Imprimatur

Hic Liber cui Titulus (The Project of Peace, &c.)

June 12. 1678.
Guill. Sill, R. P. D. Henr. Episc. Lond. à Sac. Dom.

THE Project of Peace, OR, UNITY of FAITH AND GOVERNMENT, The only Expedient to Procure PEACE, BOTH Foreign and Domestique: AND To PRESERVE these NATIONS From the DANGER OF Popery, and Arbitrary Tyranny.

By the Author of the Countermine.

Is there no Balm in Gilead? No Physician there?

Si penés singulos Jus & Arbitrium erit Judicandi, nihil certi constitui poterit: quin potius vacillabit tota Religio. Cal. Inst.

London: Printed for Jonathan Edwin, at the Sign of the Three Roses in Ludgate-street. 1678.

TO THE DISSENTERS FROM THE Church of ENGLAND, OF WHAT NAMES or DISTINCTIONS SOEVER.

AS it is very Possible, that nothing will be less Welcome to you than these Papers, so contrary both to your Inclinations, and what you believe your Interest: So, it may be, nothing is less customary than De­dications of this Nature. But since I neither propose to my self the Hopes of any Patrons Beneficence, nor can submit to such unmanly Comply­ances, as are usually the Effects of such Hopes and Expectations; I have rather chosen to Address my self to you; where even the Hope of a Cha­ritable Reception is scarcely to be ho­ped [Page]for, as the Reward of my Charity: And where the Flattery of Swelling Hyperboles would prove as false, and unsuccessful to me, as to Millions, who have made large promises to themselves of Recompences and Grati­fications, for that Gentiler way of Beg­ging: And of all the World, it would be most Pernicious to You, who have been too long accustomed to your own, and the dangerous Flatteries of your Party.

There is nothing that is at all times more Welcome to the World, than Peace. Pacem te poscimus Omnes. But most Men would be Conquerors, and oblige the World by giving it upon their own Terms: And there are but few who will be content to receive it as Christians, upon God's Terms and Conditions. Here I have endeavour­ed to Manifest the true Foundations of a solid and a lasting Peace: Which are Faith, Ʋnity, Government, and Obedience to the Laws of God and Men. A Peace capable of rendring [Page]the Ʋniverse Happy; and any par­ticular Society of Men prosperous here, and Glorious hereafter in the Peaceful Regions of Joy and Immor­tality.

I am not ignorant of your Plea of Zeal and Sufferings. But must the Church of England be allowed nothing for hers? Has not She, by your means, been forced to drink the very dregs of your Animosity; whilest like the Children of Edom, in the day of her Calamity, You cryed, Down with her, Psal. 137.8. Down with her even to the ground? Did you ever suffer such Persecution from Her, as She has suffered from you? Whose Zeal therefore or Afflictions must intitle them to the Character of the truer Church? Would you Establish the Worship of God in Spi­rit and in Truth? So would She, only with this Difference, that what you would effect by the Rude Me­thod of Force and Violence, the Power of the Sword; She labours [Page]to do by the Power of Perswasion, and the Spirit of Meekness; as her Treatment of you now She is in Power, so far from Retaliation, or Revenge, does abundantly testifie, to the Shame of your former Cruelty, and present Obstinacy, and endeavours to compass and effect her Ruine. Is She therefore Criminal for endea­vouring that Lawfully, which you would, and do, and as you perswade the World, are bound in Conscience to do, Per fas & Nefas, either Law­fully, or Unlawfully, it matters not? is not the same Obligation of Con­science, and far greater and a truer Conscience upon her? And if one must be satisfied, whose rather, Hers which is True and properly Consci­ence, or yours, which is only your Private, and uncertain Opinion, clothed with that Venerable Name? Your Way of Establishing this Wor­ship has been notoriously guilty of Rebellion, Disorders, Confusion, and many Evil Works. The Civil State [Page]of Affairs has been ruin'd and over­turn'd; Houses have been made De­solate, and left without Inhabitant; Churches have been robbed, defaced, abused, demolished; Holy things set apart and dedicated to the Ser­vice of God, and so made Holy, have been prophaned. The Church of Eng­land is innocent of any such Crimes: The infamous Brand of Rebellion, Sedition, Tumults, Sacriledg, or Ra­pine, were never burnt upon her hand: She indeavours to prevent this for the Present and the Future, by teaching all men their just Duty towards God and towards Man, and obliges them to the Performance of it: You call this Persecution, and Hate her for it. This may be Zeal in you, but it is not according to the knowledg of God.

She imposes some Methods and certain Directions, in their own Na­ture confessedly indifferent, only in order, and with no other Design than for Decency, avoiding Confusion, and [Page]to bring all Christians to maintain the Ʋnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. You refuse these Means, and there­fore the Great End of Christian Reli­gion, and Religion it self. You pre­fer your own Way and Means before Hers; and by Obstructing Peace, pretend that her Impositions are in­conducive to those Excellent Ends; when as in Truth, it is not their want of Efficacious aptness, but your want of Will, and your traversing them, by an obstinate Disobedience, that frustrates their desired Effects.

You quarrel her Commands, and call them Traditions of Men, and Will-Worship; when in reality yours is so: And it is perfectly, because you are not permitted to have your own Wills in the Worship of God, that makes you Accuse Her of what you are most horribly guilty of your selves. She appoints nothing but what is agreeable to the Will and Word of God, and the Primitive Usage of the Church: You term [Page]those Determinations, Antichristian, Popish, Superstitious; As if God Al­mighty, whose Word and Rules She follows, where he does not please your Humour, or suit your Interest, or Designs, were Popishly inclined; As if the Scriptures in declaring for Episcopacy, were Antichristian; As if the best and purest Ages of the Church, and the whole Succession of Saints and Martyrs were Super­stitious; Because many of them Bi­shops, and all of them Worshipping God, at least as to the Main, accord­ing to Her Way and Method. Whereas, it is you that are Popish, while you endeavour to Obtrude upon us your own Infallibility; It is you who are Antichristian, who ruine the Foundation of all Christia­nity, Faith, Government, a Catho­lique Church, Obedience, Charity, and Unity; It is you who are Su­perstitious, (if [...], a need­less Fear of any thing in Religion, be Superstition,) whilest you start [Page]at an Innocent Rite, as if it were a Goblin; And for fear of a Ce­remony, run from the Church, as if it were hanted with Evil Spi­rits: And though you strain as if you were afraid of being Choak't at these Gnats, yet you can swal­low the Camel of plain and bare­fac't Disobedience; That goes smoothly over your Palate, be­ing gilded over with the Title of Religion. You call Rebellion, Refor­mation; Schism, and Separation, Godliness; Division from the Church, Communion, and Union with God. You put Darkness for Light, and Worship the blackest Crimes, and Vices, in the habit of Vertue, Piety, and true Religon.

Thus, whilest you spie the Moat in your Mothers Eyes, and would pull that and them too out, to make her see clearly, you never consider the Beam that is in your own: And whilest you Vehemently accuse others of Worshipping God [Page]in vain, according to the Tra­ditions of Men, you never re­gard how you make the Command­ments of God of no Effect by your Tra­ditions. Matt. 15.6. God says, Honour the King, and thou shalt not speak Evil of the Ruler of thy People; Obey Magi­strates, &c. Your Traditions say, Dishonour him by Disobedience; Insinuate Jealousies and evil Sur­misings concerning him and his Government. Your Actions are a thousand Tongues, and every Tongue a Trumpet to Proclaim your thoughts. And however with your Lips you may pretend to honour the King, and with your Mouths to draw near to God, your Heart is, in reality, far from both: Your Will is your God, the Idol of your Heart, which you set up and Worship.

For what, I pray, is your way of Worship, but Tradition from the Heads of your Party? Is there ever a Word in Scripture for your long [Page] Extempore Prayers, full, not of To­lerabiles ineptiae, with which Calvin charges our Liturgy, but of Intoller­able Tautologies, vain Repetitions, rash Expressions, and indigested Mat­ter? Christ is Positive against them; Use them not, says he, as the Hea­thens, who think to be heard for their [...], their much speaking. The Wise King, who had Survey'd all the Vanities of the World, makes this not only a Vanity,Eccl. 5.1, 2. but a dangerous Rashness, and a Sacrifice of Fools. And yet you use it, commend and applaud it, as the only way pleasing and acceptable to God.

Is the Scripture clear, that there ought to be no Bishops in the Church? Or that Lay-Elders, who understand neither Sense, nor it may be English, and in some places, who cannot write their Name, should yet be im­powered to Define and Determine in Matters of Faith? Are you any where forbidden to wear a Surplice; or to use the Sign of the Cross; or to [Page]bury Christians in hope of Charity, and Resurrection to Eternal Life? Or to pray in set and appointed Words, which is true praying by the Spirit, when we pray with under­standing also, knowing what will be said? If these be not Gods Commands or Prohibitions, they are Yours; and if they are not in Scrip­ture, as I am sure they are not, they are not only the Commandments and Traditions of Men; but of Men, who have no Power to Command, or Impose the most indifferent thing. And yet you perswade all Men, every where, that they owe Obedience to these; forgetting that God is to be Obeyed rather than Men; and that he commands you to Obey those that have the Rule over you.

If you will be Followers of God as Dear Children, you must, if it be possible, and as much as in you lies, be Followers of Peace with all Men; much more with your Superiors, both in Church and [Page]State: But this is very possible for you to do. And that it is not only Possible, but Honest, and Neces­sary, and your Duty, the Ensuing Papers will plainly inform you: To them therefore I refer you; they were designed for you; And if you will Esteem me your Enemy, because I tell you the Truth with­out Flattery, Interest, or Partiality, yet I had rather be so Esteemed, than be so in Reality; by Skinning over your Festred Gangreen with words smooth as Oyl; Whereas in Truth it ought to be laid open, to prevent the further Eating of the Canker. And this is the only way that I know, to approve my self to be,

Your most Affectionate And real Friend.

The Contents.

  • CHAP. I. The INTRODƲCTION.
  • CHAP. II. OF the Obstacles of Truth and Peace; The necessity of removing them, before we can obtain the other. The great value all men have for Truth, and for Imposture under its Name. The first Obstacle, Self Interest; of its prevalency upon Jews, Pa­gans, Mahumetans, the Romish Church, and all Dissenters. p. 10
  • CHAP. III. Of the second Obstacle to Peace, Truth, and Ʋnity, Prejudice and Prepossession of Mind. The Nature and Effects of Pre­judice. Of Ceremonies. The reason why [Page]hated. Of the meaning of the word Ce­remony. Some Ceremonies absolutely ne­cessary in all Religious Worship. All not Popery which Papists do. Of Educa­tion and Custom, how they are the Foun­dation of Prejudices. p. 25
  • CHAP. IV. Of Pride and Ambition: most dangerous Obstacles of Truth and Peace, because Vices of Temper and Inclination. The Difficulty of subduing these sins of Com­plexion. Religion made their usual dis­guise. The danger of them manifested in a short Character of Oliver Crom­well. Of the danger of these in Church­men. The Methods of such Persons as are infected with them, to advance them­selves to dignity. A way to discover such fiery spirits from the Peacable spirit of Christianity. p. 40
  • CHAP. V. Of the necessity of Ʋnion; That the only way to Establish Happiness in any Na­tion. The Intent of Religion the Hap­piness of Mankind here in this Life as well as in a future state. That the truest Re­ligion which advances this great Inten­tion [Page]for which God gave it. Of the true Church. Of degrees of Purity in Churches. Of the Seven Churches of Asia. Di­stinction and Coordination of National Churches proved. Faith the Common Bond of Ʋnion in the Catholique Church. Of the Independency of National Churches one from another in point of Limits and Jurisdiction. How the Peace of the Church Ʋniversal is thereby preserved. p. 64.
  • CHAP. VI. Objections against the Independency or Co­ordination of National Churches. Why it cannot be admitted in several Churches in the same Nation? It takes away the Power and Soveraignty of the Prince. It is the Ruin of the Society. Of the Fo­reign Protestant Churches. The reason of their Disunion from Rome, matter of Faith, not of Ceremony only, or of Govern­ment. p. 78.
  • CHAP. VII. Of Ʋnity in Government: that it is the bond of a National Church, as Ʋnity in Faith is of the Catholique. The Practice of the Primitive Church. Of the Diffe­rence about Easter. The Opinion of Ire­naeus [Page]Bishop of Lions about it. A Na­tional Church an intire Polity of Chri­stian Men. The Laws of the Church and State, mutual and recipocral, design the same End, viz. the Happiness of the So­ciety. Disobedience to either is so to both. All Society as well as Happiness destroyed by Disunion. The necessity of Ʋnity in Government upon a Religious ac­count. No Charity without it, and with­out Charity no Religion. p. 96.
  • CHAP. VIII. Of the Power of the Keys, by Excommunica­tion and Absolution. How render'd im­practicable by Tollerating many Churches in the same Nation. Of the Decay of Christian Piety. That, and the Growth of Errors must lye at the dore of Separatists and Schismaticks, who by frustrating this Power, render it contemptible; and set open the dore to all Impiety and Atheism. p. 122.
  • CHAP. IX. Of the Necessity of Ʋnity in point of Govern­ment, as well as Faith in a National Church, upon the account of Civil Policy. Such Ʋnity the Design of all Religion in [Page]Reference to Humane Society. No Hap­piness without it. Government appoint­ed by God with an Intention to promote this Design, and therefore Disobedience a damnable sin. p. 149
  • CHAP. X. A further discovery of the Impolitickness of Disunion in point of Church Government. No Domestique Peace to be hoped for with­out it, but perpetual Quarrels under pre­tence of Religion and Conscience. The Rise and Spring of Fears and Jealousies from the several Interests of Dissenters. p. 165
  • CHAP. XI. The mischief of Disunion in respect of Foreign Affairs. It Weakens any Nation, and Ex­poses them to the Arms of their Enemies. Robs them of their Alliances and Confede­rations. Interest and Mutual Support, the Foundation of all Leagues. Different Churches in the same Nation incline Peo­ple to Democracy. p. 190
  • CHAP. XII. Of Tolleration. Some Animadversions upon a Book intituled, The Advocate of Con­science, [Page]Liberty, in reference to all Dis­senters. p. 203
  • CHAP. XIII. A further Examination of the same Author in his particular Plea for the Papists. A short View of and Answer to their Boast­ing to be our Apostles. Of their Antiqui­ty, Succession, Visions, Miracles, &c. Of the Oath of Supremacy. Of the Powder Treason or Fifth of November. p. 229
  • CHAP. XIV. Of the Difficulty of Ʋnderstanding the Modes of things sensible, much more those of the Intellectual World. The Ʋnreasonableness of Obtruding things not certain, as De Fi­de. Of Faith. It must be such a Condition of Salvation as All may perform, because All have a Title to the Common Salva­tion. The Scriptures the only Rule of this Faith, which is the necessary Condition of being saved. Of the difference between a Rule and a Guide. p. 248
  • CHAP. XV. Of Episcopacy. Proved to be of Divine In­stitution; and the Government appointed [Page]over the Church by the Holy Ghost. The Testimony of Scripture. Of Ignatius the Disciple of the beloved Apostle St. John. From the constant Ʋse and Consent of the Church in all Ages. Of Aerius; the Reason of his Heresie. All Hereticks against Go­vernment. The Doctrine of Calvin, of the necessity of some to determine Differences. p. 276
  • CHAP. XVI. Of the Judge of Controversies. No Humane Authority the Judge of Faith. God only Infallible. That part of the Catholique Church which is Militant may Err. The difference between not Erring, and the Im­possibility of Erring. The Rulers of the Church the Interpreters of Scripture. In all things not absolutely of the Essence of Faith, which nothing can be that is not Evident in Scripture, either in plain Words or necessary Consequence. All pri­vate men Excluded from Interpretation of Scripture. p. 302
  • CHAP. XVII. The CONCLƲSION. p. 317

The Project of PEACE.

CHAP. I. The INTRODUCTION.

THEY must certainly have little good Nature, and far less Christian Charity, who are not most sensi­bly afflicted for the mi­serable Distractions, the deplorable Differences, and unnatural Divisions which are among those who profess the glorious Religion of Christ Jesus: That Heart must be more flinty than a Stoick's, which does not bleed it self, and supply the Eyes with Tears, whilst Christians (who by the Command of their Great but Meek and Tender Lord, ought to be harmless as Doves, and innocent as Lambs) are trans­formed by preposterous Zeal, and pious Pretences, into Wolves and Tygres; and with a fierce and savage fury, mutually Worry and Devour one another: nay, even exceed the madness of those Brutes, and devest themselves of all Humanity, to put on this new Nature (as they term it) [Page 2]of Religion. For, Saevis inter se convenit Ʋrsis. The Greenland Bears are kind one to another. But to the shame of those who call themselves Christians, (but are of the Synagogue of Satan that Aboriginal Murderer) men are not so modest as to be confined within the limits of making true the Horrid Adage, Homo homini Lu­pus, that one man is a Wolf to devour ano­ther, but they proceed to the utmost ex­tremity of Malice and Madness, and become Homo homini Daemon, Devils to damn one another, not Anthropophagi, or Cani­bals, but Psychophagi, feeding upon humane souls: turning that innocent Wisdom of the Serpent, which our Lord commands to preserve our selves, into the restless Ma­lice of the Old Serpent, to destroy others, Souls, Bodies, and Estates; and to infuse the Mortal Poison of Adders, which is un­der their Lips, into the Souls of Credulous Men, through their Ears and Eyes, with the pretext of Piety and true Religion. The Glorious Company of Saints and Martyrs now triumphant in Heaven, went thither through a Red Sea of Blood, but it was their own which was shed by the cruel hands of Heathenish Persecutors, who did it ignorantly in Unbelief; and with joy it was, that they set their seal to the Testimony of Jesus and his Truth in their dearest blood, Emptying their Veins, [Page 3]that their Souls might be filled with a glo­rious Immortality. But now Christians who all profess one Common Name and Faith, think they do not set to their seal to that Truth, unless they shed the blood of one another: and that most commonly for dif­ferences in Opinion, for Words, Names, Fancies, and Conjectures, at least if we may believe there is no more in the bot­tom, which they conceal, than there is in what they pretend openly for the ground of the Quarrel. Oh Barbarous Christia­nity! Oh Heathenish Impiety! In the im­portunate Croud of such mournful thoughts and considerations, of former Experience of our late Shipwrack, and fear of future Events, which the Noisy Tempest that seemed to threaten our Crazy and bruised Vessel, suggested to my mind; my Soul was overwhelmed with Grief and fear, and ready to sink into Dispair, both at the re­membrance of the past, and the terrible Consequences of that Inevitable Ruin, which Truth it self has pronounced against a house and a Kingdom divided within, and therefore against themselves; and distract­ed by Intestin Discords.

THE prophetique Caution of the Apo­stle came presently into my mind:Gal. 5.15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. I saw, me thought, with Horror, the too plain [Page 4]truth of it in those once Golden Candle­sticks,Vid. Mr. Smiths Travels to the Seven Churches of Asia. the Seven Churches of Asia; who by their Discords were laid in ashes; and are the habitations of Owls and Dragons, or far worse Inhabitants, the sordid Wor­shippers of that Great Imposter Mahomet. I could not stand upon the Brink of such an amasing Precipice without extreme Hor­ror, nor see the Cause so Evident, without a dreadful apprehension of the Tragical Issue. Which made me break out into the Passionate Wish of the afflicted Jeremy: Oh that my Head were Waters, Jer. 9.1, 2. and mine Eyes a fountain of Tears, that I might weep day and night for the daughter of my Peo­ple! Oh that I had in the Wilderness a lodging Place of a way-faring man, that I might leave my People, and go from them, for they are an Assembly of treacherous Men. For I found my self like the Royal Prophet;Psal. 55.4, 5, 6, 7, 8. My heart was sore pained within me, fear and trembling came upon me; then said I, Oh that I had wings like a Dove, for then would I flee away and be at rest; I would wander far off, and remain in the Wilderness; I would make haste to escape from the windy storm and tempest. But what, said I, will Tears avail; though I could raise them to a Deluge? can they at­tone the Sins, or drown the Miseries of a Nation? Oh blessed Jesus! thou great and compassionate Shepherd, look down from [Page 5]thy glorious Habitation upon this miser­able Flock, which with thy precious blood thou hast redeemed: pour out thine In­dignation upon the Heathen, who either have not known thy Name, or Hate it. When shall that happy Ʋnity and perfect Charity bless thy Church, in being one Flock under thee, that great and only Shep­herd? when shall the breaches of Zion be made up? when shall Jerusalem, by be­ing at Ʋnity in it self, become the Glory of the whole Earth, the City of the great King? I begun then to meditate upon the Goodness of that wise Physician who gi­veth Medicine to heal their Sickness, and maketh men to be of one mind in a House: But alas! when I came to put our Sins (and especially our Ingratitudes for Mer­cies that were Miracles) into the Ballance against Gods Mercy, I found but too true what the same afflicted Prophet sayes of himself, in a Case not much different from ours;Jer. 8.18. When I would comfort my self against sorrow, my heart was faint within me; we looked for Peace but no good came; for a time of Health, but behold trouble. Long have we hoped to see good Dayes, and expected better Times; but the harvest is past, the Summer is ended, and we are not deliver'd. Nay rather, our Symptoms ap­pear more dangerous, and our wound al­most incurable. With which considera­tion, [Page 6]I burst out into the sensible Expres­sion of the holy disconsolate, in the fol­lowing Verse: For the hurt of the Daugh­ter of my People am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me! I had no sooner uttered those Words, but my Eye was Encountred with the succeeding Expression; Is there no Balm in Gilead? Is there no Physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my People re­covered? Yes certainly (said I) there is Balm in Gilead, but where is the Physician that shall apply it? The wound is deep, and Fester'd; and will not indure the least, the gentlest hand to touch it. They who are sick even to the Extreamest Ago­nies and Convulsions, believe themselves in the most perfect state of Health; they reject, contemn, and despise the Physician, and his applications; and though they are in the most dangerous Delirium, they are so strongly possessed of this belief, that they think the Physitian mad and brain­sick; and are so far from receiving his advice and skill, that they cry out, He wants it himself, and they pretend to give it.

I knew that many there were who had attempted the charitable design in vain; I knew their Talents far exceed my Mite; I can give but all, they can give no more, and that I will give. I know my Lord will [Page 7]expect an account, a strict one from me;Matt. 25.27. and to receive his own with Ʋsury; why should I then hide my Lords money in the Earth? There may be as much Charity in a Mite as in a Million; all will help the treasury towards the rebuilding of the Temple: and God who knows all things, knows, I think it too small to boast of, or to give to be seen of men. They who have received more, may be more Li­beral; and I hope they will. Thus did I struggle with my troubled thoughts; but at the last I considered that of the Incom­parably wisest of Men:Eccl. 9.11. I returned (says he) and saw under the Sun, that the Race is not to the swift, nor the Battle to the strong; and my hopes received a strange assistance, and my Courage a reinforce­ment by the Parable of the poor Man,Vers. 14.15. who delivered the City from the iminent danger with which it was surrounded; Nor did the reflection of so great a Judge, upon the poor Mans going unrewarded for his service, discourage me. For since I dare neither pretend to his Character, nor success; I am secured against the discon­tents and danger of Oblivion. The Glory of good actions, if they succeed, is Re­ward enough for innocent Minds; and if they fail, the satisfaction of having at­tempted them, is beyond all other Recom­pences; and I may truly say, my greatest [Page 8]fear is, lest I should not be able to accom­plish the Good Design, which I do so pas­sionately desire to do: My Intention is my Satisfaction, and if it will procure my Pardon from some, it is beyond my Ex­pectation: and however, I am assured, that whatsoever reception or Effect my Inten­tions may find amongst Men, yet that even this inconsiderable Cup of cold Water,Matt. 10. ult. shall not fail of a proportionate reward, from him who recompenses sincere Inten­tions and poor Indeavours (for all our best Actions are no better) done in Faith and Charity, with transcendant degrees of real Glory.

IN the Name therefore of God Omnipo­tent, I will Enter upon this Rugged way, which is therefore Uneven, because few there are that tread it: and in my Travels through these Regions of good and bad Report, I will endeavour to Follow the bright Star of Truth; and to avoid the dangerous Rocks of Partiality and Passion: I will not Court the Kindness even of that Party which I own, by unmanly, and much less Unchristian Flattery, nor treat those who are Enemies to themselves and truth, with heat and Animosity, as if they were my own. And if at any time I may ap­pear transported, too sharp or Rugged, I desire it may be remembred, that the Sa­maritan was no less Compassionate or [Page 9]Charitable, for the sharpness of his Wine, than for the smoothness of his Oyl; the one was as necessary to cleanse the Wounds, as the other to heal them; and both pre­vious to his binding them up. All the Re­quest I have to those who at present differ from me in Opinion is, That if I speak truth, I may be Credited, and they per­swaded to Embrace the same Design which all good Christians are bound to promote as well as I, if they expect Salvation; viz. Peace on Earth, and good will towards Men, as well as Glory to God on high. And if I be mistaken, since I do not Err of Malicious Wickedness, that they will pity me, and in­form me better. No person shall more greedily Embrace a clearer beam of Divine Truth, that darling of my Soul; nay, I will further ingage, that though it comes disguised and wrapt up in Calumnies and reproaches (the most disadvantageous dress to apparel Perswasion in) yet will I not refuse to Embrace her. Nor because it comes from my Enemies, and with all the Circumstances which may make it appear so, will I therefore become theirs, and my own, by being an Enemy to Truth. The sword which was design'd to kill, may sometimes by a happy accident Cure, by cutting the Imposthume; and though the Lancet be sharp, yet if it Cures my Fea­vor, by discharging the Malignant humor [Page 10]of my blood, I shall not refuse the assist­ance I may receive from such a profitable Wound; and would be glad to escape a Shipwrack, even by the Rock upon which I am split.

CHAP. II.

HE that will Build secure, must first clear the Foundation; and if he finds either Sand or Rubbish, he must remove them; and not think his time or labour lost, which is spent in sinking deep to find a firm and solid Bottom, where he intends to set a weighty Pile, and raise a lasting Fabrick. For otherwise he can expect no better success, than the foolish builder in the Parable, Matt. 7.26. who built upon the Sand, which was not able to indure the violent shock of the noisy Tempest; but when the Wind and the Rain made their attaque upon it, it presently Fell, and great was his Folly that built it, as well as the fall of it.

WHOSOEVER they be that will Embrace Truth, and put on Charity, the Bond of Christian Perfection, and the fulfilling the Royal Law of Liberty, must seriously Re­solve to devest themselves of what is con­trary to it; The great inquiry of the World is that of Pilate to our Blessed Lord, Joh. 18.38. What is truth? but with him, they scarcely put [Page 11]the hasty Interrogatory, before they go out, not finding Patience enough to stay for an answer; and therefore they take up that which first offers it self to them under that Sacred Name, which all Impostors challenge, but none possess. And having once received the Counterfeit Mettal with that Character and Superscription, so great is the Authority even of the Name of Truth, that it goes for Currant Coin with the Credulous; who are either Unable, or Unwilling to bring it to the Touchstone themselves; or to suffer others, who can, to Give it the Test: Nay, so strong and forcible are the Impressions which this Counterfeit Treasure makes in the Minds of Men; that it is a matter of the greatest difficulty to perswade them to relinquish it, or to change their flawy Bristol, or their fiery Flint, for a Real Diamond, the inestimable Pearl of Price: so that you cannot go about to undeceive and disabuse them, but they take you for a Cheat; and suspect you guilty of a Design to Rob them of that Treasure which they value as their Life, and it may be above it; and though you be able to prove and demonstrate that it is only the shining and Chymical Glass of over-heated Zeal, yet will they jealously suppose all you say is only to de­ceive them; and that you disparage theirs, to give a lustre to your own, which they [Page 12]believe you would put off to them for your own advantage.

WE must therefore indeavour to shew what are the Enemies of Truth, and by consequence, of Ʋnity, and Charity, be­fore we can come to discover her from the Crowd of pretenders; for it has always been the successful industry of him who is the Enemy of all Truth, to ruin Unity and Charity, by setting up Counterfeits, and apparelling them like this Glorious Queen; thereby to rob her of her Lawful Empire over the Minds of Men, and make them pay Homage to Error and Falshood under her Usurped Name.

THE first Enemy of Truth is self In­terest. There is in all Mankind a Natural Love to themselves, and a kindness to the present concerns of Life; and therefore, nothing is more Common, than to make an Estimate of truth in proportion to the advantages they possess by her; and though men talk much of Naked Truth, yet they Generally leave the Courtship of her to Fools or Philosophers; and Esteem that worth marrying which hath the fairest Ornaments, and the best Portion; and whoever does molest and disturb, or in their opinion go about to divorce them from such an advantageous Alliance, shall diffi­cultly perswade them that he is their Friend. Men usually are as jealous of a [Page 13]rich and profitable Error, which they have Espoused, as they can be of the greatest Treasure they possess. And whosoever shall go about to perswade them out of this, must be look't upon as an Enemy to their real happiness, of which he would rob them under the pretence of being theirs, and the Friend of Truth: Nay, though you be able to give them the clearest Demonstration that they shall ad­vantage themselves, even in these beloved Circumstances of Interest, Riches, Honor, and Reputation; yet shall you gain little Credit by your pains, and rarely perswade them to make an Experiment, in regard, that they look upon their present Condi­tion, as a most sensible certainty, but upon what you propose, as a hazardous Contin­gency; and are unwilling to exchange one Bird in the hand for two in the Bush.

DAILY Experience convinces of this; for though it is evident both to Sense and Reason, that Temperance, Sobriety, Ju­stice, Chastity, Fidelity, and Honesty, are the most certain Methods whereby men may obtain Health, Reputation, Honor, and Riches, and even long Life, to Enjoy all the Happiness of this World, yet few there are that will venture upon the Pra­ctice of these Excellent Virtues: the In­terest of present pleasure prevails more with the Lascivious and Intemperate; the [Page 14] Interest of certain, though unlawful Gain, which they do possess, is more va­luable to the Unjust, the Dishonest, Frau­dulent, and Covetous, than all the pro­mises in Reversion, and future Expectancies that you can make them; and they are so Enamour'd of these profitable Falshoods, that they will neither believe you, nor Truth it self: Nay, so powerful is this Interest, that it will manage men even against the Dictates of Nature and Com­mon Reason; against the Infalliable Testi­mony of Experience; for, who is he that does not love and value his Life above all things? and yet every month produces many sad Examples of Men and Women, who have not been deterr'd from pursuing what they thought their Interest, by Thefts, Robberies, and Murders; though they did in every such Undertaking, run, not only a private hazzard of their Lives, from the just revenge of persons so injur'd by them; but the more certain Arms of Publique Justice, which in a thou­sand Instances, before their Eyes, they know to have so long a reach, and so sure a stroak; and the Old saying, Non nosti longas Regibus esse Manus? has not been able to restrain Ambitious Minds from pro­fitable Treason, and the Great Interest (as they have falsly thought) of Rebellion a­gainst their Soveraign.

It was with this Ingine that the mista­ken Jews gave the first shock to Christian Religion, in the Person of our Saviour; and though they in reality confirm'd it, by fulfilling the Prophecies concerning him, in his Araignment, Tryal, Sufferings, and Death; yet was that an Effect of the Wise and over-ruling Providence; and no part of their Intention; their Design was their own Interest, the preservation of their Power, and the Safety of their State and Nation: for, when he had done as great a Miracle as it was possible,Joh. 1.8.47. in raising La­zarus after he had been dead four days, and that Martha told him, Lord by this time he stinketh; Nay, after they them­selves did acknowledge not only this, but many Miracles to have been done by him; yet Powerful Interest, not only closed their Eyes against the bright beams of Divinity, which broke forth through the Clouds of his Flesh, and contemptible Con­dition; against those Gracious Words which proceeded out of that mouth, which spoak as never man spoak; but hurried them on obstinately, blindly, and in all appearance maliciously to contrive, compass, and pro­cure his ignominious Death: for, then gathered the Chief Priests, and the Pha­risees a Councel, and said; What do we? for this Man doth many Miracles; if we let him thus alone, all Men will believe on him, [Page 16]and the Romans shall come and take away both our Place and Nation. Upon which followed the Politick (and beyond his sense, Prophetick) Determination of Caia­phas; Te know nothing at all, nor consider that it is Expedient for us (it is our great Interest) that one man should die, and that the whole Nation perish not; and from that Day forth, they took Counsel together to put him to death. And this Resolution ground­ed upon Interest, they pursued with that Animosity and Violence, that neither the Innocence, nor Miracles of his Life, the Justification of Pilate, who openly pro­nounced him innocent, and that he found in him no fault at all; could prevail for his Release, but that rather a Tumult was made, and they cried out, Away with him, Away with him; Crucifie him, Crucifie him; pre­ferring a Thief and a Murderer to the Priviledge of their Custom of having one released at the Feast: Nay, even Pilate himself, perhaps terrified with the dream of his Wife, to have nothing to do with that Just man, yet contrary to his avowed Judg­ment, as appears in that 'tis said, he sought to release him, yet was hurried down the swift torrent of Tumult and Interest, to condemn the Innocent; for no sooner had the Jews cried out, If thou let this man go, thou art no Friend to Caesar, for whoso ma­keth himself a King, speaketh against Caesar; [Page 17]though he knew the Kingdom of Christ was not of this World, and therefore stood not in Competition with Caesar for the Em­pire; Yet when Pilate heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sate down in the Judgment seat; and though not without a scossing Reluctancy, (What, shall I Crucifie your King?) he gave Sentence upon the Innocent, and delivered him unto them to be Crucified: in that Action shewing, how much he was, not a Friend to Caesar's Power, but, a slave to his own Interest in the Esteem of Caesar, by whose favour he possessed the Government of Jary, and and that he could rather violate the Laws of Equity and Justice, disoblige his dear­est Relations, and slight the Importunities of his own Conscience, than not worship this Idol of his own Interest.

A most notable Instance of the Power of Interest we have in that giddy Commo­tion which happen'd at Ephesus, upon the account of the Gospel; where though the crafty Silversmith made the people believe that all was Gold that glister'd; and cun­ningly insinuated, that he was the great Patron of their Ancient Religion, which was in Danger to be lost; and therefore laid that powerful Motive uppermost upon his Tongue; yet Interest was at the bottom, both of his Heart and Design. For a cer­tain man named Demetrius, a Silversmith, Acts. 19.24. [Page 18] which made silver shrines (Medals bear­ing the stamp of Diana's Temple) for Diana; brought no small gain unto the Craftsmen; whom he called together, with the workmen of like Occupation; and said unto them, Ye know that by this Craft we have our Wealth; This was the main Ground of the Quarrel, that of Religion comes in only to give the better Colour to the Mutiny with, a colateral Moreover: Moreover, you see, that not alone at Ephe­sus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath perswaded and turned away much People, saying, that they be no Gods which are made with hands; so that not only this our Craft is in danger to be set at nought, (there it was the shoe pinch't, this was the principal Motive of his Discontent, and his main argument against Christianity) but also, that the Temple of the great Goddess Diana should be dispised, and her Magni­ficence should be destroyed, whom Asia and all the World worshippeth. And of the same stamp where those of whom St. Paul speaks,1 Tim. 6.5. who supposed Gain was Godli­ness, Interest, true Religion, from whom he commands therefore to withdraw.

'Tis this Interest which seems to be the great obstacle to the Conversion of the Mahumetans and Pagans to the Faith of Christ, and the Truth of the Gospel. For though the Vulgar amongst them, are, by [Page 19]reason of their stupid Ignorance and Cu­stom, wrapt up in clouds of darkness, and have not a Capacity of Understanding, much elevated above that of Brutes; yet doubtless those of better Condition, even by their conversations with the Christians, cannot but have better conceptions of things; and however they may varnish over this Obstinacy to their ridiculous Faith and sordid Principles, with the pretence of Zeal for the Law of their Great Pro­phet; yet doubtless finding the security of their Absolute and Arbitrary Dominion, and Tyranny over their Subjects, receives an Establishment from this blind Obedi­ence and powerful Ignorance; that Consi­deration sways them against all the Reason and Arguments in the World.

NOR will the Reman Religion Escape the danger of this overpoise of Interest. 'Tis this which has hitherto been the Obstacle to all the Indeavours which have been used, or proposed, to reform both those grosser Errors which they have introdu­ced into Faith and good Manners; and those lesser profitable Follies, which have crept into their Church, by the back-stairs of Advantage, Riches, and Esteem. For by laying it down as a certain Foundation of Faith and Divine Verity, that the Pope is Supreme Head of the Church; above the Scriptures, above Councels, the Infal­lible [Page 20]Rule and sole Judge of all Controver­sies; they necessarily Captivate all the Laity, with the chains of blind Obedi­ence and implicite Faith: and that neces­sary and even Meritorious Ignorance, espe­cially of the Scriptures, which they com­mend and incourage; together with the easie Exercise of Religion, which is made Satisfactory, Meritorious, and Supererro­gating without the Intention, or even Un­derstanding of the Mind; the Mercinary way of Expiating Guilt, and Purchasing Heaven, after all the Enjoyments of a sen­sual, lascivious, and debauched Life, by Confession here, and Masses bought to be said hereafter; and at the worst the pains of Purgatory; all which Doctrins bring in Treasure and Authority to the Priests and Church, which generally shares with them in the purchase, and permits them not to have lawful Heirs, that so she may be their Executrix; these and a multitude of the same Nature, which are made matters of Faith, and Sacraments in their Church, essential to Salvation; Fasten on the Ma­nacles, and make their Proselytes volunta­rily entertain a slavery, so agreable to their Wishes and Desires. For who would not like a Religion which permits him to En­joy all the Liberties of the World and the Flesh (though renounced by his Baptismal Vow) and yet puts him out of the danger [Page 21]of Hell and Damnation; that allows him to serve his Mammon of Unrighteousness, and yet expect a Reward from God, whom he may at the same time serve (though Christ says Nay to it) and please with a few random Prayers, repeated only with the labour of the Lips; which at one Hea­ven according to their Quantity, and are Efficacious by their Multiplicity; who would not be a Papist, who can believe, that though he live all the Year like a Heathen in Sensuality and open Impiety; yet if at Easter he make Confession to a Priest, he shall thereby clear the score be­twixt God and his Soul, and be a good Ca­tholique; though he is no sooner parted from his Ghostly Father, but he repeats the same Crimes, or it may be worse, and re­turns to the former Vomit and wallowing in the Mire, perfectly upon the incourage­ment of the same Remedy? who would not be such a Catholique? when a few knocks upon his Breast shall be Contrition, and some austerities and hardships practi­sed upon the Body, shall satisfie for the sin of his Soul; and the most flagitious Of­fenders may hope for, and be certain of Reconciliation to God, and yet never be sensible of the severe Agonies of Spirit, and the insupportable Wounds of Conscience, the dreadful Horrors of a guilty Mind? Is not this a soft and easie way to Heaven, [Page 22]which makes the Way so broad, and the Gate so wide, which is set open by St. Pe­ter's Keys, that it is impossible any man should either Miss the one, or not Enter the other, who is not either so miserably Poor, or so wretchedly Covetous, or so great an Ʋnthrift, or so destitute of Charitable Friends, as not to be able to leave a small sum of Money for Masses and Dirges to re­skue him from the Pains of Purgatory. O dangerous Simony, which sells Heaven, and the Holy Ghost (without which the other cannot be had) for Money! And if the Pope has such a Power to relieve the Quick and the Dead, he is the most Uncharitable person (to say no worse) in the World, who when for a word of his Mouth he can Save so many Souls from the Horrid Pains of Purgatory, will not do it unless he be hired to it; the Good Shepherd lays down his Life for the Flock; but the Hireling will not spare his Breath to Cool the Flaming Tongues of those who suffer such Intollerable Pains, unless he be paid for his.

AND if at any time the more Learned or Intelligent, come to discover the pious Frauds, the Great Severities which are made use of against them, if they do but mutter against the Church, the Fear of loosing their Lives or Estates, and wear­ing the Infamous Brand of Hereticks, is the [Page 23] Interest which seals their Lips in si­lence.

AND for the Clergy, the High Honors to which they may arive, and the dazeling Lustre of the Tripple Diadem shines so full upon their Eyes, that it takes away their sight; and the innumerable ways of ob­taining Dignities, Riches, Esteem, and Vene­ration with the Laity, generally prove too strong Charms to be resisted by feeble Na­ture. For who would turn a poor Pro­testant Priest, when thereby he shall be so great a looser? when thereby he shall part with all the fair Revenue of Masses for the Dead, Money for Pardons, Indulgences, Licences, Dispensations, and the more than Almighty Priviledge, and Miracle of ma­king his Creator, and transubstantiating a poor piece of Bread into the real body of the Son of God? when he must renounce all hopes and pretensions to the Red Cap; the Title of Eminency, and the Princely state of S. E. R. Cardinal; the next step to Vice Deus, and the Supreme Honor of the Triple Miter? and when in Exchange he must confine his Ambition to (it may be) a small Benefice, and a great Charge, in his vigilant Cure of Souls; a heavy Bur­then, and it may be a light Gain; and which if he does indeavour faithfully to discharge, shall procure him in the room of Love, Honour, and Esteem, Hatred, [Page 24]Scorn, Contempt, and Reproaches. And when the highest that can be hoped, is but a Pastoral Staff, and humble Mitre, the Load and Envy of Government, the Con­stant Care of the Churches, and a certain Revenue of Malice, for the little Temporal Honour, and Estate which it may be is but just sufficient to maintain Charity, and Hospitality, those Honourable Characters as well as Expensive Duties of a Primitive Bishop.

I could heartily wish, that even this Interest, and the Revenue of the Church, could not be objected against any Dissen­ters, as a former Motive that induced them to Ruine her, that so they might Rob her; and that the same Spur did not still continue their Career, in the same De­sign; I know they will disown it; and I wish we could believe them and our senses at the same time. I wish the advantages they make of Tones, Phrases, long Pray­ers, sanctified Looks, and Religious Diso­bedience, with which they please the Fa­ctious, shelter the Seditious, and agran­dize themselves both in Riches and Repu­tation; might not be objected against Dissenters, as a greater Reason for their Nonconformity, than any real Power of Conscience. And they give a just occasion to suspect that they have not a Conscience void of offence towards God and Man, who [Page 25]dare daily break the Laws of the one and the other; and make no scruple to wound the Consciences of others both weak and strong, under pretence of keeping their own from being wounded; which is just so charitable, as for me to wound another man, and say it was in my own defence, and lest he should have injur'd me.

So that it appears how great an influ­ence Interest has upon the minds of Men, to obstruct the Entertainment of Truth, and that therefore in Order to obtain Peace and Ʋnity, there is an absolute ne­cessity that Men should lay aside the Clog of self Interest.

CHAP. III.

IT is not Interest alone that obstructs the happy Ʋnion that ought to be amongst Christians; and occasions those Divisions amongst them; but there is also a necessi­ty, that Men should devest themselves of their prejudices, and prepossessions of mind: for these do always keep those Differences alive; and are the constant food and nou­rishment which does not only support, but increase and augment them; till they grow at last beyond all hopes and possibi­lity of Composure. Would all persons in­deavour heartily to take the Beam out of [Page 26]their own Eyes, they would see clearly to remove the Moats out of their Brothers; and would hereby advance a large step to­wards Reconciliation, by coming to a good Understanding, and a clear discovery of what it is they differ about: Controversies being many times in mere Words rather than in Substance, and are rather the Effects of prejudice and misunderstanding one ano­thers meaning than in the things them­selves about which we seem to disagree: for Prejudice is an ill Opinion of Persons or Things, arising from a false judgment which we entertain concerning them; which makes them appear to us of monstrous and deformed Shapes and Colours; it is a cer­tain Jaundice of the Mind, which stains every thing with the disagreable appear­ances with which, not the things them­selves, but the Conceptions we have of them are vitiated; and our Judgment by that misinformation deceived and abused: for when the Mind comes to be infected with prejudice, it renders those things ill and unlawful, which to a mind cleared from those obstructions and gross humors of the Ʋnderstanding, appear as in reality they are in themselves, Innocent, Good, Lawful; and many times expedient and necessary; or however at the worst, in their own Natures simply indifferent.

THIS is the Common Lot of all those [Page 27]things in Divine Worship, which are not of the Essence, but Circumstantials of Re­ligion; which are the things that raise the greatest Dissentions and Differences a­mongst Christians. It is at once the occa­sion of Wonder and of Pity, to see Christi­ans who all agree in the Main, Eph. 4.5. That there is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God the Father, of whom are all things, 1 Cor. 8.6. and we in him: and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him; who all consent in one common End, and De­sign, which is Eternal Happiness in Hea­ven; and one hope of this Common Sal­vation; that yet they should disagree, and fall out by (and about) the Way that leads to those Blessed Regions of Light and Im­mortality. When Joseph (the Type of our blessed Jesus) had given his Brethren changes of Rayment, and Provision for their Journey, in order to bring them out of the Land of Famine, to the Country of Goshen, it was not an unnecessary Com­mand which he laid upon them,Gen. 45.24. See that ye fall not out by the Way. Should they now have fallen out into Disputes and Dif­ferences about their Apparel, because it was not all of a Size, Colour, or Fashion; or whether they should travel the same way back again, and not seek another? would not the one have been as ridiculous a dispute, as the other dangerous? and yet [Page 28]this very Folly there are too many Guilty of; who leaving the old Road of Charity, because their Brethren will not comply with them in their Novel Dresses of Reli­gion, seek out a new Road to Heaven, which the foot of Saint or Martyr never trod be­fore. Thus shall you see some People start at the very word Ceremony, as if it would convey the Plague into their Ears, and Damnation into their Souls; and yet they themselves can perform no Religious Of­fice of bodily Worship without it; and if St. Paul be to be credited, God expects we should offer our bodies a living Sacrifice, Rom. 12.3. holy, and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.

A Ceremony is nothing more than a So­lemn way or manner of performing Reli­gious Duties, which word some derive â Carendo, quia Religio non potest Exerceri Caeremonijs carens, because no Religion can be performed without some Ceremonies; though others it may be more aptly â Cha­ritate, from that Charity which the agree­ment of People in one way and manner of Worship, does naturally produce among them: or it may be from the old Latin word Caerus, which is the same with Sanctus, holy, for which reason the Latins call their Holy-days, Caeremoniosi Dies, and it is no more but a Rite or Custom appropria­ted to holy Ʋses. Some there are, who to ren­der [Page 29]it Odious, derive it from the Heathen Goddess, Ceres; how like Scholars, or rather School-boys, let the Learned Judge. But supposing it were true, is it a good Argu­ment, the Heathens had Ceremonies, there­fore the Christians must have none? By the same reason, the Heathens Worship­ped false Gods, therefore Christians must not Worship the True, for all Worship is Ceremony.

