THE QUESTIONS Between the CONFORMIST AND Nonconformist, Truly stated, and briefly discussed. Dr. FALKNER, the Friendly Debate, &c. Examined and Answered. Together with a Discourse about Separation, and some Animad­versions upon Dr. STILLINGFLEET's Book, ENTITULED, The Ʋnreasonableness of Separation. Observations upon Dr. Templers Sermon Prea­ched at a Visitation in Cambridge. A brief Vindication of Mr. Stephen Marshal.

Sed hoc nimis doleo, quia multa quae in Divinis libris saluberrima praecepta sunt, minus curantur, & tam multis presumptionibus sic plena sunt omnia, ut gravius corripiatur qui per octavas suas terram nudo pede tetigerit, quam qui mentem Vinolentia sepelierit. August. Epist. 119.

Cum Apostolus testetur, mysterium hoc iniquitatis suo etiam tempore agi caepisse, hinc intelligimus, opiniones omnes, & Traditiones, a Sacris Scripturis dissidentes quas Pontificis urgent, tanquam a Patribus acceptas, ad Apostasiam hanc, quam praedixit Apostolus, esse referendas. Downham de Antichrist. p. 151.

LONDON, Printed for Tho. Cockerill at the Three Legs in the Poultry, over against the Stocks-Market, 1681.

THE Reader may please to take notice, that this Discourse was drawn up long before (now) Do­ctor Falkner took his Degree, else I had given him his Title. And so something of Schism was spoke to before the Epistle to Dr. Stillingfleet could be written.

To the Reverend, and my much Honoured Brother, Dr. Edward Stillingfleet, Dean of St. Pauls.

SIR,

I Hope it is no offence unto you, though you be a Dean, Unreas. Separat. p. 62. that I call you Brother, since you have taught the Press how to speak soberly and amicably, calling us Dissenting Brethren; this is better language than Sots, Rogues, Fools, Knaves, Rebels, Schismaticks, which we read and hear from others. As for Re­bels, if they be all Rebels that break the Kings Laws, I believe the King will have but a few loyal subjects. He hath Laws against Drun­kenness, Swearing, Whoring, Sabbath breaking, and these are agree­able to the Law of God, (besides Laws about Hares, Partridges, Phea­sants, and against Papists, &c.) we see men can live in opposition to these Laws, yet these are not called Rebels. But if the Laws of men concern the House and Worship of God, concerning which God him­self hath given us his own Laws, to which all Princes and men are bound, and unto which all their Laws ought to be conformable, (as we shall hear your self speak presently) but that conformity we can­not see, and therefore dare not assent and consent, &c. now we are called Rebels, Schismaticks, and what not? Aug. Epis. 119. Thus it was in pious Au­gustines time, and this he complains of.

Sir, speaking of your Church, you tell us, p. 302. Our Church is founded upon a Divine Rule, viz. the Holy Scriptures, which we own as the basis and foundation of our faith; and according to which all other Rules of Order and Worship are to be agreeable. 2ly. Our Church re­quires a conformity to those Rules which are appointed by it agreeable to the Word of God.

Twice you tell us, agreeable to the Word of God; to which we a­gree also, this being the affirmative part of the second Commandment, that all things in our worshipping of him, be agreeable to his will and word.

Now, Sir, had you proved that all the things imposed upon us had been agreeable to the word of God, you had put an end to this Contro­versie. But though I honour and love you for the great service you have done to the Church of Christ against the Papists, yet in proving the things Imposed upon us to be conformable to the word of God, I [Page]humbly conceive you fall very short, therefore are we still Nonconfor­mists. Several things are imposed upon us, but in your whole Book I find not one Scripture you produce to shew the agreement of them with it. Till then, our Separation is reasonable.

That Schism is a great sin, I agree with you, and wish Christians were more convinced of it than I see they are. But the Questions are,

1. What is schism? 2. Who is the cause of schism?

For the first: Sir, I presume you will grant that the separation against which you preached, and now printed, do suppose, there was a union with that body from which you tell us we are now separated. For how can there be a separation from that to which we were not united?

Now, Sir, I think by what you have said, to remove the mighty stumbling-block (as you call it, pag. 359.) of the Cross, there will be found many thousands in England who were never admitted into your Church, and if not admitted into it, then not united to it as such a Church; no members of your body: how then can you charge them with this sin of separation from it?

Thus then, Sir, you speak of the Cross in Baptism, p. 351. when the Minister uses these words. We receive this child into the congregation of Christs flock, and sign him with the sign of the Cross, &c. the Mi­nister now speaks in the name of the Church, We receive, &c. then follows as the solemn rite of admission, and do sign him with the sign of the Cross. All publick and solemn admissions into societies, having some peculiar ceremony belonging to them. And so as Baptism, besides its Sacramental efficacy, is a rite of admission into Christs Catholick Church, so the sign of the Cross is into our Church of England, in which this Ceremony is used, without any prescription to other Churches.’ Thus you have interpreted the Cross.

Whether this will satisfie Mr. B. I leave it to him, it doth not me; the Imposers of that Ceremony in their Canons, do not tell us that it is the Rite of admission into your Church but by this ceremony the Infant is dedicated to the service of him that died upon the Cross. And that Book being of publick authority, must carry it.

I had thought that in our Baptism we had been Dedicated to the Fa­ther, Son, and Spirit. But it seems this is not enough, you annex to his words, Another sign to dedicate us to the service of Christ that died upon the Cross. This, Sir, I hope you will prove to be agreeable to the word of God, as you told us, your Impositions are. I am very ignorant of the Text that proves it, and you have named none.

But this is not the thing I aim at; it is your interpretation I mind, and from it I gather, that you and all others who charge us with sepa­ration [Page]from your Church, must prove, That we were received, and that by this rite of admission (the Cross) into your Church, which you call the Church of England. This is clear from your own Interpretation, and also from the page before 350, where you illustrate it from the Inde­pendent Churches; Thus,

Suppose, say you, an adult person to be baptized, and immediately after Baptism to be admitted a member of an Independent Church, and the ceremony of this admission to be, holding up of the hand, in token of his owning the Church-Covenant, &c.

Now, Sir, let me suppose (as you do suppose) that the Pastors of the Independent Churches should baptize several persons, but never admit them into their Churches, by this ceremony of holding up the hand; let them baptize many thousands, and these thousands chuse other Pa­stors who are rightly qualified, and ordained by Prayer, Fasting, and Imposition of hands of the Eldership: The Independents cannot charge these Churches with schism, and separation from their Churches, for they never admitted them by that ceremony and rite of Admission, of holding up the hand into their Churches.

Now, Sir, apply it; for about twenty years there was publick Bap­tism administred, but not by your Liturgy, much less with the Cross. How many thousands do you think in the space of so many years may be baptized, none of these were ever admitted into your Church by those words, VVe receive this child, &c. and sign him with the sign of the cross. But of many such do our Congregations consist, who were never your members; why then do you call them separatists from you?

Besides, Sir, your Liturgy admits of private Baptism, and then no such admission by the Cross, and abundance have been thus baptized without it, to my knowledg.

For my own particular, I cannot tell whither I was so admitted, my Parents never told me so; and for my godly Father I am sure he hated humane inventions in the Worship of God. I was born, they told me, in winter time, extream for cold, the house half a mile from Church, and I being their only Son at that time, it's a question whether they would carry me forth in such an extream cold season so far. As for the Church-Register, that (nor any other that ever I saw) specifies nothing of my being admitted into your Church by the Cross; but only of my be­ing baptized; but that say you, (and truly) is into the Catholick Church. No Registers then recording, who were so admitted, it will be hard matter for these who are ancient to prove their admission into your Church, and if we were not, I know not how we can now be ad­mitted. For this Rite of Admission is used only at Baptism, unless we will yield to be Rebaptized and so to be admitted by the Cross, this you will not admit no more than we.

We read of the Apostles admitting of many believers, God added to the Church, Act. 2. ult. but never that they used this rite of admissi­on, the sign of the Cross; only this is our happiness, we are more wife, more holy, greater lovers of Christ, than ever the Apostles were, (though we profess we are built upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, Ephes. 2.20.) that their examples are too low for us.

Besides, Sir, is it not meet that when children come to years of dis­cretion they should then be called before the Church to declare whe­ther they own their Baptismal Covenant, and also their admission into the Church they are reputed members of, as you say, the Independents require their Children to own the Church-Covenant? let them now be members of the Church by their own consent. Truly, Sir, if it come to that, since we read what your Canons say of the Cross, and how it is abused in Popery, and how strange this is to the Apostolical admission, we should not like it.

But are not children members of the same Churches with their Parents? though we think so, yet this is nothing to the practise of your Church. For as in your administration of Baptism, the Parental Covenant, (Abraham and his seed) which is the ground of the Admi­nistration, is wholly omitted; so the Parent he must stand by as if he were a Heathen; the business is only with the God fathers, and God­mothers, an invention of Higinus Bishop of Rome, about 144 years after Christ, who first added these to Baptism; a person of no great worth, of whom it is said, Nihil praclari, de gubernatione, & factis ejus commemorari potest. So much cause have I to beg pardon for my defects in the education of my own Children, that I would not be Sponsor for the child of the best friend I have in England. But how­ever this is not it, but the sign of the Cross, with such words, that makes the admission into your Church.

2. Q. But if there be a Separation, or Schism, the question is, who is the cause of it?

A. Schism must needs be theirs, whose the cause of it is, saith Bi­shop Land, in which you justifie him, Ration. Account, p. 324, 325.

I humbly conceive, that whoever imposes other terms of Communi­on than Christ hath imposed, he or they are the cause of the schism. We do not, say you, necessarily separate from all Churches that have errors or corruptions in them, supposing those errors and corruptions be not imposed on us as conditions of communion, Ibid. p. 332.

I pray do not think that we suppose you impose such gross things upon us, as Rome imposed on you: No, Sir, we bless God for that great advance which was made by our first Reformers. But whereas [Page]you say you retain only such innocent Ceremonies which were in use before the Papal power grew to that height:

I pray, first, are you sure that All the Churches did use them? 2. Did they use all that are imposed on us? I know they used others; but did they use to tye up their Ministers to such syllables in prayer, or else must not pray? Did they kneel at the Lords Supper? we know the contrary, &c. 3. Did they impose these as conditions of Com­munion? But grant there were such Ceremonies, and other things as now imposed upon us, I will say of them, Downh. de Anti­christo, p. 151 what Bishop Downham saith of the opinions and traditions differing from the holy Scriptures, which the Pontificians say were received of the Fathers, they are to be referred to that Apostasie the Apostle foretold, 2 Thes. 2.3. when he said the mystery of iniquity already worketh, v. 7.

And I pray, Sir, since the examples and practises of those Churches, are made so much use of against us, let me give you my thoughts in a similitude of your own.

In your Epistle to your Rational Account, &c. dedicated to the King, you tell his Majesty, that the Church of England in the late confusions suffered an Eclipse, but since his Majesties Restauration she hath recover­ed her luster, &c.

Sir, we observe when the Sun riseth, it doth not suddenly go into an Eclipse, but gradually, so that common people do not mind it un­til the light of it be sensibly obscured; so, nor doth it come out of its Eclipse suddenly at once, but gradually; but it will not cease its motion till it appears in its glory. It is the same with the Gospel-Church, it did not presently, suddenly fall into that dark Eclipse, which it suffer­ed under the Antichristian Papal power, but it got into it by degrees, the Churches not discerning it; the mystery of iniquity wrought, it is no fancy of mine, but the Apostles express words. The subtil serpent, he wrought among the Churches under fair pretences; in the second Century some addition made to Worship and Government of the Church; in the third Century more; in the fourth Century more; so increased the Eclipse, still under fair reasons, till the Serpent had got the man of sin into his Throne, and the Prediction fulfilled. So hath the Chur­ches coming out of the Eclipse been but gradual, in Doctrine, Govern­ment, Worship, by our worthy Reformers; but as the evil spirit de­ceived then, by Gods permission, to bring about the Prophesie; so the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of our first Reformers wrought power­fully, and so doth the same Spirit still work, and will work, till the Church be quite out of her Eclipse, and comes to be satisfied with the Soveraignty and Wisdom of Christ declared in the simplicity of the Go­spel; let men call it schism, fanaticism, or what they please.

But, Sir, you tell us of Mr. Ball, Mr. Hildersham, Mr. Giffard, &c. worthy men, (I grant they were so, and honour them much) and Non­conformists, who condemned Separation from your Church, and no more was imposed than in their time, and this takes up a great part of your Book.

Sir, while some excellent men at home conformed, but groaned un­der the burden, (as I remember Mr. John Rogers of Dedham, an emi­nent Saint, though he did conform, I never saw him wear a Surplice, nor heard him use but a few prayers, and those I think he said Memo­riter, not read them; but this he would do in his Preaching, draw his finger about his throat and say, Let them take me and hang me up, so they will but remove these stumbling-blocks out of the Church.) How many thousands of choice Christians, plucked up their stakes here, forsook their dear friends and native Country, shut up themselves in Ships (to whom a prison for the time had been more elegible) went remote into a howling Wilderness, there underwent great hardships, water was their common drink, and glad if they might have had but that which they had given at their doors here (many of them); and all this suffering was to avoid your Impositions, and that they might dwell in the House of God, and enjoy all things therein according to his own appoint­ment. But what cared your Church for this; let Gods people groan at home, suffer abroad, they shall do it rather than your Church will part with a few trifles, as your own Mr. Carre calls the ceremonies. Sir, is this the spirit of the true Spouse of Christ? But as I said, the same Spirit will work which acted those holy men, till the Church be totally out of her Eclipse, what ever those worthy men you mention have said.

But to speak more close, I deny that the state of your Church now, is the same it was then, when these worthy men condemned Separation from it. For,

1. There are many thousands now in England, who were never ad­mitted into your Church, were never members of it; then they could not condemn these as Separatists from it. This I have proved before from your Interpretation of the sign of the Cross. It was not so in their time.

2 The Liturgy and the Homilies were then brought in out of neces­sity, because of the want of gifts; now it is imposed in scorn and op­position of gifts. By what some of your Arch-deacons have spoken in your Courts, and others, we can conclude no other, than it was com­posed to bring over the Papists to your Church, and for several years the Papists did frequent your Divine Service; but now it was imposed with such words (as in my next) that it was made an engine to turn [Page]Protestants out of your Church. A Member of that Parliament that made the Act for Ʋniformity, visiting his Sister, a Lady (who told it me) related to her what they were about; she disliked their Act, and told him, I see then you are laying a snare in the gate. Ay, said he, if we can find any way to catch the Rogues, we will have them.

3. Then they were not required to assent and consent, &c. but now it is imposed with these terms; and I am confident that divers who have subscribed with these terms, do but lye.

4. 'Tis true we have the same 39 Articles, that was before; and those Articles were assented to, and assent required in that Church. Rational Account. p. 54, 55. But now you have told the world that Bishop Bramhall gives the sense of the Church of England thus: viz. She does not define any of these Que­stions as necessary to be believed, &c. Neither do we look upon them as Essentials of saving faith, &c. Neither do we oblige any man to believe them, but only not to contradict them. And this is the opinion of the Grandees in this your Church; this would have been abhor'd before.

5. As those 39 Articles were believed by that Clergy, so they did defend them, and Preached them; but this Clergy can both print and preach against them, I mean the great and sound Doctrines in them, (I do not say all of them.) I put the question to one of your Clergy, and asked him in earnest what he thought of this Clergy as to the Doctrine of the Church of England contained in these Articles? he answered me, Divide them into three parts, he thought two of the three were fallen from it.

6. In that Church there were abundance of godly plain-hearted Ministers, whose Religion was not confined to a Pulpit, but walked among their people as became Ministers, seeking the good of their souls. I deny not but God hath some such now; but for the generality of them, I say nothing my self, only I can tell you what others have said. A learned and pious Divine, so far a friend to Conformity, that I doubt not but he hath subscribed; he told me, Though your Church would give him a Living, he would not take it, because he would not have such an occasion to bring him among your Clergy. And discour­sing with another of your Clergy, (whom for learning, wit and piety, I do honour) about Mr. A's Book, and his Dialect, which you call uncomely writing, said he, Truly we have such a frothy, vain Clergy, gone off from that solidity and gravity that become Divine things, that if Books come not out in this dress, they will but scorn them; but in that Book, besides wit, there is good matter. Pridentem dicere verum, &c. This was his sense of Mr. A's Book.

But. Sir, if such as these be thrust upon us, must we own them for our Ministers? What, Sir, will you deny the peoples power of Electi­on, [Page]which the Papists grant the people had till Charles the Great, or till Lewis his Son, about 830 years? See, I pray, Pamelius his Annotati­ons upon these words of Cyprian, Epist. 68. Quando ipsa (plebs) maxime habeat potestatem vel eligendi dignos sacerdotes, vel indignos recusandi. How could a man write plainer for the peoples power of Election? But our Protestants tell us, that only from the time of Frede­rick the second, who died Ann. 1250, or there about, were the people excluded from the power of chusing Pastors, and it was the deed of Gregory the ninth, as Krantzius reporteth.

7. That Church did believe and prove the Pope, &c. to be the An­tichrist, Rome-christian to be the Whore, Apoc. 17. thus the Bishops, and our Professors of Divinity, &c. but I can meet but with very few of this Church of that opinion. Dr. Hammond the Oracle of this new Edition of the Clergy, cannot find him in the 2 Thes. 2. nor in Apoc. 17. the Pope is an honest man with him. Bishop Bramhall tells us, Our contest is not with the Church of Rome, but the Court of Rome. I find that you have declared: 1. That the Church of Rome is a true Church. 2. That they retain the fundamentals of Religion. 3. That salsation is to be had in the Church of Rome. Lay all together, here is a fair Bridg laid to go over to Rome. To say, that God hath his people under the Jurisdiction of Rome, is one thing, Apoc. 18.4. but to say the Church of Rome is a true Church, is another thing; a Wife and a Whore differ.

8. In that Church Re-ordination to the same office was never heard of, but exploded, as it is in all Churches else; but in this Church it is imposed.

9. There was no Oath taken, nor Covenant made with the great God, to reform the House of God, in Doctrine, Worship, and Disci­pline, according to the word of God; this ought to be, though the Covenant had not been made; had the things imposed been according to the Word of God, this Covenant had bound us to them; that Co­venant will not be beaten out of the hearts of them, who know God, and fear an Oath, what ever other persons make of it; the least then men can do, is to abstain from those things which were once cast out, as being unconformable to the word of God; and shall those people have no Ordinances for fear of a separation?

10. In that Church, Quakers were not known; but under this Church they swarm, that raze the foundation, and destroy all Go­spel-ordinances. And many people being offenced with your impositi­on, and disgusted with your Clergy, lay in great danger of being carried away with them; and I doubt not abundance had gone, but that by our Preaching and administring all Ordinances, they have been [Page]kept close to Gospel truths, Gospel-ordinances, and Gospel-ministry. The Quakers and Papists are not so hated by your Clergy, as we are.

From all which I conclude the Cause is not the same; and had Mr. Ball, Mr. Hildersham, &c. been living in our days, they would, I doubt not, have done as we do.

But then we are charged with bringing in of Popery, and this takes up several leafs of your Preface.

Heylin (one of yours) tells us indeed, I perswade my self, Geograp. in Quarto Edit. pag 470.had the Reformed party abroad continued an allowable correspondence in some cir­cumstances with the Romish Church, as the Church of England doth now, it had been far greater, and less stomacked; and this was the censure of Monsieur de Rhosny, when he observed the Majesty and decency of our Church-service in our Cathedrals.

On the other side, Harding, Bristow, and Carrier, seducing Jesuits, assured themselves that they might yet convert England to the Catho­lick Church, whose Service and Ceremonies she yet retained. Nor do I see any such alteration made in this Edition, but if Pope Pius the 4th. and Gregory the 13th. offered to confirm the former, and the Council of Trent, affirmed they might do it, then the Pope may do this, for ought I know.

But how do we bring in Popery? Pref. p 7. you tell us out of Bishop Sander­son, the first way is, by pulling down Episcopacy, &c.

But, Sir, Bishops are restored, and you tell the King the Church of England is out of her Eclipse; that she shines in a firmament above her Adversaries: I pray, Sir, what is the matter that now Popery is coming in as a flood upon us? cannot these Bishops, the English Banks, keep it out? I say nothing how strongly they act in Parliament against it, the Kingdom talk enough of it.

I pray, Sir, tell us what have you Conformists done more against Popery than the Dissenters have done?

1. Have you prayed earnestly against it? so have we.

2. Have you Preached against it? so have we.

3. Have you Printed against it (as you have done excellently, and we thank you for it) so have ours. The first Book I saw was Fiat Lux. I saw a second Impression, and wondered I heard of no answer from your Church; Dr. Owen was the man that answered it, Ann. 1662. so long ours have appeared.

4. Have your Clergy kept their monthly Fasts four or five years, foreseeing what now is coming upon us (if God prevent it not)? so have several of our Ministers, with the hazard of our Estates and Persons by Informers, from whom you were free.

5. Did you the last year (at least for the chief part of the year), beside your family-prayers, set a part sometime between fix and seven in the morning one day in the week, to pray purposely that God would deliver this Nation from these bloody Papists, and their cursed Idolatry, and Doctrines? &c. so have we in several Counties, and layed the same charge on our people.

6. Do you think you shall be put to defend our Legal right to the Protestant Religion by what I am loth to mention, the sword)? since the Lollards-Tower, the Bishops Cole-house, &c. are out of date, they are too thirsty, and must have larger draughts. I believe there will be no distinction then between a true Protestant Conformist, and us, therefore we must join with you.

Why then do you charge us with bringing in of Popery? I desire your Church would not put us upon temptation; we wrong them not in their Tythes but charge our people to pay them exactly; and do not grudg us the little that we have to bring us in bread. I thank God I am not very lazy in my place, but if you will give me twelve pound per Annum for my stipend, you shall have it, and thank you too. But I bless God I may work for so good a Master.

A little more as to our Communion with your Church: Sir, some of us have lived in Gods House, where we saw the Government hath been carried on by Officers of his own appointment, according to his own Rule, and what a majesty have we beheld in it! Admonitions, first privately, then publickly by the Elders, continuing in this course of admonishing, to try if they could bring to repentance, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, as the sin hath been, and they in prudence saw reasons. (I have known them waste half a year in this course) When nothing would do, but they must come to Excommunication, how wisely did they govern the Brethren to bring them to declare their consent 2 Cor. 10.6. obedientially to their Elders, (for they deny the Go­vernment to be Democratical; nor will I own the Fraternity to be the first subject of the Keys. In the beginning it was not so, as our Lord said in another case, Mat. 19.8. and to the beginning we must go) and your Primit. Govern­ment of Church. p. 147. Thorndike speaks excellently to this, why the Congregation ought to be concern'd in this. Now when all were agreed, how dread­ful was the sentence! what pale faces! how many tears did it cause in the Congregation! a solemn sight to behold the Church putting the person out of the Congregation, Terrible as an army of banners, Cant. 6.1 [...]. I have often thought of the Text since. After this, how excellently did the Church walk towards an Excommunicate person, to bring to Repentance? And what rare effects have I known of this Ordinance, without any Writs de Excommunicato capiendo; alas these [Page]could never effect what I have known, to the humbling of such a person. And now, Sir, do you think that we who have seen these things, can join with your Church, where this Ordinance so majestical, so terrible, is so horribly profaned? I pray, Sir, pardon me though I stand off from it. But I pray, Sir, why do your Bishops excommunicate those who were never of your Church? why do they not Excommunicate the French, or Dutch? True, they live under your Laws, but your Law is, they must be admitted by the Cross, and being Infants, could not help it.

As to your Discourse about particular Congregations, and Diocesan Churches, it is not my purpose to meddle with it; only I desire you to tell me why a Pastor of a single Congregation may not be as fit to govern that Congregation, as your single Bishop to govern a thou­sand Congregations, as it is with your Church? where did the Apo­stles ordain, but one single Pastor to a Church? we have eight Chur­ches recorded in the Epistles, and the Acts, but we read in them all several Elders to carry on Church-work. As for Timothy and Titus, be­ing Bishops in our controverted sense, enough hath been said about them. Strange that we should have twelve Apostles beside Paul and Barnabas, many Elders and several Evangelists, and but two Bishops (who were Evangelists too) recorded in holy Writ to be the pattern for the succeeding Bishops; when, where, and how, those two were made Bishops, we cannot find.

And for the large Diocesses, so large, that 'tis impossible for a Bi­shop to perform the Duties the Lord requires of a Pastor to one quar­ter of the Diocess: Pag. 203 The Petitioners for Reformation in King James's reign, tell his Majesty, That in Augustine's time there were in one Province under Carthage, of the Catholick and Donatist, Bishops above nine hundred. Of the Catholicks part there were present 286, and ab­sent 120 by reason of sickness and old age, Episcopal Churches void 60, in all 466. Of the Donatists there were present 279, absent 120, Chur­ches void 60, in all 459. These come near the matter, make him but Episcopus praeses, and as to Officers and Churches I may come to agree with you, leaving my brethren to their judgments.

Several other things I took notice of in your Book that may easily be answered; as the perplexing scruples you mention, pag. 384, 385. (If we must baptize only by the Parents right) that men must run into. No, none at all.

But, Sir, did you not forget your self very much, p. 393. when you tell us the differences between the Popish Ceremonies, and your Cere­monies? viz. That yours are appointed only for decency and order? Sir, do not your Preface to your Ceremonies tell us another story, viz. of [Page] a significacy in them to put us in mind of our duty? 2. Of an aptness in them to stir up our dull minds to our duty? Here is some efficacy in them to help to the performance of duty, stirring up dull minds; these do not much differ from the efficacy you say the Papists give to theirs for the purging away some sorts of sins. I think both alike.

As for your French Letters; who told le Moyne what he writes pag. 404. That we believe that a man cannot be saved in the Church of England? I never heard such a word from any Dissenter, nor ever had I such a thought. Certainly none of our Bishops would write such a line to him. So that this must be the figment of a French mans brain, which we abhor; for the story he writes, p. 409. of a Nonconformist that he heard preach; I could tell him a story of one of our late Bi­shops ten times worse, but the Press shall not know it; but you shall.

Sir, I have given you a few of my thoughts, reading over your Book, while my Papers were in the Press, (which have lain by me several years) and must tell you I am not yet satisfied with the title of your Book, viz. the Ʋnreasonableness of Separation, &c. To your Prayer in the end of your Preface, I heartily say, Amen, Amen.

SIR, I am your Servant to love and honour You, G. F.

THE QUESTIONS Between the CONFORMIST AND Nonconformist, Truly stated, and briefly discussed.

IT was not without the ordering of Divine Pro­vidence that the day which the Imitators of the Heathens [...], did consecrate to their St. Bartholomew, should be the day on which the blood of so many thousand Protestants was pour­ed out in France, and the day also on which so many hundreds of Gospel-Ministers, to whom Christ had given both will and skill for his work, success in his work, were turned out of his work in England. The crime both there and here which they found, was the same the Princes found against Daniel in the Law of his God. A day of gladness it was to many, but not to all upon the same ground. One Conformist, and a man of note, tells a Captain under his Majesty, since his Return, that he was glad so many Ministers refused to conform; the Captain would know his reason: he gives it thus: Had all Ministers conformed, people would have thought there was nothing in Religion, only a thing to talk of in the Pulpit, and serve a State-design, for these Mini­sters will turn any way the State turn: But by their giving up their li­vings, [Page 2]and exposing themselves and families to outward evils, rather than they would conform to things imposed not agreeable (as they apprehended) to the Gospel they preached, they have convinced men there is reality in Religion, and given a check to Atheism. This was the substance; and to be sure he was not more glad than I was, when the Captain told me his Discourse.

How zealous yet some have been to bring us over to Conformity, the many Books published for it, and against us, have declared. Some of which have come to my hand, but all were not written with the same Spirit. As they came to hand, so I perused them, to see if I could find any thing to convince me. And whereas there are five things im­posed upon us, 1. The Liturgy, with stinted forms of prayer. 2. My­stical Ceremonies. 3. Subjection to such Episcopacy. 4. Re-ordinati­on. 5. Renouncing the Covenant. I applied my self to the three first Questions chiefly. For if it can be proved that these are agreeable with, and conformable to the Laws of God, as the Friendly Debate, and Dr. Templer, would perswade their Readers, then Re-ordination may be admitted, and the Covenant renounced.

As to the two first Quest. Mr. Carre was the first man I met with that argued for them; after him I met with the Friendly Debate; next, with the Serious and compassionate Enquiry, &c. (Dr. Goodman, the Author as I hear, Nemine contradicente), but last of Mr. Falkner, a man of an excellent spirit, whom I shall honour, and one that hath said more than all before. Before he came forth, I had drawn up my answer to all the former, and was loth to throw away all I had done, because I saw there were some things in these Authors which Mr. Falk­ner had not, else I would wholly have attended him; but where I saw they all agreed, there I considered them conjunct; where one had what the other had not, there severally.

As to the third Quest. something I found in a piece Entituled Sama­ritanism. As to the Learned Dr. Stilling fleet, by throwing down the Jus Divinum of any form of Church Government, he prepared the way for our subjection to such Episcopacy, if his principle be sound.

For the serious and compassionate Enquiry, I found little in that piece as to our questions, unless a man were so simple to take fine words for strong arguments, and Rhetorick for Logick. For his Discourse about schism, I shall consider it in its place. But the chief things I observed in him, were his odious comparisons between the Conformist and Nonconformist, begun at p. 21. and continued some pages His slight­ing that worthy Father blessed Austin; the contempt he throws upon the Synod of Dort, which I did never expect from the pen of a Son of the Church of England. But I see this Church of England, and the [Page 3]famons Church of England, are not the same. I need not say any thing, there is an acute pen hath given him so full and solid an answer, that I ver expect to read his Reply.

To what he saith, pag. 3. That the Nonconformists blame the Do­ctrine of the Church, viz. the 39 Articles are not so punctual in defining the five points debated at the Synod of Dort, &c. I think I may say, I have been in the company of as many Nonconformists as that Author, but I have not heard them blame the Articles therefore. But this fault I have heard found, and do find, that we are commanded to affent to the 34, 35, & 36. Articles with the same faith we do to the fundamen­tal Articles of our Faith and Salvation therein contained.

I thought among the Confessions of Faith, these 39 Articles were looked upon as the Confession of the Faith of the Church of England; but I find it otherwise now; for Dr. Stillingfleet in his defence of Bishop Laud, p. 54. being pinched by the Jesuit, (who in this point is not answered) tells us, The Church of England makes no Articles of Faith, but such as have the Testimony of the whole Christian world in all Ages, acknowledged to be such by Rome it self. And in other things she requires subscription to them, not as Articles of Faith, but inferiour truths, which she expects a submission to in order to her peace and tran­quility.

Afterwards p 82, & 104. He distinguisheth between the internal assent of the mind, and the external act; the Church doth not require the first, but the latter.

