THE Good Old Way OR, A DISCOURSE Offer'd to all True-hearted PROTESTANTS Concerning the ANCIENT WAY OF THE CHURCH, And the CONFORMITY of the Church of England THEREUNTO: As to its Government, Manner of VVor­ship, Rites and Customes.

By Edward Pelling, Rector of S. Martin Ludgate; and Chap­lain to his Grace the Duke of Somerset.

Jer. 6. 16.

Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the Old paths, where the Good Way is, and walk therein.

[...],Con. Nic.

London, Printed for Jonathan Edwin at the Sign of the three Roses in Ludgate-street, 1680.

TO THE Right Reverend Father in God HENRY Lord Bishop of London, one of the Lords of His Majesties most honourable Privy Council.

My Lord,

I Am oblig'd to offer to your Lordship these fol­lowing Papers, which will the rather need a good Patron (such as your Lordship) because the Times are Censorious, and many mis-guided peo­ple are ready to clamour against a man that shall ad­venture (though out of pure Charity) to direct them contrary to their own minds. Maximus Tyrius ob­served long ago, that Man is [...], Such a morose, querulous and Squeamish stomach't thing, that he will cry out at what­soever crosseth his Humour, whether it be wrong or Right. I do not doubt, but it may be my Lot to receive such Returnes from some; and, as to mine own particular, I do not care if it be, especially since Cla­mouring is again become a Mode. I am sure, the De­sign of this little piece is Honest; for it aimeth at Peace and unity, which in these uncertain and tottering times is the only Expedient to secure the interest of our Religion against a Forreign Enemy.

[Page] Many even of different perswasions in other things, are agreed in this. But the great question is, what are the beast Means for the compassing of so Excellent an End? And some (to use their own Expression) are for setting the Church doors wider open: meaning, that they would have some of our Usages and Constitutions thrown aside, because they are not fit for their Tooth, unless it be to bite at. But were this thing fairly Practi­cable, I beleive 'twould be as ineffectual in its issue, as 'tis unreasonable in it self. For how impossible is it, to satisfie Desires that are still craving? we could never yet tell (nor can they themselves) what will really stint them; only some have told us in general Terms, that they would have every thing down, which is not of Primitive use; of which they themselves must be judges too: So that if they will please to conclude a­gainst the whole frame of our Discipline and Govern­ment, away it must, or else they will not be satisfied.

Concessions hitherto have been so far from being Advantageous to the Church, that (like General In­dulgences) they have only made ungrateful Spirits the more Bold and Insolent, so that they hope at last to get into the Saddle. Those five Reverend Divines, who were fain to lay their Noddles together to give birth to Smectymnuus, among other Huge Reasons for the Abolishing of our Liturgy, urged this for one, because, forsooth, it had already undergone some Al­terations. As for instance; whereas in King Edward the Sixth's time, days of Abstinence were called Fish-days, afterwards that word was altered, and [Page] Fasting days was put in its room. From which Mighty Argument those great Logicians and Magi­sterial Divines did strongly conclude, that the whole Service-book might be laid aside. Find the Conse­quence He that can; but sad and long Experience hath shew'd us, what advantage designing and insatiable Men will take of every little thing, to make it a Pre­cedent, and to plead for more still, that after the re­moval of this pin and that, and so on, the whole Fa­brick may at last tumble upon our heads.

Would to God this design was not on foot now, But however some endeavour to stop our Mouths, yet we have Eyes as well as They, and there is too great Reason to conclude, that many (that is to say, some Atheists, some Jesuited persons, and some whose low Fortunes and Interest (together with their Malice) engage them to be Factious) do directly level their aim at the Ruine of our Establish't Church.

We are so charitable as to hope, that many of our Dissenters are better conditioned. But as in the late Troubles, the Rebellion went further than the first Raisers of it did intend (for they hoped to force the King to buckle to their Terms, when others behind them did resolve to force Him, and Monarchy, to the Grave) so we have grounds to believe, that now while one party desires an accommodation in some matters, others make use of their Help and Assistance, with an intent to overthrow all.

This unadvised concurrence of our over zealous Bre­thren in this Juncture, though it be of most evil conse­quence, [Page] yet is the more to be pittied, because they im­prudently strive against their own securities. For it is evident to any indifferent Eye, that the great Ram­pier against the Church of Rome, is the Church of Eng­land; whose Doctrines are a certain Antidote against poysonous Principles from abroad, and whose Govern­ment and Discipline do tend of themselves to Order and Unity at home.

Yet certainly it is want of Judgement and clear in­sight into the Nature of our Establishments, which hath made some so passionately to oppose them; because they will not give themselves the leasure to read and consider those Books which all along, have been writ­ten in defence of them, by learned and good Men, who saw of what vast use they were to the interest of the Protestant Cause. And though I may not expect, that my little pains will be taken notice of (much less, prove successful) when the labours of so many great men have been lost; yet I had some reasons to induce me to discourse purposely of the Antiquity of our usages; the rather, because a wrong and groundless notion runs a­bout, that all our Constitutions were Originally bor­rowed of the Romanists; so that whosoever now is a strict Conformist, is looked upon by the heady rabble to be Popishly affected, and stands fair to be knockt down, when opportunity shall serve (which is the main thing wanting.)

Not to dissemble with your Lordship, I did not long ago, discourse upon this Theme in the Pulpit. And finding the subject so acceptable (and in a manner a new [Page] thing, even) to intelligent and sober persons, I had some strong invitations to publish those short Collections, which I had then made. But knowing the Niceness of the subject, and the Capricious humour of some men who lie upon the Catch, I found it necessary to take all into pieces, and to throw aside some things, and to add many more, and more largely; so that my task was like the mending and altering of an old House, which is ma­ny times so troublesome and chargeable, that a new one may be built at a cheaper rate.

And now, my Lord, I hope the world will not con­demn me for entitling this (though inconsiderable) Piece to your Patronage. Every Creature would lay its young in a secure place; and so would I, mine. And though that be enough to excuse me (in point of pru­dence) for seeking the best shelter, yet my obligations to your Lorship, do moreover require me (in point of Du­ty) to express my Gratitude in some little measure; though I confess, 'tis much more easie to contract a new debt to your Lordship, then to make any tollerable ac­knowledgement of an old one.

That God would preserve your Lordship in honor and safety, and make your great cares and indeavours successful to the good of this poor Church (that is, to your Lordships own hearts desire) as it ought to be the Prayer of every honest and sincere Protestant, so it is especially of him, who is

Particularly bound to your Lordship in all Observance and Duty, EDWARD PELLING.

The General Contents,

Pag. 
THe Occasion and Scope of this discourse.1.
Reasons for observing the Old Way,8.
—and Objections answered.17.
Advantages to be gotten by observing the Old Way.22.
The Conformity of the Church of England to the Old Way,—shewed, in its Government.26.
The Antiquity of Episcopacy in the Primitive Time,—cleared and vindicated.27.
The Government of Episcopacy in the Apostles Times.33.
Objections against it, removed.41.
The Conformity of our Church in her way of Worship,—the Antiquity of Set Forms in General,49.
—among the Jews,50.
—among the Old Christians,54.
—and in the Apostles days.62.
The Antiquity of the English Liturgy in particular,73.
—and of its parts.74.
The Antiquity of our Rites and Customes,88.
—of the Cross, &c.89.
Mischiefs occasioned by forsaking the Old Way.102.
—It has hindred the Gospel,103.
—bred Schisms,105.
—occasioned Atheism.106.
—served the Interest of Papists,108.
Innovators poysoned with Jesuitical Principles,111.
—and Acted by Jesuites in their Practices.122.
The Conclusion.127.

The Good Old Way: OR, A Discourse offered to the Consideration of all True-hearted Protestants, &c.

SInce these fresh Confusions and Distractions have broke in upon us, by occasion whereof this our poor Nation (like a distemper'd Body) is all on a Ferment, several bad humours striving to be predominant, and all conspi­ring to stifle that which is indeed the life and safety of the whole; I have often thought upon the dangerous condi­tion which the Jews were in under the Reign of good Josiah, and upon that excellent Advice which was given them for the prevention of their Ruine. Now thus it was.

For many years backward there had been an unhappy division and breach among the Of-spring of Jacob; the Nation was divi­ded into two Bodies, the People became two distinct Houses, and the Twelve Tribes that came peaceably together out of Egypt, were now broken into two great Parties, and so srael was against Judah, Throne against Throne, and Altar against Altar.

This Rent began under Jeroboam the Son of Nebat, who was the Head of the Ten Tribes, and caused them to revolt from Rehoboam the Son of Solomon. During which unhappy Breach neither party Prospered; yet Israel, that made the Breach first, prosper'd least, and was undone first. Of twenty Kings that reigned over Israel successively, there was scarce one, (I think we may say not so much as one) that served God with an upright and sincere heart; and of these Hoshea was the last, in whose days Israel for their Transgressions were captivated and brought in subjection to a forein Power.

[Page 2] Now what was done to the House of Israel, was threatned to be done also to the House of Judah, because that unnatural Breach had occasioned the growth of Idolatry throughout the whole Land. Lo, (said God) I will call all the families of the Kingdoms of the North, and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, &c. Jer. 1. 15, 16. To prevent which great evil if it were possible, good Jostah setteth himself withall his heart to reform Religion, and to set the Worship of God to rights. He burneth all the vessels of Baal, pulleth down the Idolatrous Priests, breaketh inpieces the Idol which was in the Temple, defileth Tophet, and the like Acts he did, as we read at large in 2 Kings 23. And God was so well pleased with the King's Zele, even when the Reformation of Religion was in his intention and purpose onely, that he pro­mis'd him, that because his Heart was tender, and he humbled himself before him, the evils threatned should not befall Jeru­salem in his days; Thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace, saith the Lord to his Anointed, and thine eyes shall not see the evil which I will bring upon this place, 2 Kings 22. 20. Thus far God was gracious to the People of Judah, that for good Josiah's sake he determined to defer (at least) their destruction for a time; the King's Life was yet between them and ruin; as long as Josiah should live no alteration was to be, but things should go with them after a tolerable good sort: but when once their King should be taken away, they were then to expect no­thing but Desolation and a Curse, unless they did repent themselves seriously and in time, according to Josiah's Example.

It was at this time that the Prophet Jeremy was inspir'd and sent by Almighty God to tell all the People their Transgressi­ons, and to call them to repentance, and to acquaint them be­fore hand with their certain doom, if they continued in obsti­nacy and hardness. Return (saith he) ye backsliding children; and if ye will return and put away your abominations, then shall you not remove (out of the Land.) Circumcise your selves therefore to the Lord, and take away the fore-skin of your hearts, ye men of Ju­dah: wash your hearts from wickedness thar ye may be saved. Be instructed, O Jerusalem, lest the Soul of God depart from thee, lest he make thee desolate, a land not inhabited. These and such as [Page 3] these were the general Lectures which Jeremy preached in the ears of the people. But then he goes on to give them more particular Directions; he shews them the steps of their Forefa­thers; he bids them tread as the Saints and Servants of God did tread in the days of old; he requires them to lay aside their love of Novelty and new-fangled Devices, and to go hand in hand (all of them unanimously and together) in that ancient way which did lead men to Heaven, when Religion was in its purity. Nothing but this could prevent Jerusalem's Downfall, and the whole Nation's ruin; for all those by-paths, which their Fancies had hitherto found out or made, did lead onely unto Mischief and Destruction; there was no way of setting things to rights, or of giving them security, but to return to that sound, good and holy Religion, which had been established in the beginning: Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk therein.

Which words were spoken to the Jews by way of special direction; but they were left to the Church of God for perpe­tual use, and may be very profitable to us for particular applica­tion; especially when the Judgments of God threaten us, and two great Clouds hang over us, each laden with thunder, and each ready to discharge it self upon our heads. And when the days of our Peace seem to be numbered; when for the divisions among us great are the thoughts of heart, and those Divisions have hastened that evil which our other sins have deserved: Then surely if ever is the time for us also to stand in our ways, and see whether 'tis that we are going, or to ask for the old paths, before we take a further step, and fall into perdition. For all our present Calamities are come upon us, by reason that men have forsaken the old and the good way, (as I shall shew anon) those private Avenues and unbeaten Paths, which the Singularity of some fond people hath sought out, have served onely to shelter a sort of Hedg-birds and Banditi, to make a spoil of us and of them also. And therefore before we enter irrevocably into Ruin, before we see this once glorious Church to fall, be­ing betrayed by those who have been nursed up in her Bosom, and have eaten of her Bread; before we preach her Funerals, [Page 4] and lament at her Obsequies, while others laugh and sing, Ah, Ah, so would we have it. If we have the least sense of any thing that is honourable, wise, or just, we cannot but look back upon our Declensions, and be grieved for our Folly, and at last enquire after the old, good, and safe way, that we may find rest for our Souls, before Trouble cometh upon our Loins, or the Harrow upon our Backs.

So that I shall take occasion to discourse of this matter with immediate respect unto our selves; and in these times of dege­neracy and danger, when things are in an unsettled condition with us, and Religion is off the hooks, or at least turneth up­on a very uncertain hinge; I shall direct my Brethren as Jere­my did the Jews, to the days of old, as the best (and perhaps the onely) Expedient to gain sure Footing. And in the prosecuti­on of this matter I shall shew, 1. What a reasonable, just, and safe Proposal this is, that we should ask and seek for the old paths, and walk constantly therein, notwithstanding their desires of Alteration and Novelty, who are given to changes. 2. What an useful and advantageous thing it would be unto us, if we would but be so wise as to walk unanimously according to this Rule. 3. And how mischievous and hurtful the Practices of those have been and are, who have declined from this good way, who have left the old paths, to walk in Paths of their own tracing out.

1. That this is a reasonable, just, and safe Proposal, that we should ask for the old paths, and walk uniformly and constantly therein, notwithstanding their desires of Alteration and No­velty; who are given to changes. Antiquity is that which most people are fond of, for it gives a marvellous Credit to all man­ner of Constitutions, and no Nations were ever yet so rude and barbarous, but that they have held those things to be of most venerable and sacred use, which have been of the most primi­tive and ancient Institution. We see it in all Humane Socie­ties, that they gain a mighty esteem from the Date of their Foundation; the further they go to derive their Original, the more Fame and Veneration they acquire, and then most of all when their Original is like the Head of Nilus, that cannot be discover'd. We see it in all Humane Laws, that the longer they hold the deeper root they take, till at last they become [Page 5] fundamental and immoveable. We see it in all Human Customs, that when Antiquity hath worn them into Prescriptions, they are like the Laws of the Medes and Persians, unalterable: that you were as good stemm a Torrent, as strive against a very silly Custom, which has been handed down to men from their Fore­fathers. Now since Religion is derived from him who is the Ancient of days, since it is of the most Divine Descent, and the most perfect Constitution; it is strange if Religious Ordi­nances and Customs should not have at least the same Advanta­ges, which all things in the world besides have, that is, become the more lovely and venerable for being ancient. It is strange that men should most affect Singularity there, where they have the least plea and reason to be singular.

Before I proceed, 'tis necessary for me to lay down these three Cautions following, to prevent uncharitable mistakes.

1. That I do not take upon me to defend the Validity of all Church Traditions at large, or to maintain the Sufficiency there­of to determine all Controversies concerning Faith or Manners. Every man knows to how many just Exceptions that Pretence is liable; and I do not intend to do the Church of England that great disservice, as to say or intimate, that in these distracted times of ours it would be enough for us to have recourse unto former Ages, and to stick to that which we find practised then. No, our Establishments do not stand upon the Practice of the Church alone; there is a superiour Rule of Scripture to which they are agreeable all of them, at least none are contradictory: and therefore we do not look upon the Sense and Practice of Pri­mitive Times as the sole or the main thing to be regarded.

2. Nor do I intend to urge the Authority of Antiquity, as if every particular thing were to be observed religiously by us, which we find to have been instituted by the Apostles, or to have been observed in the Ages following. For several Rites were grounded in the beginning of Christianity upon certain special Reasons; which Reasons failing and ceasing in after times, those Rites too have been thought fit to be laid aside. Such was the Anointing of the sick with oyl, which S. James re­quired, chap. 5. ver. 14. and such were the Agapae or Love-feasts mention'd by S. Jude ver. 12. and such was the Veiling of women [Page 6] in publick Assemblies, which S. Paul speaks of, 1 Cor. 11. 6. and such was the Abstinence from things strangled and from bloud, which was enjoyned by the first Council at Jerusalem, Acts 15. 29. And some other things there were very anciently obser­ved in the Church, which yet this and other Reformed Chur­ches saw reason to abolish or discontinue, as being useless now, or unsuitable to our Times. 'Tis not my purpose therefore out See the Pre­face to our Li­turgy, Of Ce­remonies, why some are abo­lish'd, &c. of a fond regard unto Antiquity to oblige men to revive those Customs, though never so ancient, which the wisdom of our Forefathers thought convenient to bury.

3. Much less would I persuade the World to have any the least Veneration for Antiquity in opposition to Christianity; if any thing can be found among us, that is either in genere fidei un­true, or in genere morum unlawful. For Custom (though ne­ver so gray-headed) cannot be any Prescription in Bar of Truth, Cypr. ep. 73, 74. and without Truth it is nothing else but an inveterate Error. But (God be blessed) this reacheth not to the prejudice of the Church of England; because as nothing can be found in our Doctrine which is really false, so nothing can be found in our Discipline which is really and in the nature of the thing evil. Instead of those many whiffling Pretensions, which peevish and ignorant men have used against our Government, our Rites, and our Way of Worship, if they could shew us but one Masculine Rea­son to prove our Establishments to be contrary to God's Word, the Debate would soon be at an end, and we would give up our Cause, and our Lives also as well as our Livings to please them. But this Advantage we have, that many great and famous Di­vines in the Reformed Churches abroad, who have searched into our Constitutions with more Impartiality, that is, with better Eyes, and Judgments, and Spirits, than our own Bre­thren, could never yet discover any thing in them that is re­pugnant to the Scriptures. In former Ages Bucer, and Peter Martyr, and Zanchius, and Melanchthon, and several excellent Writers more have delivered their Sence much in favour of our side. Nay the Learned Calvin himself, though he was con­strain'd by the necessities of Times to erect a New Discipline at Geneva, yet was he far from condemning the way of this Church. In an Epistle to the Duke of Somerset he did acknow­ledge, [Page 7] that God had made him an especial Instrument of resto­ring purum & sincerum suum cultum in regno Angliae, his pure and sincere Worship in the Kingdom of England; and he se­verely condemned those Seditious and Brain-sick People, (for so he call'd them) who under colour of the Gospel would have brought in Disorder and Confusion. In an Epistle to those Englishmen at Frankfurt who would have alter'd our Settle­ments, he intimates, that there was no manifest Impiety in them, and therefore advised them not to be stiff and capricious above measure. And in an Epistle to Bullinger he doth confess, that he himself persuaded Bishop Hooper to Conformity. And in this last Age the great H. Grotius, who for Learning and Mode­ration Grot. ep. ad Gedeon. à Boe [...] ­sel. was the Phoenix almost of his time, look'd upon the way of the Church of England with admiration, as that which came nearest to the Primitive Simplicity. And among the present Dissenters, if such as are more sober and judicious than the rest, would but please to speak out, they must needs do us right too, and confess, that however some of our Usages are not point­vise just as they would have them, and suitable to their hu­mours, (and who can tell what will or can be so?) yet none of them are indeed naturally and intrinsecally unlawful. Nay, it is much to be suspected, that those wayward and hot Spirits among us, who are profest Patrons of Separation, would not find much fault neither, if their former Declamations against our way were but forgotten, and their Books burnt, and their Interest and Credit in the world were but secure; at least, if their own Hands had but been concern'd in settling this way. They would have been well pleas'd, could they but have said, Lo, this is the Bethel that we have built. But because this beauti­ful Fabrick was erected by other Hands, now nothing will serve their turn unless it be said, Lo, this is the Babel that we have helped to pull down.

The summe is this, that though the Plea of Antiquity be not sufficient to justifie those Ecclesiastical Constitutions, which either tend not to Edification, or are used after a Superstitious manner and to Superstitious ends, or are bad and sinful in them­selves; yet if the Constitutions be such as have been origi­nally occasioned by some Scripture-hints and intimations; if [Page 8] they be such as are retained and used for some solid, lasting, and perpetual Reasons; if they be such as serve to Decency in God's Worship; to Order, Peace, and Unity among Christians; and if they be such too, as are not offensive, scandalous, or evil in their own nature; then (I say) the Plea and Súffrage of An­tiquity doth add that gloss and advantage unto them, that they ought not to be laid aside for mens Humour's sake, but should be esteemed venerable, safe, and worthy of all acceptation. Now this we conceive to be our Case in every particular: and therefore supposing the usefulness, reasonableness, and lawfulness of our Constitutions, (which many Learned Divines have abundantly proved) if it be further made to appear, (and I shall endeavour to shew it in the Process of this Discourse) that these our Constitutions were observed in the Ancient Church of Christ, and that this was the old path wherein Millions of bles­sed Saints walked, while Religion continued fresh and fair within its Inclosure, then more will not be needful to con­vince any rational, serious, and sober man, that this is a good as well as old way, wherein we also may and ought to walk, not­withstanding the Pretences of those who love to walk irregu­larly and by themselves.

1. For it is to be considered, that if there be any safe and good way, certainly it must be found among the Ancient Christians; and the Stream of Religion must needs be still purer and purer, the nearer we come to the Foun­tain Ex ipso ordine manifestatur, id esse Dominicum & verum quod sit priùs traditum; id autem ex­traneum & falsum quod sit po­steriùs immissum. Tertul. de Praescript. adv. Haeret. Head. I speak now of things concerning the Government and Discipline of the Church. And questionless those things could not but be in a very good posture in the first Ages, when the Minds of Christians were full of Simplicity, when their Quando Domini nostri adhuc ca­lebat cruor, & fervebat recens in credentibus fides. Hieron. ep. ad Demetriad. Spirits were holy, their Designs honest, and their Factions few, and their Interests united. When the Bloud of Christ was yet warm in their hearts, and their Faith was so fresh and sprightly, that they chose to die, rather than they would depart from the Rule that had been fix'd by the Apostles. When Persecutions were so rife, that Christians had other things to do, than to study or think of Innovations in Religion: and let me add also, when they [Page 9] had such an account as was clear and certain, (in comparison of that which later Ages have had) touching the Original and Institution of things which came so lately to their hands. We indeed cannot certainly tell what were Apostolical Traditions, but such as we find in Scripture, because we want many good Records, which were written in the early days of Christianity. Nay, in S. Jerom's time they were posed to tell certainly what Ʋnaquaeque Provincia abundet in sensu suo; & praecep­ta majorum le­ges Apostolicas arbitretur. Hie­ron. ad Lucian Rites were of Apostolical Appointment: and they did general­ly call the Customs of the Church, and the Injunctions of their Ancestors, by the name of Apostolical Traditions. But yet 'tis reasonable to believe, that Christians of the second and third Century, who gave diligence to search into, and had means to find out, the Original of many Ecclesiastical Observations, were able to give a very fair and satisfactory account, what had been transmitted to them from the Apostles, and what not. For some of them conversed with the Apostles themselves, (or with some of them) as Polycarp, Ignatius, and S. Clement of Rome. Others again (as Irenaeus and Justin Martyr) were ac­quainted with Apostolical men. And others were so near to these, (as Clemens of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Cyril, &c.) that it was not very hard for them to know, whether the Or­dinances and Customs then used in the Church did owe their birth to the first Preachers of Religion, or whether they were postnate to the Age of the Apostles. Do not we know by the Acts and Monuments of former times, what the Governours of our Church did and appointed in the beginning of the Reformati­on under King Henry the Eighth? Why, it is very probable then, that what the Apostles did and instituted at the Planting of Religion under Nero, Vespasian, and Domitian, might be easi­ly known to those Fathers of the Church who lived and flou­rished, some ten, some thirty years after them, and others on­ward to an hundred, (or say two hundred) years successively. So that if it shall hereafter appear, that the outward Frame of Religion, which is establish'd in the present Church of England, was the very same Model for the most part which was used an­ciently in other Churches in the days of those primitive Writers and the very Model which they professed to have received from Christ's immediate Successors; then I cannot imagine what [Page 10] just reason any man can have against the asking for, and the walking in a way, so ancient, so laudable, and so safe. If he will not grant, that our Establishments were instituted by the holy Apostles, (which yet in probability is true, that they were appointed by them as things useful, decent, and convenient, though not as necessary in every particular) he must needs grant that they were appointed by due Authority, that is, by Apostolical Persons, and so may claim veneration and observance at our hands. Besides, it is to be consider'd, that not to the Apostles onely, but to their lawful Successors also, was that Promise of our blessed Saviour made, that he would be with them always, even unto the end of the world, Matth. 28. 20. and that other Pro­mise, that he would send his Spirit to guide them into all truth, John 16. 13. Now though that Promise requireth certain con­ditions of us, and extends it self chiefly to the necessaria fidei, matters of faith, and necessary matters too; yet 'tis altogether improbable, that Christ and his Spirit should take so little care of his Church in reference to its Polity and Discipline, as to for­sake her in the very next age, or to leave her to be abused by the Fancies of Dreamers, and to be imposed upon by men of foolish and degenerous Spirits, and to be defaced and spoiled of her pristine Beauty by the frothy Conceptions of men of corrupt minds. I pray, whither went the Spirit of Christ from the old Christians to speak unto us, after the space of Fifteen hun­dred years? How came he to suspend his Influences from those who lived Saints and died Martyrs, and at last came to breathe afresh into dry bones, and to restore Religion which had been lost in a long interval of Time and succession of Ages? Can any but Franticks conceive, that the Church was never pure till an hundred years ago? Or that for so many Centu­ries she needed to be swept, and yet a Besom could never be found till the DIsciplinarian started up and made one, and swept at such a rate, that with us Order, Decency, and Religion were quite flung out of doors; and Hypocrisie and Oppression were set up in its room?

2. Zanchius profest, that he had rather drink old Wine than Vorst. ad The­olog. Heidelb. in Epist. Ec­clesiasticis. new; meaning, that he preferred the Sense of the Ancients above that of Modern Divines, in all Points not determined in Scrip­ture. [Page 11] He said like a wise man; and 'twould be much for the Peace of Christendom, if all Christians would resolve in matters of Opinion to follow the Judgment, and in matters of Discipline to observe the Practice, of the ancient Church. But some Pa­lats are for new Wine onely, not because it is so good, (for the old is better) but because it is new. And I am not likely to per­suade such to conform to the Establishments of our Church by this Argument, because they are ancient Establishments. Yet I would beseech them to consider, in the second place, that the way we plead for, is not onely an old, but a good way also. We must not think, that the Contrivers of our Constitutions and Usages were so many Fools, how low soever they may lie in the esteem of men who have less Wisdom and worse Manners, and value a little Serpentine Craft above the Dove's Innocence. A Church being gather'd, it was impossible that without Laws that Society should hold together, or answer the ends of its Foundation; and therefore Government was necessary; and of all sorts of Government that by Bishops was thought most con­venient and fitting, because presumed to be the best Defensa­tive against Faction, Schism, and Disorder; and the Experience of all Ages hath found it to be so. Again, since the Church is a Collection of men learned and unlearned, who are set apart to worship God, and do hold their Title unto Christ by their Faith in him, it was judg'd very expedient, that Set Forms of Publick Prayer should be prescrib'd, both as a Repository of whol­som and sound Doctrines, and likewise as a Provision for the necessities of the ignorant, and moreover as a Preservative of Order, Unity, and Peace among Christians. Lastly, consider­ing that the Worship of God is to be celebrated with solemn Decency and Comliness, suitable in some degree to the Great­ness of that Majesty which is to be adored, certain outward Rites and Ceremonies were appointed, as good means to con­duct 1 Cor. 14. 40. men to a sense of Religion, and to the exercise of Godli­ness, and to create and stir up the Devotion of the Mind, and the Reverence of the Heart. For by the Judgment and Practice of the whole World it doth appear, that an external Solem­nity and Observance of Circumstances (such as Habits, Orna­ments, Gestures, &c.) do bring a mighty respect to all secular [Page 12] Transactions, and the Grandeur of Princes Courts, of Courts of Judicature, and of Civil Corporations, is much upheld, and Go­vernment becomes venerable by the use of Rites and Ceremo­nies, though little in their own nature. In like manner, the use of Ceremonies in the Service of God, and in all Sacred Trans­actions, doth make a great impression on mens Minds, it com­mandeth Reverence, (which is the security of Religion) and conveyeth through our senses into our hearts an awful regard of what we are about; and as apparel upon our bodies serveth to maintain the vital heat within, so do these outward Appen­dages help to preserve the very heart of Religion, which consist­eth in true Piety and Devotion.

This is enough to shew the wisdom of those who first chalk­ed out unto us this old way, for which we now plead. And before men cry out against this way, they should do well to consider, whether they can direct us to a better. But our Dis­senters could never yet do this. They could pull down our Government, and throw out our Liturgy, (which yet was quite contrary to their Solemn Declaration;) they could abolish our Declarat. of April 9. 1642. Ceremonies, and destroy our Discipline, (and any Child or Dunce can spoil a Model, which none but an Artist can set together.) But though they had the confidence to mar things, yet they had not amongst them all the wit to mend them. Government, which sate easie upon the Shoulders of unprejudiced people before, became an intolerable burthen to all by their pretended Reformation. Though at first the World was in love with their new Trangum, yet 'twas soon weary of it; and in a little time threw it away with scorn and indignation. What a grave decorum was there in all Churches before? and what intolera­biles ineptiae, Fooleries and Ridicules succeeded them? Were not the Houses of God turned into Theatres? Was not Religion turned into a Comedy? And were not all sacred Offices brought into contempt, so that men abhorred the offering of the Lord? Why, 'tis strange that those men, who in a fit of good nature are so kind as to pity the weakness of their Forefathers; and are so silly as to be puffed up with a windy conceit of their own knowledge; will not be so modest and just as to allow the An­cient Assertors and Props of Christianity the due Credit of ha­ving [Page 13] been wise men; 'tis strange (I say) since these Starters aside from the old Paths never altered those Establishments which our Fathers left us, but still they altered them for the worse. What a thin, pitiful, and impertinent business was the Directory in comparison of our Service-book? And yet that was the onely thing that was like a Platform, and that did not very well please themselves. And since His Majesty's Restauration a new Li­turgy was offered to the World for a Tryal of Skill, and yet it would not pass; the Contrivers of it could not satisfie either us or their own Party by it. And if you will go back to former times, you will find that they were Bunglers from the begin­ning. To which purpose the story is observable, which the Learned and Excellent Dr. Hammond relates of those four Classes View of the new Directo­ry. of Reformers in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, who had set themselves up in this Kingdom. ‘These had made complaint to the Lord Burleigh against our Liturgy, and entertained hopes of obtaining his Favour in that business about the Year 1585. He demanded of them whether they desired the ta­king away of all Liturgy? They answered, No. He then re­quired them to make a better, such as they should desire to have settled instead of this. The first Classis did according­ly frame a new one, (which I suppose was that Book of Com­mon Prayers mentioned by Bishop Bancroft, but it was) accord­ing Bang. Pos. B. 3. c. 10. to the Geneva Form. But this the second Classis disliked and altered in 600 particulars. That again had the fate to be quarrell'd by the third Classis; and what the third resolved on, by the fourth. And the dissenting of those Brethren, as the division of Tongues at Babel, was a fair means to keep that Tower then from advancing any higher.’ Thus he. Now certainly that outward Frame and Constitution of Religi­on was very wisely contrived, which Clubs of peevish and rest­less Spirits have been pecking at for these hundred years toge­ther, and yet are at a loss how to raise any tolerable good Fa­brick upon the ruins of the old one. And then I appeal to any indifferent person, whether it be not the safest course for men to walk in that way, which (taking it from one end to the other, and in the main) is so good condition'd, that either you need not or cannot mend it.

