A Compendious DISCOURSE UPON THE CASE, As it stands between the Church of England and of Rome on the one hand, and again between the same Church of England and those Congregations which have divi­ded from it on the other hand.

TOGETHER WITH The Treatise of the Divisi­on of the English Church and the Romish, upon the REFORMATION.

Enlarged with some Explicatory Additionalls. By H. F. D.D.

LONDON, Printed by J. G. for R. Royston, at the Anstel in Ivy-lane. 1655.

To the READER.

BE pleased to under­stand, that for a­mending not a few faults escaped in the first Editi­on of the Treatise tou­ching The Division of the English and Ro­mish Church, upon the Reformation, the Printer intended a se­cond. In order to which, [Page] the Corrections were sent up to him with some ex­plicatory Additionalls; but other more necessary imployments intervening caused him to lay it a­side; and when I thought he had forgotten it, and was willing he should doe so, he lets me know he had reprinted some sheets of it. I did not like he should after almost two years suppression, send it abroad with no more ad­vantage: it came there­fore [Page] into my minde to draw up the Case into a more compendious and methodicall Discourse, and to adde the other part of the Case, as it stands betweene us and those that have divided from us; still making re­ferences to the like points and passages as they lye scattered in the Two Treatises before printed: This of the Division, &c. and that other of Certain considerations [Page] touching this Church.

What is here done, is intended, and according­ly contrived (with such brevity and plainnesse, as the Cause would well per­mit) for satisfaction of those, who, not acquain­ted with large Contro­versies, are ready to re­ceive the instruction gi­ven them; and being still in the Ʋnity and Communion of this Chu: are willing to continue therein, notwithstanding [Page] the Temptations on both sides; or else following the seduction of the one side or the other (Ro­mish or Sectarian) in the simplicity of their hearts, are not unwilling to return upon discovery of the Error, and danger of their Way. Which that they may see, I pray God in time to open their Eyes.


PAge 15. l. 28. adde for­mer. p. 24. l. 11. after ser­ving God adde Rom. 12. 1. p. 28. l. 15. for or Western, r. and Western, l. 25. after of which tima, adde i. e. of the four first generall Coun­cels. p. 31. l. 20. for Christ alwayes, r. and alwayes. p. 45. l. 27. after yet, adde they think. p. 49. l. 13. for Act r. Article, p. 54. l. 6. for of r. or, p. 87. ult. for preser­ving r. preventing. p. 111. 16. for understanding r. under­valuing, p. 122. l. 25. for know r. knew, p. 126. l. 11. for that may r. that they may, p. 129. l. 25. for his r. their. p. 136. l. 15. for the old Pro­phet r. old Prophets, p. 144. for cares r. jarres.

A Compendious Discourse upon the case, as it stands between the Church of England and of Rome on the one side; And again, between the same Church of England, and those, who have divided from it, on the other.

§. I. The Church of England.

I Need not pre­mise any thing for distinguish­ing the three Parties concer­ned in this case. They are too much at odds, and their differences too many and notorious; yet lest there be a mistake in Names, (because all the Sects in this Nation call themselves Churches, and Churches of England) therefore by the Church of England is under­stood the Church of Christ in this [Page 2] Land established upon the Reforma­tion, holding out her Doctrine and Government in the 39. Articles, her Liturgy and Publick Divine Service in the Book of Common-Prayer: and all those are called Sectaries, and are proved so to be, who (of what perswasion soever) have departed from, or refused to hold communion with this Church upon dislike of Doctrine, Government, Liturgy, Rites and Ceremonies, or any of these.

It holds the truth between Romanists and Secta­ries.The Church of England, standing thus between the Church of Rome on the one hand, and the aforesaid Sects, which have divided from it on the other hand, is challenged, and as­saulted by both, put now to defend it self against both. Which brings to mind the Device of some Romanist, who to make himself merry, has pi­ctured an English Protestant standing between a Papist and an Indepen­dent, borrowing Arguments and Reasons from the One, to oppose or answer the Other: Against the Pa­pists he must plead (as do all Secta­ries) Invisibility of the Church, Scri­pture [Page 3] alone, Liberty of private judg­ment: against other Sects he must help himself by urging (as do the Pa­pists) the visible condition of the Church, the Authority of it, Catho­lick Tradition and Practice, and the Succession of Bishops and Pastors. Well, the Romanists may thus seem­ingly▪ please themselves, but indeed This of all other Reformed Churches has been, and is, by reason of its most regular Reformation, their great eye-sore and heart-sorrow. And the English Protestant, or obe­dient Son of the Church of England, as he is well set between a Papist and Sectarie, as between two Extremes, so he onely is able to stand against the opposition or pretensions of both; for if we examine the false Grounds and deceiving Principles of Both, as to this point of the Consti­tution, Government, and Commu­nion of the Church: we shall clear­ly see the Truth lyes in the midst between both, and the Church of ENGLAND holds and main­tains it. To give some Instan­ces.

§. II. First in­stance in Holy and Catholick.

I. The Church of Christ accord­ing to the Article of our Beliefe is One, Holy, Catholick. The Romanists run away with the name Catholick, appropriating it to themselves, and every Sect with the title Holy, hold­ing themselves the only Congregati­ons of Saints. And as the Romanists enforce the name Catholick to the prejudice of the Title Holy, admit­ting no Church to be Catholick, that will not defile it self with their errors and corruptions: So Sectaries, under pretence of advancing Holinesse, and purity, and of gathering a Holy Church, and assembly of known Saints, overthrow the Catholick, and draw the Church of Christ into a corner, confining it to their own Sect or perswasion. Now see the Church of England in the midst: which by a most regular and warran­table Reformation had respect to both, and in relation to the title Ho­ly, provided for purity of Doctrine and worship so, that there can be no just complaint of Errors retained, and for purity of life, by coercion of Ecclesia­sticall censure so, that no scandalous [Page 5] or notorious offender should be suf­fered. So in relation to the title Ca­tholick, this Church did retain (as for Belief, so for practice) whatever had that stamp of Consent of all Ages up­on it; not confining the Church of Christ within the bounds of her per­swasion, but leaving it stil Catholick, and communicable to all such Chri­stian Assemblies, as doe not wilfully cut themselves off, but are careful, so far as they have means, to hold the Ʋnity of faith, with the bond of cha­rity: which is necessary for preser­ving that one body, which is the Church, Eph. 4. 4. 13. 16.

In Catho­lick, Pra­ctice and Tradition.II. As for Catholick or Ʋniversal Practice or Tradition, which stands in the consent of all the Churches in all Nations and Ages since the Apo­stles, as Sectaries wave it altogether, as wholly contrary to their Novelty, so Papists pretend it onely, reducing it into the testimony of their present Church, and cannot truly give Ca­tholick Tradition for any point of their faith and worship, wherein they differ from us. But the Church of England, in the midst between both, [Page 6] denying onely the Romish Tradition, which brings not down any part of their Faith or Worship through all Ages from the Apostles, admits of the true Catholick Tradition or Pra­ctice, and yields due Authority to it: the force of it resting upon common sense and reason (which is in every man, and which he must forsake that denies the Witnes of such Tradition) it being not possible, that all the Christian Churches, which began in and about the Apostolical Times, and so succeeded through all Nations and Ages, should be either deceived in what they unanimously witnessed, or agree all of them to deceive those that followed them. Whereas the te­stimony of the Romish Church, being but part of the Catholick, and possi­bly over-ruled with some prevailing Faction, cannot convince upon any such common notion of humane rea­son; but must first prove it selfe to be the onely Church, and infallible. And seeing it is forced to seek such proofe by witnesse of Scripture, they plainly run in a Circle from the testimony of their Church to the receiving or [Page 7] proving of Scripture to be the Word of God, and back again from the Witnesse of Scripture to prove their Church; But Catholick or Ʋniversal Tradition brings down Scripture to the Conviction of Heathens or Jews, that will but use their common sense and reason: that discovery, which Scripture makes of it selfe by light from the innate qualities, and inter­nal Arguments relucent in it, comes after, and appeares to them onely, that having entertained it upon the former Witnes of Catholicke Tradi­tion, are versed in it. So by this Wit­nes of Catholick Practice in obser­ving the Lords day, Easter day, Epi­scopal Government throughout the Church from the Apostles time, we are assured that such passages of Scripture, as concern any of these, doe shew the Beginnings of the said Practices: and the Church of Eng­land, as it received at first and ever since observed the fore-mentioned particulars, so it commands in gene­rall, due respect and adhaesion to that sense of Scripture, which comes down by such universall consent.

[Page 8] In the visi­ble and in­visible con­dition of the ChurchIII. Whereas the condition of the Church according to severall re­spects admits the distinction of Visi­ble and Invisible, the Romanists beare themselves too much upon the one extreme, and the Sectaries upon the Other: the first will have such a vi­sible flourishing condition of it, as is inconsistent with that state, which the Church of Christ has and may fall into, and prejudiciall (as by them pretended) to all just Reformation, and profession of Truth, which more neerly concerns the life and soul of the Church, and the more invisible perfection of the members thereof. And therefore they please themselves with the outward garb and face of their Church, and will have it tryed by the conspicuous Eminency of it, (as Tr. 1 c. 12.) rather than by truth and purity of doctrine. Sectaries on the other extreme bear them­selves too much upon the Invisible condition of the Church, which stands in those inward qualifications of true faith and sanctification, re­quisite to make a true and lively member of Christs mystical Body: so [Page 9] that in the pursuit thereof, and in pretence of gathering Churches consisting of such members onely, they dissipate the visible Church of Christ, and dissolve the Government he has setled in it.

But every true English Protestant acknowledges the Church of Christ is a visible society of Believers, or of Professors of the Christian Faith, (of whom some are effectually cal­led, true and lively members, but that is invisible, others not yet advanced beyond the externall calling or pro­fession) a society, I say, of such Pro­fessors, under such a Regiment or Government left by Christ and his Apostles: and left to this purpose, to keep all in unity, and to advance those, that are admitted in the visible Church to the meanes of Salvation, unto a reall and effectuall participa­tion of Grace and Union with Christ, as lively Members of his body, Eph. c. 4. 11 12, 13. 16. And therefore all Christians are bound to yeeld obedi­ence to the lawfull Pastors and Go­vernors of that Visible Church whereof they are Members.

[Page 10] The Arti­cle touch­ing the Church.All this we professe in that Article of our Creed touching the Church; for albeit that invisible condition of true Faith and Sanctity be the high­est concernment and qualification of a Member of Christs Church, and the attaining to that condition be the hope and aime of every good Christian in the Visible Church, and therefore the chiefest thing in the profession of that Article, (viz. a Communion of such true Believers, Saints, and Members of Christ) yet because the administrations of the visible Church tend necessarily unto that end, and he that cuts himself off from the communion of the visible Church, bereaves himself necessarily of the means to be advanced to that invisible condition; therefore he that professeth this Article, sayes he be­lieves Christ alwayes has his visible Church, which may be found, in which such Meanes and Administra­tions may be had, and that he yields obedience to the Pastors and Gover­nors set in it to that end and pur­pose.

IV. As the Romanists pretend to [Page 11] an infallible assistance of Gods Spi­rit bound to St. Peters Chair; so have Sectaries their confidence of the speciall guidance of the same Spirit. In the Pa­pal Infalli­bility and private judgment.And if we set the vanity of the one against the other, we may find as much semblance of Reason from those places of Scripture, which Se­ctaries alledge for every true Belie­ver so inspired and directed, as from those places the Romanists alledge for the Papal Infallibility, of which Tr. 1. c. 27. Both these pretences are the very bane of the Unity of the Church: Romish Infallibility rendring that Church incorrigible, and setting it beyond all bounds of accord with other Christians, that desiring Refor­mation, will not be satisfied or put off with that pretended priviledge: and the pretence of Sectaries, ren­dring Pastors and Teachers in the Church uselesse, or at least weak­ning the obedience due to them, puts it into the power of every one, that will fancy himselfe a true Believer, and guided by such assistance, to be a Reformer, and to break the Church in pieces.

[Page 12] In the Church of England no such pretence, either of Infallibility in the Governours, or of Private Judgment in any against their Governours; but such Authority of Governours and Pastors lawfully constituted, as is be­yond Appeal, (save to a Generall Council sitting) and competent to determine and define in all Causes, and to stop the mouth of the gain­sayer, and bind under Ecclesiasticall Censures. The ancient Church pre­tended to no more, had no other way, or means of preserving Unity; as said Treat. 1. c. 13.

When we ask of Those, that dis­sent from this Church, in following their own sense or interpretation of Scripture, Who shall judge? The Pa­pists think we then come into their Road, and oppose their Plea to our Sectaries; But we are still in the midst between them: Not establishing a Papal Infallible Judge, nor allowing Private Judgment to stand against the Publick: Not calling them to be tryed at Rome, as if that Church should judge for all, but to submit to the Publick Judgment of this Na­tional [Page 13] Church, of which they were Members, and in which there is such power (as is said) of judging for o­thers, and of censuring or binding the obstinate Gainsayers, as Treat. 2. c. 1. nu. 36.

If it be objected, There was such Authority in the Governours of this Church before Reformation, how then could Private Judgement take place against them, to introduce the Reformation?

We answer, It is possible there may be cause of dissenting from the chiefe Governours of the Church, and that Reformation may take its first rise from Private Judgement, as Tr. 1. c. 9. but then to be managed with all peaceable moderation and subjection, as is there shewn, and more largely, Tr. 2. c. 1. Now whe­ther our Reformation took rise from some private judgement intimated to them in Authority, or from the im­mediate inclination and judgment of those that had the Authority, it is not materiall, seeing all was car­ryed peaceably, and the work done not against, but by those that were [Page 14] the chiefe Governours in the Church.

In the due subordina­tion of Pa­stors and Gover­nors.V. As for that due Subordination of Pastors and Governours in the Church, seen and set forth in the true ancient Episcopal Government, it is wronged on both sides. The first in­vasion was made upon it by Papal usurpation, under the title of Ʋni­versal Bishop or Pastor, which in the judgement of Gregory the first, is to make him in effect the onely Bishop, and all others but his Ministers, as the same Gregory declared against John of Constantinople, affecting that Title, and cleared himselfe and his Predecessors from assuming it to themselves. But it was not long ere his Successors challenged and obtai­ned it, and ever since have used it to the vassalage of Christian Bishops, where they will suffer themselves to be so abused. On the other side, eve­ry Sect risen in these dayes, has lift up a hand to pull down that office and power, making spoil of the Means and Maintenance thereunto belonging. The Church of England in her Reformation did according to [Page 15] the Universall Practice of the Church, retain the Episcopal Go­vernment, vindicating it from Papal Usurpation; and is now put to de­fend it against the invasion of all other Sects, which therefore stand convinced of down-right Schisme; as will appear below. I have the lon­ger stayed upon these Instances, be­cause they doe much tend to the clearing of the businesse in hand. Now more particularly to the Case, which is thus in generall resolved.

§. III. Resolution of the case.
The true Protestant Church of ENGLAND is unjustly charged with Schisme by the ROMAN, for that Division which followed between them up­on the Reformation: But does justly charge all other Sects with Schisme, which have divided from it, since that Reformation.

There are three words to speak of here by way of Explication,National-Church. 1. Na­tional Church; for we have often spoken in the Treatises, and still shall speak of the Church of England as [Page 16] of a Nationall Church. That there­fore is to be accounted a Nationall Church, which has in it the whole subordination of Church govern­ments, (as the third Councel of Carth. Can. 2. Provinciae quae primas sedes habent) viz. One Primate, with severall Bishops, Priests and Dea­cons: Whether the extent of it be bounded with the Limits of the Na­tion, or according to the Precincts appointed by the Ancient Councils, or the Supreme Civil Power. Every Congregation, nay every House may bear the name of a Church, (the Church in their h [...]use, Rom. 16. 5.) but as part onely of, and in subordi­nation to the National Church. So the Churches of Ephesus, Rome, Co­rinth, upon the first planting of Chri­stianity in these Cities, began in a singular Congregation, but being in­larged to a due fulnesse, had every of them the exercise (or practise) of that whole subordination of power and Government.

Reforma­tion Pub­lick or Pri­vate.II. For the word Reformation. We must distinguish between that which is Publick or Nationall, the reforma­tion [Page 17] of a whole Church, in forbidding and casting out errors or Corrupti­ons in beliefe or practice, and that which is Private or particular, the Reformation of a mans self, in not admitting or ceasing to professe Er­rors prevailing or imposed by the Church, of which he is a Member, or in which he was baptized and Educa­ted: upon which Reforming of him­selfe may follow a dividing from that Church by Excommunication, or at least by Non-communion.

