A BRIEF APOLOGIE FOR THE Sequestred Clergie. VVherein (among other things) this Case of Conscience is judiciously handled: Whether any Minister of the Church of England may (to avoid Sequestration) omit the publike use of the Liturgie, and submit to the Directory.

In a Letter from a sequestred Divine, to Mr. Stephen Marshall.

Printed in the Yeere 1649.

In Nomine Crucifixi, secundum illud primae ad Corinth. cap. secundo, vers. secundo.

Reverend Sir,

THis addresse may seem very strange; and yet if you shall consider the occasion, it will appeare that I could not prudently do other; for you being accompted a light in that very House in which I stand eclips'd, I could not imagine by any other mean then your splendor, how to obtain the dissipation of this Cloud.

Sir, so it is, that that Worshipfull and worthy Knight Sir John Trevor is one to whom I owe very much, for it was his Let­ter and his influence that first guided and planted me to, and in the Schoole of the Prophets; It was respect to him that gained me a tutor, and it is now my respect to him, which gaines you this trouble.

For, when about the beginning of Michaelmas Terme I was at London, meeting him in the Palace yard, I thanked him for a late courtesie; his reply was, I had disabled my selfe from the ca­pacity of a Courtesie; I took leave to answer, it was my consci­ence and the tendernesse thereof that hath thus streightned me; He told me againe in words (as I conceive) to these aequiva­lent, that I was more byassed by conceit, then conscience; and gui­ded rather by will then Judgement.

I have so little left, that I can demonstrate to the world I have not made gaine my godlynesse; and I shall now desire to make it as evident unto you, that 'tis not fancy, but scruple, and scruple onely, for which my selfe, and in me a wife and five chil­dren very deeply suffer; so that I here, with all respect implore your assistance, either to satisfie my weaknesse and set me right, or (which perchance may be the shorter work) be pleased to sa­tisfie [Page 2] him whom I do so highly honor, that you conceive my grounds and reasons are such as may conclude me a Rational and conscientious, though weak Brother.

The Misdemeanors (for so they are called) for which my conviction (bearing date May 5. 1646.) testifieth, I am seque­stred, they are these; 1. Adoration or worshiping God by Bow­ing of my body Eastward, or towards the Holy Table. 2. For the exterior acknowledgement of the Diety of my Saviour, when summon'd to it by his blessed name Jesus. 3. For deserting my cure two whole yeares. 4. For officiating by the Common Prayer Book, with refusall of the Directory: To which is added a gene­rall surmise of Malignancy against the Parliament.

First as of least concernment, I shall give you this briefe ac­count of the third charge, to which I negatively answer: I ne­ver at all did desert my Cure. For, being, as Justinian, derelictum dicitur quod Dominus eâ mente abjecit, ut id in numero rerum sua­rum esse nolit, that only is deserted which is throwne off with a mind to be no more possest: I cannot possibly be said to have de­serted my Cure, when by Petition upon Petition, by Letter upon Letter, and all the waies I could imagine, I implor'd my quiet at home, or to have leave to know why; and our Committee ne­ver would, or did give way to either; so that what is here cal­led desertion, is no more then what those words of Scripture will well warrant, when you are persecuted in one City, fly unto another.

Secondly, Every absenting more then two years, in these daies of triall, hath not been accounted sequestrable, and therefore under favor I suppose, though this by way of cumulation is put in, this is not the gravamen; for there is not in the conviction any charge for flying to, or being in any forbidden Quarters.

Lastly, I was so far from deserting my Cure, that I kept at my proper cost (though sequestred) a Curate, all my absence; one who kept my people freer from distractions and aversions from the waies of the Church of England, then since they have been. But haec obiter. That which my conviction declares me to suffer for, it is a pretence of superstition, exprest by bowing to the East, to the Altar, and at the Name of Jesus. 2. For not laying aside and relinquishing the Liturgy.

Now I beseech you with patience peruse this my defence, in which I shall endeavour to cleare first my acts of commission [Page 3] from being superstitious, and then 2. give my reasons why I take it to be a sin of omission to renounce the Liturgy.

First bowing to the East, and to the Altar, are not onely false accusations, but false in such a degree, that (without my confession) are impossible to be proved; for being the intenti­on onely can specificate the terme, it is not in the power of any man living, to say to what I bow, or to what I kneele; for I am confident your selfe bends your knees toward many a thing, to which you abhor to do it.

Bow at his Footstoole; that is, at the Ark and Mercy-seat, for Reformed Catholike 707. there he hath made a promise of his presence, the words say not Bow to the Ark but to God at the Ark. Thus Mr. Perkins. And thus and no otherwise did your Christian Brother bow either toward the East or toward the Holy Table. Now as the Jewes (in Mr. Perkins charitable Divinity) did not bow to the Ark, but to God at the Ark: Even so, when occasionally your Christian Brother bowed at the Holy Table, it was not to the Table, or to the Altar, but to his God he made his Adoration, and that for the same reason which M. Perkins useth; For there he hath made a promise of his presence. There hath he enabled us (vi promissi) to say, This is my Body, this is my Blood.

Now that it is an act of superstition to worship God by bow­ing of the Body, is a scruple in which I cannot be satisfied: for pag. 855. ibid. as Mr. Perkins, so think I—The worship of the Body is called Aderation, which stands in bowing of the knee, bending or prostra­ting of the body, the lifting up of the hands or eys—A duty which the same reverend author proveth to be, as himselfe spea­keth, altogether necessary, and that for three irrefragable reasons. 1. Because Love must not be conceived in the mind onely, but al­so testified in the actions of the body. 2. Christ redeemed both, and therefore must be glorified with both. And lastly Christ being an Head to the whose man, for this cause not onely soule but bo­dy also must stand in subjection to Christ. Many others might be added, but it seemes to me vain to add a beam unto the sun. Now if to worship by bowing of the knee, prostrating the body, and lifting up of hands or eyes by a duty lawfull, yea altogether necessary, no matter which way soever it be done, still it is as Mr. Perkins fully, an act not of Superstition, but Adoration. For as it was no superstition in the Jew to worship God by bowing [Page 4] before the Ark or Westward, so superstition it is not, to worship God by bowing before his Holy Table, that is in the phrase of antiquity, Eastward. As for bowing to the East or to the Altar, I am able to produce a Letter writ by me 5. or 6. yeares ago, ex Diametro against it, and am still ready to ratifie that Doctrine.

