Bishop Sanderson's JUDGMENT Concerning SUBMISSION TO Usurpers.

LONDON, Printed by for Richard Marriott. MDCLXXVIII.

Bishop Sanderson's JUDGMENT Concerning SUBMISSION TO USURPERS.

SIR,

WHEREAS you desire to know what my judgment and practice is concerning the u­sing or forbearing the establish'd Liturgy (either in whole, [Page 2] or in part) in the publick Service of God, and Office of the Church: If it be any satisfaction to your Friend, I shall fully acquaint you what my practice is (whereunto if my own Judgment be not conform, I am, without all excuse, my own con­demner) and upon what considera­tions I have, according to the varia­tion of the times, varied from my self therein.

So long as my Congregation con­tinued unmixt with Souldiers, as well after as before the Promulgation of the Ordinance of the two Houses for the abolishing of the Common Prayer, I continued the use of it, as I had ever formerly done in the most peaceable and orderly times, not o­mitting those very Prayers, the si­lencing whereof I could not but know to have been chiefly aim'd at in the Ordinance (viz.) three for the King and Queen and Bishops; and so I did also though some Souldiers were casually present, till such time as a whole Troop coming to Quar­ter [Page 3] in the Town (with a purpose to continue a kind of Garison or Head-quarter among us) were so en­rag'd at my reading of it the first Sunday after they came, that im­mediately after Morning Service ended, they seiz'd upon the Book, and tore it all in pieces. Thence­forward during their continuance there for full six months and upwards (viz.) from the beginning of No­vember till they were call'd away to Naseby Fight in May following, be­sides that for want of a Book of ne­cessity I must, I saw that it also be­hoov'd me, for the preventing of farther Outrages, to wave the use of the Book for the time, at least in the Ordinary Service; only I read the Confession, the Lord's Prayer, all the Versicles, and the Psalms for the day. Then after the first Lesson in the Forenoon Benedictus or Iubi­late; and in the Afternoons Cantate. After the second Lesson also, some­times the Creed, sometimes the Ten Commandements, and sometimes [Page 4] neither, but only sang a Psalm, and so to Sermon. But in all that while, in the Administration of the Sacra­ments, the Solemnization of Ma­trimony, Burial of Dead, and Churching of Women, I constantly used the ancient Forms and Rites to every of them respectively be­longing, according to the appoint­ment in the Book; only I was care­ful in all the rest to make choice of such times and opportunities as I might do them with most secresie, and without disturbance of the Soul­dier. But at the Celebration of the Eucharist I was the more secure to do it publickly, because I was assur'd none of the Souldiers would be pre­sent.

After their departure I took the liberty to use either the whole Litur­gy, or but some part of it, omitting sometimes more, sometimes less up­on occasion, as I judg'd it most ex­pedient in reference to the Audito­ry, especially if any Souldiers, or o­ther unknown persons hapned to be [Page 5] present. But all this while the sub­stance of what I omitted I contriv'd into my Prayer before Sermon, the phrase and order only varied, which yet I endeavour'd to temper in such sort, that any person of ordinary ca­pacity might easily perceivve what my meaning was, and yet the words left as little liable to exception or ca­vil as might be.

About two years ago I was adver­tis'd (but in a friendly manner) by a Parliament man of note in these parts, that at a publick Meeting at Gran­tham, great complaint was made by some Ministers of the Presbyterian Gang, as I afterwards found, of my refractoriness to obey the Parlia­ments Order in that behalf. The Gentleman told me withal, That al­though they knew what my judgment and practice was, yet they were not forward to take notice of it before complaint made, which being now done in so publick a manner, if they should not take notice of it, the blame would lie upon them. He therefore [Page 6] advised me to consider well what I had to do, for I must resolve either to adventure the loss of my Living, or to lay aside Common Prayer; which if I should continue after com­plaint and admonition, it would not be in his power, nor in the power of any Friend I had to preserve me. The effect of my then Answer was, That if the case were so, the deliberation was not hard: I having long ago considered of the case, and resolved what I might do with a good Consci­ence, and what was fittest for me in prudence to do, if I should ever be put to it (viz.) to forbear the use of the Common Prayer Book so far as might satisfie the letter of the Ordinance, rather than forsake my Station.

My next business then was to be­think my self of such a course to be thenceforth held in the publick work in my own Parish, as might be be­lieved neither to bring danger to my self by the use, nor to give scandal to my Brethren by the disuse of the [Page 7] establish'd Liturgy. And the course was this, to which I have held me ever since.

