Or A brief Tractate concerning the Doctrine of the Quakers, Demonstrating the destructive nature thereof, to Religion, the Churches, and the State, with consideration of the Remedy against it.

Occasional Satisfaction to Objections, and Confir­mation of the contrary Trueth.

By JOHN NORTON, Teacher of the Church of Christ at Boston. Who was appointed thereunto by the Order of the GENERAL COURT.

I know thy works, and thy labour, and patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evill; and thou hast tryed them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them lyars Rev: 2.2.

Printed by Samuel Green, at CAMBRIDG in New-England. 1659.

CHAP: 1. The Original of the Doctrine of the Quakers. With some of their principal Heterodoxies. A brief Demonstration of three distinct Persons, in the Divine Essence. Satisfaction to some Objections. And a Vindication of some Scriptures.

WHen that grand-Heretick Swenok feild, who in eighteen yeares had published fifty scripts, (such as they were) sometime troubled Luther. with his papers, which he sent unto him for an answer: his returne was quick, saying to the messenger, the Deuil was the author of them: the Lord rebuke thee O Satan! Quod-vult-deus whilest he desired Au­gustine to publish a tract of al the heresies which infested the church in those dayes, discerned the undertaking to be too immense & great: this Calvin also perceiving being about to write against the Libertines, presently determined (omitting the rest of their wild & endlesse heterodoxies) to addresse himselfe unto the enumerati­on, & refutation, of some of their principall, & portentous tenets. Luthers answer may seeme too short: Augustines taske is acknow­ledged too long, Calvins example in this brief treatise I shall in part (God assisting) endeavour to follow.

The recalling of the begin̄ing of the Father of lyes, may soon lead us to the Original of Errour: but the full discovery of its progresse & encrease, is not to be expected, untill that day, which shall bring to light,—all the workes of darkness. He that desires no: in­considerably to informe himselfe,D [...]naeus de [...]. Hae [...]esibus ante Christú. concerning the attempts of the old Serpent, upon this designe, from the begin̄ing of time, untill the times of Christ, may consult antiquity not unprofitably, for that end. In the very Apostles times wee read of Deceivers, who pretend­ed to higher attainments, to be stars of light, & that of the first magnitude,Ja [...]e 13. but were indeed Raging waves of the sea fo [...]m [...]ng out their [Page 2] owne shame, wandring stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

That the doctrine of the Enthusiasts in Germany, & Libertines, in the low-countryes, was a dead sea of heterodoxy, consisting in a great degree of the pernicious waters of old heresyes, till then out of mind for many hundred yeares, and that the doctrine of the Quakers (as to the substance of it) is but the opening of that vast and horrid sinke: (such as makes the land to stink in the nostrils both of God and man, more then the Frogs that sometime annoy­ed Egypt) But the same doctrine of the Enthusiasts & Libertines, of the last Century, though in a second edition, is thus manifested.

The great doctrine of

  • The Trinitie.
  • Christ.
  • The Scripture.
  • Gospel
    • Ordinances.
    • Ministry.
    • Order.
  • The Christian Magistrate, & Civil Order.

Are the Objects, that the three following stages of heterodoxie, finally engaged & engage against, and that so, as the second viz: Enthusiasts, & Libertines, were indeed not only actors & Preachers of what was prepared, but also in some considerable degree, Collect­ors out of the scatterings of their Predecessors, to compleat their bo­dy of false doctrine: but the last, viz: the Quakers, are more deluded by their masters in wickedness: whither Satan, or any Jesuitical, or other malignant & serpentine agents, who making use of the mystery of iniquity, thus farr perfected to their hand, notably abuse their ignorant, and selfe conceited proselytes: whilest under the pretence of new light, they communicate both stale and exploded heresies & error, to be disseminated by them the second time.

Certain old heterodoxies, concerning the forementioned heads of Reli­gion from whēce or the like the Enthusiasts, & Libertines might arise

Praxeas, who lived in the year two hundred, taught that there was but one person, only in divers respects, called the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. After ariseth Sabellius under Valerian, affirming that in the Divine Essence, there were three names, but denyed that there were three distinct subsistences, or persons.

Concerning Christ: the enmity of the father of lyes hath no where more shown it selfe then in his malignant contrivances con­cerning [Page 3] the person & office of Christ. The Gnosticks denyed Iesus to be the Christ: Cerinibus denyeth the Dvinity, Nestorius affirmeth two persons. Eutiches denyeth the two Natures Marcion affir­meth his passion to be imaginary, not reall. Ignatius mentions incredulous men, who were ashamed of the trueth of the Incar­nation. some pretended themselves to be Christ.

Concerning the scriptures, considered as the rule of life. the Messalian Enthusiasts expected divine raptures without the word, they waited for the operation of a certain Daemon, or a spirit: and this operation (which indeed was the operation of the Devil) they esteemed to be the presence of the Holy Ghost, & called their fantasies prophecyes. Athanasius in one of his sermons concerning heresies, writes against such, who in those times held that the words of the scripture were to be taken simply, without consi­deration had unto what they signifyed.

Concerning Gospel Ordinances, Ministry, & Order: the authors to the Hebrews, Jude, and Iohn, make mention of Apostates there from such who in their dayes forsook the church assemblies, separat­ed themselues, & went out from the fellowship of the Saints. Heb. 10.25. Iude. 19.1. Iohn. 2.19.

Jude also informeth us of such who despised Dominion, spake evill of dignitie, and perished in the gainsaying of Core: which consisted in murmuring, & rebelling against Moses and Aaron.

The Gnosticks represented themselves perfect, against whom, John is conceived to write. 1. Epistle 1.8. The old Catharoi called puritans affirmed also that they were perfect, & without sin.

The tenets of the Enthusiasts, & Libertines, concerning the same heads of Religion. The Enthusiasts began about 1521. The Libertines in Calvin's time, both Sects vexed the Church and State many yeares.

Concerning the Trinitie, they acknowledged three:Sleidan commē [...] lib. 5 et 10. but they denyed the Father, Son, & Holy-Ghost to be three distinct Persons.

Concerning Christ: they said Christ incarnate was nothing but a godly man, or a believer made of a body, and an opinion.Lu. Ofiand. Cent. 16. lib. 2. cap. 33 they made euery saint equal with God, according to the imagina­tion of the Libertines each one of them was Christ.Calvin ad­versus liber­tinos. Guy de [...] hence Quinti­nus as offended with those who asked him how he did, was wont to answer: how do I? can Christ do amiss?

Concerning the Scripture considered as the Rule of life: Swenck­field [Page 4] saith they make an idol of the word.Mr Ruther­ford Surv: when the Authors by him Cited in the Marge [...]t part [...]ch. p. 3. who esteem it as the Power of God through faith unto salvation: i. e. who esteem it as the meanes whereby the spirit worketh grace in the heart of the hearer. he goeth through Sweden, Normberg, Vlms, Tubingia, in private houses accusing the pastors, that no man was the better for their preaching: extolling the spirit that doth all, understand without the word; as the meanes The Libertines, denyed all preach­ing by Officers, Sacraments, Church-assemblies, singing of Psalmes. they accounted the scripture as a dead letter, & neglected it, pre­tending to follow the spirit: yet, they used it in speaking and writing because (through the peoples good opinion thereof) they found it a fit meanes, to insinuate themselves, with their diabo­licall opinions, into their heart. they rejected the scripture and pretended the spirit for their rule.

Concerning the Magistrates; Muncer defameth, & detracts from the ministers of the Gospel, afterwards falls with like violonce upon the Magistrate, hoping by making void these two orders, they should prevaile upon the flock. he teacheth parity, reject­ion of dignities. Those in Germany held that none with good con­science could exercise the power of a magistrate, that is, none but such who were of their mind: witness both their doctrine, & practice, in Munster and else where, they held also that it was lawfull for the people to depose their Magistrates being unbelievers, and they counted all unbelievers who were not of their mind.

They pretended an immediate mission, & to act from the spirit, and by vertue of an immediate command, above the triall of the scripture. Muncer said that by his divine revelations, he must Judge of the Bible.

They carryed it in the beginning very faire before all men, for they had alwayes in their mouths the faith and fear of God, the mortification of the flesh, & mention of the cross. They affected a grave countenance & posture, wore plain apparell, used few words, cryed in the streets repent, repent. they were reserved as to the discouery of their mysteryes, untill they were hopefully assured of their follower, they studyes to speak equi­vocally, so as their words might carry divers sences. they lifted up themselves above others, & gloryed to be called spirituales, men of the spirit. The fourth order of the Libertines (for they had many orders) was of the holy and sinlesse ones.

The tenets of the Quakers concerning the same heads of Religion.

Concerning the Trinity; they acknowledg that there is one God and three, viz; the Father, Son, and Holy-Ghost; but they deny that these three, are distinct Persons.

Concerning Christ: they deny Christ to be God & man in one Person, they deny Christ to be a distinct Person from the Person of the Father, The tenents here menti­oned, appear from published papers, with the names of the Authors af­fixed, or by word of mouth. they deny Christ to be a distinct Person from any of his members, they acknowledge such a Christ as unchrists Christ, when they say Christ manifest in the flesh, they meane not according to the sense of the scripture, but fallaciously.

Concerning the Scripture, considered as the Rule of life: They deny the scripture or written word to be the Rule of life, & make the light within them, & the spirit without the scripture, to be their guide, They account Church-instituted-worship, & waiting up­on God for the efficacious presence and co-operation of the Spirit of grace in the ministery of the word and Sacraments for conversion & edification to be idolatry. And the political Order of Church-Officers and members, they affirme to be an Image.

Concerning the Magistrate: they own none as lawfull Ma­gistrates, who are not of their way. Their non-acknowledgement of the Magistrate as now established in all christian states, is more then manifest.

They pretend unto an Immediate call, & to act from the spirit and an infallible light within them above the triall of the scrip­ture, they will not acknowledge that they sin, but profess perfection of degrees in this life, and publish smart & sarcasticall invectives against ministers who teach the Contrary.

How farre the deportment of the Quakers, answereth to the outward guise and gest of the sectaryes in Germany, & the low-countreyes prementioned, he that seeth the one; & heareth of the other, may easily Judge. The premises show the Quak­ers to be rather imitators of the Enthusiasts & Libertines, then Innovators.

That the persons thus opinionated are called Quakers; is not from their tenets, but from the gesture where with they are acted, at or about the time of the reception of their revelati­ons: or, when else, in reference to credit their doctrines. This very gesture as circumstanced, renders their way in no small de­gree suspitious: it being the ancient and known manner of Satan, [Page 6] when he inspired his Enthusiasts, to afflict the bodyes of his in­struments with paines & those often in their bowells, and to agitate them with Antick and uncouth motions, & in particular with this of quaking & trembling: thereby to amuse ignorant spectators with a superstitious astonishment, and so to dispose them to the expectation of some strange discovery preter-humane in pretence divine but indeed diabolicall. Seneca presenteth the Sybil i. e. Satans prophetess at the act of receiving her Oracles, from the revelation of the Devil; pale-faced with eyes wrung, in an unwonted and fearfull manner, Seneca in Ag [...]mem. as also quaking & trembling.

Silet repente Phoebus, & pallor genas
Creber (que) totum possidet Corpus tremor.

Horat. lib. 1. Ode. 16. No [...] adytis quatit &c:At Pythia a place in Phocis, Apollo that is the Devil, is reported by the Poet, to cause his Priest to quake. Gregory of Nice speaking of this subiect, beside the hair hanging down about their eares loose, & eyes averse, maketh mention of foaming at the mouth and much like hereunto is what we read in Chrysostome, of a wo­man inspired (understand by Satan) panting and having her head Contort that is wryed in so strange a manner, as was affrighting to behold. Many instances of this nature, might be produced, but I shall only further mind the Reader of the custome of the Powa's or Indian Wizards, in this wilderness; whose bodies at the time of their diabolicall practises, are at this day vexed and agitated in a strange unwonted & dreadfull manner. This verifieth that old proverb, that Satan is Gods ape. yet the examples of Isaiah going naked & barefoot, i. e. in a bare habit like a poore slave or bond man that is carryed into captivity Chap: 20.2. Of Ezekiel, smiting his hand, and stamping with his foot. Ezek. 6.11. Of Daniel's great quaking, which fell upon him at the sight of that vision Dan: 10.7. with the like, do not justifie this gesture. Their causes were divine, circumstanced to edification, and extraordinary not customary to the Prophets themselves.

Concerning three distinct Persons in the divine Essence.

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express Image of his Person. Heb: 1.3. The first manner of existence in the Divine Being, is here called Hypostasis, which imports a distinct subsistence.

If the Father viz. the Correlate be a distinct subsistence, there is the same reason of the Son, v [...]z the Relate. If the Father be a distinct subsistence, the Son is a distinct subsistence. If the Son be [Page 7] a distinct subsistence, the Father is a distinct subsistence, the Son is as distinct from the Father,August. de trinit. lib. 7 c. 4. as the Father is from the Son, that which the Greek calls hypostasis, the latine calleth per­sona, from which last is our English word person.

Christ speaking of the Father Iohn. 5.32. calleth him another: there is another that beareth witness of mee. likewise speaking of the Holy-Ghost he calleth him another Iohn. 14.16. I will pray the Fa­ther & he shall give you another Comforter. this predicate another is unintelligible of the Essence, for so the Father Son & Holy-Ghost are one. Iohn. 10.30. 1 Iohn. 5.7; therfore it must proceed concern­ing the Subsistence; what is more manifest then that another Subsist­ence, and another subsistence, speake distinct subsistences.

The distinction of the persons, or Subsistences, is manifest from the relative properties of begetting, being begotten, and proceeding, Psal. 2.7. Iohn. 15.27. Begetting, is distinct from being begotten, being begotten from begetting, both from proceeding.

A personal act is God necessarily, relatively and in an Incommuni­cable manner, acting within or upon himselfe. Now these acts of the Persons one upon another argue the distinctnes of the subsistences, viz: to beget, being begotten, & proceeding, God in the first man̄er of sub­sistence is considered as acting upon himselfe in a way of understand­ing: in the second manner of Subsistence as reflecting upon himself understood; August. de trinit. lib. 5. c. 11 & lib. 6. c. 5. in the third manner of subsistence as willing of & delight­ing in himselfe. Hence the Spirit is called the hand of the Trinity, proceeding from the two other persons, as the Love of them both: which selfe-sufficient, and infinitely blessed Communion of God, in and with himself, before there was either mountain or hill, while as yet he had not made the earth: wee read of Prov. 8.30. Then was I by him, as one brought up with him & I was dayly his delight, rejoycing alwayes before him.

The distinction of the Persons further appeares, from the order, of their operations upon the creature; held forth in their mission, or sending, the second Person is sent from the Father Iohn. 8.42. Iesus said unto them, if God were your father, yee would love mee, for I proceeded forth & came from God: neither came I of my selfe, but he sent mee. The Holy-Ghost is sent from the Father & the Son: whom the Father will send John. 14 26. whom I will send John. 15.26. Sending imports two things, First an eternall relative property of the Divine Essence, the order & original whereof is not of it self. [Page 8] Secondly, a designation of the Person distinguished by this relative property unto some work concerning the creature to be perform­ed in time. Now evident it is that he which sendeth and he which is sent are distinct. That the Father sending & the Son sent by the Father: the Father and Son sending the Spirit, and the Spirit sent by the Father & Son are distinct subsistences and not the same.

