A QVAERE, CONCERNING THE CHVRCH-COVENANT, PRACTISED IN THE SEPARATE CONGREGATIONS. Sent with a Letter thereunto annexed, from J. G. to T. G. Wherein is proved that there is much evill and mani­fold inconveniences in the exacting and urging such a Covenant.


Ja. Cranford

Printed at London for John Bellamie and Ralph Smith, and are to be sold at their shop, at the three Golden Lions in Cornhill neare the Royall Exchange. 1643.

A Quaere concerning the Church-Covenant, practised IN THE SEPARATE CONGREGATION

By what warrant of Scripture or otherwise, can any Church of Christ impose any such expresse and formall covenant upon those that desire membership with them, as a peremptory condition of their admittance, as is now generally pra­ctised in all your Churches; We conceive the Scripture no where justifieth these proceedings, but rather judge there is much evill, and manifold in­conveniences in the exacting and urging such a covenant.


COnfident we are (as confidence it selfe can make us) that there is no Commandement given to the Church­es for exacting any such Covenant of those that are to bee admitted into Church-fellowship with them, so that we conceive any such exaction to bee a meere humane invention, and a straine of that wisedome that desires not only to exalt it selfe above all that is practised by men, but a­bove that which is written by God himselfe; yea, though instances & [Page 2] examples could be produced of such Covenants both demanded and gi­ven, yet this may stand without any warrant of lawfulnesse, much more without the imposition of any necessity upon Churches at this day to make the like demand of their intended members; and most of all it may stand without any necessity lying upon Churches, to make the demand as of a duty of absolute necessitie.

First, no example bindeth but by vertue, and in the strength of some commandement, & if there were any thing necessary to be done which is not commanded by God, then must there be found weakenesse & im­perfection in his Law; therefore to make any thing necessary which the Law of God maketh not necessary, is not to keepe the Law, but (as James saith) to judge it.

Secondly, there be examples found of many things done by many Christians (yea by whole Churches) in the primitive times, not onely lawfully but with high and speciall approbation, the doing whereof in these times is not onely no wayes necessary, but lyable to much question, whether lawfull or convenient. The selling of lands and houses, by those that were the possessors of them, and bringing and laying downe the money at the Apostles feet, was practised (we know) in the Apostles times, Act. 4. 34, 35. And as Tertullian witnesseth, conti­nued 200. yeeres together in the Church. But I know no man now that pleads for the necessity of any such practice, yea whether it would not bee much inexpedient for the Gospell, (and consequently in some degrees unlawfull) if now put in practice, a few thoughts would sufficiently discover.

