ZIONS RJGHTS AND BABELS RVINE; OR, The Church restored to her Primi­tive Lustre.

A TREATISE Concerning the essence and subsistence of the Chri­stian Church defecated, and purged from the dregges of erroneous humane invention, and erected by the vnerrable patterne of the Word of God.

JER. 2 13.

They have forsaken me the fountaine of living waters, and digged unto them­selves cisternes that can hold no water.

REV. 2. 5.
Memor esto unde excideris & resipisce.
Olim, quae Romana fides, fuit optima, sed jam
Romanae fidei non adhibenda fides.


LONDON, Printed by A. N. for Lawrence Blacklocke and Edw. Husbands, and are to be sold at their shops in Fleet-street neere Temple-Barre, and Vine Court in the middle Temple. 1642.

TO THE RIGHT Honourable Algernon Earle of Northumberland, Lord Percy, Lucy, Poynings, Fitzpaine, Brian and Latimer, Lord High Admi­rall of England, Knight of the most Noble order of the Garter, and one of his Majesties most Honourable Privie Councell.

Right Honourable,

THe unworthy oppressed Au­thor hath not long since groaned under the severe censure of the late high Commission for the ensu­ing speculations, which now he adventures to present unto your Ho­nour, hoping for a candid acceptance, and in­terpretation of his poore endeavours for the good of Zion. Had not the rising Sunne of an auspicious Parliament dispelled those [Page] clouds of oppression and tyrannie, that mena­ced a drowning both to me and them, they had beene choaked in their embryo, and ne­ver enjoyed the happinesse they have now at­tained in your honourable aspect. Pardon (most noble Lord) the enforced presumpti­on of the distressed Author, which implores and hopes for your Honourable Patronage, and humbly praying for the daily increase of your Honours health and eternall happinesse, remaines

Your Honours most humble most devoted servant, William Fenwick.

The Errata.

PAge 1. line 27. for more, reade most. l. 28. for right, r. light. Pag. 2. l. 29. for a, r. of. Line 34 for posterity, r. prosperity. Pag. 4. l. 24. for endeavours, r. endues. The second Treatise, page 2 line 33. for the, r. thy. for of, r. unto. Pag 8. l. 3. for he, r. the. Pag. 10. l. 21. for in, r. from. Pa. 11. l. 28 for what, r. with. P. 15 l. 1. for Angelicall, r. Evange­licall. P. 20. l. 9. for penitent, r. impenitent. Pag. 13 l. 6 for A, r. As. for of, r. to. Pag. 25. l. 9. reade, are first. Pag. 54. l. 14. read omitted. Pag. 55. l. 9. reade, it is that. l. 29. read, All, And thus.

ZIONS REQVEST To her Honourable, and welbe­loved Sonnes now happily assembled in the long and much-desired Parliament of England.

RIght deare and well-beloved of God your Father in my Lord; by whom you are begotten and borne, and welbeloved of me: not begot of mortall or carnall seed, but of the immortall seed of the Word; neither borne nor brought forth of the mundane wombe of Rome: nor sprong from the native bowels of my humanitie; but I bore you and brought you forth of my celestiall wombe: the eternall councell of God; and I have nourished and brought you up in the royall City of di­vine Salomon, my Lord and your God and Saviour.

Prov. 1. 8.My sonnes heare your Fathers instruction, and forsake not your mothers teaching; for they shall be a comely ornament un­to your head, and as chaines to your necke. You have seene with your eyes, and heard with your eares, how the strumpet of Ba­bell hath boasted her selfe against me, and with her impudent face affirmed her selfe to be Queene of heaven and earth, deluding the world with outward apparances, whereby many are mista­ken by her outward glory, supposing her to be my selfe.

But I desire you, my most honourable and deare children, to conceive of me aright, and be not deceived with vaine and glori­ous showes and worldly pompe; For my glory is internall and heavenly, more splendent then the pure gold of more curious em­broderers, which no eye can see, but that Divine eye of right [Page] which is given you of your Father. For I testifie unto you, that I am not to be considered by the pompe and glory of the world, nor yet by the wisedome of the wise man, or by the nature of flesh and blood, for those are not heavenly, but earthly sensuall and divelish, and doe not, cannot, nor will not please God, but conceive you me to be heavenly, spirituall. and divine, such as your Father hath de­scribed me to be.

A mountaine, even Mount Zion, a City, the City of the li­ving God, the celestiall Jerusalem, filled with the societie of in­numerable Angels, and the assembly of the first borne, which are written in heaven, and with the presence of God in Trinitie sit­ting upon the Throne, Judge of all, and with the unity and commu­nion of the spirits of just and perfect men, made perfect with that individuall union which they have with Jesus the Media­tour of the New Testament, and with the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things then that of Abel, even the remission of sinnes to the imputation of righteousnesse for justification of sinners, for he came to save sinners, by drawing sinners to re­pentance. And I pray you shake of all carnall apprehensions of mee, and conceive me to be really such in nature and condition as my Lord hath reavealed me by the mouth of his blessed ser­vant Peter, 1 Pet. 2. affirming mee to bee a spirituall house or temple, 1 Pet. 2. 5. built and compact of living stones, made a spirituall house a holy priesthood, to offer up spirituall sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, who is my foundation that li­ving stone, on whom I am built, though hee be disallowed of men, yet chosen of God and precious.

Neither suppose me to bee a politique body, composed of a temporall head or soveraigne Monarchy, or a Nationall and positive lawes and customes (which though they bee ordained of God, yet in substance they are humane inventions and traditi­ons of men) nor consisting of civill and humane Magistrates, endewed with morall gifts and vertues for the externall government, power and posteritie of humane societies, politique­ly and wisely providing for the defects of depraved nature, and preventing the dammage, danger and ruine, which the malice of Satan and the corrupt nature of man, would draw upon the so­cieties of men in their terrestriall abode. Though I bee some­times [Page] called a Kingdome in respect of my eternall King, the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, and of his divine spirituall power and heavenly dominion, which never shall have end: Yet am I never any where in Scripture described to bee a temporall or earthly Kingdome. But on the contrary, my Lord did plainly affirme and teach,Iohn 18. 26. that his kingdome was not of this world, and prohibited the subjects of his kingdome to take dominion and government upon them one over another,Math. 20. 25. nor set up a Hierar­chie among them, as the Princes and Lords of the world did, whose manner is to thirst after preheminence and dominion, but that in his divine kingdome, hee that would be the greatest, should be the least, and hee that should be found to take most diligent labour and paines in ministration of his divine Word and food of life, should bee esteemed a faithfull servant to his Lord and Master.

But consider me as I am the minister and dispensator of God, to whom is committed the Administration of that hidden mysterie of God, which was promised since the world began, it was hid from all ages,Col. 1. 26. 27. but now in these latter dayes made manifest to his Saints, To whom God would make knowne what is the riches of his glori­ous Mystery among the Gentiles.

Which riches is Christ in you the hope of glory, and Christ is the Image of the invisible God, the first begotten of every crea­ture: that Word by whom all things were created in heaven and in earth, and he is before all things, and in him all things con­sist, and he is the head of the body of the Church, hee is the be­ginning, and the first begotten of the dead, that in all things hee might have the preheminence for it pleased the Father, that in him all fulnesse should dwell, And through peace made by the blood of that his Crosse to reconcile to himselfe through him (even through Christ) all things,Col 1. 15. 16. 18. 19. both which are in heaven, and which are in earth.

This is that Mysterie which is committed to me your mother, not that I should adde or diminish, but that I should deliver un­to you, that which I have received of the Lord; and for that this mysterie my Lord Christ is my head and Soveraigne of my soule I am called his mysticall body.

Therefore cast away all carnall and wordly conceits of mee, [Page] and behold me in that mysterie, as I am growing up into him. Ephes. 4. 5. which is my head that is Christ, by whom through the unitie of the spirit, in the bond of peace, I am a mysticall bo­dy, like a naturall body coupled and knit together by every joynt, for the furniture of the body, according to the effectuall power, which is in every part, wherby the body receiveth encrease unto the edifying of it selfe in love; And through this unity in my head, I and my head make one compleat mysticall body, so there is one body, one spirit, called unto one hope, of our vocation, one Lord, [...] Chro. 1 [...]. [...]2. one Baptisme, one God and Father of all, which is above all, and through all, and in us all.

But as a naturall body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body which is one, though they bee many, yet are but one body, even so is Christ, for I am his owne body by his spirituall union; but marke well and understand, this body is not one member, as a Pope, or Episcopus, to take preheminence, which would make division betwixt me and my head.

But in the body there are many members, so in me the body or Church of Christ there are many members, and hee is the onely true and absolute supreme head. And none but he can give many and divers gifts and administrations as in this, 1 Cor. 1 2. 4. 5, 6, 7. but the same Spirit, the same Lord, and though there bee di­versities of operations, yet one God is the same, which worketh all in all; Now if my head be God, and my endeavour the gifts of the spirit, who can impose upon mee any other gifts administra­tion or operation, but onely my Lord, surely no Prince, no Pope, no Prelate.

But consider me, my sonnes in this thing, that the admi­nistration of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withall, no member, nor person is to receive this talent, and to hide it, for God doth not light these lights to put them under a bushell but to enlighten the whole house the Church; As every member of the body is profitable to other, so are my members; Therefore to some hee gives the word of Wisedome, to another the word of Knowledge, to another the excellencie of Faith, to another the operation of great workes, to another prophesie, to another diver­sitie of tongues, and to another interpretation of Tongues; All these worketh one and the same spirit, distributing severally as [Page] he listeth, for Christ my Lord and head is God; And the Father is in him, and hee in the Father which is above all, and through you all,Ephes 4. 7, 8. and in us all; who gives unto every one grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ; for it was prophesied of him, that when he ascended (who had first descended into the lowest dejection of earthly paines and debasement for the sinnes of man) hee should also ascend, and sit on the right hand of God, and lead captivitie captive, and receive of God the Father, gifts to give unto man; Not humane gifts to governe the terrestriall affaires of this life, but divine gifts to guide and lead the soules of men into the way of peace and eternall felicitie.

Therefore seeing my head is the great mysterie of God, and spirituall word of Life, to whom I am united through the unitie of the Spirit, I am his and he is mine, and both one Christ, one Church and Mysticall body or spirituall Spouse, My Lord give me, all spirituall gifts to translate me, from darknesse into his glorious light; from carnall and earthly things, to bee made a spirituall and heavenly Spouse. For God which made light to shine out of darknesse, is he which hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But wee have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellencie of that power, might be of God, and not of man; For these causes he gave and ordained some members to have diversitie of gifts and administration; as first Apostles, se­condly Prophets and Evangelists, thirdly Pastors and Teachers; Then such as doe miracles (for miracles follow the Word,Ephes 4. 11. where there is need of confirmation) and gifts of healing, helpers, as Deacons and Governours as Elders.

These are the instruments of ministration by divers gifts di­stinguished into divers administrations and offices which are di­stinguished by their spirituall operation and ministration of one and the same word and ministerie of God.

This is that order, ordinance and government, or spirituall jurisdiction, which my Lord God your Father hath instituted for the repairing of the Saints, for the worke of the ministery, and for the edification of the body of Christ his Church even mee your Mother, and this is to continue, and not to be altered and restrai­ned untill we all meet together in the unity of faith, and that [Page] acknowledging of the Sonne of God unto a perfect Man, and unto the measure of the age of the fulnesse if Christ.

Thus Right Honourable my Sonnes and Saints of God your Father, I have presented my-selfe unto the view of your heaven­bred judgements and spirituall wisedomes, that you may behold mee all glorious within, and not judge by outward appearance, nor by politique reasons, lest you be mistaken in my nature and condition, and suppose me to be a terrestriall Hierarchie to bee governed by positive lawes, traditions, Decrees and Canons of men, which cannot search the reines of the heart, nor cure the soule, nor lead her into blisse. Therefore I request you to take in­to your consideration the heavie burdens grievous to bee borne, (which the Scribes and Pharisees of Rome, who pretended to sit in Moyses seat) have laid upon my shoulders: the Episco­pall waight whereof you my sonnes have heretofore borne, with much griefe, whilst they advanced themselves to the chiefe seates and most eminent dignities, loving to be reputed great and excel­lent Rabbies, even above you the naturall Peeres and Potentates of State.

And now I conclude, and doe offer unto your sacred considera­tions the holy Sinode of the Apostles, set forth for a perfect patterne of all Counsells and Ecclesiasticall causes. In the fif­teenth of the Acts where you may observe that Synode consisted of the Apostles, Elders, and Brethren. Their consultation was according to the rule of the written Word, there conclusion and sen­tence was thus; It seemed good to the holy Ghost, and to us to lay no more burden upon you then these things necessarie. That is, that yee abstaine from things offered to Idols and blood, which includes all Ceremoniall inventions and bloudy sacrifices, and prohibits from that which is strangled with all crueltie and op­pression, and from fornication, which imports uncleane conver­sation and lusts, which if yee forbeare yee shall doe well.

And though I here claime of you the honour of being your Mother being the body of Christ and Church of God, in whom you also have the honour and prerogative to be the sonnes of God; yet touching my earthly habitation and abode I am under your Dominion and tuition, whom my Lord hath placed over me for my peace and prosperity on earth. And that through Soveraigne [Page] power and authority which he hath ordained over all men, to the end you may give his Gospell a free passage, and be nursing and protecting Fathers of mee in your Common-wealth, that your Father may give you and your King a blessing of welfare and happy being in my Lord Christ, in whom all Nations are blessed, and blessed is that Nation whose God is the Lord.

A Breviate of the ensuing second Treatise.

  • THe subsistence of the Church of God composed of a threefold cord,
    • 1. Worship.
    • 2. Dominion.
    • 3. Discipline.
  • In the Tractate of worship are declared
    • 1. The nature of Divine worship.
    • 2. The nature of acceptable obedience.
    • 3. How this worship corresponds with the nature of God,
    • 4. The manner of publike worship from Adam till Moyses.
    • 5. The Service used by the Patriarkes.
    • 6. The same continued in the Nationall Church.
    • 7. The service used in the Synagogues.
    • 8. The same observed by the Apostles.
    • 9. The testimony of the Fathers.
    • 10. An amplification, and undeniable reasons for the puritie of Gods word and worship.
  • In the Tractate of dominion or divine jurisdiction;
    • 1. Of the first gradation of this Dominion.
    • 2. How Christ ordaines his Vice-royes on earth.
    • 3. Difference betwixt Regall and divine power.
    • 4. The Glasse of Kings.
    • 5. How Divine power is derived unto man from the Father, by the Word, through the spirit.
    • 6. How the Word is the Divine power of God, and the au­thority committed to the Church.
  • In the Tractate of Government and Discipline.
    • 1. Of the calling of Ministers.
    • 2. The manner of their ordination.
    • 3. The orders and degrees of Pastours, and their
    • 4. Denominations under the Law and Gospell.
    • 5. Of Discipline and censures.
    • 6. Of Excommunication.