Concerning satisfaction to some Objections.

Object: 1 The Church was without the Scripture, or written Word, for the space of 2454 yeares, untill Moses: during which space, the Doctrine of Life was communicated VOCALLY; by the Patriarches: Therefore there is no need of the Scripture, or written Word.

Answ. There are many Reasons obvious, why the Tradition of the Rule of life by word of mouth, might better suit the state of the Church, in the time of the long [...]evity of the Patriarchs, then now: as also, why God saw not good, to continue unto after ages, such and so frequent extraordinary manifestations of himself, as wee read of in those elder times. Why God dispensed the Rule of life then by word of mouth, & not by writing: a principal reason thereof was his good pleasure: The same good pleasure may stand for a principal reason, way he dispenseth the Rule of life now by the word written, and not by vocall tradition. Even so Father, because it pleaseth thee. Distinguish between necessity absolute, & necessity according to Divine constitution. God according to his absolute power, can communicate the rule of life by what means he pleaseth: therefore the scripture is not necessary absolute­ly. But Gods will being to communicate the Rule of life by his written word hence the scripture is necessary by necessity of divine constitution, or appointment. Whilest Israel was in the wilder­ness God give them Manna, bread from heaven in an extraordi­nary manner: After their comming into Canaan, he changeth his dispensation, and giveth them bread in the ordinary way of a­griculture or tillage. He could still have supplyed them in an ex­traordinary way, out he would not. The Maana ceased. Josh. 5.12

Not the letter without the mind of the Author, nor the Spirit without the letter, but the Scripture, i. e. the word-written as in­cluding the sense of the author is the Rule of life. Distinguish between Moral-obliging-power, and strengthning-Physical-power.

[Page 9]All the strengthning-Physical-power, whereby we are enabled to obey the Rule, is from the Spirit, but the Moral-obliging-power is from the Scripture it self or Cōmand as denoting the will of God signifyed thereby. Surely they are under a Rule, who have not the Spirit. Since the Canon of the Scripture is closed, so farr is the Spirit from being a Rule of life that to us it is not the Spirit, but as it moves agreeably to the written word: Hereby we are taught to discerne between the Spirit of trueth and the Spirit of error.

Object. 2 The words of the Scripture are to be taken simply, without interpretation or consideration, of what is signifyed by them.

Answ. This Objection exposeth Scripture to the imputation of non-sence: which cannot be without at least the reflexion of blasphemy interpretative, upon the author. It was wont to be said Scripture lyeth not in the Sound, but in the Sence. They are not the inkie cha­racters; without the mind of the author, that can constitute Scrip­ture. But taking the mind of the objection more favourably, as proceeding only against any other sense, or interpretation to be given of Scripture, then according to the sound of the words in a proper or (according to some) in a literall sence. yet it unscrip­tures a considerable part of the Scripture unto us, & becommeth a fruithfull womb of confusion, error, and absurdity, should it stand in force. The example, those words [that they may be one as wee are one. John. 17.22.] give an uncertain sound. Nay the Papists Transsubstantiation, & Origen's, castration are hence warrantable. Distinguish between no interpretation, mis-interpretation, & sound interpretation. Non-sense, a false sense, and the true sense. The two former are wiles of the enemy, the last is the gift of the Spirit of trueth, and a great part of the work of the Ministry. So they read in the book of the Law of God, distinctly: and gave the sense, & caused them to understand the reading. Nehem. 8.8. He expound­ed unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself Luke 24.27. Philip said, understandest thou what thou readest; and he said, how can I, except some man should guide me! Act. 8.30, 31

Object. 3 Nothing is to be acknowledged Scripture-trueth, but what is con­tained therein in express termes.

Answ. A Scripture consequence; is a Trueth evidently & necessarily arising out of a proposition, held forth therein in express termes; So that: if the doctrine conteined in the proposition held forth in ex­press termes be true, then is the doctrine conteined therein by [Page 10] consequence, also true. Those trueths are Scripture-trueths, which are conteined or held forth in the Scriptures: though not in express termes, yet by just & evident consequence. Exod. 3.6 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaak, & the God of Jacob. Hence Mat: 22.29, 30. Christ proves the Resurrection by consequence the summ whereof is, as if he had said, that which God spake to Moses in the Bush, inferreth the whole persons of Abraham Isaak and Jacob, to be in everlasting covenant with him, and that they shall be blessed: therefore there shall be a Resurrection. For how can the body be glorified, except it rise again? and so farr were the hearers from objecting against this kind of argumentation as that they highly approved of it. One of the Scribes, having heard their reasoning, perceived that he had answered them well. Mark 12.28. Then certain of the Scribes, answering said, Master thou hast answered well. Luke 20.39. The multitude were astonish­ed at his doctrine. Mat: 22.42. And no man was able to answer him, neither durst any man (from that time forth) aske him any more questions verse 46. Out of Psalm 16.10. Peter proves the Resurrection of Christ. Act. 2.31. He that is, the Patriark David seeing this before spake of the Reserrection of Christ, that his soul was not lost in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. Yet the Psalmist in these words speakes not of the Resurrection in express termes, but onely by consequence, the question is; whether the believing Galatians, which were formerly heathens, were justifyed by faith? Paul out of those words Gen. 22.18. And in thy seed, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; proveth the affirmative by consequence. Gal. 3 8, 9: The question is: whether believing Abraham hath matter of glorying before God? The Apostle from Gen: 15.6. concludeth the negative by consequence. Rom: 4.2, 3. Question: whether Christ did well, or blasphemed, in saying that he was God? Chr st from Psal. 71.6. justifieth his act by a Scripture consequence. Io n 10.35, 36. His argument proceeds from the less to the greater.

Question: whether Circumcision is necessary unto the believing Gentiles? The Apostle concludeth the negative by consequence. Acts 15.8, 9. God bare them witness, giving them the Holy-Ghost, even as he did unto us, and put no difference between them & us, purifying their hearts by faith. Therefore &c: Many more instances are pro­ducible, if need were. So many citations as there are in the New Testament, of testim onies in the old Testament not extant there [Page 11] in express termes, are so many proofes of the Scripture-conse­quences. Scripture trueths by consequence are called Scripture: yee do erre not knowing the Scripture. Mat. 22.29. for what saith the Scripture; Rom. 4.3. and the Scripture foreseeing Gala. 3.8. what Peter deduceth from Davids words by consequence that he affirmeth David to have said. Acts. 2.31. what Paul deduceth out of Moses by just consequence, that he affirmeth Moses to have said Rom. 10.5.10.

That proposition; the Scripture is a perfect Rule of life. is un­derstood as including Scripture-consequences? otherwise, it were not a trueth. The greatest part of Scripture-trueth is revealed in Scripture-consequences. Yea many fundamentall trueths are not held forth in express termes, but by manifest consequence.

If there be no truth contained in the Scripture, but what is held forth therein in express termes: then the individuall persons of Thomas & Mary, &c, are therein neither Cōmanded Obedience, nor forbidden disobedience. For we no where read thou Thomas or Mary, such an one by name, do this, or not that. This trueth concerning Scripture-consequences is the more to be attended, be­cause of the time, wherein many after the example of Arrius of old, and the Libertines, & Gunter with some other Jesuites of late, when they are not able to answer unto Scripture-arguments; rather then to yeild unto the trueth, chuse to fly to this miserable subterfuge of hereticks namely that the trueth defended against them is not con­tained in Scripture, because it is not there in express termes.

Concerning the Vindication of some Scriptures.

Iohn. 1.9. That was the true light, which lighteneth every man, that commeth into the world. Hence they affirme that in every man Collectively, i. e. in all men, not one excepted; there is a light, which being followed is an infallible guide: & that this light within us, & not the Scripture, or written word, is the Rule of life.

In answer hereunto, two things are to be cleared, First, that the sence of the text pretended: is notoriously false. Secondly what is the sence of the place.

Were the sence pretended sound, then righteousnes should be by the law, not with standing sin; contrary to. Rom. 8.3. For the light which is in every man that is born into the world, is not Gospel-light. The Gospel being the secret of God, a mystery un­known [Page 12] to Angels, & Adam himself in the time of innocency. The naturall man cannot know the things of the spirit of God 1 Cor: 2.14. Natural is to be construed in opposition to spiritual: and denoteth a man, as following the dictate of reason only, or the light of nature, whence it is manifest, that the light of nature, as such: and the light of the spirit, are contra-distinct; the one to the other. The light of nature, remaining in Adams poste­rity, since the lapse: is so little, as that it is not to be mentioned the same day, with what was in Adam, before the fall. The light of nature, consists in common principles imprinted upon the rea­sonable soul, by nature: inclining man, to assent unto some na­turall, and manifest trueths upon the representation of them; with­out waiting for any proofe; that is, as it were by instinct, without argument. Viz: that it is impossible for the same things, at once, for to be, & not to be: that the whole, is greater then the part. That a man is bound, not to do to others, what he would not have done unto himself.

As also in certain Notions: that there is a God, that God is to be worshipped, that Parents are to be honoured, that there is difference to be made between that which is good, and that which is bad. That we ought not to ly, steale &c: In reference whereunto, men are said to have a natural Conscience bearing witness unto their actions, and their thoughts to be accusing or excusing. Rom. 2.14, 15. The use is, First, to be a help whence they might seek after God. Acts 17.27. by meanes hereof some have arrived at the discovery that there is but [...]one God, that he is an act, void of all passive qua­lity, yea hereby they ascend so farr: as to discover some of his attributes, viz his Eternity, Omnipotency, & being the Creator. For thus much may be known of God to them. Rom. 1.19, 20.

2. To leave them inexcusable: in that they walk not answerable to the light of nature.A [...]dem natura vi rationis hominem conciliat homini & ad orationis, et ad vitae societaten. Cicero lib 1 de Officijs. August. Epis 105. Rom: 1.20. 3. For the preservation of humane society. Their principles speculative, rise higher then their priniples practicall. Yet their Principles practical, concern­ing deportment towards God, are more obscure, then those which relate to their behaviour towards man.

[...] their knowledg, as to that which is saving, is but folly. Where is the Scribe, where is the disputer, hath not God made foolish the wisedome of this world? 1 Cor: 2.20. Hence the times of Gentilism, are called times of ignorance, Acts 17.30. Of wrath, Rom: 1.18. Without God, & without hope, Eph. 2.12. The Lord looked down [Page 13] from heaven upon the Children of men to see if there were any that did understand & seek God. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God, they are all gone out of the way, they are altoge­ther become unprofitable, there is none that doth good, no not one.

Psal. 14.2.3. & 53.2.4. Rom. 3.9.10 Moreover this little light that there is, is much miscarried, whilest it is managed by the reigning influence of the power of darkness the Judgement is corrupt as well as the will, whose corruption perverts the exercise of the faculty of reason. They became vaine in their reasonings.

Rom. 1.21. To conclude: the light of nature notwithstanding, the irregenerate man is darknesse.

Star-light, cannot make it, otherwise then night. The light of nature since the fall, compared with the light of the image of God, before the fall, hath not the proportion of Star-light, to the bright Sun-light at noon-day. This indeed is but darkness. But, if compared with the light of the Gospell, it is worse then gross darkness. Yee were darkness Eph. 5.8. Alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them Ephe. 4.18. Behold all ye that kindle a fire, that compass your selves about with sparkes: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparkes that ye have kindled, this shall ye have of mine hand, ye shall ly down in sorrow Isaiah. 50.11.

— Quantâ sub nocte, jacebat
nostra dies? —

Concerning the sense of the place: distinguish 1. Of the light, where by we are enlightned. 2. Of the light enlightning. 3. Of every man.

Concerning the light, whereby wee are inlightened: it is either the light of nature & of right reason: or, the light of saving grace. The light inlightening: is either the WORD, i: e. The Sonn considered onely as the second person, not incarnate: or Christ, i e. the sonn considered as incarnate. This phrase [Every man] is taken collectively? for all men that come into the world, absolutely, none excepted. Or distributively, for all men so qualified, of all sorts.

Calvin, Beza, Piscator, and others, understand these words [every man] collectively, by the light wherewith we are enlightened, The light of Reason, and look at this light of reason, as an effect proceeding from the WORD: i. e. the Sonn, considered as the Se­cond Person. But as concerning man, endued only with the light remaining in him since the fall: they conclude him to be darkness and unable to comprehend the light, so; as to improve it to sal­vation. [Page 14] They are so farr from affirming this light, to be the light of life, as they are from denying Christ to be the light of life.

Others, understand [Every man] distributively, by the light wherewith we are enlightened, the light of saving grace, or Rege­neration: and look at this light of Saving grace, as an effect pro­ceeding from Christ, i.e. the Son incarnate. That phrase [every man] is illustrated by Psal: 145.14. The Lord upholdeth all that fall: and rayseth up all that be bowed down. The meaning is not, that ALL that fall, are upholden by the Lord: but, that ALL amongst those which fall, who are upholden: are upholden by the Lord.

It is an usual speech, to attribute all those deeds unto God, which none can do, but God. Both interpretations have many authors and are analogous unto Scriptures, which of them is genuine, is left free to the judgment of the Reader.

Jer: 31.34. Heb: 8.11. And they shall teach no more, every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord: for they shall all know mee, from the least of them, unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord Hence it is inferred, that there is no need of the ministry of man, under the times of the Gospel.

Answ. It is true, that the times here spoken of, are the times after those dayes Jer: 3.33. Heb: 8.11. viz: the times, after the dayes of the Mosaical administration, of the Covenant of Grace: which expired fully, at the Passion of Christ, so, that the times here spoken of, are the times of the Gospel-dispensation of the Cove­nant of Grace: beginning at the abrogation of the Mosaical-dis­pensation, and continuing, untill time shall be no more.

But what more disconsonant from, or what more contradict­ory to Scripture, then to teach, that throughout all the time of the Gospel-dispensation, there is no need of the ministry of man? wee appeal to the examples of the Apostles, Evangelists, Ordinary Office-labourers in the word & doctrine, and Gospel-churches recorded in sacred writt; as also to the institution of the Gospel-ministry, by Pastors and Teachers, for the calling of the Elect a­mongst all Nations, for the perfecting of the saints, untill we come unto a perfect man; i. e. untill the perfection, of the Mystical body of Christ.

Jer: 31.31,—34. We have an illustrious comparison, between the external Covenant of Grace, made with the National Israel, in the time of Moses: and the internal Covenant of Grace, made [Page 15] with the elect Israel, in the time of the Gospel. As also, the second covenant (other respect of its preheminence omitted, not so nextly pertinent to the present discussion) preferred before the first, upon the account of the betterness of the discriminating promise.

