A Few Necessary Questions & Conclusions for the present Parish-Teachers of ENGLAND, &c.
Deeply to Ponder and Answer in God's Fear, for the Good of their own and the Peoples Souls that are under them; for the Lord is arisen to call all things into Judgment.

1. WHether any can be said to be true Gospel. Ministers, who are not sent of Christ, as Christ was sent of the Father, seeing Christ said, As my Father hath sent me, even so send 1 you; for all Power is given me in Heaven and Earth? Joh. 20. 21. & 17. 18. Mat. 28. 18.

2. Whether any can be justly blamed for not hear­ing or upholding such as are not thus sent of Christ, seeing Christ said, My Sheep hear my Voice, and a Stran­ger they will not follow, for they know not the Voice of a Stranger, Joh. 10. 1 Joh. 4.

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[Page 2] 3. Whether it be not the greatest Presumption for any, upon what Pretence soever, to take upon them to be Embassadors for Christ (the great King) who were never authorized or commissionated thereto by Christ, as aforesaid, it being his proper Right to send forth his own Labourers?

4. Whether any who are not thus sent of Christ, as Christ was sent of the Father, can profit the Peo­ple at all, though they have never so much Authori­ty from Man, or be furnished with never so much O­ratory, or Wisdom of Words, or Excellency of Speech, according to Man, seeing the Scripture te­stifieth, The World by Wisdom knew not God? 1 Cor. 1.

And if any should say, How was Christ sent, or can any be sent now as Christ was sent? I answer, Christ was sent in the Wisdom, Power and Spirit of the endless Love and Life of the Father, to preach the Kingdom of God, and the everlasting Gospel there­of, as it's said, Luke 4. 18. The Spirit of the Lord is up­on me, for he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, &c. and so were the true Ministers formerly sent of Christ, Luke the last 49. Acts 26. 16, 17. Acts 20. 28. Joh. 16. 13, 14, 15. 2 Cor. 3. 5, 6. And as in all former Ages all the true Messengers and Ministers of God and Christ were sent in the VVisdom, Power and Spirit of God and Christ, and thereby directed and guided in their Work, both when, to whom and what to speak, Jer. 17. &c. Ex. 3. 10. &c. Ames 7. 14. 16. Acts 10. 19, 20. Acts 8. 26, 27, 29. 1 Cor. 2. 12, 13. Gal. 2. 7, 8. Even so are Christ's true Mes­sengers and Ministers sent now, and alwayes must be [Page 3] because without Christ they can do nothing, Joh. 15. 5. and because no Man knows the Things of God, but the Spirit of God; and therefore without that Spirit it must needs be impossible for any, either rightly to know or minister the Things of God, [...] Cor. 2. 7. &c. and so saith Christ, I am with you (not some, but all my Servants) Joh. 17. 20, 21, 22. (not for a time only, but alwayes) even to the End of the World, Mat. 28. 20. And therefore faith the Apostle, How can they preach, except they be sent (to wit, as Christ was, Luke 4. 18. &c.) as is plain by the Apostle's applying that in general to Christ's Ministers, which the Prophet speaks in the singular number of Christ, Rom. 10. 15. compared with Isa. 52. 7. Again, Christ was sanctified and sent, so are also his Messengers and Ministers sanctified, & sent as Lambs among Wolves, Joh. 17. 16, 17, 18, 19. &c. Isa. 6. 7, 8. Let no un­sanctified man here shelter himself under Judas, who was only for the turn of fulfilling the Scripture num­bred amongst the twelve, but not at all for a Pattern of true Gospel-Ministers. Again, Christ came not to do his own Will, but the Will of him that sent him; and so it is with every one that Christ sends, and who abide in his Doctrine; and as Christ endu­red the Contradiction of Sinners against himself with all Patience, even so do all he sends, and who abide in his Doctrine, not avenging themselves, but com­mitting their Cause to God, who is the Avenger of all Wrongs done to his Servants: Also seeing Christ said, The Tree is known by its Fruits, and by their Fruits ye may know such as come to you in Sheeps Cloath­ing, [Page 4] but are inwardly ravening VVolves, Mat. 7. 15. Therefore is is further asked of you,

1. VVhether such as love to be called of men Ma­ster, which Christ forbad, Mat. 23. 10, 11, 12. or seek and affect other Titles of worldly Honour, and to be great, and to exercise Lordship in the Earth, like the Gentiles, do not plainly manifest themselves to be such as Christ is not with, seeing he said to his, It shall not be so amongst you, Mark 10. 24. &c. And how can they believe (saith Christ) who receive Honour one of another, and seek not that Honour which comes from God, only? Joh. 5. 44.

