THE DIVINE OBLIGATION OF HUMANE ORDINANCES. Delivered in a SERMON Upon the 26th of February, Before the IUDGE, At St. Maries in Bury St. Edmonds, BY WILLIAM STARKEY, D.D. Rector of Pulham in NORFOLK.

CAMBRIDGE: Printed by JOHN FIELD, Printer to the University: And are to be sold by Henry Dickinson Bookseller in the Regent Walk in Cambridge. 1668.

To the Honourable Sir WILLIAM MORTON, One of His Majesties Justices of the Kings Bench, Health and Happiness.


NO importunity of Friends could perswade me, no calumny of my worst Enemies could pro­voke me, niether could the juncture of time when this Sermon was preach'd, induce me (onely the assurance of your Lordships Patronage hath prevailed with me) to expose to publick view these weak Medi­tations; without which, this Scroll, as worthless, must have undergone the Authors doom, and must have been condemned to perpetual forgetfulness.

And certainly (my good Lord) there is great necessity of your defence, who have been so valiant for the Truth, and feared no opposition. For that Spirit of Loyalty and Obedience that runs through this whole Discourse, which sure was the sole reason that moved you to like it when preach'd before you, will for this reason alone make it dis-relishing amidst an unreason­able Generation; which setting up a pretended Con­science above, yea against a certain Law, is yet despe­rately hurried headlong into a lawless liberty and licen­tiousness, and into all manner of disobedience.

If therefore there be any thing in this Treatise that may conduce to correct these miscarriages, I think I need not protest my Integrity in delivering them: Malice it self will acquit me, and my worst Enemies cannot entertain a suspition of my Hypocrisie in this; when no former Preferments have pre-ingaged me, no future Hopes can have byassed me, no other Worldly Respects can have inclined me: but that is done in all proba­bility, is done in simplicity, out of an unfeigned love to Order and Peace.

To which if I may contribute any thing, I have my designe; and the Reader that hath any benefit will with me thank God for your Lordship, and pray heartily for the continuance of your Welfare; who hath been always ready to act and suffer for the pre­servation of the Religion, the Laws and Obedience of the Nation. This your care hath brought these things that follow to the light: And the assurance of your Lordships perseverance, constrains the Author, that he can no longer forbear to vow himself

Yours in all Services with all readiness to his utmost, WILL. STARKEY.

The Divine Obligation of Humane Ordinances, &c.

1 Pet. 2.13.

Submit your selves to every Ordinance of man for the Lords sake.

AS it was with St. Paul's new-conver­ted Gentiles, even so was it with St. Peter's dispersed Hebrews, to whom he chiefly directs this Epi­stle. Either the Gnosticks, or some other carnal Gospellers, that made it their business to despise Domini­ons, and speak evil of Dignities, Jude 8. under a speci­ous pretence of Liberty, had miscarried the Servants, so as they cast off all yokes of service; and the Subjects, so as they broke asunder all bonds of obedience: and now the new Christians were blown up into a prejudice; [Page 2]yea, into an opposition against all Humane Government: Which justly opened the mouths of the Unbelievers, to brand such Christians as evil-doers; and Religion was now reproached, and the Name of Christ and his Gospel was every where blasphemed.

Upon this, the Apostle in this part of the Epistle presseth the new born Babes to a greater care of a more becoming conversation; that by well-doing they might put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. And without doubt, Piorum Apologiacertissima & speciocissima, si vita eos purgat non oratio, as Luther upon the place. Holy Men purge themselves by Demeanour, better then Lan­guage; and an Harmless Life is the Christians furest A­pologie: there being no such way for them to silence Gain-sayers, to choak Detractors, and disarm all Op­posers, as to lead lives quiet and peaceable, void of of­fence, in all godliness and honesty. And this honesty of conversation is best discovered by readiness of submis­sion to the just Commands of lawful Governours; which brings our Apostle to urge this of our Text, [...], &c. Submit, &c.

And as it was in the Apostles, even so it is in our days; we have such Teachers and such Believers in the midst of us: Those that think and say, 'Tis Reason and Religion to cast off all submission to Political, either Civil or Ec­clesiastical Laws; especially in their Poenal determina­tions: Pretending, That meekness and mildness of dis­position that is required, and that liberty which is grant­ed by the Gospel, is inconsistent with that rigour and exaction that is used in the execution of those most whol­some Laws that are in force among us.

Glad should I be, if I might undeceive any that are run into this errour in the midst of us: but if I cannot [Page 3]undeceive others, I shall satisfie my self, that others shall know I am ready to give an account of my perswasion of that my yeelding subjection to Humane Ordinances, (even to those that may oppose themselves) with mild­ness and godly fear. And as it is reasonable for me to do it, so it is seasonable for you of this solemn Assembly to receive it; who are met about the execution of Laws and Penalties, and urging subjection unto them. And sure it cannot be improper to urge not onely the lawfulness, but the necessity and profitableness of the work; that so with faithfulness, watchfulness, and chearfulness, you may go about the designed employment; when the un­dertaking is not onely out of policy, barely for peace and advantage, or convenience, but in piety, and for consci­ence sake; when either St. Peter was no Apostle, or else this is undoubtedly the will of God, That we are to sub­mit to every Ordinance of man for the Lords sake.

The Text is an Exhortation of St. Peters to the scat­tered believing Jews, that they would be subject to Go­vernment. And sure if it were their duty then to be sub­ject to the Laws of Heathens, it is much more ours now to be subject to the Laws of Christian Governours. Be it agreed upon then, 'tis our concern to regard the Ex­hortation; and then three things are observable.

1. Note the condition, or part, or manner of Govern­ment the Apostle would have us subject to; 'tis [...], to every Ordinance of man.