They i. e. the national Israel brake the covenant although God was an husband unto them. But as concerning the elect Israel under the better covenant I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, saith the LORD. which is in effect the same with Isay 54 13, Iohn 6.45. And they shall be all taught of GOD i.e. They shall not be onely taught of man, as others in externall covenant onely are. These words [They shall be all taught of GOD] are not to be interpreted exclusively so as to exclude the teaching of man: but exten­sively, so as to include the teaching also of God: witness the cloud of Scripture-instances of all those under the Gospel-dispensation, who were taught of God: but how? by not without the teaching of man. Further the promise undertakes for such a writing of the Law in their hearts such a teaching of God, as that they shall not finally apostate from the Covenant: Jer: 32.40. But I will put my Fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

The Subject spoken of, are such persons, which are actually the people of God, such in whose hearts the Law is written. The knowledg of God, is taken either for that knowledg of him, which is essential to effectual vocation or for the knowledg of edifica­tion. Taking knowledg in the former notion, of writing the Law in the heart indelebly: this being a property of the Covenant of grace, the sense naturally flowes, viz: that after conversion once wrought, there shall be no need, to speak unto such, to know the Lord: namely with a knowledg essential to vocation, as if they were ignorant thereof, for this were in effect to deny, a characte­ristical priviledg of the Covenant, and to affirm falling from grace. Regeneration is not iterable, they who are once converted, need not to be converted from the state of nature to the state of grace a second time. This seemeth to be the genuine sense of the place.

If we take knowledg in the latter notion, viz: for the know­ledg of edification; then the interpretation proceeds comparatively, thus: comparing the Gospel-Israel, having the law written in their hearts, being also under a clearer dispensation, & under the promise of an efficacious, & copious influence of the Spirit: with the [Page 16] National-Israel, finally impenitent under the Law, the teachers of the one, as to a great part of the labour of their ministry, in respect of the consolatory success thereof, especially in the glorious times; shall not look upon it as labour, compared with the fruitless la­bours of the other, so as the forementioned Gospel-hearers, in re­spect of the premises, might seem rather, comparatively to have been taught by some immediate irradiation, then by meanes of or­dinary instruction. 1 John 2.27. But the annointing which ye have received of him abideth in you: and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same annointing teacheth you of all things, and is no ly. Hence it is inferred, that believers have no need of being taught by man. Answ. The Objector mistakes the question. The Apostle speakes of heterodox doctrine taught by man. The objection proceeeds concerning teaching by man. The sense of the words alledged is, you believers, who through grace, are an̄ointed with the in dwelling, saving operatiōs & efficatious influence of the Spirit, which is the only Teacher: have so learned Christ, i.e. the Lords Christ, that you need not be troubled with, nor ought you to harken to, the doctrine of Cerinthius, Ebton, or the Gnosticks, who though they pretend themselves to be teachers of Christ, are indeed Antichrists, 1 John 2.18. So teaching Christ, as that they un-Christ Christ: nor have you need of any other doctrine whatsoever from any other man, not agreeable unto the doctrine of the true Christ which, you who are annointed, have received.

2 Pet: 1.19. We have also a more sure word of Prophesy, where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, untill the day dawn, and the day-starr arise in your hearts.

Hence is inferred. that after the reception of the Spirit, or believing there is no more need to attend unto the Scripture.

Answ. This interpretation presupposeth three things, any where of failing, it cannot stand. 1. That we are to understand by a sure word of Prophecie: the whole Scripture. 2. By the day dawning, and the day-starr arising: the Spirit of grace in Regenera­tion. 3. By the particle Ʋntill: the limited instant of regenera­tion. Before which, though we either do, or may, yet after which we are not to attend unto the Scripture.

Peter himself expounds the word of prophecie verse 19, of the Scripture of the old Testament verse 20, 21. Which Scripture-testimony compared with the verbal testimony of the Apostles concerning [Page 17] the voyce heard in the holy mount, in relation to the doctrine of Christ: he preferreth (not as the most true, but,) as the most sure ground for Faith of the two, and upon this account: because the ver­bal testimony of the Apostles, though Apostolical, was as yet but verbal. and not scriptural. So that should this text (upon a false supposition) be looked at as speaking of a believers non-attenti­on unto Scripture, yet it proceeds not concerning the Scripture in general, but concerning the Scripture of the old testament only, not of the Canon of the new Testament.

The day dawning, and the day-starr appearing: denotes either the saying light of the Spirit, making our attention unto the Scrip­ture from time to time effectual, during the season of our depen­dance hereupon, throughout this life: or that day-light of the vision of glory: both which senses in conclusion issue in one. But, it cannot be understood of the regenerating-light of the Spirit; because the Apostle speakes to those who are believers, still to at­tend upon the Scripture.

The particle [untill] (any other acception not pertinent to the matter under consideration omitted) either noteth a certain time, before which such a thing is to be, which was not before: or after which such a thing is not to be, which was before. The Scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a Law-giver from between his feet, untill Shiloh come. Gen: 49.10. But here it denoteth not any certain time in this life, after which we are not to attend upon the word written. For then, that certain time notified by the day dawning and the day-starr appearing: must either relate to Christs comming in the flesh, or to the beginning of the Gospel-dispensation, or to the effectual revelation of Christ in vocation, or to some other terme, that may rationally and scripturally be instanced in: but it cannot relate unto the first, because it is not an appearance in the flesh, but an appearance in the heart, that is here expresly spoken of: and the day-starr arise in your HEARTS. Neither indeed, can it relate either unto the first or any other of the termes, or limits mentioned: because Peter writes unto such, still to attend upon the word of Prophecie, who were regenerate; who were believers: have­ing obteined like precious faith with himself, Cap: 1.1. Yea such, who cannot be looked at otherwise, then of considerable stand­ing & proficiency in the faith: and lived after his incarnation, and Gospel-dispensation: whence, were this Objection of force, it would [Page 18] follow, that this exhortation of the Apostle had then been as much after its time, as that terme of a believers attention unto the word of prophecy, be it either the incarnation, Gospel-dispensation, or regeneration of those; whom he puts upon this duty, was before this time. The Gospel (whether any of it were now written or not) was promulged by Christ & his Apostles, and therefore was ob­liging. If the particle untill bee sayd to denote a certaine terme, not in this life, but relating unto the dawning and rising of the visi­on of glory: the question is graunted, and the objection falleth.

While the Church is in a darke place, the light of the Scripture is to be attended unto: hence the written word is here compared unto a light that shineth in a darke place now wee know, that there is much darkness, and obscurity in the hearts of all the Children of light, in this life. 1 Corin: 13.9.

Or; the particle untill signifyeth a terme, issuing in attayn­ing of all the good, attainable in such a way. or in the participatiō of the perfecting end, of the subject, spoken of.

A bruised read shall hee, not break, and smoaking flax shall hee not quench, [...] untill he send forth judgment unto victory. Mat: 12.21.

This notion agreeth not only with the analogie of faith, but also according to the mind of the Apostles common action ex­hortatory, seemeth more readily to flow. The scope of Peter, is to confirm the hearts of the twelve tribes scattered abroad, con­cerning the trueth of the Gospel: this he doth by two arguments, The first taken from the testimony of the Apostles verse 15 16, 17. The second, from the word of Prophecy: illustrated by two adjuncts, the former of its sureness: the latter of our taking heed thereunto: this attention he amplifyeth, by calling unto such a conscientious and vigorous continuance therin; as may never be in vain in the Lord, yea such as that the effectual light of the spirit of grace concurring with the doctrinal light of the word: may from duty to duty, shine upon the dark places of their hearts more and more, untill the dawning of the perfect day of the vision of glory.

If with some Orthodox Interpreters, wee understand by a dark place, the time of the Church under the old Testament: compared with the night, wherein candles are lighted: and by the day-dawning, the time of the Gospel day-light, wherin the Sun shin­eth; the new Testament expounding the old, and thereby giving a greater light.

[Page 19]Yet still we are to keep in mind, that as the New Testament giveth light unto the Old, so the Old Testament giveth light unto the New: they give light mutually one unto another. Tis the same Christ, & the same Gospel, which is held forth both in the old & in the New Testamēt: Heb: 13.8. Gal. 3.8. As the trueths of the old Testament, are confirmed by the New: so what more frequent then the confirmation of the New Testament, from the Old: both by Christ and his Apostles? The word Ʋntill, doth not here intend a certain time, whereat they were discharged from after attention, to the word of Prophecie: as if they who were com­mended for their attention hitherto, were now dismissed therefrom and stood not from henceforth obliged any more.

Gen: 28.15. For I will not leave thee, untill I have done that which I have spoken to thee of, 2 Sam: 6.23. Therefore Michal, the daugh­ter of Saul had no child unto [or untill] the day of her death, Mat: 16 28. They shall not tast of death, untill they see the Kingdome of God. It were ill gathered from hence, either that God did forsake Jacob after he had performed that promise concerning his safe return. Or, that Michal had a child after the day of her death. Or, that the Disciples which saw his glory in the Mount, should not out-live the Assension, Mission of the Holy Ghost, and the promulgation of the Gospel to the Gentiles, with signes ensuing.

Mat: 11.13. For all the Prophets and the Law prophecyed untill John. Mat: 22.44. Sit thou at my right hand, untill I make thine enemyes thy footstoole. John 5.17. My Father worketh hitherto, or [untill now,] and I work. 1 Tim: 4.13. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. In his exempris. prae [...]eri tam ita negarat, ut contrarium [...] non significetur. It cannot be gathered from hence, either that after John, there is no more Law and Prophets. Or, that after Christs enemyes are subdued, he shall sit no longer at the right hand of his Father. Or, that after Christ spake those words, the Fathers Governing-providence of the world ceased. Or, that after Pauls comming, Timothy is no more to attend to reading, exhortation, and preaching.

In the Negative examples, the word untill so inferreth the denyall of a thing, concerning the time before it: as that, it doth not at all inferr the affirmative of that thing concerning the time after it. In the affirmative examples, the word untill so inferreth the affirmative of a thing, concerning the time before, as that, it not at all infers the denyal of that thing, concerning the time after it

[Page 20]The summe is according to this last interpretation the word untill is taken extensively not exclusively.

So farr then, is this text from disobliging believers, from their attendance upon the Scriptures: as that, it is a most solemn & seri­ous incentive, as of all others to whom the sacred Canon shall be revealed: so also, of believers in particular, not only to attend upon the word of prophecie, or the Scripture: but so to take heed thereunto, as that their attention, through the co-operation of the Spirit, may be effectual: and that so long as their hearts are dark places, i. e. during their present state of imperfection: untill Christ the bright morning-starr appear in their soules; according to the fulness of the Spirit of grace, and the noon-day-light of the per­fection of glory.

The heterodoxie & errour of such, who from the text alledged, in­ferr the old Testament to be unnecessary unto those that live under the Gospel: is argued thus.

Promises, given unto the Saints in the old Testament belong unto believers living under the new Testament. The Promise made unto Joshua Josh. 1.5. & to David Psal. 118.6. The He­brews are led by the hand unto & taught confidently to make use of, in reference unto their present, and Personal cases. For he hath said I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we viz: believers under the Gospel, & not onely David, may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, I will not feare what man shall do unto mee. The trueths held forth by the Prophets, touching salvation by Christ: concer­ned not onely those, who lived in the times of the old, but also us; who live in the times of the new Testament. 1 Pet: 1.10, 11, 12. Ʋnto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you. The exem­plary justification of Abraham by faith, is written in the old Testa­ment for our sakes. Rom: 4.23, 24. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him: but; for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe in him that raysed up Jesus our Lord from the dead. The examples of the old Testament, are written for our ad­monition, upon whom the ends of the world are come 1 Cor: 10.11. Not now to labour further in the proof hereof, by an induction of particulars: the usefulness of the old Testament to those that live under the New, we haue asserted once for all; and that, concern­ing all that part of Sacred writt. Rom: 15.4. For whatsoever things [Page 21] were written afore time, were written for our learning: that wee through patience, and comfort of the Scripture might have hope. John 5.39. The Jewes in the time of Christ, are Commanded to search the Scripture, which necessarily proceeds of the Scriptures of the old Testament, the new, as then not being extant. After the time of Christ we hear the Testimony of the new Testament, concern­ning the profitableness of the Old. 2 Tim: 3.16, 17. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good workes. Understand this, as spoken of the holy Scriptures, known by Timothy of a child, which must necessarily be the Old Testament.

CHAP. 2. Of the Signal Nature of the Quakers, and other false Teachers, arising, and prevailing among the people of God.

AS the Soveraigne Lord, and onely wise God, is both the disposer and interpreter: So hath he given unto his ser­vants, to be discerners of the times. The Scriptures held forth many occurrents of providence Significative of the state of reli­gion, & of the respective condition of the profession thereof: as also of Gods more remarkable administration unto his people, whe­ther with relation unto his Predictions, permissive, or comminatory or both, Hence we read of signes of the times. Mat: 16.3. Of good times in the place cited. Of evill times, Mat: 24.33. This trueth, the Psalmist mentions, as of acknowledg'd & notable mo­ment in Israel. Psal. 74.9. We see not our signes.

The not discerning herof, as it is a matter of blame: but how is it ye discern not this time? Luke. 12.56. So in the discerning thereof, is a matter of praise. And the Children of Issachar which were men which had understanding of the time, to know what Jsrael ought to do: The heads, of them were two hundred, and all their brethren were at their Commandement 1. Chron. 12.32. Con­sortative unto the good, & awing unto the bad, was that seasona­ble word of an Ancient, who when terror had surprised the hearts of thousands by reason of that fearfull earth-quake, which in Juli­ans time threw up the very foundation of the temple, then about to be reedified by the Apostate-Emperour; told them, that this a­mazing & strange accident to them was but the accomplishment of that prophecie. Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, one [Page 22] stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. Full of presence of Spirit in a time of Calamity, was that speech, where with Lupus a B [...]shop is reported to have greeted the enemy Attilas, then depo­pulating & laying wast his countrey: I rejoyce (saith he) that you are come safe, whom I judge to be the scourge of the Lord, & of my God, sent to chastise his people. The good man; howsoever others hearts might faile under their fears both of present [...]e, & of everlasting burnings: looking at the King of the Hunnes, not as a weapon of destruction, according to his own desire; but as a rod of correction, in the hand of God: and choosing affliction, rather then iniquity, gathers meat out of the eater.

False Teachers, and false Prophets are signal; i. e, they are signes, that the time is come, when God will inflict vindicative spi­ritual-justice; upon the non-receivers of the Trueth in the love of it.

They are executioners of spiritual justice, punishing the non-recep­tion of the trueth: with deception by their lyes. They are instru­mental executioners of Justice, to punish the non-reception of the trueth, dispensed by the Ministers of Christ: with deception by, and reception of a ly, disseminated by the ministers of Satan.

This solemn, and by reason to the iniquity of the times) both awfull, and seasonable trueth: the Reader is desired the rather to attend the proof of. A [...]a [...] besides other sinners, laden with the guilt of the escape of a blasphemous Syrian; rejects the trueth in the mouth of Micaiah, the Lords Prophet, diswading him from going a­gainst Ramoth-Gilead: This; God visited, by giving him up to be­lieve a ly in the mouth of the false Prophets; commissioned to per­swade him, to go to Ramoth-Gilead, unto his destruction.