To confirm his saying, he quotes Archbishop Bramhall, often ex­pressing the sense of the Church of England, as to her 39 Articles, thus: Neither doth the Church of England define any of these questions as necessary to be believed, either necessitate medii, vel praecepti, which is much less; but only bindeth her Sons for peace sake not to oppose them. And in another place more fully, We do not suffer any man to reject the 39 Articles of the Church of England at his pleasure, neither do we look on them as essentials of saving Faith, or Legacies of Christ and his Apo­stles; but in a mean as pious opinions, fitted for the preservation of unity; neither do we oblige any man to believe them, but only not to con­tradict them. Thus the Archbishop. And this is not his opinion alone, but generally of the Grandees of this Church, as an intelligent and sober Conformist tells me.

When I read these lines first, I read them again, and again, to see if I were not mistaken, they were so strange unto me at the first reading; when I saw I was not mistaken, I turned to the beginning to see who did License it, and was amazed when I saw the name. According to this, Cerinthus, Pelagius, Arius, Socinus, Turks, Jews, yea Vaninus, [Page 4]may all subscribe the Articles, and be Sons of the Church of England, if they can but keep their tongues from contradicting them, though they do not believe one of them. Though I am a Nonconformist, yet I am such a friend to the Church of England as to her Doctrine, that I ab­hor these lines, and charge that Bishop Bramhall with doing wrong to the Church. It seems when other Churches abroad read these 39 Articles as the Confession of the Faith of the Church of England, and suppose we do believe them to be true, they are grosly mistaken, it may be we believe not one; the Church do not oblige her Sons to it, but only not to contradict them. They are deluded, the Church reproached, and God is mocked.

Several things I could say to the disproving of this sense; but to what worthy Dr. Stilling fleet hath said, I should desire him to name that Book of publick authority to warrant what he saith.

1. The Kings Declaration prefixed for the confirmation of them, and with that I question not but the Bishops did agree The De­claration expressed. With the advice of so ma­ny of our Bishops, &c., makes no such distinction of superiour and inferiour Truths, but speaking of all the 39 Articles jointly taken together, thus declareth: The Articles of the Church of England do contain the true Doctrine of the Church of England agreeable to Gods word, &c. requiring all our subjects to con­tinue in the Ʋniform profession thereof. Again, requires all Clergy men to submit to every Article in the plain and full meaning thereof; and shall not put their own sense and comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and Grammatical sense.

Again, doth not the fifth Canon say, Whosoever shall hereafter af­firm that any of the 39 Articles are in any part superstitious or errone­ous, or such as he may not with a good conscience subscribe unto, let him be Excommunicated, ipso facto.

Lay these both together, and how can we receive his Interpre­tation.

Besides, doth the Church not care though her Sons be such gross Hypocrites? Doth not Reason and Religion teach me first to try, exa­mine, and to believe the thing to be lawful before I practise? Whatever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14 23.

I know two Conformists, one is known to be a right Son, the other is suspected; neither of these do wear the Surplice; the reason is the same for both, neither Parish had provided one; when they came to the Court, the right Son hath nothing said to him, though he did not practise; the other was suspended. Was it not the internal assent that the Court regarded? it was that saved the true Son.

Are we not commanded unfeignedly to assent and consent to all things in the Common-Prayer Book, in which are several Creeds? and you [Page 5]tell us, the Doctrine of your Thirty-nine Articles, contained.

To conclude this Head: of old he was esteemed a true Son of the Church of England, who was tite to the 39 Articles, subscribing to them in their Literal and Grammatical sense, as the King required. Now he is reputed the true Son of the Church, who doth but submit to these three articles that respect the Ceremonies, Rites, Episcopacy, &c. let him for Doctrine be an Arminian, Socinian, Papist, no mat­ter how corrupt.

I would have lest Dr. Goodman, or whoever it was, that was the Author of the serious and compassionate Inquiry, &c. till I had come to his stating of the Questions, but that I find him, p. 67, 69. giving one cause, which he imputes to us, worthy the taking notice of; and the speaking to it here, will save me a labour afterwards.

A great part of this Nation, saith he, having been leasened with Jewish superstition, or Jewish Traditions, hath thereby been indisposed to an uniform reception of the reformation of Religion held forth by this Church; and thus doth charge us with Judaism, quoting Cartwright, Ainsworth, and H. Broughton, who were great Students in the Rabi­nical writings, and they leavened us, p. 68.

This is very strange, when as if he will please to read over Mr. Falk­ner, he shall see how much he useth these Rabinical writings, and Jew­ish customs to confirm the Liturgy, and Forms of Prayer, and the Rites and Ceremonies of this Church. Yea, Christ himself is not spared, but he is made a Conformist to the Jewish customs, different from the Law, to prove our conformity. Thus Scaliger, and out of him Mr. Carre, and Mr. Falkner. That I was studying how to give answer to this head of argument in these men; and this it seems is charged upon us.

To clear our selves then from this, and to give answer to the other men, I grant,

1. That the Jews had many Rites, Traditions, and Customs of their own; some of which the Holy Page od record. But for their Oral Law, Traditions, &c. they were not committed to writing till the reign of the Emperour Antoninus, and not perfected till the year 219 after Christ, saith Buxtorf. Synag. Jud. p. 52. some say more. Now how shall we be infallibly certain, that what Traditions they then wrote were exactly the same, which they were in Christ his time, above 200 years before? in such a space of time how easily may things vary?

2. We are infallibly certain that our Lord was an enemy to the El­ders Traditions; how then these should be brought in to prove the lawfulness of the things in question, I know not.

How will you infallibly prove the Church of the Jews in the purest time, did tye up it self to Forms of Prayer in publick administration? which though it could be proved, will not serve the turn, as we shall see when the question comes to be stated.

3. Suppose Christ used some actions at his Supper like to the Jews, must he needs borrow them from the Jews to be conformable to them? I hope he did not learn to bless and give thanks from them.

Homer and Hesiod, some say, lived before Isaiah, or about his time; Hesiod hath expressions very like that of Isaiah, in the description of Tophet, Analet. Sacr. p. 425. Isa. 30.33. as if the Heathen drew with the same pencil, saith Doughtie. But did Isaiah borrow from Hesiod? the same Author instanceth in many things more, and did the Penmen borrow (or ra­ther the spirit that inspired them) from the Heathen? Because Plato hath an expression something like to Paul's distinction of the outward and inward man, must Paul needs borrow it out of Plato, as Nerimber­gius would have him?

Thus some have affirmed that John took up his Baptism from the Jews baptizing of Proselytes, when others have shown that the Jews took it from John, when Christ put the question, Mat. 21.23, 25. The Baptism of John, whence was it, from heaven or men? Why did they not answer from the Elders Tradition; it seems it was the counsel of God, Luk. 7.30. whatever these men say: and Joh. 1.33. He that sent me to Baptize.

Whence I shall desire that leave to lay by all these Quotations out of Scaliger, Selden, and other Rabinical men, as signifying nothing to the Questions in hand. We must have Scripture, and Scripture rea­son, in matters of God.

Here Dr. Goodman proves us to be guilty of Judaism, telling his Reader, p. 69 this is their grand Hypothesis, That nothing is lawful in the service of God, but what is expresly prescribed in Scripture. Such an Hypothesis I never saw yet in any of our Nonconformists Books. I will yield him more. As,

1. Not only express Scripture, but necessary consequence from Scripture; but then it must be necessary consequence.

2. Where the Lord hath lest us only a General Rule, and hath not tyed us op to Particulars; let but the Particulars carry in them the na­ture of the General Rule, as the species includes the essence of the Ge­nus, and we will yield them too.

Yet this Doctor can tell his Reader, that this of express Scripture is the Characteristical Doctrine of that party; and that we graft our Christianity upon the scock of Judaism. Were the Jews tyed up to ex­press Scripture in all they did about the Worship of God? I think the [Page 7] Jews had as much liberty then, as we have under the Gospel. I shall give but one instance, though I could more.

The Passover was a solemn Ordinance of God; now in Exod. 12.8. there is a command given to eat it with bitter herbs; [...] we supply the word herbs; but the word is only bitterness, or Res amarae. The Chaldae, Arabick and Samaritan keep the Hebrew word without any addition of herbs. Here is only a General Rule given, but what those bitter things should be, whether herbs, roots, &c. there is no deter­mination. Hence then, I might go into several houses at that time, where they had prepared in one house such bitter herbs as Sichory, Wild Lettice, (which they say they used); in another house Wormwood, and Horehound; in another Centory, Germander; in another bitter Almonds and Gentian, &c. so mention twenty more differences, yet if Bitternesses were observed, the rule was kept. Again, shall these bitternesses be boiled or raw, beaten into a sawce like our Mustard, as Scaliger saith the Churoseth was? here is nothing determined; be sure there be bitternesses, and the general Rule is kept.

Again, here is no mention made of drink; but to have a Lamb and unleavened bread eaten, and bitter things, and not drink, it had been a dry Feast, fit to choak them.

Again, the Lamb must be roast; but how, must it be without a Spit, (as we use sometimes) or with a Spit? and if so, whether with a Spit made of Iron &c. or Wood, and that of a Pomegranate tree, as a Learned man supposeth, who can tell? there is nothing determi­ned or expressed, and I prefume that Learned Author was not there to turn the Spit.

Again, it must be roast, but must the fire be made of wood or coal, or turff, or other combustible matter? not a word of any such thing. Thus I might reckon up many more circumstances; that I wonder at this Author, and another of his party answering for their Ceremo­nies, telling us, This is the difference between the Law and the Gospel, that under the Law all ceremonies and circumstances, are exactly pre­scribed, not so under the Gospel. How true this is, the Reader may judg.

Leaving then this Author a while, let us come to the stating of the Questions; and for the first about Forms of Prayer.

Mr. Carre begins his Book, and states the Question thus:

1. Forms of Prayer are lawful; thus it was stated in the Com­mencement-house when Dr. Fern was Vicechancellor, and moderated.

I yield it, being my own practice to compose Forms for my Children, and for others who could not express themselves in fit words in their families before their servants: and what then, what is this to our busi­ness?

2. For the Ceremonies.

The Church hath power in circumstances: and who denies it?

3. For Government; some Episcopacy is lawful.

The Proposition must not be universal, for then we shall setch in a Universal Bishop, which as yet our opponents do not like. Make it particular, for my part I yield it.

I shall therefore now give the true state of the Questions, and then leave it to the judicious Reader to see, whether any one argument the Conformists use, conclude the Questions.

For the First about imposed Forms of Prayer, the question is this:

Quest. The Que­stion a­bout Forms Prayer stated. Whether the Lord Jesus hath given such power to any ordina­ry persons (Civil or Ecclesiastical) to compise and impose their Forms of Prayer upon his Ministers in the Gospel-church, whom he hath sufficiently qualified for his work, unto which he hath called them; so that in their ministration and worshipping of God by prayer, his Ministers must be tyed up to those very Forms and Syllables, and not vary from them?

Let me open the Question.

1st. That Christ is Lord of his House, King of his Church, having the only power over it to institute what he please, no Christian will deny.

2ly. True Ministers of the Gospel are his Ministers; they have their talents and abilities from him, their call and authority from him; Their Laws and Doctrine what they must preach, and how they must order all things in the Church, from him. They have a promise of his Presence, and unto him must they give an account of their work.

3ly. These Ministers being his, are sufficiently qualified; in one sense it is true, [...], 2 Cor. 2. 16. who is sufficient? but yet a­gain Timothy is charged that those whom he takes into the Ministry be [...], sufficient men. Praying and Preaching are the two great works of a Minister, Act. 6.4. to declare the will of God, to the people; and to open and present the wants of the people unto God is their bu­siness; and whom Christ sends of his errand, he fits them for both, or never sends them, Ephes. 4.8, 11. He prepareth gifts for his.

If your Forms of Prayer will make a man sufficient, I know not who shall be insufficient if he can but read well.

4ly. These are Christs Ministers in the Gospel church. I hope 'tis no strange thing to put a difference between the Ministers of the Old and New Testament, Gal 4.1. 2 Cor. 3, &c. that the Spirit is given by Christs Ascension in a greater measure both as to gifts and grace, to [Page 9]the body of the Gospel-Church, than to the old Church, hath been unquestioned Divinity by the Conformists.

5ly. For ordinary persons to impose, such as cannot, dare not lay claim to an extraodinary Mission as the Prophets and Apostles had. Yet the Apostles never imposed their Prayers on the Churches.

6ly. For these to tye up Christs Ministers to words and syllables in Prayer from which they must not vary. This is the practise indeed; but this is the question, by what right this is done?

What I have heard in answer to it, is, that the Church allows our own Prayers before and after Sermon.

1. Whether the Church allow it, I cannot tell; the genuine Sons of the Church say no, and will use only the Canon-prayer. The Arch-Deacon in his Visitation, did dehort the Ministers from the use of their own prayers, with these words, Though I do not command, nor enjoin you, yet I advise you to it; it is more out of fear, it would cause such an Odium among the people, should they take them off from their own prayers wholly in places where there is any knowledg; in ignorant places they use none at all but the Common-Prayer, as I have certain intelligence of divers places. The Fathers of the Church in their Conterence with the other Ministers at the Kings first coming in, thus express themselves: Account of the Procee­dings, &c. p. 19. VVe heartily desire that according to this Proposal great care may be taken to suppress those private conceptions of pray ers before and after Sermons. As the Judges are the Interpreters of Statute-Laws, so surely the Bishops of the Canons. Now it is clear, they would take away all but Book-prayer. The judgment of Bishop VVren, and Bishop Cozens is well known.

2ly. But if superiors being but ordinary persons, have power to im­pose their Forms at Baptism, the Lords supper, &c. all but before and after Sermon; is it because their power of imposing is limited by God? where I pray? certainly by what power they take away the use of our own prayers before and after Sacraments, they may before and after Sermons, and that we see they desire it might be done, but that they fear the consequence.

Let us come to their reasons for this: One they draw from the Scriptures, and that is worth twenty others, if they do not fail in the managing of it. Mr. Carre, Mr. Falkner, and the rest that meddle with Liturgies, instance in the Form of blessing, the Priests had from God, Numb. 6.23. the many Prayers and Praises in the Psalms, in the Old Testament.

To which I answer, 1. I wish these Gentlemen would cast the ar­gument into Form, and see how it will conclude the Question.

The Question speaks of ordinary persons; and here is God himself [Page 10]commanding Aaron, and giving him a form of words, to which Aaron must conform or sin. For others, here were extraordinary persons in­spired by the Holy Spirit; These are part of the Canon into which our Faith is resolved, part of Scripture; and so given by the inspira­tion of God, 2 Tim. 3.16. This argument reaches not the question.

The Fr. Deb. par. 2. pag. 354. tell us, that Jehoshaphat, Heze­kiah, Ezra, Daniel, used the words of Solomon.

What then? I pray conclude the question. Besides, as if we denied Ministers to make use of Scripture-expressions, into which as I said our Faith is resolved. We commend such prayers. I have heard a Non­conformist pray, and that for a convenient space of time, his prayer was composed almost all of Scripture-expressions, but so aptly, that I could but wonder at the gift, and yet I perceived he did not tye him­self to a Form.

But were those under the Old Testament tyed up to words and sylla­bles imposed upon them by ordinary persons, and might not, or did not use their own gifts? prove that, else you are beside the question. Besides our question speaks of a Gospel-church, which that was not.

But P. 2. p. 354, 392. the Fr. Deb tell us, Christ used the same words three times.

Sir, I pray cast this argument also into form, see how it will con­clude the question. As if we thought or ever said, that every time a Minister pray, he must have new expressions; or denied that a per­son under a heavy load upon his spirit as our blessed Lord had then, might not unload his grief to God in the same expressions.

The Jesuit Clare tell us, Arraign. of Con­ver. Jew, p. 105. Fr. Deb. p. 360. that the custom of praying so often upon Beads, is warranted from this example of Christ, using the same words three times; it proves both alike.

The Fr. Deb. tell us, p. 360. A man may be a good Minister, and yet want the gift of extemporary conceptions in prayer. In the requisites for a Bishop, 1 Tim. 3. and Tit. 1. this is not required nor expressed, Ephes. 4.11, 12. and Rom. 12.6, 7.

Answ. I pray, Sir, how came the word Extemporary to be foisted into the question? Have our Nonconformists so stated it? every true Bishop is able to pray so, as to present his own and the peoples wants and necessities before the Lord; whether he doth it by extemporary, or premeditated conceptions, is none of our question.

2. No wonder though the Apostle did not express it; a man I hope is first a Christian, before a Bishop; and if but a Christian, he can pray, much more if a Bishop. Prayer was one part of the Apostles work, Act. 6.4. I question much whether the Apostles had a stinted Liturgy then.

3. Though we have but a little learning left, yet we understand a Synecdoche; the principal work, Teaching, is there expressed, but other work is comprehended.

This puts me in mind of a Scholar I knew, of good natural parts, but of a profane spirit; upon a time he takes along with him another of his Companions to hear him, and gets into a Pulpit to try his facul­ty. When he had done, he tells his Companion, I could make a shift to preach as well as any of them, but a Devil on't, I cannot Pray.

4ly. When the Apostle wrote to Timothy, 1 Epist. 2.1. I exhort that supplications, prayers, &c. be made for all; he intended that prayer was a work incumbent on a Bishop. But here I find Mr. Falkner, p. 109. with Dr. Ham. making this Text to warrant the composing of Forms of Prayer. The words [...], may be taken in that sense So he.

But 1. Paul was as able to compose as Timothy, why did not he as an Apostle set him a pattern?

2ly. Suppose Timothy should compose, how will he prove that he imposed them on the Ministers, who were able to pray without them? how this would agree with Paul's Doctrine, Ephes. 4.8, 11. these gifts were for Pastors and Teachers, as well as Evangelists.

3ly. The Syriack Translation will not admit this notion, for that reads the words thus, That thou offer supplication to God. It being Timothy's, and Ministers duties, not to compose prayers, and impose them on other Ministers, but to pray, &c.

4ly. I pray what difference between these words, [...], in this Text, and [...], &c. in Act. 12.5. Prayer was made without ceasing? the Church was instant and earnest in composing Forms of Prayer; this it seems is the sense; what is there more in [...], than [...], to force such an Interpretation?

5ly. It seems then by [...], a phrase often used by the Apostle John; we must understand to compose a form of sin, and [...], to compose a form of Righteousness, 1 Pet. 2.22. when Peter said of Christ, He did no sin; [...], we must understand he did not make a form of sin; implying he might sin, but did not make a form. So Jam. 3.18. [...], make peace, that is, make a form of peace. So Paul, 2 Corinth. 11.7. [...], have I sinned? that is, have I made a form of sin? we read have I committed an offence?

The next Scripture-argument I see they all make use of, is the ex­ample of John the Baptist, who they say gave to his Disciples a form of prayer.

Ans. 1. Suppose John gave them a Form, make the argument into Form, and see how it concludes the question.

2. It was necessary for John to teach them how to pray at such a time, the Messiah being about to manifest himself; so that their pray­ers might be suitable to the Dispensation they were under. But,

3ly. Were John's Disciples Ministers of Christ called by him to office?

4ly. Did John tye up his Disciples to words and syllables, when his Disciples were grown up in their understanding, and had gifts of their own? Though I gave my Children Forms of Prayers when they were young, I now expect they should pray without those Forms.

This argument is yet too weak.

The last argument I find out of Scripture, is the Prayer our Lord taught his Disciples. All make use of this.

A. Let us hear the strength: If Christ gave his Disciples a Form (which is part of the Sacred Canon) and tyed them up to these words, &c. then ordinary persons may impose, &c. a very stout argument! Christs and your authority it seems are equal. His is part of the Canon into which our Faith is resolved, so it seems is yours. This Christ did when his Disciples were but weak in gifts and grace, for Christ had not yet ascended.

But still two things must be proved:

1. That Christ gave them this for a Form; a perfect Form, as I hear it often expressed.

2ly. That Christ tyed them up to these words and syllables, as you do to yours.

For the first, That it was perfect for the end Christ gave it, I doubt not; that is, to give us a summary of Prayer, what we should pray for. I shall quote but two or three that you will say were no Nonconfor­mists. Maldonate the Jesuit, on Mat. 6. Non his necessario verbis, sed hac aut simili sententiâ; quoting Austin and Beda for his judgment; but proves it best from Christ and his Apostles, that did not use those very words in their Prayers. Grotius on Mat. 6. [...], i.e. in hunc sensum; non enim praecipit Christus verba recitari, sed materiam pre­cum hinc promere. And on Luk. 11. very fully, Doce nos compendi­um rerum orandarum, neque enim eo tempore syllabis adstringebantur.

These men then judg the matter, the Oranda, things to be prayed for, to be the intent of Christ, but not to tye us up to those syllables, as you do to your Forms.

If that will not serve, then I will urge the very literal sense, When you pray, say. 'Tis not, When you pray or say your Prayers, then say this; but when you pray, say. So that I should use no other prayer when I do pray, but this.

If that will not do, yet it binds that always when you pray, this you must say; but when? at the beginning, end, or middle of my own prayer? Here is nothing. And your Conformists do not say it at the end of their prayers, before and after Sermon too; in that I think you are to blame.

That this Form of Prayer our Lord left us is perfect, as to the end he intended by it, I easily yield. But if by a perfect form, they under­stand such a form of Prayer, as contains in it all the parts that are re­quisite to Prayer, and therefore called a perfect form, as the opinion and practise of many would make us believe, I cannot easily yield to that.

Prayer is commonly thus described, and I think very fully and truly. It is an offering of our desires to God for things agreeable to his will in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankeful acknow­ledgment of his mercies.

Here are four things expressed, as requisite to make up a perfect Form of Prayer: They are partes Integrantes, or Constituentes of this Totum.

  • 1. Confession.
  • 2. Petition.
  • 3. Thanksgiving.
  • 4. The offering up of all in the Name of Christ.

As for Petition, (which to speak strictly is prayer in that part we present our desires), this is very fully expressed in our Lords Prayer, and in this respect it may well be called a perfect Form. For there is no­thing we can rightly desire, but it is reducible to one of these six Peti­tions, and contained in them, as Conclusions are in their Principles.

But let us come to some other Parts.

To offer up our Prayers to God in the Name of Christ, is an essen­tial part of a Christians prayer, Joh. 14.13, 14. and Joh. 16.23, 24. God brought his people to pray towards the Temple; so did Dan. 6.10. and Jon. 2.4, &c.

But this part is neither expressed nor contained in this Form of Prayer. If any Heretick will deny that we are to pray in the Name of Christ, convince him out of this Form of Prayer if you can.

For confession of sin; I grant it is tacitely implied in that petition for pardon of sin; we do confess by consequence we are sinners, and have sinned, in begging pardon.

But confession of sin, and petition for pardon of sin, are two differ­ent things, yea differ exceedingly; a man may pray, as most men do, for pardon of sin, from a principle of meer natural self-love; but con­fession of sin is a thing man cares not for; even good David was not very forward to it at one time, Psal. 32.3, 5. much of a gracious spi­rit may appear in confession of sin. Now one would think that this be­ing one part to make up prayer, it should be as plainly expressed as other parts are, being a principle to which all Confessions different for Aggravations, Circumstances, &c. should belong and be reduced, as it is in Petition. And as it is in the Commandments, we reduce many sins and duties to these Commandments, but the Command to which they are reduced, is plainly expressed, and not tacitely only implied in another.

So that I conclude with Grotius as before: It is a thing often obser­ved, men that in their conversation live in open rebellion against God, while they are about Divine Worship, they carry themselves so pro­sanely, that one would think these persons do not believe there is a God to worship; when they should attend to the Word preached, they are talking, or jeering, or sleeping; at the Ministers prayer, sit on their tails as if no such ordinance in hand; but if the Minister come to the Lords-Prayer, then clap their Hats before their eyes, and mum­ble over the words; and now I hope they have worshipped God well. But I leave it, let men use it, or not use it, at the end of their prayers, they shall not offend me.

I have done with all the Scripture-arguments I meet with in all their Books; Par. 1. pa. 64. the Fr. Debate I see in that place where he produceth the Form of the Lords-Prayer, tells his Reader, That the Nonconformists will not give the title of Saint to one of the Apostles, for no other reason that he can conceive, but their good Dames and Masters do not like it, they will not offend their tender ears.

Sir, since you profess your self to be such a master of reason, I pray give a reason why we may not as well say Saint Abraham, St. Samuel, St. Daniel, &c. as well as St. Paul, St. John, St. George, or St. Pa­trick forsooth? do the holy Prophets deserve so little in comparison of these two last Saints?

2ly. And I pray give a reason why we may not as well say Mathew, Mark, Luke, Paul, &c. as well as Clemens Romanus, Polycarpus, Ignatius, Clemens Alexandrinus, Athanasius, &c? which Authors I [Page 15]see seldom put the Epithete Saint to them. Ignatius in one Epistle six times calls him Paul without Saint. Sometimes I have met with [...], sometimes [...], but not with [...], so commonly; though I do not deny but they may use that Epithere too, and I not see it. But did these Fathers forbear this word Saint, so as not (at least always) as you do to use it, because they would not displease their good Dames and Masters? or was it because the art of Canoni­zing by the Triple-Crown was not then known as it is now? with whom it seems, as in other things you are pleased to symbolize, so in this.

The next Head are their Reasons why these Forms must be imposed. Now as to all their Humane reasons in these cases concerning God. I shall not much weigh them. For there is no man will set up his Inven­tions in Gods Worship without Reasons; Jeroboam will not set up the Calves at Dan and Bethel, but he hath his Reasons, 1 King 12.26, 27, 28, &c. He is a fool indeed that hath no reason to give for his act.

I much applaud one sentence of the Schools in this case, and it had been well if they had kept to it: Sacra scriptura, est lex Ecclasiae, fidei mensura, Regula intellectus, Humanae ratiocinationis fraenum. I will yet take a view of their Reasons that are of moment.

One I find in the Fr. Deb. Par. 1. pag. 93. It is so lawful to use a form of words in prayer, that it is in a sort necessary; we can have no security that the service of God will be performed well without one. The best of men though their hearts be full of good desires, may from some cause or other, want such words as are fit to express their meaning; hence may use words rude, slovenly, obscure, &c.

Mr. Carre hath one like to it, only he doth not put the word ne­cessary to it. Necessity I grant is a strong reason.

Ans. Rude slovenly words, are such as I do not remember I have heard; once I heard an expression that was not so becoming, and the person being told of it, reformed it, and never used it more; a better way to deal with persons, than impose and tye up to syllables.

2ly. Will not this reflect upon Christ very much? Either,

1st. He did not foreknow the infirmities of his people.

2ly. Or though he did, yet he knew how to help them, or pardon them, and yet accept of their service.

3ly. Or if he did foreknow them, and by a form of words imposed, all these infirmities might be prevented, his Worship secured, and bet­ter performed than now it can be without a form, Heb. 3.6. then Christ was not faithful in his House as a Son; that would not provide for a thing ne­cessary in his House. The limitation after a sort necessary, will not serve the turn, but it must reflect upon his honour.

Could not he have commanded his Apostles to compose one Liturgy that should have served all the Churches in the world? So it had been one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, and one Liturgy, and then that trite, but pitiful reason from Ʋniformity had been answered; As if that unity Christ requires in his people and worship, could not be preserved, without Uniformity in words and syllables.

3ly. But there are some men, even of your Conformists a few, whose words when they have liberty to use their own gift, are so apt that the Devil himself cannot find a rude or slovenly expression, why must Forms be imposed upon such men?

4ly. We must have a Form before and after Sermon too; for some­thing may fall out which may cause rude and slovenly words in those prayers, and so have nothing but Book-prayer.

5ly. We must take away all Preaching too, and use only Homilies, for fear of rude, slovenly words, and unhandsome expressions in Ser­mons; where be sure they are too common with some. (How many Sermons in Conventicles Dr. Goodman heard, that he can charge them upon us, as he doth in his odious Comparisons, p. 21, 22, &c. I know not, I suppose he never heard one; may be I can tell him of an expres­sion of one of his Bishops, and that in print too, that was not very handsome for a Sermon.)

But if he denies this, because we may write down our Sermons and read them, as commonly you do; truly that doth not always serve nei­ther. But however I reply, so may you compose your own prayers, and write them down, and read them, as you do your other prayers imposed, and so prevent slovenly words.

6ly. Suppose we meet (as often we do) with cases, which when we come to spread them before God, your Book-prayer hath no words at all. What shall we do now? our own words we must not use, they may be rude and slovenly; and for your Forms, there is none suit the case in words at all? it seems we must let the case alone.

Fr. Deb. p 96, 97. urgeth this argument, It is as lawful to use a Form of Prayer in prose, as in verse; but here you do not stick at it, when you can sing David's Psalms translated into English Meter, though the words be mean, uncouth, and the sense often mistaken.

Ans. Where lyes the strength of your argument? if in the uncouth words, for this cause, and the sense changed, I have not used the Psalms by Hopkins and Sternbold many years. Others are used generally by the Nonconformists.

2ly, Prayer or praise offered to God in verse, require some art to make true Verse, and fit Rime, suitable to English ears; every one who hath the gift of Prayer, hath not the gift of Poetry.

3ly. The people being to join in singing, and lift up their voice on high, if they do not know before hand what to sing, will make mad work; there cannot be joint singing without a Form, so that it is ne­cessary. But in prayer their hearts are only to join and give their Amen. If the Pastor be the mouth of the Congregation, and the Ser­vice publick, belonging to a publick person.

4ly. But it seems they are David's Psalms, composed by a Prophet, 2 Sam. 23.1, 2, 3. part of the Canon; and what was done here, was by the Command­ment of the Lord, 2 Chron. 29 25, 30. & 35.15. 2 Chron. 8.14. So that still, Sir, your consequence is denied, the question not con­cluded.

But pag 94. All Churches in the world have had their publick Forms, Fr. Deb.he tell us.

I pray add, and those imposed by ordinary men, and all the Ministers tyed up to them, else you miss the question.

I pray, Sir, speak low, the little word All makes such a noise that it troubles. What, the Apostolical Churches too? Will you prove to us invincibly that the Liturgies which go under the name of Peters, James, Marks, Andrews Liturgies, are genuine, faithfully theirs, and not spurious? Learned Mornaus De Eu­charist. cap. 2. hath spoken so much to these, and so convincingly; also Crit. Sacr. L. 1. cap 3. Rivet quoting Bellarmine against them, that I wonder any Protestant should name them to patronize their Liturgies.

If All Churches, &c. what is the reason that Mr. Falkner dare not venture above thirteen hundred, and Mr. Carre, but twelve hundred years, and leave three hundred years of the best times of the Church next to Christ, in which they dare not affirm there were any Forms im­posed? Of which a word hereafter.

To conclude this: If foundness of Doctrine, purity of Worship, and a conversation in some measure becoming the Gospel, be any true notes of a Church of Christ, then there have been, and I know are such Churches where no Forms of Prayer are composed, much less imposed upon the Ministry; that it was but a bold assertion of him to say All Churches had them.

