1 Pet. 3, 15, 16.

But sanctifie the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready alwayes to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear:

Having a good Conscience, that whereas they speak evill of you, as of evill doers, they may be ashamed that falsly accuse your good conversation in Christ.

London, Printed by Francis Leach. Anno Dom. 1650.

An Answer to Obiections of all sorts against Presbyterial Churches & their Government.

IN former times the Prelaticall party troubled our Church with a false Government, but now in their stead is risen up an increase of sinfull men, who will have no Government at all, but combine together against all that are for it, like Gebal, Amon, Amaleck, and the Philistines, with them of Tyre, helping the Children of Lot to root out the name of Israel, that it be no more had in remembrance, Psalme 83. and all these take ad­vantage upon the late Act of Parliament Intituled an Act for relief of Religious and peaceable people, from the rigour of former Acts of Parliaments, in matters of Religion, by which all those penall Sta­tutes are repeal'd, that bound all sorts of People to frequent our publick Assemblies, in the worship of God.

Objection But those former Acts of Parliament which are now re­peal'd, onely required our assembling at the time of Divine Ser­vice.

Ans. It is true; but then that which was Divine Service in shew and not in truth was abolished out of our Churches before this Act came forth, together with the Service Book also, and that which is truly Divine Service is still remaining, which is preaching, reading, and expounding the word of God, also catechising, singing of Psalms, prayer, and Administration of both Sacraments, now to the neglect of those duties, the penalties of these Statutes did of right belong, and these people being sensible of it desired freedome, and that without danger of Law.

Objection, But those duties are maintain'd in our select Congrega­tions, which are as true Churches, as those particular Presbyterian Congregations.

Ans. To acknowledge those Divine ordinances to be in our Churches, and yet to separate from them, shew plainly that their practise is sedition, and their Assemblies to be but so many Conven­ticles [Page 2]against the true Churches of Iesus Christ. 2. Independent As­semblies are not as branches of other fixed Churches, because they are Independent; for can that be a branch of the tree that was never fastened to it, nor received any sap or moysture from it? or can that be a member of the body that was never of it, but altogether Indepen­dent? 3. the Creatours and founders of those Assemblies we know, yea any man that can but get to himself a company of follow­ers, he may soon create to himself such a Church, although he steal to himself a flock out of the folds of other Shepherds, as se­ducers use to do, Acts 20.30.4. They deny Classes and Synods which would be as sinnews to the Body, and as morter to the building to sement the Churches together, and although they will ask counsell of other Churches, they deny all power to determine any thing for particular Churches, so that their meeting for counsell and advice, can do them no more good, than that head or body can do to the fin­gers and toes, when the arms & legs are cut off that should fasten them to the body. 5. These Church gatherers are not like to the Apostles who gathered Disciples from without among heathens, and not from the folds of other shepherds. 2. They gathered them all into that one universall Church, but these to themselves, which would have been se­dition in all nations. 3. They took nothing for their pains, but these take mony of the poorest servant, and such as cannot contribute to them shall not be admitted. 6. These Church-gatherers are not like those fixed Officers, as Pastours and Elders, placed by the Apo­stles in every Church, Acts 14.25. for these are not contented with that flock, nor with the maintenance thereof allotted to them as their Predecessors were before them, but seek for members out of o­ther Churches to make it up. 2. These men for the most part have not those qualifications required for that office, having not the gifts of tongues, I mean those originall languages in which the Scripture was first written, neither mediately taught them in Schools, nor by immediate inspiration. 3. These Church-gatherers have no lawfull Ordination by the hands of the Presbyterie, as all the Ministers of the Gospell have, 1 Tim. 4.14. therefore they are no true Churches; But now Presbyterian Churches are rightly descended, as branches and Members of the first fixed Churches, and they also as mem­bers of the universall visible Church, instituted by Iesus Christ; I call this Church universall, because it is not confined to any place, onely it shall be built upon that rock Iesus Christ, Mat. 16.18. who will be with his people in all ages and places, Mat. 28.20. to him be [Page 3]glory in the Church throughout all ages world without end, Ephes. 3.21. Now this Church so promised to be built cannot be meant that part of it in heaven, called the Church of the first born, where the souls of the just are made perfect, Heb. 12.23. for that was not then to build, but was prepared from the foundation of the world, Mat. 25.34. whose maker and builder is God, Heb. 11.10. neither was that the invisible Church so loved and sanctified by Iesus Christ, Eph. 5.25. because the Apostles are the builders of it, for saith Paul, I as a wise master builder have laid the foundation which is Iesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3.9, 10. and this foundation was to be laid in all nations, Mat. 28.19. and in this Church were all the Ministers of the Gospel pla­ced, 1 Cor. 12.28. and unto this Church were all Christians when converted from heathens and Infidells admitted; Acts 2, 41, 47.

Now the builders of this universall visible Church being sent into all nations to build it, where they saw the word of grace most effectu­all there they tarried longest, being first at Ierusalem, and there multitudes were converted by the Apostles, and the Seventy and o­thers, hereupon they were called the Church at Ierusalem Acts 22. now all the Apostles and extraordinary prophets so wrought toge­ther as a common Presbytery, for the good of the whole multitude, and none of them gathering to himself a Church, but seeking all to enlarge that one Church, now when all Ierusalem, and all Iudea, and round about Iordan, were all baptised of Iohn, Mat. 3.56. and so converted to the Christian faith, then this Church branched it self out into Churches in Iudea and Galite, and Samaria, acts 9.31. 1 Thes. 2.2.14. and the Apostles ordained Elders being fixed officers, and divided to every one his congregation, ordaining Elders in eve­ry Church, acts 14.23. and thus Paul left Tytus to ordain Elders fixed and confined to every City, Titus 15. which is in Scripture-language every town or viilage, the town of Bethlehem, Iohn 7.42. being little, Mich. 5.2. yet called the City of David, Luke 2.4. the towns of Iair threescore Cities, Ioshua 13.3 [...]. and Iudges 10.4. thirty Cities, in the margent villages; now if our Antagonists did but observe those things, they would be content with those Churches, which were so confin'd, and so allotted to them and their Predeces­sours, yea even by the Apostles themselves, as all those Elders were which they placed in every Church The next mother Church was that at Antioch, so called, Acts 11.26. having some Apostles, and ma­ny extraordinary prophets in it, Acts 13.1. which came from Ierusa­lem, Acts 11.27, and there they also tarried, and many Christians [Page 4]were converted; yea they were first called Christians at Autioch, v. 16. Now this Church did as that at Ierusalem, branch it self out into the Churches of Syria and Cilicia, Acts 15.23.41. and those Churches were all governed by those Ministers at Antioch who came together as all concerned in the same businesse, when seducers would have broached errors amongst them, Acts 15.1, 2. neither did they rest there, in regard they could not there determin it, but appealed to the Synod at Ierusalem, made up of fixed Officers, confined to their particular congregations, yet those Elders with the Apostles came together about that question, Acts 15.6. and so being determi­ned by them, all those Churches were established in the faith, and increased in number daily, not onely of Christians, but of Churches, Acts 16.5. and all as branches of that Church at Antioch, depend­ing still upon it, and having recourse to it upon all weighty occasions.

And the next example, are those Churches of Asia, every Church there branching it self out into Churches, and every Church there containing Churches was govern'd by one common Presbytery; for the Angel of every Church is blamed for all things amiss in all those Churches contained in it; now this Angel must either be an Arch-Bishop over all those Churches contained in it, or else a Presbytery charged with those Churches: but it was not an Arch-Bishop, for saith Christ to his Ministers, Kings of the Earth exercise Lordship over their brethren, but it shall not be so among you, Luk 22.25, 26. Again, all the Elders in Ephesus are charged to watch and feed that Flock, conteining many Churches, Acts, 20.21. and they all as branches of that one Church so govern'd.

And thus it was of old, the Lord brought a Vine out of Egypt, cal­led the Church in the Wildernesse, Acts 7.38. This Vine the Lord planted in Canaan, and it spred out her boughs to the Sea, and her branches to the River, and filled the Land, Psal. 80. And so that Congregation mentioned Psal. 74.2. brancht it self out into Con­gregations, ver. 4. having Synagogues in every City, where the Law of Moses was read every Sabbath day, Acts 15.21. yea Christ and his Apostles did frequently preach in their Synagogues, Luke 4.16. Acts 17.1, 2. and also blame those that forsake this Assembling, as the manner of some was, Heb. 10.25. this is the true descent and depen­dency of Presbyterian Churches.

Obj. But your Churches are discended from Antichrist, for Austin the Monk being sent into England by the Pope, brought hither your religi­on, and from him your Ministers had their ordination, and shall be destroyed together.

