[Page] THE CASE OF THE Church of England, Briefly and truly stated, In the three first and fundamental PRINCIPLES Of a Christian Church.

  • I. The Obligation of Christianity, by Divine Right.
  • II. The Jurisdiction of the Church, by Divine Right.
  • III. The Institution of Episcopal Superiority, by Divine Right.

By S. P. a Presbyter of the Church of England.

LONDON, Printed for Henry Faithorne and John Kersey, and sold by Walter Davis in Amen-Corner. 1681.

A Scheme of the general CONTENTS.

  • THree popular Principles destructive of the Church of England Page 1.
  • The absurdity of Mr. Hobb's Principle, that the Sovereign Power is the only founder of all Religion in every Com­monwealth p. 7
  • Mr. Seldens account of the Jurisdiction of the Church to be meerly Civil p. 27
  • His account of Excommunication from Adam to Moses considered p. 37
  • The same from Moses to the Captivity, and from the Captivity to the time of our Saviour p. 42
  • The same in our Saviours time, and, first, as to its Usage p. 54
  • Secondly, as to the Right, which is proved to have been neither Judicial nor Imperial, but purely Divine p. 62
  • [Page] Excommunication in the Christian Church proved to have been of Apostolical Anti­quity p. 71
  • The Texts of Scripture upon which it is grounded, carry in them true and pro­per Jurisdiction, and appropriate its exercise to the Church p. 76
  • And that by Divine Institution, not meer voluntary Confederacy p. 89
  • All Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction left entirely by the Christian Emperours to the Eccle­siastical State, and that the Imperial Laws, extant both in the Theodosian Code and Justinian, are no new Laws, but only the Canons of the Church, ra­tified with temporal Penalties p. 91
  • [Page]AN account of the birth of the Opini­on, that there was no Form of Go­vernment setled in the Christian Church by Divine Institution Page 117
  • That our Saviour founded his Church in an imparity of Ecclesiastical Officers de­monstrated; this imparity proved to consist in a superiority of Power as well as Order, and the Institution of it shewn to be of perpetual obligation p. 124
  • The Authority of the Apostolical Practice vindicated against divers exceptions. The vanity and absurdity of the Objection from the ambiguity of the names, Bishop and Presbyter. The divine Obligation of Apostolical practice in this matter proved p. 135
  • The practice of the Primitive Church in the Ages next and immediately after the Apostles. The pretence of the defect of the Records of the Church in the first Age falls as foul upon Christianity it self as the Form of Government p. 143
  • [Page] The Argument, first, from the defect as to places considered and confuted p. 148
  • Secondly, front the defect as to Times and Persons p. 150
  • The constant Tradition of the Church proved, first, by the Testimony of St. Cle­ment of Rome. Secondly, of Ignatius; his Epistles demonstrated to be ge­nuine p. 155
  • The same proved from the Apostolical Ca­nons, and the Canons proved to be of Primitive Antiquity p. 177
  • The Testimonies of the Ancients vindi­cated from the pretence of ambiguity; and first, in that they have not informed us whether the Succession were only of Order, or of Power p. 183
  • Secondly, In that it is not universal; but whether it be or not, it is sufficient, in that there are no Records against it, and the Records of all the chiefest Churches are clear for it p. 189
  • Thirdly, In that this Succession is sometimes attributed to Presbyters; this shewn to be apparently false, and if it were true, frivolous p. 203
  • That the ancient Church owned Episcopacy as of Divine Institution, and not Ec­clesiastical p. 213
  • [Page] St. Jeroms Authority throughly conside­red, and turned upon himself, so as to make this Objection out of him against it the strongest Argument to prove the Divine Institution of Episcopacy p. 216
  • The Custom of the Church of Alexandria of the Ordination of their Bishop by Presbyters refuted, and the Story of Eutychius concerning it shewn to be false and foolish p. 231
  • If we take away the Divine Right of some Form of Church-Government, it una­voidably resolves the Church into Inde­pendency and Confusion p. 243
  • The Government of the Church by Episco­pacy as setled by Divine Right the only effectal Bulwork against Popery p. 252
  • A Postscript p. 263


WHEN I consider on one side with what triumph the Church of England was, to­gether with His Majesty, re­stored, with what Laws guarded, with what Vigour asserted, with what Zeal defended: and on the other with what folly and peevishness opposed; that none of its implacable Enemies have ever been able to discover any the least real Defects or Corrupti­ons in its Constitution. That, by the confession of all wise men, it approaches nearest of any Church in the World to the primitive Purity; that it is free from all Impostures and Innovations; that it does not abuse its Children with Pious Frauds and Arts of Gain, nor sacrifise the Interests of Souls to its own Wealth and Grandeur; that it as­serts the Rights of Princes against all Priestly Usurpations; that it does not [Page 2] enrage the People with Enthusiasm on one hand, nor enslave them with Super­stition on the other. That its Doctrins are Pure, Simple, and Apostolical, and its Discipline Easie, Prudent, and Mer­ciful. In a word, that it is a Church that wants nothing but only that we would suffer her to be what she profes­ses and desires to be. When (I say) I considered all this with my self, it could not but strike me with wonder and a­mazement that a Church so unanimously owned, so powerfully protected, so excellently constituted, so approved by all wise and good men, should in all this time be so far from obteining any true and effectual settlement, that it should be almost stript naked of all the Rights and Priviledges of a Christi­an Church, exposed to scorn and con­tempt, deserted by its Friends, tram­pled upon by its Enemies, and truly re­duced to the state of the Poor despised Church of England. But then consi­dering farther with my self what might be the grounds and occasions of such a wild and seemingly unaccountable Apostasie, I quickly found three very prevailing Principles utterly inconsistent [Page 3] with the being of a Christian Church, wherewith the generality of mens minds are possest, and especially those that have of late appeared the most Zealous Patriots of the Church of England. No wonder then if the building be so weak and tottering, when it is ere­cted upon such false and rotten Foun­dations; so that whilst these treacherous Principles lie at the bottom of the Work, it is plainly impossible to bring it to any sure and lasting settlement. And tis these false and unhappy Princi­ples that I shall now endeavour to re­present and by plain reason to remove. They are chiefly these three; the first is that of Mr. Hobbs and his Followers, that own the Church of England only because it is Establisht by the Law of England, and allow no Authority ei­ther to that or any other Religion than as it is injoined by the Sovereign Power. Though a Religion that claims no higher Obligation confesses it self to be no Re­ligion, for none it is unless Enacted by Divine Authority. The second is that of Mr. Selden and his Followers, that acknowledges the standing Laws of the Christian Church to have been derived [Page 4] from a Divine Institution, but derives all manner of Government and Autho­rity in it from the Civil State. The third is the Opinion of some Learned and Moderate Divines, both at home and abroad, that grant indeed the ne­cessity of some kind of Government in the Church, but deny it to have been setled and fixed by our Saviour in any one Form, or upon any certain Order of men, and leave it wholly at some­bodies disposal (though who that some­body is they have not as yet clearly de­termined) to appoint Officers and Go­vernours, as shall be thought most pru­dent and suitable to the present Cir­cumstances of things. Now upon any of these Principles it is not at all ma­terial whether we assert any such thing as a Church of England or not, for they are all but so many Contradi­ctions both to the being of a Church and to themselves, at least if we pursue each party to the bottom of their Opi­nion, they only assert the Shadow or Ghost of a Church, upon such Princi­ples as are directly inconsistent with the Fundamental Constitution of all Chri­stian Churches, and so have, as it were, [Page 5] stoln away the Church of England from itself, setting up the name against the thing, the Idea against the Reality, and the Notion against the Practice. For the first supposes a Church without Re­ligion; the second a Society without Government; the third a Government without Governours. And what can be more absurd and inconsistent? For a Church without Religion is no Church; a Society without Govern­ment is no Society; and a Government that is not lodged somwhere is no Go­vernment. So that though these Opi­nions are not equally wicked in them­selves, the first being open and avowed Atheism, yet are they, equally destru­ctive to the Fundamental Constitution of the Christian Church, as it is a So­ciety founded not by any human Autho­rity but Divine Right.

With Mr. Hobbs and his Church I shall be very brief, because his Notions here (as indeed they are every where) are no better than gross and palpable Contradictions.

Neither should I spend much pains upon the second opinion, because the absurdity of it is so easily demonstrable [Page 6] from the Nature of Society it self, but seeing Mr. Selden, a very Learned Person, has taken infinite pains in the Argu­ment, searched all Authors and all Re­cords to heap together every thing that might serve his cause, I shall wait upon him through all the material parts of his Discourse. But with the third sort I intend to treat more largely, because that is the Church at this present in fa­shion, and is become popular and plau­sible by the Authority of some Learned men, that have owned and asserted it. And therefore I shall carefully demon­strate its vanity and falsehood from our Saviours express Institution; from the certain practice of the Apostles; from all the most undoubted Records of the Church; and lastly from the great in­conveniences that would unavoidably follow upon it. And when we have gained these three Fundamental points, we may then and not till then pro­ceed to farther proposals for the true settlement of the Church of England; for without them, whatever men may talk of it, all their Discourse of a Church is no more than a Notion and a Phantasm, a Platonick Common-Wealth, [Page 7] and a World in the Moon.

First then, as for Mr. Hobbs his Opini­on, it is scarce worth any mans Confu­tation, because it so plainly confutes it­self. For what can be more absurd and ridiculous than to make (as he does) the serious Belief of Religion necessary to the security of Government, and yet discover to all those that he would have brought under the Power of this persuasion, that it is in reality nothing but an useful and necessary Imposture. And yet into this preposterous course of Politicks does Mr. Hobbs suffer him­self to be driven by his pedantick Pride and Vanity. That though it be above all things necessary to the Em­pire of our Sovereign Lord Leviathan that the common people be abused with the Belief and scared with the dread of invisible Powers, yet lest they should be tempted to think the great Philosopher himself so weak as to be betrayed into the same Opinion, he Publishes a Book to all the World to no other purpose (beside Flattering the Tyrant Cromwel) than to declare that neither himself nor any wise man ought to regard the Tales of Religion, and [Page 8] that they are only designed to abuse the ignorant and the silly. Just as if this great Statesman should go about to fright Birds from his Corn (as he speaks) with an empty Doublet, an Hat and a crooked Stick, but yet lest the Jack-Daws should take him for one of their own silly Flock, he should take special care to inform them that himself knows it to be only a man of Clouts. This alone is sufficient to discover the vanity and the danger of the Hobbian Religion, when it is nothing else but an open De­claration of Atheism and Impiety. Though indeed this way of trifling is so natural to Mr. Hobbs that, as much as he loves his own Opinions, he always con­tradicts them. And this is a plain De­monstration of the Ignorance of the pretenders to Wisdom in this Age, that so Inconsistent and Unphilosophical a Writer should obtain so much Credit and Authority among them. For though he have a very facetious Wit, and is the Author of many pleasant sayings, yet he was never Master of one Philo­sophick Notion. But for their conviction I shall challenge them to shew me more incoherent and inconsistent reasonings [Page 9] than are his undoubted and Mathema­tical Demonstrations against the Being of God and the Principles of Religion. First then, would you believe that there is a God, or not? Mr. Hobbs gives you your choice. Choose which you please, he will demonstrate either by the same Topick. Will you have no Deity? It is manifest there can be none, because Phys. c. 26. there can be no first Mover, because no­thing can move itself, and therefore when men go about to prove a Deity from the succession of Causes and Effects, they prove nothing but the necessity of Eternal motion, for as it is true that nothing can move it­self, so is it true that nothing can move any thing else unless itself be first moved. Here then the Demonstration is pregnant, that there can be no first Cause, because no­thing can move it self, and because all motion is Eternal. But will you have a Deity? The Demonstration of it is as undeniable: For he that from any effect Leviati [...]. c. 12. he seeth come to pass should reason to the next and immediate Cause thereof, and from thence to the Cause of that Cause, and plunge himself profoundly in the pur­suit of Causes; shall at last come to this, that there must be (as even the Heathen [Page 10] Philosophers confessed) one first Mover, that is, a first and an Eternal Cause of all things; which is that which men mean by the name of God. Could any man think it possible that both these Demonstra­tions should drop from the Pen of the same infallible Philosopher? or that the man that can demonstrate after this rate should be so confident as to boast of nothing lower than Mathematical De­monstration in all his Writings? But though Mr. Hobbs be able to demon­strate Contradictions, yet himself can hold but one side, and that is always the wrong one. For it is the only scope of all his Natural Philosophy to affirm (I do not say to prove) that there can be no other Cause or Principle in the Uni­verse beside the meer Aggregate of Natural Causes. By which Topick he plainly demonstrates there can be no such Being as a Deity. For if there is, either he is a Corporeal or an Incorporeal substance; but an Incorporeal Substance is the same with an Incorporeal Body: If Corporeal, then either the world or a part of it, for there can be nothing beside; but it can be neither, because by God is meant the Author of the World, and therefore [Page 11] they who say the World or any part of it is God, say it has no Cause, and so that there is no God. What Demonstration can be fuller and plainer than this, that the Deity can be no Being distinct from the Universe, nor the Universe itself, nor any part of it, and therefore is no­thing? But though it be demonstrable from the Nature of Things that there is no God, yet he tells us the belief of a Deity is necessary upon the Authority of Revelation, and out of reverence to the Publick Laws. Though he has peremptorily determined that none can know the truth of a Revelation made to another, but they to whom God himself has revealed it supernaturally, so that no Revelation, unless immediately made to my self, can be of any use to me in this Enquiry. And though he had not thus carefully prevented its proper effi­cacy, yet when he comes to it we shall find him as much concerned to destroy the Grounds of believing any Revela­tion, as here he is to take away the Proof of a Deity from the Nature of the Universe, and as for his Reverence to the Publick Laws, it is nothing else but his Declaration of Atheism repeted, [Page 12] viz. that though I Thomas Hobbs have no ground to believe that there is any such Being as a Deity in the World, nay though I am able to demonstrate the contrary to all the World, yet for Fa­shion-sake, and out of compliance with the Custom of my Country, I care not though I say that there is one, only I desire all people to do me the right as to observe that I only say so, and not think me so mean a Philosopher as in good earnest to believe so.

And in the same manner that he has destroyed the Evidence of a Deity, has he taken away the Obligation of all his Laws of Justice and Honesty, by sup­posing such a State of Nature, in which mankind being exempt from all Govern­ment may do whatever they please with­out the violation of any Law. Which to suppose is to suppose no Deity; for if there be a Deity, there can be no sup­position of any such State of Nature in which Mankind can be exempted from his Government. And here too he de­monstrates contradictions from the same Topick. All men being by Nature of equal Power, and therefore mutually fearing each other, right reason dictates [Page 13] to every man to defend himself by force and hostility. And yet because all o­ther men are of equal power with him­self, and that state of Hostility is very unsafe and uncomfortable, therefore the very same right Reason dictates to every man to seek the Friendship, as much as in him lies, of all men. But though right Reasons Natural State of Peace be so Mathematically demon­strated, yet in the supposition of its more Ancient State of War lyes the whole mystery of Mr. Hobbs his Morals and Politics; which being founded up­on the former supposition, that there is no Governour of the World, that alone for ever takes away the Obligation of all the Laws of Nature.

For though he afterwards in his con­tradictory way to himself, would, when men have entered into compacts, bring them all under the Laws of Justice, yet as he goes about to establish them, he would have them bind without any Sanction, that is, without any power of binding. For having no Obligation but by vertue of mutual Compact, and this mutual Compact being entered into only for private Interest, as every man [Page 14] for that reason may observe them, so for the same Reason whenever he ap­prehends it beneficial to himself, he is obliged, as he will be true to his Fun­damental Principle of Self-Interest, to break them.

So that the Laws of Nature, as he has founded them, are but so many Artifices of Craft and mutual Hypocrisie, where­by mankind pretend and profess faith­ful Obedience to the Rules of Justice, and a sincere endeavour to procure the good and welfare of the Community, yet every man resolves inwardly within himself, that he will do neither, but meerly when it tends to his private Ad­vantage, and so he can any way ad­vance that, what cares he what mis­chief he does either to the Private or Public Interest of all the men in the world beside: An honorable account this of Mr. Hobbs his honesty. But of his Notions of Natural Religion I shall not here discourse any farther, finding it done more largely elsewhere, and there­fore I have here made this brief repre­sentation of it only, that I might give at one view a complete account of the Hobbian Religion. But our present bu­siness [Page 15] is to enquire into his Principles concerning the Church of England, or rather the Christian Church, the Church of England being nothing but that part of it, that is planted in the Kingdom of England. And here all his Notions of the Church are resolved into one Fundamental Principle, that the Sover­eign Power in every Common-Wealth is the sole Founder of all revealed Re­ligion, and that whatever pretences, true or false, may be made to Divine Revelation, they can have no Obliga­tory Power, unless they can obtain it from the Sovereign Authority, and if they can, then whether true or false, they are of equal Force and Obligati­on to the Consciences of men. Which is in express words to affirm that all re­vealed Religion is no Religion. And yet he is every where so plain and pe­remptory in this rank assertion, which concludes our Blessed Saviour a profli­gate Impostor, that I can not but charge it as a reproach upon the Church of England, that such open Blasphemy should be suffered so long to pass so freely without Censure or Punishment. For having first been so impudent as to [Page 16] define all Religion to be nothing else than the allowance of some Public Tales, from thence he proceeds in his Mathematical method to inform us, that the Christian Religion neither is nor can be of any Authority in any Common-Wealth, otherwise than as it is owned and ratified by the Supream Secular Powers: so that if Cromwel or any other Sovereign Prince be pleased to command his Subjects only to renounce their Saviour and their Christian Faith and declare themselves Jews or Mahume­tans, in that Case they are indispensably bound to Obedience, in that it is not possible for the Christian or any other Law to have any binding force than what it receives from the Arbitrary Power of the Civil Magistrate. And agreeable to that General Proposition the Philosopher is pleased to inform us, Leviath. c. 23. 14 that the whole Power of instructing the people in any Religion is derived from the Sovereign Prince. That the c. 26. Subjects of every Common-Wealth ought to receive every thing as the Law of God that the Civil-Laws declare to be so. That by the Doctrine which the c. 35. Sovereign commands to be taught we [Page 17] are to examine and try the Truths of those Doctrines, which pretended Pro­phets, with Miracle or without, shall at any time pretend to advance. That c. 42. Moses made the Scripture Canonical, as civil Sovereign of the Common-wealth. That our Saviour gave his Apostles power to Preach and Baptise in all parts ib. p. 311. of the World, supposing they were not by their own lawful Sovereign forbid­den. That the new Testament had not ibid. the force of Law, till it received it from the Authority of Constantine the Great. That the civil Magistrate has originally in himself, and by vertue of his Sove­reign ibid. Supremacy a power of ordaining Priests and administring Sacraments. That Christian Kings are the only Pa­stors of the Christian Church, and that c. 43. the faith of all their Subjects depends only upon their Authority. And he is so entirely possessed with this notion of Kingly power, that he allows no other Authority to God himself. And thus when he appoints the punishment of death to false Prophets, because they tempt the People to revolt from the Lord their God: These words (he tells us) to revolt from the Lord your God c. 32. [Page 18] are equivalent to revolt from your King; for they had made God their King by Pact at the foot of Mount Sinai. So that had they not obliged themselves by that Covenant, it had been no sin to worship other Gods, i. e. it is all one in itself to worship the true and to wor­ship false Gods, which is plainly to say, there is none at all. And as for the worship they paid to the God of Israel, it was not due to him as Sovereign of the Universe, but only as their King by Pact; and so is no more than what eve­ry Subject owes to his Sovereign. And c. 35. therefore he in express terms defines the Kingdom of God to be a civil Kingdom, and to this purpose he expounds the third Commandment, That they should not take the name of God in vain; that c. 42. is, that they should not speak rashly of their King, nor dispute his Right, nor the Commissions of Moses and Aaron his Lieutenants. And this was the end of our Saviours coming into the World to ibid. restore unto God by a new Covenant the Kingdom, which being his by the old Covenant had been cut off by the Rebellion of the Israelites in the Ele­ction of Saul. And the same account [Page 19] he gives of Christianity it self; that it is only receiving our Saviour for King. So that when St. Paul says to the Gala­tians, That if himself, or an Angel from c. 3 [...]. Heaven preach any other Gospel to them, than he had preached, let him be accursed. That Gospel was, that Christ was King, so that all Preaching against the power of the King received, in consequence to these words is by St. Paul accursed; for his speech is addressed to those, who by his Preaching had already received Je­sus for the Christ, that is to say, for King of the Jews. So that it seems we owe no other duty to our Saviour than if he had been only a temporal Messias, seeing all that is due to him is only by vertue of that covenant, whereby we receive him for our King. Neither is this King­dom c. 42. of his present, but is to be esta­blished upon the Earth after the general Resurrection, and therefore by vertue of that Pact that the faithful make with him in Baptism, they are only ob­liged to obey him for King, whensoever he shall be pleased to take the Kingdom upon him.

Now barely to represent this Train of absurdities is more than enough to [Page 20] confute them, in that they all resolve in­to this one gross Contradiction: That for the ends of Government we are ob­liged to believe and obey the Christian Religion as the Law of God: And for the same ends of Government, we are to understand that we owe no other Obe­dience to it, than as it is injoyn'd by the Law of man. But though such manifest Trifles deserve not the civility of being confuted; yet it is fit to let Mr. Hobbs his credulous Disciples (and in all my Conversation I never met with a more ignorant or confident Credulity) un­derstand after what a childish rate their mighty Master of Demonstration proves these, and indeed every thing else; For he has but one way of pro­ving all things: First, to define his own Opinion to be true, and then by vertue of that Definition prove it to be so. And for an undenyable proof of this, we will take a review of all the fore­mention'd propositions, where we shall find all his Mathematical Demonstrati­ons to be nothing else but so many Po­sitive and Dogmatical Tautologies. Thus when he proves there can be no first Mover, because he has already de­fined, [Page 21] that nothing can move it self, from whence it demonstratively follows, that all motion must be Eternal; for other­wise, if we assert an Eternal first cause, we run upon that desperate absurdity that somthing may move it self. He had argued full as Mathematically, that no­thing can move it self, because I say no­thing can move it self. So again when he proves that God is neither the Uni­verse, nor a part of it, nor somthing be­side; he had argued as well, had he said, That there is no Being distinct from the Fabrick of the World, because there is none. So again those Books only can be Law in every Nation, that are esta­blisht for such by the Sovereign Autho­rity; because a Law, as I have already defined it, is nothing else than the Com­mand of that man, or Company of men that have the Supreme Power in every Common-wealth, from whence, says he, it unavoidably follows that nothing can be a Law, but what is Enacted by the Sovereign Power. And so it would have followed as unavoidably, if he had only said, That the Sovereign only can make Law, because the Sovereign only can make Law. And yet upon this one [Page 22] mighty Demonstration are built all the other bold assertions, that I have colle­cted out of his Books, that the Sove­reign Prince is Sovereign Prophet too, that he is sole Pastor to the People of his Kingdom, that he has the only Pow­er of ordaining Priests, and interpreting Scripture; That Moses and Constantine by vertue of their Kingly Power made the Scriptures Canonical and all the rest, which is no more than to say, That there can be no Law of God, because there can be no Law beside the Law of man. And therefore it is needless to pursue them singly, only I cannot but observe that when he makes teaching any Do­ctrin against the Will of the Sovereign Prince, to be a certain sign of a false Prophet; he has obtain'd his design of insinuating, that both Moses and our Saviour were manifest Impostors, in that they both proceeded contrary to the Commands of the present Powers, and that is the true Account of Mr. Hobbs his Religion: That though they were indeed Impostors and Rebels to the State, yet having had the Fortune to gain Authority in the World, and being own'd by the Laws of Christendom, [Page 23] they ought to be acknowledged by all men as Divine Persons as they pretended to be. And as his honourable notion of mankind was, that notwithstanding all their pretences to Justice and Honesty, they were only a pack of dissembling Knaves; so his notion of a Christian Church is nothing else than an associati­on of Atheistical Hypocrites professing Christianity, but not believing it. He had better have said, that there is no Church at all. And so when he tells us that it is lawful for a good Christian to deny his Christian Faith when his Sove­reign commands him; he had better have expresly said, that there is no such thing as a good Christian at all. For the Reason he gives that profession with the Tongue is but an outward thing, and no more than any other Gesture, where­by we signifie our Obedience, which may be honestly done, so we hold firm­ly in the heart the Faith of Christ; this Liberty, if once allowed, would autho­rize all the Villany in the world; for Perjury it self is but an external thing, and will by this means become lawful, so a man believe in his heart the contrary to what he says with his mouth. But [Page 24] when to this he adds, that indeed such Persons as have a calling to Preach, are obliged, if called to it, to suffer Martyr­dom for their Religion, but none other, no more being required of private Chri­stians but their own Faith; He little considers that by this new kind of pri­viledge, that he out of his great kind­ness grants the Clergy, he has contra­dicted his whole design. For if they may lawfully persist to death in Preach­ing the Gospel contrary to the Com­mands of the civil Sovereign; then the case is plain, that all Subjects are not bound to profess that Religion which the Sovereign enjoyns, which once granted, the whole cause of Leviathan is overthrown. And as by this particu­lar kindness to the Clergy, he has run himself upon a flat Contradiction to his whole Design, so has he renounced his Argument against Martyrdom. For when he proves that a Christian may de­ny his Faith, because profession is but an outward Ceremony; it is no more in a Clergy-man, and therefore as lawful and innocent in him as in any other. Howe­ver they are very much obliged to him for this singular kindness and civility to [Page 25] them, especially at that time when they enjoyed this his priviledg so highly as they did at the time of publishing his Book. All the Orthodox Clergy being then treated with a more barbarous cru­elty than the ancient Christians were by any of the Heathen Persecutors, great numbers of them being then stinking to death in the holes and bottoms of rot­ten Ships. And therefore when the Clergy were in that woful Condition, for him so impertinently to suggest, as he does immediately after; That no man is required to die for every Tenet that serves their Ambition or Profit; to speak very gently, this was not done like a Gentle­man. And Mr. Hobbs could not have taken a more unseasonable time to revile the Clergy than he did. For whilst they were in Prosperity indowed with good Revenues, and entrusted with great Power, if he had fall'n upon them then, Envy might have been some ground for his Malice. But at that time when they were trampled upon by the very Scum of the People, ruin'd and undone, he could have no other Temptation to do it, but meer Hatred and Malice to the Function it self. But however, though [Page 26] it be a foolish thing for any man to die for the Ambition or Profit of the Cler­gy; yet it was a truly noble thing both of the Clergy and others to sacrifise their Lives and Fortunes in the Cause of their lawful Prince against Rebels and Traytors. And it will be an eter­nal blemish upon Mr. Hobbs's Name and Memory, that when, beside the general duty of Loyalty, he had received many particular Favours and Obligations from his Prince, he should not only desert him himself, but should publish this Book on purpose to persuade the whole Nation, that it was so far from being any way bound to adhere to their lawful Prince, that they were brought under an Obligation of Allegiance and Loy­alty to the then brutish Usurper; whom he flattered to so high a degree of Tyranny as to advise him to require of all men, not only a Submission to his brutal Power, but an Approbation of all his wicked Actions, a thing so infinitely vile and dishonourable, that it exceed­ed the wickedness of the Tyrant him­self. Now men of these irreligious Principles are so far from being fit Mem­bers of a Christian Church, that they [Page 27] are not worthy to live in any humane Society, in that they blow up the foun­dations of all Government, as well as Religion. For Loyalty or a sense of duty to lawful Governours is founded upon no other Principle, than the Ob­ligation of Conscience towards God; So that those men that set Subjects loose from that, turn them loose to Rebellion. And therefore, though the notion of a Deity be nothing else than an empty Doublet, an Hat, and a crooked Stick set up by Princes to scare fools to Obe­dience, it concerns them to keep those men out of their Fields, who go about to destroy the Reverence of their Scare­crow. However these men are not to be admitted to any Disputes about Church-government, who will not al­low any such thing as a Church, when the Dispute proceeds only upon that Supposition. And therefore I shall leave them to enjoy the vanity of their own Conceits, and proceed to the second Adversary, who grants a Church found­ed by Divine Right, but no right of Government within it self.

And as in the former we have seen the power of Ignorance joyn'd with [Page 28] Pride and Vanity, so here may we see the Impotency of Learning joyn'd with Prejudice and Passion. For this learn­ed Gentleman has spared for no pains in this Argument, he has ransackt all Au­thors, and all Languages to serve his Cause; he set aside many years for com­posing his Work, and indeed seems to have made it the main design of his Life. And whatever first engaged him to undertake the Argument (and it is usually reported that the Provocation was so very slight, that I cannot but think it beneath the Spirit of so great a man) he has prosecuted it with greater Zeal and Keenness than he expresses in other Writings. Nay, he cannot for­bear upon all occasions digressing into this Subject, insomuch that this is the main matter of his Preface to his Book de Anno Civili, the Subject whereof, one would think, is remote enough from this Argument. And yet after all his ex­pence of Pains and Learning, he has been so far from serving the purpose of his Design, that he has directly opposed it. And if he had only studied to fur­nish the Church with Arguments to ju­stifie her Authority and Jurisdiction, [Page 29] he could not have done her more ser­vice than he has done by this violent Attempt upon it. This, I know, cannot but seem a very strange Charge against a Person of his Parts and Learning; but therein, I say, appears the strength of Prejudice and Partiality, that it puts men beside the use of their Natural Under­standings, and hires them to set their Wits on work only to serve a Cause or gratifie a Passion. And when once a man has taken up a Falshood to defend, the more Skill and Learning he spends upon it, the worse it is; for when an Errour is but slightly maintain'd, the mistake may proceed from Inadverten­cy, but when it is asserted with great Industry and long Study, that discovers the man to be under a setled and habi­tual misunderstanding. And when all is done, every thing will be True or False as it is, whether we will or no. And if the Power of the Church be setled up­on Divine Right, 'tis not all the Wit, nor all the Eloquence, nor all the Learn­ing in the World that can unsettle it; the Winds may blow, and the Waves may beat, but they can never shake it, because it is founded upon a Rock. For [Page 30] a proof hereof I shall, first, give a brief Account of this learned Authors method of Discourse; and then, secondly, in the same way of arguing, by which he en­deavours to destroy the Original power of the Church, I shall undertake to make out a demonstrative proof of its Divine Authority. Only I must pre­mise, that whereas he treats only of the Power of Excommunication, that Dis­pute must involve in it all other Acts of Government, in that they are all supposed by the Power of inflicting Punishment.

