A SOBER ANSWER To an angry EPISTLE, Directed to all the publick Teachers in this Nation, and prefixed to a Book, called (By an ANTIPHRASIS) Christs Innocency pleaded against the Cry of the Chief Priests. Written in hast By THOMAS SPEED, once a publick Teacher himself, and since revolted from that Calling to Merchandize, and of late grown a Merchant of Soules, trading subtilly for the QUAKERS in Bristoll. WHEREIN The Jesuiticall Equivocations and subtle Insinuations, where­by he endeavours secretly to infuse the whole Venome of Quaking Do­ctrines, into undiscerning Readers, are discovered; a Catalogue of the true and genuine Doctrines of the Quakers is presented, and certaine Questions depending between us and them, candidly disputed, By Christopher Fowler & Simon Ford, Ministers of the Gospel in Reding,

LONDON, Printed for Samuel Gellibrand, at the Ball in Pauls Church Yard, 1656.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE Colonell WILLIAM SYDENHAM, One of his Highness Councill, and one of the Commissioners for the Exchequer, and Captaine for the Isle of WIGHT.

Right Honourable,

THe Author of the Paper we herein deale withall, having by his Apostacy to the damnable Doctrines of the Quakers, and written Apologie for them in the said Paper, endan­gered divers of our Towne, and the parts adjacent, where he was formerly in some esteem; and withall in the same Paper, formed into the modell of an Epistle directed to them, insolently challenged all the Publick Teachers of this Nation; and particularly us, who now appeare against him, by sending two of the Pamphlets to us by name; we dared not betray the Truth and Glory of our Lord Jesus, nor the precious Soules of the People, by neglecting to pub­lish a timely Antidote against the Poyson of such a subtill and in­sinuating peice, as your Honour, if you will vouch-safe to look on it, and compare it with this Answer, will easily discerne it to be. We perceive the designe of the Author, is by false suggestions to re­proach the Ministry, and by Jesuiticall Equivocation, to sweeten [Page] the Doctrines of the Quakers to the Publick Magistrates. And upon that account, we thought it meete to present this our necessary vindication of that, and discovery of these, to some Person in Au­thority, of Honour and Conscience; that under such a shelter, we might gaine it a more facile admission to others, of those unto whom we are necessitated to appeale. And because we can assuredly suite that Character to your self; and withall are perswaded, that by reason of your equability of carriage to dissenters in late times, our Adversary himself cannot reasonably quarrell at us, for our choyce of a Patron; and lastly because we have both of us in some measure (but one of us more largely, by divers years experience) known you a cardial friend to a Godly Ministry, and the Doctrine which is according to Godlynesse; we therefore humbly put it into your Honours hands. Sir, as to the Cause we maintaine, we need not any Creatures Patronage, nor dare we submit it to any Creatures Umpirage; for we are assured it (mainly) concernes such founda­tions of Religion, as deeply ingage the honour of our Lord Jesus, and therefore we are assured, he will not suffer them to be moved; and such as will stand, when all Persons and Doctrines shall be judged finally, and everlastingly according to the purport of them. But as to our candour and integrity in the managery thereof, and the proportion of satisfaction which we give therein, we are con­tented to stand to your Arbitration, wherein however we may fare, yet it shall suffice us, that our Consciences tell us, that we have done our endeavour to defend the Truth, and that with meeknesse and moderation, beyond our Antagonists deserts, or the merits of his cause; and our experience tells us, that you will not disdain to accept from us this small Testimony, that we are very much,

(Right Honourable)
Your Honours affectionate Servants for the Interest of Christ our Master,
  • Simon Ford.
  • Christopher Fowler.

AN ANSWER TO AN EPISTLE OF THOMAS SPEED, Directed to all the Publick TEACHERS in this Nation, and prefixed to a Book of his called by an ANTIPHRASIS, Christ's Innocency pleaded, &c.


NOT many daies since, we received each of us a Book as from you, by the hands of a Friend of yours, living in this Town, Intituled Christs Innocency pleaded, &c. which although it be par­ticularly directed to a Godly and able Minister of the Neighbourhood, yet it seems you thought fit to disperse it into these parts, as well as over the rest of the Nation, in Print, to confirm those that are already gained to your belief, and reduce others either to an entertain­ment [Page 2] of, or moderation to, the principles thereof. And we must confesse, that you have acted the last part of this designe with a great deale of Artifice, not without (as we conceive) a concurrent aime of your own, to shew how much credit your wit could give to an evill cause, and how (if not amiable, yet) tolerable, you could render an ugly face, by a decent dresse.

For our parts, we are sorry you can find no better exercise for your parts, then the maintaining of absurd Paradoxes in Ci­vility, and blasphemous Heresies in Religion; for so we dare call the Doctrines you undertake to shelter under the wing of your Patronage; and make no question but that Judge, who, we are assured, will one day make that written Law, which you refuse to own as the rule of your lives, the ground of his pro­ceedings upon you, and all others that live within the sound of it, after death, will then call them so too, when all the rhetori­call vailes you put upon them, will be pulled off, and you be found, except you repent, one of those that dawbe a rotten Se­pulcher with untempered Morter, and cover Violence with a Mal. 2. 16. Garment of subtle and Jesuiticall equivocation.

And indeed, that which makes us the more compassionate towards your self in this sad delusion you are under, is the repute which you have had (till of late daies) for soundnesse and Orthodoxy in Doctrinals, and some kind of moderation, beyond others of your Brethren in separation, towards those you separated from: And this, because we feare that the in­fluence of your Apostacy may occasion the ruine of many others, whose former esteem of your person endangers them to follow you blindfold into your Errors.

This, we assure you, is not the least cause (together with the preservation of those of our own charges from the infection likely to be spread among them by your name, and the reduce­ment of those of them who may (we feare) call you Father, in other respects, as well as the relation of Affinity) which in­duceth us to put Pen to paper in this Quarrell. Not that we intend hereby to take the Cudgels out of the hand of that Reve­rend man who is more neerly concerned, and better able to manage them then our selves; for (as to that concernes his Papers so brokenly quoted by you) we believe his own publi­cation [Page 3] of the entire Copies (which you think fit to conceale, not without some ground of suspicion, that you were rather willing to pick out what you could best sport your self, and your credulous Reader withall, then to give a solid answer to his Arguments as they come from his hand) with such animad­versions, as he is sufficiently able to make to the disingenuities of your reply, will abundantly vindicate him, and the Truth. Onely, we cannot but acquaint you, that you have mistaken the mark very much in the arrowes of bitter words, which your discourse levels with too much virulency against that holy man. Had you dealt with one of those sorry things in black, whose Doctrine and life are scandals to the Gospell; and ble­mishes to their holy Profession, you might have promised your selfe an easie beliefe from the Readers of your Book, to whatsoever load of reproches, you should have laid upon him: but the man you deale withall, is so well known for Piety, Meek­nesse, Humility, Heavenly-mindednesse, tendernesse of consci­ence, and all other Ministeriall Qualifications, that you may as well perswade them the Snow is black, as fasten those re­proches upon him with any hope of gaining credit to your self, or your book, except amongst those who are either totally stran­gers to him, or given up to so potent a prejudice against all that beare the name of Ministers, that they can easily admit into their Creed, whatsoever evill can be said of them. But to more sober Readers, and especially those of the parts where he lives, you might be easily convinced (had you any principles left to bottome a conviction upon) that the unjust imputations you every where bespatter him withall, will render you suspected, in all the rest of your book, for the falsehood detected in them. And we must tel you withal, that we cannot prevail wth our rea­sons or consciences to perswade themselves that you have that infallible Spirit, which you pretend to dictate to you; seeing we know you to be so grossly mistaken in the censures you spend upon him, and divers of his fellow-labourers. Nor can we judge that language inspired by the holy spirit of God, when we consider, that there is no Gall in that Dove, & that those holy men of God who wrote as they were moved by the H. Ghost, tell us, that Saints must put away all clamour and bitternesse; and evill speak­ing, Ephes. 4. 31. [Page 4] and wrath: That the wisdome that is from above is gentle; Ja. 3. 17. Ja. 1. 16. and that if any man bridle not his tongue, his religion is vain.

And lastly, that if you be not a better Master of Language then Michal the Arch-angel, or we deserve worse usage then the Devill himself; the light in which the Apostle Jude spake, will tell you (but that you think him too low a Scholar to in­struct you, that have gotten through the Schoole, wherein he was a Disciple) that it ill becomes you to bring against your Antagonists a railing accusation. But if that convince not you Iude 9. and your brethren of the incivility and irreligion of your tongues and pens in this way, we shall refer you from Michaels Dispute to Enochs Prophesie, wherein you will find, that hard speeches will beare an Indictment at the last Assise, as well as Vers. 14. hard blowes: And in the mean time, we hope God will heare our prayers, and free us from the mercy of your Hands, who find what cruelty there is in the tender mercies of your Prov. 12. 10. Tongues

Mean while, in hope that a soft answer will turn away wrath, Pro. 15. 1. and that we may set you a fairer Copy to write after, when you next put pen to paper, we shall endeavour by Gods assistance, Pro. 26. 4, 5. to answer so much of your papers, as concernes us in common with other Ministers, without answering your passions.

And Sir, upon our first view of your Pamphlet, we cannot Sect. 1. but tell you, that if your Title-page were calculated for the Meridian of your Book, you mistook your self extreamly: For Tituli re­media, pix­ides vene­na. (to let passe the Title it self, wherein you abuse the glorious name of Christs Innocency, to patronize your own guilt) we cannot but wonder how Seneca (an Heathen) comes to be so great in your esteem, that you that will not allow us to quote Hierome, Augustine, Calvin, or Luther, yet think your Book Epistle p. D. credited by the wrested Testimony of a Pagan Philosopher pre­fixed thereunto. Sect. 2.

But to let that passe, and proceed to your Epistle, which on­ly because you direct it to the whole body of the Ministery, we suppose our selves concerned in. The rest of your Book, because we are assured from your Adversary that he will speedily take it in hand; we suppose you will give us leave to be so ingenu­ous as to leave to his able Pen, without interpreting it any wise [Page 5] to proceed from any consciousnesse of our own weaknesse, that we meddle not with it.

And here in the first place, we con you many thanks for the charitable advice you begin withall, and assure you, that the more we think of the day and houre, which in your entrance you mind us of, and that account we must hereafter therein give to the righteous Judge of Heaven and Earth, the more are we exci­ted to the consciencious discharge of that office, which (howe­ver you revile) we are sufficiently assured he will own at that day to be held by commission from him: and the more are we encouraged against all that evill entertainment, which (for the discharge thereof) we meet withall, from men of corrupt minds, 2. Tim. 3. 8. reprobate as concerning the Faith. And we hope, we shall take warning (even from an Adversary) to walk worthy of our high and holy calling, and not wear our Livery to the disgrace of our Master. But we are jealous, that whatever use we may make of your counsell, you intend it to far another purpose; to wit, rather as a slye way of casting reproach upon us, by insinuating that we stand in need of being so advised, then out of any inten­tion to do us good by that advice. [I wish you were] (in your language) is no other, then [I proclaime your are not:] Sect. 3. And although you tell us immediatly after, that you will not un­dertake Epistle, pag. 2. rashly to judge us, or accuse us to the world (from which crime of rash judgment you think your self sufficiently se­cured by comparing our works with our rule, the Scriptures) and then proceed (as you think cum privilegio) to misapply Scriptures, to slander us, yet we must retort upon you that which you give in way of advice to us, that the hower is coming, when all coverings shall be removed, and the vailes pluckt off from Ep. p. 1. all faces; and then we doubt not but you will be found, not on­ly a rash, but a false accuser, and that to the world (in Print) notwithstanding that colour and covering which you hide it withall.

For do you believe in earnest, that those Prophets of whom Sect. 4. Micah speaks, that teach for hire, and divine for money, or those Mic. 3, 11. Mar. 23. 5, 6, 7. whom our Saviour notes, for doing their works to be seen of men, for standing to pray in the Synagogues and the corners of the streets for loving the uppermost roomes at Feasts, &c. are chara­cters [Page 6] suiting the men of your indignation, whom you endeavour to degrade from the esteem they have, as Ministers of Christ, by such intimations as these? You pretend to something of Scho­larship and reason, and cannot but know, except your new light have quite put out the old, that the Priests and Prophets that Micah speaks of were such, as made their hire the end of their teaching and prophesying, and accordingly accommodated their Doctrines to the corrupt humours of those, from whom they expected their reward; a thing which a fixed maintenance, by Tithes, or otherwise by Law established, secures our Ministers from the tentation of.

It is you, and your brethren that would make us such as you slander us to be, by reducing us to voluntary contributions, which would be quickly detained from us, as often as we should dare to differ from the opinions, or reprove the Vices of our Neighbours.

And who are you, Sir, that judge our hearts, when you tell Sect. 5. us, what we aime at, and set up as our end in teaching, which you do more then once, and twice in your Epistle, and Book? How long have you been seated in the Throne of the most high God, and made a Judge of the secrets of mens hearts, that you tell us that we preach for hire, and do our works to be seen of men, and that we love the upper-most roomes, &c. As for standing to pray in the Synagogues, if you consult the place whence you pretend to draw that parallell between the Pharisees and us, you will find that the action is not condemned, but the end, to be seen of men; they neglecting in the mean time to pray in their Mat. 6. 5. Closets, where man could not take notice of their devotion. And so this charge (except you will say, with some of your companions, that you know the heart) comes under the same G. Fox see the perfect Pharisee, p. 49. and 4. condemnation of slander with the rest.

The corners of the streets, if they be used by any persons in these daies, for religious uses, we know not who herein resem­ble the Pharisees, more then those of your own Fraternity (and Sisterhood too) who, though they meddle little with prayer, (it is to be seared) any where, yet choose the streets, and Mar­ket-places to vent their pretended Declarations from God.

Your next Paragraph endeavours to fasten upon us the im­putation Sect. 6. of Persecuters, and upon your selves the character of Christian sufferers. To which, we shall say only thus much in this place, That we adore that gracious Providence which keeps us out of the reach of your malice; otherwise we are assured we should not be long without that persecution which you make the badge of true Ministers, for better Doctrines and pra­ctises, then those, which some of yours suffer for.

In the mean while, we have our shares sufficiently in the per­secution of your tongues, and hands, as far as you can, by im­poverishing us, and our Families, by detaining our just and le­gall subsistence, disturbing us in the exercise of our publick wor­ship, &c. which we suffer constantly from those of your fel­lowship and communion. What further needs to be spoken to this head, as it concernes your usage from us, will be taken up in its due place, and more largely debated with you hereaf­ter See Sect. 9, 10.

That we are not the Ministers of Christ, because we indent Sect. 7. for our maintenance, where we sit down in a charge, and that we sue for the tenth of their increase, those that owne us not for their Pastors, is the summe of your charge. To the first branch whereof, we can, divers of us, reject it as a meer slander: many Ministers in this Nation living upon as free a contribution­maintenance, as any of your selves, but in a more orderly way; Their people contribute to those Pastors that reside among them, and not to wandering Preachers, whose faces they sel­dome see, and from whose standing converse with, or inspecti­on over them they can receive no benefit. And others of us maintain many Lectures, either simply, or joyntly, for which we receive as little, as the Quakers themselves would wish. And as for those that either indent for maintenance, or enter upon the maintenance already setled by Law; we are sure they are not blame-worthy, for that, to gain the repute of Ministers, they do not prove themseles worse then Infidells, in not provi­ding for themselves and their Families, which the Apostles light makes a badge of one that hath denied the faith (the pro­per 1 Tim. 5. 8. character of some of yours, who wander up and down to the manifest and apparent ruine of themselves, and those that [Page 8] they are bound to provide for.) Nor are we at all startled at the practise of the Apostles under an extraordinary command, so confessed (in effect) by your selves in your own practise, (for why else do you not travell about to declare without Pur­ses, or Shooes on your feet, or Staves in your hands, commands immediatly subjoyning to that of giving freely what they had Mat. 10. 8, 9, 10. freely received, in the same place of Scripture) and appearing to be such; if we compare Luke 22. 36. where Christ in another exigency of time allowes them to make that provision for them­selves, which in the former command he forbad them. For we are sufficiently assured, that the Apostles themselves were main­tained by the Church in which they laboured, excepting only the Apostle Paul, and his companion Barnabas, and that only Act. 20. 34 See 2 Cor. 11. 7. v. 9. and 2 Thes. 3. 8, 9. at Ephesus, Corinth, and Thessalonica, where (little to their credit too, if we mark the tart reflexions of the Apostle upon their sordidnesse) they wrought with their hands, for speciall reasons assigned in the Texts themselves; yet withall the said Apostle asserts it as an Ordinance of God (and that founded up­on reason, and Scripture too) that they that preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel; and withall affirmeth his owne and his brethrens power to have claimed the same from them, which they received from other Churches. We forbeare tran­scribing Texts, you may find this and more, 2 Thes. 3. 9. and 1 Cor. 9 from verse 6. to the end of the 14. which Scripture we observe in most of the Pamphlets published by the Adversa­ries of Ministers maintenance, is passed over with deep silence; and so expect it will be by you and your brotherhood, or an­swered by (the common refuge of Hereticks) the decrying of interpretations, and inferences upon Scripture. When you further urge the same Apostles practise, against coveting other mens sil­ver and gold, or apparell; We have nothing to object against you, provided that you will not call requiring that which is le­gally our own, a coveting that which is anothers: Surely no man holds the nine parts, by firmer Law in these Nations, then the Minister claimes his tenth by: And how can it then be more co­vetous in a Minister to sue for that which is his by Law, then in others to detain it from him without Law? so that we feare the coveting other mens silver and gold will lye at yours and [Page 9] your brethrens doores, and you will never be able to sweep it away.

The claiming a maintenance from those without, and exacting it of those that never heare us, which you further object against us, as a disparagement to our Ministeriall calling, comes under the See Sect. 18, 19, 20, &c. consideration of maintenance in the way of Tithes, which we re­fer to its proper place, where it falls in your discourse.

That some who beare the name of Ministers (and such Sect. 8. as we no lesse disown, then your selfe) live in darknesse, swearing, &c. (the declaiming against whom is the substance of your next Paragraph, and your fifth proof against our Cal­ling;) we confesse and bewaile, and did the anger that dwels in you and your brethren extend to none but those, who may justly come under that charge, we should vvillingly joyne with you in the prosecution of them; and do it where any such come within our reach. Yea vve further must professe, vve should be very glad, that some men in power among us, who are very favourable to your party, vvere as zealous against them as vve. We must freely declare that those that are indeed such, have been sheltred (upon prosecution) under the vvings of some such among us, & we verily believe it is in their hearts to vvish us all such, that they might have some colour to strike off the neck of the vvhole Ministry at a blow.