[Page 14] 3. And yet, besides what has been said already, there is a third very considerable Argument, to shew what great Reason we have to stick to our Establishments; and it is this, that our Way is not onely Ancient (in respect of it self) and incompa­rably useful (in respect of its ends) but is also that which was generally used by all Professors of Christianity in the beginning. Had our Government and Discipline been Local, and set up in this Church of England alone, there might have been some room for an Impeachment of Singularity. But you shall see, that the Way which is settled among us, was for the most part the great and common Road which all Saints and Martyrs observed of old; so that we do not onely plead Prescription, but we plead it from the joynt consent of all Christendom; and our Constitutions carry as great Countenance and Authority, as the Catholic Church can give them. Scarcely shall you find any ancient Records of either the Asiatic, or African, or Euro­pean Churches, but we can fetch Testimonies out of them touching the universal use of most of our Establishments, if not all. And can we reasonably think, that a Platform so received all Christendom over without contradiction, and handed down unto us from the Practice of all Natious, so separated by distan­ces of place, and so divided by differences of language, could be an Imposture or Corruption? Is it not rather to be presumed, (as a thing probable and likely at least) that it came originally from the hands of those, who first planted Christianity in the several Quarters of the World? It is a Rule in Tertullian, that—quod Tert. de Praescr. adv. Haret. apud multos unum invenitur, non est erratum, sed traditum; That Religion which did so consent with it self up and down in so many places, was derived from the Apostles or Apostolick men, who scatter'd themselves into all Nations, and resolved to teach people but one general Way. To say, that the beginning of many Usages in the Church is unknown, is a plain confession of their Antiquity, and just ground for a suspicion, that they bear Date with the first Publishing of Christianity. To say that every one of our Customs was at first the fancy of some private person, which by continuance and contagion, came at length to be a public Rite, seemeth to be as groundless an Assertion as the former. For the Devisor of that Custom was either an Heretic [Page 15] or a Catholic. First then, suppose he was a known deceiver; sup­pose he had fair opportunities of going into all parts, and great ability of speaking all Languages, and a strong design of corrupt­ing the Simplicity of Religion, yet it is impossible that so ma­ny wise and watchful Fathers of the Church could sleep all that time, and suffer every Province and Countrey to be overrun with Superstition and Innovation in a trice? Consider seriou­sly but this one following Instance: Montanus was a very early Impostor, (for Tertullian at last became a Proselyte to his Party.) This man pretended to have been inspired, and profess'd greater Sanctity of Life than other men, insomuch that his Adherents called all sober and regular Christians by the name of Psychici, that is, Animal or Carnal Gospellers. He condemned all second Mar­riages, and would have Euseb. Eccles. Hist. lib. 3. enacted Laws of Fasting, and endea­voured to introduce a Custom of observing more Lents than one Hieron. Epist. ad Marcel. in a year. The Christians at that time were very severe in their times and manner of Absti­nence, and were ready enough to comply with any usual, though never so austere kinds of Discipline. But yet when Montanus went about to impose upon them, his attempting an Innovation gave such an Alarm to the Bishops, that the Church rose up against him as one man, and condemn'd him for an Heretic; though (if Tertullian —Non quòd aliquam fidei aut spei regulam evertant, (scil. Montanus & Maximilla) sed quòd planè doceant saepiùs je­junare quàm nubere. Tert. adv. Psychicos. may be belie­ved) he did not Innovate in any matters pertaining unto the Faith. Now when we consider this single Instance, can we be so unreasonable as to imagin, that a Government which was set up every where, was a new-fangled device? Or that a Discipline which was received every where, was a private Invention, and of a Seducer too? Or that Forms and Rituals which were used every where, were Brats begotten by some doating Head and superstiti­ous Brain, and then thrown into the Bosom, and forc'd into the Embraces of every Church in the World? 2. Well, to mend the matter a little, suppose this Author of these Customs to have been a Person of Note and Eminence in the Church; yet we are much mistaken if we think, that the Governours of the Church were such tame, easie, and flexible men, as to receive and admit of new Customs upon the Recommendation of a single [Page 16] or private Person, though of unquestionable Integrity, for they refus'd Offers made them by whole Churches. For instance: The difference about the keeping of Easter is as famous as it was old. The Churches of Asia observed it on the day of the Jews Passover, on whatsoever day of the week that happened. The Western Churches observed upon the day when our Lord rose from the dead. This Variety of Observation was from the beginning, (if there be any truth in Ecclesiastical History) and in a little time it begat a Controversie, first between two Bi­shops, Anicetus of Rome, and Polycarpus of Smyrna, S. John's Di­sciple. The matter was debated between them, but neither could Polycarpus persuade Anicetus to recede from his Custom, nor could Anicetus persuade Polycarpus to recede from his. So they parted good Friends. Almost thirty years after, this Con­troversie Euseb. Eccles. Hist. l. 5. c. 23, 24. was revived between whole Churches, in the time of Polycrates Bishop of Ephesus, and Victor of Rome. Several Pro­vincial Synods were summoned to consider of the matter; and on each hand Tradition was urged. The Western Churches insisted upon a Tradition which they had received from some of the Apostles; the Churches of Asia pleaded a Tradition which they had received from S. John, (who 'tis likely recom­mended that Custom to them to gratifie the Jews:) And per­haps the Plea on both sides was good. But so stiff they were on each hand, that no Arguments could prevail with either Party to relinquish their old Custom, and to take up the other; so that Victor in a great heat would have cut off tot & tantas Ec­clesias Dei, so many and such eminent Churches of God, from his Communion, had not the great Prelate of Lyons, Irenaeus, stood in the gap, and reprehended Victor for his rashness. Now he that shall seriously consider this story with all its Circumstan­ces, cannot with reason believe, that the Ancient Churches were easie to be impos'd upon, or to be corrupted with Super­stition, when they stood out so resolutely against an innocent Tradition. Much less is it credible, that a few Persons, though of Repute and Dignity, could possibly leven all Churches in Christendom with their private Inventions. And therefore when we consider, how all Churches of old did conspire, as in the same Faith, so in the same Government, in the same Mini­strations, [Page 17] and generally in the same Rites too (and those now in use with us here,) we must needs be startled in our thoughts, and be posed to conceive, how these things could arise all at once of themselves, without any hand (like so many Mush­romes that start out of the Earth in a Night,) or how they could be disseminated by any Private hand. Rather it seemeth reasonable to impute them to the Special Providence of God, and to the Institution of the first Ministers of Religion, who probably did recommend these usages, as things useful or conve­nient, though they did not Ordain, or Impose them as things simply and universally Necessary.

I do not pretend peremptorily to derive all our Customes from Apostolical Practice; although there are such fair evi­dences of the Antiquity of many of them, that we might strongly argue that point, if the Ancient Christians may be allowed (what is allowed Jews and Heathens) to be good Witnesses of matters of Fact. But my purpose is to prove, that our present Establishments in the Church of England, are of a very Venerable date; and for that Reason, to contend, that they ought not to give place to Novelties, as if they were of no moment; or to be kick'd down, as if they are Despicable. So that if better Arguments may be setch'd from Antiquity on their behalf, than can be brought against them, I have obtained my Ends; and in order to that, I urge the General, as well as Ancient usage of them: For certainly one Church ought to have regard to the Constitutions of other (and espe­cially the Ancient) Catholick Churches, or else St. Paul's Argument is trifling in 1 Cor. 11. 16. where condemning the covering of Mens Heads, and the uncovering of Womens in Religious Assemblies, he confronts the Practice, by urging the custom observed in all Places besides Corinth, We have no such custom, neither the Churches of God: And in St. Paul's Judgment that was enough to determine the Controversie.

Two things may be objected against what hath been spoken. First, That the Christian Churches were universally deceived in the Primitive Times, and that in two Instances. 1. They all believed, that after the World was 6000 years old, there would be a general Resurrection of the Dead, and then that [Page 18] Christ would Reign on Earth a thousand Years. Secondly, It was an universal custom, to give the Sacrament of the Lords Supper even to Infants, after they were Baptized. And if all the Anolent Churches were actually cheated in two things, 'tis probable, that they were in more also; at least, nothing can be brought from the General Practice of those Churches, to make their Customs venerable.

In Answer to the former Instance, I have three things to offer briefly: 1. That it was not matter of Fact or Discipline, but matter of Opinion only, in which the World might be more easily abused; because, points of Doctrin are not obvious to the Senses, and are more hard to be retained in the Memories of men, than things of Custom and Discipline. And therefore Tradition is not allowed to be a safe Record of things concer­ning the Faith, but the Scriptures only. 2. That this Per­suasion was not derived from the Apostles, but came Originally from some Jews, converted to Christianity, who were mixed up and down in the Churches of Christ. For such an old Tradition we read of, called the Tradition of the House of Rabbi Elias, that the World should continue 6000 Years, and then, that the Everlasting Sabbath should begin. Which Fancy continuing in the Minds of most Christian Jews, Papias, and other Christians, came by degrees to imbibe it, by conversing with those of the Circumcision, who were dispersed all Chri­stendom over. 3. And yet, thirdly, this was no universal Doctrine, by your favour. For Eusebius saith, that Many Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 3. in fine. Ecclesiastical persons were abused with this Error. And Justin Mar­tyr tells us, that though he himself, and many others were of that Opinion, yet there were many others, men of pure and pious Judgments, who did not think so. And shew me, if you can, any such in those days, that were against the received [...]. Justin. Dial. cum Tryph. Government and Discipline of the Church.

In Answer to the latter Instance, we have reason to affirm, that the giving of the Communion to Baptized Infants, was not an universal custom in the Primitive Times, whatever some Learned men have suggested to the contrary. Such in­deed was the exuberant Piety of those Ages, that they would not fail in any thing which seemed to be a Duty and a security [Page 19] of their hopes; and some did run away with a misconstruction of those words of our Saviour in Joh. 6. 53. But suppose that this was an usual Custom in some particular Churches, it is not fair that one single Exception (if yet it be an Exception) should void a whole Rule; and all that we can gather from it is, that all their Customs were not of Apostolical Institution: nor do we say they were; onely Iurge, that where their Customs were universal in the first Ages, there is a fair probability that they came from good hands, and a sufficient Argument for us to walk in a way which was so universally old. But lastly, in answer to both these Objections it is clear, that as well the for­mer Opinion, as this Custom, met in time with publick contradi­ction; for the one was disown'd, and the other was laid aside in following Ages; and so the Instances do not reach us, whose Establishments have passed all along without condemnation or censure, (nay with accessions and advantage) till of late some in­discreet men resolved to run far enough from the Church of Rome, ran themselves out of their wits and five senses, and for­getting the Golden Mean took too quick a step out of Superstiti­on into Confusion, and now are in a fair way to run round again out of Confusion into Superstition.

2. I hope that our Plea of Antiquity in defence of our Con­stitutions standeth yet fair, notwithstanding this first Pretence. The next is, that even in the Apostles days the mystery of ini­quity was working, as S. Paul witnesseth 2 Thess. 2. 7. For they who are not Friends to the way of the Church of England, do generally (but wrongfully) understand by that Mystery of Iniqui­ty, a Spirit of Tyranny and Superstition even in the bowels of Christ's Spouse, that was then setting up for Antichrist, and lay­ing the Foundations of Prelacy, and a ceremonious, pompous way of Worship, and whatsoever else men will please to say.

For the voiding of this Pretence, 1. We do aknowledge, that there was a sort of men in S. Paul's days, (and the less wonder if there are such now) that were like Moles, blind and busie Creatures, working under ground, restless and mischie­vous, notwithstanding their soft, delicate, and smooth Skin. But then, secondly, we do utterly deny (and 'tis a marvel that any man of Learning should have the confidence to affirm) that [Page 20] these were true Christians, living in the communion of the Church, and under the guidance and government of the Holy Apostles. No; they were the Sectaries of those times, whom S. Paul meaneth by the Mystery of Iniquity, a company of close Villains, whose lewd designs were hid in the dark, and whose abominable Practices were kept private under a Curtain, and within the Walls of their Conventicles: for it is a shame even to speak of those things which were done of them in secret, Ephes. 5. 12. The Apostles do point plainly unto these Miscreants through­out all their Epistles. S. Paul gives them the Character of false Prophets, deceitful Workers, transforming themselves into the 2 Cor. 11. 13. Phil. 3. 2. Col. 2. 18. 1 Tim. 6. 20. 2 Tim. 3. 2, 3, 4, 5. Apostles of Christ.—dogs, evil workers, the Concision, that all good people should beware of.—men vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds, and not holding the head.—pretending knowledge falsly so called.—lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful unholy, with­out natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, (or Make-bates) incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. S. Peter calls 2 Pet. 2. 3, 10. them false teachers, that through covetousness with feigned words made merchandize of people: despisers of government, presumptuous, self-willed, that were not afraid to speak evil of dignities, &c. S. Jude Jude 4, 8, 9, 16 describes them as men crept in unawares, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, filthy dreamers, that despised domi­nion, and spake evil of dignities, and of those things which they knew not, murmurers, complainers, &c. Any man may perceive, that those were the followers of Simon Magus, the Gnosticks, whom the Holy Writers did thus lash, and expose to the World; men who called themselves Christians, and went under the Name; [...]. Just. Mart. yet by their notorious and unparallell'd wickedness brought a reproach upon Religion, and caused the Name of Christ to be blasphemed by the Gentiles. But the Apostles have taken most particular notice of their separation from the Church of Christ. These are they (saith S. Paul) which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, 2 Tim. 3. 6. They went out from us, but were not of us, saith S. John, 1 Joh. 2. 19. These be they who separate themselves, saith S. Jude, ver. 19. which have forsa­ken [Page 21] the right way, saith S. Peter, and are gone astray, following the 2 Pet. 2. 15. way of Balaam. By which plain Testimonies it doth appear, that the Schismaticks of that Age are they which S. Paul meant by the Mystery of Iniquity: the high-flown, stubborn, seditious, and contentious Gnosticks, they that forsook the Regular Assem­blies, that spurn'd at Government; they that were set against the Hierarchy, and lifted up their unholy Claws to pull down the Constitutions of the Church. These were that Mystery of Iniquity which was then working and factoring for Antichrist. And what is this to the true Church? For there was no evil then working within the Church; there was no preparing of Materials for the Kingdom of the Devil within the Church; there was no Idolatry in the Mint, nor Superstition upon the Anvil, within the Church; but indeed without there was hard working, sweating and toiling; so that after the death of the Apostles many Errors were scatter'd by these Preachers of Hegesippus in Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 32. Knowledge, falsly so called, who counterfeited themselves Christians, and lurked among those who were Christians in truth and reality. But shall we be unjust and wicked like the Pagans, reviling the whole ancient Church for the sake of these old villanous Sectaries? Shall our Ecclesiastical Consti­tutions be depraved, by reason of the Schismatical and Diaboli­cal Practices of the Gnosticks? If Samaria doth transgress, there is no reason that Judah should suffer for it, unless she be a Con­federate. Now it would be to the purpose, if it could be pro­ved, that the Gnosticks, that Mystery of Iniquity, were the found­ers of our Prelacy, or the Authors of our Discipline and Cere­monies. But it is obvious, that they were the first (though not the last) the hated and oppos'd Episcopal Authority, and that they used quite different and most monstrous Rites in their filthy Assemblies; and as soon it may be proved, that their and our Faith is the same: whereas it is known, that they denied the Reality of Christ's Incarnation and Passion, (and for that rea­son came not to the Christian Communion;) and that their Creed was a confused Mess of Heathen Mythology concerning S. Ignat. ep ad. Smyr. 1 Tim. 1. 4. Aeones and Genealogies of Gods, which afterwards Valentinus the Heretick digested into some kind of Form.

[Page 22] Briefly then; If the way Establish'd in this Church of Eng­land be the old Christian way; if it be so excellently contrived, that no other Constitution can be better (or, so well) framed to answer the ends of Christianity; if it be that way, which for the greatest (if not in every) part thereof, is that which was universally observed for very many Centuries, all along, from the Pure and Primitive Times of Christiantiy; then have we reason to believe, that it was originally laid out, not by the Invention of a Private Person or two, or by the Confederacy of crafty Impostors, but by the wisdom of just and competent Au­thority, whose business it was to set things in order in the 1 Cor. 11. 34. Churches of Christ: To be sure, we have then great Reason to ask for this old Path, where the good Way is, and to walk therein, notwithstanding the desires and endeavours of those, which are given to changes. And thus the first thing is dis­patch'd, which I propounded to discourse of.

2. The second Consideration now followeth, that it would be a thing greatly useful and advantageous unto us (as well as just in it self) if we would but unanimously agree to walk steddily in this Good old way.

And truly, many excellent ends there are, to which the Practice of this thing would be highly serviceable.

1. As first; it would put that Lustre and Beauty upon Reli­gion, which by our Distractions and Innovations is manifestly, and in an high degree defaced; it would restore it to that Deco­rum and Order, which made it venerable and lovely in the days of Old. Among other things which St. Paul rejoiced to see in the Collossians, this was one, that he beheld their Order, Col. 2. 9. For this very much helpeth to bring Religion into Request, and extorteth a Confession from its very Enemies, that of a truth God is in them that do profess it; whereas Confusion and Disorders in a Church, either for want of a sixt Rule, or by the neglect of it, doth but expose Religion to Reproach, and its Professors to Scorn. If there come in (into irregular Congre­gations) those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say, that ye are mad? As the Apostle speaks pertinently to my purpose. 1 Cor. 14. 23.

[Page 23] 2. To walk together in the good Old Path, would be an excellent means, as to put an Outward Gloss upon Religion, so also to recover that Inward Life of it, which consisteth in Cha­rity, and brotherly Love. Scarcely is any thing so much wan­ting among us as Charity, though the Holy Ghost doth up and down command us to be rooted and grounded, to walk and to be knit together, to abound and continue in, and to provoke one another unto Love. Mens forsaking of the good Old Way, has been the Occasion and Rise of all that uncharitableness, which is the Monstrous Sin, and the Characteristical note of this Age, when instead of being Lambs and Doves, some count it a piece of Religion, to be worse than wolves and Vultures, ready to devour one another. For in the Primitive Times, when Chri­stians could dispute well, and live better, the very Heathens could not but observe with Admiration, how they loved one another. Men have ceased to be our Friends, since they refused to go the usual way with us into the House of God, and parted from us into different and by-roads: And that ill-natur'd Sect, which first divided from us, is justly rewarded with Ishmaels doom, Gen. 16. 12. That his hand is against every man, and every mans hand against him. And, as far as I can see, things are likely to go on still at this rate, 'till men will be so kind to themselves, and so just to us, as to quit those Novel courses, and uncouth paths, in which Pride and Singularity, and a Spirit of Contra­diction (together with base respects to their Secular Interest) have caused them to wander hitherto.

3. A thing which is the more desirable (especially, at this juncture and nick of time) because, thirdly, it would infinitely serve to the general Quiet and Safety of us All. It would unite our Interests, as well as our Affections; 'twould compose our Minds, and our Affairs too; 'twould not only make us live together with one mind in an House; but, moreover it would establish our House, and make it strong, and firm, and safe, over our Heads. For, 'tis not every difference in Opinion, that exposeth a Church, or a Nation to danger; but 'tis fighting and quarrelling about the Main way that ruins all. We know, that among the Turks, there are several Sects and Parties, and different per­suasions, and yet the Ottoman Empire holds (though it be a [Page 24] most Arbitrary and Tyrannical Policy,) and the Interest of Ma­homet is carried on (though it be a most palpable and fulsome Im­posture,) because, though they jangle in matters of lesser mo­ment, yet they are true to their Common Interest, and agree in the Main, and closely adhere to their general Model of Go­vernment, Religion, and Worship. In like manner, among the Romanists themselves (who boast so much of the Unity of their Church) there are many very Considerable Divisions, and more, perhaps, than there are among Us, and those as hotly maintained; and yet Herod and Pilate know how to agree against Christ; the Scotists and Thomists, the Molinists and Jan­senists, the Dominicans and Jesuits, and the rest, are wise enough to hang together under the Laws of their Church; they go quietly, and hand in hand in the main way; they conspire in one Common Form; they are tite to their Government, and keep close to their Rubricks and Establishments; and as long as the Pope can but keep things in this Channel, either by the Ter­rours of the Inquisition, or by other Politick Arts, he knows that his, and his Churches Interest is safe, and he needs not make use of his pretended Infallibility to determine those points which are controverted. I wish that we would learn so much wit of the Adversaries of True Religion, as not to fall out there, where the safety of us all is concern'd; but walk to­gether like Friends, in that plain way, which the Ancient Church hath beaten out before us, and the Laws of our Land have fenced in; for differences in matters of Speculation, and points disputable, could not hurt us, or lay us open to dan­ger, if some among us were but True to our Common Interest; if they would but stick to our Establishments, which are the Rampiers, and Bullwarks of the Church; if they would but be as zealous for Christ, as the Turk is for Mahomet; or, as the Jesuit is for Him, whom some suppose to be Antichrist. No­thing in all Probability can give us Rest to our Souls, and Security to our Nation, and Prosperity to our Religion, but this one thing, to seek after the good Old Way: Men may please themselves with Fancies, and try many fruitless Con­clusions, and make experiments of this, and of that Expedi­ent, but the World will see in the end that nothing [Page 25] but the observing of the Old Path will put us into a good posture.

4. But yet, fourthly, there is one huge Advantage more, which the performance of this matter would bring unto us, and that indeed which I shall chiefly insist on, and it is this; That it would justifie our whole Cause before all the World, and cut off all just occasion from those, who wrongfully upbraid us all for Innovators, and under that pretence trepan many a Soul. Where (say they) was your Religion before Luther? Now the Dissenter is not able to answer this Question truly, throughly, or to satisfaction; because a great part of his Religion was no where in the world, no not in Luther's days; and so the Ro­manists have a continual and unanswerable Objection to fling in his teeth. But the Church of England, as it is establish'd, hath a fair and full Plea, that her whole Religion was long before Popery; that it was in the world in the days of the Apostles; that it was in the Liturgies of the primitive Churches; that it is to be seen still in the Tomes of the Greek and Latin Fathers: nay, she can justifie her Cause out of those very Writers in com­munion with the Roman Church, both before and since the time of Luther, whose Books they (like dishonest men) have correct­ed, purged, and mangled by the Expurgatory Indices, lest they should tell tales.

I do not intend now to vindicate the Doctrine of our Church in this respect; for that is not so much to my present purpose, and our Faith hath been by others abundantly proved, to be exactly consonant to the Sence of Scripture, and to the Faith of all Orthodox Christians in the purest and best Ages; and by this we are ready to stand or fall, let the Papist bark at us till his Tongue and his Heart aketh.

But my purpose is to justifie the Government and Discipline of our Church to be the same which was used in Christian Churches from the beginning; and that against a sort of men among our selves who accuse us of Superstition, as the Papists [Page 26] do accuse us of Schism, though God be blessed we are guilty of neither. We tell our Dissenting Brethren, that our way, which they have forsaken, is indeed the old Path; we affirm our Government to have been Primitive and Apostolical; and we say too, that our Discipline, Rites, and way of Worship is the same generally which was establish'd in the first and best times; and this I shall endeavour now to prove in some measure by in­stancing in particulars, that men who desire satisfaction here­in may see, that the Frame of our Religion is de facto very an­cient; and that on that account (besides many others) it ought to be upheld and maintain'd, (which is the thing I have already argued for;) and withall, that our Charge of Innovati­on would be unjust and ridiculous, did we but unanimously re­solve to tread in this Path: our Brethren then would be free from guilt as well as our selves.

1. The first thing to be spoken to is our Form of Government, I mean our Episcopacy, the thing that is such an Eye-sore to Pa­pists, Atheists, and Schismaticks. It is clear, that for 1500 years it was the onely kind of Government in the Church. And whatever some Learned men have pretended, I believe you can scarcely instance in any ancient Churches, perfectly and completely formed, that were not under the care and go­vernment of Bishops, (in our present Sence of the word;) Bi­shops presiding over them either in person, or by their Authori­ty. Those great Luminaries of the Church, to whom the World hath been and is so much beholding, the Austins, Cypri­ans, Chrysostoms, Basils, Cyrils, Gregories, and Ambroses, were fa­mous and renowned Prelates, some of them Metropolitanes, some Patriarchs, all of them Bishops. Those Fathers of the third Century after the Apostles, (as Theodoret, Jerom, and others) who thought the Names of Bishop and Presbyter to be indiffer­ently and promiscuously used in the Scripture, did not mean to impair the just honour and dignity of Bishops; for they acknow­ledged, that though the Names were in common, yet the Of­fice, Power, and Orders, were distinct, (especially as to some things, as that of Ordination;) and they all taught, that even [Page 27] in the Apostles times, or at least before S. John's death, there were three several Degrees of Ministers in the Church; and Tert. de Bapt. Orig. hom. 7. in Jer. & in Mat. tract. 24. Clem. Alex. de Gnost. that as Presbyters were superiour to Deacons, so Bishops were superiour to both. Those Writers of the second Century after the Apostles, as Tertullian, Origen, and (if you will reckon him) Clemens Alexandrinus, do make express mention of three ranks of Clergy-men in their days, viz. Bishops, Presbyters, and Dea­cons; and of these, the Bishops to have been in chief. Lastly; though it is suppos'd, that the Testimonies of Antiquity touching the Constitution of the Church, be most of all wanting in that Age, which was the very next to the Holy Apostles, yet by the plain and pregnant evidences out of Ire­neus, Iren. lib. 3. c. 3. Hegesip. in Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. 4. c. 22. Id. de Dionys. c. 23. Clem. Rom. Ep. ad Cor. Hegesippus, Dionysius of Corinth, Clement of Rome, and out of those Canons which go under the Name of the Apostles, (many whereof were framed and observed in that Age) it doth appear to any considerate and indifferent person, that certain particular Men called Bishops were in those early days of Christianity entrusted with the Superintendency and Authority over whole Churches. But above all, the Epistles of Ignatius, a Contemporary of the Apostles themselves, yield us so many and such strong Arguments of this matter, that they who have been Schismaticks from the Catholic Church in this particular of Government, have used all their Art and Skill to decry those Epistles, as spurious and fictitious, though the late Reverend Dr. Hammond, and the present Bishop of Chester, have laboured Dissertationes vindiciae. with so much Learning and Success to prove those Epistles to be the genuine issue of St. Ignatius, that they have said enough to lay this whole Controversie asleep, unless Men will expect that an Angel from Heaven shall Preach to us to bury our Disputes, as well as Summon us with the sound of a Trumpet, to come out of our Graves. Briefly; the most ancient Eccle­siastical writers, where they reckon up the Orders of those who were intrusted with the work of the Ministry, do so carefully distinguish between Bishops as the first Order, and Presbyters as the second, that the most Learned of that Party, who are no good friends to Episcopal Government, have been forced to con­fess, that Episcopacy was the only Government of the Church [Page 28] in the most Primitive times, that is, in the very next Age to the Apostles; but that Age they do except; and we shall see the Practice of that Age too anon.

In the mean time it may be Objected, that Antiquity is an incompetent witness to prove, that Episcopacy was the setled form of Government in the first Ages; and that upon these three accounts. 1. Because we have no clear and particular account of the uniformity of Episcopal Government in all Apo­stolical Plantations; so that for ought we know it might vary in some places. But this is a fallacious way of arguing, because a Negative is not to be proved from the silence of Anti­quity, as to the constitution of some parts of Christendom. Though we have no exact Records of what St. Thomas did in Parthia, or St. Andrew in Scythia, or some other Apostles in their respective [...], Dioceses and Jurisdictions, yet it doth not follow, that they either did, or might set up another form of Government, different from that in other Churches. When by the joint-Testimony of the first writers, and their followers, we find, that Episcopal Chairs were set up in all the Western parts of Asia, and in sundry other Countries, Provinces, and Cities; when Ireneus, who was Polycarp's Disciple, and but one remove from the Apostles, tells us Hier. in Catal. Iren. lib. 3. c. 3. plainly and peremptorily, that Bishops were instituted by the Apostles, and that he was able to enumerate (but that he should be too prolix) Omnium Ecclesiarum Successiones, those (Bishops) who succeeded the Apostles in all Churches: and when St. Cle­ment, who was St. Paul's fellow-labourer, tells us expresly, that Phil. 4. 3. Clem. Ep. p. 54. the Apostles preaching through Countries and Cities, ordained the first Fruits of them to be Bishops and Deacons, for those who should afterwards believe; we have no reason to doubt, but that Episcopal Government was erected every where, though by the iniquity of times some Records of particular Churches are lost unto us, which were extant in former Ages. They who argue from the defect of Testimonies, that another Govern­ment there might be, would do well to shew us from Testimo­nies extant that another Government there was.

[Page 29] 2. It may be pretended, that Antiquity is no competent witness of Episcopal Government setled in the first Ages, be­cause those Testimonies we have, do not give us a particular Catalogue of those Bishops who succeeded the Apostles. And to this purpose is urged that of Eusebius, that it is not easie to Euseb. l. 3. c. 4. tell, what, or who they were, that were appointed to feed the Church, setting aside those whom we pick out of the writings of St. Paul. Now to this Allegation there are four things in Answer. 1. That Eusebius speaks only of the Bishops in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2. That he declared it not altogether impossible, but somewhat hard (meaning, for him, who was at some considerable distance from the first Age) to give account of the Apostles Successors in all those Churches. 3. That the difficulty was, not as to the Succession it self, but as to the particular Names of the suc­ceeding Bishops (for so Ruffinus his Interpreter did understand Quorum nomi­na non est facilè explicare per singulos. it.) 4. But all this is nothing to our present purpose; because Eusebius could not readily tell all the Names of the Bishops which had been before him, it doth not follow, that there had been no such thing as a setled Episcopacy. For who can reasonably expect, that there should be an exact Register of the Names of all the Bishops in the World? Though in the Age next to the Apostles we find Ignatius Bishop of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna, and Onesimus of Ephesus, and Dama of Magnesia, and Polybius at Trallis, and Papias of Hierapolis, and Melito of Sar­dis, and Symeon (the Son of Cleophas) of Jerusalem, and Palmeas of Amastris, and Thraseas of Eumenia, and Sagaris of Laodicea, yet 'tis not to be wondred at, if we meet not with the Names of many more, who presided over other Churches in those parts of Asia; and yet 'tis easie to gather from Poly­crates his Epistle to Victor Bishop of Rome, that all the Asiatic Euseb. Eccles, Hist. l. 5. c. 24. Churches were under the Government of Episcopacy. Again, though in the same Age we find Pothinus to have been Bishop of Lyons, and Clement of Rome, and Denys the Areopagite of Athens, and another Denys of Corinth, who mentions Phi­lippus Bishop of Gortina, and Pinytus Bishop of Gnossus; I say, [Page 30] though the Names of these and other Primitive Bishops in the very next Century to the Apostles, do still stand upon good Record, yet 'tis not modest, ingenuous, or reasonable, for any Man to require us, either to nominate every one of the Apo­stles Successors in all parts of the World, or to lay down our pretensions of a setled Episcopacy in the Ages next to them; especially since Ireneus hath told us, that he was able (though Iren. ubi suprà. Idem affirmat Tertullianus, de Praesc. Adv. Her. we are not) to reckon up the Bishops who succeeded the Apo­stles in all the Churches. Were there no exact List of the for­mer Prelates of England, yet I hope it would not follow, that these Churches have not been all along under the Government of Episcopacy. It will trouble the best Antiquary to tell us all the old Bishops among the ancient Britains and Scots; and yet we know, that they had Bishops before the Saxons came in hither (which was about Anno 450) and many Ages before the Bishops of Rome, claimed any Jurisdiction in this Island.

3. But then supposing a Succession of Bishops in the Aposto­lical Churches, nevertheless it is Objected, Thirdly, that Anti­quity is no sufficient witness of a setled Episcopacy in the first Ages, because the Ancients speak ambiguously and doubtfully of those Bishops, calling them sometimes Presbyters; so that we have no certain account, whether those Men were superiour to Presbyters in Order, Power, and Authority; or whether they were above them only in a Degree of Honour, like the Chair­men in Assemblies, or like the Archontes at Athens, and the Ephori at Sparta, who had an equal power, but gave a deference of Honour and Dignity to one above the rest. Now, I can­not but wonder, that Men should invent doubts where there are none: for nothing is more clear, then that the Bishops thus succeeding the Apostles, had a Superiority of Power over the rest of the Clergy, not only to ordain, but also to judge and censure them, without any Authority given them by a Bench of Presbyters, though not always without their Aid and Advice. For the removing of this third Scruple then, these five things are to be noted. 1. That in many of the writers of the first and second Age after Apostles, we find a plain distinction between [Page 31] Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, as three distinct Orders. 2. That in not one of these writers can we find, that this Supe­riority of Bishops over Presbyters was thought then (what ever was imagined in after-times) to be founded on any act, vote, or consent of the Church, as bestowing this Power upon them. 3. But on the contrary, that the care of all Ecclesiastical Can. Ap. 39. matters was acknowledged then to belong to the Bishops; that Presbyters were charged to obey the Bishops in all things, and to do nothing without them, or contrary to their Sentence, is plain and evident out of Ignatius, and other writers of that Age: and all this was grounded upon the Sacredness and Superiority of their Power, which they all owned to have been derived to them (not from the Presbytery, but) from God and Christ, by Divine appointment and institution, and through the hands of the Apostles, who left them for their Successors,—Suum ipsorum locum Magisterii tradentes—(as Ireneus said) delivering to Iren. l. 3. c. 3. them their own Office, Power, and Authority. 4. Therefore, whereas it is alleaged, that a Father or two of that Age, do sometimes comprehend Bishops under the general Name of Pres­byters, it is granted, that the Prelates were so humble and modest, as upon occasion to stile themselves Presbyters, thereby giving a deference of Honour to those as were such only. But yet they looked upon the Offices to be distinct; and saith St. Cle­mens, Ep. ad Cor. pag 57. the Apostles fore-seeing that a contention would arise about the Name of Episcopacy, for that reason they appointed the Orders aforesaid, and divided their parts and Offices among them (mean­ing, to the Bishop his Office, and to the Presbyter his) that they being dead, other fit Men might succeed them in their Ministry, Office, or Apostolic function. Now, how all this can consist with that novel pretence, that Presbyters had an equall Power with Bishops, and that Bishops had only an Honorary Dignity above Presbyters, seemeth to me to be altogether unimaginable. 5. But fifthly, to put all out of doubt, we are beholding to a very Learned Prelate of our Church for Two useful and choice Vindic. Epist. Ignat. p. 2. c. 13. Observations, which we may well take upon his Credit. First, that no writer of that Age next to the Apostles did so promiscuously use the Names of Bishop and Presbyter, as to give [Page 32] the Name of Bishop to one who was only a Presbyter of the second Order. Though Bishops were sometimes called Presbyters (the greater Office including the less) yet that a bare Presbyter was ever then called a Bishop, is not to be proved by any one instance out of the Monuments of those times. Secondly, that no writer of that Age did ever give the Name of Presbyter to a Bishop, when he reckoned up the Degrees and Orders of Church­men, and where he spake of some single Minister then living. So that, as you shall never find a Presbyer called Bishop, so you shall rarely find Bishops called Presbyters; and where they are so, the writer mentioneth things in a lump, not counting up the Degrees orderly, nor speaking of one single person of his time. With these two positive Assertions I shall rest, 'till I see some body to have either the confidence to contradict, or the Learning to confute them.