Now Mr. Seldens Account of the rise of Excommunication is briefly this, that it was never establisht in the Jewish Church by any Divine Command; that there was no use of it, whilst they enjoy­ed the Civil Power among themselves; and therefore that we meet with no Footsteps of it till after the Babylonian Captivity; and that then and there it was first taken up among the Jews by Confederacy and mutual Compact. For being then deprived of all judicial Pow­er, and zealous for the honour of their Nation, they covenanted among them­selves to punish all contumacious Offen­ders against their Laws and Customs by [Page 31] Excommunication. Which consisted of two things, First, solemn Imprecation of the Divine vengeance. Secondly, Sepa­ration from their Converse, that partly by the fear of the Wrath of God, and partly by shame and modesty they might be brought to Repentance, which as it was no proper Jurisdiction, so it could take no effect not only against the will of the Sovereign Power, but of every refractory Offender, that might, if he pleased, despise their Sentence and in spite of it, enjoy the liberty of his own Conversation. And therefore to make the Sentence appear more terrible to the People, they expressed it in the same forms of Speech, in which Moses expressed Capital punishments, which is the thing that gave the Occasion to learned men of mistaking, as if the same Phrases had signified the same thing from the beginning, though the only intention of the Jews was thereby to declare, that they would no more own Excommunicate persons to be Members of their Society, than if they had been cut off from it by a sentence of Death; and that if it were in their Power, they would not spare to do it according to [Page 32] the Law of Moses. That this sentence related only to their Civil Liberties, and was no abridgment of their freedom as to publick Worship; and though the Offender upon whom it passed, was said to be cast out of their Synagogue, yet that is to be understood as it was their Court of Judicature, not their place of Worship, and so signifies Civil Out-law­ry, not Ecclesiastical Excommunication. But though this Device was at first made use of in this case of necessity for want of more effectual Government; yet ha­ving once obtained the Power of cu­stom among them, when they were re­stored to their Country and Civil State they reserved it among their Civil Pe­nalties, and used or omitted, alter'd or abated its Exercise according to discre­tion, as is wont to be done in all other Acts of humane Judicature. That this was the State and Notion of the thing in the time of our Saviour and his Apo­stles, who took it up in imitation of the Jews, and therefore expressed it by the same forms of Speech, so that in their Discourses it signified no other Separati­on than what it did among the Jews. That thus the Use of it continued till [Page 33] the open breach between the Jews and Christians, and then the Christian Church being wholly separated from the Jewish into a Society by it self, they en­ter'd into such a Confederacy among themselves, as the Jews did in the time of their Captivity, of inflicting censures upon such as by their unchristian Pra­ctices should bring scandal upon the Church. That this Power at first resi­ded in the whole Congregation, not in any particular Officer, and that thus it continued till the Ambition of the Bi­shops wrested it into their own hands, and for it pretended the Authority of our Saviour's Commission. And so they enjoyed it till the time of Constantine the Great, who taking the Church into his Care and Government, reassumed this Power to himself as a natural Right of the Sovereign Prerogative; and so it descended to all his Successors in the Empire, who, as appears by the Records of every Age, varied its Use and exercise at their own pleasure. And as Princes came into the Church, this Right of course Escheated to them, and was ac­cordingly challenged by them, as is large­ly proved by the History of Europe, [Page 34] and particularly of our own Nation. This is the short Account of his long Performance; the sum whereof is, That Excommunication had no Divine, but meerly an humane Original, and that it is no Ecclesiastical, but a civil Punish­ment, and therefore that it appertains not to the Church, but to the civil Ma­gistrate.

Now to Answer, or rather Confute all this, I need only to represent, That the Christian Church is a Society founded upon the immediate Charter and Com­mand of our Saviour, whereby he has obliged all the Members of it to the open profession of the Christian Faith, and to Communicate in the Sacraments and all other Ordinances of publick Worship; which Society is so far from having the least Dependence upon the Civil Power, that it was at first Erected not only without the Allowance, but against the Edicts and Decrees of all the Powers of the Earth; and subsisted so apart from all Kingdoms and Com­mon-wealths for above 300 years; all which time, though it borrowed no Force or Assistance from the Imperial Laws, yet by vertue of our Saviours [Page 35] Divine Authority it obliged all Christi­ans to embody together into a visible Society. Which Obligation is not only distinct from, but antecedent to all hu­mane Laws that require the same thing. And therefore in a Christian state men are not Christians by vertue of the Law of the Common-wealth, but it is the Law of God that constitutes the Being and Formality of a Christian Church. Now this being granted me, which can­not be denyed without denying the foundations of the Christian Faith, the whole cause of Erastianism is run upon a palpable Contradiction. For if the Church be a Society founded upon Di­vine Right, it must have at least as much Power of Government within it self as is necessary to its own Peace and Pre­servation; otherwise it is no Society, much less of any Divine Appointment. And if it be indued with a Power of Government, it must have a Power of inflicting penalties upon Offenders, be­cause without that the common sense of mankind will tell us, that all Govern­ment is ineffectual. And then as it is a Society, so it is no civil Society, as ap­pears by our Saviours own Declaration, [Page 36] that his Kingdom is not of this World; and by the fundamental Principle of these men, that for that very reason maintain it cannot be indued with any juridical Authority. From all which, viz. That it is a Society, but no civil Society; that every Society must have Govern­ment, and all Government a Power of inflicting Penalties: what can more de­monstratively follow, than That its Pe­nalties are distinct from those that are inflicted by the civil Power; and if so, that then Excommunication in the Chri­stian Church, whatever it is, must be something distinct from all civil Inflicti­ons? So that methinks Mr. Hobbs his Notion is much more Coherent with it self, for whilst he allows the Church no Right of Society, but what is granted it by the civil Government; it is but rea­sonable, that the Power upon whose Charter it subsists, should retain to it self the Authority of governing it ac­cording to the Laws and Rights of its own [...]stitution. But to derive all its Rig [...] of Society from God, and at the same time allow it no Power of Govern­ment, but from the State; is that gross Contradiction I charge them with, in [Page 37] that Society without Government, is no Society. So that this one Notion, That the Church is a spiritual Corporation, distinct from the Common-wealth, and antecedent to its being embodied to it, prevents and anticipates all the Erastian Arguments, because that alone plainly infers, that it must be endued with a ju­risdiction distinct from the civil Govern­ment. And indeed the main Dispute depends upon this one Principle, Whe­ther the Church be a Society founded by Divine Institution? if it be, that alone vests it with a Power of Excom­munication; if it be not, it is in vain to strugle against Conclusions, when we have once own'd the Premises, for then are we clearly return'd back to the Church of Leviathan, that stands uponno other Foundation than that of humane Laws. Now upon this immoveable Principle, I joyn Issue with our learned Authour, and shall wait upon him through all parts of his Discourse, and through all Ages of the world, as he has divided them into six Epochas (1) From Adam to Moses (2) From Moses to the Captivity, (3) From the Captivity to our Saviour, (4) From our Saviour to [Page 38] the end of the first Century, (5) From the end of the first Century to the Reign of Constantine, (6) From Con­stantine to our own Age; of all which he has endeavour'd severally to prove, that there was either no such thing as Excommunication in Use; or if there were, that it was a meer humane Inven­tion. First, he undertakes to prove, Cap. 11. that there was no such punishment as Consistorian Excommunication in all the interval from the Creation to Moses. For whereas it is the custom of some zealous men to fetch all things from the beginning of the World, they have here it seems exemplified this matter in the Fall of Lucifer from Heaven, in the ex­pulsion of Adam from Paradise, and in the banishment of Cain from the Society of mankind. Now in answer to these, he replies two things, First, that these punishments were not properly Excom­munication; Secondly, that if they were, examples are not enough to make a Di­vine Law. I will freely grant him both, and yet infer from hence, what is enough to my purpose. The necessity of Government to the preservation of Society, and of inflicting penalties to [Page 39] the preservation of Government. When it appears from hence, that even God himself, who is endued with infinite Wisdom and Power, has no other moral way, but this to govern the world. And that is all, that in this part of the Dis­pute can be material to our present Ar­gument; for the Dispute being divided into two parts, Whether there be such a punishment as Excommunication, and Whether the Power of inflicting it be appropriate to certain Officers of our Saviours appointment: I suppose no man ever pretended to prove that our Saviour at the beginning of the World instituted an Apostolical order of men for the government of Religion, so that here all the Controversie that can be, is, Whether there were not an absolute necessity of some jurisdiction in this, as well as all other matters of humane life? and for it we have our Authour's full suffrage, proving in his first and second Chapters, that the sons of Noah, and the Patriarchs, who lived before the Law, must have had their Courts of judica­ture, tam circa Sacra quàm Profana, from the nature and end of Society, in that without this Power it must unavoidably [Page 40] fall into disorder and confusion. Utrum aurem praefecturae fuerint illis tunc temporis juridicae, tametsi nulla omnino restarent earundem in sacris literis alibive vestigia, non magis esset dubitandum, quàm, utrùm in societatem vitae civilem coalescerent tunc ipsi, atque animalia, ut genus humanum re­liquum, essent politica, rectèque ac honestè, pro seculi persuasione, vivendi rationem omnino inirent; atque ut Dubia, Lites, Controversiae cum effectu civili, i. e. judici­orum executione dirimerentur, scelera ac delicta cohiberentur, adeoque in Officiis contineretur quisque suis curaret. And therefore he makes all Government to be establisht by the Law of Nature, as being absolutely necessary to the preser­vation of all humane Society. Which if he would but have applyed to the case of the Christian Church, it would have prevented the pains of all his en­suing Discourses; for that being a Soci­ety of it self, as founded upon Divine Right; and Power of governing it self, being necessary to Society, what can be more evident from the nature of things themselves, than that the Church must be endued with such a Power? So that once supposing Society, that alone [Page 41] infers Government, and all the acts of it; and to this purpose our Authour ob­serves out of the Jewish Doctors (if their Authority be to any purpose) that whereas there were six Laws given by God to our first Parents to oblige all mankind, the last was de Judiciis, for as much as without that, all the rest would have been ineffectual; thus whereas Ido­latry and Blasphemy, which refer only to the Worship of God were forbid­den by the two first, they could never have had the force of Laws among mankind, unless some Persons were in­dued with a power of judging of the nature of those Crimes, and inflicting punishments in pursuance of their Sen­tence, which he styles not only the Soul of Government, but the noblest faculty of that Soul, and the noblest act of that faculty. And therefore when our Au­thour disputes, whether the Christian Excommunication were taken from the Jews or the Heathen, and leaves the case doubtful, in that it was in Use among most nations, civil and barbarous, as well as the Jews, as he proves by a vast collection out of the Records of the Greeks, the Romans, Arabians, Germans, [Page 42] Gauls, Britans and others; his most pro­per conclusion would have been, That so universal a Practice could be derived from nothing less than the common sense of mankind.

The two next Periods are from Moses to the Captivity, when the Jews enjoy­ed the civil jurisdiction of their own Common-wealth; and from the Cap­tivity to our Saviour, when they were either wholy deprived of it, or limited in its exercise according to the pleasure of the Princes to whom they were sub­ject. In the first interval, he proves at large, that they had no such punishment as Excommunication strictly so called, but that all Officers whatsoever were punished with a loss or abatement of their civil Liberties But being depri­ved of the power of the Sword, or the civil Government in the time of their Captivity, they were forced, having no more effectual way, to punish Offenders against their Law by shame and disho­nour. As pregnant proofs, both these, of the necessity of Excommunication in the Christian Church, as a modest man could well have desired! For what can fol­low with greater clearness of Reason, [Page 43] than that, If the Jewish state had no Use of meer Excommunication, whilst it was indued with a power of restraining vice by the civil Sword; and that when it was deprived of this Power, it was forced by the meer necessity of the thing to make Use of this punishment, that therefore the Society of the Church having no Power of temporal coercion to punish offences against the Laws of the Society, must be vested with some other power of punishment suitable to the nature and end of its Constitution? Otherwise it would be a Society founded by God himself, with­out sufficient means to govern, that is, preserve it self. And if it have a Right or power of Discipline within it self, that is the only thing that the Church demands, and that our Authour denies.

But of these two long Periods, the account as to our purpose is very short; for as for the first, it is granted on all hands, That the Rights of Church and State were granted by the same Charter, and the power of Government vested in the same Persons; and therefore all their acts of jurisdiction carried in them, ac­cording to the nature of the Society, [Page 44] both a civil and Ecclesiastical Authority. Whereas the Christian Church is of a quite different Constitution: It is a Kingdom indeed, but not of this world, indued with no temporal power, and instituted purely for spiritual ends, and therefore its Government (if it have any) must be suitable to its Institution, distinct from that of the civil State, and enforced by such penalties as are pecu­liar to the Society; the greatest where­of is, to be cast out of it, which answers to putting to death by the civil Sword. So that the different constitution of these two Societies being consider'd, it unavoidably follows, Because the Jewish Magistrates had a compleat jurisdiction in all things, that therefore the jurisdi­ction proper to the Church that has no civil Power, must be meerly spiritual; and if it have any jurisdiction proper to it self, that is enough to our purpose a­gainst them, who say it has none.

As for the second, that Excommuni­cation was taken up in the time of the Captivity, meerly to supply the want of the civil Sword; it is as clear an Instance as could have been produced of the ne­cessity of this, or the like punishment in [Page 45] all Society, where there is no other co­ercive Power. But here, by the way, though I do not doubt that this punish­ment was then first made Use of upon this ground, yet I must confess, that I am not satisfied of the Account that our Authour, and other learned men give of it out of the Talmudical Writers. For, beside that, they all writ when their Nation was debauched with Misnical and Talmudical Fables, than which it is hard to invent any thing more absurd and silly; they, who were in comparison but very modern Writers, had no other means of knowing what was done from the time of the Captivity, but from the writings of the Prophets, and the Histo­ries of those times; and therefore their Reports can have no Authority, but as justified by those ancient Records. And whereas Mr. Selden tells us, for the Reputation of his own Learning, Si cui De jure nat. & Gent. l. 2. 2. Comment in Eutych p. 54. V. Scali­ger de emendat. temp. 1 [...]. hic dubium forsan occu [...]rat, utrum corpori & scriptoribus talmuai [...]is hujusmodi in rebus quatenus historicae sunt, id est quate­nus in eis pro jure qualicunque Ebreis vete­ribus recognito atque usitato tra [...]untur, fides sit habenda, eo scilicet quod corpus il­lud quo jam habetur contextum, scriptores­que [Page 46] illi caeteri saeculorum sunt Templi urbis­que excidio recentiorum, is for san etiam du­bitabit de Justiniani seu Triboniani fide dum Modestini, Papiniani, Florentini, Alpheni, Proculi, Celsi, ejusmodi aliorum, qui trecentis aut circiter sunt Justiniano annis vetustiores, sententias atque scita ju­ris alibi non reperta. He might have observed that these two cases were vast­ly different; for there were certain Re­cords and Reports of those famous Lawyers, which were conveyed by wri­ting from age to age, as were the wri­tings of other Authors. Whereas there are no footsteps of any Monuments for the Rabinical Fable; and as they have no ancient Authority, so they discover themselves by their own foolishness, to have been the inventions of a very bar­barous and degenerate Age. so that our Authour, if he would have found a parallel case, ought not to have compa­red the Talmudical Traditions to the Digests of Justinian, but to some of the old British History (not to mention the Monk of Viterbo) who give us large Accounts of the exploits of their Coun­try, and the succession of their Princes from Adam to Brute, without any assi­stance [Page 47] of former Records. And this I take to be the case of the Talmudical Doctors, in whose Reports there is no­thing creditable concerning the ancient Jewish Church, farther than as it is con­firm'd by the ancient Writers. And therefore I find no reason to accommo­date their forms or customs of Excom­munication to the old Jews, because I find no Records of them older than themselves. And for this reason I sus­pect it to be a great mistake in Grotius, and the learned men that follow him, who whatever they find in the Talmudi­cal Writers concerning Excommunicati­on, immediately apply it to some text of Scripture, as if it were originally taken thence. Of which (though it is not much material to my purpose) I shall give a brief Account. The Talmudists then had their degrees of Excommunication, some say three, Mr. Selden says but two, neither was it inflicted only by the Court of Judicature, but by any single Person; and that either upon another, or upon himself; and that either waking or sleeping. For if any man pronounced himself, or his neighbour Excommuni­cate, it was as binding, as the Decree of [Page 48] the great Sanhedrim, or if he only dream't that he was Excommunicate, ei­ther by the Court, or any private Per­son, it was as effectual, as if it had been done with all the formalities of Law. And as any man had power to Excom­municate himself, so had any Rabbi to absolve himself, and if a man were Ex­communicate by the great Sanhedrim, he might be absolved by any three men whatsoever; with divers other ridiculous Formalities, which discover themselves to be meer inventions of the Talmudical Age, when all sense of Religion was run into idle and useless Pageantry. And therefore passing by all the rest as absurd enough of it self, I can find no Traces of their several degrees of Excommu­nication more ancient than themselves, and therefore I suspect them, not to have been in Use in the ancient Jewish Discip­line. And though Grotius interpret several texts of Scripture by them, it is manifest that he brings his Interpretati­on along with him from the Rabinical Writers, without finding any ground for it in the Text it self, as will best appear by particulars. Thus that Text, Ezra 10. 8. That whosoever would not come [Page 49] within three days according to the counsel of the Princes and the Elders all his sub­stance should be forfeited, and himself se­parated from the Congregation of those that had been carried away; seems not to have any reference to the power of Ex­communication, but only an exercise of that absolute Authority that Ezra had received from the Persian King, Chap. 7. 26. That whosoever will not do the Law of thy God, and the Law of the King, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto Death, or to Banish­ment, or to confiscation of Goods, or to Imprisonment. Now the Proclamation in the 10. Chap. being in pursuance of this Authority, can signifie nothing, but first, an exclusion from the priviledges granted by Artaxerxes to the Jews, which, as things then stood, amounted to nothing less than Banishment, and then Secondly, a confiscation of their Estates, and because the Estates to be con­fiscated were to be devoted to the ser­vice of Religion, the thing is expressed by the word [...] that signifies Conse­cration, as well Destruction. For where­as it properly and originally imports nothing but utter Ruin, yet because in [Page 50] most cases, where the People were de­sign'd to final Destruction, the Goods were reserved and dedicated to the ser­vice of God, thence the same word came to signifie Destruction and Consecrati­on. Neither does that Text of Nehe­miah sound any more to the purpose, c. 13. 25. And I contended with them, and cursed them, &c. which seem to signifie nothing more, than as Grotius himself expresses it, Nehemiam gravibus verbis etiam cum ir ae divinae comminatione usum in istos legirupas, chiding with them se­verely, and threatning them with the wrath of God. Much less is that of Daniel to this purpose, Chap. 12. 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt, i. e. says Grotius of these latter sort, erunt alij in Nidui, alij in Cherem. For supposing with him that this passage ought to be understood of the punish­ment of those, who under the persecuti­on of Antiochus had Apostatised from the worship of the true God, yet there is no imaginable foundation, were not mens minds prepossest with Talmudical Conceits, to understand it of these forms [Page 51] of Excommunication, especially that of Nidui, which was not separation, but only a keeping the distance of four pa­ces from others, was certainly a very small punishment for the greatest of sins among them, i. e. Idolatry. And lastly, (to mention no more) that of St. John the 9. and 22. seems least of all to the purpose. That the Jews had agreed alrea­dy, that if any man did confess, that he was Christ, he should be put out of the Syna­gogue. Which Grotius expounds of Nidui, because, says he, the second de­gree of Excommunication was not in­flicted upon the followers of Jesus, till after the Resurrection. But it looks very uncouth, that the great Sanhedrin who looked upon our Saviour as an enemy to Moses and their Religion, an Impostor, an Apostate, a Samaritan, which was much worse than an Hea­then, should deter the People from be­ing seduced by him with no greater pe­nalty, than of keeping four paces di­stance from their Neighbours; however when those that were under it, were notwithstanding admitted into the Sy­nagogue keeping their due dist ance, they could not be said to be cast out of [Page 52] it. In short, when there are no foot­steps of the Talmudical degrees of Ex­communication, neither in the Scripture, nor Josephus, nor in the practice of the Essenes, nor in any ancient Record; we have no reason to believe it was then in use, but on the contrary, that it was not, because otherwise, so obvious a thing could not have escaped their notice. The truth is, the plainest ac­count we have of this thing, is from the Scriptures of the New Testament, as I shall shew when I come to that head, particularly from their custom of casting out of the Synagogue, which signifies discommoning Offenders, and is com­monly expressed by the word [...] by Josephus [...] to cashire out of the Society, of which we have an eminent instance in the third Book of Maccabees, where the Egyptian Jews ex­communicated those that under the Ty­ranny of Ptolomy Philopator had sacri­fised to Idols, accounting them [...] as no better than enemies to their Nation. This was the simple practice of this thing, as far as I can find in those times, to expel them out of their Soci­ety, without variety of lesser or greater [Page 53] degrees, but whoever were excommu­nicate, were to all intents and purposes degraded from being Jews. But herein perhaps I am mistaken, and whether I am, or am not, I am as little concern'd as my cause, to which I now return. And here all that our Author has to the purpose is, that Excommunication among the Jews, was only an abatement of their Civil, not their Sacred privi­ledges, which if true, would do very little service to his Conclusion, that therefore it must be so in the Christian Church, where there are no priviledges but what are Sacred, but the principle it self is altogether ungrounded, without Authority, and without reason, and that too, though we understand it of his Talmudical Excommunication; for as he justifies the Truth of it by no Autho­rity, so the reason he gives, is as good as none, viz. That those under Nidui were admitted into the Synagogue. And so they were, as they were admitted to civil Conversation, keeping their di­stance of four paces, and from thence alone it is reasonable to conclude, that as the sentence proceeded higher, so it was raised in both kinds of punishments. [Page 54] However there is one Argument to prove the Jewish Excommunication to be a sacred, as well as civil Interdiction, and that so very obvious, that it is im­possible that our learned Author could have overlooked it, had not his eyes been so wholly fixt upon his own Hypo­thesis. And that is this, that they looked upon all excommunicate Persons as no Jews, or as we cited before out of the third Book of the Maccabees, as enemies to the Jewish Nation; and then it is suf­ficiently known to all men, That no such were admitted to the publick service.

And so we come to the Period of the Christian Church, which is divided into three Ages, the first, during the time of our Saviour and his Apostles; The se­cond, from their death, or the end of the first Century, to the Reign of Constan­tine; The third, from the Reign of Con­stantine, down to our own times. And that Excommunication in the first age of the Church, was of the same nature with that of the Jews, our learned Au­thor demonstrates, because our Saviour and his Apostles practised it in imitation of their Discipline. Though for my part, I cannot understand how any [Page 55] thing can follow more plainly than that Excommunication, if it were a civil pu­nishment among the Jews, must be meer­ly Sacred among the Christians. For if the Jews took it up, as our Author will have it, only to supply their want of civil Government, it must therefore, as he rightly infers, be used by them as a civil Penalty. Then when our blessed Saviour instituted the same in his Church, it must not be a civil, but a sa­cred Penalty, because his Church is no civil, but a sacred Society. If indeed Christians, as Christians confederated together to maintain their secular Inte­rests, that would make temporal punish­ments necessary to the preservation of their Confederacy. But when they enter into a Society, purely to enjoy some spiritual Rights and Priviledges, then all separation from the Society by way of Punishment, can be nothing else than debarring them from those Rights and Priviledges. So that if Excommu­nication among the Jews was, as our Au­thor contends, the same with Out-lawry as to their civil Rights, what can be more evident than that it can be no such thing among Christians, because as such [Page 56] they have no civil Rights to lose. And for this reason, whereas he concludes, that because Excommunication was ta­ken up into the Christian Church in imitation of the Jewish Discipline, that therefore it was the same, if he had con­sider'd things instead of words, he would have been so far from making his own Conclusion, that he would have concluded that, if one were civil, the other was not. So that when our Sa­viour established the Customs of his Country in his Church, it is manifest from the nature of his Church, which was a spiritual Kingdom, that he never intended it should be exercised in any other matters, than what were peculiar to his Religion; or if he did, that he lost his Intention. And therefore it seems no better than meer obstinacy in our Author, to insist upon it so impor­tunately, that Excommunication in the Christian Church must be the same with the Jewish, because borrowed from it, when for that reason alone it must be different, because so were the Societies, to which they related. And he might as well have argued that the Christian Baptism was the same with that of the [Page 57] Jews, because it is the form of Prosely­tism in both, whereas by one men be­come Jews, by the other Christians. And of the same nature is Excommunication, for as by that we are admitted into the Church, so by this are we cast out of it. And whereas our Author will have it to have been the same thing both among Jews and Christians, because it is ex­pressed by the same Phrases, it is as ab­surd, as if he should go about to prove that no man can be banisht out of Eng­land, because he may be banisht out of France, for though banishment out of both Kingdoms be the same punishment, yet were their banishments out of diffe­rent Kingdoms: so by Excommunica­tion among the Jews (passing Mr. Seldens account of it) were men cast out of the Common-wealth, and all the Rights of it, and among the Christians out of the Church, and all the benefits belong­ing to it. And therefore, unless he could prove that there is no difference be­tween the Christian Church, and Jewish Common wealth, it is in vain for him to insist thus weakly upon the fignifica­tion of words, for that is determined by the nature of things, and therefore [Page 58] where they are different, there is no avoiding it, but that the words by which they are expressed, must signifie diffe­rent things.

But this being premised, our Author divides his Discourse into two parts, First, to enquire what was the use of Excommunication in the Apostolical Age; Secondly, upon what right it was founded; as for the first, he alledges se­veral Texts of Scripture, as Gal. 1. 8. Though we, or an Angel from Heaven preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be Anathema. 1 Cor. 16. 22. If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran Atha. But to what purpose this, is past my Comprehension: For the only design of the Argument, is to prove that the Apostolical Excom­munication was meerly Jewish, as he had before proved that the Jewish was meer­ly civil. Now can any man imagine that such dreadful Curses as these should signifie no more than a separation from Neighbours Commerce? especially, when it is evident, that St. Paul strain'd for the highest expressions of misery; and therefore to heighten his sense, he [Page 59] supposes an impossible thing, that an Angel from Heaven should teach a false Religion, which, says he, if he should, let him be Anathema, i. e. says our Au­thour keep him not Company, a dread­ful punishment to an Angel. As for the second Text, it is so high a Curse, that all Authors are at a loss for its mean­ing, though among all the Conjectures about the signification of Maranatha, I think none more probable than that of Grotius: Eâ voce oratur Deus ut quamprimum talem maleficum & seducto­rem tollat ex hominum numero. It was a casting out of the Church attended with a prayer to Almighty God to take the Offender out of the World; which was rarely done, and only in such cases, as is here supposed, when men were not only wicked, but powerful Agents, and Instruments of Wickedness; as in the case of Julian, whom the Christian Church did not only Excommunicate for his Apostasie, but because, beside that he set himself to destroy Christianity, they prayed to God, that for its preser­vation he would speedily remove him out of the World. But whatever it sig­nified, it was something more than a [Page 60] meer Restraint of familiar Conversation, or it was nothing at all. For what pu­nishment could it be to any man, who disown'd Christianity to be deprived of the Conversation of Christians, in an heathen City, where the Religion was a Novelty, and when their Company was so far from being desirable, that it could only expose a man to contempt and scorn? But however, granting this slen­der Interpretation of these Texts, what can be more absurd, than that the Apo­stle only by vertue of a Jewish Power, should Excommunicate all that opposed our Saviours Religion, both when he had no such Power, and when the Jews were the main enemies that opposed it? And yet that is the only thing that our Author undertakes in this Chapter, That there was then no Excommunica­tion in the Christian Church, but by vertue of the Jewish Authority.

The last instance of Apostolical Pra­ctice, is St. Pauls proceeding against the incestuous Corinthian, which, one would think is as clear a Precedent, of Ecclesi­astical Jurisdiction, as could have been left upon Record. And yet this must be rejected as a miraculous and extraordi­nary [Page 61] case, and is not to be understood for the power of Excommunication, but for the then Apostolical power of inflicting Diseases, though nothing can be expressed in plainer words, than St. Pauls commanding the Corinthians, to put such an one from among them, for what else can that signifie than to expel him their Society? And what if any mira­culous Effect followed it? that was not the punishment which the Apostle in­joyn'd the Corinthians to inflict upon the Offender, for they were not, as is agreed on all hands, endued with any such Power. But all that he required of them, was to cast him out of their Church, and therefore in his second Epistle upon the offending parties Re­pentance, he counsels them to restore him, 2 Cor. 2. And that, whatever deli­vering to Satan may otherwise import, was all the Jurisdiction they exercised, as gather'd together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Apostles Spirit, and if any extraordinary infli­ctions ensued upon this sentence, that was only a Divine Ratification of the Churches decree. But when upon this occasion, the Apostle enjoyns the Corin­thians [Page 62] not to accompany, no not so much as to eat with scandalous Offen­ders, that says our Author, signifies no more than Davids saying, Blessed is the Psal. 1. 1. man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked: And I have not sat with vain Ps. 26. 4. persons, neither will I go with dissemblers; this brought no alteration upon the state of Offenders, but only signifies the Re­solution of particular men, as to their Conversation. It is very true, that a mans Resolution is his Resolution; but then a Command too is a Command; And that, whatever Davids case was, is the case here, where St. Paul com­mands them in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by his Apostolical Authority to expel all wicked pretenders to Chri­stianity out of their Society. And that, it is plain, was a manifest change of their state in the Christian Church, or the same thing with Excommunication.

