Christian Religious Meetings Allowed by the Liturgie, Are no Seditious Conventicles, nor punishable by the late Act.

OR, What Persons and Meetings are Owned and Allowed by the Liturgie of the Church of ENGLAND.

And also, What makes a Religious Meeting to pass and Suffer under the Name of a Seditious Con­venticle. And likewise, what is a Conven­ticle, and what is not a Conventicle. And concerning the Church and its Govern­ment. And the Difference between obsti­nately and Conscientiously refusing to take Judicial Oaths. And concerning the Jurors and Judges, who may be concerned to hear and determine the Causes and Matters aforesaid.

Written the beginning of the fourth Moneth, in the Year 1664. By R. F.

[...]

Christian Religious Meetings allowed by the Li­turgie, are no Seditious Conventicles, nor pu­nishable by the Late Act, &c.

WHereas by the Act, Entituled, An Act to pre­vent and suppress Seditious Conventicles, It is Enacted and Declared, That if any Person of the Age of sixteen years, or upwards, being a Subject of this Realm, at any time after the first day of July, which shall be in the Year of our Lord God 1664. shall be present at any Assembly, Conventicle, or Meeting, under colour or pretence of any Exercise of Religion, in other manner than is allowed by the Li­turgy, or practise of the Church of England, at which Meeting or Assembly, there shall be five persons, or more, assembled together, over and above those of the same Houshold; Then it shall and may be lawful for two Ju­stices of Peace to commit them to Prison, &c. for the first and second Offence, in Order to Transportation.

Is not this a matter very disputable, and doth it not belong to spiritual men to judg, what Meetings upon the account of Religion do agree with, or are contrary to the Liturgie or practise of the Church of England, before the penalties of the Act be put in execution against them?

For if to assemble and meet together upon the account of Religion, according to Scripture, be to as­semble and meet together according to the Liturgie and practise of the Church of England; then they who assemble and meet together upon the account [Page 2]of Religion and Worship of God according to the Scripture (to the number of five or upwards) they do not meet contrary to the allowance of the Liturgie, or practise of the Church of England, as aforesaid.

If the Liturgy do allow of meeting together, ac­cording to the Scripture, then they who meet to­gether according to the Scriptures, are no seditious Sectaries, neither is their Religious meetings sediti­ous Conventicles, or punishable by the said Act, being according to Scripture, and allowed of by the Li­turgie of the Church, as aforesaid.

The Liturgie allows of the Scripture as its foun­dation,The Scri­pture is owned as the [...]oun­d [...] of the Litur­gie, &c. and the Scriptures are acknowledged by the Liturgy to be the moving cause of peoples Confessi­on and Acknowledgment unto God of their mani­fold sins and transgressions, with an humble, lowly, penitent and obedient heart, to the end that they may receive forgiveness of the same by his infinite goodness and mercy; for proof thereof see the be­ginning of the Liturgy.

What the Liturgie alloweth at Meet­ings.To assemble and meet together before the Lord to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which be requisite and necessary, as well for the Body as the Soul, and to accompany one another in prayer, with a pure heart and an humble voyce, to the Throne of Gods heavenly Grace, is that which the Liturgie owns and allows of, as its own and the Churches Practise; see for pro of thereof that part of the Liturgy at the beginning, where it is said, [Page 3] Dearly Beloved Brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places, to acknowledge and confess our mani­fold sins and transgressions.

To meet according to the Li­turgy.Seeing it is so; Then for us and the People of God to assemble and meet together (to the number of five and above) before the Lord, upon the ac­count of Religion, as Worshippers of him, to render thanks for the great benefit we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which be requisite and necessary, as well for the Body, as the Soul, and to accompany one another in prayer, with a pure heart and an humble voyce, to the Throne of Gods heavenly Grace, is allowed by the Liturgie,Meetings not pu­nishable by the late Act; but freed from the penalties, being al­lowed by the Litur­gie, &c. and according to the practise of the Church of England: And therefore such ought not to be pu­nished, but acquitted and tolerated, who assemble and meet according to the Liturgie, or practise of the Church, as aforesaid; because such their godly religious meetings are allowed by the Liturgy of the Church, and such meetings are not prohibited but allowed by the Act, as are allowed by the Litur­gy or practise of the Church of England.

By what hath been said, it may and doth appear what the Liturgie of the Church of England is,How can evidence or Judg­ment be safely giv­en without danger in such cases, &c. and what it doth allow, and that our godly and religious Meetings are not contrary to the allowance of the Liturgie or practise of the Church of England, as aforesaid: How can they then that come to swear against us, swear with a safe Conscience, that we meet and assemble together on the behalf of the [Page 4]Lord as his Worshippers, contrary to the allowance of the Liturgie, or practise of the Church of Eng­land: And if our Jurors or Judges be not spiritual men, and understanding in Divine matters, how will they judge aright in this case? that they may not destroy, but preserve us in our Liberties, Principles, and Practises.

