The Eight Moneth Anno 1649

Psal: 84 1.

How amiable are thy Tabernacles O Lord of Hosts?

Psal: 26. 8.

Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house & the place where th [...]ne honour dwelleth.

Psal: 27. 4.

One thing have I desired of the Lord that will I seek after, [...]hat I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the dayes of my life to behold the Beauty of the Lord & to inquire in his Temple.

Printed by S G at Cambridge in New England and are to be sold at Cambridge and Boston Anno Dom: 1649.


THE setting forth of the Publick Conf [...]ssion of the Faith of Church­ [...] at [...] a [...] [...]d, [...] b [...]h ten [...]ing to puplic. [...]. [...] the [...] of the fa [...]h [...] [...] [...] se [...]f: secondly th [...] holding [...] [...] Un [...]ty & Harm [...], both amongst, & with other Churches. Our Chu [...]es h [...]e, as ( [...]y the grace of Chr [...]st) wee beleive & profess the sam [...] [...] [...] [...]e [...] [...]f [...]he Gospell, which generally is received in [...]ll the reformed [...] [...] [...]st in [...]rope: so [...], wee desire not to vary f [...]om the [...]octrine of f [...] [...] [...]eld fo [...] by [...]he churches of our nat [...]ve country. For though it be [...] [...] [...], that can breed vs [...] of [...] min [...]; [...] [...] w [...]e for to hav [...] the glor [...]ous fa [...]h of our Lord Iesus w [...]th respect of persons: yet as P [...]ul who wa [...] [...] [...], [...]rofessed to hold forth the doctrine of just [...]fication by faith, & of th [...] [...] of the de [...], [...] as he know his godly countrymen did, who were [...]wes by nature (Gala [...]. 2. 15. Acts 26. 6, 7.) soe wee, who are by nature; Eng [...]sh m [...]n, d [...] d [...]sire to hold forth the s [...]me [...] of religion (especially [...] [...]) wh [...] wee see & kn [...]w to [...] [...] by th [...] churches of England, ac­cor [...]g to the truth of the Gospell

The more wee [...], (that which wee doe, & have cause to doe with incessant [...] & [...]) he [...], & unbr [...]therly, & unchristian contentions of our godly brethr [...]n, & countrymen, [...]n matters of church-government: he more er­n [...]stly do [...] wee desire to see th [...]m joyned together in one common faith, & our selves w [...] [...]. For th [...]s [...]nd, h [...]ng perused the publ [...]k confession of faith, agreed uponly the Reverend assembly of D [...]ines at [...], & find [...]ng the sum [...] & su [...]stance therof (in matters of doctrine) to express not th [...] own judgements o [...]ly, [...] o [...]rs also: and being likewise called upon by our godly Mag [...]strates, to d [...]w up a publick [...] of that f [...]ith, which is constan [...]ly taught, & genera [...]y [...] amongst us, wee thought good to p [...]esent [...]nto them, & with them to our [...], & w [...]h them to all the church [...]s of Christ abroad, our prof [...]ssed & hearty [...] & [...] to th [...] whole [...] [...] faith (f [...]r [...] of d [...]ctrine) wh [...]h [...] Reverend [...] [...] [...] [...] H [...]nourable [...] of Engl [...]: Excep [...]ing only some [...] in the 25 30 & 31. C [...]apters of their conf [...]ssion, whic [...] [...] [...] of con [...]roversie in [...] [...]; [...] whi [...] wee ref [...]re our [Page 2] selves to the draught of church-discpline in the ensueing treatise.

The truth of what we here declare, may appear by the unanimous vo [...]e of the Synod of the Elders & messengers of our churches assembled at Cambridg, the last of the sixth month, 1648: wo [...]ch ioyntly passed in these words; This Synod having per­used, & considered (with much gladness of heart, & thankfullness to God) the cōfession of faith published [...]f late by the Reverend Assembly in England, doe judge it to be very holy, orthodox, & judicious in all matters of faith: & doe therfore freely & fully consent therunto, for the substance therof. Only in those things which have respect to church government & discipline, wee refer our selves to the platform of church-discipline, agreed upon by this present assē [...]ly: & doe therfore think it meet, that this confession of faith, should be cōmend­ed to the churces of Christ amongst us, & to the Honoured Court, as worthy of their due consideration & acceptance. Howbe [...], wee may not conceal, that the doctrine of vocation expressed in Chap 10. S 1. & summarily repeated, Chap 13. & 1. passed not without some debate. Yet considering, that the term of vocation, & others by which it is described, are capable of a larg, or more strict sense, & use, and that it is not intended to bind apprehensions precisely in po [...]t of order or method, there hath been a generall condescendency therunto.

Now by this our professed consent & free concurrence with them in all the doctri­nalls of religion, wee hope, it may appear to the world, that as wee are a remnant of the people of the same nation with them: so wee are professors of the same common faith, & fellow heyres of the same common salvation. Yea moreover, as this our pro­fession of the same faith with them, will exempt us (even in their judgmēts) from sus­picion of heresy: so (wee trust) it may exempt us in the like sort from suspicion of schism: that though wee are forced to dissent from them in matters of church-disci­pline: Yet our dissent is not taken up out of arrogancy of spirit in our selves (whom they see willingly condescend to learn of them:) neither is it carryed with uncharitable censoriousness towards them (both which are the proper, & essentiall charracters of schism) but in meekness of w [...]sdom, as wee walk along w [...]th them, & follow them, as they follow Christ: so where wee [...] a [...]fferent apprehention of the mind of Christ (as it faileth out in some few points [...] church-order) wee still reserve due reverence to them (whom wee judge to be, th [...]ough Chr [...]st, the glorious l [...]ghts of both nations:) & only crave leave (as in spirit wee are bound) to follow the Lamb w [...]thersoever he goeth, & (after the Apostles example) as wee bele [...]ve, so wee speak.

And if the example of such poor outcasts as our selves, might prevaile if not with all (for that were too great a blessing to hope fo [...]) yet with some or other of our brethren in England, so farr as they are come to [...]ind & speake the same thing with such as dissent from them, wee hope in Christ, it would not onely moderate the harsh judging [Page 3] and condemning of one another in such differences of judgment, as may be found in [...] ch [...]ysest sa [...]nts: but also preven ( [...]y the mercy of [...]) the perill of the distraction & [...] of all the churches [...] both k [...]ngdoms. Otherwise, if brethren shall goe on to bite & devoure one another, the Apo [...] feare [...] (as wee als [...], [...]th s [...]dness of [...] a [...]) [...] will tend to the [...] of them, & [...] wh [...]ch t [...]e Lo [...]d prevent.

Wee are not ignorant, that (besides these [...] of Heresy & Schis [...]) other exceptions also are tak [...]n at our w [...]y of church govern [...]: [...] (as wee conce [...]) u [...] as li [...]le [...].

As 1 That by admitting none into the fellowship of our Church, but saints by c [...]lling, wee [...] p [...]sh-churches of th [...] b [...]st [...], to make up one of o [...]r cong [...]gations: which is not o [...]ly, to gather churches o [...]t of churches (a th [...]ng [...] [...]f [...]n Sc [...]pture:) but also to weaken the hearts & hands of the best Minist [...]rs [...]n th [...] par [...]shes, by d [...]spoyling them of th [...] [...]st [...]earers.

2 That wee provide no course for the gayning, & [...] in, of ignorant, & erronious, & [...] [...], whom wee [...] to receive into our church­es, & so exclude from the [...] [...] of [...].

3 That in our way, wee sow seed [...] of division & h [...]ndrance of edificat [...]ō in every f [...]ly: whilst admitting into our churches only voluntar [...]es, the husbād w [...]ll be [...]f on [...] church, the wife of another: the parent, of one church, the chil­dren of [...] the ma [...]ster of one ch [...]rch, the servant, of another. And so the parent & ma [...]sters being of d [...]fferent churches from their child [...]n & servants, t [...]ey cannot take a j [...]st [...]ccount of their profiting by what they heare, yea by this [...] the [...], parents, & ma [...]sters, shall be chargable to t [...]e [...] of [...] other churc [...]es & church-officer [...], besides their own: which will prove a charge & b [...]rden unsuppo [...]ble.

[...] [...] [...], as to [...]. Fo [...] [...] churches out of churches, wee can­not s [...]y t [...] it is a [...] [...] [...] [...]. The [...]st [...] church was [...] out [...]f the Iew [...]sh [...], [...] of [...] [...] [...] that church, & [...] [...] of [...] [...] [...]f [...], part [...]y of [...] Ga [...]leans: who though t [...]y k [...]pt some [...] [...] parts of pu [...]k [...] wi [...]h the T [...]ple: yet [...] th [...] [...] th [...]y frequen [...] th [...] [...], no [...] [...] [...] [...] for the [...] of their [...] causes, b [...]t [...] [...] [...] [...] with the Apostles c [...]ch [...]ll [...]he ord [...]nances of the gos [...]. And for the [...] [...] church of the [...] at Antoch, it appe [...]reth [...] [...]ve [...]een g [...]hered & [...] partly of the [...]sed b [...]hren of the [...] at Ierus [...]lem (whe [...]of so [...] were men of Cyprus, and [...]) [...] [...] of the [...] [...]. Acts. [...]1. 20, 21.

If it be sa [...]d the fi [...]st christ [...]an church at Ierus [...]lem, & that at Antioch were gathered not out of any ch [...]stian church, but out of the Jewish [...] and [Page 4] Synagogues, which were shortly aft [...]r to be abolished: & their gathering to Ant [...]och, was upon occasion of dispersion in time of persecution.

Wee d [...]sire, it may be considered, I That the members of the Iewish Church were more strongly and st [...]tly tyed by express holy covenant, to keep fellowsh [...]p with the Iewish church, t [...]ll it was abol shed, then any members of christian parish-churches are wont to be tyed to keep fellowsh [...]p with their par [...]sh-churches. The Episcopall Canon [...], which bind them to attend on th [...]er parish church, it is likely they a [...]e now abolished with the Episcopa [...]y. The common Law [...]f the Land is satisfy a (as wee concive) if they attend upon the worship of God in any other church though not [...] their own parish. But no such like covenant of God, nor any other religious [...] upon them to attend the worship of God in their own par [...]sh church, as did lye up [...]n the Iewes to attend upon the wo [...]ship of God in their Temple and Synagogue.

2 T [...]ugh the Iew [...]sh Temple Church at Ierus [...]em was to be abolis [...], vet that doeth not make the desertion of it by the members, to be lawfull, [...]ll [...] was al [...]o sh­e [...]. Future abolition is now errant for present dese [...]o: unless it be lawfull [...]n some case [...] the chu [...]chis yet in present sta [...]ding to [...]; to witt, either for avoyding of present polutions, or for hope of greater [...], and so f [...]r better [...] to conscience in either future events ( [...] for [...] of [...]) to not [...]olve present relat [...]on. Else wives, children, servants, might desert [...] [...], pa [...]ents, [...]asters, when they be mortally sick.