BUT when once this prejudice is fixed to the Word, it is no more but fixing the Word to what People dislike, and it pre­sently looks black and ugly; and becomes a Mormo, a Bugbear to their thoughts; and like Children, they start and Cry out at the shadow which they make themselves: but if they can add the word Popish, that it is a Popish Ceremony, then it is Impious, Ʋnlawful, Superstitious, and Damnable, and all that can be said to render it Exe­crable, and Abominable: when as in truth all that Papists do, is not Popery, nor Abo­minable, and Unlawful; but however, by the strength of this prejudice, those things which are truly Primitive, are made Po­pish; kneeling at the receiving the holy Eu­charist, bowing at the Name of Jesus, and the whole Book of the Liturgy, though for the generality express words of Scrip­ture, are made Ceremonies, and Popish; and then, how innocent soever, if a Tumult [Page 30]can but be made, Away with them, Crucifie them: whereas sober people ought to Con­sider that there is a Necessity of some So­lemn Ways, Rites, Modes, and Methods of Expressing our Devotion, and Worship; and since these Modes, or Ways, are Cere­monies, and some Ceremonies are not only Lawful but Necessary, why not these? which have been approved in all Ages of the Church, ever since the times of Aposto­lical Purity, rather than any new ones of Private Invention, in opposition to Pub­lique Authority, which thinks fit to Con­tinue, Establish, and Command these to be Used in the Church?

I am not ignorant that here is a strong suspicion of Malice, as well as Mistake; and it is much to be doubted, that there is a Combination of Interest, as well as Pre­judice, in some of the Principal Fomenters of Division; who appear so transported against all Ceremonies; and that though they know better things, yet they mighti­ly indeavour to maintain these Prejudices in the Minds of the Easy Multitude; who hang their Faith upon the Oracles of their Lips; and in this are absolute Papists, be­lieving with an implicit Faith the Infal­lible Decrees of the Heads of their Church: for upon this Depend the Benevolences which their Followers do so freely bestow upon them for this Industrious Flattery, [Page 31]that these Prejudices are Marks and Signs of their Christian Liberty, and being Escaped from the Yoak of Antichristian Ty­ranny, and Egyptian Darkness, into the glorious light of Gospel Truth; as they are pleased to call even these Prejudices and Mistakes; though to the certain loss of Christian Charity, and Ʋnity; the great hazard of Temporal Peace, and the ruine of Religion it self, as I shall hereafter more fully make appear.

THIS dangerous Prejudice, which does infect the minds of Men, as it has its foun­dation in misunderstanding of things; so it receives strength from two things which are almost as difficult to change and alter, as the Course of Nature: and they are, Education and Custom. Of the last the Holy Ghost speaks most plainly by the Pro­phet Jeremy. Jer. 13.23. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the Leopard his spots? then may ye do good, who are accustomed, (or as the Hebrew word signifies, taught) to do evil, learn to do well. Of the other, that of the Heathen Poet may pass for good Divinity, having been confirmed to be truth, by the Universal Testimony of all Ages:

Quô semèl est imbuta recens, servabit Odorem
Testa diu.—

the first seasoning Principles and Preju­dices which we receive in our Youth, stick closely to us for a long time after. The wise Philosopher tells us, the Soul of Man is Rasa Tabula, like a white sheet of Paper, out of which therefore it must be more than Common Art, that can so clear take out the first writing, as to super-induce a new Copy fair and legible.

THIS is the true Reason why any person finds it so difficult to quit those Notions of Religion, which have been Established in his Mind from his Early Infancy: there is a Marvellous Agreement, and Natural Kindness to those Opinions which we suck in with our Milk; they are like Foster Brothers, to whom it has been observed, there is as strong an inclination as to the Natural; we play and converse with them from our Cradles, and as soon as we can go alone, we take them by the hand; we sleep with them in our bosoms, and con­tract an insensible Friendship with them, a pleasing Familiarity, which takes off all deformities; we love them, and we like them, and their very blackness is a Beauty, as it is with the Affrican Nations, to whom even that which we judge deformity, ap­pears more lovely than the most delicate Europaean Beauty. What can be more im­pertinent and ridiculous than the Alchoran of that great Impostor, Mahumed? and yet a [Page 33]natural Turk, born to those prejudices of Education, and Custom, believes him the greatest of the Prophets; and the only friend of God: And though he have a great veneration for Christ, yet would he spit in your face, and call you Hog, (the most disgraceful term they think they can af­front a Christian with) if you should con­tradict him, or go about to convince him of his Errors, by shewing the absurdities and impossibilities of what he calls his Re­ligion.

WHAT can be more Barbarous and Sa­vage, than the Rites of the Pagan Idola­ters? and yet, you may almost as soon re­move a Mountain, as one of them, from what has been the Religion of his An­cestors; and his, ever since he knew any. What can be more unreasonable, than some of the Tenets of the Romish Church? more ridiculous and antick than some parts of their greatest Solemnities; more fabu­lously extravagant than some of their Le­gends, and most of their Miracles? and yet we see, how tenacious not only most of the vulgar, but even of the learned a­mongst them are; that they will not re­trench even the fopperies of their Faith, as they call it, to advance one step to­wards an Ʋnion with the whole Catholique Church, of the past, and present Ages; but on the contrary, by the Anathema's [Page 34]of the Convention of Trent, have cut off all hope and possibility of such an accord; by establishing the very Minutiae & Quis­quiliae, the punctilio's and parings of their Religion, as things necessary to be believed in order to salvation.

WHAT can be more hard and cruel, than for those who profess to be of the Reform­ed Religion, to run to the very extremities of ruining themselves, by mutual Divi­sions? and so far to weaken themselves and disparage their Religion by intestine Quar­rels, to open an easy way for Conquest to the Enemies both of our Religion and Coun­trey; for some differences in Circum­stances of Divine Worship? And yet we see, such is the strength of some mens preju­dices, and the education of others, in the late unhappy times of our Misery and Di­straction, (from which we were rescued by so many Miracles) that they will ra­ther venture upon the same tempestuous Sea again, from whence we have so lately escaped shipwrack; nay use all Arts and Arguments to push men headlong from the Shoar, into the foaming Main again, which they have but just recovered, still wet and shivering, rather than by a com­pliance with the modest commands of the wise Pilots, their lawful Superiors, even in the most indifferent things, endeavour to repair the leaky vessel of the Church [Page 35]and State; by advancing their peace and happiness by a blessed Ʋnion. The glory of God, and the salvation of mens souls, which certainly are never to be promoted by variance, hatred, emulations, seditions, swellings, and tumults, are of no force or power, in comparison of their Prejudices; but they will in obedience to the tyranny of their education and custom, persist in these practices, fearing neither the Laws of God or men; the transgression of which they call Zeal, and their disobedience Re­ligion; but by their example teach others to do the same, and confirm them in it.

NOR is Custom a less Tyrant over mens minds, to the introducing of prejudice, than Education: For hereby men acquire habits, which are a kind of second Nature: And by long continuance are so rivetted into our good esteem, that they are not to be put off without great difficulty, how inconsiderable soever they are; this is not more visible in any thing, than the use and opinion which several Nations have of their several habits of Apparrel; for to a mind unprepossed with custom, all habits which are decent, convenient and useful, appear equal and indifferent; yet does a Spaniard abhor the fashion of the French, nor does the other use to be behind hand in his re­quital of the same nature: A Turk believes a Turbant and a long vest the most orna­mental [Page 36]dress in the World, and wishes it as a great curse to his enemy to have the plague of a Christians hat: And so it is with other Nations; The Indian prefers his a­dressful nakedness before the cumbersome vestments of the Europaeans, the stones in his Lips, Nose, and Ears, he esteems bet­ter set, than all the Artists in the World can do in Gold. All these are purely the effects of a prejudiced Custom, which makes People gaze even to rudeness and in­civility upon Forreigners when they ap­pear amongst us; and with a ridiculous curiosity, spy imaginary defects and defor­mities in the unaccustomed dresses of o­ther Countries: Nay, even the antiquated fashions of our own, though once the high and only becoming modes in their time; yet by Custom become so uncouth, as to help us to proverbs of derision, by way of comparison.

I chuse to instance the rather in this strength of prejudice acquired by Custom, because it bears an Analogy to the preju­dices which possess peoples minds about the Habits and outward dresses of Reli­gion. Thus he who has not been used to see a Churchman in his Canonical habit, looks upon him as a strange undrest Mon­ster; he who has not been acquainted with the Surplice, and other decent Vestments of the Church, used in the Celebration of [Page 37] Divine Service, especially if he has by his Education been principled with a dislike and detestation of them, looks upon them as antick and useless Formalities: He who has been accustomed to sit at the Lord's Table, and to hand the Bread and Wine to his next neighbour, thinks kneeling an un­necessary part of his Devotion; and if he has been taught so, Superstition and Ido­latry; and to receive it from the hand of the Minister, with the usual Benediction, a tedious and troublesome Custom: He who has been long used to sudden and Extempo­re Prayers, and believes them a fruit of the Spirit, and having it may be acquired a Talent that way, and pleases himself and others with it; looks upon being tied up to the words of the Liturgy as a hard con­finement, and the imprisonment of the Spirit, because it ties up his tongue and his parts from their accustomed Liberty of saying any thing to God Almighty, and offering to him the Sacrifice of Fools: Which makes him abhor the Sacrifice of Praise and thanksgiving when tied by the Authority of the Church, and the Cords of Royal Commands,Psal. 18.27. to the horns of the Altar. He who has been accustomed to certain studied, passionate, and languish­ing Tones, his Ears are grated with the Musick of the Church; though anciently used in the Jewish Church in the Worship [Page 38]of God; the Employment of Angels, and commended to us by the holy Ghost, by the mouth of the Psalmist, upon so many Instruments: concluding the Psalm which will reach them both as to the Matter, Manner,Psalm 150.6. and Time, Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord, praise ye the Lord.

AND for this reason it is, that the Po­litick Heads of Division and Separation, both Papists and other Dissenters, do in­dustriously Prohibit or Estrange their Peo­ple, from joining with us in our Worship; well knowing, that the prejudice of Cu­stom will in a little time do more to per­swade weak Minds to a dislike, than all the Reason in the World can to approve; and when once People have gone so far in Custom, to forsake the Congregation and Publick Service and Worship of God, for their own or the private phancies of their Teachers, then do they labour all they can to justifie their Separation against those who either oppose them, or indeavour to reclaim them; if they meet with weak Op­ponents, they do not only fortifie themselves in their prejudice, but stagger the others with their own weak defence; and so talk themselves into a Custom of Disobedience: if they meet with such as are too hard for them at dint of Argument, that is Carnal Reasoning, and Worldly Wisdom; and the [Page 39]defect of Reason to make good their pre­tences, they either supply with wandring and shifting Wranglings, or however with the strength of Obstinacy: as I have heard one, who being too close hunted from his Shifts and Evasions, plainly said, It was a folly to talk to him of Reason, for he would hear no Reason, for he was sure he was in the Right: which though some may look upon as a Subject fit for laughter, for my own part, I look upon them as the greatest Objects of Compashon; their Condition be­ing certainly most deplorable, who are past the Use of their Reason; and one may have but too just grounds to apprehend, that more of the Separation are in the same Condition of Obstinacy contracted by long Custom and Education. And we have a great deal of Reason both to Pray for them, and with the Apostle, To be deliver­ed from Ʋnreasonable Men.

So that the great influence of Prejudice, whether by long Custom, or Education, is most apparent; and till such time as men can be perswaded to abandon these Forti­fications and Barricado's of their Souls, they will remain impregnable against all the Attempts of Truth and Reason, which may be made Use of, to indeavour to bring them to a Christian Compliance, into Reconciliation, Peace, and Ʋnity.

CHAP. IV.

WHERE Interest combined with Pre­judice have taken deep Root, they are very hard to be overcome, or extirpated from the Minds of Men; but there are two things yet behind, which are more stub­born, because more natural to us; as being usually interwoven with the very Tempers of our Nature, the Vices of our Complexi­ons, as well as contracted with time. For no Man is born with any Designs in his head, nor are Prejudices and Customs, éx traduce, derived from our Parents: but Pride and Ambition are Vices to which the very Constitutions of some mens bodies do more powerfully incline them; some Natures are infected with hot and tumul­tuary Spirits, a restless and a boiling Blood, impatient of the Rein of Government, as the Poet long ago observed in his Chara­cter of Youth, Caereus invitium flecti, Mo­nitoribus asper: and it is descernable ma­ny times in the Earliest Sallies of Life, and so soon as Reason begins to shew it self, Pride and Ambition begin to appear and discover themselves; thus you shall see some Natures Meek and Malleable, soft and tender; others, as if with Romulus they had suck't the Wolf, will like him, play the King amongst their Companions; [Page 41]and at that Age, are so ambitious of the little Honours, and Superiorities above their Equals in Age, and sometimes their Superiors in Quality, that they will ven­ture the severities of the Ferula, and their Blood too, in the Quarrel, to be Caesar aut nullus: and there is scarcely a Publique School, where one may not be furnished with a Specimen of this Nature. Now to subdue these congenial Inclinations, does doubtless require not only the greatest force of Virtue, but the greatest stock of Grace: and many times without the last, all the power of the first proves too weak a Dam to stop these impetuous Torrents of Natural Ambition, and Pride, when swell'd with the Tides of inviting and feazible Temptations; and violently raised above their Shoars, with the turbulent Air of Popular breath; the most dangerous Tem­pest that can blow upon these swelling and foaming Waves.

I joyn these two together, because they are seldom found asunder; and it is not common to find a proud man that is not Ambitious, or an Ambitious person that is not proud; and one can rarely be tempted by one, without the assistance of the other, and if they be not Twins, I cannot decide their Pretensions which should be the Elder Brother; but which soever is the first born of Folly, Pride usually sets Ambition upon [Page 42]Action: and what the one Projects the other Executes. For that any person should despise the Precepts of Virtue and Reli­gion, the Principles of Loyalty and Obe­dience; per fas & nefas, (the Common Ladder of Ambition) aspire at high things, great places of Trust, Honour, Dignity, or Command in the World; must certain­ly be the Effect of Pride: for such Tem­pers are always Opiniatres of their own Merits; Haughty Minds think and believe therefore, that they deserve whatsoever they can Desire, and more than they have; and the higher they rise, still the more Proud and Ambitious they grow; looking upon their past Acquisitions, as the just reward of their Wisdom and Conduct; which still swells them with bigger De­sires, and larger Thoughts; so that in re­ality Ambition knows no Hercules Pillars, because Pride cannot write a Nè plùs ultrà upon their Merits: for this is the Dropsie of the Mind, and the more Men drink, the the more they thirst:

—Totum licet hauserit Hermum,
Ardebit majore siti.—

thus the young Macedonian swell'd with his Victories over the Unfortunate Persian and his Allies, and being told of more Worlds, [Page 43] ‘Aestuat infelix angusto limite Mundi.’

his Ambition boil'd over at his Eyes, that he was confin'd to one: nay, so strangely was he transported with this unruly Tumor, that nothing would satisfie him but to be a God, as if he had intentions to depose his adopted Father, and conquer Heaven too, when he came there.

Now it is the Constant Temper of these hot Complexions, to make every thing stoop to their Designs, because they think every thing ought to bow to their Merits; nor will they spare even Religion it self, to which they will yet seemingly bend, only to bend it to their Interest; and they do most frequently abuse that Sacred Name, because by that Method they are inabled more easily to abuse others with their well acted Hypocrisie, and double-gilt Dis­simulation: and it being the sole Preroga­tive of Heaven to know mens hearts, their Great Master-piece is to cover their Ambi­tion with the soft Mantle of Religion, and to act that part of their Lives so to the Life, as rather to out-do the most sincere and innocent, as to what is visible, than by any remissness in their outward appear­ance, to hazard a discovery of what lodges within: Nor indeed is it possible to distin­guish such golden Sinners from the most [Page 44] splendid Saints, without a narrow consi­deration whither their Designs must lead them, and in what they will End; and this is the true Reason why the innocent and well­meaning among the ordinary rank of Peo­ple are so often imposed upon, surprised with, and carried on in a good opinion of their proud and Ambitious Leaders, who cover those horrid Vices, with the Glo­rious Names of Zeal for the Lord of Hosts, Fervency of Spirit, and Active Piety for the Cause of God: for if they would con­sider, whither of necessity these Princi­ples of Disobedience, which they infuse into them, both against their King and their Church, would at the last lead them; and of what nature the Practises are, which are deduced from them; it were impossi­ble that People should be seduced by such Troops to adore and almost Deifie those persons, whose main Design is only to serve their own present Interest, and the future Aims of their Ambitious Pride.

BUT lest any Person should think the Expression of Deifying too harsh, I can bring Evidence from those who heard it from the persons mouth that spoak it, who affirmed, That be did believe, that if our Saviour were upon Earth, he could not speak more Heavenly than such a One (naming the Person) who was then the admired Ora­tor of the Place; but lest he should be [Page 45]Exalted above measure for his Golden and Divine Talents, (and to shew you how Fickle and Unconstant these Hosanna's are) it was not long after, that the very same Person who had so Exalted him to Heaven, did as much debase him; and being an illiterate Fellow who could nei­ther Write nor Read, yet he had it seems made so good use of the others Gifts and Talents in Preaching and Extempore Pray­er, that he offer'd to wager 20 l. that he would quote Scripture with his Master from Genesis to Revelations; and you may be assured then, that he would Preach and Pray with him for 40 l. having so much more confidence of Himself and his own Abilities, as he wanted Learning to know Himself and his own Deficiencies.

THE Nature of Pride and Ambition is always to Establish its own Greatness upon the Ruine of whatsoever does oppose them; and by all ways and means to lessen others, in order to greaten themselves; that so by trampling upon the necks of their Enemies, they may Exalt their own Power and E­steem: and because there is nothing that does Elevate men to that degree of Excel­lency in the Minds of the Multitude, like an Opinion of their Sanctity and Devotion; therefore it is, that this is the beloved In­gine which Ambitious Minds make use of, to carry on, cover, and effect their own [Page 46]Designs of Greatness, by the assistance of Popular Tumults; which they usually in­rage like Elephants, by shewing them the Scarlet Robes both of the Prince and Priest, as objects of hatred; to animate and inflame them against those Sacred Per­sons by whom they are worn.

I might confirm this by many Forrein Instances, but I rather chuse one at home; both because it nearly concerns us, and ought to make the greater Impression upon us: The late Usurper Cromwel, was in this Art so perfect and accomplisht, as not to deserve to be undervalued as a Copy, but Esteemed an Original of Pride, Hypocrisie, and Ambition. One would admire that People, who many of them knew the Man and his Conversation; who saw the Cu­rious Disguise of his Dissimulation and Flattery thrown off by his own hands; who are sensible how by this only Artisice of pretending Religion (though by the assistance of their Blood and Money) he threw down the peacable Government both of Church and State; how by a bloody Civil War, and the Murther of his Royal Master, he himself aspired to the Throne; and how he Established an Arbi­trary Tyranny, against which he pretended, and made the People believe he fought; and how to the great affliction of all Parties, especially the Presbyterians, he took away [Page 47]one Religion, but set up none; nor indeed had any, because he was of all, as they were most serviceable to his present Inte­rest and Affairs: One would (I say) ad­mire that those, who though they saw not these gloomy Days, yet have sufficiently heard of the Horror and Confusion of those times, and cannot but believe the truth of the Relations, should yet swallow down the hook which is baited with Liberty and Sanctity.

But because it may not be unuseful in this present Age (so fond of outward shews) I will give a short Character of his Ambi­tion, and those Arts by which Heaven for our Sins permitted him (who might well stile himself with Tamerlan, Flagellum Dei, the Scourge and Wrath of God) to accomplish his wicked Designs. Which may be a Sea-mark to the Unwary, to take Care of the Rock; and not to Credit the charming Voice of the Syren hereafter, who therefore shews her beautiful Face, and sings her bewitching Airs, that she may more easily Effect the desired Ship­wrack.

HE was a Person who in the first sallies of his Youth, was Debauched even to the Terror of all the Villages of the Neighbour­hood; who were used to give the Allarm when they saw him at a distance, with Look to your selves, here comes Mad Crom­wel; [Page 48]his great Frolique was the Destructi­on of Glass Windows, which he persisted in to his last, beginning with those of Cottages, and not sparing at last those of Churches; when his Debauchery only chan­ged the Name but not the Nature, and one was the Effect of Wine, the other of his Drunken Zeal. Having run the small Barque of his Fortune aground by his profusion, he begun to think how to get her off again; and finding that impossible, he imbarqued himself into the Acquain­tance and Friendship of one Tims of Cam­bridge, an Eminently disaffected person to the King and Government; and being na­turally of a quick and sagacious Spirit, he easily found the soft place in the head of Tims, who was the head of the Faction thereabouts; and believing, that if he could but act, a Convert to the Life, he might thereby get a Livelyhood, and by swimming down their stream, buoy up his sinking Fortune, by fishing in the Waters which they troubled; he there­fore joyned himself to their Congrega­tion: and because his Reformation was Mi­raculous, he did not doubt, but, for the Credit he did their powerful Göspel, they would pay him for a Miracle of so great use and advantage for their intended Re­formation, which being then a brewing, he might be lookt upon as a necessary In­strument [Page 49]strument and skilful in the Trade of boil­ing up Jealousies and Fears to the highest strength of Intexication: however, he could not doubt, but by his Credit amongst them, and the Credit of the Party, he might retrieve his past Losses, and prop up his desperate Fortune by more desperate Principles and Practices. Upon these con­siderations he forsook his wild and loose Companions, and with an Ego non sum Ego, reproves them wherever he met them; he composes his Habit, his Looks, and Words to the Tune of the greatest Sobriety, Re­pentance, and Sanctity; he frequents the Meetings, and Exercises of the Godly, and there by the strength of his Natural parts, and that Learning which the Ʋniversity had unluckily bestowed upon such a Cro­codile, he like an apt Scholar quickly learn't from the then Nonconformists, not only the Talents of making Publique and Private Harangues against the Bishops, and particularly against Dr. Wren then Bishop of Ely, against the Abuses of the Govern­ment, the Designs of the great Ministers of State, and the Prelates, to introduce Arbitrary Government, and swallow up Priviledg and Liberty by Prerogative, to whisper the great Jealousies and Fears of the Danger of Popery; but he became mira­culous in the Gift of Extempore Prayer, in which, by the volubility of his Tongue, [Page 50]and his great Industry and Constant Pra­ctice, he arrived to that perfection as to out-do his Masters: and so diligent was he in obtaining and exercising this neces­sary Qualifiation to recommend him to the disaffected Vulgar, that being then a Far­mer at Ely, he was used to send for his Plough-men out of the Field, to go to Duty with them; and to keep them some­times so long at it, till other people (ha­ving done their Mornings work) were ready to come out of the Fields; by which good Husbandry whatever returns he had of his Prayers, he had a very slender re­turn of his Seed, which he sowed in Tears, but could not reap with Joy; or say it came a hundred fold into his Bosom, or his Barns: so that in a short time he threw the Plough in the hedge, (as the Husbandmen say) and by the unfortunate breaking out of those Misunderstandings between the King and his Parliament (he being by Tims's Party got into the House of Com­mons as Burgess for Cambridge) and a great Promoter of those Rebellious Hostilities, he betook himself to reap with his Sword in the Field of Disloyalty, that Harvest of Treason, which he and his Confederates of the Association had been so long sowing in the minds of a Discontented Populace. He became presently one of the Heads of that Combination; and by his own Gifts, and [Page 51]those of Ireton, and Peters (formerly ex­pelled from the Ʋniversity for a Rakehell, but now converted by his voyage to New-England, and returning to ruine the Old, and by destroying the Hierarchy of the Church, to make himself Oliver's Muphti so soon as he should come to be Englands Grand Signior) by these assistances, and the Art of Wheedling with fair words and long Prayers, all Parties, (how different so ever in Persuasion) he advanced himself into their Esteem, and by that, into the Affections and Command of the Rebel Ar­my: Whereby a Series of strange succes­ses he appear'd the Favourite of Heaven, and the Darling both of Fortune and his Party; and having ruin'd the King and Loyal Party, outwitted the Presbyterians and their great Patrons, Essex and Fair­fax, men of better hands than Heads gently laid them aside as Eclipfing his Glo­ry and Designs; he then had the Game wholly in his own hand, and arrived at length, by the strength of Dissimulation, Protestations, Prayers, and Arms, to the highest degree of Supreme, Arbitrary, and absolute tyranny; and wanted but little of prophaning the Imperial Diadem with his Traiterous Temples.

BUT what is observable of him, after he had pray'd the Kings Crown off his head, and his head from his Body, and the power [Page 52]and Revenues of the Crown into his own hands; then the Spirit began to fail him, and he left that necessary Gift which was beneath him (who was now got above all ordinances, even of the House of Commons) to the management of Peters, Sterry, and other his Domestick Chaplains: By which it appears, that he made use of extempore only pro tempore, as a Strastagem to serve his own Designs; and the Sword of the Spirit was with him always taught the good breeding, to give the Wall to the spirit of the Sword; Nor was he wont to go to prayer with his Legions, so as to ob­struct the Duty of the Day; or to miss the favourable opportunity of an advantage­ous ingagement; in the observation of which he was a Great Master, and owed most of his Successes rather to his cun­ning than his valour; and therefore, he never went to wrastle with God for victory, when a fair occasion offerd to wrastle with the arm of flesh.

IN short, he made the same use of this curious Network of his pregnant Inven­tion, which'tis said a certain Cardinal did of that Net which he always used to spread upon his Table; alledging for his humour, that it put him in mind of his Apostplical Function, which was to be a Fi­sher of Men, but coming to be possessed of the Triple Crown, the Net was no longer [Page 53]seen; and being by an intimate Consident demanded what was the Reason, that since he wore the Annulum Piscatoris, the Papal Signet of St. Peter the Fisherman, he had now left off his Net? He pleasantly re­ply'd, That now he had got what he had so long been fishing for.

Thus did our English Massaniello, by the pretence of Sanctity and Non-conformity, by the help of long Prayers and a longer Sword; by the promises of Liberty of Con­science, Liberty of the Subject, propaga­tion of Truth, and giving the Gospel a free course that it might run and be Glo­rified; by the help of new Gospel Lights and Revelations which shone in his Army; by these Arts did he advance himself to the most unlimitted Power over Laws, Li­berty, Life, Estate and Religion, to that degree, that a look from him, like Plinies Basilisk, was death even to his fellow Snakes, and as if with Mithridates he had liv'd upon Poyson, his very breath was Mor­tal, not only to the Royal Party, but to those who had sometime been of his own; and even to bodies Politick, the Conven­tions which he call'd Parliaments, one of which Assemblies, I remember, exceeding the Limits he had set them (a free debate being then no Priviledg of Parliament) he swore by the Living God (a venial sin in so great a Saint) he would dissolve them, [Page 54]and immediately sent Collonel Pride, the constant Friend of his Ambition, with the Janizaries of his houshold, to put the bow­string of his Authority about the neck of the House; which, with the resignation of a Turkish Bashaw, with, Suchis the will of my Lord, bowed the head to the execution, and departed that Life without a Murmur against his Highness, Artic. 3. of the Instrument, that he should not dissolve a Parliament till it had sate 5 Months, this begun Sept. 3. and was dissol­ved Jan. 10th. 1654. or the lest complaint of breach of Priviledg, or his Oath to the Instrument of Government, that he should not dissolve them in five Months; or his intrenching upon the Liberties of a Free­born People.

Tantum potuit Religio Suadere Malorum.

THIS is a sufficient Caution to all People not to trust their Lives, Liberties, Privi­ledges, or Religion, to the Protection of such Prayers, and Pretenders to Piety, Zeal, Reformation and Sanctity.

I know such instances are rare, and Am­bition does not usually prove so fortunate; but this it never fails of, to make the Lives of those with whom it dwells, uneasie to themselves and others, and if it happens among men of the Church, it certainly occasions great Commotions, the breach of Peace, and loss of Ʋnity: And if we search the Records of Church-history, we shall find that most of the Schisms and Here­sies [Page 55]which have occasioned those Great Disorders, drew their Original from the Pride and Ambition of the discontented Clergy: for nothing is more natural than for such Persons, where want of Temper renders them most unfit for Government in the Church, to be most desirous of it, and to believe they best deserve it; if they fail in their Expectations, which it is more than probable they will, being measured by the Standard of the Sober and Judici­ous, and not by their own flattery of them­selves, presently they fall into discontent, and endeavour to obtain that Esteem and Authority by unlawful Methods, which they could not arrive at in the regular, modest, and peaceable ways of Order and obedience. This discontent pushes them violently forward, to be revenged of those who, by not advancing them, they think depress them, or by advancing others, they believe despise and disparage them; and at the same time they endeavour to satis­fie their Ambition and Revenge by Ex­alting themselves.

Now there are no Arts which they can more successfully use to accomplish their design, than these which follow.

FIRST, to appear more strict, holy, de­vout, and righteous, than those whom they call their Enemies, who shall there­fore be thought ill themselves, for not ad­vancing [Page 56]those who appear so good: And by this means they shall certainly be so esteemed by such who look no further, and indeed cannot discover the Depth of their hearts, or the secret malice that lodges so closely there. This presently creates them a Name, and wins them a Party, who ce­lebrate their Fame, sing Hosannas in their Praise, Espouse them, their Interest, and their Quarrel.

SECONDLY, That they may appear more than common, and difference their Party from the rest, thereby to keep them to themselves, they must broach some new Doctrine, or revive some old one; there must be an Altar erected, and though it be [...]; yet will there never want some, who will ignorantly Worship the stranger God, and entertain the Tra­velling Deity; then must the old Rites and manner of Worship be exploded, to make room for the New; and though a man may truly say of them, as our Saviour of the Wine, the old is better than the new, so unsettled, unfermented, and full of mu­tinous Spirits, that it flies, and froths, and and foams, breaks the old Bottles into which it is put; yet will even this Wine up­on the fret, please some Capricious Palates better than the Old.

THIRDLY, Then all those who oppose them must be exclaimed against, and cry­ed [Page 57] down; Especially their lawful Superi­ors and Governors, as formal out-of-fashi­on-Christians; all endeavours must be used to rendred them contemptible and Odious: And all this must be done out of pure Zeal to Truth; when in reality, it is out of pure Revenge, and for no other Design, than that these Ambitious Spirits may sa­tisfie their Pride, by obtaining that Prehe­minence by fraud and force, which they can never hope for by any other ways.

THIS is the true procedure of Pride and Ambition, and which leads directly into the Red Sea of Blood. I wish most hearti­ly that all sober and considerative Persons, who dissent from the Church of England, and even those who are principally guilty of our Divisions, would enter into a seri­ous Examination, whether there be not some of the furious Spirit which our Sa­viour Rebukes in his Disciples James and John, Luke 9.54, 55. which puts them upon Desiring fire from Heaven upon such as will not recieve them, and since they cannot obtain that, makes them throw about their own wild­fire, to set the Church and Common­wealth into a Blaze: And to help the Dis­covery, I will give them some Indications of such a Spirit, though lurking never so cunningly under the Cloak of Zeal and Piety.

AND first therefore, Disobedience to [Page 58]Lawful Authority, and all the ways which manifest that Disobedience, whether Words or Actions, are certain Symptoms of the Pride of Mens Hearts, and the se­cret Ambition of their Minds; for who­soever disobeys his Superior, does at the same time despise him, and whosoever de­spises any person in Authority, does it be­cause he is confident he knows more and better what he ought to do, than he who has Power to Command him: This is the knowledg which St. Paul says puffeth up, but Charity edifieth: 1 Cor. 8.1, 2. And therefore he sub­joyns, If any man think he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know; that is, if his knowledg occa­sions a breach of Charity, he does not yet know himself, or his Duty to God and Man. This is so clear a Case with those of the Separation, who break both Charity and Unity, by their Disobedience, that they must shut the clearest beams of Truth out of their Souls, if they do not discover it.

SECONDLY, An obstinate adherence to any private Opinion, whereby the Peace of the Church is destroyed, especially in things no ways in themselves Essentially necessary to Salvation, must of necessity proceed from Pride; for why should any person prefer his private Judgment before the Determination of his Superiors, be­fore [Page 59]that of the Catholick Church in all Ages? but because he thinks himself wi­ser and more able to discern what is for the Publick Good than all that were before him, or that are above him: though hereby Solomon will tell him from the Spirit of God, that he only purchases the Character of a Fool;Prov. 12.15. The way of a Fool is right in his own eyes, but he that hearken­eth unto Counsel is wise. And therefore the Prophet pronounceth a Woe against such, Woe unto those that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight. Esa. 5.21. Which must be meant of private persons, for the Wisdom of Superiors is not so much their own, as the Wisdom of all former Ages? and for this Reason St. Paul commands,Rom. 12.16. Be of the same mind, mind not high things (prompted by Pride or Ambition) but condescend to men of low Estate; (much more to those of high) be not wise in your own conceit. And for Encouragement to this kind of Private Wisdom, once more hear Wisdom it self speak by the wise man. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit, Prov. 26.12. there is more hope of a Fool than of him. And it is impossible to give any other Reason, why men should not submit to Truth and their Superiors, when they may be sensible to a demonstration from Reason, Scrip­ture, and Experience, that their private Opinions are unlawful, because dangerous, [Page 60]contrary to Charity, and Gods Command: but because they think such a Submission a Retractation, or Compliance with Autho­rity would be a lessening of them, as to that Opinion for Wisdom and Sanctity, which others attribute to them; and that dangerous Flatterer Pride, perswades them they are Masters of.

THIRDLY, To indeavour to strengthen themselves by making a Party, to secure them in their Disobedience and Obstinacy, is the certain and unseparable Symptom of Ambition, as well as Pride: for if I dislike any thing, I may do so to my self, but to perswade others to it, must have re­spect to a further Design, and declares that I intend not only to own my Disobedience, but to justifie and maintain it by Power. The best Men in the World may Err pri­vately, but it is to be suspected they are the worst, who make their Errors Pub­lique, to draw Disciples after them; by Disobedience a man Equals himself to his Superiors, for it is a plain denying their Authority over him; by Obstinacy he shews his intention to stand his Ground, and make good his Incroachment upon their Power; and by his making of a Party he does as it were make secret Levies, and inrols a Militia to defend himself from the Power of his Superiors, and looks as if he meant to struggle with them not only for Precedence but Dominion.

I wish these were only Suppositions, and that we could not from woful Experience say they are but too true: but it was this very way that lately laid the Crown as well as the Mitre in the Dust, too lately to give us the least reason to doubt, that the same Methods may do it again, if not in time prevented, either by the vigilance of Au­thority, or by reducing the disorderly and disobedient to the Wisdom of the Just; and by informing their Understandings, to oblige them voluntarily to abandon those Men and Principles, whose Practices will infallibly lead them to these Conclusions; or oblige Authority by the utmost Severi­ties of Laws, to prevent the Danger and Ruine of the whole Frame of Government both in Church and State.

AND as Pride and Ambition are but too visible amongst the Principles of Dissen­tion amongst us, and the principal Obstacles of our Peace and Ʋnity, so are they no less Obstructions to a Reconciliation with the Roman Church; for it is the Ambition of Supremacy over all other Churches, and over all Temporal Powers, and even over our Faith it self, the incommunicable Prero­gative of our blessed Jesus,Heb. 12.2. the Author and Finisher of our Faith, which has render'd all Reunion with them not only dangerous, but impossible, unless we will resolve, by be­lieving as that Church believes, to disbelieve [Page 62]not only our Sense and Reason, but Scrip­ture and all Antiquity; and not only those, but God himself, who has given us them to assist us in our Faith.

IT is the Ambition of the Clergy which obliges them to keep the Laity in Igno­rance, so blind, that they are not permit­ted to inquire, or doubt. And for the Clergy, as before was observed in the point of Interest, they are constantly fed with the nourishment of Ambitious Thoughts, hopes of Dignities and Promotions: The meanest Priest or Recluse may come to be head of his House, Superior, and after General of his Order; a Prior or Abbot; and it may be a Bishop: the Bishop may advance the Mitre to the Honour of a Car­dinals Hat, and the Red Hat may turn to the Triple Mitre; and all this by being a Zealous Maintainer of the Usurped Power of that Church, justifying her Incroach­ments upon the Crowns of Princes, and the Mitres of all other Bishops, Primates, Me­tropolitans, and Patriarchs, owning her Monopoly of the Word Catholique, avow­ing her Canonical and Decreed Errors for Rules of Faith and Manners, and divulging her fictitious Collusions for real Miracles, though to the hazard of rendring the true ones of Christ and his Apostles suspected, upon which the sole confirmation of our Religion depends. These are the Stairs [Page 63]by which men ascend to the Papal Dignity, which now out-flies the Imperial Eagle as well as the smaller Royal Birds of Majesty: ‘Et Caput inter Nubila condit.’

for to oppose any of these, is a certain way to be prefer'd to the Torments of the Inquisiti­on, to be branded with Heresie and Apostacy, and to Expire in Flames and Torments.

So that I hope by this time, it is evi­dent how pernioiously powerful the Prin­ciples of Interest and Prejudice, Custom and Education, Pride and Ambition are in the Minds of Men, to hinder them from Embracing Truth, and her Beautiful Chil­dren Peace and Ʋnity.

To these I might add Envy, the Canker of the Mind; the daughter of Discontent, and constant Enemy of Peace, Covetous­ness the Root of all Evil. Envy being the shadow of Honour and real Worth; and Sacrilegious Covetousness, the Ravenous Harpie, that preys upon the small Patri­mony of the Church; which usually is the great perswasive to prophane and Ra­pacious Natures to treat her, as the A­theistical Dionysius did his Apollo, who rob'd him of his golden Robe, alledging it was too cold for his Godship in Winter, and too hea­vy in Summer; but because these Fall in with Interest and Ambition, I will not un­der different Names repeat the same things over again, to nauseat the Judicious, and [Page 64]tire the indifferent Reader with reiterated Tautologies.

CHAP. V.

HAVING thus shewn what it is that im­pedes our Happiness, and which therefore must of necessity be removed from the Minds of Men, before there can be any Possibility of their Embracing Truth, Unity, and Charity; in the next place we come to manifest the necessity of Ʋnion, the only Expedient which can pro­cure the Common Happiness of Mankind.

Now to make this appear, we must look into the Main End and Design of all Reli­gion here in this Mortal State of Life, in order to that future Condition of a Glo­rious Immortality: and that we may the better apprehend what that is, we must consider the Commands and Precepts of Religion, and at what they aim. And be­cause all the Rules of our Holy Profession direct us to it, we must believe that God Almighty gave us those Precepts, Rules, and Directions, to promote our own and the Common Happiness of all Mankind, even here in this present State of Life; to ren­der our short Journey through the trouble­som Stage of Time, more pleasant and easy, till we arrive at the unchangeable Happiness of Eternity. This Easiness of [Page 65]Mind, this real Happiness of Life is only to be obtain'd by following the precepts of Justice, Temperance, Sobriety, Prudence, and the other Noble and God-like Vertues which Religion teaches; for the substance of Happiness does not consist in any thing without us (though there are good Cir­cumstances) but in the Innocency of Mind, and purity of Life; ‘Nil Conscire sibi, nullà pallefcere culpâ.’

in our being good, and doing good; which is the great Employment for which we came into the World. So that there is a necessity of Religion in the World in order to the happy posture of humane affairs, which all Mankind desire for themselves, with un­limited wishes; but are too narrow in their indeavors to promote it in Common un­to others. That this was the Wise and good Design of the great Creator, is most ap­parent, in that, even in those obscure Ages of Barbarism and Ignorance,Act. 14.16, 17. at which the Apostles says God was pleased to wink, yet he left not himself without a Wit­ness: When in times past he suffered all men to walk in their own ways, they were not without some Religion, which taught them their Duty in some Measure (though imperfect) both to the Gods (for they sup­posed many) and also to Men.

THAT must of Necessity therefore be the [Page 66]truest Religion, and most agreeable to the Will of God, which approaches nearest to this Great Design; and would certainly accomplish the End for which all Religion was intended: And therefore the truth of any Religion must be measured according to the Proportion which it holds to pro­moting Peace, Unity, and Charity, the only ways to obtain happiness in this World, as well as Faith whereby we hope to obtain the happiness of a future state: And what Religion soever separates these Good Works from Faith, is so far vain, and destroys that Faith it seems to profess; for Faith without Works is dead. If therefore any Religion ruines Peace, Unity, and Charity, we must judg it so far false and erroneous, let it make never so many Boasts of holding the true Faith of Christ. Of all the Religions which ever were in the World, the Christian Doctrine may justly challenge the Preheminence, as con­ducting men, if they would be managed by it, the nearest way to Happiness both Temporal and Eternal; and among all the variety of Opinions in the Christian Reli­gion, that must therefore of necessity be the best and truest, which does most pow­erfully promote innocency of Life, purity of Mind, Unity, and universal Peace; not by external force and violence, but by the same Methods which God Almighty [Page 67]made use of to plant and propagate it in the World; which was not by Tumults, Se­ditions, or Disobedience to the Civil Ma­gistrate, but by meekness, humility, Cha­rity, and a Conversation unblameable: Which were the Weapons by which the Primitive Christians were taught to put to silence the ignorance of folish Men: The Church indeed had a power, but it was purely Spiritual, and those spiritual Arms were the most powerful to the pulling down and dismantling the strong holds of Sin; and therefore even while the Tempo­ral Powers of the Earth did all they could to suppress them, yet mightily did the Word of God grow and increase, not by opposing, Rebelling, or imposing Laws up­on their Soveraigns, but by submitting and suffering, demonstrating upon all oc­casions their Innocence, and that they were free from any ill designs upon the Civil Government of the World, or the Tempo­ral concerns of Mankind.

BUT because all and every Profession of Christian Religion, every Church would have us beleive this of them; and that therefore, every one Challenges the name of the true Church of Christ, here lies the Difficulty and the niceness of the Point; Which is the best and truest? And because all desire the Glorious Title, therefore they quarrel about it, who it is that is the Spouse [Page 68]of Christ? Whereas one would Modestly believe, that to be without Spot and Wrin­kle, is not to be appropriated to any par­ticular Church, in which there must be Tares and Chaff, as well as Wheat, but to the Holy Catholick Church (I do not mean of Rome; for She is but one Member) that glorious Company of true Believers, the General Assembly of the Church, which have been, and shall be in all Ages of the World, and out of all Nations, united un­to Christ their Head.

A Church may be a true and a visible Church of Christ, and yet have many Er­rors; and so long as they keep the founda­tion of Faith, though they may build Hay and Stubble upon that Foundation, yet I do not see how they can be denyed that Name. Thus we see St. Paul writes to the Church of God, which is at Co­rinth, 1 Cor. 1.2. to them that are Sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints: And yet in that very Epistle he Complains of great Errors and Disorders among them,Cap. 11. and an Abuse of the very Sacrament of the Lords Sup­per: and so to the Church of the Galatians, and yet he tartly calls them foolish Gala­tians, and tells them they were bewitched into this Disobedience against the Truth, and that he was affraid he had bestowed upon them Labour in Vain; for that they were relapsing to Jadaism, and to the ob­serving [Page 69]of Days and Years according to the Mosaick Law.

THIS has been a Constant Quarrel a­mongst Christians, this bred those Mor­tal Divisions betwixt the Eastern and the Western Churches, which has almost in­tirely ruin'd one of them, and not advan­taged the other as to Truth; for whilest both pretended to be the only true Church of Christ, by that exclusive Arrogance, they were both so far False; and this Un­lawful claim was the Mother of the Do­ctrine of Infallibility in the Catholique Church, which if it be understood of any particular company of Men, and not of the whole Body of the Faithful, which are in all Churches, have been, or shall be guid­ed by the Spirit of God into all truth, must be False; for whoever is infallible, must be without Sin, which none can be in this imperfect State. For if we say we have no Sin, we deceive our selves, and the Truth is not in us; and the Maxim is undoubtedly true, Quod predicatur de singulis universa­lium, predicatur etiam de universalibus sin­gularium; If all men are Sinners, they are fallible, & if every man is a Sinner, then are all men, here in this Mortal State. So that if men would with Justice and Modesty al­low degrees of Truth, and that every Church possessed some, so long as they re­tain the foundation of one only true God and [Page 70]Jesus Christ, whom he has sent, whom to know is Life eternal; if they would strive more for Peace and Purity than for this Supremacy, and impossibility of being the only true Church, they would certainly have more Truth, because more Charity, Peace & Ʋnity.

THERE were Seven Churches in Asia, (though now nothing but the Names, and those scarce Legible in their Ruins) to which our blessed Lord commands St. John to write.Rev. 1, 2, 3 Chapters. What thou seest write, in a Book, and send it to the seven Churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. Every Church was a Golden Candlestick, and every one had a Star, which was the Angel Guardian, or Governour of the Church, and which Christ held in his right hand. These Can­dlesticks were all of Gold, but some more refined and purer Mettal than others; the Stars were all bright and shining, but some more dim and obscure than others: for one star exceeded another star in glory, 1 Cor. 15.41, 42. even in the Firmament of the Church, as well as in Heaven. And doubtless if that place be true, shall hereafter, for so is the Resu­rection of the Dead. From this Instance of the Seven Churches, these Deductions seem evidently to follow.

FIRST, That several Nations are several [Page 71]Distinct, Coordinate (not subordinate) Churches: for so the Son of God calls these Seven, which yet were comprised in the lesser Asia, and People of one Language, though of distinct and separate Polities, which seems to be that which differences Nations, and not Languages.

SECONDLY, That distinct, and several Coordinate Churches, may all be true Churches, and Ʋnited in the Common Bond of the same Faith, and Charity, who yet may not be of equal Purity: two only are here commended for their Purity, viz. Smyrna, and Philadelphia; the other are condemned; Ephesus, for having forsa­ken her first Love, her Zeal and Devotion: Pergamos, for the Doctrine of Balaam, and for suffering the odious Sect of the Nico­laitans: Thyatira, for suffering Jezebel, a woman to teach, contrary to the Express Command of God, and therefore to seduce the People, by eating things offered to Idols: Sardis, for having a name to live, but being dead: Loadicea, for being luke­warm neither hot nor cold, a Church of Latitudinarians: all these are threatned and reproved, but not rejected from the name and being of Churches.

THIRDLY, That the holy Catholique Church is composed of several distinct Na­tional Churches; for we must not think the Son of God could be guilty of an im­propriety [Page 72]of Speech; he distinguishes them by the places where they were plant­ed, and by their degrees of Purity, as so many several Churches, without giving them any precedency on preheminence one over another: he does not direct the An­gels of the several Churches, to Rome, or Alexandria, or Jerusalem, or Antioch (though all then famous Churches) for redress of their Errors; he does not send them to St. Peter, or his Successors, the Catholique, Apostolique, Roman Church, as the Pillar and Ground of Truth; not a word of the Sancta sedes Apostolica, Petri Cathedra, Ecclesia Principalis, nothing of the Romanorum Fides, ad quos perfidia ha­bere non potest accessum, which place of St. Cyprian the Romanists boast so much of, whilest they indeavour to appropriate the word Catholique only to their Church; which is as good sense as that any one man is humane Nature. But for the redress of their Errors, amendment of their Lives, and reformation of their false Do­ctrines, he gives them all this short Dire­ction; He that hath an Ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; and that to every one of them distinctly; so that what the Spirit of God speaks to the Churches, was to be the Rule of Faith, Life, and Doctrine: and what was it which the Spirit spake unto the Churches? [Page 73]was ever any Tradition said to be spoken by the Holy Spirit? No certainly, nothing was ever spoken by the Spirit to the Churches, but the Books of the Holy Ca­non, which all Ages have consented to, with­out the least Addition or Diminution (as the late Bishop of Durham, Dr. Cosins, has made appear more distinctly) till such time as the Absolutissima Syndus Tridenti­na, as they call the Trent Session, for some passages which seem favourable to Purga­tory, and Prayers for the Dead, was plea­sed to adopt these into the Holy Canon; though nothing is more evident than that till then they were Esteemed only Humane Writings, and Apocryphal: however here­by they have given a Specimen of the Power they pretend over our Faith; for by the same Authority they may impose Aesops Fables, and the Alchoran, as matters of Faith. Neither did the ancient Churches, when Heresies sprung up, resort to Rome for infallible Determinations, but to Oecu­menical and General Councels, not Esteem­ing their Determinations valid neither, un­less agreeable to the Holy Scripture, which was always accounted the Norma, or Rule by which they were to be guided: and at which Councels the Pope did assist, not as the Head, but as a Principal Member; and the respect he had given him was as Pa­triarch of the Imperial City, and the We­stern [Page 74]Churches, and not as Monarch of the whole Catholick Church; and even some later Councels, as that of Basil, have under­taken to reform Errors and Abuses, and to depose the Pope, being found guilty of them.