Actual Non-com­munion.III. Touching the words Schisme, or dividing of Communion, we must distinguish Actual non-communion, or want of Actual Communion with a Church, from Schisme or the guilt of Schisme. The first, which is want of Actual communion may happen between two Nationall Churches dis­agreeing in some practises, and that disagreement followed with too much heat, (as Tr. 1. c. 17, 18.) and sometimes between a Church and particular Members of it, through mis-informations, passion, exaspera­tions:Schisme. But Schisme is a wilfull (i.e. voluntary, causles,) dividing or se­parating [Page 18] from those we ought to hold Communion with. And as be­fore said of Non-communion, so ob­serve that the guilt of Schisme may fall either upon a Nationall Church causlesly dividing from, or refusing to hold communion with other Churches:Difference of it in re­gard of the parties be­tween which. or else upon the Mem­bers and parts of a National Church, withdrawing their obedience from their lawfull Pastors or Governours, and dividing from them and the Congregations under them: setting up a distinct communion, or joyning themselves to any such, elsewhere set up, The case between the Churches of England, and of Rome stands ac­cording to the first consideration of Schisme, as it falls between two Nationall Churches; and if the divi­sion, which followed upon the Refor­mation, must be call'd Schism we shall see in examining the cause of our Re­formation, that the guilt of it falls on them, not us; But the case between the Church of England and other Sects, which have divided from it, stands according to the second consi­deration of Schism, between a Na­tionall [Page 19] Church and the Members thereof. Which dividing from it stand guilty of the highest degree of diso­bedience unto their Governours, and the highest breach of Charity both towards their Governours and also all the people of God continuing in obedience to, and Communion with them.

Difference in degrees of it.Lastly, there are degrees in the height and guilt of Schism. A Schism, by a bare recess from the Communi­on of an established Church, setting up a distinct Communion from it, but leaving it in its own condition and establishment, pretending only to private or selfe-reformation; Such was the Schism of former Separa­tists, whilest this Church stood free from violence; They went their way, and it remained where it was. This incurrs the guilt aforesaid of high disobedience and breach of Charity: but not in so high a degree as that which followes. A Schism, that not only divides from the Communion, but also offers violence to the de­struction of the Church, pulls down what was, not only persons and Go­vernours, [Page 20] to set themselves in their places, but also the form and govern­ment it selfe, to set up their own in stead of it. This is higher and farther than ever any of the Ancient Schis­matikes went, which changed not the form of Government alwayes used in the Church: and this will be con­siderable in the violence of our mo­dern Schism. But before we charge them according to the premises, let us clear the Case as it stands between the Church of England, and that of Rome, charging us with Schisme upon the Reformation.

§. IV. Our De­fence a­gainst the Church of Rome.

Our Defence in generall comes to this (as it was touched Tr. 1. c. 4. 5, 6.) This Church had Cause for such Re­formation, and Authority for the do­ing it: sufficient both. For when such Errors prevail in a Church, and come to such generall practice, it is high time by due Reformation to cast them out: and when they are in Au­thority be convinced and doe it, then is the Reformation just and lawfull.

Iust cause for Refor­mation.First, there was sufficient Cause by reason of Error and corruption in belief and Worship, such as we could [Page 21] not continue in without gross dissem­bling and wrong to our consciences and Gods honour. The truth and e­vidence of this stands upon the exa­mination of those doctrines touching Faith and Worship, wherewith the English Church was generally tain­ted according to the Romish infecti­on. The tryall whereof was in part made, Tr. 1. c. 30. to shew that the points, wherein they and we differ, cannot be (as they would impose up­on the world) Catholick doctrines, i. e. the beliefe and practice of the Church in all ages since the Apostles, or as S. Jude, ver. 3. calls it, the faith once delivered.

But farther, to the end that they, which cannot examine all the Romish doctrines, whether they be Catholick, or professed in all Ages, may briefly and more neer at hand see so far into that Church, as to perceive it is not such a Church, that they, who have means to know better, can safely or conscionably communicate with:Trial of a Church as to a safe communi­on with it. We will make a brief tryall or estimate of a Church, by the Faith, Worship, Sacraments professed, practiced, [Page 22] administred therein; for these the Romanists will not deny to belong immediately to the constitution of the Church: and therefore fit to give us direction for holding, or not holding Communion.

As for example, If we finde any Church or Congregation of Men, calling themselves Christians, deny directly and peremptorily any Arti­cle of the Creed or Belief, into which all Christians are baptized, as pro­fessed Arrians and Socinians doe; it is evident their Error is immediate­ly against the foundation: they doe not deserve the name of Christian Churches. We doe not so charge the Church of Rome. But albeit she holds the Foundation, yet finde we her su­perstructures, in no less matters than of Faith and Worship, to be such as the Foundation will not safely bear, nor any good Christian (coming to the knowledge of them) consciona­bly endure. For when any Church propounds any thing, as matter of Faith & Worship without manifest­ing the truth thereof to mens consci­ences by clear consequence from [Page 23] those prime Fundamentals into which they are baptized, or from Scripture it selfe:A necessa­ry Rule. it is intolerable. For this Rule is just and reasonable; Whate­ver the Church propounds so to be believed and practiced, it stands bound so to manifest the same: else it sets it selfe in Gods stead, taking an immediate dominion over mens faith and consciences; but in all other things, which the Church propounds and enjoynes, as matters of Order, Ceremony, discipline, for the more significant profession of that Faith, or the more decent performance of that Worship, every Member of the Church is to obey, or to bring as expresse warrant from Gods word a­gainst the particular he refuses to doe, as the command is expresse, which binds him to obey those that are over him in the Lord. Were this Rule well held to, there would have been more peace in the Church. It was necessary for peaceable subjecti­on, Tr. 2. c. 1. will be useful below a­gainst those that causelesly divide from this Church. And as to the present Case, we did not quarrell [Page 24] at the Church of Rome for matters of Rite, Order or the like, but of Faith and Worship. The superadded Arti­cles being so farre from a manifesta­tion by clear consequence as above said, that they proved clearly incon­sistent with the Word: and the wor­ship then in an unknown tongue a­gainst the Apostle plainly, 1. Cor. 14. against the reason of a reasonable ser­ving of God: beside that Worship which was given to Images against the express words of the second com­mandment.

Lastly, examine a Church by the Sacraments in it administred: Those two, which confessedly are of Christs appointment. Where we finde the Cup denyed to the Cummunicants, we see a direct breach of Institution, a defrauding the People of God of that part of the Sacrament which affords and makes them partakers of Christs blood-shed, also where we finde a daily propitiatory Sacrifice established, we plainly see a deprava­tion of the Sacrament, and a deroga­tion to the One oblation upon the Cross. Thus to say nothing of Pri­mitive [Page 25] Antiquity: it is cleer to every one that sees any thing, there is just Cause of Reformation, where such Errors and Corruptions have pre­vailed, and of ceasing to communi­cate (at least as to those Errors and Practises) with that Church which will not (being admonished) reform them: so that if the Question be put to any man, whether he will be of the English Church, as it was cor­rupted together with the Romish, or as it was after reformed? it amounts to this: Whether he would be a sick and diseased man, or whole and healthfull? Whether keep compa­ny with persons infected, or with those that are cleare and sound? The choice is easie to a man in his wits.

§. V. Iust and sufficient Authority for publick Reformati­on.

But to cast those Errors and Cor­ruptions out of a Church, by pub­lick Reformation, is required Suffi­cient Authority. That also was not here wanting, both the Civill and the Ecclesiasticall. Both these were seen in the Ancient lawful Synods, gathered and held for the same pur­pose of Reformation. And there­fore [Page 26] every Nationall Church, having within it self, the whole subordinati­on of Ecclesiasticall Power or Go­vernment, (the Permission and Au­thority of the Supreme Civill Power concurring) may reform it self, i. e. make a publick nationall Reforma­tion. The Antient Council of Arles in France, the severall Councils of Carthage in Africa, of Toledo in Spaine, did so; and that not onely in matters of Discipline, but Do­ctrine also; as that of Arles, for re­baptizing them which came from Hereticks, denying the Trinity▪ can. 8. The Melivetan Council determined against the Pelagean Heresie: The third Council of Toledo gathered for extinguishing the Reliques of that Heresie, which had long infected the Gothick Nation, and hindered the meeting and benefit of such Councils: as King Riccared (who called that nationall Synod) com­plaines in his speech to the Bishops then assembled.

Againe, these Councils were ga­thered, and held, and did conclude independently on Rome, or without [Page 27] acknowledgement of any such Juris­diction, as was after challenged by the Bishop of Rome. Faire respect indeed was had to that Bishop in a fraternall way of Communion, and sometimes of communicating to him, what they had done and concluded; as that first Council of Arles, Fratri Sylvestro, and charitativè significa­mus; In the third Council of Car­thage, Can. 47. for reading nothing in the Church but Canonicall Scri­pture, it is added, Hoc innotescat fra­tri & con-sacerdoti Bonifacio (I sup­pose they mean Boniface, Bishop of Rome) vel aliis earum partium Epi­scopis, to the end, this Canon might be received and practised in those parts: But presently after in the fourth Council (in which S. Augu­stine was) when the Liberty of their Church seemed to be infringed, through a kinde of Jurisdiction chal­lenged by the same Boniface in the point of Appeals, they utterly reje­cted his Plea, which he made by the generall Council of Nice, but could not prove it. So he that looks into the severall Councils of Toledo, will [Page 28] finde no signification of a depen­dance on Rome, but great acknow­ledgement of the religious care of their severall Kings, by whose per­mission they assembled.

Such au­thority in the natio­nall Ch: of Engl.The Church of England therefore being such a Nationall Church, and having like power, might lawfully re­form it self without asking the Bi­shop of Rome any leave, or without staying for a free generall Councill: for albeit such a Councill was in agi­tation, yet could not be expected, either a generall one, because of the Division of the East or Westerne Churches, or a free one, because of the Popes exorbitant power, as Tr. 1. cap. 4. And as it might, so it did justly reforme, casting off in the first place that Papall usurpation, which hindered all Reformation, but desi­ning nothing against the definitions of known and approved Generall Councils, (within the compasse of which time Cardinall Perroun thinks it reasonable the triall of a Church be restreined, as Tr. 1. c. ult) un­lesse some will quarrel at something of Discipline, not retained in our [Page 29] church according to the ancient con­stitutions: which being a matter of prudentiall Provision, admits varia­tion according to the Exigence of the Times. Also it is cleare, that Nationall Synods have not held themselves alwayes bound to all things determined formerly in that kinde, but have put the receptions of such Canons to the vote, as we see in the beginning of the first of Toledo; Statuta Concilii Niceni, The Statutes of the Council of Nice about Ordinations, before not used among them, are voted there to be obser­ved. Also we finde they frequent­ly make relaxation of former rigour, as in the injunctions of penance. Lastly, it is evident, there are many constitutions of this kinde not retei­ned or observed by the Church of Rome; Such as concern the exer­cise of publique Penance; such as forbid the translating of a Bishop from City to City, and Ordinations without a Title: things determined in generall Councils. Of this, as to the point of single life of Clergy men, T. 2 c. 1. & of the whole point of the war­rantableness [Page 30] of our Reformation, Tr. 2. c. 2.

§. VI. Answer to the Ro­mish Plea.

Upon these Grounds, it is easie to answer, what they object or pretend against us, which, that it may have the better impression upon the un­wary, they represent the Church of England, before Reformation, wholly Romish, professing their Doctrine ever since the receiving of the Faith in this Land, under Gregory the first, Bishop of Rome, acknowledging that jurisdiction, and accordingly yeilding Obedience to that See, yea, and ow­ing it as Duty upon the conversion of this Land. From these premises their Inference is (and they think it will take with the unwary) That the Church of England by her Refor­mation, has cast off the Faith recei­ved, and so fallen into Heresie, and by denying subjection to that See, has incurred the guilt of Schisme. But as there is some truth apparent in the Premises, so as much Falshood supposed, and taken for granted, which renders the Inferences incon­sequent and invalid.

First, it is a Truth, that the Natio­nall [Page 31] Church of England, before the Reformation, was generally Romish, both for Doctrine professed in it, and for Obedience yielded to the Bishop of Rome; but then the Inference they make, therefore the Protestant Church of England is a New Church, or Here­ticall, is invalid, because it rests upon this untruth, supposed, and taken by them for granted, viz. that the Ro­mish Church was alwaies such, tea­ching such Doctrine, and that the profession of such Doctrine makes a Church to be Catholique, and the denyall of it renders it Hereticall; all which they must prove to make good that Inference; where as it is evident that the Catholique Chri­stian Faith once delivered, VVhat makes a Church Christian Ortho­dox. Jude 5. Christ alwaies professed in all ages (and into which they and we ba­ptise) makes a Christian Church, and the holding that Faith undefiled, and free from Errours and Corruptions in Belief and Worship, makes a pure and Orthodox Church. So did the ancient Church of Rome hold the Faith, so does the reformed Church of England hold and professe it, [Page 32] freed from the mixture of Errour, which had crept into the later Ro­mish Church, to the infecting of the English; so that this National Church is so farre from being Hereticall, by ceasing to be Romish, that it is there­fore the more pure and Ortho­dox.

Upon the like supposals, false and impertinent, they give pretence (plausible to the unwary) for that demand: Shew such a Protestant Church in England before the Refor­mation, as if every Nationall Church did alwaies teach the same Doctrine, without mixture of such Errour ge­nerally prevailing; or as if it were reasonably required of us to shew the Church of England alwaies Pro­testant, Protestant and refor­med. i.e. protesting against Errors, whereas the Errours were not al­waies, nor at first known; or to shew a Reformed Church before the Reformation made. For though Truth be alwaies before Errour, yet Errour is before Reformation, which protests against it, and casts it out. So the English Church, as corrupted with Romish Errours, must needs be [Page 33] so before it could be Protestant or Reformed; but the Catholick Truths it alwaies held made it a Christian Church, even under that mixture of Errours: so when by Reformation it had cast them off, it remained the same Christian Church: but a more pure and sound one, holding still the same Catholick Truths, without that mixture of Errour, like as the anci­ent Christian Church did, before Popery prevailed, as Tr. 1. c. 1.

we have not cast off the Faith received.Secondly, It is a Truth, that the Saxons or English (whatever pre­paration they had to it by the Vi­cinity and Acquaintance of the British Christians) did indeed re­ceive the Christian Faith from Rome, through the godly care of Gregory the first, then Bishop, and the Mini­stry of Austin and others, whom he sent to preach it here. But then the untruth (which they suppose, and usually impose upon the unwary) is palpable, viz. That the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, as to Faith and Worship, is the same it was in Gre­gorie's time: and that we, by Refor­mation have cast off the Faith we [Page 34] received. For first, as to the maine and fundamentall Faith, that makes a man or Church Christian, no question but Austin, and those that were sent, preached that they bapti­zed into, which is the very same that we do still. Then as for the matters of Faith and Worship, which they and we differ in, the Novelty is clear: neither can they demonstrate, that any point we cast off, was a doctrine of Faith in S. Gregory's time. Some things, I confesse, of misbelief and practise, were then crept in, and gathering strength; but it is obser­vable, that in all their allegations of Fathers for the points we differ in, their owne Gregory comes rarely in; indeed, that Purgatory was his opinion, they have expresse proof, not that it was an article of Faith in that Church. On the contrary, it is plaine, that Communion in both kindes, was the doctrine and practise of the Church in his time, as it had been alwaies before: that Image-worship is declared against in his answer to the Bishop of Marsellis: the Title also and Jurisdiction of [Page 35] Ʋniversall Bishop (which immedi­ately concernes the Cause in hand) is declared against, in his contestation with John of Constantinople, who affected it. In a word, had the Church of Rome continued the same for Faith and Worship, as it was in Gregory's time, and the Bishop of Rome taken no more to himself than the said Gregory did, certainly it would not have come to a division, neither would there have been cause for it.

§. VII. Deniall of Obedience to Papall jurisdicti­on makes not Schis­maticall.

Thirdly, it is a Truth, that the English Church (still generally ta­ken) before Reformation, acknow­ledged the Jurisdiction of that See, but the Inference they make (there­fore it is Schismaticall in casting off or denying to yeild obedience there­unto) is invalid; for it supposes this untruth, that we owed it of duty upon special relation, viz. our con­version or receiving the Faith by the Ministers of that See. To answer,

I. It seemes the Bishop of Rome makes his claim to England upon a double Title, One of Ʋniversall Pastorship, which extends to all [Page 36] Churches of what Plantation soever; the Other of Conversion or Plan­tation,Bishop of Rome his pretence to universall jurisdicti­on. which reaches to England, and some other Nations; and it seemes, when these Titles are divi­ded, the first prevailes, and swal­lowes up the other, and so brings under his Jurisdiction, all the Chur­ches which other Apostles (besides Peter) and their Successors planted. Whereupon it followes, that the other Apostles shall not leave the like Title of Jurisdiction to those which succeeded them in the Chur­ches they planted, unlesse depen­dantly on Rome: also that the other Apostles laboured dependently on Peter, and as his Ministers and Commissioners plaated Churches for him to rule over as supreme general Pastor; when as it is evident they were sent immediately by Christ with equall commission to plant Churches in all the world: God teach all Nations, Mat. 28. and As my Father sent me, so I send you, John 20. Therefore Peter and Paul, when they made that agreement, Gal. 2. departed to the work upon equal termes.