Answ. The Christian Religion came from Christ, and not from Antichrist, and also our Ministers ordination, for Christ ordained 12. and sent them out to preach, Mark 3.14. and they had power from him to ordain Elders in every Church, Acts. 14.23. and they left the same power with other Ministers to ordain Elders in every City, Titus 15. and thus they did successively to this day, and although this Ordinance passed under Antichrist who sits in the Temple of God, and received some defilement, yet not so as to nullifie it, but if this Monk or Popish Bishop, shall renounce popery, and all their usur­pation and engagements to that strumpet, and preach the word of God truly, and to one flock, I think they may be accounted still lawful Minsters, and need no other ordination to admit them into the Mini­stry, nor their people no other re-baptizing to admit them into our Church; but secondly, suppose the Pope and that Monk to be ene­mies to the true Church, yet Christ sometimes makes use of his ene­mies to do service for his Church, as the King of Assiria did though he thought not so, Isa 10.7. saith Ioseph, you thought evill, but God meant it to good, to save much people alive. Gen. 50.20. The wrath of man shal praise him, and the remainder he will restrain, Psa. 76.10. by the persecution at Ierusalem the Gospell was spred into all Nations Acts 11.19. yea the Devil himself by the treason of Iu­das, did accidentally forward our redemption by Christ, who rules in the middest of his enemies, Psal. 110, 2. Balaams prophesie, nor the prophesie of Caiphes the High Priest, must not be despised because they came from them, nor what is of Christ in the hand of a Monk, but 3dly. I shall prove that the Christian Faith was in Britain, before either Antichrist was in being, or Austin the Monk came hither, for saith Mr. Fox in his Epistle to the universall Church, prefixed before his first volume to his Acts and Monuments, the heathen Emperours of Rome sought to destroy the Church of Christ, and their Persecuti­on continued the space of 300 yeares (Now mark) in all this time God raised up in this Realm of Britain divers worthy Preachers, and lest we should doubt the truth of it, he sets down some of their names as Elnanus, Medvinus, Mettivianus, Amphibolus, Alba [...]us, Aaron, Iulius and others, in which time the Doctrine of faith, without mens traditions, was sincerely preached, even before the Man of sinne was revealed, yea before the Empire which letted was taken away, 2. Thes. 2, 3. to 9. and after their death and Martyrdome, the Church having peace, increased in Britain and was governed by Christian doctrine, a long season by Fistidius, Mujanus, Parrynus, Bcchia [...]us, [Page 6]Dubxinus, Congellus, Kentigernus, Helmodus, David, Daniel, Samoson, Ellnadogus, Asaphus, Gildus, Hentanus, Ellbodus, Di­nathus, Samuel, Novius, and many more a long season, although the Civil Governors were carelesse, as Gildas sharply lays to their charge, and so at length were subdued by the Saxons; now all this while a­bout the space of 400 years, Religion remain'd in Britain uncorrupt, and the word of Christ was truly preached, till about the comming of Austin and his Companions from Rome, or as Cambden saith from the Pope, who was not then in being, nor him that leteth taken away, for the Bishop of Rome calls King Lucius the Prince of Bishops, and Mr. Fox page 11. saith the word Pope signifying Father was fre­quently given to all Bishops, as to Augustine, Hierome, Epiphanius, A­thanasius, and Cyprian the Bishop of Carthage, yea to mean Bishops, for all were of equall authority, till the Councell of Nice held in the Year 340. where they made four Patriarks, or Metropolitans, the Bishop of Rome, the Bishop of Alexandria, the Bishop of Antioch, the Bishop of Ierusalem, and after that the Bishop of Constantino­ple instead of the Bishop of Antioch, yet none of them universall, till Pope Silvester claim'd this title in the year 670. and after him Hilde­brand. Gregory the seventh added the Temporall power, caused the Sword to be carried before him; see page 2. all which might suffice to shew that Britain had not received the Christian faith from either Pope or Monke, and yet the true Christian faith; for we have all the properties of a true Church, we have the word of God truely taught, and the Sacraments truly administred, and prayer put up in the name of Iesus Christ, by those that are lawfully called into the Ministery, and our people yeelding true obedience to those truths, taught and prayd for, now although for sin God may remove our Candlestick, yet the gates of Hell shall never prevaile to destroy such a Church, Mat. 16.18. for God will have glory in the Church by Iesus Christ throughout all ages world without end, Eohe. 3.21. and Christ will be with his Ministery to the end of the world, Mat 28.20. he holds the Stars in his Right hand, Rev. 1.16. and what is done to them hee will take as done to himselfe, and his Ordinan­ces shall continue, for Christ will be with his Ministers, tea­ching and baptizing, to the worlds end, and the Lords sup­per shall shew forth the death of Christ till his coming again, 1. Cor. 11.26. and both Ministry and Ordinances are placed in the Church for the perfecting of the Saints, til they come to a complete man in the knowledg of the Son of God, Eph. 4.12.13. which is not attain'd in [Page 7]this world, for here we know but in part, but then shall we know e­ven as we are knnown, 1 Co. 13.12. therefore our Churches are from Iesus Christ, and not from Antichrist, neither shall they be de­stroyed.

Object. But since your first receiving the Christian saith, England hath put themselves under the yoke of Antichrist, for all Christian Kings had given their power to the Beast, Rev. 17 12.17.

Ans. It is true, that all these Kings gave their State-power to the Beast, but the Churches power was not theirs to give, neither did the Church give their power to the Beast, for she had alwayes some to witnesse against Antichrist all the time of this Raign, Rev. 11.3. yea the Ordinance of Baptisme, and Ordination of Ministers, the one to solemnize the admittance into the Church, and the other into the Ministery, was never taken out of the Christian Church, no not out of Rrme it self, for Antichrist sits in the Temple of God: 2. Thes. 2.4. so then it is not the want of these Ordinances, but the abuse of them that makes Rome Antichrist; neither doth the having of these Ordi­nances make Rome a true Church, for Samaria had Circumcision, and Rome hath Baptisme, yet Samaria was not the Iewish Church, no more is Apostate Rome the Christian Church; for although their mi­nisters are admitted into the ministry by Ordination, and the people into the Christian Church by Baptisme, yet they will neither teach the Covenant of grace, nor the people yeeld obedience to it; the which if they did, I suppose their Ministers need no other Ordinati­on into the Ministry, nor the people no other Baptisme to admit them into the Christian Church.

Obj. But you give such names to the materiall places of publique worship, as properly belongs to Gods People, as the Church, the house of God, and the Temple, which is superstition.

Ans. It is true that Gods people are called the Church, but it is as true that the place appointed or set apart for the Worship of God is called the Church, for saith Paul, When you come together in the Church, or have you not houses to eat and drink in, or despise yee the Church of God, 1. Cor. 11.19.21.. Secondly, this place of pub­like worship in the Kingdom of Grace, is a type of that place of e­ternall worship, called the Church of the first-born, Heb. 12.23. Therefore the type may be called the Church, as well as the Anti­type; and Gods people are as lively stones built up into a spirituall house, 1. Pet. 2.5. which house are wee: Heb. 3.6. but it is as true that the place of Gods worship is called the house of God; for saith David, they take the houses of God in possession, Psa. 83.12. Is it [Page 8]time to dwell in your sealed houses, and my house lye wast, Hag. 1.4 My house, saith Christ, shall be called a house of Prayer, Mat. 21.3. take these things hence, and make not my Fathers house a house of Merchandize, Iohn 2.16. and when this earthly house of Gods Worship is dissolved: we shall have an house not made with hands, 1. Cor. 5.1.

And Gods people being together in the worship of God, grow un­to an holy Temple in the Lord, Ephe. 2.21. but it is as true, that the peace of Gods worship is called the Temple, for Peter and Iohn went into the Temple, at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour, Acts 3 1. The messenger of the Covenant shall come into his Temple, Mal. 3.1. This was fulfilled when Christ disputed in the Temple, Luke 2.46. and when he drave out the buyers and sellers, Iohn 2.15. And when he preached in the Temple, Luke 19.47. Iohn 18.20.

Again, them of all Religions do highly esteem of the place set a­part for the Worship of their Gods, giving them the like honourable names, as Dagons house, the house of Baal, and the Temple of Diana, Acts 19.27. the Idoll Temple, and also Churches, for, saith the town Clerk, these men are no robters of Churches, nor yet blasphemers of your Gods, Acts 19.37. then why should not we say with David, Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy Honour dwelleth? Psal. 26.8.

Again, what is set apart for holy uses, is called holy, as holy Sab­bath, Nehe 9.14. holy Law, Rom. 7.12. holy place in Heaven, Psal. 24.3. and holy place on Earth, Exodus 28.43. Mas. 24.15. and ho­ly Temple. Ionah 2.4.

Yea, where God did but manifest his presence, holy ground, Exo. 3.15. the Tabernacles, altars, and all the Vessels holy, Exod. 40.4.10. and all that administer them, and their garments holy, Exod. 29.21. and their offerings holy, the Paschall Lamb, and the Lambe of Consecration holy, Exod. 29.34. and the people holy, Deut. 7.6. and all these not by infusing the grace of holinesse, but onely set apart for holy uses, so then every man may not administer those holy things but onely such as are set apart to doe it; and secondly we ought to preserve that holinesse of separation of all things so set apart for holy uses. Thirdly, and this may shew us the horrible sinne of those that cast aspersions, either upon the Ministry, the Sabbath, the Ordinan­ces, or place of Gods Worship: and chiefly in those that make it a place of gaming and drinking, buying and selling; what? have you not houses to eat and drink in; 1. Cor. 11.22. and hath not Christ [Page 9]whipt them out, Iohn 2.15, 16. then how dare they presume to doe so again? but most abominable is it in those that pull downe the Pulpit, and Pewes, to make stables for Horses, and their dunghill at the dore? doe these men take heed to their feet when they go into the Temple of God, Eccle. 5.1. and reverence the Sanctuary, Lev. 19.30. certainly this is the abomination of desolation in the holy place, Ma [...]. 24.15. these men doe not desire to be a dore-keeper in the house of the Lord, rather then the Tents of the wicked, Psal. 84.10. these men are not glad when they are invited to the house of the Lord, as David was, Psal. 122.1. neither are they grieved that they cannot go with the multitude of those that keep Holy day, Psa. 42.4. neither are they grieved to see the Heathen enter into the Sanctuary and violently destroy the places of the Assembly, Lam. 1.10.26. nay, they are not sensible how that fire is cast into the Sanctuary, which is like to burn up all the Synagogues of God in the Land, Psa. 74.7, 8. if the Lord in mercy prevent it not.