LASTLY, It may from hence be conclu­ded, That Christ himself is the only head of the Catholick Church, which is compo­sed of several distinct Churches, who are all Members of that Mystical Body: he walks among the Candlesticks, he holds the Stars in his right hand; The Angel of every distinct National Church is to be the mover of the Orb, to guide it by the Light of Divine Truth spoken by the Spirit of the Churches; the Temporal Power may be Supreme Head of the Church, as they are a Society of Christian Men; but nei­ther the one nor the other, can justly pre­tend a Power over the Angel of another Church, or the Dominions of another Prince; for that is the Prerogative of the Son of God, who Unites them in his Right hand, and who alone can challenge the Title of that Name of King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

NOR will this Independency of Churches one upon another, which is only in point of Jurisdiction and Limits, which was an­ciently practiced and commanded by the Decrees of Councels, give the least distur­bance [Page 75]to their Charity and Ʋnion; so long as they maintain the same Universal Do­ctrine of Faith as to the substance, and all acknowledge one Catholique Church, and themselves Members of it. Nay, it is observable that this incroachment of the greater Churches upon the less, and in­deavouring to aggrandize themselves, by imposing upon all other Churches a Sove­raignty and Dominion never intended for Christian Religion, and striving by force to oblige them to use their Rites and Cere­monies in indifferent Circumstantials; and not only so, but to receive all their Opi­nions as matters of Faith, were the first occasion of the most remarkable Schisms and Divisions, and the loss of Peace and Unity; and still continue so to this very day. Whereas, did they all resolve to con­tent themselves with their own Precincts, and not indeavour [...], and act out of their own Provinces, but would permit others to make use of such indiffe­rent Rites as the Governours of the seve­ral Churches judge necessary and expedi­ent in their respective Charges; and if any Controversies should arise in Point of Doctrine, resolve amicably to compose them, by hearing what the Spirit saith to the Churches, and how the Universal Church has already determined in the same or like Affairs, according to the Rule [Page 76]of Scripture; would they study more to propagate Peace and Ʋnity, than Domini­on and Soveraignty, to increase Piety and Purity of Life, more than outward agree­ment of Rites and Ceremonies, the ancient Happiness of the Church in her first and Ʋnambitious Age, (when the Office of Go­vernment was the surest way to Martyr­dom) would in a great measure be restored to the Members of the Catholique Church; and there would be that Ʋnity which is by God Commanded, and by all good Christi­ans not only to be desired, but promoted to the uttermost of their Power.

Were it possible that this true and anci­ent Temper, Modesty and Moderation of Primitive Christianity, might obtain in the World, the Names of distinction, with the occasions of them would be taken away; one would not be of Paul, another of Apol­los, another of Cephas, one a Romanist, ano­ther a Calvinist, Lutheran, Hugonot, or a Zu­inglian, but all would be of Christ; but alas! what hope? so long as the Church of Rome will be Ʋniversal, and will exclude all those who Refuse the tyranique Yoak of both her Declared, and Implicit Faith; and to be subject to her absolute Dominion; not only from the Name of Churches, and being Parts of the Church Universal, but from the Communion of Saints, from all hopes of the Resurrection of the just, nay, even from [Page 77]her Purgatory too, (which is very severe, if there be such a place as admits of Hope for Sinners after Death) and in a word, from all possibility of the Life everlast­ing.

How disterent is this from the ancient Charity and Doctrine of St. Peter and St. Paul, whom they believe the Founders of their Church, for they incourage us to hope we may receive the Benefit of the Com­mon Salvation;Act. 10.35. for God is no respecter of Persons, but in every Nation he that fear­eth him and worketh Righteousness, is accep­ted of him: for with him there are no Di­stinctions, neither Greek, nor Jew, Col. 3.11. to v. 16. Circum­cision nor Ʋncircumcision, Barbarian, Scy­thian, Bond nor Free, but all are Christs, who have put on as the Elect of God, holy, and beloved, bowels of Mercy, kindness, humbleness of Mind, meekness, long-suffer­ing, forbearance one of another, and for­giveness one towards another, if there be differences, as Christ also forgave us, and above all things they who have put on Cha­rity, which is the bond of Perfection, and whose Hearts are ruled by the Peace of God.

But in regard that this is to be dispair'd of, and may well seem forreign to the De­sign of these Papers, let us come to consi­der what Influence this ought to have upon us as to Ʋnity amongst our selves, which [Page 78](without Excluding our Neighbours from our Charity, though they do us from theirs, and Heaven) is the principal Intention of this Discourse.

CHAP. VI.

HAVING shewn that the Peace and Ʋ ­nity of the Catholick Church Militant upon Earth depends in a great Measure upon this Justice, in preserving the Com­mon Faith of Christ as the bond of Ʋnion, not only among our selves, but with that part of the Church which is now Triumphant in Heaven, and in order thereunto, in al­lowing every distinct and National Church their particular Bounds and Jurisdiction free from Incroachments and Invasion, per­mitting them a freedom of Using such Rites and Customs in the Celebration of Divine Worship, as the Governors of each respective Church shall judge to be nearest the Rule of Scripture, the Constant Usage and Determination of the Catholique Church in the best Ages, and of the best Men in all; most conducive to the Great End of all Re­ligion, by promoting the Happiness of Man­kind both here and hereafter: before we proceed any further, it will be requisite to answer what may and will be certainly ob­jected by all Dissenters.

FOR, if an Independency of Churches of Distinct Nations and Polities, so long as they agree in matters of Faith, may be permitted a distinct Jurisdiction, different Rites and manner of Worship, to the in­crease of Charity, Peace, and Unity, why may not the same be likewise practised by several Churches in the same Nation?

To which I answer, That as Ʋnity in point of Faith is the Bond of Ʋnion in the Ʋniversal Church, so Obedience to the Su­preme Government of any Nation, is that which Ʋnites them into one Polity, and distinguishes them from all other People who do not own that Subjection and Obe­dience: And this Ʋnion of Obedience is also that which preserves and maintains them, as well as Constitutes them a di­stinct Political Body from all other Nations. Herein lies their Strength, herein their Security, their Safety and Happiness. For as I may be Lawfully permitted to disobey the King of Spain, or France; nay, and ought to do it in many Cases for the Inter­est of my Nation, but cannot disobey my Natural Prince, but to the prejudice of my Countrey and my own, because I owe them no Obedience in point of Jurisdi­ction, as I do my own King. So I may for the same Reason refuse the Jurisdiction of a Forrein Church, but cannot of my own, which has a lawful Power over me, [Page 80]and to which I owe Obedience, because I am a Member of her Polity. For every per­son, and all Persons who live in the World, must own a Subjection to the Government where they live, and because that affords them Protection, therefore they are to pay their Obedience, both as a Duty of Grati­tude, the Foundation of Society, and the Interest they have to maintain that Go­vernment and Power which does protect; secure, and defend their Lives, Liberties, and Estates; and in effect, all the Happi­ness of Humane Life.

Now since the Light of Nature, Reason, and Interest does oblige all men to own this as a necessary Truth, and those who have opposed it, have ever been esteemed the common Enemies of all Mankind, Traitors not only to the Government they have opposed, but to the Foundation and Principles of all Society, and to the happi­ness of Mankind in general: Therefore it is absolutely necessary in any distinct So­ciety of Men, that the Circumstances of Religion (for the Substance of Faith is not in the power of any Mortal man to Al­ter or Establish) should be adapted to the attainment of this Common Design of all Government both Civil and Religious, the Happiness of the Society. But this is impossible to be effected where there are many distinct Churches in the same So­ciety? [Page 81]For either the Supreme Authority has Power over them all, or over none at all; if none at all, the Society is ruin'd, and he is no longer King, nor they own themselves his Subjects, who deny his Au­thority; and that they owe him obedience if he has Power over them, it must be in Circumstantials of Government, Order, and the manner of Divine Worship. Now either he can command them to perform these all one way, and then they are no longer distinct Churches, but the same; or he cannot lawfully command them, nor are they bound to Obey; and so he is no longer their King, nor they his Subjects, then he obliges them by parting with his Soveraignty, and they please (upon that Condition that he permits them to do what they please) to afford him their Subjection. So that in effect, distinct Churches, and Independent upon the Sove­raign in the same Nation, which is one in­tire Body Politick, are so many Spiritual Electors of Germany, who own an Em­peror in Name, but are absolute in Reali­ty, and Soveraigns within their own Ter­ritories and Dominions.

BESIDES, there is so near a Connection between all Temporal and Religious Laws, the Laws of Men having their Foundation and Stability from the Original Laws of God; and being only Lawful so [Page 82]far as they are agreeable to them, that it is impossible for the most Nice Curiosity to distinguish the Limits of these two Pow­ers, the Temporal and the Spiritual. Now if we suppose several distinct Independent Churches in one Nation, we must suppose them to have distinct Forms of Govern­ment, and it will be impossible for the Prince to make any Temporal Law, which some of them may not pretend is against their Jurisdiction; Let it be to raise Men or Money for the common Defence of all by War, it may be an easy Scruple whe­ther the War be Lawful? whether that be his Intention? whether it be for the Com­mon Benefit; and according as these di­stinct Churches judg it Lawful or Religi­ous, Safe or Dangerous, so shall he receive their assistance; So far and no farther goes their Obedience; A too visible Effect, of which, it is to be seared we have at pre­sent, when these Churches and their Ju­risdiction is not by Law permitted; and what might we expect, if this Power which they challenge were either Tolera­ted, or by Law Established? So that if O­bedience be a necessary Duty, both Civil and Religious, in order to the Happiness of any Society or Nation, one Church own­ing that Subjection and Obedience in point of Government (not of Faith) is neces­sarily to be Established in that Society and [Page 83] Nation. But I shall discourse more fully upon this Particular hereafter, and there­fore refer the Reader thither; only I desire it may be taken notice of, that the De­sign and Quarrel of all Dissenting Parties, however they may pretend only purely Spirituals, Conscience, and Religion, yet ends in the pretence to Soveraignty and Dominion; and though it talks only of the Altar, yet is level'd at the Throne; and that therefore the Church of England, which makes not the least pretentions to the prejudice of the Princes Right, but by her Doctrine and her Practices teaches Hu­mility, Obedience, and Submission to the Prince, renders her true Sons the best of Subjects, as well as the best of Christi­ans; and that nothing but Ʋnity in Go­vernment can teach men rightly to Honour the King, as Ʋnity in Faith teaches them truly to fear God, and be true Members of the Holy Catholique Church.

BUT secondly, It will be Objected, That by this Position of the Necessity of Ʋnity in Government, and Uniformity of Worship, in Rites and Ceremonies, in a National Church, Men will be obliged to submit to those things which are against their Consciences.

FOR answer to this at large, I refer them to a small Treatise Intitled The true Li­berty and Dominion of Conscience, where [Page 84]they may see how they impose upon them­selves and others, by obtruding upon them Private Opinion or perswasion for Consci­ence; for unless they be certain by Di­vine Revelation of clear Scripture, or con­sequence of Scripture which will not ad­mit of a Doubt, that the things imposed are Unlawful; Conscience is not concerned in them, and it is only their Opinion, which ought to submit to Publique Peace, and Government, which are clear and evident Commands of God. If the things com­manded are Unlawful, shew us the Prohi­bition: If they be not Unlawful, they may be imposed; for any man may by Au­thority be lawfully commanded to do what is Lawful, for the obtaining Peace and Happiness to himself and all others of the same Society; Nay he is bound in Con­science to do it.

BUT for a further satisfaction, and a short Answer, I desire it may be consider­ed, that every submission to the Judg­ment and practice of another who is of a different Opinion, is not an Error, if the thing be indifferent about which we dis­agree; and that I may without offending my Conscience, do what I am commanded, though in my private Judgment I do not approve of it, if by doing of it I promote Peace, and shew my Obedience: For where the Question is, whether by not do­ing [Page 85]this, I shall obey my own Judgment, which doubts whether I may do it Law­fully; or disobey that Power which com­mands me to do it, which I cannot deny but has a Lawful power to command me? The Resolution is easy; for I am not by my obedience to a private doubt, to break a known Command of God, who commands Obedience to my Superiors in all things which are not contrary to his commands; and whether we should obey God or Man, our selves or the Magistrates and Rulers of of the Church, is no such hard Question as some people have made it.

BESIDES, Though wilful Errors in Faith are Damnable, yet Errors in Circumstan­ces neither are nor can be so, unless we make them so our selves by Disobedience to God, in refusing for Peace and Ʋnity to submit to our Superiors, which is Damna­ble. Nor indeed can any of the several Rites and Ceremonies of Religion be pro­perly called Errors, though they be dif­ferent, nay contrary one to another: For where there is no positive Command of God to Determine us, either part is law­ful or unlawful, only according as it is commanded or forbidden by those who are in Authority; and if it be not deter­mined by them, then as we in our own Judgment shall be perswaded, that is con­ducive to Gods Glory and the Happiness of [Page 86] Mankind. For whether I should pray in a Surplice, or in a Cloak, is not a point of Salvation; for I may do it with either, or neither, and yet go to Heaven; but Dis­obedience to my Lawful Superiors, should they command me to pray to God in Pub­lique, in either of them, is an Error in Faith; for who ever is guilty of that Dis­obedience, must either believe that God is not the Author of that Command, or that it is not true, which is Infidelity and Er­ror. Now let any person of Sobriety Judg whether such a Conscience is a good Conscience, and void of offence to God and Men, which will strain at the Gnat of an indifferent Ceremony, and swallow the Ca­mel of Disobedience? And whether all good Christians ought not to joyn with the National Church in such Ceremonies and manners of Worship, as admitting them to be as bad as any Ceremonies can be, which are not Damnable, rather than by endea­vouring to avoid them, and refusing to use them, to run the certain Hazzard of ruining the Peace of the Church and Na­tion, and certain Damnation, by their Dis­obedience to the Command of God?

I desire to make this as clear as I can; and therefore we will Instance in the sign of the Cross after Baptism; This Ceremony is by many so much abhorred, that they will rather not have their Children received into [Page 87]the Covenant of Grace by Baptism, or (which is the same thing) have the Sacrament from those who, having no lawful Ordina­tion, have therefore no Commission to go and Baptize all Nations: Now, supposing the sign of the Cross after Baptism a su­perfluous or superstitious Ceremony (which yet will never be proved as by the Church explained in the Office of Baptism, and the 30 Canon) yet still the Use of it could not be injurious to Salvation, or Damnable, because it is no where in Scripture forbid­den; nor ever asserted to be Essential to the Sacrament; Nor condemned by ei­ther Councels, or the Practice of the Church in any Age, but frequently used by the Primitive Christians, both upon that and many other Occasions: what a man may do without fear of Damnation, he may do safely; nor is he to be judge of the Expe­dience or edifyingness of the Ceremony; for who made any private man a Judge over others? that very capacity Excludes him from that Power. But for any person to refuse to have his Child Baptized, be­cause of this Ceremony, or to refuse to o­bey his Superiors, is to make himself a Judge over them, and a damnable Sin: Washing with Water in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost, is the Essence of the Sacrament, but there are some Prayers to be made;1 Tim. [...] For [Page 88]every Creature of God is sanctified by the Word of God and Prayer, some Gestures, some Postures to be used in such a weighty Solemnity, some Praises due for so great a Benefit: and these being no where direct­ed what they shall be, are left to the Care and Wisdom of the Governors of the Church, who to avoid Confusion, and to Establish Ʋnity by Ʋniformity, to preserve the Decency of so Sacred a Duty, prescribe this Form of words, these Gestures and Rites, and this sign as of great significa­tion, that as St. Paul says, We should Glo­ry in the Cross of Christ, and receive that as a Badge or Cognizance of our Christian Profession.

THE same Answer will serve for all the Ceremonies which are made use of, or com­manded by the Church of England. Nor shall we need to fear lest by this Power of the Church, the Ceremonies should swell to such a bulk as to be burthensom by be­ing too numerous; since the Governors themselves are not without a Rule in this particular, which is the Determination of the first General Councel at Jerusalem: Acts 15.28. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: one of those necessary things was before indifferent, viz. to ab­stain from things strangled; and St. Paul seems to make even the other, about the [Page 89]things offer'd to Idols, the same; which now were made by the Councel neces­sary.

BUT supposing that there were a real Clog of Ceremonies (which none can just­ly complain of amongst us) yet would any man loose the substance for fear of the sha­dow, refuse to Eat good and wholsome Diet, because the Dish was Silver, and too much Garnished; and by Schism and Dis­obedience run the hazard of his own Soul, and all those seduced by him, meerly to avoid the doing of those things, which if he does them cannot in the least prejudice his Salvation? for these are only the Con­ditions of our maintaining Peace, Ʋnity, and Charity, but not the Conditions upon which our Salvation depends; because God has no where said, he that does these things shall be damned, and he that ab­stains from them shall be saved; but he has said, we must hear the Church, and if she Commands this, for Peace sake, we must Obey, lest we be justly esteemed as Publi­cans and Heathens.

BESIDES, they who Command must an­swer to God for themselves, and they who are to Obey shall not answer for the Errors of their Superiors; but no man can answer to God for his disobedience against them in these Commands, not only because they are not Judges whether they ought to do [Page 90]or not to do what they are Commanded, but because there can then be no such thing as Obedience, if every man may be his own Judge; for what one man may do out of pure doubt or scruple of Mind, thou­sands will pretend to do; and it being im­possible to discover the Tender Conscience from the Obstinate and Designing, all Du­ty to our Superiors in the Church will be Evaded with pretence of Doubting; or else consist in obeying only so far as we like the Commands; which is for fear of Popery to make every Man his own Pope, to dispense with the Laws of God and Man, just as they suit his Interest and his Inclination: to make the Scriptures a Nose of Wax, and the King and Church meer Heads of Wood; and since the rea­son of Obedience is, because we think it truth which is Commanded, and that they who Command are better able to Judge for us than we our selves, as being by God ap­pointed over us for that Design, should they be mistaken in what they Command, yet the Judge of all the Earth, who can­not do wrong, would be so far from punish­ing, that he would reward such Obedience, because done according to his Command. Nor shall the other for Commanding, be­cause they did it with a good Design, pro­vided when it does appear to them to be of ill consequence, they cease to impose it [Page 91]any longer; which is the true reason why many things in the service of God have been altered and abolished upon several Oc­casions.

THIRDLY, It will be objected, That by this Rule, all the Gallicane, German, and other Protestant Churches, who live under a Government which owns and Commands the Romish Discipline and Church, will hereby be made Schismaticks to those se­veral National Churches, of which they are Members; and that hereby a necessity is laid upon us to return to the Obedience of the Church of Rome; for if those Churches may dissent from their National Churches, and yet hold the true Faith, why may not we; why should their Disobedi­ence be Lawful, and ours Damnable?

To this I answer First, That the Diffe­rence between those Churches, and the National Church in which they are, does not consist in Matters of Circumstance or Ceremony but in Matters of Faith; and though I will neither undertake the De­fence of those Churches either in Doctrine or Discipline; yet, I suppose, they sepa­rate from the Roman Communion upon the account of the Impositions of that Church in Points of Faith, such as are the Popes Supremacy (never owned in France even by the Catholiques) the Doctrines of In­fallibility, the real Presence by Transub­stantiation, [Page 92]Merit of Works, and Super­erogation, Invocation of Saints, Purga­tory, Adoration of Images, &c. and the Roman Church who imposes these as Ar­ticles of Faith, is her self Schismatical (if not Heretical) from the Catholique Apo­lique Church of all Ages; and therefore to depart from her where she departs from Truth, is no more Heresie or Schism, than it would be to depart from the Law of Mo­ses, or the Jewish Communion in Circum­cision, &c. or of Mahomet, if those were imposed as Matters of Faith by that or any other Church: for the Apostles Rule holds good to the End of the World for all Christians in Matters of Faith and Man­ners, Be ye followers of me as I am of Christ. 1 Cor. 11.1. And would the Romish Church Impose no more upon Christians as necessa­ry to Salvation, than is contained in those three famous Creeds of the Apostles, Nice, and St. Athanasius, and what is clearly contained in Scripture, which have ever been the Standards of the Catholique Faith, I think every good Christian, over whom they may challenge a Lawful Jurisdiction, ought to joyn with them in Communion of Government; and even those over whom they can rightly challenge none, ought yet to agree with them in the Com­munion of Faith; Nay, should they com­mand many Ceremonies in the Service of [Page 93]God, more than they do, yet those who live in the Jurisdiction of that Church, ought to submit to them for the main­taining of Unity, Peace, and Charity: and I doubt not but the Foreign Protestants (at least in Charity I hope so) if there were no other matters of Difference be­tween them, would easily be perswaded to submit to all the Points of Government, Ceremony, and much more. I remember what a Famous French Minister said to this Purpose, when he was told that some of the English Nonconformists refused Com­munion with the Church of England, be­cause they were Enjoyned to wear the Surplice, and other Vestments; I wish, says he, that the King of France would com­mand me to perform my Function in a Fools Coat: so little did he think the outside and dress of Religion to be of the Essence of it, and so necessary did he judge Obedience, as well as true Faith, to the Peace, Unity and Happiness of the Church.

BUT Secondly, Many of those Prote­stants have Licence and Tolleration given them, to Celebrate the Worship and Ser­vice of God according to their own Way, and by that Dispensation, they are free from the guilt of Disobedience to the Ci­vil Magistrate; and for the Obedience they owe to the Church of Rome, I presume they are willing to give it with all their [Page 94]hearts, if Rome Exacted no more in mat­ters of Faith than God Almighty requires as necessary to Salvation.

BUT the Case is clearly different betwixt our Dissenters, and the Foreign Protestants; for our Differences are, or at least are pre­tended to be, about matters of Polity, and the Manner of performance of the Offices of Religion: and let the Nonconformists prove us but Guilty of destroying one Ar­ticle of Faith, or imposing any thing to be believed or done contrary to the Scrip­tures, and let them dissent from us in Gods Name; and till they can do that, their Separation will be a horrid Schism, and their Nonconformity a manifest Disobedi­ence to the Laws of God and Men. And should the Foreign Churches refuse the Communion of the Church of Rome, and dis­obey the Princes whose Subjects they are, commanding them, if there were no greater Differences than Matters of Ceremony and Circumstance, I doubt not but their Sepa­ration and Disobedience would deserve the same Character.

BUT supposing the Supreme Power of those Countries should absolutely prohi­bit the Protestants the exercise of their Religion, I think they ought to obey, and fall to the Old Arms of the Primitive Chri­stians, Prayers and Tears, and not to the new Methods, of Manaces, making Par­ties, [Page 95]and endeavouring by force of Arms to obtain that from Authority by Violence and Compulsion, which they cannot by Perswasion: A Practice shameful to the Protestant Cause, and for any thing I can see, if they Judg of all by the Example of our Dissenters, more likely to perswade all Princes to Extirpate them out of their Dominions for Seditious Schismaticks, and Dangerous Rebells, than to Tollerate them as Innocent and Religious Christians.

THIS was the Custom of the Ancient Christians, who Conquered more by the Cross, than the Persecutors by all their Cru­elty; who overcame by Suffering, and not by Rebelling. A remarkable Instance of which. we have in the Army of Julian the Apostate, who were obedient to him as their Temporal Soveraign so long as he liv'd; but after he had jested out his im­pious Soul with a Vicistî Galilaee, and that Jovinianus was chosen Emperor, which he refused as being a Christian, and thinking the whole Army Pagans, they all cried out, Et nos sumus Christiani, We are all of us also Christians. Here were men in Arms, a Powerful Number of Veterane and Victorious Legions; and yet had they not so much as a Rebellious thought of Establishing Religion by force or vio­lence.

CHAP. VII.

BY what has been said, it appears that the Foundation of all Charity among Christians, is built upon Ʋnity in Faith, which is the necessary bond of the Catho­lique Church, which is the Company of all faithful People which are, have been, or shall be in all Ages and Places of the World; and that Ʋnity in Government as well as Faith, is the Bond of Peace; and Obedience a Duty therefore which all men owe to their Lawful Superiors, as the Ne­cessary Ligature of a National Church; which being a Political Society of Religi­ous Men, does therefore require a Political Government in Religious as well as Civil affairs.

THE not well considering of this Differ­ence between a National and the Catho­lique Church, seems to be the chief Ground of the Quarrels among Christians: for the Catholique Church being the Spiritual Bo­dy of Christ, is United in it self and to him by the Spiritual Bond of the Catho­lique Faith; which Faith may be kept Whole and Undefiled, though there be great Differences in External Rites and Ceremonies. For all Ceremonies are not fit for all Places; as for Example, Submerg­ing of the person Baptized may do very [Page 97]well in the warm Climates, but would be very hazardous in the more Northern Regions of Muscovy, Rushia, &c. Thus we see it was adjudged in that Great Con­troversie about the Celebration of Easter, between the Eastern and the Western Churches: For when Anicetus Bishop of Rome, and Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna, dif­fer'd in their Opinion about it, they came to this amicable Determination, that each Church should celebrate it according to their own Custom, for which they gave this Reason, Quia non oportet propter Cae­remoniarum dissonantiam, rumpere Fidei Consonantiam, & Ecclesiae Concordiam: The Peace and Concord of the Church in the Harmony of Faith, ought not to be broken for a disagreement in matters of Ceremony; And because this Difference made a great Noise in the Church for ma­ny years, [...]d in regard it Confirms my Position of Ʋnity of Faith, being the Bond of the Catholick Church, and Ʋnity of Government as well as Faith, that of a National Church, I will relate the Histo­ry of it in short as it is Recorded by Eu­sebius in his Ecclesiastical History. Euseb. lib. 5. c. 24, 25, 26.

Polycrates Bishop of Ephesus, and a great many of the Asian Bishops, alledg­ing the Practice and ancient Custom of St. John, the beloved Disciple of our Lord, who was himself Bishop of Ephe­sus, [Page 98]Polycarp, and several others observed Easter upon any day of the Week accord­ing to the Custom of the Jews. The Chri­stians of the Western Church observed it, as we do, upon the Sunday, being the day of his Resurrection. Upon this, Victor Bi­shop of Rome, pronounces them Excom­municate and separates from their Commu­nion; Irenoeus Bishop in Lions, shews Vi­ctor his Error, and that for Ceremonies and Circumstances the Ʋnity of the Church ought not to be broken; which he mani­fests by the Diversity of several Churches, in observing the time of Fasting before Ea­ster, some only one day, some two, some more, to forty, and yet for all this, says that Excellent Father, they were at Ʋnity one with another, and as yet retain it; for this Variety of Fasting commendeth the Ʋnity of Faith; and thereupon wri­ting to Victor, he acquaints him, that A­nicetus, Pius, Hyginus, Telesephorus, and Xystus his Predecessors, though not ob­serving the same Custom with the Bishops of Asia, yet nevertheless were at Ʋnity with them, and sent the Eucharist unto the Brethren of other Churches, that obser­ved a Contrary Custom; shewing him also how Polycarpus did not endeavour to alter the Judgment of Anicetus, but told him that he ought to observe the ancient Cu­stom of his Predecessors: Upon which, [Page 99]for the reason before-mentioned, they friendly received the Holy Eucharist to­gether, the Symbol of their Ʋnity in Faith, and parted from each other in Peace; and all such, adds he, as held contrary Customs and Observations throughout the Ʋniver­sal Church, held fast the Bond of Love and Ʋnity; no Church endeavouring to im­pose upon the Liberty of others in point of Circumstances, so long as they all held the Catholique Faith as the only necessary bond of Ʋnion in the Catholique Church, and Ʋnity of Government as the Bond of Ʋnion in the several Distinct and National Churches, whereof the Universal is com­posed, and which therefore it appears, had Originally a Jurisdiction among themselves, over which neither Rome nor any other had a Power.

So that is clear, that several National Churches may lawfully differ in External Rites of Government from the Catholique, without the danger of Schism; But now in a National Church there is a necessity of Ʋnity and Obedience to the Determi­nations of those who are the Lawful Go­vernors of it; and all Disobedience there is a Schism, in regard the Peace of that Church, the Order, and Charity of it, without this must be destroyed; and therefore there is a Necessity of this Ʋni­ty in point of Government in any Natio­nal Church.

Now every Distinct Nation, as before was said, being a separate Society of men Distinguished from the rest of the World, by a different Government, and their O­bedience to it, as well as by their Place of Habitation; there is a Necessity that Reli­gion should conduce all it can to the pre­servation of that Political Frame, upon which the Well-being and Happiness of the Society depends; For the Civil and Religious concerns are so mutually inter­woven, that no man can be a Good Citi­zen who is an ill Christian, or an ill Chri­stian who is Bonus Civis, a good Publique­wealths-man; and these do mutually sup­port one another; true Religion Impro­ving this Interest of all Men, by making the Civil part of the Polity, a Duty of Religion among Christians, whereas a­mong Heathen, it was only a duty of In­terest and Policy: For even in this sense we may truly say as our Saviour of himself,Matt. 5.17. that Christian Religion came not to de­stroy the Law, but to fulfil it; to conform Humane Laws to the Rule of Divine Equi­ty, Truth, and Justice; and for this rea­son our Lord himself gave that Universal Precept to Render to Caesar his Due; which also he confirmed by his Practice, paying him Tribute even with a Miracle.

NOR do we ever find the Primitive Spi­rit of Christianity opposing any humane [Page 101] Laws or Power, unless they were such as directly struck at the Root of Faith and a holy Life; such as were the severe Edicts of the Persecuting Emperors, to compel them to renounce and Blaspheme Christ; to adore the Pagan Gods; or to offer In­cense to the Statues of the Emperors. Nay, when they were treated with more than inhumanity, they never had recourse to Violence, or attempted to justle the Tem­poral Power out of the Throne, or force it to a compliance with their Wills, but suffered patiently, even when (as Tertullian Apologizes for them) they were grown so numerous, that if they should by a Common consent have deserted the Em­pire, they would have left Desolation be­hind them.

THIS being therefore granted, That our Obedience to the Laws of the Polity or Nation wherein we live, (so long as they command nothing contrary to the Divine Law) is a part of our Christian Religion, (as may be easily made appear from Rea­son, Scripture, and the Practice of the best and purest Ages of Primitive Chri­stianity) even in such Constitutions as concern the Government of the Church, as well as the Temporal Affairs of State, which was done with great happiness to both, in the Reigns of Constantine the Great, and many other Christian Emperors; I [Page 102]will therefore proceed upon this Position, to shew that, in Order to the happy Con­dition both of Civil and Religious Affairs, there is an absolute Necessity of Ʋnity and Ʋniformity of Government Ecclesiastical in a National Church.

THIS Necessity is grounded both in the Prudence of the Lawful Policy, and Reli­gious Wisdom. I will begin with the Re­ligious Necessity.

WE must therefore consider the Essence, the Nature, the Design, and the Intention of the Gospel, in that part of it which differences it from all other Religions, both Pagan, Jewish, and Mahumetan, for the In­tention of that must be our Great Design, if we will be true Followers of Christ, and not in Words profess we own him, but in Actions deny him, and his Royal Priesthood over us.

NOW the very Essence of Christian Re­ligion consists in Love, or Charity; this is the New Commandment, and the fulfilling of the Old: and herein it is that Christia­nity differs from and Excells all other Re­ligions. The Heathens knew no more of this than their Interest obliged them to; and therefore all those of Different Na­tions, Manners, or Religions, were esteem­ed Barbarians and Enemies; and accord­ingly treated: and had not God Almighty permitted the Regiment of the World to be [Page 103]Absolute and Tyrannical, this want of Cha­rity one to another, would certainly have thrown them into perpetual Civil Wars and Confusion amongst themselves, there being then no Rein upon Ambitious Spi­rits, but Fear of the Arbitrary Power, and Will of their Princes, which was the Su­preme Law by which they Rul'd their Sub­jects. And even the Law of Moses (ac­cording to the corrupt gloss of the Scribes and Pharisees) said, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour and hate thine Enemy; Matt. 5.43. and ac­cording to the letter of it, Exacted Life for Life, Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth. But when the Eternal Son of the Blessed came into the World, both to Redeem it and Renew it; to Exalt men who were sunk into a Degeneracy below the Beasts that Perish; and to make them partakers of the Divine Nature, he teaches another Do­ctrine very harsh to Flesh and Blood, but such as would in reality make them re­semble God their Heavenly Father. He teaches them to Love their Enemies, to Bless them that Curse us, to do good to them that hate us, to Pray for them that de­spightfully Ʋse us, and Persecute us; by which Methods we shall come to be the true Children of the true God, whose Glo­rious Sun riseth upon the Evil and the Good, Matt. 5.44, 45. and whose fruitful Showers fall upon the Just and the Ʋnjust. This Love he makes the [Page 104]Foundation of Religion which he was to introduce into the World, proceeding from the infinite Love of God to Mankind, & from the God of Love; and therefore he tells us that the whole Law is comprised in these two Commandments,Matt. 22.37, 38, 39, 40. to Love God and our Neighbour. And therefore he does so often repeat that which he calls the New Com­mandment;Joh. 13.34, 35. A new Commandment I give unto you, That ye Love one another, as I have Loved you; that ye also Love one ano­ther; by this shall all men know that you are my Disciples, if ye have Love one for ano­ther. And what he taught he also con­firmed by his Example, In that he died for us when we were Enemies.

NOW the Command being Ʋniversal, to all those who are the Disciples of Christ; they who hate another, because they differ or dissent from them in some things, which Christ having left indifferent, has there­fore left to the Wisdom of those with whom he intrusted the Government of the Church, to determine as they shall Judge most conducive to this great Design of Charity, cannot be the true Disciples of Christ; 1 Joh. 4.40. for, If any man say, I love God, and hate his Brother, he is a Lyar. And there­fore the holy Apostles, and particularly the beloved Disciple St. John, lays such weight upon this Duty, and so frequently commands it, that his three Epistles are [Page 105]scarce any thing else but a repetition of that Command, and the reasons for it: which brings into mind what I have somewhere read of that Apostle, that in his extreme old age residing at Ephesus, and governing the Churches of the lesser Asia; when he was not able to perform the Offices of the Church, yet he would be carried in his chair to the Assembly of Christians, where he would several times repeat this Sentence; My little Children love one another: and being demanded the reason of this short, but Excellent Sermon, he made answer to this Effect, because, It did comprise the sum of all Religion, and that Charity would cover a multitude of other faults. And therefore St. Paul doubts not to give it the preheminence above the two other principal Graces. 1 Cor. 13.13. Now (says he) abideth Faith, Hope, and Charity, but the greatest of these is Charity. For when Hope shall be compleated by posses­sion, and Faith changed into Fruition, then shall Charity be most triumphant, as being the Life of Heaven, and the pleasing imployment of a glorious Eternity. And certainly it is this love unseigned both to­wards God and towards our Brethren, that is so of the Essence of Religion, that with­out both these, it is but a meer Impostor: for no person can truely fear God, who does not smcerely love him; and no man loves [Page 106] God sincerely, who does not love his Bro­ther also:1 Tim. 5.1. For the End of the Command­ment is Charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good Conscience, and Faith Ʋnfeined.

NOW taking this for a Foundation, which no good Christian can deny, I proceed to shew that it is absolutely impossible to maintain this Charity without Ʋnity both of Faith and Government in a National Church; and to make it evident, I should need no stronger Argument than what the holy Apostle St. Paul subjoyns in the words following those of his last repeated: From which (says he) some having swer­ved, have turned aside to vain Jangling. Here is the source of all the Churches Mi­series; this vain jangling has ever been the occasion of all those Dissentions and Divisions, those mischievous Quarrels which have not confined themselves to Words, but have proceeded to the Outrages of Blows and Blood; it is want of Chari­ty, and that pure heart and good Consci­ence which commands Peace, and forbids all Disorder and Disobedience, which are destructive of it in the Church of God.

BUT to make this apparent, so as that no Evasion may be found, let us consider that Ʋnity of Faith is not sufficient to maintain Charity in a National Church, unless there be also Ʋnity in point of Government; for where men Live together imbodied in one [Page 107] political Society, and are therefore daily conversant together, it is impossible but they will discourse about the Modes as well as the Essence of Religion: and supposing that all People had free Liberty to chuse af­ter what manner they would serve and Worship God; no doubt is to be made, but every man would prefer his own choice both of Opinion and Practice, before that of others; and Esteem it most agreable to the Will of God, and most conducive to the great Design of all Religion, the E­ternal Salvation of Mens Souls: This un­due preference of their own Way, as it would naturally incline them to make as many Proselytes as possibly they could, (a Duty they would judge themselves ne­cessarily and indispensably obliged to per­form) so would it necessarily put them not only upon defending and maintaining their own Way, but of lessening, and it may be debasing and vilifying all others in compa­rison of it. Nor would others be less eager in searching out and Exposing their Er­rors and Defects, thereby to Establish themselves, and their Way of Worship, in the good Opinion of their Followers, to which Revenge (for affront and indignity offer'd to what they Esteem most Sacred) would contribute not a little: so that all Religion would come to consist in frivolous and endless Disputes and Differences, what [Page 108]kind of Breath, what Tones, Words, Ha­bits, Gestures, or Postures God Almighty is best pleased with; and instead of that Charity which covers a multiude of Faults, that would be the best, which had the least, and was best able to discover the Infirmities of all others; and would seem to consist not so much in its own Excel­lencies or Perfections, as by discovering the defects of those who did oppose it. Nor would these foolish differences termi­nate in meer Words and Wrangles, but proceed by degrees to the highest Animo­sities and Extremities of Hatred, and such a hatred as inspires Men with the devilish Principles of indeavouring to Extirpate Root and Branch with Fire and Sword, all those who differ from them it may be but in the Punctillo's of outward Ceremonies: and they who shall appear most Zealous in Executing this blind and furious Rage, shall be accounted most godly and Religious Murder shall be called Justice; Wrong, Violence, and Oppression, Punishments justly inflicted upon the Wicked; Sacri­ledge shall pass for Piety, and the most hor­rid and slagitious Enormities, shall be de­dicated to the Glory of God; and be repu­ted acceptable service to him, being done, or however pretended, with the design of propagating the Gospel, rooting out Super­stition, False Doctrine and Heresie.

O meek and blessed Jesus! thou inno­cent Lamb of God who takest away the Sins of the World, is this the Religion which with thy precious blood was planted in the World, and watred with the blood of so ma­ny of thy holy Saints and Martyrs? Assu­redly God is not in such terrible Hurricanes, Whirlwinds, and Earthquakes, Tempests or Fires, as rend the Mountains, 1 Kings 19.11, 12. and break the Rocks in pieces; as shake and put all the Foundations of the World out of Course, and consume all before them: No, no; it is in the small still voice, the calm, and soft voice of Peace and Meekness that God and true Religion are to be found. Alas! it is not in this mans pompous breath, nor that mans Eloquent Harangue that God is de­lighted; it is not the rude and undecent Religion of him who despises all Ceremo­nies in the Worship of God, who will not bend his knee or uncover his head for fear of he knows not what Idolatry; Nor is it the over superstitious and courtly service of him who makes all his Religion groan under the Load of splendid Ceremonies, that God is pleased with: he has no more sa­tisfaction in these Exterior demeanors, than, as the Psalmist says,Psal. 147.10, 11. in the strength of an horse, or in the legs of a man; but the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his Mercy. And all these outward Demonstrations of our Wor­ship, [Page 110]are only valuable according to their inward intention of promoting the main Design for which he intended them, which is Peace, Unity, and Concord among the Sons of Men.

NOW this blessed Peace, this happy Ʋ ­nity, and this Christian Concord, are not to be hoped for in any National Church, but by submitting to such common Expe­dients in the Celebration of the Publique Worship of Almighty God, as by putting an End to these Differences, may lay a­sleep all these occasions of Divisions, Dis­putes, and vain janglings; and may there­fore cut off the root and occasion of Quar­rels about the How God shall be served. And this Power must either be granted to be in the Governors of the Church and Nation, or otherways all falls to Confu­sion: For if it be not in the Church, then have not any Dissenters that Power over their Churches; and therefore they go about an unlawful Action, and are bold Usurpers over the Christian Liberty of their Brethren, whilest they go about to Establish any Government in their Congre­gations; if it be in the Church, then ei­ther that Authority is in the Church of England, or She is not a true Church. Let them prove that, and we will fairly and quietly yield them the Cause; But if the Church of England be a true Church, and [Page 111]a true Church have such a Power, then ought all who are in that Community and Nation, to be obedient to her Determina­tions; because they are within the Verge of her Jurisdiction; and they who are dis­obedient, are guilty of the breach of Ʋ ­nity and Charity, and Enemies to Peace; and if the Author of the Epistle to the He­brews be of any Credit, they who do not follow Peace with all Men, as well as Holy­ness, (and much more then with that Church which brought them forth, and has nurst them in her tender Arms) shall never see God. And into what a despe­rate condition then have they reduced themselves, who for want of this Charity, Peace, and Unity, run themselves and their Disciples into the danger of being Excluded, (notwithstanding all their Ho­lyness) from the Glorious presence of God, which in plain English is Eternal Damnation.

AH poor Church of England! how justly mayest thou take up the Mournful complaint of God Almighty by his Prophet Isaiah; Hear ô Heavens! Esay 1.2. and give ear ô Earth! I have nourished and brought up Children, and they have rebelled against me! O miserable and deceived People! How vainly do you Establish your hopes of Eternal Happiness upon principles of Dissention? Who are made believe no [Page 112]way so secure to attain Salvation, as Dis­obedience to the Government of the Church your Mother? Who lose all Charity, the substance of Religion, for the Watry sha­dow that appears in the smooth but trea­cherous face of the specious words of Refor­mation, and greater degrees of Purity; not considering in the mean time, that these are all (the best of them) but outward Forms of Godliness, common to the Good and Bad; but that Charity and Obedience in order to Brotherly Ʋnity, are the Power and the Life, the Soul, and very Essence of all true Religion: With these, Religion may be false, but without the other, it can never be true.Esay 5.21. Wo unto them (says the Prophet) that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight. And what can be more Evident than that these People must be so to the highest degrees of Folly and Frenzy, who expose the Peace and Well-fare of the Church, to ruine and Di­struction, in complaisance to their private ill-grounded Opinions in mere matters of Indifferency; who neglect a certain Duty, for a Doubtful Supposition; and have less Esteem for Charity than a Scruple or a Fan­cy; who by their obstinate Practice so con­trary to all Antiquity, and so wholly new, and therefore Ʋncertain, set themselves in the Throne of Wisdom and Prudence, much above all the Learned, Pious, and [Page 113]glorious Governors of the Church, Saints, and Martyrs, which have been in all Ages since the Son of God laid the Foundation of it with his precious Blood: Nay, even a­bove the Son of God himself, who not on­ly left that Government in his Church, (as shall be shewn hereafter) but by the Mi­raculous continuance and preservation of that Government, has manifested that he does approve it, and that he has upheld it by his mighty Power and Wisdom.

LET Dissenters therefore shew us per­spicuously when there was any other Go­vernment in the Church than that of Bi­shops? Let them shew us when ever the Church was without a Publique Liturgy, since that composed by St. James? When ever Christians were without Priests to at­tend the Altar, Heb. 13.10. of which they who serve the Jewish Tabernacle have no right to Eat, or that these were of the Peoples chusing, and not Ordained by Bishops to their Sa­cred Function? Let them shew us where ever any person was permitted to Entertain the People with a long Extempore Prayer, more to the displaying his own Abilities than to edify them; more to disparage others who cannot, who dare not if they can, be so bold with the Dreadful Majesty of Hea­ven, than to bring them into Charity with such Persons, whose considerative Modesty stands amazed at the thoughts of the Di­vine [Page 114]Omnipotence, as having been taught by the Holy Spirit, Eccles. 5.1, 2. That God is in Heaven and we on Earth, and therefore our words ought to be few; and that it is a foolish Pre­sumption to think we can please him by breaking his commands, by being rash with our Mouths, and hasty with our hearts to ut­ter any thing before God, for they who do so consider not that they give the sacrifice of Fools, Rom. 3.8. and do Evil; which an Apostle tells us we must not at any Rate be guilty of, not though we may reasonably hope for a good Effect from evil Actions, whose Dam­nation he there says is just.

LET them shew us these things either positively commanded of God, or prohi­bited, Universally practised by the Church, or condemned; or otherways let them con­fess that they are wiser than the Genera­tions of their Fore-fathers in Christ; wiser than the Apostles and all the holy Martyrs, who with their Blood Sealed and Deliver­ed the Truth of these things down to us. And if they will call these Practices Anti­christian, Superstitious, and Unlawful, if they will tear off the Ornaments of their Mother, nay and Murther her too, be­cause she will not consent to betray her self and her trust to their Novel Wisdom, if they will more barbaroufly than the Ro­man Souldiers rend the seamless Coat of Christ, to patch up another of their own [Page 115]Inventions; we must pity them and pray for them in the Language of our blessed Jesus, Father forgive them for they know not what they do: Luk. 23.34. and yet even that Chari­ty does not deprive us of using all Lawful ways and means to defend our selves from their injurious incroachments; nor is it meant that our Charity ought to be so de­fenceless, as voluntarily to Expose us to their Injustice and Cruelty: And that glo­rious Law which commands us to love and pray for our Enemies, does not oblige us to offer our throats a Sacrifice to their Swords, nor are we bound to be so kind to them, as to be Cruel to our selves.

I could heartily wish the sad Effects of the Decay of Christian Charity among us were only the Cloudy apparitions of my own fears and imaginations; Airy Com­bats and Meteors of the Mind: But alas! we may but too sorrowfully invert the say­ing of the Royal Prophet; Psal. 44.7 We have heard with our Ears, and our Fathers have told us; nay, miserable people that we are, we have seen with our Eyes these afflicting Truths: For no sooner was the Church of England, stept out of the Errors and Darkness of Rome; but the Devil, the great Incendiary of the World, envious of our Happiness, begun to sow the Tares of Dissention among us. I will not repeat the Names of those Authors of our Misery, [Page 116]but I desire all Dissenters of what Names soever, to consider what have been the Effects of these Differences which for this 80 years they have with such Hereditary Violence and Animosity maintained a­gainst the Church of England? What is it that has banish't all Charity from the Minds and Lives of Men? What is it that has made all those Heats, Strifes, and Di­visions, those bitter Railings, that Hatred, Emulation, and at last Separation from the Communion of Saints (which is one Arti­cle of our Faith) between people of dif­ferent Opinions? What is it therefore that has sacrificed Faith to Opinion? From what Fountain flow'd all those fearful streams of blood, which so lately staind our yet blush­ing Fields, Scaffolds, nay our very Tem­ples and Altars? From what Coast blew those Whirlwinds of Rebellion and Sedi­tion, not privy but publique Conspiracy, which threw down all, Crowns and Mitres, Churches and Palaces, every thing Sacred and Civil; which occasion'd the ruine of so many Millions of Souls, Bodies, and Estates? This Cloud which was at first no bigger than a Mans hand, which after­wards cover'd the face of the Heavens with Storms and Tempests, Thunder and Lightning, like the dismal Plague of Egypt, Fire mingled with Hail, was nothing but the dislike which some persons had that [Page 117]their sense was not made the standard of Religion; and because, contrary to their good liking, some Ceremonies were thought fit to be retained in the Church, as being of great Antiquity, of Excellent Use and necessity, which they would have had to­tally abolished.