1 Kings 22.19,-23.

I am come in my Fathers name, and ye receive me not: if ano­ther shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. John 5.43. The awfull trueth contained in this text, will be the better seen, by re­solving it into four propositions. 1. Christ came unto sinners i. e. tendered himself to them, according to the Covenant of grace and that according to the appointment of the Father: an external unparallelled mercy. But last of all he sent unto them his Son: saying, surely they will reverence my Son. 2. They received not the Son, though sent unto them in the Fathers name. As the Gospell is the great command; so the rejection of the Gospel, is the great sin.

If I had not come, and spoken unto them they, had not had sinn: but [Page 23] now they have no cloak for their sin. John 15.22. 3. Upon the rejecting of the Doctrine of the great Teacher, there are teach­ers supposed to come in their own name. A famine of the word of trueth is a sore judgment. Amos 8.11. But these teachers, are worse then no teachers. Accursed & ominous. 4. That those who received not Christ, comming in his Fathers name, will re­ceive teachers comming in their own name. No better Teacher, no such teacher, no other teacher, then he was whom they refused.

Scarce any (if any) worse teachers then those whom they received. Tis not so ready to say, whether their unbelief or belief was more dreadfull. Wofull is their condition, when the teacher is accursed Gal. 1.9. and the hearer bewitched Gal. 3.1.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they shall believe a ly: that they all might be damned, who believed not the trueth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness 2 Thes. 2.11, 12. See here the non-receivers of the trueth in the love of it, punished both with a penal, and effectual mission of deceivers.

That this tremendous dispensation, may have the deeper impression upon our hearts: we find the Vindictive hand of God upon the contempt of the Gospel, mentioned thrice in one chapter: and that also, sometime as a forerunner of the destruction of a nation. Mat: 24.5. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ. False teachers shall come, and lest any should think their comming notwithstanding, happily they shall not prevail: it is added, and shall deceive many. Again, verse 11. Many false pro­phets shall arise. Forget not again what followeth, and shall deceive many. So verse 24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and shall shew great signes & wonders: in so much; that if it were possible, they should deceive the very Elect. Hereunto (if with some learned interpreters, we understand by the end mention­ed Mat: 24. that famous period & destruction of the Nation of the Jewes) we may not unaptly annex that of the Apostle 1 John 2.18. in the judgment of some as attesting unto Mat: 24.3, 6, 33, 34 Namely that these grand-deceivers were fore-runners of the then ensuing misery of that nation. Little children, it is the last time, & as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now there are many Antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.

The summ is; that the doctrines of Devils audaciously disse­minated by numerous false teachers, pretending themselves to be [Page 24] immediately sent of God, are SIGNAL, or are signes of evill times, in four respects, i. e. They signifie four things

  • 1. Greater light then Ordinary foregoing.
  • 2. The non-reception of that light by many, in the love of it.
  • 3. The Judicial giving up of many non-recivers of the Trueth in the love of it to believe their lyes.
  • 4. Sometimes at least, also a National Calamity impending: when the prementioned iniquities, are in Conjunction with o­ther crying sinns without Repentance.

Sinning against the Gospel, is very sinfull. The Gospel is a con­stitution or effect tempered of the Grace of God, and the blood of Christ ingredients, neither of which are to be found in the Law. So much as the Gospel excelleth the Law, so much is sinning against the Gospel aggravated compared with sinning against the Law Sin­ning against the Gospel is yet heightned by circumstances: that it is given to us after the transgression of the Law. Given to some transgressors, and not unto others. Of them to whom it is given, dispensed with greater light to some, then to others. What Nation gloryed in these priviledges above our own, our selves being witnesses? From the kind of sinning; If the non-recep­tion of the trueth in the love of it, exposeth unto this vindictive deception, according to what dreadfull degree shall they be count­ed obnoxious, who persevere in scandals under the light?

Count it pleasure to riot in the day time, yea fear not to commit that abomination in Israel, of turning the grace of God into wantonness.

From the doctrine of free grace, drawing a licence to sin, to take their fill of lust: and that without the guilt of sin, without the con­science of sin, yea with a pretended conscience of obedience.

In a word, to feast the old man unto the highest, with the blood of Jesus, and compleat the mystery of iniquity, by the mystery of the Gospel.

As the non-reception of the trueth of the Gospel, is a fearfull sin, so the fruit thereof is a fearfull evill. Their unbelief is fear­full: their belief is fearfull. Ʋnbelief of the trueth is iniquity: Be­lief of a ly, is both iniquity & folly. The trueth they unbelieve, is a trueth of the greatest wisdom. The ly which they believe is an object of the greatest vanity. To believe the trueth, is a great mercy. 1 Cor. 7.25. At one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithfull. To believe a destructively, is a great judgment. 2 Thes. [Page 25] 2.11, 12. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a ly, that they all might be damned, who believed not the truth. Not to believe Christ is to make him an Impostor: re­markable is divine justice, that the issue of such unbelief, should be the believing of Impostors. So legible is divine justice, in that they who forsake the way of salvation, should choose the way of damna­tion: that the folly of that wisdom may be manifest, whose wisdom is to disacknowledg the Wisdom of God; and that the glory of that wisdom may be ever adored, the contempt wherof, deliver­eth the contemners unto such finall folly.

These lying Spirits, with other like Pests, howsoever incon­siderable & despicable looked at as in themselves: yet if looked at as messengers of Divine wrath, witnesses of guilt, and impenitence instruments of penalty, and commissionated to do effectual execu­tion, they are now represented under a formidable aspect: and be­come objects of great terrour. God can plague Egypt with lice, and make locusts, wormes, & grashoppers, a matter of horror unto Judah: though there remained but wounded men amongst the Cal­deans: yet should they rise up every man in his tent, & burne this Citty with fire. Alas tis sin that armes justice, and disarmes the sin­ner. When there is a concurrence of delinquency and authority, the meanness of the executioner aggravates, not extenuates the anguish of the malefactor. What more formidable then a penall and vindictive-permission, of a delusion-destructive: Upon Gods willing the permission of sin, sin falleth out infallibly. Upon this antecedent Adam when all mankind was conteined in that one man yet in innocency, is deceived & sinneth away, not only the Image of God from his posterity, but also sinneth mankind into the guilt of eternal death. The woman which thou gavest to be with me, gave mee of the tree and I did eat. Upon a permission penal-corrective, Peter falleth as shamefully before the temptation of a poor maid, as he engaged confidently. No merveil then if upon a permission penal-vindictive foregoing, we read; and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, i. e. the Beast, whose names are not written in the book of the life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. And that Christ warneth us of the perill thereof, as such which threatens to deceive if it were possible the very Elect. The strength of false prophecy lay not in the argument of the speaker, but in the affection of the hearer. My people love [Page 26] to have it so. Jer. 5.32. The conjunction of a Judicial dispensati­on, with a pleasing error, & an itching ear, presents a sufficient reason why men otherwise rational, are intoxicated with doctrines most irreligious & irrational. Why the success of false teachers (at times) hath been such, as hath exceeded their own expectation Hence was the ground of that old saying of the Monk, insulting over the peoples credulity, Si mundus vult decipi, decipiatur. If the world will be deceived, let it be deceived. When the Duke of Sax­ony affected with Muncer's crying out under the severity of his tortures, said unto him, truely Muncer you indure at present, but think also upon the ruine of so many poor people, which at this day by occasion of your seduction, are slain. He answered after a laughing manner, they would so have it. Whether it were more wickedly done in Muncer that thus mocked, or it more justly befell the miserable people thus to be mocked, the reader may consider. Paraeus la­ments whilest he reports of a Papist glorying over his countrey-men, that if the Pope should so Command the Germans under pretence of the redemption of their souls, they would eat hay & grass like Cattel. wo, be to Ahab when both God, the lying prophets, and himself, con­spirer spectively the same deception, unto his destruction.

Though the being of heresies be a great evill, yet heresies must be: as serving the counsell of God unto divine uses. In respect of the world: in respect of the professors of the truth, both hypocri­ticall, & sincere: In respect of the world. Ma. 18.7. woe be to the world because of offences. Open enemies of the trueth rejoyce in them, harden their hearts in impenitence by them: whereby these vessels of wrath, fill up their measure, and fit themselves for their just, & greater condemnation.

Concerning hypocriticall professors, God hereby discovers them. They went out, that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us. 1. John. 2.19. God in his own season, many times detects unsound professors, & Church members, in this life: to shew that whatever name they had in the Churches which they lived in, yet they were never unseen to his alseeing eye. 2. To make others afraid how they approach to his holy things in hypocrisy. Acts. 5.14. 3. To prevent others being deceived by them. When the state of the repub­lick is quiet, all the members seem to be wel-affected, & like minded to the state: but as soon as Absaloms trumpet sounds, there quickly followeth a visible separation in Jsrael. Now David knoweth [Page 27] whose hearts are indeed with him, whose not. During the churches peace, all the members seem orthodox, but if a strangers voice be heard, then the lovers of sound doctrine & itching ears, fall into par­ties: & follow not the same Teacher.

As concerning sincere professors of the trueth: Teachers of false doctrine are unto them, as so many tempters or tryars. For the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart, & with all your soul. Deut. 13.3. Tempta­tions of an high nature, trying to the utmost, if it were possible as we said before, to deceive the very Elect. Tryalls greater then those of persecution, exile, spoyling of goods &c: Witness the sad a­postacy of too many, in this present assault of hetrodoxie, who quitted themselves with reputation before men in the fore-named sufferings. The same temptation managed under the notion of a Prophet, and as the word of God prevailed: which proposed by King Jeroboam, with the proffer of half his house super-added, was rejected: 1 King. 13.19, 8. Yet the demonstration of their love to the Trueth is sweeter then the probation therof is bitter.

Furthermore false Prophets, do not only prove our sincerity between God and our selves: but also;1 Cor: 11.18. occasionally make it known unto others. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. The manifestation of their zeal for the Trueth, was evangellically provoked by the antiperistasis, or opposition of error. Error & heresie by accident conduce much, unto the furtherance of the trueth. Opposition occasions light. Light proceeds unto confession of the trueth. Confession is a divine meanes of conquest. Opposition begets disputation, that removes objections, and clears the trueth. Every article of religi­on triumphs upon a just inquisition. Nothing prejudiceth verity more then the hiding, and smothering of it, by falsehood & sophi­stry. The sight of the trueth is the confusion of the adversary.

Trueth cleared after us questioning becometh out of question. Nothing more approved, then that which is approved upon tryal. The invading of that great and mysterious trueth, by A [...]titrinitarians: ended in the establishment of the doctrine of the Trinity.

The faith concerning the Person of Christ, was advantaged by its conflict with Arrianism. The doctrine of free grace, hath been triumphantly confirmed, by its contests with Arminianism. The point of Church-governmen [...] much more understood by reason of its [Page 28] man fold controversies, with Antagonists.

The light thus vindicated, and illustrated by polemical la­bours, cannot be hid: but by the open profession of the assertors sh [...]neth forth unto the world. Witness the Apostle's Creed, (so called) with other ecclesiastical Creeds, whether proper, viz: such as were set forth by single persons: or particular, viz: such as were set forth by this or that Church: or general, viz: such as were published by general Councils: namely the Nicene, Ephesine, and Chalcedon, penned partly for the better exposition of the Apostle's, and part­ly that men might the better know how to avoid the heresies of those dayes. Witness the acts of orthodox Councels, down all along since these ancient times. Witness the Harmony of con­fessions of the reformed churches, throughout the chief protestant states: in the Century last foregoing (concerning which Century, as it cannot be denyed, that no one for many hundred yeares together so abounded with errors: so must it also be acknowledged, that no one, throughout so long a tract of time, abounded more with confessions of the trueth), and all those worthy labours, perform­ed with a spirit as zealous for,Preface to the Harm. as the enemy was malignant against the faith. Let them therefore (saith the godly prefacer) leave off, in mocking to terme us confe [...]sion [...]sts, unless perhaps they look for this answer at our hands, that it is a farr more excellent thing to bear the name of confessing the Faith, then of denying the Trueth. Very notable, & memorable is Christs improvement of the various and erroneous conceptions of man concerning him, unto a distinct and famous confession of him. Mat. 16.13.-16. As also of that opprobrious apostacy of many of his disciples, unto a most confi­dent profession of him. John. 6.66,-69. Thus through the my­sterious administrations of God, even apostacy it selfe from the trueth, occasions a victorious testimony unto the trueth. Victori­ous both in respect of the Confessors, & Confessions: and they over­came by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their Testimony Rev. 12.11. The Confessor dyeth, the Confession liveth The Conflict of the Confessors ceaseth, but the Testimony of the Confessors yet speaketh, and conquering goeth on to conquer.

Though Dionysius seeing the darkness which was upon the face of the earth, at the passion of Christ, feared a dissolution of the universe: yet; Faith seeth that it is but an Eclipse. The Sun of Righteousness will shortly shine again. Whilest you look upon the [Page 29] efficacy of error, with the eye of Reason, its motion seemes to pro­ceed according to Satan's will: but whilest you look upon it in the Scripture, you shall find its motions ordered exactly by, and subservient unto Gods will. If you look upon the hour & power of darkness as a man, it represents it self as the apparition of Satan loose: but if you look upon it as a believer, you shall see Satan in a chaine. The first aspect, presents all formidable, as the product of Satans will: which conteining the extirpation of all good, with the introduction of all iniquity, confusion, & misery. (upon sup­position it should obtaine) what can be superadded in the way of evill therunto? The secōd represents every thing beautiful in its time it being an impossibillity, that he; whose wayes to his end are past finding out, should do any thing, in relation either to way, or end: incongruous, or indecent unto him, who is absolute perfection it self

Look upon the spirit of error in it self, it is like the Lyon roaring upon Sampson: look upon it in the Promise, 'tis as the Carkass of the Lyon: but behold there is a swarm of Bees, and honey in the car­cass of the Lyon. In its own nature, it is a flood of waters cast out of the mouth of the Serpent: In the promise, it is as the waters of Noah, unto the freinds & servants of the Trueth. When I thought to know this, it was too painfull for mee, untill I went into the sanctuary of the Lord, then understood I their end. Psal. 73.10, 17.

CHAP: 3. Of the destructivenes of the Doctrine, and Practice of the Quakers; Ʋnto Religion, the Churches of Christ, and Christian States.

DIseases may well be concluded malignant, and mortal, at least in their next tendency: when they seize vpon the vitalls and Spirits. The doctrine under examination, being censured according to this proportion, will soon be found guilty of the charge.

The destructivenes of the doctrine of the Quakers unto Christian States, appeareth; from

  • [Page 30]The nature of the Object they single out, imediately to fight against, viz:
    • The Trinity.
    • Christ.
    • The Scripture as the Rule of life.
    • Order, both
      • Civil, especially as acknow­ledged in al Christian States with Power in matters of Religion.
      • Ecclesiastical; as instituted in the Gospel.
  • The Spirit they are acted by.
  • The suitablenes of their doctrine unto discontented, seditous, factious, and tumultuous spirits, especially if pressed with poverty or a suffering condition.
  • The experience of the examples of their predecessors in Germany acted by the same principles.

