frame new Models to themselves? Or will your dis­like of some things, upon highly probable Arguments (as our Author calls them) and yet without any certainty of truth, secure you? Very few men of any note among your selves, dare charge any sin upon our Communion, and they who do it, are not able to give any tolerable proof of their Accusation; and with­out evidence of sin in communicating, se­paration can never be justified. I hope, what this Writer I have dealt with, hath insisted on, for the unlawfulness of mi­nistring by a Form, will sufficiently ap­pear to be weak enough. And yet his undertaking goes not so high, as to urge these things against the lawfulness of Communion, or joyning in the Reli­gious Worship, which is so performed.

4. If some things be said in behalf of your Separation, or as proofs that your withdrawing is no Separation, and your dividing no Schism; which till they be throughly examined and understood, may seem plausible to you, even this is not enough,Plausible Arguments are no secu­rity to them who neglect their duty. to justifie your practices, without certain evidence that Commu­nion is sinful. Those who are men of any parts and learning among your selves, know how easie it is, to make [Page 269]some fair pretence and plea for almost any Error; yea, and to bring some sub­tle Arguments, against any truth in the World: But no Christian may hence conclude, that hereupon he may safely neglect his duty, of imbracing that Truth, or rejecting that Error, And I presume that those who are of the meanest rank among you may know, that there are few causes so bad, but that a Lawyer, who hath used himself to pleading, though he be not a person of profound skill in the Law, may say something plau­ble in the behalf thereof. But this will not justifie him who doth an injury to his Neighbour in his civil Rights: Much less will the like secure you, if you act against that which is really your duty to God, his Church, and other Christians, in matters of Religion.

5. In reading the holy Scriptures, no­thing can be more plain, than that the Peace and Ʋnity of the Church,The Pre­cepts for Peace and Unity are plain and weighty parts of of our Christian duty. is fre­quently and earnestly commanded and enjoyned, and Divisions vehemently condemned and censured, in the Chri­stian Religion. We profess our selves the Disciples of that Jesus, who before his Death, expressed his affectionate de­sire and prayer for Ʋnity in his Church: And he declared this to be a great [Page 270]means, whereby his Religion might be propagated, and take the greater place in the World, John 17.11, 21, 23. In Christianity, while many are eager, in prosecuting their Contests too highly in other things, the Apostle assures us, that Peace is one of the great parts in which the Kingdom of God consists, Rom. 14.17, 19 And he persuades to Unity in the Church, with very great and affectionate earnestness, Phil. 2.1, 2. and urgeth the same in almost every Epistle: Declaring also, that they who make Drvisions contrary to this Christi­an Doctrine, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 16.17, 18. But can any persons be the better Christians, by de­spising the weighty, and frequently in­culcated Precepts of Christianity? Or can they be the faithful Disciples of Christ, who are earnest in disobeying him, even in such Precepts, which (be­sides his Authority) are intended for the Honour, and the progress of his Re­ligion?

6.The anci­ent Church zealous practisers hereof. How unlike are these practices, to the ancient Catholick temper of Christi­anity, which long continued in the Church, sutable to Rules of our holy Religion; by the ancient Canons of the Ʋniversal Church, they who would [Page 271] withdraw from the established Church, God. Can. Eccl. Univ. can. 65. and as disesteeming that, would pri­vately, and without the consent of the Bi­shop, set up another Church, were un­der an Anathema. And that the Anci­ent Fathers and Christians, accounted the Precepts of the Gospel for Peace and Ʋnity, to forbid and condemn Di­visions and Separations from the Church, and that they themselves were zealous in rejecting such practices, may suffici­ently appear from what I have shew­ed inLibert. Eccles. p. 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24. another Discourse. But are the rules and practice of Christianity now changed, and become quite dif­ferent from what they were in the Pri­mitive Times? Or can any man pre­tend to a sufficient Warrant and Autho­rity, for altering the nature of these Duties, or cancelling their Obligati­on?