But those places for publike Worship were built by Papists for Ido­latry, and God hath commanded to destroy the places of Idolatry; Deut. 12.2.

Ans. First, it cannot be proved that our Churches were built by Papists for Idolatry; for we had the Christian faith before Antichrist was in being, therefore the places of publike Worship also. Se­condly, that command was to destroy all the inhabitants, with their houses, goods and cattell, yea every thing that breathed, as well as the places of Idolatry, Deut. which may teach us to loath the sin, but not to punish so severely, without a speciall command as they had, which did not reach to other people, Deut 20.10. Secondly, that command was to destroy their name also, Deut. 12.3. but many Saints in the Apostles dayes were called after the names of their Idols, Rom. 16.1.14. Phil. 2.15. Titus 3.13.1. cor. 16.17. yet they did not destroy them, nor change their names. Third­ly, meat sacrificed to Idols was as much polluted as the place, yet the meat may be eaten, asking no question for Conscience sake, 1 Cor. 10.25, 26, 27. then why should the place be destroyed? Fourthly, God commanded to destroy the remainder of the Paschall Lamb, Ex [...]. 12.10. and the remainder of the Pan and Bread of Consecration, Ex. 29.34. which may teach us to prize our Sacraments, yet not to burn the remainder of bread and wine after administration of the Lords supper. Fiftly, the Iews were bound to sacrifice in one place, but now difference of place is taken away, Iohn 4.21. neither did Paul destroy the schole of Tyrannus, although a place of Idolatry and su­perstition, [Page 10] Acts 19.9.10. but preached the Gospell there two years together with great successe.

But you imploy these places to superstitious singing of Psalms, which was only for singers appointed in the Temple of the Iewes.

Answ. It is foretold, that in the times of the Gospell they shall break forth into singing together Isa. 52.9. Secondly, the Lord hath commanded all Lands to serve him with gladnesse, and come before his presence with singing, and into his Gates with thanksgi­ving, and into his Courts with praise, Psal. 100.2.4. Thirdly, the Church as an Ecce to that command saith, O come let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyfull noise to the rock of our salvation, let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyfull noise unto him with Psalms, Psal. 95.1, 2. Fourthly, the same par­ties that are here called upon to hear his voice and to kneele before him in prayer, are called upon to make a joyfull noise unto him with Psalms, and also the same parties that did partake at the Lords table with Christ did sing an Hymne, or a Psalm in the margent, Mat. 26.30. therefore singing of Psalm, is an Ordinance of God in the church, and ought to be read that all may sing with the spirit, and with un­derstanding also, 1. Cor. 14.15.

But your Parish Congregations were so bounded, either by Ma­gistrates, or by the Prelates, therefore not to be joyn'd with, in the publique worship of God.

Answ. If particular Churches had no bounds, they could not con­gregate together, as they are commanded Deut. 31.12. and as they frequently did in the new testament. Secondly, it would be a punish­ment, as bad as casting out, to be bound to Congregate some scores of miles from their dwellings. Thirdly, there was bounds set to Congregations in the Apostles dayes, and that was to every Church, in every Town or village, as was shewed before, yea they were con­fin'd to a Sabboth days journey, Acts 1.2. that is so far as they might partake of the ordinances publickly in the Congregation, and per­form privat duties at home the same day.

But although the Iews had their Synagogues in every City for publike worship, will it follow, that Christians must be, so bounded now all difference of place is taken away?

Ans. Christian Magistrates as well as Iewish Magistrates, are requi­red to compell all to come to the publike worship of God, Lu. 14.23. but they may not compell the people to things impossible. 2. Magistrates now are nursing fathers to the Christian churchs; therfore they ought to remove all inconveniences from the publike worship of [Page 3]God. 3. Church Officers are required to feed the Flock, and take care of the Flock, and to be examples to the Fiock, 1. Pet. 5.2.3. Pro. 27.23. Acts 20.28. but they could not doe these duties to them that live many miles assunder, so likewise many duties of the Members, one to another could not be performed, such as mutuall love, and holy con­ferrence tending to edification and works of mercy, which could not be, if particular Churches had no bounds.

Objection, But your Parish congregations doe unavoidably ad­mit of a mixed multitude to to partake in the publick worship of God.

Ans. The like and much worse is committed in those gathered congregations being for the most part admitted more for money than for fitnesse, as may easily be proved, 2. In all reason both the Officers and Members, yea and Magistrates also by their Lawes can better reform what is amisse both in Church and State amongst those that dwell near to them, than they can those that live many miles distant from them. 3. Presbyterian Churches, if once they were erected their officers being appointed for it, would keep the Ordinan­ces of Christ from pollution. 4. Presbyterians do receive none to the Lords Table without examination, and if any be unworthy it was the Prelates fault and not theirs, therefore this slander may more be retorted from whence it came.

Ob. But if to live in one of your Parishes will make a man a mem­ber of your Church, then a Turk may take a house in your Parish, and immediately be a Member of your Church.

Ans. It will not follow, for he must be first baptised, and so ad­mitted into the universall visible Church, which includes all particu­lar congregations, and gives him a right to partake in all publick Or­dinances, in case his knowledge and life be approved of by the Elder­ship without any rebaptising, or any other covenant engaging what­sover, but this Priviledge no Turk can have by living in one of our Pa­rishes, let him have never so much knowledge, or holinesse, till he he seal'd his professed obedience to to the Covenant of grace by Baptisme.

Obj. But you stand so much upon Baptisme, so that if a man be but baptised, though never so prophane, you hold him still to be a member of your Church,

Ans. It is true, for so he is, untill for his misdemeanour he be judicially cut off, yea he is still a member; while he is under the spirituall Physici­ans hands, although by suspension he is disabled for the present to act as a member, as as man sick in his body or in prison cannot use his [Page 12]freedome of the City, yet he ia a freeman still for all that, therefore the Church officers ought to take care of their patient and comfort him, lest Satan get advantage, and the man be swallrwed up of over­much sorrow, 2 Cor. 2.7.11. 2 Thes 3.15,

Ob. But more is required to make members of a Church than Bap­tisme to seal their professed obedience to the covenant of grace, and the approbation of the Eldership to partake of the Lords Table, for they must engage themselves to each other to walk in all the wayes of God.

Ans. The covenant of grace being sealed by Baptisme, is sufficient to bind them to walk in all the wayes of God. 2. This professed o­bedience to that covenant is the onely form of all Christian Churches. 3s That bond lies on all that have seal'd that covenant for ever. 4. To make any other engagement than what Christ hath made for admission into the Church, is the direct mark of the beast, Revel. 13.16, 17.

Ob. But King Asa and the people entred into a Covenant to seek the Lord, 2 Chron. 15.1. and the Priests and Levites sealed such a Cove­nant, Nehemiah 3.38 and its foretold that in the times of the Gospel, men shall bind themselves in a perpetuall Covenant, Ier. 50.5. and Paul was not suffered to join himself with the Disciples till his en­gagement, Acts

Ans. 1. Concerning Paul the Disciples, imposed no engage­ment on him at all, onely Barnabas declared his conversion, and how he preached boldly at Damascus in the name of the Lord Iesus, and how he was with them at Ierusalem, and how he had disputed against the Grecians who went about to kill him; now when they knew this by Barnabas, they brought him down to Cesarea, and fent him on their businesse to Tarsus, onely upon that report of Bar­nabas, without any of his engagement to them; and for those other Covenants they were not for admission of those without the Church to bring them in, but of those already in it, to walk more closely with God, according to the Covenant of grace, which they had seal­ed before at their Circumsion, and often renewed at the Passeover, and for that Prophecy to bind themselves in a perpetuall Covenant is either meant of those without that shall come in, and seal the Co­venant of grace, or else it is no more, but that Christians should do as the Iewes did before them, that is to bind themselves to walk more closely with with God, which was done both at our Protestation, and at our solemne League and Covenant, yet these men reproach our Church and Ministry in which and by whom they say they will be converted.

But is your Presbyteriall Government of Divine institution?

Ans. Yes, for God hath set in his Church Governments, 1 Cor. 12.28. yea all the three persons in Trinity had a hand in it, the fa­ther sends forth labourers into the Harvest, Mat. 9.38. and the Son gave some to be Apostles, some Pastours and teachers, Ephes. 4.11. and the holy Ghost made them overseeers, Acts 20.28. and the El­ders of Ephesus were those overseers, ver. 17. for the Apostles or­dained Elders in every Church, Acts 14.23. and after their decease, they left others to ordain in every City or Church, Titus 15. now these Elders were of two sorts, first such as were both rulers and teachers, for saith Paul obey them that have the rule over you, who also speak unto you the word of God, Heb. 13.7, 17. those Bishops or overseers must be apt also to teach, 1 Tim. 3.2, and there is also a­nother sort of Elders which onely are rulers, but do not labour in the word and Doctrine, and if they rule well are worthy of double honour, but more especially they that also both rule well and labour in the word and Doctrine, 1 Tim 5.17, now both these have rule over the Saints, Heb. 13.24. and worthy of this honour if they rule well, Rom 12.8.