But vve must tell you (whilst vve are not all such, and now fewer such then formerly) that it is an injurious procedure in you, to reflect disparagement upon a vvhole Profession, for the fault of some that against their vvills joyne themselves to them: Should all the swearing, drunken, and o­therwise disorderly companions, that frequent the Quakers Assemblies, be reckoned among them, and all be judged by some, you vvould think it hard usage. We hope you vvill be conten­ted to buy by the same Bushell you sell withall.

But you are fain to come off from this charge as too gross to be generally laid upon the whole Ministry, with [are there not a great sort of you such?] and [are your hands all cleane from this filth?] only you come in vvith an after-charge against the rest in another Quaere, Viz. Among those of you that have es­caped that open pollution of drunkennesse with Wine, are you not [Page 10] yet intoxicated with wrath, and rage against the innocent. And you proceed, enquiring, Whether in the Prisons and Dungeons of England, Jesus Christ doth not as truly lye bound by our insti­gation and procurement (to wit, in those deare Servants of his the Quakers, who account it no robbery to be at least equall with their Master) as he did by the procurement of Saul in Damascus? And yet further, Whether if any poore Jeremiah came from the Lord to beare witnesse against our abominations (to vvit, in those abominable practises of instructing the people against the delu­sions of the times, vvhich is the greatest Antidote against that Plague of Error and Heresie, that is dispersed over all the Nati­on; and vvorshiping God according to the rule of his blessed vvord, and the light of our own consciences) Whether there be wanting among us a Lordly Pastor, who (in case the Magi­strate be so honest, (to wit, through cowardize, or luke-warm­nesse) as to refuse) will not with his owne hands put his feet in the Stocks? To vvhich vve say, vve know none of our Professi­on that take so much upon them, if you do, you may do vvell to discover them; and vve should be vvell contented for their paines, to see them set there a while themselves, till they learn to do their owne businesse. And then you catechize, us further in our rule (as with scorne enough you often cal the Scriptures, for which we must reckon with you at large anon.) Whether ever the true Prophets of the Lord did persecute or imprison any that were differing from them in matters of Religion? And Whether they be in Christs esteem Shepheards, or Wolves, who worry the Sheep instead of feeding them, &c? After vvhich you spend a great deale of rhetorick in anticipating the Judgment of Christ at the last day, as if you vvere already bespoken to be Clerk of the Ar­raignments against that Assise: In answer vvhereunto vve say no more but this; Judge not, that yee be not judged: And vve make no question, that if no better evidence be brought against us at that day, then any you yet offer, to prove those high Cri­minations; that our Not-guilty vvill be as good a plea (though vvithout a distinction) as your charge of Guilty vvill be an In­dictment vvithout a proof.

But supposing vve vvere (indeed) the Persecuters, the Sect. 10 Worriers, the Imprisoners, of those men of your right hand, [Page 11] provided, we were legally commissioned thereunto (which we hope we shall never desire for our selves, nor allow in o­thers of our Function) yet why all distinctions should be a plea so inconsistent with the Justice of that Court (as you intimate to us it will be) we know not. Nay, we have a little light from (our low rule) the Scripture, that perswades us there P. 4, 5. may be some use of them then. For in that short description of the last Judgment, whence you draw out a Copy of our Ar­raignment, not without some aggravating expostulations (viz. Mat. 25 41, 42. &c) we find the Judge distinguishing upon the Bench, to conclude the Offenders within the reach of the Law; For the wicked there indicted are brought in pleading their Not guilty, as to the neglect of relieving and visiting Christ in his own person. To take off which plea, and cleare the equity of his condemnatory sentence; he distinguisheth between him­selfe in his person, and himself in his little ones, or Members; and granting their plea as to the former, rejects it as to the la­ter. Now, surely we cannot believe that the Judge of the whole World will not at that great and solemn day, give us the latitude he takes to himself. If he distinguish upon the Law, he will allow us to distinguish upon the Indictment. We know not if we be indicted for worrying the Sheep; why we may not plead the Scripture distinction between Sheep indeed, and Wolves in Sheeps clothing; and if we can indeed prove that we worry no other, but disguised Wolves (upon which proof in­deed we are contented to lay the whole stresse of our present, and (we hope) future justification in this whole matter now in debate between us) we cannot but expect the same dis­charge at the Bar, which we should not doubt from humane e­quity, in case, being indicted for assaulting and beating a true Subject upon Salisbury plaines, we could make it appeare, that we beat only a Theef, and that upon our own necessary defence: So that indeed, all that outragious cry which you afterward make against the poore Presbyters for justifying the Scribes and P. 5. Pharisees, and the Lordly Bishops in former times (who, you perswade your self) had the same distinction to plead, for cru­cifying the Lord of Glory, and his precious Saints, and persecu­ting the Puritanes, &c. to wit, that they used them thus under [Page 12] the notion of blasphemous Hereticks and Deceivers) falls to the ground, if we can prove those whom we are charged to perse­cute, such as we take them to be. And this we doubt not to make good against you, and your brethren in the way of Qua­king, in the processe of this our book, and then shall leave the whole matter to our Lord, and yours, to judge between us at the great day of his appearing. But then you will allow us Sect. 11 (we hope) not to suffer you to phrase your own Indictment, as you do very dextrously and artificially, in favour of your self and your Generation, in the following Section of your Epistle; wherein you make your self, and your Reader pretty sport, by drawing up a ridiculous charge against your selves, and then set our names to it, as if we had made so great a cry (as you mention) for so little wooll, and had no matters of greater mo­ment to exhibit against you, then those which you will confesse against your selves. And yet we must tell you, that you were not very well advised (if you meant wholly to clear your selves from those imputations) to confesse so much as you do in many passages of your Book, which we shall deale with anon. Mean while we dare not let you alone to cousen the World in­to a good esteem of your opinions by your ambiguous expres­sions, and therefore we must crave your patience, if we come after you, and sift you, that by being first in your owne cause, Pro. 18. 17. you may not seem uprighter then indeed you are.

First, you take it ill to be charged as Blasphemers, for Sect. 12 affirming, that Christ is the light that enlighteneth every one that cometh into the world, and that he that followeth that light (your Jo. 8. 2. Text (by the way) saith, He that followeth me, and the words [that light] are your interpretation and meaning, which (were we as peevish as those of your way) we might reject) shall not walk in darknesse, but shall have the light of life; ad­ding further, that that light is sufficient to teach them and guide them to the Father: and thence ask for a close, What need then of our teachings?

We hope (seeing you stand upon your purgation) you will give us leave to ask you a few questions upon this Article.

1. Q. What light is that with which Christ enlightens every man? It is Christ himself (we would say, if you would give us [Page 13] leave for distinction sake) personally, or is it a light infused in him? If so,

2. Q. It is the light of bare reason in a reasonable Soule, or is it the discovery of himselfe by supernaturall revelation?

3. Q. Whether the meer light of reason be sufficient to lead all men, Heathens and all, to the Father savingly; or onely (as the place partially quoted in your next Article hath it) to that which may be known of him, by the things that are made, that they may be without excuse? or

4. Q. Whether if any meer Pagan live up to the naturall light of his own reason or conscience, God be bound to bestow upon him that farther light, which is sufficient to bring him to salvation?

Q 5. If Christ be (in your sence) the light of every one that comes into the World; why is it that Judas saith Jo. 14. 23. Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thy self to us, and not to the World?

And when you have answered (plainly and without equivo­cations) to these quaeres; possibly you may retort your clo­sing Quaere upon your selves: What need then of our teachings, as well as the Priests?

You would faine make us believe (in your next Arti­cle) Sect. 13 that you say no more in the case of the Heathens light, then the Apostle doth, Rom. 1. 19. 20. which is (as you render it) That that which may be known of God is manifest in their consciences (where again, though we contradict it not, yet we observe you can interpret, and give your meanings upon Scripture, though in us it be adding to the Scripture; for the Text saith no more but in them, or (as in your Margin) to them. (God having, say you farther, revealed it to them) [shewed] saith the Text, [revealed] is your meaning, because it makes more for your own turn; so that they not having a Law without them (interpretation again) they are a Law to them­selves, &c. Rom. 2. 14, 15.

Now you would insinuate, that you hold forth no more then the Scripture doth therein: Which whether you do or no, will appeare by your plaine and ingenuous answer to the former Quaeres. Mean while, we desire you to take notice. 1 That [Page 14] the words in the Text [That which may be known of God] im­plies, that there is something of God which may not be known to Heathens, as such; which is the way of being reconciled to him, and justified in his sight, through Christ Jesus, and other like Gospel discoveries of him, necessary to salvation. (2.) That the knowledge they have of him, is by the Apostle affirmed to be a light without them, as well as within them, for God shewes it to them by the things that are made. (3.) That if the Hea­thens (as you say) have only a Law within them, and none without them, we are little beholding to your principles, that would reduce us to the condition of Heathens, by setting up a light within us to the exclusion of a light without us. As also, (4.) That Quakers and Heathens may shake hands, seeing both of them live by the same Law, and the same light too.

You further insinuate (Artile 3.) that in the Do­ctrine Sect. 14. of perfection here below; you are falsely accused by us for blaspheming: Whereas you say no more then our Saviour himself commands, when he bids us be perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect; which commands, you say, is not given in Mat. 5. 48. mockery, or requires an impossibility. You add, that the same Christ spake truth, when he bore witnesse of Nathaniel, that he was an Israelite in whom was no guile: and that Paul did not Io. 1. 47. designe an impossibility when he laboured to present men perfect in Christ Jesus. And you would suggest that you affirm no more: Col. 1. 28. We answer, whether this be all you your self hold of perfecti­on, or no, we will not judge. But we shall shew you anon, that those of your perswasion are not altogether so modest. It is well if your self be so, when you will please to speak out, which we scarce believe you will do, in a charge against your self of your own drawing up. But we hope, you will allow us to ask you a few questions upon this Article also, seeing you stand upon your justification.

Q. 1. To what purpose is all this? Did any of your preten­ded Accusers ever accuse our Saviour Christ, for mockery or commanding impossibilities, in this command of perfection? or for falsehood in his commendation of Nathaniel? or the Apo­stle Paul for designing an impossibility.

2. Qu. Whether the perfection commanded by Christ, or that which is commended in Nathaniel, or aimed at by Paul, be a perfection of degrees, and that as high as that of God himself; or a perfection of kind, truth, or sincerity? Say not that we coine distinctions of perfection out of our own braine. Doth not the Scripture call Job a perfect man, Job 1. 1. and yet chap. 3. gives us a sad instance of his imperfections, and Job himself renoun­ceth perfection in himself, chap. 9. 20, 21. Doth not the Apostle Paul himself, in one chapter, affirms and deny himself to be per­fect, Phil. 3. 12. 15. And therefore (seeing, as we hope, you will not allow any contradictions in Scripture) there a necessi­ty to distinguish of different sences, wherein they affirme and deny. And if we distinguish amisse, we wish you, or your companions would do it better. Nay, we suppose both these sorts of perfection necessarily held forth in the Scriptures of your own quotation. For the command of our Saviour saies not, Be yee as perfect as your Father which is in Heaven, but Be yee perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. [Perfect as] doth not imply more then a perfection of the same kind, which perfection we professe, a perfection consisting in truth and sincerity of holinesse, the perfection of Nathaniel [as per­fect] denotes a perfection of degrees, which (in the compa­rison with an infinitely holy God) we deny to be attainable by any Creature, or to be asserted concerning any Creature, without highest blasphemy. But a perfection of degrees suita­ble to the capacity of finite Creatures, we hope for in Heaven; and a perfection of degrees suitable to the capacity of mortall creatures, we presse towards your selves, and endeavour with Paul, to present all our hearers unto Jesus Christ in the same at the last day.

4. About your forth Article concerning rejecting all mean­ings Sect. 15. and interpretations of Scripture, we shall take a more convenient time to reckon with you in a distinct Question sub­joyned hereunto. Only we make bold to ask you here also.

Qu. Whether [to interpret Christs and the Apostles sayings] be not injuriously reflected upon by you as a deniall that they meant as they spake? and whether a man may not mean as he speaks, and yet not to be understood without interpretation? [Page 16] we are so charitable to think that divers of the Familists and Quakers mean as they speak, and yet we cannot understand their meaning by their speaking, in divers odd phrases used by them, without interpretation; would you would give us a Lexicon of them.

5. Your fifth Article, we shall speak more largely to in Sect 16. this place. You say, that you and your Complices assert, that Christ did not speak one thing and intend another, when he commanded men not to sweare at all, but to let their yea, be yea, and nay, nay: Whereas we that are (scornfully enough) by you called Orthodox, do both sweare our selves, and teach others so to do. And you add the reason (as good a one as you please to allow us) because otherwise we might happily go without our maintenance, for want of swearers in Courts of Justice, against those Hereticks that refuse to pay us Tythes. And in your Mar­gin (to give us a touch of your learning, that we may take it for an act of self-deniall in your after-declared contempt there­of, and not an act of envious declaiming against the Grapes you cannot reach) you quote the Originall in that prohibition, [...], with this note, That it is a prohibition so univer­sall, that it admitteth of no exception. Upon which Article we first observe two things.

1. That it was very warily done of the Founders of the Qua­king Religion, who are by many judicious men supposed to be Papists, to insert an Article in their new Creed, to excuse them from being discovered, by refusing the Oath of Abjuration, which they may (under the shelter of your Principles) do, and yet passe undiscovered. Secondly we quaere,

We observe secondly, that the Quakers refusing to sweare according to the Ceremony now required in England, of kissing the Bible, and swearing by the contents of that Book, is suitable to their Doctrine; that the Scriptures are not our rule, and (by consequence that God will not judge us according to the con­tents of the Bible; so that to call God to witnesse according to the contents of that book, according to which they conceive he will not judge, were absurd. It may be if a new forme of an Oath, such as by the light within them, were required, they might be perswaded to sweare.

Qu. 1. Whether our Saviour Christ spake or intended any thing which might clash with the expresse command of God elsewhere? And if not, then surely Christs words in this place must not be taken so unlimitedly as you say, seeing we find a command Deut. 5. 13. Thou shalt feare the Lord thy God, and sweare by his name. So also Deut. 10. 20.

Qu. 2. Whether our Saviour Christ forbid any part of Gods morall Worship, or no? If not, then we are assured he forbids See Jer. 4. 2. & Is. 45. 23. which peculiarly concerneth us, as re­ferring to Gospel times, and is therefore quoted by the Apostle, Rom. 14. 21. with such a variation of the phrase swearing, into confessing, as plainly proves, that to sweare by God is sometimes a necessary part of our confession and acknowledgment of him. not swearing without any exception. For we find it frequently made a part of Gods morall Worship to sweare by his name, and it is also joyned in the mentioned Scriptures with fearing and serving God.

Qu. 3. Whether our Saviour Christ cut off by this command any necessary meanes of deciding controversies between man and man, or confirming truth in matters of testimony? If so, surely he would thereby have rendred his Doctrine justly ob­noxious, as being destructive to humane society: If not, we are certain he forbids not all swearing without exception: for the Epistle to the Hebrewes tells us that an Oath of confirmati­on is an end of all strife, Heb. 6. 16.

Q. 4. Whether the Author in his former Article, setting forth God as a Pattern of perfection to us, doth not therein al­low us in some Cases to sweare? seeing we are told, Heb. 6. 17. that God himself allowes himself to sweare for those ends, for which an Oath is legally used by men, viz. for confirmation of his word.

Q. 5. Whether without swearing upon the call of a Magi­strate, all mens estates be not as liable to prejudice, as the main­tenance of the Ministry? And whether cheating companions will not be as prone to take the same advantage against other men, in case there was no judiciall Oathes required, as it seems (by the Authors confession) Hereticks would against poor Mi­nisters? except we must take it for granted, that every mans [Page 18] yea, yea, and nay, nay, is as a sufficient security in this case of te­stifying the Truth judicially, as a solemn Oath.

Q. 6. Whether Abraham did well or ill, to require an Oath of his Servant, Gen. 24. 3. Jacob of Joseph, 50. 5. Nehemiah of the Jewes, Neh. 13 25. Or (if you evade these examples, as being before Christ) whether the Apostle Paul did well or ill to sweare, Gal. 1. 20. &c.

In a word, this Doctrine of the unlawfulnesse of swearing in Sect. 14 any case, is a fragment of the old Germane Anabaptists, a Generation of men against whom the Magistrates saw sufficient cause to dispute with the Sword of Justice, for being publick enemies to humane Society: and it concernes you to take heed that the Magistracy of England may never have the like provo­cation to follow their example against their genuine issue, the Quakers, and other Sectaries among us.

But (least you should seem justly to charge us with swearing our selves, and teaching others to do so, contrary to the command of Christ) we must, in the close, let you know how we sweare, and allow others to do so; and what swearing we forbeare our selves, and preach downe among them, in obedience to Christs command: We must tell you, that being lawfully cal­led to witnesse to truth upon Oath, before a Magistrate, we shall not our selves refuse to sweare, that is (according to the forme required in Law) to call God to witnesse that we lye not: But in our communication, or ordinary discourse, we desire, both we and our hearers, may keep to our yea, yea, and nay, nay, as Christ commands, and not to sweare at all, because we dare not take, or allow others to take the name of God in vaine. And this we suppose to be all that our Saviour intends in that Prohibition, that in our communication we should not sweare at all. If any one be not convinced hereof by what we have said, let him reconcile our Saviours Prohibition, to the precepts and examples before pleaded some other way, and

Phyllida solus habeto,

He shall gaine the cause in this point.