The second act of superstition, it is bowing at the Name of Je­sus: and to cleare that I shall thus argue. No act directly ten­ding, and intended, for the Advance of the glory of Jesus, can be superstitious, but to bow at the Name of Jesus in the sence of the Church of England, is an act both tending and intended for the advance of his glory, and therefore cannot be superstitious. For the proofe of the minor Proposition, I appeale to the 18. Canon of the Church of England where the end and intention of that gesture is clearly thus.

When in time of Divine Service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all persons present, as it hath been accnstomed, testifying by these outward Ceremonies and ge­stures [observe what] their inward humility, Christian resolution and due acknowledgement, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and E­ternall Son of God, is the onely Saviour of the world.

Now upon this ground I thus argue; for as much as both words and gestures have their individuation and specification meerly by use Law or custome, what this gesture of bowing at the Name of Jesus is to signifie and import in the Church of Eng­land; this the Representative part thereof having clearly mani­fested, we are to take it in that sence and in that signification, in which and for which it cometh from them proposed and com­mended to us.

For as in Languages we receive and use words, in and accor­ding to that power and meaning which the first authors and contrivers delivered them unto posterity; even so that I might ever avoid the being contentious, look what spirituall and inter­nall duties my Mother the Church of England professed to ex­presse and signifie by such and such exterior gestures, such I con­ceived they did import, and in such sence and signification I did use and communicate them unto others.

Whereas then (as the Canon clearly) the due and lowly Reverence exacted at the Name of Jesus is only to testifie our in­ward humility, Christian resolution, and due acknowledgement that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true and Eternall Son of God. This be­ing [Page 5] the knowne and declared end and meaning of this gesture; Bowing at the Name of Jesus can no more in my weak appre­hension be accounted Superstition, then is inward humility, Christian resolution, or the due acknowledgement of the Lord Jesus Christ to be the true and Eternall Son of God; for being Actus exterior & interior candem constituunt virtutem; being the outward expression and the inward meaning do make but one compleat act; if the inward be vertuous the outward can­not be vicious; if the inward be religious the outward cannot be superstitious; so that since bowing at the Name of Jesus is by the Church and use of England determined to signifie an expressi­on of inward humility, Christian resolution, and a due acknow­ledgement of the Deity of the Son of God; I cannot yet ima­gine how, to him who so understandeth and so useth it, bowing at the Name of Jesus can be counted superstitious.

Nor doth only the Canon of the Church of England, but e­ven the Canon of holy Scripture warrant mee sufficiently that superstitious it cannot be; for Dato sed non concesso, suppose it no duty of that knowne Text, yet there is congruity enough to avoid the Superstition of it; for if by those knees the Apostle meaneth the spirituall and inward knees of the heart, then, as he, without thought of Superstition expressed that inward duty by bodily incurvation; why may not I or any other (by his exam­ple) expresse my inward profession of the Deity, as he, by a cor­porall'expression, by bowing at his Name? But my intention is not to write a volume, or indeed to say ought more then may conclude my design mentioned, to prove that I have not been, nor yet am scrupulous without cause, nor a sufferer without reason.

Now my first scruple is, whether a Minister may with a good conscience renounce or leave off any act, Rite, or gesture, under the brand and notion of superstitious, which he believes is not so?

I dare not do it for these reasons:

1. I should bely mine owne soule, in calling good evill, and e­vill good.

2. I should confirme a scandall laid upon many godly Ortho­dox Divines, that they in thus doing have been superstitious.

3. I should do an irreparable violation to those holy gestures which I do verily believe are advancers of Gods glory.

4. I dare not omit that as superstitious which I believe not to be so, for fear in so doing, to this undetermined notion, I might add such latitude, that under the colour of Superstition, even Re­ligion [Page 6] it self may be violated. In a word for my particular, whether I look upon adoration in abstracto, as the meer expression of that subjection and distance which dust and ashes oweth to his maker, or whether I looke upon it in concreto, as joyned with some o­ther duty, as saying our prayers, receiving the Sacrament or pro­fession of our Saviours Deity; in neither respect (it seemeth to me) more guilty of Superstition or troubling the waters, then was the Lamb in the fable when the Wolf charged him: so that if by some greater light, or latitude of understanding, your clearer judgement shall discern otherwise, I shall with all respect and thanks yeeld up my soule to further illumination, which till it shall please God to give me, I dare not in coole blood call an honest woman whore; or what I conceive religious supersti­tious, for more then yet I am, or hope for to be worth. And this may suffice for the first scruple, viz. That my judgement conclu­ding otherwise, I dare not acknowledge or relinquish Adorati­on under the notion of superstitious innovation.

The second thing I have to do, is to give my reasons, where­fore I conceived it a sin of omission to lay aside, much more to renounce the Liturgie, and that I may do it methodically,

First, I shall give my reasons why I dare not countenance the worshipping of God without a form; secondly, why I dare not in specie omit this form.

First, I dare not countenance the worshipping of God without a form; for being the Scripture chargeth not onely to hold the faith, but to hold fast the very form of sound words, I conceive set forme of prayer a necessary expedient to this end; for being ex­perience both ancient and modern hath taught us this sad truth, that Errors, Heresies, and Innovations in Doctrine are instilled and infused by the conceived prayers of such who are either Authors or abettors of such opinions, therefore (and especially in these times) I dare not but endeavour a set forme. A set form seeming now as necessary as an antidote in time of pestilence.

Secondly, to worship without a prepared and set forme (it seemes to me) to serve the living God with lesse care then Pagans did their Idolls. For witnesse Plato, a Law there was whatever lib. 7. de leg. Prayers or Hymnes the Poets composed to the gods, they should first shew them their Priests. And Alexander ab Alexandro te­stifieth lib. 4. c. 17. the Gentiles read their prayers out of a book before their sacrifice, and that for this reason, Ne quid preposterè dicatur, &c. Or for feare some thing rashly or preposterously might passe the lips, [Page 7] as if stollen from that of Solomon, be not rash with thy mouth, and 5. Eccles. let not thine heart be hasty, an argument to me, that even an heart may be over hasty, and therefore my weaknesse desires a set forme.