2. Observe the manner of subjection we are to pay; 'tis not [...], lend an ear onely, but [...], sub­mit; not to be done passively onely, but actively; nor onely your wills, but your judgements, if the matter of the thing be indifferent: Submit your selves.

3. Observe the reason of the submission of the Chri­stian, [Page 4]the Obligation of Humane Ordinances: the Or­dinances may be Humane, yet their Authority and Obli­gation is Divine: for submission must be given to Hu­mane Ordinances, for the Lords sake.

We are to begin with the first part; we are to observe the condition, the manner of Government the Christian is not to neglect, but must be subject to: 'tis [...], &c. To every Ordinance of man.

[...] signifies originally Creation or Creature; and when indefinitely taken, it imports Ordinatam compa­gem; and so includes the order of Creatures in the World, and is aptly translated to that order of rational Creatures in humane Societies. For as it is in the Body of Crea­tures in the Creation, so should it be in Political Bodies among Men; every one ought to be contented in that order Gods Providence hath set them in: The Superiour to rule over the Inferiour without insulting, and the In­feriour to be subject to the Superiour without murmur­ing; Whether to the King as supreme, &c.

But I like it better with our Translators, that the word [...] should be taken to note things rather then persons; and to signifie not onely Governour, but Government: And so [...], Graec. Schol. i. e. [...], and signifies a dis­position of that Civil Government which is established amidst a People. And so Luther translates it, Omni hu­mano statuto, to every humane Statute: for Creare & statuere idem. So the Governours Statutes may be said to be the Governours Creatures. Not onely then to the Creator, but the Creature; not Statuter, but Statute; nor Ordainer, but the Ordinance, the Christian if he will be ruled by St. Peter, must yield submission to: To every Humane Ordinance, &c.

Now a Law or Ordinance is, Hug. Gro. Regula directiva huma­norum [Page 5]actuum ad bonum Commune obligans ad id quod re­ctum, A Rule directive of Humane Actions obliging to what is right, tending to the publick good where publish­ed and imposed: And so the Laws published by the Ma­gistrate, are far more obliging when imposed, then bare Swasions or Monitions when proposed by the Christian Brother; and the transgression or neglect more inexcuse­able, when the malice of the Offendour by the publica­tion is intended; and the Transgressour discovers his ob­stinacy and impudence, when knowingly and deliberately he sins contra instans praeceptum, against intimation of a present Command, and so runs not onely simplex malum, sed malum vetitum Committere.

Now of Laws and Ordinances there be two sorts, as it's plain from that Government that was managed by Moses, even of God himself, who undertook to be King and Ruler over Israel. Some Laws were Natural, that have intrinsecè vim obligatoriam, as the Moral Command­ments from their own equity have an obliging vertue, if there had been no publick Position or Constitution of them by God himself; and in themselves things of their own nature to every ordinary reason would have appear­ed either good or bad, and would have been followed or avoided, as approved or disallowed of the God of Nature, if he had neither commanded nor forbidden them.

Now besides the Ten Words God gave to Jacob, there were some Statutes and Ordinances which he gave to Israel; some Voluntary Laws, some Ceremonial, some Judicial; things enjoyned, that of their own nature were neither good nor bad, but Praecipiendo debita, vetando Deus illicita fecit. Gods Authority being uncontroulable, and his Wisdome unquestionable, they were to be followed or avoided as most convenient for the welfare of that people in that present condition.

What was naturally intrinsecally lawful, was un­changeably and universally binding: Christ came not to destroy that Law, but to fulfil it. Heaven and Earth may pass away, but not one tittle of that Law was to pass away, but ought to be fulfilled. What was positive, particular and voluntary, was mutable and changeable; and these have had their period, some of them at Christs passion, more of them at the dissolution of the Nation.

Now as it was with God and his Israel, so is it with godly Rulers and their People: There are certain Rules and Statutes rationally agreed upon and published, as the most just and best Directions conducing most to the good of the Community where divulged. Among which, some are natural, that of their own nature are intrinsecally good, and have an obliging vertue, and would be binding as Laws of God, if no Position, if no Constitution from Man, such as are necessary indispensable: neither are they to be abrogated or null'd by Man, that cannot be made unjust by God himself.

But other Laws are Positive and Voluntary, which have their Position from Man onely, and so may be called Humane Ordinances, Laws of convenience, such Consti­tutions as are established upon deliberation as most conve­nient, pro hic & nunc, in the judgement of the most grave and sober Persons, for the good of the Community wherein they live. And sufficit Ratio Universalis, and we are to abide by it; that a thing suitable, and in reason tending most to the advantage of the Society, should be established and be obliging. Yet such Consti­tutions as they had their original and establishment from the reason of the supreme Magistrate, consulting for con­venience & the good of society; so the condition of things and state altering, upon their burthen and inconvenience, [Page 7]such Constitutions by the same Authority that establish­ed, may be altered, suspended, abrogated, and taken quite away; and yet till repealed, even these Statutes are bind­ing to private persons, if they will submit to St Peter's direction, who are to submit to every, &c. And such Laws have we, Positive Laws, Humane Ordinances, Constitutions for convenience established among us; such as are our Rules about some Days, Meats, Vestments, and some Ceremonies, and some external visible Gestures and Deportments; some I say advisedly, not all: for certainly some Ceremonies and some Gestures are not indifferent, but necessary, and in reason the rational Creature cannot decline them; and we cannot be ignorant of their devi­ces, who would bring a dis-repute upon, and an oppositi­on unto the Government established, by making a fair shew of peaceable dispositions, perswading that there might be no difference about trifles, circumstances, need­less and empty Ceremonies; and yet when observed, under these pretences strike at Set Forms of Prayer, all Uniformity in Devotion, all Vocal Confessions united, all Bodily Prostration or Adoration, which are things necessary in all publick Congregations, for maintaining that society that becomes Saints, and that communion that is fit for Christians. For 'tis not onely meet we should have suitable affections of fear, and love, and re­verence, and confidence to that supreme Being whom we must worship; but there ought to be indication and at­testation of those affections, to the exciting and quick­ning others; which must be either by words or actions, and gestures of the body, there being no other way in the state we are in of communicating our intentions.