Your following three Articles, viz. 6. 7, 8. are all concerning Sect. 18 Tythes and forced maintenance, wherein the summe and upshot of all, shewes your charity to the poore Ministery, that you [Page 19] would faine have them reduced to the condition of the unjust Steward, that is, either to work, or beg. For working, we suppose (in such a Generation, as God hath now east us into) we shall not want) whilest besides the ordinary attendance up­on our charges, which the Apostle Paul accounted a work, and a great one too, 1 Thes. 5. 13. Eph. 4. 12. and such as none will be too forward to intrude into, that sufficiently understands the weight of it, 2 Cor. 2. 16. The work of a Builder, a Sower, 1 Cor. 3. 10. Mar. 4. 13: 1 Cor. 3. 6. 2 Tim. 2. 6. Jo. 21. 26. Heb. 13. 15. 2 Tim. 2. 3 P. 40. a Planter, an Husbandman, a Shepheard, a Watohman, a Soul­dier:) We are called upon to answer every idle rayling Paper, that you, and your companions send us. But (seeing you ac­count this no work) it seemes you would have us worke with our hands, or beg: An hard Law, for men that have been bred in a way of humane Learning, which elsewhere, you seem to al­low some use in the World, it may serve to tile the house, you confesse, and in that place you are content it shall stand. But surely should this Law of yours take place [that those that have been bred to study, must have no subsistence but by handy work, or begging] I feare the next Generation would yeild few Tiles to keep the house in repaire, so that it would quickly drop through, and you, as well as others, would not be able to lye dry in it: For who will give his Children ingenuous Edu­cation at the Schooles of Learning, and set them there to spend the flower of their youth in acquiring humane literature; when the highest preferment they could expect after ten or twenty yeares Study, would be either to work, or beg? would not, e­very one conclude it better to set their Sons to some Trade or other, in their youth, that so at the end of seven yeares they might be able to get a livelyhood at their fingers ends, or turne them a begging in their Childhood, rather then maintain them twice seven yeares at Schoole, and University, to come thence to be preferred to a certain beggary, as being the only lot of the two, like to befall them, who are utterly to learne to work, having never been bred thereunto?

But the measure you mete unto us, is harder yet: You that will have us work, or beg, will not allow us to carry so much as a Purse to put our Wages in, when we have earned it, nor a Scrip to put our Almes in, when we have begged it; but to [Page 20] live as the Sparrowes do, that digest one meales meat in seeking where to get another. I suppose, should God call us to that condition either by an extraordinary command, as Christ did his Lu. 10. 7. Apostles in the place you quote, or by an extraordinary provi­dence (as we suspect in case you can compasse your fifth Mo­narchy, it would befall us) we should not want faith to trust him, who feeds the Sparrowes, and clothes the Lillies; whether in a way of working, as we are able, or asking the charity of o­thers, when disabled: We have learned a distich of learned and honest Musculus, which he made when the fury of the Germane Anabaptists (your Predecessors) turned him out of his Pulpit, and maintenance, and enforced him to weave and dig for a sub­sistence for himself and his Family.

Est Deus in Coelis, qui providus omnia curat,
Credentes nunquam deseruisse potest.

Which for the sake of your Brethren, who (whatsoever you are) are no great friends to Latine, we shall english.

A God in Heaven lives, whose care extends
To all, and therefore will not faile his friends.

But we question yet further, whether you, that would re­quire Sect. 19 us to follow precisely the Apostolicall example in that Chapter, will not yet go further then this, in your rigorous ex­actions. Suppose we should work without a Purse, and beg without a Scrip at your command, what security will you give us, that you will not make us work, and beg barefoot too. For if your Text concern us, we cannot see how we may be al­lowed Shooes to our feet, more then Purses and Scrips; and then possibly we might please you better, seeing we should be more like your good friends, the Franciscan Friers, who are the only men that we have heard of, since our Saviour sent out the Apostles upon that extraordinary errand, who have thought themselves concerned to walk by that rule: Where­fore if you must have Ministers of that character, you are most likely to fit your selves among them.

For our parts, we blesse God that yet provides better for us, and whilest he continues to do so, we shall not think a professi­on of voluntary Monkish poverty, our duty to undertake, see­ing we dare not take Gods Gifts, and throw them back into his face, by contemning the gracious allowance of his providence.

As for the way of our subsistence by Tythes and forced main­tenance, Sect. 20 you will needs make it unlawfull as being (you say) a Leviticall Ordinance, and (as you add in your Book, where P. 13. you againe serve in this Crambo) appointed as an inheritance to the Priests and Levites for their service in the Tabernacle and Temple: and thereupon you proceed to ask these Quaeries in your Book.

  • 1. Whether Christ was not the end of the Leviticall Priest­hood?
  • 2. Whether he that upholdeth that which was to have an end in Christ, do not deny Christ to be come in the flesh, and consequently is Antichrist?
  • 3 Whether they that claime Priests and Levites Mainte­nance ought not to do their work?

And this indeed is the summe of all that you say to this point; (for as to forcing the payment of maintenance by Law, it will stand or fall with the maintenance it selfe:) Concerning this we shall have a little debate with you.

And first, we desire you to understand, that Tithes were paid before ever the Leviticall Priesthood was appointed. Sure­ly Abrahams Victory over the Kings, and Jacobs Vow were be­fore the Leviticall Ordinances were set up, many hundreds of yeares.

If you object (what we frequently meet withal from the men of your principles) that these were voluntary Acts in those Pa­triarchs. However we observe it was lawfull to give and re­ceive them then; and it lies on you to prove when it became unlawfull.

But further, we demand by what light they walked in so doing? was it by a Light without them, some traditionall rule received from their godly Ancestors? If so, then it was a voluntary obe­dience to a Law; Tradition being their Law: If by a light with­in them, some immediate motion from God so to do; then we [Page 22] say; that by the same inward light, were those Kings and Prin­ces, and other Proprietors of Lands that gave Tythes in this Nation, long before Popery began, moved to dedicate the Tithes of their Lands to God for ever. And so we receive them by the same Title with those to whom they were then paid, excepting the consideration of Melchizedeck as he was a Type of Christ, which yet confirmes our Title, as you shall see anon.

And moreover we must tell you, that the very reason which God gives for his making that allowance to Levie's Posterity afterwards, is the Title that he had to them precedent to Levi's, whence the Levites themselves were first to offer them to the Numb. 18. 24, 25, &c. Lord, and then they were to enjoy them as from God; and therefore Mal. 3 8. 9. when the people through covetousnesse then withdrew them, as now some do, God himself enters an Indictment against them: Yee have robbed me, saith he, in Tithes and Offerings; not Levi, but Me: So that they were Gods by a peculiar claime and Title, and the Levites held them from him, not from the people; and therefore they were to bring them into a Store-house in the Temple; as Mede a learn­ed Mede on Act. 5. 34. Antiquary well observes, and gives the reason from Philo the Jew, to wit, that he might thereby take away all occasion from the people, of upbraiding the Priests, as if they were maintained at their charge, God first claiming them, and then demising them to the Priests, their maintenance became (as Philo saies) [...], A Gift that reflected no shame upon the recei­vers, who thereby became Gods Eleemosynaries, or Almes-men, not the Peoples.

But it may be you will say, that the first claime which God Sect. 21 made to Tythes, was then, when he gave them to Levi, and so they were not more anciently Gods, then the other Leviticall Offerings. So that God claiming them then first, that he might bestow them on the Jewish Priests, they are since the abolish­ing of that Administration no more due then Sacrifices.

For answer whereunto, we refer you to Mr. Ainsworth, a man very well versed in Jewish Antiquities (and one that should be Answ. on Gen. 14. 19. more esteemed by you being a friend to separation) who tells you expresly, that Abrahams and Jacobs payment of Tythes was but according to their duty; as a signe of Tribute and Ho­mage [Page 23] to God, as Soveraign Lord and King. And Abraham par­ticularly in his payment of Tythes to Melchizedek, walked by the equity of that rule, which the Apostle afterwards left on record, in expresse termes, Rom. 15. 27. That it was but meet, that he being made partaker of Melchizedeks spirituall things, should minister to him in carnall things. And he further gives us some light to conclude that this Custome of Tythe-paying, was by nature implanted in the hearts of men, or at least derived by Tradition from the Patriarchs. Because even the Heathens (who you say, have the light of Christ in them) paid Tythes to their Gods, which practise surely they did not take up of the Jewes (they did not love them so well) but from some higher Originall. He quotes the Athenians from Diog. Laertius, and the ancient Latines, from Pomponius Loetus, and Macrobius, for instances.

Sir, we had not suffered our Pens to expatiate into this field Sect. 22 of humane Learning, but that we deale with you, who professe an allowance of it in its place; and we suppose it is not out of place, in the search of Antiquities, especially when the question is concerning the Origine, or beginning of Tythes, which you say (at least as commanded) is in the Leviticall Priesthood, we, before it.

But we do not lay the weight of our dispute in this particu­lar Sect. 23 upon this foundation. We shall debate the question with you a little more closely, from your own Chapter which you ap­peal to in this case, viz. Heb. 7. And because the strength of all the Quaeries thence lies in v. 12. which asserts a necessary change of the Law, upon the change of the Priesthood from the order of Aaron, to that of Melchizedek; we desire you first to consi­der, that it is not necessary to be granted, that by the Law there said to be changed must be meant the Law of Tythes, but the Law of Priesthood; that Law, that set up Levi's Posterity for Priests, which Law differs from that of Tythes very much. However, that Scripture vvill not stead you vvithout interpre­tation, and that you renounce.

But to gratifie you, vve vvill suppose your meaning and in­terpretation, Sect. 24 for once (though that be more favour then you vvill shevv us:) and upon your ovvn supposition, try one Ar­gument [Page 24] with you, and that is this.

If the abolition of the Law of Tithes depend upon the abolition of the Priesthood, to which they were due; then (vve hope you vvill allow us that) if the Priesthood to which Tithes were once due (and that before the Leviticall Priesthood) be not abolished, the Law of Tithes to that Priesthood is not abolished.

But we shall prove that the Priesthood to which Tithes were once due, and that long before the Leviticall Priesthood was in be­ing, is not abolished, vvhich if vve do, vve hope vve may be al­lowed to conclude

Therefore there is no abolishment of the Law of Tithes, but it is still in force.

That the Priesthood to vvhich Tithes vvere originally due is not abolished, vve prove thus from the same Chapter.

The Priesthood to which Tithes were (before the Leviticall Priesthood) due, was the Melchizedekian Priesthood. But the Melchizedekian Priesthood, or Priesthood after the order of Mel­chizedek is not abolished, For it is Christs Priesthood, Heb. 16, 17, verses. Therefore the Priesthood to which Tithes were original­ly due, is not abolished.

All that we suppose herein is to be proved, is, that Tithes were due to Melchizedeks order of Priesthood, and so still re­maine Sect. 25 due to Christ, vvho is a Priest for ever after that or­der.

Now for proofe of this, vve refer you higher in the same Chapter, viz. to v. 4. and thence down to the 10. And vve desire you to consider vvith us these three reasons from the Text, to prove that Abraham paid Tithes to Melchizedek as a due.

1. You pretend to skill in the Originall Tongue, and there­fore you vvill not be offended if vve argue from it, as you do more then once, or twice. Abraham (in the Apostles phrase) [...], v. 9 [...], v. 6. [...]. v. 5. is said to be Tithed by Melchizedek, and Melchizedek to tithe him, v. 6. 9. vvhich is the very same vvord Originally, vvith that vvhich is vsed in the Sons of Levi's tithing of the people by com­mandment, v. 5. Now if the word as applied to the Levites, sig­nifie to require Tithes, as it doth, it seems unlikely it was used vvith relation to Melchizedek, to denote a receiving of Tithes by way of gratuity only.

2. We desire you to consider the scope of the Apostle in that place, vvhich is to advance Melchizedeks Priesthood, as an Order superiour to Levi's. This the Apostle proves, because Levi himself in Abrahams loynes paid Tithes to Melchizedek. v. 9. Now had Melchizedek received Tithes from Levi, in Abra­hams loynes, as of courtesie only, and not of debt; it would have been a poore argument to prove Melchizedek a greater Priest, vvhich vvill as vvell prove a Beggar a greater man then a Prince, because the Beggar receives from him, it may be, a summ of money out of his courtesie.

3. We desire you to consider that Abraham paid the Tithe to Melchizedek, with relation to his blessing of him, which was an act of his Priestly Office, and shewed Melchize­dek to be Abrahams, and so Levi's superiour, v. 6, 7. So that Melchizedek as a Priest, received tithes of Abraham, and Christ in Melchizedek, received them from both Abraham and Levi: which (possibly) may be the reason, why God reserved (e­ven under the Law) the tenth of the Tithes, as an acknowledg­ment or high rent to Christ, the Priest, after the order of Mel­chizedek, to shew that Levi held them of him. Numb. 18. 26, 27, 28. which tenth therefore was to be given to Aaron the high Priest, who was a Type of Christ.

Possibly you may (according to the garb of your Genera­tion) Sect. 26 reject these things as our dark reasonings. But seeing your owne Assertions and Quaeres lead us hereunto, we hope you will take them into your consideration; at least; so far as to shew us the darknesse of them. In a word, you may here gather our Answer to your three Quaeres before mentioned, viz. to the

First; That we grant an end of the Leviticall Priesthood in Christ.

To the second, That in upholding Tithes, we uphold not that which was to have an end in Christ. Tithes being no necessary ap­pendant to that Priesthood, but Christs.

To the third, That we receive not Tithes upon that account, but as Ministers of Christ, live upon Christs portion; which, till our former arguments be answered, we suppose Tithes to be: and therefore are not by receiving them obliged to Leviticall [Page 26] service, but Gospell-administrations.

These things we have a little enlarged upon, to let you know Sect. 27 that we are not altogether so destitute of Scripture-warrant for receiving, yea, requiring Tythes, even in kind, as you (insul­tingly enough) insinuate us to be: Whether these arguments conclude the divine right of Tythes, or no, deserves the consideration of abler men, then you, or we, to vvhom vve humbly submit our conceptions herein. However, supposing the Law of Tythes be as you say, Leviticall, and meerly so, in its originall and rise; yet how you will prove that Law repea­led, so that it becomes unlawfull for any Proprietor of Land since that administration ceased, to set apart the same propor­tion of the incomes and profits thereof, for the maintenance of a Gospell Ministry, vve know not; vve are sure the Apostle Paul did not think the maintenance of the Leviticall Priesthood so Jewish as you do, vvhen he makes it one of the grounds of that Gospel-ordinance for Ministers maintenance, 1 Cor. 9. 13, 14. Do you not know, that they which Minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple? &c. Even so hath the Lord or­dained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gos­pell; and that is neither by working, nor begging.

But then say you, this maintenance should not be compul­sive, Sect. 28 to be recovered by Law, especially from the poore and needy, &c. For the true Prophets and Ministers of Christ mentioned in Scripture, did not so live on forced substance, but ate and drank what the people gave.

We answer (1.) That any of us should force maintenance from the poore and needy by Law, we confesse it in matter of fact, blameworthy, because in cases of indigency, and necessi­ty, it is every mans duty to relax and remit a just debt; but in matter of right, no mans legall Title falls, because of any such inability. So that you must first prove, that Ministers have no legall right to their Tenth, and then to force it from any, were sinfull; till which, vve shall conceive it in it self as lawfull for a Minister to sue for his Tenth, as for another man to put in suit a just Bond.

2. That the Ministers of Christ mentioned in Scripture, did not thus, was, because they had not the same legall right, back­ed [Page 27] with the power of a Christian Magistrate: or, because they were inforced to forbeare that claime among sorbid people, who loved their Purses better then the Gospell, 1 Cor. 9. 12. and truly some of us, to sweeten perverse Opinionists, are faine to remit much of our legall due to those that are able to pay well enough.

3. What you call forcing by Law, if you mean it of the Law of man, you condemne not us, but the publike Justice. If you mean it of the Law of God, you had best ask the Apostle Paul, what he meanes in the same verse, by using, or not using a power of claiming maintenance from the people. If others be partakers, saith he, of this power, Viz. Of requiring mainte­nance for teaching, are not we rather? neverthelesse, we have not used this power. And when he tells the Thessalonians, That he might have been burthensome to them, as the Apostles of Christ, 1 Thes. 2. 6.

As for your other objection against us, that vve do not trust Sect. 29 Gods providence, but indent for a maintenance. We answer, That we do not understand, how dependance upon divine pro­vidence comes to be inconsistent with using humane. You will think it an hard case, if all the poore in the Country should come about you, and require you to lend your Estate among them, hoping for nothing againe (which is as plaine Scripture Luke 5. 34, 35. as that you urge us vvithall in this case) and if you should deny them so unreasonable a request, they should tell you you are no Christian, because you do not trust Gods providence; we doubt in such a case, you would take shelter under some distinctions or other, as ill as you like them in the men of your scorne and wrath, the poore Ministers.

In the ninth Article, you excuse your bold censures of our Sect. 30 hearts, in calling us Hypocrites, upon some pretended reasons, as your selfe calls them, and vve for our parts believe them no o­ther.

In the first reason, you justifie the charge vvith a meer slan­der, Viz. That vve preach against pride, and yet live in it, and co­vetousnesse, and yet are greedy of filthy lucre, &c. Those that do so, vve disowne, and those that do not so (as thousands in this Nations do not) you belye.

Secondly, You say, vve are Hypocrites, because we often tell people, we should have proceeded further if time had not prevented us, when as indeed we have no more to say. How many Mini­sters have told you, they have been drawn so dry, that you thus charge us? It may be you did so vvhen you vvere a Preacher, so you measure other mens Corne by your owne Bushell.

Your third reason is, because in our prayers before Sermon, we frequently beg that he would put words into our mouthes, and teach us what to say, where as even then we have our Sermon-notes either in our Pockets, or our Bibles, or the platforme of our dis­course prepared in our heads.

As for our Sermon-notes, those of us that use them, are faine to do so many times, when they vvould not, because they have to do with such a captious Generation as yours, vvho vvould make no conscience of making them say, vvhat they do not, by mis-reports, had they not their owne papers to justifie them­selves. And yet vve know not why vve may not vvrite Notes, as vvell as you write Books; vve suppose that posterity is no lesse beholden to some Ministers Notes, then to yours.

But your quarrell is not against Sermon-notes only, but against all premeditated discourse. Indeed those that can give themselues liberty to talk. at the rate that your companions do, need not meditate much for vvhat they say; A man may safely say that heares you, that you are not guilty of premedi­tated discourses. But vve for our parts conceive Meditation a very Ministeriall exercise, else Paul would not have required it from Timothy, 1 Tim. 4. 15. Immediatly after his charge, v. 13. to give attendance to exhortation, doctrine, he subjoynes, me­ditate on these things. It seemes the Apostle and you are of se­verall minds in this particular, as well as in point of Ministers maintenance.

But we wonder (whatsoever may be said against those that have, and use written-notes) how this reason of yours militates against those that have only the platforme of their discourse pre­pared in their heads, that they must needs be judged Hypocrites for praying to God to put words into their mouthes. May not a man that pre-meditates his matter, sometimes be at a losse for words? And may he not pray, that God would furnish him [Page 29] with expressions, who finds himself so, without hypocrisie?

