THE VERDICT UPON THE Dissenters Plea, Occasioned by Their MELIVS INQVIRENDVM.

To which is added, A LETTER from Geneva, to the Assembly of Divines.

Printed by His late Majesties Special Command; with some Notes upon the Mar­gent, under His own Royal and Sacred Hand.

ALSO A POSTSCRIPT touching the Union of Protestants.

LONDON, Printed for Robert Clavel, at the Peacock in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1681.


ASSoon as a tedious Distemper would give leave, I have re­turned you the Inquisition, taken at your Command, upon the Melius Inquirendum, which you sent me. To deliver my Opinion freely, (as you have Conjur'd me) The Author seems to have very little of that Tender Conscience, which he pleads sor. If we may take our Measures from him, who is a Judge beyond exception, such as will strain at a Gnat and swallow a Camel; scruple [Page] at a Ceremony, and play the Wan­ton with deadly sin (Schism and Re­bellion;) who with the Scribes and Pharisees of old will make no diffi­culty to sacrifice the Fifth Comman­dement, to their own superstitious Phansies; These are Men of no Conscience. Matt. 23. 24. with Chap­ter 15. 5, 6, 7.

This Author makes himself an Advocate for the Dissenting Party; and he manages their Cause with as much artifice and advantage as his Confidence, Wit, or Malice can afford. He takes upon him all shapes and insinuates himself by Fables, Metaphors and Similitudes. He is often Scurrilous, and some­times worse. He drolls, quibbles, and makes sport for Men of no Re­ligion (the Tribe into which he seems to be adopted,) and this is the farce of his Discourse, as if he were not serious, or the Subject he [Page] treats of not worth a sober Thought. This begets a vehement Suspicion; His design is not to sa­tisfie the Judicious, but to impose upon the Weakness of the Com­mon Reader, and by tickling his Imagination to delude his Under­standing.

To follow him, step by step, is no part of my concern; let the Compassionate Enquirer (who trod out the way for him) look to that, if he thinks fit.

But to make short work, He hath reduced All, the Dissenters in­sist upon, to Eleven Sections. And (if this their Advocate understands their Principles) their whole Cause and Plea, being so concisely sum'd up, and comprised within the com­pass of less than four Pages in Octa­vo From p. 163, to 166., I shall attentively consider it, to give you and my self the better satissaction.

[Page] And herein I shall neither Cant, nor Rail, nor Rhetoricate; but with such Arms and Weapons as the Holy Scriptures, the light of Rea­son, and the Writings of Learned Men, especially those of the Prote­stant Churches have provided. I shall presently approach the Trenches of these profest and implacable Ad­versaries of this most Primitive and excellent Church of England.

MELIVS INQVIRENDVM, Page 163, 164, 165, 166.
What Dissenters usually insist upon for their Justification, I shall re­duce to these Heads.

Section 1.
  • THey plead, That some things are im­posed upon their Faith, tendered to subscription, as Articles of Faith, which are either false, or at best, they have not yet been so happy as to discover the truth of them. In Art. 20. They are required to subscribe this Doctrine, The Church hath power to decree Rites and Ceremo­nies; which clause of the Article, as we fear, it has been by some indirect means shuffled into the Article, it not being found in the Authentick Articles of Edward 6. so it proves also, that the Terms of Com­munion have been enlarged since the First times of the Reformation. p. 1
  • [Page] They Object also against the Doctrine in the Rubrick; That it is certain from the Word of God, that Children baptized, and dying before the commission of Actu­al Sins, are undoubtedly saved. The Scri­pture, the Protestant Churches, nor any sound Reason, have yet given them any tolerable satisfaction of the truth of the Doctrine about the Opus operatum of Sa­craments. That Doctrine laid down in the Catechism, That Children do perform Faith and Repentance by their Sureties, is also as great a stumbling to our Faith, and we cannot get over it. How the Adult should Believe and Repent for Minors; or Infants Believe and Repent by Proxie. I omit many others.
Sect. 2.
  • They plead, That they are not satisfied in the use of any Mystical Ceremonies in God's Worship; and particularly they judge the use of the Cross in Baptism to be sinful. A Sacrament of Divine Institution, according to the definition of the Church in her Catechism, is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible Grace, given to us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a Pledge to assure us thereof. Where we have, 1. The Matter of a Sacrament, An out­ward [Page] and visible sign of an inward and Spiritual Grace. 2. The Author of a Di­vine Sacrament, Christ himself. 3. The End of it, to be a means to convey the thing signified, and a Pledge to assure us of it. Hence it's evident, that it's simply impossible that any Church should institute a Divine Sacrament; because they can­not give it a Causality to those Graces it is instituted to signifie. Nevertheless it's possible for Men to institute Humane Sa­craments; which shall have the Matter of a Sacrament, that is, An outward visible sign of an inward Spiritual Grace; and they may pretend to ascribe an Effect to it also, To stir up, to excite or increase Grace and Devotion: And yet because it wants the Right Efficient Cause, it's no lawful Sa­crament, though it be an humane Sacra­ment. Such an Institution (say they) is the Sign of the Cross. An outward visible sign of an inward Spiritual Grace, ordained by Men as a means to effect whatever Man can work by his Ordinance. Here is the matter without Divine Signature, which is the thing they condemn it for. p. 49.
Sect. 3.
  • They plead, That since Communion with the Church is suspended and denied, but upon such terms as take away Christian [Page] Liberty in part, and by consequence leave all the rest at Mercy; they dare not accept of Communion upon those Terms. There are some things, which in the General, God has left free and indifferent, to do or not do; yet at some times, and in some Cases it may be my great sin if I should do some of them; as when it would wound the Con­science, and destroy the Soul of a weak Christian. If now I shall engage my self to the Church, That I will never omit such an Indifferent thing; and the Soul of that weak Christian should call to me to omit it, I have tied my hands by Engagements, I cannot help him, though it would save his or a Thousand Souls out of Hell, because I have given away my freedom to the Church. p. 60.
Sect. 4.
  • They plead, That they ought not to ha­zard their Souls in one Congregation, if they may more hopefully secure them in a­nother; for that their Souls are their greatest concernment in this World, and the next. Now, say they, there's no question but Men preach such as they print with Publick Allowance; and therefore they ought to provide better for their Souls elsewhere. Especially they say, That the Doctrine of Justification, is Articulus stan­tis, [Page] vel cadentis Ecclesiae, an Article with which the Church falls or stands. This Article, say they, in the Parish where we live, is quite demolish'd by the Doctrine of Justification by Works: We are bound therefore to provide for our safety and depart; and when We are once out, We will advise upon another Church, not which is tolerable, but which is most eli­gible, and in all things nearest the Word. p. 161
Sect. 5.
  • They plead, That there's no Obligation upon them to own the Churches Power to impose new Terms of Communion, unless the Church can prove her Power from Christ. It's not for them to disprove it; it lies upon her to prove it, and to prove it substantially too, or else it will be hard to prove it their duty to own it. p. 181
Sect. 6.
  • They say, The World is pestered with Disputes about Worship, about Religion; and therefore since All cannot be in the right, they are willing to go the safest Way, and worship God according to his Word: If the things disputed be lawful to be done, let them be so; they are sure it is [Page] lawful to let them alone. And they think there's no great hazard in keeping to Scripture Rule; nor can believe that Christ will send any to Hell, because they did not worship God in an external Mode, more neat and spruce them God comman­ded. p. 190
Sect. 7.
  • They pretend, That the things impos'd are parts of Worship, which none can create but God, nor will God accept of any but such as are of his own creating; and whe­ther they be Integral or Essential parts They do not know; but in the Worship of God they find them standing upon even ground with those that are certainly Di­vine, or at least as high as Man can lift them. p. 196
Sect. 8.
  • They do not find, that God ever com­manded the things imposed, either in Ge­neral, in Special, or their Singulars: If God has commanded a duty to be done, the Church must find a place to do it in. But though the Church must find a place for the Duty, a time for the Duty, she may not find new Duty for the Time and Place. p. 216
Sect. 9.
  • [Page]They are the more cautious of all Cere­monies, because the Old Church of Eng­land, in her Homilies, Serm. 3. of Good Works, tells us, That such hath been the corrupt Inclination of Man, superstitiously given to make new Honouring of God of his own head, and then to have more Affe­ction and Devotion to keep that, than to search out God's holy Commandments, and do them. p. 247
Sect. 10.
  • They say, They have read over all the Books that have been written in Justifi­cation of those things; and they find their Arguments so weak, their Reasons so fri­volous, that setting aside Rhetorick and Railing there's nothing in them, but what had been either Answered by others, or is contradicted by themselves, which har­dens them in their Errour, who are gone astray into the right Way. p. 254
Sect. 11.
  • [Page]They say, It's their Duty to endeavour a Reformation according to the Word, which if others will not they cannot help it, and hope they will not be angry with the Wil­ling. p. 262

A Fresh Inquiry Into the PLEA of the NON-CONFORMISTS, &c.


‘THey plead that some things are imposed upon their Faith, tendred to subscription as Articles of Faith, which are either false, or at least, they have not yet been so happy as to discover the truth of them. In Article 20. they are required to subscribe this Doctrine, [The Church hath Power to decree Rites and Ceremonies.] Which Clause of the Ar­ticle, as we fear it hath been by some indirect means shuffled into the Article, (it not being found in the Authentick Articles of Edw. 6.) so it proves also that the Terms of Commu­nion have been enlarged since the first Times of the Reformation.’

The Answer.

The Articles of the Church of England are not imposed under Oath, nor required to be received with a like affection and piety as the holy Scriptures are; nor to be believed as Articles of Faith, further then they can approve themselves to be contained in the Holy Scriptures: For the Sixth of those Articles declares thus; [Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an Article of the Faith, or be thought requisite and necessary to salvation.The modera­tion of the Church of England herein is evinced in another Treatise, viz. The Prose­lyte of Rome called back, &c. p. 7. to the 10.

There is no Protestant Church of any creditable denomination, more moderate and ingenious in this point then ours is. To keep them from Sects and Corruptions, and tie them up close to the Doctrine of the Au­gustan Confession,Abra. Calo. System. p. 885. &c. we find it decreed among the Lutherans, Nemo quicunque sit, ‘That no man whatsoever shall be admitted to any Office or Ministry, in their Churches, Schools, or otherwise; nor shall any such be tolerated therein, unless they shall ap­prove and receive such a body of Doctrine (as there mentioned) and shall persevere therein, and neither by word nor deed op­pose [Page 3] the same. And it is further decreed and established, That if any shall be but suspe­cted as contradicting those Doctrines, and the unanimous consent therein, if they re­fuse to be better instructed, and give no place to the Fatherly admonitions of others (their Superiours) they shall be removed from their Offices or Employments, or else their names shall be signified, that due execution (of punishment) may pro­ceed against them as persons refractory and contumacious. And 'tis their practice too, upon occasion, to make their Ministers and Professors to renounce such opinions as are declared to be erroneous, sub jurisjurandi sacramento, even under the Sacrament of a solemn Oath.’

And the Calvinists are no less strict in this point.Anno 1617. The Proxies or Deputies to be sent from the Provinces to the National Sy­nod, (as is expressed in the Form of the Let­ters written à Synodo Victoriacensi in Brit­tain) are tied to this Solemn Engagement, Promittimus coram Deo, &c. that is, We do promise before God, that we will submit our selves to all things which shall be agreed and decreed by your holy Assembly, and will execute the same with all our power; because we are persuaded that God pre­sides over it, and that he will direct you by his Holy Spirit according to the rule of his Word, into all truth and equity.’

[Page 4] Here we have a promise of submission made before God, (by a kind of implicit Faith and blind Obedience) to the Decrees of a Synod of Calvinists before the Convention of it: And this is grounded upon a Divine persua­sion (else with what confidence can they pro­mise before God:) That God would preside amongst them, and direct them into all truth and equity. The Church of England requires no such subjection,

As to the twentieth Article; They object first, against the Substance, and secondly against the Superfoetation of it since the time of Edward VI.

1. That the Church hath power to decree Rites and Ceremonies. This, they say, is false; or at least a truth which hitherto they have not been able to discover. This is a bold Charge against the Church of England; That she obtrudes a falshood to be subscribed. But doth it not argue an affected blindness in these Dissenters, that they will not see the Churches Power; or else a malicious ob­stinacy that they will not acknowledge it? But

To clear the Article, it will not be amiss to declare what we mean by Church, and what is intended by Rites and Ceremonies, which we assert the Church hath power to Decree and establish.

As to Rites and Ceremonies Disput. 10. ex Ep. ad Rom. Thess. 21. David Run­gius for the Lutherans) tells us, That the [Page 5] necessity of Order and Decency, which the Apostle injoins; doth require that there should be some Ceremonies in the Church; and among the Calvinists it is the peremptory assertion of ZanchyDe cultu Dei exter­no. Thess. 2. in p. 385., That the Church of God on Earth, never did, or ever can want Ceremonies, cum sine Ceremoniis, &c. because the Faithful can neither grow up into one body, nor perform any publick Worship to Almighty God, without them.

HereuponDe dog. Rit. & Gu­ber. Eccl. Christ. in princ. Grotius has very well obser­ved, That the Christian Church, as esta­blished by Christ, and propagated by his Apostles and their Successors, is a Body joined together, not onely in Opinions as the Sects of the Philosophers: nor in Rites and Ce­remonies only, as the Pagans of old: nor in Government onely, as the People of Poland: sed in tribus his vinculis colligatum, but (a Body) bound up together in all these three Bonds of Union.

To this effectJac. Ar­min. Disp. privat. Thess. 56. others have observed, that there are two sorts of Laws prescribed to the Church of God; some concern the very es­sence, life and substance of Christianity, and the necessary Acts (and Duties) of Faith, Hope, and Charity. And these are the primary, the principal and fundamental Laws of Christs Kingdoms; these are of Christs own Institution and appointment; and for any Church to pretend to a power herein is Vsur­pation.

[Page 7] In reference to these Laws and Ordinan­ces, the Church hath but the Office of an Ark, to preserve and keep them; and of a Pillar, to support and declare them to the World.

Other Laws are secondary and suppletory, having respect to the circumstances of those principal Acts and Duties, and tending to the more facile and commodious observation of them. These Laws may be called positive and inservient for that reason; and the whole Legislative power of the Church consists in making Laws of this inferiour nature.

To this purpose Zanchy observes a two­fold Power given to the Church,In quart. praecept. in p. 671. one definite and determined, quatenus scilicet determina­ta & praescripta habet mandata, ultra quae non licet progredi. Inasmuch as it hath Com­mands determined and prescribed, which it ought not to transgress. And such is the Power which the Church hath in preaching the Word administring the Sacra­ments, &c.

The other Power of the Church is indefi­nite, and more ample; whereby according to the circumstances of time and place, and as shall seem most expedient: She may ap­point many things of their own nature in­different, that may make for good Order, Decency, and Edification. [Sub Ceremonia­rum nomine complecti quicquid externe geritur [Page 7] ad cultum divinum celebrandum, religionisve causa peragitur, saithComp. Concert. tit. 27. ar. 1. Joan Bunderius. Un­der the name of Ceremonies, is comprehended all that is outwardly acted in the cele­bration of Gods Worship, or performed for Religion sake. But this definition takes in all Gods external Worship; even the Holy Sacraments are Ceremonies in this sense and notion: Whereas the Rites and Ceremonies we treat of, have their Scene in a lower Sphere among things indifferent. Such are,

The Time of Publick Worship, not onely as to the ordinary proportion, but likewise as to extraordinary occasions, for Fasts and Festivals. The Persons, in their several sta­tions and parts of the Ministration: The Place, with all the Furniture of Books, Uten­sils, and Ornaments thereto belonging: The Forms of all particular Offices and Administra­tions: The Ministerial Habit; and the Ge­stures both of Priest and People respectively in the performance of Divine Service: with all Observances, Actions, and Circumstances of Deportment (pro hîc & nunc) in Religious Assemblies, which may be judged more com­modious to procure Reverence and Devotion, or to add Solemnity to Gods Publick Worship and Service. These in the general, are cal­led Rites and Ceremonies; and as to the Spe­cification and particulars of them, they are in the Churches power, and are left to the pru­dence [Page 8] and care of Governours to determine and set in order.

But we meet with Complaints in many Holy men and learned Authors, That the Church of God hath been made a Theatre of Ceremonies, P. Martyr. ad 1 Cor. 4. m. p. 56. Luther ad Gal. 5. in p. 227. many of which are unintelligible, and some of them opposite to the Word of God; and yet, in these, men place their righteousness and holiness; and in these, con­sist the whole Practice of their Piety. These Ceremonies are made matters of Merit and of Merchandice too; Remission of Sins and other Spiritual Effects are attributed to them: they are made so essentially necessary, as if Christ could not save us, nor be served at all, without them.

The Grievances which have afflicted godly minds upon this account do arise. 1. From the number and multiplicity of these Cere­monies. 2. From their Futility and Light­ness. 3. From the necessity and value that hath been put upon them. And lastly, From the use and end that hath been assigned them. And indeed they are not onely vain (as our Saviour calls them) but pernitious, when through the high esteem men have for them, 1. They do depretiate Gods Word and Or­dinances. 2. When they incumber and justle [...]ut Gods substantial Worship and Service. 3. When men rely upon them in an ex­pectancy of grace and life from them, as if the use of these could supply the want of Refor­mation and amendment.

[Page 9] That we may not split upon this Rock, we have certain marks given us by the great Apostle to steer our Course and Practice by; and those marks are four. The Ceremonies ordained, must be,

  • 1. Expedient.
  • 2. Decent.
  • 3. Significant.
  • 4. Prescribed by Authority.

1. They must be expedient: and that re­quires two things:

  • 1. That they be few and easie.
  • 2. That they be safe and inoffensive.

1. They must be few and easie, because we are not under the Law but under Grace; and Christs Yoke is easie, his Burden light. Whereupon he hath knit together the So­ciety of Christian People [novi populi] by Sacraments, in number few, in their observa­tion easie, Ep. 118. in princip. and in their significancy most ex­cellent, saith S. Augustine: who therefore to­wards the end of his 119. Epist. complains,Epist. 119. that the Religion, which the Mercy of God had made free, was so oppressed with servile burdens, through the presumption of men, that the condition of the Jews was much more tolerable than that of Christians:Ad Gal. 5. in princip. Mul­titudo Ceremoniarum suffocat potius opera Spi­ritus; a multitude of Ceremonies doth ra­ther choak the fruits of the Spirit than re­fresh them, saith Catharinus: for they are like the leaves upon a Tree,Ibid. quae si nimis den­sa [Page 10] sunt, succum fructibus suffu [...]antur, ut nequeant maturare; if they be too thick, they steal away the Juice from the Fruit that it cannot ripen. Many times by their multiplicity, and the burden of them, they do both ob­scure and hinder Gods substantial Worship, Ritibus operosis distenti praecepta Dei minus curare solent, Ad Marc. 7. vers. 8. saith Grotius, such as are busied in troublesome Rites and Ceremonies, care so much the less for Gods commands. But this objection lies not against the Church of England, whose Rites and Ceremonies in a strict sense are but two or three; and very easie. We must remember therefore, that Religion is not therefore to be stript naked, because hypocritical Professors will dote upon her outward Ornaments, to the neglect of her substantial Worship. To such we must say as our Saviour did to the Scribes and Pharisees in a like case; These things ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. As these Rites and Cere­monies must be few and easie, so

2. They must be safe and inoffensive; and the Apostles rule of expediency was given more especially upon this account. The Jews and Gentiles respectively had their federal Rites, characteristical and distinctive notes of their several Religions. These were now (upon the promulgation of the Go­spel) become matters of indifferency in their own nature; yet very inexpedient to be [Page 11] continued. For the use and practice of them had been apt to harden the Jews and Gen­tiles, and make them more obstinate in their several Professions; and to tempt Christian Converts either to Judaize, or to think it innocent enough to conform to the Custom and Religion of the Gentiles.

It was a Rite among the Gentiles to eat of things offered to their Idols in their Idols Temple, and thereby to testifie their com­munion with such Idols. Now though the Apostle did account an Idol nothing, and to eat of things offered to Idols a matter of indiffe­rency, yet he told them it was highly inex­pedient for Christians to use those Rites; for the Practice would tempt others to think they did it in honour to the Idol, that they were friends to that way of Worship,V. Grot. ad 1 Cor. 8. 10. &c. 10. 32. Et Bullin­ger. ad 1 Cor. 8. 10 &c. 10. 28. that there was no harm in it, and that they had more Gods than one; and that the God, they profest especially to believe in, did not dis­allow, what they saw, these his pretended servants did not abhor: and so this practice might be apt to inthral some, and insnare others into Idolatry. Hereupon St. Austin Apud Bedam ad 1 Cor. 8. in fol. 130. Col. 2. a [...]. resolves touching the Conversion of Pagans. Si quaeritis, &c. If you inquire how Pagans may be won, how inlightned and brought to salvation; forsake their Solemnities, forsake their trifling and superstitious Ceremonies: that if they will not consent to our truth, they may be ashamed of their own falshood.

[Page 12] Zanchy hath very well observed,De cultu externo. in p. 382. that though we are obliged by the Law of Nature to worship God with external worship, yet it is not lawful to worship him as the Jews were commanded to worship him, because their sacred Ceremonies were appointed for their Discipline onely till Christs coming; So that he who should reduceHoc enim derogasset veritati, rei, & e­vangelio Christi. Calixtus ad Gal. 5. them again to practice, should deny Christs coming, and renounce his Christianity. So that in mat­ter of Rites and Ceremonies in the Practice of Religion, that injunction of the Apostle binds inviolably, Give no offence to the Jew, by hardening him in his persuasion;1 Cor. 10. 32. nor to the Gentile, by tempting him to play the Jew; nor to the Church of God, by seeming to com­municate in their Worship, either with Jew or Gentile.

2. These Rites and Ceremonies must be decent. And for the Rule of decency, the Apostle directs us to have recourse to Na­ture or commonPaulus utitur sym­bolis, prout ea significare apud eos rep [...]rit, cum quibus agebat. P. Mart. ad 1 Cor. 11. p. 150. 1. m. Custom. 1 Cor. 11▪ 13, 14.

This direction was of some necessity to confront the Custom of the Gentiles, who had Rites in their Religious Worship, which were dishonest. They worshiped1 Cor. 10. 20. Devils, to whom they offered themselves for Slaves, and their Children for Sacrifices. They had [Page 13] a God of Turpitude Inter res indifferen­tes ponitur scortatio—quod passim agentibus indifferens haberetur, nec flagitium judica­retur adolescentem scor­tari, quin apud ipsas pars aliqua religionis & cultus numinum in prostitutione corporum poneretur. Calixt. in Act. 15. 28. [Baal Peor] and many of their Rites were such as are not to be named among Chri­stians, [v. Bonfrer. ad Exod. 32. 6. especially ad Numb. 25. 3.] The men put on womens apparel, and the women such as used to be worn by men: and this was in honour of the Deities they took upon them to worshipGrot. ad Deut. 22. 5.. This induced the Apo­stle to call so earnestly for all things that are honest and decent, among Believers, espe­cially, at their Religious Assemblies, and in the performance of Gods Publick WorshipRom. 12. 17. Phil. 4. 8. 1 Cor. 7. 35. And that is the sum of his Discourse, 1 Cor. 11. Wherein saith Bullinger Ad 1 Cor. 11. in p. 131. b., there is nothing else delivered, quam Publica quaedam honestas, ut decorem & modum in vestitu, Liquet satis Apostolum agere de velatione solum cum versaretur in sa­cris; & respici ali­quid quod attinet ad foeminam respectu Dei potius quàm respectu mariti. Lightfoot. to­to (que) corporis habitu servemus, maxime in coetu ecclesiastico, in quem colligimur ut humiliemur, ut peccata nostra de­ploremus, ut verbum vitae & veri­tatis audiamus, utque puris precibus fide ac veritate ipsum numen deme­reamur: quibus rebus quam non conveniat lu­xus & superbia nemo est qui non videt. Summa huc spectat, ut decorum in Ritibus conservetur. P. Martyr ad 1 Cor. 11. in p. 1. The Apostles discourse, saith he, is of publick Ho­nesty, that we should observe a Decorum in our Vests, and the whole disposition of the Body, and especially in Church Assemblies where we meet together, that we may be humbled, that we may bewail our sins, that [Page 14] we may hear the Word of Life, and by pure devotion in Faith and Verity, win the fa­vour of God. And there is no man but sees that Pride, Luxury, and all Undecencies are very opposite to that effect. But

2. Decency implies more then common Honestè illud fit, quod cum pace & Di­sciplinâ fit. Ambros. in Ep. ad Cor. 1. c. 14. Honesty. The Rites we use in Gods Wor­ship must be grave and solemn, suitable as well to the Majesty we adore, as to the Of­fices we perform in his Service.

1. David and Solomon his Son, have gi­ven us an instance as to the Place of Gods Worship. When his People were in the Briars God was well content to dwell in the Deut. 33. 16. Bush: But when they were setled in Peace and a flourishing prosperity, then a stately Temple was to be prepared for his Solemn and Publick Worship; 1 Chron. 22. 5. The house which I build must be great,2 Chron. 2. 5, 9. wonderful, and exceed­ing magnifical. And why? For great is our God above all Gods. Hereupon it follows with great reason, Habet enim hoc huma­nus affectus, ut quae communia sunt minus revereatur, quam quae habent aliquam excel­lentiae discretionem ab aliis. Petr. à S. Jo­seph. Idea Theol. Mo­ral. cap. 1. Resol. 3. in p. 37. God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the Saints: and to be had in re­verence of all them that are about him, Psal. 89. 7. Wherefore he ur­geth, Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, Psal. 29. 2. And this occasions the Church to make that invitation in our entrance upon our Publick Service, See Rev. 4. 9, 10, 11. O come let us worship and fall down [Page 15] and kneel before the Lord our maker, Psal. 95. 6.

2. There should be some congruitie in the external Rites of our Worship, to testifie the inward reverence and affection we have for the God whom we serve; and also a congrui­ty and suitableness to the duties which we are to perform;Sancta san­ctè. a worthiness in all other so­lemn addresses,1 Cor. 11. 29. as well as in receiving the ho­ly Sacrament of our Lords blessed Body and Bloud. His condescention to be Incarnate hath not depretiated his Majesty, nor lessened his Greatness; but heightned our obligation to a greater duty and observance. Upon these clearer Revelations which we have received,Mal. 1. 11. our Worship indeed should be more spiri­tual, but not at all the less solemn or cele­brious. The Rites and Ceremonies with her external Worship, S. Augustin terms the ve­sture of the Church. And she should be clo­thed as becomes the Kings daughter, and the Spouse of Christ.Psal. 45. She may be all glorious within, and yet have her clothing of wrought Gold. Upon the coming of the Empire into the Church, there is promised such a glorious state and face of things, as is resem­bled to a new Heaven, and a new Earth; and when the Kings of the Earth should bring their glory and honour into it,Rev. 21. 2. with the 24. it was also pro­mised that the Church should be prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband. Grot. ad loc. Hic ea cum novo cultu procedit, latè conspi [...]na, & [Page 16] fulgore suo hostibus aciem oculorum praestrin­gens, saith Grotius, so conspicuous in her Worship and the beauty of holiness, that her splendor should dazle the eyes of her Ad­versaries. In short, when we approach Gods presence we must remember we are not in an earthly Court, but in a holy Temple. All our actions therefore, and our deportment should not be light, ludicrous, or histrionical, but grave, serious, and reverent; not such as befits a Stage, but such as becomes the Altar. And care must be taken that the splendor of external Forms may not detain the mind, not eclipse and lessen that inward and spiri­tual Worship, which they are designed to promote and heighten.

3. These Rites must be significant; if they be dumb, Instit. l. 4. c. 10. Sect. in p. 765. idle, and insignificant, they are not onely useless, but nugatory and ridiculous. Cer­tum est ceremonias omnes corruptas esse & no­xias, nisi per eas homines ad Christum diri­gantur, saith Calvin, It is certain that all Ceremonies are corrupt and hurtful, un­less they direct men unto Christ. If they be not significant they cannot reach the end of their institution, which is Gods Glory, and the Churches edification. That they may make for Gods glory, they must not be against his Word; for his Word is his Will, and what is done against his will is done to his dishonour.V. Rivet. in Decal. in p. 187. 1. These Rites therefore must in their use be inservient to [Page 17] the moral law, and be as helps in the na­ture of Objects to promote our spiritual duty.

It is therefore a great mistake, that be­cause they are reckoned among things indif­ferent, therefore they are but like chips in Porridge. When we call them indifferent, we do not mean, that they are neither good nor bad in any sense: but that they are be­twixt Commands, and Prohibitions: 'tis no Sin to omit, nor bounden duty to perform or use them; yet such things they are, as by a Prudent use, may be very profitable and of good advantage. These Rites and Ceremo­nies were invented, saith P. Martyr, In 1 Cor. 4. m. p. 56. 1. a. f. partly that we might transact Divine Matters with the greater Decency, partly that they might be signs, whereby we might manifest and pro­fess the inward Piety of our Minds, Et ali­quam eruditionem divinarum rerum per sensus acciperemus, and by our very Senses receive some kind of instruction in Divine Matters; And that Learned Author saith further, That Ceremonies are the more laudable,In 1. Cor. 11. p. 150▪ 1. m. Si sint instar Concionum; if they be like Sermons to put us in mind of our Duty. That Learned Protestant was far from condemning signifi­cant and Teaching Ceremonies; for this was it that all Rites and Ceremonies in the Church should aim at. Why of old, did they rent their cloaths, but to shew their indignation? Why did they put on sackcloath and ashes, but [Page 18] to express their humiliation, Bullinger ad Gal. 2. m. p. 32. 2. and their sor­row? Why did James, Cephas, and John give Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellow­ship, but to be a sign and evidence of their Concord? Did not the Holy kiss, and the Feasts of Love among the Primitive Chri­stians, put them in mind of that accord and charity, that ought to be betwixt them? By a threefold dipping or sprinkling of the Bap­tized, they profest their Faith in the Blessed Trinity; and by standing at their Prayers be­twixt Easter and Whitsontide, they did as­sert the Article of the Resurrection. And why did St. Paul give order, that Men should be uncovered, and the Women cover'd in the place and at the time of God's Publick Wor­ship; but that the very Rite and Ceremony might proclaim the Modesty of the one, and the Reverence of the other? So that if we look upon these Rites and Ceremonies, as the Wisdom of God and his Holy Church would have us, this is the end of their appointment and observation, To awaken the Senses, to whet the Memory, to fix the Understanding, to inflame the Affections, to encourage and exalt Devotion, and make it (according to the occasion) either more retir'd and severe, or more exultant and festival; as St. Austin says of the Lord's Nativity, That upon the annual Revolution of it,Epist. 119. in Princ. it ought Festâ devo­tione significari; to be celebrated with a Fe­stival Devotion.

[Page 19] 4. These Rites and Ceremonies must be prescrib'd; some Rites and Ceremonies are suggested by Natural Religion, and that makes them so spontaneous and familiar, that we are apt, upon all occasions, to practice them, without any other Authority or Mo­nitor, besides the light of Nature; such are the lifting up of the hands and eyes to Heaven, when we stand in need of help or blessing. There is a sursum Corda imply'd in all these Natural and Arbitrary Gestures. But in other Matters, if every man should be left to do what is right in his own eyes, we should have no Publick worshipTolle Or­dinem, mis­ [...]bis cae­lum terra. Musc. ad 1 Cor. 14▪ ult. Vid▪, no Solemn Assembly for it; some would be for the Ninth, some for the Tenth, some for the Twelfth hour: Some for the Field, some for the Barn, some for the Tabernacle; one would sit, another stand, another loll; one would be Mute, and another vent himself in an un­known Tongue, or in a canting and unin­telligible Language; and in this tumult and distraction of Parties, we should become Bar­barians to one another, and seem to wor­ship a God of Confusion, and not of Peace and Order. To prevent which, all the parts of God's Worship are to be perform'd in a due and commodious Order and Method; and to this effect there must be a standing Rule, a just Authority, and a due Appointment; V. Light­foot ad 1 Cor. 14. 26. The Order must first be duely made, and then carefully observed.

[Page 20] 1. For this cause left I thee in Crete (saith St. Paul to Titus) that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting. Tit. 1. 5. Calixtus ad locum. The foun­dations were laid, and the men instructed in all the Articles, which concern'd the sum of Salvation; what concern'd, the Government, the Order and Decorum of the Church, These things were yet wanting: and great care was to be taken lest these Cretians should for­get the Truth they had been taught, or suffer themselves to be drawn from it by perverse and wicked Teachers; Therefore to supply what was requisite to the Conservation, ex­ternal Discipline, and Ornament of the Church of Crete, Titus was left there and impower'd by the Great Apostle.

Such Orders we find made among the Co­rinthians, 1 Cor. 7. 11. 14. 16. and among the Colossians, Col. 2. 5. And when such Orders were made, the Apostle was very strict to have them observed, 2 Thess. 3. 11, 14. Let all things be done decently, and according to order. 1 Cor. 14. ult. [...]. According to appoint­ment. Hammond. He had scattered some Notions about Rites aud Ceremonies in the former part of his Epistle; but here he collects all into one short sum: He does establish an Order [...] ad totam eccle­siae tum Li­turgiam tum disci­plinam re­fero. Grynae­us ad Colos. to avoid Confu­sion and preserve a Decorum in God's publick Worship and Service; and this, Mr. Calvin Ad locū. makes the Rule, Ad quam omnia quae ad ex­ternam politiam spectant, exigere Convenit; which is to measure all things that belong [Page 21] to the outward Polity and administration of the Church.

The Power to Decree and make such Or­ders is lodged in the hands of such as are in Authority. Act. 20. 28. The Bishops, 1 Cor. 4. 1. who are called Stewards and Rulers, Hebr. 13. 7, 17. who have the Keys of Christ's Kingdom intrusted to them, A power of Jurisdiction both Directive and Co­ercive. Mat. 16. 19. c. 18. 17, 18. This power we find exercised by single persons,Act. 15. 23. and persons Convened in Coun­cils whose Authority is of greater extent and veneration. 1 Cor. 7. 17. The rest will I set in order when I come, saith St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11. ult. from whence Grotius does very well infer,Grot. ad 1 Cor. 11. last. that the Apostles had Right and Authority to appoint such things as served for Good Or­der, the Liturgy of the Church, and the Ministery about Holy things. Haec est Origo Canonum, qui dicuntur Apostolici; Here, saith he, is the Original of those Canons, which are called the Apostles, which tho' not (all) written, yet were brought into use by them. And we see St. Paul invested Titus with the like Power;Tit. 1. 5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting. This charge the Apostle gives, that no man might think Titus un­dertook any thing of his own head, or the desire of vain gloryCrocius ad locum. Tit. 1. 5.; but according to the mind, and at the command of the Apo­stle, saith Crocius.

[Page 22] But it may be objected, That the Apo­stles and Apostolick men were inspired of the Holy Ghost, and did act by Revelation Consider what Mr. Cal­vin writes on Act. 21. 23. He calls it, Stultam in­dulgentiam, vitio non ca­rebat zelus ille: vix longo tempore Apostolis revulsa fuerit haec superstitio, These Expressions do not speak immediate inspiration in those Apostles and Go­vernours.. To this I answer, If they had done all by immedi­ate Inspiration, there had been no need of Ocular Inspection: But St. Paul did not only receive In­formation touching the state of particular Churches; but he comes to see their temper, and observe their wants, and what will be most con­venient for their present Condition, before he offers to establish Orders to regulate their practice (1 Cor. 11. the last) The rest will I set in order when I come V. Dic­son ad 1 Cor. 11. 34.. But if he had made Orders by Revelation, he might have done it at a distance. That the Apo­stles and Revelations is out of question. And that they took pains to search the Scriptures, and had been instructed in them by Christ himself,Regner. à Mansvelt. Adversus Anonymum Theologo. Politicum. Cap. 14. in pr. cannot be denied. 'Tis certain al­so, That after such instruction and search of Scriptures, as wise men, they knew how to use their Reason better than others of their quality. Hereupon when they Taught, (being endued with more than a vulgar stock of Grace and Divine assistance) they propounded, not only those Revelations which they had received; but also whatever they had attain'd to under the Discipline of Christ, and by a continual search of Scrip­ture, [Page 23] and the Prudent use of Reason. And so in a different respect, they may be call'd Prophets and Divine Doctors. V. Calvin ad 1 Cor. 14. 6. That Title was due to them as they had their Propheti­cal Revelations: This as they confirm'd their Doctrine after an infallible manner, both by a Divine assistance above the vulgar rate, and by holy Scripture, and their own ReasonAnd thus did St. James, Act. 15. 13, to 20..

But that St. Paul did not order all things by immediate Inspiration, is evi­dent from his own Text, 1 Cor. 7. 25Ego dico, non dominus, i.e. ex authoritate mea; non quod Dominus non consentiat; sed quod au­thoritatem ejus de hac re in Scripturâ non in­venio. Bruno.. And herein Mr. Calvin Calv. ad 1 Cor. 7. 25. Ubi non habuit expressum Dei praeceptum, sibi tribuit decisionem. Aret. ad. 1 Cor. 7. 10. makes him an example of a faith­ful Teacher, Fidelis hîc veracem Significat, qui non tantum pio zelo agit quod agit, sed etiam Scien­tiâ praeditus est, & purè & fideli­ter doceat; such a one as is a Man of Truth, who acts, not only out of a pious Zeal, but out of a pure and stedfast Knowledge. Ne (que) enim in doctore sufficit bo­nus animus, nisi adfit prudentia & veri cogni­tio; For a good meaning is not sufficient in a Teacher, unless he be endued with Wisdom and the knowledge of the Truth. It will be a very hard matter to prove that Titus (who had Authority to make Orders in the Church) did act by inspiration: Tit. 1. 5. The whole Epistle which St. Paul wrote to him (being a kind of Ritual, or System of Canons for his direction in the management of his Episcopal [Page 24] Office) speaks otherwise. And yet if we speak of a more general assistance of the Holy Ghost, I doubt not, but the Bishops and Pre­lates of the Church, when they weigh and establish their Decrees and Canons, according to the Rule of God's Word,Prideaux Lect. 22. m. p. 356, 357. have a fair Title to it, from the Promise of our Saviour, Mat. 28. 20, Loe I am with you always to the end of the world.

This Power is essential to the Church, and inherent in the Governours thereof, who did exercise the same when there was never a Christian Magistrate in the world. 'Tis true God was pleased to supply the want of such Civil Administrations by a miraculous assi­stance We have Examples in Ananias and Ely­mas. Act. Chap. 5. 5. & 13. 11.; for such as were delivered up unto Satan by the Censures of the Church: He had Power grievously to afflict them, and many times did torment them bodilyV. Ham­mond on 1 Cor. 5. 5. Notes e, f.. How long this miraculous assistance lasted; or whether it be in any measure in the Greek Church (now under Persecution) as some affirmRycaut., I shall not take upon me to de­termine.

But this I am sure of, Christ did not in­tend to leave his Church always exposed, and like an Orphan; for he has promised her, Thou shalt suck the breast of Kings (Isa. 60. 16.) that is, (v. 10.) Kings shall minister unto thee. And to the same purpose, (Isa. 49. 23.) Kings shall be thy nursing Fathers, and their Queens thy nursing Mothers; which signifies (saith [Page 25] Mr. Calvin) their Ministery and obsequious­ness to protect and succour the Church of God:Ad Isa. 60. 16. Vnde observandum est, Ad Isa. 49. 23. &c. Whence we may observe, saith he, That besides the com­mon Profession of the Faith, there is requi­red of Princes something more: because God gives them Power and Authority to Protect the Church, and to advance God's Glory.Ibid. This indeed concerns all Men: but for Kings, the greater their Power is, the more they are obliged to lay out themselves [for the Interest of the Church] and the more carefully to regard it. Vnde Videmus, saith He,Idem ad cap. 60. 10. quàm alieni sunt à regno Christi, &c. Hence we may see, how repugnant they are to the Kingdom of Christ, who would take away the Authority and Power of Kings [in Church affairs] that they may transfer it up­on themselves.

But here we are to observe, that the Power of Kings in Ecclesiastical matters, is not Privative but Cumulative, not design'd, or intended by Almighty God, to infringe or weaken the Authority of the Church; but to fortifie and assist it. To this purpose the Professors of Leyden tell us,Synopsis pur. Theol. Disput. 50. Thes. 40. it is the Du­ty of the Prince or Magistrate, to settle the Worship of God according to his Ordinance by the Ecclesiastical Ministery; and when it is setled, to preserve it intire and pure, per judicia Ecclesiastica, and when corrupt or depraved, to reform it, by the advice and [Page 26] judgment of Ecclesiastical Officers, and as much as in him lyes, to prevent and suppress all Seducers and false Teachers, that would hinder the practice and progress of true Reli­gion.August. contra Crescon. l. 3. cap. 51. In hoc enim reges sicut eis divinitùs praecipitur, Deo serviunt, in quantum reges sunt, si in suo regno bona jubeant, mala pro­hibeant: non solum quae pertinent ad huma­nam Societatem, verumetiam quae ad divinam Religionem: Herein Kings serve God accor­ding to his Command, when they enjoyn what is good, and forbid what is evil; not only in things relating to Humane So­ciety, but in Matters of Religion. And this is all the accompt needful to be given to that inquiry, what we mean by the Church, in this Article.

That the Church hath a Power to decree and settle Rites and Ceremonies to support her own Government and Administrations; and to promote the publick and solemn Worship of God, may be proved irrefragably out of the premisses.

1. What things are needful or expedient to be decreed, appointed and settled in the Church to support her Government and Ad­ministrations, and to promote God's publick and solemn Worship, those things the Church hath a Power to appoint, decree, and set­tle; otherwise Christ hath not been faith­ful in his House, is deficient in things expedient and necessary, and has not pro­vided [Page 27] for the well-ordering of his Church and Kingdom.

But some Rites and Ceremonies are expe­dient and needful to be decreed and settled in the Church, to support her Government and Administrations, and to promote God's publick and solemn Worship. This has been proved already, by Reason and Authority in the former part of this Disquisition. I shall add but one or two Authorities more; the first shall be Mr. Calvin's, who delivers himself fully in the point; Hoc primum ha­beamus, saith He,Calv. In­stit. l. 4. c. 10. Sect. 27. Let us lay down this for a Rule, ‘That if in every Society of Men we see some government necessary to pre­serve the common Peace and Concord: if in the performance of all Matters, some rite or other is in force, which it concerns the publick honesty, and humanity it self not to reject: that is more especially to be observed in the Churches of God, which being best supported by the well-composed Constitution of all things [therein admini­stred] when they are without Concord, they fall to nothing: wherefore if we re­gard the safety of the Church, we must take care of St. Paul's Injunction, that all things be done decently and according to or­der and appointment. But seeing there is such diversity in mens manners, so great variety in their Minds, such opposition in their Wits and Judgments: No Govern­ment [Page 28] can be firm and stedfast, unless it be establisht by certain Laws: Nec sine statâ quadam formâ servari ritus quispiam potest; Nor can any Rite be preserved, without some set Form. Huc ergo quae conducunt leges, tantum abest ut damnemus, ut his ab­latis, dissolvi suis nervis Ecclesias, totas (que) de­formari, ac dissipari contendamus; Such Laws therefore and Decrees as tend to this effect, we are so far (saith he) from condemning, that if these be taken away, we may a­vouch that the Nerves and Sinews of the Churches are dissolved, and that they are all deform'd and shattered to pieces:’ Thus Mr. Calvin; and we find it by sad experi­ence; whereupon Whitaker does acknow­ledge,Contro­vers. 3. de Concil. quaest. 1. Habuit Ecclesia semper authoritatem leges ecclesiasticas condendi, & sanciendi, eas (que) aliis imperandi, ac eos puniendi, qui non ob­servarent: ‘The Church had always a Power and Authority to make Ecclesiasti­cal Laws, and to establish them, to injoyn them to others, and to punish such as would not observe them.’

2. That Power which hath peculiar Officers assigned, and special Rules prescribed to di­rect the exercise of it in the Church, That Power is invested in the Church; otherwise that assignation of Persons, and Prescription of Rules would be nugatory, trifling, and to no purpose.

[Page 29] But to direct the exercise of appointing and settling Rites and Ceremonies in the Church peculiar Officers are assigned, and special rules prescribed. Of the Officers assign'd to ex­ercise this Power in the Church, we have said enough already; and of the Rules pre­scribed, I shall add no more than what is said by one or two Protestant Writers, upon that Text,1 Cor. 14. 40. Let all things be done decently and ac­cording to order; Hinc colligere promptum est,Calvin ad locum. saith Mr. Calvin, from hence we may gather, ‘That those Ecclesiastical Laws which concern Discipline and Order are Pious, and not to be accounted humane Traditions; be­cause they are grounded upon this General Command, and have a clear approbation as out of the mouth of Christ himself.D. Dickson ad locum. My next Au­thority shall be out of David Dickson, a Scotchman and a Presbyterian; He reckons it the seventh Precept touching Good Order; Vt decorum observetur in personis ad publicum Conventum Ecclesiae accedentibus, & in rebus ad publicum cultum necessariis: ut omnia cum gravitate, & modestia, sine Superstitione, & sordibus peragantur; & partes Cultus Di­vini inter se ita Ordinentur, & temporibus suis disponantur, ut Dei gloriae, & aedificationi Ecclesiae inserviant Maximè; ‘That a Deco­rum be observed of all Persons that come to the Assemblies of the Church, and in all things allyed to the Publick Worship: that all things be performed with Modesty and [Page 30] Gravity, without Superstition, and a Clownish sordidness; and that all the parts of Divine Worship be so ordered among themselves, and so disposed to their proper times, that they may be inservient, as much as is possible to the Glory of God, and the Edification of the Church:’ This is an Apo­stolical Precept.

3. That Power which the Church exerted from the beginning, and has exercised in all after-Ages, That Power the Church is in­vested with; (if not, let them shew us some defeasance, or forfeiture of it.) But a power to appoint and settle Rites and Ceremonies the Church did exert from the beginning, and has exercised in all after-Ages. St. Paul exercised this Power in appointing; Their Method and course of Prophesying, their weekly Collections for the Poor, that they speak not in an unknown tongue, unless they do interpret; that the Women keep silence in the Church, that the Men be covered, and the Women uncovered in the time and place of Publick VVorship.De legum Human. Oblig. And 'tis the affirmation of the most Learned and Judi­cious Sanderson, Posse de novo leges Condi, de Ritibus, Prael. 7. p. 288. de Rebus, & Personis Ecclesiasticis, omnibus (que) V. Zanchy in 4. Prae­cept. p. 695. 2. f. edit. Neo­stad. Palat. 1597. Sacri cultus externi Circumstantiis, ad Ordinem, honestatem, & aedificationem spe­ctantibus, extra eas, quae sunt à Christo & ejus Apostolis traditae in Sacris literis; adeo Mani­festa res est & rationi Consentanea, ut perversi [Page 31] judicii, obstinati (que) animi suspitione aegre se li­beraverit, qui siccus & sobrius id negaverit; ‘That new Laws may be made concerning Rites, Things, and Persons Ecclesiastical, and all the Circumstances of our external holy Worship concerning Order, Honesty, and Edification; besides those delivered in holy Scripture by Christ and his Apostles, is a thing so manifest, and agreeable to rea­son, that he will very hardly free himself from the suspition of an obstinate mind and a perverse judgment, who shall soberly deny it.’