The subsistence of the Church of God.

The subsi­stence of Gods Church three­fold. THe subsistence of Gods Church is com­posed of a threefold thred, which can­not easily be broken.

  • 1. The first is spirituall and divine worship
    • worship.
  • 2. Spirituall and divine Jurisdiction, or Jure Di­vino.
    • dominion.
  • 3. Spirituall and divine discipline or government
    • discipline.

I call this threefold cord of grace Divine and Spirituall because the universall Minister of Gods dispensation of all saving grace; is the holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinitie.

These are correlative subsistences in the Church of God so depending one upon another, that they cannot be separated or untwisted without either some defect or dismembring of the Church in her selfe, or utter dissolving of her, in essence and nature to be any true Church.

Also, without these distinct subsistences in the Church, she cannot exercise the gifts and graces of Gods Spirit, nor the functions and offices ordained of God for ministration of the Word; For this cause I call them subsistences in the essence of the Church like, unto the subsistences of the Trinitie in the essence of God himselfe.

Of Spirituall and Diuine worship.

The nature of God is the rule of divine worship.The Worship which God requires, must bee such as is [Page 2] agreeable to his owne nature, and the good pleasure of his owne will; therefore true divine worship is tyed to the pre­script commandement of God, and not to the devising in­vention of man, therefore to obey is better then sacrifice, and to hearken is better then the fat of Rammes.1 Sam 5. 22.

The nature of acceptable Obedience.

It is a supernaturall and filiall worke of God internally and spiritually wrought, seated and invested by Gods Spirit into the intellect, making man a new creature created in Christ Jesus unto good workes;Ephes. 3. 10. which God hath ordained that he should walke in them, being renewed in the spirit of the mind, to offer himselfe unto God a living sacrifice in an understanding worshipping of God.Rom 12 1.

The law re­quired a blou­dy sacrifice, the Gospell a con­trite heart.This worship and sacrifice, is described by the Prophet David to be a broken and contrite spirit, called a well-plea­sing sacrifice to God, presenting a sin-offering, as Psal. 51. 17. also in the 116, it is called the sacrifice of praise and thanks­giving.

How this Worship is correspondent to the nature of God.

The Lord doth shew it in the fourth of John 23. and 24. saying, the true worshippers, shall worship God in spirit and truth, that is in the Spirit of sanctification dwelling in the mind, helping our infirmities with sighes and groanes, which cannot be exprest; and in the truth of his Word dwelling in us in all wisedome and spirituall understanding, such as these the Father requireth should worship him, because God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spi­rit and truth, and not in the ignorance of the mind, nor in the invention and will-worship of man; For this cause the Psalmist saith in the 51 6. Thou O Lord lovest truth in the in­ward affections; and in the 50. Psalme he saith, Offer to God the sacrifice of praise, and pay the vowes of the most high, and call upon God; for the Lord loveth truth in the inward parts.

[Page 3] This is the pure and simple worship of God, without the glory and beautie of outward Ceremonies, agreeing with the simple pure essence and nature of God himselfe.

Consider wel Pauls Caveat in the Coloss. A Caveat. 2, 8. 18. 20, 21, 22 23. warning all men to beware of humane wisedome, and deceitfull inventions and traditions, according to the Rudi­ments of the world, and not after Christ; the outward shew of holinesse which puffes up mens hearts with selfe-conceit, being burthened with traditions, which having a glorious shew of holinesse, of wisedome and voluntary religion, wherein men are out of measure superstitious in zeale, not sparing their bodily labour.

The manner of the publike worship of Gods Church from Adam till Moyses.

In this first age;The domesti­call Church. whilest the Church was domesticall in the family of Adam and Noah, and Abram. The first-borne and eldest of every family was ordained of God by creation, to be a King for the common good; A Priest to offer prayer to God for them, and a Prophet to instruct them.

Of this royall dignitie we read,1 King. that God gave dominion unto Adam over his posteritie and all sublunary creatures, Gen. 1. 28. This is the fountaine, of Soveraigntie succeeding in the birth-right of the dignitie of the first-borne, untill Cain lost it by killing his brother Abel, Cham lost it for scoffing his Father Noah; Esau sold it for a mease of pottage; and Reuben lost it for defiling his fathers bed.

Then God tooke it into his owne hands, and reserved sove­raigntie and the dignitie of preheminence of the first-borne for his owne onely begotten sonne, the first begotten of every creature, the Lyon of Judah, who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, by whom Kings raigne, and Princes decree Justice.

Also man in Creation was the Prophet of God,Prophet. 2. for God breathed in his face the breath of life,Gen 2. and made him a living soule) even that word, which in the beginning was with God,Ioh. 1 6. and was God, was the light and life of man; Adam [Page 4] was taught of God before his fall, as in the second Chap­ter of Genesis: and also after his fall, as in the third Chapter of Genesis: the seed of the woman should break the serpents head, which doctrine he received of God, and taught his po­sterity.

Priest.His Priesthood was manifest, in that hee taught his sonnes to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to God; the out­ward signes thereof, they brought to their Father as their high Priest a figure of Christ, [...] 1. Gen. 4. 3. also Hevah gave thanks to God for her issue.

The services used amongst the Patriarks.

Their practise and service in this age was plain and simple, praise, prayer, and thanksgiving to God: which consisted in confessing their sinfulnesse, and acknowledging the mercie of God in his promise, as after the birth of Seth and Enoch, then (it is said) began men to call on the name of God, Genes. 4. 26. And in every family they taught and declared the promise of God to be the word of life; as Lamech confessed at the birth of Noah, Gen. 5. 29. and Noah and Enoch are witnessed to be Preachers of righteousnesse. This manner of worship was more manifest after the flood, in the life of Abraham by his obedience, his familiar talking with God, as in Chap. 15. 16, 18, 19, 20. and Isaacks conversation, who went out to medi­tate and pray, in the evening; so Jacob worshipped God leaning on his staffe and blessed his sonne.

Thus the pure and unspotted worship of God,The primitive worship. which was used both private and publique among his people, was onely praise, prayer, and thanksgiving, with teaching and Divine instruction; And to this manner of worship none durst adde nor diminish; only God himselfe did (in the dayes of Abra­ham) add unto this worship,Circumcision. the signe of the everlasting co­venant, betwixt God and his faithfull servant Abraham, and his faithfull seed; to make a separation and visible distinction betwixt his people and the people of the world, the seed of nature; under which Covenant was promised the spirit of Regeneration, or spiritual Circumcision, in these words, I wil [Page 5] be thy God, and the God of thy seed, the seed of regeneration. Here we may observe, that to the spirituall and Divine wor­ship of God, none can add any thing but God alone, and God will add nothing but Divine Doctrine necessary to salvation: And that, figured under plaine and simple signes; lest the na­turall corruption of man (prone to superstition and externall sanctity) should leane and cleave to the signes, and forget the heavenly things signified, and to seeke holinesse in the action.

The same worship and service practised in the Nationall Church.

When Israel of twelve tribes became a multitude,The nationall Church. and a great Nation, whom God exercised and humbled under the bondage of Pharaoh, that hee might shew forth his mighty power, mercy, and loving kindnesse to his people Israel, hee sent them a deliverer, even his servant Moses. Moses added nothing to the service of the first age: but God added also the Sacrament of the Passeover,Passeover. to declare unto them, that as none was to be esteemed the people of God, but those that were under the signe of the Covenant of God; so none should be delivered from the destroying wrath of God: but those that were redeemed, reconciled, and washed, or sprinkled with the blood of the unspotted Lamb of God; the promised seed of the woman, the word of life, made flesh, in whose death and shedding of his blood, they were saved and deli­vered from spirituall bondage and death; and this was to be observed for a perpetuall ordinance among Gods people for ever.

And after the Israelites and people of God were congre­gated and gathered together,The word first ministred by God himself to Adam in the Garden, then by Adam, Seth, Enoch & Noah, then by Moses, Aaron and by the Prophets. and brought out of the bondage of Egypt, the Lord by the ministration of Moses and Aaron; writ, divulged, and ministred, the Divine precepts of the law of God: the knowledge and perfection whereof, man had lost and forgot by transgression. Out of which law, Moses by the commandement of God, extracted Ecclesiastical ordinan­ces for Aaron, and the legall Priesthood and Levites, for ser­ving [Page 6] of the Tabernacle, to instruct the people by types and fi­gures in the Divine and heavenly mysteries of God under the law, (as by a Schoolemaster) till the mysterie of God should be manifested in the flesh, and dwell with men. And of this Doctrine all the Prophets testified and writ declaring and fore-telling the comming of that Messias.

All the glory of the Tabernacle, and after that the Temple with the typicall Sacrifices, was but to set forth that spiritu­all and Divine glory and power: which was to come, and to be manifested in the flesh: and then the outward and earth­ly glory should be abolished and done away▪ that the Divine and invisible power thereof, might onely remaine, and shine in the hearts and soules of the Elect, as the Prophet Ioel 2. 28. And afterward will I poure out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sonnes and your daughters shall prophecie, Ier. 31. 33. After those dayes (saith the Lord) I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I say; this is the Covenant which I will make with them, my spirit is up­on thee, & my word which I have put in thy mouth▪ shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed (saith the Lord) from henceforth and for ever.

But in all this they held the daily publique service pure and undefiled,The publike worship under the law. without rites or any other ceremonies, but only the reading of the word, and ministring the Sacraments, and teaching on the Sabbath dayes.

And the Jewes for their Divine Services had their Syna­gogues in every Citie and Towne; and Christ did by his owne practise and presence observe the same upon the Sab­bath day, as it is Luke the 4. 16. 17. as his custome was, he went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read, and there was delivered to him the book of Isaiah; and Acts 13. 14. 15. Paul and Barnabas went into the Syna­gogue on the Sabbath day.

The forme of service used in the Synagogues.

First, they began their Service with a generall verball confession, which they gathered out of the Prophets, Levit. [Page 7] 26. 20. Numb. 5. 6. 7. Nehem. 9. 23. The forme of this con­fession is set forth in the Jewes Talmond: We have sinned, O Lord, we have done wickedly, we have dealt deceitfully in thy sight, we thy people and all the house of Israel, we repent our selves thereof, and are ashamed for the same: and there­fore, O Lord, we beseech thee forgive us our sinnes, our ini­quities, and our transgressions, as it is written in the book of Moses thy servant.

Then followed the reading of the Law and the Prophets, and then after followed the expounding and exhortation, then the Service ended with a generall thanks for all things, and as Paul saith for all persons, 1 Tim. 2 1. 2. And thus their Service was concluded with blessings upon the people from the mouth of the Minister.

The same Service and Method observed by the Apostles.

Christ lest no other forme of Service in Gods worship, but onely such as was used in the Church of the Jewes,Acts 1. 13. 14. naked and simple prayer, praise, and thanks: reading, preaching, and exhortation with the ministration of the Sacraments; com­manding his Disciples to goe teach all Nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Sonne, and the Spirit.

The Apostles observed their Masters commandement in every circumstance proper for the ministration of those Di­vine mysteries;They avoyded Rites and Ce­remonies as burdens not lawfull to be layd on the people of God. To all that Christ ordained they neither ad­ded nor diminished any thing.

Springing from superstition of time, and place, and cir­cumstances, for they knew that Ordination was not tyed to a day, an houre, or any solemne time or season, but was institu­ted for the benefit of the soule of man, therefore they thought fit to minister the Lords Supper every Lords day. Neither did they use any other order or gesture, but after the same manner sitting as Christ did institute it, fearing the curse of God to adde or diminish; And held that manner of order most wor­thy and fit to be observed in Divine mysteries, which their Lord had formerly observed, knowing the power & efficacie [Page 8] to be of his spirit, and not to consist in Rites and Ceremonies, or circumstances of time and place.

After the ascension of the Lord, he Apostles and the whole Church (consisting of 120 persons) assembled at Ierusalem in an upper Chamber, and abode together with the 11 Apostles, and continued with one accord in prayer and supplication: And then, and there, Peter taught and preached, and in the publique assembly, and with their whole consent, they chose Matthias to supply Iudas his place. Acts 1, 13, 14, 15. also 2. 42. and they continued in the Apostles Doctrine and fel­lowship, and breaking of bread and prayer. In which words is set forth the whole form of their Service and worship used in the Apostolique times, which consisted in preaching the true Doctrine of Christ, their unity of faith and love, mini­stration of the Sacraments and Prayer.

The Testimony of the Fathers.

Iustinus Mar­tyr. Apolo. 2. about the yeare 130.On the day (saith he) which is called Sonday (that is the Lords day) there is an assembling and comming together of all manner of people, (dwelling either in the Fields or in the Cities) into one place, and there are read the Acts, or Records of the Apostles, and the Writings of the Prophets; so long as the time would suffer, then when the Reader hath left off reading, (that is to say, he which was President or Chiefe in the assembly,) the Bishop or Pastor delivered an admonition or exhortation by way of discourse, tending to the stirring of them up, to follow and practise those good things. After­wards wee rise all at once, and send our prayers unto God. And prayer being ended, the bread and wine is brought, and he that directeth the action, delivereth with all the power and might he hath, prayers and thanksgiving, the people as­senting say Amen. Then followeth the distribution to every one present, and the communicating of the things which were blessed by thanksgiving, and they send of the same to those that were absent, by the Deacons; In the end, they which are of ability, and are moved therewithall, give every one according as it pleaseth him, and that which remaineth [Page 9] abideth with him that is president, with which he makes provision for the fatherlesse, widowes, sicke persons, cap­tives and needy strangers.

The same Author in another place of the same Apologie: Af­ter (saith he) that we have washed, that is baptized him, that hath received the faith, and joyned himselfe with us, wee bring him into the Assembly and Congregation of the bre­thren, where they are come together to make their common prayers both for themselves and for him, and for all man­ner of persons whatsoever; When prayers are thus ended wee salute one another with an holy kisse, and then there is brought to the Pastor the Bread and the Cup, and hee giveth praise and glory to the Father of all things in the name of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost, and maketh a great thankes-giving, for that hee hath vouchsafed to make them worthy of these things: which being ended the people joyne and put their blessing thereto, saying, Amen; After­ward the Pastor blessing them: those whom wee call Dea­cons gives to every one who are present, and they carry to those that are absent; And this food is called the Sacrament of thankes-giving, which is not lawfull for any one to re­ceive, which hath not before received the truth of our Do­ctrine of Faith, and hath not beene washed with Baptisme of regeneration for remission of sinnes.