2. Whether such as make Merchandize of their Words, even selling them as it were for Money, by agreeing with the People for so much a Year, to settle at a Place for preaching &c. and yet will not settle at a Place as Teachers, but where they know before­hand so much Hire or certain yearly Maintenance provided for them, seconded with the worldly Pow­er, to compel People to pay it them, or by Force to take it from them, whether they will or no? I say, is not this a manifest Token that such Ministers are not sent of Christ, seeing he said to his, Freely ye have received, freely give; and the Apostle said, We seek not yours, but you? but if you say, the same Apostle also said, If we have ministred to you spiritual Things, is it a great Matter if we partake of your carnal Things?

3. The I query (to let pass the Question here con­cerning what you minister, whether it is spiritual or carnal) whether ever the Apostle or any true Mini­ster of God and Christ, either under the Law or Go­spel [Page 5] did ever use any other Means for that they had al­lowed them of God, but the Power of the VVord only? Or did ever the Apostle, or any Minister of Christ receive, much less compel by worldly Force, any Maintenance for preaching from such as denyed them to be true Ministers? And so such now as not only compel Wages from their own Hearers, but e­ven from such as they do no Work for, do plainly ma­nifest by their Fruits that they have run, & God never sent them, and are so far from being Successors of the Apostles in their spiritual and heavenly Ministry, as that they merit to be accounted of the Kind or old Eli's Sons, who by their Doings caused the Offerings of the Lord to be abhorred, 1 Sam. 2 from ver. 12. to 18.

4. Whether such as cannot content themselves with the In-comes of one Parish, though it be sixty, eighty or one Hundred Pounds a Year, but seek af­ter one or more Parishes or Places of Revenue besides, are not out of Measure covetous, and so palpably out of the Doctrine of Christ, and so Idolaters, seeing the Apostle saith, Covetousness is Idolatry? Ephes. 5. 5.

5. Whether did ever any Minister of Christ's send­ing preach up the Tenth of Peoples of Labour, or En­crease of the Earth and earthly things, as a standing Gospel-maintenance for his Ministers, seeing the Apo­stles VVritings are wholely silent in the thing? And now if any of you in your high Minds think much or strange to be question'd concerning these things, such may know that these are the latter Dayes, spoken of by Jeremiah, Chap. 23. 20, 21. wherein God hath done and is doing great things for his People; [Page 6] And in the latter Dayes (saith the Prophet there) you shall consider perfectly of the pouring forth of God's Wrath­ful Indignation upon the false Prophets and Teachers, who have run, and God never sent them, as also throughout that whole 23d Chapter of Jeremiah is to be seen: also concerning the false Prophets and Teachers you may read John 10. 1. &c. Isa. 56. 9. &c. Ezek. 34. 1. Mic 3. 2 Pet. 2. with divers other Scriptures, which speak of the false Prophets and Teachers, also of the true ones; from all which these few (amongst many plain & ne­cessary Conclusions) following may be gathered, viz.

1. The true Prophet, Messenger or Teacher is sent of God (as before) in the Power and Spirit of God, with the living VVord of God, which is as a Ham­mer and a Fire, to break the hard Hearts in sunder, and to burn up the Chaff and Dros in the Minds of disobedient People, who know God's VVill, but do it not, but hold the Truth in Unrighteousness.

The false Prophet or Teacher, he runs in his own Will, & having stoll'n the Word from his Neighbour, useth his Tongue to say, the Lord saith, when the Lord never sent him, & so with good Words & fair Speeches deceives the Hearts of the unwary Hearers, making glad the Hearts of Hypo­crites, & crying Peace, when the Lord hath not spoken it.

2. The true Prophet, Teacher or Minister, as he hath received freely, so he ministers freely; but the false Teacher, as he runs in his own VVill, so he ministers for a Self-End, and if People put into his Month, he cryes Peace but if otherwise, he prepares War against them, & out of his corrupt Heart cryes, Give, & can never have enough.

3. The true Minister hath a Mouth alwayes open for God, and against Sin and Evil in every Appea­rance of it, without Respect of Persons, and like a [Page 7] true Watcher gives notice of the Wolf's Approach, and doth not flee when the Wolf comes, but opposes him in the Loss of all, because Christ's Sheep are dear to him: But the Hireling fleeth, because he is a Hireling, and careth not for the Sheep; and as concerning Sin, it may live in People forever for him, for he cannot bark against Sin, he is so full of it himself; for how can he that is an unclean, covetous, proud Person himself (with a Face) stand against such Sins in others; nay, nay, the barking of such must needs be against such as do from the Heart de­part from Iniquity, and so separate from such as live in it, according to the Call of the Lord.