[Page 37] Impossible to make it good.To establish this first and tran­scendent Title of Universal Jurisdi­ction, they are bound to make good these several untruths. That it was so with Peter in respect of the other Apostles: That it is so with the Successors of Peter in respect of Those which succeeded the other Apostles in the Churches by them planted: That the Power and Pri­viledge pretended to be in Peter, was derived upon his Successors: Lastly, that it is derived onely upon the Bishops of Rome, not of Antioch or elsewhere. All these they are bound to make good; yea, and seeing all their Romish faith (resting upon the pretended Priviledges of that Church) is founded upon these false Suppo­sals: they are bound to make all good by apparent Scripture; for they grant, that the prime points of Faith, necessary for all to believe (as this is according to their doctrine) are clearly conteined in Scripture. But to shew this point of the Privi­ledges of that Church (Infallibility and Ʋniversall Jurisdiction) so con­teined, is impossible for them to do; [Page 38] for when in this vast Controversie they leave nothing untoucht in Scri­pture or Fathers, which may be drawn to make any seeming appea­rance for such priviledges, they doe but give us words, nothing of force to prove the thing indeed. Some passa­ges to this purpose in Tr. 1. c. 27. and in cap. 28. & 30.

His special pretence to jurisdicti­on over this Chur:II. As to his second Title from Plantation of the Church here: We doe not find, that the Converting of any Nation to the Faith gave a Title of Jurisdiction to that Church from whence that Nation received the Faith; for we doe not see it was held for any Rule in the distribution of Provinces, and the limiting or ex­tending the bounds of Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction: We doe not find that the ancient Councils, which provided therein, had any respect to such Ti­tle, but to the constitution of the Empire rather, and the Provinces thereof; and that the alteration, which has been any where since made in the bounds of National Ju­risdiction, followed the division of Kingdomes into which the Empire [Page 39] was broken: which appears in the severall Councils of Toledo (above mentioned) under their severall Kings, without dependance on Rome. And if we look into the Saxon Church and Councils (gathered and published by the industry of Sir Hen: Spelman) it will appear, that all the Application made unto, or inter­course had with Rome, did not speak a due subjection, but at most a volun­tary adhaesion; not acknowledgment of that Jurisdiction, but of their fair respect, such as any Church ought to have to that Church, from which it received the faith, so long as that Church continues safely in the faith it propagated, and so in a condition of giving advise and direction to, and of receiving due respect and comply­ance from those, among whom it planted the faith.

But as Errors prevailed in that Church of Rome, so in this; and a­mong the rest, that usurped Jurisdi­ction. Pope Hildebrand or Gregory the 7. about 400. years after Gregory the first, did lay on that yoak, and began to bring the necks of Kings [Page 40] and Princes under it too: and still by their power does the Bishop of Rome hold his jurisdiction over the Chur­ches within their Dominions, as Spain, France, &c. But such Princes as came to understand their owne right, not onely in Civil, but Ecclesi­astical things, did justly vindicate their Crowns to the power and dig­nity due unto them, and their Chur­ches to the Liberty and Independen­cy, which, as abovesaid, belongs to every National Church, having with­in it the whole Subordination of Ec­clesiastical Government.

Conclusi­on of the whole case as it stands with the Roman Church.To conclude. Seeing by Reforma­tion we cast out, as we had just cause, Error and Corruptions crept in upon the Christian Faith and Worship, and retained what ever was Catho­lick, we cannot be accused of Heresie; Seeing also by the same Reformation we cast off the yoak of an usurped Jurisdiction, and vindicated this Na­tional Church to the just Liberty, we cannot incur the guilt of Schisme: for that breach of Communion, which followed either upon our cea­sing to hold and practice with them [Page 41] in the aforesaid corruptions, or upon our denying farther obedience to that usurped Authority, cannot be imputed to us, who had just cause for doing it, and used just Authority in the doing. But if that breach of com­munion, which followed, be Schisme, the guilt of it rests upon the Church of Rome in generall, and on all En­glish Romanists in speciall: according to the severall consideration of Schisme (above, §. 3.) as it falls be­tween two National Churches, or between any National Church and the Members thereof; When between two National Churches, that Church stands guilty, which gives the cause, and peremptorily prosecutes it: So the Church of Rome did, by imposing (under pretence of Infallibility, and therefore incorrigible) her own do­ctrines, pronouncing all those to be Heretiques that did not receive them, and by usurping Universal Jurisdicti­on, concluding them Schismatiques, that did not obey. But the guilt of Schisme lyes upon all English Roma­nists, holding to that Church, as upon Members dividing themselves from [Page 42] the body and communion of their National Church; and this concerns not onely those, who have revolted from this Church to the Romish, but such as alwayes professed themselves to be of that Church: it falls upon these not for desertion or separation, but for Recusancie, or their fefusing the communion of their National Church, and adhering to a forreign Jurisdiction: which is contrary to the way and order which the ancient Church took for preserving Unity, and excluding Schisme: by no means suffering such disobedience and divi­sion of the Members of any National Church, where that Church did not divide it self from the Catholick, or give cause, as the Church of Rome has done.

§. VIII. Second case as to those that have divi­ded from this Chur:

Now to the consideration of the Case, as it stands between the true Reformed Church of England, and Those who (of what perswasion so­ever) have divided from the com­munion of it.

By that which has been said, it is evident, the Reformation made by this National Church was most just [Page 43] and regular: taking for the Rule, Gods Word, with the consent and practice of the Ancient Church, and thereupon rejecting no more than was necessary, and retaining what wns usefull:Difference 'twixt just and di­stempered Reforma­tions. shewing therein a due zeal of Truth, together with Chri­stian Prudence and Charity: to the taking away just cause of Complaint from all distempered Zelots, and gi­ving fair occasion of conviction and allurement to those of the Romish perswasion, from whom we differ; when they shall duly consider, there was no more Difference made, than needs must: Whereas others, who have endeavoured Reformation out of a misguided zeal, taking for their Rule, an opposition to the Church of Rome, rather than a conformity to Gods Word, and the Consent of Pri­mitive Times, have cast out for Po­pery many things (Episcopal Govern­ment, Set Forms of Liturgy, Kneeling at the Communion, and the like) which were most undenyably before Popery was hatched in the world. Now these being cast out upon that score by Heady Reformers, who [Page 44] call themselves Protestants, (Prote­stors indeed against many Truths) the Papist takes them up, and thanks such Reformers for yeelding such Truth to be Popery; and so he re­mains more confirmed in his way, and hath more cause of offence at Reformed Protestants, were they in­deed to be measured by such irregu­lar proceedings.

The Romanists know this well enough, and are sensible of the dif­ference between the Reformation or Establishment of the Church of England, and all other pretensions: and therefore have made it alwayes their main design, to undermine this Protestant Church so wel established: and in these dayes, the Emissaries of Rome have been very active to help forward a confusion, joyning them­selves (if there be truth in that, which so many have reported on their knowledge) to Sects of severall Perswasions, for the pulling down what was, and advancing their pre­tended Reformations. Not that the Romanist approves them, but because he knows, that if the Church of [Page 45] England, established on such sure grounds, can by any means be sub­verted, the other unbottom'd Refor­mations will fall of themselves, or stand at no stay, to the shame of the Religion they professe; and so make fair way for the Romish Religion, to come in through their breaches, or over their ruines, and find more generall entertainment. It is the Tempters Policy, and indeed his Master-piece, when he must act an Angel of Light, and must make his advantage of those that are come to some sense of Religion, or at least to a conceit they are religiously dispo­sed, to lead them on by false Lights, and make them over-act their parts by a mis-guided zeal, to a quarrelling with their Governours, and slighting all former Reformations, under pre­tence of Purity and Reformation; til in pursuit of that purity, and seek­ing out a more Reformed Assembly or purer Church, they run them­selves clean out of the Church, and yet carry it with them.

Whither they are run, that have left us, let them look to it. It is our work [Page 46] now to shew (and I wish they would sadly consider it) what they have in­curred by leaving us, no lesse than the guilt of Schisme, which lies hea­vily on as many as have (of what perswasion or Sect soever) wilfully divided themselves from the commu­nion of the Church of England: Whether they doe this (as above premised) by a bare Separation, or by adding Violence and Sacriledge to it, in pulling down, and (as much as lies in their power) destroying what was established, that they may set up their owne forme and way of Government, and publick Worship. I said divide themselves wilfully, to lessen the guilt of those that follow the Schisme in the simplicity of their hearts, deceived with the faire pre­tences of Religion and Purity, which they could not at first see through; but if they will not use their eyes, and carefully look into their way: if they will not use the best meanes they can for discovering the obliqui­ty and danger of that way, and so returne from it, they lye under the same guilt with those they follow, [Page 47] and will with them fall into the ditch. Also we must note here the diffe­rence of the Case, between us and them, from that with the Church of Rome; which will at first sight shew the impertinencie of the Roma­nists alledging, that the present Sects of these dayes may plead against the Church of England, from which they have divided, what the Church of England can against the Roman; for, as it was above premised, the case betweene English and Romish Church, is as between two Nationall Churches, having full authority for publick Reformation; but the case between the English Church, and those that have divided from it, is between a Nationall Church, and the members of it; by which appears, they could have no sufficient Autho­rity for publick Reformation, with­out, and against the Authority in being, to pull down and set up as they have done, and it will appear they could have no just Cause for so much as a Separation from the Communion of this Church.

§. IX. Grounds laid for convincing them of Schism.

Now for making good the charge of Schisme against them, we will premise some undeniable Truths, which speak the Authority of Church-governours, the obedience due thereunto, the condition of Schism, and the danger and guilt of it.

1. Church Govern­ment.I. That the Church of Christ is a Society or Company under a Regi­ment, Discipline. Government, and the Members constituting that Socie­ty, are either Persons taught, guided, governed, or Persons teaching, gui­ding, governing: and this in order to preserve all in Unity, and to ad­vance every Member of this visible Society, to an effectuall and reall participation of Grace, and Union with Christ the Head; and therefore, and upon no lesse account is obedi­ence due unto them: Eph. 4. 11, 12, 13, 16. and Heb. 13. 17. and he that will not hear the Church, be as a Heathen and Publican, Mat. 16.

II. That every Nationall Church has power,2. Church Authority in making Decrees & Orders as to determine in mat­ters of Faith, according to Gods word, so to determine in things in­different, Rites, Ceremonies, mat­ters [Page 49] of order, as in prudence it sees most fit for the better and more convenient performance of Gods worship, or administration of Disci­pline and Government. This is plain by the Apostle, 1 Cor. 14. 26, 40. The Rule above delivered speaks to this purpose, That the Church pro­pounding or determining matters of Faith, or of the substance of Worship, ought to manifest it out of Gods Word, cannot doe it besides the same, (as the 20 Act of our Church hath it) and we may expect such manifestation or proof, before we yeild the absolute assent of belief unto any thing so propounded; But in the Churches determination of things in themselves indifferent, and enjoyning the observation of Rites and Ceremonies, it is enough that the particular be not against Gods Word: and he that will not yeild obedience to it, is bound to shew it plainly contrary to the Word, or else stands guilty of disobeying the known precepts of the Word, which command obedience to Autho­rity.

[Page 50] I will not be enough to say, The Governours of the Church did not hold to their Rule, for this Rite or Ceremony is not to edification, is not decent; it might be better other­wise. For this is to set a mans owne judgement, against that of the Church, in matters of prudence: a spice of that pride and self conceit, which is the Mother of all disobedi­ence & Schism; and though a private judgement might truly say, some things might be better done in, and about Gods Worship or Service; yet unlesse such a one can say as truly, those things are unlawfull to be done, and that by direct warrant from Gods Word, he ought not to disobey.

III. When the Apostle used an argument from Custome against cer­taine disorders,3. Force of Church-Custome. We have no such Custome, nor the Churches of God, 1 Cor. 11. 16. he plainly shews what force the Customes of a Church (so they be not against Gods Word) have to binde the Members of that Church, as from Introducing any New Custome without Authority, [Page 51] so to observe such Customes as the Church hath; and he that will not, is reckoned by the Apostle there, among the Contentious, or disturbers of the peace of the Church; for against such he urges that. Much more are we to take no­tice of the strength of Universall Tradition, the Custome and Practice of the whole Church in all Ages: for of this we shall have occasion below against the Contentious.

4. Vnion of charity.IV. In the same Epistle (for it is mainly spent upon this Argument) he commends Charity, as a Remedy against that Pride, which upon con­ceit of Knowledge, or Spiritual gifts (cap. 12.) pufft: them up, and made them swell one against another, and despise one another; the ready way to Division, and breaking all asun­der. This Charity (not that which does workes of mercy, or relieves the poor, as we see by ver. 3. cap. 13. but which bindes together the body of the Church; Edifying it selfe in Love, as Eph. 4. 16. (Charity in opposition to Schism) this I say he commends, and by severall proper­ties [Page 52] discribes: It vanteth not, is not puffed up, ver. 4. not against Equals, much lesse in setting our private judgement against our Governors. It thinketh no evill, ver. 5. It receives satisfaction easily from Equals, in­terprets their Words and Actions to the best: much more the commands and doings of our Governours. Charity seeks not her owne, endureth all things, ver. 5, 7. suffers much, ra­ther than come to open difference and contention with Equals: so will peaceable Charity suffer much ere it come to a division from the Church: much lesse will it seek that which is anothers, that especially which be­longs to the Governours, their power, meanes, preferments. Thus Schism takes beginning from Pride, and self-conceit, goes on by uncha­ritablenesse to enormous excesse of disobedience and injustice; and ren­ders all Knowledge, Faith, and other good workes, for want of this Cha­rity, unprofitable, nothing worth; as the Apostle in that Chapter often tells us.

[Page 53] 5. Admo­nition and rejection of Here­ticks and Schisma­ticks.V. The Apostle when he set Titus over the Churches of Crete, directs him in the use of his power, as to this point of dealing with the Con­tentious, Tit. 3. 10, 11. A man that is an Heretick—reject—being self-condemned. Every Schismatick is this Heretick: for so the word He­resie and Heretick signifies, and ac­cording to the use of it then im­plyed; one, that obstinately stood out against the Church, or that lead any Sect: after the strictest Sect (or Heresie) of the Pharisees, Act 26. 5. after that—which they call Heresie— Act. 24. 14. a Factious company divided from the Church, so they called or accounted of Christians; and Gal. 5. 20. we have it reckoned among the workes of the Flesh, Debates, Contentions, Heresie: So here Heretick, that leads a Faction, a Sect, or that wilfully followes or abets it. A Man therefore that is a Heretick, contentious, disobedient to the Order and Authority of the Church, reject, for he is self-condem­ned, having both passed the Sentence upon himself, by professing against, [Page 54] or dividing from the Church, and also done execution (like that of the Churches censure, and excommuni­cation) upon himselfe, by actuall separation, or going out of the Church. A fearfull condition.

Applicati­on of the Premises.Now the application of the Pre­mises to the convincing of those that have divided from the Church of England, is very easie and obvious. Disobedient they are to the lawfull Authority in this Church: and that, not onely in their denying to obey the Orders, Decrees, Constitutions Lawfully made by them which had the Authority, but in an utter with­drawing of their obedience for the future: yea, in abolishing and ta­king away (as much as in them lay) that very Authority and Office too; a step farther than ever the Antient Schismaticks went. And all this a­gainst the Constitution and Custome, not onely of this Church, but of all the Catholick Churche: against that Charity which Saint Paul enjoynes, as most necessary to preserve the Unity of the Church, and to keep out Schism: against all the admoni­tions [Page 55] (not once and againe, as the Apostle bids Titus, but of­ten given them) yea, satisfactions endeavoured by the Governours and Writers of this Church, in all the particulars of Government, Wor­ship and Ceremony, which the Con­tentious from time to time excepted against.

§. X. Answer to their plea against this Chu:

Let us then hear what they plead to this charge, by way of exception against the Church of England, and briefly rejoyne, so as may be to the satisfaction of them at least, who desire to continue in the Unity of the Church of England, notwithstand­ing the Temptations of the Times, and to the reduction of such as fol­low the Schism in the simplicity of their hearts, deceived by the faire pretences thereof.