But shall the Eldership judge, and determine of all matters in the congregation?

Ans. Yes they are to judge of all matters, unlesse in case of appeals to Classes and Synods; first, because the Elders are charged to watch and keep the flock from the danger of wolves, Acts 20.28, 29, 30. 1. Pet. 5.13: 2. The stock for the poore is to be put into the hands of the Eldership, Acts 11, 29, 30. 3. The Keyes of the Church are to be committed to them for binding and loosing, Mat. 16.19. Iohn 20.23. 4. All controversies in the Church are to be decided by them, for if brethren cannot do it, then saith Christ, tell the Church, Mat. 16.17, 18.

But shall the Eldership judge and determine who are fit to partake at the Lords Table, and keep them back who are not fit to partake of that Ordinance?

Ans. Yes, for if they are to judge of all matters, then of this al­so. 2. Some were charged to keep the doore in the time of Admini­stration. 1 Chron. 26.12. to 19. and some had the charge of the ho­ly place, 2 Chron. 23.32.3. Some were blam'd for not putting a difference between the holy and prophane, Ezekiel 22.26.4. The younger sort have in all ages and Churches been examined, and cate­chised, before admittance to the Lords table, that they may offer un­to the Lord a pure offering. Mal. 1.11.

But after admittance to the Lords table shall any be deferr'd from that Ordinance before any crime is laid to his charge, or proved a­gainst him?

Ans. No, for it were unjust to punish a man before he be proved to be guilty of some offence deserving that punishment. Secondly, it would rend the Church in pieces to suspend any communicants before they be charged with any offence deserving i.t If the Eldership shall suspend both the godly and ungodly before they be charged with any offence, and proceed to make a new admittance of those allready ad­mitted, the succeeding Eldership might do the like to those that they have admitted, and so do and undo for ever. Fourthly, this would be a gathering Communicants out of Communicants, as bad as to gather a Church out of a Church, which is mere sedition. Fifthly, to sub­pend all the Communicants at their first sitting, under pretence to purge that Ordinance is the direct way to destroy it, because no ac­count can be given from what fellowship they are all suspended, nor unto what fellowship they shall be admitted, in case their answers be approved, having no more Members left. Lastly, this would be mi­serable ingratitude to them, that in love chuse them for their Elder­ships.

But those admitted in the Prelates time, was under a false Go­vernmet, having no Elderships then erected, the Pastour doing it a­lone, either without no examination, or else very sleightly, therefore that was no lawfull admittance.

Ans. Our Pastors? were then lawful Presbyters, having a lawfull call into the Ministry, yea if the Prelates would lay down their usurpa­tion over their brethren, and betake themselves to feed one flock, they also are lawfull Ministers having their Ordination by the Presbyte­ry, yea in case of necessity, before the Eldership be erected, one mi­nister may ordain another, thus Luther coming out of Rome might ordain other Ministers, so before there was any Elder­ship in Crete, Paul saith I left Titus there to ordain Elders in every city, Titus 15. yea before the Eldership was erected, the Apostles did the office of ruling Elders and Deacons, receiving and keeping the treasure of the Church, and distributing to every man according to his need, Acts 4.35. yet not so when those other officers were chosen, Acts 6 2, 3.4, 5.11.3. as also the Pastor is both a teaching and a ruling Elder, therefore those admitted by him at that time was sufficient, and to say it was done sleightly, the like may be said of what is done by the present Eldership by those that shall succeed them. 2. I would know what examination those three [Page 15]thousand had which were admitted immediately after the hearing of Peters Sermon to both Sacraments, Acts 2.41, 42 shall we cavill at them because it was done before the Eldership was erected? 3. The Communicants tend­dring themselves to their examination, ought not to be punished for their Pastours neglect. 4. Their godly life may satisfie for that slight admittance. Lastly other Presbyterian churches will admit those that have been commul­nicants in other Churches, only upon a certificate from thence, & shal not we do so to those whom we and many hundreds more were eye witnesses that they were communicants, and as yet never any thing laid to their charge?

But Church Officers ought to know the state of their flock, Prov. 27.23. and as faithfull Stewards give them no hurtfull thing, therefore they had need again to examine them before admission.

Ans. It is true they ought to know the state of their flock by visiting them from house to house, as in the Primitive church Acts 20.20. but this is not done at once by propounding to them two or three questions 2. If for­mer admittance be not sufficient, unles an exact knowledge of them, then by the same rule their succeeding Minister must also refuse to dispence that Ordinance till he hath the like exact knowledge of them. 3. by this argument the death or removall of their Pastor or any of their Elder­ship, would prove an Excommunication of all the Congregation till that ex­act knowledge be obtained by them that succeed. 4. It is not the Pastors fault if the ordinance prove hurtfull to them that have not saving grace, it being wholesom food, and dispenced to those formerly admitted, and therefore have a true outward right unto it, and the inward is perfectly known to none but God and their own souls, hence I conclude that those formerly admitted, and as yet never charged with any crime, upon the reprofession to be faithful to their former Principles, may still partake at the Lords Table without any further examination or any new admittance.

But Church officers are not onely commanded to prepare themselves, but their brethren, to keep the Passeover, 2 Chron. 35.6. therefore they ought again to be examined, and so admitted.

Ans. That Text doth onely charge the Priests to prepare their brethren the Levites to be ready to kill the Passeover; and besides I speak of those al­ready prepared and formerly admitted, that they should not be suspended before they be justly charged with some offence.

But it is no suspension to admit them upon the goodnes of their answer.

Ans. It is directly as they would deal with a Iew or a Turk, for upon the goodnesse of their answer, and unblameablenesse of their lives, they shall be admitted to both Sacraments, and no otherwise shall this man be­ing a Christian and a Church-member, and formerly admitted to the Lords Table, and as yet not charged with any offence whereby to cast him out.

But they ought to answer every man that shall ask them a reason of their faith, much more to the Eldership, 1 Per. 3.15, 16. and he that cannot give such an answer, although formerly admitted in the time of the Prelates, ought not still to partake being found ignorant.

Ans. It is not said, answer every man, but be in readinesse to do it, for every man hath not power to demand an account of our faith. 2. This account hath been already given, or at least tendred, when they were first admitted 3. From this Text we are not to do it, unlesse we will, till they speak evill of us as of evil doers, and falsely accuse our good conversation in Christ, and then also before those that have power and authority to de­mand an account of our faith; and if scorners demand it, cast no pearls be­fore swine, reprove not a scorner lest he hate thee, Pro. 3.8. If railing Rab­shakah shall ask why they trust in the Lord, answer him not a word, Isa 36.20, 21. 4. If the Elders in their visitation find them ignorant, they ought rather to instruct them, than to accuse and suspend them, lest they make others think that they come rather to accuse than to edifie, to cut off rather than to heal a member. 5. To accuse and suspend those they find ignorant after admission, would make the Eldership contemned, and then what good can they do? 6. The most exactest Eldership may be overseen to admit some that are igonrant in some things, although they may answer well in others. 7. The best Christian under heaven is not at all times ready to give a direct answer to all points in Religion. 8. The Apostles themselves were ignorant of some fundamental points of religion when they did receive the Sacrament with Iesus Christ, as of his death, resurrection and ascensior; Lastly this Text requires an account of hope, but faith is of a larger extent, Thus I believe, that man at the first was made in the image of God, righteous and holy, and had then sweet communion with God, but by sinne he lost that image of God, and that Communion also, and brought upon himself the curse and wrath of God, and the condemning power of the Law, and all miseries upon body and soul, name and state, in this world, and those unsufferable everlasting torments in hell; and I be­lieve that all the creatures in heaven and earth are not able to deliver us out of this condition; and I believe that the greatest part of mankind are reprobates, and shall unavoidably suffer these torments; now this is part of the account of our faith, yet no account at all of our hope: so likewise I believe that Iesus Christ the Sonne of God was conceived by the holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was dead and buried, and the third day he arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, now to put hope in this place, that Christ would do those things, would destroy our faith, so dangerous it is to the Eldership to require an account of faith from unblameable communicants to debarre them from [Page 17]the Lords Table, till they have from them a second admission from this Text.

But Paul saith, let a man examine himself, and so let him eat, now he will do it partially, if left to himself, neither doth this Text exclude the Elder­ship.

Ans. I am speaking of those examined already, or at least tendred themselves to it when they were admitted. 2. That self examination is of the heart, whether Christ be in them, see 2 Cor. 13.5. which none but themselves can do. 3. If this Text include the Eldership, they must exa­mine them every time they come to that Ordinance. 4. The Eldership is onely to examine those that are not Communicants, that they may be Com­municants unlesse some great sinne be laid to their Charge, which if pro­ved may justly debarre them from that Ordinance, till reformation and sa­tisfaction to the Church for it, now the younger sort who never were yet at the Sacrament, will more freely answer before the grave Eldership, than before all the Congregation, and so will those that are cast out, that they may be admitted.