3 What the members of the Iewish ch [...]ch did, [...] to the church a [...] Antioch, in time of persecution, it may w [...]ll be con [...]ved, [...]e [...] of any christ an church may d [...] the lik, for satisfaction of con [...]. Pe [...]ce of [...] is m [...]re [...] then the pe [...]ce of the outwa [...]d [...] [...]nd [...], [...] [...] of cons [...]ēce is m [...]re [...] [...] to a sincere hea [...], [...] [...] from [...].

If it be s [...]d, these members of the Christ an Ch [...]ch at [...] [...], that joyn­ed to the church at Antioch, removed their [...] together with th [...]r re­lations: which [...]f the brethren of the [...] way [...] [...], it w [...]ll much abate the grievance of their depart [...] from their presbyter all churche [...].

Wee verily could w [...]sh them [...]o to a [...], as [...]ll approv [...]ng the [...] [...] [...] [...] ­bitation, [...]n case of ch [...]ging church-relation [...] ( [...], that it may be done wi [...]hout too much [...]riment to their outward estate) [...]nd w [...] for our pa [...]tes, have done t [...]e same. But to put a necessi [...]y of removall of habi [...] [...]n in such [...], [...] is to fo [...]nt and cherish a corrupt principle of making civ [...]l [...]ation, if [...]ot a [...] cause, yet at least a proper adiunct of church-relation; which the truth of the Gospel do [...]h no [...] ackno [...]ledg. Now to [...] an errour to the prejudice of the tr [...]th of the Gos­pell, is no [...] to [...] [...] [...] according to the truth of the G [...]pel, as Paul [...], Galat. 2. 14.

[Page 5] 4 Wee do not think it meet, or safe, for a me [...]ber of a presbyteriall Church, fo [...] with to desert his relation to his Church, betake himself to the fellowship of a [...] Church, though he may d [...]scern some def [...]ct in the estate, or govern­ment of his owne.

For 1 Faithfullness of brotherly love in Church-relation, requireth, that the members of the Church sh [...]ld first convince their brethren of their sinfull defects, & duely wait for their reformation, bef [...]re they depart from them. For if wee must take such a course for the healing of a private brother, in a way of brotherly love, with much [...]eekness, & patience: how more more ought wee so to walk with like tendrness, towards a whole church.

Again 2 By the hasty departure of [...]ound members from a defective church, refo [...]mation is not promoted, but many times retarded, & corruption increased. Wheras [...]n the contrary, while sincere members breathing after purity of refor­mation abide together, they may (by the blessing of God upon their faithfull endeavours) preva [...]le much with their Elders, & neighbours towards a reforma­tion; [...]t may be, so [...], as that their Elders in their own church shall receive none to the Lord▪ table, [...]ut visible saints: & in the Classis shall put forth no authoritive [...]ct but c [...]tive only) touching the members of other churches: nor touching their own but [...] the consent (silēt consent at least) of their own church: which two things, [...] t [...]ey can [...]bteyn with any humble, meek, holy, faithfull endeavours, wee [...], they might (by the grace of Christ find liber­ty [...]f consc [...]ce to [...] [...] relation with their own pre [...]byteriall church, w [...]hout scru [...]le

5 [...]t to add a word farthe [...], [...] the gathering of C [...]urches out of Ch [...]rches, what [...]f the [...]e we [...]e [...]o express examp [...] [...]f such a [...] extant in the Scrip­t [...]? [...] wh [...] w [...] [...] w [...] to [...] the [...] [...], may suffice hear: it is [...], [...] [...] th [...] of may be gathered from just [...] of Scripture [...]. [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...]ase, [...] ▪for ought wee know) w [...]thout ex [...], w [...]ch he g [...]e [...] 4 [...] of [...] [...] Ans to 2 Qu: C 14. Nu [...] 16.

If any (faith he) wronged with unj [...]st vexation, or providing for his own [...] or in test [...]ony against sin̄ depart from a church where some evills are tollerated, & joyn himself to another more p [...]re, yet without cōdemning of the chu [...]ch he l [...]veth, he is not therfore to be h [...]ld as a schismatick, or as guilty of any other sinn. Whe [...]e the [...] [...], which the [...] Docter putteth, declareth the lawf [...]llness of the dep [...]ture of a Church-me [...]er from his church, when e [...]ther through w [...] [...] of unjust vexation, or [...] way of pr [...]sion for h [...]s own edification, or in test [...]ny [...] sinn, [...] [...] [...] to [...] co [...]g­tion mo [...]e reformed. Any one [...]f [...], [...] [...] [...] & [...] c [...]use of de [...]re, [Page 6] Though all of them do not concurr together. Neither will such a practise dispoyle the best M [...]nisters of the p [...] shes of the [...] best he [...]ers.

For 1 Somtimes the M [...]sters themselves are willing to joyn with their better sort of hearers, in this way of reformation: & then they & their h [...]rers cont [...]nue stil their Ch [...]ch relati [...] together, ye [...] & confirm [...]t mo [...] & strongly, by an express re [...]ewed covenant, th [...]h the Ministers may still conti­nue their w [...]ted pre [...]ching to the w [...]le p [...]sh.

2 If the M [...]ster, d [...] [...] the way of those, w [...]om they otherwise [...] their best me [...]bers, & so refuse to joyn with them therin; yet [...]f those members can procu [...]e s [...]e other Mi [...]ster, to joyn with them in their ow [...] way, & st [...]ll [...] their [...] [...] in the same town, they may easily or­der the times of the [...] assembly, as to attend constantly upon the [...] of their former Church: & either after or before the publick assembly of the par­ish take an opportunity to gather together for t [...]e [...] of Sacramēts, & Censure [...], & other church ordinances amongst themselves. The fi [...]st Aposto­lick [...] assembled to hear the word with the Jewish church in the open courts of the Temple: but [...] gathered together for [...] of [...], & other acts of church-order, from house to house

3 Suppose, Pre [...]byteriall churches should cōmunicate so [...]e of their best gifted members toward the erecting & gathering of another [...]: [...]t would not forthwith be their detriment, but may be their [...]. It is the most noble & perfect work of a [...] [...] (bot [...] [...] & [...]) [...] [...] ­gate, & multiply his kind [...] & t [...] t [...]e honour of the [...] [...] [...]t, to set forward the wor [...] of Ch [...]st [...] well [...] as at home. The [...] [...]. the 8 [...] 8. to help forw [...]rd he [...] little [...]-church▪ w [...] [...] t [...] [...] [...]th he [...] ch [...]yse-materiall, even be [...]es of Ced [...]r, & such pretio [...] living [...], [...]s wee [...] fit to build a Silver pall [...]ce In the same book, the [...] [...] comp [...]ed some­ [...]e to a [...], [...] to an orchard, Cant 4. 1 [...] 13. No [...] plant to a garden, or orchard, but seeketh to get the [...] [...], & plant, of his neighbours, & they freely imp [...]rt them: nor doe they accoūt [...]t [...] [...] to their garden, & orchards, but rat [...] [...]. Nevertheless wee go not so farr: we ne [...]ther seek, nor [...]alk the choyse-members of the parishes but accept them being offered.

If it be sa [...], [...]hey are not offered by the M [...]nisters, nor by the par [...]sh churc [...]s (who have most right in them) but only by themselves.

It may j [...]stly be dema [...]nded what right, or what powr have either the mini­sters, or parish church over them. Not by solemn church coven [...]nt: for that, though it be the fi [...]est engagement, is not owned, but rejected. If it be, by [Page 7] Their joyning with the parish, in the calling & election of a minister to such a congregation at his first comming, there is indeed just weight in such an ingage­ment: nor doe wee judge it safe for such to remove from such a minister, unless it be upon such grounds, as may justly give him due satisfactiō. But if the uniō of such members to a parish Church, & to the ministery therof, be only by co­habitation within the precincts of the parish, that union, as it was founded upō humane law: so by humane law it may easily be released. Or otherwise, if a man remove his habitation, he removeth also the bond of his relation, & the ground of offence.

4 It need not to be feared, that all best hearers of the best ministers, no nor the most of them, will depart from them upon point of church-governmēt. Those who have found the presence & powr of the spirit of Christ breathing in their ministers, either to their conversion, or edification, will be slow to change such a ministery of faith, & holyness, for the liberty of church-order. Upon which ground, & sundry other such like, their be doubtless sundry godly & judicious hearers in many parishes in England that doe & will prefer their relation to their ministers (though in a presbyteriall way) above the Congre­g [...]tionall confoederation.

5 But if all, or the most part of the best hearers of the best ministers of parishes, should depart from them, as preferring in their judgments, the con­gregationall way: yet, in case the congregationall way should prove to be of Christ, it will never greiv the holy hearts of godly ministers, that their hearers should follow after Christ: yea many of themselves (upon due deliberation) will be reaedy to go along with them. It never greived, nor troubled John Baptist that his best disciples, departed from him to follow after Christ. Joh. 3. But in case the congregationall way should prove to be, not the institution of Christ (as wee take it) but the invētion of men: then doubtless, the presbyteriall form (if it be of God) will swallow up the other [...] as Moses rod devoured the rods of the Aegyptians. Nor will this put a necessity upon both the opposite partyes, to sh [...]ft for themselves, & to seek to supplant one another: but only, it will call upon them [...] to seek & to follow the trueth in love, to attend in faithfullness each ūto his own flock, & to administer to the [...] all the holy things of God, & their port ō of food in due season: & as for others, quietly to forbear them, & yet to instruct them with meekness that are contrary minded: leaving it to Christ (in the use of all good meanes) to reveal his own trueth in his own time: & mean while endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [...] p. 3. 15, 16. Ephesians. 4. 3.

[Page 8] To the 2 Exception, That wee take no co [...]rse for the gayning & healing & [...] in of ignorant & erronious, & scandal [...]s persōs, whom wee refuse to receive into our churches & so exclude them from the rēmidy of church [...]

Wee conceive the receiving of them into o [...]r [...] w [...]d [...]ather loose [...] cor [...]pt our Churches, [...]hen gain & heale the [...]. A little [...] layed in a lump of dough, will sooner le [...]n the whole lump, then the whole l [...]mp w [...]ll sw [...]eten i [...]. Wee there­fore find it safer, to squ [...]re rough & unhew [...], bef [...]e he [...]e layed n o the buil [...] ­ing; rath [...]r then [...]o h [...]nimer & hew the [...], [...]hen [...]hey lye [...]renly [...]n the build [...]ng.

And accordingly, w [...] meanes (w [...]e u [...]e y [...] & [...] such [...]s are ignorāt or scan­dalous. 1 The publick min [...]stery of the w [...], [...]pon w [...]ch they are invitedly counsel, & required by wholsome l [...]wes [...]. A [...] the word it is, wh [...]ch is the powr of God to salvation, to the calling & [...] [...]f sou [...]. 2 P [...]ivate conferr [...]nce, & conviction by the Elders, & [...] [...] [...]f [...] church: whom they doe the [...]ore respectively heark [...]n unto, wh [...]n they see no [...] [...]f enjoying church-fellowship, or par­ticipation in the Sacraments for [...], or their [...], till they approve their judgments to be sound & or [...]hodox, & th [...] lives [...]ubdued to some hope of a godly [...]. Wh [...]t can Classical [...] [...] [...] [...] selfe do more [...] [...] case.