Seeing that in this Case much ambiguity or doubt may arise, and if this be a Spiritual cause, and di­vine matter, which is to be heard and determined, that is to say, Whether we meet and assemble toge­ther on the behalf of the Lord, as his Worshippers, or no; And whether such our godly and religious meetings, be contrary to, or agreeable to what the Liturgie or practise of the Church of England in such cases alloweth of; ought not we herein to be judged by Spiritual men? Because it is said in the Statute of the 24 Hen. 8. That the Body Spiritual having power, 2 [...]. Hen. 8. Chap. 12. when any Cause of the Law Divine hap­pens to come in question, or of Spiritual Learning, to declare and determine all such doubts, and to admini­ster all such Offices and Duties, as to the [...]r Room Spi­ritual doth appertain; for the due administration whereof, and to keep them from corruption, and sini­ster affection, the Kings most noble Progenitors, and the Ancestors of the Nobles of this Realm, have suffi­ciently endowed them with honour and Possessions. And the Laws temporal are for Tryal of Property of Lands and Goods and for the Conservation of the peo­ple of this Realm in unity and peace, without Ravin or Spoyl, by the Temporal Judges, and the other by the [Page 5]Spiritual Judges, as aforesaid, or as by the said Sta­tute may be seen, 24 Hen. 8.12.

Seditious Conventicles.

ANd as concerning seditious Conventicles, provi­ded against by the Act,The reason given for preventing and sup­pressing seditious Conventi­cles, &c. and the Reason given for the preventing and suppressing of them, It is de­clared in the Preamble or Ground of the Act, the Reason for making the Act, which is, viz. For pro­viding therefore of further and more speedy Reme­dies against the gro [...]ing and dangerous practises of seditious Sectaries, and other disloyal persons, who under pretence of tender Consciences, do at their Meetings contrive Insurrections, as late experience hath shewed.

Seditious Sectaries who at their meet­ings do contrive Insurrecti­ons, ought to be pu­nished, & Remedies against such meet­ings to be provided. The inno­cent Qua­kers free from con­triving In­surrecti­ons at their god­ly meet­ings, as experi­ence hath shewed.Are not those persons and that people only decla­red to be seditious Sectaries and disloyal persons, who under pretence of tender Consciences, do at their Meetings contrive Insurrections? as late expe­rience hath shewed: And may they not justly be de­clared to be so, who are so indeed? for there is good reason to provide Remedies against such persons and practises, who under pretence of tenderness of Conscience, do at their Meetings contrive Insurre­ctions, as aforesaid.

But as concerning the innocent people of God, re­proachfully called Quakers, they are clear and free from such seditious and dangerous practises, and are not those seditious Sectaries and disloyal persons, be­cause [Page 6]cause they neither have, nor do at their Meetings contrive Insurrections, neither hath former or pre­sent experience shewed any such thing to be done, or intended by them; for it is against their Principles, practises, doctrines, and judgments, and they are ut­terly and absolutely against designing or contriving any such things; neither did their godly Religious Meetings ever produce any such bad effects, as ex­perience hath shewed for many years by-past.

What is a Conventicle according to the Act, and punishable by the same accordingly? ought not this to be known and rightly considered by them that are to be Witnesses, Jurors, or Judges, that the inno­cent may not be condemned with the wicked, be­cause it is forbidden by the Law of God, saying, The Innocent and Righteous slay thou not; therefore by the Law of God, the Innocent and Righteous are not to be destroyed, but preserved in their Princi­ples and Practises, to God-wards, as well as in their Liberties, Persons, and Estates.

To meet together in a private House, to the num­ber of four,what is not a Conven­ticle. besides the Houshold or Family, is no se­ditious Conventicle, neither is such private Meet­ings either declared by the said Act to be such Con­venticles, neither are they provided against by the said Act, or punishable thereby, but justified and to­lerated, and not at all condemned. Therefore private Meetings, or to meet in private Houses, to the num­ber of four beside the Houshold or Family, are no se­ditious Conventicles, though they may meet contra­ry to the Liturgie, or practise of the Church of Eng­land.

[Page 7]And (it seems) according to the intent of the Act, to meet and assemble together to the number of five or upwards, besides them of the Houshold or Family where they do meet, under colour or pre­tence of any exercise of Religion, in other manner than is allowed by the Liturgie, or practise of the Church of England, is an offence.

Then, it seems, to meet together in greater or lesser numbers, upon the account of Religion, so that they who assemble and meet together for the Exercise of Religion, do preach and pray, or per­form Religious Exercise and Duty to God, allowed by the Liturgie or practise of the Church of Eng­land, is no offence.

What god­ly & religi­ous meet­ings are, according unto, or al­lowed by the Litur­gie of the Church of England, &c.What is it then for a people to meet in greater Numbers (than four, besides the Houshold or Fa­mily) upon the Account of Religious Exercises, and not to be contrary unto, but allowed of by the Liturgie, or practise of the Church of England, so as such Religious Meetings may not suffer by the Late Act? To the which, somthing is said before, that to Assemble and Meet together (to the num­ber of five, or above) before the Lord, upon the account of Religion, as Worshippers of him, to ren­der thanks unto God for the great benefits that we have received of him, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which be requisite and necessary both for Soul and Body, and in the performance of that Du­ty to accompany one another in Prayer, with a pure Heart, and an humble Voyce, to the Throne of Gods [Page 8]Heavenly Grace, is allowed by the Liturgie and pra­ctice of the Church of England, as aforesaid.