Also, Tertullian Tertullian. in his Apologie about few yeares after; Now, saith he, I will declare unto you the practises of the Christian function, to the end that when I have refuted the evill I may shew you the good. We come together into one Congregation to have recourse unto God by prayer, forcing him as it were by joyning together of all our prayers, and this violent enforcement is very well pleasing to God; Wee pray for Emperours, for their Officers and Potentates; and for the estate present, for the quieting of matters, wee come together for communicating of the holy Scriptures; as the present times doe presse us, or to prevent somewhat to come, or to make acknowledgement of the present; And thus wee feed our faith with holy speeches, we relieve and succour our hope, we make strong our confidence, and therewithall like­wise [Page 10] fortifie our Discipline and manner of government by the urgent and uncessant rehearsall, and renewing of the memo­rie of good precepts. In our Congregations is used likewise exhortations, reprehensions, and the exercise of sacred cen­sures, for their matters are judged with great advisement, as is wont to be done, of such men as assuredly know that the face of God is towards them; Behold and see their doings, and it is a great foreshew of the judgement to come: if any one amongst us have sinned so deeply as to be excluded from the Communion of prayer and the Assembly, and of all man­ner of having any thing to doe with this societie and fellow­ship, whereof the Elders that are best approved and found most faithfull, doe sit as presidents in the Assembly advanced, and called to that dignity, not through any summes of mo­ney, but by the weight and sway of the good testimonie, which they have given.

I have onely reported the testimony of these two Authors of the Primitive times to shew the pure simplicity of Gods worship in their publike service, which was no other but the same in order and forme with the worship used in the Jewes Church, onely in this they differed from the Christians, that after their services and exhortation they ministred the Sacra­ment of Baptisme when there was occasion. And then the Catechumeni were dismissed with this word (Missa:) then the Elders which were all the best approved of Congregati­on were admitted to the Sacrament of the Lords body and blood ministred with prayer under the signes of Bread and Wine, and singing of Psalmes, then the Minister blessed them, and then with the same word (Ite Missa) the Congregation was dismissed.

The faigned and false ori­ginall of the Masse.This word did properly signifie, depart or be gone or leave to depart, but by use it did after signifie the first service and the second service, which they called the first Missa and the second Missa, and in corruption of time it came to signi­fie the Masse, and Idolatrous sacrifice, from hence the Papists lyingly faigne to derive their Masse; from the Apostles and the Fathers of the Primitive times.

Wee may also observe from the Apostles and the primi­tive [Page 11] Congregations, that they had this tradition, they mini­stred the Sacraments every Sabbath, and every one did bring something according to their abilitie to the Lords Ta­ble of bread, meat, and wine, which was set on a Table in the middest of the house of prayer, and this they called an offe­ring, the more to encourage the people to this bounty and charity, and this was covered till the first service was done, and the preaching, then the Cloath was taken of, and then the Bishop, or Pastor, or president came to the side of the Ta­ble, and gave thankes and prayed for all men, and after tooke Bread and Wine, and consecrated them with prayers; Some­times onely with the Lords prayer rehearsing the words of the Institution of our Lord, as in the 1 Cor. 12. 11. And brake the Bread, and the Wine was poured out, and distributed to the people thereto admitted;

The rest of the offerings were given to the poore, the nee­dy and the widowes by the Deacons.

And Platina in the life of Telesphorus saith,Platina. To tie the Mi­nisters & peo­ple of God to set uniforme prayers is to incarcerate the Spirit of God. that in the A­postles times all things were done nakedly, plainly and sim­ply in the action of this mysterie; And in Rome where the mysterie of iniquitie was to take roote, and bee seated, all things continued, and were done after the same order, do­ctrines and traditions, as the Apostles taught; As Irenaeus doth witnesse for twelve Bishops successively from the Apo­stles unto Eleutherius; In the whole time of the primitive Church we find no other uniform pray­er, save the Lords prayer used in admi­nistration of the Sacra­ment. Nay, the simplicitie and puritie of worship continued without addition or diminution untill Constantine the great his time.

An amplification what undeniable reasons for the puritie of Gods Worship and service.

It is evident and undeniable that Gods worship, and the Divine service hath beene ever from Adam, and practised by his posteritie in the first age plaine, simple, pure, and naked prayer, praise and thankes, without any invention of man, or externall Ceremonie, nor yet any Sacramentall signes, save onely that Adam taught his sonnes to bring unto him, as to their high Priest presenting the person of the promised seed, [Page 12] before the incarnation, their first fruits in thankfulnesse, ha­ving onely the naked and simple ministration of the word promised to be made man, preached by Adam, Seth, and E­noch, and Noah, to feed their holy faith, God enlightning them with the inspiration of his spirit, making them the Pro­phets of God.

Why God used no sacramen­tall signes.And the Divine reasons why God used no Sacramentall signes, nor figurative Sacrifices was, for that Adam and his po­sterity had not altogether forgot that Divine light of life, which hee was endued with in his creation, though hee had newly lost the possession thereof, yet he was more capable of inspiration, then the next generations were, who had smo­thered even the light of nature by multiplying their trans­gressions: And this was a principall cause why they lived in this age above 960.

But in the second age God did not onely for their over­growth of sinfulnesse cut short the dayes of man,Why God shortned the dayes of mans life. but hee also did choose himselfe a people from the loynes of Abraham, and renewed unto him the promise of his blessed seed, and made him a great Nation and Church unto himselfe, and to this Church and people God gave Sacramentall signes to distin­guish them from all other Nations to be his owne, and or­dained them Statutes, Lawes, and ordinances to instruct them as under a Schoolemaster, and by signes to lead them unto the spirituall power, and efficacie of the Incarnation of Christ and his death unto the remission of sinnes.

But it is undeniable and manifest, that hee required no other manner of worship and service of them, then hee did of the first people, for God is unchangeable in his nature; there­fore he cannot nor will not have any other kinde of worship: but one simple pure worship of praise, prayer, and thanksgi­giving, and feeding of this worship with the plaine ministra­tion of his promised word of life preached unto them.

But why was this second age burthened with ordinances and figures?The reason why the second age was clog­ged with Ce­remonies. because this age was drowned with the growth of sinne, and incapable of light, for sinne by the law became more raging and sinfull; and the law was weak, and could not prevaile with man because of sinne, for mans sinfulnesse [Page 13] was so great, that the spirit of the law which is righteous­nesse, could not dwell in flesh and blood but it must be consu­med: for this cause the law became death unto man, and man, by the law became dead: for the law did not onely reprove, but condemne. But in this third age the righteousnesse of the law became incarnate, and was made man, that man might be made the righteousnesse of the law: Thus that Christ, who was promised to the first age, is become our righteousnesse: so that now the spirit is communicated in a fuller measure, and more evident and powerfull then it was unto the Jewes in figurative types and ceremonies.

And this is the reason why all things are become more spiri­tuall, and God will have his worship now to be known to be onely spirit and truth; for through him we are become new creatures unto God the Father, created in Christ, not to a new worship, but to the same worship more pure and perfectly to worship in spirit then heretofore.

Why Christ did institute no new wor­ship, but ap­proved and practised the old.The reason (why Christ would institute no other worship, nor allow none to be true-worshippers; but those that wor­shipped in spirit and truth, simply, plainly, and nakedly, is extracted from Gods owne Essentiall nature, God is a spirit, and therefore will be worship'd in spirit and truth. Also God is one simple pure spirituall Essence, therefore he will have no invention, nor no mixture of any Rites, Ceremonies, or ob­servations but plainenesse. And againe, God will with the simple plainenesse of his worship and preaching confound the wisedome and superstitious curiosity of man,1 Cor. 2. for the na­turall corruption of man not savouring nor discerning the beauty and sweetnesse of spirituall things,Why man stu­dies to invent new worship. doth out of a slavish feare and superstitious curiosity, seeke a will-worship of his owne invention which God hates; But the enlightned soule sees most heavenly and glorious delights in the plaine and simple ministration of Gods word; for the minde not stick­ing in the outward forme and signes of the mysteries: shee flies with the wings of Divine speculations into the presence of God and his Angels, as Tertullian saith speaking of the soule. We have a sister (saith hee) among us, unto whom is given the gift of Revelation, in the middest of Divine Service, she [Page 14] is cast into an extsse, she is brought into the company of An­gels, and sometimes into the presence of the Lord himselfe. Againe, according to the Scriptures that are read, the Psalmes that are sung, the Sermons that are made, and prayers which are offered: new matter of vision is administred and offered unto her.

Now those that have not this spirituall sence, and eye to taste and see how good and gracious the Lord is, and to be­hold how beautifull his Tabernacles are,The first in-let of set prayers compiled into a Service-book they think it was the ignorance or poverty of the age that suffered the wor­ship of God, and his ministration to be clad in such base and meane array and cloathing, and comparing her to the world­ly pomp of Idolatrous and superstitious worship, they were ashamed to show the Church in such plaine roabes before the Gentiles and Iewes; therefore every Metropolitane after the Nieene Counsell having got the sole government into their hands, devised some sentences out of the Scripture to beautifie the service and the Sacraments, and some rites and ceremonies to correspond both with Iew and Gentile in serving God; All which things though at the first the In­venters had a good intent, and the words and rites carried a glorious show of holinesse; yet because they were not the things that God ordained, nor thought fit to be done or to have done in his service and ministration:Mans inventi­on in the wor­ship of God is of dangerous consequence to the Church. therefore they brought forth in the end a malignant effect both in worship and Doctrine, Idolatry and Superstition with damnable he­resies in the end; which the first Inventers never dreamed of.

For when man adds other words; or some other thing to the Sacraments, then Christ did use in his institution, doth hee not disallow of the wisedome of God, and thereby make his owne filthinesse appeare under his skirts? as the Lord saith, Exod. 19. last verse, where man is prohibited invention. To beware of this, Cyprian in his Epistle to Adrian the Em­perour, adviseth to hold our selves fast to the institution of Christs the Apostles did so as appeares by Paul, 1. Cor. 11. 12. It is truth (saith Cyprian) seeing that neither any Apostles nei­ther Angels from heaven could declare any thing unto us, be­side that which Christ hath once taught, I cannot but mervaile [Page 15] how against all Angelicall and Apostolicall Doctrine men dare to offer in some places water in the Cup. Again he saith, they should ask counsell of those whom they follow; for if in the sacrifice which is Christ we should not follow any other then Christ, it must of necessity follow that wee must obey and doe as Christ hath done and commanded us to doe: so he saith in his Gospel; If you doe the things I command you to doe, I will call you no more servants but sonnes, And the Father doth witnesse, that Christ is onely to be heard, saying from heaven this is my beloved Sonne, heare him; thereupon we are not to regard what those before us have judged meet; because we are not to apply our selves to follow the customs of man, but the truth and verity of God. And the same Au­thor to stop the mouth of all will-worshippers saith▪ if any of our predecessors either through ignorance or foolish sim­plicity have held otherwise then the Lord hath taught, either by his precept or by his example; God will pardon such his simplicity through his rich and abundant mercy; But unto us now, who are forewarned and taught the contrary by him­selfe, it cannot be pardoned.

These enforcing and undeniable reasons cannot be with­stood, but teach and stirre us up to seek the first purity, simple and plaine manner of worship, and to shake off all rites, ce­remonies, and superstitions, and to rest satisfied with the simplicity of preaching, and to cleave to the prescript Insti­tution of Christ in using the Sacraments.

Thus much for the worship of God.

Of Divine Iurisdiction, the second subsistence in the Church of God.

AS Divine worship is the first subsistence in the unitie of the visible Church of God, in which all the faithfull are congregated (as it were in one body) into the unitie of the spirit in the bond of peace,Eph. 4. 4. even so Divine dominion must be the second subsistence dwelling in the Church, and filling the Church with life and vigour through all members, as the soule in the body, also it is like sinewes and arteries knitting and coupling together the body by every joynt for the Fur­niture thereof (according to the effectuall power which is in the measure of every part) receiving increase of the body un­to the edifying of it selfe in love.

Rom. 12. 1.Now all powers are of God from above from the Father of light, as from a fountaine from whence all good gifts and gracious givings doe proceed by his mighty Word through his holy Spirit flowing into the vessels of humanity and run­ning through them with a perpetuall successive duration, re­turning into the Ocean of Gods glory.

Colos. 1. 15.The first receptacle of all divine power and dominion communicated from the Father is Christ the Mediatour God and man to whom all power is given, both in heaven and in earth,Dan. 7. 13. who is the first begotten of every creature; And as Da­niel saw in his Vision one like the Sonne of Man come in the cloudes of heaven, and approach to the Antient of dayes, and they brought him before him, and he gave him Dominion, Honour, and a Kingdome, that all people, Nations and lan­guages should serue him, for this cause we are taught to con­clude our petitions with this obedient acknowledgement, for thine is the kingdome, the power, or dominion, and the glory.The kindome of God is threefold.

This kingdome is one entire kingdome of distinct grada­tions, [Page 17] yet individuall, like the wheeles in the vision of Eze­chiel, one within another,Provider. as the kingdome of Providence, the Church of Christ militant,Grace. with the Soules triumphant, and the dominions,Glory. powers, and principalities of Angels mini­string before him.

The dominion given unto Christ as he is the Sonne of man (God, the a­nointed man. Of God, the only proper Saviour, Iesus. God by his In­carnation, hath united him­selfe to his creatures, and supporteth and preserveth all things by his mighty power. Christ God and Man) is the personall power of the Fa­thers eternall begotten Word, by individuall union of Di­vine nature, with the humanity communicated to Gods elect. whereby hee is the ingraven forme of the Fathers owne person unto the world, holding up all things by his mighty Word.

This Word by the ministeriall proceeding of the holy Ghost is that Scepter of righteousnesse, whereby he guideth and ruleth his kingdomes, as David saith, thy Throne, O God is for ever, the Scepter of thy kingdome is a Scepter of righ­teousnesse.

The word of God, is the patterne and rule of all good lawes.This is that Scepter of righteousnesse by the precepts and power whereof Kings raign, and Princes decree Justice; For this cause Christ is called the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the onely ruler of Princes.

Of the first gradation.

For the first gradation of Gods great kingdome,Dominion was by God given first to Adam the first-borne of man. God by Divine ordination in nature in the Creation gave a bles­sing and dominion unto Adam, to fill the earth with his seed, and to subdue it under his obedience. For this cause it is said, the heaven of heavens is the Lords,Gen. 1. 28. the earth he hath given to the Children of men; from hence God claimes the first borne to be his substitutes on earth, which honour in the beginning was due to them, as the dignity of their birth-right by Gods ordination,This Domini­on lost by the sons of Adam. Then to be conferred up­on Christ the Son of God and man. which continued in the Family of Adam, till Cain lost it by killing his brother Abell; Cham lost it by scoffing his father Noah; Esau sold it for a messe of Pottage, and Reuben lost it by defiling of his fathers bed. Then by the law of that ordinance the dignitie of Birth-right was of divine right conferred upon the Tribe of Judah, and reserved in the line of Iudah for the Lyon of Judah, who is the image [Page 18] of the invisible God, the first begotten of every creature, and for that all things were created by him and for him,Restored in Christ to man. and that he is before all things, and in him all things consist; And also being the ordained Lambe of God before the foundation of the world, he is therefore made the head of the body of the Church, King of Israel, that in all things hee might have do­minion and preheminence both of things in earth, and things in heaven; For it was the Fathers pleasure that in him all ful­nesse should dwell, from this fountaine all soveraigntie is derived.