Thirdly, the serving and worshipping God by a set forme seems to be approved by God in all ages, before the Law, under the Law, under the Gospell. Before the Law we read thus, Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord, Eo tempore ritus certos 4. Gen. 26. Ioan. Dr [...]sius in difficilio­ribus Ge­neseôs. colendi Deum institutos fuisse quos observarent filii Dei. From that time forward say Expositors, certain rites or set forms were ta­ken up for the publike worship of God, yea forsitan propter idb­latriam insurgentem, perchance for the prevention of incroach­ing of Idolatry, saith a learned Neoterick: therefore was Enoch Barradius, Tom. 4. l. 10. c. 12. sedulous to prescribe and deliver a set forme. But whether E­noch were or no, sure we are, God Almighty under under the Law, to prevent Idolatry had his set Rites; and in particular to the point in hand, a prescribed and set form of prayer,—on this 6. Numb. 23. wise shall ye blesse the children of Israel, saying, (as it followeth) The Lord blesse thee and keep thee, &c.

Under the Gospell both S. John the fore-runner, and our bles­sed Lord and Master, for substance, both we know taught to pray; and it is strange teaching without a forme; as the corner and first stone in the building the Lord left us a prayer, and this prayer proved the basis and fundamentall of all future Liturgies: This through the devotion and piety of the Church increased and grew into a forme, and in this I suppose M. Beza may be my advocate, who tells me, and all the world, Quae ad ordinem spectant ut pre­cum formulae disposuit Apostolus, those things which appertain to In 1 Cor. 11 ver. ultim. order as do forms of prayer, the Apostle himselfe appointed and disposed, so that set forms in the judgement of M. Beza are Apostolicall, the English Translation reads it thus, such things as appertaine to order, and forme of prayers, and other such like the Apostle took order for, in the congregation according to the consideration of times, places, persons, 1 Cor 11. 39.

Fourthly, the want of set form prevents that which I am bound for to indeavour, the conversion and communion of the ad­verse party; for either I must perswade them to worship God according to my discretion, and relie-upon the implicit faith of my prudence, or else I must produce a forme in which I desire their communion, and to which I must indeavour their conver­sion. [Page 8] Now I believe all those who renounoe an implicite faith in the whole Church, or in the Representative of it, all such (I say) at least will abhor so far to resigne themselves unto a pri­vate Minister, as to worship God all daies of their lives, accor­ding to his mutable dictate. I am sure the Papists will say this is worse then what we call Popish servitude, for they are bound onely to believe and serve God as the Church orders: but where all is left to the will of the Minister, people are bound to worship and serve God as his private spirit leads them, and I wish I could not feelingly say (even from follies vented in my owne Pulpit) what an Ignis fatuus that is.

Lastly, to avoid prolixity, for my owne particular, should I renounce a set forme, I must needs professe my self guilty either of Superstitious Innovation, or (which in materia Religionis is bad enough) popular insinuation.

First, that to worship God without a forme is Innovation, this the whole Christian world will attest unto me, the Easterne and Westerne Churches, Wittinberg where Luther, Geneva where Calvin, Scotland where Knox flourished; and to innovate and act against a Catholike Custome of Christendome, of the whole Christian world, may breed a scruple in a wise, much more in a weak Christian.

Secondly, as Innovation, so it would seem to me unavoidable superstition, and that whether superstition be positively or nega­tively considered? for superstition being positively considered, being the issue of misgrounded zeale, this superstition is active in the production of superstitious performances, whereof this is one, to conceive that God will be pleased with no prayer from me, unlesse of my own conception, nor no devotion unlesse it be of our owne invention; this I say is the superstitious issue of a misgui­ded zeale. Againe, as misguided zeale is the mother of supersti­tious performances, even so ignorant feare is the motive and cause of superstitious forbearances, as when one vainly feares, and in that feare refrains such an act, as displeasing, which in­deed is rather pleasing to Almighty God, touch not, tast not, han­dle not, these are negative superstitions, issues of ignorant fear: And so far as I can conceive, scrupulously to reject or lay aside set forms, as superstitious, is out of ignorant feare really and a­ctually to commit (pardon the phrase) a negative superstition.

3. Again, should I not superstitiously (which as drawing nigher [Page 9] Religion is more honest of the two) say aside a set forme, I cannot i­magine any other principle but popular insinuation to move me to it, and to make that a motive in Religion scarce appeares to me religi­ous. Omnia ponenda post Religionem nostra Civitas duxit. If the Pa­gan had so much Divinity, as to say, it was a Law in their City, that Val. Max. lib. 1. cap. de Religio. all things whatsoever must give way unto Religion, certainely it be­hoves me, who am a Christian in matter and point of Religion, to look upon nothing through a carnall or secular perspective. Now to me (and with me runs the whole current of Antiquity) set forms of Prayer and Worship, they are the most religious and assured meanes either to preserve or advance Religion. The scruple then is, whether any of my judgement and perswasion may for any popular or secular end in the world (and for that end meerly) lay aside a bet­ter, and assume in Gods Worship a worse way? whether this be not having a male in my flocke, to offer unto God a female, judge you.

That blessed speech of Sir Benj. Ruddierd to M. Pym, he that thinks Printed 1628. to save any thing by his Religion but his soul, will be a terrible loser in the end; it is worthy to be written in letters of gold, yea worthy to be ingraven in the heart of every Parliament-man that sits; it is indeed a saying that hath so farre prevailed on me, that I begin extremely to question the truth of that vulgar opinion, that the Worship aud Go­vernment of the Church of Christ are so left as to be accommodated to the proportionable exigences of States and Kingdomes: For my particular I conceive the glory of God attended, municipall Lawes ought rather to stoop then they to strain; for Religion is so tender a Virgin, that she may not admit the least prostitution, and I am sure a conscientious breast feareth to pumple her very ornaments.

Whereas then to worship God without a set forme seemes to me destructive of the form of sound words, which charily must be pre­served, a Worship more carelesse then what Pagans used, an Innova­tion which takes away the very ground and basis of conversion and communion with an adverse party; whereas it would be in me either superstition or popularity to desert a set forme; I must crave leave to follow these Dictates, till I have better premises given me, from which I may conclude otherwise. And so I shall desire your patience to accompany me to my last endeavour, which is to shew, that I can­not with a good conscience renounce, or as yet lay aside this our in­dividuall Liturgie, and that for these reasons:

1. It maketh our Religion to be ill spoken of by the greatest part of Christendome, and so preventeth the conversion of Papists, who [Page 10] accuse us of unsetlednesse and changes; yea, it furnisheth them, with an unanswerable exception, viz. That we have these many yeares con­victed, punished, and imprisoned them for what our selves now so far distast, that at Sessions we give a charge against it, traduce it under the brand of the old Mumpsimus, and indite it, and punish one ano­ther for it; this I professe my weaknesse cannot satisfie.