To Assemble and Meet together before the Lord upon the account of Religion and Worship, to Preach and Pray, or perform Duty to God, is not contrary unto, but allowed of by the Liturgie, and is according to the practise of the Church of Eng­land; because they either do, or ought so to do, as aforesaid; and we meet together before the Lord, as Worshippers of him, to Preach and Pray, or per­form Duty to God, therefore our Meetings are ac­cording to the practise of the Church, and allowed of by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

Again, The Liturgie of the Church of England saith,See Com­munion upon the Feast of Trinity so called. It is very meet, right, and our bounden Duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, perform Duty to God: And if it be very meet, right, and the bounden Duty of a professing people, that they should at all times, and in all places, meet together to Worship God, or perform Duty unto him, as afore­said, then for us, and the people of the Lord to meet together at any time, and in any place, to Worship God, or perform Duty unto him as his people, or true Worshippers of him, is not contrary unto, but accord­ing to the manner that is allowed of by the Liturgie of the Church of England, as aforesaid.

See Good Friday, the Collects so called.The Church is declared by the Liturgie to be the Houshold and Family of God; then they who are of Gods Houshold and Family, may meet and assem­ble together to wait upon God in the way of his worship: and not go under the name of seditious [Page 9]Conventicles, because the Liturgie declareth the Church to be the Houshold and Family of God, and Parish Meeting places are not that Houshold and Family, neither are wicked unsanctified people the Houshold and Family of God: Therefore wicked unsanctified people are not allowed of by the Litur­gie, or declared to be the Church of God; and to refuse to meet in point of Religion and Worship with such as are not of Gods Houshold and Family, is not to refuse to come to the Church and Service of God; but to assemble and meet together in point of Religion and Worship of God, with the Houshold and Family of God, to perform Duty un­to him at any time, and in any place, is to come to the Church and Service of God, according to the allow­ance of the Liturgie of the Church, as aforesaid.

What is owned by the Litur­gie to be a Church, what is not.That the Church is not owned or declared by the Liturgie to be either the Parish Meeting places, or wicked unsanctified persons, though they may assem­ble and meet there, is very plain; because the Litur­gie declareth and saith, the Church either are, or should be Regenerated and Born of God; and they who are not Regenerate and Born of God, are not owned or declared by the Liturgie to be any Mem­bers of the Church of England. And again, the Church is declared by the Liturgie, not only to be Regenerate and Born of Water and the Spirit, but it is also Declared by the Liturgie, that the whole Bo­dy of the Church is governed and sanctified by the Spirit of God; for proof thereof,Order of Baptism. Good Fri­day Col. see that called the Order of Baptism, and on Good Friday the Collects.

[Page 10] Admit­tance into Church-Fellowship and becoming C [...]urch members, according to the Li­turgie.Seeing then it remains true, according to the Li­turgie, that none are admitted into Church Fellow­ship, nor accounted Church-Members, but such as are Regenerate and Born of God, and they who are Governed and Sanctified by the Spirit of God: Then to assemble and meet together with such as are born of God, and Governed and Sanctified by the Spirit of God, is not contrary unto, but according to the manner allowed of by the Liturgie of the Church of England.

The Go­vernment of the Church is Spiritual according to the Li­turgie.If the whole Body of the Church be Governed and Sanctified by the Spirit of God, then every par­ticular Member thereof is under the Government and Sanctification of the Spirit of God, as aforesaid; and it seems such are the only Church Members al­lowed by the Liturgie of the Church of England: then they who have the sense and knowledg of the Work of Gods Spirit upon their hearts,1 Cor. 6.11 Gal. 4.6, 7. Heb. 8.10, 11, 12. Rom. 8.14, 15, 16, 17. and working within them, both for Regeneration, Government of heart, and Sanctification, and also testifying unto their spirits, that they are the children of God, as the Saints and Believers in Christ aforetime had, ac­cording to the Scripture Record, those are the true Church, and they and their Meetings are allowed of by the Liturgie aforesaid.

Then they who are not governed and sanctified by the Spirit of God,Who are owned to be Mi [...]i­sters and Members of the Church, and who are not, both accor­ding to the Liturgie and Scrip­ture. are no Ministers, nor Members of the Church, neither according to the Liturgie, nor the Scriptures. For the Liturgie saith, the whole Body of the Church is governed and sanctified by the Spirit of God; then they who are not govern­ed [Page 11]and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are not owned either as Ministers or Members of the Church; and the Scripture saith, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his: Christ doth not own any, either as his Ministers, or Members of his Church, if they have not his Spirit, as aforesaid. See Rom. 8.9.