And as for those that use Sermon-notes, might not they ex­presse themselves more aptly sometimes then they write? And why then may they not pray, that God would supply them with apter language, upon the service they are called unto, then they have prepared of themselves? We believe there are no godly Ministers, but find this assistance frequently, God di­recting their tongues to considerable alterations, and enlarge­ments beyond what they have before them, and bringing ma­ny things to their memories, concerning which they had no actuall pre-meditation.

Your tenth Article brings in an Indictment of Felony against Sect. 31 poore Ministers, for quoting of the Fathers and Expositers of the Scripture; and this you think will justifie you against an action of slander, for calling us Theeves and Robbers. But we desire you to consider,

Q. 1. Whether Augustine, and Hierome, and Calvin, and Lu­ther, be more unlawfull to be quoted by us, then Seneca, an Heathen Philosopher, by you.

Q. 2. Whether our Saviour Christ quoting Moses and the Prophets, Peter quoting Paul, and Jude, Enoch, yea Paul himself quoting Aratus, Menander, and Epimenides, Hea­then Act. 17. 28 1 Cor. 15. 33. Tit. 1. 12. Poets, do not as much fall under your charge of Thievery, as we, for quoting those you mention?

Q. 3. Whether a man may not receive that from the Lord, which he gathers from the writings of other men? Surely you suppose the Readers that can find leasure enough, to look over your Pamphlet, will receive some light thereby. If not, why do you publish it? If so, is that light from God, or from your selfe, or from the Devill? We suppose you will not say, you write either your owne Dreames, or Satanicall suggestions. And if you say, from the Lord, then we hope the Lord may as well speak to us, by Austine, Hierome, Calvin, or Luther, as by you to your Proselites.

Q. 4. Whether we may not as well quote the words of these men, and yet say, hearken to the word of the Lord, as you receive your principles, railings, evasions, modes, and practises, from George Fox, and James Naylor? and yet cry the word of the Lord to your Proselites?

Q. 5. Whether you be not your selves under the same con­demnation, who superscribe your Quaeres (which you send us now and then) from the spirit of the Lord, and call them the word of the Lord to us, when we can produce the printed Books of others of your Fraternity, whence they are most of them stollen word for word. T. C. his Quaeres to one of us, borrowed to a Title out of a Book dire­cted to all that would know the way to the Kingdom, Excepting false eng­lish. Sect. 32

To your eleventh Article, wherein you justifie your confi­dence, in advising us to preach no more to the people, then the Lord hath spoken to us, and then we our selves witnesse the life and power of in our selves. We say, that tis true, your are noted for confidence enough, and none more then your female Declarers, who for such a scolding religion, as yours is, are very well furni­shed with a Billingsgate confidence. Concerning whom (by the way) we will be bold to examine you upon a few Interrogato­ries.

Q. 1. Whether the Spirit of God ever did act any persons with a boldnesse and confidence, that breaks the Lawes of Na­ture, and Civility?

Q. 2. Whether your Prophetesses that come to declare in publick Assemblies, and some of them sometimes naked, As at Whitehall not long since, and elsewhere. Jer. 3. 3. do not break the Lawes of Nature, and civility.

Q. 3. Whether such immodest practises, be not too great evidences against many of them, that they are so far from Reli­gion, that they have much corrupted the principles of common honesty? And whether such brazen-faced impudency in such, be not in the language of Scripture, an Whores forehead?

Q. 4. Whether Pauls light or yours be better, who saith, Let the woman learne in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence, 1 Tim. 3. 11. 12. Whereas you allow your women to teach in our Assemblies, and your owne, and in the very Streets and Market-places, and to usurp Authority over us, who take our selves to be men, charging us to speak no more in the name of the Lord, &c.

And what confidence emboldens the rest of you to come into our Assemblies, and against the wills of the Officers, to deliver your rayling charges there, to the disturbance of whole Con­gregations, your selves best know. Only this we desire to know of you,

Q. 1. Whether Christ, or his Apostles ever practised the like liberty, in the Synagogues of the Jewes, without leave first ob­tained from the Rulers? We find not that our Saviour Christ at Nazareth, opened his mouth to speak to the people in the Synagogue till the Minister delivered him the Book, in token of the liberty granted him to teach there, Luke 4 17. 20. And we find the Apostle Paul, and his companion Barnabas at Anti­och, sate down and were silent, till the Rulers of the Synagogue sent unto them and gave them liberty, Act. 13. 14, 15. And yet supposing they did; their miraculous gifts were a sufficient de­monstration that they had an higher authority. We see no such in any of you.

Q. 2. Whether you be not herein so confident, as to offer vi­olence to that very Article of the Government by which you yourselves claime liberty; in disturbing those, who (as profes­sing faith in God by Jesus Christ) are worshiping him accord­ing to their Consciences?

Q. 3. Whether it be not an apparant designe of Satan, to imploy such confident men and women, to make such disturbances at such a time, when people should go home and meditate up­on what they have heard, to hinder and divert them.

But you think that you have warrant for all this confidence, Sect. 33 because you only advise us to preach no more to the people then the Lord hath spoken to us, &c. Which advice of yours, were it delivered in a sober, private, Christian way, we hope we should take well at your hands, and do assure you, that we will (to our utmost ability) practise accordingly. But we doubt, that so much will not satisfie, except we renounce what God speaks to us in the written word, and hearken for Gods voice in unwrit­ten revelations. In which sense, we must professe, we think it were great boldnesse indeed in you, to require us not to preach more then God hath spoken to us: Seeing you undertake to for­bid what God requires, and our Saviour Christ and his Apostles accordingly practised. The Apostle to Timothy tells him and us, that, the Scriptures are given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, &c. To what purpose is the Scripture avouched to be profitable for Doctrine, if we may raise no Doctrines from it? for reproof, correction, and in­struction, [Page 32] if we may not lay it as the ground of all these, 2 Tim. 3. 16. And in the same Epistle chap. 2. 2. he commands Timothy to commit what he had heard of him to faithfull men, who shall be able to teach others also. Had your quaking Generation been on foot then, would they not have had the confidence to charge Ti­mothy to speak nothing to the people but what he had heard from God immediatly? and those that received Pauls Do­ctrine at the second hand, from Timothy much more? But whe­ther the Apostle Paul, or you be to be obeyed, let sober men judge.

Sure we are that our Saviour Christ himself took for his Text, what the Lord had many years before spoken to the Prophet I­saiah, Luke 4. 17. 18. And for the Apostles and Apostolicall men, we find them preaching those things which they learned from the Scriptures: Apollos, Act. 18. 28. shewed by the Scrip­tures, that Jesus was the Christ. And when the great question concerning Circumcision, and the Mosaicall observances, was started among the Apostles and Elders, Act. 15. James quotes the word of the Lord to Amos, v. 16, 17. in that Assembly. And the Apostle Paul, Act 26. before Agrippa and Festus professeth, He in all his Doctrine, witnessed, saying none other things, then those which the Prophets and Moses did say; So that he preached the word that was spoken to Moses and the Prophets, and yet none that we read of, charged him to cease from preaching more then God had immediatly spoken to him. And we hope, we may safely disobey your councels or commands herein, under the protection of such great examples.

As for the other part of your advice to us, that we preach no more then we our selves witnesse the life and power of, within our Sect. 34 selves: We would hope you mean Orthodoxly in it; to wit, that we practise what we preach; wch if it be all you intend herein, we assure you we do, and we hope shall be enabled by grace to do so more and more. But when we look upon the papers of others of your brethren, we doubt you mean, we must not preach any thing of the Histories and Prophesies of the Scrip­ture See faith full disco­very of mysticall Antichrist, pag. in their literall sense, but only the experiences of the Alle­goricall senses their teachers fasten upon them, within our selves. A brief Scheme of which Allegoricall experiences, we [Page 33] find in two Quakers discourses, related at large by John Tol­dervy, Foot out of the snare, p. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, &c. out of which, that it may be known, what the Quakers your brethren would have us witnesse in our selves, and then preach; we shall draw a short Catechisme, as faithfully, as ac­cording to our understanding we can.

Q. 1. What is the word? P. 5.

Answ. Life, or the substance whence the Scriptures are spoken.

Q. 2. What are the Scriptures?

A. A declaration from the word of life.

Q. 3. What is this substance the word of life?

A. The measure of God manifested in man; the Gift of the holy Spirit manifested in flesh, made known in all.

Q. 4 What is the Garden of Eden? P. 1. 1

A. The World.

Q 5. What are the Trees of this Garden?

A. All living beings.

Q. 6. Why so?

A. Because they have their being of God by somewhat of him­selfe that proceedeth out of the earth, God the life.

Q. 7. Where is Paradise?

A. In man.

Q. 8. How did man fall?

A. By hearkning to the weaker.

Q. 9. What is that weaker?

A. The fleshly mind.

Q. 10. Did not the Woman tempt him?

A. Woman is that silliest and weakest part.

Q. 11. What was Adam?

A. The earthly nature in man.

Q. 12. What is the Redeemer of man?

A. The light by which he is given to see sin, and enabled by it, if obeyed, to be redeemed from sin.

Q. 13. Where is this Redeemer?

A. In every particular man.

Q 14. Is not that person the Son of God that died at Jeru­salem, this Redeemer?

A. No.

These and the like are the Doctrines which in the sense of some of your companions we must witnesse the life and power of in our selves, i. e. These Allegoricall experiences of the my­stery of Scripture, as they call it, before we preach to others. Whether you be of this mind or no, we know not. But we fear you deale as partially and subtilly in drawing up this Article, as you do in many of the rest, to hide the grosenesse of your Doctrines from the people. What followes in this Arti­cle is a consequence fancied by you, that would follow, if we should herein follow your advice; Viz, That either constant si­lence or rare preaching would be found in our Congregations, &c. And we think so too, if we have hit upon your meaning in that advice: For we have no warrant to expect immediate re­velations at all, much lesse constantly; and lesse warrant to al­legorize Scripture into such odd and wretched conceits, and then preach them to the people.

If your meaning be as you speak, and as at first sight we Sect. 35 were willing in charity to suppose, we believe your Congrega­tions, would (should your teachers be tyed up to the same Law) be in as deep silence as any of ours We cannot suppose that the Lord, or experience speaks to most of you, those mad doctrines of which we have given you a tast before, and shall give you more anon. And we know, that there are of you that preach down pride, and yet are proud, most insolently proud, most pharisaically proud, if Christ describe pride aright, Luke 18. 9. There are that preach down persecution, and yet are to their power the most malicious Persecuters of all that are not as themselves; divers of you that preach down idlenesse, and tell poore Ministers, that if they will not worke, they must not eat; yet themselves walk up and down the Land, and like lazy Lurdens, or Drones, eat the fat, and drink the sweet at the charges of their deluded Entertainers, till (as we have had up­on credible information, a sad example lately not far from this place) they eat their Wives and Families out of doores: So that if you preach no more then you witnesse the life and power of in your selves, we should heare fewer declamations against the pride, and tythes, and persecution of the Ministry, and then what would your praters do for matter to entertaine their Hearers withall?

Your twelfth Article sets up (plaine enough) the revelation Sect. 36 of the Spirit, in opposition to all humane studies, but especially to those which are used in our Ʋniversities. We for our parts, judge they may very well go hand in hand. We do not find but that learning and grace together, make the best Preachers. We do not say, that learning alone is sufficient to discover the mind of God; but yet we believe that (if his mind be to be under­stood by his words) the understanding of his words, may be some help to the understanding of his mind. And surely, some parts of his mind are not to be understood without the help of that Learning which we call humane learning, either infused, or acquired. He that can understand Pauls Epistles without Logick, divers parts of Ezekiell, and the Revelation without Mathematicks; divers peices in Moses and Job without naturall Philosophy; Isaiah, or the Psalmes, without Rhetorick, &c. we will believe is indeed inspir'd by God. But we consider your Generation allow no discovery of the mind of God by Scriptures, and therefore it is no wonder if you will not allow any use of learning to draw that thence, which you will not be­lieve was ever there.

But whereas you appeale to the practise of Paul and Peter, Sect. 37 as evidence against the usefulnesse of Ʋniversity-learning in this way. We know (for one of them) Paul he was bred at the feet of Gamaliel, and made good use afterwards of the great learning he got there, not only in his Epistles, which indeed ex­hibite the marrow of polite learning, as well as Divinity; but also in his discourses sometimes, as in that of his before A­grippa and Festus, which provoked Festus to cry out, that much Learning made him mad, Act. 26. 24. And therefore we sup­pose, we shall find him at least indifferent in this businesse.

And as for the Apostle Peter, we gather this Testimony from him to the usefulnesse of Learning, that in the very reading of Pauls Epistles, and other Scriptures, it may keep a man from 2 Pet. 3. 16 wresting them to destruction, which many that want it he tells us, too often do.

We disparage not the revelation of the Spirit, we acknow­ledge Sect. 38 that all the learning of the world will not bring saving truth effectually home to the understanding and consciences of [Page 36] men; nay carnall reason back'd with learning will dispute the light of the most glorious Doctrinall Truthes of the Gospel, out of mens judgments (as is seen daily in the mysteries of the Person, natures, Incarnation, satisfaction, righteousnesse, merit, of Christ without us: which first heathen Philosophers, & Gnosticks, and after them the Arians, Socinians, and Papists, and last of all, by the weapons borrowed from some, or all of them, the Familists, and their off-spring the Jusuited Quakers, or Jesuites, and Fran­ciscans under the disguise of Quakers, have endeavoured to dispute, & rail out of the World) and the most glorious practi­call Truths of the Gospel out of mens Consciences, as appeares daily in those, whose learning Satan makes use of to defend and patronize their lusts: So that there needs another kind of learning to settle these Truths savingly in the minds and hearts of men, which the Scripture calls the revelation and demonstra­tion of the Spirit. But yet we must own Learning sanctified by the Spirit of God, as a precious help and furtherance to the un­derstanding of the Letter of the Scripture, confuting Hereticall wrestings of them, and convincing gain-sayers. And we won­der, whence all these that dispute against Learning from the Scriptures, received those Scriptures whence they dispute, but from the help of humane Learning. Surely those holy men who brought down the Scriptures to our capacities, by transla­ting them into our Mother Tongue, were not immediatly taught the knowledge of the Originall Tongues, by the reve­lation of the Spirit; but learnt it in Schooles and Ʋniversities, and most of the truths of the Gospel which have been preserved to us, from the violent hands of Heathen Philosophers, and He­reticks, have been very much (as to means) preserved by the disputes of learned men. Julian the Apostate knew well e­nough that Schools of Learning were no small props of Christi­an Religion, and therefore when he had designed a totall aboli­tion of Christianity out of the world, he attempted it by two wayes, which your Generation unhappily follow him in, sup­pressing Schooles of literature among Christians, and taking a­way Ministers maintenance.

And whereas you say, that the Apostles and Ministers of Sect. 39 Christ in Scripture did not serve an Apprentiship in any Ʋni­versity [Page 37] to learne the Trade of preaching (as you scornfully call it) we answer they needed it not, for they then received that by immediate inspiration, which since that time we know no per­son, Quaker, or other, ever attained in that way; they became Linguists, and Disputants, per saltum, which others since are faine to grow unto by degrees. If you say the same Spirit dwels in you, we say, look you to that as to the sanctifying and saving graces of that Spirit, for he that hath not the Spirit thus, is none of Christs, Rom. 8. 9 But as to gifts of Tongues, and other parts of learning, which were then by that Spirit, bestowed in an in­stant on the first Planters of the Church, we want an instance of any of you, that can say so much of himself. If you know any, let us heare from you in the next, who it is, and if he be able to make it out to us, we will believe him.

You say further, that they preached but the Gospel which Sect. 40 Christ by his Spirit revealed in them, and you quote two places of Scripture which speak of revelation indeed, but not such as is exclusive to humane learning, which is your drift. Indeed, in the first Paul saith, that God revealed those things which eye had not seen, &c. to him by his holy Spirit. And in the other 1 Cor. 2: 10. Gal. 1. 16. he saith, that God revealed his Son in him; but it is not pro­ved, that in the last of those places the Apostle speaks of the Doctrine, much lesse the holy Doctrine of the Gospell that Paul preached, as if his humane learning contributed nothing to that; but only of those inward operations that Paul expe­rienced; and therefore he shewes the effect of the revelation, that it took him off from consulting with flesh and blood, which we before acknowledge as well as you.

In the former of them, the Apostle speaks of such a revelati­on of the Gospel, as savingly enabled him to receive it, feeling­ly to preach it, as appeareth; by v. 14. where he opposeth the knowledge of a naturall man, which is by meer learning, to that of a spirituall man, which is by revelation, yet not excluding learning. For by the way, you may observe that he doth not oppose a spirituall man, and a learned man [Paul himself was spirituall and learned too] but a spirituall man, and a natu­rall, or unregenerate man, who hath nothing but naturall facul­ties, and humane learning to improve them.

And (as to your assertion it selfe) that they preached onely Sect. 41 that Gospel, which Christ by his spirit rovealed in them; if you mean thus, that they preached nothing but what was immedi­atly revealed from the Spirit without any externall help, the plaine Scripture will give you the lye. For how often did Christ instruct them, during his bodily presence among them? And how did he expound the Scriptures to them, going through all the Bookes then penned, even from Moses to Malachi, im­mediatly before his Assention? Luke. 24. 27. So that what­ever may be said of Paul, who was called and enabled to his Apostleship in a singular way, untrodden by any of the rest, we are sure, all the rest were taught, otherwise then by the im­mediate revelation of the Spirit only.

But we doubt yet another Snake in the Grasse of this faire Sect. 42 expression [which Christ by his Spirit revealed in them] and suspect it beares some analogy with that in your former Arti­cle, of preaching no more then we witnesse the life and power of in our selves; and which you call afterwards, witnessing the condi­tion of the Saints, whose words we preach, of which anon. The best sense therefore, which comparing your words with each other, and all with the language of your other Brethren, we can pick out of your expressions here, is, that you suppose, they preached no more, then what by spirituall experience the Spirit re­vealed in their hearts: Which if it be that you herein intend, we desire you to consider whether the Apostles did experience in themselves the Histories of the old Testament, which yet they preached, and whether they did experience in themselves the resurrection of the body, the generall judgment, and eternall damnation which they preached? Whether John experienced the Prophesies of the Revelation in himself, or no; as some of Foot out of the snare, p. 6. 13. you cant, that the witnesses are slaine in us, and must be raised to life in us, and Babylon in us, &c.