By what has been briefly said, it may appear to any unpre­judiced person, that in the earliest and first times, when Chri­stianity was but green in the World, the Churches were un­der the Government of Bishops. We find innumerable instances of it in those Churches planted by St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John, and other Apostles: We find in undoubted Monuments of the best Antiquity, the very Names mentioned of several Primi­tive Bishops, who presided over some Apostolical Churches, and a certain Succession avowed of other Bishops, in other Chur­ches, whose particular Names do not occur: We find, that these Bishops were then looked upon, as a distinct Order from the rest of the Clergy, sometimes called Bishops in contra-distin­ction to Presbyters, and always own'd as Superiour unto them, not by any Ecclesiastical consent or grant for the avoiding of confusion only, but by an Antecedent Charter, derived to them from the Apostles. All which do abundantly satisfie me of the Truth of that declaration of the Church of England, that it is evident to all Men diligently reading Holy Scripture, and Pref. to the form of making or ordaining Bishops, &c. ancient Authors, that from the Apostles time, there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christs Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. And in that our Church mentioneth the reading [Page 33] of Holy Scripture it is clear that in her account she taketh in the very times of the Apostles, and meaneth, that from the Scripture it may be proved, that Episcopacy was erected while the Apo­stles were living.

Which shall give me warrant to take one step more back­ward from the Age next to the Apostles, to the Apostolical Age it self, and to affirm, that even then, there was such a Sacred Order of men, as we now call properly, strictly, and by way of eminence and distinction, Bishops. Now, that we meet with the Name, frequently in our Translation, and oftner in the Original, is altogether out of doubt. The grand Question is about the thing, whether in those days, the Office, Power, and Order of a Bishop was distinct from, and in any respect superiour unto the Office, Power, and Order of a Presbyter? And though the Sence and Practice of the succeeding Age, be enough to make us morally certain, that it was so (because it cannot be reasonably suppos'd, that men so harassed by Persecution, so zealous for Truth and Honesty, and so careful to observe the Apostles orders (even in the least things) could or would conspire together to make an universal defection from so main a part of Christianity, as the Government of the Church is;) yet setting aside that consideration, to me it seemeth obvious and certain, that Christ, the great Bishop of our Souls, erected an Episcopal Power, and that the Apostles continued and propagated it (I mean still a Power, above that belonging to Presbyters;) This I shall endeavour briefly to shew; 1. By making good the Affirmative; and then, Secondly, By clearing up those diffi­culties which are usually brought from Scripture to prove the Negative.

1. For probation of Episcopacy, we begin with the Ordi­nation of the Twelve Apostles, which evidently differ'd from the Mission of the Seventy two Disciples, in whom 'tis concei­ved, that the Office and Power of Presbyters was founded. Now the Twelve Apostles were indeed Bishops, though they were not clenched to any particular Sees and Chairs, which the ne­cessities [Page 34] of those times would not give way to. For the clea­ring of this, it is observable, that the Mission of the Twelve Apostles (as to their own Persons) was extraordinary, and that which none could pretend to in following Ages; because they were sent immediately by Christ himself, and had a common ju­risdiction and care over all the Churches that should be, and were endowed with a Power of working Miracles, to confirm the Truth of their Doctrin: But then their Authority and Charge (as to their Function) was an ordinary, and standing Power, that was not to dye with them, nor to cease (as Miracles did) after a little interval, but such as was to be transmitted to others from time to time, and so to continue to the Worlds end. Now, if it doth appear, First, that the Twelve had a Superiour power over Presbyters; Secondly, that this Power was to be imparted and communicated to their Successors for ever; Thirdly, that this was no other than the Ordinary Episcopal Power: Then this will suffice to shew, that the Twelve Apo­stles were truly and indeed Bishops, in their ordinary capacity; and consequently, that Episcopal Power was erected in their Time. First, then, That the Twelve Apostles had a Superior power over Presbyters, appeareth not only from the Extent of their Commission, which compared with that given to the Seventy two Disciples, was much larger, (for as the Father sent Joh. 20. 21. Christ, so Christ, sent them, with full power to Teach and Govern the Church, according to God's Will, and to ordain Successors, and in all respects, to execute that power, which he was in­vested with, and had delegated unto them:) but moreover it is clear from the Exercise of this their Authority; for they or­dained Deacons, Act. 6. They Ordained Matthias, and took Act. 1. him into the number of Apostles, who before was one of the Seventy two, (as Eusebius tells us twice;) they made Decrees, Euseb. lib. 2. c. 1. and sent them abroad to be observed in all Churches, Act. 16. They had power of Censure and Jurisdiction (every single Apo­stle had) over inferiour Presbyters; for St. John threatned am­bitious Diotrephes, that when he came, he would remember his deeds; meaning, that he would correct him with the Rod of 3 Joh. his Apostolical Power: And so were Hymen [...]us and Alexander [Page 35] delivered unto Satan, by St. Paul, after that he was ordained an Apostle. This is enough to shew the Superiority of the Apo­stles 1 Tim. 1. 20. power. 2. Again; This power of theirs was no Tempo­rary thing, that was to vanish with their breath, but that which was to be communicated to others, to be transmitted un­to Posterity, and to hold as long as there should be need of it, that is, as long as the World should hold. For so the promise of Christ runs, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of Matt. 28. 20. the World. Here our Lord did engage, not to be with their Persons alone (for they were to dye within a short time,) but to be with their Successors too; that is, to assist their Function for ever. (And truly, had not Christ assisted it marvellously, it would have fallen e're now, since it hath been so lustily beav'd at, especially in these last Ages.) 'Tis plain, that our Savi­our intended, that the Apostles power should continue to the Worlds end; I mean, their Ordinary power, which was for the Regiment of the Church. For, their Extraordinary power, of speaking all Languages, and working Miracles (which was for the Planting of the Church) was not to last long, but to cease after a while: So that it was their ordinary and standing power, to Administer Sacraments, to Preach, to Govern, to Ordain, and to exercise the power of the Keys, this was that which was to hold, to be delivered and banded down from Gene­ration to Generation. Now, if there be any truth in that Pro­mise of Christ, this Apostolic Power and Office doth last, and still continue, and is even at this hour in the World. 3. Thirdly then, this Power we speak of is really that which we now call Episcopacy. The Apostles Function, is part of it in Dea­cons, more of it in Presbyters, and all of it in Bishops; there the whole Ordinary power centers, and is united. The Twelve were called (as their immediate Successors were many times also called) Apostles, in respect of their Mission and Authority from Christ; but in respect of their Office and Inspection over Christ's Church, they were indeed Bishops. They were the first possessors of Episcopacy; and the Bishops now are their Successors to the Apostolate. 'Tis plain that they themselves, and the Church following them, understood them to be no more than Bishops, [Page 36] in their ordinary capacity. For, as on the one hand, many Bishops, besides the first Twelve, were called Apostles (so, Timothy, Titus, V. Bovii Scho­lia in constit. Apost. And Dr. Hammonds Praef. to St. James. Clement, and abundance more, had the Title given them, which is the ground of that conjecture of Albaspinaeus, and others; that the Canones & Constitutiones Apostolorum, were the Canons and Constitutions—virorum Apostolicorum, or of these Secundary Apostles) so on the other hand, the Primary, or Twelve Apostles were looked upon to have been Bishops. I am sure, when St. Peter moved, that one should be chosen to succeed [...]. Act. 1. 20. in the Apostolate of Judas, he look'd upon it as a Succession into his Bishoprick, or Episcopal Office; that was [...] the part of Apostleship, which each of the Twelve had, name­ly, a Function and Power Episcopal. And accordingly were the Epiph. lib. 1. cont. Carpocr. Ancients wont to style the Apostles, Bishops. So Epiphanius saith of Peter and Paul, that they were Apostles (in respect of their Mission) and Bishops (in respect of their charge:) And St. Cyprian bids Deacons to remember, that our Lord chose Apo­stles, Cypr. ep. 65. ad Rogatianum. id est, Episcopos & Praepositos, that is, Bishops and Governours; and tells them moreover, that the Apostles ordained Deacons to be Ministers to the Church, and to them, in the discharge of their Episcopal Office, Episcopatûs sui & Ecclesiae ministros. And St. Austin is positive, that when our Lord laid his hands Quaest. in vet. & Nov. Test. q. 97. upon the Apostles, ordinavit eos Episcopos, he ordained them Bishops. Besides many more Testimonies to this purpose, which are ready at hand, and which yet I omit, because this was evidently the Sence of the Ancients; because they frequently affirm, that Bishops are the Apostles successors, that they hold their Place, and are of their Degree, and come after them in their Office and Function; and the like; which they would not have said, had they not judged the Apostles themselves to have been (I mean, in their ordinary capacity) no more, and no less than Bishops.

2. Which thing had it been well heeded, might have pre­vented some Learned Tracts, which have been written against the Divine Right of Episcopacy. For, to determin, that Christ ordained not Episcopacy, seemeth to me to be an Affirmation, [Page 37] that He ordained not Apostles; for they were invested with that Episcopal power, which, God be blessed, hath continued in the Church hitherto, notwithstanding all the gainsayings of Core. Now this consideration leadeth us on to the next; viz. That as the Apostles received this power themselves, so it is proveable out of their Writings, that they imparted it to others, and invested them with their Apostolick, or Episcopal Authority. To shew this, I shall make choice of three special Instances, and they are these. 1. First, though the Scripture doth not expresly & totidem verbis tell us, that St. James was Bishop of V. Grot. in ep. Ja. Jerusalem, yet that he was so, we are as certain as the most Ancient Records can make us. And indeed St. Luke in his History of the Apostles Acts, doth yield us such fair probabili­ties of this thing, that the Testimonies of succeeding times seem to be unquestionably True. For in Act. 21. 18. we read, that when St. Paul was returned from his Circuit to Jerusalem, the next day, he and his company went in unto James, and all the Elders were present. Now certainly, James would not have been named distinctly and by himself, had he not had a preheminence over the College of Elders that were assembled with him. St. Luke singles him out, as the Person to whom St. Paul did after a particular manner address himself; though all the Elders were there present, yet they went in unto James; inti­mating plainly, that he was the President over that venerable Society. And to confirm this, it is likewise observable what is related of this St. James, at the famous Convention at Jerusalem, Act. 15. The occasion of that Synod, was a Con­troversie, about the Necessity and Use of Circumcision, and great disputes there were about it at the Council. But at last, when Peter, and the rest, had given their Opinions of the matter, St. James determins it, and puts an end to the debate by his decisive Sentence, [...] —I determine, Judge, and give Sen­tence saith he, vers. 19. and in his Judgement and Determina­tion all did acquiesce. This is a plain Argument, that St. James was then Bishop of Jerusalem. For otherwise, why did St. Paul so particularly apply himself to St. James? and why did the other Apostles (and even Peter himself) rest in the Determi­nation [Page 38] of St. James? Nay, why should St. James take upon him to decide the Controversie? For it is certain, that this James was not one of the Twelve Apostles. All do agree, that he had been a Disciple; and some think, he was our Lords Cousin; others, do conceive, that he was our Lords Brother in Law, the Son of Joseph; by his former Wife. He is called, by way of distinction, James the Just: And if he was not Bishop of Jerusalem, how is it imaginable, Euseb. l. 2. c. 1. that he should have had at those meetings of the Apo­stles, such Eminence, Precedency, and Authority? The Truth is, Eusebius tells, that the Apostles declined the Honour of being in the Chair, and See of Jerusalem, and gave it unto this James, as for other Reasons, so for this, Because he was our Saviours near Relation; and so he took the Government of the Church with the Apostles, saith Eusebius; which [...]. some do understand, as if he was only taken into the num­ber of the Apostles, (having been a bare Disciple before;) but this is a palpable mistake, touching the sence of Euse­bius; for, saith he, this James the Just, was made, [...] Bishop of Jerusalem; and a World of Testimonies more there are to confirm it. Secondly, my next instance is in Timothy, who was ordained by St. Paul himself, the Presbytery concurring, as Approvers of his Ordination. That he was an Apostolical Prelate, we have the Joint Testimonies of all the Primitive Authors, which speak of him; some affirming him to have been Metropolitan of Asia, and all confessing him to have been Bishop of Ephesus. Out of those two Epistles, which St. Paul sent him, it appears, that he himself constituted and sixt him at Ephesus, requiring him [...] to abide and settle there, 1 Tim. 1. 3. Ephesus was the place of his Residence, unless, happily the necessi­ties of the Church did oblige him to consult St. Paul, (for himself was young) or the necessities of St. Paul required his attendance; (for he was his Convert.) 2. We find, that he was to restrain Preachers within the boundaries of c. 1.—3. Truth, and to charge some, that they should teach no other c. 2.—1. 2.—10. 11. Doctrine. He was to order the public Service of God, [Page 39] and to take care, that decency and a grave decorum might be in Christian Assemblies. He was to see, that such as would be Bishops and Deacons, should be rightly quali­fied, c. 3.—2. and himself to keep up his Authority, by being an Example of Believers. He was to allot a double Portion (of c. 4.—12. maintenance) to Elders, that Ruled well (under him) and c. 5.—17. laboured in the Word. He was to take cognizance of the —19. irregularities of Presbyters; but with this caution, that he should not receive an Accusation against an Elder, but be­fore two or three Witnesses: And such as sinned, he was to Rebuke before all. He was to hold Ordinations, but with —20. this Proviso, That he should lay bands suddainly on no man, —22. Briefly, St. Paul gave him a plenitude of that power, which he had himself: And, if to Model Churches, to prescribe Rules, to confer holy O deus, to command, examin, judge, and re­prehend O fenders Openly, (and even Presbyters themselves) I say, if these are parts of Episcopal Power, then was Timothy a Bishop indeed: And I should be loth to see half that Char­ter given to a single Presbyter, as is here given to Timothy, by this Great Apostle. 3. The third instance to shew, that the Apostles setled the Episcopal form of Government, is Titus, whom Antiquity acknowledgeth to have been Me­tropolitan of Crete, (an Island, consistng of an hundred Cities) and to have been intrusted with the power of Mo­delling and Governing of all the Churches there. That St. Paul left him there, is clear from his own words; and Tit. 1. 5. questionless, his design was, that Titus should remain and continue there, unless summoned away upon some Emergen­cy, and for a Time only; and even then St. Paul promised to send either Artemas, or Tychicus, to be his Vicar and Procu­rator c. 3.—12. in his absence. Now, that Titus was indeed a Bishop, superior in Authority to Presbyters, and invested with a Super­intendency and Power over all his Clergy, doth plainly appear, from the Authority he had both to Ordain and to Judge of so many Bishops, as St. Chrysostom declares he had. For this cause Chrysost. Hom. in Tit. 1. it was, that when the Apostle himself could not stay in Crete, to put every thing into due Order, but was obliged [Page 40] to be gone, he left Titus behind him, to set in order the things that Tit. 1. 5, 11. &c. 2. 10. were wanting, (and unsettled at S. Paul's departure;) to ordain Bishops, and to dispose of them into Cities, (into every City one;) to provide against the heterodox Preaching of Deceivers, to stop their mouths, to silence them, and to rebuke them sharp­ly, and to admonish Hereticks once and again, and then to ex­communicate them upon their Contumacy. This was Titus his Office; and this was plainly the Exercise of Episcopal Power and Jurisdiction. And to confirm this further two things are observable: First, that this Authority was given to Titus alone, not to a College of Presbyters, (which 'tis presumable S. Paul ap­pointed before his going away) but to Titus singly; for this cause left I thee in Crete that thou shouldest set things in order, that thou shouldest ordain, &c. This argues a supreme and a sole Superintendency and Authority in Titus. Secondly, that there was a necessity for S. Paul's committing this Authority unto him; for otherwise the things that were wanting could not be set in order, nor could Ordinations or Censures be there: for this cause left I thee in Crete. Which is a manifest Argument, that the Presbyters in Crete had no power either to ordain, or to ex­communicate, or to do such acts of Jurisdiction; for then why was Titus left to those purposes? And yet we see S. Paul left him, and for this cause left him; so that unless we will offer violence to the Sence of Scripture, we must confess that Titus was left and fix'd at Crete, as Bishop and Metropolitan of the whole Island.

To these three Apostolical Bishops I might add many more, Const. Apost. l. 7. c. [...]. whose Names we meet with in Ecclesiastical Writers, either occasionally and scatteringly mentioned, (as in Irenaeus, Eusebius, and divers others;) or more orderly collected, (as in the Book of Constitutions commonly called Apostolical.) But because the truth of this dependeth upon the Credit of Church History, (which yet we have no reason to question) I shall forbear fur­ther Instances, having already (and I hope sufficiently) shewed out of Scripture, that the Order and Authority of Bishops was in being [...] in the Apostles days, and from them continued and transmitted to succeeding Ages.

[Page 41] 2. Having done then with the Proof of the Affirmative, I proceed next with what brevity I can, to answer that grand Argument, usually brought to make good the Negative, viz. that the Names of Bishop and Presbyter are indifferently and promiscuously used in the Apostolical Writings, as if onely one Order of men were meant by them. As for instance, in Tit. 1. 2, 5. Paul tells Titus, that he left him in Crete, as for other rea­sons, so for this, that he should Ordain Elders (or Presbyters) in every City. Then ver. 6. he layeth down the Qualifications of these Elders; and (as a reason for it) he saith ver. 7. for a Bi­shop must be blameless, &c. Here a Bishop and a Presbyter seem to be, not two distinct Orders, but one and the same; and so some say, that by a Presbyter is here meant a Bishop; and others affirm, that by a Bishop is here meant a Presbyter, and hence are willing to conclude, that in the Apostles time they were not thought to be two distinct Offices, but Bishop and Pres­byter to be one, both in Name, Order, and Authority: and so Prelacy must fall to the ground, without any help from Scri­pture.

For the removing of this Difficulty three things are to be observed: 1. That Aerius the Heretic was the first that ever found out, or insisted on, this Community and Identity of Names; for the Writers before him (in the first and second Age after the Apostles) did not discourse at this rate, could not dis­cover such a promiscuous use of the words. 2. The Catholick Writers after Aerius, who thought as he did, that the Names of Bishop and Presbyter were common in the Apostles days; did not yet think, as that Heretic did affirm, that the Office and Order were ever the same. No; they held, that though Bi­shops were sometimes called Presbyters, and Presbyters Bishops, yet Bishops were a rank of Ministers above Presbyters both in Degree and Authority, even in the Age of the Apostles. 3. But then there is one Observation more, for which I must thank a very Learned Prelate of our Church, viz. that not­withstanding Vindic. Epist. Ignat. p. 184. this Construction and late Pretence of the Pro­miscuous [Page 42] use of the words, yet it doth not appear, that the Scripture gives the Titles of Bishop and Presbyter indifferently and promiscuously to those of both Orders. There is no necessity for us to admit of a community of Names, because those places which seem to infer this Community may be fairly understood, though we do appropriate the name of Bishop to a Bishop, and the name of Presbyter to a Presbyter. This will appear from a particular view of the several Texts; which if we can understand without being obliged to confound Names, then farwell that grand Principle, which the Classical Divines have taken for granted, and which is the main and sole Argument to prove a parity and equality of power among all Church Offi­cers, above the Degree of Deacons. One famous place alleag­ed is Acts 20. 17. there S. Paul sends to Ephesus, and calls the Elders (or Presbyters) of the Church to him at Miletus; and then he saith ver. 28. Take heed unto your selves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you [...] overseers, or (as it should be rendered) Bishops. Here (say they) the Names of Presbyters and Bishops is given to the same men, and so the Office and Power of these men was the same. But I pray, my Masters, why so? What necessity is there for this positive As­sertion? Were none with S. Paul at this time but Presbyters? Yes, Irenaeus, who lived near the Apostles time, will tell you, Iren. adv. Haer. l. 1. c. 14. that S. Paul called together both Bishops and Presbyters. Were none there but the Clergy of the City of Ephesus? Yes, the same ancient Writer tells you, that the Clergy of all the Cities round about were there too; In Mileto convocatis Episcopis & Pres­byteris, qui erant ab Epheso, & à reliquis proximis civit atibus—The Bishops and Presbyters were called from Ephesus, and from other neighbouring Cities. And indeed S. Pauls words do inti­mate thus much; for saith he ver. 18. Ye know from the first day I tame into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all sea­sons. Now S. Paul had been with the Bishops and Presbyters of other Cities in Asia besides Ephesus; and S. Paul's speaking to them, and appealing to their Knowledge of his Behaviour, doth plainly argue, that they were with him now; and that this Convention did consist of very many of the Asiatic Bishops and [Page 43] Presbyters. There is then neither necessity nor reason to ima­gine, that onely the inferiour sort of Clergy appeared at the Apostle's Summons; much less that he should call them Bi­shops. Rather it is presumable, that as he spake to all in general, so that he directed his speech chiefly to the most honourable and principal part of that Reverend Assembly, and that he called them Bishops who were so in truth, and told them that the Holy Ghost had made them Bishops over their respective Charges, so addressing himself immediately and more particularly to them, whose Office it was to superintend the Flock of Christ, and to obviate the Incursion of Wolves. And thus this place may be fairly understood, without confounding of Names, without offer­ing violence to History, or without robbing the Bishops, to give their Title and Honour unto Presbyters; because it is rea­sonable to conceive, that the Apostle convened Bishops and Presbyters too, and spake directly and immediately to the Pre­lates, (of whom 'tis likely that Timothy was the chief;) and to the rest accommodating himself collaterally, secundarily, and by Grot. in loc. way of reflexion.

Another place which has been hotly urged in this Contro­versie, is that mentioned before in Tit. 1. 5, 6, 7. where Titus is left in Crete— [...], that he might constitute Presbyters city by city, if any were blameless, the hus­band of one wife—for a bishop must be blameless, saith the Apostle. Now they who accuse Bishops as Corah did Moses and Aaron, for taking too much upon them, triumph mightily Num. 16. from this Text, as if the Names of Bishop and Presbyter were clearly synonimous. But upon due examination we find, that the Apostle's Sence doth not at all carry it this way, much less is there a necessity for us to understand him after this manner. For all that S. Paul requires of Titus here, seemeth to be this, that he would advance the Presbyters which were under him, and ordain them Bishops, and dispose of them into Cities, fixing each of them to a certain Cure: that is, such of them as were approved men; for a Bishop must be blameless. This Sence is easie, and the thing is probable. For questionless there were [Page 44] many Presbyters now in Crete, (whether ordain'd by S. Paul before his departure, or by Titus himself afterwards, I will not dispute; but many Presbyters there were) it being impossible for Titus to take a due care of so considerable an Island with­out Assistants. 'Tis likely therefore, that when S. Paul was going away, either he left Presbyters behind him, or appoint­ed Titus to ordain some, to take part of his burthen; and ad­vised him not to prefer them hastily, but to prove them first, and then to ordain them Bishops, having made sufficient expe­riment of their Abilities and Fitness for so great a Trust. And in this Epistle sent to him from Nicopolis, he minds him of that which he order'd him before, viz. that upon proof and tryal made of his Presbyters, he should promote them, and set them over Cities, (over every City one;) for (saith he) a Bishop must be blameless. So that according to this easie and fair Constructi­on, there can be no pretence of any confusion of Names; because the Apostle doth not mean that Titus should take Deacons or Laymen into the Order of Presbyters, but that he should ad­vance such as were Presbyters already into the superiour Order of Bishops; and having first consecrated and ordained them, to assign each of them his Diocese and City, that they might be invested with their Episcopal Authority and Jurisdiction too. And this seems to be that [...], that Constitution or Promotion of Presbyters, which the Apostle requireth here.

Other places there are, where St. Paul speaketh of Bishops and Deacons only, without taking notice of an intermediate rank of Clergy; as 1 Tim. 3. he gives instructions for the Ordina­tion of Bishops and Deacons: And in Phil. 1. 1. he saluteth the Saints at Philippi, with the Bishops and Deacons. Whence the Adversaries of Episcopacy do conclude, that by Bishops there, Presbyters are intended; otherwise we must suppose them to be past over wholly, which is not to be conceived the Apostle would do. But by their good leave, I do assert, that where the Apostle mentioneth Bishops, he ever meaneth such as are truly and properly Bishops, not including Presbyters under that Notion. And for the clearing of the Objection, three things are observable.

[Page 45] 1. First, that when Churches began to be gathered, many Epiph. haeres. 68. times it happened that two Churches were in one and the same City; the one, consisting of believing Jews; the other, made up of converted Gentiles. Now over each of these Churches, there did preside a Bishop with his Deacons; so that frequently you shall find in Church-History two several Bishops in one City.

2. Secondly, that these and the Neighbouring Bishops were wont to convene and meet together, to consult con­cerning the ordering and management of Ecclesiastical Mat­ters.

3. And thirdly, that the necessities and condition of places were such in the beginning, that all Churches were not so compleatly and perfectly modelled at the first, as they were in process of time. For, as Churches were greater or less in pro­portion, so were Church-Officers more or fewer in number. Where the multitude of Christians was not great, there a Bishop and his Deacon were enough to discharge the work of the Ministry: where the numbers of Christians did increase, there Presbyters were appointed to assist the Bishop, and to act under him: and where an Apostle thought good not to fix any Bishop, but to hold the Government of a Church immedi­ately in his own hands, there he did commonly appoint a College or Bench of Presbyters to perform Ministerial Offices, as his Proxies in his absence, and by his Authority derived and delegated unto them: For so did St. Paul keep the Superintendency over the Church of Corinth in his own hands, as their immediate and sole Bishop, because he had converted them to the Faith; and what the Presbyters did in excommunicating that in­cestuous person, they did it by St. Paul's Spirit, that is, by 1 Cor. 5. 4. his Episcopal Authority and Power committed unto him by Christ: I verily as absent in Body, but present in Spirit (or by my Authority) have judged already concerning him, saith the Apo­stle. This Observation will give us to understand the meaning Epiph. haeres. 75. [Page 46] of that which we collect out of Epiphanius, that in one Church there were Bishops and Deacons only, (where the numbers of Con­verts were small) in another there were Presbyters without any Bishops, besides an Apostle (where there was need of many Ministers, and yet one could not be found that was so fit for the Bishoprick:) in others agen there were Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons too (where the condition of the place did require it, and the worth and abilities of the Men did admit of it.) Now then to come to the Objection. St. Paul gives Timothy an 1 Tim. 3. account of the Qualifications necessary in Bishops; and this questionless was in order to their Ordination. But how doth it appear, that Presbyters are meant by the word Bishops? Were Presbyters now to be Ordained? Did the word of God Act. 19. 20. grow and prevail so mightily in the Ephesian Churches, and yet no Presbyters in them? Was St. Paul among them for the space of three years, preaching, disputing, and converting so many Act. 20. 31. Multitudes to the Faith, and yet ordained no Presbyters to water what he had so prosperously planted? And if Presbyters were ordained were setled in the Churches of Ephesus before the Apostles departure to Macedonia, what necessity was there for him to send his Son Timothy Instructions concerning the Ordi­nation of Presbyters, especially when he hoped to return unto him shortly? Divines conceive that this Epistle was sent by 1 Tim. 3. 14. him soon after he departed from Ephesus: and were all the Presbyters dead in that little time? 'Tis hardly to be believed, that Presbyters were wanting: but Bishops were. For hither­to St. Paul had been with the Ephesians, for the most part, in his own person; he had governed them in his own person; and had exercised his Episcopal Authority in his own person: But now he was gone, leaving Timothy in his room; he was the first Bishop that was fixt at Ephesus, and the only Bishop indeed now; and yet but a young Man, that had need of other Bishops to concur with him, and help him in his Office, and consi­dering, that St. Paul was uncertain when he should see him 1 Tim. 3. 15. again, there was an urgent necessity for him to write speedily to his Son, that other Bishops might be ordained, that other Churches might be guarded from the Gnostic Seducers, as well [Page 47] as Ephesus it self, the great Metropolis. There is no necessity then for us to conceive, that St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy did mean Presbyters when he spake of Bishops; but rather that he gave directions for the Ordination of those, who were to be Bishops indeed, to be invested with Episcopal Power, and to preside over other Cities, as Timothy did over Ephesus, in St. Paul's own Chair.

Again; the Apostle saluteth the Saints at Philippi, with the Bishops and Deacons, Phil. 1. 1. But there is no Demonstrative Reason to constrain, nor probable Argument to induce us to believe, that he directed his salutation to Presbyters, much less, that he gave them the Title of Bishops. For, there are several fair accounts to be given of this matter: either (as some conceive) that there were two Bishops over two Churches in Philippi (Jewish, and Gentile Christians) as 'twas usual in other places: or (as others are of Opinion) that the Neigh­bouring Bishops were now assembled at Philippi, as 'twas usual at other times: or (as others are persuaded) that the Saluta­tion is sent not to, but from the Bishops and Deacons; and so the words are to be read thus with a Parenthesis, Paul and Timotheus the Servants of Jesus Christ (to all the Saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi) with the Bishops and Deacons; Grace be unto you, &c. But which way soever we interpret the Text, we are so far from finding any Presbyters in the Salu­tation, that there is no argument to prove, that they were at all in the City whither the Salutation was sent. For Epiphanius tells us, that many Churches at the first were ordered by Bishops and Deacons only: and then, why not the Churches of Phi­lippi also.

Thus their whole Argument fails them, who would prove the Office and Order of Bishop and Presbyter to have been the same in the Apostles days, because forsooth the Name is given to both in Scripture. Though the Consequence would not be good, should their grand Principle be granted, yet there is no solid reason for us to grant the Principle it self. And there­fore I shall not stick to conclude peremptorily, That the Order of Bishops, both as to name and thing, is so far from being ei­ther an Antichristian or an Ecclesiastical Ordinance, that it was [Page 48] instituted by Christ himself, and founded in the Apostles of Christ, and by them so establish'd and continued in all the Churches of Christ, that for 1500 years together no Church in the world, being perfectly and rightly form'd, was ever under any other sort of Government: but that the Episcopal Office and Authority hath through a continual Succession of Ages been communi­cated, transmitted, and handed down to the whole Catholick Church, even from the most primitive and infant times of Christianity: and consequently, that this way of Government, still retained and defended in the Church of England, is un­doubtedly the old and the good way.

The truth is, Aerius was the first man that ever durst af­firm, that a Bishop is not above a Presbyter in Power, Order, and Authority: but he was counted a mad man for his pains, and was ranked by the Church in the black Catalogue of He­reticks, not onely for his Separation from the Catholick Bi­shops, nor onely for his condemning of Catholick Customs, nor onely for embracing the Heretical Sentiments of Arius, but al­so for affirming, that Presbyters were of equal power and authority with Bishops. And yet I much question, whether he spake his free opinion, or onely said so out of envy and spight to Eustathius. For Aerius would fain have been a Bishop himself, but Eusta­thius stood in his way; and for that reason he grew sullen, dog­ged, and envious: and such men commonly vend some new opi­nion, to be revenged for their disappointments; and so did he this: because he had not Merits enough to advance himself from a Presbyter to a Bishop, he had it seems impudence enough to degrade a Bishop into a Presbyter.

I will not make any untoward Reflections upon those Disci­ples of Aerius, who in these our days have greatly wounded Christianity by the same groundless and singular, but confident Assertion. Yet I think 'tis no uncharitableness to wish for the Peace and Interest of Christendom, that their tallons were well pared, who are not content to scratch and deface the Walls of the Church, unless they undermine the very pillars of it too; those ancient and strong Pillars, upon which the Church hath rested, and by which Religion has been upheld even from the begin­ning.

[Page 49] 2. Having said thus much touching the Antiquity of our form of Government, I proceed now to that, which is another most material part of our Establishments, that is, the form of our Service-book, or Liturgy. Concerning which I will be bold to affirm, and be bound to maintain against all parties what­soever, that whosoever doth either deprave, or dis-esteem it, must of necessity be either a very Ignorant, or a very naughty person. Very Ignorant if he doth not see, that our Service is so correspondent to that of the Ancient Churches, that no Church in Christendom this day can shew a more lively Monument of Antiquity, than our Common-Prayer Book. But a very naughty person, if seeing and knowing this, he doth presume yet to condemn it; because he cannot in this respect condemn the Church of England, but he must likewise condem all the Old Churches in the World; which, whether it be not an Argument of an Ʋnchristian and naughty Spirit, I leave to all moderate men to Judge.

I am apt to hope, that those calumnies and reproaches which our Liturgy hath been laden with, have been occasioned by mens Ignorance of its excellencies. And therefore, to prevent those aspersions for the future (if it be possible) I shall endea­vour to shew. First, the Antiquity of set forms of publick Prayer, in general. Secondly then, the Antiquity of our Eng­lish Liturgy, in particular. And when these two things be made to appear, I hope the Church of England will be ac­quitted in this respect, as following the Old way of serving God.

1. Touching the Ancient use of set Forms of publick Prayer, in general, three things are proveable, for the satisfaction of all Modest and Ingenuous People. 1. That set Forms of Divine Service were used among the Ancient Jews. 2. That set Forms of Divine Service were used also among the Primitive Christians. 3. That after our blessed Lords Ascention, in that interval between the Burial of the Synagogue, and the setling of the Christian Church; set Forms of Divine Service were allowed also, even by the Holy Apostles. These three Heads I shall insist on, the more largely and particularly, because they may serve to in­form and satisfie many (even prejudiced) persons, who have not searched into the bottom of things, but have contented [Page 50] themselves with many superficial (not to say, groundless and im­pertinent) Notions.

1. First then, it is manifest, that the whole Body of Divine Ser­vice among the Jews, did consist of several Prescript and set Forms.