Seeing that the whole Body of the Church is de­clared by the Liturgie to be Governed and Sanctifi­ed by the Spirit of God, is not the body of the Church a sanctified Body, and under a spiritual Government? And ought not Spiritual men to hear and determine spiritual matters? And seeing that it is a spiritual matter that is like to come in question, about meet­ing according to the allowance of the Liturgie, or no, may not those that are to be tryed in such cases, justly appeal to the spiritual Judges, to judg of spi­ritual Causes, and not to the Temporal Judges; for is there not belonging unto the Imperial Crown of the Realm, a Body Politick, compact of all sorts and degrees of people, divided in Terms and by Names of Spirituality and Temporality, to render and yield Justice and final determination to all manner of peo­ple, resiants or subjects within the Kings Realm, in all Causes, Matters, Debates, and contentions hapning to occur, insurge, or begin with the limits thereof? And hath not the Body Spiritual power, when any Cause of the Law Divine hapneth to come in questi­on, or of Spiritual Learning, to declare and deter­mine all such doubts? and are not the Laws Tem­poral for Tryal of Property of Lands and Goods,24 Hen. 8. Chap. 12. and for the Conservation of the people of this Realm in [Page 12]unity and peace, without Ravin or spoyl. And are not those Temporal Laws to be administred and ex­ecuted by sundry Judges and Ministers of the other part of the said Body Politick, called the Tempo­rality? If the Body Politick be divided into, and con­sist of two Parts, the one part called by the name of Spirituality, and the other part called the Tempo­rality; the one to hear and determine spiritual mat­ters and causes and the other to hear and determine Temporal causes and matters: For as much as ours is a spiritual matter or cause, being concerning the Worship of God, ought not the Temporal Judges to leave it to the spiritual Judges to hear and de­termine? The whole stress of the matter lyeth in this thing, that is to say, whether Meetings upon the account of Religion be allowed by the Liturgie or practise of the Church of England, or no? For those Meetings that are not contrary to the allowance of the Liturgie or practice of the Church of England, are not (it seems) neither prohibited, nor punishable by the Act, as aforesaid.

It is declared by the Liturgie of the Church of England, 2 Coll. for Peace. that the Service of God is perfect freedome; and seeing that by the Liturgie of the Church of England the service of God is owned, allowed of, and declared to be perfect freedom, whether ought any person or persons whatsoever, to be forced either to it or from it by outward compulsion, but rather left to their liberty and freedom concerning the same.

Concerning Oaths, and Jurors, or Judges, &c.

WHereas it is said in the late Act, That there are some persons that do obstruct the proceeding of Justice by their obstinate refusal to take Oaths law­fully tendred unto them in the ordinary course of Law; It is enacted, That if any persons do refuse to take a judicial Oath in any Court of Record, except Court Leets, being duly and legally summoned, or served with process to appear in such Courts, as afore­said, as a witness, or returned to serve of any Jury, or ordered to be examined upon Interrogatories, hav­ing no Legal Plea, to justifie or excuse the refusal of the same Oath; or if any persons be duly served with a Process, to answer any Bill exhibited against them, in any Court of Equity, or any suit in any Court Ec­clesiastical▪ shall refuse to answer such Bill or Suit up­on Oath, in cases where the Law requires such answer to be upon Oath, or be summoned to be a Witness in any such Court, or ordered to be examined upon Interro­gatories, shall for any Cause or Reason not allowed by Law, refuse to take such Oath, that then for every such offence, as aforesaid, they shall incur the Judg­ment and punishment of Transportation, as is appoint­ed by the said Act.

Obstinate refusing of Oaths.If those who obstinately do refuse to take Judici­al Oaths, be the only persons that obstruct the pro­ceeding of Justice by their obstinate refusal so to do, without shewing any good reason for their refusal, be the only persons intended, and against whom [Page 14]the penalties of the Act in such cases are to be ex­tended. Then they who out of Conscience to God­wards do refuse to take Oaths, and by giving a rea­son wherefore they cannot swear or take Oaths, as aforesaid, do make it appear (to the witness of God in the Consciences of men) that their so refusing to swear, is not out of obstinacy, but out of Conscience to Godward, as aforesaid; ought not they to be ten­derly dealt with, and freed from the severity of the said Act in those Cases of Conscience?

Difference between obstinately ly and con­scientiou­sly refusing to swear.For there is a great difference between obstinate­ly refusing to swear, and conscientiously to refuse to take Oaths; and if they who obstinately, without shewing any reason, refuse to take Judicial Oaths, as aforesaid, be the only Obstructers of Justice by their obstinacy, and the persons punishable by the said Act in such cases; then they who do not obsti­nately, but conscientiously refuse, who out of Con­science to Godward dare not take an Oath, they are not concern'd therein, but ought to be clear and free from the same.

Is it not well known after many years experience & tryal, that God hath an innocent people reproach­fully called Quakers in this King dom, who do not obstinately, but out of Conscience, refuse to take Oaths? It is matter of Conscience to them not to swear at all, because Christ Jesus the Prince of the Kings of the Earth doth forbid it,Rev. 1.5. Mat. 5.34. saying to his friends & subjects Swear not at all. But if any whose principle, judgment, and faith, is to swear and take Oaths, should obstinately, without shewing a lawful [Page 15]reason, refuse to take Judicial Oaths, to obstruct the proceeding of Justice by their obstinacy, it is good to provide against such, and to distinguish between them who obstinately refuse to swear, and they who conscientiously refuse to take Oaths; that they who out of Conscience to Godwards dare not swear and take Oaths, may go unpunished for such a refusal: And would it not be a good thing to provide Re­medies for tender Consciences, how to take their Testimonies without Oath, whose word and promise is as obligatory and binding to them, as Oath or Bond can be?

