A DEFENCE Of sundry POSITIONS, And Scriptures alledged to justifie the Congregationall-way; charged at first to be weak therein, impertinent, and unsufficient; By R. H. M.A. of Magd. Col. Cambr. in his Examination of them; But upon further Examination, cleerly manifested to be Sufficient, Pertinent, and full of Power.

By Samuel Eaton, Teacher AND Timothy Taylor, Pastor Of The Church in Duckenfield, in Cheshire.

Isai. 26.12, 13.

LORD, thou wilt ordaine peace for us: for even thou hast wrought all our works in us.

O LORD our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy Name.

Published according to Order.

LONDON, Printed by Matthew Simmons, for Henry Overton, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head Alley. 1645.

To the Christian Reader.

IT was not our purpose, when these Examinations of our Reverend and beloved Brother and neighbour came forth, to have made any Reply to them: First, because we thought there was that already published to the world on both sides, which was more weighty then either the Examinations or Answer to them were like to be deemed. Secondly, because we apprehended some other per­sons, rather called to this Work, then our selves; because their Positions and Scriptures brought by them, are professedly and no­minally opposed, as the margent declares. Thirdly, because we were unwilling to ingage our selves or others in the Controversie, further then we should be compelled; knowing it to be one evill under the Sun in men (and perhaps, in some good men) that they will strive for Victory, rather then for Truth. And as it is with an unyeel­ding spirit, it will contend for the-last word: So it is in publish­ing of books, who shall Print last in his own Cause. We chose therefore rather to practise in silence, according to our own light, and quietly to follow the Work we are called to in these parts, then to implead those that should plead against the Way we walk in. Therefore, when the Examinations first came down, though we read them, yet we minded not to answer them; for three moneths almost, the thoughts of intermedling in the Work (now effected by us) slept with us. At last we were a­wakened to consider what was fit to be done by us. And after some consultation, thought our selves bound to vindicate wrong­ed Scriptures, Positions, Persons; that which bred a change in our mind, was: First, an expectation and earnest desire in these parts, that something might be answered thereunto, or the Cause yeel­ded. Secondly, the eyes of many were upon us rather then upon others: First, because the Author of the Examinations is our neigh­bour: [Page]Secondly, because many of these things have been discussed betwixt him and us: Thirdly, because it is thought that some of the Positions have been taken up by him, as in discourse they fell from us: Fourthly, because it is believed by many, that there is so much strength in the Examinations, or weaknesse in us, that we cannot answer them: Fifthly, because the Examinations are ma­gnified in Pulpits: Lastly, because the Person whom we most eyed to have vindicated the Scriptures and Assertions built upon them, we heare, is called away out of the kingdome. Hereupon we came to set upon the Work. And our request (good Reader) is this, that the plainnesse of the style may be passed over, and all weaknesse in expression; and if there be any strength of Argument, that it be kindly accepted for the truths sake. We professe to be friends to the Truth, so farre as we know it, and shall think it the worst work that ever we did in our lives; if we should make any to erre from the Truth. We intreat God, as we are able, to lead both thee and us into all truth.

  • S. E.
  • T. T.

Mr. Prynne his Judgement, touching the only and speediest way for the present Reformation, in his last Book, called A Vindication, page 57.

ANd if our Assembly and Ministers will but diligently preach against that Catalogue of scandalous Sins and sinners they have presented to the Par­liament, and the Parliament prescribe severe temporall Lawes and Punishments against the same, and appoint good Civill Magistrates to see them duly executed, inflicted; I am confident, that this would work a greater Reformation in our Church and State in one half yeer, then all the Church-discipline and censures now so eagerly contested for, will do in an age; and will be the only true way, and speediest course to reform both Church and State at once: which I hope the Par­liament will consider of, and take care, that our Ministers (like the Bishops for­merly) may not now be taken up with ruling and governing; but preaching and instructing, which is work enough wholly to ingrosse their time and thoughts.

To our Reverend Brother, the EXAMINER.

Good Brother,

THough we often encountered one another within private walls, yet we little thought to have been Antagonists in print; you have provoked us to it, and so have those that are either so ingaged to your person, or to your Examinations, as to make their boast of them. We think you will confesse our candor in pro­ceeding; we have not stept out of the way, to intermeddle with by-standers or by-matters; nor have we racked any thing: we intreat the like usage from you. Take up the pith and substance of the Argument, and let alone expressions and matters of that nature, and shew us our errour, and we shall not be offended, but thankfull. That deep heavie charge in the first part of your Preface, whether it might have been spared, till you had seen how you had sped, we leave for you to consider: As also whether you had honoured your self more, and wronged us lesse, if your Examinati­ons had come forth without so cutting and stinging a censure. Beware of giving such blowes again in words, and do it (if you can) in the weight of your Arguments, and you shall be blamelesse. We will beare it, and amend by it, as being.


The Contents of the Book.
The Scriptures opened, or alledged in this Treatise, you have in a Table at the end thereof, and the page wherein they are cited.

The POSITIONS, as they are laid down by Mr. R. H. in his Examination of them, are the summe and substance of the whole Book; as being the Subject herein debated, whereof the most of them are explained and defended, (some, in some proofs cited, are mistaken: as Position 20, and 25.)

The POSITIONS are these in order following.
  • POSITION 1. GAthering of Churches in the name of Christ, and set­ting up of Church-ordinances, cannot be unlawfull for want of a Commandement from man, as appeareth by the Doctrine and Pra­ctice of the Apostles, Acts 4.19. & 5.29. page 1
  • POSIT. 2. Seven, eight, or nine may make a Church. In Adams and Noahs time there was not above seven or eight, will you deny them the being of a Church? What will you make of Christ and of his Family, which were not above twelve besides himself, and of the first foundationalls of the Church of Ephesus, which were about twelve? the number in the first beginning of the greatest Church was small enough in comparison, Acts 1.15. p. 9
  • POS. 3. A visible Church in the new Testament consists of no more in num­ber, then may meet in one place, in one Congregation, 1 Cor. 11.20. & 14.23. p. 13
  • POS. 4. A visible Charch in the new Testament is not Nationall, as the Jewes was; hence we reade of the Churches of Galatia, Macedonia, Judea, not Church of Galatia, 1 Cor. 16.1. 2 Cor. 8.1. p. 21
  • POS. 5. When a visible Chuch is to be erected, the matter of it should be visible Saints and Believers, 1 Cor. 1.2. p. 31
  • POS. 6. The form of a Church, is the gathering together of these visible Saints, and combining and uniting them into one body by the form of a holy Cove­nant, Deut. 29.1.10, 11, 12. by which is plainly shewed, that a company of people be­come [Page]Gods people, that is, a Church, by entring into Covenant with God. If it be said, they were a Church before; yet that was when the Church of the Jewes was constituted in Abrahams Family by Covenant. p. 37
  • POS. 7. Every Member at his admission, doth promise to give himself as to the Lord, to be guided by him; so to the Church, to be guided by them; which is no more then the Members of the Church of Macedonia did in a parallel case, 2 Cor. 8.5. p. 44
  • POS. 8. This particular Congregation is a Church before it have Officers, Acts 2.47. p. 45
  • POS. 9. She hath also full and free power to choose her own Officers, with­out the help of Synod, Classis, or Presbyterie, Act. 1.15. & 6.3. & 14.23. p. 46
  • POS. 10. The particular Congregation, though they want Officers, have power and authority to ordain Officers, as the children of Israel did put their hands upon the Levites, Numb. 8.9, 10. p. 52
  • POS. 11. When the Apostles were sent out by Christ, there was no mention of Ordination in that Commission of theirs, but only of teaching and baptizing, Mar. 16.15. Mat. 28.19, 20. If ordination of Ministers had been such a speciall work, there would belike have been some mention of in in their Commission. p. 56
  • POS. 12. The Church hath power to censure her Officers, if she see just occa­sion, Col. 4.17. p. 58
  • POS. 13. These Officers are to be maintained by contribution every Lords Day, 1 Cor. 16.1. p. 60
  • POS. 14. The great Mountain burning with fire cast into the Sea, upon the sounding of the second Trumpet, Rev. 8.8, 9. is applied by some good Wri­ters, to those times in which Constantine brought settled endowments into the Church. p. 68
  • POS. 15. There must be in the Church, Teachers, distinct from Pastors, as Apostles are distinct from Euangelists, Ephes. 4.11. p. 69
  • POS. 16. This particular Congregation is Sion, which God loveth, and he hath promised to be present, Mat. 18.20. p. 71
  • POS. 17. So long as a Believen doth not joyn himself to some particular Congregation, he is without in the Apostles sense, 1 Cor. 5.12. p. 74
  • POS. 18. The Elders are not Lords over Gods heritage, 1 Pet. 5.3. nor do exercise authority, as the Kings and Princes of the earth do; remembring our Sa­viours lesson, Mat. 20.25, 26. Luke 22.25, 26. p. 78
  • POS. 19. The Power of Government is expresly given to the Church, where we are bidden Hear the Church, which is a particular Congregation, Mat. 18. p. 85
  • POS. 20. Matth. 16.19. Christ directeth his Speech not to Peter alone, but to all the Disciples also; for to them all was the Question propounded by [Page] Christ, vers. 15. Nor to them as generall Officers of the Churches, for that Com­mission was not yet given them, but as Disciples and Believers. p. 90
  • POS. 21. 1 Cor. 5. Paul himself, though an extraordinary Officer, yet would not take upon him to excommunicate the incestuous person, without the Church; but sends to them, exhorting them to do it, and reproves the Brethren of the Church of Corinth as well as the Elders, that they did no sooner put him away. p. 95
  • POS. 22. The Lord Jesus reproving the Angel of Pergamus, for suffering Balaamites, sends his Epistle, not only to the Angel, but to the Church. The Spi­rit saith not only to the Angel, but to the churches, Rev. 2.11. And the Church­members are seen by John in a vision, sitting on Thrones, clothed with white rai­ment, having on their heads crownes of gold, Rev. 4.14. Now thrones and crownes are Ensignes of Authority and governing power. p. 101
  • POS. 23. The particular Congregation takes Christ for her only spirituall Prophet, Priest and King, Deut. 18.15. Acts 7.37. Psal. 110.4. Heb. 5.4. Isa. 9.6, 7. Rev. 15.3. p. 104
  • POS. 24. Christ left but one way of Discipline for all churches; which in the Essentialls of it is unchangeable, and to be kept till the appearing of Christ, 1 Tim. 6.13, 14. p. 107
  • POS. 25. The Church, or the Ministers thereof, must not be [...], 1 Pet. 4. And therefore the Minister must not perform a Ministeriall act to an­other Congregation, Acts 20.28. 1 Pet. 5.1, 2. p. 111
  • POS. 26. Gifted men, viz. (so reputed by competent Judges, though) not called to the Ministery, nor intended for it, may preach. They that were scat­tered abroad upon the Persecution which arose about Stephen, were not Church-officers, at least not all of them: yet these men did preach the Word; and Philip which was but a Deacon, preached without the calling or privity of the Apostles, Acts 11.19. & 8.14. p. 118
  • POS. 27. Jehosaphat sent Princes, who were neither Ministers, nor intended so to be, to teach with the Priests and Levites, (viz.) at least to incourage the people to hearken to the Priests and Levites, 2 Chron. 17.7, 8, 9. as Jehosaphat did, 2 Chron. 20.20. yea, and was their mouth to God in Prayer, vers. 2.5. to 13. As we conceive something in that prophesying, 1 Cor. 1.4. to be extraordinary: so we conceive it to be ordinary, that some private men, grown Christians of able gifts, who may have received a gift of Prophecy, need no more extraordinary calling for them to Prophesie in the Churches, then for Jehosaphat and his Princes to prophesie in the Church of Israel. p. ibid.

A Defence of certain Positions and Scriptures, against an examination thereof by R.H. in which they are charged to be faultie.


GAthering of Churches in the Name of Christ,See almost the same Ar­gument ver­batim, in an­swer from New Eng­land to 32. q. p. 35. and setting up of Church-Ordi­nances, cannot be unlawfull for want of a Commandement from Man, as appeareth by the Doctrine and Practice of the Apostles, Acts 4.19. & 5.29.

THe Apostles never taught or practised to gather or separate some Christians from others, one part of this true Church, Answer. and another part of that, (especially persons which themselves converted not) to make a purer Church, neither with nor without the Magistrates Authority.

THe Apostles both taught and practised the separa­ting of some Jewes from other Jewes, Reply. and gathe­ring them into a Christian Church, while yet the Jewish Church was not dissolved: for they ceased not to be a Church of God, till the body of them pertinaciously and desperatly rejected Christ: Therefore they preached to the Jewes first, and thought themselves bound so to doe, because they were [Page 2]the people of God, Acts 11.19. & 13.46. And yet they had com­manded some to separate from the rest (as your selfe acknowledge) Acts 2.40. And their communion they had with them in Jewish worships, shews that they counted them a true Church. And some think, that their Church state ceased not while their Temple stood. And yet before that time, many Jewes were gathered into many Christian Churches, as both the Acts of the Apostles, and their E­pistles doe declare. And if they might gather out of one Church, they might as lawfully have gathered out of twenty, or an hun­dred, had there been so many at that time.

Secondly, if the Apostles never taught nor practised such a thing, what warrant then have our brethren for their Presbyterian Church, which is gathered out of many Churches? For they In­terpret, Matth. 18.17. Tell the Church, of a Presbyterian Church, which consists of the Elders of many Churches.

Thirdly, why may not one Church be gathered of the members of many Churches, as well as many Churches consist of the mem­bers of one Church? For we read that the Church at Jerusalem was scattered upon Stevens persecution, and we read not that they returned again, but fell into membership with other Churches, (as is probable) which were planted in severall parts of the world.

Fourthly, such a Church which consists of the members of many other true Churches, hath formerly been without exception in the dayes of the Prelates; how comes it now to be questioned? For at least fourteen yeares since, such a Church was extant in Wi [...]all in Cheshire, (the vocall covenant being onely wanting) which consi­sted of the choycest Christians of many Parishes, who met con­stantly together upon the Lords day, and enjoyed the Word, and Seales of the Covenant, and maintained a Pastor to dispense the same unto them, and never, or very rarely repaired to such Pa­rishes where their habitations were. And we think it cannot be de­nied, but Mr. John Angiers Church at Denton in Lancashire, hath of long time been such, and many other such there have been be­sides. And it was accounted an high happinesse to have liberty to make such a Church; but was never accounted by the godly sin­full before.

But if you should answer, That the Church consists of such as lived within such a Parish, or Chappell, and that the rest were strangers: We [Page 3]reply, If assembling constantly together, and participating in all the Ordinances that the rest doe partake of, and contributing with the rest in the maintenance of the Minister of such a place, and an adhering rather to such a Minister and people, then to any other in affection and action; if all these together make members of a Church, then these persons of other Parishes were not strangers, but members, and with the rest made such Churches; except it shall be said, that habitation alone in other Parishes, when all the other are wanting, makes membership, and constitutes Chur­ches, which some of our brethren (who are Presbyterians) have and doe deny.

Fifthly, are not some Parish Churches constituted sometimes of members of other Parish Churches, when many persons have left their own places, and removed into other Parishes without any consent? Yet this hath been judged pious, at least honest, some­times upon one ground, and somtimes upon another, some to have liberty of conscience in such places whither they have removed; others to have better preaching; others to meet with better socie­ty; and others for better worldly accommodation: What Chri­stian knoweth not well that this hath been common?

Sixthly, that a Church may consist of persons that have been members of other Churches, if such persons have been orderly dis­missed from such Churches, and have come away with consent, will be granted of all: For none hold Church-membership to be undissolveable. The question then will be, Whether the members of Churches may depart without consent? 1. According to the present constitution of Churches, they may: For they come in without consent, meerly by removing their habitations; therefore they may so depart. 2. If consent must be had, from whom must it be sought? From the people, or from the Minister? That the people have any power either to give or with-hold their consent, hath not been granted heretofore: That the Ministers consent should be necessary for the departing of every member, when yet himselfe (it may be) hath had his entrance amongst them, without their con­sent, seemes to be unreasonable. 3. Suppose consent hath been sought, and cannot be obtained, may not members withdraw their membership in some cases without consent? Suppose some Ordi­nance be corruptly dispensed, without all hope of redresse, and that [Page 4]men must partake therein without having any power so much as to witnesse against such corruptions, unlesse they will be accounted factious, and disturbers of the Churches peace; or that by remai­ning where such corruptions are, they be in danger to be leavened with the corrupt lump of such a Church of which they be mem­bers;1 Cor. 5.6. what must they now doe? Doth not that Rule that bids a Church purge out one person that may endanger the leavening of the whole lump, (when there are no other means to prevent such an evill) give warrant to every member that is endangered to be leavened by the lump, to withdraw from such a lump, (because power to purge out the lump they have none) when there is no o­ther means to prevent the evill?2 Cor. 13.10. Church membership is for edifica­tion of the members, not for destruction.

But you stumble at this, because they converted them not. To which we reply, Persons whom the Apostles converted, were ordinarily committed to others to be further edified, and the ordinary Pastors and Elders of the primitive times, did almost perpetually build up­on anothers foundation. The persons that watered for the most part, were not the same that planted. In Acts 11.20, 21. we read of a great conversion wrought by the preaching of the scattered Disciples, but we read not that they were gathered into Church­state, till Barnabas was sent unto them; and both Barnabas and Paul assembled with that Church and taught it, which yet they con­verted not. And in Acts 19.1, 9. Paul found twelve Disciples (converted to his hand, though not fully instructed) and gathered them into the Church which he planted at Ephesus. But (Brother) how comes this to be a stone to stumble at? If you hold a successi­on of Pastors in the same Church, the successors may feed a flock which their predecessors converted, and not themselves. And if you hold transplantation of members from one Church to another, then they may feed the members which were of other Churches, which themselves converted not.

But you will say, This must be orderly done, and with consent. Answ. No such order can be expected, where no such order hath been wont to be exercised. If any godly person hath removed from one Countrey to another, and planted himselfe in Manchester, have the Ministers or people whom he left, sent after him, or challenged him as theirs? Or have the Ministers or people whom he hath [Page 5]come to, rejected him, as none of theirs, because not orderly deli­vered into their hands? Suppose the end of his removall was com­munion with a better people, or better ministery, Doth this make it the worse, or more unwarrantable? Is it lawfull to remove to a fatter soile, when the place a man lives in, is more barren? Is it lawfull to remove to a purer aire, when the aire one hath lived in, is worse, and distempers the body? And is it not lawfull to re­move to a purer Church? The purer any Church is, doth not Christ take the more delight in it? And doth he not desire to be there most? And why may not persons desire to plant themselves where Christ gives most of his presence? And if one man may u­nite to such a Church that is purer, may not many agree together to make such a Church that may be purer? And this is all the ga­thering of Churches that we know of, that is either taught or pra­ctised.

But the exception is, That there is a removall of persons to other Churches, without the removall of their habitations. But why should this be blamed? 1. If distinction of Parishes by bounds and limits, be not Jure divino, where is then the fault?Selden of Tithes. 2. Was there not li­berty within this very Kingdome fromerly, for persons to pay their tythes to what Minister they pleased? And consequently, they were not tied to the Parish they lived in, but might chuse their own society and Pastor (and hence it is, that there are some pieces of Parishes in some places six or eight miles distant from other parts of it, and whole Parishes betwixt.) Why therefore now should there be an abridgement? 3. There are many inconvenien­ces both to Minister and people, arising hence: 1. The Pastors of Parish Churches are onely at certainty what houses they have un­der their Ministery, not what persons: for they may goe which way they will leaving their houses, but their houses and lands are sixed, and they shall alwayes find them there. 2. The members of these Churches, though they have been bred up under the wing of such Churches and Pastors thereof, and have taken a love and li­king to the same, yet if they remove from their habitation but a stones cast sometimes, they must be broken off thereby from such Churches in point of Membership. 3. A mans habitation may be neerer to some Church that is out of that parish, and so far off from his own Parish Church that he cannot conveniently re­paire [Page 6]thereunto, must he yet be bound to his own Parish Church by his habitation? 4. Suppose a man have many houses in severall Parishes, and would desire sometimes to live in one, and sometimes in another, must he needs alter his Church membership as oft as he changeth his habitation? Or can he be a member in all the Parishes where he hath houses?

The Apostles (being not of men, Answer. nor by men, but by Je­sus Christ, Gal. 1.1.)This was proper to the Apostles, or Apostolick men Answ. to 9. Pos. p 76. T.W. to W.R. p. 67. did preach not onely without but against the peremptory command and Lawes of the Magi­gistrate, Acts 4.17, 18, 21. & 5.28.

So did the ordinary Pastors and Teachers of those times, as well as the Apostles, and many of them were martyred for their labour, which yet had not an immediate call from Christ, as the Apostles had. Reply. Therefore it was not an Apostolick businesse as you would make it.

But you professe not such a latitude of opposition against Magistracy. Answer.

We professe subjection to Jesus Christ, Reply. without any opposition at all against Magistracie, though you would suggest the contrary: onely thus, If Magistrates command any thing contrary to Christ, we rather chuse to deliver up our persons into their hands, then our consciences and practices unto their commands. And this we hope cannot be interpreted an opposing of Magistracy.

Nor doe you hold (I suppose) that our godly non-conform­able Brethren suspended by the Bishops, Answer. or New-England Ministers deposed by their Churches, (to say nothing of Mi­nisters deprived by the Parliament for Malignancie) are bound by the Apostles example to execute their Ministery in the Churches, notwithstanding such suspension or deposi­tion, &c.

We conceive you have not equally yoked the Bishops, Reply. New-England Churches, and the Parliament together: For 1. The Parliament challengeth not the execution of Ecclesiastical censure, and yet can tell how to punish malignancie in Ministers or any o­thers. 2. The Bishops have laid claim to it, and exercised it with­out [Page 7]any just or true title to it. Therefore though godly non-con­formable Ministers, might in prudence give place to violence (espe­cially when their people deserted them, and Pulpit doores were shut against them,) yet in conscience, and in obedience to such sus­pensions and depositions, they neither did (neither ought to have done) desist from the execution of their office. 3. Ministers that are censured by a lawful power, where ever it lies (whether in their own Congregationall Churches, or in a Presbytery (for we will not dispute that now in this place) whether the censure be infli­cted justly or unjustly,) ought to submit thereto, and forbeare the execution of their Ministery in that place, till they be restored a­gain; else Ecclesiasticall government, which is Christs ordinance in the Church, (as Civill government is in the Common-wealth,) might come to be undermined and subverted by pretence of un­righteousnesse in the managing of it, or the peace of the Church be disturbed.

But wherein makes this against the Position? We conceive that those very Pastors and Teachers of the Primitive Churches, which continued to preach, though the expresse command of the Hea­then Magistrate was against it, lest they should offend Christ by desisting, were yet taken off from preaching when silenced by their own Churches, and that upon the same ground, lest they should offend Christ in persisting. But you goe on to say:

Had you such an immediate commission sealed from Heaven, Answer. and such infallible direction of the Holy Ghost, as the Apostles had, you might more boldly imitate them therein; especially if the case of living under a Chri­stian Magistrate intending, endeavouring and consusting with Divines, about the Reformation of the Church, and of living under a Heathen Magistrate, were not much different.

1. The warrantablenes ariseth not from the immediatnesse of the Commission, Reply. but from the truth and reality of it. If a Commission be as really sealed by Christ, and from heaven, thought not so immediatly as the Apostles was, yet it binds as truly to the execu­tion of the work of it, (till it be called in,) as the immediate doth.

2. We allow the case to be much different: For when we live un­der a Christian Magistrate, inteuding and endeavouring Refor­mation, we are raised up unto an expectation of having all the [Page 8]wayes of Christ countenanced and confirmed by his authoritie, (which would be a very blessed thing) which we have no such ground to look for living under a Heathen Magistrate. But how the case is different in your sense, we understand not: For the Christianity of the Magistrate, or his piety and sedulity, in inten­ding and endeavouring Reformation, cannot take any person or persons off from their dutie, which they would be bound unto, if a Heathen Magistrate bore sway. The Magistrate and the Mini­sters, and the people, must each doe their part, because each stands engaged for himselfe to Jesus Christ, unto the work of his own place. The impediments that come from any unto other, cannot be a discharge unto any.

Would our Brethren in New England allow a Presbyterian Church, Answer. or but a new Independent Church to be erected in New England, against the will and mind of the Magistrates and Churches there? T. W. to W.R. p. 31.

1. The question is not what they would allow, Reply. but what a com­pany of people planted there (which cannot without unfaithful­nesse to their own light, be subject to any other government save the Presbyterian) ought to doe. Whether if their livelihood lie there, and that they cannot remove, they are not bound to keep Faith and a good Conscience, what ever it be that they suffer for it?

2. Our beliefe of New England is this, that they would suffer the godly and peaceable to live amongst them, though they disser in point of Church-government from them: Because so farre as we could ever learn, they never banished any, but unpeaceablenesse together with desperate erroneousnesse, was the cause of it.

Our Brethren at London (I heare) doe hold it (at least) unseasona­ble, Answer. to gather Churches now: how their opinion and yours are reconcile­able, I see not.

If you had said, Reply. some of them did once think it unseasonable, you had not much missed it. But what crossing is in this, which should need a reconciliation? The Position saith, it cannot be un­lawfull, the Brethren say it was unseasonable for that time. Many things may be unseasonable (at least in opinion) and yet not un­lawfull.

It may be the Brownists, Answer. Anabaptists, Antinomians, Familists, and other grosse Hereticks and Schismaticks in old or new England, doe also [Page 9]pretend the Doctrine and practice of the Apostles, for the setting up of their Churches; yet our godly and conscientious Divines doe therein op­pose them.

If grosse Heretikes and Schismaticks doe so pretend, Reply. they must be found to be liers, and so their practice will be found to be un­warrantable, whether they have or have not the commandement of man; yet this will hinder nothing, but that those which not in pretence, but in truth, have the Doctrine and practise of the A­postles with them, may lawfully practise according to it, though they want the commandement of man to warrant it. The false A­postles pretended to be true Apostles, but the Church of Ephesus tried them, and found them liers, and rejected them; and yet ac­cepted of those that were Apostles of Christ indeed.


Seven, eight, or nine, may make a Church. In Adams and Noahs time there was not above seven or eight will you deny them the being of a Church? What will you make of Christ and of his Family, which were not above twelve besides himselfe, and of the first foundationals of the Church of Ephesus, which were about twelve? The number in the first beginning of the greatest Church was small enough in compari­son, Acts 1.15.

The case of Adam and Noah was extraordinary: Answer. there were no more in the world, and therefore could be no more in the Church.

You grant in an extraordinary case, seven, eight, Reply. or nine may make a Church: The Position saith not, that more may not make a Church, but if there be but so many, the truth and being of a Church cannot be denied them. We say further, that such a num­ber [Page 10]may but make a Church in the first foundation, or while there be no more persons sitted for membership. For when more Saints by calling offer themselves, they are to be received, and so the Church will be increased, Acts 19.7, 8, 9, 18.19, 20.

Adam and his wife, Answer. and first sonnes, yea Adam himselfe was the Church, if then there was any; yet you hold not that two or three, yea one may make a Church.

We conceive that the Church is Christs body, Reply. and that every body consists of members; If all were one member, where were the body? How therefore one Adam could have been a Church, we understand not. Put this we hold, that look how few have ever made a Church since the beginning of the world, the same num­ber may still make a Church. And the reason is, because God hath not precisely determined what number doth make a Church.

Cain lawfully married his own sister, may other men doe the like? Answer.

Have we not a manifest prohibition of such marriages in the Scripture? Reply. so that though sometimes they were lawfull, yet now they are not lawfull. But what Scripture have you against this, that what number of beleevers have formerly been a Church, such a number may yet be a Church? And no greater number is required to the simple being of a Church.

Twelve are more then seven or eight, Answer. and an hundred and twenty are a competent number; yet it appeareth not that they were called or counted a Church, till they were more increased.

First, Reply. though twelve be more then seven or eight, yet twelve is not more in the truth of constitution of a Church, then seven or eight; Is there more of the essence of a Church in twelve then in seven or eight? [Except you mean it so, you declare onely in say­ing so, that you can number twelve.] And if you so understand it, we shall demand proof of you for it.

Secondly, the Scripture determines not what number is com­petent, and what not competent to the being of a Church. How come you then so to passe your verdict about it; when further you adde, That it appeares not they were called or accounted a Church, till they were more increased? that is, till those three thousand per­sons were added to them, Acts 2.41. If so, are you not then the more presumptuous in saying, that an hundred and twenty are a competent number to make a Church? Notwithstanding if you [Page 11]will, you may see them a Church before they were so increased: For they performed one great act of a Church, in electing an Offi­cer to be over the Church, Acts 1.23. And when three thousand were added to them, they came into their state; and if their state were not Church state, then neither were they made a Church by this addition: for let three thousand be added to no Church, and they are still no Church; which to affirme, were slat against the Scripture, Acts 2.47.

If there were no more Beleevers in Ephesus then twelve (as there was, Answer. viz, Aquila and Priscilla, which knew no more then Johns Baptisme, Acts 18.26. with 24.25. if not others) yet there were more in ferusa­lem then an hundred and twenty, even five hundred brethren at once 1 Cor. 15.6..

First, though Aquila and Priscilla were at Ephesus, Reply. yet they were but sojourners there, as they were also in many other places, some­times at Rome, sometimes at Corinth, as appeares from Acts 18.2. Rom. 16.3. But to what place they did belong, is not certain.

Secondly, your five hundred brethren at Jerusalem is as slight­ly collected from 1 Cor. 15.6. For, 1. doth the Apostle say, that he was seen of those five hundred in Jerusalem? He shewed himselfe in Galilee, and some other places, as well as in Jerusalem. 2. Though the place of manifesting himselfe might be Jerusalem, must the per­sons therefore be of Jerusalem? Why not appertaining unto Judea? Or suppose of Jerusalem, why might they not be dispersed before Christs ascension? For present afterwards, when they chose an A­postle, they were not, which was yet a Church action: and with­out doubt, the major part of the Church would have been present at it.

Adam and Noah with their Families, Answer. (if they were Churches) they were but Domesticall Churches, not Congregationall.

Domesticall Churches enjoying Congregationall Ordinances, Reply. and congregationall Churches, are not divers species of Churches, neither doe they differ in their nature or kind, but in quantity, as one Congregation differeth from another, as one small Countrey Chappell differeth from a numerous Towne Church.

What will ye make of Christ and his Disciples, Answer. a Church distinct from the Jewish? You know Christ did not make a new Church, or gather [Page 12]men into it, but lived and died a member of the Jewish Church. Answer to to 32. q. p. 14. Had they been called a Church, as some housholds are in the new Testa­ment Phile. 2. witnes T.W. to W.R., you had had some more pretext, and yet they are but a Domesticall Church, &c.

1. Whether Christ died a member of the Jewish Church, Reply. is que­stionable: But that he gathered certain persons to him, and that he instituted Baptisme and the Supper amongst them, is most certain, which were Ordinances of the Gospel Church, and he either thereby prepared them for, or laid the foundation of a Gospel Church before his death. For immediatly after his ascension they were a Gospel Church, as appeareth from Acts 1.14, 15.

2. For the denomination of Church, we passe not much, whe­ther we meet with it, or not; provided that we find the reality of a Church among any persons.

3. Many Domesticall Churches may be in one Congregationall in your sense, but not in ours. We deny and put you to prove that two or three converted in a Family, enjoying some Christian Or­dinances, but no Church Ordinances, are called a Church.

It is an Argument you will not own; Answer. seven, eight, twelve, may make a Domesticall Church, therefore they may make a Congregationall.

We acknowledge not any such distinction of Congregationall Church, Reply. and Domesticall, as you presse after: But say, That the foundation of a Congregationall Church may be laid in one Fa­mily, and may spread unto many. It may be laid in seven or eight, and may grow up to an hundred, or a thousand, or to as many as can meet together constantly unto edification in one place. The Church in Abrahams Family, was the same which was in the Fa­milies of all his sonnes, and in the Families of their children after them, & which afterwards grew up into a nation. And though the Gospel Church is not now Nationall, as the Jewish was, yet a congregation of many Families may spring out of a Church of one Family, more easily then a Nation did formerly. And if seven, eight, or twelve may not make a congregationall Church in our apprehension, what have you been consuting all this while?

If seven or eight may make a Church, Answer. then two hundred persons in a Citie may well make twenty distinct Churches, and by consequence so many Independent Judieatures.

First, this collection is made to bring an Odium upon congrega­tionall [Page 13]Churches; but it may be thus retorted, foure or five in a house may make a family, therefore three hundred in an house may make sixtie distinct families. Foure or five in a family may make a Domestick Church (say you,) then three hundred in a family may make sixty Domestick Churches; two thousand in a Field may make an Army, therefore two hundred thousand in a Field, may make ten distinct Armies under so many independent Generals.

Secondly, we have declared our selves before, that seven or eight may make a Church in the first foundation, and whilst there are no more persons fitted and that as more in that place shall be con­verted, the Church, of them, is to be increased. And we are utterly against the unnecessary multiplication of Churches, as conceiving such small Churches inconsistent to Christs ends, which is edifica­tion by Pastors, Teachers, Ruling Elders, Deacons, which he hath given to his Church. But that a Church of seven or eight should require so many Officers, or be able to maintain them, we cannot understand. And we perceive from the patternes presented in the New Testament, that Churches in cities which at first were small, grew great by the daily addition of others to them, Acts 1.14.15. with Acts 2.41. & 19.7, 8, 9, with 18, 19, 20. Acts 20.17.28. So that we would not have beleevers of one citie, be of so many Churches, if one congregation will conveniently hold them, except there be some eminent reason for it. But though there should be many Churches consisting of a few members: yet without Officers a­mongst them, we doe not assert them to be Independent Judica­tures.