THESE men, whose Tempers were warmer than their Charity, and whose Zeal was much too heavy for their Judgment; ei­ther not considering, or not caring what must be the necessary consequences of these sparks of Dissention; set their Lungs to work as well as their Wits, to blow them up into a Flame; pretending to the Ʋnwa­ry, that that Fire which was indeed of their own kindling, was the only Gospel Light; and that which by its future Ef­fects has proved it self a Portentous Co­met, was the Day star from on high which was sent to visit them, to lead them to Eter­nal Light, under the Glorious Sun of Righteousness. Had it burnt like the kind and wondrous lambent flame in Moses his bush, without consuming it, we might have been induced to believe that God was in the Fire. But alas! it was too raven­ous to permit us to continue in that belief; and the World has found by dear Expe­rience, that it was of the Extraction of that Fire St. James describes unto us,Jam. 3.6.8. Be­hold (says he) how great a matter a little [Page 118]Fire kindleth; and the Tongue is a Fire, a World of Iniquity, it sets on fire the whole Course of Nature, and it is set on fire of Hell; being an untamable little Animal, an unruly Evil, full of deadly Poison, Espe­cially when therewith we bless God even the Father, and curse Men who are made after the similitude of God.

HOWEVER, to justifie their Division and Dislike, they did indeavour with might and main, to pull down Babylon, as they call'd not only Rome but the Reformation, (that being the odious name of whatever dis­pleases them) because it was not model'd according to that Platform which they therefore fancied, because it was of their own devising: Discourses full of Gall and Wormwood, instead of Meekness and Hu­mility, flew like lightning from their Pens, as well as Invectives, and bitter Reproaches from their Mouths. And to make some shew that they were not without Reason, a new Frame of Church Government, wholy unpresidented, and never before pra­cticed, was minted at Geneva: This glister­ing Medal (as the coursest Medals will do when they come first off the Mint) shone with such a dazeling lustre in the Eyes of those who Coïn'd it, as the silver shrines of Diana did in the Opinion of Demetrius: and presently (I will not say positively for the same Reasons) it gain'd as many, and [Page 119]as tumultuous Worshippers, who like the wild Ephesians cri'd up this [...], a Thunderbolt newly dropt from the Clouds, with as much Ernestness and as little Reason, Where some crïed one thing, Acts 19.32. and some another, for the Assembly was con­fused, (as it always happens where any thing is managed by Tumult and Passion) and the greater part knew not wherefore they were come together: but some there were who did; and they who did not, yet were made believe they were as good as the best. Yet was not even this Glorious and thorough Reformation, though new run and cast, so pure and perfect from all the dross of Superstition and Corruption, but that some of quicker sight and sounder Judgment among themselves, espied some Babylonish rust upon it; and straight they began, after the Example of Presbytery, to make use of their Christian Liberty, and to separate likewise the Pure from the Vile.

THUS was the Unfortunate Ichabod of Presbytery born amongst us, with the Death of his Mother, and the Dismal over­throw of the Holy Church: 1 Sam. 4. The Glory de­parted from our Israel, the Ark was lost, and there was a great slaughter among the People. Then arose whole swarms of Sects, or rather Insects in Religion, with guilded Wings, but Scorpions Tayls, painted Bo­dies, [Page 120]but still poisonous Stings; and as if Beelzebub the God of Flies, and Ekron, had been let loose among us, nothing was heard but the confused buzzing of these differing Opinions, who all pretended to gather Honey for the Hive, but were in truth Sacrilegious Robbers; agreeing in nothing but their mutual hatred, and com­mon design against the Church of Eng­land, whose utter Extirpation was the mark of their United Conspiracy; in order afterwards every one to Establish them­selves, not only upon hers, but the Ruine of their differing Confederates.

THESE have been, and I wish I could say they were not at present the sad, natu­ral, and necessary Effects of breaking the Unity of Government in the outward Ad­ministration of the Service of God; which crumbles a glorious Church into the Epi­curean Atoms of Faction and Confusion, till at last there remains little of it, besides the Name: and most certainly they who have once shaken hands with this Ʋnity, must of necessity in a short time take their leave of Charity; for these are the Twins of true Religion, which live and dye toge­ther, and when these are gone, the tongues of Men and Angels, the Faith of Miracles, and the flaming Zeal of Martyrs, are but sounding Brass and tinkling Cymbals, they may make a little jingling noise of Religi­on, [Page 121]but it is to be feared, the louder they are, the more Empty of the soul and sub­stance of true Piety, and Christianity.

So that those who do believe that Charity is so of the Essence of Religion, as good Works are of Faith, without which the one is as dead and vain as the other; will easily be convinced, both by Reason and Experience, of the absolute Necessity that there is of Ʋnity in Point of Govern­ment to preserve that Charity alive: since without this Ʋnity of Government to de­termine and give a Period to the Differen­ces of several Opinions, which shall be ob­truded as Matters of Faith, all Religion presently degenerates into vain and end­less Disputes; these produce Divisions, Factions, and Parties; those run imme­diately into separation of Communion; that leads men headlong to Animosities and Hatred, and Hatred always ends in Confusion and every evil Work, as St. James has well inform'd us.Jam. 3.17. For (says he) the Wisdom which is from above is peaceable as well as pure, full of Mercy and good Fruits, and the fruit of Righteousness is sown in Peace of them that make Peace, and all o­ther Wisdom which banishes Charity with a pretence of Establishing Piety, is Sen­sual, Carnal, Devilish; Excellent recom­mendations of Reformation carried on without Nay against this Charity and [Page 122]Unity in the Goverment of a National Church!

CHAP. VIII.

THUS we see that Unity in Point of Government, as well as Faith, is absolutely necessary in a National Church to preserve it in Peace and Charity, and that is in plain Terms to render it truly Christian, and a part of the Catholique Church, which we all profess to believe as an Article of our Faith. We shall see in the next place how necessary this Ʋnity in point of Government, is to maintain Chri­stian Discipline in the World; and how without it, that great Power of the Keys which Christ gave to his Apostles and their Successors, for the Government of his Church, becomes impracticable, and of no Use or Authority for suppressing Vice, or Encouraging true Piety and Religion.

LOUD and clamorous are the Com­plaints and Declamations against the vi­tiousness and Debauchery of the present Age; and not without too evident Truth and Reason: Impiety which was formerly used to wait for the twilight, dare now walk bare fac't, and stare upon the Sun: St. Paul says of the modest Debauchees of his Age, They that are drunken are drunken [Page 123]in the Night; but now licentious men are become so impudent as to scorn to throw the Mantle of Darkness over their vitious Intemperance, that they take a Pleasure and a Pride to Riot in the day time, and to affront God and Men, and even humane Nature it self, by their prodigious and Publique Sins and Follies. They who did ill formerly, hated the light, but now Men study to affront it, and oblige that pure and innocent Blessing, to become not only a Witness but an Assistant to their Brutish, and shameless Disorders: and would loose their greatest pleasure, should they not ex­pose themselves and their deeds of Dark­ness to the discovery of the Day.

ALL this is laid upon the Government of the Church, which though it be as in­nocent as the light by which they are bold­ly acted; yet must they conspire in the guilt of these horrid Crimes, if we will believe Dissenters; who blush not to lay this false Accusation to the Charge of the Government, that thereby they may ren­der it Criminal and Odious, and themselves and Party Clear and Innocent; when as in truth and reality, the Guilt of these mis­carriages will be found to lie at their own Doors; and let them wipe their mouths never so demurely, and say they have done no Evil,Prov. 30.20. with Solomon's Common Wo­man; let them wash their hands with Pi­late, [Page 124]and say they are guiltless; I doubt not to make it appear to the contrary. It is a bold Charge, and I know they will start at it as much as the Disciples did, when our Saviour told them, That one of them should betray him; and be as forward as they to Cry out, Is it I? Who we? but what if it prove true; and be made good against them? I will indeavour it; and yet with all the Christian Compassion that I am capable of; for I have no design to Expose their Persons to hatred, but to bring them to true Repentance, by shew­ing them the Danger of those Ways, which with the specious shew of Righteousness and Holiness, deceive them into a Contempt of the terrible Authority of the Church, and others, by their Example, into all Sen­suality, and Impiety.

THAT Christ left to the Governors of his Church the Power of the Keys, is most Evident from his own plain and clear Words. For when he was to leave this World, he called his Apostles to him, and Then said Jesus unto them again, Joh. 20.23. Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you; there is their Mission and Commission for their Function and Govern­ment; and when he had said this, Matth. 18.18. he breath­ed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the holy Ghost: there is their Unction and Ordination, their ability to perform [Page 125]the Duty, and discharge the trust reposed in them; Whose soever Sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained: There is the Office and the Power which was put into their hands; the Expedient by which they were to govern and Rule the Church of God. And though the Romanists endea­vour to Monopolize (even in the literal and worst sence) this great Power only to Saint Peter and his Successors, as they pretend the Roman Bishops only are; yet nothing is more clear, than that our Saviour in­tended them all an Equal share, and a Pow­er to derive it to their Successors in all Churches, to the End of the World; His gracious Promise of being with them ex­tending unto all Times, Places, and Per­sons, who should succeed any of the Apo­stles, as well as St. Peter: The Church be­ing built not only upon him, but upon the Foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Christ Jesus being himself the Chief and Corner-stone, in whom and by whom the whole glorious Fabrique is Ʋnited and Com­pleated.

THIS Power of the Keys, of binding and loosing, is the Power of Excommunication of Offenders, and Absolution of Penitents, and is indeed all the Power which Christ left with his Church, and the only Juris­diction which the Governors can exercise [Page 126]in and over it: For all Corporal Punish­ments are properly and peculiarly vested by God himself in the power of the Tem­poral and Civil Magistrate, who carries the Sword, and is ordained of God for that very purpose and Design; as St. Paul acquaints us,Rom. 13. for he beareth not the Sword in vain, but is the Minister of God, a Re­venger to Execute punishment upon him that doeth Evil.

AN Instance of this terrible Sentence of Excommunication, we have inflicted upon the Incestuous Corinthian; and that with a great Formality: 1 Cor. 5.5. This is my Determination (saith the Apostle) In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, when yeare gathered together, and my Spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one to Sa­tan; as he tells us in another place, that he had delivered Hymeneus and Alexander to Satan, that they might learn not to Blas­pheme.

By virtue of this dreadful Power it was, that the Primitive Governors of the Church, even when they had no assistance, but all opposition from the Secular Powers, yet kept the Flock of Christ in all Obedi­ence, Subjection, good Order and Disci­pline: Then were Christians Miracles of Charity, Piety, and Devotion, to the wondring Pagans, when they were oblig­ed to those Duties by no Humane Laws, [Page 127]when there were no fears of Prisons, Tor­tures, Confiscations, or Banishment, un­less for being and owning themselves to be Christians; but the only fear of Excommu­nication, and being put out of th [...] Fellow­ship of the Saints here on Earth, and de­nyed Entrance into the Congregation of the Faithful; of being debarred from receiving the Holy Eucharist, and joyning in the pub­lique Service and Worship of God, was more forcible to make them Holy, Obe­dient, and Ʋnanimous, than all the Tor­ments devised by Persecution, were able [...]o make them Prophane or Vitious: For why? They did believe, that unless the Governors of the Church, the Successors of the Apostles, did remit their Sins on Earth, they should not find remission in Heaven; they therefore believed it, because Christ the Eternal Truth had said it: They did believe, that unless they were United by Communion to the Holy Catholique Church, they could never hope for the Remission of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body unto Life Everlasting; which is the most ancient Confession of the Christian Faith; and which with great probability is supposed to be delivered by the Apostles, to the Church, as a short sum of Faith ne­cessary to Salvation.

NOR were they more fearful of this for­midable Sentence of Excommunication, [Page 128]than desirous of the Absolution of the Church, to restore them to the Honour of God Almighty after they had offended; and by serious and Solemn Repentance, were thought [...]orthy to be readmitted into Com­munion. And this is the other branch of the Power of the Keys, and from hence a­rose the necessity of Confession; for Christ having left a power with his Church to forgive the Penitent, it was supposed, that this was not to be done at random; but the People looking upon the Priests as the Phy­sicians of their Souls, and as standing be­tween God and them, as Internuncij or Ce­lestial Embassadors, as St. Paul terms them, when they expected Spiritual Remedies for the Diseases of their Souls, they thought it necessary, Especially in imminent danger of Death, truly to state the Case and Condition of their Souls to these Spi­ritual Physicians, that so they might be Judges of it, and accordingly apply suita­ble Remedies; and from hence sprung these excellent Effects.

FIRST, Men avoided the Danger of flattering themselves into a dangerous per­swasion of the Goodness and safety of their Condition; and by consequence from that security and false Peace which has be­trayed Millions into Eternal Misery: For as nothing is more natural than for men to love themselves, so nothing does more [Page 129]powerfully incline them to Judge favour­ably, and with a dangerous Partiality con­cerning their Eternal Condition; it being with Diseases of the Soul as with those of the Body, where no Persons, not even the Learned in the Art of Hermes, when sick themselves, are more incompetent Judges of their own state, than those who labour under it; who many times Flatter themselves with delirous Fancies of Life and Health, even when they are under the Agonies of approaching Death.

SECONDLY, Hereby many haynous sins which men commit in secret, were nipt in the Blossom; and believing that without Confession there was no Absolution to be ex­pected, the very fear of Discovery, or of Damnation without it, gave strange checks to such Tempers who had not abandoned all Modesty: Nor is it to be esteemed a Won­der, that Men should receive a more pow­erful Control from the fear of Humane Knowledg, than from the apprehensions of the Omniscient Divinity, since it is so well known, that all men are more affected by the power of sensible Objects, than of Faith and Reason; and every mans own experience will convince him that the fear of Shame and Reproach upon Discovery, has at least in some part of his Life been more powerful to preserve him from some Sins, than all the terrors of a Future state [Page 130]of Misery; and the witness of a little Child which might make a Discovery to the World, has prevented the Execution of some wicked Designs, which the Consider­ations of the Divine presence in all pla­ces, would have had no great influence upon.

THIRDLY, Hereby People came to have a true Love and Veneration for their Spi­ritual Guides, a love of Reverence, and a love of Tenderness; looking upon them as their Spiritual Fathers, and honouring them as such: Then men did not set an Estimate upon them, only proportionate to their abilities of making Extempore Prayers (a thing wholly unknown to the first Ages of Christianity) or for their gifts of Eloquent Orations in the Pulpit; no more than they would do their Physicians for those Talents; which though very ex­cellent accomplishments, yet were not thought Essential to their Profession, nor conducive to the Health of their Patients; who are not to be discoursed or courted by the power of Rhethorique into recove­ry; but they look't upon them as those who had the charge of their Souls, and that they were set by God to watch over them, Heb. 13.17. as they that must give an account; and for this Reason it was that they obeyed those that had the Rule over them, and sub­mitted themselves.

THEN was there no quarrelling, no Li­tigious Suits at Law about the Maintenance of the Priesthood, (one thing, and the main one, which renders the present Clergy so slenderly possessed of the affections of the People) but they thought with the good Apostle, That those who sowed unto them Spiritual things, ought to reap a share of their Carnal things: and after the Main­tenance of the Clergy was Established by the Donatives of their Pious Ancestors, who gave those Revenues as Free Alms to God Almighty,Frank Al­moigne Libera & perpetua Eleemosyna, The Tenure of the Church. and for the support of his Servants and Service; they thought it no less than Sacriledge to rob God of Tithes and Offerings, dedicated to the Use of those who by their Attendance upon his Altar, were incapacitated to amass up Riches, or even Competencies for a future subsistence, as the Secular People were by several Arts and Trades. Nay, so cautelous and nice were they in this particular, that they thought they could not dye with a secure Conscience, unless they gave something by way of Compensation for Tithes forgotten to be paid in their lives; an Opinion which descended down to the days of our Grandfathers, as is apparent by the several Wills of ancient Date.

I am not ignorant that this will expose me to some Obloquy, and that I shall be Censured hereby to aim at an Establish­ment [Page 132]of the Clergy, in Honor, Profit, and Dominion; or it may be I may suffer in my Reputation, as going about to intro­duce Popery by Auricular Confession.

FOR the First, I can make no other Vin­dication of my Innocence, but an unfeign­ed Protestation with Saint Paul, that ac­cording to the best of my Understanding, I speak the truth in Christ, 1 Tim. 2.7. and lie not; and that I have no other Design, either in par­ticular or general, but the Peace of the Church, the Glory of God, and the Sal­vation of all Men; to which I am per­swaded this would extreamly conduce: and not a little to the quiet of mens Lives, and advantage of their Temporal Affairs: by cutting away the root of Unkindnesses about Meum & Tuum betwixt the Minister and his Parishioners: since we daily see, not only that this is the divorce of their Affections, but that this petty Sacrilegde is injurious to their Estates; for what they do thus by an evil Covetousness unlawful­ly substract from the Established mainte­nance of the Clergy, is usually to their treble dammage repaid to the rapacious­ness of the Ʋnder Officers of the Law, and in conclusion both parties are loosers; but the greatest loss is that of Charity and mu­tual love one towards another.

AS to the accusation or suspicion of be­ing a Papist; I am as far from it, and it [Page 133]may be farther than they who shall indea­vour to fix that Calumny upon me: for I neither believe with the Romish Church, that it is a Sacrament, and absolutely Essen­tial to Salvation, since Children who could never speak, and Mutes may be sa­ved without it; neither am I for those pri­vate and Auricular Confessions, or think those Pennances which are enjoyned as the consequence of them, can make satisfacti­on for the Sins. I remember very well the Scandal and Inconvenience which such confession brought into the Church, which joyned with the Vow of single Life in Priests, may give both great Temptation and Opportunity to repeat. I know that for this Reason, as Socrates reports,Socra. Eccles. Hist. l. 5. c. 19. Ne­ctarius Patriarch of Constantinople, by the advice of Eudemon, banisht it from the Eastern Church: and though I am not so hot as Baronius, who calls him Cacodemon, Bar. Tom. Ann. 1.56. Nu. 28. Andrad. Orth. Exp. p. 633. or so violent as Andradius, who terms it, Impudentissimum illud Nectarij factum; the most Impudent Fact of Nectarius, yet I cannot tell whether modestly one may not say it was Impudent. For whosoever will cooly consider the History of those Churches of the East, shall find, that the loss of this Advantageous Post in point of Discipline, gave Entrance to those swarms of Heresies, and that prophane Licenti­ousness which in conclusion brought down [Page 134]Vengeance from Heaven upon them, and was compleated in the Ruin and Subver­sion both of the Church and Empire of the Greeks, by the barbarous Mahometans. Whereas the Western Churches did for ma­ny Ages preserve themselves in great de­grees of Purity of Doctrine, and still by retaining the Use of Discipline, continue their being, notwithstanding their great Corruptions in matters of Opinion, which they call Faith.

I know that all this supposed danger might have been prevented, and confes­sions made in publique in the Church be­fore the Congregation, and yet so private, that none might hear them besides the Mi­nister to whom they were made; and cu­stom of Usage would have taken away that dangerous shame and modesty which makes men hide their Sins and cover their Trangressions.

I know that humble confession to God Almighty is the way to find Mercy; but I know not yet how to understand that com­mand of St. James, Jam. 4.16. Confess your Sins to one another, and Pray for one another, and ye shall be healed, unless it be meant that we must confess our Sins to those who are to Pray for us, and have Power given from above to heal us, which cannot be supposed to be given to all the Congration of Chri­stians, and therefore in reason must be [Page 135]referred to those who are their Guides; such publique confessions being more like­ly to procure disgrace and reproaches, and breed division and contempt among Chri­stians, than either Pardon or Peace, where any person shall by discovering how he has injur'd his Neighbour, expose himself much sooner to his Revenge than to Re­mission. Nor can I tell how the Church can bind or loose on. Earth the Sins of Men, without a knowledge of them first; and it is impossible they should know ma­ny private, great, and deadly sins, without the Confession of the Criminals.Mat. 3.6. Mark 1.5. Saint John the Baptist received the People to his Baptism; confessing their Sins; and Saint John the Evangelist tells us, Joh. 1.4.9. If we confess our Sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our Sins. God knows all things, our very thoughts a far off, but he usually works by Means, and always where he has appoint­ed Instruments he makes Use of them; and having conferred this Honour and this Power upon the Ministers of his Church to declare Sinners absolved upon true repentance, it is but reasonable the Plaister should be both proper and sit for the Sore: Now let a man discourse never so home and pressingly to People, the ne­cessity of Repentance and Confession to God Almighty in general Terms, it is but like the Arrow that a certain man drew at ad­venture, [Page 136]which may hit between the joynts of the harness; but usually men fence off Ge­nerals, and secure themselves in Multitude and Number, that that is not adressed to them, or that they are not concerned: Nor does any thing cut so home, and pierce to the quick, dividing like a two edged Sword the very joynts and marrow, as a particular Charge, like Nathan's to David, Thou art the Man. 2 Sam. 12.7. The random Parable never affected the sinful King, till he came to that close touch, and then he comes im­mediately to Confession and Repentance. Now how any mortal man should come to discover the secret sins of others, which are ever most dangerous, I am not able to tell without their confession; and how those se­cret sins should be healed by the Prayers of the Church, without being known, I confess my self wholy ignorant; but that the Church has this Power given by Christ, that I am not to learn; for Christ himself has taught me to know and believe it, be­cause he has said it. The wise man tells us,Prov. 28.13. He that covereth his sins shall not pro­sper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall find Mercy. Who can hide his sins from the knowledge of God, before whom all things are naked and open? Since therefore God. knows them already, to whom should we confess them but to Men, and to what Men, but to those whom God [Page 137]has intrusted with the charge of our Souls, and from whom he expects an account? and what account are they likely to give of the sins of those under their charge, or of the applications that they have made use of to cure and heal them of those most dangerous wounds, which never came to their knowledge: and which makes me more confident in my perswasion, even those who cry out against Auricular Con­fession, and under that Name against all Confessions as Popish; yet will (if I am not misinformed,) admit none into their Con­gregations, without something like it un­der another Name; nor will they receive any to the Sacrament without Examina­tion; one part of which, I presume is, of the state of their Souls as to sin, as the other is of their Faith and Knowledge of their Duty: and thus they confess the ne­cessity of the thing, whilst they go about to Establish their own Church Govern­ment, by what they make a Crime in o­thers, and make use of as an Engine to over­throw them.

SO that notwithstanding what Censure I may fall under, I speak it with humility and submission to better Judgments, I can­not see how any Church can be happy without this Expedient: The Clergy will never recover that Veneration and Respect due to their Sacred Function; nor the love [Page 138]of those under their Charge, which is so necessary an ingredient to their doing good in their several places and stations; Nor will People ever be brought to know themselves, and the necessity of having Spiritual Guides, or the danger of wholy relying upon themselves and their own Knowledge and Judgment, till this Power of the Keys, in the Absolution of humble Penitents, upon Confession to their Pa­stors, be in some measure restored and put in Practice: and by how much more it pre­vails, by so much more will the Church grow in Peace, Unity, and Godly Love. For a man may be born with all the Capa­cities of Mind, and Endowments of Na­ture, to inable him to Preach and Pray most Eloquently, or he may by Art and Industry acquire them; Nay, he may by Sorcery obtain those which some People will call Divine Perfections, and Gifts of the Spi­rit, witness the late Relation of that abo­minable Wizzard, Major Thomas Weir in Scotland; and so long as people are che­rished in a false Opinion that these Abili­ties, however natural or acquired, are suf­ficient to intitle them to the Office of the Ministry, they who are possessed of such Gifts, will think themselves as good and as wise (and it may be Excelling them in those Talents) more wise and better than their Teachers: which will also incourage [Page 139]them not only to contemn and despise their Spiritual Guides, but to invade their Office; which is the prevailing Error of all or most of our Separatists and Dissenters.

BUT when People shall come to under­stand that no Man is a Legatus Natus of Heaven, born a Priest or a Governour in the Church, but that the Priests of the New Testament, who are Priests for ever after the Order of Melchisedeck, must be called of God, for that no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron, Heb. 5.4. Rom. 10.15. and that no man can preach except he be sent; when they shall know that it is not these Natural Abilities and Gifts, but the Power of the Keys, of binding and loosing, of remitting and re­taining Sins, which Christ gave his Apo­stles, and they to their Successors by law­ful Ordination, which qualifies them for that Sacred Function; then would People learn to distinguish between Pastors of Gods appointment, and Orators of their own Chusing; and as the Apostle Exhorts and Commands,1 Thess. 5.12, 13. then would they know those that labour among them, and are over them in the Lord, and admonish them, and esteem them very highly in Love for their Works sake, and then would they be at Peace a­mong themselves.

THEN would they repair for help, assi­stance, and direction, to the Physicians who [Page 140]are of Gods Institution, and who have Au­thority, Virtue, and Ability, to heal their Souls, to bind or loose, to remit or retain their Sins; and no longer trust to those Mountebanks of Religion, who by Antick Gestures, and affected Words, draw them to their Stage, pretending Universal Re­medies, when in truth they have no Pow­er, no Virtue, no Authority, but delude them with Hard Words, and fair Speeches, making Merchandize of them, crying Peace, Peace, where there is no Peace, and slightly healing the Wounds of the Daughter of our People; when as they are not able to shew any Warrant from Christ, his Apostles, or their Successors, for their obtruding themselves into the Holy Fun­ction, and important charge of being Spi­ritual Guides and Governors of the Church and People of God.

FOR Ordination by the Imposition of the hands of the Bishop and his Presbyters, has in all Ages of the Church been esteem­ed the Door by which good Men enter into the Fold of Christ, 1 Pet. 5. and take the Charge of the Sheep, not by constraint, but willing­ly, not for filthy Lucre, but of a ready mind, that when the chief Shepherd shall appear, they may receive a Crown of Glory that fadeth not away: And therefore our Lord the chief Shepherd tells us, He is the Door: By this Door, the Apostles and [Page 141]their Successors entred, and he that entreth not by this Door into the Sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way (of Ambition) is a Thief and a Robber.

THIS high Trust and Power over his Church, thus committed by Christ to his Apostles, and by them transmitted to their Successors, for the management and go­verning of his Flock, was therefore given to all, that so they might preserve their several Charges in Peace and Ʋnity; and that one might not bind what another had loosed; that one might not Absolve where another had Excommunicated; which Rule was strictly observed in all Churches, how­ever they differed in Circumstantials, not admitting the Outcasts of another Church into their Communion, till they had purged themselves of the Crimes objected against them, if false, or reconciled themselves by Repentance, if true; whereby they con­stantly maintained the Ʋnity of Faith a­broad, & the Ʋnity of Government at home.

LET us now see how this Power of the Keys becomes impracticable, by admitting diversity of Government in a National Church? And whether they who set up Altar against Altar among us are not thereby guilty of that Licentiousness and Impiety, against which they make such loud Declamations, endeavouring to lay that which is the spurious Issue of their Se­paration, [Page 142]at the Door of the present Go­vernors and Pastors of the Church?

ALL the Power which Christ left with the Governors of his Church, as before was said, is the Power of Excommunica­tion, whereby Notorius Offenders and Scandalous Sinners were debarred from the Communion of Saints on Earth, and without Repentance and Absolution, from all hopes of Pardon here, or Heaven here­after; if there be any truth or force in those Words of Christ, Whose sins ye re­tain they are retained. But now where there are Distinct Collections of Men who own no dependance one upon another, but though in the same Nation, yet live under different, and it may be quite contrary Forms of Government, one from another; as before was shewn there will be a total Cessation of Charity, as well as Communi­on: And whilest these Differing Congrega­tions of men make it their greatest endea­vour (perhaps out of mistaken Zeal, per­haps out of some other Design of Interest or Ambition) to propagate their Way, and increase the Number of their Proselytes, and with it the Credit and Profit of their Doctrine, they will refuse none that shall desire to joyn with them, and enter into their Communion and Society; And the greater and more notorious Sinners they have been, if they can but act their Villa­nies [Page 143]more privately, and put on the San­ctimonious dress of Reformation, the grea­ter will the Miracle of their Conversion appear; and the more Powerful and Effi­cacious will their Preaching seem, which draws such Sinners to Conversion: By this Means those who for any Crimes, fall under the Censure of another Church, and are by them rejected from Communion, shall find a Sanctuary, a Protection, nay and it may be an Esteem, in that Church to which they flye for Refuge; whilest they will certainly make their inclination to that Party, the principal occasion of their Excommunication; and the reason of their Departure from the one, and adherence to the other; Nor will that Party to which they make their retreat and Application, only willingly receive them, but be ready to Exclaim upon the Injustice of the Cen­sures of that Church from whence they came, and their Tyrannous proceedings; which they will call Persecution, and suf­fering for Conscience-sake; then will they pronounce the Nullity of all such Censures against them, and (notwithstanding their standing Excommunicate) that by joyning with them, they shall certainly be admit­ted into the favour of God, and obtain an Interest in Heaven; and it may be more certainly for suffering this which they will call Persecution for Righteousuess sake Now [Page 144]from this way of Procedure these inconve­niencies will necessarily follow.

FIRST, The most Notorious Sinners shall be incouraged in their Impenitence, and shall be perswaded, that to be reconci­led to God Almighty, there is no necessity of Submission, Repentance, or Absolu­tion, from the Church which they have offended; but rather they shall be inspi­red with principles of Hatred and Revenge against the Church from which they are Excommunicated; and though they be de­nyed Salvation without Repentance in one Church, yet they can go to another, where they shall certainly meet with the Promise of it upon cheap and easie terms, viz. those of Joyning with them in their way of Worship.

SECONDLY, Hereby men come to have a mean and contemptible Opinion of this Power of the Church: And value Excom­munication from any Church, no more than some idle Servants do to be turned out of their Masters Doors, who will pre­sently tell you, that the World is wide enough, and if one will not, another will. That there are more Services to be had: So will this sort of People tell you, there are more Churches; and no question but where in any Nation this Principle is allow­ed, there would be almost as many Churches as People; and when once they [Page 145]are come to slight the Censure and the Church, they will never so much as think of being released from the Dangerous Bond of Excommunication, or to have their Sins remitted upon Earth, by the power of that Church which they have of­fended.

THIRDLY, Hereby others of the most Loose and Licencious Lives will be incou­raged to continue impious and Irreligious, though owning no Sect or Faction: And coming by their Example to despise this Power of the true Church, and to look up­on Excommunication as a thing of no Dan­ger, they will value no Church; but aban­don themselves to all manner of Wicked­ness, Irreligion and Atheism; and pro­vided they can but scape the danger of Humane Laws, they will never trouble themselves about the Ecclesiastical.

FOURTHLY, People will in a little time come to believe, that the only Duty of the Minister consists in their abilities to Preach and Exhort; and that to Admonish and Correct is no part of their Office; and this being so easie a thing to be attain'd, and many times Eloquence (as before was ob­served) being a Natural Talent; Hereby Bold, Illiterate, Unexamined, Unquali­fied, Conceited, and Pragmatical Opini­atres, will invade the Sacred Function; by which means Errors will abound, new [Page 146] Heresies will spring up daily, and old ones revive, flourish, and increase without control or contradiction; the Holy Sacra­ments of the Eucharist and Baptism, will be either neglected and laid aside; or pro­phaned by unhallowed hands: and in short, those great Mischiefs, which are so much feared, must break in upon us; either A­theism, or superstitious will Worship, the Commandments and Traditions of Wilful, Ignorant, and Erroneous Men; and when once the Church is trampled under foot by so many Sects, and Heresies, Ignorance will daily get ground, and that sets the Dore wide open, either to the dreaded thing call'd Popery, to Paganism, or the Turkish Alchoran, which comes with the fairest Pretence, and the finest Dress to win their Favour.

I do heartily wish all this were spoken like the Prophecy of Jonah against the Ni­nivites; what was such occasion of grief and discontent to him, as to oblige him in a sullen humor to wish to dye, would be to me the greatest Joy of my Life: But Experience, that fatal Mistress, has taught us the truth of some of these Effects, and may well give us terrible apprehensions of what we may expect. For no sooner can an Offender fall under the deserved Censure of Excommunication, or but in the danger of it, but presently he turns Dissenter, is [Page 147]received into the bosom of some Sect or Faction, and then he bids Defiance to all the Power of the Church, and fears no­thing but the Secular Writ de Excommuni­cato Capiendo. Nay, I have my self heard some Persons boast of their being Excom­municated, and pretend to receive it as a savour, to be prohibited coming into the Church: from these mens contempt and vilifying of this dreadful Sentence, others who have no Religion have learned to de­spise it too; nor is there any thing in it formidable to them, besides the expence of their Money to the Lay-Officers of the Ec­clesiastical Courts: and when once men come to place all their Religion in fear of the Secular Power, and have no other bridle upon their unruly Passions and De­sires, besides the Reins of Humane Pu­nishments and the Laws of the Civil Ma­gistrate, it is not to be admired if they run headlong into Brutish Impiety and down­right Atheism: and they who are taught to believe, (and easily learn the Lesson both by Example and Precept) that the Priest or Bishop has no more Power over their Souls, than over their Bodies, will not be long before they Despise both the Persons and their Office; and when men are arrived at that, for my part, I look upon their condition to be next to Despe­rate: for however they may please and [Page 148]flatter themselves in their Gay and Jolly humor of despising these contemptible Priests, the affront is really done to God Almighty, and I cannot see any great se­curity in such Atheistical Drollery. Hear ye Despisers, and Tremble at what our Great Lord and Saviour says concerning the 70 Disciples whom he sent abroad to Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. Luk. 10.16. He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that de­spiseth you, despiseth me, and he that despi­seth me, despiseth him that sent me; and St. Paul is plain,1 Tim. 4.8. He that despiseth, despi­seth not Man, but God.

WHAT can be the End of this, but Mise­sery here, and Eternal Damnation hereaf­ter. He that despised Moses Law died without Mercy; Heb. 10.28, 29. of how much sorer punish­ment then are they worthy, who despise the Son of God? which all those do who de­spise his Servants the Governors of the Church, who are sent by him; which if I do not prove, let them go on and despise; but if they are, let them have a care of falling into the hands of a revenging God, for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God, Heb. 12.28. for our God is a consu­ming fire. This is certainly the utmost de­spight to the Spirit of Grace, and the most unpardonable affront that can be offer'd to the Divine Clemency, and against which there is no remedy. A dismal Example [Page 149]of which, we have in the Nation of the Jews: That God who proclaims himself Merciful, slow to anger, of great Compassion, and that repenteth him of Evil, after he had born all their Iniquities and Rebelli­ons, could not bear with this;2 Chron. 36.15, 16, &c. For the Lord God of their Fathers sent to them his Messengers, rising up betimes and send­ing them, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place; but they mocked the Messengers of God, and despised his Words, and misused his Prophets, until the Wrath of God arose against them, and there was no remedy. Then did the over­flowing scourges come rolling upon them, Fire and Sword, and Captivity, Desola­tion and utter Subversion. God of his in­finite Mercy have compassion upon his People and his dwelling Place, and turn the hearts of the Despisers and disobedient, to the Wisdom of the Just, that we may not despise our selves and Nation into such a Dismal and inevitable Ruin.

CHAP. IX.

THUS have I shewn the Necessity that there is in every National Church, of Unity in point of Government, as well as Faith, upon a Religious account. Let us now come to Examine what Necessity [Page 150]there is upon a Politique account, as we are united together into one Community of Men, as well as a Society of Chri­stians.

WE must consider therefore, that Reli­gion was designed to improve even our Interest in this World to the best advan­tage of Living, and that to put on Chri­stianity, we are not to put off Humanity, or by learning Obedience to God, to for­get what we owe to our Neighbour, or our King. The Eternal Prince of Peace as well as Truth, came to Preach Peace unto All; not to Embroyl the World, or un­settle the Thrones of Princes, but to Esta­blish them; for the Throne is Established by Righteousness. Pro. 16.12. That glorious Heir of all things, rejected the offer of all the Kingdoms of the Earth, and positively af­firms, That his Kingdom is not of this World; and therefore when he took upon him Humane Nature, he own'd himself a Subject of the Roman Empire, and not only paid the Tribute for himself and Saint Peter, but Commands all men to do the same; and the great Design of the Gospel which he came to Preach, was to make all men better in their feveral Estates, and Capacities of Life; better men, and there­fore better Subjects to Princes. This was the particular Care of the Church, to inspire the Converts to Christianity with these [Page 151] Principles of Duty and Obedience, so ne­cessary to the Peace and Happiness of the World. So St. Paul commands,Ro. 13.1. Let eve­ry soul be subject to the higher Powers. Thus St. Peter Teaches and Commands,1 Pet. 2.13, 14, 15. Sub­mit your selves to every Ordinance of Man for the Lords sake: whether it be to the King as Supreme, or unto Governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of Evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well: for this is the Will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. This being then one main Design of Christian Religion, let us see of what Necessity, Ʋnity in point of Government in the Church, is in order to it, and what influence it has upon the Political Government of a Christian State.

THE Root of all our Miseries, Divisi­ons, and Disorders is, That men take this for a Principle, That they may be Disobe­dient to Lawful Authority without danger of Damnation: and so far has the mischief of this fretting Gangrene spread it self, that many People esteem it a part of their Reli­gion to disobey the Civil Power, and think it is impossible for them to be saved, should they be obedient to its Commands; which they think are inconsistent with the Com­mands of God. This Error must proceed either from Malice, or Mistake; I will be [Page 152]so charitable as to suppose, not from the first; and therefore looking upon it as the Child of Ignorance, I will endeavour to state the Case truly, that so the Under­standing of Men being informed by Truth, they may either be reformed, or left with­out Excuse.

THE great Design of the infinitely glo­rious, good and Wise Creator, being the Happiness of Mankind, he therefore proportioned a Method for the obtaining of it; and Man being Created with a dou­ble Capacity of Injoying Happiness both here and hereafter, therefore did that, Ex­cellent Wisdom appoint Religion as the Way and Means for attaining both; and for the accomplishment of those Noble and Excellent Ends, it is furnished with Rules and Precepts, which bear a double Respect to this double Capacity; one part Con­ducts us to God and future Happiness in the External fruition of his grorious Pre­sence in Heaven; and the other Leads us to the Happiness of this Mortal State, by the Politicl Rules of Living Well, with a mutual respect, not only to our own, but the happiness of one another, by the law­ful and moderate Use and Enjoyment of the inferior Creation, which God therefore made, that he might shew his Glory, his Wisdom, his Power, and his Goodness to the Sons of Men. So that the sum of all Re­ligion [Page 153]in order to obtain this Happiness, both here and hereafter, is to believe a­right; and to Live Well: and both these are so Essentially necessary to Salvation that the one will not obtain it without the other; for the Devils believe, Jam. 2.19. though it makes them tremble. To believe aright, we must refer our selves to those Divine Truths which God has from Heaven re­vealed to us concerning himself and our Duty, the short sums of which Faith the Church has collected out of the Sacred Wri­tings, in the three Famous Creeds of the Apostles, St. Athanasius, and the Councel of Nice. To Live well, it is required, that a man submits to all those practical Pre­cepts and Rules of Life which God has commanded in his Will, revealed in his holy Word, by Justice, Temperance, Prudence, Chastity, Obedience, &c. and for the at­tainment of Happiness by these Rules, in this present Life, God has not left Men in a wild parity like Brutes, but has by the Wisdom of his Providence, divided the World into superior, and inferior Degrees of Men, Subjects and Soveraigns, intrust­ing one to Rule and Govern, and com­manding the other to Obey; and for this he has left many Positive Commands, too well known, and too numerous to be here repeated.

THESE Powers thus Ordained of God, [Page 154]and armed with his Sword, to execute Ven­geance on them that do evil, are vested with Authority to make such Decrees, Laws, and Sanctions, as in their Wisdom they shall Judg conducive to the Happiness of the People committed to their Charge; that so they may be a Terror to evil Works, and encouragers of them that are Good. And to them prosecuting this great and good Design, and to those Laws which do promote it, all men are bound to submit not only for wrath, Rom. 13.5. but for Conscience sake. And it is impossible any man should be sa­ved, who lives in a wilful Disobedience and that Power, and those Commands; and the Reason is, because all such Dis­obedience is a sin against God himself, against his Positive Will and Command; and I think there is no person who will be so hardy as to maintain in Words, how­ever they may do it in Actions, that Sal­vation is to be had or hoped for, by such as live in manifest Disobedience to any one Command of God: For St. James as­sures us, that the keeping of the whole Law, will not countervail the wilful breach of one Point; but that whoever does so, is guilty of all; and he adds the Reason,Jam. 2.10, 11. For he that said, Do not commit Adultery; said also, Do not Kill: And he that said do not Kill, said also, Let every Soul be subject to the Higher Powers. Now [Page 155]to infer with him, If thou commit no A­dultery, If thou do not Kill, yet if thou art not subject to the Higher Powers, thou art become a Trangressor of the Law, a Sin­ner before God, For sin is the transgression of Gods Law; and therefore as St. John tells us,1 Joh. 3.15. No Murderer has Eternal life abiding in him; So neither has any who does not submit to the Higher POWERS, any E­ternal Life abiding in him, because they are both Transgressors of the Holy Law and Commandment of God.

THUS far, I think, all Men, Good and Bad, will go along with me; but the pinch of the Question is, How far this Obedience is due, and what are the Limits of the Authority of Superiors? Whether the Ci­vil or Ecclesiastical Magistrate ought to be Obeyed in all their Commands which concern Religion, or the Worship of God?

To this I Answer by distinguishing, ac­cording to the Old and True Maxim of Logicians, Qui bené distinguit bené docet. The commands therefore of Superiors, are either concerning Faith and Manners, or Government and Order. As to matters of Faith, neither the onenor the other havethe least power to alter, abrogate, impose, or di­minish the least Tittle, or Iota of it. For Faith being of Divine Revelation, and the Law by which God Almighty will have us guid­ed in what concerns himself, is like him, [Page 156]Immutable, and Unchangeable, and is on­ly subject to his Authority, who is the Au­thor and the Finisher of our Faith. Now the true Faith is what is contained in Scripture, either in direct Words or plain Consequence. This all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors, are bound to maintain, and ought to be its Defenders, but not to Invade or Usurp a Dominion o­ver it. And should they make any Law to the prejudice of this Faith, no man ought to obey them; for here the Rule holds good, That we are to obey God rather than Men; but neither will this Authorize any Per­sons who are Subjects to those Powers, to Rebel against them, or Oppose them, more than by endeavouring with Meekness and Charity to maintain that Faith. Nay, should they impose Penalties upon such as were disobedient to their Laws in matters of Faith, 'tis the Glory of Christian Reli­gion, to teach men to suffer patiently, but not to seek Revenge, or to endeavour to free themselves or the Faith from danger, by flying to unlawful Arms; which would be like Ʋzzah's Folly, for which he was Smitten, to lay our hands upon the Ark when the Oxen stumble and shake it, and to suppose that God either would not, or could not, take any care to defend that Faith which he himself had planted in the World.

THIS was the Case of the Apostles; Act. 4..3. The Chief Priest and Counsel commanded them not to speak at all in the Name of Je­sus; had they been so minded, they might have raised a Tumult, for the Captain and Officers who went to apprehend them, brought them without Violence, because they went without resisting, fearing as much as their Guards, lest the inraged Peo­ple should rescue them by stoning the Of­ficers: And when the High Priest charges them with Disobedience to his Com­mands, St. Peter tells them it was a mat­ter of Faith, what they had seen and heard, and were commanded by the Son of God to Preach, whom they ought to obey ra­ther than Men. This was the Case of the Primitive Christians under the Heathen and persecuting Emperors: Did the Em­peror command them to his Wars, they went willingly, Fought gallantly, some­times purchast Victories with their Pray­ers as well as Sword; Did he exact Tri­bute from them, they paid it freely; Com­mand to renounce Christ, or to Blaspheme him, or to offer but a single grain of In­cence to the Idols, or Emperors Statue, though to save their Lives, they refused presently; Did he take away their Estates, for their Disobedience to his Edicts, they suffer'd patiently; Did he expose them to Racks, Tortures, Wild beasts, and Flames, [Page 158]they went to them joyfully, indured them miraculously, and so obtain'd the Glori­ous Crown of Martyrdom: All this while not a hand lift up against the Lords Anoin­ted, their Soveraign, unless to Heaven, to pray to God for his Pardon and Conver­sion; not a Tongue moves against his Government, to call it Tyrannical, Unlaw­ful, or Antichristian, though in reality it was such: Not a Pen is sharpned against him or his Ministers of State; no inve­ctives or Exhortations to Rebellion, to depose or Murder him; and indeed no­thing farther than to Apologize for their Innocence, and to manifest that they were his most obedient Subjects, and free from all the Calumnies of being Seditious Di­sturbers of the Government or Peace of the Empire.

THE same may be said of Good Manners, as of Faith, for Justice, Temperance, In­nocence, and Purity, being Commands of God, no Earthly power can either dis­pence with them, or lawfully command the contrary Vices; or if they do, they may, nay, ought to be disobey'd.

BUT Secondly, The Commands of our Superiors may concern Order and Govern­ment; and herein they ought Universally to be obey'd, as well in Ecclesiastical as Ci­vil Laws and Commands, provided they do not herein manifestly or by consequence [Page 159]Oppose Faith or Good Manners, and that for these Reasons.

FIRST, Because Order is absolutely Ne­cessary as well in the Church as in the State, and is Positively commanded by God; Let every thing be done Decently and in Order, 1 Cor. 14.40. and that for a most solid and weighty Reason; For God is not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace, Vers. 33. as in all the Churches of the Saints. Confusion is absolutely unlawful, God disowns it: Peace is absolutely Necessary in all Churches of Saints; without Order there can be no Peace, nor indeed any thing but Confusion; without Governors, to appoint, and de­termine Differences arising about Modes and Matters of Decency, there can be no Peace, because Differences must be endless, and without Submission to these Gover­nors, and their final Determinations, both in Church and State, they are no longer Rulers and Governours; but the Order which God has appointed in the World, to procure Peace and Happiness, is utterly Subverted and Overthrown: For Govern­ment and Obedience do mutually suppose each other; and as Logicians say, Pater est filii Pater, a Father is therefore a Father because he has a Child, so a Governor, a King, a Magistrate in Church or State, is therefore such, because he has People sub­ject and obedient to him; and as all the [Page 160]Power of Governors is limited to those things which are left undetermined by Gods Positive Laws, so all the Obedience of Subjects is confined to their Determina­tions, in those particulars which God has left wholy in the Power of our Superiors: and who ever resists, or refuses to Obey, shall therefore receive Damnation, because he destroys the very Essence and End of Government; and in saying, We will not have this man Raign over us, acts directly contrary to the Will of God, who says he shall, and that we must Obey him, in order to the Peace and Happiness of the World, the due Administration of Justice, the En­couragement of Virtue, and Practice of Religion, by leading quiet Lives under our Superiors, in all Godliness and Ho­nesty; by which Method we can only hope to arrive at Eternal Happiness in Hea­ven.