2. If better it were a Milstone were hanged about my neck, then that I should be a scandall to my weak brother, the omission of the Liturgie, being at this time a scandall not only to the weak, but to the strong, being the cries and tears of both require it, how should I dare to look my God in the face when I shall wilfully become scandalous both to the learned and unlearned, both to the strong and to the weak Christian? yea, of this sad experience hath made me very confident, such a [...], such a stumbling block as is this, the suppression of the Liturgie was never since Queen Maries daies amongst us; for the want of this hath hindred thousands from their accustomed piety and devotion, the weak, because they have no other; the strong, be­cause they have no better way, and whatever prevents piety cannot but be rather scandalum datum, then acceptum, a reall and true scan­dall, so that till a better form be actually established in lieu of this, my conscience tells me I may not leave it.

3. What by oath and subscription I am bound unto, that without relaxation from the same authority to whom I sware, and before whom I subscribed, I may not relinquish. But I have sworne to my Dioecesan, and subscribed to maintain the service of God, not only in genere, but in specie, according to the particular forme and way of the Church of England. And therefore to say no more, as an honest man I am bound to make that good which I have sworn, subscribed, and negatively promised to maintain.

4. It is against my Oath of Supremacy to acknowledge a power Ecclesiasticall Independent upon the only Supreme, and this cannot (in my apprehension) be avoided, if the King forbidding I receive the Directory, and the King commanding to use it, I reject the Liturgie.

5. Beneficium supponit Officium. The duty which every parochiall Mi­nister is bound unto, is a daily recitall of his Office; for being Parishes are of humane institution, founded and endowed by the piety and li­berality of devout Patrons, look what they conditioned for, (so far as just and pious) that I conceive I am bound unto. Forasmuch then as in the Church of England, prayer, daily prayer, yea (and ever since the Reformation) this very form of prayer is the condition of our ad­mittance, [Page 11] though preaching be multiplied, I cannot conscionably o­mit that, without which, yea, and for which I had institution and in­duction to my living; so that in my weake judgement it is a very considerable scruple,—whether what is given for a publike and daily duty, may conscionably be taken by him who doth it but once a week, much lesse by him who doth it not at all?

Lastly, it is very considerable to me, whether those words in my Protestation (The true reformed Protestant Religion expressed in the Do­ctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innova­tions) do not bind me, so far as lawfully I may with life, power, and estate, to maintaine either this, or some other setforme, and that for these reasons:

First, This word or Notion, Religion, necessarily includes all the actu­all muniments therof, be it what religion it may be, for if as Austin out of Cicero, Religio est virtus quae superioris cujusdam naturae, quam divinā lib. 83. quaest. 31. I [...]stit. l 4. c. 14. p. 19. vocant, cul [...]ū ceremoniám (que) adfert, Religion be a vertue which obligeth, as well to Ceremony, as to worship. And if as M. Calvin, in professione religionis homines non posse ceremoniis carere, Men cannot professe Religi­on without Ceremony, be it what Religion it may be: Then (so far as my capacity reacheth) I cannot vow, promise and professe, to maintain and defend a Religion, but under this Notion and terme Religion, I binde my self to defend and maintain what ever congruously is requi­site in the defence, and support of it: for as he that is bound to main­tain a house, must preserve the thatch as well as the grunsell: and as he who is bound to maintain a close, must have a care of the hedg (though it be but a dead one) as well as the crop; even so, when I did promise, vow, and protest to defend and maintaine the true Religion, in which I was baptized and bred, I know not how I could hope to make good this, unlesse the necessary muniments, whereof the Liturgie is a maine one, were preserved in it: And that in this I was not singular, I may appeale unto a Vote afterward annexed to the Protestation, in which it is declared, that severall persons had raised the same doubt, an argu­ment that the deduction was very obvious, and very naturall. Now forasmuch as I had vowed before I saw the limitation, after the Vow I durst not inquire; a Vow and an Oath (as I conceive) in this dis­senting, an Oath it must be taken in the sence of the giver; a Vow be­cause voluntary, in the sence of the taker onely: so I took it, and the obligation is still upon me.

Secondly, whereas Religion in the Protestation hath this restrictive difference, Reformed; and not onely so, but so Reformed, as in the [Page 12] Church of England against all Popary, and Popish Innovations; I cannot see how I could protest to maintaine a Religion so reformed, but that I must necessarily imply that service which the first Reformers, and all succeeding Parliaments have made the Characteristicall note, and for­mall difference betwixt us and them; and this (we all know) hath been the Liturgie; for from his denying Communion in this, the Papist was called Recusant, and by his joyning with us in this, he was said and held as reconciled to our Church.

Thirdly, in case the Protestation had run thus; I promise, vow, and protest to maintain the true Religion established in the Church of Rome against (as they call them) hereticall innovations; would any man be­lieve the Missall were here excluded, which is the very formality of their professions? Or in case it had run thus, I promise, vow, and protest to maintaine that Reformed Religion, whose character and distinctive formality is the Directory, would any doubt I vowed to maintain the Directory? and can I hope to perform my Vow, can I hope to maintaine the Religion of the Church of England, and lay a­side that which is the practicall character of my profession?

Fourthly, if this notion Reformed Religion in the Church of England includes not Liturgie, then they are not sufferers for the true reformed Religion of England, who suffer meerly for the Liturgie, but they who so suffer, cannot imagine else what they suffer for.

Fifthly, it is very probable to me, the compilers and chiefe manna­gers of this Protestation, by Religion mainly meant the forme of Gods Worship, for in the first 19. humble Propositions, the eighth runs thus: That your Majesty will be pleased to consent that such a Re­formation be made of the Church-Government and Liturgie, as both Houses of Parliament shall advise.—To the people in the same yeare the Lords and Commons declare thus, April 9. 1642. they intend a due and necessary Reformation of the Government and Liturgie of the Church. A plaine and evident demonstration to my capacity, that both Lords and Commons did then declare, this notion or terme Religion, it includes both Church-Government, and Liturgie, otherwise what ever is of late attempted or done concerning these, cannot be said to be a religious, but a politike Reformation.