A visible Church in the new Testament con­sists of no more in number then may meet in one place, in one Congegation,The like you have, Answer to 32 q p. 9. 1 Corinth. 11.20. & 14.23.

If you seek for Congregations meeting for prayer, hearing the Word, Answer. [Page 14] Sacraments in one place, or that they were called by the name of Church, or that all Beleevers in some Cities and Countries (when they might) did meet in one place, I will not contend.

We plead for congregations meeting together, Reply. not for prayer, hearing the Word, Sacraments alone, but for the executing of cen­sures also, 1 Cor. 5.4. which you leave out, as if Church censures be­longed not to congregations, as those Ordinances you mention do. And we say, that there is no sacred Worship or Institution, pre­scribed in the Gospel, which may not be observed to have been ex­ercised in, or appertained unto the congregations. And these congre­gations are called Churches in the Scripture. And further we say, not onely that all beleevers in some cities did meet together in one place, but that there can no instance be given in all the new Testa­ment, that Christians ordinarily meeting together in divers places, are yet called one Church, except where Church is taken impro­perly, & in a distributive sense. And therfore in cities, where they might and did meet together, they are called a Church, and in countries where they could not all meet in one, but in divers places, they are called Churches

Many such Churches or Congregations we have in England. Answer.

We say so too, Reply. and add, that either we have such in England, or none at all. For what other besides such, can you shew us?

And the Beleevers in every Christian Church, Answer. even in the Church of England, and in the Jewish Church also, might and did at first meet.

1. Reply. Can you shew that the Beleevers of any Christian church, met onely at first in one place, and then afterwards (being increased) they met not in one place, but many places, except at some time of hot persecution?

2. If Beleevers in England ever met together in one place, it was when there was but one congregationall Church in England. As for the Jewish Church in it,Exo. 34.23.24 Deut. 16.2.16 both at first, and afterwards, all the males wore to meet by speciall appointment in one place, at some seasons, though not alwayes, and in some ordinances, though not all, to shew that they were but one Church.

To say nothing that all the people of the Jewes being about six hundred thousand, Answer. are called one Congregation, and are frequently in the old Te­stament said to come together, and that One Myri­ade is 10000. Myriads did come together, Act. 21.22.

They were one church, and therefore did, and ought to congre­gate together, and are therefore called one congregation; Reply. and yet neither they, nor those Myriads spoken of, Acts 21.22. did then, nor can such a number now, ordinarily come together. Now our Position is to be understood, that a Gospel visible church consists of no more then can ordinarily come together into one place, nor of so many as sometimes in an extraordinary way have met together.

How will you make out this Inference, The Church of Corinth did meet in one place, and so did Antioch, Jerusalem, Answer. therefore no Church in the new Testament must consist of more then can meet in one place?

You must take the Argument in the scope of it, Reply. such and such Churches did meet constantly in one place, and there is no menti­on of any Church which did not meet together in one place, there­fore no Church in the new Testament doth consist of more then can meet in one place; the Consequent is now good: For we think that patterns that are uncontrolled, either by precepts or other patterns, have doctrine in them, and do teach how things ought to be carried.

To say there was a Church in Adams house, and in Noahs, Answer. and also in Philemons, Aquila's and Priscilla's houses, therefore the Church in the old and new Testament must be domesticall, is an inconsequent illation, contrary to plain Scripture.

We confesse it, and for the reason you render; Reply. because contra­ry to plain Scripture. Now if you could have shewed us the repug­nancy to plain Scripture of the inference which you oppugne, wee should have confessed a great oversight in it. It is one thing (and more warrantable) to derive an inference from patterns, when they all run one way, and be patterns of one kind, and another thing (and lesse safe) to draw an inference from patterns, when there is diversity of kinds of them about the same thing.

Is not the Argument as good, if it run thus? All the believing Corinthians were of the Church of Corinth, 1 Cor. 1.1. 2 Cor. 6.11. Answer. The Smyrnians and Laodiceans of the Church of Smyrna and Laodi­cea, Col. 2.1. & 4.16. Rev. 2.8. & 3.14. Whether they were more or fewer. (Hence in every city, and every church, seem to expound one ano­ther, Acts 14.21.23. with Tit. 1.5. Acts 16.4, 5.) And it cannot be shewed that any church, how numerous soever it grew, was divided into [Page 16]two, or more churches, therefore the believers in any one city or town, may be but one church, whether they can meet in one place or no.

No (brother) not so; Reply. because as appeares to us, there is light of Scripture gain-saying it. For though all the believing Corinthians were of the church of Corinth (which yet you seem to contradict in the after part of your Answer, while you say that Gaius the Corin­thian was the host of another church, besides that of Corinth, which if true, then all believing Corinthians were not of the church of Co­rinth) and though in all other cities all the believers of them, were of the church in each of them, yet such an inference would be naught, because it was so for a speciall reason, and in regions and countries where that reason took not place, it was otherwise. All the Believers in Jerusalem were of one church there, because they were not so many, but that they might come constantly together into one place, and did so: But all the Believers in Judea were not of one church there, but of many churches, because they could not meet constantly in one place. And if believers in cities, meeting in divers places, are yet but one church, for this reason, because they were of one city (as you would seem to inferre,) then shew but any probable reason, why believers meeting in divers places in countries, may not be one church, because they were of one countrey, especi­ally the believers of Judea being but a small countrey, and under the same civil government. The reason why city and church ex­pound one another was this, because there was not more converted in a city then could meet together in a congregation or church. And when you can shew us out of the new Testament that believers were so multiplied in any city, as that they could not all meet in one place, then will we shew you, that such churches were divided into more churches.

Paul writes not only to them which might, Answer. and did meet in one place, but to all that in every place (not throughout the world, at appeares, 2 Cor. 1.1. written to the same persons, 1 Cor. 5.1, 2. with 2 Cor. 2.1, 2. neither is this a Catholique Epistle, but that in all Achaia) call upon the Name of the Lord.

Paul writes and sends this, Reply. and applieth it to the Corinthianss, and to them alone, as appears, almost in every chapter of the Epistle and in many of the verses of each chapter. For all along, proper and peculiar things belonging to the Corinthians, and not [Page 17]to the Achaians, nor Saints in all the world, are spoken of in com­mendation and discommendation, and proper reproofes, directi­ons, exhortations are given; yet he intended it for the use and be­nefit of all Achaia, and of the whole world also. And it may as properly be called, a Catholique Epistle, as an Achaian Epistle, for the use redounds to the world, as well as to Achaia. And if it be not so, how can it be said to be Canonicall Scripture? And how comes it to be the foundation of our Sermons, that wee preach out of it?

Besides, doth all in every place, and Saints in all Achaia expound one another? What Commentator hath ever said so? And doth 1 Cor. 5.1. compared with 2 Cor. 2.1. inforce such an exposition? That which you would suggest, is that hee writes to the same Co­rinthians, in the second Epistle, that he writes unto in the first, for more your Scriptures import not; and wee grant it. But the infe­rence you draw is this, ergo, all in every place here, and Saints in all Achaia, are all one; a strange consequence. If the second Epistle be written to the same persons as the first, Why do you not ex­pound the subject persons of the second, by the subject persons of the first, and say, though the Saints in all Achaia be mentioned only, yet under them the Salnts every where in the world are meant, as in the first Epistle it is expressed. This would have been a more naturall exposition.

But we shall declare the Apostles naked scope, as we understand it. The Corinthians (not the Achaians in generall, for the Cenchreans joyned not with them, that wee reade of) had written to Paul, Chapt. 7.1. and Paul had received sundry reports concerning them (not concerning all the Saints in Achaia, for of the Cenchreans hee had heard nothing, that wee reade of) chap. 1.11. & 5.1. and hereupon he writes unto them; but because this letter might be of common use and profit, and especially to the Saints which bordered next upon them, therefore he would have the Achaians their neigh­bours to peruse it; yea, the Saints every where to reade it for their edification. Therefore in both his Epistles hee mentioneth the Co­rinthians, as the proper subject thereof; but the Achaians he men­tioneth but in one, and the Saints every where in another. And he brings them in collaterally, rather then directly; it is to the church of Corinth, but with the Saints in Achaia, and withall, that in every [Page 18]place call on the name of the Lord Jesus, as it were on the bye. And this is Pareus his exposition upon 1 Cor. 1.2. and he takes occasion of confuting the vain conceit of Pighius and other Jesuits, because they would have Pauls Epistles to extend to the particular uses of those times, and not to Saints in all places and ages.

And therefore those words, Answer. [...], (besides, that being but a supposition, they put nothing in being, and may fitly be translated, in id ipsum, for the same, or, in one, which, though they met in an hundred places, they might do, Acts 4.26. with Psal. 2.2. 1 Chron. 12.17.) prove no more that those to whom Paul writ, were of one congregation, then James calling the twelve tribes seattered abroad, one Assembly, Sy­nagogue, or Church, Jam. 1.1. with 2.2. & 5.14. or Pauls menti­oning the Hebrewes assembling themselves together, Heb. 10.25. doth prove that the scattered Hebrewes were no more then one particular con­gregation, which might, and did meet in one place.

1. Reply. You give us another exposition of the words, [...] and would referre them to an identity of things, 1 and not of place, they were together in one thing, but not together in one place. But,

1. These words, [...], are sometimes conjoyned with the Verb, [...], as 1 Cor. 11.20. & 14.23. and then I hope it will not be denied, but that place is principally meant.

2. Except the words [...], do hold forth a com­ing together into one place, their meeting at all (any of them) toge­ther, though in an hundred places will come to be overthrown. For what gives more light to the coming together of any of them at all into one place, then these words? If the words do carry any respect to place, then seeing it is said, [...], the whole church, they will be in force to prove, that the whole church came toge­ther into one place.

3. When these words are found without [...], as Act. 2.44. is not the sense darkned, if not overthrown by such an interpetati­on? And all that believed were together, and had all things common; shall it be thus rendered, And all that believed were in one thing, or minde? So they might be, though every one were in his own house, and none of them together in the same place. But how doth it co­here with the next words, and had all things common, if they met not together in the same place?

Besides, will those words bear such an exposition in Acts 3.1. [Page 19] Now Peter and John went up together into the Temple, shall it be thus translated, They went up to the Temple for the same thing? not together in company, but for one end? then they might go one af­ter another, if they only met in an onenesse of businesse, and not of place; but severall passages in the story do flatly contradict it, and do shew that they ascended together in company one of ano­ther into the Temple.

But Acts 4 26. compared with Psal. 2.2. is alledged to con­firm the exposition of [...]. To which wee answer, that wee see nothing, but that the conspirators against Christ, met in one place: For, Psal. 2. saith, They took counsell together; and how can that better be done, then by meeting in one place? Acts 4.27.5. saith, [...], which without [...], signifies, they came to­gether into one place; and they might do it easily, because all the per­sons mentioned were in one city; and the story makes it plain, that the Rulers and the people of Israel, and Pontius Pilate and the Gentiles gathered together; and there is nothing repugnant, but that Herod might meet with them, especially, seeing that we reade that Pilate and he were made friends.

4. Wee do not stand in need of [...], to prove that the churches of the Gospel met in one congregation frequently; for there are other words that carry it cleerly, as may appear from Acts 2.46. & 5.12. & 14.27. & 15.22.30. & 1 Cor. 5.4. and 1 Cor. 11.17.

2. Though you yeeld the translation of [...], 2 that it re­specteth place, yet you say, it proves no more, that those that Paul writ to, were of one congregation, then James's calling the twelve Tribes scattered one Assembly; To which we reply, that there is a palpable difference, betwixt the places alledged by us, to prove a meeting in one place, and those alledged by you against it from James, and from the Hebrewes: For,

1. Your places are not so full for a meeting in one place; and,

2. James 1.1. contradicts and makes impossible such a meeting of all the Hebrewes in one place: And therefore we must take it in a distributive sense, If there come into your Assemblie, that is, into any of your Assemblies; send for the Elders of the Church, that is, of the church he is of. Not forsaking the assembling of your selves together, that is, no one with his own church that he is of, or each church with it self.

But there is no need of any such figure in the Texts which wee alledge, but the literall sense may passe; and in some places must passe, or there will be no sense: For,

1. The persons which wee say came together, they might do it, they were neither so many, nor so remote, but they might. And if the Holy Ghost say they did, wee must believe it, and not seek a figure, when wee are not enforced to it.

2. The Text, in 1 Cor. 14.23. saith, [...], when the whole church comes together; Now let the Reader judge, whether any of your Texts have any such fulness of words in them to sway to a meeting in one place, as this one Text hath, which we have brought. Some of your own side have been convinced with the evidence of this Text, that the church of Corinth was but one congregation, and came together into one place.

Especially, Answer. seeing the Apostle writes to the Achaians, 2 Cor. 1.1. 1 Cor. 16.1 with 2 Cor. 9.2. & 11.10. Now there were other chur­ches in that Region, at least two, Corinth and Cenchrea, Rom. 16.1. To say nothing of the church whereof Gaius the Corinthian was the Host.

1. Reply. Paul writes to the Achaians no otherwise then hee doth to the Saints which call on the name of the Lord Jesus every where, 1 Cor. 1.1. with 2 Cor. 1.1.

2. Hee writes not to them as making one church with the Co­rinthians, for hee mentioneth them with a note of distinction from the Corinthians, [...], &c.

The places which you would have compared, will not enforce any such thing. For, hee might have a scope that the other chur­ches in Achaia, from the Epistle hee sent to Corinth, (which they were to peruse, as the Laodicean church was to reade the Epistle written to the Colossians) should be stirred up to the same duty of contribution, &c. So that the onenesse of the Congregation of the church of Corinth is not yet infringed.

4. Doth the Apostle write to the Achaians, and were there in that Region two churches at least, Corinth and Cenchrea; why then doth not the Apostle say, To the Churches of Achaia? as in all other such cases he doth, To the churches of Galatia, The churches of Judea, Macedonia, Asia? Why is the church of Corinth mentioned, and the church at Genchrea wholly silenced in the first Epistle, and not mentioned directly and by name in the second?

Hence there is mention of churches to which the women hee writes to (for, he saith, Your women, not women, or all women) did resort. Answer. Or how else could they keep selence in the churches? 1 Cor. 14.34.

1. These Epistles were written for the use and direction of all churches, and therefore the Apostle nameth churches, Reply. because this was to be a standing rule for all churches; and by your women, the Corinthian women, were primarily meant, to whom the Epistle was sent; yet in regard of use, not they alone, but they with the women of Achaia, and all that call on the name of the Lord Jesus in every place. It was a command intended for universall direction for the women of all other churches.

2. Women were wont to go from one church to another upon occasion, as Rom. 16.1. Phebe from Cenchrea went to Rome, so might the Corinthian women go to other churches, and in all churches must keep silence.

3. Though it he said your women, yet it is not said your churches, but in the churches; that is, churches every where; and the verse be­fore gives some light hereto: For hee had said, As in all the chur­ches of the Saints. And he addes, Let your women keep silence in the churches; What churches? The churches of the Saints every where.


The visible Church in the new Testament is not Nationall, as the Iewes was; hence we reade of the Churches of Galatia, Macedonia, ludea, not Church of Galatia, 1 Cor. 16.1. 2 Cor. 8.1.

We say not, that the Christian Church is Nationall, Answer. as was the Jewish church, viz. that it hath a nationall Tabernacle, Temple, or House of God, and solemne worship peculiar to it, to which all the members, or all the males must sometimes resort, towards which the absent are to pray, and in which the Priests in their courses do minister unto God.

1. Why do you yet find fault with the Position, Reply. when you agree with us in the same?

2. Why do you not lay down in what sense the Christian church is nationall, and in what sense not nationall?

[Page 22] 3. If in any proper manner of speaking you will have the Chri­stian church nationall, meaning by nationall, the Saints that live within such a nation, as distinguished from the Saints of another nation, in countrey and place of habitation, without any othertie amongst them, being all of them parts only of the Mysticall or Catholique church (as wee know the Sea that washeth the British shores is called the British Sea, and that which washeth the Belgick shores, is called the Belgick Sea, though they be not distinct Seas, but parts of the great Ocean; yet in reference to an adjunct of place they run by, they receive distinct denominations, and by a Synec­doche, the parts carry the names of the whole:) in this sense we do yeeld the exposition or phrase of nationall church. But if you mean by nationall church, an instituted church of nationall extent in point of power and jurisdiction, upon which particular congre­gations within that nation do depend; wee want light, that there is, or ought to be any such church in the times of the Gospel.

For, if there ought to be such a nationall church, (for patterns we have none, as your self do confesse) then in this church there must be some nationall combination, nationall place for conventi­on, nationall Pastor upon which it must depend, and nationall Or­dinances.

For, seeing there was no such church extant, when the Gospel was written, nor rules left (for you would have alledg'd them (we suppose) had there been any) how all things must be carried in such a nationall church, what reason can be shewed (if such a church must be) why there should be a departing from the pattern of the nationall church among the Jewes, in which they had all these things? Therefore those seem to do best, that in thir mould­ing of their nationall church come neerest to the example of the Jewish church.

Or, if you will have another modell of this nationall church of your owne framing, viz. a nation of Assemblies combined together, and represented in their officers, meeting in one place, and consulting the good of the whole, and executing authority over the whole, then these persons must stand in relation to all and each one of the Assemblies of the Nation under their jurisdiction; and so they are Nationall Officers every one of them, and the whole is the flock of each amongst them, and each of them hath as full power over the [Page 23]assemblies that he never saw, as over that from which he came, and which sent him; (as in the representative civill body every Knight and Buegesse hath the care of the kingdome upon him, and each hath equall authority of inspection and decision of matters con­cerning cities and countries, which hee knowes not, as of those whence hee came.) Now if it be so, the Question is, whe­ther each be not a Passor to every purpose, as well as unto one? And whether hee be not to feed by doctrine, as well as by the rod of discipline, all such assemblies which are under his charge? (Which thing is yet impossible to be done.) And what warrant there is of non-residencie with the flock unto purposes that do most concern the flock, seeing themselves are Christs Ministers and sub­stitutes, and have not power of appointing Ministers and substitutes under them; and what ground there is, why they must joyntly rule all the assemblies, but severally teach each man the congregation to which he is designed, without care of the rest?

Or, if there be any such combination of assemblies in a Nation, what is there to warrant it more, then the combination of all Chri­stian assemblies in the world, represented in an oecumenicall councell, the members of which must be universall Pastors, having power over, and care of all churches under them? For, if a Congregationall church must depend upon a Nationall church, as the lesser upon the grea­ter, then a Nationall church must depend upon the universall, as the lesser upon the greater. For, look what a Nation is to a Congregati­on, that the universall is to a Nation; and if Nations may be inde­pendent of the universall, Congregations may be independent of the Nationall.

And if an universall visible instituted church be acknowledged, why are there not universall representative conventions? What a de­fect is this in Christendome? And what a fault, that all Christian na­tions do not endeavour it? But we conceive that they are so farre from the endeavouring it, that if there were any such, though they might make use of them for advice, yet they would be loth to sub­ject themselves to the binding decrees of them.

Nor say wee, that the Scriptures do mention a Nationall church, Answer. for the supreme Magistrate was an enemy to Christian Religion, and Regis ad exemplum, &c. Believers (it is like) were not so many as to beare the name of a Land or Nation, nor could they have liberty safely to meet in Nationall Synods. Shew mee a Nation of Magistrates and people [Page 24]converted, and I will shew you a Nationall church. Ultra posse, non est esse, whether Nationall churches be lawfull or unlawfull.

1. Reply. You might have said, Shew me a Nation of Magistrates and people converted, and I will shew you a Nationall Christian church, framed like the Jewish church, with one Nationall Bishop over it, one Nationall Cathedrall in it, &c. for so would Prelaticall men and the Pope himself argue. No one Nation was converted then, and there­fore there could be no Nationall Pastor. Many nations were not converted then, therefore there could be no universall Pastor. But what hinders but that there might be afterwards, when a Nation and when the world should come to be converted?

2. Though there was no Nation converted wholly, and therefore (as you say) no nationall church could be; yet Christs will and minde in that matter, might easily have been dictated in the Scrip­tures, had he intended any such Church afterwards; as Moses tells the Jewes, Deut. 12.8, 9, 10. That they should not do (when they should come to Canaan) every man what he listeth, as they did in the Wilder­nesse, but there should be a place appointed, and thither should they bring their offerings and tythes; and though there were not Nations con­verted, yet there were so many in a Nation converted, as made ma­ny Assemblies; In little Judea there were Congregations, and why (together with the Church at Jerusalem) might there not have been a Diocesan or Classicall Church? There were enough converted for such a purpose. But shew the sootsleps of a Diocesan or Classicall Church, and it shall serve the turn; then wee will yeeld there might in time be a Nationall.

Arguments taken from the appellation of the word Church, Answer. or Chur­ches, are very unsatisfactory, because of the various acceptations of the words Kahal, Gnedah, Ecclesia, Synagoga, which we sometimes tran­slate Church, but should alwayes translate Convocation, or Congrega­tion, a company called out, or gathered together.

In this answer you labour to overthrow our Argument; Reply. for Con­gregationall churches, setched from the appellation of the Apostle (when he speaks of Countries and Provinces, where more Congre­gations were, he calls them perpetually churches, in the plurall num­ber, and not church) by these suggestions rather then arguments:

1. That the words, Kahal, Gnedah, Ecclesia, Synagoga, should alwayes be translated Convocation, a company called out, or ga­thered together; if this be yeelded, wherein it will advantage you [Page 25]we know not. A nationall Convocation or Congregation, or gather­ing together, will sound harsher then a nationall Church; for every one knows that we have no Nationall Congregation in England: But,

2. You suggest;

The English word church, Saxon, Cyrick, and Scots Kirk; Answer. are de­rived from [...], as Cambd. Rem. or, [...], as Sr. Hen. Spelm. which (as [...]) signifieth the place of meeting. Hence we reade of robbers of Churches or Temples, Acts 19.37. Kahal (whence our Eng­lish word, call) is sometimes Metonymically understood of the place. The Heathen enter into the Sanctuary, which God hath forbidden to enter in­to the Church, Lam. 1.10. with Deut. 23.3. Nehem. 13.1. To come together, [...]. is (if it be rightly translated) to come toge­ther in one place, and so Ecclesia is opposed to the buildings, or houses in which they did eat and drink, 1 Cor. 11.19, 20, 21, 22. Synagoga is evidently taken for the place of meeting, Luke 7.5. Acts 18.7.

1. [...], or, [...], in the proper signification, Reply. is appertaining to the Lord, and may more properly relate to people appertaining to the Lord, then to place; because the people do more appertain to the Lord, then the place.

2. Though Kahal once, perhaps, and Synagoga oftener, may be understood of the place, yet Ecclesia never. That place in Acts 19.37. is [...] robbers of Temples, not Churches: That place in 1 Cor. 11.18. When yee come together, [...], is not to be rendered, in one place. Pareus upon those words utterly denies it. And there is good reason, why they should rather be referred to the people as a church, then to the place: For the meaning is, (when yee meet in the church) when yee meet as the church, that is, to perform Church-work. For they might meet in the place, even those very persons, and yet not meet as a Church; as it might be said, when such meet in a Synod, it's meant, as a Synod, to act some thing as a Synod. As convenire in Senatum, is to meet as a Senate; not so much refer­ring to the place, as to the persons: so meeting [...], misacrum conventum, Beza, ibid. i. for a holy meeting, & Musculus in coetu sacro, quē li [...]vocat Ecclesiam. i. in a holy As­sembly, which he calleth the Church. Item Pet. Mart. bid. It referres not to the place, nor to the persons barely meeting, but to the persons meeting as a Synod to act Sy­nodically.

Besides, though Kahal and Synogoga may by a Metonymy be re­ferred to place, because there were places built and set apart for Church-services, yet [...] in the new Testament cannot be so taken, because they had no set stated appointed places for the Chri­stian churches to meet in; your self assert so much, p. 26. Nor is [Page 26] [...] opposed to the buildings and houses in which they did eat and drink in 1 Cor. 11.19, 20, 21. The words are, or despise yee the Church of God? which respects the people, the godly amongst them, which told them of their fault, and other Churches also, as Pareus upon that place observes; Unlesse you will say, there must be a reverent observance of the place where the Church meets, more then of all other places. They met in Woods, Dens, Caves, many times in times of persecution; and must those places be more re­spected then mens houses, where they did eat and drink in? But what would you inferre, if [...] or Church were taken for the place? Would it profit you? Yes; for you say afterwards,

The Scripture calls them Church or Congregation often, Answer. and sometimes in respect of their severall Synagogues, Psal. 74.4.8. No wonder there­fore if that Christians of one countrey meeting in severall Synagogues, James 2.2. Heb. 10.25. Acts 19.8, 9. & 22.19. Acts 13.15, 16, 43. and houses, Acts 12.12. Rom. 16.5. do receive the denomina­tion of Churches, which in Scripture phrase is all one with Assemblies, many whereof we confesse were in Galatia, Macedonia.

The place you bring from Psal. 74.4.8. is impertinently alled­ged: Reply. for the Church of the Jewes which was one, is not called Congregations in vers. 4. in reference to divers Synagogues they met in, vers. 8. But Congregations there, is Metonymically used, and is all one with Synagogues, and signifieth the place, and not the people at all; They roare in the midst of the Congregations, that is, in the midst of those places where the Congregation met, which places were ma­ny, but the Congregation but one, having one high Priest, for their chief Pastor; though meeting in its parts in many places. So that the Church of the Jewes is not called Congregations, as Mollerus shewes upon that place. Neither can you shew (as wee suppose) that ever any one Church was called churches in the plurall number, either in the old or new Testament, in reference to plurality of pla­ces they met in.

For, if it were so; how comes it, that a Church in a city, such as Jerusalem, Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome, which met and assembled in many places (as our Brethren of the Presbyterie say) are never called Churches, but alwayes Church? And yet a Church in the coun­trey, meeting and assembling in many places are called Churches, and not Church. And you say, there is no wonder of it, for this reason, be­cause [Page 27]the Houses and Synagogues in the countrey were many, in which they met. See (brother) whether you do not in this assertion, crosse your self? In the city you can finde many meeting houses, and but one Church, but in the countrey you can finde so many Churches, as meeting houses.

But the truth is, it is not place, but the combination of a Christi­an people to meet together for Ordinances, that makes a Church: For the same Church may meet sometimes together in one place for Church worship, and sometimes asunder in many places, for Chri­stian worship; but they are not therefore divided into sundry Churches. And many distinct Churches, or parts of them may meet occasionally in one place, yet they become not one Church here­by; but combination to enjoy Church ordinances together in a constant way, makes a Church; and all in a city were in this combi­nation to enjoy ordinances together, therefore they were a Church. But all in a countrey could not be in such a combination to meet to­gether constantly; therefore they were not a Church, but churches. But you go on, and say,

The word Kahal and Gnedah, do signifie a dispersed multitude, Answer. that never met together; that the people of Israel, though divided into seve­rall domesticall assemblies to keep the Passeover, are called one Church; That an Assembly is all one with Kahal, Ecclesia, whether it be good or bad, lesse or greater; that when the Israelitish men, women and chil­dren were together, they were but one Congregation: And when all did not meet, (though searce half, or a third part met) yet they were called all the Congregation. And when there was a great Assembly, then the Scripture tells us, there was a great Church; accounting no more persons of the Church, but those that were then assembled; Yea, Simeon and Levi's assembly is called a Church; and those many which were ga­thered to pray in the house of Maty, are called the Church, though many were absent. Yea, four or sive in a Family joyning in the worship of God, are called a Church.

But (suppose there be truth in all that is said) what are all these acceptions of the words Kahal and Ecclesia to the purpose? Reply. Among all these, can you finde that ever any one Church is called two, or more Churches? For, except there can be brought instances of this nature, the air is but beaten all the while, and our assertion stands immovable. We find many churches in little Judea; in which of the [Page 28]ennumerations of acceptions of those words, Kahal, Ecclesia, doth it appeare, that a Church that is really but one, multiplies into many, and is called churches, and yet is but one? If you finde not this, we cannot believe that a whole Nation or Province of Believers are but one Church in the dayes of the Gospel.

Besides, is your scope to confound and lose your Readers in the various acceptions of the word Assembly, or Church; so that when they reade the word Church, or Churches, they shall not be able to know what to make of it? How then will they understand your Nationall Church, at which your Discourse drives? It had been your part to have taken your Reader by the hand, and to have shewed him when the word Church is taken properly, and when impro­perly.

Both you in your Nationall, and wee in our Congregationall, un­derstand a people combined together into one body to worship God. And in the old Testament (let the words, Kahal, Gnedah, be taken as they may) there was but one kinde of Church so combi­ned, which was Nationall: And in the new Testament we say; there is no other combination, to enjoy all ordinances and worships insti­tuted in the Gospel but Congregationall; and we produce the small countrey of Judea, containing a plurality of Churches; and thence collect, that they must be Congregations, and that Congregations are therefore Churches. And this is not weakened by what variety of acceptions is brought.

Furthermore, wee do not know, that Church, or Flock, or Lump, or Body, when referred to God and Christ, and is properly taken, is used otherwise then in two or three senses: either for the mysti­call Church, Ephe. 5.25, 26. or the2 Cor. 8.1.19. Congregationall, 1 Cor. 1.1. (sometimes indeed,Rev. 1.4. we reade of it in a sigurative sense, as in 1 Cor. 12.28. Gal. 5.9. James 2.2. 1 Pet. 5.2. and many more places)

For though you say, That four or five in a Family joyning in the worship of God, are the Domesticall Church spaken of by Paul, many times in his Epistles, yet we conceive otherwise; for seeing usually when there were any heads of Families converted, some of the houshold were converted with them, as we can give many instances, wee think that many, or the most that Paul saluted, had in that sense churches in their Families; and therefore, Paul would not have singled out, and with a note of distinction, have spoken [Page 29]of some persons, and the churches in their Families, for that rea­son, if some other reason had not moved him; either then these Families were large and great Families, and might be as numerous as some Congregationall Churches; or the foundation of a Church might be laid in the persons of a Family, but not so to continue, but to grow to a Congregation; or else some Congregationall Church might meet in such houses, which was ordinary in those dayes. And for the word Church in Acts 12. either it is to be taken for the mysticall church, or else for that particular visible society of Believers, which was at Jerusalem, though some of them were absent. But you proceed to give more particular answers, and incounter with a part of the forementioned Position, viz. There were Churches in Galatia, therefore they were Con­gregationall.

Galatia was a large countrey; in England a far lesse countrey, Answer. seve­rall Churches have been heretofore and yet not meerly Congregationall.

And why are Galatia and Macedonia taken hold of, Reply. and made use of, and Judea left out, which in the Position was mentioned as well as they? Surely the reason was, because in both those countries there was more room for your Nationall Church, then in Judea. You could not find breadth enough to make a plutality of Diocesan Churches, and therefore durst not contend for Nationall.

But grant wee the largeness of those countries: (according as you speak) were either of them too large to make one Nationall Church? (wee know you think not so.) Why then doth not the Apostle knit them all up into one Nationall Church, if hee had so intended them? But you add,

The Churches of Galatia might he combined one to another, Answer. as the Churches of England, Scotland, Holland, France, are respectively combined; for the Apostle speaks of them as one lump, 1 Cor. 5.6. with Gal. 5.9, &c.

Such a combination wee easily grant to be among the Churches of Galatia, as is among the Churches of England, Scotland, Reply. &c. and that is, none at all: or at the most a combination without jurisdicti­on. But, if by respectively you mean a combination, which each of these Churches hath in it self, in all the Congregations of and be­longing [Page 30]to it; such a combination wee deny to have been in the Churches of Galatia. For all our Congregations have been united under one Metropolitane Archbishop, of all England, and as yet there is none other established; and for other combinations, such as in Scotland, Holland, &c. without proofe we cannot grant them in Ga­latia. And if Paul had intended by saying, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, that we should gather thence, that they were all one Church, hee would never have called them churches in the Preface of his Epistle; but in a distributive sense it is to be understood: For suppose one speak in a literall sense, and say, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, doth he thereby make all the dough in a countrey one lump? No, but of every lump (how many soever they be) it is to be understood, a little leaven leaveneth each of them; so of churches, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, that is, the whole Church, every Church in which it is, this maketh not all the Churches in a countrey to be one.

And the Churches of Macedonia were not so severall, Answer. but they joyned in one to choose a Brother (which I conceive was an authoritative act) to go with Paul for the managing of the Churches contributions, 2 Cor. 8.18, 19.

1. Reply. Then to choose an Officer is much more an authoritative act; which you grant to appertain unto the people; then the people may act authoritatively, which is none of our assertion, but yours, and the people are beholden to you for it.

2. A combination of churches without jurisdiction, will enable them to such an act; nay, if there were no combination at all, yet when many churches are alike interessed in a businesse, reason shews they ought to joyn alike to promove it.

3. They did not make him an Officer by this act of choosing him, but they deputed him thereby to a particular work, which when accomplished, all was ended.

The churches of Judea, Answer. consisting of Myriads of people, did come toge­ther, Acts 21.20, 21, 22. to be satisfied of Paul, concerning an accusa­tion that they had received against him, and are called a Church, Gal. 1.13. Acts 12.1. and an House, Heb. 3.4.

Not the Jewes of Judea alone did gather together, Reply. but the Jews of all other parts; as appeareth from Acts 21.27. But be it that they gathered alone, yet are they called one Church? the place al­ledged [Page 31]is, Gal. 1.13. I persecuted the Church of God. What Church? Churches in Judea? No, Paul saith, hee persecuted them unto strange cities, and Damascus was one of them. The meaning is, them that were of Jerusalem he persecuted to strange cities, or, he perse­cuted the Saints in generall. Who, as they are parts of the mysticall Church, may be called by a Synecdoche, the Church. And Herod stret­ched out his hands to vex certain of the Church. What church? Either the mysticall, or that at Jerusalem, or any Church within his reach. And his house, Heb. 3.4. to be understood of the churches of Judea? What strange mis-interpreting of Scripture is this? house in that place, is all the churches that were then, or ever were to be in the world; Christ is the builder of them all.