VVant of Purity.Their generall pretension for themselves, and exception against this Church, is, their desire or seeking of Purity, Holinesse, strict walking, which they could not have or exer­cise (in that way they desired) un­der the Government, or in the way of Worship, used in this Church of [Page 56] England. Answ. The pretence of Purity, Holinesse, and strict life, has a faire glosse, and to endeavour it really and conscionably is the duty, and should indeed be the desire and care of every Christian. But we finde the Pharisees in the Jewish Church, pretending to it above all other, and by the forced exercises of it, drawing admiration from the beholders, and bringing in Proselites to their Sect; and it would be worth the examining, at least in the Con­sciences of these Pretenders, whether their righteousnesse exceeds the righ­teousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisees! Our Saviour has also foretold, that false Teachers shall arise in his Church,Ancient Schisma­ticks had like pre­tence of purity. and come in Sheeps cloa­thing, but may be known by their fruits. We finde also that the Anti­ent and famous Schisms of the No­vatians, and Donatists, had the pre­tence of purity and strictnesse; No­vatus about the year 250. was so strict, that he denyed reconciliation to all that after Baptisme fell into Adultery, or in times of persecution yeilded to Idolatry: and broke with [Page 57] the Church for re-admitting such upon their unfeigned Repentance. His followers were called Cathari or Pu­ritans upon this pretence, and ma­ny followers he had; yea, many of the Confessors, such as suffered for the Christian Faith, were carryed a­way with that false pretence, and sided awhile with him, till seeing their errour, they returned again to the Unity of the Church, and con­demned his Schism, as Saint Cyprian relates it to Cornelius, Ep. 46. Dona­tus in the next age after him, discon­tented because he could not be made Bishop of Carthage, divided himself and his party from the Communion of the Church: despising it as a mixed company of good and bad, and rebaptizing all that revolted from the Church to his Communion, con­fined the true Church onely to those of his perswasion: for under that pretence of Purity, he drew many a­way, and it proved a Schism of great extent, and long continuance.

If therefore this be one Reason wherefore our pretenders cannot, as they conceive, have that Purity, [Page 58] or partake of the Ordinances as they ought, because of Carnall Christians suffered in the Communion of the Church of England, and unworthy receivers admitted to the Sacrament: it was long agoe refuted by S. Austin, in his learned workes against the Do­natists, demonstrating by severall places of Scripture, which acknow­ledge, and by severall parables of our Saviour, which represent the con­dition of the Church on Earth, to be such for mixture, as a heap of Chaff and Wheat in the same Floor, of good Fish and bad in the same Net, of Corne and Tares in the same Field, and that neither the unworthinesse of the Minister, or of other Recei­vers, makes Gods Ordinance ineffe­ctuall, or pollutes him that comes in Charity, and with a Conscience undefiled, or cleansed from selfe-pollutions. It is in the power and belongs to the duty of Church-Go­vernours, to cast out the scandalous, or such as walk disorderly: but when that is done, it is not for any man to judge, he or she is car­nall and unsanctified; for this is to [Page 59] take the Lords Fan out of hand, with which he will purge his Floor, Mat. 3. and by breach of charity to offend against his Brother: Nay, if that be not done, but that disorderly per­sons are yet suffered, and come to the place of Worship, yea, to the Lords Table; the guilt rests upon the Governors that are to see to it, the Ordinance is not lesse effectuall to thee, if by self-conceit and un­charitablenesse thou render not thy selfe uncapable of the benefit, as the Pharisee did, when he saw the Pu­blican in the Temple with him; yea, for any thing thou knowest, such a disorderly person may come at that time, when thou art offended with him, as the Publican then did, truly penitent and converted.

§ XI. Triall of Purity of Religion.

In the next place, I would know, what hinderance or prohibition of purity, or strict life, had they in the Communion of this Church? Did the Governors thereof forbid any thing which St. James requires to pure Religion (c. 1. ult.) to keepe themselves unspotted of the World, by Covetousnesse, Selfe-seeking, Swea­ring, [Page 60] Drunkennesse, Lusts of the flesh, the common spots of the World? Or did they forbid to visit the Fa­therlesse and Widdow in their afflicti­on, or any works of Charity? Might they not have done all these with praise and commendation, had they continued in the Communion of this Church? And for these other exer­cises of Devotion, Prayer, Reading, Hearing, (which though belonging to pure Religion, S. James thought good to omit; we shall see the reason of it presently) might they not be had duly, frequently? Was there any thing forbid but the irre­gular use, or seditious abuse of them? Private Meetings or Conventicles, which were preparatories to Separa­tion and Schism, in a performance of those Duties, to the despising of the Church, or publique Assemblies.

But they will say, they could not have these exercises in publique purely administred or performed: that is (as it will appeare below) not according to their own devising and phansie. Good reason there is, that every Christian should have a speci­al [Page 61] care of performing these duties of Prayer, Reading, Hearing: but see­ing our Pretenders to Purity seeme to place the summe of Religion in these especially, I would wish them to examine the purity of their Reli­gion, by the Apostles trial of it, Jam. 1. ult. who thought good to omit the mention of these exercises, be­cause of the Pharisees, seeking the esteem of holinesse by such perfor­mances, & because of Christians then (as now in our Times) resting too much on a fansy of their faith & per­formance of such Exercises without works and deeds answerable. And therefore the Apostle described pure Religion, by such duties (of Charity, & absteining from all spots of the world or works of the Flesh) as make better proof of the sincerity of Religion.

If the making of Fatherlesse and Widdowes, the turning men out of their Estates, the invading of other mens Rights, had by the Apostle been made the trial of pure Religion, then might the Contentious of our dayes have pretended to Purity and Religion; and have blessed the Lord [Page 62] that they were become rich, though with the spoiling of others, as they did, Zech. 11. 5. but if Charity, and denying of worldlinesse, and lusts, be the marks, then let them try whether their way of Religion bring forth such fruits, or be in a capacity to do it: When the Romanists alledge the many pious and charitable works (as building of Churches, Colledges, Hospitals, Schools, and the applying maintenance thereunto) done by men in their Religion; our preten­ders to Purity will be ready to say, it was the Doctrine of Merit that did it; not reflecting upon them­selves to consider what kind of Do­ctrine theirs is, which pulls downe the Monuments of Piety and Chari­ty, and converts the publique to pri­vate use. But when we shew that since the Reformation (which cast out Popish merit) as many good works (for the computation has been made) done in the like kinde, as have been done in any one Age before: we shew the fruits of our Religion, and challenge theirs, which onely can shew (for their way and [Page 63] doctrines tend to no other issue) a distempered zeal in destroying much of that which before was raised to pious uses, and a self-seeking in the enriching themselves by the spoiles. Swearing and drunkennesse, the usu­all and noted spots of the World, are (as it is fit) very much declined in their way of purity; but the Phari­see could say more, he was no Ex­tortioner, no Adulterer; and Saint James implied many other spots of the World, which pure Religion must keep a man from: and S. John, 1. Ep. c. 2. 16. reducing the things of the world, to three heads, makes two of them the lust of the Eye, and pride of Life, and therefore tells us, that Coveting, Injustice, Sacriledge, and the Pride of life, that either causes them, or is maintained by them, are the Exorbitant Iniquities of the world, and therefore Spots, which by S. James his rule, will not consist with pure Religion.

I have been the longer upon this Argument, because there is scarce any other thing by which the Devil hath gained more, or the Church [Page 64] lost more, than by this pretence of Purity, the common plea of all Sects in all Times.

Now, as to their Reply above, that they could not have those du­ties of exercises of hearing, praying in publique, purely administred, sa­tisfaction will be given below, when we come to consider of the offence they take at the Liturgy, forms of publique Service, Rites and Ceremo­nies used in and about Gods wor­ship in this Church. But first of their Exceptions against the Go­vernment it selfe; for we charge them of separating, or withdraw­ing their Obedience from their law­full Pastors and Governours. Such as Bishops were in this, and in all the Catholique Church in all A­ges.

§ XI. Their Plea against the Govern­ment of this Chu.

They plead it is no lawfull govern­ment of the Church, but to be cast out as Antichristian. This last con­tentious age has called the office of a Bishop into question, and made a vast controversy of it. I will not follow it at stretch, but onely ob­serve such grounds as Truth and [Page 65] Peace seems mainly to rest on, and which every ordinary capacity may understand, and receive satisfaction so far, as to keep himself in the unity of the Church.

VVhat is meant by a Bishop.It is fitting therefore in the first place, to remove the prejudice, un­der which the Adversaries usually represent Bishops to vulgar eyes: as men swell'd with their titles of Ho­nour, large Revenues, attendance of Chancellors, Commissaries, Offici­als, Lording it over the flock not feeding it. Why persons Ecclesiasti­call should be thought uncapable of the Honour, or unfit for the means which the piety of former times has applyed unto them, out of a religi­ous respect, I know no cause besides the ingratitude, and sacrilegious di­sposition of this latter Age: But to wave these Additionals, as external, to the very office of a Bishop, and to passe by Abuses, that might be in government, through the iniquity of Persons and corrupter Times, all which are capable of Reformation by due Authority: that which is concerned in this Controversy, is [Page 66] the Function, and very office of a Bishop. By the office (be the times what they will) he is set in the Church, as a chiefe or more gene­rall Pastor, within such precincts or compasse (commonly called a Dio­cesse) having inspection and superin­tendency (in which stands his Pre­lacy) over particular Pastors and Flocks, providing or ordaining such Pastors as need requires; and doing all this with the advice and assistance of his Presbyters, or some of the in­feriour Pastors (anciently called Pre­sbyteri civitatis) and they nothing without him. Such an office will ap­peare to be conformable as to the perpetuall practise of the Catholick Church, so to the Word of God, and most agreeable to the reason of Church-government, as to the pre­serving of Unity, and keeping out Schisme, the main concernments of the Church: and therefore they must appeare also highly guilty of Sacriledge and Schisme, that not onely deny obedience to the esta­blished Authority of this Office, but have endeavoured to subvert the very Function it self.

§. XIII. Episcopall, Govern­ment is by universall Practise of the Chu:

First, the practise of the whole Church in all Ages is against them. Into this Island the Christian faith was received, if not in the Apostles times (as some think) yet in the next age at farthest (as all do acknow­ledge) and with that faith the go­vernment by Bishops was received, and ever since continued; neither did the Catholique Church ever know any other Government till the last hundred yeares. So the force of the Apostles argument, 1 Cor. 11. 16. falls upon the Contentious of this Age, and explodes their new way of ordaining Pastors, and ruling their Churches without Bishops: The Churches of God never had any such Custome; yea, in some Councils they declared against it, upon occa­sion given by the presumption of some Presbyters, that took upon them to ordaine, as in the Case of Ischyras, and some others, ordained by one Coluthus▪ who carried him­selfe as a Bishop, but was found to be none; in Athanas. Epist. cer­tainly the lawfull Customes of any Nationall Church, are by the Apo­stles [Page 68] reason, binding to all the Mem­bers thereof: how much more Ʋni­versall practise? This the Adversa­ries of Episcopall-government (whe­ther they be of the Classicall, or Congregationall way) turn off with a light finger, as if it had no weight in it; or as if the Apostle had said nothing in alledging the Customes of the Church: Scripture is the onely thing they will be tryed by.

We refuse not to meet them there: but let them consider, that they come against the Established autho­rity of their own Nationall Church,Force of universall practise or Catholick Tradition. against the custome and practise, not onely of that, but of all the Chur­ches of God, and there are bound to bring plain and expresse Scripture to demonstrate that Episcopacy, or such a superiority over other inferi­our Pastors, or meere Presbyters, is directly unlawfull; for else the Cu­stome and Practise of the Churches, by the Apostles rule, must be obser­ved, so long as in force, i. e. till due Authority change them, supposing they are changeable, and that it is in the power of the present Church to [Page 69] change them. It were well the Ad­versaries of the Episcopall Function, would yeild more Authority to Universall Practise or Tradition of the Churches of God, at least in their respect to some points they will acknowledge themselves bound to maintaine: As first, That Scri­pture is the Word of God. I do not ask upon what grounds they finally be­lieve this themselves, but how they would maintaine it against Heathen or Jew, and perswade them to it, but upon the witnesse of universall Tra­dition, which speaks to the convicti­on of all men upon the ground of common Sense or Reason, as above­said §. 2. or Secondly, That the obser­vation of the Lords day comes from the Apostles. How would they con­vince such a one as Mr. Trask was, by the places of Scripture, mentio­ning the Apostles meeting upon the first day of the week, or that place which names the Lords day, Rev. 1. which might be on Easter day, the annuall Lords day: He, according to the doctrine of these men, sligh­ting the Witnesse of Universall Tra­dition [Page 70] or Practise, found nothing in Scripture expresse, but the Com­mandement for the Seventh day, or Jewish Sabbath, & so obstinately held for that, till he was reclaimed by the labour and travail of our learned Bishops, and made to see how the continued and undeniable practise of the whole Church did clearely shew those passages in Scripture were intimations of this practise then beginning, and that their ob­serving of the Seventh day, or Jewish Sabbath (for they observed that too as occasion served) was but in com­plyance with the Jewes for a time, while the Temple stood. In like man­ner, the Universall practice of the Church, the best interpreter of Scri­pture (where there is not any place of it so plaine as to take away all gainsaying) tells us, those passages we shew in Scripture for this Go­vernment, contain so many intima­tions, and sometimes exercises of that Episcopall power, which should continue in the Church after the Apostles, and assures us, those other instances brought by the Adversa­ries [Page 71] against that Function, cannot inferre any other way of Govern­ment. And therefore we had good cause to say above, Episcopall Go­vernment was conformable to Gods Word which is our second conside­ration.

§. XIV. Episcopall government conforma­ble to the word.

Secondly then, take we a briefe survey of the Grounds on both sides, which yet I cannot in reason enter upon, without asking leave to sup­pose it possible (which never was seen in any particular) that Univer­sall Tradition or Practise can be con­trary unto Scripture: but yeilding that, as possible, to the Adversaries, it is cleare they are bound as above­said, to demonstrate this Practise or Government, is against Scripture, and that their way is peremptorily there prescribed. How impossible it is for them to do this, appeares at first sight, by their severall judge­ments upon the passages of Scri­pture, concerning Church-govern­ment. Some of them look upon these passages, and think they see a Clas­sicall, or Presbyterian; others of them look upon them, and are as [Page 72] strongly perswaded they see a Con­gregationall, or Independent way. Where's the clear Evidence then, which they pretend against Episco­pall Government? To examine their chiefe Instances briefly and plainly, for the satisfaction of ordi­nary Capacities, make the triall of those that are alledged for the Clas­sicall way: because that pretends to more regularity, and to a better foundation than the other.

PresbyteryTheir Instances are from the men­tion made in Scripture, of Presbytery and Presbyters, or Elders, and the name of Bishop applyed to them. We read, 1 Tim. 4. 14. the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery: But what evidence is there in this to de­monstrate, that the power of ordi­nation was put into the hands of meer Presbyters? For first, it is a question, whether this laying on of hands was for ordination here, or for some other purpose; Secondly, when that is granted, it is a question whether the word Presbytery here, implies the office to which Timothy was ordained, or the Persons ordai­ning [Page 73] him, for both interpretations are admitted: Thirdly, admit the Persons ordaining are meant, yet never can it be proved they were meer Presbyters; for besides that, the word Presbytery, or Eldership included, the Apostles, and all the chief Rulers of the Church, (1 Pet. 5. 1. who am also an Elder, and John Ep. 2. v. 1. Ep. 3. v. 1. the Elder) St. Paul saith expresly, he laid hands on Timothy, 2 Tim. 1. 6. Neither can they in all Scripture, give one instance of Imposition of hands for Ordinati­on permitted to meere Presbyters alone.

Elders and Bishops.So for the places (alledged by them) mentioning Bishops and Dea­cons onely, as the Ministers of the Church, Phil. 1. 1. or calling them first Elders, and then presently Bi­shops, Tit. 1. 5. 8. Acts 20. 17. 28. If we say, that in these and the like places, those first Elders set in the Churches, newly planted, were Bi­shops properly; or that the Elders or Bishops there mentioned, were of both sorts, some Bishops properly, some inferiour Presbyters, the Ad­versaries [Page 74] could disprove neither part evidently: or if in the third place, we should grant them what they aime at, that these were onely Pres­byters, it would be nothing to the purpose, unlesse they could directly shew the power of Ordination and Government over those Churches fully committed to them. For sup­posing those Elders to be such Pres­byters, the name Bishop might be appliable to any of them, in as much as he had over-sight of any flock: which Name was appropria­ted after to the more Generall Pa­stor, who had oversight of the Presbyters, and particular Flocks, or Congregations within such Precincts. And what marvail is it, if the distin­ction of these two sorts of Elders or Bishops, did not, nay could not ap­peare so clearly in the beginning of the new planted Churches, and whilst the Apostles were on earth governing the Churches, as it did after the Churches were enlarged, and the Apostles gone off? Then clearly appeared, who succeeded them, and how far in that ordinary [Page 75] power which was to continue in the Church. For our Saviour left his Apostles with full power (extraor­dinary and ordinary) for the plan­ting and propagating his Church through the World. The ordinary power they were to leave unto others after them, for continuing of his Church to the Worlds end, viz the power of Reconciliation in the Ministry of the Word & Sacraments, the power of ordaining and sending others, and the power of jurisdicton and govern­ment. How, and into what hands they communicated these severall powers, That's the question.