I find no more in Mr. Carre, nor the Fr. Debat. I see Mr. Falkner hath summed up five Reasons, which have been used by others most of them.

His first, The security of the Worship of God. This we had before. His second, That needful comprehensive petitions for all common and ordinary, spiritual and outward wants, &c. with fit Thanksgivings, may not be omitted, &c.

Ans. Surely, Sir, he is but a mean Minister that cannot do this without a Book; though I know there is a vast difference in gifts, yet there is no true Minister but is able in some good measure to do this; the different Congregations are to be considered; some mens gifts may serve for some places well, that will not for others.

His third, That the affections and hearts of pions men may be more de­vont, &c. when they may consider before-hand, what particular prayers they are to offer up.

Ans. Who are further off from these, and care less for them, than your most truly pious men, who walk most with God, such as can pour out their souls before God in prayer, (I speak of private men) in another manner than most of your Ministers can do; how have I heard them complain of these as deading their spirits! That truly, Sir, your argument from pious and religious hearts, was quite beside the business; they are your formal Christians, who sooth up themselves in their outward performances, that are the most devout at these.

But, 2ly. since I see you have twice quoted the Liber Ritualis in the Bohemian Churches on your side, and against us, let me give the Reader an account of it out of Comenius, the same Author and Book which you quote.

When a Minister is ordained, the Ritual-book is given to him, (so far you say true; but then he goeth on, which you conceal); this Ritual­book the common people were not to see; when the Minister died, the Book was returned to the Elders again. Not that the Ministers were bound up to those words and syllables in the Book. (saith Comenius) but they were left free. (This is quite against you) He goeth on, By this means the hearers were made more attentive, and greater admirers of the grace of God. For to rehearse only Forms, or things prescribed what will there be to excite attention? Quite cross to you. The reason why they suffer not the people to have these Books, is, that the people might not slight or despise them. Had the people the Books (as ours the Common-Prayer Book) they would more observe whether the Minister read right, &c. saith Comenius. Thus we see when we go from the Scriptures to Humane Reasons, how Reasons clash against one an­other.

Comen. in Annotat. ad Rat. Ord. & Discipl. Frat. Bohem. p. 100, & 101. who adds more that makes against you.

Something I may say as to the Walacrian Classis, whose judgment Thus in the Dutch Churches, Minister preces vel dictante spiritu, vel certa sibi proposita formula concipiet. Har. Syno. Belg. Cap. 11. Canon 21. Apollon. p. 172. Comment on Exod. 28. Def. of B. Land, pag. 102. you produce against us, 'tis true what you quore; but withal if you please to read the latter end of the first Paragraph you will find them rejecting the ceremonies and forms of publick worship in England, intro­duced in these latter times. And in the second Paragraph, condemning Forms of Prayer and publick worship, though materially well dispo­sed, if imposed as absolutely necessary, and essential parts of Divine Worship, with a certain tyranny and violent command upon the con­sciences of men.

I could also quote Rivet, whom you quote on your side for Cere­monies; he mentions your Surplices in England, which you retain ex reliquiis Papismi; and saith, if you do it in imitation of the Jews, or for some mystical signification (which you do) then 'tis not to be born, saith he; In his pious and learned Homily de Orig. errores, grounded on the 2 Cor. 11.3. he saith, Mens departing from the simplicity of Christ, is the original of all error. Christs wisdom is too low for men. There you will find something more. Dr. Stillingfleet according with him in this, tells the Jesuit piously and truly: If your Church had kept to the Primitive simplicity and moderation, the occasion of most contrever­sies in the Christian world had been taken away. I may say the same for England.

I will not deny but you may quote many against us. But, 1. I am of that Faith concerning Churches which the Church of England is concerning General Councils, Act. 21. when General Councils are ga­thered together (for so much as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed by the Spirit and Word of God) they may err, and some­times have erred in things pertaining to God, &c. even good men may err. We know but in part.

2ly. We have Churches, if there be any true in the world, that are against these things; so that here is the Testimony of Churches against Churches.

3ly. The Holy Scriptures are the Rule of all Churches to which they ought all to conform. Wherefore Constantine said right, and as became a Christian, in the Council of Nice, Let us take our resolution of questions out of the Books that are Divinely inspired. To be sure they do not err.

Mr. Falkner's fourth Reason, From the difficult parts of Church-offi­ces, of Baptism, and the Lords-Supper, there a Form is needful, &c.

Ans. He that doth not understand the nature of those Ordinances, and is not able to unfold them to his people, is not fit to be a Minister. [Page 20]Christ doth not send fools of his Errand; he hath provided for those whom he sends. Now if they do understand them, and be found in the Doctrine of them, (which is best known by Confession of their Faith) they may be able to compose prayers suitable to the Ordi­nances.

2ly. Or if such be composed for your Tyrenes, when they first come into the work, must they needs be continued when they are grown more able? the ablest and oldest men in England must be tyed up to words and syllables, as if they were still Novices.

3ly. Truly, Sir, you must not much boast of your Form in this Ad­ministration; for the Parental-Covenant which is the only foundation of the administration of that Ordinance to Infants, the God of Abra­ham and his seed, this is not at all taken notice of in your Form. Be­sides many other things which I shall not meddle with now, for I do not aim at your Liturgy more than any other in my discourse.

5. His last reason, To be an evidence to other Churches, and future times, after what way and manner we worship God, &c.

Answ. 1. But, Sir, cannot that be done unless we leave them the words and syllables of our prayers, to which we were continually bound up? will not the Confession of our Faith, and a Directory for Worship, (if the Assemblies Directory be not sufficient, I pray let your party mend it) do this sufficiently?

2ly. If this reason be forcible, was it not as strong in the Apostolical Churches, and much more than now? Why did they not leave their Liturgies that all Churches after them might know their way and man ner of worshipping God? all their words in prayer? So name you but one argument that was not of as much validity in the Apostles time as now. Ʋniformity, prevention of errors, of rude and slovenly words and expressions, and what else you please. Then do but bring us forth their Forms which they imposed upon the Churches, and give us but infallible ground for our faith to believe, that these they were, and no alteration in the least, then Sir, we shall listen to your reasons.

From other men I have heard other arguments: One I heard from a Learned Physician, who had it from Bishop Sparrow in a Sermon, and was much taken with the strength of it. Suppose, said he, their own prayers were better than the prayers of the Church, yet obedience is better than sacrifice. Saul's obedience had been more acceptable than the fat beasts he spared for sacrifice.

The strength of this argument let us see: Here is a King command­ed to give obedience to God immediately, and that absolutely with­out any question. Our case is, we are called to give obedience to Supe­riours, but creatures; and that in such things which concern God im­mediately; [Page 21]concerning which the Lord hath given us Commandments, to which all Superiours are as strictly bound, as that King was to Gods command. Shall not we then first try whether Creatures commands a­gree with the Creators commands? must not obedience to the Potter take place of obedience to the potsheard? if not, then Ephraim did well when he willingly obeyed the command of Jeroboam, Hos. 5.11. and Israel did well, 2 King. 17.8. in obeying the statutes of their Kings. Whence in matters of God we are bound to try all things; though the Commands be not sub codem gradu, yet if we suspect them to be sub codem genere, let us have leave to examine. But in short, were it not for God, we could with as much ease give obedience to mens com­mands as you can. But this instance is against the Bishop.

2. If there be a Betterness, and we deny to give it to God, then give us leave to take heed of the curse, Mal. 1.14.

Another common saying is this: All your conceived prayers are Forms to us: Ergo, these Forms are lawful.

Ans. So is every mans Sermon; a man may make one Sermon, and in that comprehend all that is requisite to a mans Salvation; but if a man should only read that Sermon every Lords day, you would discern a difference between this Form, and the Sermons you hear daily, and think him worthy to be cast out of his Ministry. All mens speeches are but Forms in your sense.

2ly, Therefore you do but Ludere Homonymia in the word Form. In every effect there must be a Form, though hard to find out. But Prayers composed of Confessions, Petitions, &c. in such syllables, words, sentences, to which men are tyed up in the Worship of God, this is the Form in question. I grant by these, your Prayers differ from others, and so you make a formal difference. So we can allow there will be Forms in every mans Prayer.

3ly. A man that improveth the gift which Christ hath given him, resting upon the promise of the Spirit to help his Infirmities, he doth as he ought. Let his Prayers seem what they will to you, they are not Forms according to the question, he is not tyed up to syllables, but hath his liberty to vary according to the subject-matter before him, Occuring Providences, and spirits assistance.

The Scripture grounds which have made me judg this unlawful, are these.

1. That Text, Ephes. 4 8, 11, 12. Christ when he ascended, gave gifts unto men, v. 8. and these men amongst others are Pastors and Teachers, v. 11. the end of these gifts and officers, For the perfecting of the Saints, &c. v. 12. True indeed these gifts differ very much in men. So the 7th. v. tells us, But unto every one of us is given grace, ac­cording [Page 22]to the measure of the gift of Christ. But though the measure differ, yet so much is given to every Pastor and Teacher, let him but be saithful in the improvement of it, as shall serve the end Christ inten­ded. Thus Rom. 12.6. Having gifts, &c.

I am sure among these gifts the gift of Prayer is one so requisite in a Minister, and so common to all true Christians, yea to Hypocrites. But this practise renders Christs act but various, and crosses him in what he did, and doth in giving gifts; for though he doth give them, they must not use them, nor improve them; why then did he purchase them, and give them? it seems he gave gifts, to one or two in a Nation (com­posing of Prayers is not the work of a multitude), to compose Pray­ers, and these must be imposed on all the Ministers in a Nation, with a stamp of Authority; though Christ hath given gifts to all his Ministers, and many of them as able, and more able than are the Composers and Imposers; but their gift must lye dormant, they are tyed up to words. It was a silly answer he gave, They may use their gifts at home. The Text confutes him.

2ly. That Command, 2 Tim. 2.2. that Timothy look to it, that those whom he admits into the Ministry, be faithful men, and able to teach others; is any man so absurd to think that an ability to pray for others is not included; remembring 1 Tim. 2.1. Act. 6.4. and a gift so common to all Christians? But this crosseth the Command; for though they be never so able to pray, they shall not use their gift or ability, but be tyed up to other mens words and syllables. Why not before Sermons, as before Sacraments? give us a Text. But your own party think even those prayers are taken away, or wish they were, even before Sermon.

3ly. As Christ purchaseth and giveth gifts, and requires gifts, abi­lity in those whom he calls to his work, so no doubt but he will re­quire an account of the use and improvement of those gifts. That Mi­nisterial gifts are comprehended in the Talents given forth, Mat. 25.15. I think no understanding Divine will deny; in the 19 v. he will reckon with them. What account then shall we give for this, when one Talent we neglected, contenting our selves meerly with other mens words?

4ly. It renders the promise of the assistance of the Spirit in prayer, Rom. 8.26. but vain in great part. The Spirit in prayer helpeth our Infirmities, not only in the manner of our prayer, but even in the matter of our prayer; the [...], for so are the words [...] the Quid oremus, this infirmity the Spirit helps; but now you will spare the Spirit that trouble, for the [...], the things and words are all set down to a syllable.

Obj. The Fr. Deb. (falsly so called, for neither Author nor Book answer the title) part 1. p. 88. tells us, The Spirit of God doth not now suggest to any of us when we pray the very matter and words which we utter.

Ans. 1. That the Spirit suggesteth All the words and matter, I ea­sily deny; but that the Spirit doth help his people in the very matter of their prayers, the [...], I must own it, or give the lye to the Text.

2. Let me appeal to the experience of praying Christians, Ministers and others; when we have been called forth in our Ministerial work, or at other times to pray; that was the work lay before us: when our hearts have been oppressed with some temptation, our spirits quite down, dead, and flat; the thoughts of our duty a terrour to us, be­cause we found no ability to it; we could not tell what-to say unto the Lord, we wanted words, we wanted hearts, we wanted every thing, but to our work we must go, we could not avoid it. Well, when we have been entred into our work, have we not found a supply afforded, our tongues untyed, our hearts enlarged; words and mat­ter have come flowing in; such sentences, words and matter as were never in our minds before, yet very apt and pertinent; melting and warming, that the best prayers ever we made have been at such times, when we have gone most pressed with the sense of our own inability? though it be not always so (the Spirit is a free agent), yet at these times, whence could it come but from this good Spirit? Shall he lose his glory?

3. I thought that praying men use before-hand to pray for that good Spirit, for a presence of Grace, (as to the spiritual manner of our work) and a presence of assistance as to the matter of our work, being conscious to our selves of the truth of the sayings of that great Apostle, 2 Cor. 3.5. and 2.16. how the Spirit inspired the Prophets, we enquire not; but that he helpeth our Infirmities in our Duties, shew me the sace of that Minister that feareth the Lord, who will deny it, and doth not feel the want of him.

Having these Scripture-grounds, I go on to Arguments deduced also from Scripture.

4. That practise which nourisheth Ministers in their laziness and sluggishness, is certainly an unlawful practise.

But this practise of Composing and Imposing these Forms, &c. ac­cording to the question, do so: Ergo, Ministers duty is, to stir up the gifts of God which are in them, 2 Tim. 1.6. but that duty now as to the gift of prayer is layed by.

The Fr. Debat. tells us, Part 1. pag. 124. That some of the Nonconformists are for Liturgy, but they think it not convenient for men of their parts and gifts:

Truly, Sir, when our hearts are in any trim becoming the duty of prayer, we find it a very great hindrance to be tyed up to the Forms of other men; we cannot open our hearts, nor spread before the Lord our desires in other mens conceptions; we cannot work with their tools. But when laziness, despondency, and unbelief prevail, it is as con­venient as may be for men of our sinful tempers. I could tell you some­thing of the experience of my own carnal heart as to this point; but I find you are a person that jeer at the experiences of Christians, and therefore let it alone.

5. We are to pray for spiritual gifts, 1 Cor. 14.1. I hope not only for extraordinary gifts: Every good and perfect gift, Jam. 1.17. tells us whence it comes. Then for a gift of Preaching, and a gift of Prayer. But why should we pray for it, if when the Lord hath given it, we must not use it, but be tyed up to other mens Forms?

6. If you may impose Forms of Prayer, then you may impose Forms of Preaching; so leave us nothing but Forms of Prayer and Homilies to read; as indeed they came in both together. We have Forms of Preaching in the Scripture, as you have of Prayer; by what authority you take away one, you may take away the other. Your Humane reasons that I have met with as yet, will as strongly argue for Forms of Preaching, as of Prayer.

When this argument was urged in the Commencement-house, the Respondent yielded it. But Dr. Fern being then Moderator, thought this was too gross, and so denied the consequence, Because in Prayer we spake to God, but in preaching to men.

But the Doctors answer was invalid; for in prayer we represent, and are the mouth of a people of Infirmities; we are but persons of Infir­mities. Here Infirmities are but like us, the Lord expects no other from us, Rom. 8.26. The Spirit helps our infirmities in prayer. But in Preaching we speak from God, we come in his Authority, and require Faith and Obedience to what we preach, therefore here we had need have a care what we speak; for now we come with, Thus saith the Lord.

7. Diversities of Gifts and Operations, are the Spirits work and glo­ry, 1 Cor. 12.4.6. Diversities of Kinds, and of Degrees in those kinds; this diversity is seen in the gift of Prayer, as well as in other gifts. As to have in one Lords-day many thousands of Ministers con­fessing of sins, petitioning for mercies, pardon, purging, healing; praying also for Kings, &c. they all aim at the same thing in their Prayers; but the words, sentences, whereby they express the con­ceptions of their minds, and desires of their hearts, how various are they? the same Spirit that gave this diversity of gifts, assists them [Page 25]in the exercise of them. And it is his glory which is taken away, while these thousands of Ministers are tyed up to the same syllables in their Book.

This multi-form unity (if I may so call it, for here are various ex­pressions, different sentences, yet all tend to one and the same thing) hath better ground for it in Scripture than Ʋniformity in syllables.

8. What want of wisdom, care, or grace, yea want of all, this (with your Ceremonies) charges upon the Apostles, all men may see; you pretend much wisdom, and care of Gods worship in these things; were the Apostles so defective in wisdom and care, that they could not foresee the usefulness of these things in the Church, and appoint them as well as you. And that, when there were the same reasons that you urge for them now, in their time? We are built upon the founda­tions of the Prophets and Apostles; and take them to be as wise as any of their followers.

To conclude, how honourable is this for the Ministry? I will take a boy of eight years old, and teach him to read with a grave tone, a thing easily done, and this boy shall be able to perform all your Mini­sterial Offices, excepting Preaching, which he may easily procure once a month, and he at other times read but Homilies. As did that Priest who was my Predecessor, (only one Minister for a short time between us) that for fifty years could do no other but read his Book, (except one Sermon, and that a strange one.) Yet he a Minister of the Church of England, takes the maintenance, and lets the people provide a Preacher at their charge, he contributing something, as that I suppose the Law would force him.

Mr. Falkner I see labours much in giving us an account of the pra­ctise of the Jewish Church, and the Christian Church.

For the Jewish-Church, whatever was their practise, it will not reach the question. But however, how will Mr. Falkner give us infalli­ble proof, that the Jews in the purest time of their Church-state, did compose Prayers, and imposed them upon the Priests and Levites, who were able to officiate without them? If he prove not this, (which he is never able to do) all that he hath writ about them, signifies nothing to the proof of the question, and all that labour is but lost.

For the Christian Church:

1. Can Mr. Falkner give us an account infallibly of the practises of all the Churches after Christ for the first four Centuries? are the In­fallible records of them all come to our hands? I thought we fell short abundantly of the records of all the Churches, there might be many for ought he knows that used no Forms.

2ly. It is possible that he may find several Pastors, or Bishops that did compose their own Forms. But,

First, Can he prove they used only those Forms, and did vary at no time? as was the practise of several of our old Divines, that had their Forms of Prayer before Sermon, (but of their own composing) and varied after Sermon according to the subject matter they had been Preaching upon. So did improve that gift they had received from Christ before and after Sermon.

Secondly, He must prove they Imposed these Forms of theirs upon other Ministers able to officiate without them, and tyed them up to these syllables, else he misses the question, and his labour is but lost there too. Neither of these hath Mr. Falkner proved.

The 23 Canon of the third Council of Carthage, which some write was Anno 395, others 397, others 399, at which were 44 Bishops, and good Austin amongst them, thus ordered:

No man shall use those Forms of Prayer which he hath composed for himself, till he hath communicated them to more able Brethren. A Canon of a Council carries very much conviction with it! what was the practise there abouts, more than any thing Mr. Falkner hath pro­duced? By this it appears that the more able Brethren did not first Compose the Prayers of those who were less able. 2ly. Much less did they Impose them on those who were able, and it may be more able than themselves. Mr. Carre wrote more warily than Mr. Falkner, who dares not venture beyond twelve hundred years. This Canon inter­prets Tertullian's meaning to be against Forms, better then Mr. Falkner.

How long after this, the question arose about Ambrose and Gregories Liturgies, and into what a corrupt state the Church was fallen, when Imposition began, Mr Falkner knows well.

For that instance which Mr. Falkner brings p. 107. to prove Forms to be in use from Constantine's composing of Forms of Prayer for his Soldiers; Whence he thus argues:

It is not probable that Constantine the Emperour would have com­posed Godly Prayers for the use of his Soldiers, if such Forms had not then been used in the Christian Church.

Let us see the Logick of this, and how it proves the Question.

1. Constantine composed Godly prayers for his Soldiers: Ergo, Some one Bishop or Bishops, or Ministers composed prayers for Gospel-Ministers. How does this follow?

Constantine did well; and it may argue some did use Forms, and who denies it? But doth it follow that Ministers did tye up them­selves to Forms? I hope Ministers and Soldiers in a proper sense differ.

2. Constantine did thus: Ergo, we may impose our Forms upon able Ministers. How does this follow? nor would Constantine impose his Forms upon his Soldiers, able to pray without them: Can Mr. Falkner prove it?

Once more. Had there then been Common-prayers composed to which the Church did tye up her self, would they not have composed one or two prayers for times of War? they did not deserve the name of Common-prayers, if that was omitted; and if they had done it, Con­stantine we all know bore such respect and honour to the Church, that he would have used those prayers before his own, not lay by them, and compole others. As our King now commandeth the Liturgy of this Church to be used in his Armies at Land and Sea; there being pray­ers for War, &c. So that to me this instance of Mr. Falkner is rather against him.

To put an end to this first question: How lawful a Directory for Worship, and some Forms of Prayer composed for the help of young Ministers at their first coming into the Ministry Thus they who com­posed the Liturgy for the French-Church in Francfort, say, Hae formulae serviunt tantum ru­dioribus, nullius li­bertati praescribi­tur., who it may be at first are not so able in all offices to express themselves in prayer, [...], before a multitude of people; how lawful, yea how useful this may be, I do not deny; but for these Ministers to content them­selves with these Forms, and not labour to improve and increase their Talent, I think it is sin against him, who hath given gifts, who requires gifts of all those whom he sends, and to whom they must give an ac­count how they improved and stirred up the gift he bestowed upon them; never did Christ send that man into his work, upon whom he did not bestow a gift of Prayer.

How far the Congregational Divines have allowed of Forms of Prayer for some Ministers, may be seen in that acute and learned Divine Mr. Norton of New-England, to which Book Mr. John Cotton, Dr. Tho. Goodwin, Mr. Nye, and Mr. Simpson, have prefixed their Epi­stles, in a high commendation of the Book.

For other particular Offices, I shall not follow Mr. Falkner, Respon. ad Apollon. p. 137, &c. for I had no aim at the Common-Prayer-Book more than other Forms; but if the Imposing of Forms according to the question, can be proved from Divine Writ, I should yield to several things he labours to justifie; only in Baptism there are four things I should desire satisfaction in, and more must be said then Mr. Falkner hath yet spoken.

CHAP. II.

WE come now to the second Question concerning Ceremonies. Quest. 2. That the Church hath power in circumstances of Divine Worship, I have before easily yielded. The Independents have decla­red it, witness the aforesaid Mr. Norton in the same Book, p. 133, who helps us a little to understand circumstances. I shall only transcribe his own words: Adjuncta cultus, licet non praescribuntur in particu­lari, determinantur tamen in generali, multiplici ratione, (How near we and the Friendly Debate shall come, we shall see anon.)

1. Respectu materiae: non sunt cultus ipse, ne dum circumstantiae a cultu separabiles sed inseparabiles, ut tempus locus.

2. Respectu finis: omnia ad aedificationem fiant, 1 Cor. 14.26.

3. Respectu modi: omnia decenter & ordine siant, 1 Cor. 14.40.

4. Ex natura ipsarum rerum, & circumstantiis occasionalibus; anne natura quidem ipsa nos docet, 1 Cor. 11.14. Ʋbi agit Apostolus de virorum & faeminarum decenti habitu, in conventibus publicis Ecclesia­sticis.

Porro determinantur aliquo modo in particulari: nempe ut fiant tali modo, qui circumstantiis omnibus consideratis, est maxime conveniens adificationi.

Si nullus sit error hominis in hac circumstantiarum determinatione constituenda, constitutio illa, habenda est quasi simpliciter divina. Thus Mr. Norton.

By this we may see the modesty of Dr. Goodman, that can tell his Reader so confidently, that this is our grand Hypothesis, and the Cha­racteristical Doctrine of the Nonconformist party, That nothing is law­ful in the service of God but what is expresly prescribed in Scripture. The contrary to which he might have read in this Author, and in others, I question not.

But whether Ceremonies be but such circumstances, or only circum­stances, is the question. Let me state the question.

The Question concerning Ceremonies stated.

Q. Whether Man may institute Doctrinal-ceremonies, (or means for a spiritual end) impose them upon the Church, annex them to Gods own worship, yea so, that without the use of these, God must have no pub­lick worship performed to him?

That this is the true state of the Question, observe the Preface to the Ceremonies in the Common-Prayer Book, and the practises of men.

They tell us in the Preface, The Ceremonies they have retained, are not dark and dumb ceremonies, but are so set forth, that every man may understand what they mean, and to what they serve, and such as be apt to stir up the dull mind of man to the remembrance of his duty to God, by some notable and special signification, whereby he might be edified.

Hence we may observe: 1. Man owes Duty to God; this is expres­sed. 2ly. Because the wise God hath not ordained means enough to put us in mind of this our duty to him by his Command, Threats, Promises, and his Ceremonies in both the Sacraments, men will insti­tute Ceremonies to signifie and represent to us this our duty to him; this is plain; for 'tis expressed to be the end of these Ceremonies.

3ly. These Ceremonies are so clear, point out and speak so plainly (not dark nor dumb) our duty, that any man may understand what duty or grace they signifie.

4ly. Whereas our minds are dull to our duty, these Ceremonies help to stir up our dull minds to our Duty; and so stirring up, they help to edifie us.

These things are clear in the words of the Preface, no denying them; and in this they speak more, and commend more their Ceremonies, than ever the great God did speak of his.

When I have urged the Conformists with these words, they would fly off from them; what care they for the Preface! But in so doing, do they shew themselves rational men? does any wise man read a Law or Statute of men, and not look into the scope of the Law, the Preface to the Statute, so understand the mind and aim of the Legislators? Do they show themselves such Christians as they ought to be, by shutting the window for fear light should shine in to hinder them from what they are resolved to do? Let the Conformists consider it.

To proceed: 2. That these Ceremonies are imposed upon the Church, and annexed to Gods own worship, is so visible, that there needs no more words about it.

3. That they are so annexed, as without these God must have no publick worship.

Witness, first, Bartholomew-day, upon which day so many hundred Ministers were turned out from their publick worshipping of God, be­cause they would not subscribe to them.

2ly. Witness the Parish where I was Minister (and divers others) where for several weeks, yea months, the Church-doors were shut up, God had no publick worship, because I would not conform to these Inventions.

3ly. Witness a Parish in Suffolk before the unhappy Wars began, while Bishop Wren there Domineered, because there was no Surplice [Page 30]in the Church, the Church-doors were shut up two Lords-days, no pub­lick worship performed to God until they got a Surplice to annex to his Worship.

So that the stating of the Question cannot be denied. Now let the Reader observe that worthy Mr. Falkner, and tell me which argu­ment of his from Scripture concludes the question.

If it were no more but the first part, I thought it had been only in his power to institute means to a spiritual end, and impose them on his Church, who is able to make a connexion between the means and the end. But it seems mens Ceremonies are so clear, bright, and speak so plain (being not dark nor dumb, as they say) that they can teach men, and help them on to their duty, and spiritual ends, without the Spirit of God; or else the Spirit of God must truckle and come down, and make use of their means, because they have appointed them, which I am sure he hates.

Do Kings stand upon their Prerogatives? shall any man dare to set his own Image upon Copper to have it pass for a farthing in a Com­monwealth? and yet shall men be so bold to set their stamp or institu­tion upon a ceremony, as a means to a spiritual end, impose this upon the Church? What is this but to incroach upon Gods Prerogative? will he not require it?

But so to annex them to Divine worship, that God shall have no worship without them; I wonder how such thoughts could enter into the hearts of such men as did own the true God, and believed him to be a jealous God, and the Holy Scriptures the Law of that God.

Let me proceed to the further clearing of the Question!

First, These Ceremonies are humane Institutions, depending only upon the will and pleasure of man. So that all natural Ceremonies, such as are found among those that have nothing but the light of Nature to instruct them, as lifting up the eyes, or hands: Bowing of the knees in prayer, &c. found among Heathen: These are excluded this question.

For these Ceremonies in the question have nothing but some parti­cular mens wills for their ground.

2ly. These Ceremonies have an Ordained signification; though the things in themselves may have some aptness to signifie something, yet they do not actually signifie, without the Ordination and Institution of man.

As in Baptism, and the Lords-Supper, though there was some apt­ness in the Elements to signifie, yet they did not actually signifie till the Ordination and Institution of Christ.

Such was the washing of the hands, De Orati­one. and putting off the Cloak before Prayer in Tertullian's time, which he charges with superstition.

Such was the girding of their garments about their loins by the Priests in France in Divine Worship: Carang. p. 150. Concerning which Pope Caelestinus the first, wrote an Epistle to the Bishops in France, charging the Priests with superstition; telling them they might as well hold a burning light, and a staff in their hands, these having their mysteries and signification as clear as the other. For as in the girding of the loins, chastity; so in the staff your Pastoral Government; In the Light-candles, the light of good works shining before men are held forth; yet Caelestinus reproves them, and charges superstition upon them: I am sure then these de­serve the same.

Things that signifie by civil custom, as the vail did the Womans subjection, 1 Cor. 11. in those times, have no place in this question; the vail was in use many years, even among Heathens, before Christ was incarnate.

3ly. These Ceremonies are ordained to signifie some spiritual duty we owe unto God.

4ly. They are means, helps, to our spiritual edification; being very apt to stir up our minds to our duty.

5ly. Lastly, they are appropriated to Divine Worship: yea so, that God shall have no worship if these be not admitted.

Out of this we may make a description of a Ceremony of the Church of England.

It is an outward sign ordained by men in the time of Divine worship, to signifie some special grace or duty we owe to God; unto the performance of which, and our edification in so doing, this outward sign is a mean; by its special signification and aptness to stir up our dull minds.

Before I proceed, I observe Mr. Falkner brings many quotations out of antiqutiy, to strengthen his discourse about Ceremonies, and with these many are taken; but for my part I weigh them not at all, they signifie nothing to me. For the Spirit foretold, Apoc. 17.1. there should be a great Whore, &c. That the Whore there mentioned, is the Pontifician or Papal power now at Rome; or thus, Rome Chri­ftian, not Rome Ethnick, I am ready to prove it, if Mr. The Whore got not into her Chair per saltum; but gradually, as the Churches grew more corrupt. Falkner deny it. That Whore then must be, else the Prophecy must be false, which cannot be. But had all the Churches of Christ, and that of Rome, which was once a chaste Spouse, kept close to the Rule of the Scrip­tures in VVorship, Government, and Doctrine, it had been impossible for that VVhore ever to sit there.

Hence the wise God leaves Ministers to their own wisdom, and they thought they acted very wisely, when they added this and that in the worship of God; and formed their Church-Government accor­ding to the civil; and thus acting freely and wisely as they thought, [Page 32]they brought about by degrees the Decree of God, the VVhore is set in her Chair as freely as if God had no Decree about her, nor reveal'd any Prophesie concerning her. So that all Mr. Falkners and others quotations, do but serve to shew us how the Churches acted to bring that Whore to her Chair, and so sulfil the Prophesie; suitable to what Bishop Downham said of Traditions. See the Title page.

But though Mr. Falkner give us these Quotations, is he or any man now able to give us a perfect account of the practise of All the Chur­ches in those times? some, it may be many, were far enough from these practises.