The 3 Exception wrapp [...]th up in [...]t a three fold domestical inconvenience: & each o [...] them meet to be eschewed. 1 Disunion in families between each rel [...]tion: 2 D [...]sappointmēt of [...], for want of opportunity in the gover­nours of familyes to take accoūt of th [...] heard by the [...]r children & servants. 3 Disoursments of chargeable maintenance to the several churches, wherto the [...] persons of their familyes are joyned.

All which inconveniences either do no [...] fall out in congregationall-church [...]; or are easily redressed. For none are o [...]derly admitted into congregational-church­es bu [...] such as are well approved by good testimony, to be duly observant of family­relations. Or if any otherwise disposed should creep in they are either orde [...]ly heal [...], or d [...]ly removed in a way of [...]. Nor are they admitted, unl [...]ss they can g [...]e some good account of their pr [...]iting by [...], [...]fore the Elders & brethren of the church: & much more to their [...], & masters. Godly Tutors in the university can t [...]ke an account of their pup lis: & godly [...] in the C [...]ty can take account [...]f their children & servants, how they profit by the wo [...]d they have heard in several churches: & that to the greater ed [...]fication of the whole f [...]mily, [...]y the variety of such administrations. Bees may bring the more hony, & wax into the hive, when they are not l [...]mited to one garden of flowers, but may fly abroad to man [...].

No [...] [...]s any ch [...]rge expected from [...], children, or servants to the [...] of congregationall churches, [...] her th [...]n they [...]e [...] w [...]h personall [...], [...] [...], wh [...]h may enable th [...] to [...] of su [...]h [...] as they ha [...]e, & [...] [Page 9] Such as they have not. God accepteth not Robbery for a sacrific [...]. And though a godly housholder may j [...]stly take himselfe bound in conscience, to cr [...]tybute to any such Church, wherto [...] wife, or children, or servants doe stand in relation: yet that will not aggr [...]ate the burden of his charge, no more then if they were received mem­bers of the same Church wherto himself is related.

But why doe wee stand thus long to plead exemptions from exceptions? the Lord help all his faithfull servants (whe [...]her presbyteriall, or congregational.) to judg & shame our selves before the Lord for all our former complyances to greater enormity [...] in Church-government, then are to be found either in the congregationall, or pres­byteriall way. And then surely, either the Lord will cleare up his own will to us, & so frame, & subdue us all to one mind, & one way, (Ezck. 43. 10, 11.) or else wee shall learn to beare one anothers burdens in a spirit of meekness. It will then doubtless be farr from us, so to attest the discipline of Christ, as to detest the disciples of Christ: so to contend for the seameless coat of Christ, as to crucifi [...] the living members of Christ soe to divide our selves about Church communion, as through breaches to open a wide gap for a deluge of Antichristian & prophane malignity to swallow up both Church & civil stat [...].

What shall wee say more? is difference about Church-order beco [...] the inlett of all the disorders in the kingdom? hath the Lord indeed left us to such hardness of heart, that Church-government shall becom a snare to Z [...]on, (as somtimes Moses was t [...] Aegypt, Exod. 10. 7.) that wee cannot leave [...] & contending about it, till the kingdom be destroyed? did not the Lord Iesus, when he dedicated his suf­ferings for his church, [...] his also unto his Father, make it his earnest & only p [...]ayer for us in this world, that wee all might be one in him? Iohn. 17. 20, 21, 22, 23. And is it possible, that he (whom the Father [...]eard alway [...], Iohn. 11. 42.) should not have this last most solemn prayer heard, & graunted? or, shall it be graunted for all the saints elsewhere, & not for the saints in England; so that amongst them disunion sh [...]ll grow even about Church-union, & communion? If it be possible, for a little faith (so much as a grain of mustardse [...]d) to remove a mountaine: is it not possible, for so much strength of faith, as is to be found in all the godly in the kingdom, [...] re­move those Images of jealousie, & to cast those stumbling-blockes out of the way, which may hinder the free passage of brotherly love amongst brethren? It is true in­deed, the National covenant doth justly engage both partyes, faithfully to endeavour the utter extirpation of the Antichristin Hierarchy, & much more of all Blasphe­myes, Heresies, & damnable errours. Certainly, if congregational discipline be Independent from the inventions of men, is it not much more Independent from the delusions of Satan? what fellowship hath Christ with Belial? light with darkness? trueth with errour? the faithfull Iewes needed not the help of the [...], [...] [Page 10] [...] [...]y the Temple of God: yea they rejected their help when it w [...] offered, [...] 4. the 1, 2, 3. A [...]d if the congregationall w [...]y be a way of trueth (as wee believe) & if the brethren that walk in it be zealous of the trueth, & hate every false way (as by the rule of their ho [...]y discipline they are instructed, 2 Iohn. 10, 11.) then verily, there is no branch in the Nationall coven [...], that engageth the covenanters to abh [...]re either Congregationall Churches, or their way: which being duely admin­stred, doe no less effectually extirpate the A [...]christian Hierarchy, & all Blasphe­mies, Heresyes, & perni [...]ous errours, then the other way of discipline doeth, which is more generally & publickly received & ratifyed.

But the Lord Iesus [...] with [...]ll ou [...] h [...]ts in [...]ret: & [...]e [...] is the King of his Ch [...]ch, let him [...]e ple [...] to excer [...]ise his Kingly powr in our spirites, th [...]t so his k [...]ngdome may come into our Churches in P [...]rity & Peace.

Amen Amen

CHAPTER I. Of the form of Church-Government; and that it is one, immutable, and prescribed in the Word of God.

1 Ecclesiasticall Polity or Church Government, or disci­pline is nothing els, but that Forme & order that is Ezek 43. 1 [...] Col. 2. 5 1 Tim 3 15 to be observed in the Church of Christ vpon earth, both for the Constitution of it, & all the Admini­strations that therein are to bee performed.

2 Church-Government is Considered in a double respect either in regard of the parts of Government themselves, or necessary Circumstances thereof. The parts of Government are prescribed in the word, because the Lord Iesus Christ the King and Law-giver of his Heb [...] 3. 5. [...] Church, is no less faithfull in the house of God then was Moses, who Exod 25 40 from the Lord delivered a form & pattern of Government to the Chil­dren of Israel in the old Testament: And the holy Scriptures are now 2 Tim 3 16 also soe perfect, as they are able to make the man of God perfect & throughly furnished vnto euery good work; & therefore doubtless [...]o the well ordering of the house of God

3 The partes of Church-Government are all of them exactly des­cribed [...] Tim 3 1 [...] 1 Chron [...]5 13. Ex 20 4 1 Tim 6 13 v 16. Heb 1 [...] 27 28. 1 Cor 15 24. in the word of God being parts or means of Instituted worship according to the second Commandement: & therefore to continue one & the same, vnto the apearing of our Lord Iesus Christ as a king­dom that cannot be shaken, untill hee shall deliver it up unto God, euen the Father. Soe that it is not left in the power of men, officers, Deut 12 32. Ezek 43 8. 1 Kings 12, 31 32 33 Churches, or any state in the world to add, or diminish, or alter any thing in the least measure ther [...]in.

4 The necessary circumstances, as time & place &c belonging un to order and decency, are not soe left unto men as that under pretence 1 King [...]2 v [...]. [...]. [Page 2] of them, they may thrust their own Inventions upon the Churches Is [...]i. 2 [...] 13. C [...]l 2 [...]2 [...] Act [...] 15 2 [...] Being Circumscribed in the word with many Generall [...]imitations, where they are determined in respect of the matter to be neither wor­ship it self, nor Circumstances seperable from worship in respect of M [...]tt 15 9 [...] Cor 1 [...] 23 [...] 8 34. their end, they must be done vnto edification: in respect of the man­ner, decently, and in order, according to the nature of the things them selves, 1 Cor 14 26 1 Cor 14 40 1 Cor 11 14 [...] Cor 11 16 1 Cor 14 12 19. Acts [...]5 28. & Civill, & Church Custom. doth not euen nature it selfe teach you? ye [...] they, are in some sort determined particularly, namely that they be done in such a manner, as all Circumstances considered, is most expedient for edification: so, as if there bee no errour of man concerning their determination, the determining of them is to be ac­counted as if it were divine.

CHAP: II. Of the nature of the Catholick Church in Generall, & in speciall, of a par­ticular visible Church.

THe Catholick Church, is the whole company of those that [...]ph 1 22 23 & 5 25 26 30. Heb [...]2 23. are elected, redeemed, & in time effectually called from the state of sin & death vnto a state of Grace, & salvation in Iesus Christ. [...] v. [...]

2 This church is either Triumphant, or Militant. Triumph­ant, the number of them who are Gloryfied in heaven: Militant, the [...] [...]7: 2 Tim 2 12 C [...] 8. Eph 6 [...] [...]3. number of them who are conflicting with their enemies vpon earth.

3. This Militant Church is to bee considered as Invisible, & Visible. Invisible, in respect of their relation wherin they stand to Christ, as a body unto the head, being united unto him, by the spirit 2 Tim 2 19. Rev 217. 1 Cor 6 17. Eph [...] [...]. Rom [...]. [...]. 1 [...]hes [...] [...]. Is [...] 2. 2 [...] Tim 6 [...]2. of God, & faith in their hearts: Visible, in respect of the profession of their faith, in their persons, & in particuler Churches: & so there may be acknowledged an universall visible Church.

4 The members of the Militant visible Church, considered either as not yet in church-order, or as walking according to the Acts 19. [...]. Colos 2. 5. Matt 1 [...] 17. [...] Co [...] [...] 12. church-order of the Gospel. In order, & so besides the spiritual union, & communion, common to all belivers, they injoy more over an union & communion ecclesiasticall-Politicall: so wee deny an universall visible church.

5 The state of the members of the Militant visible church [Page 3] walking in order▪ was either before the law, Oeconomical, that is Gen. 18. 19 in families; or under the law, National: or, since the comming of Christ, only congregational. (The term Independent, wee ap­prove Exod: [...] 6. not:) Therfore neither national, provincial, not classical. 1 Cor. [...]4. 23 1 Cor. 14. 36 1 Cor. [...] 2. 1 Cor: [...]2 27. Exo [...] 19: [...] 6 [...] [...]: 1. & 9 to [...]. Acts. 2. 42. 1 Cor 14 26.

6 A Congregational-church, is by the inst [...]titution of Christ a part of the Militant-visible-church, consistin [...] of a company o [...] Saints by calling, un [...]ed into one body by [...] holy covenant, for the publick worship of God, & th [...] mutuall edification one of ano­ther, in the Fellowship o [...] the Lord Iesus.

CHAP: III. Of the matter of the visible Church Both inr [...]spect of Quality and Quantity.