But is it sufficient for the teaching Elder to sow the seed of sound Do­ctrine, and then to look no further after the growth of it in the hearts of his people?

Ans. No, for the Teaching Elder, and the ruling Elders together ought to visit their flock, and to labour to remove whatsoever will hinder the growth of it, as the husbandman doth, when he hath sowed the seed, who when he seeth great stones lie upon it, will remove them, or great clods, then he will break them, or if water stand to drown it, he will let it out, or if the fence be broken, he will make it up; even so should Church officers labour to remove all doubts and scruples, that may hinder their growth in grace, and also defend them from any that shall seduce them by error and prophane­nesse, thus when Christ had preached publickly in the Temple, Iohn 18.20. Then privately he expounded all things unto them, Mark 4.10, 34. yea he went into his garden to see if the vine did flourish, or the pomgranats budded, which made the spouse immediately to be as the Chariots of Ami­nadab, swift and comely, Cant. 6.11, 12. so also when Christ had sent out his Apostles to preach, Mat. 10. he presently sent out seventy more to confirm their Doctrine, Luke 10. so when Paul had preached to them publickly, he then admonished them privately from house to house, Acts 20.20. yea when any of the Apostles had preached publickly, they re­turned to confirm the souls of the Disciples, Acts 14 21, 22.15.41. Paul plants and Apollo waters, 1 Cor. 3.5, 6. when Apollo went into Achaia, the brethren wrote unto the Disciples to receive him, who when he was come helped them much that believed through grace, Acts 18.26, 27. so should [Page 18]ruling Elders long to impart unto them some spirituall gift for their mutuall joy, Rom. 1.11, 12

But although Christ and his Apostles did so, will it follow that the mini­ster and Elders ought now to do so?

Ans. Yes, for what Christ and his Apostles did publickly in the Ministe­ry was for other Ministers imitation, and what they did privately was for all Christians to follow, but especially ruling Elders, who are appointed to assist them in Church government 2. All Christians are bound to admo­nish one another in the faith, Heb. 10.25. Iud. 20. much more ought ru­ling Elders. 3. Some ought to warn the unruly, and to comfort the feeble minded, and support the weak. 1 Thes. 5.14.15. but neither equalls nor inferiors can do this. 4. It is the custome of other Churches with whom we have engaged, that the officers should visit the flock, both for their protecti­on and edification. 5. The Church hath many enemies, who seek to destroy it. Acts 20.29, 30. 1 Pet. 5.8. 2 Tim. 3.6. therefore some had need to defend it, and who so fit as ruling Elders who watch for their souls with the teaching Elder, as those that must give an account for them? Heb. 13.7, 17. Lastly, this visiting them from house to house by mutuall conference will remove jealousie of their pride, and increase knowledge and unity be­tween them and the people.

But what if the Eldership shall find some who were formerly admitted to be both prophane and scandalous, shall they still partake at the Lords Table?

Ans. No, if they declare their sinne as Sodom and hide it not, and their very countenance doth testifie against them, Isa. 3.9. when the pride of Is­rael doth testifie to his face, that he doth not turn to the Lord his God, Hos. 7.10.5 5. Such need no further proof, if they paint the face as Iesabel, 2 Kings 9.30, 35. or by setting such spots on them which shews they are none of Gods people, Deur. 32.5. or by their naked breasts, or if men do as it was fasly reported of David, shamelessely uncover themselves in the sight of Maidservants, 2 Sam. 6.20. or men hung about most vainly with ribbonds and points, or women in the harlots habit, Prov. 7, 10. their appar­rell being strange to all modesty, God will destroy such, although they be Princes children, Zephaniab 1.8.

But what if they in their visiting find some men wearing long hair, and poundred locks, and women lay out their hair, shall such come to the Lords table?

Ans. No, not till Reformation, for such people are so far from Grace, that they have almost sinned out the very light of nature, for doth not even nature it self teach, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 1. Cor. 11.14. Secondly, when men are called to fasting and prayer, they are [Page 19]charged to cut off their hair, Jer. 7.29. and Iob did so when he fell on the ground and worshipped, Iob 1.20. yea saith Paul, judge your selves, is it comely for a woman uncovered to joyn in publike prayer, or prophecying, or at the Lords Table? 1 Cor. Thirdly, the Churches of God have no such custome, although some will be contentious, ver. 16. and, women ought to have power over their heads in the sight of the angells' or Ministers, ver. 10. let all things be done decently and in order, 1 Cor 14.40. Fourthly, long haire in men is the mark of Antichristian Locusts, fore­told to be in these days, who are enemies to Christ, for they have faces like Lyons, and hair like woman, Rev. 9.7. yea they imitate him, whose under­standing and reason was departed from him, and the heart of a beast given to him, his hair grew like Eagles Fethers, & his nails like birds claws, Dan. 4. Fifthly, Such had rather leave the Sacrament, than cut off their hair, which shews that they have no true desire to eat the Passeover as Christ had, Lu: 22.15. and women that so prize their hair, shew that they have not the hidden man of the heart, and that they are none of those holy women who trust in God, being Sarahs daughters, 1 Pet. 3.3, 4, 5, 6. when Mary was converted, she wiped the feet of Christ with her haire, Luke 7.38. Last­ly, God hath punished this pride in Men, especially when Absolom shall pretend to go pay his vowes at Hebron, glorying in his long hair, was hanged by the head that bore it, between the Earth and Heaven, 2 Sam 15 7. 2 Sam. 18.9, 10. and women for this pride instead of well set hair, shall have boldnesse, Psal. 3.24.

But by what rule shall we measure our hayre, and when is it too long?

Ans. The hair is called the hair of the head, and not the haire of the shoulders, M [...]. 10.30. therefore it must be there confined; Ephraim had gray hairs, and he knew it not, Hosea 7.9. Secondly, the face of man is his glory, and his eyes are his guide to perform all duties to God and Man, and to avoid evill, now if the hair cover any part of the face, it is to cast shame upon his glory, and if it cover the eyes, it makes blind his guide, so that the man is in danger both to fall into the evill of sinne, and the e­vil of punishment. Thirdly, it is most safe to be farthest from danger, now it is not short haire, but long haire, that is both blamed and punished. Fourthly, neither imitate erronious nor prophane persons, for the one is an Antick in his attire, and the other tossed about with every wind of doctrine, Ephe. 4.18. both like Ruben as unstable as water, Gen. 49.4. but mark, the Godly man his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord: Psal. 112.7. and Sa­rie daughters will adorn their souls, and not plate their hair, especially when they come to the Lords table.

But what if some after admittance shall be found Schismaticks or Here­ticks shall they still partake at the Lords table?

Ans. No, for there must be no Schisme in the body, 1 Cor. 12.25. Se­condly, if an Heretick doe not reform after the first and second admoniti­on, he is to be rejected, that is, cast out, Titus 2.29. Thirdly we have the example of Iohn the Baptist, who would not admit the Sects of Scribes and Pharisees to come to his baptisme, Mat. 3.8, 9. much lesse to the Lords Table. Fourthly, the leven of false doctrine must be purged out, Mat. 16.12. as well as the leven of prophanenesse, Cor. 5.7. 2 Cor. 2.5.6. for the one undermines the truth, and eats it out as a Gangreen, 2 Tim. 2.17, 18. and the other like Swine tread the holy things of God under feet, Ma. 7

But by these rules you admit some to the Lords table, which are prohibi­ted by the Ordinance of Parlament, and keep back others, not prohibited by those Ordinances.

Ans. State-Officers ought not to judge and determine, what sinnes are most scandalous to the Law of God and Religion, nor limit Church Officers in their censure, any more than Church Officers ought to judge and deter­mine what is most offensive, as a breach of the Law of the Land, nor to li­mit or direct the Iudge in his censure. Secondly, for State officers thus to li­mit Church Officers, is to rob them of that power that Christ hath given them; which is as bad as for Antichrist a Church Officer, who presumes to rob Princes of their State-power, which God had given them: For as Magistrates are placed by God in the State, and all mankinde are required to yeeld obedience unto them; so Church Officers are placed in the Church, and all sorts of mankinde are required to yeeld obedience unto them.

But have Magistrates no power in the Church?

Ans. No, their power is much about the Church, but not in it, they may command all to hear the word of God, when truly preached, Deut. 31.12. and they may proclame a Fast, Jonah 3.7. 2 Chron. 20.3. and they may impose a Covenant to seek the Lord, 2 Chron. 15.8, 9. 34.31, and they may punish those that refuse to obey God and the King, Ez­ra 7.23, 25.26. yea Kings shall be instrumentall to destroy Antichrist, for Kings shall hate the Whore, and burn her flesh with fire, and make her desolate, Rev. 17.16. and the Magistrate is to be a guard to the Church, as the Shepherd to a Flock, Psa. 49.23. therefore they ought to punish those Lyons and Be ares, that would devour the Lambs and poyson the Children, Psa. 60.10, 12. Heathen Kings have made Lawes to punish those that did abuse the Idoll worship, Dan. much more ought Christi­an Magistrates to punish those that abuse the worship of the true God, and make rents in the Church of Christ; see 1 Kings Iudges 6.3. yea saith Iob, Idolatry ought to be punished by the Iudges, Iob 31.27, [Page 21]28. and evill doers ought to be punished by the Magistrate, Rom. 13.4. 1 Pet. 2.14. but seducers are evill doers 2 Iohn 11. and Paul appeals to Caesar where he ought to be judged, Acts 25.10, 11. which was for se­dition in the Church if they could have proved it; for they said he was a mover of sedition, and a ring-leader of the Sect of the Nazarers, Acts 24.5, 6. but they could not prove the things they did accuse him of, verse 13.