BUT Secondly, Because all Ecclesiastical Laws which concern the Order and Go­vernment of the Church, are of a mixt Na­ture, Political as well as Religious; and so are all Humane and Civil Laws too; and therefore there is the same reason for Obedience to the one as to the other: and they do both equally bind the Conscience to Obedience: The same Power makes the one, as makes the other; the same Reason is the Foundation of the one, as of the o­ther, [Page 161]they are addressed to the same End; viz. the Peace, Happiness, and Prospe­rity of the People, and therefore there is the same obligation to Obedience for the one as the other; and all Men are bound in Conscience, as Members of a Society, to promote the Peace, and welfare of that Society; which is not to be obtained any other Way, but by obeying the Command of God, in being subject to the Government of that Society of which we are Mem­bers. Observe the Command of God to the Captive Jews at Babylon; Jer. 29.7. Seek the Peace of the City whither I have caused you to be carried away Captives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the Peace thereof ye shall have Peace. So that if Peace and Happi­ness be the End of Society, all Men are bound to Pray for it, and promote it. If the End be Commanded by God, the Means to obtain that End must be Obey­ed; and God having intrusted the Gover­nors of Church and State with the Means and Way of procuring this Happiness, their Choice of some, among all the varie­ty of Expedients that may be offer'd, must determine their Subjects, and becomes the Rule of their Obedience, as well in Ec­clesiastical as Civil Affairs; for if it were possible to separate these two, then some­thing might be said; but the Peace of the State depending upon the Peace of the [Page 162] Church, and vicê versa, No man can true­ly be said to promote the one by destroy­ing the other. And therefore all men who are obliged to indeavour to advance one, must do it by advancing both.

To make this clear, I will give an In­stance of the Power of the Civil Magistrate in the Church, in matters of Order and Government. David, a man after Gods own Heart, in the Worship of God, which was left Undetermined, he takes upon him to regulate the Church; he Orders the Levites to appoint Singers on Instru­ments of Musick, 1 Chron. 15.16. and Psalteries, and Harps, Cymbals, and sounding by lifting up the Voice with joy. They never stood to di­spute with him, because God had not com­manded it, that therefore it was Unlaw­ful; but because God had not any where Prohibited it, and he was their King, and might Command what was for decency and order in the Service of God, therefore they ought to Obey; and immediately they appoint Heman, and Asaph, and E­than, and several others for that Service. David, and, after his Example, others frame and compose Anthems, Psalms of Praise and Thanksgiving, in set forms of Words to praise God, Because he is gracious, and his Mercy endureth for ever. Do the Priests and Levites now quarrel, because they are not permitted to shew their Parts, Gifts, [Page 163]and Abilities, in making Extempore Hymns, or Prayers? No such matter: but present­ly in Obedience to God and the King, they make use of those prescribed, which are contained in the Book of Psalms, the An­cient Liturgy of the Jewish Church. This order was after continued by Solomon, and approved by God; For it came to pass, 2 Chron. 5.13. as the Trumpeters, and Singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard, in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lift up their Voice with the Trumpets and Cymbals, and Instruments of Musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good, for his Mercy in­dureth for ever, that the house was filled with a Cloud, even the House of the Lord.

So that the result of all is this, That the Supreme Power of a Nation, being of Gods appointment for the Ruling of the People in order to their Happiness, and commanding nothing contrary to Faith or good Manners, or any thing Prohibited by God himself, ought to be obeyed by all their Subjects of what Degrees or Condi­tions soever, in all their Laws, Ecclesiasti­cal, and Civil, in order to good Govern­ment, Decency, and Order, both in Church and State: and that since all these Commands of theirs are in Obedience to Gods Com­mands, and in prosecution of the great Design of Happiness here, and Eternally, by promoting Peace, Ʋnity, and Concord, [Page 164]therefore no Person can resist that Power by Disobedience, but he resists the Ordi­nance of God, and becomes a Transgressor to God as well as Man; and runs the haz­zard of Eternal Damnation, due to all those who know not God, and obey not the Go­spel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

LET Dissenters therefore either prove, that the Supreme Powers are not Lawful, that their Authority does not Extend to the Political part of Ecclesiastical Affairs, that they have nothing to do to determine Dif­ferences, that the things commanded are contrary to Faith, and a holy Life, are not conducive to Peace, Ʋnity, and the happiness of the Nation, or that they are any where in direct Words or evident Con­sequence prohibited by God in Scripture; or otherways they will never be able to prove that they are bound in Conscience to disobey Authority. Let them not think to shelter themselves under the vain refuge, that God is to be obeyed rather than Men. This is that which proves them Disobe­dient, for they do not disobey Men, but God, in disobeying Lawful Authority, when commanding nothing contrary to the Commands of God. And whoever does so, is managed not by the Principles of Re­ligion, but the Power of Interest, Prejudice, or Ambition.

IN short, Is any Form of Government [Page 165]Lawful or Necessary in the Church? that it is, they affirm, in desiring to Establish their own; is Obedience necessary to Sal­vation? they will tell you, it is; Let them therefore be their own Judges. For if Obedience to their Laws and Govern­ment be necessary to Salvation, it must be because their Authority is Lawful, for that is the Rule of Conscience; and if the present Authority be Lawful, and theirs Ʋsurped, then is their Disobedience Dam­nable, and their Obstinacy inexcusable, by their own Judgment. And if we do not prove the present Government Law­ful, and of Gods appintment, both the Civil, and Ecclesiastical, Phillida solus habeto. And till they have proved them­selves Lawful Powers, and the present Go­vernment Unlawful, let them be obedient to its Decrees and Determinations, as those Laws respect the good of the Civil Society, if they will not, as they respect the Reli­gious.

CHAP. X.

HAVING proceeded thus far in shewing the Design of the Outward Govern­ment of the Church, to have a Political Respect, as well as Temporal Laws, to the happiness and well-being of Humane So­ciety, [Page 166]as well as a Religious Respect to fu­ture Felicity, and that therefore upon this double account our Obedience is due to the Ecclesiastîcal Laws as well as the Tem­poral; to which yet no Dissenters will own Disobedience to be Lawful, because without Laws, no Living; and for the same reason therefore, Obedience to both, is a necessary part of Religion; in the next place let us see how necessary therefore this Ʋnity in point of Government in the Church is upon this Political account, in order to the happiness of the Society, which is the End of all Laws and all Reli­gion in this present state of Life.

AND this, I conceive, cannot better be done than by shewing the dangerous in­fluence which Disunion in point of Govern­ment in the Church, has upon the Civil Affairs of any Nation.

As true Religion makes men the best Subjects, steddy in their Loyalty, and Al­legiance, Faithful in their Trusts and Ser­vices, industrious to promote the Common Good, obedient to their Superiors, kind to their Equals, and humble to their Inferi­ors, and always Religious observers of the Laws of God and Man: So False Opinions, when entertain'd for true Religion, ever render Men the Worst. And if there were nothing more in it, yet would it be the great Interest of Princes to endeavour [Page 167]to propagate Christian Religion in its great­est Purity; and to discountenance Errors, Heresies, Sects, and Schisms, as the best Ex­pedient to secure themselves, and Establish their Thrones upon the immoveable Basis and sure Foundation of the good Conscience of their Subjects: For this surpasses all the Obligations of Laws, all the Powers of Arms, and all the Arts of Policy. Laws without Conscience are like Sampsons green Withs, which armed Interest, and successful Ambition, attended on with Fiery Zeal, Jud. 16.9. will break to pieces, as a thred of Tow when it touches the Flame. The most Powerful Arms have no intail of Victory; and though the Sword be a very good Guard for the Sceptre, yet if the Sceptre turns into a Sword, a thousand Instances will shew, that it lays a slippery Foundation for a Crown; which always stands most firm when set upon the Head of Princes by Love and Affection, and not by the trem­bling hand of Fear. The deepest Politicians are sometimes Men, shallow and fordable; subject to be deceived, and their Counsels like Achitophels may be defeated and turn­ed into Folly. But Religion, were it Uni­versally practised, Princes might disband those Auxiliary Succours of the Crown, together with their Fears that raise them, and might send their Jealousies, those En­vious Tormentors both of Crowns and [Page 168]Cottagers, into perpetual Banishment. For that teaches to smother Treason in the thought,Eccles. 10.20. and prevents the Necessity of Axes and Scaffolds: Curse not the King not in thy thought, is God's Command, which they will not Transgress, to gain the Em­pire of the World, and lose their Souls. Innocence is their Profession, Peace, their Study, Integrity, the joy of their Lives, the delight of their Minds, and the plea­sure of their Deaths; Not all the storms of Afflictions, not all the shining Glories of the Ʋniverse, can tempt them to throw off the White Mantle of unstained Innocence, that Ermine of Religion. Not all the tempting withcrafts of Domini­on, Riches, Honour, or Advantage, can prevail with them to do the least Injury wilfully to their poorest Neighbour, much less then to those Sacred Persons, who are Gods on Earth; and the true Christian, if it were put to his choice, had rather sit with Job, cloathed with Ashes, Miseries, and Integrity, upon the Dunghil of Po­verty, than be lifted from thence by the hand of Injustice or Violence, to sit a­mong Princes, and wear the Dreaded Im­perial Purple.

THIS is the happy Temper of Religion, which teaches the Prince that Excellent Moderation, to be so far from treading up­on the Necks of his Subjects, that he will [Page 169]not tread upon the Heels of their Proper­ties or their Priviledges; and in all his Laws to study their Interest as his own. This teaches Subjects to study to be Quiet; 1 Thess. 4.11. and in stead of making Seditions, Muti­nies, or Rebellions, to make Devout and continual Supplications, Prayers, Inter­cessions, 1 Tim. 2.1, 2, 3. and giving of Thanks for Kings and all that are in Authority, that so they may lead a quiet and peaceable Life in all Godliness and Honesty: For this they are taught is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. Nor will they venture to cut off the least Skirt of Prerogative, the lawful Inheritance of their Prince, to inlarge their own; or take one Jewel out of his Crown, to Adorn or Inrich themselves with­all: They will not Deplume the Royal Eagle of his, to Feather their own Nests. The thirst of Ambition, which cannot be quenched with any thing but the Illustrious Blood of Soveraigns, is an absolute Stran­ger to their very thoughts, and they will rather sacrifice their own Lives and For­tunes, than see his in Danger. All their Desires are confined to a little here, and their Ambition aspires lawfully after no o­ther Crown but that of a Glorious Immor­tality.

Now to the obtaining of any tollera­ble Degrees of this Happy State, as there is one God, one Faith, one Baptism, so it is [Page 170]absolutely Necessary, that in one Nation there be one Form of Government in the Church as well as State: And that if it be not possible that all People should be of one Mind, as to matters of Opinion, yet that they should be of one Mind as to O­bedience to Government in Church and State, which is matter of Faith. And it is but highly Reasonable, that private Opinion should confine it self to private Breasts, its proper Sphere, and not be permitted to walk abroad to affront Authority and the pub­lique Peace, Interest and Happiness of a whole Nation, no more than particular Gain is suffered to undo the Publick Stock.

DIFFERENCE in Opinion may well be Tollerated, and indeed cannot be avoid­ed; but yet were men managed by Mo­desty, though not Religion, there need be no Mischief from it; But to publish Pri­vate Opinion for Publique and necessary Truth, and to endeavour to impose it up­on others, and upon Authority it self, is a practice of the most pernicious Usurpation and Consequence in any Government: For this Opposition of Opinions naturally pro­duces a Disunion of Mind, absolutely De­structive of Government, which is to Unite all the Members of a Society into one common Body, of which Unity is the Soul; and whatsoever be the Cause of this Disunion, the Effect is always an Alie­nation [Page 171]of Affections among those who differ one from another: Now as there is nothing that makes so close a Ʋnion in the minds of Men, as their concurrence in the same thoughts, Judgment, and Senti­ments about any Matters, especially those of Religion; So there is nothing that makes so great and Irreconcilable Distan­ces between People, as their being and owning themselves of differing Judg­ments and Opinions. For Religion is like a Common Centre, in which all the Lines of mutual Kindness meet, and are United together in an indivisible Point: And we do more passionately love those who re­semble us in our thoughts, than in our outward Lineaments and Proportions; and have a natural Aversion for those who are unlike us in our Thoughts: And the reason is, because this Discord robs us of the pleasure of Life, which is Society; and where the entertainment consists in mutual Jarrs, and endless Disputings, con­tinual Contradictions, of which all men are impatient, the Conversation must needs be disagreeable; for who ever con­tradicts another, supposes himself more wise, and the other foolish; and where the knowledg of these differences is ma­nifest, even in their silent Interviews, it de­feats them of all the pleasure of Converse and Society, and makes men uneasie in the [Page 172]very Company of those who are neither beloved by them, nor love them; as all men believe of those who oppose them, and differ from them in their Judgments. So that it is not to be expected they should be ready to do those good Offices one for another, in order to the Common Good of the Society; but rather all the Mischiefs and Injuries which they can, as Enemies; as all esteem those who are not United to them by Love and Kindness; and how happy any Society is like to prove, that is thus disjoynted in it self, is not difficult to con­jecture.

BUT these Animosities are extreamly heightened, in regard there is always some­thing more than bare Opinion in the Differ­ence, and that it is impossible totally to separate Interest from Religion, and that therefore no man can look upon another as directly invading the one, without o­bliquely designing against the other; and what ever Passion men may have for their Religion, they are inseparably married to their Interest; & the thred of that is twisted with the Stamina Vitae, being indeed esteem­ed Essential both to the being & well-being of the Body: For it is not in Religion as it is in Philosophical Contests, where how eager soever men may appear to defend a Paradox, yet they are not Solicitous whe­ther it be true or false; for what matters [Page 173]it between two hot Combatants, whether there be any Land in the Moon or not? Since though there be, they have no Man­nors nor Lordships there; and if there be not, they are never the poorer of a Far­thing.

BUT in the Quarrels of Religion, there is always a Meum and Tuum; and Men sus­pect not without good Reason, that the difference of Opinion is but the Colour or Pretext, it is Interest that is the first Mo­ver, and the Ultimate Design; and this prevents all hope of Reconciliation, till one party do either voluntarily or by con­straint relinquish their pretences to the o­thers Right; for he who will invade the Possession of what another enjoys, by endea­vouring to be a Disseisor, becomes an Ene­my: And there are few who arrive to that height of self-denial, to hate themselves, that they may love their Enemies, or to expose themselves to the Inconveniences of cold Nakedness and Hunger, which Na­ture abhors, that they may feed and cloth their Enemies: nor does Charity command it; for though that Compassionate Grace look abroad for Objects of Pity, yet she always begins her Work at home; nor is any man obliged to pray for, or love his Enemies, so as not to provide for his own Fa­mily, 1 Tim. 5.8. and by Charity, to deny the Faith, and be worse than an Infidel. Such Saints [Page 174]are Martyrs of the Greek Calends. And no person can Esteem such as endeavour to devest him either of Power, Authority, Estate, or Possession, Honor, or Profit, but as his particular Enemy, and an Enemy to God and Religion, which commands, that no man should invade anothers Right, in that great Command, Thou shalt not Co­vet.

Now where there are several distinct Churches in the same Nation, there being both Power, and Maintenance annexed to the Office of the Clergy, they will neces­sarily incroach one upon another; and be­cause what the one gains, the other must loose, the contrariety of Interests will widen the Difference between them, even to the utmost Extremity of Hatred and Animosity: and whilst every Church will labour to agrandize it self both in Riches and Power, by lessening the Esteem, Ho­nour, Power, and Revenues of the other, it will become a quarrel of Interest as well as Religion: and let any person, if he can, Justifie a Principle, that, by maintaining Domestique Quarrels, must be ruinous to So­ciety, and all the Peace and Happiness of the present state of Life, under the fair pre­tence of Religion.

LET Dissenters tell us what they please; and if their dislike of the Government in the Church is purely upon the account of [Page 175] Religion; former Experience has made the World sufficiently sensible, that the Dig­nity, Power, and Revenues of the Church were the greatest Crimes of the Govern­ment. And that they who could not ap­prove of those Honors, Titles, and E­states in Bishops, and the dignified Clergy, could yet very well digest both their Power and Revenues, when they came by the Sa­crilegious hands of Ʋsurping Powers to be conferr'd on themselves.

AND as these Quarrels will be most cer­tain, so they will be Endless and Eternal: for admit once of many Forms of Church Government in the same Nation, and no sooner shall one be uppermost, but the En­vy of the others, and their fear lest they should be crush't, or overshadowed by it, will make all the lesser Churches conspire, for their common Security and Interest, to undermine and overthrow it. And when they have by that joynt confederation Effected that, then will the most Power­ful of the Victorious Party, step and Ex­alt it self into the Place and Power of the former: which will procure it the Hatred of all the rest, who will not fail by the same Arts and Methods to dismount that, and Esta­blish themselves: by which means there will be no end of Factions, Quarrels, and Ambi­tions, striving who shall be the Uppermost. All this while Religion will be the Pretence, [Page 176]but the State shall really suffer; and it be­ing as impossible to separate them, as to punish the Christian, and not the Man, it must be under all the most violent Agita­tions and Tempests, and at last suffer most certain Shipwrack.

THIS was the true state of our Case in England, during our late Revolutions; the Church, and Religion were made to lead the Dance, but according to the Scotch Prophecy, The State of England Paid the Piper; for the Presbyterians, in pretence Religious, but in reality Envious of the great Power, Honors, and Estates of Episcopacy, never lest till by Arts and Arms, perswading the Credulous Vulgar, that it was Popish, and Antichristian, and animating their Party in their Rebellion, with promises of Heaven, and the Churches Revenue for a Booty; God Almighty was pleased, for our sins, to permit them to be so successful as to overthrow that Govern­ment, after it had stood above a thousand years in England. No sooner had Presby­tery taken Possession of Naboth's Vinyard, he being stoned and dead, but they became as Odious to the Independents, who with more cunning and Address, and less trou­ble, gently laid them aside as Babylonish too; and notwithstanding all their Excla­mations from the Pulpit and the Press, both in their Prayers and Sermons, they could [Page 177]not prevail either with God or Men to hear them, or support their sinking Cause, but their Companions mocked them as the Priests, of Baal, as Elijah did; and as they had done those of the Church of England. And had not the God of Mercy and Com­passion pitied us in our Low Estate, when we lay in the Dust, by miraculously resto­ring our Soveraign to his Crown, and with him the Church to her right, no doubt but the Power and Revenue of the Church would have been a perpetual Prize, and England the Bloody Theatre upon which every Church would have Acted their Part, and indeavoured to have their turn of be­ing Uppermost.

AND if we could suppose that the pre­sent Dissenters are only influenced by mi­staken Zeal for the Glory of God, the Pu­rity of Religion, and the Salvation of Mens Souls, and not the Destruction of their Bodies and Estates, with that of the Government; Yet can they give us no as­surances, or if they can, they will not, that they or their Successors shall continue in the same Undesigning Innocence. And since these are such specious and taking Pretences with the Deceivable and Easy Multitude, who can promise, but that Am­bition may put on the Cloak of Malicions­ness, and call it Religious Reformation? that cunningly Dissembled Pride may shel­ter [Page 178]it self under the shining habit of pre­tended Piety and Purity? and that Cove­tousness, the root of all Evil, may not appear in the borrowed Robes of Sanctity? These Impostors may easily furnish a furious Je­hu with Masks and Vizzards of Religion, to impose upon many innocent Jehona­dabs, and take them up with him into the Charriot of Rebellion; whilst with the same Popular and Insinuating Courtship, he shall salute them kindly,2 Kings 10.15, 16. with, Is thy heart right, as my heart is with thine? if it be, give me thy hand. Which with him they will be ready to do, and to lend their assistance to the Confederation, especially upon hopes of being advanced, and taken up with him into the Charriot of Govern­ment; and hurried away with the tempt­ing invitation, Come with me, and see my Zeal for the Lord. Though all this Zeal was meerly Interest, and Ambition, to E­stablish the Crown to himself, by the utter Extirpation of the House of Ahab, and not one dram of true Religion, as the se­quel of the story made appear. And how easy is it for Hypocrisie to put on any shape, and to appear an innocent Lamb, when in reality it is a ravening Wolf? how easy for Ambitious Spirits to pretend the Glory of God, whilst they only design their own; to decry all Forms of Prayer, and Godliness, and appear Zealous promo­ters [Page 179]of the Power of Religion, only to ad­vance themselves to Greatness and Power: and under pretence of gaining Souls to God, to make a Gain of Godliness, and by sacrificing all to their Covetousness, to make Godliness great Gain? how feasible is it for Men to set up the Standard of King Je­sus, and make a Stale of a fifth Monarchy, and under the Scepter of Christ to invade the Scepter of his Anointed, and to Usurp his Throne?

THESE are easy Suppositions of what may be the Dangerous Consequences of that Disunion in a Nation, which proceeds from admitting various Forms of Church Go­vernment in the same Nation: Nor are they bare Suppositions, but real Truths, and what has been done, and lately done among us, and what may therefore be done again. If there are any Persons who will own the Lawfulness of such dange­rous Consequences, as drown a Christian Nation in Blood, Misery, and Confusion, or can but rationally be supposed that they may indanger it; let them adhere to the Principle of tollerating diverse Forms of Church Government, which is the ready Way to reduce those Suppositions into these most pernicious Realities: and if it be so, as no doubt can be made, let all Dissenters either acknowledge that these Opinions are the Common Pests of Hu­mane [Page 180]Society, as well as Religion, and there­fore abandon them, and reunite with the Government, from which they are broke loose; or if they will persist in maintain­ing, defending, spreading, and increasing these Inhumane Principles and Practice [...] [...] the minds of Men, both by their Doctrine and Example; Let them not think us un­charitable, if, as all sober and truly Pious and Judicious men must, an Estimate be made of them, according to the future Consequences, and not their present Ap­pearances; which, for any thing can be known to the Contrary, may be only dou­ble-guilt Hypocrisie, Simulata Pie­tas, duplex Ini­quitas. and that is in truth double-di'd Iniquity.

IF they did not foresee these Mischiefs, they are now shewn them, and if upon Notice and Warning given they do not in­deavour to avoid them, we cannot remain Masters of common sense, but we must believe they intend them; and if we do believe that, we may very lawfully not only Pray against them for the Peace of Jerusalem, 2. Thess. 3.2. [...], from such men as are out of place, disor­derly, and not deserving therefore any place in society. Exod. 21.29. To be delivered from Ʋnreason­able Men; but the Government may and ought to take care of it self, and those un­der its Charge, who are Obedient, and truly Fear God and the King, to secure them from such wicked Attempts. In the Law of Moses, which was given by Gods Command, if an Ox were wont to push, [Page 181]and the Owner had warning, and did not take Care to prevent it, he was to make good the Dammage either with his Life, or his Estate; if a man digged a Pit, and any thing fell into it, he was to make re­stitution: let me infer with St. Paul, Doth God take care of Oxen? and shall no care be taken of Christians?1 Cor. 9.9, 10. or saith he it al­together for our sakes? for our sakes no doubt this is written, that we may plough in hope, and sow in hope, and be made parta­kers of our hopes, by reaping the quiet and peaceable fruits of Righteousness. That these Principles have pusht against Govern­ment in times past, is most notorious; and one may truly say of them, as Rehum the Chancellor of Artaxerxes said falsly of the City of Jerusalem, Ezr. 4.15. If search be made in the Book of Records of our Fathers, we shall find and know, that these Principles are Rebellious Principles, and hurtful unto Kings and Provinces, and that they have moved Sedition in former times. Tragi­cal Remembrances are still fresh: how with their Horns of Iron they push't, and wounded, and murder'd the Church and State; and how thousands of innocent souls fell into the Pit of Division, which they had open'd, Nay.Lam. 4.20. The breath of our Nostrils, the anointed of the Lord was ta­ken in their Pits. And if they will still be pushing, and still make the Pit wider and [Page 182]deeper, they cannot but know what they deserve, both by the Law of God, by the Law of Nature, which teaches all Crea­tures self Preservation; by the Law of Nations, which designs the common good and happiness of Mankind; and by the Law of our Land, which is made to secure the Peace, and Prosperity of the Society; of which all such are unworthy Members, or to speak truth, rather the Diseases, [...], than parts of the Body Politick, both in Church and State.

BUT supposing the best that we can, in admitting of different Forms of Church Government in the same Nation, and that they should have no Seditious Intentions, or Inclinations, yet would it be impossible to Cure the Prince or the People of those mutual Fears and Jealousies, the uneasie Companions of Mens minds, which rob the one of the Pleasure of their Crowns, and the other of the satisfaction of their Lives which must spring from this Foun­tain; and which will load the Govern­ment with continual Cares, and put it up­on such immoderate Watchings, as will scarce permit it to sleep, and however will not suffer even the sleep of those who la­bour in it to be sweet unto them. For we must either suppose the Supreme Governor to be of Gallio's Faith,Act. 18.17. and that he cares for none of these things; or (which would [Page 183]be as kind to him) that he is of the Grand Signiors Religion, whom one may well place, as the Italian Painter did one of our Kings, between Moses, Mahomet, and Messiah, Pasquil. Hen. 8. with a Quò me vertam Nescio in his mouth; or we must suppose him to joyn with some one of these Churches. For should he to day go to the Cathedral, and to morrow to the Conventicle; one while to the Bull and Mouth to a silent Meeting, another resort to the Anabaptists, and so walk the round of Religions, every one of these would doubt him not to be of their Church; and by endeavouring to oblige all Religions, he would be suspected to have no Religion at all: and should he firmly adhere to any one, he would thereby dis­oblige all the rest; who would be Jealous that he did not love them, that he only Tollerates them pro tempore, for his conve­nience, or to serve the Interest of his Af­fairs, and that if he were settled and se­cured at home and abroad, he would re­trench their Liberty. And by how much both he believed and they knew, that their Mutual Safety and Security were inconsi­stent one with another, by so much more their Fears and Jealousies of each other would encrease; this would necessitate them to create him troubles and Difficul­ties in his Government at home and a­broad, that so the fear of greater Inconve­niencies [Page 184]in opposing or suppressing them, might make any attempts to secure him­self that way, dangerous and Impractica­ble; that so by being unsecure for him, they might secure themselves: These Practices and underhand Artifices and Correspon­dencies with Forrein Powers to ballance his, or give him Diversions, must of ne­cessity render any Prince Jealous of them, for no Prince can be free from fears and jealousies, who does not beleive himself se­cure, and no Prince can think himself so, who daily finds his Subjects using all Arts imaginable to traverse his Designs, and asperse his Government, by raising Fears and Jealousies of his Designs against their Religion or Liberty, and continually per­verting all Occurrences of State, not only to Establish those suspicions in the minds of their own Party, but to make use of them as Engines, to draw in others to joyn and side with them; by perswading them that if they do not, All will be lost; Pri­viledg, Property, and Religion, will all be swallowed up by Prerogative. And e­very several Sect having gain'd the Opini­on among their Followers, that theirs is the only true Religion, they will believe without any difficulty, that the Govern­ment which would debar them of that, will make no Scruple of taking from them all they have. And because none of [Page 185]this can be done with their consent, there­fore necessarily an Arbitrary Power must be introduced to effect it, and when mens minds come to be infected with this Jaun­dice, it turns every thing into the Colour of their Suspicion: So that the Prince can­not raise any Arms for the Defence of his Crown against a Forrein Power, but pre­sently that is only a pretence, and the real Design is to rule by the Sword; he can­not demand any supplies of Money, for the most pressing Occasions of the Publique Affairs, but it will be denyed, or delayed, lest it should be misemploy'd to the erecting an Arbitrary Tyranny; and thus whilest these Fears and Jealousies play the Tyrants over both, the Prince is run upon one of these two Rocks, either the necessity of Supplying and Supporting himself Arbi­trarily, with what they would not afford him Legally, and which they ought to have done voluntarily; or otherways to expose himself to the Contempt of his Neigh­bours, and the Danger of their Arms, and thereby of the Ruine and Subversion of the Government; or else to the Usurpa­tions of his own Subjects upon his Crown and Dignity.

THEN shall every man who is a true and a Loyal Friend to his Prince, be esteemed a Traytor to his Countrey; a wise or faith­ful Counsellor, and therefore in his [Page 186] Princes favour, shall be adjudged an Ene­my to the People, a Conspirator against their Priviledges and Religion: And if these Jealousies have gain'd a Party so nume­rous, as to be Confident, or if they can perswade the Populace into an Ephesian Tu­mult for they know not what, then shall the Lives of the Princes surest Friends be demanded as Sacrifices to Atone the Po­pular Frenzy; and their Blood must quench and allay this fire of Jealousie. It were well if this had only been our Case in the Noble Earl of Strafford, and Arch-Bi­shop Lawd, who fell the first Victims to this Idol of the Peoples fears, which for all that, grew afterwards into a Flame so raging, that whole Rivers of Blood, (and even of that which made the Ax blush, and will England for ever) were not able to extinguish, till it had burnt the most Glorious Government the Sun sees in all his travels, into Rubbish and Ashes.

SOME seditious Pamphlets lately thrown abroad in the World, and dispersed at a common Charge, would induce one to believe the Case were our own, and parti­cularly one intitled, An account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Govern­ment, &c. where the Writer does,Greg. Naz. Or. 1. as Na­zianzen says, Arm himself to be Eloquent against the Truth; abusing that, the better [Page 187]to abuse others, into a belief of the most Notorious Calumnies, and Sarcasms a­gainst the Government, the King, and his Ministers, the Judges, and who not? As if all conspiring to alter the Establisht Government, both Civil and Ecclesiasti­cal. And is as Industrious as Malicious, to set us all into a Flame: To do this at a Season when we are under the apprehen­sions of a Forrein War, for the defence of our selves and all Europe, against the dan­ger of a Neighbour too near not to be fear­ed, and grown too great to be suffered, looks, and certainly is a Design of the greatest Mischief; and if the Authors are not Dissenters either from the Church of England, or from all Religion, as well as from the Court of England and the In­terest of England, the World is strangely mi­staken; the Sibboleth which lisps so demure­ly in every Page, plainly shews that it was Penn'd by the Men of Ephraim, who have a design to Quarrel with our Royal Jeph­tha their Deliverer, by the unparallel'd Am­nesty, from the Ammonites of their former Delinquencies.

THESE are the proper effects of Jea­lousies, and Misunderstandings between a Prince and his People; the natural result not only of Diversity of Government in the Church, Tollerated, but permitted even by Connivence. And what can be [Page 188]the end of Disunion between these two, whom God has joyned together, and no man ought to put asunder, and who ought to live together in all the happy Caresses of a Conjugal Affection; what can be ex­pected from such a Divorce, but a trouble­some Raign to the Prince, an uneasy Life to the People; who must always be under the apprehensions of dismal Revolutions and unhappy Days; and whilest neither of them esteems themselves secure, they both become Miserable. Whereas on the contrary, Unity in the Government of the Church, being, as before was said, Political as well as Religious, will remove all these unnecessary Fears and Imaginary Dan­gers; it will beget Love and a mutual Confidence in each other, between a King and his Subjects, which is the only happi­ness of the Crown, as well as of the Nup­tial State: Of which one may say as the Poet.

Faelices tèr & ampliùs,
Quos irrupta tenet Copula,
Nec malis divulsa Querimonijs.

When there is no Murmuring or Com­plaining, but the one Obeys with Pleasure, what the other Commands with Love, and love the one as much to be Com­manded, as the other to Command. But [Page 189]alas! this is so far from being hoped for, so long as there is this Disunion in the Po­litical Government of the Church, as it would be, if there were so in the Political Laws of the State; it being as impossible to satisfie all Parties with the one as with the other; and there being notwithstanding the same reason, that those who are dissa­tisfied, should yet yield Obedience as well to the one as to the other, since they are both of the same Nature, and levell'd at the same End.

FROM what has been said, it is evident, that a Disunion in the Political Government of the Church in the same Nation, Lays the perpetual Foundation of Dreadful Changes, and Revolutions in the Govern­ment of the State: and by sowing Jea­lousies, Fears, and Discontents in the Minds of Men, it gives continual Oppor­tunities to the Ambitious, Covetous, En­vious, Proud, and Discontented, to run the Nation into Civil Broyls, and Intestine Quarrels: for which reason Solomon gives this necessary Caution to all those who will be the Disciples of true Wisdom, My Son, fear thou God and the King; and meddle not with those who are given to change. Which of ne­cessity all Dissenters must be, whilst they be­lieve themselves the only People who Wor­ship God in Spirit and Truth; and therefore contrary to the manifest Design of the Go­spel, [Page 190](were they what they pretend, or be­lieve) indeavour their own Establishment by force and violence, the confusion and utter subversion of the Government, which does oppose them, and their pernicious Pra­ctices; so dishonourable to Christian Religi­on, and the Protestant Cause; so destru­ctive of Peace and Charity; so contrary to the common good of all Society, and the Happiness of Mankind in General; and in particular to the safety and security, the Settlement and Establishment of that Church and Nation of which they are Members, and to which by the Rules of Re­ligion they owe all Obedience.

CHAP. XI.

NOR will the Mischief of this Disunion in the Political Government in the Church, confine it self at home, or be contented with making us unhappy among our selves, but will most certainly Ex­pose any Nation to the Power and Attemps of Foreign Enemies: for Ʋnity in any Go­vernment, is like the state of Health in the Natural Body, where the Muscles are firm and Robust, the Nerves strong, the Ligaments compacted, the Joynts close, the whole Strength intire and vigorous, and every Member obedient to the Head, [Page 191]whereas on the contrary, want of Ʋnion renders the Body Politique crazy and in­firm, the Head may command the Hands or the Feet, but they are out of joynt, and cannot move; or if they do, it is with so much Pain or Trouble, with such a Feeble­ness and Languor, as is next to Impotence it self: and when any People are in this Condition, they become an Easy Prey, as well as a great Temptation to any Foreign Power.

FOR first, This render them contemp­tible to their Foreign Enemies; for Men always make a Judgment of the strength of any Nation in proportion to their Ʋni­ty among themselves: for what does it sig­nifie though a Nation be never so Rich or Populous, if they be not Ʋnanimous? their Enemies must needs thus Argue with themselves; What though this People a­bound in Money, and swarm with Inhabi­tants, so long as they are like a Rope of Sand? it is a sign of the goodness of their Country, as well as the Weakness of the Nation: there will be the better booty, and the cheaper Victory; the Conquest will pay us well for our Pains, and our Pains cannot be great to subdue a People who are already half Conquered by their Civil Dissentions; we are not to go to dispute a bloody Conquest, but a certain Victory: Their mutual Fears have alienated the Af­fections [Page 192]of the People from their Prince; and they who have been so Prodigal to waste all the stock of Loyalty which was left them as a Patrimony from their Ancestors, will easily be tempted to sell the Reversion of their Allegiance to a new Soveraign; Nor shall an Invader ever need to fear a Party, who for ready Money in hand, and large Promises of future Payments and Gratifications in whatever they demand (which he may Pay he knows as he plea­ses) will not either actually joyn with him, or however retard all the Counsels and necessary Preparations which shall be made against him, for the defence of the Publique. Nor will they be wanting by fair Pretences, or by the Golden Key (where that is permitted to be used) to open themselves a way into the Counsels of their Prince, places of Trust and Im­portance; thereby to betray him, and gra­tifie his Enemies, by opening them a Pas­sage into his Dominions, and an easy Dore of Conquest.

AND therefore Secondly, When by Rea­son of danger from abroad, there is the greatest necessity of Ʋnity at home; when they should be mustering Men for the Common Defence of the Publique, they will be most busy in Mustering up whole Armies of Complaints, Grievances, and Faults in the Government: when they [Page 193]should be raising Money to defend the Crown and Government, in order to the Common Safety, they will be raising Fears, Jealousies, and Disturbances in the Minds of his Subjects, to distract and divide them: then will they be most busie at the Mint to coyn false Reports and coun­terfeit Rumors, strange Discoveries and Conspiracies against the Peoples Liberties, and Religion: and animate all these Dis­orders, by telling the Credulous, that now is the Time, or never, in the necessity of Publique Affairs, to advance their Private Interest. For should the Prince return Vi­ctorious over his Foreign Enemies, and settle an honourable Peace abroad, he would be in a Condition to turn his Arms against them, and indeavour to secure and settle his Peace at home; and should they lose this Opportunity of his Necessity, possibly they may never meet with the like again. And should the Prince fail of Success in the Defence of his Crown and Country, which they will take all the Care they can that he shall, the assistance they have gi­ven his Enemies (though by no other way but secret Correspondencies, and clogging the wheels of Affairs, to make them move heavily, and by consequence unsuccessful­ly,) will intitle them to the Favour of the Victor, if it prove an intire Conquest; or however if it comes to a dishonourable [Page 194] Peace, to his Protection. For he must be Master of very little Policy, who will not indeavour to support and incourage a Party in the Dominions of his Enemies, who shall be able upon all Occasions to do him such considerable Services.

BUT Thirdly, This Disunion of any Na­tion among themselves, does not only ren­der them Lame and Impotent at home, but Ruines their Hopes of Confederations for their Assistance and Security abroad. For the Leagues and Amities of Foreign Princes and States have always their Foundation laid in their own Interest and Advantage; and who will enter into Leagues Offensive and Defensive for their Common Security, with a People who by reason of their In­testine Divisions, are in a condition to need Assistance from others, but not afford their Allies any considerable help in their Necessity? His late Majesty was a dreadful Example of this Truth; for did not all Europe stand gazing at our Flame, with­out ever so much as offering their Media­tion to Extinguish it? which of all his Confederates or Allies came in to his relief? did they not permit his Crown to be taken off his Head, and his Head from his Bo­dy, without any concern? although it was the Common Case of all Crowned Heads, and a President which their Posterity may have cause to repent that ever it was per­mitted; [Page 195]but shall never able to rase out of the Records of Time. And though this was a private and Intestine Quarrel; and therefore not esteemed the concern of our Allies, yet does it manifestly prove, that since all Alliances are managed by In­terest, if they come to believe, that to assist us against a Forrein Power, be as lit­tle their Advantage, they will be as slow and backward to do it then: And there is nothing can more forceably perswade them into such a Belief, than by our own Disunion and Division, to put our selves out of a Capacity of being serviceable to their In­terest, by the ability of mutual help and Assistance in their time of Need.

So that it must be pure Compassion for their own Affairs, and to keep the Bal­lance from inclining too much to one side, that must be the Motive to incourage them to lend us their hand; and since that can­not be expected till they see us ready to Sink, let any person Judg into what a Miserable Condition we must be reduced, before we receive that Help, or they come in to our Aid. Whereas, when any Na­tion is powerful, by being Ʋnanimous, their Friends and Allies will upon the first Summons, be ready to assist them, not only for their own Interest, and because they expect the like Kindness, upon the like Occasions; but because they will be [Page 196]unwilling and afraid to disoblige a Power, which but by withdrawing it self from them, may expose them to Dangers and Hazards: Or resenting it as an Injury and Affront, may at one time or another re­member it with thoughts of Revenge.

So that there is nothing can be more apparent than that Disunion in any Na­tion, weakens its Force and strength at Home and Abroad, and exposes it to the Danger of Foreign Enemies, whilest it gives them all the Invitations and Assistan­ces they can desire, to accomplish their Conquest and its Ruine.

BUT bedsies all this, there is something more in this Disunion in point of Church Government in our Nation, which is par­ticularly dangerous to the present Govern­ment: And that is, that it Naturally in­clines all the several Parties to Antimonar­chical Principles, and to entertain kind thoughts of Polyarchy in the State, as well as Anarchy in the Church; and of all o­thers, to Democracy rather than Optimacy. For where the Government is Elective and Mutable, every several Party will endea­vour to make such an Interest in all such Elections, as to have a considerable num­ber of the Governours, to be of their Per­swasion: By which Method they entertain a constant Hope that they shall be able, not only to continue that Liberty to their [Page 197] Way, but also to increase and Augment it. Nor is it possible by any Arguments to perswade them that Monarchy is the best Form of Government; and which is strange, the former experience of the Ty­ranny of the late Common-Wealth, which was Established upon the Ruines of our Peace and Prosperity, the tossings, and Tumblings, the Uncertainties and Rol­lings of that raging Sea of Confusion, is not convincing, but that they will Em­barque themselves in it upon the same De­sign, although they know it is a Red-Sea of Blood, and leads us all to a Desolate Wilderness. How contrary and repug­nant this Government is to the Fundamen­tal and Established Laws of these Nations, I need not tell: But what must they be, who pretend for Religion to overthrow all the Foundations of the Earth, and put them out of Course, unless God hold up the Pillars of it, as hitherto he has done in despight of the raging of the People. However, it afords us a clear discovery of the Tempers of those men who keep up these Principles of Disunion, which have such a desperate influence upon the Civil Affairs, and endeavour to Ruine the State by setting up Religion; and whose restless and unwearied Industry leaves no stone unmoved; Nay, who will move Heaven and Earth, to accomplish their Design. [Page 198]This has been observed to be the Genius of Dissenters in former Times, and it is to be feared the Humor has not left them.Esay 57.20, 21. For they are like the troubled Sea which cannot rest, but is continually casting up mire and dirt; Foaming, and Raging, and Raving like that unstable and unruly Element, to enlarge its floating and turbulent Em­pire, by incroaching upon the Terra Fir­ma, the Peaceable Earth; and one may but too truly add the Words of the Pro­phet, There is no Peace saith my God to the Wicked. Rom. 3.13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. For their Throat is an open Se­pulchre, with their Tongues they use De­ceipt, the Poyson of Asps is under their Lips. Their mouth is full of Bitterness, their feet are swift to shed Blood. De­struction and Misery are in their ways: And the way of Peace have they not known. For their Practices declare it publiquely, what ever they pretend either of Innocence or Sanctity, That there is no fear of God be­fore their eyes.

THERE being no Differences, as before was observed, which do so absolutely A­lienate the minds of Men, as those about Religion, as they are most irreconcilable, therefore they are most dangerous; not only to the Essence of Religion, but to the Civil affairs of State; for if we be di­vided, and distracted, what matters it how or by what Means? The effects of [Page 199]these Dissentions will have the same influ­ence upon the Publique Affairs, whether they come from Religion or Ambition. Either will ruine us, but the former more certainly and with greater Artifice; Be­cause more insinuating and plausible in out­ward appearance. For men who have any sense of Religion, cannot but look upon it as the great concern of their Lives, and the care of their Posterity, to whom they desire to transmit it as well as their Estates: And though it is in Charity to be hoped, that many Dissenters are not aware of this dangerous Rock which lies under Water, and that they have no such Ill designs, yet they cannot be ignorant from former Expe­ence, that there may be such among them now as have been formerly; and that Po­pular and Ambitious Spirits have made use of their Zeal and Credulity, to abuse them and the whole Nation into Misery and Slavery, under the pretence of Liber­ty: And that such Men will never want ei­ther Shelter or opportunity under those pretences of Religion, to embroyl us a­mong our selves, or betray us to a Forrein Power, so long as this Disunion continues, and these Differences are incouraged, main­tained, and daily propagated among us.

THIS is a season when these things would be seriously Considered by all Dis­senters; [Page 200]and if it shall appear a real Truth, that this Industry, in stead of promoting true Religion, must promote our Ruine, they ought voluntarily to Unite and return to the Obedience of the King and Church: For otherways their Actions will confess what their Tongues deny, and that this Re­formation is in Reality the Subversion of the Government which they intend.

FOR what is it possible to believe or think of such Persons, as with treacherous Joab, 2 Sam. 20.29. call us Brethren, enquire of our Health, and with the right hand salute, that with the left they may stab us (as he did the incautelous Amasa) with our own Sword under the fifth Rib. Can they be esteemed Friends to their Countrey, or the Protestant Religion, who through their Dissentions discredit the one, and disable the other from defending it? is this the way to secure us from Arbitrary Government, to make the Princes Govern­ment perpetually unsafe and uneasy, and almost impracticable without it; by forcing him, for the guard of the Sceptre, to wear a Sword; and then exclaim against him for doing that which they have neces­sitated him to do, or to leave his Crown and Life, and that of his Loyal Subjects, to the mercy of the Sword of Rebellion? Can it be probable that this should be an Expedient to preserve us from the Roman [Page 201]Religion, to furnish them with Arguments against us; that we deny the Catholique Faith in the Communion of Saints; and to give them this advantage against us, to say, and truly, that we have neither Ʋni­ty nor Charity? Or can any man in his Wits believe, that the best way to Establish Peace among our selves, is to maintain per­petual Principles of Quarrels and Conten­tions? Or that we are like to defend our selves from powerful Enemies abroad, (E­nemies by a Hereditary Animosity, and Enemies upon the account of Religion) by worrying one another at Home? No, no, as soon shall the Plague become an Amulet to preserve us from Contagion; as soon shall Impotent men be cured by cutting their Nerves in pieces; as soon shall men see clearly by putting out their Eyes; and all that ever can be imagined, that is not only improbable but utterly impossible, come to pass, as that this or any other Nation should be happy without Ʋnity, not only in point of the Civil, but Eccle­siastical Government; or that Mens minds should be easy whilest the Spring of Jealou­sies is kept open among us, and the foun­tain of Charity is stopt up; or that we should be safe from Forrein Enemies, when no man can tell who is his Friend at Home.

NOR in short, can it be hoped that [Page 202] Truth and Peace should flourish in our Days, when Private Opinion shall be pre­ferred before the Catholique Faith, and the practice of the Church in all Ages; 1 Tim. 6.4. when Eternal Wranglings about Words, and Que­stions, whereof cometh Envy, Strife, Rai­lings, and Evil Surmisings, shall be the great Accomplishment of Christian Reli­gion; and shall banish all Love and Cha­rity from the minds and lives of Men. What can be the end of these Mischiefs? So long as Obstinacy in our private Judg­ments, shall be accounted a more Essential part of Religion, than Obedience to Law­ful Authority; but what the Apostle long since, by way of Caution, predicted to the Church of the Galatians, Gal. 5.13, 14, 15. Brethren ye have been called unto Liberty, only abuse not your Liberty for an occasion to the Flesh; but by Love, serve one another; for all the Law is fulfilled in one Word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self: But if they bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of ano­ther. Which fearful Prophecy, so truly verisied and fulfilled upon that and the rest of the Asian Churches, God of his in­finite Goodness and Mercy avert from us, by bestowing upon us this Ʋnity of the Spirit, which is the Bond of Peace; and which is certainly the true Spirit of Chri­stian Religion, and the only way to obtain [Page 203] that peace of God which passeth all Ʋnder­standing, which will fill the Soul with peace of Conscience here, the World with happiness, and all those who follow it, with Eternal Joy, unspeakable, and full of Glory in Heaven.

CHAP. XII.

THUS far I have indeavoured to fol­low Truth, by manifesting that Ʋnity in Faith, and Ʋnity in Government in a National Church, are absolutely ne­cessary, both to the salvation of Mens Souls, and to the Happiness, Peace, and Security of any People in their Politique Capacities.