After Bartholomew-day our Church-doors being shut up for a long time, I went to hear the Priest in the next Parish. He, I found, was teaching those few that he had present (before there used to be a great Congregation) and grounding them in conformity; and informed them, that as God was pleased to institute significant Ceremonies in his Church, so the Church thought it meet to appoint her Ceremonies.

When I heard this, that Text Zach. 13.7. came into my mind, where God speaking of Christ, calls that man his Fellow. Indeed for him who is God-man, to be called Gods Fellow, we can see a reason; but how dirty sinful men come to be his Fellows in taking upon them to institute their Ceremonies in his Church, because he had done so, I could not understand the reason of this.

Bishop Davenant on Col. 2.20. speaks notably to this point; it is too long to transcribe all: The sum is this:

If you be free from the Rites that God did prescribe, then are you free from the Traditions of men: It is a most wicked thing they should impose this yoke upon you, and you are most foolish to submit your necks to it. For God would not have abolished the Ceremonial Law instituted by himself, that a new one may be invented by men.

So he goeth on more fully than I transcribe; though still he would have Ceremonies for Decency and Order. But this is not the state of the Question, for the Preface tells us other things, wherefore these Cere­monies are invented and imposed. Yet that of Decency will not serve the turn: of which more presently.

But to return to that Priest who was thus instructing his people; the truth of what he said, and what is now in practise, you may see in this Parallel.

1st. God takes things indiffer­ent in their own nature, and or­dains them to signifie some spiri­tual grace, or duty of man to­wards God.

This cannot be denied of seve ral Ceremonies under the Law.

2ly. God appropriates these to his own Worship; the Priests must put off their garments when the Worship is ended.

3ly. Gods Ceremonies, though they had some aptness to signifie, yet did not actually signifie, but by his Institution.

4ly. Gods Ceremonies, though in their own nature Indifferent, yet being commanded by God, are now necessary.

5ly. Gods Ceremonies were so instituted, that no Priest must dare to minister without them, Exod. 28.43.

6ly. God punisheth the Priests, and that severely, if they observe not his Ceremonies, Exod. 28.43.

1st. Man takes things indif­ferent in their own nature, and ordains them to signifie some spi­ritual grace, or duty of man which he ows to God.

2ly, Man appropriates his Re­ligious, Doctrinal Ceremonies, to the Worship of God, and there only used.

3ly. Man's Ceremonies, though they had some apmess to signifie, did not actually signifie, but by his Institution.

4ly. Mans Ceremonies, though in their own nature indifferent, yet being commanded by humane Authority, are now necessary. This is their language.

5ly. Man's Ceremonies are so instituted, that no Minister shall perform the Worship of God without them. God shall have no Worship without mans Ceremo­nies.

6ly. Man punisheth the Mini­sters of the Gospel severely for not observing his Ceremonies; Casting them out of the Lords work; spoiling of their goods; Imprisonments, Excommunica­tions, &c.

Thus Man runs even with God; but if Mr. Carre gives us the true notation of Superstition, that which is supra-statutum; if here be not superstition and very great boldness with God, I am much mistaken.

Mr. Falkner once or twice tells us, though he allows such Cere­monies, yet by no means will allow too many, for then they would be burdensome.

But, Sir, if your Ceremonies have such a vertue in them to stir up our dull minds to our duty towards God, where there is one, I pray [Page 34]give us ten, our hearts are dull enough, and we want helps, if these indeed be helps.

He tells us p 419. That all Ecclesiastical Constitutions must be in them­selves certainly lawful.

By lawful I hope you mean agreeable to the Law of God; make but this good, and they shall certainly be obeyed. But this is the thing we much desire, which Law of God do these agree with? I see and hear enough of the 1 Cor. 14. ult. but that this Text will warrant Ceremonies thus instituted by men in the Worship of God, I must see and hear more than ever I saw or heard to this day.

Bellarmine and Vasquez, I see, make much use of this Text for all their Popish Trinkets; and Bellarmine tells us, that Holy garments, light­ing of Wax-candles, and their other Ceremonies, may be as well pro­ved from this Text, as bowing the knee in Prayer. But the Jesuit wan­ted a Candle here I am sure.

I have often wondered how men of Learning, that had read over the 1 1th and the 14th Chap. of this Epistle, where we may plainly see what the Apostle points at, by his reproving the undecency and disorder in their Congregation, should make this Text a ground to set up humane Ceremonies of Doctrinal or Moral signification, in the House and Worship of God.

I shall add but a sew words:

1. Decency and Order are no spiritual graces; for though the holi­ness and majesty of the Worship of God, is in some measure violated without them; yet they are in themselves but external circumstances, common to Civil actions, Civil Courts and Societies, where unde­cency and disorder are blamed, and must be avoided, as well as in the Worship of God.

2ly. Come to Decency, how they serve for Decency I know not. I think light of Scripture, light of Nature, and common approved Ci­vil custom should be rules for Decency, not mens bare wills. For then some men will appoint such Ceremonies of such a colour, and such a Form; and he saith the worship of God cannot be decently performed without them. Another appoints Ceremonies of a contrary colour, and different Form, and saith the Worship cannot be performed de­cently without them. So many Heads and VVills, so many Rules for Decency, that we shall never know when the Worship of God is per­formed decently. For the Woman to be vailed, as the note of her sub­jection, was the civil custom before the Worship of God was known in Corinth; for the woman now to lay it by, was undecent.

3ly. That is decent, the contrary to which is undecens; but for a Minister to pray without a Surplice is not undecent. You know how [Page 35]many foreign Churches will not use it; what then? is the Worship of God therefore performed undecently in all those Churches? Nay, ap­peal to your own Sons; the chief Gentleman in my Parish, and a Son of your Church told me, I think you are as decent and more decent in your Gown and Cassock, than you are in a Surplice. I have spoken with several Ministers, Conformists, and they all tell me, they would not care if they were all thrown out of the Church; only they are com­manded, therefore they use them. But were they such things as with­out which the Worship could not be decently performed, they would not speak so slightly of them, and wish them thrown out; they are men of reason, fit to judg of decency.

4ly. Decency is of necessity, it must be; the command and reason for it are clear; then we must have a necessity put upon these, if Worship cannot be decently performed without them.

5ly. Decency is as necessary in the Pulpit, as in the Desk; I hope there is the Worship of God in Prayer and Preaching as well as in the Desk; but always I saw the Surplice put off, when the Minister as­cends the Pulpit, unless a Sacrament were to be administred.

6ly. Decency is necessary in our Family-worship, must we then have a peculiar garment to put on when we pray in our Families?

7ly. They cannot be used to signifie Decency; for the thing signifi­ed by any outward sign or ceremony, does not come into my eye, but my understanding; but if Decency lye in the whiteness and fineness of the Linnen, I see it with my eye.

As for Order, I know not how these help here; what disorder there was in the Church of Corinth, Chap. 11.33, 34. declares; and what disorder among the Prophets is intimated Chap. 14.33. there was very great reason for this Rule; but I hope very good Order may be in the Church without a Surplice, or Cross, or Kneeling.

Mr. Falkner tells us, p. 391. that the Surplice properly signifies the reverence we owe to God, and the high esteem we have of his Ordinances. This Text then for Decency must be layed by.

The next Text I find in Mr. Carre, is 1 King. 8.64 Solomon's Al­tar, For which he had no word.

A. This is Bellarmine's also, who joins Jacob's new Ceremony, Gen. 28.18. but yet saith, Dee quidem impellente, sed non expresse man­dante, novam Ceremoniam excogitavit; that is sufficient, but for this of Solomon, Bishop Hall saith it was by command and instinct from God. Diodati, that he was divinely inspired.

I would have added more, but Mr. Falkner lays this extraordinary case by as not cogent, p. 309.

Mr. Carre's next, They had no command for building of Synagogues.

I answer, But they had commands for their holy Convocations on the Sabbath day, Levit. 23.3. Place must be a necessary circumstance, they must meet some where. Levit. 26.31. God threatens their San­ctuaries in the Plural number; some Hebrews interpret Synagogues. Hence Psal. 74.4, 8. they burnt All the Synagogues. The Temple is mentioned distinct, v. 7. Sanctuary, in the singular number. This be­fore their last Captivity; it may well refer to the Babylonish, not to Antiochus.

Mr. Palkner, p. 311, as I see Mr. Carre and Bishop Morley in his Letter against Mr. Baxter, and all our Conformists, make use of Christs discumbing at the Passeover, to shew Christ his conformity to the Jewish customs, departing therein from the first Institution. Bishop Morl. pag. 29. words are these: It is certain that Christ and his Disciples sate at the Passover, and this no doubt was according to the Jewish Church at that time; but it is as certain that this was not the manner according to the first institution, which was to eat it standing. Read Exod. 12.11. thus he proves we ought to kneel at the Sacrament, though Christ and his Apostles sate.

Answ. Twice we have the word certain, and it is certain there is no such word as standing in the Text, which I have read several times, as he bids us. Harmon. c. 129. Jansenius saith, they might have their loins girt, feet shod, staff in hand, and yet sit, and sitting at that time might be their man­ner as he thinks from Gen. 43.33. Surely the Jews did not tear the meat from the bones like dogs; how then they could hold their staves in their hands, and cut their meat when they were in haste, I cannot well tell

2ly. It is very observable that the Jesuits, Maldon. and a Lapide, and Gerhard the Lutheran, and the Calvinists abroad, are more wary what they write concerning Christ, than are our English Conformists; for they all conclude that Christ kept the Passover according to the Law, not Jewish customs. If Josiah gave such charge, 2 King. 23.21. That the Passover be kept as it was written in the Book of the Covenant; Shall Christ come short of Josiah? Hence the Jesuit a Lapide agrees with Gerhard and Calvin, that Christ eat the Passover standing, but his discumbing was at the other Supper.

3ly. Most of the Learned that I see, as Jun. Tremel. Rivet, Beza, Scaliger, Paraeus, Piscator, Grotius, Ainsworth, Diodati, &c. do all agree, that God appointed the gesture of standing; only for that first Supper in Egypt, as all the other circumstances noted in Exod. 12.11. all setting forth persons in haste, but were never used after, when they came to rest in Canaan. If they did so. I doubt not but it was accor­ding to the mind of God; but indeed there is no gesture mentioned [Page 37]in the Law that I read of. Nor shall all the Rabinical men in the world make me believe that Christ would depart from the Institution of God, to conform to any Jewish custom; must we needs cast a blot up­on Christ, to justifie our own inventions?

I know no man that maketh sitting essential to a Sacrament, as Mr. Falkner supposeth, p. 474. and as strange is his next supposition of a Feast without Bread or Wine, (or Ale or Beer with us.) For our parts, 'tis all one to us, sit or kneel; but that we find as it was a Supper, so it was a Supper-gesture Christ used with his Apostles, there is no other gesture recorded; what gesture our Lord used when he blessed the Elements, I do not inquire, we stand or kneel in Prayer; but the Text saith, Mark 14.18. They sate and eat at his own Supper, as well as at the Passover; for ought I can read the Scripture mentions this gesture only at his eating. If you can find any Evangelist speak otherwise, name him. I doubt not, were there any such controversie or question among the Mahumetans, and their Alcoran did speak but so much for one side, as our Bible doth in this, they would give so much honour to their Alcoran to determine the question on that side which it did most favour; but it seems we cannot give that honour to our Holy Bible, as the Turk will to his Alcoran.

2ly. It is all one to us to sit or kneel; one gesture is as easie as the other. Till Transubstantiation was hatching, kneeling was not com­monly known in the Church, but for some time of the year it was forbidden; much less was it contended for: and such punishments in­flicted upon them who refuse it, as amongst us. The Popish party blame us for kneeling, denying their Doctrine of Transubstantiation.

3ly. That your Kneelers worship Christ in and by the Elements, the great contenders for kneeling have confessed, Pag. 167. as the Author of the dispute against English Popish Ceremonies, have shewn out of Dr. Burgess, Dr. Morton, and Paybody the Bishop of Edenburgh, Arch­bishop of St. Andrews, upon which he undertakes to prove that kneeling in the act of receiving the Lords Supper is Idolatrous.

Mr. Nichols urged the same, Treasure out of Rubbish, p. 65. See more there. that kneeling in the act of receiving the Lords Supper, being a bodily religious adoration of God before a creature, with respect unto it, having no special allowance from God, was unlawful; when this was urged before Bishop Morton, he found more favour from the Bishop than we can.

4ly. Reverence in Gods worship we do commend as much as any. I wish sometimes that which men call Reverence be not Idolatry. But was David such an irreverent person, when he sate before the Lord in Prayer, 2 Sam. 7.18, 27. all the Versions hold to the word sate, and that at this time when his heart was enlarged from the sense of Gods [Page 38]love. Cannot I pray reverently, when I lye upon my bed? and may we not as reverently receive the signs of the Lords body and blood, while we sit at his Supper? Cannot we know our own hearts? Who more profane in their conversation, and despisers of the commands of Christ, than most of these, who can kneel at Sacraments? Upon the same ground, i.e. Reverence, the Church of Rome will not put the Bread in the Sacrament into the peoples hands (though Maldonate grants for a long time the Church did so) but into their mouths forsooth, Multo plus habet reverentiae, Mat. 26.26.

But it is far from my intention to produce any new arguments a­gainst these Ceremonies, when there are so many produced by Dr. Ames Didochevius, and divers others. It is very observable what Mr. Schol. & pract. Di­vin. 2 par. p. 93, 94. Jeans an acute Schoolman and Conformist in former times, who censured the Nonconformists as sharply as any, and wrote against them, while he had read but one side, as he saith, and was a stranger to what the Nonconformists could say for themselves, their adversaries repre­senting their objections and answers so weak, and ridiculous) hath left upon record. When the Parliament began, he intended to write a full vindication of the Discipline and Ceremonies of the then Church of England, to which end he read all such Books of the Nonconformists as he could procure: ‘Upon the perusal of them, saith he, I soon found that their adversaries most disingenuously misrepresented all that they said; that they refused to join issue with them in the state of the question; that they came not up to an ordinary grapple with them with their Arguments; and that they seldom regularly repli­ed unto the solutions which were given to their objections; and this (saith he) quickly produced an alteration in my judgment, and I be­lieve it will do so too in all that will make such an impartial search in­to the matter as I have done.’

This is the ingenuous confession of that learned man, making excuse for what he had written against the Nonconformists.

I shall shut up this with the judgment of the learned and pious VVhitaker, as I see him quoted, by Maccovius upon this question.

Q. Theol. loc. Q. 43. Whether when we receive the Lords Supper, should we kneel, stand or fit?

A. Respondet Whitakerus, saith Maccovius, to kneel doth not only exclude the Rites of the Institution, but doth much violate the second Commandment concerning shunning Idolatry.

To stand about the Lords-Table, doth partake of the Rites, and de­tracts nothing from the Institution.

But to partake, sitting is the most convenient, because by this neither are the rites of Institution violated; nor doth it attract danger of super­stition, [Page 39]or Idolatry; but this gesture is commended by the example of Christ himself in the first Institution, and of the Apostles after the Institution. Thus he; with whom Maccovius agrees.

Before I go any further, let me make use of one thing I meet with in the Fr. Debate, part 2d. pag. 397, 399. this Author finding fault with us, because we charge these Ceremonies, as being additions to the word of God, contrary to the command, Deut. 12.32. (yea, Sir, I own the argument) he answers us: These words, saith he, from the old se­parate Mr. Ainsworth, you restrain to worship, when as the Text speaks of the whole Law. v. 1. Judicial as well; but the Jews never thought that no particular Law might be made agreeable to the general Law. And again, p. 421. To save Christian Liberty, (saith he) in matters of wor­ship, Gods Law hath only given us general rules, whereby things are to be ordered in the Church; according to which our Governours are to make particular Laws, and we are to obey them.

I answer, as to Mr. Ainsworth, whatever were some of his private opinions, his learning and piety command respect. Whether the Ju­dicial Law be there included, I now list not to examine. This you have affirmed.

1. There are some general rules which the Lord hath prescribed in his word, or general Laws.

2ly. Our Governours may make particular Laws.

3ly. But those particular Laws must be according to, and agreeable with (both which words you have used) the general Law of God.

As when men cut little Creeks to bring water to a place, they let in the water in the great River into these lesser Creeks. Pag. 61. Dr. Templer's similitude of gold being beaten out, aims at this. Now let Conformity stand or fall, according to this saying of our adversary.

1. Then produce you that general Law of God, wherein he giveth liberty in general to ordinary Ministers in his Church, to compose and impose their Forms of prayer upon all his other Ministers whom he hath given gifts sufficient for that office, and tye them up to their Forms and syllables in their Administrations. Upon this general Law your Church in England have made your particular Law, and imposed your Forms. The French Church have made their particular Laws, and imposed their Forms. The Dutch theirs; and so on. I pray, Sir, keep to the state of the question.

2ly. Produce the general Law, where God hath given men that power to invent, institute, and adjoin Religious mystical Ceremonies to his worship. Upon which general Law, Rome makes her particular Laws, and impose hers; the Church of England makes her particular Laws, and imposes hers; the Lutherans make their particular Laws, [Page 40]and impose theirs. (I hear but of few of other Protestant Churches that have such Ceremonies, if any at all), and without these God shall have no worship.

3. For the third, I know not whether this Author be of that mind, that God hath left us only a general Law for the Government of the Church, but appointed no particular Form of Government, as the learned Dr. Stillingfleet hath asserted.

But for the two former we expect this Author to tell us where we shall find those two general Laws.

That common Evasion, Though these things be not according to the word, yet they are not contrary to the word, will not serve the turn. Yea this Author quite overthrows that distinction.

For he tell us, Our Governours particular Laws must be according to, and agreeable to the general Law of God.

A Law is a positive thing, so are Governours particular Laws, then so must the general Law be. To say not contrary to the word, what Law is this? Non ens is no Law. How can these particular Laws be said to be according to the Law, and agreeable with the Law, when no such Law can be found? If the Law can be found, then that distinction is but vain.

Though this Author hath said enough, yet because this distinction is so common in their mouths; I will but add a few Scriptures in which we shall find an injunction laid upon us, that in matters concerning God, our duty towards him, we look that all things be according to his word.

The first Text is, col. 2.8. Beware lest any man spoil you through Philosophy and vain deceit, according (though we read after, that makes no difference, [...] with an Accusative Case, secundum) to the Tradi­tions of men; according to the rudiments of the world, and not accor­ding to Christ.

Expositors differ about those words, vain deceit: I shall not trouble my self nor the Reader about them; but by Traditions of men, I see generally they understand those superstitious customs which have only mans authority for their institution, such as the Pharisaical Traditions. So Anselm, &c. but Baldwin, Davenant, Beza, Gomarus, Diodati, apply them to the Popish worship.

What the rudiments of the world are, Gal. 4.9. explains. This is cer­tain, the troubles the Apostles met with in the Churches, arose from these three heads. Philosophy, Superstitious Traditions, and Moses Law. Now all these are opposed to Christ; if they were according to them, and not according to Christ, then they were contrary to Christ.

The second Text, 1 Tim. 1.3. That they teach no other Doctrine: [Page 41]upon which words Dr. Featly glosseth thus: Timothy was to forbid any to preach, not only Doctrine that was contrary, but that which was beside that which the faithful had received from the Apostles. And are not the things in question beside that the faithful received from the Apostles?

The third Text, Mat. 28.20. Teaching them to observe what I have commanded you. If he hath commanded these things you impose, they shall be observed, but not else. Thus ran the Apostles Commission; but we have found an art to interline the Commission, and what is not expresly contrary to my command, teach them to observe that also. This interlining was under a hedg; should an Ambassador thus interline his Commission, it may cost him dear.

The Author of the Fr. Deb. here demands of us What command we have to take a Text and gloss upon it? to pray before and after Sermon? to sing Davids Psalms in English Meeter.

I see this Author will play at small games rather than stand out; he will join with the Quakers for an argument.

1st. But, Sir, remember first your own words, a general Law will help to serve our turn as to Prayer. We have a command for it; the time when, left to our prudence. We think when we are to preach the Word, 'tis a fit time now to confess sins; to beg pardon for sins, that they may not stand in the way to hinder Gods blessing; crave for his presence with us, and assistance of us in our Preaching &c. so after Sermon to bless him for mercies, and to beg for his watering of the seed sown, &c.

For a Text: Why did not this Author put the question to Christ, what command he had to take a Text and gloss upon upon it, Luk. 4.16, 17, 18, 19. Also why Ezra; or the Priests, Ezr. 8.8. take a Text, give the sense, and apply it? We have a command to teach the word, 2 Tim. 4.2. To teach to observe what Christ commanded, Mat. 28.20. Shall we not then take a portion out of that word? Shall we not take that command, and open that word, first explain it to their under­standings, then apply it to their wills and affections, as doth the Apostle, Heb. 3. his Doctrinal part, in Chap. 4.1. the application of it: how shall we shew our selves Ministers of the Word, but this way? shall we take a Text out of our own brains?

For Psalms: Why did you not ask me for a command to read the Psalms in English? The Romish Priests will put this question: Is there not a command to sing Psalms, Hymns, and spiritual songs? Col. 3.16. Were not Davids Psalms of old commanded to be sung? 2 Chron. 29.30. & 35.15. and the authority we may learn, 2 Sam. 23.1, 2, 3. The Jews sung then according to the Poetry of the Hebrew Language; [Page 42]and some have observed several verses in David's Psalms run in Rimes in the Hebrew. Our English Songs according to the course of our English Poetry run in Meeter, so we sing in such verses as are suitable to our English ears. If you will teach us to sing a better way, we will follow your way.

De metro Psalmorum testatur Josephus, L. 2 Antiq. Jud. cap. 14. & l. 7. cap. 12. and Hieronymus in Prefatione Chronici Eusebii, saith Sobnius, Tom. 3. p. 68.

The fourth Text, Mat. 15.9. with Mark 7.7. In vain do they worship, teaching for Doctrines the commandments of men.

To this Mr. Falkner answers, p. 361.

1. This Tradition did not refer to the order of the publick Worship of God.

Ans. I hope it was never the worse for that; it is well they let the worship of God alone, which you do not.

But saith Mr. Falkner, The question between Christ and the Pharisees was, whether it was to be admitted as a Doctrine, that eating with unwash­ed hands defileth a man?

Ans. So the question between you and us is, Whether this be to be admitted for a Doctrine, That men may institute Religious, doctrinal, or mystical Ceremonies, and annex them to the worship of God? You teach this Doctrine first as a general Law, and then you bring it into pra­ctise, by instituting and commanding yours by a particular Law. I know not where you and they differ, only they let Gods worship alone, you say, and you do not.

His second answer is, that Christ observed the Prudential Rules.

Answ. But, Sir, do you make Prudential Rules, and these Religious, mystical ceremonies, all one? for what you have said of Christ at the Passover, I shall add a little more to what I have said already; but because Christ sate in the middle of the Doctors, as others sate, hear­ing and asking questions, Luk. 2.46. hence to argue Christs confor­mity to Jewish religious mystical Ceremonies, is very strange, for a man of your worth and learning.

At the end of that Section I see you condemn the Popish Ceremo­nies, Many of them being Sacramental, and designed to be operative of grace, and spiritual help

But I pray, Sir, do not you say as much of yours, when you tell us that yours signifie such spiritual duties, and have such an aptness in them to stir up our dull minds to our duty, Treasure out of Rubbish, p 43.and help to edifie us?

And do not you make them Sacramental? It is one proper end of Sacraments (saith Mr. Cotton) by striking of the senses, by outward representative Elements, to teach the understanding, help the memory, stir [Page 43]up the affections, excite devotion.—And after, The Scripture ex­presseth the nature of a Sacrament, rather under the name sign (than seal) which consisteth in the Analogy which is betwixt a sign determined to signifie, and the thing signified. This is so true, that I have known Christians who not out of a principle of cavilling, but from a desire to help their Faith in the use of the Sacraments, that have questioned whether they were seals, and have wished for other arguments than usually we give them, to help them in their doubts, looking on them as not cogent that we give; but for signs, they questioned them not. Thus in our Ceremonies, 1. Here are signs. 2. Here is a spiritual thing, a duty we owe to God, signified by them. 3. These signs are not dark and dumb, but so set forth that every man may understand what they mean or signifie. 4. They are apt means to stir up our dull minds to what they do signifie, and help to our edification. I think you speak plain enough.

There is as much given to them as was to Gods own Ceremonies, which did signifie spiritual graces and duties they owed to God. Yea something more. All may understand what yours signifie; and they are not dark nor dumb, but fit to stir up dull minds.

That they contain external worship also in them, and so are as Bel­larmine saith of them, (and these you took from the Papists), Cere­moniae sunt pars quaedam cultus Divini.

Divine and true worship, I think may be thus described, It is some act commanded by God, in which we do reverently acknowledg his excel­lency, immediately serving, and having communion with him therein: whether that act be such as we immediately offer up to him, (as Prayers, Sacrifices, &c.) or such as we offer from God in his name unto his peo­ple, as Preaching and Sacraments, &c.) some give other descriptions, but I think this will hold.

This Worship having the Authority and Command of God to warrant it, is true Worship. If it hath not, but only mans invention and authority, it may be called Divine worship in one sense, but it is Will­worship, superstition, and false.

In teaching, is worship: In vain do they worship me, teaching, &c. Mat. 15.9. It is me they pretend to worship, this was in teaching; but the worship was vain.

God teacheth us two ways: 1. By his Word. 2. By Signs. By the last the Pharisees taught spiritual things by their washings; as God taught by his washings in the Law, so do you teach us by your Ce­remonies; and it seems very lively. Now all actions whereby spiritual duties are taught in Gods solemn worship, are acts whereby God is worshipped; and such acts are worship; as all acts whereby he is obey­ed, are obedience.

Some argue thus: Those external Ceremonies whose proper use is the honouring of God, are external worship; but the Ceremonies in question are such: Ergo. Others thus:

All external Ceremonies in their nature formally elicited from Re­ligion, are external worship; but such are the Ceremonies in question: Ergo, they are external worship. So that Bellarmine spake plainly and honestly, when he calls them parts of Divine worship. Hence I see not how the distinctions Mr. Falkner makes about significative signs, do help at all; but we are still as high as God was, and plainly add to his word.

The Text in the Old Testament, Isa. 8.20. To the Law, and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. I think no man so absurd to limit it only to that particular case in the 19th. ver. but this is a standing Rule in all cases concerning God, and our duty to him. According to this word, hence Bishop Hall thus Paraphraseth, If any man speaketh either without, or against this word, it is because he hath not the true light of grace and un­derstanding in him. Apply this to both the Questions, and tell us accor­ding to which word do they speak.

The last Texts, those famous Texts, Deut. 12.32. Prov. 30.6. & Deut. 4.2. Thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish. Addition speaks defect of wisdom in the Law-giver, that he is not wise enough to go­vern his Creatures, nor how to provide for his own Worship, but we must supply the want of his with our wisdom; and intrencheth also upon his Soveraignty.

To these Texts Mr. Carre, and Mr. Falkner, answer different ways: Mr. Carre, p. 56. tells us, This we count superstition, supra statutum, to add any thing to Gods Law, or to be too strict in tying our selves to more than God requireth of us. But foreseeing how this Text will be turned upon the things imposed, he with the other Conformists plow with the Popish Heifers, using the same distinctions that Vasquez, Bellarmine, Cor. a Lapide, used to defend their fopperies.

There is a preserving and corrupting addition; a circumstantial and an essential addition; the two last he condemns; i. e. the corrupting and essential addition.

To which it is answered: 1. To your preserving addition; it is a corrupting addition, because it is addition. Deny the Genus, and you deny the Species. Addition is denied. Particular Laws exactly answer­ing Gods general Law, are no additions.

2ly. Find us such a distinction of detraction, or diminishing, and show us how there may be a lawful detraction from the word. Addi­tion and diminishing are equally forbidden in the Text.

3ly. There is no preserving addition brought into the Worship of God, but there is another wisdom and will brought in besides Gods: Mr. Carre tells us of additions, the better to inforce the command, the better to perform the service of God. We read of a betterness that doth accede to the Worship of God by mens inventions and additions; doth not this reflect upon the Law-giver, that he hath not sufficiently pro­vided for his own Worship? Let but his Worship be performed accor­ding to what is written, and there will be no want found of any thing besides what is written.

4ly. No addition could so properly be called a preserving addition as that of Ʋzzah's staying the Ark to preserve it from falling, 2 Sam. 6.6, 7. who could use this distinction better than he? De Gu­bern Dei. l. 6 p. 203. but that would not save him. Upon which Salvian thus writeth: Denique Oza ille Levites Dei, quid contra mandatum coeleste fecit, quod vacillantem Ar­cam Domini sustinere tentavit? nihil enim hinc erat lege praceptum, & statim dum sustinebat extinctus est. Non quia ut videtur ad speciem, con­tumaci aliquid, aut in officiosa saltem mente commiserit. sed ipso officio inofficiosus fuit, qui injusta praesumpsit. Salvian knew well enough the Law about the carrying the Ark; but in this case when the Ark is in danger of falling, what Law is there, else Ʋzzah would not have touched it? He aims at this to prove that there is nothing belongs to God ought to be esteemed light. Good intentions here will not serve.

5ly The Pharisees in their washings, &c. did but signifie that holi­ness, purity, cleansing from sin, which God signified in the washings he commanded. So they did but inforce the command, as Mr. Carre saith.

For his second Distinction, circumstantial and essential addition: Essential additions by no means he will admit, that is indeed against the Text. But,

1. Mr. Carre told us before, that Solomon built an Altar more than ever God appointed. And Mr. Falkntr will tell us anon, that David would build a Temple of his own head, and God never appointed it, they had no warrant for these, but these were essential parts of the Ceremonial worship. By these then we may make essential additions to the Worship of God; these were the highest pieces of the Ceremo­nial worship, for the Altar sanctified the Sacrifice; and for the Tem­ple it is well known.

2ly. I cannot see how the Church can add any circumstances of her own creating to the Worship of God. If she may make one new cir­cumstance and add to the Worship of God, she may make a thousand, and be changing every week if she will, I know no word to forbid her.

But still I cannot see how Ceremonies, such as are in the question, can be but circumstances. For,

1st. No circumstance hath a mystical signification of any spiritual grace or duty. If it hath a spiritual signification, it is by some super­added Divine Institution; then it ceaseth to be a circumstance. Place in it self is a circumstance, but such a place as the Temple, is more than a circumstance, it is essential to Ceremonial-worship by a Divine In­stitution.

2ly. The Ceremonies of the Law which signified that purity, holi­ness, &c. that ought to be in Saints, were not circumstances; and these do the same. These Ceremonies imposed upon us are not circum­stantial, but Doctrinal, and of Moral signification.

3ly. Circumstances cannot well be said to be subject to circumstan­ces, where then shall we end? but mystical ceremonies are subject to time, place, order, decency, &c.

4ly. Circumstances are common to civil actions, as place, time, or­der, decency; but these Ceremonies are annexed only to the Worship of God.