Lastly, how could I promise, vow, and protest to defend and main­taine a Religion which is said to be true, and actually reformed, unlesse there be some forme actually in being, which my judgment and my conscience must looke upon; for to swear the maintenance of a Re­ligion, or Worship, or Discipline not fixed, and digested into a forme, [Page 13] seems to me like that formidable et caetera, to sweare and vow to maintain I know not what; and upon this ground thousands there are who have stumbled at the very threshold of the Covenant, not daring to sweare to defend a Reformation where they cannot come to see the form.

Whereas then beside Statute-subscription, and those many obligati­ons contracted under Episcopacy, I conceive even by the Protestation, and from the very sense of the House that made it, Liturgie is a very considerable ingredient in the compound of Religion, and this pre­sent Liturgie in this the reformed Religion of the Church of England: As then in Musick, though there are many rare and exquisite volunta­ries, yet solemne and set Musick is not therefore to be rejected, even so though there are, and may be in the Church of England such who can expresse as readily as conceive, and conceive as devoutly as can be imagined, yet for all that, this is no Supersedeas or bar against study­ed, penn'd, and set formes of prayer; and more then this, as I read, was heard, and ordered to be printed by the honorable House of Com­mons in a Sermon called, Babilons downfall, in these words,—Cursed shall he be that removeth the ancient Land-marke, &c. what is the an­cient Land-mark of England, but our Lawes and Religion? (which containes as well facienda as credenda, and hath as well the Liturgie as the Articles and Homilies for her Boundaries) and therefore if any man shall remove this Land-marke, cursed shall he be of the Lord, and let all the people say, Amen. Certainely they who said A­men to this imprecation, and those who ordered there should be an impression of it, they were then no visible enemies to Liturgie, no not this Liturgie. All then that I shall now trouble you withall, shall be a slight proposall of this one Scruple.

Whether a Minister is not as much bound to suffer in defence of the spirituall Muniments of Religion, as any Subject for the tempo­rall Muniments and Priviledges of State or Kingdome?

For Christian Religion, or the Muniments thereof, I am apt to think with Tertullian, the Sword is no good advocate, Lex nova non se vin­dicat ultore gladio, the foolishnesse of preaching, not the arme of flesh, As Gro­tius cites him de Iu­re belli. must and did establish these: And therefore I propose the scruple on­ly in point of suffering; for if we looke unto the author and finisher of our faith, I conceive with S. Peter, that by his example we are called upon to suffer, and in this case to suffer only.

Now in these times of losse and suffering, I have oft considered with my selfe for what, either as Subject, or as Christian, especially [Page 14] as a Christian Minister I stand bound to suffer.

Now whilest I look upon my self as a subject having nothing at all before me but some secular or temporall advantage: my next consi­deration is, what secular or temporall commodity is dearest to me; for I suppose no man will lose gold to save chaffe, nor expose his dar­ling to preserve his vassall. Now forasmuch as all temporall or secu­lar goods are reducible to these three heads, jucundum, utile, honestum, either pleasant, profitable or honest; that which of these three is dea­rest, that which of these is absolutely the best, that (I conceive, though I suffer the losse of the other two) I am bound to preserve.

Job 2. Skin for skin, and all that a man hath will he give for his life: though the Devill spake it, both God and man approve it. Skin for skin, whatever is pleasant, or whatever is profitable, a man will rather suffer in, then in his life; for of all things, pleasant or profitable, life is the dearest. Now albeit among things pleasant or profitable, life is the jewel; yet bonum honestum, that good which doth consist in honor or honesty, this, it is oft even dearer then life it self: so that for defence of reputation & a good name, for the advance & benefit of posterity, for the vindication of a friend, for the preservation of a trust; for these and such like, there is many an one who will dare to die: but meerly for what is pleasant, or what is profitable, I think no man li­ving: So that indeed 'tis onely bonum bonestum, it is onely for what is honest, or what is honorable, a man as a man, a man as rationall, is bound to suffer.

Now if it be so, that honor and honesty hath so strong an influence upon a reasonable soule, that Reason will perswade even the naturall man to prefer honor and honesty before life; if property, liberty, and the Lawes of the Land are so deare to Subjects, that even▪ for them, thousands have laid down their lives; my great and grand scruple is, whether bonum religiosum, whether a religious good, whether that which I verily believe tends to the good of Religion, ought not to me, a Christian, and a Minister, to be full as deare as any bonum ho­nestum, as any honest or mere secular good to me, or any subject in the world: And (I professe to you upon the faith of a Christian) be it sound, or be it weak, this is the principall ground and motive of all my losses, and to support me I have these reasons.

1. Corinth. 9. If we have sowen unto you spirituall things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnall things? Between spirituall and carnall things the Apostle seems to make so despicable a difference, that the one is not to be compared with the other: carnall things, [Page 15] secular and worldly interests they are not considerable, if compared with things spirituall. A cleare argument to me, that no spirituall, or religious performance ought to give way to any carnall end. And such I conceive are all the muniments of Christian Religion, such in particular a blamelesse Liturgie.

Secondly, it is a rule amongst Casuists, that man that suffers either for doing this, or for bearing that in relation unto Christ and his glo­ry, that person is a sufferer in the cause of Christ; as he that will not lie upon this ground, because dishonourable to the Christian professi­on; if he should be persecuted, because he will not lie; such an one though not in materia fidei, yet because his restraint is for Christ and his glory, he were persecuted for Christ his sake.

Whereas then in my poore judgement I am convinced there is no means generally more expedient for the advance of the glory of Christ and the preservation of the faith, then a well composed and set form of Liturgie; what ever I shall suffer for not rejecting this, I shall confidently lay upon the score of my Saviour: for as much as I therefore onely by suffering endeavour the defence of of this, because I do verily beleeve, Liturgy is the advance of his glo­ry: So that if a temporall good (whose reward and encouragement cannot be but temporall) can move a man to suffer; much more a spirituall, whose reward (through the mercy of a gracious accepter) may prove eternall. For he who will not see a cup of cold water gi­ven for his sake lost: neither will he forget the least of sufferings which relate to his glory.