Thirdly, and lastly, There is no question to be made, but that ma­ny times the diversification of circumstances, and aspects of things in the world, and course of Gods providence, have not onely a lawfull power of dissolving the binding force and authority of many exam­ples, but of suspending our obedience to many rules, precepts, and ex­hortations: as for example, that kinde of salutation betweene men mentioned, Gen. 27. 26. 1 Sam, 20. 41. and oft elsewhere, being generally left and out of use; those injunctions of Paul, Rom. 16. 16. 1 Cor. 16. 20. and elsewhere, Greet yea one another with an holy kisse, impose no such literality upon the Saints in these dayes as they did, when they were written; neither doe I conceive (nor I suppose you) that the Elders of the Church are now bound to annoint the sick with oyle, because this is commanded, James 5. 14. neither doe I con­ceive [Page 3] that the French Churches lye under any guilt of sin, for suffering their teachers to have their heads cove­red in their publicke ministry notwithstanding that rule or direction of Paul, 1 Cor. 11. 4. Every man praying or prea­ching having any thing on his head, dishonoureth his head, because that topicall custome amongst the Grecians, upon which Paul built this rule or assertion, is wholly disused by their Nation, and the contrary generally practised amongst them. Though I doe not thinke this Scripture is to be restrained to the teacher only, but to concerne as well the whole Assembly of men present, who are all here said to pray or prophecy in a passive sense, (as women also are) that is, to partake of these ordinan­ces with the teacher: Other like instances might be given. And doubtlesse the rule that Cameron gives, who was a man of as much learning, sharpenesse of wit, and happinesse in opening the Scriptures as any the reformed Churches in France, yea I may say in any part of the world have enjoyed of latter times, is most true. There are many things commanded in Pauls Epistles, whereof there is no use at this day, (viz. as touching the literall and precise obser­vation) as is that of prophecying, 1 Cor. 14. and concerning the ha­bit of women prophecying, which belong not to our times; but concerning prophecying wee shall God willing move some spe­ciall Quere's afterward. And I verily beleeve, that one maine rea­son and grand occasion of all separation from us, (on that hand you are gone) is, because the words of the sacred text fitted to particular occasions, and to the condition of the times wherein they were written, are taken and applyed by such men to themselves and others, as they find them, without due respect had to those weighty and materiall differences that are between one and the other: as might be demonstrated at large, (if it were any part of our present purpose.) In the meane time e­vident it is by what hath beene said, that though particular instan­ces could be produced, wherein the Covenant so much magnifi­ed, so indispensably urged by your Churches (generally) upon their members before their particular admission, yea by some Ma­sters of your way defended in writing as the very forme and essence of a true Church, (the writing here hath gone a long time under your owne name, but of late I heare you have disclaimed it) hath beene practised by former Churches and put upon those which [Page 4] desired membership with them, yet there is no sufficient ground to conclude a necessity now lying upon all Churches to doe the like, except there be a precept or command found for the doing of it, no nor yet to prove a lawfulnesse of doing it, except circumstan­ces lye cleare and faire for the doing it, nay a precept or com­mand it selfe will not evince a necessity hereof, if any master or grand circumstance be now changed or altered, upon which the precept was given: but yet notwithstanding I adde, in the Se­cond place, neither doe the Scriptures afford any instance or example, wherein any such Covenant hath ever been demanded or exacted by any particular Church of those who desired fellowship with it: But many instances there are wherein onely upon a sober profession of their faith in Christ and entertainement of the Gospell, men have beene received into Churches without the least noise or mention of any such Covenant. Act. 2. 41. They that gladly received his word were Baptized, and the same day there were added unto [the Church] about three thousand soules: some of your judgements strongly conceite that they espy their Covenant in these words [were ad­ded;] but surely if they were assisted by the same imagination they might as soone discover it in those words, Gen. 1. In the begin­ning God made Heaven and Earth; for to any reasonable and disingaged apprehension, that word [were added] with the num­ber of converts joyned with it, onely expresseth the exceeding great worke of God, in making so great an enlargement or ad­dition to his Church in so short a time: and doubtlesse a man must get a dispensation for his understanding, to enable him to thinke or beleeve that within the compasse of halfe a day, or lit­tle more at the most, perhaps somewhat lesse, (for the former part of the day was well spent before Peter began his Sermon, vers. 15. and how long he continued the Preaching is uncertain, it seemes he was not very briefe, vers. 40.) three thousand per­sons should particularly and distinctly one after another in the same place and before the same persons being examined and tryed, take a solemne Covenant repeating the Contents and words thereof; doubtlesse the art and method of such dis­patch is utterly lost and perished at this day, either the Co­venant they made was very briefe, and but an act to yours, or else the motion of their tongues in speaking was much swifter [Page 5] then our thoughts: you must favour your selfe beyond al reason in both these suppositions, or else suppose no longer your Co­venant here. Besides evident it is, that these that were ad­ded to the Church, were baptized before; this is affirmed of them: Now being baptized, and that in an orderly and right way, as you will not deny, this did immediately qualifie them for Church fellowship according to your owne grounds, and the truth it selfe, therefore they needed not the mediation of a Covenant to make them capable hereof: so that you see an im­possibility of any Covenant to be emplyed here. And if you be not relieved at this doore, there is little hopes to find more charity in this kind at others: Philip required no other Cove­nant or condition of the Eunuch to qualifie him for baptisme, and thereby to give him entrance into the Church, but one­ly to beleeve in the Lord Jesus with all his heart, and to professe it to him, Act. 8. 37. When Saul assayed to joyne him­selfe with the Disciples at Hierusalem, Act. 9. 26. the reason why they declined him for a time, was not because they ten­dered a Covenant to him and he refused it, but because they were all afraide of him and beleeved not that he was a Disciple; im­plying that had they beleeved this concerning him that he had beene a Disciple, a beleever, they would have received him without any more adoe; yea upon Barnabas his meere Te­stimony of him without any Covenant subscribed, confession made, or word spoken by himselfe, he was received, vers. 27. 28. So againe Act. 11. 24. there is mention made of many that were added or joyned to the Lord, i. e. were immembred into the Church, but no more words of any such Covenant as you urge, then a deafe man may heare: If you peruse the passa­ges of the New Testament further, you will espie many more Starres of the constellation, neither can you here have recourse to those Covenants mentioned in the Old Testament, Ezra 10. 3. Nehem. 9. 38. to patterne you withall, for then you flee to a Sanctuary which your selfe have polluted, by destroying all sym­pathy and agreement betweene a nationall Church and that which you call instituted or particular: and besides to forsake the guidance of the Spirit of God under the New Testament, to seeke to make out our thoughts by the old, is to aske the [Page 6] twilight in the Evening, whether it were light at noone day. More­over if desire of brevity (for the present) did not binde my hands, it were easie to demonstrate unto you what a solemne disagreement there is many wayes betweene these Covenants and yours, and particularly in that precise circumstance which must have relieved you.