But this for the Usage; as for the Right, our Author will allow none, but what was purely Judaical or Impe­rial, and this he proves very largely, both because at first all Christians were Jews, and none else were admitted into the Church, but Jewish Proselytes, so [Page 63] that notwithstanding their Christianity they continued the same national Inte­rest, and exercised the same acts of Go­vernment, of which Excommunication being one, it was common both to the Believing and Unbelieving Jews. That is his evidence of the Jewish Title to Ex­communication; his proof of the Impe­rial, is this, That the Emperors in their Edicts, by which they granted or abated their Priviledges, understood both Jews and Christians, and therefore by vertue of their grants, the Christians as well as Jews enjoyed their old power of Ex­communication. But to what purpose all this, I must confess, I cannot divine: For it is true, that the Christians and Jews then kept up the same National In­terest, but what is that to Excommuni­cation in the Christian Church, which was both distinct from that of the Jews, and concern'd no civil Rights? And that is our only enquiry what that Ex­communication was, that was peculiar to Christianity. For when the Christi­ans continued among the Jews as to their civil Society, the question is, that seeing notwithstanding that they exercised this power among themselves as Christians, [Page 64] whether that must not be distinct from the same Act as exercised among them as Jews. For (as our Author informs us) they were Jews to all intents and purposes, Nisi exceptis rebus illis quibus à Judaeis non credentibus necessariò atque è disciplinâ Christianâ singulari divinitus praescriptâ discriminarentur, that is to say, they were Jews to all intents and pur­poses, but of Christianity. Upon such preposterous absurdities are men forced, when they will right or wrong maintain their own Prejudices. We are at great pains to prove that the Christians had no discipline by Divine Right, and that what they had, they had in common with the Jews, and now after all, we ex­cept only that which was peculiar to the Christians, and that too instituted by Divine Right. And thus I find that our Author is forced every where up­on this Argument, to contradict his As­sertion in a Parenthesis. Thus, Chap. 13. p. 494. Quidnam ibi quo minus tum regimen circa tam sacra Christiana quàm prophana, publicum, tum ipsa excommuni­catio, ut ante (causis tantum aliquot novis pro persuasionis discrimine introductis) utpote inter mores Judaicos illibata, undi­quaque [Page 65] ab illis exerceri, nec aliter debuisset. Our whole design is to prove, that there was no Excommunication among the primitive Christians, but that of the Jews, nor none among the Jews, but what was purely civil, and now at last we except in a Parenthesis as it were by the by, all cases that came in upon the account of their new Persuasion, that is to say, all cases that concern the Chri­stian Church. So p. 207. Et qui annis proximius sequentibus è Gentilibus sine Judaismi Proselytismi Christi disciplinam amplexati sunt, Judaeorum nihilominus no­mine ita simul cum reliquis Judaeis parit [...]r veniebant eorumque diu juribus aliis non paucis ita utebantur, ut non videatur om­nino dubitandum quin, inter jura illa et [...]am hoc de excommunicatione Judaica, quantum ad species ejus seu gradus (nam quantum ad causas, necessum erat ut alit [...]r se res habe­ret, quod nemo non videt) pariter à cun­ctis ut ante pro re nata adhiberetur. But if the causes for which Excommunicati­on was inflicted in the Christian Church, were (as the Parenthesis informs us) of a different nature from those for which it was inflicted among the Jews, then without any farther dispute, it is [Page 66] evident, that the exercise of the Chri­stian Excommunication was distinct from that of the Jews. So lastly (to mention no more) p. 225. Nec disci­plina illa apud eos alia quam Judaismus vere reformatus sen cum fide in Messiam seu Christum rite conjunctus. Unde Judaei omnimodi quantum ad hanc rem, in [...] credentes & [...] non cre­dentes tribui solebant. We are here pro­ving that there was no discipline in the Christian Church, but what was in the Jewish state before Christianity, but now it is the discipline of reform'd Ju­daism, i. e. of Christianity. But passing by these humble concessions, or rather contradictions, it is enough to our pur­pose, that though all Christians were Jews, all Jews were not Christians; so that though the Christians enjoyed the same Rights in common with the Jews, yet they must have some Rights peculiar to themselves as Christians. Non aliter (as our Author expresses it) atque is qui Civis Romani aliusve Reipublicae seu sodali­tii p. 12 [...]. ali [...]ujus socius jura pristina retinet, ut­cunque in persuasionem aliquam inter suos singularem pro libitu transeat. In the same manner as a Citizen of Rome retains his [Page 67] former Rights, notwithstanding he en­ters himself into any new Society; to which ought to be added, that the rights of the Society into which he en­ters himself, are distinct from those wherewith he was antecedently vested as a Citizen of Rome. And therefore all this long discourse is quite beside the purpose, that because the Christians en­joyed the same priviledges with Jews, that therefore they enjoyed none as Christians, which is to say, that there are no Christian Priviledges. And so is that of the Edicts of the Roman Emperors, who it seems knew nothing of the diffe­rence between Christians and Jews. What then, was there none because the enemies or strangers to the Church were unacquainted with its peculiar Consti­tutions? And yet here too our Author is quite beside the purpose, not only in matter of Right, but in matter of Fact, as to the Authorities he alledges, the first and chiefest whereof is the Edict of the Emperour Claudius for the banishment of all Jews from Rome, by vertue where­of (says he) Aquila who was a Chri­stian was banisht too; and very good reason, because he that was a Christian [Page 68] was a Jew too, and if he was banisht as a Jew, it is no matter whether he were a Christian or not, when the Edict was made against the whole nation of the Jews. His other instance is out of Celsus, who objects it both against the Christians and Jews, that all that great difference they made about their Messias was about a very trifle. But does Mr. Selden think that Celsus his Authority is sufficient to prove it so? If he does, then I must confess that Celsus and him­self seem to have been much of the same opinion, for he frequently tells us that the Christians and Jews were the same men, only that those were believers, these unbelievers, as if the difference were as inconsiderable, as Celsus made the com­ing of the Messias. But if his Autho­rity be not sufficient, as I suppose no good Christian will grant it is, especially in this case, then it's here alledged apparent­ly to no purpose. And whereas he adds that Origen answers, that the Jews, who believe in Jesus, do not withstanding live according to the Laws of their Nation, he ought to have added too, that they live according to the Laws of their Messias. For it was that great and sa­cred [Page 69] Law of the Gospel that made a vast difference between a Jew and a Christi­an, which was so great, that it was not greater between a Jew and a Gentile. But however, if there were any diffe­rence at all, it spoils all our Authors discourse, that proceeds upon this only principle, that there was none, which is so absurd, that it has all along forced him upon the forementioned cowardly contradiction, viz. That there was none but what was made by Christianity.

But, suppose that the Christians ex­ercised a Jurisdiction among themselves by vertue of the imperial Edicts to the Jews, as he tells us: what if they had never been authorised by any such Edicts, would they have had no Autho­rity to censure or Excommunicate scan­dalous Offenders? Did St. Paul pro­ceed against the incestuous Corinthian by the grant of Claudius to the Jews to go­vern themselves by their own Laws and Customs? If he did not, then he acted by vertue of some other Authority, if he did, then when any of the following Emperours reverst this Edict, the Au­thority of St. Paul in this matter had ceased. What then became of the [Page 70] Church when Nero presently after, for­bad the exercise of Christianity, or any part of it in the Roman Empire, was not then Excommunication in the Chri­stian Church an unlawful thing? No, says our Author, because this Decree was made against the Christian Church in particular, and therefore did not deprive them of those priviledges, that belonged to them in common with the Jews. But however upon this principle it is manifest that it debarred them of this Power as peculiar to the Christian Church, and then whatever Jurisdiction they exercised as Jews, they had no right of exercising any Discipline in the name of the Lord Jesus, as St. Paul com­mands the Corinthians. And then all the Ecclesiastical Discipline that was ex­ecuted in the times of their several Persecutions was open Rebellion against the State. But beside, what if he had been pleased to reverse all priviledges granted to the Jews, then the power of Ecclesiastical Discipline must have ceased among Christians. And lastly, when he adds for his last reserve for keeping up a Discipline in the Church, contrary to the commands of the civil Power, [Page 71] the confederacy of the primitive Chri­stians, who obliged themselves by mutu­al compacts and covenants to submit to the Discipline of the Church, he should have consider'd that all such confedera­tions were upon his principles nothing less than conspiracies against the Go­vernment. For if the Church have no right of exercising any Discipline with­in it self, but by the grant of the Em­pire, then the grant of the Empire be­ing reversed, it has none at all. And thus has he fairly brought this confede­rate Discipline of the primitive Church, which he has contrived purely to avoid any Government founded upon Divine Right, into down-right Rebellion. And no wonder, when all Confederacies against the Commands of the Sovereign Power can be no better, unless, when warranted by Divine Authority.

And now it is no wonder, if after these Premises our Author begins his next Chapter with a Confession, that it does not appear when the present form of Excommunication began in the Christian Church. Quandonam primo discrepantia ejusmodi inter Christianae & Judaicae seu vetustioris Excommunicatio­nis [Page 72] effectus inciperet, non quidem satis li­quet. Sed ante Origenis ac Tertulliani etiam & Irenaei tempora, juxta jam dicta, effectum, quoad Sacrorum communicati­nis negationem, inolevisse non dubitan­dum. Though I should have thought it a sufficient proof that it descended from the Apostles when we find it in the Church immediately after them, and find no beginning of its Institution, especially when it could have no other, because the Apostles challenging no Ci­vil Authority, they could have no other power but a cutting off from the Spi­ritual Priviledges of the Christian Church. And here I cannot but re­mark it as the peculiar disingenuity of all the Adversaries both of the Govern­ment and Governours of the Church, i. e. Excommunication and Episcopacy, that they will allow their usage in all Ages of the Church but only that of the Apostles, and because they imagine that in their time there are no demon­strative evidences of their Practice, for that reason destroy their Reverence and neglect their Authority, whereas had these men the common modesty of Man­kind, they would revere them for their [Page 73] so ancient and Catholick Practice; and when with all their search they cannot discover any later beginning of them, they would conclude it at least a very fair probability that they descended from Apostolical Prescription. And in our present case one would wonder that when our Author has traced this usage both in the Eastern and Western Churches into the Age immediately af­ter the Apostles, without being able to discover any other time of its first Insti­tution, how any man should doubt of its Apostolical Antiquity. What Re­cords can be more evident than the Ca­nons of the Apostles, the Writings of Irenaeus and Tertullian, that lived in the first Century after them, and St. Cyprian in the second, who do not only men­tion this Power of the Church as a thing then in common use, but speak of it as an ancient Right derived from their Ancestors. I shall give one In­stance for all, because our Author has the boldness to quote it, and yet to overlook the Consequence, and that is out of Irenaeus, who expostulating with Victor Bishop of Rome, about his rash Excommunication of the Asiatick Chur­ches, [Page 74] thus bespeaks him, [...]: never were any men Excommunicated after this rate: Upon which our learned Author observes Excommunicationis usus qualis­cunque ut ab anterioribus seculis illuc pro­pagatus utrinque pariter tunc admittitur, from hence it appears, that on all sides the use of Excommunication was ad­mitted as descending from the foregoing Ages, after this, could any man think it possible that when he had allowed this Testimony of Irenaeus, who by his own computation flourished about Seventy years after St. John, that he should ever doubt of its being an Apostolical pra­ctice? Or could any man desire to re­duce his Adversary to a greater absur­dity than is here so frankly own'd, that Irenaeus who lived in the age immediate­ly after the Apostles should speak of this thing as the custom of former ages, and yet that there should be no such custom in the Apostolical age? And of the same nature is his discourse of the time when this power was first appro­priated to the Christian Bishops, which he confesses to be altogether unknown, though he finds it in common use in the [Page 75] time of Irenaeus and Tertullian; and that is time enough to give it right to Apo­stolick prescription, especially when he does not so much as pretend to any Re­cord that the Keys were ever in the Peoples hands. Neither has he any ground for this Imagination, but only his old conceit, that among the Jews eve­ry man had this power, and therefore among the Christians. Whereas there is not the least ground of surmise that there was any such custom among the ancient Jews, but that it was a meer off­spring of the Talmudical folly. Or if there were, yet it was too foolish to be admitted into the serious discipline of the Christian Church; for of what use could it be when any man might Excom­municate whom he pleased, and when he might be absolved from the heaviest sentence of the Court by any three per­sons that he could pack together; such ridiculous trifling is at first view too absurd to be entertain'd in the Christian Church. And as it does not appear, that the People ever exercised this pow­er de facto, so neither does it, that they could ever chalenge it de jure, in that we do not find, that our Saviour ever vested [Page 76] the Body of Believers in any Power of governing his Church, but on the con­trary, that when ever he gives out his Commissions, he ever addresses himself to particular Persons. And thus are we faln upon the main Controversie, where we ought to have begun, and where we might have ended, but he that pursues an Adversary must follow his motion, otherwise certainly the matter of right ought to have been determin'd before the matter of Fact, and therefore the first question ought not to have been, whether the primitive Christians exer­cised any such Jurisdiction, but whether they received any Commission from our Saviour for their Authority, which if either proved or disproved would prevent the following dispute concern­ing the practice of the Church, but seeing our Author is pleased to take this method, we shall tread in his steps, and thus he brings it in, that when the Bi­shops had unwarrantably assumed this Power to themselves, they justified their usurpation by pretended Patents made to themselves in several Texts of Scri­pture, as the Power of the Keys, and of binding, and loosing, and if any man [Page 77] hear not the Church, let him be unto thee as an Heathen and a Publican. And now to elude the true meaning of these and the like passages, what infinite pains has been taken by our Author and other learned men I need not represent, but whatever shifts men may invent, their true meaning discovers and clears it self by this one plain and obvious conside­ration, viz. That our Saviour had al­ready set up his Kingdom or Society of his Church, upon which supposition all these grants can signifie nothing less than a donation of Power. Thus when he chooses Officers under him, and gives the Keys of his Kingdom into their hands, what can that possibly signifie, but their Power of Government in and over the Society, especially when it was so familiar a thing in Scripture to ex­press power by Keys, and our Author himself has observed it, and proved it by a multitude of Instances. But then says he, this Power of opening and P. 237. shutting the Kingdom of Heaven is ex­ercised by preaching the Doctrine of the Gospel, by administring the Sacra­ments, by admitting fit Persons into it by Baptism, and by not admitting such [Page 78] as are unfit, and by retaining such as are already admitted. That is to say, our Author will allow the Governors of the Church all other Acts of Jurisdiction, but only this one of Excommunication, notwithstanding that it is evidently im­plyed in them all: Thus, if the Gover­nours of the Church be entrusted with a Power of Judging what Persons are fit to be admitted; then certainly, if they perform not those conditions upon which alone they are admitted, it must be in the Power of those who let them in, to turn them out. So plainly does the Power of Baptism infer that of Ex­communication, and the Power of judging who are fit members of the Church infer both. So that the Gentle­men of the Erastian persuasion would have been much more consistent with themselves, when they would not give the Church all the Acts of Power, if they would have given it none at all, for they are inseparable. And there­fore the learned and pious Mr. Thorndike has very judiciously observed, that the Epil. B. 1. c. 12. Leviathan has done like a Philosopher in making the question general, that is ge­neral indeed, though by so freely and [Page 79] generously declaring himself, he has made his Resolution more subject to be contradicted. But yet they that only dispute the Power of Excommunicati­on, as they are of the same opinion, so are they pressed with greater difficulty, only they express not so much of their meaning: for they are nevertheless to give an account what Right the secular Power can have to appoint the Persons, that shall either determine or execute matters of Religion, to decide contro­versies of Faith, to administer the Sa­craments, than if they resolved and maintain'd all this as expresly as the Le­viathan hath done.

And in the same manner does the fol­lowing Text explain it self, If he hear not the Church, let him be to thee as an Heathen, and a Publican; if we will observe upon what subject our Saviour was then discoursing, for though our Author to make the matter appear the more ambiguous, has given us a large Critical account of the words that sig­nifie Church in all Languages; if in­stead of that he had only minded our Saviour's Discourse, he must have seen that by the Church here could be un­derstood [Page 80] nothing but the Christian Church, this being one of the Laws whereby he would have the Subjects of his Kingdom to be govern'd. But our Author tells us that the Notion of the Christian Church was not then under­stood, it being a thing to come, and it is not likely that our Saviour in a mat­ter of familiar and daily use, should di­rect them to such a means as no mortal man could possibly understand. To which it is very easie to answer, that all our Saviour's Discourses procede upon the supposition of the being of his Mat. 4. 17. Church. He began at preaching the Kingdom of Heaven, and all his Ser­mons and Instructions after that, are but so many Laws and Institutions for its Government, and therefore our Savi­our's Words are so far from being doubtful or obscure, that they were not capable of being applied to any other Society, than that which he was now establishing in the World. And whatsoever was the vulgar meaning of the word Ecclesia, yet when used by our Saviour, it can be applied to no other company of men but that of his Church, and it was so far from being [Page 81] then a new word, or a new notion to the Apostles, that our Saviour had some­time before used the same Expression to St. Peter: Upon this Rock I will build my Church, which he promised him as a peculiar reward of his forward Faith. Now it cannot be supposed that our Saviour would make his promises to his Friends and Servants in unintelligible Language, and therefore it must be supposed that the Notion of the Christian Church was an intelligible thing. But if this will not do, our Author proceeds, that this Text gives no jurisdiction to the Church, but only directs private Christians how they shall behave themselves toward Offen­ders; as if the Emperour should have made an Edict, that if any Subject should not submit to the decree of his Prefect, he should be accounted by his fellow Subjects as no member of the Common-wealth; this gives the Pre­fect no new Power, but only concerns the opinion of the People. Very true, but it supposes his old Power, and so if our Saviour had antecedently vested his Church with this Power, this was no new grant but only a supposition of a former one; if he had not, then this [Page 82] was their Patent, when he refers his Subjects to their Judicature. But what­ever may be the Notion of the Church, what is there, says our Author, in the following words, Let him be to thee as an Heathen and a Publican, that sounds like Excommunication, either in the Jewish or Christian use of it? Nothing at all in the Jewish, for Heathens were never Excommunicate as having never been of the Society; neither were Pub­licans put out of the Synagogue upon the account of their being Publicans. But though Heathens were not Excommu­nicate Persons, yet Excommunicate Persons were as Heathens, and that is so plainly the meaning of the words that nothing but meer peevishness could have made the exception, and it is the same as if our Saviour should have said of an Apostate, let him be unto thee as an Infidel, and our Author should have replied upon him, How can that be? When an Infidel is one that was never a Member of the Church, and an Apo­state once was, And then as for the Publicans, though they durst not at that time Excommunicate them for that reason, for fear of the Romans, yet it is notorious that they thought them [Page 83] worthy of it, and that they were e­steem'd as no better than scandalous Sinners, Heathens, and Idolaters. But this supposed too, it is no act (says he) of the Church, but every private man, who was hereby permitted to treat the Offender as a vile Person. But this act of his supposes the power of Judica­ture in the Church, for this advice re­lates to the known power of the San­hedrin, that were wont to Excommu­nicate refractory Offenders, and there­by to put them into the state of Hea­then Men: And such it seems was to be the Authority of the Apostles, who were the great Sanhedrin in the Christi­an Church, as appears by the plain de­sign of our Saviour's discourse, when he refers all Christians to their Judica­ture, and commands them that if any man be obstinate against their Authori­ty, every man should look upon him as an Excommunicate Person, and by the sentence of the Court reduced into the state of Idolaters. But also by the words immediately following, Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven. Which words plainly declare a Power of binding in the sentence of the Church, and withall who the Church [Page 84] is, viz. The Apostles or Governours of it, to whom our Saviour addresses his speech, and vests them, and them alone with that Authority in which he had before enstated St. Peter, and promises to ratifie not the opinion of the People, but their acts of Judicature, when the People appeal to their Authority.

But neither, Secondly, (says our Author) can these words relate to the Christian Excommunication, for what punishment could there then be in being accounted of as an Heathen, when a great number of the primitive Christians were Hea­thens, or such as came into the Church without Circumcision. What in our Saviours time? did you not take a great deal of pains in the foregoing Chapter, to prove not only that then, but during all the time of the Apostles; all Chri­stians were Jews, but now it will serve your turn, the greatest part of them were Heathens. But not to insist too much upon such weak pretences, it is certain, that in our Saviours time all that were not Jews by Circumcision were esteemed as Heathens, i. e. Idolaters, and vile Persons, not fit to be admitted into their Church or Common-wealth, and [Page 85] therefore it can be of no other Import in the Christian Church: Our Saviour here accommodating, as he does every where, the known customs of the Syna­gogue to the Constitution of his Church, so that considering the vulgar manner of speaking at that time, I can­not understand, if our Saviour had de­sign'd to establish this Power, in what other words he could have expressed himself with more plainness and less ambiguity, even to the capacities of the People.

Of the Third Text, Math. 18. 18. Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth, &c. Though it is answer'd already as apper­taining to the second, our Authors ac­count is briefly this, that the words of binding and loosing, are either to be taken in their large sense of all manner of binding, but then it seems very strange to express one act of it by such compre­hensive words, and it is like describing the Ocean by a drop of Water, or the Universe by an Atom. Or if they are taken in the peculiar sense of the Jewish Writers, they then do not signifie any Jurisdiction, but only declaring what is lawful, what not, or answering cases of [Page 86] Conscience. To which I answer, that in whatever sense the words are taken, they will include in them the power of Excommunication. In the larger sense they signifie Jurisdiction, and all the parts, branches and appendages of it, and then the Power of inflicting penal­ties, which (as is well known, and our Author has often observed) gives force to all the rest, is to be understood in the first place. And therefore he might have spared his wonder, that so large a word should be taken in so narrow a sense, when that narrow sense necessari­ly infers all other things, that it does or can signifie. But however, to prevent this vain objection for the time to come, these words are not insisted upon as li­mited meerly to Excommunication, but as a general donation of Power, and therefore of this in particular, which is so considerable a branch of it. And that is it which we assert, that seeing by the Power of the Keys, the Scripture so often expresses greatness of Power, therefore the Power that is exercised by vertue of them must carry with it the full force of obligation: So that the words mutually explain each other, [Page 87] for if by the Keys given in the Sixteenth verse is signified Authority, then by binding and loosing, by which the acts of them are expressed in the Eighteenth verse, must be understood authoritative obligation; for though the word bind­ing simply put may not infer Authority, yet binding by the Keys, signifies the same thing as binding by Authority. And this would have prevented our Au­thors other notion (of which some learned men are so very fond) of bind­ing only by answering cases of Consci­ence, because, though binding alone may signifie only so much, yet binding by the Keys must signifie more. But it is notorious, that the word it self no where in the old Testament signifies any other binding than by Legislative or judicial Obligation, and whereas it is pretended that in the Talmudical Wri­ters it signifies only an interpreting of Laws without jurisdiction, it is so pal­pable a mistake, that in them it can sig­nifie nothing less than authoritative Ob­ligation, when it is so evident that their Rabbies equal'd their interpretations to the Law it self, and bound them upon the Consciences of men, by vertue of [Page 88] the Divine Authority, and under penal­ty of the Divine displeasure. But how­ever if our Saviour constituted his Apo­stles to be only Doctors and Casuists, yet he has annexed Authority to their Of­fice by the promise made at their Instal­ment, that whatever they bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, for I am sure all binding there is Obligatory; so that it seems if they are Casuists, they are au­thoritative Casuists, and that is the same thing as if they were endued with pro­per Jurisdiction. And now having, as I suppose, sufficiently vindicated these Texts, I cannot but remark it as some defect of Ingenuity in this learned Gen­tleman, to have wholly omitted one Text more, which he could not be ig­norant to have been as commonly as any of the other insisted upon in this Argu­ment, and if he would have taken no­tice of it, would have prevented his Evasions. And that is St. John, Chap. 20. v. 21, 22, 23. As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, [...]e breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained. [Page 89] Here our Saviour gives his Apostles the same Power that he had received from his Father, and then for the discharge of it, the same Ability wherewith him­self acted, and lastly declares to them wherein lay the Exercise of it, and what were the Effects of it, forgiving and retaining of Sins, which answers to the power of Binding and Loosing in the other Gospel. And this if at­tended to, would have prevented that poor slender Notion, that the power of Binding and Loosing signifies only the Office of Interpreting, or declaring what is lawful, what unlawful; for to retain, or remit Sins (as the truly pi­ous and learned Dr. Hammond observes) will not be to declare one mans sins un­lawful, anothers lawful, which it must do if this interpretation be applied to this place.

After all this, it will be but superflu­ous industry to spend pains upon our Author's Conceit, wherewith he con­cludes this Chapter, viz. That the Au­thority of the Church arises from meer consent or voluntary confederacy, for beside as I have shewn, that all such Confederacies are upon his principles [Page 90] downright Rebellion, it is manifest that if our Saviour appointed Officers over his Church and vested them with a pow­er of Government, that then he has brought all the members of it under an Obligation to submit to their Authori­ty antecedent to their own consents. But though we had no such clear evi­dence of this Divine Institution, yet I am sure we have not the least foot­steps in Antiquity of this confederate Discipline. He tells us indeed of Com­pacts and Covenants, that the Primitive Christians are said to have made among themselves; but he could have told us too, that these Compacts were nothing else but the celebration of the Eucha­rist, at which they were wont, as all de­vout men do, to renew their vows and resolutions of Obedience to the Laws of their Religion. And this Confederacy, we all know, is founded upon a Divine Institution, and not only this, but all other Assemblies for the publick Wor­ship of God. To which all Christians are bound by an Obligation higher than meerly their own consent; and such a Confederation we grant the Church still to be, a company of men Covenanting [Page 91] among themselves to worship God ac­cording to the Ordinances, and obey him according to the Laws of the Go­spel. But then they are bound by the Command of God, both to take this Covenant, and to keep it. And this is all the confederacy I know of (unless we must believe Celsus his Calumnies, for he too is quoted upon this occasi­on) in the Primitive Church; so that whereas our Author every where com­pares the confederate discipline of the Christians with that of the Jews in their dispersions, it is manifest that the Jews had no other engagement beside their own mutual consent, whereas the Chri­stians were particularly obliged to en­ter into their Confederacy by God him­self; and this difference is so manifest, that I shall say no more of it.

And now having thus firmly esta­blisht the Churches Power upon Divine Right, that supersedes all farther enqui­ry into the practice of after-Ages. For in matters that are determined by Law, all Presidents are either nothing to the purpose, or to no purpose, if they are against the Command, they are nothing to the purpose, being only so many Vi­olations [Page 92] of the Law. If they are for it, they are to no purpose, because they derive all their goodness and authority from the Law it self, and therefore can give it none. Thus if the power of Ex­communication be founded upon the Command of God, the contrary pra­ctice of all the Princes in Christendom is of no weight against the Word of God; if it be not, the practice of all the Churches in the World can never establish a Divine Command. So that the controversie concerning matters of fact from the Reign of Constantine to our own Times, the matter of Law being al­ready clear'd from our Saviour's Time, carries in it more of Ostentation than Usefulness. But because our Author has been pleased to prosecute it so large­ly, and with so much learning and con­fidence, we are obliged to follow him, especially when it is so notorious even from his own relations, that the whole practice of Christendom, unless perhaps in some enormities of the worst and most barbarous Times, runs directly cross to his design.

First then, he presents us with ma­ny Instances out of the Imperial Law, [Page 93] whereby the Emperors exercised this Authority themselves, but to all this himself immediately gives a sufficient Answer without making any Reply, viz. That such Excommunications were meerly declaratory, whereby they only declared their detestation of such Per­sons or Doctrines, or rather declared their assent to the Sentence already de­nounced by the Church; for I do not find that they ever made any new Ec­clesiastical Laws of their own, but only adopted the Canons of Councils in­to the Laws of the Empire, and added to the Anathema's of the Church, what civil Penalties they deem'd most sutable to the Offence. The Theodosian Code is an excellent collection of the Consti­tutions of sixteen Emperours ab Anno Dom. 312. or the first Year of Constan­tines Conversion, ad Annum 438. when it was compiled by the command of Theodosius junior, in all which I think I may safely challenge any man to assign one Law relating to Religion, that was not antecedently determin'd by some Council. Almost all the Laws of this nature are contain'd in the 16th Book under their several Titles, De fide, de [Page 94] haereticis, de apostatis, &c. in all which, whoever will be pleased to peruse them, he will find that the several Emperors enacted nothing but meerly in pursuance of Ecclesiastical Canons, adding for the most part to Excommunication in the Church the punishment of Outlawry in the State. Thus for example, Theodo­sius the Great, in that famous Ecclesia­stical Edict, published by him in the se­cond year of his Reign, and the first of his Baptism (and therefore stiled by the Interpreters of the Justinian Code, filiam primogenitam) only established the Nicene Faith. Ut secundum Aposto­licam disciplinam evangelicamque doctri­nam Patris & Filii & Spiritus Sancti u­nam deitatem sub parili Majestate & sub piâ Trinitate credamus. And when the Year after, he published another Edict to the same purpose, he vouches his Law by the Authority of the Nicene Coun­cil, as may be seen Tit. 5. de Haereticis, Leg. 6. So that his design was not to make any new Law, but only to abet an ancient Law of the Church with a civil Penalty, as he concludes his Edict, that Offenders against it should not on­ly be obnoxious to the Divine Ven­eance [Page 95] denounced by the Council, but should also be punished at the Empe­rors pleasure, for that I suppose to be the meaning of Motûs nostri ultione ple­ctendos. But the most express Ratifica­tion of the Canons of the Church, is that Edict of Theodosius the Younger, to the Governour of the Eastern Illyricum, Lib. 16. Tit. 2. L. 45. Anno Domini, 421. Omni innovatione cessante vetustatem & Canones pristinos Ecclesiasticos, qui nunc usque tenuerunt, per omnes Illyrici Provincias, servari prae­cipimus: Tum si quid dubietatis emerserit, id oporteat non abs (que) scientiâ viri reveren­dissimi sacrosanctae legis Antistitis urbis Constantinopolitanae (quae Romae veteris praerogativâ laetatur) conventui sacerdo­tali sancto (que) judicio reservari. 'Tis not material, whether this Law refer to the Canons of the General Councils, or to the particular Canons of that Province, which is a Dispute among learned men: For be it this or that, it is manifest that the Emperor design'd to follow the De­crees of the Church, and to refer Ec­clesiastical Controversies to its own judgment and determination. Having intimated this account of the Theodosian Code, I need add nothing of the Justi­nian, [Page 96] because it only repeats all the Laws of the former that were not ob­solete, as may be seen not only by comparing the Books themselves, but by that exact collation of their Titles and Constitutions, that is prefixed to Gothofred's Edition of the Theodosian Code. And as for his own Novels, he frequently makes particular reference to the Canons of the Church, challenging to himself a power of punishing Of­fences against the Ecclesiastical Canons by vertue of this one general Law, which he declares to have been the sense of himself and his Predecessors, [...], Nov. 6. c. 1. That the Canons of the Church ought to have the force of Laws. And accordingly he begins his Laws, concerning Ecclesia­stical matters, [...]: Nov. 131. c. 1. We enact that the Canons of the Church, i. e. the four first general Coun­cils shall be received into the number of our Laws. And by that Edict alone, if there had been no other, they were all Constituted Laws of the Empire. And according to this Principle he de­clares in the Preface to his 83 Novel that [Page 97] he only follows the ancient Canons and Constitutions of the Church. And par­ticularly in his 137 Novel, where he endeavours the restitution of Ecclesia­stical Discipline, he only enjoyns the observation of the thirty sixth Aposto­lical Canon, viz. That the Bishops of each Province meet twice a Year for the more effectual Government of the Church, and this he professes to do, not as Author, but as Protector of the Ec­clesiastical Laws; and therefore in the Preface to this Novel, he challenges to himself [...], the power of Legi­slation in reference to the Civil Laws; but in reference to the Laws of the Church, [...], the power of Patronage, or Protection. This seems to have been the Constitution of the Church in those happiest and most flou­rishing Ages of it: whereby it appears that the Emperours of those Times were so far from assuming the power of Excommunication to themselves, that they would not so much as abet any matter of Religion with their civil Sanctions, that was not determin'd be­forehand by the Spiritual Power. Whe­ther they ever exceeded their own [Page 98] bounds, I think not my self obliged to enquire, they being lyable to that, as well as to other mistakes and misearria­ges of Govenment. Though I remem­ber not any instances of that kind till the latter and degenerate ages of Chri­stendom, when barbarity was introdu­ced by the incursions of the Goths and Vandals and other salvage Nations. It is enough to my purpose, that the Pow­er of the Keys in the Church was ac­knowledged by the Christian Empe­rours from Constantine to Justinian; and it is more than enough, in that whether they own'd it or not, it was setled by our Saviour upon the Apostles and their Successors to the end of the World.