But what if a controversie arise in the Congregation, that the Eldership cannot determine, shall they not appeale from the Church to the Parlia­ment?

Ans. No, for God hath provided another remedy to whom they ought to appeal, and that is to a greater Eldership, made up also of Ministers and ruling Elders of severall Congregations, being sufficiently able to determin all controversies, let them be what they will. As first, suppose the con­troversie shall arise between the Pastour and the people, there be many Pastors and people of other Congregations to decide it. Secondly, if the controversie shall be between two Congregations, there be many delegates from severall Congregations to decide it. Thirdly, if half of the same Con­gregation shall divide against the other half, then neither of those parties shall be their own Iudges, but it shall be referr'd to those that will judge impartially, being related no more to the one than they are to the other. Fourthly, if the matter require hast, because of danger to the Church, they meet once a moneth, and oftner if any occasion be [...], this we call the Clas­sicall Eldership. And lastly, in case any matter shall not here be decided, they may appeal to the Provinciall or Nationall Synods, and there it shall be determined.

But how will it appear that there is any such Churches, so govern'd by Synods?

Ans. For such names it is not materiall, we contend not about names, but the thing it selfe we shall find in Scripture; First for Provinciall chur­ches, we find that every Church in Asia was made up of severall Churches, in the second and third Chapters of the Revelations. Now such a Church wch comprehended many Churches in it, could not be one single Congrega­tion, made up of one Pastor and his people; neither could these be Nationall Churches, because at Ephesus which was a City, Acts 18, 28.19 and at Thyatira a City, Acts 16.14. the like may be said of Corinth, there was many Congregations 1 Cor. and all made up the Church at Co­rinth, 1 Cor. 1.2: also Corinth was a City, Acts 18.8, 10. these were pro­vinciall Churches: Secondly, in Jerusalem were more Christians than could congregate together, three thousand were added to that Church at one time, Acts 2.41, 47. and five thousand at another, Acts 4.4. so that there were many th [...]and Believers in Ierusalem, Acts 21.20. yea it was said [Page 22]that all Ierusalem were baptized of Iohn in Iordan, 3.5, 6, and yet they are called the Church at Ierusalem, Acts 11.21: which could be no other but a Provinciall Church. Thirdly, there was in Ierusalem many Ministers, theer was the 12 Apostles and the 70, and others, then what Church would this be, having above a hundred Ministers in it, this could not be a single Congregation, neither could it be a Nationall Church, because at Ierusalem, the like may be said of the Church at Antioch, there was many Prophets and some Apostles, Acts 11.26, 27. and yet the Church at Antioch, Acts 13.4. Fourthly, all that multitude of Christians, yea I may say all those Churches in Ierusalem, for they had Elders chosen which are fixed Officers placed in every single Congregation, and there confin'd, see Acts 14.23: yet all these Churches were govern'd by one common Presbytery, which some times sate in Solomons porch, Acts 5.12, 13. and sometimes in other places, for Paul came to Ierusalem, and went in where the Elders were pre­sent, Acts 21.18. and so was every Church in Asia containing Churches governed, and they blamed for every thing that was amisse in any of those Churches, comprehended in that Church under that Government.

Now a Nationall Church is, that when God shall deal with any Nation as he did with the nation of the Iews, to make them his people in Covenant and give his Statutes, Sabbaths, and Sacraments, as he did to them Nehe. 9.13, 14, 15. Psal. 147.19, 20. then that is a Nationall Church, as well as that of the Iews, but God hath given England and Scotland the Book of the Covenant, and Ministers after his own heart, to shew us the meaning of it

And he hath given the Sabbath day, appointed for that end, and the Sacraments, whereby we have seal'd that Covenant, and also the Lord hath sealed many of us with his spirit, therefore our Church is a nationall Church. 2. all our Congregations containing the whole Nation, are fastened and semented together as Members of one body, and as bran­ches of one Vine, by Classes and Synods, as all the Congregations in Israel made one Congregation, Psa. 74.2, 4. therefore it is a Nationall Church, for it is not confin'd to a City or Province, or one Assembly under one Shepherd, but as that Vine brought out of Aegypt, and planted in Canaan, taking deep root, spred her boughs to the Sea, and her branches to the ri­ver, and so filled the land, Psal. 80. and so we as well as they became a na­tionall Church. 3. It is foretold that nations shall come into the Christian Church, Isa. to 11.66.18. and this we see fulfilled, for all the whole Nation are come in, and have sealed the covenant of grace by Baptisme, and all professe our selves members of this Church, and there is as many living members in this Church, as in that nationall Church of the Iewes. 4. The Lord hath not as yet given us a Bill of Divorcement, but owns us [Page 23]still for his Church, continuing his Ministers, and his Ordinances with us, and his blessing upon them both, to convert those that are not converted, and to strengthen those that are. We have seen thy goings O God in the Sanctua­ry, Psa. 68.24. Lastly these Churches have and do still own this title, the Church of England, and the Church of Scotland; and all Christian Church­es do so approve of our Church, therefore it is a Nationall Church.

And the universall Church, I prove thus first all the Churches of Christ have one foundation, upon this rock will I build my Church, Mat. 16.18. and yet the builders are sent into all Nations to build it, Mat. 28.19. and that upon this foundation, for other foundation can no man lay, than what is laid, which is Iesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3.4. which shews that the Churches in all na­tions make up but this one Church. 2. Paul persecuted the Christians at Ierusalem, and at Damacus, and in other strange Cities, Acts 26.10.11. yet all these hee calls the Church of God, Gal. 1.13. 1 Cor. 15.9. which shews that the Church is universall. 3. Iewes and Gentiles which comprehend all Nations make but one Church, for saith Paul give no offence to Iewes nor Gentiles, nor to the Church of God, 1 Cor. 10.32. this cannot be meant a third sort of people, because there was no more, and this Church was made up of both, because both are mentioned, therefore it is universall. 4. All the Churches of Christ make but one Church; for saith Paul, the Churches of Christ salute you, yea the whole Church saluteth you, Rom. 16.10.23. 5. All Ministers are placed in one Church, 1 Cor. 12.28. which shews it to be universall. 6. All Churches have but one King, and governed by one Law, Iomes 4.12. therefore universall. 7. All Church­es are called one body, one dove, one Queen. Ephes. 44. 1 Cor. 12.12. Cant. 6.8. Lastly, the doore of the Church is as wide as the Christian world, for he that is admitted into one Church by Baptisme, is admitted into all, and he that is cut off as Iulian was, is cut off from all Churches, therefore it is uni­verfall.

But how do you prove the Appeals of Churches, and of persons in the Church.

Ans. First I will shew the appeals of persons in the church for a private trespasse, If thy brother shall trespasse against thee saith Christ, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone, if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But 2. if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be estabished; but 3. If he neglect to hear them, tell the Church, Mat. 18.15, 16, 17. that is the Eldership, for saith the Lord to Moses. speak unto all the congregation, then he called the Elders and spake unto them, Exodus 12.21. [Page 24]which are called the assembly of Elders distinct from the congregation, Psa. 107.32. or the estate of the Elders, Acts 22.5. neither could any two or three Saints be this Church, for then the offendor and the offended brethren were this Church, but that they were not, nor one or two more, for it was the third gradation; neither was it the whole Congregation here ment, for then if any two or three doe but agree about binding & loosing, it should be ratifi­ed in heaven, although all the rest were against it. But lastly, it is ment her Of­ficers, who have the keyes of binding and loosing committed unto them, al­though but two Elders, and a Pastor in that Eldership, yet if but two of them agree, being the major part of that Eldership, it shall be ratified in Heaven, Mat. being the highest appeale in a particular Church.

In the next place, I wil shew by Scripture the Appeals of Churches the lesser to the greater for publique offences, not one Congregation to another, nor one Classes to another, nor one Provinciall Synod to another, for so they are of equall authority; but a Congregation to a Classes made up of many repre­sented, or a Classes to a Provinciall Synod being greater than that, and from thence to the Nationall Synod, being the greatest power in the Nationall Church.

I begin with the first, and that is proved by all those particular Churches in Syria and Cilicia, appealing to the Church at Antioch, being a Presbyteriall Church, having Apostles and extraordinary Prophets, and many Ministers in it, who came as being all concern'd in the busines, when seducers would have bro­ched errors amongst them, Acts 15.12. and there they had great disputation with those seducers, even the Apostles themselves, who might have determi­ned the businesse there, but that it was to be a president for all Christian Churches; therefore that Classicall Assembly at last, determined to send to the Synod at Ierusalem, about that question, ver. 2. and being brought on their way by the Church, that is, by some representing the Church, ver. 3. and they were received of the Church, not as if all those many thousands of Be­leevers came forth to receive them; but some of the Synod representing them all, were sent to receive them, ver. 4. and the Apostles and Elders came toge­ther not casu ally, but on purpose, to consider of that matter, ver. 6. those Churches having referr'd themselves to their finall determination, they did authoratively passe sentence, and made decrees to be kept for all those Chur­ches, who did thus appeal, first to that Church at Antioch, and from thence to Ierusalem, and they being fully satisfied, for having read the Epistle, they rejoyced for the consolation, ver. 30.31. and so all these Churches of Syria and Cilicia were established in the faith, ver. 41. Chap. 16.4.5.