As there can be nothing in the World more desirable, so there is nothing that all good Men ought more sincerely to in­deavour to promote. Blessed are the Peace­makers, says the Eternal Prince of Peace, for they shall be called the Children of God; who is the God of Peace, and the Author of the Gospel of Peace. Let us therefore, in Order to it, in the next place see what Expedients have been propounded to re­store this Peace to this Church, and Na­tion.

IT has been already manifested, that Ʋ ­nity in point of Faith, is the Bond of the Ca­tholique [Page 204] Ʋnion among all distinct Churches which are Members of the Catholique or Universal Church; but this Faith must Work by Love. Gal. 5.6. It has been also shewn, that though this Ʋnity of Faith which works so by Love, as that though distinct Na­tions and Churches disagree about Ceremo­nies and Circumstances of Religion, yet they may all agree in the substance of Faith, yet that it is impossible, this should be in the same Nation; and that therefore Ʋni­formity of Government in the Church is absolutely necessary to maintain Charity and Ʋnity. And though this might be sufficient to shew the Unreasonableness of Tolleration of different Forms of Divine Worship under the same Magistrate; yet since there is such a Cry among all Dissen­ters, both Papists and others for Tollera­tion, and Liberty of Conscience, as an Ex­pedient both Politique, Religious, and Necessary, let me be permitted freely to speak my impartial sense concern­ing it.

THOUGH all Parties whose private Opi­nion makes them Dissent from the Esta­blisht Government both in Church and State, must of necessity be desirous of a Tolleration; yet I find the Papists and the Presbyterians are they who appear most solicitous for it: and yet of all others they seem least to deserve it. For no man [Page 205]ought in reason to demand that for him­self, which he would not think it lawful to grant to any other if in his Circumstan­ces: Now Experience has given us De­monstration of the violent Tempers of both these; and there is not a Possibility of doubting, but if either the Papist or Presbyter were in Power, they would not allow any Tolleration, or Indulgence to other Dissenters; but the one would E­stablish the Scepter of the Pope, and the other of Christ (as they call their New Government) with the most unlimited Soveraignty, both over the Faith and A­ctions of All; Princes as well as Peasants: and since they would compel all People by the utmost Severities and Rigours of Penal Laws to Carry the Yoak which they would Impose upon them, what reason can they have to Expect for themselves what they would deny all others? for their Practice has made it evident to the lowest Under­standing, that they who have so little Cha­rity for their Brethren in the Common Christianity, as to damn them without remedy to the bottomless Abyss of Hell, for dissenting from them in any one point which they have decreed to be De Fide, will look upon it as an Effect of Compassion rather than Cruelty, to convert them, and save their Souls, though with the loss of their Lives, Liberties, and Estates: or if [Page 206]that cannot be effected, to confound them, to Extirpate and destroy them, lest they should lead others by their Doctrines or Ex­ample to Damnation.

WHEREAS in truth and reality nothing but Blasphemy, Atheism, and such Immo­ralities as are destructive of Humane So­ciety, render men obnoxious to Temporal Punishments: Insidelity, or not believing aright, being Crimes or Defects rather of the Understanding, fall no further under humane Cognizance, or Penal Laws, than by their Consequences and Effects they may, or do prejudice those Laws and the Common End of Society: and therefore they are reserved for the Punishment of a future state; and the Church can proceed no further, than to Exclude them from her Communion, but not out of the Possession of their Lives, or Estates, which God Al­mighty, as the Common Father of Man­kind, thinks fit to permit them to Enjoy, making his Sun to shine upon the Just and Unjust with an equal influence and benig­nity.

BUT since a Papist has undertaken the Common Cause of all Dissenters,The Advocate of Conscience, Liberty, &c. and it may be has said as much for them as the subject will bear, and more in behalf of his own Party than any other Dissenters can pretend to for themselves, Papists ha­ving the specious plea of Prescription, as [Page 207]the Religion of our Ancestors, the ancient Form of Government in the Church, and the Ancient Faith, had they permitted it to continue so Intire and Undefiled, un­mixed with their Apochrypha, and Tradi­ditions; I will indeavour to answer what is most material in his Discourse, in order to discovering the Weakness of his Plea, not concerning my self with the sincerity of his Intention, which though appearing for all, is only Designed for the benefit of his own Party.

IN the first place therefore I desire that Notice may be taken, how he states the Question in the Prooemium of his Book. Note (saith he) by Persecution, Imposition, and Restraint, we only mean, the strict requiring to believe this to be true, and that to be false, &c. and upon refusal to Swear, or Conform, to incur the Penalties Enacted in such Cases; but by these Terms we do not mean any Coercive Let or Hindrance into publique Meetings. By Liberty of Consci­ence, we understand only a meer Liberty of Mind in believing or disbelieving this or that Doctrine, so far as may refer only to re­ligious matters in a private way of Worship, which are not destructive to the Nature and Grounds of Christian Faith, nor tending to matters of an External Judicature, in abet­ting any Contrivances, or disturbance to common Peace or Civility.

As to the First of these, I would gladly be shewn when or where the Government did ever in this sense persecute in any thing which is purely the subject of Faith, with­out relating to Practice, or the Consequen­ces of such Faith? or where any person for refusing to Believe, or Swear, or Con­form to any thing which did not insluence the Civil Affairs of State, was ever punish­ed? was ever any man fined, imprisoned, or banished, because he would not swear to believe any Theological Point, as of Free Will, Merit of Works, &c. which had no relation to Political Affairs? there cannot be one Precedent found in all the Records of all our Courts of Judicature, though we can shew many out of that Le­gend, as he calls Bishop Fox's Martyrology, who were put to death without any other Crime than that they did not believe the Theological Point of Transubstantiation; and when nothing else would do, then the killing Question, What say you to the Sacra­ment of the Altar? was sure to turn them over to the Secular Power for Hereticks, and it was not long before the Writ de Hereticis Comburendis brought them to their Funeral Pile. But if any thing which men pretend to be matter of Faith, be found by Experience dangerous to Socie­ty, destructive of the Fundamentals of our Government, may not we Lawfully indea­vour [Page 209]to oblige those who own that Faith, to give security that they do not believe it so, as to be prejudicial to the Govern­ment? such are the Doctrines of the Popes Supremacy and Power not only to Excom­municate, but to Depose Princes, and di­spose of their Crowns: that Equivocation even upon a solemn Oath is lawful; a Posi­tion that Ruines all Religion, and Fidelity, and the very Reputation of Humane Na­ture. And yet a Treatise I have seen writ­ten to this Purpose, in the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, and approved by Blackwell the Archpriest, in these words; Tractatus iste valdé doctus, & veré pius & Catkolicus est, &c. Certissimé SS Scriptu­rarum, Patrum, Doctorum, Scholasticorum, Canonistarum, & optimarum Rationum pre­sidijs, plenissimé firmat aequitatem aequivo­cationis. Ideoque dignissimus est qui Typis propagatur, ad consolationem afflictorum Ca­tholicorum, & omnium piorum Instructio­nem. This Treatise, saith he, is very Learn­ed, and truly Pious, and Catholique. Cer­tainly therein the Equity of Equivocation is fully proved by the strongest Reasons out of Scriptures, Fathers, Doctors, Schoolmen, and Canonists, and therefore is most Worthy to be Printed for the Comfort of afflicted Ca­tholiques, and the Instruction of all good People. Must now the indeavouring to suppress the Authors of such Doctrine, be [Page 210]Persecution for Conscience sake? have these Opinions no Influence upon Humane So­ciety?

As to the Second Note, a Liberty of believing or disbelieving this or that Do­ctrine, only in order to a private way of Worship, &c. Who ever denyed this Li­berty? Is there any Judg of thoughts of the heart besides God? Is any man denyed to enjoy his private Opinion, or can he be, so long as it continues so? But if People will Transgress these Limits, and impose matters of private Opinion as matters of Faith, in order to practice, and such Opi­nions as ruine Charity, disturb Peace, un­settle Government; must these too be Tollerated? And such are the Opinions of Rome and Geneva. And it is not a private, but a publique Liberty which is denyed them; a Liberty to Poyson Mens Loyalty, and first Murder their Allegiance, that they may with more ease Murder the Govern­ment. A Liberty to banish Charity, Peace, and Ʋnity, out of the Church, to Establish true Religion without them. So that if he would stick to his Demands, he could no sooner ask than have such a Tolleration as is not in the Power of any Mortal Au­thority to abridge any man of; and it is im­possible for any person to suffer Persecu­tion for his private Opinion; for no man can be punished but for what is known to [Page 211]be his Opinion by his own Confession; and when it comes to be so, either by his words or Actions, it ceases to be Private: For suppose a man were a Mahometan, but no person knew it besides himself, who could tax him with it, or punish him for it? but if he will make his house a Mosque, and endeavour to Convert others to the Alchoran, to make a Party, and to Erect the Crescents to pull down the Cross and the Crown, would that be private, or de­serve Tolleration?

BUT to trace him, he tells us p. 1. That no man has power over Conscience; there­for Imposition and Violence are unlawful; A very Logical Consequence; No Prince has power to Punish, therefore not to Tollerate neither; God hath Exempted the Soul out of his Commission, but not the Bo­dy: Why does he then demand that which is not in their Power to Grant? As for his Examples which he gives for Tollera­tion, from Turks and Pagans, they are but ill Presidents for Christians. And for the Instance of Theodosius and Gratian, if So­crates be to be credited, it is a great Slan­der upon those two good Emperors: Gra­tian indeed,Secr. Ecc. Hist. li. 5. c. 2. & 10. at his first coming to the Crown, gave Liberty, that every Sect and Opinion should freely, without Mole­station, frequent their wonted Assemblies, except the Eunomians, Photinians, and [Page 210] [...] [Page 211] [...] [Page 212] Manichees: But no sooner was he setled in the Empire, God 1. Tit. 5. le­ge, Omnes. and had joyned Theodosius to him, but they command that all Heresies should for ever keep Silence. The same Prohibition Arcadus and Honorius, con­tinue and Augment;Ibid. lege Cun­cti. Let all Hereticks (say they) understand, that all places must be taken from them, as well Churches, as other places of Meeting, as private Houses, in which let them be debar'd from Service, both by Night and by Day, Ibid. leg. Aria­ni. and the Lord Deputy of the Province, was to look to the Execution of this Law, and if he per­mitted their Meetings either openly or se­cretly, he was to fine for it 100 l. Theodo­sius the Younger, whom Socrates compares to Moses for his Meekness and Excellent Nature, yet with Valentinian his Cousin, summing up in a Catalogue the Hereticks of that Time; Commands that no where within the Roman Empire, their Assemblies or Prayers should be permitted, but that all Laws made to Prohibit their Meetings, should be revived, and made perpetual. And this they did, because they thought the Civil Power was obliged to Protect the Ecclesiastical, and to maintain Peace in the Church of God, and, as our Advocate quotes the Wise Sir Francis Bacon for ano­ther purpose, pag. 7. Because the Sword of Dissention ought not be put into the Peoples hands, to nourish Seditions, Treasons, Con­spiracies, [Page 213]&c. which were to dash the first Table against the second, and to consider Men as Christians, so as to forget they are Men; which with the Gentlemans favour, is not much to his advantage, since these are all the Effects, and necessary Conse­quences of Tolleration.

IT was the great Misfortune of the Poet Claudian, that his Excellent Wit fell upon dry and barren Subjects; the same ill Luck has this Writer, in falling upon this Sub­ject of Liberty of Conscience, so contrary to his own, and the Judgment of his Church; that I shall use no other Arguments than his own Words, and by turning his own Cannon upon his Castle in the Air, I do not Question, but to make him quit his Fortifications: The Truth is, I like his Title of Advocate, for he proves himself one, and acts the Advocate exactly, making the best he can of a bad Cause; but so great is Truth, that it needs no other Ad­vocate, nor any better Arguments, than even in speaking against her, he is com­pelled to use for her. Pag. 41. The ancient Original Fundamental Laws, says he (by which other Laws of Less Extent are to be regulated,) were intended as a defence, and Protection to all; providing one injure not another, and that Common Peace and Safe­ty be secured; No other Subsequent inferi­our Law can therefore debar any peaceable [Page 214]Christian (that answers the Necessities of Church and State, Civil, Spiritual, and Political) in equal Justice, and in Foro Conscientiae, from this Priviledge Origi­nally due to all. And this he fortifies with the Confession of a Presbyterian Divine, without a Name, who never saw any Ar­gument yet, that could clearly Evince, why any sort of Men who would profess a peace­able subjection unto the Civil Government, might not in all their Civil Rights be pro­tected by it. Does not this oblige every Government to an easie Credulity, to its own Ruine? For the greatest of its Ene­mies will profess this Subjection, till they have power to effect their Ends; and by this Rule there is no care to be taken of Mens Principles or Practices, if they can but speak Fair, and profess they mean no hurt to the Government; no matter for what may happen afterward; the Gover­nours may sleep securely, till their throats are cut by these harmless Professors.

BUT taking this for a Maxim granted, I proceed upon his own Words; That no Tolleration of different Religion is to be permitted, and that first from the Apostle St. Pauls Rule (pag. 49.) Hast thou Faith, have it to thy self; And seeing that Ʋni­versal Ʋnity among Christians is not to be attained, such a Tolleration of things toller­able, is not only Lawful, but necessary, [Page 215]where a Latitude or Liberty is left in such things as are not clearly, and positively laid down in Scripture, in things of private Pra­ctice. Which is just giving that Liberty which no man can take away, every man being at liberty to believe and do so, so long as he keeps it to himself, and that it is Tollerable Faith by being to himself, and his practice is truly private. But why then does the Church of Rome Command us to believe Supremacy, Purgatory, Transub­stantiation, &c. which are not clearly, nor positively laid downin Scripture; is this Good, Just, and Equal dealing with us?

BUT Secondly, I Argue from his own Reason, because nothing is more clear than that this Tolleration must of neces­sity destroy that Original Fundamental Law of Protection, due to all from the Government; which will not be able to Protect it self, since it must Embroyl the Government, and indanger its Ruine, that being the very thing for which Tollerati­on is so earnestly desired. For a Wise Go­vernment (pag. 50, 51.) may tollerate (at least in a private way) with the Old boun­ty of giving what they cannot help, dif­ferent Opinions, when otherwise the Pub­lique may be intangled, or indangered, or rather because the Conscience cannot be com­pelled, or Faith forced; and more especial­ly if they be such Religions, as do not over­throw [Page 216]the Foundations of Truth, nor such as disturb or impugn the Government Esta­blisht; or if the Professors thereof be such as are not Factious, or pertinacious, but Ho­nest, Simple, Tractable, Obedient to Su­periors, having no other End in holding their Opinions in Religion, than Gods Glory, or satisfaction of their own Conscience; and withall are willing to submit to better Judg­ments, when they are convinced to be Erro­neous: (Pag. 52.) For we ought to have a Latitude of Charity for those who Dissent, if they be not Impostors, or turbulent In­cendiaries. And who are there that will own themselves to be such? It looks like Oliver Remonstrating; or a Declaration of 41. and by this Rule, all Sects, Heresies, and Rebels, if they may be their own Compurgator [...] must be Tollerated too, since they will Profess all that is here desired for Tolleration; but by clear Consequence, if notwithstanding these Professions, they do intangle and indanger the Government, then they are not be Tollerated; but the Tolleration of all Sects, though Charita­bly supposing them not Hereticks, does not only destroy some one Fundamental of Religion, but Religion in the Main; by making it Morally impossible for any Man to know where he shall find a true Religion, and plainly introduces Mahometanism, that a Man may be saved in any; and will con­firm [Page 217]the Atheist and Libertine in their O­pinions, that there is no such thing, more than in Mens melancholy Humors. And it is impossible but the Professors of diffe­rent Religions will be Factious, and Diso­bedient to Superiors, as daily Experience assures us; and to Tollerate them, is to give them leave to be so, and to hold their Opinions for the subversion of Govern­ment, and not satisfaction of Conscience; as some who called themselvs Papists as well as other Dissenters have done in for­mer times, and, for ought we know, Design the same again; and therefore I conclude with the Advocate (p. 55.) That where eve­ry one has Liberty to hold what he pleases; which by this profession cannot be denied him; so soon as he believes his Party strong enough to grapple with Authority, he will Publish and Preach what he holds, confined to no Rule or Order, but contemning Law, will Rule as a Transcendent, and as he quotes the most incomparable Hooker, (lib. 3. cap. 107.) Let them tell us of Obeying the Laws of God as long as they please, we dare not believe them who break the Laws of those appointed by God to Rule over them. For it is a Distinction without a Difference, to seperate and divide the Laws of God from the Laws of Men; and unless we ob­serve both, we Obey neither. (pag. 56.) In these Cases, says our Advocate, Christian [Page 218]Governors are not to regard such Pleas for private Liberty, as overthrow Publique Order and Peace. Nor to regard those Cla­mours against them and the Laws, as Perse­cuting, when they do but oppose and restrain such perillous Exorbitancies as strike at the Foundation of Christianity, and open a gap to Atheism, Profaneness, and Blasphemy; here the Magistrate must interpose his Coer­cive Power for remedy: Nor are they in this infringers of the Peoples Liberty, but preservers of freedom; not Oppressors of others Consciences, but dischargers of their own, by prohibiting men to vent their raw undigested Fancies to others; to start Prin­ciples distructive to Government, subverting Order, violating Laws, breaking Oaths, and contemning Authority; publiquely act­ing according to private Perswasion; not re­garding common Order, or publique Peace, but by a Seditious and Factious Liberty, broaching their Opinions to others. And there is a great deal of Reason why the Magistrate should use this Power to crush the Cockatrice in the Egg: For (pag. 58.) if the publique Power shall suffer arrogant Ignorance, excess of Passion, perverseness of Will, to come to its full Rudeness and Extent: (which it can do no way so rea­dily as by Tolleration.) Tumultuary Num­bers and Brutish Power will soon make good private Presumptions; and cover the most [Page 219]Impudent Lusts, Passions, and Ambitions of Men, with the Pleas and Outcrys of Christian Liberty. And those who hold forth No­tions and Conceptions of Reformation, or wholly changing Religion and Goverment, and in order to that, to shake even the frame of the Civil Government, to which they think themselves no longer bound in sub­jection, than they want a Party strong for Op­position, will not easily be perswaded that it is the Sin of Rebellion which carries the face of Reformation, easily dispensing with Obe­dience to Men, where they pretend amend­ment before God. (pag. 59.)

WHAT can be said more, or more sharp­ly against Tolleration than our Advocate here pleads; and to joyn Issue with him upon this Plea, if we can prove that these must be the Effects of Tolleration, then to use his own words, (pag. 62.) True Chri­stian Tolleration, not extending to matters of an Extern Nature, Magistrates may use a Coercive hindrance from Publique Meet­ings, without impeaching of it. (And, by his Favour, from private too, such as he calls private; that is, in private houses, which are as Capacious and Publique as some Churches.) For (adds he) Sedi­tious Spirits, Cholerique Constitutions, and Feavourish Complexions, who love to be mo­ving in the troubled Waters of Secular Af­fairs, whose Heads are prone to move their [Page 220]Hearts with specious Novelties, quick Ex­citations, and zealous Resolutions, which soon after, like Salt stream [...], descend and fall upon the Lungs, provoking them violent­ly to spread their Opinions to others, these most truly forfeit their Christian private Liberty to the Publique Discretion, and Power, who will not or cannot use it but to the publique Detriment. (pag. 60.61.)

BUT that such have been the Effects of Difference of Opinions among us, is but too visible; and if they grew in despight of all the Authority of the Magistrate, to that prodigious height, as in the times of the late Rebellion, to overthrow the whole frame of Government, both Civil and Ec­clesiastical: and if the Principles and Po­sitions, as well as Practices, of the same per­sons, or their Successors, are still the same, derived from Calvin, Knox, Buchanan, &c. then are they by no means to be tollerated in a Christian Common-wealth: But what if yet they had never been Criminal, yet if their Principles lead to those Ends, must they be therefore tollerated, that thereby they may the sooner, and without opposi­tion, come to those Tragical Conclusions? will not the Government be Felo de se, and not only so, but betray those under its Charge to ruine; according to the Maxim, Qui non prohibet, Jubet? and must the Ma­gistrate lay out all his Care to oblige his [Page 221] Enemies, those who hate both him and his Government? must he put the Sword of Tolleration into the hands of Division, to destroy his Friends, the Loyal and Obe­dient, who best (if not only) deserve his Protection, and ought to be his chiefest Care?

DIFFERENT Opinions in the Church have always been the occasion of Quarrels, and have always ended in Blood. Witness the Report of Socrates, of the skirmishes be­tween the Arrians and the Orthodox at Constantinople; witness the Outrages of the Donatists in Affrica. And so it will be when any Party grows strong and nu­merous (and Tolleration is the best way to make them so, and for that End they desire it) then the Beast which looks like a Lamb, will speak like a Dragon. Rev. 13.11. I know our Advocate loves the English Separatists so well and tenderly, by his pleading for them, that he will easily believe all this of them; I could heartily wish they had not gi­ven occasion for the whole world to believe their Doctrines guilty of those barbarous Inhumanities, and Unchristian Practices; which have given a deeper Wound to the Reputation of the Reformed Religion, than to their Native Country; the Scar of which will be a perpetual Infamy to all Posterity. I wish they could vindicate their Principles from the just Reproaches of their former [Page 222] Practices, and from a Jealousie that they may occasion us the same Miseries and Mis­chiefs; but alas! it is impossible; all the pains they can take will but be Aethiopem lateremvé lavare. A hope to make a Negro fair. Which all the salt Water in the Ocean will never be able to Effect; and indeed no­thing can cleanse them from, but the salt streams of Repentance from their own Eyes, and the blood of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the Sins of the World, joyned to Resolutions of future Reforma­tion and Amendment.

BUT let not our Advocate think that by shewing the Guilt of those who call them­selves Protestants, as he does (pag. 125.) where he tells us, More Princes have been Deposed by Sectaries in 60 years, than by Papists in 600, and that History and Experience testifies, that the respective Sects have been most guilty of all kind of disobe­dience, both at home and abroad. Let him not think that hereby he has vindicated his own Innocence, or not forfeited that Right to Tolleration upon his own Grounds, which, though he pretend to plead for all, he intends only for his own Party, as the only Meek and Peaceable People of the Earth. I will Judge as charitably of Ca­tholiques (as they love to call themselves) as they can deserve, and believe the honor and honesty of their Quality and Educati­on, [Page 223]the humanity of their Natures inclines them to be better Subjects to the Civil State, than the Doctrines of their Church: but what if they had never attempted any thing against the Government, or having attempted, have never been successful, are they therefore innocent, who maintain Principles destructive of the Government Civil and Ecclesiastical? I would ask this Gentleman, whether he and all the Romish Catholiques in England would not willing­ly have the Power of the Papacy restored among us? if he would answer without Equivocations, I am sure it must be in the Affirmative: then would I demand, Whe­ther this must not make an Alteration in the Government? since it is now Esta­blished, and as he well observes (pag. 201.) ever was, upon a direct opposition to the Papal Supremacy: I know they will an­swer; There would be an Alteration, but it would not be to the prejudice, but to the advantage of the Church and State: find me any Overturners of Government who will not say the same, and I will allow the Plea: but then would I further demand, whether he believes the Canons, Decre­tals, &c. as certainly he does, and would perswade us to do (pag. 3.) and must be a Heretick if he do not; if he does, what does he think of the well known Canon of Gregory the Seventh, Nos sanctorum Pre­decessorum, [Page 224]&c. We (saith that Pope) observing the Statutes of our Predecessors, do absolve those that are bound by Fealty and Oath to persons Excommunicated, from their Oath; and do forbid them to observe, or keep their Fealty towards them, quous (que) ipsi ad satisfactionem venerint, till they come to make satisfaction. He knows the Consequence of the Canon upon more Kings and Emperours than one. I will not trou­ble him with the Hellish Opinions of Ma­riana, Suarez, Bellarmine, Simanca, Phi­lopater, Allen, or Sanders. Some of which for very shame (pag. 215.) he is forced to disown, as the Opinions of private Do­ctors; he might have said with Charity, Doctrines of Devils, those Incendiaries of the World, and perpetual Haters of Hu­mane Nature and Happiness: but by his favour, what he condemns Mariana and Suarez for teaching, a Pope was so far from being of his Opinion of condemning, that he commends it in the Publique Con­sistory. Pius Quintus was his Name, who when Henry the Third of France was murthered by Jaques Clement the Monk, gave his Applause to the Tragedy; it was Rarum, insigne, memorabile facinus, facinus non sine Dei Opt. Max. particulari Provi­dentia, & dispositione; verus Monachus Fictum occiderat. A rare, famous, and memorable Exploit, and not without the [Page 225]particular Providence of Almighty God, that the true Monk should murder the false one. Well might the Painter make St. Pe­ter's Picture blush for the Crimes of such impious Successors as this.

I need not repeat the Tumults of Rome, nor the Wars of Italy under Pope Boniface the Eighth, nor the Reign of Julius, John the 12. or 22. nor all the Disturbances occa­sioned by the Pride and Ambition of Popes grasping at Temporal Power and Sove­raignty. Here is the Root of the Matter: This Canon which has stood unrepealed this 600 Years, is the perpetual Foundati­on of Papal Usurpations; to which who­ever does not Swear, upon Occasion, must be a Heretick; and whoever does, must, if the Pope pleases, be a Rebel to his Prince, and against the Lord and his Christ, whose Gospel teaches the quite contrary Doctrine. And though notwithstanding this, the Ca­tholique Princes, and even those of Italy, as he says (pag. 202.) who live under the Pope's nose, are not affraid of being Depri­ved, or Excommunicated, but are Absolute and Arbitrary in their Dominions. Those last words are a good reason of their fear­lessness for themselves, but an ill one for their Subjects; and the subsequent words which he adds, a worse for both, though ab­solutely necessary to maintain their right: for they are not obliged to the Principles of [Page 226]the Roman Religion, or their Peoples Fide­lity, built upon the Sacred and Solemn Oaths of Allegiance, but are obliged to make the Sword give a Constant Security to the Sceptre; Whilest they dispute with Sword in hand for their Temporalities; So that it seems the Pope puts them upon dis­puting their Right, and if the Sword of Princes be not longer than St. Peters, the Pope has the best Argument for even the Temporalities; and the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, can open a door to the Kingdoms of the Earth: Is not this a rare Principle of Peace, which obliges Princes to stand continually upon their Guard against the Incroachments of the See of Rome?

AND whereas (pag. 215.) to ballance the Impious Doctrines of Bellarmine, Sua­rez, and Mariana, he throws into the o­ther Scale, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Buchanan; and tells us, That their Opini­ons are at least as dangerous to Monarchy, the difference between them being only this; That whereas the former lodg the Depo­sing Power in the Pope only (whose person is at a safe and sufficient distance at least from us) the latter bring the danger home to the door of Princes, and place it in the People, whom they make both Parties and Judges in the Case. Neither the one therefore, nor the other, who maintain such Doctrines, [Page 227]fit to be Tollerated by any Prince, who has not a mind to be deposed either by the Pope or the People. But this distance, this safe distance was a prety sweetning Paren­thesis to dose a Prince, with the Opium of being out of Danger: As if Popes might not have as long hands now, and their Bulls as long Horns as in the days of Hen­ry the 4 th. or Otho, or King John: And as if the Pope were not in the Case of those Soveraigns, both Judg and Party; parti­cularly that of Henry, where the Quarrel was, whether the Pope or the Prince had the Right of Investitures of Bishops to their Temporalities.

BUT what if I shew him that Calvin, Luther, &c. are as good Catholiques as he, in this Point of Vesting this deposing Power in the People? Vide, Avent. Polychron. Vi­terben. Sabelli­cus. Nauclerus, in vita Chil­derici, and all the Historians of that Age. Pope Zachary being consulted whether Childerick, being Sine liberis, sine ingenio, might be deposed, and Pepin, who was Major du palais Substitu­ted in his room; in his Answer to the Peers of France, wanting a President for such Power in himself, tells them at first, that it was of that weight, ut non auderet tam magni momenti cogitationem suscipere, that he darst scarce entertain a thought of it; but tells them in Conclusion, That since Princes hold their Crowns and Govern­ment of the Peoples Choice, in whom it re­sides absolutely Constituere & Destituere [Page 228](a pretty modest word for Deposing) to ap­point or forsake, therefore they might re­move him who was unuseful, and Elect him who was most Worthy. So said, so done. See here a Lutheran Pope, abandoning Supre­macy, for which now they contend as prò arîs, and vesting this Deposing Power in the People. A Position no less Treason­able than contrary to plain Scripture in a hundred places; and therefore Damnable, to make Princes, whose Tenure is in Capite of God Almighty only, become Tenants at will by Copy of Court Roll of Popular Election and Deposition: If these be good Subjects, good Christians, who lay an E­ternal Foundation for Perpetual Changes and Revolutions in Government and Go­vernors, by tossing and tumbling Crowns upon the Tempestuous Ocean of the Mo­bile vulgus, let them be cherished, let them be Tollerated.

LET him now, which he ought to have done, if he could, or had meant fairly; Shew in all the Doctrine of the Church of England, the least Sylable that may any way be construed, even by Prejudice it self, to encourage Sedition, Rebellion, or de­posing of Princes: He nibbles a little at it (pag. 261.) with, What if one should say you were Antichristian, Bloody-minded, Seditious, &c? Why, if he should, he would be guilty of a most notorious Ca­lumny [Page 229]and Falshood, because he can never prove it. For our Doctrine and our Pra­ctice suites with our Prayers, which are,Litany of Ch. of Engl. From all Sedition, Privy Conspiracy and Rebellion, Good Lord deliver us; And if the pure Spirit of Primitive Christianity, so Innocent, so Ʋnambitious, so Obedi­ent and full of Sincerity, and godly Sim­plicity, so Pure and Peaceable, and full of good Works, be only to be found in the Doctrine and Practice of those who are the true Sons of the Church of England, let them be accounted the best Subjects, the best Christians: And that therefore they deserve the Encouragement, the Care and Protection of the Laws and Govern­ment, and not to be given up to be Wast­ed, Devoured, and Destroyed, trampled down and troden underfoot by Tolleration of those whose Principles and Practice are so directly contrary to the Peace and Pro­sperity of the Church and Nation.

CHAP. XIII.

THUS it appears from the Advocates own Words, that none can justly plead for a Tolleration, whose Devilish Principles, and furious Practices, tend to the Subversion of Government, which both by what has been said, and by Expe­rience, [Page 230]the surest Demonstration in the World, both Papists, and other Dissenters, especially Presbyterians, have been proved guilty of. Let us now see how he man­ages the Cause of his own Party, for whose sake this Project of a Tolleration was prin­cipally intended, as is plain by his com­paring Luther, Calvin, Buchanan, &c. with Mariana, Suarez, and Bellarmine, Whose Doctrines are at least (as he says) as Dangerous to Monarchy; and therefore unfit to be Tollerated, the one or the o­ther.

LET us therefore examine the Plea of Innocency, which he descends to defend in particular. And as their manner always is, (pag. 70.) he tells us, That the Roman Catholique Religion was the first Christian Religion planted in our Countrey, from whom we had our very Christianity: Sup­pose it were, yet Quantum mutatus ab illo? The present Roman Catholique Religion is not the same which they planted. But with his good leave, his Assertion is con­trary,Pol. Virgil. Hist. Angl. l. 2. not only to great Probability, but to the consent of Historians; for Polydore Virgil tells us, Test is est Gildas, Britannos jam inde ab initio arti Evangelii, Christia­nam accepisse Religionem, That our Ance­stors received the Christian Faith, accord­ing to the Testimony of Guildas, in the very beginning of the Gospel. Baronius [Page 231]thinks St. Peter was here; Theodoret, Bar. An. 58. n. 51. Theod. de cu­rand. Graec. affect. l. 9. Ni­ceph. l. 2. cap. 40. Baron. An. 36. n. 5. Bede lib. 1. cap. 25, 26. lib. 2. cap. 2. Saint Paul; Nicephorus, Simon Zelotes; Some, Joseph of Arimathea; and even when Austin the Monk came from Gregory to Con­vert us, as they say, to the Christian Faith, he found a Church among us, as Beda testi­fies, Bertha, a Christian Queen; and at Bangor, a Monastery, or rather a Colledg of many hundreds; who upon the Questi­on, Whether they should admit of Austin, put it upon this Issue, Si sit humilis, admit­tat [...] But finding him proud and Impe­rious, they rejected him, which they durst never have done, had they believed even the bare Primacy of his Master, or that they were owing for their Faith and Con­version to the Roman Church.

I will not enter into a long dispute about Merits, Pardons, Purgatory, Adoration of Images, or Transubstantiation, which were but actum agere, only methinks the Apothecaries Argument deserves to be put upon the File; who being pressed to be­lieve the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, told the Zealous Agressor pleasantly, but truly, Sir, I will make a Wafer, and set a mark upon it, that it may not be chang­ed, you shall send it to the Pope, let him Consecrate it, and I will venture you a 100 l. you dare not take it: Oh says the other, but I dare and would; well, re­ply'd the Apothecary, then I will venture [Page 232]a 1000 l. that you shall be dead before next Morning: which, if it were really transubstantiated, were impossible, that the poison of the Body should be the food of the Soul, and Christ be made a Murderer; which demonstrative Conclusion, so little expected, puts the Romanist a little out of Conceit with his Doctrine, and struck him as dumb, as the other would have done dead, for all the Transubstantiation: there are very gross Stories and Slanders abroad, if some in the Romish Church have [...]tri­ed the Experiment, and have received their Death by what was given them as the Bo­dy of Christ, and the Bread of Life.

BUT I will observe his Method, (p. 166.) He tells us confidently, That there makes for them all that may or can be of any Chri­stian man required; Literal Text of Holy Scripture, approved Tradition, General Councels, Ancient Fathers, Ecclesiastical Histories, Christian Laws, Conversion of Nations, Divine Miracles, Heavenly Visi­ons, Ʋnity, Ʋniversality, Antiquity, Suc­cession, all Monuments, all Substance, all Accidents of Christianity. Here is not a word of Proof, and therefore I may take the same Liberty in contradicting it, if I please. But to answer this, There makes against them Literal Text of Holy Scripture, [...]usanus Ep. 2. ad Bohem. of that Scripture which a Car­dinal says is a Nose of Wax, of that Scri­pture [Page 233]which the Pope has Power to inlarge at his pleasure, as the Trent Councel has done, making the Apochrypha Canonical. Of that Scripture which speaks not a single word for the Popes Supremacy, Transub­stantiation, Purgatory, Masses for the Dead, Invocation of Saints, Vows of single Life, &c. but in a thousand places against them; and therefore they are obliged to fly for refuge to their Approved Traditi­ons, and set them in the Throne above the Scriptures, whose mouths must be stopped by the vulgar Latin, and the Vulgar con­fined from reading them; and even these approved Traditions are most of them such as the Universal Church never knew, ne­ver acknowledged;Conc. Trid. Sess. 4. Dec. 1. which yet must be re­ceived with the same Reverence and Affecti­on as the Scriptures; for as Baronius af­firms,Bar. Ann. 53. Num. 11. Traditio Scripturarum Fundamen­tum, and the Traditions of Men are made the Foundation of Scripture, and of Faith. And the Canon Law of Pope Gregory XIII.Dist. 40. Si Pa­pa in Ann. Margin. goes higher yet, and sets the Pope above them all. For men rather desire to know the ancient Institution of Christian Religion from the Popes mouth, than from the holy Scripture. And yet all of their own Church do not approve these Approved Traditions, for Basil says,Basil. Reg. con­tract. p. 502. It is necessary and agreable to Reason, that all men learn what is their Duty out of Scripture, [...]: [Page 234] both for the fulfilling all Godliness, and lest they should be accustomed to Humane Tra­ditions. Iren. l. 3. c. 2. And Irenaeus tells us it was the Custom of Hereticks to call in Tradition to their assistance against Scripture, alledg­ing, that those Truths (as they called them) which they held, were not delivered by Writing, but by word of Mouth.

AGAINST his General Counsels we op­pose the first four, and have offered a thou­sand times to put the Issue upon their Ver­dict. Against Ecclesiastical Histories, An­cient Fathers, Christian Laws, we oppose the frequent Forgeries of all these, de­tected even by themselves, and the Index Expurgatorius which Castrates all the Fa­thers, that they may be fit Eunuchs for the Papal Seraglio, the Vatican, by being disabled to propagate truth. For Conver­sion of Nations, we refer them to the Acts of the Apostles for the first Age, and for these last, to Acosta the Jesuite, and Bar­tholomeus Casas a Bishop in the Indies; Acost. de Ind. salut. procu­rand. their Conversion was such, that the miser­able People chose to go to Hell with their Ancestors, rather than to Heaven with such Christians; and if their Relations are true, gives occasion to the Romanists to blush, ra­ther than boast of such Conversions as were Confusions and Consumptions of those Po­pulous Nations.

To Divine Miracles we oppose all those false Fictions, absurd and ridiculous Fables, and Legends of their Saints, the detection of which has not only now discredited their Religion, but given occasion to men of Atheistical Principles, to think it is all but as a Pope said, Fabula Christi: and to call in question the true Miracles of our Sa­viour, and that Faith which was confirm­ed by them. Such as are the Stories of Tursellin in his Lady of Lauretto, Bene­dict's Miracles of the Blessed Virgin, and the greatest Miracle of them all, Lipsius, a man so learned, so rational, to dote in his old Age in his Romance of the Virgo Hallensis. Vives, Bristow, Canus, Canus lac. l. 11. cap. 6. complain too truly of them, That hereby no man is able to put a difference between the Mi­racles of Christ, and his Apostles, and those of these Mens forging. And since the one have been often proved False, why may not the other be suspected too, especially being at so great a distance? and pull but down this Foundation, and all Reli­gion becomes a meer Gullery and Im­posture.

To his Universality I would gladly know, if, Historically and Literally, Je­rusalem was not the Mother of us all?Luke 24.42. and that according to the Scriptures, Re­pentance and Remission of Sins should be preached unto all Nations, beginning at Je­rusalem; [Page 236]as happened out [Acts the second] to all the known Nations of the World, assembled either for Curiosity or Religion at the Passover. And why may not An­tioch, where the Disciples were first called Christians, pretend to Antiquity and Uni­versality as well as Rome? since Christia­nity it self there first received its Baptism; and she may well be termed the Godmo­ther of Rome her self, who had then nei­ther received the Name, nor Faith of Christ? Are not the Grecian, Armenian, Ethiopian Christians, as well as the Roman, Mem­bers of the Catholique Church? and yet they own not the Pope either as to Prima­cy, or Supremacy, and thousands of them know not whether there be such a man in the World. It is hard to damn them all with a breath: and as hard for Rome to challenge this Universality, where she is scarcely known, and I am sure not owned.

THE same may be said to his Antiquity: and even Errot can scarcely be called the younger Brother of Truth, and is so much a Twin with it, as from its very Birth to have had its hand upon the others heel, in order to supplant it. Is it therefore true, because it is Ancient? Was not Simon Ma­gus the Founder of the Gnosticks, as anci­ent as St. Peter and the other Apostles? were not Phygellus and Hermogenes, Hy­meneus [Page 237]and Phyletus and Alexander, 2 Tim. 1.15. 2 Tim. 2.17. those Christian Saducees, who denìed the Resur­rection, and overthrew the Faith of some, as ancient as St. Paul? Was not Diotrephes (in probability the Parent of the Aerian Heresy) who, to Exalt himself, prated with such malicious words, endeavouring to de­grade an Apostle, contemporary with St. John? Joh. 3.9, 10. if Antiquity will make men Catho­lique, these have a fairer Plea than Rome, who, in probability, received their Errors before she did her Faith.

FOR Succession, we refer him to Baronius in his Annals (if he likes not Genebrard, Baron. Ann. 985. N. 1. or Sigonius) who will inform him of a Catalogue of Popes, and their several Cha­racters, Simonists, Boniface 8. Boyes, Be­nedict 13. John 13. Sergius the 3. and a many more, about 50. who, as he says, Deserved not to be put into the Catalogue of Popes; but, as he affirms of Boniface, who murdered Benedict the 6. and John the 15. were fitter company for Sylla and Cataline. And these being all Monuments, and all the substance of their Religion, it will not be worth our while to Examine all the Ac­cidents of Christianity, as the Advocate phrases it.

I come therefore to his particular Vin­dication of them from the Calumnies, which, he says, are objected against them; and first to their refusing the Oath of Su­premacy. [Page 238]For if any Oath be lawful among Christians, it is a vain Cavil which he makes against this: for my own particu­lar, I could heartily wish that all Oaths could be made more perspicuous, and less frequent; but there being an absolute im­possibility of the one, and necessity of the other, we must submit to Humane Frailty. For no Oath can be so fromed or worded, but it will be liable to the same Exceptions, by reason of the ambiguity of all words, and the variety of mens apprehensions and understandings. And by this Rule no man shall be obliged to take any Oath. But when any person takes such Oaths, he swears to the declared intention of the Go­vernment, which requires him to swear for their Security, and those under their Care. And this is designed only as a mark of Distinction between the Peaceable Friends, and the Enemies, whose contri­vances and intentions are hereby either ob­viated, or discovered; and it being easy to be understood, and what all men know by the light of Nature, Reason, and Scri­pture, they who will not Swear to be Obe­dient to the Government in Veritate, Judi­cio, & Justitia, let the manner of Expres­sing this be what it will, cannot be reputed other than Enemies. Nor is the Contro­versie of Supremacy contained in the word Heretical, a speculative point, as he would [Page 239]perswade us, but a Practical; not whether the Pope has any Authority to Excommu­nicate, but whether he has any Authority here to Exercise a Jurisdiction to the pre­judice of the Established Government? and since he seems to confess that he has not, why should any Christian deny to give the Government all the Assuran­ces that can be desired? and if such an Au­thority in the Pope be not grounded upon the Scripture, or the Practice of the Ca­tholique Church, and no older than the Nos Sanctorum of Pope Hildebrand, and therefore Impious and Heretical, as being an Usurpation upon the Temporalities of all Princes, may not any person (except he designs against the Government) law­fully swear that he disowns both the Prin­ciple, and the Practice. And since the Clause of the Oath of Supremacy is expli­cated to intend only Civil and Kingly Go­vernment and Authority in Cases Ecclesiasti­cal, (pag. 184.) May not any man swear in Truth, Judgment, and Equity? (if it be true, it ought to be the Judgment of every good Christian, and it is a great measure of Justice and Equity, that he should de­clare himself, and call God to witness, since as before was said, men swear to the true intention and meaning of the Imposers of the Oath, and not to any other sence which the words will bear. But the plain truth [Page 240]why they refuse, is because they do be­lieve the contrary; and it is but reason­able, since they do, that by this Mark of Distinction, the Government should know who are Friends to it, and who Enemies; who by this Principle would Subvert and Overthrow it. And if a Man may (pag. 187.) Ʋse such Expressions as to Avouch, we verily think, and are fully perswaded that the Pope hath no power, &c. unless he e­quivocates, may he not solemnly Swear it too, that he thinks, and is so perswaded? for no man is, or can be desired to Swear more; but if the truth were known, they neither think, nor are perswaded of this, but the direct contrary.

HAD the Pope contented himself with the Jurisdiction of the Keys, and not in­vaded the Temporal Sword, for any thing I know, there had never been occasion for this Oath; or for Princes to draw out the Temporal Sword to do themselves and their Subjects Right, according to the Advo­cates Original and Fundamental Law of Protection and Defence, from the Unjust Usurpations of the Roman Mitre. And what he pleads against this Oath (pag. 191.) will serve all the Seditious Rebels of the World. For saith he, Publique au­thority and safety riseth from the satisfacti­on of Mens Judgments, to the Justice of proceedings; Then it seems, unless men be [Page 241]be satisfied with the proceedings of Au­thority, it must fall, if that be the Rise of it: A fine Popular Principle, to ruine all Authority! But he proceeds, Winning Respect and Love by that Equity in Govern­ment, and Moderation, which according to Gods ancient Laws, is settled and known, not by Arbitrariness of Will and meer Force; which, as to the Principle, is Tyran­nical, be it never so temperate in the Exer­cise. If all this be true, then ought all Publique Justice and Coercive Power to be disbanded and banisht as Tyrannical; Princes and Magistrates must learn to be excellent Logicians and Orators, to per­swade and win, or else they will prove but slender States-Men, Thieves, Murderers, Traitors, and Rebels, may be perswaded (if they will) to be Obedient, but must not be Compelled, for fear of Tyranny. Well, let him go! The Advocate is but an indifferent Lawyer, and a worse Subject, if this be his Judgment, as it is his Plead­ing; I believe he will never be of the Kings Councel, or Solicitor General; though he be so for a Tolleration.

To his 3d. Objection, That Papists suf­fer for Religion, not Disobedience, it is both False, and Frivolous; for never any Priest suffered quâ Priest, but quâ Rebelli­ous, in maintaining a Doctrine contrary to the Scripture, and the Peace of the Go­vernment. [Page 242]And the Proviso of the 25 and 27 of Elïzabeth, respects their Principles and their Practice, and not their Priest­hood. And had the Apostles Preached any Doctrine, tending to the disturbance of the Civil State of the World, contrary to the Laws of Emperors, for that End, they would have suffered, as St. Peter says, As evil Doers, 1 Pet. 4.15. busie Bodies in other mens mat­ters, and not as Martyrs.

To his 4th. Objection, Why Papists come not to our Churches: They did come even after the Council of Trent, till the Excommunication of Pius Quintus; and therefore became Recusants, not for Religion or Conscience, but Supremacy. And for King James his calling the Pope, Patriarch of the West, I cannot tell what he will advantage the Cause by that; for he may be so, and yet no more our Patri­arch, than of the Indies, before they were discovered, for neither the one nor the o­ther are in Constantines Donation. Nor indeed is that any where but in Ʋtopia: And yet it may be he had never been deny­ed his Primacy, if he could have been con­tented with it, as the Arch-Bishop of Can­terbury is with a Primacy over us in pure­ly Spirituals, without advancing it to a Su­premacy over All.