And this Power is of necessity to be per­petually in the Church; because such Rites and Ceremonies are not perpetual; For they are of things in their own nature indifferent and alterable; and there may be a just Cause (if the Church thinks good) to alter them; and consequently there must be a constant Power in the Church to appoint, or alter them accordingly as occasion serves. And this is the judgment of the Learned Whitaker, De Script. Sacr. Con­trovers. 1a q. 6ta in statu quae­stionis: m. pag. 384. Fatemur Apostolos in singulis Ecclesiis Ritus aliquos at (que) Consuetudines, ordinis & decori Causa, Sanxisse, non autem scripsisse: quia hi Ritus non erant perpetui futuri, sed liberi, qui pro Commodo & temporum ratione Mutari possent: we acknowledge, saith he, that the Apostles did in all Churches establish some Rites and Customs, for order and decency sake; and yet did not commit them to Wri­ting: [Page 32] ‘Because these Rites were not to be perpetual, but free, and such as might be changed, in regard of the time and benefit of the Church.’ SeeAd. 1 Cor. 14. ult. Hemmingius.

4. That Society whose Custom and Practice in matter of Rites and Ceremonies (not re­pugnant to God's Word) is a Supersedeas to all objection, and ought not to be disputed, that Society hath a Power to appoint Rites and Ceremonies; I say not repugnant to God's Word; for Custom is not pleadable in God's Church without Right, or against God's Word; for Consuetudo sine veritate est vestus­tas erroris; Custom without Truth is but the dotage of Errour.

But the custom and practice of the Church in matter of Rites and Ceremonies (not repug­nant to God's Word) is a Supersedeas to all objection, and ought not to be disputed. This is St. Paul's own Argument (1 Cor. 11. 16.) in a Matter of Ceremonies, the Womans vail in the time and place of Publick Worship; If any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the Churches of God. Quae sententia, tam ad contentionem, quam ad velandi ritum referri potest, which Sentence may as well be referred to the contention, as to the Rite of Covering the head, Ad locum. saith Bullinger. Duabus securibus disputationes amputat, saith Grotius, He cuts off Disputes with two Hat­chets,Ad locum. Apostolical Institution, and the Custom of the Churches. Quod per omnes Ecclesias [Page 33] receptum est, to call that in question which is received among all Churches, est [...], is the part of such as are contentious. And as Bullinger very well observes, Hoc ultimo hu­jus negotii loco, Ibid. This being added in the last place, by the Apostle, to conclude the whole matter, Vehementèr potuit eorum pungere Men­tes, qui non omninò praefracti at (que) deploratae erant pertinatiae: ‘It might have nettled them exceedingly, who were not altogether stubborn, and desperately obstinate.’

To conclude this Matter, Christ hath set­tled in his Church a Power to make Laws, and appoint Rites and Ceremonies, for the de­cent and orderly performance of all her Admi­nistrations; and such as do otherwise than these Laws Command▪ with a contemptuous and disloyal mind,His Trea­tise of Con­science, and in his Commen­tary upon the Gala­tians, Chap. 2. 3, &c. Mr. Perkins has declared them guilty before God, in sundry places of his Works. For that general Rule of the Apo­stle, Let all things be done decently and accor­ding to order, must be look'd upon with the same Reverence as if it dropt from the Lips of Christ himself, saith Mr. Calvin. This is the foundation upon which the whole Ecclesiasti­cal Discipline is built,Ad 1 Cor. 14. ult. saith Hemmingius. And from hence it is confirm'd, that the Pious Constitutions of the Church are so far sorth Divine, as they serve to Edification, by their decency and good order. Whereupon they bind us to Obedience, saith he, in that respect, Etiam jure Divino, even of Divine [Page 34] Right. When St. Austin therefore had re­ceived this advice from St. Ambrose, Aug. Epist. 118. in Princip. [what­soever Church thou comest into, observe the Customes of it. that thou may'st not be a Scandal to others, nor others to thy self,] This saying of that holy Father St. Austin of­ten thought on, and always embraced it as an Oracle from Heaven.Ibid. And concludes from thence there is no better Rule or Instruction for a discreet and sober Christian to follow, than to do as the Church does where e're he comes: Quod enim ne (que) contra fidem, ne (que) contra bonos Mores injungitur, indifferenter est habendum, & pro eorum inter quos vivitur So­cietate servandum est: For that which is in­joyn'd, if it be neither against the Faith, nor against good Manners, it is to be esteem'd as a thing indifferent, and ought to be obser­ved in regard of their Society, with whom we do converse. And so much for the Power of the Church to decree and injoyn Rites and Ceremonies.

As to the Superfaetation of this Article, That it is not found in the Authentick Arti­cles of K. Edward the Sixth; and so the Terms of Communion have been enlarged since the first times of the Reformation. To this I answer,

1. That the Corinthians and the Cretians might have made the like objection, as well against St. Paul as against Titus; because all things were not presently settled at the first [Page 35] plantation of the Gospel, 1 Cor. 11. last. Tit. 15. Much may be abolisht in an instant, but such as pretend to Reformation, and yet do nothing but pull down, they will never edifie the Church, but most certainly deform it. Rome we say, was not built in one day. The Apostle left something unsettled till a further consideration, 1 Cor. 11. last. And when he departed from Crete, he left Titus his Vicar, V. Hierome & Joan. Crocium in Tit. 1. 5. saith Crocius, to supply what the shortness of his stay would not allow him to accomplish; and as St. Hierome observes, to super-correct what he could not then bring to perfection. Zanchy In 4m praecep­tum. m. p. 696. 2. f. Edit. Nec­stad. Palat. 1597. observes very well, That it is the Duty of the Bishops to take care of the whole Church, and whatsoever may con­duce to the welfare of it, whether it be in point of life and manners, in the Ministery of the Word and Sacraments, or in the Disci­pline of Pennance, or in the wants of the Poor, or in matters of Ceremonies; and to give diligence, that whatsoever has been constituted in such matters, either by the Lord himself, or by his Apostles, or by the after-Church, may be observed. But if there be any thing that is not appointed. and yet may concern the edification of the Church: Let Laws be appointed concerning those things, that they may be confirmed in the Name of the whole Church, and by the Authority of Pious Princes, and be observed of all, [respe­ctively subject to their Jurisdiction.]

[Page 36] 2. I Answer, That according to the Com­mon Prayer-Book in King Edward the Sixth's time, the Church injoyn'd the Priest at the Consecration of the Eucharist, to sign the Elements with the sign of the Cross; and so if she did not declare her Power in her Articles, yet she declared it sufficiently in her Practice; In ordering the Priest to make the sign of the Cross upon the Symbol, in the Patin and Cha­lice, she did exercise her Power in decreeing and practising that Rite; which has since been taken away, (tho' it has proved of very little consequence) to avoid Scandal; and conse­quently, the Terms of Communion have been somewhat contracted since those times, and not inlarged, as is pretended. However that Rule of St. Austin will certainly hold,Epist. 118. His enim causis, id est, aut propter fidem, aut propter Mores, vel emendari oportet quod per­peram fiebat, vel institui quod non fiebat: ‘For these Causes, that is, either for the Faith, or for Manners sake, that ought to be amended which was done amiss, or appointed to be done, which was not done at all.’

But this is not all; in this Section, They object also against the Doctrine in the Ru­brick, ‘That it is certain from the Word of God, That Children baptized and dying before the commission of actual Sin, are undoubtedly saved. The Scripture, the Protestant Churches, nor any sound Rea­son, [Page 37] have yet given them any tolerable satisfaction of the Truth of the Doctrine about the Opus Operatum of Sacraments. That Doctrine laid down in the Catechism, That Children do perform Faith and Repen­tance by their Sureties, is also (saith he) as great a stumbling to our Faith, and we cannot get over it. How the Adult should believe and repent for Minors, or Infants believe and re­pent by Proxy. Thus the Dissenters.

The Answer.

1. The silence of other Protestant Chur­ches (if they be all silent) herein, is but a Negative Argument from Authority, and that's of no validity. But we are sure the most Learned amongst Protestant Writers do favour this Article; The Form of a Sacra­ment, they say, is the Sacramental Conjunction of the signs and the things signified, which Conjunction consists not only in the signifi­cation, and obsignation, but also in the exhi­bition of the things signified by the signs. So Wendelin; Theol. Christ. l. 1. c. 20. And he makes the effect and end of the Sacraments to be not only, The Confirmation of our Faith in Christ;Thes. 9. & 11. but also the Obsignation of his gracious Promise tou­ching our Communion with him, and our participation of the benefits purchased by his death. And particularly among the effects of Baptism, Zanchy reckons these,

[Page 38] 1. Our admission into Covenant with God.Lib. 1. de Baptis. m. p. 404, 405.

2. Our ingraffing into his Church and the Communion of Saints, which are the Faithful.

3. The Remission of Sins, and the Imputa­tion of Christ's Righteousness.

And Calvin upon those words [1 Cor. 7. 14. else were your children unclean; but now are they holy] Comments after this manner, This is a high point of Divinity: For it tea­cheth that the Children of the Faithful are segregated from others by a special Prero­gative, and are accounted Saints in the Church. And to reconcile this with those other words of the same Apostle,’ Eph. 2. 3. We are all by nature children of wrath; He saith thus, Aequalis est igitur in omnibus natu­rae conditio, ‘The condition of nature is alike in all; They are all obnoxious both to sin and death eternal. But this privilege which the Apostle attributes to the Chil­dren of Believers, that flows from the be­nefit of the Covenant, upon the intervention whereof, the malediction of Nature is blot­ted out: and they are consecrated to God by Grace, who are Prophane by Nature. From which Testimonies we shall draw an Argument presently, that Children bap­tized and dying before actual Sin, are un­doubtedly saved.’ But first let us consult the holy Oracle.

The Scripture tells us, That Christ tasted death for every man, (Hebr. 2. 9.) for Children. [Page 39] (vers. 14.) And to what end did he do this? to reconcile them, (vers. 17.) to sanctifie them, (v. 11.) to free them from the bondage of the Devil, (v. 14, 15.) and to bring them unto glory. (v. 10.) Can Christ fail of his end with­out any Obstacle in the Subject? Has he done enough to save a drunken Noah, an incestu­ous Lot, an idolatrous Manasses, and a per­jur'd Peter; and yet left a poor innocent Babe without a Remedy?

'Tis our Saviour's comfortable assertion, with a gracious invitation thereupon (Mat. 19. 14.) Suffer little Children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. If these Dissenters be of a Cross opinion, That of such is the Kingdom of Satan; They should in modesty keep their faith to themselves, till they can find a better proof than the Post-poning of Esau, whose person notwithstanding Learned Men do think was saved. In the Discourses of our Saviour, little children are Candidates for Heaven, and set forth as a pattern to such as shall undoubtedly inherit it, (Mat. 18. 3.) and he tells his Disciples, (v. 14.) It is not the will of your Father which is in Heaven, that one of these little ones should perish; which in all Reason must be understood of little Children literally, according to the first in­tention of the words.

But (2.) Baptism is the Laver of Regenera­tion. (Eph. 5. Tit. 3.) Hereupon St. Peter [Page 40] makes his Exhortation to the People, Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children. (Act. 2. 38, 39.) Whence I argue thus, such as are admitted to the benefits of the Cove­nant, (remission of sins, and the imputation of Christ's righteousness) and do neither break the Conditions, nor put a bar to the virtue of it, They are undoubtedly saved: But Chil­dren baptized, and dying before actual Sin, are such. Pueri enim fidelium ideo servantur, quia in foedere Dei sunt & sancti, saith the Learned Zanchy.De Rel. Christ. Fi­des cap. 15. Sect. 15. & cap. 14. Sect. 2. The Children of the Faith­ful are therefore saved, because they are in the Covenant of God and holy. For (as he hath it in another place) what is acted (at our Baptism) outwardly, Symbolum ejus, is the sign of symbol of that which the Holy Ghost worketh in our Souls.

3. Children so dying, have no guilt upon them but Original; if Christ has not saved them from that, He has not broke the Ser­pents head in them; He has not blotted out the hand-writing that was against them, not taken it out of their way, V. Col. 2. 13, 14. nor nail'd it to his Cross for them; then the Antidote is not so extensive and powerful as the Poison; the Old Proverb stands still in force against them, (Ezek. 18. 3, 14, 20. The Fathers have eaten sower grapes, &c.) Christ is an insufficient [Page 41] Mediator, and defective in his Institutions. For there is no other means appointed for their Salvation besides Baptism; and if that be not effectual to them to that end; then either Christ is defective in his Priestly Of­fice, and has not made an expiation for their Sins; or in his Prophetick Office, and has not revealed his Father's Will concerning the means of their Salvation; or else he is defe­ctive in his Kingly Office, not a Compleat Law-giver, having not prescribed what is sufficient for their Salvation: All which assertions are absur'd, erroneous, and im­pious.

We are told, that touching the Opus ope­ratum of the Sacraments, they have, as yet, received no tolerable Satisfaction; and we need not wonder at this, if we consider how hard a matter it is to please them in any thing. Yet instances we have of this Opus operatum, as 'tis wrought in the Body, and why may not these help us to apprehend what may be done in the Soul? How was Naaman clean­sed of his Leprosie? He was commanded to wash seven times in Jordan: He did so, and his flesh came again as the flesh of a little child, and he was clean, 2 Kings 5. 14. This was ex opere operato; and the means was ap­pointed by the Prophet. Thus was the blind man restor'd to his sight (Joh. 9. 6, 7.) Thus were the ten Lepers cleansed. (Luk. 17. 14.) Thus was the Woman healed of her bloudy [Page 42] Issue, Mark 5. 29.Here was Opus ope­rantis too. V. 34. Thy Faith hath made thee whole. and thus the Plagues of a whole multitude were healed: (Luk. 6. 19.) These by a means of their own choosing, the other by means of Christ's prescribing.

This opus operans & opus operatum, is a School distinction; and tho' not found in his summs, 'tis as old as the Prince of School-men. And the great excellency of that sort of Writers appears in their Distinctions, where­by many times they clear great difficulties in few words. This brevity makes them many times obscure; and that obscurity oftentimes makes them liable to misconstruction; and so it has happened in the Case before us. Sacramentum dicitur conferre gratiam ex ope­re operato, quia proeter exhibitionem signi forinsecùs adhibiti, non requiritur bonus mo­tus interior in suscipiente. The Sacrament is said to confer Grace, ex opore operato, be­cause besides the use of the outward sign there is required no inward good motion in the Receiver; saith Biel, Lib. 4. Sent. dist. 1 q. 3. and Paludanus 8 L. 4. dist. 1. quaest. 1. to the like purpose, Non requiritur in Sacra­mentis novi Testamenti ut homo se disponat, sed dispositio efficitur ab ipso Sacramento; & hoc est conferre Gratiam ex opere operato: In the Sacraments of the New Testament, it is not required that a man should dispose himself for them; but the good disposition is wrought by the Sacrament; and this is to confer Grace ex opere operato. This Do­ctrine is most absur'd and Scandalous; be­cause [Page 43] it makes all Pious Dispositions, all wor­thy Preparation for the Sacraments, needless. In opposition therefore to this Doctrine, the Reverend and Learned Davenant Deter. 23. in fine. has thus determined, Sacramenta non esse nuda signa, sed gratiae exhibitiva; ‘The Sacraments are not naked signs, but they do exhibit Grace; yet so, that this Grace is not wrought in the Minds of men ex opere operato Sacramentorum, but through the Ordinance and Operation of God alone, who in the right use of Sacraments, does always perform, that which he hath pro­mised.’

There is another sort of School-men more Orthodox in their sense of this Distinction, and the Opus operatum of the Sacrament; They say the Sacraments are a means to confer Grace upon such Receivers as are worthily prepared to receive them. Where­fore when they say, the Sacrament confers Grace ex opere operato, their meaning is not that it confers Grace as it is a kind of natural action, but as it has a Divine Institution, and an infallible promise to that effect, so saith Estius In 4. Sent. d. 1. Sect. 5. Col. 2. litera F. ‘And because That Promise is condi­tional requiring a due preparation in the Adult, it follows, nor from this Phrase rightly understood, that according to the opinion of Catholicks, the Sacraments are effectual without any good Motion in the Receiver.’

[Page 44] ‘A Sacrament is Causa conditionalis, 18 dist. 2. ar. 1. p. 67. Col. 3. p. princ. ad resp. ad 5m In fine Artic. says, Argentina, a conditional cause; and all the Power and causality of the Sacraments in respect of Divine Grace, is from Divine Institution, and from the Covenant, which God hath made with his Church. And De natura Causae conditionalis est, quod non observatâ Conditìone; 'tis the nature of a conditional cause, that if the condition be not perform'd, the effect does not follow: but if the condition be perform'd, the effect follows infallibly.’

In short then, ‘They say Grace may be produced in the Soul two manner of ways, either ex opere operantis; which is by the elicite and acceptable Devotion of the Church, and the work of the Ministery, or the meet and worthy disposition of him that receives the Sacrament.Labat The­ol. Schol. Tom. 8. pag. 70. & Petr. a S. Joseph Idea Theol. Sa­cram. p. 41. Or else it is produced ex opere operato, by virtue of the Sacrament it self, as of Christ's institution, and by the application of the external work, by the Power whereof (according to God's Ordinance and Promise) Grace is given.’ Now I suppose we may safely say, That Grace is confer'd by the Sacrament of Baptism both these ways.

1. As it is a part of God's Worship, in ge­nere Orationis, under the Genus of Prayer, so it procures Grace, ex opere Operantis, Per modum impetrationis, by way of impetra­tion.

[Page 45] 2. As it is a Sacrament of Christ's Institu­tion. So it confers Grace, ex opere operato, by way of Exhibition, conveying, through the divine Benediction and Compact, that Grace which it doth consign, and which Christ hath promised to his Church.

But here two Rules are very useful and necessary to be observed:

1. That in the operation of the Sacra­ments (as in all other of God's Ordinances) The excellency of the Power is of God and not of us. (2 Cor. 4. 7.) and who can deny the effect when we have God's fiat for it? when he said, Let there be light, there was light; So it was at the Creation of the ex­ternal light; and so it is at the Creation of internal light, when God is pleased to put forth his Power to that effect. (2 Cor. 4. 6.) And methinks, Those men should easily be satisfied about the opus operatum of the Sacra­ment, who are of opinion, that we are merely passive in the work of our Regeneration; that it is wrought in nobis sine nobis, wrought in us, (but) without us, and that irresistibly.

The Second Rule is,There is Suffragtum Ecclesiae, cujus per­sonam Mi­nister susti­net: & sti­pulatio bo­nae consci­entiae. That we must not Substitute the Opus operatum to supply the neg­lect, or want of Moral duty, and a worthy dis­position in the Adult; for in such, to make the Sacrament effectual, there must be no bar of a deadly Sin, (as the Schoolmen call it) but a fit and worthy disposition for the Sacrament.1 Pet. 3. 21. For tho' the Sacrament hath a power of it [Page 46] self, through Christ's institution and promise, to produce Grace, yet that it may actually produce it, 'tis necessary that the Receiver puts no Obstacles Petr. a S. Joseph ubi supra., but if he be adult, i.e. (of age) that he dispose himself by some meet and fitting acts to receive it. By means of the Sacraments, saith Holden De Re­solut. Fi­dei. l. 2. c. 4. Sect. 1. p. 302., God con­fers his Grace upon such as being worthily pre­pared, are made partakers of them. And Franciscus a Victoria Sum. Sa­cram. p. 5., semper & infallibili­tèr, omnibus & singulis digre ea suscipientibus conferunt gratiam: ‘The Sacraments do always and infallibly confer Grace upon all and every man, who worthily receives them.’

The next Objection is against the Do­ctrine of the Catechism; That Children do perform Faith and Repentance by their Sure­ties. This they say is so great a stumbling to their Faith, They cannot get over it. But we know full well that some of these Dissen­ters will scruple at little things, stumble at a straw, and yet so full of agility at other times, they can nimbly leap over a block, that very Block upon which they made their Soveraign a Sacrifice to their ten­der Consciences.

How the Adult should believe and repent for Minors; or Infants believe and repent by Proxy, They cannot understand. And 'twere well if this were the only thing wherein they could plead a want of understanding. [Page 47] But Peter Martyr In 1 Cor. 7. will tell them, Fidles in liberis, qui suscipiuntur dùm parvuli sunt, non requiritur, vel ad id, ut Christiani sint, vel ad remissionem peccatorum; ‘Faith is not re­quired in Children who are Baptized, while they are little ones, neither to obtain Re­mission of Sins, nor to make them Chri­stians; This is true of an actual Faith, and a personal disposition; yet they have a Title to such a Faith as is of good advan­tage to them.’ To this purpose we have the Judgment of Mr. Perkins, and in him the opinion of the Ancient Church. ‘'Tis obje­cted that Infants have no Faith, and conse­quently, That Baptism is unprofitable to them. To this objection he answers thus, some think they have Faith,On the Galat. c. 3. p. 263. as they have Regeneration, that is the inclination or seed of Faith. Others say, That the Faith of the Parents is also the Faith of their Children: Because the Parents by their Faith, receive the Promise of God, both for themselves and their Children: and thus to be born in the Church, of be­lieving Parents, is instead of the Profession of Faith. To this second Opinion, (saith that Pious and Learned man) I rather in­cline, because it is the ancient and re­ceived Doctrine of the Church;’ I wish our present Dissenters would be so Sober and well advised, as to follow his Ex­ample.

[Page 48] For receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, Faith and Repentance are said to be the quali­fications in the Adult: To Infants they are supplied by the Faith and Piety of the Church in general (as well as by their parti­cular Sureties respectively); and where there is an absolute necessity for it (because God is not wanting in necessaries) 'tis piously credi­ble, that the supply is made by the High Priest of our ProfessionHebr. 2. 14. with Rom. 5. 12, 15. Sicut Ada­mus fuit porta & fons peccati & mortis, ita Christus justitiae & vitae.—Gratia Christi potentior est ad salvandum, quam Offensa Adami ad perden­dum, &c. David Dickson. ad Rom. 5. 12. & 15. Vide Calixtum, &c.; and sure these Dis­senters will allow him to be a good Proxy for them.

Have they forgotten that Levi paid Tythes in the loins of Abraham? was not that as great a matter as this they stum­ble at? Let them tell us how the Adult do transgress and Sin for Minors; and how In­fants do transgress and Sin by Proxy; and we shall be able presently to remove their scruple. If the Adult themselves may re­ceive advantage by the faith of others, V. Exod. 32. 11, 14. & Numb. 16. 48. as undoubtedly they may (Mat. 9. 2.) how much more Infants, who are nei­ther capable of Sin, nor of Grace, but upon the account of their Relations un­der guilt, or under Covenant. (1 Cor. 7. 14.) But we must look upon that per­son as a cruel Step-Father, who gives [Page 49] his Child nothing but a Stone, when he wants Bread, and instead of Fish a deadly Serpent.

Dissenters Second Section.

THey Plead, that they are not satisfied in the use of any Mystical Ceremonies in God's Worship; and particularly they judge the use of the Cross in Baptism to be sin­ful. A Sacrament of Divine Institution, ac­cording to the definition of the Church, in her Catechism, is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual Grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means where­by we receive the same, and a pledge to as­sure us thereof. Where we have,

1. The Matter of a Sacrament, An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual Grace.

2. The Author of a Divine Sacrament, Christ himself. 3. The End of it: to be a means to convey the thing signified, and a pledge to assure us of it. Hence (they say) it's evident, that it's simply impossible that any Church should institute a Divine Sacrament; because they cannot give it a Causality to those Graces it is instituted to signifie: Nevertheless it's possible for Men to institute Humane Sacra­ments; which shall have the Matter of a Sa­crament, [Page 50] that is an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual Grace; and they may pretend to ascribe an effect to it also, to ex­cite, to stir up or increase Grace and Devo­tion: And yet because it wants the right effi­cient Cause, it's no lawful They should have said, no Divine Sacrament. Sacrament, though it be an Humane Sacrament.

Such an institution (say they) is the sign of the Cross; An outward visible sign of an inward spiritual Grace, Ordained by Men, as a means to effect whatever Man can work by his Ordinance. Here is the matter without Divine Signature, which is the thing they con­demn it for.


Here we see they profess themselves un­satisfied; and indeed it's a very hard task to satisfie such as study more to contend and make themselves scrupulous, then to be quiet and to do their own Business. They are un­satisfied, that the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church are not Divine Sacraments; which she never did pretend a Power to institute. They are unsatisfied at the use of Mystical Ceremonies in God's Worship: But so was not St. Paul. The Wife is subject to the Hus­band, saith He, Ergo gerat insigne subjectio­nis, let her therefore wear her veil, the badge of her subjection,Ad 1 Cor. 11. 10. saith Mr. Calvin. And he speaks of an external Rite in sacred [Page 51] Assemblies; and we are taught that this is to be observed in such Rites, that they be suitable to admonish us of our Duty, ut Cere­moniae sint instar Concionum; that Ceremo­monies may be like Sermons, which is then done when we have an account of their Mysti­cal meaning,In 1 Cor. 11. p. 150. 1. m. saith Pet. Martyr.

But the great scandal they pretend to take, is at the sign of the Cross in Baptism. But God forbid, saith the great Apostle, that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; And I cannot persuade my self, that he who worthily glories in the Merito­rious Cause of his Redemption, will abhor the sign of it as sinful, or be offended at it.

If we inquire after the Antiquity of this Badge, we shall find it in the Banner of our Militia from the time of the first Christian Emperor. Church Story tells us, That when Constantine had gathered an Army in France and Britain to repress the Tyrant Maxentius, He was afraid of his Charms, wherewith he was supposed to have van­quished Severus (whom Gal. Maximinus had sent against him formerly.) And as he stood in doubt what to do, He cast his Eyes often up to Heaven; and saw a brightness therein, about Sun-set, in the likeness of a Cross, with certain Stars of equal bigness, which afford­ed this Symbol (like an Inscription in Latin Letters) In Hoc Vince, that is, In this shalt [Page 52] thou overcome. After this Vision, His Ban­ner was made in the similitude of a Cross, and carried before him in his Wars; the Ty­rant Maxentius was Conquered and Drown­ed. And to ascend higher, some think this was the Cognizance of Christians from the first Plantation of the Gospel, being men­tion'd by the most ancient Writers of the Church. Zanchy De Re­dempt. p. 447. 1. fin. Nao­stad. Palat. 1597. concludes from the Pra­ctice in Justin's time, that the mingling Wa­ter with Wine in the Eucharist, came from Christ and his Apostles. The sign of the Cross is a Ceremony of as long a standing; wherefore the use of it, upon all occasions, in all times, over all parts of the Church, is to be ascribed to the Apostles; as a very Reve­rend and Learned Man observethEpilog. l. 3. p. 342.. And St. Austin has given us a Rule that does assure it,Lib. 4. de Bap. c. 24. Quod Vniversa tenet ecclesia, nec à Conci­liis institutum, sed semper retentum est, non nisi authoritate Apostolicâ traditum rectissimè cre­ditur. ‘That which is held, (or practised) by the Universal Church, and was never appointed by any Council, but always held and maintain'd, is most justly believed to have been delivered (at first) by Apostoli­cal Authority. For such an Vniversal Ef­fect must have a Cause equally Vniversal. The Apostle tells the Ephesians of their be­ing seal'd to the day of Redemption, Eph. 4. 30. Whether the Church took occasion from those words, to appoint that Ceremony to [Page 53] be used in Baptizing, I am not able to deter­mine: But the Prophet Ezekiel tells us of a man with an Ink-horn by his side, who was commanded to set a Mark upon the foreheads of such as did sigh and cry for the Abomina­tions, that were done in Jerusalem. (Ezek. 9. 4.) Now says Deodati (that Learned Mi­nister of Geneva) because the word Mark in Hebrew is Thau, and that the same word is the Name of the letter T. which letter in ancient Hebrew Characters, is made in the figure of a Cross; hence some Ancients (saith he) have believed, That this Mark was a sign of the Cross, which figured Christ's Blood, the only Mark of Salvation to Belie­vers. If any Credit be to be given to this suggestion, the sign of the Cross upon the forehead has been of longer use than is ima­gined. 'Tis true, that Learned Professor says, there is no certainty in it: but he does not say 'twas superstitious to be done, or sinful to believe it. Some Mark there was, and 'twas of some importance; and so is this Ce­remony now in question.

We read (Jos. 22.) That the Children of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, built a great Al­ter upon the Borders of Jordan (for which they had no Divine Warrant, nor did they pretend to it.) Hereupon the Congregation of Israel took offence, and leavyed War against them. But before they entred into any act of Hostility, they thought it reaso­nable [Page 54] to expostulate, & debate the matter fair­ly with them; which they managed in these words: [What trespass is this, which ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away from following the Lord, in that you have builded you an Altar, that ye might re­bel this day against the Lord? To this hea­vy charge those Tribes return'd this Calm and sober Answer. The Lord God of Gods, He knoweth, and Israel, He shall know, if it be in Rebellion, or in Transgression against the Lord, that we have built us an Altar to turn from following the Lord, if to offer Sa­crifice thereon, save us not this day; (and) let the Lord Himself require it: And if we have not done it rather, for fear your Chil­dren should say unto our Children, in time to come, Jordan is the border that divides be­tween us and you; ye have no part in the Lord; no right or title to the benefits of his holy Altar; Therefore we built this Altar, not for burnt offering, nor for Sacrifice, but to be a Witness between us and you, and our generations after us, that we have an inte­rest in the Lord as well as you, a right to ap­proach his Altar, to perform our Service at it, and receive the benefits thereof. And they called the Altar (Ed,) a Witness; for it shall be a witness between us, that the Lord is our God as well as yours. By this Story, we see, that Altar was erected as a Monument, not for a Remedy of what was, [Page 55] but for a Caution against what might be here­after. And to apply this Matter of Fact to our present purpose, was not the Cross the Altar upon which our Blessed Lord offer'd Sangui­nem Crucis cum vocat, eò quòd in illiûs arâ effusus est. Grynaeus ad Colo. p. 81. up Himself to God, as a Sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour, to expiate our Sins, and make an attonement for the World. Now we know very well, there are a Generation of Men that say of us (and will say't of our Children after us) that we are Out-casts to the Common-wealth of Israel, Schismaticks and Separate from the Body of Christ, and the Communion of the Catholick Church; that we are Enemies to the Cross of Christ, and have no interest in his Ordinances, or right to the benefits of his Death and Passion. In answer to which objection or Cavil, we can alleadge, that we have the Copy, the Representation of that Altar (upon which our B. Saviour suffered that shameful, that painful, that accursed Death for us) the sign of the Cross was made upon our Foreheads (when we were dedicated to him at our Bap­tism): not that we are drawn from our duty and allegeance to God by it, or expect any supernatural Grace or Virtue from it, or in­tend to pay any manner of devotion to it: but to assert our own priviledge, and rela­tion to our Crucify'd Jesus, to be a Symbo­lical Protestation of our faith and affiance in him, a Memorial of the solemn Profession we have made to own and serve him. This is [Page 56] our Ed, our Witness to this purpose; And, as far as I am able to discern, no less com­mendable in our practice, than that was in those Tribes.

But these Dissenters tell us, 'tis impossible that any Church should institute a Divine Sa­crament; and they have good Authority to back them, no less than the Suffrage of Trent Sess. 7. Can. 1. De Sacram. to bear them out in this assertion; which has denounced Anathema to all that shall say otherwise: Si quis dixerit, Sacra­menta novae legis non fuisse omnia à Jesu Christo, Domino nostro instituta, Anathema sit: ‘If any one shall say, That All the Sa­craments of the Gospel (which they call the new Law) were not instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord; let him be ac­cursed.’

But (they say) 'tis possible Men may insti­tute Humane Sacraments, An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual Grace; and they may ascribe an effect to it also, to excite and increase Devotion; and yet because Christ is not the Author of it, (they say) it is no lawful, (which is but a begging of the question, for they should only say, it is no Divine) Sacrament: tho' it be a Humane Sa­crament. Such an Institution (they say) is the sign of the Cross; The Matter of a Sa­crament, without Divine Signature; which is the thing they condemn it for.

[Page 57] Now the question is, whether this Con­demnation be just, or no? The other day, as I remember, I saw a Pack of Cards, which according to this account may very well be call'd a Pack of Sacraments; for each Card had the matter of a Sacrament, that is an outward and visible sign, of some inward and spiritual Grace, in the Martyr Sir Edm. Godfrey. (whose bar­barous Murder they were design'd to repre­sent); and sure the Ingenious Contrivers of those Cards, intended some effect from them, to excite, to stir up, to increase Grace and Devotion by the sight of them, viz. an utter abhorrence of Treason, and all Popish Principles which lead to it; And must this poor Pack of Cards be condemned to the Flames for the ingenuity of the Author? I am so far from being the Executioner of such a Sentence, that I wish such another Pack to represent the horrid Mischiefs of Schism and Sedition, to teach our Children for the time to come, to have the Pra­ctice, and Doctrines, which lead to it, in ut­ter detestation.

That such mystical Ceremonies, or symboli­cal Representations are not sinful, I am fully convinced; because they are good for the use of edifying. For whatsoever is apt to inform me, and put me in mind of my Duty, and to excite me to perform it, That is certainly for my Edification; be­cause to inform, to admonish and excite, is [Page 58] to edifie 1 Cor. 8. 10. And that some Mystical Cere­monies are of this Nature, is too notorious to be denyed. Est homini Connaturale, ut per sensibilia ad Cognitionem intelligibilium deve­niat, Bon Joan. Comp. 3a Part. c. 6. p. 349. 2. says a Person well verst in the Prince of Schoolmen. ‘Tis Connatural to Man by the help of sensible things, to arrive at the knowledge of such things as are intelli­gible.’

This I learn from all the Prophets, Amos has his Basket of Summer fruit, (Amos 8. 2.) Jeremy, his Seething-Pot, and the Rod of an Almond Tree, (Jer. 1. 11, 13.) Ezekiel has his Roll, his Seige, his Chain, his Fire, his Wheel, and his Razor; All these Representa­tions in Vision, for the Service of God's Peo­ple, and the interest of Religion. And the great Prophecy concerning the state of the Christian Church is displayed in Mystical and Symbolical Representations. Shall I quarrel with the Book of the Apocalypse, and the seven Golden Candlesticks, because they are full of Mystical Ceremonies, and some men may erroneously fancy, they put them in mind of seven Sacraments? I will not.

But to see how far the force of prejudice and a superstitious conceit will carry these men! By their invention Daniel's Chamber-window is made a Sacrament. The opening of it towards Jerusalem was the outward and visible sign; The inward and spiritual Grace [Page 59] was his faith and affiance in God, with his Zeal for God's Holy Temple and Worship. Yea, so unreasonable and extravagant is this their Act of Condemnation, it will reach all the most Pious accomplishments of Holy Men; the Practice of Piety, the Whole Duty of Man, the Saints everlasting Rest, the In­stitutions of Mr. Calvin; I confess, I cannot say so of those many Books which these Dis­senters have written and sent abroad, to shake the People, and unhinge the Government, to foment Faction, and disturb the Peace of Church and State. I cannot say it of such (that they are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual Grace): but of eve­ry Pious and Learned Book, I say, it will fall under this their rash and unadvised Con­demnation: It is a Humane Sacrament; that is, it has the matter of a Sacrament, which is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual Grace; and the Author (whoever he be) will hope for some good effect from it, (else he is ill advised to make it Publick), to excite, to stir up, to increase Grace and De­votion by it, and whatever Man can work by his Discourse, and Ordinance; and yet (according to these Dissenters Notion and Lo­gick) because it wants the efficient Cause to make it a Divine Sacrament, it must be unlawful, it must be sinful; for 'tis upon this accompt, they do (here) judge the sign of the Cross in Baptism, to be so, and so condemn it. [Page 60] What he means by a Divine Signature, is a matter of some question: if some institu­tion or promise to annex Grace to it, we understand it not; But if he understands by Signature, some impression, that discovers something of God's Attributes, we say with the great Apostle,1 Cor. 1. 18. with 24. That the Preaching of the Cross sets forth the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God. There is this Divine Sig­nature upon all Creatures: For the invisible things of God from the Creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, (Rom. 1. 20.) The Heavens declare the glory of God; (Psal. 19.) And every Rational Creature should Echo to that Declaration, and say, When I consider thy Heavens—Lord what is Man.

For a Sacrament properly so called, that is a Divine Sacrament (in the sense of the Church), That is a thing of another Con­stitution. For,

1. It must have Christ for its Author; all Ordinances of Divine Worship design'd to exhibit, to seal and convey supernatural Grace are of his Institution; because Eorum tantum est signum instituere, qui jus habent promittendi signatum, & potentiam appli­candi; ‘He only has power to appoint the sign who has right to promise, and power to apply the thing signified.’ In this we are agreed.

[Page 61] 2. As we are agreed in the Author, so in the Matter of a Sacrament; Sacramen­tum est sacrae rei signum, saith St. Austin. A Sacrament is the sign of a thing Sacred; yet not every such sign (for then we should multiply Sacraments beyond reason) but such a Sacred thing as sanctifies the Recei­ver; Sacramentum propriè est signum rei sacrae in quantum est sanctificans; Properly a Sa­crament is the sign of a thing Sacred, inas­much as it is ordain'd to Sanctifie.

3. We are agreed in the effect and end; that God by the Mediation of his Sacra­ments, gives his Grace to such as are worthily prepared for them, and made par­takers of them.

4. We are, I hope, agreed too, as to the Constituents of a Sacrament. To the making of a Sacrament, the word is re­quired, the word of Consecration, the ope­rative word, (Sermo operatorius, as St. Am­brose calls it,) Accedit verbum ad elementum & fit Sacramentum; the word apply'd to the Element does make a Sacrament, saith St. Austin. We acknowledge, saith Zanchy, that a Sacrament is a visible sign: But of what? of an invisible Grace. But whence has it this (habitude) to be a sign of such a thing?De Relig. Christ Fi­des. p. 253. f. from the word of Christ's insti­tution, saith Zanchy.

From hence 'tis evident, that the sign of the Cross is far from the Nature of a Sacra­ment [Page 62] in the proper Notion of the Church. For,

  • 1. It has no office of Consecration to hal­low it, no word of Prayer or Benediction be­stow'd upon it.
  • 2. It has not Christ for its Author; we do not find, we do not say He gave it institu­tion to that effect.
  • 3. It has no internal sanctifying Grace for its Matter. And from hence it will unde­niably follow,
  • 4. That it does not confer, convey, or exhibit Grace, as the end of its appoint­ment.

It is the Resolution of Fran. Hallier Defens. Eccles. Hierarch. c. 2. Sect. 3. Pag. 85. (a sober and learned Sorbonist) Nullum signum practicum gratiae habitualis, ex opere operato eam Conferens, instituere potuit Ecclesia: ‘The Church cannot institute any practical sign of habitual Grace, that can confer, that Grace, ex opere operato; because it is in the Power of God alone to confer habi­tual Grace upon us: Nor can the Church of God appoint any sign to confer super­natural helps and motions of Grace, ex opere operato; because Actual Grace is no less supernatural than habitual, and God is equally the Author and Dispensor of them both. And secondly, saith He, we cannot understand how any spiritual or supernatural effect should follow upon the putting of any sign, unless we have [Page 63] some Covenant or Divine Promise to war­rant us, that such effect is annext to such a sign: but (saith he) we have no Testimony either of Scriptures, or Coun­cils, or Fathers, to assure us of any such Promise.’

And for the sign of the Cross in Baptism (wherein we are now particularly concern'd) it has no peculiar reference to God, or the sacred Rite of Baptism: but to the Congrega­tion into which we receive the baptized, and to the duty as to the end, unto which he is consigned; that he should not be ashamed to confess, &c. This therefore is appointed to assert our Privilege, and the duty incum­bent upon that account, So that in the use of this Ceremony, there is no Divine Autho­rity presumed, no Consecration perform'd, no Promise pretended, no Grace expected among us. We cannot therefore be supposed to use it as a Suppletory Sacrament; Nor (tho' of very great Antiquity) was it ever design'd to add any the least Melioration, Virtue, or Efficacy, to our Holy Baptism: but used as a Collateral Appendage and Contesseration of our solemn Engagement: to notifie our Relation to a Crucified Redeemer: to assert our interest in the Merits of his Death and Passion: to put us in mind of our Christian Profession, and to excite us unto our Duty. After this account, if the Offence of the Cross be not yet ceased, I shall add these fur­ther [Page 64] Considerations for the Reader's satis­faction.

1. These Dissenters make use of these words, Humane Sacraments, Symbolical Rites, Mystical Ceremonies, out of design to make a noise, to amuse and affright the scrupulous and common Reader. The word Sacrament is of a very large signification; An Oath is call'd a Sacrament; so is the Creed by St. Au­stin So is the Paschal Feast. Epist 119., and the whole Christian Doctrine by Tertullian; In the vulgar Latin, Marriage, is a Sacrament, Eph. 5. 32. so is the Incarna­tion of Christ (1 Tim. 3. 16.) Nebuchadnez­zar's Dream. (Dan. 2. 18, 30, 47.) The seven Stars and Candlesticks (Revel. 1. 20.) The use of that word therefore (whatever these Dissenters make of it) is no matter of offence or objection in this case.

2. We may make a sanctified use of all Creatures, of all Works of Art, and of all emergent Accidents: This cannot in Reason be denyed; for by this holy usage of them, we turn them into a Ladder; and by them our minds ascend up to God. And such out­ward and visible signs have an aptitude to that effect. Signum est quod praeter speciem, quam ingerit sensibus, facit aliquid aliud in Cognitionem (alias Cogitationem) venire, saith St. Austin. A sign is that which brings some­thing else into our thoughts and knowledge,V. Labat de Sacram. p. 5. & 6. besides that which it offers to our senses. And such signs, whether they be Natural or Arbi­trary, [Page 65] if the things suggested by them or col­lected from them, be spiritual and heavenly, it makes no matter of consequence, whe­ther they be called Mystical Ceremonies, Sym­bolical Rites, or Humane Sacraments; For they are really nothing else but outward and visible things applied to a spiritual and hea­venly use.

That such signs, or Humane Sacraments or Mystical Ceremonies (call them what you will) are, not only lawful, but laudable and of good use, is easie to evince. What if the sight of a Dial, puts me in mind, that my life is as a shaddow that departeth? and if I make the like reflection upon the striking of the Clock; and thereupon break out into this Ejaculation: [So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto Wisdom] What sober Christian could blame me for it? He was not an ill Man, who took occasion from the Feast at which he was entertain'd, to cry out, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God; And our Saviour took occasion from thence to discourse of his great Gospel Supper. There may be much Divinity, and much Moral Duty, taught by Hieroglyphicks; and Natural Re­ligion taught the Ninevites to put on Sack-cloath, to publish their sorrow and humilia­tion, Jonah 3. 5. to the 10th.

We have need enough of such helps; and God himself directs us to the use of them. [Page 56] Go to the Ant, V. Lyserus Fornax Babiloni­ca, p. 170, &c. to learn Industry: and consi­der the Lillies of the Field, to avoid anxiety. And he teaches us to make this spiritual im­provement, not only of the works of Na­ture; but of Art also, and of emergent Acci­dents. He commanded that the Censers of Corah and his Accomplices, (tho' abused to Superstition and Sacriledge; yet should still be continued in use about the Worship of God) that they should be made a Covering for the Altar, to be a Memorial, to prevent all Sacrilegious Vsurpations of the Priests Of­fice (Numb. 16. 40.) ‘Hereupon Mr. Calvin observes (as he had done before of God's Mercies and wonderful works, so now of his Judgments) Statim excidere ac deleri ex cordibus hominum, nisi adminiculis quibus­dam exerceantur in eorum Meditatione; that they do soon slip out of the memory, and are soon blotted out of the hearts of Men, unless they have some helps for their ex­ercise, in the Meditation of them. And (he says) This happens not only through their ignorance, but through their neglect; we should therefore be more attentive to such helps of Memory as may keep us to our Duty.’ Another instance we have to the same purpose (Numb. 57. 10.) And the Lord said unto Moses, bring Aarons Rod again before the Testimony, to be kept, for a token against the Rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmerings from me, that they die [Page 57] not; Upon which words, the same Mr. Cal­vin takes notice, ‘That men are forgetful and sluggish in considering the great Works of God, and many times they do wickedly Drown and Bury the Memory of them; and therefore not without an Exprobation, God Commands that Rod to be safely kept as a sign of their Contumacy and Rebellion.’

And it will not be amiss to take notice, that these Instances as well as that of the Altar erected by those Tribes, are in reference to Religion and God's Worship. All Rites and Ceremonies appointed in the Church, and about God's Worship, must be designed for Order, Decency and Edification; Vt Retina­cula sint & incitamenta Pietatis, that they may be stays, helps, and incentives unto Pie­ty, says a Learned Lutheran Meisner.. Such as are idle, insignificant, and unprofitable would be nugatory and ridiculous. But we must al­ways remember, that whatever the Church appoints, she does not pretend to add to Di­vine Institutions; but to assist our Infirmities in the use of them. It is not in her power to meliorate an Ordinance of God's appoint­ment; but to adorn the Solemnity to imprint our duty and heighten our affections to it. God's Sacraments cannot be made better in their own Nature: But the Faith, the Devo­tion and Piety of the Receivers and Worship­pers may be more or less intense and vigorous, [Page 68] according to the impressions made upon their Faculties: And he that is not sensible of the force of words and visible signs to this effect, is too stupid and bruitish to write himself a Man.

There is scarce any Object but may be help­ful to our devotion, and serve us to some spiritual and heavenly end and purpose; and when there is none offer'd, we should study and make occasions to be heavenly minded. 'Tis a good Observation of Mr. Arrowsmith, in a Sermon before the House of Commons, (on Revel. 12. 1, 2.)Jan. 27. 1646. That besides the Natu­ral, there is a spiritual use to be made of all the Creatures, (and I will add, of all the works of Art, and of all occasional emergencies,) Man's Soul (says he) is an Alembeck, in which, when the Creatures are laid like so many herbs, if there be any fire of Devotion within, many sweet Meditations may be distilled. Natu­ral hearts are apt to make a sensual use of Di­vine things: but Spiritual hearts have an Art of making Divine uses even of Natural things, which (says he) we should all do well to learn. And may we not set up our Fur­nace in God's House? May we not extract such Spirits and Essences in Matters of Re­ligion, and Divine Worship? Should we en­deavour to be devout and heavenly-minded at all times, and shall we be prophane in God's House? when we are about his Wor­ship and Service shall we be prophane [Page 69] then, for fear we should be accounted Su­perstitious? God forbid. Let us always bear in mind the Apostles Rule, and let our Pra­ctice make it ours; Do all to the Glory of God.