3. To me there is no imaginable use or necessity of this your Covenant, because beleevers, willing, or agreeing, to live toge­ther in the same body are bound by greater bonds a thousand fold then any Covenant they can make betweene themselves, to performe mutually all, and all manner of love, service and Christian duties whatsoever, Christ himselfe is the greatest of bands and of all manner of obligements or ingagements whatsoever both to knit and hold Christians together, and to make them of one heart and of one Soule, and to keepe them so: by whom (by Christ) all the body being coupled and knit together by every joynt, &c. Ephes. 4. 16. And where the Scripture speakes of other bands with him and besides him, (yet all relating to him) in­dearing and binding Christians together as close as ever their hearts and soules will packe or worke into one, amongst them all your Covenant commeth not into any mention or remem­brance, There is one body, one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your vocation, There is one Lord, one faith, one baptisme, one God and Father of all; surely if they had beene joyned and joynted together by any such Covenant as you speake of, and this Covenant beene of divine justification, and of that high and Soveraigne consequence as to give them their very life, being and subsistence as a Church or body, the Apo­stle could not have so farre forgot himselfe as not to have in­ventoried it amongst its fellowes, especially there being no place (that I can readily call to mind) more commodious throughout all his writings to have made a particular and an expresse mention hereof then here: And for my part I freely and ingenuously and in the simplicity of my heart professe unto you, that I neither know what further or greater duty or service of love in any kind I can desire or wish of those my brethren in Christ, upon whom the providence of God together with my owne voluntary election either hath or hereafter shall cast me in [Page 7] Church-fellowship, then what they stand bound by the common band of our mutuall interest in the same God, in the same Lord, in the same baptisme, in the same faith, in the same hope, &c. to exhi­bit, tender, and performe unto mee without the expresse of any such covenant made with or unto me; nor yet can I conceive how pos­sibly I should have any better, richer or stronger assurance from them for the performance hereof unto me by the vertue or aide of any such covenant above what I have by the power of that grace and godlinesse which (as farre as I am able to judge) worketh effectually in them, and subjecteth them to all the said bands and obligations; nor can I thinke that he whose strength to doe evill will serve to trample under feet the blood of the Lord Christ, to cast the Commandements of the glorious God be­hind his backe to betray the hope of his owne peace and glory, will ever be kept in a Christian compasse towards me by any promise, band, or covenant of his owne, I know not how to thinke it a sinne in me not to desire or exact a greater securitie for my portion in the Saints then God himselfe hath given me, and established me in: I heare your an­swer bee, that your covenant respecteth as well every mans faithful­nesse towards God as discharge of dutie towards one another, and therefore in this regard (at least) there may be a necessitie of it. To this I make answer in few words; First, why is not then the unnecessary part, at least of your Covenant (which I conceive is the greatest) viz. that which concernes the Covenanters dutie towards his fellow struck off? Secondly, if such a Covenant as this, with or towards God bee so necessary a dutie, why is the place of it no where to be found amongst all the Commandements of God? doubtlesse God requires it not at our hands, to be either more provident or zealous for his glory then he is him­selfe. Thirdly and lastly, it is neither lawfull before baptisme, nor neces­sary after; therefore the necessitie of it falls to the ground, and is not defensible; that it is not lawfull before baptisme is evident, because it is not lawfull for a Church to receive the unbaptized into fellowship with them as members of that body, neither is there example or ap­pearance of warrant in Scripture for such a thing. As evident it is that after baptisme it is altogether unnecessary, because baptisme doth im­mediately qualifie, for Church fellowship, (as hath beene sayd, your owne principles not gainesaying) and the Church it selfe, by admit­ting any to her baptisme, (ipso facto) admits into her fellowship and communion. Therefore I adde:

4. That the requiring and exacting of such a Covenant of men, and [Page 8] the imparting of Church fellowship upon it, I conceive it to be an un­christian usurpation upon the consciences of men, and a tempting of God, by laying such a burden upon his people, which he must give strength (more then otherwayes were necessary) to beare, or otherwise they must suffer (at least) (if not fall) under it; and I beleeve, I know some worthy every wayes of the honour (according to the line of men) who desirous of entrance into some of your Churches were turned back, by dislike of that new doore of your Covenant.