Of the first Elders set in the Church by the Apo­stles.Some of the Ancients apprehend it thus, That they committed the whole power to those first Elders they placed in every City where the Church was planted, so that those first Elders were properly Bishops, having power to ordain other Mini­sters and Labourers, as the encrease or extent of the Church required. Other Fathers, or ancient Writers, seem to apprehend those first Elders to be meer Presbyters, to whom the whole power was not committed; [Page 76] but that afterwards upon the en­crease of the Church, other speciall Men were intrusted with it to ordain others, as need required, and as Ge­nerall Pastors to rule and over-see the whole Church, with all the par­ticular Congregations and Presby­ters, or inferiour Pastors belonging to it. Either way is sufficient for establishing the Episcopall power and government, and the Adversa­ries thereof, as they cannot disprove it, if we say those first Elders were Bishops properly; so neither will they gain any thing, if we grant them in courtesy thus much, that the first Elders were meer Presbyters. For see briefly what they can say against the first, or draw from the second.

Against the first they usually say, 1. If those Bishops at Philippi were so properly, then were there more than one Bishop in one City or Church: Answ. This indeed was absurd and inconvenient, and never suffered in the Church inlarged and established, but in the Church Na­scent or beginning it might be very [Page 77] reasonable by way of provision for the future enlargement & establish­ment of that Church. So we find 12. Apostles left in the Church of Jeru­salem by our Saviour, in order to their propagating and governing the Church through the whole World: And so in some great Cities, where and from which the Gospel might suddenly spread it self, the Apostles might provisionally leave more than One Elder vested with power for the supply of the Church enlarged. Secondly, If the Elders or Bishops mentioned in those places, were Bi­shops properly, vested with such power, then would the Apostle also have remembred the other sort of Elders between them and Deacons. Answ. But what if there were not yet in that Church Elders or Presby­ters of the second sort? For no Church at first was full. Or if there were such in that Church, why might he not salute both sorts under that general name, Bishop? Thirdly: But then the Apostle did not di­stinctly set down the Office of the one or the other, for having set [Page 78] down the office of a Bishop, he pre­sently goes to the Deacon, 1 Tim. 3. Tit. 1. 5. Answ. It was not the Apo­stles purpose in those places, distinct­ly to set down the Office of Elders, nor of Deacons, but the general qualification of the Persons to be ad­mitted to those Offices. We may ask of them, Where has the Apostle distinctly set down, or described the Office of a Lady-Elder? They are fain to force it out of one word Ru­ling (1 Tim. 4. 17.) which belongs to the Preaching Elders, as they well acknowledge. In the places above mentioned, the Apostle gives, as I said, qualifications fitting the Persons of both sorts of Elders (that then were, or should be, in the Church) for the duties there hinted, teaching, ruling, do belong to both sorts of Elders, but with Subordination of the one to the other. And if they will have the word rule (1 Tim. 4. 17.) insinuate a distinct Office of Elders from the preaching Elders, without any intimation of such an Office any where else in Scripture, why might not we say with more [Page 79] reason, that the same word in the forementioned place (1 Tim. 3. 5.) belongs to Bishops of both sorts, ac­cording to their order and station, to rule or take care of the Church of God? Especially seeing we shew elsewhere in the same Epistle, such a Prelacy or supereminent power of rule given to Timothy distinctly from other Elders: as Lay hands suddenly on no man, Rebuke not an Elder—receive no accusation against an Elder, &c. cap. 5. v. 19. 22. Like speciall power given to Titus, as we see in that Epistle, besides all the acts of ordi­nary power exercised by the Apo­stles, and not communicated in ge­neral to Presbyters. And so the exhortation of the Apostle, Acts 20. 28. might generally fit both sorts of Elders or Bishops (supposing those of the inferiour rank present there) that they should all of them feed the Flock according to their several sta­tions, and in that subordination of Rule which was in the Church.

But if we grant them, that those Elders or Bishops in the above cited places were not Bishops properly, [Page 80] but ordinary presbyters:No exam­ple or pre­cept in Scripture for the Ad­versaries pretension. What can they draw from thence advantagious either to the Classicall or Congrega­tional pretension, when as there is no instance in all Scripture of the Power vested in a Classis or consistory of Presbyters, or in every particular Congregation: but on the contrary where ever there is mention of the exercising of the power (for ordina­tion by laying on hands, or for Jurisdi­ction in rebuking or receiving accusa­tion against an Elder in rejecting Here­tiks or the like) we find it always done by the Apostles, or speciall men ap­pointed thereunto, as Timothy, Titus. Nor is it to any purpose to reply (as they doe) These were extraordinary men, Apostles or Evangelists, and so exercised that power as such: For albeit in the office of Apostle and E­vangelist there was something extra­ordinary, and supposing Timothy & Titus may passe under the Title of Evangelists, yet the power (of ordi­nation and Jurisdiction) was ordina­ry, and to continue in the Church, and to be communicated unto others as was most convenient: What help [Page 81] therefore can the Adversaries have in the Apostles and Evangelists being extraordinary persons, unlesse they can shew the power did ordinarily belong to, and was exercised by the company of Presbyters: or else de­monstrate it was left in their hands by expresse and peremptory order from the Apostles. So that here they would be non-suited, laying their plea only by Scripture against Uni­versall Tradition, and practice of the Church: for the Scripture story goes not downe to the departure of the Apostles: Now after they were gone off, it clearly appeared by the practice of the whole Church in what hands the chief power and Go­vernment was left, viz. not to Pres­byters in common, but in speciall hands, according to the instances and examples of the exercising that pow­er in the Apostles Time. The Anci­ent Records also which continue the Church story from that Time, give us the succession of Bishops from the Apostles in the more eminent Chur­ches, as Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Ephesus, Corinth, and this practice [Page 82] and succession setled before St. John the Apostle dyed.

The alte­ration of Church-govern­ment from Presbyte­rian to Episcopall not imagi­nable.All which, as it clearly shewes those severall Angels of the severall Churches, to whom our Saviour by Saint John did write, could be no o­ther then such Bishops, having chief care of and rule in those Churches, & therfore more chargeable with the Corruptions prevailing in them: So doth it clearly convince that plea of the Adversaries, which amounts to a charging the first Bishops with Usur­pation and invasion upon the right of Presbyters, or particular Congre­gations, to be a conceit altogether unreasonable; for it is beyond all I­magination, that Saint John would have suffered such an invasion, or that those first Bishops, who conver­sed with the Apostles and were their disciples, should make such an inva­sion, and immediately subvert the Apostolicall order pretended for the Presbyterian Consistory: Or that those first Bishops, being holy men, and many of them Martyrs (for still we finde the heathen Persecutors sought chiefly after the Bishop of [Page 83] the Church, that the chief Pastor being smitten the flock might be more easily scattered) should be so ambitious and unjust; or lastly, that the Presbyters then should be so tame, as not once to complain of the wrong done them, or to transmit their Protestation against it to Poste­rity.

To conclude this Tryal by Scri­pture; It comes to this issue: The Adversaries were bound to shew di­rect Authority of Scripture against Episcopal Government, it being in possession, established by the conti­nued Authority of this Nationall Church, and which is more, by the perpetuall practice of the Catholick Church; against this it was expected they should bring some places of Scripture, forbidding that power of Ordination and Jurisdiction to be committed to speciall hands, such as Bishops properly taken: or commen­ding it to the Consistory of Presby­ters, or some instances at least of that power exercised by such a company: Whereas all they can evince out of Scripture, is, that there were Pres­byters [Page 84] (strictly so taken, and of the inferiour rank) which being granted them, we shew there was a Prelacy still over such Presbyters; still there were special men, that had an inspe­ction and rule over them; and when the Apostles went off, the pra­ctise of the Church shewes the power was left in the hands of spe­cial men, called Bishops properly: So that the Government of the Church by Bishops, appears (as was said above) conformable, not onely to the Universal practise of the Church, after the Apostles time, but also to the Word of God, i.e. to the practise and patterns we have there, 1. of our Saviour appointing twelve Apostles, and besides, and under them seventy Disciples of a lower rank; 2. of Apostolical practise, by which we find the power exercised by special Elders, viz. the Apostles themselves, or other choice men ap­pointed thereunto by them: where­as all Elders had power of the Mini­stry of the Word and Sacraments: 3. of the several Angels of the seve­ral Churches, to whom the Epistles [Page 85] were directed, Rev. c. 2. & 3. which is the last instance in holy Writ to this purpose.

§. XV. Episcopa­cy most agreeable to the rea­son of Church-govern­ment.

Lastly, The Government of the Church, by Bishops, was said above to be most agreeable to the reason of Church-government, for preser­ving Unity, and excluding Schism. This is very obvious in the writings of the Fathers: St. Cyprian had much to do with the Novatian Schis­maticks of his time, which caused him to write many Epistles upon that occasion, and a Book intituled De Ʋnitate Ecclesiae; wherein he shewes the Unity of the Church, as to the preventing of Schisme, stands much upon this, that there be one Bishop in one Church. St. Hierom (whom they of the Presbyterian perswasion take for their best friend, because he strives to advance the Order of Presbyters as much as he can, yet) as he denies the power of Ordination belongs to Presbyters, so he acknowledges, that Bishops were appointed over Presbyters to keep out Faction and Schism; that the people should not say, as they [Page 86] did at Corinth, I am of Paul, I of A­pollos — I of this Teacher, I of that. And for his saying of Presbyters, that they did anciently communi con­silio, with joint advice rule the Chur­ches, is not to be understood exclu­sivè to the Bishop, for such a time was never known in the Church, but joyntly with him as his Council: so were the Presbyteri Civitatis to the Bishop; and their advice was more used (and there was more cause for it) before the many Canons and de­crees of Councils gave rule in most particulars what the Bishop should do: as it was by that time S. Jerom wrote: and whatever he saith for the advancing of the order of Pres­byters, it is but to set them above all Deacons (even those that immedi­ately attended on the Bishop, and, it seems, carried themselves too high) it is not to equal them to Bishops, whose Prelacy St. Jerome acknow­ledged, and thought it very necessa­ry for this purpose of keeping out Schism, which the Parity of Presby­ters would expose it to.

And I would appeale to the rea­son [Page 87] of any of that perswasion, whe­ther it were not more convenient and necessary for keeping all in or­der, to have one aged, grave, lear­ned, and experienced in the way of the Church, to be the standing Mo­derator of the Classis or company of Presbyters, than to change their Moderator year by year, and leave the place open to every young un­experienc'd Presbyter, that can make a faction to advance him unto it: I have heard this inconvenience com­plained on by some of the new ere­cted Classes: whereas a Bishop be­ing such a Moderator as is fixed, and above all competition, is more ena­bled to keep all ordinary Presbyters in their station, and within their bounds. And then again, I would demand, whether the Apostles, who complained of Divisions, as in the Church of Corinth, and of false Teachers there and elswhere, were not careful to provide the most rea­sonable Expedient in government against them? It cannot be denyed; and upon this score, and to this very end of preserving Schism, it cannot [Page 88] be thought otherwise, but that the Apostles gave beginning to this Go­vernment throughout the Church.

1. Notwithstanding those of the Classicall perswasion, bear them­selves much upon Mr. Blondels Col­lections: whose pains might have been better implyed to the use of the Church upon some other Argument. For in this it is impossible to drive out of Antiquity (though ransaked over again) any more to the purpose of the Presbyterian claim, than has been already acknowledged, and the weakness of it discovered, viz. That it seems to be the judgement of some Fathers, that the name Bishop was at first common to all Elders, and that those Bishops mentioned Phil. 1. 1. 1 Tim. 3. Tit. 1. were Presbyters, or Elders of the second rank. But what advantage is this to the cause they would establish, without proving also, that the power of Ordination and Government (which we appro­priate to Bishops strictly taken) was communicated to Presbyters in com­mon? To the witnessing of this, it is not possible to force Antiquity, no [Page 89] not S. Jerome alone. All that seems to speak any thing that way, amounts but to this: that they were used in the Government, and things done with their advise and counsel; & that they were more used in Ages before St. Jerome, than in his time; and there was some reason for it (as I said) because by that time provision was made in most Cases by the many Canons and Constitutions of the Church.

§. XVI. Of the ordination of our Bi­shops recei­ved from Rome.

There are some slight exceptions and allegations they make, which are fit onely to take with the igno­rant; as that we had our Bishops from Rome, but they desire to con­form to other Reformed Churches which want Bishops. They, that can­not distinguish the Times, several conditions and concernments of the Roman Church may be startled at every mention made of Rome: but we are not ashamed to acknowledge we thence received Bishops, from whence we received the Christian Faith: both went together (same Faith, and same Government) first in the British, then in the English [Page 90] Conversion of this Nation; and in­deed, in all Nations where Christia­nity was planted. In the time then of Gregory the first, Ordination of Bishops was here received with the Faith, and ever since has been conti­nued from hand to hand in this Na­tionall Church. Of this seeming pre­judice more largely Tr. 2▪ c. 4, 5. But to return the Enquiry upon the New Pastors of the New Churches (Clas­sicall or Congregationall.) If it should be demanded, Whence have they their Ordination? They cannot give any reasonable account, nor hold up their heads in the defence of their Pastors and Churches against any Romanist, much lesse against any true English Protestant or obedient Son of this Church, Challenging them of Schism in departing from their lawfull Governors and Pastors, and taking to themselves a Power never given them.

Of other reformed Churches which have not Bishops.As for the Reformed Churches which have not Bishops, their defect is nothing comparable to the fulness of the whole Catholick Church, to the practice of which they ought in [Page 91] all reason to conform: Especially seeing those Churches had but tu­multuary Reformations; and no marvel then in they were not fully regular in their constitution. Nor does the example of those Churches come home to the Case in hand; there being a wide difference be­tween Wanting or not having Bi­shops, and casting them out when they have them; Besides this all the forreign Churches approved Bishops in this Church, and their most lear­ned men acknowledged a want in their own, excusing it as proceeding of necessity rather then choice, as Tr. 2. c. 3. Nor can it justifie those that divide from us to say they joyn with other Reformed Churches; for first they must answer for the Schism in forsaking the Communion of this Church; and as their Case is not the same with that of the Churches a­broad, so cannot those Churches justly receive them, having broken the Communion of this. Therefore was it so carefully provided for in many Councils of the Ancient Church, that none should travail to [Page 92] any forreign Church without his Communicatory letters to testifie his Communion with the Church he came from, before he could be re­ceived to Communion in the Other. And this to preserve Unity. And thus much touching the Govern­ment.

§. XVII. Excepti­ons in regard of the publick worship.

Now to the usuall exceptions made against the Communion of the Church of England in the point of Publick Worship, the Liturgy, admi­nistration of Sacraments, Rites and Ceremonies used in this Church; by reason whereof they could not (as they pretend) Worship God purely in Spirit and Truth. This Assembling or meeting together, and joyning in the publick divine Service, especially in the participation of the Sacrament or Eucharist, is indeed the witnessing and exercising of that Communion which is and must be held between all the Members of the same Church: So they. Act. 2. 42. in such duties and in breaking of bread: So the A­postle calls earnestly for it, Heb. 10. 25. and cap. 13. 15 and insinuates the Communion of them that are in the [Page 93] Chu: by their eating and partaking of One Altar (v. 10.) the participation of that Altar being the Eucharist. And according to this expression, was the phrase of the ancient Church ( [...] and [...]) to be within or without the Altar, i▪ e. in or out of the Communion of the Church, and to set up Altar against Altar, i. e. a new Communion against the Com­munion of the Church. Lastly, the Apostle, 1. Cor. 10. 17. One Bread, One Body: the joynt participation of One Bread, shewes them to be of one Body, holding the Unity of the Church; and withall, it shewes what a dangerous thing it is for any to abstein causlesly, or to separate from the Communion of the Church of which they are Members.

But see in particular what they pre­tend as Causes of their Separation. There is indeed nothing alledged now, but has been before by the Contentious, which have disturbed the peace of this Church from Time to Time, and has been of­ten at large, and learnedly refu­ted, and those that understand [Page 94] themselves, being not swayed with faction and passion, have received satisfaction; but because my intent is still to afford some present satisfa­ction to them that are now troubled, and more easie to be wrought upon, I shall briefly and plainly speak to those exceptions against our Church-communion, which usually prevaile with such persons.

Our Li­turgy how agreeing with the Mass-book.First that our Liturgy or Com­mon Prayer was taken out of the Masse-book. This is of the same seasoning with that of our Bishops deriving their ordination from Rome, fit onely to distast the weak, who are offended with any thing that smells of Rome; But as we said of Bishops, we had them from that Church, from which we received the Christian Faith, and then when we received it: so we say of our Litur­gy it has no more of the Masse, or publique service of the Romish Church, than was received and con­tinued from the Ancient Church, and was agreeable to the Christian faith. And to retein so much, was accor­ding to that Christian Prudence and [Page 95] Charity used in our Reformation, that would have no more opposition to them we were forced to differ from, then must needs. Whatever the prevailing Errors and Corruptions of After-times had brought into their Mass, Reformation cast out: And some of those learned Bishops and Clergy, who were chief instru­ments of the Reformation, and Composers of our Liturgy in that frame it had, sealed the Reforma­tion, and their renouncing of Popish Errors with their Bloud: and we challenge them to shew any such Popish corruption reteined in our Liturgy: and might think it enough to oppose the judgement of other Reformed Churches approving it, with which they might also rest sa­tisfied, if they did not too much value their own. But more particu­larly: Two things are considerable in Liturgy, Matter and Frame.