To help the truely weak and conscientious over that, which these Dissenters have made so great a stumbling block, I mean the sign of the Cross; I shall conclude this Section with a Meditation of that Polite and Learned Prelate (Bishop Hall.) His Subject is a Red Cross upon a Door, and his Devotions run out thus, [Oh sign, fear­fully significant; this Sickness is a Cross in­deed, and that a bloody one; both the form and the colour import Death; The Israelites doors, whose Lintels were besprin­kled with blood, were passed over by the destroying Angel; here the destroying Angel hath smitten, and left this mark of his deadly blow; we are wont to fight cheer­fully under this Ensign abroad, and be victorious; why should we tremble at it at home? Oh God, there thou fightest for us, Here against us; under that we have fought for thee, but under this (because our sins have fought against thee) we are fought against by thy Judgments. Yet Lord, it is thy Cross, tho' an heavy one; It is ours by Merit, thine by Imposition; O Lord, san­ctifie thine affliction, and remove thy ven­geance.

[Page 60] Certainly there's more Devotion and Piety in such Godly Meditations upon the Cross, then in quarrelling at the Inno­cent use of it; And I am sure 'tis no Su­perstition to use any thing for a help to heavenly Meditation; but only then when I treat it with affections and a regard, above the true value of it; and court it with Adoration. To conclude this Sub­ject. If I be low of Stature, (as Zacheus was) and shall meet with any Tree, that lifts me up to a Salutary apprehension of my Saviour, I will neither make it my Idol by a Religious veneration, nor will I superstitiously reject it, upon a vain or pre­tended fear of becoming an Idolater at the sight of it. See more of this Subject, Sect. 8. at the end.

Dissenters Third Section.

THey Plead, That since Communion with the Church is suspended and denyed, but upon such Terms as take away Christian Liberty in part, and by Consequence leaves all the rest at Mercy; They dare not accept of Communion upon those Terms. There are some things, which God has, in the ge­neral, lest free and indifferent, to do or not [Page 61] do; yet at some times, and in some Cases, it may be my great sin, if I should do some of them; as when it would wound the Con­science, and destroy the Soul of a weak Chri­stian: If now I shall ingage my self to the Church, that I will never omit such an In­different thing; and the Soul of that weak Christian should call to me to omit it, I have tyed my hands by ingagement, I cannot help him, tho' it would save His or a Thousand Souls out of Hell; because I have given away my freedom to the Church.

The Answer.

Tho' the Church does restrain our Liber­ty in part, yet the whole is not in danger; because she does declare, That where there is no Sin in the imposition, of things Indif­ferent (as to the nature of the things) yet Authority may be excessive, as to the mul­tiplicity and number of them. If the Go­vernours of the Church, as the Pharisees of old, should lay heavy burdens upon o­ther mens shoulders, and not so much as touch them with one of their own Fin­gers, there might be some colour for this Objection: But we know, They are the first, the most eminent and punctual, in the pra­ctice of what is injoyn'd; and to think they will ever incumber and overload themselves with Ceremonies, is irrational. And God [Page 72] be thanked, we have a Prelacy so Moderate, so Discreet and Learned, there's no ground to fear it. This Author was convinced of this; and therefore he sets up his Consequence for a Bug-bear; and so perhaps when the sky falls we may have a quarry for his jealousie.

The mean while we acknowledge that Christ hath purchased a Liberty for His Church: If the Son shall make you free, then shall ye be free indeed, Joh. 8. 36.

This is Liberty from a yoak of bondage: A yoak that had a heavy burden annext to it; From the bondage of the Devil, the Su­perstition, Idolatry, and Vncleanness, with all the Pomps and Vanities, wherewith He had inthrall'd the wicked world; from the Captivity and Law of Sin in our Members; from the Curse of the Moral Law, and from the wrath of God, the fear of Death, and the bondage of Corruption upon that account; From the Obligation of Moses Law, of the Levitical Rites and Ceremonies, with such Humane Traditions as had taken their rise from thence; And altho by Analogy some Di­vines are wont to reduce unto this Head such Ceremonies as become matter of Super­stition in their use, or burdensom for their va­riety and number; yet this does not impeach the Authority of the Church, in command­ing such as shall be deemed meet to adorn the Solemnity, and procure Reverence and Devotion, in God's House and Worship. [Page 73] 'Twas the design of our Redeemer to make us free from the bondage before mentioned; but not to set us at liberty from a decent Ha­bit, from a Reverent gesture, or from any innocent observance, which the Authority of Prudent and Pious Governours shall ap­point.

For the liberty which Christ hath pur­chased for us is consistent with Civil Servi­tude; (1 Cor. 7. 21, 22.) Art thou called being a Servant? care not for it. For he that is called in the Lord being a Servant, is Christs free-man. Therefore, when he saith (in the next Verse) Be not ye the Servants of Men; His meaning is, as Bruno hath very well ex­prest it, it a quòd in vobis pereat servitus Chri­sti; be not the Servants of Men, so as to abandon, lessen or depretiate the Service of Christ. Tho' ye cannot serve God and Mam­mon, Christ and Belial; yet ye may Fear God, and the King; ye may serve them both, and ye serve the Lord in your duty to your Relations. (Col. 3. 24.)

Christ came not to dissolve the Law be­twixt any Relations, but to tye their Mu­tual Obligations faster, tho' with the silken strings of Love and Charity. If we should instance in all Relations, the matter of Fact is evident.

1. Betwixt Masters and Servants, (Eph. 6. 5. Col. 3. 22. & 4. 1.)

[Page 64] 2. Betwixt Parents and Children, (Eph. 6. 1. Col. 3. 20, 21.)

3. Betwixt Husband and Wife, (Eph. 5. 22, &c. Col. 3. 18, 19.)

4. Betwixt Prince and People, (Rom. 13. 1, &c. 1 Pet. 2. 13, &c.

'Tis not probable, that He, whose Laws do enforce the duty of all other Relations with stronger ties of obligation and en­dearment, should leave his own House and Kingdom to be the only Stage for an unbri­dled licentiousness.

Things were never left so indifferent since the first Creation, as to leave any man with­out restraint. And did Christ purchase him­self a Church with his own Blood, did he Espouse her to himself in a Covenant of Peace and loving kindness, and then abandon her to the Conduct of blind chance, to the extra­vagant Caprichoes and wild whimseys of Fana­ticks, or to the Lust, Humour, or Ambi­tion of Pretenders to Religion? No; He has establish'd a Regiment and Subordination; And altho' the Government he has appoint­ed be not Despotical but Ministerial, not Lordly, but Paternal and Fatherly; yet hath he invested his Pastors and Bishops with a Power to Order and Command 1 Tim. 5. 17., and has put his Flock and his Disciples under an Obliga­tion to obeyHeb. 13. 7, 17.; for Authority without Obe­dience, would be trifling and to no effect. Dic Ecclesiae Mat. 18. 17. has sometimes been the last [Page 65] resort in every difference. And the Sentence of the Church like the Oath of God (for Con­firmation of the Truth) has put an end to all strife. For 'tis God's solemn Promise to His Church (Isa. 60. 12.) The Nation and King­dom that will not serve thee, shall perish.

And here we must observe a great diffe­rence between the Church of Christ, and some Civil Societies. For these may have their being first, and then frame their Go­vernment; They are first free, and have all Jurisdiction Originally in themselves, and then they communicate the same to Kings or Magistrates. But the Church did not make it self, nor its own Government: but Christ, who is Prince and Head, did first appoint Rules and Orders, constitute Laws and Of­ficers, by which his Church should be go­verned, and then did call and assemble it; and wherein he hath determin'd any thing, we are obliged to look upon it as necessary to the support and well-ordering of that Society.

Whether such Orders were made by him­self, or determined by his Apostles, (who were immediately sent by him to that pur­pose) makes no difference. For he spent For­ty dayes with them after his Resurrection, in­structing them about the Constitution and Government of his Kingdom, (Act. 1. 2, 3.) and after his Ascension, he sent down the Holy Ghost, to establish and impower them; [Page 76] that is, not only to make them Prudent, but Infallible. Hereupon they did not only pro­fess that they had the mind of Christ, (1 Cor. 2. 16. Gal. 1. 12.) but that they acted all in his Name 1 Cor. 2. 16. 1 Cor. 5. 4. 2 Cor. 2. 10., that is, by his Power, Com­mission and Authority. From hence it will undeniably follow, that such as come under this Apostolical Government, (which is the Government of Christ's Kingdom) have no Christian Liberty, but what is restrain'd and limitted by the Laws of that Government; because that very Charter by which they claim their Liberty had establish'd that Go­vernment before They were called to be Christians, and admitted into that Society. I say, This Authority and Ecclesiastical Government, being antecedent to the Incor­poration of all particular Churches, the Li­berty of the Members (being Subjects) of Those Churches, must needs (de jure) be re­strained by the Laws and Orders, which are inacted and appointed by That Autho­rity.

What Those Laws and Orders are, have been declared already; we shall add these further Observations of them.

1. They were occasional; yet the occasions for their introduction were such, as will perpetuate the force and obligation of them. The Moral Law, which prescribes the Sub­stantial Worship of God, teaches a double Duty,

[Page 77] 1. To Glorife our God. And,

2. To Edifie our Neighbour.

This gives the occasion and ground to the Rule of Significancy Suspicor eos judai­zasse in confusâ vocum sua­rum Com­mixtione: Lightf. in 1 Ep. ad Corin. 14. 2. p. 8 [...]. Lightfoot.; that in the Pub­lick performance of Divine Worship and Service, we do all things with understand­ing; 1 Cor. 14. 15. I will pray with the spi­rit, and I will pray with understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Orabo spiritu, i. e. in demonstratione donorum spiritua­lium; & Orabo intelligentia, i. e. ut intelli­gar ab aliis; That is, I will make such a de­monstration of my spiritual Gifts as shall be intelligible: Consider St. Paul's Discourse takes in Musical In­struments. 1 Cor. 14. 7, and 8 Verses. Here is a single instance in point of Language; For prescinding from the con­sideration of God's Glory in the Churches edification, 'tis indifferent what Language we use in our Prayers and Sermons: And by a parity of reason, not all Offices and Forms of Administration only, but all Rites and Cere­monies should be significant.

2. Under colour of Christian Liberty, many let loose the rains to their lusts and sensual appetites, were luxurious and libi­dinous even to a Proverb, accounting For­nication amongst things indifferent, as is ge­nerally observed by Learned Men.Apoc. 2. 20. And this was a noted Vice among the Corinthi­ans; insomuch as Corinthiari Prisci vulgato joco dicebant eos, qui voluptatibus & Scorta­tionibus indulgerent & Lenocinium exercerunt, [Page 68] saith Bullinger (ad 1 Cor. 6Vid. Grot. ad locum.. 68.) they were wont to say of such as did indulge their Lusts and lived in carnal Pleasures, that they plaid the Corinthians. Others again, tho' they did not addict themselves to such leud and dishonest courses, yet would take liberty to walk contrary to the Decorum of civil Modesty and common Custom, whereof the Apostle has given several instances, (1 Cor. 11. 4, 16, 21, 22, 34, 35.) and they would needs make Religion their pretence, and the House of God their Sanctuary for this Prophaneness. These unseemly and dis­honest courses, gave occasion for that Rule of Decency.

3. Under pretence of extraordinary Gifts and sudden impulses of the spirit, some would start up (and possibly at the suggestion of the Tempter, or the motion of Fancy) to the interruption of more grave, modest, and solid Teachers, and to the disturbance of the whole Congregation: [Vid. Grot. ad 1 Cor. 14. 27, 34.] Quando unus adversus alterum tumens, illo adhuc loquente, loqui tentabat, dissentionem faciebat, saith Haymo, & hoc Deo execrabile erat: ‘When one man swell'd against another, and would attempt to speak before the words were out of the other man's mouth, this made Dissention, and was execrable to Almighty God.’ This oc­casion'd that Rule [...]: Let all things be done according to order.

[Page 69] 4. When the Gentiles had cast off the yoak of their Heathen Superstition and Ido­latry, and embraced the Faith of Christ, there were false Apostles, who made it their business to reconcile them to the Law of Moses; And did tempt them to adopt the Foederal Rites of the Jews, yea, and of the Gentiles too, into their practice, with the Profession of Christianity: This was plau­sible upon the account of Christian Liberty, and the pretence that these things were now become indifferent; but the Apostle observes the Practice, not only to be hypo­critical (and unwarrantable for that rea­son): but to be full of peril and hazard otherwise: And this gave rise to his Rule of Expediency.

2. These Laws and Rules as they were Occasional, so they are General; and there was some reason for it: The same particu­lar and special Rules would not suit with all Places, Times and Tempers. Several Nations have their several Manners, Humours, Cu­stoms; and we see what is Veneration and Decency in one part of the World, is not accounted so in another. Hence we find variety of Rites, Forms and Customs in se­veral Churches; and those Churches are not to be blam'd for it, keeping to the General and Apostolick Rule. Absit ambi­tio, absit pervicacia, absit fastus & con­temptus aliarum: adsit è conversò studium [Page 80] aedificationis, adsit moderatio & prudentia: & tunc in rituum varietate nihil exit re­praehensione dignum, saith Mr. Calvin (ad 1 Cor. 14. 36.) ‘Away with Ambition, away with Obstinacy, away with Pride and Contempt of others: and on the other side take in Prudence, take in Modera­tion, take in a care of Edification; and then in the variety of Rites and Customs there is nothing to be reprehended.’ The Apostles Rule is general; and the Prudence of Governours must deduce particulars (as for decency, so for significancy and intelli­gibleness) as occasion serves, suitable to the Circumstances of Times, Places, and Persons.

3. We may observe also, That these Laws, and Rules and Orders, being Apostolical, are, as to the Original, the root and ground of them, Divine, as if they came from the very Spi­rit and Mouth of Christ himself: So the A­postle, They are the Commandments of the Lord, (1 Cor. 14. 37.) The Reader may re­flect upon what was mentioned above, from Calvin, Hemmingius, Dickson, and Grotius, in Confirmation hereof. Calixtus glosses thus upon the words, [Divinoe voluntati Consentaneum esse.] Let him know that 'tis consonant to the Divine Will, that all things be performed, which the Apostle has pre­scrib'd, for Order and Edification. For that good order be kept is a Divine Command. [Page 81] But what order ought to be kept, this or that, is to be collected from the diverse Conside­ration of Persons, Times, and other Circum­stances. Thus Calixtus. And Bullinger to the like purpose;Ad 1 Cor. 14. 37. when the Apostle saith, If any one seems to be a Prophet, let him know, that what I write unto you are the Commande­ments of God; He does clearly confirm, that all, which he had written of Prophecy, and the use of Tongues, and of Ecclesiastical Assem­blies in general, non ex humana sed divina tra­ditione scripsit; He wrote it not upon any Humane, but a Divine Tradition. From hence it will follow in the last place.

4. That Laws made according to such ge­neral Rules, are necessary to be obeyed; we must look upon them as having their appro­bation from the mouth of Christ, saith Mr. Calvin; uti Supra, V. Perkins on Gal. 2 [...] m. p. 190. 2. a. and (Jure divino) says Hem­mingius, they do call for our obedience. And we have the suffrage of a great Council with the assistance of the Holy Ghost for it, Act. 15. 28. The things there injoyn'd, are call'd ne­cessary things and accordingly Hierome glos­ses upon those words of St. Paul even now mentioned, 1 Cor. 14. 28Nihil su­um tradere se dicit, sed Domini. Ambros. ad loc.. These things are the Commandements of the Lord; that is, God has by me Commanded, quae factu sunt necessaria, those things which are necessary to be done. But as Calixtus and Malcolm have observ'd (to give you the sence of them both in the words of the last) Necessitas illa [Page 82] non fuit absoluta, Ad Act. 15. 28. ‘That Necessity was not ab­solute, but ought to be referred to the con­dition of the time, that there might be the nearer approach and better agreement in their course of life between the Jews and Gentiles; Those things were necessary to be decreed respectively to the general Rules of Order and Expedience, to take off the aver­sion of the Jews, and to prevent the obdu­ration of the Gentiles, and to promote their Coalition into one Body, their Association into one Communion in the Church of Christ.’ Brockman Tom. 2. c. 2. 9. 3. p. 516. says roundly, Quod in se est liberum, Propter publicum Ecclesiae De­cretum servari debet ut necessarium, non ne­cessitate simplici & absolutâ, sed necessitate Ordinis & decori, teste Dei spiritu, Act 15. 28. ‘That which is free in it self, upon the ac­count of the Churche's Decree, ought to be observed as a thing necessary, not by a sim­ple and absolute necessity, but by a necessity of Order and Decorum; and he alleadgeth that very Text for it,’ Act. 15. 28.

Nothing therefore can be more evident than that our Liberty is restrained both by positive Laws, and a standing Authority.

I shall add yet further, That the Apostle did never set up any Liberty against Autho­rity, never intended to subject Authority to the designs of false Apostles, or the pretences of the Spirit, or a tender Conscience. He gave this charge, (Rom. 13. 4.) Let every [Page 83] soul be subject to the higher Powers, and hav­ing the mind of Christ (as he Professes) he could not forget that decretory Sentence, He that will not hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a Heathen and a Publican. He was sometimes very indulgent out of his great Zeal to gain all that were or might be tracta­ble: but when he observed a Faction came in as Spies to find out their Christian Liberty, in order to intangle them in a new yoak of Bondage, he opposed it with an inflexible stoutness by his Apostolical Authority. A­gain, when he saw others put a restraint up­on the use of things indifferent, for fear of Sin, or of offending God, or on pretence of Religion, He severely checkt them as Super­stitious, Col. 2. 20. Touch not, tast not, handle not. Whatever Faction was in vogue, he ever interposed his Authòrity to quench it. When Christian Liberty was invaded upon the account of necessity, in order to Justifica­tion and Salvation; He commands them to stand fast in their Christian Liberty; but then lest they should grow high and insolent, sleight the Examples of their worthy Presi­dents, and withstand the Laws of a just Au­thority, He refers them to their spiritual Guides, and injoyns them to follow their Faith and Practice, (Hebr. 13. 7, 17.) Phil. 4. 9.

Nor is this all, He asserts his Authority at a higher rate than this: He tells them he [Page 84] has [Power enough] in a readiness to avenge all disobedience; and to encounter such as were puffed up against his Clemency; which makes him put it to their Deliberation what Method of Discipline He should use among them: What will you? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, or in the spirit of meek­ness? (1 Cor. 4. last.) And if they will urge him to it, if he must use the Rod, He tells them he will not spare, He will use sharpness according to the Power the Lord had given him, to Edification, and not unto Destruction, (2 Cor. 13. 10.) By excusing himself from this severity, He makes his threatning the more formidable, (saith Oecumenius) The Power of inflicting Censures, he ascribes to Christ; and tho' this Power may by acci­dent be destructive to the Flesh, yet it is certainly design'd for the benefit of the Church; Nam punire peccantes aedificatio Ecclesiae est, the Punishment of Offenders, is the Edification of the Church, while by the Punishment of such, others are rendred more stedfast and more approved, says the same Author,V. 2 Thes. 3. 65. 14. when he made any Ordinances, he did expect a due observation of them: Now, I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the Traditions (or the Ordinances) as I delivered them unto you. (1 Cor. 11. 2.V. Gro­tius, 1 ad Cor. 11. 2..) And 'tis observed, These Traditions were not Dogmatical, but Ritual, and about things indifferent; nor yet were [Page 85] they Perpetual, but Temporary, (as Sclater Sclater. notes) And when his Ordinances of this na­ture were neglected or despised, He could express himself like a Son of Thunder. Wit­ness, what he writes upon this Argument (1 Cor. 14. 37, 38.) and he appeals to such as pretended to the Spirit, and to the gift of Prophecy, If any man think himself to be a Prophet, or Spiritual, let him acknowledge, that the things which I write unto you, are the Commandment of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. The Apostle does here anticipate the prejudice of proud men, (saith Sclater) who had it in their hearts to object thus; Seeing we are spiritual, we are able enough surely to judge of these things; so that you shall not need to in­terpose your opinion. There were a sort of high-minded men, who thought themselves above the Apostles teaching; and the only Wise men of all the Church, and therefore they prefer'd themseves above all others; and here the Apostle does repress their Super­cilious arrogance (saith Aretius.) Dickson calls them Sciolists (for all their pretended Gifts,) and tells us the Apostle does here con­temn their affected ignorance, and a Precept being now given to the Governours of the Church, that they should acknowledge these Commands to be Divine, He remits these ignorant Contemners of them, to the Mode­rators of Discipline (that's the Phrase it seems [Page 86] among the Scotish Presbyterians) to be dealt withal according to the Rule and Judgment of the Apostle. In settling these Rules and Orders, the Apostle seems to say, I have done my duty; if any man will yet continue obstinate, and will not understand his own, Let him affect his ignorance at his own peril; Nam spreta Authoritas Apostolica, Deum ha­bet vindicem, saith Grotius; for when the Apostolical Authority is despised, God is the avenger of it. At (que) ita contentiosis qui ac­quiescere nesciunt, & nullum finem disputandi faciunt, froenum injicit (saith Calixtus:) ‘And thus he casts a Bridle upon the Contentious, who know not how to acquiesce, or make an end of their disputing.’ By all this it is evident, That the Apostle never set up any Christian Liberty against a just Authority; never intended to subject Authority to the designs of false Apostles or Pretenders to the Spirit; what he hath delivered in fa­vour of weak Christians we shall consider anon.

In the mean while (and in order to that) it may be worth our inquiry, why the great Apostle should vary so much in his way of handling the same Argument. Of Circum­cision and other Ceremonies, Synops. In Proleg. ad Roman. it is observable, he treats more mildly and gently in His Epi­stle to the Romans, but more severely and sharply a great deal in his Epistles to the Ga­latians and Colossians. Was it out of Conde­scention [Page 87] to their weakness at his first Writing, which was not to be continued, when success of time might have afforded them sufficient means of better Information? So the Au­thor of the Synopsis Proleg. ad Roman. thinks; but then the Epistle to the Romans should be more early written, then the Learned do allow it was. Soto In Ep. ad Rom. c. 14. 15. p. 379. 1. is of Opinion, That the Mystery of St. Peter's Vision (which directed him to converse with Cornelius and other Gentiles, Act. 10. 10, &c.) was not yet published to the Romans, or at least that they did not un­derstand the meaning of it; and thence he Collects also, that the Council mentioned, Act. 15. was not then assembled. In the Epistle to the Romans the Controversie chief­ly lay between Grace and Nature; but in that to the Galatians, it was betwixt the Law and Faith, saith Ambianus, Argum. Ep. ad Rom. The Apostle was angry with the Galatians; because, tho' they were very well instructed, yet they were easily seduced. But he ought not to be angry with the Romans, but to commend their Faith, quia nulla virtutum videntes in­signia susciperunt fidem Christi (saith the Com­ment of St. Ambrose Presat▪ ad Rom.) because they had embraced the Faith, tho' they had seen no Miracles; and tho' they mistook the sense, it was, because they had not yet been sufficient­ly instructed in the Mystery of Christ's Cross. The Epistle to the Galatians was written on­ly to Gentiles; that to the Romans, was writ­ten [Page 88] both to Jews and Gentiles, as S. Hierom Ad Gal. 5. has observed. The Jewish Converts tho' they embraced the Faith, yet they thought themselves still obliged to Moses Law, to abstain from certain Meats, and to observe certain days according to the Jewish Cu­stoms: On the other side, the Gentiles, (and such as were better instructed in the Truth of the Gospel) they embraced the faith of Christ, but would not be concern'd in those Mosaical Observances, to which they had never been addicted; Hereupon heats and animosities did arise, which kindled into a despising and condemning of one another. Now in this Epistle to the Romans, it was the great Temper and Prudence of the Apostle to carry an even hand betwixt the two contending Parties, and amicably to compromiseEt hoc egisse Pau­lum ut neu­ter populus offendere­tur, quo Sc. utra (que) plebs pri­vilegium possideret. Hieron. Ad Galat. 51. the difference between them. We must remem­ber St. Paul had not yet been at Rome: And altho' upon Information and Complaint from some other Churches, He gave Orders (at a distance) for the redress of some particular Miscarriages; yet some other things he thought fit to reserve till his own perso­nal presence should give him an opportu­nity to inspect the Temper and Conditions of the People, that he might be the better able to settle such Rules and Orders as should ap­pear to be most convenient. Thus he did in the Church of Corinth: Many undecent Carriages he corrected by his Epistle, Coete­ra [Page 89] autem quae ad aedificationem Ecclesiae perti­nent, praesentiâ suâ Ordinare se promisit, (saith St. Ambros. ad 1 Cor. 11. ult.) Other things which concern'd the Edification of the Church, He promised to set in order by his presence. And thus de did touching the Church of Rome. Some Points of Doctrine he carefully stated; as Justification by Grace, through the Faith, which is in Christ Jesus, &c. He Taught the Jew and Gentile-Converts likewise, how they should carry themselves respectively to one another; That the strong should not despise the weak, nor the weak judge and condemn the strong. But these were Directions for Common use among pri­vate Christians: but for Decrees and Orders of publick use and practice, he gave out none to this Church; because as yet, here was no Jurisdiction settled, no Laws made, no Go­vernours appointed to put them in Execu­tion. This Grotius Collects from Rom. 16. 4, 5, & 17. ‘This makes me believe, that there were then no Common Assemblies (of Christians) saith he, or no Presbyterie at Rome. Otherwise in stead of command­ing to mark such as caused those Scandals, or Schisms, He would have had them Ex­communicated. For when the Church is without such Government, single Persons can do no more than avoid familiar Con­versation with such as live not according to the Rule of Christ.’ Thus Grotius Catha­rinus [Page 90] seems to Collect no less from the Apo­stles expostulation, Rom. 14. 4. Who art thou that judgest another man's Servant? Cùm non sis Pastor aut Dominus ejus, seeing thou art neither his Pastour nor his Lord: and there­fore thou hast no right to pass Sentence on him. And as much is to be concluded from the 22 Verse, Hast thou faith? have it to thy self before God. Had there been a Bishop settled there, it had been their Duty in any Matter of Hesitation, to consult him, to resolve their Doubts, and settle their Persua­sions; But as yet there was no such Establish­ment; hereupon he does advise them to be sincere in their Profession, and to carry themselves uprightly between God and their own Conscience. Catharinus to this pur­pose saith thus; ‘Thou hast Faith; that is, thou hast a clear knowledge of thy Liberty in matters indifferent: But have this Faith to thy self before God; that thou mayest not hurt thy weak Brother. And this is always to be the Practice in such things as the Church does tolerate: They are to be dissembled or concealed, and we must yield to Infirmity, for a time, till the matter comes to be made more clear. But then we ought to dissemble or con­ceal (our persuasion) no longer, but freely to declare, and boldly to follow what the Church hath established: Thus Cathari­nus; for then Obedientia praecepti est, our [Page 91] Obedience is under Precept, as Tolet hath observedAd Rom. 14. p. 622. Vid. Soto ad Rom. 14. p. 382. Col. 2. Fir. 6.. The Apostle doth Predict and Promise them a happy Conquest over all ad­versary Power, whether exercised by subtle­ty and imposture or otherwise, Rom. 16. 20 Vid. Grotium, & De la Cerda ad locum & Oecumen.. The God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. He means the false Apostles, Deceivers, and Disturbers of the Churches Peace, the signal Instruments of Satan; and their overthrow should be by his speedy com­ming to them, to ordain what was wanting to their settlement.

The design of this Digression is to shew, that the Apostle did never give colour to set up Christian Liberty against the Laws and Authority of the Church. And 'tis further evident, that the Church did from time to time prescribe and limit the use of things in­different, as they judged it most expedient, to avoid Scandal, and promote Edifica­tion. And to this purpose they did ob­serve times, and determine things, and di­stinguish persons.

1. They did observe times; For the Peo­ple of the Jews had been so long Wedded un­to Moses, had so great a veneration for all his Laws, Rites, and Ceremonies, and these were so constantly inculcated into them eve­ry Sabbath Day (as St. James observes, Act. 15▪ 21.) That they could not suddenly be weaned from the Practice of them. And they were a People so perverse, stubborn, and inflexible, [Page 92] that St. Peter himself was pendulous and knew not well how to handle them: yea, tho' he had a Vision from Heaven to instruct him in his Duty that way (Act. 10. 10.) yet still he was sometimes afraid to own the Con­versation of the Gentiles; and as his fear had once betrayed him to disown Christ himself, so in this Case it betray'd him to disown his own Christian Liberty. Gal. 2. 11. St. Paul was pendulous too, and acted the same part for some time upon the same account; for one while, to comply with their Zeal for the Law of Moses, He circumcised Timothy, (Act. 16. 5.) and purified himself with other Vo­taries, after the Rites and Custom of the Law, (Act. 21. 23.) But afterward he grew more resolved (as he perceived the Jews grew more obstinate and malicious) and would neither yield to have Titus circum­cised, nor endure Peter's counterfeit compli­ance with the humour of the Jews, to the prejudice of the Gospel, Gal. 2, 3. 11.

But when certain of the Sect of the Pha­risees would needs intail Salvation upon Cir­cumcision and the Law of Moses (Act. 15. 1, 5.) 'twas high time to consult the Apostles and Elders about this matter; lest the Gentiles in general should be discouraged from em­bracing the Gospel, and such as had embra­ced it already should be tempted to Aposta­tize from the Profession of it. The Council Convened at Jerusalem to decide this Con­troversie, [Page 93] determines in this Decree, That the Gentiles should abstain from meats offered to Idols, and from blood, and from things stran­gled, and from fornication, (Vers. 29.)

Here is a restraint put upon the Gentiles in favour of the Jews; and they restrain'd them in one practice which was amongst them, as a Foederal Rite of their Religion, eating in their Idols Temples, and of such meats as had been offer'd unto Idols; These things of themselves were indifferent, (as St. Paul proves at large, 1 Cor. 8. 4. and Chap. 10, 25, 27. And among these they reckon Fornication; because (tho' forbidden by the Moral Law) it was lookt upon, as a thing indifferent among the Gentiles.

In order to a Coalition of Jews and Gentiles into one Communion, they would have the Gentiles so far to conform to the Jews in their daily and familiar Conversation, as to abstain from (such things as the Jews did most ab­hor) the eating of things offer'd to Idols, from blood, and from things strangled; These were not necessary simply and in strict speak­ing, but indifferent; yet being so highly expedient to the Edification and Unity of the Church, they were pass'd into the Decree as necessary things, Act. 15. 28.

Here was nothing determin'd as to the Point of Circumcision; yet in this very De­cree it was tacitly imply'd, That after the Death of Christ, neither Circumcision, nor [Page 74] the Sacrifices or Ceremonies of the Law, were necessary either to the Jews or Gentiles, to­ward the obtaining of Faith or Salvation. And yet to such Jews as became Christians, and lived in Palestine, they concluded the observation thereof so far forth necessary, till the Destruction of the Temple, that they might not seem to have lost their reverence for God's Commands, and by that means so alienate the minds of their Countreymen both from themselves, and from Christi­anity.

To decide the Case concerning the Cere­monial Law, St. Austin does distinguish three Periods of Times. The first, before Christ's Passion, wherein those Precepts were alive, in vigour and of great obligation. The second time was from the passion of Christ to the sufficient Promulgation of the Gospel, wherein those Precepts were dead, and did neither bind nor profit any body, yet they were not deadly: but tolerated and exposed to view as a Herse lay'd in state, till they might re­ceive an honourable Burial, in the rubbish of the Temple. But when men began to pay an awful Reverence to this deceased Body of Moses, and to put their trust in it for Grace and Salvation; then the Rites and Ceremo­nies of this Law became deadly, and began to stink, as false signs of a thing to come, which really was already past; and then this Law was utterly exploded as an Impo­sture [Page 95] and an object of Superstition. To this observation of times by the Apostles, I shall add but one thing more: There was a time when the Apostle thought fit to tell the Philippians, that in some Cases, they might (then) expect a clearer Revelation, Phil. 3. 15. But we being so well assured, that the per­fect Canon of Scripture is Consigned to the Church, He will be in great danger of Enthusiasm, who now expects a further Re­velation.

2. As the Apostles did observe times, so they did determine things. What things were determined by that Council, (Act. 15.) (for a temporary observation among the Gen­tiles) you have seen already: But the Capi­tal question, that about Circumcision, was left undecided. At this the false Apostles and Sect of Pharisees took advantage. That Gentiles might be admitted into their Com­munion they did not deny, but would have Them made Proselytes of the Covenant, where­of Circumcision was the foederal Rite: This Sacrament therefore they must receive for their initiation, else they could not be saved▪ (as Act. 15. 15.) This makes the Apostle write so sharply against Circumcision (which in effect did imply an obligation to observe the whole Law, Gal. 5.

In short, Those Converts, whether brought into the Christian Church, from the Com­munion of the Jews or Gentiles, Their [Page 96] Case was this: The Jewish part of them had been Educated under the Discipline of Moses; The false Apostles told them they were yet under the bond of that Dispensation, and some were so simple and weak as to believe them. Hereupon they had still an eye to those Jewish Rites and Sacraments, even in the use of Christ's own Institutions. They did Judaize in the Matter of Circumcision, and Paschatize in the Use of the Lord's Sup­per, wherein they had a greater veneration and respect for their old Passover than for Christ's Sacrifice; and for this reasonDr. Light­foot. Ad 1 Cor. 11. 29. the Apostle taxeth them, That in the Celebra­tion thereof, They did not discern the Lord's Body. By this means the Apostle tells them they did renounce their part in Christ, and were faln from Grace, (Gal. 5. 2, 4.) And he says, as ill things of the Gentiles. For by the Rites and Ceremonies of their Religion, and particularly by their Feasts in the Idols Temple, they held a Communion with De­vils. Now to see such as had taken upon them the Profession of Christianity, play the Jews and Gentiles, in addicting them­selves to the Institutions, Rites, and Cere­monies of that Religion and Worship, which those Jews and Gentiles respectively did pro­fess and practise, This was such a Scandal to the Conscientious and weak Disciples, the Apostle could not dissemble the resentment of it; but tells them plainly, They did re­nounce [Page 97] Christ in it, they were faln from Grace, and were in Communion with DevilsGal. 3. 4. 1 Cor. 10. 20, 21., and Christ should profit them nothing; and the Scandal they gave hereby might harden un­believers, and betray weak Christians to fall into the same state of Condemnation1 Cor. 8. 9, 10, 11, 12.. Hereupon they came to a determination, and did actually restrain the use of Christian Li­berty in these things.

3. They did distinguish of Persons: among Christians, they found some that were weak, and some that were strong: The strong were those that were sound in the Faith; they per­fectly understood the extent of Christian Li­berty, the nature and use of things indiffe­rent: they could forbear or use them as oc­casion served, without hesitation or doubt­fulness: They were offended at nothing; The weak were such as had the Faith newly plant­ed in them: They were Novices in Christia­nity, and their Faith being yet tender, was apt to be shaken by ill Documents and Ex­amples. 'Tis an Observation of St. Hìerom (on Mat. 18. 6.) Quòd qui scandalizatur, par­vulus est: Majores enim scandala non recipiunt: He that is offended is (weak, or) a little one: for the greater (strong in the Faith) receive no offence, or Scandal: But all men had not this Faith, Ad Rom. 14. (Rom. 14. 2.) There were some weak (saith Catharinus) Qui metuebant, ubi omnis timoris cessaverat ratio, & volebant sem­per manere in legis lacte & elementis: Such as [Page 98] did fear where there was no reason at all for it; and they would (by their good will) be always feeding upon the milk of the Law.

From This distinction of Persons, some things are observable.

1. That this weakness proceeds from igno­rance, 1 Cor. 8. 7. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge. Then when the Church was an Infant, certain of the con­verted from Judaism did believe, and con­tend, that the Law was not antiquated by the Gospel; but was rather to be observed together with it.Ad Rom. 14. in Princ. And these (saith Soto) the Apostle calls weak in the faith, quasi nondum satis progressos confirmatos (que) in cognitione fidei: ‘as if they were not as yet sufficiently in­structed and confirmed in the knowledge of the Gospel.’ And this brings great mis­chief to the Church; saepenumero enim turbae in Ecclesiis oriuntur, ex eo, quod impe­riti & ignari, nolint imperiti & ignari videri, sed peritiorum & doctorum locum occupent, saith Hemmingius In 1. ad Cor. c. 14. 38., Debates and Factions in the Churches do, for the most part, arise from hence, that such as are ignorant and un­skilful will not seem to be such, but will needs possess the place of the more Skilful and Learn­ed. Vnde enim turbae magnâ ex parte, (saith Sclater) nisi quòd imperiti nolunt imperiti esse, sed peritorum locum occupant? 2 Ad Co­rinth. 14. 38. in Scholiis.

[Page 99] 2. The second observable is this, That these weak ones are more prone to Supersti­tion. Some renders the wordHorat. Sum Paulo infirmior. i. e. Scru­pulosior, [weak] by one that is more [scrupulous,] Si quis fuerit inter eos, fortassis Judaeorum genere, qui ob diutinam superioris instituti vitaeque consue­tudinem, sit adhuc Superstitiosior; nec adhuc sic in eo sides adoleverit, ut omnem pristinae legis observationem excludat, &c. De la Cer­da, ad Rom. 14. n. 1. & n. 3. Alius enim, qui sc. est perfectus & firmus in fide, vacans (que) omni superstitione; he is persuaded he may lawfully eat all things: that is, he that is most free to use his Christian Liberty, is most free from superstition. For from hence there arose such contentions and disputes between the Convert Jews and Gentiles, illis reliquos damnantibus tanquam profanos & contemptores legis divinae, his vicissim haben­tibus illos pro imperitis & superstitiosis: saith Calixtus Ad Rom▪ 14. in Princip.; They (the Jews) condemning the rest as Prophane; and Contemners of the Divine Law, These on the other side (the Gentiles) accounting them for ignorant and superstitious. For what signifies Super­stition, but an immoderate fear? (saith Mr. Calvin In Act. Apost. 17. 22.) Quo se anxiè torquent supersti­tiosi homines, dum sibi fabricant inanos scru­pulos? whereby Superstitious Men do tor­ment themselves with much anguish, while they frame vain Scruples to themselves.

[Page 100] 3. A man may lose the title of a weak bro­ther, and the benefits indulged by the Apo­stle to such Persons. On the Ep. to the Galat. Ch. 2. p. 190. 2. D. 'Tis Mr. Perkin's di­stinction of Persons; Some are weak, and some are obstinate. Weak ones are such, as having turned unto God, and carrying in their hearts a purpose in all things to please God, nevertheless do sundry things amiss, upon sim­ple Ignorance, or bad Custom, till they be bet­ter inform'd. And a little after, This being always remembred, that weak ones truely turn to God, and carry in their hearts an honest purpose not to sin against his Laws at any time wittingly and willingly. Obstinate persons are such as profess the faith, and yet hold and practice bad things of wilful Ignorance, and of Malice. These Persons, (saith he) are not to be born with, nor to be re­spected.

1. After sufficient time and means of in­formation, if a man will be offended, 'tis supposed to be out of stubborness and Malice: Si ille qui scandalum accipit, vel quodvis aliud detrimentum ex ignorantia, fuerit eo us (que) admonitus, ut non possit jure & me­rito ignorantiam obtendere, jam ex malitia censetur Scandalizari; Ad Rom. 14. p. 378. 2. f. saith Soto: ‘If he that takes offence through ignorance, shall be so far admonish'd, that he cannot justly pretend ignorance, He is supposed to be offended out of Malice.’

[Page 101] 2. When from a modest Inquirer, out of a timerous scrupulosity, a Mancomes to be Po­sitive and Dogmatical, 2 Tim. 4. 3, 4. and will not endure sound Doctrine, but after his own Lusts shall heap up to himself Teachers, having itching Ears; He can no longer pass the Muster for a weak Brother. ‘As long as there is any ap­pearance or probability, that a Heretick, a Schismatick, or Seditious person, and other persons of Pestilent Principles to the Pub­lick good, are sick of ignorance, it is safe, and an Office of Charity to bear with them, and to admonish them of the truth with gentleness;’ quoniam ignorantia medicabile est vitium, (saith de la Cerda Ad Rom. 16. n. 35..) Because ig­norance is a Medicable Vice: a fault that may be healedQuid er­go, licet esse in fide infirmum, licet in er­rore positū permanere? Minimè: sed naevus non praeci­piti, sed Prudenti Manu ab­stergendus, nec zelo praeter sci­entiam▪ sed remedio cu­randus ad conscientiā apposito. G. Ambian. Ad Rom. 14. p. 453. 2. D., but (saith he) assoon as it appears, that such Persons adhere to their Sects, out of Pride and frowardness, out of affection and animosity, they are presently to be avoided, according to that of the Apostle, Hoereticum, &c. A man that is an Heretick, after the first and second admonition, reject: knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (Tit. 3. 10, 11.) and (2 Thes. 3. 6.) We command you, that you withdraw your selves from every Brother that walketh disorderly, V. Grot. Ad locum.

3. When a man is pufft up with an Opi­nion of his own Knowledge, when he be­comes a fierce Disputant, and a malicious In­sidiator; [Page 102] when he grows stubborn and despi­seth Dominion; when he does Dogmatize and Censure, and take the Scorner's Chair; He does then Commence Schismatick; and is by no means to be treated as a weak Brother, but as a Seditious Mutineer: For now, 'tis evident, he dissents not out of weakness, but out of Pride, Animosity, and Stubborn­ness. Ferus could say, very truly and per­tinently (on Rom. 14.) Non loquitur de his, quae ex impudentia, pertinatia, aut destinatâ malitiâ committimus: ‘The Apostle speaks not of such things, as we commit, out of impudence, obstinacy, or prepensed Ma­lice and Design.’ For, if he who takes of­fence, does it out of Malice: Nempe quòd vel nullâ offuscatur ignorantiâ, vel illâ penitus, cujus potest facile convinci, sed aut per vafri­tiem, aut per obstinationem Scàndalizatur, neu­tiquam tenemur morem gerere nequitioe ejus, saith Soto: In Rom. 14. p. 378. [...]. f▪ if he be not clouded with igno­rance, or with such ignorance only as he may easily be convinced of, and yet is scandalized, either out of craftiness, or through obstina­cy, we are by no means bound to satisfie his wickedness: For otherwise (as he says) we should be bound to connive at Hereticks, and (for instance) to abstain from flesh, for fear the Jovinians should take offence at us.

And because the Dissenters take Sanctuary, upon all occasions in the Fourteenth Chap­ter [Page 103] to the Romans, we shall the more parti­cularly consider it. That the Doctrine there­in delivered was peculiar to the Jews, is the affirmation of the Learned Estius Ad Rom. 14. p. 200. 1., and he has it twice for failing; and our Synopsis p. 291. 1 20. ad Rom. says the same after him. De Ceremoniis Ju­daicis, non Christianis Apostolus Loquitur: The Apostle speaks of Jewish, not of Chri­stian Ceremonies, saith Matthisius Ad Rom. p. 659.: and Mr. Perkins Cas. of Consci­ence, B. 2. Chap. 12. Of Con­fession. V. Hieron. in 4. ad Galat. is of the same judgment; For he saith, That Commandement (Rom. 14. 22.) was given by Paul for those times, when men were not fully persuaded of the use of God's Creatures, as Meats, Drinks, &c. but to these times it is not. Nor indeed can it directly be applied to us for this Reason.

The Apostle there gives Directions to ac­commodate the differences betwixt private persons: But among us the contest is, be­tween Authority and Faction, the Church and Private Dissenters from her Commu­nion. Now when from an indifferent action, or the omission of it, one of two Evils will necessarily follow, right Reason dictates, that I must so act or omit acting, that I may avoid the greater evil. But certainly, be­ing under her Jurisdiction, 'tis a greater evil to offend the Church Mat. 18. 17. than any private per­son or persons, who are but Members of it. And, as when the competition is betwixt them, I must obey God, rather than Man: So when the Competition is between the [Page 104] Church, and private persons, Common Rea­son will soon determine, which is to be pre­fer'd. The right stands presumptively for the Governing Party, who are in Possession of their Authority; and I am certainly ob­liged in Law and Conscience to adhere and submit to them; because the Law concludes, Melior est conditio possidentis Quia il­le opinione Dominus est; ad opi­nionem au­tem ever­tendam fir­missimae re­quiruntur demonstra­tiones, ex re ipsâ pe­titae. Joan. à Felden. Annot. in Hu. Grot. de Jure B. & Pacis lib. 2. c. 23. Sect. 11. m. p. 117.; They that are in Possession have the fairest Right: Espe­cially where the Possession began upon so good a Title, and has been of so long conti­nuance without interruption. Give none of­fence, saith the Apostle, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, 1 Cor. 10. 32. which we must interpret by that other Rule of the Apostle, Gal. 6. 10. Let us do good unto all men, especially to them, who are of the houshold of Faith. If I cannot please all, I must be sure not to offend the Church, to which I stand more strictly ob­liged than to any Conventicle or private Per­son whatsoever.

I would fain know also of these Dissenters, under what Form they will place themselves. If they be strong in the Faith, then they are so well instructed in the Nature of Christian Liberty, and things indifferent, they cannot be offended at the use or forbearance of such things: If they be weak, that weakness pro­ceeds from ignorance', and a proneness to Super­stition (as was observed above): and 'tis their duty to seek for better information, and ac­quiesce [Page 105] in the Sense and Resolution of Autho­rity, when they have it. But they should do well to remember, there is another sort of Men, a Faction, that is a sort of obsti­nate Men; and how little value is to be set on such, we have heard from Mr. Per­kins.

2. But it will be alleadged, that the Apo­stle will have us to receive him that is weak in the Faith; but not to doubtful Disputations, (Rom. 14. 1.) We must use them gently as we do by sick persons,Matthis. ad Rom. 14. p. [...]48. the weakness of whose Constitution, will not indure stronger Me­dicaments; we must apply remedies that are more mild, take care of their Diet, and attend them with great Care and Diligence. But we must not forget, that this was only a Temporary provision to keep the Peace among private Christians:Ad Rom. 14. p. 125. 2. m. Ita (que) suscipiendi erant ad tempus & non spernandi (saith Ca­tharinus) quoad us (que) securis ad radicem po­neretur; ‘They were not to be despised but to be received for a time, until the Axe was laid to the Root; That is (saith he) until the Apostles had made a perfect Determination, and by that means had cut off those Leaves of the Law, which were without Fruit, and the wholsom Sap of Truth.’ We know it is the office of the Bishop, not only to instruct in meekness, but to re­prove, 2 Tim. 2. 25. c. 4. 2. rebnke, Tit. 1. 9. and by sound Doctrine both to exhort and convince Gainsayers. And when [Page 106] Authority hath settled matters of difference, The Subjects Rule is express and Positive, (Phil. 2. 14.) Do all things without murmur­ing and disputing, V. Act. 16. 4.

3. But it is objected, as the charge of the Apostle, That no man put a stumbling block, or an occasion to fall in his brothers way, Rom. 14. 13. But this is to be understood of an Active Scandal, design'd, as a Mouse­trap set and ready baited on purpose to en­tice and catch the unwary Mouse, as Tirinus Ad Rom. 14. fin. notes from the word. It is to be understood, saith Cajetan, of putting a stumbling block formally, Secundum propriam rationem Scan­dali, according to the proper account of Scandal to the Mortal ruine of another per­son. This Scandal is in a matter, that is in my own Choice and Power, Rom. 15. 1. And it is to be understood in Cases wherein Autho­rity has not interposed her Determination; for that does Supersede my Choice. 'Tis very well observed therefore by G. Ambia­nas Ad Rom. 14. p. 453., That Liberty is Promiscuous both to the strong and to the weak, but with this Limitation, Vbi nec Pietas violatur Consci­entiae, nec Ecclesiae temeratur Auctoritas; where the Piety of Conscience is not vio­lated, nor the Authority of the Church in­fring'd.