But you give Classes and Synods absolute power to impose there conclu­sions [Page 25]and determinations, on particular Churches, without any refusing.

Ans. It is true, that all particular Churches ought to refer themselves, and that none should be permitted to refuse, yet we do not give Classes and Sy­nods absolute power over them, so as to impose on them what they please, nor at all to make laws for the Church, as the Parlament for the State, but only to gather out of Scripture a model of that discipline which Christ hath already made, and cause that and no other to be put in execution.

But Classes and Synods hinder obedience to that command of Christ, which is to try all things. 1 Thes. 5.21. and make the Saints liberty lesse than it was in the Apostles dayes, for then they might trie their Doctrines, Acts 17 11. yea they would be Lords over Gods heritage, which they ought not, 1 Pet. 5.3. and which no Counsell or Synod since the Apostles dayes ever had nor claimed, neither did Christ ever give it to them.

Ans. Classes and Synods do but shew the absolute power of Christ, and impose that only as necessary, without refusing, they doe but gather up the severall Lawes of Christ already made into a moddell, to be observed; which is not to be Lords over Gods heritage, nor challenge to themselves a power which Christ never gave them, but rather to dispence the mind of Christ to the People.

But Classes and Synods, makes a Pastor to undertake more Churches than his own; and makes them lame that they cannot do their Office themselves, and hinders matters from being tryed where they were committed, which doth occasion Tyranny, and hinder Church-liberty, and put men into many intol­lerable temotations, as to wrest the Scripture to a contrary sence, and to stop the way of knowledg, by stinting mens gifts and abilities, and making men to build their observation and practice of divine Laws, upon humane principles and policies that will gender to bondage; therefore Christ will root it up as the Prelacy.

Ans. Classes and Synods do not undertake more Churches than their own, unlesse in case of appeal for their help, when as their own Eldership cannot do it, neither doth lending a hand make their own Officers lame, but rather support them when they were ready to sink under their burden; but if they can bear it themselves, Classes and Synods will not hinder them but rather en­courage them to doe it still, which will free them of a great deale of trouble; neither are matters to be tryed where the offence was committed, but in pla­ces of Iudicatory, both in Church and State. And to speak of Tyranny, all Sects are more guilty than Presbyterians, for their parties are their Iudges, without suffering any appeales from them, neither do Classes and Synods force men to wrest Scripture, but rather take care to put out such mechanick fellowes [Page 26]who cannot avoid it, for want of Learning. And it is rather a temptation to error and blasphemy when suffered, than if such were punished for it; Neither doth Classes and Synods hinder mens gifts and abilities, but only rectifies them where to be imployed for more profit, and that is in their own families, by them neglected, while they presume without warrant from the word of God, to meddle with other mens businesse; Also they further a learned Mi­nistry, which may teach the people knowledg, and only labour to prevent the blind from leading the blind into the ditch, neither is the discipline of Christ to be called humane principles and policies; nor is it bondage to be kept from error and blasphemy, but rather perfect freedome; neither will the Lord root out Presbytery, as the Prelacy, because some beleeve it, but rather their faith shall fail, being built on the Churches ruine, against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail, Mat. 16.18.

But may not Ministers alone, sometimes meet together to advise each o­ther for the Churches good without Classes and Synods?

Ans. Yes, but not with the like authority of Classes and Synods, yet I say they may meet to idvise each other, and to prepare things for Classes and Synod, & to try the gifts and abilities of those that are to be ordained, and also ordain them, Acts 1 [...].23. 1 Tim. 4.14. and thus they met in Solomons porch, Acts 5.11, 12. And so did all the Ministers in Corinth meet together for the Churches good, 1 Cor. 14.23.

But those in Corinth were not all Ministers, for the Text saith the whole church met together.

Ans. There was none but Ministers, for they all spake with tongues, 1 Cor. 14.23. but saith Paul, do all speak with tongues? 1 Cor. 12.39. 2. They are called prophets ver. 29. But are all Prophets? 1 Cor. 12.29. 3. They did not come together to preach, but to dispute, for they might all speak what was revealed to them, ver. 30, 31. but all may not speak in the church, let your women keep silence in the church, it is not permitted for them to speak, nor men that are ignorant, ver. 32, 33, 36. 4. This command came onely to Prophets, and to them assigned to spirituall imployment, ver. 37. therefore there was none but Ministers at that meeting in Corinth, much like our Assembly of Ministers at Westminster, and sometimes at Sion Colledge, yet I say not with the like power of Classes and Synods, to make decrees for the church, because it is not fully represented for lack of ruling El­ders.

But may none but Ministers meet to ordain Ministers?

Ans. Although it ought, to be done in the congregatiou, yet none may a­ctually do it but ministers; first because the Keyes of the church were given [Page 27]to them, Mat. 16.19. Iohn 20.23. 2. None durst ever take upon them to ordain others that were not Ministers themselves. 3. when the people chose Deacons, they brought them to the Apostles to be ordained, Acts 6.3. 4. Ministers are directed how to do it, that is not by partiality preferring one before another, nor rashly to lay hands suddenly on them, 1 Tim. 5, 11, 12. 5. Other men may not do it, because they cannot try their gifts, which must first be proved, 1 Tim. 3.10.6. A Minister must not be confined to one place, he may use his office in any congregation, therefore universall Officers must ordain them into the Ministery who are not confined as Elders and Deacons, but such as may preach in any church. 8. None but Ministers may remove Ministers to other Churches; the Lord said to the Prophets at Antioch, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have appointed them, and they laid their hands on them, and sent them away, Acts 13.1, 2, 3. therefore none but Ministers may ordain Ministers.

But the house of Stephanus addicted themselves to the Ministry, 1 Cor. 16.15.

Ans. It is true they addicted themselvs to it, that is, they had a good affection to it, and it may be they used means to attain learning, to make themselves fit for it, but yet it will not follow that they did ordain or put themselves into the Ministry.

But the Waldenses, being cast upon an Island, and not knowing what to do for Ministers, made some of themselves Ministers.

Answer. All stories are not true, neither are all examples to be followed, especially when they erre from the rule, which saith, how can he preach except he be sent, Rom. 10.14. and again, let him be proved, 1 Tim. 3.10. and the Apostles ordained Elders in every Church, and after them they were ordain­ed by other Ministers, Titus 1.5. and then by the Presbytery assoon as it was erected, 1 Tim. 4.14.

But if the Waldenses had not done so, they had been without Ministers.

Answ. It had been better to have been without then to have used unlawful­means to obtain them; for he that doth evil that good may come, his damna­tion is just, Rom. 3.9. 2. They should have done as others did in the like case, when the Iewes returned out of Babylon, and had no Ministers, they did not make Ministers of other men, but sent to Iddo and his brethren, desi­ring them to send them Ministers for the house of God, and the Text saith they brought us a man of understanding of the sonnes of Levi, Ezra 8.15, 91.17, 18. 3. They need not say they should have been without Ministers, for the gates of hell shall not prevail to destroy either the Church or Ministry, neither shall they be unwilling to supply any place that truly desires the Chri­stian [Page 28]faith; for when the Apostles heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and Iohn, Acts 8.14. and God that hath wrought these good desires will perfect them to the day of Iesus Christ, yea God will supply all their need according to his riches in Iesus Christ, Phil. 4.19. Lastly this pretence can be no better justified than that act of Vzza, who might have said as well as they, if the Ark should fall and break in pieces, what shall we do for the Ark, but God smote him to death for his errour, 2 Sam 6.67.

But if our minister be dead or removed, may we not chuse another out of the congregation, as well as they chose Deacons? Acts 6.

Ans. No, for the Deacons office is confined in that congregation, so that if he remove he cannot take his office with him, but he that is placed in the Mi­nistry takes his office with him, and he may exercise that office in another con­gregation without any more ordination. 2. I grant, that a member of the universall Church, and not a Turk or a Iew, who are not members of it, ought to be chosen into the Ministry. 3. The Scripture doth not say take a man of your particular congregation, and make your watchman; but take a man of your coasts, and make your watchman, Ezekiel 33.2. and we chuse our Minister from the Vniversity, out of our Nationall church, although not out of our particular congregation, neither dare we to confine our choice into a narrower compasse than God hath allotted us.

But there is Superstition used at your Ordination, which is by laying on of hands, which ceased with the Apostles.

Ans. Where was a two-fold laying on of hands in the Apostles dayes, one of them belonged to the Apostles alone, at which sign the holy Ghost was gi­ven, that is the gift of Tongues and Miracles, Paul laid on his hands, and they spake with tongues and prophesied, Act. 19.6. and he sayd to Timothy stir up that gift that was given thee by laying on of my hands; 2 Tim. 1.6. Simon faw that on whomsoever the Apostles laid their hands the Holy Ghost was gi­ven; he said give me this power also, Acts 8.18.19. now this power ceased with the Apostles, but then there was another laying on of hands, when any was fitted before for the Ministery, whether it was mediately or immediately it matter'd not, they ordained such, that is, they approved of their fitnesse, by that signe of laying on of their hands, see both these in one Text, 1. Tim. 4.14 There Paul saith, neglect not the gift that is given thee, by laying on of my hands; that is by miraculous qualifying and fitting him for the Ministery; and also by laying on of the hands of the Presbytery by ordination, approving of that sitnes, this last is still in use at this day in the Church, for the Apostles left others to ordain Elders in every City or Church at their decease, Titus 1.5.