I begin the Service with a Preface, and an Exhortation infer'd to make Confession of Sins; which Exhorta­tion I have fram'd out of the Ex­hortation and Absolution in the Book, contracted and put together, and exprest for the most part in the same words and phrases, but pur­posely here and there transplac'd, that it might appear not to be, and yet to be the very same.

Then follows the Confession it self in the same Order; it was en­larg'd only with the addition of some words, whereby it is rather explain'd than alter'd. The whole frame whereof, both for the fuller satisfaction in that particular, and that you may conjecture what man­ner of addition and change I have made proportionably hereunto (yet none so large) in other parts of the holy Office, I have here under­written.

[Page 8]

O Almighty God and merciful Father, we thy unworthy Servants do with shame and sorrow confess, that we have all our life long gone astray out of thy ways like lost sheep; and that by following too much the vain devices and desires of our own hearts, we have grievously offended against thy holy laws both in thought, word, and deed. We have many times left undone those good duties which we might and ought to have done, and we have many times done those evils, when we might have avoided them, which we ought not to have done. We confess, O Lord, that there is no health at all, nor help in any Creature to re­lieve us; but all our hope is in thy mercy, whose justice we have by our sins so far provoked. Have mercy upon us therefore, O Lord, have mercy upon us miserable Offenders: Spare us good Lord who confess our faults, that we perish not, but ac­cording to thy gracious promises de­clared unto mankind in Christ Iesu [Page 9] our Lord, restore us upon our true Repentance into thy grace and fa­vour. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we hence­forth study to serve and please thee by leading a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy Name, and the eternal comfort of our own Souls, through Iesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

After the Confession the Lord's Prayer with the Versicles, and Glo­ria Patri, and then Psalms for the Day, and the first Lesson: After which in the Forenoon, sometimes Te Deum, (but then only when I think the Auditory will bear it) and sometimes an Hymn of mine own, gathered out of the Psalms and Church Collects, as a general Form of Thanksgiving (which I did the rather, because I have noted the want of such a Form as the only thing wherein the Liturgy seem'd to be defective). And in the After­noon, after the first Lesson the 98th. Psalm, or the 67th. then the [Page 10] second Lesson, with Benedictus or Iubilate; after it in the Forenoon and Afternoon a singing Psalm. Then followeth the Creed, with Dominus Vobiscum; and sometimes the Ver­sicles in the end of our Letany [From our Enemies defend us] if I lik'd my Auditory, otherwise I omit the Ver­sicles. After the Creed, and instead of the Letany and the other Prayers appointed in the Book, I have taken the substance of the Prayer I was wont to make before Sermon, and dispos'd it into several Collects or Prayers, some longer and some shorter, but new modell'd into the language of the Common Prayer Book much more than it was before. And in the Pulpit, before Sermon I use only a short Prayer in reference to the hearing of the Word, and no more. So that upon the matter, in these Prayers I do but the same thing I did before, save only that what before I spake without Book, and in a continued Form in the Pul­pit, I now read out of a written Book [Page 11] broken into parcels, and in the read­ing Desk or Pue. Between which Prayers and the singing Psalms be­fore the Sermon, I do also daily use one other Collect, of which sort I have for the purpose compos'd sun­dry, made up also (as the former) for the most part out of the Church Collects, with some little enlarge­ment or variation; as namely, the Collects Adventual, Quadragesimal, Paschal, or Pentecostal, for their pro­per seasons; and at other times Col­lects of a more general nature, as for Pardon, Repentance, Grace, &c. And after one or more of them in the Forenoon, I usually repeat the Ten Commandements, with a short Collect after them for Grace to ena­ble us to keep them.

This hath been my practice, and is like still to be, unless some happy Change of Affairs restore us the li­berty of using the old way again, or it be made appear to my Under­standing by some able charitable Friend, That I therein have done [Page 12] otherwise then I ought to have done: For I may say, that I have not yet met with any thing in Dis­course, either with my own Rea­son or others, of sufficient strength to convince me that I have done any thing, but what may stand with the Principles as well of Christian Sim­plicity as Prudence.

There are but three things, that I know of, that are of any considera­tion oppos'd, viz.

  • 1. The Obligation of the Laws.
  • 2. The Scandal of the Exam­ple.
  • 3. The unseemly symbolizing at least with Schismaticks, if not partaking with them in the Schism.