§ XVIII Lawfulnes and fulness of our Liturgy as to the matter.

For the Matter or things prayed for, or spoken there, we are assured they cannot shew any one particular to be contrary to sound doctrine, or unfitting for Christian men to begg [Page 96] of God, and to speake in the serving and Glorifying of him. All suitable to the ends and purposes of the pub­lick Assemblies, and reason of pub­lick Worship; which will appeare if we consider the Frame, which implies two things, the Order in which it runs, and the set Forms in which e­very thing is expressed. As to the Order in which it is framed, what could be more to the purpose of holy meetings and Assemblies? Where Christians come together First, to confesse their sins in the presence of God, then to heare the promise of the Gospell to their comfort; accor­dingly after some short exhortation, Confession is made, and then a generall Absolution pronounced to all that are truly penitent. Again Christians come together to prayse God; there­fore Psalmes are read before, and Hymnes used after each Chapter: still concluding the Psalmes and Hymnes with the Doxology, or giving Glory to the whole Trinity, Father Son and Holy Ghost; Furthermore, They meet to shew themselves Chri­stians, and that they Worship God [Page 97] in Christ. Not only by concluding all their Prayers in his name, but also by expresse profession of the Christian Faith, according to the Apostles and Nicene Creed, to the actuall renoun­cing of Heresie against the Person of our Saviour Christ. Christians also meet to give thanks for blessings they received, and to beg what they need: accordingly there are se­verall prayers and Supplications for the necessities of the Congregation, with Intercessions for others: So the Apostle enjoyns 1 Tim. 2. 1. Lastly, They come together to hear and re­ceive instruction, for which the Word is both read and preached: besides, a continuall repeating of the ten Commandements, with a suita­ble deprecation subjoyned to every Commandement. What can be more full, useful and comfortable?

The way of Worship, which they that are gone from us use, as it is defective in many of these (as Abso­lution, Hymnes, profession of Faith, re­peating the Commandements of God) so what they have of Confession, Petition or Thanksgiving, is reduced [Page 98] or shuffled up into one continuall Prayer, which, admit it be not defe­ctive in those three, yet does it not in so convenient a way as the Church of Engl. does in distinct, severall, con­cise Formes. For so it is more intel­ligible to ordinary capacities, because delivering every part (Confession, Petition, Thansgiving) more distinct­ly: also it is more for the holding up intention of the spirit, which is more dulled with one long continued Prayer, wherein those parts are con­fused, than if it were broken into so many several Colects or Prayers I have heard ordinary people acknowledge it, and shew themselves sensible of it, complaining, not onely of the de­fect of that Service (for they observe they heare not the Lords Prayer, Creed, Ten Commandements, as for­merly) but also of the confusednesse of such continued Prayer, which they could not go along with were not edified by it: whereas before they understood still what they were about, and by reason of the short expressions of the Churches Prayers, and the Responses the people were [Page 99] sometimes to make, they remembred many things. And much they have to answer for it, who through, [...] know not what pretence of the Spirit, or spirituall gifts, but indeed through self-conceit, or some fleshly respects, have drawn the people from that way of Worship, which was more to Gods glory and their comfort and edification.

§. XIX. Set Forms of publick Prayer.

But all those parts of publique Worship or Liturgy (which I have instanced to shew the fulnesse of that which is used in this Church) rre delivered in set Formes; That they are afraid of, lest they worship God with the inventions of Man: But by this reason they should be afraid to pray their own way, lest they worship God with their own invention; or to pray with their approved Ministers, lest they wor­ship God with their inventions; for the Form or Expression of a Prayer, whether Set, or Extemporary Conception, is equally of mans In­vention: and if so, surely it is bet­ter to worship God upon a Set, pre­meditate, and deliberate Invention, [Page 100] than upon an extemporary one. The truth is, it is not for man to invent that which is of the Substance of Worship, viz. the work, act, or Du­ty directed upon such a due Object, for that is of Gods prescribing, as Prayer: but Authority may invent something for the better managing of the work in publique, or for the more convenient performance of the Worship, i. e. of the Act or Du­ty prescribed by God. The Apostle bids it be done in order, decently, and to edification, 1 Cor. 11. ult. That set Formers may be so, we are assu­red by those which the Church al­wayes had, the Jewish Church had, as see Numb. 6. 23. and elsewhere; John Baptist taught his Disciples a Form of Prayer, and so did our Sa­viour teach his, Luke 11 1, 2. The Practise of the whole Church has ap­proved the use of Set Forms in pub­lique; and so does the judgement and practise of Reformed Churches abroad. Nay, but they will not be satisfied unlesse we shew it to be the practise of the Church in the Apo­stles time, which they do not finde [Page 101] in Scripture. Nay, but they must, ac­cording to the Rule above set, not expect the Church should shew ex­ample in Scripture for every thing she Orders, but they stand bound to shew it is against Gods Word, if they will not yeild obedience, that they may have that warrant against Au­thority, We must obey God rather then Man. And though we know not whether, or what Forms they used in those first Times (for all things they did are not recorded) yet is it no marvel if they did not as then use Set Formes, considering the condition of the Church, small, and unsetled by reason of Persecution, or the quality of the Persons ministring in it, few, and of extraordinary perfections and gifts for the most part.

Lawful­nesse of set Formes.Whatever judgment these men have of Prayer in set Forms, or low conceit of them that use them: See we how Reason evinces the lawfulnesse and expediency of them in publique, and therein commends the prudence of the Church in appointing them. 1. As the matter or things prayed for, and the intention of the spirit or [Page 102] affection, with which they are pray­ed for, is of the substance of Prayer: so the utterance or words are but externall to it, and therefore Prayer without words, is Prayer truly; Now let the matter of our Prayer be according to Gods will, and the Spirit and affection suitable thereun­to, and accompanying our Petitions, it is indifferent whether the expres­sion be in our own words, or bor­rowed; whether in Forms before composed, or upon the present con­ceived. Let a man prepare his heart afore-hand suitable to the Forms and generall Requests, that he knows are made in publique, and God, who is not taken with words or varying of the phrase, will hear him, as he did the penitent Son, who thought and resolved before-hand what to con­fesse, what to beg, I will go—and say—Luke 15. 18. and accordingly he said when he came into his Fa­thers presence. And as our Saviour prayed thrice, saying the same words, Mat. 26. 44. so let the same affecti­ons and desires of the heart return, or be present, they may again be ut­tered [Page 103] in the same form of words: And if the forms of the publique Service do contein (as we said above they do in generall) all the requests fitting to be made, then may they still be used for the expressing such requests and desires.

Here, that they may seem to say something rather than nothing, they reply; That prayer of the peni­tent Son, though set and before com­posed, was his own, and so was that prayer of our Saviour, though set, and in the same words repeated; but the set Forms of the Church are not his prayers that ministers in the Congregation. If he would utter his own prayers, though set and be­fore prepared, they would joyn with him; for then they conceive he prayes, what the Lord has put into his minde, whether upon former pre­meditation, or present conception. These seem to be the most reasonable of all those that are against the set Forms of the Church: for they see Reason to allow the people to pray in set Forms of other mens making, and the Minister to pray in set Forms [Page 104] of his own, but not anothers com­posing. Now if they would well ex­amine this, they would see little Rea­son upon such a difference to quarrel with Authority, and abstein from the publick Worship of God in his Church: For no ground in Scripture can they have of such a distinction, much lesse warrant upon such a pre­tended difference to abstein from Church Communion. Also by this reason the Minister should not use the Lords prayer, because not of his own composing. Again, this is to place the substance and effect of prayer in Frame of Words, rather than in matter or things prayed for, and the suitable affections of the heart: both which may be found right in using Forms composed by others. For the matter of the Church Forms it is plain, there is nothing but according to the will of God, and if he that uses them prepare his heart with suitable affections, God requires no more. The prophet bids, Take words with yow—and say, Take a­way all Iniquity, &c. Hos. 14. 2. If then the heart be prepared with such mo­tions [Page 105] and desires as are fitting for Confession and petition, is it so ma­teriall whence we take the words▪ ei­ther suggested to us by others, as it is there, or invented by our selves? Sure­ly if the people can better understand the things prayed for, and better prepare their hearts with suitable affections, when the set Forms of the Church are used, than they can when they hear the Ministers Prayer: (which they can, by reason Those Forms contein all necessary requests, better than any one mans prayer can probably do; and because the pub­lique prayers being necessarily ex­pressed in generals, the people ought still, from those general Confessions or Petitions, to reflect upon their own particular Sinnes, Infirmities, Wants and Desires) it is therefore most reasonable the people have the Publique prayers in the Set forms, with which they are best acquainted, which speaks the expediency follow­ing.

Expedi­ency of set Forms in publick.II. They are not Lawful, but Expe­dient too in publick; Every parti­cular man, as he best knowes [Page 106] his private Necessities,Expedien­cy of Set Formes in publique. so he may expresse them in private to God as his heart suggests: but in pub­lique it is necessary that the requests of and for the whole Congregation, should be in general expressions, such as may comprehend the neces­sities, and concernments of all: and it is needful this be done in set forms, prudently and godlily com­posed, not left to the conceptions and inventions of so many thousands as minister in this Nationall Church, and are to be the Mouth of the Congregation to God; for though some may do it discreetly, yet would many inconveniences follow through the different performance of others. 1. Want of Uniformity in the pub­lique Worship of the same Church. 2. Defect often in not putting up all the requests, which are fitting to be made, not doing all that is fit to be done at publique meetings to the glory and worship of God. 3. Many Impertinencies, Tautologies in ex­pression, sometimes unfitness, and unlawfulness of that which is spoken, such as the Congregation cannot [Page 107] say Amen to. A difference there is betwixt Liberty in this performance of publique worship, and of prea­ching; for the Worship and Prayers are presented immediately to God himself; but preaching, though it treats of things pertaining to God, yet speaks to the people: To the Prayers of the Church, the whole Congregation is to say Amen: but that which is delivered in preaching, falls under trial and examination, whether it be so: For providing and delivering a Sermon to the people, they have liberty of time as they please, & of using what means & help they please: but as for the putting up the prayers of the Congregation, wheresoever there is a despising of set Forms, and an expectation of private Conceptions from the Mini­ster, there the former inconvenien­ces will often be run into by some, through self-conceit of Gifts, and Pride of shewing them in variety of Expressions, and length of Prayers by others, through disability and weak­ness; yet thinking themselves con­cerned in reputation to follow the [Page 108] former, & to attempt the like way of a seeming extemporary long Prayer.

Spirituall gifts to be used, but with sub­mission to the Chur:Notwithstanding they plead for Liberty in using the spiritual Gifts they have, to the edifying of the Church. for to that end they are gi­ven, and the Apostle bids to use them to that purpose, 1 Cor. 14. True, but first they must observe a diffe­rence between the Gifts then, and now, and know that all were to be used with submission to the Church: The Gifts then were extraordinary, by special a [...]lation or revelation of the spirit: spiritual gifts now are ordinary, from the operation and motion indeed of the same spirit, but upon use of means. Therefore they which strive to order their As­semblies according to the particular passages of that Chapter, doing in them, as then was used, cause great confusion and ridiculous deport­ment in their holy meetings. But secondly, if the Apostle give re­straints there (as he doth) to those spiritual gifts, though extraordinary, that they be used with submission to the Church, as is thought fit for or­der [Page 109] and edification, much more the use of Gifts now ought to be limi­ted. Else may women that are gifted, take the liberty of using them in the Church; but the Apostle saw Rea­son to impose Silence upon them in the same Chapter, or at least every man that has gifts may use them (as some now plead for the Liberty) to the edification of the Church: but many of those who are against Set Forms, see great reason against that too, thinking it fit (as indeed it is) that none should use their gifts pub­liquely, but such as are called, al­lowed, and ordained to it by the Church; and if so, then also should they think it sit, that those, who are so allowed, as publique Ministers in the Congregation, should use their gifts so, and in such a way, as the same Church sees sit and allowes: for if these will plead liberty of using their spirituall Gifts against the Constitution of the Church, and that by this 14. chapter to the Corin­thians, then may the other with as good Reason plead Liberty for all gifted men; for all that [Page 110] had such gifts (as here the Apostle speaks of, and seeks to order) might have their turn of speaking and using them.

But they are both out of the way, and inconsequent in their reasoning from this Chapter, not distinguishing Times and Gifts, nor acknowledging duly the Authority of the Church; and therefore under pretence of such Gifts, pleading for Liberty of using them, that is, as it often proves of venting what they please in the Congregation; whereas they ought in all humility, to expect the Chur­ches approbation of their Gifts, and then know they must use them with submission still to the Church, in such a way as is thought most fit for preventing the above-mentioned in­conveniences, for preserving Order and Ʋnity in the Church, for setting forth an Ʋniformity in Gods Wor­ship, and upon all these respects for edification of the people. Calvin, no friend to Popery, or sloathfulnesse in Ministers: but a person furnished with as great gifts as any of our Pleaders for this Liberty can pretend [Page 111] to, is said to have often wished, that all the Churches had one and the same Form of publique Service or Liturgy, and that upon these Rea­sons, The holding of Unity in the Church, and the excluding of No­velty, Faction, and boasting of Gifts.

But see whether this Pride of spi­rit, and self conceit (for I can call it no otherwise, when once it sets it self against the Churches constitu­tion without expresse Scripture) has proceeded in some,Lords Prayer un­dervalued, neglected. from a despising of the Churches Prayers to an un­derstanding of the Lords Prayer, be­cause a Set form, and to a neglecting the use of it altogether as far below them; then to a conceiting of themselves to be above prayer it self, as needing not to pray at all. Such I have met with, miserably cut­ting themselves off, not onely from the comfort of the prayers of Christs Church on Earth, but from the benefit of his intercession in Heaven, and evacuating (as to them­selves) the eternal Priesthood of Christ: for if they need not pray, they [Page 112] need not confesse, nor ask forgive­nesse, nor beg Grace or any spiri­tuall help, and so need not the In­tercession of Christ for obteining such mercies; for his being our Advocate 1 Joh. 2. 1. supposeth our Confession of sin, required c. 1. v. 9. and his being our High Priest inferrs our coming to the Throne of Grace, Heb. 4. 16. or our coming to God by him, Hebr. 7. 25. And as for those that so much prize the prayers of their owne conception to an undervaluing of that, which the Lord framed and taught us; let them consider how little they de­serve his Intercession, when they come by him to put up their owne prayers, despising or wilfully neg­lecting his But we knowing the perfection of that prayer, which conteins all things fitting to be as­ked, doe often use it in the publick prayers of the Church, and alwayes with our own, that if any thing need­full be through our imperfection O­mitted in our own, it may be supply­ed in the use of that, and knowing that Christ is ready to hear & receive [Page 113] the requests of every humble spirit, which is carefull to doe, and make use of what he has taught us, We therefore delight to expresse, or to sum up our desires often in his form of words; for as Saint Cyprian in his exposition of the Lords Prayer, tels us, Christ when we beg his inter­cession using that prayer, will ac­knowledge his own Words, will re­member the prayer he taught us. Thus much of set Forms, and Prayers of the Church.

§. XX. Exception against Rites and Ceremo­nies.

They farther pretend, they cannot hold Communion in the publick Worship of God, according to the way and form of the Church of En­gland by Reason of Rites and Cere­monies used therein. Here they are chiefly offended, at the Habit of the Minister, standing up at Creed and Gospel, Ring in Marriage, Cross in Baptism, Kneeling at the Lords Sup­per, Bowing at the Name of Jesus. And the reason of their offence is, because they take them to be Bur­thensome, and therefore against Chri­stian Liberty, yea, Superstitious, and therefore against purity of Wor­ship.

[Page 114] Not bur­thensome or supersti­tious:For the first; Where Ceremonies are burthensome for Number, it is a fault in that Church, and cause of offence and complaint, but not of separation or breaking Communion: St. Augustine in his Epist: to Januar: took notice of the encrease of Cere­monies then, and in part complained, they began to be burthensome; in the Church of Rome, the number was excessive before Reformation, and gave just. Cause to complain of the burthensom observance of them; but that was not any Cause of dividing Communion, had they not beene (many of them) burthensome for Weight, as well as for Number, and insupportable by reason of apparent superstition. Now the Ceremonies and Rites reteined in this Church were few for number, and eased of that weight or superstition that was in any of them. The truth is, if the Pre­tenders of Liberty of Conscience do therefore quarrel at our Rites and Ceremonies, as contrary to Christi­an Liberty, because appointed and enjoyned by the Church, they do plaily shew they use that Liberty as [Page 115] a Cloak for their unruly and con­tentious Spirits, that cannot abide the commands of Authority, but would do every thing according to their own devising, and will (when they have power) impose severely Orders and Constitutions of their own; for so they do where they can erect their new Communions: im­posing Conditions of admittance in­to, and of Continuance in that Communion, such as they think good: but such as Christ or his A­postles never required, such as the Catholique Church never knew: as for example, their Triall by Lay-El­ders, and denial of Communion or Church-fellowship, yea, of the Sa­crament of Christs Body and Blood to him that will not undergo that Triall, or is not approved by it ac­cording to those rules they please to use, but is found unanswerable to that measure of knowledge or gifts, which they expect; of which and other devices of theirs, we may say as the Apostle did, 1 Cor. 11. 17. We have no such Custome, nor the Chur­ches of God.