But secondly, Emperours, Kings and Princes have limited the Ecclesiastical Order in the exercise of this Power, and assign'd them either larger or narrower bounds of Jurisdiction, as they judged most consistent with reasons of State; by which they evidently declare what was their opinion of the censures of the Church, for if they had supposed Church-officers to have acted by a Di­vine Authority, they durst never have presumed to set bounds to the Power of [Page 99] God by their own arbitrary Decrees As if it were not possible for the Go­vernours of the Church to go beyond their Commission, and under pre­tence of a Divine Authority, encroach upon that power that God has commit­ted to Princes. Which if they can do, and some have done, what affront is it to the Authority of God himself to restrain his Ministers within those bounds of Jurisdiction that he has pre­scribed to them? Nay, is not this very thing a very plain confession of a di­stinct Authority, when to limit a power supposes it? So that it is so far from be­ing any Argument of their disowning the Divine Institution of an Ecclesiasti­cal power, that 'tis a demonstrative and undoubted proof of their acknowledg­ment of it. This being granted, I shall not concern my self to enquire into the warrantableness of the several Prece­dents alledged, though most of them relate only to the restraint of dilatory, vexatious and uncanonical proceedings; for my only business is to gain the suf­frage of the Princes of Christendom to my Cause, for which I am no ways bound to prove them free from all er­rours [Page 100] and miscarriages of Government: so that if they might at any time bear too hard upon the power of the Church, especially when the Church has given them too much reason so to do, that is so far from being any pre­scription against its due exercise, that it is a declaration of these Princes that have been most unkind to it, that they own its Power, provided it be kept within its due bounds. But what the general sense of Christendom has been concern­ing the distinction of the Civil and Ec­clesiastical Powers, sufficiently appears by those great differences, that have been raised about the bounds of their Jurisdiction. And though the Christi­an Emperours have of later times been forced from time to time to struggle against the encroachments of the Bi­shops of Rome, yet they never questi­on'd (that I know of) the divine Right of their Episcopal Authority. And therefore neither here shall I concern my self to examine the particular prece­dents pleaded by both Parties for the advancement of their respective Powers, when it is certain that both Powers may, and often have exceeded their just li­mits, [Page 101] which yet is such an inconveni­ence, that, considering the passions and partialities of men, is utterly unavoid­able. And we cannot expect that God should give such Laws, as that it should not be in the Power of humane liberty to break them, for then the Laws were given to no purpose; it is enough that they are sufficient to guide those, that will resign themselves to be govern'd with honesty and integrity; and it is not in the power of Laws to effect more. So that it is a very frivolous objection, much insisted upon by some ill-minded men, that seeing the competition of these two Powers has been occasion of creating so many mischiefs and inconve­niences to Christendom, it were better that one of them were removed; which, beside the bold way of arguing, that be­cause they think in their great wisdoms that God ought not, that therefore he has not constituted two distinct Powers; it is such an Objection that no constitu­tion can possibly avoid: for which way soever the Government of the World may be setled, there is no remedy but that through the corruption and folly of mankind, it may and often will be liable [Page 102] to abuses. And particularly in this case there is no difficulty in discerning the bounds that God has set to these two Powers, if men would be honest and upright; and if they will not, it is no fault of the Law that they will break it: For Christianity is wholly founded up­on the Doctrin of the Cross, which ob­liges them in all cases, either to obey or to suffer peaceably. So that how great soever the Authority of Churchmen may be, there is no danger of its inter­fering with, or entrenching upon the Prerogatives of Princes, unless they misuse it; and if they do, as they go be­yond their Commission, so they deserve their punishment in this l [...]fe among the worst of Rebels and Traytors, and are sure to have it in the next. For as their Power is not only purely spiritual, void of all temporal force and coercion, so are they in the first place, and above all things forbidden to use any violence, or raise any disturbance against Govern­ment. So that if any Prince think good to oppose them in the Execution of their Office, and to punish them for so doing, they are not to oppose him, but only to sacrifice their lives in justification of [Page 103] their cause and submission to his will, and for so doing, they shall have their Re­ward. But if they shall make use of any other Weapons whatsoever, beside Prayers, and Tears, and Sufferings, they then suffer deservedly as disturbers of the publick Peace: And so much the more in that they have been so expresly forewarned by our Saviour, that whoso­ever shall draw the Sword in his cause, shall be sure to perish by it. And as upon this principle he founded his Church, so upon it his Apostles built it, when in pure obedience to his command, they preached the Gospel all the World over. And if any Prince were pleased to countermand them, they did not plead any exemption from the Govern­ment, much less did they Libel it, but only represented the Innocence and Ju­stice of their Cause; and if he were not satisfied, declared their readiness to sub­mit to his pleasure and the penalty of the Law. And in this they enjoyed no other exemption from the Prerogative of Princes, than what is or ought to be chalenged by every private Christian, who is indispensably bound to make profession of his Christian Faith; and [Page 104] if the Laws of his Country so require, to seal it with his Blood. This was the constitution of the Church, and the practice of it in its first profession; and is the constitution of the Church of England in its Reformation. For where­as a foreign Italian Bishop had for a long time usurped wel-nigh all, both se­cular and spiritual Power into his own hands, and by an exorbitant abuse of it had enslaved the Prince and empove­rished the people only to enrich himself and his own Courtiers; they that were concern'd, after long patience and much provocation, at last resolved (upon what motives concerns not us) to re­sume their Rights. The King that Pow­er which was exercised by the Kings of Judah of old, and by Christian Kings and Emperours in the primitive Church: And the Bishops that Power wherewith they were as immediately entrusted by virtue of our Saviours general commissi­on to the Apostolical Order, as any other foreign Bishop or Bishops within their respective Diocesses whatsoever. And to prevent all jealousie in the Prince, lest they should play him the same game that his Holiness had done, who in ordinc [Page 105] ad spiritualia, had finely stript him of almost all his Temporal Jurisdiction, by excepting all Ecclesiastical, both Per­sons and Causes, from his cognizance. They therefore freelv declare him Su­preme Governour, first, Over all Per­sons, so that no Ecclesiastical Subject might as formerly appeal from his Tri­bunal. And in all Causes, so that every Subject whatsoever was bound to sub­mit to his Decrees and Determinations, so far forth as either to obey his Laws, as long as he own'd and protected true Christianity, as the Christian Bishops of old did to the Christian Emperours. Or if he opposed it, chearfully and peaceably to submit to their Penalties, as they did to the Roman Persecutors.

And whereas from the Precedent of the Apostles in the first Council at Je­rusalem, the Governours of the Church in all Ages enjoyed a power of making Canons and Constitutions for Discipline and good Order, yet by the example of the Primitive Church, they submitted the exercise thereof to his sovereign Authority, protesting in verbo sacerdo­tis, as it is stated in that famous Act called The Submission of the Clergy: ‘That [Page 106] they will never from henceforth pre­sume to attempt, alledg, claim, or put in ure, enact, promulge, or exe­cute any new Canons, Constitutions, Ordinances provincial, or other, or by whatsoever other name they shall be call'd in the Convocation, unless the King's most royal Assent and Li­cense may to them be had, to make, promulge, and execute the same; and that his Majesty do give his Roy­al Assent and Authority in that be­half.’ Whereby they do not pass away their power of making Ecclesiastical Canons, but only give security to the Government, that under that pretence they would not attempt any thing tend­ing to the disturbance of the Kingdom, or injurious to the Prerogative of the Crown. Which in truth is such a submis­sion as all the Clergy in the World ought in duty to make to their Sovereign, at least in gratitude for his Protection, and that without any abatement or di­minution of their own Authority, viz. The standing Laws of Christianity be­ing secured, to submit all other Mat­ters to his sovereign Will and Pleasure. Whereby as they would bring no da­mage [Page 107] to the Church, in that this power is exercised meerly in matters of Or­der and Discipline; if the Prince did not approve of their Constitutions, it would be no difficult thing to provide for Decency some other way; so they would bring great security to the State, when the Prince was assured that under that pretence, they would not (as the Roman Clergy had done) distu [...]b or undermine his Authority. And as they parted not with their Spiritual Legi [...]la­tive Power, so not with any other Power proper to their Function; as the Power of preaching the Christian Re­ligion, administring the holy Sacraments, and conferring holy Orders Neither did any Prince in the least ever claim, or exercise any of them. And because the Romanists in the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, made a mighty noise with this Objection, as if by virtue of her Supremacy her Maje­sty had challenged a Spiritual or Mini­sterial Power in the Church, the Queen has with great indignation disown'd any such Power, and defied the Calumny. And yet when she had made her disclai­mour of any Spiritual Power in the [Page 108] Church, she parted not with her Royal Supremacy over those that had it, as we are particularly instructed by our Church in her 37th Article. ‘Where we attribute to the Queens Majesty the chief Government, by which Ti­tle we understand the minds of some dangerous Folks to be offended, we give not our Princes the ministring either of God's Word or the Sacra­ments, the which things the Injuncti­ons lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen, do most plainly testifie; but that only Prerogative which we see to have been given always to all god­ly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all Estates and Degrees committed to their Charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and re­strain with the civil Sword the stub­born and evil doers.’ And lastly (to mention no more) whereas the witty and learned Cardinal Perron run upon the same mistake (and it is a mistake that they all wilfully run upon) King James in his Reply, lets him know that though Christian Kings and Emperours never arrogated to themselves a power [Page 109] of being Sovereign Judges in matters and controversies of Faith; yet for mo­deration of Synods, for determinati­ons and orders establisht in Councils, and for discipline of the Church, they have made a good and full use of their Imperial Authority. And that for this very good reason (that very much con­cerns all Princes) that they might see and judg whether any thing were done to the prejudice of their Power, or the disturbance of the Commonwealth. And much more to the same purpose. And therefore for further satisfaction, I shall refer the Reader to the excellent Discourse it self. It is enough that I have given a plain and easie account of the distinct powers of Church and State, and shewn that whoever denies the distinction, disowns Christianity, that our Saviour has vested his Church with a Power peculiar to it self; that the Church has in all Ages exercised it, that the Christian Emperours never de­nied it; and lastly, that the Church of England, and the Reformed Princes thereof have remarkably own'd it.

But, Thirdly, Constantine and his Suc­cessors took upon them the Title of [Page 110] Pontifex Maximus, to which according to the Constitution of the Roman Em­pire, appertain'd the supreme Ecclesia­stical Jurisd [...]ction. By virtue of which Authority they granted to the Church, among other Priviledges, this power of Excommunication, in the same man­ner as Claudius, and other Heathen Emperours, gave leave both to Jews and Christians, to govern themselves by their own Laws and Customs. And though the Emperour Gratian refused to wear the Pontifical Habit as a piece of Pagan Superstition, yet it no where appears that he refused the Dignity it self. And this Discourse our Author prosecutes with much Zeal and Learn­ing. But what do these men make of the Christian Church, or rather of Christ himself, that he should make no other provision for its Government, than to leave it wholly to the superin­tendency of Heathen Priests? This is such a wild conceit in it self, that I must confess I could never have imagin'd any learned man could ever have made use of it against the Constitution of the Christian Church. And yet this learn­ed Gentleman is not only serious, but [Page 111] vehement and confident in it; he urges it over and over, and though he re­peats every thing that he says, so that indeed one half of his Discourse is no­thing but a Repetition of the other, yet here he doubles his Repetitions, and every where lays this Principle as the foundation of the practice of all Af­ter times. But can any man believe that Constantine the Great took upon him the power of Government in the Christian Church, if he really believed in Christ himself, by virtue of a Power derived from the Usurpation of Julius Caesar? Or that he could imagine that the Hea­thenish Priestly Power belong'd to him after his owning Christianity, when by that, the whole frame of the old Roman Religion was declared to be Idolatrous? so that the Roman High Priest was no­thing better than the supreme Head of Idolatry. An Honour certainly which no Christian Emperour would be very fond of astuming to himself. Julian in­deed challenged both the Title and the Dignity as the greatest Ornament of his Imperial Crown; but the Reason was, because he was so vainly fond of the Pagan Religon. But how any man [Page 112] of common sense, that had renounced Paganism, should yet own himself High Priest by virtue of that Religion that he had renounced, seems too great a Contradiction for any man of common sense to believe. But what if they ac­cepted of the Title? (as our Author very well knows they did of Divinity it self) or rather what if it were cu­stomarily given to them by others? For I met with no other Monuments of it, but some old Complemental Inscripti­ons, so that it being a customary Title of Honour, it might easily for a time pass in the crowd of the other Imperial Titles. For it seems it continued not long, being rejected by Gratian, who lived about fifty Years after the Con­version of Constantine. And though our learned Author affirms, that the pious Emperour only refused the Vest­ment, but not the Dignity; it is very obvious to any man of much less under­standing than himself, that the Empe­rour could have no reason to refuse one but for the sake of the other: for the Case is plain, that there was no super­stition in the Vestment, but only upon the account of the Office, and for that [Page 113] reason there was little if any use of the Title afterwards.

But lastly, the Power of Judicature was first granted to the Bishops by the favour of the Christian Emperours, and especially by an Edict of Constantine the Great, whereby he grants the Bishops a full Power of hearing and determining all causes Civil as well as Ecclesiastical, and withal declares their Decrees to be more firm and binding than the sentence of any other Judicature, and from this great indulgence of the Emperour, it is not to be doubted but that among other forensique penalties they made use of Excommunication. Of the inference I shall give an account by and by, but as for the Edict it self, if it could do any service to our Authors design, it at last proves supposititious, as is fully proved by Gothofred in his excellent Edition of the Theodosian Code, his reasons are too many to be here recited, I will give but one for all, viz. That this Law is con­trary to all the Laws of the Roman Em­pire; for though several Emperours do in their several Novels give the Bishops Power to decide causes by way of Ar­bitration or the consent of both parties, [Page 114] which Power they enlarged or contra­cted as they pleased, and to this all the other precedents produced by our Au­thor relate; yet that one party should have liberty of appeal from the civil Court at any time before judgment given without the consent of his Adversary, is such a wild and extravagant priviledg, as is inconsistent with all the rules of the Imperial Law. And yet that is the only design of that Edict. Quicunque itaque litem habens, sive possessor sive petitor erit, inter initia litis, vel decursis temporum curriculis, sive cum negotium peroratur, sive cum jam coeperit promi sententia, ju­dicium eligit sacro-sanctae legis Antistitis, ilico, sine aliqua dubitatione, etiamsi alia pars refragatur, ad Episcopum cum sermone litigantium dirigatur: Which I say is such an absurd liberty as would utterly de­stroy all the Power of the civil Magi­strate, if the humour or perversness of any man could so easily baulk their sen­tence. But beside the absurdity of the Law it self, there is no such Edict extant in the Justinian Code, nor any mention of it in any ancient Writers of Ecclesia­stical History. For as for that passage of Sozomen, l. 1. c. 9. in which some [Page 115] learned men fancy they find some foot­steps of this Law, it is quite to the other purpose that I but now mentioned, viz. the Bishops Power of determining cau­ses by the mutual consent of Parties. When this Edict was forged, and by whom it is uncertain, but it is probably conjectur'd by Gothofred from the Bar­barity of its stile, and great likeness of it to that of Constantines Donation, to have been forged in the same Shop and by the same hand. But if this Edict were as true as the rest are, which give Bishops Power to sentence causes praee­unte vinculo compromissi, yet where do we find any Edict for enabling them to en­force their decrees by Excommunicati­on? Not one syllable of that in all the Roman Laws, but on the contrary the Civil Magistrates and their Officers are commanded to put the Bishops Sentence in execution. Is it not then a very forced way of Arguing, that because the Ro­man Emperours granted the Christian Bishops some jurisdiction, they must of necessity have granted them the Power of Excommunication, though there is no such Edict extant in all their Laws? They conferr'd many Priviledges upon [Page 116] the Clergy in the Titles, De Episcopis, Ecclesi [...]s, Clericis & de Religione, yet there is nothing in both the Codes, and all the Novels, to vest them with any power of Excommunication, and there­fore as those other they enjoyed by the Emperours favour not by any antece­dent Right; so seeing they exercised this Power, and that not by vertue of any Imperial grant, it is evident that they received their Authority from some other hand. So that to conclude, there cannot be a more pregnant Argu­ment against our Author's opinion than the body of the Imperial Law, in which there is not one Instance recorded, that ever any Emperour pretended to this Power himself, or granted it to his Bi­shops; for from thence it unavoidably follows, that if they had it at all, they had it from some other Commission. And thus am I come to the conclusion of this Argument, for though there are many Precedents of latter Times, yet I am not concern'd to justifie what was done by Huns, Goths, and Vandals, whose practices were the meer effects of Igno­rance and Barbarity; and oblige us ra­ther to pity than to follow their Exam­ples.


HAving hitherto treated with the false Pretenders to the Church of England, I come now in the last place to treat more amicably with some of its mistaken Friends, and they are those that own a Government in it, but without Governours; allowing indeed that there ought to be some sort of Government establish'd in the Church, but then they deny any particular Form of it to have been settled by Divine Right, or Apo­stolical Constitution, and leave it whol­ly to the choice and determination of Humane Authority. So that though the Church of England happen to be at pre­sent govern'd by Bishops; and though upon that account we may owe duty and subjection to them as our lawful Supe­riours, yet they are not set over us by any Divine Commission, but purely by his Majestie's good Will and Pleasure, who at his Restitution to his Kingdoms, might have forborn to restore the then Abolish'd Order of Bishops, and instead [Page 118] of that have establish'd some other Form of Government, that he judg­ed most suitable to the present state of things; which if he had done, that then had been the Church of England. Now the Birth of this Opi­nion seems to have happened on this manner. Mr. Calvin having founded his Geneva Platform upon Divine Insti­tution, as he particularly does in the Fourth Book of his Institutions, Chap. 11. though some men, that are more his Disciples than they are willing to own, are pleased to deny it. And in pursuance of this Decree, Beza and all the other first Apostles of his Church having spent all their pains in endea­vouring to make it good out of the Word of God, the learned men that came after them, both in the French and Dutch Churches, because they must needs go beyond those that went before them, proceeded to advance the Argu­ment from Scripture to Antiquity; and have with infinite industry sifted all the Writings of the Ancients, to prove that there was no other Form of Govern­ment in the Church but by Presbyters in the first Ages of it, next and imme­diately [Page 119] after the Apostles. The chief Labourers in which Cause among many other less learned, were Blondel, Salma­sius, and Dallé, who spent the greatest part both of their Life and Learning, upon this Argument. But they pro­ceeding for the most part in a sceptical and destructive way, not so much rely­ing upon the Testimony as impairing the credit of Antiquity, which it seems they supposed the best way to main­tain their Argument, this soon gave oc­casion to some Learned men conversant in their Writings, to conclude against all pretences to the Divine, or Aposto­lical Institution of any unalterable and perpetual Form of Church-Government whatsoever, and so to think of allay­ing those Controversies about a Jus Di­vinum, that had been lately and still were managed among us with so much heat and noise, by leaving it (as they say our Saviour and his Apostles did) to the prudence of every particular Church to agree upon its own Form, as it judg­eth most conducing to the end of Go­vernment in that particular Church. This is the state of the Question as they determine it, and the Opinion is grown [Page 120] popular and plausible, in great Vogue both among the Learned and Unlearn­ed, and is almost become the Rule and Standard of all our Ecclesiastical Polity. In so much, that there are many wor­thy Gentlemen (as any one may ob­serve in his ordinary Conversation) that were stout and loyal Confessors to the Church of England under its Suf­ferings, that at this time look upon it as an Arbitrary and indifferent thing. And therefore in pursuance of my de­sign in behalf of the Church of Eng­land, I am obliged to examine the reasons and Principles upon which it is founded, and to shew that it is so far from tend­ing to the Peace of an Establish'd Church, that it is destructive to the Be­ing and Settlement of all the Christian Churches in the World. And though here I have many learned worthy men for my Adversaries, yet I hope to ma­nage the Dispute with that Candour and Integrity, that none shall have any reason to complain of any more unkind­ness, than what is absolutely necessary to my doing right to the Church of England. And this I am sure can give no Offence to good men, how much [Page 121] soever I may chance to cross with their particular Sentiments and Opinions. And as for bad men (for there are of both sorts engaged in the Opinion) I were not true to my own Integrity, if I suffered my self to be in the least sway­ed by their good or bad Opinion; for I write not to please but to convince them, which I know as long as they continue bad is but to provoke them. And with this honest resolution, I now proceed to vindicate one of the most evident, but most injured Truths in the World. And in it I shall be much briefer than at first I intended, for when we have lopt off all that is not directly pertinent to the Enquiry, as we shall reduce the Debate to a narrow compass, so may we easily bring it to a speedy issue. And therefore I shall purposely pass over all those things, that relate only to the occasional exercise, and out­ward administration of Church-Autho­rity. And particularly that wide argu­ment of Dispute, whether the distri­bution of Provinces and Diocesses were through the Roman Empire, framed by the division of the Civil Government. For whether it were, or were not, [Page 122] that concerns not the question of the Institution of a Ruling Clergy, but on­ly the manner or fashion of administring their Power when reduced to Practice. For the extent of their Jurisdiction, is is but accidental to the supremacy of their Power, and whether the Circuit of a Monarchs Government be little or great, it is all one as to the nature of Monarchy. So that it is not at all ma­terial how the bounds of Diocesses came to be assign'd; how Churches ex­tended themselves from great Cities into the adjacent Territories, till they some­times swell'd into Provinces, and how Bishops came to be subject to Metropo­litans, and Metropolitans to Patriarchs; all which, and divers other particulars, though they are very copiously insisted upon by Learned men in the present Question, are yet altogether useless as to its Determination, because they only concern the outward and accidental Ex­ercise, and have no reference to the essential Form of Church-Government. So that the only thing concern'd in our present enquiry is, as Mr. Selden has rightly stated it, Utrùm ex ipsâ purâ putâ Praefat. in Eutych. Origine, seu primâ ac merâ nascentis Ec­clesiae [Page 123] Christianae Disciplinâ, Episcopalis seu Ordo, sive Dignitas, sive Gradus, Presbyterali seu Sacerdotali, superior vel alius, aut ei neutiquam dispar seu idem fuerit habendus. That is in short, whe­ther the Church were at first founded in a superiority and subordination of Ecclesiastical Officers to each other, or a parity and equality of all among them­selves; so that if we can prove the preeminence and superiority of one Order above all others in the Govern­ment of the Church from the beginning of it, we shall thereby make good all that is essential to that Power and Au­thority, that we challenge as proper only to the Episcopal Order and Of­fice. And this we doubt not but to perform with clear and demonstrative evidence from these three Topicks.

I. Of our Saviour's own express In­stitution.

II. The practice of the Apostles in Conformity to it.

III. The practice of the Primitive Church in the Ages next and im­mediatly after the Apostles.

[Page 124] And First, As to our Saviour's Insti­tution it is manifest, That he founded his Church in an imparity of Ecclesia­stical Officers, in that he did by his own immediate Appointment, authorize and set apart two distinct Orders of men for Ecclesiastical Ministries, the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventy Disciples, whose Office, if it were the same, to what purpose were they distinguish'd? And why when a place was vacant in the Apostolate, must one be substituted by Divine Designation to complete the Number? Why should not one of the Seventy without any further Election, have served the turn, seeing he was qualified with an Identity of Office and Order? Nay to what purpose should they be reckoned apart under different Names and in different Ranks, if there were no difference intended in their employments and commissions? And why were they not all comprehended in one number, and ranged in one Catalogue? If the Twelve were nothing more than the Seventy, and the Seventy nothing less than the Twelve, to what purpose do we hear so oft of the Twelve and the Seventy, or of the Seventy two [Page 125] (for of that the learned dispute) and not rather of the Eighty two, or Eighty four? For do we think that our Saviour would distinguish the Officers of his Kingdom by meer Words and empty Titles? And yet the Apostleship could be nothing more, if it carried in it no superiority of Office above the Seventy. Some inequality we must discover, and that intended too by our blessed Savi­our himself, else shall we never be able to give our selves any imaginable Ac­count of their Institution. And now, what clearer evidence can any man de­mand for a Divine Right of Superiori­ty and Subordination of Church Offi­cers, than our Saviour's own express and particular Institution?

Yes (say they) but the Inequality between the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy Disciples consisted in a superi­ority of Order and Office, not of Pow­er and Jurisdiction. Very good! This grants all that we can desire or demand, to prove the Supreme Authority of the Supreme Order, because every Superi­our Ecclesiastical Order as such is Au­thoritative, and therefore an eminency of Order must not only infer, but include a [Page 126] superiority of Power, seeing the Order it self as such (if it be any thing) is the proper and immediate seat of Au­thority, and all the Jurisdiction of the Bishop, whatsoever it is, is claim'd and exercised by vertue of his Order. So that if the Apostles were the highest Order of Ecclesiasticks, they were for that Reason alone, though there were no other, the highest Judicature. And in the same degrees of proportion that they were advanced above others in dignity of Title, they were so in supremacy of Power, because their Dignity as such, is nothing elie but so much Power in the Church of God; devest them of that, and they immediately return to the condition of Ordinary and Uncon­secrated men: And the Apostles them­selves were no more than all other com­mon Believers, but by vertue of their Commission to rule and govern the Church; reverse that, and they are de­graded from their Order, as well as stript of their Jurisdiction. So lamenta­bly do these learned men entangle them­selves by distinguishing so vainly in this case between a superiority of Order and Power, when the one is not only [Page 127] the very Ground and Foundation, but (to speak in the language of the School­men, from whom these Metaphysical no­things are taken) the very Formality of the other, and the Apostolical Pow­er is Formally, and as such, the very same with the Apostolical Office. So little real difference is there in this di­stinction, that it is not possible to frame one in Notion and Conception, but whoever pretends to conceive one, must of necessity conceive both, or conceive nothing. And therefore I would very fain know wherein consists this superiority of Order and Dignity, without any superiority of Power: For what do men mean by Power, but a right to Govern? and what by Order but a superiority of some as Rulers and a subordination of others as Ruled? What then is the difference between an inequality of Order and Power, when they both equally signifie Supe­riority and Subjection? And therefore these Persons that relie so much on this distinction, would have done very well to have considered with themselves, wherein consists the Essence of Order when separated from Power, which if [Page 128] they had done, they would soon have discerned, that they had only deceived themselves with an idle and an empty Word. However it were worth their while, to define what it was that was peculiar to the Apostolical Order, be­side the Supreme Government of the Church, especially when (as it is ac­knowledged by all Parties) the Apo­stles enjoyed during their own lives, the supreme Power in the Government of the Church, and that the Parity of Presbyters arose not till after their Deaths, they having appointed no Suc­cessors in their Apostolical Supremacy. From whence, what can be more apparent than that their Office could not possibly consist in any thing less than a superiority of Power over all the other Pastors of the Church. And now when our Saviour himself has thus expresly Establish'd the Government of his Church in an im­parity of Order and Power, what far­ther Prescript would men have for the continuance of his own Establishment? That alone is sufficient to prescribe to all Ages and Nations, and if any man shall dare to remonstrate to its Obliga­tion, he must have confidence enough [Page 129] to presume that he is indued with more Wisdom, or entrusted with more Autho­rity than our Saviour himself. For o­therwise he cannot but think that he is obliged in Conscience and Modesty too, rather to esteem this Model than any one of his own, or any others Contri­vance. Yes, but though it be proved that the Apostles had superiority of Or­der and Jurisdiction over the other Pa­stors of the Church by an Act of Christ, yet it must further be proved that it was Christ's intention, that Superiority should continue in their Successors; or it makes nothing to the purpose. For a bare Divine Command, say they, is not sufficient to make a Law immutable, un­less there be likewise expressed, that it is the Will of God that it should always conti­nue. No, no, you are too nice and shie of your Obedience in this particular Case, and may upon the same ground set your selves loose from all the Laws of the Gospel that are not enjoyn'd with an express declaration of their being Immutable, and thereby you have quit your selves of the greatest part of your Christian Duty. For we shall find but very few Precepts, either of our Savi­our [Page 130] or his Apostles tied with this double Knot, and it seems without that, they are not strong enough to tie any man to O­bedience. Neither do I see how upon this Principle, we can avoid that frivo­lous Objection of the Socinians against the perpetual necessity of the Sacra­ment of Baptism, viz. That seeing it was Instituted by our Saviour only to pass men from Judaism and Gentilism to Christianity, it is therefore now of no necessity among Christians, unless our Saviour had declared, that it was his Will and Intention that it should always continue in his Church. Especially when this Ceremony was taken up from the practice of the Synagogue, where when any man had once renounced Hea­thenism, and entred himself into the Jewish Church, it was never after re­peated in any of his Posterity, but they were all by vertue of their Fore-fathers Baptism, esteem'd as born in a state of Holiness and Regeneracy. But how­ever this general Principle is so far from Truth and Sobriety, that it is a plain thrusting our own Presumptions upon the Will of God, which being once de­clared, it binds us for ever, till himself [Page 131] is pleased to reverse it, his meer Institu­tion is its own perpetual Obligation, and whatever he commands no Power can take it off, but that which bound it on. And therefore it is a vain scrupu­losity (if I may call so sceptical a pre­tence by that name) to require of him not only to fasten his Laws by enacting them, but as it were to clinch them too by declaring their perpetuity. In all other Cases but this, it is supposed that whatever he commands, he commands for ever till he declares the contrary; for though his Positive Laws be revo­cable in themselves, yet being revoca­ble only by God himself and his own Power, since he hath already in his Word fully revealed his Will, unless therein he hath declared when their Obligation shall cease, they continue Irreversible. It therefore being once granted that the Apostles had a superio­rity of Jurisdiction by an Act of Christ, it plainly follows that without any far­ther declaration of its perpetuity, their Power is irreversible. Especially when the Rule whereby we are left to judg of the mind and intention of the Law­giver is the Reason of the Law, viz. [Page 132] That the Reason continuing the Law should remain in force; though I can­not see of what use this should be to those who will give leave to demand no other reasons of any Divine Positive Laws beside the Will of the Law-giver: For if that be the only reason of the Law, then it is in vain to pretend to judg of it by any other. But yet however I shall close with them upon their own Principle, and to save farther trouble, I would only put them to assign what par­ticular Ground and Reason there was of establishing a Superiority and Subordi­nation of Church-Officers then; that is ceased for all succeeding Ages of the Church; and till they can give them­selves and us some competent satisfacti­on in this, desire them to acquiesce in our Saviour's Institution. But alas, this was never so much as attempted, and is manifestly impossible to be per­form'd; for that man no doubt would make wise work of it, that should un­dertake to give the World a satisfacto­ry Account of the particular Grounds and Reasons that should make an ine­quality of Power in Ecclesiastical Offi­cers necessary in our Saviour's Days, [Page 133] and needless ever since. But if this cannot be done (as it is certain at first view, that it never can) then certainly the meer Institution of our Saviour in a matter of so great moment to the Church, is sufficient of it self to pass a perpetual and indispensible Obligation upon all Ages of it. And now upon these Grounds that I have already ob­tain'd from our Saviour's express Institu­tion, I need not dispute with our Adver­saries (for that is one of their little shifts) whether the Missions of the Apostles and the Seventy, were only Tempo­rary. For whether they were, or were not, it is from thence evident what Mo­del of Government our Saviour framed for his Church; and that is all that is needful to my purpose. And therefore I will freely grant that our Saviour's design in Life-time, seems to have been not so much to found Churches himself, as to have prepared and instructed his Disciples, how to do it after his depar­ture. So that he rather made a Speci­men of the Constitution of his Church, than erected any standing Fabrick of it. For the Foundations of it were to be laid in the evidence of his Resurrection [Page 134] from the dead. And therefore we do not find that the Apostles acted with a plenitude of Power, till he had given them a new Commission after his Re­surrection, and it is remarkable that in St. Matthew 16. 19. he vests them with the power of Binding and Loosing in the Future Tense. But in St. John 20. 23. after his Resurrection it is expressed in the Present Tense. Then it was that he gave them that Authority which himself had exercised whilst he remain'd on Earth. But then, when immediate­ly in pursuance of their new Commis­sion, the Apostles thought themselves obliged to choose one into their Order, to supply the Vacancy made by the death of Judas; What can be more evi­dent than that they thought the Aposto­lical Office by our Saviour's Appoint­ment, distinct from and superiour to all other Offices in the Church? So that it is manifest that the Form observed by the Apostles in the Planting and Go­verning of Churches, was Model'd ac­cording to our Saviour's own Plat­form; and after that it is not at all ma­terial to enquire whether he only drew the Model, or erected the Building. [Page 135] But whichsoever he did, it is improved into an impregnable Demonstration from the undoubted Practice of the Apostles, and from them the perpetual Tradition of the Catholick Church, in that it is plain that they thought them­selves obliged to stand to this Original Form of Church-Government. For the Apostles (we all know, and all Parties grant) during their days, kept up the distinction and preeminence of their Order, and from them the Bishops of the First Ages of the Church claim'd their Succession, and every where chal­lenged their Episcopal Authority from the Institution of Christ, and the Exam­ple of his Apostles.