7. I know that some plead on your behalf, that you are not chargeable with any blameable separation. You meet in­deed by your selves, to perform publick worship, in a different way from us, as one Church may do distinctly from ano­ther: but you do not censure the Church of England, to be no true Church, but profess to own her to be a true Church, and her Communion to be lawful, and [Page 272]therefore you are chargeable with no Schism, Those Dis­sers not excused from schism who pro­fessedly ac­knowledg us to have a true Church, and a true worship. or unwarrantable division. Now though this profession is not always made, with sufficient clearness and freedom; the acknowledgment thereof, is so far from being a plea on your behalf, that it is rather an unanswerable charge against you. For you reject in your practice, the Rules and Constitutions established by Authority, concerning the order of the Church and its worship; you general­ly express your dislike of our way of worship, or at least your disesteem and undervaluing thereof, many of you use your utmost endeavours, to draw off persons from our Communion, and to bring them to your Congregations; and some of your chief Teachers have written their Letters to that purpose, to such persons in whom they think they have any great interest, some of which I have seen, some years since; your party frequently useth sharp censures, against such pious persons, who will not forsake our Church, to joyn with you. Your people ordinarily use reproachful expres­sions of our service, yea concerning our Church and Ministry (and so do your Teachers too frequently) and if any per­sons forsake you, and return to our Church, they then fall under the load of [Page 273]your displeasure. And because this be­haviour is used towards that Church, which you acknowledg to be a true Church, and her Communion not sinful, this is so far from justifying your pra­ctices, that it renders them unaccounta­ble and unexcusable.

8. Can it be supposed,The contra­ry proved, from one end of Christian Unity. that the Ʋnity and Peace our Saviour recommended, for the gaining upon the world, was only this: that his Disciples and fol­lowers should all profess his Name and Doctrine, but might make themselves of as many several parties as they pleased, all of them openly before the world, pro­testing their dislike of the several models, the other parties embraced, and also of that worship, which was most publickly used and established by the chief Guides and Governours of the Church? Now if all this might be done, and care must only be taken, that the dividing parties, do not charge the main body of the Church, to be no true Church, or to have no true worship; could this be the way to promote the honour of Religion, or would it not rather make it appear con­temptible? And in our own present case, do the enemies of the Protestant Refor­mation, when they observe your divi­ding behaviour, honour our Reformati­on, [Page 274]because of our Ʋnity? or do not you know, that upon this account they upbraid our discord and divisions, and make ill use of them. And besides this in theCan. Apost. c. 8. ancient Church, the very for­bearance of open Communicating, when this might only be feared to have such effects, as to cause offences, and raise sus­picions in the people, was esteemed so blameable, though it might continue but a short time, that unless a sufficient account was given thereof, it was se­verely punished.

9. We know that St. Peters with­drawing from the Gentiles at Antioch,2. From S. Peters with­drawing at Anti­och. was deeply censured by St. Paul, Gal. 2.11, 12, 13, 14. because of the di­sturbance and trouble it might create, to the minds and consciences of the Gen­tiles. But none can think, that St. Peter, who immediately before communicated with them, did now charge them to be no true Church, or that their worship and communion was sinful: Wherefore it is hence manifest, that there may be a scan­dalous and sinful separation from a Church, where there are no such uncha­ritable censures.

10. And I appeal unto any party of our Dissenters themselves, whether if any members of their own number, [Page 275]should new model themselves into diffe­rent Forms under several lesser divisions, 3. By ap­peal to the dissenting parties themselves, concerning the ill con­sequences of this their Plea. and setting up themselves to be new parties, shall desert and declare their dis­like of that Society or Communion, with which they before joyned: still calling them a true Church, and not charging their worship with sin; I say, whether the Teachers, and remaining members of this first party, will justifie these divi­ders, who thus separate from, and for­sake them. If they will approve these things, they must profess themselves Patrons of Confusion, and that any part of a Christian Society may separate it self, when there is no apparent danger of sin in the Communion, and conse­quently where no rules of conscience, will oblige them to forsake that Com­munion. But if they will blame this practice, let them reflect upon them­selves. And yet these new parties of di­viders are the less to be condemned by them, because they followed their ex­ample.