But yet Rules there be, as I said before, in Ecclesi­astical matters that are Positive and Humane; as about [Page 8]most of our Days, Meats, Vestments, and Ceremonies. Such there be in Civil Matters also, as Constitution of Officers of this or that condition, paying of Tribute or Taxes to this or that proportion, manner of Vengeance, or measure of Penalties for this or that transgression: all these, as 'tis confessed, are Humane and Voluntary, had their original and rise from the Rulers discretion, and from him again upon inconvenience may have their period and determination. Yet these are all binding, yea the Pe­nalties also now established by a positive Law, as long as not contrary to a natural Law; and to these, though but Humane Ordinances, the Christian ought to pay sub­jection.

I considerately made mention of Penalties, because some if they had their minds, under a colour of meekness and moderation, would have all the Penalties determined upon the breach of every positive Law, and some natu­ral ones, if not rescinded, yet at least suspended. But that Punishment should be inflicted upon the Offendour, that's Natural, that's Divine, though the constitution of the measure of the Punishment be Humane: For God in the beginning did determine that the Offendour should suffer; and the chief duty of the Rulers by Gods appointment is to execute Vengeance; and the Sword is given him not as an empty Badge of Honour, for a shew, or for fashion, for ornament, but for employment, for use, not in vain, but for a terrour to them that do evil, Rom. 13. If any thing happens by transgression that is over grievous to the Transgressour, let him blame himself, when sua vo­luntate se obligat ad poenam, The punishment happens from his own election: For when Laws were agreed up­on soberly and deliberately, when published openly as most convenient; no man chuseth the transgression, but [Page 9]chuseth the punishment: He knew the danger and ran into it; His blood be upon his own head.

True indeed, we ought not to mock at Calamity, or rejoyce when an Enemy falleth: Vengeance ought not to be the Godly Mans choice, which is not the delight of God himself; and 'tis not agreeable with the nature of Man, Dolore quà dolor satiari, to make himself plea­sure at the torment of his Neighbour. Yet it is reason­able and just the Malefactor should be punished, and that Tribulation and Wrath should come on him that works Unrighteousness: And certainly they have as little Cha­rity as Reason, that blaspheme him as malicious or mis­chievous, that accuseth or punisheth the Rebellious or Injurious.

1. For Punishments as to the Malefactors prove but like bitter unpleasing Potions, that work strongly for succeeding health; and their Bodies are destroyed that their Souls may be saved.

2. To put a period to Malefactors wickedness, Ut quo uno modo possunt desinant esse mali, Sen. That they who would not learn to be good, may at last be restrained, and cease to do evil.

3. That others may be affrighted; for Poena ad unum metus ad omnes; that the whole Congregation may hear and fear, and so by that means be restrained.

4. That the Righteous may be preserved; which cannot be but by Coertions and Restraints upon the Wicked, keeping them in fear of punishment; when Inter tot supplicia vix sontium satis tuta innocentia; when Innocence it self can scarcely be safe, and is never secure amidst all the Punishments And to suspend Penalties, is the way to make the Ruler contemned, the Law re­proached and slighted, the way to make the heart of [Page 10]the Righteous faint, and the hands of the Wicked strengthned.

Upon these and other Reasons some dare not deny all Penalties, but would have them inflicted onely for breach of Natural and Moral Laws; not at all for breach of Po­sitive or Humane.

But I would have Dissenters in this point consider, that that cannot be unlawful in probability, if done in the Go­vernment of men, which was so oft done and practised by God himself in his dealings and actings amidst the Government of his chosen people. And it may very easily be made appear upon a little observation, that where God hath most clearly manifested his care to Per­sons or People, that there he required obedience not one­ly to things intrinsecally in their own nature good, but to those things that in themselves were indifferent, when once commanded: in that he did not onely take Ven­geance on them that despised his Moral Precepts, but executed it most severely on them that transgressed his Positive Commands. Thus he most severely punished our first Parents for eating the forbidden fruit; Achan for touching the unclean thing; Saul for sparing Agag alive, and saving the best of the prey; the Prophet for eating bread in the other Prophets house; Lot's Wife for look­ing back. Thus the severest Judgements have always lighted upon those that transgressed Gods positive Com­mands.

And how otherwise? Certainly upon good reason this was done: For when God will maintain his Preroga­tive, and is tender of his Honour; How could he hold him guiltless that would despise his Authority command­ing, suspect his Goodness or Wisdome, or both, direct­ing, and seeks himself and his profit more then obedience [Page 11]to his God? For, Obedientia in iis quae parva sunt explo­ratius probatur, In doing those least things we give dis­covery of our greatest obedience; when we bring our Reason under our Faith, and silence our disputing with ready obeying.

But when persons shall obey God in those things one­ly they conceive reasonable, or think them profitable; onely then when the nature of the thing requireth it, and their own interest or advantage is concerned; certainly in such obedience it may be safely concluded, that such persons offend rather then do what is acceptable; when things are done by them with greater respect to please themselves, then out of reverence to please their God. And these transgressions which have been so great offen­ces against God, must needs be also when against his De­puties, even the neglect and breach of positive Laws.

1. For by this means persons discover their distrust of the Providence of God, as if he had deserted the care of his own Ordinance of Magistracy, and had not set Ru­lers over people for good; when God who passeth by, and we see him not, if any where, is to be found standing in the Congregation of the Princes, and sits and judgeth a­mong the gods: And by whom Kings reign, by him Princes decree justice.