And now are we enter'd upon the se­cond main Controversie, viz. The Au­thority of the Apostolical Practice, a­gainst which, three things are usually alledged: That neither can we have that certainty of Apostolical Practice which is necessary to constitute a Divine Right, nor secondly is it probable that the Apostles did tie themselves to any one fixed Course in Modelling Churches; nor thirdly, if they did, doth it necessarily follow that we must observe the same. And the first of [Page 136] these is made out from the equivalency of the names Bishop and Presbyter; secondly from the Ambiguity of some places of Scripture, pleaded in behalf of different Forms of Government; thirdly from the Defectiveness, Ambi­guity, Partiality, and Repugnancy of the Records of the succeeding Ages, which should inform us what was the Apostolical Practice. But as to the first, I shall wholly wave the dispute of the sig­nification of the words, because it is altogether beside the purpose; and if it were not, our other Proofs are so preg­nant, as to render it altogether useless. Neither indeed would this ever have been any matter of Dispute, had not our Adversaries for want of better Ar­guments, been forced to make use of such slender pretences. But how impo­tently Salmasius, and Blondel, who were the main Founders of the Argument, have argued from the Community of the Names, the Identity of the Office, any one that has the patience to read them over, may satisfie himself. As for my own part I cannot but admire to see Learned men persist so stubbornly in a palpable Impertinency, when from the [Page 137] Equivalency of the words Bishop and Presbyter in the Apostles time, they will infer no imparity of Ecclesiastical Officers, notwithstanding it is so evi­dent and granted by themselves, that the Apostles enjoyed a superiority of Power over the other Pastors of the Church, which being once proved or granted (and themselves never doubt­ed of it) to infer their beloved [...] or Parity of the Clergy from the Equi­vocal signification of those two words, is only to out-face their own Convictions and their Adversaries Demonstrations. For if it be proved, and themselves cannot deny it, that there was an ine­quality of Offices, from the Superiority of the Apostles, it is a very Childish at­tempt to go about to prove that there was not; because there were two Syno­nymous Terms whereby to express the whole Order of the Clergy. But to persist in this trifling Inference, as Sal­masius has (who when he was informed of its manifest weakness and absurdity, would never renounce it, but still re­peated it in one Book after another, without any improvement but of Pas­sion and Confidence) is one of the most [Page 138] woful Examples, that I remember, of a learned man's Trifling, that has not the ingenuity to yield, when he finds himself vanquish'd not only by his Ad­versary but his Argument.

Neither shall I trouble my self with other mens disputes about particular Texts of Scripture, when it is manifest from the whole Current of Scripture, that the Apostles exercised a superiority of Power over the other Pastors of the Church, and that is all that is requisite to the Argument from Apostolical Pra­ctice; for as yet it is nothing to us whe­ther they were Presbyters or Bishops, that they set over particular Churches; that shall be enquired into when we come to the Practice of the Primitive Church, it is enough that they were subject to the Apostles, for then by Apostolical Practice there was a Supe­riority and Subordination in Church-Government. And therefore I cannot but wonder here too at the blindness of Walo Messalinus, who in pursuance of his Verbal Argument, produces this passage out of Theodoret, and spends a great deal of the first part of his Book in declaiming upon it. [...], [Page 139] [...]. Then the same men were call'd Presbyters and Bishops, and those that we now call Bishops, they then call'd Apostles, but in process of time the name of Apostolate was appropriate to them who were truly and properly Apostles, and the name of Bishop was applied to them who were formerly call'd Apostles. Than which words (beside that they contain the true state of the Question) there is scarce a clearer passage in all Antiquity to confound his cause. For what can be a plainer Reproof to their noise a­bout the Equivalency of words than to be told that it is true, that the words Bi­shop and Presbyter, signified the same thing in the Apostles time, but that those that we now call Bishops, were then call'd Apostles, who exercised the Episcopal Power over the other Clergy, but that afterward in process of time they left the word Apostolate to those who were strictly and properly so [Page 140] call'd, and stil'd all other Bishops; who in former times were stiled Apostles. What I say can be more peremptory against his Opinion, that concludes from the equivalency of Names, to the pari­ty of Power, than this, that notwith­standing the words were equivalent, yet the Episcopal Power was then in the Apostles, whose successors in their supremacy came in after-times to be call'd Bishops? And if so, then is it evident that there was the same imparity of Church-Officers in the Apostles time, as in succeeding Ages. Nay, our friend Walo is not content to make this out for us only, as to the Apostles themselves but as to their immediate Successors, whom they employed in the settlement of Churches, and to whom they com­mitted the Apostolical Power for their Government, and these too he proves were stil'd Apostles, such as Titus, Ti­mothy, Epaphroditus, Clemens, Linus, Marcus, so that not only the Apostles, but the Evangelists (as they call'd them) were distinguish'd from the other Cler­gy, and endued with a superiority of Power over their respective Churches, and hereby we gain the authority of [Page 141] Apostolical Practice, not only for them­selves, but for their Companions and Successors, which does not only extend our Argument, but joyns together the practice of the Primitive Times, of which we have certain Records with that of the Apostles, and so prevents all their fond Dreams of an unknown In­terval immediately after the death of the Apostles; for if these Apostolical men supplied their Places, it will be very easie to find out who supplied theirs.

Neither, thirdly, need I trouble my self with any long dispute concerning the Obligation of Apostolical Practice, for whether or no meer Apostolical Practice be obligatory by vertue of their Example, is very little material to our Enquiry; for some things are too trifling, or too transient in their own Natures to deserve to pass into prescrip­tion; but it is enough in this case, that what the Apostles did, was in pursuance of our Saviour's Institution, and that in a matter of perpetual concernment to the Church; and they who require to the Obligation of such an Apostolical Pra­ctice, an express Law to declare their in­tention [Page 142] that it should bind for ever, are guilty of the same phantastick niceness as they that require the same for the perpe­tuity of every Divine Law, and therefore have been consider'd already. And for that reason I shall add nothing more to what I have already said as to this par­ticular, than to grant that whatever the Apostles either commanded, or practi­sed upon some particular temporary and occasional Cases, was not sufficient to found any universal and unchangeable Obligation, because the reason of the Precept was apparently transient, and the goodness of the action casual. But otherwise if there were any Prescript, or Practice of theirs (though it were not founded upon any Divine Instituti­on) that did not relate to peculiar Occasions and Circumstances, but are or may be of equal usefulness to all Places, Times, and Persons, that is a certain and undoubted evidence of their constant and unabolishable Obligation. And therefore here I shall only put them to their former task to assign what particular ground and reason there was of establishing a Superiority and Subordination of Church-Officers in the [Page 143] times of the Apostles that is ceased in all succeeding Ages of the Church, and till they can discharge this Task, advise them not to depart rashly from so sacred and venerable a Prescription.

But that which improves the Argu­ment both from our Saviour's Instituti­on and the Apostles Practice, into a complete Demonstration, is the prac­tice of the Primitive Churches, in the Ages next and immediately succeeding the Apostles; For if the Government of the Church were by our Saviour founded upon Divine Institution in an inequality of Church-Officers, and if the first Governours of it thought them­selves obliged to keep close to its Ori­ginal Platform; and if their immediate Successors conceived themselves as much obliged to observe the same as imposed upon them by the Command of Christ, and deliver'd to them by the Example and Tradition of his Apostles, that cer­tainly may serve for a very competent proof of its necessity and perpetuity. Now then as for the power and prehe­minence of the Episcopal Order, it is attested by the best Monuments and Records of the first and most remote [Page 144] Antiquity; and we find such early in­stances and evidences of it, that unless it descended from the Apostles times, we can never give any account in the World whence it derived its Original. And this brings us upon the main sanc­tuary of our Adversaries, viz. The de­fectiveness of Antiquity in reference to the shewing what certain Form the Apostles observed in settling the Go­vernment of Churches; and here they run into a large common place, of the deep silence of antiquity and the defectiveness of the Records of the Church in the interval next and imme­diately succeeding the Apostles. But here in the first place I must desire them to consider, that if this Objection be of any force against the certainty of Apo­stolical Tradition in this particular, it will utterly overthrow all the testimo­ny of the Ancients as to all other mat­ters of Faith, and particularly as to the certain Canon and Divine Authority of the Scriptures, for if they are not (as is pretended) competent Witnesses of the practice of the Apostles, because of their distance from the time of the Apo­stles, neither for the same reason are [Page 145] their reports to be relied upon with a­ny confidence, as to the certainty of any of their Writings. It is not to be expected that I should here reprent how false this exception is de facto, and how unreasonable de jure, either against the Constitutions, or the Authentick Epi­stles of the Apostles, it is enough that they stand and fall together, so that whoever opposes the Divine and Apo­stolical Form of Church Government as delivered to us by the Primitive Church, does upon his own principles defeat and reject all the proofs of the Divine Au­thority of the holy Scriptures, in that those sceptical grounds and pretences he is forced to urge against one, fall as dan­gerously on both. And this may serve to prevent and invalidate the force of their Argument without answering it; when if they should deal as rigorously in any other case as they are pleased to do in this, the most certain and undoubted Records cannot escape the severity of their censure. Though our comfort is that neither of them are liable to such wild and wanton Objections, in that (as I shall shew) the Tradition of the Church was always constant and unin­terrupted, [Page 146] and that there was no such Chasm, as is pretended, between the times of the Apostles and the next Chri­stian Writers. For (to say nothing here of the Canon of the Scriptures) though the men of that Age left us no formal Histories and Catalogues of the succession of Bishops in all their several Sees, wherewith some men unreasonable enough upbraid us, when it is so mani­fest that it was at that time too young for that care, in that as yet there was scarce any succession. Yet were they no less than Apostolical men that vouch­ed the Apostolical Order and Jurisdi­ction of Bishops, and this one would think enough to satisfie any modest or ingenious man of their Institution from the beginning. When it is asserted, or rather supposed by the very first Wri­ters of the Church that were ca­pable of attesting it. So that whoever can withstand their Evidence, is proof against all Evidence of matter of Fact, and may, if he please, laugh at all the Tales and Legends that are told con­cerning the succession of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Constantine. But to wave all other parallel Cases, [Page 147] that which I have already propounded is irrefragable, viz. That those men that beat about in the Writings of the An­cients to start sceptical pretences against the use and institution of Episcopacy, would do very well to consider the consequences of this rude and licenti­ous way of Arguing. And (as the Reverend and Learned Doctor Ham­mond long since remarked it) they that so confidently reject the Epistles of Ignatius, shrewdly indanger (if they will stand to their own principles) the cre­dit and authority of the sacred Canon; when these are vouch'd for the true and authentick Epistles of Ignatius, by as strong a current and unanimous con­sent of the Fathers, as most of the Canonical Books of Scripture. And therefore it is observable, that the proud Walo Messalinus does with the same ease and confidence, pish away one of the Diff. 1. cap. 1. Epistles of St. Peter, as he does all these of this Apostolical Martyr; and might in the same pert and pedantick humour, and with the same evidence of Reason huff all the rest after it into the Apo­cryphal Rubbish. But because our Ad­versaries main strength lies in this Ob­jection, [Page 148] and some ill-minded men will be hasty to seise on it for worse purpo­ses than they intended, I shall consider it in its full force and glory, The de­fect then pretended is three-fold, as to Places, as to Times, as to Persons.

1. As to Places, and here they tell us we can have no certainty without an universal Testimony. For if but one place varied, that is enough to over­throw the necessity of any one form of Government, and therefore seeing we have not an account of what was done by the Apostles in all Churches, we can have no sufficient certainty of their practice. But certainly never was any thing so hardly dealt with as Anti­quity by these men; for unless we could be certain that every thing that was done in the Church 1500 Years agoe was recorded, and made known to us by some unquestionable way, all that is recorded, be it never so certain and evident, can be of no use for our In­formation. If this hard condition be put upon us, I must confess that we not only have no certainty of the Primitive Practice, but that it is impossible that we should have any either in that or [Page 149] any other Record. But this certainly is too rigorous proceeding with the au­thority of Precedents, that let us pro­duce never so many, they shall signifie nothing as to their use, unless we can demonstrate that there never was, or indeed could be one contrary Example in the World. But I am very apt to believe that all ingenuous men will be fully satisfied with this, that all the pre­cedents that are recorded are for us, and therefore till our Adversaries are able to produce some against us, to rest in the certainty of those Records that are preserved, without a vain enquiry after what might or might not be in those that are lost. And therefore our Ad­versaries in stead of making such wild and sceptical demands, if they would prevail upon the minds of men, should in the first place have proved the varie­ty of Apostolical Practice, and that in­deed would have disproved the necessi­ty of any one Form; but that is a thing they never attempt. When therefore we have this uniformity of practice in all Churches, whose settlement is known, it betrays an unreasonable partiality in men to put us upon giving an account [Page 150] of what St. Andrew did in Scythia, and St. Thomas in India, for certainly all im­partial men will be satisfied with the uniform practice of all the known Chur­ches of Europe, Asia, and Affrica. And that is enough in answer to the first pre­tended defect of Antiquity as to Places.

The second defect is as to Times. And here they fall directly upon the credit of all Ecclesiastical History, and in par­ticular upon Eusebius the Father of it; who, they say, lived at too great a di­stance from Apostolical Times, and wanted sufficient Records for his Infor­mation. But this I must answer that I know not any Historian furnished with better and more certain accounts of the things they write of, than Eusebius. The Tradition of the Church being conveyed down to him in the most un­interrupted and undoubted manner pos­sible. St. Polycarp, St. Ignatius, St. Clemens of Rome, were familiarly ac­quainted with the Apostles themselves; Irenaeus, Tatianus, Theophilus Antioche­nus, Athenagoras, Justin Martyr, and many more converst with them, as they did with the Apostles; to these succeed Origen, Clemens, Alexandrinus, Tertul­lian, [Page 151] Minutius Faelix, Lactantius, Ar nobius, Dionysius Alexandrinus, Grego­rius Thauntaturgus, St. Cyprian, beside many other excellent Writers, whose Works he enjoyed, though some of them are since perish'd, who all lived in the first and second Centuries after the Apostles. Now out of these Euse­bius collected his History, and to their genuine and undoubted Writings ever refers himself to justifie his own Fide­lity, quotes no Author for any matter of fact but what was done in his own Age, as particularly in the beginning of the second Book the Reader is desired to observe, that he collected the materials of it from the Writings of Clemens, Tertullian, Josephus, and Philo, and the same Preface he might have set before every particular Book. And as he al­ways refers to good Authors, so he re­jects many things as counterfeit and spu­rious for this reason only, because he finds no account of them in the Ancient Writers. But beside the Writings of the Doctors of the Church, and the Epistles of Bishops, the Originals where­of were then reserved in the Archives of their several Churches, he made [Page 152] very great use of the Acts of the Mar­tyrs, that were then preserved with great care and sacredness, though after­wards it being the most valued part of Ecclesiastical History, it was the most improved into fabulous Legends and Stories. And beside all this he was furnished with many excellent materials of the First Times (which alone he could be supposed to want) by Hege­sippus, who wrote five Books of Com­mentaries, of the Acts of the Church about the Reign of Marcus Aurelius, which was scarce eighty Years after the death of St. John. So that it is no bet­ter than a very rash censure of such an Ancient and Apostolical Writer, to say that his Relations are as questionable as those of Eusebius himself in reference to those elder Times, when he lived al­most in the very eldest times, and so near to the Apostles, that it was scarce possi­ble that any matter of Fact, that hap­pened in that Interval, could escape his knowledg. Now last of all, the Hea­then Records themselves were not a little useful to him, as himself informs us. [...], Lib. 3. cap. 18. [Page 153] [...], &c. In the [...]e times (that is, about the Reign of Do­mitian) the Doctrine of the Christian Faith was so flourishing, that the Hea­then Writers have left exact Records of the Persecutions and Martyrdoms. As for Eusebius his saying (which is so triumphantly insisted on to blast the L. 3. c. 4. whole credit of Antiquity) that it is difficult to find out who were the Suc­cessors of the Apostles in the Churches planted by them, unless it be those men­tioned in the Writings of St. Paul, it is evident from his own words, that the difficulty arises not from the deficiency but from the too great plenty of Suc­cessors. [...], For he had a thousand Helpers, or as he was wont to call them Fellow-Souldiers. So that the reason why it is so difficult to assign whom he appointed to preside over the Churches that he converted, is because he had such an innumerable company of followers, that whom he set over what Churches, it is not possi­ble [Page 154] to define, than as himself has happen­ed to name particular Persons, as Timo­thy, Titus, Crescens, Clemens, Epaphroditus, &c. which alone are a sufficient evidence of the Apostles care to settle Successors in the greater Churches. However this passage can by no means be made use of to blast the credit of Antiquity as to the matter in debate, because it con­cerns not the uncertainty of the form of Government, but only of the Per­sons who succeeded in the Apostolical Form in some particular Churches. And that alone is answer enough to the third defect as to Persons, viz. That granting the Catalogues of the first Bishops to be defective, that is no proof against the certainty of Episcopal Government, unless at the same time that we cannot find the Bishop, we could find some o­ther form of Government. Nay fur­ther, those particulars that we have, are a sufficient Testimony to the general Truth that we assert, in that it is at­tested by all the Records that are re­maining, and that is enough to satisfie any reasonable or impartial man, espe­cially when in the greater and more known Churches we have as certain an [Page 155] account of the Succession, as we have of the Bishops of England from the Reign of Henry the VIII, to Charles the II. But that concerns the Argument of Personal Succession, which though I have prevented, I may consider in its proper place: At present in order to the confuting of this Objection from the defect of Time, I shall shew that we have as certain and uninterrupted a Tra­dition of the matter in hand, as the most curious and diffident enquirer can de­mand for his full satisfaction.

And first, What can be more ancient, or is more evident, than the Testimony of Clement of Rome, in his famous Epi­stle to the Corinthians, where exhort­ing them above all things to Peace and Unity, which indeed was the main Ar­gument in the first Writers of the Church, one chief way that he pro­pounds in order to it, is that every man keep his Order and Station, where be­side the Laity, he reckons up three di­stinct Orders of the Christian Clergy, which he expresses by an allusion, as was the custom of the Apostolical Wri­ters, to the Jewish Hierarchy, viz. The Office of High Priest, Priest and Levite. [Page 156] The passage is very full and pregnant. [...]. The High Priest has his peculiar Office assign'd him, and the Priest has his Station bounded, and the Levites have their proper Ministries determined, and the Lay-man is obliged to his Lay-Offices. My Brethren, let every one in his Place and Order, worship God with a good Conscience, not transgressing the settled Canon of his Duty according to the rule of Decency. Where it is ma­nifest that he describes the several Mini­stries of the Christian Church at that time, by alluding to the Offices of the Mosaick Institution. For why else should he conclude with this Exhorta­tion; [And therefore, my Brethren, let every one of you keep his own Order,] unless this distinction of Officers con­cern'd the Corinthian Christians. So that though it be expressed by alluding [Page 157] to the Ordinances of the old Jewish Institution, yet it is a description of the present state of the Christian Church among those to whom he writes, other­wise it were very impertinent to exhort them to keep those Stations, if there were no such among them. But the great Witness in this cause is that brave Martyr St. Ignatius, Pupil to St. John, and by him ordain'd Bishop of Antioch, and chief Bishop of Asia, who whilst he was in his way to his Martyrdom (being sent from Antioch to Rome, to be de­voured by wild Beasts) in his journey wrote several Epistles to several Chur­ches, in which he gives such a plain Ac­count of the Constitution of the Hie­rarchy in his time by the Orders of Bi­shop, Presbyter, and Deacon, as plainly demonstrates it to have been of Aposto­lical Antiquity. And this is so evident that there is no way of avoiding the Testimony but by flatly denying it: And therefore our Adversaries will upon no terms allow these Epistles to be ge­nuine, and take infinite pains to prove them, if it be possible, supposititious; so that this is become the great point in this Controversie, and has been eagerly [Page 158] disputed by many Learned men on both sides. The two last that engaged in it are a learned Prelate of our own, and the famous Monsier Daillé, in whose Books the whole cause is not only con­tain'd, but I am apt to think, decided. For though Daillé was a Person of more Judgment, Temper, and Learning, than most of his Brethren, yet they were strangely overborn by the strength of Prejudice; and it is plain to any man that ever look'd into him, that he was first resolved upon his Opinion, and then right or wrong to make it good, and because he was well aware that these Epistles alone, were so clear and full a Testimony to the Apostolical Antiquity of the Episcopal Order, that they plain­ly prevented all Attempts and Argu­ments against it, he therefore set him­self with all vehemence, and made it the business of his Life to destroy their Credit, and with infinite pains sifted all the Rubbish of Antiquity, to find out every shred and atom of a Criticism, that might any way be made use of to im­pair their Reputation. Yet after all this Drudgery, are his Exceptions so plainly disingenuous and unreasonable, [Page 159] that they would fall as well upon any o­ther ancient Record whatsoever, not on­ly that ever has been, but that ever could have been, though upon no other score than purely that of its Antiquity. But this Cause hath breath'd its last in this man, and this advantage we have gain'd by his zeal to maintain, and his ability to manage it, that it has put an utter end to this Controversie, in that all his forces have been rebuked and overthrown with such an irresistible strength of Rea­son and Learning, that for the time to come we may rest secure that never any man of common Sense, or ordinary Learning, or any Modesty will dare to appear in such an helpless and bafled Cause. For the particulars I refer to the learned Authors themselves, but as to the general Argument, I shall give a brief and distinct account of it, and then leave it to the Reader to judge, whether he could desire or contrive more evidence for the authority of any Book, than is produced for the Epistles of Ignatius. St. Polycarp then who was his particular Friend and Fellow-pupil under St. John, and St. Irenaeus who was Disciple to Polycarp, give in full and [Page 160] clear testimony to the Martyrs Epistles Polycarp sent a Copy of them to the Church of Philippi, as appears both by his own Epistle still extant, and by Eu­sebius his Quotation out of it, and that at a time when it was vulgarly known and commonly read in the Churches of Asia. Polycarp's Epistle was never call'd in question by any good Author, was immediately attested by Irenaeus, read with Veneration in the Churches of Asia, even to the very time of Eusebius and St. Hierom. So that I know not what more undoubted or publick Testi­mony Monsieur Daillé could demand for his satisfaction, and indeed it is hard to conceive what more effectual evidence could have been provided to secure their Authority. For when St. Polycarp's Epistle was so universally known, it was impossible to corrupt it. And yet in this wild Supposition, is Monsieur Daillé forced at last to shelter himself; he allows his Epistle it self to be of un­doubted Credit, and the greatest part of it to have been written by Polycarp, but that a certain Impostor a little be­fore the time of Eusebius, had foisted in that Paragraph in which this passage [Page 161] concerning Ignatius his Epistles is found, which Eusebius meeting with, he took it to be of the same credit with the rest of the Epistle. Which is all so very ungrounded and precarious, that with the same liberty he might deny, or de­stroy the validity of any ancient Re­cord whatsoever; but beside this, the Epistle was so publick, so exposed to the view of all men, so known to the Learned and Unlearned, that it were as easie to poison the Sea as for a pri­vate man to corrupt it. Or if he would attempt to do it, how was it possible for Eusebius and all the World beside, to be deluded by so bold an Imposture. Does not Eusebius himself inform us, that it was read in the Churches of Asia at the time of his writing? Did he not then know what was read there, and therefore if this passage were not read, could he be so stupid as to be im­posed upon by one single private man against the authority of all the publick Books, or if he were, could all the Fathers, whom Daillé will have to have followed his Dance, be so prodi­giously blind and careless as in a thing so known and common, to be deceived [Page 162] by him, and that no man (if we may believe him) should discover the mi­stake till Nicephorus, who lived five hundred Years after him? But granting the Testimony to be true, he denies it to be effectual, because Polycarp only says that Ignatius wrote Epistles, but no where affirms that those we have are the true ones. So that it seems unless St. Polycarp had written particularly against Mounsier Dail [...]é himself, and declared that those very Epistles that he opposes with so much zeal, were written by his Friend the Martyr, it was not possible for him to give suffici­ent testimony to their truth. And yet that could not have been a more ample proof than this amounts to. For he declares not only that Ignatius wrote certain Epistles, but that himself made a Collection of them, and this Colle­ction was seen by Eusebius and others of the Ancients. Now when we con­sider the Reputation of the Martyr both for his acquaintance with the Apostles, his eminent dignity in the Church, the gallantry of his Martyr­dom; when we consider the time and occasion of his writing, which was at [Page 163] the approach of his Death, and as it were his dying Exhortation to the Churches; when we consider how they were recommended by Polycarp, whose Epistle was publickly read in their As­semblies; is it any way credible that these true Epistles should all perish be­fore the time of Eusebius, and other coun­terfeit ones rise up in their room, and among all those learned men that then were very inquisitive after Ancient and Apostolical Tradition, none should ever discern or discover it? Nay, that Eu­sebius, a man so throughly versed in all Ecclesiastical Antiquities, so conversant with the choicest Libraries, should be so grosly and so easily cheated by a double Imposture contrived in his own time, as to take the new invented Epi­stles of Ignatius, for the old authen­tick Writings of that holy Martyr, and then to vouch it by a forg'd Passage foisted into Polycarp, against the autho­rity of all the vulgar Books. So many hard Suppositions, one would think, were enough to shame any modest man out of his Opinion.

The second Witness to these Epistles is St. Irenaeus, whose testimony is no [Page 164] more to be doubted of than the for­mer, being extant both in Eusebius, and those pieces of Irenaeus, that are preser­ved down to our times, though most of his works are perish'd. But to this Monsieur Daillé answers that Irenaeus cautiously expresses his Quotation of the holy Martyr by Dixit, and not Scripsit, and thence conjectures that he quotes it only as a Saying or Apothegm, and not as a Citation out of his Wri­tings. But, (1.) There is no Record of any such Saying as this, neither in that particular Quotation, that is pre­served, could we know whom Irenaeus means, did we not find the same sen­tence in Ignatius his Epistle to the Ro­mans, so that it is a vain and a frivo­lous thing to forsake that, and to fetch the business from unknown and unheard of Reports. And. (2.) This is the very form of all Irenaeus his Quotati­ons, who never uses the word Scripsit, but always Dixit. But then why does he not cite some Testimony against the Hereticks out of Ignatius, in whom there were so many apposite to his pur­pose? I answer for the same reason that he does not cite other as pertinent Au­thors [Page 165] as Ignatius. For out of all the Ecclesiastical Writers that lived before him, he has in his surviving Works but four Quotations, of which that out of Ignatius is one. Neither would this way of disputing have been at all per­tinent in the days of Irenaeus, when the Hereticks against whom he wrote, al­lowed no Authority to the ancient Do­ctors of the Church, but always re­curred to certain wild Apocryphal Books of their own, and therefore it had been but a vain thing for Irenaeus to have prest them with this Topick. The next Witness is Origen, who quotes him by name, but against this Testimo­ny we have these two Exceptions: First, That it is at too great a distance from the time of Ignatius: Secondly, That those Writings, in which he is quoted are none of Origens. First, As to the first we would grant the force of the Objection, if this had been the first Testimony in the cause; but following Polycarp and Irenaeus, it proves the con­stant opinion of Learned men before Eusebius, and his Impostor. Secondly, It overthrows Daillé's great conceit that these Epistles appeared not till [Page 166] two hundred Years after Ignatius, whereas by his own confession Origen writ within one hundred and forty Years. Thirdly, It cuts off the great pretence, that Eusebius was the Founder of this mistake, whereas it hereby ap­pears, that if it were one, he only fol­lowed his Predecessors in it. But the main of the Controversie here is the second thing, Whether those Books a­scribed to Origen, in which Ignatius is quoted, are really his, or not. Daillé says, No; but his learned Adversary has with no less than evidence of De­monstration proved they were, though if he had not done it, St. Jerom has done it long since, who plainly tells us that himself translated them out of Ori­gen's Greek into Latine. And now af­ter these I need add nothing of the Te­stimony of Eusebius and those that fol­low him, for if he be mistaken their Authority is of no use, if he be not it is of little necessity, but that he is not, is demonstrated from these more anci­ent Testimonies. Though if any man desire more Witnesses, I shall refer him to my learned Author, who has sum­mon'd Part. 1. Cap. 2. them out of every Age, from [Page 167] that in which the Epistles themselves were writen, down to that next our own.