When a visible Church is to be erected,This is not unlike the Answer to 32. q. p. 8, 9. the matter of it should be visible Saints and Belie­vers, 1 Cor. 1.2.

True, so it should; when an Army is to be raised, a City begun, Answer. a Family set up, much more when a Church is to be erected or continued, the matter of them should be visible; yea, reall Saints, beloved of God, elect, blessed, Deut. 38.14. Isai. 1.21.26. Acts 16.34. Rom. 1.7. Ephes. 1.1.2, 3.4. And we heartily wish they were all such.

1. The meaning of the Position is this: Reply. Visibility of Saintship is requisite to warrant the setting upon such an action as erecting of a Church; else the action for the nature of it is naught, might not be performed; Better no Church erected, then not of visible Saints: The rule is broken, sin committed. Is this granted by you? If so, why is the position quarrelled at, seeing it is all that is asserted?

2. But why do you jumble these actions together? The raising of an Army, the erecting of a City, the setting up of a Family, and the erecting of a Church? As if they were actions of a like nature? As if visibility of Saintship to them all, were of like necessity? Do you conceive that the matter of an Army, must either be visible Saints, or there must be no Army raised? The matter of a city, vi­sible Saints, or no city erected? Doth the nature of those actions ne­cessarily [Page 32]require any such qualification in the subject persons per­forming them, that without such qualifications the subject persons are in a state of incapacity, according to Gods true scope and in­tention to set upon such actions? Wee know you hold it not. Hea­thens may raise Armies, and wage war, and not sin because they do so, if the cause be just. They may erect cities, (and remain Hea­thens still) and not sin because they do so, for it may be their duty so to do; but may they erect a Church to God, and remain Hea­thens, and not sin in doing so? An Atheist and prophane wicked person may buy and sell, and labour in his Calling, and not sin be­cause he doth so, because it is his duty; but may he be one to erect a Church of, and to partake in the seal of the Lords Supper, and be an Atheist and visible person still, without sin? Men need not be Be­lievers and Saints to warrant them to perform civill actions, or some religious actions, for irreligious wicked persons, while in that state, are called to them; but to do them with acceptation, and so as to be accounted righteous in the doing of them, they must be Be­lievers and Saints. But to erect a Church, which is Christs body, and is called to have communion with Christ in his body, and blood in that Supper which he instituted, is an action of another nature, and requires faith and holinesse in the persons that constitute it, to war­rant the constitution of it. For Church state being holy, and the Or­dinance of it holy, either the subject persons must be holy also, or all will be grievously prophaned, and God foully dishonoured.

But why do you say, They should not only be visible, but reall Saints; except it be to cast another mist before the eyes of the ignorant? For, if an Army were to be raised to fight on the Purliament side against the Cavaliers, you would say, it must consist of visible friends which seem sincere and cordiall, else let it not be raised at all; but you would not say it must consist of reall friends, for then it would not be raised at all: For, if it must consist of reall friends, God must be the raiser of it, and not man, who alone knoweth who are reall friends: So of a Church, if it must consist only of reall friends, God alone must erect it, and man must not meddle with it.

And though we reade these phrases, Beloved of God, Elect, blessed, yet either they received these denominations from the judgement of Charity, because they seemed to be such, as Phil. 1.7. or if there were infallibility, it was applicable only to a party within the [Page 33] Churches whom the Apostle discerned to be such, and not to the whole Church.

Yet we dare not use unscripturall wayes and means for the procuring and preserving of Church-members sanctity; Answer. To be wise and holy above the rule, is to be foolish, prophane, presumptuous, superstitious. Could you shew us out of Scripture, that the Church must examine persons that come to be admitted, and that they must make any other declaration then professing of faith and repentance: and that the Congregation ought to reject such, of whose sincerity and sanctity they are not satisfied? and that the want of this care in the first constitution of a Church, doth nullifie it or make it unlawfull for men to joyn to it, or continue in it, and that it is necessary to know, that a Church was constituted of visible Saints, before he can in faith joyn to it, we should not differ about the sanctity of the members.

Here is a deep charge of some things practised by us, Reply. to preserve the Churches sanctity and purity, to be foolish, prophane, superstitious and presumptuous; And there are instances given, in examination of persons, whether there be the works of Grace wrought in their hearts, or no, &c.

We answer for our selves:

First, there are some things fathered upon us, which we hold not: as,

1. That there must be some further declaration besides profession of faith and repentance. We contend for no such thing, but conceive profession of faith and repentance, if in the judgement of charity it may be accounted reall, if there be any thing that may serve to give witnesse unto it, that it is not meerly verball, may be judged sufficient.

2. That the want of care to try the sincerity and sanctity of men, doth nullifie the Church; This is an opinion which we renounce as none of ours.

3. That we must know that a Church was constituted of visible Saints before we can in faith joyn to it. We hold flatly against such an as­sertion, and do believe a judgement may be made from the present faith and order which any Church holds forth, whether it be safe or unsafe to joyn to it, or to continue in it.

Secondly, there are other things which some Churches hold and practise, which we think cannot be condemned: As that a Church must examine persons that come to be admitted, whether the work [Page 34]of grace be wrought within them or not. Your self will now admit none (of whom you doubt) to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, till you have first examined them of their knowledge; and why may not we examine them of their grace? Is the Lords body discerned by knowledge most, or by grace? Faith is a grace, and faith is the best discerner of the Lords body; and if we can but finde grace, we shall be sure to finde knowledge: The Scripture saith, Let a man ex­amine himself; yet you think not that sufficient, unlesse you examine him; if it be no Scripturall way to examine others, why will you be so soolish, prophane, presumptuous, superstitious? A stranger comes to the gate of a Garrison town, professeth to be a friend, yet except there be something to witnesse the truth of that profession, he is examined over and over again; and it is strictnesse that shewes faithfulnesse to the State: And shall we be more remisse and carelesse when we re­ceive persons into the Church, then we are when we receive them into a town? Our too much credulity may shew too little fidelity in the matters of Christ, as well as in the businesse of men.

Besides, if the Church be not a common receptacle of all persons, but that it consist of a selected number, and some are received, and others rejected, then there are certain rules of reception and rejection. And then there must be a triall made by some, whether persons be qualified according to those rules; and this the light of nature tea­cheth, and the rules of Reason lead to it; though there should be nothing in the Scripture expresly mentioning it. The most sutable means serving most fitly to atchieve such ends, are alwayes enjoyned in the ends, though they be not particularly expressed. But what think you? Is it not as lawfull to try persons that would be Church­members, and make some profession in words of saith and repentance, but hold forth nothing which may probably give witnesse to the reality thereof, as it was lawfull and commendable in the Ephesians to try false Apostles, which professed in words to be true Apostles? Rev. 2.2. And is it not as reasonable for a Church to seek satisfaction, con­cerning the reality and sincerity of sanctity from persons of whom they doubt, as it was just and equall for the Church at Jerusalem to seek satisfaction concerning Saul, whether he were a Disciple in truth or in pretence only? Acts 9.26, 27.

But you will say, there was cause of suspicion and jealousie in them, concerning him, because they knew him formerly to be a de­stroyer of the Church.

And may not we say, there is cause of jealousie, when we know externall profession of faith and repentance to be so common, and the fruits which are worthy of it, Mat. 3.8. to be so rare and scarce to be found?

If the Gospel and Christian Religion was brought into England in the Apostles times, then it was like it was constituted of Saints, Answer. Church-co­venant p. 37. as well as the Church of Corinth, &c.

Because it is uncertain what Congregation was at first constitu­ted of Saints within this kingdome, and what was not, Reply. we neither justifie nor condemn the constitution of any; but judge according to the present state of them. And if we see any visible Saints (as doubtlesse there are many in some Congregations, and united also amongst themselves,) we could wish they were all such; and in the mean time, for the sake of those few whom we see, so united, we acknowledge them a Church, and in all things so farre as they carry the ordinances uncorruptly we desire to have fellowship with them.

The Text in 1 Cor. 1. rather shewes what the members of the Church of Corinth were at the time of Pauls writing to them, Answer. then that they were on ought to have been visible Saints, at the first erection of that Church; yet it shewes not, that all the Church-members he writes to, were visible Saints; for many known evill livers were known Members; The denomination of Saints, is a parce meliore, that is, from the bet­ter part, &c.

The Text shewes what they either were at first, Reply. or ought to have been, or what some of them were at that time, and ought all of them to have been, viz. sanctified in Christ, called to be Saints, as Hemingius, Gualter, Pareus upon that place do note, for they say, a definition of a Church may thence be fetched. And what rule so­ever there is in Scripture requiring that any be Saints, the same rule requires that all be Saints. And there may many Arguments be brought to hold it forth:

1. The end of Church-fellowship is not conversion, but edifica­tion, Ephes. 4.11, 12. Acts 9.31. For if it were conversion, then all uncoverted ones, whether they make profession of faith and repen­tance or no, might enter in, that thereby they might attain one end for which they enter; as we know. Because one end of the preach­ing of the Word is conversion, therefore all may partake of it, Jewes, [Page 36]Turks, Heathens, because they may attain one end whereto it serves. It is supposed then that the persons that enter into the Church are converted already.

2. Excommunication is an ordinance in the Church, and one end of it is, to recover persons that are desperately sick, and ready to die; it is in the use of it as physick, 1 Cor. 5.5. and therefore sup­poseth the persons to whom applied to be alive, therefore all Church­members are to be reputed in the judgement of charity, to be living stones, 1 Pet. 2.5.

3. If excommunication be an ordinance to throw forth visible sin­ners, of all sorts, then the Church should consist of visible Saints. 1. It appeareth that all scandalous grosse sinners ought to be cast out from 1 Cor. 5. and that all other sinners which are not seandal­ous, if they will not be healed of their lesser faults, and brought to re­pentance, ought to be duly proceeded against untill at last it come to an excommunication, Matth. 18.15, 16, &c.

He writes to the Church called to be Saints, Answer. or called Saints, not to the Saints called to be a Church, or to the Church constituted of Saints: which expression rather of the two proves there was a Church, before they were Saints (See vers. 1. Paul called to be an Apostle,) then that they were Saints before they were a Church.

He writes to the Church of God; Reply. and can there be a Church of God, before there be Saints? What a Church of God is that, which had no visible Saints in it when it was first constituted? Surely, except you will say, they were a Church of God while they were Heathens, you must confesse, that professing to be turned by the power of the Gospel in a time of persecution from the service of Idols, to imbrace the living God in Christ, they must be judged visible Saints at the first when they were a Church of God. And these words (Paul called to be an Apostle) will not avail you; for Paul was a man, and a Christian too, before an Apostle; but what would you have the Church of God to be before they were visible Saints?

But how appeareth it that all the honourable Titles and Epithets given Paul, Answer. are given with relation to Church-members? The Co­rinthians were enriched by God in all utterance, &c. Will you thence conclude, that all Church-members must be so, &c.

There are some names which shew the intrinsecall nature of the things to which they are given, Reply. and they do agree to all of that [Page 37]kinde. As if one should write to the Army of such a Generall, called to be souldiers, this name shewes the intrinsecall nature of the thing to which applied. Such is the name Saint, when applied to the Church of God; but there are other names which are extrinsecall, and superadditionall to the nature of the things given to, and separable, and may be in some, and not in other of that kinde: As if one should write, to the Army of such a one enriched with gold and silver, apparell, this is extrinsecall and casuall, and may agree to some Ar­mies, and not to others; such are the Epithets, 1 Cor. 5. inriched with wisdome, utterance, &c. Concerning the names, Elect, &c. we have answered them before.


The form of a Church, is the gathering toge­ther of these visible Saints, and combining and uni­ting them into one body by the form of a holy Cove­nant, Deut. 29 1.10, 11, 12. by which is plainly shewed, that a company of people become. Gods people, that is, a Church, by entring into Covenant with God. If it be said, they were a Church be­fore; yet that was when the Church of the lewes was constituted in Abrahams Family by Covenant.

You intend not that this Covenant doth make a true Church, Answer. but a pure Congregationall Church, as it is refined according to the plat­form of the Gospel.

We intend that the combination of Saints into one body by some kinde of Covenant, either expresse or implicite, Reply. or by some kinde of speciall bond (as Dr. Ames calls it) doth make a true Church. The seed of Jacob, and the Sechemites could not make a Church toge­ther, Gen. 34.15, 16. but by becoming one, and they could not become one, but by coming into the same Covenant, therefore they say (though deceitfully, for they never meant it; yet therein they [Page 38]shew how such a thing could only be done,) if you will be as we be, that every male be circumcised, then we will become one people; and we would demand, had those Sechemites been Believers, and had this businesse been carried without guile, whether they had not by this doing become one Church?

We conceive relation or combination into one unto domestick ends and purposes is the form of a Family, and relation and combination into one unto politick and civill ends and purposes is the form of a Commonwealth, and relation and combination of one man and one woman unto conjugall ends and purposes is the form of matrimoniall state; and that covenant alwayes makes this relation and combinati­on into onenesse, where the persons are free from each other, and no naturall tie amongst them; and so relation and combination of so many Saints as do, or may well meet in one place, unto religious ends, [...] the enjoyment of Church-ordinances, doth make a church; and because the persons are free from one another, therefore covenant or agreement together (which is all one) must make the relation.

A solemne expresse and verball covenant or agreement (we assert) to be necessary unto the purity and strength of a Church, and so consequent­ly unto the welbeing of a Church; for how Saints (and they alone) living promiscuously in the world, should yet be severed from the world, with which they be in habitation mingled; and how they (even they alone) should have communion together in all holy ordinances, without expresse verball consent, we cannot conceive; which yet we judge ought to be, if the rule be well attended, which saith, No­thing shall enter into the holy city which defileth, Rev. 21.27. & 22.14. And how such loosenesse which is in our Parish-churches [from which any may depart to another Parish-church, without rendering any reason (removing their habitation, it may be but a stones cast,)] which we conceive to be a great evill: (For the members in a natu­rall body are not so loosly joynted, nor stones in any house so loosly set, unto which yet a particular Church is compared, Eph. 2.22. and 1 Cor. 12.27.) How this evill may be prevented but by ex­presse agrement, we cannot apprehend; and therefore conceive such a covenant to be necessary to such purposes.

A Church-covenant s especially in relation to Church-estate, Answer. and Church duties (as a marriage-covenant is with relation to the mar­riage state and marriage duties) but the Covenant here enentioned, [Page 39]was not entered into in reference to Church estate, and Church duties, rather then to other duties of the morall Law, and may be taken by two or three, though they be too few to make a Church, or by persons of seve­rall Churches, in a ship or a journey, and yet leave them in the same Church-state they were before, and not make them members of a di­stinct Church.

A Church-covenant is especially in relation to Church duties, Reply. but not only so; for Christian duties are comprehended under it; and the Covenant in Deut. 29.1.10, 11, 12. respects principally Church-duties, more then other duties of the morall Law, as appeares from vers. 16, 17, 18. for he warns them of Heathenish worships, such which they had seen in Egypt, and among the Nations, and would ingage them by holy covenant to all Gods holy worships, which were of his own institution, of which were the worship and service of the Passeover, and all the offerings of Gods prescription, which were to be brought to the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; and the covenant of two or three to perform such duties might not be taken, because some of them did seal their union and communion with that body, and were to be celebrated when the whole body was assembled. And though a covenant binding to the performance of some of the duties of the morall Law, may be made by two or three, and by persons of severall Churches, and yet leave them in the same Church-state, and not make them members of a distinct Church from what they were of before, yet not so a covenant that binds to Church-duties, as if a company of persons of divers churches should covenant to meet together, to pray one with another, this would not make them a Church, nor change their state; but if they covenant to walk together in the constant enjoyment of all Church-ordinances, which God requires of a Church; this would make them a Church, and change their state, that afterwards they could not be of divers Churches, but of the same Church and Body.

A Covenant in generall doth not make a Church (nor a marriage, Answer. a Covenant betwixt this man and that woman makes it) but a Cove­nant with appropriation and application to this, or that Pastor or people, but the Scripture covenants are not with appropriation and applica­tion to this Pastor or people (viz.) that they would serve God with this people or Pastor, rather then with that; therefore they are not Church-covenants.

Who ever read or heard of any Covenant in generall of duties to be done, Reply. without application to persons mutually ingaged to per­form such duties? As a covenant of duties in a marriage would be ridiculous without application to persons, this man, or that woman to be ingaged to perform such duties, so is any covenant. The cove­nants in Scripture were no such covenants; they were applied to Israel, and to the Gentiles that should joyn to Israel, and appropria­ted to them also: So that they were a separated people from other Nations by covenant, Exod. 12.47, 48. the Passeover was a service which all the house of Israel was ingaged to perform together, and all that would joyn to them, and by circumcision they became one people with them; but no stranger might partake with them, so that the Jewes by the Covenant of God, were to serve God, rather with this people, then with that.

That a covenant makes a Church with appropriation to this or that Pastor, is denied: for we hold it a consequent priviledge of a Church (whether constituted by verball covenant or not) to choose their own Pastor; therefore the Church is first, before it hath a Pastor: this is confessed by your self, page 13. if it were not so, the Church would be dissolved at the death of the Pastor; there is a co­venant between the Pastor and people, but it is emergent, and groweth out, and proceeds from the Covenant among the people; the people must first be one before they can agree in one, to choose their Pastor, with whom they afterwards enter into covenant: There was a covenant with Abraham and his house, by vertue of which, Israel was the Lords people in Egypt, before there were any Pastors to be over them; therefore Church-covenant there was in Scripture, without application to Pastors. And it was so in the Wil­dernesse also at the first before Aaron and his sons were chosen.

To be Gods people, Answer. and Gods Church, is not all one in your sense. Forty Believers of no Church, or of forty severall Churches, are the Lords people, but they are not an instituted Church.

To be one people unto God, Reply. in a professed solemn way, (which is done by entring into covenant with God) and to be a Church, is all one. Now this is that which is asserted from Deut. 29.12, 13. That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, that be may establish thee this day for a people, (or one people) to himself, in a pro­fessed way: So by the Covenant of circumcision, (for so it was called, [Page 41]because it was the seal of it) the Seehemites were to become one people to God, and to the seed of Jacob, Gen. 34.15, 16.

No Covenant in Scripture was at the founding of the Jewish Church, Answer. nor of the Christian Church, nor at the adding any members to them: neither did they make a Church more truly a Church, or politique So­ciety, or more truly members, but did make them or shew them to be more pure and holy servants of God; even as when single persons or families do covenant with God.

1. If there were no covenant at the founding of the Jewish church, Reply. how comes it that all that entred into the Iewish Church of the proselyted Gentiles, entred by the Seal of the Covenant, which was Circumcision? doth not the way of augmentation of the Church shew the way of the first constitution thereof? So it may be spoken of Christian Churches: why are converted Heathens, and the In­fants of Church-members, brought into the Church by baptisme? which is a Church-ordinance, and the seal of the Covenant of grace, and of that part of it principally which respects Church-society.

2. How do those which were many, become one among them­selves, and distinct from all other bodies of the same kinde, (as Corinth was one in it self, and distinct from Cenchrea: (for parish­bounds were not then on foot) so that the members of one were not the members of the other; nor the Officers of one the officers of the other) if there be nothing that knits them together among them­selves, and divides them asunder from others? and if any thing combine them, what can it be but some agreement or covenant ex­presse or implicit? Why must circumcision the seal of the Covenant be used to make the Sechemites one people with Jacobs family, if Jacobs family, or Isaak's, or Abrabam's before that, were one unto all holy Church-worships among themselves without covenant?

3. Did the joyning of the believing Gentiles to the family of Abra­ham by circumcision, make them no more truly members of the church of Israel, then they were before, only make them, and shew them to be more pure and holy servants of God? were they not accounted after circumcision of the Jewes Common-wealth, and were invested into all the Jewes spirituall priviledges? which they had no right to before, though they were converted persons, and Gods servants.

4. We conceive that Abraham and his family were not in Church state, and professedly and openly separated from the world till the [Page 42] Covenant in Gen. 17. at which time, by a mark in his flesh, he was distinguished from all the nations, and became Gods houshold; if this be so then, Church state is founded in Covenant, if it be otherwise, let it appear that he was in Church state before that time, and we shall look out for a Covenant before that time: That which induceth us thus to thinke, is,

  • 1. Because we reade nothing of Abrahams family, that they were a professed people unto God before that time.
  • 2. We reade not of any Symbole of Church state by which Abra­bam and his family were separated from the rest of the world, be­fore circumcision, which was a token in their flesh to distinguish them from the nations round about them.
  • 3. This distinguished him and his family not from the world alone, but from other believers of his time, Melchisedeck and Lot, which though holy men, yet not in his state, nor had his privi­ledges. But this Argument from circumcision is encountred with in your answer that followes.

The Covenant in Gen. 17. is taken only for Gods part of the Co­venant, Answer. or his promise to Abraham, Gal. 3.16, 17. not for mans part to God.

While you charge us of mis-interpreting the Scriptures, Reply. it stands you upon to be wary that your self run not into that error. Paul, Gal. 3.16. with vers. 8. (as Peter, Acts 3.25. [...], ren­dered well there, and in thy seed) seems to make use of the promise of God made to Abraham and his seed in the Covenant, Gen. 12.3. and 22.16.18. The Apostle there had no occasion to speak of the restipulation on Abrahams part, and in Gen. 17.1.9. 'tis manifest, that that Covenant was reciprocall, as Junius and Pareus do observe upon that place; but you check your self, as if overbold, and there­fore say,

Indeed, Answer. receiving of circumcision doth import a Covenant on Abra­hams part, or consent to the Covenant, as baptisme also doth: but it is held they were in Church state before they had right to circumcision; therefore you should shew they made a Covenant before circumcision.

Circumcision (being but the sign and seal of the covenant betwixt God and Abraham) doth argue necessarily that there was a cove­nant before, Reply. of which it was the sign and seal: and we would de­mand, whether Isaac were not in covenant before he was circumcised? [Page 43]and whether his circumcision did not seal so much? and alwayes this order is supposed: First, Gods promise: Secondly, mans faith: Thirdly, the sign and seal of both in some Symbole of Gods institu­tion, so in Baptisme.

How prove you that Melchisedeck a Priest, and Lot, Answer. which were not of his seed nor family, were out of Church-state? That a believer is not a son of Abraham, if he be not in Church state by covenant? which things you seem to imply, when you say, the Jewish Church was constituted in Abrahams family by Church-covenant; the family of Sem was the Church of God long before this.

1. We assert not that they were out of Church-state; Reply. but this we say, if they were not circumcised, (as we read not that they were) they were not of Abrahams Church, nor had the Passeover been on foot, could they have partaked of it, any more then Believers could af­terward, who joyned not to Abrahams family. Cornelius may be an example.

2. It is one thing to be a son of Abraham as a Believer, and heire of promise, for so all Believers are, and an Heathen is, when conver­ted, before joyned to any instituted Church; and another thing to be the son of Abraham as a professed Covenanter with God, and bea­ring the Symbole of it in his flesh: in the former sense, Abraham was the father of all Believers, though uncircumcised, and in the latter a father of the circumcised, which were also of his faith; as the Apostle shewes, Rom 4.11.12.

3. Though it be probable that there was a Church in the fami­mily of Sem, yet that place, Gen. 9.26, 27. proves it not: for, first, it is propheticall of the posterity of Sem and Japhet, and respects not (so far as we can discern) the persons of Sem and Japhet (at least not at that time) being both (as is probable) in the family of their father Noah: Secondly, there might be a Church in Sems family, and yet of another constitution then this in Abrahams family; this hinders not, but that the church in Abrahams family might be constituted by covenant.


Every Member at his admission,See the like allegation in Answer to Pos. 9. p. 73. doth promise to give himself as to the Lord, to be guided by him; so to the Church, to be guided by them; which is no more then the Members of the Church of Macedonia did in a parallel case, 2 Cor. 8.5.

The givers are not the Members of the Church of Macedonia, Answer. (as you for your advantage phrase it) but the Churches of Macedonia; and therefore, if this do prove Union or Covenant, it is of the members of severall churches, and not of one only.

1. The allegation in answer to the 9th Position, Reply. pag. 73. runs in these words, As to the Lord to be guided by him, so to the Church (according to God) to be guided by them; these words (according to God) are lest out; whether wilfully to make the practice of our Churches the more odious, or by oversight we conclude not.

2. There was no intent to prove Ʋnion or Covenant of a Church, but subjection of each member to the Church to which he is joyned himself, and the officers thereof; and the practice of the Churches of Macedonia (by way of allusion) is made use of: it is said, it is no more, then the members of the Church of Macedonia did in a parallel case: The Argument is fetcht à comparatis: the members of the Church of Macedonia did as much in a like case,; they gave themselves to the Lord, and to the Apostle and Timothy, according to Gods will, to be guided by the Lord, and directed by them; a whole Church, or Churches to one or two persons gave themselves; and an Argument is fetcht thence, thus, then may one person that is to joyn to a Church, as fitly give himself to the Lord, to be guided by him, and to the whole Church and the Officers thereof to be directed by them, according to the will of God; and it is urged, that a member should therefore pro­miseit; and to call it Church of Macedonia, or churches, is neither advantagious nor disadvantagious; for though many Churches gave [Page 45]themselves to be guided by one Paul, because he was Officer to them all, yet a members subjection will be only required to his own Church, and the Officers thereof, because there is no superiority of jurisdiction of one Church over another, and the members thereof. We believe you would be ready enough to make use of this pattern, to prove that the members of a Congregation must submit to the guidance of their Pastors; and why do you except against it, because subjection of each member to the Church, is endevoured to be pro­ved thence, seeing that the Church compriseth the Officers thereof?


This particular Congregation is a Church before it have Officers, Acts 2.47.

In a generall sense, a few private men without Officers; yea, Answer. a few women without men; yea, twenty members of severall Churches may be called a Church; but a governing Church they are not; the Church hath not received an office of rule without her Officers, Cottons Keyes, p. 16. Reply.

We take Churches for such churches, Reply. as the Apostles planted in all places, when they had converted any considerable number of per­sons, into which Saints were wont to be gathered, that they might be built up and edified by the Ordinances, Acts 9.31. and unto which Pastors were given to reside with them, and to oversee them, Acts 20.28. and these must be Congregationall Churches; for Pastors cannot constantly feed any other. Or, we take Church as Amesius defines it,A company of faithfull ones by speci­all bond be­twixt them­selves joyned together, to exercise the communion of Saints con­stantly a­mongst them­selves. Coetus sidelium speciali vinculo inter se conjunctorum ad communionem sanctor um inter se constanter exercendam, such an uni­ted company is the Church, before it have Officers, for it is their priviledge to choose their Officers, (as you confesse in your Answer to the next Position) in which sense (if in any sense at all) a few private men, or a few women, or twenty members of severall chur­ches, have never been called a Church.

Now whether this Congregationall church be a Governing church or not, because it is not asserted in the Position, we have no occa­sion here of discussing it.

The Church in Acts 2. had Officers, Answer. and better Officers then any [Page 46]Church now hath, even the Apostles which were the Elders of all Churches, 1 Pet. 5.1. 2 Cor. 11.28.The Apo­stles were as Elders and Rulers of all Churches, Cot­ton Keys p. 48 and particularly of the Church of Jerusalem; and did act therein as Elders; it is not all one to want Elders now they are instituted, as before; ordinary Elders were not appointed at that time.

There is a concession that the Church, Reply. Acts 2. bad no ordinary Of­ficers, for none were then appointed; and yet they were a church, and Acts 14.23. shewes so much they were churches before the Apostles ordained Elders in them, and this is all that the Position drives at.

And though there were generall Elders which had inspection over all Churches; yet neither these, nor any other Elders doCome into the essence of Churches. in­gredi essentiam Ecclesiarum; nor is it any formall reason why a Com­pany of Believers are a Church, because they have Elders, whether extraordinary or ordinary; for were it so, then their priviledge to choose their Officers, would be when they have Officers, for then they are a Church; and it would follow, that they cannot choose Officers when they want them, and have most need of them, for then they are not a Church, and so can have no such power; and it is very uncomfortable; for the death of an Officer, might be the unchurching of a people.

But that which may give more satisfaction in this matter is the consideration of such Scriptures where the members mentioned apart from the Officers, are called the Church of God, Acts 20.28. the Elders are the persons spoken to, feed the flock over which the holy Ghost hath made you over-seers, the believing Ephesians are the flock, who are also called the Church of God, purchased with his blood. Acts 20. vers. 28. So Phil. 1.1. So that a Christian people, united together with an intent of constant congregating to enjoy Ordinances for their edification, are a church without officers; or if they have them, yet without consideration of them.


She hath also full and free power to choose her own Officers without the help of Synod, This, though not so fully, is asserted by R.M. & W.T. to C. H. Classis or Presbyterie, Act. 1.15. Acts. 6.3. & 14.23.

In Church-affairs, Answer. of weighty and difficult common concernment, as [Page 47]election and ordination of Elders, excommunication of an Elder, it is safe and wholesome and an boly Ordinance to proceed with consultation and consent of the churches, Prov. 11.14.Cottons Keys, p. 55. Reply.

This Position saith not that a particular Congregation or Church of Brethren have full and free power to choose her own Officers without asking or seeking the help of advice and direction from Synod, Classis, or Presbyterie: nor do we think that there is any such meaning in it; but without authoritative help of a Synod, Classis, or Presbyterie; for in all those places of the Acts, the chur­ches had the help of direction: but they were not strengthened by the interposition of the authority of the Apostles, or of any other.

You will not take upon you hastily to censure the many notable prece­dents of ancient and latter Synods, Answer. who have put forth the Acts of power in ordination and excommunication. Cottons Keys, p. 28. Reply.

  • 1. The grave Author of this speech meddles not with election in that place quoted, but this Position runs of election.
  • 2. He keeps himself from an hasty and peremptory censuring of ancient precedents, who have put forth acts of power in ordinati­on and excommunication; but he declares his opinion against it, and we approve as well of his modesty, as we do agree with him in his judgement.

We hold it a priviledge of the people (especially if they proceed wise­ly and piously) to elect their Officers, Answer. and an injury to obtrude any on them without their consent.

1. What people are these that have this priviledge? Reply. Cottons Keys, pag. 12. the Author whom you make use of so oft, calls them Church of Brethren; is it a people-priviledge, or a church-priviledge to choose Ecclesiasticall Officers?

2. What if they do not proceed wisely and piously? is their pri­viledge lost? must it be taken from them? and then it would be no injury to obtrude an Officer on them. It is an Officers priviledge to rule the Church; but what if he do it not wisely and piously? is the privilege then lost? it is a Master of a Families priviledge to rule his own house: but what if he do it not wisely and piously, must it now be taken from him? or rather must he not be directed and exhorted to do it rightly? and the priviledge remain stil with him? so of the people; we have Junius of our minde herein.Junius Eccles. p. 1963 Answer.

But let us view your Scriptures.

Seeing that you agree with us in the substance of the Position, Reply. and yet immediatly bring all the Scriptures brought by us to strengthen the same into question, and none of them will passe for currant with you, it had been convenient, that you should have produced the Scriptures which do sway you unto the asserting of the same thing, that it might have appeared to the world, that you have found out some better bottome to set such a tenet on, then we have produced: For we conceive, that if the Scriptures you oppugn are not pertinent to prove the Position, there will be none found in all the new Testament, but they will be more liable to exception then these; and it is to be noted, that all our modern Writers (that we know of) that grant any liberty to the people of choosing their own Officers, they do it upon the evidence of these Scriptures which are excepted against; in so much that we know not what should be the reason why you grant the thing alledged, and bring no proofes of your own to confirm it; and yet allow not of ours which we bring, except you be resolved to contradict all that comes from us. But what are your exceptions? let us prove what weight is in them; you say,

The Assembly, Answer. Acts 1. it is likely was not a body politick, but occa­sionall only, no part of Church-government being as yet set on foot: here were not all, but some of the sounder members of the Jewish Church; and they had no commission to separate from the Jewes, before Acts 2.40. the Company was not without Elders: all the Churches and El­der at that time in the world were present: if there had been any more Elders they must have conveened upon that occasion; the choice was limi­ted by the Apostle Peter; First, to the persons present: Secondly, to those that accompanied the Apostles all the time, &c. and was determi­ned by God whose it was to choose an Apostle, by his directing of the lot.

The meaning is, Reply. they were not a Christian Church, but some of the sounder members of the Jewish Church; and not yet separated from the Jewish Church; and then,

1. There is a contradiction unto some other of the exceptions which follow: If they were no Christian Church, how were the Apostles Elders of it? and how was it an Oecumenicall councell, all the Churches and Elders in the world being at it?

2. Is there not some mistake in point of truth? For those per­sons who were commanded to separate, Acts 2.40. were they added [Page 49]unto such which were not separated? The Text saith, there were added to them, three thousand fouls: (to them) to whom? to those who are yet members of the Jewish church? then these separated ones, who were added, were members of the Jewish church by their additi­on; for they came into their state to whom they were added; and so they were separated, and not separated; which yet agrees not to vers. 47. where they are all together called a Church.

3. It is impertinently alledged that the company was not without Elders, the Apostles were present: For was the company straitned in their liberty by the presence of these Elders? or rather were they not acquainted with their priviledge in this matter by these Elders? When as else they might not have known it: but you say a little af­ter they were limited; but what is this limiting? nothing else but necessary direction: and the limitation is but in one thing, though you would have it in two; the words are these, Wherefore of these that have accompanied us, &c. For ought that appears, all that had accompanied them were present; and who could be so sit to be an Apostle, as one of those who had accompanied them, 1 Joh. 1.1.

4. If the election of an Apostle did belong to God, in reference to the particular person; yet they proceeded as far as they could therein, and agreed in the denomination of two, and when the lot determined whether of the two should be the man, the Text saith, vers. 26. by the common suffrage of them all, Matthias was numbred among the eleven Apostles.