But here we must observe some Rules to direct our Practice.

[Page 107] 1. I must not omit a Duty to avoid Scan­dal; for that were to do evil that good may come, which the Apostle says is damnable, (Rom. 3. 8.)

Nor 2. Can I properly be said to give Scandal by performing that which is my duty antecedently to that Scandal; for then my duty should be my sin: and I should be under a necessity of sinning, whether I do my duty, or do it not; which is ab­sur'd.

3. Spiritual things which are necessary to SalvationSoto Ad Rom. 14. p. 580. are not to be omitted to avoid Scandal; for then I should be bound to go to Hell to avoid Scandal: But Obedience to my Superiours is a thing Spiritual, and 'tis ne­cessary to Salvation, Rom. 13. 5. Hebr. 13. 7. 17. I give no Offence in doing my bounden du­ty: But He that takes offence at it, He does it at his own Peril. If my Dissenting Brother doubts of the Authority that Commands the duty; yet if I be well persuaded of it, I must govern my self not by His, but by the persuasion of my own Conscience, Rom. 14. 5.

4. It may be objected further, That the Apostle would have us do (as he says he did himself) Please all men: But we should remember there is a restraint put upon the duty: we must only please them for their good, that is, their Spiritual profit, that they may be saved, Rom. 15. 2. with 1 Cor. 10. 33. [Page 108] Quod ergo Saluti eorum Contrarium est, illis concedere non oportet, Ad Loc. says Mr. Calvin. I must not grant them that which is contrary, or prejudicial to their Salvation. I must there­fore do nothing, That may,

1. Encourage them to oppose Autho­rity; because this very Apostle tells me, that such as resist shall receive to themselves damna­tion, Rom. 13. 2. Therefore if I act Conform to the Rule of Charity, (Rom. 14. 15.) I must take care (as the Apostle saith) to please my Neighbour to his Good; not to feed his hu­mour and make him the more obstinate, as Vorstius hath well observed; for that were to lay a new Scandal in his way, contrary to this very Apostle, Rom. 14. 13. 1 Cor. 8. 9.

3. It must be for his edification (Rom. 15. 2.)Ad Rom. p. 686. Non tam ut grati simus assentando & palpando, quam ipsorum utilitati ac saluti inserviendo, saith Matthisius: Not so much to make our selves acceptable by soothing and flattering them, as by making our selves serviceable to their Salvation. This applying our selves to his edification, supposes him indeed to be weak, but it supposes him also to be tractable; but if he be proud, an admirer, of his own abi­lities, one that leans to his own under­standing and will not indure sound Do­ctrine, He has no title to my tenderness or forbearance; His Conversation is rather to be rejected by the Rule of this Apostle, 2 Tim. 4. 3.

[Page 109] 4. I am so far to please him as is consistent with the Truth and Priviledges of the Go­spel. Where these were wittingly infringed, the Apostle had not the least Patience to dis­semble the resentment of it, no not for an hour, Gal. 2. 4, 5. with 14. And the Truth and Priviledges of the Gospel are no less in­fringed by the Interdict and Superstitious forlearance of a thing indifferent, than by the Injunction and Superstitious usage of it, Colos. 2. 21.

5. To this, I may add another Allega­tion; The Apostle requires Christians to fol­low after the things which make for Peace, Rom. 14. 19.

But 1. 'Tis some comfort that in this case, he ties us not to impossibilities. And to humour some men in their Superstitious scru­pulosities is little less, 'tis a task too great for any ordinary virtue, a burden more intole­rable than the Jewish yoak of bondage, such a Circumcision of all our freedom as would never suffer us to be at ease in any of our en­joyments. The worst of Tyranny is more eligible than such Anarchy and confusion, wherein every false Apostle or factious Tea­cher sets up a Tribunal and Supremacy for himself and such Disciples as he can draw af­ter him, Paramount to the Judgment and Au­thority of his Superiours.

But 2. St. Paul is, in that place, prescribing an expedient for the Peace of Private Chri­stians; [Page 110] to which nothing can conduce more than a mutual tenderness and forbearance; when the strong and more-knowing do not despise the weak, for their ignorance and fol­ly; nor the weak and ignorant judge and con­demn the more knowing for their freedom in the use of things indifferent. Nor ought one man to condemn or despise another,Ferus ad Rom. 14. dum coelesti praecepto non obviet, saith a Moderate and Learned Romanist, while he walks not contrary to any Divine PreceptNam le­gem regni Dei nemo Debet pro bonofratris violare. Soto ad Rom. 14. p. 379. 2.. But per­sons in Authority are to take care of the Publick Peace; whereof there can be no bet­ter Preservation than Order Col. 2. 5. unde Rom. 15. 4. and Vniformity, in Submission to the Decrees of Governours. This made the Apostle so careful to deliver the Decrees to be kept, which were ordained by the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem, Act. 16. 4. Optimum tunc fovendae inter Eccle­sias Concordiae vinculum erat, servare quod per Apostolos fuerat transactum. In eo cùm dili­gens est Paulus, bonâ fide Cavet, ne quid oriatur turbae suâ culpâ, saithAd locū. Calvin. —Facit quo (que) ad discipli­nae conservationem & pacis vinculum tuendum piorum, rituum Constitutio & dis­positio, vrbo Dei Consen­tanea. David Rungius Disput. 16. ex Epist. P. ad Romanos. Thes. 21. p. 320. The best tie of Concord among the Churches in those days was, to observe and keep what had been transacted and determined by the Apostles, and Governours. In which St. Paul being very diligent, did faithfully provide that no disorder should arise through any fault in him.

[Page 111] That Synod gave an Example to after Ages, and taught them by Experience what course is best to follow; and 'tis that which all Protestant Churches do observe to this day. This is evident among the Calvinists; for in the Fifth Chapter of their Discipline, under the Title, De Consistoriis, Art. 31. Where they prescribe a way for the ending of Controversies, which may arise concerning any head, whether of Doctrine, or of Disci­pline, when the matter is brought to a Na­tional Synod, They resolve thus, Hîc integra fiet & ultima per verbum Dei totius quoestio­nis decisio, cui si renuant omninò acquiescere, errores (que) disertè abjicere, ab Ecclesiâ abscin­dentur: Here shall be made the intire and ultimate Decision of the whole matter in Controversie, by the Word of God; and such as refuse to acquiesce in it, and to for­sake their Errours, let them be cut off from the Communion of the Church.

The Apostle therefore does not enjoyn the Prince to lay aside his Sword to make Peace; nor will he lay by his own Rod, when occa­sion serves to use it, (1 Cor. 4. last.) for that is design'd for Edification as well as the spi­rit of meekness, (2 Cor. 13. 10.) And they that were of a factious and untractable disposi­tion, He did not advise the Christians at Rome to flatter or humour them for their Edification; but to mark and avoid them, to shame them into Conformity, Rom. 16. 17. [Page 112] For in truth, when a Law is made and Or­ders given, (and all care taken to give satis­faction touching the Equity of them) then to walk disorderly 1 Thes. 5. 14. 2 Thes. 3. 6, 7, 11. [...]., is the part of absur'd and unreasonable Men, such as will keep no place, no rank, no Decorum; and such are to be look'd upon as proud, stubborn, and of ill humour; and St. Paul will have them treated accordingly, 1 Tim. 6. 3, 4, 5.

But the Apostle himself seems to be much more tender in the point, as appears, not only by his general advice, but also by his personal resolution. It is good, saith he, nei­ther to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is of­fended, or is made weak, Rom. 14. 21. and 1 Cor. 8. 13. If meat make my brother to of­fend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

To this I answer, That many Expositors do restrain the words of the Apostle, to such Wine and Flesh as had been offer'd up in Sa­crifice to Heathen-Idols; and so the sense is clear and easie; and I know no good Chri­stian but would observe the Rule, if there were occasion for it. For, as S. Ambrose noteth upon (1 Cor. 8. 13.) ‘a measure is to be observed in those things which the Law allows us. Vxorem certè licet habere: sed si fornicata fuerit, abjicienda est: ita & Car­nem licet edere, sed si idolis Oblata fuerit, respuenda est: It is lawful to have a Wife; [Page 113] but if she commits Fornication, she is to be put away: so we may eat flesh; but if it be offer'd up to Idols, it is to be refused: Thus St. Ambrose. But this concerns not us at all; For we have no such flesh sold in our Sham­bles; no such wine in our Taverns, no such Heathen Feasts, no such Idols (God be thank'd) among us. But, I answer,

2. The Apostle writes (especially to the Corinthians) as an Orator, by way of Hyper­bole & exaggeration Non au­tem hoc di­cit, quod hoc aliquo casu opus sit Grotius, & ex eo Sy­nopsis.. We have the like kind of Expression Mat 5. 29. as Grotius has observed. There is apparently an Excess in it; and 'tis impossible that Rule should be observed to a general Satisfaction. This we may learn from St. Austin; For (as he hath itEpist. 86. m.) Sicut quod ait Apostolus verum est, Malum esse homini, qui per offensionem Manducat; ita ma­lum est homini, qui per offensionem jejunat: As that of the Apostle is true, 'Tis evil to him that eateth with offence: so it is no less true, 'Tis evil to him that fasteth with offence. Here­upon De la Cerde Ad Rom. 14. n. 36▪ p. 320. Ex Ori­gine., doth very well observe, that sometimes it may be necessary to eat flesh and drink wine, to avoid Scandal; lest by abstaining from such things as were Pro­hibited by their respective Laws, a man should fall under a Suspition, that he plays the Jew, or observes the Law of the Sara­cens. Wherefore in strict speaking, this branch of the Apostles discourse, is neither to be drawn into Practice or Argument. For [Page 114] one man (as he himself hath told us, Rom. 14. 5.) will observe a day, another will not, one man will eat (Swines) flesh, ano­ther does abhor it.Ponatur quod ille Scandali­zetur de quolibet? quid fiet? Respondeo, tunc debet comede­re, &c. V. Hugo Card. ad Rom. 14. & Soto ib. pa. 378. 2. a. f. I cannot satisfie them both; for both are scrupulous, and both re­spectively offended at one anothers pra­ctice. To eat and not to eat; to esteem a day, and not to esteem it; These are perfect Contradictions; and 'tis impossi­ble for any Charity, for the Charity of an Apostle, to reconcile his Practice to both their Scruples. St. Paul himself (at last) found this insuperable difficulty by Experience, upon the congress of the Jew, and Gentile Converts. Therefore instead of a charitable and pruden­tial expedient (which in this Case was impos­sible to find out) He withstood St. Peter to the face, and with great integrity and stout­ness, asserted the truth of the Gospel; and the extent of Christian Liberty. (Gal. 2.) And herein He left us (His own Practice) an ex­ample, to maintain our privilege; and not to govern our selves by the timorous squeam­ishness, or pretended scruples of superstitious men (which may be contradictory and end­less) but by the solid Rules of Truth, and the Prudent Resolutions of Pious Governours.

7. It may be further alleadged, that the Apostle would not have us make use of our Christian Liberty against Charity, (Rom. 14. 15.) 'Tis very true Charity should direct and moderate our Christian Liberty, that our [Page 115] mutual content may not be disturbed by the abuse of that Liberty: but rather, that we may Worship and glorifie our God with una­nimity. Charity is a great Mistress within her own Jurisdiction; and when positive Laws may be superseded, the Law of Charity will oblige us. But must the Church spend all her stock of Charity upon these Dissenters, while they have no love, no respect at all for the Church? In reference to a private Neigh­bour, there is Debitum Charitatis, a debt of Charity: but in reference to my Governours there isFerus, ad Rom. 13. 8. Debitum necessitatis, (in respect of their Authority over me) a debt of Necessi­ty.If my Brother be offended at what God has made my duty, there's no Remedy, but that he lay a­side his unjust Of­fence, and not that I lay aside my necessa­ry duty. Mel. In­quir. pa. 348.. The Apostle tells us, That love is the fulfilling of the Law; and certainly, if it be an Ordinate love, when it looks upon the Second Table, it will begin with the Practice of the Fifth Commandment. And it ought to be considered, that St. Peter speaks with reference to Authority, when he gives that injunction (1 Pet. 2. 16.) As free, and not using your Liberty as a cloak of maliciousness, but as the Servants of God. My Liberty is like my cloak in this, that I may lay it down, or put it on, as occasion shall require. And it shews very little respect to my Superiours, if I will not lay aside my cloak to take an in­nocent walk with them into the House of God. And if, notwithstanding our Chri­stian Liberty, (Gal. 5. 13, 14.) the Law of love does oblige us to serve all Men, sure it [Page 116] can never allow us to dispise our Governours, or their Commands. Besides there are other ways to express our Charity: Potest is qui infirmus est sufficienter instrui & doceri; Fra­trem bene agere; quod (que) ejus facto offendi non debeat: The weak may be sufficiently in­structed and taught, that his Brother does well, and that he has no reason to be offend­ed at him;Ad 1 Cor. 8. so saith Estius, and this will be the best instance of our Charity. Whereas if I encourage him in his disobedience, either by my Discourse or Example, I do certainly give him Scandal; and that we are sure is against Charity. But what if my weak Bro­ther will not lay aside his errour?Correctio opus est E­leemosynae spiritualis, & propte­rea, quae lo­cum habent in Eleemo­syna, & ab ea excu­sant, habent etiam in correctione, ut excusent ab eâ. Paul. à Pa­lat. In Mat. 18. Mat. 15. That Learned Man hath answer'd this question too; Post quam sufficientem ac plenam instru­ctionem, si adhuc in Scandalo perseveret, non erit illud scandalum datum sed acceptum; After sufficient and full instruction, if he still perseveres in his Scandal, it will not then be a Scandal given, but taken; for then it will proceed not out of ignorance, but out of malice: Quale erat Scandalum Pharisaeo­rum, quod Dominus in Evangelio docuit, non esse Curandum, Mat. 15. and such was the Scandal of the Pharisees, which the Lord hath taught us in the Gospel, is not to be re­garded; Thus the Learned Estius, (ibid.)

And now I suppose, we shall not need to fear any objection from Christ's example in this Case; tho' propound by the Apostle, [Page 117] Rom. 15. 3. 5. For never could any Man be more tender of giving offence, (whether by word or deed) than he was; and that he would have us to be so too, (when the Party is to be treated with tenderness) we may con­clude from the severity of his Sentence upon such as do the contrary. (Mat. 18. 6.) But for all that great Compassion, which he had for his little ones, His weak and infirm Disci­ples, His Divine Wisdom was pleased to make a difference; and he had his vae vobis, His Let them alone, His sharp reproofs, and his dereliction for the Scribes and Pharisees (Mat. 25. 12, 13, 14.) And truely, we do not desire, ‘much less dare we pretend to be wiser, or more charitable than our Lord and Master.’ Danda quidem opera est, quoad licebit, ne qua ex nostra dicendi ratione offensio nascatur: sed extremae insaniae foret, velle nobis prudentiùs Moderari, quam edocti sumus à Coelesti Magi­stro; saith Mr. Calvin In Mat. 15. 12.: ‘Care must be ta­ken (as much as in us lyes) that no osfence arise from the manner of our words (or actions); but it were a part of extreme madness, to think we can carry our selves more Prudently, than we are taught by our Heavenly Lord and Master.’ Christ knew very well that the Pharisees were of­fended at his Doctrine (saith the Learned Luc. Brugensis:) Sed non judicabat operae pre­tium ut placandis illis intenderet, In Mat. 15. 14. aut clariùs interpretaretur doctrinam contumacitèr rejectu­ris: [Page 118] ‘But he did not think it worth the while to endeavour to pacifie them, or to give a clearer Interpretation of his Doctrine to them, who would reject it with Contu­macy and stubborness. And a little after, Significat hîc porro Christus—Christ does signifie thus much to us, that such men are not so much to be regarded, as that their offence should greatly trouble us, who take occasion of osfence from our Good, when the cause of it is solely in themselves. Yet there is some need of Judgment and Pru­dence, that we may distinguish betwixt the weak, who being offended out of ig­norance, Mox se reddunt sandbiles, do quick­ly become Curable, and the Malignant and Contumacious, who study, invite and pick up Scandals, almost out of every word and action.’ Thus Luc. Brugensis.

The Dissenters go on thus.

There are some things which God hath in the general left free, and indifferent, to do or not to do; yet at some times, and in some Cases it may be my great sin if I should do some of them; as when it would wound the Conscience, and de­stroy the Soul of a weak Christian.

To this I Answer:

1. That the Pleas of Christian liberty and weakness, were never more abused than by such as have pretended to defend them. The abuse hereof against Sobriety and Temperance, [Page 119] have been taken notice of by the two great Apostles,V. Jud. Ep. Vers. 8. and Caveals entred by them both against it, Gal. 5. 13. 2 Pet. 2. 10, 18, 9. See Soto ad Rom. 14. 16, 17. p. 379. The abuse hereof against Authority, St. Paul takes no­tice of Rom. 13. Vnde non dubia conjectura Colligimus, fuisse tum quosdam inquietos, qui libertatem Christianam stare non putarent, nisi deturbata Civili Potestate. ‘From whence we undoubtedly Collect, that there were unquiet Spirits in those times, who thought Christian Liberty could not stand without the disturbance of the Civil Power, saith Mr. Calvin Argum. in Ep. ad Roman..’ Hence St. Peter, As free, and not using your Liberty as a Cloak of Maliciousness, (1 Pet. 2. 16.) ‘freed by Christ from many yoaks, but not from that of subjection to God or to Superiours, and therefore not pretending to any such Liber­ty, nor covering Sedition, &c. under co­lour of Christianity, as the Gnosticks didHam., who said they were free from all Publick Laws, and despised Dominion, as St. Jude hath it; but as the Servants of God; ac pro­inde etiam eorum, servi, quibus Deus nos servire jubet,Gro [...]. and therefore the Servants also of those, whom God commands us to serve. In short, when Christian Liberty is set up a­gainst Order, Decorum and common honesty, 'tis set up against Authority, (1 Cor. 14. last.) when it is set up against the common Methods of Edification and Peace, 'tis set up against [Page 120] Charity; (Rom. 14. 19.) when 'tis set up against Temperance and Sobriety; 'tis made an occasion to the flesh, (Gal. 5. 13.) when it is made use of to palliate the designs of fa­ctious and ambitious men, 'tis used as a cloak of malitiousness. In all these Cases there is Apostolical Authority to restrain our Liberty. And in Matters of Religion, what Liberty can we justly claim, more than what Christ hath obtain'd, and his Grace conferr'd upon us? A Liberty to serve God acceptably (in all instances of the First and Second Table) with reverence and Godly fear? Hebr. 12. 28. To this purpose Mr. Calvin In 1 Pet. 2. 16. observes, That St. Peter pronounceth them free who are the Servants of God, Vnde colligere promptum est, hanc esse finem libertatis nostrae, ut promptio­res & magis expediti simus ad obsequium Dei. Neque enim aliud est quam manumissio à peccato. Atqui peccato dominium tollitur, ut se in sub­jectionem justitiae homines addicant. ‘From whence, saith He, 'tis easie to Collect, that the end of our Liberty is, that we may be the more prompt and ready for God's Service; and obey him with the greater ex­pedition. Nor is this Liberty any thing else, but a Manumission from Sin. And the Dominion is taken from Sin, that men may render themselves up to the Subjection of Righteousness.’ Thus Calvin.

2. I must tell my weak Brother, that Christ hath establisht a Church, and placed [Page 121] me under Governours, and given them Autho­rity to restrain and determine the use of my Liberty, according to their Christian Pru­dence, by such Rules, and to such ends and purposes as he himself has prescribed. And tho' he has left some things free, and indiffe­rent in the general, yet it will certainly be my great Sin to do them unseasonably, as when I despise Authority, break good Order, and destroy the Vnity and Peace of the Church; for this will be an affront to Christ himself, who establisht such a Constitution (in his Church) long before I came into the Com­munion of it; and hath said, He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you de­spiseth me: And every Soul, which will not hear that Prophet, Act. 3. 23. shall be destroyed from among the People. Hereupon I take it for granted, that I am justified in my Obedience to the Voice of the Church by the Concession of this Author, (which hath been mentioned already somewhere in the Margent of these Papers) For (saith He) if my Brother will be offended at what God has made my duty, there's no Remedy, but that he lay aside his un­just offence, and not that I lay aside my neces­sary duty. Mel. Inquir. page 348. which Rule, (if well apply'd) will (very near) determine the whole Case betwixt us.

I may add for the further information of such a Brother. That God expects, a solemn Publick Worship should be settled in his [Page 122] Church, and religiously perform'd to his Ho­nour and Glory. That there can be no such, unless the use of our Liberty be retrench't; for otherwise how shall we come to an agree­ment, for Time, Place, Forme, Gesture, Lan­guage, and all such other circumstances as are to be determined? God hath therefore ap­pointed Laws and Orders, and establisht Au­thority and Governours to this effect: That This Government and Authority is Divine and Sacred, and not to be controul'd but by a Warrant and Commission from some Au­thority that is Higher. That we must come to an agreement about time and place to cele­brate and solemnize God's Publick Worship, our Author is very positiveV. p. 273. & 275, 276. of Melius Inquiren­dum.. For this Com­mand (saith He) is so straitly bound upon the Consciences of all Churches, that tho' none should determine for them, nay tho' All should deter­mine against them, yet are they under its Autho­rity, and must come to an issue about it, (but by what means is unintelligible, if there be none to determine for them, nay, if All deter­mine against them, yet to an Issue, and Agree­ment, about it, come they must) unless (saith He) they will draw the guilt of the neglect of worshipping God upon their Souls, with that wrath, which is due to so great contempt of the Divine Law. Thus our Melius Inquirendum.

Besides, I will tell this Brother, I cannot go to Church and be at home at the same time; no more than I can make both parts [Page 123] of a Contradiction true: Wherefore that I may not continue pendulous, and be ever in suspense, and so make no use at all of my Li­berty, I must determine my self one way or other. But if the Church, which I take to be wiser than my self, shall in some instances (as she sees occasion) determine for me, I will dutifully submit my self to her Authority. And he walks very uncharitably, who takes upon him to censure my Practice, or judge my Conscience for so doing.Ferus ad Rom. 14. For I know it is not this carnal liberty of the flesh (to do or not to do) that makes me a Christian; But Righteousness and Peace, Humility, and other Virtues of Religion. And upon a full exami­nation of Particulars, I am very well satisfied that the Rites and Ceremonies in use among us, are not introductive to any false Religion or Worship; but rather a Bar against it, (even against that of Rome, which by the ig­norant (and by no man else) it is most suspe­cted to favour.) They gratifie neither the Opinion of the Jew, nor of the Gentile; They lead neither to Idolatry, nor Superstition; They are not ridiculous for any levity that is in them; nor burdensome for their number; and in short, they are not sinful; because against no Law; for Sin is the Transgression of a Law; and where no Law is, there is no Transgression.

3. 'Tis the supposition of our Author, that this Liberty must hold in utram (que) partem, that [Page 124] we may Act or not Act, Determine, this or that way, or it can be no Liberty, (pa. 339.) From hence I infer, that our Christian Liberty is more infringed by the Dogmatical Prohibi­tions of the Dissenting Teachers, than by the Prudent and Regular Impositions of Ecclesiasti­cal Governours. For besides their want of Authority, over me (which makes their pre­tended Power an Vsurpation) I am no more free under him that will not let me kneel (for example) then I am under him, that will make me do it. Nay, he that tyes my hands behind me that I may not Act at all, does re­strain me more, than he that does but take me by the hand to guide me in my Acting. To this purpose we have the suffrage of David Rungius (a Learned Lutheran) who (after a short Catalogue of some things indifferent in use amongst them) tells us thus,Disput. 16. ex Epist. ad Rom. th. 45. p. 324. Haec & similia qui simplicitèr necessariò retinenda, vel necessa­riò abolenda docent, utrin (que)vim Libertati Chri­stianae faciunt, & tanquam Pseudo-doctores, jugo traditionum humanarum nos captivare volentes, fugiendi sunt: ‘These things and the like, such as teach, they are simply and necessa­rily to be reteined, or necessarily to be abo­lished, they do, on both sides, offer violence to our Christian Liberty, and they ought to be avoided as false Teachers, who would hold us Captive in the yoak of Humane Traditions.’ He that forbids me the use of things indifferent, does no less inthrall me [Page 125] then he, who requires the practice of them. And the Apostle, as he inveighs against the superstitious use of things, (Gal. 4. 10.) Ye ob­serve days, and months, and times and years:) so he does likewise against the superstitious forbearance of them (Col. 2. 21. Touch not, taste not, handle not) They that are so fierce for these Negatives, (and have little besides their own Fancy to shew for it) would draw us into the very same superstitions, which St. Paul condemns in the Colossians; Col. 2. 21. And if they condemn the use of them as sinful, they are never the less superstitious, but much more intollerable.

4. The restraint put upon our natural li­berty, by the Laws of the Church, is no Im­peachment of our Christian Liberty. For Chri­stian Liberty is a spiritual privilege peculiar to the Church; and 'tis seated in the Soul. Vbi clanculò tibi licuerit, fruere hoc jure, saith Soto Ad Rom. 14. p. 382. 2. & Peter Martyr In 1 Cor. 10. p. 145. 1. pp., De rebus adiaphoris in animo libertas est servanda. The notice of our Liberty being matter of Faith, has pro­perly respect to God, saith Mr. Calvin, Ad Rom. 14. 22. Ergo qui ejusmodi certitudine praeditus est, eum con­scientiae tranquilitate Coram Deo contentum esse oportet, ne (que) opus est venire in possessionem coram hominibus: ‘He therefore, who en­joys a certainty hereof, ought to be con­tented with his Peace of Conscience before God, and needs not take possession of it be­fore Men;’ for as Soto Ibid. pa. 383. 1. Pr., to the same purpose, [Page 126] Qui credit licitum esse Matrimonium, non Pro­tenùs tenetur vxorem ducere. He that thinks the state of Matrimony very lawful, is not ob­liged presently to take a Wife.

2. Consistit libertas Conscientiae cum absti­nentiâ non minùs quàm cum esu rei, & vice ver­sa, saith D. Dickson Ad Rom. 14. 22.; Liberty of Conscience consists no less in the use of things, than in the forbearance; nor a whit less in the for­bearance, than in the use of them. But till I be determined I am in suspense; and while I am in suspense, I am in pain. I must there­fore come to a Determination for my own ease. When I am determined, I am not then at Liberty; yet herein I do but exercise my Liberty, not lose it. What Man (well in his wits) did ever feel the loss of his Christian Liberty, by putting a Gown upon his Cassock? or a Surplice over both?

5. I would desire such a Dissenting Bro­ther to lay his hand upon his heart, and exa­mine himself betwixt God and his own Con­science, whether the aversion he has to the present Constitution and Orders of this Church, does not proceed from some one or more of these grounds, viz. either from want of Humility and Modesty in Himself; or from want of Love and Reverence to the Gover­nours; or from want of a due examination of the nature, ends, and usefulness of the things establish't; or from want of Candour and In­genuity in putting a fair construction on them?

[Page 127] For the very same Rites and Ceremonies, which we have in the Church of England are in use in all the Lutheran Churches with many others. And although the Churches under Calvin's denomination have not all that are practised amongst us, yet none are more strict than they in the Observation of such as they have establisht.

For Obedience to Authority is certainly the duty of God's Servants: St. Peter calls it well-doing (1 Pet. 2. 13, 15, 16.) and makes it as well a branch of God's Will, as an ex­ercise of our Christian Liberty. For, as Mr. Perkin's (on Gal. 4. 28.) has very well ob­served, This is perfect Liberty, when man's will is conformable to the Will of God.

Nor does any Church think her Liberty impeach't by such Impositions. For the use and excellency of my Christian Liberty lyes in this, that it teaches me to be just and duti­ful without constraint; and so 'tis no burden to me. I can comply with the Commands of my Superiors, and carry my Liberty along with me. And all the while I hold to the generous Resolution of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 6. 12. All things are lawful for me: but I will not be brought under the Power of any.

Knowing the Dominion I have over such indifferent things, I will gratifie my weak Brother as far as I am able, treat and instruct him with all ingenuity and freedom in the use of them. And if my Superiours shall think [Page 128] fit to retrench the Practice of my freedom in some particular Instances, (that the world may see I am not under the sullen Spirit of fear and bondage, but acted by a free Gospel-Spirit, the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a sound mind,) I will conform my self to their Commands with so much ease, cheerfulness, and satisfaction, that it shall not look like a force or restraint upon me, but as an exercise of my Liberty, being very well assured for whose sake, and upon what account and Prin­ciples I do it. And,

6. When I consider, that things indifferent may be well or ill used (as Mr. Perkins has ob­served, and every Man's Experience can tell him) I cannot but think my self happy in the Churches appointment; for when she has de­termined my choice by her Injunctions, (to stand or kneel for example) if I perform it with alacrity and reverence, (as I should do) I find a satisfaction in my Humility and Obe­dience; and I am the more obliged to my Superiours for the good use of my Liberty, which I might have used amiss; and for ma­king that which was but indifferent of its own Nature, to become of good advantage to me by her Authority. And yet such is my Chri­stian freedom even in the use of these things, that while I practice them, I am not at a loss either for my liberty or my duty. I am not in bondage either to fear a Curse, or to hope for Merit, or to seek for ease of Conscience, or Salvation in them.

The Dissenter goes on thus.

If I shall engage my self to the Church, that I will never omit such an indifferent thing; and the Soul of (a) weak Christian should call to me to omit it, I have tied my hands by en­gagement, I cannot help him, though it would save his or a thousand Souls out of Hell, because I have given away my freedom to the Church.


That all Clergymen are engaged to the Churches, in which they are appointed to Administer is no new thing, no matter at all of wonder. For how else can the Church be secure of their fidelity? How can she trust them with the Sacred Office? This therefore is the practice of every Church of any credi­table Denomination.

But when Men get into a vain of Scrupling, they can seldom or never find the way out of it. One scruple begets another like circles in a troubled water.Lib. 2. c. 10. Sect. 7, 8. Mr. Calvin has pursued this Observation rarely well in his Institutions, to which I refer the Reader; He concludes, when some superstitious opinion has cast a scruple into our heads; things that are pure in their own Nature, become contaminated and un­clean to us; and we can make use of nothing that God allows us, without perturbation and disquiet of mind. When a man begins to scru­ple at the Cross, soon after the Wedding Ring will pinch the Finger; the Surplice will be­come an eye-sore, or a burden; and bowing the [Page 130] Knee to our Heavenly Father (at the Sacra­ment) will be thought so hard a task, we shall not be willing to buckle to it. Nay, if we suffer our selves to be haunted with these fears, a Religious Oath, a Honorary Title, a Civil Salutation will be a Bug-bear to our jea­lous minds. 'Tis the duty of a Ghostly Father, or Spiritual Guid, not to foment, but to dissi­pate and expel such Scruples. And though they have voluntarily tyed up their hands for the Satisfaction of the Church, yet their tongues are let loose enough. Do they there­fore lay open the Nature of things indiffe­rent? Do they declare that they may be used or let alone without Sin, till Authority does interpose about them? Do they acquaint the People with the Power wherewith the Church is invested by the King of Saints? and in­struct them in their duty to that their Spiri­tual Mother, as the Spouse of Christ? Do they represent the excellency and reward of obedi­ence to Superiors, according to the Fifth Commandment? and back their Discourses with their example to lead them unto Con­formity? These things they ought to have done, whatever they have left undone.

Those Good Women of the Church of Co­rinth, might have scrupled at St. Paul's in­junction of the Vail, and silence in the Church: They might have objected that it went a­gainst the grain of a tender Conscience, and their Christian Liberty, to submit to such im­positions; [Page 131] which were nothing else but some of the old Traditions amongst the Jewish RabbinsV. Light­foot in 1 Cor. 11. 5. &c. 14. 35.; They might have alleadged that Christ had made them free: that they had Innocency, as well as Confidence, enough to lift up their faces before Angels, and that for Sion's sake they could not hold their peace.

Whatever the Women did, we know there was among them a sort of bold Men, who thought they had good warrant to controul the Apostles Orders; 1 Co. 14. And how does the Apostle encounter them, but by an allegation of God's gentle Nature, and the temperament of the Church according to it; God is not the God of Confusion, Bulling. m. 1 ad Cor. 14. Ves. v. 33. but of Peace, as in all Churches; and the impulse of his Spirit does not push men on to Contention, but to love and unity; and are you, O ye Corinthi­ans, V. 36. aggrieved at those Rites which are ob­served of all Churches? Did the Preaching of the Gospel proceed first from you, that we must dance after your Pipe? and are you the only wise men of the world, and are all the Chur­ches else in dotage?V. 37. For those vain janglers you so much admire, I will not odiously con­tend with them. But if any of them be a true Prophet, and really endowed with those Gifts of the Spirits, which ye pretend to, He will easily perceive and acknowledge, that I do not vent my own passions in this matter, but the Commandments of the Lord, who without all doubt is contemned by such as will not [Page 132] obey our Prescriptions. But if any man be so prophane, V. 38. or blind with prejudice, that he will not, or cannot see it, let him be ignorant at his own peril. 'Tis not my part to contend, but to teach and admonish; If he despiseth the Precepts of the Lord, which I have delivered, he betrays his own impiety; and if he will not obey, but continue in his filthiness, let him be filthy still. Thus Bullinger Comments upon the Apostles expostulation. And 'tis very material, that the Apostle writes this in justification of his own Orders prescribed for edification and decency; and he writes thus not to the rude and ignorant populacy, but to such as being desirous to seem Prophets and Spiritual, studied more to introduce their own Mastership into the Church, than to ac­quiesce in the Doctrine Apostolical,In 1 Ep. ad Cor. 14. p. 598. as Muscu­lus well observeth.

He that has St. Paul's Principles, and go­verns himself by those general Rules, which he has laid down as the Oracles of God, He may use the same expostulation to Dissenters. Such faithful Ministers, tho' they can compel none, yet they may call them to a voluntary amendment; if they find them refractory they may say with a good Conscience, Qui obedire detrectet, Musculus ubi supra. detrectat; ‘He that denys to obey, let him deny it; He that rejects the truth, let him reject it; He that had rather perish (in his perversness) than be saved (by being tractable (as a little Child) let him perish: [Page 133] I have done my part, if he refuse the Lord's Commands, let him see to it. Thus Mus­culus.

But do our Dissenting Brethren speak thus home to the Consciences of their followers? Do they not love to draw Disciples after them? and do they not many times speakAct. 20. 30. perverse things to that effect? we are well assured there have been flattering Teachers, who have blest the People in their Seduction Isa. 9. 16. See the O­rig., that they might get the Vogue, and keep up their Power and Interest, to lead them against the injunctions of the Law, and the Edicts of Di­vine Authority. And by such courses 'tis no wonder, if, with the Pharisees, they Prose­lyte their Disciples into Hell. Mat. 23. 15.

Do not some of our Dissenters give the like Scandal to their Disciples? Do they not Dogmatize them into ill Principles, and encou­rage the Practice thereof by their Example? Do they not fill their heads with doubts and jealousies, possess them with vain and super­stitious fears, till they bring them to an a­vowed disobedience and separation from the Communion of the Church? Do they not perplex their Consciences with endless scrupu­losities about those minutes made Sin by their Doctrine,Mel. In­quir. p. 311. which else (to use our Author's own words) had been as innocent as a piece of pow­dred Bief and Turnips; and such are the Rites and Ceremonies, which are in use among us, if they were as inoffensive in their Discourses as [Page 134] the Church is in the practice of them.Job 40. 8. Do they not condemn the Church that themselves may seem Righteous; and to justifie their own Schism, do they not quarrel at the Terms of her Communion? They say God hath left something free, but they would leave nothing free (in matters of Religion) but their own Fancy. They make that Sin which God never made so: and that I do not slander them, you have their own instance in the sign of the Cross. Of which they do not speak of modest­ly as to say, they think, they doubt, or scruple: but positively and definitively they tell us, They judge it sinful: but by what express Law, or clear Deduction, they can never make us understand. They menage the Conscien­ces of their Proselytes betwixt so much awe and boldness, that they can make them either take the hedge, or start at a shadow. They tic­kle them with a conceit of Liberty, while they inthrall them to their own Dictates, and put upon their Necks a yoak of their own making; much heavier, than that of their Governours, which they attempt so strenuously to shake off. And when they are charged with such unwarrantable Practices to the Scandal of Re­ligion, and the disturbance of the Publick Peace, where do they take Sanctuary but in the Temple of a Tender Conscience?

Conscience, I confess, is a Centurion of great Command; but yet 'tis under another Juris­diction, and must be accountable for her Con­duct. [Page 135] Nor is her Liberty or Privilege so great as is imagined. For the whole Nature and force of Conscience is exprest in a Practical Syl­logism, which consists of three Propositions according to the three Offices of Conscience. For instance; He that will not obey the Church, is to be treated as a Publican and a Heathen: This is the Major Proposition, and our Savi­our's express Revelation. But thou do'st not obey the Church: This is the Minor Proposition, produced and attested by the Conscience. Therefore Thou art to be treated as a Publican and a Heathen. This is the Third Proposition or Conclusion inferr'd from the other Two.

By this instance we see Conscience hath a threefold Office. 1. To Dictate and declare the Rule of the Law. This is call'd Synteresis. The Second is to Record and declare Matters of Fact; and this is call'd Syneidesis. The Third is to give Sentence according to the merits or demerits of the Cause, and so to determine the Condition of the Person; and this is called Crisis.

Here is all the Power that Conscience hath; And 'tis clear that Conscience hath no Liber­ty in any of these Offices. Not in the First: not a Liberty to call evil Good, or Good evil: not a Liberty to dictate or declare what eve­ry man please to be the sence or letter of the Law; for then it should have a Liberty to erre and to deceive, by imposing that for a Rule of Law, which is not so. For Consci­ence [Page 136] (in this Notion, that is, the Synteresis) is obliged to take direction from the Light of Reason, and the Revelations of God's Will, and from Humane Laws consonant thereto (for such Laws made by persons set over us in God's stead, must be obeyed for the Lord's sake:) if the Conscience directs otherwise, it is erroneous, and leads to Sin, and binds over to Damnation, till it be corrected, and be­come conformable to its Rule.

Nor has the Conscience any Liberty in the Second Office, in reporting Matters of Fact; for then it should have Liberty to misinform or tell a lie, in representing Matters of Fact otherwise than they are. Nor has Con­science any Liberty in the Third Office, in de­termining the Case; for then it should have Liberty to be an unjust judge, to absolve or Condemn; that is, to pass Sentence contrary to the Evidence and Verdict.

'Tis true an evil Conscience may, now, make use of many shifts, tergiverses, and eva­sions; but at the Grand Assize, (or time of Judgment) God will beat it off from all its Subterfuges, and starting holes, He will re­ctifie and refine it, and make it a faithful Suf­fragan to him in that exercise of his Jurisdi­ction. For then the Synteresis, (call'd some­times the inward man) shall fully consent to the Law of God, that it is Holy, and Just, and Good. Rom. 7. And for the breach of that Law (which is Matter of Fact) it will be a thou­sand [Page 137] witnesses. And in the issue of the Trial, it will subscribe to the Sentence of the Judge, in a due acknowledgment of his Justice, saying with the Angel out of the Altar, Even so Lord, Apoc. 16. 7. God, Almighty, true and just are thy judgments. Thus it will be at that great Day. And now, all the Liberty that a good Con­science has, or can pretend to, is a freedom from the Power of Satan, and the Law of Sin, from the rigour and yoak of Moses his Dispensa­tion, to do our duty to God and Man, (to work or forbear working) without hesitation or scruple, according to the Injunctions or Per­missions of the Gospel; The measures whereof we have already given some account of, (if I be not much mistaken) to a reasonable Satis­faction.

Here, if it be a digression, it is very pardo­nable, to take notice of a sort of busie men, who seem to carry on a subtil Project (and there are more than one o' foot) under this disguise (of Liberty of Conscience.)

They make love to natural Religion, choose her for their Mistress, and cry up her Disci­pline to so great a height, as if Christ and his Apostles came out of her School, and the Moral of the Gospel were to be taken from the Philosophy of the Heathens.

I know very well, we may borrow Jewels of the Egyptians, provided we do not turn them into Idols, or value them above the Gospel-Pearl, which is truely Orient. For [Page 138] the Apostle tells us of the Heathens, that when they knew God, they did not glorifie him as God. That professing themselves to be wise, they be­came fools; for their foolish heart was darkned, and they changed the Glory of the uncorruptible God,Rom. 1. not only into an Image made like to corrup­tible man, but also to birds and four-footed beasts, and creeping things; and worshipped and served the Creature more than the Creator: In their Theology, which was that wisdom which had God for the objectSee Dr. Lights. 1 Cor. 1., They knew not God; and generally their Morals were as Corrupt as their DivinityRom. 1. 26 to 32. And Eph. 4. 18, 19.. Hence the Apostle saith, After that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that be­lieve, 1 Cor. 1. 21.

Yet this Natural Religion is laid down with much Art, and embellished with great Com­mendations as an immoveable foundation for Liberty of Conscience. And this Liberty of Conscience is, by several Engineers, set up to supplant the present Church of England. And this done, the Great Mysteries of our Faith, and the Institutions of the Gospel will with little difficulty, be depretiated at the first, and at last utterly evacuated and explo­ded. Then the Socinian System, or Model of Di­vinity will pass for Currant; and That by sub­tile Wits, will easily (by degrees) be reconcil'd to the Alcoran. And what will the issue be but this? Men, at the long run, will be at a [Page 139] loss for their Religion. They will see the Holy Sacraments laid aside, if not trampled under foot, as obsolete or Temporary Institutions: the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity accounted a vain Speculation of doting Schoolmen: the Incarnation of the Eternal Son of God, an in­comprehensible and unaccountable thing, and an Omnipotent Redeemer, with his satisfaction and pretious merits, but an useless imagina­tion. And in fine what will all this amount to? Pious and Sober persons will in time, not only be awakened, but offended at it; and will think themselves highly concern'd also to search, (tho' it be among the much Rubbish of the Church of Rome) to find out the Primi­tive Christianity. This I confess will be the furthest way about; but it will advance the Jesuits design as certainly, as if it were accom­plish't by a shorter Method. Which would ve­ry well become the wisdom of our Governors to take into their most serious consideration.

But to return, Our great Patrons of Liberty, are wont to rely much upon that charge of the Apostle, Gal. 5. 1. Stand fast in the Li­berty, wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not intangled again with the (or in a) yoak of bondage. But what is that Liberty he writes of? He is writing unto Gentiles. And the Gentile world, (the creature) which the A­postle mentions, Rom. 8. 21. was to be deli­vered from the bondage of Corruption, à jugo & servitute corruptionis Peccaminosae, from [Page 140] the yoak and bondage of a peccaminous or sinful corruption, Lightfoot. that is, from the Bondage of their lusts and depraved affections, (under which they lay so long inthral'd) into the noble Liberty of the Sons of God. This is a Liberty not of the brain, but of the heart: Freedom from the Power of Sin, to serve God, which is to reign; and that is the glorious Liberty of God's Children: I shall run the way of thy Com­mandments, when thou hast set my heart at Li­berty, Psal. 119.

The Liberty the Apostle speaks of, is op­posed to a yoak: but 'tis not to be understood of every yoak;V. Joh. 1. 12. for there is a yoak of Privi­lege as well as a yoak of bondage; such is Christ's yoak; and this yoak we are obliged to take upon us. (Mat. 11. 29, 30.) This yoak is his Law, (Mat. 28. 20.) which consists of Two Tables; and this yoak is made up of both. The Commands and Ordinances of the Civil Magistrate are a part of this yoak; and we must submit our necks to that, 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14. Rom. 13. 1. The Orders and Injunctions of the Church are another part of this yoak, and we must put our Necks under that too, or else we are to be look't upon as Publicans & Hea­thens. (Mat. 18. 17.) And that we may not be at a loss for the Church, our Saviour has committed the Keys thereof to certain Select Persons, that we may know who have the right and power to govern in his stead; And to their Discipline we are to submit, 1 Cor. 5. [Page 141] 4, 5. And Chap. 14. 40. This is a yoak which we must not shake off. Hebr. 13. 17, Obey them that have the Rule over you, and submit your selves: Mr. Calvin does not doubt at all but the Apostle speaks of the Governours of the Church;Ad Hebr. 13. 17. and he says, He tells those Hebrews, that their ingratitude would bring those Gover­nours grief and trouble, ut significet, to signifie, that we cannot be troublesom or disobedient to our Pastours, Sine propriae salutis jacturâ, with­out the loss of our own Salvation.Ad locum vide. And Ger­hard is very full to the like purpose: The word signifies, to submit themselves by a most exact and obsequious Subjection. And he adds for all the Protestants of their Party, That there is none of them denys but Bishops are to be obeyed in their Office; and not only when they Preach the Divine Law, but when they press such Ecclesiastical Constitutions as are in­troduced for order and decency. And altho' these do not immediately and of themselves, bind the Conscience, yet in the general they do bind, by reason of that general Precept, to obey such as have Rule over us. And that this is not a whit against the Liberty of Conscience, we have Mr. Calvin's Suffrage, who thus sums up our Christian LibertyIn 1 Ep. Petri. c. 2. v. 16.. In summa, est li­bera servitus, & serva libertas: Our Chri­stianity is a free service, and a servile freedom. Nam sicuti servos Dei esse nos Oportet, ut hoc bono fruamur; for as we ought to be God's Servants, that we may enjoy this benefit, so [Page 142] Moderation is required in the use of it. After this manner (saith he) liberae quidem sunt con­scientiae, our Consciences indeed are free, sed hoc non obstat quin Deo serviamus, qui etiam nos hominibus subjicit, but notwithstanding this, we must serve God, who hath also made us subject unto Men: Thus Calvin. Thus much of Christ's yoak; which is not our bondage, but our privilege; and ought to be our choice as it is our duty. The yoak of Bondage is two-fold, 1. That of Moses's Law. 2. That of Satan's Tyranny.

1. Satan's yoak, is a yoak of Tyranny: for He is the Prince of the Power of the air, the spi­rit that worketh in the children of disobedience, Eph. 2. 2. This yoak is made up of the Pomps and Vanities of the wicked world, the Super­stition and Idolatry (with all the unclean and filthy practices which did attend them) where­with the Devil had inthrall'd the Heathen world. These Galathians, for a long time, had had their Necks under this yoak: but were now set at liberty by the light of the Gospel; yet were there a sort of false Apostles, who for their own ease & advantage, made it their business to entangle them in another yoak, which they had not been accustom'd to, the yoak of Circumcision, and the Law of Moses; and therefore he saith, be not entangled again in a yoak of bondage, quia si vos fideles jam circumcidimini, idem est quod ad Idola Con­verti, quibus antea serviebatis, saith Bruno; [Page 143] for if you, who are Believers should now be cir­cumcised, 'tis the same thing as if you should be turned unto the Idols you served before. To ite­rum non eandem servitutis speciem sed simplici­ter & generalitèr iteratam servitutem signifi­cat, quasi dicat: Nolite iterum servire, ut pri­dem Idolis, ita nunc umbris & merosis Ceremoniis, saith G. Calixtus: ‘This word [Again] does not signifie the same kind of bondage, but simply and generally an iterated, or repeat­ed bondage; as if he had said, be not now again in bondage, to shadows and burden­some Ceremonies, as you had been former­ly to dumb Idols.’ You are actually freed from one heavy yoak, be not intangled in ano­ther; be not insnared and inthrall'd, so as to seek your ease, your pardon, your salvation, in another, which is of no more validity to that effect, than the former, which Christ hath therefore equally freed you from: But what is all this to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England?