[Page 116] But in the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England they finde Superstition; and why? be­cause such Rites and Ceremonies were derived from, and abused in Popery unto Superstition. They were used indeed in the Church of Rome (and abused too) but derived from the Ancient Church, and used by it to good purpose before Popery crept in. Nor is it a good Rule of Refor­mation to cast out whatever has been abused by Popery; we need not do it to the very same individual things which have been so abused, (excepting Images (as the Brazen Serpent) that had been objectively used to Superstition) for the same individuall Churches stand, which I suppose they hold, were abused in time of Popery; much lesse are we bound to abolish all Rites and Ceremonies which have been abu­sed onely in specie, in their kind, the individuall act or performance of them under that abuse being transi­ent and not remaining. But the Rule of our Reformation was still accor­ding to Christian prudence & chari­ty, [Page 117] not making moe differences than must needs; & therefore retaining the use of that which Antiquity, with good reason, practised, but without the after-abuse; & looking not onely at ancient Practise, but the Apostles Precept, according to which the fore­mentioned practises tend to order & decency, and as far as Ceremonies are capable of it, to edification.

Thus much the Church has suffici­ently declared by her Doctrine, & by hundreds of books written upon that argument, that she enjoyns these Rites and Ceremonies cleared from all superstitious abuse, either of yeilding worship to any undue ob [...]ect, or of affixing any sacramentall Effi­cacy to any of them, or of giving them any spirituall Vertue, either to better the duty, to wch they are joyned (pro­fessing the duty is good without thē, though not so orderly and reverently performed) or to satisfie by such per­formances; or that she has any other superstitious respect in the enjoyning of them, but regard onely to the a­foresaid precept for order and decen­cy, which easily appeares in the more [Page 118] solemn and reverent performance of the duty with these Rites than with­out them,Vse of Ce­remonies significant. and for edification, ac­cording to the nature of a Ceremo­ny, by its signification, minding us of some duty. (To this purpose, Treat. 2. c. 7. num. 7. of Ceremonies signi­ficant.) Peter Martyr said well in his Comment on that 14. chap. to the Corinths: Ceremonies are more commendable, if they do admonish us, (Instar concionum de aliquo officio) like Sermons of some duty.

As for example, that women should be covered in the Congregation, was not onely for decency, but signified and minded them of Duty, viz. Sub­jection, as the Apostle shewes, 1 Cor. 11. The Ceremony of the Holy Kisse used in their meetings, and en­joyned by the Apostle several times; minded them of that Charity which should be among Christians, and testi­fied they had it then for each other. So the putting off the Old man, so oft mentioned in the Apostle, was the duty: and it was represented in Ba­ptism, by their putting of Old clothes, and putting on New. Such [Page 119] signification has the White Vesture, minding both the People of the holy duties they come to, & him that wears it, of the holinesse required of them that minister in holy Duties.Standing up at Creed. Stan­ding up at the Creed is for a more significant profession of the Christi­an Faith, that they acknowledge and receive it, and will, by the help of God, stand to it and defend it: The like signification is in standing up at the reading of the Gospel.Ring in Marriage. The Ring in Marriage added onely as a visible Symbol of that Union and Conjun­ction, and for remembrance there­of is it so carefully kept and worn ever after. What the Crosse in Ba­ptism signifies, and wherefore it is used, is there and then expressed, when it is used, in token that the par­ty baptized shall not be ashamed of the Crosse of Christ &c.Cross in Baptisme: The Ancient Christians used to make the sign of the Cross (upon occasion) in the sight of the Heathen, to witness or speak the profession they were of; and I doe not doubt the truth of those Ancient Records that tell us how God was pleased sometimes (for [Page 120] the conviction of the Heathen, and the approving of the Christian profes­sion) to work a miracle at the making that Sign: and what marvel, when for the same purpose he wrought mira­culously at the falling of Peters shad­dow upon the sick, and at the touch of handkerchiefes brought from Pauls body, Act. 5. 15. & 19. 12. He that purposely uses the sign of the Crosse to work supernaturall effects, does it without warrant Superstiti­ously: So he that affixes any Sacra­mentall vertue or spirituall efficacy to it in baptism; The Church of England has no such respect, but on­ly uses it as a bare Ceremony, for remembrance and testification of that which indeed is every Christian mans duty, viz Not to be ashamed of the Crosse of Christ, but to sight man­fu [...]y under his banner &c. And truly (considering what a pass Christianity is at among us, how the very prin­ciples thereof are so openly over­thrown by Sacriledge, Injustice, A­theism: that they are likely (if men go on) to be forgotten in the next age, that there may now seem to be some [Page 121] Cause to have the Crosse of Christ imprinted with fire (as they say the Ethi [...]pick Christians doe) upon the fore-heads of the Children: that they may remember so oft at least as they look in the Glasse, that they are Christians, and what they pro­mised in baptism.

Kneeling at the Sa­crament. Kneeling at the Communion, can be no compliance with Popery in the acknowledging of Transubstantiati­on, or Adoration of the Host; for our Church has sufficiently declared a­gainst the doctrine of Transubstanti­ation; which being taken away, that Adoration falls. Nor yet is their Kneeling in the Romish Church the Test and acknowledgment of Tran­substantiation, or of that Adoration (which they think due to the Host) but their falling down, when it is elevated or lifted up. They do Po­pery too much honour, that make the devout and lowly behaviour of kneeling at the Sacrament, proper to that Religion, and do seem not to understand themselves, nor what they are about (in that application of the soule to God, and the recei­ving [Page 122] from him the greatest pledges of mercy) that think not the most humble and reverent gesture most fit for such a Duty. Their sitting men­tioned, Mark 14. 18. As they sate and did eat, &c. does not speak di­rectly the gesture they used at re­ceiving the Lords Supper, but their falling to, or applying themselves to eat the Passeover; and whether in the receiving the Sacrament they used the same posture which they cōmonly did at their Feasts (a kind of lying or leaning, more neer to a pro­stration of the Body than our sitting) is not certain; but no question they used such expressions of devotion then, as were suitable to the present duty. Nor must our application to Christ now be after such a common and familiar way, as theirs was, when he conversed with them on Earth: They did not then so pray to him, or asked in his name, as they did after­wards, Jo: 16. 24. They know Christ then after the flesh, familiarly con­versing with him, but now we know him so no more, 2 Cor. 5. 16. He is now in Heaven at Gods Right Hand, we on [Page 123] Earth: and if we understand Him and our selves, how, when we are admitted to the Sacrament, we are applying to God by him, and recei­ving from God through him the greatest benefits: we cannot but think there is cause for the greatest expression of our most humble ac­knowledgments.

Bowing at the name. Bowing at the Name of JESUS, is by the Church appointed to be done sometimes in publick Divine Service, as an acknowledgment of his Deity, his Exaltation and Lord­ship over all, (set out Act. 2. 36. Phil. 2. 11.) and that we are his poor devoted Creatures, whom he has made and redeemed: It is a divine worship (standing in such inward ac­knowledgment and honour, and out­ward bowing of the body) given to the Person of Christ, known by that Name; and it is strange if any Chri­stian should deny it lawfull to wor­ship and adore our Saviour Christ at any time, especially to doe it when he is named, considering what the Apo­stle also saith, Phil. 2. 10. which must needs infer at least, that it may be [Page 124] done, when he is named. So here is no new Worship invented by the Church, (for the Worship then gi­ven is due to God, and prescribed by him) but the performance of it onely determined, when it shall be given or expressed, viz. at the Name of Jesus, or when he is named.

As for that precept of the Apostle, Abstain from all appearance of evill, 1 Thes. 5. 22. which they make a pre­tence for their declining of the Rites and Ceremonies of this Church: It gives direction for private practice in things left indifferent to our choice, in the occurrencies of life; gives no warrant against Authority, to use liberty, in things determined thereby, under pretence of appea­rance of evill in them, as said Treat. 2. cap. 1. For here we are still bound (according to the Rule often above delivered) to shew the thing enjoy­ned by Authority, is (not onely in appearance, but) indeed evill, in it self formally, or forbidden by Gods po­sitive command.

Again, The Rites, Ceremonies, and Practices of this Church, have not [Page 125] (to any judgement cleared from Passion, Prejudice, or Faction) an appearance of evil in them, i. e. of Superstition or Wil-worship, as they fancie ignorantly or wilfully, but of good, i. e. of order, decency, reverence, devotion, expression of the duty we are about, and of the internal wor­ship then yeelded: Of all which, there is a fairer appearance in the commu­nion of this Church, than in the con­fused and irreverend deportments of their Assemblies.

§. XXII. Touching the point of worship.

Now to the end that they which understand not so much as they should in the points of Worship and Adoration, may better conceive what error and offence they run into by their causelesse and inconsiderate feare of Superstition in many just and lawfull practices of the Church: I must first tell them, that by their ab­staining from the publick service of God, because the Prayers are in Set­forms, by their not comming to the Communion, because to be received Kneeling; by withholding their Children from Baptisme, rather than they should be signed with the crosse [Page 126] and the like, they make themselves guilty of wilfull neglect of duty to God, of obed [...]ence to the Church, and fall into that superstition, which is called Negative: For they place Religion in not doing these, account themselves therfore godly and pure, and make such abhorring or absti­nence from these, a mark of their Religion or Sect: And then, that may better understand themselves in the point of Worship, they ought to put a difference between the Sub­stance, and the Circumstantials of Worship.Circum­stantialls of VVorship. The Substance of Wor­ship stands (as said above) in a due act, (internall, externall) directed on the due object; and this is of Gods prescription: The Circumstantials of Worship are seen in the decent and profitable managing of the Worship for Time, Place, Order, or the like; and in these the Church has power.Objective terminati­ons of VVorship, and Cir­cumstanti­all. Again, Worship is determined Ob­jectively to such or such a thing or person receiving the worship, or Cir­cumstancially, ad hic & nunc, to the time and place; The Church has no power in the first, cannot transferre [Page 127] any religious worship upon an undue Object; but has power in the Se­cond, may appoint when and where, and by whom, and on what occasion the worship due to God, and pre­scribed by him, shall be performed in publick. For Words that are heard, and Things that are seen, carrying in them a remembrance of benefits and duties, and therefore Motives of Worship to God, who gives the be­nefit and expects the duty, may de­termine our Worship to time and place, inciting us to perform it then and there, when and where we hear such Words or see such Things: and this is a Circumstantiall determina­tion of Worship, not an Objective.

Instances.When the people heard Moses words, they bowed the head and Wor­shiped, Exod. 12. 27. What! not the Words which Moses spake, but they worshipped the Lord upon hearing such words as conteined such Mo­tives of Worship. In that Idolatrous Worship, Dan. 3. at the hearing of the Instruments of Musick they fell down &c. The Worship was not gi­ven to the sound, but at the sound to [Page 128] the Idol erected, the sound of that Musick did onely circumstancially de­termine the Worsh [...]p, but the Golden Image Objectively▪ and that made the Idolatry. So when religious worship▪ (for the reason is alike) is given to our Saviour Christ, upon the hea­ring of his name Jesus, not letters and syllables of his Name, but the Person of our Saviour is the Object of the Worship; and the naming or speaking of his Name Jesus (which notes his Person, and withall carryes in it the remembrance of that Salva­tion he wrought for us, and there­fore the greatest Motive of worship) does determine the Worship Cir­cumstantially, i. e. the performance of it to such a time or occasion.

So for Things seen, which bear the remembrance of such benefits, as may give Motive of Worship, and determine it, not Objectively but this way rather then that. The Ark with the Mercy seat was the sign and witnesse of Gods presence, (there I will meet with thee, and commune with thee. Exod 25. 22.) and there­fore they worshipped towards it. [Page 129] Worship at his footstoole. Ps. 99. 5. and 132. 7. So it was called because of the speciall exhibition of his presence on Earth. Now the worship was not given to the Ark Objectively, but to God: only that way, or thitherward rather then other. Thus Daniel prayed towards Jerusalem—c. 6. 10. And should any (that I may speak of Rites not enjoyned by this Church, yet practiced by some, and no questi­on piously) pray as the Ancient Christians did, towards the East, in acknowledgement of the light of the Gospel risen upon them; or at their comming into Gods house bow themselves in sense of the great pre­sence, and of the holy duties they come to, and of their own unwor­thinesse; or in their approach to the holy Table bow or prostrate them­selves to the ground, in acknowledge­ment of that speciall exhibition Christ makes of himselfe there, and in sense of his own unworthi­ness; what Christian that under­stands himself, could accuse these of superstition and Popery, or not ra­ther approve them as significant and [Page 130] seemly expressions of Christian de­votion?

There is a Custom of uncovering the head at the coming in of light, if this be done with thankfulnesse of soul for the light of the Gospel, and desire of enjoying the light of hea­ven, what harm? Is it not lawfull, yea Christian-like to glorify God on all occasions? for the comming in of the light is but an occasional remem­brance. Let me put it to them far­ther; should a Papist when he unco­vers the head or bows the body at the sight of a Crosse, doe it out of hearty thankfulness to God for redemption by Christ Crucified; making the Crosse no object of the Worship, but only the sight of it an occasionall remembrance and motive: would there be any thing in this unbesee­ming a Christian? I cannot but say it concerns a Christian often to remem­ber, and thankfully to acknowledge Gods mercies upon any occasion: and if the inward worship (which stands in such due acknowledgments of the heart) may upon occasionall remembrances be given, then may [Page 131] the outward expression also by unco­vering the head or bowing the body, unlesse prudence out of respect of time or place forbid it, for Religion will not. And to come a little more home to those that are so ready to cry superstition: should any one of them escape a shipwrack or hazard of battail, or be redeemed out of Tur­kish slavery; and so oft as he hears of other mens suffering in any of these kindes, or so oft as he sees a ship safe in harbour, or lookes on the Armour he wore in that battel, or on the Chain he bore in Captivity, should be so oft uncovering his head lift up his heart to God in thankfull acknowledgement of the blessing, and desire of farther Protection: would there be any thing in this, but what beseems a good Christian, when as neither words heard, nor things seen are made any object of the worship, but accasionall remem­brances, and motives? How much ra­ther may this be done, when we hear that name, which carries salvation in it, see those things which minde us of the greatest mercies, and therefore [Page 132] may move us: and all this the more if the Prudence and Authority of the Ch: has so determined. I have enlar­ged this discourse to instances beyond the enjoyned Rites and practises of this Church, to meet with that vain plea of superstition and Popery char­ged upon it, for the better counte­nancing of the Schism made, and the sacriledge committed in these our dayes.

§. XXII. Cause of their seve­ral Error, that have divided from this Church.

To winde up all. By that which has been said, it may appear, what is the Cause of this Error, (which carries so many such severall wayes from the Communion of this Church) and what the Issue of it. The Cause is their misunderstanding of the Rule by which they should be guided. First of the supreme Rule, the Scripture, which for faith and sub­stance of worship is a set and punctu­all Rule, not so for other matters of practice. Secondly, of the next, and as I may say, Secundary Rule the witnesse of Ʋniversall Custome, pra­ctice or Tradition, which (as unfol­ded above § 2. & 13.) is the best externall proof of Scripture, so also [Page 133] the best expositor of it: bringing down nothing as of the substance of Faith and Worship, but what is clearly grounded on Scripture, and giving clear light to those darker passages in scripture, which concern the beginnings of some Practises, which were to continue in the Church, as Infant [...] baptism, Obser­vation of Lords day, Easter, Pentecost, Episcopal Government. Thirdly thein misunderstanding of the Authority of the present Church, defining in matters of faith and worship accor­ding to direct Scripture, and decree­ing in other matters according to prudence: but in both having re­spect to, and in a due sort guided by Ʋniversal consent, or Tradition of the Catholique Church, viz. the Do­ctrines that have been always taught, and the Customes or Practices al­wayes observed therein. For let men forsake the guidance of these Rules, and what remains but the extrava­gancie of a private judgement? and what can follow but error upon er­ror? and what can be the issue of that, but remedilesse consasion?