Thirdly, In suffering for spirituall muniments, and for that only which relates to Christ onely, and his glory, there is no interest but God Almighties considered or concern'd; But in suffering for tem­porall, though publique good, we have private ends and personall advantages of our owne; so that it must be much more acceptable to God Almighty to suffer for spirituall, that is his interest, then for se­cular, that is our own.

Fourthly, If that Citizen be held an unworthy Member, who will not spend his purse and paines for the priviledge of his Corporation: and if that Country-clowne be held no good Townesman, who will not stiffly maintain the Modus Decimandi, The custome of h [...]s Towne; certainly then that Minister hath a very low and poore estimate of that Liturgy which he subscrib'd unto, a very unworthy esteem of the Catholique custome of the reformed Church of Christ, that will without suffering betray his trust; making lesse account of what Mar­tyrs [Page 16] sealed with their blood, then will a Citizen or a Countryman of a trifling priviledge or custome.

Fifthly, Considering and inquiring after the elder times, when such was the purity of intention, that nothing but Christs glory was at­tended; I cannot find that any thing in Religion was moulded unto State ends.

Si ecclesiasticum negotium sit, nullam Communionem habento civiles Magistratus cum câ disceptatione, sed Religiosissimi Episcopi secundum sacros Canones negotio fine imponuntom, in Authentica Con. 123.

Not to the civill Magistrate, but to the Religious Bishops, Justi­nian (no lesse then an Emperour) attributes and decrees the deci­sion and determination of Ecclesiasticall affaires; and certainly if there be any Ecclesiasticall Government, as the Law speakes—Cui juris­dictio data est, ea quoque concessa esse intelliguntur sine quibus jurisdictio expleri non potuit.—To whom jurisdiction is committed all that must be granted without which he cannot exercise jurisdiction; and that must needs be a directive and a coactive power.

Now impossible (it seemes to me) that those who have, (be they Prelates, be they Presbyters, or be they of what name or title soever, our next new light shall call them) I say it seems to me impos­sible, that those who have this spirituall power should ever discharge their trust, unlesse they resolve to suffer, and to suffer precisely, for the muniments and defence of the Church of Christ, and the power of him committed to them; for the impartiall and thorough executing of this charge, cannot but displease great ones: and flesh and blood is a bitter adversary; so that indeed it will evidently appeare, the decay of Discipline, Liturgy and all the muniments of the Church, they have therfore suffered because those who should have suffered for them, would not. And I beseech God this sin be not laid to our charge; for my own particular, I beseech God give me grace to say heartily as did some of the Martyrs, though I cannot dispute, I can suffer for him.

Sixthly, For me to omit any act, gesture or forme of worship, which I beleeve or feel to be an advance to piety, meerly from secu­lar or private interest, this in my judgement is to prefer a carnall thing before a spirituall, & to endeavour rather to please man then my God. And indeed I could here with a great deale of truth and sadnesse relate unto you, the serious and sharp complaints of such Ministers, who professe their souls long after the Liturgy, grieved at heart, and (as they pretend) troubled at soule, because they dare not use what they conceive much the better way. A lamentable condition is the [Page 17] Church in, when Ministers worship God with reluctancie, and onely to save their stakes, comply and do as the State would have them.

Lastly, Forasmuch as the muniments of Religion are preservers of the dearest thing imaginable, Gods glory, and our soules welfare, I do not know what I should suffer in defence of, if not of these.

I lately reading (as it fell proper to the day) the fifth of Esay, when I came to those dreadfull words—I will take away thy hedge, and it shall be eaten up, break downe the wall, and it shall be trodden downe, it made my heart even ake, to think how applicable this methodicall destruction is to our ungratefull vineyard. I will take away the hedge, I will break downe the wall. Take the hedge and the wall away cut up the fence, and the Vinyard will soon be wast; The Government, the Disci­pline, the Liturgy which as a hedge or a wall ever since our reformati­on preserved the Vineyard; since I see it hath pleased God to suffer this hedge and the wall to be trodden downe, I can but feare confusi­on and desolation to be the sequest. For since the worldly wiseman verily believes, where the fence is wanting, spoile and wast inevitably followeth; and therefore his maine care is to tend it: Even so where the muniments of any prosession or Religion are slighted and taken a­way; where Liturgy (this 13. hundred years without controversie, held the hedge and mound of faith, and Gods worship in Natiohall Church) where (I say) this is pull'd downe and taken away, there is iminent and evident feare; a gap is opened to let in what ever will come. Be it the beast of the field, be it the little foxes be it the wild bore of the forrest, come what will there is no muniment, no provision, no fence against it; so that in my poor conceptions the hedge, the fence, the muniment of the Church they are matters of such necessary consequence, that Ministers I conceive, had better lay themselves, and all their fortunes in the gap, then for want of fence to suffer the destroyer to come in.

Indeed I have been told by some who wish very well unto me, that humane inventions and things meerly circumstantiall ought not to be thus stood upon: I thank them heartily for their affection, and blesse them for their good will, but our judgments yet must differ. For if no suffering for humane invention, if life it selfe may not be exposed to hazzard in defence of humane constitutions, certainly then no fighting for the Lawes of Land, nor no taking up arms for Priviledge of Parliament, for these sure are humane and politicall institutions; and as these are necessary for the preservation of a State, even some such are also necessary for the preservation of a Church, and of such Church-men cannot be too chary.

[Page 18] Againe, whereas Liturgie in genere, or ours in specie is counted but a circumstantiall businesse, I believe I may find out such circumstantialls in a Christian Church, as will hazard the whole if they perish.

In the tenth persecution under the Tyranny of Dioclesian, a De­cree past, ut Templa & libri delerentur, that Christians should deliver Chron. Chario. Diocles. up their books and destroy (or at least permit the destruction of) their Churches. Books and Churches I conceive are but circumstan­tialls to Religion; for the world was more then 2400. yeers old be­fore there was any Scripture in it; yea, the Christian Church it was from the birth of Christ more then 90. years before the Canon of the New Testament was compleated, yea after the death and Resurre­ction of our Saviour there is (supposing his passion at 31.) ten years Mat. 41. Luk. 5. [...]. Mark 61 Joh 98. numbred before any Gospell at all was committed unto writing, twice ten before the second, thrice ten before the third, and more then three twenti [...]s before the last; a plaine argument that bookes and writings are but circumstantiall to Religion; for one may live and die a very good Christian, and know never a letter on the booke.