And of this stamp, we doubt, is that uncouth and odd expres­sion of witnessing the Saints conditions (which is one of the Sect. 43 phrases we told you before, that we conceive needs interpreta­tion) though possibly you speak what you mean, yet we know not what you mean by what you speak) especially if we com­pare those papers which we often receive from your Disciples [Page 39] in these parts, with what you here say.

But we will take you in the best sense, and so to witnesse, we suppose in your sense, is, to feele by inward experience the Saints conditions, whose words we preach. And without this qualifi­cation (in your judgment) we must passe for Ministers of the Letter only. We doubt you understand not, what a Minister of the Letter meanes. We are sure, by a Minister of the Letter, the Apostle meanes not such an one as expounds and applies the written Word, but either one that preached up the Jewish ce­remonies according to the Letter, which were the vaile that hid the Gospell, instead of Christ the substance of them; or else, that preached the duties of the Law for justification, and so your generation are the Ministers of the Letter, who preach up a righteousnesse of workes, under the notion of Christ in us, to the decrying and blaspheming of the righteousnesse of Faith, in Christs person without us. And you your selfe speake scorneful­ly enough of it, though covertly, p. 55. of your Book, as of a righteousnesse beyond the Stars, and a far off from us; so that we feare your heart is the same with them, though you be more wary in your expressions.

In a word, if we mistake you, you must impute it to your darknesse, and ambiguity of expression, which you affect in this Epistle, that you may (like a Carp) by running your head in the mud of uncouth and ambiguous language, avoid the Net of a just discovery and confutation: and to your undertaking, which being the justification of the people called Quakers, we are necessitated to interpret you by what we know of them.

To your thirteenth Article, concerning the unprofitable­nesse Sect. 44 of talking and professing Christ in Orthodox notions, except we witnesse (we will suppose you understand, find, and feele by ex­perience) the life of Christ in us: We would hope you mean as you say, and no more; and if so, we mean and say as you do, that it will not availe us or our hearers to talk of Christs dying for us, and our being justified by his righteousnesse, except we receive a spirit of holinesse from him, and be taught by the grace that ap­peareth to us, to deny all ungodlinesse, and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. But we Tim. 2. 12. must tell you, that we do not make our mortification of sin, or re­surrection [Page 40] to newnesse of life; or any of the fruits growing upon those roots (though we could be as holy as ever any Saint was upon earth) any part of our righteousnesse in the presence of God, but in matter of justification, we renounce them all as abominable and filthy rags, drosse and dung to the righteousnesse which is of God by faith, and desire to be found in him alone, who Isa. 64. 6. Phil. 3. 8, 9. Jer. 23. 5. Gal. 2. 16. is the Lord our righteousnesse. We say with the Apostle, Know­ing that a man is not justified by the workes of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have beleived in Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the workes of the Law. Whether you be of this judgment or no, we desire to know more fully in your next. Those of your generation are not, as we shall shew anon, from their own papers, which speak out, what we see you have a mind to conceale.

In your fourteenth Article, you confesse that you both publish Sect. 45 and practise, an unmannerly disrespect of all persons, in which (because you scruple swearing) we would (as well as we may) credit you without an Oath. And that you publish and practise it as truth, we will beleive. But Omne simile non est idem, as you may very well know. Many of your quaking doctrines (as you colour them) are very like truth. But we have in part shewn they are not what they shew for, and shall do more ere vve have done vvith you: Mean while vve will a little dis­pute it vvith you; Whether Religion destroy civility and good manners? For our parts, vve humbly conceive, that the fifth Commandement is not yet repealed, that commands us to ho­nour our Fathers and Mothers. And Solomon vve suppose wal­ked by that Law vvhen he bowed to his Mother, 1 King. 2. 29. Nor do vve dare condemne the bowing of Abraham before the Sons of Heth, Gen. 23. 7. 12. Nor do vve think that cursed Ca­naanites are more capable of civill honour and respect, then civill Magistrates. And how far the examples of Luke, dedicating his Book to the most excellent Theophilus, Lu. 1. 3. Pauls Titles of [King Agrippa and most Noble Festus] and Act. 26. 7. 25. 1 Pet. 3. 6. Sarahs calling Abraham Lord (practised in the old, and com­mended in the new Testament) vvill justifie the practise of those vvho bestow Titles upon men according to their quality, from that respecting of persons vvhich the Apostle James condemnes, it Jam. 5. 1. [Page 41] may be your own second thoughts will better inform you. Surely, the Apostle James doth not deny the distinction of Ma­gistrates, and others in their Seates and Benches. We do not find the Apostles when they were called before Magistrates, justle with them for their Chaires and Cushions, or set them­selves down cheek by joule with them upon the Bench. Nor was 1 King. 2. 19. Solomon to be charged with respecting persons, for calling for a Chair for his Mother Bathsheba, and not for all others as well that came to present Petitions to him. For a close, we are perswaded; that this levelling humour never lasted longer in a­ny person, then till he himself got into the Chair of Magistra­cy: We know no Prince in Europe that ever King'd it with that state as John of Leyden did, when he acted his part at Munster, and yet he and his Generation were as much against respecting of persons a while before, as any of our Quakers at this day.

In a word, we are no friends to that great distance which meer wealth makes in the esteem of the world between man and man, especially between godly poore, and ungodly rich men. And we hope we can say in the sincerity of our hearts, that we know no godly poor man whom we would not, and do not prefer in our esteems and respects, as we have opportu­nity to shew it, before any wealthy men, that are not so. But where the goodness is equall in both, we suppose the modesty of the inferiour will not suffer him to be agrieved, if his Supe­riour in any sort sit above him, or go before him; nor do we think it any token of humility (which is one of the most emi­nent graces in true Saints) for such an one to justle for the wall with another, to whom in common courtesie and civility, founded upon the Law of God, Nature, and Nations it is more due.

We shall not dispute against you the consequences of this Sect. 46 your Doctrine, if it should take place as they touch our selves. Let it follow (as you say) that we shall hereby be stripped of the Titles of Doctors, or Divines; we perswade our selves (as well-pleasing, as you think they are to us) we have learned of our Master to be contented to be made of no reputation, & if God think fit to abase us among those with whom we have to do, [Page 42] that vve should receive as little respect from others, as vve do from you; vve are able through grace, to contemne those poore things as dirt and dung: And if instead of Doctors and Divines, vve meet vvith the Titles of Serpent, Cain, E­sau, Satan, yea, Belzebub himself (which are the honourable Ti­tles your Generation in their great civility, or Christianity af­ford us.) In a word, should men call us Dolts instead of Do­ctors, and Devils instead of Divines, we hope we can say with­out vanity, vve should esteem it our Crown, so the name of Christ might be exalted by the fall of our own. The Titles that men give us, vve hope some of us can say, vve procured without ambition and receive vvithout pride, and can lay down vvithout discontent.

But vve vvonder however, how the name of Doctor, or Tea­cher Sect. 47 should come to be so Apocryphall vvith you, vvho know it vvas a name of Office in the Primitive times, Eph. 4. 11. And vvhy your brethren should quarrell so unmercifully against the name Master, or Sir, vvhen they might know how often it is given and taken by the Apostles of Christ, who, surely, knew their Masters mind in that prohibition better then they, and why (if Titles be thus unlawfull) do your self give the Sirs, to your Readers, and Sir to your Antagonist, which is all as much as Master? Nay, vvhy your Son should call you Father, any more then our Hearers call us Masters,, seeing one Text prohibits Both, vve cannot imagine: And vve know not vvhe­ther it vvas upon this account, that a Son of yours lately told one of us, that he disowned you.

But (to let this passe, and shut up this Article in a word) We suppose your other consequence of this Doctrine vvhich you Sect. 48 mention; to vvit, the stripping the Magistrate of his Titles of honourable, and worshipfull, shewes some vvorse blood then that that boyles in your Veines against the poore Ministers. We doubt that you that vvould strip them of their Titles, have no great (or it may be too great) mind to their Offices. For surely, there is lesse expresse Authority in the new Testament for Chri­stian Magistracy it selfe, then for the Titles bestowed upon them? What security then vvill you give them that you vvill not quarrell with their Robes and Maces, and afterwards with [Page 43] their Offices as vvell as vvith their Titles. We read of most excellent Theophilus, and most noble Festus, Titles as high as ho­nourable and worshipfull applyed to men in Magistracy. But of Christian Magistrates, not a vvord of Precept or practise; vvould you dared speak out! vvhy do you nibble at Titles? tell us plainly, you ayme at the thing it self, most think you do.

And now vve are arrived to the last of your Articles, vvhere­in you take some pleasure to shew how you can criticize on the vvords Thee and Thou, vvhich you vvould faine justifie to be the only proper tearmes to any single person A doughty un­dertaking! and very fit for your learning to mannage: We should scarce think it vvorth the vvhile to dispute such a trifle vvith you, but only to let you know, how unfit you are to dis­pute down Ʋniversities, that mannage a Grammaticall Questi­on so childishly: Should a Schoole Boy of ten years old be bid translate, How do you Sir into Latine, vvould he not render it Quomodo vales tu? It seems your new Grammer vvould correct him vvith a Quomodo valetis vos? A learned peice of Pe­dantry! Are you so silly as not to know that Translators respect the usage of words in the Tongues they make use of: If the Trans­lators of Hebrew or Greek, had rendred [...] or [...], by you, as well as thou, to a single person, might they not have done as well to an English eare, seeing both words are used indifferently by English men? you should not be ignorant of the old Rule, Loquendum ut vulgus. And Horace (if you have read him) tells you, that tis use (Quem penes arbitrium est, & vis, & nor­ma loquendi.) that words are to be regulated by.

But why then do we not (say you) use the word you to the Sect. 50 great God as well as to men? We answer, it is not necessary we should give you any answer hereunto, but that you have re­ceived already. Words are proper, or improper, as use makes them. And yet we conceive we well vary the phrase to God upon this account, because in our prayers we addresse our selves to God in the Unity of his nature, and therefore vve use a word that is not capable of importing plurality, as you is. [And vvhereas you add lastly, that the rich think it proper to say Sect. 51 [Thou] and [Thee] to a poore man, whereas we condemne the poore man for saying [Thou] or [Thee] to a rich man.

We answer, for our parts, we our selves can say, we know not our selves guilty of often making any such distinction, and when we do, it is rather in a way of familiarity, then otherwise, seeing we have used in common custome of speech, to look up­on the word [Thou] spoken to men as the more familiar word. But we insist not much upon these things, as supposing them beneath our study or notice, but that you vvill engage us in them whether we will or no; onely we must tell you at parting, that you may do well (in your great acutenesse) to correct Sect. 52 the French Tongue, whence we suppose this manner of speaking came into England, as well as our own, for the French use [vous] that signifies [you] to a single person, as well as we. And you after that to exercise your pedanticall Ferule upon the royall stile of most or all the Princes in the civill World, who (with as great a Grammaticall impropriety) write in their owne persons [Nos] and [Wee] instead of [Ego] and [I] vvhich is the stile of ordinary persons. And vve suppose you may maintain as learned a dispute vvith the Lord Protector about [Nos Oli­verus] [We Oliver] as you do vvith Mr. Thomas, p. 58. of the Book about the Nominative case, and the Verb.

These are all the Articles, it seemes you will confesse against Sect. 53 your self, and your quaking party; and because you are willing to flatter your self, and perswade your Readers (especially the Magistrate to whom this part of your Epistle is intended) that these bloody persecutors the Ministers, have no higher matters to charge you vvithall, you sing Io triumphe, the day is our owne; for These (say you) are the horrid blasphemies and damnable Doctrines against the abettors of which you do at this day discharge so much passion and rage, both from Presse and Pul­pit; calling upon the civill Powers for Bonds and Prisons, nay Fire and Fagot, against all those who (fearing the Lord) do feare to call darknesse light, and light darknesse.

But stay, Sir, we have some other matters then these to charge upon your Generation, vvhich vve vvill in the next place give you a short Catalogue of, collected out of such books as are either published by your selves, or justly charged upon you by those Witnesses vvho vve are assured vvill stand to their vvords vvhenever they are called to make them good.

[The Quakers Doctrines.]

1. That they are equall with God, as holy, just, and good, as Sect. 54 God himself. Affirmed by G. Fox, and J. Nayler, before Wit­nesses Perfect Pharisee, p. 3. See also the Rela­tion of the irreligion of the Northern Quakers. vvho attest it, in a Book called the perfect Pharisee, pub­lished by five Ministers of Newcastle.

2. Suitable hereunto vvas the blasphemy of one of your Shee-Quakers lately in hold in this Towne, vvho being convented before the Major of this Corporation, and asked what she was, and what was her name, roundly answered (and stood to it a­gaine the next day) I AM THAT I AM, which will be attested upon Oath, by the Major and one of the Con­stables.

3. Suitable to this was the blasphemy of another of your Brethren, who meeting with a godly Londiner occasionally being in this Town on a Lords day lately, and asking him the way, as he met him, to one of our Churches, answered him in these words, The Church is in God, and the Church is God.

4. That the being of God is not distinct from them that are be­gotten by him. [Sword of the Lord by James Atkinson Qua­ker.]

5. That the Nature and Glory of the Elect, differ not from the Nature and Glory of the Creator. For the Elect are one with the Creator in his Nature, enjoying his Glory. That the Elect is not distinct from the Creator. [Howgill and Burroughs two Quakers in an answer to Reeve.]

6. And that God is not distinct from living Creatures; for in him living (reatures lives, moves, &c.

7. That God is three persons, or subsistences (they say) is a lye. That there is no distinctions of persons in the Godhead. [Sword of the Lord by J. Atkinson: G. Fox Errand to Damascus.

8. That the Soul is a part of the Divine Essence. [See perfect Pharisee, p. 6.]

9 That Jesus Christ is God and man in one person (they say) is a lye.

10. They deny and detest this Doctrine, That Christ being the only God and man in one person, remaines for ever a distinct person [Page 46] from all Saints and Angels, notwithstanding their Ʋnion and communion with him. [Sword of the Lord by James Atkin­son.]

11. That the person that Son of God which died at Jerusalem, is not the Redeemer of man from sin; but the Redeemer is in e­very man, that light by which he is given to see him, &c. [The discourse of a Quaker vvith Jo: Toldervy. Foot out of the snare, p. 7.]

12. That Christ is in every man, even Heathen Indians, and in the Reprobates he is held under corruption. [J. Nayler. See per­fect Pharisee; p. 7

13. That Christ was a man, had his failings, for he distrusted God upon the Crosse. [Rob. Collison. See Gilpins Book, p. 2.]

14. That we are not justified by that Righteousnesse of Christ which he in his own person did fulfill without us. And that whoso­ever expects to be saved by him that died at Jerusalem, shall be de­ceived: For Christ in the flesh was in all, that he died and suffe­red a Figure, and nothing but an example.

15. That we are (therefore) to be saved not by the righteous­nesse of Christ imputed to us, but by the righteousnesse of Christ inherent in us. [See both these in the perfect Pharisee, with their Testimonies, p. 9, 10, 11. And Howgill and Burroughs Answ. to Bennet Q. 9.]

And another to the same purpose saith, That the faith and justification which stands in the comprehension of Christ without, will stand us in no stead. [Fr. Gawler to Mr. Miller of Cardiff.]

16. That God and man cannot be perfectly reconciled till he be brought into the state of the first Adam, and able in his own pow­er to stand perfect. And that holy workes and lives of Saints are not excluded from justification. [Howgill, &c. Answ. to Bennets 11, 12. Quaeries.]

17. That no man that is not perfectly holy, or commits sin, can ever enter into the Kingdome of Heaven, except there be a Purga­tory. And there is no Saint but he that is so perfectly holy in this life without sin. [Nayler perfect Pharsee, p. 1. 112. 13.]

18. That to preach the impossibility of such a freedome here on earth is to preach up sin while the world stands, and to bring men into Covenant with the Diuill for term of life. [See also J. Par­nell [Page 47] Shield of faith. p. 29. to both these Nayler in his answer to Mr. Baxter, p. 28.]

19. That Christ took not humane flesh upon him at any time, otherwise then he daily doth; and that Christ is now conversant on earth among men since his ascension, as he was in the Apostles times. It is the summe of Howgills and Burroughs answer to two Quaeres of Mr. Bennet. [See Howgill, &c. in their answer to Benéts 18, and 19. Qu.]

20. That the Scriptures are not the word of God. This is their constant judgment though they dare not professe it for feare of the Law, as one of the most eminent in these parts, con­fessed before the Magistrates here, in the hearing of one of us; asking Whether if the Bible were burnt, the word of God were burnt? or words fully to this purpose. [See the proof, Perfect Pharisee, p. 23. T. C. Parnells book, p. 10. saith, He that saith, the Letter is the word, is a deceiver.]

21. That they had a light in them sufficient to lead them to salvation, if they had never seen or heard of the Bible. The sub­stance of this was affirmed before some Magistrates of this Towne, and one of us by the same party. And this light exten­ded to Heathen Indians, by him. Suitable to the assertions of James Nayler in a discourse of his in the book quoted here. [And he that saith, the Letter is the rule and guide of the people of God, is without, feeding upon the Husk, &c. p. 11. See way to the Kingdome, p 8. See perfect Parisee, p. 17. 18]

22. That the Scriptures are not the Saints Rule of knowing God, and living unto him, but that which was before the Scrip­tures were written. This is also your owne, concerning which, anon, more at large. [Atkinson ubi supra., p. 1. Parnell, p. 11.

23. That there is no need of outward teachings by reading or hearing of the Scriptures opened and applied. [See perfect Phari­see, p 20.]

24. That no mens interpretations of the Scripture, or Argu­ments from them are to be received, except those that give them be infallible. [See Quakers Cat. published by Mr. Baxter, where the Quaerists require Infallibility in a Minister. And Per­fect Pharisee, p. 27.]

This is generally their straine. We renounce and deny all your meanings, interpretations, arguments, calling them adding to the [Page 48] Scriptures. And concerning it we must have a brush or two with you anon.

25. That the light in them is the Gospell, and the more sure word of Prophecy; so sure, that some of them say, That it is a like for to take a sentence out of their Letters, and preach from it, as to take a sentence out of Pauls Epistles. [Discovery of mysti­call Antichrist displaying Christs Banners, p. 15. and 33.]

26. That there is no call to the Ministry but an immediate Call, which is generally proclaimed by them. [See perfect Pharisee, p. 29. J. Parnell, p 16.]