4. The true Prophet, Minister or Teacher fights the good Fight of Faith, and his Weapons are spiri­tual, and not carnal, and so he fights not with Flesh and Blood, to destroy Mens Persons, Liberties or E­states, but his War is with the wicked Devil (the Power of Darkness in men) that separates mens minds, Hearts and Souls from God, and brings them into Sin's Captivity, and so under God's Wrath; and so the true Minister's Work is to preach People out of that woful Condition into the Liberty of the Sons of God: But the false Teacher or Minister hi [...] Weapons are carnal, and he runs to the worldly Powers to help him against such as oppose his evil Doctrine and Practice, crying, Men of England, &c. help; as the Jews cryed out against Paul, Men of Israel help, and so matter not though they weary the Magistrate, and set all the World in an Uproar, to keep themselves up in their high Places of Deceit, and so prove the greatest Enemies against God's Truth and his Ser­vants of all other, as is abundantly to be seen in Scrip­ture, [Page 8] concerning the Priests and their Confederates, who persecuted Christ to Death, and raged against his Followers, because of their holy Testimony for God against their Soul-destroying Wayes.

5. The true Messengers and Ministers of Jesus Christ, as they are powerfully sent of God, so they work effectually for God, for the edifying of the Bo­dy of Christ, and perfecting of his People in Holi­ness to God: But the false Teacher, as he hath run without God, so his Work is for strengthning that Part in man (to wit, the Serpents Wisdom) which is against God, and wars against the Simplicity of Christ and Good of the Soul in all; and so they be­ing themselves out of that heavenly Power which perfects the Soul to God, and gives it perfect Victo­ry over all Sin, they cry, No Perfection here, no per­fect Victory over Sin on this Side the Grave; and so they lead about a People laden with Sin and Lust filly, as Woman in the Transgression, ever learning, and never able by their Means to come to the Knowledge of the Truth it self, which sets the Soul free from all Sin; for how should People ever come to the Knowledge of the Truth by following such Teachers as are out of the Truth; for if the Blind lead the Blind, must they not both fall into the Ditch?

Also seeing you profess the Scripture, and not un­written Traditions to be your Rule, and would have people to believe, that what you do is according to Scrip­ture, therefore it s demanded in a few Words further,

1. What Scripture have you for your Sprinkling of Infants, and Signing them with the Sign of the Cross, [Page 9] and telling people, That thereby they are made Mem­bers of Christ, Children of God, and Inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven, when in your own Catechism, in Contradiction to your practice you teach, That Chil­dren by Reason of their Infancy or tender Years then cannot perform the Requests of Baptism, to wit, Faith and Re­pentance?

2. And what Scripture have you for your Sureties (so called) which you most unscripturally call the Childrens God-fathers and God-mothers, which you pretend to make up the Defect in the Infants, by and for putting these Pretended Sureties upon such bold Undertakings and unadvised Promisings of that for the Child which they never yet did for themselves, nor indeed have Faith to believe that so great Works can be done in any upon Earth, to wit, to forsake the Devil and all his Works, &c. seeing that such generally hold, That none can live without Sin; Is not Sin the Devil's Work? yea, yea; and is there any Underta­ker for man to God-ward, but Christ? and was there ever any Surety betwixt God and Man, but Christ on­ly, who saith, Without me ye can do nothing? so then this evil Custom of your undertaking being deroga­gatory to the Honour of Christ, who can say that God hath required it at your Hands? but if you will yet plead for it, shew us your Scripture for it, if you would be esteemed to act as Protestants, and not as Pa­pists, and to own Scripture above mens Inventions and Traditions.

3. Also what Scripture have you for your Surplice, Canonical Coats, Typpets, &c. and for wearing Black [Page 10] rather then other Colours, seeing the Apostle blamed such as placed Religion in Dayes, Meats, and the like; surely he would not agre with such as place their Re­ligion in Garments and Colours; blessed be the Lord whose Day is dawned, which makes all things mani­fest, and none will hate the Light of it but Evil-doers.

4. And what Scripture have you for your Tythes, Easter-reckonings, Mortuaries, and the like, now under the Gospel, and for your Laws, which you call spi­ritual, to compel the People to pay you them, seeing Christ is come, the End of that Levitical Priesthood, under which Tythes were payable by a Law?