2. By this means the Authority of the Ruler is made vile and despicable, and his Wisdome undervalued as contemptible; and others by thy disobedience are prompted to harbour low conceits of their Governours, and to run with thee into the like disorder and miscarri­age. For what greater injury canst thou put upon thy careful Governour, then when his Contrivances and Determinations are published for publick good, that his Directions should be contemned, and by thy Rebellion [Page 12]that thou shouldst suggest to others, (what our disorderly Nature is too ready to suspect) That their Rules are the Results of erroneous and corrupt men? which ought to be looked upon as the Determinations of a Sacred Au­thority, derived from a most wise and just GOD.

3. By this means there is opened a gap to let in all dis­order, and nothing but disquiet, contention and confusi­on is like to be found in the midst of a people. For when persons think meanly of their Rulers, and cannot in ho­nour esteem them, nor think them better then them­selves; when they once idolize their own fancy, abound in their own sense, and are wise in their own judgement, what can happen but as it did when there was no King in Israel? Every one will do what is right in his own eyes: and being impatient of any Judge to restrain or limit them, what can the issue be, but pride, unyeelding­ness, contention, division, confusion, and every evil work?

4. By this means the Morality of the fifth Com­mandment is quite destroyed, and persons would be obli­ged to nothing by it but what is Ceremonious; as if the honour there injoyned did tie us onely to a formal (which oft is feigned) respect to the persons, and no regard to be had to the Commands of our Governours: When no such discovery can be of love, as service, nor of honour to our Superiours, as obedience to their commands: Nei­ther can obedience to the Rulers be any way so well evi­denced as in obedience to the commands of this nature, viz. to Humane Ordinances. For if the matter be un­lawful that is injoyned by our Ruler, then with the three Children, be not careful to answer in that matter; it is better to obey God then man. If the thing be profitable, thou servest thy own turn, thy own interest rather then [Page 13]obeyest thy Ruler: If the thing be intrinsecally just, thou art obliged to do that, although not enjoyned it. So the truth is, the Rulers Authority and Subjects sin­cere Subjection, is chiefly to be seen by submission to those Commands which enjoyn things that of their own nature are indifferent, and where neither the nature of the thing, nor the Subjects reason nor profit is convincing, nor any other by-respect induceth him to the obedience. So that in sum, O Christian, thy submission to Humane Ordinances, (as much as thou slightest them) is the clearest evidence of thy subjection to the Higher Powers, which is undoubtedly the will of Christ.

Let these suffice then for the unfolding of the manner of the Government that the Apostle would have Belie­vers to be subject to, viz. to Humane Ordinances; not onely natural, but positive Laws, agreed upon and con­stituted in wisdome for convenience and benefit of the Publick; and not onely that the Laws enjoyned be obser­ved, but Penalties determined, and in the measure agreed upon be justly inflicted upon the Transgressour, it being a Humane Ordinance.

We come now to the second part, to consider the manner of subjection the Believer is to yeeld to Humane Ordinances, as 'tis to be gathered from the word [...], Be ye so subject as to submit your selves.

Part 2. You see it was our Translators sense that the word [...] be taken in the active signification: A Negative Obedience will not be sufficient, if we will ful­fil St. Peter's mind; that persons do not rebel, do not re­sist, do not oppose, do not murmur, (though I fear all are not so far subject) yet 'tis plain this is not enough, if we mind what our Apostle exhorts; for the word imports [Page 14]an orderly subjection, and implies a reverence of the heart, as one of our own Criticks observes; that Belie­vers put their necks under the yoke, not onely patiently, but willingly; not be subjected, but submit, and subject your selves; voluntarily, positively, of choice; not passively, but actively. Abel's subjection was to be in­tentional, affectionate; not onely external or formal, his desires [must] be toward him, though by Gods constitution a Cain [should] rule over him. And 'twas [...], every soul was to be subject, though a Nero sate in the Throne. And as Servants to their Masters, so are Subjects to pay respects to their Rulers lawful Commands, Ephes. 6.6. With singleness of heart doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing ser­vice as to God, and not to man. I confess therefore I think their expressions as far distant from Reason, as their intentions from Loyalty, who to excuse themselves from the just imputation of Rebellion, shall pretend their pas­sive obedience; as if they could satisfie the intent of the Lawgiver, or the Law, by undergoing the penalties: certainly the inflicting Penalty is accidental to the Rulers designe, who being set over the people for good, with care contriveth Rules, establisheth them and publish­eth them, not for a snare to bring his Subjects to vexa­tion and penance, but to help on their peace and comfort, most likely and probably to be effected by their confor­mity and obedience. Sure Laws were never enacted and promulg'd for this end, to be slighted and contemned, but to be observed and obeyed. To be passive for neg­lect of lawful Commands, and yet be obedient to the same Commands, these are inconsistent, they are impos­sible: If thou wilt be passive, thou art not obedient; and if thou wouldst be obedient, thou shouldst not be passive.

Talk no more then of thy Sufferings for thy Non­conformity to the Law, which are but evidences of thy Transgressions; thou gloriest now in thy shame, and by these words condemnest thy self; when all the spots and wounds of this nature that are given to thee or thy E­state, be as so many tokens by the order of Heaven ap­pearing, to give warning to others to avoid thy society, there being such evident signes seen without, of an Infe­ction that is raging within; when in plain terms, thy passive submission, as thou callest it, or obedience, is a clear signe of thy wilful Rebellion, and intended disobe­dience. And when nothing is good or bad but what is elective or voluntary, if thy Reason be not quite lost, at last judge, and consider what satisfaction thy suffering can give to God, thy Neighbour, or thy self, when thy suffering is involuntary and against thy will, and thy transgression is voluntary, elective, and with thy will; and thy ease, and quiet, and profit, are not so dear to thee as thy disobedience.