27. There is no Baptisme of Christ, but with the H. Ghost and fire. And no Supper of the Lord, but in the spirituall part: for as for the visible part, The bread which the world breaks is carnall and naturall. See perfect Pharisee, p. 28. and J Parnell, p. 12. 13.]

28. That singing Davids Psalmes in English Meeter, is to sing the Ballads of Hopkins and Sternhold King James his Fid­lers. And to sing them is to turn the Scriptures into lyes and blas­phemies. [One of them in a Letter here at Reading. Henry Clark in his discription of the Prophets, p 9.]

29. That God made not man to be Lord over man, but over o­ther Creatures; and therefore amongst them there are no Supe­riours after the flesh. But are there any Superiours over them (then) that are not among them? See in the next article. [J. Parnell, p. 22, 23.]

30. That Christ comes to fulfill and end all outward Lawes and Ja. Parnell p. 18, 19. Government of man. The righteous are from under the outward Law, for they are a Law to themselves. Especially if Magistrates be wicked (that is, not of them) the Author quoted in the Mar­gin denies them utterly.

31. That there is no Sabbath now, but an everlasting Sabbath, and that our Sabbath is but a shadow of which they have the sub­stance. Ja. Parnell p. 37. And that the first day in the week is no Sabbath.

32. That we may not pray before and after Sermons, or at set times, daies, and houres, because these things were in the Genera­tion which were enemies to Christ. [Quaeres sent to the Con­gregation at Stopport, printed in a Book of Mr. Eaton.]

33. That the Ranters themselves had a pure convincement which did convince them. And what their convincements were, [Page 49] most men know. To wit, that there is no Heaven, Hell, Resur­rection, Judgment to come; that there is no sin, but what a man thinks to be so; that all that they did was done by the Eternity in them, &c. [G. Fox, and J. Nayler in a book called A word from the Lord, p. 13.]

34. That that word, 1 Jo. 1. 8. If we say we have no sin we de­ceive our selves, was spoken by the carnall man. [Fr. Gawler. See Antichrist in man by Mr. Miller of Cardiff. p. 7. Idem. ibid.]

35. That if a man hath sin in him he hath none of Christ.

36. They will not acknowledge that Christ ascended with his body into Heaven. [Idem. ibid.]

THus you see, Sir, how much paines we have been at to sa­tisfie you, that those men you joyne your selfe unto, have matters of greater moment, then those you mention, justly chargeable upon them: So that we are no way in feare of the judgment you pronounce against the Offenders of Christs little ones in your next lines. For if such as these be Christs little Ones, we know not who are the Devills great Ones. And when you have any such things justly to charge upon us, we shall not cry out of hard measure, although we suffer more then any of you yet do. Let the Magistrate do so to us, and more also, if we thus deserve it.

As to what we lay to your charge, whether he will take no­tice of it or no, we have learned not to be over sollicitous, see­ing we are not out of hope that deliverance will arise for Gods reproached Ministers, Truths and Ordinances, some way or o­ther: And yet we cannot but desire he would vouchsafe this honour to those that are now in Authority over us, that Truth and peace might flourish together in our daies under their wings. And truly, Sir, did you know our hearts (whatsoever Mon­sters of persecution and blood you judge us to be) you would see, that as it is no private interest of our own, that drawes us out to appeare against you, but the meer concernments of Gods Glory, and precious Truth; so we desire nothing more then the conviction and reduction of you, in a Gospel-way. And this we can clearly say, that of all those that have suffered any thing, in, or neer the places where we live, we know none [Page 50] of them, but have drawn it upon themselves, by first making such publick disturbances, as brought them within the reach of the Law, and then refusing to give bayle, out of a fond ambiti­on they had to be imprisoned, when they might have avoided it.

And yet we cannot but wonder, how an handfull of you, Sect. 55 bidding defiance to whatever of publick Religion is professed in this Nation, should think, or with any reason expect to be pro­tected in the disturbance of all others, who, as the present con­stitution of affaires stands, are under an equall liberty with your selves; and if you be denied to persecute all others, or by processe of Law restrained from it, complaine of persecution. So that indeed, if the Magistrate grant you such a protection, walking by the principles you do, he denies it to all else; see­ing no society of Christians whatsoever would enjoy the free­dome of their Worship, without distraction from you. And to perswade the Magistrates to give you liberty of tearing up all the professed Religion in England, and blaspheming it pub­lickly where ever you come, we suppose it will in reason be re­quired, that you shew some extraordinary Authority or com­mission from God, testified by some reall signe to convince them that it is not counterfeit; and yet even then, as you shall see anon (your Doctrines being such as they are) they may see just cause to lay some restraint upon you therein.

In the mean while, we must tell you, that however you may please your selves in your sufferings, and vent your passions a­gainst the men from whom you conceive they arise, as so many Sauls and bloody Persecuters, yet God judgeth not Martyrs by the suffering, but the cause; and you had need examine in whose Errand you go, when you run your selves upon suffering, as well as others to examine upon what Warrant they inflict it upon you. If every one be a Martyr, who makes a loud cry of Persecution, surely the Jesuite will not be behind hand, in put­ting in for his share, as well as you; and if every one be a Per­secutor that curbs and restraines unruly and disorderly Consci­ences, wo be to those Judges who arraigne, and condemne Fauxes and Ravilliac's, who plead conscience for what they do, as well as your selves. The truth is, both you, and we, and all [Page 51] persons, must be able to plead, that we suffer not as evill doers, and then suffering will be a comfort and a crown; otherwise what we suffer we suffer in our owne wrong, and shall when we have suffered our Estates out of our Purses, and Soules out of our bodies, meet with no other entertainment, then an Who hath required these things at your hands? And we desire you particularly to consider what the Apostle Paul tells you, that if a man give up his very body to be burned, and have not charity, 1 Cor. 13. 3. it profits him nothing: And surely if your generation be suffe­rers, you are the most uncharitable sufferers that ever were; and Martyrs, that have been in the World, from Christs time till the starting up of your new Apostles, within these 3. or 4. years; & are so far from that charity wch other sufferers in Scripture have had to their bloodiest Persecutors, that your mouthes are full of rayling, reviling, cursing, and bitternesse, to those that do not meddle with you further then it concernes them in their places, to preserve others under their charge from the infection of such abominations as those fore-mentioned. However We have not so learned Christ, as to render evill for evill, but desire to suf­fer under the sharp Arrowes of your tongues, as he gave us an example, not reviling againe when we are reviled by you, but committing our Cause, Callings, and Maintenance to him that judgeth uprightly. And to instruct even the worst of Opposers in meeknesse, trying if God will at any time give them repentance, to 2 Tim. 2. 25. 26. the acknowledgment of the Truth; and that they may recover them out of the snare of the Devill, who are taken captive by him at his will, which we yet (with pity towards, and prayer for you) are assured to be the condition of your selfe, and your Clients in this Cause.

ANd now, Sir, after a tedious pursuit of you, through all Sect. 57 the windings and turnings of your subtle insinuating Epi­stle, it may be expected we should proceed to your Book it selfe; But we shall wave it, as we before told you, for these reasons.

First, Because a great part of it hath been once served up in the Epistle, and because we found it not seasoned with salt, by [Page 52] us already discovered and rejected as unsavoury. So that we shall not cloy the Reader with a second course of it.

Secondly, Because that we find that it is wholly made up of personall contests with Mr Thomas, and insolent reflexions and reproaches upon him, into whose harvest we desire not to thrust in our Sicle; besides that we are advertised, that he in­tends to take that task in hand himselfe, and we are assured that he will not need any assistance from us, or any other, to answer it as it deserves. Onely because you so often call the Scriptures (in scorne) [our Rule] in your Epistle, and therein expresly reject all Interpretations and deductions which we draw from them in preaching, or dispute; we will here subjoyne these two questions.

Q. 1. Whether the holy Scriptures be the Saints ground, and rule of faith, and practise?

Q. 2. Whether it be lawfull without an infallible spirit, to in­terpret Scripture, or draw consequences and deductions thence?

In both these you defend the Negative, we the Affirma­tive.

As to the first of them in your Book, you stand only upon Sect. 58 your defence against some Texts quoted by Mr. Thomas; con­cerning which we leave you to his second charge, wherein we doubt not but he will fetch them off without losse. Mean while, we cannot but take notice of the Artifices of your selfe, and others of the generation you close withall.

(1.) We observe, that in most or all matters of difference be­twixt us, you put us upon the proof of our Principles and practi­ses, and offer none for your owne; which is a slye way of hi­ding your owne weaknesse, and discovering our strength, that so you may make your advantages of it: Which is, as if a man should sue another at Law, to produce his evidences by which he holds his Land, to be canvassed by his owne Counsell, with­out exhibiting any thing in his owne behalfe, to justifie his claime to it.

(2.) We observe also, that you reserve to your selves a liber­ty of excepting against the Jurisdiction of the Court, in which the cause is depending; not allowing it a power to decide the case, if you see you selves likely to be cast in Judgment, although [Page 53] you will owne it so far as you suppose it may serve your turne against us. For you call us forth to a tryall by the Scriptures, and yet will not allow them to be the rule to decide the contro­versie.

(3.) We observe thirdly, that you will have the choice of the Weapons in this encounter, not only for your selfe, but us also, setting up a Star-chamber Court of your own first, to damne our Evidences, and then, forsooth, you will fight with us when you have disarmed us. You will dispute with us from the Scripture, and yet will allow us no Arguments to dispute withall. A valiant undertaking, and worthy peice of Chival­ry, for which you deserve to be recorded among the chiefe Champions of the Quaking Knight Errantry.

But we hope, upon second thoughts, you may be perswaded Sect. 59 not to disparage your owne atchievements upon us, by keeping your selfe within the security of an Irish bogg, where it is harder to come at you, then conquer you, and come forth into the plain field, where we may encounter you upon even termes. If o­therwise, we shall take it as an Argument of your Cowardize, and yet rather swallow any inconvenience, then not dislodge you, and set up the Banners of Truth upon your owne ground.

And first we will try you with a few Quaeries, which (see­ing Sect. 60 they are your owne familiar way of arguing) we hope you will admit into your consideration.

Q. 1. Whether you will receive the Scriptures Testimony con­cerning it selfe, or no? If you will, then Q. 2. Is it not the rule of faith by your owne confession? For it is that to which you sub­mit your saith in this question. If you will not, then Q. 3. To what purpose do you require of Mr. Thomas to produce a Scrip­ture P. 4. that saith, in Terminis, it is the rule; when if he do, the question is as far from being decided as before?

In the next place, we will state the question between us, that Sect. 61 we may understand one another.

First therefore the question betwen us is not, Whether the Scriptures, or written word, have been the ground and rule of faith and practise, in all ages of the World, but whether in every age of the World, since any part of them was written, so much as was written in any age, were not the rule by which those of that age [Page 54] were to be regulated? and consequently, whether to the ages that have been, and shall be, since the whole was compleated, the whole be not so, and to continue so to the Worlds end? So that you are quite besides the Cushion and the Question, in the instances of Abel, Enoch, and Ahraham, and all the Patriarchs before Moses, who wrote the first Scripture. We are not so silly as to affirme the word as written, to have been a rule before it was written. Al­though we shall not doubt to prove, that those Patriarchs had the same foundation to build on, and the same Law or Rule to walk by, though they were not then committed to writing. The Apostle tells us, Gal. 3. 8. that the Scripture preached the Gospel to Abraham; where it is observable, that Abrahams light was Scripture light, before the Scriptures were written.

2. The question between us, is not, whether the Scriptures be the personall or reall ground of faith; but whether (as Mr. Thomas well distinguisheth) it be the Doctrinall or declara­tive ground, or foundation of faith? This distinction, whether you will admit or no, we must premise, because we would not be engaged to fight with a meer shadow. If you will own the Scriptures to be a doctrinall foundation or ground of faith, i. e. to hold forth from God those Doctrines, which, and which onely we are bound to beleive, our dispute is at an end, for we are of a mind; we owne Christ alone to be the foundation or ground of faith, personall or reall; that is, to be the person, or thing, that our faith is built on; and the Scriptures to be the onely ground and foundation, by way of Doctrine or declara­tion, what we are to beleive concerning Christ, and how to be­leive on him. We hope you will understand us, we speak as plaine as we can to avoid cavills about termes.

All therefore that we are to prove in this question is, that all things which vve beleive and do, as necessary in order to salvati­on, are to be such as are contained in the Scripture, and to be judged by it, whether they be so or no.

We say, All things which we beleive and do as necessary in or­der Sect. 62 to the salvation of our Soules, are to be such as are contained in Scripture.

If not (because to please you, we must not argue from Scrip­ture) we desire you to satisfie us.

Q. 1. What thing necessary to be beleived or done, in order to salvation there is, which we may or must receive from any other Rule, or build on any other foundation, and what is that Rule or foundation. We suppose you are bound either to allow our rule, or shew us a bettor. Or,

Q. 2. Whether what the Scriptures containe, be sufficient to guide us to salvation, or no? If you affirme it; then we shall think our selves well enough with our old Rule, seeing vve may be saved, and yet admit no other.

If you deny it, you must out-stare these plaine Texts, 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16, 17. From a Child thou hast knowne the holy Scrip­tures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. And all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for Doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous­nesse. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto every good work. And that of John, wherewith he closeth his twentieth Chapter. These (speaking of the signes which Christ did) are written, that yee might beleive that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that beleiving, yee might have life through his name. Say not, that this concernes onely the Gos­pel of John, or if more, onely the Histories of the Evangelists. For then we shall make bold to conclude our Position à fortiori. If there be enough in one, or at most four Bookes to work faith, and thereby bring us to salvation, much more in all the Scrip­tures.

Q. 3. Whether the Scriptures of the old and new Testament be the word of God, or no? or do you owne no word of God, but Christ? We suppose here you will answer us, as your brethren here do: We dare not deny it for feare of the Law; we dare not af­firm it, for then we deny our own principles.

We know not how you will answer it: But we must tell you, if you deny it, we are sure the Scriptures affirme it of themselves; else we desire to know, what it is that is called the Word of God in the places following Mar. 7. 13. 2 Cor. 2. 17. 4. 2. What it is that David so often calls by the name of thy word, Ps. 119. whe­ther Christ spake himselfe, or the declarative word of God, Lu. 5. 1. If you affirme it, We ask further;

Q. 4. Whether it be not the duty of the Creature to beleive [Page 56] and be guided by the declared word of God, rather then by a­ny others word whatsoever?

Q. 5. Whether there be any such thing in the World as He­resie, or Errour? If there be not, to vvhat purpose are all those Prophesies that foretell, and Cautions that forewarne Gods people against them in the Scripture? If there be, may they be discovered, or no? If they may not, how can it be a duty in­cumbent upon Saints to avoid them? is there any avoiding of an undiscoverable evill? If they may, by vvhat rule but the written Word?

Q. 6. Whether there be any duty, or sin in the World, or no? The affinity your Sect hath vvith the Ranters in Principles (vvhich G. Fox acknowledgeth) makes us beleive, that some of you, vvould they speak out, must answer, No, but what a man thinkes to be so. We vvill not judge the thoughts: But if you be more sober, vve onely ask you?

Q. 7. What rule vve have to judge of vvhat is Duty, or Sin, but the vvritten Law of God?

Is it the light of every mans private bosome? This is the fore­mentioned Ranting Principle.

Is it immediate Revelation? For to this your brethren in­cline (as may be seen in the Quaeries sent to Mr. Baxter of Ki­derminster, one of vvhich vvas, Whether he owned Revelations, or no? And Naylers Answer to his Quakers Catechisme) and that very strongly; yea, they pretend to the same mission from God to this or that place, to do this or that errand, which the Prophets had of old, and to be limited in their stay in, and de­parture from such places, by the immediate commands of God See Deus­beries dis­covery, and his owne confession therein, That at Derby he answered the Major, that he would stay there till the Lord ordered him to go out of Towne, and when he was put out, returned, and staid till he was free in his spirit to depart, p. 8, 9.

If you be of their mind, vve further enquire.

Q. 8. What certaine token you have to know the commands of God from the commands of Satan, seeing he can easily insinuate his suggestions by inward voices, as commands of God. Accor­ding to the old Law of God to his people the Jewes, Pretenders [Page 57] to a Spirit of Prophesie, though they gave evidence of their pre­tended mission from God by signes and wonders (and those coming to passe too) yet were to be discovered and judged by the written word, Deut. 13. 1, 2, 3. &c. And in the new Testa­ment, the Doctrine of an Angell from Heaven is submitted (un­der a curse) to the Doctrine preached by the Apostles, Gal. 1. 8. And we desire to know whether you vvill submit your Revela­tions to this Touchstone, or no? If so, you yeild the question: If not, then whatever Commands or Prohibitions you receive in the way of revelation, you must obey, vvhether agreeing, or dis­agreeing to the written Law of God. And then how far the ex­amples of Abraham offering up his Son, and Phinehas executing vengeance; yea (and vvhen time serves) Ehuds message from God to Eglon, may be witnessed in you (as you speak) we know Judg. 3. 19 not, and shall pray vve never may, by experience.

Q. 9. Whether the Scriptures do not establish it selfe as the rule of Faith, in referring all pretenders to new light, to the Law and the Testimony, and telling us expresly, That if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in Isa. 20. 8. them. And whether the light in you and in your companions be not darknesse, that will not undergo this tryall?

Q. 10. Whether the phrases of walking in the Law of the Lord, keeping Gods Testimonies, taking heed to a mans, way ac­cording to Gods word, not wandering from Gods Commandements, Ps. 119, 1, 2. 9, 10. 21. 30. 35. 51. 102. 110. 133. 157. laying Gods Jugdments before him, going in the path of Gods Commandements, not declining from Gods Law, not departing from Gods Judgments, not erring from his Precepts, ordering his steps in Gods word, not declining from his testimonies; Are not cleare evidences, that David made the written word that then was, his Rule? And you owne Davids Rule for yours, p. 8.

Q. 11. Whether you think in your conscience, that Deut. 5. 32, 33. doth not convincingly prove the Scripture to be the Saints rule? The words are, Yee shall observe to do therfore, as the Lord your God hath commanded you (and before vve have the re­pitition of the written Law) You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left, &c. Your answer in your book, is in summe, P. 7. that all the Scripture was not then written. But did not Moses therein establish as much as was then written, for the rule the [Page 58] Saints of those times were to walk by. Besides these words im­mediatly refer to the Morall Law, before repeated in the same Chapter. And will you exclude that from being the Saints rule, as well as other Scriptures? Then indeed there vvill be no duty or sin, but as a man thinks.