He that will undertake, from the Doctrine of St. Paul, to impeach the Practice of the Church of England, in commanding the observance of Rites and Ceremonies, and thereby restraining the use of our Christian Liberty in things indifferent, must make good these two Propositions.

1. That St. Paul has set up Christian Liberty above the Authority of the Church; For in all things wherein the Church hath not interposed her Autho­rity to determine our Practice, we have the use of our Christian Liberty as much and as fully as we can desire. But that St. Paul hath set up Christian Liber­ty [Page 160] above the Authority of the Church can never be made good as long as the Epistles to the Corinthi­ans, to Timothy & Titus are extant & held Canonical.

2. He must prove, That, in the use of those Rites and Ceremonies, which the Dissenters impugn, we do renounce our Christianity, & are faln from Grace, That (therein) wé have fellowship with Devils, and that Christ shall profit us nothing, but we must eternally pe­rish in our practice: For those things which the Apo­stle inveighs against, He forbids upon this account, as is most evident from all those Texts of Scripture; wherein he does professedly and peremptorily handle this MatterCol. 2. 8, 18. Gal. 4. 11. c. 5. 2, 4. 1 Cor. 10. 20, 21. Rom. 14. 15, 20.. But I do challenge the Prudence and Justice as well as the Charity of him who dares say, if you wear a Surplice, if you sign with the Cross, if ye kneel at the Sacrament, ye renounce your Christia­nity, and are faln from Grace; ye have fellowship with Devils, and Christ shall profit you nothing, but ye must eternally perish in that Practice.

To conclude this Section, I must put the Dissent­ing Brethren in mind, That the charge or injunction they insist upon (Gal. 5. 1.) was not written against the Church, but against a Superstitious Faction, which opposed Apostolical Authority. And if they look upon the Superstition and Tyranny of the Church of Rome as a yoak of bondage, then, by a Parity of Reason, They are highly concern'd in the charge upon that account. For they do oppose that very Authority by which Christ hath (once) made them free from that yoak. Which Authority doth still, with the like Zeal and Courage, call upon them also, to stand fast in that Liberty: But if they will continue to give the Emis­saries of that Church advantage, by their unreaso­nable Separations, to creep into their Conventicles, and make Proselytes with them, (which I can see no way to be avoided, but by their Cordial return to the Communion of the Church of England) the Scan­dal and burden must lye at their doors, if we be again entangled.

The Dissenters Fourth Section.

‘They plead, that they ought not to hazard their Souls in one Congre­gation, if they may more hopefully secure them in another; for that their Souls are their greatest concernment in this World and the next: Now say they, there's no question but men preach such as they print with publick allowance; and therefore they ought to provide bet­ter for their Souls elsewhere. Especi­ally they say, That the Doctrine of Ju­stification is Articulus stantis vel cadentis Ecclesiae, an Article with which the Church falls or stands: This Article say they, in the Parish where we live is quite demolisht by the Doctrine of Justi­fication by Works; we are bound there­fore to provide for our safety and depart; and when we are once out, we will ad­vise upon another Church, not which is tolerable, but which is most eligible, and in all things neerest the word.’

The Answer.

That the Soul is a very pretious thing, whether we look into its Creation and Original, or into the Purchase and Re­demption [Page 162] of it, we do readily acknow­ledge. We should not hazard it; for 'twas God's great care, and should be ours. But we must take heed, (and we have a Proverb to admonish us,) that we do not leap out of the Frying-pan into the Fire. For in this Case of Seperation, we may fitly ask the Question. What Authority have you for it, and and who gave you that Au­thority? Whatever your Corner-stone be, we question whether your new erected Church will be built upon the Foundation of the Prophets and Apostles. Yet upon second thoughts, we find you have some­thing to say out of Scripture for your practice. For we find you 1 John 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us. We find you again, Acts 20. 30. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw Disciples after them. And we find Predecessors of yours, 2 Cor. 11, 13. and part of your Character, at least, is to be seen in St Jude's Epistle, Psal. 19. These be they who seperate themselves; and whe­ther Diotrephes was not the President of the New Colledge, you should do well to consider; for he had an aspiring spirit, and was imperious, and (as our Author ob­serves [Page 163] of him) his fingers itch't to be tam­pering; p. 160. for he loved to have the preemi­nence and set himself to oppose Order and Apostolical Authority.

But there's little satisfaction in following such examples. That Schism is a work of the Flesh, and excludes such as are guilty of it, from the Kingdom of Heaven, is the express Doctrine of the Apostle (Gal. 5. 20. Voce Syno­nyma, [...], Episcop. 1 P. Disp. 16. Thes. 2) 'Tis one of his Rules 2 Cor. 7. 24. Wherein a Man is called to the profession of Christianity (whether in a state of Servi­tude, or freedom) therein to abide (so as he may abide the Servant of God.) If my Christian Liberty dos not warrant, or allow me, to desert the service of Man (to whom I am antecedently ingaged) much less the service of the Church, into whose Commu­nion I was baptized, and under whose Ju­risdiction I was bred and born. Quo pax & concordia Vndique Constat inter Chri­stianos homines, quaedam dissimulanda sunt, quaedam ferenda, quaedàm benigniüs in­terpretanda, Ad Rom. 14. n 2. p. 105. Saith the Learned De la Cer­da: That Peace and Concord may be kept on every side among Christians, some things are to be dissembled, some things to be tollerated, and some things to be favou­rably interpreted. Where there is nothing injoyn'd to the peril of our Souls, or the impeachment of our Salvation, we are ob­lig'd to keep the Vnity of the Spirit in the [Page 164] bond of peace, not to break the Commu­nion of the Church, but to observe the Or­ders and Decorum practised in it. ‘'Tis the Faith, which the Learned Zanchy profess'd and published, when he was 70 years of Age, in the name of himself and Family; Cap. 24. Thes. 10. p. 152. Tho Defects and Errors are ne­ver to be dissembled, yet Peace and Com­munion is to be held with all Societies, as the true Churches of Christ, in which the Foundation and Sum of Apostolical Doctrine is reteined, and no manifest Idolatry admitted.’ Episcopius 1 Part. Disp. 16. Thes. 10. &c. (who was no great admirer of Rites and Cere­monies) says there can be no just cause of seperation from the Church, but what se­perates from Christ, from God's Paternal favour and the Kingdom of Heaven. And seeing there can no such thing be charged upon this Church, 'tis undoubtedly Schism to seperate from her Communion. Hence the very worthy Dr. Falkner Vindic. of Liturgies Pag. 21. makes this solemn asseveration: I account my self to have as plain evidence from the Laws of God and the constitution of the Christian Church, that Schism and unnecessary sepe­ration is a sin, in the breach of Christian unity, as that Adultery is a sin in break­ing the bond of Wedlock. And I account my self to be as certain, that if ever there was any unwarrantable separation, from any known Church since the Apostles time, [Page 165] the separation from the Church of England is really such: Since our Church is truly as free from any just exception [...] in its Con­stitution, Doctrine and Worship, as any other since that time, either was, or is. Thus that worthy Author.

‘But these Dissenters do alledge, That the Doctrine of Justification, is Articu­lus Stantis vel Cadentis Ecclesiae: an Article with which the Church falls or stands.’ And that in the Parish where they (or some of them) live, this Article is quite demolisht by the Doctrine of Justi­fication by Works. But I must tell them that one Error broacht in one Parish ought not to make them desert the whole Esta­blisht Church. That Error, tho grievous, cannot be deadly to them, that have all ne­cessary truth laid before them, if they do cordially embrace and profess the same. The Error is only his, who, through the weakness of his Judgment, cannot discern that the necessary truth is not overthrown by it.

But because they alledge a Print and publick allowance, this reflects upon Au­thority and our Governors; and therefore the Charge requires a more strict and punct­ual examination. And here we must pre­mise.

That Justification without Christ's Me­rits and Mediation, or without Faith in his [Page 166] Blood, dissolves the Church of Christ, be­cause there is salvation in no other. (Act. 4. 12.) The Christian Church is built upon the Foundation of the Prophets and Apo­stles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner-stone. (Eph. 2. 20.) and other foundation can no man lay, then that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3. 11.) Fides est Caput & initium Christianismi, saith St. Austin. [...] Into this Olive-tree, we are ingrafted and stand by Faith: The Jews were broken off [...] through unbe­lief.

But in Justification, we find several per­sons concerned: There is something attri­buted to God: Something to Christ, and something to Man himself.

1. God is lookt upon as the Author and Efficient, for who can forgive sins but God only? I have blotted out, as a thick Cloud, thy transgressions, Isai. 44. 22. and Rom. 8. 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's Elect? It is God that jnstifieth.

2. There is something attributed to Christ. We are to look upon him, as the Meritori­ous Cause and Procurer of it. He is said therefore to have loved us & to have wash­ed us from our sins in his own Blood. (Apoc. 1. 5.) for by him we have received the Atonement, (Rom. 5. 11.) and for his sake [Page 167] God hath forgiven us. (Ephesians 4. ult.)

3. There is something attributed unto Man: He is the subject of this great bene­fit, and some qualification is required in him towards his own justification. Christ is set forth to be a Propitiation, (but it is) through faith in his Blood: tho we are said also to be justified freely by God's grace. See Rom. 3. 24, 25. And with the heart man believeth unto righteousness (Rom. 10. 10.) and to the saving of his Soul. (Heb. 10. ult.) 'Tis out of controversy, on all sides, that Believers are justified freely through God's mercy, and that Believers are justi­fied for the Merits of Jesus Christ. All the matter of Question amongst sober men is this, Whether in our justification, Faith be our own Act, whether considered as our Act, and as a lively Act, and fruitful of good works.

As we own no other Author of our ju­stification but God, no other Merits but Christ, so likewise do we acknowledge no other Condition but Faith. But that is not a dead Faith, for St. James tells us flatly, that's unprofitable. (Jam. 2.) This Faith must be an Evangelical Faith, which though the Holy Ghost, maks a Change; not only in our Relations, but in our Habi­tude, in our Hearts and Practice. (Act. 15. 9.) He that pretends to remission of sin [Page 168] before repentance, may with as much rea­son pretend to a Pardon (as some do) be­fore he is guilty. We must not confound the Condition with the Cause either Effici­ent or Meritorious. The presence of some disposition may be requisite as a qualifica­tion in the person to be justified, and yet have no efficiency into his justification. I think it is agreed among all Men learned and sober minded, That 'tis a lively Faith, which is the Condition of our Justification. And if we be agreed in this, to wrangle about Notions, Quae & Quâ, is not of so great importance as to study to be quiet, and to follow the things which make for peace, and the things whereby we may e­dify one another.

'Tis true St. Paul (in the matter of justi­fication) does exclude the works of the Law. (Rom. 3. 28.) But there are works of Faith. (1 Thes. 1. 3.) Are they exclu­ded too? By what Law? The Apostle prays, That the work of Faith may be ful­filled. 2 Thes. 1. 11. To say we, are justi­fied by the efficiency of these works of Faith, That's against God's Prerogative: To say we are justified by the merit of them, that is against Christ's Mediation: But will you deny the Presence and Concomitancy of them, to attend, to evidence and to at­test our justification? If it be Faith only, yet it is not Faith alone; of all qualificati­ons [Page 169] (which the Gospel requires) Faith must have the respect of Soveraign; but it stands not with her Enemies to be solita­ry.

Faith therefore may be considered in a double Capacity. (1.) Receptivè, as she has the Office of a Receiver. (2.) Red­ditivè, V. Per­kins Case of Consc. B. 2. Ch. 12. Ans. to 1. Q. P. 87. 1. B. In the first capacity she justi­fies the person, in the second she justi­fies her self, as some di­stinguish. But in this last sense, Mr. Per­kins makes it the way and means to life. Eternal. as she has the Office of a Dispen­ser.

1. As a Receiver, (so taken Joh. 1. 12.) she receives Christ in all his Capacities and Offices, as a King, as a Priest, as a Pro­phet, in his state of Humiliation, in his state of Exaltation. In this Habitude or Capacity, to believe in Christ is the most Natural act of Faith, her Elicite Act, and as much a work, as is the Elicite Act of Hope, or Love, or of any other Virtue. The People ask (John. 6. 28.) What shall we do, that we might work the work of God? Our blessed Saviour Answers: This is the work of God, (the work command­ed by God (1 John 3. 23.) but to be per­formed by you) That ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 'Tis Mans Duty at God's Command, and by his Assistance.

2. Take Faith Redditivè in the Capa­city of a Dispenser so it is much more a work Cal. 5. 6., and the Mistress of it: for so she disburses all her Talents; and she sets all o­ther virtues a work, and so pays homage to Christ in all Capacities. As he is a Pro­phet, [Page 170] so she hears his Voice, and own's his Doctrine; as he is a Priest, so she trusts to his Atonement and relies upon his Me­rits and Mediation; as he is a King, so she obey's his Laws, and observes his Instituti­ons; she renders up the whole Man to the dispose of his Redeemer, and makes him resolve with full purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord, and to submit to all his Com­mands and Impositions. Take Faith there­fore in the whole habitude and capacity of it, and (for a qualification to justification and life) I may say, 'tis all in all: It com­prehends (the sense of the word is so large) the whole Principle of Grace, and all the Effluxes and Egressions of it.Of Com­munion with God pag. 196. This Dr. Owen does acknowledge; for speaking of Habitual Grace, which dwels in us and makes it abode with us, He saith thus, [This, according to the dictinct faculties of our Souls wherein it is, or the distinct Objects about which it is exercised, re­ceiveth various Appellations; being in­deed all but one New Principle of life. In the Vnderstanding, it is Light, in the Will, Obedience in the Affections, Love; in all Faith.] He that desires to be fully satisfied in this point let him consult, the Learned and Judicious Divine, Mr. Thomas Hotch­ki's, He has also ano­ther part ready which de­serves to be made publick. in his Second Part of a Discourse of Imputed Righteousness. Chap. 28. and e­specially the 29th. where he treats hereof solidly and perspicuously.

[Page 171] St. James gives us a double instance or example of Justification by works, Abra­ham and Rahab; and concludes with a kind of demonstration, thereupon, ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by Faith only. (Jam. 2. 21. to the end.) We must not therefore deny the Propositi­on in every sense; For it is more modest to throw that Epistle quite out of the Canon as Luther did, then to question the truth of this Doctrine in it. But does not St. Paul contradict St. James? No, in no wise. For in Christ Jesus (he tells us) neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Vn­circumcision, (and these two divided the whole World) but Faith which worketh by love, St. Paul does there discourse expresly of Justifi­cation. see Gal. 5. 4, 5. 6. Ad Rom. 10. 10. p. 453. (Gal. 5. 6.) if nothing but Faith, which worketh by love, then no dead, nor idle, no other kind of Faith: and if not avail to any thing, then not to our Justi­fication. And 'tis the Observation of P. Martyr, Talem semper Apo [...]olus describit fidem, cum de justificatione agit, quae neces­sario Confessionem, & opera bona habeat Conjuncta: ‘Where the Apostle treats of Justification, he always describes such a Faith, as has Confession and Good-works necessarily joyn'd with it.’ Ad Rom. 10. 10. And Calvin up­on the same Text tells us, That the Apost­le notes there, which is the true Faith, from which this fruit (of Justification) flows, lest any man should pretend to an [Page 172] empty title of Faith instead of it; For (the true Faith) ought so to affect the heart with the glory of God, that the flame may break out and appear openly. And a little after, Caeterum viderint quid respon­deant Paulo; qui nobis hodie imaginari­am quandam fidem fastuosè jactant, quae se­creto cordis Contenta Confessione or is veluti re supervacaneâ & inani supersedeat. Ni­mis enim Nugatorium est, asserere ignem esse ubi Nihil sit Flammae neque Caloris: Mr. Calvin. ‘Let them consider what they can Answer to St. Paul, who at this time do proud­ly boast of a certain imaginary, Faith, which being conteined secretly in the heart, Supersedes Confession (and all good works) as vain and needless things. For it is too grosly Nugatory and trifling to affirm there is a fire there, where there is neither heat nor flame. In the Doctrine of Justification let these Dissenters take Faith in the general Gospel-sense, or in the sense now mentioned from Dr. Owen, and there will be no Dispute, much less Offence about this Article.

But there are very Learned men, who return this Objection upon (at least some of) these Dissenters; who overthrowing the remission of sins, do utterly demolish (as our Author words it) the Article of Justification, as well by Faith as by Works, and the necessity of New obedience. For [Page 173] if the satisfaction and death of Christ, were suffered and made in our stead, and formally made ours, they do certainly ex­piate all our sins▪ and free us from all guilt as well of Omission as of Commission. And upon this account being made, not only in­nocent (as free from all Commissions) but also actually just, (as omitting no part of our bounden duty) we have no need of Pardon or Remission; because here remains no sin to be remitted. And then we have Christ's Obedience and Merits for a surplu­sage, and consequently have no need of Repentance or New obedience; but a fair title to eternal life, upon Christ's account without them. So that this Authors Ar­gument turns clearly upon themselves. For they who take away the necessity of remis­sion of sins, do demolish the Article of Jus­tification: But these Dissenters (or a Sect of them) do take away the necessity of re­mission, therefore they do demolish the Article of Justification; which consists in remission. Rom. 3. 7, 8. Eph. 4 ult. Colos. 1. 14.

We appeal therefore to all Protestant Churches to judge how well they provide for their safety by departing from our Com­munion. Yet depart they will; and (as this their Advocate saith) when they are once out, they will advise upon another Church, not which is tolerable, but which [Page 174] is most elegible, and in all things nearest the word.

But suppose you mistake the word? 'Tis possible men may think themselves nearest, when indeed they are furthest off from it; for you dare not pretend to be infallible. 'Tis Calvin's Ad He­braeos. c. 10. 24. Observation, Tanta est ferè in omnibus Morositas—. ‘There is among men such Morosity, Envy, contempt of o­thers, and such an immoderate esteem of themselves, that were it lawful, every man would erect a Church to himself; be­cause he finds (in his own disposition) some difficulty to accommodate himself to the Manners of others.’

Some thought themselves as near the Mark certainly, as these Dissenters;See the confidence of Corah and his consede­rates Num. 16. 3. and such as fol­low their pernitious ways Ep. Jude v. 11. so near that they took upon them to controul the Orders (about matters of Indifferen­cy and Decorum) of the great Apostle; and tis worth our Observation to take no­tice how severely he checks them for it; 1 Cor. 14. 36. What? Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only? Ob­jurgatio asperior, CalvinAd lo­cum. calls it, a sharp objurgation or chiding: but no more than what was needfull, to abate and blunt the pride of those Corinthians, who studying nothing but themselves, would defer, (or allow) nothing to the primary Churches from whom they had received the Gospel: But carried themselves (saith D. DicsonAd. loc.) [Page 175] as if they had been the only Christians (in the World) to whom the Apostles had been sent, and to whom alone it did belong to judge of matters of Order and Decency in the Church. The Apostle therefore does justly expostulate with them; Are you the prime and only Christians? No, you are not; there are other Churches besides yours, and of more Antiquity. It is not meet therefore, that you should despise them, their Customs, and practice, to do all things according to your own Way, Mode and Arbitrement. Thus the Learnud Calix­tus.Calixtus ad locum.

To separate from any Church of an Apo­stolical Constitution, (which cannot be just­ly charged with Heresy, Idolatry, or the practice of any deadly sin, with allowance or without controul,) as from a body full of Wens and Vlcers to the great scandal, of many of that Communion, is undoubtedly Schism. For the Church (and such a Church) is undoubtedly the Spouse of Christ; Who gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and clense it with the wash­ing of water by the word: That he might present it to himself a glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle,Ep. 5. 25, 26. or any such thing, but that it might be holy and without ble­mish: This is the end of Christ's dispensa­tion, tho not accomplisht to perfection till she comes to Heaven. The mean while▪ if [Page 176] she be chaste and loyal, he does embrace and cherish her, not give her a bill of di­vorce for little faults and curable infirmi­ties; no more must we: Mr. Baxter him­self could once tell the World, Preface to Mr. Hotch­ki's his exercita­tion of the forgiveness of sins. [I confess, I have no great zeal to confine the Church to the party that I best like, nor to shut Christ out of all other Societies, and coop him up to the Congregations of those few, that say to all the rest of the Church, Stand by, we are more holy than you.

He therefore that separates from, such an Orthodox Church, out of a real intent to be take himself to another, which he thinks more pure, he ought, to be very sure that it is so, (and not to stand in need to ad­vise about it, whether it be or no) and he ought also to observe these two rules.

(1.) That he do not profess a total se­paration from it, much less to do it with reproach, as if it were not a Member of Christ's Body; for that will defame the Spouse of Christ, of whose honour and safety Christ is very tender and jealous.

(2.) That he does it so, as may give no scandal to those truly pious, tho but weak ones, of that Communion which he deserts. Solius enim puritatis Majoris a­mor tanti fieri non debet, quanti unius fra­tris infirmi Scandalum atque Offensio: For the love only of greater Purity(When he may be personally as pure as he please) ought not▪ ought not to be so much regarded, as the scandal [Page 177] and offence of one such weak Brother, when by such a breach of concord he gives scandal also to his Superiors, and by that means may hinder that Reformation, which in due time (if need were) his so­ber carriage and example might promote in that Communion. Hereupon the A­postle exhorts,Vid Ger­hard. ad Heb. 10. v. 24. (Heb. 10. 24, 25.) Let us consider one another, to (whet and) pro­voke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling our selves toge­ther— but exhorting one another. He that forsakes the Church, whether it be out of a damnable neglect, or the fear of persecution, or a perswasion of greater per­fection, falls soon into Schism and Apostacy; and cannot perform that duty of Charity, which he is obliged to by his Christianity. Vult Deus adorari, & nos in verâ congre­gari charitate, saith Oecolampadius, In Dan. 6. 11. ‘God will be worshipped, and will have us to be assembled in true charity:’ Qui ab Ecclesia Dei se scindit, non orat versus Hierusalem, quando quidem illam non cu­pit reparatam, a qua ipse seperatur: ‘He that cuts himself off from the Church, does not pray with his face towards Je­rusalem (as the Prophet Daniel did;) because he does not desire that (the Church) should be repaired from which he is sepera­ted.’ Thus Oecolampadius.

[Page 178] These Dissenters may reform and puri­fy the Church (they are to advise about) till they leave it naked, not only of Rites and Ceremonies, but also of useful Truth, faederal Conditions and holy Duties, as o­thers have done, and do still to this day. Here Mr. Baxter shall vouch for me, and I will instance in the great Article of Ju­stification. He charges (not a small par­ty) with misunderstanding of the nature and use of Christ's Death and Obedience,Confutati­on of Dr. Lewis Mou­lins Disser­tation in the Epistle Dedicato­ry. (as he says) ‘thinking that Christ obey­ed or satisfied by suffering, or both, as in our persons, so that the Law takes it to all ends and uses, as done by us our selves as when a man payeth his debt by his De­legate: This opinion (saith he) if I understand it, blots out Law and Gospel at one dash. And he adds a little after, That from that Doctrine this opinion fol­lows. That, we are justified before we believe, nay before we sin, nay before we are born, nay that it is an immanent Act in God, (and therefore eternal) and that Infidels are justified as Infidels. And a little after he says, The beginning of these mens misery is usually pride of their supposed graces, This leads them first to a seperation from their Brethren, and contempt of their Guides next to Anabap­tistry, and at last they turn Antinomi­ans and Libertines, and are given up to [Page 179] a Spirit of Madness.’ As LutherIn Deut. 18. ob­serv'd in his time, eo feruntur Spiritu Sa­tanae, ut rideant doceri a nobis fidem & charitatem: They are carried with such a Spirit of Satan, that they deride we should teach them Faith and Charity. But to re­turn to Mr. Baxter,This was printed 1654. who goes on thus, [When men will so horribly abuse thSe on of God, as to make him a friend to sin, who hath done and suffered so much to destroy it, and to make his blood the chiefest defensa­tive of transgression, and the price of a Lawless and Licentious life, which was shed to demonstrate God's hatred of sin, and to purge the Souls of men from its power and pollution, &c. It's no wonder then (as he concludes) if God bears no longer, but do appear against them, from Heaven, Ex­communicate them, and deliver them up to Satan the Spirit of Delusion. It appears by the Confutation of that Physician, that Mr. Baxter thought, Dr. Lewis Moulin, had taken too strong a Dose of that perni­cious Doctrine.Ibid. And he tells us further, that my Lord Brooks made this the Basis of all their Vanity, Pride and Insolence. They have the Spirit, and so know more than all the Learned, Pious, Godly men in the World. They have the Spirit they can­not sin, they cannot err.—Adultery is but an Act of the Flesh, but they are all Spirit and no Flesh.—In this case, [Page 180] if they be Traitors heady, highminded, &c. Who will wonder? What may they not be carried up to by the imagination of the Spirit? That Lord (as Mr. Baxter cites him) goes on with their Character and con­cludes: How can these (things) be spo­ken of Arminians, Socinians, or our Pre­lates?

These Dissenters should resolve the World whether these be the more eligible, or only the tolerable party, they commu­nicate with, in their separation from the Church of England. But because they Appeal to the word, to the word let them go: That word tells us of Prelates, and refers us to their Authority, and sets forth their Faith and Practice for our Pattern. Heb. 13. 7. 17. It tells us also of false Apo­stles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ, 2 Cor. 11. 13, 14, 15.

But it charges us not to follow their perni­tious ways. And so I leave them.

The Dissenters Fifth Section.

THey plead, that ther's no Obligation upon them to own the Churches Pow­er to impose New Terms of Communion, un­less the Church can prove her Power from Christ; It's not for them to disprove it, it lies upon her to prove it, and to prove it substantially too, or else it will be hard to prove it their duty to own it.

The Answer▪

1. That Power, which the Church had from the Apostles she had from Christ; for the Apostles (as was proved above) had the mind of Christ; if they did not deliver what they had received, they were un­faithful; And if they were unfaithful in this, they might be unfaithful in all the rest; and so our whole Christianity will be call'd in question.

2. The Church hath not only made her Claim to a Power, but has bin in actual Possession of it for more than 1600. years without interruption. That Plea is enough, for her to keep possession; and many Rules of Law will Justify her in it, (1.) Melior est conditio possidentis, He that is in posses­sion has the best Title, and (2.) Cum Par­tium [Page 182] Jura sunt obscura, favendum est Reo: When the Rights of the Parties Litigant or Contesting are obscure and doubtful, we are to favour the Defendant; that is; the Party, whom the Actor or Accuser desires and labours to thrust out of Possession, or lay a Guilt upon. And the Law says fur­ther in dubio favendum est Superiori impe­ranti; in doubtful Cases we are to favour the Commands of our Superiors.

That the Church is not Bonae Fidei Pos­sessor, and comes not honestly by her Title and Possession of this Power, cannot by the Rules of Law or Equity be determined by the Melius Inquirendum of an Adversary. The Actor, Aggressor or Plaintiff must bring his Writ of Ejectment to try the Title; and (if these Dissenters have not yet been sufficiently bafled in this attempt) let them at last offer us substantial Proofs to this effect, and I dare promise them (we shall not follow the example of this Author) we will not be scurrilous, not droll or quib­ble upon him, about a substantial proof of circumstantial matters.

3. This Power is not pretended to be such a plenitude of Power as they claim in the Church of Rome, not a Power to all intents and purposes: No, not a Power to make any new Articles of Faith; or in­stitute any new Sacraments, or parts of Divine Worship: But only to make Orders [Page 183] touching Circumstances, Rites and Cere­monies in the publick performance of God's service, and the Administration of Dis­cipline amongst the Members of the Church.

To me it is incredible that Almighty God should appoint an Order of men to be the Guides Heb. 13. 17. of Souls and the Stewards of his Divine Mysteries, and the means to bring them to Eternal bliss; and yet not in­trust them with sufficient Power for the due and worthy Administration of that Of­fice. 'Tis the great charge laid upon Bi­shops to feed the flock of Christ, (Act. 20. 28.) And, in Scripture-sense, this is to be done not only, by Preaching the Gospel, but also by wholsome Laws and Discipline. Some means they must have to accomplish this end, which can be no other then a Le­gislative Power. And this is evident from Matt. 16. 19. What ever ye bind on Earth, &c. Which is understood not only of Ab­solution, but of Excommunication, and in­flicting Censures. Vide Mat. 18. 17. And in those words of the Synod, Act. 15. 28. It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no other burden than these necessary things. Hence it is manifest that the Apostles imposed a Law upon Believers, which they were ob­liged to observe; else, they would never have called those things necessary and a bur­den. And why did our blessed Lord esta­blish [Page 184] Superiority and Subordination in his Church, some Persons to Govern, and o­thers to Obey; but to keep good Order and prevent Confusion; and this is no less need­ful in ours, then it was in the Apostles times; This Power therefore is to be continued in the Church to the Worlds end. Matthew 28.

For a full and clear Demonstration here­of, These several particulars have been proved in some other Papers.

1. That Christ and his Apostles intended Vnity, and to obtain and preserve that V­nity, They enjoyn'd Order and Vniformity in Churches.

2. That the Apostles at their first preach­ing of the Gospel did not presently establish that Order, The late Proposal of Union reviewed and rectifi­ed. p. 3, 4. which the state of the Church did afterwards require.

3. That the Apostles expected such a settlement should be made, by such as were entrusted with the Government of the Church.

4. That they gave certain general Rules or Canons to direct the Governours of the Church in making such establishmenrs.

5. That they left it to the Judgment and prudence of Church-Governours to deter­mine the particulars to be established in such cases.

Now let us lay these Principles toge­ther.

[Page 185] 1. That the solemn Worship and Service of God cannot be performed without some Rites and Ceremonies,Without some Ce­remonies it is not possible to keep any Order, or quiet Dis­cipline in the Church. Of Cere­monies be­fore the Common Prayer, &c. vid. as was observed above from Zanchy, Rungius, and o­thers▪

2. That these Rites and Ceremonies are to be observed according to the Rules of Decency and Order.

And 3. That these Rules are to be ad­judged and determined by such as are in­vested with Authority to that effect; From hence it will follow unavoidably, that all Subjects and Members of the Church are obliged to obey such Laws and Esta­blishments. For 'tis most certain, where some are impower'd to Command, others are injoyned to obey; else the Power gi­ven to Superiors were Nugatory, and given to no effect.

Whereas they mention [New Terms of Communion:] I confess the word New, to my self is somewhat scandalous: I am no lover of Innovations in Religion; tho the Addition of Collects and Forms of Prayer, upon emergent occasions is both frequent and very usefull; and alterations are al­lowable too, when the change is of impor­tance, and does not argue Levity, or give scandal. As to [Terms of Communion,] the expression may be equivocal. For my part I would have nothing establisht in the Church of God, but what has, at least, [Page 186] general Rules and Directions in Holy Scripture, and a just Authority, to war­rant it. And this has been very carefully observed in all the Rites and Ceremonies establisht in this Church of England.

For any man to imagine, that these things make a new worship, is a very great mistake. Any thing added to Divine In­stitutions as essential, or substantial, and simply necessary, does change the worship, saith Zanchy and makes it another. De Re­dempt. Lib. 1. c. 16. p. 447. 1. edit. Neo­stad Pala­tin. In una side nihil Ossicit Ec­clesiae Sanctae consuetudo diversa. Gregor. But what are added, yet only as things indiffe­rent, Propter Ordinem, Propter Decorum, & ad edificationem; ea substantiam Sacra­mentorum, eòque cultum non Mutârunt: Such things added for Order, for Decency and to edification, they change not the substance of the Sacraments (for example) nor the nature of the worship.

Now (if I understand what he means by his Terms of Communion,) I argue thus.

She that has a Power to appoint Rites and Ceremonies for edification, Decency and Order, she hath a Power to impose Terms of Communion: But the Church has a Power to appoint Rites and Ceremo­nies for edification, Decency and Order. Therefore the Church hath Power to im­pose Terms of Communion.

Besides the Proofs already produced, is not this evident in the Practice of all Churches? Are the Terms of Communion [Page 187] numerically the same in the Greek and La­tin Churches? If we look into the con­stitution of the several Protestant Churches shall we not find variety of Customs, Rites and Ceremonies among them? This Dis­cord we cannot but observe in the Harmo­ny of Confessions; whether we examine Cambridge Edition of 1586. or Geneva E­dition, 1654▪ and the Church of England declares her self in these words:Of Cere­monies be­fore the Common Prayer. We think it conveient, that every Countrey should use such Ceremonies as they shall think best, to the setting forth of God's honour and glory, and to the reducing of the People to a most perfect and godly living without Er­ror or Superstition. Are the Terms of Communion the same among the Luthe­rans and Calvinists? David Rungius ex Epist. Ad Ro­man Dis­put. 16. p. 324. The Lutherans reckon these things in the Catalogue of things indifferent.

1. To place Historical Images, (or pict­ures) in the Church for Ornament, and Commonefaction.

2. To use Stone-tables (which they com­monly call Altars) in the Administration of the Lords Supper.

3. To adapt a peculiar kind of Garment to the Minister in his publick administrati­on of the holy Office.

4. In the Administration of the Eucha­rist; either to break and divide little Cakes or Wafers, or else to make use of single small ones, fit for distribution.

[Page 188] 5. In Baptism to use the Lessons of ex­orcismes, and the sign of the Cross.

6. To sing the Sacred Hymns, either in the German or Latin tongue, with the voice, or Musical Instruments.

Haec & Similia, &c. These and such like things, they who teach, that they are simply necessary to be reteined, or necessarily to be abolished, they do offer violence to Christi­an liberty on both sides, and are to be a­voided as False-teachers, desirous to in­thrall us in the Yoake of humane Traditions.

Notwithstanding this their Declaration, we cannot be admitted to their Communion unless we submit to the Terms of their esta­blishment. And is not the case the same among the Presbyterians? Why were the Directory, the Ordinance for Ordina­tion of Ministers, And what was the worcester­shire A­greement? Were there no Terms of Communi­on in it? the form of Church-go­vernment for England and Ireland, Their Confession of Faith, and their advise for Catechisms; were not all these designes to be imposed as Terms of Commmunion? And I am sure they were new ones; never heard of in the World, till the years 1645. 47, and 48. and (as, I remember) be­fore the year 1650. They were quite out of request, and laid in the dust. And have not the Independents their pecu­liar Terms of Communion too? And are not these new likewise? The Synod of Charenton 1644. takes notice of their Er­ror, [Page 189] that they teach, Vnamquamque Ec­clesiam suis propriis Legibus ita gubernari debere, &c. That every Church ought so to be governed by its own Laws, that, in matters Eccclesiastical, it be subject to no other, nor depend upon any other, nor is it bound to acknowledge the Authority of any Conference or Synods, in reference to its own Government and Administrati­on. Of which Error that Synod of Cha­renton gives this Sentence, Esse hanc Sect­am tam Reipublicae, quam Ecclesiae perni­ciosam; absurdis quibuscunque insanisque Commentis viam aperire; omnes iis me­dendi rationes tollere; ac si illi sententiae locus esset, Posse tot Religiones fingi, quot Paraeciae privativè Conventus forent: ‘That is, this Sect is pernicious both to Church and Common-wealth; it opens a gap to all absurd and mad inventions whatsoever; it takes away all the ways and means of healing them; and if way should be given to that opinion, there would be as many Religions, as there are Parishes or private Meetings.’ By this we see that the Protestants of France do not agree with the Independents of Eng­land about the Terms of Communion. But in truth if the business be sifted to the ve­ry bottom, the Question is not so much a­bout the Power it self; (For these Dissen­ters suppose it in all their own expedients, [Page 190] which they propose:) but, really, the que­stion is, What hands shall menage this Power. The Laws of Christ and his A­postles, of Church and State, have placed the Power in few hands, to make the Go­vernment the more Regular in it self, the more safe to the King, and the more easy to the Subject: But these Dissenters would put it into every Parish Priest, and so set up ten thousand Independent Jurisdictions in the Kingdom. And such a Church as this is most Eligible in their Conceit.

The Dissenters Sixth Section.

THey say, the World is pester'd with Disputes about Worship, about Re­ligion; and therefore since all cannot be in the right, they are willing to go the safest way, and Worship God according to his word: If the things disputed be lawful to be done, let 'em be so; they are sure it's lawful to let 'em alone; and they think there's no great hazard in keeping to Scripture Rule, nor can believe that Christ will send any to Hell, because they did not worship God in an external Mode, more neat and spruce than God Commanded.


The World is pester'd with Disputes a­bout Religion: Hereupon some men resolve they'le trouble themselves with none at all. Wo be to them by whom this scandal is gi­ven! I pray, from whence come these Wars and Fightings amongst us? The Re­formation silenced them, and setled Vni­formity to establish Peace. Some men are of restless Spirits and can never study to be quiet, making it their business to disturbe the repose of Christendom. And all the Disputes for these 40. years, (and we may say, ever since the Reformation,) whe­ther menaged by Pen or otherwise, have been commenced and carried on (against this Church of England) by the Jesuits and Dissenters. And upon what account this is done (as to our Dissenting Brethren) Mr. Baxter has told us long ago in these words,In his A­pologeti­cal Preface to his con­futation of Dr. L. Moulin. [Every one must needs reduce all others to his opinion as if his Judgment were the infallible Standard of Verity; and so we have proved too proud and un­charitable, while we would be Orthodox overmuch.] And a little after he gives good Advice, (if he had been stedfast e­nough to follow it,) I advise my Brethren, to prepare their weapons, against the Pa­pists, and Socinians, and Antinomians. [Page 192] above all other Sects: and to associate spee­dily, and carry on all their work in Vnity, if ever they will succeed.

2. 'Tis sure all cannot be in the right; 'tis fit therefore, we should take some pains to learn the safest way. But self-conceit and the private Spirit are the worst Guides in the World. He that is wise in his own eyes is very apt to put darkness for light, and light for darkness (Isai. 5. 20.) The Holy Ghost has observ'd this to our hands, and adviseth us therefore not to lean to our own understanding: For (as that devout man said) He that is his own Scholar has a Fool to his Master. The neerer the Fountain the clearer the Stream. God calls upon us to tread theJer. 6. 16. good Old way; sends us to the Law and the Testimony. Isa. 8. 20. But as he gave the word, so he gave the Preachers too. The Priests lips should preserve knowledge; and they should seek the Law at his mouth. Mal. 2. 7. In difficult matters God did refer earnest and cordial Inquirers to the sentence of such as were in Authority, Deut. 1. 7 Our Saviour did not slight that Order, wherein that Dispensation was on foot, but lik'd it so well (as he did many other of those Institutions) that he tran­scribed it into his Gospel,Matt. 23. 2. and adopted it into the practice of his Church. They sit in Moses Chair, &c. Obey them that have the Rule over you, and submit your selves. [Page 193] Heb. 13. 7, 17. Matt. 18. 17. And if a Dic Ecclesiae be of so great Authority (in our Saviours ac­count) to decide our civil differences, much more those of a Spiritual and Reli­gious nature (as Schism and Heresie) which belong more properly to her Cogni­zance Dr. Pri­deux Sect. 22. de Author. Ec­clesiae in Rebus Fi­dei. cap. 3. p. 354.

3. Whereas they say there's no great ha­zard, I say there's none at all, in wor­shipping God according to his word, and keeping to Scripture-rule; provided we rightly understand it. For Luther Annot. in Deut. cap. 248. ob­serves, there are two sorts of Prophets (hinted at by Moses) that should rise up against sound Doctrine. One should come in the name of the Lord, and bring the word of God and holy Scripture with them. Such should be the Jews in Christ's time, who alledged the Scripture against the Gospel, for the Righteousness of the Law; and such should be Hereticks after them, &c. Men will wrest the Scriptures to serve their own Hypothesis.

Is any thing more clear than the Scrip­ture-rule for Governors, that they set all things in order (where it is not done to their hands) and then to see, that (in the worship and service of God) all things be done decently according to that Order? And that these are the Commandments of God.1 Cor. 14. 37. And the Scripture-rule for such as are under Authority is as plain as words [Page 192] [...] [Page 193] [...] [Page 194] can make it, (Heb. 13. 7, 17.) and yet if there were no such Scripture-rule, common Reason would infer the Duty. Where some are impowered to give Orders, o­thers are under an obligation to observe them: Else Authority is Nugatory and ri­diculous, as has been observed former­ly.

4. If the things disputed be lawful to be done, we are not of these Dissenters opinion, that 'tis lawful to let 'em alone: but we believe the contrary. For if they do not dogmatize themselves and their fol­lowers into superstition (which is highly probable,) yet by their pretermission, and neglect of what is injoyned them, they break the Law, despise Authority, and give scandal to the Church; and whether Hell may not ly at the bottom of such diso­bedience, I leave it between God and them­selves to judge.Gal. 5. 20. Does not God require and delight in Verity? And can there be V­nity without Obedience? Does he not re­quire us to avoid Offences, and follow Peace, especially with his Church? Is not Schism a work of the Flesh as well as Mur­der, or Adultery? Is not a wilful and groundless separation from the Mystical Body of Christ, a separation from Commu­nion with him? And is there no peril in breaking our selves off from this Vine? Do they think they can climbe up to Hea­ven [Page 195] by a Ladder of their own, when they place the foot of it upon ground of their own devising? No, No. Graviter pec­cant, saith the Learned Zanchy, Lib. de Redempt. They sin grievously, who for these indifferent Ce­remonies disturb the Churches, and damn all other Magistrates and Rulers, because they use their liberty in these things: Is this the Piety which is boasted of? Is this the Charity which we ow to the Churches of God? If they want Piety and Charit who contend with other Churches about Ceremonies, how little of those Christian-virtues have they to pretend to, who quar­rel with their own; because she will not prostrate her self to gratify their humors?

5. If Christ will send none to Hell for performing his worship and service rudely and slovenly, with a stiff and peremptory sawciness (which I am sure is no where allowed) certainly he will not send to Hell such as worship him in the beauty of holi­ness, with a due Reverence and Solemnity, which he hath commanded.

The Dissenters Seventh Section.

THey pretend, that the things impo­sed are Parts of Worship, which none can Create but God: nor will God ac­cept of any but such as are of his own Crea­ting; and whether they be integral or essen­tial Parts, they do not know; but in the Worship of God they find them stand upon even ground with those that are certainly Divine, or at least as high as man can lift them.

The Answer.

When the Apostle saith, let all things be done [...], according to Rule and Or­der, he does imply that somethings are to be decreed and ordered;1 Cor. 14. 40. &c. and that must be done after such a manner as is decent and to such an end as edification. Orders to this effect are not the essentials of Religion, but the Appendages, Circumstances and Mo­difications of it; which in a general sense, we call Rites and Ceremonies. And of the Dissenting Brethren, this their Advocate tells us.

They pretend, that the things imposed are Parts of Worship. This, he says, they pretend; and 'tis one of the modestest ex­pressions I have observed fall from his Pen. But why do they pretend? Why, because they are resolved to object and Cavil. But [Page 197] why do they but pretend? Because they cannot prove; and perhaps because some of them do not believe themselves in what they suggest against the Church, viz. That the rites & ceremonies imposed immediate­ly by her Authority are Parts of Worship.

The Worship of God is twofold. 1. In­ternal, Internam sinio, quam Mens & affectus habent: externam, quae ab il­lis for as octenditur actu aliquo externo. Jos. Mede de Sanct. Relat. in Levit. 19. 30. Op p. 401. which consists of the internal actions of a pious Soul, for example, the act of Faith, is to believe, the act of hope, is to hope, the act of Charity, to love God and our Neighbour, with other internal exercises of Piety. 2. There is an exter­nal worship of God, and that consists in the external exercises of Piety; and these are of two sorts. Some are of themselves good, and acceptable to God, and necessary to Salvation: Such are Confession of our Lord and Saviour, (the external works of Faith,) Beneficence, or doing good to our Neighbour, (the external work of Charity) These are such effects of Piety that Piety it self cannot be without them; Where­upon they are more properly called works of Piety, and no less pleasing to God than the internal works themselves.

There are other external exercises of Pi­ety, which are conversant in, external Rites and Ceremonies of God's institution, and opposed to the inventions, Exercises and Offices of mans devising: Such are Sa­craments and Sacrifices; which are Or­dained [Page 198] not for their own sakes, but to be inservient to internal Piety, to bring that to light and protest it, to exercise and pro­mote it, to God's glory, the good of our Neighbour and the salvation of our own Souls. Piety is the Soul of all our worship; without which the Observation of these external Rites and Ceremonies are but as a dead CarcassIsai. 1. 11. to the 16. which God will reject as a thing of an ill savour. In this worship of God 'tis doubtless the Duty of the Church to give direction, and call upon us to per­form it: But this worship is of Gods appoint­ment and imposition, not the Churches. If the Rites and Ceremonies imposed by this Church be part of worship: How came they to be so? It must be either by Divine Institution, (which we are so far from pretending to, that we do stedfastly deny it,) or else, by humane estimation: If we did value them at so high a rate, this must appear. 1. Either by the necessity we lav upon them. Or, 2. By the Merit and Efficacy we ascribe to them. Or, 3. By the preference we give them.

1. The Scribes and Pharises indeed set such a value upon their Traditions, (which had no competent Authority to establish them, but were wicked and re­pugnant to Divine Authority) that they prefer'd them so far before God's Law, as to have force enough to rescinde it, and [Page 199] make it of none effect. (Matt. 15. 6.) But for Rites and Ceremonies establisht among us, the Church has declar'd, that (upon, just causes) they may be altered and chang­ed, and therefore are not to be esteemed equal with God's Law. *

2. That we should place any Merit in the use of them cannot well be imagi­ned,Preface of Ceremo­nies before the Book of Com. Prayer. when we allow no such to the very best works we can perform at God's ap­pointment. And when Authority has in­joyn'd or restrain'd the use of them, so that (upon such a supposition) they be­come necessary, according to such restraint or injunction: Yet they remain indiffe­rent still in their own nature: and do not immediately bind mens Consciences, as if they were immediate parts of God's wor­ship, or of absolute necessity to salvation, for which the Church has tyed our Faith strictly to the holy writ; and to nothing else. Artic. 20. But to proceed.

They say, none can Create parts of wor­ship but God, nor will God accept of any, but of such as are of his own Creating: Here we have two things, which call for our consideration. 1. The Creation of worship. And 2. The acceptableness, of such performances as have not that stamp of God's Creation on them.