HE makes very light. (pag. 218.) of the Gunpowder-Treason, and would be con­tented [Page 243]to have that buried in Oblivion, which should have buried a whole Nation, in Blood, Horror, and Confusion. But by his Favour, it will not pass so; for even that Right Honorable and Noble Lord, Henry Earl of Northampton, whom (pag. 222.) he calls an Eminent Papist; was it seems then Converted by the Certainty of the belief that he had, that this was the Practice, and not in Confession, as he in­sinuates (pag. 220.) of Hall, Garnet, Greenwell, and Gerrard, and not of Salis­bury, of whom he says King James was used to call the 5th. of November, Cecil's Holiday. For even this very Eminent Papist, the Earl of Northampton, who was no Friend to the Statesmen, yet was so great a Friend of Truth, that being one of the Commissioners for the Tryal of Gar­net, and his Complices in the Treason; made there a most Excellent Speech, where­in he Demonstrates fully, clearly, and most Eloquently, the Haynousness and Certainty of the Crime; and that Garnet, Gerrard, and Greenwell, sent Sir Edward Baynham, to carry the Message to the Pope, not as Pope, but as a Temporal Prince; and that Garnet writ Letters to the Pope upon the Subject. He further shews the Danger of such Doctrines De­structive to all Government and Religion; and that the severest Punishments were [Page 244]justly due to such (Litterally) Incendia­ries: Which Speech Printed 1606, I have now by me, and wonder why the Advo­cate should plead him a Papist. Since he makes a Distinction there, telling Garnet, That some of his Society suffered in the late Queens time, for presuming to Exercise a Jurisdiction in this Realm, that neither Po­licy of State can admit, nor Allegiance justify: He calls Chicheley Chancellor to Henry the 5th. a Prelate of their own, and stiffly defends by Examples of our Ance­stors (who were neither Lutherans nor Hu­gonots, as our Countrey men are called (says he) the Kings Right against the Roman Usurpation of Supremacy: And if Prin­ces (adds he) that were absolutely Catho­liques, were so suspicious of their Preroga­tive, and cast such a watchful Eye upon the Popes Encroachments; how much more Jea­lous ought true Subjects and Sworn Ser­vants to be, in our days, careful of the Princes State; who being susteined by ano­ther Root directed by the voice of other Pa­stors, is as careful to Reform, as his Ance­stors to Conform; while they sayled by ano­ther Compass, and upon another Coast? Sure this was not spoke like an Eminent Papist, an Anti-Cecilian, but an Eminent Prote­testant, tender of his Loyalty, jealous of his Countries Peace, Invaded by the dan­gerous Principles and Practices of Roman­ists, [Page 245]as he calls them in another pas­sage.

IN short, Garnet, at his Execution, de­clared, that whatsoever he had acknow­ledged in his Examination, was true, and there he did Confess that he was Privy to the Conspiracy, by way of Advice, upon Catesbyes Quere; Whether for the good of the Church, some Innocents might not pe­rish with the Nocents; and upon his Affir­mative, they proceeded. I am as willing to be Charitable as the Advocate; and think with King James, that the generality of Catholiques did abhor such a Detesta­ble Conspiracy, no less than himself: But what of all that? It was not from any want of Industry in the Jesuits, to cor­rupt their Loyalty and Allegiance; or pre­vented by any Principles infused by the Roman Religion: From any Writings of that Age, which were full of nothing but Treason and Rebellion; the Lawfulness of the Popes Power of Excommunicating and deposing Kings, and Murdering them too; Such as those of Sanders, Allen, Cresswels Philopator, Simanca, Rossoeus, a Book Ca­nonized by the Pope in Consistory.

FOR the Bloody days of Queen Mary, I will allow her as good and mil'd a Prin­cess, as he pleases; but I cannot think so well of Winchester and London, two of her Bishops, by whose Fiery Zeal so many, [Page 246]though the Advoate say (pag. 238) but a very few, went to the Stake in Smithfield, and other places, for denying the Sacra­ment of the Altar, and that they could not believe it. Which was not only for Religion, but a pure Theological point; the Modus of which, the Doctors of the Romish Church neither are or ever will be agreed upon; and it is a little harder mea­sure to dye for such a Point, than to swear to such a one, as he dare avow, and verily believes, &c.

I might say much more, and take no­tice of many other passages in his Book, but I must not be prolix, only the Calum­ny, as he calls it, which is reassumed by Dr. Stillingfleet, and Dr. Tillotson, (pag. 257.) that there are Jesuites among our Dissenters, troubles him much; but that it is not without Ground, I have heard, and I presume, so has he, from Authentique hands of one Father Brown a Jesuite, who boasted on his Death-bed at Ingeston Briggs in Scotland, that he had Preached as down-right Popery in the Field Conven­ticles, as ever he had Preached at Rome it self: And truly, by the Conformity of their Principles and Actious, one with a­nother, one can scarcely tell whether the Jesuits are Presbyteriz'd, or the Presby­ters Jesuited, they are so very like?

BY this time, I hope, it is not to be [Page 247]doubted, by any who have not wholly de­voted themselves with a blind Zeal and Obedience, as well as Implicite Faith to the Roman Religion; but that however innocent the Generality of Catholiques may be, how Loyal soever, and full of Allegiance, yet the Principles of their Religion are not so; Nor are they obliged to their Doctors for it; but to the Native Generosity of their Countrey, to the Ho­nour of their Families; and it may be more than all, to the Doctrine of the Church of England in this Point: which by conver­sing so frequently with, they cannot be ignorant of; or not apprehend the horrid Usurpations of the Roman Keys upon the the Temporal Sword, Crowns and Scep­tres of Princes: And the Dangers that must necessarily follow from thence. Nor shall they need to fear either Punish­ment or Persecution, but for the Practices of these Boutfeus and Incendiaries of the World. And whether such a Religion as openly teaches and Avows an Interest con­trary, and above that of the Prince, and which Authorizes those who profess it, to raise Seditions, Tumults, and Rebellions, and it may be, has funished other Dissen­ters of Contrary Opinions in other Points, with Principles and Arguments Destru­ctive of the Peace, Happiness, and Quiet of the Publique, and of the Government [Page 248]it self, deserves a Tolleration, Let all impar­tial men be Judges.

CHAP. XIV.

FROM what has been said, it is Evident not only that Tolleration of different ways of Worship, under the same National Government, is utterly impolitique, and dangerous to the Foundation of Govern­ment, and the End of Society; but de­structive of Christian Charity, and the Ir­reconcilable Enemy of Peace and Ʋnity; being the Spring of Endless and Eternal Quarrels, Divisions, Schisms, Separati­ons, if not Heresies; and the direct road to wild Enthusiasm, Heathenish Ignorance, Superstitious Will-worship, Licentious Impiety, and at last down right Athe­ism.

Let us therefore in the Spirit of Meek­ness, and Christian Compassion, try whe­ther there be no way to cement these breaches among us, by reuniting the minds of Men, so far as is necessary for Christians to be Ʋnanimous. For it is mo­rally impossible there should be among all Mankind and absolute Ʋnion in their Judg­ments; mens Minds will differ as long, and as much or more than their Faces do: and from this impossibility I argue to the Un­necessariness [Page 249]of such an Ʋnity. But as se­veral Palates do naturally receive several impressions of Gratefulness to different Dishes, even to contradiction, so that What is one Mans Meat, is another Mans Poison; what is the delight of one, is the Aversion of another, and yet all agree in the Common, Necessary, and Native Principle of Eating: So may several Men believe several distinct, nay and it may be contrary Opinions in Theological Questi­ons, and yet agree in the Common Prin­ciples of Christianity, allowed by All, Faith and Charity, so as to continue in Peace, Unity, and Godly Love. And that this is not impossible, we see by daily Experience; and that there are in every Society of Christian Men, some who main­tain one Opinion, some who maintain and believe another, yet notwithstanding they retain Communion one with another. From whence proceed those Volumes of Polemical Theology, with which not the Schools, but the whole World is fill'd, I wish I might not say afflicted? but from mens differing in Opinion. And if I may be permitted to speak freely, Possibly the Entertaining the Philosophy of the Schools into too great Authority in Divinity, has not contributed the least to the Decay of Reli­gion, and the declining of Charity: for the Endless Distinctions of Schoolmen have [Page 250]minc'd and crumbled Religion into a Chaos of Epicurean Atoms, which perpetually justle one another with a restless Motion, and whilst each strives to be entertain'd as a Matter of Faith, they run men into greater perplexities and Confusions; and whilst they improve in the Theory, they too commonly decrease in the Practice, spending that time in Curiosity, which ought to be devoted to Charity and Action.

I do not speak this to disparage Humane Learning, or the Use of Philosophy: but as we say of Fire and Water, They are good Servants, but ill Masters: so we may say of that, It is a good Attendant of Divinity, while it continues an humble Companion, but a dangerous Mistress of our Faith. I set as great a value upon these Accomplish­ments as they can justly challenge, but I wish they had kept their proper Sphere and Distance from us: and that these feeble Lights of Humane Knowledge, had not come to stand in competition with the Sunbeams of Divine Revelation, which ought always to be esteemed the glorious Lamp of Christian Religion. I know without the helps of Humane Learning, it is impossible, except by Miracle, to to Read or Understand the Holy Oracles which were committed to the Custody of those Languages of Greek and Hebrew. [Page 251]I know it is impossible without their assist­ance, to search the Registers of former days, or to be acquainted with the Doctrine, Practice, and Customes of the Ancient Catholique Primitive Church: a deficien­cy in which kind of Learning, in our Cler­gy especially, (who do but too commonly make all their Applications to Popular O­ratory, rather than Church History) has been the occasion of many mistakes in men otherwise learned; and it may be we are owing for that Dislike and Aversion, if not hatred of Dissenters to Episcopacy, ra­ther to their little travail in Antiquity, which they despise, because they do not know, than to any solid Arguments they can bring against it. I am satisfied that it is necessary for the Discovery of the Rise, Growth, Reason, and occasion of Errors, and Heresies, which are apt, for want of this, to revive and spring up again: and to see how they have been condemned by the Catholick Church, and the Reasons why: all that I have to say, is, That it may be so restrained as not to deserve St. Pauls Character of vain Philosophy; by com­mitting Outrages and Insolencies upon our Faith. For till such time as men come to quit themselves from these Usurpations upon their Understanding,1 Tim. 6.20. by the Opposi­tions of Science, falsly so called, and can be perswaded not to Credit their own Opi­nions, [Page 252]or those of their Party, with an equal certainty, as they do those Truths which are Divinely revealed from Heaven, there is little possibility of Reconciling them one to another in the amicable composure of Christian Meekness, as it is to Recon­cile their Opinions one to another, or to Truth: and so long as men contend with the same Animosity and Eagerness for ei­ther side of a Theological Question, as they do for that Faith which was once delivered to the Saints, Jude. they will never entertain any kinder thoughts of one another, than that both are Hereticks: when after all their hot Contention, they cannot arrive at a higher degree of knowledge than Pro­bability; and that amounts to no more than this, that though one part of the Opi­nion may be true, yet it is possible that both may be false: and why then should this be obtruded upon any other Person as de Fide.

THERE is nothing that puzzles our Un­derstandings more than the Modes of things; nor are we more in a Mist than when we come to the Hows? How is this done; or how comes that to be so? this is indeed the Terra delfuego, the Intellectua­lis Incognita; in which the boldest Adven­turers are but Coasters, and can give but a lame account of all those vast Territories, and Inland Regions of the Understanding. [Page 253]I dare undertake to plunge the most learn­ed Philosopher in the World, about the meanest Insect, the smallest Plant, how they are produced, how preserved and in­creased, and how they return again to the Common bosom of the first Matter? and though this present Age, notwithstanding the derision of the Ignorant, has made the greatest Advances in Experimental Philoso­phy, and travail'd further in the Modes of things than all that ever were before, yet I am confident their knowledge does but shew them their Ignorance, and teaches them Modestly to confess, that their high­est attainments are terminated in Probabi­lities, and rational Conjectures, and not in Certainties. What is plainer than that the Sun shines, and that by the light of it we discover all visible Objects? but how? remains sub judice, and will do so, till Elias comes, as the Rabbins say: and will be the perpetual puzzle both of the Peri­pateticks, and Cartesian Globularians. Since then we are such strangers to our very sen­ses, and their Natural Objects, which appear plain to us, with which we converse so constantly and familiarly; how can we expect to make greater progresses of knowledge in the Ʋnderstanding? when the Soul it self would be a great Riddle in despight of all Philosophy, if Faith did not come in to its reskue: nor can I tell [Page 254]which way, without that assistance, it would be able to defend its Original, or Duration, its Immortality, or Distinction from that of Brutes, more then in degrees. And though an Apostle, who himself was admitted into the Glorious Regions of the third Heavens,2 Cor. 12.2, 3. could not tell how, Whe­ther in the Body, or out of the Body, God knows: and therefore Experimental­ly assures us,1 Cor. 13.12. That we see through a Glass darkly, [...], in the obscurity of a riddle, and that we know but in part. Yet all this notwithstanding, such is the Opinion that we have of our Knowledge, and Discoveries, and more commonly in Divinity than any thing; that Magisteri­ally we pronounce our Opinion for un­doubted truth; our beloved Fancies for Objects of Faith; and our Conjectures for Certainties; and proud of our imagina­ry [...], the whole World must know it, to do us Honor for the Discovery; and must honor us by believing it, or become our Hatred. There can never be the least hope of Ʋnity, no more than there is pos­sibility of Ʋnanimity, unless men will a­gree about some Common Principles, which may be the Centre of Christianity, where though their Opinions in Circum­stantials, which are not contrary to Faith and good Manners, may be permitted to be drawn at a distance towards the Circum­ference, [Page 255]yet all their Actions may be Uni­ted, and terminate in the Ʋnity of Charity.

I know it is a high and hazardous At­tempt, to offer any such thing to the Con­sideration, or but View of the World: the hight amazes me, and is ready not on­ly to turn my Brains, but all the Resolu­tions I can assure my self withal, back a­gain from the Enterprise. I tremble, though even with the greatest Humility, I speak my thoughts in an Affair of that Moment, the very thinking of which is not excu­sable from all Presumption; and looks but too like being wise in my own Eyes, and prudent in my own Conceit: but as I do it with all submissive Charity, so I hope I shall find Charity from others, and that part of it which hides a multitude of Faults.

THERE are three things which appear the Foundation of all Dissention. First, What is Matter of Faith. Secondly, What is the true Form of Government. Third­lp, The Judge of Differences and Contro­versies. For Christians dissent and separate from one another, either because they imagin of each other, that they do not believe aright: or because they dislike the Government, or because they will not sub­mit to any Determinations, being not a­greed among themselves of a Common Judge of Controversies.

WE will begin with the first. Now Faith being the Foundation of Christian Religion, is, The firm Assent of the mind to the Certainty of such Propositions as are the Conditions required by God, to be by us believed, in Order to our living well here; So as that we may obtain Eternal Happi­ness hereafter in Heaven. For as the Au­thor to the Hebrews, Heb. 11.6. says, Without Faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh unto God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that seek him. Faith being therefore the Founda­tion of Practice, and so absolutely requi­site to Salvation; and the Design of Al­mighty God, 1 Tim. 2.4, 6. being, that all men should be saved by coming to the knowledg of the Truth. For Christ gave himself a Ransom for All. It must be such a Condition in Order to this End,Psal. 51.4. as All may have; That so God may be Justified when he speaks, and clear when he Judges; and if men be not saved, it may appear it was through their own Folly, and not from the difficulty of the Condition which God offers. For it would be infinitely derogatory to the Wis­dom and Goodness of the Divine Nature, to the God of Love, the only Wise God, to give such a Condition of Salvation, as All were not capable of attaining: For Sal­vation is not confined to the Wise and Learned:1 Cor. 1.26. nay, St. Paul seems to intimate [Page 257]the Contrary, Not many Wise men are cal­led, Jude 3. but it is the Common Salvation, in which all, Rich and Poor, High and Low, Young and Old, the Learned and Un­learned, the Wise and the Simple, have a share. The Foundation of this Assent to the Conditional Propositions of Salvation, is not therefore our Understanding of them to be true, by the Power of Reason, our com­prehending or apprehending the manner of them, but it springs from the Confidence that we have of the Veracity of him who propounds them to our Belief: and that we are assured that he will not, because he can­not deceive us, because he is Truth it self, as whoever believes a Supreme Being, must of Necessity believe Truth to be of his Essence.

THUS I believe the Glorious Mystery of the Trinity, Three Persons, but one God, the Incarnation of the Son of God, the proceeding of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, the Resurrection of the Body, and the rest of the Articles of the Christian Faith; not because I dare pretend to understand them, or to give a Satisfactory Reason to my self, how this can be? Or why it should be? but I rest my self satisfied upon the assurance that he who requires me to believe it, cannot deceive me, nor require me to believe what is not most certainly true. But God being in Heaven, in that inaccessable [Page 258] Light of Glory, and I upon Earth, there must be therefore some Internuncius be­tween us, that so I may receive these Con­ditions of Salvation to be believed. This Office was in former times committed to the Prophets,Rom. 3.4. 2 Tim. 3.16. 2 Pet. 1.21. and God spake by them; For God is only true, and all Men may be Lyars, and therefore all Scripture was given by In­spiration; and came not at any time by the Will of Men, but Holy Men of God spoak, being moved by the Holy Ghost. Heb. 1.1. But the great Prerogative of Christian Religion, is, That God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the Fa­thers, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son; whom he hath appointed Heir of all things; by whom also he made the Worlds. Now these Holy Instruments, whom God employed to declare his Will to Men, that they might obtain Credit to their Message, were assisted with power of working Miracles, which were the Letters Testimonial, the Credentials of Heaven, in their behalf, to assure the in­credulous World, that they were Messen­gers and Ambassadors from God; for it is a Natural Inference which Nicodemus made, even whilest he was so Unregene­rate, that he thought Regeneration an Impossibility.Jo. 3.2. Rabbi, we know that thou art a Teacher come from God, for no man can do these Miracles that thou doest, except [Page 259]God be with him. This Revelation of Gods Will, Confirmed to be so by Mira­cles, Signs, and Wonders, when it comes to be considered and attended to, will gain the Assent of the Mind, and that these must needs be Truths of a Divine Extract and Original; Since All their Precepts are free from any Design, but the Advantage of those to whom they are proposed, and to make them partakers of the Divine Na­ture, by the practice of that Truth, In­nocence, Justice, Temperance, and Pu­rity, which they do so Universally require as the Way to Happiness, both in this Life, and that of Celestial Glory and Im­mortality. And these Commands Col­lected into a Body, we call the Holy Ca­non of Sacred Scriptures. I think, I need not produce Arguments to prove those Wri­tings to be the Word and Will of God; that being a Principle so confessed, that without it, no Man can be called a Christian; & I am not now to deal with Heathens, or Infidels.

FROM this Postulatum granted, these Conclusions will Naturally follow; First, That Faith does not depend upon Humane Authority, but upon Divine Revelation. For it came not by the Will of Man, but by the Will of God: And therefore no Hu­mane Authority has any power to Impose upon the Belief, any thing either contrary, or more than God has plainly revealed to [Page 260]be his Will, as the Condition of our Sal­vation; for to Command what God has not commanded, as such a Condition, is insufferable Pride and Insolence; an U­surpation upon the Incommunicable Pre­rogative of him,Heb. 12.2. who is the Author and the Finisher of our Faith. How great then is the Impiety of those, who contrary to the practice of the Universal Church for 1500 years, have added the Books of Apocry­pha, meer Humane Writings, to the Ho­ly Canon, and under pain of Damnation Impose them upon us as matters of Faith, and Conditions of Salvation? How Un­reasonable is it to make Tradition the Foun­dation of Faith, and of Equal value with the Holy Writings? Of which Traditions there being so great Uncertainty, it is ve­ry Improbable our Faith should receive a­ny Confirmation from them: For what is liable to a doubt it self, is very unlikely to take away all cause of Doubting. Yet this is the Faith of the Roman Church in their Ʋnwritten Verities.

SECONDLY, it follows, That nothing ought to be Imposed as De Fide, and the Necessary Condition of Salvation, but what is clearly Demonstrable to be the Will of God revealed; and which all Men, because all are capacitated for Sal­vation, may easily Understand to be so: And since all men have an Equal Title to [Page 261]Salvation, upon their performance of the Conditions by God required to be believed and done, therefore what Faith will Save the Unlearned, will also save the Learn­ed: For God proposeth no different Me­thods, more for the one than the other, for he is no respecter of Persons, Act. 10.35. but in every Nation, he that feareth him, and worketh Righteousness, is accepted with him. So that he who is Baptized, Repents, Lives Righteously, Godly and Soberly in this present World, believing the Gospel of our Lord, and obeying it according to that Belief, shall certainly receive the end of his Faith, and hope the Salvation of his Soul. For these are Truths so clearly contained in the Scripture, that the meanest Capaci­ty may understand them, and perform the Conditions required. Now what is neces­sary and sufficient for all, and whatever is proposed more, is Superfluous; since he that believes this and no more, shall cer­tainly be saved, and he that believes more, shall but be saved: It is therefore the most unreasonable thing in the World, to Impose the Modus of any thing which God has not clearly revealed, upon Men as Es­sential to Salvation: For most of those Modes are Metaphysical Notions, which do as far exceed the Capacities of the Grea­test part of Mankind, as the Mysteries of [Page 262]the Incarnation and Trinity, &c. do those of All, and even of the Angels, who desire to peep or pry into them, 1 Pet. 1.12. [...], because they do not fully Understand them. Is it not unreasonable to exact that from me upon the Credit of a Man, or many Men Saying so, which they are not able to shew me one positive Testimony, or clear Con­sequence for, from the mouth of God, that it is so? and that though I believe all that he requires, as the Condition of Salvation, yet I must be Accursed, and Secluded from Salvation, because I will not Lye, and say, I believe, what in Truth I cannot, for want of Evidence or Capacity? Must I for­feit all I have on Earth, and my hopes of Heaven too, because I do not believe this or that Doctrine, which God has given me a Capacity to believe, nay, which it may be contradicts all those Capacities of Sense and Reason, which he has given me, that I might believe them, and which give me occasion to doubt his Truth; for if he de­ceive my Senses, he may deceive my Un­derstanding and my Hopes at last? Is not this to make God an Austere Master, ga­thering where he has not scattered; and like the Egyptian Taskmasters, to require Brick where he has not afforded Straw to make it? Far be it from the Judg of all the Earth to do this Wrong! This is the very Case of the Sacrament of the Altar [Page 263]in Transubstantion: For it is not enough to believe that Christ is really present there; but I must give my senses the Lye, which neither see him nor feel him (a greater de­gree of Faith than he required of St. Tho­mas) I must discard my Reason, which as­sures me it is impossible that one Body should be in Infinite Places at the same time, and believe how he is there Cor­porally; or be a Heretick: Though nei­ther they who impose it upon me, are a­greed among themselves now it is, nor am I able to Understand what they mean; as the greatest part of the Vulgar are inca­pacitated to receive such Apprehensions; and the most Learned are not able to ex­press them so as to be Understood. Sure it is very hard measure, that a poor Chri­stian should be made a Bloody Sacrifice to Cruelty, because he does not, because he cannot believe that Incruentum Sacrificium of the Mass, and that the Glorified Son of God should be ravished from the Right hand of the Majesty on high, to become passible again, to Expiate for the sins of the Quick and the Dead: Which if it be true, must be the same that he suffered up­on the Cross, and a Bloody Sacrifice, and as great an Impiety as that of the Wicked Jews, who Slew the Lord of Life, and hanged him upon the Tree; and if it be real, and not a Commemorative Sacrifice, is for [Page 264] Christians to Crucifie the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame: Heh. 6.6. and if it be not the same Sacrifice which Christ of­fer'd, it is not propitiatory; and in reali­ty only a sacrificing to our own Nets to En­snare mens Souls. The same Measure ought to be observed of all other Theologi­cal Points, which admitting of variety of Opinions, are not therefore to be imposed as Essentially necessary, and the Conditions of Salvation.

WERE this observed, it would put an End to those Intestine Quarrels which mi­serably rend the Peace and Unity of the Church, by enlarging Faith to the Destru­ction of Charity, which is making broad the Plylacteries, and forgetting Justice and Mercy. This would give a Supersedeas to those doubtful Disputations, against which St. Paul gives an Express Command.Rom. 14.1. And if men were permitted to believe or not believe according to the probability and full perswasion of their own Minds, keep­ing their Faith to themselves, in a private way, which is true Christian Liberty; where men do not impose their Opinions upon others as Essential to Salvation, we should soon see an End of those Mortal Jarrs, and those Unchristian Doctrines, and their strange consequences, which have fill'd the World with Error, Horror, and Confusion, which Cruelty, Injustice, [Page 265]and Persecution, not inferior to that of Pilate, mingling the Blood of those Christians with their Sacrifices, for whom Christ sacrificed his. And were it possible to perswade Men to this Modesty and Mo­deration, the Occasion of Quarrels be­ing taken away, they would live in Unity and Godly Love; and not afflict them­selves, disquiet the World, move Heaven and Earth for the Establishment of a doubt­ful Opinion as matter of Faith, when, may be, it is not of Truth; and without the knowledge of which they may attain Sal­vation. Thus might Men Enjoy their Pri­vate Opinions, without any prejudice to the Publique Peace, and please themselves with their Knowledge, without being puff't up to the Ruine of that Charity which Edifies, and to the affronting Authority by disobe­dience, because it will not permit their Pri­vate Opinions to Ride in the Triumphant Chariot of Conquerors over other mens Faith; then with St. Augustine might men say, Errare possum, Hereticus esse no­lo. They might be mistaken, and be nei­ther Hereticks nor Schismaticks; they might differ from others in their sense, and yet agree in the Common and Essential Faith, which as it owns, so always main­tains the Communion of Saints.

FOR it is not Mens Opinions, but their A­ctions derived from those Opinions, which [Page 266]disturb the Peace of the World, and the Unity of the Church: and a man may be of a contrary Perswasion to another, in many things, and yet Live as becomes a good Christian, in Humility and Charity with him and all others; it is a ferocious Pride and hasty Passion which pretends to make the Narrow way to Heaven wider, by widening Differences, and by opening the Gate to shut out all besides our selves. The way is not in it self so narrow, but that if men were lovers of Peace, they might go thither without jostling one ano­ther; it is not the way for us to Enter in at the strait Gate, to do like the Pharisees, shut others out. They who pretend thus to be the Porters of Paradise, usually are without the Gates themselves, whilst they brandish the flaming Sword on every side to frighten others.

THEN would the Doctrines of Supre­macy, Satisfaction, Purgatory, &c. which have rent the seamless Coat in a thousand pieces, cease to make Divisions in the World. But this we may wish and pray for, but can scarcely hope to see, so long as the insatiable thirst of Temporal Ad­vantages stops the Mouth of Truth; and the desire of Soveraignty shall Exalt the Idol of Profitable Opinion, into the Throne and Sacred Temple of Divinely revealed Faith.

AND whereas for many Ages past men have beaten their Brains,Joel 3.10. To beat their Plough-shares into Swords, and their Pru­ning Hooks into Spears, have Employed those Parts and Abilities (with which they ought to have broken up the fallow Ground, Hos. 10.12. to sow in righteousness what we might reap in Peace) to wound one anothers sides. Would they follow this Rule of Charity, we might see the Glorious Prophecy of Mi­cha fulfilled:Mich. 4.1, 2, 3, 4. For in the last Days it shall come to pass that the Mountain of the Lords house shall be Exalted above the Hills, and all Nations shall flow unto it: and many Nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his Ways, and we will walk in his Paths: and they shall beat their Swords into Plough-shears, and their Spears into Pruning Hooks: Nation shall not rise up a­gainst Nation, neither shall they learn War any more: but they shall sit every man under his Vine and under his Fig Tree, and none shall make them affraid.

I know it will be objected, That the Scriptures are full of [...], those things difficult to be understood. To which I answer with the Apostle,2 Tim. 3.15, 16, 17. The holy Scrip­tures are able to make any man wise unto Salvation through Faith which is in Jesus Christ; being given by Inspiration of God, [Page 268]for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction, in Righteotsness, that the Man of God may be perfect, thoroughly fur­nished unto all good Works. All this is contained in them in plain and easy Lan­guage; and who can desire more? what is necessary to be believed or done, is to be found there without such Difficulty, and that is all that either is or can properly be our Concern. The Design of Religion is not to entertain the speculative, or gratifie the Curious, but to guide the Practical Chri­stian in his Duty. And if there be difficult places, there is no necessity of our Under­standing them. For he that inspired the Holy Pens, cannot without the greatest Impiety be argued of acting negligently, insufficiently, or without Design, as other careless Writers may: and that they are not more clear and perspicuous, ought with a becoming reverence, due to the only wise God, to be believed, that they are therefore wrapt up in Mysterious words, either be­cause they are not necessary, or not fit for us to know. Nor is there the least danger in such humble Ignorance; but there is cer­tainly in a presumptuous Curiosity, and seek­ing after the Tree of Knowledge which God has prohibited by planting the Wall of Obscurity about it; and if we will, with the Bethshemites, be Peeping into the Ark, we may expect to be punished justly by [Page 269]wresting the Scriptures to our own Damna­tion: and much more if, being Unlearned and Private Men, we undertake to give Publique Interpretations and Determina­tions different from both the Catholique Faith and Church.2 Pet. 1.20. For no Scripture is of Private Interpretation.

AND that this is the danger, is as evident as the Punishment of it is certain: for here is the Spring head of Errors and Heresies; which always took their Original from the Transgression of this Caution. For when men will leave the plain and beaten Path, the easy Way to Happiness here, and Heaven hereafter, by Faith and Obedience, to seek for it in their own Wisdom and Nice­ties; it is no wonder, if they wander out of the Way of Truth; when they permit themselves to be lead by their Private Opi­nions and Interpretations, it is the blind leading the blind in the Darkness of Mid­night; and no wonder then if at last they stumble and fall into the blackness of E­ternal Darkness. For self-love is a very blind Guide, and self-Conceit a worse, and they must needs be in darkness to whom God denies the light of the Spirit, which he does in all obscure places of Scripture; and if, as he told the Jews, men therefore Err not knowing the Scripture, they must needs Err, who will know more than he will let them.

To confirm the truth of this Doctrine, and that the Holy Canon is, as the word Imports, a Rule not only of our Actions, but our Faith; I would desire any Person to give me a reason why he Believes the three Famous Creeds which contain the sum and substance of our Christian Faith? there can be but these three Reasons; First, Be­cause he immediately by Divine Revela­tion is assured of his Faith; or Secondly, Because he is perswaded by some Person or Persons to believe; or Thirdly, Because he finds the Articles there mentioned, ei­ther in plain Words, or evident Conse­quences, in Scripture, which, for good rea­son, he believes to be the Dictates of divine­ly inspired Penmen.

THE First all sober Men reject, as lead­ing directly to Enthusiasm, and under pre­tence of Heavenly Revelations, to intro­duce Hellish Impieties and Doctrines of Devils, who having a Power to transform themselves into Angels of Light, may take that Advantage to Impose upon strong Fancies and weak Judgments.

FOR the Second, a man will thus argue, Why should I believe this or these Men, since all men are Fallible; and they who may be deceived, may therefore deceive; and if I believe this Man, why not ano­ther; why not Mahomet, who pretended to the Holy Ghost as much as they?

AND therefore Thirdly, Faith must be resolved into the first Principle of it, which is Gods Truth, and Infallibility, and that Word which I believe to be his, and therefore more Credible than the Word of any, or all Men. Thus was Faith first propagated in the World, and thus it must be increased; for the Multitudes to whom the Apostles Preached throughout the World, did not believe St. Peter or St. Paul, that Preached Jesus, and the Resurrection, Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgment to come; but seeing the Miracles which they did, they believed that this was the Word of God, and that Jesus was the Son of God, agreable to the Doctrine of the Pro­phets in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. This Method our Lord made use of with his Disciples.Luke 24.5.4. Then opened he their Ʋnderstanding, that they might Ʋnderstand the Scriptures; that all things must be ful­filled which were written in the Law of Mo­ses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning him: and he said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again the third day from the Dead: and that Repentance and Remission of Sins should be Preached in his Name among all Nations, beginning at Je­rusalem. This Doctrine of Faith the A­postles believed, this they Preached, not as their own, but the Faith of Christ; this [Page 272]they committed to Writing, and delivered to the Christians as the Rule of their Faith and Life:Rom. 15.4. For as the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and whatsoever was Writen a­foretime, was written for our Learning, that we through Patience and Comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope; So were the Scriptures of the New Testament given us a new Rule, and a Royal Law of Liber­ty; that we might not Glory in Men, 1 Gor. 3.21, 22. c. 4.1.6. nei­ther in Paul, nor Cephas; But that we might esteem them Stewards of the Mysteries of God: And not to think of them above what is Written: Which place, if throughly con­sidered, teaches us not to prefer any Man or Men above the Scripture.

THIS will appear further, if we consi­der the Nature of a Rule; for a Rule is the constant, certain, infallible, unchange­able measure, according to which I judg of any thing, whether it be true or false. And if I can but suppose what is offer'd me for a Rule, to be false, or if I know it is or may be false, it can be no Rule; because it leaves me in an Uncertainty, whether I am Right or Wrong. But the Scripture cannot be supposed to be false; for admit­ting that supposition, they are no longer Scriptures, or the Word of God; for eve­ry word of God is true. Men have been, are, and will be Fallible; Traditions are dubious, and uncertain, but the Word of [Page 273]God is tried to the uttermost; and coming from the Infallible Author of all Truth, is the Touchstone of the Truth of Men and their Doctrines; and by that we examine, by that we judg of mens Faith and actions,Isa. 8.20. If they speak not according to the Law and the Testimony, it is because there is nei­ther Light nor Truth in them.

THE Mistake seems to be in Confounding the Difference between a Rule and a Guide: and they who would advance the Authority of the Church above the Scripture, set the Judg above the Law, and Confound him with it. The Church is indeed the Guide which instructs us; but if her Instructions are not according to her Rule of Scripture, when we hope for Bread, she gives us a Stone, and instead of a Fish, a Scorpion; Mortal Poyson for wholesome Nourish­ment. To Illustrate this, Suppose I de­sire to learn the Mathematicks: I there­fore apply my self to a Person skilful in that Incomparable Science, and intreat him to direct me: He shews me Euclid's Elements, as the Foundation of Mathe­matical Knowledg, and therefore reads and explains it to me. Pray now who is the Rule, the Master, or the Book? Cer­tainly all men who have not forfeited their Reason, will say the Book is the Rule, the Man the Guide; and if he give me a­ny thing for a Demonstration contrary to [Page 274]the Principles therein contained, I know by them that he is mistaken, because he he has not instructed me according to the Rule. The case is the same, only the In­fallibility of the Scriptures is more cer­tain, being founded upon the Infallibility of God: They are the Rule, the Gover­nors of the Church, the Guides appointed by God for that purpose; to them therefore men resort for Instruction; but if they teach either what is their own, or other mens, contrary to the Rule; they are false Guides; and why so? But because they give a false Rule; betraying that high Trust by God reposed in them, to be Eyes to the Blind, and Feet to the Lame; to conduct them to Eternal Bliss, by the Di­rections of that Rule of which St. Paul says,Gal. 6.16. As many as walk according to this Rule, Peace be on them and Mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

AND even they who contend so earnest­ly against the Scriptures being the Rule of Faith and Life, ought to shew some other End and Design of the Scriptures, and a better Rule; and not Confute them­selves, and all their Assertions and Argu­ments, by making this the Rule of Belie­ving, whilst they bring Arguments out of it against it self, which they would have there­fore believed, because they are Scripture; plainly confessing it to be the Ultimate [Page 275] Rule, and that nothing can properly be matter of Faith, but what is agreeable to it: Which has made the Romish Doctors sweat and toyl so vehemently to Extort Confessions from the Scripture,Tert. de Prae­script. adv. He­retic. as Tertulli­an says, Caedem Scripturarum faciunt ad materiam suam, even Murdering it almost to make it speak to their purpose: And since they could not prevail with it to De­pose against the Truth, they have put it in­to the Inquisition; Imprisoning it in the Vulgar Latin, lest if it should get abroad and speak Truth, as it would do in despight of all Opposition, it would proclaim their Injustice and Violence, to the meanest Ca­pacities of the Vulgar, among them who would hereby come to detect the Pious Frauds and profitable Follies, which are imposed upon them, as matter of Faith.

THE ancient Church believed the Scrip­tures the Rule of Faith, and therefore took care to have them Translated into Sy­rian, Chrys. Hom. 1. in Joh. Aegyptian, Ethiopian, Persian, and other innumerable Languages; as St. Chry­sostom testifies; and Theodoret says,Theod. de Cur. Graec. affect. lib. 5. the Bi­ble was Translated into all Languages used in the World, Greek, Latin, Persian, Indian, Armenian, Scythian, Sarmatian. And this seems one, if not the principal Rea­son why the Holy Ghost did Miraculously descend in Cloven Tongues upon the A­postles, inabling them to speak in several [Page 276] Languages; for the Parthians, Medes, E­lamites, Dwellers in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pam­phylia, in Lybia, and Cyrene, Crete and Arabia, heard them speak the wonderful Works of God. If they might have used the Compendious way of Instructing them to believe as the Church believes, and had made themselves The rule of Faith, and like the Priests of Memphis, delivered their Hieroglyphical Faith from one to a­nother, there would have been no need of all this; or of their Pains, who afterwards were so diligent to Translate the Scrip­tures into all Languages, to instruct all Nations, and to let them see, there was no Cheat or Juggle in Religion, by exposing it to the view of the severest Criticks.

CHAP. XV.

I Suppose there are no Dissenters among us, except those of the Roman Com­munion, but will willingly accord the Scriptures to be the Rule of Faith and Man­ners. And though there may be differ­ences between us and them in some Mate­rial points of Doctrine, yet the Apple of Strife is about the Government of the Church: Some contending for a Parity and Equality, as the Presbyterians; others for [Page 277]an Absolute Independency of any the least Congregation of Men calling themselves a Church: Others for a Democratick A­narchy, as the Anabaptists and Quakers, and several other Enthusiasts: But all point blank against Episcopacy; though hitherto they have not been able to satisfie the World for what Offence. As for the In­dependency of Churches, I shall only say in short, that it opens the way to endless Sepa­rations, and innumerable Errors and He­sies, no man having power to Judg of them, besides themselves: And slies so far from the Popery of Hierarchy, that it runs in­to a worse Extream, and makes every Pa­stor Supreme Bishop, Patriarch, and Pope of his Congregation.

BUT these People having no Pretensi­ons to a National Government, appear not so Dangerous to the State as to them­selves; nor so troublesome as those who contend for Soveraignty, and endeavour to pull down the Pillars of the Church, to Establish their own Synagogue and Spiri­tual Sannedrim of Lay-Ecclesiasticks; and whereas the other will be contented with a Chappel of Ease, these make the World Uneasie, because they may not have the Cathedral and Mother Church. And this People, the most Industrious of all Mankind, the most Vigilant and Indefa­tigable, who compass Sea and Land, to [Page 278]make Prosylites and a Party, as they are the most Numerous and most powerful, so are they most Dangerous, both in their Po­sitions, and in their Actions; and whilest they Clothe Episcopacy with the Title of Idolatry and Superstition, as the Heathens did Christians with the skins of Wild Beasts, to make the Lyons and Tygers fall upon them; so do they; Then animate the Populace to Worry them by Tumults, Clamours, and Outcries against them: And under pretence of Destroying Idola­try, take Commission from the Law of Moses to break the Commands of the Go­spel. For a late Instance of which I re­fer the Reader to the Printed Narrative of Mitchel and his Field Conventiclers, the Whigs of Scotland, and to their former Practices in England, both against parti­cular Persons, and the Publique State; which fell a Sacrifice to this great Idol of Idolatry, and fear of Popery.

I will therefore endeavour to give a true Account of the Office and Institution of E­piscopal Authority in the Church; being not without Hopes, but that Men of Calm and sober spirits will submit to Truth, how contrary soever it may appear to those Prejudices, which for want of better In­formation, they have been so long accu­stomed to.

THAT there ought to be Government in [Page 279]the Church, I presume no Judicious Per­son will make the least scruple of; in re­gard God Almighty took such particular Care of his Church in the Jewish Nation: And we cannot think, that under the Go­spel, which is a better Covenant, he would leave it to Anarchy and Confusion. The Controversie is, What manner and Form of Government? Now that it was Episco­pal, is the thing which we maintain, and I hope to prove, and not only that, but that it is of Divine Institution. And first for the Name of Bishop, which in the Greek is [...], an Overseer, Christ himself was the first Bishop, and is so styled by St. Pe­ter, The Bishop of our Souls; 1 Pet. 2.25. St. Paul makes frequent mention of the Name in his Epistles to Timothy and Titus, and calls it the Office of a Bishop; and affirms, that if any man desire it, he desires a good Work: This is a true saying, [...], it is a faithful saying: And what is by the Mouth of Divine Verity pronounced, not only an Office (and that implies Power) but a desirable Office and good Work, can­not without Sacrilegious Blasphemy, be styled Antichristian; and it is no modest Impiety to Combine against God, and so­lemny Covenant and Vow the Extirpation of it, Root and Branch. Rom. 2.22. Thou that abor­rest Idols, dost thou commit Sacriledg? Our Blessed Lord tells us, Every Plant [Page 280]which my Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up; & one would Judg by that Rule, that Episcopacy in the Government of the Church, were a plant of Gods own planting; since for 1600 years and up­wards, all the Power & Malice of Men and Devils, have not been able to pluck it up: But he has graciously been pleased to Pro­tect it;Psal. 104.16. so that it has been Like the Cedars of Lebanus which the Lord hath planted. And he has made good his promise to be with them to the End of the World: And Those that be planted in the House of the Lord, Psal. 92.13, 14, 15. shall flourish in the Courts of our God, they shall bring forth more fruit in their Old age, they shall be Fat and flourish­ing; to shew that the Lord is upright (just to his Promise) he is their Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. And what for all this Root and Branch! O vain Men! If ye have run with footment, Jer. 12.5. and they have wearied you, how can ye contend with Horses; If you have fought with Men, and have not been able to prevail, how will you be able to fight with God? Remember Gamaliel's counsel; For if this work be of God, Act. 5.39. you cannot overthrow it, (your selves, you may) and will be found to fight against God. And you will find that Impar Con­gressus, a very unequal Combat. The Gi­ants, who thought to Conquer Heaven, Purchast Hell. Heaven is not to be had [Page 281]by such violence as opposes it, but Hell and Damnation certainly will.

I hope the greatest part of those who do so violently persecute this Name and Office, are like St. Paul; and may with him find Mercy, though they be Blasphe­mers and Persecutors, provided like him they did it ignorantly, and cease to kick against the Thorns. And this they cannot do, unless they acknowledge both the Name and Office of a Bishop to be of Divine In­stitution.

Take heed, saith St. Paul, Acts 20.28. therefore un­to your selves, and to all the Flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you Over­seers (the Translating of which Word hath occasion'd a world of Mischief and Mistakes, and was certainly a great over­sight, having made so many oversee the Bishop in it) for it is in the Greek, [...], over which the Holy Ghost hath appointed, or placed you Bishops. So that however, the Name of Bishop is not to be rooted out; nor is it Popish or Antichristian, as the Credulous Vulgar are made believe. I know what will be the answer: The same Saint Paul, in the same Chapter, Vers. 17. calls them Presbyters. And this they think above all the places in Scripture concludes against Episcopacy, and proves not only the Parity, but Aerian Identity [Page 282]of Bishops and Presbyters. But stay, my Masters, let not Passionate Opinion outrun Truth and Reason. St. Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God having Preached the Gospel in all the Cities of the lesser Asia, being upon his Journey to Je­rusalem, he comes to Miletus; and from thence sends to Ephesus, and calls for the Presbyters of the Church; upon their coming, he acquaints them with the sor­rowful Message, that he was to leave them for ever, and take his last farewell of them: And now behold I know, that ye all (says he) among whom I have gone Preaching the Kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Whilst he was conversant among them, he was their Spiritual Guide and Ruler, but now that he was to leave them, and could not discharge that part of the Apostolical Function of Government, (which he calls elsewhere,2 Cor. 11.28. The Care of all the Churches, which came upon him daily) in his own person; he therefore takes Care that there should be some left behind him who might; and Ephesus being one of the most Populous Cities of Asia, in regard of the vast Concourse of People from all Parts to the Famous Temple of Diana: and there being many Congregations of Christians there, he having by the space of two years continued there, so that all they who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the [Page 283]Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks; he therefore sends for the Presbyters who re­sided in that City, by virtue of his Aposto­lical Authority; and there declares unto them, that for the time to come they were to take that care of the Churches which he had done: and that they might not do this of their own heads, or fear to do it for want of a Lawful Calling and Or­dination; he declares the Will of God to them; and that the Holy Ghost had ap­pointed them to be Bishops. So that they came indeed Presbyters to him, but they went away Bishops from him; and Bishops not of his own, but the Holy Ghosts ap­pointment.

IT is a Rule among Divines, That where the Literal sense of Scripture is plain, we are to follow that. And that this is the plain Historical and Literal meaning of the Words, without the least wresting or violence offer'd to them, is most obvious: and that by this Power of Episcopacy, which the Holy Ghost added to their former of Presbytery, they were to take the Care of the Government of the Church, as well in Ruling as Instructing, there are these Rea­sons:

FIRST, When he sends for them he calls them Presbyters, and not Bishops, which, if there had been no difference, he might as well have done; and supposing that the [Page 284] Holy Ghost must foresee that this Contro­versie would arise in the Church, we can­not believe he would contribute to it by such an ambiguity, but the contrary, that they were only Presbyters, as the Holy Ghost calls them first, and then advanced to be Bishops by his appointment.

SECONDLY, He puts the Government into their hands, by resigning his own, in regard he was to see them no more.