Q. 12. Whether you deale honestly with Calvin in that P. 20. Scripture, Eph. 2. 20. whilest you tell your Readers that he saith in Terminis, That the Apostle doth in that Scripture intend Je­sus Christ to whom the Prophets and Apostles did beare witnesse. Whereas Calvin saith expresly, It is without doubt that the [foundation] in this place is taken for the [Doctrine] of the Prophets and Apostles. And therefore Paul teacheth, that the Quin fun­damentum hic pro do­ctrina sum­atur mini­me dubium est. Et ita (que) docet Pau­lus, fidem ecclesiae, in hac doctri­na debere esse funda­tam Calv. in l. Churches faith ought to be founded on this Doctrine. And there is not any mention at all of those vvords in Calvin, vvhich you quote from him. To say the truth, vve much vvonder how you could have the brazen face to father a saying upon Calvin vvhich he never said: till vve looked upon Marlorate, whose mis-quotation, or rather the fault of his Printer (it seemes) deceived you, for there vve find among other things there ascribed to Calvin, this passage you mention. But it concerned a man of your acutenesse, not to have taken up a re­port from another, vvhen Calvins vvorks are so common in every Shop and Study, that vvith a little paines more, you might have conversed vvith the Originall Author, whence Marlorate makes his collections. But it seemes you vvere vvilling to snatch at any thing that seemed to support your cause, vvhere ever you found it. And yet you shewed no part of ingenuity in your usage of Marlorate himself, vvho together vvith that passage vvhich you quote, and under the same note by which he distinguisheth Calvins vvords, cites Calvin point blank against you, saying, that the Apostle shewes in that place how the Ephesians vvere made fellow Citizens vvith the Saints, Nempe si fundati sint in Prophetarum & Apostolorum Doctrinâ, to wit, If they be founded on the Doctrine of the Prophets and A­postles.

These words and others to the same purpose immediatly precede your owne quotation, vvhich renders your dis-ingenui­ty the more culpable, as shewing a vvilfull designe of abusing [Page 59] so reverend a name to delude your Readers.

Q. 13. In a vvord, tell us ingenuously, Whether we must, or must not beleive the Doctrines which the Scriptures lay downe up­on their owne authority? If vve must, vvhy do you quarrell at those that call them the rule, ground, foundation of faith; see­ing every intelligent man will tell you, that it is the same thing, to beleive the Doctrines of the Scripture upon the Scriptures au­thority, and to make the Scriptures the ground, rule, foundation of faith.

If vve must not, then tell us, what, superadded to the Scrip­tures owne Authority, renders their Doctrines more credible? We observe the Papists state this question as you do. But they vvill answer us ingenuously, That they beleive the Scriptures, because the Church hath confirmed them. And the Socinians are of your mind also; but they deale fairely too, and speak out, That they will beleive the Scriptures as far as reason votes with them. Would you speak out, vve doubt you must confesse you are very neer these last in your judgment: Why do you not tell us plainly; that you beleive the Doctrines laid down in the Scripture, as far as the light within you concurs with them? And then vve shall know vvhat you mean, in denying the Scrip­tures to be the rule and ground of faith, Viz. That as much as pleaseth you you vvill beleive, and vvhat dislikes you, shall be cashiered as an old Declarative, or an Almanack out of date, as some of your Cater-cosins, the Familists have blasphemously called the Bible.

Q. 14. Lastly, Whether God vvill not judge every man, vvho lives within the sound of the Gospell, by the written word? If not, what meanes the Apostle Paul, when he saith, that as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ ac­cording to my Gospel, Rom. 2. 12. 16.

And seeing we are upon this subject, give us leave to enquire yet a little further; what are those Books out of which the dead shall be judged, and whence one day God will draw the rule of his proceedings in the day of Judgment, as you may find, Apoc. 2. 12.

If God vvill judge us out of the written word after death, [Page 60] surely, we are not to be blamed, if we study that Statute-Law, and labour to conforme our beleif, and practise thereunto whilest we live, which must judge us when we dye. Or else, we pray you tell us, whether we must live by one rule here, and be judged hereafter by another?

In your answer to these Quaeries, we must desire you not to play Childs play with us, and endeavour to put us off with tri­fling fallacies, which every Sophister can discerne, as you do frequently in your particular contests with Mr. Thomas, which we doubt not you will here of with both eares, when he is at leasure to reply upon you: but deale candidly and positively as becomes a Scholar, and a Christian, with those who assure you they will with all possible fairenesse examine whatsoever of that nature you shall think necessary to rejoyne hereunto.

And here we shall put a period to our first debate with you, Sect. 63 concerning the Rule, ground, or foundation of faith: Which we say is the Scriptures, you (that we can find) yet say not, what it is, but say roundly it is not they.

Our next friendly collation is about the way of drawing those Doctrines from the Scripture, which are to be beleived and practised. Concerning which, your declared judgment is (as P. 5, 6. 19. &c. well as vve can gather it from your own expressions) That it is unlawfull to interpret, or give any meaning of Scripture, or to draw any deductions and conclusions from it; but that we must rest satisfied with the bare words of Scripture, insomuch that nothing (according to you) is proved from the Scripture, but what is there in so many words.

Concerning vvhich Tenet vve have a little knockt Shins with you before at armes end, but vve shall now wrestle a faire fall, and come as close as we can, to give you a down-right Cornish hugg.

First, therefore we must informe you, that your Generation Sect. 64 are not the first that have started the question, or so held it. We know not vvhether you understand French, or no, but if you do, vve refer you to a discourse of Mr. Daillé, as learned a French man as any this latter age hath bred; who in a Book Lafoy fon­dee sur les S. Escritu­res, par Je­an Daille. printed about sixteen yeares since, hath a large dispute vvith certaine Popish Methodists, vvho undertook to teach their de­luded [Page 61] Proselites, the same way of confuting the French Pro­testants, which you now principle your Disciples withall, to gravell those of this Nation. They deem (saith he) that there needs no more ado to baffle us, but to demand of us an expresse for­mall Text for every Article of our confession. This facile way (saith he further) hath produced a rabble of Disputants among them: and whereas at first they fled and declined all conferences of Religion, and permitted none but their Clergy to speak of it; now all sorts of people will adventure to engage with us, even Seamsters, and Carters Boyes, being created Doctors in an in­stant by this handsome Method.

The same Author derives the rise of it higher then that age too: But from such a Family, as neither they nor you have much cause to boast of. Eutiches the Heretick, that confoun­ded the Natures of God and man in the Lord Jesus Christ, Act Con­cil. chalce­don [...], A­thanas. Ep. de Synod. Arim. & Seleuc. [...]. Et Dialog cont. Aria­num. [...]. Aug. Ep. 174. & 178. Id. Contra maxim? T. 6. fol. 144. G. re­quired an expresse Scripture to affirm, that in Christ there are two Natures. The Arians in Athanasius his time and after, denied the consubstantiality of the Son of God; Viz. That he was of the same substance with the Father (asserted by the Councill of Nice, to express the Eternall Deity of the Son) as you do the word Sacrament, because it is not in so many Let­ters found in the Scripture. And concerning the very Godhead of Jesus Christ, in a Dialogue between Athanasius and an A­rian, Let alone Syllogismes, saith the Arian, and shew it us written that the Son is the true God.

So Pascentius an Arian requires of Augustine to shew him the word consubstantiall in Scripture, without Argument. And in a like dispute between him and Maximinus, concerning the Godhead of the H. Ghost, when the Father proved it from the Scripture, that tels us, He hath a Temple, the proper adjunct of Divinity; the Heretick replies, Truth is not concluded by Argu­ment, but proved by certaine Testimonies. These things we have the more largely transcribed out of that learned Author, to let you know, out of what Forge that Weapon is hammered wher­with you encounter us. Follow you now (if you please) the ancient Hereticks, and moderne Papists. For our parts, we are glad that we insist upon the same way and method of dispu­ting, which the sounder part of the Church hath ever used to encounter them withall.

Surely our Saviour Christ better knew the way of proving Sect. 65 conclusions from Scripture, then you or we: And yet he ne­ver thought it necessary to tye himself up to expresse Texts, but allowed himself the liberty of the interpretations and de­ductions. When Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread, he thought it sufficient to repell the Tentation, by that Text of Moses, Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that Mat. 4. 4. Deut. 8. 3. proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The force of which Answer lies in this Syllogisme.

If God be able to supply the want of ordinary food, that a mans life shall be sustained without it, whilest God hath work for him to do, then should I do ill, if (in distrust of him) I should com­mand these stones to be made bread.

But God is thus able; for man lives not, &c. Therefore I should do ill, if I should command these stones to be made bread.

Had one of your Brethren been at the Devills elbow, he would have taught him more wit then to take such an answer, and have turned him to put our Saviour upon the producing of an expresse Text of Scripture that forbad Jesus the Son of Mary to command stones to be made bread.

So in the second Tentation, both our Saviour and the Devill Sect. 66 also (if no meanings or deductions be allowable in urging of Scripture) might have gone to School to you. The Devill ur­geth Scripture to our Saviour, to conclude the lawfulness of his casting himself down from the Pinnacle: For (saith he) it is written, He shall give his Angels charge concerning thee, &c. We do not find our Saviour so well versed in your way of dispu­ting, as to deny his proof, because it was not expresly, God shall give his Angels charge over Jesus the Son of Mary, and in their hands shall they beare him up, &c. But answers by another Scrip­ture, to shew that that Text was not to be understood of prote­ction in waies of tempting God, by running our selves upon un­necessary dangers.

Nay, when our Saviour had answered him with that place, Deut. 6. 16. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, Satan also was to seek of that plea which you could have suggested to him, Viz. That that Scripture did not expresly forbid Jesus of Nazareth to throw himself down from the Pinnacle.

And in the third Tentation (according to your Tenet) our Sect. 67 Saviour had been hard put to it, to prove that it was unlawfull to worship the Devill himselfe; had Satan been disciplined by your principles, and required of him an expresse Text, That it is not lawfull to worship the Devill. Whereas it seemes for want of your Artifice, the silly Tempter was put off with a Scripture that requires us to worship and serve God onely, and concludes the unlawfulnesse of Devill-worship by this Argu­ment,

If we must worship and serve God only, ergo not the Devill.

But we must worship and serve God only, therefore not the Devill.

And the Sadduces afterwards were very silly animalls, that Sect. 68 they would let our Saviour go away in triumph for putting Mat. 22. 32. Exod. 3. 6. them to silence, by so weak a proof of the Resurrection, as the words of God to Moses in the Bush, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Why had they not re­quired (in so fundamentall an Article of faith especially) a positive and expresse Scripture, affirming in so many words, that the dead shall rise againe.

But you think our Saviours example will not beare us out in Sect. 69 our interpretations and deductions, because he was infallible in P. 6. what he spake, and neither did nor could erre in what he said; which, you suppose, cannot be said of us, or our meanings, and arguments. To which we answer, we do not compare our selves with our Saviour in point of infallibility (although your generation do, who account themselves equally perfect with him.) But this we say, that our Saviour in these places and o­thers, where he argues from the Scriptures, doth not urge his owne infallibility, as the ground upon which he requires beleif, neither did Satan or the Sadduces acquiesce in the acknowledg­ment thereof, but in the conviction wrought in them by the strength of his Arguments. And we must tell you, that any one who can draw an Argument rightly from Scripture, is no lesse infallible in the conclusions so deduced thence, then our Saviour was in his. The question therefore will be, Whether any person in interpreting and arguing from Scripture be infallible? but whether such interpretations and deductions be truly, and bona fide [Page 64] according to the mind of the H. Chost in Scripture, whether they be drawn by a person that is fallible or infallible? For be the person never so fallible that gives the interpretation, or drawes the ar­gument, yet if the interpretation be sound, and the argument rightly concluded, he is therein infallible: For you cannot be altogether ignorant of that common Maxime, That nothing Ex veris possunt non nisi vera sequi. but truth can rightly follow from truth, and a false conclusion can never be regularly drawn from true premisses.

So that all that flourish which you afterwards make, is but a meer rhetoricall vapour, and signifies just nothing to an under­standing Sect. 70 Reader. For whereas you bid us either tell the people P. 6. plainly, that we are infallible, that they may receive our deducti­ons from Scripture, for true Doctrine, nay Scripture it self; or else say, that we are fallible, that so they may take liberty of pro­ving our actions and doctrine.

We answer, we need not tell the people we are infallible; and yet they are no lesse bound to receive our deductions (if right­ly drawne from Scripture) then if we were indeed so. Because although we be not infallible, yet so far as we regularly argue from Scripture, we are not deceived, nor can deceive them. The authority of our deductions from Scripture, depends not on our fallibility or infallibility, but upon the evidence they carry in them, of their necessary connexion with the truth we argue from. And this because we owne our selves fallible, we allow our hearers to use their owne judgments, and consciences to prove and try whether it be so or no. God forbid but they who (as you say) must dye for themselves, and account to the Lord for themselves, should interpret for themselves and beleive for them­selve? But what then? will it therefore follow that they must not receive our interpretations, or beleive our deductions? Or that we may not help them to interpret, or draw deductions, which they cannot so well do themselves? They interpret for themselves, that by the light of the Scriptures, and their owne Judgments led by them, see cause to owne our interpretations. And they beleive for themselves, who are (upon a serious weigh­ing of our Arguments) convinced that they ought to admit them as just and lawfull deductions from Scripture.

What you add in the close of that Paragraph, that it may so Sect. 71 [Page 65] fall out, that six of those that esteem themselves the ablest Doctors, if shut asunder, shall so vary in the interpretation of one Scripture, that scarce two of the six shall agree in the same interpretation; Whence you would infer how little credit is to be given to our deductions: we might take for an unsavoury scoff. and so passe it by. But we shall forgive you this, and many more such, if it will do you any good, and vouchsafe to answer, even where you deserve no answer but silence and scorne. Be it therefore as you say (which yet in Scriptures that containe matter of saith and practise, we cannot suppose; most of us, we conceive, in such, are, at least (till the new-fangled conceits of these times infected some of the Ministry, as well as others) were, of the same mind in most of them) yet herein we are no more to be blamed then the Apostles and other primitive Teachers them­selves, who differed as much in those times of clearest light a­bout the Scriptures that enjoyned the observation of Jewish Ce­remonies; whilest some of them earnestly contended, that they extended to converted Gentiles, and others affirmed the quite contrary. And will you thence conclude, that there is little credit to be given to any of their deductions, because they disagreed among themselves? All that can be hence solidly inferred, is no more but this, that therefore it concernes Gods people to search (with the Noble Beroeans) whether the things, the one or the other saith, be most consonant to the Scriptures.

But you that will not beleive our interpretations, or deducti­ons, Sect. 72 because we are not in all things agreed; will you beleive them in those things wherein we are all, or the greatest part of us of a mind: Surely, if so, most of the quaking Doctrines will fall to the ground; for very few, if any of us, shall dare to in­terpret Scriptures to the countenance of those horrid Doctrines before mentioned.

In a word, this whole discourse about infallibility, and diffe­rences Sect. 73 among our selves in interpretation of Scripture (as one hath very well observed before us) smells rank of your Popish Baxtet, Quakers Catechism. Tutors. For are they not the very same things which they ob­ject against us? That we have not an infalliable Spirit to interpret Scriptures, and that we differ among our selves in our interpreta­tions; and therefore when we appeale to Scripture, as the only [Page 66] Judge of Controversies between us; they (as you do) deny it upon this account, because we have no infallible Spirit to inter­pret the Scriptures controverted, and thereby give an Authori­tative decision of them. And what we answer to them, we therefore say to you in a word, The Scripture we owne as our onely Rule, and Judge in matters of faith; and we owne no inter­pretation of Scripture, nor desire others to owne any, but such as hold proportion with other Scriptures; and such interpretations and deductions are so far infallible, as they do necessarily agree to them, or follow from them.

But (say you further) You have some of you been Teachers in Sect. 73 this Nation, ten, twenty, thirty yeares: were those things that you have taught so many yeares together, necessarily deduced from Scripture? What then? If not (say you) then by your owne confession you have taught falsehood. But stay, Sir, every dedu­ction that is not necessarily drawne from Scripture, is not false­hood. A true conclusion may have but a probable consequence sometimes to infer it from the premisses. Its truth is never the lesse for that, but its evidence. But suppose we should confesse (for once) that all which we deduce from Scripture is not true? We know not what use you will make of it, except this, that those that do not alwaies speak truth, are not to be thought at any time to do so. And if so, we know whom this inference will hit as well as our selves. What think you of the Apostle Peter, whom Paul withstood to his face, Gal. 2. 11. for countenan­cing the false brethren in the Doctrine and practise of the Mo­saicall Ordinances among the Gentile Churches, and compelling the Gentiles to live as the Jewes? was he never in the right, or not to be beleived to be so, because he was then in the wrong? Nay, doth not God himselfe suppose a possibility of being de­ceived in the best of his Ministers, when he bids hearers prove all things, 1 Thes. 5. 21. and commends the Beroeans for search­ing the Scriptures, whether the things that Paul and Silas preach­ed, were so or no? Act. 17. 11. We suppose that no godly Mini­ster will preach that, which he knowes to be false. But if without his knowledge (yea, or with his knowledge) any one should do so; it is the hearers fault if he be deceived thereby, because he hath a certain rule whereby to examine what he teacheth; and [Page 67] we professe we desire no further to be credited then the Scrip­ture will beare us out in what we say.

But suppose there be some of us possibly to be found, who Sect. 74 will justifie all that they have preached for so long time, to be truth necessarily deduced from Scripture: What of that? Why? then (say you) all that is so taught is infallible. True; And what then? Forsooth, then (you add) why do you not then adjoyn all your Sermons to the Scripture; for if necessarily deduced from Scripture, they are Scripture, and a part of the Saints rule: And so (you go on) it would become so voluminous a Book, that ma­ny poore Soules Estates would not buy a Bible. We shall give you a breif account why we do not, if it may do you service, And that is, because we do not judge our selves so immediatly inspired in our Sermons (although we deliver the same truths) the holy Pen-men of God were in penning of the Scriptures. The sacred Writers of Scripture, did not onely write the things they left upon record to the Church, by immediate inspiration, but the words and phrases in which they expressed them. Whereas the best Ministers that since have been, have been faine to ex­presse those truths in notions and tearmes of their owne; yea, and the Apostles themselves in their popular Sermons. And therefore, we suppose, the H. Ghost thought not fit to record all the popular Sermons which were preached by the Apostles themselves, but only appointed them to draw up the summe of the Doctrine they generally taught in expressions of their owne, into a forme of sound words of his owne inspiration, to be a Standard of Doctrine and expression to succeeding ages.