11.The danger of divi­ding to be considered. And now let me prevail with you to consider, what danger they run upon, who causlesly rend the Church of Christ; whence it will appear necessary, that they who forsake a well-established [Page 276]Church, must proceed upon necessary grounds. Now disobedience to any Di­vine precept, and therefore to this for Peace and Ʋnity; if it be from careles­ness and gross neglect, in not minding the will of God; or from a temper resol­ved rather to please it self, than to be obedient; or from the rule and domini­on of pride or passion; is so opposite to the spirit of Christianity, that he who is guilty hereof, cannot find acceptance with God, v. n. 16.

12.Joyning in divisions are dange­rou to wel [...] dis­posed men. But besides this, I have one thing more to add, which I think is very con­siderable, and which possibly you have not observed. It seems plain enough in the Apostolical Doctrine, that even such persons who unwarily joyn in di­viding and rending the Church, though they hold fast the fundamental doctrines of Religion, and a care of many other duties of a holy life, yet for this miscar­riage, and their persisting therein, they diminish their future happiness, and the degrees of glory, which they might o­therwise attain unto, in the other world. For the proof whereof, I shall give some account, of the third Chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians.

13. When the Apostle reflected upon [Page 242]the Strife, and divisions of the Church of Corinth, he thence pronounceth them to be carnal, and Babes in Christ, 1 Cor. 3.1, 3, 4. or that they were of the lowest sort, 1 Cor. Ch. 3. Conside­red. Dividers are not of the highest rank of Christians. and meanest rank and de­gree of Christians, if they were Christi­ans at all; however they might value and esteem themselves. And whereas they were one of Paul, and another of Apollos, he shews them, that Paul and Apollos, and all other Ministers of Christ were labourers under God, and neither could, nor did, lay any other foundation than Jesus Christ, v. 5.11. which is an Argument against dividing, Ch. 1.11, 12.

14. And the Apostle,Sincerity in Christi­an Do­ctrine, Pi­ety and Unity is greatly re­warded. still continuing his Discourse, with a particular respect to this Subject concerning Divisions; tells them, concerning what is built upon this Foundation, that every mans work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, v. 14. and that the Apostle speaks this of the day of judgment, or the day of the Lord (as being opposed to mans day, Ch. 4.3.) is manifest, from Ch. 3.8. and especially from Ch. 4.4, 5. He acquaints them, that he who shall build upon this foundation, Gold and Sil­ver, and precious Stones, and whose work [Page 278]shall abide; that is, who shall keep close to the integrity of the Christian Faith and Doctrine, and to the purity of the Christian Life, and therein to Christian Unity, which is one great duty thereof, and a means of growth therein: (v. 1.3, 4.) he shall receive a reward v. 12.14. or obtain great and perfect happiness.

15. And he lets them know, that they who build Hay and Stubble, upon this foundation, and whose work shall be burnt, they shall suffer loss, ver. 15. Which shews, that they who shall joyn hurtful Opinions and Errors, though not in things Fundamental, with the Christian Religion; and irregular Practices, tho they be not wholly opposite to a Chri­stian Life:Well dis­posed per­sons, by closing with Di­visions, lessen their future re­ward. And particularly (which is the special occasion of this discourse of the Apostle) they who upon this Foun­dation build Strife, Factions, or Divi­sions, shall suffer loss. Or these, though they act from mistaken Zeal, or from some other Principle, which is not in­consistent with all integrity of heart; they shall with respect to another World, have abatements of reward: Though they shall be saved as by Fire, or with appearance of difficulty and danger. And besides the evidence that this Truth [Page 279]hath, from the scope, series, and con­nexion of this Apostolical Discourse; it is manifest of it self, that such Divi­sions, as these at Corinth were, which are so much decried and condemned, in the Doctrine of Christianity, must be reckoned amongst those works, which shall not abide, but be burnt, to the loss of them who are engaged in them. And they who are Babes and carnal, (ver. 1, 3.) may well be thought inferiour in re­ward, to them who are Spiritual and grown men, when every man shall receive his own reward according to his own la­bour, ver. 8.