If therefore thou wouldst be subject, as the Apostle directs, it's not thy passion, but thy action; not the of­fering of thy estate, but thy self; not what's without, but within, that will please God and his Deputy. Not sacrificing thy treasure, obedience is far better then onely such sacrifice: such a seeming complyance in a tender of externals to the Lords Christ, may be found in the midst of his enemies. But his people shall be willing in the day of his power; they will regard not onely to fear and reve­rence the persons of their Christian Governours, but they will be ready to keep and observe their Laws; and not onely negatively, but positively; nor onely feignedly, but ex [...] ex animo, sincerely, affectionate­ly, submitting not onely what is theirs, but themselves.

Neither is this all the submission the Believer is to pay by the direction of our Apostle, when he requires us to submit our selves: for I hope our will, the appetitive part, is not, or should not be all our selves; the intelle­ctive part, our judgement, our reason, is the best part of our selves; and we have lost our selves if we leave out that: Not onely then our wills and affections, but our judgements and our reasons are all to stoop, to yeeld the subjection that is required to the Constitutions and Rules of our Governours. So if the thing be of a middle and indifferent nature, and then if the Ruler enjoyn the one side, and thy judgement should incline thee to the other, thou art to lay aside thy own judgement, and abide and sit down by the determination of thy Ruler: else with Peter, we will many times out of too much selfishness, as savouring of worldly wisdome, and relishing of things of man, cross the best of the counsels and dispositi­ons of God. And certainly it's one of the most ne­cessary Lessons that Christs Disciples ought first to learn, not onely for things of faith, but matters of peace, to de­ny themselves, to lay aside their own judgements, or else they will hardly take up their crosses and follow Christ.

Yea, good it is not to be overwise in doing our busi­ness, but to think soberly of our selves in doubtful mat­ters, committing our case to God, and trust his Provi­dence in ordering, who knows what is best for us, and will keep us in his ways: for we are so short-sighted, as we cannot discover whether this be worse then that. In determination therefore of indifferent things, it will be safe in humility of mind to lay aside our own judgements, and to abide by the Constitutions of our Rulers, and to submit to their Ordinances as the Disposition of the Al­mighty, who judgeth among the gods, and hath the Ru­lers [Page 17]heads and hearts in his own hand, so as their Consti­tutions are to be looked upon as the Ordinances of God; and as to their Masters, even so would our Apostle have Believers submit to Governours Commands, not onely those that are good and pleasing, but [...], the harsh and unpleasing, if not unlawful, what may cross, be above, yea contrary to our reason: for we are to submit our selves, &c.

In sum, The manner of thy subjection (O Believer) ought so to be given to thy Ruler, as thou submittest not onely negatively, but positively; not barely passively, but actively, not feignedly, formally, but sincerely, af­fectionately: Nor is thy will to be subject onely, but thy judgement, thy reason; for thou art to submit thy self, and all for the Lords sake: so though the Ordinance be Humane, yet the Authority and Obligingness is Divine, when submission must be given for the Lords sake.

Part 3. For the Lords sake. I know some make this to be the limitation of the Believers submission, and it is good to take it so; not in all things absolutely promis­cuously, but in omnibus quae Deo placent. Inferiori potestati non est obediendum contra praeceptum Superioris, Aquin, So are we to submit to the Commands of Ruling Men, as we do not contradict the Laws of the Supreme God, who is to Rule over all. Per omnia ubi Dominus carnis Domi­no Spirituum contraria non imperat, Jerom. In all things where the Masters of our Flesh do not command things contrary to the Lord of Spirits. How shall we do this thing and sin before God? What we do, we must do for the Lords sake.

Others take it to note the aim and intention the Be­lievers have in their submission; not for any selfish ends, [Page 18]but for Gods glory; for the Lords sake. But I rather take it for the reason of the Injunction.

1. Because the Powers that are, are ordained of God: Rulers are his Ministers; and he that gave the Rule to the beloved Titus, gave it to the hated Domitian; he that gave it to Orthodox Constantine, gave it also to the Apostate Julian: And Natural men, though they have no supernatural Graces infused, yet may have Natural gifts imparted to them, that out of reason they will not transgress, but defend the Natural Law, and may be the preservers of righteousness in their generation: so who so despiseth, despiseth not man but God; for Gods sake ordering Governours we are to submit.

2. God not onely ordereth the Governours, but the Government: for he sits Prince chief among the Gods, and by him Princes decree justice. He informs Princes after his will, and teacheth Senators wisdome. He then that resisteth the Ordinance of man, resisteth that which ought to be looked upon as the Ordinance of God.

3. Propter Dominum, for the Lords sake commanding: for we are to render to all their due, to Caesar what is Cae­sars; and not onely to reverence the Persons, but regard the Commands of our Rulers, if not unjust: For this is the will of God, vers. 15.

4. Propter Dominum, for the Lords sake: that is, to be honoured for the honour of Christ and Christian Re­ligion, that whereas they speak evil of you, vers. 12. as evil-doers, they may seeing your good works glorifie God in the day of visitation: And with thus well-doing, you may put to silence, &c. Fleshly Lusts dishonour Profession now, more then Pride, and Wrath, and Envy, which bring forth Division, Sedition, and Rebellion: For Gods [Page 19]sake, that he may be honoured, pay your subjection, &c. Submit.

5. For Gods sake, for fear of God avenging and punish­ing: For they who resist, receive to themseves Damnation.

1. From the Ruler, who is Gods Minister, and will pass sentence against such disobedience.

2. From his own Conscience, who offers that to the Ruler he would not permit to be offered to himself in his own Family.

3. The Damnation being indefinite, must include, as à Lapide hath it, Tum ab ipsâ potestate temporariam, tum ab ipso Deo aeternam condemnationem. For if Rebellion should prove prosperous, and persons escape the hand of Men, yet how will they escape the hand of God? And if they that obey rightly shall of the Lord receive the re­ward of inheritance, sure they that rebel shall receive the just recompence of their disobedience. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Gen. 28.25.