At their Temple; though a great part of their Service was Ceremonial and Typical, consisting of divers kinds of Sa­crifices and offerings, which in the fulness of time were to be done away; yet this was attended with Moral and Spiritual Services, consisting of Praises and Prayers, which were to con­tinue for ever. For, the Levites, whose office it was to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at the Evening, were wont to perform their parts, as with a world of 1 Chron. 23. 30. solemnity, so also with Hymns and Songs, that were compos­ed and set to their hands. Most of these were Psalms en­dicted by David; some were framed by Asaph, and other Prophets; and all were put together into a Book, out of which the Levites were appointed, in the Name of the Con­gregation, to worship and praise God in one of the outward Courts of the Temple, while the Sacrifices were offering by the Priest within. Hence it is, that we find many Psalms directed to the chief Musitian; for Tunes to be set unto them, that the Sons of Jeduthun, Korah, and other Levites in their courses might sing them in Consort, with wind Instruments, and stringed Instruments (of which there were divers kinds, as Flutes, Cornets, Trumpets, Cymbals, Harps, Psalteries, &c.) according to the command­ment of the Lord, by his Prophets, 2 Chron. 29. 25. And hence it is too, that we find some Psalms framed on purpose to be used on some special occasion; as particularly, the 92 Psalm, entituled, a Song for the Sabbath day; which was intended, questionless, to be sung solemnly on the Sabbath, in memory of Gods rest upon that day, and to give him thanks for his wonderful works of Creation and Providence. And, Lastly, hence it is, that the fifteen Psalms immediately following the Hundred and Ninetenth, are called Psalms of Degrees, or steps; because the Levites were wont to sing them upon the fifteen Stairs (up­on each Stair, one) which were between the womens and the mens Court. Briefly; we find it said expresly of King Hezikiah, that he commanded the Levites to sing praises un­to [Page 51] the Lord with the words of David, and of Asaph the Seer. 2 Chron. 29. 30. So that it seemeth to be without question, that all Acts of Divine Worship done by the Levites, were performed in Prescript, and set forms. And let me add touching the People of Israel, that when they presented their first fruits at the Sanctuary, the offerer was to make an humble acknowledge­ment of Gods mercy to him, and to the whole Nation, in a set Form of words; Deut. 26. 5. Thou shalt speak and say (these words) a Syrian ready to perish was my Father, and so on to the Tenth Verse inclusively. And at the end of their Tith­ing, every man of them was to say (these words) before the Lord, I have brought away the hollowed things out of mine house, and so on from the 13. to the 15. verse of the same Chapter. And to all this they were to add a set and a formal Prayer, look down, (O Lord) from thy holy Habitation, from Heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the Land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest un­to our Fathers, vers. 15. And then, lastly, as concerning the Sons of Aaron, the Priests, their Office was in Gods name to bless the Congregation, after the daily Service was finisht: and their cu­stome was to go up together upon an eminent place for that pur­pose, and there all of them lifting up their hands (and the People bowing their heads) one of the Priests was to pronounce the Blessing; and he was tyed to a certain Form (which is still Visitation of the sick. retained in our Liturgy;) On this wise, ye shall bless the Chil­dren of Israel, saying, the Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. From all these instances it doth plainly appear, that the whole pub­lick Service of God, in all its Parts, whether they did concern the People, or the Levites, or the Priests, was of Old transacted by them according to set and solemn Forms, at the Temple.

It is well known, that besides the Temple at Jerusalem (which was the only place of Sacrifices) the Jews had (especially af­ter the long Captivity) many Synagogues up and down in Ci­ties at home and abroad, where they were dispersed: and we are told that in Jerusalem it self there were no less, than an hundred and eighty Synagogues. The exact time is not known, when they were first Erected; but that the Moral and standing [Page 52] Service of God was ministred in those Synagogues, is altoge­ther out of Question; and some are of opinion, that this Mo­ral Service was answerable to that which was (but with more solemnity) celebrated at the Temple. However, that this Ser­vice Mr. Thorn­dike, Rel. As­semb. p. 227. was performed by Book, is evident and plain. For in e­very Synagogue there was an Officer, part of whose business it was, to read the Service. This was that Minister spoken of, in Luke 4. 20. One, who was inferior to the Rulers and Elders of the Synagogue, and correspondent to a Deacon in the Chri­stian Church, as the Learned Grotius tells us. And Buxtorf af­firms, In Loc. Buxt. in [...]. Rel. Assemb. p. 56. that Precibus & cantu Ecclesiae praeibat, he went before the Congregation in Praying and Singing. And the Learned Author before mentioned tells us out of Maimonides, that when he stood up to Prayer, he had his back to the people, and his face towards the Elders, and the Sanctuary; and thence he rationally collect­eth, that he prayed according to a prescript Form; because it is not to be supposed, that an Inferiour Officer in the Synagogue should direct the Prayers of his betters, but upon this ground, because the Prayers had been composed afore by fit and competent persons, and so might be Ministred by their Inferiours, the Dea­cons of the Synagogues. Besides; the Noble and Learned French Protestant; Du Plessis, hath given us this account of the ordinary De Missa lib. 1. c. 3. Synagogue Service; that it began with that general Confession of Sins, which was used at the Temple over the Sacrifices, the Form whereof is fetcht by him out of P. Fagius and by Mr. Ainsworth out of Maimonides, O Lord, thy people the house of Israel, have sinned, In Levit. 16. 21. and done iniquity, and trespassed before thee; O Lord, make Attone­ment now for the sins, and for the iniquities, and for the trespasses, that thy people the house of Israel have sinned, and unrighteously done, and trespassed before thee, as it is written in the Law of Moses thy Ser­vant. Then followeth the singing of several whole Psalms com­posed by David, and other Prophets; together with set Pray­ers of Thanksgiving (I conceive, he meaneth, those eighteen Be­nedictions, which we find frequently mentioned, and which the Jews say, Ezra composed after the return from Babylon:) and if I mistake not Dr. Hammonds sense, where he Citeth Sel­dens Notes upon Entychius, these Prayers were begun with View of the direct. Psal. 51. 15. O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall [Page 53] shew forth thy praise, (the very form of words retained in S. James Liturgy, and in ours before the Introite,) and concluded with, Psal. 31. 6. Into thy hands I commend my Spirit; for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of Truth. After this, followed the Reading of the Law and the Prophets, which was not Ar­bitrary, left to the Readers pleasure what parts of Scripture to make choice of; but certain Lessons were appointed for the day, and the Law was divided into fifty four Sections, and the Pro­phets into as many portions; for every week a portion; so that the Office was prescribed for the whole year. Moreover, the Scriptures being read at large, they went to their Prayers again, for the Church, and for the Common-wealth, for pub­lick blessings, and for particular private Mercies; and so the Ru­ler of the Synagogue dismissed the Assembly, with the usual and solemn Benediction.

I cannot imagine what more is needful to shew, that the publick Service of God, among the Jews was ordered into cer­tain and set Forms, both at the Temple, and in their Syna­gogues; that is, that they had their Liturgy and Common-Ser­vice Book, as the Christian Church had in after Ages, and as the Church of England hath still. Only I shall add Ex abundanti, that even their more private Devotions were Prescript and For­mal also. And I instance in the solemnity of the Passover, which was kept in their Private houses; they had set Forms of words, whereby they declared the meaning of the Mystery, and of the institution of the Lamb, the bitter Herbs, and the unleavened Bread; and this Declaration was called, a shewing forth of the Passover; to which the Apostle alludeth, when he saith of the Lords Supper, that it is a shewing forth of the Lords death, 1 Cor. 11. 26. They had set Forms of words for the Consecration of the Bread and the Wine: over the Bread they said, Blessed le thou, O Lord our God, the King of the World, which bringest forth Bread out of the Earth; and over the Cup they said like­wise, Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, the King of the World, which Createst the fruit of the Vine. Lastly; the whole action was con­cluded with singing of Psalms, beginning at the hundred and thirteenth, and so on to the end of the hundred and eighteenth; which six Psalms were called by them, the great Hallelujahs. [Page 54] And I question not, but as our Saviour used the usual or the like Form, when he blessed the Bread and Wine; so also that they used that great Hallelujah, when the Evangelist tells us, that He and his Disciples sang an Hymn, and went out into the Mount of Olives, Matth. 26. 30.

2. Having thus cleared the first thing, that set Forms of Di­vine Service were in use among the Ancient Jews, I proceed to make good the second Position; viz. that such Forms were likewise used by the Primitive Christians. Here no man of learn­ing can deny, 1. That Prescript Forms of worship have been establisht in the Christian world for above these 1200 years last past. For 'tis now 1312 yeares since the Council at Laodicea; Can. 18. and then it was Decreed, that the Choristors should sing by Book, and that the same Prayers should serve for Noon, and for Even­ing-service, [...]. Can. 15. Aristen. in Epit canonis. [...] saith Balsamon, and for every Synaxis, or Assembly; nor should any Prayers be read, but what were received and establisht, having been delivered unto them by their fore-fathers. Like unto this was that Canon of Can. 23. Balsam in Can. 18. Concil. Laodic. the Council at Carthage, which was 1284 years ago, that if any man did compose any Prayers, he should not presume to use them, till he had consulted the most knowing men in the Church. The intent of which Decree was, that none should have the liberty to use what forms of Prayer he pleased, but that such onely should be said, as had been ratified by due Au­thority, and ancient custom. Lastly tis 1277 years since the Can. 12. Council at Milevis; and then it was provided, that no man­ner of Prayers should be used in the Church, but what had been approved of by a Synod, and I cannot but observe the reason of this Canon, ne forte aliquid contra fidem vel per ignorantiam, vel per minus studium sit compositum (said those wise Fathers) lest new Prayers should containe that which was contrary to the true Faith, either through the Ignorance, or through the carelesness of the Composer. It was one great Reason (among many others) why Publick Liturgies were compiled of old, that they might be Repositories of sound Doctrine, and Preservatives of the Catholick Faith, and the Ancients were wont to dispute a­gainst Heriticks, not only out of Scripture, but out of the Churches Service-books too. For these were Antidotes, to [Page 55] keep Christians from being poisoned with Erroneous and rot­ten Principles, as our English Liturgy is at this day an Excel­lent amulet against infection from Papists, Sōcinians, Pela­gians and other modern seducers: and perhaps this is the grand reason, why, the Bell-weathers of Faction hate our Common-Prayer Book, because it stinteth their extravagant Spirits, who can sow Heresie and Sedition by their Praying, as well Preachments: this I am certain of, that many gross errors which now prevail (especially in the Church of Rome) have been greatly occasioned by the base Arts of men, who have time after time altered and corrupted the Ancient Service-Books, there­by insensibly insinuating into mens breasts such things as be­long not to Christianity. But I will not digress further. To return to our purpose; it cannot be denyed, secondly, that in the dayes of St. Basil, and St. Chrysostom, which was a­bout 380 years after our Lords birth, Liturgies were gen­erally used in the Churches of Christ, for at this hour there are Liturgies extant under the Names of those Great men; and though we do not think, that these are the very same, which they used, because latter ages have defaced them and foisted many Heterogeneous things into them, yet 'tis re­diculous to imagine, that St. Basil, and St. Chrysostom did not compile any, or that nothing of these was of their com­posing. And yet what they did in this business was not a New thing; they were not the first divisers of these Forms: no, they framed their Liturgies out of old Materials, and did fit and suit them to their own times. For it cannot be de­nyed, thirdly, that Liturgies were used, before ever these men were born. For the Ancients did conceive, that St. James the first Bishop of Jerusalem and S. Mark the Evangelist, did both of them frame Liturgies for the use of their respective Churches, and though I dare not say, that this conceit is undoubtedly true; (much less, that the Liturgies, which are now called by their Names, and as we have them, were composed by them;) yet this I will affirm, that in the early days of Christianity set Forms of Divine Service were used in the Churches of Jerusalem and A­lexandria. Nay, if we consider well of that Form of Service in the Constitutions of Clement (which questionless is a most an­cient [Page 56] one) and then compare those Liturgies we find in the Bibliothcca Patrum called, S. Peters for Rome; S. Thomas's for the Indians, S. Matthew's for the Aethiopians, and the Mosarabe for the Spaniards, though we confess, that these as well as others have suffered many alterations, yet in all of them we may see such plain foot-steps of prime Antiquity, that we may rationally con­clude, Liturgies were used in the very next ages to the Apo­stles, over all parts of Christendom.

I know, this will be looked upon as a very high and bold assertion; and therefore I am bound to be the more punctual in this matter; and for proof thereof I shall appeal to such Te­stimonies as are Authentick, and which being compared with the Liturgies before-mentioned, will satisfie any indifferent man, that such and such Forms were used by Christians in the first Ages; and so, that in all probability they were directed by the Apostles, or Apostolical Persons. S. Cyprian speaks of solemn of­fices; which cannot otherwise be understood, then of custo­mary Forms of Prayer; especially considering that he elsewhere Solemnibus adimpletis Cypr. de lapsis. De Orat. Dom. mentions a Preface (used even then, and still retained by us) be­fore the Commuion, the Priest saying, sursum corda, lift up your hearts, and the People answering, Habemus ad Dominum, we lift them up unto the Lord. When Demetrian the Proconsul of Asrick charged all the Wars, Famines, Plagues, and Droughts upon the Christians, S. Cyprian then Bishop of Charthage answer­ed him to this purpose; we pour out our Prayers and Supplicati­ons Ad Dem. for deliverance from enemies, for rains, and for the removal or the abatement of all evills, and day and night we pray continually and earnestly, for your Peace and safety. Now, what should he mean by these continual and constant Prayers? Why, no doubt, those charitable Forms which they used in the ordinary course of their morning and evening-service. For such we find in all the old Liturgies; and particularly, in that ascrib­ed to S. Mark (which Cyprian perhaps might refer to) there is a Collect, after the Reading of the Gospel, where the Mini­ster saith, Be pleased, O Lord, to send wholesome showres upon every thirsty Land; of thy Mercy give us fountains of waters; increase and bless the fruits of the earth; preserve the Kingdom of thy Servant, whom thou hast thought fit to set over us, in peace, [Page 57] righteousness, and tranquility, and deliver this City from evil days, from famine, from pestilence, and from invasion. Compare this Prayer with S. Cyprians words, and then judge if he did not point to this, or to some other Form to the same purpose, and of the same strain. Again; whereas Celsus the Pagan slandered the Christi­ans, as men given to Magical Arts and Sorceries, Origen (who was but one remove from the times of the Apostles) affirmes positively and upon certain experience, that they who worship Orig. adv. Cess. lib. 6. the Lord of the Ʋniverse by Jesus Christ, and live according to the Gospel, using night and day, constantly and rightly, [...] the Prayers which were Appointed, cannot come under the power of Devils. There is little Reason to doubt, but that by these Prayers he means the Nocturnal and Diurnal Offices, which we then prescribed and ordered by the Church; and less Rea­son there is to fancy, that such were not used in his time: and for confirmation of this, it is observeable, that Origen himself else where quotes a customary Form then in use, We frequently Orig. H [...]om. 11. in Jerem. say in our Prayers, Grant us, O Almighty God, grant us a Portion with the Prophets, grant us a place among the Apostles of thy Christ, grant that we may be found followers of thine onely begotten. Quest­onless this was an usual Form in the Alexandrian Liturgy; and though we do not now find it in so many express words in the Liturgy ascribed to S. Mark, yet we find in it a form to the same purpose, grant us, O Lord, to have our Portion and inheritance with all thy Saints. And in the Aethiopick Liturgy, it is twice, Lit. S. Marci. in Anaphorâ Be propitious unto us, O Lord, and vouchsafe to make us joint-Possessors and partakers of the inheritance of the Apostles, and cause us to follow their steps. And again; Lord write our names in the Kingdom of Heaven, and joyn us with all thy Saints and Martyrs. Furthermore; Tertullian (another African writer, and somewhat Elder then Origen) speaking of the Jam vero prout Scripturae leguntur, aut Psalmi ca­nuntur, aut Adlocutiones proferuntur, aut Petitiones delegantur &c. Tert, de Anima. c. 3. Divine-service in his time (which he calls, Dominica Solennia) reckons up four parts of it; the Reading of Scripture the Singing of Psalms, Allocutions, and Petitions, This place being throughly understood, is very pregnant and full to our purpose. 1. Here we have the reading of the Scriptures, which in those early and pious times was perform'd, not with that conciseness and brevity, [Page 85] which was usual in after-ages; but 'twas Lectio fusissima; and Lit. S. Jacob. large potions were read both out of the old, and the new Testa­ment. 2. They Sung whole Psalms; not only those composed by David and other Prophets among the Jews, but, as we shall see hereafter, several Hymns and Songs of Praise, which had been framed in the beginning by Faithful Christians, and more immediately relating to the Christian Religion. 3. But then a doubt may be moved, what Tertullian means by those Al­locutions, which were made to the people, and uttered at large (for that I conceive to be his sence.) And the difficulty may be easily assoiled, if we call to mind, that in the Primitive times it was a general custome for the Deacon that read the service to direct the people in their devotion, to tell them what they should pray for, and to stir them up to beg such and such things of God, calling upon them after this manner, Let us pray, let us pray earnestly, [...], let us pray on yet, further, and with an intense Zeal; and other such Forms there were which he fre­quently used, and then dictated to them the matter of their de­votion, to which all the people gave their Suffrages readily and with much fervency of Spirit, Litany-wise. Now these Forms of exhortation were called by the Greeks [...], which the Latines rendred, Allocutions: We call it, Bidding of Prayers. And though the custome be for certain Reasons grown much out of use among us, yet there are many plain footsteps of it to Clem. Const. be seen in our Liturgy, especially in our Litany, and Communi­on-service (in which offices it was most used of old;) for the Minister is often ordered to say, Let us pray, let us pray. And as to the custome it self, it is so Ancient, that I cannot find the begin­ning of it; and 'twas so universal, that 'twas observed in all the Primitive Churches; for in all the Liturgies which I have yet seen (either of the Eastern, or Western, or African Churches) such Allocutory Expressions are still extant, more or less. Some­times the Minister used short and concise Forms, saying, Let us Pray; let us behave our selves reverently, Lift up your hearts, let us give thanks unto the Lord; and to these, the Congregation gave their customary Answers. Sometimes these Allocutions were more large; as, for instance in that Prayer for Persons who intended to be Baptized (to which several others did correspond) [Page 96] the Minister said on this wise, (as we find in an African Liturgy.)

Let us that are Believers pray for our brethren who prepare them­selves for holy Illumination (or Baptism,) and for their salvation let us beseech the Lord;

And the People answered, Lord have mercy.

That our Lord God may please to confirm and strengthen them, let us beseech the Lord;

Ans. Lord, have mercy.

That he may please to illuminate them with the light of knowledge and godliness, let us beseech the Lord;

Ans. Lord, have mercy.

That he may please in due time to vouchsafe them the Laver of Regeneration, and forgiveness of their sins, let us beseech the Lord;

Ans. Lord, have mercy.

That he may please to regenerate them with water, and the Holy Ghost, let us beseech the Lord;

Ans. Lord, have mercy.

That he may please to give them a perfection of Faith, let us be­seech the Lord;

Ans. Lord, have mercy.

That he may please to gather them into the holy Fold of his Elect, let us beseech the Lord;

Ans. Lord, have mercy.

O Lord, save, pity, help and keep them by thy good Grace;

Ans. Lord, have mercy.

These, and such Forms as these, were undoubtedly used by the Churches of Christ in the first Ages of Christianity. And these were the [...] or Allocutions, which Tertullian speaks of as used in his time: and anon I shall make it probably ap­pear, that they were used before his time too. 4. In the mean time it is observable, that in the place before-cited, he makes mention of Petitions also used in the Publick Assemblies of Chri­stians. By which I understand, certain entire Prayers, called [...], or Collects, when the requests of the Church were cast into one Body of Prayer, offered up by the Minister; to which the People answered, Amen. In the use of these he was the Apol. c. 30. mouth of the whole Congregation; and therefore Tertullian calls them very elegantly, Petitiones delegatas, Petitions that were left [Page 60] to the Minister to offer up in the Name of the rest, as the Dele­gate, and Assigne of the whole Congregation: so that, whereas they did bear a great part in other Prayers, these were repeated en­tirely by him that did officiate. Many such Forms we meet with in all the ancient Liturgies, and people were wont to get several of them by heart, and to use them in their private Devotion. And so Tertullian tells us in another place, that they all prayed for all Emperours, that they might have a long life, a safe Empire, puissant Tertul. Apol. c. 30. Armies, faithful Councils, good Subjects, and a quiet World. I do not doubt, but this Ancient Writer had an eye to some Form of Prayer which was then to that purpose, and in which all Chri­stians did joyn. And such a kind of Collect is still extant in S. Mark's Liturgy, where the Minister exhorts the People to pray for the King; and the People having answered, Lord, have mer­cy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy; the Minister proceedeth thus; O Lord of Lords, thou God Almighty, and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we pray and beseech thee, to keep our King in Peace, fortitude, and righteousness. Subdue, O God, all his foes and enemies. Lay hold of the Shield and Buckler, and stand up to help him. O God, make him victorious, that he may apply his mind to those things which tend to our Peace, and to the honour of thy holy name; that under him we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, through the merits of thine onely begotten Son. Amen. Such Collects as this the Primitive Christians bor­rowed of the Church, and repeated them by heart even in their retirements. And this I take to be the meaning of that passage in Tertullian, which hath made such a noise; where he saith, we pray (for our Governours) sine Monitore, quia de Pectore, with­out a Monitor or Prompter, for we pray by heart. By a Monitor here very probably he means the Deacon or Minister, that was wont in their publick Assemblies to stir them up to pray for the cheif Ruler, and to call upon them in those Allocutory Forms be­fore-mentioned. And Tertullian tells the Heathens, that he and his fellow-Christians did this sine Minitore, when no Minister was present to prompt them to it; they had certain Prayers to this purpose which they used by heart in private; so that they ought not to be looked upon as men that flattered their Prince, men [...]iti vota ad evadendam scilicet vim, pretending to pray for him, that they Apol. c. 31, [Page 91] might not be persecuted; but this they did heartily and conscientiously, in their private as well as publick Devotions, at home of themselves, as well as in the face of the World by the directions of their Minister. This is an easie and fair construction of the words; and by the whole strain and tenour of Tertullians discourse, it seems to be out of Question (what I am now proving) that set Forms of Divine Worship were observed in his days.

But we have one very Ancient Writer more to appeal to, who will give us much more light into this matter matter still: 'tis Justine Martyr, who lived about thirty years after the death of the Apostle St. John: and as his Writings are unquestionably Au­thentick, so the Age he liv'd in was so pure, that what customes prevailed in Christian Churches then, must needs make a great impression upon all indifferent persons now: and for that reason I shall consider what he tells us, the more particularly and largely. In his second Apology for the Christians, he gives the Heathens a Apol. [...]. plain account of the usages, which were then generally observed in the Churches of Christ. Concerning persons which were to be Baptised (commonly called, the Catechemum) he saith, that they were taught to pray, and with fastings to beg of God remission of their sins; and that believers did pray with them, and fast with them at their publick Assemblies. Then that as many as did believe and were perswaded of the truth of those things which were preached and delivered unto them, and did promise and undertake to lead their lives accordingly, were bad to the place where the water stood, (which by the way, was at the West end, and entrance of the Church) and there were Regene­rate, being Baptiz'd in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Afterwards he tells us, that the persons thus believing, thus professing, and thus washed, were had again to the Congregation of the faithful, and that this Congregation did make Common prayers, for themselves, and for the Baptized Parties, and for all men in all places, with much earnestness and zeal. Further he saith, that the day when these things were performed, was the Sunday; and that on that day Christians that dwelt in City and Country did meet together; that the writings of the Prophets and Apostles were read unto them; that, when the Reader had done, the chief Minister made a Sermon; and that being ended, then all did unanimously rise up, and offered up prayers (i. e. the Prayers fore-mentioned) for themselves, for all [Page 62] estates and conditions of men in the World.) Then that these prayers being ended, they saluted one another with an holy kiss, and offered Bread and Wine, &c. which the President or cheif Minister having received at their hands, went to the like prayers again; and [...]. gave praise and glory to the Father of the Ʋniverse for his mercies, and offered up thanksgivings in a Copious and Large manner, and with all his might (meaning with all possible Zeal, Ardour, and Fervency of Spirit:) and these prayers and thanksgivings being con­cluded, the people jointly cryed out, Amen. Then followed the distri­bution of the Elements, which (saith he) was no longer common Bread or common Drink, &c.

Now I confess, in all this History of things Justine Martyr doth not tell us in express words, that they used prescript and set Forms of Prayer (for that was beside his purpose.) But yet it shall appear, that they did. For by the whole procedure of the Relation it is clear, that they observed a certain constant me­thod in their Ministrations; and if we compare the particulars he gives us in, with the particulars we find in other very Ancient Records, we shall see, that Justine Martyr gives us a summary, but a pretty fully account, of several prescript Forms, which were universally used of Old, as will evidently appear by taking a view of the particulars.

1. He says, the Catechumeni were taught to pray, the Cogrega­gation of Believers praying with them. And what can we un­derstand by this teaching to pray, but those [...] or Allo­cutory Forms, before-mentioned, when the Deacons did put words into their mouths, and dictated matter to them, calling upon them with a loud voice, [...], Pray, ye Catechume­ni. Such Forms we find in all the old Liturgies generally. One I have transcribed already; and I shall produce another out of Clements Constitutions, because that Book (though it hath under­gone many alterations, yet) certainly contains the sense and sub­stance of the Churches service in the first Ages. There then the lib. 8. Deacon is directed to say, Pray ye Catechumeni.—And let us all pray to God for them, that the good God would hear their prayers.—That he may grant them the desires of their hearts, as may be most expedient for them.—That he may reveal his Gospel to them, and en­lighten them, and make them wise unto salvation.—that he may in­struct [Page 63] them in the knowledge of his will, and teach them his Command­ments and Judgements.—That he may plant in them his holy and saving Fear.—That he may open their hearts tomeditate on his Law day and night.—That he may confirm them in godliness, and num­ber them among the sheep of his Fold.—That he may vouchsafe them the Laver of Regeneration, and the Robe of Immortality, which is life indeed.—That he may deliver them from all wickedness, and from the wicked one, that he may not approach to hurt them.—That he may cleanse them from all filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, and may dwell in their hearts.—That he may bless their goings out and their comings in, and direct them in the wayes of peace.—Furthermore, let us earnestly pray on their behalf, that having obtained forgiveness of their sins by Baptism, they may be partakers of the holy Mysteries, and be endued with the perseverance of Saints. To all and every of which particulars the people were directed to give their suffrage and consent, saying, Lord, have mercy. Now this is that which Justine means by the Praying of Believers for and with the Catechumeni, and by the teaching of them to pray, viz. the propounding of things to them to pray for, and to joyn with the rest in; as Constantine Euseb de vit. Constant, lib. 4. c. 19. the Emperour was called, [...], a Teacher of supplicatory words, when he gave his Souldiers Forms of Prayer to use.

2. The next thing we are to note from this Holy Martyrs ac­count, is, that these Catechumeni did make Profes­sion of their Faith, and of their resolutions to live Clem. Const. lib, 7. c. 42. Et in Tertull Aquam adituri, contestamur nos renunciare dia­bolo, & pompae, & Angelis ejus, de Cor. Mil. according to their Profession. Now this was done in a certain Form too. First the party was to say, I renounce the Devil, together with all the Works, Pomps, Services, Angels, and inventions of Satan. Then being [...]. Cyril. Catech. 2. Clem. Const. lib. 7. c. 42. demanded, whether he did believe on the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, he answered, I believe, and am bap­tized into one Eternal and True God, Almighty, the Father of Christ, the Creator and Maker of all things: and into one Lord Jesus, &c. repeating the rest of the Articles of the Christi­an Creed. So that all this was according to Form.

3. A third thing observable out of this most Primitive Author, is, that the Baptized persons being brought from the water to [Page 64] the Congregation, and Sermon ended, all went jointly to prayers, for themselves, for their new Members, and for all men every where. Now questionless this account hath a reference to certain pre­scriptions then, because it doth so admirably, and exactly agree with that course of Offices, which we find in the old Liturgies, and particularly in the book of Constitutions; where we have (af­ter Sermon) one particular Form of Prayer for the Baptized; [...]. another, for those who were possessed with evil Spirits; another, for such as did Penance at the Church doors. And then they pro­ceeded to a more general and comprehensive Prayer, for the peace of the World—for the holy, Catholick, and Apostolick Church—for that particular Diaecess—for all Bishops under Heaven—for their Bishops, N. N.—for their Presbyters and Deacons—for the Readers, Singers, Virgins, Widows, and Orphans—for married per­sons, and women labouring of child—for all holy, chaste and con­tinent persons—for their most pious and bountiful Benefactors—for their new Baptized brethren—for such as were sick and weak—for Travellers by Sea and Land—for all that were in Mines, in Banishment, in Imprisonment, and Bonds—for all that groan'd through slavery—for their Enemies and Persecuters—for unbeliev­ers, and deceived people—for christian Infants—for one ano­ther—and for every christian Soul. I cannot but admire the ex­uberant and unlimited Charity of these excellent Christians: and by this we may easily see, what Justine means by [...], the Com­mon-Prayers, viz. Such as were made for all estates and conditions of men, and offered up by the whole Congregation. For to every of these particulars pronounced by the Deacon, the people did sub­joyn their usual suffrage, [...], with a peircing zeal, and shrill ac­cents [...] Const. Ap. lib. 8. of devotion, saying, Lord, have mercy.

4. These things being thus dispatcht, the holy kiss followed, ac­cording to Justine; and so it did, according to S. Cyril, and the Author of the Constitutions; which several accounts jumping to­gether so fairly, we may reasonably conclude, that the holy Mar­tyr doth refer to that Form which the Deacon used at this time, crying out, embrace one another, and salute one another with an holy kiss; meaning, that men should salute men, and women, women, in token of perfect Love, amity and friendship.

5. After this the Offertory succeeded (agreeable also to what [Page 61] we find in other the most Ancient Records) Bread and Wine, &c. being presented by the people to the Deacons, and by them to the Bishop (or him that did officiate in chief) and by him laid upon the Lords Table: part of which offerings was sequestred to be the Elements of the Sacrament, and the residue was reserved for the use of the Minister, and the poor.

6. Then the President of the Congregation proceeded to the prayer of Consecration. Wherein it is very observable out of Justine Martyr, that the Minister gave praise and glory to God, that he gave thanks, that he fell to the like prayers ( [...], prayers, like, in substance, to those which had been of­fered before) and that all this he did [...], in a large manner. Now throughout this particular account he doth manifestly point to a certain Form then in use; and thence we confidently con­clude, that Forms of prayers were prescribed in Justine Martyrs days. For we meet with this large Form in the book of Con­stitutions, lib. 8. and in other Ancient Liturgies; and on this wise it runs, by the consent of Antiquity. First, the Minister mentioneth the infinite perfections and Majesty of God; It is very meet and right that we should praise thee the very true God, who art before all, of whom the whole Family in Heaven and Earth is named, the only Being, without production, without beginning—and so on he goes rehearsing the Divine Attributes (which I conceive is the [...] or praise, which Justine speaks of.) Then he largely mentioneth Gods Creating the World, and all things in it, his goodness to the first Man both before and after his fall—his providence towards the Sons of Adam before and under the Law—his particular favour to the seed of Abraham, their redemption from Egypt, &c. for all which mercies, [...], [...], &c. Cyri [...]. Catech. [...]. Glory be unto thee O Lord Almighty, (there is the [...] mentioned by Justine.) After this he pro­ceeds to the [...], blessing God for the won­derful work of the World's Redemption by Christ, for his Conception, Incarnation, Birth, Life, Doctrine, Miracles, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension into Glory; [...], we give thanks to thee O Almighty God, not as we ought, but as we can; and we fulfil thy Command­ment; for in the same night that he was betrayed, he took Bread, [Page 62] &c. where the Minister repeates at large the Hi­story and words of the Institution of the Sacra­ment, [...]. Justine. [...]. Cyril, ubi su­pra. beseeching God to send down the Holy Ghost upon the offerings; and so at last, at the close of this long prayer of Consecration, he proceeds to pray, as the Deacon did before, for the holy Catholick Church, and for all its Members; at the end whereof the Congregation answered, Amen. So it was in the book of Constitutions; and so Justine affirms, that the President did [...], send up prayers again in a like manner (the same after a sort with what had been sent up before) and so that Ancient Writer S. Cyril tells us, that after Consecration they did pray for the general peace of the Church, for the quiet of the World, for Kings, &c. In a word, all the Old Liturgies gives us a plain, full, and concurrent account of this matter: and whosoever shall seriously weigh, and impartially consider the joynt suffrage and agreement of Antiquity as to this matter, he must either betray his weakness, or filthily belie his own Judgement, if he doth not conclude, that prescribed and set Forms of Divine Service were in use universally in Justine Martyrs time: nay, that Justine doth manifestly point to that Form in S. James Liturgies, or Cle­ments Constitutions, such a clear agreement and correspondence there is between the account we find in him, and in those other Re­cords.