1. Law. Object.

The first and strongest Objection (which I shall therefore propose to the most advan­tage of the Objector) is that which is grounded upon the Laws, and their Obligation: For it may be Objected,

That every humane Law [Page 13] rightly establish'd, so long as it con­tinueth a Law, obligeth the Sub­ject (and that for Conscience sake) to the observation thereof in such manner and form as in the same Law is prescribed, and according to the true meaning and intention of the Law-giver therein. That a Law is then understood to be rightly establish'd, when it containeth no­thing but what is honest and lawful, and is enacted by such person or per­sons as have full and sufficient au­thority to make Laws. That a Law so establish'd continues a Law, and is so in force, till it be either Re­pealed by as good and lawful Au­thority, as that by which it was made, or else antiquated by a long continued uninforc'd disuse with the tacit or presumed consent of the Law-giver. That the Act printed before the Common Prayer Book, and entituled (An Act for the Unifor­mity) was such a Law, being it was established in a full and free Par­liament in peaceable times, and ra­tified [Page 14] by the Royal Assent, That it still continues in force, and being not yet Repealed, but by such per­sons as (at least in the Opinion of those that maintain the Dispute) for want of the Royal Assent, have not a sufficient right or authority to do such an Act, nor disused but of late times, and that by enforce­ment, and as is presum'd, much a­gainst the mind of the Law-giver. That therefore it still retains the power of obliging in part of Consci­ence; that power being so essential and intrinsecal to every Law, qua­tenus a Law, that it can in no wise be sever'd from it.

And that therefore no Minister publickly officiating in the Church, can with a good Conscience either o­mit any part of that which is com­manded by the aforesaid Law, or use any other Form than what is contained in the foresaid Book, but must either use the Form prescribed in the Book, or else forbear to offi­ciate.

[Page 15] The Answer to this Objection (granting all in the Premisses besides) dependeth upon the right understanding of that which is affirmed concering the Obligation of the Laws according to the inten­tion of the Law-giver;Answ. which if it should be understood precisely of that particular, actual, and imme­diate intention which the Law-giver had declared by the words of the Law (in which sense only the Ob­jection proceedeth) will not hold true in all cases. But there is sup­pos'd besides that, in Law-giver, a more general, habitual, & ultimate intention of a more excellent and transcendent nature than the former, which is to have an influence into, and over-ruling power over all par­ticular Laws (viz.) an intention by the Laws to procure and promote the publick good. The former in­tention binds, when it is subservient to the latter, or consistent with it, and consequently bindeth in ordina­ry cases, and in orderly times, or else [Page 16] the Law is not a wholesome Law. But when the observation of the Law, by reason of the conjuncture of circumstances, or the iniquity of the times (contingencies which no Lawgiver could either certainly foresee, or if foreseen, sufficiently provide against) would rather be prejudicial than advantageous to the Publick; or is manifestly attended with such inconveniencies and sad consequents to the Observers, as all the imaginable good that can re­dound to the Publick thereby, cannot in any reasonable measure counter­vail: In such case the Law obligeth not, but according to the latter and more general intention only; even as in the operations of nature, par­ticular Agents do ordinarily move according to their proper and parti­cular inclinations; yet upon some oc­casions, and to serve the ends and in­tentions of universal nature (for the avoiding of some things which na­ture abhors) they are sometimes car­ried with motions quite contrary to [Page 17] their particular natures; as the Air to descend, and the Water to ascend for the avoiding of vacuity, &c. The common received Maxim (which hath been sufficiently misapplied, and that sometimes to very ill pur­poses since the beginning of these unhappy divisions) in the true mean­ing of it looketh this way, Salus populi suprema Lex: the equity of which Maxim, as it leaveth in the Law-giver a power of dispensing with the Law (which is a suspend­ing the Obligation thereof for the time in respect of the proper and particular intention) so he shall see it expedient in order to the publick good; so it leaveth in the Subject a liberty upon just occasions (as in ca­ses of great exigency, and for the preventing of such hazards and in­conveniencies as might prove of noy­some consequence to the Publick) to do otherwise than the Law requi­reth. And neither is the exercise of that power in the Lawgiver to be thought an unreasonable Preroga­tive, [Page 18] nor the use of this liberty in the Subject an unreasonable presump­tion; inasmuch as the power of di­spensing with particular Laws is such a Prerogative, as without which no Commonwealth can be well govern'd, but Justice would be turn'd into Gall and Wormwood: Nor can the Supream Governour, without forfeiture of that faithfulness which he oweth to the Publick Weal, de­vest himself thereof.