Fundamentals in Religion are so denominated.

Principally, & properly: so; Christ is a foundation. Mat. 16.16

Doctrinally: so; the Scripture is a foundation in that it holds forth the doctrine of life. 1 Cor: 3.10, 11. Eph. 2.20.

Practically: so; Order is according to some, not ineptly said to be of the foundation: in that it is requisite, in the way of means for the preservation of what is fundamentall.

For the making good the first & maine article of the charge; the clearenes of the trueth, of the heads instanced in, as the four parts thereof (their fundamentality, with the contrariety of the doctrine-impleaded thereunto being manifest) is necessary. In order whereunto (the Trinity and Scripture being some-what spoken to above, and that of the Person of Christ in this place not calling for it) it remaineth onely: to demonstrate, 1 The nature and necessity of order: 2 That in their opposing the Magistrats, as now established in Christian estate: they oppose civill order.

3. That the visible-politicall-Churches Church-Officers Church-worship & administrations, are Gospel-institutions, appointed by Christ, to continue to the end of the world.

Order is a divine disposal, of superior & inferior relations, in hu­mane or Christian societies, distributing to each one respectively, what is due thereunto. There was Order directive in Innocencie, order both directive and coactive, is necessary in mans fallen estate. Order is Gods way of lapsed mans wel-doing, & wel-being. It is the forme of socie­ties, Formes are essential without which things cannot be.

[Page 31]By Order; plurality is formed into, and subsists in unity. Without it; plurality is but an heap. Neither nature, nor society, whether humane or christian, no not so much as a family can stand without order. Ephe. 1.22. 1 Cor: 12.19. If all were one member, i. e. if there were no order, where were the body? Order is a divine pre­servative of Trueth, Peace, and Communion. The good of Order is further intelligible by the evill of confusion.James 3.16 As confusion is not farr from every evill work, so order hath a tendency to every good work, Order without action is negligence, action without order, is presumption. Action without knowledg is reprehensible, and order unprofitable: but Order, Action & Ʋnderstanding, perfect bodies Politick. The great good which is in order, is the cause why the wicked one so restlesly oppugneth it. The working of Satan against Order, is a policy, against a policy. The policy of hell, against the Policy of heaven. Whilest we remember that God is the God of Order: it is not hard to discern the ma­ligning therof, as proceeding from the Serpent: For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace; as in all the Churches of the Saints. 1 Cor: 14.33, 34. In Ecclesiasticks it is a maxime indispensable in Paul's motion, Let all things be done decently, and in Order. 1 Cor 14.40. Doing nothing is more eligible, then doing without or­der. Many times there is not so much good in the matter done: as there is evill, in that it is disorderly done. In Civills; in case of non-administration wickedness reignes. Judges 17.6. In case of mal-administration incorrigible in the Magistrate, the Psalmist cryeth out, that the foundations of the earth are out of course. Psal: 82.5. Such a foundation then is Order, as it being cast down, what shall the Righteous do?

Their Opposition to Civil Order, is thus evinced.

That doctrine which denyeth obedience unto the order of Magistracy in its due subject, Exod. 18.21. interpretatively, and in effect denyeth the order of Magistracy, i. e. Civil order.

But their doctrine denieth Obedience unto the order of Ma­gistracy, in its due subject.

Therefore their doctrine denyeth the order of Magistracy i. e. Civil order.

That they deny obedience unto the order of Magistracy, in its due subject: witness both their scripts, & behaviour, wherin they deny obedience unto all Christian Magistrates, who are not of their [Page 32] own mind. Their pernicious principles herein, (from the execu­tion of which the good hand of God hath hitherto restrained them) are notoriously palpable in the practise of Storke & Mancer, their Predecessors. About 1521. Nicholas Storke, a ring-leader a­mongst a company of mutinous, and seditious persons, pretended to immediate visions: and thereupon, preached; that there should come a new world, wherein should dwell Righteousness: therefore they ought to exterminate all the wicked, withall the Princes & unbelieving Magistrates from the earth. They (faith the Author) called all those unbelievers, which were not of their faith & faction. In Al­stad, a Town in the Earledome of Manifield, one of the 4. Estates in upper Saxonie, Thomas Mancer enrolls the names of them, which were entered into league with him, and by solemn Oath promised assistance to dispatch the wicked Prince, & to substitute new ones.

They (saith the same Author) generally accounted all Superiours wicked.

The being of Magistracy is from God immediately: There is no Power but of God, the Powers that be, are or lained of God.

This or that Form of Civill government, is of God mediately, i. e. by the means of man. 1 Pet: 2.13. Submit your selves to every Or­dinance of man, for the Lords sake. Wherefore yee must needs bee subject, not only for weath, but also for Conscience sake. Rom: 13.5.

Concerning the Power of the Civil Magistrate in matters of Religion, See in the next chapter.

That Visible Politica-Charches, Church-Officers, and Church-Ordinances, are Gospel-Institutions, appointed by Christ, to con­tinue to the end of the world, appeareth as followeth, briefly,

That Commandement which P [...] gave to Timothy is to be kept untill the appearing of our Lord Jesus 1 Tim: 6.14.

But Visible Political-Church estate is part of that Cōmand­ment which Paul gave to Timothy 1 Tim: 3.15.

Therefore, Visible political church-estate, is to continue untill the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, i. e. to the end of the world.

The word [Commandment] relates generally to all conteined in this Epistle, & prescribed unto Timothy to be observed. Whence Beza readeth it, p [...]eception rather then Precept. This is part of that Depositum, that great thing deposited: which the holy A­postle, so frequently & affectionately calleth up [...]n his dear Timothy to see unto. Yea; and sometime forbeareth not, as with a severe [Page 33] and most vehement adjuration, to charge bin with the custody of, 1 Tim: 5.13, 14, 20. I give thee charge in the sight of God. O Timo­thie, keep that which is committed to thy charge.

Either God since the institutiō of the Ceremonial worship & Polity of Israel by Moses, hath changed the Rule of Political Church-estate more then once: or he hath left his people without any Rule, as con­cerning Political church-estate: or else, the Political church-estate instituted in the Gospel, is to continue to the end of the world.

But, since the institution of the Ceremonial worship, & Polity of [...]srael by Moses, God hath changed the Rule of the Political estate of the Church but once: Heb: 12.26, 27. And it is not a trueth to say that he hath left his people without any Rule, as concerning the Political estate of the church: Heb: 3.5, 6. 1 Tim 3.14, 15. 1 Cor: 14.33.

Therefore, the Political Church-estate instituted in the Gospel, is to continue unto the end of the world.

Pastors & Teachers are Church-Officers:

Pastors & Teachers are to continue to the end of the world:

Therefore, Church-Officers are to continue unto the end of the world.

The Apostle Ephe. 4.11, 12. having instructed us, concerning the institution & use of Pastors & Teachers, proceeds verse 13. to inform us concerning their duration: where; unto that question how long are Pastors & Teachers to continue? He hath prepared an answer long since, in those words; till we all come in the Ʋnitie of Faith, & of the knowledge of the Sonn of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullnes of Christ. Wee have in the text presented before us, the duration of these Officers, described from two periodical, and indubitable notes. First, the meeting of all the elect in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Secondly; the attaining of all believers unto a perfect man, or he full stature of Christ. By the first, understand the effectual calling, together with the perfect agreement of all the Elect in the faith. By the second, the perfection of Christ mystical. The head and members, Christ & all believers, make one mystical person, or one mystical-bodie. The perfection whereof is he [...]e held forth, by a metaphor taken from the full stature of the body natural, after which there is no augmentation. Now the perfection or full stature of the body mystical, after which it receiveth no augmentation, [Page 34] imports, two things: First, that no member shall then be wanting: secondly, that every member shall be perfect. From the premises, it being manifest, that these two periodical notes, shall not be untill the end of the world: therefore as manifest it is, that Pastors and Teachers being to continue untill then, they are to continue unto the end of the world. Those three verses are as Aarons rod, an argument (were it alone) sufficient quite to take away the murmur­ings of the people. Yet, for the further satisfaction of the Reader, touching the Gospel-ministry, two things may here not unseasonably be spoken to.

1. Concerning the nature of extraordinary Gospel-ministers.

2. Concerning immediate mission of persons in these dayes.

Touching the first, Church-Officers are Extraordinary, i. e. but for a time: as, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists Ordinary, i. e. such whose function continueth, and is standing at all times.

To the constitution of an Apostle, four extraordinary gifts concurred. 1. A Call immediately by Christ. Matthias sub­stituted in the place of Judas, is elected by Lot, which was a di­vine vote. Acts 1.26. Paul hath a vision of Christ, and heareth a voice from heaven. Acts 26.16. 1 Cor. 15.8. 2. Plenitude and amplitude of the power of the Keyes, i. e. all Church-power in all Churches. John 21.21. Mat. 28.19. Mark 16.15. 3. Infalli­ble assistance in their administration, when called thereunto. 2 Pet. 1.20, 21. 4. Power to work Miracles, 2 Cor: 12.12.

The Prophets were called immediately by the Spirit: their work was to interp et dark Scriptures, by a special gift, without study. Acts 13.1. & 15.32. 1 Cor: 14.24. Prediction of things to come, Acts 11.27, 28. & 21.11. Joel 2.28. A [...]ts 2.9. Luke 2.36 Acts 21.9. Evangelists were extraordinary Ministers called by the Apostles, as ordinary Ministers are by the Church. Such were Timothy & Titus.

Quest. Touching the querie, whether we have any Scripture warrant to expect persons immediately sent of God in these dayes.

Answ. We have no promise of any such ministry in our times. The last dayes Acts 2.17. are by some senced, as relating to the last dayes of the Jewes immediately preceding the dreadfull & famous de­struction of that Nation. (According to them) called the great & terrible day of the Lord. Thus James chapt. 5.3. speaking of [Page 35] the wealthy Jewes saith, that they have treasured up their wealth as fire against the last dayes i. e. against those times of destruction when their wealth should but do them a mischief, marking them out as prizes & preyes for the enemy. But this interpretation is left to free disquisition.

The Apostles seem not so to have expected any succession of Apostles. Hence in their life time, they appointed Elders in every Church, Acts 14.23. And left behind them, a prescribed form, as a directory of the Churches, concerning persons to be called by man into the Ministry successively, in the ages to come. 1 Tim: 3 Titus 1.

But though we have no promise of any such ministry, yet in the Scripture we have frequent prediction & caution of pretenders to immediate mission, of deceivers, false Apostles, false Prophets, false Teachers, Speakers of lyes in the name of the Lord: with Command and directions to try them, not by their own profession, for that is no great thing, if the ministers of Satan transform themselves into the ministers of Righteousness. 2 Cor: 11.15. Nor so much by their Conversation, (for the trueth were not true if such ravening Wolves did not come in sheeps cloathing:) as by their doctrine, by which fruit they are in an especial manner to be known. Mat. 7.16. Iohn 2 Epist. 9, 10. Yea, and upon just tryal, so farr ought we to bee from being moved by them, in point of our faith, as confident­ly to pronounce them Anathama's. But though we or an Angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, then that yee have received, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other Gospel unto you, then that yee have received, let him be accursed. Scepticks, & all others, are hēce beseeched to consider what unmovednes and firmnes in fundamentalls Christ looks for, especially from those who would acquit themselves as Church-mem­bers, in reference to such deceivers.

Though we have no Scripture warrant to expect immediate missions, and have both frequent and solemn cautions, concerning the rising of false pretenders therunto, yet it being also a trueth, that the holy One of Israel, hath not limited himself herein. When any arise with the gifts prementioned, and with the fruits both of doctrine & life conformable to the Scripture, they are according­ly to be received in the Lord.

The Lords Supper is a Visible-Political-Church-Ord [...]nance [...], [Page 36] and is to continue unto the end of the world. For as after as yee eat this bread & drinke this Cup, yee shew forth the Lords death untill he come. 1 Cor. 12.26. In these words (saith Paraeus) is a tacite promise of the conservatiō of the Church unto the end of the world

Baptisme is a Visible-Political-Church-Ordinance, and is to continue unto the end of the world. Teach and Baptise &c: and loe I am with you alwayes to the end of the world. Mat: 28.19, 20.

Therfore visible political-Church-ordinances, are to continue unto the end of the world.

Object: [...], which in our translation we read world; signifieth an Age, and according to this version, the text alledged, speaks not of the continuance of Baptism unto the end of the world, but unto the finishing of the age, viz: of that ministration, or of the Apostles age.

Answ. The trueth of the premises already evicted, concludes this evasion a falsity.

Hence it would follow, that the instant of John's death, the last surviver of the Apostles, & the instant of the dissolution of Church order, was the same. But that John did not thus understand Christ yea that Christ did not thus understand himself, witness besides his silence of any such notion in his Epistles to the other Churches, his writing expresly to the Church of Thyatira, that it was the precept of the Son of God concerning that Church, that they should hold fast the doctrine they had received, part whereof was chu [...]ch-estate not till John's death, but till Christ's Comming. Rev. 2.25. Namely to Judgment. If the words be understood by any, of his speciall comming to them, by their personal deaths, the like also being to be understood concerning others, it effectually makes void this objection. Add hereunto that John by that formidable Anathema chap: 22.18, 19. secureth the obligatory observance of all the words of the Revelation, wherein is mention of Political church-estate, as also of the rest of the sacred Canon according to the judgment of the best orthodox interpreters, untill the second com­ming of Christ. Rev. 22.7, 12, 20.

Neither did Ignatius, who lived in the time of the Apostles & outlived Iohn, thus understand Christ. Witness those Epistles, which are acknowledged by orthodox & learned Criticks in an­tiquity as genuine. wherein he attesteth unto & owneth many churches then in being by honouring of them with the express titles [Page 37] of the Churches of Christ.

This objection renders the motion of Christ retrograde, viz: first forwards, from the da [...]ker d [...]spensation of the law, unto a more cleare dispensation of the Gospel: and then backwards again unto a d [...]spensation more dark, then that of the Law, wherein the people of God (may we credit the objecter) are for 1500 yeares left with­out a Rule, without Order, without Seales, without any sent by Office, to preach unto them, or any Church-Ordinance.

That the English translation is apt, and renders not onely a true sense of the word, but also its proper sense in this place, appeareth from a particular indiction of its various acceptions in the New Testament. [...] according to its proper notation, signifieth such a duration as is without an end for EVER. Hence in refe­rence unto duration, it is used in diverse notions. 1. For ever­lasting. Iohn 12.34. & 6.51. & 4.14. & 14.16. 2 Pet. 2.17. The objecter reading the word in these and many other texts [the Age of a man] must therewithall a firm that the residence of the Holy Ghost, the state of grace, heaven and hell shall continue but the age of a man. 2. It is used also for a duration that is long viz: for all the tract of time, from its begin̄ing, untill such a Term then spoken of. Iohn 9.32. 3. For the whole course of time. Mat. 13.39, 40, 49. 4. For the Ʋniverse, or frame of Cre­ation it [...]el [...], which is the Subject of time: that duration being an insepperable adjunct thereof. Thus it is rendered worlds. Heb. 1.2 & 11.3. importing in born the visible world. The world 2 Co [...]: 4 4. speaking of this world as contrad [...]stinct from the world to come For there are two worlds: this world Iohn 12.31. and that world Luke 20.35. This present world. 2 Tim: 4.10 and the world to come Ephe: 1.21. This is the subject of the duration of time, that of the duration of Eviternity. Of the premised expositions the reader may soon perceive both from the subject matter spoken of and the collation of other Scriptures, that the third accepti­on only agreeth with the text presented unto consideration, and that this acception fully agree to therewith.