They who in obedience to the Will of God, and Command of Christ Jesus, under the Covenant of Grace, do refuse to swear & take Oaths in one case or other, such do not obstinately,Mat 5.34. but conscientiously refuse to take Oaths, and they have a good reason in Law, or a lawful plea (in the sight of the Lord,Lam 5.12. and accepted of by him) to justifie and excuse their refu­sal of Oaths, and such persons ought to be tenderly dealt withal; and ought they not also to be clearly acquitted or freed from the force of the penalties?

For they who out of tenderness of Conscience cannot take any Oaths, they have the command of Christ Jesus under the Gospel (whereby he repealed Oaths under the Law) to plead for their excuse and justification; and what a better plea,Mat. 5.33, 34, 35, 36, 37. more lawful and reasonable, can in such a case be produced and brought forth, as a reason of a conscientious refusal of Oaths? It is accepted and taken by the great God of Heaven, and why should it be refused by men?

[Page 16]It is accounted unlawful now in this age for Chri­stians (Saints & Believers in Christ the Commander) to obey the Will of God, and Command of Christ Jesus? If not, Then is it not (now accounted) lawful and reasonable (in Law) to obey the Will of God and Command of Christ Jesus, the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, and to plead his command under the Go­spel, as their justification for not swearing; because he saith, Swear not at all, neither by Heaven nor earth (and therefore not by things therein contained) so that it is the duty of Christians to be obedient unto Christ Jesus, who commands his Disciples and Fol­lowers to be true and faithful unto him, by denying all Swearing, and to speak Truth (which is the sub­stance or end of an Oath) upon every occasion.

And ought not this plea to be owned, accepted, and taken in Law, and by the Jurors, or Judges, as a sufficient reason in Law, to justifie or excuse the con­scientious refusal of Oaths, by them who do not ob­stinately, but out of Conscience refuse to take Oaths? And is it not the Duty of Jurors, or Judges (to God­wards) to accept and allow of the same to be good and sufficient (in Law) to all intents, constructions, and purposes, in the cases aforesaid? because the Law of God is said to be the ground of the Law of the Land, and that all Laws ought to be consonant to the Law of God: and therefore it is said (in the Book called Doct. and Student, Chap. 6.) The second Ground of the Law of England, is the Law of God: and also, If any general Custome were directly against the Law of God, or if any Statute were made directly [Page 17]against it, the Custome and Statute were voyd. Doct. and Stud. cap. 6.

And again, though that be a good reason to plead against swearing, because Christ Jesus under the Go­spel commands the contrary; and seeing that such a Plea God accepts, why should it not be accepted and [...]llowed by men, who may be our Jurors and Judges? And moreover, because the Jurors and Judges, and both we and many other Protestants have covenant­ed with God by promise and vows, First,See that called the Order of Bap [...]m. to forsake the Devil and all his works; and Secondly, to keep Gods holy Will and Commandments, and walk in the same all the dayes of our lives: and seeing that swearing is against the Will of God under the New Covenant and Gospel Dispensation, being contrary to the Command of Christ Jesus, who saith, Swear not at all; have not both Jurors and Judges,Mat. 5 34. Jam. 5 12. and we and many good Protestants covenanted with God by promise and vow, against Swearing, as aforesaid? Consider well of it.

And likewise, if it be asked of us, why we refuse to swear and take Oaths, may it not be truly answer­ed and pleaded, that we cannot swear & take Oaths, because the Bishops and Priests have bound us un­der a solemn Vow against Oaths, by causing us to covenant with God by promise and vow, in order to the obtaining that honourable Title of Christians, &c. to forsake the Devil and all his works, and to keep Gods holy Will and Commandments all the dayes of our lives; and doth it not plainly appear, that Swearing under the Gospel Dispensation is against [Page 18]the Will of God, being contrary to the command of Christ Jesus, as asoresaid.

And we make Conscience of it, it is great matter of Conscience to us, both to keep Covenant with God, and also to keep the command of Christ Jesus; and if you or any can convince us, that we may law­fully break Covenant with God, and disobey the Command of Christ Jesus, without incurring the dis­pleasure of God, and violating the Fundamentals of the Episcopal and Protestant Religion, we shall hear­ken to you, and take it into due consideration.

And moreover, many of the friends of Christ Jesus are excommunicated (as Christ hath foretold in his Prophesie John 16.) and doth not that Act of Excom­munication put them out of a Legal capacity of tak­ing a Judicial Oath,John 16.1, 2, 3. or bearing an Office? And if so, may not that be pleaded and taken as a Legal plea, to justifie or excuse such for refusing of Oaths?

And if Swearing before a Magistrate be lookt up­on to be of Divine Institution, and according to the appointment of God, where doth or can it be made apparent by any plain Text of Scripture, that God ordained and appointed one Magistrate to admini­ster an Oath to another, before he could be admit­ted into his Office; and that an Oath was ordained and appointed of God, to be administred to a third person by a Magistrate, for the decision of a Contro­versie? and if that can be proved by Scripture, it may be of great satisfaction: and if not, Ought not tender hearted people to be freed from the imposi­tion of Oaths upon their Consciences in the cases aforesaid?