1. By Creation of worship (or the parts of it) we suppose he means the erection [Page 200] and dictating of it; which may be done either by natural suggestion, or by gene­ral and positive institution. And then we must distinguish betwixt erection (as I may call it) and direction; betwixt natu­ral suggestion (by which we understand the dictate or impression of the Law of nature) and occasional Application: betwixt general institution) and particular determination. The erection, (whether by natural sugge­stion or general institution,) may be from the wisdom and will of God; and yet the direction as to occasional Application and particular determination, may be referr'd to the Power and Wisdom of the Church. this will appear in some Acts or Rites of external Worship. Nonnullas (Ceremo­nias) diotat ipsa natura; Nature her self does dictate some sort of Ceremonies, for example, to kneel down when we pray, to smite the breast, to lift up the eyes and hands to Heaven; which are therefore common to the Heathen with all Sects, saith Herinex. Summa Theol. Schol. & Moral. part. 4. p. [...] 52 [...]. 76. And Zanchy De Cul­ru exter­no [...]. proves that some external Rites used in God's worship, are from the Law of Nature: because they were common to Jew and Gentil: He does instance in howing and kneeling, when they worship God, and in lifting their eyes up to Heaven when they said their prayers. &c. And he adds, we can use no Ceremony, wherein the Law of Nature [Page 201] has not some place. Vsque adeo Natura nos ad Deum adorandum, ac ritè honestè­que ac pie colendum instigat: So far does Nature incite us to adore and orderly and honestly and piously to worship God.Michah. 6. Eph. 3. 14. 1 Cor. 14. 25. To give some instances, bowing the head, bowing the knee, and bowing the body, are external Rites, or if you will Acts of ex­ternal worship; and so is prostration: They are suggested to us even by the Law of Nature: and injoyned by the Decalogue Second Command ment, &c. Psal. 95. 6. in general: But in regard it cannot be per­formed all at once, therefore the particu­lar determination Pro hic & nunc, or the occasional Application of them to God's service is left to the Wisdom and Order of the Church. In like manner the Confession of Christ, is a Rite, or an Act of God's external worship; (for there was never any Nation that did believe a God, but would also declare that he was to be own'd and acknowledged.) But whether this confession and acknowledgment should be made viva voce, by word of mouth, or by subscription, or by some Symbolical signe or gesture. This is left to the prudence of such as are concern'd to determine it. Thus much touching the Creating of worship (as our Author calls it) with such Rites as do attend and protest the truth and piety of it.

[Page 202] 2. The Acceptableness thereof follows: Some things are acceptable to God▪ as they are suggested by the Law of Nature, which is from God; and therefore cannot but be very pleasing to him: Some things are ac­ceptable as they are inservient to the ex­ercise of internal Piety; and so Alms and Beneficence are well pleasing to him. (Heb. 13. 16.) And some things he is pleased with, because they are inservient to the solemnity of publick worship and Ornamen­tal to it: Such was the holy Temple with the musical Instruments, and all the magnifi­cence of it; The Lord loveth the Gates of Sion, Psal. 87. 2.

For Adiaphorae actionis possunt Deo pla­cere (saith Vrsin) licet aliter quam cul­tus Dei proprie dictus: Cat. 9. 96. in. 2. praec. ‘Indifferent act­ions, may please God,’ tho not upon the same account, but in a different manner, ‘from the worship of God properly so cal­led.’ God may therefore accept what he does not particularly, or directly injoyn. In the free-will Offerings under the Law, tho God determined the Quid and the Qua­le, yet he let the Quotum undetermined,v. 2 Cor. 8. 8. de cer­ta summa in Eleemo­sinis nihil certi aut praescripti imponere Deum, &c. Sclater & Calvin. ad locum. which nevertheless was acceptable to him. And what shall we say of David's purpose to build the Temple (which resolution he took up, not (as our Author says of some others) Jure Prophètico; V. Grot. ad 2. Sam. 7. 2. &c. (for it was not the manner of Prophets to be mistaken in [Page 203] their intendments, as David was in that case) yet God accepted the Piety of his design, tho he would not allow him, the execution of it. Another instance we have in the great Apostle. Potuit B. Pau­lus ex Evangelio sibi victum quaerere: quod maluit operari amplius erogabat, saith St. Austin: ‘Blessed Paul 1 Cor. 9. 13, 14: might have li­ved of the Gospel: That he chose rather to earn his own living, he laid out him­self so much the more: And was not this acceptable to God?’ Gratis Evangelium praedicare, voluntaria quaedam est liber­tas, eoque & gloriam promeretur: To preach the Gospel freely is a kind of inge­nuous liberty and deserves glory, saith the Theophylact: In epist. 1 ac Cor. cap. 9. And a little After, Haud qua­quam tantundem futurum est, ut is merea­tur, &c. ‘He that preacheth the Gospel for reward, can never deserve so much, asCum Chri­stiana libertate optime convenit summa ser­vitus, sed quae sit ex charitate ultroneâ & voluntariâ Peter Mar. in 1. ad Cor. 9. p. m. 118. 1. m. Is not this ac­ceptable to God? shall be given to him, who preacheth the Gospel freely.’ Cum Chri­stiana libertate optime convenit summa ser­vitus, sed quae sit ex charitate ultroneâ & voluntariâ Peter Mar. in 1. ad Cor. 9. p. m. 118. 1. m. Is not this ac­ceptable to God? I will instance but once more and that shall be in Mary Mag­dalen; who commanded her, either to wash Christ's feet with her tears, or to wipe them with the hair of her head, or to poure so costly a box of Ointment upon his head, which according to Law might have been sold at a great rate and given to the poor? Was she not accepted herein? She had the Son of God to be her Advocate, against the cavils of his own Disciples,Luke 7. v. 37. &c. she recei­ved [Page 204] the comfort of a declarative Absoluti­on, and the honour to have her devotion celebrated whereever the Church should preach the Gospel.

‘These Dissenters say further, whether the things imposed, be Integral or Essen­tial parts (of worship) they do not know, but in the worship of God they find them standing upon even ground with those that are certainly Divine, or at least as high as man can lift them.’

That the Church does impose or com­mand any parts of worship, not of God's Creating, is but their pretence and our De­nyal. Affirmanti incumbit Probatio: The proof lies on their side; and if they cannot make it good they are uncharitable and false Accusers.

What Ranke they hold in the esteem of the Church and Learned Protestants we may best learn from her and themselves. This Church of England saith, That with­out some Ceremonies it is not possible Of Ce­remonies. Preface before the Common Prayer, & Calv. instit vid. l 4. c. 10 §. 27. to keep any Order, or quiet Discipline in the Church; they were reserved therefore (and establisht) as well for a decent Order in the Church, as because they pertain to edi­fication. What Rivet In Deca­log. p. 187. 1. m. saith from Robert Loëus, of the time consecrated to God's service may be applyed to all Ecclesiastical Rites and Ceremonies, Moralis potius legis usui subservire, quam vim & naturam ejus [Page 205] continere; nec tam propriè quidem virtu­tem aut Pietatem, quam nervum virtutis vinculumque Pietatis dici: He saith that it is rather subservient to the use of the Moral Law, then that contein the force and nature of it; neither can it so proper­ly be called Virtue or Piety, as the sinew of Virtue and the bond of Piety. The titles given to these Rites and Ceremonies by Learned men are these,Meisner. Retinacula, Adminicula, Incitamenta, Ornamenta: They call them the hold-fast, the helps, the Incitements and Ornaments of Religi­on and Piety. These were the Traditions mentioned by the Apostle, 1 Cor. 11. 2. Precepts left by Christ to the wisdom of the Governours and Presidents of his Church, pertaining to good Order and De­cency. There were many of this kind saith Grotius, of no great moment to Piety, but therein 'twas fit and profitable that some­thing should be setled in common, lest a different use and custom should blemish the Church, beget disputes, and, as it often happens, of disputes and Schismes. So that these Rites are like the Leades in a Glass-window, not design'd to let in Light, but to hold the Quarries of Glass together, to keep the Window tite and strong, and make it the more serviceable to keep out storms and cold.

[Page 206] That these things, in the esteem of the Church stand upon even ground with such things as are certainly Divine is so great an untruth that a modest man would blush at it. They have not the same Author, not the same end, nor the same necessity, nor the same obligation.

1. They have not the same Author, Di­vine things have God for their only Au­thor: but for these Ecclesiastical Rites and Ceremonies, they ow their Original, either to the customes of several places, as standing in sign of Reverence. Judg. 3. 20. Eglon stood up, when Ehud told him he had a message to him from God. When the word of God was mentioned Eglon gave honour to it by rising up, saith Pet. Martyr. And he says, it is to be believed, that it was the custom of those Countries at that time.

Or else 2. They derived their Original from the Authority of Superiors, as 1 Cor. 11. 2. 34. and Tit. 1. 5. and the Practice of their insti­tutions in process of time become customs too. 1 Cor. 11. 16. Upon these words The rest will I set in order when I come: St. AustinEpist. 118. saith, that Christ commanded no­nothing in these matters, but left them to the ordering of the Apostles, with whom he entrusted the disposal of the Churches, &c. Read the Epistle at large.

[Page 207] Or 3. The Rites and Ceremonies may take their rise from the Devotion of Pious Persons; as the Practice of the Publican and Mary Magdalen, Luke 7. 38. c. 18. 13.

2. As they have not the same Author, so they have not the same End: The end of Divine institutions is internal Grace and Sanctification: This is said to be the end of Christ's Dispensation to his Church. That he might Sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of Water, by the word. Eph. 5. 26. But the end of these Ecclesiastical Rites & Ceremonies is not to confer Grace, but to preserve good Order and Decorum, to procure reverence, and (as objects fit for that purpose) to help Devotion.

3. They have not the same necessity; For as touching Divine things, an absolute necessity is laid upon us to observe them; and it may be a double necessity, Praecep­ti & Medii, not only because they are un­der command, but also because they may be means without which salvation is not to be had: But for Ecclesiastical Rites, the necessity is not absolute; they may be changed, they may be abolished, and we may be saved without them; and that they do not stand upon equal ground, the Church professeth in her Articles; and this is clear upon an other account.

[Page 208] For, Lastly, There is a great difference in their Obligation. Divine Commands and Institutions do bind the Conscience, im­mediately and of themselves, under peril of Eternal Death: Ecclesiastical Rites doe not so: And where there is no breach of Charity, and that is, where there is no contempt of Authority, or Scandal to our Neighbour, the Omission does not wound the Conscience, nor incur the guilt of dead­ly sin, as the Reverend and Learned Da­venant Nostra Ecclesia ag­noscit hasce leges suas de rebus a­diaphoris & Ceremo­nialibus, autore, ma­teriâ, fine, longè dista­re a Divi­nis; & in tantâ om­nium rerum imparitate non posseex­urgere ae­qualem Con­scientiae ob­ligationem. Davenant. determ. 20. p. 100, v. caet. has determined.

But perhaps there lies a Fallacy, in the expression; for to stand upon even ground does not always argue an equality. 'Tis said Exod. 14. 31. The People believed God and his Servant Moses: Likewise 'tis com­manded, Prov. 24. 21. My Son, fear thou the Lord and the King: There, God and Moses may seem to stand upon even ground in the term [Believed;] and here, the Lord and the King, stand upon even ground, in the term [Fear:] yet he were little less than a mad man, that should con­clude from hence, that God and Moses, or the Lord and the King; are of equal con­sideration, when notwithstanding the dif­ference between them is no less then infi­nite.

We read in the book of Josuah of an un­lucky jealousy, which did arise in the heads of some of the Tribes of Israel againstJosu. 22. [Page 209] their Brethren; and this begat a Dissent; and that Dissent had ended in a Fatal and deadly Breach, if it had not been made up by interposing the Innocent Parties Prote­station. The Two Tribes and half,Ver. 10. when they left the Camp of Israel, in their re­turn to their own Inheritance, they built an Altar for Memorial and a Testimony: Hereupon their Brethren lookt upon them as Apostates and Idolaters, Ver. 12. and took up Armes, (as they imagined) to avenge God's quarrel.

When the Children of Ruben and God and those of Manasseh, Ver. 21. had heard (by their Legates) of their preparation for War, and their bitter expostulation, they calmly made their Defence, The Lord God of God's knoweth, and Israel shall know our Innocency. If we have built this Al­tar in Rebellion or for Sacrifice to turn from the Lord, let the Lord himself re­quire it; but we have done this only to in­title our selves and our Posterity to a share in God's Publick and Solemn Worship, and to an Interest in his Tabernacle and Altar. When the Priest and Princes of the Con­gregation had heard their Apology, Ver. 30. they were well pleased, and declared their hear­ty satisfaction: This day we perceive that the Lord is among us: Ver. 31. 33 and they blessed God; and all was concluded in a happy Peace.

[Page 110] Calvin Ad ver. 30. reflecting upon Phinehas and the Ten Princes which were with him, he commends the temper of their zeal, that they did not insist upon the prejudice which they had conceived against their Brethren: but admitted their excuse with kindness and alacrity. For there are many (saith he) if they take offence, no Apology can be calm them: but they will always be find­ing out something unjustly to carp at, ra­ther then yeild to reason. Homil. 61. in Librum Josuae. 'Tis Lavaters complaint (in treating of this story) Ho­diè reperies Magnos Theologos qui tam sunt importuni & praecipites, ut nondum audi­tis aut lectis aliorum argumentis, statim responsiones fabricent & in lucem emittant: We see great Divines at this day, who are so importune and precipitant, that before ever they have considered or read the Ar­guments of other men, they are busy at framing Answers, and sending them abroad in publick. But both Parties ought to be heard with meekness and good attention. Quam hoc utile & necessarium sit in Causâ Religionis, hic locus apertè ostendit: How profitable and necessary this is in the Cause of Religion,Ibid. Hom. 62. (saith he,) this place does plainly manifest. And that moderate Di­vine adds a little after, Si viri boni jure jurando, vel aliis idoneis rationibus se le­gitimè excusent, recipienda est eorum excusatio: ‘If good men can purge them­selves [Page 211] by Oath, or by other meet ways, their excuse is to be received. There are some, that will stubbornly maintain what they have once propounded: Such men, (saith he,) are Authors of great mischief in Church and State.

Let not the Reader wonder that I insist so much upon these Authorities: For has not the Church of England purged her self sufficiently by Argument against these Dissenters and entred her Protestation too, to satisfy their jealousies? Let us hear the Learned,Ad Cle­rum on Rom. 14. 3. p. 24. Pious, and Judicious Bishop, Dr. Sanderson; ‘Our Church (God bethank­ed, saith he) is far from any such impi­ous presumption (viz. as that of the Pha­risees and the Church of Rome:) and hath sufficiently declared her self by solemn Protestation, enough to satisfy any in­genuous impartial Judgment, that by requiring obedience to these Ceremonial Constitutions, she hath no other purpose, then to reduce her Children to an orderly Uniformity in the outward worship of God, so far is she from seeking to draw any opinion, either of Divine necessity upon the Constitution, or of effectual ho­liness upon the Ceremony: Thus Dr. Sanderson.

Our Dissenting Brethren should have been so Charitable as to have followed the steps of those Ten Tribes: They should [Page 212] have declared their satisfaction upon the Churches Protestation; and have blessed God that she is so perfectly clear of their suspition: They should have been highly pleased that matters are so well; this they should have done rather then to revile and cavil (as they have done,) rather then to condemn and forsake her Communion, upon their own jealousy, to set up a new Altar, and Altar against Altar, condemn'd by all the Orthodox among the Antients. They have indeed the jealousy & rashness of those Tribes but not their ingenuity and condour. And to shew their uncharitableness, they bear the World in hand that, we set up these Rites and Ceremonies as Parts of God's worship, matters of necessity and de­sign'd to insnare the Conscience.

But to mollify the Objection and Cen­sure, they say (at last,) if these Rites and Ceremonies do not stand upon even ground with those things which are cer­tainly Divine, yet, at least, they stand as high as man can lift them. But by their good leave, they are mistaken in this sug­gestion too: for they stand not so high, as they are set up in the Church of Rome. Aquam sale conspersam populis benedici­mus, ut eâ cuncti aspersi Sanctificentur, ac purificentur: As Alexander the First has it in an Epistle:Apud F. Her [...]. We bless Water and Salt for the People, that all who are sprinkled [Page 213] therewith may be Sanctifyed and Purified. They attribute Spiritual effects to their Ceremonies: not only a power to cure Di­seases to expel and drive away the Devil: but to procure Grace, to remit venial sins, to Sanctify their Persons. And they use Spiritual Acts of Consecration and solemn Benedictions to Hallow them to these ef­fects. Do the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England stand thus high? For shame, in cool blood, they will not say it. I suppose therefore, the meaning is only this, That they stand as high as of due right and lawfully we can lift them. If this be their meaning, (tho there may be a malitious insinuation, that we do some­thing more then we ought, yet) really, to do what, of due right and lawfully, we may do, is no sin in us: but 'tis sin in them to break Communion and seperate from us upon that account. Here we may observe the method and progress of Discord; First, they fancy and pretend a fault: then they take the confidence Calumniari forti­ter, to make the Calumny as black as may be, and to stick it upon us with as great an Odium as they can; and when they have shewn their spite, they mince the matter; they were mistaken in their exaggeration; we have done nothing but our Duty, or at least what is warrantable, in exalting God's solemn worship and service, by lift­ing [Page 214] up the Appendages thereof to their due and decent station.

For other Protestant Churches do lift up their establisht Rites and Discipline as high as we; and this is evident from the severity they design and inflict upon such as are refractory to the use and practice of them. When such Rites and Laws about them,See above out of the Calvinists Book of Discipline▪ c. 5. de. Consistoriis Act. 31. are established, the Church does not account the Observation of them so mean and vile, as to be violated through contempt and with the scandal of others: but such transgressors she looks upon as un­decent and disorderly walkers, and exer­ciseth her Authority, to note, to admonish, to reprove and rebuke them, and endea­vours by all wholsom means to reduce them to a sound mind: This is the Duty of the Church (when it may be perform­ed seasonably,) saith a Protestant Divine of great Learning and an acute Judgment. And does not Mr. Calvin say the same? I am sure it was his Practice: And upon those words. 1 Cor. 11. 16. If any man seems to be contentious, he writes thus, Ta­les sunt omnes qui bonos ritus & utiles Con­vellunt nulla necessitate, &c. ‘Such are all they, who without any necessity root out good and profitable Rites and Cere­monies; such as make controversies a­bout matters of no difficulty, such as no reason can satisfy, such as will not en­dure [Page 215] to be reduced to Order, such also are they who are unsociable, and are carried away with a foolish affectation of novelties. Such as these St. Paul will not vouchsafe to answer: Because conten­tion is a pernicious thing, and ought to be banisht out of the Church. Hereby (as Calvin goes on) he teacheth, that refractory and contentious Persons are to be bridled by Authority, rather then refuted by disputations,Nunquam enim con­tentionum erit finis, si certando velis homi­nem pugna­cem vincere: quia centi­es victus, nuaquam satigabitur Haec Calvi­nus ibid. &c.’ And Grynaeus Ad Col. let. 18. upon these words, Colos. 2. 5. [Joyning and beholding your Order,] re­fers Order, to the whole Liturgy and Dis­cipline of the Church; and of such as walk disorderly, (as those mentioned 2 Thes. 3. 6.) he saith, Quoad ejus fieri potest, in ordinem, Disciplinae Ecclesiasticae seve­ritate adhibitâ, redigendi sunt, ‘They must be reduced to Order, by the severe use of Church Discipline.’ Haec ille.

The Dissenters Eighth Section.

THey do not find that God ever Com­manded the things imposed, either in general, in special, or the singulars of them; If God has commanded a Duty to be done, the Church must find a place to do it in; but tho the Church must find a place for the Duty, a time for the Duty, she may not find New Duty, for the time and place.

The Answer.

1. To this I Answer, That the Church can never fix upon a time or place for pub­lick worship without Order and Authority. For, when matters are left at random, Quot homines tot sententiae: So many men so many minds; and the confusion of Tongues is not so destructive as that of Judgments. One will be for the hour Nine, another will not have his Devotion up and drest till at least Eleven. One again will be for the Barn, another for the Tabernacle. And although this Gentleman tells us of a Church that will and must certainly agree about such things, though all determine to the contrary (as was observed above) yet I have not been so happy as to converse in that Vtopia.

[Page 217] 2. Natural Circumstances are not Rites in the practice of Religion and God's wor­ship upon that account: but as they are ca­pable of improvement in a Moral or Reli­gious respect. That all things be done de­cently, according to Order, and to Edifi­cation; These Rules look a little higher then those Natural circumstances, which adhere inseperably to all Actions; for which there was no such need of a solemn charge or Apostolical direction, Time be­ing a Fluid thing and always in motion, we can fix no respect upon it, but as we sepe­rate several portions of it, to be the mea­sure of our worship and service for point of duration, and take care for the strict ob­servance of them.Nisi quit forte usita­tum illud Festis Die­bu [...] ornandi & vestien­di studium eo referat. Jos. Mede. ubi infra. p. 404. But the place is ca­pable of more advantage to help devotion. God therefore seems to distinguish them as to the respects we are to give them: for he saith, Levit. 19. 30. V. Jos. Medes Concio ad Cler. in Levit. 19. 30. Ye shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my Sanctuary, I am the Lord. And here I must repeat, That Order requires the same time, the same place, the same gesture; and Decen­cy requires, that the Rites and Vsages (in God's worship) be honest, grave, solemn, suitable to the Majesty we adore, and the Offices of Divine worship; which we pay to him.

3. We say New Rites do not make a New Duty, not alter God's Law, or change [Page 218] his Worship, as was noted out of Zanchy. 'Tis the same Duty still, whether perform­ed at 9. or the 12th. hour in a Church or Chappel, Cathedral or a Parish Church, in a Cloak or Cassok, Gown or Surplice, stand­ing or Kneeling. And because▪ our Author is so good at illustrations, I will make bold, for once, to borrow a familiar instance from him;P. 280. Suppose a Law promulgated by the Legislator: That every Subject shall sweep his door once a week with a Bee­som: Now to sweep my Door with a Beesom of Birch or Broom, cannot pos­sibly be any Addition to that Law (or, say I, the setting up of a New Duty) because 'tis necessarily required to the putting of the Law in practice, that I do it with the one or the other, and there­fore they are both comprehended virtu­ally in the Law by way of disjunction, that is either with this or that or some other. Again to sweep my Door on the Third day of the week, and at the ninth hour of the day, can be no addition to the Law, because I am commanded to do it, upon some day in the week, and at some hour of the day, and the Law not having defined the precise day and hour, supposes it indifferent to the Lawgiver which I choose, but one or other I must choose, unless I will obstinately disobey the Law.’ We shall make use of this illustration thus: [Page 219] God makes a Law that we shall give him external worship: Now to worship him by Bowing, Kneeling, or Prostration, cannot possibly be any addition to that Law, because 'tis necessarily required to the putting of the Law in practice, that I do it with the one or the other, and there­fore they are (all three) comprehended virtually in the Law by way of disjunction, that is, either after this or that, or the other manner. Again God commands me to confess the Faith of Christ Crucified, and profess my self a Christian: Now to make this Confession or Profession by word of mouth, or by the subscription of my hand, or by some Symbolical sign or significant ge­sture, cannot possibly be any addition to that Law, because 'tis necessarily required to the putting of the Law in practice, that I do it, either the one way or the other; and therefore they are all comprehended vir­tually in the Law by way of disjunction; that is, I must do it either this way, or that or the other. And the Law not ha­ving defined the precise way, supposes it indifferent to the Lawgiver, which I chuse; but one or other I must chuse (unless the Church has chosen for me) or else I am an obstinate Transgressor.

4. It is no derogation to the perfection of Scripture as a Rule, that the Singulars, or Particular instances of Worship are not [Page 220] specified in it.p. 264. ‘For (as our Author well observes) 'tis always supposed, that e­very one in his private or more publick capacity be able to use and apply the Rule. As the Square, or Rule of the Architect, however exact in it self, yet presupposes him to have eyes to see, and Brains to apply it to his work; so the Scripture as a Law teaches Duty, and whatever of well-pleasing Obedience we can perform to God, yet supposes us at least to be Rational Creatures, that can apply that Law to our own particular Actions, whence these two things must necessarily follow.’

1. ‘That it was not only needless but impossible, that the Scripture should enu­merate or determine upon the Particu­lar Natural Circumstances, of general Time, Place, Person, When, Where, Who should worship God, every day, hour, minute to the End of the World: for so the whole World would not have afforded sufficient stowage for Rubricks, nor have been able to contain the Volumns that must have been written: for as the End and use of a Rule is not to teach the Artificer, when he shall begin to work, but how he may do it like a workman, whenever he begins; so neither was the Scripture design'd for a Clock to tell us at what hour of the day we should com­mence [Page 221] the publick Service of God, but that whenever we begin or end, we man­nage it according to this Rule.

2. ‘That when the Scripture hath pre­scribed us all the Parts of worship, in­stituted the Administrators of worship, given Rules how to seperate them to that Office, and laid down general Rules for the regulating those natural Circumstan­ces, which could not particularly be de­termin'd, as that they be done to edifica­tion decently, and in Order; And has withal commanded us to attend to this Rule, and no other, (which is true Sano sensu) it has then discharged the Office of of a Rule, and, as a Rule, is compleat and perfect. Thus our Author has Ar­chitectonically erected his Hypothesis: but the singulars are not yet determined: And what must be done for them?

Jus Naturae docet esse Deum, ip sique red­dendum esse quod suum est, nempe Cultum, tum internum, tum externum, says our Synopsis: Ad Dan. 6. 10. The Law of Nature teaches there is a God, and that we ought to render him his due, that is, both External and Inter­nal worship. And the Learned Zanchy De Religione Observ. in Cap. 15. Aphoris. 4. m. p. 237. resolves, Substan­tia legis Ceremonialis est perpe­tua: Unde alii a Carendo de­ducunt, q. Ceremonia; non potest enim Religio exerceri illis destituta & Carens. Ca­mer. That the substance of the Ceremonial Law is perpe­tual, Natural Religion does [Page 222] Dictate something, and where there is e­quity and a parity of Reason, and a due A­nalogy for it, we may take some directions from the Levitical Law, as the very Lear­ned and Judicious Sanderson observes. Our blessed Saviour reteined many Ceremonies and Usances of that Carnal Commandment, as Imposition of hands and both the Sacra­ments. And from whence did the Apostle take the hint, to injoyn the Women to wear a Vail, and keep silence in the Church, but from the Custom among the Jews? See Dr. Lightfoot on 1 Cor. 11. 25. & cap. 14. 35. And how does he establish Maintenance for the Evangelical Ministry but upon this bottom. 1 Tim. 5. 18. 1 Cor. 9. 13, 14. Sanciens Leges Vet. Test. Conformes, esta­blishing Law conformable to those of the Old Testament, saith Theophylact. In 1 Ad Cor. 9. 13, 14. And perhaps this Analogy may be a fair ground for the strict observation of the Lord's day, of Fasts and Festivals; provided they do not typically respect things to come (as those of the Law did,) but reflect upon what is past, and fix us upon present Duty. The Apostle did not always pretend to in­spiration in such matters, but used Christi­an Prudence (yet not without a divine as­sistance) and made Inferences out of Ge­nerals; yet strictly observing such general Rules, he concludes, that the Particulars were the Commandments of God. 1 Cor. 14. 37, 40.

[Page 223] The Learned MedeIn Levit. 19. 30. conc. ad Clerum vide. observes, That it is a Synechdoche proper to the Decalogue, Vt ex una specie intelligeremus, omnes e­jusdem generis Species, unâ rerum Sacra­rum specie, omnes Omnino res sacras: that from one Species we are to understand all of the same kind. Quaedam & sunt & di­cuntur in Scripturis, (saith Dr. Sclater out of Nazianzen) quaedam verò sunt in Scripturis tametsi non dicuntur. And 3. Rules are laid down by that learned Dr. First,

1. Where Generals are delivered, there are all Particulars comprised in those Ge­nerals intentionally delivered; because Generals comprehend their Particulars.

2. Where Principles and Causes are delivered, their effects are also intended: as being virtually conteined in their Prin­ciples.

3. Where one equal is taught, all of like reason is taught, quia Parium Par ratio: and where is Par ratio, there is Par lex: Where is like Reason there is like Law. So take Contents of Scripture (saith he) no instance of any Point of necessary, or but convenient Faith and Practice, can be gi­ven, but what is delivered in the written word. Thus Dr. Sclater, on 2 Thes. 2. 15. p. 199.

The Psalmist tells us, The Command­ment is exceeding broad. And very [Page 224] Learned Protestants Conf. Remon. c. 23. §. 8. think all matters of Decency impli'd in that of Rom. 12. 17. and the Apostles expression Phil. 4. 8. is of a very great latitude, Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, —if there be any virtue, if there be any praise: These with the other particu­lars there enumerated will extend a great way: And the Learned A. Rivet Anim­adver. in Consult. de oper. supe­rer. m. p. 242. makes good use of that Text against works of Su­pererrogation; nor is it less valid or useful against Will-worship. Omnia quaecunque homines possunt ex gratia Dei, Deo de­bentur: All that ever men can do by the Grace of God, is due to God, according to that exhortation; and consequently they are (in the General) injoyn'd by God. At least, (as Luther hath observed, from the Apostle ad Gal. 5. 13.) They are un­der the Law of Charity: Quaecunque Ce­remonialiter & humaniter statuuntur—Pro Charitate servanda sunt propter eos, cum quibus vivendum est nobis, do­nec ipsi easdem servari a nobis exigunt, Luther ad Galat. 5. m. p. 226, 227 ne pax Solvatur in Schismata & Seditiones: ‘What things soever are appointed by way of CeremonyThis I re­fer to Re­ligion. and Civility;This to humane Societiy. are to be observed out of Charity, for their sakes, with whom we live, so long as they require us to observe them, lest Peace should break loose into Schismes and Seditions. And a little after he con­clude, [Page 225] that there is no Law, but is com­prehended in Charity. Nam sine omni dubio, si tu quicquam statuisses, &c. For without all doubt, (saith he) if thou shouldest injoyn any thing, thou would'st be obeyed: therefore thou art obliged by the Law of Nature and Charity to perform the same to another, especially to God and his Vice-gerents: provided you do not place Salvation in the Pre­cepts of men: but only consider that you are bound to serve others in Charity.’ Hereupon Calvin (Argument. in Ep. ad Romanos in fine) observing a sort of men, who thought their Christian Liberty could not stand without a disturbance of the Ci­vil Powers, he resolves the case thus, Ve­rum ne quid videretur imponere Ecclesiae Paulus praeter Officia Charitatis: hanc quoque obedientiam sub charitate contineri indicat: ‘Lest St. Paul should seem to impose any thing upon the Church be­sides the Offices of Charity: He declares (viz. Rom. 13. 8.) that this obedience (to the higher Powers) is comprehend­ed in Charity.’ Those Impositions there­fore which these Dissenters quarrel at, are commanded in General, and (not being against any command of God,) if there were no more in the Case, yet they are un­der a General Rule, because done Accord­ing to Order.

[Page 226] 5. It is to be noted, That external Wor­ship is a Duty of Religion; and of great necessity.

It is the Observation of the Author of our Synopsis, upon Josuah 22. 25. Ita est Mortalium ingenium, ut Adminiculis opus habeant, quibus mentes erigant in Coelum: ‘Such is the disposition of Mortal Men; that they stand in need of helps to raise their Minds to Heaven. Whereupon it often comes to pass, Vt ubi Cultus ex­ternus negligitur, that where God's out­ward Worship is neglected,’ Ibi animo­rum quoque Religio sensim Tabescit & Mi­nuitur; ‘there the (internal) Religion also of the Soul flaggs, and by de­grees dwindles away to nothing.’ Rectè igitur (as that Author goes on) where­fore they made a very good inference, that if the Ritual Worship were obstructed or hindred, the Spiritual Worship, that I may so call the inward Piety of the Mind will decay and depart with it. And the Learned Grotius Ad Mat. 24. 11. hath very well obser­ved, that to make external Worship but a matter indifferent, is the way to make the Courage and Constancy of Christians to languish; and nothing is more destructive to Christianity then to bring in Conciliating expedients, to mingle the Christian Reli­gion with others, whether approved, or on­ly tolerated.

[Page 227] 6. We must consider, That when there are many ways of external Worship to ex­press our inward Piety, (which cannot all be performed at once) God has left it to the Wisdom of his Church (In Publick Administrations) to determine which we should observe. And for the proof of this, I'le go no further than one of our own Di­vines, Learned and Zealous and very Fa­mous in his Generation:B. 2. C. 6. q. 3. p. 67. 'Tis Mr. Perkins in his Cases of Conscience, concerning the Gesture to be used in Prayer; wherein he lays down these Three Rules (he speaks of Publick Prayer.)

1. ‘When Publick Prayer is made in the Congregation, our Gesture must always be comely,’ modest and decent.

2. ‘All Gesture used publickly, must serve as much as may be, to express the inward humility of the heart, without Hypocrisy. Now these kinds are mani­fold (saith he) some concern the whole Body, as the bowing thereof, the casting of it down upon the Ground. Some a­gain concern the Parts of the Body, as lifting up of the Head, the Eyes, the Hands, bowing the Knees, &c. Touching these the Scripture hath not bound us to any particulars.

3. ‘(Therefore) we must (saith he) in publick Prayer, content our selves to follow the laudable fashion, and Custom of [Page 228] that particular Church, where we are. For to decline from Customs of particular Churches, in such Cases, often causeth Schism and Dissentions. And what he says, upon the Epistle to the Galatians to the same purpose is worthy to be noted, and seasonable for our Christian Pract­ice.

‘The use of the Law among the Jews (saith he) was to shut them up into the Unity of one Faith and Religion. For this Cause they had but one Temple, one Mercy-seat, one Highpriest, &c. Hence it follows (saith that Holy man) that in a Godly and Christian Common-wealth, when true Religion is established, there may be no Tolleration of any other Reli­gion. For that, which is the End of God's Laws, must also be the end of all good Laws, in all Common-wealths and King­doms,’ namely to shut up the People into the Unity of one Faith.

‘The Church of the Jews (saith he) is called a Fountain Sealed, a Garden en­closed, Cant. 4. 13.) a Vineyard hedged in (Isai. 5. 5. Psal. 80. 13.) And here (viz. Gal. 3. ver. 23, 24, 25.) we see what is the Hedge or Wall of this Garden, or Vineyard: namely the Regiment or Policy of Moses by a Threefold kind of Law. This admonisheth us (saith he) to respect, and with care to observe good [Page 229] Laws: because they are as it were Hedges and Fences of all good Societies: and the breaking of them is the pulling down of our Fence:’ Thus Mr. Perkins, from which principles of his, good God! How much are these times degenerated? and let all the World judge, who honours the Reformation most, they who professedly violate, or they who zealously maintain the Laws and legal establishment of it.

7. We may add, That the Church hath this Power, not only in Sacred Rites, and Acts of external Worship, but also, in such as are civilly decent; and such is the Wo­mans Vail, which I look upon not as a thing properly Religious or Sacred, but only as a decent Habit, according to cu­stom, common estimation and the Law of Nature, especially in Ecclesiastical Assem­blies; See 1. Pet. 3. 3. whereupon Bullinger Ad Co­rin. Ep. c. 11. v. 16. p. 131. concludes his Commentary upon that head thus, Haec verò de Habitu Ecclesiae ingredientium dicta sufficiant: ‘This shall suffice to have spoken touching the Habit of such as approach the Church of God.’

And, now, one of the Apostles Instan­ces, (when he is giving Orders to establish Decency in publick Assemblies) being in the matter of Habit; methinks this should be warrant enough (as a General Rule) for the use of the Surpliss by Ecclesiastical Ministers in the Publick Offices and Ad­ministrations [Page 230] of the Church. For to Of­ficiate naked is against Natural Decency, and so dishonest: to Officiate in a Fools Coat (or some singular Habit taken for it) is ridiculous and scandalous. And such as are peculiarly seperated to the Service of the most High God, why should not they be distinguisht by special Habits, (in the publick and solemn Administration of their Sacred Offices) as well as Civil Judges, Mayors, and other Publick Officers? Does this make any alteration in the sub­stance of Religious Worship? Quòd ve­teres Episcopi coenam administraturi, ali­am induerint Vestem, ad Mutationem Coenae nihil pertinet, saith Zanchy; De cultu externo: m p. 447. That such as Administer the Holy Office, do put on another Vesture, this does not change the Worship: but adds solemnity to it. To prevent indecency, we have the Order of a just Authority to determine the Point. And our Governors, for their direction, (be­sides the light of Nature, and common custom, where any Religion was in Vogue) had the Rule of Analogy from the Vests of the Priests and Levites, in their Solemn Assemblies, under the Law, and an In­vitation by a fair Allusion to that Practice, in the Vision of St. John. (Apoc, 7. 13, 15.) And what Habit more Decent then White to represent, that Holiness becomes both the Priest, and the Christian Profession [Page 231] aswell as the House of God? However, this being about the use of a Habit in Ec­clesiastical Assemblies (as was the Womans Vail, which the Apostle gave special Or­der for) it must certainly be comprised under the General Rule of Decency, and consequently as such, under the command of God, according to the Observation of Hemmingius (In 1. ad Cor. 14. 37.) Sunt Mandata Domini, quae hîc à Paulo prae­cipiuntur, quantum quidem ad Genus at­tinet, quatenus praecipiunt Decorum, & Ordinem in Ecclesia Publicae aedificatio­nis & Pacis gratia: They are the Com­mandments of God, which are there in­joyn'd by St. Paul, as to the Genus or Generality of them, inasmuch as they re­quire Decency and Order in the Church of God, for Edification and Peace-sake.

As to Kneeling at the Sacrament, (a Ce­remony much scrupled at heretofore) much need not be mentioned to Judicious Per­sons. For Kneeling it self is undoubtedly an Act, or Part of God's External Wor­ship (and not a Mere Rite, or Naked Ce­remony;) 'tis suggested by the Law of Nature, dictated by Common Sense and the Reason of all Nations, and declared to be our Duty by the Second Commandment of the Decalogue. A Gesture so familiar and frequent at our Prayers, that 'tis many times put for the whole Duty, aswell-un­der [Page 232] the Old as under the New Testament, Micah 6. 6. Ephes. 3. 12. Zanchy De cultu ext [...]rno [...]m. p. 380. makes it a Part of Adoration or External Worship. Where the bowing of the Knee to Baal is disapproved, and they are commended who did not bow the Knee to him: Whereever we find a Command that every Knee should bow to God and Christ: In all those places, the Speech is not of Internal but of Exter­nal Adoration. Whence 'tis easy to Collect, that God requires External Adoration al­so; and External Worship, as the Testi­mony and Fruit of that which is Internal. Zanchy and Mr. Perkins Cases of Consci­ence B. 2. Chap. 11. pag. 84. He that does not fall upon his Knees where cō ­veniently he may, il­lud indici­um est non tantum Magnae So­cordiae & pigritiae, verum eti­am profanae mentis Ly­serus in Au­la Persic. p. 55. is clear and ex­press for it. Adoration in general (saith he) is outward Worship, signifying and testifying the inward Worship of the heart. More especially by it we must conceive the bowing of the Head and Knee; the bend­ing and prostrating of the Body; the lift­ing up of the Hands, Eyes, and such like. And a little after, Adoration that is due to God the Creator, must not be social (for we are not God's Mates and Companions) but only Religious. And that this Exter­nal Religious Worship is due to God, and to God only, he proves thus. The Devil when he tempted our Saviour, desired no more of him but the pròstrating of his Bo­dy. But Christ denies it and Answers, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matt. 4. 10. [Page 233] This is a Part of God's Worship, but of whose Creating? Not of the Churches, but of God's; the Church does not imme­diately and Originally injoyn it, but rather exhorts to it, (Psal. 95. 6.) O come let us worship and fall down, and Kneel before the Lord our Maker; She directs also and determines when it is most suitable and de­cent to be used. All the Question then will be whether the Appointment of the use of it at the Sacrament be convenient.

Kneeling doubtless is a Gesture, which very well becomes Supplicants; and 'tis very suitable and Decent, in such as Pay their Homage, or beg a Boon, or comme­morate a sad Tragedy, wherein they have been and are still concern'd; And all these Cases meet together in such as come wor­thily to the Sacrament.

That this Sacrament was always recei­ved with Adoration, Nemo au­tem carnem illam man­ducat nisi prius Ado­raverit. Austin. in Psal. 98. Et non So­lum non Peccemus adorando, sed pecce­mus non a­dorando. ibid. we have Authority and Evidence beyond expectation. That in the Primitive Church they received it standing was, (thereby) to assert the great Article, (that supports our Christi­anity, that is) Christ's Resurrection. But when the Church was well setled in the belief hereof, (without any more hesita­tion,) and the World generally perswaded of it, then (to shew her own Power and Liberty, in the Alteration) she changed that Practice for another no less consonant [Page 234] to God's Law, and more suitable to the Nature of the Duty. For tho standing be more proper to assert tho Resurrection, be­ing a Gesture of Reverence with erection and alacritie of Spirit: yet Kneeling being a Gesture of Reverence, with dejection and humility, is more suitable at the Lords Supper, being the Annunciation of the Lord's Passion and death, wherein we had a Guilt, and now expect a Benefit; which cannot but bring an apprehensive Soul (that is Devout) upon her Knees, as well to be­wail the one, as to receive the other.

The Rite and Ceremony, at which the greatest offence is taken, is the sign of the Cross; which is fal'n under the same Fate with the Preaching of it;1 Cor. 1. 18, 23. and I hear­tily wish, this were, (only as that was) among Jews and Gentiles. But if we can find a General Command, and some Pari­ty of Reason in Scriptural instances to war­rant it, I am in good hope among wise and modest Christians, this scandal of the Cross will vanish.

1. That Confession of Christ Crucified, is an External Act of Worship, cannot rea­sonably be denyed; and the necessity here­of is grounded upon the words of our Bles­sed Saviour, and his Apostles: Be ready to give an Answer always to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. 1 Pet. 3. 15. Here is a flat Command­ment [Page 235] for Confession, saith Mr. Perkins. And our Saviour saith, Whosoever shall be asham'd of me in this Adulterous Genera­tion, of him shall the Son of Man be asham'd also, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with his holy Angels, Mark 8. 38.

2. This Confession or Profession has a threefold way to shew it self.

1. By the Mouth,Opus ha­bet & cor oris Mini­sterio. The­oph. ad Rom. 10. 10. and that is most Or­dinary; and of this express mention is made Rom. 10. 10. For with the heart man be­lieveth unto Righteousness: and with the Mouth Confession is made unto Salvation. Non Solum fidem & interiorem affectum re­quirit Deus; sed & externam Confessionem & liberam ejus professionem, saith our Sy­nopsis: In Dan. 6. v. 10. God requires not only Faith and an inward affection; but outward Confes­sion also, and a free Profession of it. But then

2. This profession may be exprest by the hand, by Subscription, Isai. 44. 5. One shall say, I am the Lord, another shall call himself by the name of Jacob: and ano­ther shall subscribe with his hand unto the the Lord, and surname himself by the Name of Israel: Upon which place Mr. Calvin observes that true faith will break out into Confession. And there are four words used to intimate so much (Invoca­ri nomine Israel, &c.) to be call'd by the [Page 236] name of Israel, to Subscribe, to Surname himself, and to say, I am the Lords. Nec enim obmutescere oportet qui verè Deum Colunt: sed quod intus in animo gerunt, factis etiam & dictis testari: Such as tru­ly Worship God ought not to be mute: but by Words and Deeds to testify their in­ward Piety. Whence it follows.

3. This Profession may be made by Symbolical signs or real tokens. Caeremo­niae ad Dei Cultum, institutae Pars quo­que sunt nostrae Confessionis, saith Calvin (on Rom. 14. 22.) This I doubt not will ea­sily be granted of such Rites as are under particular Command and of Divine Insti­tution, as Baptism and the Lord's Supper. But we can produce other Instances for which there is no such Command or Institu­tion to be alledged. What was the true meaning of that Altar, forementioned? The building of it gave offence to the Ten Tribes, as if it had been a Monument of Superstition or Idolatry: Ad Josu. 22. 26. but, as Calvin observes, Congeriem Lapidum erigere tro­phaei Loco, vel in testimonium Miraculi, vel in memoriam insignis Dei gratiae, nus­quam lex prohibuit: To erect a heap of Stones as a Trophy, in Testimony of a mi­racle, or in memory of some special favour of God, this was never forbidden by the Law: otherwise both Joshuah, and many holy Judges and Kings after him, had [Page 237] defiled themselves with Profane novelties: But those words [ver. 26, 27.] Let us build an Altar, that it may be a Witness, that we may do the service of the Lord be­fore him with our Burnt Offerings: Which words make it plain, that they intended that Pattern of the Altar, (Jos. 22. 28.) to be a Recognition of the God of Israel, a Real Protestation of their Relation to him, and of their sincere Devotion to his solemn Worship. And that the use of the Cross in the Christian Church was introduced up­on the like account is affirm'd by our Sy­nopsis upon that very Text: The words are these, Sic Ecclesia nobis ante oculos po­nit Crucis Christi figuram: thus the Church sets the sign or figure of Christ's Cross be­fore our eyes, not to invite us to Worship it, but to put us in mind of that true and salu­tary Cross, the Passion and Death of Christ, which wrought our Atonement and Re­demption.

But we have a more pregnant instance than this to our purpose. We read (Dan. 6. 10.) when Prayer to Almighty God was interdicted, Daniel went into his House, and opening his Windows towards Jerusalem, He Kneeled down and Prayed. The opening of his Windows was an open Protestation of his Faith and Wor­ship. For why did he open them? Not to let in Heaven, or to let out his Devoti­on: [Page 238] but to give light to his Profession and Practice. Hic erat Confessionis casus, saith our Synopsis, Here was a Case of Con­fession: and so saith Lyserus, in his Aulâ Persicâ, p. 57, &c. Fidem suam egregiâ Confessione testatur, saith Oecolampadius Ad Dan. 6. 11.; He testifies his Faith by an egregious Con­fession. He enters into his house, but he does not shut himself up for fear; for if he had done so, he would have shut his Win­dows: but he set them open on purpose, that such as watcht to betray him, might have the clearer prospect of his Faith and Piety. Notandum est, saith Mr. Calvin Ad Dan. 6. 10.; It is to be noted, that 'twas not the inward Worship of God that was here in agita­tion, but the outward Profession of it. When he saw his Faith was put upon the trial, and an experiment to be made of his Constancy, he would not so much as dissemble or counterfeit a forgetfulness of his Religion and Piety.

And no doubt the holy Prophet opened his Windows, that by this help (saith he) he might consult his own Infirmity, and stir up himself to a greater Liveliness of Faith and ardour of devotion. And from hence we should learn, saith Mr. Calvin, when we are sensible or jealous of our own infirmity or coldness, to collect all the helps and advantages we can to awaken our care, and correct that torpour and slug­gishness, [Page 239] whereof we find our selves con­scious. This was the Prophets design when he opened his Windows towards Jerusa­lem. Hoc etiam symbolo; He had also a mind to let his Family see, by this Symbol, (or Mystical Ceremony) the Constancy of his Faith, and his stedfast hope of the pro­mised Redemption. This is the sense and Judgment of Mr. Calvin.

Where we cannot but observe, that the Holy Prophet, out of the fervent zeal of an inward Piety, made use of a Symbolical sign, before the Princes of the Empire, to protest the truth and sincerity of his Faith and Worship. And also here was no special Command, or divine Institution for the Practice; yet it gain'd an approbation from Heaven, and such as was attested and seal'd by a Miraculous deliverance.