How Christ doth constitute his Vice-royes on earth, Kings, Princes, and Potentates, &c.

The first ordination of Soveraignty being thus (as I have shewed) of Divine right conferred upon the naturall Sonne of God sitting upon his highest Throne of glory, farre above all powers and principalities, he doth by his divine and all foreseeing providence constitute whom it pleaseth him to sit upon his earthly Thrones, over any Nation, people, or lan­guage, induing them with proper gifts of his owne spirit for rule and government; Thus doth God constitute Kings and Princes, and Rulers, after what manner soever it bee done on earth, whether by lineall descent or Nationall choise, or by the sword, howsoever the hand of Providence doth direct, appoint and establish, 1 Sam. 2. 4. Psal. 123. Hee raiseth the poore out of the dust, and lifteth the beggar out of the dung, to set them among Princes, and to make them inherit the seat of glory; Also, hee pulleth downe and setteth up at his pleasure. Dan. 2. 21.

A d'gression.It is profitable for us to observe that Adam by his trans­gressiion, lost neither the natural faculties of his soule, nor the honour and dignity of his birth-right and dominion though at the first, (by losing that breath of life which was the light and life of his soule, and that made him the perfect I­mage of God) they were weakened and blemished in ca­pacitie. For if he had lost his naturall faculties, hee had lost the forme of his being, and if his birth-right and dignity of dominion had beene abolished before it had beene conferred [Page 19] upon another, then should nature have been deprived of the ministration of judgement, Justice, and equity, which would have brought forth an utter dissolution of the whole genera­tion of man; But after the sonnes of Adam, as it were for­feited their dignity and birth-right of dominion by multi­plying transgression, then God the Father conferred the pre­heminence thereof upon the Sonne of Man (even Christ) that he might consecrate and appoint, whom it seemed good unto him to sit upon his temporall Throne, so that birth right and preheminence might be his in whom all fulnesse dwelt. And that by him Judgement, Justice and equity might reigne with men.

Thus the Regall power of Princes is derived from Christ by the rule of divine ordination in nature, (for he that is the Author of nature, is the observerr and preserver of all the ordinances in nature) so that this royall office is restored to man by ordination in Christ; But the priestly and propheti­call office man hath from God by union and communion with Christ, and by inspiration and supernaturall donation through the holy Ghost; For this cause a Tyrant may bee a lawfull King by ordination of God, yet no Christian member of Christ.

Difference betwixt Regall ordination and Divine power.

From hence we may extract an evident difference betwixt the power of royall ordination in nature, and the supernatu­rall power of God which is given to his Church on earth; That is a ministeriall power to distribute Judgement, Ju­stice, and equity amongst men, with absolute power of co­action to punish actuall offences, with corporall or pecunia­ry punishment upon body, lands, and goods. This other is a supernaturall power and divine efficacy properly given to the elect of God by inspiration, whereby they have union and communion with Christ, and one with another for every ones owne particular prerogative of son ship, and for the edi­fication one of another, and to some men it is given in a pecu­liar [Page 20] manner, and a greater measure of divine power and gifts, for the ministration, writing, teaching, and preaching of the Word and Sacraments of God, which is that which was re­vealed by God to the antient Prophets, and that which was taught by Christ, and after written by the Spirit of God, from the pen and mouth of the Apostles; And this power is a ministeriall power, mighty in operation to bind and loose the conscience, to open and shut heaven and hell, by declaring the judgement of God against unpenitent sinners, and his mercy in Christ to the penitent man, as he hath taught and revealed; for this power doth not follow the judgement and will of man, nor succession of profession, but is tyed and limited to the power of the Word and will of God; Therefore what they hind on earth by this ministeriall power, Christ bindes in heaven by his absolute power. By this there is no power of coaction given to the Church over the body, nor purse, nor life, but onely over the soule and conscience, and to rule by instruction,Civill govern­ment is to cut sin by the mi­dle, but super naturall is to pull it up by the rootes. admonition, and correction. That makes men civill and sociable, and restraineth vice for feare of punish­ment: this other makes men spirituall and divine, meeke and lowly, and full of loving kindnesse, and rooteth out sinne in the heart, making men refraine and shun sinne and wicked­nesse, for the love of God and goodnesse it selfe. Herein the kingdome of Providence and Grace doe both agree to make man happy and blessed in this life, and in the life to come; for this cause it was said to Abraham; In thy seed all nati­ons shall bee blessed; The Church of God, is the soule of a good Common­wealth, and as a sensitive soule is besti­al, without the rational, so is a body politique without the Church, besti­all and tyran­ [...]icall. And David saith, Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord. For no Kingdome nor Common­wealth can be blessed; which doth not entertaine the true Church of God in her bosome, or in which the Church is not involved; For this cause God doth make good Kings a bles­sing to his people, and commands his Saints to pray for Kings, Princes, and Governours, that they may l [...]ad a peacea­ble and happy life under them, and that there his Gospell may have a free passage; And so Kings and Princes become nursing fathers, and nursing mothers; And in this combina­tion betwixt Church and Common-wealth, righteousnesse and peace doe kisse each other. But if they be wi [...]ked Princes, [Page 21] then they are sent for a punishment and scourge of God to the the people, and when God hath whipped his people, then he burnes his roddes with judgements. Therefore bee wise yee Kings, be learned ye Judges of the earth, serve the Lord in feare,2 Psal. and rejoyce in trembling, kisse the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, when his wrath shall suddenly burne, blessed are all they that trust in him.

The glasse of Kings.

The glasse wherein Kings are to see themselves by re­flexion, and the pattern whereby they are to distribute judge­ment, justice,The Trinitie a true patterne to a Christian King. and equity, is the Divine nature and holy Tri­nity of God himselfe.

Prov. 34.For as the nature of God is strong and mighty full of pitty and compassion, slow to anger, and abundant in goodnesse and truth, whose purity of nature expelleth and consumeth every impure and imperfect thing, even so doth God require his King should be like unto him on earth, as he is in heaven, for he hath set none above him on earth. Therefore as God is in purity of essence a law unto himselfe, and a consuming fire of evill, so ought a King in his politique capacity to be a law unto himselfe by conforming himselfe in a spirituall assi­milation to the nature of God in purity of justice, punishing the evill and cherishing the good.

Also as the person of the Father in its essence is the foun­tain of his eternall law which he hath begotten and ordained with himselfe for himselfe to doe all things by; so is the King in his politique capacity, the fountaine of politique lawes which hee hath as i [...] were begotten in his body poli­tique to rule and governe his people by.

And as the eternall law of God is the begotten Counsell of the Trinity in the Deity, so are the lawes politique the be­goten Counsell of a politique Trinity which is the Soveraign, the Nobles and Magistrates, and the Councell of Commons, resembling the Divine Trinity in Unity, the indivisible subsi­stence of a Kingdome; So that Kings are by this pattern and [Page 22] rule bound to keepe the lawes of their Kingdomes inviolate, and to doe all things by their lawes, as God doth all things by his word: And this is the greatest prerogative of a King, that he keepe his owne lawes freely without compulsion like God himselfe.

And likewise as the holy Ghost is the universall Minister and Divine Dispensator of all divine powers, gifts, and gra­ces of God, proceeding from the Father and the Sonne; even so are the Peeres, Princes, Judges, Magistrates, and Ministers of Justice in a Common-wealth, proceeding from the King and his lawes: The universall Ministers of the Royall powers and lawes of the Kingdome. For though they be many as members in diversity of Dispensation of Justice, Judgement, and equity of the lawes, yet are they all but as one spirit of the body politique, as the spirit of God being one, is by rea­son of the diversity of Administrations properly called the seaven spirits before the throne of God, Revel. 1. And as the individuall unity of this distinct Trinitie is the subsistence of the God-head; Even so is the unity of the King with his Lawes, and his Princes and Magistrates, the subsistence of a body politique or Common-wealth; Therefore Solomon saith, Judgement and Justice is the establishment of the Throne. For this similitudes sake, Kings, Princes, and Magistrates are called Gods: I have said, saith the Lord, yee are Gods, but yee shall die like men, for they are in all things to bee in their Common-wealth as God himselfe; Therefore wee are taught to pray, Thy will, O God be done on earth as it is in heaven, that Kings may rule by thee, and Princes decree Ju­stice on earth as thou dost in heaven.

This is that orbe wherein Kings are to walke as the Sunne in his spheare; but if Kings make their owne will and lust, their law and rule of Justice, Judgement and equitie, then they are exorbitant, and then God in whose hands are the hearts of Kings, causeth their Counsellers to goe as spoyled, and makes their Judges as fooles, and he looseth the collar of Kings, and girdeth their loynes as with a girdle, and leadeth away Princes as a prey, and overthroweth the mighty, or [Page 23] Powreth contempt upon Princes, and maketh the strength of the mighty weake, Job 12. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.When God withdrawes the love of subjects.

How divine and supernaturall power is derived unto man from the Father by the Word through the Spirit.

A civill ministeriall power of Justice is derived of Kings, Princes and Magistrates from Christ, as he is the Son of God, and first begotten of every creature, and therefore most wor­thy to have preheminence above all, in whom all things con­sist, for the temporall blisse and happinesse of man on earth. So is divine and supernaturall power derived from Christ, not onely as he is the first begotten Son of God, but also as he is the light and life of man, without whom man cannot be a living soule, and as he is the eternall Mediatour betwixt God and man, that promised seed, the Redeemer of the Elect of God, the predestinated Lambe, slaine from before the founda­tion of the world, for the remission of sinnes, their ordained King, Priest, and Prophet, of God the Father in a spirituall and more peculiar manner, and measure of mysticall union and communion, then either can be, or ever was, or ever shall be in all the ordinances of God in nature, For this cause that all men might know that he was, and is, the spirituall King of Glory, and that he came not into the world to deprive Kings and Princes of their subordinate power and preroga­tive: therefore he told them plainly, that his kingdome was not of this world,Ioh. 18. 26. and he told his Apostles that among them there should bee no such government or dominion in his Church, as the Princes have on earth among men,Math. 20. 25, 26. but the chiefest among them should be he that tooke the most paines to serve the rest with food of life.

The Church is called a kingdome, because as in earthly kingdomes Kings and Princes have power by their politique lawes over the bodies, goods, and lives of men: for their wealefull being on earth to the glory of God: so in this king­dome Christ onely and absolutely from the Father through [Page 24] the Spirit hath power by the divine Word and law of God over the soules of men for their eternall happinesse and salva­tion of his elect, and to the just judgement and condemna­tion of the reprobate, to shew forth the abundant riches of his grace in that, and in this to shew forth his wrath and power, suffering with long patience the vessels of wrath pre­pared for destruction, and in both the exceeding excellencie of his glory doth appeare and is effected.

Also, it is called the kingdome of God, because God the Fa­ther is the immediate founta [...]ne from whence it floweth; the person of the Sonne the head, to which the whole body and every member really, and in a mysticall manner is united and incorporated into him their head, because God the Spirit is the immediate minister and dispensator of all divine gifts, and spirituall blessings in heavenly things; For this cause the Church in Scriptures is sometimes compared to a house or building compact together and built of living stones, Christ being the corner stone or foundation: and thus it is a spiritu­all house of Saints. It is resembled to a naturall body com­posed of a head (Christ) and many members knit unto it, and one unto another; and sometimes it is described by the similitude of a throne set in heaven, and he that sits thereon is assimilated to be one in Deitie▪ but three in distinct subsi­stenc [...]s, like to three pretious Jewels; The first appearing like a Jasper of a pleasant never fading [...]lourishing greene, the mother of all pearles; The second a Sardine which is of a reddish [...]lesh colour▪ The third is in aspect as a Rain-bow that is of the Emerald colour, as the eye can behold nothing more sweet or delightsome.

These colours represent the nature of the Trinitie of the God-head, and round about the Throne were twenty foure Seats, and upon the seats twenty foure Elders sitting cloathed in white rayment, and on their heads crownes of gold; This name of Elders is here given to all the members and congre­gation of Christ in his kingdome; and their white rayment is to expresse the righteousnesse of Christ, which is imputed and freely put upon them, and making them Kings, Priests, [Page 25] and Prophets to God the Father; Their Crownes are to de­clare their Royall dignitie which they have by Christ, for it is to be noted, that whatsoever Christ is in himselfe, either personally, naturally, or officially, all his members are parta­kers of the same, in some measure according to the g [...] of Christ, by union, communion, inspiration, and through ex­ternall and instrumentall ministration of his Word.

This is the Church of God; now those things which are individually belonging to the Church, at first the protecting power of God, which is alwayes ready to defend and re­venge the cause of his Saints, for God takes their came into his owne hand, saying, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay it. And God hath said touch not mine annointed, and doe my Prophets no harme; For this cause (in this signe of the Church) there is said to proceed out of the Throne light­nings and thunders, and voyces, because God doth punish the wicked horribly for the Churches sake: none can escape his hands, that oppresse his Saints, for the Lord will roare out of Si [...]n, and will put forth his voyce out of Jerusalem.

A second sort of gifts are inward graces of Sanctification expressed in this vision by seven Lampes of fire burning before the Throne, which are the seven Spirits of God, which is the internall sanctification of Gods Spirit filling every soule with gifts like oyle of grace, and fire of zeal [...] to burne with praises before the Throne; Like to the lampes in the Temple, Exod. 27. 20. by seven, signifying by a definite number, manifold gi [...]ts in [...]lefinite.

Next are outward gifts, which are allegorically called a sea of glasse before the Throne like Crystall, which expresseth the spirituall pure and unspotted worship of God, and the mi­nistration of his Word as transparent to the eye or the inlight­ned mind, as Crystall glasse is to the eye [...] body▪ through which the Saints may see the glory and majesty of God in the face of Christ Jesus. As this worship is pure without any spot of mans invention, and consists (as in the first track is said) of prayer, praise and thankes, arising and alwayes nourished by the doctrine of the word of God, which the sea [...] signifie, [Page 26] because it is an Ocean of living waters pure like Crystall; This Sea therefore declares the whole worship of God. And in respect that the Saints inlightned by the holy Ghost are called burning Lampes, it is to them like a sea of oyle to en­rich and encrease their lights.