5. What Scripture have you, who profess your selves to be Cbristians for your Swearing, swearing in your Courts, (so called) swearing in your Spiritual Courts, (so called)? the poor people called Church-War­dens groan under the Burden of this evil Custom; O this is far from following Christ, who said and saith unto his, Swear not at all; but you are grown to that pass, that you cannot trust one another without Swearing, no not in your Church-matters; is not this a Fruit of Apostacy, and departing from that an­cient Faith which was once delivered to the Saints?

6. And what Scripture have you forgiving Da­vid's Prayers, Prophecyings, Roarings, Quakings, Tremblings and Confessions in Rhyme and Meeter to the VVorld to sing, who are of another Spirit then David was, and so utterly unacquainted with David's Conditions; and so instead of singing with the Spirit and Understanding, as the ancient Christians did, you sing in a Form without the Power, thereby not ho­nouring, [Page 11] but rather dishonouring the Lord, who is, a Spirit, and will be worshipped in Spirit and Truth?

7. And what Scripture have you for teaching Peo­ple to worship one another, and for your Ring in Mar­riage, where you teach them to say (With this Ring I theewed, and with my Body I thee worship) Is not God alone to be worshipped? how then are such to be ac­counted Christian Ministers, who abide not in his Doctrine? 2 John 9.

And lastly seeing you pretend to be Christ's Ministers, and so God's Free men, I ask you these few plain Questions fur­ther, Gal. 1. 10. viz.

1. Why do you limit your selves, or suffer others to limit you to such and such Forms of Words, and Gestures, and Ap­parel, as is in Use amongst you in all your Services? is it from any Excellency you see in those Words or Forms more then in any other? or is it because you are so weak of Judgment, or brittle of Memory, as that you can do little without Book? or is it not rather for filthy Lucre sake you are willing to be so ty'd, because you know that without Conformity to the Wills of the great Ones in this Matter, you can get no Power to compel Peoples earthly things from them? O what will not the Love of Money compel covetous minded People unto! 2 Tim. 6. 10, 11.

2. What is it that makes you go to the Bishop, rather then any other Man or Men for Ordination? (as you call it) Is it because you know or believe that he is more holy then any o­ther? or hath more Power to confer any spiritual Gift upon you by Imposition of his Hands more then any other? If you say, he hath, where had he it? and wherein doth it appear? or is it not rather that you go now to the Bishop for Ordination, as you or your Brethren went formerly to the Classical Presbytery (so called) in Oliver's time, because this is the Way now, as the other was formerly, to impower you to come into Parishes, & be [Page 12] their Teachers, and command their earthly things from them by Force, whether you do any spiritual Work for them or no? yea, from such as in the Lord's Light see you to be no Ministers of the Spirit, and therefore not able to minister spiritual things and therefore deny you: Oh that ever such a thing should be among such as profess to be Gospel Ministers.

3. Whether do you believe that all things in the Church ought to be done and spoken in the alone Power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus? and if so, then how can you expect but that God will overturn, overturn all Things, until he (to wit, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all Power in Heaven and Earth it given) comes to rule in alland over all, to whom of Right it belongs: So be it.

And what is the Cause that you are so dark in your Minds, as concerning the Mystery of Christ's Kingdom, and the spiritu­al saving Power thereof, if it be not that mentioned in the third. Chapter of Micah's Prophecy, verse, 5, 6, 7. where it is written, Thus saith the Lord concerning the Prophets that make my People err, that bite with their Teeth, and cry Peace, and he that putteth not into their Mouthes, they even prepare War against him; there­fore Night shall be unto you, that you shall not have a Vision, and it shall be dark unto you, that you shall not divine, and the Sun shall go down over the Prophets, and the Day shall be dark over them; then shall the Seer she ashamed, and the Diviners be con­founded; yea, they shall all cover their Lips, for there is no An­swer of God.

So be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken, but see in the Dread and Fear of God how you can acquit your selves from the Charge against false Prophets and Teachers mentioned in this Paper, and more abundantly in the Scriptures; for if you be found in their Sins, how can ye escape their Plagues, Rev. 18. 4. For Wo will be to them that seek deep to hide their Counsel from the Lord, and their Works are in the dark, and they say, who seeth us, and who knoweth us; see Isa. 29. from ver. 10. to ver. 16. Read, and consider, and be wise for your Souls.

From one who travails for the Pros­perity of Sion, Tho. Taylor.

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