5. If all Elders and Churches must conveen upon occasion of elect­ing of an Apostle, because he is Pastor of all Churches, why must they not be gathered together upon occasion of ordaining an Apostle? But we reade but of one Church and the Elders thereof present at the onlaining of Paul, Acts whereupon Paul calls him­self, [...], Rom. 1.1.

As for the Deacons and Overseers for the power, Answer. though people may better discern of mens sitnesse and ability for that Office then for the Ministry.

Why are Deacons and Overseers for the poor made Synonymies and confounded? Reply. is this the reason, to make the world believe that we have had Deacons amongst us, because we have had Over-seers for the poor? but if we have had Deacons, when were they ordai­ned? who ever put their hands upon them according to the pattern, [Page 50]Acts 6.6. or are they called so, because their work is only to over­see the poor? we conceive their office extends further: But of that in its own place.

It is added, Answer. The people can better discern, &c.

  • 1. They had direction to inable them to discern aright in choo­sing Deacons, Reply. and by direction they will be able to discern aright in choosing other Officers.
  • 2. A godly people or church rightly constituted for the matter, will be able to discern of wholesome and powerfull Doctrine: and if they want skill to judge of humane learning, they may with little ado be informed.
  • 3. If your meaning be, that upon this ground the people may choose Deacons, but not other Officers; you might have done well to have limited what you before granted, and in stead of saying, We hold it the priviledge of the people, to choose their own Officers, you would have said; We hold it the priviledge of the people to choase their own Deacons, but no Officers else.

And their liberty of choosing was a good means at that time to abate their discontentments because of former neglect. Answer.

  • 1. Then it was granted to them of courtesie, Reply. and out of policie, and it did no way belong unto them; why then did you say before, We hold it the priviledge of the people?
  • 2. Doth any thing appear to make this a reason that this liberty was granted to them? Would not they have been as well pleased, if the Apostles had done it, if it belonged to the Apostles and not to them? they all knew the Apostles were more able to choose then they, and what the Apostles did, gave better content; for all magni­fied the Apostles; besides, is it likely that the Apostles would nourish a sinfull humor of discontent in the people, by giving them a pri­viledge that belonged not to them? Good brother, take heed how you attempt to evade the strength of plain Scripturall proofes, by such dangerous glosses as these.

Yet at their election, Answer. there were all the Churches and Elders in the world.

The meaning is, Reply. there was but one Church, and the Elders there­of, at that time in the world, and they were there. It is true, the members were there, for the Brethren were they that elected, and the Apostles were there, which were extraordinary Elders, for they were [Page 51]the persons that directed; but what did they act further? Did they interpose their authority in election? Did they take it out of the Bre­threns hards? Did they not manifestly put it into their hands? in commanding them to look out seven men, &c. Acts 6.3.

Answer. Your selves acknowledge Synods an Ordinance of Christ in sun­dry cases.

Reply. Not the Authority of Synods by way of jurisdiction in any case;

Answer. Paul and Barnabas ordained Eders by suffrages given by lifting up and stretching out of hands, (for so the Greek word signifies) but that the people did ordain Elders by election, without the Apostles, it saith not, but rather the contrary, (viz.) that they stayed from election and ordination of Elders, till the Apostles came to advise and assist them therein; the word [...] signifieth rather to give, then to gather saffrages; as [...] doth imply the election of more Churches then one, and yet it imports the election of no more Churches then those there spoken of; so the phrase (Paul and Barna­bas, [...]) doth not im­ply that any Church, or other person, besides Paul and Barnabas, did elect these Presbyters.

1. We do not affirm that the people did it without the Apostles: Reply. For we conceive the Apostles guided them, as at other times they had done other Churches.

2. Concerning their staying from election and ordination, we reade not of it, and therefore dare conclude nothing about it: concern­ing their advising, we grant it; but what other assistance they assor­ded we understand not, unlesse it be said, that they led the people by their own suffrage, and so they might give their suffrage, as you say the word signifies, and yet gather the peoples also. But that they should give their own suffrage, by lifting up their own hands, without the peoples, seems unreasonable: For when hath it ever been known, that two persons alone, in the presence of many others have gone to voting, by lifting up of hands? the one must gather the vote, and the other must give it; that is, the one must say to the other, Paul to Barnabas, If thou be for such a man to be Elder in this Church, manifest it by lifting up thy hand; and Barnabas must say to Paul, If thou be for him, or for any other, dielare it by lifting up thy hand; a most ridiculous course: was ever suffrages so gathered and given, when but one man to gather, and another to give? might [Page 52]not two persons better have gone apart, and concluded the busi­nesse by counsell betwixt themselves, then to have gone to it by suf­frage and stretching out of hands, in the presence of so many, except there had been some greater plurality of persons? There is roome enough without absurdity for Churches, though but two or three to go to voting in a businesse, that is common to them; and therefore [...] is applicative to them; but there is no place with any co­lour of reason, why two persons should go to voting: when any thing is put to vote, or lifting up of hands, the end of it is, that the businesse may that way be cast; but two persons may end it by agreement, when as by vote they cannot, if they be opposite to one another.


The particular Congregation, This Scrip­ture is alled­ged by R. M. and W. T. to C. H. & answ. to 32. q. p. 69. though they want Officers, have power and authority to ordain Of­ficers, as the children of Israel did put their hands upon the Lovites, Numb. 8.9, 10.

That Congregation had Officers, Answer. Aaron the High Priest, and ma­ny other Priests, Numb. 3.4. But you hold not that people may ordain in the presence and plenty of Officers.

1. Though they had Officers, Reply. viz. Aaron and his Sons, yet those Offi­cers could not lay their hands upon them for a speciall reason; and therfore they were as without Officers: the reason was this, the Le­vites were given to God, and they were given to Aaron and his sons, they were given to Gods service, & they were given to Aarons service, and therefore they must be presented not by Aaron and his sons, but before them, Numb. 8.13. Aaron and his sons must be the person that must (as it were) receive them, therefore not lay their bands on them, for that was the work of those that offered them, and gave them, and not the work of those that must receive them; this appeares from Numb. 3.6, 7. and Numb 8.13. with 19.2. Will it not hold, à majore, from the greater, that if in the old Testament the people did ordain in the presence of Officers, then they may in the new much more in the want of Officers?

All the children of Israel being about 600000, Answer. did not probably lay hands on the Levites, but some in stead of the rest, which were more like­ly to be the Elders then any other.

You might have said, could not possibly at once do it; Reply. therefore of necessity some in stead of the rest did it, and probably the Elders. But what Elders? Ecclesiasticall Elders? there were none but Aaron and his sans; and they did it not, as is manifest from the Text, and for the reason rendred; they were therefore Civill Elders: but not as Elders: For you hold not that it belongs to Civill Elders (as Civill Elders) to lay on hands in ordination: but as they were the chief and principall men of the Congregation: and we hold the gravest and wisest, and primest of the Congregation ought to do it, on the behalf of the rest, when there is a want of Ecclesiasticall Officers.

All the Congregation, Answer. and all the Elders of the Congregation are all one, Exod. 12.3. with vers. 21.

1. It doth not appear from the Text alledged, Reply. that they are all one, but distinguished (though they all are one body, yet these as Officers, those as Members:) For, when God saith, speak ye unto the Congregation of the children of Israel; he meant really that the Con­gregation of Israel should be spoken to, and not the Elders only; for the ordinance was as well appertaining to the Congregation, as to the Elders; and when Moses, vers. 21. spake to the Elders only, yet it was with reference to Gods command, in vers. 3. that all the Con­gregation might be spoken to; they fulfill Gods commandement, speak to the Congregation, but not immediatly, but by the Elders. Doth this confound Congregations and Elders? For, if God had meant Elders by the Congregation, then the Elders killing the Passe­over, though the people had not done it, yet Gods command had been fulfilled; which is untrue.

2. Though the Congregation and the Elders should be all one; yet is the Congregation and the Ecclesiasticall Elders all one? if the Text you alledge prove not that, it is nothing to your purpose.

3. If the Congregation and the Elders should be all one in some pla­ces, yet in Numb. 8.9, 10. they are not all one: For Aaron and his sons were the only Ecclesiasticall Elders; and they are mentioned distinctly from the Congregation of Israel.

The Levites were separated to their work, Answer. ant taken from amongst the children of Israel, cleansed and offered before the Lord by Moses [Page 54] and Aaron respectively, according to Gods expresse appointment, vers. therefore this laying on of hands was either only obedientiall for approbation of Gods election, or for oblation of the Levites to God in stead of their first born, vers. 16.17, 18. as they laid hands on sacrifices, vers. 12. which was a speciall reason, and peculiar to those times.

Obedientiall certainly it was, Reply. but principally for another reason (as we conceive) which you omit; the service of the Levites was the service of the children of Israel; which formerly the first born were wont to perform; now God had chosen the Levites in stead of the first born, to do that service, which Israel should have done by their first born; therefore Israel must lay their hands upon them, that is, put that work upon them which was theirs: For as the laying on of the hands on the sacrifice, did put the sins on the sacrifice, and so upon Christ; so the laying on of hands, did put the service upon the Levites, see Numb. 3.7. & Numb. 8.18, 19. and herein there is a parity: for the service of the Ministery is the service of the Church; and the Officers which the Church hath, performs it for the Church; and the Church when she puts her hands upon the Officers, puts the service upon the Officers; and yet this reason would neither have been good then in the presence of the Officers (had there not been a speciall reason for it,) nor is it good now, when the Church hath Officers; be­cause the Officers are to transact her affaires for her.

If the people did ordain the Levites, Answer. I am sure they did not choose them: If this be a binding pattern, you will loose Election while you contend for popular ordination.

Such a sleight conclusion will not so soon wring away election from the people. Reply. We have examples enough in the new Testament for such a priviledge, to settle it upon them more firmly then so. We need not fly to the old Testament for patterns for it; if you can but produce one instance from the new Testament that ever Elders of one Church ordained Officers in another, or any good reason for it grounded thence; the controversie about ordination shall be ended betwixt us; and the pattern of Numb. 8. shall be waved.

You tell us that it is a pillar of Popery to proportion the Church now, Answer. to the outward policy of Israel.

It is notoriously known, Reply. that the foundation of the Antichristian Hierarchy is laid in the proportion which some would have be­twixt [Page 55]the Jewish policy, and the policie of the Christian Church; yet this debarres not, but that use may be made of the old Testament, where the new is silent. Do not you rest upon the new Testament for the change of the Seal of the Covenant, and conclude Baptisme is to be imbraced in stead of Circumcision, because the new is cleer in that matter? and yet run to the old, to finde out the latitude and extent in the application of it to the subject; and conclude, Infants must be baptized, not because the new expressly saith so, but because you finde it in the old: The Jewes children were circumcised, there­fore Christians children must be baptized.

You tell us, that Christs faithfulnesse above Moses, Answer. consists in as full determination of Gods worship in the new Testament; and that we are as strictly tied to the Gospel-pattern, as the Jewes were to the old Testament. Why then should we in ordination of Officers, be guided by the old Testament, and not by the new?

It is our Argument against those that hold that there is no plat­form of discipline laid down in the new Testament, Reply. but that any is lawfull that the State will authorize: but it was never asserted by us, that all things without limitation are directly determined; for we have alwayes restrained it to substantialls; neither have we ever said, that we have had a perfect knowledge of all things that are revealed.

And why should we follow the ordination of Levites rather then of Priests for a pattern, for the ordination of Elders; Answer. except to grati­fie you?

You cannot gratifie us by following the one or the other, Reply. because ye cannot advantage your selves, whether of them soever ye betake your selves unto: For,

  • 1. If the people laid their hands upon the Levites, there were no hands at all laid upon the Priests: they were anointed and conse­crated, and holy vestments put upon them, but ordained by the impo­sition of hands, they were not: but you would not have ordination of Elders turn'd into a consecration after the manner of the Priests.
  • 2. What was done to the Priests, was not performed by any Ec­clesiasticall person, but by Moses the chief Magistrate of the people: but you are not so weary of ordination, as to transferre it from the Presbyterie to the Magistracie.
  • 3. The Elders of the new Testament are rather the successors of the Levites, then of the Priests; because there is no Hierarchie [Page 56]amongst them; and therefore the pattern of their ordination, is rather to be followed then the ordination of the Priests, and yet not to gratifie us. Consult better the next time with Scripture, before you proceed to such triumphing.


When the Apostles were sent out by Christ, The words of the Answer to 32. q. p. 71. there was no mention of Ordination in that Commission of theirs, but only of teaching and baptizing, Mark. 16.15. Matth. 18.19, 20. If Ordination of Ministers had been such a speciall work, there would be like have been some mention of it in their Commission.

Neither is there mention of the celebration of the Eucharist. Answer.

The Eucharist is an ordinance, Reply. sealing the same Covenant that Baptisme sealeth; therefore the Apostles having Commission for the one, could not want it for the other, though it be not men­tioned.

Preaching and Baptizing were first to be done to the Nations, Answer. there­fore they are there mentioned.

That is not the sole reason: Reply. but because they were principall works, and in reference to the subject persons about which they were exercised more Apostolicall; for they might preach and baptize in all the world: whereas ordinary Officers, in an ordinary way, may not do such works in all the world, but only in the Church.

We find the Apostles did practise ordination, Answer. and yet we suppose they went not beyond their Commission, Acts 6. & c. 13. & 14. and a Commission to Elders we reade, 1 Tim. 5.

The Position saith not, Reply. that ordination was not within their Com­mission, but saith, That there is no mention thereof, when they first received their Commission, and the page out of which the Position is exerted, makes mention of some other [Page 57]works, within their Commission, not mentioned, viz. Prayer; and Acts 6.4. is quoted for it.

But indeed, Brother, you are injurious to the Authors of those words of the Answer to 32. q. p. 71. for Ordination is not denied to be within the Commission of the Apostles, but those Reverend men do grapple with Hierarchicall persons, in that place; and we see no rea­son why you should take offence thereat, if you would not have your self judged to be one of them; their words are these: Some, indeed, have so highly advanced ordination, that they have preferred it above preaching, ministring of Sacraments, Prayer; making it, and the power of excommunication, the two incommunicable prerogatieves of a Bi­shop, above an ordinary Minister; who are these sons? Prelaticall mens: against them, the Authors of the Position fight: And first would beat them with the words of the Apostles first Commission, which was to preach and to baptize; and afterwards they do shew, that preaching was the great work that they were to attend upon; and do alledge 1 Cor. 1.17. for it; and next after preaching they men­tion prayer, and alledge Acts 6.4. and then they speak of the Sacra­ments, not of Baptisme alone, but of the Lords Supper; So that Bro­ther, you had no reason to take such offence because of the Eucharist, for they gave it its due place in the Apostles Commission; after this, they render another reason, why preaching was a greater work then ordaining, because Paul went about the work of preaching, and left Titus (an inferiour Officer to himself) to the work of ordaining.

Indeed afterwards, when those Reverend men had proved that ordination was not superiour to Preaching, Baptisme, &c. they then indevour to shew, that it is not equall to those works, so as that none but those which may perform those works, may ordain; and they bring this Argument: Ordination being nothing else but the ac­complishment of Election, it may be performed by the people of God, (who yet have no office,) even as Election may upon whom it depends: and they bring the testimonies of many Protestant Writers, among the rest, D. Whitakers Answer to Bellarmine, If Bellarmine grant the calling of those Bishops to be lawfull, there is lesse cause why we should doubt of Ordination: For those who have the authority of calling, they have also the authority of ordaining, if a right ordination cannot be ob­tained; for Ordination follows Vocation: he that is called (by calling he means election) is, as it were, sent into the possession of his function.

You intimate that speciall works which the people might not do, Answer. are mentioned in that Commission, which if you stand to, you must deny the people power, either to baptize or to preach; if these words be not a Commission to the Apostles and Elders to ordain, I am sure they are no commission to un-officed men to preach or to ordain.

We conceive we differ not much from you in this matter, Reply. we are utterly against un-officed mens baptizing, and against their preaching in ordinary, except when they have been trained up to learning, and to the knowledge of the Scriptures, and are expectants of a call to execute the Ministery; and your selves in this case grant it; and you put difference betwixt preaching and baptizing, though they be joyned together in the Apostles Commission, for in no case will you let an un-officed man baptize, and yet for triall of gifts you think it fit to suffer an un-officed man to preach, from 1 Tim. 3.10.

POSITION XII.If that need so require, she may admo­nish her Offi­cers, and ex­comunicate. &c. T. W. to W. R. p. 39.

The Church hath power to censure her Officers if she see just occasion, Col. 4.17.

The Church at Coloss had other Elders besides Archippus, Answer. which might joyn with the people in admonition.

1. Reply. What Officers there were in that Church, or with that Church at that time, appeares not.

2. The command is directed to the Church without expresse consideration of any Officers amongst them, and though there should be Officers, yet the Brethren are not thereby excluded from joyning with the Officers in that which is commanded, Col. 4.17.

Paul bids Timothy fulfill his Ministery, Answer. 2 Tim. 4.5. this doth not suppose Timothy to be faulty, or to be under censure: And it may be Archippus, Pauls fellow-labourer, (Philemon, vers. 2.) was not faulty, and then this admonition was no censure; and therefore it is alledged to no purpose.

1. Reply. Expositors do judge him faulty; see Zanchy upon that place.

2. The Apostle saith to Timothy, make full proof of thy ministery, but bids them say to Archippus, fulfill it. Now there is difference betwixt these two; the former respects persons, himself and others, [Page 59]whom he should assure of it; the latter respects the work it self in duties of it; and the one of these may also be without the other.

3. It is one thing when the Apostle a superior, writing to a perso and inferiour, and one who did depend upon him, gives him much good counsell, and amongst other things, injoynes him to make full proof of his ministery, and another thing, when the Apostle writing to a people, without any occasion of such an exhortation, and with­out mingling the injunction of this duty with other exhortations of like nature, doth excite them in an abrupt manner, to say to Archip­pus, see to the Ministery, &c. For the former we have many patterns, which yet imply not faultinesse, 1 Pet. 5.1, 2, 3. Tit. 2. ult. For the latter, where is there any parallel place? Though therefore Timo­thy, whom the Apostle exhorts, may be without fault; yet there is strong presumption that Archippus (whom the people ordinarily must heare in silence, but now are put upon it to admonish him) was not.

Neither doth admonition alwayes suppose authority, Answer. for this may be an act of charity as well as of authority.

Church-admonition is some degree of censure; Reply. for it is a leading step to higher censure, till at last it come to excommunication; call it what you will, liberty, power, or authority, yet censure it is, and that is all the Position doth assert.

Private members cannot censure judiciously, Answer. or unchurch the Con­gregation, though they be hidden; Plead with their mother, plead, Hosea 2.2.

If they may plead, then they may withdraw when the Congrega­tion is obstinate; and so from their Officers, Reply. when they will no be re­claimed; which though it be not judiciall and positive censure, yet must be granted to be negative.

The Colossians were as well to cause that Epistle to be read in the Church of Laodicea, as to say to Archippus, &c. yea, Answer. the word cause seems more authoritative, then say ye, yet our Brethren hold not that one Church hath power to cause any thing to be done in another Church; if it had been said, Cause Archippus, &c. and say to Laodicea, you could have made notable use of it.

Cause, in the originall is, [...], not command yee, but work yee; Reply. effect yee, indeavour yee, that it be read; and so interpreted, it is not so authoritative as say yee; for say ye, take heed, seems to be [Page 60]more imperative: if it had been said, Say yee to Laodicea, see that you read this Epistle, and of Archippus, indeavour yee, that Archippus ful­fill his ministery (for the Greek word translated cause, imports no more) we could have made lesse use of it.

Finally, Answer. the Church cannot excommunicate their whole Presbyterie, no more then the Presbytery excommunicate the whole Church,Cottons Keys, pag. 16. only she may withdraw from them, &c.

This withdrawing is a negative excommunication, Reply. which is some kinde of censure, though not so authoritative as the positive; and more then this we plead not for.

POSITION XIII.This Text is much insi­sted on, and weekly con­tributions for the Minister, grounded up­on it.

These Officers are to be maintained by contri­bution every Lords day, 1 Cor. 16.1.

You do not maintain all your Officers, Answer. not your Ruling Elders, though the Text, 1 Tim. 5.17. doth as cleerly hold out the maintenance, as the lawfulnesse: The Apostles rule was not generall, but only in the Churches of Galatia and Achaia vers. 1. nor perpetuall, for those ga­therings were to cease when Paul came; nor for any Officers, qua Offi­cers, but for the poor; not their own Church neither, but of the church of Jerusalem, which was a singular and extraordinary case, &c.

We conceive you meet not with this Position (as you do not with some other) in scriptis, Reply. in our writings; for we should then have been sent to the Author in the margent; but in stead thereof, you salute us with these words, This text is much insisted on, &c. in dis­course we suppose betwixt some one and your self; you should have done well to have named the person, because some of us have had conference with you about this matter, and it may be thought you intend us, but then you deal not fairly: for that Text hath been alledged by us, and more Texts with it, to prove another thing, viz. the raising and maintaining of a stock of money in the Church, out of which may be taken proportions for every good purpose; and so for the Ministers maintenance, as need shall require; and our practice is su­table hereto.

Now to give better satisfaction, both of our opinion and [Page 61]practice, we shall discover our present apprehensions: thus,

1. We do apprehend tythes to be Jewish maintenance, See Jo. Selden of Tythes. because they were settled upon the Levites, upon consideration of having no inheritance amongst their brethren, and were appointed toge­ther with offerings, Mal. 3.8. and had a particular respect to the Priesthood; for the tythe of the Levites was to be tythed and given to the Priests, Nehem. 10.38.

2. Neither do we see ground for settled, slinted maintenance to last from yeere to yeer, if it must arise from the Church, and not come from the state, as in some countries it doth; because, if the Church must maintain the Ministery among them, as God blessed them (and a more equall rule then that, there can none be found;) then except they could settle Gods blessing, and make it to abide with men in an equall manner, without increase or decrease the maintenance may not be settled; and this also is an argument against tythes: There is a great inequality in tythes, and in all settled maintenance, if not un­righteousnesse; persons whose estates arise from trading, and con­sist in goods (not having any lands) in some places pay nothing to the Ministery out of duty, and so the countrey maintains the Mini­stery of the town, though many Chappels, perhaps, be robbed there­by, (we give instance in Manchester) whereas the towne is far more able to maintain their own Ministery, and the countries also round about them; and persons who are much poorer in estate then others, but have larger lands then they, though others (lesse in lands) can buy them twice or thrice over; yet pay more, because of their lands then they: and if houses be rated, or mens present estate valued, and maintenance setled in the just proportion; yet because mens estates are like the Moon, in the increase some of them, and others of them like it in the decrease, it will soon grow unto an inequality again; Besides, mens estates lie many times where their persons in­habite not, neither can inhabite; and then their estates go to main­tain a Ministery to which they do belong not, and they are so much the more disabled in supporing the Ministery to which they do belong. And this setled visible maintenance can be the mainte­nance but of peaceable times, when the Magistrate is a Christian, and countenanceth Religion; for in the Apostles dayes, and afterwards for three hundred yeers together, while the ten Persecutions lasted, there neither was, nor could be on foot any such maintenance. But [Page 62] the Church treasury duly kept up by contributions, according as God blesseth every man, will afford maintenance while the Church hath any thing, at all times; whether peaceable or troublesome; whether the Magistatre be a Christian or a Heathen.

3. This maintenance out of the stock of the Church, we think we see most warrant for from the new Testament, and as most probable we once disputed it with you, and some other Brethren: but nei­ther then, nor now, are we peremptory in it.

1. We considered how Christ and the Apostles were maintained in the work of the Ministery, and we finde that they had a Stock of monies, which came (partly at least) by contribution, Luke 8.2, 3. and out of this stock was taken for the poor also, as from Joh. 13.29. appeares: see Junius Junius Ecclesiast. pag. 1954.

2. We consider what was done in the Apostles times, after Christ was taken from them, in the dayes of the first Christian Church, Acts 2.45. & 4.35. there was a stock then, but raised after an ex­traordinary way, and yet by free contribution; they brought their whole estates, and put them into a common stock; which was but a temporary businesse, and not astrictive unto all times. Now out of this common stock, the Apostles themselves, and all others that had need were maintained; and the Apostles had at first the oversight of this stock.

3. After this, upon the occasion mentioned, Acts 6.1. there were Deacons chosen, which had the oversight of the treasure of this Church; for the Apostles gave themselves to the Ministery of the Word, and to Prayer, Acts 6.4. and neither meddled with receiving, nor with disposing of what was contributed: The Deacons took that burden from off them; so that now they received all, and disposed of all:Junius Eccles. p. 1954 if any brought their estate, they laid it down at the Deacons feet; and if any distribution was made, the Deacons made it; the Apostles meddled with nothing. So then the work was the same, which the Deacons managed, with that which the Apostles had before managed, only it was in other hands, the Deacons came into the Apostles place; hence it followes, that if the distribution was made as every one had need, when the Apostles had the oversight, and if themselves had a share, as their need required, and other la­bourers with them; then it was so afterwards, when the Deacons were intrusted in it; so then the Deacons Office was to receive into [Page 63] stock, and to take out, and dispose as either the labourers, or poore Saints had need; and their Office was not to oversee the poor alone, as our Brother would suggest.Junius Eccles. p. 1954 Deacons do di­stribute to the necessary uses of the Church, viz. the suste­nance of the Ministers of the Church.

4. This Office of the Deacon is not temporary, but perpetuall in the Church, as from 1 Tim. 3.8. appeares, and our Brethren do ac­knowledge it; therefore the work of receiving, and disposing the treasure of the Church is perpetuall, therefore there must be a constant stock, unto which the contributions must be brought, and out of which distribution must be made; therefore though contributing of whole estates lasted not, yet some other manner of contributing came in the room thereof; else the Deacons Office would fall to the ground for want of work; for they could not distribute out of no­thing: Hence it is that a commandement comes forth from the Apostle, Rom. 12.13. to distribute to the necessity of the Saints; and Hebr. 13.16. to do good, and to communicate; and another com­mandement which respects the necessity of the Ministers, Gal. 6.6. Let him that is taught in the Word, communicate to him that taught him in all good things; the word (though diversly translated in the English) is yet but one in the Greek, and signifieth to communicate.

5. But this comunicating or contributing, or distributing (for all these are one) to the necessity of Saints, and to the necessity of the Mi­nisters, which will be granted to be a perpetuall duty in all ages, doth not uphold the Deacons Office, except the Deacons do receive it; that so out of it they may dispose portions of it, as need shal require; there­fore to the Deacons this contribution must be brought: and we are induced the rather to think so, because it is commanded under a word, which often signifies Church-communion; and the Apostles meaning may well be, that it should be upon dayes when the Church meets in communion; and giving and receiving are actions of communion, Phil. 4.15. and therefore sutable to such meetings in communion; (in the interim, we would not be understood as though we meant to exclude all private distributing, or communicating to the necessities either of Saints or Ministers, though we conceive pub­like contributions to be principally intended.) Hence it is, that Dea­cons are called [...], 1 Cor. 12.28. which being interpreted, may import a person that receives some thing for another; and it may beare receiving of a just reward for another, and so a receiving not for the poor Saints alone, but a reward for the labourers also.See Scap. Lex.

[Page 64] 6. But how must the Deacons receive the Churches contribution? must they gather it from house to house? that would be an endlesse toil, and dishonourable also. Contribution or communication is cal­led a sacrifice, Heb. 13.16. Now sacrifice was wont to be brought to the door of the Tabernacle, and it comes most freely, when it is thus brought; but when must it be brought? when the Church meets; and when meets the Church? constantly upon the Lords Day; there­fore, these contributions must be brought upon the Lords Day; but up­on which Lords days must this be done? upon those only upon which there is occasion of distributing something? or at other times? sure­ly at other times; else it might come to passe, that they might have nothing in deposito, nothing in the stock: then many a person that needs can many times have nothing; for the case may be such, that the need cannot tarry till the Lords Day come, and the person may be gone, that needs, before that time come; now there ought alwayes to be something in readinesse to supply needs in cases of such urgencie; therefore this contribution ought to be every Sabbath day: that as there may be daily occasions of distributing, there may be constant supply in contributing. To prove this, we have alledged 1 Cor. 16.1, 2. and so far as we have made use of this Text, we conceive we have not wrested it.

1. We confesse, that the occasion of this institution was collecti­on for the poor Saints; and not their own poor Saints neither, but the poor Saints at Jerusalem.

2. We confesse, that there are no other Churches mentioned upon whom this institution was injoyned, but the Church at Corinth, and the Churches of Galatia, which our brother saith, was larger then England. Notwithstanding, if we consider severall particulars of the Injunction, we may probably conjecture, that he had a further scope in the commandement, then the occasion doth import.

1. He brings a great many of Churches, not to the doing of the du­ty alone, but to the same way of doing it; the Churches of Galatia, which were many; and that at Corinth; and there cannot be a rea­son rendered why all other Churches that were called to the duty, should not be bound to the same manner of doing also, and so the Churches of Macedonia, and that at Rome will be brought under this Injunction; for they were called to the same work of relieving the Saints at Jerusalem, as well as the Churches of Galatia and Corinth. Rom. 15.26.27.

[Page 65] 2. The Apostle bindes the performance of this contribution to the Lords Day in all these Churches, if he had had no scope to make this an Ordinance in all the Churches, he might have pitcht it upon some other day.

3. He saith, every first day of the week (that is, every Lords Day,) so it is translated in the Geneva Bible, and so the Preposition [...] is often rendered, as Scapula observes, and give instances abundantly, [...], is in every yeer, [...], is every moneth, [...], is every word, [...] is every person, [...], is vicatim, [...], is domesticatim, [...], is viritim, street by street, house by house, man by man; we have twice together the Preposition so ta­ken, Acts 2. ult. [...], day by day, [...], house by house; now what reason can be rendered, why this contribution must be every Lords Day, in reference to the Church of Jerusalem alone? for they might have given what they could have spared at once; or if it were a great deal that they were to give, they might have had the longer time allotted them, and yet have given it at once; or the richer and the abler might have given it at once, and the rest at twice, or thrice, or four times; but they must give it Lords Day by Lords Day, without missing one Lords Day; this seems to hold forth, that Paul meant it for a standing Ordinance, and that his scope was by weekly contributions, to raise a stock in the Churches, out of which might be taken, without gathering.

4. They are bound under this Injunction of first dayes contribu­tions, without any time set them of ceasing the same; for though our Brother say, those gatherings were to cease when Paul should come, and alledge vers. 2. for it, yet we finde no such thing there; he saith, vers. 2. That there may be no gatherings when I come, our Brother gives this interpretation, that collections may cease when I come, but is not he guilty herein of corrupting the Text, more then we? for the true meaning is, that it may be in readinesse when I come, and that there may not be need to gather for it when I come; for when it is in the stock already, there will be no need of gathering for it; and the Greek words are against his exposition, but agree well with ours, [...], which words are truly thus translated, that not when I come, then gatherings be made, he is di­verse (I think) from Paul, in his exposition of Pauls words, he would have gatherings then to cease, Paul would not have them then to [Page 66]begin; for should they then begin, there would be nothing in stock, and so nothing in readinesse, when use should be made thereof.

5. Consider the manner of performing this act: every one must put apart somewhat, or lay by him; What? to keep it with him, and not part with it? not so: for he must treasure it up, as the Greek carries it; or put it into the treasury; What treasurie? his own private treasury? no; for then it needed not to have been up­on the Lords Day, for any other day would have served for such a private act; and then there would have been gathering together what every man had put into his own private treasury when Paul came; and this would have been unreadinesse, which Paul labours to prevent; it was then the common treasury which the Church had when they met, into which every one did put what he provided for such a businesse; thus a stock was raised in all these Churches by an every Sabbaths contribution.

But it will be said still, that this respecteth the poor Saints at Je­rusalem only.

But every Church hath, or may have poor Saints of her own; which way must they be relieved? must not they be provided for the same way, as the poor Saints of other Churches? What reason can be shewed that the poor of other Churches must be provided for by one way or rule, and the poor of their own Church by ano­ther way or rule? or, if there be any difference; do not a Churches own poor, rather require a weekly contribution for their reliefe, then the poor abroad of other Churches? therefore we said, at the be­ginning, that we conceived the Apostle to have a further meaning then the occasion did import.

Besides, seeing there are Lords Dayes contributions throughout the yeer, in all the Belgick churches for the poor; upon what Scriptures do they bottome them, if not upon this? there is par ratio, like rea­son without all doubt, that look how the Apostle would have re­liefe come in, to the Saints of Jerusalem; so he would have it come in to the Saints of every Church that wants it; and that is by raising a stock in the Church for all good uses by first dayes contributions.

But wherein doth this Stock or Treasury of the Church respect Ministers?

The stock raised by selling of estates, and laying them down at the Apostles feet, respecteth not the Saints alone, but the very Apostles; [Page 67]why then should not the stock raised by an every Sabbaths contribution respect Ministers? If we will take Chemnitius his opinion, (whose harmony upon the Gospel is not a litle set by)Chem. har. p. 182 period. hist. de anno Christ. 12. he tells us, the Doctors in Christs time, that preached, were maintained by contribution: he saith the treasury into which Christ beheld many rich ones casting in much, and the poor widow all her substance, was to maintain the Doctors; he also joynes the poor with the Doctors, and saith, that the Treasury was for both uses, see John 8.20. and compare it with Mark. 12.41.

Having given an account of our tenent and grounds whereupon built, and our conceptions upon 1 Cor. 16.1, 2. we need not frame any other Reply unto your Answer (Brother,) for the intelligent Reader will discern, what little truth in some things, and little sub­stance in other things there is in what you have presented in that matter; only, because you charge us with unrighteousnesse, and par­tiality in point of our not maintaining our Ruling Elders, we shall clear our selves in a few words.

1. We conceive all Officers are to have some maintenance; the la­bourer is worthy of his hire; provided that he either require it, or the Church be able to give it.