Another outward gift is described to be foure I [...]asts; And in the middest of the Throne, and round about the Throne were foure beasts, the first like a Lyon, the second a Calfe, the third a face like a man, the fourth like a flying Eagle, and their bodyes are full of eyes before and behind; These are the ministers and servants of God, who attend the ministration of the Word and Doctrine, and are placed betwixt the Throne and the Elders, as embassadours and messengers of God to his people, their place is in a neerer station to the Throne then the Elders. They are compared to beasts to ex­presse their qualities, which is required for the conditions of the times and seasons, as the strength and courage of a Lyon, the patience of an Oxe, the prudence and wisedome of a man, the Eagle-like contempt of earthly things, and sharper sight in spirituall and heavenly things.

The number is foure, to double the number of the tribe of Levi under the law, to answer the number of Elders, which is double to the twelve Patriarkes.

Their bodyes are full of eyes behind and before, which de­scribes that sharpnesse of riches and understanding in divine things, wherewith they are indued by the gift of the Spi­rit to discerne things past, things present, and things to come.

These beasts each one of them hath sixe wings placed round about them, and full of eyes within the wings; these wings are not for that use that the wings are to the beasts in Ezechiel, two to hide the face, and two to flye, and two to [...]ide their [...]: but they are placed about their bodyes as it were for [...]erance and assistance in their proper place, and not to flye withall from place to place.

These [...]ings therefore signifie Governours, and assistants or [...] by whom the ministers are ayded in their fun­ction, [Page 27] and doe more swiftly and readily afford succour to e­very part of the Church.

These wings are full of eyes within. These signifie the in­ward gifts of knowledge which are not placed in so neere a measure to the Throne, as the eyes in the body, but they are of the same nature of knowledge in divine things, to this end they stand as in a watch tower, to behold and discerne every ones manners and conversation, and to reprove and exhort privately, and to helpe the ministers in Censure and Discipline of the Church; therefore Paul saith, obey your overseers and leaders, and yeeld submission unto them. For they watch for your soules, as those that shall give account. These gifts are limited within and under the wings, as to meddle onely with that which is committed unto their pow­er, 1 Pet. 5. 2. they are not to be strikers or busie-bodies, and they are to watch over Christian people onely, for what have wee to doe to judge them that are without? 1 Cor. 5. 12. 13.

They that desire to behold the patterne of Gods Church, as she is on earth in Christ, consider well this vision, and read [...] it seriously, as it is more fully expressed by Master Bright­mans Exposition upon the fourth chapter of the Revelation.

This pattern [...] is the perfection of the Church militant, as she is in Christ, and in the judgement of God the Father, who onely knoweth who are his. The beauty and glory there­of is not seene with mortall eyes: for she is not composed of mortall, but immortall seed, even begotten of the immortall seed of the word of God, 1 Pet. 1, 23. for it is the ministra­tion of God the holy Ghost, communicating the knowledge of the Word unto the hearts of the elect, which doth beget them anew or regenerate, and unite them unto Christ, and those are the supernaturall powers, the word of God comu­nicated [...]nto man, and gathereth them into one head Christ, and by a well compact union makes them one Church all communicating of one spirit, one faith, and in one Lord and Father of all, who is above all, and in all, and through us all, blessed for ever, Amen.

How the VVord is the divine power of God, and the authority com­mitted to the Church.

WHen wee speake of the word of God, con­sider that the word in essence, and property of being is God with God in eternity, eternitie it selfe, as it is described in the first of Iohns Gospell, and though it cannot bee divided in it selfe yet it is to bee distinguished after the personall order of the Trinitie.

Therefore we may say the Word in the person of the Fa­ther in the unbegotten Word in the person of the Sonne, it is the begotten Word, and in the person of the holy Ghost, it is the procceding Word. So that by the proceeding Word all things flow from the Father and the Sonne.

By the order of this proceeding power the world was made by the word of God. As the Psalmist saith,Psal. 33. 6. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the hoast of them by the breath of his mouth. By this proceeding power of the Word man was made a living soule, asGen. 2. 7. And God breathed in his face the breath of life, and the man was a living soule,and Ioh.1. 4. in it was life, and that life was the light of man, not naturall reason, but supernaturall light which inlightened nature.

By this proceeding word Adam was restored after his fall, by promising to make the Word the seed of the Woman, and to breake the Serpents head. Gen. 3. 15. for God by the proceeding of the Word, saying he will put enmity betwixt Satan (whose nature is wicked and evill altogether) and the humane generation or seed which Satan had made like [Page 29] himselfe, he thereby promiseth that by his proceeding Word, he would make his Word the seed of the Woman, whereby it should be of a contrary nature to wickednesse, of a heaven­ly pure and holy nature and condition powerfull against Satan.

Thus by the proceeding Word, the word (God) is made the word of promise, and the Promise is made life, and thus it comes to p [...]sse that the Just shall live by faith.

By this proceeding word all the Elect of the Father are called, are sanctified; are washed, are inspired, and by inspi­ration are made sonnes of God, Kings, Priests, and Prophets, for by inspiration of the proceeding Word, God the Word dwelleth in them, for in the proceeding Word, is both the begotten Word, and the unbegotten Word the Father, as Christ saith, my Father and I are one, and the proceeding Spi­rit is one with the Father and the Sonne, so these three are one in themselves, and beare record in heaven, and they also agree in one by inspiration in the soules of the faithfull, or the Church which makes three to beare record on earth, as the water of Sanctification, and the blood of justification, and our spirit enlightned with the Spirit of God; it beares wit­nesse with our spirits, that we are the sonnes and servants of God. For this cause the faithfull are called the Temple of the living God, 2 Cor. 6. 16. as God hath said, I will dwell among them and walke there, and I will bee their God, and they shall bee my people. Also, know yee not that your body is the temple of the holy Ghost which is in you, which yee have from God? Ye are not your owne, for yeare bought with a price, therefore glorifie God in body and in Spirit for they are Gods.

As the proceeding Word hath proceeded by inspiration to dwell in man, which is his internall ministration▪ so he pro­ceedeth by externall ministration to divulge and write the same proceeding Word by the instrumentall pen and voyce of man for mans instruction, at first written by his Prophet Moyses, and after by the rest of Prophets and Apostles, and E­vangelists to feed and preserve their holy faith & worship of [Page 30] God among the faithfull; As Paul witnesseth, 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16. Thou hast knowne the holy Scriptures of a child, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. For the whole Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable to teach, to convince, to correct, to instruct in righteousnesse.

Thus the proceeding Word doth proportion it selfe to mans capacity, first it becomes the word of promise in the seed of the woman, then the inspirated word to dwell in the mind, and also it is the ministeriall Word, declared, writ­ten, taught, and preached for mans instruction, and all is one Word: for this cause the Apostle Peter saith, we have a most sure word of the Prophets, to which yee doe well, that yee take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a darke place, untill the day dawne, and the day starre arise in your hearts, and from hence it is evident, that the Scripture is the very word of God, which proceedeth out of God by inspiration, by in­strumentall publishing, and writing the same, and the writ­ten Word being the same proceeding word of God, (even God declared in writing.) The Scriptures therefore are the Fountaines of living water, and the ground of truth, for preaching, teaching, and instruction, exhortation and cor­rection.

And therefore the Scriptures are to be had in Divine esti­mation, for they containe the divine Word it selfe, and the Pastors and teachers thereof (being thereunto called of God by a full measure of inspiration) are to be esteemed the Mes­sengers and Embassadours of God.

As the Scrip­tures were first given so are they to be in­terpreted by inspiration.And this is alwayes to be understood, that no man can at­taine to the interpretation of the written Word by naturall ingenuitie or humane learning, or art or industrie, though all he needfull instruments and meanes of knowledge, but onely by inspiration of the proceeding Word, as ver. 2. 1. 20. 21. so that fast ye know this, that no prophecie of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For as the prophecie came not in old time by the will of men, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Ghost: so must holy men of [Page 31] God speake and interpret the Scriptures, as they are moved by the holy Ghost.

A way to know the interpreta­tion to be of the holy Ghost.And that we may know the interpretation to be of the ho­ly Ghost (being the proceeding Word, and hee that indicted the same Word from the Father and the Sonne by inspirati­on) cannot give any other sence or understanding to the written Word, then is agreeable to the nature of the Word in the person of the Sonne and of the Father, and the Word in the person of the Sonne, is the revealed will of God the Father made manifest in the flesh. Therefore we may discerne whether the interpretation be of the Spirit of God or no (by this) Iohn 4. 2. 3. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, The Papist confesseth Christ in name, but de­nieth his pow­er in the flesh, in that they say his death is not sufficient for actuall sins, thence are penuance, par­dons, satisfa­ctions, Purga­tory. is of God, and every spirit that confesseth not that Iesus is come in the flesh is not of God; For the confession is not an outward confession of the lips, nor an historicall con­fession of the mind, nor a voluntary supposition and opinion of carnall reason, but it is the confession of the Spirit of God, which declares and manifests to the heart, that the Word that is come in the flesh is the very true God (as Christ said) to know thee and him whom thou hast sent, Christ, to be the very true God (as Peter confessed) thou art that Christ, that Sonne of God, and Christ told him that flesh and blood did not teach him this, but his Father revealed it unto him.

This word of God not having beene after this order knowne and considered, hath beene the cause and occasion of much mistake and errours in the Church of God, but under standing the Word in the true nature and property of Gods order and manner of working, leadeth us by the hand from one gradation to another, and stoppeth the mouth of all men that speake against the Scriptures and the holy Spirit.

For considering the word of God in these gradations we shall evidently perceive and understand, that the power and authoritie giuen and committed to the Church is no other thing, but the proceeding word of God, ministring the be­gotten Word from the Father manifested in the flesh, which ministration is twofold, internall by inspiration through hea­ring of the Word, because man is an intellectuall Spirit, and [Page 32] therefore a proper Tabernacle for the divine Word to dwell in; Also externall ministration, because man dwells in an ele­mentary, earthly, and, naturall tabernacle, therefore the holy Ghost applyeth himselfe to mans infirmity, and doth use in his externall ministration, elementary, earthy, and naturall instruments by which as a meanes and ordinance the procee­ding Word, and the power thereof is daily communicated unto man both to ingraft him into the Word, and to nourish him in the Word unto everlasting life; For this manner of externall ministration is necessary for man so long as hee dwelleth in this body or earthly house.

The instruments which the holy Ghost doth use in the di­spensation of the ministeriall Word, are either proper, as some members of the Church set apart for the worke of the ministery, or lesse proper as the signes of the Sacraments. I may call those the externall gifts which God gives to his Church, for it is said that unto every one of us is given grace or the gifts of the Spirit, according to the measure of the gift in Christ. For wee may discerne the Church is a compact body knit to the head Christ, and consisteth of ma­ny members, yet in unity of the spirit they are one body, and although there be but one Spirit, yet are there diversities of gifts, diversities of administrations, diversities of operations, yet all [...] and the same spirit, and these diversities or gifts, make diversities of functions; So there are many functions in the Church, but God worketh all in all. But the manifesta­tion of the spirit is given to every man to profit withall, but peculiar gifts without the which the Church cannot at any time be, and therefore most proper, of which it is said that Christ ascended on high, and lead captivity captive, and re­ceived gift [...] to give unto men, as some to bee Apostles, some Prophets [...] Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers. Here is to bee observed, that the divine power by internall dispensation is given in common to all, and every member of the Church, so that all have common interest in the word of God, and peculiar power thereby to admonish, comfort and instructions another, and pray for one another, and beare one [Page 33] anothers burdens, especially they are all Kings. Priests, and Prophets in their Families. For every Father ought to useth office of an Elder in his house, Deut 6. 6, 7. Deut. 4. 9.

But for the externall dispensation of the Word, the power and efficacy thereof is committed unto peculiar men, wherof Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, & teachers, are in the first ranke and functions, and the power and efficacy which is given them, is onely the ministration of the Word, they have not that absolute power which Christ hath, to know who are his from the beginning, and to have compassion, on whom he would have compassion, and to shew mercy, on whom hee would show mercy. For Christ had not this absolute power as he was the Son of man, but as he was the person of God; For as he was Man, he came not to do his owne will but the will of his Father; So likewise when he sent his Apostles and Disciples to teach all Nations, he sent them, as he was sent of his Father. So send I you, saith he, which was not to doe their owne will, nor to teach their owne doctrine, but to do his will as he did his Fathers will, and to teach his doctrine which he taught them, as his Father taught him: so by the Word they are to do and teach, but nothing beside the Word, or without the Word. More at large of this in the Treatise of Discipline.

Thus we see the word of life is God in the person of the Father, the unbegotten Word, in the Sonne the begotten Word, and the incarnate Word, In the person of the Spirit it is the proceeding Word, and the ministeriall Word, and this ministeriall Word is the power, and the authority com­mitted to the Church; So the Ministers cannot doe any thing but by the power of the Word, and this Word is Christ who abideth with them, and with the whole Church alwayes un­to the end of the world; So Christ is the chiefe, and they are his servants and embassadours.

Of the third Subsistence of the Church Government and Discipline.

AS Divine worship cannot bee wi [...]hout the di­vine power of the ministeriall Word, from whence it extracts both the nutriment and efficacie, so neither worship, nor the Divine Word can be without order, government and discipline, whereby the whole spirituall body (the Church) is preserved in spirituall health and blessed­nesse, shining in spirituall decencie and divine beauty. As Psal. 45. 13. 14. The Kings daughter is all glorious within. And her heavenly glory is most excellently set forth in Canticles 6. 10. Who is shee that looketh forth as the morning, faire as the Moone, pure as the Sunne, terrible as an army with banners? Without externall pompe, temporall confusion, or humane policy; for God hateth nothing more in the government of his Church, and in his worship, then pompe and policy, and loveth nothing more then to have his Church excell in meek­nesse, holinesse, and simplicity, like himselfe, as hee saith, Bee ye holy, for I am holy. And learne of me, for I am meeke and lowly. And he exalteth the humble and meeke, but the proud he sends empty away.

The Church of God consi­derable in a twofold aspect.When we speake of the Church, it is to bee considered in what sence we take the Church, for the Church of God is in a twofold aspect to be apprehended, one as she is in a mysti­call union the body of Christ, the Spouse of Christ, the Lambe, the Bride, in this sence shee is spirituall, pure and ho­ly without spot, without wrinkle, his undefiled. The other as she dwelleth in her naturall humanitie, and abideth here on earth, wherein shee is invironed with manifold temptati­ons, [Page 35] infirmities and afflictions, fighting against the world, the flesh and the divell, and in this condition she is elementary, naturall and visible; Therefore God in his wisedome and goodnesse to man hath ordained externall dispensation, there­by to communicate the holy and invisible mysteries of his Word to man through visible instruments, elementary and naturall, proper for mans capacity and nature, lest naturall infirmities should become an excuse that God should not speake unto man; For this cause God doth minister the mighty power of his Word, by the weake and simple voyce of man; Teaching man by letters, syllables, words and sen­tences, divine truth, and making evident to the mind and sences of man, by elementary signes, tropes and allegories, and so demonstrating inscrutable mysteries, and divine se­crets of grace, power and glory.