16. And this Apostle still eying their Divisions in the Church,Dividing the Church, is a pra­ctice in many de­structive of their sal­vation, v. n. 11. goes on to declare their danger, Ver. 16. Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God? And Ver. 17. If any man desile the Temple of God, him will God destroy. That is, that they who deprave the genuine Pu­rity of the Church of God, in Do­ctrine or Practice, or who defile them­selves by any Vice; and particulaly who so engage in Divisions, as thereby to turn aside from the Christian Life, their end will be misery. And to this purpose, [...], Divisions, or Se­ditions, are reckoned among those fruits [Page 280]of the Flesh, which exclude from the Kingdom of God, Gal. 5.20, 21. And yet further, with respect to the same thing, the Apostle, Ver. 18, 19, 20. shews, That what men may sometimes account to be their Wisdom, if it lead them amiss (as particularly by bringing them into the paths of strife and dis­cord) is no true wisdom, but folly. And the same thing is asserted by St. James, Jam. 3.13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

17. And to make it manifest, that in this discourse of the Apostle thus far, and also in his proceeding yet further, what he wrote was particularly directed to the case and miscarriage of their Di­visions: From what he had hitherto said,The sense above men­tioned fur­ther clear­ed. he deduceth this Inference, Ver. 21. Therefore let no man glory in Men, i.e. to make Factions and Divisions, out of pretence of the esteem they have, even of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or any other. And he directs, Chap. 4.1. Let a man so account of us, as of the Ministers of Christ, and Stewards of the Mysteries of God. And Chap. 4. v. 6. he tells them, These things I have in a Figure, transferred to my Self and to Apollos, for your sakes, that you might learn in us, not to think of men, above that which is written, that [Page 281]no one of your be puffed up for one against another.

18. And that no man may slight and despise this consideration, and still con­clude, that as he can please himself in such undertakings, so God surely can­not be so displeased, with these Divi­sions, I shall take a little notice of the evil temper, that generally attends them. Besides,The evil attendants of Schism. the hurt that is done to the Church of God, to Religion, and to o­ther men; the engaging in Separation, is also usually accompanied with many disorders of Mind and Practice. Here are Prejudices towards them, from whom they divide, with disordered heats and censoriousness; a neglect of due reverence to Superiours; and a proneness to em­brace some particular Opinions, concern­ing some things in Religion, whereby they may distinguish their Party, and by opposing others herein, keep them­selves at a greater distance from them. And withal, the offending Persons are here ordinarily so far pleased with, and ready to justifie, and approve their mis­carriages, that they are not willing to examine their own Errors and Mistakes; are far from being pleased with him, who shall reprove their faults, and some­times [Page 282]with him also, who shall in the mildest and kindest manner persuade them, to consider of their Duty, and return unto it. And this temper of mind, besides the various woful fruits, and manifest consequents of Divisions themselves, may well provoke the Di­vine displeasure.

19. Wherefore as every Person va­lueth and esteemeth the pleasing God, and minding the duties of the Christian Religion, which are things of mighty concernment and absolute necessity; they must not think,Care of Unity is greatly necessary. they may safely omit the duty of Ʋnity, or any other great command of the Gospel, and practise only such Rules and Precepts, as themselves please. When St. Paul did beseech his Ephesians, Eph. 4.1. to walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith they were called; he to this end, among other duties, insists most particularly, and most largely, upon keeping the Ʋnity of the spirit in the bond of peace; and inforceth this by very many Arguments, and Obligations to Christian Ʋnity, v. 3.4, 5, 6. And I hope I need add no more, but the Apostles conclusive words, in his latter Epistle to the Corinthians, be­fore he gives his Apostolical Blessing, to [Page 283]them, who had been drawn into Divisi­ons, 2 Cor. 13.11. Finally, Brethren farewell, be perfect, (orv. Dr. Hammonds Annot. in Loc. be compact and knit together) be of good comfort (or as others render it not amiss, receive exhor­tation) be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.


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