THe matter of a visible church are Saints by calling. [...] Cor: 1 2 I [...]phe [...] [...].

2 By Saints, wee understand,

1 Such, as haue not only attained the knowledge of the prin­ciples Hebr: 6. [...]. [...] Cor. 1 [...]. Rom. [...]5 [...]4. Is [...] 1 [...] 16 - 17. Ac [...] [...]. M [...] [...] [...]. Rom. 6 17. 1 Cor. [...] 2. Phi [...]lip. 1 [...]. Collo [...] [...] 2. of Religion, & are free from gr [...]s & open scand [...]ls, but also do together with the profession of their faith & Repentance, walk i [...] blameles obedience to the word, so as that in charitable discretion they may be accounted Saints by calling, (though perhaps some or more of them be unsound, & hypocrites inwardly [...]) bec [...]se the members of such particular churches are commonly by the holy ghost called Saints & faithfull brethren in Christ, and sundry c [...]ch [...]phes. [...] 1. [...] Co: 5▪ 2 [...] [...]. [...] 14 15 & 20. Ezek. 4 [...]. 7 & 9. [...] ch [...]p. 2 [...] 3 [...] [...]. Num [...] & 20. [...]gg. 2 13 14. 1 Cor. 1 [...] 27 29 Ps [...]l. 37 21: 1 Cor. 5 [...] 1 Cor. 7: & 14. Ier. 2 21. 1 Cor. [...] 1: Ier. 14. G [...] 5 4. 2 Co [...]. 12 [...]. [...]. [...] 1 [...] 1 [...]. [...]: 2 [...] 21 [...] es haue been reproued for receiving, & suffering such persons to c [...]ntinu in fellowship amongst them, as have been offensive & scan­dalous: the name of God also by this means is Blasphemed: & the holy things of God defiled & Prophaned, the hearts of godly gri [...] ­ved: & the wicked themselves hardned: & holpen forward to [...] ­nation. the example of such doeth endanger the sanctity of others. A litle Leaven Leaveneth the whole lump.

2 The children of such, who are also holy.

3 The members of churches though orderly constituted, may in time degenerate, & grow corrupt & scandalous, which though they ought not to be [...]olerated in the church, yet their continu [...]ce [...]erein, through the defect of the execution of discipline & Ju [...] [...], doth not immediately d [...]ssolv the being of the church, as appeares in the church of Israell, & the churches of G [...]latia, [...] [...], [...], & [...].


[Page] [...] yet wee conceive, the substance of it is kept, where there is [...] real Agreement & consent, of a company of faithful persons to meet con­stantly together in one Congregation, for the publick worship of God, & their mutuall edification: which real agreement & consent they doe express by their constant practise in comming together for the publick worship of God, & by their religious subjection unto the ordinances of God the [...]e: the rather, if wee doe consider how [...] 19 5 [...] 8 [...] & 24 3 1 [...]. [...] 24 [...]8 to 24 Ps [...]l 50 5. [...] 38 [...] 10 [...]. Gen 17. Deu 29. Scripture covenants have been entred into, not only expressly by word of mouth, but by s [...]crifice; by hand writing, & seal; & also somtimes by silent co [...]sent, without any writing, or expres­sion of words at all.

5 This forme then being by mutuall covenant, it followeth, it is not faith in the heart, nor the profession of that faith, nor cohabi­tation, nor Baptisme; 1 Not faith in the heart? becaus that is invisible: 2 not a bare profession; because that declareth them no more to be members of one church then of another: 3 not Cohabitation; Athiests or Infidels may dwell together with beleivers: 4 not Baptism; because it presupposseth a church estate, as circumcision in the old Testament, which gave no being unto the church, the church being before it, & in the wilderne, without it seals presuppose a covenant already in being, one person is a compleat subiect of Baptism: but one person is uncapable of being a church.

6 All believers ought, as God giveth them opportunity there Act 2 47. & [...] 26. Matt 3 13 14 15. & 28 1 [...] 20. Psal [...] 2 3 & 87 [...] Matt 182 [...]. 1 Iohn 1 3. unto, to endeavour to joyn themselves unto a particular church & that in respect of the honour of Jesus Christ, in his example, & Insti­tution, by the professed acknowledgment of, & subiection unto the order & ordinances of the Gospel: as also in respect of their good of communion founded upon their visible union, & containd in the promises of Christs special presence in the thurch: whence they have fellowship with him, & in him one with another: also for the keeping of them in the way of Gods commandm [...]nts, & reco­vering [...] 119 [...] [...] Pet 2. 25▪ Eph 4 16 [...]oh 22 24 25 [...] 25 16 1 [...]. of them in case of wandring, (which all Christs sheep are sub­iect to in this life), being unable to returne of themselves; together with the benefit of their mutual edification, and of their posterity, th [...]t they may not be [...]ut of from t [...]e priviledges of the covenan [...], otherwis, if a believer offends, he remaines destitute of the remedy provi [...]ed in that behalf, & should all believers neglect this duty of [...]yning to all particular congregations: it might follow therupon, that [...] should h [...]ve no visible political c [...]rches upon earth,

CHAP V. Of the first subject of church powr or, to whom church powr doth first [...]. M [...]tt 28 [...] Rev 3 [...]. Is [...] 9 [...]. John 2 [...] [...] [...]3. 1 Cor 14 32. [...]tus. 1 5. [...] Cor. [...] 12.

THe first subject of church powr, is eyther Supream, or Subordinat, & Ministerial. the Supream (by way of gift from the father) is the Lord Iesus Christ, the Ministerial, is either extraordinary; as the Apostles, Prophets, & Evangilists: or Ordinary; as every particular Congregational church.

2 Ordinary church powr, is either the power of office, that is such as is proper to the eldership: or, power of priviledge, such as be longs unto the brotherhood▪ the latter, is in the brethren formally, & immediately from Christ, that is, so as it may according to order Ro [...] [...]4 [...]. Acts 1 23 [...] 6 3 4 [...] 14 23▪ 1 Co [...] 29 3 [...]. be acted or excercised immediately by themselves: the former, is not in them form [...]lly or immediately, & therfore cannot be acted or ex­cercised immediately by them, but is said to be in them, in that they design the persons unto office, who only are to act, or to excercise this power.

CHAP VI. Of the Officers of the Church, & especially of Pastors & Teachers.

A Church being a company of people combined together by cove­nant for the worship of God, it appeareth therby, that there [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] may be the [...] & being of a church without any officers, seeing there is bot [...] [...] and matter of a church, which is implyed, [...] [...] when it i [...] [...] [...] ordained elders in [...] [...]urch,

2 [...], though [...] be not [...] necess [...]ry, to [...] [...] [...] [...] 3 15 [...] Cor [...] 28, [...]phe 4 [...] Psal 68 18 [...]. Eph 4. 8 11 the simple being of churches, when th [...]y be [...]: yet ordinarily to their calling they are; and to their well being: and therfore the Lord Iesus out of his tender compassion hath appointed, and ordained officers which he would not have done, if they had not been usefull & need full for the church; yea, being Ascended into heaven, he received gifts [...]ph 4 12 [...]3 for men, and gave gifts to men, whereof officers for the church are Justly accounted no small parts; they being to continue to the end 1 C [...] 12 [...] Eph 4 [...] [...] 1 Act 8 6 [...] 19. [...] 11 28 Rom [...] [...] of the world, and for the perfecting of all the Saints.

3 These officers were either extraordinary, or ordinary, ex­traordinary as Apostles, Prphets, Evangilists, ordinary as Elders & [...].

[Page] The Apostles, Prophets, & Evangelists, as they were called ex­traordinarily by Christ, so their office ended with themselves whence it is, that Paul directing Timothy how to carry along Church-Administrations, 1 Co [...] 4 9. Giveth no direction about the choice or course of Apostles, Prophe [...], or Evange [...]sts, but only of Elders, & Deacons. 1 Tim [...] 1, 2 [...], 8 to 13 Tit 1. 5. [...]ct 20 17 28 1 pet [...] 1 2 3. & when Paul was to take his last leave of the church of Ephe [...]s, he commited the care of feeding the church to [...]o ther, but unto the Elders of that church. The like c [...]rge doth [...] commit to the Elders.

4 Of [...] (who are also in Scripture called [...]shops) Some 1 Tim 2 2 Phil 1 1. Acts 20 19 [...]. 1 Tim 5 29. attend chiefly to the ministry of the word, A [...] the [...] [...] Teachers Others, attend especially unto R [...]le, who are therfore called Rul [...]ng Elders.

5 The office of Pastor & Teacher, appears to be distinct. Sph 4 11. [...]om 12 7 [...], 1 Cor 12 8 The Pastors special work is, to attend to exh [...]tation: & therein to Administer a word of Wisdom the Teacher is to attend to D [...]mo, & therein to Administer a word of Knowledg: & either of them to administer the Seales of that Covenant, unto the dispensation wherof the are alike called: as also to execute the Censu [...]e, being but a kind of 2 Tim 41 2 [...]it [...] 9 application of the word, the preaching of which, together with the application therof they are alike charged withall.

6 And for as much as both Pastors & Teachers are given by Christ for the perfecting of the Saints, & edifying of his body, which Eph 4 11 12 Cap 1 22 23 Saints, & body of Christ is his church; Therfore wee account Pastors & Teacher, to be both of them church-officers, & not the Pastor for the church: & the Teacher only for the Schools, Though this wee gladly acknowledg, that Schoole, are both lawfull, profitable, & necessary for the trayning up of such in good Litrature, or learning, [...] [...]am 10 12 [...] 10 20 2 king 23 [...] 15. as may afterwards be called forth unto office of Pastor or Teacher in the church.

CHAP VII. Of Ruling Elders & Deacons.

THe Ruling Elders office is distinct from the office of Pastor & Rom 119 [...] 9. 1 Tim 5 17. 1 Cor 1 [...] 23. Teacher. The Ruling Elders are not so called to exclude the Pastors & Teachers from Ruling, because Ruling & Govern [...]ng is common to these with the other; wheras attending to teach and [...] 13 17 1 Tim 5 17 preach the word is peculiar unto the former.

2 The Ruling E [...]er, work is to joyn with the Pastor & [...] Tim 5. 17. Teacher in those acts of spiritual Rubc [Page 9] which are distinct from the ministry of the word & Sacraments com­mitted to them. of which sort, these be, as followeth. 1 to open & 2 Chro. 23 19. Rev 2 [...] 12. 1 Tim 4 14. M [...] 18 17. 2 Cor 2 7. 8 Act 2. 6 shut [...] the dores of Gods house, by the Admission of members approv­ed by the church: by Ordination of officers chosen by the church: & by excommunication of notorious & obstinate offenders renoun­ced by the church: & by restoring of poenitents, forgivē by the church. II To call the church together when there is occasion, & seasonably to dismiss them agayn. III To prepare matters in private, that in Acts [...]. 1 [...] 22. 23. publick they may be carried an end with less trouble, & more spee­dy dispatch. IV To moderate the carriage of all matter, in the church assembled. as, to propound matters to the church, to Order Acts 6. 2. 3 c. 13. [...] 15 2 Cor 8. 10 Heb 13. 7, 7 2 Thes 2. 10 11. 12 the season of speech & silence; & to pronounce sentence according to the minde of Christ, with the consent of the church. V To be Guides & leaders to the church, in all matters what-soever, pertaining to church administrations & actions. VI To see that none in the church live inordinately out of rank & place; without a calling, or Idlely in their calling. VII To prevent & heal such offences in life, Acts 20. 28 v 32. [...] Thes 5. 12. Jam. 5. 14 Acts 20. 20 or in doctrin; as might corrupt the church. IIX To feed the flock of God with a word of admonition. IX And as they shall be sent for, to visit, & to pray over their sick brethren. X & at other times as opportunity shall serve therunto.