In fine, the meaning of the Apostle must be this: If any respect to the Order, to the Ordinance, to the Com­mand of God; If any tender regard to honour Christ and our Profession; If any fear of the Wrath and the succeeding Vengeance of the Almighty; Christians are to subject not onely their wills, but their judgements; not onely to Rules natural and necessary, but those that are positive and humane; Laws made by Governours, and constituted for convenience, if not unlawful: and though such Rules be Humane, yet their Obligation is to be accounted Divine; For we are to submit to every Ordinance of man for the Lords sake.

And now what have I done? How many have I this day made my Enemies for speaking the Truth? And [Page 20]while the Zeal of Equity, and Righteousness, and of just Obedience is eating me up, I may look even for this, that some may speak evil of me in the gate; and the re­proaches of them that are given to Sedition, may fall upon me. And certainly if I would have had respect to the favour of men, I should have pleaded this day for In­dulgence, for Toleration, for Dispensation of all Posi­tive Laws, at least for suspension of their Penalty; and not earnestly have urged obedience and submission to the Ordinances of men; but that I never yet feared the face of man, having committed my cause to God: neither durst I partially flatter, or by silence countenance any in their opposition or neglect of that subjection which must be yeelded for the Lords sake. Yet there was never more love pretended to the Prince then in our days, and never less respect unto his Laws; persons shewing with what spirit they are possessed, when they break almost all the bonds of Humane Laws asunder, and cast away all those cords from them. And in those that are not quite broken, O how stretched! how distorted! One Hu­mour pulling the Ligament one way, another the other way; and every Member is distracted, and full of Con­vulsion-fits; so no wonder if the head be sick, the heart be faint, and the whole body be full of pain. But cer­tainly so it is, scarce any regard our reports; and either St. Peter was no Apostle, or the Text hath not been rightly expounded, or else there hath been, and is too too much wilful Disorder in the Nation.

I know what the Dissenter pleads, I honour my Prince, I love and reverence his Person, I pay him Tribute willing­ly; but for some Humane Ordinances, to them I cannot in Conscience submit: Shall I not have the liberty of my Conscience? may not my Conscience be free?

To which give me leave to reply, That thy Profession of thy love is empty and insignificant without thy obedi­ence as required: Probatio dilectionis est exhibitio operis, service is the clearest demonstration of thy love; and if thou lovest thy God or his Christ, thy love to either is to be evidenced by keeping their Commandments: And thy obedience to the Commands of things of a middle nature, is the clearest and most unquestionable obe­dience.

And yet if we hear any thing from the Opposers, it is a Plea of Conscience, they dare not do any thing a­gainst their Conscience, all these mens Asceticks are act­ed in the lists and bounds of Conscience; and this the cry, They exercise themselves to keep a Conscience void of offence toward God and toward man. And so is the world filled with the noise, as a great part of it hath lost the thing Conscience. For if persons that palliate and excuse their Dissent and Disorder with the cloak of Conscience, had not laid aside Reason, Religion, and Conscience also, there could not be that distance and difference that is yet among us. And if any that dissents from us in the Obe­dience urged, be crept in among us, let him know (that if he will hear me with patience and without prejudice) if do not make it appear, that in his not submitting he hath no Conscience; and if he hath a Conscience, that he must submit, I will turn his Proselyte, vow my self in his Perswasion, and come over to his side immediately.

There is onely this to be done first, that we agree what Conscience is, and we come to the point in hand instantly.

And Conscientia is concludens Scientia, a firm Con­clusion, a settled Judgement, a fixed Determination [Page 22]of the Intellective Part, from a certain infallible Rule, from which we infer, assume, apply to our selves the Morality of our Action, and determine of the subsequent issue accordingly.

So Conscience is nothing else but Syllogismus Practi­cus, a Practical Syllogism; in which the Major part of Conscience is called [...] in the Major, the Un­derstanding lays down the Rule, the Revealed Will, or the Natural Law of God. Where Conscience is, there is [...], the keeping together the Commands of God.

In respect of the Minor, Conscience may be called [...] for the Intellective part casts one look on the Rule, another on our selves and actions, and applieth to our selves from our agreeing or disagreeing the goodness or badness of our fact; and so 'tis a Witness.

In respect of the Conclusion, it's well called [...] There it plays the part of a Judge; for having observed either our conformity or disagreeing with the Rule, then the Intellective part passeth a true sentence, and acquits or condemns accordingly.

So then this is to be agreed on first, That Lex Dei so­lum obligat Conscientiam hominis, The Conscience of a man is to be ruled by the Law of God. So no example or practice of the most retired mortified men, can be a Rule for thy Conscience; the most devout of men are not to be lords of our Faith, who at best are but helpers of our Joy: Infallibility is not be granted to any particular man, which is not to be granted to any particular Church of Christ: Neither can Conscience be made up soundly from the practice of a fallible man, but from the dictate of an infallible God. So that is not to be called Con­science [Page 23]that is grounded on the examples of godly religi­ous men. Nor is that Conscience that hath onely for­mer resolutions for its Rule; for wilful obstinacy, tena­ciousness of purpose, cannot be a part of Conscience, which is not in the appetitive part at all: nor can hu­mour, animosity, a suddain precipitate ingaging, be justified by a Plea of Conscience, when there must be [...], Conscience cannot be without Delibera­tion: Nor can Deliberation without applying or De­termination be called Conscience; for while the Under­standing is fluctuating, and questioning, and inquiring, it may be in tendency to it; it is not yet to be called Conscience till determined.

And here again they seem as far from Reason in their Expressions, as from Obedience in their Actions, that call out for Liberty of Conscience, May not my Con­science be free? And they would make the doubt­ing reason against the undoubted Command of the Su­periour in things indifferent, to be the weak Con­science: but where liberty or doubting is, there can be no Determination of the thing doubted; and where no Determination, there can be no Con­science.