5. And lastly, We conceive the exacting and giving of such a Co­venant is not onely a thing unnecessary [...], as something above any thing that is written, but of worse inconvenience also, (at least, as many of those that are ingaged in it, are wont to interpret and draw the importance hereof) for many looke upon a Covenant they have made with a particular Church as a partition wall wholly to separate them in care, affection, dependance, and from all other Churches and the Saints of God throughout the world, and take it for an authenti­call discharge, and release from heaven from troubling themselves any wayes with the affaires of other Churches as ministring unto their ne­cessities at any times. It was not much short of this which a great de­fender of you faith professed plainely unto me not long since, and that before some witnesses. Calvin well observes upon Rom. 16. 16. that Pauls study and desire was by his carefull remembrance and sending the mutuall salutations and greeting of one Church to another, quantum in se est, mutuo amoris nexu devincire inter se omnia Christi membra: As far as it lay in his power, to bind all members of Christ whatsoe­ver in one and the same mutuall band of affection together. Now if Paul herein did the will and Commandement of God, (which I can­not thinke you will deny) then as your Saviour charged the Scribes and Pharisees, that they had made the Commandement of God of none effect (they had taken a course to doe it, they had done that which directly tended thereunto) by their traditions, so (we conceive) we may justly challenge your Covenant for an ill looke, or maligne aspect, upon that part of the will of God, wherein he desires that all belee­vers, the world over should desire to maintaine a free intercourse of the dearest love and tenderest affections one towards another.

A LETTER SENT From I. G. to T. G.