Now, that the Sign of the Cross among the Ancients, was a Real protestation of their Faith, and like Daniel's opening of his Windows, to let others see what Reli­gion he profest, we have the attestation of no less man that Mr. Perkins Demonst. Problem. Tit. Sig­num Crucis. §. 3. Ibid. §. 1.; who saith, Annis à Christo 300; That the first Three hundred years after Christ, the Sign of the Cross was taken for an outward Profession of the Faith, used in their com­mon course of life, or their ordinary acti­ons. And a little before he reports thus; Veteres se Cruce contra Daemones muniê­runt: [Page 240] ‘The Fathers used to arm them­selves against the Devil with the Sign of the Cross; not that they ascrib'd any such Power to the Outward figure, but because they would make shew, and pro­fest to others, Suam fiduciam in Crucem, their Trust in the Cross, that is, saith he, in the Passion and Death of Christ, by this solemn Ceremony; and use it (also as he goes on) Quodam quasi Monitorio fidem excitare; as an Item; or Watch­word, to awaken and stir up their Faith, which Conquers (the World and) all E­vils (in it).’

Here, from this Holy man, we may ob­serve, That this transient Sign of the Cross was in use from the beginning and in the purest, which were also the persecuting times of Christianity; and 'twas used upon a double account: (1) As a symbolical Pro­fession of their Faith: (2) As a ready Mo­nitor to excite and quicken the exercise of it. This twofold use of the Cross Mr. Per­kins does not disallow, though with all good Protestants he utterly condemns the worship of it.Ibid. §. 2. Crux non fuit à veteribus adorata; The Cross was never worshipt ‘by the Ancients, much less with Divine Worship. They had only a veneration for it, that is, saith he, they used it with re­verence, and for an attestation of their Faith; and extoll'd it also as a sign of [Page 241] their undaunted Belief in Christ crucified before the Gentiles; and this they did even then, when the Gentiles threatned them with Torments.’ Thus Mr. Per­kins.

Non sine causa, saith Venerable Bede Ad Rom. 10. 10. v. August. De verb. Dom. Ser. 8. out of St. Austin, &c. 'Twas not without cause that Christ would have his own sign fixt upon our Forehead as the seat of Mo­desty, that the Christian may not be a­sham'd at the reproach of Christ. And So­to, Hac ratione, &c. For this reason the sign of the Cross is made upon the Fore­head of the baptized, that (as the Church of England also hath it) They may not be ashamed publickly to confess the Faith of Christ, and him crucified. De la Cerda, and Hugo Cardinalis say the same thing upon the same Text, Rom. 10. 10. And the Learned Gerhard De Bap­tis. §. 261. tells us also, That Chri­stians, to shew they were not asham'd of the Cross of Christ, painted it upon the midst of their Foreheads; and Cyril of Jerusalem Catech▪ 13. in princip. [...]. Ibid. ante sinem. [...]. Aug. in Joan. Tra. 118. Signum Crucis nisi adhibeatur sive frontibus cre­dentium, sive ipsi aquae quâ regeneramur, &c. nihil ritè perficiatur, i. e. Not according to the custome of the Church, the Rule of Decency. Crucis signo in fronte hodiè tanquam in poste signandus es, omnesque Christiani sig­nantur. De Catechiz. Rud. c. 20., long before him, exhorts the Christians after this manner; Let us not be [Page 242] asham'd of Christ crucified; but with our fingers let us imprint the Sign of the Cross upon our Foreheads.

By these, and a multitude of other Te­stimonies, which might be produced, 'tis evident that the Sign of the Cross hath al­waies been lookt upon as a Real Confession of the Faith of Christ crucified, and a symbolical Protestation of it; so that we may sum up our Discourse in short after this manner:

Confession is an Act of external Wor­ship, under a General command of Christ, which does bind Semper, though not Ad semper; and consequently the Duty is al­waies lawful, though not alwaies (in prudence) practicable. (2) That a Gene­ral Command comprehends all particular Instances. (3) That the Sign of the Cross is one Instance of Confession, and so de­termined by the Authority and Practice of the Church. From which premisses it will unavoidably follow, that we are under an obligation to observe it.

And indeed there is sometimes a necessity for it; for a confession by word of mouth, or by subscription, is neither practicable nor possible, at all Times, by all Persons, in all Places. Some have their Tongues cut out, some are mute and speechless, some are among Barbarians, who understand not their Language. Some other way [Page 243] therefore is to be pitcht upon; and what should that be, rather then what may rea­sonably be concluded from such intimations of Holy Writ as these: Looking at Jesus, who endured the Cross, despising the shame: (And) I have determined to know no­thing, but Christ and him crucified; (and) God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: (and) If any man will be my Disciple, let him deny himself, take up his Cross and follow me.

From which expressions, granting a Re­al Confession of the Faith, or a Symbolical Protestation of it, to be requisite, what could be more convenient, than that which hath been in use (as far as we are able to collect) from the first establishment of Christianity. Epilogue lib. 3. cap. 29. p. 342. And, as that very Learned and Judicious Divine, hath determined; There are, certainly, many occasions for a Christian to have recourse to God for his Grace, upon Protestation of his Christia­nity, (which is the condition upon which all Grace of God becomes due) when there is neither time nor opportunity to recollect his mind unto a formal address by praying unto God: All which this Ceremony (the Sign of the Cross) fitly signifieth.

I shall conclude this with a matter of Fact; The Practice and Behaviour of a Member of the Greek Church at the time [Page 244] of his Martyrdom (a few years since) sent to me by a very Worthy, Learned, and In­genuous Person, (who was upon the place at Constantinople.

‘One thing (saith he) I cannot but take notice of, that all the way this deplora­ble Creature was hurried backwards and forwards to the Cady and the Kaima Cam, and afterwards to execution; when either he could not speak through weak­ness of body, or else could not be heard among the thronging Multitude: He, in a manner continually made the Sign of the Cross upon his Breast, to testifie to the World by this dumb Rhetorick, his undaunted resolution of being and dying a true Christian. I confess it made me with great pleasure reflect upon that ancient Rite used by our Church in Bap­tism, I mean the sign of the Cross. It may be, that to men who never lived abroad amongst Vnbelievers, nor considered the state of the Primitive Church, in which this Practice first prevailed, it may seem a very useless and empty Ceremo­ny to make this Sign upon an Infants Forehead at his reception into Christ's Flock; much more for a man in Pub­lick to do it upon his own Breast: but for my own part I shall rather for ever esteem it as an Vniversal Character of a Christian, forasmuch as it is sufficient to [Page 245] signifie throughout the whole World (when no other Language is mutually under­stood) that the Person so sign'd is own'd, or owns himself to be a Member of Christ's Mystical Body.See Tertul de Cornu Militis, cap. 3. And therefore many of the Primitive Christians were branded with a Cross, and the Walls of their Ci­ties, and Castles, and Houses (as we see some yet remaining in many places to this very day) bore this Mark upon them, only as a note of distinction at first, though the Superstition indeed of succeeding Ages much altered the Original intent of it. The Christian Slaves and other miserable and indigent Believers, who up and down the Streets beg our Charity, when all Lan­guage is insignificant, or perhaps their Tongues are cut out, will declare their pro­fession to us by this only sign. And we have several times travelled abroad in Turkish habits, and happening into a Christian Village, we have found the Peo­ple at first very fearful and averse from giving us any entertainment; but assuring them by this sign, that we were of their own Belief, we have been immediately admitted and kindly treated. And without any further Instances, I have found this outward token alone in these Countries to be a sufficient Shibboleth to distinguish a Christian from an Infidel. Now though perhaps in your Parts of Christendom a [Page 246] Christian of riper years, may never have a real occasion of making profession of his Faith by this Outward Character; yet I think our Church doth extreamly well in retaining so much as she doth of this An­cient Custome, I mean in Crossing, at least the Persons that are Newly baptized; since the words which she useth in that Office sufficiently expound the meaning of the first Institutors of this Ceremony; to wit, it signifies, that as they should manfully maintain the inward and Spiritual fight against Sin and the Devil and all Pomps and Vanities, under the inward Banner of a stedfast and lively Faith in Christ, so they should not be asham'd publickly, even by this Outward Sign Vexillum Crucis in fronte por­tans. Hie­ron. Apol. advers. Ruffi [...]. l. 2. r. 8. to confess the same Faith to the World, and all the Powers thereof, when, and wheresoever they should have occasion for it.

Thus far I am gratified by my Worthy Friend's Letter. We see then, that the use of this Symbol in All the Christian Church, has alwaies been accounted a Re­al Protestation of the Christian Faith; and consequently, they have understood and practised it, as comprehended under the General Command of Confession; which contradicts the Hypothesis of these Dissen­ters.

The Dissenters Ninth Section.

‘THey are the more cautious of all Ceremonies, because the Old Church of England, in her Homilies, Serm. 3. of Good Works, tells us, That such hath been the corrupt inclination of Man, superstitiously given to make new honour­ing of God of his own Head, and then to have more affection and devotion to keep that, than to search out God's Holy Commandments and do them.’

The Answer.

1. That which was the Old Church of England, we desire may be the Old Church of England still. But Martin Luther In For­mula Mis­sae, in pr. observed a sort of men in his time, who were all for Novelties. He was very fear­ful, he saies, of changing Old things for New ones, in respect of the weak: but especially Propter leves illos & fastidiosos Spiritus, in regard of those light and fasti­dious Spirits, qui ceu sues immundae, sine fide, sine mente irruunt, & solâ Novitate gaudent, atque statim ut Novitas esse desiit nauseant: Who like unclean Swine with­out Faith, without Sense, rush upon No­velty, and delight in nothing else; and as soon as ever it ceaseth to be a Novelty, it [Page 248] becomes nauseous to them. If these Dis­senters had any veneration for the Old Church of England, they would not be so importune and fierce, as their Party are, for Innovations. For what is it but a New Church which they attempt to set up? New Laws, New Liturgy, New Form of Ordination, New Ministry, New Gover­nours, New Government, New Discipline. All New.

2. That these Dissenters are more like to be given to Superstition than the Church of England; for the more Scru­pulous are ever the more Superstitious, as Matthisius observes of those weak ones (Rom. 14.) Tanquam Evangelicae liberta­tis nescios, & superstitiosos; They were ignorant of the liberty of the Gospel, and Superstitious. And though Mr. Perkins (as was noted above) says, that discourse of St. Paul was intended peculiarly for those times, not for ours (who should and might understand as well our liberty as our duty, a little better than those raw Con­verts,) yet these men fill their heads with the like Scruples, and imitate their Super­stition. For what does Superstition signi­fie, but an immoderate fear, Quo se anxiè torquent superstitiosi homines, dum sibi fa­bricant inanes scrupulos, as Mr. Calvin hath it (in Act. 17. 22.) An immoderate Fear, wherewith Superstitious men do [Page 249] sadly torment themselves, while they frame vain scruples to themselves. And a Superstitious man is defined to be a Person affected with a vain and superfluous fear of God;Calv. Lexic. Ju­rid. verbo Superstitio­sus. See the Proposal rectified, p. 5, 6. Qui metuit ibi Deum offendere, ubi non offenditur; One that fears to of­fend God in that wherein he is not offen­ded. Hence proceeds that tremulous aver­sion to such things as God has no where forbidden, as if the use of them were sinful. This the Apostle reproves in the Colossians, Touch not, taste not, handle not, Coloss. 2. 20. Whence this Observation does naturally arise, That such as are afraid they should offend God, and wound their Conscience, by the use and practice of such things as God hath not forbidden, are Superstitious. And into what absurdities and extravagant Whimsies this humor will carry men, we may read (as has been said) in Mr. Calvin, if our own Experience were not pregnant with Examples to that purpose. How many men have formerly, and do still trou­ble themselves and the Church of God up­on this account! Sensi enim saepe dolens & gemens multas infirmorum perturbationes fieri, per quorundam fratrum Contentio­sam Obstinationem, & Superstitiosam ti­miditatem, &c. They are the Complaint of the Great St. Austin Ep. 118. Januario.; I have seen with grief and sorrow, that the weaker sort are much disturb'd by the Contentious, [Page 250] Obstinacy, and Superstitious timorousness of certain Brethren, who in matters of this (indifferent) nature, which can be brought to no issue, either by the Autho­rity of the Holy Scripture, or the Tradi­tion of the Universal Church, or upon the account of their being beneficial towards the amendment of life; but only, because they fancy they have some reason for them, or some forreign practice, (which they esteem so much the more learned, because it is the more remote) Tam liti­giosas excitant quaestiones, ut nisi quod ipsi faciunt, nihil rectum existiment Bullinger citing these words of St. Austin 1 Ep. ad Corinth. 11. p. 146. [Haec mirè quadrant nostro sae­culo] in his Margent.; They raise such litigious Questions and Disputes hereupon, that they will allow nothing to be right, but what they do themselves. Which is as true a Character of our Dissenters, as if St. Austin had been alive, and acquainted with their disposition and practice before he wrought it.

Fear is a Passion very apt to enthral us; and a fear upon the account of Religion most of all. This Fear many times sets up strange Opinions in mens minds; and when these are once framed,Calvin. Instit. l. 4. c. 10. §. 11. Humanum ingenium quod suum est illic recognoscit, & recognitum libentiùs amplectitur, quàm optimum aliquid, quod suae vanitati mi­nùs conveniret; 'Tis the Nature of man to recognize his own Conceptions, and not [Page 251] only to acknowledge them, but to be fond of them, and prefer them before the best things, which contradict their Va­nity.

3. Being wedded to these New Fan­gles, Matt. 15. 6. (the issue of their own imagina­tions;) out of devotion to them they Sacrifice (they offer up) the very Com­mandments of God; and perhaps by this means they run into Idolatry, as well as Superstition, (though such as are most concern'd therein, are not presently sen­sible of the guilt of it.) I am sure St. Austin and St. Hierome are both of this Judgment. Perverse Opinions (says Hie­rome) are the Graven and Molten Ima­ges, which are adored by such as frame them in their Imaginations, (Comment. l. 1. in Habak. 2,) and (in Dan. 3.) Qui falsum Dogma componunt He speaks of all Here­ticks, Qui fulgore elo­quentiae Secularis falsum Dog­ma compo­nunt.—;They which set on foot a false Opinion, set up an Image, and as much as lies in their power, by their Perswasion, they compel others to fall down and worship the Idol of their Fals­hood. And again (in his Commentary up­on Jerem. 32.) Sed usque hodiè in Templo Dei quae interpretatur Ecclesia, &c. Even at this day (saith he) in the Temple of God, which is interpreted to be the Church; or in the hearts and minds of Believers an Idol is set up, when a New Doctrine is broached: and as is said in [Page 252] Deuteronomy (the 4th) is worshipped in secret. Nor does that Doctor rest here, but he saith further (in that second of Ha­bakuk) Si quando videris aliquem nolle cedere veritati, &c. When thou seest a man that will not yield to Truth, but per­sist still in his Error and studied opposition, when the falshood of his Doctrines is made manifest; thou maist very fitly say, Sperat in figmento suo, & facit simulachra mu [...]a vel surda; He puts his trust in his own fig­ment, and frames to himself dumb or deaf Idols. Nor does St. Austin differ in his Judgment; for he says plainlyDe verâ Religione, cap. 38., They are involved in a baser kind of Superstiti­on, Idolatry and Servitude, who worship their own Fancies, than they who worship the Host of Heaven. His words are these, Est alius deterior & inferior cultus simu­lachrorum, &c. There is another inferiour and baser kind of Idolatry, when men worship their own Fancies; and whatever the Imagination sets up in the mind through pride or fearTimore (aliàs) tumore▪, Religionis nomine observant, They observe it strictly as their Religion. Now whether these Dissenters, out of zeal to their Negative Superstition [Touch not a Surplice, sign not with the Cross, kneel not at the Sacrament, &c.] do not peremptorily reject the express Com­mand of God, for Obedience to their Go­vernours, let all sober men and the World judge.

[Page 253] 4. I would ask this Question; Do these Dissenters value those Homilies, or do they not? If they trust our Reformers for that Observation, they have reason also to believe them, that there is no such peril of Superstition in those Ceremonies, which the Church then enjoyned and they them­selves practised; for, I hope their insinu­ation should not be more prevalent to keep them from Superstition, than their constant practice to keep them in Obedience, espe­cially when, 'tis evident, that their Diso­bedience runs them into one sort of Super­stition, which in the general they pretend to be so very shy of, that they can overlook an express and necessary duty to avoid it.

The Dissenters Tenth Section.

‘THey say, they have read over all the Books that have been writ­ten in justification of those things, and they find their Arguments so weak, their Reasons, so futilous, that setting aside Rhetorick and Rayling, there's nothing in them, but what had been either an­swered by others, or is contradicted by themselves, which hardens them in their Error, who are gon astray into the right way.’

The Answer.

1. He saith, they are gon astray into the right way: This is no time for Bullbait­ing; therefore if they have a mind to gad let them take their jest along to make mer­ry with. But Corah had as fair a way and as safe a Convoy too, in his own conceit: Yet St. Jude was of another Judgment; and we know he fell into the Pit at last. And 'tis somewhat an unlucky expression, [To go astray into the right way, Jud. v. 13. Cajetan. ib.] For we read of wandring stars; whose Motion (if we may believe any old Philosophy,) is very Regular, in respect of the first mo­ver, (and so they are in the right way:) But they have Erratick Motions of their [Page 255] own; and to these were those false-teach­ers resembled by St. Jude, who are said to wander; because really they do so; by their fluctuation in their Doctrines, Devi­ation from the common Practice of the Church, and by seducing their simple fol­lowers. But they that are such, St. Jude tells us, there is a sad reserve of vengeance allotted for them. Jud. Ep. v. 13.

2. They say, they have read over all the Books, &c. But do they bring minds prepared to receive the truth, and Patient of convictions? Lavater (as was obser­ved above) tells us of Zelots in his time, that would write and publish Answers, be­fore they had well considered or so much as read the Discourses, they did oppose. And one would think that some of these Dissen­ters dealt so by their Adversaries; for they call their Arguments weak, many times, when they cannot answer them: and their Reasons Futilous when they find them too convinceing to be eluded. What their performances have been, when they me­naged this Province before that Learned Prince King James, at the Conference at Hampton Court, his Majesty has told us in his Proclamation, Printed before the Old Com­mon Pray­er: but left out in the New one. of March 5. in the first year of his Reign, in these words [we found mighty and vehement Informations supported with so weak and slender Proofs, as it appeared to us and our Counsel, that [Page 256] there was no Cause why any Change should have been at all in that which was most impugned, the Book of Common Prayer containing the form of the publick service of God here established neither in the Doctrine; which appeared to be sin­cere, nor in the Forms and Rites, which were justified out of the Pract­ice of the Primitive Church. Thus saith that Learned and Judicious Prince. And whatever Partial men may think, the Judicious and well discerning will conclude, that our present Dissenters (after all their great pains and study) have made very little accession of advantage to their Cause by Argument and sound Reason, whatever may accrew to it, by Noise, Tumult, and importunity.

3. For Rayling 'tis so much our Authors own Talent, I know no man will claim it from him, especially finding that the Spi­rit; which acts in him, prompts him not only to Scoff and Rail, but now and then to be Smutty and Obscene.

4. This Author seems to be very kind in allowing his Adversaries to have Rheto­rick. And 'tis a quality so ornamental and useful, I shall not wish them to part with it, but to make use of it still (to bet­ter purposes then he does his Witt and Reading) to advance Obedience Peace and Piety. But for contradicting them­selves [Page 257] (by which we are not to understand any ingenuous Retraction upon second thoughts and better information) 'tis a new Observation of this Authors, never before collected out of their Writings. 'Tis true, we have read of Richard against Baxter (in 80 Pages,) but never of Ri­chard against Hooker, or any the like, in all my time. If he has found him out let him name the party.

5. But the main Quaere will be, How these Dissenters come to be hardened in their Errour; for (tho he calls it a Going astray into the right way) there is no less truth in this his Drollery, than in their Conviction, who are mentioned Wisd. 5. 6. They have erred from the way of Truth; and how so? Malunt perversis Vocibus veritati reluctari, quàm confessis errori­bus Paci restitui, De Baptis­mo contra Donatist. lib. 3 c. 12 as St. Austin says of the Donatists; They had rather perversly re­sist the Truth, than Confess their Errours to be restored to the Peace of the Church. Let Scripture, and Antiquity; let the best Authority and the highest Reason urge what they can, they will not be convinced or perswaded; the Reason is given by the Learned Davenant; They are Inscitiâ oc­caecati, or Malitiâ abrepti, or Philautiâ fascinati: Either blinded by Mistakes and Ignorance, or hurried away by Envy and Malice, or bewitch'd by Self-love and [Page 258] Vain-glory. They are pre-engaged, and having embarqued themselves upon other Principles (and drawn so many well-meaning Souls into Association with them) they are resolv'd to keep possession for their own Reputation and Interest. V. Isai. 44. 20. Quis­quis sibi in errore suo placet, nec inqui­rit an re­ctum sit institutum suum, is nunquam animam suam libe­rabit. Calv. in Isai. 44. 20 For this Reason, they study, not to be inform'd, but to contradict. They read what is Writ against them, not with a preparation of mind to receive the Truth in the love of it; but to contrive the better to justifie their Separation (with the odd pranks which have been plaid upon that account.) This makes them to Gavil at little things, and to rest in nothing; nor will they ever be satisfied, but in the use of Forms and Canons of their own devising. For (to such as have read them thorowly) in the opinion of their own personal Infallibility they come not much short of the Pope himself; and (had they Power in their hands) we have some reason to believe, they would no less imperiously impose the effects of it. I need go no further for E­vidence, than the Front of a Book written by Mr. B. which bears this Arrogant Ti­tle [The true and only way of Concord of all Christian Churches:] which puts me in mind of what Bullinger observed of the like sort of Men (which pesterd the Church of God) in his time:In Ep. ad Gal. c. 2. p. 32. Invenias hodiè (saith he) Morosos quosdam, qui tametsi [Page 259] non negare possint, alios Paria docere, & unum cum ipsis Christum praedicare, cupi­unt tamen se Religionis Dominos appellari, imò à se profectum esse Evangelium Christi. ‘You may find (saith he) at this day cer­tain froward men, who, though they cannot deny, but other men Preach the same Christ, and the same Truth with themselves; yet they ambitiously affect to be called the Masters of Religion; yes, and to have men believe they stand engaged to them for the light and purity of the Gospel.’ To such Arrogant Pre­tenders, we are taught what Reply to make by the expostulation of the Great Apostle,See Gro­tius, Georg. Calixtus, Dav. Dic­son, Jo. Calvin. to those deceitful Workers (as he calls them) among the Corinthians (1 Cor. 14. 36.) What? Came the Word of God from you, or came it unto you only? But of this place we have given some account already.

I shall conclude this Section with the Words of the Reverend and Learned Pro­fessour (who was not then Bishop) Pri­deux; De Autho­rit. Eccles. Lect. 22. in Bene­dict. m. p. 352. Haud scio an filios alat Magis de­generes quaevis Ecclesia, quam Anti-Synodicos nonnullos Novatores, qui seor­sìm saperent à Majoribus, aut Fratribus; & satis ducunt ad Contemptum, si quis non statim se incurvet ad eorum vestigia. Hisce plerunque familiare est, Trans­marina, & longè Petita admirare; Do­mestica [Page 260] extenuare; Ignotos deperire; praepositis vero suis, quibus debito tenen­tur obsequio, quavis arreptâ occasione, re­calcitrare; sua tantùm deosculari, quae non pallam This Le­cture was read when Authority prevailed. astruunt, sed occultò dissemi­nant. Tantum abest ut tales Ecclesiam au­diant, ut indignantur plurimùm, si ipsos non audiat Ecclesia, & saltet ad ipsorum fistulam, etiamsi incertissimum edat Modu­lamen, Hujusmodi Superstitiosi, factiosi, furiosi, insidiosi, destinandi vel debellandi sint à vobis, (Dilecti Filii) si Benedictionis Coelestis Messem uberem, pacatam & optatam expectetis. ‘I know not (saith he) whe­ther any Church can nourish more de­generous Children, than some Anti-Synodical Innovators, who would be wiser than there Betters, or their Bre­thren; and take it for a great Contempt, if any one should not bow himself at their feet. 'Tis very familiar with these Men, to admire what is forreign and far­fetcht; and to depretiate and lessen what they have at home; to be fondly in love with Strangers; but upon all occasions, to kick against their Governours, to whom they owe a due Obedience: To embrace only their own (Sentiments,) which (in those days) they did not o­penly assert, but privily disseminate. Such Men are so far from hearing the Church, that they take it in great disdain [Page 261] if the Church will not hear them, and dance after their Pipe, though it gives never such an uncertain sound. Such Superstitious, factious, furious, insidi­ous Persons, you (my Beloved Sons) are to mark out, or vanquish, if you expect the plentiful, quiet, and desirable Har­vest of the Heavenly Benediction, &c.’

Thus that Learned Doctor in his Le­cture, In Vespe­riis Comi­tiorum, July 10. 1637. July 10. 1637.

The Dissenters Eleventh and Last Se­ction.

‘THey say, It's their duty to endea­vour a Reformation according to the Word, which if others will not, they cannot help it, and hope they will not be angry with the Willing.’

The Answer.

1. Is it their duty to endeavour a Refor­mation? How? Endeavours have seve­ral waies and methods to exert and declare themselves: Is it by force of Arms, and with Garments rolled in Blood? This is the practice of the Jesuites; and it was in use in the Times of all our Princes since the Reformation of Queen Elizabeth, King James, King Charles the First: and from the like practice in the Reign of our present Dread Sovereign (we may make it a part of our Litany) Good Lord deli­ver us. For we are sure this is not Christ's way, not according to the Word. It may very well be their Temptation, but it can­not be their Duty. But in order to a clear and full Answer, we shall consider,

1. The Scandal and Danger of Inno­vations; Scandal, I say, for if there be not very good ground for it, the very [Page 263] Change it self is scandalous. Hereupon the (then) Lord Commissioner Fiennes, in his SpeechTreasons Mr. [...]i [...], page 23. to Protector Crumwell, tells him, [So far as Old things can be reteined without danger or inconvenience, it is the wisdom and duty of all Governours to re­tein them.] Things by good advice once settled, are not presently to be altered, be­cause some men presume they can make them better. Epist. 118. Ipsa etenim mutatio Consue­tudinis, quae etiam adjurat utilitate, No­vitate perturbat, as St. Austin has it; The change of an Old custome gives more trou­ble and disturbance by the Novelty, than it can give advantage otherwise. And, as is judiciously declared (in the Preface Before the Com. Prayer. Of Ceremonies) If they grant any Ceremo­nies to be necessary, or so much as conve­nient; surely where the Old may be well used, they cannot reasonably reprove the Old only for their Age, without bewray­ing of their own folly. For in such a Case, they ought rather to have reverence unto them for their Antiquity, if they will declare themselves to be more studious of Vnity and Concord, than of Innovations and New-fangleness, which (as much as may be with true setting forth of Christs Religion) is alwaies to be eschewed. Hereupon King James concludes His Pro­clamation Printed before the Old Com­mon Prayer Book, and fit to be reprinted. (of March 5. in the First of his Reign) in these words, We do admonish [Page 264] all men, that hereafter they shall not expect nor attempt any further alteration in the Common and publick From of God's Ser­vice from this which is now established; for that neither will we give way for any to presume, that our own Judgment ha­ving determined in a matter of this weight, shall be swayed to alteration by the frivolous Suggestions of any light Spirit. Neither are we ignorant of the Inconveniencies that do arise in Govern­ment, by admitting Innovation in things once settled by mature deliberation: and how necessary it is to use Constancy in the upholding the Publick Determinations of States; for that such is the unquietness and unstedfastness of some Dispositions, affecting every year New Forms of things, as if they should be followed in their Vn­constancy, would make all actions of State ridiculou [...] and contemptible: Whereas the stedfast maintaining of things by good Ad­vice established, is the Weal of all Common-wealths.

It was a Law among the Locrians, That he who offer'd to repeal or change Ancient Laws, and put up new, should come with a Halter about his Neck to their Senate; that if there were better reason against his New Laws (then for them) he should be hang'd up for his bold Attempt. Demosth. contr. Democr.

[Page 265] 2. We should consider whose duty it is to Reform. Private Persons have their proper duty assign'd them: But they want Learning, Skill and Judgment for the work of Reformation; and consequently, should they attempt it, the Remedy were like to be worse than the Disease▪ And, Secondly, they want Authority too; and so their attempt would be but an Vsurpa­tion, and commence Rebellion, and so pro­ceed to Arms and Blood; and perhaps end in a submission to Popery, to bring us again to some Rule and Order, after we are wea­ry of Confusion.

Common People have business enough of their own, which the Apostle confines them to, 1 Thess. 4. 11. they must study to be quiet, and to do their own business. They must live soberly, justly, and godly: To keep themselves from Idols; to suffer Persecution, rather than defile their Con­science with Superstition or profane Wor­ship; for as Lactantius hath observed,Inst. 5. 20. Defendenda est Religio à privatis omni­bus, non occidendo, sed moriendo; non sae­vitiâ, sed patientiâ; non scelere, sed fide: ‘Religion is to be defended of all private Persons; not by taking away the lives of others, but by laying down their own; not by Cruelty, but by Patience; not by Wickedness, but by Fidelity.’ For St. Peter tells us,1 Pet. 4. 15. They suffer justly as Male­factors, [Page 266] who suffer as Busie-bodies in o­ther mens matters. No Reformation can be made but some Laws and Customes must be laid aside, and some establisht. But none have any legal Power to dissolve such Constitutions, but they who make them. And they must have some Commis­sion to shew for this purpose; for it would be too arrogant in men, to take upon them to make Laws for the Government of Christ's Houshold without his Authority. Hereupon the Learned and Judicious San­derson has determined,De legum Human. ob­ligat. Jus Condendi Le­ges Ecclesiasticas esse penes Episcopos, Presbyteros, Praelect. 7. p. 289. aliasque personas à totius Regni Clero ritè electos, & in Legi­timâ Synodo ritè Congregatas; ‘That the right of making Ecclesiastical Laws, is in the Bishops, Presbyters, and other Persons duly chosen out of the Clergy of the whole Kingdom, and rightly con­ven'd in a lawful Synod. Ita tamen ut ejus juris sive potestati exercitium in omni Rep. Christianâ, ex authoritate Supremi Magistratus Politici pendere debeat: And ‘yet so, that the exercise of that Right and Power in every Christian Common­wealth ought to depend upon the Autho­rity of the Supream Civil Magistrate.

Wherefore that Learned and Ingenious S. P. in The Case of the Church of England (p. 264, 265.) hath very well observed, [Page 267] That the Bottom we build upon is this, ‘That the Church own'd by the Law of England, is the very same that was esta­blisht by the Law of Christ. For unless we suppose, that the Church was Origi­nally settled by our Saviour with Divine Authority, we deny his Supremacy over his own Church; and unless we suppose that the Supream Government of the Kingdom has power to abet and ratifie our Saviours establishment by Civil Laws, we deny his Majesties Supremacy over his Christian Subjects; and there­fore both together must be taken into the right State and Constitution of the Church of England.

There are some Rites and Ceremonies whose Original cannot be trac'd out, having bin in use in the Church of God, at all times and places: These are supposed with great Reason to have been derived from the A­postles themselves; for such an Vniversal practice could not be introduced but by a Common and Vniversal Authority, as an Vniversal effect must have a Cause of no less efficacy to produce it. Now for any Particular Church to attempt a Change of such Rites and Ceremonies, is as if a Quarter Sessions in a private Corporation, should take upon them to dissolve or over­rule what has been regularly done and set­tled in a Full Parliament.

[Page 268] 3. We should consider, whether there be any need of such Reformation as they endeavour? There are some Rites and Ceremonies, which no Person, no Parti­cular Church should presume to alter; be­cause the Vnity and Vniformity of the Catholick Church is preserved hereby; and if we will possess our selves to continue in her Communion, we must observe them up­on the account of our Conformity to her practice. But other particular Rites and Ceremonies are left to the prudence of Particular Churches, to exercise their Power and Liberty, with respect to the Manners and Temper of the People. But,

That there is no Necessity of Reforma­tion of the Publick Doctrine of the Church of England, hath been made good against Doctor Burges by the Right Re­verend, Learned and Judicious Doctor Pearson, now Lord Bishop of Chester. And that there is no Need of such a Reforma­tion of the Publick 1. Doctrine, 2. Worship, 3. Rites and Ceremonies, 4. Church Go­vernment, 5. Discipline, as is pretended, hath been proved by H. S. D. D. 1660.

But we shall not take it for granted, (tho we know no Answer returned to these, and several other Learned Men, who have wrote in Justification of the Church of England to that effect,) but give our proof for it; That Church which is alrea­dy [Page 269] Reform'd and establisht, according to the Word, as far as a state of Frailty and Humane Prudence will admit; That Church hath no need of further Reforma­tion: But such is the Church of Eng­land.

I would not be mistaken; For I know there ought to be a proficiency in Grace 2 Pet. 3. 18. and Holiness, and the practice of all Chri­stian Vertues, till we arrive at such a De­gree of Perfection as this Mortal condition is capable of. But for a further Reforma­tion of Doctrine or Government, of Li­turgy, Rites and Ceremonies, or of Laws and Canons, (if what are already enacted were duly inforced and executed) we have no need of it.

It is duly observed by that Worthy Per­son even now mentioned, The Case of the Church of England, p. 268. That if every defect from Christs Institution should for­feit the Rights of a Christian Church, there never was, as we may find by the Apostles account of the Churches in their times, nor ever will be such a thing as a Church in the World. For in this life it is not to be expected that any thing should be absolutely perfect, the very nature of Christianity supposes Imperfection, and accepts of Integrity; and as long as with sincere Affections men adhere to the Prin­ciples of the Church, they are within the Promise of the Grace of God.

[Page 270] That the Church of England is not Re­formed up to those Principles, who can make good the Charge against her? Where was the failure? Did not our Reformers use sufficient Means?

(1) Did they not search the Scriptures, according to the Rule of our Blessed Sa­viour? Did they not understand the sense and latitude of the Scriptures? Had they not an eye to the Rules of Decency and Order, to God's Glory and the Edification of the Church?

(2) Did they not consult Antiquity, ac­cording to Divine Direction? Job 8. 8, 10. Jer. 6.. 16.

(3) Did they not use a Moral Diligence to search into the nature of things, for their full satisfaction?

(4) Did they not make this Inquiry after the Truth with a Christian Simpli­city and Godly Sincerity? We appeal to the Searcher of Hearts to witness this, and to their own Learned and Judicious Wri­tings to assert the other.

(5) Had they not as full Authority, both Ecclesiastical and Civil, as was need­ful to establish that Reformation? And,

(6) and Lastly, Have we not had God's Blessing (while we Conform'd obediently to it) to assure us he was well-pleased with that Establishment?

King James tells us in his Proclamation [Page 271] even now mentioned, [We had no reason to presume that things were so far amiss as was pretended, because we had seen the Kingdom under that Form of Religion, which by Law was established in the days of the late Queen of Famous Memory, blessed with a Peace and Prosperity, both extraordinary and of many years continu­ance; a strong Evidence that God was therewith well-pleased.] But 'tis an ill sign of a growing Reformation, when the times afford us (as they have done a long while) so many Evil men and Seducers, who wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, (2 Tim. 3. 13.) A Refor­mation of Manners and Practice we ac­knowledge highly needful; but for Eccle­siastical Orders and Constitutions about the Worship and Service of God, there wants nothing but a hearty Observation to im­prove them.

4. It is to be considered with great at­tention. Whether such as are in Autho­rity, and are satisfied that there is no need of Reformation, should alter Legal Con­stitutions to gratifie, whether the Humor or Importunity of Dissenters?

In the management hereof I shall con­sult no Passion or Interest, nor be swayed by any prejudice, resolving only to give the sense of other Protestants, and I shall begin with the Lutherans.

[Page 272] 'Tis the Resolution of David RungiusEx Ep. ad Rom. Disput. 16. Thes. 43., After a faithful account given of the free use of things indifferent, such as will not submit to a just Authority, nothing is to be done in their favour; but as Persons persisting in their purpose, out of Hypo­crisie or Stubborness, out of a love of Contention, or some other Mental distem­per, they are sharply to be reproved.

BrochmandSystem. Tom. 2. Artic. 40. cap. 1. §. 3. p. 514., another eminent Man of that Party, saith, Some respect is to be had of the Weak in order to their Infor­mation: but to such as are obstinately Su­perstitious, maliciously Treacherous, or falsé Brethren, there ought not to be the least yielding. His Reasons are these, Lest hereby we should confirm the Super­stitious in their Superstition, or Minister Scandal, and an occasion of Errour to such as are conformable, or afford such false Brethren matter to glory in.

The Learned Meisner Colleg. Adiaphor. Disput. 1. Thes. 60, &c. has muster'd up no less than Seven Arguments to the same purpose, which I shall collect as briefly as is possible.

1. ‘The first is drawn from the Nature of things Indifferent; which is such as that they may be freely used, or freely disused or abrogated; but when the dis­use, abrogation or practice is obtruded as of Necessity and Coaction, the nature of such Indifferent things is violated.’

[Page 273] 2. From the Nature of Christian Li­berty. This is a valuable Treasure, and of Christs own purchasing: but 'tis en­danger'd by a double Invasion. 1. When things not commanded by God's Word, are imposed as absolutely necessary to be observed. 2. When things not forbid­den by God's Word, are restrain'd as sin­ful to be practised. There is Errour and Superstition on either side, and Christian Liberty is equally betrayed in them both; which Authority therefore should neither abet, nor tolerate.’

3. From the Duty of true Christians. An ingenuous Profession of the Gospel; to assert the whole Truth thereof, with the Priviledges which accrue to us there­by, especially when assaulted and oppo­sed: and such is our Christian Liberty, with the free use, or disuse of things In­different (not determined by Authority, whose Power the Gospel has established.) This is a Christians Duty; A flat denial whereof is against that Profession which Christ requires (Matt. 10. 33.) and to dis­semble it is unwarrantable, and we ought to avoid the appearance of it, (as one of the unfruitful works of darkness) that we betray not our Profession.’

4. From the general Command touch­ing the lawful use of Ceremonies and things Indifferent: Wherein three things [Page 274] are to be observed, Order, Decency, and Edification. Good Order is not kept in tumultuous Alterations: All Change is dangerous in Church and State. No man can foresee what disturbance will en­sue upon an inconsiderate variation of indifferent and inoffensive Ceremonies, e­specially in a time when such Christian Priviledges and Publick Authority ought to be own'd and preserved invio­lable. What Doubts may arise upon such a Change, and what Confusion may fol­low it, who will take upon him to deter­mine?’

‘Is not the Confusion great, when things Indifferent are exposed for Necessary, and things Absolutely necessary accounted but Indifferent?

‘Can it be inservient either to Order or Decency, when there is no degree of Su­periority and Subordination among the Ministers of the Church? No distincti­on of Habits between the Laity and the Ministers of the Gospel, observed?’

‘Who can think the Church is Edified, where all Genuflexion, all Reverence, all evidences of a Devout mind are out of practice? When all the Proper Lessons, that should inculcate the Great Mysteries, which are to be represented for our Me­mory, our Devotion and Gratitude, on the Festivals of the Nativity, the Re­surrection [Page 275] and Pentecost, &c. are abro­gated; and perhaps the History of Lot's Incest, and the like, things most incon­gruous for such Sacred Solemnities, shall be surrogated and read in their stead?’

5. ‘A Fifth Argument is drawn Ab in­commodo, from the great Incommodious­ness of it. As the general Command re­quires in matters of Indifferency, that all things be done to edification: so the Law of Charity forbids us to do any thing that may either offend the Weak in the practice of their Conformity, or con­firm the Adversaries in their Errour; the Example of the Great Apostle af­fording us signal Instances to these pur­poses. The Mischiefs of such a Scandal▪ are sufficiently collected from the Woe our Saviour has denounced against the Authors of them, Matt. 18. 6,. 7. And the Mischiefs of such a Confirmation of obstinate Dissenters, are too evident (saith he) by Experience: The Peace of the Church is not hereby obtained, but the safety thereof much endangered; for the Adversaries do not acquiesce in such Concessions; but take occasion from thence to proceed in defending their Er­rours, and disturbing the Church; an Example whereof has given us a late Ex­periment in the Dukedom of Anhalt. [Page 276] If they can obtain to have things abro­gated, because they are pleased to load them with the reproach of Superstition and Sinfulness, they cannot with a fairer occasion to traduce other Matters, and by this specious Argument of yielding in such Cases, among the weaker and worse sort of Men, to render Them suspected in their Principles, whom they had for­merily treated with all respect and reve­rence as the Ministers of God: Here­upon such as are not well Confirmed, will be apt to fall away, and others will be offended at their defection; and so the Church (saith he) will not be edified, but destroyed; the Course of the Gospel not promoted, but hindred; and at last Truth it self not asserted, but weakened and sub­verted.

6. ‘A Sixth Argument he draws from The Practice of the Primitive Church. Circumcision being then but a thing in­different (as he observes) St. Paul, ac­cording to the Rule of Charity and Chri­stian Liberty, did sometime practice it; but when false Brethren did fraudulently intrude, to spy out and betray the Li­berty of the Church, and attempted to impose it as a matter of Necessity; St. Paul did absolutely reject it and con­demn it.’

[Page 277] Simile ergo, &c. In like manner the Rites and Ceremonies used in the Luthe­ran Churches are Adiaphora, things in­different, neither commanded nor forbid­den, either by any Divine Law, or Pro­hibition; God leaving them as a middle sort of things, which the Church may ei­ther freely use or not use at her pleasure. ‘Now (saith he) seeing the Calvinists would put a necessary abstention and re­straint upon us as to the use of these things, 'tis out of all question, they would (in effect) betray our Liberty. Wherefore such as are faithful Asserters of the Christian Liberty, ought not to yield to them in the least; that (accord­ing to their duty) the Truth and Privi­ledges of the Gospel, may be preserved inviolable from all bondage and dissimu­lation. Such as do otherwise, by a tame and cowardly Cession, do betray our Li­berty, give scandal to the weak, and offer a manifest violence to Apostolical Pra­ctice.’

7. ‘His last Argument is drawn from the insufficiency and weakness of the Ad­versaries Reasons to make good their pretensions; which he does clearly e­vince, as will appear to any man that shall take the pains to examine the Dis­course it self, to which I remit the Rea­der.’

[Page 278] I have studied to be concise in the A­bridgment of his Arguments, which he concludes thus:

‘That the Calvinists may obtain what they desire, 'tis necessary that they urge their abrogation upon an honest Title; and prove by evident Reasons, that the Rites received in our Churches are not purged from the Superstitions and abuses of the Romanists, but serve to nourish them. Which, since they never did at­tempt, because Experience is a clear E­vidence to the contrary; therefore ac­cording to the Liberty purchased for us, saith he, we do retain these Ceremonies, which are indifferent in themselves, and no where forbidden by the Word of God. And that the Nature of things indiffe­rent may remain entire, Christian Li­berty safe, and the Truth unshaken; we are resolved not to yield, no not so much as for one moment, to the intemperance of our Adversaries, who under a pretence of Zeal do nothing in matters of Religion, but with tumult and an immoderate As­perity. Thus the Learned Meisner, on behalf of the Lutherans.

Yet I cannot omit another pregnant Evidence of their strictness in adhering to their establishment, which we find in an Extract out of the National Synod, held by the Churches of France at Charenton, in September 1631.

[Page 279] In the Chapter which contains their Ge­neral Acts, their Answer made to an Ad­dress of some of the Lutheran Perswa­sion, (Translated into English either by Mr. Samuel Hartlip, or Mr. John Dury, Printed 1641.) runs in these very words, viz.

‘Touching the request made by the Province of Burgoigne, that such of the Faithful as embrace the Augustane Con­fession, might be permitted to Contract Marriages, and bring their Children to be baptized in our Churches, without ab­juring the former Opinions which they hold, contrary to the Belief of these Churches. The Synod doth declare, that seeing the Churches of the Confession of Ausburg do agree with the other Re­formed Churches, in the Principles and Fundamental Points of true Religion, and that in their Discipline and Form of Di­vine Worship, there is neither Idolatry nor Superstition. Such of the Faithful of that Confession, as shall with the Spi­rit of Charity, and in a truly Peaceable way joyn themselves unto the Publick Assemblies of the Churches in this King­dom, and desire to Communicate with them, may, without the Abjuration This was a special favour. aforesaid, be admitted to the Holy Table, Contract Marriages with the Faithful of our Confession, and present themselves in [Page 280] the quality of God-Fathers to the Chil­dren which shall be baptized: Upon their Promise given to the Consistory This is their strictness., that they will never solicite them to Contra­dict or do any thing, directly or indi­rectly, against the Doctrine believed and professed in our Churches; but shall con­tent themselves with giving them Instru­ction only in things wherein we all a­gree.’

The Note in the Geneva Bible (at 1 Cor. 14. 38.) is worth our observation, [The Church ought not to care for such as be stub­bornly ignorant, and will not abide to be taught; but to go forward notwithstand­ing in those things which are right. Nay, in their Books of Discipline, as was ob­served above, they Decree, That such as will not acquiesce in the Decision of their National Synod, and expresly cast of their Errours, shall be cut off from the Com­munion of the Church. And this we find practised in Genevah with great severity; for Goulartius, and the rest of the Con­sistory, deprived Rotarius, one of their Ministers, and thrust him out of their Ci­ty; and (which is more) they hunted him by their Letters out of a Town not far from thence, which had entertain'd him for their Pastour. And all this was done, because he gave the Cup, in his own Church, with his own hand, not permit­ting [Page 281] a Lay-man to deliver it. This Fact of his was not the breach of any Ancient Ca­non of the Church, but consonant to our Saviour's own Practice, at the Institution of the Sacrament; yet being against the Custome of that place, they did thus sharp­ly punish it. And Mr. Calvin does seem to justifie such rigour, upon a Rule of the A­postle (1 Cor. 11. 16.) which affords him this Observation, Authoritate magìs com­pescendos esse pervicaces, & rixandi cupi­dos, quàm refellendos longis disputationi­bus; that is, Such as are stubborn, and ad­dicted to dispute and wrangle, (and refuse to sit down quietly by the Publick Deter­minations and Practice of the Church) are not to be treated with Disputations, but to be bridled by Authority. And there's


AN ANSWER Sent to the Ecclesiastical Assembly at LONDON, By the Reverend, Noble, and Learned Man JOHN DEODATE, THE Famous professor of Divinity, And most vigilant Pastor of GENEVAH; With some Marginal Notes by the late King. Printed at Newcastle by Stephen Bulkley, 1647.

The Translators Preface To the Simple Seduced Reader.