3 The office of a Deacon is Instituted in the church by the Act 6. [...]. v 6 Pail 1. 1 1 Tim 3. 8 1 Cor 12. 28 1. Tim 3. 8. 9 Lord Jesus. somtime they are called Helps.

The Scripture telleth us, how they should be qualified: Grave, not double tougued, not given to much wine, not given to filthy. lucre. they must first be proved & then use the office of a Deacon, being found Blameless.

The office and work of the Deacons is to receive the offrings of the Acts 4. [...] c 6. 2. 3 c 6. 2 church, gifts given to the church, & to keep the treasury of the church: & therewith to serve the Tables which the church is to pro­vide for: as the Lords Table, the table of the ministers, & of such Rom. 22. 8. as are in necessitie, to whom they are to distribute in simplicity.

4 The office therefore being limited unto the care of the temporall good things of the church, it extends not unto the attend­ance 1 Cor 9. [...] upon, & administration of the spirituall. things thereof, as the word, and Sacraments, or the like.

5 The ordinance of the Apostle, & practice of the church, 1 C. 16. 1. 2. 3 commends the Lords day as a fit time for the contributions of the Saints.

[Page] 6 The Instituting of all these officers in the Church, is the 1 Cor 11. 28 Eph 4. 8. 11 Acts 20. 28 work of God himselfe; of the Lord Iesus Christ; of the holy Ghost. & therefore such officers [...] he hath not appointed, are altogether unlawfull either to be placed in the church, or to be retained therin, & are to be looked at as humane creatures, meer Inventions & ap­pointments of man, to the great dishonour of Christ Jesus, the Lord of his house, the King of his church, whether Popes, Patriarkes, Cardinals, Arch-bishops, Lord [...], Arch- [...]eacons, Officials, Com­missaries, & the like. These & the rest of that Hierarchy & Reti­nue, not being plants of the Lords planting, shall all be certeinly Matt 15. 13 be rooted out, & cast forth.

7 The Lord hath appointed ancient widdows, (where they may be had) to minister in the church, in giving attendance to the [...] Tim 5. 9. 10. sick, & to give succour unto them, & others, in the like necessities.

CHAP: IIX. Of the Electon of Church-Officers.

NO man may take the honour of a Church-Officer unto himself, Heb. 5. 4 but he that was called of God, as was Aaron.

2 Calling unto office, is either Immediate, by Christ himself: such was the call of the Apostles, & Prophets this manner of calling Galat [...]. 1 Acts 14. 23 cap 6. 3 ended with them, as hath been said: or Mediate, by the church.

3 It is meet, that before any be ordained or chosen officers, they should first be [...] & prove [...]; because hands are n [...]t suddenly [...] Tim 5. 22 c p 7 10 Acts 16. 2 cap 6. 3 to be laid upon any, & both Elders & Deacons must be of honest & good repo [...]t.

4 The things in respect of which they are to be Tryed, are those gif [...]s & virtues which the Scripture requireth in men, that are to be elected into such places. viz, that Elders must be blameles [...], sober, apt to teach & endued with such other qualifications as are layd downe, 1 Tim: 3 & 2. T [...]t: 1. 6 to 9. Deacons to be fitted, as is directed, Acts. 6, 3. 1 Tim: 3. 8, to 11.

5 Officers are to be called by such Churches, whereunto they Act 14. 23 c 1. 23. c 6 3. 4. 5. are to min [...]ster. of such moment is the preservation of this power, that the churches excercised it in the presence of the Apostles.

6 A Church being free cannot become subject to any, but by Gal 5. 13 a free election; [Page 11] Yet when such a people do chuse any to be over them in the Lord, then do they becom [...] subject, & most willingly submit to their mi­nistry Hebr. 13. 17 in the Lord, whom they have so chosen.

7 And if the church have powr to chuse their officers & mi­nisters, Rom. 16. 19 then in case of manifest unworthyness, & delinquency they have powr also to depose them. For to open, & shut: to chuse & refuse; to constitute in office, & remove from office: are acts be­longing unto the same powr.

8 Wee judge it much conducing to the wel-being, & com­munion Cant. 8. 8. 9 of churches, that where it may conveniently be done, neigh­bour-churches be adv [...]sed withall, & their help made use of in the triall of church-officers, in order to their choyce.

9 The choyce of such Church-officers belongeth not to the civil-magistrates, as such, or diocesan-bishops, or patrones: for of these or any such like, the Scripture is wholly silent, as having any power therin.

CHAP: IX. Of Ordination, & Imposition of hands.

CHurch-officers are not only to be chosen by the Church, but also Acts. 1 [...]. [...] cap 14. 23 1 Tim. 5. 22 to be ordeyned by Imposition of hands, & prayer. with which at the ordination of Elders, fasting also is to be joyned.

2 This ordination wee account nothing else, but the solemn N [...]m. 8. 10 Act 6. 5. 6 cap 13. 2. 3 putting of a man into his place & office in the Church wher-unto he had right before by election, being like the installing of a magistrat in the common wealth.

Ordination therefore is not to go before, but to follow election, Acts. 6. 5. 6 cap 14. 23 the essence & substance of the outward calling of an ordinary officer in the Church, doth not consist in his ordination, but in his voluntary & free election by the Church, & in his accepting of that election, wher-upon is founded the relation between Pastor & flock, between such a minister, & such a people.

Ordination doth not constitute an officer, nor give him the essentials of his office. The Apostles were elders, without Imposition of hands by men: Paul & Barnabas were officers, before that Imposition of hands. Acts. 13. 3. The posterity of Levi were Priests, & [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [...]

[Page 14] [...] the Church that had powr to receive him into their fellowship, hath also the same powr to cast him out, that they have concerning any Matt. 18. 17 other member.

7 Church-government, or Rule, is placed by Christ in the 1 Tim. 5. 17 Hebr. 13. 17 [...] Thes. 5. 12 officers of the church, who are therefore called Rulers, while they rule with God: yet in case of mal-administration, they are subject to the power of the church, according as hath been said before. the Holy Ghost frequently, yea alwayes, where it mentioneth Church-Rule, Rom. 12. 8 1 Tim. [...]. 17 [...] Cor. 12. 28 29. Hebr. 13 7. 17. & church-government, ascribeth it to Elders: wheras the work & duty of the people is expressed in the phrase of obeying their Elders; & submiting themselves unto them in the Lord: so as it is manifest, that an organick or compleat church is a body politick, consisting of some that are Governors, & some that are governed, in the Lord.

8 The powr which Christ hath committed to the Elders is to feed & rule the church of God, & accordingly to call the church Acts. 20. 28 cap 6. 2 Num. 16. 12 Ezek. 46. 10 Acts. 13. 15 together upon any weighty occasion, when the members so called, without just cause, may not refuse to come: nor when they are come, depart before they are dismissed: nor speak in the church, before they have leave from the elders: nor continue so doing, when they [...]osh. 4. 4. require silence, nor may they oppose nor contradict the judgment or sentence of the Elders, without sufficient & weighty cause becaus such practices are manifestly contrary unto order, & government, & in-lets of disturbance, & tend to confusion.

9 It belongs also unto the Elders to examine any officers, or Rev. 2. 2 1 Tim. 5. 19 Acts. 21. 18 22. 23 [...] Cor. 5. 4. 5 members, before they be received of the church: to receive the ac­cusations brought to the Church, & to prepare them for the church­es hearing. In handling of offences & other matters before the Church they have powr to declare & publish the Counsell & will of Num. 6. 23. [...]o 26. God touching the same, & to pronounce sentence with consent of the Church: Lastly they have powr, when they dismiss the people, to bless them in the name of the Lord.

10 This powr of Government in the Elders, doth not any wise prejudice the powr of priviledg in the brotherhood; as neither the powr of priviledg in the brethren, doth prejudice the power of government in the Elders; but they may sweetly agree together, Acts. 14. 15 vi. 2 [...]. c 6. 2 [...] Cor. 5. 4 2 Cor. 2. 6. 7 as wee may see in the example of the Apostles furnished with the greatest church-powr, who took in the concurrence & consent of the brethren in church-administrations.

[Page 15] Also that Scripture, 2 Cor 2. 9. & chap 10: 6. doe declare, that what the churches were to act & doe in these matters, they were to doe in a way of obedience, & that not only to the direction of Hebr. 13. [...] the Apostles, but also of their ordinary Elders.

11 From the premisses, namely, that the ordinary powr of Government belonging only to the elders, powr of priviledg re­maineth with the brotherhood, (as powr of judgment in masters of censure, & powr of liberty, in matters of liberty:) It followeth, that in an organick Church, & right administration; all church acts, proceed after the manner of a mixt administration, so as no church act can be consummated, or perfected without the consent of both.

CHAP: XI. Of the maintenance of Church Officers.

THe Apostle concludes, that necessary & sufficient maintenance is due unto the ministers of the word: from the law of nature 1 Cor. 9. 9 [...] 15. Matt. 9 [...] 38. c 10. 1 [...] 1 Tim. 5. 18 & nations, from the law of Moses, the equity thereof, as also the rule of common reason, moreover the scripture doth not only call Elders labourers, & workmen, but also speaking o [...] them doth say, Gala. 6. 6. that the labourer is worthy of his hire: & requires that he which is taught in the word, should communicate to him, in all good things; 1 Cor. 9. [...] vers. 14. 1 Tim. 5. 18 & mentions it as an ordinance of the Lord, that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel; & forbideth the muzl [...]ng of the mouth of the ox, that treadeth out the corn.

2 The Scriptures alledged requiring this maintenance as a bounden duty, & du [...] [...]eci, & not as a matter of almes, & free gift therefore people are not at liberty to doe or not to doe, what & when they pleas in this matter, no more then in any other commanded duty, & ordinance of the Lord: but ought of duty, to minister of their ca [...]ail [...]ngs to them, that labour amongst them Rom 15. [...]. [...] Cor. 9. 11. in the word & doctrine, as well as they ought to pay any other work men their wages, or to discharge & satisfie their other debts, or to submit themselves to observe any other ordinance of the Lord.

3 The Apostle, Gal: 6, 6. injoyning that he which is taught Gala. 6. [...] communicate to him that teacheth [...]ad good things: doth not leave it arbitrary, what or how much a man shall give, or in what pro­p [...]on.