And yet, supposing the Apostles alwaies preached as they Sect. 75 wrote (by immediate inspiration) as to matter and forme; then we ask you, Why they did not bind up all their Sermons with the Canonicall Scriptures, seeing all they taught was infallible? Whatever you answer hereunto, will be applied to our case. But we suppose John gives you a sufficient reason in the close of his Gospel, There are many other things (saith he) which Jesus Jo. 21. 25. did, which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the World it selfe would not containe the Bookes that should be written. So that God therefore thought fit to keep from after Ages, part of the History of Christ, that the Bible might not be [Page 68] too voluminous. And we hope, the same reason will serve for us, if we do not bind up our necessary and infallible deductions with the Bible.

In a word, this question is proposed with no greater measure Sect. 76 of discretion, then if you should ask, Whether all the Bushells, and Yards, and Pints in every mans house or shop in Bristoll be exact measure, or no? If all, say yee: then you further enquire; Why they do not all bring them into the Market-house, or publick place appointed for that purpose, and chaine them all to the common Standard, seeing they are all alike exact with it? Surely to such a wise question, the answer will be easie, Viz. Because one pub­lick Standard is enough to measure private Measures by; and the severall Tradesmen according to their severall imployments, having once had their private Measures tryed by that, can make profitable use of them at home. We shall leave you to make the application to the Question in hand.

But before we dismisse this captious Argument of yours, Sect. 77 you shall give us leave to retort it upon you, and then see whe­ther you can give a wiser answer to your owne question in your owne case, then we have done in ours. We ask therefore. Is all that George Fox, James Nayler, or your selfe teach, write, and pronounce as from God (For from Scripture you will not say you speak, seeing that it is not your rule of Doctrine) necessa­rily true, or no? If not, then (by your owne confession) you have (if your owne Argument be good) taught falsehood; if so; then all you and they have taught is infallible; for you say, it is dictated by the same Spirit that indited the Scriptures, and so equall to them (your Epistles are as good as St. Pauls is before-said by some of you.) And then why do you not adjoyne all your Preachments and Pamphlets to the Bible? &c.

Thus you see the practise of our Saviour Christ (notwith­standing Sect. 78 his infallibility, which we pretend not to) is and ought to be herein our example. But we need not defend our practise with so great a name, having the examples of so many Apostles, and other primitive Teachers to plead for us. We pray you tell us (otherwise) how the Apostles proved by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ? Did they, or could they bring any one Text in all the old Testament that saith so in ter­minis, [Page 69] That Jesus the Son of Mary, berne in Bethlem, is the [...]. Act. 17. 2. Messiah? No, but the Text tells us; that they opened the Scriptures, and laid them one by another in a way of reasoning, (as the word rendred alledging signifies in the Originall) and so convinced the Jewes. How will you dispute with a Jew, that ownes not the infallibility of the Pen-men of the New Testa­ment, and so will question the truth of what is there affirmed, that this Jesus is the Christ? you have no Weapon to encoun­ter him withall, but Argument and deductions from the old Te­stament: For did the old Testament expresly say so any where, the question were at an end between us and him.

We intreat you further to tell us, how the Apostle Paul Sect. 79 makes good his assertion concerning the lawfulnesse of his and Barnabasses requiring, and receiving maintenance out of the Law, 1 Cor. 9. 8. Say I these things as a man, i. e. by mine own pri­vate judgment, or saith not the Law the same also. We pray you tell us where the Law saith in so many words, that Paul and Bar­nabas might lawfully forbeare working, & expect to eat the fruit of the Vineyard they planted? &c. Sure we are, the place quoted by him out of the Law, saith no more but this, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out the Corne, v. 9. Here is not a word of Paul and Barnabas, except Paul and Bar­nabas be Oxen (would a Quaker reply.) But though the Text speak expresly of Oxen, yet the Apostle finds Paul and Barna­bas, in the reason and equity of that Law; and so makes a strong Argument of it, vers. 10.

And surely it will prove an hard matter to your self, or your Sect. 80 Companions, to draw forth to any rationall man the Dectrines of election and reprobation, out of Gen. 25. 23. & Mal. 1, 2, 3. quoted for the proof thereof by that Apostle, Rom. 9. 11, 12, 13. and the righteousnesse of these decrees out of Exod. 33. 19. and many other Doctrines of affinity with them, in that Chapter, out of the rest of the old Testament Texts there alledged, with­out consequences; We are sure none of them all are in ex­presse termes in those Scriptures brought to prove them. We might add the proofes that the Author to the Hebrews brings for the Godhead of Christ, from Psa. 45. 6, 7. 102. 25. & 110. 1. [Page 70] quoted, Chap. 1. 8. 9. 10. 13. and the Eternity of Christs Priest­hood from the History of Melchizedek, and Psa. 110. 4. quoted Chap. 7.

But we foreseee, that the question will still be between us, Sect. 81 Whether we be infallible (as the Apostles are supposed to have been) in our interpretations and deductions? For answer where­to, we refer you to what was even now said on this point. On­ly here we crave leave to add, that we have reason to think our infallibility and yours is much at a rate: And yet we find you very frequently taking that liberty which you deny us. For how do you conceive the Prophesies of Micha against those that taught for hire, and the woes of our Saviour, against those that do their workes to be seen of men, and stand praying in the Sy­nagogues, and love the uppermost roomes at Feasts, and greetings in the Markets, &c. and the commands given to the Apostles of Christ that then were sent by him upon a speciall errand, of gi­ving freely what they freely received, &c. concerne us, whose names are not expresly mentioned in those Texts, but by de­duction or argumentation, such as it is? Nay, how do you bring downe the prohibitions of calling men Masters, respecting of persons, &c. to be obliging to you, and your Proselites, but by consequence? Were it not easie for us (were we minded to play the same Childs play with you which you do with us) to require of you an expresse place of Scripture, forbidding Tho­mas Speed by name, to do thus and thus: or at least every Christian or Disciple? and yet then you would need a deducti­on to bring downe the prohibition to your selfe in particular, such as this,

No Christian, or Disciple of Christ must call men Masters. But T. S. is a Christian. We wish he were.

Therefore T. S. must not call men Masters.

Nay (to go yet further with you) we might very well re­quire Sect. 82 of you an expresse Scripture for your two fundamentall Articles, That Christ is the light that enlightens every one that comes into the World; and that Christ is the word of God, and not to the Scriptures. A good friend of yours in a discourse T. C. with one of us, having before denied all consequences and dedu­ctions from Scripture, as you do; was pittifully gravelled, when [Page 71] he was required to produce expresse Scriptures to prove these propositions, and was told that the Texts he produced, which were Jo. 8. 12. I am the light of the World, and Jo. 1. 9. That was the true light which enlightneth every one that comes into the World, had not the name of Christ in them, but it was to be concluded by Argument, that those words are spoken of Christ; and that the place, Jo. 1. 1. did not expresly affirme that Christ is the word: but is onely inferred thence by deductions. And (as for meanings and interpretations) it was none of the best, which the same party gave of that Scripture, which forbids the Disciples to carry shooes, as well as a Purse or Scrip (whence he was told, that it as much concerned G. Fox to go without shooes, as us without Purse or Scrip) Viz. That the Text for­bids to carry shooes, but not to weare them. A learned interpre­tation, and such as becomes your infallibility! And your selfe, however unlawfull you judge it in us to interpret Scripture, yet Sect. 83 more then once undertake it very Dictator-like; as p. 8. where you interpret the word Rule, Gal. 6. 16. for the rule of the new Creature, not the Scriptures (as if the Scripture, and the rule of the new Creature were opposites:) and so p. 19. where you interpret the Record spoken of 1. Jo. 5. 10. to be eternall life, not the Scriptures: and againe, p. 20. you interpret the foundation spoken of, Eph. 2. 20. to be that same Jesus, who was preached by the Prophets and Apostles. So hard a matter it is for men that undertake to give Law to others, not to transgresse it them­selves; and not to conceit the case altered in their own con­cernments, from what they rigorously pronounce concerning others!

We have not yet quite done with you, and therefore we must Sect. 84 crave your patience a little longer, whilest we ask you a few plaine Questions upon this subject now at hand.

Q. 1. Sir, you will admit of no interpretations of Scripture, we entreat you therefore to tell us. Christ saith, he is the true Vine, and his Father an Husbandman, Jo. 15. 1. Are they properly so, or Metaphorically? If you say metaphorically, or improperly, you interpret; for the Texts expresse words are not, I am a metaphoricall Vine, and my Father a metaphoricall Husbandman. If you say properly, you blaspheme.

Q. 2. Christ saith, I am the door, Jo. 10. 9. You beleive, you Epistle, p. 7. say, that Christ meanes as he speakes, and therefore you deny our meanings and interpretations as needlesse. Is Christ then that which we in propriety of speech call a door? If you say, he is in a spirituall sence a door; who interprets now? Do we offend, if we interpret this Text, of a spirituall door to a mysticall build­ing, and you though you give the same sense, not so?

Q. 3. Nay, what say you further to those two places of Paul and James, which in words flatly contradict one another. Yee see, saith James, that by workes a man is justified, and not by faith onely, Ja. 2. 24. But we know, saith Paul, That a man is not justified by the workes of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, Gal. 2. 16. You will allow (vve hope) that the Scriptures are truth, though they be not the word of God. Now truth, and truth, contradict not each other; so that vve must find a diffe­rent sense from the contexts of both places, wherein the one af­firmes that works justifie not, and the other that they do.

This reconciliation is usually made by our Divines thus; St. Paul denies works to constitute any person just before God, and James affirmes, that workes declare a person just. How you (without interpretation) vvill reconcile them, we know not; es­pecially when vve consider that you are a greater friend to con­stitutive justification by workes (if you be of the mind of your fellow Quakers then vve believe James was, and so are more concerned to study how to come off fairely with Paul then vve.

Q. 4. And now vve are upon the point of reconciling Scrip­tures, vve shall make you a little more work in this kind. Christ saith, The Father is greater then I, and yet he saith againe, I and the Father are one: And Paul saith of him, That he ac­counted it no Robbery to be equall with God, Phil. 2. 9. The Apostle John saith, There are three that heare record in Heaven, the Fa­ther, the Word, and the H. Ghost, and these three are one. Shew us (without interpretation) how Christ can be equall with the Father without robbery, and one with him, and yet the Father greater then he, how the Father, the word, and the H. Ghost can be three and yet one.

And we might here also put you the question that our Savi­our [Page 37] put to the Pharisees. Mat. 22. 41. How Christ, is Davids Son, and yet Davids Lord? and we suppose with the same suc­cesse that you will never be able to Answer us a word, if you hold your Principle of denying all interpretations, but that your forehead possibly may be harder then the Pharisees.

Q. 5. What will you say to a Papist, (but that you owne not the Scripture, as a rule of Doctrine, which indeed is a quick way of Answering all difficult Texts) when he tells you that he finds Transubstantiation in this is my body? Is the expression proper, or figurative? was the bread his body indeed, or a Signe of it? if you say his body indeed, you are a Papist, if not you interprete.

Sir to be short, we shall take leave to mind you of these par­ticulars, and we have done.

1. As to that un-christian passage of yours [viz. a righteous­nesse beyond the Stars, a Righteousnesse far above us] as you call the Righteousnesse of Christ in a slighting manner (and we have just ground to feare, some of those you plead for speake to that purpose in a spighting way) we heartily advise you to take heed what you doe, that you may not be found in the number of those who by wicked hands labour to pull the Crowne from the Head of Jesus, and destroy the very being of Holynesse amongst men, for all the workes of such Persons at the best are but beautifull deformities, and although they may be highly esteemed amongst men, yet they are abomination before the Holy God; for our parts we are not ashamed of the Gospell of Christ, and have (through mercy) determined not to know any thing amongst our People but Jesus Christ, and him crucified: and we judge it a speciall duty in this season (the Lord helpe us in it) that the more you and your complices doe either wretch­edly reflect upon, or downe right Blaspheme and speake against that Glorious Righteousnesse, the more to exalt, and make mention of that Righteousnesse, even that only.

2. Whereas you say [could the Scripture be a rule before it was Scripture?] We answer, the word now written, even the selfe same word was the very same, and had the same Office viz. to be a Divine ground of faith and rule of life before it was written; as for instance, Enochs Prophecie quoted by Jude 14. 15 concerning the judge, the attendants, the Persons to be judg­ed, the judgement it selfe, the deeds and words for which they are judged, is the very same with the written word; and Gods [Page 74] word to Abraham Gen 17. 1. I am God al-sufficient, waelke be­fore me, and be upright, is the same with, nay is the summe of the written word, yet this was spoken foure hundred yeares before a word was committed to writing, it being generally agreed up­on, that Moses was the first holy man that did write by the in­spiration of the Holy Ghost Pray Sir tell us what difference was there between the Law as spoken by the mouth of God, and afterwards written by the finger of God? When Moses being provoked in the businesse of the Golden Calfe had broken the two Tables, God commanded him to make two Tables of Stone more, and the Text tells us that God did write the very selfe same words that he had written before in the first Tables Exod. 34. 1. the Truth is you doe but trifle in your Quaerie, yet we feare you border not far from Blasphemy, you nusle up your quaking freinds in their horrid rejecting of the Scriptures to be the rule, and so make them listen after inspirations, you would make void the word of God through your pretended Revelati­ons, and pull that pure and perfect clear Light out of the Firma­ment of Assembleis, that men might follow the ignis fatuus of their darkned minds, and deceitfull hearts.

3. You quaere, Whether our Sermons are infallible, and if so, why they are not bound up with the Bible, and if so, how huge a Volume would it make, and how few could buy it? we reply, the Doctrine which we Preach is not ours, but Gods, and there­fore infallible, but must they therefore be bound up with the Bible. what think you of the Sermons of Jesus Christ Luke 4. 21. Luke 5. 3. were they not infallible? or the Sermon Philip Preached to the Eunuch out of Esay 53. Acts 8. 53. or that Paul Preached at his farewell Acts 20. 7. were they not infallibly true? yet these were not bound up with the Bible, why doe you thus from your inward darknesse cavill at outward Light? we call it your darknesse, hoping that you doe not knowingly op­pose the truth.

4. As for Ministers Maintenance, upon which you harpe so much, as knowing the sound to be very welcome to the eares of your gang and others, we desire this favour at your hands, ei­ther soberly to answer our reasons, or else to be so ingenu­ous as to forbeare your scoffings.

5. As for your defence of the Language [thee and thou] we referr you to what is said a bove, we shall only add this, we can­not [Page 75] think it to be any such great Crime to speake in this one case the plural you for thou, for the singular, as when Saint Paul saies we for I, as Heb. 6. 9 we are perswaded better things of you, and though we thus speake, and againe, we desire v. 11. [...].

Lastly, wheras as you say in favour of your deare Quakers [these are the Practices for which they are hated] as though they were so innocent: we reply, besides their Blasphe­mies, of which before, and their railings, cursings, slanders, un­truths, we desire to know what you think of foure or five instances we shall propose; first, what doe you think of the Quaker that acted that most abominable, unnameable sin with a Mare? what doe you think of it, was it not from his light with­in? or what is your opinion of another poore wretch, that hanged himselfe? these two you may find at large added to the relation of Gilpin of Kendall, and confessed by the Prime of that way to be true; what may be your thoughts of those Quakers that killed their Mother? it was thus, they were taught to harken to, and follow after the Light within them, this Light taught them they ought to destroy the Originall of Sin, and by the said Light they apprehended their Mother to be the Originall, and from thence still by the said Light they most wickedly embrued their hands in the blood of their Mother, this you may read in Mr. William Keyes Minister of Stokesly his An­swer to eighteen Quaeries who was with them in Prison.

What may be your judgement of Nicholas Kate of Harwell in this County of Berks? who about ten months since came into Newberry between eight and nine in the Morning on the Lord; day, starke naked in a most immodest manner, even be­yond the Pagans, and so walked through a long Street, only with an inchanted belt about him (which belt we have ground to call inchanted,) this man did not converse or live as a Husband with his wife for many months before this, we will tell you what his Doctrines were.

  • 1. That Marriage was made by man.
  • 2. That Christians were worse then Beasts.
  • 3. That any woman was as free to him as his Wife:
  • 4. That his wife was no wife of his, she was a limb of the Devil.
  • 5. That he was holy, and all things that he toucht were ho­ly, as his very Hatchet, his pot, his knife.
  • [Page 76]6. That when the fulnes of time was come he should work miracles.

This man hath left his owne family his Land and stock of a very considerable value, entred upon by Persons whom the Country esteemeth Ranters, his wife a weake diseased woman, who brought him a valuable portion, left to the mercies of these Persons, which are cruell enough to her, the farmer Kate him­selfe since his departure was never heard of by his wife or any of her freinds, if any Person can tell where he is, or what is become of him, they may doe a charitable Christian Office to informe his much distressed Wife. Lastly, what doe you think of one of your neighbours of Bristoll who lately even the 29. of Aprill last at Marleborough in the County of Wilts in a discourse with a Godly, discreet, and Learned freind, held out this Light,

  • 1. He knew no such thing as the resurrection of the body.
  • 2. That the body of Christ was not in Heaven, neither should he come thence with a body.
  • 3. He defended those that went naked, but as yet, he had no command to doe so.
  • 4. That of late he went to bed with a woman who was not his wife, and that he did it without Sin.
  • 5. That that very Christ crucified at Jerusalem, was in­dwelling in him.
  • 6. That he was confident of his perfect holinesse, and on that account went to bed with the woman, and yet afterwards excused himselfe saying, there was a necessity for it, there was no other spare bed in the House.

Sir, these, with those before recited, are the Doctrins and Practi­ses that we according to the measure received contend against; all the hurt we wish you is this, that God would give you the spirit of truth love, and of a sound mind, that you may not go on to vilify the Lord of Glory, to slight the word of life, truth and salvation, and shoot your Tart, indeed bitter speeches like darts against men that feare God, and desire to prize and keep close to the word of his grace; for our parts we have a witnesse within, that what we have done, is for the truth, which we pray, that you and we may receive in the love of it, and in so doing, we shall subscribe our selves,

Your Freinds,
  • Christopher Fowler.
  • Simon Ford.

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