Neither can any Plea of Conscience justifie any A­ction or Undertaking that is unlawful; when Consci­ence, which is but a Witness to a Rule, can be no more then a subordinate Rule; neither can it give an abso­lute Law, which must be determined by a Law; with­out which, it may be Humour, Animosity, Fancy, O­pinion, whatever it be, sure enough it cannot be rightly called Conscience.

And therefore that persons should be constrained through Penalties to examine throughly the cause of [Page 24]their dissenting Judgements, (although it hath gotten through mistake a repute of harshness in the World) I know not why it should seem unreasonable: For if per­sons will take up Resolutions without, yea sometimes against a Rule, I think 'tis a greater deal of Charity, and there is necessity to bring those by any means to a Rule, to bring them into the way of truth, who have so long erred and have been deceived.

But be it agreed upon betwixt us, That Conscience is a settled Determination of the Intellective Part, from a certain Rule inferring the Morality of our Actions, and concluding the issue accordingly.

And now to our business in hand. That I or thou decline any thing in Conscience that is commanded by a lawful Authority, it must be because the thing is un­lawful: For neither I nor thou ought to do any thing unlawful; that we both abide by; What therefore we decline that is enjoyned by lawful Authority, we can­not decline unless it be prohibited or forbidden by the Law of God. For if forbidden, then be not careful to answer; Vetitum est, is sufficient.

But if the thing be not forbidden, and so not un­lawful, though not commanded by God directly or im­mediately, yet if enjoyned by lawful Authority, we must sin against Conscience in refusing or declining, much more in opposing, when we ought to be subject to Higher Powers, and to submit, &c. to every Ordinance of man: And yet these Ordinances of men not binding as the Arbitrary Impositions of fallible men, but as ha­ving their Authority and Obligingness from a super­intending Command of an undeceiving God, who com­mands subjection to Higher Powers, which cannot be better demonstrated then in things of this nature; nor [Page 25]is the Fifth Command better observed, as hath been proved sufficiently. So there can be no justifiable de­clining or opposing the Superiours Command out of Conscience, when the things declined are no ways un­lawful nor prohibited by the Word of God; For where no Law, no Trangression.

But now on the contrary, if we have any Consci­ence we must submit; and there is just ground of our submission and conformity: For the thing being not unlawful, and commanded by our Superiours, we are to submit, not onely for fear of wrath, but for Con­science sake: Conscience not simply of the Command of man, but as the Command of God, who commands subjection, and that we submit to every Ordinance of man for the Lords sake.

Yet the Dissenters oppose and complain of it as a great grievance, That actions or things in their own na­ture indifferent, should by an Imposition be made necessary and determined; and this bemoan'd as a violence to ten­der Consciences.

To which I must reply this, To demand what hurt is it if things or actions of their own nature indifferent be determined? Those things that were indifferent of their own nature might have been done or undone law­fully without transgression before determined, but now determined, they are grievances and unlawful.

Oh at last consider, How little thy Reason, how great thy Opposition to all manner of Government? when an action of its own nature indifferent, and so consequenti­ally lawful, shall be declined by thee as a thing unlaw­ful, onely because a lawful Authority hath enjoyned it.

Again, that the indifference is taken away, it is not taken away for the nature of the thing, but for the use of [Page 26]it, it being determined in wisdome, as then in that place being most convenient. Neither is it enjoyned that thou shouldst believe thy obedience must be yeelded to such Commands, as if they were absolutely necessary to Sal­vation, but as conveniently necessary for Peace, to pre­serve Order, and prevent Confusion. There is no que­stion but such Constitutions are peculiar, temporary, and mutable; yet the outward Power shall bind and limit thee for the outward Act, but it leaves thee free for thy Conscience: Conscience, I say, of the nature of the thing, not of the exercise of the Act enjoyned. For thou art bound to do as is commanded, not onely for wrath, but for Conscience sake, who art commanded to submit, &c.

Again, If indifferent things, as thou seemest to de­sire, should not be determined, what can be expected, from the unyeeldingness of mens nature upon pre­tence of offence, but we must run into Schism and Di­visions?

For to instance in that thing which is before our eyes, The Surplice in its self is indifferent, whether worn or not worn; be it left so, and no Injunction, and see what fol­lows: Thou art perswaded in Divine Administration it should be forborn; others with as much earnestness, and more reason, urge it that it must be worn, it being de­cent and significant. If I wear it, I offend one party; if I wear it not, I offend another: it were good to be with­out offence, and to give none to either Jew or Gentile; but if this be left indifferent, of necessity some must be scandalized; so as the Determination of the Governour in this case is necessary, that people by his judgement may abide quietly and live in peace, who if left to them­selves, would inevitably run into Contention and Con­fusion.

But I may leave arguing, and we have reason enough God help us, to break out into Lamentation; and we may complain with Hilary, Our Faith facta est fides tem­porum potius quam Evangeliorum periculosum ac misera­bile tot nunc fides existere quot voluntates! Our Faith is become the Faith of the Times rather then the Faith of the Gospels! and what is dangerous and lamentable, we have got as many Faiths as Wills, and Consciences as ob­stinate Resolutions. And when Conscience which ought to be subordinate and under a Law, shall be accounted as a plea sufficient to justifie any mans attempts or actions, without any respect to the absolute Law, no wonder we should run headlong in multitudes into a lawless liberty and licentiousness, and into all manner of disobedience. The Church of England, admired and envied of all stran­gers, hath been like Joseph, a very fruitful Bough; but the Archers have sorely grieved her, and shot at her, and feared not: Those that have withdrawn themselves into the Synagogue, are yet persecuting them of the Church, and lay things to their charge they knew not of: For while they clamour against Superstition among us, let those that obstinately will account things absolutely un­lawful, that of their own nature are indifferent, let them soberly consider whether they be not deeply guilty of Superstition themselves.