[Page 16] but even the later, as well as the former, is prescribed & appointed by the Lord. [...] Cor. 16. 2

4 Not only members of Churches, but all that are taught in in the word, are to contribute unto him that teacheth, in all good Galat. 6. 6 things. In case that Congregations are defective in their contributi­ons, the Deacons are to call upon them to doe their duty: if their call Act. 6. 3. 4 sufficeth not, the church by her powr is to require it of their members, & where church-powr through the corruption of men, doth not, or can̄ot attaine the end, the Magistrate is to see ministry be duely pro­vided for, as appeares from the commended example of Nehemiah. Neh. 13. 1 [...] The Magistrates are nursing fathers, & nursing mothers, & stand charged with the custody of both Tables; because it is better to pre­vent [...]say. 49. 23 a scandal, that it may not come & easier also, then to remove it when it is given. Its most suitable to Rule, that by the churches care, [...] Cor. 8. 13 [...], each man should know his proportion according to rule, what he should doe, before he doe it, that so his iudgment & heart may be satisfied in what he doeth, & just offence prevented in what is done.

CHAP: XII. Of Admission of members into the Church.

THe doors of the Churches of Christ upon earth, doe not by Gods 2 Chron. 23. 19. Mat. 13. 25. & 22. 12 appointment stand so wide open, that all sorts of people good or bad, may freely enter therein at their pleasure; but such as are ad­mitted therto, as members ought to be examined & tryed first; whe­ther they be fit & meet to be received into church-society, or not. The Evnuch of Aethiopia, before his admission was examined by Acts. 8. 37 Philip, whether he did beleive on Jesus Christ with all his heart the Rev. 2. 2 Auged of the church at Ephesus is commended, for trying such as said they were Apostles & were not. There is like reason for try­ing Acts 9. 2 [...] of them that profess themselves to be beleivers.

The officers are charged with the keeping of the doors of the Church, & therfore are in a special man̄er to make try all of the fit­nes Rev. 2 [...]. 1 [...] 2 Ch [...] 23. 19 of such who enter. Twelve Angels are set at the gates of the Tem ple, lest such as were Ceremonially unclean should enter therinto. Act 2. 38 1 [...] [...]. c 8 37

2 The things which are requisite to be found in all church members, are, Repentance from sin, & saith in Jesus Christ. [Page 17] And therfore these are the things wherof men are to be examined, at their admission into the church, & which then they must prosess & hold forth in such sort, as may satisfie rationall charity, that the things are there indeed. Iohn Baptist admitted men to Baptism, confessing Matt 3. 6. & bewayling their sinns: & of other it is said, that they came, & Acts 19: 5. confessed, & shewed their deeds.

3 The weakest measure of faith is to be accepted in t [...]ose that desire to be admitted into the church: becaus weak christians if sincere, have the substance of that faith, repentance & holiness which Ro [...] 14. 2 is required in church members: & such have most need of the ordi­nances for their confirmation & growth in grace. The Lord Jesus Matt 12. 20. would not quench the smoaking flax, nor breake the bruised reed, Isay 4 [...]. 15. but gather the tender lambes in his arms, & carry them gently in his bosome. Such charity & tenderness is to be used, as the weakest christian if sincere, may not be excluded, nor discouraged. Severity of examination is to be avoyded.

4 In case any through excessive fear, or other infirmity, be unable to make their personal relation of their spirituall estate in pub­lick, it is sufficient that the Elders having received private satisfacti­on, make relation therof in publick before the church, they testifying their assents therunto; this being the way that tendeth most to edifi­cation. But wheras persons are of better abilityes, there it is most ex­pedient, that they make their relations, & confessions personally with psa [...] [...]6. 16 their own mouth, as David professeth of himselfe.

5 A personall & publick confession, & declaring of Gods manner of working upon the soul, is both lawfull, expedient, & usefull, in sundry respects, & upon sundry grounds. Those three thousands. Acts. 2. 37. 41. Before they were admitted by the Apostles, did manifest that they were pricked in their hearts at Peters sermon, together with earnest desire to be delivered from their sinns, which now wounded their consciences, & their ready receiving of the word of promise and exhortation. Wee are to be ready to [...]der a reason of the hope that is in us, to every one that asketh us: th [...]fore 1 Pe [...] [...]3. [...], wee must be able and ready upon any occasion to declare & shew our repentance for sinn, faith unfamed; & effectuall calling, because these are the reason of a well grounded hope. I have not hidden [...]ebr 11. [...] [...]phe 1. [...]. thy righteousness from the great congregation. Psal: 40. 10.

[Page 18] 6 This profession of faith & repentance, as it must be made by such at their admission, that were never in Church-society before: so nothing hindreth, but the same way also be performed by such as have formerly been members of some other church, & the church to which they now joyn themselves as members, may lawfully require the same. Those three thousand. Acts. 2. which made their con­fession, were mēbers of the church of the Jewes before, so were they that were baptised by John. Churches may err in their admission: Matt. 3. 5, 6 Gallat. 2. 4 [...] Tim. 5. 24 & persons regularly admitted, may fall into offence Otherwise if Churches might obtrude their members, or if church-members might obtrude themselves upon other churches, without due tryall, the mat­ter so requiring, both the liberty of churches would hereby be infring­ed, in that they might not examine those, concering whose fitness for communion, they were unsatisfied: & besides the infringing of their liberty, the churches themselves would ūavoidably be corrupted, & C [...]nt. 8. 8 the ordinances defiled, whilst they might not refuse, but must re­ceive the unworthy: which is contrary unto the Scripture, teaching that all churches are sisters, & therfore equall.

7 The like tryall is to be required from such members of the church, as were born in the same, or received their membership, & were baptized in their infancy, or minority, by vertue of the covenāt of their parents, when being grown up unto yeares of discretion they shall desire to be made partakers of the Lords supper: unto which, because holy things must not be given unto the unworthy, therfore it Matt. 7. 6 [...] Cor. 11. 27 is requisit, that these as well as others, should come to their tryall & examīation, & manifest their faith & repentance by an open professi­on therof, before they, are received to the Lords supper, & otherwise not to be be admitted there unto.

Yet these Church-members that were so born, or received in their childhood, before they are capable of being made partakes of fall cōmunion, have many priviledges which others, not church-mēbers) ha [...]not; they are in covenant with God; have the seale therof upon th [...] [...] Baptisme; & so if not regenerated, yet are in a more hopefull way of attayning regenerating grace, & all the spiritual bles­sings both of the covenāt & seal; they are also under C [...]rch-watch, & consequently subject, to the reprehensions, ad non [...]tions, & cen­sures therof, for their healing and amendment, as need sh [...]ll require.

CHAP: XIII. Of Church-members their removall from one Church to another, & of letters of recōmendation, & dismission.

CHurch-members may not remove or depart from the Church, & so one from another as they please, nor without just & weigh­ty Hebr. 10. 2 [...] cause but ought to live & dwell together: for as much as they are cōmanded, not to forsake the assembling of themselves together. Such departure▪ tends to the dissolution & ruine of the body: as [...] [...] the pulling of stones, & pe [...]ces of timber from the building, & of members from the naturall body, tend to the destruction of the [...]. whole.

2 It is thērfore the duty of Church-members, in such times & places when counsell may be had, to consult with the Church wherof they are mēmbers, about their removall; that accordingly Prov. 11. 14 they having their approbation, may be incouraged or otherwise de­sist. They who are joyned with consent, should not depart with­out consent, except forced therunto.

3 If a members departure be manifestly unsafe, and sinfull, the church may not consent therunto: for in so doing, they should Rom 14. [...]. 1 Tim 5. 22. Acts 21. 14. not act in saith: & should pertake with him in his sinn. If the case be doubtfull, & the person not to be perswaded, it seemeth best to leave the matter unto God, & not forcibly to detayn him.

4 Just reasōs for a mēbers removall of himselfe from the church are, I If a man cānot continue without partakig in sinn. II In case Ephe. [...]. 1 [...] Acts 9. 2 [...]. & ver 29. [...]0 chap 8 [...]1 of personall persecution, so Paul departed from the desciples at Damas­cus. Also, in case of generall persecution, when all are scattered. III In case of real, & not only pretended, want of competent subsis­tence, Nehe [...]3. 10 a door being opened for better supply in another place, toge­ther with the meanes of spirituall edification. In these, or like cases, a member may lawfully remove, & the church cannot lawfully de­tayne him.

5 To seperate from a Church, eyther out of contempt of their holy fellowship, or out of [...] or for greater inlargements 2 Tim 4. 1 [...] with just greife to the church; or out of [...], or [...] [...]; & out of a spirit of [...] in respect of some unkindness, or [...] [...] R [...]m 16. 17 Jude. 19. only concei [...]ed, [Page 20] or indeed, in the Church which might & should be tolèrated & hear­ed with a spirit of meekness, & of which evill the church is not yet cō ­vinced, [...]. 4. [...]. [...] [...] 3. 13 [...] 6. 1▪ [...] (though perhaps himselfe bee) nor admonished: for these or like reasons to withdraw from publick cōmunion, in word, or seales, or censures, is unlawfull & sinfull.

6 Such members as have orderly removed their habitation ought to joyn themselves unto the church in order, where they doe Is [...]y 56. 8 Acts 9. 26 inhabit if it may bee otherwise, they can neyther perform the du­tyes, nor receive the priviledges of members; such an example tolera­ted in some, is apt to corrupt others; which if many should follow, would threaten the dissolution & confusion of churches, contrary to [...] Cor. [...]4. 3 [...] the Scripture.

7 Order requires, that a member thus removing, have letters [...]. [...]8. 27 testimonia [...]; & of [...] from the church wherof he yet is, unto the church wherunto be desireth to be joyned, lest the church sh [...]uld be deluded; that the church may receive him in faith; & not be corrupt­ed by receiving deceivers, & false brethren. Untill the person dis­missed be received into another church, he ceaseth [...]ot by his letters of dismission to be a member of the church wherof he was. The church can̄ot make a member no member but by excōmunication.

8 If a member be called to remove only for a time, where a Church is, letters of Recommendation are requisite; & sufficient for Rom 16. 1. 2 [...] C [...]r. 3. [...] cōmunion with that church, in the ordinance, & in their watch: as Phoebe, a servāt of the church at Cenc [...]ea, had letters writtē for her to the church of Rome, that shee might be received, as becō [...]eth saints.

9 Such letters of Recommendation & [...] were written for Apollos: For Marcus to the Col [...]siā; for Phoebe to the Romāe [...]; for sūdry others to other churches, & the Apostle telleth u [...], that some [...]. 1 [...]. 27 Co [...]l 4. 10. Rom. 16. 1 persons, not sufficiently known otherwise, have special need of such letter [...], though he for his part had no need therof The u [...]e of them [...]s to be a benefit, & help to the party for whom they are writtē; & for [...] C [...]r. 3. 1. the furthering of [...] [...] amongst the Saints in the pl [...] whe [...]to [...] goeth; & the d [...]e sat [...]faction of them in their receiving of h [...]m.