2. We conceive that there is a difference in the works of Officers; some are greater, taking up the whole time and strength of the Of­ficers double work being put upon them, ruling and labouring in the Word and Doctrine; so there should be difference in the mainte­nance of Officers, some ought to have more then others.

3. When the Church is not able to maintain her teaching Officers with an honourable maintenance; then if the ruling Officers and the Deacons will remit what ever reward from the Church their work calls for; 'tis no unrighteousnesse nor partiality in the Church to main­tain the teaching Officers, and not the rest; because their works do not so require the whole man, but that they may have other Cal­lings to help themselves, by which means they may spare the Church in her poverty, in point of maintenance.

4. Your self may do well to consider whether the ruling Elders and the Deacons be maintained in the Presbyterian Churches; and if it be an error not to do it, it is good to pull out that beam out of your own eye, and then you may see the better to take it out of your brothers eye.


The great Mountain burning with fire cast in­to the Sea, upon the sounding of the second Trumpet, Rev. 8.8, 9. is applied by some good Writers to those times in which Constantine brought settled endowments into the Church.

If it be so applyed by some good Writers, Answer. who possibly bad in their eyes the Lordly, and almost regall riches and pomp of Prelates; it is by as many, and as good writers applyed otherwise.

Our brethren speak modestly and moderately: Reply. they tell us, it is applied so by some good Writers; It is not therefore their own novell exposition; they present it as probable, they force the interpretati­on upon no man. But what are your exceptions against it?

For my part, Answer. as I sinde that Constantines donation, the foundation of this exposition, is but a fiction, accounted by Gratian himself to be but palea (and what is the chaffe to the wheat?) So I finde in the Prophe­cies, that Kings and States are called Mountains, Zach. 4.7. Casting of Mountains into the Sea, implyeth great commotions, Psal. 46.2. Their burning with sire, signifieth their opposition and fiercenesse, whereby they become destroying Mountains, Jer. 51.25.

1. Reply. We are not at a little want of books; and therefore are not able to make an exact search either after the truth or falshood of this matter; But let Constantines donation of the Popes patrimony, be a Fiction and Palea; yet we suppose it may be cleerly evidenced from credible Authors, that Constantine brought in great riches and pomp, setled endowments to the Clergie of the Church, and that is all that is affirmed in the Position.

2. If Kings and States be called Mountains, so is prosperity in riches and honours, Psal. 30. Thou hast made my Mountain so strong, (that is) my condition so prosperous: And Sea in Scripture is the Church sometimes, or the Religion of the Church, Rev. 13.1. & 15.2. therefore casting of a Mountain into the sea, may be bringing prosperity, and casting riches and honours upon the Church: and [Page 69]though Mountains should be taken in your sense for Kings, when almost regall riches and honours were cast upon Prelates of the Church, may it not be said, a mountain was cast into the Sea? And may it not well be said to be a burning Mountain, when the ambiti­on of Prelates after Church indowments and honours, almost set the Christian world on fire? and the hot contestations of Ecclesi­asticall persons for Church-livings do testifie, that if prosperity in wealth and honour be a mountain, then it was a burning mountain; and had such effects following it, as the Prophecies in the Revelati­ons speak of: But you go on and say,

I finde not that it is unlawfull, either for a yeer, as in New-England, Answer. [...]. to [...]. R. p. 19. Reply. or for certain yeers, or for term of life; much lesse do I finde that it is lawfull for one, and not for a yeer & a quarter, or two, or three, or four yeers.

Though T. W. speak of maintenance from yeer to yeer, yet it is not to be understood that there is any compact betwixt Ministers and the Church, how much the Ministers must have before the work be begun; but it is the consultation of the Church after the work hath been performed, or a consideration for the yeer past, when they all agree; that if there be not enough in the slock of the Church to raise it up to an honourable allowance, by the voluntary gift of each; yet, according as God hath blessed them, Otherwise were it an agreement aforehand it would be as lawfull for two or three yeers as for one. But how you will answer your mis-interpreting and mis-reporting of T. W. in the page you cite wherein he doth ex­presse himself as we have shewed, we understand not.


There must be in the Church Teachers, This for sub­stance is al­ledged by Answ to 32. q. p. 75. and many others. distinct from Pastors, as Apostles are distinct from Euange­lists, Ephes. 4.11.

That Text proves not the same distinction between them; for he saith, Answer. Some Apostles, and some Prophets, &c. but not some Pastors, and some Teachers; but some Pastors and Teachers; or rather, these Apostles, these Prophets, these Euangelists, these Shepheards and Teachers, which words seeme but to explicate one another; as Shep­heard and Bishop do, 1 Pet. 2.25. [Page 68] [...] [Page 69] [...]

You crosse the opinion of many Orthodox modern Writers, Reply. while you speak contradictorily to us; for it is not our tenent alone, but the judgement of many learned ones, that they are distinct Of­fices. Whether you translate some Apostles, or these Apostles, the mat­ter is not weighty, nor are you advantaged by it.

The greater question is, who these Teachers be, and what their work is; whether they be School Doctors, as Junius Jun. Eccles. lib. 2. cap. 5. p 1955 thinks, and so their work to train up the youth of the Church in the knowledge of Arts and Sciences, especially of Divinity for the service of the Church; or whether they be Teachers of the whole Church, and their work to doctrinate the Church by words of knowledge. The latter seems to be more consonant to the Scripture then the former, Rom. 12.7, 8. 1 Cor. 12.8. And Zanchy, Pareus, Bucer, and many others, are of this judgement. Zanchy's words are these: There are only five orders of Ministers in the Church, Zanc. de Feel. milit. guber­natione, tom. 8. p. [...]4 [...]. instituted by Christ; and then under this Position are these words, We acknowledge not more kindes of Ministers then the Apostle expresseth in Ephes. 4.11. Apostles, Euangelists, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers. The three first were not tied to places, but were sometimes here, and sometimes there, either to gather Churches, or to govern them, to plant, or to water them: The two latter, viz. Pastors and Teachers, he would have to be set apart for the con­servation and government of particular Churches: as also for the augmentation and propagation of them. Pareus upon Rom. 12.7. hath these words: Now he under puts two kindes of prophecies; the gift of teaching, which is proper to the Doctor or Teacher; the gift of exhorting, which is proper to the Pastor of the Church: for Paul, in Ephes. 4. distinguisheth Pastors and Teachers, and the gifts of the Spirit were distinct; for to some were given a most cleere revelati­on and understanding of doctrine; these did attend to the explication of the heads of Religion, and did form the faith of the Church: to others was given a faculty of exhorting. Bucer also upon Rom. 12.7. saith thus: One man hath the gift of propecie, another hath the gift of mi­nistring; so the person that teacheth, having the gift of teaching, in doctrine, so the person that exhorteth (the person that teacheth, he makes distinct from the person that exhorteth) endued with the gift of exhortation; and then he mentions the Deacon and Ruling Elder, as distinct with their gift from the rest. So that if we do put any false glosse upon the Scriptures, by mis-interpreting of Ephes. 4.11. [Page 71]yet more modest language had becomed you, (brother) seeing such Reverend, Learned men, whom your self so much honour, have gone before us in the exposition.


This particular Congregation is Sion, This Text is frequently al­ledged in answ. to 32. q. and others. which God loveth, and he hath promised to be pre­sent, Matth. 18.20.

No Sir, it is not Sion, but one of the assemblies of Sion, Isai. 4.5. Answer. The Hebrewes which were divided in many Congregations, are not said to be come into many mount Sions, but to Mount Sion, Heb. 12. The Scripture warrants not the expression of an hundred, or a thousand Sions.

Sion was a mountain contiguous unto Moriah, Reply. upon which the Temple was built, in which God vouchsafed a speciall presence, and unto which the Tribes went up; and by a Metonymie, it is frequently put for the Temple that was built neer to it; and by another Meto­nymie, it is put for the people that repaired thither, and assembled there; and so for the Church of the Jewes, which Church, in the times of the old Testament, consisted of many assemblies, and yet it self was but one Church; and the Temple also was but one, which was called Sion; and so Sion, while the Temple was to stand, and the Church of the Jewes was to continue, was but one. But in the times of the Gospel, there were to be no visible Temples where God would dwell, but the visible Church, 2 Cor. 6.16. and the visible Church is Congregationall, and not Nationall, much lesse universall, as hath been proved; therefore the Congregationall church is Sion, therefore the speciall place of Gods presence.

Yet this hinders not, but that the language of the old Testament, when it speaks of things of the new Testament, may be used in the old Testament; yea, in the new also: as in Zach. 14.19. Isai. 66.20, 21. So when Sion in the new Testament is spoken of in Isaiah 4.5. there may be an allusion in phrase and manner of speaking to Sion in the old Testament. We may as well reade of the assemblies of Sion, though there be no such thing, but each assemblie is Sion, as of the [Page 72] Feast of Tabernacles, when yet in the dayes of the Gospel there is no such thing as a feast of Tabernacles, but it is spoken by way of allusi­on; the things of the new Testament are set forth to us under the shadowes of the old; therefore, because Sion was then but one, it is spoken of as one still, and yet it is more then one.

Now that there are many mounts Sions, your self doth really con­fesse, though in words you contradict it.

1. We know you hold that the Church of the Jews in the dayes of the old Yestament, was called Sion.

2. We know you hold, that the visible Church in the dayes of the Gospel is Sion.

3. Is it not manifest therefore, that you hold, that look how many visible churches there are in the times of the Gospel, so many Si­ons there are? Your own words are, that the Hebrews, which were divided in many Congregations, are said to be come to one mount Sion. If so, then the Congregations of the Christian Gentiles may well be another mount Sion; And if the Nationall church of the Jewes, with the assemblies thereof were mount Sion: why may not every Nati­onall-church of Christians with the assemblies thereof (we speak now in your language) be Sion also? and then there being many Nationall churches, (as you say) there are many Sions.

And what greater absurdity is it to say, there are an hundred, or a thousand; Sions, then to say, there are an hundred, or a thousand Churches? Seeing Sion and Church are all one. Now you know there were many visible churches in Judea, Galatia, Macedonia, Asia, and many other places, and if (then) so many, how many more now? therefore many Sions; and because those many churches then, and these now, we believe to have been, and still to be Congrega­tionall; therefore every Congregationall Church we hold to be Sion.

But you ask an odde strange needlesse (to say no worse of it) question with a great deal of vehemency, Answer. viz.

Have you not found God present in our Assemblies? Have you not by faith closed with the promises in the use of the Ordinances among us? Speak out: I know you dare not belie your selves, us, and God him­self, &c. Reply.

Your question is bottomed upon a mistake; when we say, that God hath promised to be present in Sion; you give this glosse upon it, that we deny all your Assemblies to be Sion, and will not grant Gods [Page 73]presence at all to be with you: and that we appropriate Sion and Gods presence to our selves; which is a great injury to us.

You also put this sense upon our words, that God is so present in Sion, that he is present no where else, and so not present with holy men and women which are out of Church-fellowship, nor present with members of many churches meeting together, which either is a foul mistake, or a slander: For we think God to be present with his people, when they meet in his feare, whether they be Church-members, or not Church-members; whether they be of one, or many churches; whether they be in our assemblies or yours, provided that his Ordinances be carried according to his minde: yea, though there should be some error, yet he might give his presenceRev. 2.1. with Rev. 2.14.20.. Much rather do we think God will be present with persons whom he sets on work to exalt him in the execution of some office, as he did the Apostles; and now doth ordinary Elders. Neverthelesse, we con­ceive God to be most present with his people gathered into a body, and compacted together in an instituted Church, which we hold to be Con­gregationall; and the reason is, because the more any people do fall into the order of the Gospel, and come into the way of Christ, which he hath appointed for Saints to walk in; the more Christ is ingaged to be present with them. Now to joyn to some instituted Church of Christ is that way and order which Christ hath directed to; there­fore with them in such a way (as so united and joyned) Christ will more especially be present: for he vouchsafeth a speciall presence amongst such Churches, Rev. 2.1. he styles himself one that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; he walks in other places and people, but he would intimate thus much, that his especiall de­lightsome walk is among them, and the more golden the candle­sticks are, the more pure they be, the more delight he takes to walke in the midst of them.

But Matth. 18. you say is mis-interpeted; Your words are these: Answer.

Christ, in Matth. 18. promiseth his presence to those that are not a Church; for two or three will not make a Church; they (vers. 17) were to give the second admonition, the Church the third.

There is a figure in the number, Reply. there is a certain number put for an uncertain; two or three are put for a few; the paucity that may be in a Church, shall be no obstacle of Christs presence. Pareus upon this Text, hath these words: It is an argument that the judgement of [Page 74]the Church shall be ratified, because Christ himself will be present in the Church as supreme Judge to ratifie it: it is also a generall promise of the presence of the grace of Christ in his Church, be it great or small. Now surely we shall lesse doubt our exposition having so learned a Com­mentator so well approved of, to stand by us in the same.


So long as a Believer doth not joyn himself to some particular Congregation, he is without in the Apostles sense, 1 Cor. 5.12.

Those without, Answer. of whom the Apostle speaketh, were unbelievers, Pa­gans, and Heathen; without Christ, as well as without the visible Church.

Let it be granted that those whom the Apostle speaks of were both without Christ, Reply. and without the visible Church, yet it may be securely affirmed that the Apostle speaks of them under the notion of such as were without the visible church, and not of those that were without Christ.

1.Singuli de suâ familia judi­cant, non im­mittunt con­suram in alie­nam samiliam. Ergo, in Ec­clesia similis servetur ra­tio ut singulae desuit mem­bris judicent, Aretius in 1 Cor. 5. Because those (without) whom the Apostle had not to do to judge, stand in opposition to those within, vers. 12. the latter part, whom the Church of Corinth had to do to judge, and consequently (if this exposition of yours be true) the judgement of the Church of Corinth extended as far as the ultima Thule, the lands end of Chri­stianity; and only ceased when it came to the consines of Paganisme; and consequently any one Church hath power to judge any one Be­liever in all the world, because (say you) he is not without in the Apostles sense; that is to say, he is not a Pagan, Heathen, or unbeliever.

2. Suppose the Apostle had known a member of the Church of Corinth (what ever he appeared outwardly in the frame of his con­versation) to be indeed without Christ, and in a state of enmity with God; if this man had committed a grosse sin, might not the Apostle have judged such a one to be excommunicated? We suppose you will say, he might, and if so, we demand, why should a Church-unbeliever be subject to the Apostles judgement, and an Heathenish unbeliever be exempted from the Apostles judgement? If Church-membership [Page 75]did not make the one obnoxious to that spirituall judge­ment more then the other? For in the notion of unbelievers, and without Christ they both agree; and therefore if a Heathen were exempted from judgement, because without Christ, and not for this reason, because without the visible Church; why should not a Church-unbeliever be exempted as well as a Heathen?

2. If we mistake not, a Believer not joyned to any particular con­gregation, is without, in reference to Church-judgement (and we sup­pose by vertue of this Text) in your Presbyterian calculation of Ec­clesiasticall power. For Classicall, Provinciall, and Nationall Synods, have a power of judging, or excommunicating those only, that are within the combination. Now these being representative Churches, he that is of no particular Congregation, is without the verge of Presbyte­riall power; or else it will follow, that the Presbyteriall Church hath power to excommunicate a person that is not within their com­bination; and if one, by the same reason a thousand, ten thousand, in eve­ry quarter and corner of the world. But, say you,

The Apostle opposeth Fornicators of the World, Answer. and Fornicators that are Brethren.

Persecution in the Primitive times (as it is at this day) was chiefly (if not only) levied against those who did joyn themselves to the Churches, to the enjoyment of Ordinances, Reply. or at least otherwise visi­bly (as Paul at his first conversion, by preaching) declared them­selves to be Christs Disciples. Hence those to whom God had given so much faith and constancy, as to be willing to expose themselves to persecution; these did inlist themselves in the Churches, frequen­ted their meetings, (which were observable by the Persecutors) and professed themselves of the fraternity of the Church, the Church looked on them as her members, and accordingly dispensed ordinances and censures to them, as they had need. Others there were, who, like Nicodemus, came to Christ by night; or like those chief Rulers, spo­ken of, Joh. 12.42. who, though they believe in Christ, yet they dare not confesse him, by publike joyning of themselves, to run all hazards with the Church. Hence it is, that no politick visible Church doth look upon these as of her fraternity; or doth dispence all ordinances and censures to them. Now the Brother that is opposed to the fornicators of the world, is not he, that by the internall and invisible grace of faith is a Brother, and of the mysticall body of Christ, though peradventure [Page 76]he dare not openly professe Christ. But such a one is [...], in the Church of Corinth, who is a named and professed Bro­ther; so looked upon, not only by the motherly eye of the Church, but oft times by the malitious eye of the world; though perad­venture they be not truly brethren, united with the rest of the faithfull people of God, as members of the mysticall body of Christ. 2. With such a one not to eat, presupposeth in an orderly way, a forbearing of voluntary civil and spirituall communion with the party upon this ground, that he is under censure in the Church. Now the power of Church-censures is not to be executed by the church-mysticall, but by the church-visible, as such; neither is it to be execu­ted upon the members of the Church-mysticall, as such, but upon the members of the visible church, whether they be in truth or only in appearance members of the mysticall church. So then For­nicators of the world, are to be understood of the world as it stands in opposition to the visible church, and so those that are of the mysti­call church may be fornicators of the world in that sense. And though by the lawes of Christ, concerning Church-discipline, every man be forbidden to eat with those that are known Fornicators, under church-censure in their own church; and by vertue of church-communion, with those that are fornicators, under censure in any other church: yet if one that is a member of the mysticall, but dares not professe his subjection to Christ in that particular, of joyn­ing himself to some visible church, shall be a fornicator, we know no law of Christ precisely concerning church-discipline, that interdicts a man to eat, in point of voluntary civill communion, with such a man, any more then if he were a Pagan, or Heathen.

But, Answer. say you, without are Dogs, and Sorcerers; such as the Apostle had not to do with: What have I to do, &c. vers. 12. (and yet he had to do with all Christians, by his illimited apostolike power, whether they be­long to that, or any other Congregation or no;) such as God judgeth, or are left to the immediate judgement of God: But this is not the case of Believers not joyned (especially in your sense of joyning) to a particular Congregation; nor do you (I hope) judge it to be the case of Believers in England and Scotland.

1. Reply. There might be Dogs, in the Apostolike Churches, as well as without, Phil. 3.2. and with such dogs Paul had to do with; Nay, he had to do with the dogs of the Gentiles; he received a key of [Page 77]knowledge, by which he was to open the Kingdome of heaven to them in case they would repent and believe, and to binde them under the guilt of impenitencie and infidelity, in case they would not repent and believe, Matth. 28.19. with Mark. 16.16. But those that Paul had not to do to judge, who are said to be with­out in this place, are all such as are contradistinguished to those that are within, with whom the Church had to do, by way of Ec­clesiasticall judgement. Now the church of Corinth had power of Ecclesiasticall judgement, over all, and only those which were within the combination of that church; and therefore Paul had nothing to do to judge them (that is to say, with the judgement mentioned in this place) which were out of this combination. Now what was this judgement? Answ. The judgement whereby the Apostle decrees, that the church of Corinth shall excommunicate fornicators, and con­sequently shall not eat with them. Now the Apostle had received no such power to judge those persons to excommunication, and that by the ministery of a church, that were never in fellowship with the church: But such persons (though for their crimes they may be subject to the judgement of the civill Magistrate,) yet in respect of Ecclesiasticall judgement they are left to the immediate judge­ment of God. And if this be not the case of Believers not joyned to a particular congregation, by whom shall those Believers be judged? Why shall this Congregationall, Classicall, Provinciall, Na­tional-church judge them, rather then that? May they be judged by all, or any one? Certainly they stand no more related to one then to another, which are members of none at all. Where shall the fault be charged, if judgement be not passed? We said before, if a church may judge one out the combination, why not a thousand, why not ten thousand? &c. yet we are far from judging those Be­lievers in England and Scotland which are not joyned in our Way of joyning to a particular Congregation, therefore to be altogether out of Church-combination, not capable of the Ecclesiasticall judgement of their Churches, and consequently subject to the immediate judgement of Christ.


The Elders are not Lords over Gods heritage, 1 Pet. 5.3. nor do exercise authority, as the Kings and Princes of the earth do; remembring our Sa­viours lesson, Matth. 20.25, 26 Luke 22.25, 26.

They are not so many Bishops striving for preeminence, Answer. as Diotrephes did, 3 Joh. vers. 9, 10.These Scriptures are alledged to 32 q p. 59. & 76. though not with such tartnesse a­gainst Presby­teriall govern­ment.

We will not say to you as Geta in the ComoedianTeren. in Phor. Reply. Nihil est Antipho quin male narrando possit depravarier; tu id quod boni est ex­cerpis, dicis quod mali. For you do not only leave out (in reciting) that which is good, but for want of an evill use made of these Scrip­tures by the Elders of New-England in the 32. Quest. you first insi­nuate, that such an ill use is made of the Text, and then confute your own fiction; for you say,

To say nothing that the title [...] is sometime translated Sir, Answer. and sometimes Lord, Joh. 12.21, &c.

You take up the Title [...], Reply. and tell us that it signifies Sir, and Lord, and that it is sometimes given to Elders amongst others, as if you had a minde to speak a good word for some kinde of Lordly power in Church-officers; but you lay it down again, and tell us,

Though Elders be not Lords over Gods heritage, Answer. yet they are Leaders and Guides; yea, Shepheards, Rulers, Overseers, Bishops, Govern­oure, and not only Presidents of the Congregation, Moderators of her actions, or, as the fore-men of the Jury.

And is not this to insinuate, Reply. that the Elders of New-England say, that the Elders are only Presidents of the Congregation, (I suppose you mean meerly for orders sake) Moderators of her actions, or as the fore-men of the Jury? Now there is not the least expression in either of the places, that so much as seems to smile upon such an assertion as you would father upon the Elders of New-England. Nay, do they not expressly say, that the Elders rule as Stewards, as Shep­heards, as Captains, as Guides, as Leaders? and doth this amount to no more (in your Arithmetick, then a bare presidency Moderatorship, or Fore-manship of a Jury, which doth not advance the person [Page 79]that carries the stamp of it one haires breadth above his Brethren in point of authority; But only one step before them in point of order. Whereas the Elders do not only state a Ministeriall authori­tative power in them, but also lay an obligation of duty upon the people towards their Officers, by vertue of 1 Thes. 5.12, 13. This is that that we judge to be your own fiction.

The other Text (say you, Answer. viz. Mat. 20.25, 26.) forbids Kingly or Lordly power in the Ministers of the Gospel: for the two Apostles still dreaming of a temporall kingdome, and being kinsmen to Christ, did ex­pect some temporall honour and advanaement. Christ saith not, there was inequality amongst the Priests of the Jews, and amongst the Priests of the Gentiles, or between the Priests and the people; but, it shall not be so among you: but very aptly and pertinently to their Petition an­swereth, The Princes of Gentiles, &c.

And would you indeed make the world believe by all this, Reply. that you are all this while, beating up the quarters of the Independents; when as in truth, this Text is urged by the Elders to no other pur­pose, but to deny a kingly, or Lordly power in Elders over their Bre­thren; but not to deny an authoritative ministeriall power in refe­rence to their Congregations? Therefore, they say, the Elders are forbidden to exercise authority as the Kings and Princes of the earth do, and they quote Mr. Baynes his Diocesan triall, Q. 2. p. 74. where he distinguisheth power into naturall, and morall; morall into Civill, and Ecclesiasticall; both into Kingly and ministeriall: asserting Kingly Ec­clesiasticall power to be in Christ; ministeriall in the Elders of the Churches; who, though they be Governours to the Church in the de­scending line of power, yet are they but servile or ministeriall Govern­ours in the ascending line that leads to Christ, from whom they re­ceive the Commission; because they do all ex mero alterius obsequio, by the meer will and command of another.

I, but by this Text they deny a kingly spirituall power, Object. whereas the Text speaks nothing of spirituall; but only of kingly secular power.

Admit that not only the two sons of Zebedee, Answer. but even all the Apostles that had been conversant with Christ, and heard his do­ctrine, from the beginning, were such babes, as to imagine that Christ would lay down his spirituall Kingdome over the souls and consciences of his people, and for their sakes over Angels, wicked men and devills in a way of soveraign power, and would take up a [Page 80]temporall kingdome, to divide inheritances, rule over the persons and estates of men. Nay, admit that the sons of Zebedee, or any, or all of the rest of the Apostles had their eyes so dazled with the lustre of this imaginary temporall kingdome, that they desired an eminencie one above another herein, nothing regarding an eminencie above others in the spirituall Kingdome: yet it will not follow, that Christ speaks nothing by way of reproofe of ambitious aspirings in the spi­rituall, but only in the temporall kingdome of Christ. Neither needed Christ, by expressing the inequality among the Priests, whether of Jewes or Gentiles, &c. amplifie and expresse the equality which he would have amongst the Ministers of the Church. For expressing the disparity betwixt civill polities of the world, and the spirituall po­lity of the Church, he doth that abundantly: saith he, It shall not be so amongst you as it is in the civill polities of the world: There one, or more, rule with Lordly power, the rest are in subjection; but in the discharge of your Apostolicall Commission, there shall be no such thing; but you shall be all of equall power; but if any will aspire to greatness in point of authority, above his brethren, let him be your minister, &c. as the Apostle taught afterwards, 1 Cor. 12.5. There are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord; Christ only rules with Lordly power over the Church, one Apostle, or Minister, hath no such power, nor any authority at all one over another: but are all fellow-ser­vants, having a ministeriall authority in reference to the houshold of the Church.

2. It holds true in this case, optimi corruptio fit pessima; though Church-officers, and offices are excellent things, whilest they retain their genuine vigor, and vertue according to the institution of Christ; yet are they most dangerous, when they grow degenerate and corrupt, and no corruption so dangerous as that which is Symbolicall in the common nature of Church-power, with that from which it doth de­generate. Hence it is, that corruption of Church-governours, in an usurpation of exorbitant Ecclesiasticall domination is of more dange­rous influence to the Church, then if they should usurp some parts, or branches of civill power. For as in naturall things we say, Ele­menta symbolica facilius transmutantur, so in morall things, corrupti­ons do more easily change things in some thing symbolicall with themselves, into their own degenerate property; like a disease that it most contagious to persons of the same blood. Aud therefore [Page 81]if inequality of civill power be forbidden, how much more inequa­lity in power Ecclesiasticall, which is the spawn; and rise of Antichri­stian tyrannie? Pastor, & Prel. p. 23. An­swer to Mr. Down. See pag. 81. 82. Mr. Pagets Defence. part 2. p. 29 The learned Clergie in the dayes of Hen. 8. confessed, there was no disparity of Ministers instituted by Christ, Act. & Mon.

Diotrophes being but one, was liker to a Prelate then a Prsby­terie, &c.

These words are brought to vindicate, 3 Joh. vers. 9, Reply. 10. from a supposed abuse by these words, They (viz. the Elders) are not so many Bishops, striving for preeminence, as Diotrephes did.

We must confesse, we had almost said; we wonder that your ink did not blush, to blot and blur such sweet, humble-spirited, holy and pertinent expressions, as you do in this place. Let your self once more, and the Reader, take a judgement of the passage, as it lies in its per­fect luster, in the Answer to the 32 Quest. The Question propounded by the Brethren of Old-Engand is this:

What authority or eminency have your Preaching-Elders above your Ruling-Elders?

To which the Elders of New-England frame this Answer.

‘It is not the manner of Elders amongst us, whether ruling on­ly, or ruling and teaching also, to strive for preeminence one above another; as remembring what lesson our Saviour taught his Disciples, when they were at strife among themselves, which of them should be the greatest, Luke 22.24, 25. If Diotrephes strive for preeminence, verily we abhor such striving; and by the grace of God, respect one another as Brethren.

Brother, where lies the fault, for which they lie under censure? Is it a fault that the Elders in New-England strive not for preemi­nence? If so, we suppose it lies in this, that their humble and brother-like walking, each towards other, condemnes the pride of those that will needs be striving for some kinde of preeminence, and Prelacy above their Brethren.

Juvtual. Satyr.
Patriam tamen obruit olim
Gloria paucorum, & laudis tituli (que) cupido.
— This formerly the countrey overthrew;
The lust for praise and titles, and the glory of a few.

Or, are they to blame to insinuate, that the Apostles censure upon Diotrephes, doth so frown upon those (whether Prelates or Presby­ters) [Page 82]that strive for preeminence, that it is a matter of abhorrency to them so to strive? Hinc illae lacrymae; hence it is that you say, Dio­trephes being but one, is liker to be a Prelate then a Presbyterie.

Brother, Reply. a horse in the abstracted notion of unity, being but one, is liker a Prelate then a Presbytrie that are many. But what of that? Prelacy doth not consist in unity, but in the usurpation of undue (that is to say, unscripturall) spirituall power over their Brethren; and in this capacity it is possible, that a Classicall Presbyterie may be as like Dio­trephes, as a Prelate; that is to say, if they take upon them a preemi­nence over their Brethren, as he did. 'Tis as truly Prelaticall when four­teen or fifteen exercise a jurisdictionall power over all their Brethren in a County; as when one man shall take upon him to exercise the power aforesaid in two or three severall counties. Perhaps the fourteen or fifteen (being better principled then the other) may do it with more gentlenesse and lesse offence, butMore and lesse do not alter the kind. magis & minus, non variant spe­ciem; and they may be bothAlike, if not equally. aequè, if not aequaliter, Prelaticall.

Yet John dod not blame him simply for acceping or having pre­eminence; Answer. or for taking upon him to answer in the behalf of the Church to which St John writ; or for ta­king to him the power of command­ing, forbidding, excommunicating; but for loving preeminence, (as Mat. 23.6, 7.) for not receiving the Apostles and Brethren; and prohibiting what he should have re­quired, and incouraged; and ex­communicating such as were the best members of the Church.

Reply. You might more pro­perly have said, usurping, or exercising preeminence: for ac­cepting presupposeth an offer made of the thing accepted: Now it is more then pro­bable, that the Church never offered him preeminence, both over the Apostle John, and over her self, that he should over-rule the Church, and cast out her best members at his pleasure; neither if she would, had she any such power.

Let it be granted that Diotrephes was an Elder of the Church of Corinth, Reply. Rom. 16.25. 1 Cor. 1.14. and so had a preeminence by vertue of Office over the Body of the Church, yet this is not the preeminence here spoken of, but an exorbitant preeminence, usurped over the whole; both the Elders his equalls, in power, and the fraternity (who though his inferiours, yet have a share and interest in the passing of excommunication, and other weighty affaires of the Church) expressed (as your self state it) [Page 83]in taking upon him to answer in the behalfe of the Church, com­manding, forbidding, excommunicating. Now say you, he is not simply blamed for accepting or having, but for loving preembrence, and exercising it corruptly, in regard of the things done and performed by him. It is said of corrupt Princes, Isaiah 1.23. Every one loveth gifts: by the same reason, that Diotrephes is excused from the guilt of soli­tary excommunication in regard of the materiality of the action; by the same reason may these Princes be excused from their bribery and corruption: And it may be said, the Prophet doth not reprove them for the receiving, but for the loving of gifts. When the thing is evill, there love, how moderate soever, is faulty, in this regard, that it is placed upon a wrong object. But where the thing is lawfull, a mo­derate and well tempered love of it is lawfull also: As for the Scribes and Pharisees, so far as they were men of chief rank and place,Mat. 23.6. for them to possesse and love to possesse with a well bounded love, the up­permost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in Synagogues, would not be unlawfull, but perhaps their ambition put them upon affecta­tion of places undue to them; and then their possessing them, and their [...], as Mark, [...], as Matthew and Luke; or, as Christ speaks, Luke 24 7. [...], they choose the chief rooms, and this [...], to be seen of men, being added to their possessing:

Digito monstrari, & dicier hic estTo be shewed by the singer, and to have it said, This is such One. is that which may justly be condemned by our Saviour: But the case which respecteth Dio­trephes may be this; it is probable that John writ about something that did concern Discipline, as the receiving of certain Brethren ei­ther to constant membership, or by vertue of church communion; now this was a businesse in which the fraternity had some interest, as well as Diotrephes and the rest of the Elders; and therefore the Apostle writes not to Diotrephes, or the Elders alone, but to the whole Church: also, because Quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus tractari debet; that which concerns all, must be handled by all. But Diotrephes riseth up, and he alone commands, forbids, excommunicates, and what can be more destructive of the power of the Presbyterie and liberty of the people, then such a course? and yet, say you, (or else you say nothing to the purpose) he is not blamed for it. If Diotrephes were not to blame, being but a particular Elder, to take upon him the power of the whole Eldership, yea, and the whole Church, why may [Page 84]not a particular brother take upon him the power to elect an Officer which belonge to the fraternity, or one Elder to ordain an Officer which pertains to the whole Presbyterie? Or in your Classick Way, why may not a particular Elder, a member of the Classis, exercise the jurisdiction of the whole Classis? why may not a Classis exercise the power of a Provinciall Synod? that of a Nationall; and the Nationall of the Oecumenicall Synod; and yet be blamelesse? the reason is, the same proportion that an Elder hath to the whole Eldership, the same, or far greater, have a brother to the whole fraternity, an Elder to the Classick, a Classick to the Provinciall, a Provinciall to the Nationall, and that to the Oecumenicall Synod.

But peradventure it was not unwittingly done by you, to put in the word simply for a retreat, in case you should be hotly charged for pleading the cause of Prelacie, under the notion of Presbyterie; and so you will say, you affirm not, that John doth not blame Diotrephes for having preeminence, but he doth not simply blame him for having preeminence. Now, if this be your meaning, and that you indeed grant that Diotrephes was blamed for striving for preeminence; why do you blame the Elders of New-England, for saying, that the Elders are not (i. ought not to be) so many Bishops striving for preeminence, as Diotrephes did?