But to all the Testimonies of the An­cients, what do our Adversaries op­pose? irst, Salmasius opposes the [...] of Nicephorus Patriarch of Walo Mes­sal. p. 252. Constantinople, by which, says he, the Authentick and spurious Books of the Church were distinguish'd, and among many others the Epistles of Ignatius are censured for Apocryphal Books. But to this it is replied by the Pious, the Reverend, and the Learned, Dr. Ham­mond, Diss. 2. c. 1. § 2. that the opinion of one Author, especially of later date (for Nicepho­rus lived not before the ninth Century) was not of weight and authority e­nough to oppose to the consent of so many ancient Writers. Secondly, That the word Apocryphal, which is used by Nicephorus, does not always signifie Spurious, but it is very often used by Ecclesiastical Writers as opposed to Ca­nonical, and so is given to Books, whose Authors were never question'd, only to seclude them from the Canon of the Scripture. To the first it is re­plied by Daillé, and that I must say Lib. 2. Cap. 4. [Page 168] with impertinency enough, that the authority of Nicephorus is at least equal to Dr. Hammonds, as if the Dispute were between them two, whereas the Dispute was between Walo and the Do­ctor, who when he had produced the Testimonies of the Fathers of all for­mer Ages, could not but think it very hard that the opinion of one late Wri­ter should be opposed to all their Au­thority. To the second he replies, That it is true that the word Apocry­phal is oftentimes opposed to Canoni­cal, yet it is very frequently too used by Ecclesiastical Writers as equivalent to Spurious and Counterfeit, and that therefore the Doctor in vain takes re­fuge in the Ambiguity of the word. But certainly, it is the manifest design of these men to tire out their Adversaries with verbose Trifles. For who could have expected this Answer, that when Walo had argued from the word Apo­cryphal, as if it only signified Spuri­ous, and that when to the Argument the Doctor had answer'd that it no ways follows, because it as often signi­fied not Canonical; who, I say, after this would have expected that his Ad­versary [Page 169] should upbraid him with taking Refuge in the ambiguity of the word, when the Ambiguity of the word a­lone was not only a full answer to, but a clear confutation of the Argument? But he replies, secondly, That some of the Books joyn'd with it are confessed by all to be Supposititious, and therefore as they were censur'd for that reason, so must the Ignatian Epistles. But this is manifestly false, and though if it were true, it follows like all the rest. For the Censure has no regard to their Author, but whether Spurious or Ge­nuine, to their Authority, and only de­signs to shut them out from creeping in among the Canonical Scriptures. For that was the only danger it aim'd to prevent; least the Books that either were or pretended to be of Apostolical Antiquity should creep into the Ca­non. And it is plain from the Decree it self, that Nicephorus intended nothing else than to determine the Canonical Books of Scripture, and prevent all others that came nearest to them in Age, from obtaining sacred Authority. But, says Daillé, Pope Gelasius when he defines what Books are Apocry­phal, [Page 170] he does not confine it meerly to the Canonical Scriptures, but to all other Ecclesiastical Writers not allowed of, and therefore this must be the mean­ing of Nicephorus. That is to say, that because Gelasius in his Decree deter­mines what Ecclesiastical Books of what kind soever are to be reputed Ortho­dox, what Heterodox, that therefore Nicephorus, when he distinguishes the Canonical Books of the New Testa­ment from the Apocryphal, does not mean as himself declares, but must be understood in the sense of Gelasius.

And yet when all is done there is no such Testimony, but the whole Story is a meer Dream of their own, who catch at any shadow that may seem to serve their turn: For, sirst, it is cer­tain, That Nicephorus was not the Au­thor of the Stichometria. Secondly, That the Author of it, whoever he was, did not pass this censure upon Ignatius his Epistles. For we find in it only the name of Ignatius, without any mention of his Epistles; Which indeed cannot in Daillé's sense be call'd Apocryphal, because they were never esteem'd Canonical. For that is the true [Page 171] Original of the distinction, that where­as there were some Books written by the Followers of the Apostles, as Cle­mens, Barnabas, and Hermas, left these by reason of their nearness to the Ca­nonical Books, should in process of time be reckoned with them, the Church was careful to range them in a Classis by themselves: And whereas there were many other Books that pretended to be dictated by the Apostles, and written by their Disciples, lest they should gain the Authority they pretended to, it concern'd the Church to give them the Apocryphal Mark. Seeing there­fore Ignatius Epistles were never upon either of these accounts in any proba­bility of being accounted Canonical, it would have been a needless Caution to refer them to the Apocryphal Cata­logue. And though to Ignatii Daillé after his usual way of making bold with his Quotations adds Omnia: It is pro­bable that [...] should be added as it is in another Index of Apocryphal Books in the Oxford Library. It be­ing the custom of some idle men of those times to make Institutions of Di­vinity, and then fasten them upon Apo­stles [Page 172] and Apostolical men, out of which as our learned Author with great pro­bability conjectures, was afterward made that Collection, which goes un­der the name of Apostolical Constituti­ons. Now these spurious pieces pre­tending to Canonical Authority, it was very requisite to prevent and discover the Imposture. But whatever proba­bility may be in this Conjecture, of which we stand in no need, I am sure there is as little modesty as reason in Salmasius his Argument, when he op­poses the single authority of Nicephorus to the concurrent Testimony of the Ancients. But much less in Daillès de­fence, especially when we consider with what state and confidence he ushers it in, Ecce Auctores habemus & multis ante nos seculis denatos, & ab omni contra Hierarchiam suspicione semotos, qui om­nia Ignatii scripta rotunde ac sine ullâ haesitatione ad Apocrypha relegarunt in stichometriâ Georgio Sincello in libro an­tiquissimo praefixâ. For what confidence can be more enormous than that when these Epistles have been attested by some of the best of the ancient Writers, ters, to pretend to destroy their Au­thority [Page 173] by a multitude of Writers, and yet produce but one, and he at the distance of seven hundred Years. But the last aggravation of his confidence is, when he professes that he produces the authority of this Stichometria not to prove his own Opinion, but only to remove the prejudice of its Novelty, and yet cite no other Authors in its behalf. For all the rest of his Proofs are drawn from Negative Authority, in which he is no more happy than in his many one positive Testimony. For when he argues that these Epistles were unknown to every Writer that does not quote them, methinks it is an hard condition that he imposes upon all Au­thors to cite all the Books that they read. But, says he, because of that great authority that Ignatius had in the Christian Church, when any Christian Writers had any fair occasion for it, it is very likely that they would have ap­peal'd to his Authority, which because they have not done, we may justly pre­sume that there were no such Writings extant in their time. This is the whole force of his Negative Argument; and yet when he comes to particulars, he is [Page 174] so unhappy as only to produce those Authors whose custom it is to avoid this kind of Quotations, as we have alrea­dy shewn concerning Irenaeus. And so for Clemens Alexandrinus, who though he is a great quoter of Heathen and Heretical Writers, yet no where cites Ecclesiastical Authors, unless such as he supposed to belong to the sacred Canon. And so for Tertullian, who too is frequent in the Testimonies of Heathens, or Hereticks, but scarce ever mentions any Ecclesiastical Wri­ters, and when he does, it is not to prove or confute any Doctrine by their Authority. And this in the last place is the case of Epiphanius, who makes no mention of a great number of Eccle­siastical Writers that lived before him, and when he does it in his Book of He­resies, it is only in an Historical way, either to spare his own pains, or to justifie the truth of his own Relations out of other Histories, but never (as Daillé requires of him) to prove the truth of his Opinion. I mention no more of his Negative men, who make a great shew in the Contents of his Chapter, in that they are alledged al­together [Page 175] impertinently to his purpose, because all those Passages which he ima­gines they were obliged to have quo­ted, belong not to the ancient Copies of Eusebius, but are taken out of the late Interpolations.

And now comparing the Testimo­nies on both sides, we may very safely turn any honest man loose to judg of the Authority of these Epistles, and that being once establisht, we can nei­ther have nor desire a more ample Te­stimony than they give us of the Pri­mitive Practice of Episcopal Superio­rity. The holy Martyr every where founding the Peace and Security of the Church against Schisms and Heresies upon the Bishops supreme Authority, which he, as our Adversaries fancy, magnifies so highly (though not more than the other Orders of the Church in their respective Function) that they think that alone the main objection against the truth of his Epistles. Though in truth, setting aside all Testimonies, the Argument and Spirit of them are no small proof of their genuine Antiqui­ty. Being composed of two Argu­ments peculiar to the first Writers of [Page 176] the Church; a vehement zeal for Unity, and a passionate sense of Immor­tality. They were possest with a seri­ous belief of the reality of our Savi­our's Promises, and therefore they li­ved in this World purely, in order to the Rewards of the World to come, And how earnestly the Author of these Epistles thirsted after it, no good Christian can read without great plea­sure, and being affected with some workings of the same Passion. And as for his way of securing, Peace, and Unity in all Churches by obedience to the Bishops, and under them to the Pres­byters and Deacons, (for his funda­mental Rule was, that nothing was to be done without the Bishop) he de­rives it from our Saviour's Commission and Promise to the Apostles and their Successors for ever, when he consti­tuted them Pastors of his Flock, and promised to be perpetually assistant to them by his Divine Providence in the execution of their Office. And there­fore he does not refer the Government of the Church to them for the greater Wisdom, greater Learning, or any o­ther natural Advantages of the men [Page 177] themselves, but only upon the account of our Saviour's express Institution, who had sent them as his Father had sent him, and had therefore engaged himself to be present with them to the end of the world, so that upon that se­curity to follow the Bishop was to fol­low Christ, because he had undertaken to be the Bishops Guide. And this be­ing the state of the case between Ignati­us and his Adversaries, their Objections will not reflect upon his discretion but our Saviours Integrity, and when the cause is brought to that, Ignatius is se­cure, and if any man be pleased to raise any further controversie, it is only be­tween our Saviour and the Levia­than. And there I am content to leave it.

The next proof of the Primitive and Apostolical Practice of Episcopacy, that we meet with among the Ancients is in the Apostolical Canons, i. e. a Collection of the Decrees of Synods and Councils be­tween the time of the Apostles and the Council of Nice; so that they may not im­properly be stiled the Code of the Canons of the Primitive Church. And now con­cerning them the case of the Controver­sie [Page 178] is much the same with that of Igna­tius Epistles; for the Testimony that they give in to the Episcopal superiority is so full and plain that it is undeniable. And therefore there is no avoiding them but by impeaching their Antiquity and Authority; and as the state of the con­troversie is the same, so is the success too; for it has been thoroughly dispu­ted between the said Monsieur Daillè and a very learned Divine of our own Church, and that with the very same inequality of reason too. I shall not give any large account of the engage­ment, because the Books are so lately published, and may be so easily perused, and therefore I shall rather refer to the Authors themselves, especially because I am not a little zealous to recommend one of them as an incomparable treasure of Ecclesiastical Antiquity. And there­fore omitting Daille's beloved Nega­tive and internal Arguments, which his Adversary has for ever routed with a prodigious force of reason and dexterity of learning, I shall only give an account in short of the main rational point of the Controversie. That is, what an­tient Testimonies are to be alledged [Page 179] either for or against their Antiquity. On the one side they are frequently owned and quoted by all the first general Councils, and therefore must have been enacted in the Interval between the Apostles and the Council of Nice. They are cited by many of the most ancient Fathers, as Canons of the first and most early Antiquity. And they are expres­ly referred to by the most famous Em­perours in their Ecclesiastical Laws. All which concurrent Testimony any mode­rate man would think sufficient to give Authority to any Writing, and yet it is all over-ruled by a single Decree of Pope Gelasius supposed to be made Anno Domini 494. in which the Apostolical Canons are reckoned among the Apo­cryphal Books. But first, is it reasona­ble to set up the Opinion of one man against many that were more anci­ent, and so much the more competent witnesses than himself? Secondly, it is uncertain whether any such Decree as is pretended were ever made by Gelasius, in that we never hear any thing of it till at least three hundred years after his time. Thirdly, if there were any such Decree, it is certain that this Passage [Page 180] concerning the Canons of the Apostles was foisted into it, it not being found in any of the most ancient Copies; and Hincmarus, a Person of singular learn­ing in his time, that makes mention of this Decree of Gelasius as early as any Writer whatsoever, expresly affirms that there was no mention of the Apo­stolical Canons in the whole Decree. De his Apostolorum Canonibus penitus ta [...]uit, sed nec inter Apocrypha eos misit. Where he expresly affirms, that in the Decree these Canons were altogether omitted, and ranged neither with the Orthodox, nor with the Apocryphal Books. This Testimony is given in with as peremptory terms as can be expressed, and therefore Daillé, for no other rea­son than to serve his cause, quite in­verts the Proposition, and changes mi­sit into omisit, that is, turns I into No. But men that can deal thus with their Authors, need never trouble their heads with Testimonies of Antiquity, for after this rate it is in their power to make any Author affirm or deny what they please. But fourthly, suppose Gelasius had made any such Decree, how does that destroy the Antiquity of these [Page 181] Canons, when he has condemned the Books of Tertullian, Arnobius, Lactan­tius, and Eusebius for Apocryphal? And yet Tertullian lived three hundred years before the Decree, and therefore why may not the Apostolical Canons be allow­ed their reputed Antiquity too notwith­standing that Sentence, which only re­lates to the Authority his Holiness is pleased to allow them in the Roman Church, and not at all to their Antiqui­ty, unless perhaps he designed to de­clare that they were not framed by the Apostles themselves, as he might fancy from their Title, not knowing that whatever was of prime Antiquity in the Church was by the first Writers of it stiled Apostolical, as being supposed to descend from the Tradition of the Apo­stles themselves. Fifthly, will Monsieur Daillè allow this Decree of Gelasius suf­ficient to give any Book the Apocry­phal stamp; If he will, then he must reject many of the best Fathers, and in their stead admit the Acts of St. Sylve­ster; the Invention of the Cross, and the invention of St. John Baptists head, for whilst the History of Eusebius, together with the other Fathers, is [Page 182] rejected, such Fables as these are warrant­ed by that barbarous and Gothish De­cree. And that is enough, though there were nothing else, to destroy the Autho­rity of this mans censure, his meer want of Judgment. Now comparing this one pretended Testimony of Gelasius under all the disadvantages that I have repre­sented, with the express counter-testi­mony of so many Councils, Fathers, and Emperours, if any man be resolved notwithstanding all to stick to it, I will say no more than this, that his Cause is much more beholden to him than he to his Cause.

And now having given this account of these Apostolical men that conver­sed with the Apostles themselves, or immediately succeeded them in the Go­vernment of the Church, if we de­scend to their Successours from Age to Age, we are there overwhelmed with the croud of Witnesses. But because they have been so often alledged and urged by learned men, I should have wholly waved their citation, had not our Adversaries made use of several shifts and artifices to evade their Au­thority. And therefore though I shall [Page 183] not trouble the Reader with their di­rect Testimonies, yet to shew the vanity of all our Adversaries pretences, I shall endeavour to vindicate the credit of the Ancients against all their Exceptions. And here the first pretence is the ambi­guity of their Testimony, which is en­deavoured to be made out by these three things: First, That personal succession might be without such superiority of order. Secondly, That the names of Bishop and Presbyters were common after the distinction between them was introduced. Thirdly, That the Church did not own Episcopacy as a divine In­stitution, but Ecclesiastical; and those who seem to speak most of it, do mean no more. First then a succession there might be as to a different Degree, and not as to a different Order. Before we distinguished between Order and Po­wer, now between Order and Degree, and by and by between the Power of Order and the Power of Jurisdiction. But these distinctions are only the tri­flings of the Schoolmen, whose proper faculty it is to divide every thing till they have reduced it to nothing. For what does the degree of a Church-Officer [Page 184] signifie but such an order in the Church, and what order is there with­out a power of Office according to its degree, and therefore it is plain preva­ricating with the evidence of things to impose these little subtilties upon the sense of Antiquity, they (good men) meant plainly and honestly, and when they give us an account of Apostolical Successions, they were not aware of these scholastick distinctions, and intend­ed nothing else than a succession in the government of their several Churches. Thus when Irenaeus gives us a Catalogue of twelve Bishops of Rome, Successours to the Apostles in that See, what did he mean but the supreme Governours of that Church, when that was the on­ly signification of the word Bishop in his time. He never dream'd of their being stript of the Apostolical power, and so only succeeding them in an em­pty Title, in the meer name or the me­taphysical notion of Bishops, and they were no more, if they had no more power than the rest of the Clergy. But secondly, This new distinction spoils the former evasion, viz. That the Apostles were superiour in order, not in power [Page 185] over the LXX. but now a superiority of order is made equivalent to a supe­riority of power, for that from the time of our Saviours Resurrection is granted them by our Adversaries, though it is denied their Successours. Thus we en­large, or abate, or evacuate that Com­mission that God himself has given them at our own meer will and pleasure. If it be convenient for our cause to assert in one place that they were vested with no superiority of Power, they shall be put off with an empty superiority of order separated from power: If in another that Assertion seem not so convenient to our purpose, they shall be presently advanced to an absolute supremacy over the other Pastors of the Church, but then that must last only during their lives, and as for their Successours we are pleased to degrade them from the Apostolical both Order and Authority; and allow them nothing but an empty degree of I know not what; but to say no more of the difference between Order and Degree: As for the distin­ction between Order and Jurisdiction, though in one place I affirm that the Apostles were a distinct Order from the [Page 186] other Clergy, without any superiority of Jurisdiction, yet in another, if my cause require it, there shall be but one order in the Christian Clergy, and no difference but what is made by Juris­diction, and the Bishops themselves shall be equal to Presbyters in order by Divine Right, and only superiour in jurisdiction by Ecclesiastical Constitu­tion. For so I read, that for our better understanding of this, we must consi­der a twofold power belonging to Church-Officers, a Power of Order, and a Power of Jurisdiction; for in every Presbyter there are some things insepa­rably joyned to his Function, and be­longing to every one in his personal ca­pacity, both in actu primo, and in actu secundo, both as to the right and power to do it, and the exercise and execution of that power; such are, preaching the Word, visiting the Sick, administring Sacraments, &c. but there are other things which every Presbyter has an aptitude, and a Jus to in actu primo, but the limitation and exercise of that Po­wer does belong to the Church in com­mon, and belongs not to any one per­sonally, but by a further power of [Page 187] choice or delegation to it, such is the power of visiting Churches, taking care that particular Pastors discharge their duty; such is the power of Ordination and Church-Censures, and making Rules for Decency in the Church. This is that we call the power of Jurisdiction. Now this latter power, though it be­longs habitually and in actu primo to every Presbyter; yet being about mat­ters of publick and common concern­ment, some further Authority in a Church constituted is necessary besides the power of Order; and when this power, either by consent of the Pa­stors of the Church, or by the ap­pointment of a Christian Magistrate, or both, is devolved to some particular Persons, though quoad aptitudinem, the power remain in every Presbyter, yet quoad executionem it belongs to those who are so appointed. Whatever truth there is in this, the Assertion is plain, that our Saviour appointed but one order in the Clergy, and that the difference which has since been made by the con­sent of the Church consists in nothing else but Jurisdiction. And this is very consistent with the former Assertion, [Page 188] that there was no difference between the Apostles and the LXX. beside di­stinction of order, when now there is no more by divine appointment than one order in the Church. And yet af­ter all this their fluttering between Or­der and Power, Degree and Order, Power of Order and Power of Juris­diction; all superiority of Order, so much as it is, is so much superiority of Power. Thus to take their own In­stance of the [...] at Athens, the [...], or the President of the Assembly was so far superiour over his Colleagues in Power as he was in Order: For whatsoever was peculiar to his Of­fice gave him some more advantage in the Government of the Common­wealth than they had; for the very power of calling and adjourning As­semblies, presiding and moderating in them is no small degree of Power in a Republican Government. But seeing the difference between a superiority of Order and Power is thought to be made out best by these parallel Instances of Commonwealths, let us run the parallel with the Apostles and the LXX. for if to be superiour only in Order is to be [Page 189] President in an Assembly, or Prolocutor in a Convocation, and if this were all the Office peculiar to the Apostles, then when our Saviour appointed seventy Disciples, and twelve Apostles, he made twelve Prolocutors over a Con­vocation of seventy. Seeing therefore that is too great a number of Speakers for so small an Assembly, it is manifest that when he separated them for a di­stinct Office, he intended something more by an Apostle than meerly a Chairman in a Presbytery; and what­ever it is, it is either an higher power than others had, or it is nothing at all. Secondly, This Succession is not so evi­dent and convinced in all places as it ought to be to demonstrate the thing intended. For it is not enough to shew a List of some Persons in the great Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, and Alexandria, but it should be pro­duced at Philippi, Corinth, and Caesa­rea, &c. This I perceive to be our Adversaries darling Objection, being the only matter made use of to shift off several heads of Argument: This was the proof of the defect of the Te­stimony of Antiquity as to places; and [Page 190] is now here the only evidence of its ambiguity; and by and by will be cal­led in as the only instance of its Repug­nancy. But certainly their fondness to it is not grounded upon any great ver­tue that they see in it, but they are on­ly forced for want of more material Arguments to lay a mighty stress upon such poor pretences, as in any other dispute they would be a shamed to own. For first, supposing the Succession can­not be shewn in all Churches, is that any proof against the Succession that can? And suppose I cannot produce a List of Bishops at Philippi, Corinth, and Caesarea, shall I thence conclude against the Succession, though I have very good History for it, at Jerusalem, Anti­och, Rome, and Alexandria? This is such an Inference as rather shews a mans good will to his Opinion than his Un­derstanding. But I have already pro­ved that it is highly reasonable to con­clude the customs of those Churches that are not known from those that are; and apparently absurd to question the Records of those that are preserved for the uncertainty of those that are not. But secondly, What though we do not [Page 191] find in all Churches an accurate Cata­logue of the succession of all Bishops, do we find any Instance in any one an­cient Church of any other form of Go­verment? If we can, that were some­thing to the Argument, but that is not pretended in the Exception. But otherwise because the exact suc­cession of Persons in any Bishoprick has not been preserved with that care and diligence that it ought or might have been, to conclude that therefore there was no certainty of the Episcopal form of Government, is the same thing as to conclude, that there never was any ancient Monarchy in the world, because in all their Histories there are some flaws, or defects, or disagreements as to the names of Persons in the succession. But we think it enough, that where we find an established Monarchy, though we meet with some intervals of History, in which the Princes names that then reigned are uncertain or forgotten, and meet with no Records that the Go­vernment was at that time changed into a Common-wealth, to conclude that the Monarchy was all along preserved. And that is the case of Episcopal Government [Page 192] in the Church, in that in all times and places, where and when Records have been preserved, we find the same Form practised, and therefore ought to con­clude, that the same was observed in those short intervals of time (if we suppose there were any such) in which they were lost) Though I do not find that the Register of particular Persons is so defective as is pretended, but that in most Churches their very names are accurately enough recorded. Thus first, for the Church of Jerusalem, in which we find a succession of fifteen Bi­shops before its destruction, attested by the best and most ancient Writers, of the validity of whose Testimony we have no reason to doubt. For it is no Objection that so many Bishops should be crouded into so narrow a Room, that many of them could not have had above two years time to rule in the Church, When almost all that time the Jews were in Rebellion against the Ro­mans, continually provoking them by their Insurrections to the utmost severity both against Jews and Christians, for as yet the Romans understood no difference, nor were they broken into any open [Page 193] division among themselves, all these Bi­shops being as formally circumcised as any of the most zealous Retainers to the Jewish Religion. So that it is no more wonder that so many Bishops should succeed in so short a time, than that such an incredible number of Jews should perish by the Sword. But secondly, It is less material to enquire (as Scaliger Animad. In E [...]o. Chron. N. MMCXL. does) where the Seat of the Bishops of Jerusalem was from the time of the destruction of the City by Titus till the time of Adrian. For what if he had no Palace, was he no Bishop? Or what if we cannot tell where he assembled his Flock, was there no Church? Perhaps it was in a Cockloft at Pella; but be­cause we cannot tell where it was, was it no where? And therefore to return the Quere, Was there then a Church of Jerusalem? If there was (whether E­piscopal, Presbyterian, or Indepen­dent, or all together) I would fain know where it was; and if you cannot tell me, conclude, as you do, that there was no Church at all. And so he has answered his own little Objection him­self, that the Church follows the Bi­shop, and is not confined to stone Walls, [Page 194] and therefore that the Church of Je­rusalem was then at Pella, though there was no such place as Jerusalem, as at this day the Patriarchal Seat of An­tioch, is at Meredin in Mesopotamia, and that of Alexandria at Grand Cairo. As for the succession at Antioch, I find not the least ground to doubt of its truth, for I think it no objection, that though it be clear, it is not certain whether they succeeded St. Peter or St. Paul; for be it either, or both, or neither, it is all one so it be any; that is enough, that there was a succession though we did not know the particular Founder of the Church in whom it began; and who­ever of the Apostles it was, whether one or more, they had Apostolical Au­thority over it, and whoever succeed­ed them, succeeded in the same form of Government. As for the Church of Rome, all the difficulty is about the suc­cession of Linus and Clemens, being both reckoned in the first place, but the conjecture is very probable that Cle­mens succeeded St. Peter in the Church of the Jews, as Linus did St. Paul in the Church of the Gentiles, and that surviving both Linus, and Cletus that [Page 195] succeeded him till the union of the two Churches, he governed both. For whatever ground there is for the con­jecture that there were separate Churches of Christian Jews and Gen­tiles in other Cities, there is a very pro­bable foundation for it at Rome in the Apostolical History, Acts xxviii. where St. Paul expresly declares to the Jews that from thenceforth he would preach only to the Gentiles, and so in all pro­bability gathered a distinct Church of them by themselves. And therefore it is observable, that in that famous passage of Irenaeus, in which he derives the succes­sion of the Bishops of Rome from St. Pe­ter and Paul down to Eleutherius his Cotemporary, that he speaks not of the Church of Rome in the single number, but Ecclesiae Petro & Paulo Romae fun­datae & canstitutae, as if they had been several Churches. And to this purpose it is a pretty observation of Mr. Thorn­dike that St. Pauls being buried in the Ep. l. 3. chap. 18. Way to Ostia, and St. Peters in the Va­tican (as we understand by Caius in Eusebius) seems to point them out Heads, the one of the Jewish Christi­ans, the other of the Gentiles, in that [Page 196] the Vatican was then the Jury of Rome, and notorious for the Residence of Jews. But though these first Records could not be fully made out, we have no reason to doubt of the History, but rather to suspect some mistake in after­times, or the omission of some circum­stance that might, if it had been record­ed, have removed the difficulty. For it is very hard, that when Irenaeus (to men­tion no more) gives us a Catalogue of the Bishops of Rome from St. Peter down to the time when himself was at Rome, and who lived not at a greater distance from St. Peter than we do from the first Archbishop in Queen Elizabeths Reign, that we should suspect the whole truth of his Relation, because we can­not give an account of all the particu­lar circumstances of the Succession. This I say is too hard dealing with any anci­ent Records, though the conclusion is much harder, that because we have no certainty of all the Persons that suc­ceeded in Church-Government, and of the particular manner of their Successi­on, that therefore we have no certain­ty of the particular Form of it, not­withstanding we have no Record of any [Page 197] form but one. As for the Church of Alex­andria, there the Succession is acknow­ledged to be clearest (as indeed it is un­questionable) only it is imputed to the choice of Presbyters; but of that in its proper place; the evidence of personal Succession is enough, and all that is pertinent to our present debate. And the succession of Ephesus might have been as unquestionable, but that one Leontius pleads at the Council of Cal­cedon, that all the Bishops thereof, to the number of twenty seven, had been ordained in the City it self; but that it seems, proving a false Allegation, he has given us no reason to believe him in his Tradition. An Inference much like this; that supposing two persons to contend for their rights, and the Advo­cate of one of them shall in his plea alledge a false prescription, his Adver­sary should thence conclude upon him, that he had no reason to believe that there was any such Person in the world as his Client. For this is the case, The matter of the dispute was where the Bishops of Ephesus ought to be or­dained according to the Canons? At Ephesus, says Leontius, by constant Pre­scription. [Page 198] No, says the Council, for many of them have been ordained at Constanti­nople. Now is it not awkerd to infer from thence, that the Council denies the cer­tainty of the Succession it self; when as the debate was grounded upon the sup­position of it? It being granted on both sidesas a thing undoubted, that there was a succession of Bishops at Ephesus; and the Controversie was only about the accustomed place of their Consecration. Now from the variety of that to con­clude, that it is uncertain whether there were any such thing as Bishops at all, is such a forced Argument as proves no­thing but that we have a very great mind to our Conclusion. I might proceed to the Succession in other Churches, of which we have certain Records, but I will not engage my self in too many particular Historical Disputes where I know it is easie, if men will not be in­genuous, to perplex any matter with little critical scruples and difficulties; and therefore I will cast the whole of this Controversie upon this one Princi­ple: That though the Records of the Church were as defective as is pre­tended, yet seeing all that are preser­ved [Page 199] make only for Episcopacy, and that our Adversaries are notable to trace out one against it, that is evidence more than enough of its universal practice; and if that will not serve the turn, it is to no purpose to trouble our selves on either side with any proof that may be had from the Testimony of Anti­quity; for if upon that account we have not any, it is not possible either for them or us to have it in this or any other Con­troversie whatsoever.