The first beames of the glorious gospell of Christ (which Paul calls the Image of the living God) that shines unto man, is the publike and visible ministration, whose glory compared with the glorious ministration of the law. 2 Cor. 3. 7 (which none was able to behold and live, which made mountaines tremble, and the Israelites excuse themselves) is farre more exceeding glorious, which we all are able to be­hold with open face shining through the vaile of Christs hu­manitie, wherein as in a glasse or Crystall wee see the glory of God in the love of the Father, and are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.

And the thing that is ministred, is the glorious gospell of Christ, which is the doctrine of Christ, or the mystery of the Father; and it carrieth alwayes this Character with it to know it to be the true doctrine of God.Ioh. 16. 15, 16. It giveth all glory to God the Father by Christ, and it glorifies Christ through the Spirit, for Christ saith, that which is the Fathers, is mine, therefore the Spirit shall take of mine, and give it you.

Outward ministration is called the face and countenance of God; Therefore the ProphetDavid saith,O Lord God of hoasts turne us againe, and make thy face to shine upon us, and wee shall [Page 36] be saved.It wasDavids delight, and his whole hearts de­sire,Psal. 27. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I require: that I may dwell in the temple of the Lord all my dayes, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to visit his temple.

The first ordi­nation of the ministration of the Word. The first ordination of this ministration was instituted and practised by God himselfe in Paradise,preaching unto Adam in a created voyce in the coole of the day, and by that meeke voyce Gods presence was knowne unto man; I heard thy voyce and was afraid. The voyce or word of God (for it is a significant voyce, making it selfe to be understood) howso­ever God useth weake and despised instruments to expresse himselfe to mans capacity, yet his voyce is mighty, as in the 29. Psal Reade the whole Psalme. For the voyce of the Lord is powerfull, the voyce of the Lord is full of Majesty. And as Paul describes it, it is mighty in operation, and sharper then any two edged sword, piercing through, even to the divi­ding of the soule and the spirit, and of the joynts and the mar­row, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; For this cause preaching is called the power of God unto salvation. But if the glorious beauty and power of Gods ministration seeme weake and foolish unto some men, because it is ministred by the voyce of man, and the weake sig [...]es of the Sacraments being of no strength not beauty in themselves, It is because the glorious Gospell is hid unto them that perish, and becomes the savour of death unto death, because the God of this world hath blinded the eyes of them that beleeve not, lest the light of the glorious Gos­pell of Jesus Christ should shine unto them.

These riches are sent unto us of God (from the Father of lights by the Sonne, of the fulnesse of all rich grac [...], through the spirit the over-flowing waters of life and blessednesse) and we have it in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may appeare to be of God, and not of man, and those that are [...] of God, are qualified with the word of God, and by having the Word, they are knowne to be sent of God; For they [...] and preach not themselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord, and approve themselves messengers and servants to [Page 37] the Saints for Jesus sake. For the word of God wee are al­wayes to conceive to be the eternall Sonne of God by gene­ration, and to proceed from God by spiration in creation, and to be communicated unto man since his fall by superna­turall inspiration, and united unto man, and man unto it by incarnation, and ministred unto man by externall dispensa­tion. Thus the Word descends unto man by inspiration, and dwels in man through the Spirit, for the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the Word, for the Word and the spirit cannot be divided nor separated, they are one. For this cause God useth the externall ministration of his Word and Spirit, that he may inspire and regenerate the mind of man. After this manner are the ministers and messengers that are sent of God indued with the Word and Spirit of God. Therefore let no man say that hee hath the Spirit, if hee want the light of the Word, neither can any man have the Word but by the Spirit, and the Word and Spirit are both made manifest in this, that they reveale the hid things of God, even the mysterie of God in Christ. 1 Cor. 2. 9, 10. which in Col. 2. 3. is called a full assurance of understanding in the knowledge of the mysterie of God in Christ, for he which commanded light to shine out of dark­nesse, shines into the hearts of the Messengers, to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Christ.

Of the calling of Ministers.

As the externall Ministration cannot be without the Word and the Spirit, so the Church cannot bee without Ministers and messengers of God, and as the ministration is publicke and externall, so the visible Church and Congregations have power of divine right to call and appoint,Pastors ought before their admission to be well known to the Congre­gations where they are to re­side. such as God hath internally qualified, to the externall and publicke exercise thereof; For as by internall inspiration they are indued with a more then ordinary measure of the Word and Spirit, so they ought to be well knowne, and conversant in the Congrega­tion or facietie of that Church wherein they live, that by a [Page 38] mutuall consent they may be approved and thought worthy to be called to the publick ministration and dispensation of the VVord. This was the practise of the Apostles and primi­tive Church▪ Acts 1. 21. 22 Wherefore of these men that have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus, went in and out with us, beginning from the Baptisme of John, unto the same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witnesse with us of his resurrection, and they appointed two. Also, Act. 6. 1. 3. When the number of the Disciples was multipli­ed, then the twelve called the multitude of the Disciples together unto them, and said unto them, it is not meet that we should leave the ministration of the Word and serve tables, wherefore bre­thren looke you out among you seven men of honest report full of the holy Ghost, and of wisedome, whom we may appoint ouer this businesse.

And it is to be observed, that nothing was to bee done in the Church, either by the Apostles, or by those that in the ministration succeeded them, without the consent of the whole Church, which then at first were called Disciples.

Of the manner of their externall ordination.

Touching the manner of their Ordination that we find in the first of the Acts, they prayed and said; Thou Lord which knowest the hearts of all men, shew which of these two thou hast chosen, and then they gave forth lots, and the lot fell upon Mat­thias. And also afterwards in the sixt of the Acts, the multi­tude of the Disciples or brethren chose seven and set them be­fore the Apostles, and when they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them.

In the first place of Scripture it is said, the Disciples ap­pointed two, and left the choyce to God, and therefore they gave forth lots, because it was an extraordinary calling to an Apostleship to succeed Judas; But in the second place it is said, they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the holy Ghost, and Philip and Prochorus, and others, &c. And it is re­markeable that the Church received instruction from the [Page 39] Apostles as a rule to be observed in choosing Deacons and El­ders, as in the first of the Acts they were admonished by Pe­ter to choose such as were conversant in the Church from their beginning. By which I conceive, they ought to bee of knowne conversation, and men of good report, and that they should be full of faith and the holy Ghost, as Steven was, or men endued with the holy Ghost and with wisedome. These are the respects which ought to bee had in choosing Pastors, Deacons, and Governours in the Church; For all gifts of learning and humane Sciences, howsoever they be excellent and worthy much praise and honour, yet without these Cha­racters of grace they are nothing, and not to be esteemed.

Of the orders and degrees of Pastors, and their denominations both under the Law and the Gospell.

It is evident that the orders and degrees of Ministers and Governours of the Church of God under the Law were Priests, Levites and Elders, God also sending among them Prophets of extraordinary inspiration, for revelation of the VVord to teach, admonish and exhort the people.

The Priest.The Priests office was figurative, prefiguring Christ untill his comming,Numb 3. 10. offering sacrifices to figure the sacrifice of his body, instructing the people in the promised seed unto the remission of their sinnes, whose manifestation in the flesh should be the accomplishment of all figures and shadowes in the law, which thereby were abrogated.

The Levite.The Levites were given unto Aaron, as an addition to his office, as in Numb. 3. 6, 7, 8, 9. to minister unto him, to keepe his charge, and the charge of the whole Congregation to doe the service, and to keepe the instruments of the tabernacle of the Congregation.

The Elder.The Elders, (though every Father of a Family bee called Elder, and also the twelve tribes of Iacob) yet those are pro­perly Elders who are chosen and appointed to be Governours and Rulers both in Church and Common-wealth. For the Governours in Pharaohs house were called Elders, and the [Page 40] Rulers in the Church, as first in the Tabernacle, as Numb. 11. [...] and Temple were also called Elders. And the Lord stirred up Prophets among them both of the Levites and Priests, and others, as occasion required, never leaving his Church without a Prophet and Rulers till Shil [...] came.

And when that faithfull Prophet of God came into the world, whose effectuall power, and fulnesse of all divine per­fection abolished all figures and darke resembling shadowes, then in his owne person and humane presence, hee spread a­broad the glad tydings of his glorious Gospell, causing the light of his truth to shine evident without vaile or vizard, notwithstanding he neither altered nor abolished the order of ministration, nor the manner of government, but establish­ed the same by his owne example, and the practise of his Apostles. And therefore he said that Christ when he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men, As Ephes 4 11. he gave some to be Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, and some Pastours and Teachers.

Apostles and Evangelists.In this place of Scripture he onely setteth forth the prin­cipall functions in the Church, whereof the first paire, as namely Apostles and Evangelists were of immediate cal­ling, and appropriated to the time, ordained by Christ, onely for the propagation and first progression of the Gospell, the gifts of prophecie and working of miracles, attending the [...] of their doctrine; As the necessitie of those time [...] and as Christ had promised, Marke 16. 17, 18. And th [...]se signes shall follow them that beleeve in my Name: they shall [...] devils, they shall speake with new tongues, they shall take up Serpents, and if they drink any deadly person, it shall [...] them, they shall lay their hands on the sick [...], and they shall [...].

Pastors and Teachers.The second paire, are Pastors and Teachers distinguished by their ordination, for these were ordained internally by the outward dispensation of hearing the Word preached by the Apostles, then externally chosen by the Church, [...] Acts the sixth, after consecrated by the Apostles, by prayer, and laying [...] of [...]nds of the Apostles and Elders, Acts 14. 23. [Page 41] This order of ministers is ordinarie, and to continue in the Church unto the comming of our Lord to Judgement.

Their Com­mission.Both these paires are but one and the same function and office, and have but one and the same Commission, which was given by the immediate ordination of Christ to his Apo­stles. For as God the Father sent his beloved Sonne to bee a light unto the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel, in declaring unto them the glad tydings of salvation in his death unto the remission of sinnes. So Christ sayd to his Dis­ciples; As my Father sent me, so send I you. John 20. 21, 22.

The Authority committed.The power and authority committed unto them by this commission is the breath of life, out of the mouth of Christ proceeding from the Father and the Sonne, as it is said; Man lives not by bread onely, but by every word that proceedteh out of the mouth of God; Therefore he breathed on them and said, Receive ye the holy Ghost. For the word which Christ spake or breathed out of his mouth, hee affirmed to be spirit and life, saying, John 6. The flesh profiteth nothing, but the word that I speake is spirit and life.

The substance of the Com­mission.The substance of this Commission is mandatory,Matt. 28. 19. Goe teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost. Blessing them.

The doctrinall part of it.The doctrinall part of their commission, is teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, andMarke 26. 15. hath it in these words,Preach the Gospell to every creature. Now the summe of the doctrine, which Christ taught, is set downe more plainly by St.Luke 24. 44. These are the words that I spake unto you, whilst I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law, and the Prophets, and in the Psalmes concerning mee. And he (who was spirit, life and light) opened their understand­ings that they might understand the Scriptures; and said, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and rise from the dead the third day; And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his Name among all Nations, beginning at Ierusalem.And after this manner doe the Pastors and Mini­sters blesse, teach, and sanctifie the people.

[Page 42] Thus Christ by preaching and teaching unto them the word of God, out of his mouth, he opened their understand­ings in the Scriptures, and thereby they received the holy Ghost, for this is Christs manner of breathing upon them, Iohn 20. when hee said, receive yee the holy Ghost. But in Luke he saith, Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; Which is to say, I will send a visible token of the Spirit upon you, or the efficacie of the Spirit upon you. Therefore he sayd, Tarry [...] in the Citie of Ierusalem, untill you bee endued with power from on high. Not but that they had received the holy Ghost before, but not the manifestation and evident power thereof, as afterwards it did fall upon them in the similitude of fiery cloven tongues, Acts 2.

The smites and operative effects of ministration of the Spi­rit is set forth, Iohn 2. 23. Whose soever sinnes ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sinnes ye retaine, they are retained. For this is the power and efficacie of the ministeriall Word (as hath beene formerly showne) which sloweth from the absolute power of Christ, which was given unto him of the Father, as he affirmed to his Disciples, Matt. 28. 18. All power is given me in heauen and in Earth.

And this ministration of the Gospell is that key of David committed unto Christ, by which he should open and no man shut, and should shut, and no man should open. And in the 16. of Matthew 16 17. & 18. ver. it is evident, that this power of the keyes, is onely the power of the Gospell of Christ, or rather as Peter confessed the Lord Jesus to bee that Christ, that Sonne of the living God, which he received not by the intelligence of flesh and blood, but by Revelation from God the Father, this power changeth the whole cor­rupt nature of man, and gives him another denomination or qualitie, making him a strong and immoveable rock, turning Peter to Petra. Thus after this manner is the revelation and power of the Word, given in generall to every one that re­ceiveth the knowledge of Christ, to beleeve that he is that Christ, that Sonne of the living God, (God himselfe) against this rocke the gates of hell, the powers and principalities of [Page 43] darknesse, and worldly Governours cannot prevaile. But the particular and publicke ministration thereof, is committed to the Pastors and teachers of the Church of God, by whose ministration and publicke dispensation of the Word, the hearts and consciences of men are opened and shut, bound and loo­sed every day, as Lydia and others in the Acts, in which the Word becomes the favour of life unto some, and the savour of death unto others; And this ministeriall power is also gi­ven unto them for divine censure and publicke correction, to roote out abominable and unsufferable vices in the Church and Congregations, as shall be shewed in his proper place.

Of the nominations under the Law, and under the Gospell.

Under the Law it is undeniable, that the Ministers and Governours of the Church, were called Priests, Levites, and Elders. Also, in the Christian Church (leaving out the ex­traordinary functions of Apostles and Evangelists) they are called Pastors, Teachers, Helpers and Governours; As these rankes are expressed in the 1 Cor. 12. 28.

Helpers in go­vernment.Of helpers, wee reade they were added to the Christian Church in the sixth of the Acts, whose office seemes to be in the place of the Levites, as they are called Deacons. And Governours in the Church,Governours. as neither the Synagogue nor the Christian Church could bee well governed without, called Elders in both Churches; As Ambrose speaking in his Ho­milies upon the fifth of Timothie, and the first verse, saith to this effect, Both the Synagogue and afterward the Church had Elders, without whose counsell nothing was done in the Church (though in his times they were almost lost, as he saith in the same place) which (saith he) by what negli­gence it is growne out of use I know not, unlesse peradven­ture by their negligence, or rather the pride of the teachers, whilest they alone would be all, and doe all. If these gover­nours were so decayed in his time, how much more are they now worne out of memorie in these our dayes?