But if it be said, that the force that is offered to the Text, lies not in this; that the Elders of New-England say, that if Diotrephes strive for preeminence, verely they abhor such striving, (for these are their words) but in this, that it is said, The Elders are not so many Bishops striving for preeminence, as Diotrephes did; which, perad­venture may have an oblique insinuation, that Classick Presbyters are so many Bishops, striving for preeminence; and it may be said, the text affords no such conclusion.

We answer; those words, so many Bishops, are no expression of the Elders of New-England, neither is the Text applied by them, to prove that Classick Presbyters are so many Bishops striving for preeminence.

I, but M. D. saith, a Classick Presbyterie sets up many Bishops in stead of one.

Peccat Aemilius, plectitur Rutilius. M. D. offends (if it be an of­fence,) and the Elders of New-England are beaten. Or, suppose that reverend, learned, and holy man, M. D. have let fall words which reflect with some blemish upon the Presbyterie, from the sense of [Page 85]what himself had suffered, yet your professed businesse is not to vin­dicate Presbyterie, but the Text. Now M. D. (we conceive, for we have not his book) doth not urge 3 John vers. 9, 10. to prove, that the Classicall Presbyterie sets up many Bishops in stead of one, and there­fore what thing soever he hath said, which offends in reference to the Presbyterie; yet he is not guilty of wrong-doing in reference to the Text.

I will not tell you who said, All the Church is holy; Answer. ye take too much upon you, &c.

Our consciences are unto us a thousand witnesses, Reply. that we have (and by the assistance of grace) hope ever to carry it with all gentlenesse and meeknesse toward our godly Brethren, that are guided by a dif­ferent light in point of Government from us; and therefore it is lesse grievous to us to be parallel'd with Corah, Dathan and Abiram, those grand incendiaries of the Congregation of Israel; yet it is not unwor­thy your serious consideration, whether it might not be with good cause said to you, as sometimes Christ said to one of the twelve, when he asked, Master, is it I? and he answered, Thou hast said.


The Power of Government is expressly given to the Church, where we are bidden Heare the Church, which is a particular Congregation, Matth. 18.

Brother, we could wish you had signified the Author by whom, Reply. and the place where this wrong (at least as you suppose) is done to the Text, as you have done in other Sections, who those be that pre­sume that Christ did no more respect the Jewish, then they do the Church of England; As your margent doth not inform us, so in searching those few books we have, we cannot finde among all the Congrega­tionall men, therefore we take it as an unjust aspersion thrown up­on them.

The Church, in the first and primary intent of these words, Answer. was a Church then in being, which did abominate the Gentiles, (for Hea­thens and Gentiles were all one) viz. the Jewish church, which was not aparticular Congregation, but a Nationall-church; having graduall [Page 86]judicatories and appeales; of which the Apostles were at that time, and Christ lived and died an actuall member, &c.

Whilest you your self say, Reply. that the Church in the primarie intent of these words, was a Nationall church, then in being, do you not imply, that these words, tell the Church, have reference to a Church, or churches, that were not yet in being, which should afterward be invested with power of judging? and therefore giving it for granted, that Christ saying, Tell the Church, sends them to the Jewish Synagogues or Sanhedrin, whilest their authority did continue, (and so Peter needs not stay three yeeres, before he can acquaint the Church with his offence) yet still the Congregationall church may be competitresse with Classicall, Provinciall, Nationall, and Oecumenicall churches for the power of judging; and if she should come off victri­cious, then the guilt of wresting this place (for you urge it to prove the power of your judging church) would rest among your selves, and the Congregationall men, and their Way be guiltlesse. Now, for our parts we cannot see the title of Congregationall churches any way in­validated, by what hath been hitherto said by your self or others.

2. Whilest you say, that the Church in the first and primarie, &c. I suppose your inference must be this; Ergo, those words, Matth. 18. Tell the Church, cannot be rightly applied to a Congregationall Church, which hath no such graduall judicatories and appeals; but Classicall, Provinciall, and Nationall Churches; for amongst these are found such graduall judicatories and appeals. The sinew and strength of this reason is this: It is necessary that the judging Church in the times of the Gospel, should answer in the manner of its judicature the judging Church in the time of the Law: and ergo, if that Church which was to judge then had graduall judicatories and appeals, such ought to have the judging Church in the dayes of the Gospel: This main hypothesis upon which the strength of all depends, is unsound: For,

1. It is necessary that the judging Church in the times of the Gospel should be conformed to spirituall precepts and patterns left us by Christ and his Apostles: but Christ hath not appointed the Jewish church in matter of government to be a pattern to Gospel Churches: For if so, then are not the Churches that are of Presbyterian complexion to be understood in this place, for there is a vast difference betwixt your Churches and the Jewish Church: For,

First, there is disparity in the manner of the calling of persons; for Synods are made up of men, chosen and sent forth by particular Churches, but the Sanhedrin did not consist of chosen men sent out by the Synagogues, but of Priests and Levites, which the Synagogues did neither choose nor send forth.

Secondly, there is disparity in matter of power: In the Jewish Sanhedrin the chief Priest was chief, by vertue of Office, 2 Chron. 19.11. but in the Classicall Way all are equall in point of Office.

Thirdly, in respect of the causes judged: the Sanhedrin dealt with matters of civill nature, Deut. 21.5. but Synods only with Eccle­siasticall.

Fourthly, in respect of the time of judicature. The Sanhedrin was a standing, constant court; but Classicall, Provinciall, Nationall and Oecumenicall Synods, meet but once in a moneth, once in half a yeer, once in twelve moneths; or it may be, not once in many ages is an Oecumenicall Synod gathered, and so those appeals that are made from a Nationall, are in little hope to finde relief from an Oecume­nicall Synod.

2. If it were necessary that Church-government in the times of the Gospel should beare conformity with the Jewish Government, then they must not only have graduall judicatories and appeals, but they must have,

First, a stated Oecumenicall judicature, constantly to judge all hard controversies between blood and blood, plea and plea, stroke and stroke, into all Churches in the world.

Secondly, that this stated Oecumenicall judicature must have some stated place which God should choose, Deut. 17.8. that so appellants might know whither to repaire for redresse of their grievances.

Thirdly, that there must be one chief by vertue of office over all met in this universall court, 2 Chron. 19.4. That he that shall do presump­tuously, and will not hearken to that Catholike councell, that man must die, Deut. 17.12.

3. There may be good reason rendered, why the Synagogues should be under a Juperiour judicatory; and the same cause there is why Congregationall-churches should be under a Superiour judicatory. The Synagogues were parts of a church that had not power to dispence all Gods Ordinances amongst themselves, and were branches of a po­litick Nationall-church, endued with power of government as Nati­onall: [Page 88]The Promise and Covenant of God extended to the whole Nation. But there is no such power of government left to every or to any Nation in the world; neither are particular Congrega­tions parts of a Church, as the Synagogues of the Jewes were, but they are entire, and compleat Churches; and may transact all Gods Ordinances, walking in truth, and peace amongst themselves, other­wise all Gods Ordinances could not be transacted, unlesse a whole Nation were converted and brought into Church-society.

This Gospel was writ principally for the Jews some say in Hebrew, Answer. &c.

Admitting the Proposition were true, Reply. (which yet we have much cause to doubt of;) may not Congregationall men that are Christians, use this place aright in applying it to Congregationall churches, be­cause the whole Gospel was writ principally for the Jews? Certainly the undiscernible strength of this reason (at least by us,) will levie war against the Presbyterians (except they will professe themselves Jews,) for applying this place to Presbyterian Churches. The Epistles to the Hebrews and James, were writ principally for the Jewes; and yet Christians that are Gentiles, may make a right use of them.

In it the spirit of God useth much the language and dialect of the old Testament, Answer. in which Kahal (and Ecclesia with the Seventy) do some­times signifie the company of Elders, as well as the body of the people; a Nationall Church with graduall judicatories and appeals, as well as a particular assembly.

We cannot but despaire of ever seeing the premises delivered of the conclusion. Reply. Let it be granted, that Kahal, &c. signifies in the old Testament, sometimes a company of Elders, sometimes the People; sometimes a Nationall, sometimes a Congregationall Church; yet it will not follow, that the Congregationall men, in applying Mat. 18.17. to the Congregationall Church, have offered any violence to the Text. For it will not follow, Kahal sometimes signifies a Nati­onall Church in the old Testament, (no, though to make it more strong, you adde; that the Spirit useth much the language and dialect of the old Testament) I say, it will not follow therefore it signifies a Nati­onall Church in Matth. 18.17. for the Spirit may use (by your own confession) the language and dialoct of the old Testament, and yet it may be understood of a particular Assembly. Neither will it follow, Kahal sometime in the old Testament, Ergo Ecclesia signifies a company of Elders, Ergo, it signifies a company of Elders in Matth. 18.17.

Now there is not a word in the Text, Answer. to shew either that the Church is not here taken for the Presbyterie, but for the People (seeing when Christ saith, whatsoever ye shall binde, &c. he speaks to the Disciples, vers. 1. or Apostles, which are elsewhere said, to have the power of binding and loosing, Matth. 16.19. Joh. 20.23. and were not ordi­nary Believers but Elders? 1 Pet. 5.1.) or, that it is meant of a par­cular Congregation, without graduall judicatories and appeals, &c.

These are the Premises; Reply. but how shall we do to get the conclusion willingly to follow these Premises? which must be this: Ergo, when the Congregationall men affirm, that the particular Congregation is the Church, to which God hath given the power of government, and urge Matth. 18. to prove the exercise of such power by the Church afore­said, they abuse that Text. For the Congregationall men may very se­curely affirm, that those words, Tell the Church, send the offended Brother to the Congregationall Church in the time of the Gospel (even as they sent the Jewés to the Sanhedrin whilest that was in force) and yet not send him to the people, as they stand in opposition to the Presbyterie, which are the most noble organicall parts of the integral­ly perfect Church: For we do not seat the power of the Keys in the people, as they are contradistinguished to their Elders; but in the whole Church, by a most wise and divine dispersion of power unto the dissimilar parts of the Church, according to their severall capa­cities: For, as the Elders have an authoritative power, so the people have a power of liberty in point of censures: So that reclamante Ec­clesiâ, there can be no excommunication. So then, though it be not understood of the people only, no nor chiefly, as they stand in oppo­sition to their Guides; yet this place may lawfully be understood of the Congregationall Church as it is contradistinct to Classicall, Provin­ciall. Nationall, and Oecumenicall Churches. The reason is, we have presidents in the Word of God for the one, as in the Churches of Je­rusalem, Corinth, Cenchrea, &c. and rules prescribed to such a Church, Acts 6.3. 1 Cor. 5.4. chap. 11. chap. 12. chap. 1.4. chap. 16. but of any stated Classicall, Provinciall, Nationall, Oecumenicall Churches, there is a deep silence in the Scriptures of the new Testament; no pre­cept for the erecting of such, and no lawes nor Officers provided for such Churches. Now Christ, Matth. 18. sends the people of God to such a Church, as should be in strength, by vertue of a Charter from heaven to redresse grievances, and heal offences, and therefore he [Page 90]sends us to the Congregationall Church, as it opposeth those churches I spoke of before, for these can shew no such charter.

I read that the promise of binding and loosing is not given to a par­ticular Congregation when leavened with error and variance. Answer. But then a Synod of Churches, or of their Messengers may judicially convince and condemn errors, search out truth, &c.

All that we have to say to that, Reply. is this; If you will acknowledge the power of binding and loosing to be seated in the particular Con­gregation, we shall not contend against it, (though we cannot say that the Scriptures and reasons brought, are convincing to each of us to inforce our grant) but that in ease of error or scandall that can­not be healed in the Congregation; A Synod of neighbour churches, or their Messengers may judicially condemn those errours and schismes, &c. and impose wayes of peace and truth; but yet not assume authority of censuring the delinquents, but leave that to particular Churches to be performed.Cotton Keys, pag. 28.


Matth. 16.19. Christ directeth his Speech not to Peter alone,This seems to be taken out of Answer to 32 q p 44. but to all the Disciples also; for to them all was the Question propounded by Christ, vers. 15. Nor to them as generall Officers of the Churches, for that Commission was not yet given them, but as Disciples and Believers.

In laying down this Position, Reply. and making your battery upon it, as you do fall short of that ingenuity you professe in your Preface, when you say, If any of the Brethren (amongst whom Mr. Cotton is deservedly the chief) seem in my apprehension to come neerer the truth then other, Cotton Keys, pag. 4. I willingly take notice of it, &c. Now Mr. Cotton must needs (in your judgement) come neerer the truth then the Elders: for he doth acknowledge that Peter was considered in the severall capacitles of an Apostle, an Elder, a Brother; and so the power of the Keys was promised in him to Apostles, Elders, and Brethren, accord­ing [Page 91]to their severall proportions of that dispersed spirituall power. Now had you dealt with this doctrine (with which we concurre) and told us your thoughts of it in reference to the place; we should have acknowledged your answerablenesse therein to your profession. Now, though you cite Mr. Cotton in the margent, yet so, as that the ordinary sort of readers can hardly guesse what his judgement is: and the whole frame of your Discourse is such, that may well leave the Reader in this apprehension, That the Elders of New-England place all power of the Keys in Believers as such, which is contrary to the very expressions of the Elders of New-England and to the judgement of the Congregationall men in generall: For the Elders say, The ministe­riall power of government is given to the Church, and consequently not to Believers, unlesse they become a Church; yea, they say expresly, That the Keys are committed to all Believers that shall joyn together in the same confession, according to the order and ordinance of Christ, and consequently, except Believers joyn into Church-societies (which is the Ordinance of Christ) they have no share of the power of the Keys, much-lesse do they assert any such power in women, who (though Belie­vers, yet) are excluded from any share in Church-government, by a positive law, 1 Cor. 14.34, 35.

Peter was an Apostle, in Office and Commission, Answer. though not yet sent out into all the world: and an Elder, Matth. 10.1, 2, &c. and doubt­lesse the Key of Authority, and Rule when it was promised to Peter, and given to him with the rest of the Apostles, Joh. 20.23. is the same authority which is given to their successors, whereby they are called to feed and rule the Church of God; as the Apostles had done before, &c.

Let it be granted that the twelve Disciples (so called, Mat. 10.1.) are not called Apostles (vers. 2.) by way of anticipation, Reply. Mar. 3.13, 14. but in re­ference to their present state and condition: yet it will be necessary still to distinguish the equivocall term of Apostle; as noting,

1. One authorized to dispence doctrine and discipline amongst all nations, Matth. 28.19. and in this sense Peter was no Apostle in Office and Commission, as your self confesse: And what the Elders affirm is true, That the Keys were not given to Peter in this capacity; i.e. not as to one that was actually in that estate and condition; or was hereby put into that estate and condition.

2. As one sent forth by a temporary Commission to preach and work miracles amongst the Jews only.Mat. 10.23. Now the Promise of the [Page 92] Keys, was not made to Peter under this capacity, neither was he an Elder invested with authoritative power of government at this time; he could neither vote in Synagogues, nor in the Sanhedrin, but only preach authoritatively, and work miracles to confirm his Doctrine: and in case that they did not receive him, he could not excommuni­cate them by himself, or with all the rest of the twelve with him; but must shakeMat. 10 14, 15. off the dust of his feet against them, and leave them to the great day of Gods immediate judgement; for so runs the tenour of his Commission, and there is deep silence of any other, then meerly a doctrinall power of the Keyes. So that the issue is this; that though what you say be true, in the sense expressed, yet it is no­thing to the purpose for which it is brought; for still the assertion of the Elders may be true, that Christ speake not to them as Apostles in Office and Commission, whether limited to the Jewes (as you would insinuate) or extended to all Nations; but as Disciples or Believers.

2. Neither will it follow, the Key of authority promised to Peter, and given to him with the rest of the Apostles, Joh. 20.23. is the same which is given to their successors; therefore Christ directeth his Speech to Peter, not as a Believer, but as an Apostle in Office and Commission; for what ever the import of the thing promised may be, yet that hinders not but the promise may be made to Peter un­der the respect and consideration of a Believer. For the thing pro­mised in this place may be considered two wayes:

  • First, as a reward in generall of grace and mercy.
  • Secondly, as such a reward which importeth a power of opening and shutting the Kingdome of heaven.

Now the Power of the Keys considered as a reward of grace and mercy, is promised to Peter as making such a glorious confession [...], and I say unto thee, q. d. thou hast made such a ho­ly confession of me, that I say unto thee, I will not suffer thee to go un­rewarded: but I do promise that I will give thee the Keys of the King­dome of heaven, &c. Now Peter did not confesse Christ as a generall Officer, but as a Believer; and therefore the reward which is the pro­mise, is made to him, not as a generall Officer, but as a Believer.

2. As importing a power of opening and shutting, and so though it be promised to Peter as a Believer, and in him to all those that shall make the same holy confession of Christ that he did; yet is it not to [Page 93]be executed either by Peter himself, or any other, under the notion and consideration of a Believer only; but imports also an Office, or State under the capacity and consideration of which it is to be exe­cuted. Thus, when Christ saith to Peter, I will give to thee Keys, &c. he doth thereby promise, that Peter shall be as a Member, as an El­der, as an Apostle in the Gospel-churches; and in all these capacities shou'd have some share in the dispensation of the power of the Keys. The consequent whereof is this; No Believer at this day, meerly as a Believer; nay, nor yet as a Believer externally confessing Christ with the mouth, may have any share in executing the power of the Keys, unlesse he be a Brother, joyned to some Church, or an Elder set over some Church; (for children for their weaknesse, and women for their sex, are excluded by a positive law) For as the power of the Keys is promised; so the State under the consideration of which they shall exercise such power, yea, and a Commission from Christ, by which they shall exercise that power, is also promised. And thus Mr. Cotton may say, that Peter may he considered as an Apostle, an Elder, a Brother; because together with the power of the Keys, the state of an Apostle, of an Elder, of a Brother is promised; and yet not clash with the Elders of New-England, who affirm, that the power of the Keys is promised to Peter (i. e. as a reward of grace and mercy) as a Believer. Neither need the Elders of New-England dread your three-fold consequence, viz.

First, That the Keys are not given to any visible Church: And,

Secondly, That they are given to all Believers, in covenant or no; whe­ther males or females.

Thirdly, That Apostles and Pastors have no more power of the Keys, then ordinary Believers: which, as they are false and absurd; so it may easily appear by that which hath been said, that they cannot shelter themselves under any thing in the Position of the Elders of New-England. Neither will that Axiom, à quatenus ad omnevalet consequentia, (i. from as such, to all such, a consequence is of force: how?) beare you out in so unjust a charge. For though it be true in such Propositions, where the specificall difference is predicated of the Species, or proper Accident of the Subject, the proper effect of the im­mediate cause; yet it will not hold when you speak of a Soveraign Lord, acting in a transcendent way of liberty; no, nor of a rationall creature moving according to choyce and election Suppose you [Page 94]should have a servant that should prove faithfull in his place (though one of the meanest places;) and therefore you should pro­mise to give into his hand all the Keys of the house, that he should open and shut to all the rest; and this you should do, looking upon him as faithfull; A quatenus ad omne non valet consequentia, in such a case; it will not follow, that every faithfull servant in your house, hath the power of the Keys; neither will it follow, that the faithfull servant, to whom the promise of the Keys, much lesse every other faithfull servant, as such, may execute the power of the Keys: For though the promise be made to that servant under the capacity of a faithfull servant; yet the promise it self carries an Of­fice by implication, viz. the office of Steward; under which consi­deration, and not under the consideration of a faithfull servant, he is to manage the power of the Keys. Phineas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron was zealous for God, Numb. 25. and God gives him the covenant of an everlasting Priesthood, because he was zealous; will you say, that A quatenus ad omnia valebat consequentia, in this case, i. e. because an everlasting Priesthood was promised to Phineas, because he was zealous, therefore every zealous person hath an ever­lasting Priesthood?

Lastly, that it was far from the purpose of the Elders of New-England to assert any such Doctrine as you would draw from their words, may appeare in this Answer, and elsewhere in this booke, wherein they place the power of the Keys, not in the body as contradistinct to the guides; but in the whole, consisting of Rulers, and ruled; giving to the Rulers an authoritative power, which they give not to the ruled.

POSITION XXI. 1 Cor. 5. Paul himself though an extraordinary Officer, yet would not take upon him to excom­municate the incestuous person, without the Church; but sends to them, exhorting them to do it,See also answ. to 23. q. pag. 49. and reproves the Brethren of the Church of Coriuth as well as the Elders, that they did no sooner put him away, Cotton Keys, pag. 13.

To prove that this Doctrine is injurious to the Text, you thus reason:

He blames all women as well as men, Answer. that notwithstanding the noto­rious fornication which was amongst them, they were puffed up, and gloried, &c.

1. We suppose this battery is raised against those words, Reply. and re­proves the Brethren as well as the Elders, &c. Now, if it might be any gratification of strength to your Argument, we will grant, that the Apostle blames all in generall, and yet the Elders may without any shew of wrong to the Text, affirm, that he blames the Brethren as well as the Elders; for it will not follow, Paul reproves the whole Church, Ergo, he reproves not the Brethren which are a part of the Church.

2. If it be said, that the wrong lies in the scope of the words: For hence we go above to prove, that the Brethren have ashare in the power of Church-censures; Now the same argument will prove from this text, that women have a power in Church-censures, because women are repro­ved in this place, as being part of the Church. We answer, when an Epistle is writ to a whole Church, it doth respect particular persons, according to their severall capacities: 1 Cor. 14.34, 35. Now women are not in a capa­city of dispensing Church-censures; therefore the reproof is not ex­tended unto them. If things indefinitly spoken to a whole Church, because they cannot be verified of one who is not in a capacity to receive them, may not therefore be affirmed of another; then be­cause a liberty in cutting off offenders, by vertue of Gal. doth not belong to women, neither doth it belong to Elders or [Page 96] Brethren; for the Apostle speaketh to all. Likewise because the Holy Ghost writes to the whole Church of Pergamus, females as well as males, and blames them for not casting out the Balaamites and the Ni­colaitans; which women have no power to do; therefore neither doth the reproof import any such power, either in Elders or Brethren.

This it may be you intended but as a light velitation with these lusorious expressions, Sed remove ista luforia, decretoriis opus est, i. re­move these Toyes, there is need of Decrees.

Paul himself (say you) did excommunicate Alexander, Answer. and Hyme­neus, 1 Tim. 1.20. and it is not mentioned that he took the consent of the Church or Presbyterie.

That Paul alone did excommunicate Alexander and Hymeneus is not so cleare, Reply. but if we should deny it, we could argue probably for the Negative. Paul saith to Timothy, 2 Tim. 1.6. Stir up the gift of God which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands; and yet Paul did but lay on hands with the Presbyterie, 1 Tim. 4.14. Now if the Apostle did not act in ordination, how much lesse in excommunication without the concurrence of the Church? the rather because Apostles concurrence with the Church, seems to make more,

1. For Gods glory in the universall humiliation of the whole Church.

2. For the Churches peace, who are more likely to subscribe to the equity of those proceedings of which themselves have the cogni­zance, then if they were carried on by a transcendent and superiour motion of Apostolicall power.

3. For the edification of the Church in seeing, and hearing, and concurring in the whole businesse.

4. For the attainment of the end of excommunication, both the more immediate, viz. Non-communion with the party; and the more nemote & noble end, viz. the healing of the party, and of the offence.

2. Let what is assumed be granted; yet we suppose you will make no gain of it: For,

1. It will not necessarily follow, Paul did excommunicate Hyme­neus and Alexander himself; therefore Paul did without the consent of the Church of Corinth excommunicate the incestuous person: For it was but sutable to the holy, and self denying frame of the Apostles spirit, Jure suo cedere, to remit something of his own right.

2. Neither is it so much as probablely convincing, if we con­sider, [Page 97]that the Holy Ghost makes the subject excommunicating, to be the Church of Corinth, 1 Cor. 5.4, 5. 'Tis the Church of Corinth whom the Apostle requires to purge out the old leaven, vers. 7. 'Tis the Church of Corinth in which the Apostle states the power of judging, vers. 12. do not ye judge them that are within.

The Apostle, saith, [...], Answer. I have judged as though I were, &c. which imports rather, that Paul himself would deli­ver him to Satan, then that he exhorts them to do it. Indeed he com­mands them to put him away, as he writes to them to restore him again, to see if they would be obedient in all things, 2 Cor. 2.9.

Brother, we cannot but observe, Reply. that you manage this argument something tenderly, as if you did suspect the ground you tread on; for you say not, that the words import that Paul would deliver him to Satan himself, and not that he exhorts the Corinthians to do it; but you say, that they import rather the one then the other; and this amounts to as much as nothing to the purpose: For in regard of the affinity the words may have with the one importment more then the other, they may be said to import the one rather then the other, and yet in their proper sense import neither. Luke 18.14. The Publican is said to go away justified rather then the Pharisee, and yet the words do not positively import that either of them were justified.

And yet you have a good minde to make your Reader believe that Paul himself delivers him to Satan, and not the Corinthian Church, by their authority, and this you prove,

From the Gammaticall Syntax of the words, [...] [...].

Answ. Doubtlesse there must be an Accusative case importing the subject delivering, understood; and this must be either [...], with reference to the Apostle, or [...], with relation to the Church. Not the first, as we conceive:

1. For if so, it is probable the Apostle would have said, [...], I have delivered him that hath so done this thing to Satan; and have commanded the Church only to take notice of it, and to abstain from communion with him.

2. The Apostles judgment was such a judgement as was passed at the writing of the Epistle; and therefore the Apostle saith, [...], I have judged, or I have judged already him that hath done [Page 98]this thing, and therefore his judgement of the man was not the actu­all casting out of him, but only a judgement, that the Church should passe the judgement of Excommunication against him, assuring them that not only his spirit, but the power of Christ should go along with them.

3. [...], To deliver to Satan, notes such a pub­like and solemn transaction of an Ordinance, as Paul was in no pos­sible capacity to do (for he did nothing by proxie) being absent. For it notes;

  • 1. A publike binding of the person under the guilt of sin by the Key of Faith.
  • 2. An observable exemplary ejection of the person out of the fra­ternity of the Church, and a shutting of the door of communion against him, untill he repent by the Key of Church order.

‘Now must the whole come together, and look one upon another in silence, and upon the incestuous person, imagining him to be thus ex­communicate, because Paul had judged to have him excommunicate, and so after this dumb shew, depart one from another:’ There­fore we conceive [...] must be understood as going before the In­finitive [...] and to relate to [...], according to the rule of Grammarians, Si infinitivus, & Participium praecedens perti­nent ad eandem persmam, non additur accusativus personae, sed subintel­ligitur.

But it may be you will say, Objection. that you affirm that the Church is com­manded to do it, and therefore Paul alone did not do it.

Doth Paul command the Church to deliver the incestuous person to Satan, Answer. and yet reserve the whole power to himself? as he must needs do, if [...], have reference to himself. These things being spoken by you in reference to one individuall act under one and the same consideration expressed in the word [...], must needs be [...], altogether inconsistent one with another, or with the truth.

2. If the Elders abuse the Text by saying that Paul exhorts the Church of Corinth to excommunicate the incestuous person; how will you wash your hands from all wrong offered to the Text, whilst you affirm that Paul commanded them to excommunicate him? Yes, say you, Paul writes to them to see if they would be obedient in all things. Is this your meaning, that Paul writes not to them, requiring them [Page 99]to put forth a power given unto them (and all other Churches) by Jesus Christ, but only to exercise an act of power, which did not of right belong unto them, but to his Apostolicall Function. And why by the same reason might not the Apostle then, and the Ministers now in their Churches, call out one, or more, and command them to preach, or administer Baptisme, or the Supper, meerly to try their obedience? Now this must be your meaning, or else your argument will never conclude the thing you professe to conclude: For we willingly grant that Paul writ unto them to try their obedience, but the very Text imports that there were other grounds of his writing as well as this; for he saith not, [...], therefore, for this I write, much lesse, [...], for this therefore only writ, but [...], for this therfore also I writ un­to you, to try your obedience; intimating that there were other grounds. And therefore, that Paul writ unto them to try their obedience, will never afford such a conclusion; therfore he writ not to them to ex­ercise an ordinary power purchased for them by the blood of Christ: for obedience may be tried by that which is both a priviledge and a duty.

Paul bids the Colossians cause an Epistle to be read in Laodicea, Answer. they (its like) did it in obedience to Apostolicall authority; yet it will not bence follow, that a Church hath ordinarily the same power over another Church.

There is a twofold causing; by way of authority, Reply. or by way of morall swasion, or endeavour: this latter, the Apostle speaks of, [...], (saith he) work, or use your endeavour; and the same power hath every Church over other at this day for their good.

2. Suppose you could obtain what you desire in all these, that Paul did excommunicate, not the Church; or if the Church did, yet it is a wrong to the text, to plead for the like power at this day: Do you not all this while fight against the Presbyterians (whose Cause you pretend to advocate) as well as against the Congregationall men whom you professedly oppose? For, if it will not follow, The Church of Corinth (whether particular, or representative) is commanded to de­liver the incestuous person to Satan, therefore every true Courch hath the same power; then whilest the Presbyterian Brethren urge this place to prove the power of a Classicall Presbyterie, they wrong the Text: For though it may be a question, whether this Text gratifie the fraternity [Page 100]of the Church, with so much power as we would state upon them by vertue of this Text; yet Presbyterians, and Congregationall men all, (except your self, that we know) agree; ‘That whatsoever power the Fraternity and Presbyterie of the Church of Corinth had, that the Fraternity and Presbyterie of all true Churches have to the end of the world.’

He bids them purge out the leaven, Answer. and put away from them the wicked person, &c. which must not be understood, as if Elders and People were equally authorized thereunto, &c.

1. Reply. Is not this to insinuate, that the Elders of New-England and Mr. Cotton affirm, that the Elders and People are equally authorized to cast out the incestuous person, and not only quilibet in suo gradu, every one in their degree? There is nothing in the place by you al­ledged, that doth import thus much. They say, the Apostle re­proves the one as well as the other: The King for a miscarriage in a Cause, may reprove the Jury as well as the Judge, and yet there is no such implication, that Elders and People, Judge and Jury, are equal­ly authorized to the respective acts of Judicature. The Elders of New-England infer from hence, that all Church-power is not in the Officers alone; do they therefore affirm that there is as much in the people, as in the Elders? Whereas in answer to Q. 15. p. 60. they shew certain acts of power in the Eldership, which are not in the people; and Mr. Cotton Cotton Keys, cap. 4. and 5. expresly gives all authority properly so called, to the Eldership, allotting only a popular power of interest and liberty to the people.

2. And lastly, (for the rest of your expressions about this matter, I take to be but of the train and retinue of this grand misprision, and so passe them over;) lastly (I say) when you say, that he bids them purge out the old leaven, and put away the wicked person, which must not be understood, as if Elders and People were equally authorized there­unto, but quilibet in suo gradu; a man would think you did ac­knowledge, that the People in suo gradu are authorized to purge out the old leaven, and put away the wicked person (which questionlesse are acts of some kinde of governing power) and yet in the Cata­strophe of all this Discourse you wipe the Fraternity of the Church cleerly of all acts of governing power, when you say — So when he speaks of acts of gouerning power, it is to be understood of Elders, and not of Believers. Are not these [...]? Are purging out the old [Page 101]leaven, and putting away the wicked person, acts of governing power? And are Believers authorized in suo gradu to perform these acts? and yet doth no act of governing power belong to the Believers of the church? Let him assoyle this Riddle that is an Oedipus, able to do it; for our parts we cannot. Thus much of your 21. Section.


The Lord Jesus reproving the Angel of Perga­mus, for suffering Balaamites, sends his Epistle, This is al­ledged by Answ. to 32. q. 45. and 49. not only to the Angel, but to the Church. The Spirit saith not only to the Angel, but to the Churches, Rev. 2.11. And the Church members are seen by Iohn in a vision, sitting on Thrones, clothed with white raiment, having on their heads Crownes of gold, Rev. 4.14. Now Thrones and Crownes are ensignes of Authority and governing power.

To make good your charge against the Elderss of wrong offered to these Texts alledged, you say,

The Lord Jesus reproving the Angel of Pergamus, Answer. sends his Epistle (say you) not to the Angel, but to the Church: I adde, not to the Church but to the Churches. As you gather that the suffering of cor­rupt persons and practices was the sin of the Church and not of the Angel only; so I may gather that it was the sin, not of the Church only, but the neighbouring Churches also.

It is like you intended a consutation; Reply. but it hath befalne you as it did the Potter in the Poet: Horat. de Art. Poet.—am­phora coepit. Institui cur­rente rota, cur urcens exit? qui amphoram instituens currente rota effingit urcoum. For in stead of a consutation you have brought forth an addition otwo other inferences. Now, if you should un­to this inference of the Elders adde a hundred more of your owne; yet this will not prove that the inference of the Elders is injurious to the Text; For still it may be doubted, whether theirs, or yours, any of them, all of them, or none of them be true, true inferences from the Text, yea or no; especially con­sidering [Page 102]that the inferences you bring, are of friendly compliance with that that you pretend to confute. For you say,—not to the Church (I suppose you mean — the Church only, for else you harp upon a harsh string in the ears of rationall men, to say, John writ to all the seven Churches of Asia; Ergo, he writ not to Perganus, one of the seven) but to the churches. Now can you say the Lord Jesus, writing to the Angel of the Church of Perganus, sends his Epistle to all the seven Churches, and not abuse the Text? and yet must we be­lieve it, when you tell us, that the Elders of New-England, in saying Christ writ not to the Angel of the Church of Pergamus only, but to the whole Church of Pergamus also, do abuse the Text? Again, if the suffering of Balaamites in the Church of Pergamus was the sin of all the neighbouring Churches, and that this may be af­firmed by you without wrong to the Text; then the suffering of them in the Church of Pergamus it self was the sin of that Church; and this may be affirmed by the Elders of New-England without wrong to the Text.