Thirdly, The Succession so much pleaded for by the Writers of the Pri­mitive Church was not a Successi­on of Persons in Apostolical Power, but a Succession in Apostolical Do­ctrine. Whether any Persons succeed­ed in Apostolical Power has been al­ready considered, and therefore all that is here requisite to be enquired into, is, by what Persons the Apostolical Do­ctrine was conveyed. And if it be pleaded by the Writers of the Church to have been done by Bishops as the Apostles Successours, that proves the Succession of Persons as well as Do­ctrines. But seeing this is to be done, as our Adversaries instruct us, by a [Page 200] view of the places produced to that purpose, let us view them too. The first is that of Irenaeus, Quoniam valdè longum est in hoc tali volumine omnium Ecclesiarum enumerare successiones, maxi­mae & antiquissimae, & omnibus cognitae à gloriosissimis duobus Apostolis Petro & Paulo Romae fundatae & constitutae Ec­clesiae, eam quam habet ab Apostolis tradi­tionem, & annunciatam hominibus fi­dem, per successiones Episcoporum perve­nientes usque ad nos, indicantes, confun­dimus omnes eos, &c. Where we see, that whatever the Argument of Irenaeus was, his design was to prove that the succession of the Apostles was convey­ed down by the hands of the Bishops that were Successours to them in their several Sees. So that it is evident, that he designed to prove the Succession of the Doctrine by the Succession of the Doctors; and therefore if he does not prove it, he does more; he supposes it, and by the undoubted evidence of it, demonstrates the truth of the Doctrine, in that those Persons who were appoin­ted by the Apostles to oversee and go­vern the Churches have conveyed the Apostles Doctrine down to us by their [Page 201] Successors. And what fuller Testimony can there be of a Personal Succession of Bishops to the Apostles? And yet Ire­naeus does more than this, he derives the Personal Succession from the Apostles down to his own time, and they all suc­ceeded the Apostles as they succeeded one another; and as Linus was their Successour, so was Eleutherius, who sate at the same time that Irenaeus wrote; and therefore if Linus was Successour to the Apostles, so was Eleutherius, and if Eleutherius was Bishop of Rome, so was Linus: So that it was one and the same thing to succeed in the Bishoprick and the Apostolical Authority. And to the same purpose is the passage of Tertullian, Edant origines Ecclesiarum suarum, evolvant ordinem Episcoporum suorum, ita per successiones ab initio de­currentem, ut primus ille Episcopus ali­quem ex Apostolis aut apostolicis viris ha­buerit Authorem & Antecessorem. Hoc modo Ecclesiae Apostolicae census suos de­ferunt; sicut Smyrnaeorum Ecclesia ha­bens Polycarpum à Joanne conlocatum re­fert, sicut Romanorum Clementem à Pe­tro ordinatum edit, proinde utique & [...]aeterae exhibent, quos ab Apostolis in [Page 202] Episcopatum constitutos Apostolici seminis traduces habeant. The whole design of which passage is to prescribe against the Hereticks by the Authority of the Apostolical Successours, and that be­ing expresly appropriated to single Bi­shops, I hope I need not now dispute whether they succeeded them only in Degree, and not Order; or in Order only, and not Jurisdiction; all that I desire from this Testimony is, that they succeeded them in their several Churches (for though he instances only in the Church of Rome, yet he declares himself able and ready to give the same account of all other Churches) and by vertue of that warranted the truth of their Doctrine. Than which I must confess I cannot understand what more can be desired to justifie their Succession in the Apostolical Authority. Especi­ally from Tertullian, who was neither Thomist nor Scotist, and so was utterly unacquainted with those fine distincti­ons of Degree, Order, and Jurisdicti­on, but spoke like a plain and a blunt African, when he called the Bishops in their several Diocesses the Apostles Suc­cessours. And so all the Writers of the [Page 203] same Age understood by a Bishop, one superiour to subject Presbyters; for whatever was the signification of the word in the Apostles time, it was now determined to this Order, and so used in vulgar speech; so that when we meet with it in their Writings, we must understand it in the common sense. And therefore by a Bishop we must mean the same thing from the Apostles downward, and a Bishop in their time was superiour to Presbyters, and the Apostles are granted to have been su­periour to the other Pastors of the Church, so that the Succession from first to last continued in superiority of Ju­risdiction. And now when this Suc­cession is so expresly derived down by single Persons, and when the truth of the Apostolical Doctrine is vouched by the certainty of this Succession, it is a very cold answer to tell us, that the Fa­thers talk only of a succession of Do­ctrines, and not of Persons.

Fourthly, This Personal Succession so much spoken of, is sometimes attri­buted to Presbyters, even after the di­stinction came in use between Bishops and them. I pray by whom? Why, by [Page 204] Irenaeus. But does Irenaeus, when he speaks of the Bishops and Presbyters of his own time, confound their names and offices, or any other Author of the same Age? Nay, do they not carefully distinguish them from each other; though when they speak of things as done in the Apostles times, they may speak in the language of those times. The names therefore of Bishop and Presbyter being not then distinguished, it was but proper for them to express things, as they were then expressed. So that though Irenaeus never would stile a Bishop of his own time by the name of Presbyter, but ever carefully di­stinguished the two Orders; yet when he speaks of the Bishops of the first time, it is neither wonder nor impro­priety, if he call them Presbyters; for I will yield so far to our Adversa­ries, that they were so called till the death of the Apostles; and then suc­ceeding into their Power, it was but fit that they should be distinguished by some proper name from the inferiour Clergy. And there lies the root of all our Adversaries pretences, that they will have the Office of a Bishop to have [Page 205] been born at the same time with the distinction of the Name. Which if we will not grant them (as without a ma­nifest affront to the Apostles we can­not) their whole Cause sinks to no­thing. For that is the only proof al­ledged in behalf of the sententia Hie­ronymi, that the Offices were not di­stinguisht before the names. But of that in its due place already, at present I chal­lenge them to produce any one Author, that treating of things after the sepa­ration of the words was made, ever calls a Bishop a Presbyter, or a Presby­ter a Bishop. And in that I am very much their friend, for if they can, it utterly overthrows their main Argu­ment, that Bishops and Presbyters were the same in the Apostles times from the promiscuous use of their names, in that we find them promiscuously used after the distinction. But that by the word Presbyteri, Irenaeus does not mean a sim­ple Presbyter, is plain from the words themselves, in which he prescribes against the novelties of the Hereticks by the undoubted antiquity of the Churches Tradition, which he says was conveyed by the Apostles themselves [Page 206] to the Ancients who succeeded them in their Episcopacy; so that by his Pres­byteri he means, as he explains himself, such of the Ancients, qui Episcopatus successionem habent ab Apostolis, i. e. the Ancient Bishops. This is all that I meet with material upon this Head, for when they go about to prove by the Autho­rity of Ignatius himself that Episcopacy is not a Divine, but an Ecclesiastical Con­stitution, they are to be given up for pleasant men that will attempt any Pa­radox in pursuit of the Cause. And it exceeds even the rashness of Blondel himself, who that (as he speaks) his St. Je­rom might not stand alone, like a Spar­row upon the house top, has, after his rate of inferring, fetched in all the Fa­thers to bear him company, except only Ignatius, whom it seems he de­spaired of making ever to chirp pro sententiâ Hieronymi; but now it seems at last, that the holy Martyr himself might not be made the solitary Sparrow, by being deserted by all the Fathers, he is brought over to the Party, but with such manifest force to himself as plain­ly shews him to be no Volunteer in the Cause. Thus when he commends the [Page 207] Deacon Sotion for being subject to the Bishop ut gratiae Dei, and to the Pres­bytery ut legi Jesu Christi. By the Law of Jesus Christ we are taught to un­derstand divine Institution, but by the grace of God only humane Prudence; though that too was directed to it by the special favour or Providence of God as the only means of preserving peace and unity in the Church. Be it so, the grace of God no doubt is as firm a ground of Divine Institution as the Law of Christ; so that if Episco­pacy was established by Gods special favour, we are as well content with it as if it had come by the Grace of Christ. Neither does this Interpre­tation derogate any thing from the Episcopal Order, but very much from our blessed Saviours Wisdom, viz. that when he had established Presbyteries in his Church for the Government of it, that establishment was found so in­effectual for its end, that Almighty God was afterward constrained, for preventing of Schisms, and preserving of Unity in the Church, in a special manner to inspire the Governours of it in after-ages to set up the Form of [Page 208] Episcopal Government. And yet that was no less disparagement to himself than his Son; for seeing what our Saviour did in the establishment of his Church, he did by the Counsel of his Father; if its Institution proved defective for its end, it was an equal over-sight of both; and the After-game of Episco­pacy was only to supply a defect that they did not fore-see, but were taught by Experience. A very honourable representation this of the Wisdom of the Divine Providence. However, take it which way we will, we cannot desire a plainer acknowledgment of Divine Institution, for so it come from God, it matters not which way he was pleased to convey it to us. And now have we not reason to wonder, when we see men attempt to bring this holy Martyr off with such slights so expresly against his own declared Opinion, who every where grounds his Exhortation of Obedience to the Bishop upon the command of God, and adds even in the words following the forecited passage; [...] [Page 209] [...]. And yet not to him, but to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Christ, who is the Bishop of us all, and therefore for the honour of him that requires it, it is our boun­den duty to be obedient without hypo­crisie. What can be plainer than that the power of the Bishop stands whol­ly upon the command of God? So again in the Epistle to the Ephesians, [...]. Let us take care not to oppose the Bishop as we would be obedient to God, and if any man observe the silence of his Bishop, let him reverence him so much the more: For every one that the Master of the Family puts into the Stewardship we ought to receive him as the Master himself, and therefore it is manifest that we ought to reverence the Bishop as we would our Lord. And therefore it is a great over-sight to affirm, that there is not one Testimony [Page 210] in all Ignatius Epistles that proves the least semblance of an Institution of Christ for Episcopacy, when in every Epistle he so plainly enforces his Ex­hortation of obedience to the Bishop purely by vertue of the command of Christ. And thus have I cleared the Records of the Church from the de­fect of ambiguity grounded upon those four pretences, That the Succession might be only of a different degree; That it is not clear and convincing in all places; That where it is clearest, it it meant of a succession of Doctrine, and not of Persons; And lastly, That if it were of Persons, yet Presbyters are said to succeed the Apostles as well as Bishops. By which last we have already cleared the next thing objected, to shew the ambiguity of the Testimony of Antiquity, which was the promiscuous use of the names, Bishop and Presbyter, after the distinction be­tween their Office was brought in by the Church; which I have already shewn to be false, and that if it were true, it utterly destroys their Argument of the Identity of a Bishop and a Presbyter in the Apostles times, from [Page 211] the promiscuous use of the names. But because new Instances are here brought to prove the same thing, we must fol­low. And first, as for the passages ci­ted out of Clemens Romanus, he is con­fessed to have written before the di­stinction of the names, and therefore is here cited to no purpose. But the great and only Testimony is that of the Gal­lican Church, who in their Epistle to Eleutherius Bishop of Rome, give Ire­naeus the title of Presbyter, though he had been nine years Bishop of Lyons. And this looks very big, if it were true, but it is a meer Chronological Blunder of Blondel against the clearest Apol. p. 23. Testimony of all Antiquity. For first the Martyrs of Lyons in their Epistle to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia, speak­ing of their Bishop Pothinus, they give give him that Title; but in this Epistle to Eleutherius they (or as Blondel will have it, the Church of Lyons) give Irenaeus only the Title of Presbyter, and both Eusebius and St. Jerom affirm, that he was no more, at the writing of it. To all which Blondel objects, that they both place the Martyrdom of Pothinus and his Frenchmen immediately after [Page 212] that of Polycarp and the Asiaticks, which was in the seventh year of Marcus Au­relius, and therefore the other was about the same time; so that when Ire­naeus went to Rome with the Letter to Eleutherius, which was in the seven­teenth year of that Emperour, he had been so long Bishop. But to this it is easily answered, that though the Rela­tion of these two Martyrdoms imme­diately follow one another in Eusebius his Cronicon, and St. Jeroms Translati­on, yet it does not at all follow that they immediately followed in time. Because these two Martyrdoms are all that they mention concerning the fourth Persecution, which lasted the greatest part of the Reign of Marcus Aurelius; so that though one were in the seventh, the other might be in the seventeenth of that Emperour, and therefore we ought to follow Eusebius his more ac­curate account in his History, who there expresly places it in the seven­teenth year, and withal affirms, that Irenaeus was then only Presbyter, rather than from so weak a surmise from the V. Vales. Annot. in Euseb. hist. l. 5. Pro­oem. & cap. 4. nearness of the Stories in his Chronicon to bring confusion upon the whole [Page 213] History, especially when it so fairly clears it self, in that this Letter was di­rected to Eleutherius, who succeeded in the Church of Rome in the sixteenth year of Marcus Aurelius; and in the same year that he came to that See, the Gallican Persecution began, and there­fore it was impossible that Irenaeus could be advanced to the Bishoprick before that time; so that it is like the rest of Blondels stretches to infer from a remote guess that the Persecution was in the seventh year, when it is evident from the clearest Story, that it was not till the sixteenth or seventeeth: And now this Chronological mistake being re­moved, this Testimony is clearly eva­cuated, and so this business is wholly ended.

The last thing alledged to prove the Ambiguity of the Testimony of the Ancients, is, that the Church did not own Episcopacy as a Divine Institution, but Ecclesiastical. But of this Argument I shall choose to discourse in the last place in answer to the sententiae Hieronymi, because it is the only positive Argument that they produce in their own behalf. And for [Page 214] that reason I refer it to the last place, that when I have made it appear that they have nothing material to except against what they oppose, I may then shew that they have as little to confirm what they assert, and both together will prove more than enough to put an end to this controversie. As for the other two things that remain to shew the incompetency of the Testimony of Antiquity, viz. its Par­tiality and Repugnancy, little or no an­swer will serve their turn. For, as for the Partiality, all the proof that is ma­terial to our Argument, is, that the Fathers judged the practice of the Apo­stles by that of their own times. And very good reason too, because they conformed the practice of their own times to that of the Apostles. But if our Adversaries would infer, that the Fathers had no other ground of judg­ing of the Practice of the Apostles but meerly by the prejudice of their own customs, it is only a precarious Asser­tion, and a direct impeaching them of a more than vulgar folly and ignorance. But the Fathers here glanced at are St. Chrysostom, and the Greek Commen­tators that follow him. Thus who [Page 215] can imagine any force in Chrysostoms Argument, that the Presbyters who laid hands on Timothy must needs be Bishops, because none do Ordain in the Church but Bishops, unless he makes this the medium of his Argument, that whatever was the practice of the Church in his days, was so in Apostoli­cal times. But there is no need of that poor medium to enforce his Argument, the force of it lies in the universal practice of the Church; for it was ne­ver heard of that meer Presbyters took upon them the Power of Ordination, and therefore the meer exercise of that Power is a manifest proof that those that had it were somewhat more than Presbyters; and even St. Hierom him­self, who will have them sometime (though when he knows not) to have shared with the Bishop in all other parts and branches of Jurisdiction, ex­cepts the Power of Ordination, as pe­culiar to the Episcopal Order. And there lies the force of St. Chrysostoms Argument, in the practice of the Church in all Ages, not in in the cu­stom of his own. And when he is vin­dicated, it is not to much purpose to [Page 216] add any thing of the Greek Commen­tators, because they all follow him; and though they may sometimes fall short in their reasonings, yet it is manifest that they believed Episcopacy to have been received by the Catholick Tradi­tion of the Church, and that is all the deposition they are capable to give in this cause. The last thing objected, is the repugnancy of the Testimony, and this is proved from the difference of some accounts concerning the Successi­on of some Bishops. But this has been objected two or three times already, and as often answered; and therefore at present I shall say no more to it, than only granting the truth of the Premises, to mind the Reader of the weakness of the conclusion, that from the uncer­tainty of some Persons in the Succession infers an uncertainty of the form of Go­vernment it self.

And now am I come to our Adver­saries only positive proof in their own behalf, that is, the Authority of St. Je­rom; for though they pretend to one or two Authors more, yet still at the last push St. Hierom is the only man. And the sum of all that is pretended [Page 217] from him is this, That though the Apo­stles exercised a superiority over the other Pastors of the Church during their own lives, yet immediately upon their decease, having, it seems, provi­ded no Successours in that Power that themselves enjoyed, the Church was every where governed by the whole Body or Common-Council of Presby­ters; but this Form of Government be­ing quickly found very apt to breed Schisms and Divisions, it was, for the better prevention of them, agreed up­on all the world over, to chuse one Pres­byter out of the rest, and settle a Su­premacy of Power upon him for the more effectual Government of the Church. Antequam diaboli instinctu stu­dia in religione fierent, & diceretur in populis, Ego sum Pauli, Ego Apollo, Ego autem Cephae, communi Presbyterorum con­silio Ecclesiae gubernabantur. Postquam verò unusquisque eos quos baptisaverat suos putabat esse, non Christi, in toto Orbe de­cretum est ut unus de Presbyteris electus superponeretur caeteris; ad quem omnis Ecclesiae cura pertineret, ut schismatum semina tollerentur. From whence it is inferred, that though this Form of [Page 218] Government hapned to be set up in the after-ages of the Church, yet it was not upon the account of any Divine Right or Apostolical Constitution, but purely upon prudential motives, and by the Churches discretion, that might have instituted either that, or any other al­terable Form, as it judged most tending to its own peace and settlement. Be­fore I come to answer the whole Argu­ment, I cannot but observe what disin­genuous advantage these men make of the hasty expressions of that good Fa­ther; let him in the heat and eagerness of dispute but drop an inconsiderate word that may reflect upon the Re­cords, or the Reputation of the anci­ent Church, it immediately serves to justifie all their Innovations. And thus I remember Monsieur Daillé, in his shallow Book, of the Use of the Fa­thers, frequently makes good (as he thinks) his charge against them all only by impleading St. Hierom; but though he is made use of to serve them at all turns, yet in this Argument they de­volve the whole credit of all the an­cient Church upon his single Autho­rity. And is it not very strange, that [Page 219] two or three hasty passages of this sin­gle Father, not only against the con­current Testimony of all the ancient Church, but against his own express Opinion, should be seized upon with so much zeal and greediness to give defi­ance to all the practice of Antiquity? That is bold enough, but it is much more so, to force all the rest of the Fa­thers against their own Consciences and Declarations to subscribe to his Opinion, as Blondel has done, who having first placed St. Jerom in the front, and flourished all his sayings with large Commentaries, ranges all the rest of the Fathers under his Co­lours, excepting only Ignatius (though since he too has had the honour to be admitted into the service) but he has drawn them into the Party by such a forced and presumptuous way of ar­guing, that I know not a greater In­stance of the power of Prejudice in a learned man. I once thought to have taken him particularly to task, but his trifling is so grosly palpable, that there needs no more to expose it to any mans contempt, than that he can endure the Penance of reading him over. And [Page 220] how was it possible for any man to discourse after a wiser rate, that under­takes to prove, that Clemens Alexan­drinus, Origen, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Epi­phanius, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Theodo­ret, Theophylact were Presbyterians. It is just such another design, as to go about to prove that Calvin, Beza, Blondel, Salmasius, Daillé, and all the other Calvinian Fathers have been zea­lous Assertors of Episcopacy. And yet this task too some men have un­dertaken, and I suppose, will make good by the same Topicks, and doubt not but they will both gain belief toge­ther. Now in answer to the great Autho­rity of St. Jerom, there are many things alledged and insisted upon by learned men; some plead, that it is contrary to his own express and declared Opinion, and therefore is not to be taken for his setled and deliberate sense of the thing, but only for an hasty and over-lavish expression. Others endeavour to ex­pound him to a good sense, consistent with himself, and the rest of the Fa­thers, viz. that writing against some proud Deacons, that would set them­selves above Presbyters, he tells them, [Page 221] that it was much the same insolence as if they should go about to prefer them­selves above the Bishop, in that the distance was much the same, they alone being reckoned in the Priesthood with the Bishop, whereas the Deacons had no higher Office in the Church than to serve Tables and poor Widows. So that the difference was the same as in the Levitical Priesthood, the Bishop and the Presbyters being as Aaron and his Sons, who alone were accounted into the Priestly Office, whereas the Deacons had only the Office of Levites, that were no better than Servants to the Priests. And though Presbyters at that time exercised no Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Church, yet they were formerly joyned with the Bishop himself in the Government of it, and shared in all acts of Power and Disci­pline, excepting only Ordination. And for this reason, because they were placed so near to the highest Order, that they were capable by vertue of their own Order to exercise almost all the Offices of that, it was not to be endured that such inferiour Ministers, as the Deacons were, should prefer [Page 222] themselves above them. Quis patia­tur ut mensarum & viduarum minister supra eos se tumidus efferat, ad quorum preces Christi Corpus sanguisque confici­tur. Though this probably was all the design of St. Jerom, yet because he seems to have said more than he de­signed, I shall not contend about his meaning, but shall give my Adversaries the whole advantage of his Authority, and let them make the best of it. Nei­ther shall I go about to overthrow it by the contrary Testimony of the Anci­ents; for though that were easily done, the cause does not require it; but granting the Authority of St. Jeroms Opinion, and that it was never contra­dicted by any ancient Writer, I will demonstrate the falshood of the Opi­nion it self from its own absurdity. And therefore in answer to it, I will at present only return these few brief Considerations, each whereof will be enough to satisfie men, if they will be reasonable, and altogether more than enough to silence them, if they will not.

The first ill consequence then of this Opinion is only this, that it charges [Page 223] our Saviour and his Apostles of not making sufficient provision for the lasting peace and settlement of the Church; so that had not After-ages supplied their defects in such things as were absolutely necessary to the Go­vernment of it, there had been no re­medy for curing or avoiding eternal schisms and divisions; for according to this account of the Original of the Episcopal superiority, all the world were by sad experience convinced of its great necessity for the prevention of factions and confusions. Now, what a dishonourable reflection is this upon the Wisdom of our Saviour and his Apostles, to institute a Society of men in the World without providing a com­petent Government to secure its con­tinuance in peace and unity?

But then secondly, whilst this Con­ceit explodes the claim founded upon Divine Right, it is forced to grant a necessity founded upon natural Rea­son; so that acccording to it Episco­pal Government is made necessary by vertue of all those Laws of God and of Nature that provide for the Churches peace, and the preservation of Society. [Page 224] For if this were the ground of that universal agreement in the Institution of Bishops that St. Jerom speaks of in his toto Orbe decretum est, viz. ut schis­matum semina tollerentur; and if there were no remedy for the prevention of this evil whilst the Government of the Church was administred by the whole Body of the Presbyters, the conse­quence is unavoidable; that though our Saviour, or at least his Apostles, had no more discretion that to leave all Church-Officers in an equality of Power, yet the light of Nature, and the Laws of Society made it necessary to establish a superiority of one Order above another. Ecclesiae salus in summi sacerdotis dignitate pendet, cui si non exors quaedam & ab omnibus eminens detur potestas, tot in Ecclesiis efficientur schismata quot sacerdotes. The securi­ty of the Churches peace depends up­on the preheminence of the Bishops power, which were it not supreme and paramount in reference to the other Clergy, we should quickly have as many Schisms as Priests, says St. Je­rom. Setting aside the Authority of the man, the reason and experience of [Page 225] the Argument it self is unanswerable. For in such a vast body of men as the Clergy, it is obvious to every mans un­derstanding, that considering the passi­ons of mankind there could be no possible agreement, and by conse­quence no Government without a su­periority of power in some above others. Now this is another pretty handsome reflection upon the wisdom of our Saviour and his Apostles, that they were so shamefully defective in their first settlement of the Church, as shewed them to be so far from being di­rected by any divine and infallible Spi­rit, that they fell short of the princi­ples of common discretion. For though any man of an ordinary understanding might easily discern how impossible it was to avoid Schisms, while the Power of the Church resided in the whole Body of the Clergy, partly by the ban­dying of the Presbyters one against another, partly by the siding of the People with some against the rest; partly by the too common use of the Power of Ordination in Presbyters, by which they were more able to in­crease their own Party by ordaining [Page 226] those who would joyn with them, and by this means perpetuate Schisms in the Church; when, I say, these inconve­niences were so obvious, what a pro­digious neglect or weakness must it be to leave the Church through all Ages in such a shattered and tottering con­dition, insomuch that it must unavoida­bly have perished, had not some that came after them invented better means to prevent or redress mischiefs than they had left them? For upon this it was, that the graver and wiser sort con­sidering the abuses following the pro­miscuous use of this power of Ordina­tion, and withal, having in their minds the excellent frame of the government of the Church under the Apostles and their Deputies, for preventing future Schisms and Divisions among them­selves, unanimously agreed to chuse one out of their number, who was best qualified for so great a trust, and to devolve the exercise of the power of Ordination and Jurisdiction to him; so that it seems we are more obliged to those wiser and graver sort, than to the Apostles for their care in preventing Schisms and Divisions through all Ages of the Church.

[Page 227] But thirdly, this conceit bottoms up­on no better foundation than a bold and presumptuous conjecture. And there is no dealing with such men as are able to blast the credit of all the most undoubted Records of ancient times with an imaginary and sinister suspicion, for when we have pursued the Succession of Bishops through all Ages of the Church, up to the very times next to the Apostles, it requires somewhat a bold face to tell us, that though this perhaps may be sufficiently evident from the practice of the Pri­mitive Church, and of the Apostles and their Deputies, yet there was a dark interval between the death of the Apo­stles and the time of the most ancient Fathers, in which it was abolished, and a new Form of Government set up, but that being found inconvenient, it was thought good, and agreed upon in all Churches, to lay that aside, and restore the old Apostolical superiority. These are very hard conceits, especially when they cannot so much as pretend to give us any the least probable account, where, and when, and by whom this was done. And this is pretty modest [Page 228] to bear up so confidently against all the current of Antiquity without so much as any pretences of ground or evidence to rely upon. But so it hapned once upon a time in which toto Orbe decretum est, though when that time was, we have no more certain knowledg than we have in what degree of Latitude this totus Orbis lies. Perhaps it was (as Blondel will have it) about the thirty fifth year after the death of St. John, and what if he had been pleased to have said the fifteenth, or sixty fifth year, the guess had been altogether both as learned, and as well grounded. How­ever, is it not a pleasant thing to tell us boldly, and at all adventure, in toto Orbe decretum est, without so much as telling us when, or where, or attempting to prove the matter of Fact; especially when it is plainly impossible that so universal and remarkable a change should be so unanimously agreed upon and effected, and that upon such great and urgent reasons, without ever being so much as taken notice of. Why may we not as well discredit any Record (chuse what you please) by pretend­ing there once was, or perhaps might [Page 229] have been an unknown time, in which all mankind conspired to put an abuse upon all their Posterity? As to say in this case, that there once was such a season, in which all the world agreed, though no body knows when, or where, to make an universal and perpe­tual alteration of the Form of Church-Government. But to conclude, grant­ting these men all that they contend for, I would fain know what greater advantage any reasonable man can de­sire, either to make good the title, or to enhance the excellency of Episcopal Government than St. Hierom and Blon­del give us, viz. that it was practised by the Apostles, but that upon their de­cease their Authority devolved upon the Body of Presbyters, which Form of Government was every where found so incompetent and inconveni­ent, that all Churches in the world were within the space of thirty five years, or thereabouts, convinced of the necessity of retrieving the old Aposto­lical Inequality, as they ever intended to secure the peace and unity of the Church. This is pretty well, and ad­vantage enough to satisfie any modest [Page 230] or reasonable man, and therefore with it I shall rest contented. Only I cannot but remarque the strange partiality of our Adversaries in this cause, not only to set up this absurd suggestion of St. Je­rom concerning the unknown time of an universal alteration of Church-Go­vernment, and that not only without the Testimony of any Record (for if there had been any then, it had not been unknown) but against the faith of all History, and the most certain Traditi­on of the Church; there being nothing more clear in Ecclesiastical Story than the succession of single Persons in the Government of the Church from the Apostles down to his own Age, espe­cially in the greatest and most eminent Churches, such as Rome, Jerusalem, An­tiochia, and Alexandria; so that there could have been no such universal change as St. Jerom dreams of, when in these great Churches Episcopacy was established antecedently to any such supposed alteration. But beside this, they oppose the custom of one particu­lar Church, and that attested only by one Author, to the known practice, not only of all other Churches, but of [Page 231] that particular Church it self. Thus because the same St. Jerom says, with the same hast and inconsideration, that there was a custom in the Church of Alexandria, from St. Mark down to Heraclas and Dionysius, for the Presby­ters of that Church, in the vacancy of the See, to chuse one out of their own number, and from thence-forward call him their Bishop, in the same manner as when an Army makes their own Ge­neral, or the Deacons may chuse one out of themselves, and constitute him their Arch-deacon. Now, I say, sup­posing this Story to be true, is it not very severe by the singular practice of one Church to overthrow the Consti­tution of all other Churches? For what if at Alexandria they had a pe­culiar, or a corrupt custom, does that impair or destroy the Catholick pra­ctice of the Christian Church? It is possible not only for one particular Church to deviate in some circum­stances from their Primitive Insti­tution, but that is no Argument against a certain right. Yes, but, say they, this custom was derived from St. Mark himself. But that would re­quire [Page 232] some better proof than the bare Assertion of St. Jerom; For it is possible there might have been a preposterous practice in after-times, which he, to give the more Authority to it, might in his lavish heat ascribe to the Founder of it. But granting the truth of the whole Story, what was this custom? Was it for Presbyters to ordain their Bishop? St. Jerom seems willing to say so, but dares not, and therefore ex­presses himself in odd ambiguous and general terms, Unum ex se electum in excelsiori gradu collocatum Episcopum no­minabant; which signifies nothing cer­tain; but that he intends not Ordinati­on is evident by the words that imme­diately follow: Quid enim facit exceptâ ordinatione Episcopus quod Presbyter non faciat? Which words, upon whatsoever account they are added, come in here very impertinently, if he had by the Story spoke of Ordination. At least out of these general words nothing more can be collected, than their right or custom of electing their own Bishop, as was the custom of Cathedral Churches afterwards. Nay, that too is more than is true, or can be proved, [Page 233] for St. Jerom does not say, that the Bishop was chosen by the Presbyters, but out of the Presbyters, so that he does not give them so much as the right of Election, but only appropriates to them the capacity of being elected, and that was all the peculiar priviledge of the Presbyters of that Church, that they alone were qualified to succeed in the See, and if any one will from hence infer, as Mr. Selden is pleased to do, Com­ment. in Eutych. p. 27. their power not only of Election, but Ordination, he may thank himself, and not St. Jerom for his conclusion. For there is not any the least ground for the inference beside the learned Gentle­mans resolution to have it so; and therefore when he gives us an account of several both Divines and Lawyers, that understand no more by this passage than meerly capitular Election, he con­futes them with no other argument than only by saying positively that they are ipst Hieronymo adversissimi: But alass, wise men will not quit their own Opini­ons, only to submit to the confidence of other mens Assertions, and there­fore he ought either to have proved more, or to have said nothing. Nay, so [Page 234] far were they from having any power of Ordination that they had not that of Election, when it is so very well known that the Patriarch of Alexandria was of old time chosen, not by the Presbyters, but by the People; so that to ascribe their Election to the Presby­ters is plainly to contradict the known custom of that Church. But be that as it will too; it is very strange, as Mr. Sel­den Prefat. in Eutych. p. 6. himself observes, that there are not to be found the least footsteps of this Alexandrian custom in any legitimate ancient Author but only St. Jerom. For if there had been any such custom in this Church, of which we have as good and as many Records as of any other Church in the world, it is scarce credi­ble but that upon some occasion or other some Writer should have taken notice of it, and therefore so universal a silence cannot but bring a very great suspicion upon the truth of St. Jeroms relation; at least it is very unreasona­ble upon the single report of one hasty man concerning the peculiar custom of one Church, to renounce (as our Ad­versaries do) the known practice of all the Churches in the world beside.