And he that presumeth of the Law-givers consent to dispense with him for the Observation of the Law in such needful cases (where he hath not the opportunity to consult his pleasure therein) presumeth no more than he hath reason to do. For it may well be presum'd that the Law­giver, who is bound in all his Laws to intend the safety of the Publick, and of every member thereof in his due proportion, hath no intention by the strict observation of any par­ticular Law, to oblige any person, who is a Member of the Publick, to [Page 19] his destruction or ruin, when the common good is not answerably pro­moted thereby: Upon which ground it is generally resolv'd by Casuists▪ That no Constitution (meerly hu­mane) can lay such Obligation upon the Conscience of the Subject, but that we may (according to the ex­igency of circumstances) do other­wise than the Constitution requireth, provided it be done extra casum scandali & contemptûs, i. e. without either bewraying in himself any contempt of the Authority of the Law-giver by his carriage, or giving any just occasion of scandal to o­thers by his example in so doing.

I have been somewhat the longer in explaining this point, not only for the better clearing of the present doubt, but also in respect of the use­fulness of this consideration for the preventing and removing of many scruples that may happen to consci­entious men in such times as these, wherein so many things are (and are like to be) commanded and forbid­den [Page 20] contrary to the establish'd Laws, and those (as they are perswaded) yet standing in force. The best rule that I know to guide men in their deliberations and actions in such e­mergent cases (according to what hath been already delivered) is ad­visedly and impartially to weigh the benefit & inconveniencies, as well on the one side, as on the other, as they stand in relation unto the Publick Good: and if after such examination and comparison made, it shall then evidently (or but in the judgment of probability) appear, that the Ob­servation of the Law, according to the proper intention of the Law-giver therein, though with hazard of Estate, Liberty, or even life it self, hath a greater tendency to the Publick Good, and the preservation of Church or Commonwealth in safety, peace, and order, than the preventing of the foresaid hazards, or other evil consequents, by doing otherwise than the Law requireth, can have; or (which cometh to [Page 21] one) if the violating of the Law shall then appear to be more prejudi­cial to the Publick Good, than the preservation of the Subject's Estate, Liberty, or Life can be beneficial hereunto: In such case the Subject is bound to hazard all he hath, and un­dergo whatsoever inconveniencies and calamities can ensue thereupon, rather than violate the Law with contempt of that Authority to which he oweth subjection.

But if it shall (after such compa­rison made) evidently (or but more probably than the contrary) appear, That that preservation of such a per­sons Life, Liberty, Estate, would more benefit the Church or Com­monwealth, than the punctual ob­servation of the Law at that time, and with those circumstances, would do; it were an unseasonable, unrea­sonable, and pernicious scrupulosity for such a person to think himself in such a case obliged for the observing of the Law (perhaps but once or twice) with little or no benefit to the [Page 22] Publick, to ruin himself, whereby to render himself unuseful and unser­viceable to the Publick for ever here­after.

To bring this Discourse home, and to apply it to the business now under dispute. Suppose we ten, twenty, or One hundred godly Ministers, well affected to the establish'd Li­turgy, and actually possess'd of Be­nefices, with the Charge of Souls thereto belonging, should, thinking themselves in Conscience obliged to the use of the whole Form of the Book, as is by the Act appointed, without any addition, omission, or alteration whatsoever (notwith­standing the present conjuncture of Affairs) resolve to use the same ac­cordingly, it would be well consider­ed what the effects and consequents thereof would be.

Besides other evils, these three are visible, which must all unavoidably follow one upon another, if any bo­dy shall be found (as doubtless with­in short time there will be found one [Page 23] or other) to inform and prosecute against them.

1. The utter undoing of so many worthy persons, fit to do God and his Church good service, together with all those persons that depend upon them for their livelyhood, by putting the fruits of their Benefices, wherewith they should buy them­selves bread, under Sequestrati­on.

2. The depriving of those per­sons of the opportunity of discharg­ing the duties that belong unto them in their Ministerial Calling, in not permitting them, after such Seque­stration, to teach or instruct the peo­ple belonging to their Charge, or to exercise any thing of their Function publickly in the Church.