There is yet in the Gospel according to some learned men, another acception of [...], namely for the whole course of the time of the Gospel-dispensation, [...] after the abrogation of the Mosaical-dispen­sation, at the ascention of Christ. This is called the last Age of the world, after which there is no other to be looked for by us here [Page 38] as after old age man is to expect no other age in this life but death, which putteth an end unto his time. And the Scripture (as they conceive) in this notion of age, relates to a very notable distribution (of famous account amongst the jewes) of the time before and after the Messiah, into two ages. The first is called the Age before the Messiah, the then present age, the age of the jewish state. The se­cōd the Age after the Messiah, the future age, the age of Christianitie Not inconformably whereunto, Tobit speaking of the second Tem­ple rebuilded under EzRA, saith that it shall be untill the end of that Age.In natis ex Eus [...]bio E­vang Demō ­stra.t l. 7. Chapt. 14.5. And the Septuagint calleth Christ the Fa­ther of the age to come. Esay. 9 6. And conformably hereunto, what wee read the ends of the world, they read the Consummation of ages. Heb: 9.26. 1 Cor: 10.11. (The Greek bearing either version) conceiving that the Consummation of ages, are therefore said to be come upon them that live under the Gospel, because they who live under the Gospel have out-lived the legal dispensation, the Cessa­tion whereof was the consummation of the age before the Messiah, and live under that dispensation, the cessation whereof shall be the Consummation of the age after the Messiah, i. e. the Gospel dispen­sation, which shall be the shutting up of all ages, & consequent­ly end with the end of the world. The sum of this interpreta­tions commeth to this, I will be with you to the end of the age, mean­ing thereby the age of the Messiah, beginning at the Ascension of Christ, and continuing unto the end of the world. It is the same in effect with the translation, though differing in expression.

Touching the Spirit they are acted from: their dictates are re­presented by them, both as infallible and divine. Because of the pretence of their infallibility, they must not be questioned. By rea­son of the pretence of their divinity, they must be obeyed. What can be superadded to the destructive tendency of satanicall motions armed with the perswasion of the indispensable necessity of Gods own Cōmand. Their tumultuous motions are by grave Authors frequently styled Furies, from the fiercenes of their Spirit in the pro­pagation of their Errors. Their agitation is like that of the ocean, when one would think the deep to be hoarie: raging waves of the sea, foam­ing out their owne shame. Jude v. 13. Erroneous zeal, heightened with intoxicating & fanatick animosities, is so much wilde-fire. But dia­bolical zeal is so much hell-fire. A Spiritual frenzy. Being exceedingly mad against them. Acts. 26.11. Wicked persecutors, who [Page 39] acknowledg not the faith are unreasonable men: pray that wee may be delivered from unreasonable & wicked men. 2. Thess. 3.2. wicked per­secutors who pretend to the faith, are mad men. The very light of nature teacheth all nations, that mad men acting according to their frantick passions, are to be restrained with chaines, when they can not be restrained otherwise. It goeth ill with the Saints, when they who kill them, think they do God service, whilest they rage accord­ing to their lusts. Woe to them who call upon the name of Christ, when he that verily thinks with himself, that he ought to do many things unto the utmost contrary to Jesus of Nazareth, not only breaths out slaughter, but is also Cōmissionated with letters from Damascus.

Their Doctrine carryeth meat for its followers in the mouth of it: so that its contagious influence in a short time, upon the tumul­tuous nature of the discontented and irregenerate multitude, needs not so much to be discovered, as to be antidoted. That these persons canonize themselves as the Saints of the most High, is a strong delusion. And if they also by vertue of a forged Saintship, be heard intitling themselves unto the Kingdom: and thereby; unto the dignities & estates of all who are not of their mind, it will not be found more irrational, then Satanical: not more strange, then pernici­ous. It may well be looked at as a Serpentine and inebriating stra­tageme, to make the power, honours, & possessions of the godly, and others also who are not of their way: to become lawfull prize, and plunder to the ravening lusts of their proselytes. For what then remaineth, but that a sufficient number accepting of their doctrine agree together to possess themselves of all that falleth within the compass of their rapine. 'Tis true, the Devills tempting of Christ with all the Kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, All these things will I give thee: could take no effect with Him. But upon the tryall thereof with men of John of Leyden's spirit, the sub­till tempter hath found better success.

About February 1534 Rotman & Cniperdolling send unto the neighbouring townes of Munster, thereby giving notice to them of their sect to leave all their goods, & to repaire unto them, encourag­ing them, that they should not fail to receive more then they left behind them. Hereupon great multitudes both of men & women hearkening unto those magnificent promises, came in accordingly, and upon hopes of preferment, repair to Munster, chiefly the poorer sort, who knew not how to subsist. Some o [...] those 28 [Page 40] Teachers of the world sent out from Munster (upon the Cōmande­ment of the Father pretended to be given to John Twiscoscur a gold­smith) being demanded, why they expelled the honest people from the city of Munster against their faith & promise, & detained their goods and by what text of Scripture, they could warrant that un­righteousnes. They answered that the time was now come, wherein the word of Christ should be fullfilled, that the meek should possess the earth: and that GOD in this manner gave the goods of the Egyptians, to the Israelits. About the latter end of June, Twiscoscur calleth the multitude together into the market place, telleth them that he had a command from the heavenly father, that John of Leyden should have the Command of the whole earth, Osiand. cent. 16. lib. 2. cap 33. Guide bresse Cap: 4. that he should go forth with a mighty army, kill all the Princes promiscuously, sparing only the multitude, viz: those who loved Righteousness. That the time was now come, when the ungodly should be oppressed, and the godly should reign in this life. The King afterwards promiseth to his 12 select Captains, that they should be Princes, assigning unto each of them their Province by name, as also Forts & Lands which he would give them.

How potent a temptation, the opening of an opportunity to the irregenerate & hungry multitude, of changing places with their Superiours, and possessing themselves with their power, hon­our & estates, is: (When this temptation, is managed in a way of duty, and that duty also insinuated from the highest nature, principle & end, viz) Saintship of the highest form, inspiration divine & infallible, a super-scriptural reformation guilded ouer with specious pretences of the exaltation of Christ, and extirpation of Babylon: I say how threatning this temptation is, English men may not unprofitably collect, by recalling that perillous rebellion in the dayes of Richard the second: raised from the doctrine of one man by a temptation of this nature, though then managed in a way of lawfulness only, not of duty. The summ whereof take thus. One John Woll a man of a factious spirit, perceiving the discontent of those times: by two arguments, one taken from the equality of all men, as descended from Adam; the other from the injustice of the Laws upholding great inequality amongst men: viz some Lords, and in large estates, whilest others continued in a nee­dy condition, seduced the inferiour sort, especially such as were pinched with penury, into a perswasion that it was lawfull for them [Page 41] to help themselves. Thereby procuring an insurrection of Sixty thousand, for the while carrying all before them, commiting diverse murthers, many outrages, unto the entering & awing of London, the terrour of the King, & jeopardy of the whole Realme. Iohn Woll is pestilent, but Iohn of Leyden is much more pestilent. The strength of this temptation lyeth not in the reason of it, but in it's complia­ance with corruption. Such is man's propensness to the world, that where it offers it self he is apt to hasten to it, though by a way which inferreth the perdition of the soul. No marveil if that Religion, which hath made the way to salvation, and to the worlds enjoyment, both the same and quick & easy, be much fol­lowed: though not for Religion sake, yet for the worlds sake.

Howsoever Becold might smile in his sleeve at the fallacy of his Re­ligion, yet therein he found sweet, in that it promoted him from a Tayler of Leyden, to be King of Jerusalem, yea; of the whole earth, and that all Princes must obey him, had their revelations prevailed.

To possess our hearts the more throughly with the pestilence of the heterodoxie impleaded, consider the dismall effects which have followed upon the practices of such, who have acted accord­ing to these principles.

Caspar Swenckfield an eloquent but unlearned man, spread his errours about 1520. The confession of the Divines of Mansfield condemneth him, Anno 1555 and testifieth that he hath troubled the church thirty yeares.

About 1522 Nicolas Storke (of whom before,) rejects the Scriptures, as being a carnal & literal Rule, holds forth revelations, thereupon the extirpation of the Magistrate, with a renovation of the world wherein Righteousness should dwell. Out of this school came Muncer.

About 1524 arose Thomas Muncer, who in his letters stiled himself Thomas Muncer, the servant of God, with the sword of Gideon against the ungodly. He cryeth down books, and the letter of the Scripture, saying the Spirit was Leader and Rule to believers.

Amongst other things he teacheth parity amongst men, rejection of Dignities, Community of goods, that all the world should abide in the liberty wherein it was at first created. Of his dangerous attempt in Alstad to destroy the Princes, innovate the Government & change the times, we heard also before. In Mulhuisen an Imperial Citty in the Province of Turingia, he so wrought upon the people [Page 42] that they changed their old Magistrates, chose new ones of Muncer's way, whence arose many troubles. Many people leaven­ed with his doctrine, defist from their ordinary Labour & when they had need of any thing, they took from those who had it, whe­ther they would or not. In Swaben & Francony the husband­men & labourers take up armes to the number of Forty thousand, they drove away the Nobles, imprisoned some (according to the French Historiographer they slew many of the Nobility) sacked & burnt their Castles & fortresses, as the fetters of their liberty. At last he & Henry Pfeiffer pretending a vision from heaven gather forces & with a numerous companie take the field, fight with the princes are taken & put to death 1525. In these tumults of Muncer were slaine first & last fifty thousand of the people: according to some one hundred thousand.

About 1533 John Becold an Hollander of Leyden, by oc­cupation a Taylor: commeth to Munster a Citty in Westphalia, with one Cniperdoling: where with their adherents & followers, having gotten some advantage into their hand: Command is given, that such who were not rebaptised, should be put to death, as Pagans and wicked: but these troubles were issued by composition. In February 1534 contary to their Faith & promise, they secretly fill the Citty with their own party. In the beginning they talked of nothing but spirit & Holiness, they said it was not lawfull for a Christian to be a Magistrate, and that it was not lawfull to bear armes. But after they had gotten power into their hands, then it was lawfull to seize the publick armes, to take the Town-house, to choose Magistrates to their mind, to reject those who were ordained of God, to thrust themselves into their places. They that before cryed Repent, Re­pent, now change their voyce, and cryed Depart, Depart, if you will not die. Pillaging & stripping honest people of all they had; forcing them out of house & Citty with their wives and little ones, all that were not of their mind, without regard to age or sex. Where (saith the Author) are those fair speeches now which were wont to be in their mouths. Do not resist evil, He that will take a­way thy coat, give him thy cloak also. They command Com­munity of all goods upon pain of death, they abolish Schooles and Courch-assemblies, Spanhem. historic. Narrat. Cap. 2. yea so far (saith Spanh [...]mius) ‘proceeded the mad­ness of this villanous fellow, meaning John of Leyden, that by the craft of a gold-smith of Warrendorp, suborned by him, who feigned a [Page 43] revelation & inspiration, and the blockishness of the bewitched people: This scum of the earth was set upon a Kingly throne, & excercised a stage-player-like Kingdom in an oppressed Citty, prepared himselfe Princely furniture, and attendants, useth all manner of cruelty, with whoredoms, murders & unheard-of tyrannie, distributed amongst his followers, Principalities & Dukedoms at his pleasure, by his mes­sengers: every where stirring up the country-people to mutinie and re­bellion; yea, attempted such mischiefs, as will scarce find Credit with posterity: ascribing to himself this frantick title: John King of new-Jerusalem, King of righteousness over the whole world.’

Upon a Revelation of one of their Prophets, Henry Hilvers viz: that three rich Citties Amsterdam, Deventer, & Wesel, were given to them: they attempt to take Amsterdam May 10 1535. and that so unexpectedly, wil [...]ly, and resolutely, as that the Citty was not saved out of their hands without some danger and much bloodshed.

At Munster the King provideth a great Supper, the people sit down to the number of four thousand, the King, Queen & Courtiers wait upon the table, Supper almost finished, the King gave unleavened bread to all, saying, Take, eat, declare the death of the Lord. Then the Queen presented the C [...]p, saying, Drink, declare the death of the Lord. Afterwards the King, Queen & waiters sup­ped; as they were at supper, the King ariseth, saying, he had a com­mission from the father. Accuseth a souldier: (which had been tak­en) that he was a Traitor, as Judas, and with his own hand haveing cut off his head, returneth to sit down at the table, by way of merriment reciting what he had done. King Becold beheads Elise one of his Queens; and wives, in the market-place: because she had said that she did not believe it was pleasing to God, that the people should thus perish through famine. At length Becola, Chipperdoling and Cretchting, being taken with the Citty, which they held till June 25. 1538. were tortured with burning pincers, then hang­ed in iron cages, the King in the midst, higher then the rest by the height of a man, he endured the first three pinches in silence, af­terwards cryed out for mercy, till he was dispatched.

John Matthiz a Baker of Harlem, a Prophet, after a reve­lation from heaven, Commands all books to be burnt, except the Bible. Herbert Truteling a smith hereupon called them dirty Prophets. Therefore Matthiz shot him dead. This Matthiz [Page 44] by the impulse of the Spirit without the Scripture, taketh a long spear, runneth up and down Munster, crying out that he had received a Commandement from the Father to repulse the enemy from the Cittie. He no sooner approacheth the Camp, then a Souldier, one Misnicus faceth him, and shoots him dead.

At Sengal in Helvetia 1527 Thomas Schucker with a sword beheads his own brother Leonard, in the presence of his Father & Mother, by the impulsion of the Spirit without Scripture.

Upon the place of execution he shewed no remorse, but profes­sed that it was the will of God revealed to him from heaven.

Coppius a Flanders man, Quintinus a Taylor of Picardie, Clau­dius Persevatus, & Pocquius a Priest, who conitnued still to say Mass: in Holland, Brabant, and other parts of the Low-countrys and in France, seduced above four thousand in Calvin's time.

All the murders, whoredomes, & villainies (saith M. Rutherford) practised by Muncer, John Becold, David George, & Swenckfield, they fathered on the Spirit, without the Scripture, or on such an allegorick sense as their unclean spirit expounded the word by: so as a man knows not when they sin, when they serve God.