3. This thing then being cleared, that there were prescript Forms of Divine Service in the Primitive times of Christianity, and even in that Age, which was the very next to the Apostles, I proceed to shew the third thing, viz. that in the Holy Apostles time, and in that interval between the burial of the Synagogue, and the set­ling of the Christian Church, set Forms of Divine Service were allowed also. For confirmation whereof I think no Considerate man will deny, that the Apostles and their Disciples conformed to the innocent Rites and Customes among the Jews, and joyned with them in the ordinary moral service of God, which was ap­pointed [...]. S. Chrys. in Act. 2. 46. to be used daily. 1. For, first, S. Luke tells us, Luk. 24. 53. that after our Lords Ascension, they were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God. Though they had frequent, peculiar coetus or Assemblies of their own, yet they never with­drew [Page 63] themselves from the solemn Congregation of the Jews, that they might not scandalize any: but they continued daily in the Temple with one accord, Act. 2. 46. That was the place whi­ther they constantly resorted to Morning and Evening service. For that being Moral, it was utterly repugnant to the designe of Christianity to have destroyed it. Some other offices indeed (such as the Celebration of the Lords Supper) as being prop­er to their Profession, were to the Super-added to the ordi­nary service: and for that purpose their custome was to ad­journ from the Temple to the Caenaculum Sion, or that upper room, mentioned, Act. 1. 13. The House was hard by the Temple, if not part of it; and there they brake bread, in that House; not (as we render it) House by House, but in the House; because they See Dr Ham­mond in loc. and Mr. Medes Disc. on 1 Cor. 11. 22. were not permitted to celebrate this Mystery in the Temple; but yet the Temple was the place of their ordinary Devotion; and there the service was by prescript Form. In like manner we read of Peter and John, that they went up together into the Temple, at the hour of Prayer, being the ninth hour, Act. 3. 1. And from the whole History of the Apostles Acts it appears, that S. Paul, and others were wont ever to resort to the Synagogues at the usual days and hours: and as it is improbable, that they would have been so punctual as to the time and place, of publick service, had they not Conformed to the service it self; so it is incredible, that they should have found such easie access, had not the Elders of the Jews lookt upon them as men of the same piece with them­selves, saving only in those points touching the Messiah's coming and the Necessity of such Ceremonies as were Typical, or shad­dows of better things. 2. Again, it is clear that the Apostles were very careful, as far as it was consistent with their duty, to give no offence unto the unbeleiving Jews, but by all possible ways of compliance to gain them over unto Christianity: in somuch that St. Paul (who was one of the most stickling Apostles) profest before Festus Act. 25. 8. that neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the Temple, had he offended any thing at all. He declared before Foelix, Act. 24. 12, that they never found him in the Temple disputing with any Man, neither raising up the people, neither in the Synagogues, nor in the City. And he told the Jews at Rome, Act. 28. 17. that he had committed nothing a­gainst [Page 64] the people or customes of their Fathers. In a word; he al­lowed the Jews the use of Circumcision (thought it was need­less) and he circumcised Timothy with his own Hands (though it seemed extra-regular;) and in every particular they all went Act. 16. 3, as far as the Laws of Christianity would give leave, that they might not exasperate any. Now is it imaginable, that men who were so willing to abate of their Liberty, and to comply with the Jews even in things that were Ceremonial and Transitory, should hold off in things that were their Duty, and oppose that service of God which was substantial and permanent, I mean the received Prayers, Praises and Thanksgivings? 3. But that which fully clears this matter is, that even the converted Jews were extreamly shy of letting go any of their Rituals, though they had been better informed of the Designe and Nature of Christianity, then others were, we find Act. 21. 20, 21. that there were many Myriads of Jews which believed, and they were all zealous of the Law: and when they had but an incling, that S. Paul taught the Proselites abroad to forsake Moses and not to walk after the Rites and customes of their Fathers, they were so moved Vid. Bezam. in loc. at it, that the Bretheren at Jerusalem were fain to advise him to purifie himself, and to satisfie them that he walked orderly. And since they did so pertinaciously insist upon Punctilio's, can we conceive, that they would not insist rather upon weighty mat­ters? would they suffer the whole frame of their Religion to be altered, when they would not endure any part of it to be changed, or omitted? Certainly, had the Apostles gone about to take away their Sacrifices and their Service-book too, and to destroy their Legal and Moral observances both, it would have been concluded, that their design was to make havock of all Religion, and to turn the World upside down; and such a Rup­ture would have been made hereby, that Men would have crowded out of the Church with greater zeal, than ever they went into it. And therefore it is unquestionably clear, that the Apostles and their Disciples did at their publick and common Assemblies carefully keep to that way of worship, which was then establisht, which (as hath been proved) was Prescript, and accor­ding to Form.

2. The great Question is, what their way of worship was in [Page 65] their peculiar, and more private Assemblies, when they met to­gether to perform such proper Exercises of Christianity, as they were not permitted to perform either in the Temple, or at the Synagogue? That these Services were transacted without preme­ditation and Form, is strongly believed and confidently assert­ed by some. And it must be acknowledged, that their occasional Prayers were uttered after that manner, such as that Prayer mentioned, Act. 4. And should it be granted, that their whole Devotion was of sudden conception then, it would be no pre­judice to the use of Set Forms now, because the Apostles were im­mediately inspired; whereas those miraculous afflations of the Holy Ghost are ceased long ago; and the Question is, not whe­ther unpremeditated Prayers are simply unlawful, but whether they are so fit and convenient for the publick, since our wants and weaknesses are so great, and the best of us can pretend but to the ordinary assistance of Gods Spirit upon our humane En­deavours.

But I must confess, that I am not at all satisfied of the Truth of that conceit, that in the Christian Assemblies in the Apostles dayes, there were no manner of Forms; or that their ordinary or standing Services were performed wholly by extemporane­ous suggestion. Indeed the Scripture gives us but little account of this matter: and therefore what is determin'd about it, must be concluded by the help of Reason, and some Collateral evi­dence. To the point then. The service of God consisteth of Praises and Prayers. Now that the Christians in the Apostles time had composed and set Forms of praising and glorifying God, seemeth highly probable from 1 Cor. 14. 26. where St. Paul saith, that when they came together, every one of them had a Psalm. This is a general word, comprehending both Psalms, and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, to the use whereof St. Paul adviseth Chri­stians twice elsewhere; once in Ephes. 5. 19. and again, Col. 3. 16. Now 'tis hard to believe, that these several wayes of extolling Gods name, were conceived in the Church on a sudden by the whole Congregation. Rather it is credible, that they came ready furnished with suitable Forms; either with those which had been formerly compos'd by David, or with some that had been lately framed by Men inspired; or with both (which is most [Page 66] likely.) For the same Spirit which moved the Prophets of old, did breath upon the Church now; and 'tis probable, that as David and others did by the dictates of the Holy Ghost compose Forms of praising God for the use of the whole Congregation; so in the Apostles time many were moved by the same Spirit to compose the like Christian Hymns, for the use of the whole Church. So St. Chrysostome tells us positively, that in those anci­ent [...]. S. Chrys. in 1 Cor. 14. 26. times they did frame Psalms by the Gift of the Holy Ghost., And since the Apostle doth distinguish between these Psalms and those Revelations, which were given in an instant at the Church, it seemeth to be clear, that such Formes were conceived at home, by such as had the Gift of Tongues, and then (being rendered into a Language which they understood) were communicated to the People to be used by them at their solemn Meetings; and so they had (or, came provided of) Psalms, when they came to­gether. For the scope of the Apostle there is to shew, that e­very thing should be done in the Church, that others might re­ceive benefit by it. And whereas some had the gift of speak­ing in strange Languages, and were apt to boast of their abi­lities, St. Paul in that Chapter proveth, that the Service of God should be performed in a known Tongue, that every Christi­an might bear a part in it; and so he concludeth, that even the Psalms, which were composed by Persons inspired, should be first made intelligible, before they were used in their publick Assemblies, because all things were to be done to edisying. And truely that there were such divine Songs frequently used in the Apostles dayes, seemeth to be clear from a testimony in Eusebius. For speaking of several eminent Catholick Writers un­der Euseb Hist. Eccl. lib. 5. cap. 28. the Emperour Severus, he saith, that in confuting the He­resie of Art [...]on (who denied the Godhead of our Saviour) they appealed to those Psalms and Hymns, which had been written in the beginning of Christianity by the Faithful; in which Hymns they confessed Christ to be the Word of God, and worshipped him as God. To which I shall add that account given by Pliny the Heathen (who lived about St. John's time.) For writing to Trajan the Emperour, he informed him of the Christians, That they were Plinius Tra­jano. a sort of People, that on a [certain day were wont to meet together early in the morning, and did sing a Hymn unto Christ as unto God, [Page 67] and did bind themselves in a Sacrament, not to steal, not to commit adultery, &c. Questionless this Hymn was some set Form of Praise, which was used by the whole Congregation at the Communion Of­fice. And if I may be allowed my conjecture, I conceive it might be that Hymn, which we find still in Clements Constitutions, the Clem. Const. lib. 7. in fine. Tenor whereof is this; Glory be to God in the Highest, Peace on Earth, good will among men. We praise thee, we sing unto thee, we bless thee, we glorifie thee, we worship thee through our Great High-Priest (thee, the very true God, the unbegotten; inaccessible Being) for thy great glory; O Lord, heavenly King, God the Father Al­mighty: O Lord God, the Father of Christ, that spotless Lamb, that taketh away the sin of the World: receive our prayer, thou that sittest upon the Cherubims. For thou only art holy; thou only, O Jesus, art the Lord, the anointed of God, our King, to whom be Glory, Ho­nor, and Worship ascribed. This was that [...], morning Prayer, or Hymn (so called in the [...]. Constitutions,) and 'twas usual at the close of the holy Sacrament. And if it was not this Hymn which Pliny mean't, some other of the like nature it was, which he pointed to. And so from all these Testimo­nies put together, I do conclude, that in the Apostles days there were certain set Forms of praise, which was one main part of the ordinary Service then, in their peculiar and select Assem­blies.

2, As touching Prayers (which made up the other part of Gods Worship) S. Paul saith to Timothy, 1 Tim. 2. 1, 2. I exhort, that first of all, Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and giving of Thanks be made for all men; for Kings, and for all that are in authority, &c.

1. Here it is clear, that the Apostle doth enumerate several sorts, kinds, and parts of devotion, making a plain distinction and difference between supplications (against all evil things) and Prayers (for all good things) and Intercessions (for others as well for themselves) and Tanksgivings (for mercies already received.) There is no doubt, but he meaneth several distinct offices, unless we be so impudent as to affirm, that S. Paul heaped up many words, to no purpose.

2. It is clear that he required, that these several offices should be observed, these distinct Acts of Devotion should be performed in the Christian Church: and to shew the necessity of it, the [Page 68] Apostle exhorteth Timothy to take care of it, first of all.

3. It is as clear, that the whole Church of Christ hath conceived and taken for granted in all Ages, that the Apostle in this place did intend to fix a certain Rule of Devotion, and did order a Platform and Model to be observed in all publick Services, and e­specially at the Celebration of the holy Communion. Indeed the words of S. Paul do not force us to believe, that he required Prayers to be composed, and digested into a certain Form (al­though that expression, [...], may bear that sense:) but yet the Judgement of the Church was, that the Apostle did de­sign and intend to have a standing Rule and Model of Devotion set up. S. Chrysostome puts the Question, what doth the Apostle mean, when he saith, I exhort, that first of all supplications, pray­ers, &c. [...], saith that excellent and Ancient Father; S. Paul meaneth that this must be done in our daily services: and this (saith he) we do daily both at Morning and S: Chrysost. in 1 Tim. 2. 1. Evening Service, such Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgivings, they had prescribed and fixt; and in using them they did conceive, that they answered the Apostles design, and did according to his Order, Directions, and Ap­pointment. To the same purpose S. Ambrose up­on Haec Regula Ecclesiastica est tra­dita a Magistro Gintilium, qua utuntur sacerdotes nostri, ut pro omnibus supplicent, &c. Ambros. Comment. the place saith, This is an Ecclesiastical Law, delivered by the Doctor of the Gentiles, and observ­ed by our Priests, to pray for all men, and particu­arly for Kings, &c. Questionless the good man conceived, that the Church was obliged by virtue of this A­postolical precept, to use some constant Forms of Prayer for all men in general, and especially for such as were in Authority. And though this was done frequently in the time of Publick Ser­vice (for fear they should fall short of their du­ty) yet S. Austin was of opinion, that S. Paul In hujus [Sacramenti] Sanctifi­catione, & distributionis prepa­ratione, existimo Apostolum jus­sisse proprie fieri [...], id est, Orationes. S. Aug. ep. 59. ad Paulin. Sol. q. 5. had an eye chiefly to the time when the Blessed Sacrament was celebrated, and that then these cha­ritable Prayers were commanded to be made, as in their proper and fit place. And to con­firm S. Austins opinion, I observe of the Church of England, that though Prayers for all men, and for Kings, be directed by her to be made in several places of her Liturgy, yet [Page 69] in the prayer, for the whole Church before the Communion, parti­cular mention is made of this command of the Apostles; as if (in her judgement) S. Paul required such Prayers to be used at that time chiefly. In a word; the manifest agreement of all Li­turgies in this particular, and the constant, uniform, and universal practise of all Christians from the beginning all along, using certain Forms of Supplication, Prayer, Intercession, and Thanks­giving for all men, and for Kings especially, (and that too in the Communion-office) is a loud and clear argument to me, that they conceived this their practice to have been according to the Apostles order, and those their Forms to have been according to the Apostles mind. And hence I conclude, that either the whole Catholick Church hath not yet understood St. Pauls sense, but has been clearly mistaken in his meaning (which I hope will never be granted;) or else, that that carries much truth in it, which Durantus Cites out of Haymo, viz. that the Blessed Apostle Durant. de Rit. Eccl. lib. 2. c. 33. directing his words to Timothy, did in and by him deliver unto all Bishops, and Presbyters, and to every Church a Form, how they should celebrate the Sacrament, and pray for all men; which Form, or Model, the whole Church doth observe. From all which, the least that we can gather, is, that certain Forms of Divine service were allowed and approved of, even in the Apostles time.

But to speak freely, it seems very probable, that the holy A­postles did, in their ordinary Ministrations, observe Forms of Pray­er themselves, notwithstanding those extroardinary assistances of the Spirit, which they were blest with. I do not say, that they Prayed by Book, as they did in following Ages. Nor do I mean, that they tied themselves to words, as they did when the miraculous Gifts of the holy Ghost ceased: but this I do affirm; as highly probable, that the Apostles used a certain Form, or Method, and that the matter and substance of their ordi­nary services, was for the most part the same. My reasons are these three chiefly.

1. Because St. Paul advised Timothy (who was gifted, as well as others, 1 Tim. 4. 14.) to a fixt Rule, Model, and Form of Pub­lick Devotion: which advice, it is not likely that he would have given unto him, had not he himself, and his fellow Apostles, observed the same course.

[Page 70] 2. It is observable, that there is such a marvellous Harmony and Correspondence between all ancient Liturgies in the materia substrata, matter, body, and substance of them, that it is not imagi­nable (by men that will give their impartial Judgement) how there could be that harmony without a general consent; or how there could be that general consent without the Apostles directions. Some indeed have been forward to expose the Errors of the anci­ent Fathers; and as forward to expose the Corruptions of the Anci­ent Service-books, (and we aswell as they do acknowledge those Ser­vice-books to have been tainted, since they were first compiled;) but yet I never saw any one sufficient Argument to prove, that the main frame of those Liturgies was not founded upon the practice of the Apostles; nay, it is very probable, that the old Compilers of those Liturgies took their measures from the Practice of the Apostles.

3. For, Thirdly, S. Chrysostome speaking of the Constitution of S. Chrysost. in Rom. 8. 26. Hom. 14. the Apostles times, tells us, that among other extroardinary Gifts of the Holy Ghost then, there was [...], the Gift of Prayer, that this Gift was not bestowed upon all, but upon some one (a few, in comparison:) that the persons thus inspired did pray for all the rest (and that [...], with much compun­ction, and with many groans;) and moreover, that they taught others to pray also. Now, a man that would be nice, might make it a questi­on, what S. Chrysostome means, when he saith, that these gifted men taught others to pray? and, whether his sense be not this, that they dictated prayers to the Congregation, by calling upon them to join their suffrages for such and such Mercies. If so; then here is an account of the Original reason and use of those Allocutory Forms of Prayer, which were so anciently and so universally receiv­ed. And that de facto, it Was so, seemeth to be probable from a following passage in St. Chrysostome, where he tells us, that the manner of Deacons praying in his time, did which resemble, and was correspondent to the way, after [...]. those inspired persons prayed in the Apostolick Age, now that was Litany­wise; and it was a very ancient and very usual way of teaching people to pray (as was noted before out of Justine Martyr, and others;) and that it is not unlike to the style and strain of Gods Spirit; shall be shewed hereafter. In the mean time, if there be any truth in S. Chrysostomes account of this matter, we must couclude, that the [Page 71] men, who were thus enabled to Pray, did teach others, either by propounding prayers to them, that they might give their consent to them, saying, Lord have mercy, or some such Form: or by using the same prayers frequently, so that by the of­ten repetition of them they might the better be fixed in peo­ples memories; or by committing those Prayers which they had conceived, to writing, that they might be of constant use unto the whole Church, in their ordinary services. Which way soe­ver we pitch upon, it is very unlikely that the Apostles, who or­dered all things unto edification, would not order the Worship of God so, that all people might go along with them in it with their hearts, and with their tongues too. It is unlikely, that they, who did insist so much upon order, and decency, would not be careful rather of that which is most material. It is unlikely, that they, who would not indure any Confusion, any Irreverence, any Ʋncomliness (not so much as a mans Head to be covered) in the Service of God, would not settle the service it self, and cast it into such a Model, that all Christians might bear a part in it. The Learned and Judicious Dr. Hammond was clearly of opini­on, View of the New Directo­ry. that such as had the Gift of prayer in the Apostles days, did first conceive, and then did frequently use some special Forms of Prayer for daily and constant wants; and that these Forms were received and kept by Apostolical men, who had so benefit­ed under them. And it seemeth reasonable to believe, that this was the Original of those Ancient Liturgies, which go under the names of S. James, S. Peter, S. Mark, &c. should it not be al­lowed, that they were the Pen-men, and Compilers of any Ser­vice-books, yet there are fair Arguments to perswade, that these and other inspired persons did conceive, indite, and utter many admirable Forms of Prayer, which are still in being (as to the matter and substance of them;) and that these Forms were me­thodized and cast together into several Bodies, by some Apostolical men, to be the standing Church-service. For, the extroardinary Gift of Prayer beginning to fail, there was a necessity for cer­tain fixt and prescript Forms: and what better Forms could they use, then what had been used by the Apostles themselves; and which they remembred, and knew, and kept upon Record? And so, I conceive, the Ancient Liturgies came to be compiled and [Page 72] perfected, by the pious diligence of holy and good men, who made what Collections they could of this and that Apostles pray­ers, and added others, where it was needful. For it was some considerable time, before these Liturgies were perfectly com­pleated; because some Doctors of the Church were ever and anon desirous of prescribing new Forms of their own, and of adding them to the old stock. And this was a thing so u­sual in those early times, that some Councels were fain to V. Concil. Milevit. Can. 12. Carthag. Can. 23. & Zonar. in Can. 18. Concilii. Laodiceni. interpose, and restrain men from adding Prayers of their own, at their pleasure. The Reason of this, was founded on the Practice of the Apostles and Apostolical persons (their Co-temporaries and Followers:) 'twas in imitation and by example of them, that Bishops in succeeding Ages did prescribe certain special prayers of their composing; because they had observed, that many Forms had been conceived heretofore by S. James for the use of the Churches of Jerusalem; and that the like had been done, not onely by other Apostles for the use of other Churches, but also by the Apostles immediate succes­sors, who had collected many Prayers composed by their Prede­cessors, and added more of their own Conception: which gave encouragemant to others to do so too, till Liturgies did swell so, that S. Basil and S. Chrysostome thought it convenient to abridge them. All this framing, composing, and prescribing of Forms of Prayer, was originally occasioned by Apostolical practice. And for what the Holy Apostles did in this matter, there are such precedents, as are beyond all manner of exception. For so did David and other inspired persons of old, conceive, prescribe, and deliver Forms of Service unto the Church under the Law. So did S. John the Baptist in Christs time, teach his Disciples to pray, by giving them a Form. Nay, so did Christ himself teach the very Apostles to pray, by delivering to them a most perfect Form of his own conception. And then, that the A­postles themselves (who were acted by the same Spirit) should likewise conceive, and give unto Christians Forms also, I think no wise man will wonder; and that they used not the Lords prayer themselves in all their Services, I think none but a mad man will have the confidence to assert.

All which things being duely considered, I will take upon [Page 73] me to affirm, that as Set Forms of Divine Service were used by the Jews before and in the life-time of our Saviour, and by all Christians after the Age of the Apostles; so in that intermedi­ate juncture of time, between the Ascention of our Saviour, and the setling of Christianity, set Forms of divine service were for certain allowed, and in all probability practised, used, and transmitted unto the Church, by the Apostles, themselves, and their Fellow-labourers, whose names were written in the Book of life. And so the first thing is dispatched, which I undertook to make out, touching the Ancient use of Set Forms of Divine Service in General. Thus far, to be sure, we tread in the old ways, in that we worship the God of our Father, as our old Fathers did, by a set and prescript Form.

2. Next I proceed to speak of this form in particular; I mean our English Liturgy, about which there have been longer con­tentions, then were once between the Angel and the Divel, disputing about the Body of Moses. I shall not insist either upon Jude 9. the Order, or the Expressions contained in our Service-book; because all Churches of old have taken the liberty of varying somewhat in these respects, though the main Body of their Li­turgies was in a manner the same. But my intent is to take notice of the substance of our Service-book, and to observe what an Eye our Learned and pious Reformers had to the Ancient Model, when they compiled this, and to shew how a­greeable our standing and ordinary offices are to those of Old, in their general Frame and Contexture. The incomparably Learned and Moderate Grotius, though he was a Foreigner, Grot. Ep. ad Gedeon. a [...]oet. yet did us the right to affirm as a thing that was clear and cer­tain, that the Liturgy of the Church of England was sufficiently correspondent to the usages of the Ancient-Church. And if knowing men would but take the pains to consider and compare the particulars, they would find that our Liturgy is not onely agreeable to the oldest and Best, but moreover that it is the most pure and most perfect Liturgy that is now known to be in the whole world.

We begin, as it becometh sinners and Penitents, with an The Confes­sion. De Missa. lib. 1. c. 3. humble and hearty confession of our offences. And if the No­ble Du Plessis may be credited, so did the Jews begin their [Page 74] service, to which the Apostles and their Disciples did all conform. The same was the custome of Christians in following times. So the Authour de Autoritate & ordine Officii Muzarabici tells us of the Christians in Spain, who were mingled with the Arabs, that they began their Service with a General Confession. And so we find in the Rubrick at the beginning of the service on the Feast of St. De Aut. Et Ord. Off. Mu­zar. c. 37. James, faciâ prius confessione, uti fit in Missis Latinis, juxta usum Toletanum antiquum, dicitur Introitus; Confession being first made, as in the Latine services it is usually done, according to the Ancient use of Toledo, the Introit is said. In like manner Cas­sander tells Cassand. Liturgic. Cap. 1. 2. us of the Armenians, that their Priest having put on his habits said the Confession before the Altar with bended knees, and his head bowed down, according to the custome of the La­tines. In both these Testimonis mention is made of the cu­stome of the Latine Churches; that the Confession of the Spanish course was according to the way of the Latines; and that the Confession in the Armenian course was according to the custome of the Latines: so that in the Latine Churches, as well as in these, Service was begun (as with us) with a general confes­sion. Now as for the Greek Church, St. Basil tells us, that Basil. ep. 63. ad Cler. Neo­caesar. in his time they did rise betimes, a good while before day, and went to the house of prayer, and there with pain, and affliction, and incessant tears made Confession unto God; and that with one mouth, and with one heart, every one professing his Repentance with his own tongue. Indeed St. Basil saith, that when this first course was over, at break of day, they made Confession again, using a Penitential Psalm (and so doth our Church, order the one and fiftieth Psalm to be used after Morning Prayer; and Litany, on the first day of Lent, and on other special days of See the Com­mination. Fasting:) but 'tis clear from his words, that the first thing the Greeks did, was to joyn in a solemn and devout Confession of their sins, at their publick meeting together.

In like manner, the Lords Prayer is constantly used in the The Lords Prayer. [...]nirance to our Morning and Evening Service: And this is agreeable to the Ancient practice of the Church. We meet together, saith Tertullian, that we may offer holy violence unto Tertul. Apol. c. 39. God, besieging him by prayer (there, Prayer is intimated to have been their first business.) But then he saith elsewhere, that [Page 75] the Lords Prayer was premised and used first as the foundation of their Devotion, to which they Premissâ Iegitimae & ordinaria oratione quasi fundamento, acci­dentium jus est desideriornm, jus est superstruendi, &c. Tert. de O­ratione. might add, and on which they might build other occasional prayers, having used that before. And as touching our frequent use of the Lords pray­er, any man that consults the Ancient Liturgies, may see how a­greeable it is to the old way.

That short Address, O Lord, open thou our lips; together with the Response; And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise, are part of Psal. 51. 15. And it has been noted before, that The Versicles. the Jews used that Form before their Prayers; and that Christi­ans continued the use of it, and is still to be seen in the Liturgy ascribed to S. James; and in S. Chrysostomes.

The Doxology is a short Confession of our Faith in the The Gloria Patri. Blessed Trinity, and an Act of Adoration and Worship, and moreover an Argument of the holiness of our purposes; and therefore is fit to be used often, as a signification that all our confessions, praises, prayers, &c. are intended, and directed all of them to the Glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That it was of Ancient and Ʋniversal use both in the Eastern and Western Churches is most certain; and that it was used at the ends of Psalms before the fourth Council of Toledo, and in Cassians time (which was above twelve hundred years a­go) is as certain. The only question is about the time, when it was first appointed; and commonly it has been said, that the Fathers of the Nicene Council ordered it (which yet was about the year three hundred twenty five.) But Questi­onless, the use of it is much Elder. For the Arrians corrupted and altered it, saying, Glory be to the Father, by the Son, in the Holy Ghost. But had it been an Hymn newly appointed at Nice, instead of altering they would have utterly rejected it. But the Hymn was in use long before; for we find it in Cle­mens Alexandrinus (who lived about Anno 190.) And 'tis likely that 'twas derived from an higher Fountain (though Clem. Alex. Poedag. that's high enough;) and if the three hundred and eighteen Fathers at Nice ordered a constant use of it at the end of e­very Psalm, and in other parts of Liturgy, to secure Religi­on from the poyson of the old Arrians; methinks it should [Page 76] be as Religiously observed now, to secure our Faith from the poyson of Socinians, Quakers, and other Modern and Blas­phemous impugners of the Doctrine of the ever Blessed and most Glorious Trinity.

It has been likewise an old and general custome, at the o­pening of the Service, and before the set repetitions of Davids Psalms, to sing some Hymn, which was called the Introit, or The Introit. Entrance Hymn. The reason of the Appellation is given by Rhenanus in his Notes upon Tertullian (as he is Cited by Du­rantus, Durant. de rit. lib. 2. cap. 11.) because it was sung, while people were entring into the Church; and before the Congregation was quite full. And Rhe­nanus saith, that it was a Psalm of David. In the book con­cerning the order of the Musarabe, 'tis said, that, Judica me, Deus did follow the Confession (I suppose, the twenty sixth Psalm is there meant.) But our Church useth the ninety fifth; as being a solomn Invitation, to stir up mens Devotion, and to inflame their zeal, and to prepare their hearts, for the due performance of the rest of the Service; and for that rea­son was intended by the Psalmist, for Publick Assemblies. And in this matter, the Church of England followeth the steps of Pious Antiquity. For Cassander speaking of the order of Cassand. Liturgic. c. 7. S. Chrysostomes Liturgy, tells us, that about the beginning of the Service, the Readers did say (or sing) that Psalm, Enti­tuled, Venite exultemus. And by what we find in the Ritual of Jacobus Goar, it is evident, that this Psalm was generally used throughout the Eastern Churches.

Consequent to this are the Psalms of David. A Book never to be used enough, because it containeth the marrow and flour of holy Scripture, and is the Repository of De­votion. The Psalms and Lessons. Therefore it made up a great part of the Jewish Liturgy (as it doth of ours;) and all Christians in all Ages have had this admirable Exercise in such esteem, that the Ser­vice of God was never performed without it. St. Paul, and S. James, mention it as an excellent piece of Divine Service in their times, and by all Records of Antiquity in following Ages we find, that Christians were wonderfully zealous in this point; that they were wont for the most part to sing them; that they spent much time in this Divine and Hea­venly [Page 77] exercise; and that they Sang, not some ends and shreds, but whole Psalms, and a great portion of the Psalter at a time; insomuch that Lucian, that old Scoffer at Christ and Christianity, jeered the Church for spending a great part of the night in sing­ing [...]. of Hymns (or Psalms.) For St. Basil tells us, that they did rise to it very early, and very long before day; and hav­ing made solemn Confession of their sins, they did rise from prayer, and fall (as we do, especially in Cathedral and Colle­giate Luc. in Phi­lop. Basil. ep. 63. Precibus sub­inde interser­tis noctem su­perant. Id. ibid. Laod. Concil. Can. 17. Churches) to the singing of Psalms, and so spent the re­maining part of the night. The truth is, so intent and ear­nest they were upon this matter, that to make it the less tiresome they did insert Prayers between whiles; yea, and read some Chapters and Lessons out of the Scriptures; and then fall to singing again. So it was appointed by the Lao­dicean Council, that between the Psalms there should be Lessons read; for which Balsamon and Aristenus, give this Constit. lib. 2. Cap. 57. reason, least people should be tired with continued Singings. And before that Council we find it prescribed in the Apostles Con­stitutions, that two Lessons should be read out of the old Te­stament, and then that they should sing again; and then other portions of Scripture out of the New Testament likewise. And correspondent to this, is the usage of the Church of England, interlacing Hymns (and chiefly, some Psalms▪ of Da­vid, between Lesson and Lesson.

Of which Hymns, the Te Deum, is the first; which is cer­tainly The Hymns. as old as St. Ambrose, and some have confidently told us, that assoon as, that great Luminary of the Church, S. Austin, had been baptized by S. Ambrose, both of them did in a Divine Rapture; break forth into this Form of Praise. The truth of the story must depend upon the Credit of its Authours: But this is plain, that ever since, it has been used by the whole Ʋniversal Church; and when I consider its admira­ble strain, and other excellencies, I am apt to think, that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of those Waters, where it was conceived.

The Song of the three Children (commonly called, the Bene­dicite) is but a larger Edition of the one hundred forty eigth Psalm; and was framed in imitation of the style of Psalm 136. And that it was used above a thousand years ago by [Page 78] the whole Catholick Church all over the World, we have the Can. 13. whole Council of Toledo to bear us witness: besides other sin­gle Testimonies of the use of it in the first Ages of Christia­nity.

The rest of our Hymns are all of Divine composure, and as old as our Saviours time: And why they may not be Sung (being parts of Scripture) as well as other Psalms and Hymns, passeth my skill to know. For if they, whom S. Apol. 15. 3. John saw in Heaven, did sing the Song of Moses; what hind­ers but we on Earth may sing the Song of the Holy Virgin, or the Song of Zachany, or the Song of Simeon? Certainly we cannot follow a better Pattern, than what was shewed on the Mount.

Our Service concludes, as it did of old both in the Jew­ish, and Christian Church, with several Prayers. And though The Prayers. these Prayers are not to be found in any Ancient Liturgies, in so many express words (except that excellent Prayer of S. Chrysostome) yet the substance and matter of them is to be found in all. For nothing is more consonant to the Ancient Spirit and Geni­us of Christianity, or more agreeable to the Practice of all Church­es in all Ages, then to pray (sometimes in short Collects, and some­time in shorter versicles) for Grace, for Peace, for the Divine pro­tection, for Plenty, for seasonable weather, for wholesome air, for deliverance from Plagues, and Enemies, for the King, for the Clergy, and their respective Flocks, for Magistrates, for the whole Church, and indeed for all men. And of this nature and strain are those ordinary and occasional prayers, with which our daily Service is wont to end.

Great exceptions have been taken, by some, at our Litany: and yet it is as charitable, and as Christian a piece of Devotion, The Litany. as ever could be framed by humane Pen, if people will but bring with them hearts that are as good, as the matter before them is excellent: Here is Fire and Wood enough, if the Lamb be not wanting for the Sacrifice. Our Litany consisteth of two main parts. The one is offered up by the Minister going before in supplications, prayers, and intercessions (exactly accord­ing to S. Paul's Rule, 1 Tim. 2.) The other part is offered up by the people following after in their joynt suffrages and with [Page 79] such earnest and importunate cryes, as pierce the highest Hea­ven. Now, this way of expressing our Devotions, by turns (the Minister in his turn, and the Congregation in theirs) is not only an admirable way to kindle and enflame each others zeal; but moreover, 'tis a way and method suitable to the way and method of Gods Spirit, and used many hundreds of years (or, Ages) before the date of Christianity.

1. For the Ministers going before the people, both by his example, and by calling upon them to joyn with him. We find, it was the continual practice of David, not onely to make Addresses himself unto God; but also to invite, and call upon others to do so likewise. O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us magnifie his name together; praise the Lord, ye house of Israel: praise the Lord, ye house of Aaron: praise the Lord, ye house of Levi: ye that fear the Lord, praise the Lord: and in Psal. 107. O give thanks unto the Lord; O that men would praise the Lord; which form is repeated again no less than three times in the same Psalm, as an admonition to keep up the Devotion of People. And are not those Ancient Litany-forms used by the Deacons, (Let us pray, let us beseech the Lord, let us pray earnestly, are they not) exactly answe­rable to these Forms of Allocution used by this inspired and holy man? If the Spirit thought fit to have such Forms used in praising God; it is not unsuitable to the usual strain of that Spirit, to use the like Forms in praying unto God too.