3. The delivering over the Sheep of Christ, that lately were under the hands of the faithful Shepherds, into the Custody of ravenous Wolves, when such Guides shall be set over the several Congregations, as will be sure to mis-teach them one [Page 24] way or other (viz.) either by in­stilling into them Puritanical and Su­perstitious Principles, that they may the more securely exercise their Presbyterian Tyranny over their Judgments, Consciences, Persons, and Estates, or else by setting up new Lights before them, to lead them in­to a maze of Anabaptistical confusion and frenzy.

These consequents are so heavy to the Sufferers, so certain to ensue upon the use of Common Prayer, and so much without the power of the Law-givers (in this state of Af­fairs) either to prevent or remedy, that it is beyond the wit of man what benefit to the Publick can ac­crue by the strict observation of the Act, that may in any proportion countervail these mischiefs. In which case, that man must needs suppose a strange austerity in the Law-giver, that dares not presume of his consent to disoblige him (for the time) from observing the same. It would be al­so well considered, Whether he that [Page 25] by his own over-nice scrupulosity runs all these hazards, be not (in some measure) guilty of his own undoing, of deserting his station, and of betraying his flock, and do not thereby lose much of that com­fort which a Christian Confessor may take in his sufferings, when they are laid upon him by the Hand of God, and not pull'd upon himself by his own hands. And more I shall not need to say as to that first Obje­ction.

Object. 2. Scandal.

The next thing objected is,

The danger of the Scandal that others might be ready to take at the Example, who seeing the Law so little regarded by such men (men that have Cure of Souls, and perhaps also of some eminency and esteem in the Church, and whose Example will be much look'd upon) will be easily encourag'd by this Example to set light by all Authority, and to take the liberty to obey and disobey the Laws of their Soveraign at their pleasure.

[Page 26] But this Objection, after we are once satisfied concerning the former, need not much trouble us. For,

1. It seemeth an unreasonable thing in cases of great Exigence (such as we now suppose) that the fear of scandalizing our weak Bre­thren (which is but Debitum charita­tis only) should lay upon us a peremp­tory necessity of observing the Law punctually, whatsoever inconveni­encies and mischiefs may ensue thereupon: when the duty of Obe­dience to our known Governours (which is Debitum justitiae also, and therefore more Obligatory than the other) doth not impose that ne­cessity upon us; as hath been already shewn.

2. Besides, Arguments drawn from Scandal in things neither un­lawful nor (setting the reason of Scandal aside) inexpedient, as they are subject to sundry frailties other­wise, so they are manifestly of no weight at all, when they are coun­terpois'd with the apparent danger [Page 27] of evil consequents on the other side. For in such cases there is com­monly equal danger (if not rather something more) of Scandal to be taken from the Example the quite contrary way. We may see it in de­bating the point now in hand: It is alledged on the one side, That by laying aside the use of the Common Prayer, men that are over scrupu­lous will be encourag'd to take a greater liberty in dispensing with the Laws (to the despising both of Laws and Governours) than they ought. And why may it not, by the same reason, be as well alledg'd on the o­ther side, That by holding up a ne­cessity of using the Common Prayer, men that have tender Consciences may be induc'd to entertain scruples (to their utter undoing, and to the destruction of their people) when they need not?

3. But that in the third place, which cometh up home to the busi­ness, and taketh off the Objection clearly, is this, That in judging Ca­ses [Page 28] of Scandal, we are not so much to look to the event, what it is, or may be, as to the cause, whence it cometh. For sometimes there is given just cause of Scandal; and yet no Scandal followeth, because it is not taken: Sometimes scandal is ta­ken, and yet no just cause given: and sometimes there is both cause of Scandal given, and Scandal taken thereat. But no man is concern'd at any Scandal that happeneth to a­nother by occasion of any thing done by him, neither is chargeable with it farther than he is guilty of having given it. If then we give Scandal to others, and they take it not, the whole guilt is ours, and they are faultless. If we give it, and they take it, we are to bear a share in the blame as they, and that a deep share; (Vae homini, Wo to the man by whome the offence cometh, Matth. 18. 7.) But if they take offence when we give none, it is a thing we cannot help, and therefore the whole blame must lie upon them.

[Page 29] Wherefore, if at any time any doubt shall arise in that Case of Scan­dal, How far forth the danger there­of may oblige us to the doing or not doing of any thing propos'd; The Resolution will come on much the easier, if we shall but rightly under­stand what it is to give Scandal, or how many ways a man may become guilty of scandalizing another by his Example.

The ways (as I conceive) are but these four.