CHAP: XIV. Of excommunication & other Censures.

THe Censures of the church, are appointed by Christ, for the pre­vent [...]ng, [...] [...]. [...] [...] [...] [...]. [...]. [...]. removing, [Page 21] & healing of offences in the Church: for the reclayming & gayning of offending brethren: for the deterring of others from the like o [...]ec­es: Jude. 29. D [...]ut. 13. 11 1 Cor. 5. 6 R [...]m. 2. 2 [...] for purging out the leaven which may infect the whole lump: for vindicating the honour of Christ, & of his church, & the holy profes­sion of the gospel: & for preventing of the wrath of God, that may Rev. 2. 14. 15. 16. & 2 [...] justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer his covenant, & the s [...]ales therof, to be prophaned by notorious & obstinate offenders.

2 If an offence be priv [...] (one brother offending another the offender is to goe, & acknowledg his repentāce for it unto his offend­ed Mat. 5. 23, [...] Lu [...]. [...]7. 3. [...] brother, who is then to forgive him, but if the [...]ffender neglect or refu [...]e to doe it, the brother offēded is to goe, & cōvince & admonish him of it, between themselves privatly: [...]f therupon the offender bee Matt. [...]. [...] brought to repent of his offēce, the admonisher hath won his brother, but if the offender heare not his brother, the brother offended is to take with him one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnes­es, v [...] every word may be established, (whether the word of admonition if the offender receive it, or the word of complaint, if he refuse it:) for if hè refuse it, the offēded brother is by the mouth of the Elders to tell v [...] the church. & if he heare the church. & declare the same by pe [...]tēt confession, he is recovered & gayned; & if the church discern him to be willing to hear, yet not fully cōv [...]ced of his offence, as in case [...]f Tit. [...]. 1 [...] heresy; They are to dispēce to him a publick admonition; which de­claring the offēder to ly under the publ [...]ck offence of the church, doth t [...]e by with-hold or suspend him from the holy fellowsh [...]p of the Lords s [...]pper, till his offence be removed by penitent cōfession. If he Matt. 18. [...] [...]ll [...] obstinate they are to call him out by excōn unic [...]tion.

3 But if the offēce be more [...] at first, & of a more [...]ous [...], to wit, such as are condē [...]ed by the light of nature; 1 Cor 5. [...] 5. & v [...] then the church w [...]thout such graduall proceeding, is to cast out the offender, from ther [...] holy cōmunior, for the further mortifying of his [...] & the healing of his soule, in the day of the Lord Jesus.

4 In dealing with an offēder, great care is to be takē, that wee be neither overstrict or rigorous, nor too indulgent or remiss: our pro­ceeding here [...] ou [...]ht to be with a spirit of [...]ekness, considering our Galat. 6. [...]. selves l [...]st wee also be tēpted; & that the best of us have need of much forg [...] from the Lord. Yet the winīg & healīg of the offēders soul, Matt 1 [...]. 34▪ [...]5. [...]. 1 [...] E [...]ek 13. 1 [...] Jer. [...]. 14 being the end of the [...]e ēdeavours, wee must not daub with ūtempered morter, nor heal the wounds of our brethren sleightly. on some have comp [...]ō others save with fear.

[Page 22] 5 While the offender remayns excōmunicate, the Church is to Matt 18. 17. [...] Co [...]. 5. 11 2 The. 3. 6. 14 refrayn from all member-like communion with him in spirituall things, & also from all familiar cōmuniō with him in civil things, farther then the necessity of natural, or domestical, or civil relatiōs doe require: & are therfore to for bear to eat & drike with him, that he may be [...].

6 Excōmunication being a spirituall punishment, it doth not prejudice the excōmunicate in, nor deprive him of his civil rights, & therfore toucheth not princes, or other magistrates, in point of their civil dignity or authority. And, the excōmunicate being but as a 1 Cor 14, 24 25. publican & a heathen, heathens being lawfully permitted to come to hear the word in church assemblyes; wee acknowledg therfore the like liberty of hearing the word, may be permitted to persons excom­municate, 2 Thef 3. 14 that is permitted unto heathen. And because wee are not without hope of his recovery, wee are not to account him as an ene­my [...] but to admonish him as a brother.

7 If the Lord sanctifie the censure to the offender, so as by the [...] grace of Christ, he doth testifie his repentance, with humble cōfession of his sinn, & judging of himselfe, giving glory unto God; the Church 2 Cor 2. 7, 8 is then to forgive him, & to comfort him, & to restore him to the wonted brotherly communion, which formerly he injoyed with them.

8 The suffring of prophane or scandalous livers to continue in fellowship, & partake in the sacraments, is doubtless a great sinn in those that have power in their hands to redress it; & doe it not. Ne­vertheless, [...]ev [...]. 14, [...]5. ver. 20 inasmuch as Christ & his Apostles in their times, & the Mat 23. 3. Acts 3. [...] Prophets & other godly in theirs, did lawfully partake of the Lords commanded ordinances in the Jewish church, & neyther taught nor practised seperation from the same, though unworthy ones were per­mitted therin; & inasmuch as the faithfull in the church of Corinth, wherin were many unworthy persons, & practises, are never com­manded to absent themselves from the Sacramēts, because of the [...] Cor. 6 chap 15. 1 [...] same: therfore the godly in like cases, are not presently to seperate.

9 As seperation from such a Church wherin pr [...]phāe & scan­dalous livers are tolerated, is not presently necessary: so for the mem­bers therof, otherwise worthy, hereupon to absta [...]n from communi­cating with such a church, in the participation of the Sacraments, is unlawfull. For as it were unreasonable for an in̄ocent person to be 2 Chron. 30 18. Gen 18. 2 [...]. punished, for the faults of other, wherin he hath no hand, & wher­unto he gave no consent: soe is it more unreasonable, that a godly [Page 23] man should neglect duty, & punish himselfe in not cōming for his [...]t portion in the blessing of the seales, as he ought, because others are suffered to come, that ought not: especially, considering that himselfe doth neyther consent to their sinn, nor to their approching to the or­dinance in their sinn, nor to the neglect of others who should put them away, & doe not: but on the contrary doth heartily mourn for Ezek 9▪ [...] these things, modestly & seasonably stirr up others to doe their duty. If the Church c [...]nnot be reformed, they may use their liberty, as is spe­cified, chap 13. sect: 4. But this all the godly are bound unto, even every one to do his indeavour, according to his powr & place, that the unworthy may be duely proceeded against, by the Church to whom this matter doth appertaine.

CHAP: XV. Of the cōmunion of Churches one with another.

ALthough Churches be distinct, & therfore may not be confoūd­ed one with another: & equall, & therfore have not dominion one Rev 1. 4 C [...]nt. 8. 8. Rom 16. 16. 1 Cor 16. [...] Acts 15. 2 [...] Rev 2. [...] over another: yet all the churches ought to preserve Church-commu­nion one with another, because they are all united unto Christ, not on­ly as a mysticall, but as a politicall head; whence is derived a commu­nion suitable therunto.

2 The communion of Churches is exercised sundry wayes.

I By way of mutuall care in taking thought for one anothers C [...]nt 8. 8. wellfare. .

II By way of Consultation one with another, when wee have occa­sion to require the judgment & counsell of other churches, touching any person▪ or cause wherwith they may be better acquainted then our selves. As the church of Antioch consulted with the Apostles, & Elders of the church at Ierusalem, about the question of circumci­sion of the gentiles, & about the false teachers that broached that doc­trine. Act [...] 15. [...] In which case, when any Church wanteth light or peace a­mongst themselves, it is a way of communion of churches (according Acts 15. 6. to the word) to meet t [...]ether by their Elders & other messengers in a synod, to consider & argue the points in doubt, or d [...]fference, & ver: 22. [...] haveing found out the way of truth & peace, to commend the same by their letters & messengers to the churches, whom the same may concern. [Page 24] But if a Church be rent with divisions amongst themselves, or ly un­der any open scandal, & yet refuse to consult with other churches, for healing or removing of the same; it is a matter of just offence both to the Lord Jesus, & to other churches, as bewraying too much want of mercy & faithfulness, not to seek to bind up the breaches & wounds of the church & brethren; & therfore the state of such a church call­eth Ezek 34. 4. aloud upon other churches, to excercise a fuller act of brotherly communion, to witt, by way of admonition.

III A third way then of cōmunion of churches is by way of admo­nition, to witt, in case any publick offēce be found in a church, which they either discern not, or are slow in proceeding to use the meāes for the removing & healing of. Paul had no authority over Peter, yet G [...]ll 2. [...] [...]o 14. when he saw Peter not walking with a right foot, he publickly re­buked him before the church: though churches have no more autho­rity one over another, then one Apostle had over another; yet as one Apostle might admonish another, so may one church admonish ano­ther, & yet without usurpation. In which case, if the church that ly­eth under offence, do not harken to the church which doth admonish her, the church is to aquait other neighbour-churches with that offēce, Math 18. 15. 16. 17. by [...]portion which the offending church still lyeth under, together with their neg­lect of the brotherly admonition given unto them; wherupon those other churches are to joyn in seconding the admonitiō formerly givē: and if still the offēding church continue in obstinacy & impenitency, they may forbear communion with them; & are to proceed to make use of the help of a Synod, or counsell of neighbour-churches walkig orderly (if a greater can̄ot conveniētly be had) for their conviction. If they hear not the Synod, the Synod having declared them to be ob­stinate, particular churches, approving & accepting of the judgmēt of the Synod, are to declare the sentence of non-cōmunion respect­ively concerning them: & therupon out of a religious care to keep their own communion pure, they may justly withdraw themselves from participation with them at the Lords table, & from such other acts of holy cōm [...]ion, as the communion of churches doth otherwise allow, & require. Nevertheless, if any members of such a church as lyeth under publick offence; do [...] not consent to the offence of the church, but doe in due sort beare witness against it, they are still to be received to wonted communion: for it is not equall, that the in­ [...]cent Gen 18. 25. should suffer with the offensive.

[Page 25] Yea furthermore; if such innocent members after due wayting in the use of all good meanes for the healing of the offence of their [...]wn church, shall at last (with the allowāce of the counsel of ne gh­ [...]our-churches) withdraw from the fellowship of their own ch [...]ch [...] offer themselves to the fellowship of another; wee judge it law­ll for the other church to receive them being otherwise fitt) as if they had been orderly dismissed to them from their own churc [...].

IV A fourth way of communion of churches, is by way of partici­p [...]n: the members of one church occasion [...]lly comming unto an­other, wee willingly admitt t [...]em to [...] with us at the Lords t [...]le, it being the seale of our communion not only with Christ, nor o [...]ly with the members of our own church, but also with all the churches of the saints: in which regard, wee refuse not to baptize 1 Cor 1 [...]. 13 their children presented to us, if either their own minister be absent, or such a fruite of holy fellowsh [...]p be desired with us. In like case s [...]ch churches as are furnished with more ministers then one, doe wil­lingly afford one of their own ministers to supply the place of an ab­sent or s [...]ck minister of another church for a needfull season.