MAy the Father of Lights open thine Eyes to see over this Strangers shoulders, and by this Impartial perspect­ive, what thou, whilst kept down thus [Page 2] low by the new Masters and through thy Seducers false Mediums, hast not hitherto been suffered to perceive, it being till now purposely hid from thine Eyes: Behold a meer Stranger that notwithstanding his manifold Obligations and personal ingage­ments to a contrary Discipline in the Church, and different form of Govern­ment in the State, yet overruled by the ma­nifest Truth and Honesty of the Kings Cause, breaks through all those Restraints of his Liberty (as far as he may) to tell the thus much plain English Truth; Behold here Geneva's veneration and full vindi­cation too of thine own Mother the Church of England, as it stood under Episcopacy, traduced here at home by her own spuri­ous Brood for Superstitious, Popish, Anti­christian, what not? And this Apology directed to the Assemblymen in answer to their Letter what ever it was. Behold here again a clear Justification of the King, vilified by his own for that for which stran­gers do admire him; his Clemency, his Inclinations to Peace, his Acts of Grace, &c. Behold here the Root of Gall, that which hath brought forth all these Natio­nal Mischiefs, the Popular Tumults and Conspiracies pointed at there, as the only Evident Cause of the Kings Divorce from the Parliament. See here by whom poor Ireland was deserted▪ one thing also thou [Page 3] mayst here take notice of from these stan­ders by, That the Clergy, in their own proper Sphere, may be as fit and as honest, and perhaps in some respect more able, for the good speed of a Treaty, than those that do slight them with utter preterition. Last of all behold here the Loyal and Re­ligious Subjects only Militia or his own proper Magazine, to witt, the known Laws of the Land, that and Prayer and Submission are the only defensive weapons allowed here by this Master of Fence. I say no more to thee,See Dr. Deodates Notes on Rom. 1. 2. and else­where. save only, that I do heartily pity thee, and therefore I do still pray for thee, and for all thy fellow-bond­men, That God will bring into the way of Truth all such as have erred and deceived, Amen.

Reverend, Godly, and worthy Sirs, our Dear Brethren and Companions in the work of the Lord.

IF proportionably to the grief, we have conceived at your Letters, (wherein you have expressed the most sad face of your Affaires,) we had but as much Abili­ty either by our Consolations to asswage your sorrows, or by our Counsels to ease. your Burthens, or by any our Co-operati­on to help your Extremity, we should think our selves very happy in so well cor­responding with your Honourable, and most loving Compellation of us; and right glad we should be thus to requite you with our best and effectual good Offices. But alass, as the scantness of our Capacity in this kind, so the ignorance of the more in­ward causes of so many miseries, and chiefly the perplex and dangerous Nature of the matters now in Agitation among you: All these put together, strike us quite dumb: we are as men wholly at a stand, able only (in a kind of silent Astonishment or holy horrour) to admire, and to adore that finger of God, which is now listed up over you all.

[Page 5] But since, being by you so lovingly in­vited to it, we must needs at last break off our silence, we are reduced to an extraor­dinary suspense both of mind, and of pens, what to say first or last, or indeed what to say at all.

And now in the end, after long delibera­tion, lest, as Job's Friends, we should transgress by precipitate or unseasonable discourse: Behold our Hearts and Mouths top-full of the Senses and Expressions of our hearty Commisseration, our Eyes running down with Tears of Compassion, our Breasts even swol'n up with Sighs and Groans at your Calamities. These are they, God is our Witness, that fill up the greatest part of our private Prayers, of our publick Devotions, Fastings and Humilia­tions: In all which we are resolved to give the Father of mercies no rest, untill your Tranquility being once more Ordained in Heaven, God do extend peace upon Earth unto you all like a River, and the fulness of his blessing, like an overflowing stream.

Our Affaires, yea, the general interest of all the Reformed Churches are so close­ly involved in yours, and so mutually de­pending thereon, That your safety once pro­cured assures us all of our own good E­states. Therefore especially during this grevious Tempest, which may seem to [Page 6] bring about again the heavy time of the saints great primitive tribulation, we are, in a manner compelled with trembling Hearts and Lips, to pour out our Lamentations in­to the Ears of our most gratious and hea­venly Father, no longer now only prepa­ring to contend by Fire, as he once reveal­ed it in a Vision to his Prophet Amos. 7. 4, 5. but already for a long time really contend­ing by Fire indeed: And how then can we forbear from crying out, O Lord forgive, cease we beseech thee, by whom shall Jacob arise for he is small, and round about all in Flame, by the Fire of thy burning In­dignation. From this our own Watch-Tower, untoucht as yet by Divine Miracle, We have beheld this furious Conflagration spreading it self all over; We have seen the Grisoen-Italian Churches utterly defa­ced, the Gospel in Bohemia its ancient seat, wholly extirpated; The Palatinate de­voured; The French Church as deprived of all humane supports, and refuges, like so many poor little Callow Birds alive indeed, but only during pleasure: The German Churches almost all over shaken, yea, more then half destroyed; your own Ireland swallow'd up with an unexpected deluge of Assassines and Robbers; one only thing was wanting to that huge heap of publick Cala­mity, Namely, that Florishing England, the very Eye and Excellency of all the [Page 7] Churches, Christ's own choice, purchase, and peculiar; the Sanctuary of the afflicted, the Arcenal of the faint-hearted, the Ma­gazine of the needy, the Royal Standard of good hope, This is a very large Te­stimony o [...] the flourishing Estate of the Church of England as it stood under it's Episcopal Govern­ment. should be so unlookt for an accident, with­out any external Enemy, or forrain Impression, become in a manner, it's own Felo de se, and make an end of it self with it's own cruel hands. What a sad Spectacle is this to see that Church thus trodden un­der foot? To see that glorious Fold of our Lord thus ransackt, yea worried, not by the wild Beasts of the Forest, not torn in pieces by the merciless paws of the Lion, or of the Wolfe, but utterly dismembred by it's own unnatural Sheep enraged and ex­asperated one against another▪ An horrid example this, and till now never heard of among the Reformed Churches! It seems heretofore like Christ's own true Sheep, they were kept tame by the fear of God, united by the same bond of Faith, knit to­gether by the apprehension of the common Enemy, and so long they did both express and exercise holily and faithfully their mu­tual Charity, Quiet, and Vnity amongst themselves; in all which they preserved themselves from the rage of the Wolfe, by the Christian simplicity of their own good conditions, by the Innocency of their pi­ous [Page 8] lives, by the sanctity of their Reli­gion, by the constant undauntedness of their holy Faith. But now we are wholly struck with horror at the change of that glorious face of your Church,Still that was under Episcopacy. whilst we hear at this distance the loud report of those deadly Wars that are now flaming up be­twixt the King and his People; to see at Daggers drawing indeed, Brethren against Brethren, Parents against their own Chil­dren, Christ's Sheep pushing against and goa­ring their own fellows, nay their own Sheepherds: At all this we are utterly amazed, and would scarce have believed, That in the self-same pitched Field, one and the same God and Father, in the name of one and the same Mediator, at one and the same time, could be invocated for help on both sides, to shed the Blood of those, that for the Major-part had hitherto by so many clear Demonstrations, in the whole equal course of their lives, equal in their piety towards God, equal in their love and loyalty towards their Country, approved themselves such faithful and true Brethren one to another; strange, That these should now against their own Bowels turn all their warlike-power, far better if imploy­ed in the just punishments of their own trea­cherous Neighbours, or towards the relief of their dearest Brethren, so long bowing the back under the weight of their bon­dage, [Page 9] and even at the last gasp for help.

What marvaile then, if these your cruel distractions have awakened, yea, divided even to a variety the Judgments and Af­fections too of Christendom? Neither do we our selves deny but that for a while we did somewhat stagger at, and as it were fluctuate about it; yet that demur of ours did neither proceed from prejudice against; nor from partiality towards either side, as not being called upon by either, neither publickly nor privately, till now of late in your reference unto us, which we do reck­on as no small piece of honour, since in your esteem our Judgment may seem of so much weight, as able to advance or bal­lance down either party, both being of such extraordinary quality.

We have conteined our selves within the bounds of a conscionable Judgment, and impartial Charity, towards both parties, for indeed ye are both Brethren; We have neither way exceeded the compass of our own measure, but still kept a meane, as rejoycing on the one hand at those good things which we did hear were entertained with the general applause of all good men; So on the other hand, we could not but behold with grief those other sinister passa­ges that in themselves did carry a more fa­tal appearance: we were overjoyed at theWithout Battel or Blood­shed. Issue of the Scottish troubles, that seemed [Page 10] at first to presage a Combustion not unlike this of yours, and yet far sooner quenched; for as by God's own admirable handi-work (so by the never-enough-magnified Piety and Wisdom of your most gratious King, and by the Concord of that wary Nation) that fire was in time put out, ere ever it did burst into a more open flame. At the first Report of these your own Commotions, our minds were possessed with a good hope that all past Offences might with the same promptitude and facility be forthwith re­paired, and all matters composed: So that what Actions or Counsels should appear amiss, might by the Benignity of the best of Princes be easily redressed, and conse­quently both Church and Commonwealth without noise or bloodshed be kept in due order: In pursuance of all which, we could not but admire the happy and glori­ous beginnings of the Parliament, and the more than Fatherly affections of his his most gratious Majesty, evidenced by his enacting those Laws, from which for the time to come, there was a clear hope of a Government full of Equity, and freed from all Corruption: An example not so rare, as indeed singular in this our wild Generation, so fertile of violent Powers and Princes. But all these our goodly hopes were soon blasted by that raging storm and tempest of popular Tumults among you, that [Page 11] did force away both your most gratious Prince from his Parliament, as also a great part of the Parliament from it self, since which we have heard indeed of many attempts and enterprizes, many propositi­ons and projects, but all of them come to nothing, nothing is yet brought to per­fection, nothing is yet rightly settled or e­stablished.

The Business of the Church might seem the chief object of your care and solicitude: If it had been handled and debated at times, and with minds calme and quiet, had the opposite Judgments been compared and impartially weighed one with another such an orderly course might happily have purchased a lasting peace to your King­dom, and also rendred unto your Church that most desired Primitive face of the A­postolical times, Such was Epis­copacy in it's first Apostoli­cal vigour of Disci­pline; and Govern­ment, the which as at the Synod of Dort, this very man did both acknowledge unto Bishop Carleton, to be the best form of Church Government, and also did heartily wish for it in his own Church; so doth he sufficiently commend the happy effects of it above page 5. in that full passage on his containing the superlative praises of the former flourishing Estate of the Church of England, as before these troubles it stood under Episc [...]pacy; The Restauration of which former good Estate, is again by this Auth [...]r at the latter end of this Epistle, p. 12. earnestly wished and prayed for. but behold how quite contrary the Event hath fallen out! For the minds of both sides being averse from, yea, violently bent one against another, this very matter hath proved the Rock of Offence by exasperating the wound and tearing it wider and wider by distracting [Page 12] more and more asunder the hearts of each party distempered enough already through former partiality and discord of affections. Nay, if the report be true, these Church-distractions have opened a wide gap to so many boysterous and private spirits, which we hear have assumed to themselves the most mischievous Title of Independants, than which Destructive Sect nothing could more undermine, yea, quite overturn the very Foundation of the Church.

Besides all that, we have been extream­ly grieved at this, That The Spirit of Di­vision hath so plentifully sown among you his pernicious Tares of Fears and Jealou­sies, that they have not only fructified, but even overgrown all manner of mutual Trust, in despight of so many Royal Pro­testations sealed and bound up with most grievous Imprecations. But the very top and height of all our sorrows on your be­halfs, hath been this, That all that cursed fuel thus heaped on, is now at last kindled into a bloody War, lengthned on both sides, by a Multiplication of deadly feudes; so that during such an Universal Combustion, what ever mens bare words, and never so frequent protestations otherwise may pre­tend, yet the Royal Honour, Power and Dignity cannot but fall into utter contempt: And on the contrary the licentiousness of the most Audacious and Lawless cannot [Page 13] but gather strength and out-grow the other: and then, consequently Piety must needs decay, mutual Love and Charity must ut­terly vanish away, and instead thereof a kind of Savage disposition, yea Brutish rage must needs at last invade the minds and manners of the men of this Generati­on, who in process of time will no longer look upon the Old Original Causes that be­gan the War, but rather upon the new mu­tual injuries freshly done, or received in the very progress or prosecution of the War between two parties divided far more by an odious difference of reproachful names, as it were, infamous brands fixed upon each other, then really by the cause it self, it had been far more easy unto us, and all good men else, to deliver our Judg­ments upon your cause; had the Major part of either side differed from the other either in the more Essential points of Religion, or else dissented about the Fundamental Laws of the Common-Wealth; or had either party been oppressed Wo be to them that first began that war, whose non-ne­cessity, yea, In­justice, strangers themselves can so far off so plainly perceive and condemn too. by the other in a direct way of open persecution, or had there been an introduction of publick Tyranny against the Laws through the baseness and pusilla­nimity of the other party: But as for you, you have abundant cause of comfort of se­curity against all these evils To Wit, in a fair, quiet, Legal Parliamentary way, not in a Martial way: therefore he mentions not at all the power of Arms, but only the pow­er of the Laws. since by ver­tue [Page 14] of your own most Just and Powerful Laws, those Laws that already have been indifferently agreed upon by the general consent of all parties concerned, you may with ease prevent, or put by all those fore­mentioned evils, which in other Kingdoms may seem almost unavoidable: All these Considerations put together, have moved us for a long while seriously to deliberate and advise what might be at last, the best expedient lest to procure an honest and sure peace among you. Indeed we have been much scandalized, that all the Mediati­ons of several Kingdoms and Provinces in League with you, have been tryed and u­sed all in vain: Howbeit it came into our mind to propound this one Medium more, whether now at last there be yet any hope to obtain from the King's most gracious Majesty, and from the Parliament, that of both sides Ecclesiastical Persons may be chosen of unquestioned Trust, and fame­proof beyond all suspition, to whom this great business may be committed; Namely, That comparing the chief points now in controversy, they may chalck out some good way towards an holy peace. But first these men must by God's good Spirit, them­selves be dispossessed of all factious inclina­tions, that so they may become sit Vmpires and Trustees of the Publick peace, and Im­partial Ambassadours of Reconciliation [Page 15] between both parties, and also able and stu­dious too, by all their speeches, exhortati­ons, and sacred obtestations, to charm the hearts that on both sides are so obdurate in War and Bloodshed. This were the ready way, by this interposing the Sacred Censer in the very midst of these publick flames to quench all the heart-burnings: for who knows whether at the devout Prayers and holy Groans of Persons Sacred, thus pro­strate at the footstool of the Heavenly grace, the Divine Power and Glory may not break out once more, and shew forth it self by moving the hearts of both parties to lay down all hatred, and publick enmities. The only way to procure such sound Coun­sel of both sides, and to purchase again the pretious blessing of a general Peace, is especially when all humane helps fail, to call in the Divine assistance, which no man did ever try in vain. By these good means that may be brought to pass (what cannot be hoped for from Civil-War, however the success prove) that by a voluntary incli­nation of minds, the wound shall be so ful­ly closed up, as that Love and Charity may in time perfectly be recovered.

The good opinion which you have con­ceived of us may suffer us to offer these Considerations unto you, It might be im­modesty in us to prescribe, or to advise you any further: But no Law of modesty can [Page 16] ever forbid us to wish, and to vow, and to beseech God for you, yea to appeal unto God, and to adjure you All in his name.

O then above all, take a speedy and spe­cial care for a sure and sound Peace; what ever it be What would this Peace-maker have said if he had seen or heard of so many Royal Reiterated offers of Peace wherewith the So­veraign hath and still doth woo his stif-necked Sub­jects? Certainly, the more peaceable side hath always amongst good men had the reputation of the better side. 'tis to be preferred before any Civil Broyls. Be­ware lest the fortune of War smiling upon you, draw you on, and tempt you to commit your great affairs to the Ambiguous Chance of Victory, then which nothing can happen more dead­ly, yea, pernicious unto the Common-wealth. Roule away that huge scandal that lies so heavy upon the whole Christian World, yea, wash and wipe of that foul stain of black oppression, charged especially upon the purest professi­on of the Gospel, as if still it did in a kind of Antipathy, or secret hatred, oppose and oppugn all kingly power, and Supreme Au­thority. Mitigate and asswage the exul­cerated and too too much provoked mind of your King, and do not Compel himThis was very good Counsel from a stranger, had the Subjects had the Grace to follow it in time, then had there been an end of the Old-War, and a happy prevention of a New War, which except stopt by timely submission, can portend nothing but the utter National ruine of Church and state, which God in mercy A­vert. to Pinacles and Precipices.

[Page 17] Rather bear with some Blemishes and Cor­ruptions, from which, no Empire could yet wholly be free, no not in its most flou­rishing Estate. Account not those Remedies the best, that are abruptly applyed and ac­cumulated, but those rather that being ta­ken in by Degrees, may in time, by little and little, go down more easily, end digest the better, and so at last obtain a Confirma­tion. And last of all by the Bowels and Mercy of Christ, suffer your selves to be intreated, that we may no longer see that wealth, power and strength, which God hath graciously bestowed upon you, im­ployed, yea, utterly wasted in the fatal ruine of your own selves, but rather let it be stretched out to the Relief, and support of so many of your own most afflictedOf Ire­land. Bre­thren, even panting after your own Peace.

May the God of Peace himself bear, accep [...], and grant these our sincere Devo­tions; may God defeat all the Plots, disappoint all the Machinations of the Devil, and of Antichrist. May the same God restore your Kingdom and restore your Churches, to that high state and pitch of Holiness and Glory, in which, on the Theatre of the universal Church, they have hitherto excelled and out-shined all theThis full Testimony of the Excellent State of the Church of England (st [...]ll as it heretofor [...] stood under Episcopacy) out-speaks all the former; and to this good Ejaculation from Genevah, no right Protestant-Malignant but will heartily say, Amen. Churches upon Earth.

[Page 18] As for us, take in good part this our plain sense delivered freely unto you in a Brotherly Confidence; pardon also and im­pute our delay of answer unto these weigh­ty reasons: The Roport was here very strong, that you were now very fair for a Treaty of Peace: Therefore we thought fit to expect what a day might bring forth, so that all our words and all our affections too, might overflow with meer gratulati­ons and full expressions of our Joys. But sorry we are, that we have yet again been deceived with vain hopes: And now that we may speedily recover and enjoy that happiness, we both wish and pray (with as much Devotion as becomes your dearest Brethren, who Glory not a little in your good esteem of us.) That God will pour down upon you his richest Benedictions, together with a large measure of his Wis­dom, and Spiritual strength. Farewell, and Prosper in the Lord




YOU have put me upon a fresh task, and I must obey you. The Pro­jected Vnion among Protestants, (to tell you my Opinion,) is a thing most desirea­ble, and of the highest Consequence, if possible to be accomplished. But if we de­sign an Union of all Protestants in General, we must consider the Circumstances under which they ly.

1. Some of them are under such Sub­jection and awe, to Popish Princes, 'tis not safe for them to come into any Debate a­bout the Means and Methods of it. Where it may be done with freedom and safety, it may be Prudent and Advisable to Consult the most Eminent Divines as well of the Lutheran as the Calvinian Churches. And the Concurrent Judgment of such (if to be obtain'd) might Contribute more to [Page 20] the satisfaction of the truely Conscientious, in Uniting the Protestant Interest, than the gratifying of every Sect, hand over head, within our selves. But I confess 'tis almost out of doubt, that the Sects (which swarm among us) of Anabaptists, Soci­nians, Antinomians, Ranters, Quakers, Fift-Monarchists, and (which comprehends them all) Independents, would never pass the Muster with such Divines, for any pub­lick establishment or protection. And can any wise man think fit we should loose or ha­zard our Character and Esteem abroad, the honour of the most prudent and Regular Reformation, to gratify such Sectaries as would certainly be exploded among all Pro­testants of any Creditable Denomination?

2. Besides, being a Maxim and Rule generally received among them, That eve­ry particular Church hath power within it self, to frame Canons and Constitutions; and to settle Rites and Ceremonies, for the exercise of Religion and Discipline a­mong their own Members, they may very well think it impertinent for them to inter­pose, or to be call'd upon for their Advise and Judgment in this matter.

3. Besides, it is to be considered, that we stand all ready upon the same bottom with other Protestant Churches, only we are better built, (as they know very well) both for Strength and Beauty; in so much, [Page 21] as that Noble and Learned Pastor of Gene­vah, calls the Church of England the Ar­senal of the Protestant Profession, the Crown and Glory of all the Church of that Denomination.

Can there be any reason or good Policy to cut of the locks of this Spouse of Christ, and Ecclipse her Glory? To pull down the Pallisadoes and demolish the Fortifications of such a Fabrick? To rob her of her Ve­nerable Antiquity and Primitive Lustre? And all this upon no other account, than to gratify a restless and uneasy sort of Peo­ple, by falling under the same reproach with themselves, of being addicted to no­thing else but Lightness, Change, and No­velties.

4. But we are to consider further, That the Laws are the Bond of Union, the Sin­news and Ligaments of all Bodies Politick; and where these are had in Veneration, and observed with due respect, that People are as well United as Humane Policy can aim at. Such as will not submit to such pru­dent and wholesome Constitutions, do vo­luntarily shut themselves out of the Lines of Communication. And when the door is open if they will not enter in to joyn with us, they must stand expos'd upon their own Leggs, and expect no defence from us, whose Communion they do causelesly desert. But to think the Walls of the Ci­ty [Page 22] are presently to be broken down to let in this Trojan Horse, (as a great Prelate Bp. Lany. ex­prest himself at Court) is an attempt like to be fatal, and a certain way to bring in ruine.

5. That some should be obliged to obey the Laws and shew Conformity, and others be dispensed with, cannot stand with Equity. Aequalitas prima pars aequitatis, saith Se­neca, Equalitie is the first and chiefest part of Equite.

We are taught also by a dear experience that such a dispensation will breed division: for a division in Laws makesOliver Ormerod. Puritano-Papismus. p. 29. division in Kingdoms, a choosing of sides and a must­ering into Parties, whence strife infallibly, with Envy, Emulations, Contentions, and a Worldr of other mischiefs do arise. And as Division in Laws causes division in King­doms; so those divisions cause the subver­sion and overthrow of such Kingdoms. For 'tis Gospel that a Kingdom divided against it self cannot stand. Satans Kingdom thus divided would come to desolation; how then can a Kingdom of Flesh and Blood, a Kingdom of Mortal Men subject to impe­tuous passions, subsist under Agony and conflict of divisions?

If there were no such danger likely to ensue upon a Toleration or Connivance; yet it cannot stand with Decency and Ho­nour, that one People, within the same [Page 23] Land, and under the same Government, (and especially Monarchical) should be under divers Laws. 'Tis like an Oracle in Curtius, Ejusdem Juris esse debent, qui sub eodem Rege Victuri sunt; Such as are under the Government of one and the same King (within the same Land and Nation) should be under one and the same Law, e­specially as to publick Administrations.

6. But the prevailing Argument is, The Hellish Plots, the Implacable Malice, and the Secret Combinations of the Popish par­ty to destroy us; the consideration where­of is thought sufficient to induce us to take into Union and Association with us, all sorts of Dissenters, that have but Mettle and Edge enough to encounter and oppose the Chuch of Rome.

But has the matter been duly weighed in an equal Ballance? Or has not the dread­ful apprehension of a present attempt from the one party so far transported us, as to make us forget the like (tho perhaps a little more remote) danger which threa­tens us from the other? Queen Elizabeth (in her time) thought it a measuring cast which of the two Factions was the more pernitious to the Rights of the Crown, and the establisht Government. She knew the Principles of these Dissenters, as well as those of the Popish Priests and Jesuites; she observed their practices also and the [Page 24] Methods they took;Mr. Isaac Walton in the life of Hooker. that, altho they be­gan with tender and meek Petitions, yet they proceeded to Admonitions; nay, to sharp and Satyrical Remonstrances; and at last, having Calculated their numbers, and Computed who was, and who was not, for their Cause, they supposed themselves cer­tain of so great a Party that they durst, and began to threaten, first the Bishops, then the Queen and Parliament.

Hereupon the Queen having a strict Eye and Check upon them, in a Parliament held the 28th. of her Reign, Commanded Ser­jeant Puckering, (who was then Her Mouth, as well as the Speaker of the House of Commons) to declare her Majesties sense, and to caution her Subjects against them; which was done in these expressions.

And especially you are Commanded by her Majesty (saith he) to take heed,See a short view of the late troubles, &c. p. 13. 14. that no ear be given, or time afforded to the wearysome Solicitations of those that com­monly be called Puritans, wherewith all the late Parliaments have been exceed­ingly importun'd. Which sort of men, whilst (in the giddiness of their Spirits,) they labour and strive to advance a new Eldership; they do nothing else but disturbe the good People of the Church and Com­monwealth; which is as well grounded for the Body of Religion it self, and as well guided for the Discipline, as any Realm [Page 25] that professeth the Truth. And the same thing is already made good to the World, by many the Writings of Godly and Learned Men;See a sea­sonab [...]e Address to both Houses. P. 8. neither answered nor answerable by any of these new fangled Refiners. And as the present Case standeth, it may be doubted, whether they, or the Jesuites do offer more danger, or be more speedily to be repressed. For albeit the Jesuites do impoyson the hearts of her Majesties Sub­jects, under a pretence of Conscience, to withdraw them from obedience due to her Majesty; yet do they the same but closely; and only in privy Corners. But these men do both publish in their printed Books, and teach in all their Conventicles sundry Opi­nions; not only dangerous to the well set­led Estate, and Policy of this Realm, by putting a Pyke, between the Clergy and the Laity, but also much derogatory to her Sa­cred Majesty and her Crown, as well by the diminution of her antient and lawful Revenues, and by denying her Highnesses Prerogative and Supremacy, as by offering peril to her Majesties safety in her own Kingdom. In all which things, howsoe­ver in many other points, they pretend to be at War with the Popish-Jesuites; yet by this Seperation of themselves from the V­nity of their fellow Subjects, and by aba­sing the Sacred Authority and Majesty of their Prince, they do but joyn and concur [Page 26] with the Jesuites, in opening the door, and preparing the way to the Spanish Invasion, that is threatned against the Realm. This was the sense of that Great Queen and her Great Council. And hereupon such Laws were Inacted, as were designed to strike e­qually at both Factions.

Now upon the premisses the Quere will be, whether such as attempt to violate and dissolve those Laws which she made to se­cure the Church and Kingdom as then e­stablished, do Cordially affect the Autho­rity she had, and the Government she ex­ercised.

In all reason such as pretend so great a veneration for her Name, should defer some thing to her Judgment, and yield something to her Wisdom and Experi­ence.

But if she were now alive might she not find just cause to expostulate with Subjects, as our Saviour did some time with his Dis­ciples? Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? You call me Renownd and Glorious, a Queen of Blessed Memory, and you honour me with a piece of Formal Pageantry;November 17. but you have no Reverence for the Authority which I was invested with. For have you not the same Crown, the same Sword, and the same Scepter still? Have you not the same Government, the same Reformation, [Page 27] the same Religion, which was publickly profest, maintained and honoured in my Reign?

For where's the difference? No alterati­on, no addition has been made but for the advantage of the Nation and the Protestant Cause in general, yet what Elogies are gi­ven of her daies? and how is the Prote­stant Religion cry'd up for the flourishing condition of it under her Government? The Protestant Religion (says Vox populi) in which they and their Fathers have been so many years bred, and under which they have seen so many happy Days, freed from the tyranny and oppressive Yoke of the Pope, &c.

What is the Reason we cannot live by the same Laws, and perform the like Obe­dience as our Forefathers did? After such Elogies of that Queens times, and such acclamations after her, is it not a wonder to see men act so Counter to her Laws and Government? And is it not clear that the Change is solely in our selves? That our hearts are not frought with the like Loyal­ty as theirs was, and that we do not govern our selves by the same Principles of Duty and honour as they did?

For shame let every man lay his hand upon his heart, and consult his own Rea­son and be awakned to some degree of temper and sobriety; for 'tis as clear as [Page 28] the Sun at noon day, that the change is not in the Constitution of the Government, but in the Principles of our Loyalty and af­fection to the King and Church. For,

Have we Popish Plots now among us? So they had in the days of Queen Eliza­beth. Are there attempts upon the life of our dread Soveraign? So there were likewise upon the life of Queen Elizabeth. Have we designes on foot to extinguish the Protestant Religion, to Subvert the Go­vernment, and introduce the Popish Ty­ranny and Usurpation over us? The ve­ry same things were in agitation in the days of Queen Elizabeth.

Did the Queen and her Council therefore bend all there force against those Popish Conspirators, and indulge the Dissenters of the other Factions? No;If the People in an Island are alarm'd that an In­vasion is design'd, and that only at one Port, and they become so foolish as for the guard of that, to neglect and expose all other, they do but make the easier way, for their ene­mies to land and overcome. They know their Principles were no less Destructive to the establisht Government, and therefore they had an equal Eye and Check upon them, and provided to fortify the Govern­ment against them both.

What? Do we pretend to be wiser than the Queen and her whole Council? Or do we take new Measures, espouse new prin­ciples and resolve upon new Models and Forms of Government? if so, how this course will tend to the preservation of the [Page 29] King's Person, the Protestant Religion and Government established, let wise men judge.

But if it appears further that these Dis­senters do manage and carry on the same designs,A season­able Ad­dress to both Hou­ses. p. 9. with the Jesuites and Popish Par­ty; espouse and maintain the same Princi­ples, and improve the Popish Plots to their own ends of unhinging the Government to get the Power into their own hands; what Vnion or Communion can be expected with them?

Nor are these Hypotheses the Chimera's of a distempred Brain, or the wild Capri­chio's of an idle Fancy; our proofs of them come nothing short of Demonstration; for indeed they are matters of Fact, and we shall produce no less than Three Witnesses a­piece to establish them.

1. That they study to improve all Po-Pish Plots, to advance their own ends, is ob­served by many Judicious worthy Persons. The Reverend Dean of St. PaulsUnreason. of Separat Preface. 36. &c. takes special notice what influence the Discovery of the late most horrid Plot had upon these men, and tells us. We were still in hopes that men so wise, so self-denying, as the Non-Conformist-Ministers represented them­selves to the World, would in so Critical a time, have made some steps or advances to­wards an Vnion with us.—Instead of this, those we discoursed with, seem'd fur­ther [Page 30] off than before; and when we least expected such a blow, under the name of a Plea for Peace, out comes a Book, which far better deserved the Title of A Plea for Disorder and Separation, not without fre­quent, sharp and bitter Reflections on the Communion of our Church, and the Con­formity required by Law; as tho it had been design'd on purpose, to represent the Clergy of our Church as a Company of No­torious, lying and perjur'd Villains, for Conforming to the Laws of the Land, and Orders established among us.—And all this done without the least Provocation given on our side; when all our Discourses that touched them tended only to Union and the Desireableness of Accomodation.

2. Our Second Evidence shall be out of The short view of our late Troubles,Pag. 16. &c. Where the Author rells us, That which afforded them (the Dissenters of those times) no little advantage, was that hor­rid Gunpowder-Plot (in the 3d. of King James) being hatch'd by those fiery-Spiri­ted men of the Romish perswasion, whom the bloody minded Jesuites had influenc'd for that most wicked Practice. For, after this, to terrifie the People with the Church of Rome, their Sermons were little less then Declamations against the Papist; aim­ing thereby to represent them formidable & odious; insinuating to the World, that all [Page 31] the fear of danger was from those of that Religion; whilst they themselves, in the mean time, did insensibly poyson the People with such other unsound Doctrines, as be­came at length the Fountain of this late unparallel'd Rebellion, which terminated in the execrable Murther of our late Gra­cious King: and would have put an end to this famous and long flourishing Monarchy, had not Allmighty God of his great Mercy miraculously prevented it. And to shew that this sort of men are not given to change.

3. The Author of the Seasonable address to both Houses takes notice of the like Im­provement of this present Plot,Pag. 3. We have (saith he) been continually allarm'd with Libels against the Government; at last a discovery is made of a Popish contrivance, sifted as far as possible by the King in Coun­cil; and after (that) earnestly recom­mended to the Parliaments further Con­sideration. This is pursued, but some men laying hold on this, (occasion) de­signe to drive it on to further purposes; and under pretence of defending the King's Person, and expelling Popery, (to) set up Presbytery and pull down the Monar­chy.

[Page 32] That these Dissenters are of an humour not to Vnite with the Church in the time of Plots and troubles, but to improve the advantage to carry on their own designes, by making the breach wider; hath been ob­serv'd by Cambden Annals Engl. l. 3. p. 290. in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, and upon the very Juncture of the Spanish Invasion; For (saith the Historian) Schismatical Impiety waxeth allways insolent when any Wars be stirring, nor ever did shameless or Rebel­lious Impudence, and outragious Malice more insolently beard the Ecclesiastical Ma­gistracy; (than at that time.)

And this is our proof of the first Hypo­thesis, That these Dissenters, do improve Popish Plots to their own ends, of unhing­ing the Government, to get the Power in­to their own hands.

2. That they do espouse and maintain the same Principles with the Jesuites is no less-evident. They deny the King's Su­premacy and Headship (under Christ) over the Church, or Churches within his Dominions: They deny his Power of Cal­ling Councils and Church Assemblies, of his presideing over them, Moderating, Judging, and Determining in them; they grant him no Legeslative Power in Mat­ters Ecclesiastical: They make him but a Cypher as to the Constitution of their Rules and Orders; and a Servant only, (to [Page 33] themselves) in the Execution of what they prescribe. To this purpose, and in Confutation of their Doctrine, Oliver Or­merod of Emmanuel Colledge in Cambridge, wrote a Book, 1605. Intituled, The Pict­ure of a Puritan, to which he has annex­ed a Discovery of Puritan-Papisme. And after him David Owen wrote another (1610.) which he stiles, Herod and Pi­late Reconciled, or, The Concord of Papist and Puritan, for the Coertion, Deposition, and Killing of Kings. To the Dutiful Subject, in his Epistle, he observes, that The Puritan-Church-Policy, and the Je­suitical Society began together: The one in Geneva, 1536. and the other in Rome, 1537. and the last Chapter of his Book, contains, the General Consent of the Prin­cipal Puritans and Jesuites, against Kings, from the year 1536. until the year, 1602. out of the most Authentick Authors. I shall refer the Reader to the Book it self; which if it be out of Print, does very well deserve a new Impression.

3. My Third Proof of this Assertion may be found in a late Book, being, A short view of our late Troubles: Where­of, any man (that desires a full and im­partial account of those affairs,) may please to Consult the Parallel in the Second Chapter.

[Page 34] Lastly, We do affirm, That these Dis­senters and such as so eagerly abet them, doe carry on that very design, which they pretend to abhor with so great a dete­station in the Jesuites. And in order to the proof of this, let me take leave to propound a question, viz. Whether to abolish those Decent Rites and Customes, which were generally in use in the Primi­tive and purest Ages of the Church, and to grant a Toleration of all Religions; or, to allow Conventicles for the free and pub­lick Worship of Protestant-Dissenters (as they will needs call themselves) be not an Argument of great Levity, a dis­honour to the Reformation, a Scandal to our own and forreign Churches, and a means as well to betray our own professi­on, as to gratify the Common Enemy, by Complying with such Methods as they have from time to time, contrived and practised, for the Subversion of the Church of England, which through Divine Pro­vidence, hath been so happily Reform'd and setled, and so long preserv'd and pros­per'd, to the envy of some, and the ad­miration of others of our Neighbours?

The Reason of this Quere is,

1. Because it is the practice of the Po­pish Party to promote Change and Inno­vations among us; and then to disparage our Religion upon the account of Novelty. [Page 35] And by that Argument many times they prevail to make Proselites, and to draw men from the Communion of our Church.

2. Because they have made it their great business to purchase a Toleration; and to this effect, they have used all the Arts of Bribery and Crafty Insinuati­on.

3. Because it is a matter of Fact and clearly evident, that their Priests and Je­suites creep into Conventicles, and fre­quently make use of such Meeting to per­vert the Nation.

For all which we have sufficient evi­dence, and that solemnly deposed upon the Corporal Oaths of the King's Witnes­ses.

First, Staffords Trial p. 17, 18. Mr. Smith doth Depose, That Ab­bot Mountague told him, The Popish Re­ligion would very soon come into England; and, upon his demanding a Reason for it; he was pleased to give him these two.

1. That they did not doubt but to pro­cure a Toleration of Religions, by which they should bring it in without noise.

2. That the Gentry which went abroad did observe the Novely of their own Religion, and the Antiquity of theirs, and [Page 36] the advantages that were to be had by it.Ib. pag. 32.

A Second Witness is Mr. Jenison, who deposeth thus, That Ireland and Jenison did Declare, That for the Destruction of the Protestant Religion (he means that establisht in the Church of England) they hop't to procure a Toleration; And the way was (they said) by procuring a Sum of Money to bribe the Parliament. But suppose the Parliament will not be brib'd? Why? It is the same thing in effect, whether we be brib'd by Papists, or Ca­jol'd by Dissenters, who have imbib'd their infusions; whether we take Money, or be insnar'd by insinuation; if we deny a Toleration, yet if we set open a Door to Conventicles, we give them as fair an opportunity to do their business, as if a Toleration were granted.

To this purpose the Evidence of Dr. Oates is very full and clear;His Nar­rative, p. 67. n. 7. For speaking of the Popish design for the Reduction of England—to the Popish Religion and Obedience, among other means, (he tells us) it was to be done [By Seditious Preachers and Catechists set up, sent out, maintained, and directed, what to preach in their own, and other private or pub­lick Conventicles and Field-meetings. And he Deposeth,Ib. pa. 29. n. 43. That Father Moore and Father Saunders alias Brown, were sent [Page 37] into Scotland, with instructions to carry themselves like Non-Conformist Mini­sters, and to preach to the disaffected Scots, the necessity of taking up the Sword, for the defence of Liberty and Conscience. These the Deponent saw dispatcht and orde­red to go by Father Harcourt in the name of Thomas White Provincial.Pag. 1. n. 1. He depo­seth likewise, ‘That Richard Strange Pro­vincial, John Keins, Basil Langworth, John Fenwick, and Mr. Harcourt Jesu­ites, did write a treasonable Letter to one Father Swiman an Irish Jesuite at Ma­drid, in the Kingdom of Spain, in which was continued their plotting and Contriving a Rebellion in Scotland of the Presbyterians against the Episcopal Government. In Order to which they had imploy'd one Mathew Wright and William Morgan, and one Mr Ireland to go and preach, under the notion of Presbyterians, and give the disaffected Scots a true understanding of their sad state and condition, in which they were, by reason of his Episcopal Tyranny ex­ercised over them: and withall to tell them, they had now a fair opportunity to vindicate their Liberty and Religion; and that it could be done by no other way but by the Sword, and that now the King was so addicted to his pleasure, [Page 38] that he would, and could take but little care in that concern.’

That the Popish Plot is carried on by the Schismatick (whom he calls the Je­suite in Masquerade,) is noted by Ma­chiavil Redivivus (p. 68.) For (saith he) The Principal Contrivers of that Machination are now removed, the Je­suites hang'd, the Lords in the Tower, and the Great Men secured from Action: yet nevertheless the same bloody Tragedy is still acting, and the cursed design car­ried on, by the Popes other Engines; and the Spirit of Antichrist is sifted from the Conclave to the Conventicle.

And this is further Evident from that late Plagiary, who has stol'n Materials out of Parsons the Jesuite, under the name of Doleman, to shew that the Mo­narchy is rather Elective than Heredi­tary. A seaso­nable Ad­dress to both Hou­ses of Par­liament. p. 8. The design of that Book in Queen Elizabeth's time was to distract the People, and make way for the Spanish Conquest and Inquisition: And this Pres­byterian Transcriber proves himself of the same Jesuitical Principles, and with equal honesty pursues the same ends, Usur­pation and Slavery.

From which Testimonies it does undeni­ably follow, That such as do attempt.

[Page 39] 1. Either to introduce a Toleration for the exercise of all Religions, Or,

2. To support Conventicles for the free and publick Worship of all Dissenters. Or,

3. To abolish those Decent Rites I have been credibly inform'd that the Priests and Jesuites in France were so inraged with Dr Cosins for wearing the Surplice at the burial of a Corps, that he was in some danger of his life. and Customes, which were generally in use in the Primitive and purest Ages of the Christian Church. They are Factors for the Pope, I do not say directly, by Confedera­cy and an avowed Consent, but yet really and in effect, they do carry on the Plot and Design of the Church of Rome; which is to remove the King out of their way, that they may destroy the Protestant Church of England and, introduce the Popish Religion and Tyranny in stead of it.

Having made it thus evident, that these Dissenters hold the same dangerous Principles as to King and Government, which are maintained by the Jesuites, im­prove their Plots, and carry on the same design of Subverting the Protestant Church of England; I shall proceed, with the Complaint of Liberty and Pro­perty against Arbitrary Government. Page 1. and 2.

[Page 40] ‘I would only desire the honest Reader to enquire who they were that first cry­ed out against Arbitrary Government, or the designs of it in the Reign of King Charles the First? It was the Protestant Dissenters and principally those then called Presbyterians. Who was it that animated the People to take up Arms for Defence of Liberty and Property (invaded only by them­selves,) against the King? The very same.’

‘Who maintained, continued, and fi­nished the War, and the Tragedy of the King's Murder? The same men, though now they had gotten new Frocks and Vi­zards on, and call'd themselves Indepen­dents, or Congregational-Church-Men; a Name that Comprehended all Sects and Opinions.’

‘Who were they that banisht his pre­sent Majesty, sought that life which could not have been preserved but by a Miracle? Who composed and com­manded Olivers standing Army? Who commanded all the Garrisons, Forts, Castles, Ships? Who rul'd ac­cording to Will, without and against Law? Even the very same Men, the the Godly Party of Congregational Pro­testant Dissenters.

[Page 41] ‘Who are they that cry out now against the Government, and talk of the great danger of Arbitrary Power? Search the City, examine the Countrey, Ran­sack the Coffee-Houses, frequent the Clubs: If you hear any Person inveigh against the Government, or Discourse of the fear of Arbitrary Designs, you may pawn your life on't, you may find him in a Conventicle upon a Sunday, if he pre­tends to any Religion, or reading Hob's Divinity, and Atheistical Principles at home.’

‘It is an Old saying, He that accuses a­nother ought to be clear himself: And therefore (saith that Author) for shame, let the Congregational-Men leave cla­mouring about Persecution and Arbi­trary Government, of which they are so horribly guilty, and for which they have so great an Accompt to make to All­mighty God.’

And now let us appeal to the Common sense of all Mankind; is it reasonable, that a Prince should give establishment to any party, that maintains Principles destruct­ive to himself and his Government? Sure no wise or Loyal Person can imagine it. For if self-preservation be allowable in any Case, without doubt, of all men the Sove­reign has the fairest Title to it.

[Page 42] I remember Mr. Ormerod near Four Score Years ago, having made a Parallel betwixt the Papists and Dissenters of those times, concludes his Address to them in these words; ‘And thus I leave you, wishing first of all your Conformity: if that cannot be had, my next wish is, that you were dealt withal, as Philip of Ma­cedon dealt with two of his Subjects, in whom there was little hope of Grace; he made one of them to run out of the Countrey, and the other to drive him, so his People were rid of both. But this shall not be my Conclusion.’

These Dissenters would have us comply with them: But in what? In the Change of Government and Discipline in the Church according to their Fancies? in abo­lishing the Forms of God's Solemn Wor­ship, with the Rites of Decency and Or­der to promote the same? We cannot in Prudency or Conscience gratify this their humour against the general Rules of Holy Scripture, the light of Reason, the Pract­ice of the Primitive Church, and the Com­mon sense of the most Sober and Learned Protestants.

What then? Would they have us com­ply with them against the Church of Rome, and the practices of the Jesuites? With all our hearts.

[Page 43] But we must remember the Jesuites have two Heads of Doctrine, both de­structive to the Principles of Christianity, wherein we utterly dissent from them. The first in reference to God's Worship and Ser­vice; the second in reference to the King, his Crown and Government. We re­nounce the whole: let them do so likewise; else let them be lookt upon as Parcel-Je­suites; for such they are, unless they re­nounce not only such Doctrines as lead to Superstition and Idolatry: but such also as lead to Sedition and Rebellion. Let them say the Pope is Antichrist; and let them say the same (as the Apostle does, 2 Thes. 2. 4.) of every Adversary, Deodati, Sclater. Dicson up­on the place. that resists the Lord's Annointed, that opposeth and exalteth himself above Kings and Potentates to whom the name of God is attributed. In which sense, we doubt not to say with St. John, 1 John 2. 18. that even now are there many Antichrists.

Let them renounce those Popish and Je­suitical Principles, which were Condemn'd for Treason in the Spencers Cooks Reports lib. 7. p. 11. even by Pa­pists themselves;Dr Falk­ner of Chri­stian Loy­alty. p. 356▪ let them renounce,

1. That damnable Doctrine, of taking up Arms by the Kings Authority, to fight against his Person. Which as is very well observed by a worthy person, * was hatcht under the Romish Territories, and made use of in the Holy League of France.

[Page 44] 2. That we may seize the Kings Reve­nues, stop his Customes, deny him all due supplies to support and preserve the honour and Peace of his Crown and Kingdoms, (as they did in 42.) and bring him into neces­sity, that we may reform his mind, and gain our own ends of him Per Asperte, as Lawyer's phrase it, that is, by rigour or constreint.

3. That if his Majesty will not repeal Laws and take off the wheels of Govern­ment, and model it to our humour, we may enter into Leagues and Associations without his consent, and Govern in aid of him.

There are Jesuitical Doctrines, and we desire they may joyn with us in a hearty Renunciation of them. Let them also protest, they will never attempt, what the Jesuites are presumed to have plotted and contrived, the Death of the King, the Ruine of the Church with the Subversion of the establisht Laws and Government. (For ther's little hopes of a hearty Union till men come to so much ingenuity and re­morse as to acknowledge how far they have gon astray, and declare their Change with a stedfast Resolution to return into the right way.) Let them therefore Sub­mit to the Laws establisht, and joyn with us in the performance of God's Publick and Solemn Worship. Let them Subscribe [Page 45] and preach the Homilies against Rebellion, and declare (as we do) in the midst of their respective Congregations, their un­feigned Assent and Consent to them. This will secure the King's Person, the Prote­stant Religion, and the Government esta­blished. And (whatever becomes of the Protestants abroad for want of supplies to enable the King to interpose on their be­half) it will certainly Vnite us at home in one Communion to the Emulation of our Friends, the Terrour of our Enemies, and our own lasting Peace and Happiness. Which God grant we may be so wise as to discern and establish.


Books Printed for, and sold by Robert Clavel at the Peacock in St. Pauls Church-yard.

BRutum Fulmen, or the Bull of Pope Pius 5th. concerning the Damnation, Excommunication and Deposition of Queen Elizabeth; as also the Absolution of her Subjects from their Oath of Allegiance, with a Peremptory In­junction upon pain of Anathema never to obey any of her Laws and Commands, with some Observations and An­nimadversions upon it. The Second Edition, By Thomas Lord Bishop of Lincoln. Whereunto is Annexed the Bull of Pope Paul the Third, containing the Damnation, Excommunication, &c. of King Henry the 8th. The First Impression of the Book was Printed about 2. Months since in a large Quarto and Letter, and is now Contracted into a less Volumn and Price.

The General Catalogue of Books printed in England since the dreadful Fire of London in 1666. to the end of Trinity-Term 1680. (with the Term Catalogue since Prin­ted,) together with the Texts of single Sermons, with the Authors Names; Playes Acted at both the Theaters; with the Abstract of the General Bills of Mortality since 1660. with the Titles of all the Books of Law, Navigation and Musick, and a Catalogue of School-Books, the Third Edi­tion. To which is now Added a Catalogue of Latin Books Printed in forreign Parts and in England since 1670. Col­lected by Robert Clavel, in Folio stitcht. Those that desire either the General Catalogue of English-Books or Latin-Books alone, may have them so.

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