I shall take off my pen from transcribing any more of these ex­amples, many wherof are at hand. What further troubles were caused by these factious spirits in Moravia, Bohemia, Poland, Hungarie, Austria, Silesia, Westphalia, Freizland, Holland, and Brabant, in France. I leave the studious Reader to inform himself from the histories of those times.

Did Luther in those times write to the Senate of Mulhusen, to beware of the wolfe Muncer: and have not we cause now to beware of the spirit of Swenckfield, Muncer, Becold & Quintinus, more then reviving in this present doctrine of confusion?

Iliad ψ
Rem Regem, Regimen, Regionem, Relligionem
Tollere tentarunt.
Region, Estate, Rule Civil & Divine,
Religion, ALL, they seek to undermine.

Amongst these three wayes of teaching: Authority, Reason, & Example: the last is peculiarly accommodated to the capacitie & nature of man, as that which both inlightens & affects.

Examples make difficult things plain, and doubtfull things certain. [Page 45] Hence they are aptly called the Pledges of speech, delivered for the assurance of the mind of the hearer, concerning the subject spoken of: upon the reception whereof, all experience attests unto a per­swasive & operative influence, concomitant in rational subjects.

It were a great violation of charitie to looke at all seduced as thus minded, we know the very method of the Masters of Spirituall pestilence, sufficiently admonisheth us that their novices are not ar­rived at the heights of the mystery of their iniquity. 'Tis probable that many of their considerable proficients are not alike insighted into these secrets of darkness. Yea; that not a few of them, would readily & really profess their detestation of the perpetration of the villanies forementioned. All which notwithstanding, it were great defect of prudence, after so fair or rather formidable warnings past, and such prodigious apparitions present, not ti­mously to put our selves into a regular and necessary posture of de­fence. Alas, men know not their deceitfull hearts. At the same time, we may both hear Hazael saying, But what is thy ser­vant a dog, that he should do this great thing? and see the man of God weep, foreseeing the evil that he would do unto the children of Israel. Be it so that many are led away in their simplicity, yet a discerning spirit may well doubt, that neither Achitophels head, nor heart, is wanting in the design. Besides, why should not men of the same Spirit (temptation & opportunity concurring) be looked at as too like to walk in the same steps? From the same root, reason teacheth us (if not maturely prevented) to expect the same fruits: from the same principles, the same issues: from the same cause, the same ef­fects. To give warning is the duty of the watchman; to take warning is the duty of the Citty. The experiences of generations foregoing, are the instructions of generations following. The history of the experiments of others is our advantage. The improve­ment thereof in season will be not only our duty, and wisedom, but also a token of mercy. The woe's of Ancestors, ought to be the warning of Successors.

CHAP: 4. Of the Remedy against Heretical doctrines, and in particular, against the doctrine of the Quakers.

NOtwithstanding manifold evils prevailing, & threatning yet the Prophet will not admit that there is no Balm in Gilead, that there is no Physician there. Though Christ hath not [Page 46] seen good to exempt his with a preservative from exercise by temp­tation, yet hath he so provided, as to supply them with a defen­sative against the evill of temptation. There was not more sicknes amongst the people, then there was healing vertue in the Disciples gift. Mat: 10.1. A venimous Serpent may be brought into Crete, or Ireland, but (may report be credited) no such can live there. The wiles of the Devil are Serpentine and malignant, yet not to be compared to the wisdom of Christ.

The Serpent's head is poysonous, but thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, his malignity is both antidated & antidoted. I will put enmity between thee & the woman, between thy seed & her seed. It shall bruise thy Head. Gen: 3.15. The Saviour of his people hath smitten Satan long agoe in his intellectuals. His plots are foreseen, and the remedy hath prevented the disease. To Christ belongs the prerogative of being the only Politician. Now a compleat Polity exhibiteth meanes sufficient, as to the sufficiency of meanes, for the defence of the Law, and of all those that are loyal subjects thereunto. Would the Patient but regularly attend the prescript, there is no stratagem can infest the Churches, in refe­rence whereunto wee may not still boldly say; yet there is hope in Is­rael cōcerning this thing. Surely there is no inchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: According to this time, It shall be said of Jacob, & of Israel, what hath God wrought? Num. 23.33 mine eye affects my heart. Lam. 3.51. A due sight of the Spirit of errour & heresie, is a great help to affect a Christian Spirit therewith. Monsters in nature are eye sores. The face of death, that King of Terrours, the living man by instinct turneth his face from. An unusual shape, a Satanical phantasm, a ghost, or appari­tion affrights the disciples. The vision of sin unto a spiritual eye, is an object of much more abhorrence then the former. But the face of heresie is of a more horrid aspect, then all the forenamed, put together: as arguing some signal inlargement of the power of darkness, as being in a high degree diabolical, prodigious, & portentous. Heretical doctrine is not only a sin, but profession of a doctrine which is both all sin, & a way of sin. The speak­ing of lies against the Lord and his trueth, destructive to the soules of men, and all this in the name of the Lord. Heretical doctrine consists in the blaspheming of the trueth as it is in Jesus, as a ly, and publishing of a ly in the place thereof. The first born of Satan, [Page 47] not a little aggravated in respect of its propagation by apostates, viz. those tongues which formerly bare testimony to the trueth, now bent against it, and for opposite errours. Thine own nation & the chief Priests have delivered thee unto mee: what hast thou done. If the people of God did well upon the hearing though of but single blasphemie, to manifest deep detestation thereof, by the rending of their cloathes; should wee at the publishing of such a compiled Systeme & frame of heresie, which containeth many blasphemies, be­found insensible: would not their pious zeale rise up in judgement against us? It is from the Spirit of trueth, to open our eyes to dis­cern the Spirit of errour.

The remedie or Scriptural-prescript to be applied in times of heretical pestilence, consists of some dueties common to all persons, and orders: Some proper to families, Churches, & the Christian Magistrate. The Dutyes common to all are.

1. To sanctify God in respect of his present providence, looke not upon these emissaries of Satan as casuall or despicable, but as commis­sionated executioners of Gods coercive & vindictive displeasure, for our abuse of the Gospel without repentance: of which before: Chap. 2.

2. To justify God in the humble confession of our sin, & acknowledg­ment of this his righteous & tremendous dispensation.

3. Repentance.

4. A speedie and effectuall endeavour to stablish our hearts in the trueth. That wee henceforth be no more children tossed to & fro: and carried about with every wind of doctrine. Ephe. 4.14. For when for the time yee ought to be teachers &c: Heb. 5.12. Hold fast that which is good. 1. Thess. 5.21. 2. Tim. 1.13. Tit. 1.9. Rev. 2.13.25. &. 3.3, 11.

Distingwish between questions of docility or teachablenes tending to cofirme us in the truth: and questions of scepticisme tending to hold the mind in an irresolution concerning the trueth. Affectation of uncertaintie in matters of religion, is against religion. Certainty is of the nature of faith. Doubting & Faith are opposite. To reduce trueth unto the hazzard, and promote errour unto the hope of a question, is to render errour & trueth of equall credit. An anti­religious levelisme leading unto Atheisme: and if the triall be before corrupt reason, as the judge: it is a notable stratageme to represent trueth for errour, & errour for trueth. The serpents art in managing the first temptation was by way of question: Yea, hath God said?

[Page 48] Gen: 3.1. Ʋncertainty between two Opinions was the cause of Israels halting: Advantagious indeed unto Baal's followers, but an evill unsufferable unto the holy spirit of Elijah, zealous that the people of God should walk upright. No marveil the state was distracted whilest religion was unsetled. So farr as the way whereby we should serve God is a question, it is out of question, we cannot serve God. Scopticism in all points of faith is deservedly abhorred,See Kecker. Gymnas. Log. lib. 2. cap. 7. but especially in fundamentals. Mon­strous births (saith Plato) are not brought to light, neither are porten­tous disputations, and monstrous opinions to be suffered in the Common-wealth.

5. Fidelity in walking according to the trueth. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of my self. John. 7.27.

Duties incumbent upon the heads of families are Exemplarines. Instruction, & Government. Ʋpon the Churches Doctrine and Disci­pline. All experience proveth, that the bitter root of heresie, hath never prevailed, where Doctrine, Catechism, and Discipline have been upheld in their purity & vigour. Concerning the power and duty of the Christian Magistrate in matters of Religion, it is summarily spoken to in the Authors preface unto the sufferings of Christ. But full information is at hand, in diverse elaborate and solid treatises upon that subject lately published. It may therfore suffice at Present, to present the Reader with some texts to that purpose. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying who soever curseth his God, shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the Name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the Congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. Lev: 24.15, 16: But other Scriptures omitted. I shall here transcribe only two more, both which are eminently pregnant with this trueth: wherein also are cases put between the cause of God, and our neer relations, on purpose to provide against obstructions in this great business of Religion.

The first we have Deut: 13. per totum. Relating to all times suc­ceeding that constitution: If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the w [...]fe of thy bosome, or thy freind which is as thine own soul, intice thee secretly, saying: Let us go and serve other gods: thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him, neither [Page 49] shall thine eye pitty him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou con­ceale him: but thou shalt surely kill him, thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, & afterward the hand of all the people. vers. 6, 8. The second wee have Zech. 13.1, 3. Expressely relating unto the times of the Gospel. In that day viz: after the Comming of the Messiah in the time of the Gospel when the families of the tribes shall mourne Chapt. 12.11. The familie of the house of David apart, & the familie of the house of Nathan apart &c: There shall be a fountain opened i.e. the doctrine of Christ under Moses dispensation is com­pared to a fountain vailed 2 Cor: 3.13. &c: Under the Gospel-dispensation, unto a fountain opened. The vail of the Temple & the ceremonial law being taken away. And it shall come to pass that when any shall yet Prophecie, then his father & his mother that begat him, shall thrust him through, when he prophesieth. These words [thrust him through] may be understood either of a Capital pu­nishment Juridically dispensed, or of any other smart punishment piercing though not Capital.

As God hath armed the Magistrate with Civil power for the defence of Religion, so hath he animated him unto the regular and seasonable exercise thereof, by holding forth many excellent fruits, through the concurrence of divine benediction, concomitant and consequent unto his fidelity in this duty.

1. The vindication of the name & trueth of God from the dishonour done thereunto by Heresie, & blaspemie: Such Ana­themata Ter­tulliō calleth devotamenta The Judicial consuming of the Apostate-cittie by fire, was a repairing of the honour of God, who was before dishonoured by the revolt of the inhabitants from him, by the meanes of Seducers. And thou shalt burn with fire the Cittie, and all the spoil therof every whit, for the Lord thy God: i. e. in Zeal of the honour of the Lord thy God. Deut: 13.16.

2. Hope of cruing the offenders, if they belong to God, as the healing of the delinquent is one end of the administration of Church censure: Of whom is Hymeneus & Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 Tim: 1.20. So is it also of Civil administration, and one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hand? then he shall answer: those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Zech: 13.6. The person questioned, who of a husband-man was become a false Prophet: & now through Grace; having renounced that way of lying, and being returned to his honest old calling again, renders the sharp [Page 50] stripes and chastisements inflicted upon him, whether by his parents or freinds, authorized therunto, or by their procuring: as the means of his recovery. Here note also that this convert, howsoever whilest acted by a Spirit of lying, he might look at the instruments of his chastisements as persecutors of him, & injurious unto the liberty of his conscience yet now being in his right mind, he both justifieth the act, & ingenuously acknowledgeth them therin to have approv­ed themselves reall freinds, & cordial lovers of him in the Lord.

3. The putting away of evil from Israel. So shalt thou put away evil from the midst of thee. Deut. 13.5. Blasphemous Benhadad's escape, is Ahabs guilt, & that such out of which he doth not escape. The not bearing testimonie against iniquities to be punished by the Judge by meet execution of justice, renders Israel from time to time, both guilty & scandalous in respect of such sinns. Com­mission of evil makes it the sin of the delinquent, irregular permis­sion thereof, makes it the sin of the state.

4. The preventing of infection, and spreading contagion of an evil example. And Israel shall hear and fear, and do no more any such wickedness, as this is among you. Deut: 13.11. Impunity of the sinner encourageth others to do the like: but punishment speedily and seasonably inflicted, makes others more afraid of such evills, then they were before. Sinn looseth more by the execution of the Ordinance of Justice, then it gained by the scandal.

5. The preventing of the wrath of God, & continuing the state still in the enjoyment of the protection & benediction of the covenant. That the Lord may turn from the fiercenes of his anger, & shew thee mercy, & have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworne unto thy fathers. Deut; 13.17. The good of the regular execution of justice shews the great evil of irregular impunity. This abundant encou­ragement from him that cannot ly, should quicken the minister of justice to be as faithfull in the application of the remedy, as Satan is watchfull to cause the malady. Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the forementioned evill doers. Have not I sent thee?

Object. The interposal of Authority in matters of Religion, is a prejudice to, and a violation of liberty of conscience.

Answ. Church-Authority is Authority: were this objection good the Church might not Authoritatively deal with any of her members for holding forth, or teaching of false doctrine. Contrary to Gal. 5. [Page 51] 12. Rev. 2.2, 20.

Distinguish between

  • Conscience, properly so called.
  • The errour of Conscience.

Conscience properly so called, denoteth such a knowledg of the object, as is in conjunction with, and is agreeable unto the knowledg of another, concerning that object. It supposeth two distinct knowers of the same thing, viz: God & the conscience. Conscience is Gods vice-gerent in the soul. God is the absolute and primary judge, conscience is a secondary & subordinate judge.

Conscience is the judgement of a mans self, answering unto the judgement of God concerning him. Conscience as operating, supposeth a principle enlightened, and erreth not concerning the notional & doctrinal part of the object. Conscience can­not ly, witness the conscience of the damned, that tormenting and never dying worm, conscience as conscience is a meer creature of God; but the errour of conscience is from the old man, and the Serpent.

Distinguish between Liberty of

  • Conscience.
  • Errour.

Liberty of Conscience, (as relating to the question under dispute) is a freedom from all impediment in respect of man, as to the following of the dictate of Conscience, in acting according to Rule. But liberty of Errour, or liberty of the error of conscience, is falsly called li­berty of Conscience: being indeed opposite thereunto. It is a liberty in respect of man, to answer the dictate of the error of Con­science, in walking contrary to Rule. It is a liberty to blaspheme, a liberty to seduce others from the true God. A liberty to tell lies in the name of the Lord. It is indeed a liberty unto bondage: The exer­cise very bondage. Restraint from it is a restraint from bondage. They shall put you out of their Synagogues, yea the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will thinke that he doth God service. John. 16.2. To thinke the murther of the Saints was service unto God, was not from their Conscience, but from the errour of their Conscience, and the practice of it a fearefull liberty. I verily (saith the Apostle) thought with my self, that I ought to doe many things, contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Acts. 26.9. Who was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, & injurious: But I obtained mercy, because I did it igno­rantly. 1 Tim: 1.13. This was not from Paul's conscience, which is a principle of light created & placed by God in the soul: but from the [Page 52] errour of his Conscience, and (himself being witness) from his ignorance, which is of sin and Satan, but not of God.