V A fifth way of Church-communion is, by way of [...]mendation when a member of one church hath occasion to reside in another Rom 16. 1. church; if but for a season, wee cōmend him to their watchf [...]ll ffel­lowsh [...]p by letters of recommendation: but if he be [...] to settle his abode there, wee commit him according to h [...]s desire, to the ffel­lowship Acts 18. 27 of their covenant, by letters of d [...]smission.

VI A sixt way of Church-communion, is in case of Ne [...], to mi­nister reliefe & succour one unto another: [...] of able members Acts 11. 22 to furnish them with officers: or of outward [...]pport to the necessi­tyes vers 20. [...] [...]. 13. 26. 27. of poorer churches; as did the [...] of the Gentiles contri­bute liberally to the poor s [...]ints at Ierusalem.

3 When a compāy of beleivers purpose to gather into church fellowship, it is requisite for their sa [...]er proceeding, & the maintain­ing of the communion of churches, that they sign [...]fie their intent un­to the neighbour-churches, walking according unto the order of the [...] 2. 1. 2. & 9. by pro­portion Gospel, & desire their presence, & help, & right hand of fellowship which they ought readily to give unto them, when their is no just cause of excepting against their proceedings.

4 Besides these severall wayes of communion, there is also a way of propagation of churches; when a church shall grow too nu­merous, [Page 26] it is a way, & fitt season, to propagate one Church out of an [...] [...] [...]0. [...] [...] 8, 9. other, by sending forth such of their mēbers as are willing to remove, & to procure some officers to them, as may enter with them into church-estate amongst themselves: as Bees, when the hive is too full, issue forth by swarmes, & are gathered into other hives, soe the Churches of Christ may doe the same upon like necessity; & therin hold forth to thē the right hand of fellowship, both in their gather­ing into a church; & in the ordination of their officers.

CHAP: XVI. Of Synods.

SYnods orderly assembled, & rightly proceeding according to the pattern, Acts. 15. wee acknowledg as the ordinance of Acts 15. 2. 1 [...] 1 [...]. Christ: & though not absolutely necessary to the being, yet many times, through the iniquity of men, & perversness of times necessa­ry to the wel-being of churches, for the establishment of truth, & peace therin.

2 Synods being spirituall & ecclesiasticall assemblyes, are therfore made up of spirituall & ecclesiasticall causes. The next effi­cient cause of them under Christ, is the powr of the churches, send­ing forth their Elders, other messengers; who being mett together in the name of Christ, are the matter of the Synod: & they in argue­ing, Acts 15 2, 3 debating & determining matters of religion according to the [...]cts 6. word, & publishing the same to the churches whom it concerneth, [...]cts 7. to 23 doe put forth the proper & formall acts of a Synod; to the convictiō vers 31. Acts 164. 15 of errours, & heresyes, & the establishment of truth & peace in the Churches, which is the end of a Synod.

3 Magistrates, have powr to call a Synod, by calling to the Churches to send f [...]rth their Elders & other messengers, to counsel & assist them in matters of rel [...] [...]: [...]t ye [...]t the constituting of a [...] Chron [...]9 4. 5. to 11. Synod, is a church act & may be t [...]d by the churches, even when civil magistrates may be enemyes to churches & to church­assemblyes. Acts 15.

4 It bel [...]ngeth unto Synod, & counsel [...], to debate & deter­mine controversies of faith, & ca [...] of cons [...]; to cleare from the Acts 15. 1, 2 6. [...] 1 Cl [...] 1 [...]. 1 [...]. word holy directions for the [...]ly worsh [...]p of God, & good govern­ment of the church; to beare wit [...] against [...]al administration & [Page 27] Corruption in doctrine or man̄ers in any particular Church, & to [...] Ch [...] 9. [...] 7. Act. 15. 24 vers [...]. 29 give directions for the reformation therof: Not to exercise Church-censures in way of discipline, nor any other act of church-authority or jurisdiction: which that presidentiall Synod did forbeare.

5 The Synod [...] directions & determinations, so farr as conso­nant to the word of God, are to be received with reverence & sub­mission; not only for their agreement therwith which is the [...]nci­pall ground therof, & without which they bind not at all:) [...]t also second [...]ly, for the powr wherby they are made, as being an ordi­nance Acts. 15. of God appointed therunto in his word.

6 B [...] is d [...]ficult, if not impossible, for many churches to c [...] altogether in one place, [...]n all their [...] [...]rs universally: therfore they may assemble by their delegates o [...] messengers, as the church of Antioch went not all to Ierusalem, but some select men for that pur­pose. Acts 1 [...]. Because none are [...] [...] be more fitt to know the state of the churches, not to advise of wayes for the good thereof then Elders; therfore it is fitt that in the choice of the messengers for such assemblies, they have special respect ūto such. Yet in as much as not only Paul & Barnabas, but certayn others also were sent to Ierusalem Acts 15 [...] vers 22, 23. from Antioch. Acts 15. & when they were come to Ierusalem, not only the Apostles & Elders, but other brethren also doe assemble, & meet about the matter; therfore Synods are to consist both of Elders, & other church-members, endued with gifts, & sent by the churches, not excluding the presence of any brethren in the churches.

CHAP: XVII Of the Civil Magistrates powr in matters E [...]c [...]es [...]l.

IT is lawfull, profitable▪ & necessary for christians to gather themselves into Church estate, & therin to exercise all the or­d [...] of chr [...]st according unto the word, although the consent of Act 2. [...]1. [...] [...] [...] [...] 2, 3 Magistrate could not be had therunto; because the Apostles & chri­st [...]ans in their time did frequently thus practise, when the Magistrates being all of them Jewish or pagan, & mostly persecuting enemies, would give no countenance or consent to such matters.

2 Church-government stands in no opposition to civil gove [...] ­ment of cōmon-welths, nor any intrencheth upon the authority of [...] [...] [...] [Page 28] Civil Magistrates in their jurisdictions; nor any whit weakneth their John 1 [...]. [...]6 Acts 25. 8. hand [...] in governing; but rather strengthneth them, & farthereth the people in yielding more hearty & consc [...]onable obedience ūt [...] the [...], whatsoever some ill affected persons to the wayes of Christ have sug­gested, to alienate the affections of Kings & Princes from the ordi­nance of Christ; as if the kingdome of Christ in his church could not rise & stand, without the falling & weakning of their government, which is al [...]o of Christ: wheras the contrary is most true, that they may both stand together & flourish the one being helpfull unto the Is [...]y 49. 23. other, in their distinct & d [...] administrations.

3 The powr & authority of Magistrates is not for the restra [...] ­ing of churches, or any other good workes, but for helping in & fur­thering therof; & therfore the consent & countenance of Magistrates Rom 13. 4. [...] Tim 2. 2. when it may be had, is not to be [...]ghted, or lightly esteemed; but on the contrary; it is part of that hon [...]ur due to christian Magistrates to desire & crave their consent & approbation therin: which being obtayned, the churches may then proceed in their way with much more encouragement, & comfort.

4 It is not in the powr of Magistrates to compell their s [...]b­jects to become church-members, & to partake at the Lords table: for the priests are reproved, that brought [...]worthy ones into the [...]tu­arie: [...]ek 44. 7. 9 then, as it was unlawfull for the preists, so it is as unlawfull to be done by civil Magistrates. Those whom the church is to cast out [...] Cor 5. 11 if they were in, the Magistrate ought not thrust into the church, nor to hold them therin.

5 As it is unlawfull for church-officers to meddle with the sword of the Magistrate, s [...] [...] it [...]wfull for the Magistrate to meddle with the work p [...]per to c [...]ch officers▪ the Acts of Mo [...] & Dav [...]d, Matth 20. 25, 26. who were not only P [...], but P [...], were ex [...]; therfore not [...]ble. Ag [...] [...]n [...] the L [...]d wit [...], by [...] [...] C [...] 26 16. 17. Uzz [...]h w [...] [...], for [...] to offer [...]

6 It is the duty of the Ma [...], to take [...]e of matters of rel [...]gion, & to [...]nprove his [...]l autho [...]ty for the oble [...]ing of the duties commanded in the first, is well as for observing of the duties [...] [...]. 2. commanded in the second table They are called Gods. The end of the Magistrate [...] office, is not only the q [...] & p [...]ble l [...]fe of the subj [...]t, in [...] of rig [...] & ho [...]ty, but also in matter, [...] [...] [...]. 1 [...] of [...]ss yea of all [...] M [...] j [...], D [...], S [...], [Page 29] Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, are much commended by the 1 Kings 15. 14. c 22. 43 [...] King 12. 3 c 14. 4. c 15. 35. 1 Kings [...]0. 42. Job 29. 25. c 31. 26. 2 [...]. Ne [...]3 Jon [...] 3. 7. Ezr [...] 7. D [...]n 3. 2 [...]. Holy Ghost, for the putting forth their authority in matters of religi­on: on the contrary, such Kings as have been fayling this way, are frequently taxed & reproved by the Lord. & not only the Kings of Judah, but also Job, Nehe [...]h, the king of Nin [...]veh, Darius, Artaxerxes, Nebucad [...]ezar, whom none looked at as types of Christ, (thouh were it soe, there were no place for any just objection,) are cōmēded in the book of God, for exercising their authority this way.

7 The object of the powr of the Magistrate, are not things meerly inward, & [...]o not subject to his cogni [...]ance & view, as unbe­leife hardness of heart, erronious opinions not vented; but only such things as are acted by the outward man; neither is their powr to be exercised, in commanding such acts of the outward man, & pun­nishig the neglect therof, as are but meer invētions, & devices of men; 1 Kings 20. 2 [...]. vers 42. but about such acts, as are commanded & forbidden in the word; yea such as the word doth clearly determine, though not alwayes clearly to the judgment of the Magistrate or others, yet clearly in it selfe. In these he of right ought to putt forth his authority, though oft-times actually he doth it not. Deut 13. 1 Kings 2 [...]. 2 [...]. vers 42. D [...] [...]. 29. Z [...]ch 13. 3. Neh 13. 21. 1 Tim 2. 2. Ro [...] 13. 4.

8 Idolatry, B [...]phemy, Heresy, venting corrupt & pernicious opinions, that destroy the foundation, open contempt of the word preached, prophanation of the Lords day, disturbing the peaceable administration & exercise of the worship & h [...]ly things of God, & the like, are to be restrayned, & punished by civil authority.

9 If any church one or more shall grow sc [...]smaticall, rending it self from the communion of other churches, or shall walke incor­ [...]gibly or obstinately many corrupt way of their own, contrary to the rule of the word; in such case the Magistrate is to put forth his co [...]ve powr, as the matter shall require The tribes on this side Jo [...] 22. [...] intended to make warr against the other tribes, for bu [...] the altar of witness, whom they suspected to have turned away therin from following of the Lord.


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