[Page 19]And for that, and the causes and reasons aforesaid, Ought not the Jurors and Judges to be tender to­wards the people of God reproachfully called Qua­kers, and to acquit them from the penalties provid­ed by the Act against Meeting and Swearing? Con­sider well of it in Christian Moderation and the fear of the Lord, and the Lord guide you and them in the wayes of right Justice, to give Judgment in the matters and causes aforesaid, who are or may there­in be concerned.

Concerning the people and worshippers of God, own­ed and allowed by the Liturgie of the Church of England.

SEeing that meeting together upon the account of Religion and Worship of God, contrary to what is allowed by the Liturgie, or practise of the Church of England, to the number of five or above, is ac­counted an offence, punishable with Imprisonment, and Transportation, by the late Act; it is very good to take notice, and that all Jurors, Judges, and Mini­sters of the Law, as well as Witnesses, do consider who are the only persons and people owned and allowed of by the Liturgie, as the people and wor­shippers of him, that such may not be punished upon such an account, but clearly acquitted from the force of the Penalties concerning the same.

1. They who are owned and allowed by the Li­turgie as the people of God, and worshippers of him,Publick Baptism [Page 20]are such as God the Father, through the Son of his love, hath out of his bounteous mercy granted that thing unto, which by Nature they could not have, that is to say, Regeneration, the work of his Spirit.

2. They who are Regenerated, and by that Act of Regeneration are grafted into the Body of Christs Congregation, which is holy, and declared so to be by the Liturgie.

3. They whom God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hath been pleased both to Regenerate with his holy Spirit,Publ. Bapt and to receive them for his own chil­dren by Adoption, and to incorporate into his holy Congregation, are the worshippers and people of God, owned and allowed by the Liturgie of the Church of England, and therefore they may meet and assemble together upon the account of Religi­on, according to the allowance of the Liturgie.

4. They who being buryed with Christ in his death,Publ. Bapt are dead unto sin, and do live unto righteous­ness, and are made partakers of the Resurrection of Christ, they are the people of God, and allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

5. They in whom the old Adam is buried, and in whom the new Man is raised up,Publ. Bapt in whom all carnal affections do die, and all things belonging to the Spi­rit do live in them, and grow, are the people of God allowed by the Liturgie so to be, and may meet upon the account of Religion and Worship of God, to the number of five and above.

6. They who have spiritual power and strength from the Lord, and Victory to tryumph against the [Page 21]Devil, the World, and the Flesh,Publ. Bapt and are endued with heavenly vertues, and are made Members of Christ, and Inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven, those are the Worshippers and people of God allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

7. They who are (not viciously, but) vertuously brought up, to lead a godly and a Christian life, who following the example of Christ, and to be made like unto him,See the latter end of publick Baptism, and that called the Communi­on feast of Trinity only. that as he died and rose again for them, so they should die from sin, and rise again unto righteousness, who do continually mortifie in them all evil and corrupt Affections, and do daily proceed in all vertue and godliness of living, those are the people allowed and owned by the Liturgie, who may meet and assemble together to perform duty and service to God, at any time, and in any place, which is very meet, right, and their bounden duty, and that according to the Liturgie. See Publick Baptism, and Communion upon the Feast of Trinity.

8. They who are the servants of the ever-living God, who are regenerated by him, to whom he hath granted forgivness of all their sins,See that called con­firmation or laying on of hands. and doth streng­then them with the holy Ghost the Comforter, and doth also daily encrease in them his manifold Gifts of Grace, the Spirit of wisdom & understanding, the Spirit of counsel and heavenly strength, the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness, and are filled with the Spirit of Gods holy fear, those are the people and worshippers of God, owned and allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid; and they may meet and as­semble together in the way of the Worship of God, [Page 22]and ought not for so doing to be imprisoned or ba­nished, but acquitted and freed therefrom.

Confirma­tion or lay­ing on of hands.9. They whom Almighty God doth make both to will and to do those things that be good and ac­ceptable unto him, who are defended with Gods heavenly Grace, that they may continue his children and people for ever: And do daily encrease in his holy Spirit, to whom God doth certifie (after the example of his holy Apostles) and assure them of his favour and goodness towards them, whose fatherly hand is over them, and his holy Spirit is ever with them, to lead them in the knowledg and obedience of his Word, those are the people and Worshippers of God, owned and allowed by the Liturgie, as afore­said.

10. They to whom Almighty God giveth grace, to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the Ar­mour of light in the time of this mortal life,First Sund. in Advent. the Collect & they who in obedience to, and by vertue of the grace of God given and received, do cast off the works of darkness, and put on the Armour of light in the time of this mortal life, are the people and worshippers of God, owned, and so to be allowed by the Liturgie of the Church of England:

11. They to whom God doth grant and give hearts to learn to love their enemies & have learn­ed that Lesson,S. Stephens day, the Collect. as his blessed M [...]rtyr Stephen did, who prayed for his persecutors, those are the people of God owned and allowed by the Liturgie, as afore­said.