1. When a man doth something before another, which is in it self e­vil, unlawful, and sinful. In which case, neither the intention of him that doth it, nor the event as to him that seeth it done, is of any conside­ration: For it matters not whether the doer hath an intention to draw the other into sin, or not; the very matter and substance of the action being evil, and done before others, is sufficient to render the doer guilty of having given Scandal, though neither he had intention himself so [Page 30] to do, nor was any other person a­ctually scandaliz'd thereby: because whatsoever is in its own nature evil, is of it self, and in its own nature scandalous, and of ill Example.

Thus did Hophni and Phineas▪ the Sons of Eli, 1 Sam. 2. 17. 22. give Scandal by their wretched prophane­ness and greediness about the Sacrifices of the Lord, and their shameless abusing the Women. And so did David also give great Scandal in the matter of Vriah, 2 Sam. 12. 14. Here the Rule is, ‘Do nothing that is evil, for fear of giving Scandal.’

2. The second way is, when a man doth something before another with a direct intention and formal purpose of drawing him thereby to commit sin. In which case neither the matter of the action, nor the e­vent is of any consideration: For it makes no difference as to the sin of giving Scandal, whether any man be effectually entic'd to commit sin or not thereby; neither doth it make [Page 31] any difference, whether the thing done were in it self unlawful, or not, so as it had an appearance of evil, and from thence an aptitude to draw another by the doing of that (by i­mitation) which should be really and intrinsecally evil. The wicked in­tention alone (whatsoever the effect should be, or what means soever should be us'd to promote it) sufficeth to induce the guilt of giving Scandal upon the doer. This was Ierohoam's sin, in setting up the Calves, with a formal purpose and intention there­by (for his own secular and ambiti­ous ends) to corrupt the purity of Religion, and to draw the people un­to Idolatrous Worship. For which cause he is so often stigmatiz'd with it, as a note of Infamy, to stick by him whilst the World lasteth, being scarce ever mention'd in the Scrip­ture, but with this addition, Jerobo­am the son of Nebat, which made Is­rael to sin. Here the Rule is, ‘Do nothing, good or evil, with an intention to give Scandal.’

[Page 32] 3. The third way is when a man doth something before another, which in it self is not evil, but indif­ferent, and so according to the Rule of Christian Liberty, lawful for him to do, or not to do, as he shall see cause (yea, and perhaps otherwise commodious and convenient for him to do) yet whereas he probably fore­seeth that others will take Scandal, and be occasioned thereby to do evil. In such a case, if the thing to be done be not in some degree prudentially necessary for him to do, but that he might, without very great inconve­nience or prejudice to himself or any third person, leave it undone: He is bound in Charity to his Brother's Soul (for whom Christ died) and for the avoiding of Scandal, to abridge himself in the exercise of his Christi­an Liberty for that time, so far as ra­ther to suffer some inconvenience himself by the not doing of it, than by the doing of it to cause his Brother to offend. The very Case which is so often, so largely, and so earnestly [Page 33] insisted upon by St. Paul. See Rom. 14. 13, 21. Rom. 15. 1, 3. 1 Cor. 8. 7, 13. 1 Cor. 9. 12, 15, 19, 22. 1 Cor. 10. 23. 33. Here the Rule is, ‘Do nothing that may be reasona­bly forborn, whereat Scandal will be taken.’

4. The last way is, when a man doth somthing before another, which is not only lawful, but (according to the exigencies of present Circum­stances) pro hic & nunc very be­hoofful, and even prudentially ne­cessary for him to do, but foreseeth that the other will be like to make an ill use of it, and take encourage­ment thereby to commit sin, if he be not withal careful, as much as possi­bly in him lieth, to prevent the Scan­dal that may be taken thereat: For, Qui non prohibet peccare, cum potest, jubet. In such case the bare neglect of his Brother, and not using his ut­most endeavour to prevent the evil that might ensue, maketh him guil­ty. Upon which consideration stand­eth the Equity of the Judicial Law [Page 34] given to the Jews, which ordered,Exod. 21. 33, 34. That in case a man dig a Pit for the use of his Family, and looking no farther than his own convenience, put no co­ver upon it, and leave it open, where­by it hapneth his Neighbours Beast to fall thereinto and perish, the own­er of the Pit is to make it good, inas­much as he was the occasioner of that loss to his Neighbour, which he might and ought to have prevented. Here the Rule is ‘Order the doing of that, which may not be well left undone, in such sort that no Scandal (so far as you can help it) may be taken thereat.’