But say what we can, the worst of our Enemies are those that have been of our own Houshold; the Chil­dren of our Mother have fought against her, and they that have eat of her bread, have lift up their heels against her: And when those that have been our Friends and Acquaintance (though without cause) stand thus afar off, no wonder if Strangers think some evil Disease cleaveth close unto us. And to make us more miserable, what [Page 28]hath befaln the Church, will certainly befal the State in all positive Laws, if Liberty and Toleration be granted, that with impunity persons may persist in their unreason­able and lawless Resolutions, under the name of Con­science. For Zions sake therefore I could not hold my peace, nor for Jeausalems sake rest, nor find quiet in my own spirit, till I had offered publickly, what if it were soberly and without prejudice received, might make for the peace and quiet of the Nation. Suffer now but one Word of Exhortion, that shall divide it self into two branches, the first tending to those that are Dissenters, the second to those that are concerned in the great busi­ness at hand, and I have done.

For Dissenters, I humbly beg of them to think sober­ly of themselves, and not to be overwise in their own eyes, but to trust the ordering of Gods Providence, who from the care he hath of his own Ordinance, is likely to direct his Deputy in determinations most convenient. I heartily crave they would abide contentedly in that stati­on God hath set them in; and with a real humility that they would sit down quietly, though in the lowest room. That they would suspect their Consciences as erroneous and to be reformed, when they see they are not to be brought under a certain Law. That they would con­sider the Sacred Authority and Divine Obligingness of Humane Ordinances in matters indifferent, from a su­perintending binding Command of an infallible orderly God; neither can any, upon a pretence of Conscience, sin against that Rule, and be excused. Let then the Authority of our Rulers, as of Gods Constitution, be un­controulable; let their Wisdome, as most probably to come from his Direction, be unquestionable; and we [Page 29]may hope their Laws not barely as mans, but as Gods, may be kept inviolably.

Yea, I beseech you lay aside all contentious Humours, and let no more a spirit of opposition, contradiction, or singularity be found among us: Let us follow those things that make for peace, and wherein we may best comfort and edifie one another. 'Tis true, we are called to liberty, and let us stand fast on Gods blessing in that liberty wherein Christ hath set us free; but let us not use our liberty as a cloak of maliciousness, but as servants of God: Let us give due reverence to the persons set over us; and that is best done by respect to the Laws establi­shed among us: For so is the will of God, that we submit our selves to every Ordinance of man for the Lords sake.

Secondly, For you then that are interested in the great and necessary Concern that is now at hand, in carrying on the great Designe of this time, be pleased to consi­der, You are hither come not barely to hear of the No­tion, but for the Execution of Righteousness; and are not severely to animadvert onely upon the Transgressours of the Moral, and natural, and necessary Divine Laws, but upon those that break the positive, particular Humane Ordinances, that our Rulers in wisdome have established for our good among us.

If persons were so well disposed, as Counsels and Mo­nitions might perswade all to be good from the Pulpit or in the Closet, then no need to urge any rigour from either Bench or Bar: But here you are met for the Remunera­tive part of Justice, and to be a terrour to them that do evil, as well as a countenance to them that do well. You see what unhappy success your remission and lenity hath had hitherto; it must be severity must do your business. [Page 30]Your method of leading the people must now be like Gods leading his Israel from Egypt to Canaan; the Con­duct must not be onely as in the day, to lead them by a cloud, but in this night it must be by a pillar of fire. The eyes of this people have too long been dawbed up with Honey; they must at last be opened by Gall: better to cause some smart and cure them, then suffer them through blindness to run headlong into the pit.

In short, our lives must be confused and uncomfortable without Laws, and Laws are unprofitable without exe­cution. Breath then at last fresh life into the languishing Laws of a fainting Kingdome, by an impartial execution. Remember, Faciens & consentiens eâdem lege tenentur, Qui tolerat aliena peccata cum tollere possit facit sua: Make not the rebellious mans sin thine by indulgence or connivance, that hast too many to answer for of thy own.

My Lord, For your part, your Integrity and Loyalty is so eminent, as we are sufficiently assured no smoke of Passion can put out your Reason; no dust of the World can take away your sight; no partiality can pervert your sentence.

To you therefore that are Assistants on the Bench, and to the Grand Inquest at the Criminal Bar, we direct our suit: Offer the Sacrifice of Righteousness, and take all care that Justice and Judgement may be executed in the midst of us. For you to seem to be righteous, and not to be so, is to be like the Polypus, to change into the co­lour of the Rock to which he cleaves, whither while the poor Fishes go in a storm to be sheltered, they are de­voured. Remember, Lenity to the Transgressour is Cruelty to the Innocent.

If you conceal and smother Disorder, wink at Wick­edness, [Page 31]and countenance Disobedience; O sad conse­quence! The King and his Deputy is deluded, the course of Justice is hindred, the hands of the Wicked are strengthned, the heart of the Orderly is weakned: You hurt the Offendour, his heart must be hardned, when for his sin he is not corrected: You hurt your weak Neigh­bour, for he is staggered, if not perverted: You hurt your own Souls, for you are perjured: You are injurious to God, for his Worship is undervalued and contemned: You wrong the King and the Governours under him, for the Laws are slighted. For the Sinners, the Magistrates, your Neighbour, for your own, for the Kings, for Gods sake, let there be no more halting, no longer connivance to be found in the midst of us. Execute true Judgement without partiality; and if we cannot have that Obedience to the Laws that is required, let the Offendour feel that just Vengeance which is threatned. Submit your selves to every Ordinance of man for that Lords sake, To whom be rendred as is due, all Obedience, and Service, and Honour, and Glory, now and for ever, Amen.


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