12. They to whom God hath granted the true [Page 23]Circumcision of the Spirit,The Cir­cumcision of Christ, the Coll. whose hearts and mem­bers are mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, who do in all things obey Gods blessed Will, through our Lord Jesus Christ, those are the people of God allowed by the Liturgie, to assemble and meet toge­ther to perform duty and service to God in the way of his Worship, as aforesaid.

5. Sunday after Epi­phany, the Collect.13. They who are the Church of God, are the Houshold of God, but wicked and unsanctified peo­ple are not so, because the whole Body of the Church is governed and sanctified by the Spirit of God: And it is the work of God to keep his houshold and family, the Church,Good Friday (so cal­led) the Collects. so governed and sanctified con­tinually in his true Religion, who are defended by his mighty power, and such may meet together in the way and Worship of God, being allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

14. They whom the Lord teacheth, that all their doings without charity are nothing worth,Quinqua­ge. Sund. Collect. into whose hearts God doth pour that most excellent gift of Charity, the very bond of all peace and ver­tues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before the Lord, those are the people also who are owned & allowed by the Liturgie of the Church of England. Quinquagessima Sunday Collect.

15. They who put away the Leven of malice and wickedness,See Tues­day in Easter week. the Coll. 3. Sunday after East­er, the Col. that they may alwayes serve the Lord in pureness of living and truth, and being admitted into Christs Religion, do eschew those things that be contrary to their profession (as the Quakers do) and follow all such things as be agreeable to the same, [Page 24]through our Lord Jesus Christ, those people are owned and allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid. Third Sunday after Easter Collect.

16. They who own, [...] Sunday after East­er, the Col. and have received and are led by that pure spiritual soul-saving justifying light which God is the Author of, by whom it's discover­ed and made manifest to all men, whilst they are in error, to lead them out of errors and the way of un­righteousness, into the way of righteousness, which is the way of the Lord, they are the people owned and allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

17. They who by the holy inspiration and opera­tion of Gods holy Spirit are made to think and per­form that which is good,The 4 & 5 Sundays after East­er, the Col. acceptable and well-plea­sing to the Lord, who makes the minds of all faith­ful men to be of one Will, those people, and their godly religious Meetings are owned and allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

18. They whose hearts God hath taught by the light of his holy Spirit,Whitsund. the Coli. to whom by his Spirit he doth give and grant a right Judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoyce in his holy Comfort, those peo­ple, and their godly meetings are owned and allow­ed by the Liturgie of the Church of England.

19. They who are protected,4 Sunday after Trin. Coll. 1 Sunday after Trin. Coll. 5 Sunday after Trin. Coll. ruled, and guided by the Lord, who is the strength of all them that trust in him, under whose government the course of this world may be peaceably ordered, that his Congrega­tions may joyfully serve him in all godly quietness, are owned and allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

20. They who give, grant and allow of liberty of [Page 25]Conscience (to the people of God) in poynt of Reli­gion and Worship of God, are owned and allowed by the Liturgie; because the Liturgie allows of the same, saying, that the service of God is perfect free­dom,2 Coll. for peace. and because the service of God is perfect free­dome, none ought to be forced either to it or from it (contrary to the principle of God) by outward compulsion.

21. They who have received the grace and gift of God, whereby their flesh is subdued to the Spirit,1 Sunday in Lent, the Coll. by vertue whereof they may ever, and alwayes obey the godly motions of the Spirit of God in righte­ousness and true holiness,And 2. Sunday in Lent, the Coll. to the honour and glory of God, who have no power of themselves to help themselves, but are kept and defended both out­wardly in body, and inwardly in soul, from all ad­versities which may happen to the body, & from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; and that by the Spirit and power of the Almighty God, through Christ Jesus the Son of his Love, those are the people and worshippers of God, and both they, and their godly religious Meetings are owned by the Lord, and allowed by the Liturgie of the Church of England, are not therefore punishable by the late Act on that account, as aforesaid.

22. They who have obtained of the God of all mercy perfect remission and forgiveness of sins,First day of Lent. the Coll. through Christ Jesus, in whom God hath by his spirit and power made new and contrite hearts, who by the goodness of Almighty God, are, or may be pre­served evermore, both in body and soul, through [Page 26]Christ Jesus the Son of his Love, those are the peo­ple and worshippers of God,5 Sunday in Lent Coll. and both they and their godly religious Meetings are owned by the Lord, and allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

23. They who through the tender love and mercy of the Lord do follow the example of Christ, in his great humility and patience, and are made partakers of his resurrection,Sunday next be­fore Easter the Coll. who are governed and sanctified by the Spirit of God, of whom the Lord receives sup­plications and prayers, which they offer before him, for all estates of men,Good Frid Collects. in his holy Congregation, which is so governed and sanctified by the Spirit of God, as aforesaid, those are the people which God doth own as his worshippers, and both they and their godly Meetings are owned and allowed by the Li­turgie of the Church of England: and therefore they ought neither to be imprisoned nor banished for so doing, but rather to be freed and clearly ac­quitted from all Ecclesiastical censures, and temporal punishments concerning the same.