5ly. Circumstances are necessary, inseparable from the Worship of God, as time and place, order and decency ought to be; they are in­separable, virtute praecepti; but these are separable, and of no necessi­ty. Peter Lumbard puts no necessity in the Popish Ceremonies, as you may clearly see in his inquiring into the nature of Baptism, Lib. 4. D. 3. c. 1.

6ly. Circumstances depend not on the bare will of man; but these Ceremonies depend wholly on mans will.

7ly. The ordering of circumstances in particular, is not determin­able in the Holy Scripture. I do not say what the infinite wisdom of God could have done; but upon supposition of the bounds which God did set to his written word. Circumstances are many, and so changeable, that to set down the ordering of every particular circum­stance that must occur in the Church and Worship of God to the end of the world, would have hindered our Pocket Bibles. Individua sunt Infinita. But for significant Ceremonies, all the Mosaical Ceremo­nies were set down, to the pins of the Tabernacle; and if God had li­ked Ceremonies as we do, he could have set down twice as many as Popery affords.

8ly. These mystical ceremonies are external worship, as I said be­fore, but so are not circumstances.

Mr. Falkner evades these Texts in Deut. 12, &c. telling us, as the Author of the Er. Deb. that the Text concern'd the Judicial Law as well. This I have spoken to before.

Also he tells us, That divers things referring to the worship of God, Pag. 360.were allowably, under the Jewish dispensation, ordered as matters of decency and expediency by humane prudence.

But, Sir, this reaches not our Question; we are inquiring for a war­rant for such Ceremonies as your Preface, and our Question from thence, treat of; else I yielded before, that the Jews were not deter­mined in every particular circumstance. But M. Falkner refers us to a former Section, where he had instanced in such things. At p. 311. I find there he begins,

First, With the discumbing gesture at the Passover, which they changed from standing. To this I spake before.

2ly. He instanceth in the white garments that the Levites did wear, 1 Chron. 15.27. For which there was no direction given in the word; yet the Scripture speaks of the allowableness of these Levitical gar­ments.

Answ. 1. But the Question is, Whether these Levitical garments were ordained by men to signifie a spiritual duty they owed to God, and were to stir up their dull minds to their duty, and to edifie them? If not, they reach not the Question; but of this not a word in Scripture.

Sanctius (1 Sam. 2.) conceives, and others with him, that these were not holy garments which Samuel while a child did wear, and David also wore when he danced before the Ark, who was not of the Priests Order. And certainly they knew the garments of the Levites to be ac­cording to the mind of God, else they would not have dared to have used them, when God had so lately made a breach for want of due order; they had ways to know Gods mind that we have not.

2. For the Levites.

1st. They were of the same Tribe with the Priests.

2ly. Their work was about the holy things of God, as was the Priests.

3ly. There was nothing determined about the apparel or garments of the Levites by God, Numb. 8. neither for matter, whether linnen or woollen; nor for the colour.

4ly. But yet black colour was not, I conceive, allowable about the Temple worship. The bread of Mourners, Hos. 9.4. was but unclean; hence the Text, Deut. 26.14. and that of Aaron, Levit. 10.19. when there was such a cause of mourning, did not eat. God required cheer­fulness in his worship and service, Deut. 12.7. Whiteness was the co­lour that betokeneth cheerfulness in all sorts of persons, Eccles. 9.8. Let thy garments be always white. We find a threatning against the Che­marims, Zephan. 1.4. those black Priests, Atrati, because clothed in [Page 48] black. So Schindl. Pagn. Buxtorf. Vatablis, Drusius, Jun. & Tremel. God had appointed white in his Priests and Worship. Lay all these to­gether, and we may see good reason why the Levites chose white gar­ments; and so David partly for lightness, and the joy, now dancing be­for the Ark. So that this instance doth not yet prove the question. Be­sides, I do not see how the carrying the Ark, or Davids dancing were parts of Worship.

His third instance, the Altar of Witness made by the two Tribes.

But I know not how this reaches the case, for that was not intended with any respect to Divine worship; the ten Tribes feared it, and sent their messengers about it; but the two Tribes protested against it, they had no such intent, Josh. 22.29. God forbid, &c. There was no wor­ship, and our question is about Religious humane Ceremonies, appro­priated to Worship.

His fourth Instance, the Temple it self designed by David, and appro­ved by God, 1 King. 8.17, 18.

Ans. 1. If this be followed, then you will tell us that something essential to the Worship of God may be invented by man (as I touched before) will you, Sir, affirm it? I am sure the Temple was essential to their Worship.

2. Place is but a circumstance of worship; if the place were more splendid and sumptuous, it was but a place still. But I pray did David intend to build a place to have that mystical signification that the Tem­ple had? prove this, I pray, else you reach not the question; there is nothing of this appearing in the Chapter. David was moved from the zeal he bare to the honour of God; the want of this the Lord re­proves, Hag. 1.4, 9.

3. David did ground his design upon Deut. 12.10. VVhen he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, &c. then there shall be a place which your God shall chuse. To which Text 2 Sam. 7.1. answers, When the King sate in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies, &c. then David is thinking to prepare a place; so that David had ground for his enterprize; only he was mistaken as to his enemies, for he had much War after this, and that Solomon ren­ders as one cause why he could not build the House, 1 King. 5.3. And in the 4th v. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. So that David and Solomon had respect to that Law.

4ly. I know no error in it, if I should say God also inspired David. God had a great councel, a decree of his to reveal to David, of build­ing him a House, and of Christ to come of him after the flesh, Rom. 1.3. Act. 13.23. he puts David upon it, (having also declared his purpose [Page 49]before in the Law, Deut. 12.10, 11.) and takes occasion from this love of his to God, to open his love and decree towards David, that God did inspire him.

Bradwardin doth intimate, de caus. Dei, l. 1. c. 25. those words in the fifth vers. Shalt thou build me, &c. Diodati thinks to be words of admiration, rather than reprehension. And the 7th. v. Spake I word, &c. ‘God had often said in his Law, that he would chuse himself a place, but had not expressed where or when it should be; and there­fore lovingly admonisheth David to wait for this expression.’ Thus Diodati. But this still intimateth that David took the word for his ground. Hence Psal. 32.5. Ʋntil I find a place for the Lord. David useth the same word which Moses doth in Deut. 12.11.

His next Instance is in the Synagogue-worship, in which they were left in some particulars to their own prudential determinations, which the Christian Church is not. Instance is given in their Synagogal Officers, admitted by imposition of hands, when neither their office and authority, nor their admission were determined in the Scripture. For their Ordinati­on by imposition of hands, this he proves out of Mr. Selden. For their power and office, he proves that Christ owned it, Mat. 23.2, 3. Though the Scripture had determined nothing about it.

Ans. This, Sir, belongs to another question, viz. Whether in the Jewish Church (and if there, then why not in the Christian Church) Christ did approve of any Officers in the Church, that were not of Gods, but Humane appointment, to preach his word Authoritative­ly? this is a very considerable question, but 'tis not ours at this time; so that this is not ad idem.

2ly. Yet as to the thing it self: Imposition of hands upon men set apart to office, was no Humane Invention; that, Sir, you know, it was Gods own appointment. But whether all that taught in the Synagogues were first Officers. 2. And those that had only mans authority for th eir Institution: 3. And these had admission by Imposition of hands. These are different questions, and here we must have Scripture-light to con­vince us; as for Mr. Selden, we regard him not, nor Scaliger, whatever he saith of our ignorance, which Quotation of yours out of him, I observed well when I read him. We are upon things that concern God; Humane Quotations, and so whatever you bring from Fathers and others, I look on them as a Cypher; as the Cypher may stand, it signifies much, and as it may stand, it signifies nothing. First give me a Scripture, then give me Humane testimony suitable to it, and it signi­fies much. Yea, if there be a Scripture not so clear and plain as some [Page 50]are, yet may fairly carry such a sense, and there be not another Scrip­ture that doth plainly oppose that sense, here the practise of the Churches next to the Apostles, and so long since, shall carry me into that sense. Which I desire the Reader to consider and judg of my opi­nion, because I shall make use of it afterwards; but all mens opinions, and Churches practises, without a Scripture, are but a Cypher before or without a figure to me, they signifie nothing. I know very well that Jews and Gentiles too have a nature that is cross to God in every Commandment; our enmity will not let any command escape, but even in his Instituted Worship where there is the least temptation, there it will shew it self, 'tis not handsome enough as God appoints it, un­less we like Apes may dress it. If Selden and Scaliger could have given us the practises of such a Church where this root of enmity was not, then I should have listned to them very much.

But to the Argument:

1. That all those who did teach in the Synagogues were Officers thus constituted, as Mr. Selden tells us, I suppose Mr. Falkner will not affirmit; the example of our Lord, Luk. 4.16, 17, &c. so of Paul, Act. 13.15, 16. shews the contrary. Grotius we can believe, for he speaks with the Scripture: De Im­por. p. 374 saith he, Notandum in synagogis Judaicis unicuique exercitato in sacris literis (erant autem ferme omnes, exceptis [...], Pag. 375. qui mos hodie apud nos viget) concessum fuisse sacras Li­teras Interpretari. Afterwards he gives us the difference between the Interpreters of the Law in the Synagogue, and of the Gospel in the Church: In synagoga docebant quotquot [...], habebant [...], in Ecclesia, probati quique, & honorem testimonio adopti ut Tertullia­nus loquitur, i.e. [...]. So that according to him they were not Ordained. The reasonof the difference he also giveth thus: Not only because the Preaching of the Gospel is of more moment than the ex­pounding of the Law, but because in the Christian Church the Preachers of the word are likewise dispensers of the Sacraments, but the Masters of the Synagogues administred no Sacraments, no not Circumcision. This is cross to Selden. I shall yield to Grotius, having Scripture on his side, the other not. All that teach in the Christian Church are Ordained; not so in the Synagogue.

2ly. Weems, exp. Cer. Law, 122. As to the Pharisees: all the Pharisees were not Teaching-Pha­risees; not Porushim but Parushim. Some were but Laick-Pharisees, as we may call them, saith VVeems. Now since all of them were not Teachers, and it is agreed by the Learned that many of the Priests and Levites were Pharisees; and Gerhard proves from several verses here, that these were such, no private persons, but persons in Office; and he with Beza and Hammond ground this Text and Command of Christ upon Numb. 11.16. they had Divine Institution.

3ly. Nor will we refuse to hear those who preach the Gospel soundly (as if they expounded the Law truly, Christ would have them heard) though we judg their Ordination mixed with corruption, or doubt whether they be rightly called; their Ordination being questi­oned, either because some are Ordained by such, who as such are no Officers of Christ; and others without Imposition of hands.

4ly. Dr. Lightfoot understands this Chair de Cathedra Legislativa, and tells us that Christ here asserts the Authority of the Magistrates, and exhorts to the obedience of them in lawful things. And Grotius seems to incline this way; and if so, this is not to the purpose.

His second Instance is, the habit of the Prophets; a rough or hairy garment.

Ans. But was this annexed and appropriated to Divine Worship? or was it that garment they wore daily, where ever they went? so a Minister in his Gown and Cassock, if you will make a civildi­stinction, I like it very well; but this touches not the question; for the Garments in the Synagogal Assemblies, out of Suetonius, we little regard them, if they were used for a Religious mystical signification (which doth not appear, and so reaches not the question); if so, you may tell us of the Fact, but our question is, de Jure.

His third Instance is, from the decent gestures commanded and used in Nehem. 8. & ch. 9 Standing up, &c.

Ans. We like decent gestures very well; and if that were all, we will stand up at the reading of the Law, of the Gospels and Epistles too; we shall make no difference, being all Divinely inspired. Yea, if that will content you, and our health will bear it, we will set uncovered too during the time of holy Worship; which in these times is so much in practise, and expected, over it was in Queen Elizabeth's time, though I do not like the ground of their uncovering; but the 52 Injunction shews it was their allowance and custom in Sermon-time to sit covered; else why do the Injunction require that at the naming of Jesus, men should uncover their heads? If they sate always uncovered, how could they answer this?

His last Instance, is their adding of Baptism, or washing, to Circum­cision, initiating their Proselytes.

Ans. I have read indeed of such a practise taken up in the latter time of the Jews, in imitation of Johns Baptism; but still, Sir, we want one thing, and this God approved of; how prove you that? quo jure? by what Divine warrant was it done? If you intended to show us your reading, that is one thing; but if you intended to convince us, you know this is not the way; for you do but prove the Jews had as carnal hearts as we, unless you can show us that what they did in Di­vine [Page 52]Worship was agreeable to that Rule, which is the Law to them, and to us, by which we must all be judged.

Next, Mr. Falkner comes to Natural Worship, and shows their cu­stoms about an Oath, which I shall take into consideration when I an­swer the Fr. Debate, where I find an argument against us from hence.

His next, the Rites (as he calls them) of Memorial, Stones set up by Samuel, Jacob, Joshua.

Ans. But how do these reach the question? If they at London will erect a Monument that Posterity may know where that sore Judgment of God (as Samuels was Mercy) in the deflagration of the City began. If Laban and Jacob will make a heap of stones in the place where they sware, though it may be neither Laban or Jacob ever came to the place again to see these stones, what are these to our question? so that of Joshua; what signification of an Oath is there in a stone lying on the ground? they may remember, that in this place Joshua made us swear. The stone serves for a Witness that there was such a part of Worship there celebrated. If Joshua had called men of other Nations to hear the Covenant, and witness what they sware, what would you make of those witnesses to force the question in hand?

The Stone was a witness on both sides, Josh. 24.27. for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us; as well as of their engagement to God. The Stone did not signifie the Oath.

His next Instance is in the use of sackcloth and ashes, &c.

Ans. But were these invented among the Jews, and used by them only in a Religious way, or were they common to others, Heathens as well as Jews, to show by a civil custom their submissions, fear, sor­row they were under, lying low before their superiors; or noting an afflicted state? The servants of Benhadad come to Ahab with sackcloth on their loins, 1 King. 20.31, 32. these were no Jews. The King of Nineveh, Jon. 3.8. cause men and beasts (more than we read of among the Jews that I remember) to be clothed with Sackcloth. God threa­tens Moab with Sackcloth, Jer. 48.37. The Prophet Joel in the name of God, Joel 1.13. calls to the Priests to lye in Sackcloth. Do but you show us as much for the questions in hand, and we shall be satisfied.

When Tamar, 2 Sam. 13.19. put ashes on her head, was it upon a Religious account? Who taught the Heathen King of Nineveh to sit in sackcloth and ashes? Jon. 3.6. did the Church of the Jews, and he obeyed them? Still these conclude not the question.

As for the indifferency of the things which Mr. Falkner next mentions, I shall leave that, till I have considered his other Scripture-arguments, for that I only regard.

He passeth on to the New Testament, where I see Mr. Carre, Dr. Stilling fleet, Mr. Falkner, and all of them agree in urging the Holy kiss, the Love-feasts; and Dr. Stillingfleet adds the Deaconess, which are alterable Rites, though Apostolical, and layed by, even by the Nonconformists.

But this still will not prove the question, unless you will do it thus: If we may detract from the word, then we may add to the word (both are forbidden) but you detract from the word. As indeed this is Omis­sion, the other is positive.

But I pray, Sir, do not you argue from our sin (if we be guilty) to justifie yours. For if they be indeed of Apostolical Institution, we will take them all up again.

For the Love-feasts, that they were of Apostolical Institution, espe­cially as joined to the Lords-Supper, I find nothing to perswade me to it. Feasting was a civil custom for the maintaining of love, long be­fore any of the Apostles were born. The Apostle finds them in use, but 1 Cor. 11.22, 34. he finds fault with them, and takes them away from the Lords Supper. Calvin and Beza both affirm the same. If some Churches did retain them, yet not all. Just. Mart. Apol. 2. giving us an account how they performed the worship of God on the Lords-day, makes no mention of this, though he doth of the Lords-Supper. And for Feasting after Tertullian's fashion, if we administer at noon time; the poor Nonconformists use to have the poor of the Church to dine with them. So that this reaches not me.

So for Kissing, men kissing men, and women kissing women, which you say was meant by their kissing, not men kissing women. This also was a civil custom a thousand of years before any Apostle was born; how then this should be called an Apostolical Constitution I cannot understand. Our civil custom is to give the right-hand, or the hand, and signifies the same that kissing doth; the Apostle modifies a civil custom of their own; and we stand obliged to the same duty the Apostle intends in it, even Love without Dissimulation.

For the Deaconess, if it were indeed an office required in all Churches, I think we have done ill to omit it. If the Council of Laodicea, Can. 11. did remove the Deaconesses, as some think, we regard no such Councils. The Churches of Bohemia did keep up that Office, as Co­menius relates.

That it was an office, properly so called, I question; The Deaco­ness was not ordained, as were all Church-officers, and that with Im­position of hands; they who omit Imposition of hands, let them an­swer it. Danaeus saith, Non tam fuit munus hoc publicum quam subsi­dium aliquod a Diaconis quaesitum, she was a help to the Deacon in such [Page 54]thing as were not comely for a Deacon to meddle in, if the Sisters of the Church were sick. As to this point, in Churches rightly consti­tuted, the Deacon takes so much care of the sick, though poor, that as to the Nurse, Food and Physick, there is no want, this I know by good experience. 2ly. Danaeus thinks they were helpful at their Love-feasts to wash, dress, &c. this end is easily answered, they being removed. The third was in the entertainment of strangers, washing of feet, as in those Countries was their custom; but in our Countries, where there is no such custom, wearing shoos as we do, and not so hot a Climate, and here all are Christians nomine tenus, that end and use is laid by. The first use then only remains, which is answered as I said before.

Dr. Stilling fleet, he tells us dipping in Baptism is out of practise.

Ans. It is but very lately then; a Gentleman told me he well re­membred the dipping of Infants; the Common-Prayer-Book doth not lay it by, but that leaves you to use it, or sprinkling. I thought Baptizing had been the command. Can there be no Baptizing but by dipping? will he affirm it, that the Baptizing of the three thousand in Act. 2. and the Jaylor and his Family, Act. 16. was by dipping? It is all one to me whether by dipping or pouring of water, Ezek. 36.25. What Mr. Falkner would gather from the praying and prophecying un­covered, 1 Cor. 11.4. I know not, it is our practise he knows, though I have seen a French Minister Preaching with his Hat on; would he have it that Paul from a private spirit did give this Rule contrary to the practise of other Churches who had used to pray and preach co­vered? For Order and Decency, which Mr. Falkner mentions, I never opposed it; nor doth this concern our question.

For the Decree mentioned in Act. 15 which Mr. Falkner produceth, if that had been well observed, much of our trouble might have been spared. The Apostles and Elders, with the direction of the Holy Ghost, Imposed only things necessary; that necessity was antecedaneous to the Decree, either necessary in themselves, as abstaining from fornication, &c. or necessary by a positive Law of God long in force, and which the weak believers could not understand to be repealed, nor did most I believe of them so see it, till the Temple it self, the Head of all was destroyed. The Apostle James at vers. 21. gives the reason, Moses (saith he) is read in the Synagogues every Sabbath-day; to hear Blood so often for bidden in Moses (yea this near to the seventh Command gi­ven to the Sons of Noah, Gen. 9.4. which Laws if a Heathen did not observe he was not permitted to live among the Israelites) and now to see the believing Gentiles eating of blood, &c. what a horrible offence had this been, and hinderance to the Gospel? Hence the things were [Page 55]first necessary, Ergo, the Decree; but not necessary only because of the Decree. Blessed Austin speaks very well to these Ceremonies, Epist. 19.

This is a good Rule for Imposers, Primum in uno quoque genere est mensura reliquorum, Impose only necessary things.

For those who refuse to eat blood at this day from that Decree, I think they err very much. Let them observe Levit. 17.11. the reason of the Command; and tell me whether they deny the blood which maketh atonement for our souls to be shed.

That Decree then commanded no positive duty, as our questions do, but a forbearance of some things in point of scandal, which God had forbidden.

The last Scripture I see Mr. Falkner mentions, is Christ his washing of Peters feet, a Jewish Paschal Rite.

Answ. As to the washing, being a thing in civil use in those Coun­tries, and not in ours, if the thing Christ intended in it to which we are strictly bound, will not serve, though we use not to wash feet ac­cording to the mode of those Countries, we will take up that also, ra­ther than omit any of his Institutions.

But that Christ used it as a Jewish Paschal Rite, that is another question, and brings me on to the consideration of an argument Mr. Carre and others out of Scaliger make use of to prove Christ his Con­formity to Jewish Ceremonies, as Christ his dipping the sop in the Cha­roseth, a sawce they made. His washings, &c.

Ans. Here would fall in several things to consider, but I must not meddle with them.

As to this Sop, Grotius and Maldonate deny that Christ dipped the Sop in the Charoseth, but in some other sawce at their common Sup­per. Yet I question whether they had any other Supper beside the Paschal Lamb; a whole Lamb would serve thirteen of us to sup well, though our Climate be colder; I see Piscator and Beza incline to my thoughts.

2ly. But if the sawce Charoseth were made of Cichory, Lettice, and other bitter herbs, as Scaliger saith, & aliis nescio quibus, and with him agree Capellus, then Christ kept to the Institution; for the Law was only general, for Bitternesses; but neither is this sawce yet pro­ved at Christs Table.

3ly. For washings, there were Civil, Religious, and superstitious washings; let Scaliger prove that Christ conformed to the Superstiti­ous washings: They did bless God for the washing of hands, and then washed their hands. We know how conformable Christ was to them in washing of hands, but this is washing of feet: More prorsus insolito, [Page 56]saith Gerhard Great debate there is among Divines when this wash­ing was, whether before, after, or in Supper time. Drusius finds such a knot here, that he that can untye it, shall be to him Magnus in Oculis.

4ly. This washing of Peter is recorded in Joh. 13.5. at that Supper; now what if that Supper were not the Paschal Supper? then all that Scaliger and Mr. Car with others have built upon it, falls to the ground.

I had my eye upon those words in the first verse, [...], before the feast of the Passover; which made me think the Sup­per mentioned in the 2. v. could not be the Passover; there being no­thing in those words from the first verse to the second verse to force a mans reason to conceive that those words, Supper being ended, in the second verse, to be meant of the Paschal Supper; but I was fearful to declare my thoughts, Gleanings out of Exodus 1. S. 19. till reading Dr. Lightfoot I found him fully of my mind, denying any Charoseth at this Supper, &c.

Having such a man on my side, I will prove his and my opinion as well as I can.

Our Bibles in the Margent refer us to Mat. 26.2. now to know what time that was John means, when he faith, before the Passover, Joh. 13.1. Matthew tells us, it was two days before the Feast of the Passover. So doth Mark 14. ch. 1. but where is Christ at this time two days before the Passover? Mark tells us, Ch. 14.3. at Bethany; neither Matthew nor Mark tell us whether it were Dinner or Supper, but that he sate at meat; but John tells us, Supper being ended.

2. While Christ is at Bethany, the chief Priest and Scribes were con­sulting how to take him, Mark 14.1, 2, 3. & Mat. 26.2, 3, 4, &c. now from this Supper goeth Judas unto them, who were now consulting to bargain, Mat. 26.14, 15.

3. I doubt not but there was some space of time between Judas bar­gain made with the Priests, and his delivering Christ up to them the Text is plain, Mat. 26.16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. So that he had not opportunity so soon as he had sold him, Luk. 22.6. He sought opportunity to betray him. But when then did he make his bargain? when Satan was entred into him, Luk. 22.3, 4, 5 when did Satan enter into him? After the sop Satan entred into him, Joh. 13.27. What Supper then was this at which Judas received the sop? not the Passover; for the Priests consulted how to take him two days before the Passover, while Christ is at Bethany; but the opportunity which he had been seeking to make good his bargain, he found it so soon as Christ had eaten the Passover, instituted his own Supper, and was gone forth; then that could not be the time he made his bargain; so the sop could not be at the Passover, for then you will make the time of his bargain and delivery to be almost the same, con­trary to both the Texts.

4. When Christ bad Judas, Joh. 13.27. That thou doest, do quickly; the Disciples thought the meaning was that Judas having the Bag, he bad him buy those things we have need of against the Feast, vers. 28, 29. What Feast was that? the Passover no question; so saith a Lapide, Ad emendum necessaria pro instante Pascate. But if this were the Pas­chal Supper at which Judas received the sop, then what need to buy against the Feast, when the Feast was past, and Christ knew he was now to die?

I see but two things that trouble me, but the same doubts are mo­ved by Gerhard, Maldonate, and a Lapide, who interpret this Sup­per of the Passover as others commonly do. To which doubts they have given answers, and their answers will serve me better, than if I should interpret it as they do of the Paschal Supper. As yet then Christ is no Conformist.

Having done with these men, now to our good friend the Author of the Friendly Debate, in whom I find something more, p. 102. he tells us, We use Ceremonies in Divine Worship, as in an Oath, laying the hand upon the Book, kissing the Testament, which are outward signs ac­companying swearing though they belong not to the essence of it.

A. 1. I have heard of some, and may be there are more than we are aware of, who will lay their hand on the Book, kiss it, and do it readily, because they think they do not swear, and so regard not what you say to them; but if you put them to lift up their hand, as we read in Scripture they did who sware, they would not do that, because then they thought they should swear indeed; though I do not justifie these persons in this, yet if an Oath be of consequence, it de­serves to be looked into. A Lawyer tells me he hath seen it, and a Gentleman tells me hath sworn in the Court by lifting up the hand; whether the Law binds only to this form of laying, &c. I know not, but I could never yet learn the meaning of this form of swearing. If the Christians did it in Chrysostom's time upon the Book of the Gospel, and the Jews upon the Book of the Law, as Mr. Falkner saith, to be sure we find the Scripture mentioning more than one Form of swear­ing. Sometime Abraham lifts up his hand, Gen. 14.22. another time we find him, bidding his servant put his hand under his thigh, Gen. 24.2. that is, my Master made me swear. Thus Israel makes Joseph, Gen. 47.29 31. put his hand under his thigh. So the giving the hand under Solo­mon, 1 Chron. 29.24. is by some interpreted, that the Princes sware unto Solomon; as we take the Oath of Allegiance to our King; the custom of several Countries is various in this point, in which we are indifferent; though I know some refuse to swear at all; unless it be by lifting up the hand; but the Scripture hath not so tyed us up, we see.

2ly. But that he saith these signs belong not to the essence of an Oath; certainly he is mistaken; these signs have a causal influence into the effect, the Oath. For, he that gives the Oath doth not swear; the person to whom the Oath is given, swears not by words; then take away these signs, and where is the Oath?

Again, p. 220, 221. He tells us of Ceremonies the Parliament appointed, and Ministers used in giving the solemn Oath and Covenant.

As first, Tho whole Congregation uncovered.

Ans. Then it seems they were not against decent gestures. It was in a solemn piece of Worship of God, at the administring of Baptism, the whole Congregation sit uncovered, and who opposes it?

2ly. Standing, and very meet, not to sit when they are thus deal­ing with God in such a solemn manner; we like reverent gestures well in these cases; the Parents stand at the Infants baptizing, there is a Covenant made.

3ly. It is the right hand; this and not the left, is attributed to God, Psal. 17.7. & Psal. 98.1. where it is not determined which hand in Scripture we will take, which hand our superiours please; but if ma­nuum fortior est dextra; why not that?

4ly. The hand must be bare; If the hand must be lifted up, let us see the hand, not the glove. If Vaninus were to swear, it may be he hath under his glove some writing that he owns no God at all, as he and his Disciples taught; so others might have something quite cross to the Covenant that did swear the contrary, be the Covenant never so holy and past dispute, as some did question this. These are but trifles.

But p. 106. he tells us, (and this is that which Mr. Falkner and all make use of, as an argument against us), The things commanded are in­different, and remain so after they are commanded in their own nature, no necessity put upon them. Upon which, to illustrate the strength of his argument, and show the Knavery of the non-conforming Ministers, (for they must be the persons in the Reddition whom he intends) he gives his Reader an elegant similitude, Part 1. pag. 107.

If you (saith he) who are a master in your family, will have your ser­vants come in to worship God at such a time in the Parlor, not in their Frocks, in which they rub'd your horses heels, but in their Liveries, this is but reasonable; it is indifferent in it self, all one to God whether the hours be ten or eleven, but you appoint Ten; whether in the Hall or Par­lour. If your servant would not come in at Ten, or into Parlor, (being thus indifferent) were not this servant guilty of contempt, and faulty? If your servants were such fools, and cannot understand common sense, they are the more to be pitied; but yet those Knaves that abused their [Page 59]simplicity, and instilled these principles, deserve to be punished, and put out of his service, &c. I leave you to apply this case, &c.

Ans. This apt similitude of the Frock, whereby the Fr. Deb. would illustrate the Knavery of the Nonconformists, puts me in mind of a sto­ry which a Conformist and neighbour-Minister told me, being about four years standing in the Colledg of Dublin, when the thing was done. A Laundress bringing home a Scholars Linnen, instead of his Surplice, leaves him a Smock, (I suppose unwittingly), Dr. Chappel was then Provost (if that be the title they give the Head) of the Col­ledg; if it were that Chappel, who was fellow of Christs Colledg in my time, he was a severe man indeed, and fit for Bishop Laud's pur­pose. The Bell ringing to Chappel early in Winter-time, the Lad puts on the Smock (and why not? for I suppose the significancy lyes in the whiteness) instead of the Surplice; when he comes into Chappel, the paultry boys were fain to stop their mouths with their Surplices till Service was done, lest they should laugh out-right; but when Ser­vice was finished, there was no little noise made in the Chappel. The Doctor hearing it, sent to know what the matter was? answer is re­turned; the Lad is sent for, he makes his excuse; but that would not serve his turn, the Lad was punished I forgot to ask the kind of punishment); as for the Smock, he sends for an Officer that belonged to the Kitchin, and caused a fire to be made, and there burnt the Smock. Had the Doctor ordered it to be burnt to Tinder, and not to ashes, he might have made as significant a Ceremony of it, though it was black, as his white Surplice was. And I may say of it as it is said of these Ceremonies, they are so set forth, that every man may under­stand what they mean.

I commend you Sir, this is like a Disputant, you have maintained Eartholomew-day very stoutly. But Sir,

The Nonconforming Ministers are not the Knaves, as your Reddition make them; they hate the Frock, it doth smell so of the Jades in the Stable at Rome; they will by no means come into the Parlor with the Frock; so that he that wears the Frock in the Parlor, is either the Fool or the Knave, according to your Logick.

2ly. We call them Knaves who cheat the persons with whom they deal. I do not call you Knave, I have learned more moralily than so, which you so much talk of; but that you have cheated your Reader, I shall make it appear.

1. With that piece of Sophistry called [...], here are Time, Place, and Livery, i. e. your Surplice, put together as if there were no difference, when as we deny it. Time and Place are but circum­stances, inseparable from the Worship of God; hence 'tis all one to us, [Page 60]whether nine, ten, or eleven of the Clock; whether in the Hall or Parlor; if it be best for edification, or conveniency of the Church, we are very indifferent; but the Livery hath a moral signification, or­dained by men for another end, to put us in mind of our Duty to God, and a means to stir up our dull minds to the performance of it.