To apply this. The thing under debate, viz. the Action propos'd to present enquiry is, The laying aside the Common Prayer, being enjoyn'd by Law, and using instead thereof some other Form of Church Service of our own devising. And the En­quiry concerning it is, Whether it may be done with a good Conscience [Page 35] in regard of the Scandal that is gi­ven, or at least may be taken thereat, Yea or No?

Now forasmuch as in this Enquiry we take it for granted, That the thing to be done is not in its own na­ture simply evil, but rather in this state of affairs prudentially necessary; and that they who make scruple at it upon the point of Scandal, have not the least intention of drawing other of the Laws into contempt, or their Brethren into sin by their Example. It is manifest that three of the now mention'd Cases, with the Rules to each of them appending, are not pertinent to the present Enquiry. But since the last of the four only proveth to be our Case, we have therefore no more to do for the set­ling of our Judgments, and quieting of our Consciences, and the regula­ting of our Practice in this Affair, than to consider well what the Rule in this Case given obligeth us unto; which is not to leave the Action un­done for the danger of Scandal, [Page 36] which (besides the Inconveniencies formerly mention'd) would but start new Questions, and those beget more to the multiplying unnecessary Scru­ples in infinitum: But to order the do­ing of it so, that (if it were possible) no Scandal at all might ensue thereup­on, or at least wise not by our default, through our careless or undiscreet managery thereof. Even as the Jew that stood in need to sink a Pit for the service of his House or Ground, was not (for fear his Neighbours Beast should fall into it, and be drown'd) bound by the Law to forbear the making of it, but only to provide a sufficient cover for it, where he had made it. The thing then in this Case is not to be left undone, when it so much behoveth us to do it; but the Action to be carried on (for the manner of doing, and in all respects and circumstances thereunto belong­ing) with so much chariness and ten­derness, moderation and wisdom (to our best understanding) that the ne­cessity of our so doing, with the true [Page 37] cause thereof, may appear to the World, to the satisfaction of those that are willing to take notice of it; and that such persons as would be willing to make use of our Ensample to do the same thing, where there is not the same necessity, may do it up­on their own score, and not be able to vouch our practice for their ex­cuse; which how it may be best done for particular directions, every cha­ritable and conscientious man must ask his own discretion. Some gene­ral helps thereunto I shall lay down in answering the next Objection, where they would fall in again not improperly, and so stop two Gaps with one Bush.

Object. 3. Schism.

The last Objection is that of Shism. The Objectors hold all such persons as have oppos'd either Liturgy or Church Govern­ment, as they were by Law estab­lish'd within this Realm, for no bet­ter than Schismaticks; and truly I shall not much gain-say it. But then they argue,

That for them to do the [Page 38] same thing in the publick worship of God that Schismaticks do (and for doing whereof especially it is that they avow them Schismaticks) would (as they conceive) involve them in the Schism also, as partakers there­of in some degree with the other: And their Consciences also would, from Rom. 14. 22. condemn them either of hypocrisie, in allowing that in them­selves, and in their own practice, which they condemn in others; or of uncharitableness, in judging others as Schismaticks for doing but the same thing which they can allow themselves to practise. For all that such persons, as they call Schisma­ticks, do in this matter of the Church Service, is but to leave out the Churches Prayers, and to put in their own. Or say, this should not make them really guilty of the Schism they so much detest, yet would such their symbolizing with them seem at least a kind of unworthy compli­ance with them, more than could well become the simplicity of a Chri­stian, [Page 39] much less of a Minister of the Gospel, whose duty it is to shun even the least appear­ance of evil. 1 Thess. 5. Besides, that by so do­ing they should but confirm such men in their Schismatical Principles and Practice.

This Objection hath 3 Branches. To the first whereof I oppose the old saying, Duo cum faciunt idem, non est idem; which, although spoken quite to another purpose, yet is ve­ry capable of such a sense which will very well fit our present purpose al­so.

I Answer therefore in short. To do the same thing that Schismaticks do (especially in times of Confusion, and till things can be reduc'd unto better Order, and when men are ne­cessitated thereunto to prevent greater mischiefs) doth not neces­sarily infer a partaking with them in Schism, no, nor so much as proba­bly, unless it may appear upon pro­bable presumption otherwise, that it is done out of the same Schismati­cal [Page 40] Spirit, and upon such Schismati­cal Principles as theirs are.