[Page 42] [...] [Page 43] [...] [Page 44] The good ef­fects of this government in the primitive times.But who list to peruse the history of the primitive times, may observe that so long as this government stood in equall dependancie with their Pastors, there could no heresie ever get footing in the Church of God; But after it was lost and neglected, the Arrian heresie crept into the Church, and filled the universall Church, and all Kingdomes with ambition, contention, heresies and warre, as in the Revelation.

Elders deri­ved.The name of Elders is now become an uncouth and abhor­red name, though it hath beene alwayes used from the begin­ning both in Church and Common-wealth to signifie both politique and Ecclesiasticall Governours.

For if we consider the derivation of the word (Priest) it is no other but Elder, as in the Greeke it is called ( [...]) which in Latine is (Senex) [...] being rendred Presbiter, and in English, Elder, being the comparative of [...]. And in this sence the Apostles called themselves Elders, as John in his second Epistle, 1. verse. The denomi­nations of Pastors, Teachers, Bishops and Elders in the Church were promiscuously used, because though they were distinguished by particular duties and administrations, yet all was of one and the same spirit and power, As Paul, 2 Tim. 1. 11. accounted himselfe a Preacher, and teacher of the Gentiles aswell as an Apostle.

Episcopus, unde & quid sit?But there is no name that belongs to the functions of the Church of God, that doth so much trouble the Church, and the whole world, as the name Episcopus; Which though I find it but once or twice named in the New Testament, (as though the holy Ghost thought it not convenient often to use that name) foreknowing, and foreseeing how much mis­chiefe it would bring forth to the Christian Church, yet I finde it a name much and frequontly used by the Antient Fa­thers, and Historians, insomuch as for the reverend and high esteeme it got among them, it is advanced to signifie prehe­minence, and a spirituall office and dignitie, and honour a­bove temporall Monarchs; or rather at least in some of their owne conceits and expressions higher then a Monarch, a Pope of universall supremacie above all, that is called God. Not­withstanding, [Page 45] that the name derived from the Greeke [...] signisieth no more but to survey, to consider of the deportment of the flocke, by God committed unto his charge, as of which he is to [...]enderian account: so that the etymologie of the word will not imply that lording power, which they doe arrogate unto themselves.

But [...], which signifies busie-bodyes, or medlers in other mens matters, derived of [...], in La­tine (alvis) and the word [...], which is in the lan­guage of this age usually rendred Bishop, seemes to me a very opposite word to decipher the lording Bishops of our times, which like the A [...]gels that left their primitive station, omit­ting the proper worke of their ministeriall functions doe moue in an improper orbe of secular affaires, and so may well be called ' [...], Busie-bodies, or busie Bishops,

The office of a Bishop deline­ated by Scrip­ture.If any desire to know the office and dutie of a Bishop, as the holy Scripture setteth it forth, let them reade the third Chapter of Paul to Timothie, and also the first of Peter, the fifth Chapter, the second and third verses, where the office of a Bishop is described under the name of an Elder.

Of antient and primitive government of the Church of God.

The primitive government twofold.The antient Apostolike and Primitive Government was under Pastors, Deacons and Elders in every Congregation.

The manner of their government was twofold, the first part whereof was particular to every man in his function; The second part was joyntly and publickly together, and none without another.

The Pastors function.The Pastor, Teacher, or Bishop, his particular function or office was as a President, overseer, and director, not only as a Teacher, but also as an Elder, watching over the health of their soules, and outward manners and conversation, caring for the spirituall good, and salvation of every one, whose of­fice is set forth in the first of Timothie, the 3. chap. 2. 3. 4. & 6. verses. Hee must be a man blamelesse, continent, vigilant, [Page 46] sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, nor greedy of filthy lucre, no brawler, not covetous, one that ruleth well his owne house, having his Children in subjection with all gravity, hee must not be a novice, lest through pride he fall into condemnati­on, and he ought to be of good report among the adversa­ries, that the word of God be not evill spoken of.Pet. 1. 5. 1, [...], 3. Also Pe­ter exhorts Bishops under the name of Elders, (acknow­ledging himselfe also to be an Elder) saying, Feed the flocke of God, which dependeth upon you, caring for it, not by con­straint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, not as though yee were Lords over Gods heritage, but that ye may be ensamples to the [...]locke. And as Paul advised Timothy to preach the word of God, Bee insta [...]t in season, and out of season, 2 Tim. 4. 2. reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and do­ctrine. And after the same manner, and in the same sence Christ excited Peter, that the more he loved him, the more he should labour, to feed his lambes, his sheepe, his flocke.

But Lordly preheminence Christ did not onely forbid, say­ing, The Lords of the Gentiles have power over them, but it shall not be so among you,Matt. 20. 25, 26, 27, 28. but also [...]aith,Hee that would bee the greatest among you, let him doe most service to the rest.But that fearefull admonition of Christ, me thinkes should shake the hearts of our Bishops with feare, that use predo­minance over their fellowes and Church of God.Mat, 24. Who is a faithfull and wise servant, whom God hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in [...]ue season [...] Blessed is that servant whom the Lord shall find doing so, he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evill servant, shall say in his heart, My Master doth deferre his comming, and begin to smite his fellowes, and to eat and With those that are drunk with the desire and coveting of power and riches. drinke with the drunken: that servants Master will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an houre that hee is not aware of: and will cut him off, and give him his portion with hypocrites: there shall be wee­ping and gnashing of teeth. The Deacons office.

The office of Deacons, (of their ordination, I have spo­ken before upon the sixth of theActs) is that they stand in [Page 47] place of the Levites, to attend on the hand of the Pastors, aswell to helpe to cat [...]hise, to teach, administer the Sacra­ments, as to care [...]or the poore, and to take the charge of the goods and rev [...]nues of the Church; but for their conver­sation and qualitie, [...] 1. set forth byPaul, in the first ofTimo­thy,the third chapter▪ the8, 9▪ 10, 11, 12, 13.verses.A Dea­con must be grave, not double tongued▪ not given to strong drinke, not given to filthy lucre, holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. Let him first be proved, then let him use the office of a Deacon, being found blamelesse. Even so must their wives bee grave, no slanderers, sober, faithfull in all things. Let a Dea­con be the husband of one wife, ruling their children, and their owne houses well. For they that have used the office of a Deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldnesse in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

And if Pastors and teachers would have the like zeale and consideration with themselves, which the Apostles had, Acts the sixth and the second, and would have judged every thing an obstacle, whatsoever might withdraw and hinder them in the preaching of Gods word, and their care of soules, and would make it their delight and labour, to give themselves continually [...]o prayer and ministration, they would discerne, that they can no more be without Deacons one or two in a Congregation, then their bodies can be well without hands, neither would they nourish that indigne opinion, that igno­rant; Nay, often improbous Church-wardens can serve in their place and office as some alledge.

The office of Elders.Now touching the particular dutie and office of Elders, which in this our age is taken in a corrupt and improper sence calling them lay Elders, which in Scriptute from the antient originall, are tearmed Elders of Israel, or of the Ta­bernacle, as to say, Elders of the Church of God, or of the people of God, to distinguish them from civill Elders and Governours: and they are either such as by natures ordination are Fathers of Christian families; or such as are publickely chosen by the severall Congregations of the Church, and ap­proved by their Pastors and Teachers.

[Page 48] Ambrosius.Their office and duties were such, as Ambrose said, with­out whose counsell nothing was done in the Church; and that both the Synagogue, and the Christian Church had Elders; They were to be chosen men, such as Jethro advised Moyses, Exod. 18. chosen out of the people, men of courage, such as feare God, men of truth hating covetousnesse, and place such over the people to rule thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. But these Elders are here rather to be for civill affaires then Church car [...]s; But thus we must conceive that Church El­ders might as well be exercised in ministration of Justice for the Common-wealth, as in the ministration of Discipline for the Church. For this is the proper duty even of Kings, Prin­ces, and their Magistrates; as also of fathers of Families, because the Common-weale of Israel is involved in the Church of God, and the Church of God in a Christian Com­mon-weale; For so ought our Christian Kingdomes to bee composed, as Magistrates may be chosen Church Elders in the Church of God. For blessed is the Nation, whose God is the Lord, [...] Thus the Church is in­corporated in the Common-wealth, & the Common-weale in the Church. And in such a Kingdome▪ Christ raigneth as a King in excelsis, and his Vice-roy by him, and for him, and the flourishing propagation of the ministery of the Word is the soule of such a Common-wealth.

A cleare diffe­rence and re­markeable di­stinction be­twixt Elders of the Church and Common-wealth.But there is an evident difference detwixt the Elders that governe the Common-wealth, and the Elders that governe the Church; Distinct they are in their ordination, and in their endowments, and in the manner of exercise, and execution of their office; For Magistrates and Elders in a Kingdome are those who are appointed of the King or chiefe Governour, as in the first of Peter▪ 2. 13, 14. Submit your selves unto all ordinances of man for the Lords sake, whether to Kings as superiours, or to Governours as sent of them, and their office is for punishment of evill doers, and for the praise of them that doe well. And these are such as Moyses ordai­ned by the counsell of Jethro before exprest. But Moyses by Gods expresse appointment did afterward ordaine other El­ders chosen out of those Elders, whom God indued with the speciall gi [...]ts of his Spirit, for helping of Moyses in governing [Page 49] of the Congregation of the Tabernacle, as it is set downe Numb. 11. 16. 17. 25. 26. Then the Lord sayd unto Moyses, Gather unto me seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest that they are Elders of the people, and Governours over them: and bring them unto the Tabernacle, and let them stand there with thee. And I will come downe, and talke there with thee, and take of the spirit which is upon thee, and put upon them, and they shall beare the burthen of the people with thee, so thou shalt not beare it alone. So these were another sort of Elders. Then the Elders that governed over the people, as in the 24, 25. and 26, verses. So Moyses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord; and gathered seventy men of the Elders of the people, and set them round about the Tabernacle. There the Lord came downe in a cloud, and spake unto him, and tooke of the spirit that was upon Moyses, and put upon the seventy antient men: and when the spirit rested upon them, then they prophesied and did not cease.

Here their ordination is of God, their indowment is of the Spirit, and their office and duty is to prophecie, and not to cease; and the end why they were to prophecie, is to beare the burden of the people with Moyses, for the people mur­mured, and often tempted and provoked the Lord to wrath. And though they received daily instruction, and publicke ministration of the word of God from Moyses and Aaron, yet the seed of truth fell sometimes among stony ground, and sometime upon thorny ground, & sometime in the high way, and [...]ither took no deepe root, or it was choaked, or otherwise picked up and carryed away by the fowles of the ayre, so that their murmurings, grudgings, and rebellions were such a burthen to Moyses, and an insupportable griefe that Moyses wished rather to die than to live. Therefore God ordained these kind of Elders to be an assistance in his publicke mini­stration, that as Moyses among the Jewes, and Paul in the Church of God planted the Word in publicke. So these might be as Apollo's to water it in private, and that by their vigilancie and diligence in every place of the Congregation, they might be ready to suppresse by divine instruction, ex­hortation, [Page 50] and admonition out of the word of God.1 Tim. 5. 17. Mur­murings, grudgings, contentions, strife, cursings, railings, and all so [...] of inordinate walkings. This was the private and particular duty of these sorts of Elders by the power of the Word to kill the Cockatrice in the egge, and to pull up the weeds of sinne by the roots. For this cause they are described in th [...] fourth of the Revelation▪ to be the wings of the foure beasts▪ placed round about their bodyes, full of eyes within; for they are knit unto the Ministers in a peculiar and insepara­ble neerenesse, and their discerning operation is not to extend beyond the bounds of the Professors of the Church, for as Paul saith, what have wee to doe with those that are without?

These sort [...] of Elders are so necessarily annexed to the pub­licke ministration of the Word,The necessity of Church Elders. as that the Church cannot be without them; but that by the want thereof she doth expose her selfe to all kind of dangers externall and internall, like a bird without wings. Therefore Christ tooke not away this kind of Elders, but rather established them in their fun­ction and office, both in private and publicke, as in the 18. of Matth. 15. 16. 17. If thy brother trespasse, goe and tell him his fault, betweene thee and him alone: if hee heare thee, thou hast wo [...]ne thy brother. If he heare thee not, take yet with thee one or two▪ that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be [...]o [...]firmed. And if he will not vouchsafe to heare them, then tell the Church. Which is to make the offence and the offen­der knowne to the Congregation; the Elders acquainting the Pastor, the Pastor acquainting the Congregation, they all joyne in publicke censure and discipline.

Rules of pri­vate admoniti­on. Paul hath some rules which pertaine to private admoniti­on,for it ought to be done in all gravitie, prudence, and in much love.Galat. 6. 1. If a man bee fallen by occasion into any sinne, yee which are spirituall, restore such a one with the spirit of meeknesse, considering thy selfe lest thou also bee tempted. Beare one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. The Elders ought to excell in brotherly love and wisedome, and to use their exhortations with much tempe­rance, [Page 51] asPaul hath set before them in another place.1 Tim. 5. 1. Rebuke not an Elder, but exhort him as a father, and the younger men as brethren. The elder women as mothers, and the younger as sisters with all purenesse.

Another duty of Pastors and Elders.And there is another particular dutie which pertaines to these Elders, as also to the Pastors and Ministers, which is to visit the sicke, and those that are burthened or troubled in conscience, as Iames saith, If any be sicke, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray for him, and anoynt him with oyle in the name of the Lord. For oyle is an embleme of the holy Ghost, which by comfortable exhortations out of the word of God with prayer is like oyle unto the bones, or as wine that glads the heart. Such refreshment are the El­ders to the sicke, for the prayer of faith shall save the sicke, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sinne it shall be forgiven him. And for this cause there is a mutuall confession among Christians, when any thing doth vehement­ly oppresse the conscience, therefore saith James confesse your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that yee may be healed, for the prayer of a righteous man availeth much; if it be fervent.

Of Discipline and censure.

Now I come to the second part of government, which consisteth also in these three functions. The first sort is called promiscuously, Pastors, Teachers, Bishops, for they have re­ceived the gift of one and the same spirit, according to the measure of Christ, as Ephes. 4. For the gathering together of the Saints, for the worke of the ministery, and for the edifi­cation of the body of Christ, untill wee all meet together in the unitie of faith, and knowledge of the Sonne of God unto a perfect Man, and unto the measure of the age of the fulnesse of Christ. The second sort is Deacons. The third is called by a generall name in common to them and the Pastors, Teachers and Bishops, which is the name of Elders, for that in their publicke execution of Discipline, they are joyntly united, so [Page 52] that though the Pastor have the leading voyce and preceden­cie,Bishop our superintendent. yet he is not to execute, nor pronounce sentence in the Church without the Elders, nor yet to ordaine either Dea­cons, Elders, or Pastors, without their counsell, and the ge­nerall consent of the Church, so that the Pastors, Teachers and Bishops, are not to beare the burthen alone, it would bee too heavy for them, as it was for Moyses, if they bore the like conscience to God as Moyses did; and if it were too heavy a burden for one man in those dayes, when the Church was but one Nation, and but one Congregation, and had but one Tabernacle; How must it not now needs be a farre grea­ter weight, when the Church is many Nations, farre and wide dispersed, and many distinct Congregations.