Suppose now the Pope and Popery should so far prevaile, as to have under the notion of books hereticall (for so they will sticke to call our Bibles) to call in, and under paine of death to deliver up our Bibles even to the fire, could any conscientious Protestant satisfie his soule with this poore evasion, alas the Bible is but circumstan­tiall, the Doctrine and Religion of it I can preserve though the Bi­ble be gone? without all peradventure it is most true, a learned and well grounded Christian, he may preserve the faith, he may deliver and hold fast the forme of sound words▪ though among Turks, where a Bible is not to be looked upon: and yet for my particular I should scarce looke upon that man as Christian, who to save his purse, yea his body should deliver up his Bible to the fire.

In the Roman Martyrologie there is a commemoration made of many holy Martyrs, who despising the sacrilegious Edict of Diocle­sian Ian. 2 7. quo tradi Sacros codices jubebantur, potiùs corpora carnificibus quàm sanctadare canibus maluerunt] chose rather to deliver their bodies to the executioner then holy things to dogs, or holy books unto the fire. And truly I should rather honour these as Martyrs, then those for good Christians, who under pretence of things circumstan­tiall, should deliver those to save themselves; so highly (I conceive) God would be dishonoured in the betraying of so great a preserver, and muniment of his Honour.

[Page 19] Again, as Books, even so (to some much more clearly) Churches, Oratories, Temples, they are meer circumstantialls. Now suppose the Independent and Congregationall Brother-hood should so far over­power, as to command the demolition (as they call them) of our Steeple-houses, the destruction and levelling of our Churches, I would very fain know whether in point of conscience I were not rather bound to suffer, then in any measure to appeare willing to so high a sacriledge? I who am flesh and blood as well as other men, could find pretty evasions and glosses to foole my soule withall; I could say (as I hear) is not a Sermon as well in a Parlour as in a Church. Did not Christ preach in a Ship, Paul pray upon the sands, and shall I suf­fer in defence of so unnecessary a trisle as an heap of stones, a Popish Relique, a sorry meeting house? For my particular, I am afraid many things are daily called circumstantiall, not with consideration whether so or no, but because these are the things in question, these the points which I must either dissemble, desert or suffer for. I pray let me as a close to this present you with the example of one, who though a Bi­shop, was ever reverenced as a Saint, & a good man; I mean that great Doctor S. Ambrose, who being once tempted and provoked even in this very point, and that by no lesse then the Emperour, to deliver up Epist. 33. his Church, though it pleased the Emperour in a faire way to send Earles and Tribunes to him,—ut Basilicae fieret matura traditio, that there might be a seasonable del [...]verance of that Royall Pallace (for so his piety termes the Church) yet you shall find this reverend Bastor so far from deeming this a circumstantiall trisle, that he offers his goods, his body, his life in lien of it.

Ea quae Divina Imperatoriae potestatinon subjecta. The things of God are not subject to imperiall power, was the peremptory position of this Bishop; and then proceeds.—Si patrimonium petitur, invadite; si corpus, occurram: vultis in vincula rapere, vultis in mortem? volup­tatiest mihi.—If you who are sent, demand my patrimony, invade it, take it! if my body, here it is; if to bonds or death you desire to car­ry me, it shall be a pleasure to me;—pro altaribus gratiùs immolabor,—I will gladly be a sacrifice to preserve my Altar. He would rather dye the death then suffer an Arrian Minister to officiate in his Church; yea as it is in the same Epistle—cum propositum esset ut ecclesiae vasa jam traderemus—when the Emperors Officers demanded a present delivery of the Church Vessells, the conscientious Bishop was so far from holding these such circumstantialls, as not to be stood upon, that he plainly tells the Emperor, it was neither lawfull for him to deli­ver, or the Emperor to demand them.

[Page 20] Trade basilicam; deliver the Church, is as much as to say (as the In Sermo­ne ad plebem in­tra basili­cam, Ep. 33. same Father to his Flock) speak a word against God, and dye; nay not only so, Nec solum dic ad versus Deum etians fac ad versus Deum, It is not only to speak but to do against God, which in his judgement deserved no lesse then death; Thus zealous of a circumstantiall, and of exterior muniments, was that holy Bishop to betray a Church, yea a Vessell of a Church, it was in his divinity a sin against the Deity; an act against him for whose glory and service they were preserved.

In these sad times of triall, I conceive one main end of Gods judge­ments (especially upon his Clergy) is to discern who those are who have hitherto meerly related to him for their bellies; and who for his glory mainly? who have been spirituall, and who carnall professors of the Ministry? For those who served him chiefly? for their bellies, and carnall ends, to them the invasion of nothing is considerable, in which their interest and their ends are not involved; but such who with purity of intention have mainly studied and sought the advance of Gods service, to them as to S. Ambrose, the muniments of Religi­on, the abridgement or abatement of any thing that was adjuvant to this end, is more considerable then all their secular interest, or perso­nall advantages of this world; insomuch as I can knowingly say it for some: Threescore pound a yeare, and our old way, will be pre­fer'd before 300. in a worse Moddell. It is to me a consideration not unworthy my pen, to see how the judgement of God hath followed such who have measured and stuck to his interests, meerly as they mo­ved with their owne. In the 21, year of Henry the 8th. in a Parliament p. 118. in Bridewell. which began the 3. of Novemb. the Commons sent up to the House of Lords a Bill against the exaction of unconscionable Mortuaries; To which Bill it is observed the spirituall Lords made a faire face and were well content a reasonable Order should passe against them; But this was (saith my author) Because it touched them little for when within two daies after a Bill concerning probates of Testa­ments (in which there had been incrediale extortion) was sent up to the Lords, then the Bishops in generall (saith the Historian) frown'd and grunted, for that touched their profit; then said the Bishop of Roche­ster, now with the Commons is nothing but downe with the Church. When the Bishops personall profits were toucht upon, then (as if the very Church were falling, Fisher crieth out, the Commons lack faith, the Commons think of nothing but down with the Church. Yea in the progresse of this reformation are not Bishops found con­niving and abetting the demolishing of religious houses; and was [Page 21] not this probably with an eye to the preservation of their own; as if they said, let Monasteries go, so long as Bishopricks bee preserv'd: well, they are dead and gone; But hath not vengeance followed upon Episcopacy? Are there not now amongst us who cry, downe with Bi­shops, sell their Lands, and think this no sacriledge, provided that Par­sonages may be augmented, and Tythes supported? well, Bishops are preach't down and their honors laid in the dust; But doth not ven­geance hasten after the promoters of it? Do not the Presbyters find that there are who conceive they have lesse right to Tythes then Bi­shops to their Lands? Are there not who are as industrious to de­prive them, as they have been (for their own ends) to deprive their God? An evident argument, that just and righteous art thou O God in all shy waies. An argument that makes me verily believe, those who for private interest, and meerly either for praise or profit throw off the Li­turgy, forbeare their duties, and betray the muniments of Religion and the Church of Christ; God will in his due time reward such into their owne bosomes, blasting that private interest for which they have betrayed his.