2. As touching the peoples following the Minister by their suffrages, it is a method no more unbecoming Gods Spirit, then the other; and nothing has been more customary, than for the people to have their turns, and to bear a part in Gods Worship. After that remarkable victory over Pha­roah and his forces, the whole body of the Jews stood up­on the shore of the Red Sea, to bless God for their delive­rance: and we find, Exod. 15. that Moses the Prophet and the men of Israel divided themselves into one body, and Mi­riam the Prophetess with the women of Israel divided them­selves into another body; and as Moses and the men Sang his Triumphant Hymn, so Miriam and the women answered them, saying, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the [Page 80] Horse and his Rider hath he thrown into the Sea. This Form of Praise they repeated (in all probability) after every verse of Moses Song: for we read of nothing else that they an­swered, but only, Sing ye to the Lord, &c. And if they had a Form of praise, which they repeated after every verse as the ground, and foot, and burden of the Hymn; is it unsuitable, if we have a Form of prayer for the people to repeat after eve­ry Petition, as the ground, foot, and burden of the Litany? If they were directed by the Spirit of God, when Moses went be­fore them in a Song, to answer, Sing ye unto the Lord, (when they were delivered) then it is also agreeable to the style of the same Spirit, when the Minister goeth before us in our prayer, for us to answer, Good Lord deliver us. Further, it is to be considered, that the 136th. Psalm seemeth to have been composed by the Prophet on purpose, that the end of each Verse might be repeated throughout by the whole Congregation; O Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious; and his mercy endur­eth for ever, for his mercy endureth for ever, for his mercy endur­eth for ever: this is the burden of the Psalm from the begin­ning to the close of it. And we may easily collect from 2 Chron. 5. 13. that at the Dedication of Solomons Temple this Psalm was repeated thus by turns, one of the Priests saying before, the former part of each Verse, and then all the Sing­ers following after with one voice, and saying (all along) for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. And since they were directed by Gods Spirit to subjoyn throughout their prayers, for his mercy, for his mercy, for his mercy endureth for ever; it cannot be thought unbecoming Gods Spirit, if we are directed to subjoyn in our Prayers, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy upon us. And so, I hope, the Form and Contexture of our Litany, will seem to every in­different person, to be free from all charge of vanity and superstition.

2. It is free also from all just charge of Ʋncouthness and In­novation. Many indeed judge of things by Modern usage and practice; and because they have been accustomed to long con­tinued effusions, they look upon our Litany as an odd, and a new device, for which we were beholding to the Roman [Page 81] Missal. But 'tis clear to every knowing man, that it was a very Ancient and a very usual way among Christians, to pray Litany-wise. It was so Ancient a way, that for ought any man knows to the contrary, it was used in the most early times of Christianity. For in the oldest Rituals which are in being, there are many such Forms of Prayer; and some Ancient Service-books do consist of such for the most part. 'Tis true indeed, they were not called Litanies at the first, but [...], Diaconick Prayers, because they were wont to be Ministered by the Deacon; and [...], Pacifick Prayers, be­cause the purport, and scope of them, was for peace in the World and among all mankind. 'Tis true also, that in after times (a­bove 300 years after Christ) these Forms of Prayer came to be used at solemn and publick processions, when times were calamitous and full of peril, and the destroying Angel was a­broad; and then several additional Prayers were inserted (pro­per and suitable to the occasion) the people still crying with a loud voice, that God would deliver them from such and such evils. And then they were called Litanies, and Rogations. Hence it is, that Mamertus and others are said to have fram­ed Litanies, because they enlarged them, and used them in manner aforesaid. And hence it is, that S. Basil told the Cler­gy of Neocaesaria, that there were no Litanies in Gregory's days; because that name, and that use of them was not then known. But yet it is as true, that such Forms of supplication and ear­nest Prayer were very anciently in use, and before the times either of Basil or Gregory: and S. Chrysostome in his Homily upon Rom. 8. deriveth the Original of them from the Apostles times. And truely, the general use of them doth argue, that this way of praying cannot well be derived from any o­ther Fountain: for it was an Ʋniversal, as well as Ancient way. Look into that old Liturgy used by the Christians in India, and you shall find large Litanies (that is, Prayers Li­tany-wise, call them what you will.) Look into the Aethiopi­an Liturgy (called, the Ʋniversal Canon) and you shall find Litanies. Look into the Mosarabe, or Spanish Course,) and you shall find Litanies. Look into the Ambrosian office, and you shall find Litanies. Look into the Jerusalem Liturgy, and you shall [Page 82] find Litanies. Look into S. Chrysostomes, and S. Basils Liturgies; and those other offices collected by Goar, and you shall still find Litanies. And look into that most Ancient Service-book, Eucholog. called the Constitutions of the Apostles, and you shall find Li­tanies frequently used, at ordinations, and in their daily Service and Prayers for the Catechumeni, for penitents, for persons vexed with evil Spirits, for such as were Baptized, and after­wards at the Lords Table too, for the whole Catholick Church and its Members, before the Holy Communion. Can any thing speak louder for the Ancient and Ʋniversal use of Litanies? And whence should this come, but from Apostolical practice? For the Primitive Christians were not easie to be imposed up­on, or to be perswaded out of their old, beaten way: Wit­ness, (for all) the Condemnation of Petrus Gnapheus and his V. Can. 81. Concil. sixti in Trullo: una cum Balsam. & Blast. followers, for adding only a little Formula, to that received and usual Hymn, holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us. To this they subjoyned another clause, thou that wast Crucified for us, have mercy on us, and the sixth Coun­cil in Trullo condemned the Author of it for a wicked and vile Heretick, and Anathematiz'd all that should use that Form for the future: for their fear was, lest by that Additament it should be intimated, that our Saviour was a fourth person, distinct from the three persons in the holy Trinity. The Fa­thers of Old were wise, and wary, and fearful of Innovations in the publick Service. And then, how the general use of Li­tanies could be brought into the Church, but by such practice, as they took to be a safe and authentick Precedent, I cannot well understand, or imagine.

3. The Antiquity of our Litany being thus cleared, as to its Form and Contexture; next I am to shew its Antiquity, as to its matter and substance likewise. Now this will easily ap­pear by observing the strain of the Ancient Litanies; which though I have already represented in part, yet for the further information of the Vulgar sort, I shall add, that they began and ended (as our Litany doth) with, Lord have mercy. They pray­ed (and that many times by the Mercies and Compassions; as Lit. S. Basil. Lit. S. Chrys. we do by the Sufferings, Cross, Passion, &c. of our Saviour) that God would deliver them, from the snares of the Devil—from [Page 83] the assaults of enemies—from the unclean Spirit of Fornication— Can. Ʋnivers▪ from famine, pestilence, earthquakes, inundations, fire, sword, in­vasion, and civil Wars—from all affliction, wrath, danger, and Lit. Basil. distress—from all sin and wickedness—from an untimely end— Orat. Lucern. and sudden death. They prayed, that God would keep them Lit. S. Chrys. every day in peace, and without sin—that he would grant them remission of their sins, and pardon their transgressions—that he Off. Muzar. & Eucholog. Lit. S. Chrys. would give them things that were good and beneficial to their souls—that they might lead the residue of their lives in peace and re­pentance—that they might persevere in the Faith to the end—and that the end of their lives might be Christian, and peaceable, Lit. S. Jac. without torment, and without shame. They prayed for the peace, Lit. S. Chrys. and tranquility of the World, and of all Churches—for the holy Catholick Church from one end of the earth to the other—for Lit. omnes. Kings—for Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons—for Virgins, Or­phans, Off. Ambros. Missa Christ. apud. Indos. Clem. Cons [...]. and Widows—for such as were in bonds, and imprison­ment—for such as were in want, necessity, and affliction—for married persons and women labouring of child—for such as were sick, and weak, and in their last Agony—for banished people and slaves—for their enemies and persecuters—for persons at Sea and travellers by Land—for them that were without, and such as erred from the Right way—for Infants and young Children—and for every Christian soul: And to every of these particular supplications, the Congregation did answer, sometimes, Lord Const. lib. 8. Lit. S. Chrys. have mercy; sometimes, Grant it us, O Lord; and sometimes, we beseech thee, O Lord, hear us. This was the constant, gene­ral and most charitable way of praying in the first and purest Ages of Christianity; and the way which the Church of Eng­land had a careful eye unto, at the digestion of our Litany into its Form and Model; and whosoever will but compare the most Ancient Litanies with ours, will find, that this of ours is not only answerable to the best, and of the same strain and Spirit with the best; but moreover that it contains the ve­ry marrow and quintessence of them all. And so much touching the Antiquity of our Litany.

Proceed we now to the Office at the holy Communion; which an­ciently was never Celebrated without premising the Lords Prayer: for which reason it is used with us at the beginning of that Service.

[Page 84] After all the people were dismissed save onely those who intended to Communicate, the Primitive Christians presented Offertory. their Offerings; which by the Minister were reverently laid up­on the Lords Table. These offerings were so large and liberal that they served to maintain the whole Body of the Clergy, and were a good provision for Orphans and Widows, for sick persons, and such as were in bonds, for strangers, and for all that were in want. This custome of making Offerings before the Sacrament is so Ancient, that nothing can be more. We find it in all Litur­gies, Justin M. Apolog. 2. and other Ancient Records, as in Origen, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Ignatius, and other the most Primitive Writers, so that without all peradventure this custome is founded upon Apostolical Institution: and exactly agreeable to this most An­cient and Christian custome, is that Offertory, appointed in our English Service-book.

Next follows the Prayer for the whole state of Christ's Church Militant here in earth; which is highly consonant to the practice The Prayer for the Catho­lick Church. of the Ʋniversal Church in all Ages, in respect both of its order and matter. For, first, before the reception of the Sacrament, a Prayer of this Nature was ever offered, and that (saith S. Ambros.) according to the Rule delivered by S. Paul. In some places I Comment on 1 Tim. 2. find that this Prayer was used, once before the Consecration of the Elements, the Deacon inditing it, and the people answering Litanywise, Lord have mercy: and after Consecration it was re­peated Clem. Const. lib. 8. S. Cyril. Ca­tech. 5. Justin Mart. Apol. 2. Ambros. de Sac. lib. 4. c. 4. again by him that Ministred in chief, the people answer­ing only, Amen. But never was the Sacrament administred with­out supplications in the first place for the people, for Kings, and for the rest, as St. Ambrose speaks. And to the same purpose St. Cyril tells us, that the Spiritual Sacrifice being prepared, they went solemnly to prayer, for the common peace of the Churches, for the tranquillity of the World, for Kings, for their Armies and Allies, for Cyril. Ca­tech. 5. sick and afflicted people, and for all that stood in need of help. And of the truth of this, all Liturgies extant are an abundant proof. 2. Then as touching the particular matter of this excellent and Catholick Prayer, it is observable.

1. That our Church calleth the things laid upon the Lords Table, not only Alms, but Oblations, and so did the Ancients call Clem. ep. ad Cor. p. 52. them; even S. Clement himself, S. Pauls fellow-labourer. For [Page 85] the old Christians conceived themselves obliged to make Of­ferings of Praise and Thanksgiving under the Gospel, as well as Abel did before the Law, and the Jews did under the Law. The Species of Sacrifice was changed indeed (for they offered not Bullocks and Goats,) but they did not think that all kinds of Offerings were abolisht: but that they were bound to pre­sent Eucharistical Oblations unto God, that they might be found thankful unto the Maker of the Ʋniverse, as Irenaeus speaks. So that in lieu of bloudy Sacrifices, they presented Bread and Wine, Iren. lib. 4. c. 34. V. Mede's Christian Sa­crifice. and the first fruits of their increase, besides sums of money. And these were called Oblations; gifts, whereby they acknowledg'd Gods right and propriety unto all their Possessions, that the Earth is the Lords and the fulness thereof: not as if he needed these gifts, but as humble Thanksgivings unto his Offerimus, non quasi indigenti, sed gratias agentes dominatio­ni ejus. Iren. ut suprá. Soveraignty. And so they were wont to profess in those days, [...], Lord we restore unto thee some of thine own things.

2. Our Church prayeth, that God would accept these our Alms and Oblations; which is perfectly answerable to the old cu­stome; for so the first Christians did beseech God, that in mercy Clem. Const. lib. 8. he would look upon their offerings, and accept them as a sweet O­dour, through the Intercession of Christ.

3. Then our Church goes on praying for the Ʋniversal Church, for Kings, Princes, and Magistrates, for the Clergy, and the rest. And thus did all the Churches of old pray, for the holy Catho­lick Church, [...], from end to end, for Kings Id. ibid. and all in Authority, that they may be at peace with us, and that we living in all quietness and concord, may glorifie thee all our days through Jesus Christ: for all holy Bishops, rightly dividing the word of truth; for all Presbyters and Deacons; for all thy people, and all that are in want and distress, &c.

4. Last of all, it is customary with us at the end of this Prayer to make mention of the Saints departed: and so 'twas ever customary with all the Churches of old; to bless God for their Faith, Perseverance, and Mar­tyrdomes; [...]. Clem. Const. lib. 8. beseeching, that they might be made par­takers of their conflicts, and with them might have their perfect Consummation and bliss. This was [Page 86] the first design of these memorials of the dead; In fide morientium devotè memoriam agimus, tam illorum refrigerio gaudentes, quam eti­am nobis piam consummationem in fide postulantes. Origen. lib. 3. in Job. p. 274. Ed. Par. See Bishop Ʋshers Ans. to the Challenge. which latter Ages corrupted, adding Prayers for the release of souls out of a pretended Purgatory. But this conceit and practice was never known in the Ancient and best times: And therfore our honest Church resolving to bring things to their first stay, threw out of her Prayers this dross, and litter, and filthy stuff, retaining that which was pure and Primitive.

Among those things which have been corrupted in the old Li­turgies (as we now have them) there are some things which have passed all along untouched. As that salutation of the Minister, the Dominus Vo­biscum. Lord be with you; and the peoples Answer, and with thy Spirit: it is every where to be found, in the ancientest Monuments. And so that other, sursum corda, lift up your hearts, with the return, we lift them up unto the Lord; we find it in S. Cyprian, and S. Cy­ril, and in every Liturgy. As also the following exhortation, let Cypr. de Orat. Dom. us give thanks unto our Lord God, and the subsequent acknow­ledgement, it is meet and right so to do, the Minister going on Sursum Cor­da, &c. [...]. It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, &c. these Forms are still entire in all Service-books, that they may ratio­nally be concluded to have sprang from Apostolical practice.

And so, the [...]. Therefore with Angels, and Arch­angels, and all the company of Heaven, &c. together with the Trisa­gium following (which was joyntly repeated by the whole Congre­gation) Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Host, &c. they are Forms which were very anciently and universally V. Lit. Jacob. Marc. Petri. Aethiop. Mosar. Christian. a­pud. Ind. Clem. Constit. cum mul­tis aliis. used at this time, but somewhat more largely, and with a little inconsiderable difference; for thus they said of old, before thee do stand, praising and worshipping thee numberless Hosts of Angels, Arch-angels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, and Powers; the Cherubim, and the six­winged Scraphim, with two wings covering their feet, and with two wings covering their faces, and with two wings flying, and crying continually and incessantly, with thousands and thousands of Arch-angels, and with myriads and myriads of Angels, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are full of thy glory: Blessed be thou unto all Ages, world without End, Amen.

In like manner the Prayer of Consecration (which comes next) [Page 87] is very agreeablee to that Form, which was of most ancient usage: The Prayer of Consecration. only it is shorter than that old, affectionate and devout Prayer, wherein they commemorated the wonderful love of God and Christ to an undone world, and made mention of his Humility, Incarna­tion, Birth, Life, Miracles, Passion, Death and Burial; then thank­ed God for the Redemption of the World by these methods of Love and Wisdome; then proceeded to the History of this Sacra­ments Institution, using the same words as we do, who in the same night that he was betray'd took Bread, &c. and likewise the Cup, say­ing, &c. and at last prayed unto the Father of Lights, that he would look favourably upon the Elements, and send his holy Spirit to Const. lib. 8. sanctifie them, so that whosoever did partake thereof might be con­firmed in Religion, and receive remission of sins, and be filled with the holy Ghost.

These things done, and all having received, they proceeded Post Commu­nion. (even as we do) to a Prayer of Thanksgiving: which (as we find it in the Book of Constitutions) did so resemble (for the most part of it) that second Prayer after the Communion, prescribed in our Liturgy, as if it were none other than a Copy and Transla­tion of it.

After that, they used that Angelical Hymn, Glory to God on High, &c. concerning which I cannot but observe the Conje­cture of the Learned, Dr. Hammond, that it is that [...], The Hymn. View of the Direct. in Philopat. which Lucian the Heathen Scoffer pointed to, when (speak­ing in the person of Triephon, who represents the Christian) ‘he saith, let those words alone, beginning your prayer, [...] from the Father, and adding in the end, [...] that famous Ode or Hymn (full of Synonymous and repeat­ed words.) The Doctor concieves, that by the former is in­tended the Pater Noster, with which both now and anciently the Communion-Service was begun; and that by the latter is meant that Hymn of ours, Glory be to God on high—we praise thee—we bless thee—with which that Service ends (having no­thing but the Benediction after it) which being so powerful and importunate repetition of O Lord God, Heavenly King, and O Lord God, Lamb of God, &c. is most properly called [...], in the notion that it was used in among the Heathen Writers.’ Now, if this opinion of Dr. Hammonds [Page 88] be right, we have a most pregnant account of the Antiquity of this Hymn; because Lucian lived about S. John the Evangelists time: but however we find it in Clements Constitutions.

I have insisted the longer, and the more particularly upon the Antiquity of our Service-book, to satisfie the World, that it was not taken out of the Roman mint, neither is a late invention with­out good Authority and Precedent; but that it hath the practice of the Old Apostolical Churches and times to warrant and patronize it, however it is new slighted and hated by a sort of people a­mong us, who either cannot, or will not distinguish between an invaluable Jewel, and the dry, harsh husk of a sorry Barley-corn. I shall conclude this whole matter with that known story of Arch-Bishop Cranmer in the reign of Queen Mary; how he offered the Queen, if he might be permitted to take unto him Peter Martyr, and four or five more, to prove that the Communion-office set Foxes's Mar­tyrol. Anno 1554, in his purgation. out by King Edward the sixth, was conformable to that which Christ commanded, and which the Apostles and Primitive Church used many years: And that the whole Order of Divine Service, then used by the Church of England, was the same (meaning, in effect and substance) that had been used in the Catholick Church for fifteen hundred years past. By what has been said hither­to, it doth appear, that the Zealous Prelate spake not without good Reason: But the Challenge would not be accepted, because the Learned sorts of Papists knew, that the thing could be made out. And though some ignorant, and some malicious men among our selves, have been pleased to say, that our Liturgy was taken out of the Mass-Book, yet the most judicious and most unprejudiced Protestants have looked upon it to be (as in Truth it is) a most strong Bullwark and Fence against Popery. And indeed, the Papists themselves know it to be so; and therefore, upon the restoring of Popery in Queen Maries time, they did with all haste and fury throw our Excellent Liturgy, and the wise Compilers of it into the Fire: and surely, none but Mad men and Fools would have served their friends so.

The Antiquity of our Rites, Customes and Ʋsages comes to be confidered in the next place. And truely, there are some Ecclesi­astical Observations, which we meet with in the most Ancient Wri­ters of the Greek and Latine Churches, of whose Birth and Origi­nal, [Page 89] I believe the Learnedst men in Christendom cannot shew us the particular time, by the help of their best readings: nor can they who dislike them, shew us, when they came first into the Church.

1. The first is the use of the Cross, especially at the time of Bap­tism. Of the Cross. Mercerus Ʋticensis in his additions to the Hieroglyphicks of Orus Apollo, tells us, that the Cross, among the old Aegyptians was an Emblem of the Life to come. What their reason was, I Eccl. Hist. lib. 11. c. 29. am not to enquire: But Ruffinus relates the same thing; and moreover tells us, that the Aegyptians (and especially their Priests who understood their Mysteries best) the more willingly em­braced the Christian Religion, for the Cross sake, calling to mind its ancient signification. The Ancient Christians, though they Min. Fel. never worshipped the Cross, yet they used the sign of it, as an out­ward badge of their Profession; and all that were received into the Church, received this sign upon their foreheads, in token that they were not ashamed of a Crucified Saviour. 'Tis recorded of the Gnosticks those first Hereticks, who denied the reality of Christs Incarnation and Passion) that they branded their Pro­selytes with an hot Iron in the upper part of their right ear: Iren. lib. 1. and some conjecture, that S. Paul restected upon that custome of theirs, where he saith, that they had Consciences seared with an hot Iron (meaning) as well as their ears.) But in all probabi­lity, this custome was taken up in opposition to the true Christians, 1 Tim. 4. 2. who were marked with the sign of the Cross▪ upon their fore­heads. S. Basil, I am sure, reckons it in the first place, among S. Basil. de Spiritu Sanctu. c. 27. the Ecclesiastical Constitutions, which were derived by Traditi­on from the holy Apostles: and indeed the use of the Cross was so ancient and so universal over all the Christian World, that unless we fix the Original of it in the Apostles time, we shall never tell in what Age it began.

2. The Second is, the worshipping of God with the face to­wards the East; which the Centuriators themselves Antiquus & hic mos est, ora [...] facie▪ conversa ad Orientem. Cent. 2. c. 6. Origen. Hom. 9. in Lev. & in lib. 1. Job. p. 233. Hom. 5. in Num. confess to have been a very ancient custome; for it was a Primitive and Catholick observation in the very dawning of Christianity. Several of the Fa­thers have given several different Reasons of this Rite. But Origen (tho in some places he seemeth to render some account of it, yet elsewhere he) reckons it amongst those ancient [Page 90] Customes, of which no clear Reason was commonly given. However, as to matter of Fact, the Custom is acknowledged to to have been general in the first Ages; and both Origen and Ibid. Basil. de Spir. Sancto, c., 23. Respons. 118. Basil, and the Author of the Questions and Answers ad Ortho­doxos, do all fetch this Practise of the Church from the directions of the Apostles. Briefly, 'twas such an ancient and universal usage, that the old Heathens fancied the Christians to have taken up the Persian Religion, and to have worshipped the Sun. The occasi­on of this suspicion is (saith Tertullian) because it is known that we pray towards the East (just such another fancy and groundless sus­picion Indè suspitio, quòd innotue­rit nos ad O­rientis regio­nem precari, Tertul, Apol. c. 16. Lent. as some have taken up of Ʋs now, that we worship the Lords Table, because we worship towards the East part of the Church, where the Table standeth.)

3. A third Custome we have (but very ruinous, and of which there are now but few and scattering Monuments, but what we find in our Liturgy and in the Ancients) and 'tis the Fast of Lent. And 'tis a sign that Christianity is becom decrepite, that Men are so peevish and touchy, as to quarrel with one of the most excellent Observations, that was ever recommended to the Church. I know it has been the Subject of many great Dis­putes: But 'tis a great marvel, that, if it were an Innovation, (and much rather, if it were a piece of Superstition) no lear­ned Man should yet have the luck to light upon its Author, or the Time when it did commence (for, that 'twas instituted by Telesphorus, is an idle dream.) It seemeth unquestionably true, that a solemn Fast before Easter was religiously observed by all Christians from the very beginning. For we do not only meet with such a Fast in the Writers of the third and fourth Century; but even Origen tells us, that in his time, They had the days of Lent set a part for Fastings. And Ter­tullian (then a Montanist, and disputing against the Habemus Quadragesimae dies jejuniis consecratos. Hom. 10. in Levitic. Illos dies jejuniis determina­tos putant, in quibus ablatus est Sponsus, &c. Tertul. adv. Psychic. Church upon the point of Fasting) tells us, that his Adversaires (the Catholicks) did conceive, That those dayes whereon the Bridegroom was taken away (meaning Friday and Saturday before Easter) were determined or ordered to be fasting dayes; and that the Apostles themselves observed those dayes, and laid the same yoke upon all others; and tho (saith he) you look upon these as the [Page 91] only appointed dayes, whereon you are bound to fast, Convenio vos & praeter Pas­cha jejunantes, citra illos dies quibus ablatus est Sponsus. yet here I meet with you and urge against you, that ye Fast on other days too besides (or as it should be rendred, before) the Fast on Good Friday. He So the word citra is rendred by Dr. Beveredge, Cod. Can. Vindic. c. 3. lib. 6. doth not tell us how many dayes they did observe, besides the two last dayes of Lent; because in those Times Christians did not all observe an equal number. And so Irenaeus in his Letter to Victor, concerning that Controversie a­bout Euseb. lib. 5. c. 24. Hist. Eccl. keeping of Easter (which was even in Polycarps dayes, St. John's Scholar) tells him, that the dispute was not onely a­bout Easter-day, but moreover about the Fast before it; for some thought themselves obliged to fast one day onely (viz. on Friday) others again did it two dayes (viz. on Saturday also) others kept more dayes. Thus far we are sure, and by these last words of Irenaeus I conceive, that some Christians kept ten dayes in Lent, because Lucian scoffs at them for their Ten-dayes Fast; which might give occasion to Montanus to prescribe the like number, [...]. Lucian. in Philopat. tho the Catholicks opposed him, because what was onely custo­mary, and Arbitrarious before, he would have turned into a Law, and made necessary, thereby ensnaring Mens Consciences. But 'tis observable, what Irenaeus tells us yet further; that as some kept more than one or two dayes of this Paschal Fast; so others kept forty (for so Ruffinus, and others do understand him) and that this variety of observance was long before his Time, and that it was occasioned by the negligence, or the unskilfulness of some, who declined from the old Way, when 'twas delivered first. Now Irenaeus was Polycarps familiar acquaintaince, and lived in the Age next to the Apostles. So that when he saith, that this variety in keep­ing Lent was long before his Time, we must conclude, that kept it was a long time before, and that he must needs point to the Times Apostolical; and that he intimates moreover, that the re­gular way of keeping it was, to observe forty dayes, as that which came nearest to the Apostolick Tradition. But this is clear, that this Solemn Time was very anciently observed, and ve­ry probably recommended by the Holy Apostles, as a very use­ful Fast (with respect to Persons and Places) and so indeed St. Nos unam quadragesi­mam secun­dum Tra­ditionem A­postolorum, toto anno, tempore nobis congruo jeju­namus.Hieron. ep. ad Marcel. Adv. Montanum. Jerome, and other of the Ancients did look upon it, as an Apo­stolick Tradition; and considering its Antiquity and Ʋniversality [Page 92] we cannot well derive it from any other Fountain. And if any man desires a full accout of this matter, he may read the Annotations of my reverend Friend, that Learned Antiquary, Dr. Beveredge upon the 69th. Apostolical Canon, where the observation of Lent is required; and his Vindication of the Codex Canonum, lib. 3.

4. Another custome we have (or at least, have had, and should have still) viz. to serve God publickly with Fastings and Can. 15. Prayers upon the Wednesdays and Fridays of the whole year. And is there any Ecclesiastical usage, which has been more Anciently, Const. Apost. lib. 7. c. 22. and more Ʋniversally observed? The Primitive Christians con­sidering, how the Redeemer of their Souls was on the Wednes­day Wednesday and Friday, betrayed, and on the Friday murther'd, sequestred these dayes weekly to their solemn Devotion, spending the time in reading of the Scriptures, with Prayers, Tears, Almsdeeds, and Fastings from the beginning of the day till three in the afternoon. We find con­tinual mention made of these dayes, by the Greeks under the Names of [...], the fourth day, the pre­paration, the day before the Sabbath (or, Saturday.) The Latine Fathers call them generally; the Quarta & sexta Feria, and Ter­tullian Tertul. de je­junio. sometimes, stationum Semi-jejunia, the stationary half-fasts, because their abstinence at this time was not so long, as in Lent, and on other occasional days of humiliation, when they fasted un­til night. And Epiphanius tells us, that these dayes were constantly observed all the world over; and that the Original of this custome Epiphan. lib. 3. adv. Haer. Haeres. 77. adv. Aerium. was owing to Apostolick Tradition. It is most likely, that it was so, if any Credit in the World may be given to Antiquity. But instead of disputing and quarrelling about that, it would be for the Interest of Religion, and for the great good of the World, if men would buckle in good earnest to that Piety, which is humble, grave, and serious, and not give occasion to the old fashioned Chri­stians to tell them, that the cross-grain Spirit of Aerius hath undone all, and to upbraid them that their Belly is their God, and a Kitchin their Church.

5. As times of Fasting, so days of Festivity and joy were very Anciently kept by the Church; for they celebrated not only the weekly day of Christs Resurrection, but also the Anniversary day of Easter, and the day of the Nativity, and of the descent of the ho­ly Festivals. V. Euseb. Eccl. His. l. 5. c. 24. Ghost; and indeed all that course of fifty days from Easter to [Page 97] Whitsunday. And not those onely, but moreover they ho­noured Cur Pascha ce­lebramus an­nuo circulo in mense primo? cur quinqua­ginta exinde diebus in omni exultatione de­currimus? Tert. adv. Psych. Martyrum Passiones & Dies anniver­sariâ comme­moratione ce­lebramus. Cy­prian, ep. 34. v. Pamelii Annotat. Memorias Sanctorum fa­cimus. Origne. in Joh. lib. 3. Harum [sc. In­nocentium] memoria semper ut dignum est in Ecclesiis celebratur secundum integrum ordinem Sanctorum, ut primorum Martyrum. Id. Hom. 3. in di­versos, tom. 2. p. 282. Oblationes pro Natalitiis annua dii facimus. Tertull. de Cor. Mil. those days whereon the holy Martyrs did suffer, comme­morating their Lives and Sufferings, and offering up Thanks­givings to God for their Faith, Constancy, and good Examples, and calling the days of their Martyrdom their Birth-days, when they entred into Life Eternal. The Church of Eng­land, in observing this custom, doth but follow the steps of the Catholick Church of old. And in mine opinion, men do great­ly wound the Protestant Cause, when they call this, and other ancient Customs, by the names of Popery and Superstition: For they do the Church of Rome too much honour in calling things which are ancient and Catholick, Popery. We know that Popery is of a late and a base Extraction; and this hath abun­dantly been proved by Church of England-men. And how do the Dissenters contradict us, and justifie the Romanists, when they say, that this and that Observation (whatever is laudable, ancient, and of Catholick usage) is Popery! Herein they befriend the Pope, and give Arguments and Encourage­ments to the Papists, more than perhaps they are aware of.

6. We are required, in the time of Sacred Ministrations, to be clothed with a white Vesture. This, forsooth, giveth much Surplice. offence, and is a great eye-sore to some now: And yet for ma­ny hundreds of years before, it was not offensive, when men had very good eyes, and Consciences too that were very tender, but not galled. The old Fathers startled at the very name of Perjury, Rebellion, and Dishonesty: but they were not frigh­ted at the sight of a Surplice; but lookt upon it as a decent Habit, and fit to be used in Ministerial Offices, because it did resemble those Robes wherein the Angels, those Ministring Spirits, were wont to appear. This is clear, that the custom of wearing a white Garment in time of Divine-Service (and S. Hieron. Com. in Ezek. 44. & lib. 1. adv. Pelag. S. Chrys. Hom. 60. ad pop. An­tioch. Clem. Const. lib. 8. especially at the Administration of the Sacrament) is as old as St. Hierom in the Latin Churches, and as St. Chrysostom in the Greek; (and that is 1300 years ago, and in the most flourishing times of the Church.) It may be much older, for ought we [Page 98] know to the contrary: however, I am sure that there is more to be said for its Antiquity, than can with reason be pleaded against its Ʋse.

7. Our standing up at the reading of the Holy Gospel, is an act Standing at the Gospel. Expressive of our great Reverence unto it, and Significative of our Readiness to observe and obey it. And questionless this Custom was originally derived from the Jews, as many other Christian Customs were: for at the reading of the Law, this posture was used by the Congregation. Ezra opened the Book in the sight of all the people (for he was above all the people) and when he opened it, all the people stood up, Nehem. 8. 5. Now seeing it was more reasonable for Christians to do Honour unto Christ, than for the Jews to do it unto Moses, it came to be an universal Custom (even from the beginning) to stand Durant. de Rit. lib. 2. c. 23. Constit. Apost. lib. 2. c. 57. up at the hearing of our Saviours Doctrine and Life, and to bless God for it. So the Apostolical Constitutions require, When the Gospel is read, let the Presbyters and Deacons, and all the people stand with all quietness: for it is written, Hear, O Israel, and keep silence. And accordingly St. Chrysostome witnesseth, S. Chrysost. [...]. that when the Deacon opened the Book of the Gospel, and be­gan to read, they all stood up, and cryed, [...], Glory be to thee, O Lord.

8. It is order'd by our Church, that for persons to be Ba­ptiz'd there shall be Sureties; whose Office it is to call upon Sureties. them to hear Sermons, to see them Catechiz'd, and vertuously brought up. And surely by the Laws of our Religion every man is to be his brothers Keeper. And what these Sureties do binde themselves to by a Particular and Personal Obliga­tion, every Neighbour is bound to by the General Rule of Love. In my opinion, among all the Constitutions of our Church, this is one of the most Charitable and most Profitable Constitutions, and that which thousands have been beholding to for their Christian Education: And were it only for the Motherly Care and Tenderness of our Church in this particular, she might well claim a dutiful Observance at the hands of all her Children; but that St. Paul tells it us (as a Sign and Ingre­dient of perilous times) that in the last days some great Pro­fessors of Religion would be disobedient to Parents, without 2 Tim. 3. [Page 99] natural Affection, and unthankful. But in former Ages this Custom was justly accounted a good security to Religion: And we finde it not onely in the Canon Ʋ ­niversalis, but even in Tertullian himself, Habemus per benedictionem eosdem Arbi­tros fidei, quos & Sponsores salutis. Tert. de Bapt. Quid necesse est Sponso­res etiam periculo ingeri, qui & ipsi per mortalitatem destituere promissiones suas possint? Id. ibid. Inde suscepti, &c. Id. de Cor. milit. who frequently mentions it. And so doth the pretended Dionysius Areopagita, and the Author of the Questions and Answers ascribed to Justin Martyr. And though it be acknowledged that those Books were not written by those men, yet none doubts but they are ancient Records. And 'tis as certain that this Custom is much elder than those Authors, Plat. in vita Hygini. Magd. cent. 2. c. 6. whosoever they were: for it is confest, that it prevailed in the time of Hyginus, who was Justin Martyr's Co-temporary, and lived within sixty years after S. John's decease.