But notwithstanding the Elders be joyned in one power with the Pastors and Bishops, so that nothing ought to bee done without them, the Pastors have this preheminence, that the worke both of Discipline, censure, and ordination of El­ders, Pastors and Deacons, is attributed unto them as most proper to their function; For this cause Paul tells Titus, in his Epistle, cap. 1. that he left him in Crete: that hee should continue to redresse things that remained, and ordaine Elders in every Citie,Verse 23. as (saith he) I appointed thee. And Acts the 14 23. And when they ordained them Elders by election in eve­ry Church, and prayed and fasted; they commended them to the Lord, in whom they beleeved. For neither divine censure, nor ordination could be done without them, neither would the Apostles nor Pastors of the primitive times, for the space of two hundred and fifty yeares, either censure or ordaine any Elders, Pastors, or Deacons, without the Election, and coun­sell of the Church and Elders. But a little after these times, when pride began to creepe into the hearts of the Pastors, Teachers, and Bishops, and that the zeale and care of the El­ders grew cold and negligent, as Cyprian Bishop o [...] Carthage, lib. 4. speaking of the cause of the then present pe [...]secutions, among other things (saith) What plague [...], what s [...]ripes▪ doe we not [...], when no not the Confessours and Elders do [...] [...] Discipline [...] ▪ And from this degr [...] of luke-warmnesse [Page 53] it came to be omitted, and after the Nicene Councell quite extinct, and wiped out of memory; So that no marvell if our age call it the new-brought-in discipline and government of Pastors, Elders and People.

In this discourse of Discipline, I must have relation to that which is gone before, for that which is part of government in the theoricke is also a part of Discipline in the practicke, therefore though I have shewed that election and ordination are necessary relatives in the Church, that as proper to the Congregation, this other to the Pastours, and how they were practised by the Apostles, yet it is needfull to reforme the Judgements and opinions of men, to shew how it is most proper for Congregations to choose their Pastours and El­ders, and Deacons, and also their consent and counsell in their ordination.

The Apostles practise is the best of pat­terns.To satisfie any indifferent judgement, it is best to make It a perpetuall rule and patterne, to follow the example of the Apostles, but it is an enforcing reason, that is necessary that the people, whose summum bonum, doth instrumentally consist in their Pastor should be well acquainted, and suffici­ently experimented in his life and conversation, as also in his doctrine which they ought to taste by their [...]are, (for the earth tasteth words as the palate doth meat) before they make choyce of him, though it may bee they cannot, nor is it required at their hands to trie his schollarship, but their capa­cities (if it be a Congregation that hath lived, and been nou­rished under a wholsome and structifyng minister [...]) may well judge and taste the sweetnesse of the divine gift of Preaching by the [...]are, and so trie his doctrine, as the men of Berea did the doctrine of Paul; and it may so happen in some Congre­gations, that are well edified in the Word of God, that they may have among themselves some of their Deacons able and sufficient to succeed their deceased Pastor, and withall I doe not thinke it fit to exclude the choyce and presentation of the Universities, nor to debarre their Letters of commendation; nor for one Congregation to supply the want of another, for all Congregations are members one of another, and every [Page 50] [...] [Page 51] [...] [Page 52] [...] [Page 53] [...] [Page 54] Christian University is a Congregation, and they all make but one Church to God.

But what shall I say of Patrons presentations? I know not, unlesse I should say they are too frequently the seed of Simo­ny; For except the Nobles and Peeres of this Kingdome do [...] freely bestow their presentations. I feare there are not many that do [...] the like, and to speake truly of their first donation, it was not done purely. For the Donors in reserving a pre­sentation to them, and their heires, they kept backe a part of the possession they had dedicated to God, as did Ananias and Saph [...]r [...]; And so if they bee righty considered, they are are as unnecessary evills in the Church, as Deanes and Pre­bends, which no man can tell to what use they serve in the Church. But if Patro [...]s cannot be admitted by our law, let them present three or foure at the least, that the Church may have her choyce, and as much as may be avoyd that horrid crime of Simony.

Ordination.And as for ordination, though the power thereof rest in the Pastors andOr superin­tendour. Bishops, yet it is great arrogancie and presump­tion to forsake the Apostolike and Primitive practise, and usurpe a singularity and predominancie to themselves, as if they would disdaine the humility of the Apostles, and con­demne the wisedome of the holy Ghost.

But that which doth foster and nourish men in a good opinion of this errour to attribute such absolute power to the Bishops and Clergie, is that mysticall doctrine of Antichrist, which in that smoakie darknesse thrust upon the world for an undeniable truth, that the Church in her essence is to bee conceived to bee the Bishops and Clergie, and that they onely have the unerrable Spirit of God, and that thereby they have power to doe all things, as much, and as absolute­ly as Christ himselfe when he was on earth, as once a Romish Priest averred to me, that the Priests or Clergie were the soule of the Church.

The nourishing and maintaining of this opinion is the cause why the world hath so long, and so madly doated after Episcopacie; But if we thinke it fit to cast away the pride and [Page 55] ambition of man, abhorre this opinion, and let the worke bee of God, and not of man.

Of Excommunication.

Now touching Excommunication, which is that supreme Discipline and divine power which purgeth and segre­gateth the drosse from the pure gold in the temple of God. This part of Discipline is of so high and holy a nature and qualitie, as that of a Christian, it ought to bee had in a most reverend estimation above all the powers of earth: for it is thunderbolt and lightning of God, that upon whom it fal­leth and pierceth, it doth consume with a terrible [...]lame, and grind him to powder with a direfull fall.

Dic Ecclesi [...], non Episcop [...], non Pastori tantum.This power is committed unto the Church, not to Bishops alone, not to the Pastors or Clergie onely, neither have the Elders this power appropriate unto them, but the Church. As Mat. 18 17. If he will not heare, then tell it unto the Church. Now the Church is not properly to bee conceived to consist in any one person, who is but a member of the whole, nor can she be said to be any one proper function in the Church, but the whole Church consisting of one head Christ, and ma­ny members indued with divers and many administrations and gifts of one and the same spirit, and in this sence every particular publicke Congregation is an entire Church, and a member of the universall Church throughout the world, because a Congregation containes in it selfe the whole Church of God, as she hath one and the same head (Christ) one and the same Spirit, and one and the same ministration of the same Word and Sacrament, and one and the same God and Father of all, above all, in all, and through all, and one. And thus having the same Word and Doctrine, the same functions of Pastors, Teachers, Deacons and Elders, the same Sacra­ments, Administration, Discipline and Government, so that hereby they are united one into another, and one in all, and all in all.The private admonition by Elders.

The private exercise of this part of Discipline I have spo­ken [Page 56] of, which by degrees in private admonition, if it bring not forth the fruits of repentance and amendment, pro­ceeds to the first degree of publicke correction, (Tell the Church.)

This information is made by the Elders, who have used the private discipline of exhortation, with much wisedome and patience upon some particular persons, who with hard­nesse of heart have resisted the power of God through un­godlinesse.

They declare the offence to the Pastor, and the Pastor in the publicke assembly acquainteth the people with the of­fence, and if the delinquent be present, hee is caused to stand up before the Pastor, who reproves him with the sharpe Judgements of God against his sinne, by the Word seeking to enlighten his mind, and mollifie his heart; Which if it prevaile with him, hee falleth upon his knees, and desireth the Congregation to pray for him, which done, the Pastor pronounceth unto him the remission of sinnes, if the Church judge him penitent, if they find him still obstinate and of an unrelenting heart▪ then they pronounce him deba [...]red from the holy Communion of the Supper of the Lord and conti­nue him upon the stoole of repentance with much exhor­tation, patience, and long forbearing, till they convince him, or otherwise separate him from the Congregation, for a time; if after hee continue in his foulenesse of sinne, then hee is againe called to the Congregation and admonished, which if then it take no effect, hee is excommunicated by laying on of the hands of all the Elders, after that hee is accounted as an enemie, or as Paul saith, Anathema to the Church, and wholly and finally given over to Satan, according to the words of our Saviour, the 18. Matth. 18. Whomsoever yee bind on earth, shall bee bound in heaven, and whom yee shall loose on earth, shall bee loosed in heaven.

Judge, I pray you, if all the politicke wits in the world could ever have devised such a pure and subtile discipline, as should spie into the inward secrets of the thoughts, and intentions of the heart, and should purge the conscience▪ [Page 57] and should cut off the consuming cankers, and rotten mem­bers from the body of the Church. What Romish Apothe­cary could ever have composed such a soule-saving me­dicine?

Observe how the holy Spirit hath commanded this disci­pline to bee alwayes practized in the Church. When Achans covetousnesse troubled the Congregation, by moving Gods wrath against them, a diligent search was commanded to bee made, and being found out, Achan and his house were cut off. Josh. 7. And also, if there bee a scorner or contentious person (saith Solomon) cast out the scorner, and so strife will goe out, and so contention shall cease. Also▪ Rom. 16. 17. 18. Now saith Paul, I beseech you brethren, marke them diligently which cause division and offences, contrary to the d [...] ­ctrine which yee have learned, and avoid them. And more plainly in the 2 Thess. 3 6. 10. Wee command you brethren, in the Name of Chirst, that yee withdraw your selves from every brother that walkes inordinately, and not after the in­structions which yee received of us. And in the foure­teenth verse he saith; If any man obey not your saying, note him by a letter, and have no company with him, that hee may bee ashamed, yet account him not as an enemy, but admo­nish him as a brother. But if he come to the last degree Ex­communion, then saith our Lord Christ, let him be anathema.

But if you would see the Apostles practice in this dis­cipline, See1 Cor. 5. chap. 4 and 5. verses,Paul having certaine intelligence that there was odious fornication a­mong them, hee writ thus unto them;When yee are gathe­red together, and my spirit, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that such a one, I say, by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ bee delivered unto Sathan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may bee saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

And out of this text make a profitable observation, that Paul will not have Excommunication, (though but in the second degree) executed in any private manner, but by the publicke assembly gathered together, neither doth hee allow [Page 58] it to be done in any name, but in the Name of the Lord Je­sus Christ; Neither doth hee attribute the power, either to himselfe or the Church, but onely to the Lord Jesus.

Now, and lastly, I must conclude with the last part of Discipline, that is Synodicall assemblies, which are of three degrees. The first is particular to every Congregation, which consists of the Pastors the Deacons, and the Elders of that Church, whose customes is the best reformed Churches to meet once a w [...]eke, or as need requires, to take an account of all things that concerne the duties of the Elders and the Church-revenues, the Pastor being their chiefe guide; Those things about which they chiefly busie themselves, are first to catalogue the Professors of their Congregation, their Cate­ch [...]inists distinguished from those that are thought fit to be admitted to the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, their Baptized, their Penitents, their Excommunicates, their number of Elders and Deacons, Pastors and Teachers, one or two, as the place requires.

In this their assembly they consider the spirituall estate, and condition of the flocke, examine the revenues of the Church, and the necessities of the poore, and what things soever they [...]ind meet to edification. The Pastor exhorting the Elders to diligence, care, and zeale in the worke of the Lord, the Deacons to honesty, compassion, and a good conscience.

The Assembly or Synod of Presbyteries within a shire or Wapontake.The second order of Synodes is in the reforme [...] Churches, called the assemblies of the Presbyteries, held monethly, or quarterly, under which they comprehend the Pastors and Church Elders, for every Pastor brings with him two or three Elders, after the quantity of the Congregation, and this Synode is a company of Pastors and Elders of a shire or wa­pontake.

In these Assemblies they examine the spirituall condition of every parish, take view of their order, diligence, do­ctrine, and manners, as well the doctrine and manners of the Pastors and Elders, as of the younger people. And there they proceed to such further order and censure, as by the holy Scriptures they are taught. And in these Synode [...] all errours [Page 59] in opinion, heresies and Schismes, that are found noysome to the Congregation are reproved, and the parties exhorted and admonished. In these their Synodes they alwayes from time to time choose one President to guide the affaires, and thus they avoyd that preheminence, which Episcopacie greedily hunts after.

The generall Synode.The third degree is the superlative assembly of Presby­teries, which is either Nationall or Provinciall, which in some Churches are held yearely, or otherwise as occasions fit; over which the prince and Soveraigne is the Principall Elder, and the Presbyters and Elders appoint one Pastor for the time President of the assembly, who moderates and guides the affaires.

The matters handled in this Synode are a generall review of both the former Synods, and specially to take care of the preservation of the puritie of Doctrine, and suppres­sing of Heretickes, and errours, and all misdemeanours, and Schismes in the Church.

And whatsoever is done in any of these Synods is certifi­ed from one to another, and through the Nationall Church of all their most materiall censures which may concerne them in generall, wherby the Church is preserved in a sweet and pleasant decorum, unitie, puritie and peace.

The unerrable patterne of these Synods is taken from the practise of the Apostles, Acts 15. shewing by what rules of temperance and wisedome they ought to judge and give sentence, taking the Scripture for their rule, the holy Ghost for their guide, not laying any burden on the Church by Lawes, Decrees, or Canons, as I have before spoken.

And this Divine rule and patterne was kept and observed throughout all the Primitive times, till the great Councell of Nice, as by the Chronography of Socrates. Scholast. may be observed, yet the earthly glory of Babel hath so long da­zeled the eyes of most men, that they call the truth novelty.

But if men were of a [...]ree spirit and cleere judgement, not inthralled with prejudicate opinions, nor darkned with the more then Egyptian mists of Rome, they might here be­hold [Page 60] the virgin puritie of the Church of God, both in her Worship, Jurisdiction, Doctrine, Government and Disci­pline, to have beene from the beginning of the world one and the same.

Thus have I adventured to present unto the eyes of men, the true [...]ace of the Christian Church shining in her spirituall Iustre, and Christ Jesus our Lord raigning and ruling over the soules and consciences of man, not intrenching upon the temporall power of Kings and Princes.

Now the Lord give unto us understanding in all things, and with the holy Apostle Paul I will bow the knees of my soule, unto the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, of whom is named the whole Family in heaven and in earth, that he may grant us according to the riches of his glory, that wee may be strengthened by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by Faith, that wee being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all Saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge, that we may be filled with all fulnesse of God. Unto him therefore that is able to doe exceeding abundant­ly above all that we can aske or thinke, according to the power that worketh in us, be praise in the Church by Jesus Christ thorough all Generati­ons for ever, Amen. Eph. 3. 14.

Soli Deo Gloria.


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