2. Here is Ignoratio Elenchi, your similitude doth not touch the state of the question; the question speaks of one thing, and your simi­litude argues another.

That by this Livery you must understand some Ceremony, and if any, the Surplice, must be the Argutum, is plain, for that suits a Livery best; and something you would argue, as you declare when you bid the Reader make the Reddition. In this sense your similitude is very apt, it doth represent a Livery indeed, but I pray who gives this Livery? we can well distinguish between what comes through Rome, and that which is Romish. Why do you speak so against that Woman in Rev. 17. since you wear her Livery?

But to this indifferency, that the use of them is indifferent, I sup­pose you will not say; you declare your mind plain enough; They are indifferent, and so remain after they are commanded in their own nature, no necessity put upon them. To Mr. Falkner and this Author.

I pray tell us what Ceremony you can invent that is not indifferent in its own nature; tell us of one Ceremony that is necessary in its own nature.

1. All Gods Ceremonies were indifferent in their own nature, not one necessary; let but God recall his Positive Law, I will put on all the High Priests garments, and make use of any Vessels of the Temple, &c. Pray, Sir, name that Ceremony which in its own nature is morally good or evil.

2ly. Bread and Wine in the Lords Supper, as to their own nature are but indifferent, unless you will own Transubstantiation; his posi­tive Law make them necessary, both necessitate praecepti, & medii. When the Elements have served their use or end, the Sacrament's over, we eat and drink what remains, as other drink, &c. you make yours a means to edification, as well as Christ doth his; and so much necessity of command lye upon them, that all the Ministers (whom you call Knaves) that will not use them, be the Ministers never so able and ho­ly, they must be turned out of their Lords service by your verdict, as they are.

3ly. All the Popish Ceremonies are indifferent in their own nature, and may plead as much for the use of them all, as you do for yours. Yea, take their Pictures; being in a Papists house, I saw the Picture of a very Old man, I thought nothing of it, the Cloth, the Paint or [Page 61]Colours, the Effigies, the frame, were all indifferent in their nature; but when one told me that Picture was to represent the Ancient of Days, then I understood sin enough in it.

4ly. The Papists put no necessity upon their Ceremonies, as wit­ness their Master Lombard, that tells you Baptism, i. e. Water appli­ed in the Name, &c. the Elementum & Verbum, meeting together, make the Ordinance perfect without any Ceremony.

But since they are thus indifferent, as you say, and Mr. Carre blam­ing us for making a Schism, because of these, which he terms thus, Trifles, poor needless things, such as scarce come nigh to touch the fringe of Christs vesture. But to us they appear sinful; and did we not so apprehend the things imposed upon us, but that we might be ac­ceptable and pleasing to God in our Conformity to them, we protest in his presence who searcheth our hearts, and will judg both you and us, we would not stay one day from Conformity. The Question is, Whether you may better lay by these things, and not impose them, be­ing so indifferent, or may we better take them up, who at least suspect them to be sinful, and cannot with a clear conscience yield unto them?

Are we more guilty of schism that will not take up these things be­cause we apprehend them from the word to be sinful, or you, that will not lay them down, but impose them, though you say they are indif­ferent? I challenge Mr. Falkner and all the Conformists to answer it be­fore God.

If the things imposed be but indifferent, as all the Conformists say, then Mr. Falkner meets with an argument of the Nonconformists; it is urged saith Mr. Falkner, p. 434. No such indifferent things ought to be imposed, but to be made the matter of mutual forbearance, according to the duty charged upon Christians, Rom. 14. & 1 Cor. 8.

Here Mr. Falkner bestows about 32 Pages to take off the Argument, and to give us the mind of those Chapters.

It is very true, Sir, the argument hath been used by the old Non­conformists, and in particular I knew it urged by one, and the 13th v. of the 1 Cor. 8. pressed hard upon the Prelate Laud in his Visitation; to whom the Prelate gave this answer: True, when Paul was alone, and spake alone, thus he said; but would Paul have said so, if he had been in a Consistory with the rest of the Apostles? my friend made no reply, but held down his head, supposing thereby he might make the Prelate recall his words; this answer was becoming an Archbishop, and worthy of Laud! To be sure he silenced my friend.

Only this, Sir, let me say, they used the argument upon your Hypo­thesis, that the things are indifferent; but though we grant the things considered absolutely, or abstractedly in their own nature are indif­ferent; [Page 62]yet consider them in their use, we look on them as sinful.

To examine all that learned Mr. Falkner hath written, would be te­dious and needless, for I should yield to him in many things, had not the state of the question been mistaken.

Briefly therefore I will consider the case the Apostle had before him, and apply our case to it.

The Lord having in the old Law forbidden divers meats, and com­manded the observation of divers days, when Christ the substance, the body was come, these shadows vanished. Some Believers in Christ un­derstood this; they knew, though once they were under a Law, yet at this time they were indifferent, and so they knew their liberty. Others, because the Law was so express, the observation had been many hun­dred years, the words for ever added to those Laws, they could not yet understand what the stronger Christians did. The Apostle guided by the Spirit of Christ, chargeth these stronger Christians not to judg, despise, refuse, or offend these weaker Christians; but to receive them into their hearts, into Church-fellowship, and all Church communion, and not perplex their minds with those doubtful disputations or rea­sonings, but wait, and bear tenderly with them, till the Lord shall re­veal that truth also unto them.

For our case; the things in question are no necessary circumstances of Divine Worship, as time, place, &c. which are necessary atten­dants of Worship, and Antecedaneous to any act of mans will; but such as have their dependance upon mans pleasure only. Hence you tell us, you may change them when you please. Those things fell under the command of God; and so not these, unless as forbidden by the gene­ral Law of God, as those meats were by particular Laws. For a man, a creature, to institute a Doctrinal, Religious Ceremony, to teach men their duty they owe to God; ordain it as a mean to help, stir up their minds to their duty, and annex this to the worship of God; yea so as there must be no Divine Worship unless this Ceremony be used, it is such high boldness, it doth so touch the Lords Prerogative, and tacite­ly so charge him with defect of wisdom, as if he had not appointed means sufficient to teach his Creature, but we must supply his defect by adding to his word; that let superstition speak never so smoothly, as it always comes with some pious end in the mouth, it is no other but wretched impiety, not will we by the help of his Grace conform unto it.

You who tell us these things are indifferent, are yet so far from an­swering the Duty that Christ commands by the Apostle in these Chap­ters, i. e. to receive us, not to judg us, not to offend us, that in oppo­sition to the command, you thrust us out of the Lords work; you [Page 63]shut us out from the Sacraments; you excommunicate us, imprison us, and do what in you lye to destroy us both soul and body.

As to what you say, p. 410. quoting Mr. Thorndike, with whom you agree, It is not meant a bare displeasing of our Brother, but doing such actions which tend to occasion some to fall from Christianity, dis­gust Christian Religion, for which you quote the 15. v. Destroy not him, &c.

The first part in some sense I should yield; but for the latter part which carries this sense, that the destruction in the 15. v. was by making them to fall from Christianity, as if there were no other way to de­stroy them but that; I conceive humbly that your self with Mr. Thorn­dike, are both mistaken.

For that weak Christian might be strongly convinced that Christian Religion was true, though he could not as yet see the repealing of those Laws upon the reasons I gave before; yet through the unkind­ness, pride, cruelty of the stronger Christians who would judg, de­spise him, and not receive him unless he would eat the forbidden meats, as they did; and through their example, whom he saw to eat, he might be put upon a temptation to eat such meats too, not in faith, but with a doubtful conscience, and so doing, he was condemned accor­ding to the last verse. So their pride, unkindness, and example, did help to destroy their brother as much as in them lay.

Hence in the first verse of the Chapter, the Apostle charges them not to trouble such a one with doubtful disputations: [...], &c. Non cum­eo disputis, de usu li­bertatis quam non­dum potest intelligere, quod plus anxietatis & kaesitati­onis, rudi­bus animis parit, quàm utilitatis. Vatabl. In the last verse he ends with, He that doubteth, [...], is damned; so that he begins and ends with doubtfulness. Now had the weak Christian fallen off from the Faith, the weak Christian would not have eaten such meats doubtfully, and so bring himself under the danger of condemnation for so doing; for to be sure he would eat none of those meats which made him fall off from Christianity, be­cause he saw Christians eat them, there was no danger of his damning for eating with a doubting conscience; so that this implys, that he who eats with doubting, did yet hold his Christianity.

Thus have some by reason of that unkindness and severity in impo­sing these Laws upon us, been put upon Subscriptions with a doubtful Conscience in their temptations, and afterwards have met with that which hath stung them. This is the charity of your Church towards your brethren.

Nor doth that you say, p. 435. help it, viz. That these different practises had a peculiar respect to those times only, of the first dawn­ing of Christianity; for the Church afterwards in their Canons con­demned all those who observed those Mosaical Laws.

For we are under the same condition with those Christians who dare not eat the meat then, because they had been forbidden in the Law; so, nor dare we submit to your Humane Inventions in the Wor­ship of God, because they are forbidden in the general Law, Thou shalt not add, Deut. 12.32. They are not according to Christ, Col. 2.8. Christ put no such things into the Apostles Commission to Preach, Mat. 28. ult. So that with a doubtful conscience at least we must pra­ctise them, and what is next, we know.

Nor doth your obedience to authority help here, which so many are glad they have that starting hole to run into, and your self so much urge. Had these strong brethren in this, Rom. 14. been Princes, or Archbishops, and they should have commanded the weak brethren to have eat these meats, they had sinned in their command; nor were they bound to obey them with a doubtful conscience; to hazard amna­tion by obedience to superiors, is no good Divinity. Yet, Sir, we do give obedience, and will preach up obedience to Princes, as much as any other, only in the matters of God, he is the superior and supream­est, Nemini fit injuria, cui praponitur Deus.

For your next Section, pag. 442. where you labour to defend your Ceremonies, though they have been abused in a corrupt way of worship in Popery. As for this Section Mr. Falkner might have spared it; for Humane Doctrinal Ceremonies to be annexed to Gods own Institutions, we judg them sinful additions, intrenching upon the Sove­raignty, and flighting of the wisdom of Christ, though Rome had never known them; as if the wise holy God could not have appointed more Doctrinal Ceremonies, had he cared for them, as well as foolish sinful man; but since then these were and are still in the Popish wor­ship, and retained here when England threw off the Papal yoke, I will consider what he hath said, and but touch it briefly.

1. Rome then, as now it stands, is that Whore described Apoc. 17.1. this I doubt not; of this judgment were our English Bishops, the most learned of them; the Professors of Divinity in both Universities, and generally of our pious and learned men in this Nation, before our troubles began; and also of foreign Divines. Was it ever known that a chast Virgin, as the Church should be to Christ, 2 Cor. 11.2. would dress up her self with the reliques of a known Whore? Come out of her my people, Apoc. 18.4. this is not obedience to that call.

2ly. It seems very strange that when Gods own Institution came to be abused to Idolatry, as the Brazen Serpent, 2 King. 18.4. that must now be broken in pieces; and must a Humane Institution used in super­stitious worship, in an Idolatrous Church, be yet retained in a Re­formed Church?

I shall not write out his Argument at length.

1st. In Regeneration the bodies and souls once abused to the service of the Devil, Lust, Idols, may yet find acceptance with God, in serving of him.

Ans. A strange argument for a learned man! If so excellent a Creature as man, made after the Image of God, under a necessity of obedience to his Creator, being fallen from God, but by Gods rich mercy, the Obedience, Blood, and Sacrifice of Immanuel, and the re­newing of the holy Ghost, be accepted of God; Then a paultry hu­man Ceremony indifferent in its own nature, and no necessity for the use, if abused in an Idolatrous Church, may yet be retained in a chast Church, and the use of it acceptable to God. This Logick I understand not: Consequence denied. I could enlarge my answer, but will not.

2d. Arg. From single mersion, and threefold mersion in baptizm.

A. Was the water, so baptizing in water, a Human Ceremony and Invention, or Christs own Institution? For dipping in the water, or pouring of the water upon the person, your Church allow both, be­cause the word [...] signifie both. If any did dip thrice, denying the Trinity of persons to be of the same essence, that was their Here­sie: but if any did hold the Trinity of persons in the Unity of the essence, and yet would dip thrice, though I do not much like it, yet I should not condemn them of Heresie, the Text mentions nothing, whether once, or thrice. But prove Baptizing in water to be mans invention.

3ly. The Christians lawfully used those fountains where the Gentiles drew water for their Sacrifices, &c.

A. And why not? did the Heathen and Julian make those Foun­tains, or God make them for the use of Man and Beast? shall therefore an Idolater deprive the Christians of those which God made for the use and necessity of Man and Beast, What is sold in the shambles? 1 Cor. 12.25. But this you are to prove, if you will make an Argu­ment of it, that when the Idolaters had taken water out of those Fountains, carried it to their Idol Temples, made use of it in their Idol worship, that then the Christians would take that water, and baptize believers in it; though yet there is more to be said for them, than for your Ceremonies, because to baptize in water, was Christs Institution. For the fountains, Julian might have Dedicated the Land thereabouts to Idols, and Devils, as well as the Fountains, and so the Christians should be afraid to sow Corn to maintain Life.

4ly. We meet in their Churches or places they built, use their Bells, Tenths, for maintenance of Ministers. Ergo.

A. 1. For places. 1st. Place hath no moral signification, as your Ce­remonies. 2. Place is necessary, so not your Ceremonies. 3. Those places were built for the worship of the true God and Christ; though these blind Idolaters might also intend some Saint: But if they had been built only for the worship of a Saint, in imitation of the Hea­thens Demons, we would not meet in them, but done by them as Constantine did by the Idols Temples, razed some to the ground, and shut up others.

2. Bells. It seems you use them all the while you are reading Pray­ers, and worshipping God in your Surplice, the Bells are Chiming: I thought the Bells had done when worship began.

2. Something must be done to give notice to the people what time the worship of God begins; so the Bell doth this day; to morrow it calls the people to a meeting about Town-affairs

3. Bells have no moral signification in them, as your Ceremonies.

4. I believe few Bells in England, but have been cast since the throw­ing off Popery, to make them musical; and none use them for that end. No such musical tunes did I observe in Spain, but a confused jangling in time of Thunder.

3. Tenths, Ministers maintenance, have no moral signification, nor annexed to Divine Worship. The people tell you, Tenths are Leviti­cal, not Popish. Though, by their savour, twice we read of Tenths be­ing paid to God before the Levitical Law. But for maintenance, poor Nonconformists are not concern'd in this argument.

4 The Heathens lifted up their eyes when they worshipped their Idols, their gods, Sun, Moon, &c.

A. 1. Did the Heathen call a Convention, and there decree, That when men did worship God, they should lift up their eyes to heaven as your Convocation appointed these? or did Natures light teach them this gesture?

2. Were the Heathens the first that in worshipping of Idols lifted up their eyes to heaven? Did not Adam, Abel, and the Saints before the Flood; and Noah, Sem, &c. after it, lift up their eyes in their wor­shipping of God? If the Heathen will imitate the Church, must the Church lay by duty? because the Heathen worship Devils, therefore we must not worship God?

5 I dolatrous sacrifices were practised before the giving of the Law, yet God continued and commanded saerifices after the Law.

A. Your Argument speaks thus much: If the Devil will be Gods Ape, and hateful enemy, then God must have no worship; and every time the Devil imitates Gods worship, God must change his worship, and appoint new means of worship.

I pray Sir, did the Devil, or God first appoint Sacrifices? why may I not think the Devil understood something of the promised seed, and the meaning of the Sacrifices; and in the following Ages, in hatred and revenge against God, and hatred of souls, drew men to sacrifice to himself, not only beasts, but men, as being the best of Creatures, and so most acceptable Sacrifice, in the imitation of Isaac, that should have been sacrificed? and thus he got before God.

Sir, I pray do this: shew us where there were Ceremonies first in­vented by Idolators, depending only on their wills (as yours do, and you tell us you may change them when you please) these were used in idalatrous worship, and the Church of God translated those Cere­monies (I do not mean individual) from the idolatrous Temples into the worship of the holy and true God, and he approved of them. This you must prove, or else you speak not home to our Case.

The last thing Mr. Falkner brings, is the Testimony of worthy men about retaining some Ceremonies, &c. I only say, I honour the men; but I am of Mr. Falkner's opinion, that the holy Scriptures are the only unerring Rule, and I will willingly follow them; so men, where they follow Christ.

Several Distinctions about significant signs, Mr. Falkner makes; but I see not how any of them reach the Question, no not so much as one.

1. Here are signs depending only on the Wills of Men.

2. These signs are Instituted to Instruct us in our Duty towards God.

3. These are said to be helps for our Edification.

4. These signs are appropriated and annexed to the Worship of God. While we Administer his signs, we set up our signs.

5. He that useth not these signs, is turned out of the work of the Lord, and shall not worship the Lord.

I desire Mr. Falk would either from express Scripture, or neces­sary consequence from Scripture, or from the example of any holy and ordinary persons in Scripture approved by God; I say, I desire from either of these he would prove such signs in this manner Imposed. Did Moses ever dare to Institute one Exciting (which is one Distin­ction) sign, and annex it to the worship of God, more than he had in charge from God? yea and turn out those Priests that would not use it?

It is said of your Ceremonies, they are not Dark and Dumb, but so set forth, that every man may understand what they mean.

May every man understand, &c? truly I have known the Surplice a­bove fifty years, but never understood that the putting on a Sur­plice [Page 68]should properly signifie the Reverence we bear to God, and the high esteem of his ordinances, till Mr. Falk. told me so, p. 391. nor I believe did few Preists so understand it.

It seems then when you put off the Surplice, going into Pulpit, now you declare a lower esteem of God and his Ordinances

Others tell us, it signifies Purity; others Decency; it seems you are not agreed in the ends of your own inventions.

But for your exciting sign in the Cross; many thousands, if not millions of Children in England have been baptized with this sign. I pray Name but One of these that ever was Excited to fight under Christs Banner, by this sign. Reason is a word in which the Con­forming party glory much; all Learning and Reason they have en­grossed. I pray, Sir, shew us the Reason, how the moving of a Priests finger over an Infants Fore-head, in its Baptism, comes to have that efficacy to excite that Infant to fight under Christs Banner? How the Christians of old used the real sign of the Cross, I know (I do not go about to justifie or condemn their practise) but this is another thing, or shadow of a thing; no wonder though your own Mr. Carr calls your Ceremonies trifles, things of which come no good. Sure­ly, Sir, while you speak of the Reverence of God, we should show more Reverence to that Majesty, in being content with his Soveraign­ty and wisdom in his own Institutions, and not annex vain empty trifles to them, and turn out those men who will not submit unto them.

CHAP. III.

THE next thing required of us, is our subjection to the Ecclesia­stical Government, consisting of six distinct Officers (or more) that exercise Church-power; and holy Writ knows but one of them: In the Commonwealth none dare pretend to Office but only such as the King and the Law authorize and appoint; if there should be any other, their power and actions were null, invalid, and they liable to punishment. But in the Church men can be more bold. Here Dr. Stillingfleet's notion, if true, must help us, viz. That Christ hath ap­pointed or determined no form of Government in the Church, but left it to the chief Magistrates, or Church-governours to appoint the form, &c. the design of his Irenicon.

In that Iearned Piece there are several things I must yield to, as, That the power of Ordination is proper to the name [...], and not [...], p. 285. To which let me add what Mr. Samuel Smith, a Minister dead above 20 years since, told us, he with many others, be­ing [Page 69]at one time Ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough, the Bishop bad them all take notice, That he did not Ordain as Bishop, but as Pres­byter; this Mr. Smith would take his Oath to be true; yet Bishop Gauden told me, The power of Ordination was solely in the Bishop, and though Presbyters did impose hands with the Bishop, it was out of courte­sie. Thank you, Sir! I am not to meddle with this now. I presume he would defend this as well as he did the Jus Divinum of Episcopacy, in the several sheets that passed betwixt us upon the question; but whence then comes Reordination to the same office in the same Church? a thing unknown to Fathers, Councils, Papists, Lutherans, Calvinists, but only to this new Edition of Conformists.

2ly. I shall yield also to him in this, That it is not necessary there should be so many particular Churches as particular Congregations. And this is a question of great moment. Of this a word hereafter.

3ly. I agree also with him, That the power of Order and Jurisdicti­on is committed by Christ ex aequo, to all Ministers of the Gospel actu primo, or habitually, p. 197, 198, 275.

By this we may understand what he means by Church Governours in the Question. To which I shall speak but briefly, though I had prepa­red a larger discourse upon it. Three things then I would prove,

1. That Christ hath appointed a Form of Government in his Church.

2ly. I will shew what that form is, and this will prove the first.

3ly. That form is Jure Divino. Consequently if this Ecclesiastical Government which we are required to subject to, be not according to that Form, then I hope they will not blame us though we refuse to sub­ject unto it, as we would refuse subjection to one in the Commonwealth, who is not an Officer according to Law.

Professing withal for my self, and I dare say for all the Nonconformists in England, that if it can be made good that Christ hath appointed such a Government in his Church, we will most willingly subject unto it, being glad we are eased of such a burden. Pride shall never hinder us, though that be so much charged upon us.

For the first, the Doctor meets with several arguments that some have produced to prove there must be a Form appointed, and he answers them; but his answers do not satisfie. I had prepared a reply to his answers, but lay it by.

To their Arguments I would add one or two more.

First, if Christ hath determined no form of Government in his Church, then the Form may be Monarchical; and Bellarmine's argu­ment to prove it for the prevention of Schism, will carry it; a simili, saith he, &c. de Rom. Pontif. l. 1. c. 9. Dr. Stillingfleet might have [Page 70]spared the seventh Chapter of his Rational Account, wherein he labours to disprove the Jesuit, arguing for the Monarchical Form.

Kings are supream in all cases Ecclesiastical, says the Church of En­gland; the supream Magistrate may determine the Form, says Doctor Stillingfleet, then the Ten Kings may give their power to the Beast with­out any error.

A Pastor and a Deacon may serve at first, while believers are few; but when the Church is enlarged to a whole Nation, there must be another Form of Government, saith the Doctor, p. 180. Irenic. Go on, Sir; when the Church is enlarged to many Nations, there may be another Form; and why not then Monarchical? Christ having determined none, as the Doctor saith.

Above one thousand Presbyters in a Diocess may devolve the exer­cise of that power which Christ hath committed to them actu primo to one person, according to Dr. Stillingfleet; so may ten thousand as well, for ought I know, to one Bishop, and he may exercise it by his Arch-deacon, Chancellor, Commissaries, as well as now.

2ly. If God determine a Form of Government in the Jewish Church, then Christ in the Christian Church. Christs Kingly-Government in the heart, is secret, none can see that; his visible Government by which he is made known to the world, is known by his Ordinances, Govern­ment of his House, (as our Courts at Westminster, Sessions, and Assi­zes, shew our Kings Government) with the Profession of the Christi­an Faith, and conversation of Christians accordingly. He is faithful in his house, Heb. 3.6. that House is his Church, which he builds, not the Commonwealth; qua sic.

3ly. To determine a Form of Government, argues more Soveraignty, more Perfection, more Wisdom in the supream Governour, than to appoint only an unformed Government; as it were a meer materiae prima.

If a Prince give a Charter to a Corporation, a Patent to a Colony, he appoints the form of their Government. He that gives the form in other things, gives the perfection of the thing. Christs Form in the Church carries authority, and hath an awe upon the hearts of Belie­vers; this notion brings Christ in his wisdom and Soveraignty below an earthly Prince.

4ly. Dr. Stillingfleet hath affirmed Christ hath appointed a form of Government in his Church; for whereas the Jesuit is pleading for the Monarchical form of the Church-Government, because wise men have thought that to be best; the Doctor answers, What is this to the proving what Government Christ hath appointed in his Church? for that is the best Government of the Church, not which Philosophers and Politi­cians have thought best, but which our Saviour hath appointed in his word. [Page 71]Ration. Account, p. 464. then Christ hath appointed a form in his word, (and I hope that is Jure Divino) else the Jesuit is not answered. We need no more proof.

2. For the second Quest. What then is that form? A. I shall lay se­veral Propositions, and clear them by Scripture.

First Prop. In all Churches in the New Testament, where we read of Elders, we read of several Elders in one Church; we never read but of one Elder in a Church, that I call to mind.

1. In the Church of Jerusalem; one Church, but divers Elders, Act. 15.6, 23, v. & 16. ch. 4.

2ly. In the Church of the Romans, one Church, but several Elders, as Rom. 12.6, &c.

3ly. In the Church at Antioch, one Church, but more Elders, Act. 13.1.

4ly. In the Church of Corinth there were divers Elders, witness the Schism.

5ly. In the Church of Ephesus, divers Elders, Act. 20.17.

6ly. In the Church of Philippi were several Elders, Phil. 1.1. So Polycarpus's Epistle to the Church declares.

7ly. In the Church of the Colossians, several Elders, Col. 1.7. & 4.17. Epaphras, and Archippus, we are sure of; the Dutch say Onesi­mus also, from Ch. 4.9.

8ly. In the Church of the Thessalonians were several Elders, 1 Thes. 5.12. Let any man that opposes me produce one Church where there was but one single Pastor; though if it were so, it will not save us; for the Churches then had the Apostles living among them, and could help that single Pastor, if the Church were but new planted.

9ly. In Act 14.24. The Apostles ordained them Elders (not an Elder) in every Church. Mr. Thorndike, one of your own, joining this Text with Tit. 1.5. crosses Dr. Stillingfleet's gloss on the Text, i. e. saith the Doctor, no Church wanted an Elder, not that every Church had more Elders; but Mr. Thorndike thus, not meaning one Elder in a place, but Presbyteries, Colledg of Presbyters, with common advice to order the Churches planted in those cities. This agrees with the plain Gramar of the Text; 2. with eight examples I gave before; 3ly. The Syriack is full for our sense.

The Doctor while he labours to darken this Text, forgets himself strangely; for p. 239. He lays this for a foundation to clear the Aposto­lical practise viz. that the Apostles in framing Churches did observe the customs of the Jewish Synagogues. And p. 248. Having cleared that there was a peculiar form of Government in the Synagogues, and that the Apo­stles copied out the Government of the Christian Churches by them. Now [Page 72] p. 429. he tells us there were divers Rulers in a Synagogue, is evident from Act. 13.15. he supposes, Ten wise men did jointly concur for ruling the affairs of the Synagogue. p. 250. so many Elders to make a Bench. Strange the Doctor should forget his foundation!

For Act. 20.17. Dr. Stillingfleet, Dr. Hammond, with Irenaeus, darken that Text. I might have shown how cross Dr. Hammond and Irenaeus are one to another. Forsooth the Bishops of Asia (not only the Elders of Ephesus) were sent for according to Hammond. Grotius is clear against Hammond, de Imper. p. 343, 393.

But I should answer thus:

1. Consider how many miles Philippi was distant from Jerusalem, the way Paul sailed, &c. according to Bunting, who gives an account of all the miles from Port to Port that Paul sailed, it was two thousand one hundred and fifty six miles, if he mistake not.

2ly. Consider how many days between the Feast of Unleavened bread, and Pentecost, for Paul to sail these miles.

3ly. What time Paul set sail from Philippi.

4ly. How many days he stayed in several places, all which I had cast up.

5ly. When he came at Miletum, thirty days at least were spent, he had but twenty days; of these he stays eight days by the way; besides two days journey going and coming between Miletum and Ephesus, as they reckon it; from Miletum to Jerusalem 844 miles, according to Bunting; he stays at Philips house, Act. 21.8, 10. At Miletum, Act. 20.16. He hasted if possible, &c. yet now he sends for the Bishops of Asia; this is the fancy of that learned man.

Besides if he can prove that [...] in the 17 vers. and [...], and [...], v. 28. be words of the Plural Number, then his great learning may perswade us to something.

For his other notion on Phil. 1.1. the Jewish and Christian Bishop, Dr. Stillingfleet hath answered him. I add,

1. In matter of fact; one would think Chrysostom and Ambrose should know a little better than Dr. Hammond of yesterday, and they could have given other answers than they have done upon the Text.

2ly. When Paul, Phil. 4.15. saith, O ye Philippians; he means the same persons in Ch. 1.4. but if one in France should write to the French Church in London, would they write, O ye Londoners, they are but strangers, as the Jews in Philippi.

3. In the Church of Thessalonica there were Elders, 1 Thes. 5.12. but none Jewish Christian Bishops, 1 Thes. 1.9. These turned from Idols, &c. not so the Jews. So in Ephesus several Elders, but no Jewish distinct Elders, Ephes. 2.11, 12. make that clear.

I could give more answers.—

Prop. 2. The Elders in the Gospel-churches had all of them Ministe­rial power committed to them alike. I mean the ordinary teaching Elders. So Bishop Jewel, If it be a heresie to say that by the Scriptures of God, a Bishop and Priest are all one, then many of the Fathers (whom he menti­ons) yea Paul himself must be a Heretick. Dr. Stillingfleet hath yielded this, and we desire no more; the truth is the same if he be changed; this question Learned Pens have discussed, I let it alone.

Prop. 3. This equality of power which the Elders received from Christ did continue all the time the Apostles lived.

This I think Dr. Stillingfleet yields, p. 275. the Epistle of Clemens to the Corinthians after the Apostles time, and of Polycarpus to the Philippians, declare the same.

The Teachers, Act. 13.1, 2, 3. did Ordain; so several of the ancient and modern Divines, Lutherans and Calvinists, so understand it; there is a full definition of Ordination. If this were Peter's, see where is that Bishop, had there been an Apostle, he had been menti­oned.

The Church of Corinth ought to have Excommunicated the Incestu­ous person, though Paul had not sent to them, or here joined with them. Chrysostom on the Text speaks fully to the point.

Prop. 4. The number of the Elders increasing in the Church by rea­son of the increase of the Believers; One of these Elders, and most pro­bably that Elder which was first Ordained by the Apostles in the Church, had a Primacy, as to order and honour, but not as to power and jurisdicti­on over his fellow Elders.

The Text commands it, 1 Cor. 14. ult. Order must be, and where there is a Plurality, to avoid confusion there must be one.

If there be Twenty Justices of the Peace in a County, and the King add Ten more, it doth not alter the form of Government: At the Sessions one must be for order sake the Judg of the Sessions, and the other Justices do not devolve the exercise of their power upon him, nor hath he more power than the rest, every one exerts his own pow­er: So in the Parliament, a Speaker must be, but no superiority of power, nor devolving the exercise of the power of the other Members upon him: so it is in the Church.

That Eminent Servant of Christ, Mr. Thomas Hooker, alloweth of an Episcopus Humanus in the Consociation of Churches, to moderate the actions of the Assembly, to propound things to be agitated, to gather voices, to pronounce the Sentence which passed by common ap­probation. Reason and order saith he, forceth such a kind of pro­ceeding, Survey Chu. Disc. p. 1. Cap. 2. p. 22, 23. only the constan­cy of it he denies from experience. There is the pinch.