9. And so for baptismal Interrogatories, and Stipulations, and Vows, of renouncing the Devil and all his works, &c. they Tertul. Cyril. Just. Mart. cum multis a­liis. are so manifestly ancient by the joynt Consent of all the most Primitive Writers, that I dare say, They bear date from the Apostles times. And generally learned men do conceive, that St. Peter alludes to that Custom, 1 Pet. 3. 21. where he cal­leth Baptism [...], the Answer, (or the Promise and Stipula­tion) V. Grotium in loc. of a good Conscience towards God.

10. The repeating of Psalms and Hymns by turns (by Mi­nister Antiphonae. and People) is a very useful good course to keep peoples minds from rambling, and to imprint holy things in their me­mories. And this hath been customary in the ancient Church; though, as St. Basil tells us, there was [...], variety Basil, Ep. 63. ad Cler. Neocaes. in singing: For sometimes the Minister began one verse, and was seconded by the whole Congregation (as is the custom still in many of our Parochial Churches;) and sometimes the Quire was divided into two parts, which alternately answered each other from side to side (as 'tis usual in our Colledges and Cathedrals.) At the close of each Psalm or Hymn, they com­monly had some End versicles (called by Philo, [...], De vitâ Con­templ. Const. lib. 2. c. 57. and in Clements Constitutions, [...],) answerable to our Gloria Patri; and these were recited by turns too. Cer­tain it is, that the people were ever wont to bear their part in praising and blessing God; which was one reason that [Page 100] Eusebius took those Therapeutae in Egypt for Christians, be­cause Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 17. among other Christian Customs, they had this. And if he was mistaken in his opinion, yet it argues that this was a general custom among Christians in his time. And so indeed St. Basil assures us, that it prevailed universally in the Eastern Churches. Cassiodore affirms, that Flavianus and Diodorus Tripart. Hist. l. 5. c. 32. brought in the Alternate singing of Psalms. But this certain­ly is a mistake: for this was most usual long before their days. Socrates and others, fetch it as high as from the holy Martyr Socrat. l. 6. c. 8. Ignatius, who was no less than an Apostolical Bishop; and this Trip. Hist. l. 10. c. 9. is yielded by Cassiodore himself elsewhere. But though Igna­tius might have introduced this custom at Antioch, yet in pro­bability 'twas originally borrowed of the Jews, and so con­tinued among Christians from the beginning. This is evident, that Pliny, writing to the Emperour Trajan (in whose days St. John died) saith of the Christians, that they were wont early in a morning to meet together (which comes near to St. Basil's account) and to sing Carmen Christo, a Hymn to Christ, and that secum invicem, by course, by turns, or one after another.

11. As concerning the posture of the body at the receiving Kneeling at the Sacrament. of the Holy Sacrament, it is clear, that the sitting posture was never used, unless by the Arrians, who denied our Saviour's Divinity: All the Catholicks did receive with all imaginable Reverence; and in St. Cyril's time they did it in a worshipping Cyril. Catech. Myst. 5. and adoring gesture; the Adoration being directed to God and Christ, but not to the Elements.

12. 'Tis customary with us (especially in some places) to read the second Service at the Lords Table: which some are pleased to look upon as a mighty piece of Superstition, though it be nothing else but an innocent usage, conformable to the Practice of the most Primitive times; which is still preserved not onely in the Eastern parts, but in the Lutheran Churches also. For, as Mr. Mede hath well observed, this was the place Christian Sa­crifice, cap. 5. Ep. 56. to Dr. Twisse: & alibi. where the Ancients offered up all their Prayers unto God: and because the Passion of Christ is commemorated, and his Death represented there, they thought it the most fit and proper place for Divine-Service, and so were wont to call upon God at [Page 101] the Altar, signifying hereby, that they offered up their Prayers in the Name, and through the Merits of their crucified Saviour. For the Readers further satisfaction, I shall refer him to the Observations of that learned man; and onely adde, That that Phrase in Ignatius, [...], to be within the Altar, is a plain allusion to this Ancient and Primitive custom, and signi­fies, to joyn with the Bishop in those Ministrations which were performed, and in those Prayers which were offered up at the Altar. And the like Phrase we finde in Clements Constitu­tions, Const. l. 7. c. 41. where [...], signifies, to partake of holy My­steries, [...], as it is explained afterwards, to commu­nicate in holy Ordinances.

In fine, whosoever will give himself the trouble to search, and will do us the right to speak impartially, he must needs confess, that those Constitutions of ours which are establisht by Law, and those Rites which are preserved by Custom, have had their Rise and Original from the best and most authentick Antiquity. I have instanced in several particulars; and a longer account might be given, if that would do our business effectually: But I hope what hath been already shewed, will satisfie all indifferent and sober persons, that our Church is free from all charge of Superstition and Novelty. I would to God she were as free from danger too; danger which is now threatned her, not only by those who never were in her bosom, but by those also to whom she, like an indulgent Mother, hath held out both her Breasts, and hath received nothing for all her Milk and Tenderness, but a Stab.

And yet it is not too late to heal her wounds, if men would set heartily and soberly about it. But in my opinion, there is no Method likely to do it, but by taking Directions from Antiquity, and by observing the Old way, that old and good way wherein, God be blessed, Religion has hitherto flourished among us, and for which our Church is at this day the Envy of all Impostors, and the Glory of the whole Christian world.

For (that I may now close up my Argument) should we deviate and wander from the Primitive Rule, our Adversaries will have an unanswerable Plea against us, That our Religion is not Catholick, but a Mushrome of yesterday; and by that [Page 102] pretence, they will never want fair opportunities of catching up Sheep that straggle from a secure Fold, and making a Prey of all by degrees. By what we have found already by sad experience, we may easily foresee what advantages they will take hereafter, should we alter our way. For how many thousand Souls have they ensnared by this pretence, That our Religion is a new Device? 'Twould be a strong Argument a­gainst us, were not the thing false. Now, if they have per­verted so many by an unjust Allegation, what will the conse­quences be, should we do them the kindness to remove our an­cient Land-marks; and make that an evident Truth, which hi­therto has been nothing but a groundless Reproach? It may be thought a probable way to keep Popery out; but 'twill be a sure and infallible way to let it in upon us at the last: For, what have we ever yet gotten by pulling down, but Fa­ction? and what are our Factions, but the Kennels of Jesuits, and Jesuited persons? We see in part already, and when the mystery of Iniquity comes throughly to be laid open, we shall see more evidently and fully, that 'tis by the several Sects a­mong us that the Jesuite gets into our Bowels, and hides, lurks, and shrouds himself under them: and men of common Reason will think, that 'tis but in vain to drive the Papist out at the fore gate, if he be let in again at the back-door. But should our Church be dismantled, and Iniquitie be establisht by a Law, instead of one Jesuit we shall have an hundred; and in the end the wilde Boar will finde admittance, after so many little Foxes.

3. I see that I am now fallen upon the third and last part of my Task, viz. to shew how infinitely mischievous and hurt­ful the Practices of those have been already, who have declined from the Old way, to walk in Paths of their tracing on.

And this I shall do out of a pure and sincere designe to do the world good, and to serve them especially who are apt to go astray in the simplicity of their hearts, and have neither the wisdom to make a stand before they go too far, nor the saga­city to foresee whither they are going, nor the skill to retrive themselves, nor eyes to finde out the right way, nor perhaps any great desire to revert into the paths they have once for­saken, [Page 103] but walk with the Herd, non quâ eundum est, sed qua itur (as Seneca speaks) not where they should go, but where the Multitude goeth, not considering that, Argumentum pessimi Turba est, that course is many times the worst, which hath the most Voices, and is carried by the Poll.

We read of Absalom, 2 Sam. 15. that by traducing his Fa­ther the King, and his Ministers of Justice, he stole away the hearts of the men of Israel, and many followed him, and went with him in their simplicity, not knowing any thing of the Re­bellion he intended, when he pretended to go to Hebron to pay his vows. And I am verily perswaded, that this is the case of many deluded wretches amongst us, who have been perswaded to go from Jerusalem to Hebron to worship, in the simplicity of their hearts, having been imposed upon by the popular and slie insinuations of some Absaloms, who designed to abuse their Credulity, and to use them as Instruments to pro­mote their unworthy Ends, and secular Advantage.

To such I would address my self, beseeching them by the love of God, by the bowels of Christ, and by the regard we ought to have of our common Salvation, to take an Inventory of those sore Evils, which have been so hurtful to Mankinde, so reproachful to Religion, and so prejudicial to our common Safety; and all of them occasioned principally by this one radical Evil, even mens stragling and deviating from the good old way.

First, It hath been one main thing that hath stopt the Cur­rent of Religion, and discouraged very many from entertain­ing the Truth, as it is in Jesus. And though some may make light of this Consideration now, yet in the Judgment of the Great day, when the Sins and Scandals of men shall be reckon'd unto them, it will be a sad and fearful Charge, that they have kept off so many Souls, for whom Christ died, from coming unto him. What multitudes and sholes of Infidels crouded into the Church in the Primitive times, when the Creed was entire, and the Worship of God was uniform, and the Way to Heaven was one and the same over all the World! 'Twas pleasant and safe drinking of the Waters of Life, when they ran in so fair a Channel. Religion has been at a great stand, [Page 104] since the Streams have been divided. Though Infidels of all Nations and Languages be dispersed up and down throughout Christendom, yet how rarely do we hear of one hearty Prose­lyte? No; instead of admiring Christianity, such as are aliens to the true Faith do rather laugh at our follies, that we invite others to go along with us, when we our selves are not agreed upon the way, but refuse to go with one another. Did we walk quietly together in the old, beaten, and straight road, such as have taken false steps, and wander in ignorance, might reasonably be perswaded to submit to our Directions, because where Ʋnity is, a fair Argument may be used to perswade men that Truth is to be found there. But when the Turk, or the Jew, or the blinde Papist perceives us to be at variance about the main thing, some contending for one way, and some for another, and every Party condemning all ways but his own, he finds that 'tis great odds, but he may erre still, which side soever he takes; and thinks it much safer to commit himself to his own conduct, or to the management of a Guide that pretends to be infallible, than to trust the Directions of men divided in their Judgments, who instead of rescuing, may chance to draw him on into further danger. When Averroës saw the Roma­nists to devour that which they supposed to be their God, he ventured his Soul with the old Philosophers, rather than he would embrace such a Savage Religion. And when the In­dians felt the barbarous usages of the Spaniards, they loath'd the very thoughts of those Celestial Mansions, whither they were invited to dwell with those Monsters of Nature, who exercised the utmost Cruelties upon them on Earth, and yet pre­tended a designe of saving them from the Torments of Hell. And so, when unbelieving or erroneous persons observe the Feuds and Divisions which are among us, they abhor that way which sets men a wrangling, supposing that such can never meet at their Journeys end, who take different and contrary courses at their starting. It is manifest, that thousands have been discouraged upon this account from embracing the Truth; and I have known many who have plainly Apostatiz'd to the Impieties of the Romanists, having been frightned from all communion with us, by our Domestick jarrs. 'Tis true, the [Page 105] Reason is very incompetent and weak, yet the Argument is popular, especially when 'tis managed by a cunning hand, and a serpentine wit. And 'tis a Rule among the Jesuits, That the Dissentions among Protestants do serve the Interest of the Ro­man Dissensiones er­rantium alet, &c. Ita enim cum omnes in­telligent certi nihil apud eos inveniri, facile veritati manus dabunt. Adam. Contzen. Po­litic. l. 2. c. 19. § 6. Cause, upon this score among others, because when things hang in Controversie and undecided among us, people will con­clude, that we have nothing which is certain, and so will rea­dily yield to that which they call Truth. I wish that such as foment the unhappy Divisions in our Church, would lay this thing seriously to heart, and instead of foaming out Invectives against us and our Establishments, would sadly consider how scandalous their Practices are, and how many Souls by their means may be consigned to eternal Ruine, who might have arrived safely at the Gate of Paradise, had not they laid a Stumbling-block of Iniquity before them.

2. Besides the intolerable mischiefs that have been occa­sioned abroad, vast prejudices have been caused at home, by the perverse deflexions of men from the good old way. For how many are there, who have been provoked hereby to turn aside either into Schism, or down-right Atheism? 1. That the sin of Schism woundeth the very Vitals of Religion, is obvious unto any that shall but consider how destructive it is of Charity, which is the Life, Spirit, and Soul of all. For it ever commenceth upon Ʋncharitableness, and it keepeth the flames (not of Love, but) of Contention alive, till it hath made a Consumptive Sacrifice of Charity, and reduced it into Nothing; thereby annihilating Religion, instead of refining it. Now it is manifest, that mens leaving the old Paths, hath been the sole cause of this great and ominous Evil among us: for every new Sect and Party is but an Off-set and Branch of the first Separation. As we say in Logick, that if but one false Proposition be granted, an hundred more will naturally follow; so we see in the Church, that when but one Rupture and Schism is made, that Faction is prolifick, and ingendreth a great Brood; which, though they are unlike to each other, and quarrel with each other, yet in this they all resemble their first Parent, that they disown and hate their Mother. Some moderate Dissenters did ingenuously acknowledge in the late [Page 106] times, that upon the pulling down of our Episcopal Govern­ment (which they decried as Antichristian) more Sects and Heresies sprang up within the compass of very few years, than were ever known in this Kingdom before. 'Twas an honest Confession, and the thing is true; and yet all that Fry which troubleth our Waters, are but the Spawn of the first Innovators. Reckon on from the Independants to the Ranters, to the Fami­lists, to the Quakers, and the rest, and you shall finde, that they are so many fresh Editions of Smectymnuus, augmented and enlarged; but whether corrected and amended, or made worse, impartial men may consider. As when you cast a stone into a pool, the water curls into a little circle, which in a moment multiplieth it self into several gyres that propagate themselves into more still, until all of them are broken upon the bank; so when you see a Bone of Strife thrown into a Church, whose surface was calm and quiet before, the first breach is not all, but the mischief increaseth, and another Faction makes its way through the bowels of the former, and that becomes the Parent of a Third; and there is no end of the Evil, till all Parties dash up­on Ruine. 'Tis necessary therefore with all possible speed, to heal up the breach there, where our Calamities began; and now we see the sad consequents of Schism, to forsake the sin it self, and to return into the old Paths. For what shall we do in the end, but fool away our whole Cause, after the rate that we now go? it being impossible to hold out against an Enemy long, if men stand in small companies at a distance, and onely behold the valour of that wing which is most of all beleaguer'd. The more an Interest is divided, the more it is weakened ever. While we kept to our Rule, and held hand in hand together in the Old way, all the Attempts of the Romanists were frustra­neous. Our Quarrels have served onely to give our Adver­saries hope of sweeping the Stakes at last.

And yet this is not all: 2. For, there is another monstrous Evil, which oweth its Production to this swerving from the Ancient way; and that is, Atheism. Would a man think, that when the Gospel hath shined so clear, and so long among us, any such Creatures should be found, as should deny the Being of an Omniscient God, presiding over the world? or [Page 107] should affirm, that there is no Hell but what is created by mens foolish fears? or should say, that the Scriptures are no better than a Legend? or should argue Vertue and Vice to be empty Names, and that Good and Evil depends upon the Arbitrary Constitutions of Men? Yet it is certain and notorious, that many parts of this Kingdom do swarm with these Locusts; and whether you call them Atheists or Hobbists, it is indifferent to me (onely I fear, that many Jesuits go under that guise.) The thing is the sadder, because in David's time the Atheist was a Fool, and so accounted; whereas the most avowed Scepticks a­mong us, are those, who pretend to Wit and Learning, and would be thought the onely Masters of Reason, able to pre­scribe Forms and Laws of Government. Now I confess many Causes have unluckily concurr'd to give Birth to these new and unusual Monsters; but certainly the great Divisions (which are caused originally by mens declining from the Old Paths) have had a very great hand in the Midwivery: For Schisms in one Age, seldom but produce Atheism in the next; and differences in Religion are apt to minister (especially to men of sensual minds) a welcome occasion to suspect, that there is no such thing as Religion at all. And I wish this Suspition had not been heightned into a positive Opinion, by the unheard-of Extravagancies of some Non-conformists, who by their empty Prate, and scenical Tricks, and lewd Comparisons (which my Soul even dreads to mention) have gone a great way to turn Religion into a Ridicule, and a loathsome thing; and thereby have done huge service to the Church of Rome. But the Innovations and Singularities even of those who are more sober and judicious than the rest, have strongly pre­vailed with many to be Neuters in Religion: For while they behold one Party set against another, and loading each other with Contumelies and Curses, they are ready to conclude, that every Sect cannot be in the Right, but yet that all may be in the Wrong; and so they are willing (because it is most con­sistent with their lusts) to be of no Party, till the Combatants themselves have disputed out the Quarrel; and when they finde that the ground of this eager Controversie is about things which are confessedly little, they are ready to mistrust that [Page 108] other things are little too, and in the end deride and make light of All things, though of the greatest moment.

I should be glad to be mistaken in this particular, and that any man were able to confute the truth of what I say. But the thing is manifest, that several who have been Members of many Sects, have in the end ript themselves from All, and upon tryal made of every Profession, have at last abandoned every Religion. And I wish that some who pretend to be the great Healers in Sion, would in time consider what account they will be able to give to the Great Physician of our Souls, for intoxicating the world when they undertook new Ways and Methods of purging it. For this is the true original of this sad Calamity, even mens love of Novelty, and of new Experi­ments. By making a false step at the first, men have run themselves and others upon Destruction; and there is no end of Error, when once they have forsaken the Old Paths, where alone is to be found true Rest, and sure Footing.

3. To these Considerations I shall adde one more, which I have reserved unto the last, because it is of very seasonable use, and may, perhaps, make a deeper impression than the rest; and it is this: That those Innovations and Schisms which have defaced, and almost ruined our Church, have been cunningly contriv'd (at least, improv'd and kept on foot) by the Emis­saries of Rome, who hate nothing more than to see Government, and Order, and Ʋnity amongst us. I do not intend (God knows, I do not designe) to embitter any Protestants heart, but onely to open mens eyes, and out of publick principles, and a deep sense of our great (and I fear, growing) Evils, to lay before them an important Truth, and to recommend it to their Consciences, desiring that it may be taken with the same hand of Charity wherewith it is offered.

When I behold the sad Divisions in our Church, I must say as he did, when he saw the Tares in the field, Mat. 13. 28. An enemy hath done this: The Enemy, that implacable and formi­dable Enemy, whose dark and hellish Designes we are now searching into; 'tis he that hath craftily sown, and industri­ously cherisht our Dissentions, that in the end he may make a Prey of our Enclosure and us too. It is a piece of State-policy, [Page 109] which has been used by some Princes, when they have intended to invade a neighbouring Kingdom, to divide it first. And the Jesuits have made this a main piece of their Ecclesiastical Policy too: Those trusty Disciples of that grand Hypocrite and Enthusiast, Ignatius Loiola, have all along made use of this effectual Stratagem; but especially here among us, whom they have most grossly abus'd, by creating heats in our Bowels, by filling men with Jealousies and Discontents, by in­sinuating evil Principles into them, and by teaching them to clamour against our Government as tyrannical, and against our Liturgy as superstitious, and to throw out bitter Invectives a­gainst Popery; when indeed Tyranny, and Popery, and Supersti­tion, are the very things which they themselves would fain in­troduce, and introduce them by our hands; and all this while they themselves stand behinde the Curtain and laugh in their sleeve, to see how dextrously and prosperously their designe is carried on by unwary and credulous Instruments. Contzen the Jesuit, in his Book of Politicks (for that is their main Study) laying down several ways whereby they may reduce a Nation to their pretended Catholick Faith, prescribeth this way for one, to foment a Kingdoms Divisions, and to make use of them so as to blow the Goals: For (saith he) who could not easily Sexta Ratio abolendi Erro­ris est, in rem suam vertere lites errantium. Quis enim non facile Purita­nos in Anglia redigat in or­dinem, si Epis­coporum appro­bationem ab il­lis extorqueat? Contzen, Po­litic. l. 2. c. 18. § 9. bring the Puritans in England into Order, that can but prevail with them to approve of Bishops? Any man that pleaseth may consult the place; and if he will but consider this Jesuit's words, he must confess, that the subtle Papists know, that our Episcopal Government is a strong Barricado against Popery, and that if our Dissenters would but once be perswaded to submit to that Government, it would be impossible for them to bring our Nation under the Yoke of Bondage: And therefore here they employ all their Art and Skill, to enflame mens hearts against our Bishops, and to prompt them on to oppose Episco­pacy with all might and main, and if it be possible, to pull it down. And by this we may perceive whence all our Non-con­formity, and clamour against our pious, learned, and excellent Bishops, doth originally come. I am bound in charity to think (and I do verily think) that those our dissenting Brethren, who are really Protestants, do not believe, or (perhaps) mi­strust, [Page 110] that they are acted by the Jesuits. But 'tis clear to me, and I hope to all indifferent persons, that the Jesuits have foully infected many Sectaries among us with their Poyson, and have made use of many Hot-spirits among us, as their Tools and Hands to work such things for them, which they themselves could not attempt with a bare and open face. There is a very memorable Passage in Arch-bishop Laud's Speech upon the Scaffold: (thither he was brought as a Favourer of Popery; though it appears by the Letters of Sir William Boswel, and Andreas ab Habernfield, that the Papists themselves designed See the Grand Designe. his Ruine, and brought him to the Block by their under-hand contrivances; but before the blow was given, he used these words, among others, to the people:) ‘You know what the Pharisees said against Christ himself in the 11th of St. John, If we let him alone, all men will believe on him, & venient Romani, and the Romans will come and take away both our Place and Nation. Here was a causeless cry against Christ, that the Romans would come; and see how just the Judgment of God was upon them: they crucified Christ for fear lest the Romans should come; and his death was that which brought the Romans in upon them, God punishing them with that wch they most feared. And I pray God (said he) that this Cla­mour of venient Romani (of which I have given to my know­ledge no just cause) help not to bring the Romans in here too; for the Pope never had such an Harvest in England since the Reformation, as he hath now among the Sects and Divisions that are among us.’ Thus he spake above thirty four years ago. And not he onely, but many other sagacious and wise men, when once they saw Faction to grow bold and sturdy, See a Piece en­tituled Fair Warning, part 2. did greatly fear, that the Protestant Interest would be sadly wounded by it; and did, as it were by a Prophetick Spirit, tell us to this purpose; That if ever Popery did return into this Nation, it ought to be laid chiefly at the Schismaticks door.

I know, it will not boot us much to charge one another now, when we have all great reason to be humbled for our sins: But yet, it may not be unuseful for us to observe how the Ro­manist hath abused many silly and head-strong people among [Page 111] us, making them his Machines and Instruments to shore up his tottering Cause, and to keep it from sinking utterly. And this he hath done by two several ways.

1. By poysoning them with such Principles as are either the same with his own, or much bordering upon them, and very like unto them. Amidst that variety of strange Opinions which hath prevailed here, since men were so imprudent as to forsake the Old way, we may finde many which are very neer of Kin to those, that are directly Popish Tenents, nay, which have been the main Pillars to support the Popish Interest. So that by the Tares, we know what the hand was which scattered the Seed; and by the Doctrines, we may perceive who was the Author and Father of them: and I dare say, if we search nar­rowly into each Sect, we may plainly discern the print of the Cloven-foot, and easily perceive that the Jesuit hath been there. To make this good, I shall (omitting many particulars of lesser moment which might be instanced in) take notice of the most See Lysim. Nicanor. material points, and such chiefly as strike at the very Heart of Government, and which are accounted properly and strictly Jesuitical Tenents, because the Jesuits were the first (though not the last) that had the confidence to defend them.

It has been generally taught by our Sectaries (and I take notice of it the rather, because this seditious, antimonarchical, and cursed Doctrine is now strangely revived) that the power Buchanan, Goodman, Gilby, Good­win, Bridges, Rutherford, and a world more. which Princes have, is derived to them by the People; that Kings, Princes, and Governours, have their Authority from their People; that the People are better than the King, and of greater Authority; that the People have right to dispose of the Government at their pleasure; that the People have the same power over the King, that the King himself hath over any one of his Subjects; that the power of making Laws belongeth unto the People; that the King is but the Peoples Trustee, and like a Master of the Rolls, accountable to his Masters for his Trust; and that the People may (upon occasion) remove him out of his Trust and Authority, even as men may lawfully recal their Proxies and Letters of Attorney. This monstrous Doctrine did cost the best of Kings his Head, and the whole Nation its Peace: and 'tis perfectly a Jesuitical Principle. For so Bel­larmine, [Page 112] and Azorius, and several more of that Grew, have Bellarm. de Laicis, c. 6. asserted, That all political power is in the Multitude, as in its proper Seat and Subject, and that by Divine Right; that the Multitude being not able to exercise their power themselves, do transfer it upon some one, or more; that it dependeth upon the consent and courtesie of the Multitude, that there be either a King or Consuls, or other Magistrates over them; and that if there be cause, the Multitude may change the Government, and turn a Monarchy into an Aristocracy, or Democracy, as they please. The Reason is given by the great Azorius; because, Azor. Instit. Moral. Pars 2. l. 11. c. 4. forsooth, though the People do transfer their power, and give it to the King, yet they do not devest themselves wholly of it, but do retain it habitually themselves, and in certain cases may a­ctually take it from him again, and give it to the next of Kin, or to any else. Any man may see whither this Doctrine ten­deth, even to the subversion of Government, and especially of Monarchy, which is equally uneasie both to the Jesuite and the Schismatick. Now Father Watson in his Quodlibets, jirks the Jesuits for borrowing their Principles of the Scotch Fa­naticks; and others are of opinion, that the Fanaticks bor­rowed it of the Jesuits. Let such as are concerned, dispute this out; but this is clear, that either they infected these, or these have infected them: for this is their common Principle; a Principle which was never known among Christians till these latter days, since Hell hath broke loose.

Again, it is still maintain'd (and by no mean person in Dr. Owen a­gainst Dr. Parker. vulgar esteem) That the Civil Magistrate hath nothing to do to enjoyn any thing relating to Gods Worship, which God him­self hath not required; and that the Conscience is not bound to observe such Injunctions; That though subjection be due un­to the Magistrate in things of his proper Cognizance, that is, in all things necessary to publick Peace and Tranquillity in this p. 90. world: though it be the duty of the supream Magistrate to en­courage the professors of Religion, to protect them from wrong and violence, and to secure them in the performance of their duties; yet the Church and its Religion, and the Worship of God p. 161. observed therein, is constituted, fixed, and regulated by God himself, antecedently to the Magistrates duty and power about [Page 113] it: so that the Administration of things meerly spiritual in p. 164. the Worship of God, is derived immediately from him to the Ministers and Administrators of the Gospel; and that the things of the Gospel, and the Worship of God, are plainly ex­empted from the Temporal jurisdiction and punishment of p. 170. earthly Princes, insomuch that they have no power over the Con­sciences of men, so as to lay their Commands upon them in these spiritual things, or to back them with temporal, corporal re­straints and punishments. This is the Principle defended by that Doctor; and 'tis likely that he was confirmed in it when his Acquaintance Father Whitebread was at Oxford: for 'tis perfect Jesuitism, and a piece of Politick Divinity which has done as much service to the Church of Rome, as any other Principle whatsoever. For, how came they by that Absolute and Arbitrary Power, which they have over mens Consciences, but by shaking off the Authority, and clipping the Prerogatives of the Civil Magistrates? The Jesuits would not have that Empire and unlimited Dominion in the world, did Princes in­terpose, and restrain their Exorbitances. Therefore this they contend for with all their might, That Kings indeed are and Bellarm. de Rom. Pontif. l. 1. c. 7. ought to be the Patrons and Protectors of Religion, to defend the Church, to punish Blasphemy, Sacriledge, Heresie, &c. but yet that the Government of the Church, or the Cognizance of Church-matters, belongeth not to them; no, they have no judge­ment in Ecclesiastical Affairs, saith Bellarmine (even as Dr. Owen and others say) because Civil Peace and Tranquillity is the proper Object of the Magistrates care: Divine things are not subject to his Power; it belongeth to Ministers, not to the Secular Power, to meddle with matters in the Church; for the Emperour himself is but a Laick, and Lay-men have no­thing to do in things Sacred, saith Azorius, agreeably to what Azor. Inst. Moral. pars 2. l. 10. c. 7. Sectaries do say; and he that will be fully satisfied of the har­mony between the Jesuits and them in this particular, let him read the Survey of the pretended holy Discipline, chap. 22, 23, 24. there it may be seen at large, how these good Wits jump.

Thirdly, it has been asserted (not by Episcopal, but by the Survey, p. 267. Presbyt. dis­played, p. 19. Classical Divines) That the Presbyters (having Power in their [Page 114] hands) may make Decrees, and that the Prince ought to con­firm those Decrees (though against his own Conscience) and see them executed: otherwise he is censurable, and to be forced to do it. And even thus saith the Jesuit Bellarmine, That Bellarm. de Rom. Pontif. l. 5. c. 7. in fine. Kings are bound to serve God, by defending the Church, by punishing Hereticks and Schismaticks, (and so far he is right.) But moreover he tells us, That the Church may, and is obliged to command Kings to do their office; and if they are negligent, to compel and force them to it by Excommunication, and other convenient ways. What an unluckie thing it is, that our zea­lous Reformers should be thus Jesuited! for 'tis but altering Names, and instead of the Pope and his Cardinals, to put in the Presbyterian and his Lay-Elders, and the Doctrine is the very same.

4. It needeth no proof, that some pretended Protestants have counted it both lawful and just, to bring their King to publick Tryal and Judgment. But as no President can be any­where found for that Practice (unless you will instance in our Saviour) so no warrant can be fetcht for that Doctrine, but out of the Writings of the Jesuits. So indeed Bellarmine affirms, Bellarm. ubi supra. That Kings and Princes, being Hereticks and Opposers of Reli­gion, may be arraigned and judged by the Church; and that the Church can exercise a coercive power over the Civil Magi­strate by any ways and methods that shall seem necessary. And the like is argued by Azorius; onely he is so kind to Princes as Inst. Moral. pars 2. l. 11. to grant, that though among the Ethnicks the people have power to take Cognizance of their Kings faults, and to judge them when they are notorious (either by evidence of Fact, or by his own Confession in Court) yet the King hath this priviledge (and a huge great one it is) to be heard before he be condemned, and to make his Exceptions in order to his defence. But, saith he, in a Christian State the people have not power to try their So­veraign without instructions and leave obtained first from the Pope, who is to judge of his Crimes whether they be such as ren­der the King obnoxious. Now all this is agreeable to the Princi­ples both of the Jesuits and the Kirk-men, and the rest of that Clan, viz. that the King is onely a Son of the Church, notwith­standing his Kingship; that their power is of Divine Institu­tion, [Page 115] whereas the Kings authority is onely by compact with the people; and so, much inferiour to theirs, being onely Fidu­ciary; and upon that score he may be brought to account, and tryed; and every worthy man in Parliament may, for the publick good, be thought a fit Peer, and Judge of the King, saith Milton. This puts me in mind what Mr. Oates hath discovered Tenure of Kings, p. 24. of that great Oracle, Mr. Milton; namely, that he was a mem­ber of a Popish Clubb. The thing is credible enough, that he was a Jesuit in disguise. But this is manifest, that they were Jesuitical Doctrines which in 48 did pass in the Pulpits for Divinity, and in Westminster-hall for Law; and that the in­famous Court of Justice did consist of men, who were the Sons of the Jesuit, who was the Son of the Devil.

5. Further yet; it is so notorious, that it needeth not proof, that our rigid Sectaries have held it lawful, not onely not to obey wicked Kings (whom they call wicked) but also to resist them, to take arms against them, to have no further Buchanan, Gilby, Good­man. regard to them than if they were the most simple Subjects with­in their Realms, to excommunicate them, to depose them, to un-King them, to take their Crowns and Thrones from them, and to banish or imprison them: for, according to Buchanan and his whole Tribe, the band being broken between the People and De jure regni. the King, he loseth all his power and authority which he had by compact from the people. This is Jesuitism with a witness, or else we have been unjust in charging this Doctrine upon the Jesuits. Kings and Princes may be deposed (saith Bel­larmine) and no injury is done unto them, if they be deposed: And he urgeth the Example of Ʋzzah, 2 Chron. 26. and 'tis De Rom. Pont. l. 5. c. 8. observable, that Mr. Knox himself urged the very same Ex­ample, to let the world see how handsomely he and his Bre­thren went hand in hand with the Jesuits in this point also: And it must not be omitted, that Buchanan defending the Hist. of the Reform. p. 391. same Principle, fetcheth many precedents from the continual Practice of the Scots, who did depose their Kings, just as the great Cardinal fetcheth many precedents from the continual Practice of the Popes, who deposed Emperours: though an honest man will say, Quot Exempla, tot flagitia, look how many Examples of this nature may be found, so many horrid sins [Page 116] have been committed on both sides. Azorius is as positive as can be in this matter; and tells us, That though Bartolus and Azor. Instit. pars 2. l. 10. c. 8. others were of opinion that it belonged to the People to depose Princes, yet rather 'twas to be said, that it is the Popes business. However, he doth insist upon it, that the thing may be done, and done justly; when a Prince is either forsworn, or sacrile­gious, or persecutes the Church, or disturbs the peace of Christi­ans, or is an Heretick or Schismatick, or is a favourer or a de­fender of Hereticks and Schismaticks; then, saith he, that Prince must down: and if you read Histories, you will finde, that it has been a common thing for Kings to be dethroned. And he instanceth in the Scots (that have been Rebels and Traytors from the beginning) In uno Scotiae regno multos Reges legimus Lib. 11. c. 5. Nobilium & Populi communi consensu, è regno pulsos; that is, In that one Kingdom of Scotland we read of many Kings, whose Crowns have been pulled off their heads by the Nobles and Com­monalty: Ergo, the thing is very lawful. And truly this is De jure regni, pag. 53. Buchanan's own Argument; Possum annumerare duodecem, aut etiam amplius, Reges, &c. I could, says he, reckon up twelve Kings of Scotland, or more, who have been either imprisoned, or banisht, or slain out-right (by their Subjects) for their Crimes Truly, 'tis a fine Honour for that Nation: and though it be a most pitiful and scandalous Argument, yet 'tis remar­kable how these two men did jump in their way of arguing; there is such an Harmonia Evangelica, such a sweet Harmony between these two great Evangelists, that it may be questioned whether Buchanan was not a Jesuit, or Azorius a Presby­terian.