The object subjected to the Coercive power of the Magistrate, must be some Act of the outward man. Tis not matter of judge­ment, but matter of fact, which Civil-power dealeth with. Hence; so far is it from being a truth, that the magistrate proceeding accord­ing to Rule, either punisheth or troubleth any for their Conscience as that it neither doth nor can concern him, to meddle with the errour of their Conscience,Lex non Judicat du oc­cultis. as such, be it heresye; or whatsoever. Whilst a man keepeth his heterodoxy to himself, he is doubtlesse out of the reach of the Magistrate in that respect.

Conscience, properly so called, error of Conscience or heresy, heresy uttered & retracted, heresy uttered & not retracted but quiet, (called heresy alone) & heresy Turbulent are all distinct, & of distinct con­sideration. Heresy schisme, and sedition, differ. Though usually it falls out otherwise, yet a man may be an heretick, who is neither dogmatist, schismatick, or seditious: neither teaching his errours as truthes, nor causing irregular separation from Church-Cōmunion, nor sowing seeds of discord, or mutiny in the Common-wealth.

By Quiet heresy, or heresy alone; understand heresy although uttered and not retracted, yet without endeavour either directly or indirectly tending to induce others to receive their errours: As also; without disturbance of publick order, either ecclesiastical or Civil.

This; divers godly-learned do not only exempt from the number of Capitals, but also seeme Cautious, if not silent, concerning subjecting it to any Corporal punishment.

By Heresy Turbulent, understand heresy both uncured and incorrigible; i. e. in Coniunction either with, Teaching lyes in the name of the Lord. Or with disturbance of publick-order, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil. This is not only heretical, but also pestilen­tial, and here is a season, wherein it is the duety of the Civil-Ma­gistrate, to put forth his Coercive power, as the matter shall require in the defence of Religion, Order, Church & common-wealth.

So farr is our doctrine from asserting subiection of the Con­science, to the Coercive power of the Magistrate: as that we look at it as irrational, to extend his power unto the error of Conscience as such. We subiect not the bare proposal & owning of heresie if cured: as obnoxious unto Civil authority. We affirm not that it belongs to the Magistrate to inflict any punishment for quiet [Page 53] heresie. We affirm not quiet heresie to fall within the necessary obiect of Magistratical Cognisance, but leave it unto free disquisi­tion. We know that it belongeth not unto the Magistrate to compel any man to be a believer, nor to punish any for not being a believer. But we believe it belongs to him (in case) to punish a Blasphemer, or turbulent hereticks, who seeth not a wide diffe­rence between these?

Wee through grace abhorre prejudicing the liberty of Consci­ence in the least measure, and account such report of us to be a slan­der. And through the same grace; Wee both dread, and beare witness against, liberty of heresy, liberty to Blaspheme the Blessed Trinity, the Person and Office of Christ, the holy-Scripture, the tabernacle of God, and those that dwell in heaven. Howsoever fallaciously transformed into, & mis-represented under the plausible vizard of liberty of conscience falsly so called. We say Religion is to be perswaded with Scripture-reasons, not Civil weapons: with Arguments, not with punishments. But Blasphemies immediate and heresies carried on with an high hand, and persisted in, are to be suppressed with weapons & punishments; where reasons, & arguments cannot prevail.

We distinguish between Heresie

  • Quiet and alone.
  • Turbulent i. e. Incorigible,

ac­companied with soliciting the people to apostacy from the Faith of Christ to defection from the Churches, to Sedition in the Com­mon-wealth, And that after due meanes of conviction, and Au­thoritative Prohibition.

We subject not any to Civil or Corporal punishment for he­resie, if quiet and alone. We do not inflict any Church-censure in case of heresie, without doctrinal conviction on the Churches part and contumacy on the delinquents part, foregoing.

In case of Heresie incorrigible, in conjunction with endea­vours to seduce others thereunto, and tending to the disturbing of Publick-order, we accknowledg it to be the pious wisdom of the Magistrate, to proceed gradually, and where gentler meanes may rationally be looked at as effectual, there to abstain from the use of any severer remedie.

And according to this method, hath been the gradual pro­ceeding of the Magistrate here, with those (hitherto incorrigible) Quakers, who from England have unreasonably and insolently [Page 54] obtruded themselves upon us. 1. Instructing them. 2. Re­straining them, untill an opportunity of their returne. 3. Pub­lishing a law to warne and prohibite both them, and all others of their sect from cōming into this Iurisdiction: otherwise to expect the house of Correction. And in case they returned yet again, then to loose one of their eares &c.

At last, upon experience of their bold contempt of these infe­rior restraints, & that after their being sent away againe, & again, they continue to returne, yet again and again: to the seducing of diverse, the disturbance, vexation, & hazard of the whole Colonie: The Court finding the Law passed, to be an insufficient fence against these persons, proceeded to a Sentence of Banishment.

Their restraint before the Law published, was but restraint in the Prison, until an opportunity of shipping them away. They who after the Law was published, would that notwithstanding break in upon us from England, or other forraign parts, by Rode-Island, after their correction received, and discharging their daes, might return again to the Island, if they pleased: The wolfe which ventures over the wide Sea, our of a ravening desire to prey upon the sheep, when landed, discovered & taken, hath no cause to com­plain, though for the security of the flock, he be penned up, with that door opening unto the fold fast shut: but having another door purposely left open, whereby he may depart at his pleasure, either returning from whence he came, or otherwise quitting the place.

Their Sentence of Banishment as Circumstanced, by an Impar­tial and equal eye, may be looked upon as an Act which the court was forced unto Se defendend, in defence of Religion, themselves, the Churche, and this poor State and People from Ruine: which the principles of confusion, daylie and studiously disseminated by them, threatned to bring all unto, if not seasonably prevented. Exile from a wildernes, from a place of exile; though voluntarie, from a place; confinement whereunto would indeed justly be counted exile, is an easie exile.

Object: If it be the trueth of God which is pleaded for, it is below the trueth to stand in need of the defence of man, God can defend the cause of Religion without his help.

Answ. Whether this obiection, savour more of Inchantment, then an argument, i. e. whether it be looked upon as a meer argument or doth not rather give cause, to call to mind the witchcraft pract­ised [Page 55] sometimes upon the Galatians, is with the Reader whose senses are excercised in discerning good & evill to consider. That a malefactor (especially such who chooseth sin rather then suffering) pleadeth for impunity, why should it seem strange? But to attempt the repre­senting of the application of the remedy of iniquity, as iniquity. Antichristianism, persecution, is indeed a device: and that as emp­ty of reason, as full of transgression, A piece of the sophistry of the Prince of darkness, to charm that sword into a perpetual scabbard by a sallacie, the dexterous & vigorous use wherof, puts away the evill committed from, and for the time to come, prevents the com­mitting of evill in Israel. But Christians, especially Church-mem­bers, should not be ignorant of his devices. 2 Cor: 2.11.

The Jewes acted with a spirit of mockery, hardned their hearts desperatly, by putting the tryal of Christ upon a false discovery, Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the Cross, that we may see and believe. Mark 15.32.

The question is not concerning God's Power, but concerning his Will. God can preserve his Truth immediatly without any external meanes but his pleasure is ordinarily to doe it mediately. Hence he sur­rounded the Arke according to divine Institution, with a double fence, both Ecclesiastical and Civil. God can also save man im­mediately from evils committed against the second Table, but hee ordinarily effects it by the helpe of the magistrate. The injurie done unto the trueth, hurteth man whose welfare depends upon the imbracing of it. It hurts not God, nor the Trueth in it self, but only in the estimation of man. As Satan is permitted to raise up men to be offendors, so Christ raiseth up men to be defenders thereof: to manifest that through Grace, the Trueth hath even amongst men as great lovers, as it hath haters.

When there was no Christian Magistrate, God watched over the cause of Religion in an extraordinary man̄er. The continuance of the gift of miracles, together with the then recent & fresh memo­ry therof conducing not a little for that end. But extraordinarie gifts ceasing, and the Christian Magistrate succeeding, God now ex­pects the Civil power, in an ordinary way of Providence to be sub­servient therunto. God can bring up his sons & daughters with­out making any use of Civil power: but it hath pleased him to appoint Kings to be nursing Fathers, and Queens to be nursing Mothers unto them. They are but ill nurses, who seing the danger of those [Page 56] committed to their trust, so much as in them lyeth, save not their nurse-lings from the poyson of the destroyer. A late & memora­ble testimony of Gods owning & blessing Civil Authority in the defence of Religion, who so consulteth History, shall find in the ma­ny flourishing Citties, and Churches, with other places of name, in upper Germany, Helvetia, lower Germany, and else where: Saved from the pestilence of the Heretical and blasphemous sectaryes of the last Centurie, then destroying at noone-day: with, and not with­out the interposal of Civil-Authority, and that not once, nor twice, but frequently by the very sentence of Banishment.

Lysander's counsel of old was, when the lions skin will not hold out, to piece it with a fox-skinne. Why should it seeme strange, that men speaking doctrines of devils, and lies in hypocrisie, having their Conscience seared with an hot iron, and therefore past feelling of spiritual weapons, object (may that serve their turn) against obnoxiousnes to Civill weapons, of which they remain only sensible, that so priviledged with impunity, they may proceed in their madness without all restraint. That ancient stratagem of de­stroyers (otherwise often frustrated in their attempts) to open their way unto their flock, by endeavouring the removal of the keepers is famously notable from Demosthenes's recital of the folly of the sheep sometimes delivering up the doggs that kept them, at the motion of the wolves. Whereby; he stayed the Athenians, from delivering up their Orators unto Alexander upon his proposal: out of whose hands, they had been instrumental to save the City. Should the People not of Athens, but of Sion, suffer themselves to be abused by heretical deceivers & destroyers into a persuasion, that whil'st it is Lawfull for them under a praetence to invade, it is unlawfull for Civil power to defend Religion: they would render themselves more like those sheep in the Fable then men of understanding in Israel, not to make regular & seasonable use of the meanes, instituted & blessed unto such an end, in time of danger, is to Tempt, not to Trust God.

That God makes use of Civil power, consequently of man: is not from his need of him, but his favour to him. Not from de­fect of power, but abundance of Goodness. Notwithstanding God could save his people without the assistance of man, and both could and did save them without Meroz, yet curse yee Meroz (said the Angel of the Lord) curse ye bitterly the Inhabitants thereof, because thy came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the [Page 57] Lord against the mighty. Judg. 5.23. If Esther seeth her opportu­nity, and that she is come to the Kingdom for such a time, Good. But if she altogether hold her peace, God can cause enlargement, and deliverance to arise to the Jewes from another place.

Albeit; as the Heterodoxie of the Sectaries pre-mentioned in the last Centurie, was universal, corrupting the whole body of Religion: so also Quakerism (as to the substāce therof) their geniune offspring, be in like manner a total heresie, yet both because the former is legible in many Authors, and the latter obvious from the penns and tongues of the present Dogmatists, and because the scope of this discourse is chiefely practical, the Reader may soon perceive way (other errors omitted) the principal heads of their doctrine, are herein onely considered.

It remaineth that all orders & persons amongst us respectively, Sanctifie God according unto the prescript of Scripture, and that at such a time: in the regular excercise whereof, wee may secure our selves of a greater blessing then the adversary threatens trouble. Ʋnto former trials of our love unto the trueth, by leaving of our countrey, kinred, and Fathers house, and by the sufferings of this wilderness: God in his wisdome, now addeth this of trying us by false doctrine. That this divine fatal season, appointed for the revealing of the thoughts of many hearts, through the judicial discovery of not a few (who have had a name that they lived) by their defection to heresie may amongst the rest of the Saints, be also (through Grace) New-Eng­lands manifestation to be approved. That the evill example of the Apostacie, of formerly fellow-professors, may (as sometimes the like did with the Apostles. John 6.) bring forth so much the more zea­lous & luculent a confession of the Trueth. As the enmity of opposers increaseth, so the testimony of the witnesses increaseth. Though the Beast blasphemeth, the witnesses overcome. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome him, because greater is h [...]e that is in you, then he that is in the world. 1 John 4.4. The Aposta­cie of Adam ends in the confession of Adam. The apostacy of both reprobate, Angels & men, ends in the confession of the Elect.

The Apostacy from the Covenant of workes, ends in the most Il­lustrious confession of the Covenant of Grace. The greatest A­postacie, in a farr greater confession. The threatning example of the revolt of many disciples, with that of Judas foreseen superadded notwithstanding: Christ well knowing how to improve the apostacy [Page 58] of hypocrites, unto the furtherance of his interest; in the very height of the scandal, put forth that question triumphantly, not ti­merously: Then, said Jesus unto the Twelve, will yee also goe away?

The Rule of doctrine, discipline, and order, is the Center of Christianitie. Sincere and grave spirits are like grave bodies, they cannot rest out of their Center. i e. the Rule. Religion admitts of no eccentrick motions. Doctrine and actions not according to Rule, when quickened with erroneous zeal, are but run̄ing so much the faster out of the way. This people bought the trueth with Re­alities: Countrey, Relations, Estates, oportunities, as to the things of this life, were Realities; should wee now sell it for that which is not Bread, yea, for Fanatick, Frantick, worse then sick Imaginatiōs? What advantage will it be to have departed from praelacie to ataxie? From the Tradition of man, unto delusions not onely contrarie to Scripture, but also unworthie rational men? Many & moment­ous are the peculiar considerations, whereby wee are engaged in our respective stations to own our profession, & stand in the regu­lar and effectual defence of the trueth, with perseverance unto the end in both.

It concerneth N.-E. alwayes to remember, that Originally they are a Plantation Religious, not a plantation of Trade. The profes­sion of the purity of doctrine, worship & discipline, is written upon her forehead. A spot of this vast Jeshimon, converted into Corn-fields Orchards, streets inhabited, and a place of Merchandize, cannot de­nominate New-England. All these notwithstanding, if shee fall a­way from her profession, call her Ichabod, the Glory is departed. In such case, what was said of Samnium, sometime a famous Citty in Italy, viz that they could not find Samnium in Samnium: will be veri­fied concerning these Churches, viz: that N.-E. is not to be found in N.-E. God forbid, that after N.-E. hath now shined twenty years and more, like a light upon an Hill, it should at last go out in the snuff of Morellianism,

The converting of these and the like meditations, into so many Nayles & Goades is not the least part of the scope of this poor Script: but ye work of that one Shepheard: in ye effectual looking unto whom for wisdom & faithfulness in such a season: the welfare of his few [...]heep in this wilderness, doth in a great degree depend. That wheresoever the Trueth lyeth, in the points now controverted, between the godly-Orthodox of the Presbiterian, and Congregational way, which the day will declare: We may yet when we shall ly in dust, le [...]ve this report to posterity, that as we renounced the pollutiōs un­der Episcopacie on the one hand. So we kept far from the Tents of Morellianism, Scep­ticism, and confusion on ye other hand. And also, that having given in our Testimonie, against the Heterodoxies. Heresies, and Blasphemies of this Generation. We both lived and dyed. in the FAITH and ORDER of the Gospel.

Err. page 33 l. 17. Read Pastors & Teachers are to continue &c: Pastors & Teachers are Church-Offic: erg.


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