[Page 235] But to avoid this heavy Objection of singularity, our learned Adversary has taken vast pains to find out a second Witness, and then two Witnesses, we know, according to our Law can prove any thing, and at length he has disco­vered an Arabian Author, and with more than ordinary joy and transport immediately publishes the particular Story by it self, with large and learned Notes upon it; but not content with that, he procures the translation of the whole Book, and is so satisfied with it, that though it were done by another hand, yet he adorns the Frontispiece with his own Picture. Now certainly one would take this valued piece to have been a work of prime Antiquity, and undoubted Authority. But as for its Antiquity, the Author of it lived no higher than the tenth Century, and that is so distant from the Primitive Age, that he had not been a more in­competent Witness, if he had lived in our own. As for his Authority, it is manifest that he was a very careless and injudicious Writer, his whole Book be­ing every where stuft with childish fa­bles and absurdities, and particularly [Page 236] this Paragraph having as many falshoods in it almost as words. For whereas St. Jerom continues this custom only to Heraclas and Dionysius, he continues it to Alexander, the immediate Prede­cessour of St. Athanasius, which is above an hundred years difference; and beside that, if such a notable change had been first made in the preferment of Athanasius, we could not but have had some notice taken of it in a Per­son whose life and story is so well known; so that Eutychius could not have begun this new custom more un­happily at any one Bishop that ever sate in that See than at St. Athanasius, the proofs of whose Election by the People were debated and passed in ge­neral Council. Again in the same Story he tells us, that there were no Bishops in all Aegypt beside the Patriarch of Alexandria untill the time of Demetri­us, which is most grosly and notoriously false. I might add many more proofs of ignorance, that are collected by the learned Doctors, Hammond and Pear­son, Dissert. 3. cap. 10. Vindic. l. 1. c. 10. but I shall instance only in one that they have omited, viz. that there were no less than 2048 Bishops present at [Page 237] the Council of Nice. And yet from this gross mistake Mr. Selden is resolved to bring him off, though he confesses there are not so many Bishops in the Chri­stian world, for, says he, Diocesses were Pag. 38. not then divided as now they are, but before the conversion of the Roman Empire, they were of a much less ex­tent than they were afterwards, when they were modled in conformity to the Civil Government. Whether the Alle­gation be true or not, I need not now enquire; for though it be true, it is to no purpose; for what if it is possible that there might then have been so many Bi­shops in the world, when it is certain there were not so many at the Council of Nice, in that (as he confesses in the same place) all the Writers that either lived in, or near the same time, and some of the Council it self give in a much smaller number, and therefore it it is a very odd attempt, to bring him off from so gross a mistake against such pregnant Evidence of what was done only by the possibility of what might have been done. We will grant this lear­ned Gentleman that there might have been ten thousand Bishops there, if [Page 238] he please, whilst we are secure that there were not many more than three hun­dred; and therefore when his Author, with some other of his Arabian Friends, raise the number to above two thou­sand, it is a manifest instance of Orien­tal Ignorance. But waving all other Exceptions, his Novelty is an unanswe­rable Objection, though Mr. Selden, to magnifie his Author, is pleased to stile him the Egyptian Bede, but if Bede had betrayed as much Barbarity as this Au­thor has done, he would have justly de­served the Title of the English Eutychi­us. For it is evident that this man scraped together his Annals, not out of any certain Records, but out of a va­riety of Authors without judgment, still adding to them the customs and fashions of his own age; and hence it comes to pass that he so frequently contradicts himself in the same Story, because whilst one Author tells it one way, and ano­ther another way, he follows both. But still, I say, setting aside his Barba­rity, I would have excepted against Bede himself as a competent Witness of any matter of fact that was transacted at the same distance from his Age, as [Page 239] this was from the time of Eutychius, un­less he had confirmed the truth of his Relation by some ancient Testimony, and then it is not Bede, but his Author, that I rely upon, and therefore unless Mr. Selden could have vouched the addition of Eutychius to St. Jerom con­cerning the Presbyters Ordination by imposition of hands and benediction, he might have spent his pains as useful­ly, if he had wrote Commentaries up­on some of the old Welch Antiquaries, who tell us what their Ancestors were doing from year to year many thousand years before the coming of the Ro­mans. And thus we see in short into what wonderful evidence the whole opposition of Episcopacy is at last resolved, a vain imagination from Nicephorus Stichometria opposed to the most ancient Fathers concerning the Ignatian Epistles; a supposed Decree of Pope Gelasius opposed both to the most ancient Fathers, Councils, and Histo­rians concerning the Apostolical Ca­nons; an apparently false Assertion of St. Jerom, opposed to all the Writers of the Primitive Church concerning the Original of Episcopacy; lastly, a [Page 240] barbarous tale of a modern Arabian concerning the Ordination of the Bi­shop of Alexandria by Presby­ters.

And now, if we lay all the Premises together, it will I hope amount to a competent demonstration of the matter in debate. For if our blessed Saviour first founded the Government of his Church in a real imparity of Church-Officers; if the holy Apostles, during all their time, conformed their practice to his Institution; and if the Primitive Church every where, as far as their Records are preserved, followed their prescription; if no credible account can be given of the Original of Bi­shops, unless we derive their Succession from the Apostolical Age; if their In­stitution be (as it is confessed to be) necessary to the peace and unity of the Church; if there be nothing to make it suspected for being meerly of humane Appointment, but such bold, such groundless, and such disingenuous sur­mises, as may be as well objected against all or any the best Records of Antiquity in the World: If, I say, all this be true, I hope it will be no [Page 241] presumption to add, that it is a sufficient not only defence, but proof of the Epis­copal superiority against all Exceptions that are close or pertinent in Blondel, Walo Messalinus, Daillé, or any other Authors that are worth naming or reading. For as for the little People among ourselves, that have for so many years waged so fierce and implacable a War against Prelatry (as they call it) they are so invincibly ignorant, that it is utter­ly needless to confute, and impossible to convince them: And how little they were all able to perform, is notorious from the great Smectymnuan Mouse, that was brought forth by the clubbed la­bour of so many of their greatest mountains. And therefore wholly neglecting them, and all their poor En­deavours, I have confined my self to the discourses of men of sense and learning, i. e. no Smectymnuans, and have di­stinctly considered, and I hope confu­ted all their material pretences against the Episcopal superiority in the Pre­mises. But as for Grammatical Criti­cisms, and Historical Digressions, they concern not us, because they concern not our Enquiry. And if learned men [Page 242] would but come up roundly, and keep ingenuously to the main point of the Controversie, they must rub their fore­heads pretty hard to out-face the evi­dence of our cause. But alas! the cu­stom of them all is to range up and down through the whole field, or ra­ther wood of Antiquity, and pursue every thing, little or great, that starts within their view. And they seem to make choice of this Subject, rather from it to take occasion of shewing the va­riety of their Reading, than with any design to make good the undertaking of their Title Page. And it is very ob­servable, that among the many thou­sand Pages that have been of late years wasted in the Anti-episcopal cause, it will be very hard to find half an hun­dred directly to the purpose. And that of it self is Argument enough that they have but very little to say against it. And what that is, I have in the Premises fully represented; for I protest, that, as I will answer it to Almighty God, I know no other pretences, that are at all pertinent or material, besides those that I have considered.

[Page 243] But in the last place, beside the direct and positive Argument that I have thus far pusued from ourSaviours own express Institution, the undoubted practice of the Apostles, and the most unquestiona­ble Records of the Primitive Church. I come to the last Topick propounded, those enormous inconveniences that un­avoidably result from the contrary Opi­nion, I shall represent only two. The first is this, that if the Form of Go­vernment in the Christian Church be not setled by the Founder of it, that then we are at a loss to know by whom it may or ought to be determined. For the Society of the Church being foun­ded upon an immediate Divine Right, no Person can justly challenge any Au­thority in it as such, unless by vertue of some Grant or Commission from the divine Founder of it. If therefore those Commissions that were granted by our Saviour to his Apostles do not descend to some certain Order of men, as their Successours in that Authority, wherewith they were invested, who shall challenge the exercise of it after their decease? To this we never recei­ved any certain Answer, but are only [Page 244] told in the general, That the particular Form of Government in the Church is left wholly to the prudence of those, in whose power and trust it is to see that the peace of the Church be secured on lasting foun­dations. But then I would fain know who those are that are intrusted with this Power. It would have been very well worth their pains to have deter­mined the particular Persons expresly appointed by God to this Office. Espe­cially when it is laid down as a funda­mental Principle, that all things neces­sary to the Churches peace must be clearly revealed in the Word of God; and if so, then no one particular Form may be established in it by any Autho­rity whatsoever, because no one parti­cular Form (as is all along pleaded) is prescribed by the Word of God, and yet it is plainly necessary to the Churches peace (if Government be so) that it be governed by some one par­ticular Form. But yet however, when we come to enquire after these Trustees to whose power it is left to see the peace of the Church secured on lasting foun­dations, the answer is ever ambiguous and unconstant. Sometimes it is the [Page 245] Civil Magistrate, and sometimes the People. But this very uncertainty where this Power is lodged is both in it self, and according to the fundamental No­tion of the Hypothesis that we oppose, a manifest confutation of the whole de­sign. For if our Saviour have not de­termined to whom it appertains, that is evidence enough that he never inten­ded by this way to provide for the peace and settlement of his Church. For if he had appointed such Feoffees in Trust as is imagined, he would at least have left it certain who they were that he intended; which not having done, that is demonstration enough that it was never his intention to set any such pretended Guardians over his Church. But be it where it will, it is very strange that these Learned men should be so intent upon the fineness of their Model, as never to consider the wild consequences of either way, when reduced to practice. For be it in the Civil Magistrate, they would first have done very well, according to their own Rule ro have searched for some Commission in the Word of God, whereby our Saviour entrusted this [Page 246] power with him. We find indeed Pro­phesies and Predictions that Princes should become Patrons and Protectors of his Church, but that they should be vested with a Power of instituting and abolishing Church Orders and Offices at pleasure is such a wild conceit as will not find any the least counte­nance from the Word of God. Second­ly, By what Authority was the Church governed from our Saviour to the Reign of Constantine, when if he had appointed the Civil Magistrate Over­seer of his Infant Church, there was then none that cared to execute his Office. Beside thirdly, If Church-Officers derive their Authority in the Church from the meer appointment of the Civil Magistrate, they are then on­ly of Humane Institution, and derive not their Power from any appointment of our Saviour, and so are only Mini­sters of State, and not of the Gospel. But to put it into the power of any mortal man to alter the whole frame of Government in the Church as he pleases, is the most improper way in the world to provide for its peace and set­tlement. For by this means it will be [Page 247] ever in the power of any Common­wealth lawfully to overturn all manner of Ecclesiastical Order at pleasure: If to day perhaps the Bishops, either by chance, or by vertue of some Grant from the Civil Government, enjoy the Supreme Power in the Church, it may with good Authority to morrow de­pose them, and translate their Power to the Presbyters, from the Presbyters to the Deacons, from the Deacons to the People, and from the People to the Pope; and it would be very consistent no doubt with the wisdom of Christ in founding his Church, and providing for the peace and settlement of it, to leave its whole frame of Government thus at the Mercy of any mans Power or Will. We have one example of this project put in practice upon Record in the Long Parliaments Midsummer-Model of Reformation, when they vote, June 12. 1641. that all Ecclesi­astical Jurisdiction should be put into the hands of such Commissioners as their Worships should think fit. In pursuance of which they vote, June 21. that six of the Clergy and six of the Laity should be appointed in every [Page 248] County for the setling of Church-Go­vernment; but July 9. that nine of the Laity and three or the Clergy in every Diocess should have power to exercise all Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction as shall be ordered by Parliament, and to have their monthly meetings for that pur­pose; that five of the Commissioners shall be a Quorum, and have full power to try all Ecclesiastical Causes, and to appoint Deputies under them in seve­ral places, and that if any of the nine Commissioners should die or resign, that five or more of them are to chuse another presently. Thus far they pro­ceeded under the Government of Mid­summer-Moon; but about the beginning of the Dog-days they vote, that no Clergy-man shall be of the Commissi­on, and that the Committee shall be empowered to appoint five of the Clergy in every County, under them to grant Ordinations. Now all these Proceedings, as ridiculous as they are, and destructive of the very Being of a Church, yet, had the King joyned with his Parliament, had upon this Principle been justifiable. And so it will be in their power to vote up, and [Page 249] down what Orders and Offices in the Church they please, to day Episcopa­cy, to morrow Presbytery, next day Independency, then a Committee, and that of Lay-men too, and if they please, at last to abolish all Orders of the Clergy, in that there are none by this Principle established by Divine Right; these are excellent models of Church-Government, and admirable methods of providing for the peace and settlement of it.

But if this trust be vested in the People, beside that this too would re­quire some proof out of the Word of God before it be granted, and that it is liable to all the former inconveni­ences, in that the putting the power of the Church into their hands makes the peace and settlement of it to depend upon the most giddy, most ignorant, and most uncertain thing in the world. Besides all this, I say, this is so far from destroying any divine and unalterable Form of Church-Government, that it sets up the Socinian model of Indepen­dency (for F. Socinus was the first foun­der of it) by Divine Right. In that according to it all Societies of Chri­stians [Page 250] are by our Saviour entrusted with a Power within themselves of electing of Church-Officers, and governing Church-Affairs, as they shall judge most conducible to Peace, Order, and Tranquillity, which is the exact model of Independent Government. Now this model if they will own, it is not the Church of England that they plead for, but Independency; and if it is that they assert, let them say so, and not carry on the Cause of the Congre­gational Churches under the name of the Church of England; but if they disavow it (as they all do) I shall only challenge them how to avoid it. But to conclude this Argument, in this one Principle do all the Enemies of the Church lay their ground-work, that there is no known and setled Seat of Ecclesiastical Power, and therefore that whoever happens to have its pre­sent possession, seeing he never recei­ved it by any Commission from our Sa­viour, he may without any offence against the standing Laws of Christi­anity be deposed from it. The incon­venience whereof is so great, that it seems to me a very forcible Argument [Page 251] from the nature and necessity of the thing it self for some certain divine establishment of Church-Government, in that without it, it is plainly impossi­ble either to secure any peace, or ex­ercise any Authority in the Church; because whoever obtains it, has it not from any divine Commission, and if no Commission, then no Authority. However, I cannot but admire that those learned men who take away the divine right of some particular Form of Church-Government have not all this while been aware that they run us into all the exorbitancies and confusi­ons of Independency, in that when they have once removed the settlement by Divine Right, they leave it, do what they can, entirely in the Peoples power to set up their own Form of Go­vernment. Seeing then, that unless the Christian Church be subject to Govern­ment, it can be no more than a Rabble, and a Riot: Seeing unless the Govern­ment thereof be vested in some certain Order of men, it must be for ever ob­noxious to unavoidable disorders and confusions; and seeing it was with par­ticular care setled by our Saviour on [Page 252] his Apostles, and conveyed by the Apo­stles to the Christian Bishops as their proper Successours. I cannot see how the Divine and Apostolical Right of Episcopacy, if the providence of God had designed to make it unquestiona­ble, could have been made more evi­dent either from Common Reason or Catholick Tradition.

But secondly, As the taking away of the divine and perpetual Right of Episco­pacy does on one hand open a door for Independency, so it does on the other for Popery. For next to rescuing the Kings of England from the Usurpation of the Popes of Rome upon their Crowns; under the pretence of an ob­lique or direct Supremacy over them; and the reforming of many Supersti­tions both in Worship and Doctrine; the main design of our endeavoured Reformation was to assert and retrieve the Rights of the Episcopal Order against his illegal encroachments. For whereas the Original Government of the Catholick Church was vested in the Apostolical Order, whereby as every Bishop had supreme ordinary Power within his own Diocess, so a [Page 253] general Council of Bishops had supreme Power over the Universal Church. So that whatever priviledges or prehemi­nences were granted to the Bishops of particular Churches by Ecclefiastical Constitution, yet their essential Power was equal, and could no way exert it self as to the Catholick Church but in Council; and so the Church was go­verned for many hundred years, till the Bishop of Rome, taking advantage of those peculiar priviledges and prehemi­nences that were granted to his See as the seat of the Empire, did by degrees assume to himself an absolute Sove­reignty over all the Pastors of the Uni­versal Church, transferring all Eccle­siastical Government to the Court of Rome, where it was managed by him­self and his Officers with all the arts of Tyranny and Oppression. And here first began the breach, our reforming Bishops at first not disputing the pre­heminence of his See (because that concerned not them) which he had for a long time enjoyed in most other parts of the Western world, and perhaps might still have done, would he have been contented with it: But alas they [Page 254] were no more fond even of the Title of Patriarch, as great as it was, than they are of their mock Title of Ser­vus servorum Domini. Nothing less would satiate their ambition than a sole and absolute Sovereignty over all; and to this purpose they impudently applied all those promises that our Sa­viour made to his Apostles and their Successors, of being for ever present with, and assistant to them in the exer­cise of their Office to the Popes Per­son; and they having once assumed this Power, resolved to keep it, and for many Ages reigned absolute Monarchs over the Christian World. And here, I say, began the breach, the lopping off of that infinite power, and by con­sequence, the stopping of those vast treasures that continually flowed from all parts of Christendom into the Popes Coffers. Though many other cor­ruptions that were crept into the Church, partly by the negligence of the Popes, while they alone governed in it; partly, by the Incursions of bar­barous Nation [...], they as justly com­plained of, and might probably have had them all reformed, if they would [Page 255] have yielded to him his two funda­mental points, Wealth, and Empire. And as that was then their just com­plaint, so is it still of all the Bishops, that are by force kept in his Commu­nion. Not only all their Revenues, but, which is much more dishonoura­ble, all their Power being taken from them, they being every where (un­less such as retain to the Court of Rome) little better than the Popes Curates; nay, not so much; being stript of all Authority, and the Go­vernment of their Diocesse wholly put into other hands. And here comes in the great Mystery of Jesuitism, for this complaint was so Universal, that it was impossible for the Pope alone to withstand it, and therefore this pro­ject was at last fixed upon, being at first started by a fanatique Souldier, to set up a new Order of Ecclesiasticks, exempt from all other Jurisdiction, and immediately dependent upon, and absolutely subject to the Pope, and by them chiefly to manage all the Affairs of Christendom. And there lies all the strength of the Jesuits, in their Vow of absolute Obedience to their [Page 256] Superiour, and of their Superiour to the Pope, so that whatever they are commanded, be it never so unaccoun­table to their own Consciences, they are implicitely bound to execute up­on pain of damnation. And this de­vice has taken so successfully, that not­withstanding all that opposition that has been made to the Order, they have for many years exercised an ab­solute Tyranny, not only over all the People, but almost all the Go­vernours of that Church. And to ju­stifie these irregular proceedings, the Bishops are by little tricks, and sense­less distinctions of the School-men, degraded into the same Order with the Presbyters, and then the Priests of the Jesuits Order are as well quali­fied to exercise Jurisdiction as them­selves, especially, if licensed thereto by the Popes Dispensation, according to the Decree of Innocent the IV. Ex delegatione Domini Papae quilibet Cle­ricus potest, quicquid habet ipse conferre. So that by this device they may be en­abled to give Priests Orders, as well as exercise Episcopal Jurisdiction. This design was all along aimed at in the [Page 257] Institutions of their Regular Priests, but never effectually compassed, till the foundation of this Society. So that you see that the whole myste­ry of Jesuitism at last resolves it self into Presbytery, and the funda­mental Principle of both consists in slighting and opposing the Episcopal Order. And therefore it is a little observable, that they were both born into the World at the same time, it being the year 1541. when Calvin made himself Pope of his Lay-Cardinals at Geneva; and Ignatius obtained to be made Superiour of his Order at Rome. Since which time, between them both, Christendom has enjoyed very little peace or quiet, and particularly, by their joynt-malice was wrought just that time an hundred years, viz. 1641. the overthrow and destruction of the Church of England. And if the Church of Rome could but get rid of the Church of England by the help and zeal of the other Factions, she would quickly scorn and defie all their little Pretences. For when they have run into all their sub-divisions, there can be no more than two other Forms [Page 258] of Government; either the Genevian of Presbytery, or the Racovian of In­dependency; but both being so pal­pable Innovations in the Christian Church, and withall of so very late a date; it will be no difficult matter for the Church of Rome to defend her own Title, how bad soever, against such upstart and absurd Competitors. But when they have to do with the Church of England, they are then apparently bafled with the undenia­ble practice and constitution of the Primitive Church. And this is so ob­servable, that I do not remember any learned Writer of the Church of Rome, that has undertaken to charge any fault or defect upon the Constitution of our Church it self. Here their only To­pick is to upbraid her with those abuses, that have been put upon her by other by-designs, in which indeed she is very much concerned as a Sufferer, but no way guilty as an Actor. For what is that to me if, when I see gross and scandalous abu­ses in the Church, I endeavour to re­move or reform them, other men that pretend to come in to my assistance, [Page 259] shall under that pretence design nothing but Plunder and Sacriledge? That lies wholly upon their Conscience, but I am innocent, and it is very disinge­nuous, and foolish too, to load me with their wickedness. Let them prove that there were no corruptions in their Church that needed Reformation, and then I must confess I am convicted; but if they cannot, then the baffle lies plainly at their own doors, and it is in vain to charge me with the miscarri­age of other men. This, I say, is the state of the Controversie between the Church of England and the Church of Rome as to this point, and whilst we keep to this Station, nothing is more easie than to maintain our ground, but if once we quit it, we fall under all the disadvantages of Innovators. And how­ever we may afterwards annoy the Enemy, we can never defend our selves. And that, I say, is the case of all other parties in their opposition to the Church of Rome, excepting the Church of England, and those that stick to the same Primitive Constitution: As therefore we are concerned to fortifie our selves against the Romans, let us [Page 260] secure this Bulwark, that they can ne­ver force; but if we once forsake it, we have nothing left but to encounter Innovation with Innovation, and then when both Parties are in the wrong, it is not much material who overcomes.

This is all I think good at this present to propound in the behalf of the Church of England, and when these Principles are laid at the foundation of the building, it will then, and not till then, be seasonable to pro­ceed to more practicable Propositions; and therefore I shall say no more at present than only to summon in all good and honest men to the maintenance of this just Cause, as they will one day an­swer it to Almighty God, against all the present open and wicked attempts of Atheism and Superstition; and as they have any fear of God or man, as they love their Country, or their Posterity, as they have any sense of Interest, or Honour, or Conscience, neither by their carelesness, nor their cowardise to betray the best Church in the world to the fury and the folly of the worst of men. And in this case let no man make excuses, or raise difficulties from the [Page 261] badness, or the opposition of the times; the worse they are, the more they re­quire our zeal to oppose and to reform them. And it is never more seasonable to assert the Rights of the Christian Church than when they are most dis­owned. Let us but do our duty, and God will do his work, and let us not betake our selves to tricks and shifts upon any pretences (if any such there are) of loss or danger, the Church of Christ subsists upon no other Politicks than Courage and Integrity. Let us then be true to those two fundamental Principles of Christianity, and our Sa­viour has undertaken for the event, that the Gates of Hell, much less Rome or Geneva, shall never be able to prevail against it.


I Have thus far adventured to state the Case of the Protestant Religion as it is established by Law in the Church of England. Thereby to declare what it is that we contend for in our Disputes against all sorts of Re­cusants and Dissenters. For it is not at all material what we oppose, but what we assert; and there would be no harm in Errour, were it not for its Contrariety to Truth. So that, before we defend the Church of England, it is necessary to define the true state of its cause, otherwise we contend about we know not what. For as for the general Term of Protestancy, it is an indefinite thing, so that if all the men in England that are Enemies, or no Friends to the Pope of Rome may be listed under that name; we have some Protestants that believe there is a God, and some that believe there is none; some that be­lieve they have a Saviour, and a Soul to save, and some that laugh at both; there are Hobbian Protestants, Muggle­tonian [Page 264] Protestants, Socinian Protestants, Quaker Protestants, Rebel Protestants, Protestants of 41, and Protestants of 48. All or most of which are as diffe­rent as Popery it self from the true Pro­testancy of the Church of England. And therefore it is necessary to stick close to that, both as it is established by the Law of the Land, and by the Law of Christ. For unless we limit it to the Law of the Land, we may in time have a Church consisting of no­thing but Protestants dissenting from the established Religion, that is, a Church not only without, but against it self. And unless we derive the Au­thority of that Religion, that is by Law established, from the antecedent Law of Christ, we may quickly be (as we are in a fair way to be) a Reformed Church of Protestant Atheists, that is, a Church without Religion. And therefore all must be built upon this one Bo [...]om, that the Church owned by the Law of England, is the very same that was established by the Law of Christ. For unless we suppose that the Church was originally setled by our Saviour with divine Authority, we [Page 265] deny his Supremacy over his own Church; and unless we suppose that the supreme Government of the King­dom has power to abett and ratifie our Saviours establishment by Civil Laws, we deny his Majesties Supremacy over his Christian Subjects; and therefore both together must be taken in to the right State and Constitution of the Church of England. And that, do what we can, will involve the Leaders of our present Separation in the guilt both of Schism and Sedition; of Schism in the Church, in that they withdraw themselves and their obedience from those who are vested with a power to command them by vertue of a Divine Commission; of Sedition in the State, in that they needlesly, and without any justifiable pretence, violate the Laws of the Common-wealth. Though the truth is, their Dissension is somewhat worse. For as they manage it, it is not only Sedition, but Rebellion, in that they do not only disobey the Laws, but disavow their obligation; stand­ing resolutely upon that one Principle, that no Magistrate whatsoever has any power of establishing any thing relating [Page 266] to the Worship of God. So that the Act of Uniformity is not so much faul­ty for the particular matters contained in it, as for the unlawful and usurped Authority of it. And when the King and Parliament enjoyned the Book of Common-Prayer to be used in all Churches, they challenged a Power to which they had no right, and invaded the Prerogative of God himself. This is the first ground of the Separation, as it is stated by the chief Ring-leaders of it, and it is a plain renunciation of their Allegiance as well as Conformity. I can with all the streinings of Charity make no better of it, and should be heartily glad if I could see them with­out shufling and prevarication clear themselves of so pernicious a Principle.

To conclude, methinks Religion has been long enough trifled with in this Kingdom, and after so long and so sad experience of our folly, it is time to return to some sense of discretion and sobriety. Before the late barbarous War we had the Scepter of Jesus Christ and the divine right of Presbytery to advance, but now, after the murder of an hundred thousand men, that [Page 267] Cause has proved so ridiculous. as that it is grown ashamed of it self. How­ever the pretence was great and so­lemn, but at this time the People are driven into the same excesses against the Church, no body knows for what, unless it be that some men among us are too proud or too peevish to re­cant their Follies. And therefore I conjure them in the name of God to lay their hands upon their hearts, and without passion seriously to consider what it is for which they renounce the Church in which they were baptised into the Communion of the Catho­lick Church, tear and rend it into numberless pieces and factions, scare multitudes of silly and well-meaning People out of it, as they tender the salvation of their souls, and put the whole Kingdom into perpetual tumults and combustions about Religion; and when they have considered it, I shall only bind it upon their Consciences, so to answer it to themselves now, as they hope to answer it to their Saviour at the last day.

As for the foreign Reformed Churches, I have said nothing of them, [Page 268] because they are altogether out of the compass of my Argument, which is confined within the four Seas, and concerns only those that either are, or ought to be members of the Church of England. But if in any thing any other Churches deviate from the Pri­mitive Institution, they must stand and fall to their own Master. And God forbid we should be so uncharitable as to go about to un-church them, or renounce brotherly communion with them, or to think that our blessed Saviour should withdraw the promise of his Grace and Protection from them. For if every defect from his Institution should forfeit the Rights of a Christian Church, there never was, as we may find by the Apostles account of the Churches in their times, nor ever will be such a thing as a Church in the world. For in this life it is not to be expected that any thing should be absolutely perfect, the very nature of Christianity supposes Im­perfection, and accepts of Integrity, and as long as with sincere Affections men adhere to the Principles of the Christian Church, they are within the [Page 269] promise of the grace of God. Nei­ther beside this does it appear that they in the least refuse communion with the Episcopal Church, which is the main charge against our Separatists; nay, on the contrary, it is too evident, that they unanimously condemn our Diffenters for their Schismatical departure from it. But being, it seems, accidentally cast into another Form of Govern­ment in the midst of State-tumults, they continue in it, either, first, through the power of prejudice and preposses­sion, which are strong things, and more or less to be allowed to all men. Or, secondly, for want of opportunity to new-mould themselves after the plat­form of the Episcopal Churches, which if they should attempt in Popish Coun­tries, it is easie to foresee with what fury it would be opposed. Or else, thirdly, for want of due information of the Primitive Institution, supposing that as our Saviour has founded the Society of his Church upon Divine Right, so he has left it in the power of every particular Church to model it self, as it shall judge most convenient to its own circumstances. Or lastly, [Page 270] out of that reverence they bare to the Authority of some learned men, who at the beginning of the Reformation unfortunately hapned to mistake the true Form of the Primitive Govern­ment. Or for whatever other reason it is, we ought to be so charitable as to think that they are not convinced of the divine Institution of Episcopacy, or if they are, we ought to be so civil as to think that they would not refuse it, and then as long as their mistake proceeds from want of information, it were an unchristian thing to deny them our Charity, much more Gods Grace and Mercy; for though his Laws are perfect and unchangeable, yet in the execution of them, he condescends to the errors and weaknesses of his Creatures, so that it is but a lamentable way of arguing against any divine In­stitution because such and such Churches have departed from it; this were to set up their Authority, not only above, but against that of God himself. How­ever, it is to be hoped that in a little time they may come to a right under­standing of this thing, for the contro­versie about it has not been till very [Page 271] lately throughly sifted in the Latine Tongue, but now it is determined with that strange weight of Reason, that they cannot but discern, when they come im­partially (as in time they will) to ex­amine it, on which side the truth stands. I pray God to assist and direct them and us to a right understanding of things, that all parts of his holy Catholick Church may daily grow more and more into Unity among themselves, and more and more conform their holy Discipline to the purity of the Primi­tive Institution.



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