2. But let us look upon the words, not as they may afford mat­ter of an argument ad hominem, but as they are in themselves: Two things you affirm,

  • 1. That Christ reproving the Angel of the Church of Perga­mus, sends the Epistle to the Churches. We suppose you mean the other six Churches of Asia.
  • 2. That suffering Balaamites (which is reproved in the Church of Pergamus) was the sin of the neighbouring Churches also. For the first:

1. The book of the Revlation contains seven Epistles, which were of immediate concernment in a distributive sense, to seven seve­rall Churches; and many other glorrious mysteries that were of equall concernment to all the people of God. These all being mol­ded into one book (as we said) are sent to the seven Churches of Asia. Now the Elders of New-England affirm, that the Epistles sent to the Angels of Pergamus and Thyatira, are sent by way of imme­diate appropriation and concernment (for that is their meaning) to the whole Churches of Pergamus and Thyatira. Now if in this sense you affirm, that Christ reproving the Angel of the Church of Per­gamus, sends his Epistle to all the Churches, you speak to the pur­pose, but not according to truth: For,

[Page 103] 1. What a Pleonasme and redundancy, if not a grosse Soloecisme in discourse, and absudity it is, in a book sent as an Epistle to seven Churches, two severall times to mention them together, vers. 4. John to the seven Churches of Asia, vers. 11. What thou seest, Rev. 1.4.11. write it in a book, and send it to the seven Churches of Asia, and afterwards to write severall things of a Heterogeneall nature to those seven severall Churches distributively. To the Church of Ephesus write thus, to the Church of Pergamus thus, &c. commend one, condemn another; ad­monish a third, extoll a fourth, threaten a fifth, &c. and yet, that these severall Epistles should be of as immediate a concernment to all the rest, as to those to which they are particularly directed.

2. It will follow, that Philadelphia was lukewarm with Laodicea, dead with Sardis; and of these two lukewarm, dead Churches, may be verified the Encomiasticks of Ephesus, Pergamus and Philadelphia, with many such consequences. But if your meaning be, that the Epistle sent to the Church of Pergamus, in respect of that remore, and generall concernment, whereby it may be of use to all Christi­ans, is sent together with the rest of the Book of the Revelations to the seven Churches; This (though a truth) will afford no contribu­tion towards the making good of your charge against the Elders of New-England, being that which they deny not.

2. For the second, it is undeniably manifest, that the assertion of the Elders, viz. that the Church of Pergamus was guilty of suffering Balaamites, and other wicked persons, is true; yea, the truth of this Text. But to have so much faith as to believe, that all the rest of the six Churches of Asia (if that be the utmost extent of neighbouring Churches in your account) were guilty of suffering Balaamites and Nicolaitans (yea, even Ephesus and Philadelphia, that are commen­ded for not suffering those that are evill, hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, and keeping the Word of Gods patience,) would re­quire some further proof then [...], your bare assertion for the manifestation of it. For if the rest were guilty, why are they not blamed? Why is the burthen laid only (though it might be laid chiefly) upon one Church, when as the rest are guilty? I suppose the building upon which you lay the weight of this roof, is this: These seven Churches were a combined Presbyterie, and therefore as the government, so the neglect thereof concernes all.

Answ. If you may assume the [...], the thing in question, [Page 104]as if it were the [...], a thing out of question, you may in time perswade the world, that the Elders of New-England have for­ced this, and many other Texts. But to prove that the seven Asian Churches were governed by a joynt and common Presbyterie, hic la­bor, hoc opus est, this is the businesse.

‘But suppose that such a common Presbyterie there were, and that the Presbyters of all the other six Churches did endeavour the casting out of these Balaamites, &c. why were they then not cast out? Could the Elders of Pergamus over-vote the Elders of all the neighbouring churches in a Synod? And if all, or at least the major part of the Elders of these seven Churches neglect, why are the Elders of Pergamus only reproved?’

Lastly, we cannot choose upon this consideration, but condole the sad condition of Presbyterian Churches which is such, if wicked men be suffered in any particular Congregation in the world, all the Churches in the world are guilty of it. The reason is, the same obli­gation that lies upon a Classicall Church to reform the severall Con­gregations in the Classis, the same lies upon a Provinciall Church to reform the severall Classis in the Province; and the same lies upon a Nationall Church to reform the severall Provinciall Churches in the Nation; and the same lies upon the Oecumenicall Church to reform the severall Nationall Churches in the world: and therefore, though all the inferiour Churches should fail, yet the Oecumenicall is bound to see it reformed; and if the Oecumenicall fail, all in the line of Oecumenicall communion, that is to say, all Churches in any Nation in the world are guilty.


The particular Congregation takes Christ for her only spirituall Prophet, Priest and King, Deut. 18.15. Acts 737. Psal. 110.4. Heb. 5.4. Isai. 9.6, 7. Rev. 15.3.

To make good this charge, you say, Answer.

Seven or eight (you say) are the fewest will make a Church; but five or six, yea, any one particular Saint, though out of Church-fellowship by excommunication, may take Christ for his only spirituall Priest, Pro­phet and King, &c.

How comes it to passe (Brother) that your margent that hath in most places born witnesse to your Text, reserves it self in deep silence, Reply. as if it were afraid to be accessary to this wrong offered to the Bre­thren of the Congregationall Way? That the Congregationall Way, eate­nus, in that it is Congregationall, is conformed to the will and lawes of Christ appoined by him, as King of the Church, delivered by him in his Word, as Prophet of the Church, we constantly affirm, and shall be ready to justifie before all the word, till we be convinced of our er­rour in that particular. That the stated Classicall, Provinciall, Na­tionall, and Oecumenicall Way of Church-government importing a power of jurisdiction in point of Ordination, Excommunication, &c. over particular Congregations, is not sutable to the Will of God delivered by Christ as Prophet, nor to the Laws of God delivered by Christ as King of the Church, as it is sutable to our light: So we shall endeavour pro virili nostro according to our power, with all meeknesse and brotherlike affection to defend, as God shall give opportunity. But that ever we have read in the writings of any Congregationall man, truly so called, as they stand in opposition to others of a different judgement, both upon the right hand, and on the left (with whom alone you professe in your Preface to have to do;) I say, that ever we have read in the writings of any Congregationall man, these places applyed to prove the Position, as it is by you controverted, that is to say, that the particular Congregationall Church takes Christ for her only Prophet, Priest and King, (as if in these his Offices he were so only hers) that no five or six, or one particular Saint, though out of Church-fellowship; no Classicall, Presbyteriall, or Nationall Church, no not the Nationall Church of the Jewes it self, doth (or notwith­standing some failings in government may) take Christ as their only spirituall Priest, Prophet, and King, as we do not remember; so in whose Sack soever this cup of abomination be found, yea, though it be in Benjamins, let him suffer according to his demerits. But if any of us have thus expressed our selves, whereby we have made all parti­cular Believers, not joyned to some Congregationall Church, the re­nowned Scotish and Belgick Churches, and all other reformed Churches not Congregationall, yea, the Nationall Church of the Jews it self, (at least as you would insinuate) strangers from the Common­wealth of Israel; yet are we unjustly condemned by you, we mean, in that sense, in which Salvian, saithL. 7. de Gub. Dec. p. 282. Socrates, when he writ a book, [Page 106]perswading that all mens wives should be common, was unjustly condemned by the Judges: Injustè damnatus dicitur, à judicibus, & verum est; Rectius vuim haec talia praedicantem genus damnaret huma­num. In like manner we say, we should be unjustly condemned by you, for all the Churches of God, yea, all the people of God might deservedly condemne us.

2. But suppose it cannot be made out by you, that ever any Con­gregationall man, truly so called, held the Position you speak of in the sense insinuated in your examination: where then is your ingenuity that you professe in your Preface? viz. If any of the Brethren seem in my apprehension to come neerer the truth then others, I willingly take notice of it? Is this your willing taking notice of our neerest approaches to the truth, to fasten upon us an imputation of wresting so many Scriptures to the maintenance of an opinion that never entered (as we verely believe) into the hearts; and we are confident, is not to be found in the works of any Congregationall man? which if it be said, and that you cannot make out the contrary, it is well for you that you lived not in that over rigorous age spoken of by Ludovicus Vives in Commentary upon Augustine, Lud. Vives in August. de Civit. Dei, l. 2. c. 9. de Civitate Dei, in which it was a capitall fault, and punishable with death, to write or act any thing derogatory to the good name of any man. For you have indeavoured to cast the odium of the most detestable pride and censoriousnesse upon many thousands, Ministers and People, that are of a precious anoint­ing for learning, or piety, or both, and in particular, of a singular eminency for that rich grace of humility; yea, such a blot have you laid upon them, whilest you say, that we cleerly him, that Christ doth exercise his Kingly, Priestly, and Propheticall Office only in Chur­ches meerly Congregationall; yea, that Christ did offer himself a sa­crifice for all the members of a Congregationall Church, and only for such, (a thing of the greatest abhorrency to our thoughts, if it fall on this side blasphemy against the Holy Ghost) such a blot I say you have laid upon them, that you will not easily wipe off; for Machia­vels rule is too true, Calumniate fortiter, saltem aliquid adhaerebit, Slander boldly; at least somewhat will cleave.


Christ left but one way of Discipline for all Churches; This is found in Answ. to 32. q. p. 72.73. and the like is in R. M. and W. T. to C. H. pag. 8. which in the essentialls of it is un­changeable, and to be kept till the appearing of Christ, 1 Tim. 6.13, 14.

To prove that these words are injurious to the Text alledged, you say,

It seems by the words, Thou, O man of God, I give thee in charge, Answer. that thou keep this Commandement (viz. which immediatly pre­cedes) concerning faith, and holinesse in the Ministery of the Word, to be directed to Timothy himself: or, if to his, successours, then it must be to the ordinary Elders; (for Euangelists that succeeded him wee know none) not to the Churches; for example, not to the Church of Ephesus, to whom Paul writes nothingDo these words, Eph. 4.11, 12. no­thing con­cern govern­ment. of government; though in his Epistles to Timothy he writ almost concerning nothing else; and chargeth the Elders to take heed to the flock, and look to Wolves, Acts 20.28. But if you will need have the words this commandment extended to this whole Epistle, you had need of good warrant for this exposition.

If you will acknowledge that the things written to Timothy concern Elders, Reply. Deacons and Believers out of Office according to their severall capacities respectively: We shall easily grant, that all the things contained in the whole Epistle, are directed to Timothy himself, but not for his own personall use, but for the use of the Church also. Now in this sense it will nothing befriend you in ma­king good your charge: For still the many rules contained in this Epistle in reference to the Church in generall, to Bishops, Deacons, Widows, and Members in particular, may be in force, yea by vertue of this Text, to the appearing of Christ.

2. If by these words, — to be directed to Timothy himself, you mean that the Commandment immediatly preceding, concerns none by way of obligation, but only Timothy, you heat upon a harsh string: For must none flee these things, fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternall life (by vertue of this Text) but only Timothy? [Page 108]Yea, your self seem to be jealous of this interpretation, when you say, or if to his successours, then it must be the ordinary Elders, not the Church; and yet you have not mended the matter: For will you restrain these words, That thou keep this Commandment, vers. 14. to those, vers. 11, 12. Flee these things, follow after righteousnesse, &c. and when you have done, determine it to Elders only? Then it will follow, that only Elders must flee envie, strifes, railings, evill surmisings, perverse disputings, covetousnesse: That Elders only, and not Believers (at least by vertue of this Text) must follow after godlinesse, righteousnesse, faith, love, patience, meeknesse: That Elders only, and not ordinary Church-members, must fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternall life. Now, lest this (as well it may) should seem incredible, to make it Testimonium side dignum, you tell us, that these words, This Com­mandment, relate only to that which immediately precedes, and that which immediately precedes, relates only to faith and holinesse in the ministery of the Word. I answer,

1. If you make these words, Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternall life, the commandment immediately preceding, yet it is not necessary they should be understood only of faith and holinesse in the ministery of the Word, which is but one part of the good fight of faith, whereas the good fight of faith is fought in the universall conflict of an Euangelists conversation against the world, the flesh and the devill, as well as in the dispensation of his Euangelicall function.

2. But with what good reason can these words, Fight the good fight of faith, &c. be conceived to drink up the whole meaning, and utmost extent of those words, That thou keep this commandment without spot, &c. For though I do believe that your thoughts are ready to gratifie you with all pleasing accommodations, for over­throw of one only stated discipline out of the word, yet I cannot but think it would seem too grosse in your thoughts, to teare by piece­meale the continued exhortation of the Apostle, vers. 11, 12. but thou, O man of God, flee these things, follow after righteousnesse, godlinesse, faith, love, patience, meeknesse: Fight the good fight of faith, &c. and to apply only this latter part of the exhortaion to those words, That thou keep this commandment. And therefore cannot but wonder, that you should affirm that the Commandment Timothy is commanded to keep, should concern only faith and holinesse in the ministery of the Word.

Therefore, notwithstanding what hath been said, we still affirm [Page 109]that these words relate to the rules concerning Church-government in the former part of the Epistle; and this will further appear,

1. If you consider the coherence of these words with the former: The Apostle having in the former part of the Epistle insisted upon the severall duties of the Officers of the Church, he commands them in the latter end of the second verse of this Chapter, to teach and ex­hort these things.

2. He arms him with instructions, how he should carry himself toward those that should teach and exhort the contrary, giving at once the character and censure of such men, vers. 3, 4, 5. and having made a digression, vers. 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10th. he falls on again to re­sume the former Argument, and to exhort Timothy to flee the courses of these corrupt teachers, and both as a Christian and Euangelist, to approve himself to God in all holinesse of conversation, vers. 11, 12. But thou, O man of God, flee these things, &c. q. d. Though some others may prove corrupt in doctrine, and vicious in life, yet do thou walk with God in the power of a holy conversation, and particu­larly, though others will spot this doctrine, Bishops, Deacons, &c. yet do thou keep it without spot and unrebukeable, and cause it to be kept so by others; for an Apostle, Euangelist, or Bishop never keeps the faith as an Apostle, Euangelist, or Bishop aright, unlesse he cause it as much as in him lies, to be kept so by others; and so much is the im­port of the Apostles words, 2 Tim. 4.7. I have kept the faith.

Now, lest the Euangelist, Demonstra­tion of Disci­pline, p. 5.7. or others to whom this Word of God might come, should conceive that these things given in charge to Timothy, were of a temporary nature, and to cease with the Primitive times, therefore he saith, vers. 13, 14. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, &c.—that thou keep this commandment unrehukeable, and without spot, to the coming of Christ, i. e. keep them thy self, and deliver them in charge to the Church, and principally to the Elders to be kept till Christ his second coming.

2. That which Dr Whitakers against Du [...]aeus urgeth, is not with­out strength, That the Apostles have writ these Lawes (speaking of Discipline) not for a day, or for the first age, but to endure for all times to come, and therefore hath ratified them with a most earnest obtestation (saith he) 1 Tim. 6.14. that these commandments should be kept unto the day of the Lord.

That the Essentials of Discipline set down in Scripture, are unchange­able, Answer. [Page 110] I grant; but whether any Essentials be in controversie, or how ma­ny, and which they are, you tell us not, &c.

By Discipline (Brother) we mean the whole System, Reply. and compre­hension of divine Rules, Precepts or Precedents, for the externall Eu­taxie order of the Church, which are not of a temporary, but of a perpetuall use, and equity, till the appearing of Christ, and by Essen­tials, we mean such particulars included in this System or Compre­hension, as if any of which be wanting, something is detracted from the perfect and compleat order of the Gospel. In this sense we say, that there are certain Essentials in controversie. That only persons righly qualified, should be admitted to society in the Church, is an Essen­tall. Isai. 1 Cor 1.1. Phil. 1.1. Now, though this in the generall be not in controversie, yet whether this or that be a right qualification is in controversie, and so an error in an Essentiall is contended for, and made by the erring party; either by taking in visibly false, or excluding visibly true matter. That the members of the Church, be united by a right medium, is Essentiall Acts 2.41. Acts 5.13. 1 Cor. 12. to Discipline, but whether this right medium be I know not what implicit covenant, or whether it be an expresse covenant, or the legall bounds of the Parish, is no small Question at this day. That ordination, excommunication, &c. be done by the right Subjectum capax1 Tim. 4.14. Titus 1.5. Acts 14.23. of these ordinances, is certainly an Essentiall part or disci­pline. But whether the Churches in some cases may ordain by De­puties no Church-Elders; or whether in an ordinary way this power be in the Eldership of the particular Congregation, or in a compound Classick Eldership, is a great controversie. But that the holy kisse, oyle, washing of feet, are Essentials, we hold not.

The remainder of your examination, though drawn out into se­ven particulars, seems to us to be like the hornes of the Beast, called Bonassus, Aristot. de Nat. Animal. which are big enough; but yet they are ad pugnam inuti­lia unusefull to fight withall. For though we cannot assent to every thing in your seven particulars, yet shall passe them over, be­cause they are all peaceably conditioned to the Doctrine of the Elders of New-England. For though they were all granted, yet it may be cleerly deduced from 1 Tim. 6.13, 14. that Christ hath left but one way of Discipline for all Churches, &c. the reason is, because these are no parts of the discipline left by Christ to the Church, which in the Essentials of it is unchangeable: spoken by Paul in the Epistle to Timo­thy. Horat. de Art. Poet. Non semper feriet, quodeun (que) minabitur Areus.

Lastly, whereas you call for a Narrative of our Church-way, espe­cially of what we count Essentials, we had thought to have taken some pains to have satisfied you herein, but that in the nick of time that work is done to our hands, by Reverend Mr. Cotton: And fur­ther we hear, that a work of the same nature, by the Brethren of the the Congregationall-way, members of the Assembly, is upon the Anvile, and that by the request of the Assembly of Divines at London, and we make no doubt, but the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim, are, and wil be better then would be the vintage of Abiezer. Yet we know not by what obligation we stand bound to give forth a Narrative of our Way, more then the Brethren of the Presbyterian judgement do of theirs, who though to this day they call earnestly for a Narrative from us, yet have not gratified us with any Narrative of what themselves hold. And therefore vouchsafe to touch at least with one of your fingers, that which you are pleased to lay (though we count it not so) as a burden upon us.


The Church or the Ministers thereof,The like words are found, answ. to 32. q. p. 11.15. answ. to 9. Pos. p. 76.77, 28. must not be [...], 1 Pet. 4. and therefore the Minister must not perform a Ministeriall act to another Con­gregation, Acts 20.28. 1 Pet. 5.1, 2.

The Text in Peter speaketh not of the Church, or of the Elders, Answer. more then of any other men, nor of meddling with the affairs of other churches, but with other mens matters; nor yet every meddling with them, but such a meddling, as for which they suffered from the Heathens in those dayes, Let no man suffer as a busie-body in other mens matters, &c.

Neither do the Elders say that the Apostle speaks of the Church, Reply. or the Elders thereof, when he doth dehort them from suffering as busie-bodies in other mens matters; nor is the Text in Peter so much as mentioned in any of the quotations presented in the margent, nor once intended to be made use of, to prove the thing they were spo­ken of; therefore is it not a grosse wrong, to make the world believe that they made use of 1 Pet. 4. to any such purpose? Only in p. 11. they make use of the word [...], which Peter makes use of [Page 112]in 1 Pet. 4. but of that Text they make not use, when their scope was to appear against dispensing censures & Church-priviledges to Christi­ans, joyned to no particular Church, they say they must not be [...], alluding to that place of 1 Pet. 4. where that word is used, but not intending to give the meaning of the place.

Now they might well apply the word to Ministers intermedling without the bounds of their calling, because the word [...], though it signifie an Over-seer, yet usually it is applied by the Holy Ghost, to a person over-seeing in spirituall matters, and so to a Mini­ster of the Gospel, and is translated Bishop; therefore [...], is a person that playes the Bishop in anothers Dioces, out of his own bounds most properly; therefore might be made use of in a way of application to Ministers, though the Apostle speak not of Ministers in that place.

But what inference do you inferre after you have resuted your own fiction?

It is of no more strength (meaning 1 Pet. 4. Answer. ) against a Presbyterie over particular Congregations then against the power of Parliament over other Courts of Judicature.

You say true; Reply. the place which neither meddles with the one nor the other, nor was produced unto any such purpose; may have no more strength against the one then against the other; but there are other Scriptures brought, which deny to Ministers that power over other Congregations which the Parliament hath over other Courts of Judicature, within their own territories.

The inference supposeth that the flocks mentioned in these two Texts, Answer. (viz. Acts 20.28. 1 Pet. 5.1, 2.) were two particular Congregations, which is impossible to be proved.

The inference supposeth no such thing, Reply. only implieth that there is something in those Texts against Ministers their performing mi­nisteriall acts to other Congregations, the truth of which we shall make to appear:

The Texts in Acts 20.28. gives this charge: Take heed to your selves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you over­seers to feed the Church of God, i. their charge extends to none of them beyond the flock over which they were made over-seers in the work of feeding; now whether there were more Congregations in Ephesus, or but one, yet no Elder could then, or can now, feed any [Page 113]more then one Congregation, therefore they are Overseers only, each of them, to one Congregation. Your selves will grant that they cannot feed in a constant way by word and doctrine, and the Sacraments, (which are the principall works of feeding) any more then one Con­gregation; therefore one Congregation bounds their Commission; and consequently, if they feed ministerially other Congregations, they go beyond their Commission, and are [...].

2. It is more then probable, that the flock at Ephesus was but one Congregation: First, Ephesus was a City, and we do not reade of more Congregations of Saints constantly meeting for the worship of God in any City, then one: Secondly, we cannot think, but that the Church of Jerusalem, Corinth and Antioch, were as numerous as Ephesus, and yet none of them were more then one Congregation, if we be bound to rest upon the Holy Ghosts own testimony, who wit­nesseth that they ordinarily met in one place, as before was shewed.

3. They are called one flock, one Church; now we have decla­red before, that one instituted Church, and a Congregation are all one, when Church is properly taken, and without a figure; and in this place there is no necessity of a figure, for there is no improbability but that they might meet in one place; therefore the charge runs to the Elders at Ephesus to feed the Church, viz. the Congregation at Ephe­sus, and to that they are so limited.

The Text in 1 Pet. 5.1, 2. gives this charge: Feed the flock that is among you. Now, neither the Elders to whom he writes were to­gether, nor the Saints whom they were to feed, but both the one and the other, scattered abroad through many countries, Pon­tus, Galatia, Asia, &c. therefore flock in this Text, is to be taken in a figurative sense, and distributively of necessity; and the charge of feeding the flock is to be limited by the words (among you.) And thus it must be understood, you Elders in Pontus, feed the flock among you; and you Elders in Galatia, feed the flock among you, and you El­ders in Asia, feed the flock among you; and each of you in every place, feed the flock where you be, in each place. And more distributively yet, because neither all the Elders, nor all the Saints in Galatia, Asia, &c. were together, therefore it is thus to be interpreted; ye El­ders in this City of Asia, feed the flock among you; and ye Elders in that City, feed the flock among you; and so of all the rest; so that the restriction in the Commission is in these words (among you.) [Page 114]Now the Saints in Galatia were not with the Elders of Asia, nor the Saints of one City of Asia, with the Elders of ano­ther City of Asia; therefore the Elders were by Commission to look to the Saints in every City and place where themselves were, and not to others where themselves were not: So that if the Elders in Asia should take authoritative inspection over the Saints in Galatia, and in other countries, they should be [...], Bishops medling in others Dioces not belonging to them, because all Elders are bounded to the Saints among themselves.

Peter bids the Elders of Pontus, Answer. Galatia, &c. to feed the flock of God that is amongst them; therefore you say the Elders of one Church of Galatia, must not feed the people of another Church of Galatia. A com­municant must examine himself; will you thence inferre, that none else must examine himself? The Thessalonians were to know them that were over them, and laboured among them, and esteem them very high in love for their works sake; therefore must they not heare at all, or at least not esteem highly for their works sake the Pastors of other Congregations? 2 Thes. 5.12, 13.

Your reasoning is not good, Reply. (nor candid) by comparing things disparate, you would cast an absurditie upon us, but it will light upon your self. You argue from works of common Christian du­ty unto works of Office very improperly: As suppose the matter were thus laid down; The Parliament writes to the Colonels of Lan­cashire, to look well to, and rule and govern the souldiers and people that is amongst them; an inference is drawn hence, the Co­lonels of Lancashire are not to govern and rule the souldiery and people of Cheshire, for their charge is over the souldiery and people amongst themselves; this inference is good. But you to overthrow it, would bring such an argument as this: The Colonels of Lanca­shire must agree amongst themselves, must they not therefore agree with the Colonels of Cheshire? The souldiers and people of Lanca­shire must respect and honour their own Commanders, must they not therefore respect and honour the Commanders in other counties also? This is a weak argumentation to overthrow the former in­ference; the fallacy lieth in this, you would extend duties of autho­rity and office in such manner as duties of love and reverence, and honour (which respect all men, all superiours) are to be extended. Therefore, seeing that it is a feeding of office, and an authoritative [Page 115]feeding, that is enjoyned in those Texts alledged, it is limited to the people over whom they are Officers, and may not be extended fur­ther. And yet the people of such Congregations must love their own members, so as withall they must love the members of other Con­gregations; and they must reverence their own Officers, so, as with­all they must reverence the Officers of other Congregations; yet their own most, because relation there is strongest: And the reason is, because love and reverence are not actions annexed to Office, but of a common nature appertaining to men and Christians.

Take heed to the flock, and feeding it, Answer. doth include administration of the Word, and Prayer, as well as of Sacraments; yet you hold, he may, notwithstanding this Text, preach and pray in another Congre­gation.

Taking heed to the flock, and feeding it, Reply. doth include the admi­nistration of the Word and Prayer, of the Sacraments, and the exer­cise of Discipline; and yet your self doth not place a parity in all these. For you are apprehensive of a further liberty in preaching and praying, then in performing the other actions. You will preach to the Heathens as Heathens, but not give Sacraments to them; you may preach before Ordination for approbation, but not dispence the Sacraments before Ordination; You may preach to a Congregation in Scotland, and yet not act authoritatively in their Synods among them. And now, what the reason of this should be, we cannot ima­gine, unlesse you grant with us, a difference betwixt some acts of feeding, and other acts of feeding, and say, some acts are so annexed to Office, and are so authoritative, that they cannot be performed but where Office is, and authority is; and other acts of feeding, though they they be authoritative to that people over whom the persons per­forming them are Officers, yet they may be performed by a gift with­out Office, to another people, and are not authoritative to them. To this purpose speak the Elders in answer to the 8th Position; and the reason will be good to us, till you yeeld a better.

The relation of Ministers and People is mutuall; Answer. if the people my receive the Sacrament from another that is not their Minister, then the Minister may administer it to them that are not of his flock.

In one sense, all that you say is true; Reply. people may receive the Sa­crament from one that is not their Minister, being recommended to him; and the Minister may administer the Sacrament to such as are [Page 116]so recommended to him; but then this recommendation is, as it were, a dismission, differing not really, but only in time: recommendation com­mends them for a time to fellowship with that Church, and dismis­sion commends them for continuance without returning: See Cot­tons Keys Cottons Keys, pag. 17, 18., which you make so much use of against us. When persons of another Church do orderly intermingle themselves with this or that Church, then they are as members, and the Pastor is as their Pastor, and so he may dispence the Sacraments to them. But it will not follow, that therefore he may act Ministerially out of his own Church and People in and maong another Church and People; nor will relation of Ministers and People being mutuall, bring such a conclusion about. Magistrates and Subjects are Relatives; and if any Subjects of one county come to another county, and be wronged in the county whither he is come, he may request justice from the Magistrate of the county where the wrong is done him, and receive it. But yet this will not draw on another thing, that hereupon, because a Magistrate may dispence justice to a stranger coming among his people, he may therefore go from among his people to another county, and dispence justice among them: so of Ministers, it may be said, They are Pastors to their own people, and perform Pastorall acts to their own, and to those that orderly are recommended to them as theirs; but when they leave their own, they are not Pastors to other Congregations, to dispence Pastorall acts to them.

By vertue of communion of Churches you may, Answer. and do receive known approved recommended members of another Church, to the holy Commu­nion. If you may receive one, why not two, three, six, seven, eight, which it may be, are the whole Congregation? Where doth the Scripture al­low the one, and not the other?

We grant all you say, Reply. in this also, that if one, two, seven, eight, do come by recommendation, they must be received by vertue of com­munion of Churches; yet we demand, if these seven, or eight be the whole Congregation, who shall recommend them? For without re­commendation, they cannot orderly be received. Or suppose they commend themselves to the Communion of another Church, they are now sallowed up in the fellowship of the other Church, and coun­ted (pro tempore) as members thereof, and have not the consideration of a distinct Church. And though it be lawfull for a Minister to dis­pence the Sacrament to them with his own people; yet not lawfull [Page 117]to go forth from his own people, and to give it to them alone: If a whole town should come to live in another town, they might have the justice of that town, and yet the Magistrate, though he might do justice to them in the town, being mingled with his own people, cannnt not­withstanding dispence it unto them, abiding in their own place. But you ask, Where the Scripture alloweth the one, and not the other? We answer, the Scripture alloweth the recommendation of the members of one Church to another, Rom. 16.1. 2 Cor. 3.1. But can you produce any place where the Minister of one Church hath acted mi­nisterially in another Church?

You grant that Elders have a calling to ordain Elders in other Churches whereof themselves are neither Elders nor Members, Answer. by re­quest of that Church where the Elders are to be ordained. R. M. & W. T. to C.H. p. 48. Reply.

While Mr. Mather saith they may intreat help, he holds by con­sequence, that the Elders of other Congregations have no proper right of their own to ordain in other Congregations, and that their power is derived to them from those Congregations that intreat them; and then it wil follow, that the help that such Elders do afford, is not as they are Elders in reference to their Office; but as better gifted, and in reference to greater ability which such Elders have to carry on such a businesse. The reason is, because if such Elders acted in Ordination as Officers in another Congregation, then they would have proper power so to act without intreaty; for intreaty makes not them Officers which were none before; and if they were Officers before, intreaty is not needfull to inable them. And if they act as Officers in ano­ther Congregation, then they may in all Congregations; for they are Elders alike in all as in any, save only where they are fixed. Now this is against Mr. Mathers principles; his meaning therefore was, that as if in case a Church want Elders to preach to them, they may intreat Elders of other Churches to preach to them, not because they conceive that an Elder only may preach, but because they judge an Elder to be more able to do it; so it must be understood in the bu­sinesse of Ordination. In this sense we wholly concurre with Mr. Mather, but in your sense cannot grant it.

Whereras the 26. and 27th Sections concerne one and the same head of controversie, we shall make one defence for both.


Gifted men,This is but a little altered from Answ to 32. q. p. 80. & 73. & T. W. to W. R. p 44. & 56. viz. (so reputed by competent Judges, though) not called to the Ministery, nor intended for it, may preach. They that were scattered abroad upon the Persecution which arose about Stephen, were not Church-officers, at least not all of them: yet these men did preach the Word; and Philip which was but a Deacon, preached without the calling or privity of the Apostles, Acts 11.19. & 8.14.


Iehosaphat sent Princes, who were neither Mini­sters, nor intended so to be,See Answ. to 32. Quest. to teach with the Priests and Levites (viz.) at least to incourage the people to hearken to the Priests and Levites, 2 Chron. 17.7, 8, 9. as Iehosaphat did, 2 Chron. 20.20. yea, and was their mouth to God in Prayer, vers. 2.5 to 13. As we conceive something in that prophecy­ing, 1 Cor. 14. to be extraordinary: So we con­ceive it to be ordinary, that some private men grown Christians of able gifts, who may have re­ceived a gift of Prophesie, need no more extra­ordinary calling for them to prophesie in the Churches then for Iehosaphat and his Princes to pro­phesie in the Church of Israel.

These Positions thus laid down, are by you accused of injury to the Text, to which we answer.

1. Here also you fall short of that ingenuity professed in your Preface; for doubtlesse Mr. Cotton, Reply. that denies any ordinary exer­cise of Prophecy, by men not called to the Ministery, cannot but in your judgement come neerer the truth, then those that say (at least as you give it out) that gifted men, not called to the Ministery, nor in­tended for it, may preach, which imply to be meant in an ordinary and stated way. When you say — yet that these did preach ordinarily and usually to the Churches, like to Pastors — is impossible to be pro­ved. Now, though you style Mr. Cotton deservedly, the Chief of the more ingenuous sort of Congregationall men; yet you neither help for­ward accommodation, nor honour Mr. Cottons ingenuity by the least mention of it, as you professe.