Whereas then I must professe before God, and the world, I can apprehend no mo­tive or inducement so prevalent as to perswade me, that the Liturgie of the Church of England is any way a hinderer of Gods holy Worship, or an obstacle to the so­lid and sufficient Ministration of the Word agreeable to Orthodox Antiquity, and an approved promoter of Gods glory in the Church I live in: being (I say) to con­sent to the abolition of Liturgie, I find in my soule no moving motive, but either the hope of more, or the holding of what I have; I dare not, (finding within me no­thing but carnall interest) put a specious shew of Religion upon it, and tell the world that I lay aside the truly Divine Service of the Church, because Prelates overvalued it, the ignorant doted of it, the Papists nos'd with it, and an idle and unedifying Ministery maintained by it.

These I professe, to me are neither true nor weighty considerations; for if I should now (as I am) forbear or lay it aside, it is not any, or all these, but only in mine own defence, only for mine own ends I should do it: Now whether any man may salvâ conscientiâ prefer what he conceives in Gods service a worse way, meerly for the boot of private interest, I leave it to your prudent consideration; concluding with that of Chrystost.—Qui hominem timet ab co ipso quem timet deridebitur, sin vero Deum, Hom. 84. in Mat. th [...]. hominibus quoque venerabilis crit. He who in Gods cause prefers man, he shall be scorn'd of him he fears; but he who fearing God despiseth man, shall be had in reve­rence even of those men: The patient abiding of the meek shall not alway be forgotten.

And here I had thought to have put a period both to your trouble, and my owne; but I must needs crave-leave, that you would thus far be an advocate both for me, and all in my condition, as to procure a beliefe that such who are constant to their faith, and principles, according to the established and old way of England, may be held if weak, yet conscientious Christians; for it's none of the lest pressures of the Crosse upon us, that we of all men are thought to have no foundation; whereas we in our judgements believe verily, if what we hold and suffer for be not that very Religion which the Divines of England unanimously subscribed, and professed to ratifie; there is not any in England that is above seven yeares old, and to innovate in Religion [Page 22] hath (I am sure) By the sages of this present: Parliament been so severely looked upon, that I should be very loath to be such a capitall offendor.

All that my soule longeth after, is but to obtaine the same liberty which all diffe­rent parties (but such as hold to their rule and conformity) daily have; a free exercise of my conscience in that way of Worship, in which both Church & State visibly held, and profest communion till very lately; a way of worship in the daies of Q. Mary justified against the Papist; a way of Worship in the daies of Q. Elizabeth so highly protested against by the Puritan, that Stow in his Chronicle hath recorded at Bury See the Supplica­tion of the men of Norfolk and Sust. in the Booke of Mart. 1728 Abridg. pag. 413. Sizes, 1583. Hacke [...] and Coppinger were hang'd for spreading certain books seditiously penn'd by one Robert Browne against the Common-Prayer Book.

Now reverend Sir, till some better judgment shall unfold the mystery, it must be my wonder, tha [...] very form which this very Parliament past under the notion of Divine Service; should on a sudden become such an abomination, that any way of Worship, but it, is permitted; my body of professors conscientious, but such as use this; all other wayes being held if not religious, yet tolerable: This I can assure you is no meane scandall and riddle to such as are very intelligent, and very conscientious Christians.

Indeed a Declaration past, and by the House of Commons was ordered, not only to be p [...]inted, but by speciall order to be published by the care of Knights and Bur­gesses, against all such persons as should take upon them to preach or expound, not 31. Decem 1646. being ordained here, or in some reformed Church.

But whereas in October last a Petition against this Declaration was exhibited, and with thanks received by both Houses; whereas notwithstanding that Declaration, such as have no act of Ministeriall Ordination past upon them, do daily uncheck'd, preach and expound in Churches, and publike places;

I humbly desire you so to qualifie my conscientious constancy to the most Christian form of the Church of England, that to persevere in it, be no more held contumacy against Ordinance, then was that Petition against the Declaration; so shall I be bound to give you more thanks then were the Houses to give them.

In a word, I beseech you (good Sir) by that conscientious subscription in which we both visibly agreed; by that canonicall obedience which we both deliberately sware; by that Doctrine which at cur Inductions in the face of our Congregations, and the presence of Almighty God, we did professe to ratisie; by that solemne Pro­testation which since this Parliament began we hoth took; by these, and by all those duties, in which (I suppose without scruple) we did both within seven years last past practise and communicate;

Be pleased to looke with some charitable respect upon one who now only is what generally all the Divines of England very lately professed, at least pretended for to be; one I am who fear to change, least (as a defloured Virgin that having lost the chast vaile of her strict modesty, then lyeth opan to al proff [...]s) I should find my self tractable to all changes: and how various they may yet prov [...] God knowes.

Blessed be God for Religion, whether in Doctrine, Discipline, Government, or form of Worship, I am very well; might I enjoy my peace within this pale I should blesse God, and the contrivers of it; or might there be a Reformation, and not a­bolition, I should yet hope to live in a Ministeriall way: but however let me live (I beseech you) in your esteem either as a conscientious brother, or as your convert; arguments may pierce deeper then afflictions, the one (blessed be God) I have born with a tolerable patience, & the other I am ready to receive with a proportionable meeknes.

Sir, the totall of my desire and indeavour is, that either as Divine you would sa­tisfie my Scruples, or as a Christian satisfie my friend, and for either of these I shall subscribe my self,

Your thankfull Brother in the Lord, J. A.
Decemb. 22. 1647.

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