Prop. 5. This Primacy (I humbly conceive) did continue in that Elder, during his life, (unless for some default he were cast out by his fellow Elders) I shall wrangle with none of my brethren, nor differ from them in affection about it, but I shall ground my notion on the Angel of the Church, Apoc. 2. &c.

1st. The word doth not connote any superiority of power over the rest, no more than when the King wrote from Breda, or at any other time to the Speaker of the House of Lords, or Commons, or to the Judg of the Sessions, did or do argue any superiority of power, but only order; what Isidore saith of the word Angelus, Angelorum vox est nomen Officii, ne naturae,—cum mittuntur vocantur Angeli. So here, all Elders are sent, Rom. 10.15. if sent, then they are Angels. Su­periority of power among the ordinary teaching Elders, was the first step Antichrist took to get into his Chair.

2ly. The word is to be taken individually, not collectively. So fa­mous Reynolds against Hart, p. 314. So Beza, Piscator, Paraeus, and many others. The instances our brethren give to prove collectively, some do not prove it; others, as the Ram, the Goat in Daniel, the An­tichristian Beast, &c. in the Revel. I humbly conceive give away the Cause, (for there was ever one superiour in power), which I will not yield.

3ly. That this person was during life, &c. The Argument brought against it is no Scripture, but humane Prudence from experience: so Mr. Hooker. To which I say, keep out but superiority of power, and the danger is avoided: and no doubt while the Churches kept that out, this form of government carried on things very well. You cannot then charge me with being cross to Scripture in my opinion.

2ly. Since you cannot prove me so, then I prove my sense from the practice of the primitive Churches, of which we have the Histories, which to me is of great force in proving the sense of a Text, that seems very fair, and have no other Scripture to contradict that sense: how much the Histories of them speak of a single person, who is igno­rant? and that during life. Ambrose (or whoever it was, as ancient as he) in his Comment on the 4 Ephes. speaks home to the point, see Thes. Salmar. p. 3. p. 299.

3ly. By the Seven Epistles to the Churches, I find him in his Prima­cy, do you prove it was but for one or two Sessions, not during his life. Certainly that Angel was well known in the Church to whom Christ wrote: in some Churches commending him, in others discommending; though its true, the Epistles concerned the whole Church.

4ly. This Angel is not the Moderator in a consociation of Churches, as Reverend Mr. Hooker speaks of, whose constancy in the place may [Page 75]be bad, but the Primate among the Elders of one particular Church: so that his fear does not reach us.

Q. 3. For the Jus Divinum of this.

This form Dr. Stillingfleet cannot deny the Apostles did constitute in the Churches; but it seems the Apostolical practice, though they were guided by the Spirit of Christ, is not sufficient to make a Jus Di­vinum, a positive Law; for it is demanded.

1st. There was no positive Law for the change of the seventh-day Sabbath; but yet the Dr. tells us, the Apostolical practice is suffici­ent, for they were guided by an Infallible Spirit, p. 12, 13. If so, in a matter of far greater moment than in this, I hope, it is sufficient, the Dr. cannot deny it.

2ly. Dr. Stillingfleet denies the 18. Mat. 15, 16. proves Excommuni­cation: Then what positive Law hath he for Excommunications, Dea­cons, Ordination of Church-Officers?

3ly. The Apostolical form did best conduce to the end of Govern­ment, which the Dr. urges much against the Jesuit, Rat. Account, p. 462.

I pray compare that form then, and our form now; under which did, or do ignorance and prophaneness most abound?

4ly. If not so, then one great end of the Acts of the Apostles, which Oecumenius calls the Evangelium Spiritus sancti) is lost.

A Lapide in his Preface to that Book speaks excellently.

5ly. I set up this Form; you demand my authority; I answer, It was the Form they set up who were guided by an Infallible Spirit, and Christ owned the Form in writing to it. You set up your Form dif­ferent from it; I demand of you, shew me your authority, and see which is best.

6ly. If Apostolical practise be not sufficient, then you may to Rome for a Form, for ought I know, I know no stop.

As to the Author of the Book Samaritanism, I am sure the Author was nothing a-kin to the good Samaritan; for he shews himself a man of a vinegar-spirit, his discourse as to Church-Government, is built upon this foundation, That Form of Government which appeared for hundreds of years, first, only, and was de facto Instituted of God, that only hath Divine right to warrant it, p. 10, 11. In p. 37. I find this was Episcopacy, but this is very false; these three terms, first, only, and hundreds of years, are not found in Episcopacy. The first Gover­nours had power over Bishops and Archbishops, if any such Creatures were.

2ly. They were not the only Governours, for the Presbyters go­verned while the Apostles lived.

3ly. The first Governours did not last hundreds of years.

4ly. The first Government was not confined to a narrow Diocess, as Episcopacy was. In Augustine's time there were in one Province under Carthage of the Catholicks and Donatists above nine hundred Bishops, but their first Governours had all Nations for their Diocess, and that made their Government Apostolical. I am sure there is none such now.

Again, Presbyters were first before Bishops; witness your own Tribe, that tell the world, Episcopacy was set up to prevent Schism among Presbyters after the Schism in Corinth among the Presbyters.

According to this Author, there is no Government at all in the Church; for these three Terms are found in no form of Government now; therefore I leave him.

As for his fine language wherewith he courts us, as Jack-straws, Fools, Knaves, Peevish, &c. this Samaritans Oil and Wine, we bear it, the Disciple is not above his Master.

There is another Question of very great consequence, but for these times not so useful, therefore I will only state it, and give mens opi­nion about it, and leave it, though I had prepared something to speak to it.

Q. Whether every particular Congregation consisting of one teaching Elder, and a number of visible Christians, be a particular Church, accor­ding to the New Testament? or may not, yea, ought not several particular Congregations unite, to make up one particular Church?

By a Church I mean an Organical Church, invested with all the power and exercise of the Keys within it self, both quo ad actum pri­mum & secundum; such were the eight Churches I mentioned be­fore.

Learned and pious Ames, Med. Theol. l. 1. c. 39. tells us, That a Church in the New Testament is a Parochial Church; such a company or congregation as ordinarily meet in one place to worship God. (Sure I am that ordinarily there is but one teaching-Elder in such a Church.) And this Church hath as much power as the National Church of the Jews met together. Compare his 16 & 18 Theses; great use he makes of the words, [...], 1 Cor. 11.20. so doth a reverend Brother, who knew my opinion, quote it with a little warmth; but my good Bro­ther must prove there was but one Teaching-Elder in that Church, else his argument will be guilty of Ignoratio Elenchi; five answers more I would have given.

Mr. Tho. Hooker giving the true sense of Independency, saith, it imports thus much, Every particular congregation, rightly constituted, [Page 77]and compleated, hath sufficiency in it self to exercise all the Ordinances of Christ. Surv. Ch. Dis. part 2. pag. 80. But then it seems it must be compleated; and to this compleating are required a Pastor, Teacher, Ruling-Elder, Deacon, one at least of all these. So pag. 4. ib. and with­out these, though a particular Congregation may be called a true Church, as a man that hath but one eye, one arm or leg, may be still defined Animal rationale, as having a reasonable soul; yet he is but maimed, no intire man; such is that Church, pag. 2. Ibid. I pray how many such Congregations have we?

The Synod held at Boston in New England, Septemb. 10. 1679, the last year, pag. 10, 11. calling for a full supply of Officers in the Chur­ches, speak thus: ‘The defect of the Churches on this account is ve­ry lamentable, there being in most of the Churches only one Teach­ing Officer, for the burden of the whole Congregation to lye upon. The Lord Christ would not have instituted Pastors, Teachers, Ruling Elders (nor the Apostles have ordained Elders in every Church, Act. 14.23. Tit. 1.5.) if he had not seen there was need of them for the good of his people; and therefore for men to think they can do well enough without them, is both to break the second Com­mandment, and to reflect upon the wisdom of Christ, as if he did appoint unnecessary Officers in his Church.’ Thus the Synod.

Half the question then is gained, the Independents yield it, men wor­thy to be listned to, for they take up the word of God for their only Rule. I know there is a great question about the Ruling Elder, but I am not to meddle with it now.

Our Brethren of the Presbyterian judgment, I suppose, yield the question, they may and ought to unite, to make up one Governing Church; but I do not fully understand their meaning. Suppose twenty Parishes and Congregations that meet together to worship God, and twenty Ministers belonging to them, are these twenty Parishes di­stinct Churches as to Word and Sacraments, so that he that is Pastor in one Church, hath nothing to do in another Parish, as to feeding them with Word and Sacraments, but as to Government and Jurisdiction one Minister with the rest of the Classis have power over them all? if this be the meaning, I am not satisfied in it.

Dr. Stilling fleet hath declared his judgment, they may unite. I wish he had pleased to have opened his mind fully about it.

If he will yield but this, That constitution of a Church wherein a Pastor cannot possibly feed with Word and Sacraments, watch over and govern his flock according to Christ, be it Diocesan or Parochial, that constitution is not according to Christ, and consequently unlawful, (as Scripture-light, and nature's light will prove it) I should, it may be, come [Page 78]up to him, to perform our duty by Substitutes; this may please them who make their own brains, not Gods word, their rule, and such we little regard.

God hath now brought me to old age in my Pilgrimage; divers dis­putes about Church-work and Government I have read; absurd, un­scriptural practices in Churches I have seen; woful disorders and wret­ched effects I have heard and known; great scandal, but so circumstanced, that a single Pastor could not proceed by Mat. 18.15, &c. to remove it; I have met with one of the ablest Divines in England, and exercised in Government, was of the same opinion with me, all arising from this notion of a single Pastor with such a people making a Church; and all which mischiefs might be avoided, if the uniting of several particular Congregations into one particular Church were admitted, which Scripture-examples, and Scripture-reasons will sufficiently justifie.

CHAP. IV. Of SCHISM.

THere remains yet one thing to be spoken to, viz. the great crime of Schism, with which we are charged by the Fr. Deb. in his first and second Book very deeply; thus also Dr. Goodman, and this is the common language of them all, both in Pulpit and Press.

To which I would take liberty to speak more largely: That Schism in the Church is a great crime, is readily yielded by understanding men of all parties, and no party will own it, though they be guilty enough of it.

At this day all but Conformists are Schismaticks; but to the Prela­tical party this sin is a stranger; yea in the time of our troubles, when they were in France, and refused Communion with the French Prote­stant Churches, yet a Prelatical person was not then, nor can be guilty of Schism, but they were Schismaticks in France.

What is Schism? Dr. Goodman tells us, p. 112, 113. Schism is a voluntary separation of ones self without cause given, from that Christian Church whereof once he was a member.

He opens his Definition, p. 113, 114.

First, It is a separation, &c. i. e. ‘When a man shall refuse to join [Page 79] in the acts and exercises of Religion, used by such a society, and to submit to its authority. So he that refuseth Baptism, the Lords-Supper, or to submit to the censures of the Church.’ Thus he. But what he means by non-submission to the censures of the Church, I know not, for I know but few Nonconformists that are under the Censures of their Church: nor how it will agree with his second: which is,

2ly. It must be voluntary separation: So that Excommunicate per­sons are no Schismaticks.

3ly. It is separation from a particular Church.

4ly. Of which Church he was once a member, because Schism imports division, making two of that which was but one before.

But according to this opening of his definition, I pray Sir, tell us how you will prove us Schismaticks?

For take up your third head.

1. I pray tell us what is that particular Church you mean, Natio­nal, Diocesan, Parochial?

As for the National, I know not how you understand a National Church; for as I understand it, you cannot prove us Schismaticks.

For the Diocesan, you cannot prove us Schismaticks, unless the refu­sing to submit to Prelatical Government be Schism. (For the Sacra­ments belong not to a Diocesan Church quâ sic.) I suppose Dr. Good­man's judgment to be the same with the Doctor that kept the Act at the Commencement at Cambridg. I heard so much of one question, that I laboured much to get a view of it, but could not in our parts. A Conformist told me it was to this purpose, Recessio a regimine Episcopali, est mortale schisma; he told me, Damnabile schisma, as it was told him.

I say only this to it: As God gives up some men to monstrous lusts in practise, so he doth others to as monstrous opinions in judgment in these days. So that it must be meant the Parochial Church.

But, 2ly. I pray prove that we were members once of that particu­lar Church you mean. For the Diocesan, we deny any such Church (especially as your constitution is) to be according to Christs Instituti­on; and therefore were not, are not members of it.

For the Parochial Churches, I pray how are we members of them?

1. Not by our Baptism; if that were your meaning, I would soon give arguments to confute it.

2. Not by my dwelling within such a Parish-bounds; though I am for the Vicinity of Church-members, yet I was not so simple when I was in my Place, to think that all the people that dwelt within the bounds of the Parish where I was Minister, must own me for their Minister; as if a spot of ground measured out by a Civil constitution, [Page 80]must make a man a member of a Church, which as such is a spiritual and free society. I wish Dr. Goodman could convince all the Papists that dwell within these Parishes, that therefore they are members of the Church of England, or Schismaticks.

3. I know nothing but consent that constitutes any man a mem­ber of a Church; but that we never gave either to the Priests imposed upon us by a Patron, and a Prelate; nor to the Parochial Church, as you take Parochial.

Wherefore upon Dr. Goodman's definition I argue, where there was no union, there can be no Schism.

But between us and your Church there was no union: Ergo, no Schism; why then doth he charge us with it?

3ly. Suppose we were members, yet still you are to prove there was no cause given for our separation; which though you attempt to do, yet Sir, you must bring other manner of arguments than Rhetorical flourishes, and humane stories to convince us.

But one thing more: Why doth he tye up his definition to a parti­cular Church? I think a man may hold Communion with that parti­cular Church of which he is a member, and yet both he and that parti­cular Church too, may be guilty of Schism. So that his definition is too strait. I will give him more advantage, and let him take it.

I shall then give a description of Schism, and open it. Then I will lay down several Propositions tending to the clearing of the Question, who are the true Schismaticks.

Schism is a renting or dissolving that Ʋnion which Christ our Head requireth in his visible body.

To open it, I shall be short.

1st. That Christ hath a Body Natural and Mystical, or a body in a mystery, which is to him as his natural body, is known to all Christi­ans, Ephes 1.22. speaking of Christ, He is the head over all to the Church, v. 23. which is his body. This Head, and this Body, make up one Christ mystical, 1 Cor. 12.12. so is Christ.

2ly. This Body of Christ is but one; two Bodies joined to one Head, much more thousands, were monstrous. All the believers in all the particular Churches of the world make up but this one Body of Christ, [...], Ehes. 4 4. one body. So Rom. 12.4, 5. & 1 Cor. 12.12. so Revel. 19. & ch. 21. one Bride, one Wife.

3ly. This body hath its bands or ligaments, whereby the body is tyed to the Head, and the members one to another. For those to the Head I omit; the other concern me in this place, how the members are tyed one to another. Now these ligaments are first Internal; secondly, are External.

1. Internal: and they, 1. The blessed Spirit of Christ, Ephes. 4.4. One body and one spirit. so 1 Cor. 12.13. The second is love, Col. 3.14. Eph. 5.16.

2. The External bands are the Sacraments or Seals of the New Co­venant; whether Government be any thing, I shall touch afterwards.

But for the Sacraments, they are the bands of this visible body; they belong only to the members of this body; one Baptism, Ephes. 4.5. belong only to that one body, v. 4.

1 Cor. 11.17. We being many, are one bread, and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Hence Excommunication, in which men are cut off the Body, and rendered, durante hoc statu, as Heathens and Publicans, not visible members of Christ, is by casting them out of Communion with their Body in these Ordinances. In these Ordinances the visible members of the body declare that unity and internal band of love one to another.

Panis igitur fractio est unitatis, & dilectionis symbolum. Virtute hujus Sa­cramenti, con a lesci­mus, in u­num corpus invicem & cum Chri­sto. Par. in loc. Paraeus in loc. who quotes Chrysostom, and the practise of the old Christian Churches, how Christians in this Ordinance did manifest their unity and love.

A Christians love (I speak to the business in hand) is twofold.

1. There is a Christian love common to all.

2. There is a Christian Ecclesiastical love proper to some; as for Chri­stian love I am bound to manifest that to the bodies and souls of all, though Heathens. I will pray with Heathens, (a silly thing to turn Excommunicated persons from Prayer, which is Natural Worship) I will Preach to Heathens; I will exhort, reprove, encourage Heathens privately; to comfort a Heathen as a Christian, I cannot; else I call not to mind what effects of love I manifest to a Christian, but I will to a Heathen.

But for Christian Ecclesiastical love, manifested by Communion in these Symbols or signs, I will not manifest that to one Heathen, only to the members of this visible body, being one with them.

As for Episcopal Government, which Dr. Goodman, and this late Commencer adds,

First, I would thank either of them if they would give us a stout piece against Erastus and his followers.

2ly. If by Episcopal Government they mean such as now is among us, let them first prove it is of Divine Institution, which all the Commen­cers in Cambridg or Oxford shall never be able to do, so long as there is a Bible; and if they cannot do that, then where is the schism? It's rather our duty to separate from what is not of Christs planting in his house.

3ly. But let the Government be of Christs Institution, yet wherein doth that Government shew it self? among other things in letting in, or casting out of this body? by admitting or casting out from these Ordinances of the Sacraments? but that refusing, or separation from such Episcopal-Government, meerly as Episcopal, should be Mortale schisma, this is but the figment of the delirant-brain of a Prelatical Zealot.

2ly. This Schism is in the visible body of Christ. I hear there are schisms among you, 1 Cor. 11.8. the house of Cloe, 1 Cor. 1.11. saw them, who informed Paul. Schism it seems comes under the senses, then it must be in the visible body, when this body visibly met together.

By the visible body of Christ I understand all that make profession of their Faith in the Lord Jesus, and the Doctrine of the Gospel soundly, and do in their conversation visibly walk according to his Rules in his Gospel, so that their conversation do not openly be [...]ly and deny their profession, Tit. 1.16.

That the one body of Christ mentioned 1 Cor. 12.12. in which there ought to be no schism, v. 25. is meant the visible body of Christ, I think none will deny. So Rom. 12. & Ephes. 4.

1. It is such a body in which the Lord had set Apostles, Evangelists, 1 Cor. 12.18. Ephes. 4.11. such a body to which extraordinary gifts were given. But these were Apostles; not to one particular Church, but the Catholick Church visible.

2. One member is to suffer or rejoice with another, 1 Cor. 12.26. Ay, if it be a member and real member of our particular Church of Co­rinth; but for other Churches, and unless we are sure they are invisible members, let them go. Is this the meaning?

3. Are we baptized into a particular, or the Catholick Church? 1 Cor. 12.13. and Baptism belongs to the visible Church.

Other things I might mention, but I think it will not be denied.

3ly. When then that union our Lord and Head requireth in this his visible body is rent, dissolved; when Communion is denied among the members of it, contrary to his appointment.

Now Schism appears, when the internal band, Love, is broken, there is something of the nature, the root of the sin is in it, but that is hid. Men can hypocritically and vilely meet together, and hold communi­on in that Ordinance which holds forth unity and love, and have their hearts wretchedly divided one from another, this may be hid, as I said.

But Schism properly so called, is when the external band is broken; when communion in those symbols or signs, is denied on one side, or re­fused on the other side, without warrant from Christ; so that the [Page 83]members do not meet and hold their communion as they ought, but split into several pieces, opposite one to another, as if they were not members of that one body. Now Schism is apparent, Quia haec scissio maximè perficitur & apparet in debita communione Ecclesiastica recusan­da, id circo illa separatio, per appropriationem singularem recto vocatur, Schisma. Ames Consc.

Having opened our description for finding out the true Schismatical Church or Persons, let me give the Reader my mind under several Propositions.

First, I reassume that which I mentioned before, viz. the body of Christ is but one; and that Schism is found in the visible body.

2ly. This body being but one, hence then, that this one body comes to be divided into so many particular Churches, and meeting in so many particular places to celebrate the Sacrament, and the other In­stitutions of Christ, it is is but accidental, and not essential to this body, it being the consequent of that vast number which makes up this one body.

3ly. Such yet ought to be the Conformity of all these particular Churches unto the Gospel pattern, the Law and Rule of their Head, in their Faith and Doctrine, in their Worship and Discipline, in their conversation and practise, I may add, and constitutions, that where­ever the members of this body come, they may manifest their Ʋnity, and Christian Ecclesiastical love to and with those particular Churches, without any just scruple or doubt. It being not in the power of any particular Church to vary in the least from that Rule and Pattern their Lord and Head hath given them; for in so doing they deny him to be the Head, and make themselves the Head. The Head is to direct.

4ly. If any particular Church shall vary from that Pattern, and shall impose upon the members of this body, conditions of communion which our Head hath not imposed, and such as from the light of Scri­pture we cannot but apprehend as sinful, and yet will force them to subject to such conditions, or else no communion; that imposing Church is the schimatical Church, and the guilt of Schism lyes at their door; Let this Imposition be in Faith, Worship, Discipline, or Manners. Let the Church be Papal (if that be a Church), Episcopal, Presbyterian, Independent, Anabaptistical, Lutheran, Calvinist, no matter what, the Imposing party is the Schismatick. Why do you, how dare you if you be members of that Head, impose that upon the members of his Body, which himself hath not? we will not, we must not admit any other wisdom or will in things which concern him, but his own; if we may admit three things which vary from his Rule, we may admit three [Page 84]hundred, and turn him out from being Head. A great stir there is a­bout the power of the Church in circumstances of worship: If you mean inseparable circumstances, ordering them according to the gene­ral Rule our Head hath given, for the edification of the Church, I know no Nonconformist such a block as to deny it; but that the things imposed upon us as conditions of Communion in the Church of Eng­land (as you call it) are such, the former discourse hath sufficiently proved the contrary. Hence the Church-men of England are the Schismaticks.

5ly. It is an irrational thing that the Imposers of Conditions in things belonging to God, should be the sole Judges of the lawfulness of their Impositions.

First, Because there is but one word or Rule given, to which the Im­posers and Imposed are strictly bound, and the Imposed may understand that Rule as well and better than the Imposfers; else how the Prote­stant party will defend themselves against Rome (the Imposer) I know not; they suppose they understood it better than Rome, and so do you now think.

2ly. The Imposers have sin in them, and may sin; they are not In­fallible; therefore their Impositions must be judged by others.

3ly. If Imposers must be sole Judges, and we must obey because they impose, then never must the people of God obey the call to come out of Ba­bylon, Apoc. 18.4. for Imposing-Babylon being the sole Judg, will tell you, her Impositions are all lawful, and therefore you must obey.

6ly. Christ our Head no where requires, but rather forbids our holding Communion with that Church which Imposeth such things as conditions of Communion, which his members cannot subject to, but with a doubtful conscience, Rom. 14 23. [...]. He that doubteth is damned if he eat; but not, if because of doubting he dare not eat.

That there are some such giddy Christians who will find such excep­tions against any Church that they cannot communicate with a clear conscience, though there be no humane invention imposed, but only what Christ himself hath appointed, I do not deny; but then let the guilt of Schism lye at their door. But as to your Humane Injuncti­ons we cannot submit to them, but with a doubtful conscience at least.

7ly. There is great difference between a Church in which there are some corruptions, but no Imposition, and a Church where there is Im­pösition of Humane Inventions, not agreeable to the Word; with the first we would not doubt to communicate, but not with the second.

Hence for the examples brought against us out of the Scripture, where were corrupt Churches, but no command for separation, as under the Old Testament.

It's very true, how could they make a separation there from the Temple, and the Levitical Priesthood, without going expresly against the Word? Might they erect another Temple? Is there any such Temple under the Gospel?

For those in the New Testament:

1st. Their Churches were rightly constituted.

2ly. Their Pastors were rightly called.

3ly. Their Pastors sound in Doctrine; we do not read they were charged with unsoundness.

4ly. For outward scandalous sins we read of none in their Pastors.

5ly. Their members for the major part sound; though some parti­cular members were unsound in Doctrine and conversation, yet they were but few.

6ly. They had Christs Order and Discipline, as he appointed, to help themselves against those unsound and corrupt members.

Hence what cause was here for separation? what understanding man would scruple communion with these Churches, though there were some corruptions? Compare yours and these. But,

1st. Where was this Imposition of Humane Inventions in the Wor­ship of God? unless some few Schismaticks in the Church of Corinth, we do not find the Churches charged with mixing any thing of theirs in the Worship of God.

2ly. Which of those Churches had sworn to the Great God to re­form what was amiss in Doctrine, Worship, and Discipline, and then return to their vomit again?

8ly. Christ our Head may hold communion with his members living in corrupt Imposing Churches, and yet others of his members that see and know these corruptions, must not hold communion with them; still the Schism lyes upon the Imposer.

1st. Your Spiritual Courts having Excommunicated many gracious and sincere-hearted Christians, for what cause we know; a sad thing that such a solemn Ordinance should be so abused. But with these gra­cious Christians, Christ holds communion we are sure; and will not your Church therefore hold Communion with them?

2ly. Christ holds Communion with his people in Babylon, Apoc. 18.4. how were they made, and kept his people else? must we therefore hold Communion with Babylon?

3ly. Christ holds Communion with his people in the Lutheran Chur­ches, I doubt not; but if they impose upon you the Doctrine of the Ubiquity of Christs Humane Nature as a condition of Communion, will you hold Communion with them?

9ly. Persecution joined to Imposition upon the members of Christs [Page 86]body, what Christ never imposed, renders the sin of the Imposing-Church much greater; and refusing Communion with such a Persecu­ting Imposing Church is no Schism. If Christ doth give us leave to flee from one Persecuting City to another, where there is no Persecution, then if a City be a Persecuting City, by reason of a Persecuting Church, surely he doth not bind us to hold Communion with that Persecuting Church.

10ly. Though one particular Church cannot communicate with an­other particular Church, because of their corrupt Impositions, yet if that Church which cannot communicate with the other, will admit of those members of that Church who walk as become Christians in all other points, excepting those Imposed corruptions which at present they cannot see, being blinded with those deluding notions of indiffer­ency and circumstances, that Church cannot be charged with Schism, though they refuse communion with the Imposing Church; for we give communion to their members, only exclude their imposed corrupti­ons. I do not mean such members as voluntarily took that solemn Oath, &c. of reforming those corruptions, and now return to them again. I look on this as a greater sin; but for others I know several of our Churches would give them communion, (I do not say all will) but then how are we Schismaticks?

11ly. Particular Churches may be so corrupt both in Doctrine, Worship, and Conversation, that the sounder members not only may, but ought to separate from them to save their own souls from infection, and this is not Schism but Duty.

12ly. The case of those who are actual members of those Churches where these corruptions are, is different from those who are no mem­bers of such Churches; they have something else to do before they may separate.

13ly. If it be our sin to communicate with such as we know to be notoriously wicked, unless we follow the rule of Christ, Mat. 18.15, 16, &c. to seek the removal of them, or do not our duty to reform the Pastor, Cure of Church-Division, pag. 100. or remove him, as Mr. Baxtar tells us; How we shall com­municate without sin, though we had nothing else to trouble us, I know not: that many such come to the Sacraments, and who more boldly than they? we know; which way shall we reform them? the Curate hath no Juridical power. To the Spiritual Court must we go? To the Diocesan must we go? we are like to mend it; carry Witnesses, how many miles? when yet the power we cannot own to be of Christ. When all is done, have a Writ upon our backs to bring us to the com­mon Law, and what then?

Whence to conclude, they have dealt unworthily by us, who bring [Page 87]the old Nonconformists against us, to condemn us, as if the state of this Church were the same with the true Church of England.

POSTSCRIPT.

AFTER I had finished, I met with a Pamphlet, Entituled, The reason of Episcopal Inspection asserted, in a Sermon at a Vesitation in Cambridg, by John Templer, D. D.

The scope of the Sermon is to prove the Divine Right of Prelacy over Elders and Congregations. And that the Author might shew himself to be a true Son of the Church, he hath given sufficient proof in every particular. For the Liturgy, that is so perfect, that he saith, the most accuminated Intellect is not able with justice to charge it with any error, p. 18. All then the old Nonconformists, Parker, Ames, Bradshaw, Cartwright, Richardson, Didoclavius, &c. together with the latter Nonconformists, who were appointed with others by the Kings com­mand, to review the Liturgy, and have given an account what things in it were to be corrected; Calvin also, for saying he found in it some Tolerabiles Ineptiae, are all by this accuminated Doctor, dub'd for so many Dunces. They must be men of higher Acumens than these, that can find any just cause against it; these have said nothing considera­ble. But whatever be the opinion of this Author, yet Mr. Jeans, a man of an acute Intellect, one of their own, and as great a Zealot once as he can be, confesseth when he intended to write in defence of the Discipline and Ceremonies, when he read these mens Books, he found such arguments in them as were never answered, and thereupon layed by his Pen, his judgment being quickly altered; but if you be a person of a more accuminated Intellect, why did you not answer those dull fellows, and therein do us a kindness, that we might have conform­ed as well as you?

He tells the Reader, p. 17. If this order (of Prelacy) had a period, the Dissenters would never pitch upon any one way.

A. 1. The same saith the old Gentleman at Rome; these Dissenting Protestants cannot pitch upon one way. Hence no period must be put to the Papal Government

2ly. You were very cunning, Sir, to pitch upon the warm side of the hedg, thereby to save your selves from persecution, and keep your fat Livings; then cry up obedience to Governours; pity the [Page 88]Martyrs had no better Intellects to have taken this course too, and so have saved their stakes!

3. If men would lay by their self-interests, we might sooner pitch upon one way; but so long as he sits at Rome, and the Jews are un­called, I look but for little of this unity in the Gentile-Churches.

But to the main scope of his Sermon: Had it been to prove the Divine Right of an Episcopus Praeses (or Primus Presbyter, as Ambrose calls a Bishop) with the Presbytery or Ecclesiastical Senate, I should not have been his opposer; but it is an Episcopus Princeps, and that not with, but over the Presbytery, superiour in power, which he con­tends for; how strongly proved, we shall see.

His Text was, Act. 15.36. Paul said to Barnabas, Let us go again, and visit our Brethren, &c.

That the Doctor intended out of this Text to prove such a Visitation as was then when he Preached, and so in England when Bishops visit, I presume; else he deceived him to whom he dedicates it, and the four Doctors that Licensed it. See how the Text will force it.

The Proposition or Antecedent is this: Paul and Barnabas, two Apostles, Act. 14.14. Persons of extraordinary mission, commission, and qualifications for the office, having by their Preaching converted many people from Heathenism to the Faith of Christ, gathered them into Churches, and set Elders over them. These Elders and Churches being but all young Converts, and through the relicts of corruption in them, and the malice of Satan and his Emissaries without them, be­ing in danger to miscarry in Doctrine or manners, these two Apostles go to visit the Churches, which they had planted.