[Page 134] Hence have we so many private in­terpretations of Scripture, broached instead of Catholick doctrine; Cir­cumstantials of Worship taken for Substance, and thereupon the law­full Worship of the Church igno­rantly charged with Superstition. And for matters of Practice, some will have all practices observed they meet with in Scrip: Some not all, but not any else, save what is there. Last­ly, upon the like mis-understanding, they cast out the perpetuall govern­ment of the Church, but cannot a­gree what to set up: in this, as in many other things,Confusion the Issue of Error, ha­ving passed due bounds. following their private judgement, destitute of the guidance of the former Rules, and therefore upon necessity disagreeing: one destroying what the other would build; yet all pretending (for Satan is here an Angel of light) to set up the Discipline, Scepter, and King­dome of Christ, and to advance Pu­rity of Religion. This was the pre­tence of all Schismaticks, and it is the Master-piece of Satans cunning (as above noted, §. 8.) to set men on work under that pretence, but with [Page 135] mis-guided zeal, to purge, reform, re­fine a Church, and to out-strip o­thers in that zeal, till they have brought all to confusion. But we should not be ignorant of his devices, as the Apostle warns them in a case not much unlike, 2 Cor. 2. 11. for Sa­tan was there playing his part as an Angel of light, under the pretence and covert of severity and strictnesse a­gainst the Incestuous person; as he did after in the Novation Schisma­ticks.

These his devices we might indeed have seen in those Ancient Schisma­ticks, Montanists, Novatians, Dona­tists: and in those more irregular of the last Age, Anabaptists, Libertines, Familists, and the like; whose Er­rors and Follies were well silenced by Learned Protestant Writers, but now broken out again, when that which did let (the Civil and Ecclesia­stical Authority) was taken away, or so weakned, that it could not stop the inundation of former Errors and exorbitant phansies flowing back up­on us from every corner, into which they had retired; and working ap­parently [Page 136] to confusion,Confusion & levelling upon level­ling. to a levelling upon levelling, as in the State, so in the Church-government and affairs. The consideration of the first is not to my present purpose; but as for the businesse of the Church and Religion, I cannot but note, How they, who first pretended to Reformation, (by Covenant obliging themselves and others, and conceiving that Cov. in such generall terms, as might engage men of all sects and perswasions to joyn with them in pulling down what was establisht, & invading the means and revenues belonging to Cathedral Churches) did not or would not (I pray God they may yet) see Satans device, by like principles and preten­ces, and in such general words to have still a new Reformation under­taken, and to level or pul down not onely what the former had built, but what they had left standing of that which was before. The first preten­ders to Reformation, would cast off Bishops (their lawfull Pastors and Su­periours) invade their power of Or­dination and Government, & have their Revenues with those of Deans [Page 137] and Chapters alienated; Now are there risen up men that would make it a part of their Reformation, to cast off the Ministry of Presbyters too, laying open the Office of Teach­ing to all gifted men: also to take a­way their Tithes and maintenance, putting them to live upon benevo­lence, if any will have them for their Teachers. And as the first had no consideration of the Ca­thedral Churches, no more have these of the Parochial: but as if all other Christians were Infidels or Heathens, they will gather Chur­ches anew: the ready way to dis­sipate the Church of Christ, and bring in Confusion: But furthermore, as the first Reformers of these dayes, would have no respect to the An­cient practice of the Catholike Church, so have these as little re­gard (and with farre greater rea­son) to the pattern of the other Reformation, the Scottish Kirk. Lastly, As They first cast out Set-forms, and the Publick pray­ers of this Church, so Those that came after, have cast out [Page 138] their Directory, will not be bound up by their Rules and Order: but as one Error begets another, and is bound­less in its progress, so here from de­spising the Set-forms of the Church, they proceed to an undervaluing the Lords Prayer, as below them; and some to advance themselves above Prayer it selfe, as needlesse to them, in that height of perfection they conceive themselves to have attai­ned: and this is the chiefe aime of Satans device, to bring men by a misguided pursuit of purity and ho­linesse, to such a pitch of spiritual pride and self-conceit, as if they had already apprehended—which S. Paul would not take to himself, Phil. 3. 13.

Nor is it sufficient to say, We are not so: If you are not gone so far, yet like Principles and Pretences, which you went on against the Go­vernment, and Lyturgie of this Church, would carry you so far; for what certain bounds are left to stay any, when once ye have pull'd up those, that the above mentioned Rules fixed? This being done in that Covenanting pretended Reformation, [Page 139] the way is laid open to others more bold and heady, to run on farther.

Self-Con­demnation of the Pha­risees.But let me argue it a little with you, (you, that pretend to more re­gularity and order in the Classical or Congregational way, and make shew of a more quiet spirit and temper) and challenge you a little, as our Saviour did the Scribes and Pharisees roundly, (Mat. 23.) for building and garnishing the Sepulchres of the Prophets; and yet persecuting Him and those that followed Him: not­withstanding his Office and doctrine agreed with that of the Old Prophet. Let me therefore ask you, have ye not the book of Martyrs in your houses, and set some price on it? Doe ye not there read of the ancient Bishops of the Primitive Church suf­fering Martyrdom for the truth of Christ?How it concernes these days. And doe not ye applaud them, abhorring the Cruelty of their Persecutors, and saying, If we had been in their dayes we would not have been partakers in that blood? Doe ye not also there read of Cranmer, Ridly, Latimer, with other Bishops, and many of the Clergy of this [Page 140] Land, suffering the flames for that truth, which they by a just Reforma­tion had reestablished in this Church? Doe you not applaud and praise them, when you read their Acts and sufferings, abhorring the cruelty of their Persecutors, and saying, If we had been in their dayes, we would not &c. Thus you build their sepulchres, garnish and adorne their Monuments or Memories, and now examine whe­ther you have not done the like to those, that followed them, in the same Office, which they bore in the same Doctrine, which they taught in the same reformed Worship, which they restored, held, and Sealed with their blood; see if ye have not done more then they which slew those Martyrs: for ye have not only spoi­led their Persons of all their means and livelihood, but also taken away the maintenance from the Office, and (as much as in you) the Office from the Church: a double Sacriledge which the Romanists that killed those Martyrs would abhor to be guilty of.

I speake this not to the reproach [Page 141] of any, but to the conviction of all whom it may concern, that they may fear the Woe our Sav [...]our there de­nounces in the like case, That all should be required of that Generation. It is just with God, when After-ge­nerations will not take warning by the former, but doe the like, to bring upon them the greater punishment, and make them bear, what the for­mer had deserved. And examine I beseech you, how far ye have con­sented to, or approved of the shed­ding their blood, the spoiling their persons, the sequestring their estates who have suffered in these dayes, and yet held and taught the same Religion and Doctrine with those former Martyrs: how farre ye have had an hand in, or consented to that horrid Sacriledge and devastation of Church-meanes committed in these dayes: conclude your selves so far chargeable with the guilt of that former Cruelty and wrong done to the Martyred Bishops and Clergy in Queen Maryes dayes, and of that first Sacriledge committed in her Fathers dayes: and that ye must [Page 142] answer for it (by our Saviours rec­koning, Mat. 23. 35.) so much the deeper, because ye have not taken warning by the former, but done the like; and added to the guilt of Blood, and Sacriledge, which lay before upon this Land, not onely by your persecuting of Them, against whom ye had no other accusation, than what the Papists had against those Martyrs, their faithfull and constant holding to the established reformation of the Church of Eng­land; but also by your seizing of Church-meanes, and abolishing the Office of the chief Governours of the Church; a double Sacriledge (as I said) which neither Romanists nor Antient Schismaticks would dare to commit.

Gods Iudge­ments on Schism and Sacri­ledge.It is worthy our nothing, how it pleased God to shew his judgement upon Schism and Sacriledge in the beginnings of his Church, both Jewish and Christian, to the end that his people might ever after feare to doe the like. We see Numb. 16: who they were that rose up against Moses and Aaron, saying, Ye take [Page 143] too much upon you, ye Sons of Levi, seeing all the Congregation are holy every one of them, the very saying of these Times; and it is plain what they committed in so saying and do­ing, Schism in departing from their lawfull Governours, and sacriledge in breaking in upon, or invading the priests Office; and the judgement shewn upon them is notorious; a Fire broke out upon many of them, and a Schism or rent made in the Earth swallowed up the rest. So in the beginning of the Christian Church we find Act. 5. what a fear­full judgement was shewn upon A­nanias and his Wife for withdrawing part of that, he had devoted to the use of the Church; That they may fear who are so hardy, as to commit greater Sacriledge in taking to their private use, what others have appli­ed to the service of the Church.

VVhy God suf­fers Error so much to prevaile a­gainst Truth.And shall I speak the Result of my Thoughts, secretly enquiring, what might be the Cause, wherefore it should please God to suffer the Church of Rome to continue in so powerfull condition, notwithstanding [Page 144] all the Errors, and profanations taught and practised therein? I saw reason, wherefore God (whose way is in the Sanctuary. Ps. 77. 13. secret, but holy and just) should for the sins and carelesnesse of Christians, tur­ning his grace into wantonness, suffer (after 600 yeares knowledge of his Truth) many Errors to enter, and prevail generally over the Church, and make the word of truth more pre­cious; to the end that they which were approved might be manifest, 1 Cor. 11. And wherefore he should for the divisions and cares of Christi­ans, suffer the Vanity of Mahumetan superstition to gain ground upon the Christian Territories, to the punish­ment of many, and the trial of those that were constant; But that after it pleased him to make the light of the Gospel break out, and the truth ap­pear in the Reformation, he should suffer the Church of Rome with all her detected Errors which from the Sixt age of Christianity had prevai­led) still to continue in power and glory as to the greater part of what it possessed: besides that generall [Page 145] reason, (the lives of Protestants too much unanswerable to the Truth and light God had opened unto them) I can finde no speciall one, unlesse it be the guilt of sacriledge in most pro­testant Churches tumultuarily refor­med; casting out Bishops, invading their Office, and seizing upon the revenues of their Churches. Thus to the dishonour and prejudice of Gods Truth, making it a part of their Re­formation to cast out that, which the Catholick Church had alwayes care­fully observed: and was yet com­mendably reteined in the Church of Rome. Had the Reformation every where (as it did in England) reteined the Ancient prayers and form of Li­turgy, the ancient Government by Bishops, and not laid hands on the meanes of the Church: the Dagon of Romish Error would every where have faln before it.

If the prevailing of Sects to the disturbance of this Church be ob­jected against the Regular reforma­tion of it: We acknowledge God is just, and how now covered the face of this Church with a Cloud in his his [Page 146] Anger, and for our sins chiefly, who should have kept the charge of his Sanctuary, and his holy things: We are ready to receive the charge of a­ny Personall failings or neglects, in the use of our power, Office, perfor­mance of our Duties according to our severall stations: yet let them know they had not sufficient Autho­rity to make Reformation of Personal Abuses; but if through our sides they strike, as they doe at the Power, Office and Function it self, and be­cause they conceive us unworthy of the meanes applyed to the Church, will therefore take it to themselves, let them fear what will follow; and what can follow but confusion, both from the boundlesse course of Error finding no stay, when once it has past the due limits, and from the u­suall Course of Gods justice punish­ing deceitfull men with their own pretences, feares, and delusions?

For when once the spirit of Error has forsaken the Rule, and broken the bounds of lawfull Government which held all together, has raised so many humors, and impowred so ma­ny [Page 147] sects,Confusion of bound­less Error. what one way (right or wrong) can be agreed on, setled, e­stablished? It is not imaginable with­out changing of the Errors and de­structive Principles, upon which the discord is raised, and continued. And what can be the end or Issue suitable to such proceedings and to the just judgement of God, but that after there has been Levelling upon Level­ling, and every sect has had its course to the punishment of this sinfull un­thankfull Nation, we should be ex­posed to the danger of some forrein power, that will impose new Lawes and another Religion upon this peo­ple, if a more generall humiliation doe not prevent it? I doe not mean a Fasting for strife as they did, Isa. 58. 4. (we have had too much of that already, to the greater provocation of Almighty God) but a real true repentance, in turning every man from his evil way, and from the vio­lence that is in their hands, as the Ninivites, did Jon. 3. 8.

It was the Pretence or fear of the Scribes and Pharisees gathered toge­ther in their great Councel against [Page 148] Christ.Punished often with its owne pretences. Venient Romani—if they should suffer him and his doctrine, the Romans would come and take away their place and nation, Jo. 11. 48. and therefore God in his just judgement did punish them (as he threatned, Isa. 66. 4.) in chusing their delu­sions, and bringing their feares up­on them; the Romans did come, and therefore come and tooke away their Place and Nation, because they tooke away Christ and opposed his Gospell: and to make the easier way for the Romans to come in, se­verall factions (as Iosephus tells us) prevailing amongst them, ceased not in the mean time to destroy one the other. So it was the pretence, and this fear was put into the people, that if the Church of England and the Governours thereof were suffe­red to goe on, Venient Romani, the Romish Religion, or Popery would come in: and by this fear or jealousy the People were raised against their superiours, as the people were then against Christ. When as indeed by their pulling down, what formerly was well established, and by destroy­ing [Page 149] one what the other builds, they make fair way for the Romish Religi­on, or the Alcoran, or Atheism to come in over their Ruines, or through the many breaches made by severall Sects: If the Teares and prayers of the obedient Sons of this Church, and of those that would live peaceably in the Land, doe not prevent it, by a­verting Gods just wrath and procu­ring a restauration to this Church, that it may be a praise again upon Earth.

There is hope and comfort in the next verse, Isa. 66. 5. to them that tremble at the word of the Lord. Your brethren that hated yow, that cast yow out for my Names sake, said. Let the Lord be glorified: (blessing him for the successe of their iniquity, or in confidence thereof provoking him to shew his approbation of their Cause and doings, by his judgements) but he shall appear (to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. The first Ejectors or Levellers of our Time (those of the Presbyterian way) who cast out and sequestred whom they pleased, and tooke possession, and said Let the [Page 150] Lord be glorified for their successe: great cause have they, (now it ap­pears what confusion follows upon their beginnings) to be ashamed of what they have done. I pray God they may, and lay it sadly to heart, and that all others, who have advan­ced upon their or the like Principles, may in time consider it; and not think it enough to say, the Lord be glorified, because they prosper and are become rich, but rather enquire, whether that they have done, be as to their private advantage and gain, so to the behoofe of Gods Church and the advancement of true Reli­gion, and whether the Lord, to whom they have so oft appealed (by their Fasts and Thanksgivings) can indeed own their doings, as making for his glory: certainly the Lord must deny himself, which he will not do, if he own Injustice, Schisme, and Sacriledge; Hee forbeares a while, and keepes silence (for Causes best known to himself) and men pro­spering by those sins, think he is such a one as themselves, (approving their doings:) but he will reprove them, [Page 151] and set before them what they have done; He will appeare, and they shall be ashamed.

Exhort. to all that truly de­sire Purity.If such considerations as these, pre­vaile not with them, that doe gain by the formentioned sins, yet let the word of exhortation take hold upon you, all you that have follow­ed the Schism in the simplicity of your hearts: not engaged by any design of gain or self-interest, but only de­ceived with the pretence of Purity in Gods worship, and of strictnesse of life. Doe not make your selves guil­ty of other mens sins; sins that can­not stand with Righteousnesse, or that Charity which the Apostle requires so strictly, 1 Cor. 13. without which all your other supposed Purity▪ Faith or Knowledge, is nothing, will stand you in no stead. Consider sadly, how those you follow, have led you from the Unity of this your Nationall Church, and thereby from the profession of Catholick Primi­tive Truth: from Obedienee to your lawfull Governors and Guides, who bore the same Office, taught the same Doctrine, held the same way [Page 152] of publick Worship, as did those martyrd Bishops in Primitive Times, as did also those other in Queene Marie's dayes: How, I say, they have led you from this Catholique Communion, into a way of which (whether Classicall or Congregati­onall) we see the late and irregular beginning: it being but the product of some tumultuary Reformations made in France, Geneva, Holland, or Scotland, and by those that would be contentious here, imitated and vi­olently attempted, to the disturbance of this Church, not without the down-right guilt of Schism and Sa­criledge.

which can­not be had truly in the state of Schisme.Consider it sadly, and do as those Confessors did, who (being led away by the Novation Schismaticks under like pretence of purity and strictness) as soon as they perceived their error, confessed it, and returned to the U­nity of the Catholick Church; as St. Cyprian often relates and pro­pounds it as an example and motive for Unity. Do you so, and then may you obteine what you pretend was your aim and desire, Purity and [Page 153] righteousnesse indeed, which you cannot in the way of Schisme by reason it holds not a perfect Rule of Righteousness, but such as is strict in denying small things, and flying appearances of Evill, but large in admitting great Offences, tea­ching to straine at Gnats, and swallow Camells, to scruple at a Rite and Ceremony, but makes no bones of Disobedience, Schisme, Sacriledge, and so necessarily leaves your Consciences (while ye are in that Communion) defiled with your partaking in such sinnes. But re­turn into the Unity of this Church, and shew your Communion with it in the publique worship of God, Liturgy, and Sacrament: then may you perfect Holinsse in the feare of God, and with good Conscience peforme all the parts of Purity and Righteousnesse: And do it, in Gods name, according to all the Duties he requires of you, and ac­cording to all the opportnuities he puts into your hands: So will your Purity and Righteousnesse exceed that [Page 154] of the Pharisees; and as many as walk after this Rule, Peace be on them and Mercy, and on the Israel of God. Amen.

The End.

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