My deare Friend,

WHom I love and honour, if not enough, yet (cer­taine I am) very exceeding much in the Lord, I am sorry there being differences betweene us other­wise, that in this wee should so perfectly and so long agree, neither to send so much as a small peece of his minde to other for a love-token; upon which of us the Law of love and Christian acquain­tance rather imposed it, to have first appeared in breaking this agree­ment, the same Law prohibites to dispute. Whether it will ease the burthen on my part or no, I leave to your ingenuitie to consider and determine; but this I may truely say unto you, that I have had many thoughts from time to time since your departure from us, that have deerely longed after your bosome, and would hardly have beene kept from their longing till now, but by a strong hand of some indispen­sable occasions, and imployments otherwise; And if my respects un­to you did not command me to intreat you more gently in this be­halfe, I might truely charge upon your selfe (in part) the occasion of my silence hitherto, your authority, grace, learning, parts, judge­ment & example, have made the stone of separation among us so massie and heavy that we are constrained to be at double paines and labour in removing and rolling it from the consciences of men. A great part [Page 10] of our imployment is to stanch the issue of that fountaine of blood, which you (I presume in simplicity of heart for your part) have ope­ned in the wombe of our Churches here; wee hoping againe your re­union with us and returne unto us, through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ who is is able to give you light to comprehend your darkenesse in those things lying yet under dispute betweene us, are willing to save you what sorrow we can against the time of your returne, and for this pur­pose endeavour our selves to make your mistakes as innocent as may be, and to keepe as many as we can from falling thereby. Deare brother that there were a heart in us to lay our heads together to finde out (if possible) some course that the Sword may not alwayes thus devoured doubt­lesse there are waters to be found that will much asswage the heate, if not wholly quench the flames of these contentions and divisions. How greatly is it to be lamented that he by whom God hath reconciled the world to himselfe, should be made a meanes of dividing this reconciled world between themselves! The heavens (I doubt not) will accord us, yet were it our greater comfort and glory if they might be prevented herein by the earth. I verily beleeve it would strike a great stroake in compremising this contention, if the great men and chiefe leaders on both sides could be perswaded but to take fast hold upon this free and noble resolution, which yet I suppose we all intend to doe, [...], rather to do sacrifice to the truth then to be in bondage to suppostions. I know not how to open my mouth wide enough to shew you the inlargement of my heart unto you, if wee saw the truth clearely with you, you should not raigne alone, wee would doubtlesse at once divide such a kingdome with you. Many indeed of your partie are ready to say in effect, that as it is heaven that separated you from us, so it is the world that separates us from you: But if you have the truth with you (which indeed if you have at least in many of your beloved Max­imes, woe to my wits, reason and understanding; never poore man so strangely misused by such friends in this world) it would never bee a debtor to such interpretors or agents for it. As for the world, if it be as little on that side the Sea as it is on this, it will never be so much as a moate in your eye to hinder you from seeing any truth of God clearely. But as little as it is with us, we thinke it too great and too good to be sacrificed upon the service of an errour at any time. Otherwise I doubt not but the Saints of God in England tread as light upon the earth, as you doe in Holland, and are as ready to buy the truth and give as good rates for it as the best Merchants among you, but howsoever I knew [Page 11] that this left-handed spirit rules much in men of your way, who not ontent to make our standing naught, labour much to make us worse then our standings, yet I make no question but your anointing teacheth you bet­ter, and more Christian thoughts concerning us. And if wee judged it any advantage to the truth and cause we maintaine against you, wee durst view morall imputations with you, and are confident that wee could assigne and suggest against you both as many and as likely indi­rect and fleshly grounds for your departure from us as you can a­gainst us for keeping our first standing and profession. But the truth will never be made great by such demonstrations or arguments as these on either side, sometimes the truth is there where a man for many reasons would thinke there were least hope to find it, and againe many times faire over­tures, and many pleasing inducements will but deceive and disappoint men in this kind. And as for that kind of truth which wee inquire after and toyle in the fire of contention to find out, viz. spirituall and divine, there is no substantiall and satisfying meanes for the discovery of it, but by a holy, humble and unpartiall consultation with the oracles of God, yea if it be of that species or especiall kind of truth which is not spread (like the Mannah) upon the face of the Scriptures, but lyeth low amongst the deepe things of God, 1 Cor. 2, 10. as it seemeth your truth in those questions depending betweene us in part doth; now it is not sufficient simply to consult or aske (as it were) the Scriptures concerning them, but they must be examined and re-examined againe and againe, both solitary and in consort, they must bee put home to it, and urged, and pressed close together before they will speake their mind plainely in this case or deliver out any of this treasure, yea in many cases a man must be content to goe to one end of the Scripture to know what they meane in the other, yea (that which is much considerable, and I feare wants that which belongs to it) they may seeme to deliver many pleasing and plausible answers under the shadow whereof the judgements and consciences of men be much refreshed for a season, so that they may be ready to shoute for joy, and congratulate themselves with his acclamation that said [...], he had found, he had found, and yet none of these answers, neither be the [...], the true di­rect and bottome meaning of them: As Sampson gave Dalilah answer upon answer to her question or demand, which pleased her for a time carrying a semblance of realitie and truth in them, but still her expe­rience discovered the insufficiency of them, and then she rejected them and would not give over till shee had the true answer indeed, Judg. 16. [Page 12] 7. 8. so doubtlesse the Scriptures may in many places (to our apprehen­sions) affirme many things, and deliver out many notions of choyse ap­probation to us for a time, the weakenesse and effects whereof not­withstanding farther time & experience and a clearer light may disco­ver, yea there may from the same Scripture rise up many meanings and interpretations before us one after another, that may bee in our eyes as Eliah Jesses eldest sonne was in Samuels (when hee was sent to an­noynt one of his sonnes for King) surely (so he looking on Eliab) the Lords annointed, is before him, but he was yet a great way off from the Lords annointed there was Elihah, Abinabad, and Shannuah, and more then as many more presented before him, before David came in sight, who was the Lords annointed indeed, he was behind and a great way off in the field, and must be sent for before he comes: so the annointed sense and meaning of the Scriptures may yet bee farre off when we perswade our selves with the greatest confidence it is before us: And as he said of benefits, Multa perdenda sunt ut semel ponas bene, A man must bestow many amisse, that he may bestow one well; so many times a man must cast away many interpretations of Scripture, (and those sometimes such as otherwise he would not wittingly part with) that he may interpret at last as he ought to doe. I make no question but you have had experience hereof in your selfe more then once; for my part I confesse it hath beene a very frequent thing with me in the course of my studies and meditations, to meet with both from the pens or mouthes of others, and by mine owne conceptions also, some interpretations which have much affected me upon the first greeting, yea which for a time I have nourished in my bosome, and have treasure of, and yet afterward have apparently seene, that [...]. my rejoycing was not good, and by a strong hand of superior conviction have beene compelled to call that darkenesse, and so to east it from me which sometimes I called light, & kept close unto.