THIRDLY, He directs them in their Office, which he divides into three Parti­culars. First,Vers. 28. To feed the Church of God, which he had purchased with his own Blood; to instruct them in the Faith and Doctrine of Christian Religion. Secondly, To watch against Errors and Heresies:Vers. 29, 30, 31. For I know this (saith he) that after my de­parting, shall grievous Wolves enter in a­mong you, not sparing the Flock: also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw Disciples after them; therefore Watch. Now, what sig­nifies Vigilancy without Power? and what Power have the Watchmen, but to Admo­nish, and Rebuke, and at last to Excom­municate the Obstinate? And let them shew me this Power ever Exercised in the Church by any, besides a Bishop, and let them take the Cause. Thirdly, To Exer­cise Hospitality; to support the Poor, and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, [Page 285]how he said, It is more blessed to give, than to receive. According to another Precept of his, in which he comprises them all. For a Bishop must be blameless, 1 Tim. 3.2. the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good be­haviour, given to hospitality; apt to teach. Lastly, Here is no imperfect footstep of their Solemn Consecration, for when he had ended his Message and Direction,Vers. 36. When he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

AND to manifest, that though every Bi­shop be a Presbyter, yet every Presbyter is not a Bishop; and that the Difference con­sists in Power and Rule, which the Bi­shops have over the Presbyters as well as the rest of the People, I doubt not to make most plain from Scripture and Anti­quity. For,

FIRST, St. Paul says Expresly, That it is one qualification of a Bishop;1 Tim. 4, 5. He must be one that ruleth well his own house, ha­ving his Children in subjection with all gra­vity; for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God? how shall he rule the house of God? and find me but one Example in Scripture, or ancient Church History, where any one, who was not a Bishop as well as a Presbyter, ever Exercised this Ju­risdiction of Ruling: the Presbyters had indeed a Rule, but with subordination to [Page 286]the Bishops.1 Tim. 5.17, 18. Let the Presbyters that Rule well, be counted worthy of double Honor, especially they who labour in the Word and Doctrine; (for anciently in the Church eve­ry Priest was not a Preacher, as is plain, not only from this place, but from the Church History) but that the Presbyters might not be Exalted beyond their Bounds, to think this Rule equal to that of the Bi­shops over the Church; he allays the Tu­mor in the very next words, and shews the the difference, the subordination, and subje­ction which they owed to the Judicature of the Bishop, as Timothy was there. Against a Presbyter, receive not an Accusa­tion but before two or three Witnesses, which is not spoken of Private Adom­nition, [...], unless there be two or three Witnesses, and them that sin Re­buke openly, that others may fear. To re­ceive an Accusation, plainly infers a supe­rior Jurisdiction, a power to hear Witnes­ses, and according to their Depositions, to rebuke openly, is certainly an Effect of Authority. And he follows the blow close, giving him another Direction about Ordination, Vers. 21, 22. that he should Lay hands sud­dainly on no man, preferring one before another by Partiality. So that here is a distinct Power of a Bishop from a Priest; To lay on hands, or Ordain, to receive Accusa­tions against Presbyters, to Examine Wit­nesses, [Page 287]and according to their Testimony, to proceed to Judgment, to give Sentence openly; to Rebuke those that Sin: even the Presbyters as well as others; for if they may be accused and convened, and found guilty of sin, they also ought and may be rebuked and punished: As to that place of the 5th Chap. Rebuke not an Elder; it is apparently meant of those who are such by Years, and not by Office Presbyters, or Priests, and to teach us that there is a respect due to the Reverend head, Age; as is plain from the words, Rebuke not an El­der, but intreat him as a Father, and the younger Men as Brethren, the Elder Women as Mothers, and the younger as Sisters, with all Purity. This he further Explains in his Epistle to Titus. Tit. 1.5, 6, 7. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in Order the things that are wanting, [...], ap­point, Constitute Presbyters in every City (making them Bishops) as I have appoint­ed thee. That Saint Paul left Presbyters there, both in Age and Office, no doubt can be made: but yet something was want­ing still, and because he would not him­self lay hands suddenly upon them, and the Affairs of the Church calling him a­away, he leaves Titus, a Bishop there, to set in order what was wanting; that was, upon their good demeanour, to advance them into the Power of Bishops, which [Page 288]was wanting at St. Pauls departure, and the following words make it plain, that this was the thing wanting, and which he appointed Titus to do. By the Direction he gives about them,Vers. 10, 11. For a Bishop must be blameless, as the Steward of God, (a high Office, and a large Jurisdiction) for there are many unruly (there was the Necessity of Bishops to Rule) whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole Houses, teach­ing things which they ought not, for filthy Lucres sake. So that Titus was to make Bishops in that Populous Island, that so they might have Authority, which, as Presbyters, they had not to, stop the mouths of the Seducers. And how were these unruly Subverters to be Treated and Go­verned? even by rebuking them sharply, Vers. 13. and stopping their Mouths, [...], by silen­cing them. And how could that be done, but by the Authority of the Bishop, who was to let them and the People know, that if they persisted in their disobedience,Vers. 16. They were abominable, and Reprobates, and therefore to be cast out of the Church, For though they profess to know God, yet in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good Work Re­probate. Therefore abominable, because disobedient. Silencing then of Subverters of Houses, unruly vain Talkers, Deceivers, is no new thing in the Church, nor Bi­shops [Page 289]Persecutors for so doing. Nor is there any way of stopping their Mouths in the Church, but by this Authority of Excommunication; and if they submit not to this, all their Pretences to Godliness will not excuse them from denying him, and being Reprobates because, Disobedi­ent. What must we then think of those who will not have their Mouths stopped, either by the Power of the Church, or Civil Magistrate, but in the highest degree of Unruly and Mutinous Disorder are Disobedience to both: Indeavouring to draw Disciples after them, that they may first take away from the Bishop the defence of the Magistrates Sword, and then with Ease Extirpate Episcopacy, Root and Branch, Office and Name, Power and Authori­ty.

THUS you see, that the Holy Ghost ap­pointed Bishops in the Primitive Church; you see their Office and Authority; and that Presbyters were their Lawful Inferi­ors, that they had Power to Ordain, to Rebuke, to acquit or Condemn, to stop the Mouths of the Unruly. So that here is both the Name and the Thing, the Ti­tle and the Office, confirmed by clear and evident Testimony of Scripture. Now let us see what Obedience is due to them. We intreat you, Brethren (saith St. Paul, 1 Thess. 5.12, 13. and his Modest Intreaty [...]y, I hope, with­out [Page 290]offence, pass for a Command) to know them that labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in Love for their Works-sake, and be at Peace among your selves. How know these [...], these Rulers? For they could not be ignorant of their Persons or Names, but know their Office, know their Power, that so by sub­mission you may maintain Peace.

BUT the Author to the Hebrews is plain and Positive.Heb. 13.17. Obey them that have the Rule over you, [...], which word will carry more than some Envious People will well like of in Bishops, and will not only intitle them to Rule, but their Ho­nour too; as will appear to any who is not a stranger to the Greek Language; For it signifies not only a bare Ruler, or a Guide, but a Captain and a Prince, and warrants a Bishops being so in the New Te­stament, as well as a Priest under the Old: But to avoid Offence, I know there are none of those Reverend Fathers of the Church, but will be pleased to derive their Titles from another Fountain of Honour. I speak this to shew that God Almighty by his Spirit in Scripture is pleased to Ho­nour them with the high Character of Princes and Governors; and that there­fore they are not to be Vilified and De­spised, as son [...]n Wanton, and other Viru­lent [Page 291]Tongues and Pens too frequently do. But to proceed; He continues to shew what kind of Obedience this must be, [...], submit your selves, without resist­ing, be in Subjection. And he adds the Reason, For they watch, for your Souls, as they that must give an Account, that they may do it with Joy, and not with Grief. Does God expect an account of Souls from these spiritual Guides and Rulers? Then cer­tainly he cannot in Justice leave them De­stitute of Power and Authority to Rule and Guide, as means to enable them to give a good Account of their Charge: And to suppose the contrary, were to suppose an End without a Way. And since they have such a Charge, all those who are within their respective Jurisdictions, are bound to yield Obedience to them, as they will answer before the Bar of Divine Ju­stice, for the Guilt, not only of Destroy­ing their own Souls, but those of others, whom they teach to Refuse to Obey those who have the Rule over them, and are ap­pointed Bishops by the Holy Ghost.

AND whereas St. Peter calls himself a Presbyter, and by ranking himself among them, seems to intimate they are all one, this does not at all prove that he was not a Bishop too:1 Pet. 1.1. For he calls himself Peter an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and his Humility in calling himself [...],Chap. 5.1. their fel­low [Page 292] Presbyter, does no more prove that a Bishop and Presbyter are the same, than that a Presbyter and Apostle are; for though they were his fellow Presbyters, yet they were not his fellow Apostles; and further, it appears that these Presbyters, of which he calls himself a Sym-Presbyter, were Bishops as well as Priests; for Wri­ting to the several Churches scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia, and calling the Governors of those Churches, Fellow Presbyters, argues as much; but the second Verse puts it out of doubt, for he says, they must Episco­pize [...], feed the Flock of Christ as Bishops; and therefore this place will never prove that the Authority of a bare Presbyter, is equal to that of a Bishop, or one who was a Fellow Presbyter of Saint Peter.

LET us see now what the next Age thought of it. I will not run through the whole Church-History, but con­tent my self with the Testimony of Ignatius, who was the Scholar of Saint John, the beloved Apostle and Disciple of our Lord, who leaned on Jesus's Bosom, and one may well suppose therefore, knew his Breast, and what Government his Lord appointed in the Church, and had Episcopacy been Antichristian, would not have failed to tell us so; and when [Page 293]he tells us there are many Antichrists, he would have told us that this was one, if he had believed it to be so; and have instructed his Scholar to put down and not Exalt this Antichrist in the Church of God.1 Jo. 2.18. This Ig­natius, who was afterwards in the Ele­venth year of Trajan, Crowned with Martyrdom at Rome, being torn in pieces by Wild Beasts, as Eusebius gives us an account;Euseb. Eccl. His. l. 3. c. 19. & 35. he speaks as plain of the Dif­ference between a Bishop and a Presby­ter, as Pen can write, or Heart can wish. In his Epistle to the Magnesians, Ig. Ep. ad Mag­nes. [...]. The Bishop (saith he) is seated in the first place, as in the place of God, and the Pres­byters as the Senate of the Apostles. And in another place of the same E­pistle; They, says he, who Act without a Bishop [...], to such Christ will say, Why do ye call me Lord, Lord, and do not the works which I Command you? Such Persons seem to me not to be of a good Conscience, [...], but to be Hypocrites and Dissemblers. And in his Epistle to the Trallians, he Com­mands them in the Language of the Author to the Hebrews, Ignat. Epist. ad Trall. To be sub­ject unto this Bishop, as unto the Lord, for he Watches for your souls. And in another place, he tells them [...]. [Page 294] It is absolutely necessary, [...], That you should do no­thing without the Bishop. Thus we see, the Sons of the Church in the first Centu­ry of the Apostles of Christ being yet li­ving, thought of Bishops as we do. And therefore it is both Undeniable and Undu­bitable, that Episcopal Government was of Divine Institution, and that a Bishop and a Presbyter are two different things in the Primitive Church both as to Power and as to Name. I might bring a whole Cloud of Witnesses of less Antiquity, but if these will not convince, if the Testimony of Scripture, and so Primitive a man and a Bishop, as Ignatius, be of no value, I can have little hopes of convincing Gain­sayers by multitude, who have abandoned Reason.

THUS stood the Affairs of the Church for above 300 Years, no man making the least Question or Dispute, but that the Go­vernment by Episcopacy was of Gods ap­pointment, one Bishop still succeeding a­nother, as in the Ecclesiastical Historians my be seen in most of the Principal Cities of the World,Epiphan. l. 3. Tom. 1. Haeres. 25. till Aerius being Educated with Eustathius, and being his equal in Learning and Age, took it as a great di­sparagement that Eustathius was pre­ferred before him to a Bishoprick, for which they were Competitors: upon this [Page 295]discontent he not only fell foul upon Eusta­thius, objecting (as our Aerians do) a­gainst him. Pride and Covetousness; but his Resentments for the Mortal displea­sure, broak out against the whole Function, contemning the prescribed Fasts of the Church, and teaching by the same Arguments with ours, that a Bishop and a Priest were all one by the Scriptures, of equal Power, Authority, and Jurisdi­ction, which, saith Epiphanius, is an As­sertion stultitiae plena, full of Folly. But this being but one discontented Priests Opi­nion, was neither much regarded, nor long lived; the current belief of the Scripture, and the constant Usage of the Church, which knew no other Government, run so strong, that he was drowned in it; nor did the Heresie ever float again till this last Age, of which St. Clement, who was con­temporary to St. Paul, and his fellow La­bourer, Phil. 4.3. as he calls him, seems to prophecy in that Epistle of his to the Corinthians, which, I think, was never suspected to be spurious; where he tells us, there would come a time when there should be [...],Clem. Ep. ad Cor. a contention a­bout the very name of a Bishop.

BY virtue of this Power it was that the Rulers of the Church ordered and appoint­ed all things which were done, which were of an indifferent Nature in Govern­ment, [Page 296]as about the Observation of Holy Fasts and Festivals, the manner of Cele­brating the Service and Worship of God, the Prayers and Alms of the Church, the Postures, Gestures, and Habits which were to be made use of, and all other Rites and Ceremonies; following herein the Scrip­ture as the Rule of Faith and Manners, and the General Precepts therein contained as Rules of Government, which were prin­cipally these:

FIRST, That nothing imposed should be repugnant or contrary to any Article or Branch of Faith, or a Holy Life, or to any Customs of the Church recorded in Holy Writ.

SECONDLY, That all their Commands might have a respect to Decency, Order, Re­verence, and Edification.

THIRDLY, That All might have a ten­dency to Ʋnity, Peace, and Concord, and that diversity of Customs and Opinions might not breed Schisms and Contentions; and I shewed before, how when in some of these things there was a difference in several Churches, yet still they held Com­munion one with another, maintaining in­violably the same Faith and Government in all.

THIS was the Condition of the Church both as to Faith and Polity, till such time as the great Powers of the Earth, the Ro­man [Page 297]Emperours and other Kings became Christians, and took up the Cross of Christ as the Glory of their Crowns. The first of which was Constantine the Great. These Temporal Powers then took the Church into their Protection, made Temporal Laws for the better Management of it, and to preserve it from the Injuries of Hea­then Idolaters without, and Hereticks with­in: and having the Sword in their hand, undertook, as it was their Duty, to punish Evil doers, who darst transgress the Laws of the Church, with Temporal Punish­ments, as well as those who broak the Laws of the Civil Magistrate; and to in­courage the Peaceable and Religious. From the Bounty of these Princes, and that of others of plentiful Fortunes, and and by their Example, the Church came to be Endowed with Temporalties, and an Honourable, Constant, and Encouraging Maintainance was provided and settled upon those who were to serve at the Altar; that so they might be inabled and furnish­ed with all sorts of Learning, well know­ing, that proportionate Rewards are the spurs to Learning and Virtue, as the Wis­dom of God, for our Encouragement to Pursue and Obtain her, tells us,Prov. 8.18.3.4. Riches and Honour are with me, yea durable Riches and Righteousness, and that length of days are in her right hand, and in her left hand [Page 298]Riches and Honour. And that according to the Apostolical Command,1 Cor 9.11, 14. They which sow Spiritual things, should also reap Car­nal, for so hath the Lord commanded, that they which Preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.

BY this it appears, That now there was a double Obligation laid upon all Christians to be Obedient to the Commands of the Church; both because they derive their Power from God, and because the Tempo­ral Power did now concur to strengthen the Duty by the Obligations of Humane Laws; nor can any thing, or any pretence of Conscience authorize their Disobedience to both those Powers, unless the things commanded be manifestly proved to con­tradict the Faith, or be repugnant to good Life; which till Dissenters can do, they will be obstinate Schismaticks before God, and Rebels against their Prince; and in a fair way to be Traytors. too; whilst they break his Laws both Civil and Ecclesiasti­cal; however they may flatter themselves with the Title of Saints. And so soon as they can prove their Charge against any of the Ceremonies, and that they are Un­lawful in reality, and not only in supposi­tion, they shall be gratified by their Abo­lition, or amendment, if that will do. And if they cannot prove their Accusati­ons, would they be so unjust, as to have not [Page 299] Justice but Injury done to the Innocent, by abrogating those Modes of Worship and Customs in the Church, which the whole Church has allowed? that Government which God appointed, which he has ap­proved by maintaining, supporting, and defending it to this present day, against all the Opposition of Infidels and Here­ticks, those two Gates of Hell? One would think that Rule of Vincentius Liri­nensis were satisfactory to men of Reason and Sobriety; Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus, id quidèm verè est Catho­licum. That which every where, always, and by all has been received, must needs be a Catholick Truth; but such is the Pow­er, Rule, Authority of Bishops for Guiding the Church, and appointing the Modes of Worship. And they who will oppose this spring Tide of Universal Testimony, will but drown themselves in the Odious name of Schismaticks and Heriticks, of whom these have been the Characters. Mos semper fuit Hereticorum, quorum Doctrinam non possunt confutare, illorum vitam in Odi­um trahere. It has always been the Cu­stom of Hereticks to asperse the lives of those whose Doctrines they have not been able to confute. Which has been the con­stant Practice of late years against Episco­pacy and Episcopal Men, to throw dirt upon the Profession and Persons, and then [Page 300]proclaim them Odious, when in truth the blackness is in their own Mouths, and not either in the Persons whom they calumni­ate, or in the Office. Treating the Church as some Impudent Villains do the Modest Woman whom they cannot Debauch, Cry out, A Whore, a Whore, and set the Rab­ble upon her, who roll her in the Kennel, and cover her with dirt, till no body can tell what she is made of, and then believe she is what they have made her, ugly, and what the other would have made her, but could not, Criminal.

St. Bernard gives us a second Property, Haerent ad singula quae injunguntur, Exigunt de quibusque rationem, male suspicantur de omnî Precepto, nèc unquàm libentèr acquies­cunt, nisi cum audire contigerit quod fortè libuerit. They stick at every thing which is by Authority enjoyned, they require a a Reason (nay and we may add, are not satisfied with Reason) for every thing, they are Jealously suspicious of every Pre­cept of their Superiors; nor do they ever willingly acquiess in their determinations, unless it happens that they are agreeable to their own Judgment; and as St. Augustine says, Nisi quod ipsi faciunt, nihil rectum Ex­istimant. They think well of nothing, or Judge it right, but what they do them­selves.

LET St. Cyprian give them a third Mark. [Page 301] Initia Haereticorum, &c. Ʋt Praepositum Superbo tumore contemnant. Sic de Eccle­sia receditur, sic Altare prophanum Foràs Collocatur; sic contra pacem Christi, & Or­dinationem at (que) unitatem Dei rebellatur. The Original of Hereticks, is, Contempt of those who are set over them: So men separate from the Church: So is a pro­phane Altar erected out of it: So men become Rebells against the Peace of Christ, Order, and Ʋnity, because, as in another place he says, Episcopus qui unus est & Ec­clesiae praeest, Superbâ quorundam presump­tione contemnitur, The Bishop, who is one, and set over the Church, is by the proud Presumption of some Men Contemned, We may write a Probatum est, to these Pro­phetique Truths.

I might Pyle up Endless Authorities, and swell this Discourse to a Volume; but if what I have already said, be not suf­ficient to Convince the greatest Enemies of Episcopacy, that it is a Government of Gods appointment in the Church, I think all that can be said will be to no purpose; and if this will, more would be superslu­ous; if they will not believe the Scrip­ture, If they will not believe the Church, Mat. 18.17. it is our Saviour's Rule, Let them be as Heathen men and Publicans.

CHAP. XVI.

HAVING now found a Divine and un­erring Rule of Faith and Life, in the Scripture of Truth; and having also found there, who are by God appointed to be Go­vernours of the Church, viz. Bishops. There remains only the great Enquiry after the Judg of Controversies and Differences, which is abslutely Necessary in the Church of God, to determine Differences which may happen, not only about Mat­ters of private Opinion, but even the sense of the Scriptures and the Interpreta­tion of the Holy Rule. And as these Dif­ferences may be of several Kinds and Na­tures, so there are several Judges appointed by God to hear and determine them, that so the Church may be preserved in Peace and Charity.

As to what is matter of Faith, Essen­tially Necessary to Salvation; That, God is the Sole Judg of himself: And there­fore it has by him long since been deter­mined, and received in the Church; and what ever by all must be believed, must be easy by all to be known, and is there­fore plainly set forth in Holy Scripture; Nor can any be Judg of this, but what can­not Err, or deceive us, which is only God. And to say the Church is the Judg [Page 303]of this, and that it cannot Err, because the Catholique Church does not Err, is to argue Fallaciously, à non esse ad impossi­bile esse: For that part of the Catholique Church, whilest on Earth, consisting of Men, of whom some shall be saved, and some Reprobated; No man having a pow­er to know which of them are those who shall be kept by the power of God through Faith, unto Salvation, that they shall not Err, and to distinguish them from those who shall not be so preserved, and therefore there being a Possibility, that those who may be Reprobates from the Faith them­selves, may yet be of great Authority in the Outward Visible Church, it is unrea­sonable to admit them as Judges of Faith, who Erring themselves, my lead us into Errors too. And therefore God, who speaks to us in Scripture, is only the Judg of what is matter of Faith, and what not; and it is to be tryed by that Rule, and no Authority has power to impose any thing as matter of Faith, Essentially ne­cessary to Salvation, but what is there to be found. The Harmony of the Univer­sal Church, that such things as are offered as matters of Faith, are agreeable to Scrip­ture, is in things not clear and evident, the best Method to obtain Assent to them: As the disagreement of the Church, is to suspend our Belief: But this can only be [Page 304]about such things as are collaterally of Faith, and by coming under the Notion of things Dubious, are matter of Opinion, and which if a man never knows, he may be saved, and therefore if he does not believe, he cannot be Damned, the Church is the Interpreter, but not the Judg; and indeed every man is a Judg for himself, by his Eyes, his Ears, his Reason and Under­standing, whether that which the Church Interprets, be according to the Scripture, the Rule of that Faith by which he is to be saved, and which therefore it is necessary that he know before he believe it to Sal­vation.

BUT since doubts are of divers Natures, Private and Publique; let us see how any Person may be determined in both. First therefore, Where the doubt is only Pri­vate, about things not determined by Pub­lique Authority derived from Scripture, which are of an Indifferent Nature, Eve­ry Mans full perswasion is his Judg, ac­cording to the best Evidence the things in doubt admit of from the light of Nature, Reason, or probability that they are good and Lawful, or Evil and Unlawful. This full Perswasion St. Paul calls Faith, What­soever is not of Faith, is Sin; that is, what I am not fully perswaded in my own mind of the Lawfulness of, I cannot lawfully do. This was the Case of the Gentiles, [Page 305]who having only the Law of Nature, were a Law to themselves, their thoughts either Accusing or Excusing them, as they acted according to the best of their know­ledg and full Perswasion. But this Judg­ment is only Private, and has nothing to do with any other Person. Hast thou Faith, have it to thy self; who art thou that Judgest anothe? Happy is he that Condemn­eth not himself in that which he alloweth. This is the Error of our Times, men will make their Private perswasions Judges of all other men, and impose their Private Opinions as matters of Faith, necessary to Salvation. Against which the whole Scope of that whole 14th. Chapter to the Romans is designed.

BUT there is also another Private Judg, whom God has appointed, with Refer­ence to things both of Private and Pub­lique Concern, and that is Conscience; the Rule of Conscience is the Scripture, the measure of Conscience is the certainty of Knowledg, and the Judgment of Consci­ence is the determination of the Mind, and the Direction of our Practice according to it. For thus I and every man Judges; I therefore believe the Articles of the Chri­stian Faith, that I am to do good to All men, to be Obedient to God, and my Lawful Superiors, to live Righteously, soberly, and Godly in this present World; because [Page 306]I certainly know that these things are by God commanded in Scripture, and what­ever is not so in plain Words or Conse­quence, is only matter of Opinion and not of Conscience. Certainty of Knowledg, be­ing of the Essence of Conscience, as Proba­bility is of the Essence of Opinion.

BUT Secondly, In regard this very Rule is, in things of Publique Doubt and Con­cern, in some things Dubious, such as is the Controversie about Government: And since the Holy Oracles may seem to admit of Diverse interpretations, so that what satisfies one mans Judgment, is quite Op­posite and contrary to another: We must inquire who are to be Judges and Interpre­ters of the Rule in these Publique Affairs? For that there must be some Judg or Judges, is plain, because God commands Ʋnity and Obedience, but these cannot be obtained without men be determined What and Whom to Obey.

St. Peter informs us,2 Pet. 1.20. 2 Pet. 3.16. That it is not the Duty of Private men, For no Scripture is of private Interpretation, and shews us the danger: Notwithstanding which, bold men will venture at it, as St. Hierom says of his days,Hier. Ep. ad Paulinum. Scripturarum Ars est, quam pas­sim omnes sibi vendicant, hanc Garrula anus, hanc delirus Senex, hanc Sophista verbosus, hanc universi presumunt, lacerant, docent antequam discant. It seems in his time, all [Page 307]people read the Scriptures. For every prating Old Woman, and Doating Old Man, every Wrangling wordy Sophister, challenges and presumes to tear the Scrip­tures in pieces, and to teach others before they have learnt themselves. Whereas these [...], as Saint Peter calls them, Unlearned, ungrounded People ought first to Learn. But of whom? There is but this Choice, either this Power is in the People, or in the Governors of the Church.

IT cannot be in the People, for they are Private Persons, and are incapacitated by being so, to perform this Publique Office, for what no one can do singly, neither can all do Collectively; what every man wants, all must: For if every man in the World had but one Eye, all the World must want two. And the People are to Obey in Learning, and therefore not to Rule in Teaching: Neither would it be possible to come to any Determination in any thing; it being impossible to find all the People of one Nation, City, Village, or Family; Nay, even one Person of the same mind, for any continuance of Time; and by con­sequence, all Religion must stagger and totter with continual Changes, Uncer­tainties, and Alterations, and at last fall to Ruine and Confusion: Which Great Truth forced even Calvin himself to drop [Page 308]this Oracle, so contrary to the Pretences of his now Followers, who would have the Fences of Government, which incloses Gods Vineyard, thrown down, and all laid Common by Tolleration and Liberty of Conscience: Cal. Inst. lib. 4. p. 10. Sect. 31. Quantarum Rixarum (saith he) semen futura sit Earum Rerum Confusio; si prout cuique libitum sit, mutare liceat quae ad communem Statum pertinent? Quando nunquam futurum est ut omnibus idem pla­ceat, si res velut in medio Positae singulorum arbitrio relictoe fuerint. Si penes singulos jus & Arbitrium erit Judicandi, nihil un­quam certi constitui Poterit: Quin potius to­ta vacillabit Religio. Of how many and great Quarrels would such Confusion be the Nursery; If it shall be Lawful for eve­ry man according to his Pleasure, to change those things which belong to the Common State of Christianity: Since it can never be possible that the same thing should please all, so long as indifferent things are left to be determined according to every mans Arbitrary Pleasure: And if the Pow­er and Right, the Liberty of Judging Ar­bitrarily, be left to the pleasure of All, nothing of certainty can ever be Establish­ed; but rather all Religion will totter and tumble down.

THE Scripture must be Interpreted, and is not of Private Interpretation, what re­mains, but that it is of Publique. God [Page 309]commands Ʋnity, but in doing so he would command an Impossibility, if he had not appointed Means to obtain it; to whom then can this Power be delegated to draw all mens private Opinions into one Com­mon Rule for Practice, but to the Gover­nors of the Church, which all shall be bound to observe for the obtaining Peace and Ʋnity. I have already proved who are those Governors, who by the Appoint­ment of the Holy Ghost are to Rule, to feed the Flock of Christ, to Watch over mens Souls, as they that must give an Account, to Rebuke, Exhort, with all long suffer­ing, but not with suffering always; for if Seducers will persist in subverting houses, and vain talking, then by proceeding to stopping their Mouths; that so they may study to approve themselves unto God, Work­men that need not be ashamed, rightly divi­ding the Word of Truth. And the Tem­poral Power of the Civil Magistrate may assist the Spiritual to bring men to Peace, Unity, and Obedience to these their Guides and Governors, by being a Terror to Evil doers, and Encouragement to those who do well, which is both the Will and the Word of God.

I know it will be Objected, That these Intepreters of Scripture, and Judges of Controversies may Err, and be deceived, Bishops may Err, Counsels have Erred, [Page 310]and therefore this leaves us still in an Un­certainty, since it is possible that we may be misled by them; and how shall we be certain they do not Err, or we in follow­ing them? and wherein is it Lawful to re­fuse to Obey them?

To this I answer, That the Qualificatîon of such a Guide and Interpreter of Scrip­ture as we are to expect, is not such a one as cannot Err, but such a one as does not Err; for had God left us such a Guide, be­sides his own Word and Will, there would have been a state of Perfection attainable in this Life, and by consequence an Im­mortality, and no necessity of his Divine assistance to keep us by his mighty Power from falling through Faith unto Eternal Sal­vation; such a Guide must have been a God, Omniscient Omnipotent, and Omnipresent; which is as unreasonable to believe as to expect from any or all Mortal Men. And besides, it is a vain and frivolous Ob­jection, for those who are under any Law­ful Government to run into the most dan­gerous Errors, and manifest breach of Gods Command, by Schism and Disobedience to the Laws of Men, for fear of imagina­ry danger of future Errors; which if they shall really happen, we have a plain and easy remedy against them, if we know them to be such; and that is in our own persons to protest against them, and [Page 311]to refuse to Joyn with those that hold them; and if we know them not to be so, though we be in Error (as who lives that does not Err?) they will do us no injury, for it is obstinacy in Error, and not bare Error of ignorant frailty that is damnable: but we can have no Plea or Excuse to make to God Almighty for our Error of Separation, breach of Ʋnity, Peace, Order, Communion, Division from a Church not yet convicted of any manifest Error either in Doctrine or Pra­ctice, which is the Case between Dissen­ters and the Church of England. And be­sides, every Error in Circumstantials which does not destroy Faith or a good Life, is not a sufficient and warrantable Cause for any private Man to throw off all Subje­ction to his Superiors; for if it were, there could be no such thing as a Catholique Church, or Communion of Saints, there being no particular Men, or any Society of Men without Sins, and by consequence not without Errors, both in Doctrine and Practice.

BUT Secondly, The Governours of the Church neither do nor can Err in point of Faith and Doctrine, or Discipline and Go­vernment, so long as they follow the Rule of the Scriptures in Cases plain and clear, as before I shewed the Matters of Faith essentially necessary to Salvation are. Nor [Page 312]so long as they Judge of such as are dubi­ous, according to their Catholiqueness, in the Esteem of all Ages of the Church, for no Error was ever Universal. And though they may be mistaken, yet do they not Err, if in Interpretation of the more diffi­cult and obscure places of Scripture, they indeavour to Expound the meaning of them by others which are more clear and perspicuous, following the received sense of them acknowledged so by the Ʋniversal Church; so long as in those Interpretations there can be nothing repugnant to the Common Faith of Christians, or prejudi­cial to Peace, Charity and Practical Piety. Neither can they Err as to the point of Discipline, and the External Polity of the Church, if in indifferent things in their own Natures, and not Essentially necessary to Salvation, they do not impose them as such; if they follow the Direction of the General Rules of the Holy Canon, that every thing be done with respect to Decen­cy, Order, Edification, for the avoiding Confusion, and obtaining Peace, Unity, and Christian Love, according to the Ex­amples of the best Christians in former Ages in the Church; and the Canons of such Ge­neral Counsels as are not found manifestly Guilty of Partiality and Corruption in the long Train of Errors, which the Indea­vouring to Erect the Primacy into a Su­premacy, [Page 313]and the Supremacy into a Monarchy, has brought into the Roman Church.

THIRDLY, If the Governors of the Church Impose any thing contrary to Scri­pture, Faith, or Holy Life, then do they forsake the Rule, and it is Lawful and Ne­cessary for every good Christian to forsake them; for so is St. Paul's Rule,1 Cor. 11.1. Be ye followers of me, as I am of God. And prai­ses them for observing the Commandments delivered to them by God. But if they fall from the Faith, as did the Gnosticks, the Manichees, the Arrians, and many o­thers, we are not then to be Followers of them, but Followers of God, as Dear Children. But if any Private man, or ma­ny, shall think, because in some things which are contrary to their apprehension, that therefore the Determinations are a­gainst Scripture, and therefore their Obe­dience not due, it is a mistake, for they must be certain, otherwise they are bound to be subject; for if they be not certain, and from the best Grounds and clear Evi­dences, it is but their Opinion, which cannot weigh enough in the Scale of Truth, to warrant their Disobedience against the Pub­lique Opinion of their Superiors, but that such a Disobedience will be a certain Sin: for if any, or many mens Private Opini­nion, [Page 314]which is private Interpretation, may authorize them to renounce their Obedi­ence to their Superiors, there can never be any such thing as subjection in the World, nor any Government, and by good conse­quence, No Ʋnion, no Catholique Church, and then no Faith, and in short, at last no such thing as Religion.

OTHERS will Object, That hereby I seem to introduce Romish Infallibility, and make our Bishops Lords of our Faith; and that we had better submit to one Pope, who is as free from Error as o­ther Bishops.

To this I Answer, That there is nothing more contrary to Sense or Truth than such an Objection. For I do not make, nor believe them Infallible, but the Rule by which they are to Govern, which is the Word of the Infallible God, who cannot lye or be decei­ved; and, I suppose, that they may act contrary to this Rule, and that presumes they are not Infallible; but if they follow the Rule, then I say they cannot Err; and should the Pope do so, all Christians over whom he may Challenge a lawful Jurisdi­ction as their Patriarch, ought to submit to him: But it is Evident, that the Roman Church does Err, and has Erred in many things, forsaking the Rule, setting up the Authority of the Pope to alter and change [Page 315]that Rule, by introducing new Articles of Faith, new Books of Scripture, and old Traditions, his own Canons, Decretals, and Councels for a Rule; nay, his own [...], his Sentence and Determina­tion for an Infallible Rule of Faith and Life, which is as far from me to believe of our Bishops, as to say or believe it of him.

NOR does this Jurisdiction of Bishops either take away that subordination which for convenience of Government is among them, or intrench upon the Supremacy of the Civil Magistrate: since his Supremacy consists in a Temporal Soveraignty, and pretends not to any Pastoral Power, but on­ly such Kingly and Civil Authority in Cases Ecclesiastical, as Constantine and several o­ther Religious Emperors had and Exer­cised, to whom even Popes as well as other Patriarchs yielded subjection; as I can make appear out of the Epistles of Gregory the Great to Mauritius, and the Ecclesiastical Historians, in a hundred pla­ces. And nothing is more plain, than that Christ himself owned a Subjection, as well as Commanded one to Cesar.

As for the Civil Magistrate and his Power, I think nothing more Evident than the Duty all their Subjects, whether Laicks or Ecclesiasticks, owe them; and that they [Page 316]have Prescription, the Law of God, Na­ture, Nations, and those of their own on their side, for the Defence of their Titles to their Crowns and Scepters; and that the Church and Faith is and ought to be their Particular Care, as well as it is their Inter­est, the quiet of the State ever depending in a great Measure upon the Peace of the Church; and that they have a Coercive Power, by virtue of which they may com­pel men to Obedience to the Laws both Civil and Ecclesiastical, which in confor­mity to the Law of God are to promote the Peace, Happiness, Unity, and Prospe­rity of their People. Nor was this Doctrine ever deni'd till the Papacy growing great, and the Empire declining, began to think of a Temporal as well as a Spiritual Monar­chy, and to Unite St. Paul's Sword to St. Peter's Keys. And till the Presbyterians reviving the Heresy of Aerius and his le­velling Principle, began to indeavour to set up their Spiritual Democracy in the Church, in order to their Erecting it also in the State; as the sad Probatum which they writ to their late deadly of the Solemn League and Covenant might con­vince us, without the dangerous necessity of a second Experiment. Ictus Piscator sapit. The burnt Child dreads the fire. and we have a great deal more reason to [Page 317]do so, than to kindle it again, and run our fingers into the Flame, to try whether it will burn as hot now as formerly it did.

CHAP. XVII. The CONCLƲSION.

TO draw to a Conclusion; I think it is evident from all that any person can in reason desire to give him Satisfacti­on, That the Powers and Government in this Church and Nation are Lawful, and of Gods appointment; That Ʋnity in Faith, and Obedience to their Govern­ment, are the only Expedients to secure unto us Peace and Religion; and that if these be our Desires, the other are our In­terest, and ought to be our diligent indea­vours and our constant Practice. It is this Unity, this Obedience that must make us Happy at home, and Terrible abroad; which are the only Ways to procure and Establish a lasting Peace both in our Souls, in our State, in our Church, and with our Foreign Neighbours, who may be obliged more by our formidable Ʋnity than by our feeble Arms, or other Alliances.

I would gladly know therefore of Dis­senters, (who, and our sins, are the great [Page 318] Obstructors of our Happiness,) Are you cer­tain that the Government of Bishops is Unlawful and Antichristian? Can you prove that any of the Commands of the Church or State, are Unlawful, contrary to plain Scripture and Publique Interpre­tation? If you can, you may pretend Con­science for your Disobedience; but if you cannot (and I am assured it is impossible) how do you think you shall escape the dreadful and Revenging Power of the Judg of all men, when he shall come in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance on those that know not God, and obey not his Go­spel? Flatter not your selves with the vain Opinion of your Sanctity: Many shall say, Lord have not we Prophesied in thy Name? to whom he will answer, Depart from me ye Workers of Iniquity, for I know you not; and well he may, for he says Po­sitively, He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth me, and him that sent me; is not this Disobeying the Gospel? The Holy Ghost says he has made Bishops, you say they are Antichri­stian; he sends them to Instruct you in the way of Righteousness, and to Watch for your Souls; you Watch for their Ruine, their Lives, Honors and Estates; he com­mands you to Esteem them highly; you despise them, contemn and Vilifie them: [Page 319]He commands you to Obey, you not only refuse, but teach that to Obey is Damna­ble: He planted them among you to plant the Faith, you vow and swear to Extirpate Root and Branch. Go on and Prosper, said the False Zedechiah, with his Horns of Iron; but Ahab fell: Be not deceived, you may Mock the Messengers of God, but God is not to be Mocked; if you sow the Wind, your shall reap the Whirlwind, the terrible Tempest of his Wrath and Indignation; They that lay Snares for the Innocent, shall be Ensnared in the Works of their own hands: You believe you know God, but in Works you deny him, for as Saint John saith of himself and his fellow Apo­stles, and of their successors, as all lawful Bishops are, and will be to the end of the World:1 Joh. 4.6. We are of God, he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God hear­eth us not: Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error. The Holy Church of God in all Ages (for God has a Church in all Ages according to his Pro­mise) acknowledg this to be the sense and Meaning of the Scripture which I have shewn; how then will you avoid this guilt with which St. John charges you, this spi­rit of Error, which he assures us is to be known by this Character, of not hearing those whom God hath sent?

ARE you certain that you are in the Right; and that all the Saints and Mar­tyrs, Bishops and Confessors who believed thus, lived and dyed in Antichristian Er­ror, Ignorance and Superstition; stran­gers to these Divine Truths of Worship­ping God, which you pretend to have dis­covered? If you are certain, shew it us, that we may be so too: Truths of this Nature must be clear and shining, Error is dark and obscure: If you are not cer­tain, as it is impossible you should, you are certainly Proud and Presumptuous, to Despise Dominions, and speak evil of Dig­nities which God has appointed in both Church and State: And if it be certain that you are in Error, and fight against God while you disturb the Peace of the World, destroy Charity, Peace, and Con­cord, by Hatred, Strifes, Seditions, do you think that you shall ever see God, to re­ceive the Blessing of the Peace-Makers, who shall be called the Children of God? If Bishops be the true Shepherds, as is E­vident from Scripture, Antiquity, Oecu­menical Councels, and the Testimony of all those Martyrs, the spirits of Just Men now made Perfect; how will you answer the Chief Shepherd and Great Bishop of Souls, at his appearing, for climbing over into his Fold, for Stealing, and Killing, [Page 291]and Destroying both the Sheep and the Shepherds? How will you answer for all the Blood which has already been shed in the Quarrel, to maintain your Ʋsurpa­tions upon all things Civil and Sacred? For all those Injuries, Oppressions, Spoiles, Devastations, and that Sacriledge which you have been the occasion of; whilest you pretended by the Sword of Rebellion, to Erect your Government? Do you think that when God makes Inquisition for Blood,Psal. 9. that he will not remember the Complaint of the Poor; the souls of so many Pious Innocents and their blood Cries like Abels, but above all the blood of the Royal Martyr, with those that St. John saw under the Altar, crye aloud, and of those who served at his Altar here; Quo­us (que) Domine? How long Lord Holy, and true, dost thou not Avenge our blood?

IN short, either you must shew that the Government in Church and State are Un­lawful, and that your whole Charge a­gainst them is as true as it is Black, or you are Calumniators: You must prove yours a true Church, or you are False Accusers of that which is; you must shew that the Impositions are Unlawful, or your Disobe­dience must be so; and you will appear to be the Devils Factors, and not Gods Mini­sters, whilest you preach Religion, to De­stroy [Page 292]it; and your Disobedience to indif­ferent things will be Damnable sin: You will be accountable not only for your own Guilt, but for that of all those who, decei­ved by your Example and Doctrine, Glo­ry in what is the shame of Christianity, thinking Reformation consists in Ruine, and true Religion in open Rebellion; and that to be a Friend of God, it is requisite a man should be an Enemy to his Church.

IN the Name of God therefore, consider seriously of these things; If this be true, Receive it, and Repent, if it be False, shew it; Where? and in What? for I profess my self as willing to embrace Truth from you, as desire you should receive it from me. Let not the vain shame of Revoking your Opinions, the fear of losing the E­steem, Flatteries, and Benevolences of your Followers, Mislead you: Truth is an Ex­cellent Companion, though never so Naked: It is better to Blush here, than Burn Eternally: Let not the hopes of the Churches Revenue animate you to Kill the Heir, that the Inheritance may be yours: Church Lands have not been Lucky to their Possessors; Laqueus erit illi qui devorat Sacra, says Solomon: It is a Snare to devour Holy things. They are Gods Portion; you will bring a Snare up­on your Souls, and it may be upon your [Page 293]Necks, which may spoyl the pleasure of those sweet Morsels. And be assured that God will not forsake his Church for ever; there are Praying Legions in that Glorious Army, both in Heaven and Earth; and more are they that are with us, than they that are against us; our Mountain may be full of Chariots and Horses of Fire, though you see them not; God will not suffer his Darling always to dwell among Lions, or to lye under the Saws and Harrows of I­ron; She shall come up out of the Wilder­ness, leaning upon her Beloved: She shall look forth as the Morning, fair as the Moon, clear as the Sun, and terrible as an Army with Banners; Tanquam acies Ordinata, with flying Colours, in good Discipline and Comely Order; take Heed, lest whilest you think your selves upon Jacobs Ladder, climbing up to Heaven, that by sighting a­gainst this Army, you do not prove your selves the Gates of Hell, which shall not prevail against it, but will against you. If God arise for the Meek of the Earth, his Enemies will be scattered, and they that hate him shall flee before him, but not be able to out fly his Vengeance. Arise O Lord God, thou and thy Ark, into thy Resting­place; let thy Priests be cloathed with Sal­vation, and let thy Saints rejoyce in thy [Page 294]goodness; And let all them that wish and pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, Prosper, and let all the People say, Amen.

FINIS.

THe Author's Absence from the Press hath occasion'd the following Er­rata's, which I hope the Candid Reader will Correct with what other Faults he finds.

Errata.

PAge 4. line 6. r. Impostor. p 21. l. 7. for at one r. atone. p. 27. l. 23. r. Cardinalis. p. 31. l. 24. dele learn to do well. p. 52. l. 9. r. Stratagem. p. 65. l. 7 for there, r. these. p. 94. l. ult. r. Me­naces. p. 128. l. 2. for Honor, r. favour. p. 133. l. 26. r. Impru­dent. p. 152. l. 22. for External, r. Eternal p. 174, l. 31. for if, [...]. that. p. 226. l. 18. r. has not. p. 287. l. 12. r. of Age.

A Catalogue of some Books, Printed for, and Sold by Jonathan Edwin, at the Three Roses in Ludgate-street.

THe Commentaries of C. Julius Caesar, of his Wars in Gallia, and the Civil Wars betwixt him and Pompey, Translated into English, with many excellent and judicious Observations there­upon; as also the Art of our Modern Training, or Tactick Practice; by Clement Edmonds Esquire, Remembrancer of the City of London. Whereun­to is adjoyned the Eighth Commentary of the Wars in Gallia, with some short Observations upon it. Together with the Life of Caesar, and an account of his Medals: Revised, Corrected, and Enlarged, in Fol.

The History of the Reigns of Henry the VII. Henry the VIII. Edward the VI. and Queen Ma­ry; the First Written by the Right Honourable Francis Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban, the other Three, by the Right Honourable and Right Reverend Father in God, Francis Godwyn, Lord Bishop of Hereford, in Fol.

The Countess of Pembrokes Arcadia, written by Sir Philip Sidney Knight, the Thirteenth Edition, with his Life and Death; a brief Table of the prin­cipal Heads, and some other new Additions, in Fol.

The French way of Excercising their Infantry, as it is now used in the Armies of his Most Christian Majesty, in Fol. sticht.

Parthenissa, that most Fam'd Romance, the Six Volumes compleat, composed by the Right Ho­nourable the Earl of Orrory, in Fol.

Fifty one Sermons, Preached by the Reverend Doctor Mark Frank, Master of Pembroke Hall in [Page] Cambridge, Arch-Deacon of St. Albans, Prebend and Treasurer of St. Pauls, &c. Being a course of Sermons, beginning at Advent, and so continued through the Festivals; to which is added a Sermon Preached at Pauls Cross, in the year 1641. and then commanded to be Printed by King Charles the First, in Fol.

The Common Prayer Book in Folio, in Welch, &c.

Two Sermons Preach't at the Funerals of the Right Honourable Robert Lord Lexington, and the Lady Mary his Wife; by Samuel Holden A. M. late of Lincoln Colledge in Oxford, and Chaplain to his Lordship, Deceased, in Quarto.

Christian Ethicks, or Divine Morality, opening the way to Blessedness by the Rules of Vertue and Reason, by Thomas Trahern, B. D. in Octav.

Roman Forgeries, or a true Account of false Records, Discovering the Impostures and Counter­feit Antiquities of the Church of Rome, by the same Author, in Octav.

Daily Devotions, consisting of Thanksgivings, Confessions and Prayers, in Two Parts, by an hum­ble Penitent, in Twelves.

The Camparison of Plato and Aristotle, with the Opinions of the Fathers on their Doctrines, and some Christian Reflections; together with judg­ment on Alexander and Caesar, as also on Seneca, Plutarch, and Petronius, in Octav.

Observations on the Poems of Homer, and Virgil: A Discourse representing the Excellencies of those Works; and the Perfections in general of all He­roick Actions, in Octav.

The Causes and Remedies of the Distempers of the Times, in certain Discourses of Obedience and Disobedience, in Octav.

Songs and Poems, by Thomas Flatman, the Se­cond Edition, in Octav.

Horological Dialogues in Three Parts, shewing the Nature, Use, and right Managing of Clocks and Watches, with an Appendix, containing Mr. Oughtreds Method for Calculating of Num­bers, in Octav.

The True Liberty and Dominion of Conscience, Vindicated from the Usurpations and Abuses of Opinion and Perswasion.

The Countermine; or, A short but true Discove­ry of the Dangerous Principles and Secret Practices of the Dissenting Party, Especially the Presbyte­rians: Shewing that Religion is Pretended, but Rebellion is Intended. And in order thereto, The Foundation of Monarchy in the State, and Episco­pacy in the Church are Undermined.

The Common Interest of King and People: shew­ing the Original, Antiquity, and Excellency of Monarchy compared with Aristocracy and Demo­cracy, and particularly of our English Monarchy: and that Absolute Papal and Presbyterian Popular Supremacy, are utterly inconsistent with Preroga­tive, Property and Liberty.

The Project of Peace; or Unity of Faith and Government, the only Expedient to procure Peace, both Foreign and Domestique; and to Preserve these Nations from the Danger of Popery, and Arbitrary Tyranny.

A Just and Seasonable Reprehension of Naked Breasts and Shoulders: Written by a grave and Learned Papist. Translated by Edward Cooke Esquire; with a Preface by Mr. Richard Baxter.

The Monk Unvail'd; or, A Facetious Dialogue; Discovering the several Intrigues, and subtil Pra­ctices, together with the Lewd and Scandalous Lives of Monks, Fryers, and other pretended Re­ligious [Page]Votaries of the Church of Rome; Written by an Eminent Papist in French, faithfully Tran­slated by C. V. Gent.

Fons Scarburgensis: sive, Tractatus de Omnis Aquarum generis Origine ac usu. Particulariter de Fonte Minerali apud Scarbrough in Comitatu Ebo­racensi Angliae. Item Dissertationes variae tàm Phi­losophicae quàm Medicinales, quas cum Sectionum titulis Pagina Librum proximè praecedens exibet. Autore Roberto Wittie, M. D.

C. Julius Caesar Nomismaticus, sive Dissertatio Historica, Dionis Cassii Scriptoris Graeci Selectiora Commata C. J. Caesaris Ortum Dignitates Connu­bia Interitum Rogum & Apotheosin Complexa No­mismatum demonstratione illustrans. J. Seobaldi Fabrici. S. Theol. D. Academiae Heidelbergensis Professoris, Comitis Palatini.

ADVERTISEMENT.

THere is now in the Press, and near Reprinted, The Fairy Queen, &c. By Edmond Spenser.

FINIS.

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