24. They unto whom God hath granted, and doth or may grant his holy Spirit, alwayes to think and do such things as be right and good in the sight of God, so that they which cannot be without him,9 Sunday after Trin. Collect. may by him be able to live according to his Will in all things, are the people owned and allowed by the Liturgie, so that the people of God are enabled by the Spirit given unto them of God, to do and perform that al­waies which is acceptable and according to the Will of God, as aforesaid.

25. They are the people of God, and allowed by [Page 27]the Liturgie of the Church of England, 7 Sunday after Trin. Coll. in whose hearts the Lord God of all power and might, who is the Author and giver of all good things, doth en­graff the love of his name, and doth encrease in their hearts his true Religion, and doth also nourish them with all goodness, who of his great mercy doth keep them in the same, through Christ Jesus our Lord: so that the people of God have the love of God en­grafted in them, and true religion is planted within them, and doth encrease in their hearts, who are nourished with the vertue and goodness of God, and by his power preserved and kept in the same; and who more in that than the Quakers, so called? Consider well of it, and do not unworthily punish them, for being so owned and allowed of both in principle, practise, and judgment or doctrine, by the Liturgie, as aforesaid.

26. They are the people allowed by the Liturgie,12 Sunday after Trin. Coll. whom God almighty and everlasting is alwayes rea­dy to hear, and on whom he poureth down abun­dance of mercy, forgiving them those things where­of Conscience is afraid, so that Conscience is afraid, until God out of his mercy forgive sins and trans­gressions, and do restore Conscience into a capacity again of becoming the servant of God;13 Sunday after Trin. Coll. therefore it is by the only gift of God, that his true and faithful people do perform him true and laudable service, and they are the true and faithful people and wor­shippers of God, who by the only gift of God do per­form him true and laudable service, as aforesaid; and such people, and their godly religious Meetings [Page 28]and Exercises,On S Pe­ters day the Coll. are owned by the Lord, and allowed by the Liturgie of the Church, therefore such ought not to be punished by Imprisonment or banishment for serving God according to the gift of God.

27. They to whom God the Father, by his Son Je­sus Christ, hath given, or doth give many excellent gifts, and commandeth them to feed his Flock, are to be diligent in preaching Gods holy Word, and the people to whom it is so preached, who do obedient­ly follow the same, are Ministers and people of God; and the people of God are to serve God according to the gift of God (allowed by the Liturgie) and they are the true & faithful people of God, in whose hearts his love is engrafted, true Religion planted, and doth encrease in their hearts, who are nourished with the vertue and goodness of God, and by his power are preserved and kept in the same, who by the gift of God do perform true and laudable ser­vice unto God, as aforesaid; and as that is owned and allowed by the Liturgie, so likewise by the Scri­pture; and doth not therefore both Liturgie and Scripture own and allow of the Doctrines, Princi­ples and practises of the people of God, reproachful­ly called Quakers, and others?

28. For the Scripture saith, As every man hath re­ceived the gift, even so minister the same one to ano­ther, as good Stewards of the manifold grace of God; If any man speak, let him speak as the Oracles of God; If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, that God in all things may be glo­rified through Jesus Christ; as it is written 1 Pet. 4.11.

[Page 29]29. Whereby it may be observed, that none are enjoyned, commanded, or required of God to mini­ster from him to the souls of the people, but them to whom the gift of Ministration is given; and also, that all are commanded, enjoyned, and required by the Lord to Minister from him to the people, to whom the gift of Ministration is given, so that the Gospel is to be preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven, 1 Pet. 1.11, 12.

30. And as it is evident, and remains true, that the Ministers of the Gospel of Christ, are by a spiritual power and Gospel authority,1 Pet. 4.10, 11. 1 Pet. 1.11, 12. 2 Cor. 3.1, 2 2 Cor. 4.1, 2 Act. whereby they are to be commended in the sight of God to the Conscien­ces of those that receives them, as Ministers of the Gospel of Christ, to whom the gift of Ministration is given of God for that end and purpose, to convert people from the evil of their wayes and doings, un­to God, by turning them from darkness unto light, and so from the power of Satan unto God, they are to preach in the Spirit, and to the spirits in prison, with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven.

31. So are both Ministers and people to pray unto God, and praise him in the Spirit, and that accord­ing to the Apostolick doctrine, as it is written Rom. 8.14. Rom. 8.26, 27. 1 Cor. 14.15.

Lastly, By what hath been said, it is evident, and doth appear what persons and Meetings are owned and allowed both by the Liturgie and Scripture, and that by the allowance of both, the service and wor­ship of God is to be performed by the Spirit and gift of God: And that they who meet, preach, and pray, [Page 30]or perform duty and service to God in the Spirit, and by the gift of God, they are the only people owned by the Lord, as his people, and worshippers of him, and also allowed by the Liturgie, as aforesaid. Therefore the people of God called Quakers, and others, who perform service unto God by the gift of God, are owned and allowed by the Liturgie and Scripture, as aforesaid, and ought to be acquitted from all Ecclesiastical Censures and Temporal pu­nishments concerning the same.

THE END.

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