Wherefore I beseech you by the tender mercies of Jesus Christ, and by the glory of those many talents given unto you, the strength wher­of, methinkes, should so worke, as to breake through a napkin and dis­daine so weake and contemptible an inclosure, once more to survey with a single, unpartiall and disingaged eye, your present thoughts and apprehensions concerning these things which have removed you from off an English Table, and put you under a Holland Bushell. Con­fident I am that there is a light beyond your light in these matters, and which you are very capable of, if your eye by your long slumber [Page 13] be not over heavy to open. I professe in the sight of God, & in as great singlenesse and simplicity of heart as ever man in this world spake word unto you, that I doe as clearely apprehend error and mistake throughout the greatest part of your way, as I doe in this conclusion, that twice two makes foure. The necessity of your Covenant, Prolix confession of faith putting men to deliver their judgements in points of doubtf [...] disputations upon and before their admission into your Churches; the power of the Keyes and of ordination of Pastors to be the right and inheri­tance of the whole body of the Congregation and of every mem­ber indifferently, and promiscuously, the divine institution or peremp­tory necessity of your ruling Elders, the necessity of widowes as Offi­cers in the Church, the absolute necessity of one and the same govern­ment or discipline in all particulars whatsoever for all Churches, in all times and places, a full and peremptory determination of all things whatsoever appertaining to the worship of God, with divers such like positions (which are the very life, soule, and substance of your way) I am at perfect peace in my thoughts that you will never be able to de­monstrate or prove from the Scriptures to any sober minded or consi­dering man, I am loath to overcharge you with words or writings; To desire you to returne and to repaire the breach you have made upon us, I confesse were a hard mention, and of flender hope to be obtai­ned, were it not made to a truely great and noble spirit: and (Caeteris paribus) the request were more reasonable from you to me, and others with mee to goe over to you then, that wee should desire you to returne back unto us, because you have suffered already (at least in the thoughts of many) under the disparagement of some inconstancy, and equall it is when there is not some over-ruling reason to the con­trary, that burdens should not be doubled, but rather divided. But herein I beseech you consider your advantage is the greater, you have by this meanes [...], a greater and better sacrifice, to offer upon the service of the truth and Gospell of Jesus Christ, then wee, if you can apprehend the truth with us, and deny your selfe the second time in comming over to us. And yet give me leave to say this unto you, though your restitution to us be one of the first borne of my joy in this worlds wishes, & the dayther of would be unto me above the dayes of the yeare, yet had I rather mourne over your absence still, then bring you hither any other wayes then by an Angell of light, I relish no satisfaction to any my requests from any, but what I purchase more by reasoning, then by requesting; and for your part I know that in­novations [Page 14] of this nature, a friend and a feather are alike, except reason make the difference, I have made upon some words of encouragement from your mouth (related unto me by D. P.) and propound a Quere un­to you concerning the head of your way, your Church Covenant, with some reasons hereof; If you be willing to treat with your old friend in a way of this commerce, I shall hereafter (God willing, as health and liberty agree) desire like satisfaction of you in some other particu­lars of your way, if the motion dislike you, neither have I any further pleasure in it, if you shall suspend your answer, give mee leave so farre to please my selfe, as to interpret your silence a ground of hope that your owne comming is not farre off; or otherwise if your answer bee too strong for me, and able to remove my mountaines out of my way, they are not Seas that shall keepe friends asunder any longer; I am yours (if you care to owne me) send mee over the silver and bright shining wings of truth, and upon these I come flying over to you out of hand, I would be as glad of a bargaine of truth at any rate whatsoe­ver as another, God having taught me how to drowne the world in the least drop of the water of life: onely this I desire may be the Law of dispute betweene us, that since the strength of the confidence of your way is such as to breake out into a departure from us (and I con­ceive double light is required for separation in any kind, whereas single light sufficeth for any man continuing in his standing) you will goe to worke as a Prince and not as a begger, and command the truth which you hold and practise in opposition to us, by a high hand of pregnant and expresse Scriptures, and not beg any thing by any loose or faint interpretation or supposition; wee looke for, letter for letter, word for word, and little for little, to the proofe of all you maintaine against us, and judge it somewhat hard to be forsaken in such a manner, onely because our logique is more dull and lesse piercing then yours; I have used the more libertie of speech unto you because I know you are able to beare it, and pity it is but a good paire of shoulders should now and then bee ballanced. The mightie God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ teach us how to make something out of nothing, and by the use of a mise­rable distracted and broken world, how we may compasse and setch in the dayes of Eternitie; Grace, Peace, and Truth be multiplyed unto you and yours, from the great fountaine of these heavenly treasures.

Yours in the Lord for the greatest services of Christian love and acquaintance. J. G.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.