2. You are so far from helping forward accommodation, that I know not how to excuse you from making the breach greater then it was. For we have consulted advisedly with 73. & 80th pages of the 32. Quest. and we can find no such Position as you fasten upon the Elders: For page 73. they answer the 21. Quest. viz. Whether do you hold it lawfull for mere lay, or private-men to ordain Mini­sters in any case? And having proved the Affirmative by reasons grounded upon the Word of God, they come to urge the consent of some worthy Divines, and learned Writers, as Doctor Willet, Morney, Whitakers, and others; and in the Allegation of Morney, they shew that Morney expresseth himself, that some of our men expected not the calling of those that under the title of Pastors, oppressed the flock, but did at first preach without this formall calling, and afterwards were called to the Holy Ministery of the Word, by the Churches; and for this we have examples (saith Morney) First in the Acts, where we read that Philip was but a Deacon, preached in Samaria without the calling of the Apostles, yea, without their privity, who for all that gave their allowance to that work. So that here he speaks not of an ordinary and usuall course in preaching to the Churches without Office, but an extraordinary case, of those that because of the corruptions of the times preached to the people without the calling of the Prelates in such places, where they had either no Officers, or Popish Officers; neither doth he speak of gifted men that intended not the Ministery, but of gifted men, that because they durst not enter by the ordinary [Page 120]door of Prelaticall ordination, preached to the people by vertue of their gifts, and that internall Prothumie, or desire which God had wrought in them, and so soon as by the blessing of God upon their endeavours, they had so far prevailed, as that there were Churches giving them a calling, they imbraced that call: And this is that he proves lawfull by the Allegation of Philips example: So in the 80. page, their scope is to shew, that the Word may be made effectuall to Conversion, though the man that speaks it be not a Church-of­ficer. For the people of which they alledge the preaching of those that were scattered by the Persecution of Stephen, Acts 8.4. and 11.19, 20, 21. and Job. 4.39. where many of the Samaritans belie­ved upon the saying of the woman of Samaria, and that 1 Cor. 7.16. What knowest thou, O woman, but thou shalt gain thy husband? So that you do most miserably wrest their Allegations quite to ano­ther purpose, then that for which they intended them; for they never intended hereby to prove the lawfulnesse of preaching by ver­tue of gifts, without Office, but only that those which do preach without Office, may be instruments of conversion, much lesse did they intend, as you would make the world believe, that these did preach ordinarily, and usually to the Churches like Pastors, and re­ceived maintenance; for they speak of such a kinde of preaching, as may be done by a gifted woman, as the woman of Samaria, or the believing wife, 1 Cor. 7. as well as by a gifted man. Neither do they speak of the preaching of these that were scattered, as it was ordinary and usuall, and like unto Pastors, but only as performed by men, who (all of them at least) [say they] were not Church-officers, and yet proved effectuall for conversion. When we read your marginall note, viz. This is but a little altered from Answ. to 32. Quest. p. 80.73. we imagined at first sight, you had made some small alterati­on in the language and phrase, which we could well have born with; but we finde that you have made an alteration in the very scope and subject mater insisted upon by the Elders. You have ta­ken away their living childe, and laid your own dead childe in the room of it; so that in your margent we have you (though in a min­cing extenuating) what Ciecro desires his adversary, viz. Confiten­tem re [...], confessing your own guilt, which is the greatest expres­sion of ingenulty of all others in this Section.

3. But that we may give satisfaction to you, and to all men, [Page 121](if it be the will of God;) we shall first declare our judgement con­cerning the point in debate, and then answer your Arguments, so far as we conceive them invalid.

First, then we conceive that all the members of the Church (so far as their occasions and calling will permit, should strive after ability by way of prophesying; to speak to exhortation, edification and comfort, Hee Prophe­tiae donum tan­quamalus prae­stantms maxi­mè commendat Apostolus, cuiom [...]es studeant, 1 Cor. 14.1, 2. Par [...]us in Rom. 12. col. 1197. i. e. This gift of Propecie, as more excellent then the other gifts, the Apostle most commends, for which all should cover, 1 Cor. 14.1, 2. 1 Cor. 1 p. 1. and the Hebrewes ought to have been teachers of others, though they stood in need to be taught the very Prin­ciples of Religion, Hebr. 5.12.

2. There are for the most part, (and may alwayes lawfully be) some in the Church, who devote themselves to the study of the Scriptures, and other profitable studies, that so they may be the better inabled to understand the meaning of the Word: Such were those sons of the Prophets, bred up under the Prophets, 1 Sam. 19.20. 1 King 20.35. 2 King. 2.3.5. Such were many of our Saviours Disciples, who addicted themselves wholly to learn to be fishers of men. Such (it is probable) were some of those Prophets which were in Corinth, Antioch, and other Churches: For the Rules to be observed in the exercise of Prophecie, were not proper to the Church of Corinth alone, but the same were ordained in all Churches, 1 Cor. 14.33. And therefore Prophets, whom the Rules concern, were, or might be in all Churches; for having no publike Ʋniversities, or Colledges for Christians, 'tis probable this was the way of training up men for the work of the Ministery, under the Teaching Officers of the severall Churches.

3. That ordinarily God chose of those that were sons of the Prophets, to be Prophets; yet this was not universall: for sometimes God raised up extraordinarily from amongst the people. Thus Amos was a Heardsman, and yet chosen to be a Prophet: And this hath been done in an ordinary way in the Churches, that men that have made great proof in holinesse and knowledge, have been called to publike Office.

Spyridion a Shepheard, was called to be Bishop of Trimithous, Socrates Eccl. Hist l. 1. c. 8. p. 232. a City of Cyprus: Ambrose, a Consul (being yet but a Catechumenist) came into the Church Assembly at Millain, and spake much, and very [Page 122]powerfully by way of exhortation to the dissenting Brethren, and was by an unanimous vote chosen for their Bishop at that instant, before he was Baptized. Socrat. Eccles. Hist. l 4. c. 24, 25. p. 335. So when God was pleased to make known his Will by immediate revelation, he was pleased many times to make use of the sons of the Prophets. The sons of the Prophets that were at Bethel, 1 King 2.3, 5. and Jericho, could tell Elisha, that his Master should be ta­ken from him; yet sometimes God was pleased to reveale his will to those that were not sons of the Prophets. Thus, though none were to be designed by the Church, as one of these two or three that must prophesie in a Church-meeting, but Prophets; yet if any thing were revealed to him that sate by, he had the liberty to expresse it; so that it is well observed on the one hand by W. Musculus upon the place, that the Apostle saith not, Duo, vel tres prophetent, sed Pro­phetae duo vel tres prophetent; that is, he doth not say, Let two or three prophesie, but let two or three Prophets prophesie: So on the other hand upon these words; If any thing be revealed to him that sits by, let the first hold his peace: he hath these words, Non dicit, significet loquenti, ut ille hoc Ecclesiae proponat, sed dicit, surgat & ipse, & loquatur: ne (que) dicit, servet sibiipsi, sed prior taceat: ne videlicet illicitum putetur ei loqui in Ecclesia qui non sit in ordine Prophetarum, sed de numero se­dentium & auditorum, i.e. He saith not, Let him signifie it to him that is speaking, that he may prophesie the thing to the Church; but he saith, Let himself also arise, and let him speak; neither saith he, let him keep it to himself, but let the first hold his peace; viz. lest it should be thought unlawfull for him to speak in the Church, who is not in the order of the Prophets, but in the number of those that sit by,Aretius in 1 Cor. 14.26. and are auditors. In like manner Aretius, Inde fieri potest, ut quos Ecclesia deputavit ad munus interpretandi, non habent revelatio­nem loci propositi, sed alius in turba sedens: Hence it may come to passe, that those whom the Church hath deputed to the Office of in­terpreting, may not have the revelation of the place propounded, but some other fitting among the multitude.

4. That now that extraordinary revelations are ceased, yet it may be lawfull for some members of the Church, which are not Of­ficers, to preach or prophesie publikely; and,

  • 1. To those that are not in Church-fellowship.
  • 2. To those that are in Church-fellowship, and want Officers.
  • 3. To those that are in Church-fellowship, and have all Officers compleat.

For the first,

First, it may be lawfull for a Church, having persons indowed with parts fit for the work, to send them forth as Messengers to preach to Heathens for their conversion.

Reas. 1. By the same reason that the Church of Antioch sent forth Paul and Barnabas to preach in Salamis, Paphes, Pergo, Antiochia, &c. for the conversion both of Jewes and Gentiles, by the same reason a true Church may send forth men of excellent parts to preach for the conversion of Heathens; For Paul and Barnabas did not now go forth by vertue of their Apostolicall Commission, by which they were inabled to preach to all Nations: for so they should have had no need to have been separated by fasting, prayer, and imposition of the hands of the Eldership; for that Commission they had long before this separation: but they went as Messengers sent out of God by the Ministery of the Church of Antioch; and when they returned, they render an account to the Church of their service in the work to which they were recommended by the Church, Acts 14.27. Now if Paul and Barnabas, who without the recommendation of the Church of Antioch, might have preached in all these places, were sent forth by the Church, what doth this but demonstrate unto us a power in the Churches, to send forth Messengers, though they be neither Apostles, Pasters, nor Teachers, who shall preach as gifted men, sent forth by the Church for that purpose? For, if Paul and Barnabas, who were Apostles, did preach as Messengers sent of God, by the Ministery and recommendation of the Church to such a work, by the same reason may persons gifted, preach by vertue of such a recommendation.

Reas. 2. God hath left a power to the Church, to propagate the Gospel, by using means for the conversion of those that are unconverted. Now, because all unconverted persons cannot come to heare in the Church-assemblies, therefore Christ hath left power to the Churches, to send out Messengers for this purpose, to preach the Gospel to them; otherwise there were no means left by Christ to be used by the Church, for the conversion of those that lie in a state of Heathenisme, and cannot, or will not be at the charge and pains of repairing to Church-assemblies.

If it be said, Let the Church send forth some of her teaching Officers. Objection.

The work of the Officers is properly to attend the flock, Answer. and there­fore though a Church in the want of other fit persons may send out [Page 124]one of her officers for a time, yet if she have those that are not in office, that are indowed with eminent abilities for the work, they are ne­ver the lesse fit, because not in Office: For, if they were Officers they should act amongst Heathens, not as Officers to such a Congregation, but as men sent out by such a Church, in the name of Jesus Christ.

2. Gifted persons not in the Ministery may preach to Churches wan­ting Officers. That they may preach by way of probation, in reference to a Call, you your self will grant, and there is the same reason, in case the teaching Officers should die. Suppose an eminent gifted mem­ber, that hath been bred at School and Ʋniversity for many yeers, should be desired by the Congregation to exercise his gifts amongst them, till God would inable them to choose another Pastor and Teacher, this gifted person, though not in the Ministery, nor in­tending it, might exercise his gift amongst them, upon this ground, which shall appear in the confirmation of the third thing which is yet of a higher nature.

3. Gifted persons not in the Ministery, may preach in a Church that hath all Officers compleat: For the understanding of which, we will lay down certain Positions:

1. No Believer as a Believer, may challenge a liberty to preach or pro­phesie publikely: For though it were with Moses to be wished, that all the Lords people were Prophets, Numb. 11. and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them; yet for as much as God hath not indowed all them with parts fir for the work, all may not prophesie; some there are that have need of milk, Heb. 5.13. because they are unskilfull in the word of righteousnesse, for they are babes, and so not able to prophesie.

2. No Church-member (though a Brother) meerly as a Church-member, may challenge a liberty of publike prophesie. This appears be­cause the Apostle exhorts the Corinthians to strive after ablitie to pro­phesie, 1 Cor. 14.1. which shewes, that they might not prophesie meerly in the capacity of Church-members; for if so, God would have entailed abilities upon all the Fraternity of the visible Church at their first admission. There were in the Church of Corinth, some that occupied the room of the unlearned, 1 Cor. 14.16. that ex­pressed themselves no otherwise then by saying Amen, with an au­dible voyce, when those that possessed the room of the learned gave thanks, as Tertullian, and Justin Martyr tell us, and therefore, when the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 14.23, 24. If all speak with tongues, &c. [Page 125]but if all prophesie, &c. he is not to be understood of the whole Fra­ternity, but only of those that were in a capacity to speak with tongues, and prophesie. Now, that all were not indowed with these gifts, ap­peares, 1 Cor. 12.10.29.

3. Church-members, upon whom God hath bestowed eminent parts, that are able to divide the Word of God aright, and to weild the sword of the Spirit with dexterous abilities, may lawfully preach publikely in the Assembly of the Church. This may appeare,

1. From the end of gifts, which is the use of them for the edifica­tion of others, as well as of our selves. Now private or mean gifts are of private use, but publike or eminent gifts are of publike use. When the young man told Moses that Eldad and Medad prophesied, and Joshua exhorted Moses to forbid them, it was because they ex­ercised that office that was (as they thought) peculiar to Moses; but Moses is well content, Numb. 11.29. I would (saith he) all the Lords people were Prophets, and God would put his Spirit upon them;ut contra nihil tantopere ex­petam quam ut singuli qui in populo Jehovae sunt eodemspi­ritu instrcti prophetare possint, Jun. Paral. Appen. par. 3. p. 353. q. d. if God would put his Spirit upon all the people, as well as upon my self, they might all lawfully prophesie, as well as my self: for toge­ther with extraordinary gifts, there went along an extraordinary call to exercise those gifts. So the Apostle speaking of the exercise of prophesie, Rom. 12.6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace which is given to us, whether prophesie, let us prophesie according to the proportion of fatith: So that where there is the gift, there may be a lawfull exercise of the gift in an orderly manner.

2. That which Church-members, not in Office, nor intending Of­fice, may lawfully strive after, that they may lawfully exercise, being once obtained; But Church-members may lawfully seek after an abi­litie to prophesie publikely, 1 Cor. 14.1. Follow after, &c. and v. 12. even so ye, for as much as ye are zealous of spirituall gifts, seek that ye may excell to the edifying of the Church. Those that are fit to be instru­mentall in a publike way, must not be men of vulgar and triviall parts, but must excell, that they may edifie the Church; the conclu­sion is, some Church-members (though not in Office, nor intending Office) may prophesie publikely.

3. From a like necessity at this day of the exercise of acquired gifts, with that the churches had in those times of the exercise of infused gifts. If in those times when the Apostles did often visit the churches, the Euangelists did water the churches, and there were in the churches [Page 126]many Prophets, that not only addicted themselves to the study of the Scriptures, but were also extraordinarily many times, assisted by the Spirit of God; yet if a Brother, that had a Revelation must have a liberty to utter his revelation for the edification of the Church, how much more now, when there are neither Aposiles to visit, nor Euan­gelists to water, nor Prophets extraordinarily gifted to expound the Word? but in many Congregations not one teaching Officer, in the most, but one Minister indowed with acquired gifts, if any Brother have an excellency of acquired parts, he not only may, but should be stirred up to inploy his talent, as God shall offer occasion for the good of the Church.

4. Church-members, how ever eminently gifted, may not presume to speak in the Church-assembly, before they have a calling to the work by those whom it doth concern: Paul, though an Apostle, did not offer to preach in the Synagogue at Antioch, in Pisidia, till the Rulers of the Synagogues had sent unto him for that end, otherwise, through the corruption of men, there might be great confusion in the Church, and the Officers much disturbed by the proud interposition of Ex­thusiastick spirits (for such may arise in the purest Churches) venting their frothy phantasmes, tanquant ex tripode dicta, as if they were the undoubted Oracles of God Now, if there may be discerned a spi­rit of erroneous pride in the men that desire to speak, they ought to be denied, and admonished; but if they be holy, able, humble men, of whom the Church may presume that they will speak to edi­fication, in such a case the preaching officers must have a spirit of hu­mility, to give way unto them, 1 Cor. 14.32. The spirit of the Pro­phets are subject to the Prophets, that is, the Prophets have a com­mand of their spirits, that they can easily give way to any to speak, and themselves sit down as auditors, provided they be such as ex­pound, divide, and apply the Word profitably. And that this is the meaning of the place, appears by that which followes, vers. 33. For, God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

Now we will consider your Arguments, with which you endea­vour to prove these Texts to be abused.

This Text cannot be generally understood of all that were scattered, Answer. your selves explain it of men, not of women, 1 Cor. 14. Of gifted men, and called to that work by the Church, not of ungifted and uncalled men; yet the words in their indefinite latitude, will prove the preaching as well of ungifted men, and uncalled, as others.

We understand not the Text of all as your self confesse. Reply. If it may be understood of any that were scattered being not Of­ficers, we have what we desire. Will it follow, The text taken in its indefinite latitude, must needs be wrested; therefore it is wrested by us, who take it in a definite latitude? especially since no reason is, or (we suppose) can be by you brought, why we may not take it in a limited sense, and yet deny it to be taken in an unlimited sense. Is not this an ignorance of the Elench? Can you ever inferre contra­dictorium propositionis negatae, with this medium? St John saith, Christ hath made us Kings and Priests, &c. Because these words,Rev. 1.6. Kings and Priests taken in their indefinite latitude, will inferre, that the people of God are temporall kings, having Soveraign power over others; and Priests to offer up corporall sacrifices to God, as the Priests of the Law did? Will it therefore follow, that he that shall expound these words in a definite latitude, as importing only that in Christ they have overcome the Law, Death, Sin, the World, and do triumph over them; that they are Priests by a speciall sequestration of themselves from the world, to offer up spirituall sacrifices to God the Father, do pervert and abuse this Text?

Questionlesse, there were Elders amongst them, Answer. it may be the Seventy Disciples were not quite out of Commission, certainly Philip was amongst them, who was an Euangelist, &c.

Suppose that amongst those that were scattered and preached, Reply. some were Elders, yea, preaching Elders: Suppose the Commission of the Seventie (by vertue of which they were to carry neither purse nor scrip, nor shoes, neither were to salute any man by the way, Luke 10.1, 2. Nullos dum habes hic Apo­stolos, sed Di­scipulos illo­rum, & Disci­pulori [...] Disci­pulos, sic quo­vis medio uti­liter Deus uti potest. Aretius in Acts 11. but to go before the face of Christ, two, and two into every city and place whi­ther Christ himself would come) were in full force at this time: Last­ly, Suppose that Philip were an Euangelist amongst them: Will it from hence follow, that all that preached were Church-officers; and that none of them were gifted persons out of Office; and conse­quently, that those that say, that all were not Officers that went preaching, do abuse the Text? certainly this is a wide consequence: But you say,

They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, Answer. Acts 2.4.10. and 4.31. which made them Doctors, the first day, and gave both ability and a call to speake the Word, &c. Reply.

But did their extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost make them [Page 128]all Officers, yea or no? (for you suppose that all received the Ho­ly Ghost;) If so, then there was a Church of Officers, and none over whom those Officers were set, and that were under the au­thority of Office. If the gifts did not make them Officers, then we have what we assume, viz. Gifted persons not in Office may preach; yea, if all the members of a Church, had gifts fit for the work, all might preach, Numb. 11.29. 1 Cor. 14.12.31.

If it be said, Objection. these were extraordinary gifts by immediate inspi­ration.

So were the gifts of the Officers in those times. Answer. Now by the same reason you deny Church-members, though orderly called to the work, (we mean not to the Office) because eminently gifted for it, a liberty to exercise their gift, because their gifts are not extraordinary, as were those of the Primitive Christians; By the same reason you may deny Officers, though both orderly called, and competently gifted, a liberty to exercise their gift, because their gifts are not extra­ordinary, as were the gifts of the Primitive Officers.

Again, if a Brother, gifted by immediate inspiration might preach or prophesie publikly in those Churches where the Officers were gifted by immediate inspiration; then a Brother eminently gifted by Gods blessing upon his labour and industry, being orderly called thereunto, may preach in those Churches where the Officers are gifted, only by Gods blessing upon their labour and industry, without any immediate inspiration.

That these did preach ordinarily, Answer. and usually to the Churches, like to Pastors, and receive maintenance for the same, as some do in London and elsewhere, is impossible to be proved.

That which is not affirmed by the Elders, Reply. need not be proved by them. We have already proved, that eminent gifted persons, being orderly called thereunto, may lawfully preach, though not in Office; and if by ordinarily and usually you mean, that toties quoties, as oft as the Church shall have need, (suppose by reason of the sicknesse, death, or just absence of the Pastor, or any other lawfull ground and oc­casion) and his calling and condition will permit, we suppose the person eminently gifted may preach, though for divers moneths to­gether. And if he do the work, why may he not receive the wages, not in the capacity of a Pastor, but of one that hath done the work that deserves wages? Suppose he hath spent his means in many [Page 129]yeers painfull study in the Ʋniversity, may he lawfully preach, and yet must he necessarily famish, because he is not in the Pastorall re­lation? May he lawfully dispence unto them his spirituall things, and may he not lawfully receive of them a dispensation of their temporall things? May he (nay must he by a conflux and concen­tering of all things that make up his Call to such a work, for such a time) usually and ordinarily tread out the corn, and yet his mouth be muzzled during all that space? May he lawfully communicate unto them by teaching them in the Word, and may he not lawfully com­municate with them in receiving, who are freely willing to commu­nicate with him in giving all good things?

In the Church of Israel, none besides the Priests and Levites, Answer. did ordinarily prophesie, either in the Temple, or in the Synagogues, un­lesse they were either furnished with extraordinary gifts of prophecy, as the Prophets of Israel; or were set apart, and trained up to prepare for such a Calling, &c.

In case that either those whose Office it is in an ordinary way to prophesie be unable many of them to the work; Reply. or the people grown bold in sinfull courses, so that they sleight and contemn them: If the King, and certain choyce men of the Princes of the Realm be able, and in parts no way inferiour to those able men, whose Office it is to preach unto the people, they may, they ought to prophesie, as well as Kings, Princes, Noble-men, being gifted, may sit in Ecclesiasticall Synods, and declare what they conceive to be the minde of God therein. And this Jehosaphat and his Princes did, by vertue of that generall equity which is of perpetuall use, where­by eminent gifts are to be put forth upon just occasion, for the Pub­like good, though by men not in Office.

Luther, and the first Preachers in the beginning of Reformation, were not Church-officers, nor could be, unlesse we will say, that the Antichristian Hierarchie could institute a Christian Ministery; and yet they preached lawfully, as gifted persons, stirred up by God in a time of defection and apostasie: And so Jehosaphat and his Princes preached, not meerly as King and Princes, for then all Kings and Princes might preach, but as King and Princes gifted, and singularly stirred up to the work by Almighty God. That a King, and Princes eminently gifted and stirred up by an in­ternall prothumie and desire wrought upon their spirits, to preach, [Page 130]is of perpetuall use in all such cases of defection, as was in Jehosa­phats time: Nor will this confound the matters of God, and the Kings matters: But still the Priests and Levites shall preach ordina­rily by vertue of Office, and the King and Princes only occasionally by vertue of gifts. And as they may preach themselves in all such cases: so they may send forth eminently gifted men, though the Churches through corruption should neglect or refuse to call them; and this belongs to Civill Magistrates as they are custodes utrius (que) tabulae. Neither are Kings, or those sent out by them, limited to particu­lar Congregations but may call the people to such places, and at such times as they shall judge most to tend to edification. Thus Joshua called all Israel to Sechem, Josh. 24.1. and preached unto them before his death.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the Sea, Isaiah 11.9.

Thus saith JEHOVAH, Stand ye in the wayes, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls, Jeremiah 6.16.

For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor un­circumcision, but a new creature.

And as many as walk according to this rule, Peace be on them and mer­cy, and upon the Israel of God, Gal. 6.15, 16.

A TABLE of the Texts of Scriptures, cited, Discussed, and cleared from mis-interpretations, in this BOOK.

  • GENESIS 9. vers. 26, 27. Whether a Church in Sems family. page 43
  • Gen. 12.3. & 22.16.18. with Gal. 3.17. as Acts 3.25. [...]. p. 42
  • Gen. 17.1.9. Whether it was a covenant only on Gods part. p. ibid.
  • EXODUS 12.3.21. Whether the word Congregation and Elders are all one there. p. 53
  • Exod. 12.47. Ingaged by covenant to serve God together. page 40
  • Exod. 34.23, 24. All the Churches males must meet together for worship in one place. page 14
  • NUMBERS 8.9, 10. with vers. 6, 7, 13, 14, 18, 19. All the Congre­gation must lay hands on the Le­vites, how? page 52, 44, 55
  • Numb. 11.29. I wish all could prophe­sie. page 125, 128
  • Numb. 25. Phinehas his zeal. Hence Gods covenant with him and his. ergo? page 49
  • DEUTERONOMY 16.2.16. See Exod. 34.23. All males to meet. page 14
  • Deut. Whether a covenant makes a Church. page 37, 39, 40
  • 2 KINGS 2.3.5. Gods will revealed by Prophets and others. page 122
  • 2 CHRONICLES 17.7. Princes sent to teach the people. page 118
  • 2 Chron. 20.25.20. King Jehosaphat prayeth, and teacheth Israel. page 118
  • NEHEMIAH 10.38. Levites were tythed. Tythes are a Jewish mainte­nance. page 61
  • PSALME 30.7. My Mount so strong. What? page 68
  • Psal. 46.2. Mountains into Sea, what it signifieth. ibid.
  • Psal. 74.4.8. Burnt up Synagogues, What? page 26
  • ISAIAH 4.5. Gospel-church is called Sion. page 71
  • Isai. 61.20. Gospel in Old-Testaments language. ibid.
  • Isai. 9.6, 7. Christ is the churches King. page 104
  • JEREMIAH 51.25. Fire signifies oppositions. page 68
  • HOSEAH 2.2. Members may plead with the Church. page 59
  • ZACHARIAH. 4.7. What is that great Mountain? page 68
  • Zach. 14.19. Gospel in Old Testaments language. page 71
  • MALACHI 3.8. Tithes as offerings are Jewish. page 61
  • MATTHEW 16.19. Of Church-binding and loosing. page 89, 90
  • Mat. 18.17. Tell the Church. What Church it is. p. 2, 36
  • [Page]Not a Classicall nor Nationall church, &c. page 86-89
  • Mat. 18.20. A Church is Sion and hath the promises to it. page 71, 73
  • Mat. 20.25, 26. Ministers are not Lords. page 78, 79
  • Mat. 28.19, 20. In that Commission to the Apostles is no mention of ordination, nor in that Mar. 16.15, 16. page 56, 57
  • Was not given to them as Apostles. page 91
  • MARK 12.41. The use of the Church treasurie. page 67
  • LUKE 8.2, 3. Christ received contri­bution. page 62
  • Luke 22.25, 26. Ministers are not as Lords. page 78, 79, 81
  • JOHN 8, 20. Church treasury; for what. page 67
  • Joh. 13.29. From contribution was distri­bution. page 62
  • Joh. 20.23. The Key given Peter, with the rest. page 92
  • ACTS 1.15. A few begin a Church. page 9, 12, 13
  • Act. 1.15.23. A Church hath full power to choose her own officers. page 46, 11, 9
  • Act. 1.26. By common vote or suffrage. page 49
  • Act. 2.4.10. Gifts make not officers. page 128
  • V. 40. The Church was separated. page 2, 48
  • Vers. 41. Whether they they were a church before page 10, 13
  • V. 45. Whole estates put into the com­mon stock page 62
  • V. 47. A Church before Officers. page 45
  • Act. 4.35. Selling whole estates not bind­ing to all times, but extraordinary. page 62
  • Act. & 5.28, 29. Preaching when men forbid to obey Christ. page 6
  • Act. 4.26. Took counsell together, how? page 19
  • Act. 5.28, 29. Obey, and hearken to God most. page 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
  • Act. 6.1. Of the Deacons office. page 62
  • Vers. 3. The Church must look out seven men. page 46, 51
  • Act. 6.4. Prayer, one work of a Minister. page 57, 62
  • Act. 8.4.12. Preaching without office. page 119
  • Act. 9.26, 27. Satisfaction of members be­fore they be received in. page 34
  • Vers. 31. The head of Church-fellowship is not conversion, but edification. page 35
  • Act. 11.19. Jews were first preached to. page 2
  • Ver. 19. Some not in office may preach. page 118
  • V. 20.21. Some converted, others gathered them. page 4
  • Act. 13.2, 3. Paul set apart by God, and the Church. page 49
  • Act. 14.23. Churches before officers to them. page 46
  • Act. 14.27. Paul and Barnabas sent by Church also. page 123
  • Officers ordained by peoples election. page 46, 51
  • Act. 18.2.26. Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth. page 11
  • Act. 19.1.9. Paul separated such at him­self converted not. page 4
  • Vers. 37. Robbers of Temples, not of churches. page 25
  • Act. 20.28. Elders must see to the flock. page 107, 112
  • Act. 21.22. Myriads, What; not all those of one Church, but of many churches. page 14, 15, 30, 31
  • ROMANS 4.11, 12. Abraham, fa­ther of the faithfull, circumcised and uncircumcised. page 43
  • Rom. 12.6. Of prophecy. page 125
  • Rom. 12.7, 8. Teacher and Pastor are distinct. page 70
  • [Page]Vers. 13. Distribute to the necessity of Saints. page 63
  • Rom. 15.26. Romans to contribute to Jerusalem. page 64
  • Rom. 16.1, 2. Recommending members to another church, to receive them. page 117
  • 1 CORINTHIANS 1. v. 1. All Saints of Corinth of one Church. page 15, 16
  • Qu. Whether this be writ to all Saints or no? page 16, 20
  • 1 Cor. 1.1, 2. Church-members to be vi­sible Saints, and what triall of Saints herein. page 31
  • Vers. 17. Preaching is a Ministers great work. page 57
  • 1 Cor. 5.5, 6. Purge out the old leaven. page 29, 30, 36
  • Vers. 5. Excommunicating there, whether done by Paul, or to be by the Churches power. page 95, 97, 98
  • 1 Cor. 5.12. Whether some believers may be said to be WITHOUT, in that sense. page 74, 75, 76
  • 1 Cor. 7.16. Gifted men, or women, may convert. page 120
  • 1 Cor. 11.19. The Church, whether it is the place. page 25, 26
  • Vers. 20. A church meeting in one place. page 13-31
  • 1 Cor. 14.1, 2.3.33. All must covet the gift of prophecy. page 121, 124
  • V. 12.31. Such may. page 128
  • 1 Cor. 14.23. This is discussed fully there. page 13 to 31
  • V. 32. Spirit of Prophets subject. page 126
  • 1 Cor. 12.8. Pastor, and Teachers gifts distinct. page 70
  • 1 Cor. 12.9.29. All had not all gifts. page 125
  • V. 28. [...], Helps put for Deacons. page 63
  • 1 Cor. 14.1.3. Prophecying hath something ordinary, something extraordinary. p. 118
  • Vers. 34. Women to be silent in your chur­ches. What churches means he? p. 21
  • Not to use power in churches, page 91, 95
  • 1 Cor. 15.6. Christ appeared to five hun­dred brethren at once in Jerusalem. page 11
  • 1 Cor. 16.1. & 2 Cor. 8.1. Churches, whether Nationall churches? page 21 to 31
  • 1 Cor. 16.1. Ministers to be maintained by the churches contributions every first day, scanned. page 60, 61
  • Vers. 1.2. Every first dayes contribution proved. page 64
  • Qu. Whether those collections were to cease. page 65
  • Hence for maintaining the Ministers proved. page 66
  • 2 CORINTH. 2.9. Church excom­municates, and not Paul alone. page 97
  • 2 Cor. 3.1. Letters of recommendation to others. page 117
  • 2 Cor. 6.16. A Church is Gods Temple. page 71
  • 2 Cor. 8.5. Such give themselves to the Lord, and to them. page 44
  • 2 Cor. 8.18, 19. Many churches may choose one to do them service. page 30
  • GALATIANS 3.16, 17. And in thy seed; not to. page 42
  • Gal. Church to cut off offen­fenders. page 95
  • Gal. 6.6. Opening the communicating to Ministers. page 63
  • EPHESIANS 2.22. A house of stones united. page 38
  • Eph. 4.11. Teachers and Pastors are di­stinct. page 69
  • Eph. 5.25, 26. Is of the Church mysticall. page 28
  • PHILIPPIANS 1.7. Churches to be [Page]of reputed Saints. page 32
  • Phil. 4.15. Giving and receiving are acts of communion. page 63
  • COLOSSIANS 4.17. A Church hath power to censure her officers. page 58, 59
  • 1 TIMOTHY 1.20. Whether Paul alone excommunicated Hymeneus. page 96
  • 1. Tim. 3.8. Deacons office is not tem­porary. page 63
  • 1 Tim. 3.10. One unofficed may preach. page 58
  • 1 Tim. 4.14. Elders laid on hands. page 96
  • 1 Tim. 5.17. Whether ruling Elders must be maintained by the Church. page 60
  • 1 Tim. 6.13, 14. That Christ left but one way of Church discipline, which must be kept to the end of the world. page 107
  • 2 TIMOTHY 1.6. Whether Paul laid on hands alone. page 96
  • JAMES 1.1. with Jam. 2.2. Whether all the twelve Tribes were one Church; or how called your Synagogues. page 18, 19
  • 1 PETER 2.5. A Church of living stones. page 36
  • 1 Pet. 2.25. Shepheard and Bishop there are one and the same. page 69
  • 1 Pet. 4.14. Ministers not to be Bishops in anothers Dioces. page 111
  • 1 Pet. 5.1. Apostles were Elders of all Churches. page 46
  • 1 Pet. 5.3. Elders are not Lords over Gods Heritage. page 78
  • 3d. Epist. JOHN vers. 9. Diotrephes that loved preeminence, how blamed. page 78, 81
  • REVELATIONS 1.6. Kings and Priests distinguished. page 127
  • Rev. 2.11. The Spirit speaks not to the Angel alone, but also to the churches. page 101
  • Rev. 4.14. The Church hath Crownes, which implies it hath authority. ibid.
  • Rev. 8.8, 9. A great Mountain cast in­to the Sea, what it means. page 68
  • Rev. 13.1. & 15.2. Sea put for the Church, or the Churches Religion. page 68
  • Rev. 15.3. Christ is the King of the Church. page 104
  • Rev. 21.27. & Rev. 22.14. Nothing shall enter into the Holy City (the Church) that defileth. page 38

Some Greek words and phrases opened herein.

  • [...], Whether, in one place, or in one minde, page 18, 20
  • [...], Kak. Synagoga; and Hebrew Gnedah, Kahal. What page 24, 25
  • [...], Every first day, cleared, 1 Cor. 16.1, 2. page 65
  • [...], I have judged to deliver, What page 97, 98
  • [...], For this I wrote. page 99


PAge. 35. line 4. à fine, reade converted. p. 36. l. 5. à fine, given Paul, r. given by Paul. p. 37. l. 9. r. 1 Cor. 1.5. p. 49. l. 10. à fine, 2, 3, 23. dele 23. p. 52. l. 4. à fine, 19.2. W. r. 19.2. p. 65. l. 9. Matth. 18. r. 28. p. 83. circa med. Luke 24. r. 14. p. 110. l. 4. r. presidents. p. 114. circa med. 2 Thes. r. 1 Thes. p. 121. r. 1 Cor. 14.1.3.


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