The other two Branches (viz. That of seeming compliance with Schismaticks, and That of the ill use they make of it to confirm them in their Schism) do upon the matter fall in upon the aforesaid point of Scandal, and are in effect but the same Objection, only put into a new dress, and so have receiv'd their Answer already. And the only re­medy against both these Fears (as well that of Scandal, as this of Schism) is the same which was there prescrib'd, Even to give assurance to all men, by our carriage and behavi­our therein, that we do not lay aside Common Prayer of our own accord, or out of any dislike thereof, neither in contempt of our rightful Govern­ours, or of the Laws, nor out of a­ny base compliance with the Times, or unworthy Secular own ends, nor out of any Schismatical principles, seditious designs, or innovating hu­mour; but meerly enforc'd thereun­to [Page 41] by such a necessity, as we cannot otherwise avoid in order to the Glo­ry of God, and the Publick Good, for the preservation of our Families, our Flocks, and our Functions: And that with the good leave and al­lowance (as we have great reason to believe) of such as have power to dispense with us and the Laws in that behalf.

This if we shall do bonâ fide, and with our utmost endeavours, in sin­gleness of heart, and with godly discretion, perhaps it will not be e­nough to prevail with either the cen­sure of inconsiderate and inconside­rable persons, or the ill use that may be made of our Example, through the ignorance or negligence of some (scandalum pusillorum) or through the perversness and malice of others (scandalum pharisaeorum) as the Schools term them: But assuredly it will be sufficient in the sight of God, and the witness of our own hearts, and to the Consciences of charitable and considering men, [Page 42] to acquit us clear of all guilt, either of Scandal or Schism in the least d [...] ­gree. Which we may probably do by observing these ensuing, or such other like general Directions (The liberty of using such meet accom­modations, as the circumstances in particular Cases shall require, ever­more allowed and reserved). viz.

1. If we shall decline the compa­ny and society of known Schisma­ticks, not conversing frequently or familiarly with them, or more than the necessary affairs of life, and the rules of Neighbourhood and com­mon civility will require; especially not to give countenance unto their Church Assemblies, by our presence among them, if we can avoid it.

2. If we shall retain, as well in common discourse, as in our Ser­mons and holy Offices of the Church, the old Theological and Ecclesiasti­cal terms and forms of Speech, which have been generally received and used in the Churches of Christ, which the people are well acquaint­ed [Page 43] with, and are wholsome and sig­nificant, and not follow our new Ma­sters in that uncouth affected garb of Speech, or Canting Language rather (if I may so call it) which they have of late taken up, as the signal di­stinction and characteristical note of that, which in that their new Lan­guage they call The Godly Party, or Communion of Saints.

3. If in officiating we repeat not only the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the ten Commandements, and such other passages in the Common Pray­er Book, as (being the very words of Scripture) no man can except a­gainst; but so much of the old Li­turgy besides, in the very words and syllables of the Book, as we think the Ministers of State in those parts wherein we live will suffer, and the Auditory, before whom we officiate, will bear; sith the Officers in all parts of the Land are not alike strict, nor the people in all Parishes alike disaffected in this respect.

4. If, where we must of necessity [Page 44] vary from the words, we yet fol­low the Order of the Book in the main parts of the holy Offices, re­taining the substance of the Pray­ers, and embellishing those of our own making, which we substitute into the place of those we leave out, with phrases and passages taken out of the Book in other places.

5. If, where we cannot safely mention the Particulars mentioned in the Book (as namely in praying for the King, the Queen, the Royal Progeny, and the Bishops) we shall yet use in our Prayers some such ge­neral terms, and other intimations devised for that purpose, as may suf­ficiently convey to the understand­ing of the people what our intenti­ons are therein, and yet not be sufficient to fetch us within the com­pass of the Ordinance.

6. If we shall in our Sermons take occasion now and then, where it may be pertinent, either to discover the weakness of the Puritan Principles and Tenets to the people; or to shew [Page 45] out of some passages and expressions in the Common Prayer, the conso­nancy of those Observations we have raised from the Text, with the Judg­ment of the Church of England: or to justifie such particular passages in the Letany, Collects, and o­ther parts of our Liturgy as have been unjustly quarell'd at by Pres­byterians, Independents, Anabap­tists, or other (by what Name or Title soever they are called) Pu­ritan Sectaries.

Thus have I freely acquainted you both with my practice and judg­ment in the Point propos'd in your Friend's Letter. How I shall be able to satisfie his or your judgment in what I have writ­ten, I know not; however, I have satisfied both your desire and his in writing, and shall rest
Your Brother and Servant in the Lord, Rob. Sanderson.

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