6. The King-killing Doctrine is justly laid at the Jesuits door, for 'tis his own dear Brat; onely some have modestly doubted, whether a Prince, who is counted a Tyrant, may be exe­cuted by any private hand, till he has been heard and condem­ned by the judicial Sentence of the Nation. But never let this Doctrine be laid at the Jesuits door onely: For hath it not been held, hath it not been put in practice by many pretended Anti papists in this Island? Give me Buchanan for my money, who scorns to mince the matter as others do (till they have the Power in their hands;) for, speaking of Tyrants (and [Page 117] any Prince that pleaseth not them, shall be esteem'd a Tyrant) If I, saith he, were to make a Law, I would have such men car­ried De Jure Reg. away into Deserts, or drowned in the Sea; and I would have such as kill them to be lustily rewarded, (not by single men, but by the whole Commonwealth;) even as they are pub­lickly rewarded that kill Wolves, or Bears, or take their Whelps. There's a man to be a Prince's Tutor: but the Jesuits were his Tutors first. For what brave fellows were Clement and Ravaillac in their estimation? and had they liv'd, would have been made Cardinals. For what is more meritorious with them, than to dispatch a King that is their Enemy? Did not Ehud kill King Eglon? saith Aquinas. Did not the Captains kill Queen Athalia? saith Bellarmine. Yes surely, they did: but these instances do not reach the Case. However, some King-killing Protestants have urged these very Examples, which were urged by the King-killing Romanists; and by this we See Dang. Posit. B. 2. c. 1. may know what hands they were which cut off K. Charles's head, and by whom they were influenced and set on work.

7. But how will men answer God for these horrid Villa­nies? Doth not our Saviour say, Resist not evil? Doth not St. Paul say, He that resisteth, shall receive to himself damna­tion? And did not the good old Christians in the Primitive times quietly submit to the Emperours, though they were In­fidels, Hereticks, Persecutors? O, saith Buchanan, and his Loyal De Jure Reg. p. 50, 51. Brethren of the new cut, you must consider the condition of those times; the Church then was in its Infancy, and Chri­stians were low in Fortunes, and few in number, and void of Arms (yet the ancient Fathers tell us the contrary) and therefore 'twas necessary for St. Paul to advise them to be quiet; as if, saith he, one should now write to the poor Christians un­der the Turk, he would advise them to be quiet, because they cannot help it (though the Apostle said, Ye must needs be subject, not onely for Wrath, but also for Conscience sake:) But, saith Buchanan, if St. Paul lived now in these times, he would say otherwise. From this shift the Magistrate may ob­serve how dangerous it is to indulge men of these Principles, till they grow numerous, strong, opulent, and heady (for then Conscience will hang at the hilts of their Swords:) but that [Page 118] which I observe is, that this Evasion is down-right Jesuitism. So Cardinal Bellarmine affirm'd, That the reason why Christi­ans De Rom. Pont. l. 5. c. 7. did not depose Nero, or Diocletian, or Julian, or Valens, and the like wicked Emperours, was, quia deerant vires Temporales Christianis, because they wanted strength. And the same E­vasion Parsons the Jesuit used in Q. Elizabeth's days; but 'twas such a pitiful Evasion, that Father Watson, who then hated the Jesuits, was asham'd of it, and did largely confute it. Quodlibet 9. Art. 4.

I might take notice of several more Principles yet, which have been entertain'd by our Sectaries, and as like unto Jesu­itical Principles as one Apple is like another. As, that (when they please) they can dispense with Oaths, though never so lawful, and lawfully impos'd, such as the Oath of Allegiance, Supremacy, Canonical Obedience, &c. these have been swal­lowed, and gone down glib, when an unlawful Oath (like a Jesuits Vow) sticks, and is ready to choak them. Likewise, that they make Obedience to the Civil Magistrate due, with certain limitations and conditions; viz. if he stick to that Religion which they suppose to be true. This is a Jesuitical Principle; and so Bellarmine tells us, That Princes are recei­ved Ʋbi sup. into the Church upon an Express, or tacit Compact, that they will submit their Scepters unto Christ, and defend and preserve the Faith; but if once they warp, their Subjects are free from their Oaths of Obedience. Exactly answerable here­unto was the Tenor of the Scotch Covenant; wherein they Solemn League and Covenant, Art. 3. swore, to preserve and defend the Kings Majesties Person and Authority, not absolutely, but with this limitation and restri­ction, in the preservation and defence (they are Bellarmine's very words) of the true Religion. Let a Prince please them, and he shall be their King; and so far the rankest Jesuit will be a good Subject; but if he be not of their Opinion, or for their Interest, farewel Loyalty, and let the poor Prince look to himself. Moreover, they thought (as the Jesuits do) that any Arts of Dissimulation and Equivocation were lawful. Of which the late times have afforded us so many pregnant Instances, that for twenty years together, Hypocrisie seem'd (God be merciful unto us!) to have ran through all pro­ceedings, [Page 119] like an Anima Mundi, to give life and spirit to e­very Action. But I cannot well omit one very memorable In­stance, when the House of Commons did solemnly declare on April 9. 1642. That they intended onely a due and necessary Reformation of the Government, and Liturgie of the Church; and to take away nothing in the one or the other, but what was evil and justly offensive, or at least unnecessary and burthen­some. Let the world judge whether this was not a plain E­quivocation. But it seems, what in a Jesuit is unlawful, that in others hath been allowable and sanctified.

I have not made these Remarks, as if I did believe that all our former Non-conformists were Jesuits; God forbid: but I fear that great numbers of them were Jesuited, and they knew it not, at least did not consider it. And I do heartily wish, that our present Non-conformists (among whom I doubt not but there are many well-meaning persons) would for the Protestant Religion sake, at last consider by what base fellows they are abus'd, influenced, and made use of, to weaken us by our sad Divisions. I would not therefore be uncharitably and unjustly censured, as if I designed to upbraid and render them odious: No, that was not my purpose or intention. But what I have said hitherto was to shew, how crafty and cun­ning the Jesuit has been for many years, to take advantage of mens discontents, and to infuse such Principles into them as are not very distant from their own; and all this under a disguise, and pretending to be Protestants, when indeed they were utter Enemies to Protestancy, and intended by degrees to extirpate it, though (according to Contzen's directions) they dissem­bled Dissimulet pro­positum extir­pandae Haeresis, Contz. Pol. l. 2. c. 18. § 6. their purpose, and seemed to row a quite contrary way. I think there is no reason to doubt, but that several Jesuits and other Romanists have been preaching, and infecting unwary people in separate Meetings (and especially those which are most properly called Fanatical, as the Anabaptists, Quakers, Muggletonians, and the rest.) And therefore I cease to won­der, that of our vulgar sort of people who have lately been seduced to the Church of Rome, most are such as were seduced from the Church of England before. 'Twas no hard matter for subtile Impostors to poyson those throughly, whom they had [Page 120] infected already; and of borderers to make them Proselytes, and to draw them gradually out of one extream into another. There is an honest man in the world (whose name and book I shall purposely conceal) who tells us of one Father Brown a Jesuit, that he 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. Many Instances of that nature might be collected, but that the thing is unquestionable. Now why may we not believe that the same tricks have been played at House-Conventicles in Eng­land too? Have not the Whitebreads and Fenwicks, and Gawens, been as industrious here, as Brown and many others have been in Scotland? How many are there who have known and conversed with Romish Priests abroad, whom afterwards they have found here up and down in Conventicles, preaching and scolding at Popery, to wipe off all suspition from them­selves, and to curry favour with the silly people? Alas, some that call the Church of Rome, Whore, have been of the same Trade: and 'tis in this case, as it was with that worthy Gen­tleman Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, when he was murder'd, two Papists scuffled together; but 'twas only a pretended skirmish, designed to draw in the Protestant. They followed each o­ther with innocent Cuffs and hurtless Blows, and the Justice was call'd in to end the Fray; and as soon as he was come, the Combatants having obtain'd their designe, parted of them­selves, fell foul upon the Magistrate, and strangled him. 'Tis too notorious, that the Jesuits have play'd such Pranks at Conventicles in the Savoy, in Moor fields, and in a world of places more; they cry out against Superstition and Popery, and give the Papists gentle blows. and dry drubs without any Arguments; but all this while the Quarrel is but a counter­feit, and the real designe is against the Church of England; and if by any wiles they can but ensnare and ruine her (which is their great and formidable Enemy) the Combate will soon be at an end, and the politick Antagonists will soon agree. 'Tis a main piece of Jesuitical Policy, and we may count it their sole Master-piece, to create Divisions among us, and then to make every little Sect an Harbour and Covert for themselves. [Page 121] This way they employ their utmost dexterity (but were we all true to the Old Paths, their designes would easily be defeated) first to form, and then to animate Factions, by setting up such new Lights among us which serve not to illuminate, but to in­flame. They skrew themselves into all (even Mechanical) Professions; and by canting words and fair speeches insinuate themselves into all Parties, and transform themselves into all shapes and dresses; that what the Poets feigned of a Proteus and an Empusa, is true of these Hobgoblins of darkness, that they put on any colour, form, and likeness; so that you have no way to discover the Serpent, but by his poyson, nor the Wolf, but by his ravenous stomach.

But of all the Sects which are among us, undoubtedly the Quakers have been and are most eminently serviceable to our common Adversary: for their Principles are such as could not come out of any other Mint but the Jesuits. 'Tis not very long ago since one Father Talbot ingenuously told a Friend of mine, That it had cost them Twenty years study at St. Omers, before they could bring Quakerism to its perfection. And truly no Opinions can more resemble theirs, than those which are held by that crafty and perverse Sect. Do they not think themselves as infallible as any Romanist thinketh the Pope him­self to be? and do they not say, that one reason why they divide from us, is because we confess our selves to be men subject unto Errour? Do they not lower the Magistrates Au­thority (as the Jesuits do) and by all imaginable methods en­deavour to render him contemptible? Do they not vilisie the Holy Scriptures (as the Jesuits do) and call the Bible a Dead Letter? Do they not cry up the Light, the Light, just as the Jesuits cry up Tradition, Tradition? Do they not think them­selves to be the onely people of God (as the Jesuits think their Faction to be) and count all others, who are not of their Communion, to be Reprobates and damned persons? Do they not take it for granted, that they are perfect, and cannot sin? Why, do but turn the Tables, and behold this is Jesuitism, upon which they build the Doctrine of meritorious good Works; for where there is no Perfection, there can be no Merit. But the most luckie and advantageous Principle that [Page 122] was ever infus'd into them, is this: That they must not by any means swear, though called unto it by due Authority. The Jesuit was no fool, when he taught them this: for here­by he keeps out of harms-way, and shelters himself from a necessity of taking any Oaths of Supremacy or Allegiance. This Principle therefore they do errantly guard, and make many Proposals, that they may be allowed this; and as long as 'tis allowed, 'twill be impossible to hunt our Enemies out of the Herd, or to distinguish indeed between a Quaker and a Je­suit.

By this any unprejudiced man may see, that this sullen and dogged Sect is the Jesuits natural and undoubted Issue, though like other Bastards they are asham'd to own their Father. And we have reason to believe, that there is not a considerable Quakers-meeting throughout this Kingdom, but what is ma­naged by some Jesuit. 'Tis plain, that many besides White-bread and Gawen, have been known among them; and 'tis much to be suspected, that those Ring-leading and Head-Qua­kers, who are now so much in Vogue, & who have lately written so many Advices to the Nation, and other scurrilous Pamphlets, are really Jesuits in another shape. The Roman Cause is now brought to its last push here; and therefore the Sticklers for it will have a finger in every Pye: and if by any means they can but subvert our Government, they doubt not but their Work is done. Therefore, what they cannot effect by a Gun, or by a Stab, or by Poyson, they try if they can bring it about by other ways, by being for men of large Principles, by reproa­ching Government, by defaming Royalists and Church-men, by setting Republican Principles on foot, by throwing Bones into Councils, and by all imaginable Jesuitical tricks, to put the Nation into an Hurly-burly, that if a Tempest can but be raised, they may ply us with more security, and work their ends with­out being seen.

2. Having thus shew'd the Mischiefs we have sustain'd by mens running away so rashly from that Old way which is esta­blisht in our Church; and how the busie Emissaries of Rome have taken advantage of their wandrings to associate with them, and to poyson their Consciences with most evil Prin­ciples, [Page 123] and to abuse them in points of Doctrine; I shall now proceed to observe briefly how they have abused them and us too in point of practice, making them their Tools and Instru­ments to carry their designes on. Certainly our disaffected Brethren are strangely Priest-ridden, though they do not think it: and I am confident, that they never yet did burn their fingers, but 'twas the Jesuit that did put their hands (as the Monkey did the Cats foot) into the fire.

Was there an unnatural War among us? It was raised by the See the grand Designe in the Reign of K. Charles. Mariana de Rege, lib. 6. Artifices of Cardinal Barbarino and the Jesuits, pursuant to those directions which had been given by Mariana, that if a Prince was incorrigible, subjection to him should be disclaim'd, and a War should be raised, and Arms should be provided, and Taxes should be levyed upon the people; and if it were requisite, the King should be declared a common Enemy, and then be slain with the Sword.

Was the War carried on beyond the expectations, and to the great astonishment of the whole world? It was the Jesuit that first blinded the eyes of the Presbyterian, and at last engaged the Independant to pursue the Quarrel further than the other intended. For what were those Agitators, whose transactions at Putney many still living can remember? what were they but Jesuits in Buff? Dr. Du Moulin tells us, that in the year 1647, the question being put by some Jesuits from England, Answ. to Phi­lanax, p. 59, 60. first to the Sorbonists, and then, to the Pope, whether it was lawful for them to subvert the English Government, and to secure their Religion, by making our King away? it was re­solved in the affirmative: and upon that many Jesuits came over to carry on the Work, and most of them took part in the Army. And about thirty of them were met by a Prote­stant Gentleman between Roan and Diepe, to whom they said (taking him for one of their Party) that they were going for England, and would take Arms in the Independant Army, and endeavour to be Agitators.

Did some misguided people among us binde themselves in a solemn League and Covenant to secure Religion, and for Reli­gion sake to pull down the Church? Why, though they are fond of that Oath (when they have made no bones of breaking [Page 124] others,) and though they think themselves still obliged to pur­sue the ends of it (when others think they are bound in all Conscience to abjure it,) yet they would do well to examine whether this their dear Darling was not a Jesuitical Contri­vance. For the Jesuits have been old excellent at framing solemn Leagues and Covenants; witness that French League contrived by the Jesuits and the Duke of Guise under Henry the third, which was so like unto this, that it seems to have been the Pattern according to which this was drawn. And if you put in the Preservation of the Catholick, instead of the Reformed Religion; if you put in the Extirpation of Heresie, instead of Prelacy; and make a few more such little Altera­tions, you will upon comparing both, finde that the Jesuits Covenant was in a manner the same with the Scotch. This (as well as that) was entred into by factious men, meeting at Thuan. Hist. lib. 63. seditious Conventicles, and pretending that they would correct all the Errata's in the Kings Government. This (even as that) Ibid. was a Clandestine Covenant, hatched at first without the Kings consent or privity. This (even as that) was promoted by factious Preachers, who instead of delivering the Word of God, railed against Government, and the Prince himself. That Ibid. (even as this) was for the taking up of Arms to defend Reli­gion (as they said,) to remove evil Counsellors, and to force the Ibid. King to subscribe to their own Terms. And though Religion was pretended in both, yet the ruine and subversion of the Kingdom was to be at the end of both; for so, that wise States­man Christopher Thuanus told Henry the third, That those Arms of the Covenanters would fall upon his own head; and Ibid. let the impartial world judge, whether this League and Cove­nant did not bring the Head of Charles the First to the Block. Briefly; if we compare the League in France with that which was set up in this Island, it will appear, that the Tenor and Spi­rit of both was such, as that any indifferent man may conclude, that the Jesuit who framed the one abroad, was President at that grand Consult, when the other was plotted and impos'd here.

Was that horrible Parricide committed upon a King, of whom the world was not worthy? Was a day of Publick [Page 125] Thanksgiving appointed for it? Did some (still living) ap­plaud the Fact in their Pulpits? Did that superlative Villain Parker say, That there never was a greater harmony of the Laws Cited by the Author of To­leration dis­cuss'd, p. 85. of Nature, Reason, Prudence, and Necessity, to warrant any Act, than was to be found and discern'd in that Act of Justice on the late King? Did he say moreover, That God himself had e­clips'd, yea lost the brightest Beam of his Divine Glory that ever shin'd on this lower world, if he had not some way or other brought That person to some eminent and preternatural punish­ment? Why, to shew by whom those Regicides were acted, and whom they gratified, and whose Interest they really serv'd, we may remember that a Popish Priest mounted on Horse-back at Charing-cross, vailed his Hat, and flourish'd his Sword, say­ing, Now our greatest Enemy is gone. And with what joy the news of it was receiv'd by the Romanists abroad; and what great hopes they entertain'd of gaining England thereby, Dr. Peter du Moulin (who was well able to acquaint us) hath given Answer to Philanax. us a particular Account.

Have our imprudent Brethren laid all their Irons in the fire to procure a Toleration? It was the way which Contzen the Jesuit advis'd, That the Romanists in a Protestant Kingdom, Subornatio pe­tentium liber­tatem & in­dulgentiam. Contz. Pol. 2. c. 18. § 6. Bellarm. in Tort. should suborn some, and set them on work to crave Liberty and an Indulgence. 'Twas that which Cardinal Bellarmine had the confidence to advise K. James, That he should grant a Tole­ration. 'Twas that which some hundreds of Papists were so greedy of, that (as Mr. Oates tells us) they offered Cromwel, that in case he would grant it, they would renounce the Inte­rest of the Stuarts (such very Loyal good Subjects they were.) Dedication of his Narrat. 'Twas that which was once obtain'd by the joynt Interest of some, whom our credulous Non-conformists took for their hearty Patrons, though it hapned unluckily that one of them at the same time was a Popish Lord. 'Twas that which Cole­man again laboured for with all imaginable Zeal, and (by en­couragements from the French King's Confessor) endeavoured to purchase at any price, and with any hazards, and which he cajoled our Dissenters (whom he plough'd with) into fair hopes of. In a word, 'tis that then which nothing can more oblige or gratifie the Romanists, and especially the Priests, at this juncture and critical point of time.

[Page 126] Did the Jesuits and their Complices lay a most horrid and devilish Plot here in England? And did not an open Rebel­lion break out in Scotland at the same time? And that we may know by whom those Rebels were acted, it is notorious that Ireland and other Romish Priests were dispatcht away into the North to prepare them for Tumults, and Hamilton (a Jesui­ted Papist) was in the Head of the Rebellion, and their publick Declaration did smell so strong of Jesuitism (for the Act of Supremacy was condemned, the Covenants were revived, the observation of the 29th of May was disclaimed, and the Kings Authority in Ecclesiastical matters was called an Ʋsur­ping Power) that we have no reason to doubt, but that Decla­ration was drawn by the Jesuits finger.

Did the Papists here barbarously murder Sir Edmund-bury Godfrey? And did not some Kirk-men in Scotland a little af­ter most barbarously murder the Archbishop of St. Andrews? Perhaps they themselves did not understand by what hands they were set on work: but the Jesuits would greatly tri­umph, were all the Bishops and Episcopal Divines in this Island served after the same manner.

'Tis endless (and I hope, unnecessary) to reckon up every particular Instance which serveth to shew how the Disciples of Ignatius Loiola have all-along for many years abused our unwary Innovators, and employed them as their Tools and un­fortunate Instruments to execute those designes of theirs, which we are all highly concern'd to oppose. And those Instances which I have mentioned already, were not intended to exaspe­rate the minds of any Dissenters, or to give them offence, but rather to do them service as well as our selves. For our com­mon Cause and Interest doth lie at the stake; and if they will please to consider things without passion and prejudice, they will see but little reason for them to account me an Enemy, be­cause I have told them the Truth. Were not they concern'd as well as others; and were not the Interest of the Protestant Re­ligion, in open and extream danger, I should not have chosen a Subject of this nature; because I know how sharp and picquant Truth is, especially when it appears in matters of Fact. But though I do sincerely profess, that for the well-fare of this [Page 127] Church, and for the real good of our Dissenters themselves, I could be content to offer up my life, yet I do not think my self obliged (as things stand) to conceal my thoughts, although I am sure to reap little thanks at the hands of some, for di­vulging them.

However, as I am perswaded that there are many among them who are men of good mindes and honest hearts, so I hope that some of them will do themselves and the whole Nation that Right, as both to consider that well-meaning men are sometimes easily impos'd upon, and also to beware that they be not cheated by Knaves for the future. And such I would beseech, by all that is sacred and dear unto us, that they would lay to heart the perilous condition of the Reformed Religion not in this Kingdom onely, but by consequence in all parts of Europe too. And have not our unhappy Divisions from the Old way, been a sad occasion of this dismal Cala­mity? Could the Jesuits hurt us, were we of one minde, and unanimous for that good Old way which did lead so many thousands of our Ancestors to Heaven? Is it in our esta­blish'd Churches, and conformable Congregations, that these Hornets do swarm and buzz, and threaten us with Death? Is it not in separate Meetings that they build their Nests? And are they not those deluded people whom they coax, and ride, and instigate to do their jobs for them, besides their own intentions? Why, since we are not ignorant of the Jesuits wiles, methinks Indignation, and Scorn, and an English Spirit, should be enough to keep us from being shamm'd into the Snare; and would we but contend for the Ancient Paths, it would be impossible for us to be in danger of those Evils which the common Enemy exposeth us unto, or to lose that peace which he rifles us of, by leading us a side into Avenues which are uncouth and unbeaten.

My Brethren, when first the story of this Jesuitical and damnable Plot found credit in the world, it was hoped by charitable and sober persons of the Church of England, that you would have taken hold of that opportunity, to have laid down your passions, and united your selves with us, for the [Page 128] common good of the Protestant Religion; and when that worthy Magistrate was so basely assassinated, there was rea­son to conclude, that one of the Flock being so worried, the rest would have ran together presently, and been frighted in­to an Union. But since you hold off still, since we hear daily from the Press such ugly Reflections upon our Church, which is altogether unconcern'd in the Plot, onely as a Butt to be shot at; and since Coffee-houses are so full of licencious Dis­courses, which plainly tend to the prejudice of Government, and to the ruine of our Establishments, there is too great rea­son to suspect, that there are other bad designes in hand be­sides those which are driven on immediately by the Jesuits (even to throw the Church out at windows) and that while we are in pursuit after the Popish Plotters, some-body else is following behinde to run us through the Heart. I pray God it be not so; but if it be, assure your selves that the Jesuit is at the bottom of those Designes too: and do not flatter your selves with fond Confidence, that you your selves shall be safe by our Ruine.

Alas, are you so extreamly in love with your own Fancies, that you will not make them a Peace-Offering for the security of this poor tottering Nation? Is the Interest of Religion of so little account, that it is not worth your while to part with a few Whimseys and Humours, for the sake of it? Are you busie at drawing out new Schemes of Religion, when the common Enemy is in our Quarters? Plutarch tells us, that when Syracuse was begirt by the old Romans, both by Sea and Land, Archimedes the Geometrician was so serviceable Plut. in vitâ Marcelli. to his fellow-Citizens by his Machins and Bellick Instruments, that Marcellus and his Forces despaired of sacking the Town as long as that Mathematical Briareus (so they called Archi­medes) was concern'd for its defence: But on a certain day, when that great man was diverting his thoughts in his Study, and was intent upon drawing out his Geometrical Lines and Figures, the City was taken on a sudden, and Archimedes knew it not, till a common Souldier rusht in upon him and gave him his Information, and his Deaths-wound too. Me­thinks [Page 129] I see in this story, as in a Map, a representation of the Follies of some among us, who even now, when the new Ro­mans are at our doors, please themselves with promises of their own safety, and spend their time in drawing out several Mo­dels, Platforms, and Schemes of Religion, not considering that we are all expos'd to the rage of a common Enemy, nor fearing Archimedes's lot and doom. But should our Adver­saries prevail, no Faction must think to fare the better for their pretended Demonstrations, nor must any expect either to triumph, or to finde quarter, unless it be the Atheist; because men who are imperious and bigotted, when once they come to be armed with Power, will more patiently endure to see men to have no Religion at all, than to see them have a different Religion from their own. What then will our peevish Bre­thren get at last, but a certainty of being buried in the com­mon Ruine? And if they are not of Sampsons temper, con­tent to die themselves, rather than the House they heave at should not fall, it highly concerns them to consider, that no­thing but Ʋnity can support our House long; and that which is desired of them, is, that if they will not, or cannot put their own shoulders under to prop the House up, they would at least let the Pillars alone upon which it standeth now.

Fond people! that like him that set fire on Diana's Temple to get himself a Name, rather than venture a little of their Reputation with the Populacy, will venture their own and the publick Safety: For to that it must come in the end, if some stop be not set in time to mens wandring from the Old Paths. Had we all stayed there, neither Destruction nor Dan­ger could have been before us now. And the subtle Jesuit perceiv'd it long ago: and therefore his great Expedient and Designe was to lead men aside out of this way, to lead them by the Nose into some by paths, and withal to lead them like Solomons fools, to the correction of the Stocks. Our Dissenters are now his Instruments, but at last he doth intend to make them his Sacrifices, and to make himself either their Lawgiver or their Priest. The little Jackall that runneth so hotly after the Prey, doth but serve the Lion, that upon the least distaste [Page 130] is ready to devour the Booty and him too. Such is the course of the world, that men fare very ill by serving wicked and outragious Masters; they receive the worst returns for the best services, like the Elm, that is many times killed by the Ivy that twisted it self about its body, and could not have grown without its Support. I shall adde a known story of Annibal, That his Army being environ'd by the Roman Forces, to defeat them of their hopes of victory, he used this Strata­gem: In the night he gathered two thousand Oxen, fastened Plutarch in Fabio. combustible matter about their horns, then set it all on fire, and so forced the Cattle upon the Enemies Camp, to put them into disorder and a fright; and by this wile he drew off his Carthaginians. The poor Beasts went on quietly for a while, but at last the sense of the fire made them mad; and the more they endeavoured to shake the flames off, the more they smarted. An instance which I would recommend to the serious consideration of those silly people who are unawares employ'd by the politick Romanists, to disturb and defeat us, if it be possible. However they may go on, like Annibal's Oxen, securely for a while, with their heads and horns lifted up, and not perceive the mischief that is over their own pates; yet before these Combustions are quite over, they are likely to be rewarded with nothing but pain and torment for their service, and to smart sufficiently by the fire in their heads. They may make way for Annibal, and be burnt themselves, even by the hands that set them on work.

All this may (by Gods Blessing) be prevented, if men would but be wise in time. But whatever Conclusions and Ex­periments some may think to try, no better directions can be given, than to stand and ask for the Old Paths. There we must begin to mend, where the Sin and Danger doth com­mence. All our Divisions, and Disorders, and Dangers, and whatsoever Calamities we have had either Time to feel, or just Reason to fear, all of them take their rise from this ori­ginal Evil, that men have been unreasonable in declining from the Old way. Had our Government its due Reverence and Authority, as in the days of old: Would the Hearts of [Page 131] men not be set against our Prayers, but join servently with Ʋs in them, as in the days of old: Were our Rites esteem'd, though little in their own Nature, yet considerable for their Ʋse, as in the days of Old: Were men humble, peaceable and modest, thinking no better of themselves than they ought to think: In a word; Would not unruly men trample under foot those things, which have been the Hedge and Fence about Religion, but be Orthodox in their Judgments, and especially in their Lives, as our Fathers were in the days of old; then (by Gods good Providence over us) we need not fear, what Enemy could annoy us.

God of his Mercy Grant us Peace in our days; and give us Eyes to see, and Hearts seriously to consider the things which do belong unto our Peace, before they are hid from our Eyes. Amen.

POSTSCRIPT.

I Shall by way of Appendix transcribe a passage out of that very learned and excellent man Dr. San­derson, in his Preface to his Sermons, bearng date July 13, 1657. where, clearing the regular Sons of the Church of England from the unjust Aspersions of being Popishly affected, he saith, 1. That those very persons, who were under God the Instruments of freeing us from the Roman yoke, by casting Popery out of the Church, and sundry of them Martyred in the Cause; those very persons, I say, were great Favourers of these (now accounted, Popish) Ceremonies, and the chief Authors or Procurers of the Constitutions made in that be­half. 2. That in all former Times since the beginning of the Reformation, our Arch-bishops and Bishops, with their Chaplains, and others of the Prelatical Party, were the principal (I had almost said, the only) Champions to maintain the Cause of Religion against the Papists. 3. That even in these times of so great distraction, and consequently thereunto, of so great advantage to the Fa­ctors for Rome, none have stept into the gap more rea­dily, nor appear'd in the face of the Enemy more openly, nor maintain'd the fight with more Stoutness and Gal­lantry, than the Episcopal Divines have done, as their late learned Writings testifie. Yea, and some of them such, as (besides their other Sufferings) have lain as deep under the Suspicion of being Popishly affected, as [Page 133] nay other of their Brethren whosoever. 4. That by the endeavours of these Episcopal Divines, some that were bred Papists have been gained to our Church, others that began to waver confirmed and setled in their old Religion, and some that were fallen from Us recovered and reduced, notwithstanding all the disadvantages of these confused Times; and of each of these I am able to produce some Instance. But I profess sincerely, as in the presence of God, and before the world, that I have not known (at least, I cannot call to remembrance) so much as one single Example of any of this done by any of our Anti-ceremonian Brethren, whether Presbyterian or Independent.

But I have somewhat to return upon these our Bre­thren, who thus causelesly suspect us. Possibly it will not please them [ [...]:] but I must speak it out, both for the Truths sake and theirs: to wit, That themselves are in truth, though not purposely and in­tentionally (whereof in my own thought I freely acquit them) yet really and eventually the great Promoters of the Roman Interest among us, and that more ways than one. First, by putting to their helping hand to the pulling down of Episcopacy. It is very well known to many, what rejoycing that Vote brought to the Ro­mish Party: How even in Rome itself they sang their Io Paeans upon the tidings thereof, and said trium­phantly, Now is the day ours; now is the fatal Blow given to the Protestant Religion in England. They, who by conversing much with that Nation, were well-acquainted with the fiery turbulent spirits of the Scotish [Page 134] Presbyterians, knew as well how to make their advan­tage thereof: and handled the matter with so much cunning, by fomenting their Discontents underhand, till they had framed them, and by their means, some of the same Party here, to become the fittest Instruments for the carrying on of their great Designe: And this, I ve­rily believe, was the very Master-piece of the whole Plot. They could not but foresee (as the Event hath also proved) that if the Old Government, a main Pillar in the Building, were once dissolved, the whole Fabrick would be sore shaken, if not presently shat­tered in pieces and ruin'd: things would presently run into Confusion: Distractions and Divisions would certainly follow; and when the Waters should be suffi­ciently troubled and mudded, then would be their op­portunity to cast in their nets for a draught, &c. Whoso pleaseth, may read on; and indeed the whole Preface is highly worthy to be read, and judiciously considered, especially at this Time.

FINIS.

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

A Sermon preached on the Thirtieth of January, 1678/9. being the Anniversary of the Martyr­dom of King Charles the First, of blessed Memo­ry, and published at the request of some Friends, by Edward Pelling, Rector of St. Martins Ludgate: in quarto.

Ancient and Modern Delusions, discoursed of in three Sermons upon 2 Thes. 2. 11. concerning some Er­rours now prevailing in the Church of Rome, by Edward Pelling, Rector of St. Martins Ludgate: in quarto.

The true Liberty and Dominion of Conscience, vindicated from the Usurpations and Abuses of Opinion and Perswasion: in octavo.

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: in octavo.

The common Interest of King and People, shewing the Original, Antiquity, and Excellency of Monarchy, compared with Aristocracy and Democracy, and [Page] particularly of our English Monarchy; and that ab­solute Papal and Presbyterian popular Supremacy, are utterly inconsistent with Prerogative, Property, and Liberty: in octavo.

The Project of Peace; or Unity of Faith and Govern­ment, the onely Expedient to procure Peace both Forreign and Domestique, and to preserve these Nations from the danger of Popery, and Arbitrary Tyranny: in octavo.

Two Sermons preached 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.

A Sermon preached July 17. 1676. in the Cathedral-Church of St. Peter in York, before the Right Ho­nourable Sir Francis North, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; and the Honourable Vere Bertie Esq one of the Barons of the Exchequer; his Majesties Judges of Assize for the Northern Circuit. By Thomas Cartwright, D. D. and Dean of Rippon, Chaplain in ordinary to his Majesty.

A Sermon preached before the King at Whitehal, January the 9th 1675/6. by Thomas Cartwright, D. D. Chaplain in ordinary to his Majesty.

FINIS.

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