Therefore one Prelate but of ordinary mission, commission and quali­fication, that never converted one Church, (may be not one person in truth), shall have power over many Elders and Congregations where he never Preached; over so many, that if he Preached every Lords­day, he could not preach once in a year to them; yea so many, that if he Preached every day in the year, he could not preach once in a year to them, (some Diocesses are so large.) This consequent from such an Antecedent, my dull Intellect cannot reach I deny the Conse­quence.

What might be said, I foresee, and would have prevented it, but I am in a Postscript, and so can only touch things as I pass.

Arguments he fetches from three Topicks, to prove the superiority of one single person over other Elders.

1. From Reason, p. 23. Though the Ʋniversal Church be built upon a Rock, yet particular Churches are subject to Dilapidations, &c. Ergo.

A. In matters belonging to the House of God, I thought the will [Page 89]of him that built the House, and is Lord over it, should first have been consulted: His will hath reason in it, we are sure; but for our reasons, they will put no end to the debate, for one thinks his reason is as good as another, Quot capita, tot sententiae It is Instituted worship we are up­on, depending upon the positive command of the Law giver. But however I deny your consequence: And that,

1st. Mr. Baxter Church-History, gives suf­ficient proof. From the woful experience the Church hath found of your Re­pairers; these having been as great causes of the Dilapidations, as any other. That Bishops have been both great Schismaticks and Hereticks, Bellarmine will tell you. What woful work these have made in the Church of England in our time, we do still remember; but I will spare names, let them alone in their graves. Musculus (not an English Nonconformist) from the experience the Church had found of the mis­chiefs it suffered by these Repairers, Musc. loc. Commun. p. 195. sound out to prevent and heal Schism, as Hierom tells us, saith, Had Hierom lived to these days to see how this counsel of setting up the Bishop above the Presbyter hath profited the Church, he would have acknowledged it was not the counsel of the Holy Ghost to take away Schism, as was pretended, but the counsel of the De­vil, &c. Thus he, with much more he adds.

2ly. There are other means to repair, without such Prelacy, as expe­rience hath proved in several Churches, where Heresie and Schism have either been kept out, or healed when crept in; Profaneness suppressed better than ever it was in England by Prelacy.

3ly. That one Prelate is as subject to corruption in Doctrine, and conversation, as other Ministers; and who shall repair him? the Pres­byters being inferior to him, they must not be so sawcy; that kind of Creature whom you call the Metropolitan, is as subject to corrup­tion, as the other Prelate.

As to the proof you give, p. 26, 27. There is a greater probability of an union of judgments, when all within a certain precinct lye under an obligation to be determined by the reason of one, &c.

A. I thank you for this, saith the now Pope Innocent; this helps to strengthen my old worm-eaten Chair, weak in the joints, and ready to crack. Heresie and Schism must be avoided in the Ʋniversal Church, as well as in the Church in your Precinct; but if the Bishops in your several Precincts differ in their Judgments about Heresie and Schism as they have done, and will do, now what more probable way for union of Judgments, than to have them lye under an obligation to be determined by the reason of one; and who should that one be, but my self? this is but the same reason that Bellarmine hath given for Pontifex Maximus.

2ly. In one Diocess are some hundreds of Elders, all having the power of Jurisdiction ex aquo from Christ, as the Learned Dr. Stil­lingfleet [Page 90]hath proved; but however, if this Doctor deny it, among these there may be many as godly men, of as solid reason and judgment, as is this one Prelate, yea it may be excel him in all, and in years his Elder too; yet all these must have their reasons and judgments subject to the determination of the reason of that one Prelate. I shall not applaud him for a man of an accuminated Intellect, that shall assert such an irrational Proposition.

2. His second Topick is Gods Declaration for the perpetuity of Apo­stolical Government, which was over other Elders and Congregations, p. 28. Yea, Sir, this is of moment, if you can carry it.

First Text, Mat. 28.20. Teach, baptize, instruct all Nations to ob­serve whatsoever was commanded them I pray add this, And he com­manded them to teach That one Prelate, while the Church stands, should have superior power over other Elders and Congregations, then you do something.

Because you mention commands for Government, name two or three Texts to stop the mouths of these Erastians.

But to the Text. It is not for nothing that our Lord while he menti­on, Teaching, Baptizing, and under this the Lords Supper; yet saith nothing of Government. Surely he had a reason for it.

2. I yield from the Apostles and other Elders, Government recor­ded in the Scripture, that Government belongs to the Eldership (with the Erastians leave) but from hence to infer that because the Apostles did exercise power over other Elders, Ergo, now one Prelate over other Elders: I shall deny the Consequence.

For, 1. you tell us, p. 25. It's true the Ʋnction whereby they were qualified for it, was not of the vulgar composition.

But say I, the Unction these Prelates have, is but of the vulgar composition. Hence to argue from extraordinary to ordinary, is a kind of fallacy, a kin to [...].

They that exercise Government over other Governours (as all Elders are) had need be in Wisdom, Learning, Holiness, and fitness for Go­vernment, as Saul among his brethren, higher by head and shoulders; so were the Apostles and Evangelists above those Elders over whom they exercised Authority. We find no such things amongst the men of the vulgar Ʋnction.

2. Those Elders, as well as the people, were the Aposties Converts: these being but newly brought home to the Faith, well may their Fa­thers have power over them, and cause enough to visit them; the case is not so here.

3ly. When the Apostles come to deal with the ordinary Elders, there is no intimation left of any such power of one Prelate over the rest. You tell us p. 45. that Timothy was Ordained Bishop of Ephesus [Page 91]about the 13th. year of Claudius. I hope you will not force it from 1 Tim. 1.3. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus. He must have an illuminated Intellect indeed, who can force the ordination of a Bishop out of these words. Besides, certainly had he been Bishop there, Paul need not have besought him to be resident there; but however sure I am, he must be ordained before Pauls journey to Jerusalem Acts 20. for he tells Timothy, 1 Tim. 3.14. he hoped to come unto him shortly, but Act. 20.25. when he sent for the Elders of Ephesus, he tells them they shall see his face no more. If Timothy then were Bishop of Ephesus be­fore this time, then he was there now, and was now sent for, which I shall never believe, that Paul would not mention him in particular, whose Name he uses to joyn with his in several Epistles. But if Timothy did come with the other Elders, here is no difference made of this Pre­late from the other Elders, but 28. ver. he gives the same alike to them all. Therefore I deny your Consequence. If Timothy were Bishop of phesus, what need Paul tell him, in his second Epistle to him, Chap. 4.12. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus? he might have spared that line, for Timothy must needs know it, if he came to him there.

But you add, for a further Confirmation, p. 28. the words of Christ, Joh. 20.21. As my Father sent me, so I send you. But the Commission of Christ as an Apostle, did undoubtedly extend to a superin­tendency over the Clergy, and the particle [...] justifie the same, as to the Apostles, &c.

A. Undoubtedly Christs Commission did extend as you say, with­out limiting it to any precincts, which you tell us several times the Apostles were, and especially in p. 6. you would labour to prove it from 2 Cor. 10.16. [Though that Text I conceive will not do it.] But if the particle [...] will force their superintendency over the Clergy, it will as well force it, without limitation to such precincts; for his Father did not so send him, and how their Commission runs, we read. But I shall not give my thoughts about this now; you tell us, pag. 34. that among the Bishops, Peter leads the Van in the Church of Antioch. [Pope Innocent, this does not make for you: I pray tell us in your next, in which Church did Paul lead the Van among the Bi­shops.] But if Peter were Bishop at Antioch, indeed Paul went beyond his Precinct, when he dealt so roundly with a Bishop in his own See, as he did with this Bishop of Antioch, Gal. 2.11.14.

2ly. I conceive you stretch this Text beyond the intent of our Lord. For the work which our Lord undertook, he had a Call from his Fa­ther, who sent him, Heb. 5.4. Joh. 6.27. and 10.36. His Father had Authority to send him, and was with him, Joh. 16.32. So he the Head and King of his Church, having all power given to him in Hea­ven [Page 92]and in Earth, Math. 28.18. had Authority to send forth his Apo­stles to their work; they might show their Commissions, or Credenti­als. He promised also to be with them and their Successors to the end: and I think all Gospel-Ministers are their Successors: but that the Lord intended in these words the setling of a Superiority of one person above his brethren in the Ministry to the end of the world this is but Petitio pincipii, your gloss, and I deny it, for the Reasons and Scriptures before mentioned.

3ly. Those Apostles had Superiority over Bishops, if there were such then, as you say there were, yea, Arch-Bishops; who is now over them?

His third Text is Eph 4.12, 13. Apostles were given and their Suf­fregans [as you call them] Prophets and Evangelists, for the perfect­ing of the Saints, hence pag. 30. you conclude, for the duration of Pro­phets and Evangelists to this day.

Thus then we have to this day Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists, in the sense of this Text [unless he will abuse the Text:] a rare sight: I would go many miles to see such persons; and to their Superiority willingly submit.

Calvin, Gerhard, Beza, Zanchi, the Leyden Professors, &c. tell us these were Ministri extraordinarii & Temporarii; but they were men of no Acuminated Intellects, their judgements signifie little.

Well Sir, what Apostles were, you tell us not, neither need you, we know them well: but where you can find such, I know not: but such you must find, if your proof hold.

For the Prophets you tell us, they were such as had an excellent skill to preach the Gospel out of the Books of the Old Testament, 1 Cor. 13.2. Evangelical Doctrines locked up in the Figures of the Law, and Predicti­ons of the Prophets.

If this were all, we shall find many such Prophets amongst the Non­conformists. But, Sir, you have spoken very short of the Prophets; Dr. Hammond, Zanchy, and Gerhard, add two things more.

1. A foretelling things to come. 2ly. They spake all from the Spirit, from a Divine Afflatus. These three are somewhat like, I pray shew us these Prophets now.

The Evangelists you tell us, are such as had a profound insight into the Gospel, as contained in the Writings of the New-Testament: and could with singular dexterity open and explain its true importance.

Such there are also amongst the Nonconformists.

But Sir, what if there were Evangelists, before there was any part of the New-Testament writtens how then does your description agree?

I question not, if the Ancients say true of the time when John wrote [Page 93]his Gospel, but Timothy was an Evangelist long before: and in that Gospel are the deep Mysteries contained, more than in the other three. If the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, were the first Epistle that Paul wrote, as Divines generally think, Timothy is joyned with Paul in the 1. ver. so that very little was written when he first was made an Evangelist; I see by some of your own, and those Learned men, Philip was an Evangelist when he preached the Gospel at Samaria, and wrought Miracles, Acts 8.5, 6, 7. but at that time no part of the New Testament was written. For Matthew wrote first, and that was eight years after the Ascension as our Divines for the generality of them agree.

But for the Evangelists, Eusebius, l. 3. Chap. 37. a fitter man to tell us what an Evangelist was, than you, gives us another description, and that which agrees with Philip in Acts 8.5, 6, 7. and other Scriptures; I shall note only these.

1. That they watered the Churches, every where planted by the Apostles.

2. They preached Christ to them, which as yet heard not of the Doctrine of Christ

3. Having planted the Faith in new and strange places, they ordained there other Pastors, committing to them the Tillage of the new ground, pressing themselves to other People and Countries.

4. By the power of the Holy Ghost they wrought miraculously.

Show us these Evangelists now.

His last Text is, 1 Tim. 6.14. Keep the Commandments until the ap­pearing of the Lord Jesus, &c.

A. 1. By the appearing of the Lord, &c. exitus vitae is meant, thinks Austin, and some others. But if not, yet this appearing is an Ar­gument used not only to Timothy, but to all Christians, to look to their duty, Col. 3.4 Tit. 2.13. 1. Pet. 17.

2. What Commandment this was, if we well observe the 11. and 13. ver. going before, we may well guess

3. If you refer it to his Office as you do, and would thence infer the perpetuity of his Office to the Worlds end: I deny that to be the meaning.

For, when the Apostle charges him, 2 Tim. 4.5. do the work of an Evangelist, &c. there the word Evangelist is taken in the same sense with Eph. 4 11. not only Calvin, and Gerhard, but Scultetus, though an Episcopal man, yieldeth, and it were absurd to think otherwise.

But that Timothy in the 1. Epistle Chap. 1.3. should be ordained a Bishop as you say, and long after this charged to do the work of an Evangelist, they must have dull Intellects indeed, that know nothing of an Evangelist, and a Bishop who beelieve it: The Evangelist being one [Page 94]fixed to no place, and had the power of Miracles, as Eusebius and the Scriptures testifie.

This was a Commandment so incumbent upon Timothy, that his Sal­vation or miscarrying was concerned in it, as he performed it, and so it is true of all Ministers; but for an Evangelist, the French Church, the Low Countries, Scotland, New-England, [where Mr. Eliot hath more right of Superiority over the Churches of the Indians, than any Pre­late in the World, yet would detest your Doctrine] nor any Churches that I know of, own an Evangelist.

As yet then the proof fails. Thus we find in Clemens Epistle to the Corinthians, a Metropolitan Church (forsooth) there is no mention made of any such Prelate. But pag. 2.62, 69. and 73. especially, he mentions only Elders without any distinction. A Bishop being but Primus Presbyter, Primi Presbyte­ri, Episco­pi, appella­bantur, Ambros. in 4 Eph. as Ambrose calls him, it may stand with Episcopus Prae­ses. Thus Polycarpus in his Epistle to the Church in Philippi, another Metropolis, saith Dr. Hammond; there is no menion of any such Pre­late, but pag. 18. he exhorts them to be subject to the Elders and Deacons, answering to Paul, Phil. 1.1.

For Timothy's being twice ordained, and [...], mentioned 1 Tim. 4.14. which you would have understood of Prophets, &c p. 45, 46.

What you aim at, in Timothy's twice Ordination, I know not; whe­ther that we may be twice ordained, though first by Presbyters: let it first be proved that Timothy was twice ordained to the same Office.

Timothy first ordained by the Apostle himself, you say, 2 Tim. 1.6. I pray Sir to what Office? say, and prove from Divine Writ.

If the second time ordained, not to an inferiour Office I hope; the first Ordination by an Apostle, the second to a higher Office by Infe­riour Officers. I pray when was he ordained an Evangelist?

Nor does your notion of [...], take, to be meant of any other Prophets different from Paul; for we know that Paul excelled in all gifts, 1 Cor. 14.18. as of Tongues, so no question of Prophesie. Why therefore Paul might not be He to whom the Spirit revealed this con­cerning Timothy; as yet so young, and so to take him along for his Com­panion, give us a Reason, for it seems there was a [...] given, 1 Tim. 4.14 [...] and in 2 Tim. 1.6 he bids him stir up the [...], which was in him, [...]. That the Apostles did convey gifts we know, by their imposing of hands; though the Pres­bitery joyned with the Apostle in his Ordination; and so I know not a­bove One Ordination that ever Timothy had, and that to an Evangelist.

His third and last Topick to prove the Superiority of this Prelate is, the practise of the universal Church, pag. 42. To which add his saying, pag. 53. As for Prelacy; [the Essence whereof lyes in a Superiority of an [Page 95]Ecclesiastical person over Elders in a certain precinct]: it was ever owned by the Church as agreeable to the Canon of Scripture.

Sir, did you deliver this in the Pulpit, for a Truth, where be sure no man ought to speak any thing but Truth?

Have not you read Austins Epistle to Hierom, Epistle 18. in which Austin writes thus to him, Quanquam enim secundum honorum Vocabula quae jam Ecclesiae usus obtinuit Episcopatus Presbyterio major est, &c. Surely you have read Hieroms Comment upon Tit. 1. Episcopi noverint se magis consuetudine, quam Dispositionis Dominicae veritate Presbyteris esse majores. To which A. B. Anselm subscribes, in his Comment on the same Chapter. What Sir, is Ecclesiae usus and Consuetudo, the same with Canon of Scripture?

Have not you read Estius, Sent. l. 4. d. 24. calling those Hereticks that are not of your Opinion, and undertaking to prove the jus Divi­num of Prelacy as you do? he saith thus. Quod autem jure Divino sint Episcopi Presbyteris Superiores, & si non ita clarum este sacris Scriptu­ris, aliunde tamen satis efficaciter probari potest. Have you not read what Medina saith of the Fathers in this point; and what our Bishop Jewel, naming the same Fathers that Medina did, adds, Paul himself must be a Heretick if Bishop and Presbyter be not the same according to the Scriptures. Much more I might add, that I wonder you could write such a line.

And what Sir, will you exclude all those Churches from being parts of the Catholick Church, that have not, nor do own your Prelacy? or what Church do you mean, when you say the Church hath owned?

That so many of the Church were of your Opinion, this with your Metropolitan Arch-Bishop brought that Whore in Apoc. 17. to her Chair, without which that Prophecy had not been fulfilled to this day, so that though it is not true what you say, yet if it had been true, it had not much prevailed with me: but God hath left Testimony a­gainst it, both in his Word, and in the Church.

As for your notion, p. 51. The reason why the Apostles wrote to the Churches that were in the cities which were Metropoles, was to shew that all the Churches which were in that Province did depend upon that Metro­polis Government; and this Bishop was an Archbishop, p. 50.

I pray, Sir, which of the Apostles told you this was their reason? or where do you find this written?

The Apostle mentions but but one, [...], 1 Pet. 5.4. This notion I see you are so taken with, that p. 51. you tell us, this Hypo­thesis gives the most intelligible account why all the Churches in Asia are reduced to Seven.

An Intelligible account then we have of that, which I had a desire to [Page 97]know; but because the Lord had hidden it, it became not me to in­quire after his secrets; but now we have a reason why all the Churches in Asia are reduced to Seven.

1. I pray, Sir, give us (since you are so acquainted with Christs se­crets) an Intelligible account, why, since there were so many Churches in Europe, and those Churches in the Metropoles, yet the Lord writes not to one of them in the Apocalyps, only to Asia? Was not Rome a Metropoles, and there a Church?

2ly. Are you sure these were all Metropoles? It seems there is some question about Philadelphia, and your solution does not satisfie. So for Thyatira, it seems Pliny doth not give it this honour, but Ptolomy doth. So that we must rest upon a Humane Faith, and prove which of these was the truest Writer.

3ly. But are you sure there were no more Churches in Asia than fell under the seven Archbishops? Which of these was Archbishop to the Churches in Galatia? that was a Province in Asia; but none of these Cities Metropolis there, for Ancyra was. Antioch a Metropolis then under none of these, yet there a Church. To which I pray did Colosse belong? Cappadocia, Pontus, Bithinia, were all Provinces in Asia, and in these were Churches no doubt, for the Apostle writing to the Believers in these Provinces, 1 Pet. 1.1. in the 5th Chap. v. 1, 2. He charges the Elders to feed the flock. Yet none of the seven Churches were Metropoles in any of these Provinces. I could instance in divers more.

This I suppose the Doctor Preached to make amends for the fault he committed in being ordained first by Presbyters; for now he talks of Archbishops in the Apostles days; whereas Mr. Thorndike, pag. 45. Prim. Gov. and the old Episcopal men tell us, Archbishops came in long after.

As for your discourse from p. 60. to the end, in which you tell your Reader something concerning Rules about Order, Decency, Circum­stantials in Religion. Adiaphorus matters, &c. and what the Church may do to preserve it self against opposers, that thereby p. 62. you might justifie the punishment inflicted upon us for our Nonconfor­mity.

Sir, this is but the old Cheat to blind the people, as if we opposed Order, Decency, and Circumstantials in Religion; and for the punish­ment inflicted, will you justifie it that Governours may for every er­rour in things pertaining to God, punish their people for not confor­ming to them, as we are punished? but how much less then for non­conforming to Humane Inventions in the Worship of God? which as yet all the Pulpits and Presses have not proved to be our error, (I mean our non conformity to them) but our Duty.

And for that which p. 61. you would bring as a proof, viz. That the Churches Determination upon some particu ars, in conformity to the general command, is no addition to the Rule, &c.

It is very true, if there be a conformity to the general command; but if you will undertake, (as here you implicitely assert) to prove that the Forms of Prayer, Ceremonies, Prelacy, Re-ordination, Abjuration of the Covenant (all which are imposed upon us) are all of them but particulars conformable to the general command of God; Sir, let us but have the liberty of the Press, and you shall soon find one that will answer you. I suppose there are but few pious Conformists in England that will justifie the casting of about two thousand Ministers out of their work, because they could not submit to these Impositions in the matters of God; had it been in things concerning the Commonwealth, that had been another case, then let him blame us. Whence we are quite mistaken in Dr. Templer.

A POSTSCRIPT to the Reverend Dr. STILLINGFLEET.

SIR,

THE former pages were printed off sooner than I was aware of; but give me leave to add these lines to clear my self from that sin of Schism which which you charge me among my Brethren, a little further; since I still continue the same love and honourable respects to you.

‘Three cases there are you tell us, p. 213. in which the Sripture allows of Separation, 1. Idolatrous worship. 2. False doctrine imposed. 3. Indifferent things made neces­sary to salvation [of this latter one word by and by]. But there are two others wherein Paul gives particular di­rections, but such as do not amount to separation, viz. 1. Dif­ferent opinions about meats and drinks, observation of Jew­ish Holy-days. In these points he advises not to censure one another, but notwithstanding this difference, join together as Christians in the duties common to them all.’ Thus you.

A. Sir, This is very true: accordingly as I meet with Christians of different apprehensions, Episcopal, Presbyte­rian, Independent, Anabaptists (some few of which I have found, sober men, and sound in all points but that), let these men be sound in the faith, and walk with a Gospel­conversation, subjecting to Church government, though in their different ways, I give the Lords Supper to them all, re­fusing communion with none for these opinions.

2. But my good Brother, are you not beside the que­stion? [Page 100] Did they in those duties which were common to them all as Christians, impose such things as the Lord never impo­sed, as terms of Communion? This is our case, both in Prayer, Baptism, Lords Supper, Discipline, which are duties common to us all; in all these you impose your own inventions, not our Lords injunctions; so did not they.

And what if they would impose their Jewish Holydays (which yet were once Gods own appointment) upon the Gentiles to observe them, who knew they were abrogated? Sir, you impose Holydays of mens appointing upon us, which is far worse; God's Authority is higher than yours.

2. The second thing you mention, is the corrupt lives of men in the Church, &c. where you explain 1 Cor. 5.11. No, not to eat; but Sir, I prefer your Hammond's explication, to which I refer the Reader; see his Pararaph and his Notes.

As to that third ground which may warrant Separation, you say, viz. The imposing of things indifferent as necessary to our salvation.

A. Sir, is our salvation all that we should regard? Is not the glory and honour of God a thing to be attended? Is not this glory and honour of his, the first thing to be intended in his Worship? Is it not his honour when his Soveraignty and Wisdom alone commands in his Worship? In case he be deprived of his Worship, is this honour to him? Sir, you make your Inventions, though in themselves indifferent, yet being commanded by mans Authority, to alter in some sort their natures (they are the words of your Canon upon the Cross) and so necessary you make them, that without these God shall have no worship at all. Witness Barthol mew­day.

As to the Liturgy which you impose, you tell us, p. 332. you will say nothing, Dr. Falkner having so well defend­ed it.

A. I know it is imputed to our pride and conceitedness of our own gifts, that we use it not. Sir, I do profess in words of sobriety, if you, or Dr. Falkner can assure me infulli­bly, [Page 101]that I should be pleasing to God, and that I should dis­charge my Office as I ought, only by reading Forms of Prayer, I will be as ready to use nothing but Forms, as you are ready and resolute to impose them; I would use also that Form of prayer before my Sermon, which your 55th Canon does command to be used before Sermon; and so nothing but Forms, which is the sense of your Church. I say, may I be but as pleasing to God. My reason is, I observe it would very much please my corrupt, lazy, unbelieving heart. I should not need then to beg of God the presence of his Spirit to help me as to the matter of prayer; nor need I act my faith and dependance upon him as conscious of my own insufficiency, 2 Cor. 3.5. for all my prayer is prepared to a syllable. I should not then labour with my proud heart to submit quietly to Gods pleasure, though he doth sub­stract, and not afford that presence sometimes, which he doth at other times. For here are the same words and syl­lables at all times, his absence or presence hath no room here. It may be the Friendly Debater that can jeer, I see, at Christian experiences, will jeer at me too, because I give this experience of my corrupt heart; but I care not.

As for Dr. Falkner, let but the Question be truly sta­ted, and I do not find one Scripture-argument he hath brought that concludes the Question: for his own humane reasons, I little regard them in divine Worship.

As for private Christians, I know your Clergy look on them as the Pharisees did upon the vulgar, Joh. 7.49. but, Sir, I know more of them than you, or Dr. Falkner; plain Mechanicks have I known well Catechised, and humble Christians excellent in practical piety, kept their station, did not aspire to be Preachers, but for gifts of prayer, few Clergy-men must come near them. I profess I fall short of them. I have known some of them when they did keep their Fasts (as they did often) they divided the work of Prayer; the first began with Confession; the second went on with Petition for themselves; the third Petition for [Page 102] Church and Kingdom, &c. the fourth. Thanksgiving, every one kept to his own part, and did not meddle with ano­thers part. Such excellent matter so compacted without Tautologies, each of them for a good time, about an hour, if not more apiece, to the wondering of those who joyned with them. Such answers of prayer I have known to others, that they have praised God for assurance that he had heard them before they rose off their knees, and at that time it was done; a thing of very great consequence, but heard not of it till two days after. Here was no reading of Li­turgies; these were old Jacobs sons, could wrestle and pre­vail with God; and yet must be punished if they came not to Church, and set above an hour in the cold to hear a Mi­nister read that which their boys could do at home: and blessed be God that England in this dark day hath many thousands of such plain, but praying Christians, however despised and punished.

As for that Question, Whether every particular Congrega­tion makes a particular Church? which you deny, and oppose the Dissenters, p. 234. &c. I pray, Sir, why do you not an­swer Mr. Alsop's Text which he brings p. 45. from 1 Cor. 11.18. compared with 20. that Text deserves an answer; and till that be done, they are not confuted; you have left out the strongest Argument.

Sir, you must state the Question a little closer, else you will not carry it. I doubt not but there may be one par­ticular Congregation which may be invested with the pow­er, and execute all the power of the keys, and I think that is a Church. For instance, take your own Congregation, and a few more in London, where four or five thousand meet to worship God, so large are your places, with Galleries also. I would suppose in such a Congregation there would be re­quired four Teaching Elders, four Ruling Elders (Sir, I must own that Officer, though I think there hath been an error in assigning him that power which is not due to him) and four Deacons. Let all these Officers ply their work as hard [Page 103]as they will, I doubt not but they will find their hands full and hearts full too, unless the Four thousand be the better Christians. But Sir, will you deny this Congregation to be such a Church as we read of in the Gospel, compleat as to exercise of all the power of the keys? I am sure you will not.

As for your Reason for Episcopal Government [another ground of difference between us] which you give us in your Preface, pag. 5. quoting Mr. Noyes of New-England in your Treatise, pag. 234. agreeing with you, viz. It is hard to per­swade considering men, that the Christian Church should dege­nerate so soon, so unanimously, so universally, &c.—Mr. Noyes— Would not Elders, so many knowing men, at least some of them have contended for Truth, wherein their own Liberties were so much interessed? Aerius his opposing of Bishops so long after their rise and standing, is inconsiderable, &c.

Sir, much here might be said, but I leave it to those, with whom you have to deal; as for Mr. Noyes, I know him very well, and know what may cause him to write for Episcopal Government. That [...] (bear with my words, for I am sure it is contrary to Scripture and Reason) of the Con­gregational men, That the Fraternity (or Plebs) is the first subject of the power of the keys, have made such work in Con­gregational Churches to my knowledg, that their Elders have felt the need of that principle, and made them to think again.

But good Brother, what Episcopacy is it you mean? if you mean only Episcopus Praeses, I am of your opinion, it was the government in the Apostles time when Elders in a particular Church were multiplied: And if we would but exercise more meekness and patience one with another, Consult the Scriptures more attentively, we shall find that the true Government and Constitution of the Church takes in somthing of Episcopacy, somthing of Presbytery, something of Independency.

But Sir, if you mean Episcopus Princeps, (which is our [Page 104]Case) one that hath a Superiority of power above Presbyters, with which these must not meddle, and this Bishop such large Diocess as ours are, and this Bishop also the Sole Pastor over the Diocess, as Bishop Morley checking Mr. Baxter, tells him, that the Bishop of Worcester, and not Mr. Baxter, is Pa­stor of Kidderminster, as well as of all other Parochial Chur­ches in that Diocess, pag. 2. Sir, this Episcopacy you and Mr. Noyes have to prove, that it was ever in the Apostles time, or of Christs Institution, for this we utterly deny.

The Presidential Episcopacy (as I may term it) lasted, as it is conceived by Learned men, till the middle of the second Century, or towards the end of it: your self does not deny it. Iren. pag. 275, 276.

But for this Princely Episcopacy, when that began to be set up, then began the Degeneracy of the Apostolical Govern­ment.

Though Mr. Noyes makes little of Aerius, yet Medina tells the world that Jerome, Austin, Ambrose, Sedulius, Primasius, Chrysostom, Theodore, Theophilacct, were all of Aerins his judg­ment: and you say Medinas judgment will prove true, Iren. 276. So say Bishop Jewel and Learned Whitaker. Quam Epi­phanius frigidissimis rationibus refellit, saith Whitaker, Tom. 1. pag. 149.

As for their Diocesses, beside what I have said before, you tell us they were not very large, since all the Parishes could communicate on the same day with what was sent from the Ca­thedral Church. Iren. pag. 370. Sure I am what you plead for now, does not agree with the last Paragraph of your Ireni­cum, where you were nearer the Truth.

How they should come to degenerate so soon, is easily un­derstood if we believe the 2 Thes. 2, 3, 4, and 7. ver. and the 17. Chap. of the Revelation. If positâ permissione infallibili­ter sequitur quod permittitur, which I am sure is true; then it is as true, if the Spirit foretels what shall come to pass, that must come to pass. good Austni, good Cyprian, and other good Bishops, by their Superiority of power and large Dio­cesses, [Page 105]did prepare the way for wicked Boniface the third, and he made the Catholick Church his Diocess: it was impos­sible for him else to come there, had the Churches kept to the Apostolical Government.

That Counsel and prediction of God was secretly and se­verely brought about by men. This was once your your Opi­nion, Ire. pag. 197 198. Though the Elders had equal power from Christ, yet being it was to be exercised but in a co-ordinate way with others, you tell us they might de­volve the exercise of their power to others, Iren. 276. and Dr. Templer tells us, there is a greater probability of an Ʋnion of Judgment, when all within a certain precinct lie under an obli­gation to be determined by the reason of One, &c. when there is only matter of Right and Liberty, which require care, pains, watch, but no profit or gain, come into the Purse (as here) we can easily, and readily listen to Reason that may take us off from Duty, and part with that Right which hath no profit, but only pains annexed to it.

FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.