But is your office of Ministry peculiar to Ministers?

Ans. yes, Aaron and his sonnes shall wait on the Priests office, Ex. 28.4 and saith Paul, the Lord put me into the Ministery, 2 Thes. 1.12. I magnifie. mine office, Rom: 11.13. every Member hath not this office, neither may any say, I have no need of thee, nor one Member act in anothers office; if al were as one Member, where were the body? 1 Cor. 12. Secondly, Ministers are Ambassadors, but if all were such, to whom are they sent? and they are Shep­herds, but if all be such, where is the Flock? and they are Stewards, but if all be Stewards, where is the family and houshold of faith?

But may not men of other callings preach the word, and take the Pastorall charge of a congregation without this ordination? David preached and pro­phesied, Psal. 40.9. and Solomm is called the Preacher, Eccle. 1.1.

Ans. It is true, so did women prophesie, 2. Chron. 34.22. Acts 21.9. yea women reveal'd Christ, Iohn 4.29. aud declared his Resurrection, Luke and yet they were not in the Ministery, for VVomen may not speak in the Church, 1 Cor. 14.34. yea Angels declared the glad tidings of Christ, and also his Resurrection, and call themselves brethren to the Pro­phets, Luke Revel. 22.9. yet they were not in the ministry. And for David and Solomon they preach as Penmen of Scripture to the great Congregation, the universall Church, but not as a Pastor to his people. Se­condly, Trades-men are placed by God, and charged there to abide with God, 1 Cor. 7.25. 3ly. they are forbidden to be busie bodies in other mens matters, & charged to do their own businesse, 1 Pet. 4.15. 1 Thes. 4.11. Fourthly, God hath severely punished those men of other callings, when they presumed to meddle with the office of Ministry, 1 Sam. 6.19. 2 Sam. 6.7. Nom. 16.35. 21 Sam 26.16.19. 5ly. No man can discharge the Pastors office and another calling, for who is sufficient for it alone? 1 Cor. 1.16. Sixthly, the Apostles left their other callings, and gave themselves only to the Ministry, Acts 6.4. and so did Christ himself the calling of a Carpenter, Mark 8.3. and refused the office of a King, and the office of a Iudg, Iohn 6.15. Luke 12.17. being a­nointed to preach the Gospell, Luke 4.10. and knowing that Ministers are forbidden to intangle themselves with the affaires of this life, 2. Tim. 2.4. Seventhly, every calling is to be done in faith and love; but Trades-men can­not preach in Faith, having no warrant from the word of God, nor in love to profit the people, because not sent nor blest of God, who only teacheth to profit, [...] 48.19. Jer. 14.14.

But suppose a man be not placed in any other calling, may not hee take up­on him the calling of the Ministery, without humane learning?

Ans. No, for the messenger of the Lord must be an interpreter, Job 33.25. [Page 30]Secondly, he must not glory in another mans line, in things made ready to his hand, 2 Cor. 10.16. Thirdly, unlearned men wrest the Scripture to their own destruction, 2 Pet. 3.16. Fourthly, Paul prayeth that they may speake with tongues, and giveth thanks for that gift in himself, 1. Cor. 5.13.15. Fifth­ly, Ministers must be watchmen to give warning of dangers approaching, Eze. 3. but unlearned men cannot give warning of errours written in Greek or Latin, by which the Gentry may be much corrupted, and the watchman see it not for want of learning. Sixthly the gift of tongues is placed in the Church, then chiefly in the ministery. Seventhly, if a Bishop be a novice, he will fall in­to the condemnation of the Devill, 1 Tim. 3.8. Eighthly, both Christ and his Apostles, and all Ministers in all ages had this gift of tongues, either immedi­ately infused, or mediately taught in Schools, Mar. 6.2. John 7.15. Acts 2.4. Ninthly, Ministers ought to eat the book and then prophesie, Eze: 33. Rev. but they cannot read the book without some humane lear­ning, Isa. 29.12. Tenthly, saving grace alone is not sufficient to make a Mi­nister, for then women or children may be Ministers, when as the one may not speak in the Church, and the other cannot speak at all, for both may have saving grace, yea a heathen without the pale of the Church, may have saving grace, yet unfit for the office of the ministry.

But the Apostles preached, before they had this gift of tongues.

Ans. It is true, they preached to the Cityes in Israel, who spake the langu­age in which the Old Testament was written, but they were charged not to goe among the Gentiles, Mat. but we are Gentiles, and speak not the Language wherein any part of the Scripture was first written, and al­so when the Apostles were to preach unto the Gentiles, they were charged to tarry at Ierusalem, till they had the gift of tongues, Luke 24.49. yea the gift of tongues was a signe that the Gentile Preachers were truly called to the ministry, 1 Cor. 14.22. Marke 16.17.

But those Scriptures that speak of Bishops qualification, say nothing of the gift of tongues 1 Tim. 3. Titus 1.6. to 9.

Ans. Although the gift of tongues be not there set down, yet it is in other Scriptures, as hath been shewed. Secondly, if Ministers should make those two texts their only pattern, and labour for those qualifications only, and for no other, see what absurdities will follow; First, then they need not be able to read English, because reading is not there mentioned, but then these things they must have, First, a house of their own. Secondly, a wise. Thirdly, chil­dren. Fourthly, they must be faithfull. Fifthly, not accused of ryot. Sixthly, they must have a good report of those without, and he that wants any of these, is unfit for the Ministry.

But who must chuse the Minister?

Ans. All have a right to chuse him, in case he be already ordain'd, and so in the Ministry, unlesse they be dis-abled by a journey, or sicknesse, or in­fancy, or excommunication, or women that may not speak in the Church, or servants who contribute not to his maintenance.

But what maintenance is the Minisser to have of the Congregation?

Ans. A sufficient certain maintenance, either by Tythes, or some other way; For Tythes were not altogether judiciall: First, because Abraham payed tythes before the Iudiciall Law was given, Ger. 14 20. and so did Ia­cob also, Gen. 28.22. Secondly, Tythes were not only to the Priesthood of Aaron, but also to the Priesthood of Melchisedec which is an everlasting Priesthood, Heb. 73. 4.8.13. yea Levy himself paid tythes to this Priest­hood, vers. 9. although he received tythes of the Iewes. Thirdly, whereas the Scribes and Pharisees paid tythe of Mint, Annis and Cummin, and omitted the weightier matters of the Law, as judgment, mercy and faith, now sairth Christ unto them, these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Mat. 23.23. Luke, 11.42. therefore by the testimony of Christ, tythes are still to be payed, but however Ministers ought to have a sufficient maintenance.

First, because the Iewish Priests had a sufficiency allowed them, and saith Paul even so hath the Lord ordain'd for Ministers of the Gospel, 1 Cor. 9.14. Secondly, Ministers must give themselves wholly to the work of the Ministry, Acts 6.4. and may not intangle themselves with the affairs of this life. 2 Tim. 2.4. therefore they had need to have a sufficient maintenance. Thirdly, as it was the sinne of Ieroboam to make the lowest of the people Ministers, so it is their sinne to make those in the Ministery to become the lowest, for lack of suf­ficient maintenance. Fourthly, it is very prejudiciall to the Peoples soules for their Minister to be forced to seek his own naturall food, when he should be preparing food for their soules. Fifthly, Ministers are at great charges for learning, to fit themselves for the Ministry, and when they are fitted for it, yet many times it is long before they are placed in any benefice, and when they are placed in it, then it is but for their life, in case they enjoy it so long, and then all is gone from their wives and Children for ever, and sometimes through the envy of evill men, they are quickly cast out of all; and it may be never attain to another all their days; these things considered, Ministers ought to have a sufficient maintenance.

And also their maintenance ought to be certain, and not depend on the peoples courtesie; First, because all men have a certain rate for their work; and shall Ministers only depend on peoples courtesies. Secondly, the Iewish Priests had a certaine maintenance; and saith Paul, even so hath the Lord [Page 32]ordained for the Ministers of the Gospell. 1 Cor. 9.13.14. Thirdly, Ministers are hired Labourers, Luke 10.7. 1. Tim. 5.18. therefore they ought to know their wages, and also be certain of it. 4ly, Paul saith it is the peoples du­ty to minister unto them in carnall things, Rom. 15.27. now if it be a duty it is not upon courtesie, unlesse they will hold themselves bound in duty to give little or much, any thing or nothing, as they please themselves.

But it is a sinne to teach for hire, and to divine for money, Micah 3.11.

Answ. First it is true if they onely sought their own gain, and not at all the salvation of the people. 2. If they should more seek their own gaine than the peoples salvation. But to seek maintenance, that they may subsist in seeking Gods glorie in their salvation, is most pleasing to God, 2 Corinth. 12, 14, 15.

By Thomas Bakewell.


Iohn Downame.

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